With Ah Lo’s help, we made a swiss cake roll with strawberry filling. I’ve made Matcha Cake roll and Coffee swiss roll before. I think this is the best one so far. Keep exploring!

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Tonight again, I attended the Board of Education urging them to restore the option of Algebra I for the 8th graders. The meeting was extremely eye-opening and frightening to me as a parent who has supported public schools and public education for the past 7 years! This really is worth paying attention to by EVERYONE!! Especially those of us that would like our children to have the same advantages as their counterparts throughout California and the rest of the US (who they will be competing with for slots in Universities across the state and country).

I came from a Chinese immigrant family. I can’t speak for all Chinese Americans, but most of us were brought up to respect elders and/or people in authority. We are trained to obey all the rules and go with the flow. What our parents, teachers, bosses tell us must be correct and we shall accept it without any questions or objections.

Tonight, I showed up at the meeting as a parent. I didn’t see Caucasians, Latinos, Asians, or African Americans, I only saw one unit – just parents. Like all parents,  I only want the best for my children – including getting a good education. I didn’t plan to speak in front of the board because again, I wasn’t brought up that way. But I did, as a parent. I spoke up because this time, I won’t be “going with the flow.” I won’t accept what I’m told. I will advocate for my children’s academic needs. I will do what I think it’s right for my children so that they can be fully prepared when they reached high school. This is not something any parents (who are in the public school system) would want to ignore.

This morning Dai Bee’s friends came over to work on a science project together. While Ah Lo finished his homework, I kept myself in the kitchen.  With a new (yuan bao – 元寶) mold I purchased from eBay, I was anxious to make some black sesame glutinous rice balls. Glutinous rice flour are white, so I added one egg yolk to give it the yellow color to look like a gold ingot!

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For stuffing, I used black sesame paste which I prepared myself. Preparing the stuffing allows me to adjust the sweetness (usually store bought ones are way too sweet for me!) My nieces tried it for the first time and gave me two thumbs up!

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My sister is throwing a Minecraft-themed party for her son. For my nephew’s gift, I baked him some cupcakes of Creeper (character from Minecraft). Again, it’s all about the tools! Because I didn’t have the right tool, it took me almost 3 hours to make this!

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Today is happy day for Ah Lo since he didn’t anything except play play and play. He stayed over his cousin’s house last night for his birthday party. We picked him up around 1pm so he can go to his friend’s house for a playdate. At 4pm, we drove him to join his basketball team celebration at an bowling alley. What a happy day for this little guy. Dai Bee, on the other hand, had another form of fun. He sang with his school choir at the Asian Art Museum, went home and practiced more music. He did go bowling afterwards with us. What a fun way to wrap up the last day of February.

Inspired by Soule Mama:

A Friday ritual.

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember – {this moment}.

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This dish (sliced boiled pork with garlic soy sauce) is very easy to make, and super delicious. Not many restaurants serve it, but if they do (mostly Sichuan cuisines), we always order it. Today I tried making it and it was gone pretty quickly. Again, I don’t have recipes to work with, I just add a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

First and foremost is the pork of course. All you need to do is boil it (add a teaspoon of salt in the water). After it’s cooked, thinly slice it and plate it. For the sauce, I diced up the garlic and add some sesame oil, soy sauce, a pinch of sugar. After mixing it, just pour it over the meat. Divine.

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For the soup, I made tofu tomato soup using salmon head stock. The name may sound gruesome, but believe me that the fish head has enough flavor to offer a decent soup loaded with health benefits. Just make sure add ginger and green onions!

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For the first time, I attended the very first board meeting at our school district tonight. Didn’t know what to expect, I sat down and listened with an open mind. I was there to support a group of parents who have children in the public school, like myself, and who believe in the system. The issue tonight was to ask the Board to reconsider opening up Algebra I as an option for all 8th graders. Parents addressed their opinions on why this is important for our children and how it affects their future. Of course, there were some opposing voices as well. They don’t believe children should be pushed to a higher level. I disagree with that argument. Parents are not asking that every child should be thrown into that class. Parents are asking to restore Algebra I as an option for advanced learners who can handle the work. I feel these high achievers are at a disadvantage and many times left behind. This one-size-fits-all approach to education is a fallacy. Simply look at the diverse array of learners most schools now serve. Everyone is unique. As a parent of two bright boys, I am concerned if they would be academically challenged. What’s available for gifted students is often sorely lacking at public schools. Honor classes and GATE programs has been eliminated due to cutbacks. All these setbacks are driving families to privately educate their children. Then what about those who can’t afford it?

I attended this meeting because I am in favor of creating an option for algebra in the 8th grade. Regardless of which approach the district adopts, I strongly believe that every child (regardless of ethnicity, creed, socio-economic background, etc.) deserves to have a fair, meaningful, and equal educational opportunities.

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This week is parent-teacher conferences.

We met up with Ah Lo’s teacher this morning and was thoroughly pleased with this progress. Solid in math, spelling and reading. Writing is where he shines the second part of this school year. The teacher showed us his work on opinion writing. His idea was organized and writing was focused. I am impressed with his writing skills. Hopefully he enjoys writing and continue to add more colors to it. Good job, Ah Lo!

We came back from our ski trip just in time for another yummy feast from my in-laws. Supposedly, this is the first meal we eat to welcome the new year. Traditionally, the feast is on 2nd day of New Year. Since we were out of town, we planned it to have today instead. Nom nom…

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Booked a cabin months ago in hopes of getting onto the slopes for a weekend getaway. It was pretty dry here out in the west. Though there were no snow, it didn’t stop us for some fun!

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Our cabin was not cleaned at the time of our arrival. I was upset and complained to the property manager (still waiting to hear back). The boys who sat in the car for 4 hours were anxious to get out. They tackled on some football while waiting for the cabin to be ready. Yes, Ah Lo is in shorts! That’s how warm it is. Luckily there were board games inside the cabin to keep these boys occupied (when we did get in after 45 minutes outside). The next day, we had chicken porridge for lunch and beef fajita for dinner.

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Many ski resorts were closed due to lack of snow. Boreal was close by and opened. The plus side was they have a couple of easy slopes for beginners which was what we needed. Of course they make fake snow, but doesn’t matter since we were ready to get some runs. For lunch, we saved by bringing our own cup-o-noodles. They charge 50 cents for hot water, which was no big deal (compared to a $6 skimpy hot dog).

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The whole trip was short and relaxing. Kids got to ski and hang out with their cousins. Hopefully this short ski trip has enough good ski memories to last until next time.

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