Sophie's Choice Eggs 酥肥鴨有機蛋~ Debuting in Fall 2011 (or Summer 2012)!

One of these 6-week old Mallard duckies will be ours next week!

What do you know?! Sophie 酥肥鴨 is laying her own eggs! And...Abbie  will be my "farmer in training"! 11 years ago, hubby and I, along with Kobee and Jubee bird (then 11 months and 6 months old, respectively), moved into our Farmhouse style, Plan 3 Shea home.

Jubee ~ Our Yellow-Naped Amazon girl who doesn't lay a single egg BUT has tons of fans 
who loves to hear her sing 'Opera' ! She loves to chat ~ in English, Chinese and Spanish!

Kobee ~ Our Non-Egg-Laying but super cute African Senegal

Jubee "speaking" at last year's Vacation Bible School

We decorated the house with pix of farm animals, roosters, and birdhouses around Christmas break in Y2K, then had Caleb the following Thanksgiving (hence, the bird houses lining our kitchen cabinet never got painted)!

Somehow....after 10.5 years, we did end up with a bird  farm!!

Never did we imagine that we would really end up a having a funny farm (or at least a feathered-farm)!

~ Farmer Soph's Business Card ~ This is All for fun, not earning, as we only yield at most 300 eggs a year!

Last summer I started becoming interested in chickens....not sure why or how.....Maybe the kids are getting older and I'm starting to have more time on my hands. But whatever the reason, I started ordering catalogs from McMurray Hatchery and became passionate about owning backyard chickens. I even called our association to see if it's okay, and they (sounding confused), said, "Well, I guess......it's ok! As long as they are 'common' animals." Now, are ducks common...or exotic here? Wall Street Journal says more people are keeping ducks and chickens as pets! Of course, the shipping cost of these poultry pets dampened my passion quickly ($40 to ship, not including the birds!), so I let it go for almost a year.

This bird business is just an aside... You can't really earn $$ with eggs (^_^) Just the poultry feed costs $45!

But I guess some things are meant to be, because lately I've been stalking the OC Craiglist again...especially the "Farm and Garden" section. I looked for chicks and ducks, which were only available in Norco and Riverside area. This past week, I came upon TheraPony Lana's FB site, and saw that she had a "Duck-sitting" request! (^_^) How cool was that? You can babysit 6-week old ducks (so they get used to being with people) AND maybe keep them if you (or your kid) gets too attached to duckling! So next week, we will embark on our Duck-sitting mission! Maybe May-May (our new duckie's name....Reason (1) She's adopted in May ~ (2) She is Abbie's little sister "妹妹". This is the closest "little 妹妹" (sibling) I can humanly give to my 5 year old Abbie, as we've already closed shop!

Got this in 2001 ~ I guess it forshadows our future! Due to economy, eggs are no longer 5 cents a dozen!

I'm praying hard that if duckie and us bond well....Voila! Instant Pet! Kobee and Jubee will enjoy teaching duckie how to talk, sing, scream! But this is just for fun. If May-May and our future chick (coming August 2011 or later?) never lays an egg, we will still love them dearly! Just like Kobee and Jubee....who never layed anything CLOSE to an egg...are our babies and always will be....even if they scream and bite and cry like the kids all day long (^_^)!

Our Family Room paining since 2003 ~ Truly a Farmhouse!

Our Chicken and Moo Moo Kitchen decor.... since we moved in!

I remember when we first decorated our farmhouse home, 10.5 years ago, I made all the furnishings "farm-friendly". Now I think it is starting to look like a REAL barn! Of course, it's not a big transition, 'cuz we already have 2 chickens in the house (Hubby's a 41 year old and Abbie's 5 ~ both born on the year of the Chicken)! This will be a good experience, as the kids (and I) will learn about where our essential foods come from (not packaged nicely in supermarkets) and appreciate nature and God's creation!

Got this at Big Bear ~ Haha, that reflects the occupants of our Farm home!

