Monday, April 30, 2012

biggest loser : week 3

14 days in the challenge and I've lost 14 sweet ounces last week, with a total of a little over 4 pounds! I blame Jimmy for my slow weight loss last week. He used leftover donuts to make a disgusting donut bread pudding / casserole thing. He also opened a bag of Cadbury eggs. Evil.

This is the picture of the donut thing. Jimmy said Instagram-ing made it look gross. He think I should never take pictures of food with Instagram.

On another note, I went to Kula Sushi yesterday. It's the new revolving sushi bar in Torrance, and it was pretty darn yummy (one more reason I didn't lose weight). Jimmy, my parents, and my brother, and I ate a total of 40 plates. If you plan to go, be prepared to wait in line!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

a few of my favorite things...

…not that anyone cares, but here we go...

1.            post-its. I have them everywhere. I start to get nervous when I’m low on post-its.

2.            the back section of West Ways. I love looking at events in the area. I just wish they post things months in advance so I could plan my weekends with festivals! I’m currently trying to convince Jimmy to take me to San Diego during Mother’s Day weekend so we can hit the Battle of the Mariachis in San Juan, Chocolate Festival in Encinitas, and the Crawfish Festival in San Diego .


3.            Fresh & Easy’s Simple Cook line. They recently built a Fresh & Easy in my neighborhood and since they send me a bunch of coupons every week, it’s my new favorite place to shop. Their Simple Cook line is super easy to make and delicious. It helps that they also have pictures of what all the ingredients I need.


4.            coupon sorter thing. Yup, I’m THAT crazy lady blocking the middle of the Target aisle sorting through my coupons. I think my record is $64 in savings.



5.            Target RED card. Why in the world did I not get this thing earlier? They take 5% off on ALL purchases! Just bring a VOID check and they will link it to your bank account, so you can use it as a debit card. Plus, you never have to save your receipt…just give them your RED card for returns and exchanges!

Hmmm…do you see a trend? I like saving money =)

6.            blogs. Jimmy can tell you that all I do after Blee sleeps is look at blogs. It’s addicting. Kinda like watching reality TV, but it’s quieter and a lot less raunchy. Here are some of my favorite “mommy” blogs.



7.            toddler snacks. Expensive, but delicious. I also came across this blog and I’m determined to make every single one of them.


8.            KP Duty. I have this thing called  Keratosis Pilaris. It’s a common skin condition where you have red, bumpy chicken skin, mostly on the outer sides of the upper arms. I bought the exfoliation and the lotion from amazon.com last week, and my skin already looks a little less red and a little less bumpy. Perfect timing for summer.


9.            my boys. duh. almost forgot.

10.          spell check. Because without it, this blog would be painful to read.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Uh oh...

Here comes a climber!



Darn...now I can't leave him by himself for too long!



Friday, April 27, 2012

MPIX


                I’ve always recommended MPIX to my clients. I’ve tried out many photo labs and MPIX is by far the BEST. They have great customer service (I once called and complained that my colors were a little off and they mailed me a new batch of prints next day – free!) and they have great products.

                I got an email recently about their Mother’s Day promotion. You can win $100 by entering your child’s photo and liking them on Facebook. Then, get your friends and family to vote. Sounds good to me!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

busy moms : wittlebee.com

                My friend recently told me about this website wittlebee.com. You basically pay $40 a month, and they send you 8 pieces of clothing for your kids! I was kinda skeptical at first…especially because I LOVE shopping for Blee’s clothes and finding deals. And really, when it comes down to it, I feel like I am the only one who knows what looks good on my son. But as soon as I played around the site, I realized that this might just be the thing…especially for busy moms (or moms with VERY active kids, who like to come home with holes in their shirts and pants). It’s also a great way to get introduced to new brands and styles.



                First, you answer a bunch of questions regarding your taste in your kid’s clothes. You also answer some questions about your child. Then, wittlebee will match your taste and your child to create a unique set of clothes. Clothes can range from shirts, jackets, legging, underwear, and pants. I “liked” them on Facebook and it seems like people are enjoying what they receive in the mail. I like that you can “pause” your account anytime and that you can leave comments to further customize your box. For example, you can specifically ask for “patterned tops” or “khaki pants” and they will do their best to accommodate your request.
                 Here’s a link to their FAQ

                 Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 23, 2012

biggest loser : week 2

                 I’ve lost… 3.8 pounds! Weeeeeee!!

