Friday, 31 August 2018

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Acts 20:24 - What We Put into Life is More Important than What We Get Out of It.

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." - Acts 20:24


Commentary from the Life Application Bible:

"We often feel that life is a failure unless we're getting a lot out of it: recognition, fun, money, money, success. But Paul considered life worth nothing unless he used it for God's work. What he put into life was far more important than what he got out. Which is more important to you - what you get out of life, or what you put into it?"

During my QT (quiet time) with God today, Acts 20:24 spoke to me.

What is the task that God put into my life right now? Besides sharing the gospel, which is the task of every Christian, that's motherhood for me right now. And motherhood can come with all the mandane tasks that makes life feel unfruitful and unproductive.

I remembered, when Baby FECS was a baby, I struggled with that. I get nothing done in a day. The day was just filled with cycles of feeding, changing diapers and putting Baby FECS to nap. It is a little better now, but still feels unproductive. It feels like time is just spent getting Baby FECS home from day care and home is chaotic at dinner time. And before I know, dinner time is over and the day is over. And I feel like I have not achieved much, nor gotten much out of a day. And I can feel lousy that I have ended a day with nothing much accomplished.

God has reminded me through this verse that what I put into life (e.g. changing diapers, cooking, etc.) is more important than what I get out of life (e.g. planning and going on a fun trip for my family, written an article or blog post, learning a new course, completing a home project, getting recognition and making career, etc.)

Recently, I took a strength test offered by our HR at work that will help our career development. One of my strengths according to the result is Achiever. The report reads:

"Your Achiever theme helps explain your drive.... It is very likely that you possess the physical and mental endurance needed to spend hours studying, reading, or researching... By nature, you can mentally zero in on tasks for hours at a time when you have a goal to reach. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by "every day" you mean every single day - workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you may feel you deserve a dy of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied... Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical... But it will always be with you. As an Achiever you must learn to live with this whisper of discontent. 

It so describes me and helps me to understand myself better. It helps me to understand why I have this feeling of lousiness when the day ended not very productive seen from my perspective. It helps me to understand why I can't really implement a "Do nothing day" that some mommy posts advocate as a fun one-to-one time with children, even though I tried. It helps me to undersand how I can drive my family crazy by constantly putting more onto our "plates."

Of course, my "achiever" strength is also one of my major weaknesses.

God through today's QT has taught me that sometimes what we put into life is more important than what we get out of it. I need to learn how to re-define what a "successul" day is. A successful day can be a day that all I do is changing diapers and putting Baby FECS to nap. No time for Montessori activity, piano practice for Our Little FECS, or visiting a museum or going to a festival and that is also ok.

Also, I am reminded that I shouldn't feel bad putting in so much, even if I don't see the returns or rewards. In the area of parenting, for example, for the umpteen time, we told our kids not to do certain things, or to do certain things, and for the umpteen time, they forget or don't follow. I shouldn't feel that all my efforts are wasted. Our kids may not turn out as what we like them to be, but what we put in defines the success, not what we get out of it. We put in all the effort to train them in character-building and the rest we have to leave it to God. So what we put in is more important than what we get out of it.

While, I don't think I am going to be able to learn this lesson overnight, but it is at least a good start with the bit of clarity that God has given to me in this area of my life :-)
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C Summary (2Y3M15D): Pushing Shopping Trolley for the First Time


I wrote a post about grocery shopping with toddlers and forgot all about it. We went to the supermarket today and I saw Baby FECS' classmate pushing the shopping trolley, and it got to my mind that it was time for Baby FECS to try to. She enjoyed it and was really proud of it. Our Little FECS tried it when he was 2 years old. So I am 3 months late with Baby FECS, who is now 2 years 3 months old. Archiving this for memory. 

