Monday Mentionables: Boiled Eggs, Penny Chic & Rascal Flatts

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you are not too blurry eyed from the time change. I think “springing forward” is much harder to adjust to than “falling back”, don’t you? Poor C (who wakes up with a smile on her face every day, I’m not kidding) woke up today in tears complaining, “I’m still tired!” Sigh. Another reason to move to Hawaii… 😉

Here are today’s mentionables…

1. Boiled Eggs. Boiling eggs is not as easy as one would assume. There are actually “formulas” to getting the right soft or hard boiled egg. Here are a few tips hubby and I have picked up through our own research (aka. trial and error). For soft boiled eggs (runny on the inside), stick the eggs in a pot with enough cold water to just cover the top of the eggs (and not more), bring to a boil, turn off the fire and let the pot sit covered for 2-3 minutes, then remove the eggs and immediately submerse them in a bowl of cold water (to stop them from cooking). For hard boiled eggs, place the eggs in a pot with cold water, bring to a boil, turn off the fire and let the pot sit covered for 8 minutes, then remove the eggs and rinse under cold water. You may need to do your own research to get your egg yolks to the consistency you’d like because the type of stove you use makes a difference in how quickly it heats things up. For more detailed instructions (with cool gif’s = small moving pictures), check out this link.

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/freedigitalphotos.net

2. Penny Chic. This website is all about dressing chic for less! We’re talking about putting together outfits with bargain finds – from Target, Walmart, H&M, Forever 21, etc. – that are easy on the eyes and the wallet. I especially like their section “Penny Chic vs. Pricey Chic” which compares a similar clothing item from two stores, one high end and one not so high end. Also, check out their “Penny Tips” section to learn nifty information about everything from how to make the perfect sock bun to how to wash your leggings.

3. Rascal Flatts. I’m not much of a country gal, but I do like this song by Rascal Flatts called “God Bless the Broken Road”. If the novel I’m working on could have a soundtrack, this song would definitely be on it. Take a listen to it here.

Have a good week! 🙂

Monday Mentionables: Green Smoothies, Cool Bikers & Editing Wizard

Welcome to Monday! It’s been raining here in CA (finally!) and it’s a great blessing. This might be the first year where I’m okay with winter lingering around a little while longer. What’s the weather like in your neck of the world? 🙂

Here are today’s mentionables:

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Look at that bubbly green goodness!

1. Green Smoothies. Before you start gagging at the thought of drinking a green smoothie, you should try one! They are really quite tasty and easy to make (I use a Magic Bullet). Hubby and I started drinking them regularly this year as a way of detoxing from all the grease and sweets we devoured over the holidays. It’s a super easy way to get your intake of veggies and fruits in a couple (or more) gulps – no chewing required! I used this recipe for a kale/cilantro/apple smoothie, but you can really just make up your own. To make a smoothie more refreshing, try adding cilantro or cucumber and to sweeten it up a bit, try adding dates or any fruit.

2. Cool Bikers. I saw this very touching story on Yahoo recently about a group of bikers (of the motorcycle variety, not the pedaling kind) who are on a mission to help children who were abused. They use their tough guy/gal image to offer physical protection and emotional support to these kids by driving them to court hearings and even camping out in front of their homes overnight so the kids can sleep peacefully! Watch this video to see how they changed the life of one little girl.

3. Editing Wizard. For all you writers out there, there’s a great tool my critique group leader found online to help you edit your work. You just paste in your manuscript, click a button and it analyzes your text to highlight things such as overused words, cliches and redundancies. Some of its features are free to use, but you can also subscribe to their site (in other words pay money) to use the rest of them. I think this tool would actually be good for students as well. Check it out here.

Have a good Monday!

Monday Mentionables: Pomelos, Dad Confessions & Zachary Levi

Hello everyone and hello Monday! I hope you had a good weekend. I spent some of it writing and burning the 2AM oil, so my head’s a little fuzzy this morning. It brings me back to the days when the kids were younger… and I was younger… and makes me so thankful we all are older and better sleepers now. 😉

Here are today’s mentionables:

1. Pomelos. Do you like eating grapefruit or does the mere mention of the fruit make your mouth shrivel up in fear? If it’s the latter, then you’re in luck. Pomelos are similar to grapefruit, but they don’t leave you in a “sour sweat” (yes, I just made that up). I think they are in season because we keep seeing them everywhere or maybe C keeps seeing them everywhere because she loves round, yellow objects. She insisted on buying one and bringing it home to decorate as a chick. I kid you not.

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She gave it a picture so it wouldn’t be lonely in the fridge!

