Sunday, November 1, 2009

costumes and cupcakes

they don't celebrate halloween here in poland. but my friend julie and i couldn't resist the idea of having some kind of a dress-up party. so julie being a semi-professional baker, we decided to throw costumes and cupcakes party for some of makayla's girlfriends. it was so fun and kids did amazingly well with decorating the cupcakes! i personally enjoyed it so much myself, i must make it a tradition :)

julie's sample cupcakes - so cute - myfavorite was the mummy. though the green alien and the pumpkin was the most popular with the kids.julie giving instructions on how to make each of the cupcakes
makayla is very satisfied with her werewolf! can you believe she made it??
ethan too is happy with his spider. he was the only boy at the party - we figured keeping it all girls would keep the chaos level down. . . . we were right.

we played some games as well - everyone went home happy with many candies and prizes

group shot - impossible to get a decent shot of everyone at this age. . . .

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

look who performed!

many probably remember ethan's performance from last year's winternational. he refused to participate and just stood there. . . . this time, he promised that he would perform if i sat in the front row. as soon as i arrived, i knew he was going to do it, he just looked more confident and sure of himself :) he did great and all the teachers were amazed at his transformation into a big boy!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Recipe for "Mexican Wedding Cake" (this is how we do it)

This is an easy eleven step recipe that you can follow at home.

1. you go hunt for a walnut tree that's not owned by anyone, preferably right off a busy street so everyone can admire a random Asian family picking walnuts in the middle of Krakow. you then pick as many walnuts as possible because one of your family member believes that living off the land is the best thing ever.
2. you re-use your bag that had your breakfast pastry to collect your loot, because that's how environmentally conscious you are. or you are just simply ghetto fabulous.

3. you realize that you don't own a nut cracker so you use your hammer to smash open all your walnuts.
4. you believe in multi-tasking so you feed your neighbor's cat while you are at it.
5. you are ambitious and goal oriented so you put a ridiculous amount of work ahead of you to create a sense of urgency.
6. you admire the fruit of your labor as you take a breather and look pretty.
7. you sift flour as a family because God forbid you get left out.
8. you take a VERY crumbly dough and make them into balls.
9. you make a mental note to never do this crumbly cookie with your children ever again. bad bad choice.
10. enjoy your cookie after a shower.
11. voila! duration: 4 hours. ingredients: flour, off the street walnuts, powder sugar and mutterings under your breath. it was all worth it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

fire hazard and the police

the week ethan stayed home due to his chicken pox was quite eventful. it involved house being almost burnt down as well as visit from the police.

it all started out rather innocently. ethan wanted to take a nap, i went up with him, and fell asleep. one hour later - as soon as i woke up, i remembered that i had put corn on the stove for ethan's snack. ahhhhhhh - thankfully we were not covered in smoke so i rushed downstairs to discover crispy black corn. i couldn't believe that i did that and was so so grateful that it didn't turn into anything more serious. i think in another 30 minutes, the corn would have caught on fire. phew. thank the Lord.

ethan modeling the burnt corn and wok

as if that wasn't disorienting enough, we later had a visit from the local police the same day. they looked a bit dismayed that i didn't speak Polish, but after my several attempts to call a friend to translate failed, they told me in their broken english - "you put gas, no pay."

well, i haven't been driving since my driver's license expired in the summer so the only person who could have done it was my darling husband. i called him immediately and asked if he pumped gas 4 days ago and forgot to pay. his reply- "oh, yea~ i guess i could have done that." here in poland, you pump gas and then pay the cashier inside the building afterwards. i asked the police "we go pay now? ok?" police replied, "no, not ok. crime." ah-huh. ofcourse, though it was an honest mistake, it is considered shoplifiting. ok, then.

one hour later, with joe, joe's co-worker and police official translator arrival, the police informed us that if it's under 100$ it's usually just a fine, but since it's above that amount (that darn SUV!!), it is now a criminal case. great. the police advised joe to hire a lawyer and come to the station tomorrow to give a testimony. ok.

oh, one more thing before they left, they needed to search the house to make sure that we didn't steal anything else. how they would figure out if i have stolen the box of kit kats or bought them is beyond me. the police officers were perfectly nice and seemed almost apologetic that they had to do that, but regardless, it's a routine they must do. the kicker is that i asked them to take off their shoes to go upstairs in the kids room and they replied, "it's not possible." i'm sorry but at that point, i started to chuckle a bit because i've heard that phrase way too many times since i've been in this country.

"could you slice the beef thinner?" "that's not possible."

"could i have my chicken with rice instead of fries?" "that's impossible".

you get the drift. so i replied, "oh, ok, it's impossible for you to take your shoes off." the tranlator then tells me that while they are on duty, they are not allowed to "undress" just in case they get attacked - they have to be ready to fight. i understand, because we're asian so we can kick butt. i would be worried too, if i met me in the dark alley. all kidding aside, they were just trying to do their job, what can i say? anyhow, joe went to the station next day with a lawyer and they concluded that they "think" joe didn't have criminal intent so we're just awaiting verdict as to what happens next.

after i told this story to a friend of mine, she told me that she did that once and just received a letter 6 months later. when she returned to the station to pay, the manager told her that it happens TWICE a day. they really need to come up with a better system. seriously.

makayla in her 1st grade classroom

Sunday, September 13, 2009

chicken pox weekend

It started out with few spots on his face. We ofcourse thought they were bug bites. We put some cortisone and that was the end of that. Next morning, Ethan woke up covered in spots and I was so distressed that we might have some kind of bugs or something! The idea of chicken pox didn't even cross my mind at first b/c being good American parents we are, both our kids are immunized against it. Well, it turns out that American kids are the only kids on this planet who are vaccinated against it and Europe is filled with children who have chicken pox. Also, there's 22% chance that immunization won't protect your children. Ethan fell in the 22% and Makayla in the 78%.

