Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Singapore AMERICAN School

This is the makeup of Maddie Mae's class:
22 kids
1 China
1 Philippines
2 Indonesia
1 India
4 Korea
1 Netherlands
1 Singapore
1 Canada
1 Italy
1 Mexico
1 Malaysia
1 kid that didn't do their homework and put a poster on the board so I don't know where the last kid is from

I'd call that an international class! I went to hear the superintendent speak at the beginning of the school year and he relayed an interesting story. In my best four week ago memory this is what I remember. He was invited to a coffee of some sort with the president of Singapore and the head of education in Singapore was also in attendance. They discussed the things they were working on and found out they were striving to be more like wag other.

The Singapore Ministry of Education was studying the American school system to figure how to make their students better at thinks outside the box and being creative problem solvers. He said he had been studying the Singapore education system to help his students have a better foundation of those basic skills memorized so they can not get caught up there and move their skills beyond as in a student that has his addition, subtraction and multiplication drilled so well they are memorized can move through their work faster this getting more done.

Interesting the two were seeking to shift toward each other. Obviously this means there is an ideal location somewhere in the middle but the American school method must have some worldwide appeal if the clientele is so international.

Tomorrow is UN Day for the primary school (Maddie and Jake). Two weeks ago we got a flyer home in Maddie's backpack about coming to share something on our home country and culture with the kids in the classes. I was busy and frankly didn't know what to say about the USA. This is an American school after all so what's to tell?

Last Monday she came home from school and asked right off which day I was coming because Diego's mom had come that day and all the moms were coming. She asked the next day and the next and the day after that. Anytime I sweetly said I wasn't planning on it she would kindly but with genuine confusion say that EVERY mom was coming. It took seven days but she wore me down with her daily inquiries. I scheduled with Miss Sudesh.

The plan was to have them make personal size apple pie. I lost count but I handmade either five or six batches of my Aunt Marion's amazing flaky pie crust. Then made the apple filling and rolled and cut the dough to make 26 pies. Loaded the goods in my handy dandy garage sale wagon and went off to teach the kids all about America.

I think they had fun. The boys here at the homestead wanted to make pies too so we made some after dinner. Finally everyone is settled in bed and I'm on the verge of taking NyQuil for my aches and pains and throat tickle. Tomorrow is a much more relaxed day. Just bring some USA type food to the cultural food fest lunch. I'm on protest though and decided not to do it. Just showing up empty handed this time. Oh well.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 2: Bangkok - JJ Market, Jim Thompson House

This morning we began with delicious breakfast with omelets made to order and cooked up right in front of you. Brian knows just how close to heaven I consider that. I love, love, love eggs.

Then our driver picked us up and we headed to JJ Market to see the biggest market in the world. Our driver, Lily, said it was 64 acres of shops and most of the shops are the size of my bathroom so there are thousands upon thousands of vendors selling their wares. Locals and tourists alike this market so the prices can be good.

Yesterday at the silver shop there was one piece I wanted that I couldn't get. They had stock of two pieces and the ladies group there at the same time as us got to them first. It was priced at 1750 baht and given 35% off for cash payment. Fine. I found the exact item I wanted at the JJ Market but the lady asked me for 1800 baht no discount. Our driver had said it was hard to negotiate there but Nicole was willing to give it a try. I sent her back to work her magic. First thing she asked was how much and they told her 1400 baht. She showed them 1200 baht cash and the employee hesitated and pretended to talk to the boss then took the 1200 baht. Sweet! I also got some great things I'm excited to show the kids though some will have to wait for Christmas.

The Jim Thompson house was next on the agenda. Not amazing but not a bad deal. The desserts at the restaurant however are definitely something to write home about. I had Thai coconut ice cream and brownie cheesecake. The mango smoothie Nicole got looked amazing and Jessie scraped the coconut clean with her ice cream. I thought I didn't like coconut until today. When the ice cream, served in a hollowed out coconut shell, was gone she ate the fresh, soft, cold coconut flesh right out of the shell it was delicious!

Day 2: Bangkok - View from My Window, Balister Tower, Massage

It's nearly midnight and I had no pictures to post for my cute family. I used the real camera all day today and am blogging from my phone on this trip so i haven't got any way to transfer picture files from the camera card to the phone. I decided that when daddy is on a business trip staying in high rise hotels the kids Skype him and he always shows them what he can see out his window. We've explored both Tokyo and Kuala Limpor that way and probably many more cities.

Tonight we went to the top of the tallest building in Thailand just after dark and the view was amazing. Not so much for the dramatic scenery but for the never ending city. Our driver tells us there are 12 million people living in Bangkok. The city and the lights went on and on and on beyond where the eye could see. The highways are all elevated and look like snakes winding around and around each other at the interchanges. After we went to the open air observation deck we enjoyed our complimentary drink at the bar while lounging in plush chairs and watching the city pass by below us. The place was nearly empty even though it was a Saturday night. That wouldn't have been the case in Singapore. We had our lime soda and popcorn and we all three nursed the babies.

