Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So this is Christmas

Here's our Christmas in brief :
Christmas eve -
Went for a movie at the dollar cinema. Watched The Pretige. Enjoyed it very much.
Had tacos for dinner at in-law's house. (family tradition)
Went for midnite mass at St John Neumann.
All of us stayed the night at in-law's house. Took presents down and filled stockings.

Christmas day -
Digged into our stockings.
The boys distributed the presents.
Then took turns opening presents. Youngest member of the family gets to open first.
Finished opening presents at 3pm. Had Christmas lunch. Yummy!!
Went home. Gave Trouble his presents. Trouble got a new mat and plenty of kitty treats.
Husband gave me a radar detector so that I can drive faster without having to worry about being pulled over by the cops :)

Boxing day -
Slept till 10am

This Christmas was extra special because we had my parents with us.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Mele Kalikimaka

The presents are all wrapped. The stockings are up. The kids are ready and so are we.
We'll all be staying the night at my in-law's place so we can wait for Santa to come down the chimney tonight.
Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A little neighborhood get-together

We went to a little party at Robert and Linda's house yesterday. It is nice to know we have a group of wonderful neighbors. Each of us brought an appetizer so my mom and me spent the afternoon making tiny snowflake pastry dough and topped it with a mixture of egg and crabmeat. It was just something I invented on a whim so there is no real name for the dish. Glad everyone liked it .
And I ate too much chocolate fudge. Yes, I was greedy. How can one say no to fudge?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Kids N such

My nephew had his first Christmas concert yesterday. All of us went to see the boy in action. I spotted him right away in the second row with a reindeer hat. The song started. The boy would not sing. Instead, he gave a big yawn, dug his hands into his pockets and took out a piece of tissue to wipe his nose. Then yawned again.
Another song started, and he still would not open his mouth. And he yawned again.
Then, the kids were given some instruments. Cooper got drums. And he happily played away.

Jason brought home some Christmas goodies from work too. His boss had made some gingerbread cookies, cranberry cookies and pinwheels. That's the prettiest ever gingerbread cookie I've ever seen!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ho Ho Ho

We were doing some window shopping on Saturday at a furniture store and suddenly we hear a voice say " Hey !!! We know you people!!! Come on over here!"
We saw Santa taking photos with the kids. Turns out that Santa and his lady helper are our neighbors who live in the cul-de-sac up the street. They coaxed us into taking a picture and we did.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Back to the 21st Century

No more horses and clickety hoofs. No more fifers and drummers to soothe our weary feet. No more yummy hot apple ciders. We are back to civilisation. Back to our crazy world.Next time my cellphone rings, I will think it's the nightingale singing me a song. And when I eat peanuts, I will think of African beans.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Revolutionary Experience – Part II

Today, we toured the Governor’s Palace which was the residence of seven royal governors and the first two elected governors of Virginia. It is shown as the home of Lord Dunmore, the last British Governor of the Virginia colony. We learned about the lives of Lord and Lady Dunmore, their children, and staff at a time when British authority was being challenged. The lovely gardens and courtyards have neatly trimmed hedges and a maze which I did not go into.

We also toured Robert Carter’s house and the Everard House. By then, I had a history overload and came back to our apartment with my dad and father-in-law for some Chick-Fil-A and a dose of "have-to-pay" wireless network, whilst my mom and mother-in-law continued to immerse themselves in the 18th century.

Tomorrow, we will have lunch with Mr “Thomas Jefferson”. And oh, there were atleast four fire engines on the street today because the famous Peanut Shoppe and 2 other neighbouring shops were on fire this morning. No, the firemen did not come on horses.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Up North we go

We drove another 2.5 hours north to Mount Vernon – the home of the first U.S President, George Washington. His home grounds expand to 8000 acres. We toured his mansion which was built in 1754 with a breathtaking view of the Potomac River and wharf, the outbuildings where slaves used to work spinning wool and linen, shoeing horses, curing meat and many other jobs that supplied the services necessary to keep a large plantation running. The walk also took us to a fruit and herb garden and nursery and his tomb. George Washington died in 1799 in the master bedroom.

Lunch was a delicious bowl of thick peanut and chestnut soup at the Mount Vernon Inn. Close your eyes and imagine melted Peanut Butter and chunks of peanut and water chestnuts. Our waitress was a chatty lady dressed in 18th Century costume and our table was in the living room beside the crackling fireplace. Very nice.

