Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Avril's first dentist visit

Today Avril had her first dentist visit. MJ had prepared for this visit long time including buying two books about visiting dentists, watching Charlie and Lola going to dentist office with mom. Avril had enough background knowledge before the visit. She knew she can get some toys, dentist would show her how to brush her teeth, there would be a big machine looking chair, etc.
But we were still not sure how she would react this morning. During our previous doctor visits, Avril always resisted opening her mouth, not wanting the doctor to touch her.
This morning as soon as we walked into the waiting room. Avril was taken by the computer game, she played the joystick watching the little person moving, jumping... after she lost interest, there were so many other toys that she wanted to play with. That was a good start.
After we sat down in dentist office, while waiting, MJ tried to lie down himself to watch the DVD from the ceiling. Avril was cautious, refused lying down. We thought this would be hard. Dr Quo came in, introduced himself to Avril, and asked her back: What is your name?
Avril quietly answered.
Then Dr Quo talked about how to brush teeth with a big teeth model. I can see Avril relaxed a little. Then Dr Quo continued:
Let's count your teeth. You will get a prize after this.
It was a set of a cup, tooth brush etc.
Amazingly, Avril was willing to lie down, with me holding her hand. Before the dentist was ready, Avril kept her mouth wide open waiting. I almost felt the dentist took too long to get ready.
Everything went very well. Avril now has very clean, shiny teeth. She got the prize, and a little extra bonus. A coin to the vending machine outside where she can pick a gift.
It was a pleasant journey to her, I can see her enjoy this place a lot. When we got to the daycare afterwards, she proudly showed her clean teeth to her daycare teachers and friends. Quite an accomplishment to her.
Given our super good experience, I will put the doctor information here.

Brian C. Quo, DDS, MS
882-A Emerson St.
Palo Alto, CA 94301 (650) 853-8883

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I have been using Excel for my simple money management. In the past two years, I always started in January, then stopped in June. It is not easy to always remember to write everything down.

Yesterday I found Yodlee. It is exactly what I am looking for. A place with one login where you can view all your bank accounts, credit cards. So far I still have trouble setting up my ING account, always got a time out error.

But overall I am happy.

I have never tried MS money, but my experience with Quicken was not good. It offered much more than my simple needs. Because it is more for professionals, I found it is confusing and tedious to use. All I want to know is how much I spend, where I spend. Yodlee gave me exactly that.

I still have complaints, but overall, I am very happy with what I found.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lovely little mouse

This series has been one of Avril's favourite books. It is simple and cute. Very easy to understand for a two year old. I have also used these books to teach Avril Chinese. The lines repeat page by page.
For example:

"this vest is petty, can I borrow it'- duck asks the little mouse
'this vest is so pretty, can I borrow it -- a pig asks the duck
in the end, the vest became too big when elephant gets it:)

It was written by a Japanese couple in the 70s, and translated into Chinese.

By the end of the book, my good memory two-year-old daughter can memorize a few Chinese charactors. Now she is almost 3, she can read most parts of these books.

You can get them on Amazon China

1~6 on Amazon

7~12 on Amazon

I tried to find them in English, only fount 1 on eBay.

Samurai Salmon

This is my favourite dish at World Wrapps. Every time I ate it, I looked at the ingredients, thinking: this has to be very easy to make. So here it is, A super easy, fast, delicious dish. If you like Japanse sushi, wasabi, salmon, avacodo, you will like this dish.

cook rice in a rice cooker.

place rice in a plate

fry salmon in a pan with very little cooking oil, break them into small pieces. cut cucumber, avocado into small cubes,
put everything on top of rice
add some small pieces of sea weed

Mix wasabi with diluted soy sauce (I always add water so it does not get too salty or the color become too dark)

pour the sauce on rice.

mix, and enjoy.

Fast, and easy. In less than 20 minutes, you can have a very nice dinner.

Lamb soup hand-pulled noodle 羊肉烩面

If you google 'hand-pulled noodle', you will see a lot different ways of pulling noodle. The one very popular in my home town is wide, flat, you only pull it once. I have not gone back to my home town for years, never thought I could reproduce this one :)

But never say never, now I can make it at home this delicious noodle soup. With the help of my bread machine, the kneading part became easy.

