Category: Random

For as long as we can remember Nolan has always had a fascination with wheels. It can be the wheels of his stroller, wagon, push toy or shopping cart–he’s always staring at the mechanics of it. A few times while at the store he’d insist on getting out of the cart to play with the wheels and help us push it so we thought getting him a shopping cart of his own would be an excellent idea. And we were right! He enjoyed his 1st experience at the store pushing around his very own cart. He didn’t add anything to the cart on his own but pushed it around like he knew what he was doing, watched the mechanics of the wheels as he always does, check out products once in a while and was pretty good at knowing NOT to run into people or displays. I actually had to monitor him the entire time while his dad did the real shopping. Check out my little shopper below.
kid shopping cart
toddler shopping cart melissa & doug
This video cracks me up b/c he actually stops to look at product as if he’s deciding if he wants to buy or not–like he even knows what he’s doing.


We both caught Nolan giggling in his sleep before, but Rob was finally able to capture it on camera today. Turn up the volume and listen to him giggle. Love our little man!!


It’s that time of year again folks when there are graduations galore. Our niece, Faith, graduates from high school this Friday and we wanted to do something extra special for her. Not gift her with the usual flower lei, balloons or bouquet of flowers, but something she can wear proudly and show off to her fellow graduates who will look at her with envy that she is well loved and cared for.

With helpful instruction from our dear friend, Anh Nguyet, Rob and I worked tirelessly for hours on end over several days to create 2 very heavy, super intricate candy lei’s made up of Werther’s candies and Starbursts for Faith to don on her big day. Since we spent so much time on it, we thought we’d document (aka blog) the detailed instruction on how it’s done so that we’ll never forget how to create it and also to share with the world on how it’s all done so you can create it yourself for a loved one.

*sorry for the poor quality images in this post. i took these on my cellphone and half of ’em didn’t come out so great.*

Part I: the Werther’s lei

What you need:

  • Curling ribbon (this can be purchased from Party City)
  • Thicker ribbon (around 2 inches wide; got mine from Costco)
  • 1 big bag of Werther’s hard candies (ours contained ~80 pieces); big bags available at Smart & Final; make sure it’s the twisty wrapper kind.

Step 1: Cut curling ribbon into lengths of 6 inches. You’ll need one ribbon per piece of candy. I used 2 colors for Faith’s lei’s (green and black) to represent her school colors. You can do 1 color ribbon or even 2+; all up to you.

Step 2: Tie ribbon to one end of Werther’s candy (as illustrated below). Make sure there is an even length on each side.

Step 3: Cut the thicker 2 inch wide ribbon into 3.5 feet in length (may want it longer if the person has a bigger head; measure it on yourself leaving room to knot the 2 ends later).

Step 4: Start double knotting candy to 2 inch wide ribbon; making sure to alternate sides that the candy is on.

Photo of me in action:

Step 5: After you’re done going all the way to the end, tie the two ends together to complete the circle; take a scissor and curl the ribbon so that its not so straight and pokey.


Part II: the Starburst lei *warning: takes 10x as long and is very tedious*

What you need:

  • Curling ribbon
  • Thicker ribbon
  • Loose Starburst candies (ours contained ~90 pieces; purchased from Target)
  • Clear cellophane wrapping (got ours from Party City)

Step 1: Cut curling ribbon into lengths of 6 inches.

Step 2: Cut 4 inch squares of the clear cellophane wrap. This part was super tedious and hard. I had Rob make me a cardboard template that was 4″ x 4″ to measure and cut the cellophane. It was hard enough that the material doesn’t stay put let alone it being almost completely invisible!

Step 3: Sort candy. This really isn’t a step unless you’re picky with the colors. We purchased 3 variety packs and chose only the hues of pinks, reds and purples to go on the lei. We’re now stuck with the yellows, oranges, and greens to eat.

These are the 6 colors we worked with; it was so hard not to devour ’em while putting the lei together.

Step 4: Wrap each Starburst candy with cellophane and tying the end with a ribbon (as illustrated below).

I found that there was a lot of extra cellophane after it was tied at the end so to make it easier to tie to the main ribbon I’d cut some of the extra cellophane off. You don’t have to but I’m just knit picky.

Step 5: Cut the thicker 2 inch wide ribbon into 3.5 feet in length.

