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Lots to talk about. Lots to share. I’ll start with the cookies.

It has been an annual tradition (5 years running at this point) for me to bake Christmas goodies and pass them out to friends. It’s the alternative to buying gifts for everyone and I think most people probably appreciate a bag of edible goodies more than a random trinket.

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This is what went into the goodie bags (minus the cranberry bliss bars). I made peanut butter chocolate mud buddies, peppermint mud buddies, pumpkin spiced almonds, spicy chocolate biscotti, maple walnut fudge, pretzel melts, coconut cookies, gingerbread cookies (failed attempt at gingerbread whoopie pies) and snowflake sugar cookies. I also made banana, apple and carrot dog biscuits for those friends with pups.

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I ended up making a whole tray of gingerbread whoopie pies and giving them to my stepson (“The Teenager”) to take to youth group that night. I was actually so mad at the recipe (found on pinterest) that I was going to trash the whole tray. I did taste it and the flavor was pretty good. My issue was the filling just didn’t hold up. It was waaaayyyy too loose. So, instead of wasting my failure, I opted to pawn it off on The Teenager.

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Here’s the kicker, guys… He came back with an empty tray. Apparently my failure didn’t do too bad at youth group.

*ahem* Yay God!

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The cranberry bliss bars are delightful, though they need to be refrigerated because the cream cheese frosting.

Instead of my regular go-to for holiday cookie recipes (ie: betty crocker Holiday Cookie .. Christmas 2014 Edition) I decided to take my search to Pinterest. About 4 years ago, a friend of mine shared her obsession with Pinterest with me and I went online and perused the aisles of photos and the glory that is Pinterest.

And I didn’t get it. I just didn’t understand how anyone could spend hours on this site .. pinning things. Pinning pictures. Pinning recipes. Pinning outdoor table setting designs. Pinning the most adorable puppy pictures you will ever see in your entire life.

Needless to say, I get it now.

I also made kimchi this past weekend. I found the recipe on Pinterest.

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I have no idea how this is going to turn out but it sure looked right.

Yeah. I totally get it now.

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Remember when I last posted to the blog .. I talked about possibly doing IVF? Well, this past May I went up to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to try it out. It didn’t stick. I take it back. It did stick but then it unstuck. huh?

It is a lengthy and expensive process but for some people it is their only alternative. We may try again next year and hopefully before I turn 39. OH boy. Thirty Nine. Yikes.

As I near the big 4-0 I consider more and more the possibility of never having a child of my own. Most days I don’t even think about having one because my life is pretty good as it is and I always have Dante as my stand-in child. Unfortunately, I know Dante won’t be here forever and he will pass long before me.

We have the Teenager living with us right now and he’s a good kid. He’s made huge strides in school and life and we are very proud of him.

TG already has two boys of his own. Don’t get me wrong. He has been very supportive. He is a part of the whole process. For that, I am grateful. Having said that, I believe he is perfectly happy with his life and isn’t necessarily looking to add to the family.  Thankfully he understands how important it is for me to try. Again. One Last time.

I think.

Thanks for reading!

Hi there. How are ya? It’s only been 7 months since I’ve bothered to talk to you. I guess that’s my new thing. It’s called the 7 month need-to-blog itch.

Arm full of Kittens.

For the heck of it …Arm full of Kittens. Arm provided by my friend’s husband.

Here’s the update: I’ve been married for over 3 years now.  This thing called marriage definitely has its ups and downs. We’ve been working on ourselves and we still have more work to do but I will say that we’re in a better place now than we were 2 years ago.

TG and Dante

Maybe it’s easier when you’re younger. Or maybe it’s easier if you have two (or even 1) non type A personality in the relationship. We are both Type A but I’m more Type A-er. LoL.

photo (3)

I’ve always wanted kids. Since I was a little girl .. blah blah .. you know the story. But it’s totally true!

Well, we’ve been trying for a couple of years now with no success. We’ve tried the regular way (duh) and we’ve done several rounds of IUI. We even (meaning I .. meaning My Mom) bought Chinese medicine from a Korean doctor. A 4 month supply is a lot pricier than you’d think.

