A Look Back at Summer

These “A Look Back” posts are probably more for us than it is for your enjoyment but hopefully they will spark a reflection spirit in us to review what has happened last month and reset ourselves for the next month. We’ll try to share a little snippet of life in the previous months. I don’t have a good track record with this so I’m not promising anything. I’d love to hear a recap of how last month was for you – the good, the challenges, prayers needs. – Joyce

You can read from my point-of-view over at A Look Back at Summer [JoyceMoy.com].

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Here’s a recap of what’s been going on here on the blog for the summer season! There were so many more fun and wonderful moments and photos but our brains can’t keep all the things in order. We’re thankful for our family and both new and long-time friends for being a part of our village!


Hong Kong Trip – This was a semi-unplanned for trip. We usually have an idea after our last trip where we want to go but we didn’t have set plans for this one. You can read more about our Hong Kong trip in the daily recap posts below.

Summer Reading Programs – We already love reading but it’s an extra bonus to get some fun prizes too! If you haven’t had a chance to join, remember to check your local library in June to sign up. Mom (Joyce) has won a Fitbit in the past and this year 2 of our little friends won the kid prizes.

Father’s Day – The weekend after we arrived back home from our trip was Father’s Day weekend. We headed to Denica’s Real Food Kitchen with Norm’s family. It was not as crowded as we thought it would be although we did go for a late lunch, but because it happened to be the Saturday of the annual Classic Car Show on the Blvd. It was fun to once again check out the shiny classics. I can’t find the photo of dinner at my parents’ house on Sunday but there was something yummy for all the dads.

Jenny Lin Summer Music Program – We actually went to the fundraiser at the Lake Chabot Public Market last year for the Jenny Lin Foundation but didn’t really think much of it until I saw a Patch announcement for sign-up the day before it started. We went to check it out and loved the backstory of the music program…not the events that led up to it but how the community rallied to turn something tragic into something beautiful.

Simple Green Smoothies – And in case anyone was wondering, we are still drinking our green smoothies. They are super refreshing during the summer, especially after an after-dinner walk.

Summer Reading Programs Completed – We were only able to finish up the library programs this month because Barnes & Noble doesn’t do prize redemption until after July and Half Price Books prizes are redeemed at the end of each month but we were headed out that way.

Free Smoothie Day was random. We happened to be near one on the day they were promoting some new flavors so we stopped by. These are definitely not your simple green smoothies if you were hoping to be healthy drinking Jambas.

STEM Enrichment – Emily joined the STEM Future Foundation program at the last minute. Our church hosted but it was run by nonprofit that encourages kids to learn more about careers in the STEM fields. It all accumulated into a competition day at the end where the kids made presentations on their research of a STEM career. It was neat to watch them present to judges and show off their hard work. They also received a fun backpack with goodies for the new school year. (Pic from Competition Day in July is down below…keep reading!)

A’s vs Tampa Rays – While sports is not our natural bent, we really enjoy a day at the ballpark. There’s something unifying when we can all cheer our team on and singing with the crowd. We also love getting bobblehead giveaway items. They’re always a fun sight at our house. :p

Pho Play – We tried out a newish place in town. It was good. The pho dishes were delicious and I’d order one again but if you want more bang for your buck, go with the big rice bowls.

More Summer Reading!

I don’t have photos for these but Melody finished off another year of being a Kid Power volunteer with the library’s summer reading program. Emily joined in another new thing that replaced Community VBS called Life Summer Camp. She chose the Creative track and was able to make some fun creative creations. Norm is finishing out his 3-year term as the Finance elder at church so we are counting down his last committee meetings.

June Blog Posts

Hong Kong Trip 2019 Recap

Pre-Trip Tips

Post-Trip Tips


Alameda County Fair – We weren’t quite sure if we’d make it this year but we did and it was fun, hot as usual, but fun. Norm got some kind of Hawaiian Chicken in a pineapple from Ricardo’s Hawaiian Feast and I’m pretty sure he sold like half a dozen people on getting it because everyone stopped to look at it before deciding where to eat for lunch. It did look quite tasty. We also tried some Mac ‘n Cheese Tater Tots. They were okay but we liked the pulled pork one from last year. We visited the Model Train Exhibit and did the mini scavenger hunt there and we found some of our friends’ artwork in the art/crafts exhibit halls. People are so creative with their crafts! Of course, someone wants to bring home a pet from the small animals exhibits. I didn’t go on any rides ($$$) but I’m fairly certain the girls did. We watched a bit of the horse races. The garden exhibits were fun too.

Digital Storytelling Workshop – Who knew that we would be able to learn how to write a story/script, add music, and produce a video all in 2 Saturdays? Thank you to our wonderful teacher Au Castro of The Story Factory who was patient with guiding us and teaching us along the way until our showcase day! You can watch MY STORY HERE and MELODY’S STORY HERE.

Jury Duty – Long story short, Norm received a jury summons like we all do every single year…every person in my family…but he was selected for the case. Let’s just say the girls learned a lot about the legal system and how trials work and public transportation in our area is not super great. If you want to know more about the actual trial, ask Norm.

Jewelry-Making Fundraising Party

We love when people in community share from their abundance. This was from my sister’s friend’s parents.

We had seen a sign put up that said this mural project would take 30 days. We loved watching it being completed after just 9 days. It’s a fun little way to welcome people to town.

