Mochi Ice Cream and Other Sweets!

Adventures, Cooking
Mochi Ice Cream

The Asian home-cooking adventure continues with some tasty Japanese sweets, like this Mint Chocolate Chip Mochi Ice Cream. Have you ever attempted to make Mochi? It’s easier than you might think.

Mochi Ice Cream
Mint-Chocolate Chip Mochi Ice Cream

As I mentioned in my previous post, I find my Japanese recipes at Just One Cookbook. Nami’s recipes are easy to follow and so delicious! Mochi ice cream is not the easiest of her recipes, but it wasn’t as difficult as I expected. The hardest part is wrapping the ice cream with the mochi and figuring out the motion to seal the mochi around it. Nami provides helpful videos on her YouTube which you can find here.

To say the family enjoyed this mochi is a bit of an understatement! It was gone by the end of the day and the kids were begging me to make more. (Hubby may have been as well!) I haven’t made it again since, but I do look forward to trying different flavors in the near future. You can easily customize this recipe by swapping out the ice cream for your favorite flavor!

Mochi Ice Cream
The inside of the mochi.
Sesame Cupcake

Another tasty treat from this website is the Sesame Cupcake. It is not what you would expect from a cupcake. The flavor is more savory than sweet. The frosting is a honey-meringue which is a different kind of sweet from a typical buttercream. I would almost call this more of a frosted muffin than a cupcake.

Sesame Cupcake with Honey-Meringue

The kids didn’t enjoy this one as much as the other, but I thought it was good. This isn’t one that will make the favorites list, but I would make it again! An interesting adventure would be to try the cupcake base with various types of frosting.

Keep an eye out every Monday for more adventures in Asian home-cooking!

Cherry Blossom Cookies – with real blossoms!

Adventures, Cooking

My journey into Asian cooking began when I found Just One Cookbook. A recipe website created by Namiko Hirasawa Chen, to share easy (and tasty) Japanese recipes. When I found her recipe for Cherry Blossom cookies, I just had to try it!

I ordered some salted cherry blossoms from Japan since I could not find any locally and to order from Amazon was more expensive than ordering directly from Japan. Obviously it took a bit of time for them to arrive, though not as long as I expected. I think it was just over a week… two weeks at the most.

Cherry Blossom Cookies
Cherry Blossom Cookies! So pretty!

Have you ever tried cherry blossoms? They don’t have a lot of flavor but they smell amazing, and they are so pretty!

These cookies are so beautiful! It’s basically a sugar/shortbread type cookie with a few blossoms ground up in the dough and one blossom on the top. You roll the edges of the dough in sugar crystals… I only had red ones, but it turned out okay.

Cherry Blossom
They are just so pretty!

I highly recommend this recipe, if you don’t mind spending the money and waiting for the blossoms to arrive. It makes a fair amount of cookies… though they didn’t last long in our house!

Follow me to see more of my journey in Asian Home-Cooking!

Asian Home-Cooking – A New Adventure!

Adventures, Cooking

I realize it has been… awhile… since I last posted. To be honest I had debated whether or not to continue with the blog. But, here I am! Here to tell you about my newest cooking adventures – Asian Home-Cooking!

How it all started:
Asian home-cooking isn't complete without Ramen.
Starting the journey into Asian cooking!

Back around July 2019, I became increasingly interested in Asian cuisine. It started when I found Just One Cookbook, who offers amazing Japanese recipes (you should definitely check her out!). We have tried so many of her recipes and honestly have yet to find one that we did not enjoy. In the near future you can expect to see many posts of the recipes we have tried, and my family’s thoughts and opinions on them.

From July to about October of 2019 our lives revolved around Japanese cuisine, animes and mangas. Then one day, Mrs. JOC (Just One Cookbook) shared a link to a friend of hers. This friend also posts recipes.

The Jump to Korean
Kimchi - a staple in Korean home-cooking
My first batch of Kimchi

Enter Korean Bapsang, another amazing recipe website, but this time offering Korean home-cooking dishes. I believe I have tried almost every recipe on her website. However, being a big goofball, I didn’t photograph all of the dishes I made. But don’t panic… I did get pictures of a lot of them so you can look forward to those posts in the future as well.

It was also around this time that I started listening to… BTS, (huge K-Pop boy band for those who don’t know), and became slightly obsessed with all things Korean. It also happens that at one of the universities I am attending for my Master’s degree, there are a few Korean students. I have had the opportunity to discuss Korean food with them, and one of them has become a super awesome friend! She has told me now that I have made kimchi, which she thinks is better than her own, I am officially Korean! 🙂

Learning New Languages

So, with this new obsession with Asian culture and cuisine… I have decided that on top of my ridiculously busy schedule, I am going to learn Japanese and Korean. For learning these languages I have been using Duolingo and am on a 54-day streak in Korean! My progress hasn’t been great, other than being able to read the Hangul alphabet and recognizing a few words here and there… but I’m having fun!

Keep an eye out over the next few weeks as I post more about the Asian home-cooking recipes we’ve tried and our thoughts on them. Also, I have been getting some Tokyo Treat boxes, so I may also do a review post about those!