So here's our new adventure! If you are interested in 100% organic, free-range chicken or duck eggs, get ready for some super healthy, mouth-watering eggs coming your way! I'm also renting out our feathered friends to help eat away the pests and provide natural nitrogen-rich fertilizer for your yard! (^_^)


Post Scriptus (June 1, 2011)

The first day of duckie's arrival was very tumultous, as hubby couldn't wrap his head around the idea that there's a BIG (not the small baseball-size fuzz-ball you see on Sear's Easter photo shoots) duck in our home! And duckie is SOOOOOOOOOO loud! She "Honks" like an ice cream truck horn when she's unhappy! When Abbie leaves her to go into the house, she makes sure the whole street hears about her disapproval!

She quickly stole ALL of our hearts, and thankfully we didn't have to return duckie the next day (as hubby was very not thrilled when faced with a BIG living bird he's used to seeing at Sam Woo, peacefully hanging there, looking delicious and not staring/quacking at him all the time!

Today is Day 3 of Quacker (named by Lana's little girls) Stay here, and even Hubby is enjoying living like a farmer! He told me he let Quacker our of her crate and she followed him everywhere, not wanting him to go inside! She sits by the door of our sliding back door and "hangs out" with us. I think she makes the Perfect Guard Duck!!! 

This is the farm that Quacker came from! The bunnies and ducklings are "Party favors" for all the kids who go to the Emily's 9th birthday party!


Life is Full of Surprises (^_^) Soph's Little Garden

Our Dwarf Sunflower ~ Looks like Lion's Head!

I was surprised to find this in my purse this morning...

Happy Abbie & mama Sophie picture!

And of course....a parenting advice from Abbie too!

I guess when the kid is in a good mood, she's super angelic! And I'm no longer labeled 'tiger mad mama', at least not today.

Mammoth Sunflower grew from seeds....keeping in pot so slugs don't eat these sprouts!

Having a wonderful start today, I went to work (as pink lady, or copy cat, for the front office). Coming home, I noticed something interesting! The blueberry plant that I was getting ready to return to Lowe's.....had something BLUE grow on it! I looked closely, and lo and behold....there was ONE blueberry that actually looked edible!

Abbie tasted the blueberry......and from her response....you will know if the blueberry was sweet....or.....not even close!

This year's blueberry crop ~ TWO blueberries!
Also, though it rained a lot, I noticed the tomatoes growing too! It's green (and I'm not planning to make green fried tomatoes) and seem to be thriving! Woohoo!

~ Early Girl Tomatoes ~

Unknown kind of tomato ~ Came from Last Spring's seeds (^_^)
This GrapeTomato plant resurrected from last Spring's batch!

My Lavender from Home Depot looks pretty depressed and limp....I thought they were supposed to make you feel energetic and relaxed! It should give itself a dose of its own fragrance! I guess I'll keep an eye on it and see if I can make it happier...maybe re-locate it elsewhere?

Lastly, I was surprised to see a fully red strawberry! Usually they are eaten by bugs by the time they are halfway red. Well....no surprise, I turned over the PERFECT strawberry and saw that....someone already took a BIG bite! I plucked it and gave it to Kobee bird..... lucky bird! This is May gloom this week....hope that the weather will warm up so we can enjoy the fruits  (and veggies) of our labors!

My perfect strawberry ~ with a hole in it (*_^)
Oh, and we also got a baby Tiger barb named....Tiger (ok, not too creative lately), and a teenager Silver-Tip Tetra (Tippy) to replace the 2 tetras I accidentally sent to Jesus with over-clean water. They are growing like weeds too!

Tiger ~ the Tiger Barb (they say these guys nip fins, but he's very friendly!)

It took me 20+ shots to get a clear one of Tiger and Tippy (^_^)


The Mommy-Daughter Dance ~(^_^)~

Abbie's Famous Mother's Day 2011 Card (drawn at school)

My friend Shirley's email address is t2tangle....and I realized it's so true, even in relationships like mother-daughter ones! (^_^) It really does take both of us to make our relationship sweet (or bitter, or whatever flavor we feel like on any given day)!

