Monday, January 26, 2015

Office Nook

We have this landing space between stairs in our condo, which has continuously evolved over the year.

It used to be my sewing corner until I moved my sewing stuff into a den inside our bedroom.

For the past two years we use it as an office space or Choosing to Cherish's headquarter

This corner used to be Max's learning space before we move it into our living room. Yeah, we...okay I am that kind of people who like to change things around.

Last snapshot of our office before we moved. I will certainly miss this space not the stairs though. :)

Friday, January 23, 2015

How to plan a bathroom renovation

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We are almost finished with our bathroom renovation. Cannot believe that we are able to pull this together in such a short amount of time. I guess we learned something from our kitchen remodeling experience. 

Here are the steps we took to plan our bathroom renovation:
1. Ask, ask, ask
Instead of going to the stores directly and being bombarded with so many choices, we contacted a few friends who had done bathroom renovation and asked for their inputs.

Some useful advises I got:
a. For the floor, use the tile that is made of porcelain,  not ceramic. Porcelain is harder than ceramic, which is better for the floor,  and it is not easy to crack
b. Check out high end tile store (such as Porcelanosa) for ideas and reference then get similar stuffs from other high rated stores on yelp.
c. Check the local water district to see if you can get any rebate for old toilet before you start the work.
d. Make sure to use a trustworthy contractor. They also refer some that they knew.
e. Check out Costco for Vanity. They may offer cheaper and better quality product than the store: 

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2. Find a reliable contractor. This is the key to any renovation project so we interviewed some contractors and their clients, checked out their work and asked for their quotes and timetable.

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2. Look for inspiration online (mostly Houzz and Pinterest) then discuss what we like and don't like as far as color, size, practicality, and so on. 
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3. List down what need to be done and need to be bought: tiles for floor, shower, and wall, vanity, lighting, glass door, mirror, toilet and small pieces like towel hanger, shower head. 

then start checking out a few local tile stores with good rating on yelp, get some samples and quotes. Don't forget to compare with what the big box stores have to offer as well.

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4.  Put the samples and picture together to make sure they work together: the vanity, floor tiles, shower tiles, wall tiles, paints, mirror, window, and lighting.

We also asked our contractor for his feedback on our choices, which we found to be very helpful.

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5. Start ordering the materials and clean up all our stuffs in the bathroom so the project can finally begin. 

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Have you done a bathroom renovation before? Please feel free to add your inputs in the comment.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What we bring during our temporary move

These past few days we've moved back to our old condo while the bathroom in the new place is being renovated. What happened? Before we bought the house, we already knew the bathroom need major renovation since it has leak and mold. However, we thought we could managed to live for a few months until our old place got sold.

After living there for a few days, it became clear to us that the bathroom need to be fixed sooner than later so once we accepted an offer for our condo, we decided to start planning and working on it.

We still like the idea of moving in first before doing any major renovation.  Just a little over a week living in the new place gave us better ideas on improvements that need to be done, which we won't know if we haven't live there for a while.

Refrigerator is the only thing we don't have at this moment since we already moved it to the new place. It's not a big deal though since we still go to the new place daily to monitor the renovation, we just pick up our meat and vegetables during that time.

Besides clothes and toiletries, here are few things we brought during our temporary move:

Kitchen essentials. These are similar to what I would bring to camping except I wouldn't bring any electric appliances.

Cooking Utensils:
2 small pans, one for boiling water, one for cooking
1 large stir-frying pan
1 soup ladle
1 spatula
1 tongs
1 chef knife
1 small knife
1 kitchen scissor
1 baking pan, aluminium foil
1 strainer and 1 aluminium mixing bowl
1 chopping board, 1 peeler to peel potatoes and carrots
Rags and napkins
Dish washing soap & scrub
Eating utensils
4 bowls,
4 plates
4 set of forks and spoons
4 small spoons for the kids and drinks
4 cups for drinking
2 food container for leftover foods.

Sauces & Condiments:
sweet soy sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, oyster sauce, Japanese rice seasoning, seaweed, honey, tea, butter

Not so essential kitchen appliances I brought because I could ;)
rice cooker, slow cooker, water boiler, slow cooker

Laptop, Books & Toys:
Each boy can only choose one kind of toys to bring. Max chose Lego while Didi chose transformers. We brought their bibles, a few story books, and school books. That's it.

Living out of suitcase makes us realized that we really do not need much stuffs to live. Less is definitely more. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Behind the scene of our moving

If you follow my Instagram feed, you know what we have been up to lately. It has been a crazy week of packing, moving, and settling down in a new place. We thank God for 7 great years with many wonderful memories in this 2 bedrooms condo. 

We love our old place. We love the fact that we don't have to take care the outside of the home and we enjoy the lovely space we created over the time. However, as our parents got older and it becomes a lot harder for them to get up and down the stairs let alone our three level home so they can no longer visit us. In addition, we long to give our two rambunctious boys more freedom and outdoor space to roam around without worrying about waking up the neighbors' baby. 