What it all comes down to is we are now thinking of going the IVF route. I’ve read up on the stats and they say after 37 the probability of having a successful pregnancy really drops after this year. I guess my age has made my decision for me.

Bottom line is we’ve already invested hundreds of dollars in the other methods and they haven’t panned out. So what’s a few (x3) thousand more than that? I think I should be thankful that I am married to a man in the military and this won’t cost us as much as it would if we were civilians. I sure wish it was as easy as getting knocked up “accidentally.”

Besties

Besties. Dante doesn’t like too many animals but I’d say Relay definitely holds a place in his heart. Or the fact that Relay just walks away when Dante gets ornery.

I don’t think it’s a matter of “Should we even bother or not” but if it doesn’t work out .. if, let’s say, having children isn’t in God’s plan for me .. then I am more than happy that Dante came into my life almost 5 years ago and that TG is in our lives now.

Cutest Dog EVER

Cutest Dog EVER

I left Hawaii on a Wednesday morning at the most ungodly hour of 7 AM.

What this means is that I actually woke up at 3 AM to walk Dante for 2.5 miles and then medicate him in hopes that he wouldn’t get me kicked out of my first class seat. We were out the door by 5 AM and headed to Honolulu International Airport. Just me, Dante and Mom and Dad.

The best parents in the world. In case you were wondering.

Oh yeah. I forgot about that smog.

The 5 days I spent in Los Angeles were filled with resting (I finally came down with that cold that had threatened to attack me the whole month prior to my leaving) and walking into the beautiful little city of Sierra Madre to have breakfast, lunch and/or dinner with friends.

Have you ever tried to gather 5 friends together to have dinner? Sure. No problem, right?

Ok. Well, have you ever gathered 5 friends with 5 dogs owned/babysat by said friends for dinner?

If you’ve never done this and you live in a city that you can, I would highly recommend it.

First, getting to meet up with some of your closest friends for an evening of laughs, food and wine (or iced tea for Carol) is already pretty awesome.

Throw in all the dogs and all of a sudden your evening becomes hilarious.

The restaurant we went to is in Sierra Madre and is called Sierra Bistro. Their outdoor area accommodates your furry kids and they even have a doggy menu, complete with chicken breast, hamburger and even hot dogs.

We had a Dante (Bichon Poodle), Darby (Shih tzu), Cecil (Pictured above … Terrier mix .. he’s 14 but has the energy of a 3 year old guys), Clair (I believe a Mix, but she was so sweet and Dante nearly killed her because he’s kind of a jerk when it comes to other dogs in his space.. ugh) and finally Cleo (the Teacup Chihuahua).

We tried to get them to take a group photo. We tried to get them all to sit in a perfect little line. They had other plans.

Pets are fun.

Oh My Gosh guys. I met Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman! She just came out with her newest cookbook and I went to Vromans in Pasadena for her book signing. I stood in line (well .. we … my friend Christine came with me) for 4 hours. Totally worth it. She was so nice and I gave her some Hawaiian Salt and then totally freaked when she asked me what she could make with it. Seriously. All I could come up with Kalua Pork. And then I proceeded to tell the wife of a cattle rancher that pork is the best meat. OMG .. what is wrong with me???

So .. talking about Kalua Pork. It happens to be the one requested item my friend Anne likes for me to make when ever we see each other. This time WE made it and she saw how incredibly easy it is. I also gifted her with a bag of Hawaiian salt but didn’t get tongue tied like I did with Ree.  That’ll be another post. BUT .. I did want to mention, Anne’s daughter, Bailey (who I’ve known since she was 4) is now 12 and super helpful in the kitchen. She helped me make spam musubi and we also made california rolls.

Ok. I’ve decided if I ever have a kid .. I sure hope it’s a girl. Actually, I’ll just take Bailey or hope that my kid is anything like Bailey. She really is the best kid guys.