I remember last weekend, when Abbie presented my "Mad Mama" Mother's day card, I didn't know if I should laugh or cry! I asked her why she drew mama mad, and she said, "'Cuz you're always scolding me!!" I can't believe I am portrayed like "Tiger Mom" ~ though I AM born on the year of the Tiger ('74)! I looked like an asian Miss Piggy, with arms crossed at hips AND angry eyes too!

Abbie and I made Strawberry Jello w/diced Pears yesterday!

The funny thing was, my mom and sister (and all the family) came down for Mother's day lunch at our place, and I showed them the picture....and they said, "Yeah! Abbie drew it so well! It DOES look like you!" Now they ARE my real mom and sister...right? I guess they're siding with grand-daughter/niece.......now that I'm no longer cute and chubby (big chubby pear was my nickname)....

Our buddy Tim shared how hard it is to be a mom on Sunday's Mother's Day Message. Go Tim, you tell 'em bro!

My friends all thought it was pretty funny, and this is probably the day we get our "Report Cards" as a mom. I let that slide, figuring she's getting me back for not buying the hamster ... or the "My Little Pony" gift set that she's been begging for lately........

This morning, I was surprised to wake up with a crayon-drawn picture next to my bedside. It was a drawing....and it had the word "LOVE", and actual HEARTS drawn around 2 people resembling....me and Abbie! Lo and behold........it looks like we're holding hands and are on good terms, SMILING too! Imagine that?!

I love you  蔥油餅 ~ somehow the pix won't turn around (^_*)

I cooked her a special breakfast (thanks to Auntie Grace's yummy dough).... Chinese Pancakes ~ 蔥油餅~  which reflected my joy, appreciation and Love for her as well!  (^_^)  When she woke up, she was stunned to see her favorite breakfast WRITTEN on the plate, literally! So I guess in mother-daughter (or ANY!) relationship, sometimes we do things with funny or not so funny intent, but at the end of the day, we're all family and we can laugh at the things/days to come because we learn to love, forgive, then love again!

~ The kids sang a Mother's Day song in Taiwanese (above), and another in Chinese ( below!!) ~


Our Wonderful Mother's Day Celebration (^_^)!

It was so wonderful to host mommy Soph's family this Thanksgiving again! Thanks to all the family for driving all the way down to Ladera! Yeay!

We were excited and Abbie helped set up "Barbie Hostess Station" as we awaited our guests! We prepared the food beginning at 9am, and looked forward to Grandma Kathy, Auntie Debbie's family, and Uncle Stephen's arrival!

There were 4 baseball games going on today, so it's perfect for gathering and celebration!

Mama Soph's cooking is very unpredictable ~ so I'm vey thankful everyone still ate lots of my cooking! We had yummy corn, cucumber salad, veggie, and soup dish! Auntie Debbie drank 5 bowls, I'm so proud of her! Hubby cooked his special Steak and sis brought yummy roast chicken and BBQ pork. Brother Bruce said grace, and we dug in!

Kyle had fun playing with his cousin Abbie....as he's into "Thomas the Train" stage! He's grown bigger and is super special and huggable! We only had 1 clear family picture taken by Uncle Bruce.... Thank you Uncle Bruce! We miss you Uncle Dan!

Grandma baked cookies w/Abbie for our dessert...Unfortunately, I misread the directions and put in the WHOLE stick of butter instead of just 1 tablespoon! So it becamse choco-chip syrup! Good thing we had fruits from grandma and Auntie Deb!
So thankful for a Wonderful mother's day gathering!!


~ Mannix Peacemakers ~ The Heroes in Our Lives

The 31 Nobel Peace Prize Presenters!

Today I attended Caleb's "Peacemaker Presentation".... And as I entered the Hall of Champion, I heard the song "Hero"....and witnessed our kids in Mrs. Mannix's class march up the stage elegantly. It suddenly struck me as a "Graduation-like March"...and if we fast-forward to 2019.....near this time....Caleb and friends will be graduating from high school!

