Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Visiting Gardens at ANapa Valley: Farmstead and French Laundry Garden

The lovely Napa Valley is only 1.5 hours away from Bay Area so it always been our top option whenever we need to go for couple getaway. We first went there for our first anniversary. We went for the wine train ride and lunch followed with a mud bath. It was an interesting experience. The second time was a few year ago when we went for a day biking trip. This time we went to celebrate our 15 anniversary, our first time leaving the kids overnight without either one of us.

I wanted to get some garden inspiration for our front yard, which is currently filled with weeds. So first stop of the day was: Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch

 We went straight to their garden
row and row of veggies and herbs, which they use at their restaurant: and pretty flowers to attract the bees:

Friday, May 19, 2017

How to make homemade foaming hand soap

I have been trying to make homemade foaming handsoap for a while but couldn't the recipe I like until this one. Let's save some money by making our own foaming hand soap.

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap 
1 cup water
2 tablespoon Dr. Bronner Castille Soap (I use Lavender one found at Target)
1 teaspoon Vegetable Glycerine (found at CVS Pharmacy)

Fill a measurement cup with water Add the Castille soap and glycerine
Stir well then pour it inside a foaming soap dispenser (I reused the bottle of foaming hand soap I bought from Trader Joe's)
Close and use it as regular foaming hand soap

Friday, April 14, 2017

Visiting Sequoia on March

We visited Sequoia National Park in 2010 when Max was 2 years old and Wes had not been born yet. His 6th birthday was coming up and when he asked him where should we go on his birthday his answer was to see the biggest tree in the world so off we go to Sequoia National Park.
We went early in the morning then stopped by at Bravo Farm for lunch.  
 Traveling to Sequoia National Park

The North entrance from Fresno was still closed on March due to snow so we have to go through South entrance and stayed the night at a hotel in Three River. Check out the National Park's website for the update on road conditions.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bravo Farm at Traver, California

We decided to stop by at this place for lunch on our way to Sequoia last month: Bravo Farm  

There were antiques stuffs for sale at the front.
There were not many animals though. I wonder why they call it farm because we only see donkeys and goats but we didn't come there for the animals;
We came to see this: The Seven Stories Tree House

Friday, March 17, 2017

Before and After Kitchen Remodel

Remember our 1960 kitchen? I am sharing the pictures of our kitchen after the remodel at our food blog: today. Just click here or one of the pictures below to see the post.
Small White Kitchen Idea

The Before
 Before and after kitchen renovation
Same spot today:
 small house white kitchen

more pictures can be found here

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Serving at Joni & Friends Family Retreat

Last summer, I got the privilege of volunteering at Joni & Friends Family Retreat
Over the years, I heard how the retreat has been such an encouragement for family with who has family member with disability and I wanted to learn more. 

When my dear sister in Christ, Fonda, told me about her going home to Indonesia for good and her last time to go to Joni & Friends retreat; I thought it would be a great if we can go spend time together volunteering instead of just traveling somewhere together but I realized so many things need to be arranged because I have two kids that need to be taken care of.

As we prayed and time drew near; God slowly opened the way. Starting with my husband's blessing, a week of Chinese summer camp for my kids, and a sister in Christ who help with transportation for my kids since my husband had to work very early in the morning. God is so good. Even so, there were many things that distract me but I am learning to trust Him, knowing that He doesn't call the qualified He qualifies the called.

The week began with training for the volunteer. We are to be a companion to a child or adult with a disability while the parents or care givers join the retreat program. Out of respect for the families, I won't share any pictures or details about them.

The song that we sang in the beginning of the camp summed up what the volunteers are about: 

During the training we learned important things such as: how to communicate with someone who is non-verbal;
What it feels like to have disabilities, not being able to see, talk, or use our hands/ body properly.
The exercises helped us to understand our camper's pain or challenge better.  
At night, we had our sharing and praying time with our small group then we made a welcome board for the families.

Have you ever seen welcoming ceremony at Joni and Friends retreat? It was amazing! 
Imagine being someone different than everybody else. You may feel lonely, not accepted but not this day. You're more than welcome. We're here for you. We're waiting for you and celebrating you.  I was crying the entire time we're doing this:

While the parents or caregivers were at the retreat program, the volunteers were spending fun times with the kids.
I love this thing called Happy Grams where we can leave our thank you note to other campers, parents, volunteers, or staffs at the camp.
There were line dancing, festival, talent show, candle light dinner for the parents. At the end, we're all very tired, had a lot of fun, and I was blessed and learned a lot by watching the amazing parents love their kids patiently and unconditionally.    If you have chance to go volunteering at one of Joni and friends' family retreat, I highly recommend it. I trust that you will be blessed by going.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Legacy of Brian Tan

I first met Brian and his family when they came to our church. "The boy survived brain cancer when he was four," I was told. Later on I got to know him better when I start teaching his Sunday School class. I didn't know how much he went through until after I read his testimony, which he wrote before he was baptized.

