Sunday, April 22, 2012

Picture of the day..Us in China last month

Temple of Heaven (Beijing, China)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Nicholas cooks his first real meal for the family - Shrimp and ham Fried Rice

Nicholas has really been taking an interest in cooking of late,  Actually, he's always had a fondness and "will work for food" attitude ever since I could remember.  At school, the teachers would entice him with food if he finished a task.  Well, that little boy is now a big boy, standing taller than I am at the young age of 14 and already finishing off a fantastic year in his first year of high school.

One of the first things I watched and learned to make as a kid was fried rice.  I remember getting an A+ in Home Ec class in grade 7 because everyone loved my fried rice (even back then) and the way I demonstrated my cooking skills to them.

Fried rice is a simple dish where you generally use up your leftover as not to waste any good food.  Anything goes when it comes to fried rice.  I used to hate it when my mom made it with leftover saucy dishes.  I like my fried rice dry.  When I need something easy and quick, I plan and cook extra rice for the following day, and when I'm ready, (I rarely ever used leftover ingredients in my fried rice), I just open up the fridge and see what there is.  For myself, the basic ingredients are rice, scrambled eggs and green onion.  Those three basics made a good fried rice in itself.  Everything else is a bonus.

He has cooking in his home room every Friday. He thought this was so simple, he even asked the teacher if he could teach them how to make fried rice.  Unfortunately, our school board has become such a stickler for foods brought to school with the nut-free policy that foods that are to be shared (even though they are in high school), has to come from a nut-free facility or the teacher has to prepare and/or bring all the ingredients used.  His teacher doesn't have a rice cooker so he's a little apprehensive in making rice.

In a past post, I did a fried rice with crab and lop cheung (Chinese preserved sausage - pretty much a staple in every Chinese kitchen for emergency meals). Check it out.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Project: Hallway table

The Hallway table has been driving me crazy for years.  With all the cold drinks, purses, mail, flowers, and everything else you can think of being dumped on it as everyone walks in and out each day, the wood veneer which I once loved really showed that it was well LOVED!  I finally got the guts to start the painting project.  After reading several amazing painting blogs, including , I was inspired, pumped and ready to give it a shot.  What did I have to lose?  After all, it was cheaper than buying a whole new table by far.

First, I had to look for a orbital sander to make my life easier.  I swear, I'm kicking myself for not buying one of these amazing power tools years ago!  With all the sanding before painting the walls around the house over the years, I could have made my life SO MUCH easier!  Live and learn...  I lucked out.  The Ryobi was on sale for $29.99 ($20 off at Home Depot this week!). And it even came with 5 sheets of sand paper to start me off! Luck was on my side! I then purchased along with a lottery ticket, a small can of primer and a small can of paint.  This stuff like the frugal said, DOES really go a long way.  I'm so glad I exchanged the 1 gallon primer for a quart!  So, for under $65 with the sander, I was ready to go...

First, I sanded the top only.  The primer was one that said that it would stick to every surface type.  Ok, I'll take my chances and only sand the top of the table since it had water damage.

These two little quarts of paint after doing the two coats of paint are barely touched.  To do this hallway table, I'll proably end up using less than 1/4 can of paint.

I just sanded the top till smooth.  See all the places where the liquid air freshener spilled and water was spilled from flower vases and condensation from drinks. Of course it wasn't nearly this bad looking but lots of spots had damage.  It didn't help that I bought the useless wood markers to try to fill it in.  You can NEVER make a table top with this much damage look good again with those! As a matter of fact, it actually made it worse! Wasted my money.

So, here it goes...1 thin coat of primer.  I didn't think it was necessary to sand the entire thing down.  Besides, it would have been too much work.  The primer says that it would stick to anything, and it did.

I made sure it was thoroughly dried before applying one think coat of paint.  It was like water.  I used a brush for the primer (but probably would have been easier to use a sponge roller).  I used a sponge roller from the dollar store for the paint and lightly rolled over it making sure there were no apparent lines of paint.  The paints consistency is quite thin, making it easy to lightly roll on.