Seeing the kids so well-rehearsed and proper up there made me cherish the 8 years left of Caleb's time in our home (assuming he'll be living in a dorm in college (^_^)....But if he's at Saddleback, great!). I will really treasure the times our kids spend in our care!

Caleb mumbles his way through his speech as "Albert Schweitzer"
Caleb was "Albert Schweitzer", though he spoke super softly and quickly... so I still don't know much about 'ol Al! (^_^)

Is it just my kid, or are other kids too shy to take pix with mommy? (^_^)
The right top corner is what Albert Schwarz looks like in person. Should have given Caleb a Mustache!!

The kids sang SUPER well, like professional choir children on Christmas Eve! All of the Mannix Maniac parents are super proud of them!

Ok, they looked sleepy ~ It was a long program! Good job for sitting so long!

Kids sat patiently and listened to their friends share their Nobel Peace history!

Keep up the great work, kids! We love you! 29 more days of school! (Today is 5/11/11)!

Miss Julia and Friends did really well! Proud of you all!


(^_^) Thoughts from an Inexperienced "9-Yr-Old" Mom! ~ HAPPY Mother's DAY!! ~


Time really flies! I can't believe it's May already! The kids graduate from 4th and Kindergarten...in 6 weeks!

My 3 kids (41, 5 and 9 yrs old) (^_^)

Mother's day is here again! I used to expect things and gestures from my 3 kids (one of which is 41 years old)....like commercials always cajole and entice consumers......"Give mom the best because she deserves it". But now, after 9+ years of motherhood, I realized that Motherhood is actually a GIFT from God!

Of course, there are days when I feel like hiding from all the responsibilities and emotions of motherhood, like this Tantrum session from dear Abbie last week (see video....then you'll feel a little better about your kids' gentler-by-far fussiness by comparison)...(^_^)

But I look back at the past 9 years, and realized that Caleb is half way through his 'home life' with us! In 9 years, he'll be off to college! "Off To" could be down the street in Saddleback college (which is not a bad idea ~ economical and we see him daily!), or across the country (3,000 miles away?!). So putting things in perspective made me cherish the moments. Sometimes they fight and scream....making me want to run and hide in Mission Hospital for a couple weeks....but other times, they are as compatible as lego pieces, like the surprise 'Duet' we heard last week from them!

Yesterday it was so touching to see Abbie make 'homemade biscuits' for me and Caleb ~ as an afternoon snack.

Homemade biscuit is SO yummy! (^_^)
 Baking together is what I rarely do with her, 'cuz I'm super lazy and it's easier/cheaper to buy the voila~ ready made pastries. But this Mother's day, on her school-craft mother's day card, she wrote the following:

Never knew that she loved eating almond jello!

I realized that doing things with her, and sharing our love for pastry, sweets (almond jello!) and life (and Totoro cartoon) together....is what will last forever in her young mind.

Abbie makes Almond Jello (^_^)

Today we are going to surprise Mrs. McLaren (Abbie's Kinder teacher) with YUMMY Almond Jello Abbie wrote about on her school Mother's Day Card! Mrs. McLaren never tasted them before so Abbie made some for her ! (^_^)

One day, she may continue the 'tradition' with her own kids....and I will sit back and enjoy the fruits (or desserts!) of my labors!

Happy Mother's Day everyone! I love you! (^_^)

Apparently.... All the fuss and homework tantrums (and sticking to it)  paid off! Abbie aces the Word StudyTest!

Abbie showed me the card she made at school ~ And I looked MAD! I asked why she drew mama that way and she said, "Because you're always mad at me"! (Notice the arms crossing at hips!)
After her explanation, she laughed HYSTERICALLY ~(*_^) ~  The worst thing was, my mom and big sister BOTH thought she did a GREAT job of depicting me in my "Mad Face"! Arent' they supposed to be on my side?? (^_^)

Abbie is officially addicted to Totoro as I was in college!

*** Ok, last picture, I promise ***