Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Someone warn my wallet. We can get Chili's to go now. That's dangerous!

Ben Date

Guess where Ben picked for his date? His favorite restaurant is Chili's so after his orthodontist appointment we went to lunch and I asked him tons of questions from an online getting to know you website list while we watched coverage of the London Olympics. It was a fun day together.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Perpetual smile

Jacob loves visiting grandparents because they always have punch available.  His smile changes color, but seems to stay pasted on his face.  Each time I see him I want to laugh in a villainous voice and twirl the ends of his mustache.

Hilariously Terrible

We’ve got ten minutes left on this drive before we pull into Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I read our book club book to the kids for the first hour and a half. Then we had a little quiet while some people snoozed. A couple Starburst and fruit snacks then a potty break and snack for Ashlyn in Beaver.

Now it’s the last stretch we found some Disney tunes for the littles to enjoy. We picked up an audio cord to plug my phone into the stereo and it was a great buy to keep everyone happy on the long drives. Here we are just miles from the end and they’ve all latched onto a rock ‘n’ roll version of “It’s A Small World.”  They are jamming back there and it sounds so completely and indescribably terrible. Three kids all singing. Confident. Loud. With heart but the notes and volume levels are jumping ALL over the map. But it’s sure being sung with gusto! Road trips are something we’re definitely missing out on in Singapore. You can cross the entire country in less than an hour. (Ashlyn wasn’t singing – I have her the starburst wrapper to entertain her on the drive.)

Maddie Mae Poem

Maddie’s teacher Ms. Kiran asked us to each write down a few things about our Super Star kids so they could be spotlighted a few weeks before the end of the year. Here’s what I came up with. I’m no poet, but I got a silly bug and decided to try to make it a little more special and fun for my cute Maddie Mae.


My Maddie Mae

My Maddie is a SUPERSTAR,
Of that there is no doubt.
She makes me laugh and smile,
Every time that we go out.


She wants to be an artist
And that’s just what she’ll be.
If you come to my house
Her art is what you’ll see.


Our walls are full of color
Creations high and low.
With all her work and practice
It’s fun to see her grow.


She loves to use her markers
And check the color chart.
Creating new treats for my eyes
She makes amazing art.


Tape and glue and staples.
Essential to her soul.
Recycle bins and other scraps.
Treasures found on every stroll.


Painting is her favorite.
With a brush she will create
Cards with hearts and flowers.
She makes everything look great!


When it comes to baking cookies
Maddie’s my first mate.
She measures, dumps and mixes
Bakes the best you ever ate.


I like to hear her read me books
Every day at least one story.
She loves to hear all my praise
And smiling basks in glory.


When Maddie is excited
There are sparkles in her eyes.
She loves to hug and snuggle.
It’s my very favorite prize.


She loves to get all dressed up,
Wear jewels and ribbons too.
A dress that spins out really big,
Pink nails and a tattoo!


Her happy face is precious
Her smile from ear to ear.
The reason that we love her
Is always very clear.


Giving, giving, giving
All of the day through.
Making others smile
Is what she tries to do.


You cannot help but love her
She’ll always love you back.
From the first light in the morning
Until the sky’s pitch black.

I love you, my Maddie Mae!!


Maddie B-day 2009

I found this post from 2009 on my hard drive while I cleaned up files on our drive to Cedar City.


It isn't like I didn't make a cake for Maddie's birthday.  It's just that her birthday was on the first day of Joy School.  And I taught.  And it was a lot of work to get all the supplies ready for the entire year and organized.  And I was still figuring out how to juggle kindergarten bus stop pickups and infant nap time.  I made the cake.  The day before in fact.  I just didn't get it frosted.  Or decorated.  I suppose my desire to be a cake decorator has lead to high expectations of myself.  I wanted to try a new medium.  Fondant.  She wanted a princess castle.  Perfect match.  Maddie's low expectations - Simple design - My zero skills with fondant.


Turns out the box of fondant scared me.  In fact it's still sitting on the counter today all the way in November.  Long past the day I had to throw out the original birthday cake because it was covered in mold in the giant cake Tupperware that had to be decontaminated for bio hazard reasons.  Long past the time I made a second cake, frosted it in plain white and shook a plastic container of colored sugar sprinkles across the top and drew a little "3" with black icing.  She had been asking and mentioned twice that she didn't get a cake for her birthday.  Yeah, she's old enough I can't fudge stuff anymore.