So my poor baby had to spend the whole weekend at home - and ofcourse, he had to pick a weekend full of fun for him to be homebound. . . . What a weekend for Makayla - full attention from mommy and friends without anyone to steal her thunder. It started with her usual swimming lessons on Sat morning, then walk in the park to discover there's a circus in town. Bought tickets to the circus, off to her tennis lesson and to the circus with mommy and some friends. (this Polish circus lasted 2 1/2 hours and it cost us $15 for the both of us - can't beat that!) Then Sunday was a big joint birthday party for her and her friend Cora at the pool. Boy, whoever thought that having 15 kids in a public pool was a good idea for a party (me and my friend Elysa, obviously) wasn't listening to the inner voice whispering "crazy... you're crazy..." Anyhow, despite the initial chaos, it was a great party overall - Makayla told me that she wants to do that again for next year! After the party, we stopped by our friend's house who was hosting a church picnic and joined in all the fun there. All this for Makayla and mommy while Ethan was sitting at home with daddy, watching endless episodes of Scooby-Doo. Ethan was good sport and didn't complain once, he just wanted a piece of cake and some cookies. . . .

look - a circus!

inside the tent - small but they had everything you think of in a circus - clowns, acrobats, dishspinning, elephants, horses, dogs, and camels?

makayla enjoying her HUGE cotton candy (which was basically shared by 4 other kids - it was that big. . . .)

makayla and her mermaid cake - hair color to match the birthday girls - love it!

. . . . and there's my poor baby. . . .

Friday, September 4, 2009

unbelievable. . .

really? i haven't blogged for exactly 6 months? unbelievable. well, here i am, trying to get back on the wagon. i guess after 2 years in Krakow, our family has fully adjusted to the change here and life continues - so my blog about adventures in Krakow will now be about our non-adventures in Krakow. i'll be posting mostly pictures and stories about the kids since it seems to be only family members who drops in once in a while to see updated pictures of the kids. those family members, namely my mom, has not caught up with facebook, obviously.

anyhow, since the last post, we have traveled around the world. korea-china-amsterdam-paris-prague-ireland. phew. kids did super well in all our travels and they especially enjoyed their asia trip. we have to plan another one soon!

makayla is now 6 - entered 1st grade and ethan is 4!!! their exchanges have been endlessly entertaining. here are some sample dialogues.

Mak embracing the mickey spirit

Mak: You know, what the most important part of the body is?
Mom: What?
Mak: It's the brain.
E: Yeah, because it stinks.
Mak: No! Because it THinks - TH, TH, Thinks.
E: Yeah, because it stinks.
Mak: . . . . .

ethan was a bit camera shy during our disney trip for some reason

Mom: What do you want to be when you grow up?
E: Ummmm... a monkey!
Mom: o...k....
E: And a doctor.
Mom: I think you can be a doctor but not a monkey.
E: Why? Makayla is going to be a teacher.
Mom: Well, you're a person.
E: Monkey is an animal.
Mom: Yeah, so it's hard for a person to be an animal. (it's hard? should I have said impossible?)
E: Ok. Then i want to be a dragon.
Mom: A dragon?
E: Yeah, but i don't want fire in my mouth. . . then i'll eat a monkey!!! kkkkkkk. That's silly! We don't eat monkeys. . . . . only fish, right mommy?
Mom: I guess so.

makayla loved posing with disney characters

Mak: (after looking at the messy playroom): Ethan, do you want to help the earth and live, then pick up the toys.
E: I want to live.
Mak: then pick up the toys.
E: (as he picks up some toys off the floor) Am I living now?
Mak: If you pick up the toys, you will live.

shuttle ride to disney!

making wontons with grandpa in holland

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

how do you sing "happy birthday" in chinese?

Makayla had a birthday party for one of her classmates - Alex, this past weekend. Joe happened to be there when they were getting ready for the cake.

Antonia (one of Mak's classmate): "we can sing happy birthday in English, Polish, Chinese, French...."
Joe: "Really? Chinese???? How?"

Then the kids in unison, as if they practiced - started to sing Happy Birthday in Chinese. . . .

or so they thought.

To Joe's great amazement and amusement, they were not at all singing in Chinese.

This is what they were singing:

"Chin chin nay nay quai nai~ Chin chin nay nay quai nai ~"

Joe just started to crack up and Alex's dad was like "are they singing in Chinese?" and Joe answered, "I don't know what language they are signing in." but Joe knew that this was the song Makayla made up in her jibberish period.

It was just amazing to see 12 kids sing this jibberish song in unison. It's too embarrassing at this point to tell the children that what they are singing is in fact not only NOT chinese but NOT a language at all!

Since I missed the whole thing, I asked Makayla when she came back from the party.

Me: "I heard that you guys sang in Chinese - how did all the kids know to sing it?"
Mak: (confidently) "Because Antonia and I taught them!"
Me: (not having the heart to tell her that it's not Chinese) "Rrrrrriiiiigggghhhhtttt. Okay...okay..."

Oh, the kicker was that Ethan chimed in with already memorized and well-practiced "chin-chin-nay-nay-quai-nai". oh brother.