You can also check out some of my previous cooking adventures here.

A Masters course, 1st official class IN University

Adventures, Children's Ministry

This week marked a monumental occasion in my life. I attended my first in-person Masters level class at a University.

Why am I getting a masters?

I have taken two Masters level courses from another school, and will be taking a few more from them, but the school is across the country. Four-hour time difference. As much as I enjoy that… particular the ‘avoiding-dealing-with-people-face-to-face part’… I thought for some courses it may be best to actually be able to attend the class.

Enter school number two! Currently I am enrolled as a No-Program student, so I’m not currently working toward a degree, which allows me to finish the courses I was hoping to obtain from the first school. So, on Tuesday, I attended my first class. Intro to Christian History.

It went well… though I left feeling like the dumbest person in the class. My base knowledge on the subject is nowhere near the other students’. This is stressing me out a bit. Especially since the homework went right over my head. I’m the kind of person who puts so much pressure on myself to keep my grades as high as possible. In high school anything less than 85% was a fail and the end of the world. I think I will have to let that go for this course, and just be happy if I manage to pass!

This mess...masters life

We will have to see what happens, but at this point, I do not have high expectations. It doesn’t bode well for continuing in a Master of Divinity but I will give it my best shot! For those who know me, don’t be shocked if you see me walking around with zombie-eyes and randomly crying for no reason! 😉

hyperventilate Masters
This will be me until April! :S

PLEASE PRAY FOR ME!!!!!!! Pray that I survive this semester and that I do not lose my temper with the kids because I am stressed about my schoolwork.

How do you handle academic stress and feelings of inadequacy?

Resolutions

Goals or Resolutions? Which do you prefer?

Adventures
Resolutions

Are you one of those people who starts a new year off with a long list of resolutions? Or do you set one or two achievable resolutions? Perhaps you don’t bother with resolutions at all. Maybe you just have goals that remain the same throughout the years.

Don’t follow Resolutions Meme - Goals

What do I do?

I am typically one of the first type – the one who creates a long list of resolutions. Usually the same as the ones I set the year before… and failed miserably at.

Resolutions are not to be kept, Goals are

This year I’ve decided to put more thought into my New Year’s resolutions. The hope being that I may actually accomplish something. No more resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, etc, etc. Those are still great goals for the year and ones that I will continue to work hard at. But instead of feeling like a failure because I resolved to change and then didn’t, I will set resolutions that are more achievable. My hope is that this will provide a greater sense of accomplishment.

Explain resolutions/goals

My Goals and Resolutions

So, what are my resolutions for 2019? I have two really: 1. Work hard to serve God with all of my heart in the calling he has placed on me, to the best of my ability. 2. No more dying my hair. I resolve to work at accepting the grey/silver streaks and not base my beauty or self-worth on how many others can see.

I will still plan to eat healthier and exercise more; as is my goal at all times. I will also try to spend less time sitting and doing unproductive things like playing Angry Birds 2 for hours on my tablet. But I will not list these as resolutions to be crossed off a list. I suppose the two resolutions I have listed are not really ‘cross of the list’ items either. They are where I want my focus to be this year.

What resolutions or goals have you set for yourself for 2019? Share some in the comments!

Children’s Ministry and Christmas

Children's Ministry, Crafting

Have you ever wondered what a children’s ministry leaders life looks like around Christmas? 

No?

I’m not surprised. However, I’m going to give you a glimpse into what my life looks like… (I apologize now for the quality of the photos, and for the fact that WordPress isn’t letting me rotate them to the correct orientation. I will work on fixing that.)

Mountain of Costumes
The mountain of costumes awaiting finishing touches.

It looks like an insanely high mountain of animal costumes. Yep. You read that right… animal costumes.

For the last few weeks, we have been rehearsing for our Sunday School Christmas pageant. This year we are using The Noel Critter Motel musical. It is super cute and I can’t wait for the parents and our congregation to see the kids perform it.

box of goodies
Antennae, ears and finished costumes.

What this has meant for me – a lot of sewing. There are 15 kids taking part in the Christmas pageant and each one has to be dressed as an animal who would appear in the stable where Jesus was born. We had four animal costumes on hand that I had made for last year’s pageant but that still left me with 11 to make.

sewing
Sewing away

Of course, I unknowingly picked a somewhat more complicated pattern than I needed to, and it involved some adaptation to add ears and the like. It’s a great pattern though, and free right now at Goober Pea Designs. At this time I believe I have spent more than 10 hours cutting, sewing, and gluing.

Between costumes and a rather involved homework assignment for my Masters course, this week has just about done me in. 

Needless to say, a Children’s Ministry leader does not have a boring life when it comes to the Christmas season! I am very much looking forward to having a bit of a break once our Christmas pageant is over.

A new adventure, a new focus

Adventures, Children's Ministry

Once again, I will be making some changes to this poor old blog of mine.

My focus in life has shifted and therefore the focus of this blog will be shifting as well. I will still leave room here for our adventures in homeschooling and crafting, but now the main focus of my writing will be on my ministry journey. I will be writing about my work in the church (Children’s Ministry in particular), my journey toward a Master’s degree, and the journey to ordination. Yes, that’s right. I have decided to become an ordained pastor… well… that’s the plan right now at least.

