Zombie Takeover

Have you guys checked out PicMonkey, yet? 
If not, you're missing out. 
It's unbelievable easy to edit photos, add text and even do some other fun stuff!
Like make yourself into a  Zombie.  If you are interested in doing that sort of thing. 

Halloween in China is pretty uneventful. 
I had fun telling my kids about Halloween in class today. 
I drew kids in costumes on the board, houses decorated for Halloween and acted out knocking on each door and saying, "Trick or Treat!" They LOVED it! 

Seeing their eyes light up reminded me why I like Halloween so much.
I went trick or treating all the way through High school! I refused to give it up. 
Let's be clear. ;p
Not in one of those, "I'm a strange highschooler that still acts like a kid" kind of way, but the "I'm so cool-I don't care" way. 

I just loved the ambiance of it all. 
Costumes. Decorations. Candy. 
All the hooplah.

We really wanted to have a Halloween party, but with our Game Night, a Harvest Party this coming weekend and a going away party last weekend, we had no time to really invest in making an awesome Halloween party. 
Maybe next year!? 

Hope you all have a wonderful and safe Halloween! 
Eat an Almond Joy for me. 
Man,  I miss those!


Amazing Things

I think it's BEYOND AMAZING that the Lord loves us so much. That Jesus died for us, to be our redemption. And shows us more of Himself each day. I think it's amazing how good He is to us.
And I'm so thankful.

I praise Him for all these small, amazing things.

I think it's amazing that my sweet friend, Kate, did a walk on Saturday in honor of her brother who was born with Spina Bifida, while her family and brother walked at home. What an amazing sister. 
I think this baby polar bear picture from Pinterest is amazing! Look how tiny he is! Crazy to think he'll grow into this guy! Obviously, the polar bear who's like a foot taller than Zach, not Zach. 


Things that make me Smile

Pumpkin Patch pictures and videos of my little sister walking! 
Going on a lunch date with Zachary today because we got off work early.
The fact that she has her back legs on the couch and her front legs on the ground.
And this sweet face.
Even when she's begging for food.
Cookie trails and babies covered in cookie crumbs. 


Just a Small Town Girl

Man, I have that amazing, karaoke song stuck in my head, "Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world! Took the midnight train going anywhere... " Such a good song. Well, really I only know the first few lines... but it's good. In my head, it's good. It's good people.
Thursday Throwback
Speaking of small towns, let me tell you about one that is dear to my heart. Hemphill. This small, East Texas town is where my mom's parents grew up. They were both apart of big, 8 and 9 kid, families and have a long family history in Hemphill. My Papa Ted still lives there and my grandma and grandpa have a Lake House on the Toledo Bend Lake.
Word is I'm "kin" to everyone in town and about every time I visit, I meet someone who I'm supposed to know, who remembers me completely {because they met me in their 50's, when I was 2 or something}, but I have no idea who they are {because they're now in their 70's.}
"You know Sue! She's your cousin!" is a common conversation among me and my papa. There are lots of family members living there that I do remember. Great aunts and uncles who are dear to my heart.

All growing up Hemphill was a retreat for us kids. It was one of the one times we got completely away from stress and electronics. We just rested and practiced being kids. We loved four-wheeling through the huge pine tree forests and making up stories in the Indian graveyard. We would catch lizards to sell back home at the local pet shop for a $1 each and collect cicada shells (which we called locust shells).
Some of my best memories were made there. Like making mud pies the day after it rained, picking mulberries from the tree in the back, gathering black berries from the field and catching daddy long legs. We planted seeds, fished, shot bb guns, picked crops, ran around during fish fries, scuffed our knees, broke arms, got dirty and did all that stuff kids are supposed to do when they're kids.
When my brother, Justin and I, were little my grandpa bought us horses. My horse was a white horse named Baby and Justin's was a brown horse named Cocoa. I would go to school and tell people that I had a horse but nobody believed me. Early on, I learned how to ride a horse (but am by no means an expert or confident at it). I loved being around those horses growing up. 
We had a black goat name Blackie. He was awesome. He was never afraid of us and acted more like a dog than a goat. My brothers and I would trick him to look one way while we jumped on his back. As soon as we jumped on he would take off across the pasture. We were excellent goatmen. One time, I even saved a baby goat's life, by teaching it how & where to get milk from it's mommy.

 Still to this day, my Papa's house is one of the most relaxing places for me. I love sitting on the front porch of a house that was around when people still had front porches and rocking in the big old rocking chairs or swinging on the porch swing. I love taking a bath in the old claw foot bath tub and feeling comfortable in my own skin. I can just let loose there. And be.
My Papa is full of love. He is so gentle and kind. I love the smell of his old spice and the cigarette smoke left on my skin. It reminds me of him. He, still to this day, always has a candy bowel stocked with our favorite candy bars and the fridge loaded with Dr. Peppers, which he calls 'soda water,' and chocolate milk. Growing up, when we left for home, he would empty out his coin jar in a bag and give it to us. It was so exciting to count all the change on the way home. Between the 3 of us we would always get anywhere from $20 to $70! I love to play dominoes or yahtzee with my Papa and to spend time with him.
I love the simplicity of Hemphill. The slow pace and the way it draws me to Jesus.
I am so thankful for all my times there and all the times to come!
I am thankful for this small town. And Papa if your reading this, I love you! We can't wait to sit on the porch with you next summer when we're in Texas.