So we start praying, saving, discussing, and looking. We went over our values, priorities, and preferences. We agreed that we don't want: big house, big mortgage, and long commute. We realized that in order to stick to our budget, there are things such as convenience and comfort that we have to sacrifice.

Due to high housing demand in the area we live in, it took us one year before we found and got our new place: a 1000 square feet house (370 sq ft smaller than our condo) with no stairs and 1 bath. It's time for the four of us to practice grace, exercise patience, and self control.   

Over the year, we already donate many of our stuffs but I think we need to get rid some more because

we managed to fill up this big truck

A little peek into our new 50+ years old house:

with its original kitchen

unpacking boxes of kitchen stuff. 

First time cooking in my "new" kitchen. 

The boys bedroom:

First time waking up in a new place:

First day exploring the yard:

Only a few days after we moved in, we managed to break the 50+ years old toilet and sink. Did I mention it is our only toilet? Thankfully, I have a private hunky handyman in the house

A little over a week, the 25 years old heater broke down so we're sleeping in a full armor. Thankfully, our dear friends lent us portable heater.

We just got chance to go to Ikea to get curtain. Slowly this place becomes more and more like home. 

Found this print in a store the other day; I didn't buy it but I love the quote very much:

Life is what we make of it. We can't always change our circumstances, but we can always change our attitude. I am choosing to cherish, to be grateful, and to be joyful. :)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

From our home to yours: Merry Christmas!

Praying that you experience joy, peace, and love this season and throughout the New Year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Steamed Chicken Rice aka "Nasi Tim Ayam" the easy way

Both Chris and I growing up eating this dish. Indonesians call this: "Nasi Tim Ayam" The original process involved steaming the rice in the steamer until cook but it's too long for an impatient cook like me so I tweak the process a little bit.

First: saute the ingredients and rice in a pan  

Then place them inside a rice cooker. Add the broth and water then press the cook button on your rice cooker. A few minutes (depends on how long your rice cooker cooks) later it's ready to be eaten.

Eat it just as is or with soup.

Steamed Chicken Rice aka "Nasi Tim Ayam"
Printable Recipe
1 part of chicken meats (I prefer thigh but you can use breast if you prefer white meat), cut into small cubes
2 chinese sausages, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 ounce of mushroom, I use either portabello or brown mushroom, sliced
1/2 inch slice of ginger
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
3 cups of rice
1 can of chicken stock
2.5 cups of water
Fried shallot of garnish.

Heat the pan, when the pan is hot, add the oil, when the oil is hot, add butter, mushroom, and garlic.

Sauté until the mushroom is half cooked then add the chicken meats and sausage.

Once the meat is cooked, add the rice, and the rest of the sauces: soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil.

Place them inside a rice cooker. Add chicken stock and water. Press the cooking button on your rice cooker.

Then a few minutes later, the rice is ready to be eaten.

If you prefer, you can place the cooked rice in a bowl, then flip the bowl into a plate just as if you eat the traditional steamed chicken rice.


The Everyday Tote

Since the burglar took my old purse and bag (picture below), I had been looking for replacement bag that can fit a regular size folder, 15 inch laptop, and books.

I couldn't find one that I like and fit my budget so I thought I should try to make one myself. I made it and was pretty happy with it until Chris pointed out that the faux leather wasn't lining up perfectly. It doesn't bother me so much so I am still using it but it was a good feedback. I made another one for a dear friend of mine.

The inside: polka dots lining, large pocket for small things like keys, pen, lip balm, etc and magnetic button for closure.

I made the handle long enough so it can be hung over the car's head rest
It is not perfect but I like the fact that it's useful, practical, light, and can be thrown in the washer. Yayyy!!!

PS: Last sale of heating pads before Christmas: enter DEC31 code for Free Shipping with minimum order of $30 . Offer expires on December 31, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Introducing: Cherished Goods

A few years ago, I learned how to make rice heat pads to warm up my feet during cold nights. Since then, my boys and I use them during cold winter months. I then started making these as gifts to friends and family. Some of them asked if I would sell it so they can have more than one.

Inspired by a book written by TOMS' founder: Start Something that MattersCherished Goods was born.

Now that my boys are a little bit older, more independent, and can help out. I thought it’s time to start creating and giving.
 My goal is to create useful, practical, and lovely cherished goods that bring smile and make a difference in people life starting with these microwavable rice heating pads. 

Each one is made with 100% soft cotton flannel fabric and filled with rice, lavender flowers, and eucalyptus essential oil.

PS: During the month of December with each item you purchase, you are also providing a warm meal for homeless men, women, or children in our local community.

All items are shipped priority mail, which takes on average 3-4 business days to arrive.

We only make limited numbers of these. So grab some while it last!

Go here to order your feet warmer or multi-purpose heating pads.

Thank you for your support!