6.30.2008

london calling...


(i know. you may think the title is a bit cheesy, but i couldn't help myself)

so my little sister is in the grand city of London for the summer. she will be participating in an internship program with ernst & young (i think). it sounds like she will be kept pretty busy during her time there, but i'm certain it will be a fantastic working experience for her. [sigh] my baby sister is growing up!

on a side note, if you read the ernst & young history, you will notice that mr. ernst originally hails from good, old cleveland, oh. that's right...cleveland rocks!

party weekend

we had a busy weekend packed with parties. as a result, i have neglected to post anything since friday.

here are my excuses:

saturday afternoon, we headed over to our next door neighbor's for their daughter's high school graduation party. the food was phenomenal...and ALL homemade (except for the cake)! we ate so much that we were still full by dinner time. emma immediately thought the graduation cake was a "birday cake" especially for her. she also made herself at home by taking off her shoes and wandering in and out of the house "on her own."

saturday night, aaron and i were able to swing by a going away party for one of aaron's colleagues (thanks, jon!). this gentleman and his lovely wife will be moving to north carolina, and aaron will be taking over his old job. we are ecstatic, and welcome the change from night shift to day shift! it has been an answer to our prayers-praise God!

the following day, we attended another high school graduation party for the daughter of aaron's supervisor. again, the food was delicious. and yet again, we ate to the point where we were still full for dinner. emma befriended a little boy close to her age while she was there, and had the best time hanging out with him. it's so funny to watch younger toddlers play with each other. they haven't quite mastered all their verbal skills, so they find other ways to communicate with each other.

6.27.2008

[gasp!]

i found out from megan at cleveland moves (news) that there will be a FREE master class with members of the paul taylor dance company (master class for professionals and dance majors are actually from 1-3 p.m. not 11-1 p.m.).

[heart is jumping with excitement]

i think i'm seriously considering going to this one.

i auditioned for this company my last year of college.  took a trip to nyc and everything.  obviously i didn't get the job.  they were looking for one, yes ONE, dancer.  at least 100 dancers auditioned.

i love paul taylor's work.  i highly recommend seeing them perform.  they'll be performing in cleveland for 1 night as part of cain park's summer season (they're the only non-local dance company performing).  if you attend the master class you can purchase the $33 tix for $10.  i've seen them once already, but always welcome the opportunity to see them again.

speaking of cain park...it's an outdoor theatre.  we watched a show there once.  bat boy-the musical.  corrie even held the show for us, because we were late (i know...faux pas!).  the show was hilarious.  [sigh].  

rain and sand


this afternoon, emma and i ventured to the beach for the first time this summer. plenty of other people had the same idea, and the beach was full of sunbathers and swimmers. much like the last time we went, emma was rather apprehensive about the sand and water, despite the excitement she clearly expressed about playing in it during our drive down. the lake was cold, so we didn't go in too far, and she enjoyed getting herself wet as long as i was holding her.

subtle raindrops began to fall as we were sitting on the beach enjoying a snack. the little droplets began ever so slowly to increase, which resulted in a mass exodus of people from the beach and parking lot. emma and i found the perfect spot to have our picnic dinner underneath an umbrella of leaves and branches, so the raindrops didn't affect us at all.

the rain continued as we arrived home, and emma couldn't resist playing in the rain. in her little bathing suit, she drew with chalk, dug up the dirt, and danced in the rain until her hair was soaked.

6.26.2008

dance gear


ibu sent some of aunty michelle's old leotards for emma to wear...blue, pink and black.

she wore the pink one today, complete with her tutu.

point. flex. jump. jump. JUMP.

thursday play group



after an evening of rain, play group was held at the lakewood public library today.we had an hour of delightful exploration in the librainium with friends. before returning home, we checked out a handful of books...paddington bear books are a hot item with emma.

the return of technology

2 weeks ago, our primary laptop decided to stop running all together.  at first we thought it was the port for the power cord.  we took it in, and paid $90 to have the computer dudes "take a look at it."  

after over 1 week, we received a phone call from them telling us it's not the port.  instead it was the motherboard.  

mother WHAT?!?!  how much?

"$300 for the part and labor"

it would be about $400 (including the $90 we already spent) for them to remedy this whole situation.  no thanks.

we ordered an apple.

while we anxiously waited for the arrival of our new purchase, our other laptop decided it would call it quits on us too (coincidentally, it died on the same day we ordered the new computer).

needless to say, there has been no blogging going on since last week.

but here we are.  my fingers revived from the week's rest from typing.  

ready.  set.  go!

6.22.2008

dancing girls

no...it's not what you think.

i'm talking about my little dancing girls...the ones i teach at the Y. yesterday was our spring recital. all my little ladies did fantastic. i was very proud of them all.




