                And here is a glimpse of my meals to help me lose some lbs!

                1. steak salad (steak with mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, and snap peas + ponzu for dressing)

                2. chicken tortilla soup (diced chicken, carrots, celery, onions, black beans, corn, tomatoes, garlic + 3 cans of chicken broth + 1 can diced green chili + tortilla chips + cheese)

                3. salmon & asparagus (frozen salmon from Trader Joe’s + grilled asparagus + quinoa with balsamic vinegar & tomatoes)

                4. pita with grilled chicken (grilled chicken + bell peppers + tomatoes + lettuce + sunflower seeds + red onions + feta cheese + hummus)

                5. lettuce wrap (lettuce + ground pork + red bell pepper + water chestnut + green onions + onions)

I'm going to celebrate tonight with a shot of pomegranate tequila =)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

baby’s first 100 words

I majored in Human Development at UCSD (GOOOOO Tritans!!!), so I would like to think that I know a thing or two about raising a child. About 6 months ago, my friend mentioned that she’s having her 1 year old daughter memorize and practice words from the book, “Baby’s First 100 Words”. Now, I already know that my son is going to be a late speaker. That’s what usually happens in a household who speaks more and one language. And since my mom watches my son for almost 45 hours a week, and ONLY speaks Japanese to him, I figured he won’t speak till oh…3? It takes time to process two languages, so it’ll probably be a long while before I hear him speak.

...or so I thought

It turns out that my son is truly Jimmy’s mini-me. His genes definitely won over the environmental factor. The kid talks non-stop. Just like his daddy. Blee is now 19 months old and I finally got a chance to write down all his words.
Japanese – datchi (hold me), nen ne (sleep), atta (“there it is!”), nai (“not here”), wan wan (dog), bubu (car), kaeru (frog), kusai (stinks!), pan (bread), nani? (what), daiji (important), oishi (yummy)
Animals – bee (for bugs, ants, bees, flies, etc)
Food – cracker, milk, coo-key (cookie), apple, bana (banana), wawa (water), fish
People – mommy, daddy, baba (grandma), Tatsuki, Tat-chan, Max (our neighbor's dog)
Phrases – “ready, go!” “haro?”, “up up”, “pu ree” (please),“ten kyu” (thank you), “uh oh”, “stuck!”, “amen!”,“more”, “eww”, “ba bye!”, “hi”, "la you" (love you)
Colors – pink, blue
Objects – bath, ja ja (jacket), truck, ball, book, teeth, flower, shoes, socks, fu (flute), baby, key, hat, tao (towel), car (cards), bocks (blocks), poon (spoon)
Other - down, puetty (pretty), back, walk, hot, wash


His favorite phrase right now is "ready, go!"
I love him.

earth day 2012

Happy Earth Day!


A little burnt on the edges, but we will be having our Earth Day cupcakes (without frosting) for breakfast. Yum!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

autism walk 2012

Supporting daddy's job as an LAUSD Autism Support teacher!


Friday, April 20, 2012

earth week 2012

Instead of celebrating just one day, we decided to celebrate the whole week! We went all out.

Here are some super easy, super fun, super cheap Earth Day activities for your kids!

1. Gather up empty bins, boxes, jars, etc and make a drum set.

*Jimmy used duct tape, bolts and nails (is that what they are called?) to secure them together*


Canon 5D Mark II 24-70 2.8L (ISO 1000, f 2.8, 1/400)


2. Use recycled containers as planters. We had a TON of cute, old tins from Jimmy's dad, so we used those to plant some pretty flowers we got from the Torrance Farmer's Market.

*Don't forget to poke some holes on the bottom for the water to drain!*




3. Read books on how to help the Earth.

Canon 5D Mark II 24-70 2.8L (ISO 640, f 2.8, 1/200)

Canon 5D Mark II 24-70 2.8L (ISO 640, f 2.8, 1/160)

4.  Have a picnic (we tried tonight, but it was too windy. Darn Torrance weather!)

...and last but not least, wear your favorite Earth week outfit!