So a mere five weeks late, she asked at a time I didn't have anything completely pressing that needed attention or the world would end.  When she asked why she didn't get a cake for the third time I dropped everything and said, "Let's make your birthday cake together right now!"  The smile stretched from ear to ear and maybe even a little farther.  She didn't care that it wasn't her birthday.  She didn't care that I was no longer under the delusion of making a gorgeous princess castle sculpted with fondant.  She just knew that I did love her enough to make her a cake.  She lasted all of thirty seconds in her helping, but we had cake that night.  She felt like a million bucks.


Just to set the record straight before I start getting hate mail, we did celebrate her birthday.  We had a party at preschool that day.  I made cupcakes to her exacting demands on decorations.  We sang and had fun together.  Brian came home from work a little early so I we could go to Chuck E. Cheese and live it up.  She had a blast and by the time we got back to the house it was all I could do to crawl into bed with the flu.  You know you feel bad when you are standing at Chuck E. Cheese and want to lay down on the greasy bench and sleep as tears start to slip down your face from the body aches.  I couldn't have eaten cake that day anyway.  So we did celebrate.  I gave it all I had.  She just really, really needed a cake.  And a cake she got...five weeks late.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Classic Toilet Story in Singapore

I thought I’d write this down to give my friends and family a quick glimpse into our everyday life in Singapore. It was such a classic Singapore experience we had in May.
I was mostly recovered from having Ashlyn and Brian was taking our car more because I was now able to do a little more walking around town. This particular day we need to run to the market and get Jacob’s glasses fixed. Let me clarify that by ‘run’ I mean walk ourselves to the market quickly, not jump into the car as it would mean in the US.
I ask each kid to go to the toilet before we go. Jacob says he already just did and can’t be persuaded. I’m pretty sure he really did just pee so I relent and we walk to market with Ashlyn in the front carrier. We drop off the glasses to be adjusted and only need about five grocery items so it should be really quick. We grab slurpees at 7-11 and head to the grocery store. I get four things and we’re searching for the other but can’t find it. It’s at this time Jacob announces he needs to go to the toilet. Right NOW. Great.
We abandon the last item and say a grateful prayer that the lines are short. I pay and we rush out of the grocery store. We run past the store front and through the hawker center (open air food stalls), around past the car park and into the back by the loading dock. Here’s where the fun begins.

First find a clean stall. He says he needs to sit down potty instead of stand up. Dang. Avoid the one with foot prints on the toilet seat from the people that think they MUST squat even if there is a seat. Why they can’t lift the seat and squat on the ceramic bowl I cannot explain.
Get your three year old onto a clean (relative terms – see below) toilet seat.  Where can I put all the slurpees? I guess on the filthy countertop while I bounce around with Ashlyn to keep her calm. Gross. It’s covered in water and wet toilet paper.
Now we wait. That’s right. He peed right before we left. We’re going to need toilet paper. I didn’t bring the diaper bag for this quick trip so I don’t have my own toilet paper, just cash for the groceries.

First I look for a toilet paper dispenser near the outside door. Score! They have one, that’s a bonus for the day to make us happy.
Cost is ten cents. Okay. Lets find the right coin in my coin purse.
Nope. No ten cent coin in the coin purse. Now what am I supposed to do? I can’t very well leave a three year old at the back loading dock bathroom and go ask for change at the hawker stalls. I did that once with seven year old Ben and had three grumpy adults waiting for me when I returned to get him. Wait maybe…yes…I found one in the bottom of my wallet under the paper bills!!  Yes! We have toilet paper to wipe.
Still waiting. Here’s some interesting reading material on the wall.