If you want to buy one and bring it home to eat, here are directions on how to cut and peel them.

2. Dad Confessions. This article on People.com was written by a “reluctant father” who learned over time how to love his daughter and love being a dad. I appreciate his honesty in sharing how his heart changed. Plus, the pictures that go along with his story are really cute.

3. Zachary Levi. Did you ever watch the TV show “Chuck”? Did you know Zachary Levi, the actor who played Chuck, can sing? I discovered his hidden talent in this video of his duet with Katharine McPhee. I’ve been listening to it on repeat this weekend as inspiration for my romance novel. 🙂 Here’s also an interesting Q&A with him about his faith.

Alrighty, have a great day!

Monday Mentionables: Legos, Louis Zamperini & Daily Bible Blast

Hi and happy President’s Day! It’s been a family day for us with everyone at home, which is why I’m lagging behind a bit today. But better late than never. 😉

Here are today’s mentionables:

1. Legos. We spent the morning using our creative brains and playing legos. Speaking of legos, we are planning on taking the kids to the theater for their first time to watch – what else – The Lego Movie. I’ve heard and read some good reviews for it, so hopefully it will be a good experience for them. And FYI, here’s a good site, Common Sense Media, to check out for movie reviews.

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This is the village C and I made. 🙂

2. Louis Zamperini. I heard about this man a few months ago from a feature story on Yahoo. He is a former Olympian who went on to fight in WWII and not only survived a trying ordeal as a POW, but eventually forgave his captors and shared the gospel with them. His story is truly one of courage, persistence and grace. Here’s a short version of his story in this video.

3. Daily Bible Blast. I’m honored to have a guest post up at Daily Bible Blast, a daily devotional blog. Today’s passage is on Acts 9:32-35.

Have a good week everyone! 🙂

Monday Mentionables: Hasselback Sweet Potatoes, Fudge Babies & Jason Chen

Hi everyone! Hope you had a good weekend. This pretty much sums up mine:

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Haha. At least I can laugh about it now. A Saturday Costco trip (never realized how many manners-challenged, hungry, eager people go there for samples) and too many kiddie meltdowns had me grumbling and praying for patience one too many times. I am so glad it’s Monday and I have a moment of peace to myself. 🙂

Here are today’s mentionables:

1. Hasselback Sweet Potatoes. I have grown to like sweet potatoes because they are healthier and sweeter than regular potatoes and they come in pretty colors (the purple ones are yummy). I saw a recipe going around on Facebook for fancy baked sweet potatoes and gave it a try. The trick to getting the sweet potato sliced evenly is to place a pair of wooden chopsticks next to it to act as a buffer so you don’t cut it all the way through. This method worked pretty well except for the fact that my chopsticks were round and kept rolling around on the cutting board. Maybe this square gal needs to invest in some square chopsticks instead? 😉

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They taste the yummiest right out of the oven!

2. Fudge Babies. Another new recipe I tried out recently was for these yummy, healthy walnut-cocoa-date balls. The kids even liked them momentarily (the first day), which meant I ended up eating the rest (which was fine by me!). Mine didn’t turn out quite so pretty or round as the picture in the recipe because I used a Magic Bullet instead of a food processor. I think next time I’ll crush the walnuts with a hammer first – good way to get stress out, too. 🙂

3. Jason Chen. I am a softie when it comes to romantic movies, books and songs (even though in real life hubby is the more romantic one, haha). I stumbled upon this guy on YouTube and his song “Best Friend“. It’s very cliche and cheesy, but cute. I also think it’s cool to see an Asian guy going after his dreams of becoming a singer instead of the stereotypical engineer or doctor. Yay for non-square people!

Have a wonderful week!

Monday Mentionables: Sports Edition

I thought since it’s the Monday after the Super Bowl, I’d share about sports. Now, I’m not a big sports fan (I didn’t even know who won yesterday’s game until I checked Facebook today – which is how I get most of my news these days, haha), but here are some sporty things even I can get into.

1. Super Bowl Ads. Whoever comes up with these million dollar ads are pretty creative and out of the box thinkers. These two commercials are very sweet and have a puppy theme – come on, who can resist a puppy? This one is for Budweiser and this one is for Cheerios.

Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat/freedigitalphotos.net

2. Linsanity. So I finally bought the recent movie out about Jeremy Lin from Walmart. When I was picking it up from the Walmart.com register (it’s $12.99 online compared to $20 in the store), the cashier had a funny smile on his face when he saw what movie I had bought. He was probably amused to see this Asian non-sporty looking lady buying a movie about an Asian basketball player, but yes, I am a big fan. Not only because of his race (you can’t deny it is pretty amazing to see an Asian guy dunk!), but of his faith in God, too. It’s a great movie, very inspirational and appropriate for the whole family. After we finished watching it, C asked, “Can we watch it again?” 🙂

3.  Coconut Water. Coconut water is great for rehydrating after any physical activity. It is packed full of electrolytes like Gatorade, but without any added sugar or artificial colors or flavors. We’ve tried a few brands and I personally like the one from Trader Joe’s the best. You can look at a review of different brands here.

Alrighty, have a good Monday everyone!

 

Monday Mentionables: Jitterbugs, Hip-hop Moms & Phyllo Dough

It is Monday… and boy was the morning crazy! For some reason C woke up on the wrong side of the bed and had a mini meltdown all the way downstairs until she got into hubby’s car and I closed the door. All this happened while she was wearing a glittery “Mom and Dad make me smile shirt”, which so did not apply this morning. Hubby and I exchanged bewildered glances through it all and I whispered to him, “Wait till she’s a teenager!”

I hope your Monday has gotten off to a better start. 🙂 Here are today’s mentionables…

1. Jitterbugs. We went to a local museum this weekend and made jitterbugs. Let me say that this museum is a bit nerdy as it’s on the grounds of a university (Go Bears!) and it specializes in science-y things. Which is why we learned how to make electric “bugs” with a motor and a AA battery. It was a fun and educational time learning about circuits and how they work. I think the kids liked the decorating part the most though.

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E’s is on the left; C’s is on the right.

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You could try this at home!

2. Hip-hop Moms. I saw this video going around Facebook the other day and thought is was so true and funny. Makes me want to start rappin’, too! Haha. Check it out here!

3. Phyllo Dough. I made turkey and cheese “turnovers” with Trader Joe’s phyllo dough this weekend for a potluck with old friends. If you like puff pastries, you’ll be happy to know you can make your own with phyllo dough. It’s easy to use – just defrost it overnight in the fridge, unwrap the dough (with dry hands or else the dough will stick), add your own insides (sweet or savory ingredients) and bake! I wish I had taken pictures of the finished product for you guys, but we had to rush out the door. Here are some recipes to get you started (warning: don’t look at the pictures on an empty stomach!).

As mentioned before on my Facebook page, I’m very excited to have my story, “Forced to Pause” published in Women’s Memoir’s new anthology. Special thanks to people who have bought the ebook already and for your encouraging feedback! I’m still waiting for the price to go down to $0.99 on February 1 (8AM PST) to buy it. 😉

Have a wonderful week!

Monday Mentionables: MLK, Jr. Quotes, Elephant and Piggie, Baked Salmon & Frozen Medley

Hi everyone, welcome to the start of a new week!

Here are today’s mentionables:

1. Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. In light of today’s holiday, I wanted to share 15 of MLK, Jr.’s most inspiring motivational quotes. He was truly a man who understood and lived out the power of love, change and perseverance. It’s hard to pick just one quote from this list that is the most inspiring to me because they all make me pause and reflect. Which one touches you the most?

2. Elephant and Piggie Books. My kids love these books by Mo Willems. In this series, you get to meet best buds Gerald (the elephant) and Piggie (the pig – haha). They are opposites in their personalities – Gerald is a bit high strung while Piggie is more laid back – which makes for lots of funny conversations. E and C both love We are in a Book and have borrowed it three times from the library already (which means I have read it at least nine times). 😉 You can check it out in this read aloud video of it here.

3. Easy Baked Salmon. I love baking because it’s the most no-hassle form of cooking in my opinion. I recently googled for a recipe that uses salmon, spinach and tomatoes (which I had in my fridge at the moment) and found a really easy and tasty one.

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The salmon came out super moist!

4. Frozen Medley. Have you seen the movie “Frozen” yet? I actually haven’t, but I feel like I have after listening to the soundtrack NON-STOP for about three hours at a Chinese restaurant yesterday (I was there having afternoon tea with a girlfriend). I think I know all the songs now, word for word – almost. 😉 Here’s a fun medley of several of the songs from the movie sung by three members of Pentatonix.

Alrighty, I’m off to rescue my munchkins from the TV! Have a great week!

Monday Mentionables: Give It 100, Car Games & The Drop Box

Hi there everyone! It’s so nice to be here on my own blog site with a new simple and fresh design. It took me a while to find the right (not perfect, haha) template to go with, but I finally settled on this one. Hope you guys like it, too.

