Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes

In my quest to make 1000 treats for SEC, I made 45 pumpkin cupcakes.  (I'm up to 95 treats!!)

This cupcake is one of my very most favorite!! It's perfect for Thanksgiving/fall time.  I don't really eat many of the cupcakes I make but I can't stay away from this one.

Click here for the recipe for the cupcakes.  I 1.5ed the recipe to make 45...I would have doubled it but didn't have enough pumpkin puree.

Click here for the recipe for the cream cheese frosting I use.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Rainbow Cupcake Day!

A long time ago...a very...very long time ago...


I volunteered to do a "teacher raffle".  Basically you volunteer your time/self to the school at the PTO Fall Festival (Fun Fest?? what is that thing called...), kids buy tickets, put their names in your bag, and win whatever you donated.  Sometimes it's as simple as ice cream at lunch, but I really have a fun time doing it.  In the past I've donated a "photo shoot for you and three friends", "manicures at a nail salon for you and a friend" and "BAKE RAINBOW CUPCAKES AT MY HOUSE".

A good number of seventh and eighth graders told me they had bought tickets for my prize, and it was a shock to all of us when some fourth graders I didn't even know won.

I was actually pretty excited to work with the wee ones.

So early this fall, I took the four girls to my house and we got messy!

The whole ordeal ended up taking about three and a half hours.

I think they really had a good time.  Even though one said "Do these have food coloring?  I'm not supposed to eat coloring...I'm on a diet!" and another said "My mom will just throw these away she doesn't allow sweets!" eerr...ok...

Look after the pictures for instructions and recipes!

I have made rainbow cupcakes before.  About a year ago I made them and they turned out BEAUTIFULLY. (<---really, click here to see!).  This year I used a different (read:cheaper) recipe. Since the batter was more liquidy (not a word) it didn't hold the colors well.  They just all bled together. Mehhhhhh.  I don't suppose the girls cared that much.  If looking to impress, use the first recipe listed below.

Click here to get the recipe that works well.  These are just delicious.  They use a box of white mix, so I guess it's not for the purists, but honestly, they are the best cupcakes I've ever had.  They are just so perfect, no regrets will be had if you make them.

Click here to get the recipe that I used.  I make this frequently.  It's easy and the cupcakes are great.  Plus they're 100% homemade.

Click here to get the frosting recipe.  I've tried a number of frostings but just keep going back to Glory's Cream Cheese Frosting.  I've gotten so many compliments and just nothing else even comes close to how good this tastes.

Click here to read about the process.   This was one of the first things I pinned on Pinterest.  These were the first cupcakes I ever made and was hooked afterwards!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Halloween Cupcakes

Last year I randomly developed a cupcake baking hobby.  (I don't even know where these things come from...).  I had dreams of running a cupcake business from my apartment and even took some photos with hopes of using it as a "buy it" guide.

It got a little out of control and I tried adding the numbers in my head and I would have been willing to bet I made almost 1000 cupcakes altogether.

This year I've not made that many so far, but really DO want to do more.  One way I've decided to do that is bake and donate cupcakes for the SEC club at my school.  SEC stands for Social Entrepreneurship (hardest word to spell, ever) Club.  A few years ago some of my seventh graders decided they wanted to make their mark on the world and have done some incredible things so far.  Right now they are raising 4,000 USD to build a well in Africa.

My thought is I can make them cupcakes and they will sell them at school.  The kids will buy them for 3,000 Won (about 2.80 USD or so) and I ask them to sell them for as much as possible!

At first I thought I could make them every week, but I didn't know that the principal didn't want the clubs selling sweets that frequently, OOPS!  ~  so now I can only make cupcakes once a month.  waaaa.  He asked if I could make muffins once a month as well--waaa--not as beautiful or tasty, but it's ok at least they can still make a bit of money off them :)

Anyhow, my goal is to donate 1000 treats to the SEC.  So far I'm at 50. Quite a bit to go.

