Friday, 28 September 2012

Monterey Bay Aquarium

We visited the iconic place of Monterey - Monterey Bay Aquarium. The one thing that keeps both kids awake and interested are animals, whether above or under the sea, as long as they are moving! The aquarium is huge, with 2 levels of viewing fun and activities. What's considered a good place for me is when there's good cooperation of maximum walking from the kids.

There are many activities for the kids and adults to be involved in. They had experiences from touching starfishes to sea urchins and hearing sounds of the whales and seals. I've also gained good knowledge about the sea mammal, whales. Their babies, calves drink and acquire their antibodies from breast milk too! Much more gallons than a human of course. 

This week had been much into whales. The kids did ocean themed storytelling in the library twice and have been learning to sing the popular children's song, "Baby Beluga". Which I have unknowingly started to hum at times. Beluga is simply referred as a white whale. Loving the song here - Baby Baluga. Mission of next week, to master this song with the kids!

Octopus! My favourite sashimi.
Experiencing how a whale swims
Kiss goodbye to seal
Radial Symmetric life of a jellyfish
Love this colouful tank
It's good fun and knowledge gained from the aquarium. It felt as if we surfaced from under to above sea, without any diving equipments. I'm sure the kids had fun seeing the water animals!

After aquarium, it's dinner at Bubba Gump, an awesome meal! What impresses me was their dessert. All sooooo good! Will definitely be back.

Bubba Gump - A shrimps lover place
Best of their 3 dessert
Getting on to singing "Baby Beluga".... what a nice song!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Asian marketing

Did a 90 minutes drive to Ikea and 99 Ranch market last Saturday. We bought lots of stuff for the home, as well as comforter and toys for the kids. Since our stay isn't permanent, Ikea's price and items fit our budget well. Car ride was pretty alright, other than little cries and squabbles the kids had.

We need sun shields!
For road trips, we'll just have to pack some snacks along, to keep the kids occupied. Chocs and candies are my saviour at times. I have always been kind to their teeth, but the treats can give us occasional pleasant journeys. They help keep driver awake too.

On the go box
The best moments are when both kids are asleep. Bliss! MPVs here are called vans and they have gap between the two seats for the middle row. Not of an option, I have to take the front seat. It wasn't an acceptance to Jare initially, but I guess he's learning to accept such separation. The only bad is, I have to keep turning and twisting my body to pick things up for them, if they drop something. 

Good moments
And then we dropped by the facebook office, the outside of course. We've no business in there, but we are clients huh. While both kids took nap in the car, my man went down for a shot with the big thumb.

Like us!
Ranch market was my kind of supermart. I could find most Asian stuff here, especially the green leafy vegetables, fish, prawns and sauces which are not common in the supermarts around our area. Bought salmon and prawns, or what they call shrimps here. Both were not too bad, moderately fresh. Didn't dare to buy the other types of fish as we hear feedbacks about its freshness being compromised. 

Ranch at Grant Road, Mountain view

The frozen and smell-less durian!
That's our buy from Ikea and Ranch!
I guess this must be the actual reason why we went for MPV - to fit a day of shooping loots! It's always wise to bring our cooler box along when we are marketing in a far away place. In fact, 90 minutes drive is probably a norm to going about places here. More long hour drives ahead! But I still prefer to do a 10 minutes drive for simple groceries.

I bought so much food that evening, as if I have an army to feed. The Asian taste in me is here to linger for some time. The stocks are depleting and perhaps it's time for a switch to western recipes. 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

'Ratatoullie' - Image inclusive

Disclaimer: If you detest mice, keep your eyes away from the picture below.  

Trapped a mouse and my man took picture of the pest. I screamed before he could show it to me. Still, I boldly asked to peep at the picture. It's actually quite a cute little mouse. But however cute, we still have a mission to get rid of it and its friends.

Dual coloured mouse
And that's the pipe hole for the dishwasher, whereby it came from the outside. Thinking of a way to cover up the hole now.


Woke up one morning to find my bananas in this state, it's obvious who the culprit was, rodents! Called in pest control to place mice traps today. Somehow, this is not a permanent solution, holes have to be covered up. It's really yikey to have them around and sneakily surface in the night. I'll be terrified to meet them.

Bitten banana

Have told my man to check out the traps first thing the next morning. I don't want to meet them. Wait, are there families who buy mice as pets?!!!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Farmers Market and library

Over the week, we took stroll at the Old Monterey Farmers Market, which happens every Tuesday, rain or shine. It rarely rains here anyway. Loving the fruits and vegetable we can find there, some are really exotic, not a find in the supermarkets. 
It's also where I found kangkong and Xiao bai cai! Bought and cooked them. In addition to food, there's also sale of art and craft stuffs.

Love these strawberries
Who says greens are green
Portobellos and mushrooms

Tomato variations

We had calamaris
We also visited the Monterey Public library for storytelling session that happens every Thursday morning. Heap thanks to mummy Yveon for offering us rides to and fro, as the man was in campus. The storytelling session we attended was for toddlers, 18 to 36 months. It's all so interactive, from reading with simple props to music and little movements. Jare didn't have good focus, but Jazz seemed to have enjoyed. Tagged onto mummy Yveon, Jazz borrowed 6 books.