As it was past 3pm, we decided not to drive further up north to Washington DC which is just another 15 miles or so because of rush hour traffic. So we headed back to Williamsburg.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A Revolutionary Adventure

We left for Williamsburg, VA on Saturday morning. Stopped at Dinwiddie to drop Carlton off at his niece’s place and proceeded to Williamsburg.
Sunday, we embarked on a revolutionary adventure in Colonial Williamsburg to experience America’s past. We walked through the charming streets, parks and gardens that have been restored to an entirely different era. We came face-to-face with people who “live” in the 18th century. Men in three-cornered hats, horse-drawn carriages and traders all grace the streets, taverns and the market place. We sip on our mug of hot apple cider to keep warm and eat fresh ginger bread cake.

At 5pm, we walked to Bill Barker’s home for a holiday party. Bill Barker is the cousin of my father-in-law. Each year, he hosts his famous Christmas party in his home. He lives in a restored home which is known as the Edinburgh Castle. He plays the role of Thomas Jefferson in Williamsburg. There, we met “Benjamin Franklin” and a few other men and women in 18th century costumes. It was rather interesting.
Later in the evening, he announced for us to grab our coats and head on outside the front door to watch the fireworks. We joined the rest of the crowds on the street and oohed and aahed at the spectacular fireworks display which lasted for atleast a good 15 minutes. The last time I saw something this amazing was the fireworks on Harbour Bridge in Sydney on New Years Day. I love fireworks. It never fails to ignite that magical feeling. Too bad Jason could not be here.

Will post pictures later when I’m back in Charlotte.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

No boogie this year

Tis the season for parties and merry-making. I just received my 4th party invitation this afternoon. All 4 parties are either this weekend, next Friday or next Saturday. Must be a popular time for Christmas parties. Coincidently, we will be in Williamsburg. So I will be going to neither party. Oh well.....

But wait !!! My friends in Malaysia are having their annual Christmas-do on 23rd Dec. And that party is always a blast. If I start digging a hole through the core of the earth, I might get there in time. Maybe next year. I have a very good reason to go home next year. Someone very close to me will be tying the knot. And I am so excited!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Gobble, Gobble

Wow, the much awaited Thanksgiving weekend came and went by so quickly. Too quickly infact. This year I have so many things to be thankful for. One of which is having my parents here with us. The time spent with them here will be precious. I am also thankful for having such wonderful in-laws who makes me feel truly welcome to be a part of this family. They have definitely made my transition to the U.S more pleasant.
And ofcourse, I am thankful for the yummylicious spread on the table. The call of the turkey makes one do insane things. Things like waking up at 5am in the morning on Friday, walking into various stores looking like a zombie and walking out feeling like "Hah!! I got this last travel charger on the shelf for only $4.99!! I bet that man behind me was looking for the same thing... but I got to it first! Na na na na naaa"
Then I come home and tell myself that I wouldn't do such a ridiculous thing next year because sleep cost more than $4.99.
But who knows what the turkey will do to me next year.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Baking a pie and checking it twice

I am making an oooey goooey dark Chocolate Pie for Thanksgiving this year. I made a trial one on Sunday and it turned out edible. (Surprise, surprise)
After my attempt with a Cheesecake last year, I have prepared myself for whatever fate bestows upon me.
Since everyone seemed to like the pie on Sunday, I feel a little more confident now. I am trying out a different recipe for the meringue this time. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed it won't sink.
........... I just timed myself. Took me 2.5 hours to make this pie and to wash up everything. Hmm.. think I'll make something simpler next year.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A day with the Potters of North Carolina

Mom-in-law took us to Seagrove to see some of the finest potters of North Carolina on Friday and arranged to meet Joyce there. The Seagrove area is one of the largest communities of potters with the longest continual history of pottery making in the U.S. We explored the rural landscape and visited the potters in their workshops and studios which was basically their home. Seagrove is home to more than 100 potters. Each potter have their own unique style and artistic skill. Every piece of pottery is handmade and skillfully honed on the potter's wheel, glazed and fired. This skill has been passed on from generations and has contributed to the ongoing Seagrove tradition today.
We managed to visit just a few handful of potters in the area that day. Ben Owen, Avery Pottery. The Great White Oak, Jugtown Pottery, Potts Pottery, Thomas Pottery, WhyNot Pottery just to name a few.

