How to have Adult time on Vacation with Kids

Winter Break is here and the kids are out, what are we going to do?  Vacation, of course.  I hear you, it’s not really a vacation when the kids are around and you have to watch them. Fear not, my friend, here are some ways where you can vacation with your kids and spend time with your friends and spouse too.  Don’t believe me?  Here we go..

  • Vacation with your friends.  You may wonder why this is so important.  Well, they can be extra eyes for your kids.  The more friends you bring, the more eyes and hands to hold your kids.  The kids love having a new adult to play with and if they have kids, they have extra playmates.  Win, win.

  • Buddy to buddy, friend to friend.  When we go on vacation with friends, we too have a buddy system.  The boys go with the boys and the girls chill with the girls. Husbands and wives take turns watching the kids while the other spouse goes hangs out.  All is fair and everyone has a turn to be with their friends.

 

  • Swap Moms and Dads.  Take turns babysitting each other kids for an hour or two, so husbands and wives have some alone time.  The buns can go with Uncle and Aunt Set #1 for 2 hours and I will take Uncle Aunt Set#1 kids another day for 2 hours.  Of course this is with permission with whoever you are swapping with and make sure the kids enjoy that adult company too.

  • Day Camps.  Cruises and Resorts are smart.  They have camps for kids for a couple of hours so mommies and daddies can go on excursions or just spend some time together.  They are great with age appropriate kids activities such as crafts and drawings and the kids love it too.  It gives them time to hangout with kids their age on vacation.
  • Naptime=Adult time.  If you have small children that still take naps, take advantage of that time.  Sometimes adults need a little down time at the hotel to surf the web or watch some tv.  If you have a stroller, you can take a walk with your spouse and maybe enjoy some sunsets and its just nice to get some fresh air.

So hope you are enjoying this Winter Break.  Until next time, Happy Vacationing!

Posted in parenting | Leave a comment

A Little Bit of Valentine’s Day

I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. It feels like a holiday stores made up to sell more stuff to us. Saying that, I still like Valentines Day for the pastel pink and a hint of Spring right around the corner. So here is a little bit decorating for Valentine’s Day.

 

Gallery Wall.   So excited this is up, here are the new pictures from 2016. My personal favorite is November at the pumpkin patch. Pineapple Bun looks so big, maybe because Hotdog Bun is bending down. It was a great year for us and chosing only 1 picture per month was definitely hard.

Pillow talk. I think the simplest way to decorate is just changing out the pillows. It covers a lot of space when it is out, but folds when needs to be stored. I do suggest buying pillow covers instead of actual cushions. The pink is perfect for Valentine’s Day and the beginning of Spring.

Personal Touch. I’m not sure if you notice, but all of my decorating will include something from Totoro. Although it’s not my favorite movie, it is in the top 5 and the dolls that have been collected were during my travels in Asia.  So they hold a very special place in my heart and looking at them day to day makes me very happy.

Until next time, Happy Decorating! and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Posted in Holiday, home | Leave a comment

The Magic Chicken

Magic Chicken

Recently I have come across a magical ingredient that is cheap and easy to use. It is the BJ’s/ Costco Roterissier Chicken. It cost $4.99 plus tax and already cooked. The chicken is also healthy without a lot of additives and roasted, not fried.

1st Dish. Chicken Congee. I wanted to find a way to use all parts of the chicken including the bones. Chicken bones make great stock. If you put rice in, the chicken flavor will infuse into the rice. Add some vegetables and this has quickly become one of the kid’s favorite dishes in winter. So yummy and warm when it hits the belly.

2nd dish. Chicken Sandwich. Here’s an unexpected twist where there’s no cooking involved.  You can use the chicken like a cold cut and just add lettuce and tomato to bread. Yummy.  Fan favorite of Pineapple Bun since she loves bread.

3rd Dish. Chicken Pasta. Pasta is a great dinner in any household. It’s great to add that extra protein knowing it didn’t take a lot of effort to make.  Sorry no picture, couldn’t make it this week.

Do you have any chicken dishes you love?  Comment below.  Until next time.. Happy Eating!

Posted in food | Leave a comment

February 2017 Goals = Diet Plans

Alright, so how many of us has decided to lose weight, but haven’t done a thing about it. I’m not the best at dieting, and probably couldn’t even lose 5 lbs, but at least I want to start somewhere.  So I’m starting with some guidelines.  No to starving oneself and no to starting strong and then deciding suddenly ice cream looks mighty good.  A diet should be a lifestyle change, not some fad that’s trendy right now.  I’ll be trying these myself and let you know the progress, but in the meantime give it a go yourself.