I made these Halloween cupcakes about a month ago and they were a huge hit apparently, they sold out in about five minute said the kids.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE FUN CUPCAKE HOLDERS, SPRINKLES AND PUMPKIN SUGAR THINGIES MOM!!  They really made these cupcakes special.  I especially loved the pumpkin  sugar thingies (what in the world are they called?).  They brought me back to my childhood.

28 Pictures~Vietnam

My man and I had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam over Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) break.  What a blessing that was!  I had traveled to Thailand and the Philippines with my girlfriends in the past, and had a blast, but being able to travel with my husband was a true treat.  We found a good deal on a luxury hotel and had a beautiful time.

Probably the biggest thing we noticed was the people were so nice.  Almost a little...too nice.  There are only so many times you can be interrupted at breakfast/lunch/dinner before you decide you'll have to order room service next time.

Jokes aside, we had a wonderful time and I so much enjoyed getting to see and know another part of the world.

Most of these photos were taken with the iPad.

1. Absolutely one of the first things we noticed were how many people rode on mopeds!  There were more mopeds and bicycles on the streets than there were cars or people.  They zipped by us in our private van and we stared--mesmerized--for the first hour of our trip. 

2. Bicycles too--everywhere!  Seems like a good idea! 

3. Scootin' in Style

4. Out the window on our way to the hotel. 

5. Hey, they really do wear those triangley hats here!

6. My handsome man on his bicycle at Saigon Petro. 

7.  So happy to be taking a bike ride in the country side. 

8.  Us on the beach.

9.  By a lotus pond/cow field I am clearly so excited!!

10. Fishermen's nets. 

11. Afternoon boats. 

12. Fisherman

13. Dead Fishy

14. Oh my gosh Pho--please feed me!!! Thank goodness we can get this two blocks from our house. (Best enjoyed in Vietnam though, I must admit.)

15. All you can eat breakfast you better believe my man capitalized on those steaks.  Every morning.  MMMM...as MANY as he wanted!! 

16. Drinks by the pool = a happy girl :)

17. Fresh bread bowl for breakfast = also a happy girl :)

18. Flowers greeted us around every turn. 


20. Hall leading to dining area/beach

21.  Our home for a few days <3

22. Infinity pool + ocean

23. There was hardly anyone else there!!  It was so relaxing and private, just what I need/love.  

24.  Lovely gardens to walk through. 

25.  On the way back to Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) our driver stopped at a few places for us to take pictures.  It was fun to get out and feel the heartbeat of the city.  Someday I'd like to go back and explore more.  This is a replica of Notre Dame (I THINK...he's was a bit difficult to understand). 

26. ? Who knows. 

27. Buzzy night streets. 

28.  Old president's/king's place?  Before the '60s?  Sheesh I should know more history.  The driver explained it.  Didn't understand a word he said. 

2012 Middle School Retreat

A few months ago we had the opportunity to go to a new location for our Middle School Retreat.  The retreat has always been a great weekend to get to know the kids in a new setting.  Even though it's tiring, I always look back on the weekend and the beautiful fall weather with fondness.  Here are just a few pics of the kids from my group.  I didn't get that many pictures this year!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cross Country in Guam

I ran cross-country, indoor, and outdoor track all throughout high school and college. Needless to say, it was a huge part of my growing up. I didn't participate in any clubs or other sports outside of this little {weird} world of runners and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

I never even really liked running {maybe a little}, just being a part of a team. There is something about cross country runners. We {generally} don't have to try out for the team, so you end up with a pretty rag-tag bunch. You also end up with a great group of dedicated crazy people who torture themselves daily.  Cross-country runners, in my biased opinion, are some of the greatest kids. They have that tenacious quality that doesn't just show on the field but in the classroom and bleeds out into every area of their lives.

Back in college my friends and I would talk about our future cross country teams {many of us were planning on becoming teachers and/or coaches} we imagined running against each other and leading our kids to victory. Never in a million years did I imagine where I am today! This is my fifth year of coaching cross country at my school and I gotta say, I still don't like running but I just love being apart of this team. The kids are lovely in so many ways. I've watched kids grow from Freshmen to Seniors and been there with them through all the kilometers.

