There was a terrorist attack in Paris on November 13, 2015, and Hubby happened to be in Paris that day for business.
The weekend before his leaving for Paris, Hubby insisted to spend the day as a family. Oh well, actually every weekend is family time with Michael anyway, so that's not quite so extraordinary! And what we did was as boring as a doorknob, just like any other weekend: going to the nearby mall or exploring our thriving neighborhood, famous for its culinary delights and lines of restaurants and foodstalls on the main streets, looking for a new place to indulge in one of those simple activities that make us happy: eat!
Still, it's a family time that the three of us enjoy tremendously. It sets a certain comforting routine and tone for us, something relaxing and fun that we look forward to all week. In a busy and fastpaced modern world, I believe it is very important to create and maintain this kind of little routine - some kind of a tradition - for the family. I remember when I was little, we always visit a little ice cream parlor for a treat after Sunday mass service, and I still cherish that memory to this day. It just gave me - as a little girl - a soothing feeling, sort of guarantee, that every week will end in the exact same pleasant way: going to Sunday mass service and then make a stop at that cute ice cream parlor. I just hope that Michael would still feel that way when he grows older!
This picture makes me realize how long Michael's legs are! Boy, he IS tall!
Leaving us for Paris definitely put Hubby in a mellow and romantic mood! He insisted on a date night on the weekend before his leaving, and we went again to our favorite place, The Fountaine Lounge at the upscale Grand Hyatt Hotel. Actually, we just had an afternoon tea there last week, but somehow what suppposedly to be a leisurely, wonderful time sipping fragrant tea and eating cakes was interrupted by the bad news of my parents got stranded in LA Airport that completely ruined the mood and enjoyment of the afternoon. I wrote about it here. Actually we reserve going to La Fountaine for a splurgey kind of date, because we really want each visit to be special. Not to mention the amount of money you'll spend for just tea and sandwiches that you can prepare yourself at home - better, cheaper, tastier - at such luxurious establishment makes my frugal self want to just go home and open my own tea shop! Yet, the opulent and calm atmosphere at Fountaine Lounge is unbeatable. It's been my favorite place since 1996, and it's been OUR favorite place since our dating days.
The best thing about going there in the evening instead of during the day? The live music. They have the best live music in town, with fantastic singers. Their voices are just as jazzy, delicious and smooth as Belgium chocolate. And not too loud either that people can still conduct conversation comfortably. Have you ever been in a cafe where the live music is so loud and obnoxious that you have to practically yell at each other just to be heard? I found it totally annoying.
Hubby and I both follow on Instagram one of the richest man's wife in Indonesia. She is a very beautiful woman and just a week before she posted a picture of her and her husband having a Saturday nite date at Fountaine Lounge. We joked that we are just like romantic and lovey-dovey as that couple, only with waaaaaaayyyy less wealth! Nevertheless, we thank God that we are able to afford the luxury of sitting in such a nice place, served by friendly staff, sipping our drinks, listening to amazing live music, relax and enjoy each other's company. The first time I set foot at La Fountaine as an 18-year-old girl was in 1996, and I still remember vividly, how I, came from a small town Semarang notorious for its frugality, came on the invitation of a very wealthy friend, read the menu and thought that I would never be able to afford to order anything on my own! Now I do. And that's a blessing that I don't take lightly! Thank you, Lord!
No, I'm not bragging. We are not wealthy, yet (lol), and even if God bless us to be wealthy one day, we promise ourselves that we would stay humble. Well, younger days have seen snobbier moments during achievements and success, but now since we are older, and hopefully, wiser and are working to love and obey the Lord more, we realize that it's just vanity, nothing else.
While Hubby was away, what's a wife to do?
Picking up Michael from school
I'm teaching Michael to pick his own outfit! As I wrote here, he's got so many new clothes as gifts from Seattle from Grandma and Grandpa. What I do is laying out two ensembles on the bed, and let him pick what he wants to weat that day. I also teach him to fold his own T-shirt, all crooked and imperfect as he was still developing his motoric skills, but I always applaud his effort.
