Monday, May 30, 2011

Money Saving Tip: When is the Best Time to Buy Entertainment Book

Entertainment book is a good way to save money.  It enables users to get deals such as buy one get one free or 50% off while shopping, going to attractions or eating in restaurants.
The new editions usually come out during the Winter months: October or November.  However, the winter is so cold in the northern part of the continent, so people would not go out as much.  (Therefore, not worth it to get it so early.)

The best time is to wait till spring is here and they would lower the price to around half price in March and even lower in March and April!  They would often offer 2 for 20 sales.

If you can wait a long time, till June or July, then summer sale will start.
The price will lower to 2 books for 10 dollars, which means you get two coupon books for the summer for 5 dollars each! 
Now, that is a deal!!

Hand Made Dog Sleeping Bag

Here is something my wife made that is so practical for my chihuahua, which I think is brilliant.

In Japan, they started selling fancy sleeping bags for dogs who like to snug in blankets.
My wife thought: why not save money to make something practical and utilizing unwanted blankets at home?
Using thick fleece blanket not used at home and wires bought at local dollar stores, she made the sleeping bag shown below.

sleeping bag for dogs....hand made
Both of my chihuahuas enjoy the doggie sleeping bags very much these days.
They are so cute when they snug in there.

Boston Pizza to Rename to "Vancouver Pizza" During Stanley Cup

Boston Pizza is a Canadian pizza chain restaurant popular among the locals.
The headquarters is now located in BC even though it originated in Edmonton, Alberta.
(I am not sure why the owner came up with the name Boston Pizza.)

The NHL Stanley Cup Playoff finalists are Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins.
Boston Pizza thought of a brilliant promotion of changing all store front names to "Vancouver Pizza" during the Stanley Cup Playoff to support the local team.

Maybe they should change their name to Vancouver Pizza permanently...

See the big Boston Pizza link here:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Macaron from T&T Supermarket in Canada

I love Macarons, and I love to eat the macarons around the world.

Locally in Canada, T&T Supermarket has been making and selling macarons for couple of years.
Recently, they even started selling it in singles just like Europe.  You can pick them one by one.
Because they are expensive, it might be a good idea.

They are one dollar a piece.  Pretty much standard pricing because macaron is not cheap anywhere.
They are tasty indeed but I think they should price them a little lower than 1 dollar in order to gain more customers.

Taiwanese Pastry: Pineapple Cake

If you are familiar with Asian food and pastries, you know there are lots of famous Taiwanese food and snacks.  All kinds of Taiwanese noodles, all dishes in the night markets and all the famous pastries.
Two famous examples are the Pineapple cake and "sun cake".  (of course, there are lots more that is only available locally.  The most famous one is "Pineapple cake". 

Taiwanese Pineapple cake and Japanese Youkan
My parents came back from Taiwan and brought back the Pineapple cake from Chia Te.
They said it is one of the best brand to produce pineapple cake and will taste different than other brands.
Indeed, the packaging was great and the taste was exceptional.  The cake itself does not crumble after taken out of package.

In recent years, there are other variations other than the traditional kind.  Fruits like cherry, berries or even jellies are being added in the pineapple cakes.  I prefer the traditional kind.
We certainly can't get this in a supermarket in North America.
This taste a lot better than what is available here in Canada and US.

Well, there is no market for it and people will not appreciate the difference I guess...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Mother's Day from My Chihuahua

Okay, I know this is very late for Mother's Day for 2011.
However, we took this picture of our chihuahua boy earlier this month, and he wishes all moms a "Happy Mother's Day"!!

My chihuahua happy mother's day
Late greetings from my chihuahua with a sexy pose.  haha

Friday, May 27, 2011

Nintendo DS: Momotaro Dentetsu (Japanese Railway Monopoly)

In Vancouver, we also have "Book Off", a discount used bookstore, which sells books, magazine, games and dvds.  They are not as cheap as Japan, but they offer some deals and selections that we don't get anywhere else in Canada.

I bought the game, "Momotaro Dentetsu" for Nintendo DS.  It is a game similar to monopoly where a gamer will travel all through Japan or Tokyo by railway and buying its properties, using strategies and cards to out-compete other players.

