May 2017 Monthly Roundup

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
- The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
- Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick
- The Lady Never Lies
- A Gentleman Never Tells by Julianna Gray
- The Duke that Never Yields by Julianna Gray
- Currently Reading: You are Here by Jennifer E. Smith

What movies and/or TV shows did I watch this month?
- Northern Lights
- Indiana Jones
- Batman vs. Superman

What special days did I celebrate and how?
- Mother's Day
- In Laws' Anniversary

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
- Thank you Lord I had very good health this month ♥

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
- Get Together with our Old Household
- Kids' Playdate
- Went to the Upside Down Museum
- Kids' Summer Job
- Mega Sports Camp ♥♥♥

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
- Emerald Gardens for Lunch
- Chilli's

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
- Bought a Winsome Box goodi for Mother's Day as a gift for myself. ♥♥♥♥♥♥

What have you learned this month?
- Serve the needs (not the wants) of others selflessly so that satisfying yourself by pleasing others will not be the driving force of your life (from the Parents Workshop)

Wednesday Happy Thouhts

Happiness is...

1. Sports Camp Tournament last weekend
2. Less is More Articles / Vids
3. Parents Workshop
4. Organic Coffee ♥
5. Family
6. Simple Things that make me Smile
7. Soccer Time
8. Decluttering
9. Blogging and Preserving Memories ♥
10. Photos

To know how this started and credits of the header, click here.

2016 Bonding in Beijing: Our Japanese Lunch in China :)

Our best lunch in China? A Japanese Lunch Buffet!


Food was definitely overflowing! And yes, you can see it in our happy faces...

This lunch buffet is definitely one of the highlights of our stay in Beijing.


What is the Greatest Test of Faith?

Sharing a Song this SUNDAY: Radiate by Before You Exit.

Feel like dancing today?

Have a fun Sunday, peeps!

REPOSTING: 6 Reasons to Give Your Kids the Gift of Travel by Shiloah Matic

Are you having second thoughts in traveling this weekend? Check out these reasons why you need to go...

6 Reasons to Give Your Kids the Gift of Travel by Shiloah Matic

Thinking about planning a family trip but worried about the hassle of bringing the kids? Forget the horror stories of traveling with minors. Here are six reasons why you should say yes to more adventures with your young ones.

1. Travel enhances your parent-child conversations.
Children learn best from interaction with their parents and trusted caregivers, so if you want to teach your kids about the wonders of the world, show them the world -- and talk to them about it. (Tip: You may want to "conveniently" forget your gadgets at the hotel.) A conversation starter like, "We're riding a train! Is it going fast or slow?" works better when you're actually on a train gaining speed than if you're watching watching a show or reading a book about the same topic. The many experiences you'll have while traveling will also introduce your child to a wider variety of words and concepts. Think echo, fiesta, underground, or autumn.

2. Travel turns fiction into reality and lets the imagination come alive.
Maybe you still remember the first time you saw the Mona Lisa or tried the artisan pizza everyone was raving about. For kids, the magic comes in even simpler forms: the first time they see and touch real snow, or see a moving, roaring tiger, or step into a castle fit for a princess. Things they'd only read about in books or see on a screen are so much more memorable in 3D. You don't need to travel far to find real live versions of the pages and pixels -- even a trip to the local marketplace can hold many wonders for a fertile and curious young mind.

3. Traveling while young teaches kids to be world citizens.
One developmental milestone is when kids start recognizing that others may not share their point of view and learn to put themselves in other people's shoes. Encourage empathy and a broader worldview by showing your children that the world is full of people of all colors, with languages, various customs, and daily experiences different from what your family is used to. Traveling also turns kids into better travelers -- willing to try new tastes and experiences, comfortable around people who are different from them, and able to find the fun and beauty in situations even some adults would whine and complain about. Whether your kids remember the trip or not, they will have learned something valuable that will serve them for their future adventures -- with or without you.

4. Traveling with kids lets you see the world through fresh eyes.
Maybe you never would have stopped at that fountain before, but this time, you'll spend an hour vicariously experiencing and witnessing the incomprehensible joy of a kid watching the water. Young kids are better travelers than most adults, because they innately get that travel is about experiencing the world anew and not simply about shopping and taking selfies at the pre-marked tourist spots. Ask a child what he remembers or enjoyed most about his day and you'll be surprised by the things he noticed, the things that made him happy, and the things he found beautiful, scary, interesting, or awe-inspiring.