As I often wrote in previous posts, I'm a big believer that children's fashion - or any fashion really - should not contain profanity nor immodesty. A T-shirt with "Who The F*ck is Jesus?" or "Forget Cookies and Milk, Give Me T*t*s and Beer" emblazoned on it will never find a way to enter our house for anyone to wear. Try to Google it, there are really some adults who dress toddlers in such. Perhaps they think it's funny. I think it's quite thoughtless, rude, and disrespectful. Children clothing should represent what they are: innocent little men and women, raised and trained to be - hopefully - godly men and women.
A little bit of Christmas whimsies
In Indonesia, some have imported the tradition of Santa Claus and Christmas gifts. Yet it's not a mainstream thing. We are not familiar with Christmas shopping nor Christmas gifts. Children here don't know getting lots of candies during trick or treating or receiving small trinkets and gifts for Easter basket, either. Yet I love seasonal decorating and holiday traditions.
We don't celebrate Halloween nor Thanksgiving here in Indonesia, though some establishments like hotels and restaurants have been trying to commercialized the imported tradition by offering Thanksgiving dinner with turkey. So, I usually just start Christmas season by mid November all the way to mid January. Why keep these lovely cups in the drawer? I'd rather have them put to a good use! Looking at these pretty things make me smile! Don't worry, I'm not a minimalist, but I'm not a hoarder, either! I don't buy much, and I take a good care of what I already have.
I don't mind if we ever gets the cup chipped or broken. Don't you think that the enjoyment of having beautiful things is not limited to the process of acquiring them at the store, but also the pleasure of seeing and using them on everyday basis? If you havc pretty things that give your eyes pleasure and make you feel good, I urge you to get them out of drawers and cupboards and use them! And if they got broken or chipped, then what? Trust me, God is a generous provider, He loves beauty, and the world is never lack of beautiful things. Believe that you can find a replacement that is just as good or even prettier than the last one you had! It does no one good just sitting in the cupboard!
In Northern hemisphere, the temperature drops and winter comes approaching. In the tropics, it's the beginning of rainy season, when the temperature drops not as significantly as in four-seasoned countries, but for us - who are used to sunny days, blue skies, and hot temperature all year round - it is the beginning of sweater season! Well, at least for people who happen to work in an office with AC, like me.
I have a massive collection of knitted cotton cardigan in almost every color imaginable in my closet. Each cost around three bucks and for the past several years, I added more color to the evergrowing collection. They have proven to be a wise investment, though one might argue that I don't need that many colors! During the month of October to April, there is no single day that I don't wear one whille I'm at work. About five years ago, I found that wearing a thin but fitted layering cardigan over an office outfit is warmer, more comfortable, and cuter than wearing a boxy formal looking blazer. Also it's much more feminine and sweet looking than wearing manly big jacket, which is not my style at all.
In addition to that, the cardi collection has a lot of use throughout the rainy season when I'm going out to the movies with Hubby where it's usually freezing inside, when I'm in the car and drive at chilly nights. For half a year, they have a pretty good mileage, and for the rest of the year, they just stacked neatly in my closet. I have stopped buying anymore because I know that I have too many - which I'm not proud of, can you read my tone of guilt here? - , yet I cannot deny that seeing this rows of neatly stacked colorful cardi everytime I open the closet gives me such joy! It's like having a string of rainbow right inside of the closet!
Just like everybody else who watch YouTube, I am aware of the Kon Mari craze that have swept the whole YouTube world. I always purge from time to time, but I repurpose a LOT. Instead of just throwing out things that don't "spark joy", I prefer to use up what I have and stop buying more. I'd like to give those things that I have bought some chance to be put up to good use. A lot of times, I end up falling in love with them all over again and it put a brake on my shopping mode for months, even a year, because I already love everything I have at home, in my drawers, in my cupboards, in my closets.
I haven't bought any clothes this year, at all, because I am experimenting to do all kinds of interesting combinations from what I already have in my closet. I have not bought any books since I place a basket with books that I still have not read on my bedside table, and determine to read them cover to cover. If I find something that I cannot wait to finish or wear out because I don't like it so much, then I will not hesitate to toss it or give it to someone else. I purge my home and life little by little, instead of in a one big swoop, continually, and being a frugal girl, I don't need to neccessarily buy new things to replace whatever it was left my house. Nor do I feel the need to fill the empty spaces as result of purging.
