Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kitchen: what we would do differently and ideas for future renovation

It's been almost 2 years since our previous kitchen renovation. Little did we know that we would move and have to do another one in the near future.

When we bought our 1000 square feet home we thought we would build the additional bathroom and family room soon but after crunching the number we decided it's wiser for us to pay down the mortgage, refinance to shorter term, and save up some more before building an addition. So this summer, we decided to just fix up the kitchen and a few other things to make the place works better for us.

A sneak peak of our current kitchen {I am going to share more before pictures later}

Back to planning and designing

image source

Some kitchen ideas and inspiration that I had been gathering  and what we learned from our previous kitchen:

 a. Counter-top. We went with granite at our previous place but we didn't know that granite can be so absorbent and we had to be careful to immediately wipe spilled oil, wine, even water. We know we can use sealer but it's chemical, which mean I cannot just knead bread on top of it. So no more granite; we are going with Quartz this time.

b. Cabinet.  We are going with white cabinet again; love how white brighten up the room and make the small room seems larger.

c. Back splash. We had glass last time and loving it but we are going with porcelain this time around because we found one on clearance sale that fit the bill.

d. Fridge. We love our counter-depth fridge. I love how it blend well with the cabinet instead of sticking out. The smaller size force me to plan meal wisely and not buying too much food.

f. Floor. We had wood floor last time. As much as we love the texture and how warm it is compared to tile, we had to admit that wood is not a wise choice for kitchen. We have young kids and accident prone me who occasionally spill food and drinks, which is not good for wood. So we are still weighing our options haven't make decision on this yet.

g. One thing that I definitely keep from our previous kitchen is this sliding trash bin under the kitchen sink:

Some more kitchen inspirations from the web sphere:
h. Open floor plan
image source: Apartment Therapy

i. Range hood instead of over the range microwave:

image source: House of Turquoise

j. Kitchen island with bar stools on the sides

image source: Molly Frey Design

Bright and open kitchen we can't wait to see you!

image source: Halycon Style

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Living for Christ

One of the perk of being a Sunday School Teacher is the fact that we got to study the material first before teaching it. Any teachers know that when we teach, we are the ones who learn the most. I usually don't just use the prepared material instead, I like to incorporate what God has been teaching me on that subject and make my own material from of a book I read on that particular subject. This time, I use Rick Warren's book: Purpose Driven Life.

 It just so happened (God's timing) that week I was listening to this incredible testimony of a man who was trained to kill, got saved and now risking his life to share God's Amazing Grace. One sentence he said that stuck in my head, "I know God didn't just save me to be Christian, He save me for a purpose."

Living for Christ
Apostle Paul says in Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
What does it means?

Jesus said in John 1:10 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
We are not just called to be good citizen. Jesus did not die on the cross just we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives.

1. We were created for His delight. Psalm 149:4a “For the Lord takes delight in His people.” 
How do we worship Him? Romans 12:1 “Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.
God wants to be your best friend. “Draw close to God and God will draw close to you.” James 4:8. “He is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you.”

2. We were formed for God’s familyEphesians 1:5 says, “His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.
After learning to love God (worship), learning to love others is the second purpose of our life.
Cultivation close community/ relationship requires: 
Commitment = to choose people over activities,
Honesty = care enough to speak the truth in love,
Humility = admitting our weakness,
Courtesy = respect our differences,
Confidentiality = building trust by keeping our promises.

3. We are created to become like Christ. “Let your roots grow down into Christ and draw up nourishment from Him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth.” Colossians 2:7
To be like Christ, we have 3 responsibilities according to Ephesians 4:22-24 “Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
a.      To put off the old self.
b.      Be made new in attitude of your minds.
c.       Put on the new self, to be like God in righteousness and holiness.
God is far more interested in what you are than in what you do.
God wants us to grow Galatians 5:22-23 “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control.

4. We were called to serve. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, Which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
God wants to use us to make a difference in His world. He wants to work through us. What matters is not the duration of our life, but the donation of it. Not how long we lived, but how we lived.
God especially enjoys watching you use the talents and abilities He has given you. Find out, accept and enjoy your SHAPE:
a.      Spiritual Gift Romans 12:5-8 “In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
b.      What in your Heart: Passion
c.       AbilitiesRomans 12:6 says “God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.”
d.      Personalities. The Bible gives us plenty of proof that God uses all types of personalities. Peter was a sanguine, Paul was a choleric. Jeremiah was a melancholy.
e.     Experience: family, educational, vocational, spiritual, ministry, painful experiences…

5. We are called for mission.
Share your life! Matthew 28:19-20. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
It’s exciting to serve Jesus Christ, including the sacrifice that we have to go through as part of the journey. What God has done in our lives is not to be kept to ourselves.
a.      Be a good neighbor who cares! And the hope is one day they will ask about the hope we have in Christ
b.      Be transparent. People will start to trust us. Take off your mask. We all got stuff.
c.       Be direct! It’s about sharing the love of Jesus Christ and how we live your life. Let’s get into the Word and live it out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tutorial: How to Make Fabric Banner

How to make fabric banner

It's the typical end of the year craziness when school project, report, test, and presentations are due on top of the usual: teaching, cooking, cleaning, laundry-ing, and carpooling by the end of the day I am too tired to do anything else but sleeping.

