Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Trying Something New

I've always wanted to learn how to reupholster furniture. I finally figured out that I had to just jump into a project. I'm starting with these two chairs. They were given to us by my mom. The plaid isn't really our style. The arms are all ripped and fraying. But the chairs are in pretty good condition otherwise. I like the seat height, and I like the traditional shape. 

Here's Kent's attempt to fix the arms of the chairs. He thinks tape can fix anything. Well, tape and dad.

I found this black and white houndstooth fabric at Hobby Lobby that was cheap enough to buy just in case my attempt at reupholstering didn't work out. But it's not cheap quality fabric. It's a nice durable upholstery. I think I'm going to love the more modern fabric on traditional chairs. I'm hoping to replace the rug someday (maybe with this one, maybe not) and paint these walls. I'm done with brown walls for right now.

I started taking one chair apart last month, but haven't really made much progress over the last few weeks. I'm hoping to get motivated again so I don't forget how I took the thing apart!!

Monday, March 24, 2014


"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." -Pablo Picasso

Kent hasn't really been interested in drawing and coloring like Clark was when he was little. Kent is just now wanting to put any effort into his fine motor skills. This is one of my favorite drawings of his that he's done recently. Of course...it's a football player making a touchdown.

He loves playdoh too. He would sit for hours and just cover all of his toys in playdoh if I let him. He takes safety very seriously. I mean, he is working with a swiss army playdoh tool.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Our Fortune Cookie

My mom bought these cutest little fortune cookie shoes for me last year for Chinese New Year. They were more for Kara, but she wasn't born yet, so I got the gifts! I decided that I wanted to get a cute little Chinese dress for Kara and have her wear her fortune cookie shoes for this year's Chinese New Year. Well, the hunt for the Chinese dress didn't go as planned, of course. I decided that I would make one, but it didn't happen for the new year. No worries.

I know the dress is a little more Japanese in style, but that's okay too. I love the dress. It was super easy to make too. I used this Sweet Wrap Reversible Dress pattern by Heidi and Finn. I really love their patterns. And I love that we get two dresses out of one! I think she'll be wearing it next year too. I made the 12-18 month size. She's swimming in it. Next year she'll either still be wearing it as a dress or maybe a tunic with leggings.

She's so cute sometimes. We can't get over it!

Peekaboo! She's finally starting to enjoy this game. It's fun for the boys to play with her.

The cute little shoes.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lots of Love

Valentine's Day! We'll call this Throwback Saturday or something?!

I wonder if I'll ever tire of this pose. I don't think so. It's too cute.

We had a great Valentine's Day. I love Valentine's Day so much more now that we have kids. It's just fun to celebrate anything with them - especially a day that celebrates how much I love them. Kent, Kara and I went to a special Valentine's Day storytime at Barnes and Noble to start our day. Then we stopped by Clark's classroom for a little party. Clark is such a great big brother. He let Kent help him decorate his valentine bag. We came home and exchanged our little gifts. Each person got some candy and then a little toy. Jason got a box of Kit Kats and a rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock game. Clark got Star Wars candy and a drawing book with pencils. Kent got TMNT candy and an El Toro Loco truck. Kara got puffs and a board book. And I got Reese's PB Cups, Charlie Brown Valentine's Movie and flowers. I guess I lucked out and got the most. Jason is always trying to one up me. Grandma and Grandpa came over and brought the kids Valentine's and then we went to Gigi and Boompa's for heart shaped pizzas and some more Valentine fun.
It was busy, but we had fun! I sure do love these kids and their dad.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Monster Mash

...or maybe it was Monster Jam?!

Jason and his dad took the boys to Monster Jam again this year. Last year's event started Kent on his obsession with monster trucks. This year it rekindled the romance for him. I think the kids really loved going this time now that they knew what to expect. Jason was a little more excited too. He even wanted to make t-shirts for everyone. Everyone picked out their favorite monster truck picture and we printed it on ink jet paper and ironed it on to the shirts. Super easy - just had to follow the directions on the package.

Jason was so excited to see Max-D (upper left photo). I guess he came out and on the first run he flipped and didn't run again for the rest of the night. We joke about that a lot. Kent now is obsessed with El Toro Loco. He bought an El Toro Loco pillow for his souvenir. Clark still loves Grave Digger which is perfect since he wins all the time. His souvenir was a Grave Digger sword that I thought would be broken by now, but it's still slashing! They were all excited to see Iron Man. Clark loved the Zombie truck with its rotting flesh hanging off everywhere. Kent hated the Megasaurus that came out and ate cars. At least he didn't fall asleep this year!
They are already making plans for next year's big event. Hopefully they will be able to get pit passes next year and get close to the trucks. They will really love that. They tried this year, but it didn't work out. Next year it will!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Winter OIympics 2014

We celebrated a LOT during February. We had Chinese New Year, the Superbowl and the Winter Olympics all in the first week or so! The kids were loving all of the fun stuff we did. I was just loving the food. Just keeping it real.

I decided that I wanted to have a little party to celebrate the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. We made a paper chain out of the Olympic ring colors. I still have a bunch of strips leftover from our snake project from last Chinese New Year, so any time we can use our strips, we do. Here's what we did for Thanksgiving with more strips. And the leaves from Clark's family tree used these strips too!

