Wednesday, January 17, 2018


We made dumplings! 

My friend Ray hosted a dumpling making party the other day. The original plan was to have each of us make a slightly different kind of dumpling - a Korean style, Japanese style, and Chinese style.  At the last moment the Japanese style representative had to drop out due to a family sickness, but we made a whole lot of Korean and Chinese style dumplings together. I was in charge of the Chinese-style, and while I had never made them before, I was excited to try. Granted, all these versions have overlapping elements and there is an endless amount of variations that you can put into dumplings, regardless of nationality, but the first time I tried my mother-in-law's pork and cabbage dumplings, I was surprised by how different they were compared to the Korean ones I was used to. They are also delicious, which is why I was excited to try my hand at it. My mom-in-law gave me the list of ingredients she uses, along with some instructions, and I also found this recipe to help me with specific measurements. We used pre-made dumpling skins (maybe next time we try making our own!) and made a ton of dumplings - plenty of which we consumed that day and others that we froze for later consumption. We also tried different ways of cooking - steam, pan-fried and even deep-fried some! Ken rightly pointed out that the pork and cabbage ones should be boiled to get the right effect, and he boiled dumplings and made the perfect sauce to go with them. It was great fun and I can't wait to try it again. Here are some photos of the making process; I didn't get any photos of the cooked dumplings because we were all too busy gobbling them up! 

Monday, January 8, 2018


source: kelly zellers via designlovefest

it's a new year and I'm excited about it!

thank you for this new year, God.

things i will continuing doing in this new year: 
1. gratitude.  as i go through the day, i try to mentally say "thank you God" constantly, especially for the little things. yesterday i found myself saying things like: "thank you for this stove we have to warm up food", "thank you that my babies can sleep in a warm room", "thank you for house slippers", etc.
2. podcasting. we took a six week break at the end of 2017, but we are back at it and it looks like we will keep it up for as long as we still like doing it.
3. staying in touch with family. we are constantly trying to find the best ways to stay in touch over distances and time differences, and recently we came upon this app called marco polo that is working well for us. it's a video walkie talkie (that doesn't take up any data!) and it has been really useful.

source: camille gressier via designlovefest

resolution in the new year: 
i usually avoid resolutions and prefer to set goals, but this year, it's the reverse. i have one resolution that i've been working hard on. it's not necessarily an outcome or result i'm going for here. rather, i want to change the rhythm of my every day. i want to work on the process. it's simple: my one resolution this year is to go to sleep early and wake up early. the last few months of 2017, i found myself feeling dragged through my day, trying to catch up and get everything done, and this resulted in me seeking respite in the quick fixes - like wine or being on my phone to zone out in between endless chores - instead of spending those precious moments on things that will actually rejuvenate me.  i had it in mind all last year that i would reinstate my early morning time, but not really committing - i.e. trying to wake up early but not going to sleep early enough - so i am using the change in year to implement this in full force.  there is a lot that i want to do, and if i actually want to get things done i know that i need to have the right mindset, prioritize, and take the lead in my day. although i am not naturally a morning person, waking up in the morning before kids to set the tone of the day is so helpful for me, so it's worth it. i also value the alone time and hope that it will make me more disciplined in getting time to read and write! I don't want this to just be a goal, I want it to be a lifestyle and so I'm taking it one day at a time and trying to also make it as realistic as possible. for now i'll be more flexible with bed time and wake time on the weekends, and i'll give myself grace if i fail but keep trying again and again.

 it's only been a week so far, but it's already been both great and hard. hilariously, the very first night/morning i started this (the night of jan 1), ken went to bed early with me at 9:30 AM and then he woke up at 3:30 AM and couldn't go back to sleep, which then woke up me and we were both out of bed at 3:50 AM to start the day. (well, ken ended up going back to sleep, but not before he made some fried rice to eat and watched an episode of the office.)  i felt great waking up that first morning and i even got a tabata work out in, along with all my other morning rituals.  i've been keeping it up, but since that first morning, waking up has been hard!   i think it has something to do with the fact that when i sleep at 9:30 AM and wake up at 4:30 AM, i am waking up in the middle of my sleep cycle (so i end up snoozing until 5:30 AM). so i am still playing around with what the best bed time and wake time is for me.

