A Needle in a Hay Stack

A dear friend of mine, Frances, had recently been widowed late last year.  When I called her yesterday, she was distraught because Smokey, one of her five cats, had gone missing.  Smokey was fourteen and had been suffering from renal problems.  Frances suspected that Smokey had gone off somewhere quiet and hidden to die.  Mind you, these cats are like children to her; so she was terribly distressed.

In the evening, we touched base again and she informed me that she had been cleaning up her yard when she suddenly lost her wedding rings while she was shaking debris off garbage bags.  Poor Frances!  Talk about being kicked while you’re down.  She had already spent two hours searching for her rings but to no avail.  So my friend, Eileen, and I hopped in a car and drove down to bring her some chicken soup and banana chocolate chip bread that I had made earlier in the afternoon.  Frances had suffered enough in one day and the last thing I wanted was for her to worry about preparing dinner.

It was already quite dark outside but I had resolved that I would try to help her find the rings.  I knew it was a long shot but there was no harm trying and sometimes a second or third pair of eyes can really help.  So before heading out, we grabbed some small lanterns and flashlights.  On the drive over, I prayed out loud and asked God to help us find the rings and fast, like in five minutes.

When we arrived, we saw piles and piles of leaves one to two feet deep.  At that point, I realized how impossible the task was.  Nevertheless, we started searching.  God, You know exactly where these rings are.  Help us.  Guide us.  The first shiny object I came across turned out to be a piece of crumpled up aluminum foil.  Then I started searching in a different area, sweeping the leaves with my feet.  Suddenly, Eileen, who had been looking where I was sweeping, exclaimed that she found one!  It was Frances’ ring.  We kept looking, now with even more determination, for her late husband Byron’s ring.  After only a minute or two, I exclaimed “Found it!”

Needless to say, we left Frances’ home with hearts full of awe and gratitude.  Thank you, Lord, for showing Frances such kindness and mercy. 

Rings Found

Rings Found

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Celebration of Life

A couple weeks ago, a dear parent at my school passed away after a tough struggle with cancer.  She was very involved in school and bettering our community.  Her family decided to have an intimate Celebration of Life for her in their backyard.  I had the opportunity to attend and help with the decor and desserts.  I tried to make everything worthy of our beloved friend and what she represented.  She had always wanted to entertain and have a party in her backyard, but never had the chance to, and I wanted to make sure this celebration would be everything she would have wanted.

Here is what a corner of my house looked like in preparation:

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I called it the Amazon Bakery.  🙂

Complete with crazy thorns:

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Here are a few pictures of some of the finished flower arrangements  (the pics aren’t great because I was in a rush and just took a few shots quickly with my phone):

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We shipped plumerias over night from Hawaii because they were her favorite flowers.   We floated plumeria and gardenias in their pool (not pictured), along with floating candles of various sizes.  We also placed the loose blossoms around the refreshment tables.

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We hung orchids from the pergola and wrapped some of the columns with vines, orchids, and bougainvillea.  We used a stapler(!) to create a garland of orchids on the top beam.   We also strung white lights from the pergola so there was a beautiful glow when the sun started to set.

Here are some of the finished mini cupcakes:

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These are mini lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting.

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These are Ultimate Chocolate (AKA Chocolate Lover’s) mini cupcakes with gold sprinkles.

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These are guava chiffon cupcakes.  I had so much batter left over that I made these regular sized cupcakes, but they weren’t so tasty.  The minis were definitely better.  The guava buttercream was not cooperating with me and I had to redo it 3 times.  Even the third time wasn’t super satisfactory for me, but I was running out of time so I had to stick with it.  😦

As you can see, I was also experimenting with different frosting techniques for each flavor.

Although it was a sad situation, I’m glad we were able to come together with other friends to celebrate the life of a very significant person.  Her presence among us is deeply missed.

Bread Galore!!!

As the most technologically unsavvy of the four sisters, I am finally venturing into the world of blogging.  This is my first post ever.  Woohoo!

So what has been happening in my little corner of the world?  Well, I figured it was high time that I dust off the breadmaker that had been sitting idle in our closet for over a decade and put it to good use.  Breadmaking has become my latest fascination (as if the Wu sisters need any more hobbies).  In the past couple of months, I have made thirteen items ranging from banana chocolate chip bread (btw, these make great gifts), pizza dough, raisin bread, French bread (which was promptly converted to garlic bread), to Focaccia.  Yum!

