Thursday, November 8, 2018

Hong Kong Q & A: Weather, Safety, and the People

Incase you did not know, Instagram is my favorite social media platform. You can follow me at @JenNewsham, where I post pictures and stories daily. Just a few weeks ago, on my stories, I asked people what they would like to know about our life in Hong Kong. 

I received so many incredible questions!! 

Needless to say, it’s going to take a few blog posts to answer all of your questions. In addition, if you have more questions about our life in Hong Kong, please leave a comment below and I will try my best to answer your questions as I have time.

Currently, the weather in Hong Kong is BEAUTIFUL!! 

It is fall and this is the nicest time of year for Hong Kong. The rainy season has passed, so most days we enjoy the blue sky and weather in the high 70s. It’s humid, but nothing like it will be once the weather starts to creep up again. During the summer, Hong Kong is very hot and humid, a lot like Houston, TX. We’re trying to enjoy this weather while we have it, because it won’t last long.  

The Chinese people that we have encountered in Hong Kong have been very kind. When we’re out and about out family causes quite a spectacle. People get so excited to see the twins and can’t believe that we have a total of 5 girls. Most people in Hong Kong aren’t used to seeing large families. 

Just yesterday while I was waiting for Jon to finish shopping, a group of older Chinese ladies walked by me and the twins. At first, they only noticed Zoey. However, as I turned the stroller towards them, they caught a glimpse of Evelyn and realized that they were twins. Instantly, they were overjoyed at the sight of two babies. Unfortunately, they talked to me in Cantonese and I couldn’t understand them. 

Even though I can’t speak Cantonese, I’m a Mommy and I speak baby, which is an international language. That’s right, just from their body language I could tell they were so excited about the babies. They hung around for a while going on about the twins. Thankfully, a Chinese man walked by who did speak English and he was kind enough to translate for us. He was just as excited about the babies as the ladies. I was so thankful for his kindness.

That’s just one example of how we have been blessed by the kindness of the Chinese people since we moved to Hong Kong.  

The short answer is yes, we feel very safe. Before moving to Hong Kong, I did some research online, which said that Hong Kong is one of the safest place to live in the world. That was nice to hear, but I’ve still tried to take that with a grain of salt. We do our best to take precautions for possible pickpockets and make sure to have the girls hold hands when we’re in a very crowded place. Overall, we have felt very safe. 

Honestly, I told Jon that I have been more afraid of the bugs, rats, and geckos, which are more likely to get in my house.  

It's been fun to be able to answer your questions. Like I said before, please leave me a comment or send me an email with an addition questions about our life in Hong Kong.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

November 2018 Homeschool Favorites

This month, I want to share with you my November 2018 Homeschool Favorites, the book edition. As I have said before, our family loves books. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite books with you. Please look below to see what we’re loving this month.

The Beginner's Bible: Timeless Children's Stories

This year, as part of Olivia's homeschool curriculum, she is reading through "The Beginner's Bible: Timeless Children's Stories" by, Zondervan. We have a lot of children's Bibles, so I was not sure if Olivia would like reading this one. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by her love for this Bible. Even after we've finished our lessons for the day, Olivia still sits down to read more stories from this Bible. I am so thankful to Sonlight for having this Bible as part of their curriculum.


Geronimo Stilton #10: All Because of a Cup of Coffee

If you watch my Instastories, then you have already seen me post about this book. Last week, when we went downtown for Matilda's birthday, we borrowed "Geronimo Stilton: All Because of a Cup of Coffee" by, Geronimo Stilton from the Hong Kong library. The girls have enjoyed this book so much and we haven't been able to put it down. It's a fun story for all ages. It is also an easy chapter book for new readers. We're excited to go back to the library to find more Geronimo Stilton books.