That also rings true in this case. Some might argue that I have too many cardigans. However, I wear them on a regular basis this season, and they give me such joy and mileage! There is no cookie-cut solution for everyone, that's what I believe. One just have got to find what works for her.
Office birthday party
My office is filled with a lot of working moms, including myself. As I often wrote here in this little blog, I'm very thankful that my office is pretty family friendly. It's not that we have daycare or anything like that, but our working environment leaves room and flexibility for mothers who need to attend school events, stay home to take care of a sick child, takes longer lunch hour to take care of some family matters, and since most of us are mothers, we are like a big support group where each can share her problem with childbearing, childrearing, schools, potty training, family menu, etc.
I wouldn't advise that you start a family at the ripe age of 34 like I did, - I wish I have started several years earlier - but there is an upside to my situation: I'm the last one - though not the youngest - having a child. It means, I have a lot of mentors and experts who can advise on pretty much anything on the subject matter! My mother lives out of town, so having this support group of experienced mothers who I mingle with everyday is such a blessing.
Anyway, three of the ladies celebrated their birthdays last week, several days apart, so they held a joined birthday lunch at the office pantry for everybody in our part of the floor. Here are some of the pictures of the lunch party. The ladies look radiant, aren't they! A lot of delicious dishes were laid out on the table for everyone to share: fried noodle, rice, capcay veggie dish, fish with sweet and sour sauce, meatball soup, fu yung hai egg dish, two choices of crackers, and many more. The table looks like an all-you-can-eat restaurant buffet! So plentiful that I - having spent several years living in the US - thought that it resembled a little bit of Thanksgiving lunch!
Happy birthday, Ms. Dun, Ms. Viven, Ms. Endang!
Indonesian Father's Day
I think Fathers are being a little bit underrated. So is Saint Joseph, the husband of Mary and the father of Jesus. I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful, loyal, godly, responsible men in my family, I have always seen men in a positive light because I didn't know any other type of men than I used to grow up with. As I grew older, I met friends with irresponsible, cruel, womanizer fathers or husbands, so I know that not all men are good and how fortunate I am to be surrounded with so many honorable men.
Anyhow, last week was Indonesian Father's Day, and Hubby was in Paris. I'm sure he knew that both Michael and I missed him and he was in thoughts and prayers a lot, but I still want to do something sweet for Father's Day. Hence I created this collage with pictures of me and Michael for him. It's a bit silly, I know, but I can just picture Hubby cracks a wide smile seeing it.
We love you, Papi! God bless you!
Sausage cheesy pasta
Bless whoever it was who invented YouTube! I found this recipe several weeks ago, but I haven't got the time to really get down and give it try until last weekend. With Hubby's going away, I thought I would make a batch to see what it's like. If the dish turned out to be a success, I might make it for Hubby when he gets home.
Invention and modern conveniences are God's blessing to us who live in this time and day. Some might reminiscent about the good ol' days, but I for sure, as much as I love the Little House series wholeheartedly, will not trade the convenience of having perpetual fresh water from the faucet at the turn of a knob, cooling air in the middle of scorching hot day with a click of my AC remote, and cooking with electric slow cooker that won't require me to gather woods prior to preparing dinner! I love cooking with slow cooker because: 1) I don't have an oven --- too bad 2) Cooking with slow cooker is way healthier than deep frying 3) After all the ingredients are thrown in, you can just basically leave it to do something else, from playing with your child to taking a shower or even grocery shopping!
Trust me, the finished dish is way tastier than it looks in the picture! As much as I love deep-fried anything, I love cooking with slowcooker!
Toddlers can really test your patience sometimes. Yet they could be the funniest clown without even trying to be funny that you don't know whether you should scold them or laugh with them or scold yourself because you feel guilty for scolding them! I often do all three at the same time, haha!
During one dinner, Michael was extremely fussy and threw up on almost every bit of morsel I put into his mouth. I didn't understand what the problem was, since his food was just the usual food I made for him. Yet he began to whine and cry and put on an expression that I called an "ugly yet adorable" face. Exasperated, finally I said, "Mommy will snap a picture of you so you can see your face when you cry." And the little rebel, amidst his tears, said, "Go ahead, Mommy, take the picture," And if you think he was challenging me, you are wrong. He continued pleading, "Please Mommy, take a picture, I want to seeee..." So I did. When he stopped crying, and posed for the camera, pulling a "cool" pose. Do you see how his right leg was dangling from the high chair? That's because there was his own puke on the chair that he didn't want to rub on his leg!
