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Delicious “love boat”

So everybody raves about turning 21 here because it is the legal age for drinking alcohol and gambling. Besides 18, which is an official “adult,” 21 is supposed to be a huge milestone in your life. For me, it really wasn’t. There are multiple reasons, and I’m going to dive into them right now.

First of all, I was never really into the party, drugs, and drinking scene. Who am I kidding? “Never really?” More like, “seriously not.” It’s just not my thing. I would rather choose staying home and talking/gossiping with a few of my close friends sitting in a circle. Or playing cheesy card/board games with my sibling and cousins. Or watching a show/movie and cuddle up against my boyfriend.

As for drugs and alcohol, obviously it’s not legal for people under 21, but people still do it anyway. Not me, though. I’m just not into it. And it’s not that I was even specifically waiting to turn 21 before I could legally try alcohol. It was more like, hmm, I don’t really feel like I want to put alcohol into my system in order for me to have “fun.”

I will admit though, I do feel left out or awkward when everyone around me is getting ready to go clubbing or take shots of alcohol when I’d rather be somewhere else or just watch.

Of course, I’m not a simple “black and white” person, so I don’t have a firm stand on this whole alcohol situation for myself. I don’t see myself drinking to have “fun” but honestly if I end up trying a drink, I wouldn’t feel bad or feel as if I went against my own morals or anything. I considered trying a yummy, fruity drink for my birthday, but I ended up not doing it because it was expensive (I literally thought to myself, “Wow you can buy me food instead for that price!”) or the amount seemed too much for a first timer like me. After all, it’s my first alcoholic beverage, EVER. Don’t want any bad experiences.

So anyways, for my 21st birthday I didn’t even plan to do anything new and exciting (aka partying, clubbing, gambling, drinking), I just planned to go out with my boyfriend for a bit, and then have a nice sushi dinner with him and my family. However, that didn’t even work out. Sad, isn’t it?

When I first woke up, it felt great. My mom left me chocolate and a birthday card right outside my bedroom door. Eventually I got ready for my special day. I wore a cute dress. It was also a gloomy day and raining pretty hard early on (I hate rain), but I wore my warm rain boots. ^3^ I tried doing my hair, but apparently was having a bad hair day and it failed, so I stuck with simplicity.

Mart took me out for bowling (it was hump day aka Wednesday, and so games were also discounted) which was great. Until I broke a nail of course, but it was still an enjoyable experience. Here’s hoping I don’t break a nail for the third time in a row the next time I go bowling.

We promptly came home to have dinner with my family, but it was rather strange. Nobody seemed to be dressed in nice clothing to go out to dinner. Plus, Mart and I were a bit tired from bowling. So we decided to kill time a bit and play a few games of Uno (a card game), in hopes that perhaps my family might be ready to go later. So time passes on by, and I get a little suspicious and worried. So I go to my mom and ask her if we’re still eating dinner. She looks at me with a confused look, and things crash and burn from there.

My brother and my dad – they already ate dinner, she explained. My heart sank. But I thought we were eating dinner together?

When my mom came home from work, she saw that I was out with Mart, so she “figured” I already went to eat with him. She assumed that I wouldn’t be waiting for them to eat dinner. It broke my heart, it really did. Why would she assume that? I asked her specifically when we should eat dinner for my birthday, even to postpone it to a later date if she couldn’t make it. But she refused and said, “We should do it on the right date, your birthday.” When I had asked her what time exactly, she said she was unsure because she would be working late, but it would be after she came home from work. So that’s why I killed time with Mart by going out and having some fun before coming home in the evening, when my mom would be home and we could all go eat dinner.

It sounds like a simple plan right? Well, apparently it wasn’t. And my mom just assumed that our family dinner meant nothing to me and assumed I wouldn’t be going to dinner with them. Even when I deliberately waited. Nobody had the right to assume that about me, especially when I had a freaking cell phone where they could simply call me and ask if we were still eating dinner. Why did nobody contact me? Why didn’t anyone care enough to ask?

