Friday, July 31, 2015

Family Meeting

Sometimes ya just need a formal meeting so everyone's voice in the family can be heard and expressed.

I love how the 2 year old is also contributing and says something like "choo choo!" which then gets drawn as an image on the flipchart as an option in the plan. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Happy teachers changing the world

Imagine the world being changed where people feel joy, peace, happiness, and gratitude. This would be pretty powerful.

This video is about how happy teachers can change the world - a film about teachers learning mindfulness.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


"YUK!" says Bambina.
"That was the worst story I have ever heard in my ENTIRE life!"

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Chocolate Milk Day

"Now this is a day I can relate to!" reports the Bambina.

"YES!  Bring it on!"

Monday, July 27, 2015

Does whistling really work?

"Hey, who said all I had to do was whistle and someone would come running?" asks Bambina.

"Hmmm. Maybe I'll go back to crying, which is so much easier than puckering my lips, blowing out air, and hoping a sound bellows out that says come hither." 

Exploring Locke CA

We went on an adventure this weekend to Locke, CA, which is about 75 miles outside of San Francisco and 25 miles outside of Sacramento. It is the only remaining Chinese village in the USA. It is a former little Chinese community situated by the Sacramento river.

At one time, 600 residents, all of whom were Chinese, lived in this three square block community. Now the permanent population of the town is less than 100, and less than a dozen of the residents are Chinese.

It is not a ghost town, but you can see and feel the age of the place with it's leaning buildings and tattered wear and-tear.

The original beginning of Locke (then called Lockeport), was in 1912, when three Chinese merchants, two from nearby town of Vorden and one from Walnut Grove, contracted tradesmen to construct three buildings. The first building was a combination dry goods store and beer saloon. Next came the gambling hall, and then the Hotel & Restaurant. According to Wikipedia, a total of seven structures eventually formed Lockeport with the hope of it becoming a destination for riverboat and train passengers (a tourist trap, perhaps).

This is main street today.

Locke is an interesting little town, especially if you are interested in Chinese American history.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Side Effects of Chocolate Breast Milk

"Gramz, please don't bug me right now. I'm in-the-zone from the chocolate breast milk mom is feeding me!" says Bambina.

"Let me 'be' so I can enjoy this zen moment."

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I am beautiful

Sometimes a girl just feels beautiful, content, and at peace with the world.
The funny thing is how those feelings and energy radiate out so that others pick up on that glow.
Even with a little tyke like Bambina.

This is one of those moments. It makes me smile.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bambino sweeps us off our feet

This cracks me up. The Bambino and his broom. He loves to sweep!

What did you say?

"Wait! What did you say right after 'once upon a time there were three bears'...Where exactly ARE those three Bears?"

Friday, July 17, 2015

Menu Planning is an Art

We all know that food is our body's source of physical energy. But in Chinese Medicine, food is much more than that; it is the foundation of health. It is also one of the sources of Qi (chee) and subtle energy.

When you have the right combination of foods, spices, and flavors, it can be used to improve your health and wellness. And when you experience an "ah hah" moment of pleasure when eating, in that dining moment, the quality of the subtle energy created is magnified. This happens because the energy of joy (love) slips in and enhances that subtle energy.

For me, improving one's health and wellness is a very good reason to learn how to cook. It is also a good reason to learn how to create more of those dining "ah hah" moments of pleasure, so that one's Qi quality is also enriched.

What I have discovered so far, is that all of this is an awful LOT of hard work and it doesn't come naturally for me. It has made me realize this is a developed skill and there is an art to pulling it off.

I begin the process with meal planning. Sometimes I plan the menu based on my mood, or how much time I have, or what I have in the house. Other times it is based on what is in season, or if I have cooked it before so am more confident it will turn out. Sometimes it is based around someone's physical health needs. But this week my menu planning is based on discovering that Sprouts grocery store sells Niman Ranch pork. So I'm creating this menu around barbecue pork.

This is the menu I will be trying out on the kids this weekend:
  • Barbecue Pork
  • Coleslaw
  • Cornbread
  • Fresh Peaches with Ice Cream (or milk) for Dessert
After I plan out the menu, I take a step back and see if everything works together. Will the flavors compliment each other, such as sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, salty? Will the colors and textures work together?  Will this possibly create an "ah hah" experience for the fam?  See what I mean? It's HARD!

