Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Mikey and I flew in to Illinois on Monday, probably the easiest traveling experience I have EVER had. No line for the ticketing counter, the ticketing lady gave us better seats, quick line through security, friendly folk smiling and enjoying themselves, and our flights were seamless. Also, O'Hare was surprisingly easy. I could not believe that! O'Hare, really?!

Now we're in Illinois enjoying wearing our pajamas until 3PM or even later. I didn't pack pajamas because I have a whole closet full of Iowa apparel to reacquaint myself with. And I am.

I've started making small dents on the desserts and have taught my parents a new card game Mikey and I love. They're hooked!!

So why am I posting? It's actually the only thing not cool about Illinois right now. The weather! It's RAINING!?!?! Raining is the worst because I could be enjoying rain from my own apartment. I came to the midwest for the big show! The snow, the snowmen, the snowballs... etc. Not for the rain!


So Illinois, if you're listening, please PLEASE please drop your temperatures and give me some snow! See, I promised my husband a wonderland for Christmas and you're coming up short. Please give us some snow to enjoy for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Skippy Dippy Dango

Oh me, oh my! What is this delicious looking dish?
Last night I digged into my family/friends recipe book that I received for a wedding gift and found this little nugget of a menu item.
Two Bean Tamale Pie
try saying that five times fast!
Two Bean Tamale Pie two bean tamale pie, two bean mamaleee... oh grrr!
As I was saying... Two Bean Tamale Pie hails from the kitchen of cooking extraordinare Mrs Jonah Schupbach, as they'd say in the 50's or Becca Schupbach (my sister-in-law although more like a SFR)... anyway!

This pie changed my life. It's the unique blend of salty and sweet with a hint of hot!! I'm in love!
Here's the recipe; I added tabasco sauce at the end and nixed the sour cream
Eat! Enjoy! And just trrrry not devouring it in one sitting! Seriously yummy!

1 C chopped green sweet pepper (1 large)
1/2 C chopped onion (1 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T cooking oil
1 15oz. can pinto beans, rinsed, drained and slightly mashed
1 15oz. can kidney beans, rinsed, drained and slightly mashed
1 6oz. can (or 2/3cup) vegetable juice (Becca uses low sodium)
1 4oz can diced green peppers, undrained
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 8 1/2oz. package corn muffin mix (I used jiffy)
1/2C shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
1/4C snipped fresh cilantro or parsley

**Grease a 2-quart square baking dish or 10-inch quiche dish; set aside. Preheat oven 400 degrees. In a medium skillet cook sweet pepper, onion and garlic in hot oil until tender. Stir in kidney beans, pinto beans, vegetable juice, chile peppers, chili powder and cumin; heat through. Spoon bean mixture into prepared dish. Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions; add cheese and cilantro, stirring just until combined. Spoon cornbread mixture evenly over the top of the bean mixture. Bake, uncovered, about 25 minutes or until golden. Serve with salsa, sour cream or if you are me, tabasco!**
Eat! Enjoy! And know that if you were to die, you'd have a smile on your face....
well, let's be real. This isn't a fulfillment of anything but satisfying your hunger. I may have embellished how good this pie is by saying that.....

oh it's so yummy....
i just might have to sneak in the kitchen for my tasty leftovers...
ohhhh soooo delic!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

some days

Some days I am on top of the world. I am singing out loud and the world is my audience. The audience always loves me, always cheers me on, and always asks for an encore *which I am always happy to give*!
Some days the sky is richly blue, the leaves are deep green and the sun is warm in its colors and its rays. My laughter penetrates the air and tumbles out from the depths of my belly. I am full of life and life has so much to offer me.
Some days, though, I am shaken by something I cannot express or understand. The sky is still blue, the leaves still green and the sun is warm, yet, I cannot see or feel both. My head is down and my shoulders are heavy with a burden too large to carry.
Most days I am quick to give my burden to the Lord but its lingering affects chill my heart. A child with cancer, the death of a loved one, sickness, poverty, homelessness, loneliness, isolation, despair, fears, and unresolved issues between people...
Most days, I do not carry the burden and yet, I am not able to shake the reality of its continued existence off of me.
Some days are better than others. I am richly blessed and I feel it with joy.
Some days are different than others. I am deeply loved yet I am aware that others are not so loved obviously.
Some days I am convicted and it saddens my heart to see people.
Some days I am oblivious to the world and all around me, I am aware of myself only.