It tore my heart into pieces and made me fume with fury. I sat in our living room where I left my boyfriend waiting, and cried. And then I cried in his car…for a long time, until he forced me to go to dinner with him before the restaurant closed. In the end, he took me out to the Japanese place I wanted to eat at.

We shared a “love boat.” It was $20 per person, but we felt like it was very worth it for the presentation and for all the food. There was tempura (like sweet potatoes, onion, shrimp, etc), teriyaki chicken, sashimi, nigiri, and california roll. The meal also came with a bowl of rice, miso soup, and salad with really addicting ginger dressing. It was very filling!

So all in all my 21st birthday was rather…interesting or uninteresting, depending on how you look at it and which event we’re looking at here. In all honesty, my family and especially my mother disappointed me a great deal. I hadn’t been in such tears on my birthday ever since my 18th one. But having my boyfriend really made a difference and it turned what could have been one of the worst birthdays I ever had into a semi-nice one. I’m very thankful for having him in my life and doing his best to keep me happy.

Besides all that I mentioned, I also felt very special throughout the week because of the many Facebook messages wishing me a happy birthday, and the various friends in my life who stopped by my house to give me gifts. They truly made me feel really special and remembered.

So…I’ve been 21 now for more than a week. I certainly don’t feel like it, as always with birthdays. But I hope I can continue to do my best in everything and grow wiser.

It’s super duper early right now (6 AM…on a Saturday…during my winter break!!)! And yet…I still hear faint roars of frustration coming downstairs from my brother’s room. -_- That means my brother is still playing video games (multiple player first-person shooters of course) and yelling at his screen.

Anyway… I woke up nice and early myself to do the dishes, since we have a huge pile of them in the kitchen. I know my mom will be too tired and busy to do them this morning because she has work at 9 and is pretty much booked at work all day. Thought it’d be nice to have it clean before she goes to work. Also, I was supposed to finish my friend’s present before her surprise birthday today, eek!!! lol. It’s okay, the party’s not in twelve hours from now, but still, procrastination at its best. >_<

I got a haircut yesterday! My hair was extra long…maybe reaching my waist. It had a lot of split ends, and it was starting to get really tiresome. I hated brushing my hair in the morning because it took longer than it ever has before. The knots were just unending. If you’ve ever had long hair and had a major haircut (It’s a little below my shoulders now), you’ll know how great it feels to finally brush and wash your hair with 5 times less effort!

A full week of winter break has passed by now, with grades released so we’re no longer plagued by waiting (although I can’t say the same about being plagued by the results…). I haven’t really made a personal update in quite a while…basically, this fall quarter I didn’t do so well again with my study habits. I got caught up with napping or playing around during the evening until nighttime, but when nighttime came, I never felt like studying. Rinse and repeat until finally the midterms and finals came along.

Despite cramming the best I could for physics (about a week in advance), I still did poorly on the exams. I suppose I did average on my midterms (a D+ and maybe a B-) but for the final, I literally felt like I couldn’t do any of the problems. Thirty minutes into the test (we have two full hours), I felt like throwing in the white towel and already imagined what it would be like to retake this class. It was that bad. You know what I ended up getting on my final exam? It’s too shameful, but let’s just say I barely passed the class. However, I’m still really happy with the grade because it’s a borderline grade, giving me two choices that wouldn’t be possible without the borderline grade: I can retake this class for a better grade, or move on to the next level of physics.

As for developmental neurology, it was even more of a pleasant surprise. I did so poorly on the first exam (it was entirely short answer) but since that was only 40%, I had another chance to bring up my grade for the final, which is another 40%. I ended up with a solid “B” in the class, so I’m happy enough. Of course, I’m a little disappointed in myself because I know I could have gotten an “A” if only I had studied earlier and did better on the first midterm…

My last two classes: “Intro to Gangs” and an introductory level of Spanish were very easy classes, so I got an “A-” and an “A+” respectively. This is why I always take easy classes along with hard ones. It’s a great GPA booster. I took all hard sciences once and failed miserably… (of course, some…external factors were a major cause). It was a horrible quarter of organic chemistry, organic chem lab, calculus, and genetics. That was a fully loaded schedule and no cushioning class to help my GPA.

