Cooking 101: Michelle

Kitchen is the busiest part of our house. Ever wonder how sometimes our kitchen would be a source of laughter? Ask Michelle to cook and the rest will be hilarious. But sometimes, she’s so serious, like a boss. One time, I promised her to cook Filipino style spaghetti for a friend and I was so late going back home from a trip to a nursery in Fallbrook. She prepared the ingredients and half of instructions were given via phone. Multi tasking at its best! That’s the serious Michelle.

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Now, on the not so serious side side. There was this time when she was craving for Korean Jajjangmeun or Korean black bean sauce noodles. She’s always looking forward to go to Zion market after her violin rehearsal every Saturday. But it was winter break, so no trip down south. And it was time to head up north to bring her Auntie Lola to LAX so we dropped by a Korean market in LA and bought some ingredients. And here she was, playing with cooking.  A friend told me that the black sauce looks like a fudge. 😋cooking101-2

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When she was younger, she dreams of becoming a chef someday. How I wish! 😉

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For years, Mich attended our apartment’s monthly cooking lessons. Most of the time, she was the only kid in the cooking class. Here she learned from Chef Josh how to make raviolis.

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This was the first cake Mich ever baked. It’s for her Kuya’s 15th birthday. Kitchen was so messy after but learning is more important.

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What can I say? Unleash your culinary skills someday. Cook delicious food! Mat itda 있다! Cook Filipino food like Kare Kare or just make hotdog waffles Pinoy style. :)

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Kids

When a facebook memory shows up and you want to remember the good old days when Dora was a must, pink was the only color that matters, and umbrella was life for Asians who just moved to America. During this time, we were just new to our apartment in Layton, Utah and exploring the nearby Woodward Park. We would spend about 2-3 hours in the park. I go for a walk or jog while Ad rides his bike and Mich plays in the playground. This was about 10 years ago. I love that facebook has this memories that pop from time to time. Because of that I can’t shut down my fb for good. How about resurrect this hairstyle this summer, Mich? 
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Self Portrait

The true artist in the family is not afraid of doing a self portrait. :) This was done by a 4 year old Joan Michelle. That time, her favorite color was pink. I hope Gagosian gallery will add this to their collection one day. This is really one of a kind. 😂

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Violin

by Michelle (entry was done years ago but posted just today)

Ever since I was seven years old, I was obsessed with playing the violin, ever since I found out how interesting my friend said it was.IMG_0530

I begged my parents to buy me a violin, and they did. That was a very good decision.
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When I look back at myself, I can tell that my violin skills have improved so much.
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I really want to go to a music university, because I love playing the violin so much! If my friend never brought her violin to a Thanksgiving party, I wouldn’t have ever gone this far.IMG_0729

I love string instruments (Violin, viola, cello, bass, etc.) so much. I might even consider to start the cello.

Piggyback

Piggyback rides = back scratch. Barter trade! Or sometimes $1 per ride? I don’t know what the deal is, but I wish you two will stay close even when you grow old and have your own family. That you will look after one another even when we’re miles away or when we’re gone. Love, encourage and strengthen each other. Rejoice with each other when it’s time to rejoice.

Times like these (shown photos) are worth remembering. Here, Mich was holding a Jicama. I would probably cook lumpia that day. :) Lumpia is the only Filipino food that Mich would eat at that age. Utah.

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Michelle and Ad at the Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁

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Michelle just woke up, cranky and doesn’t want to walk. I wonder if I had another son, would he want to get a piggy back from Kuya?piggyback2

Vegas with their grandma. Mich convinced her Kuya to carry her. An obligatory piggyback that Ad could not refuse. That’s the power of being a bunso. :) Thank you, Ad for putting up with your sister’s whims. piggyback1

Christmas at The Promenade, Mission Valley. Laugh a lot, fight later. 😂IMG_3297

Borrego Springs, CA.piggyback

“To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.” ― Clara Luz Zuniga Ortega

20

Huh? Has it been 20 years?

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Twenty years have gone by without us noticing because we’re just enjoying the ride. Sure there were ups and downs along the way, but that’s part of the journey. I am thankful to God for giving me a man who would love me unconditionally. Forever grateful to you for always caring for me and the kids and protecting us from any form of harm. To reminisce our time together, I’ve chosen some of my favorite photos. The first one was during our first couples retreat in Montemar. I was few months pregnant that time. retreat2 retreat2 copyThank you for bringing me to places I’ve never been to. There were places that give me chills and apprehension but so far nothing bad happened during our stay in a specific place. I remember this feeling of uneasiness in Pearl Farm during our 7th anniversary trip but after praying, everything went well. Few months after, this exact place was attacked by terrorists and kidnapped some tourists. 
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Thailand holds a special place in my heart coz it was the first out of the country trip for us as a couple. We went there many times but this was the most relaxing one. We went to buffets, street food trips, Thai massage, and shopping without thinking of schedules and all.

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Our first fall season in Utah. We were so thin then. Lol. Life was so simple. We make our own pizza and go to Mcdonald’s most Sundays. We don’t have a car but we managed to walk the kids to school and drop by Target to get some groceries. Life was simple but beautiful.

utahSeoul is good for the soul. I love it there. If there’s another country I would love to explore and live for two years, that would be South Korea. Definitely, you’ll know who GD and BB because we’ll surely watch their concerts.