Every day I pray that God would open the eyes of my heart, to be filled with compassion, to realize that I cannot fix everyone but I can love everyone.
Every day I can make a difference if only I would...

Monday, November 30, 2009

3 weeks

I am so homesick right now. Don't get me wrong, I love LOVE being married. Mikey is the best thing that has happened to me here on earth. He is funny, goofy, kind, considerate, generous and loving. He is the best man I've ever met.
So my homesickness has nothing to do with unhappiness....
I'm just lonely for the other people in my family.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

turkey, blind dating and beating M in cards

I have successfully made a Thanksgiving dinner for 21 people this past Thursday. I use the word dinner loosely because well, it wasn't like the feast your Grandmother's put on the table every year. I thought I could skim the surface and have no one notice but sure enough, as the dishes were being passed I heard someone say, "Wait? Is there stuffing?"
Every two weeks, the young staff gets together and has their training time~ and the staff women make and bring lunch and dinner so that the family that hosts isn't responsible for feeding 20 plus staff which most times includes men who feast mainly on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and so are malnourished and feel that they should stock up on good healthy food during the training time. When else are they going to get home cooking when they're far from their families and are single?
Which by the way, I remember there always being a large plethora of single amazing godly women out there? (And I still know of some) But seriously, midwestern girls, get your behinds out to California! There are some good lookin' men who love Jesus and want a wife.
Email me.
Anyway, I made dinner for said men and their female staff teammates and asked Mikey if he would help me tackle "thanksgiving" style since it was the thursday before.
He said yes.
So we made turkey, mashed potatoes (homemade, please I can't eat boxed. It's against everything my Grandma Eunice stands for!) corn bread (uh, those were boxed cause I'm snobby but also lazy) apple cranberry sauce (homemade), salad (bagged, oops) and pumpkin dessert which is the best dessert I have ever made and will be making it two more times this next week! It's ah-mazing!
Anyway, needless to say, I am really enjoying cooking. I can't stand the dishes but I can get through them alright if I just take a deep breath and remember how loving it is to serve those I am with.
Does anyone love doing the dishes? Seriously? Anyone out there?
I think my Dad might.
Edwardo? Dishes? Yes?

Anyway, what does this have to do with life? Nothing too revealing! I am just updating you on how fantastically normal my life is at this moment.
Also, question... are you writing down all the ones to respond to when you comment? Here's a review:
single and ready to mingle?
love to do dishes?
and the third and final.....

is it bad if I am addicted to this game and I love playing with husband and so I beg and beg and beg him to play only to totally dominate and beat him to a pulp. I mean, I'm not trying. It's just that I know he plays because he loves me but the whole time he keeps saying, "Why bother? Why should I try?"
And I just keep giggling...
is this bad?
Okay so that's my life at this moment....
P.S. in other news, the one day Pioneer Woman comes to LA is the ONE DAY this whole week I have plans I can't break. She is going to NY for two signings but LA only once? Who came up with her schedule? I would like to make a complaint!

Monday, November 16, 2009


We had a housewarming party last night and invited a small group of friends over. It was one of my favorite nights and I'm so thankful we could have our house "warmed" by such great people.
Thank you to everyone who brought food and to everyone who came.
We love our friends!
We're so blessed.I was reminded of things to be thankful for as I sat at the patio doorway looking out at everyone. I just felt so blessed to be surrounded by such kind and awesome people.
I love that a lot of these friendships, I married into. It's so great to know your husband has awesome people in his life as well.
The dangerous dessert table!!