Ants on a Log

Recently while surfing the web, I learned that supposedly a popular snack for children (such as in kindergarten) is the “Ants on a Log,” which is basically just celery, peanut butter, and raisins. I never had this as a kid and coincidentally, my mom came home from the grocery store with celery. So, I made my first “Ants on a Log” snack. !._.

I’m not a huge fan of celery, but this was an interesting snack and the cute factor plus 2 out of 3 ingredients were things that I actually like eating, so I was willing to try out this snack.

… And I approve! It’s pretty tasty. The celery makes it a bit healthy and gives it a crunch, while the peanut butter and raisins give it a sweet taste (say hello to my sweet tooth!). It is aesthetically pleasing/cute, so if you have a fussy child who won’t touch greens, maybe they will give this a try. I can also see this being a great appetizer at a party, too.

So how do you make these, you ask? Simple. Too simple, in fact. But I guess I’ll include the “recipe” anyways. :D

  • Wash celery. Cut up the stalks into smaller pieces (bite sized or long, however you like).
  • Pack/spread peanut butter into the hollow center of the celery stalks.
  • Place raisins or craisins on top of the peanut butter.

You can change it up too, by having “Ants on Vacation” (without raisins) if you don’t like raisins, or “Ants on a Snowy Mountain” (made with cream cheese instead of peanut butter), or other fillings such as cheese, etc.

mailholder4
Mail holder

My mother’s birthday is coming up in a little over a week, so I figured it be nice to make her something. Today was an especially perfect time to do so because I always end up being too busy to make her anything when it’s October. By then I’m usually too busy with school! Today, on the other hand, was barely my second day of school, so I figured now would be the best time to relax a little and get back to my crafty side.

The idea came to me after I finished a box of cereal. Not wanting to throw it away, I looked at it and thought of what I felt like making with it. I didn’t feel like making anything too complicated, so I decided to make a mail holder. The cereal box was a little too small to fit any papers or magazines, so mail envelopes would work best.

Covered in lovely paper
Covered in lovely paper

At my house we tend to sort the mail (or not) and leave it in piles on the edge of our stairway for my mom to pick up and bring upstairs to her room. Sometimes they just sit there for a long time before my mom has time or remembers to take a look at them. After a while the piles look a little messy even if they’re nicely stacked on the stairway. So I figured it’d be perfect to stick a mail holder right at the edge of our stairway to organize things a bit!

Of course, the basic procedure on how to make one is as follows:

  1. Cut diagonally along the cardboard cereal box (with or without using pencil marks and rulers; it’s up to personal preference).
  2. Finished.
Nestled on the stairway
Nestled on the stairway

haha. Very easy. Great way to use up your cereal boxes to store papers, magazines, mail, etc. However, since this is going on our stairway and it’s also a small gift to my mommy, I decided to spruce up the box and cover it with lovely paper. The huge pack of beautiful stationary I bought was on sale at Michaels (I had a 40% off coupon). I love that pack and it always makes me excited to do something with it.

Covering the box with paper is probably self-explanatory but I do have some tips. Somehow it took me forever to finish it up, but I suppose it was because I wanted to be thorough and because of the paper I had.

Tips:

  • Keepin' the mail safe
    Keepin’ the mail safe!

    Use Mod Podge as your glue. It does a terrific job of keeping everything looking smooth and it secures everything very well.

  • Get an old credit card that you don’t use anymore and use that to smooth out the paper after glueing it down. You can also use it to wipe up any excess glue that is pressed out and wipe that off on a tissue.
  • When glueing paper down on each side, leave a bit of an overhang that will glue down over the edge onto the other side. This ensures that your holder will look really smooth and continuous, and so that none of the cereal box will show through the edges.
  • I found it easier to cut an approximate size, glue down the paper, and then cut off any excess paper with an X-ACTO knife.
  • Using nice paper can turn a cheap looking cereal box into a lovely looking holder that could probably pass off as being bought from the store!
  • You can also change it up by gluing a collage of pictures instead of just using paper to cover the box.

