Thursday, January 31, 2013

More of Auntie Carolyn and AA - Goofy Girls!

Love seeing my cousin Carolyn; AA loves her!

It was a purple happy day! Carolyn has the touch with children!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Carolyn Visit - Friday Fun - Clarke Park

We had the pleasure of playing with Auntie Carolyn for all Friday afternoon and evening.Taking pictures of both of them is like keeping two wiggle worms still! Hardly staying still enough in one place. I finally placed a photo shoot demand and they stayed on one slide long enough to catch these few shots.

We are heading home for a quiet evening as AA is coughing so much, not sure if it is allergies or a cold. The weekend will be a good time to recover!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Paper Crafting - Fun and Messy!

While missing Daddy, we had fun catching up on some gifts AA had received but we never seemed to set aside time to do them. This is a great phenomenon as we can always find new things to play with in her room! AA's Aunt-T and Uncle George sent her this gift for her birthday. We decided it would be perfect to make some white, pink and red paper for Valentine's Day crafts. I will say, watch out for any dye in the recycle paper you use. We ended up with pink and red hands! It also stained anything we worked on...... clean up was a bit laborious!

Lots of prep time, ripping paper into shreds, then into a blender or food processor with water for a minute or two:
After using the screens, pressing out most of the water, it will now dry over night.
The photo above shows the mess in the sink! I think we will stick with white paper in the future!
Again, what a mess! It will be fun to use in the Valentine's Day card AA will make for someone special - so don't tell Daddy!

Monday, January 28, 2013

SAHM - School Morning

I had the pleasure of taking AA to school two mornings last week. It was so much fun getting her ready in the morning, checking her school work and then picking her up in the afternoon. What a simple pleasure but one I don't do very often.

Just driving her to school was different, seeing the trees in bud, the different traffic, people out jogging. Alot goes on once the sun is up, which I don't ever see until I am already at work. A beautiful four days of being with AA, being AA's Mommy.
Enjoying life!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Photos - Fun Being the SAHM!

I will probably post lots more about my four days with little daughter, AA. We are having fun and making it a mini vacation for me too! I took two vacation days from work as Hubby is out of town. Here's our first after school activity yesterday:
AA and I enjoyed the pleasant afternoon together playing nine holes of golf. I say pleasant as the weather was great for a NE Florida January day! Sunny, 70 degrees, a bit of a crisp wind, so very nice! She played well after we both struggled on the first few holes. We did not do any practicing before hand or any warm up. After that, she was shooting well. Her last three holes were strokes of two 4's and one 5. Pretty good.I, on the other hand, lost five balls (yes, five balls) into water hazards. I gave up after the seventh hole and did my Caddy duties for AA. I still had fun and AA is a pro at ordering (I mean giving directions, discussing which club to use, etc) me around! I did let her drive the golf cart on one hole, but she has to stand up to reach the foot pedal. I should have taken a picture! Oops, wouldn't want any evidence!

What fun and a beautiful day!
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Getting Ready for Chinese New Year 2013

Each year, I have taken a photo of AA holding oranges and included the photo in a small "Happy Chinese New Year" note for all the red envelopes she gives to family and friends. This year, she has double the students she had in VPK; we will make up 18 Chinese New Year gift bags with a variety of objects that will help understand the holiday. These are the photos we took and had to choose just one!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kiva... Loaning Hope

We're cobblers...Well, actually we're not cobblers but we are in the cobbler business. In Ecuador.

Some time back a blogger friend posted on an organization called Kiva. Johnny's post struck a cord. In the past, Aly and I have donated to the Heifer project and have gifted to them in the name of others but Johnny had set the hook with Kiva.
We wanted to know more. We were intrigued. Intrigued enough that we became cobblers. Sort of.

Meet Carmen:

Carmen is 41 years old. She describes herself as an enterprising and happy person. She likes to learn everything she needs to, to meet her goals. Carmen lives with her husband and their three children in Ibarra.

Carmen has a stall in the market where she repairs leather shoes, billfolds, jackets and backpacks. The business helps Carmen to support her family and meet her children's educational expenses. In order to earn a better income and tend to more customers, Carmen is taking out a loan. She will invest the loan in the purchase of fasteners, synthetic leather, heel-pieces, dyes, leather irons and shoelaces.

Carmen dreams of having a bigger workshop with industrial machines, which would help her to optimize her time and improve the quality of her footwear stitching

Along with a few others, Aly and I joined with others to loan the $1500 dollars Carmen was seeking. She is already paying the loan back and once repaid we will loan the money out to an other. It truly is a gift of hope that continues to give and give. For as little as $25.
We hope you will take time to check out the Kiva story.  It really is an awesome one and we have every confidence you will want to become a part of it as well.

