Food Insecurity

At almost every meal time, I briefly think that our family is “food insecure.” Not in the true sense of the word – by no means are we that at all. But if you asked me what we ate for the last week, I would have no idea. And if you asked me what we were going to eat for our next meal, I’d semi-panic and want to crawl in a hole and avoid the question entirely.

How is it possible that I go shopping every week, have a fridge and pantry full of food, yet we rarely have anything to eat?

In fact, I think one of the reasons Glow Worm is so short is because all he does is snack all day and doesn’t actually eat real food. (I’ll just go back and hide now.)

It’s pretty telling that my favorite time of every year is when I go to San Diego and visit my friend for a few days and she provides all meals and snacks for those blissful three days. I don’t have to think about anything!

It’s heaven.

Anyhow, lately, it’s been pressing upon me more and more so that we have to make some changes as a family about what we eat and how we eat it.

It all started when I slowly started realizing that whenever I had even minimal amounts of caffeine or sugar, I would start shaking. My whole body would feel jittery and jerky and I would feel jumpy and just “off.” And every time I ate a granola bar that my kids eat all the time (especially Glow Worm), I would feel really weird and my heart would start racing. I would get to thinking, “If I, as a fully grown adult woman, couldn’t handle the sugar content in a “healthy” granola bar, what the hell is it doing to my children?

I mean, maybe the reason Glow Worm is quite insane and is never tired has more to do with his diet than his temperament? Perhaps the kids would eat more of their normal meals if they didn’t always have snacks?

So, I don’t really know what to do. I flirt with the idea of cutting sugar or having only unprocessed foods in the house (OMG – that makes me so sad to even think about), or to go all hard core like the 100 Days of Real Food lady and that just stresses me out. I know I have the tendency to go full tilt all in extreme and then burn out super quick.

It seems impossible. And really hard. And a lot like work. (You all know how I feel about anything that even remotely resembles work.)

My mind races to think of what schedules I need to rearrange for shopping and food prep. Do I start freezer cooking? Use a crock pot? And are any of these dishes actual Chinese food? Or things my kids would eat?

And of course, I have a ton of excuses: the kids never eat what I make so why bother? We’re always on the go, how can we have fewer processed foods but still have an active lifestyle (and by active, I mean that we’re constantly driving around from one thing to another). What about all the food we already bought? It seems crazy hard – especially with my kids’ multiple food allergies.

And so, I’m hesitant to even mention my thoughts for several reasons. The main being that if I talk about it, I might actually have to do something. The others being that I know that my complaints are totally a first world problem and that I feel a lot of shame.

After all, there are 870 million people worldwide who don’t know what – if anything – they will have to eat. Even within the United States, there are millions of children and families who experience actual food insecurity. (1 in 7 Americans experience hunger because they or their families cannot afford food.) And here I am, complaining about my petty problems.

So, even though I have no idea what to do with our food situation, I hopefully can at least remind us that as America is gearing up for the holiday season. I encourage you to donate to your local food bank, volunteer for Meals on Wheels, donate your time to help pack food supplies, whatever. If you are at a loss of what to do, consider donating on a monthly basis to your local county food bank. We currently donate $150/month to the Contra Costa County Food Bank and I consider it part of our tithing. It has not been difficult to do considering it’s the very least I can do – which is give money.

In addition, this year, instead of just telling folks to not bring gifts to my children’s birthday parties, I’ve asked people to bring food items to donate to the local food bank instead. For Glow Worm’s birthday, we raised 118 pounds of food. I might even have people do so for our annual New Year’s Eve party.

I mention these things not to seem righteous or holy, but merely acknowledging that the rest of this post is horribly incongruent with real food insecurity. But since the context is my life, I can only write what I know.

However, I do want to also highlight actual hunger instead of my cheap facsimile so as we get ready for the holiday season (I know it seems early, but it really isn’t!), to keep in mind ways you can help – even if it’s just with your time and energy and strength.

I would also encourage you to set up a monthly contribution (or at least a reminder to donate during the summer months – which are notoriously low on donations) instead of just doing something during the holidays. People are hungry year round – not just on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Anyhow, I have no idea how to end this post (as always). But I would love to hear your feedback (especially if you and your family have made major food changes) and advice! Happy Monday.

