Clean up and organize

We went to our kids’ band to help with sorting through all the music and instruments to wrap up the year.  It was surprising how many people showed up to help (almost half of the kids were there).  We sorted through all the music and things fairly quickly.  Got to have pizza and the kids played games afterwards.  It was a very rewarding time for everyone.

So, I think we need to do the same thing at home.  Sort though everything we don’t need, organize and then have a fun celebration time when we are done.  Recently the girls helped dig through the boys’ room and got things organized and their room look so much better.

Anyway, just a good reminder that it’s a better thing to organize things at the end of the school year, even though the break may not seem to come soon enough, but might as well get through everything first so there can be a fresh new start come fall.

Team Sports Myth

How many people buy into the team sports myth about character building?  I like what Voddie Baucham says about that.  If team sports really brings about all those good characters then we should see shining examples of the results in the NBA and NFL.

I did a quick look up of the benefits of team sports and the list includes

  • friendship and camaraderie
  • cooperation and teamwork skills
  • leadership skills
  • appreciation of different abilities
  • respect for team mates/ opponents/officials
  • a sense of belonging/team membership
  • social interaction skills
  • physical skills
  • self-esteem and self concept
  • team goal-setting skills
  • self-discipline, patience and persistence
  • resilience through sharing positive and negative experiences.

Hum, so how much of these characteristics do we see reflected by the professional team sports players.  Maybe you can call me somewhat a sour puss because while growing up I was usually a professional bench warmer who was usually one of the last picked in any pick up games and never the star of any team.  Team sports in my school days had probably done more damage than good and almost every item listed ended in the negative column for me.  And come to think of it, the idea of the team star, doesn’t that defeat so much of the idea of the “team” and switch it the individual?  Thankfully, I’ve slowly clawed my way out of my poor self-image regarding physical abilities which I’ve since realized was more caused by lack of popularity than ability.

Maybe I’m thinking about teamwork now because the kids just finished their end of year band concert.  Looking through the list about the benefits of team sports, I think being in band actually fulfills the list more faithfully than sports.  In band or orchestra, it’s a really bad idea to out play your neighbor except when auditioning for solo parts or chair.  You either play well together, or you go down in flames together.  Everyone needs to put in their part for the whole to succeed.  Now that’s a true team.  Of course I’m not advocating that every parent must put their child in some kind of music group nor am I advocating that children should not take part in team sports.  But what I am advocating is that we all need to think critically about our decisions as regards to what our children does, not based on what everyone else says or does, but be willing to stand alone if necessary to make the most logical and thought through decisions which will ultimately be the best for our kids.

Pinterest… Squirrel!

I have a love and hate relationship with Pinterest.  While I get lots of recipe and project ideas from there, it can also potentially be a real time sink.  When I’m on Pinterest, I’m like the dogs in the movie Up.  I see squirrels everywhere and end up with new boards and lots of new pins.  I forgot who said this, but we are all too easily satisfied with the unimportant things in life but end up missing out on the things that satisfies our soul the most.  We let the less important things have dominance over our time.  Let us all learn prioritize and find time for and finish the important things first before getting to all the other stuff, and not fear that we will lose doing the frivolous things that can occupy so much of our time.  Okay, I’m closing my Pinterest tab for now and checking my to do list to see the relevance of things on the list and try to stick with the important things.

Vietnamese Grilled Pork

I love Vietnamese grilled pork with rice noodles or in a sandwich (Bah Mi).  But I have only bought them from restaurants until now.  Of all things, George Foreman to the rescue!  I suppose I can follow the recipe and bake it, but why when I can actually grill the pork slices.  I tried one batch first in the grill and a couple of days later marinated a whole bunch and froze some in portions.  Then I got the idea of instead of freezing them in one big portion, I now marinate the pork, cut out parchment paper about twice the size of the desired serving portions, put a layer of the marinated pork slices on one side of the parchment paper, fold over the paper, and then freeze them flat.  Now I have ready portions to go from freezer to meal in minutes.  Just take out the number of servings I want, preheat the grill.  Slap the frozen pork slices on the grill and let it cook while getting other things ready.  What can be easier…

Print Recipe
Vietnamese Grilled Pork
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 1 hr
Servings
Ingredients
marinade
Marinade
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 1 hr
Servings
Ingredients
marinade
Marinade
Instructions
  1. Slice pork into 1/8" slices
  2. Put all the marinade ingredients in food processor or blender. Process until well blended.
  3. Mix the sliced pork with the marinade for at least an hour or overnight.
  4. Bake at 375F for 10 minutes then broil until a nice golden brown. Flip the pieces and broil the other side.
Recipe Notes

Using the George Foremen grill, I just layer the pork and cook them for about 3-5 minutes for each batch.  I do wipe down the grill slightly between batches.  And if cooking from frozen meat, just increase the time by a minute or two.

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Happy Mother’s day

I don’t think I need to say much more than the title.  Go and enjoy your kids today and count all your blessings.  Or let your mom know that she is special.  If your mom is no longer living, be a blessing to some mom today.  Make this world a better place.

Dealing with incomprehensible tragedy

I don’t care to watch the local news just because more often than not you hear so much of what’s wrong with the world.  But unfortunately being bombarded with these news items can also develop in us a callousness towards the lives behind the minute long spots.  Today a friend of ours received a call informing him of a tragedy regarding close friends of his.   The wife’s sister and family were killed in a fiery car accident after they were hit by a work truck in a possible DWI case and their SUV caught fire.  It was the lead story on the local news.  Ten years ago, the husband’s sister’s murder was also a high interest news item.  What are the odds of such tragedies happening to one family who does not engage in risky behaviors?

For most of us, when we hear these news items, we may momentarily feel bad for the parents, infant and toddlers who were killed, or other news worthy victims.  Then we just move on to how the weather will effect me tomorrow.  Perhaps it’s also the problem of we really don’t know how to face these types of tragedies.  I was trying to sign a card for the family and realized that there are really no words for comfort during these times.  I have enough faith to believe that God will bring Himself glory through all the tragedies but that is no comfort.  So, I just offer up prayers that someone that God Himself would bring comfort and healing to the family.  And let this be a reminder for me as well that next time I hear the tragic lead story that I would remember the lives broken by these events and offer up prayers to God for the lives so severely impacted by us tragedies.

Martial Arts Dream

Since I’m just starting this blog, I should from time to time let you know more about myself.  I started training in Tae Kwon Do few years back, okay our dojang really practice mixed martial arts.  My kids started first and while talking to the grand master about my kids, I unthinkingly asked about classes for me.  There were things going on that prevented the parents class from forming for another year.  What I hadn’t remembered until then was that growing up in the Asian culture, I was immersed in martial arts stuff.  It was not just Bruce Lee, but even many of the soap operas I watched growing up were martial arts based.  I had forgotten how my siblings and I used to practice flying side kicks against the end of our concrete hall way in the flat we lived in.  How my brother and I used to pretend spar.  I would have loved to have started martial arts training when I was young, but I’m glad that I did eventually start.  I had many reasons why I should not have done it, but I’m glad that I did not let them dissuade me from starting and continuing.  Now, I’m close to getting my black belt and loving what I do.

But I think the important thing I’m learning is that we all have dreams and wishes which may have been dormant for quite a while, but when opportunities present themselves, don’t shy away from actively looking for ways to pursue those dreams and wishes.  Yes, many of them cannot be fulfilled over night, but doesn’t it become even more worthwhile when you finally do obtain them?

George Foreman Grill

I love gadgets.  Maybe it’s the engineer side of me.  Unfortunately most of them come much short of expectations.  I’ve been eyeing the George Foreman grill for a while, but just wasn’t sure if it’ll just be another disappointment.  But the other day while at Wal-Mart I bit the bullet and bought it.  Must say that I am extremely pleased with my purchase.  The funny thing is that I had intended to use it for burgers, it has not happened yet.  Instead I now have the George Foreman Asian style grill.  I still got a whole list of Asian stuff I’m eager to try and I think after those it will be fejitas.  I’ll get around to the burgers some day.  I’ll slowly post the recipes that I like as I try them out and also turn some into quick freezer meals.  Maybe I’ll give these as gifts this Christmas along with a personal recipe book.  Ideas… ideas… ideas…

Gray Hair

Why are we as women so eager to hide our gray hair as we grow older?  I know for me, I’m just too lazy to bother dying my hair.  I have a fairly thick streak right at the top of my hair.  When I have my hair down I could probably pass for having intentionally dyed the streak gray as the rest of my hair is mostly black, but when it’s pulled back, it almost reminds me of the hair of Lily Munster from The Munsters TV show.  The gray does bother me from time to time but again not enough for me to expend the effort to take care of it.  One of my boys like play around and bug me about my gray hair and then follow on with, “I’m trying to get myself murdered, aren’t I?”

But are gray hair necessarily something we should hide?  My oldest daughter has been slowly adding strands of gray hair to her thick dark hair.  The gray really stands out.  But one thing we’ve noticed is that she’ll get a new strand or two from going through a stressful time.  She can almost name each strand for the particular stressful situation which she went through.  They are the markers for the remembrance of having made it through and becoming a better person because of it.

So next time when you see another gray hair, remind yourself that, “I have fought a battle, I have conquered it, perhaps along the way I had to learn a lesson or two, but I have come out a better person because of it.”

Principle vs Principal

I have never been a good speller, but one way that I’ve learned to keep the words principle and principal straight is to remember that Al is the PrincipAL. Unfortunately I think we now live in a society where we are confusing the two in more ways than just their spelling. I would like my life to count for something worthwhile. I would like my children to develop principles by which to live. Unfortunately our society now seem to be more interested in following the authority figures or such as the principals rather than unchanging principles, or if you want to use the other definition of principal, that’s the wad of cash that can tempt us to do things which potentially violates our principles. I sometimes catch myself tempted to compromise in order to fit in or in order to be even more comfortable. But my hope is that for me and my family that even if from time to time we misspell principle and principal yet in how we live, we would always live by our principles.