Thursday, January 30, 2014

Boston's Aviator Hat

A few months ago, I put my crochet skills to use and made Boston an aviator hat while we were on a road trip to Vegas. It was big for him then, but that was ok because I wanted him to keep wearing his Totoro hat for a bit longer. As nature would have it, he is growing super rapidly and now fits into his aviator hat. I'm excited for him to wear it as it will keep his ears warm from Utah's snow (and it so happens that we had a snow storm today). It will be a fun addition to his wardrobe (yes, he does have a wardrobe and it has expanded a bit beyond onesies). I especially wanted to make sure that he has something his mother made for him and know how much she loves him.
I love this hat because it's an aviator hat and to me, aviator means adventure! I hope this precious little one grows up to be an adventurer, a wanderer, a difference maker, and a life lover. He has such a sweet spirit about him now. He's a little one that simply enjoys life, an example to me and AJ. Please stay this way, Little One.
I found the design here and it's tried and true. I adjusted the pattern a bit to fit about a 5-6 month old baby. If you would like the new pattern, please contact me.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Happy Wednesday!

It's finally Wednesday - the middle of the week so 2 more days of work for everyone then time to play! We have two exciting events to look forward to this weekend. My sister, Molly is coming to town Saturday night to meet baby Boston and hang out with us for a few days. And then I have the privilege of speaking to some young women on "Finding joy in the journey." It'll be a wonderful topic in preparation of 5 years since my accident. I need all the help I can get, so please pray for me!

Anyway, I just wanted to remind everyone to be happy today because it's Wednesday! Just follow this little guy's lead :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cambodian Ginger Chicken

My favorite dish growing up is one from my parents' homeland of Cambodia that translates to Ginger Stir-fry but we'll call it Ginger Chicken here. It's a typical dish enjoyed by many if not all Cambodian families; AJ and I have had it time and time again with Cambodian families and friends in the States and Cambodia. Just as meat and potatoes are comfort food for many Americans, ginger chicken is comfort food for many of us Cambodians. It may not sound super appealing or exciting for some as the thought of a bite into snappy ginger is foreign, but trust me, if you were to try ginger for the first time, Ginger Chicken is the way to go. If you're ready for an adventure into a slightly spicy, savory, and sweet dish that is bound to fill your home of aromatic and gastronomic goodness, try this ginger chicken. It's simply amazing. Let me know how it goes!




Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:


  • 1 pound boneless chicken (your choice of white or dark meat)
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil (can add little by little throughout cooking)
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and then minced
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, matchstick sized pieces of ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 large onion, julienned
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), stemmed, seeded and cut into thin strips

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the chicken, fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and palm sugar and cook until the outside of the chicken is no longer pink.
2. Stir in the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender crisp and the chicken is cooked through. Feel free to adjust the spices as you go.
3. Serve with rice and you're ready to go!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Shopping with Mommy in a Wheelchair

Being a first time mom comes with a plethora of unique challenges, whether its adjusting to weird sleep patterns, learning to breastfeed, or getting the baby to stop crying - it isn't always rainbows and butterflies. And while I recognize all first time moms, and even moms of multiple kids have these issues, being a mommy in a wheelchair obviously brings some additional hurdles. I have had to learn to maneuvering my wheelchair with a sleeping baby in my lap using one hand at a time to zigzag my way from place to place, getting in and out of my wheelchair in a timely fashion to meet baby's needs (a little flustering as baby cries), and many other day-to-day tasks. I don't tell you this to toot my horn, but as any mother will tell you, these challenges are dwarfed in comparison to the moments of joy that come our ways. So while being a mommy in a wheelchair brings some unique hurdles, it also has certain perks. One of those is always having a carriage for baby in any location, it's called: me. Whenever we go shopping and I don't want to unbuckle and buckle his carseat or set up his stroller, [as long as he is awake] we can sit him on Mommy's lap as we glide along in my magic moving chair, strapped to me using his 'Peanutshell' ($46 on Amazon), shopping bag, diaper bag and purse on the back, and off we go. 

Initially, we didn't know how I would travel with Boston from place to place if I had to both hold him and wheel us. I wanted something that would help get us quickly from room to room (not tons of straps or wrap stuff because I'm not that patient or talented). We searched the internet for different options and found a device, the Peanutshell, which is essentially a baby sling (just in case you're in the market, you have an opinion for it here - it has served us well with adjustable straps, pockets for binky and small things, and is a sturdy product).