For dinner we had Russian Blini. Oh. My. Goodness. Can I just say that I was instantly back in Russia when I took the first bite. The phrase for "blini with sweetened condensed milk" is one of the key phrases that I remember in Russian. That's how much I used to order them!! 

We used this recipe and they turned out so yummy. We had many different toppings to use: sweetened condensed milk (my favorite), strawberries, bananas, cream cheese fruit dip, chocolate spread, chocolate almond spread, chocolate hazelnut spread, powdered sugar, and maybe a few more things. I can't remember. It was fun to just try different combinations and see what we liked the best. I stand by my favorite of blini with sweetened condensed milk lightly dusted with powdered sugar on top. Oh, who are we kidding, you just load that thing up with powdered sugar! I won't be waiting until the next Russian Olympic games to make them though!
During the opening ceremonies, we played a little bingo game that I found online. It didn't last long. We really just liked talking about the different countries and guessing how many athletes each one would have. We had the globe out so we could find the different countries and we had google out so we could answer any of those tough questions Clark asked!

Clark really enjoyed the Olympics this year. Everyday he would follow the US on the app and see how many medals we won. He loved watching the videos of all of the new (to him) sports. He thought curling was hilarious. It was so fun to see how much he enjoyed the games. Made me love them more too!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Year of the Horse & Improv Games

Way back at the beginning of February we rang in the Chinese New Year. We had our usual Chinese fare: sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, egg rolls, pot stickers, Chinese chicken salad and mu shu pork. We had a few other things too, but I can't remember what they were! Jason and I have finally figured out how to work our sweet and sour chicken frying extravaganza. It's quite the ordeal, usually three hours of frying chicken into little bite size pieces. Yum. Details are for another post.

Oh...seaweed! We've had seaweed before and every year someone new seems to want to try it out. The kids in Taiwan used to prefer seaweed strips to candy bars. This year was obviously Cana's turn! She was brave and tried it out and then quickly spit it out! I would have done the same thing!

We kept a few things the same this year for decorations - same tablecloths, same table decor, same lanterns and Taiwanese souvenirs and red envelopes of course. Clark helped me put together a Chinese zodiac banner. I want to make it look a little better for next year, but it looked festive enough. The chocolate bars were the prizes for our improv games. More on that if you keep reading...
We decided that we wanted to play a game this year with everyone instead of just sitting around and talking. Jason and I put together some improv games a la Hollywood Game Night and Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Here are some of the ideas that we used just in case you want to host a game night of your own! It's really fun to prepare because so many of the ideas could be from inside jokes or common experiences. And these can be tailored to any age group or interests!

1. Party Quirks - for an idea of how to play the game click here

Scoring - We timed each team and the team who guessed the quirks in the shortest amount of time won the points.

The quirks we used...
-all four teenage mutant ninja turtles hungry for pizza
-wwe wrestler (hulk hogan)
-peyton manning's #1 fan (it was superbowl weekend too)
-someone who keeps stepping in dog poop
-kid in a candy store
-fruit fly in search of a banana
-ninja trying not to be seen

2. In Other Words - for a video of how this game is played click here

Scoring and Game Play: We played two rounds of this game. That meant each person got a chance to say the clue twice. Their team had 60 seconds-ish to guess the answer. If they guessed it, they got a point. If not, no point.

Some of the quotes we used...
-fish are friends, not food
-i see dead people
-may the force be with you
-i'm the king of the world
-e.t. phone home
-there is no crying in baseball
-go ahead, make my day

3 & 4. How Do You Do? and Show Me the Music
These are different games, but we just created one big pile of song titles and sorted them to what we thought would work best. For an example of How Do You Do? click here and for Show Me the Music click here. We modified Show Me the Music into just charades with music titles since we didn't have noise cancelling headphones and such. We used quite a few Disney songs since we thought that some younger kids would be playing.

Scoring and Game Play - we gave each team 2 minutes to guess. They were awarded one point for each correct answer.

Some of the song titles we used:
-waiting for a girl like you
-edge of glory
-mr. roboto
-rocket man
-dancing queen
-it's a small world
-mickey mouse march
-bibbidi bobbidi boo

5. Timeline - for a video on how to play click here
We thought it would be fun to do one round with our favorite Asian actor and another round with Horse movies for the Year of the Horse.

Scoring and Game Play - Each team was given two minutes. They received one point for each correctly placed movie poster.

Jackie Chan movies we used:
First Strike, Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon, The Medallion, Kung Fu Panda, The Spy Next Door and The Karate Kid

Horse movies we used:
Wild Hearts Can't be Broken, Black Beauty, Horse Whisperer, Spirit, Seabiscuit, Flicka, Secretariat

6. Celebrity Name Game - for the version we played, click here
We decided to keep our list of celebrities to tv, movie or sports figures. You could do this with anything though to tailor it to your group's likes.

Scoring and Game Play - Teams had 2 minutes to guess as many celebrities as they could. They received one point for each correct answer.

Some celebrities we used:
-Harrison Ford
-John Travolta
-Natalie Portman
-Adam Sandler
-Lucy Liu
-Jennifer Aniston

I wish I had some pictures of the event. Maybe next year. I really need to be better about photographing a Chinese New Year celebration. It's one of my favorite parties. There's always next year!

We really loved the Game Night except that Jason and I wanted to play instead of just hosting. So next time we may have each family be in charge of bringing an improv game that they would host and then we'll get to play too!


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