And I bought...... a piece of Rock Soap.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Very nice folks

Sophie's parents invited us and my parents over for dinner tonight. It was really nice and an honour to finally meet her parents, sister and brother-in-law whom we've heard so much about. They are from Belgium and have many interesting stories from all the places they visited from all over the world.
Her mom served us a really fancy meal of salmon quiche, dumplings in dim sum baskets, asparagus, salmon and a wonderful pudding with blackberries and redberries. Everything was truly delicious.
We had a wonderful time. Thank you Mr & Mrs Lefebvre, Sophie, Brian, Mary & Matt, and ofcourse Elise for a great evening !

Thursday, November 16, 2006

No, we did not fall off the face of the earth

Elizabeth just made me realize that November is almost gone. Aunty Patsy just called and reminded me that my last post was dated November 8. I am so behind writing any new posts due to lack of time and the shorter daylight hours doesnt help much either. It's not that I have been too busy to write but the seasonal change and the many festivities around the corner just seems to deplete all my brain power. I need to :
- organize my christmas list
- make a trial Chocolate Chess Pie this weekend and a real one for Thanksgiving. Geez!! I didnt realize that Thanksgiving is next week!! Yay and Yikes.
- write Christmas cards
- send Christmas cards
- look into my vacation days (or lack of) for a trip to Williamsburg, VA in December.
- scout out things to do in Mount Vernon
- start wrapping presents !! (my favorite thing to do)
- mail gifts to Malaysia (and keep my fingers crossed they arrive in one piece this time)

Scroll down to see what we've been up to lately.

Last week's adventure

Godma and Uncle Andrew left this morning for L.A. I can't believe they've been here almost 2 weeks and gone. Although we spent most of the time in Myrtle Beach, having close family around just makes it feel like I was back home again. We laughed and talked and talked and played ginrummy till late in the night. So good to hear all the familiar Malaysian slang of "Lahs" and "Lors".

A brief update on what we've been up to last week :

Myrtle Beach was more fun than I expected. We only spent less than 30 minutes on Surfside Beach as there were too many other fun things on the agenda to see and do. We visited the Ripleys Believe or Not Museum, the Ripleys Aquarium, Broadway on the Beach, shopped at outlet malls, fed ducks and fishes, shook hands with a Mime, stuffed our faces at Golden Coral and ate ribs at Sticky Fingers, contemplated going into the Ripleys Haunted House but they only open on weekends and we didnt have time to go back there on the weekend, and watched the Christmas Show at the Carolina Opry theatre (Jason and I were the only "non-senior citizens" in the whole theatre).

Create Your Own

On Friday, we drove another 2 hours down to Charleston. Rode the tram/trolley around the city, stopped at the Market downtown and walked along the shops looking at handmade crafts and the Gullah weaving baskets out of sweetgrass, admired all the horsedrawn carriages and pitying the poor horses ferrying all the silly tourists. Then we hopped on the Grayline for a guided bus tour to see all the historical sights and houses (boring) and made a stop at the Waterfront where we got to see a pool of dolphins (that was nice)
Then we drove back to Myrtle Beach in the evening.

Back in Charlotte, we went to the Southern Christmas Show in town on Monday. It's a a huge exhibit of crafts and everything Christmassy. There were 3 halls of lots of booths which were all very prettily decorated and it brought out the Christmas mood in us.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why so busy?

We'll be leaving for Myrtle Beach in a few hours. It is a 5 hours drive. My mom, mother-in-law, Uncle and Godma left for the beach on Sunday. Jason, my dad and I will join them there today and stay till Sunday.
I have a ton of things on my list to do before we go and I'm just sitting here not doing anything on the "list". Why? Because I'm supposed to be putting in extra hours of work so that I can make up for Friday's hours.
So, technically, I should be working and running errands and packing my luggage but noooo....instead, I am typing this post. Letting my "list of things to do" get untouched and pile up just drives me crazy... as you can probably tell by my nonsensical rambling.
I'll stop now. Laundry, dishes, luggage, vacuuming and cat beckons me. And I have just a few hours to do all that.
Ohh.. and the cat just puked. Great!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A little too early.. but what the heck

We have been looking around for a suitable artificial Christmas tree that is not too fat, has to be taller than me (that's easy to find because I am a shorty), packs small, green... and preferably less than a hundred dollars.
We found one today at Value City for $40. Bought it.
Let box sit in the hallway.
Looked at it again.
Looked at Jason, nodded our heads..and said at the same time "let's put the tree up"
So put the tree up we did.

