Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's for dinner? "corn dog muffins"

One thing that is always a challenge for moms is deciding and fixing dinner most night.  Jon can and will cook, but it is usually my responsibility.  Living in China adds both great opportunities and extra challenges in this.  I usually enjoy cooking (at least when it goes well).  I hate trying to figure out what to cook.  I like when I have a menu planned.  Then I don't have to think about it as much every night.  From time to time, I will try to blog about some of the things we cook.  If I remember, I might even post pictures.

The other day for lunch I made " corn dog muffins".  I got the idea from Pintrest.  I tried it once with the kids, but I did not add enough hot dogs.  This time, they turned out great.

Getting hot dogs here is a challenge.  I really do not like Chinese hot dogs.  They are more like big Vienna sausages.  But I can sometimes find "one bite beef sausages" by Hormel.  They look like lil' smokies and taste like regular hot dogs. I sliced up two packages, and just added them to my corn bread recipe.  We ate these with ketchup or mustard (depending on what we like on corn dogs).
You could use a corn muffin recipe if you want, but I think that Jiffy muffins are too sweet for this kind of muffin.

The kids really like this lunch.  We will make these again.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hallie's birthdays.

I am very far behind on the things I should have blogged.  This blog should have been posted back in November, or at least at the beginning of December.  Oh well, better late than never.  By now this is old news, but you have not seen the pictures!

On November 9, Hallie turned 11.  This year she wanted a banana cake.  I made it from scratch. which is good because cake mixes have been hard to find in Hangzhou lately.

A couple of weeks after her birthday, Jon found a letter in our room from Hallie.  She said that she wanted to be baptized.  She felt that she was ready.  I am not really sure why she decided to write a letter.....

About a year ago, she thought she was ready, but when we asked her some questions about it, she did not have an answer.  Jon told her to study some and do some more praying and thinking on it.   I kind of expected something to happen this summer.  I kept praying for her but was very careful not to push her.  This had to be her decision and it needed to be for the right reasons.

After we found the letter, we talked to her again.  She told us why she felt that she was ready this time.  She told us that she had read that book twice...Am I Ready to be Baptized? (AP press).

We encouraged her to write all of her reasons down, so that if years from now, she has any doubts, she can look back at her thoughts and decide if she really did know what she was doing.

Then we decided that she would be baptized that coming Sunday.  We were all super excited.   Jon sent a message to EVERYONE in his phone.
Jay Beamon and his daughter came from Jinghua!  Some of Jon's students came.

Here Shelly is showing some of Jon's students how to find the passage we were reading.

The two girls in the front are part of Jon's English corner group.

This is Shelly.  She was very happy too!

We all shared gave her encouragement and advice.  It was really nice.  Jon did not cry (hardly at all).

Margaret and Elaine talked about how Hallie is an example to us all.  Margaret had some family in town and they wanted her to not go this morning, but she told them that she HAD to go and could not miss this.  They were actually interested and wanted to come to, but Margaret thought it would be too many people.

Lots of smiling faces in the hallway outside of the bathroom.  They were all so excited for her and our 

I am so proud of her and the young woman she is becoming!

Looking back!

 At the beginning of 2012, I thought I would take a quick look back at 2011.  I looked back at my blogs and Facebook status since last January.

In January, we gained a new sister as Jane (Ge wen) was baptized.  We also had snow twice.  Our breaker box broke and we were with out electricity for one night.  Our washing machine broke at the beginning of Spring festival time. 

In February, we celebrated Chinese new Year, and after a few weeks,  the washing machine was finally fixed. 

In March, Hallie cooked dinner for the family, and we paid off our school loans and are debt free!

In April, I had my second oral surgery.  It was not as bad this time.  I was very thankful to have that behind me.  We met a girl from Ningbo that needed someone to baptize her.  (Jon did it)  Jon’s computer died.
We celebrated Easter.  We had 18 at our apt. to color eggs, and we had 56 at the Easter egg hunt.

In May we went out to the country- side with Li wen’s family and had a cook-out.  Our Ayi (on her e-bike) got hit by a bus .  Thankfully she was not hurt too badly.
Liam turned 8!

In June we found out that Jon’s job situation was not what we had thought and he had to start job hunting.  It was stressful, but it all worked out and he signed a contract two hours before we left Hangzhou to start our trip to the US.  Hallie had a Bible study with her friend Bliss.  We flew home to the US for a needed visit with friends and family.

In July, Jon worked fireworks, Hallie went to camp, and Jon and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. We got to spend some time with our Clear Creek family.  The kids made friends with Odie (the Golden’s dog). We drank as much Dr Pepper and Sweet tea as we could and loaded up on American junk food for a year.

In August, due to some paperwork issues Jon could not make the trip back to China at the same time as the rest of the family.  Many people were nervous, but the trip went smoothly and I was fine.  Eryn turned 7! I learned to make yogurt and granola.  Eryn had an ear infection but we treated her and she was fine.

In September we had ants in the kitchen and Hallie and Eryn had their first modeling shoot.  Jon also started teaching classes at his new school.

In October, we took a trip to Shaoxing. The Rays and Proyers visited and Jane (a different Jane) was baptized. Shane was also baptized.  Our oven broke, but we got another one for free.  Hallie shot a commercial.  We celebrated Halloween with real orange pumpkins, cool costumes, and too much candy.

In November, Hallie turned eleven.  She was also baptized!  Her school computer died, but she got a new one.  We celebrated Thanksgiving with a huge dinner (30 + people) at our house.  The Russells came to visit.

In December, the Zhengs ate lunch with us after church and we celebrated Christmas. 

I had thought that especially last school year had not really been a good year, but when I looked back on it. I could really see the blessings. 

We were extremely blessed in 2011!  We are looking forward to another great year in 2012!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Beginnings

The holidays can he hard here in China.  We miss our families.  We miss tasteful decorations.  We even miss the commercials on TV.  China kinda celebrates Christmas, but they don't get it right most of the time.  It is just weird.  We also do not have time off of work.  We do get Christmas day off, if we push it, but Christmas usually falls during or near final exams, and we must make up the class.  Thankfully, in the last 4 years, we only had a problem with this our first year.  Every other year, Christmas fell on a day that we already did not have class.

As far as being homesick, this year was not that bad.  But the holidays seem kind of...anti climatic.  But the really cool thing about being in China, is that once the New year rolls around...things start gearing up for Chinese New Year (aka Spring Festival).  This is China's biggest holiday.  It is a HUGE deal.  ( here is an video I made last year about the holiday)

In preparation for the new year, many people will get a new hair cut, new clothes, sometimes new jobs or homes.  They clean their apartments from top to bottom.  They want to start the new year with a "fresh slate".  I am not sure the Chinese exactly make new years resolutions but they do have the idea of a fresh start.

I feel like it is sort of a second chance for a new beginning.  I did not really make any New Years resolutions but I do plan to for Chinese New Year.    One thing I want to do better for the "new year" is to post more on this blog.  I have plans to post about 3 times a week.  Some posts will be very simple... like Thankful Thursdays, and maybe a picture with not much writing to go with it.  But I need to post more.

We also do the whole deep cleaning the house thing too.  Jon just emptied out the vacuum bag and we (he) just vacuumed the whole couch and all the corners in the living room, plus the heating/ ac unit.  I put cotton balls in the bag with tea tree oil and eucalyptus essential oils.  Everything smells fresh and clean!

I love new beginnings!