Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Hunting for grubs and snails and puppy dog tails with Ellie and Abram.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hen and Chicks

We did it! We actually conducted business! Oh what fun it was to actually sell a good from our own kitchen and receive money for it!
Ken thought up the fitting name for our stand, and, together with our friend, Fang-Shan, and her two girls, we launched our cute dolls, clips and goodies business. For one day. I don't think we'll be doing this again until maybe spring. It took a lot of time and labor, and most of the earnings were eating up by rent and the cost of materials. But we did earn a profit!

The main reason we did it was to give the kids the experience of dealing with money, customers, and commerce in general. What an eye opening experience for all of us! We discovered that Anna and Joji both love being "laobans"(shop owners). Fang-Shan who grew up manning their family's booth in the local night market, schooled us on what to call out to folks, and how to gradually add in more and more appealing information as potential customers lingered. As soon as she taught us the phrase (in Chinese of course), "Welcome to try our samples", Anna shouted it out to any who may care to listen. There was hardly a second between the lesson and the application. With such boldness and volume too! Finally Fang-Shan had to encourage Anna to wait until she saw people coming near to make the exhortation. Joseph, started out cautiously, "welcome to try our samples...", and gradually worked his way up to being audible to passersby.

Things changed as the afternoon wore on. Anna, after welcoming the entire market attendance to our stand, grew tired of this game, and went off to play with her good friend Xin-Xin, Fang-Shan, younger daughter. Joseph, on the other hand, continued on in earnest. He took his job seriously, memorizing the new phrases he was supposed to add in. Like, "Here we have chocolate (zucchini, but this part was too hard to translate) muffins, here is pumpkin raisin, and here is banana chocolate chip." and "There were made this morning." When Anna, Lydia and the other girls were getting too free with the samples, Joseph put a stop to it. "You can't have anymore; we must save some for the customers!" He begged me to allow him to wear the money bag, and he donned the vendor badge with pride. When the other kids decided to go to the nearby hills (where he loves to be) and play, he declined their invitation to join. "No, I want to stay and sell stuff a little longer." He lasted almost to the end. Ken is convinced he and Anna alone (and perhaps Lydia with her fuzzy little head poking out from the top of the table) brought in the bulk of our earnings that day.

I loved watching Ken in action. He was in his element effortlessly convincing people why they should buy our delicious wild yeast, whole wheat, double chocolate zucchini muffins made fresh this morning. His tone of voice compels people to believe what he says. He should run for president.

All in all, it was a lovely day! And we made no mean profit. We have yet to sit down together and divvy out the spoils:
the firstfruits to God. Thank You for preparing such a lovely day after dreary, rainy ones! And Thank You for strength, no accidents, the opportunity, and so so much more.
The bulk to me. That's right. They must learn fairness when it comes to labor/reward ratios. I woke up every three hours to feed my wild yeast starter and baked everything; I will gladly and freely accept the biggest cut.
A good percent to Joseph. He put in the most time and passion of the little laobans.
A smaller percent to Ken. He was a steady support, and an occasional participator. *
And a nice small chunk to Anna. She did an excellent job with not one ounce of nervousness for the first twenty minutes or so.

Ok, time for pictures. I wanted to get all the details down before they left my head.

Here's our cozy little stand. Fang-Shan is sitting behind her adorable handmade animals and hair clips, and Joji and Anna are getting a feel of manning our side.

Thank you, Maria (also a friend from church) for taking the kids to play! Things started settling down after most of the commotion walked away in a giddy little line. 

All the customers were impressed with Joseph's earnestness. This lady was very, very impressed. Joseph is here trying to get change out of his beloved money bag.

 If you look closely at the fuzz between Joji and I, you will count four little laobans, all working in together in (perceived) harmony. (Lydia decided to be extra needy that afternoon) If you will also look closely at our sign, you will see Anna's chicky on the far left, and Joji's in the middle.

So I am ever so grateful to Ken for hanging with Lydia right across from our stand. The magic had already worn off for Anna by this time.

I'm glad she had her friend Xin-Xin to play with.

Joseph taking a rare break.

Thank you, New Hope ladies, for your support and free-flowing wallets!