Tempting Goodies

Don't you just love Pinterest?
It's amazing. I'm not sure how we cooked, baked or planned parties without it. ;p
I LOVE all the recipes but don't you notice a trend?

There's dozens upon dozens of dessert recipes. 
Just when I think there couldn't possibly be another dessert out there, I see something like "Root beer cookies," or   "Butter Beer Cupcakes." 
                    Sometimes, I even intentionally Pin something healthy, so I don't start looking too glutinous with all my dessert pins!

Tuesday Tidbits

It's Tuesday! You know what that means, Tuesday Tidbits! 
I know. I know. You're so excited. 
You just can't wait to hear about our week, right?! 
Well then, I won't keep you waiting. :) 

We had a busy week last week. One of the busiest. 
So much so that I had to just crash all Saturday and do nothing. 
Just detox. 
Stress/anxiety detox. 
Everything we did was awesome & encouraging but after a week so busy 
I can feel anxiety rising in my chest and my heart start to flutter again. 

But Sunday I was ready to go!


Game Night

Our church decided to put together a Game Night last Saturday to invite friends from our work & other foreigners in Qingdao and we hosted at our Casa. 
Of course, I was soooo excited to be hosting & love an excuse for a party.
You guys, if you haven't had a Game Night in awhile, DO IT! 
It was soooo much fun! 
Most people didn't leave until close to 2 am. 

As I've mentioned before, China doesn't exactly have a wealth of supplies for party decorating and creating. {Unless you want every party & creation to be with Red Lanterns and red & gold Chinese words--Those they have in abundance.}
We had to improvise and do what we could with playing cards, paper, tape and string. :)
I think it turned out pretty cute. The best party about these simple decorations was that they were super cheap! 
Kate and I spent a Friday evening watching Chick Flicks, cutting, and pasting. It was the best! :) 
"May the odds be EVER in your Favor" 
We made sure to incorporate the theme through out the house.


Quinoa Veggie Chili

Now most of you know I'm from Texas. And as a Texas girl, my daddy made sure I was raised on meat. And let me tell you, I love meat! I seriously can walk through a bakery, past the delicious breads, towards the smell of chicken. Crazy, right?! **Ideally organic, free range chicken. :)**
And I've probably encouraged us to eat at Sitting Bull or Koronas one too many times.
(I can't help it! Ribs! Yum!)
Though I fully love meat, I am all about this Quinoa Veggie Chili! Because it is fabulous!
And this is from a girl, raised and taught, that chili is not chili without the meat!

Try it out for yourselves! It's loaded with delicious, nutritious veggies and the protein packed, gluten-free, power food, quinoa. 

Speaking of quinoa, when speaking of it, how do you pronounce it?! I'm at loss people. I always pronounce it coy (like the fish)-no-a. Wikepedia says keynwa. I have heard many people pronounce it all different ways. What's the correct way to say it? Any Spanish speakers out there?
How do you say it??
Please help me stop sounding like an idiot when talking quinoa. :) 
How to make this awesome chili:

1 cup quinoa 
(soaked at least 4 hours) 
1 can of corn
2 cans of red kidney beans
2 zucchinis
1 onion
( chopped & sautéed)
1 carrot
5 large tomatoes
2 green bell peppers
1 jalepeno pepper
2 red bell peppers
1 bunch of cilantro
10 mushrooms cut in 3's
3 tbs chili powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tbs garlic salt
5 cups of water

Chop the tomatoes & add to the pot with a 1/2 cup of water.
Cook until the tomatoes are broken down and simmering.
Cook 1 cup of quinoa with 1 1/2 c water in a rice cooker. (or stove top) 
Chop the vegetables and add all ingredients to the pot while quinoa is cooking.
Add quinoa. 
Cook until all veggies are to your liking

Serve hot with mozzarella or cheese of choose on top. 

Enjoy the healthy, amazingness!


Halloween Korean Style

We have been so busy this week and still fighting colds! 
{Being so busy probably doesn't help the colds.} 
So, I am just now getting to Thursday's post, today. So sorry. Forgive me? :) 
Without further ado, 
Thursday Throwback 
Halloween Korean Style
I know I've mentioned it before but Halloween in Korea was so much fun. 
Our school was gung-ho for Halloween and shelled out the time and money for it.