Noah's Ark

As a part of Sonilght's preschool curriculum, they recommend reading "Noah's Ark" illustrated by, Peter Spier. We purchased this book back when Olivia was a in preschool. It's hard to believe that we're pulling it out to read again with Matilda, who is now in preschool. This book doesn't have any words, but is filled with beautiful illustrations that tell the story of Noah's Ark. You can tell your children the story or let them help you as they see what's happening on each page. This book is truly beautiful.


The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature

I might sound like a broken record, when I tell you that this is book in Sonlight's PreK curriculum. However, Sonlight has some of the BEST book recommendations, so even if you aren't going to use their entire curriculum it is worth it to take a look at their book lists. That being said,  "The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature" by, Stan and Jan Berenstain is such a wonderful book!! It teaches children about science and nature in fun ways that only Stan and Jan Berenstain could do. This is another book that my family could read over and over again, because it is so good.


Mommy Favorites:
Cookies! A Cookie Lover's Collection

"Cookies! A Cookie Lover's Collection" by, Janice Cauley is my favorite cookbook of ALL TIME. It was published back in the 90's, which was when my Mom bought it and added it to her cookbook collection. My family enjoys baking together and I remember making lots of desserts from this cookbook. Every time I see this book, I am overwhelmed with joyful memories of being with my family when I was a kid.

When it came time for my Mom to pass this book along, we were shocked when my Mom gave it to my youngest sister, without even asking the rest of us if we wanted it.


We were up in arms at the thought of not having our own cookie cookbook to enjoy. As a result of my Mom's decision, my husband went online and bought this book for me, so that I could have my very own copy. I truly have the best husband in the world!!

This book is so important to me, that it's one of only two cookbooks that we brought to Hong Kong. I couldn't bare the thought of leaving it storage or giving it away.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Matilda turns 3!!

Last week, we had such a fun time celebrating Matilda's birthday. We're so thankful, because even Jon got to be home with us on her birthday.

We kicked off Matilda's birthday by watching old videos from when she was a baby! We got so excited that we spent a lot of time snuggling in our bed as we watched most of the videos on Jon’s phone. Then, we headed downstairs for breakfast. Auntie Hannah sent us some Dyno-Bites, so we opened that cereal and had some on this special occasion.

Matilda loves to ride the bus!! She really wanted to ride the bus on her birthday, so we decided to take the bus all the way downtown to the Hong Kong Library. As we walked to the bus terminus, Olivia sang, “make way for the birthday girl!!” It was wonderful!! Honestly, I think whenever it is someone’s birthday you can hire someone like Olivia to announce the presence of the said birthday girl or boy.

We all got on the E11A bus and rode it downtown. The design on the seat covers remind Matilda of sprinkles. So, she was very excited to get to ride “The Sprinkle Bus” all the way to the library.

We spent several hours at the library and everyone got to pick out one book to bring home. AT the library, they had a whole floor of just children’s books. They have Chinese and English books. Matilda's favorite book was one with Chinese poems in it. She won’t put it down, so that what we checked out for her to read.

After the library we ate lunch at McDonald’s, which is currently Matilda's favorite. Then we headed to the MTR station to come home. On the way, we found a rainbow birthday cake for Matilda. They even gave us candles and a birthday sign. This was such a blessing, because I don’t have an oven to bake in. God provided just what we needed!

 Once we got home, we at dinner and then invited our friends over for cake and games. We sang Happy Birthday and discovered that the inside of your cake had different colors too. How fun!! Right before bedtime, while I was helping Matilda put on her pajamas, she told me that she wanted me to call her “Birthday Girl”, every day for the rest of her life.

Matilda is so cute!!

I feel like I blinked and Matilda are already three. She is smart and willing to help no matter what needs to get done. She has graciously taken on the role as big sister, loving the babies so well. Matilda love to sing, dance, and have fun. I couldn’t imagine life without you, Matilda Kate.