Our friends who were supposed to be in Ireland for 3 years were back for a short visit because they are off on their next adventure…it’s a work-related move but it sounds adventurous for us because we will get to visit them in Austin one day as well as other friends who have moved there in recent years. We got together with them and our old discipleship group for a meal and I so love that their older kiddo calls the girls his cousins. ❤ #whenfriendsarefamily

This was the Hawaiian theme day at the music program.

Picker-Uppers – The girls had been wanting to do something like this and when we saw that our neighbor friends went to pick up some trash in our neighborhood, we decided to join them. We did the best we could and filled up 3 big bags and there was still trash on the ground. It was okay for maybe a few days and then the trash was back again. 😦 I’m sad that people don’t care as much about our environment as these little ones do but I know they were proud of their hard work and contribution to cleaning and beautifying our earth.

Melody and I did some random things while Emily was a VBS for a week. We walked at the San Leandro Marina. We picked up some yummy Asian treats at the Chinese grocery store.

Worship Service – The girls got to play their ukuleles again during church service with Uncle Frank. I love that they are always interested in trying new things.

Challenge A – Melody will be reunited some classmates for this upcoming school year, not only in her actual class but she will be on campus with all her buddies. The workload will be a bit more than the past year but she’s up for the challenge of Latin? :p She’ll have to teach me a thing or two.

Jenny Lin Music Concert – Who knew it would be so hard to find a white shirt and black skirt? :p Cheryl Jennings was the MC for the evening. It was a wonderful and fun night of music from the orchestra, band, and choir to end this music program. Melody got to sing some pop songs through the decades which is not something she has ever done and different from the other choirs she has been a part of. The concert was at the community college so it was fun to perform a school her auntie attended. Most of my family came out to watch and I was very much reminded how rare and maybe weird it is to have a tight-knit fam bam that we can count on for support.

Oakland Zoo – We only had a membership to the zoo when we first moved here but friends were able to get us in a number of times for outings and birthday parties. It sure has changed a whole lot since we were here last though. There is a whole new area to visit which requires a gondola ride up to see. There is an outlook and a playground area. They even do a great job at educating people about animals on social media. Check out the Oakland Zoo’s Instagram account when you get the chance!

Other happenings is that Norm took the car in for servicing. We only have one vehicle so we have to make sure it is well-maintained to take us places. So far, so good for the last 12+ years. The girls and Norm were in the Palo Alto Foothills Park for the annual picnic with his side of the family. It was good to catch up with family we don’t often see who are off and traveling and moving to different parts of the world.

July Blog Posts

Day 0: Asia Adventures [Hong Kong 2019]

Day 1: Asia Adventures [Hong Kong 2019]

Day 2: Asia Adventures [Hong Kong 2019]

Day 3: Asia Adventures [Hong Kong 2019]

Day 4: Asia Adventures [Hong Kong 2019]

Day 5: Asia Adventures [Hong Kong 2019]

Day 6: Asia Adventures [Hong Kong 2019]

Day 7: Asia Adventures [Hong Kong 2019]

Books for Young Readers [July 2019]

Teen to Teen Academic Planner


We just seem to find our way to the library more often than not. :p

STEM Competition Day – It was great to see the kids’ project come together in this final competition day. Things didn’t go accordingly but they were all so proud of their hard work and I think they learned a lot. They even had a red carpet and interviews.

Digital Storytelling Showcase – There were 3 two-day workshops offered through the summer and it all came together in the showcase day. From my IG account: “Our stories are up on Facebook if you’d like a look at what Melody and I worked on last month during the Digital Storytelling Workshop. As you may already know, she shared about her epilepsy and I shared about my journey in this online space. Look for TheStoryFactory’s FB page (it’s one word or I can DM you the link) and you see a few stories up from this summer’s workshops. If I can figure it out, I’ll share on IG. There are more stories to come soon but it ranges from growing through social Christianity, an unexpected childhood migration to the states after a father’s death, Jim Crow laws experiences, the drumline and its lifelong impact, a tribute to a father, a grandparent’s journey through the Japanese internment camps, homelessness in the Bay Area, and open doors that led a friend from working with animals in a zoo to starting a non-profit to help kids in the foster system.

More Summer Reading Programs Completed!

Lake Chabot Public Market – We got together with my brother for lunch on a random Saturday.

Back-To-School Tradition – Ice Creamery!

Summer After-Dinner Walks are fun! We recommend them.

We also recommend Cousin Time.

Kim Impossible – Great movie about acceptance, friendship, confidence, identity…there are some “scary” scenes with fighting.

Church Happenings!

Back to School! – We’re jumping right into the school year by making a telescope like the one Galileo first made and a robot of sorts…and some slime that turned into a bouncy ball.

Park Time! – Enjoying some park/playground time before crisper and wetter weather arrives…although that may not be for awhile.

Simple Green Smoothies – Yup, we’re still drinking them. Green smoothies aren’t always green but they’re always good for you. This one has some cacao in it so it’s like a chocolate shake! Yum!

August Blog Posts


He Numbered the Pores on My Face

Overcomer Movie

Books for Young Readers [August 2019]

The Great Lemonade Stand Standoff

Book ListMelody + Mom/Joyce finalized their book list for the year. They will be reading through and working on this stack.


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*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here.

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