Step 6: Start double knotting candy to 2 inch wide ribbon; making sure to alternate sides and colors to get in a good mix. It starts getting really difficult when you mix in multiple color ribbon and candy colors. You can see in the photo below that I curled the ribbon as I went along so that it didn’t seem so overwhelming at the end.

Step 7: Tie the ends together (you can leave a bit of space w/o any candy, it’s ok b/c it’s behind their neck).

Viola! This is the face of a person after hours on end of back breaking work to put this Starburst lei together. I look like total crap and usually would not show a photo of myself in this sort of condition but I had to show you proof that making this Starburst lei takes a ton of dedication, time, and MUCHO love for the recipient in order for you to power thru it all. I am not convinced that I can or ever will make this lei for any person ever again. Perhaps the love for my children or grandchildren when I am super old without much to do in my retirement age will entice me to give it another shot. I did tell Rob that I would make this for him for his graduation (that would mean he’d have to go back to school). hehehe.

Step 8: get a back massage.


This book was suggested to Robert and I at our engaged encounter retreat in January 2010. We put it off since it was the last 6 months of wedding planning and the last thing we wanted to do was sit down, read a book, and work on our relationship. We knew it would be an ongoing, lifelong process well after the wedding was over. I left it on my wish list and didn’t start reading it until January 2011 after Robert purchased me a Kindle edition; and I have been so grateful to have been introduced to this book. I am now a true believer in the 5 love languages.

The concept is that people express and feel love in 5 ways (languages); one being more predominant than the next for each person. The book explains the 5 love languages as so: (taken from the website)

  • Words of Affirmation

    Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

  • Quality Time

    In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

  • Receiving Gifts

    Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

  • Acts of Service

    Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

  • Physical Touch

    This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

Do me a favor and take the quiz online to find out your love language. Then have your significant other take it as well. It’s a short quiz of just 30 multiple choice questions; shouldn’t take any longer than 10-15 minutes. If you’re single, don’t worry–there’s even a quiz on there for you! Same concept applies. If you’re a parent, you can also have your kid(s) take it so you can show them love the way they want to be loved (applies to kids ages 5+). There’s even a teen edition.

I think it will make a whole difference in your relationship if you put your learnings into practice. It’s made a whole world of a difference so far in my relationship with Robert. Even though he has not yet read the book, he still understands the concept and it has done wonders! I am such a HUGE believer that if you want to read the book I am willing to buy you a copy whether it be a paperback, nook edition, kindle edition, or audio edition. To gift you with this book would mean the world to me; a small amount of my hard earned money does not compare to the lifelong happiness you can have from reading this book. Heck, if I had read this book before the wedding it may have been another wedding favor we gave out to our guests. Leave a comment and tell me in what form you want to receive this book. *Stipulation: you must promise to read it all the way through within 2 months of receiving it.*

You may be wondering what’s my primary love language. Well, Dr. Chapman (the author) said we could also be bilingual in our love language and that is ME! That just gives Rob more options to show me how much he loves me; we both “speak” the same 2 languages of “quality time” and “acts of service”. Don’t get me wrong, I still like gifts, physical touch, and nice words but the other 2 is what truly screams out LOVE to me. Here’s how we scored:

Language Thao Robert
Words of Affirmation 7 2
Quality Time 9 9
Receiving Gifts 0 3
Acts of Service 9 10
Physical Touch 5 6



Since we’re still in our early stages of this blog, I thought you should get to know a few random facts about me.

  • i am married…to Robert.
  • i get excited over the most scenic places and taking photos of people in them.
  • i have 2 jobs.
  • i love weddings…hence the 2nd job.
  • i want to have 4 children…let’s see how I fare after the 1st.
  • i already named my 1st daughter…if 15 people comment and ask me what it is, i will reveal it.
  • i love to blog…duh!
  • i am pretty shy and get super nervous in social/public situations…prob why i blog.
  • i will not eat beans, olives, guacamole, sour cream or ginger.
  • i love to eat at the habit: burger with cheese and bacon; onion rings with ranch to dip.
  • i love to sing in church…just ask Robert.
  • i want to play the piano…and own a white grand piano someday.
  • i love to read…yes, i own a Kindle.
  • i am in love.

Once I get an “about me” page going, this info and probably a few more tidbits will go on there.