Canon 5D Mark II 24-700 2.8L (ISO 800, f 2.8, 1/200)
*Shirt from Crazy 8*


Canon 5D Mark II 85mm 1.8 (ISO 100, f 1.8, 1/2000)
*shirt from H&M*

Here's a link I found for more fun Earth Day ideas! I'm going to try the Earth Day cupcakes tomorrow!

I don’t know how much Blee understands…but I hope that by modeling, practicing, and reinforcing, he will grasp the importance of taking care of our Mother Earth.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

deals

                I love me a deal. Here are some of my favorite “mommy” websites with awesome deals.

1.             mamabargains.com

                Great site for kids and mommy deals. Remember to *refresh* the site, as the deals change depending on demand and stock. You can also “like” them on Facebook and the deals will show up on your news feed.



 2.            Zulily.com

                You have to register to be able to view the deals. The deals range from books, clothes, toys, cribs, feeding items, and even discounts for photo books and personalized birthday items. Each deal lasts several days, but the good/cute stuff run out pretty quickly.


 3.             diapers.plumdistrict.com

                The site is ran by moms, so they definitely cater to us women. Deals can range from magazine subscriptions, baby items, clothes, accessories, and facials. You can also look up deals according to where you live.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

photo tip : bokeh…that “amazing” blur

I often get asked how I get the nice "bokeh" or blur on the background but still have a sharp, crisp image of the subject.

Canon 5D Mark II 50mm 1.4 (ISO 100, f 1.4, 1/800)

Canon 5D Mark II 50mm 1.4 (ISO160, f 1.4, 1/400)

Canon 5D Mark II 85mm 1.8 (ISO 100, f 1.8, 1/500)


Canon 5D Mark II 85mm 1.8 (ISO 100, f 1.8, 1/320)


                The answer? APERTURE
                Basically, lower the aperture, (or f-stop), the prettier blur you get for the background.
                So, how do you get the low aperture?
                The easiest thing would be to set the camera on the aperture priority mode. On a Canon camera, it’s the “AV” mode; on a Nikon, it’s the “A” mode. If you shoot on the aperture priority setting, you have the power to set the aperture at the lowest possible number and the camera will automatically adjust the ISO and shutter speed to give you the correct exposure.

                Here are some basic aperture numbers (may vary depending on your lens / camera)

11         8           5.6         4         2.8        2        1.8       1.4       1.2

                Again, the lower the better to get the blur.

                A typical lens goes down to f5.8. If you want something lower, it’ll take some big dough. For example, a zoom lens with the lowest aperture of f2.8 can cost you around $1600. A prime lens with an aperture of 1.2 will can cost over $2000 *amazon.com*

                One of my favorite lens is the 50mm and the aperture goes down to a whopping f1.4. It costs around $400 and it give a nice, sweet blur.

                Have a nice Wednesday!

Monday, April 16, 2012

biggest loser

It started. $20 per person. Weigh-in on Mondays between Homeroom and Nutrition. Final weigh-in takes place on Friday before Memorial Day weekend. 6 weeks total. Who will be the Biggest Loser?


Sunday, April 15, 2012

where's the remote?

              If you know us, you know that we’re not big on watching TV. We don’t have cable…just the good ‘ole exciting basic channels. We have shows we LOVE, like the Office, Up All Night, Survivor, Parks and Rec, and of course, Desperate Housewives, but our TV is rarely just “on” to be “on”. We watch our shows (mostly on streaming) and then we’re done. No channel surfing, or having the TV on for background noise. And it’s almost NEVER, EVER on when Blee’s awake…at least up until last week.

                Blee went with very minimal TV until he was a year and a half. That’s what he gets for having teachers as his parents. Sucks to be you, son! But recently, he started watching 10 minutes every other day (again, sucks to be you) with my mom. He basically watches the Japanese version of Sesame Street, and I think he might be enjoying it…

Canon 5D Mark II 85mm 1.8 (ISO 2500, f 1.8, 1/100)

Opps...your time is up kiddo! Turn off the TV!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

KOONTZ FAMILY + FOOD = LOVE

WE LOVE FOOD. WE, as in the Koontz residence. We love it all. Curry? Yup. Seafood? Yup. Noodles? Double yup. From Thai to Peruvian, Greek to Korean, WE LOVE TO EAT.