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We spent one new year’s day in Laguna Niguel. That was just so relaxing. Walking by the beach to see the sunset. Stroll along the streets to find some unique things from the store. That’s my kind of lazy day.

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During our early hiking life, we’d love going to Stonewall peak coz of it’s 360 view and it’s easy to go up.

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The smile was caused by hurried selfie using stick. You seldom wear cap because it will destroy the look of your hair but hey, you look cool here. Lower antelope is so pretty. It’s like we’re inside a big pottery. lol.

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Lake Powell is one of my most favorite campground. It’s where I first experienced seeing shooting stars at night.

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I don’t know if you appreciate art as much as I do, but thank you for bringing me to some of the best modern art museums.

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Maroon bells is so mesmerizing. Though we didn’t get to see the reflection of the mountains because the rain was heavy that time, it was so worth it to go there. I’ve never experienced seeing palette of live greens. It was so amazing.

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As far as I remember, it took us 50 hours driving to see a lot of things including Mt. Rushmore. It was fun and so memorable.

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Funny how we would drive 6 hours just to sleep and take photos then drive another 6 hours to go home. Sometimes I would think we’re just so crazy. But that’s what I like about being with you, I’ve learned to see things in adventurous way.

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Our first Perseid meteor watching experience in Mt. Laguna was a blast. We had portable camping stove and supplies thus, we got hot choco and cup noodles while watching. Too bad, I forgot to bring popcorn. Then the next morning, we started adding some miles to our Pacific Crest Trail hiking log.
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Honestly, this post is rushed and incomplete and no editing will be done because I want to post it today. I hope you appreciate it. It’s so cheesy to say here that I’d rather tell you personally, I love you (whisper). Happy 20th wedding anniversary. Hope to hike Machu Picchu with you on our 25th. :)

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Springtime

Can’t wait for spring to come! I love to see spring flowers. I’m super excited to plant. So please no more frost okay? A day of frost last week wiped all my tomatoes. 😢

Photo here was taken in Layton, Utah when Mich was in kindergarten. So many lovely memories with Mrs. Moon, right, Mich? Remember the time you told Mrs. Moon that your favorite food is rainbow rice? 😂 And you explained to her why. Also some bad memories of when a boy bullied you? I think that was the time when you got bruises and wounds because of that bully. That’s when I decided that my kids would learn martial arts. So you know why you got enrolled in Aikido. 😀 Anyways, any season in life is good as long as we have God’s grace and love. When dry season passes, there comes another season, which is a beautiful one like the flowers in the fields.
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Drink Your Milk

No glass? No problem. We got milk but we don’t have a cooler, so Mich had to finish the whole thing. 😂 This is the reason why she’s tall. Kidding! This was taken during one of those camping days in San Jacinto mountains in 2012.
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Drinking milk is not my thing. I struggle a lot with milk. Be it producing or drinking. 😂 I know it’s healthy but I can only tolerate it when I was pregnant with my kids since I need calcium for myself and my babies. I had to trick myself into making a 🥛 glass of milk alluring and appetizing. It had to be ice-cold and in a big Starbucks tumbler. For at least 6 months each, on a daily basis, I endured drinking milk. Thanks to Starbucks for stepping up the game in making beverages. Yes, we have Starbucks in the Philippines during my first pregnancy. That was almost 19 years ago. I love milk. Only on pancakes. And that’s a secret. 😜

 

Winter Olympics

Due to our busy schedule, we decided not to join this year’s winter olympics. 😂 So, I’m posting this in honor of all dreamers who made their way to Pyeongchang Olympics. Salute to all of you for your undying commitment to achieve your dream to win or to even qualify and be your country’s representative.

Here’s our family picture taken many years ago at US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. :)

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Hiking: Mt. Gower

This hike deserves immediate posting to remember the pain it caused our bodies. 🤣 Though there’s a shorter route to hike Mt. Gower, we gave the longer version a try since it would only be a once in a lifetime (probably) hike. Why? Because there’s still so much to hike in Southern California. So we’d rather hike other trails than repeating a hard hike. A difficult hike for me is something that has not much shade that you have to bring lots of water to hydrate or you’ll be like a melted candy🍬.

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Here, Laurence stands over some big granite boulders with backdrop of mountains we’ve already conquered hiking namely Iron Mountain, Mount Woodson and Palomar Mountain.gower2

Along the trail you’ll see some interesting rock formations as this one below. We called it “The Fangs” of Mt. Gower. The next photo shows the base of the next challenge to reach the summit of Mt. Gower. The challenge was to look for the actual trail and how to get there without scratches.

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Above picture shows the base of the two summits. What’s next? Scramble up the steep mountainside to reach the summit. Three teenagers went there fast and the two decided to sleep to recover.

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That’s the middle summit people! I’m here at the real summit. Good job husband for taking a little “quiet time”.

gower5Pictures don’t do justice as to how high we’ve gone up. If you just know how our hearts were exercised that day.

gower6At the summit where we had our lunch were different species of 🦋 butterflies mingling happily. It’s so nice to be there and experience the breeze and seeing that extraordinary view of San Diego County. gower8-1My Garmin watch was accidentally stopped when we’re more than 3 miles going up. So our hike was in between 8.4-9 miles @ 70s F weather. Going back was harder than we thought because we underestimated the need for water. We should have doubled our tank. The sun was up and draining us. That’s when we realized that this hike is not really moderate as what we perceived it to be.

Hiking list: Mt. Gower ✅

More hikes to conquer!

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