  • Drink at least 8 cups of water a day.  I’m going to hold myself to this.  I find drinking water lets me eat less solids and still feel full.  I also feel that having a hydrated body makes me feel better overall.  I’ve never been able to have that many in a day, but this month, I will drink 8 cups of water a day.
  • Don’t eat after 7pm.  With crazy schedules, I know this may not always be feasibly, but we are going to try.  Eating so late doesn’t help me because all I do at night time is do homework with my kids, make dinner and go to sleep.  There’s no time for my body to use what I ate, therefore the food just turns into fat in my body.  Ever hear the saying, eat like a king for breakfast, a commoner at lunch and a peasant at dinner?  That will be me!
  • Eat plenty of raw foods.  I’ll be the first to tell you that I am not a fan of cold food.  I find that recently snacking on raw foods that although I get hungry real fast, my body feels more satisfied when I’m eating healthy.  I do eat more often, but I know what I put in my body is good for me.
  • Work on a Meal Plan.  Papa bun and I always fight over this.  We know we should do one, but we never do.  It helps us, so this month, we are buckling down and doing it.  If you don’t get a meal plan near the end of the month, I will at least record what I have eaten and post it.  It’s scary, but at least I know whether I’m actually eating garbage or not.
  • Eat less White Rice.  This is a major weakness for me.  So this month, I’m going to eat less white rice.  I don’t think I can give it up completely, but I’m giving it a try.  To me, white rice is very yummy filler.  I’m replacing it with quinoa or whole wheat pasta.  Again, we’ll see if this is a complete fail by the end of the month.

So there you have it, my goals for February.  Wish me luck!!

Until next time, Happy Eating!

 

Posted in Diet, Lifestyle | Leave a comment

January Awesomeness

The first month of the year is done!! Woohoo!!  I’m so grateful for this month because its really a testament of how far I have come and grown.  It’s also a great beginning to more brighter and better things to come.  So before the post of February goals comes, I wanted to do a quick January Recap.

  • Blogging has been a success.  I don’t know if I can consistently post 2x a week but for the month of January, I did!!  I hope everyone is enjoying the posts and feel free to comment on things you want me to write about
  • Celebrate.  This is a month of celebrating for me.  I’m not only celebrating birthdays which there were a couple, but really celebrating a fresh start and the end of last year.  It’s a good time to re-evaluate what has happened and what I want to happen in the future.
  • New Beginnings.  It’s never too late in the game.  Everyday we can learn something new and I’m grateful that I can do that.  Even with mistakes being made all the time, we can all keep going.

In case you have missed any of January’s post, here’s a list below.. Until next time.. Happy Reading!!

http://www.hotdogbunintheoven.com/?p=5692

2016 Yearbook!!

What I Shouldn’t Buy This Year..

January Goals

Let’s Save Some Money.

A Smoother Morning..

Chinese New Year Books

Chinese New Year Shenanigans

 

Posted in monthly | Leave a comment

Chinese New Year Shenanigans

Chinese New Year is right around the corner and we have a flurry of activities we want to do for it.  For some of us, we can celebrate Chinese New Year in a bunch of ways.  Traditions can be built.  It starts with doing it one year to doing it every year.  So this year, I’ve compiled a list every Chinese American family or not can do.

  • Eat End of Year Dinner.  This dinner doesn’t have to be fancy.  It’s about ending the year graciously with your family.  Grandchildren can laugh with their grandparents and cousins can play/ talk to each other.

  • Dress up for the occasion.  Wearing red is a must.  The buns are wearing the traditional Chinese New Year outfits, but if that’s not available, good old red or gold works every time.  We’re moving close to Valentines Day so red is a plenty.  If you don’t want to buy something new, maybe something red from Christmas is hiding in your drawers.

  • Make Dumplings.  This year we’re learning how to make dumplings.  We are youtubing different ways to wrap dumplings and different fillings the kids would like.  Pineapple Bun is enjoying getting messy and declares she would like to be a cook/ baker when she grows up.  If cooking isn’t your style go ahead and do a craft or color a picture.  This year is the the year of the Rooster, so there’s plenty to choose from.