Poor Darby had to deal with Dante the bully for a whole 5 days. And don’t even get me started on poor Tigrishka (Anne’s cat). Sorry Tigrishka. Dante is such a beast. heh…

Dante was able to fly with me in cabin from Hawaii to Los Angeles. It was a great flight and though Dante may have been slightly anxious, I’d say it was much better than having to put him in Cargo (which is what I ended up doing on the flights from Los Angeles to Virginia). I’m sure we were both horribly traumatized.

I did take a picture of Dante on the flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles, unfortunately half of  his body was out of the bag and under my legs.

But I did take some photos of him before he went to Cargo.  And after we left him, I proceeded to cry the next two hours because I felt so awful.

He did make it to Virginia where TG picked him up from Delta Cargo. The people at the Los Angeles facility were really great and super nice so I felt sort of good about it.

Not really. But it wasn’t their fault.

Los Angeles was great. Meeting up with friends was truly amazing. I’m glad we had time to stop over.

We’re in Virginia now. TG and I are trying to buy a house.

What? I KNOW!?!?!

Well, we’ve started the process. I’ll keep you guys updated.

Here’s a funny story. Sorta. Did you know that I’ve been married 3 times and never divorced? Yeah. It’s funny in a confusing, minorly upsetting and slightly pricey kind of way.

The first time TG and I got married was on April 28, 2010. We did this before his deployment. And so when he came back from deployment in February 2011, we had almost been married a year. During his 7 month deployment TG got undivorced to wifey #1. Only by paper. And the law. So he came back married to two women.

I hear thats legal in Utah. Anywho …

Moving forward. During the new divorce proceedings from wifey #1 we find out that the judge ordered TG to be remarried to her and unmarried to me. Oh. It get’s better folks. Just stay with me.

Our wedding ceremony and reception was scheduled for August 26, 2011. If you’re counting, that’s the 2nd time we got married. When we got back from Colorado (TG’s oldest son got married the same weekend), we were informed the divorce from wifey #1 went through on August 17th. Which means, that our second marriage (the one with the big party) could’ve been our legal marriage (x2). Unfortunately we weren’t informed of that until after getting back.

Last fast forward. I promise. On September 10, 2011 (9/10/11) the Rev who married us on August 26th, remarried us (legally) in his home.

In case you skipped part of the above.. TG and I are married. Legally. I’m still not sure which of the three dates I want to celebrate though. Maybe all 3?

Here are some photos from the Ceremony and Reception.

My cousin made the bouquets. She’s an Officer in the U.S. Army. She majored in two languages which really have nothing to do with anything. She specializes in chemical warfare. And she makes a gorgeous wedding bouquet.

Seriously. Who knew.
Of course Dante was in the wedding.


Dante was my ring bearer, along with my adorable flower girls (Needed mom to make sure Madison had a good hold on Dante).



New Family.


This is what you do with 1001 cranes. Actually .. this is what you do with 500 something cranes. The rest you put in a bag and figure out how the pros actually incorporate all 1001 cranes into 1 design.


I danced with my Dad.


TG danced with his Mom.


I danced the hula for TG.


The only time I cried teared up was during my sister’s (Matron of Honor) speech. I love my sister ya’ll. Seriously.


I seem to have an affinity for my goofy face wedding photos.  Just saying “HI” to our photographer, Nick Pugay of Nick Pugay Photography. He did such a fantastic job. We laughed together. A lot.


Good times with Friends and Family.

It’s a funny story, really.  Now we can choose which date to celebrate our anniversary. I’m glad we stuck it out though. Even if it took us 3 times.


Oh yeah. Thanks for your patience. I swear I keep meaning to post more frequently. And everytime I cook something I want to share it .. but my photos are horrible.

I plan on taking a digital photography class soon. In the near future. Maybe then I’ll learn how to use that SLR camera. Hopefully.

As most of you already know, I started a garden. My very first. With TG’s help. He got it all set up and built and I just added the soil, fertilizer and seeds.

Seeds

Please try to ignore the white paws coming from the left side of the picture. I layed the seeds out on Dante’s ottoman.

And he didn’t budge.

Not even an eyelash.

I know absolutely nothing about gardening. I am quite surprised things are going as well as they are. Except for a little something I found out a week ago.

