diapers, budgets & paint

stay-at-home mommy by day
program manager by night
children's painter somewhere in between


i want my emTV

disclaimer: expect a lot of randomness here - i've had a gazillion updates floating around in my head recently but only now have the time to post some. on the plus side, my work-work is almost done, 5 paintings just got finished, gifts are done and wrapped, and my to-do list is finally almost empty. yahoo!


so our little girl has officially moved to the "big girl room" in preparation for baby #2's arrival. although her new room has been ready for quite some time, i finished moving the rest of the clothes, toys, and decorations over on monday, and emmy got her first chance to sleep in the big bed that night. i figured we'd sing an extra song or two, or maybe even toss in an extra story to commemorate the occasion. instead, we read one book, sang one song (not the usual three) and was quickly told "get off the bed, mommy. time to go sleep." snif.

and in true emmy fashion, yet another milestone was accomplished with little fanfare. she loves the new room, adores the big bed, and has even slept late every day since the move! the only slight hiccup is that it takes her a good hour to fall asleep at naptime, and that's only after a couple of stern warnings that it's quiet time. and that she better stop walking / running / bouncing on the bed.

and now i'm addicted to our new video monitor. seriously, if i'm still watching her when she's sixteen, someone shoot me. but for now, i want need my emTV.


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recently, while watching the animal planet channel...

em: "what IS that?"
me: "those are ferrets, honey."
em: "actually, it's a dog."
me: "no, that animal is a ferret. it's long and - "
em: "ACTUALLY, it's a DOG."
um, okay. i stand corrected.


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remember my obsession with prizey? i haven't been able to check it in ages but was extremely surprised to find that i won an old contest that i entered back in november! courtesy of the hostess with the mostess, i'll be receiving a cool new pulp factory calendar soon! it's no surprise that i picked the "a new baby's life calendar" and the timing couldn't have been better. thanks, jenn!

and i'm so excited about my NaBloPoMo painting prize in the works - matt is doing an original 8"x10" canvas for me. can you guess what i've requested? there's a certain movie that's been a favorite since childhood... and now em's inherited my love for the main characters too... mei and satsuki would be so proud! hint, hint!


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oh, speaking of new babies, i've been feeling a little panicked nesty lately. i'm consumed with the thought that baby #2 will come early, throwing off our oh-so-carefully-planned delivery. in the past week, i've washed loads of em's old clothes; the nursery is now stocked with EVERYTHING for 0-9 months. i've purchased diapers in sizes newborn to 1-2. wipes are coming out of my ears. and i have more nursing pads that you can shake a stick at.

but i'm keeping my fingers (and legs) crossed that we'll make our scheduled delivery date.


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i just gave copies of the green frogs: a korean folktale to the kids in our korean playgroup. the drawings are wonderfully quirky and emmy keeps begging us to read the tale. while it does mention death (which may be an early / confusing concept for a child so young), i highly recommend the book. in fact, blair and i both remember hearing the tale from our respective mothers growing up. kids, do what your moms tell you to do, okay?


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after reading a farm book...
"emmy's not a piggy. piggy is a piggy. emmy is a piggy!"

while using crayons...
"i like red... because... i like blue"

in the car, after running lots of errands and skipping naptime...
"sing twinkle [twinkle, little star], mommy. i need to go to sleep."

toddler logic: priceless.

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fun in a box


a father-daughter moment, courtesy an old cardboard box
(should i paint / decorate the box? hmmm...)

just a few random items for tonight - i'm almost too sleepy to think anymore!

did you know that next week is apparently national work-at-home mom week? i, for one, choose to change outta my pajamas though... makes me feel too sloppy / unproductive otherwise...

a good college friend of mine sent me an article about moms getting organized to fight for their rights with groups like moms rising. has anyone actually seen their motherhood manifesto dvd? what do you think?

i'm reading happy birthday or whatever: track suits, kim chee, and other family disasters thanks to beloved's recommendation. the author, annie choi, is freakin' hilarious - i can't count the number of things that "make mommy krayjee" but it's all so painfully yet ridiculously true.

and i'm still stuck on nina's last meme challenge... i'll post my response this weekend but it might be a little wacky. (who am i kidding? it's just bizarre!) see you then!

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books, books and more books

... also known as "all the books that kim has never read" or "who the heck came up with this list?!"

i just got tagged from angela for the books meme that's making the rounds right now. after running through the list, i decided to bold the books that i have read (and can remember!) and boy, oh boy - kimmy sure looks to have missed the boat on this list! my formative years were spent reading everything by authors like stephen king, anne rice and clive barker and that only gets me 2 points? *sigh* i swear i went to a good college, really! oh, and i did NOT include all the ones that i've seen at the movies. maybe i should...