The library
Story on Hermit crabs
There are so many fun activities lined up routinely for the kids. Shall apply for my library membership soon. The good news is, there's no limit to borrowing! Just like there's no limit to acquiring knowledge. And I love reading to the kids, it's one of the best ways to build up vocabulary.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Rice the traditional way

I've been so pampered that I've never cooked rice the traditional way. Since we yet to get our rice cooker and needed rice to complement our dishes, I cooked it the old age method.

Cooked rice

Fruits picking

We went apples and strawberries picking at Gizdich Ranch. It was an awesome experience for us. The sun was scotching hot, but still breezy. We all had fun picking fruits. Apple trees were too high for them, Jazz picked more of the strawberries. For Jare, he picked and ate as we went along. Simply fresh. But unwashed.

Gizdich Ranch
Picking rules
Apple tree
Many fallen apples on the ground
Different apples in the farm
Our harvest
Wished we could get more apples, but we don't have enough mouths to finish them. I yet to bite into these picked apples, simply because we still have some in the fridge from the store.

Jazz picking strawberries
My mini picks
Our first harvest
We tasted the strawberries after we are done with the first harvest. It was so sweet that we decided to go for a second round of strawberry picking. Some strawberries are really mini, and those are the not too sweet. The really huge ones are sweet and juicy. After some time, Jazz is trained to spot and pick the huge ones. 

With her pick
Juicy huge ones
Our second harvest
Our fruits were paid according to the weight of our picks. After our fruitful harvest, we went to the pie shop for some apple pies. It was yummy! And our best buy was their apple juice. It was so good that it filled up my daily fluid intake. As natural as it is, with nothing added. Only freshly pressed apples, as if you were biting into an apple!

Pie shop
Criss Cross apple sauce pie
A gallon of apple juice - Not enough!

Our fridge is now overstocked with apples and strawberries!

The next half of our day, we visited the Gilroy Premuim Outlets, where we had lunch at Applebees. And if you talk about healthy meals for the kids here, it can be a difficult avoidance. When we're out, it's almost fries for their every meals. Jare has love for fries now, so much so that we have to keep some out of his sight. Keeping obesity out of bound.

Fried chicken cutlets and fries
Steak for adults

After lunch, it was shopping! And I surrender, it's just tough to keep watch on the kids and shop at the same time. Half the time, I was chasing the kids. Due to my oversight, Jazz broke a scented glass candle in one of the shop. I have to embarrassingly apologize or that. Phew, I was let off without paying.

Rented car for them

Even though we rented a 'car' to help with our shopping, Jare didn't much like sitting in there for too long. Nonetheless, I did some extensive or call it, crazy shopping, shall picture the loots soon. Love being at the outlets, so many shops within an area. Shop till your legs and money fail you. The shops close early, if not, I would have continued my spree. Or perhaps, online shopping is still the best for mummies with kids.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Home activities

Spent most of our weekdays indoor, while the man ran his errands to get our housing and car settled. Finally, all done! Moving into our home next week and got a smoothly transacted car. Did some driving and it wasn't as bad as I thought, but still not too confident going around without the man. I'm bad when it comes to directions. 

We also dropped by Jazz's potential school to check on vacancy, disappointingly, there isn't any slot at the moment. Keeping our fingers crossed for a vacancy, hopefully soon. Would be nice to send her to school for playmates. For Jare's age, this potential school only has hourly care.

While we've been inbound, I did some work with Jazz. Started her on new set of Chinese words, did letterland - Beyond ABC, where we worked on the 'ch' 'sh' 'ph' and 'th' sounds. The 'th' sound is one that's so challenging to teach. She couldn't get it right. Did an Explore English post some time ago on 'th'. We also revised on her three letter words. All these achievements only when I've some quality time with the kids.

Doodling keeps them occupied
On her sticker book
Jazz introduced the letterlanders to Jare. From A to Z. I witnessed her teaching!
Words introduced
My busy moments would be what a typical house mum does. I cook, wash the dishes, fold and iron the clothes, with these chores already taking much of my time. Staying at the temporary lodge now, I don't even have to wash the toilet or vacuum the carpet, there's room service. Beginning to imagine my house load ahead once out of the lodge. And If I were cooking, Jazz would spend time on the ipad, TV or toys, and Jare would cling onto my legs! How tough is it to even cook meals.

On days when we've been busy running around for errands, the kids get their treats too - Playground! There are many playgrounds within the area we'll be staying and it's where I can bring them to exert energy. Love the great fresh air here. And even though weather is cool, with the same earthly sun we have, the rays here can be damaging. Within days, I noticed the kids and myself got tanned, and we weren't even spending much time outdoor. It is also when I've began to carry sunscreen in my bag.  

Left in playground with Mummy, while Daddy ran an errand
Love his smile!
Less crowd on weekday evening
Love it when the man plays with the kids
Time to go
It's another weekend to begin for us, plans ahead and I'm beginning to enjoy our everyday here. It feels like an extremely long holiday abroad.