my morning ritual these days consist of: brushing my teeth and putting in my contacts (i wash my face only at night), and then heading down to the kitchen to make coffee while i listen to the day's bible reading through the CBR app.  then i take my coffee back upstairs to get ready (moisturize, make-up, get dressed). while i do this, i've been listening to affirmations and then music (i love waking up with music!), and and then come back downstairs to do meditation. right now I'm using the Calm app, and only doing 2 minutes.  it's amazing how refreshing (and difficult) 2 minutes of meditating is. hopefully, i'll work my way up!*  i make my to-do list for the day while eating breakfast and then get in a chunk of reading or writing time. ideally it's both, but most mornings i end up having to choose just one.  then i make the girls breakfast and go wake them up to get them ready for the day.

source: ashley mary via designlovefest

*speaking of meditation, last thursday, aka snow day, i got sloane and logan to do meditation with me. logan only lasted about 15 seconds - a very adorable 15 seconds where she squinted her eyes shut tight while peeking out of one eye and breathed in through her nose and out her mouth - but sloane sat still with me practicing breathing for the full 2 minutes. i told her to pay attention to her breathing and asked her to think about something nice. afterwards when i asked her what she thought about, she said that she thought about having a picnic, picking flowers, sliding down a waterfall...and sleep. 

source: chloe bruderer via designlovefest 

ok let’s do this! i'll check in with progress updates once in a while throughout this year. feel free to share resolutions and goals you are working on this year too. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! This post is filled with photos from Christmas but I wanted to acknowledge that I am very excited for the new year. I'll share more in a following post, but let's just say I've been ready for 2017 to be over and I'm taking the opportunity of a new year to get serious about practicing some long-desired habits.

Before we get to 2018 though, I want to recognize the sweetness of Christmas day - after a flurry of activities the week before, Christmas day was slow and I savored every bit of that. My sister Sharon and her husband Paul came down to spend the day with us, and it was such a treat to have them around the house all day, with no other agenda except to spend time together. They were wonderful about spending lots of time playing on the floor with the girls (who adore them!) and my sister and I even got to have a few hours to talk and catch up after the kids went to bed and the guys went to go watch Star Wars.  Lots of lovely moments from this day, but some of my favorites were: watching Sloane giddy with excitement about giving Logan her gift of a stuffed dog (which Logan LOVES. "I KNEW she would love it!" Sloane shouted with joy), opening stockings, homemade peanut brittle (courtesy of Mignon), watching Sharon play games with Sloane, chatting with Paul about life, Christmas spaghetti, and putting the girls to bed together with my sister.

Saturday, December 30, 2017


Happy last week of December!  The past few weeks have been intense and there is a small part of me that is sad to leave the twinkle of December, but most of me is relieved that we are moving on to a new year!  I'm looking forward to the reset that this year change encourages and I've been taking moments here and there to think about this past year and set some goals for the next.

An exciting part about the week before Christmas was that Ken's cousin and his family came to visit us from California. We don't get to see them often so it was great to catch up and have the girls play together. They also brought their new puppy, Kino - the girls and Rusty were very excited to have this house guest in particular.

Christmas Eve morning looked like this! We got dressed and went to church together for a beautiful service. Afterwards, we drove to Silver Spring, MD, to meet my family up there...including a cousin who flew in last minute from South Korea.

Christmas Eve dinner made by my sister, Eunice - so delicious!

After dinner, we went over to my cousin, Lois' place for tea and dessert. She made little tags for our cups, with photos of things that represented each person. Mine had a picture of a camera, Ken had barbells, Sloane had paint and easel, and Logan had a picture of her cheetah.

Lois! She did the dessert Korean style with lots of fruit, great tea, and baked sweet potatoes. It was perfect.