(i'll catch up a bit later this year, tho - i've been waiting for the last harry potter book to be released so that i can get the entire set for cheap at costco. i figure i'll pass it down to emmy in a few years, right?)

anyway, here goes nuthin...

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller's Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolsoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davies)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones' Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. Tigana (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard's First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

this is a long list so i tag anyone who's got some time to kill (whether you're stuck at work or your kids are napping). beloved, wanna give it a try next time you're stranded at the airport? :)

i promise to publish the mommy wars post soon - today's a work day so i needed some fluffy amusement to stay sane...

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the story of cherry the pig

a few weeks ago, i posted about the rice daddies' blogaversary book review contest. i couldn't resist entering and lo and behold, i was one of the winners! the generous folks at kane/miller publishing sent each of us 12 participants one free book from their catalog of asian kids' literature. to say thanks to both the rice daddies and kane/miller, here's my review of... *drumroll please*... the story of cherry the pig.

btw, since i originally submitted a review of the book panda cake in the rice daddies' contest, it seems only fitting that i now graduate to the more accessible apple cake. mmm...

title: the story of cherry the pig
author: utako yamada
country: japan
ages: 4 - 6
themes: self esteem / identity, friendship

cherry the pig is a very happy pig. she loves desserts so much that she bakes an enormous sweet every afternoon to eat all by herself (after all, she is a pig!). one day, a family of mice sneak into her kitchen and nibble on her freshly baked apple cake. after overhearing them say that it tastes "incredible!", cherry decides to enter her cake in the great harvest festival bake-off. all is going well until she runs into those mice again, who now proclaim how "incredibly awful!" cherry's cake tastes! embarrassed and disheartened by the misunderstanding, cherry hides under a tree until she's surprisingly awarded the grand prize of the bake-off. curious to understand why the mice didn't like her cake, cherry tastes their bag of left-behind biscuits and realizes that mice prefer "very hard, very salty, very cheesy" instead of light and fluffy, cinnamon sweet goodness. aha! with her newfound fame, cherry goes on to open her very own bakery filled with desserts galore... and some very hard, very salty, very cheesy biscuits too.

i love this book for many reasons. at some point, every child will come across a misunderstanding and feel the same emotions of sadness and embarrassment that cherry felt. this story is a great way to talk through that experience and help kids understand that words can be hurtful, and that sometimes people say things because they may not understand or be familar with something that you are / have. cherry learned that the mice have a different opinion about what tastes good, and she opened herself to trying something new (in this case, their food). i think this book will encourage children to be more open-minded about things that aren't familiar (whether it be food, race, gender or anything!) and reinforce the idea that their words can have an impact on others and should therefore be chosen with some thought.

to complement this great story, utako yamada's illustrations evoke feelings of old-fashioned simplicity and happiness. her palette of only red, yellow, green and brown remind me of many books i read as a child, and the charming animal drawings seem very welcoming to little ones. i look forward to sharing this book with emmy when she's a little older (although she definitely paid attention when i read it for the first time today too!).

and if all that wasn't enough, here's the icing on this cake: kane/miller has provided a free activity sheet to go along with this book! it has some great discussion topics, fun games, a word search, and most importantly, an official apple cake recipe to help you get the most from their book. i can't wait until emmy's old enough to help her mama make an apple cake! (seriously, how can you go wrong when the recipe says to "put everything in a big bowl and mix it up with your hands"?!) for those of you that can't wait, here's the recipe - i think i'll try it soon!

Almost Cherry the Pig's Apple Cake*

2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups flour
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups light vegetable oil
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 cups diced apples (whichever kind you like - crisp is best though)
1 cup chopped nuts (unless you hate them)
1 cup raisins (or dried cranberries, or dried cherries... or nothing)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then... put everything in a big bowl and mix it up with your hands (no, really!). Bake in an ungreased 9 x 13 pan for an hour, and let it cool (if you can wait) before cutting.

*Cherry doesn't share her recipes, but this one is almost as good as hers!

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hair dye rant

first off, my closet purge went quite well - and someone's coming to pick up my giant bag o' clothes in the morning. woohoo! time to move on to other closets / cabinets...

if i move on to a certain bedroom cabinet, for instance, i'll come across a box or two of hair dye. i'll be the first to admit that yes, i do dye my hair. it's a tragedy. my paternal grandmother was completely gray by the age of 30, and my dad definitely passed along that trait. my mother's korean genes have bravely battled the inevitable, so it's not like i have a whole ton of gray; it's just enough to be rather noticeable on top, especially against my dark hair. now that i'm too cheap to visit my old colorist, i make do with the clairol natural instincts semi-permanent line. it washes out after several weeks, but i'm just too darn scared to make the jump to permanent dye on my own. (it was also the brand of choice in high school when my friends and i wanted to go brighter / redder... oh the memories!)