 

How To Make An Awesome Salad

In general, I do not do food related posts. Mostly because I would rather eat the food than talk about it. Also, I lack the foodie vocabulary and resort to derivatives such as “OMGYUM!” to describe food. How a post can only consist of NOMS and DELISH, I don’t know. Hence, other than the occasional Taiwan food posts, I don’t do recipes, restaurant reviews, etc. Also, I am usually too busy eating and don’t remember to take a picture until the majority of the meal is in my belly. Sorrynotsorry.

Regular readers may also be under the impression that I don’t cook or hate to cook. I’m actually a pretty good cook – but not the kind you write home about. And certainly not the kind to follow recipes. I am the open-the-fridge-crap-what-do-we-have-that-can-turn-into-food type of cook. Which is good in the impulsive, not restricted to recipe way, but really bad for menu planning and any sort of long term food planning. As a result, I also waste a lot of food.

In general, I take after my mother in the sense that if something takes longer than 30 minutes to prepare, we are probably only going to be eating it at a restaurant or someone else’s house. That’s why I usually make soups, salads, and sandwiches. (Ok, I forget about salads and sandwiches because I never grew up with them as real meal options, but I’m trying to eat better so they’re back on the radar.)

As you may know, I host a lot of playdates, and often, the playdates overlap with lunch. So occasionally, I will make a soup, salad, or sandwiches for everyone to share. I usually get a round of compliments, so whether they are just being polite or they actually love it, that is debatable.

However, even Hapa Papa corroborates my friends (again, I suppose he is an extremely biased reporter – especially if he ever wants to eat again), so I consider these three items my fortés.

In fact, this is how I know I make a fantastic salad. My mother, who used to hate salads and find them bland and disgusting, now loves salads. (Well, the kind I make, anyway.) When I moved back in with my mother in 2004, I was very excited because I thought I would finally have delicious home cooked meals for dinner. And I did, for a time. Then, one day, I made the mistake of introducing my mother to the salad.

She was not at all interested. And to be fair, I didn’t like most salads except for those fancy $10 salads at nice restaurants – and even then, it was hit or miss. But I knew what I liked in the salads I did enjoy, so I put them in my salads. So, I made my mom a salad and she liked it so much, she had it again for dinner the next day. And the next. And the next.

In true fact, my mother liked the ease and taste of the salads so much that for the next two years (and possibly more since I’ve moved out), she eats salads almost every night.

I was so sad because no matter how awesome my salads are, I cannot eat them every night. And I sadly waved my hot cooked meal goodbye.

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Kale/spinach mix, cherry tomato mix, fuji apple, sprouted pumpkin seeds, turkey deli meat

Despite the sad story ending, I do still make a great salad, so without further ado and prefacing and whatnot, I bring you my Surefire Formula to make an awesome salad. (I would say salad recipe, but again, I don’t do recipes. Just general guidelines.)

Awesome Salad Formula

1) Salad mix
2) Something sweet
3) Something savory
4) Something tart
5) Something crunchy
6) Something fatty
7) Something protein
8) Make it colorful

I want to say you need at least 4 out of 8 of these items to make a good salad, and if you hit more than that, you are nearing awesome. (And many of these items can be combined. Eg: bacon is both crunchy, savory, fatty, AND protein!) 

Also, I would make the ratio of leaves to stuff about 1:1. So the leaves should only make up half the salad. If you have more leaves than that, it’s just too leafy for my taste. Any more than that and what you have is a fruit salad with some leaves. 

To make things easy for you, I am now going to list some possible things (as idea kick starters) in each category.

1) Salad Mix – Whatever kind of leaves you like. Spring mix, baby spinach, kale, whatever!

2) Something Sweet – Almost any type of fruit (except perhaps, banana), either fresh or dried. Some sweeter vegetables.
– apples, oranges, pears, tangerines, mandarins, peaches, nectarines, grapes, strawberries, any berries, apricots, raisins, mangoes, pineapples, persimmons, pomegranate seeds, tomatoes, etc.
– corn, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots

3) Something Savory – This is usually a combo category since nuts, meats, and cheeses all fit the bill. Pickled vegetables (eg: artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, olives, etc.) are a nice kick. You could also substitute savory with spicy, too.

4) Something Tart – This is also usually a combo category with the tarter type fruits (eg: oranges, pineapples, not fully ripe berries) or the salad dressing (which usually has seasoned vinegar or lemon/lime juice)

5) Something Crunchy – Again, a combo category with savory and protein. Also, vegetables.
– Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans,  candied ones are awesome, too!)
– celery (personally, not a favorite), carrots, jicama, bell peppers, corn, cucumbers, etc.

