Sunday, May 31, 2009

Asian Pacific Islander Month is over!!!

Today is the last day to nationally celebrate my Asian-ness.

It has been fun.  I've eaten a lot of my native cuisine this month, and even went to the Asian Market to buy more of my favorite Asian foods.   I thought lots of Asian thoughts and said lots of Asian things.  What a good month to be Asian.

I can't wait for National White Month so the other half of me can feel just a proud!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"Train up a child in the way he should go..."

People have different cleanliness tolerance levels.  

I'm a "vacuum after 4-7 days of no vacuuming" kind of girl.  

My husband is a "vacuum whenever possible" kind of guy.

I bought my husband a fancy vacuum cleaner for Christmas.  He loves it.  He absolutely loves it.

Because some of our children have freaked out when we turn on the vacuum, he always vacuums with the youngest perched in his arms, to familiarize them with his beloved appliance.

My baby was bathing (one of his favorite activities) when my husband began vacuuming.  He stopped all water-play, crawled to the rim of the tub, and stood up, worriedly looking out of the bathroom door.  When he saw his father pass by with the vacuum, the biggest smile beamed across his face.  As soon as daddy passed the door, our little baby's smile disappeared, and wailing soon began.  I hurriedly dried him off and was barely able to put a diaper on him when he booked it toward his dad.  

And there they were, father and son, united as one...

...strengthening their vacuum-loving bond... that which had been cleaned the day before.

If I play my cards right, I may not have to touch a vacuum ever again!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

If kids ruled the world...

The consonants K, R, and L and the combination TH would cease to exist.

Trail mix would contain only M&Ms.

Everyone walking to the bathroom would be doing the potty dance.

Everyone would own their own mini battery-powered mustang.

There would be only top bunks.

It would be a rule to make up rules while the games are played.

Our tongues would constantly be blue.

Everything would be fair, but we would all complain that it's not.

We would work for candy.

We could wear pajamas everywhere!

Yelling and fighting would be acceptable, as long as we are just pretending.

Bathtubs would have water slides.

Snot would constantly run out of everyones noses, yet Kleenex would somehow go bankrupt.

We would motivate with threats, "If you don't finish that project by five o'clock today, you can't come to my birthday party."

Our meals would be string cheese, and our beverages--Otter Pops!

Sounds like a little piece of heaven on earth, doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

If Bling Could Speak

"How much do you love me, mommy?"

"I love you this much."

"I love you this much!"

"I love you THIS much."

Monday, May 18, 2009

What is your favorite food?

Mom to kids:  "What is your favorite food that we eat at home?"

Their answers:
"Chicken, broccoli, and rice!"
"Noodle soup!" (Got to love ramen; I can make a three course meal with ramen!)
"Cheese noodles with those soy beans!" (yes, for real)
"Rice soup!" 
"Mapo dofu!"
"Hot Dogs!"

Almost 100% Asian foods (although, I do make hot dog fried rice...)


So, in honor of Asian Pacific Islander month, here is the recipe for one of their favorite foods.  Just so you know, my kids never liked tofu until I made this.   

(A real Asian cook does not use a recipe.  They wing it.  So, I'll give you approximations, but know that I have never measured this stuff out, and feel free to change it if necessary.)

Mapo dofu

1 pound ground pork (you can use pork sausage; it gives it a spicier flavor, but still good)
1/4 cup soy sauce (or maybe more?)
1/2 to 1 cup water (probably more)
1 cube to 4 cubes firm tofu, (all depends on how much you like your tofu) chopped into small cubes.
1 clove garlic, minced (or more)
1 pinch sugar (or more)
1 tsp hot chili paste (add more or less)
handful of chopped green onion. (or less)
cornstarch to thicken.
salt to taste

(psst!  Hot chili paste looks like this.  If you don't have it, just make some :)  The Asians do it all of the time!)
Brown ground pork thoroughly.  Drain.  Add tofu, soy sauce, water, garlic, sugar, and chili sauce.  The liquid should surrounding all of the tofu and meat, but not covering it like a soup (add more water or soy sauce if necessary).   Let is simmer until tofu cubes begin to break down, stirring occasionally (about 5-8 minutes--I don't know).  Add the green onions toward the end.  Once the "cubes" of tofu begin to look more like "chunks" of tofu, remove some of the sauce and combine with a tablespoon or two of cornstarch.  Add this solution to the Mapo dofu and stir.  Salt to taste.  Serve with rice and stir fried vegetables (or Confucius's traditional egg rolls).