Lydia with her sweet potato snack. A moment before, she was coming unhinged because of hunger, poor girl. So Ken had the grand idea to get (delicious!) roasted sweet potatoes for us to share. It only takes a few bites for everything to be right with the world once again. I don't know what she and Fang-Shan are bonding over in this picture. Curious though.
 I am so proud of this content fellow. After he warmed up to it, he became a natural.

The last people to stop by our stall stayed for a long time and talked with Ken. We had found a connection through his wife's and my shared interested in wild yeast starter and sourdough bread. They may even come try their hand at selling some. Their oldest son was so kind to run around and around and around the market with Joji, Anna, Lydia, Tong-Tong (where did she go for this picture?) and Xin-Xin running after him and pulling at his clothes and climbing all over him.

Good times were had by all!
Thank you Lord!
I can, but also can't wait to do this again sometime.

*after pondering over this for the last 10 minutes, guilt has made me hand over the biggest cut to Ken. Without his generous sponsorship, we would not have been able to do anything. Now it's time to go divvy out the chumes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Gymnast

I just had to post this because this is Lydia in her element. She climbs everything. She loves to be upside down.

By the way, the book I'm holding is "In the Land of the Big Red Apple" (Or maybe it was the Land of the Ozarks...). It is the story of Rose, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We are really enjoying the series. Joji has been eager to do more chores, just to feel like he is working hard "like Rose", who got up at 4:30 every morning. Maybe someday we will have to do the same. God willing, we will have eggs to gather someday.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Good times

We had a fellow homeschooling family over to our house a while ago. They have four children - their two daughters are in their late teens and their two sons are Joseph and Anna's age. What a lovely family! I consider Jin-Li, (Lydia) to be my unofficial mentor. She is the one who drew us into the homeschooling group inwhich we are now deeply involved.

It happened to be Chen-Wei's (older boy) birthday, so they brought "I [heart] BAC". Yes it's true. I do love Black as Chocolate. Delicious! So deeply chocolate. Thank you, Ron and Lydia!

Two, no less!

Joseph took this picture of Emily, the younger daughter. She's an amazing artist. She (along with one other girl) is on our trusted babysitter list.

My mentor. I should tell her. :)

Lydia is good at the piercing gaze. Maybe she was upset that everyone was leaving.I love the contrast between the two expressions.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

flood money

I'm so touched that after watching some youtube videos about Thailand's flooding, Joji and Anna agreed (after a gentle suggestion) to give some of their hard-earned money to those who are struggling to eat due to the floods. Joji gave 127 NT, and Anna gave 12 NT. I congratulated them and told them that God loves cheerful givers. Joji said when he earns more money, he wants to give more. How exciting!

Cultivating a desire to give is something I have puzzled over for a long time. I notice that I don't naturally think about giving on a regular basis. After he had given his money, Joji said with a contented sigh, "I know I'm going to heaven." Oh dear. So I tried to explain God's grace once again. Legalism is instinct. We all need a divine heart overhaul.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


The picture is a bit misleading because Anna seems to be the one most interested in bandaides, ointments and scabs. She grabs the chance at being a doctor whenever possible, for whoever needs medical attention. Her doll and chickie had yellow fever for days.
I think this headband was designed by her, and Joji followed suit (or took over). Joji's main interest at the moment is architecture and construction. I need to post a picture of his two story log cabin when I get a chance.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

We're in!!!

How exciting!
My dear friend, Fang-Shan, and I (plus our kids) just got accepted by the farmer's market to sell our wares on December 18th!!! Come one and all to buy some hair clips, dolls, and goodies. Here is our blog:

It is near 101, across from the AIG building. Hmmm, can't get anymore specific than that. Here is their website:


Friday, November 11, 2011

Homeschooling group

Over ten mothers meet together every Wednesday to talk and pray. This small group is a part of a (one of several in Taiwan) homeschooling association. We prepare activities and short lessons for the kids then let them watch a video and play around while we meet together. Good times! I'm glad we decided to join this semester.

Joji, Anna and Lydia are on the left. No, Lydia does not always sit so attentively the whole way through the lesson. There is a playroom nearby that she sometimes visits, but mostly she likes to wander around.

The playroom

In the background is Joji's good buddy, Wu-di. (His mother, teaching in the first picture, has 4 children - a rare and wonderful thing in this country.) He always brings toys to share with Joseph. But he did warn Joseph that if he didn't bring toys as well, he wouldn't share his toys anymore. Loved hearing Joseph think out loud about which toys would be most fun to take.

