exploring singapore

singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore singapore In these photos you see some of the touristy things we did in Singapore…

Gardens by the Bay: Such an expansive garden and there was no way we would be able to cover it all, but we walked around until the heat and our legs told us we had enough. Ben really enjoyed the fruit tree section of it and was reading up all he could, and he would look up additional info on his phone to find out more! There were so many plants I wanted to bring home, and The Supertree Grove is so cool. I wanted to walk across the suspension bridge, but after Cloud Forest, Ben was not up to being so far up from the ground.

Cloud Forest Dome: This was this amazing (air conditioned) indoor conservatory with lots of beautiful greenery and a man-made waterfall. You go all the way to the top and walk down, but Ben was freaking out because you can see through the walkway that leads you down (and you’re pretty high up), so he was walking as fast as he can. You can totally see his nervous face in the picture; he was freaking out so much that I started freaking out.

Singapore Flyer: This is Singapore’s version of the London Eye. We went to go see it (and think about riding it), but once we got close, that was good enough for Ben. The thought of being trapped in that thing for 30 minutes was making him uncomfortable. HA! We made a deal though, we would skip out on the flyer, but we would go to the Skypark at Marina Bay Sands (the towers that look like it has a ship on the top) to see the view. He agreed, so I was happy with that deal.

We also took a tour on the river (thank you to one of you for the suggestion!), and I’m so glad we did that because we learned a lot about the history of this beautiful country. I enjoyed hearing about the how this was once a bustling seaport, how the British came to conquer, and the influence they had in developing this country. I loved imagining what it might have been like here long ago.

I still have so much to share about this wonderful sunny island; Singapore is so rich in beauty, diversity, and deliciousness, that’s it’s just not possible to contain in one post.



langostino sopes

langostino sopes Langonstino Sopes
makes about 20 sopes

2 cups Maseca flour
1 1/3 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lb. langostino
Queso Fresco
1/4 cup canola oil
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
Cilantro, chopped
Avocado, chopped
Limes, sliced

langostino sopes Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (You can follow masa package directions; the following ones are for about 20 sopes.)  Mix 2 cups of Maseca corn flour with 1 1/3 cups of water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt until combined well and the mixture forms a balls of dough. If the dough feels dry, add a little water (a teaspoon or so) at a time; if too wet, add a little masa. Dust countertop with masa to avoid any newly formed sopes from sticking. Using a 1/4 cup of masa dough, form into a ball then press flat about and form into a disc shape and pinch edges to make a border. The sopes come out to about 4″ in diameter and 1/2″ thick. Place onto a non-stick baking sheet, and put one tablespoon of queso fresco on the top of each sopes.  Place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until sopes and cheese is lightly golden.

In a small pot, heat the oil on low, add in the garlic and a a tablespoon of red pepper and simmer for about 5-7 minutes, and set aside. Using a tablespoon of the garlic chili oil, lightly fry the langostino until completely cooked (or warmed all this way through or in this case, since they were pre-cooked). Once the sopes are baked, top with langostino, cilantro, avocado, and a sprinkling of queso. Drizzle a teaspoon of the chili garlic oil on top and serve with limes. If you want more spice, we always do, we sprinkle even more red pepper flakes on top. Serve immediately.

langostino sopes langostino sopes langostino sopes langostino sopes langostino sopes langostino sopes This is one of my absolute favorite dishes that Ben makes. We haven’t tried it with shrimp, but I’m sure that would be just as delicious. True doesn’t eat shellfish since she’s allergic, and we add beans to hers, and she says it’s yummy with beans. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!




family pictures 2013 family photos 2013 family photos 2013 family photos 2013 family photos 2013 family photos 2013 family photos 2013 family photos 2013 family photos 2013 This was taken over a year ago in March. It marked our first outing as a family after I turned in my first completed book draft. We all had to sacrifice a little to make the book happen. We gave up most of our Saturdays, so I could spend all day working since Ben was home and could run the show. Looking back at these pictures remind me of that special season of our lives and the relief we all felt after that March 1st deadline. I’m glad my friend Kimberly Genevieve (and Andre!) met us out in the dessert to capture this special time.

Anyway, I’m totally late in sharing these (I just kept forgetting to), but I thought since today marks the birthday of our family (it’s our wedding anniversary), it was about time to share these photos in today’s post. To celebrate today, I’m just making Ben one of his favorite dishes for dinner and we will have a quiet dinner in our room, after the girls go to bed, and watch 24 (season 8, since we want to refresher before we watch this newest season). We both agreed Singapore was a fantastic way to commemorate it, so low-key at home, on the actual day, works perfectly fine for us.

