1st paycheck from Nuffnang!

Heyhey!!! Can you believe it?! I really got my paycheck from Nuffnang!!! Yay!! Super Happy!!

check

I actually cashed out at the end of Dec 2013 and only received it on 13 Feb, the day I left SG!! Luckily, my parents could deposit the cash in my bank account πŸ˜€ So, it took me about 5 years+ to earn $66!!! Well, better than nothing right??! Do help to click on my nuffnang ads at the sidebar!!!

Back!

We got back on 13 FEB and still battling jet-lag. Jet-lag is a huge monster I tell u!! We fell asleep at the wrong time, get hungry at the wrong time. Gosh… So I decided to cook to overcome the jet-lag. Works well so far! πŸ˜€

Vday was spent at home enjoying each other’s company. That includes grocery shopping, cooking, washing, unpacking. How exciting!!! I was delighted that BH volunteered to clean the place for us – the best Vday gift! I cooked a simple meal of Lotus root soup and sambal stinky beans. Home cook meal is the best! Just when we thought we could relax and catch up on tv shows we missed, Justin came over to our place! Followed by Jo&Dave and Ron! We shared a cake and spent our evening chatting away! Hahaha… It was a pleasant surprise! Really happy to have a mini get together after awhile! Who say vday is for lovers??!! It’s for friends too! πŸ™‚

Today, BH went to work and came home super early at 5pm! I love it that he comes home early and smiles as he walks into the door. I don’t know why but it’s heart warming especially on a super cold day! Hahaha..

I seriously have so much to blog about!!! Will update with pictures soon!!

So far in SG…

I am loving the weather in SG now. It is not as warm as I remembered. In fact, I can sleep without the aircon!! Amazing right?? It is either because my family installed a powerful ceiling fan or the weather is just right!! Actually, I am extremely glad to be out of the COLD USA

Most days, I spend time at home with my family and Bambi! Really embarrassed to say this but… I love being looked after after my parents. It is wonderful not to think about what to cook, doing the housework… Blah blah… I do help around in the house but my mum have her style of housekeeping… So u get the idea but I still help her when I can

Some other days, I meet up with my friends! It’s amazing how each and everyone had grown and moved on with their lives! I m happy to see my friends with their fellow partners, their small family, successful career. I m glad that throughout the years our friendship remains constant! To think about it, I do feel a little sad for myself as I have not achieve or done anything great over the years. At the same time, I also can’t help but to think of the many ‘what-ifs’ scenario. I only know that I m a much happier person than before now πŸ™‚ well, i guess that’s all that matters

Remaining other other days, I am excited to decorate our home for the first time for CNY! It is gonna be simple but I haven’t had a chance until now! I also found myself actually counting down the days to BH’s arrival in SG! Btw, 20 more days!

So many things to look forward to…. ^.^

Amanda’s 2013 year in review

It’s the time of the year again! Time for the end of year report card! Haha.. Well, this year I will be spending the start of the New Year away from BH – I hope that he won’t forget to write his review!!

Last night, after a fabulous night out with an old friend, I came home to my sis surfing Facebook ( not usual.. Haha) she was reviewing her year through her timeline. Out of curiosity, I went to review my timeline and the most memorable moment for me was….. When I purchased some 12 count, 3 ply toilet paper for $2.99! Haha.. How auntie! Facebook is not an accurate measure of my year, maybe my blog is better πŸ™‚

Just like other years, there are many ups and downs. Let’s see…

Jan
-Our small group of closely knitted friends in Seattle lost a game khaki suddenly to heart attack. It was a huge shock to us. We were deeply saddened but learnt to treasure each other and be more health conscious. This unfortunate event deserve a better post but I just can’t find the right words or courage to write it.
-BH and I went for our first vacation of the year to Los Angeles. It was the first time we attend a Chinese concert ( MAY day) in the USA . It was a cool experience. The view at Griffith observatory is probably the BEST sight I have ever seen this year!

Feb
-BH and I went for painting class together. It was such a fun vday activity!!

Mar
-Moved into a new apartment which became the BIGGEST regret of the year. Sigh!

Apr/May
– BH and I went to Vegas for a short getaway. We won a mini jackpot of US$200 !!! The biggest win so far! If you are wondering, the $ was ‘returned’ to the casino shortly. Hahaha

Jun
-Arrival of Mr Hyde! Our joy and best purchase of the year!
– started volunteering at a children’s museum! BEST decision ever! Why did it take me so long to take up volunteering!!!

July/Aug
-My loving hubby decided that maybe we should look for a new place since I was upset and uncomfortable about the apartment. We were looking at buying a place but DID NOT because of our SG commitments. We saw a place we really liked – the kind that you will want to grow your family in, the kind that gives you the AHA moment the minute you step foot in but we got to let it go. It hurts a lot because you know what you want but you can’t pursue it further. It took awhile for the heartache to go away but we still believe that other good things will come our way. You just got to be patient… Right? ηŸ₯θΆ³ηš„εΏ«δΉε«ζˆ‘εΏε—εΏƒη—›
– BH and his team participated in a Hackaton and emerged the Seattle champion!