6) Something Fatty – My FAVORITE category! Includes most nuts (see above), bacon, cheeses (goat cheese, blue cheese, shoot, in a pinch, string cheese), and how could I forget about the avocado! 

7) Something Protein – Usually a meat, nuts, or seeds
– bacon, salami, chicken (I like to use leftover Costco rotisserie chicken), deli meat, ham, and of course, the incredible, edible egg (scrambled, hard boiled, mostly hard boiled, over medium)

8) Make it Colorful – This is more for presentation purposes. (Well, I suppose nutritionists also say we should eat colorful foods for the antioxidants – but in my case, it is purely for the pretty.) I try to get a good range of reds, whites, greens, blues, oranges. It just pops and when things look pretty, they taste yummy! (And in the case of salads, I sometimes think they need all the help they can get.)

Then, all you have to do is add my super easy salad dressing (which of course, is also more formula than recipe):

Easy Salad Dressing Recipe

1) 1 part olive oil
2) 1 part seasoned rice vinegar
3) salt/pepper/garlic powder/white pepper to taste
4) optional: sesame oil, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, Memmi soup base, dijon mustard

Alright, that’s it. If this takes you more than 10 minutes to make, it’s too hard! Enjoy!

Taiwanese Eats

Ok. It has been about five weeks since we’ve been back from Taiwan and I am still dreaming of the food. Mmmm…. Many of you have asked for a list of the places we ate and I am FINALLY getting around to it. I have tried to arrange by neighborhood/area so you can hit up a bunch of them but it’s been five weeks and my memory may be blurry. I guess I’ll just have to force myself to go back in January in order to refresh my mind. The things I do for my readers. Nothing but sacrifice.

So, in no particular order (other than neighborhood), I give you the majority of places we ate. I am not really a great food blogger or describer of food so please don’t expect anything of that sort. I will just list the restaurants and perhaps tell you which dishes we thought stood out.

All photo credits belong to Fleur.

 

1) Miscellaneous Restaurants

a) 鼎泰豐(Din Tai Fung)
(multiple locations such as Xin Yi, Yong Kang Jie, Alley 216)

I was a big fan of the pickled cabbage, wood ears, pork xiao long baos, squash and shrimp xiao long bao, mini sesame buns, and their white wood ear/long yan soup for dessert. I forget what it’s called in English. But it is awesome and delicious and YUM. Pretty much everything here is delicious. You really can’t go wrong.

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(top) pickled cabbage|wood ear|pork xiao long bao (middle) veggies|fish dumpling|veggie dumpling (bottom) white wood ear dessert|steamed taro dumpling|sesame buns

b) 永和豆漿大王 (Yong He Dou Jiang Da Wang / Soy Milk King)
(Multiple Locations)

A yummy Taiwanese breakfast place. Super cheap and tasty. I am a big fan of then 燒餅油條 (Shao bing and Chinese Donut) along with the meat and veggie bao. The sweetened soy milk is a MUST of course.

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(top left) Shao bing, salty soy milk, chinese donut, veggie/meat bao, cold sweet soy milk

c) 欣葉 (Shin Yeh)
(multiple locations)
Address: 8F, No. 9, Songshou Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei City (A9 of Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Xinyi Place Branch, 8F

My favorites were: pork liver, marinated chicken with scallions, fried oysters, filet cubes, and of course, the almond jelly. Too bad Glow Worm is allergic to almonds so I couldn’t have any – but it is SO DELICIOUS. They are also famous for their sweet potato congee.

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sweet potato congee|fried oysters|peanut mochi|pan fried pork liver|marinated chicken|almond jelly|bamboo shoots

d) 林東芳 (Lin Dong Fang)
274 Bade Road, Section 2, Jhongshan District, Taipei City
台北市中山区八德路二段272號

Famous for their beef noodle soup and their spicy beef butter. It sounds disgusting but it was tasty. I preferred Old Chang’s soup and meat, but the noodles were more QQ (Taiwanese for springy and chewy and yummy). It is tiny and has two additional small rooms where you can eat.

veggies, beef butter

veggies, beef butter

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Before the beef butter melts

Before the beef butter melts

 

e) 金峰滷肉飯 (Jin Feng Lu Rou Fan)
10 Roosevelt Road Section 1, Taipei
台北市羅斯福路1段10號

This is a famous braised pork rice place and braised/stewed egg. The kids loved it. It was very delicious. Unfortunately, when we went, we found an unexpected guest in Fleur’s rice plate. So, I think it will be some time before I go back. shudder