5. Travel will show you a different side of your child.
Traveling affects and changes everyone on the journey -- even the smallest of us. Keep your eyes open for magical moments during the trip when your child may surprise you: A normally shy child may connect with a funny-face-making stranger, a timid child may show a flash of daring and bravery, a picky eater may try and love exotic tastes, and an older sibling may suddenly be extra caring and protective of a younger sibling. These are moments rarely captured on camera, but they'll be unforgettable nonetheless. Maybe you'll surprise yourself as well -- who knew you had that patience, resilience, and courage in you?

6. Traveling will strengthen your family bond.
We mentioned patience, right? Let's be honest -- traveling with kids is definitely more challenging than traveling by yourself (or with your spouse), but that's because life with kids is a challenge. It's not easy to be unselfish with your time and itinerary, to have less control over an already unfamiliar situation, and to have to worry about someone else's safety and welfare. But step up to the challenge and you'll build trust and respect in your relationship with your kids.

What's more precious to your child than knowing you will keep him safe when the sound of the airplane taking off scares him; that he can tell you when he's tired from walking in the heat and the crowds and you'll listen; or that it wasn't silly at all that he wanted to stop and watch the birds on the sidewalk? What bonds you tighter than having a jetlagged, usually cranky-when-sleepy husband offer to let you doze off while he stays up to soothe and comfort your cranky, jetlagged son?

Yes, the happy memories and picture-perfect moments will be nice to look back on, but the stories you tell over and over again will be of the times you thought you couldn't go on, but then you did -- and, wow, was it worth it.


REPOST: 7 Packing Hacks to Make your Life Easier

Look, I found these hacks very useful so I thought of sharing it here with you.

Perfect for your next travel, right? Let's GOW!

Wednesday Happy Thoughts

Happiness is...

1. Happy Weekend with Family ♥
2. Exercise
3. Future Plans
4. Dream Destinations
5. Work, work, work
6. Quick Window Shopping
7. Coffee and Donuts
8. Malling
9. Ramen
10. Mother's Day Gifts ♥

To know how this started and credits of the header, click here.

2016 Bonding in Beijing: Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium

Our next stop after the Great Wall is the famous Beijing's Olympic Stadium called the Bird's Nest.

Affectionately known as Bird's Nest, the National Stadium is situated in Olympic Green Village, Chaoyang District of Beijing City. It was designed as the main stadium of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The Olympic events of track and field, football, gavelock, weight throw and discus were held there. Since October, 2008, after the Olympics ended, it has been opened as a tourist attraction. Now, it's the center of international or domestic sports competition and recreation activities. In 2022, the opening and closing ceremonies of another important sport event, Winter Olympic Games will be held here. SOURCE.

The design of this large stadium was accomplished together by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and Chinese architect Li Xinggang and the others. The designers didn't do any redundant disposals to the look of the stadium. They just exposed the steel structures entirely and let them become the most natural appearance. The form of the stadium looks like a big nest which embraces and nurses human beings. Also it looks rather like a cradle bearing human beings' hope of the future. SOURCE.

The stadium covers an area of about 258 thousand square meters (99.614 square miles), which can accommodate 80,000 fixed seats and 11,000 temporary seats. Its appearance was formed by big steel frames. Its top surface is saddle-shaped with the major axis of 332.3 meters (1,090 feet) and the stub axis of 296.4 meters (972 feet). The tallest point of the stadium is 68.5 meters (225 feet) above the ground and the lowest point is 42.8 meters (140 feet). The top is covered by semi-transparent air bubble film. This kind of material is waterproof and can make enough sunshine penetrate into the stadium. Owing to that, the lawns in it can grow well. SOURCE.

Oh look, take note of this one...

The 8th session under the theme of "Icy Bird's Nest, Passionate Winter Olympics" is held at the Bird's Nest from December 7, 2016 to February 28, 2017. The stadium turns into a ski resort during this period.Tourists have opportunities to take part in more than 30 kinds of sports and entertainment activities, such as ski jumping, ice skating, snow tubing, bumper car on the ice and biathlon (cross-country skiing and rifle shooting). Besides, kids can enjoy themselves by joining some indoor activities including canoeing, fencing and equestrianism at the Children's Area. SOURCE.

Planning on going there? Here are ways on how to visit this famous tourist spot.

By Bus:
Take bus 82, 538 or 645 and get off at Guo Jia Ti Yu Chang Dong Station.
Take bus 108, 124, 18, 328, 380, 387, 409, 426, 620, 653, 694, Te 11 or T2 and get off at Ao Ti Dong Men (Olympic Sports Center East Gate) Station.
Take bus 407 and get off at Ao Ti Xi Men (Olympic Sports Center West Gate) Station.