  • Buying Chinese New Year Decorations.  Don’t know where to take your kids, go to a local Chinese store to find some decorations.  Teach them that red is a good luck color and dragons scare the bad luck and evil spirits away.  A mini-field trip to learn about Chinese Culture is a great reason to go out and can be totally free or not if you want to take home some souvenirs.

  • Try the Tray of Togetherness Dish.  This one might not be the faint of heart.  I think with learning a culture, you should always try their food.  If this doesn’t suit your taste you can always make your own tray of togetherness and fill it with candies that have meaning for you.

Hope you have a lucky year!!  Until Next time…Happy Chinese New Year.

Posted in 4-5yrs, family, Holiday, yearly | Leave a comment

Chinese New Year Books

books

This month we’re changing it up a bit by categorizing books by age. So if you would like to borrow them from the library over this Chinese New Year weekend, you will know what book might suit your child best.  Sorry about the striped background, trying something new.  Previews will stay and background will go.

Since this is a list of books for different ages,  I’m not sure if you will reach the end of this post, so until next time.. Happy Reading!!  Be sure to check out the next coming post of our Chinese New Year Activities.

 

For babies to toddlers.

  • Bringing in the New Year, by Grace Lin.  Bringing in the New Year describes what a family does for the Chinese New Year.  This author is great because she’s able to tell the scene in one short simple sentence.  Extremely easy for younger readers to follow and interesting pictures.

    

  • Dim Sum for Everyone, by Grace Lin.  This book is about a girl and her family out eating dim sum.  Going through the pages reminded me of what my childhood was like having dim sum.

    

 

For Pre-k-1st grade.

  • The Pet Dragon, by Christopher Niemann.  If you want your bun to get into Chinese characters, this is a great start.  They can see how Chinese letters were once pictographs.  The story is about a boy who gets a pet dragon that’s driven away from his father.  The boy goes on a journey to find his pet dragon and the author shows you different Chinese characters along the way.

   

  • My First Chinese New Year, by Karen Katz.  This book is very much like Grace Lin’s book Bringing in the New Year except there’s more sentences.  It’s about what a little girl does on the day of Chinese New Year.

   

  • The Great Race, by Dawn Casey.  This story is of how the different Zodiac animals became zodiac animals and their order in the Chinese character.  The Jade Emperor wanted a way to measure time and the different animals will represent a particular year.  He devised a race to see the order of the animals and the story is how these animals raced.

    

  • Chelsea’s Chinese New Year, by Lisa Bullard.  Another great reader for a First Grader.  This book breaks up Chinese New Year in different chapters showing the reader different things they can do on Chinese New Year.

    

 

For 2-nd-3rd grade.

  • Chinese Zodiac Animals, by Sanmu Tang.  This book is really for 2nd-3rd graders.  They can read about the silly characteristics of the different Chinese Zodiac Animals.  The pictures show different animals wearing suits and their shortcomings as well as their strong points.

    

  • Moonbeams, Dumplings and Dragon Boats, by Nina Simonds.  This book is more a reference book for parents, not so much a reader for the kids.  It talks about different Chinese holidays and how that holiday came to be with different old folktales.  It also gives simple activities and crafts to do with each tale.

    

  • A World of Holidays- Chinese New Year, by Catherine Chambers.   This book is about different activities people do around the world for Chinese New Year.  It shows real life pictures of how people celebrate this day.

    

  • Red Eggs & Dragon Boats, by Carol Stepanchuk.  This book is similar to Moonbeams, Dumplings and Dragon books that is more of a reference book than storybook.  It describes different Chinese Holidays and what is done on that holiday.  The different festivals in the book are: Chinese Lunar New Year, Clear Brightness Festival, Full-Month Red Egg & Ginger Party, Dragon Boat Festival and Moon Festival.

    

Posted in Books, February | Leave a comment

A Smoother Morning..

Happy Monday!!  Don’t we all as parents wished that the mornings would just be easier.  Between waking up kids who cry because it’s still too early for school to forgetting a small snack for snack time, it’s a battlefield for us sleepy parents to do 5 days a week.  Here are some tips to hopefully make your morning smoother.

  • Routine.  Kids thrive on routine.  If they keep doing the same thing over again, they soon learn that’s what they should do.  Our tasks are simple in the morning with no time to dawdle.  The buns know they need to get up and pee, sit in their chair for drinks, brush teeth/ wash face, get dressed, make their beds, eat their vitamins and put on their socks and shoes before sitting down to have breakfast in that order.  Practice pays off and because the buns know what they are suppose to do, there’s not as much whining.
  • Everyday.  This routine is done nearly every single day.  We do it on the weekends and summer even if the buns don’t go to school.  If they eat breakfast everyday, they can brush their own teeth and dress themselves everyday.