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f) 阜杭豆漿 (Fu Hang Dou Jiang)
2/F Hua Shan Market, 108 Zhongxiao East Road, Section 1, Taipei City
忠孝東路一段108號2F

This is a Taiwanese breakfast place and closed on Mondays. Also, expect at least a 15-30 minute wait as the line winds down the stairs and out around the corner of the street. It is quite yummy. There are thick shao bings, thin ones, soy milk, Chinese donuts, Chinese donuts wrapped in shao bings, sugar bings, all sorts. The menu is only in Chinese. I would help more but my brain is useless this far out. Just randomly point. It’s all good.

salty soy milk, sweet soy milk, thick shao bing Chinese donut wrap, rice tuan

salty soy milk, sweet soy milk, thick shao bing Chinese donut wrap, rice tuan

g) Ippudo (一風堂)
台北市大安區敦化南路一段165號1樓
1F, No.165, Section 1, Dunhua South Road, Da’an District, Taipei, Taiwan

Beware: there is a line! So, go right at the open (which is 11:30am). Yummy ramen and lots of refreshing iced tea. I would skip the ox tongue. Bleh. I was very disappointed. But the bao and the ramen were delicious.

Bao, Spicy ramen, ramen, ox tongue

Bao, Spicy ramen, ramen, ox tongue

 

2) Alley 216 Area

Already mentioned the Din Tai Fung. Here are some other food places near there.

a) 東區粉圓(Dong Qu Fen Yuan / Eastern Ice House)

No. 38, Alley 216, Section 4 Zhongxiao East Road, Daan District, Taipei
台北市大安區忠孝東路4段216巷38號

They are famous for their 粉圓 (Fen yuan/tapioca ball) and basically, it’s a bunch of toppings in ice. Yummy and refreshing, but I prefer shaved ice/snow.

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fen yuan, fen guo, tang yuan

fen yuan, fen guo, tang yuan

b) Ice Monster
106, Taiwan, 台北市大安區忠孝東路四段297號
Zhongxiao East Road, Taipei 297, Sec No.297, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd. Taipei, Taiwan

Ice Monster is famous for their shaved ice. It is super delicious. Our favorites were the mango and the lime shaved snows. There is only one snow that has Fen Guo on it, but you can ask for it on the side and promise to pay extra. (They are not big on customization here in Taiwan.)

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Mung bean snow with fen guo and grass jelly

 

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(top to bottom clockwise) Latte snow, melon sorbet, mango avalanche, lime snow

 

c) 度小月 (Tu Hsiao Yueh/Slack Season Noodles)
No. 12, Alley 8, Lane 216, ZhongXiao E. Rd, Sec. 4
台北市忠孝東路四段216巷8弄12號

This place is famous for their noodles but I just found them alright. They weren’t bad, just not amazing. What was amazing was the tofu. It was SO GOOD that we promptly ordered another plate. It is crispy on the outside, but tastes like 蒸蛋 (zheng dan/steamed egg custard) and chicken brothy on the inside. So tender and juicy and BLERGH. This was my favorite dish of the entire trip.

(from the top left) drunken goose, fried oysters, pumpkin ice cream, fernlike veggie, noodles, fried shrimp roll, long yan jello, fried taro, tofu

(from the top left) drunken goose, fried oysters, pumpkin ice cream, fernlike veggie, noodles, fried shrimp roll, long yan jello, fried taro, tofu

 

3) 大安區 (Da An District) by 台大 (Tai Da/National Taiwan University)

a) 臺一牛奶大王 (Taiyi Milk King Ice)
No.82, Sec. 3, Xinsheng S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 106, Taiwan
106, Taiwan, 台北市大安區新生南路三段82號

Fleur and I ate here at least once a day. There is almost always a line through the door but don’t worry – it moves quickly.

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Shaved ice with mango, 愛玉 (nature jelly), mung bean, large tapioca

b) 妙媽媽 (Miao Ma Ma)
H/T to Marian Wu for finding the address!

台灣台北市大安區新生南路三段68-2號
No. 2, Alley 68, Sec. 3, Xinsheng S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei

We ate here several times. These are Taiwan Small Dishes and I enjoyed them very much. Just ask the lady to give you recommendations. That’s what I did each time.