By Subway:
Take Subway Line 10 to Beitucheng then switch to Subway Line 8 (Olympic Special Line): get off at Olympic Sports Center Station, get out of the station from Exit B1 (northwest exit) or Exit B2 (northeast exit), and walk north to it.
Beijing Bus / Subway Search

David and Goliath...

Sharing a Song this SUNDAY: Love on the Weekend.

A new favorite - Love on the Weekend by John Mayer.

That's right, let's spread the love on this weekend. (*wink*)

REPOSTING: What to Do with Your Kids this Summer?

Don't know what to do this weekend? Check out these tips I found at

What to Do with Your Kids this Summer? Here are Some Tips on How to Put Structure into Their Schedules.
By Nina Malanay

Summer is the time when kids take a break from a busy school year of waking up early, doing homework and studying for tests. It is the time when kids (and moms!) get to sleep in a little longer, for playing all day and laid-back days doing “nothing”.

But while the downtime and carefree vibe that summer brings seem enticing, it may not be the best idea for kids.

Summer Learning Loss

In a study conducted by Dr. Harris Cooper, he established that children experience a loss of academic skills and knowledge during summer. Without the constant practice of the skills and the deliberate effort to keep the kids engaged in learning, children may lose or forget up to three months’ worth of learning over the summer. In the study, Dr. Cooper found that summer programs and activities that integrate literacy skills into the enriching activities can prevent summer learning loss and even improve academic performance among children. By encouraging and providing opportunities for mental stimulation throughout the summer, parents can help children preserve their math, reading and spelling skills. Thus, it is important to have some form of routine and structure during the summer days to accommodate the children’s need for such enrichment activities and stimulation.

Other benefits of structures and routines

The idea of having a set schedule during the summer may seem boring and maybe even downright oppressive to some. But structure is critical to a child’s growth and development and has so many benefits for children of any age.

1. Structures and routines create a sense of security and stability among children. When routines are in place, children feel emotionally secure and are better able to navigate through life without the need for constant parental hovering and redirection.

2. Having a set routine minimizes power struggles because the children know what to expect. Children are more cooperative because they are aware of what will happen, and what is expected of them.

3. Routines help teach independence and responsibility. Knowing the schedule for the day will give opportunities for the child to take the initiative and perform the tasks expected of him.

4. Schedules and routines help children understand that conditions have to be met first before they can do what they want. When children know that something is expected of them before they get to do what they want, they become motivated to do their part. They also learn the value of fairness and accountability.

5. Having a schedule gives parents purposeful opportunities to connect with their child. Parents can set definite chunks of time for meaningful bonding activities with their child.

Fun and Laid-back Summer Schedule

Summer routines need not be rigid and overwhelming. After all, part of the allure of summer is the unhurried pace and the fun atmosphere. Simple things such as having regular wake-up times can help provide some structure during the carefree summer days. Here are some ideas for keeping to a summer routine that allows for plenty of fun.

1. Regular daily routine

Have a set daily routine with regular wake-up, eating, self-care and bed times. Set a regular wake-up time that is one or two hours later than your child’s regular wake-up time during the

2. Learning time

Set a time for learning. Workbooks or worksheets can help students practice the academic skills they learned during the school year and help prepare them for the next grade level. Summer enrichment activities, whether academic or interest-based, help regulate the child’s summer schedule while providing mental stimulation.

3. Reading Time

Aside from the regular bedtime story, have a separate time for reading each day. Expose your child to new books. Visit the local library or have a book swap with friends to keep reading selections interesting to your child. Encourage older children to read to their younger siblings and model the importance of reading by picking a book to read yourself.

4. Chores

Identify age-appropriate chores that your child can do each day during the summer. Combine daily chores such as making beds and doing the dishes with larger projects such as cleaning out their toy cabinet. Doing chores not only develops large motor skills, it also teaches a sense of responsibility and the value of helping and contributing to a group.

5. Limit screen time

It is ideal to limit gadget use and TV time to less than two hours a day. Set realistic boundaries and specific guidelines and make sure to communicate this to your child. Provide alternative activities to using gadgets and watching TV. Avoid using screen time as a reward or incentive.

6. Outdoor fun

Summer is the best time to laugh, play and enjoy the outdoors. Allot time for physical activity and messy play in your summer routine for outdoor play. Whether it’s a quick trip to the nearby playground or just riding the bike in your yard, outdoor activities provide an outlet for their boundless energy. Participating in outdoor activities is a good way to help keep the kids healthy and fit, and contributes to their overall well-being.

7. Summer Bucket List

Enjoy the summer and spend time as a family. Family time can do wonderful things to a child’s development, both physically and mentally, not to mention the beautiful memories you get to create together. Sit down as a family and make a list of all the places you would like to visit and things you would like to do together. From going to the beach, to stargazing in your own backyard, or visiting the zoo or water park, the list of fun things to do together is endless.