A fun opportunity I have is to go to Guam with the kids {American-ish island in the middle of the Pacific}. This year was the best yet! I get/have to come up with three days of sub plans, but it's all worth it as we get to spend five days on the island at an Asia-Pacific International meet. Our kids came in "above average" {11th out of 24 or so for the girls...I forgot!} and that's good enough for us! There are two races, the main event on Friday morning and a co-ed relay race on Saturday morning.

This year my man was able to come along, thus making it the best year yet! He kindly accompanied me to every store I wanted to go to to stock up on American extremely difficult to find goods such as unflavored Gelatin, a candy thermometer, buffalo sauce, biscoff spread...the list goes on and on...and on...

Here are some pics from the event. What a wonderful five days!!

1) prepping for the race

2) So many girls! The race started at 6:20 am, great for lighting!

3) When I was in high school, we ran through the woods but apparently on an island that becomes running through the jungle. 

4) Start of the boys' race. 

5) Watching them work hard almost makes me want to run again.  I mean really run.  

6) Finishing up the race.  My boy got squeezed out by the two on the ends, but as you can see, he put in a great effort!!

7. Co-ed relay race on the beach, the day after the official race. 

8. Racing through the water. 

9. Our team cheer/chant includes a line "WHO'S YOUR DADDY???" <--- Screams the captain "OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN!!!!!" Screams the kids. hahahaha...it gets lots of stares

10. Oh my gosh just the sweetest girls ever in the entire world (and a weird boy of course) 

11. They were so proud of their pyramid...

12. I die.  So cute.  So sweet!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Most Wonderful Day

I don't even know how to write this post about our wedding because I think I'm still processing it all, so here's just a quick preview.  Our wedding was truly the most wonderful day.  I still can't believe how everything came together so quickly (6 months--mostly planned the last few weeks...) and so beautifully.  

It would be nice to say that the wedding was the wedding of my dreams but I'm still in somewhat disbelief how it ended up being the wedding I never could have dreamed of.  Someday [soon?] I plan on sharing more details, but just a few pics for now! 

The most wonderful thing about the most wonderful day was my man and I pledged our commitment to each other.  Our ultimate prayer is that the Lord blesses our union and allows us--together--to draw others to Himself.  We pray that our love represents Christ's love for the church.  
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."  This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church.                                                                                     Ephesians 5:22-23

1. The first time I looked in the mirror and saw myself all done up I said, "I don't feel like a teacher in this!" 

2.  Yessss my man looks like a CK model/Brad Pitt, yesssss I like walking around with him in public. 

3. Such a beautiful, wonderful, God-honoring, memorable ceremony. 

4. With him I just laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh!

5.  We walked out to O, Praise Him! -- we are so happy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beautiful Things

I've started a few blogs here and there and actually kept one alive for four years!  But I fell in love and fell off the radar and now that we're married I feel like coming back on.

Many things have changed and some things remain the same and there is so much to share--but so little time to share it?  Or maybe I just need to make the time.

I debated for so long what to name this new endeavor and what to include but I think it came to me today so here it is:

I just complain so much!  being tiredinconvenient things here and there + never ending "to do" list = bad version of myself

But when I really stop and think about it I feel foolish because the Lord has blessed me so much more than I ever could have imagined.

And my life is so full of so many beautiful things.

And even the ugly things God is gracious enough to turn the darkness in to light.

Those things shine the brightest.

The title of the blog comes from this verse from Ecclesiastes (3:11)
"He has made everything beautiful in its time."
Every year since I've moved to Korea I've have a theme verse and this year this is it.  This year for me is about remembering the perfection of God's timing and how he has given us so much and made our lives full of beauty, love, and grace.

   For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. 
 What gain has the worker for his toil?  I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.  He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from beginning to end.  I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil--this is God's gift to man.  I perceived that whatever God does endures forever, nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it.  God has done it, so that people fear before him.  That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.                                 Ecclesiastes 3:1-15