We ended the night with an attempt to get massages. I wasn't sure how that was going to work out considering we were packing three babies with us. The goal was foot massages so we could hold the little ladies but there wasn't enough staff. Only one lady was available so because I really, really wanted someone to work on my tense neck and shoulders and because Jessie and Nicole are fantastic friends and because Ashlyn was the only one that was sleeping they let me stay and took her home with them. Turns out she woke up and wasn't perfect but they got her settled again. They were so good to me and I got my $12 massage. I love Thailand especially lots just for that.

Bangkok Day 1: Silver Shopping and Harmonic

Today we flew to Bangkok. Just three moms and three little babies, 7 months, 6 months and 4 months. After the flight, clearing immigration and the taxi ride where lane lines are a colossal waste of paint we relaxed at the hotel for a few minutes while we surveyed the city map. We decided to get the important things done first and went to the silver shop. Brian and Santa bith vicariously did a little shopping for my birthday in two weeks and a little something for Christmas.

Then we got dinner at Harmonic. It was fantastic food and beautifully displayed. The restaurant was down a tiny street a little walk and the place is a bit old and run down. Really it's just an old building they shoved tables and chairs into and packed with decorations like the a fountain and the cart looking shelf withy they put the statues of their gods. It felt very authentic for sure and the owner was at our table multiple times through dinner to engage us in conversations like, "I know everything take care babies. My sister-in-law have many I take care them." She was a hoot and had pretty good command of English I thought. Despite us ordering smallish portions of seven different things Ashlyn stuck with rice cereal. I tried to give her a bite of squished up mango but it came right back out with a sour face. She missed out!.

As usual caucasian kids are adored here in Asia. Yesterday in Singapore i had all my four kids at the bird park and the Indians were taking pictures of the birds. They saw Jake and stopped watching the birds and started photographing him. He wasn't having it that particular day. Ashlyn was great today though. She smiled and cooed at any and everyone. She had her picture taken a number of times and the hotel staff dote on us three women with our three white babies.

Just because Jake and Maddie love them I made sure to get a picture of a PINK taxi tonight.

When we got back to the hotel we planned the Saturday schedule. Looks like JJ Market, Wat Arun and the Grand Palace. It was a great day in Thailand. I hope my family had a great day too. I love you guys.

Question of the day for the Zufelt kids: Which picture shows Ashlyn's dinner and which ones did mom eat for her dinner? Can you name any if the foods? Anyone who gets the right answer can have one trick or treat.

Answers: Ashlyn had rice cereal
Mom had cashew chicken, steamed rice in flower shaped bowls, pumpkin cheese deep fried muffin things, spring rolls, chicken satay, pad thai and mango sticky rice. Yummy!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Bye Family

We will miss you but have fun with Daddy!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

There's a Hole in My Underwear!!

Jacob is upset and doing the flippy-floppy on the floor insisting he can't put his underwear on. It's over his feet and already pulled up to his knees. He can't possibly remember how to pull them up from his knees to his waist. Then horror of all horrors. He discovered his underwear has a hole in it and doesn't want to wear them anymore. I could get a new pair but it wouldn't help. All boy underwear has a pee hole. Too bad kiddo. Suck it up and deal. Now pull your drawers up!

Saturday, September 8, 2012


I got yoshiniya and no one whined about it one bit. Because I was alone. Great dinner for me and good luck to Brian with all four monkeys at home.

Special Dam Briyani

Sometimes I glance numbly through my environment and see nothing. Other times I do a double take. This is one of those cases. Anyone for some "Special Dam Briyani?" Brian thinks it's one of those typical English misprints and should read, "Dam Special Briyani." This is at Al-Ameen Eating House at the market nearest out house. We pass it almost daily. I think this should be our next Friday night date night location so we can try it out.

Friday, September 7, 2012


The first library day of kindergarten I saw this in Maddie's library bag. Cinderella. Last year I think she checked out some version of Cinderella every single week. At one point about two thirds of the way through the year she told me she only had to begin approaching the librarian, Mr Geoff, and he would whip out an entire stack of Cinderella books because he knew exactly what she was going to ask for. I know for a fact we read at least six or seven different ones in the early childhood center. I wonder just how many versions the primary school has. I think I'm about to find out.

Two Amigos - Jacob's Twin

This is Jacob and his best buddy Anderson. They are nearly always together. They look alike. Blond hair short people. Dads both work for the same company. They both live in the Woodlands, Singapore and when we finish here we will both move to...The Woodlands, Texas. They act just alike. Neither one wants to go home from preschool unless they are both going to one house or the other together.

They absolutely love each other to death. They share everything including a birthday. Though Anderson is technically older because he was born 12 hours ahead in Singapore while Jake was born in Virginia. This is the two amigos after a tiring day at preschool. We try to get them to chill and be still so they will fall asleep and nap after school. Sometimes it works but mostly not because they love to play any and everything together in the playroom.

Hair Stylist Maddie

This is one of those cases when it's really hard to let the kid learn something and become independent. I really don't enjoy doing Maddie's hair each day and kept wondering when she'd be old enough to manage herself - at a minimum brushing it out in the morning. These days she is wanting to do her own hair independently. I have to remind myself when she looks like this on Sunday that she won't learn without trying and in the end it will be worth it.

Monday, September 3, 2012


I just noticed that my email inbox hit 10,004 messages today. I think I officially qualify as an email hoarder. Won’t say it doesn’t come in handy though having all that back information. Just wish I didn’t have quite so much of it.