We were telling the girls how special today is because it’s our family’s birthday, and they were like, “No, you weren’t a family because we weren’t there yet.” Ben explained that we became a family the day we got married and our family just kept growing as each of them joined. The big girls get it now, but Soul is still insistent that July 9th won’t be a birthday unless there’s cake involved, so we just might need to find time to make cake today too.

We went from two to six in just a matter of nine years… had just a taste of the wonderful (and sometimes bad) and unexpected craziness of life, but lots of grace and forgiveness given daily. Cheers to 9!

Photos by Kimberly Genevieve and you can see more here on 100 Layer Cakelet.


camp home: accordion-fold paper flowers

accordion-fold paper flowers accordion-fold paper flowers Accordion-Fold Paper Flowers

Colored paper (card stock would work too)
Clear t ape
12″ Wooden skewers

Cut your sheet of paper lengthwise into two separate strips. It doesn’t matter if the width of the strips are equal or not, the smaller the width of the strip, the smaller the flower. Start at one end of the strip and accordion fold the entire length of the sheet. If you get to the end and have excess, just trim it off. Fold the accordion folded strip in half, wrap a 8-10″ piece of yarn around the center and knot to secure. Open up the folds so that the ends can be taped (or glued) together to form the circle. Tape the two edges together at the back (I used masking tape so you could clearly see where I taped it, but clear tape would work best. If you’re using colored construction paper (we used card stock), glueing the open ends together to form the circle would work as well. Insert the pointed end of the skewer into the center fold at the back of the flower, use a dab of glue to set the wooden stem in place. Cut out your leaves and glue onto the the wooden stem. Repeat for the remaining strip of paper, and make many more! Play with the different width of the strips, and you can also make some strips with wider accordion folds, and others with narrower ones.

accordion-fold paper flowers accordion-fold paper flowers accordion-fold paper flowers You can get even fancier with accordion paper flowers, but this way is quite simple and my girls had fun making it! After a two week break from projects, they are glad to be doing projects again.



airport fun

airport fun in japan airport fun in japan airport fun in japan airport fun in japan airport fun in japan airport fun in japan airport fun in japan There’s so much to share about my trip to Singapore that I don’t even know where to start. I’ll try to break it up so you don’t get too much at once, but there were so many good memories made, friendships formed, delicious food devoured, and many places explored that I honestly don’t know where to start, so I’m starting with the airport… ha!

Ben and I haven’t flown out of the country since our honeymoon to Fiji (though we but did go on a cruise to Mexico a few years ago), so we were kind of anxious about the long flight and what to expect. My idea of being comfortable is a long loose dress, so that’s what I chose to wear (there and back), I had my denim shirt for when it got cool in the plane, wore glasses (switched out contact for glasses right before boarding), and went minimal make-up (just eyebrows filled and lipgloss). Also, pretty much the whole trip I tried to adapt the #messyhairdontcare attitude because my hair just didn’t know what to do in the humidity! My best hair day was the day we left.

Leaving the girls was kind of hard (Soul had such a sad face!) since this was our longest trip away from them (previous to this would be this SF trip for four days), but we are so thankful that my parents were able to get the week off to be with them, and the bookend weekends were spent with Uncle John and Auntie Linda. Once there, I didn’t really get homesick nor did I get separation anxiety from the girls, but towards the end of our week, I found myself looking at pictures of the girls on my phone more and more. We did manage to FaceTime once, but I was always texting with the BFF to see how they were doing.

We had a layover in Tokyo going to and from Singapore, so we grabbed sushi both times. Now, I don’t know how great their sushi is compared to actually being in Tokyo, but hey, it’s as close as we were going to get for now, so why not?! The first time was just a ready made take away pack of sashimi, but on the way home we had a longer layover, so we actually sat at the sushi bar and had fun ordering things we’ve never tried. I’m sure the airport sushi prices are hiked up, but we figured this was going to our anniversary dinner “out,” so we splurged a little. Our anniversary isn’t until this Wednesday, but we kind of made the trip our way to celebrate it, just like we did with our New Mexico hike last year.

Well, the flights didn’t end up being too bad, I slept all the way to Tokyo (11 hours) and most of the leg to Singapore (7 hours), and felt well rested when I got there. On the way home was a bit more challenging to sleep from Tokyo to LAX, but we were energized knowing we were going to see the girls really soon. We also took sleeping pills to help manage sleep times (to get our bodies adjusted to the time in Singapore), so that helped a bit, at least for me, I definitely got more sleep than Ben. He still can’t believe how much I slept.

Normally, I’ve been sharing a “Camp Home” project on Mondays, but last week I didn’t want to do any projects, so that will have to wait until another day this week. The girls were asking me all week, “When can we do projects again?” so that’s what today is for.




ms. tips citykid treehousekidandcraft-CAKIES.4.13 lotta hello shiso entrance10


FM Badge