 It actually does dry pretty quickly.  I came back from the dentist with my daughter and applied a second coat.  You could really see the transformation now!  
 I was pretty excited when I saw what two coats of paint did for it.  Unfortunately, there was a pretty big spot where I didn't lay the primer on thick enough so the area where the wood had been water damaged showed through darker. 

The above picture is after three rolled on coats of paint.  I think maybe one more coat of colour and then a coat of lacquer to protect it from any possible water damage or scratches on the table top. I could hardly wait to see what the finished table will look like!

Picture of the day...Happy Birthday, Love!

Looking good for 46!  I love you!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Picture of the day...Fish store

Is this an interesting way to sell fish, or what?  In Hong Kong, they just hang the bags of live tropical fish up on walls and you could be in and out in 30 seconds!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Picture of the day...Lea, the adorablest!

Is she not the most adorable thing?  Lea, 19 months is the daughter of our niece visiting from Montreal a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Picture of the day...Hong Kong Island Trams

Lauren with Dad on the double decker tram.  We took a little ride on the old trams to give us a little glimpse of local living.  They must have one of the most impressive public transportation systems in the world!

Monday, April 16, 2012

I can't believe it!  My first baby girl wrote her last university exam last night and graduating this spring!  WOW!  How time flies...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Picture of the day...Amazing Panda Bears!

Lauren's Ling Ling and baby Ming Ming.  Wow!  Ocean Park in Hong Kong, had a few panda bears and nobody was fighting to see them!  They were SO cute!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Picture of the day...At Hong Kong's Ocean Park

Picture of the day... At Hong Kong's Ocean Park just merely a month ago, which is set on a mountain side with an incredible view. As we were getting lunch, Lauren enjoyed playing on this tortoise. (photo taken by my good friend, Miriam)

Friday, April 13, 2012

A picture a day...The Great Wall of China/Cream Cheese Pie

I've decided to take a new approach to my long neglected blog. I have been so busy with everyday life that I realized that blogging was going to have to put on the back burner until things got a little less hectic in our lives. While having a little time reading other people's blogs when searching for something, I thought about how much I missed blogging. I guess you could say it's like a journal for myself. A reminder of some of the things that we think that we would never forget. Reading back, I realized how much I had actually forgotten and the inspiration from other bloggers have given me the breath to start again, but this time, slowly easing my way back into blogger world. I think by posting a picture or two a day and writing a little blurb about it without overwhelming myself with long, boring stories which could take hours sometimes, will be the perfect way to start again. But as my husband would probably say, I wouldn't be able to help myself! Well, let's see what happens!

Today's pictures of one of myself and my youngest daughter at The Great Wall taken on our trip just three weeks ago. It was an incredible trip and an incredible sight! The feelings that went through our minds were about the beauty, the reason for The Wall and hardships of the thousands of men that risked their lives building it and the thousands of men that actually lost their lives building this incredible structure. They say that for every step the you take on The Great Wall, a life was lost. It was something that I've always wanted to do since I was a kid. Another thing on the bucket list was but is now too late, was to cruise down the Yangtze River before the Chinese government flooded it along with all it's thousand of years of history to make a much needed dam a few years ago.

The picture below is one of the best and easiest desserts introduced to me by my dear friend Brenda. She experimented on us one night with this scrumptious Cream Cheese Pie!

These two pictures were chosen for my first return-to-blogging today because this day marks the third anniversary of my father's death. So to honour my dad, I dedicate this post to him.

He was just a young 76 years old when he passed away from lung cancer. He came to Canada when he was just a young man in 1952 and said one day he would like to have spent his retiring years back in China. He came here for a better life for his family back home, wife and kids, a lot of sacrifices were made. By the time he and his brother saved enough money to bring their mom to Canada to start a better new life, it was many years later. Sadly, he never saw his mother again. She had passed away in a horrific way when her flight enroute to Canada crashed into Mt. Fuji back in 1966, just before I was born.

My father loved sweets and I'm sure if he were alive today, he would have loved this dessert. This cheesecake would have been a real treat to him. Missing him lots...

Have a great weekend!