I think the most time consuming thing for me was gluing the paper onto the box and cutting it with the X-ACTO knife. I overlapped the pieces so that it would look nice and so that nothing would show. It took a good chunk of time doing that. But it looks pretty nice, don’t you think? ^_^

Spam Musubi!

Spam Musubi!

Cooking adventures with the boyfriend has continued! However, this time it’s even simpler and it’s Spam Musubi. Spam is something people get rather iffy about because it’s a luncheon meat in a can. However, it can be a tasty treat once in a while. I highly recommend getting at least Spam LITE because the fat and sodium content is less (I like it tasting less salty anyways). Even if you don’t like Spam, at least try Spam Musubi once. There is just something about it that makes it taste better than eating plain old Spam.

If you don’t know already, Spam Musubi originated in Hawaii and it is based on Japanese Onigiri (type of rice ball). They are meant to be very portable and easy to eat. Traditionally, I think you would just use unflavored rice, but for me personally, “sushi rice” is the only way to eat Spam Musubi! It gives the whole thing so much more flavor and savory-ness. It’s an extra step, but to be honest there aren’t too many steps in making Spam Musubi in the first place. ;) Writing this out has probably been more effortful than actually making it was!

How do you make Spam Musubi?

Japanese Rice
Japanese Rice

Make your rice. I prefer Japanese rice, which is short-grained rice and perfect for making these types of things because they are very sticky when cooked so that nothing will fall apart. We have a rice cooker on hand, so that makes things very easy. We used 3 cups of rice and maybe a little less than 3 cups of water. (General rule is to have the water line about 3/4 of an inch higher than the rice.) The great thing about having a rice cooker is you just leave it for about 20 minutes while you go about your business cooking something else.

 

Spam Lite
Spam Lite

 

Fry your Spam. You don’t have to since it’s already cooked, but as you may know, uncooked Spam is very yucky looking and mushy. Fry it with a bit of oil to give it a crisp. You only need to use a bit of oil because Spam already has so much fat in it. You might be able to use none if you have a non-stick pan. You can also fry the spam with soy sauce and sugar according to your taste.

 

Seaweed
Seaweed

 

Now for the seaweed. Use roasted seaweed, it is a little bit crispy, but will turn soft once it touches the rice. You should have a large, square-shaped pack of seaweed. Cut the pieces lengthwise to fit the Spam and Spam Musubi Mold (explained later below). If your seaweed is perfectly shaped like mine was, I just needed to cut it in half to make two rectangles to roll the Spam in.

 

Sushi Vinegar
Sushi Vinegar

 

To make the “sushi rice” all you have to do is put the freshly made rice in some type of flat pan or baking dish, sprinkle in about 1/3 cup of rice vinegar over it. Quickly fold and mix the rice gently with a spoon and fan it with a piece of paper to cool it and give it a nice, shiny look.

 

 

Furikake
Furikake

For the finishing touches on the rice, you can sprinkle in furikake, which will also give the rice more flavor. Mine had seasoned dried bonito flakes and eggs. There are many different flavors of furikake sprinkles. Some have just seaweed, etc.

 

Spam Musubi Mold
Musubi Mold

 

The Spam Musubi mold is AMAZING. I am probably more excited than the normal person, but I’ve always wanted one. It’s one of those things that are not necessarily essential, but having it makes things so much easier and knowing you have it just makes you happy. (…I’m NOT weird… :/ ) For a while I only saw this for sale online for outrageous prices, but recently we found this at our local Japanese supermarket for 4 bucks.

 

Anyway, this mold is spaced over your strip of seaweed that you just cut. One layer of rice is packed in, and then pounded with the top that you see. One slice of Spam is put in and another layer of rice is pounded on top. Once it is all nicely packed, remove the mold and roll up your musubi with the rest of the seaweed!

To tuck in the last hanging piece of seaweed, just take your finger and dab on some water onto the hanging piece and fold it over. This will make the seaweed stick to itself.

An important tip is to wet the Spam Musubi mold after each one that you make. The rice will be very sticky, so it will stick to the mold making it very difficult for you unless you wet it first!

A very simple process, but also a really tasty treat! This is the perfect food to take with you on a car trip or to a picnic.

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