I am so thankful for:
a husband who is generous to me and to his friends.
friends who make time to come over and party.
the little things in life like frosted cookies and spicy smelling candles.
friends who came over ahead of time to help me in the cooking chaos.
our home.

What are some things you are thankful for this year?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Creamy Tomato Basil

Have you ever found a recipe you could just make over and over and over again? Recently, I've had a couple of those recipes but nothing, oh! no! nothing! can quite compare to this amazing tomato basil soup recipe I found and then formed to fit our taste buds.
If you remember, I have somewhat of an odd obsession with tomato sip, stemming from this post way back in September.
I think it's a bit odd since I was four days away from my wedding and all I could write about on my blog was my cravings for tomato soup.
I'm such a strange child sometimes.

Anyway, here, my lovelies is the best recipe for tomato soup. It's fairly easy and amazingly delicious. I couldn't imagine my recipe book (or life for that matter) without it.

2 T Unsalted Butter
2 T olive oil
1 large onion (while I was cutting this, I was crying so hard Mikey was concerned. Crazy!)
1 T all-purpose flour
1 6oz. jar of tomato paste
1 T minced garlic (although I use 2 because Mikey LOVES garlic~ 2 is not too overpowering)
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 c skim milk (or whatever you have in the refridgerator)
3 1/2 lbs. ripe tomatoes (cored and chopped coarsely)
2 bunches of basil

**Melt the butter in the olive oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the onion, cook til tender, sprinkle the flour over the onion and stir, add garlic and cook, stirring constantly. (about 2 min) Add tomatoes, basil, paste, and broth. Raise heat to med-low and simmer, COVERED until soup has thickened (30 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool slightly. Puree in either a blender or food processor in small batches. Stir in milk.
Just before serving warm through but do not boil!**

Eat and Enjoy!

Ohhh perhaps a little too close for comfort.... foggy lense!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

I can remember a conversation I had with my brother as he prepared to head over to the Middle East after 9/11. It was his decision to go, no one was forcing him to go, and he had already finished one tour in the ME. But Jordan calmly told me, "How can I stay here when all my friends are going? This is what I've been trained to do."
It really spoke to me of his sense of duty and loyalty.

One of my favorite speakers in the Navigators, Jim Rinella, talked about he will stop soldiers in the airport and thank them for fighting overseas. He tells this story of how man replied, "We do it for you, sir."

Instead of thanking soldiers for their sense of duty and loyalty to fighting real life, physical evil in this world, we often give them our opinion about the war and their part in it.
But have we ever stopped to think about why these men are fighting?
"We do it for you, sir."
No matter who you are or what your opinion is of this war, lets be thankful today for the men and women who have fought for the freedom we have today.
I know I'm thankful for my Granddaddy and my brother!
Happy Veterans Day!

Monday, November 09, 2009

when does it reach... ya know, that level?

When does a friendship started on a blog, kept up on a blog and basically for 99.9% of it is one-sided become "not healthy"?
Let me explain.
Since Abbie K (located here) had a link on the side of her blog titled, "Sites I thoroughly enjoy" and I decided to check one of them out so I clicked on the blog entitled "Pioneer Woman".

Since that click, I have spent countless hours scouring through her recipes and reading her love story which made me laugh so hard.

I've tried the green beans, the orange spicy chicken, her amazing moist pumpkin spice muffins, her delicious blueberry pie that I made about five times in a row last winter/spring cause it was that good! I've danced with her chicken strips, delighted many a guests with her peanut butter pie (sooo rich). Her crash potatoes are a staple side dish in this house and wedding guests stuff themselves with yummy french breakfast pastries I made.
All from Pioneer Woman

There was also this infamous cinnamon roll comment that was made that made me laugh so hard I texted Jennifer (while we were both in Japan) and demanded she start reading this site. It became a crazy obsession. (The comment on her cinnamon rolls was later removed because I wonder if someone warned her, it was borderline inappropriate! But soooo funny!)
It was an obsession at first, waiting for the updates of her love story and her recipes. But then it cooled, like any love affair.

