Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When we walk through the valley

I watched this video: Confessions of a Burglar a few months ago and had been telling people about it: 

However, since we live in pretty safe and quiet condo; I took it for granted. 

I left the kitchen window open two night ago and yesterday morning, a burglar got in our place right after he/ they saw my husband left for work. The kids and I were still asleep upstairs. Thank God we are okay. The person got my purse, keys, camera, and went shopping free afterward. 

We changed the locks and called all banks and credit cards company. 

Watch the video and make sure you do whatever necessary to keep your family safe!

Please pray for us as we deal with the aftermath and trauma.

Renee Swope from  posted this on 
Proverbs 31 Facebook earlier today, which had been such an encouragement for me:

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.He leads me in paths of righteousnessfor his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me 
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
 all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Our Favorite Books and DVDs for Preschooler/ Kindergartners

Back when Max just turned three, I started wondering about what books are good for him, do I read to him often enough, how come some other kids his age could read already, and so on. Thankfully, my older and wiser friends were quick to remind me that each kid is born with different timetable. Just as each of us start walking or talking at different time, they will start reading at different time.

There some great book lists for young children such as these:
Sonlight Read-Aloud Booklist
Simply-Charlotte Mason's Favorite Read Aloud Books
and Simple Mom's Top 10 Picture Books for Young Children

After many trips to the library, we {me and the boys} came up with this lists:

Our Favorite Books & DVDs for Preschooler/ Kindergartner:
a. For Bible Reading. Here are the Children Bibles we used and like.

The Story for Little Ones

The Beginner's Bible

Children's Favorite Bible Stories

I use this book to teach about character

Little Boy After God's Own Heart

The inside:

b. Baby/ Toddler Books that Our Boys Love:

My First Word Board Book

My First Sign

Our Animal Friends

Where Is Curious George?

c. The Beginner Reader Books/ DVDs:
We love this Letter Factory DVD. It really helped Max to learn the Phonic sounds.
I am using different approach with Wes. I teach him the sounds of the letter first.

DVD: Letters Factory

Max loves the BOB books. We bought one series from Costco and another from library sales. There is Bob Books Apps too, which my kids love.

We also like this flip-a-word series. We don't owe one though just borrow them from the library.

We also like Richard Scarry's Books especially these ones: 

What do People Do All Day

Best Nursery Tales Ever

Best Storybook Ever!

and these classics:
The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit: we found the DVD at the library


There's No One I Love Like You

The Runaway Bunny

The Little Blue Truck

Little Engine That Could

Adventures of Curious George

Harold & the Purple Crayon

The Velveteen Rabbit

We also found the movie DVD at the library

Tikki Tikki Tembo

20th Century Children's Book Treasury

Who doesn't like Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggie,

Pigeon Books,

and these Duck called Max books by Jackie Urbanovic? They are hilarious!

Duck at the Door

We LOVE them. We don't own most of these books. They belong to our public library; with that said, I  have to mention that we did pay some fine once in a while. With the number of books we borrow, it's bound to happen.

Max loves animals so any good animals related books is a hit:
such as this out of print book we found in a library sale:

and these {some we bought some we got as gifts}

Animal Life: Secrets of the Animal World 

Oceans DVD

Dinosaurs: A Visual Encyclopedia

I believe in encouraging them to read any good books not just the ones for their age

We also like Dr. Seuss Books not all of them but some we really love. Like this Green Egg and Hamone of the first books that Max read without help:

The boys also like the Fred & Ted series.
{Oops just realized my toes are in the picture :P}

and books by P.D. Eastman and The Berenstains.

A Fish Out of Water

The Big Blue Book

Big Book of the Berenstain Bears

Good Deed Scouts Help...

Last year, Max learned about a few important people in the history and we found these picture book series  by David Adler at the library that he really enjoy reading:

and a few more. Max especially loves this one: George, Thomas, and Abe!

You can also find this complete list on my "Favorites" Page

Is there any good books that we left out? Please let us know in the comment.