Sept
– BH and I celebrated our 5 years anniversary!! I am soooo happy that we r still in love and on the same page ( most of the time.. Haha) I just feel so happy that i don’t want our relationship to change. I still wish that BH will be able to put me ( family) above his work

Oct
-nothing worth mentioning

Nov
-we went to San Jose for Hackaton finals! Though BH and team did not win the grand prize, I m still proud of his achievements!

Dec
-We finally received news of something important to us. We did what we needed and hope for the best. We will only know the result next year. I am looking forward to this!
-I cashed out my first blogger paycheck on nuffnang. I earned $66 for 5 years!!! Obviously not blogging hard enough πŸ™ Still waiting for the cheque to reach me…
-I came back to SG for Xmas and New year – leaving poor BH alone for the first time during this time of the year… Boooo… Will meet in a few weeks time! πŸ™‚

————
Overall, Its been a relatively happy this year. I really regretted the rental we are staying in now – wish that time will fly by so that the lease will end soon.

In 2014,
– I will continue to eat healthy, go to the gym ( really missing ZUMBA and cardio tai box now)
– Volunteer
– blog more ( post entries with more substance)!
– save more money for future home
– be happy, worry less

Hopefully, more good things will come our way πŸ™‚ Happy New Year everybody!!

Binghuan’s 2013 Year In Review!

Numbers just keep adding up doesn’t it?
Things were sort of chaotic this year.

1) We move to an older place. First time we compromised our living conditions in hope of savings. We did save more alright but not sure if its worth our sanity.

2) I changed teams for the first time in MS. Sort of change since I rejoined my old lead and another colleague. I don’t think that was a mistake, leaving my comfort zone. It also made me realize how much more I like Kirkland compared to Bellevue. Still love Redmond too..

3) We went out of our way to look for a home for us. We were really serious and I think we found a place (Took months cause we were soooo picky) that we know we would love only to finally decide against it. I will put that blame on me. Won’t go into details why but we just didn’t.

4) We didn’t go for any travel at all (beside San Jose which I will go into later). Once again, to save money…

5) I won a Hackathon! My very first one too, the Paypal Hackathon was an eye-opener. I got to visit Paypal HQ, meet new people, play with new technology. It was tiring but I have no regrets. The final for the big money was sort of a let-down, the other teams that placed in top 3 was okie and I thought we did well enough to place but apparently not. Maybe it was the MS connection that pulled us down.

6) Lots of savings! I just calculated and it was incredible the amount we saved this year. It is hard to see the amount as it is spread across a few accounts but I was really glad the compromised above wasn’t for nothing.

2014 will be a super exciting year, I cannot even wait!
1) GC process is finally moving to the last stage. Which means I will get GC, Amanda can be free to choose what she wants to do! For me is probably more of a job security as I can jump to other places but I can’t really decide if I want to. I have some friends here, and Seattle isn’t that bad besides the cold weather. San Fran would be nice but property is so expensive there that I can’t really put myself through moving all the way there.

2) We might just decide to move to another rental if the HDB appeal failed. No point suffering, and lots of new places around so maybe we will just move to enjoy 1 more year of rental.

3) I do want to return to Vegas with Amanda. We skipped it for 2013, lets return to our annual routine. πŸ™‚
We will also be flying first class to… BALI haha on SQ. Okie, short trip but hey still first class! Can’t wait for that too.

Some longer term goals?
1) I really want to go Peru and visit Machu Picchu. Not sure when but soon I hope. If not too old to climb… πŸ™

2) The elusive home that we can grow our family in. I really hope appeal goes through and allow us to sell our hdb.

3) Maybe a cute dog? πŸ™‚

brrrr.. cold

Can’t believe that my last blog entry was over a month ago!!!
NOOO… I have not given up on blogging.. just that I have been sooo preoccupied everyday

Last month, BH and I went to San Jose for BattleHack World Championship 2013 – BH and his team represented Seattle. Though they did not win the grand prize of $100K, I was super proud of the effort they put into their project πŸ™‚

In the month of NOV, I also attended 2 cooking classes with Jo. It was a fun experience. As it was hands-on, we had little pictures

The weather here is getting cold. “Super cold” is an understatement. The word is ‘FREEZING’
WP_20131121_001

The above pic shows the windscreen of my car. It’s icy! I got to scrape the ice away before I can drive! The bottled water we have inside our car FROZE too!! Really cold.. This is when I miss Singapore’s weather πŸ˜€

Well, I was supposed to be back in SG this week for vacation. However, I got to change the date because of SOMETHING which I can’t reveal here ( No, not pregnant) I spent 1k to delay the flight.. and realised that my flight next week could be overbooked! I don’t have a seat allocated to me but I am not on waiting list too. I have no idea what’s going to happen. I do want to come home for X’mas!! Wish me luck!!

ohh… the highlight of the week was meeting my Secondary school classmate who happen to have the same birthday as me!! Her family had been relocated here too!! What are the odds right! and it was my primary school friends who told me about her.. heh.. Glad to know another Singaporean friend in the area πŸ™‚

1470408_10151802373066850_71855863_n

Shall update soon!