Here are today’s mentionables…

1. Give It 100. So, there’s a new trend going around the web called Give It 100. It was started by this girl who wanted to learn how to dance in 100 days. She videotaped herself practicing each day and uploaded the videos to YouTube and voila – the rest is history. (Hearing about all those YouTube success stories is quite amazing, don’t you think?) There are quite a few people posting about their 100 day challenge, which includes everything from weight loss (and loving oneself) to flossing (hmm?) to one of my favorites, trying to get out of the house without yelling (as posted by a self-proclaimed perfectionistic mom of 2 – whew, glad I’m not the only one!).

What would you pick to practice for 100 days? Even if you don’t videotape yourself and post it, you could still try it out. I think mine would be to laugh. 🙂

2. Car Games. Now one way I try to survive long (or short) car rides with the kids is to read books to them (while hubby is driving of course); another way is to play games. I thought of sharing a few that we play and asking if you guys have ideas, too (cause the kids are getting bored of these, haha).

Rhyming game – One person says a word, for example “cat” and the others have to think of words that rhyme with it (ie. bat, hat, sat). This game secretly teaches kids about vowel and consonant sounds and gets their creativity flowing as they try to make up new words (ie. zat).

Animal guessing game – One person thinks of an animal and the others need to guess what it is.

Example: “Does it live in the water?” – No. “What does it eat?” – Bananas. “What color is it?” – Brown. “Does it have 2 feet or 4?” – 2.

Any guesses on what animal I’m thinking of? 😉

Make a Story game – One person begins a story and the next person continues it and so on until you decide to stop.

Example: Person #1 – Once upon a time there was a dog named Woof. Person #2 – Woof went to the park and met a squirrel named Bushy. He asked Bushy, “Do you want to play catch?” Person #3 – etc.

All of these games can be tailored to your child’s age and can be a lot of fun for the parents, too.

3. The Drop Box. I saw this video being shared on Facebook last week and was really glad I watched it. This is the story of Pastor Lee, a man in Korea who, along with his wife, opened up an orphanage out of his own home. He created a “Drop Box” at the orphanage for people who no longer could care for their babies (many of the disabled) to drop them off there, no questions asked. I am so moved by his dedication, generosity and love. He also reminds me of my Grandpa. To watch the video and learn more about Pastor Lee’s work, go here.

Oh and good news, Chicky (the original) made it home! C is beyond relieved and overjoyed. So are we. 🙂

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Happy Monday everyone! 🙂

Monday Mentionables: Mojitos, Start Marriage Right & Baking Soda

It’s the first day back to school for the munchkins after two weeks at home!!!! (How many exclamation marks can I use here?) I am enjoying some much needed quiet time and it feels so nice. 🙂 I did enjoy our time together though and will miss the “go with the flow”, non-routine-ness of the break, but I do believe distance also makes the heart grow fonder. 😉

Now on to the first Monday Mentionables of 2014:

1. Mojitos. Hubby and I have never been big drinkers, but there are a few drinks we do like from time to time. For me, I love pina coladas because pineapples remind me of Hawaii and for him, it is the mojito. Now since I am frugal at heart, I decided to try my hand at bartending and make a mojito for him at home. I looked up the recipe online, bought the ingredients and gave it a go. I learned the secret to a yummy mojito is in the simple syrup, which you make by boiling equal parts water and sugar and then steeping some mint leaves in it for a hour. 

Steeping the mint leaves from our backyard, which grow like weeds!

If you are not into alcoholic beverages, but you do love the taste of mint, you could use the syrup for other drinks as well (hubby tried it with tea). 

2. Start Marriage Right. I am so thrilled to tell you that I got my first writing “gig”! I am now a regular (monthly) contributor for a cool website about marriage. Start Marriage Right is a great resource for those who are single (and wanting to get married), dating, engaged and newly married. I actually think those who are past the honeymoon period (myself included) can benefit greatly from all the advice and encouragement there, too. I don’t profess to be an expert on marriage (hubby can vouch for that!), but I am happy and honored to be able to share what I have learned and experienced. You can read my first article here.

3. Baking Soda. I think the best cleaning products are cheap and all natural, that’s why I love baking soda. I bought two big bags of the stuff from Costco a while back and still haven’t gone through them yet. Check out this link for 51 uses for baking soda! Did you know you can use it to treat insect bites (#7), clean batteries (#28) and as a fruit and veggie scrub (#51)?

And here’s a news flash for you all: I have decided it’s time this blog had its own home! So instead of renting space at Blogger.com, 2square2behip will be moving to its own site. I am in the process of migrating everything to the new domain name and will hopefully have it up and running in a few weeks. I’ll keep you updated here as well as on my Facebook page!

Thanks for reading and making my blogging time fun and worthwhile! 🙂 Have a wonderful week!