Having some form of structure and routine during the summer days will not only help kids transition smoothly into the new school year, but also make the long summer days more manageable and less stressful for both kids and parents. The key is in finding the balance between having fun and maintaining a routine.

So go ahead. Bask in the sun. Laugh. Play. And make beautiful summer memories to treasure.


2016 Bonding in Beijing: It's All about Different Kinds of Tea in our Tea Tasting Ceremony

Our second to the last stop during our city tour in Beijing was the Tea Tasting Ceremony. We wanted to skip this though but since I started becoming a tea drinker a couple of months ago, I wanted to know what kinds of tea Beijing has to offer.

Here is the whole group waiting for our "teacher"...

During the tea ceremony - more like a performance - a girl will show you how to properly prepare the different types of teas. For example, you will learn to use hotter water (90 degrees C) to prepare black teas, and only 70-80 degrees for green and flower teas – in so doing, it is believed to best bring out the bitterness of the different type of teas. In the tea ceremony, you will also learn to use two tiny cups, one for smelling and the other for tasting. For those tea lovers the tea ceremony is akin to a fancy wine tasting. There are a wide variety of Chinese teas to taste over there, such as Oolong with ginseng, a Beiing local jasmine tea, Puer tea from the south of China, a black tea with lychee juice and date juice mixed with rose tea, and a fruit tea made with flowers and fruit. SOURCE.

It was a very interesting ceremony, I tell you. Don't skip it! I'm glad we didn't. At least we get to bond with our tour group as well...

Our next stop: Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium!

2016 Bonding in Beijing: The Great Wall of China Part 2

I posted about the history of Great wall the other day, and this time, I will be posting our exciting climb and what we felt.

It was a long climb I tell you! But at least we made it!

The feeling after a long climb and seeing the view was UNFORGETTABLE.

But of course I had to stop and rest before moving on...

And then finally I reached something here.

But nope, NOT YET the top most. I'm still a loooong way to go!

But we were so happy that we made it this far. There is still a very long way to go but we were able to reach our goal.

And we were so proud of it!

It was one of the best experience we ever had in Beijing - climbing The Great Wall of China (yes, literally!)

Wednesday Happy Thoughts

Happiness is...

1. God's unending blessings ♥ He provides! All the time! ♥
2. Mother's Day Weekend
3. Kids' Surprise Gifts
4. Hubby's Mother's Day Lunch Treat
5. Impromptu Lunch Date
6. Plans, plans, plans for Travel
7. Life
8. Good Health
9. Family
10. Gift of Time

To know how this started and credits of the header, click here.

2016 Bonding in Beijing: The Great Wall of China Part 1

Our next stop during our trip in Beijing (with my Mom and brother) was of course, the highlight - The Great Wall of China. This is the most special so I'm going to divide my post into two parts.

The Great Wall of China was mainly the reason why we went to Beijing. We wanted to see it by ourselves. And we were so glad we did. It was amazing!

Perhaps the most recognizable symbol of China and its long and vivid history, the Great Wall of China actually consists of numerous walls and fortifications, many running parallel to each other. Originally conceived by Emperor Qin Shi Huang (c. 259-210 B.C.) in the third century B.C. as a means of preventing incursions from barbarian nomads into the Chinese Empire, the wall is one of the most extensive construction projects ever completed. The best-known and best-preserved section of the Great Wall was built in the 14th through 17th centuries A.D., during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Though the Great Wall never effectively prevented invaders from entering China, it came to function more as a psychological barrier between Chinese civilization and the world, and remains a powerful symbol of the country’s enduring strength. SOURCE.

Despite its long history, the Great Wall of China as it is exists today was constructed mainly during the mighty Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Like the Mongols, the early Ming rulers had little interest in building border fortifications, and wall building was limited before the late 15th century. In 1421, the Ming emperor Yongle proclaimed China’s new capital, Beijing, on the site of the former Mongol city of Dadu. Under the strong hand of the Ming rulers, Chinese culture flourished, and the period saw an immense amount of construction in addition to the Great Wall, including bridges, temples and pagodas. The construction of the Great Wall as it is known today began around 1474. After an initial phase of territorial expansion, Ming rulers took a largely defensive stance, and their reformation and extension of the Great Wall was key to this strategy. SOURCE.

Just look at the amazing view...

