Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Teeth News Coming and Going

Ashlyn had her first tooth finally break through yesterday. That explains her rotten mood the last few days. Here she is helping Ben do his math homework by using his big eraser as a teething toy.

To compensate for it, Madison lost her first one today. She was so incredibly pleased to show me the big hole in her mouth first thing when I picked her up at swim lessons. The tooth wasn't really that wiggly and I had just checked it two days ago and found it to be pretty solid. That either means the roots dissolved really fast or she's got nerves of steel and just ripped it out. It's not beyond imagining that the girl just ripped it out. She's a tough one when she wants to be.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Unusual Foods

Today I went to lunch with some work colleagues.  They took me to a seafood restaurant here in Singapore.  Since we are still in the lunar new year celebration period, we started with the Yu Sheng (Prosperity Salad), followed by many other courses--some I recognized, some I did not.  One of the courses was a roast chicken--the chicken had been cooked with the head still connected.  It was then split down the belly (do chickens have bellies?) and spread flat across the plate.  That is, all was flat on the plate except the head, which was sticking straight up out of the plate.

At one point in our lunch conversation, we started discussing how differently the Chinese and Americans prepare and present food.  The chicken with its head sticking up out of the plate was one example.  Several of my Chinese and Singaporean co-workers have told me they eat just about every part of the animal, and I agree.  The local hawker centers (open-air food court) and restaurants offer a wide variety of options including pig organ soup, chicken foot soup, fish head curry, etc.  Many times I have been told that they think American food is bland and unexciting.  This may be true.  As a general rule, we don't use a lot of strong spices in our cooking and most Americans stay away from cooking internal organs and extremeties.  Our food is usually prepared in an almost sterile manner with many parts removed.  Of course, there are some exceptions.  However, I don't recall ever seeing a chicken head presented as part of a dish in the USA.  In fact, I think we prefer to stay a little "removed" from the source of our food.  We like boneless, skinless chicken breasts--there is no visual link that indicates our chicken patty used to be running around carefree before its head was chopped off.

Talking about this topic at lunch got me thinking about the variety of foods I have had through my life.  I decided I would make a list of the "unusual" foods I have had.  I know some people may consider these foods as completely normal everyday items.  I list them as "unusual" because they are not a normal part of my everyday diet.  Some of these foods I would not mind having again.  Many items in this list I do not care to try another time. 

This list is roughly in chronological order according to the first time I tried each item.

Venison steaks, liver, and heart (Deer) - Cedar City, Utah
Buffalo - Cedar City, Utah
Fried pig feet - Orlando, Florida with Columbians
Sopa de pata (pig feet soup) - Orlando, Florida with Columbians
BBQ pig intestine - Orlando, Florida with Uruguayan
Menudo (beef stomach soup) - Orlando, Florida with Mexicans
Fried and boiled pig skin - Orlando, Florida with Mexicans
'Gator nuggets - Gatorland in Kissimmee, Florida
Rocky Mountain Oysters (bull testacles) - Cowboy Grub Restaurant in Salt Lake City, UT
Rattlesnake sausage - Cowboy Grub Restaurant in Salt Lake City, Utah
Kangaroo - Sydney, Australia
Calamari (breaded and fried squid) - Sweetwater Restaurant in Fairfax, Virginia
Goat - Houston, Texas with Mexicans
Escargo (snails) - Perry's Steakhouse & Grille in Houston, Texas
Foie gras (duck liver) - Hon Flor, France
Horse steak - Antwerp, Belgium
Chili Crab - Long Beach Seafood Restaurant in Singapore
Chicken foot soup - Hong Kong Cafe in Singapore
Duck soup - Krabi, Thailand
Sushi - Tokyo, Japan
Sashimi - Tokyo, Japan
Prawn soup (whole prawn including very long whiskers sticking out of bowl)- Tokyo, Japan
Shark Fin Soup - No Signboard Seafood Restaurant in Singapore
Abalone - Singapore
Durian (fruit found in Asia) - Singapore
Fish head curry - Singapore
Fish roe (fish eggs) - Imperial Restaurant in Singapore
Sea cucumber (sea slug) - Imperial Restaurant in Singapore
Baby octopus (very small whole octopus) - Singapore
Fried squid - Singapore
Duck clavical - Singapore with Chinese Intern
Hashima (fatty tissue from frog fallopian tubes/ovaries)

Some of my work colleagues are telling me next I need to try the fermented stinky tofu.  Something about the name tells me that it will probably not make it to the top of my favorites list.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gong Xi Fa Cai!!

Happy Chinese New Year!

It's the year of the Snake!
We're celebrating here in Singapore with everything red and gold.

Today was a fun day to ditch the uniforms and celebrate the Chinese culture here.

The kids got to wear beautiful Chinese traditional dress.

This is the first year Ben had any interest in wearing something more than an old red t-shirt. He warms up slowly, but he enjoyed being a part this year.

Here they are ready to go to school.

Tuesday night we had the LDS missionaries to dinner and enjoyed our Prosperity Salad.

I knew the kids would LOVE to do it so I bought one at the grocery and we had a blast tossing the salad together.

Brian searched online and found some of the history and meaning as best we could figure. I added the 15+ ingredients as he told us the meaning. Seemed to us to all be signifying 15 different ways to say "wealth" or "prosperity". With a few "posterity" thrown in for good measure.