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(top) garlic fish, ginger chicken, hong tao, veggies, spicy tofu and pork, chicken hearts

c) 藍家割包 (Lan Jia Gua Bao)
No. 3, Alley 8, Lane 316, Section 3, Luosifu Rd
100, Taiwan, 台北市中正區羅斯福路三段316巷8弄3號

This mostly just a stand/cart on the corner next to a Family Mart (or something like that). Be aware that they have peanut shavings/powder in an open container next to the meat that they usually put on the gua bao. I did not let Cookie Monster eat this even though I didn’t add peanut shavings. It was pretty likely for cross contamination. They have fatty meat, lean meat, and 50/50. Go with the fatty. It is 100x better than the lean.

fatty Gua Bao (Taiwanese hamburger)

fatty Gua Bao (Taiwanese hamburger)

 

4) 永康街 (Yong Kang St)

There is also a Din Tai Fung here. Worth eating wherever you happen to be.

a) 大隱酒食 (James Kitchen)
65 Yongkang Street, Da’an District, Taipei
台北市大安區永康街65號
Hours: 11:00am~2:00pm, 5:30pm~12:00am

This place is very old school and I wasn’t a huge fan of their food. It was pretty good, but it could be a factor of me ordering the wrong things. I just asked the waitress and she recommended a lot of pricey stuff. The best was the fried oysters and Chinese donut dish. Such a weird but tasty combination. The chicken was good, too.

(top) fried oyster and Chinese donut, pig knuckles, squid with special sauce, chicken and scallioons, veggies

(top) fried oyster and Chinese donut, pig knuckles, squid with special sauce, chicken and scallioons, veggies

b) 老張牛肉麵店 (Lao Zhang Niu Roh Mien/Old Chang’s Beef Noodle Soup)
105 Aiguo East Road, Da’an District, Taipei
106, Taiwan, 台北市大安區愛國東路105號

SO TASTY!! The beef tendon noodle soup is so yummy. I am sure the other foods are good (they have pretty good side dishes) but I pretty much came here to eat the beef noodle soup. The beef is shot through with tendon and yumminess. YUM!! Did I mention, YUM??!

pork short ribs and sweet potato, spicy and regular beef tendon noodle soup

pork short ribs and sweet potato, spicy and regular beef tendon noodle soup

c) Smoothie House (思慕昔)
(multiple locations at Yong Kang St – just keep walking)
台北市大安區永康街9號
No. 9 Yong Kang St, Da’an District, Taipei

Even though Ice Monster has Fen Guo, I still preferred Smoothie House. Mostly because the music is 90s hip hop and R&B and reminds me of college. Plus, it’s atmosphere is nightclub-esque. Makes me feel cool (pun intended). I pretty much always get the mango avalanche, but we have also gotten smoothies as well.

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珍珠觀音拿鐵雪花冰(Tapioca latté snow)|mango avalanche

 

Alright. All done. Dear Lord, that was a lot of effort. To thank me, please eat as much as possible and enjoy. I won’t even mind if you comment and rub it in while I’m stuck back in the US.

For further reference, these were the articles Fleur and I used to find stuff we wanted to eat.

45 Taiwanese Foods We Can’t Live Without

A Hungry Girls’ Guide to Taipei

28 Reasons to Love Taipei

10 Things Taiwan Does Better Than Anyone Else

I’m sure there were more but quite frankly, I’m exhausted. It was definitely more fun to eat at these places than compile them! Happy Eating!

Eating Like A Hobbit

It’s my favorite day of the week! School has started up again and although Cookie Monster is super sad, I am relieved. It is hard to keep them entertained for a full day (Clearly we had too much fun this weekend because he thinks we are having loads of fun without him. We are, but we are having fun because he is at school. Mean? Yes. Truth? Also, yes.)

Anyhow, off to the updates. That’s what you’re really here for, right? The pics of food and children. (I understand. Both are incredibly mouth watering.)

1) I am surprised by how many churches there are in Taipei (at least in the Da An district where we live and frequent). There are like twenty just in the block by our apartment and on the short bus ride to school.

2) I love how there are so many living walls in the city. It helps with air pollution and is lovely to look at. I will try to get a pic before I leave.

3) I decided to take the kids to eat beef noodle soup and shaved ice and wonders of wonders – my kids actually loved it! Cookie Monster kept saying it was delicious and super yummy. We went to 老張牛肉麵 (Lao Zhang Beef Noodles) and Smoothie House. Here are pics for proof!

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4) People in Taiwan constantly stare at and approach Fleur and I and ask if the kids are ours. I think I would’ve gotten stares anyway if I were with my three, but together? Fleur and I are like a walking cult.