**As a side note, I nearly cried looking at these pictures. I was so close to my students in Korea. We had small classes and they were with me the whole day. I loved them to pieces. I even had a dream one time I was a duck and they were my ducklings. :) I miss them so much! That's the sad part of teaching abroad because most likely I'll never see them again. I know God has amazing plans for each of their lives though, so I trust in that!

The week leading up to our big Halloween bash was spirit week which included pumpkin carving, crafts and dress up days. 
Each day the week the kids had to come to school dressed up a certain way. 
Pajama Day
My 9 sleeping Babies


Tuesday Tidbits

Happy Tuesday everyone! Tuesday's finishing up on this side of the world, and it's been a good one. :) 
We had a busy week this past week and I can't wait to share it all with you! 
I'm excited to post later this week about our awesome Game Night Saturday night & to share some new recipes with you!

Also, be sure to stop by The Chronicles of Ruthie Hart
where I'm giving away a beautiful pearl necklace!
Tuesday Tidbits
  • I'm all about easy, few ingredient desserts and this Pineapple Upside Down Cake fit those requirements. And it was delicious! Recipe later this week. Wait in suspense loves. 


Baking Bread and Such

There is a bread factory next door to our school and the primary school backs up against it. Our classroom windows are always open and no matter what floor I'm on, the smell of baking bread is always wafting through the windows. Miraculously, it never makes me feel hungry, only thankful.
No matter how long we live in Asia, I refuse to ever wear nude panty hose socks with a dress, skirt or shorts. It's just tacky. And no matter how often I see it, I still think it looks bad.
I went in to H&M the other day and I knew it was a mistake. I even tried things on, just for fun. It was a mistake because 1. We have no extra money to be spending on clothes. 2. Whenever I see all the fantastic outfits, I naturally want them all. 3. Once I have shopping and clothes on the brain, it takes a lot for me to put my mind on other things.
But, to lay it down now, I'm going to live vicariously through the blog and say that IF I had money I would buy the following;


Do you like Italian?

I know, your thinking, "Italian what? Italian men? Italian food? Italian wine? The Italian language?" and your probably thinking yes to all of those questions. 
But what I'm asking is,
"Do you like Italian food?"
I know, who doesn't. Right?

I just found this post from Zachary's Birthday last year that for some reason was never published. I will say, rereading this post made me really hungry! Specifically, the dessert and wine posted below made me hungry! We have yet to go back to this restaurant! But now, I am thinking, we must.

So, without further ado, I give you Napoli's Italian Restaurant!
Our first night in Qingdao, we got dressed up, and headed to Napoli’s, a highly recommended Italian restaurant on Tripadvisor. It is conveniently located on the main road, Xiang gang West Lu, across from the Haitian hotel, which is on most Qingdao tourist maps.
We loved the atmosphere and feel of Napoli’s. It’s quiet and quaint with great pictures on the wall and décor.
{Don't we look much thinner now? ;p}

Livin' it up in Costa Rica

Thursday Throwback Costa Rican Style
{well Friday... sorry about that.}
{Please excuse the thumbs up & ridiculous face. I was in highschool people. AND those bananas were hecka heavy. So I really did deserve a thumbs up. ;p Also, please excuse this awkward stage I was going through with my looks at this point in life. }
In 2005 I was so blessed to go to the amazingly beautiful country of 
Costa Rica. 
And the best part, I got to go with my two best friends in highschool, Noellia and Juliette.

Costa Rica might be one of my favorite places ever! 
It's an amazing country and there is so much to do!! I experienced months worth of excitement in only 2 weeks.
Noellia's family is from Costa Rica so we got to experience Costa Rica in authentic Costa Rican style. We stayed in her families' homes, {which were gorgeous}, learned spanish from her grandpa, and ate plantains and cheese cooked by her grandma. And we got local prices & insider access on all the fun, touristy stuff. 

There are so many fun pictures that I don't have on the computer! I didn't buy a digital camera until a year later. These babies were all disposable.
 Hence the fantastic quality. 
We stayed at her families farm house, where we lounged on hammocks and drank coconut juice from the coconut tree in their front yard. Their farm house had a great view of the active, Arenal volcano in La Fortuna. 
We went skinny dipping in the Arenal Lagoon (where the lava flows) and visited some super relaxing hot springs.
Isn't it beautiful?! Postcard perfect.


Do you like to Party?

Last week we were super stoked to have some friends over for Zachary's birthday
We weren't paid for the last 3 months while we were on vacation {What?! You don't get paid for sitting at Starbucks everyday?! What?!-- Actually, next summer we will, but that's beside the point. :) } so we were lacking in the funds on his actual birthday and had to work. 
Soooo we postponed his party a few days but I think it still turned out pretty awesome! 

Have we mentioned before how much we love having people over?! 

The Menu:
 I cooked up some mini burgers and fries! 
Potatoes, ready to be battered and fried
Recognize these guys? That's right, they're the awesome ranch burgers I posted about!

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