Click the link below to read

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Homeschool Project: Building LEGO Pyramids

For our 2018-19 school year, we are currently going through Sonlight's Core B: World History 1 for our Bible, memory verses, history, and read-alouds. The past few years, we have used Sonlight and it has been such a great fit for our family. We specifically picked this curriculum, because we knew it would be best for us if/when we moved overseas. You see Sonlight mails you a box with all the books you need for the whole year. This is great, especially now that we live in Hong Kong and don’t have the same resources that we did in the States. I have everything I need for the whole year and don’t have to worry about not being able to find a particular book.

We're already on week 7 of our curriculum and one of the books that we are currently reading is called, "The Usborne Book of World History" by, Anne Millard. Earlier this week, we read pages 20-21 which talks about "Building the Pyramids". This was an interesting section and even I learned something new, like it took 20 years to build a pyramid. That's a long time!!

As a result, I really wanted to take time to build a pyramid with my girls. After talking with my husband, he agreed to help me with this project. His idea was to build a pyramid out of LEGOs, because our girls really love playing and building with them. When I looked on Pinterest, I discovered that lots of people build LEGO pyramids. In addition, there are YouTube videos that teach you how to build your own LEGO pyramids as well. How fun!

On Monday, after we finished our daily schoolwork, we read this section about "Building the Pryramids" again to refresh our memories. Then my husband taught us (even me) how to build our own LEGO pyramids. At first the girls were disappointed that they couldn't build whatever they want, but it didn't take long for them to change their minds and create wonderful LEGO pyramids. Even after completing their pyramids, they continued to play with the LEGOs until dinnertime.

I'm so thankful for my husband's great idea!! It was a memorable project and I am glad we all got to do together.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Our First Hike in Hong Kong

To our delight, my husband was off this weekend. It was so nice to have Jon home with us and taking a break from his training. We’re so thankful for the time we get to have with Jon when he’s home.

Saturday morning, I mentioned to Jon that we should all go for a walk. What I failed to communicate was that I just wanted to go to the park that is a 15 minute walk from our house. bad!!

Before moving to Hong Kong, I pictured this country to be like a big city. Parts of Hong Kong are what I pictured in my mind. However, what people don’t know is that the majority of Hong Kong is wilderness. We live on Lantau Island there are both big buildings and beautiful mountains!! There are also easy access to the South China Sea. As a result, Lantau has some incredible hiking trails. Ever since we moved to Hong Kong, we have wanted to go hiking, but haven’t had the chance to go.

On Saturday, Jon did some research and decided to take us on our first family hike. In total our hike ended up being over 7 miles round trip. Jon and I each had a baby, while our three big girls walked. The oldest girls did great!! However, out of everyone Matilda struggled the most. We took breaks along the way. I also turned on music, so we would have something fun to listen to while we walked.

The trail was paved which made it easy to walk on. Some parts of our hike were very steep and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it up the hill, let alone the children. We worked as a family to encourage each other and wait if someone needed a rest.

As soon as we got home, we were exhausted. Everyone needed water and something to eat. Needless to say, we spent the rest of the day relaxing and recovering from our overly ambitious hike.

It was a challenging task, but the best part was we did it together!!

We did it!!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

My Ten Year Anniversary with Weight Watchers

10 years later

On Sunday, October 28th, I celebrated my 10 year anniversary with Weight Watchers!! I cannot believe that 10 years ago, I began to learn how to take care of myself and get healthy. It has been quite a journey!! Some of the highlights from the past 10 years include...

Highlights from the Past 10 Years
- I am now a Mommy to 5 beautiful girls.
- I reached my goal and Lifetime with Weight Watchers.
- I ran half marathon and other 5Ks.
- We moved to Hong Kong.
- I worked at Weight Watchers for 7 years as a leader and receptionist.
- I went on mission trips to Mexico and Costa Rica.      
- I became a homeschool Mom.

There are so many other things that have happened since I joined Weight Watchers and these highlights barely scratch the surface for what the past 10 years have been like for me. Please don't misunderstand me, life has had its fair share of ups and downs. However, no matter what life has looked like, I am so thankful that God has given me the strength to endure.