Also, I am slightly jealous that Fleur gets approached so much because of Omi and Gnome (I mean, have you seen them? They are gorgeous.) On the other hand, Fleur is always questioned whether or not the children are hers. Really? That would piss me off.

Taiwanese people love mixed race babies and since all our kids are multi-ethnic, we are constantly approached. On Saturday, two ladies chased us down to ask if all six kids were ours and if they were mixed. This morning, a lady gave me her business card and asked if Glow Worm was mixed. She wanted him to be a model for their maternity and kids’ clothing line. Unfortunately, they need him at the end of August and we will be back in the US by then.

I am constantly tempted to say wildly inappropriate things. But I realize there are far fewer multi-ethnic kids here so people are really curious. Plus, the Taiwanese birth rate is even lower than Japan’s and I think it is uncommon to see families with so many children (let alone a swarm of SIX).

5) Our good friend Tiger Woo suggested we go to the Lucky Art Crayon Factory to see crayons being made, but it is really far. It’s one hour by car and 5+ hours by public transportation. Fleur and I were going a little crazy last night while texting Tiger Woo and Fleur discovered it is 18 hours and 41 minutes if we want to walk there. Double if Omi has to walk. The thought of poor little Omi and her short little legs walking had Fleur and I giggling furiously in the kitchen as we texted side by side into our phones. Hmmm. Perhaps this is only funny if you were actually there. Sorry about the botched telling.

6) Fleur and I might actually be losing weight and/or inches despite our eating like Hobbits and spending almost every waking moment shoving food and shaved ice into our mouths. I think it’s because we have to walk so much and carry everything. Plus, it is so hot we barely need to pee because we excrete all our liquids via sweat. All you have to do is see how we have to haul our children to see why. Here’s Fleur after a long day. (She’s basically Super Mom.)

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7) Glow Worm has had a fever these past few days. I think he is teething. Poor little man. He hasn’t been sleeping well and also refuses to nurse. I suppose he isn’t going to starve – particularly since I swear he has gotten so much heavier since the trip started. So either I am getting weaker or he is gaining weight. I constantly think my backpack is too heavy (even when empty) and only when I shift it in an attempt to lessen the weight that I remember it is fatty Glow Worm that is causing my shoulders to ache. But seeing as he is the only child of mine to so joyously eat food, I don’t mind.

This morning, I wasn’t feeding him 蔥油餅(green onion pancake) fast enough and he started uttering guttural noises and pounding both hands flat against my chest as if to say, “Hey Lady! I am displeased with the caliber of your service. Let’s get a move on!”

7) We went to Kidsburgh, Da An Park, and Wen Zhou park again this weekend. Everyone except Cookie Monster was wiped out. What does it take to tire this kid out? Apparently only extreme heat saps his energy. And even then, his recovery time is super quick. shakes fist at sky Here are some pics of Kidsburgh, the bus ride home, and the park. In case you can’t tell, the kids are melting.

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Alright, I think I broke WordPress’s App. See you soon!

Quick Post

Glow Worm is up from his nap earlier than usual (or perhaps this the new normal) so it will have to be a quick update today. Here we go! (Also, pics might be wonky due to WordPress App not making pics easy. My html-fu is sadly pathetic and out of my need for expediency, I don’t much care.

1) Seeing cousins is fun even though it’s almost like seeing strangers since we rarely talk. But there is just something nice about family. Plus, it’s nice to be in a house full of toys. Here’s a pic of Cookie Monster, Gaamera, and my cousin’s son chowing down on chocolate ice cream.

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2) Kids had a great time over the weekend having zero school. We went to 大安森林公園 (Da An Park) and suffered through the heat. Glow Worm was particularly pleased to be out of the ergo and chilling on the swing the entire time. (Pics of the lake, the playground, swings, waiting at the bus stop, and on the bus.)

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3) My mom sent a three boxes of care packages and it was awesome. A crate of red dragon fruit, a box of mango bread, and a box of Q bing and mung bean pastries.

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4) We took a bunch of selfies so I can actually be in the pictures.

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5) Glow Worm has make-shifted some walkers out of stools and zooms around the apartment. He can take a few steps by himself, but he far prefers his hacked walkers.

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6) And finally, Fleur and I are gonna bring home vats of sesame butter. Yum!! (Photo credit: Fleur)

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Ok. Off to eat Din Tai Feng again and do grocery shopping! See you soon. 🙂