Author: Michelle Collins

I’m a half-Asian wife and mother to two beautiful, but testing three-year old twin girls. I’m world-traveled since birth thanks to my father’s previous profession, now I’m land-locked in Wyoming. I enjoy traveling and all that it entails: cultures, religion, and food!

a divine filipino dessert

mini filipino macaroons

mini filipino macaroons

I’ve never considered myself a good cook and we’ve eaten our fair share of take-out and processed foods cooked at home. But lately, I’ve had a recent resurgence of domestication – almost to the point of obsession. I believe I can attribute this plight to the economic recession. I’m trying to save money on food so I can enjoy my other indulgences. Read: dressing my girls in designer and boutique threads that look simply adorable on them. During my quest I have found long lost family recipes – delicious snacks and treats that I enjoyed as a little one.

My recent find is a moist, sweet, and “slightly nutritional” treat that I can’t keep my girls’ hands off. They are so easy and quick to whip up – not to mention they provide a great way to administer fiber in your little one’s diet.

Filipino mini macaroons

14 oz. of shredded coconut

14 oz. can condensed milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ cup butter

½ cup light brown sugar

3 eggs

mini-muffin/cupcake papers

mini-muffin pan

Leave butter and eggs out at room temperature for approximately one hour.

Set oven to 350 degrees F.

Once butter has softened add it to mixing bowl and cream it by gradually adding sugar until blended. Then add vanilla extract, eggs and condensed milk. Mix all ingredients well. Once mixed, add coconut and stir into mixture using a spatula. Once all ingredients are incorporated spoon into mini muffin cups and bake for approx. 15 – 20 minutes until they are slightly golden brown on top. Enjoy.


building confidence in the water for parent and child alike

red, blue, pink, swim vests

red, blue, pink, swim vests

I recently purchased a swimming aid to assist my girls in the water. I had thought about getting them swimming lessons but it has proved difficult since an adult is needed per child. I searched for a swimming aid and after research I settled on the konfidence swim vest. I purchased two and put them to the test at a local outdoor pool. What a sigh of relief. This device gives my girls the freedom of movement in the water so they can learn the proper movements of their arms and legs. It is not a “flotation device” but a tool to aid those learning to swim. Once confidence is built a series of eight interior floats can be removed so the child learns to maintain him or herself afloat in the water.

I will enroll them in lessons once time permits but for the meantime, this vest has given me the peace of mind and enabled me to bring them to the pool alongside all the other children this summer.

an easy way to trick your toddlers into eating veggies

snap peas

One of the best things I did this year was to plant a garden. I know I’ve become one of the many millions to create a no-frills backyard garden to help alleviate the price of produce at the grocery store. But sadly I’ve seen very little in the way of crops in exchange for the time, effort and water I’ve invested but I can attest that it has proven to be a great way to help me relax during particularly stressful days.

I say it is one of the best things not because it has eased my stress and made me relax but more for the way that it has proven to be a great tool for introducing vegetables to my twin toddlers.

The other day we finally had a few pea pods ready for picking, the girls were so excited and anxious as they have invested just as much time and care into the garden as myself. On a regular basis they help with the watering, weed picking, and day-to-day inspections. I was shocked when they both insisted on eating the raw peas straight out of the pod. There were a total of five peas for the three of us to divide amongst ourselves and the girls were not satisfied with their measly two apiece. They eagerly asked for more and I was disappointed at the lack of production from the garden, especially when they were so keen to eat something nutritional. Something that I had offered on their plates at mealtime at least 200 times since they started eating solids, the peas were always rejected whether in the mush or solid forms.

While at the grocery store, supplementing my lack of vegetable production, I had the novel idea of picking up a bag of frozen edamame. This was one of my favorite foods while frequenting the sushi restaurants during my previous life as a career woman. I cooked the bag the very same night and placed them into a bowl at my place assuming I would be the only one that would indulge in the protein-filled wonders. But as soon as the girls laid eyes on them they giggled gleefully. Then followed, “yeah we have more peas from the garden.” I thought about it for one short second and decided it wasn’t worth making the correction.

ni hao, ma!

My twin girls would be considered Caucasian. If you glanced at them you would see the characteristic light brown hair, blue eyes, and light skin. If you look a little harder you will see that one has almond-shaped eyes and the other olive colored skin. We live in central Wyoming, the state that is least populated and probably one of the least ethnically diverse.

It is difficult to raise children. It is even harder when your children are one-quarter Asian decent. What will they claim as ethnicity on their college application? Being half Asian myself, I always claimed Caucasian – however I don’t have a solid explanation behind the definite check mark on the forms. Nowadays I am able to select a variety of ethnicities, so today I appear as veritable smorgasbord.

My girls often spend time with their maternal grandmother and at times they blurt out Filipino words casually. Then at other times they will say xie xie (pronounced ‘sheh sheh’) in response to receiving an item. While my mother is very much Filipino, she and my father spent over 5 years living in Beijing, China and developed a love for the people, the culture, and the language.

I have a love of travel, which I hope passes onto my girls. At the age of two my girls traveled to the Philippines to meet the Asian side of the family. In a few years we will take them to Australia to meet their extended family on my father’s side. We also have plans for travel to Ireland – a place with roots for my father and my husband. We want our children to be exposed to a wide variety of cultures and respect each of the differences.

I encourage their multicultural linguistics and use the words they are already familiar with but I don’t know how their preschool teacher will respond when they start school in August. I am confident that they will try to communicate with words in Chinese and Filipino. More than likely he/she won’t recognize that the words are from a different language and they may be corrected with the English-form. After all, who would expect Asian languages from my clearly Caucasian looking-children?