Call me, naive, if you will, but I seriously thought Pioneer Woman had a small gathering...
I know! Naive!
Then she wrote this cookbook, which is doing so well and her blog gathers thousands of commenters and her personality is just so fun and sparkly that she has become somewhat of a star!
Lines and lines and LINES of men, women and children are gathering to have her sign her cookbook for them. And while I try to stay away from this sort of thing.... I can't help but really really want to meet her and have her sign my cookbook which I have yet to buy.

I watched her on the Bonnie Hunt show (click here)
and am now waiting with anticipation for her book tour to swing through LA.
Click here to see if she comes to a city near you.

Well, whether this makes me weird or not, I am still a fan of Pioneer Woman's!
I seriously think, anyone, male or female, who enjoys cooking, enjoys a good story, enjoys the country (or just funny stories about people in the country doing weird things like checking pregnancies in cows~ yikes!) I ardently suggest you test Pioneer Woman's site out.
You won't be disappointed.

Now... if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go look up ticket prices for Kelli to come out to have her cookbook signed as well!

What Pioneer Woman recipe/blog entry do you enjoy the most?

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Jesus said, "I am the bread of life"And when the disciples said, "Lord teach us to pray"
Jesus included this sentence, "And give us our daily bread"
And before that... the Israelites in the desert, wandering hungry asking for food and they received manna... which arrived every morning and only allowed for a daily supply of food.

It's so great how subtle Jesus was and yet, how not subtle at all. Over and over he reminds us that He is the only thing that can satisfy us.
Drink this water and you will never thirst.
I am the bread of life.
I am the way.
I am the Truth.
Recently, I was wondering how I could extend my time with Jesus... wandering how I could bring him more into my day to day.
Instead of just going to church on Sunday or just reading the bible for 5 minutes in the morning, I've been challenged to be more conscious of Jesus throughout the day.

But how?
And then it occurred to me.
Experiencing more of God can be as easy when I am doing my daily love of baking. As I knead the bread and form it to take shape, I can thank God that He is all I will ever need.
My daily bread.
What are some ways you've been experiencing God?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

making it a home

A wise woman once told me, "When you live in Southern California you have to consider your patio (outside space) another room in your house." And with that said, she and her husband gifted Mikey and I with a patio furniture set. Yet, she left the decorating up to us.

Here is the beautiful patio set our friends gave us. It gets bright sunshine in the morning as the sun comes up over that back corner in the morning and makes its way diagonally across the patio. So in the evening, this back corner is lit. I think this is the only area that gets sunlight all day.

This is in front of the table and chairs (I'm standing at the doorway). The window you can catch a slight peek of is our kitchen window. We're hoping to raise the herb garden you see on the ground here, up one day to the window level. Right now I can't see the herbs just looking out of the kitchen, I have to look down~ but if we raise the herbs we could not only see the herbs but open our window and take them to cook with. Convenient!

Mikey and I took some advice and went with it. We knew we wanted to enjoy and develop the beautiful back patio area God had given us, yet, we're both new to this whole "groundskeeping" side of our marriage.
But we had a lot of fun looking at different plants and flowers, asking ourselves, "Is this what we want?" It was actually a lot of fun to be thinking about our back patio area and to finally get some "life" on it.

This is probably my favorite corner... someday we're hoping to get a little table and chair or two there but for now stealing one of the patio chairs that came with the table works just as well. I love sitting here in the morning underneath a tall tree (not pictured) that provides amble amount of shade while letting some sunlight through. It's perfect to sit here and drink coffee!!

Here is our back door, which is actually the door our guests and selves use the most. :)

In the corner, by my little coffee nook is this tree. It's a Japanese Camellia and I love it. We chose one that hadn't bloomed yet but as you can tell, it's about to real soon. The flowers are a gorgeous dark pink and I am so excited to see it bloom I head out every morning to check to see if anything has opened. I'll be sure to keep you posted. :)

You all know the Lime-Lemon, our little unknown!