Halloween Party

Nov 2

Our friends Sam and Denny held the Halloween Party again this year! The thing about Halloween is you got to dress up! Well… We didn’t want to buy any costumes so we improvised!

WP_20131102_003

Can you figure out what we are dressed up as?

So, BH is the Brawny Kitchen roll guy
brawny

And, I was Dory!
blue-tang-pacific

It was a fun night! πŸ™‚ Regrettably, I didn’t take any other pictures because my phone had low batt πŸ™

Mini surprise!

It had been about 5 months since we have Mr Hyde. Then one day, we received a package in the mail….

mini1

Turns out to be a goodie bag from Mini HQ! wah.. I didn’t expect to receive any more stuff from the car dealership since “the deal is sealed” but these arrived! Most of the things are junk….except a really cool 1 GB USB thumbdrive.. oh… and I love the mini cooper shaped paper clip!

mini2

haha… Here’s the gift our Motoring Advisor ( salesman) sent us:

IMG_9308

Love that picture! πŸ™‚ Now this mks me wonder… IF I were to purchase a BMW, what kind of freebies would I get?! hehehe

Acorn Squash Bread

It’s November already!!! Time seriously flies.. but not fast enough. Sigh.. that’s another story

I baked this 2 weeks ago. If you read my previous post, I got the Acorn Squash from my CSA box! Decided to try baking with it.. and I love the results!

This is my first time using squash in baking/cooking. I have to say that the squash is super hard. It took me awhile to slice the squash into half! It only became soft after roasting in the oven. By the way, I tasted the pureed Acorn squash and it is actually sweet!haha.. I actually think that it’s a good baby food! Since the squash is sweet and I added cranberries, I reduced the sugar in the recipe. The bread turned out perfect!

IMG_9299

This is the recipe I followed:

Acorn Squash Bread recipe
(Taken from Simmer Boston)

1 small-medium acorn squash

1 Β½ cups granulated sugar –> I used 1 cup of sugar

Β½ cup mild olive oil or vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 Β½ cups all purpose flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Β½ tsp ground clove –> I omitted

Β½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

Β½ tsp baking powder

ΒΌ tsp salt

Β½ cup chopped pecans or hazelnuts (optional) –> I used dried Cranberries

Coarse sugar for sprinkling –> I did not do this

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves cut side down on a baking tray and fill the tray with Β½ an inch of water. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the squash is very tender. Remove from the oven a cool. Once cool, scoop the squash from its skin and puree in a food processor (I used a blender) until smooth. Reserve 1 cup squash puree for the recipe and save any leftover for another use

In a medium size bowl, combine the 1 cup squash puree, the sugar, the oil, and the eggs. Mix well ( I used a hand whisk). Sift together the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add this to the squash mixture and mix until no lumps are visible. Fold in the cranberries.

Butter and flour a loaf tin, and scoop the batter into the prepared tin. . Bake for 45-55 minutes* until set. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread should come out clean. Cool, slice, and munch!

IMG_9301

Note:
* My bread took about 60 mins to bake in a loaf tin. At 50min, use a sheet of aluminum foil to cover the top of the bread to prevent it from was browning too quickly
* If you are using mini loaf pans, it will only take 30-35mins!

IMG_9302

IMG_9300

Tiny’s Organic CSA box

I always wanted to try CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) – just waiting for a good deal. Finally, a livingsocial deal came up! The best part is it is from Tiny’s Organic ( a farm booth I frequent at the Farmer’s Market) and BH’s office is one of the collection points! there is also an additional 20% discount code which can be applied to the deal! Things can’t get any better!! πŸ˜€ We paid $25 for 2 boxes

The most exciting part about the CSA box is you don’t know what you are getting every week. I enjoy receiving a mystery box – gives me a chance to try new healthy food and cook new recipes!

My first box: 2 October 2013

box1

The box contains tomatillo, tomatoes, carrots, fennel, apples, nectarine, prunes. Large box is supposed to feed a family of 3 but it’s just right for us πŸ™‚

I have never worked with tomatillo! I spent ALOT of time looking for recipes to include this ingredient. BH and I are not chips&dip people so I was reluctant to make salsa. However, I gave in and made Fresh Tomatillo Salsa in the end. Sorry, no pics for this one πŸ™ I used the salsa for baking salmon and it tasted really good actually!

Next, I have never worked with Fennel too!

After some research, I followed this recipe πŸ™‚ Turns out to be pretty tasty!

fennel

As for the tomatoes, I used them for Tomatoes Eggs

My second box: 9 October 2013

box2

This time the box contains apples, nectarines, prunes, huge heirloom tomatoes, kale and 2 acorn squash

haha.. I have not done anything exciting for this box yet but I plan to make the following:
1) Acorn Squash bread
2) Kale pasta salad
3) Tomato eggs ( Gosh.. we are eating tomatoes nearly every day now!)
4) Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes with Fresh Mozzarella

I really enjoy my CSA experience but decided to stop after these 2 boxes because it is quite costly with any vouchers. Hard to say goodbye and I hope another deal comes soon!