Finally he’s done. We wipe. Wash and go pick up Jake’s adjusted glasses from the shops and walk home.
About that "relatively" clean toilet seat. One day I was at the zoo at closing. The lady was in the bathroom cleaning. She literally took a garden hose, sprayed into each stall getting the toilet, walls and floor wet. She sprayed the floor in the entire bathroom and the sinks. Then she left. That was "cleaning" a bathroom. No soap, no cleanser, no scrubbing. Yuck.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Richard's Wife

Maddie came into the kitchen at my mother-in-laws place. She put her finger to her ear imitating a phone and said, "Angie, this is Richard. Is there anything you want in your order today?"
When my order arrived she told me she was Richard's wife because Richard was sick today.

Richard is my friendly grocery provisioner. He calls every other day and delivers groceries to the house he makes life so much better for me and the kids have noticed our routine apparently. One thing I live about Maddie is her active imagination and how she likes to put our real life into her play. She's always making me laugh.

Monday, July 9, 2012

No Squatters Here

We got off the plane in Salt Lake City and the kids needed to use the toilet. I fed Ashlyn while they went. When they returned Brian burped Ashlyn and I went to the toilet. (We don’t go to the bathroom in Singapore, we go to the toilet.)


I entered the toilet and there was one lady in line. I assessed the layout. Ten stalls lining the wall ahead to the right. A bank of sinks on left wall. The lady ahead in line went into a stall as someone came out and I noticed two stalls sort of behind me as well. One door was open.


The lady ahead of me hadn’t used it so I approached slowly to assess. I poked my head around the door to check. Nope. It wasn’t a squatter. I went in. Just then it hit me like ton of bricks and I laughed out loud to myself. No Angie. It was never going to be a squatter. You’re not in Singapore.


Squatters are usually the end stalls or in the odd corner location and Americans are willing to wait longer in line for a sitter instead of use a squatter. That white woman in front of me had waited for a stall ahead instead of use the open door so it made sense to me what she was doing – waiting instead of squatting.

I’m not in Singapore anymore. It may take a few weeks to adjust myself.

Priceless Quotes - The Kids Assess Utah and Other Things

Maddie pointing at the mountains on the Wasatch Front: “I think I just found Mount Everest!!”


Ben “What time is it? In America I mean.”


Maddie when mom pointed out Bingham Copper Mine across the valley: “Maybe it’s a dog just digging for his bone.” This copper mine is the largest open pit in the world last I heard. Must be Clifford the big red dog’s older brother digging.


Maddie talking to Grandma Robinson: “You don’t look like a grandma yet. Just a grownup.” Later we had her assess Grandpa. He has enough gray and white hair he qualifies as a real grandpa.


Brian told the kids to look for the big letter ‘G’ on the mountain and told them it was for a high school. Maddie says: “Maybe it’s for the Japanese High School because G makes the ‘juh’ sound.” Cute she thinks Provo would have an international school. I wonder if there is any international school in Utah at all.


Ben: “Is Hollywood somewhere?” Brian replies, “It’s in California where Uncle Jason lives.” “I think I saw it from the airplane.” Interesting. I doubt he could see it from 30,000 feet in the air, plus we flew over Anchorage and past Seattle landing in San Francisco. Didn’t even get close to Los Angeles.


Ben along I-15 in Provo area: “In the desert there is a rock that’s an upside down U shape. I think I just saw it.” At fuirst I wanted to laugh – he thinks he saw the Arches National Park famous arch in Provo.  Turns out it was a mini golf type thing – you Utahns would know but I’ve never seen it before. Must be new, and by new I mean less than ten years old when we moved away.


Ben was asked to find the “Y” on the mountain. Then we asked what college it was for and he replied, “Brother Young.” Close. Really close. Brigham Young.


Leaving my parents house I declared that all Nintendo DS things must be turned off. I suggested we play the alphabet game. Maddie was quickly intimidated by Ben’s quick eyes and declared she would play the flag game instead. I didn’t realize how many American flags were EVERYWHERE! It was kind of fun to see all the ginormous flags from the freeway. It’s been a long time.


Another weird thing? Kids driving cars. Yep. You crazy people let 16 year olds drive. You have to be 21 in Singapore – and stinking rich to afford a car so you never see young people drive.


Maddie: “Are we staying here for winter?”


Billboard sign in Spanish Fork for a monthly/yearly type membership in a club for botox treatments. Really people??? Also of note are tons of plastic surgery signs. I take that as a really bad sign for the pressures on women there.