On another note, here is Anna doing what she loves best (second best...ballet is first and foremost in her life): being a little mommy to Lydia.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Home Ec - Pineapple cakes

Why didn't I share this amazing success long ago? We in this house love pineapple cakes. I was amazed to discover that they are very easy to make; even without a mold. Next step is to actually make the filling from scratch. :P
My two assistants:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I accidently wrote my post on Ken's blog.
Now what? Do I have to start over, or can I just transfer it over here from there?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ken and I both noticed that Lydia's lump is getting smaller! Praise God!
A few random pictures:

Ladies at a coffee shop

Joji joined in moments later. Anna often thinks up games that Joji finds fun; of which he inevidably takes charge. Lydia is faithful to imitate whatever either sibling does.

Bibi says this is a sign that they aspire to be like the owner of the shoes. Phew (and help, Lord!). Did I get that right, Mom?

Cape Cod Guys

Friday, October 7, 2011


A few weeks ago, Ken started up games at the park where everyone gathers after church. It has taken hold. This one is red light green light.

I guess this one can be translated: Eagle Catches the Chicks

If anyone has any suggestions of really fun games for this age group, please leave a comment. Thanks!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Anna and Lydia's tests (passed with flying colors!)

We had taken Anna and Lydia to the hospital for tests a few weeks ago. Anna for her kidney reflux, and Lydia for the lumps in her right breast. While waiting for the results, we decided to take James 5 seriously, and believe as children. So we invited a pastor and his wife from Xin You Tang over for supper, and after a nice time together, they annointed Joji (asthma), Anna and Lydia with oil, and prayed heartfelt prayers for them. Well, we went in to heart the results:
Anna's reflux has corrected itself
Lydia's tests showed no ovarian cysts or other abnormalities
Thank you, Lord! Amen.

Love these ladies

As for Joji and his asthma, we will wait and see.

These pictures reminded me that I haven't documented the blissful days of Sara Ayi and Evelyn's visit. Coming soon....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Feels better

I have finally taken it upon myself to change the colors that Joseph and Anna chose. Aaaah, feels a lot better. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


One month ago today, my husband lent his birthday out to his kids.

They took turns putting raisins and pine nuts on the cream cheese icing.

Lydia had her share to play with and eat.

They blew out the candles.

They ate the carrot cake.

Dear Ken was only along for the ride.

We love you, Baba! Thanks for having a birthday for the kids to enjoy! Next time, I ought to cook up a huge pot of pork foot with bitter melon on the side.
Come to think of it, that 5 and 3 could just as well belong to Joji and Anna.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Psalm 23

We got this idea from a fellow homeschooling Mom: Simply read through a chapter and have them repeat verse by verse, or every few words. It's amazing how fast they both memorized Psalm 23 in its entirety! I think it was after 4 or 5 sessions (each session, they read through the chapter 4 - 5 times). We are setting up milestones and rewards as we go. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Water Science

"Mom, we're doing science!", was Joji's eager explanation of what went on in the pictures below. Of course, his assistant is always at the ready to .. assist.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hualien continued

Here we are on the train, starting of on our journey.

This trip had many firsts: Joji and Anna's first time to hold chicks. At the home of some old friends.

Anna and Lydia feeding fish. This is the place were Joji and Anna caught several fish shown in the last post. Also a first.

I love these cool ladies.

and this cool gentleman.

We made a new friend, De-Ann jie jie, who made Anna into a queen.

Here she is - the girls loved her.

The sisters in front of the Bed & Breakfast where we stayed.

Ken is about to take a bite out of one of the sweetest bananas in the land. Reminiscent of Tanzanian finger bananas.

We spent many happy hours playing on the grounds of our B&B. When Joji and I were climbing trees, I told him that when we were kids, we used to read books in the trees. Right away, he ran back to the car, got a book, and, wedging himself in the nearest crook, began looking at pictures in earnest. Another first.

Where we stayed.

Everytime we come to Hualien, we have to stop by the cow place in Ruei-shuei. That is icecream that Jojia and Anna are devouring...

...and this is an ostrich that they are feeding.

Brave little Lydia!

Good times! Hualien is such a beautiful place!