Devastating news

I went to homedepot last night. I had to ask. So I took a picture in the morning and by about 6 PM, I learned that I was growing weeds in my little vegetable garden.

I repeat:

Newb. Totes.

But I do have some really awesome things growing. Things that I absolutely love.

Beets & Arugula and Cilantro (back left) & Basil (back right)

Buttercrunch Lettuce

Heirloom Tomatoes (I can't remember the name)

Still no luck on the Parsley, Onion and Chives. I am planning on planting some more seeds in their own containers. Then we’ll see how it goes.

This is how it has gone for me (Super Newb Gardener). And I have to say it has been an excellent and enjoyable learning process. I like it and now I get it. I didn’t understand how rewarding growing your own vegetables can be but the fact that I can plan my dinner tonight of a left over chopped beef sandwich with some fresh arugula is pretty great.

I can’t wait for the tomatoes to come in. Those are going to make killer sandwich accoutrements!

We celebrated and honored.

Well, first TG and I went to Sunday Mass at Pearl Harbor to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord.

After church we packed up his son, CB (I have a step son and it’s just weird), and went to brunch with my parents.

Then we spent the rest of the day honoring those sailors forever lost in the depths of the harbor from which their ship sank. We went to the USS Arizona. Got a little bit of history in and a tiny boat ride.

This is what we did on Easter Sunday 2011. Yes. 2 months ago.

I know I could’ve lied to you and made this post about any day. But I am acknowledging my flaws and my forgetfulness.

Or something like that.

Boat ride. USS Arizona.

The Front.

In Memorium.

Finally, here is a picture of TG and his son, CB. We don’t get to see CB that often, maybe twice a year. I know TG misses him a whole bunch. We will get to see him in August, during his big brother’s wedding at the end of the month. And although I know that isn’t enough time for TG, I do know he is thankful for every moment he does get to spend with his younger son.

Father and Son.

Revelation 1: I realized about a month ago that most of my cooking and food picture taking is done in the evenings.  After the sun has gone down and I have to make due with a single box light fixture and sorta white walls. Combined with my ineptitude with my SLR I have to rely on a point-and-shoot or my iPhone.

Best with Beer. or Soju.

Revelation 2: In order to fix the issues regarding Revelation 1, I should remember to take pictures of the things I cook on the weekends. That and maybe take a class in digital photography.

Missing an ingredient. per usual.

Revelation 3: I really really need to remember to put out all the ingredients when taking photos. The above photo, for instance, is missing the pork belly that made the dish so incredible! Doh!

Revelation 4: I love my Mom. That’s not really a revelation. I know.  But you see, my mom makes me fresh kimchi. She makes a batch of it and then puts some in a plastic jar and brings it to the house. If you have a mom who makes you fresh kimchi every month or so, don’t take it for granted. I am not looking forward to the day that I may not live in Hawaii and I will 1) have to learn to make my own (not likely) or 2) go to the store and buy it like I’ve done for so many years before moving back to Hawaii.

Which leads me to my final Revelation 5: I don’t want to leave Hawaii… or … I want to live near my mom. For like ever.

Porky Kimchi goodness

The recipe (inspired by eating and living: http://eatingandliving.blogspot.com/2010/10/dubu-kimchi-tofu-with-stir-fried-kimchi.html):

Pork belly (I didn’t measure .. I just cut up into sorta cubes how much I wanted to eat.. heh heh)
Kimchi (a little sour is great but not completely necessary)
1/2 onion sliced
1 green onion
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp Korean hot pepper paste
1 tsp soy sauce
pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp sesame seed oil
1 block firm tofu

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl except kimchi and tofu (and let sit for a few minutes). Throw everything in the bowl into a frying pan. I like my bacon crispy so I cooked up the pork till it caramelized and then threw in the kimchi. Put a pot of water on the stove. Boil water and then carefully place the tofu into the pot.  It should take about 8 minutes or so to heat through.

Remove tofu block and cut in half. Then slice each half into about 1/3 inch slices. Becareful as the tofu will be hot.