On Mother's Day, I wanted to sew something that I have been wanting to make for a long time: fabric banner. There are probably tons of tutorial out there but I just want to go right into sewing so I did it my way.

First, make a triangle pattern on paper. The one I make was 7 inches wide then mark the middle point at 3.5 inch:

then go straight down to the 7.5 inch mark. Connect the points then you get your triangle:

fold the fabric then use fabric marker to copy the pattern to your chosen fabric. I used 6 different fabrics but you can use less of more as prefer.

I make four two-sided triangles with each fabric

the folded one looks like this:

iron them one by one:

then arrange them in a way you want it to be displayed:

put them on top of each other:

then start sewing the sides on zig-zag mode {or use serger if you own one}

I happened to have a left over 1 inch fabric rope to sew them on:

Fold it into half and iron:

Open the fold, sew  the triangle at the folding line:

then fold the rope back and sew again:

That's it. I am done:

It brighten up the room and never fail to make me smile every time I see it.  Didi even requested me to make one for his room.

Now you can make one for yourself. ;)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Revealing my not so secret project

Some of you may know this already. I shared about it on instagram but haven't announce it here. After thinking for a while, I decided to move all food related posts to our new food blog: to make it easier for people who just want to find my recipes collection.

So if you guys are here only to look for recipes please hope on over there or you can just click on the Recipes tab at the top since I won't be posting about food related things over here.
Hope to see you there!

How to make Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

How to make homemade biscotti

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cultivating a Heart of Kindness: Patient & Gentleness Series #11

I was staying up one night reading Kara Tippets’ book: Big Love: the practice of loving beyond your limits. It's one of those books that I will read again and again. You can get your own copy HERE.
Below is my take away from the book:

Kindness is part of our new identity as Christians, part of fruit of the Spirit.
 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Kindness involves sacrifice, putting someone else above yourself. 
Kindness means noticing someone else and recognizing his/her needs
It means seeing the value in every person we meet.”
Let’s evaluate how we live our life; Is it characterized by kindness? 
In what areas of your life do you struggle with kindness: In the rush morning, when you are tired?

The challenge to live in kindness was not a simple one
 If love is kind, can we disagree with kindness?
Can we not get our way, not be right; can we be tired or sick— all with kindness?
Could we let go of  the need to be right, the need to win a fight, the subtle cold edges I carried?
If God expects kindness from us, then He will supply the grace to live in that kindness.

What if we try so hard but still have moments when we blew it?
We then had the joy of repentance. The gift of humbly admitting where we had failed, and asking God to help change our heart, and ask the person we had offended to forgive us.

If our goal in life is to never be wrong, to win, to always be on top, we will find ourselves lonely
Putting aside the need to be right, approved, and together, and living in community needy and broken has given us great freedom to live in the freedom of knowing and enjoying Jesus!

Everyone is looking for grace, love, and care; when anger breaks these connections.
“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:8-9

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the LORD has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-14
How can you put on this kind of love today?
How can you press into Jesus and ask him to help you grow deeper in an area you are struggling? Jesus, would you grow my heart in every direction that is bound together in love.

Having a teachable heart is the very essence of loving with kindness.

The heart of being able to love big is being loved. Jesus loves you that big.
Each day is a gift. Live each moment knowing, even your unseen movement towards love and away from unkindness, matters.  Love BIG. You will never regret time spent loving beyond your own ability to love. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

5 movies we enjoyed lately

After the kids born, we rarely watch movies. Now, that the boys are sleeping on their own room. We finally can have a Friday night movie date at the comfort of our home.

There are reasons I don't like going to movie theater and 20/20 confirmed that my reasons are valid. 

Here are our 5 movies we enjoyed lately and thanks to Amazon Prime, we got to watch most of them for FREE.

Do you have any recommendation for other good and uplifting movies to watch?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bathroom Remodel: The Final Reveal

Finally, it's time to reveal the bathroom after the remodel. It's not 100% done since we are planning to add shelves on top of the toilet and an artwork somewhere but those will come later. We are very thankful to have a fully functioning bathroom.  Come on in!

I will put the link of the source on this post as well starting with this faucet from Home Depot.

We found the large mirror at HomeGoods. We are super happy with this find because its large size makes our small bathroom looks bigger plus $30 was not a bad price for such a good quality product.

The vanity came in one piece from Costco.

The bidet was from ebay. The paper holder, and hand towel ring were from Amazon

We opted for standing shower instead of bath tub to make it easier for our parents to use when they come to visit.

The glass door, porcelain tiles,

shower tiles wall,

and shower tiles floor were from local stores. {check out yelp to find stores with good reviews}

The shower valve was from Amazon 

The combo Handheld Shower and Showehead was also from Amazon

The ceiling exhaust bath fan with light was from Home Depot

This double tower bar was also from Home Depot 

Our contractor suggested to buy TOTO toilet so we got this one  and the toilet seat from Home Depot. He was right. I don't know if it's the design but I rarely have to clean the toilet now. Before, I have to clean it every 2 days otherwise it stinks.

a small basket for the kids to put their books:

Another thing we got for the bathroom is this OXO wiper, which is a must since we have a glass door.

That's it. Hope you enjoy the tour as much as we enjoy our new bathroom. :)

Disclosure: this post contain affiliate links

You may also like:
The Bathroom Before
How to plan a bathroom renovation
Bathroom Renovation Pictures