Today, the Great Wall is generally recognized as one of the most impressive architectural feats in history. In 1987, UNESCO designated the Great Wall a World Heritage site, and a popular claim that emerged in the 20th century holds that it is the only manmade structure that is visible from space. Over the years, roadways have been cut through the wall in various points, and many sections have deteriorated after centuries of neglect. The best-known section of the Great Wall of China–Badaling, located 43 miles (70 km) northwest of Beijing–was rebuilt in the late 1950s, and attracts thousands of national and foreign tourists every day.

What do you think?

Will post more of our experience at The Great Wall, soon! (*wink*)


Here's something I grabbed from Break The Twitch...

Focus on finding not just happiness, but fulfillment in the everyday aspects of life. It is not a place we arrive to, but a lens with which we view the world.

Happy Monday!

Sharing a Song this SUNDAY: How Far I'll Go

2016 Bonding in Beijing: Ming Tombs

Beijing Ming Tombs or the Thirteen Tombs of Ming Dynasty is our next stop in my Beijing tour with Mom and brother.

50 kilometers (31 miles) northwest from Beijing City, at the foot of Tianshou Mountain, is the Ming Tombs Scenic Area, where lie the mausoleums of thirteen emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). Since 1409 when Zhu Di, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, built his Changling Tomb here, the succeeding twelve emperors had their resting places built around Changling during the next 230 years, covering a total area of over 120 square kilometers (46.3 square miles). This is the best preserved mausoleum area with the most emperors buried. Every year millions of tourists come to the site to appreciate its long history and palatial architecture. SOURCE.

In the scenic area, each mausoleum has its own independent unit. The layout and arrangement of all the thirteen mausoleums are very similar, but they vary in size as well as in the complexity of their structures. Each was built in an area at the foot of the mountain, with distances ranging from half a kilometer (547 yards) to eight kilometer (8,749 yards) between them. The tombs stretch out on the two sides of Changling Tomb in a fan shape, except for the Siling Tomb, which sits separately in the southwest corner. From site selection to design, great attention was paid to the harmony and unity with nature, pursuing a perfect situation of ‘made by God’ and reflecting the philosophy ‘the unity of heaven and humanity’. As outstanding representatives of the ancient Chinese mausoleum, the Ming Tombs demonstrate the richness of traditional Chinese culture.SOURCE.

Interesting, isn't it? And, here's my favorite ceiling there...

And my favorite designs...

I'm not into designing and architecture but I assure you that I appreciated these so much...

Quite a site to behold, isn't it?

To go there, follow these directions:

How to visit Ming Tombs From Badaling Great Wall?
A popular itinerary for touring the Ming Tombs and the nearby attractions is recommended: Badaling Great Wall → Ming Emperors Wax Museum → Sacred Way → Dingling → Changling → Zhaoling
If you have only one day, you can omit some sites and go like this: Badaling Great Wall → Sacred Way → Changling

Bus 877 can take you from Deshengmen to Badaling Great Wall. After touring the wall, you can take bus 879 to the Sacred Way (Nanxin Village Station), Dingling and Changling. Zhaoling is within walking distance

Will post more on our next stop! (*wink*)

2016 Bonding in Beijing: Our First Stop is the Sanlitun Village ♥

Our first stop during our 2016 trip in Beijing: Sanlitun Village!

To be honest, my goal is to look for Uniqlo for my kids' orders. So my Mom and I decided to check this place out.

And I'm so glad I did! Look!

Sanlitun Village is divided into two parts, Sanlitun North and Sanlitun South. In between the two is the uber-cool Opposite House hotel and the 3.3 mall. Sanlitun North is much quieter and has a good variety of cafes (it also has boutique stores with expensive handbags, but that's not really my thing) - worth exploring to find a quiet café...

Guess what I checked out first? UNIQLO! I bought a couple of stuff and it looks like this is going to be a tradition - buying souvenirs in every Uniqlo store I would encounter in every country I'm in.

Good idea!? What do you think? (*wink*)

Wednesday Happy Thoughts

Happiness is...

1. Relaxing weekend, now I'm feeling better! Thank you Lord!
2. Was able to catch up on my reading ♥
3. Kindle
4. Bonding with Family
5. Never Ending Blessings ♥
6. Future Online Tasks
7. New Projects soon!
8. Household
9. Friends
10. Community

To know how this started and credits of the header, click here.

Touch Down, Beijing!

Last year (2016), before the busy season started and right after my birthday, I met up with my Mom and brother in, guess where?

BEIJING! And look how cool their train station looks like...

But before heading out to the city, we had snacks first,

This coffee shop looks good so we had coffee and toast.

My next drink here was milk tea!

And, surprisingly, it was goooood! ♥♥♥

Watch out for more stories and photos about my Beijing trip soon!