Monday, October 6, 2008

Home-made Sewing Table!

The first year of my request, he went out to buy cherry wood for the top and the lift mechanism. I had wanted something that's small but can be opened up to large space and he promised me that he would make it. By the end of the second year, the table had yet to be seen. He told me to just buy one but I held back. Then, I started doing lots of sewing -- quilts, altering pants, making pants and had hijacked the desk and later on, the dining table. There was no place to eat dinner together and I was getting tired of that so I told him that I would buy one. I had it all picked out. I wanted the sylvia 810Q that looks like the picture here.

It costs quite a bit but I was desperate. I really wanted something that can hide the sewing table. After DH saw the price tag, he said he would make it himself and to asked me to give him a few weekends. I scoffed. However, what can I do now but to give him ANOTHER chance? "Wait, I had to," said my yoda voice.

A few weekends later, he produced this:

None of the nice cherry wood. It's all ply woods or MDFs. Heavy as heck. Very sturdy. If the roof were to collapse on the house, this hunk of furniture would still be in one piece. That's how sturdy it is. He and his friend will move it into the house later. I can't wait to try it out. I just hope they don't drop it on their toes.

L's Crazy Log Cabin Quilt

L wanted me to make him a quilt since he saw the quilts I made for J and myself. So, I decided to make a 2-toned Crazy Log Cabin Quilt.

Bought 2 different pattern fabric for this quilt. It has a white muslin backing. There are 48 blocks. I miscalculated and made 72 blocks so I have enough blocks for another quilt. It took a long time because each pair was cut individually. I rushed through the quilting process and as a result, some parts were bunched up and didn't look that clean. From afar, it looked nice though. It had turned out better than I expected. Perhaps next summer, I will make a quilt for DH.

I was running out of large scraps so I had to join some fabric together for the borders. Not bad although I would've preferred to have a uniform border rather than scrappy ones. All in all, not a bad project.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Frozen Pie: Claim Jumper's Restaurant Banana Cream Pie from frozen section

I wanted to get DH a cake to celebrate his 36th birthday but didn't have the time to go to the bakery later on in the day. Instead, I made a blueberry pancake, stuck a candle in it and woke the kids up to sing "Happy Birthday" to him. He wasn't grinning from ear to ear. Bah!

After dropping both kids off at school, I headed to the grocery store to get fruits and vegies. As I wandered around the frozen section, a big box of Banana Cream Pie caught my attention. Furthermore, it was on-sale. All the pie baking competitions I watched on Food Network Challenge for the past 3 days have stimulated my cravings for pies. I've never had any pie besides apple and pumpkin pies. I bought the banana cream pie. When I came home, I took a good look at the box. It said "Claim Jumper's Restaurant Banana Cream Pie: Made with REAL bananas." Cool! Should be healthy, right? Wrong! I found some recipes on-line and they all said the same main ingredients: cream, eggs, BUTTER, sugar ... where are the bananas? The bananas were sliced unto the crust or on top of the filling. So ... it should be "Cream Pie with a few slices of bananas."

Anyway, I digressed. That night we took the first bite excitedly. I don't know if it's bananas or vanilla. The box clearly stated bananas. I guess it did taste good especially if you've not had any sort of unhealthy desserts for a while. Bananas - when frozen or cooked do not look yellow. I don't know what kind of bananas they used to maintain it's bright yellow color or how they cooked it ... or if it's bananas or real banana extract / flavoring.

I vow to try a REAL banana cream pie from a real pie store. I know there's a Baker's Square a few miles away. After I'm sure that I've burnt away the calories from this pie, I'm going to fly there and get myself a REAL pie.

By the way, I've never had a fresh pie before. Thus far, all the pies I've eaten came from the frozen section at the grocery's. They've not made any favorable impressions on me. I should just stick to ice-cream only.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bra Fitting Experience

To the tune of Baa Baa Black Sheep: "Bra Bra Bad Fit" ...

I've been wearing 34D after having J. A few weeks after putting on the new bras, I started getting shoulder and backaches. I re-adjusted the band to the tightest but it continued to ride up my back. The straps would hurt my shoulders because I shortened them to support my breasts. I started to question if the size was correct.

A few years ago, I went to JC Penney's because they advertised about their bra fitting specialist being on-site all the time. The woman gingerly measured me and pronounced me a 32C. I told her C was too tight but she wouldn't believe me and insisted that I was clearly a C. I ignored her and bought 34D. She obviously didn't know her under-wares. hehehe ...

Three weeks ago, I went to Macy's because of the same reason I went to JC Penney's the first place. This time, I had a totally different experience. The woman measured my ribcage SNUGLY, right under my breasts. With that, she said 32. Then she measured around my breasts lightly. Like a chinese old man, she muttered to herself and pronounced me a 32DD. She explained that a DD of one band size is the D of the next band size so depending on the style of the bras, I should try 32DDs and 34Ds. She interviewed me about my preferred styling and handed me a bunch of bras. Of all the bras I tried, wacoal Feather Embroidery Full Figure bra was the only one that provided the best support and lift. My shoulders didn't feel the ache and the band stayed on me. I was overjoyed and certainly very very grateful to her expertise and patience.

