Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Super thankful for preschool Thanksgiving crafts. 

And the fake finger mustache.  

*If you're looking to buy a new DSLR for Black Friday/Christmas, my absolute favorite blog has
great recommendations!*

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

the time when the tree didn't turn on...

On Sunday, 11/23, the Koontz family braved the task of getting the Christmas tree out for the holiday season. This was supposed to be a pretty easy, routine mission.

Step 1: Get the tree from the garage (Jimmy)
Step 2: Get the tree out of the box (Jimmy)
Step 3: Put the tree together (Jimmy)
Step 4: Plug in the lights (Jimmy)


Here's the before photo.

And then the after...a whole day later!!

A WHOLE DAY LATER. You see, about 20% of the lights didn't quite work. Few of them were recuperated by a little twisting and pulling, but still, a small portion of the lights wouldn't turn on. Jimmy and I were pretty frustrated but within minutes, I gave up. Who cares if all the lights aren't on? We could definitely hide them with our ridiculously glittery ornaments. Right?

Well, this is the difference between me and Jimmy. I give up. Right away. I raise my hands and walk away. I even asked if we should just get a new one (gasp)! 

Jimmy is persistent. He got out little tweezers and meticulously checked every single blub. And then double checked. And then went online and looked for options. And then got the multimeter and tried it. And then left the house and came back with this little nifty gadget.

It's basically a gun that ZAPS the life back into the lights. In Jimmy's words, it's 'magic.' And this magical $19.99 light keeper pro saved my Christmas tree. My college roomies bought this tree for me as a house warming gift, and every year I get it out, I think about our apartment we shared in La Jolla.

I'm glad we get to enjoy this tree again this year. The one from my roommates. The one that Jimmy saved. The one that I almost gave up on.

I've said this before, but I really do hope T has the same persistence that Jimmy has. He certainly has the same devotion for keeping the house clean. The whole time Jimmy was fiddling with the tree, T was right there, broom and dust pan in his hand, sweeping away every loose fake pine needle. He was determined to keep the floor clean...without being asked. Definitely did not get the 'cleaning gene' from me.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Book List

I read 3 books in the last two weeks. 2 of them were for work, and 1 on them was my choice. This is progress in the area of book-reading, considering the last thing I read was 50 Shades of Gray about 2 years ago. 

I’m currently teaching at a high school 2 days a week and my seniors are reading Siddhartha. I read Siddhartha back in college in my Adolescent Literature class (Go UCSD Tritons!). It was a difficult read back then, and it wasn’t any better the second time around. Now, terms like foreshadow, symbolism, and motif are haunting me.  12th grade English is no joke.  

On the contrary, A Lesson Before Dying, which my sophomores are reading, was much easier to finish, but the content was pretty heavy. Set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940’s, a young black man is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The book is a tale of a teacher, who tries to impart pride to the man, who knows that death is near.

Bloom by Kelle Hampton is a memoir about celebrating beauty in the unexpected. I chose to read this book after stumbling upon her blog.  Kelle writes about her journey of becoming a mother, only to find out in the delivery room that her daughter, Nelle, has Down Syndrome. The book includes beautiful photos (she’s a photographer) and talks about the first year of Nelle’s life. I think I cried the whole way though.

Currently I'm reading these 3 books...1 for work, and 2 for leisure. I'm on roll. I might just start a book club.

All of my books are checked out from the Torrance Library. Libraries are the bomb. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

sous chef

I love cooking. I especially love it when I'm not interrupted by a certain little boy wanting to play Lego while I'm holding a piece of raw chicken. Or when I'm not being called to pull up a little boy's underwear in the middle of deep frying handmade wontons.

The last several years have been hard. I've had drumming sessions in the kitchen just so I could finish up dinner and have had Hot Wheels zooming next to me while I did my best to juggle things.

But now, things are different. Now, things are looking up for the better. I have a siiiiide kick!

T's school provides Japanese homemade hot lunches Monday through Thursday. The lunches range from his favorite - udon noodles to things I have never had before - green pepper steak with rice, or chinjao rosu. After being bugged for over 2 months, I finally remembered to ask the lunch lady for the recipe for another one of his favs - hijiki rice (brown sea vegetable over rice).

A mom at T's preschool shared the recipe for mapo tofu - a Chinese dish with tofu, ground beef, and green onions cooked in spicy chili and bean-based sauce.

He jumped at the opportunity to help make it. He helped me mince fresh ginger root and measure out the bean paste.

I also got the recipe for baked tilapia. I love how his preschool has fish on the menu!!

The picture looks very unappealing, I know. Darn time hours with natural light are shrinking by the minute and I'm not liking it. The bread also has a "ghost" hole from when I made ghost-shaped sandwiches for Halloween. Leftovers are the best!