Why then, did I know the kids would love it so much? Because everyone actually TOSSES the salad with chopsticks all at the same time as you yell out "Gong Xi Fa Cai!!". It's loud and messy and crazy fun.

When we finished there was salad everywhere! And smiles too.

Over dinner we talked of other cool CNY festivites we could recommend to the missionaries. Lion Dancers topped our list and I promised to tell them if I heard when and where. The very next day I got wind of one at Jacob's school.
So, Friday I took the elders to the school so they could see a lion dance. It was pretty cool to watch and they really enjoyed it.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!

Friday, February 8, 2013

You're Hired!

We’re coming up on Ben’s ninth birthday in just two months which means I haven’t had a paying gig in nine years. Well, I’ve got BIG news. I got hired today!
It’s a pseudo therapy kind of a job. One hour a day, every day from 9am to 10am. It’s doing vision stuff with a wiggly little 11 month old named Ashlyn. Pay is pretty low. Like I may grab a tootsie roll every day when I finish, but hypothetically I could go to work in my PJs. You know, if I didn’t already have to get three kids up and out the door to school before I went to work.
So, I’m still not getting paid, but I’ve decided if I want to have any success with Ashlyn and her eye patch and glasses it’s going to have to be a much more focused effort. She hates the patch and I can’t blame her. She claws at it endlessly trying to rip it off and is often successful. It’s frustrating to say the least.
Today I blocked a full hour out of my day and commenced the art of full on, 100% distraction. We walked in circles inside the empty tiny plastic pool for five minutes straight until she tired of it. Then I bounced her energetically up to the third level to retrieve her swim gear and some bath toys. Back down again to the yard where we filled the pool and I played rubber ducky splash games which lasted 30 minutes. When she finally tired of that and wanted out we did some more crawling outside and changed her to warm her up. I put her just inside the door in the wet kitchen and that’s when I lost the focus battle. Our back kitchen sink was leaking and the floor was totally covered in water and it was dripping out the faucet, across the sink, down the side of the wall and across the floor.
So as a normal person would do I tried to stop the flow of water and clean it up so no one would slip on the wet tile floor and keep the paper recycling box from being dumped into the water puddle on the floor and move the boxes to the dry zone and in the midst of all that I lost sight of the goal and after 45 minutes of patching she squealed with delight and showed me the patch she had finally succeeded in pulling off her eye and was clutching delightedly in her sweet, chubby fingers.
Oh well. I accepted her gift to me in her outstretched hand and finished cleaning the mess while she wiggled around the wet floor.  Soon it was nap time and pick up Jacob time and lunches and deliver him to the neighbors and protect him from the dog. Time is screaming by at a feverish pace and I know soon she’ll be awake again and we start with the glasses too.
I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be hired for this vision therapy job, but who else is going to do it? Nobody. So we will work on glasses all afternoon, taking may breaks when she rips them off her chubby little cheeks and nonexistent nose. Then tomorrow at 9am we’ll put the patch back on and try my hand at the art of distraction all over again.
At least I know with Maddie Mae her vision went from 20/200 to 20/60 in a single year. That will have to prove my motivating factor for the next long, long time.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Should Someone Who Uses a Binky Really Have to Wear Glasses?

January 24, 2013
Today sitting in the waiting room for an appointment for sweet Ashlyn it occurred to me I have been sitting around in eye doctor offices for more than THIRY years. That's a long, long time. We are here today to see of Ashlyn gets glasses now or if we hold off longer. I have mixed emotions. Part wants to live on denial that it will never happen and wait. The other half is feeling it's time. In the last two weeks I've noticed her crossing her eyes more and more. I haven't ever seen it but twice on Jake between 18 months and 2 years. I think it was just the spirit preparing me to accept what is best. It has given me resolve to move forward when I wanted to delay the appointment because mom wasn't ready to his another one of my children's faces behind bulky glasses.

We shall know shortly...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dead Slow

This sign is a bit drastic, don't you think? "Dead Slow". It's in parking garages and it makes me giggle. If its dead, it's not moving at all. Sometimes I think that's the speed my kids move at when Brian ekes them up in the morning and makes them change into their uniforms. Dead Slow.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Another Play Date

Maddie and Katiana had a fantastic time two days in a row. They got to stay up until 9:30 last night while mom was at the school watching the IASAS championship basketball game next door at the school. The girls had a great time and Ben even taught her a few magic tricks for her to perform for her mom when she came. I enjoyed our visit while the kids finished their popcorn and movie. We tried a new "pink pineapple" I had picked up at the market that afternoon and were terribly disappointed to see it was just plain old pale yellow inside rather than pink. Wouldn't that have been awesome? A pineapple as bright pink as dragon fruit or beets? We had a few persimmons too which Jake and I like a lot.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Service Learning

I like that SAS values service learning and each grade and class does something ongoing. Madison and her class serve the people at Adventist Rehab Center. Today I got to chaperone and they played/helped the patients do shape matching to build pictures. They had a great time. Here she is with her friend Kanak.

Madison and Her Friends

Madison has proven to be a popular gal. She is always having people ask her to play and we are jockeying time so we can pick up or drop off someone downtown. Kanak is one of her favorites. When we went to India we heard over and over that we were going "to Kanak's country. She's a sweet friend and we love her family. This is a picture of the girls after their rap performance at the Christmas concert.

If I Owned A Truck Today...

I’d go buy a huge tarp and put it in the truck bed and make a swimming pool for the kids. And I’d join them in a nice swim.