Ben: “We’re passing a farm! I even see a cow.”


Ben was told to take a shower this morning. He dutifully went off but quickly returned, “How do I turn the hot water on?” He couldn’t find the red switch outside the bathroom to on the water heater.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

One Hour In

Everything is smooth so far. Just 24 more flight hours to go. This trip will take 30 hours door to door. Yikes.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ashlyn's Blessing Dress - Nearly Done

I'm super excited about this sewing project. I haven't sewn anything in over two years beyond mending clothes. I'm making a blessing dress for Ashlyn's big day. It's a custom made combination of East meets West. I started with a traditional christening dress pattern to get the western look with a long dress, puffed sleeves and gathered waist. Then I altered the neckline and found some super cool Chinese brocade silk fabric. It's coming together fantastically. Here is the bodice so far. Should be done tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I find it incredibly depressing that Quicken today suggested I add the pest control company as a regular recurring bill. What a slap in the face.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pig's Organ Soup

Anyone wanna go to lunch?

Walkie Talkies

Maddie made walkie talkies today. They even have a "tock" button so you can talk. Since Jacob can't read his says tock plus has a mouth drawn on it so he knows how to use it.

One of the things I love lost about Maddie is that if that girl has paper, pencil and scissors she will just draw any toy she is lacking and be totally fine with playing with a paper version of the real thing. She has a wondeful and active imagination and is so pleasant when she plays something with Jacob that requires totally suspension of reality and they immerse themselves in their own detailed imaginary world.

Super Yucky

Teriyaki sauce was on the grocery list last week. Brian couldn't find it when he went to the store. I went this week and couldn't find it. We forgot to get eggs though so made a trip to the back of the store again and a bottle caught my eye. I saw "-iyaki" and told Jacob we had a stroke of luck. "Jake! I found the teriyaki!" I picked up the bottle only to find it was "sukiyaki."

"Sorry buddy. It's not teriyaki. It's sukiyaki."

"Yeah mom. It's just 'super yucky'." Shrugging his shoulders he walked off to get the eggs while I pulled the granny trolley and laughed behind him.

Behavior Plan for Maddie

Here's the new plan. Don't parents always have a new and great plan to make their kiddos? We'll see how it goes… We're hoping she can get her fancy sparkly hearts into the "I have a kind heart" jar and not in the "God is still working on my heart" jar. A girlfriend from MOPS had this in her house and I've copied it. We bought the hearts on a Maddie and Mommy only date. She kept saying over and over, "I can't believe how much we are talking!" I guess she's feeling overlooked somehow.

Ben, Cub Scouts and the US Ambassador

Cub Scouts and the uniform they wear are a symbol of America as much as anything else to many people. Lots of folks in Singapore, of the American variety in particular, aren’t aware that the Boy Scouts of America have a very active pack here. We’ve been participating since we arrived and enjoy it. One of the things the boys are asked to do is hand out maps at the American Association celebration of Independence Day.

The boys are a hit at the entrance gate. I hear lots of comments about them bringing back great memories and how excited people are to see them. The boys crack me up doing their duty. They began the night on the grounds past security on the grass as you got to the activity and food zone. Within and hour they had emerged beyond the security gate in a competition to be the first one to give the people maps. Mostly it remained good natured but sometimes the boys got frustrated when their “customer” was stolen by another boy.

One boy, trying to top everyone else, started offering directions. He made his customers stop walking so he could give them detailed directions, “Okay. So you go straight then you turn left. Um. Left again then right.” Funny thing is, he kept changing his directions with left and right. Then he committed to a particular set of directions, wrong as they may have been. Didn’t take long before all the other boys were also giving out the first boys directions. I just laughed. No need to correct anyone – there wasn’t really any turn options beyond the first left it was a direct shot onto the center of the field with barricades on either side so you couldn't actually turn at all.
The boys were also asked to go on stage for the ceremony. A few people said a few things. My favorite was the pictures I snagged of Ben while the US Ambassador was speaking. Standing for 20 minutes (the whole thing, not just the Ambassador’s speech) was a little long for him. I wasn’t even trying to get funny shots, I only realized after the fact how humorous they all were. Here are my favorites.