So, it was natural that we encouraged Tatsu to eat everything and anything. In the beginning, Jimmy made homemade baby food using the totally awesome Beaba. Then my mom took over. She bought a crazy intense Japanese baby cookbook and went to town. Thanks to her, my son daily eats fish, and porridge with what seems like 20 different veggies. GO MOM!  

Last week was Spring Break for LAUSD, which meant my mom wasn't on baby duty. This also meant that I had to somehow come up with food for my son.

I tried my best...
Baby curry / Spaghetti (same ingredients)

Ingredients:
2 - carrots
2 stalk - celery
1 - onion
1 - potato (curry only)
1 stalk - broccoli (spaghetti only)

For : baby curry

1. dice the veggies up as small as you can

2. cook them according to the curry sauce mix (I use the Japanese Brand...it's intended for kids over 1 years old because the sodium content is lower than the regular ones)

3. pour over rice





For : spaghetti

1. dice the veggies up as small as you can

2. cook the veggies with a can of diced tomatoes (I use the NO SALT ADDED kind...I also try to avoid using pasta sauce because of the high sodium content)

3. while the sauce is cooking, boil water and cook the spaghetti.

4. cut up the spaghetti in small pieces so it's easier for the little ones to eat.

5. sprinkle a little bit of Parmesan cheese




My boy can eat 2 bowls of these...easily!

Japanese wheat noodles with natto (fermented soy beans)

1. cook somen noodles according to the package

2. prepare soup base according to the bottle

3. put natto over the noodles and serve

*I just realized that it was basically pointless to write the steps. Ha!*



Spinach nuggets


1pkg - frozen Spinach
1/2 cup - bread crumb
1/2 cup - flax seed meal
3 - eggs
1 1/2 cup - cheese

1. cook the spinach
2. mix all the ingredients
3. bake @ 375 degrees (20 minutes -> flip -> 10 minutes)

*you can make fun shapes with cookie cutters**

My boy also LOVES dips. He can chow down a bucket of hummus, guacamole, and spinach dip in no time!

Friday, April 13, 2012

the time has come

He used to be so easy to photograph…gave me the sweetest smile and laughed at my funny faces. But now, this is what he gives me when I pick up the camera…

Canon 5D Mark II (ISO 3200, f2.8, 1/100) *taken at night, hense the super high ISO*
**White-balanced in post processing**


GAME OVER


But then again, I'm totally open to bribing...

**note the mis-matched shoes. Blee insisted to wear one of each. One makes a squeaky noise (it used to be cute, but is now very annoying), and the other one lights up. He stomps arounds the house, screaming at every step. Awesome**

Thursday, April 12, 2012

our life with : a toddler

We recently bought a set of Duplo for Blee. We received a box from Jimmy's aunt for his 1st birthday, but he was too small to play with them. Now that he's older, we decided to pull them out.

One problem. We didn't have a table for Blee to play his Duplo on.
I noticed him playing with his Duplo guys on the kitchen trashcan (I know, poor kid) and then he tried playing with them on the couch, but they didn't really stay up. We got him a cardboard box, but that also didn't last very long.

Solution? IKEA. We found a cute little table with the perfect size, height, and shape for our little boy. But as with many things, we realized pretty quickly that we made a BIG mistake.


The conversation for the picture below went like this...

     Jimmy : "Uh oh..."
     Me : "what?"
     Jimmy : pointing at Blee as he walked over to his xylophone "What the heck were we thinking?"
     Me : "...crap"



The darn thing is made of metal. ARGGGG! We were happy for a split second when we discovered that we could use magnets on the table, but boy-oh-boy, this table is going to be LOUD. VERY LOUD. Total fail on our part.

Oh well, the Duplo guys seem to like the new table...


...and at the end of the day, if this little guy is happy, I guess that's all it matters. (well, only until the table drive me crazy and I decide it's going to be an "outdoor-only" table)