Momotaro Dentetsu Nintendo DS
It is good to use this kind of game to pass time on the bus if one has a long commute.
I am not sure if it has a English edition of the game but it is a good source for Japanese geographical knowledge.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dollar Store: 1 Dollar Wii Mario Kart Wheel

Sometimes, I don't understand why brand name products have to be costly.
Brand name = high profit margins....
I found these 1 dollar Mario Kart Wii in a local dollar store.

The plastic is not as thick as the "real" wheel but it works okay with my wii controller so far...

Dollar store Wii Mario Kart Wheel

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Starbucks Petites and Cupcake Part 2

This is my second time trying the Starbucks Petites.
This time, I tried the Strawberry colored Petite for the first time.  (doesn't actually have fruits in it.)
The server suggested that it is the best out of the Petites.
I do agree with him very much.  The strawberry one is the best taste so far and chocolate one is very good, too.
  We also tried the cupcake, and it was great!!

starbucks petite and cupcake

Bento Lunch Box: Chicken Cheese Sushi Roll

My wife made this creative "chicken cheese roll bento".
First, she cut the chicken breast meat into small pieces.
Then, just like rolling a sushi roll.  She put the cheese stick in the center of the chicken meat spread and rolled.
The end product is as the following:

lunch box: chicken cheese sushi roll
The cheese in the center might be hard to see because of the brightness of the picture but it was delicious.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Seattle Woodland Zoo

It was the first time that we have been to the Seattle Zoo last month.
Comparing to Greater Vancouver Zoo, the quality of the facilities and service, the food, and the selections of exhibitions are much better for the same ticket price.
The ticket price is actually much cheaper in the spring. (around 10 dollars per person)

Seattle zoo penguins
They just renovated with new building and infrastructures.
Beside the new entrance, they have a penguins exhibit!  Now, they don't have penguins in Vancouver.
They also have rare animals from different places of the world such as rare Komodo Dragons and Japanese Serow.
Seattle Zoo Komodo Dragon
Seattle Zoo Tropical Bird

Lion in Seattle Zoo
In the African Zone, they have the African huts and in the Asian zone, they have Thai Village Buildings, which really impresses me.
They also have a very good food court.
Personally, I like the thick chip fries!  It is very fulfilling and thick.  I don't find them in Canada.

Link for the zoo:

We had a wonderful time in Seattle Zoo.  I just hope the zoo is easier to find for foreign visitors.
Also, they need more parking lots....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Toys R Us Seattle: Lego Figure Container, Cadillac Kids and More

Toys R Us in the States sells products that we don't see in Canada.
We went to Northgate mall near downtown Seattle and saw many interesting products.
First, we saw this Lego figure head container.

Lego container
kids Cadillac cars
We saw these Cadillac cars for kids....geez...lucky kids these days.  Gotta have big backyards for these.
I think they do sell these in Canada.
key chains toys
These keychains are based on actual toys.   They are really cute and unique.
I don't see these in Canada.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Trader Joe's Pomegranate Yogurt with Granola

We got curious this weekend and my wife bought this Pomegranate Yogurt from Trader Joe's.

Trader Joe's Pomegranate Yogurt with Granola
My wife said it tastes very good with a faint Pomegranate flavor.

It was worth a try for a new flavor not available in Canada.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Shaw Cable HD Personalizer Package: Internet, Phone and HDTV

I know many people have HD PVR and HD cable packages already, but I just got mine.
My digital phone and HD PVR was set up last weekend and we really enjoyed the convenience of recording when we want.

The Shaw promotion of 90 dollars per month for all 3 services was too enticing that I cannot pass on it.
The installations took around 2 hours because the worker has a find a place with electricity, cable line and phone line.

We also ordered extra packages and the HD graphics are really different especially for channels like Discovery and sports channels.

University of Washington and Husky Stadium

We went to the Seattle Zoo and stayed overnight right by Washington State University.

The view we got from our room was awesome!!
We had view of downtown Seattle and Space Needle!!