Disclosure: The links in this post are my affiliate links.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Buying Car with Cash

I seldom post about Financial but recently I read an article on Costco Magazine that got my attention.

A reader asked Suze Orman this question on the Personal Finance section:
Regarding purchasing a car should I:
a. Buy a $33,000 car new with 0% interest over 5 to 6 years, with 50% down payment?
b. Buy new using a home equity loan, with an interest rate of 3 to 4 % with the same down payment? Or
c. Buy used with the same down payment?
Which option saves me the most money and/ or costs me the least? 

The question puzzled me because 50% down payment of $33,000 = $16,500. I wonder if the person realizes with that amount, he/ she can buy a used car with cash. In fact, that's over the amount we paid for our then five-year-old van, which would cost us over $30K if we bought a new one. For further reading, here is a great article titled: 6 Reasons to Buy a Car with Cash.

Turned out Suze Orman agrees with me. At the end she wrote the statement below that summed up her answer:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Stir-fried Bitter Melon

I am super excited to share this recipe. Growing up in a tropical country, my mom told us eating this vegetable will make our blood taste bitter thus we won't get bitten by mosquitoes. As a result,I now loveeee bitter melon. Unfortunately, I couldn't get my hubby share my excitement until my local mom told me how to cook it to make it less bitter.

First, divide the bitter melon into two

Monday, September 1, 2014

Multivitamins for Your Week

Inspired by Ann Voskamp's posts: Multivitamins for Your Weekend

Thinking of dear friends who is going through tough times. Praying that in the midst of heartache, headache, and hardship, you may experience His love, goodness, and faithfulness

No one expected this from her. She has never won a gold medal and no woman at 40 years of age has EVER won in this event. It’s never too late to begin!

Never Say the Word: "Can't" 

Athlete with cerebral palsy completed Ironman contest with his twin
Steen Mondrup, 34, pushes his twin brother Peder

Hidden miracles of the natural world

So Stay Hungry, Stay Curious, Be Humble, Be Brave, Be Amazed, and Be Joyful Always!

   Photo credit: Hari Rediawan

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summer Bucket List Update

I am back! The last two weeks have been full yet refreshing at the same time.

You may have seen some of these photo on my Instagram. Thanks to Didi who lost my old Nokia, I got a used Iphone 3 so now I have a smart phone and can jump in "Instagram" bandwagon.

We joined our church Vacation Bible School. The church nearby our house kindly shared their VBS materials so our small church didn't have to buy anything. So grateful for their kindness and generosity.

After that, we went to Mendocino for family camping.

One of the reasons I love family road trips is the fact it gives us chance to get into deep heart to heart conversations

and make wonderful memories.

more on our camping trip later now onto

Summer Bucket List Update
1. Trip back home. This was the trip where we learned our favorite carry on for International Flights

2. Go to a u-pick strawberry farm. Pictures can be seen here

3. Bi -weekly library and Farmer Market trip.  More like weekly trip I actually. Max has been progressing so well in his reading and keep devouring books after books. Way to go, Max!

4. Play date, invite people over, or visit others at least once a week.  

5. Hit the pool when the weather permit. 

6. Jury duty. Thank you for keeping me in your prayers. I wrote about what to bring on Jury duty here

7. Camping. 

8. Vacation Bible Schools .  The boys have been singing the VBS songs over and over every.single.day.

9.  Light daily learning activitiesreading, phonic, and math. Recent reading on summer learning lost encouraged us to continue learning during summer. You can read more about our summer learning and activities here.

10. Deep clean the house and organize garage. {in progress, I think the house is organize enough, I have been purging and donating lots of stuff lately. Still need to sell a few stuffs on Craigslist, wipe the blinds, get our air duct cleaned}

11. Update Quicken {in progress}

12. Organize pictures and videos {in progress}

13. Work on a few sewing projects {in progress, two more projects to go}

14. Get ready for First Grade for Max. File the kindergarten work.

15. Get ears pierced. I had one when I was a baby but the holes closed up. {not yet}