Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Goal #4: Sew Something

When Caty got a new sewing machine a few weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to try a few things.

 I used some old clothes to make extra cloth wipes and a nursing cover (this tutorial was very helpful, in case you want to try it!)

 My next sewing project is a spare fitted sheet for the bassinet.

 I see why sewing can become an's so rewarding to make something new out of something old.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


These are a few of Micah's favorite weekend activities...and ours, too!

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Friday Brunch Girls Reunited

Our first year in Taiwan, Michelle and Brownie used to come over for brunch every Friday.  This past year, our differing schedules prevented us from meeting regularly, but we still kept in touch and saw each other from time to time.  Last week, both girls came over and we made dinner together.  (Well, Michelle and Brownie did most of the work while insisting that I sit down and rest.  It was quite the treat!)

Michelle made champvallon, and it was delicious!  It was really fun to catch up together.  I'm thankful for these friends.  We will really miss Michelle when she moves to France next month, but we are excited for the new adventures that await her.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Goal #3: Homemade Cleaning Supplies

My friend Caty Joyce is an inspiration to me.  She makes her own deodorant, shampoo, soap...pretty much everything.  Amazing.  I like the idea of making your own natural stuff, but sometimes it sounds like an awful lot of work.  Well, this week I did an online search for homemade cleaning "recipes" and whipped this one up in about five minutes...using ingredients I already had in the house (like vinegar).  I wish I had done this a long time ago!

It's cheap, safe, and has been working great so far.

Maybe shampoo will be next...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Super Awesome News About A Little Boy We Love

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer Goal #2: Start a Rooftop Garden

When I was in Wisconsin, I got to taste fresh rhubarb from my Grandpa Jim's garden and fresh cucumbers from my Nanu's garden.  Yum!  That was the motivation I needed to complete summer goal #2 this week: make a rooftop garden.

Last summer I attempted to start a window garden...but my poor plants died in the first typhoon post-planting because I forgot to bring them inside!  Oops.  Hopefully I will be a bit more diligent this time, and we will be rewarded with fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce over the next several months.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Okara Cookies

I mentioned before that I've been experimenting with okara, the leftover bean powder you get from making soy milk. This week I used it to make gluten-free okara cookies. They taste like chewy granola bars.

 I made a few substitutions: using GF flour mix instead of regular flour, reducing the sugar to 1/4 C and adding a mashed banana, and using leftover GF chocolate cake crumbs instead of the coconut.

I will definitely be mixing up another batch of these.  Yum!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

31 Weeks

Only 9 weeks to go! 

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Password Protected Post (Test)

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Homemade Soy Milk

A couple months ago, my friend Shuey taught me how to make homemade soy milk.

Since then, we've made it every week.

It's a great alternative to cow's milk because it's...

...delicious (even Kalan likes it, and he's usually not a fan of soy); (50 cents for a week's supply);
...healthy (full of protein);
...pretty easy to make (see recipe below).

1 C soybeans, soaked in water overnight
Sugar or honey to taste
Vanilla to taste (optional)


1. Put the soaked beans in a blender.  Add about twice as much water as beans.  Blend well...a few minutes at least.

2. Pour the bean/water mix into a large pot, using cheese cloth to strain it.  (I couldn't find cheese cloth so I use a cloth bag Shuey gave me).  Squeeze all the milk through the cloth, leaving the bean leftovers in the cloth.  You can squeeze about 2 cups of additional water through the bag to get even more milk.

3. Set the bean leftovers (called "okara") aside to use later, if you wish.

4.  Bring the milk to a boil and let simmer for several minutes.  Skim off foam that forms.  Stir frequently to prevent a film from developing on the bottom.

5. Turn off the heat.  Add sugar/honey and vanilla to taste.

6. Enjoy hot or store it cold in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days.  Use like regular milk.

Make sure to wash out your bag or cheesecloth so you can re-use it later.

You can use the leftover okara in many ways.  We've used it to make GF bread (which was awesome), and last night I baked it as a dessert crisp topped with fresh peaches (also yummy). I'm looking forward to experimenting more with it.

Thanks Shuey, for teaching us the art of soy milk-making!  We miss you.  :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tainan II

A few more photo highlights from our recent vacation:

In front of a huge bonsai tree at the Confucius Temple 

After walking around the Confucius Temple, we stopped here for some fresh tropical fruit.  Yum!
At the Anping Tree's a tree house built into this bonsai tree.  
Pedaling water energy...not sure why this was there, but it was fun.

Famous Temple in Anping 
The small black statue in the middle is the oldest Matsu idol in Taiwan (if I understood correctly).  Matsu is said to be the primary deity of Taiwan.

Outside the temple, people were writing their prayers (I think) and hanging them like this.

Since we were near the coast, we often passed families working together to sort edible mussels and oysters from masses of sea...weed?

At an old Dutch fort, from when the Dutch colonized Taiwan.
For my mom and Collette.  :)
Official Taiwan residents for two years now.  Thankful for this week of rest before starting a new semester of work and a new season of parenthood.