Sound asleep in the Peanutshell
As he has grown and put on more weight (I love the chunkiness!), I've had to adapt the Peanutshell a little by sitting him on my lap and putting the sling over my chair and him. We found that this alternative allows him to sit up, face towards the world in front of us, and see what I see. From what I can tell, he loves it because he gets so excited, kicking his legs about, giving me his best smile, and talking so much as we go around the store. We get around nice and slow, especially around tight spots and occasionally clothes get brushed up against his face. We manage. We also get a ton of gawkers along the way. I understand, Mommy and baby in a magic moving chair - we're just too much cuteness to handle so we're bound to get some attention! We just have fun and wave to people especially little kids :).

Fascinated with different colors and things
I love these times that I can hold him close to me on my lap while we go shopping. With him right there, I'm constantly reminded that I have a little being who is absorbing everything around him so I do my best to incorporate him into the shopping experience and keep him stimulated with words and colors (not colorful words lol). Thank goodness for a Peanutshell. I definitely recommend it - or something similar - for mothers, especially those in wheelchairs.

I know Boston won't stay this little forever, so these extra moments I get from being in a wheelchair make the challenge more worth it because I get to cuddle with my boy a bit longer. I'm grateful for these little blessings that bring so much joy. For all mommies out there who maybe feeling kind of stressed from their circumstance, I hope you find little joys like these to be grateful for, too.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

DIY {Portable Growth Chart}

During baby's nap time, I find I have some spare time to do other things like read and create. Recently, I've been working more on creation and found there are many neat things on the web that I can make for loved ones. I found a DIY project - a portable growth chart - I could make for my baby on Whipperberry. It's a great idea for families like ours who are in limbo and will be moving around a bit longer for work, grad school, etc. This way, we are able keep track of our baby's growth over the years on something like this simple chart and take it with us wherever we go next. I plan to make this an annual measurement event for Boston and use it for years and years. I hope he gets excited!

Materials:
  • Jute Webbing [Joann for $0.79/yard (3 feet). I got 2 yards and 2 in.]
  • Sharpie
  • Key Tags (Joann for )
  • Large Safety Pins
  • Measuring Tape
  • Stencil
  • 3 thumb tacks or 1 large grommet

1. Using the stencil, write out the name of your child from the top of the jute webbing.


2. Tape down the measuring tape from 1 in. to 12 in. on a flat surface and begin marking every foot in large print (I free-handed, but you can use a stencil). I went up to 6 ft. Height doesn't really run in our families, but one can dream… haha

3. Mark in every inch in smaller print from bottom to the top of the webbing.



4. Then add key tags for different milestones. Because Boston is so little, I am putting in measurements from his doctor visits like 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, etc… after a year it'll be annual.

5. Hang it up with three thumb tacks, evenly placed apart. Or if you have a grommet tool, you can grommet the top and nail it to the wall.



You can easily put this together as a kit for someone's baby shower. It's an idea for a super easy and thoughtful gift. Let me know how your's goes!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe


DSC_0731.jpg, a photo by tinakim88 on Flickr.
One of our family’s most favorite dishes is the chicken lettuce wrap. It is cooked in an Asian flavored sauce with water chestnuts, mushrooms, and/or bean sprouts, making it a bit more textured and Asian-y. Wrap it all in lettuce and it makes for a delicious and healthy meal. Another plus is that it’s super easy and quick to make. Check out the recipe below. If you try out this recipe, let me know what you think. Enjoy!


Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Prep time: 15
Cook time: 15
Serving size: 2-3

Ingredients
Chicken
3 tbsp oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup water chestnut
2/3 cup mushroom
3 tbsp chopped onions
1 tsp minced garlic
4-5 leaves iceberg lettuce

Special Sauce
¼ cup sugar
½ cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp hot mustard
2 tsp water
1-2 tsp garlic and red chili paste

Stir-fry Sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp rice wine vinegar

Directions
Special Sauce:
1.In a small pot, make the special sauce by dissolving sugar in water and place over medium high heat. Mix in soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil. Let reduce for about 5 minutes or until sauce thickens, and set aside.
2.Combine hot water with hot mustard and set aside.
3.When ready to serve, mix together your preferred amount of mustard and garlic chili sauce to special sauce mixture.