She further explained that one bra maker might use a different sizing - slightly smaller or bigger than the actual cup size. That's when experience comes in. She knew which brand runs small or large. Wacoal apparently is true to size in her experience although there were some styles that actually ran small when I was trying them on. She also mentioned that certain bras 'lift' your boobs up HIGH and they are nicknamed 'pillow bras' because the boobs look like they are resting on pillows. I tried one on and ooh ... they were perky! They would prevent food from spilling on the floor should it drip from my mouth.

There are two ways to measure the bra: the under bust or above the bust:


I've always bought bras that cost around $30 but this time, I paid double. We will find out if you get what you paid for. I also bought another bra : Wacoal Bodysuede Full Figure Seamless bra.

It's amazing how different you look with good supportive bras. Your girls are held up higher thus people can see your waist and it gives the illusion that you're skinnier than you should be. We all want that, don't we?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gluten Free Blueberry Pancake


J loves pancake and blueberries so I decided to get frozen blueberries to make blueberry pancake. You figure that since he loved both by themselves, he'd like them combined. Nope. L, on the other hand, loved the blueberry pancake.

Oh, and I think I made a mistake with the pancake recipe. I must have accidentally omitted the milk so the batter was thicker and the pancake came out heartier. It certainly tasted good. Since I don't remember the mistake, I will have to test it out again.

I have about 2 C of frozen blueberries left. I've made banana blueberry smoothies, blueberry pancakes and blueberry muffins. I'm still wondering what I else I can do with the rest of the blueberries.

I also started learning to pack lunch bento style. I bought some smaller lock-lock containers and silicone cupcake holder. I try to make the food visually appealing by combining colorful fruits and separating the rice and other food items. Happily, L and J have wolfed them all down. I should take some pictures. They're plain but much better (look and taste) than last school term's lunch.

L is also reacting to the air in the classroom. He needs his inhalers twice daily. It is really unfortunate because he was doing so well during the last month of the summer holidays. As for J - his eczema is still bothering him. We've tried a few different homeopathic remedies but I've suspended any 'treatments' until the schedule and my energy level out. Right now things are too hectic. Although it's been about a month already, I've yet to find time for myself. Three hours is not enough.

By the way, I'm volunteering two days at school. J's classroom, L's library and L's mathlab. Social life is still nil but at least I have the chance to get out and talk to other human beings.

As I sit here and update my blog, I see the mess of toys around the room and the worst offending sight - a pile of unaltered new pants sitting on top of the dining table. I need to get to those soon. Boys don't want me making pants for them anymore so I bought a bunch of new ones but they need altering.

Phew ... gotta hit the kitchen now. Stir-fry pork with crimini mushroom and ong choy. Yum to the last one.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gluten-free Pancake with Strawberries

I made gluten-free pancakes for the boys after school yesterday. They spread some maple syrup and ate with strawberries. It was a big hit. They loved it and J even went as far as making a grab for the biggest pancake to be saved for later. He's like a squirrel, that one.

Here's the recipe for the pancake:

Gluten-free Pancake
2/3 C Rice Flour (Either brown or white rice flour will do. Brown gives it a bit more bite.)
1/3 C Sweet Rice Flour (You can get this at the asian grocery stores or in the asian aisle food section in your regular store.)
1 T Sugar (I find it helps the pancake brown a little besides adding slight sweetness to it.)
1/8 t Salt (I added a little bit because I like some slight saltiness.)
1 C Rice Milk (Water can be used instead too. Milk just gives it a little richness to it.)
2 T Oil (I used olive but any oil will do.)
1 Egg (I tried pancakes without eggs but they ended up being too dry.)
1 T Baking powder (Rumford brand makes aluminum-free baking powder.)

Mix egg and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Mix the rest of the ingredients in till the whole batter becomes smooth. Make sure there are no lumps. Put a little oil on your pan and pour about one small ladle or 1 T of pancake batter on it. Cook in medium heat. I don't know how many will turn out because sometimes I get lazy and make big pancakes and sometimes small ones. Make sure you mix the batter before scooping.

To eat : put some maple syrup on it and wrap a strawberry in it. Stuff the whole thing in your mouth.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Freezing Fruits for Smoothies

We bought a package of strawberries from Costco ($5.88 for 4 lbs, I think) and they were overly ripe so after picking the good ones and cleaning them, I froze them. I put them into small containers so when I can pop them whole thing out when I need them.

I made strawberry banana smoothie the other day.

Banana Strawberry Smoothie
1 C Frozen strawberries
1 banana (with brown spots on the skin)
1 T flaxseed meal (store in freezer for longer shelf life)
1 C cold water

Blend them nice and smooth. I have a K-tec blender. I can't tell you how much I LOVE it. It made a nice smooth smoothie very quickly.

Kept me full for a little while and gave me a boost in energy. The downside? It was brrrr ... cold! BUT, I like it!