"A good cub scout can listen and pay attention. I can do this."

"I wonder if Maddie is having any fun out there in the audience."

"Is it time for the fireworks yet?"

"All these big words are soooo confusing. I just can't listen anymore."

"Forget the fireworks. Can I just go home now?"

Can You Find It?

Brian and I have had this ongoing discussion about peelers. Nothing seems to be fantastic. We've talked and shopped and talked and shopped literally for years to find a good one. We never actually bought one until we flew home for the funeral in April. Finally. It's ridiculous to be so slow but we were. But of course then we were super excited about it. It felt sharp enough to do a great job for the standard Zufelt dishes of mashed potato and carrot but also for canning so peaches, apples, tomatoes and the like.

The kids were so excited about our return home and all of the treasures we bought that they wanted to help unload everything. We gave them random items and instructed them where they were to be put away.

Jacob was handed the peeler and instructed that it was to go in the bottom drawer in the kitchen. We only have one set of drawers so it should e super easy. Yet the next day I tried to to use it and couldn't find it. I searched and searched. How frustrating! After all these years it was finally purchased and now missing before its inaugural run. For weeks we looked all over the kitchen in all the dish drawers and shelves. Eventually I gave up. Assuming it had been delivered to the trash can instead of the drawer I put it on the USA shopping list again so we could go get another one.

Today I happened upon it. It was in under the sink mixed among the dish scrubbers and dishwasher soap and bottle washing thinga a ma jiggies. It's neon green. Why we didn't see it weeks ago I guess we can chalk up to the fact that Gina prefers to hand wash all the dishes so she doesn't ever use the dish washer soap and didn't know what we were missing anyway. Good thing I ran the dishwasher this weekend or we may have never found it!

My Toilet Plunger

Toilet plungers are something we don't think much of until we need them. As such I didn't think much of it when I had the plunger from our Virginia home packed into our sea shipment bound for Singapore. I didn't analyze it when I unpacked it or stored it unused for over a year here.

Lately we have been burning through the rolls of toilet paper around here though. I've asked them to stop wasting. I remind them - their forgetfulness in flushing reminds me often to remind them. Despite my efforts and patient, kind prodding I still seem to be changing a roll about every 1.5 days anyway. Sadly that's not an exaggeration.

This week the deal breaker finally happened. They clogged the toilet. I happened to use the toilet after Jacob and nothing would go down. My first sense was that Jacob had put a toy down it. He's been trouble lately to say the least. He digs through drawers and finds things and moves them, hides them or throws them away at his pleasure with no regard to its purposes or necessity. It's driving me mad. Of course he was my prime suspect plus he was the last one in there.

I softly probed and tried to get a confession from him by simply going straight at WHICH toy or object he had put in and flushed. No luck. Brian even came over and he couldn't persuade him to confess. He said Maddie did it. So I asked. Nope.

Then it occurred to me there was quite a bit of toilet paper. Maybe it was beyond a little bit floating in the bowl and it was jammed. The roll was low and I had put yet another full one on the roll just the day before. It didn't take long to figure out once we asked her, though she denied breaking the toilet - because toilet paper can't break stuff can it? Did you use three squares? No. Did you use lots. Kind of. Finally Brian went for it. Did you just roll and roll and roll it right into the toilet for a long time. Yep.

With our culprit discovered it was time to manage the mess of unclogging the thing. I retrieved the plunger from the storage out back and saw instantly we had a problem. My plunger is round. The toilet hole isn't. It has a rectangular hole that has about a 2-3 inch drop before it turns into a round hole at the very bottom.

How do you get a round plunger to work effectively on a rectangular hole?it didn't work fantastically but I did get it to squash down in and eventually force the mess to clear. But then I was terribly curious - what kind of toilet plungers do they sell here?

So I found one at the store on Friday while I was looking for a replacement squirt bottle. Jacob took the one poor Gina uses for ironing clothes and unscrewed the cap a week or two ago and apparently she's been doing her best with a rotten one. That Jacob is a stinker!

Anyway, it turns out they sell round plungers just like the one we already have. They don't exactly fit the toilet hole but I guess in a pinch they do eventually work.