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media fast: weeks 4, 5 and 6

April 10, 2012


I can’t believe it has been three weeks since I last posted, and six weeks since I started this semi-deliberate, strangely catching media fast.

In weeks four, five and six, I:
Spent every waking moment I could take away from school and work with the Boy. And barely thought about television.

I messed up:
Once, and it was highly deliberate. I went to see the Hunger Games. Which wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped, but that’s another story for another day.

Instead of watching television, I:

1. Started speaking a strange English/Mandarin hybrid that has almost become my new normal. I keep catching myself using it in everyday life.
2. Spent an absurd amount of time photographing the Boy.
3. Had a wonderful Easter with my family.
4. Discovered exactly how authentic my Chinese cooking skills are. Let’s just say I have a lot to learn.

It’s brilliant to be back,



diy five-minute bird feeder

March 12, 2012

There are some activities that are almost too easy to be considered active. And there is no question this is one of them. Just to have something fun for Little Bit and I to do one afternoon, I threw together the necessary equipment and called him over. And within five minutes, we were watching chickadees pick our new project clean. If that isn’t instant gratification, I don’t know what is.

For each feeder, you’ll need a toilet paper tube, peanut butter and a nice handful of birdseed.

To assemble, spread the peanut butter over the toilet paper tube, and then roll in the birdseed, pressing it down to make sure it sticks.

Slide onto an obliging branch, pull out your binoculars and watch the birds come in.

Happy Monday!

snow day

March 6, 2012

meatless monday: peanut sauce tofu wraps

March 5, 2012

It seemed almost premeditated that on the same day I got to meet The Boy, an Asian-inspired tofu dish was on the menu. While it certainly wasn’t deliberate, it did add a bit of festivity to the lunch Little Bit and I shared. This is one of my favorite dishes. Frying the tofu creates instant sophistication, while it is quick and far cleaner than most fried foods. And anything with a quick assembly and impressive feel is always welcome with a busy nine-year-old in the house.

Peanut Sauce Tofu Wraps

serves 4

1 block extra-firm tofu
salt and pepper
4 whole wheat tortillas
romaine lettuce, torn
2-3 carrots, grated
sliced onion
sliced cucumber
cooked rice (optional)

1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 to 4 cloves minced garlic
1/3 to 2/3 cup water
healthy squirt Sriracha sauce

The night before, place the tofu between two plates lined with paper towels. Set a moderately heavy book on top (I used an encyclopedia), and let sit until morning. Change towels as they fill with moisture.

Meanwhile, mix together all sauce ingredients and store, refrigerated.

When the tofu has been thoroughly drained of moisture, cut into small cubes. Pour flour into shallow dish, salt and pepper to taste. Toss cubed tofu with flour mixture and fry over medium high heat until puffy and lightly browned.

To serve, spread peanut sauce over tortilla, and layer rice, lettuce, carrots, onion, cucumber and tofu. Drizzle on a bit more sauce and serve with extra dipping sauce.

Happy Monday!

the boy

March 5, 2012


He is smart, with an incredible sense of humor. He laughs at my Mandarin, and talks to himself constantly. He will try to eat anything, and frequently disrobes in public. He is opinionated and talkative. He loves watches and keys. He is beautiful, perfect and indescribably real.

And that was just the webcam visit.

I love him already, and we are still 7,000 miles apart. Hurry home, beautiful boy!

Your Jie Jie

media fast: week 3

March 4, 2012

Since my parents left for China and Little Bit came over to stay, I’ve barely thought about media. We’ve had such a fun, busy time together, the urge has never really come on. Hopefully, that has something to do with three (almost) television-free weeks!

In week three, I:

Never really wanted to watch TV. Go figure!

I messed up:

Once. When some friends invited the two of us to go see The Secret World of Arrietty, I didn’t even think about the media fast until I had pulled up in the theater’s parking lot and was smelling the popcorn. At that point, there was no going back.

Instead of turning on the television, I:

1. Baked cookies with Little Bit.

2. Watched him draw.

3. Found out how bad my balance was on his new slackline.

4. Took him geocaching and found my first nano cache!

I may have messed up, I may have gotten an hour or two of televised influence that I didn’t need, but any week filled by so many moments of Little Bit’s silliness, cleverness and infectious laugh can’t be a total failure.

Live long and drink tea,

help a Chinese orphan

February 21, 2012

I don’t think I could have hand-picked a better way to begin Lent. Two things I love– Sevenly and Chinese adoption, rolling handily into one irresistible package.

This week’s Sevenly project supports a wonderful organization that I’ve had plenty of personal experience with–Love Without Boundaries. These people are real and passionate about their mission: providing desperately needed medical care to abandoned Chinese children. The statistics are so often numbing, but they are very real. Two out of five children with medical needs who are abandoned in China die before they are adopted. Two out of five. Please, just try to make that number a reality for yourself. Picture five children, any five. Your own children. Your friends’ children. Your nieces and nephews. And subtract two. Two beautiful, potential-filled, living souls who die for lack of basic medical care.

I was born with duodenal atresia, and could have died if the possibility of surgery wasn’t open to me as an infant, if I had been only a little more affected by it, if the funds just hadn’t been there.

Put yourself in one sick Chinese orphan’s shoes. Put yourself in mine. Put yourself in the shoes of the person who buries two out of five children. And ask yourself if you can give.

I know that some of you, if not all of you, have $22 to spare. And even if you don’t, you have Facebooks and blogs and Twitter accounts. You have a voice. Use it, please.  

Remember, you aren’t just buying a shirt. You are saving a life.


image from Love Without Boundaries