Aaaaaand do you know what happened after the camera is gone? He stopped the cool kid act, and began to cry again. *sigh* Drama... drama... drama...
"She is not concerned for her household when it snows ---
all her charges are doubly clothed." (Proverbs 3:21)
For many, that might not sound like anything special, but it was for me. One morning, Hubby sent me a message while I just arrived at work, "This morning, I was running out of soap, and I realised that all I had to do was looking in our supply drawer, and there it was, a brand new soap refill ready at disposal. With your planning for provision, no one in this household will ever starve, in need, or lack of anything. Thank you. I am so blessed to have you as my wife."
I am the kind of person who love to plan and always be prepared. I don't like to run to the store to grab a gallon of milk just because we have run out. I always stockpile and try to get the best deal, within reasonable limit, of course! I don't think driving to three different stores just to get the best deal on soaps and bread to be economical, both on money, time, nor gas! I only shop at two different grocery stores, both located on the way home from work. The first one - which is located conveniently next to my office - always have a 10% discount because I use their credit card, but they don't have good quality produce, so I always stockpile on non perishable items like soap when I shop there every three weeks or so. The other is located about two miles away, on the way home, where they have very good quality produce and very good deal on chicken products like meat and eggs, because they have their own farm. I do my grocery shopping every 2-3 weeks for fresh produce, but I always stockpile non perishable items when I can get a good deal, such as buy-one-get-one or deep discount.
Have you ever watched the TLC show "Extreme Couponing"? Definitely I'm not going that extreme! But I do have two drawers, stocked full with toiletries for the whole families. Whenever I open the well-organized drawers, seeing all the bars of soap, tubes of toothpaste, bottles of shampoo, boxes of laundry detergent, and containers of hand soap refill, all stacked and lined neatly like little soldiers ready to go to war, I always feel the satisfying feeling of abundance and gratefulness to have such bounty right on our fingertips. I thank the Lord that we can afford such supplies, save money in the shopping process, and have enough space to organize them.
Last week, I also went shopping to renew Hubby's and Michael's basic clothing neccessities: undershirts, underwear, and socks. Every year we toss out our worn out underclothings and change them with fresh, new ones. I always make sure that towards the end of the year, we have a year supply of new underclothings! I don't shop at regular store for these things, because I have a great alternative: a huge outlet less than a mile away from my office, and on the way home - how convenient that is - that practically sells everything from toys to baby products to affordable fashion to basic neccessities like underclothing. Even the Walmart-style grocery stores cannot beat the prices that I get there. However, the outlet is busy all year round, and finding a parking space is a task in itself, so I only go once or twice a year, and approach the errand with military precision: getting everything on my shopping list and leave immediately. They have lots and lots of pretty things on affordable price that will rob your wallet in New York minute!
Verse of The Week
Whether your being a daughter, a parent, a wife, a homemaker, a careerwoman, a business owner, a friend, a sister, a friend. Whether you're doing laundry, singing, writing, blogging, putting up status on Facebook, exercising, cooking, cleaning. Whether you try to save money in grocery shopping, couponing, learn to sew, read a book. Anything.
I wrote the verse on a piece of post-it, and pasted it on my screen. Thus, everytime I need to do something with my computer, which is an everyday occurence, I must read the verse FIRST. The word of God, I have learnt, is the best protection, in addition to prayer, to face life challenges. And that's especially true when you don't feel like reading the Bible nor praying.
Yes, when you feel like NOT praying, when you feel like NOT reading the Bible, that's the time when you need to to both, most.
Welcome home, Hubby!
The weekend of the terrorist attack was one of the most anxious and worrisome weekend in my adult life! I have to admit, as much as I pray for the victims, their families, and all other casualties of such tragedies in other part of the world, I pray the hardest for the safety of my husband!
Hubby made it home two days after the shooting, on Monday, and we were so grateful and relieved! Michael is too young to understand the situation, yet even he clung to Daddy's legs and won't let go!
Thank you, Lord, for protecting my husband from harm.
I'm linking up to these wonderful Ladies: