Funerals, wedding, and graduations

This has been quite an interesting Memorial Day weekend so far. The girls went to Colorado for a friend’s graduation, a number of our friends went to a funeral, and Mark and I went to a wedding. I guess that’s life. And it’s a good reminder to treasure the things that we have now and to celebrate each moment.

Testing Gboard

My oh my, all these things are supposed to make our lives better and easier.  I just got Gboard installed and we’ll see how well this works. It’s a weird thought, I still remember trying to learn typing on a manual typewriter and now I’m speaking to type. How far we’ve come but at the same time how much we stayed still and in some areas we’ve backslid.  I guess that’s like everything else in life, we gain some we lose some, we always need to take the good along with the bad. I guess the trick is always count our blessings and fight our way to retain all that which is good.

I love the internet, I love how I can have access to so much information, unfortunately just like what gboard voice recognition does there are errors and there are problems.  It is not perfect. So we always need to be vigilant and examine everything that comes across are paths and not just blindly accept everything.

todo list optimzation

Okay, I’m back to trying to make up my to-do list. I always have a number of projects going and trying to maintain a good list of things that needs to be done for each project is always a challenge. I have started many notebooks, I’ve used a number of apps, I’ve used planners and the bottom line is I’m not that organized… grr…

But now that I’ve got various electronic “time saving” gadgets, I’m trying to find something that would sync across everything and where I can keep everything in it’s place. I think I’ve decided on Google Keep. Of course that may change soon after I enter everything again. But hopefully not.

Okay Google… I’m spilling my whole life to you…

Job more important than spouse or children?

I just heard a really sad statistics today. People recover better after a divorce or the death of a child than after the loss of a job. Wow, I would have never guessed that result. But I suppose if I stop and think about it, especially as a homeschool mom, it makes sense. We have been trained through 12+ years of school that our identity is ultimately in our job or perhaps more specifically in what we earn. Just think what is the message of the goal of education that most of us think of… to eventually earn a good income. Now the average life span of people is 79 years, a high school education now is no longer good enough for many, and the average time it takes for a college degree is six years. That’s 13(k-12)+6(college)=19 years. That’s almost a quarter of our lives getting ready for a career that would last through our adult lives and then retire on the income generated will need to be sufficient to support us comfortably through that whole time. And if you think about it, so many marriages do not last even close to 19 years and kids are pretty much independent from us by late teens. So we will have spent more time getting ready for working than most any other endeavor in our lives. No wonder the lost of a job is so devastating.

As a homeschool mom who has a Master’s degree in engineering, I’ve gotten so many comments about wasting my education, and wasting my life. And especially when my kids were younger, sometimes I do wonder if I am making any difference in the lives of my children. But as the years wore on, I’m more cognizant of the underlying reason that tried to move me back into the workforce. Besides, the challenges there are so much easier to deal with than the dynamics of your own children, where the primary purpose is not to try to cram their heads with facts, but to help their hearts to internalize guiding life principles.

Have I been successful? Not as much as I would have liked since along the way I’ve discovered so much that I needed to work on and unfortunately many issues have impacted my kids. Would I have been measured in other people’s eyes with more success had I stayed in the workforce? Yes. But, even after having gotten my name as part of a patent, worked on research, and taken part in fun projects, I would not trade my life with any of those. I have a wonderful relationship with my kids which I know would not have happened otherwise. Do my kids have character issues they still need to work on? Yes, but along the way, they have not only gained knowledge but also loving hearts. I am satisfied. I have no regrets. And you know what? I don’t think all my education was wasted though they did not result in all the potential income which could have been generated.

Freezer cleaning

Now that I’ve been starting to think of end of school year cleaning and maybe even now start prepping for a fresh new start for the next school year. I was going to sit down and start a menu planning process, but I decided to start with cleaning out the freezer so I’d have room to do some freezer type cooking. We have a deep freezer that’s been jam packed with who knows what from who knows when (science experiment anyone?). It’s garbage day tomorrow and figure that it’s still not so hot that the frozen stuff should last through garbage pick up. So we went through and threw out all the useless stuff so I can fill it with the things that we use more often.

But isn’t that so much like our lives sometimes? It’s jam packed with so much useless stuff that we have no room for the important things or things that works towards improvements for our lives. Maybe it’s habits that we have, activities that we do, foods that we eat, or whatever else. I think we all need to go through what fills our lives and evaluate everything to clear space and time out. Perhaps not to stuff things back in right away, but to give ourselves room to breathe and enjoy all the blessings that we already have.

Okay, I’m going to go and open the freezer and be a penguin for awhile and enjoy the almost empty space…

Energy to Burn

Okay, I’m not really talking about myself with energy to burn.  Wish that was the case.  This morning when I let the dog in, she started tearing through the house at top speed.  I could have gotten mad at her, but realizing that it’s just that she’s a people dog and she wants to run around with people.  So I went out to the backyard with her and played with her for a few minutes.  She’s satisfied and happy to have had the time with me, and I don’t have to worry about the house being destroyed by her running through it at top speed.

I think sometimes our kids are not dissimilar to my dog.  They really don’t mean harm but they have so much energy to burn and if we don’t give them a proper outlet, they can become destructive and our improper response can ruin our relationship with them.  Especially for boys, we really need to be sensitive to their need to be active and move about.  Come up with creative ways for them to burn off energy.  Find ways to study while burning off energy.  Take an active part in their activities too, that is often how good memories are built for not just the kids but us too.  Does it mean that we just let our kids drive our agenda?  No, but I’ve known a dog trainer who has turned humane society dogs into movie stars and service dogs.  She doesn’t let her dogs get away with being disobedience, but she still have a loving relationship with her dogs.  So we too need wisdom to know how to balance things in life so we teach our children to work and be obedient but within the context of how they function as people.

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
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 1 hr
  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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