6.21.2008

public gardens















as emma and i stopped by a park for a quick romp, i came across a small garden set back behind the swings. if i'm not mistaken, this garden is one of many community gardens that dot our little city, and there are even more scattered through out cleveland proper. a plot in a community garden runs between $25 - $30, which i believe includes shared watering and weeding duties. when you reside in an urban setting, especially our little cleveland suburb which happens to be the most densely populated city between New York and Chicago (per 2000 census), community gardens become much in demand for people who want to garden but don't have a lot of space. community gardens are also a wonderful way to build strong communities by providing opportunities for neighbors to develop relationships with one another through gardening.

welcome!


congratulations to our cousins andy and barb on the birth of their 2nd child, baby kyle.
we're looking forward to meeting him.

6.19.2008

little dancer

a new bathing suit from ibu (green...what a surprise).

"take it off. mommy, take it off" orders emma, referring to her shirt and pants.

[clothing off, bathing suit on]

"dance class? mommy's dance class? dance, dance, dance."

[begin movement]

video

the beauty of organized chaos

these are tutus.

yes, tutus.

a sizable mound of tutus, which i gave out to my students today for dress rehearsal.

they did fantastic.

to the untrained eye, managing a group of 15 girls between 3-8 may appear CHAOTIC. but despite the seeming pandemonium, there is a method to all the madness.

thursday play group




the cooler weather didn't stop us from enjoying some time out in the playground with some of our friends.








6.18.2008

what's for dinner tonight?

i tried this recipe for dinner tonight, mostly because i needed to use up some of my greens. like the title states, it is truly "easy peasy." even after pan-frying some cubed chicken breast, the whole meal from start to finish took about 20 minutes. there's very minimal prep work, and it's as easy as making macaroni and cheese out of a box (though certainly a much healthier option). i really appreciated the flexibility of this recipe, in that you're not bound to using the exact ingredients listed, or exact amounts of each item for that matter. granted, since it is a curry dish, it is necessary to use curry powder. however, everything else is truly open for substitutes. i used slivered almonds instead of cashews so that it's easier for emma to chew. i did not add any celery (since i didn't have any on hand), and used broccoli (which i sauteed with the chicken) instead of the peas. i highly recommend adding raisins in this dish. the sweetness of the raisins complement the curry flavor nicely and provides a nice balance. the dish made 3 8 oz. servings, and i served the curried chicken over a bed of greens and a flour tortilla (just like megan's photo).

lilies galore

one of the things i absolutely love about our house is the seeming overabundance of flowers that bloom in our yard between the spring and summer months (not from my own gardening efforts, mind you...it came with the house). some i have never seen before in my life, and many of the names i'm still quite unfamiliar with. in fact, the first year we were here, i'm certain i pulled out plants and flowers naively assuming they were weeds!





though the tulips and daffodils have come and gone, the lilies in our yard have come full force.
















these sunflowers, still in its growth process, are my first attempts at planting from seeds. instead of the sunflowers, i think i will need to plant something heartier next time, since it's right next to the neighbor's driveway. these still delicate and growing flowers cannot withstand careless feet.

6.16.2008

farm fresh produce

with both kids' birthdays, graduation, father's day and tyler leaving, i had forgotten to post about our thursday produce. i went a little earlier this time, and did find better looking choices. like last week, we received a pint of beautiful strawberries and 1 bunch of green onions. other items included a bag of mixed lettuce, a bag of mixed greens, 1 bunch green garlic, broccoli, oregano leaves, cilantro and lemon balm leaves. i decided to dry the oregano since i wasn't sure when i would be able to use it. i have been researching the possible uses of lemon balm, and i'm considering drying some to use in tea with the dried hibiscus leaves astrid gave me. i'm also curious if it would be good crushed/blended with vanilla ice cream then topped with fresh strawberries? or perhaps blending it with some sort of mint sorbet? anyone have any suggestions?

we've decided not to pick up for this coming thursday, because we have not been able to use up all the produce from the past 2 weeks. i like using city fresh, because they offer the flexibility of only pre-paying 1 week in advance or paying in advance for the whole 20 weeks.

6.15.2008

happy father's day!



to my dear husband: thank you for all that you do for our family...from your unconditional love to the work that you do to provide for us all. it does not go unnoticed. hence the point break pure adrenaline edition gift, and my willingness to watch it with you. happy father's day!

birthday boy

yesterday was tyler's birthday and we managed to fill it to the brim with things to do. we did a family birthday brunch and gift opening in the morning, where we stuffed our bellies full of crepes, sausages, bacon, gravy, toast and eggs. then tyler spent the afternoon with aaron and pap at performance bicycle and games stop. he didn't even have to spend his gift card at game stop, because he traded in a lot of his old games in exchange for a new one.

birthday evening was his slumber party. there was a lot of water gun action, some water balloon launching, and all around craziness. the boys camped out in the backyard, and they reported this morning that they probably went to bed around 5 a.m. (yikes!). we found them this morning passed out in the tent, yard haphazardly-talk about party animals empty beverage cans and bottles strewn in the! after last night though, i have come to the realization that no matter how old you are, farts and making fart jokes always seem to be funny.

















































(remnants of the after-party)









after completing some last minute packing, tyler just left this afternoon for his summer stint in seattle. 7 weeks usually go by quickly, but it's always a transition to have him gone for that long. when he comes back, it will be orientation time for middle school. i'm still in disbelief, and i don't think i've fully processed that idea yet.