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Banana Chocolate Chip with Beloved Breadmaker

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Pizza Dough

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Raisin Bread

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French Bread

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Focaccia

Persimmon season

One of the benefits of living in our area is the abundance of backyard harvests. We recently got a bunch of persimmons from 3 different people! (and this picture is AFTER we gave away about 10-20 and ate a bunch too)

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Last year we made some persimmon bread, which was sweet but had a mild flavor. Now I am researching some new persimmon recipes (muffins, scones, cookies). Open to any ideas!

(And Mom, yes, of course you can come and take as many as you’d like. As long as you come over this week!)

A belated start to Halloween prep

The kids usually begin nagging asking me to start on their Halloween costumes about a month in advance. We’re actually a little behind this year, might end up being a bit of a nail-biter toward the end. This week we finally started on K’s costume. Any guesses what it’s going to be? (If you already know, don’t say!!)

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I like this picture because it makes the thing look HUGE. Granted, it IS big, but not like “Atlas holding up the celestial spheres” huge. 🙂 I’ve already encountered some problems with the thing cracking as it dried and contracted a bit… a few times. 😦 I’ll have to get the other “work in progress/challenges along the way pictures” off my other camera.

I had some sad technical problems with my laptop last week and had to send it in to get the hard drive fixed/replaced, so I feel a bit in no-mans-land in terms of where to put my pictures/data, even though I have an old laptop I’m using right now. (not to mention what files I have lost, boo hoo)  More to come…

Babysitting fun!

I babysat my friend’s kids two weeks ago, and this is one of the things we made:

fairy jars

I’ve seen it called “Fairies in a Jar.”  It’s pretty cool and easy!  You just cut open a glow stick (carefully!) and then pour the liquid into one of many glass jars that your sister has been hoarding and collecting for you any old glass jar you have lying around.  Then you add glitter, cap it, and shake it.  It won’t last forever (maybe only a day), but it will look pretty for the short time that it glows.  The kids LOVED it.  They kept turning the lights on and off to see it glow, and they kept wanting to make more, but I didn’t have enough lids to go with my jars.  Plus, I wasn’t sure how toxic this stuff was, and I didn’t want the kids to wake up with an extra limb or shrunken head.  Uh, worst babysitter ever!… 😛

Many (many many) Tastes Part II

taste of north park 2013_recap

After a full day of running (okay, walking leisurely) around North Park, we successfully visited 26 out of 46 places (57%, isn’t that an F?! 😦 ). This is what my card ended up looking like, not too bad I suppose.

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Last year we managed 32/51 places, but that was also because I was slightly maniacal and went a little Monica on my friends, haha. This year we decided to take it a little easier, plus we started 30 minutes late (despite my “almost ready??” morning prodding). Much to our indignation, there were four places that we went to that ran out of food/drinks!! The worst of them was the Smoking Goat, which also ran out of food last year! This year we made it a priority to visit Smoking Goat since we felt we were due given last year’s miss. When we finally approached the restaurant and I saw the all-too-familiar “Sold Out” sign on their door I seriously considered leaving them a friendly note of my own on their note! Two strikes for Smoking Goat!! >[.

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Overall it was super fun though, just like last year. It was a beautiful day in San Diego and it was really great being able to walk around, eat, drink, and talk with the various store folks. It’s events like this that really make me like this city!

By far the most interesting dish was from Casa de Luz, a vegan restaurant that’s has a pretty cool space in North Park. (Random internet photo below.) It was the strange looking green thing in the lower left of the picture above. I forgot what they called it, but I thought of it as collard green sushi! It was vegetables with some vegetable sauce, wrapped in more vegetable. Not bad though! (Only 2 of the 5 of us dared to try it :P.)

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As usual in SD, there were tons of dogs walking/hanging around and I saw this super cute golden doodle at one of the stops!

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I think doodles look like stuffed animals more than any other dog type. Look at those paws! So cute! I did the whole try-and-look-busy-on-cell-phone-while-secretly-taking-pictures-of-your-cute-dog deal, but all of that was ruined when one of my friends walked up and I told her about the doggie and she responded loudly, “Yeah, we saw you taking pictures of it.” -_____-“. So much for inconspicuousness.

Altogether it was a great day, I think you all would’ve liked the event!