And this my beautiful friends is the start of a hydrangea...
the blooms start this green color

and eventually start turning colors... green to white-ish

to pale pink!

this is another section of our herb garden. This large leaf is a strawberry leaf. We're experimenting with whether or not we can actually grow strawberries.

Herb Garden side 2... mint, basil, tomato plant and rosemary!

Our hanging basket of loveliness

Please come and enjoy coffee/tea/hot cocoa sometime. Mikey and I fixed this up so we could entertain... so come on over! The patio is open year round here in So Cal!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Inging today... inging?

Enjoying my homemade chicken noodle soup.

Laughing at the Staff women's time. Tears and laughter, oh how I love being a woman!

Wishing that we could have neighbors move in who are in the same stage as Mikey and I; young and together.

Hoping that Rochelle will be showing at Christmas time.

Worrying about how tired and busy I feel and I don't even have a baby (or the four I want so badly). I often wonder how I will get my life organized later on if I get so overwhelmed now.

Wondering if I can stay at home all day and just bake. Will navs approve that?

Reading about Frodo making his way to Mordor. I'm on book 5 of 6 and reading this reminds me of how much I love to read. It's such a process and so much more fulfilling than movies. Although I like movies, books are just better.

Packing for San Destin.

Loving Mikey for being himself and being open to sharing who he is with me. I love Mikey more and more each day.

Thinking about all the things on my to-do list that I need to get done. And thinking how badly I just want to lay down and take a nap. hmmm...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

these little moments

Do you ever have those days where you know you missed out on doing something good for someone else?

I felt this way last night after some careful consideration.

I spent the morning at the DMV and the social security office yesterday trying to get my name changed (it is official people, I am a Wang!) and inside of me I has this impulse to be nice to people, talk to people and make the most of my situation.

But instead, I chose to be a complainer and a grumbly occupant of my seat.

It was actually really sad when I was thinking about my day and I felt God saying, "Why are you letting this affect you so negatively?"

And honestly?! I had no reason. I let myself spiral down into a bad attitude and then I let myself snap at my husband. I know sometimes we have those days where we don't mean to be rude to others but that was not my case. I was crabby because I felt like I had the right to be cranky.

Who wouldn't see my side to this? I thought sitting there. EVERYONE gets cranky in these situations.

But again I felt God nudge me and say, "What right do you have to be angry?" and I realized I had been a Jonah about the day (Jonah from the bible).

Instead of being cool about things and being a nice, smiley person, I chose CHOSE to follow the crowd of complainers and eye-rollers.

Dang! I missed the chance to be kind.

Do you ever have those moments?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Be still my heart...

There I was...
minding my own business, surfing the internet when I came across Pioneer Woman's blog (oh how I love you sister!) and besides falling utterly in love with her moist pumpkin spice, drooling over her easy-how-to for pumpkin puree and desperately loving her for her sassy honesty...

I stumbled across her link to this wonderful website and life as I've known it as a baker has come to an end....

Apparently, the cake pan lady specializes in decorating and personalizing cake pans. Imagine me, walking into a party armed with a blue tin. Yet, it's not just any blue tin, though, upon a closer glance you notice this lovely little accessory...although it's not from the kitchen of "sylvia" it's from the kitchen of "Joanna Wang".
And although the brownies/apple bars/pumpkin bread inside would be warm and gooey delicious, you wouldn't be able to take your eyes off of this lovely tin.
And p.s. you couldn't continue to "forget returning" it either.
ha ha ha I love it.
I am so smitten.

... hmm... now how to convince my beloved that I need to buy everyone in my family (including myself) one of these for Christmas.
Click here for the cake pan lady's website
and here to see Pioneer Woman's story on how she got hers!

If you could get any of these tins, which color and design would you go for?

interesting discoveries and a bad dream...

