My Gratitude Journal

Goodbye Presents: She’s leaving on a London plane

My daughter Sabrina is leaving today for London. She is working on her Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management at King’s College. She will be gone for a year.

We have been spending some good quality time together before she leaves. At the end of one of our days of fun, she gave me a goodbye present. It was a box that she decoupaged herself and filled with little pieces of paper with little sayings that she wrote and a cute little book called “Why You’re So Awesome”.

It was my turn to give her my goodbye present. I wrote quotes, advice, encouragement and praises on cards and pasted photos on the back. She loved them!

We love giving homemade gifts to each other!

She gave her brother a great goodbye gift too. They were envelopes filled with notes that he can “open when…” One is “open when you are happy”. Another one is “open when I leave”. She instructed me to make sure that he opens it when we get back from dropping her off to the airport.

Open when….

She is leaving today. We are leaving in an hour and a half to drop her off at the airport. We are very sad and will miss her terribly but we are so proud of her for following her dreams.

Dream big, Sabrina. Reach for the stars.

Baking

Beach ball cupcakes: Pinterest Fail or not?

Ah, Pinterest. So many great DIY ideas. They make it look so easy. Here’s a short story of what I consider a Pinterest fail. Ok, maybe not so much of a fail, but my cake and cupcakes certainly did not turn out like the picture on Pinterest.

I love to bake. However, I’m not too good in the decorating department. When I frost cupcakes, they look sloppy. I just don’t have that magic touch. Maybe I’m a perfectionist when it comes to these things. Or maybe I don’t have the right tools. I didn’t use a tip on my decorating bags for frosting these cupcakes.  I had one that I’ve used a few times, but I lost it. I thought that I would do okay without one. I found out later that you need to use a tip for greater control of the frosting. Lesson learned. So onto my story.

I don’t have a dome cake mold but I found out that you can use a glass bowl. If it says Pyrex on the bottom of the bowl then it is oven safe. I had 4 sizes to choose from and I chose the smallest one. I greased up my Pyrex glass bowl very well so that the cake would slip out easily. In total, I baked the small cake for 26 minutes.

Small dome baked cake

Baking the dome cake in a small Pyrex bowl worked out great! The cake slipped out easily. I leveled the bottom of the cake so that it would be even.

I let the cakes cool. While they cooled, I prepared the frosting. I used about 7 to 8 drops of food coloring for each of the colors which were red, blue and yellow. I wanted the colors to be bright.

Beach ball cake for the birthday boy
48 beach ball colored cupcakes

As you can see the frosting came out pretty sloppy. But then again, I’ve never been good at frosting cupcakes. Practice makes perfect. Next time I will make sure to use a frosting tip for better control. I think the blue, red and yellow colors came out nice. If I knew how to frost cakes so that they are smooth, then the little beach ball cake would have looked better. I was told that they looked great, but I know I could have done better. I must say, they tasted delicious!

The 2 year old birthday boy blowing his cake

The birthday boy made the cupcakes look so much better!

My Gratitude Journal

Finally Hawaii!

When my daughter, Sabrina, was 18 months old, she went on a vacation to the island of Oahu, Hawaii with her dad and me. Since Sabrina was a little girl, she has been asking me to take her back to Hawaii. I told her that I would take her once she graduated from college. Well, she finally graduated from college in December 2016. She graduated early, taking only 3 and a half years to finish. On top of that, she graduated Cum Laude. We were very proud of her! What an accomplishment. We planned her college graduation celebration trip to Hawaii for April and she had her graduation ceremony in May. What a perfect Spring! So for my gratitude list for Spring, I am grateful for:

*My daughter’s college education.

She did it!

*Our Hawaii trip! Finally, Hawaii!

Here is a list of a few of my favorite Hawaiian things:

yes, I do…

-Pina coladas- there’s nothing like having a pina colada in Hawaii. They actually taste better in Hawaii. It was the first thing I ordered on day one of project paradise.

Ok, let’s just get the food posts out of the way. Seriously, they were part of my favorite Hawaiian things, so I have to add them to my list!

Now, that’s a coconut!

-Fresh coconut- Of course, when visiting Hawaii you must have a fresh coconut. We visited a small mom and pop mini farmer’s market store in Hawaii that was similar to a little Whole Foods market. In there you can order a fresh coconut. They cut a hole in it for you and put a straw in it. When you are done, they cut it half so that you can scoop out the coconut meat. So so fresh…

Shoyu chicken, you sho is good…

-Shoyu chicken and macaroni salad- These are must eat foods while in Hawaii. Macaroni salad is a common side dish in Hawaii. Shoyu chicken is chicken marinated in soy sauce, garlic, ginger and brown sugar. They are very delicious and as I found out later, very easy to make. I made both of these dishes when I got back home.  The chicken turned out great and the macaroni salad was okay. But really, I think they just taste better when eaten in Hawaii.

Don’t worry about a thing…cuz every little thing is gonna be alright…

-Acai Bowls- We love acai bowls so of course, we had to have one while in Hawaii. Josh and I shared a “Bob Marley bowl”. It had pineapple, kiwi, strawberry, and hemp seeds on top of the acai. It was mmmm-mmmm good.

So majestic

-Hawaiian flowers- Another one of my favorite things in Hawaii are the flowers. They are so colorful, majestic and fragrant. Every time I saw a flower, I had to stop and take a picture of it. Of course, the pictures don’t do justice to their beauty.

-My morning view- This is one of my favorite Hawaiian memories. I really enjoyed waking up to the view of the ocean and watching the sunrise. Every morning, I would sit on the balcony, sip my morning coffee and enjoy the view. I loved hearing the sounds of the crashing waves.

-The beaches in Hawaii- I love the beaches in Hawaii. They are the best! One of my favorite Hawaiian memories is watching Josh run on the beach. Without fail, as soon as we arrived at the beach, he would kick off his flip flops and start running. He loved the beach, the feel of the sand and water on his feet and the sounds of the crashing waves. He would laugh and scream with joy as he ran. He was so happy. I couldn’t help but laugh and smile.

Josh enjoying the water, while watching the sunset.

-Hawaiian sunsets- We enjoyed watching the sunset in Hawaii. It was so beautiful. This was our view while we waited in line to enter a Luau.  Can’t get any better than that.

Fire!

-While in Hawaii, we went to a Luau. We enjoyed the traditional Hawaiian music and hula dancing. We tried new foods such as poi which is a Polynesian staple food made from the taro plant and is a traditional part of the Hawaiian cuisine.

-Road to Hana- We went on the Road to Hana. We didn’t drive it ourselves. We took a tour bus. Our tour bus driver was great and provided us with lots of stories, legends and history of the Hawaiian culture. There were plenty of waterfalls to admire and we also stopped at a black sand beach.

I enjoyed every minute of this trip. Hawaii is my happy place.

I am grateful for our trip to Hawaii and these wonderful Hawaiian memories with my kids.