My overall goal is to not only improve the health and wellness of the body and mind but also to create more of those moments of pleasure and joy which may touch and enhance the soul. In addition, I hope that eating together at the dinner table will help create that foundation of family support. All of this is the outcome I desire at each family meal I create.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Negotiations with Bambina

"What do ya mean there's a new family rule that everyone has to sleep ALL through the night!?" asks the Bambina.

"So what's in it for me, huh?"

"Ahhh! Chocolate breast milk? WOW! That sounds YUMMY!"

"OK!  I'm in. Give me a fist bump to seal this deal."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bambina shows off her new mustache

"Gramz, I swear this is a MILK mustache and NOT an ICE CREAM mustache!" declares the Bambina.

"If it was from ice cream, it would be brown - like chocolate!"

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Flavor Bible - the Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity

This is my NEW favorite book; "The Flavor Bible - the Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chef's".

No kidding. It really is that good of a book! Even for me, who used to be known as the anti-cook!

It wasn't until I went to Chinese Medicine school that my eyes were opened to the connection between poor diet and illness. After the lights went on, I started on the path to organic food and cooking. Good health requires a person eat mostly unprocessed foods, so that usually means ya cook.

I am not yet the poster child of good cooking, or even exuberant health, but this BIBLE on flavors is like finding the mysteries of the universe in the kitchen. It is a book which shares the secrets behind different food combinations and flavors. Here are some fascinating words of wisdom in this lovely BIBLE...

"We have the lemon juice right next to the salt when we cook. Acid is the most important aspect of how a dish tastes - whether it is there as a subtle punctuation or an exclamation point!"  

"If my mind is India, tamarind will be sneaking its way into the dish. When thinking of India, my inspirations are the flavors of clove, cardamom, and coriander seed. They are aromatic spices that really cut the fat of the dish, so it is not big, fat, and flabby on the palate."

"Just a pinch of spices, such as fennel, coriander, cumin, and cayenne is great for finishing a sauce. Cayenne is great if you want to raise the heat level. Adding a pinch of cayenne will bring up the flavor without making it spicey." 

"A tiny bit of vanilla makes strawberries yummy!  It has to be just a little because you don't want a vanilla-strawberry dessert - you want a strawberry dessert that has a little vanilla on the plate that people have to search for."

See what I mean?  It's like the secret information or code you wish your mother would have passed onto you beyond just using salt and pepper.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - A Glimpse from Comic-Con

Star Wars is a part of our history and helped open an awareness of life force energy and how it can be directed and used. A new Star Wars movie is coming out, and this video clip from Comic-Con in San Diego, gives us a glimpse of the care and love for this creation.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Pops new little helper

"Hi guys!" says Bambina. "I'm helping Pops out with his work."

"I'm already a valuable member of this family!"

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Siblings

Why, I do believe these siblings look quite a bit alike!

Photo Comparisons of Bambina, the new baby (L), and Bambino (R) at the Same Age

New Baby, New Bambino Chores

"Geeze, Louise! What's going on?" asks the Bambino. "With this new baby, it seems like all anyone does any more is SLEEP!"

"Do I now have to do EVERYTHING around here?" 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Games for Horrible People

I've been kind of stuck in the game generation of "Charades" or maybe "Trivial Pursuit" but recently my FAM gave me a new party game to bring me into the current era. Have you heard of this game, "Cards Against Humanity - a party game for horrible people?"  It is hilarious.

  1. You begin with at least four MATURE and EASY GOING friends or family members. (I suggest you open a bottle of wine, drink up a bit to melt that stiff upper lip of behavior, then begin). 
  2. Shuffle the answer cards and distribute 10 white answer cards to each player. 
  3. Then, have the game leader pick a black question card. 
  4. Each participant will then select and share their best possible answer from one of their ten white answer cards. 
  5. The most favored (aka wacky, crazy, funny, weird) answer to the question wins that round! 
Here are some examples of questions and answers:

Or how about this?
Here is another quirky possibility....
The questions are bizarre and the possible responses from the answer deck can be rather odd, outlandish, and rather peculiar, but the combinations are always VERY creative, funny, and entertaining. 

The upside is you will get to know the hidden underbelly of your family and friends while you laugh and laugh. The downside is IF you remember the hidden underbelly of your family and friends when the game is over and you realize you never want to see them again.

It will create a fun, engaging, and informative evening of frivolity and laughter.