The cancer came back stronger than ever 10 years after. When the doctor open his skull to see if there is anything he can do; he simply closed closed it back because the cancer has spread all over his brain, neck, and spine. "There's nothing can be done," he said.

Instead of getting upset or angry, Brian and his family chose to keep trusting and worship God. The recording of him playing "The Old Rugged Cross" was after the diagnosis, which we later on use to sing at his celebration service.

Tears kept flowing each time I remember him. What a precious life. He inspires so many in his 15 years of life. Cancer didn't stop him from smiling, making jokes, going to school, playing piano, singing, sharing his games with another kids - including mine, teaching other kids how to make legos at his Youtube channel.

When the doctor told him he only has 6 months to live he said, "I was supposed go "home" 10 years ago when I got brain cancer the first time."

When his mom cried upon receiving the news that the cancer came back and he now has 3 different kind of cancer; two of which have no cure; he told her, "it's okay mom, it will look good on my college application if I beat this.." "He still can joke about it," she said.

When his right hand starting to lose its strength he kept on working on the exercise and writing that the doctor told him to do even though it takes so much times and energy. He fought hard to the end. When the doctor said it's only a matter of hours; he still fighting for a few more days and some of us got to see him, pray, and witness his faith and resilient.

We prayed hard for healing but His way is different that ours. We are grieving and we can
 only imagine the pain that the parents experience right now. When my family went biking through this pretty path this morning; I wonder how much prettier the path he took to Heaven yesterday. He is home, in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father waiting to greet us when our turn come. Cancer may take his body but not his spirit. Thank you Brian for showing us how to live, love, play, fight, and die well. We will keep praying, caring and checking on your parents.
Even after he passed away he is still ministering to others by playing the piano; encouraging us to stay faithful just like he did. The kids sang not because we told them to but because they want to; to honor their brother whom they love and prayed for every single day these past few months. Praying that we all can be faithful to cling to the cross to the end just like you did Koko Brian. The Old Rugged Cross On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross The emblem of suff'ring and shame And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best For a world of lost sinners was slain So I'll cherish the old rugged Cros Till my trophies at last I lay down I will cling to the old rugged Cross And exchange it this day for a crown ❤️️ #choosingtocherish #1000gifts #celebrationservice #childrencancerawareness #hymn #oldruggedcross
A video posted by Kiki (@choosingtocherish) on

 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth. So are My ways higher than your ways. And My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, July 29, 2016

Summer 2016 Bucket List & Summer Learning

Hi there! We have been summering well these days. It's been a full, relaxing, and rejuvenating summer for me and the boys at least; Chris has been very busy with work prayerfully he is experiencing summer fun too once in a while. :)

I was encouraged when I read this article titled: "Psychologist recommend children be bored in the summer." I love the idea of not cramping too much activities during the summer. At the same time, we know this is the only summer when they are 7 and 5 years old and we want to make some sweet memories with them that's why we make the summer bucket list. You can follow my instagram account to see our progress.

Part of our summer bucket list is doing a light daily learning activities (about 1 hour) each day so the kids do not experience summer slide

The library is having a summer reading challenge, which is an added motivation but the kids love going to the library and read even without the challenge.

The humongous collection of books that the local library has never chase to amaze me. Growing up in third world country, we don't have this privilege.

Besides reading, I also have the kids work on math, language art, and writing.

One of the math activities that the kids do is a daily math worksheet; addition problems for the five years old and multiplication problems for the seven years old. They like to read while doing their business so I thought may as well ask them to do their math. I no longer have to ask if they done their math that day because they automatically doing it before reading books/ magazines. Problem solved! :)

The free math printable worksheet can be found here

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Big Island Day 5: Kealakekua Bay/ Captain Cook Monument

Kealakekua Bay was our destination that day; to get there, we either have to hike (long and tough hike), go by kayak, or boat tour.
I was so happy when I found the VRBO that rent their kayaks for free if we stayed at their place. The place was so relaxing and clean too. My favorite rental place so far.
Our kayaking route was about 1.5 miles, which took us about one hour to reach the destination.  This was our first open sea kayaking experience with kids in tow. We also saw people swimming to get there. 
The kayak experience was much better than the boat experience the other day, when we went for swimming with Manta Ray. I didn't experience any motion sickness. Wesley even managed to take a nap during the trip.

See the tiny white spot that's a person swimming across

Almost there