Follow along with me as I work through school, ministering, and maintaining my sanity in the process!

Children’s Ministry Decorating Challenge.

Crafting

A CALL INTO CHILDREN’S MINISTRY

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on here yet, but in September I will be starting my Masters in Children’s Ministry. I’ve been running the Children’s programs at our church for about a year and truly feel that I have found my calling. Recently we decided to renovate/redecorate some rooms in the basement to accommodate our growing Sunday School. We made it into a challenge and had three teams participate.

I led one team and we chose the preschool room. Here is the before:

Before

We had many different ideas for our room and changed our direction many times. Finally, we settled on a sea themed room, complete with a boat. Each team had six weeks and a budget of $500 to complete their room. Our team had many unfortunate circumstances and scheduling conflicts, so we were pretty crunched for time. There’s a still a bit of work to be done even though the time is up. We spent very little of our budget which will enable us to do a few touch-ups over the summer before the rooms are put to use in the fall.

HERE COMES THE AFTER PHOTOS:

Here are the pictures for the after:

After I will make you fishers of menFaith keepersRainbow Children's ministry

My team was amazing! They did a hefty chunk of painting the main colors (and all of the cutting in! My least favorite part.) Once we had that done, I sketched out the fish and other murals. It was here that the scheduling conflicts hit. One team member started a new job that prevented her from being available when most of us were. I was down to one team member. She helped fill in some of the mural pictures until her own schedule conflict came up. I was so very thankful for all of the help they gave though and feel we managed to create a really fun and inviting room for the kids.

THE RESULTS:

By now you’re probably curious as to whether or not we won the challenge. I am happy to say we did… but barely!

The Sunday School kids got to be the judges. We had 14 kids and they each picked their favorite room. Four went to the first room, five in the second and five in ours! We had the four from the first room be the tie-breaking votes and we squeaked out a win by one!

Of course, it really wasn’t about winning. We now have three beautiful, inviting, and fun rooms for when our Sunday School starts back up in the fall.

And just wait till you see what I have planned for the hallway! 😉

Toothless the Dragon

Toothless the dragon.

Crafting

Have you seen the movie, How To Train Your Dragon? In the movie, there is a black dragon, a Night Fury, named Toothless. I found a pattern online to make a Toothless stuffy and I set about to do so for an artisan showcase.

This was not an easy sew. The difficulties began with the fabric, minky, a super-slippery fabric. However, it makes the softest and cuddliest stuffies. It took me over an hour just to cut out all the pieces. Toothless has many tiny scales and spikes. Putting him together took quite awhile as well due to lots of fussy sewing. So many tiny pieces, and not only tiny but curved as well! I’m not much for the fiddly sewing like that, but I gave it my best go.

All that said, I could not be more pleased with how he turned out!

Toothless the Dragon

It’s hard to get a good picture of him, since he’s all black, and his nostrils are black glitter felt. Most of the little scales and spikes are on his back. You can get the idea from this picture though. I doubt I will ever make another one because of how fussy it is. Also, I’m super happy I didn’t sell him at the showcase because he’s just so darn cute! I want to keep him for myself… I won’t even share with the kids!

I also made a dinosaur, some elephants, and some owls. I haven’t snapped any photos of those just yet. They’re cute, but not as nice as Toothless here.

If you’re interested in the pattern you can find it here.

Baking up a storm!

Cooking

Life has been a bit hectic lately, but that hasn’t stopped me from baking up quite the storm. It doesn’t help that I’ve fallen in love with the Great British Bake-off. Whenever I see someone making delicious food on tv, it always gets me excited to be in the kitchen. Hubby enjoys this, at least at first. After multiple sweet treats in a row… he may wish I’d stop watching such shows!

Baking Pies:

First I went through a pie making craze.

apple tart

Old fashioned apple tart.

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Apple Pie

British Apple Pie (Less sugar, no spices)

I used a British style pastry, which was so much easier to work with! It allowed me to practice some of my pie decorating without having to worry about it crumbling on me.

At our church, we do a monthly seniors luncheon. Well, this past month the lady who usually runs it was away and the lady who usually makes the desserts was terribly sick. I volunteered to make the pies since I was in this pie-making craze. I made 8 pies, 4 different kinds. Coconut cream, Apple, Custard, and Pecan. I’m told they turned out well.

Tasty Pies

A few of the pies.

BAKING OTHER THAN PIES:

I also made some blueberry muffins, pesto biscuits, and chocolate eclairs during this time. These were purely selfish bakes! 😊 I’ve tried a few different scone recipes as well, but don’t have pictures. Our favorite is a Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Scone. The Eclairs went over quite well with hubby. We may have eaten all twelve within 4 or 5 hours.

Baking

Blueberry muffins

Baking

Pesto Scones

baking

Eclairs!

The baking has settled down a bit… mostly due to an increase in my weight! But I still have a few more treats I want to try out. I just need to find some people willing to eat a few so that hubby and I don’t eat them all.

Volunteers?