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Homemade Hamburgers


Serves 4

Ingredients:
1. 400g ground beef
2. 4 wholemeal burger buns
3. 4 slices of cheddar cheese
4. 2 iceberg lettuce leaves thinly shredded
5. 2 tomatoes thinly sliced
6. 1/2 red pepper bell sliced in ring
7. 1/2 onion sliced in ring
8. 1/4 cucumber sliced thin
9. Ketchup
10. Chili mayonnaise
11. Butter
12. 1 TBS cooking oil

Marinade for the beef patties:
1. 2 cloves garlic pressed
2. 1/2 onion minced or blended
3. 1 TBS corn starch - adding corn starch helps the beef patties to be tender and not dry after frying
4. 1 TBS soy sauce (optional)
5. Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Marinade beef with garlic, onion, soy sauce, corn starch, salt and pepper.
2. Form beef into 4 beef patties by hand.
3. Heat pan with oil, fry beef on medium high heat for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
4. Place cheese on each patty to melt the cheese.
5. Toast the burger buns.
6. Spread butter or chili mayonnaise on each bun.
7. Build the burger by placing lettuces, tomato, red pepper bell, onion, beef patty, cheese and cucumber on the bottom burger bun. Place top bun.

Tip:
You can also add avocado in the burger.

Additional Information:
Our Little FECS requested for hamburgers for dinner tonight. Often, the most challenging part of making hamburger is that the beef patties tend to be dry. The trick is to add corn starch to the ground beef when marinating it. That really helped to make the meat ice, tender and juicy to eat :-)

400g ground beef

Marinade the ground beef with pressed garlic, blended or minced onion, corn starch, salt and pepper. I also added 1 TBS of soy sauce (optional)

Form the ground beef into burger patties

Heat pan with cooking oil

Fry the beef patties until...

Done

Transfer to dish and ready to be build into burgers :-)

Spread a little butter and place some lettuce, red pepper fruit and tomato slices on the burger bun

  Place a beef patty

Place a slice of cheese

Place a layer of onion

Place a layer of cucumber slices

Place the top burger bun

31 August 2018: Baby FECS (2Y3M15D) and Little FECS (9Y5M26D) helping to marinade the ground beef

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

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Friluftsbadet Badesøen in Albertslund - Open-Air Pool


The summer is over, and I am just archiving this information for my family for next year. 

If you only have a couple of hours to spare, and your kids want to go somewhere that they can have fun playing with water, but you don't want to spend a bomb driving a few hours to a faraway water theme park for only a couple of hours (for some reason, water theme parks in Denmark are far away, although there is plan to build one in Copenhagen), then Friluftsbadet Badesøen in Albertslund is a good choice that is fun for the kids. It is a relatively quick drive for us (less than 30 minutes from our place).

Currently, it costs 50 DKK for adult and 35 DKK for child 0-14 years old. There is BBQ evenings on Wednesdays where you can bring your own meat to grill for free. The water is always capped at 25 degree celsius. It is open only in the summer and last day was end of August. This year ,it was August 26 2018.

Here is the details:

Skallerne 14
2620 Albertslund
Tel: +45 43687288
Email: idraet@albertslund.dk



 There is a Sauna, which is the wooden house behind, for you to warm up, should you get too cold after getting out of the water in the open.

 Here is a kiosk selling sandwiches and ice-cream.


 There are some slides for the fun factor.




 Here is the simple Baby pool that Baby FECS was very pleased with :-)







 There is also a playground for kids with slides, see-saw and swings


Here is the jumping float and some trampolines (not pictured)

Saturday, 25 August 2018

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Chinese Chili Bean Paste Kale & Beef


Serves 4

Ingredients:

1. 400g beef cut into slices
2. 3 stalks of kale de-stemmed
3. 2 stalks of spring onions chopped
4. 2 cloves garlic chopped
5. 1 TBS of ginger sliced
6. 1 TBS cooking oil
7. 1 TBS chili bean paste (See picture below)
8. 1 tsp soy sauce
9.  1 tsp of corn starch
10. Salt & pepper to taste
11. 1 litre water (for cooking kale)

Directions:

1. Marinade beef with corn starch, soy sauce, salt and pepper.
2. Bring to boil a pot of water.
3. Add Kale, reduce heat and cook for 5 mins or until Kale is cooked. Add salt to taste.
4. Drain and transfer Kale to a serving dish. Save the water.
5. Heat 1 TBS cooking oil on wok on high.
5. Fry garlic, spring onions and ginger until golden.
6. Add beef and fry until cooked.
7. Add 1 TBS of chili bean paste and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
8. Add a bit of water saved from cooking Kale, stir and mix well.
9. Pour the beef and gravy on top of the Kale in the serving dish.
10. Serve with rice :-)

Additional Information:

I learned this dish at a friend's place, who was serving it today. Our Little FECS loved it.