Honestly, I thought the hardest part of my weight loss journey was when I lost my initial 90 pounds on Weight Watchers. What I didn't know was that I was learning to take care of myself, to help me be healthy throughout each one of my pregnancies. My weight loss wasn't just about me, but about taking care of my girls too.

the loves of my life

It has been hard, because I gave birth to 5 babies in less than 6 years. This meant I needed to lose my weight again and again, following each new baby that joined our family. The baby weight has been stubborn to come off at times. Like when, I nursed Matilda for one whole year and during that time I didn't lose weight. It wasn't until I stopped nursing that my body finally decided to let go of the excess weight. Each baby has been different.

God's timing was truly perfect and He knew that Weight Watchers was exactly what I needed to help jump start my weight loss journey. I am so thankful that God helped me learn how to take care of myself before I started having babies, so that when I needed to lose the baby weight I would know how to do it.

I'm thankful to share that 10 years later, I am in my healthy weight range. I still haven't seen my goal weight since before I had Olivia, but I'm not worried. Just trying to be patient with my body, because it has been through a lot the past 6 years, including a twin pregnancy (which was no joke). I am also thankful for my husband's love and support throughout this whole process, because he remains my biggest cheerleader. I could not do this without him!! Finally, I am so thankful to all of you who read my blog and are a constant source of encouragement to me, even when I am feeling down your kind words have means everything to me. Thank you!!

No matter where you are in your weight loss journey, don't give up!! Just take it one day at a time, one meal at a time!! Commit to doing this for yourself, no matter how long it takes, because in the end it will all be worth!! Lean on God and ask Him to give you the strength you need each day!!

Click the links below to read more about my weight loss journey.

Friday, October 26, 2018

My Mom has Breast Cancer


My Mom is the greatest woman I know and it’s devastating to tell you that on August 2nd, she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.

Honestly, until just a few month ago, I did not know very much about breast cancer. When Mom told us the bad news, it was hard to understand the seriousness of the situation, because I didn’t know very much about this disease or the details about the long battle my Mom would have to endure. I spent many nights on Google reading about breast cancer and trying to learn all that I could. I learned about the different stages of breast cancer and how my Mom has a bad kind of cancer which is very aggressive.

Gradually, I began to understand the weight of the situation.

During this time, I cried a lot as I thought about possibly losing my Mom to such an awful disease. Honestly, I can’t imagine a world without my Mom, because she’s always been here. I’m just not quite ready to let her go. I also began to praise the Lord that my Mom found her lump early!! I am also thankful that the doctors diagnosed Mom quickly and began her treatment right away.


On the morning of October 24th, my Mom will begin her 4th round of chemotherapy. The hardest part for me has been being so far away in Hong Kong. Most days, I feel helpless, because I want to be there to help my Mom. Recently, God has shown me that even though I am far away, there are lots of different ways that I can help my Mom.

If you are able, there are lots of ways you can help our Mom. Below are some immediate needs. We will continue to keep you posted as she is on this journey and other needs arise. Thank you for keeping our family in your prayers.

Here are some ways we can all help my Mom.
  • Pray for my Mom and that God would be a constant source of peace and strength to her during this time. Pray for complete healing from this disease.
  • Send my Mom encouragement through text message or by phone.
  • Bring my Mom a meal, especially if you’re in the area. You can even bring something that she can easily put in her freezer and heat up when she’s hungry
  • Order groceries from Safeway and had them delivered to my Mom’s house.
  • Send my Mom a card to let her know you were thinking of her.
  • Donate to Mom’s GoFund Me she has a lot of extra expenses right now and it would be a blessing if you could help relieve some of that burden for her right now.

Ladies, don’t forget… 

Do your self breast exams! Get your mammograms! Be proactive! Save the TATAS!


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