  • Gentle Reminders.  Don’t expect perfection in the beginning. In fact, don’t expect perfection now.  Gentle reminders are always needed, not yelling or nagging.  They will get the routine down if you give them the opportunity, so just keep going.
  • Start Early.  When Hotdog Bun started Kindergarten, Pineapple Bun had to learn the routine as well.  She could barely pull the blanket over to make her bed at 3 years old.  Yes, they can start as early as 3.  She would complain/cry that she wasn’t big enough, but now makes her bed before she even goes to the bathroom.  How time flies sometimes.

 

  • Wake up early.  This is for the parents.  It helps if we wake up earlier and give some time to ourselves before the kids wake up.  We’re always less cranky if we are not as tired.  It’s best to have at least a cup of water before they wake up.  I would like to wash my face and brush my teeth before that, but that never happens.  I guess doing it with them isn’t so bad.

Hope some of these tips help.  To let you in on a little secret, you don’t need kids to do a routine everyday.  Until next time, Happy Parenting!!

Posted in 4-5yrs, parenting | Leave a comment

Let’s Save Some Money.

IMG_2271

Let’s not dawdle now, its the 3rd week of January and there’s still time.  Let’s do the 52 week money challenge together.  You can save a fixed amount $20 a week and save over a $1000, or save the dollar amount the week of the year you’re in.  Since we’re only in week 3, that’s $1 for the first week and $2 the second week, by the end of this week you will have $6.  If you keep going, you will have $1378 at the end of year.

Okay, let’s rewind a bit, do we really need a jar?  Can we really do this?  Here are some fun ways to save.

  • Go backwards.  If saving only a couple of dollars is too slow for you in the beginning, flip it around. Save $52 and $51 the first two weeks and work backwards.  You’ll see the savings sooner and only have to save $1 for Christmas when you’re buying tons of gifts for family and friends.
  • Automate it.  Banks are smart so you can set up a recurring transfer to a savings account.  Why think about it, when you barely have to lift a finger and get $1000 for it?
  • Make it special.  It could be a weekly withdrawal from the bank that just happens to have a cute dessert place next to it or some good ole Starbucks.  Starbucks probably knows to build itself next to a bank for this reason.  Every time you save, you can also reward yourself with something special and look forward to doing it again next week.
  • It’s not how you save, it’s that you save.  You can save a million different ways, but the most important thing is that you do.  Maybe you may want to go on a trip, buy something cool or just save for a rainy day.  At the end of the day, the money is there for you.

So who’s with me to becoming a little richer?!!?  Until next time, Happy Saving!

Posted in money | Leave a comment

January Goals

Capture

Winter is here!  For some, this is not an enjoyable season at all.  I mean, who likes the cold, shoveling snow, or wearing a gazillion layers of clothes?  I sure don’t, but I realized that this is also the time of year to take a step back and breathe a little.  I don’t have to go out all the time, I can stay home and cozy up into a blanket, I can actually do alot of things indoors.

  • Declutter all parts of my house.   For whatever reason, the bathroom is the first one up.  There were plenty of empty packaging around and bottles with one- more-use of product left.  I was so happy to use that last bit and dump the bottle into the recycling bin.  Doing so left me satisfied and freed up physical clutter in the shower.
  • Reorganize the attic.  Since decluttering is underway, we should all be brave and tackle something we might not want to do.  We all have that one part of the us we “forget” we have stuff in.  For me, that’s my attic I’m going to brave this month.
  • Binge watch TV or catch up on movies.  Nothing beats binge watching on a cold or rainy day.  Since January has plenty of those, expect me to cozy onto the couch for some guilt-free watching.
  • Read books to my kids.  Okay, so I’m probably not going to binge watch as much as I like because snuggling in the blanket with my kids and reading to them about Chinese New Year is even better.
  • Write this blog.   Freeing mental clutter is just as important as physical clutter.  It feels good to dedicate more time to this blog to give you updates of what we’ve been up to.
  • Dream of Spring.  It’s January and it’s not too early to dream of Spring.  Some stores already have spring decor out and I’m happy to see pastel colors in the midst of all the red and green.

These are my goals for January 2017.  Until next time, Happy January!

Posted in goals, January, winter | Leave a comment