It's a little too early, no?
I know,I know.. shake your head at us all you want. Crazy people we are.. but heck care.
We have a tree!!!
So, where art thou, Christmas? I think we are ready.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Happy Full House

Godma and Uncle Andrew just arrived late tonight after a flight delay from L.A and Chicago. They were welcomed by our NC cold (33F / 1C). We will have to wrap everyone up properly when we go to the Metrolina Expo tomorrow morning for the big monthly flea market exhibit.

Trouble is confused seeing so many people in the house for once.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The boys in their Halloween costumes


Mickey Mouse

Superman gets a smooch from Mickey Mouse

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

And they come a-knocking on our door

Our first halloween in this house.
Jason put on his artistic skills and carved out a Blues Brothers pumpkin a few days ago.

We had Brian, Sophie and little Elise over and enjoyed their company as always. Elise was a joy and was constantly babbling and trying to join in the conversation. We all loved her.The kids started knocking on our door as early as 6pm (it gets dark by 5.45pm). They were dressed in various costumes and looked real cute. We kinda underestimated the number of kids in our neighborhood and ran out of chocolate bars and candies by 8pm. There were atleast 50 kids that came by.
Perhaps next year I'll don a costume too! What do you think... a geisha, an elf or Gollum?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Crepes I shall dream tonight

Little did I know that I would be standing 3 straight hours in the kitchen making 48 tiny crepe quiche lorraines this evening. Quiches that Jason will bring to his Halloween breakfast party at work tomorrow morning, along with his pumpkin. I'm glad my mom is here to help me, because making tiny crepes takes up so much time. After the crepes were done, I placed them into tiny muffin molds and filled it with the egg batter, bacon, hard boiled eggs and cheese, and baked them. Batch by batch. by.batch. (because I only have one darn silicon muffin tray).
All said, I still enjoy being married to my wonderful husband. The same man who said the quiches were only "quite nice". He is right now watching his football game with my dad.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Friday

Played Empire Rails with Jason tonight, and my mom volunteered to be the banker.
I lost to Jason by one turn. Darn.
Jason kept telling my mom that I cheat. If I did, I wouldn't have lost, would I?

Bonding with the kids

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

Brunswick Stew Weekend

We spent the Saturday over at my in-law's place for Brunswick Stew. Family members came from as far as Ohio (and Malaysia, if you count my parents) for the weekend. It was nice to meet almost the entire family for this annual tradition.

The original Brunswick Stew, according to Brunswick County historians, was created in 1828 by black chef, "Uncle" Jimmy Matthews. As the story goes, Dr. Creed Haskins, of Mount Donum on the Nottoway River and a member of the Virginia State Legislature for a number of years, took several friends on a hunting expedition. While the group hunted, Jimmy Matthews, Dr. Haskin's camp cook, hunted squirrel for the evening meal. Matthews slowly stewed the squirrels with butter, onions, stale bread and seasoning in a large iron pot for many hours. While the hunting party returned they were reluctant to try the new, thick concoction but, one taste convinced them to ask for more.

Since that time, Brunswick Stew has been prepared by many different stew masters and they continue to produce large batches of the "Virginia ambrosia" for church functions, local fund raisers, family reunions, and political rallies.

Brunswick stew is now most commonly made with chicken, or a combination of several meats, which might include rabbit, beef, and pork. Onions, corn, and tomatoes are usually included, and many recipes call for lima beans, peas, and/or okra.

Friday, October 20, 2006


We found a goodies bag on our front door yesterday morning. Inside were a box of mint chocolates, some German wafer chocs, a box of halloween jelly beans, a kitchen towel and a "Boo" wooden door sign. On the bag, was this note :


We drove around to see how many other homes have been boo-d and picked out our "victims". I filled 3 bags with different goodies and halloween deco and we drove around the neighborhood tonight and left those bags on our "victim's" front door. I love doing this!! Boy do I like this neighborhood!

Happy Birthday Mom!

It was my Mother-in-Law's birthday on Thursday.
We had plenty of family, pizza, ice cream and cake!