In the morning, we went for a walk and while it was breezy, the cherry blossom and the old academic buildings formed a beautiful scenary.
sakura cherry blossom in University of Washington

We also went by Husky Stadium to take a picture.
The scale of American university sports is just way bigger and way more competitive than Canadian counterparts.

Washington State Skagit Valley Tulip Festival 2011

Last month, we went to the Skagit Valley in Washington State for their April Annual Tulip Festival.
To see their beautiful, large, multi-color field of tulips is a very eye pleasing experience.

(might have bring jackets and boots because spring in the region might still be cold or wet.)

If the weather is sunny and warm, the pictures would turn out like fantasy painting.
We always enjoy seeing different types and species of flowers and even my son loves tulips.

There are two big vendors in the Washington State, one is Roozengaarde and one is Tulip Town.
We went to Roozengaarde last year, so this year, we decided to go to Tulip Town.
(They actually take Canadian cash because I did not carry American cash on me.)

Unlike Roozengaarde, Tulip Town has a small indoor section, so if you are cold outside, you can always go have coffee and eat and go to the gift shop indoor.  Also, they have an indoor tulip section with tulip painting.
tulip and tulip boat
They even have a small river with tulip on small toy boat.
tulip and painting

I also like some of the names they gave to the flowers.  Some are named "Ninja" and "Seattle" and "Nightingale".
I also like their gift shop section.  There is a section for seeds and a section for plates.
There is also a section for Japanese "Koinobori" and all kinds of kites.
Actually, you can see kites flying in the field.  Other shops around the town also sells Japanese "Koinobori".
I guess there are lots of Japanese immigrants and visitors in the area.

Koinomori is a kind of Japanese kite decorated outside the house during May to celebrate "Kids Day" in Japan. (shaped like a carp)
Here is an American flag Koinobori.
Amercian flag Koinobori kite
We had a good time but I wished that it was warmer and sunnier.  Oh well, we will try again in the future.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Toys R Us: Lego Mother's Day Flower Event with Instructions

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers in the world!!

Yesterday, Toys R Us held a special Mother's Day event for kids and parents.
Lego Mother's Day Flower Toys R Us

For free, kids and parents can build mother's day roses (flowers) together with staff help.
It came with instructions and the blocks are free to take home.
The activity started early at 11am even though it was scheduled for 12 o'clock.
By the time it is 12:30, 50 pairs of parents and kids had already finished their projects.
Everyone enjoyed the flower building exercise.
Toys R Us Mother's day Lego Event build a flower

We really enjoyed this free activity, and I thought it was a good idea for the stores to promote their products.
Here are the finished cute flowers.  (and the Rocky Mountain Mother's Day flower chocolate I bought)
Lego Mother's Day Flower Toys R Us
Here are the instructions in case anyone wants to try it with their own blocks:
Lego rose flower instructions 1
First, you build the pot with brown blocks and then the stem with the green blocks.
Most of the blocks are basic blocks you can buy cheap.  I think the round stem green blocks can be replaced with normal square green blocks.
Lego rose flower instructions 2
Then, you can build the flower part and mound it on the base.
The flower part is easy but the first few steps might be confusing.
The first few layers of the flower base might require some part searching in Toys R Us.

The finished flower is very cute and makes great decorations!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Starbucks Canada: Mother's Day Half Price Frappuccino Promotion

Starbucks Canada will have a special promotion for their Frappuccino. 
They will be half price from May 7th to May 16th (3 to 5pm only).

I will be looking forward to picking up my cup!

Target: Boy's Mickey Mouse T-Shirt

Target has better fashion designs and collaborations compared to Walmart and other Canadian or US discount stores.  We often find cute boy's clothing there for reasonable prices.  They have Paul Frank, Mario, Mickey Mouse, etc.  We found this cute black Mickey Mouse shirt in Target in April:

Trader Joe's Himalayan Salt

I found one more interesting item in Trader Joe's spice section:  Himalayan Salt.

It is a bottle of pink crystal salt made in Pakistan.  (Apparently they produce lots of salt over there.)
The thing I like about these kinds of bottles is that it has built in grinders, so shoppers don't have to buy them separately.