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Chinese Quinoa Egg Rice Rice with Cabbage


Serves 4

Ingredients:

1. 1 cup quinoa cooked according to instructions here, or cooked according to the way you cook rice.
2. 1/3 cabbage cut into strips
3. 3 eggs
4. 1 cooked chicken de-boned (optional)
5. 2 cloves garlic chopped
6. 2 stalks spring onion chopped
7. 2 TBS cooking oil
8. 1 tsp dark soy sauce
9. 1 tsp light soy sauce
10. Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Heat 1 TBS cooking oil on pan under medium fire (no. 7-8 on my stove).
2. Fry egg, dish out and set aside.
3. Add 1 TBS cooking oil and heat up pan on high heat.
4. Fry garlic until golden.
5. Add spring onions and fry for a few seconds until fragrant.
6. Add cabbage and fry for a minute.
7. Add quinoa, fry and mix well.
8. Add back the egg and chopped it up into bite size as you stir and mix with the quinoa.
9. Add cooked chicken, stir and mix well until the heat is evenly distributed.
10. Add a bit of dark and light soy sauce, mix well, dish up and serve.

Additional Information:

We had some left-over quinoa and chicken, so I decided to make into "fried rice" today. If you don't have any cooked chicken and want to make from scratch, you can use chicken breast cut into bite size and marinade with a tsp spoon corn starch, 1 tsp soy sauce and a bit of salt and pepper and fry them in the pan separately.

Quinoa is very nutritious, more so than rice. We are trying to find more ways of preparing quinoa, so that we will eat more quinoa. This is "quinoa" fried rice done according to Chinese fried rice method. I tried it today and it is very tasty and both my Mr. FECS and our Little FECS like it.

You can find another quinoa fried rice recipe here.


1. Heat 1 TBS cooking oil on pan under medium fire (no. 7-8 on my stove).
2. Fry egg, dish out and set aside.


3. Add 1 TBS cooking oil and heat up pan on high heat.
4. Fry garlic until golden.
5. Add spring onions and fry for a few seconds until fragrant (oops, I forgot to take a picture)
 6. Add cabbage and fry for a minute.

 7. Add quinoa, fry and mix well.

 8. Add back the egg and chopped it up into bite size as you stir and mix with the quinoa.

 9. Add cooked chicken, stir and mix well until the heat is evenly distributed.

10. Add a bit of dark and light soy sauce, mix well, dish up and serve.
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Toy of the Day: LEGO Duplo

25 August 2018 (2Y3M9D): The car Baby FECS built all by herself

I started on a new job 5 months ago, and haven't had so much time to be with Baby FECS. It is always a challenge for moms, and I feel it keenly, although my fellow colleagues who are moms don't. I guess we are all different. 

The last few times we interacted with LEGO Duplo - the LEGO Duplo playground, Baby FECS wasn't quite interested in building, but in playing with it. Today, Our Little FECS was helping to clean up some LEGO and Baby FECS went to disturb his work. Then Daddy FECS noticed that Baby FECS began to build the LEGO car herself. This happened by coincidence. Our Little FECS didn't really start actively building LEGO until 3 or 4 years old. Thus, Baby FECS is an earlier developer in this aspect. In fact, Baby FECS, is an earlier developer than Our Little FECS, in all aspects, except language. It must be due to the gender and birth order difference.

It is, of course, comforting to see that Baby FECS is developing well, despite the fact that I am working full time. Work is going great, and actually relaxing compared to spending time with a toddler!!! I even master programming and succeeded in automating a report with programming a macro. I have always been wanting to learn programming since I started work in 2005, but it was only recently that I got to do it after 13 years. I wish I could work half-time, but this is not a possibility. But every other day, I swing between the thought of quitting and continue with my full time work. Baby FECS is growing up so fast. Her language development is not as advanced as Our Little FECS at this age, and I reckoned that it is because I started this new job as she turned two years old. I don't get to see her as much, and that means I don't get to speak as much Mandarin to her. Oh.. oh... I am so torn...

25 August 2018 (2Y3M9D): The structure Baby FECS built all by herself. I called it a boat.
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