anyway, it seems that the marketing folks over at clairol are re-packaging their product. the new label has a "new sense of style", according to their website. well, am i the only person to notice their new lack of diversity too? they've gone from 3 asian models to just 1 (from what i can quickly see) and that just stinks. i know this sounds silly, but part of the reason i picked this line is because of the models on colors like 28B and 38! and it's not like all of the models were replaced so what gives? i really don't see what's so great about the replacement gals; sure, they're pretty and all but they don't offer anything more than the old models and 28B sure was nice. am i just crazy to even notice this?

okay, rant over, back to tidying up... i hosted my first ever selling-type party tonight. i've never really been a fan of any of the at-home type shopping shows, like mary kay or longaberger baskets or partylite candles (although pampered chef is pretty useful at times), but i ADORE usborne books! usborne makes some terrific, highly interactive children's books; a sample board book may include touch-feely accents along with flaps to open, or you might just find that puzzle pieces are embedded within the actual pages of the book. i got a few last november and emmy's loved them ever since, so i figured i'd host a party for my local mom friends and reap the benefits of a few free books too. lots of fun was had by all, especially with all of the desserts and wine that we enjoyed. if you're interested in learning more or checking out my e-show, just drop me a line and let me know. since i was such a bookworm growing up and can already see that mirrored in emmy, i love to spoil her with these great, imaginative books - i'm so excited to send in my wish list order!

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my favorite childhood books

earlier this week, i mentioned the rice daddies blogaversary children's book review contest. i finally wrote a couple of reviews the other night and sent them in - and hurray, they were posted today! i heartily endorse trouble for trumpets and panda cake, and read the latter to emmy frequently. she'll get to read all about those cute trumpets (teddy-bear-hippo-like critters who must battle their evil counterparts, the grumpets) when she's like 16. or 30. or maybe from behind a glass wall. just kidding, but the book is no longer published and is quite hard (and pricey) to find. good thing i have a spare copy on my bookshelf!

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books, hanguk style

in honor of the upcoming lunar new year (february 18), i've updated "what emmy's reading" to display some of her current korean books. we just got while we were out and yellow umbrella today - thanks amazon marketplace! although we already celebrated the new year with blair's family on january 1st, i'm hoping that we'll go out and have a nice big feast for the occasion. mark's duck house or ilmee anyone?

and while on the topic of food... emmy ate her very first hot dog today. now, now, before you wag your finger at me and exclaim things like "nitrates!" and "sodium!", i did buy the healthier, less fatty turkey hot dogs at least! i had previously let her taste my hot dog when we were at the national zoo in december, but she quickly spat it out and begged for more crackers instead. therefore, i was very surprised to see her gobble down an entire dog* at lunch today... and then ask for veggie booty too! i swear she ate more than i did! and since we were snowed in (barely) with no car (blair borrowed mine), i made chocolate chip cookies too. yum. fun was had by all... especially after we took that 2.5 hour nap together!

* perhaps emmy is taking after mommy... i didn't have too many cravings during my pregnancy but hot dogs (better yet, corn dogs!!!), strawberry ice cream and chick-fil-a breakfast combo #1 with sweet tea were my mainstays. and i'm not the only weirdo!

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on a book-related note, check out the rice daddies and their first anniverary contest:

To celebrate our first blogaversary, we're having a contest. Send us a review of your favorite book from your own childhood that you want to share (or have already shared) with your own kid(s) and we'll publish them as we get them. Each reviewer [you can submit more than one review, but you'll only be entered once] will be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win some awesome books from Kane/Miller Book Publishers. With the motto "open-minded books opening young minds to the world," Kane/Miller has been bringing acclaimed international children's books, often in translation, to a U.S. audience for years. You probably know them for such classics as Japanese author/illustrator Taro Gomi's "Everyone Poops," and they have titles from countries on every continent except Antarctica.
you have until the end of the day friday, february 23, to get your submissions in. i, for one, will be submitting at least a couple of reviews of my fave childhood books. heck, maybe emmy could benefit from adding everyone poops to her collection before we start potty training!

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we *heart* books

in honor of emmy's never-ending love of books, i've added the "what emmy's reading" list to the site (on the right). i hope to keep track of her top six or so favorite books at any given moment, and if i'm good i'll even try to update it weekly. perhaps you'll find a new tome for your little one... remember, all books featured have the official emmy-stamp of approval!

p.s. - thanks for leaving such a sweet comment, rachel! we *heart* you too!

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kiss good night

emmy insisted that i read one of her favorite books earlier today (no surprise there, miss bookworm!). we've read kiss good night since em was still in my tummy so i happily obliged. but today, when we got to the page where mrs. bear remembers that she needs to kiss sam good night, emmy puckered up sweetly and gave me a kiss on the lips! and when sam cried "again!", i got a second surprise kiss too! sweetie pie, how did you know that your mommy needed that today?

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