6.13.2008

birthday girl

yesterday emma turned 2, and i am so amazed at how time flies. even at 2 years old, she has grown and changed so much since she was 1. what's certainly different this year than last year is her language and her ability to remember things. she has had a tremendous burst of language and she remembers things that i didn't think she was even paying attention to. it was bittersweet to celebrate her birthday, because part of me doesn't want her to get older and the other part of me is excited to see what she can accomplish in the future. i think that bittersweet feeling will always be, for me, the case for every birthday.

the three of us got emma some gardening tools, a bucket, watering can, sidewalk chalk and stickers. she took off almost all of her stickers and started sticking them on her stomach (maybe imitating aaron's tattoos?). then we walked down to malley's for a special birthday ice cream treat, which she absolutely enjoyed. after her nap, we visited the christmas story house. the leg lamp is always a sight to see from the front window. we then bummed around coventry, a little neighborhood in cleveland heights. i love that little area, and of course you can't go there without stopping at big fun toy store. we then headed over to little italy for dinner. though, a small neighborhood, i also love going to little italy. they have a number of great restaurants there and a couple of unique shops and galleries. we ate at primo vino where emma got yet another ice cream cake courtesy of the restaurant. although she enjoyed her dinner, i think she enjoyed the ice cream cake a whole lot more. before heading to bed, she insisted on some "gardening" time and watered the lillies, yet again, with her watering can.































it was a very full day for the little birthday girl, but she seemed to enjoy the outings (and the ice cream!). and now i must be off...to prepare for and to celebratetyler's birthday.

6.11.2008

the graduate




congratulations to tyler who graduated from 5th grade today! we are all very proud of him, his hard work, and perseverance. i can't believe we have a middle schooler in the house now. before we know it, he'll be starting high school!

6.10.2008

indonesian meal of the month

for the past month, i've been contemplating whether or not i should dedicate a weekly post on my attempts at making various indonesian cuisine...after all, i should know how to make a few dishes since that is my home country. initially, i thought it would be a grand idea to do weekly posts, but at the risk of being overly ambitious i've decided to start with once a month. here we go...

this month's meal: bakmi goreng (stir-fried noodles)

i don't recall where i initially found my recipe since i found it a number of years back. i think this one is pretty close to the way i make it, except i don't use the regular soy sauce in there at all.

here are the ingredients i used for this meal:
  • 1 lb. fresh chinese egg noodles
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic gloves
  • 10 "asian" meatballs ("baso" in indonesian)
  • some veggies-i used 1 chopped carrot, chopped bock choy, 1/2 of a yellow pepper, 3 green onions
  • 1 tsp. shrimp paste
  • about 2 tsp. sweet soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste




now that they've opened park to shop asian grocery store, i've been able to find ingredients that i didn't easily have access to before. that's where i found the egg noodles, shrimp paste and the "asian" meatballs. the first time i made it, i didn't have any shrimp paste, so i think that part can be optional.



the sweet soy sauce is called "kecap manis" in indonesian. park to shop grocery store only sells the ABC brand. personally, i don't like the flavor of the ABC brand and only use the Cap Bango brand (it's also the one i've grown up with so perhaps i'm a bit biased). unfortunately, Cap Bango brand is harder to find so i either have to put in a request to family visiting us from seattle, bring it back with us when we go to indonesia, or order it online. kecap manis is also nice to have for fried rice. tyler LOVES to use it when we make fried rice...almost to the point where there's more sauce than rice. if you're in a pinch and don't have any on hand, i think a combination of soy sauce and molasses should work.

the great part about any type of stir-fry food is that you can pretty much use what ever meat and veggies you have on hand. if you don't want to use the meatballs, you can use any other type of meat you want, or even tofu. ty had specifically requested using the meatballs, and since he'll soon be leaving for the summer i thought i'd give him his meatball fix before he leaves.

the whole meal took me about 35 minutes, including prep time, and there was plenty left over for emma and i to enjoy it for lunch.

6.09.2008

birthday BYOM barbeque

yesterday we had our first BYOM (bring your own meat) bbq for the summer. we also combined it with emma's 2nd birthday celebration. though she wasn't quite sure what was going on, she did know that she was supposed to get a piece of birthday cake. today she started singing "happy birthday, emma" over and over as i brought her downstairs for breakfast...so i think she's starting to get the whole birthday idea. i'm certain by birthday number 3 she'll have it all down...including the birthday tune. here are a few photos from the bbq and one of her utilizing some of her birthday gifts.
















































thanks to everyone who came and for your generous gifts.
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