Stir-fry Sauce:
1.Prepare the stir-fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.

Chicken:
2.Place oil in wok or large frying pan over high heat .
3.Sauté chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until done.
4.Remove chicken from pan and allow it to cool. Set oil aside for the next steps.
5.As chicken cools, mince water chestnuts and mushrooms to about the size of small peas.
6.When chicken is cool, mince it to the same size as mushrooms and water chestnuts.
7.Place pan on high heat again, add another tbsp. of vegetable oil.
8.Add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and stir-fry sauce to the pan. Sauté the mixture for a couple of minutes then serve it in lettuce “cups.”
9.Drizzle sauce over wrap and Bon Appetit!

Chicken Lettuce Wrap with Bean Sprout

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tummy Time via Boston

Today I got to spend the whole day with Mommy (like every other day). We did all sorts of fun stuff. I drank some mum mum (Mmmmm…it's so delicious), ate my fingers (there may or may not have been some dribbling involved), read with Mommy (rather, she read to me while I touch the pages. I love all the bright colors), and had swing time where I get to move from side to side in my swing while listening to fun baby music. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention we also had tummy time -  one of my least favorite time of everyday.

This is where Mommy places me on my tummy and I have to try and move around - something about getting on my way to crawling (whatever that is). It's so tiring. So most of the time, I just do a little wiggling to get Mommy off my back, dribble some, and take breaks to make it go by faster - it's so funny how happy this makes mommy. She claps and cheers for me to keep moving. But all I'm thinking about is how I can't wait til break time. I love the break part because I just lay my head on the ground and rest. It's so relaxing. That is the life. Seriously, all I have to do is smile or giggle and I get a ton of attention; if they ignore me for too long I whine and boom, attention. The other day I put in a little more effort in and I flipped from my tummy to my back, and the parentals went wild! I have this lady wrapped around my soggy finger. Oh look my toesies…

Sorry, I saw my toes…I have ten of them you know. Fascinating. Mommy sometimes calls them piggies.

OK, so the worst part about tummy time isn't just how tiring it is but the fact that I can see it coming from a mile away but there's nothing I can do to escape it. Mommy usually says "Honey, it's tummy time," but I can't say back to her, "No way, Mommy. That stuff is hard work." So then she gets us ready. She puts me down on the couch, and I get to see the whole living room while sitting up. Yes! I love sitting up! She makes my quilt go whoosh before it hits the floor. Next she takes her feet off of her magic moving chair, and puts down the rest of her body on to the floor. After, she scooches along the floor a little bit, reaches to grab me, wobbles a bit, and onto the floor I go. I think I'm getting a bit heavy for her hence the wobbliness, but honestly, it's kind of fun. That was an adventure in and of itself. I get onto my tummy and then the dreadful tummy time begins.

Tummy Time.jpg by tinakim88

Tummy Time.jpg, a photo by tinakim88 on Flickr.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Locks of Love Hair Donation

I began donating to the Locks of Love organization in 2005, when my high school was putting on a hair drive for them. It was then that I learned about children who couldn't grow their own hair due to illnesses. I imagined how difficult it must have been for these children to feel different because of their hair. I knew that I wanted to help them fill that void by giving them mine. It was just the right thing to do since they needed hair and I had so much of it!

I was nervous at first because I was so used to running my fingers down my hair and prettying it up for school. I wasn't sure how short hair would be. But I just took a deep breath and jumped right in. It was a drastic change in my life as I had long hair for years and on that day, I donated 10 inches! I remember looking in the mirror and being taken back by the sight of my short hair. It was going to take some getting used to. But I felt great knowing that my hair was going towards a wonderful cause. It was going to make another little girl very happy and help her get through a really tough time. It was a small sacrifice in order to serve another person. As I see it, it's just hair and it'll grow back. This was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Since then, I've been able to donate my hair two more times. This last weekend, I went in for my fourth donation and brought along my ten year old sister. Boy was she excited to get to donate her hair to another special little girl, too. She was SO eager to do it when I told her I was going in.


Before
12 inches after
I encourage those who are able to donate their hair as well. It may not only be 10 inches. It can be 6 inches or more and that will go towards manufacturer cost of labor. Read the details by clicking on the above link. Every bit helps. If you do decide to commit, please send a link for me to see your after photo!