Interesting discovery was made yesterday...
But before I get ahead of myself, here's what happened yesterday. Mikey and I had our dear friends Lee and Deb M. over for lunch and to scout out our patio. Lee is a farm boy from southern Illinois (and a cardinals fan~ boooo!!) so he was able to look at our trees and assess our soil and the layout of the land. (I am using land very loosely here.)
Deb is his beautiful wife from northern Illinois (Kankakee, Keykokan, Who can? We can! Kankakee can!!) and is a cubs fan (hooray!). Deb is the artistic eye and designer of the two. So after Lee assessed and let us know what we have, Deb was able to decorate and help us a little bit in the back!
Good news, then interesting news, then bad news...
Good news is~ we have two citrus trees and a grapevine!! How exciting! We're going to have fruit.
Also, interesting news~ we think our little limey is actually a little lemon! Ha ha! It's like finding out your goldfish are actually male and female when they start having babies instead of two females like you thought.
And bad news, with fruit trees, Deb told me, there is an almost certainty that we will get rats. But she reassured me, "food rats"... um, how is that better? They're both rats. And I guarantee that I don't know the difference.
Apparently the little suckers like to eat the grapes and fruit when it's rotting.
Dang gina! That was just sad news...

so sad in fact I had a dream that I was hosting a party outside when all of a sudden a girl shouted, "OHMYGOSH!!"
And I knew in my heart what was rustling in the leaves behind her until she shouted,
"There is an armadillo behind me!"
Don't ask me where that dream came from (actually I know) but what a weird night.
Pray for me, I really don't know what I'll do if I sit outside on my beautiful patio and have a rat munching on little lemony next to me. :(

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So I get this email, "Hey Jo! I'm in California, can we get time?"
Lo and behold, my beautiful friend Jin was in town (from JAPAN?!?! Wha?!).
As Jin shared with us her recent stories, learnings and victories in life, I realized how richly blessed I am in my friendships.
Thanks Jin for giving some of your "short" time to Mikey, Joni and I.
We are richly blessed by our friendship with you!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

my favorite room

Mikey has been so amazing helping me get things set up in our home. I was like, "I could totally put together these shelves but to be honest, I'm horrible at it."

Look at all those tools Mikey had to use... wait, what are those?

Oh yeah, my cute new slippers. How wonderful they are. I love them!

But I digress... here is my beloved
So I cooked a yummy dinner and he made me shelves and gave me the best gift.
A favorite room.

My dining room is my favorite room. Here is the view if you walk in the back door...

and here is the view if you walk in the front door.

Here is our beautiful kitchen/dining table that we got from Kristine for a super great price. Thanks Steeny, we love our table!

And this my precious readers, is my favorite piece of furniture EVER. I seriously wanted to weep when Mikey was assembling and building this for me. It's a china cabinet from my dreams. Seriously, it's the china cabinet I've been dreaming of since owning china...

but wait?! What is this? Is this a lock?

Ohmygosh!?! And is that a cute key? To unlock my cute key hole?
Yes. yes. it is!

And inside lies my Grandparent's china which they passed down to me.
It's the prettiest china I have ever seen (or owned for that matter)! It looks like a pattern I would have picked out for myself.

See how pretty?

If I could speak french, I would right now. Something about this china cabinet makes me want to speak french.

Or Japanese for that matter. I have english tea cups and japanese tea cups. What a beautiful pair these two darlings make!

I even have a gravy boat. If ever I wear to boat across a lake of gravy... I'd take this lovely boat across.
Ok, that was just bad, huh?
Well, this china makes me want to tell bad jokes because it's so lovely. I just don't care.

The little details

Top shelf

Top shelf. I guess you wouldn't really call it a shelf but my china cabinet and I don't mind, we can call it whatever we want.

It's just so cute. Every little detail including the backing just screams my name. It just looks so adorable and so me. I love it! I am in love with my china cabinet. I stayed up to 2AM getting all the dishes arranged and the glass windows washed out properly. *sigh* I love you, china cabinet.

Joni and I enjoy my favorite room.

Joni enjoys some banana bread.

How's the hot cocoa Joni? Oishi?