We're cobblers. In Ecuador... How about you?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Routine and Chinese Culture

Last Monday, January 14th, was a great day, having a day off from work to catch up on errands, being with Hubby, seeing AA at school.
After school, AA and I shopped at Michael's and Walmart for Valentine craft supplies, then to the library to read three "Amelia Bedelia" books. AA read three books, one at the Level 1 and two at the Level 4. This Amelia is pretty silly in the books we read. Anyone have an opinion on them?

After the library, it was time to order her take out Pizza Hut Pan Pepperoni Pizza (free for reaching her reading goals), off to Spring Park for a few quick slides then back to pick up the pizza and head home. We make the most of our time together and sometimes go out for dinner to have more Mommy-Daughter bonding :)
This Monday, Hubby volunteered to make dinner so we enjoyed our evening chatting about our day's activities.

Back to the morning which was relaxing with Hubby while AA was in school. We dropped the car off for some minor work, then off to our local Asian market to see what they have for Chinese New Year.
Banking chores, lunch at our favorite Moon River Pizza (their salads are VERY fresh, every time), then back to pick up the car.

Our list for Chinese New Year is extensive as we will make up 19 gift bags that contain a craft, the Zodiac, fortune cookies, chop sticks, different cookies and candies and the red envelop with chocolate coin and a little real money. We are reading the book Lanterns and Firecrackers: A Chinese New Year Story to AA's kindergarten class, sharing the reason why the New Year is celebrated, the different elements of it and the sharing of family time. This is what Hubby did last year for AA's class - The Year of the Rabbit.
I found some unusual papers at the Asian market and picked up two of the packages thinking that maybe they had something to do with the Chinese New Year. The packages mainly held different papers, gold, silver, red, etc and candles, incense and fake money bills.
Here's the photos of the contents:

After some research on the Internet (good ole' Google!), I found out about the traditions of burning these "Joss" papers at funerals and for respect for the dead: Also known as ghost money, Joss paper are sheets of paper that are burned in traditional Chinese deity or ancestor worship ceremonies during special holidays. Joss paper is also burned in traditional Chinese funerals. Usually made of white paper cut into the shape of a copper coin, joss paper is scattered around the grave or burned as an offering to the dead. The custom is called "paper scattering" or "paper burning" etc. It is still popular today. 
I put the question out on facebook and had this from Susan Reitano Rizzo: Our Chinese exchange student said that it is a mix of things used for different holidays and ceremonies. The Incense can be used Chinese New Year as well as the red envelopes. Can also be used for tomb sweeping day. The paper money is used to burn at a persons grave or for God (her words). The white envelope she said is something they give to old people on birthdays LOL. She wasn't sure what the purple thing was. She said if it was open she might know what it was.
Also from Facebook: Thanks to Rynee Clarke for her message and for asking your friend Jin Kim: They are New Year's decorations: Square white paper with red stamp - pray for new year's health and their long life, you stick them on your front door. Mostly they decorate their entry door with all kinds of red and gold papers for good luck, money and health for new year. Red one with gold letters behind of white and red square looks like money paper, wrap money in it for your childrens' first bow down to parents and grand parents in new year morning, they hand it over to their children for good luck, red cut-out papers (in other pic)--you put them on your windows. Red blocks bad luck and bring good luck thru the wholes and you can also enjoy shadows from them.
More relating to these papers and incense:
Ancestor worshiping is not asking for favours, but to fulfill one’s filial duties. The act is a way to respect, honour and look after ancestors in their afterlives, guaranteeing the ancestors’ well- being and positive disposition towards the living, as well as the living descendants possibly seek the ancestors’ guidance or assistance. The social or non-religious function of ancestor worship is to cultivate kinship values like filial piety, family loyalty, and continuity of the family lineage.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Daily Dose of AA - Sunny Winter Day

Yesterday, Saturday, the 19th was beautiful. Cold in the early morning, warming up to a windy, sunny mid-60's. Just really nice! We took AA's Chinese New Year photos for her cards and then went to her old preschool playground.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mile Marker Brewing - St. Johns County - St. Augustine

We began our last Saturday with intentions of visiting with friends Kenny and Pam at AA's golf lesson. It's close to their home and we were going to hang out and possibly have lunch at River Bend. Then we were talking about the micro-brewery they had been to and off we were. We tasted some great Mile Marker beer, enjoyed sitting in the "garage" and enjoyed a lot more time with friends. A good day!

After lunch, off to the brewery - on the south side of Hwy 16 at I-95 (west side):

So much fun with free games of corn hole. AA was pleased with the game!