(My husband only cracks two windows with this one!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Something Smells Fishy Around Here

I have been banned from cooking certain foods in my house.  It is an unspoken ban--my husband doesn't verbally forbid me from making these foods, but I can tell by his actions that I probably shouldn't cook it again.

It starts as soon as he opens the door:

Husband:  {sniff}  Um, what are you cooking?
Me: [Asian dish].
Husband:  Wow.

{turn on all ceiling fans to high speed}

{open EVERY window, upstairs and down, despite outside temperature}

{open sliding glass doors}

{turn on bathroom fans}

{turn on central air fan}

Husband:  There!  That's better.  
Me:  Yep.  I get it.


Would you like to know the recipe that I can only make when he is out of town for multiple days?

1 trout (or whole fish of choice)  in a microwave safe glass/casserole dish.
add 1/8 cup soy sauce
add 1 clove garlic, minced.
add slice of ginger
add 1 stem green onion, chopped
add 1 tomato, sliced
add greens (spinach, bok choy, cilantro (add toward the end), zucchini, napa cabbage, whatever)

Place plastic wrap over top, with a few holes poked in it.  Microwave on high for 10 minutes (flipping fish once) or until fish is done.  This fish tastes divine with rice, but it has a long lasting smell (smell can be removed from microwave by microwaving lemons and water...a lot of lemons and water :)  

If possible, us a neighbor's microwave.

And, you may want to crack a window.

Friday, May 8, 2009

To the class of 2009...

I have been to three graduation ceremonies in two weeks (none of them were my own).  Here are some insights...

1)  One college asked us not to make ANY noise for our graduate.  Another college just asked us not to yell profanities.

2)  Never start off by telling the crowd the exact number of graduates.  People CAN do math.  ("Let's see, 10 seconds per graduate times 1,500 graduates equals...FOUR HOURS!!!  NOOOOO!!!")

3)  When locating your family in the crowd, it is crucial that you  pre-determine an arm signal for them to do...

...or leg signal.

4)  What did we do in graduations pre-text/twitter?

5)  If you tell the already overheated and fidgety audience that your talk will be only 5 minutes, and then it is four times as are automatically everybody's least favorite person.

6)  People who travel half way around the globe to see their kid graduate are awesome.

7)  You may have written the perfect speech, but mumbling is not the most effective way to deliver it.

8) At one ceremony, the MC asked the graduates to stand if they were spouses, moms, dads, and grandparents.  At another ceremony, the MC asked the audience to stand if they were the graduate's spouses, moms, dads, children, and grandchildren.  Neither of them asked for the graduate's sisters-in-law to stand.  :(  

9)  In one ceremony, the speakers kept referring to the graduates as "the social class."  Another ceremony's speakers kept reminding their graduates that they "weren't born with a silver spoon" in their mouths.  That must be the politically correct way of saying that the entire graduating class was "ditzy" or "poor?"

10)  I'm proud of my in-laws and all that they have accomplished!  You guys worked really hard, and you and your families deserve the recognition and credit.  Way to be an example to us all!

Having said all that...

If one day I ever decide to graduate again, I have a few requests:

This will be our pre-determined hand signal...

And, no matter what the MC says, feel free to cheer for me, loudly.  But don't scream for me in [Asian].  No offense, but your combined [Asian] vocabulary is limited...

...and would definitely be considered profane.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

G is for....Grbjgjt?

My mom came back from Asia and brought my daughter a new shirt.

Ten bucks goes to the person who can figure out what it says.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Back When I was an Asian Kid...

When I was little, I was happy to eat a lunch that looked like food.

But, now in Asia...

(Thanks KelleBelle for the pictures!)

And, yes, even Hello Kitty.

Looks like the Asian kids these days have gotten a little picky.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Way back in 1977, a week was designated for the celebration of those of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage.  George H. Bush, in 1990, changed that to an entire month of celebrations and festivities.  That month was the month of May.  On May 7, 1843, the first Japanese immigrants arrived to America.  Then, on May 10, 1869, the transcontinental railroad, constructed mostly by chinese workers, was completed.  So, in honor of the month honoring me, I would like to share part of my heritage with you, one post at a time.


What do I love about Asia?  The people.  The people in that part of the world are so giving, and friendly.  I once complimented a lady on the head-band she was wearing, and without hesitation, she took it off and gave it to me!  Another time, I went for weeks without money for food.  No one knew of our financial difficulties, yet still friends and even perfect strangers were bringing us or buying us food.  Because of their giving natures, I did not go hungry.  I will ever be grateful for the Asian's natural spirit of giving.

What does my husband love about Asia?


The people.

And their passion for ping pong.