Arrange the tofu on a plate with some space for the fried kimchi in the center. Sprinkle with a few sesame seeds and left over green onion (if you had some).

A year ago today, my boyfriend called and asked me if I wanted to go to lunch.

A year ago today, I got married.

On my lunch break.

Dipping in Idaho

The past year has had its many ups and downs. More than I can even count.

  1. I became a Married Lady. Weird.
  2. I call my father-in-law, Pops.
  3. I met some family people in Idaho. And found out Idaho has a wine region!
  4. I became a … stepmom. (WTH?)
  5. TG went on a 7 month deployment.
  6. TG came back and we had a lot of stuff to figure out.
  7. TG eats more Korean food than I do. And my mom loves it.
  8. I got to buy a whole bunch of new furniture because we moved into Navy Housing.
  9. Learning to communicate in married speak is totally different from what you’d think.
  10. We’re still learning to communicate. And getting better every day. 

    We jumped.

 

The ride is still going. Decisions are still being made.

A future with only 750 cranes, give or take 3.

The future is still something to look forward to. A future that doesn’t consist of 1001 cranes but an amazing future, nontheless.

I love you TG.

Happy 1 year Anniversary!

After I made the decision to rechedule the wedding I sort of pushed everything back.

When I say “sort of pushed” I actually mean I shoved and kicked it into a little tiny corner of my mind where I wouldn’t ever have to look at it. And that’s exactly where it went.

Until I opened up this drawer at work and looked inside. The little tiny corner of my mind is in a file cabinet at work.

Bet you didn’t know that, huh?

Bagged cranes.

Does anyone remember the last count on those cranes? Well, whatever it was, it hasn’t changed.

And of course, I’ve forgotten how to fold them.

I will now list several reasons why I am not going to finish folding 1001 cranes.

1. I am not Japanese Hawaiian.
2. I am Korean Hawaiian (and as far as I know .. please don’t tell me otherwise … we don’t do this)
3. I forgot how to fold cranes out of little square pieces of paper
4. I have enough to make what I want to make out of the 700 + cranes that I’ve already folded
5. When I decided to push everything back into that little corner and bring it back to the front later. Well, it kind of totally backfired on me
6. I had everything finalized, August last year, and now I’m questioning my favor choices

and the last reason is ..

7. See #1 and #2. and maybe # 3, 4, 5 .. oh shoot.

You get my point.

(Apology Disclaimer: Sorry TG! I know you’ve been dreaming of seeing all 1001 cranes .. but I’m not superstitious, nor are either of us Japanese Hawaiian. And most importantly, I’m still looking forward to forever with you.. even without those darn cranes)

It’s a good thing I’ve already locked in those vendors.

Nick Pugay is our photographer.

Nick Pugay. Wedding Photographer.

 Kathy Mahone of Aloha Cakery is doing our cake.

We’ve got Sounds to Go Hawaii doing our music.

My uber talented brother-in-law, Derrick “Taiger” Apana-Williams is MCing the event.

Team Flaunt will be doing hair and make-up.

Lastly and certainly not least, we will be married by Reverend Greg Christopherson of Honolulu.

Who knows what type of indecision hell I’d be in right now if I hadn’t already made deposits with these vendors (not my bro-in-law .. he’s obligated by family law .. heh) early last year.

Yay for Proper Planning!

Henna tatts.

tatt guy

Just about the same price as a regular one but as a parent you have peace of mind knowing that in a week, it’ll go away.

Atleast I think you do.

Or .. you could look at it as you are spending just as much money for a tattoo that will fade so you might as well let your kid get the real deal.

And you still think I should have kids?

The girls got tatts. The design got bigger depending on the age of the girl. Respectively.

Bay done. Now Tay.

 

Of course, I wouldn’t let my kids get a real tattoo. Under the age of 18, at least.

I’d probably go on and on and on about the potential risks and life time of regret from getting one.

or three.

But I digress.

This isn’t about regret. It’s about spring break. And non permanent henna tattoos.

And sorta about a henna dude, named Justin Drew at the Fairmont Kea Lani hotel in Wailea Maui.

"Shaka" Henna dude.

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