I experiment with different kinds flours, and bread flour is the best.

the dough:
2 cup of bread flour
2/3 cup of water --I don't like put the amount, different flour requires different amount water, so add water slowly.
1/2 tea spoon salt
1/2 tea spoon baking powder.

knead for 30 minutes ~ 1 hour. cover the dough, let it sit for 1 or 2 hours

knead and make it into small pieces like this: 5 mm thick, 25~40 mm long
brush some cooking oil on all sides.
use a chop stick to press vertically in the middle. ( this is for later spliting the noodle into two)

cover them, put in the fridge for at least 2 ~3 hours. I usually let it sit over night.

Prepare the soup base.

Costco lamb pieces with bones. put the lamb in the boiling hot water for one minutes, drain the water.

in a big pot, put lamb in the cold water. add big pieces green onion. I personally don't like putting so many chinese herb. If you like, you can add anything. Green onion helps to reduce some the unpleasant lamb smell (not sure if this is true:):)

boil the soup on high heat for 1 ~ 2 hours, reduce to medium to low heat for another 2 ~3 hours:) ---I don't wait, add enough water, watch a movie:)

add salt to taste

When it is time, get the dough out of the fridge, now magic happens:

pull the noodle really long. then split it from the middle. put in the hot boiling soup.

boil 5 minutes, add some mushroom (Auricularia auricula-judae ?) or some seaweed, or any vegitables you like.

serve in a big bowl. add some cilantro if you like

I have put the lamb pieces at the bottom. so it does not show in the picture. the lamb is soft and tender.

Enjoy. I have showed off this noodle to a few of my non Chinese friends, parents and kids all like it.

It looks complicated, but most of the time is just waiting time, you don't really have to do too much work. and it can be a party where everybody tries out to pull a piece

I don't think I can become as good as this guy ever :). We took this video last month while we were visiting Beijing:)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pomelo tea:)

During my trip to Beijing, I once ordered an interesting tea in a Korean restaurant near my hotel. The name of tea means: Pomelo tea. Pomelo is a kind of Chinese grapefruit. I really like the taste, thought it was made of fresh pomelos, and you can see the pieces of pomelo floating. I was thinking to look up on the internet to see how they made it.

Last week I went to Han Cook Supermarket at Santa Clara. for grocery shopping, I saw a big pile of bottles on say: on the bottle, it says Pomelo tea!

It is very simple to make. take one or two table spoon in a cup, add water( cold or hot) , then stir. I personally like hot better

I love the taste. Avril loves it. She never liked cold water, but this time she demands to have it warm. It is a little too sweet, so I always add a lot water to dilute it. (more than the instruction recommends)

You can find many other similar bottle but different flavor: Jujube tea, Honey Aloe, Lemon, ginger, papaya...

My husband has a problem of me calling them 'tea'. To him, the tea has to have 'tea leave' in it. To Chinese, we may call everything tea if it is hot and it some flavor tea. Actually in my home village, people even call hot water tea:)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Beaba Babycook

Today I saw reviews about a very nice looking Blender, making baby food looks so easy. I wish I had this one when Avril was small. Avril never liked jar food. It would be nice if I have this baby food maker.

You can get it on Amazon ( free shipping. )

More reviews here There is a video clip which showing you how to use it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Miffy in Chinese(Mandarin)

Last month I have taken Avril back to China for vacation, everyone was surprised how good her Chinese was. She is not 3 years old yet. I am not sure if at some point, she will stop talking to me in Chinese? But so far, so good. When we were in China, she almost never spoke an English word. If it is not her hair color, she can totally blend in :)

My American friend asked me to share some Mandarin videos that I show Avril to watch . He wanted to show his daughter Mandarin, but he does not know how to do a search in Chinese.

Here is Avril's favorite videos Miffy in Chinese.

The same person published many more. I don't know if it violates copy right to post on youtube, but enjoy:).
I have a DVD which has the same collections when I was in China, now I can show Avril on TV too. The Chinese in these videos are very clear and standard.

Cheeky Monkey

This afternoon I am taking Avril to Cheeky Monkey at Menlo Park Downtown for a game play activity.

cheeky monkey is our favorite toy store. Avril and I can spend hours there.

You can sign up a newsletter, for example, here is the list of November activities I plan on going:

Friday, November 7: 4-6pm: Game Day! Come play games with our friendly staff. See what games are new and exciting to keep everyone entertained.

Wednesday, November 12: 10:30am: Page to Play Book Reading and Play Activity (see description above).

Friday, November 14: 4-5pm: Art Activity! Make Foam Bead Jewelry! Great for ages 3 and up.

see more activities here