Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Greek Chicken Salad Sandwich

Yeah... it's been forever since I blogged. Forever. And I say that every time I blog now. Oh well... po-body's nerfect! (See what I did there?) :)  So, the reason I am blogging right now is because I just made up a recipe and I want to save it to my cooking board on Pinterest, so I thought I would document the recipe here and be able to pin it there!  

Here goes... Greek Chicken Salad Sandwich (or wrap)

The portions for this recipe is for 4 sandwiches or 5 or 6 wraps if you prefer a wrap.

7 oz. chicken breast
4 oz. plain greek yogurt
1/2 small cucumber pureed (about 1/8 cup) 
2 boiled eggs. chopped
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
1/2 cup shredded cheese
Greek seasoning to taste
1 tsp Cummin
1 tsp. Oregano 
1/2 tsp pepper

I mixed the cummin, oregano and pepper together. Sprinkled a light dusting of the mixture on top of the chicken breast. Mine was frozen.  Baked for 30 minutes at 350F.  I flipped the chicken and dusted the other side with the dry rub mixture.  Baked for 10 more minutes.  Ovens may vary. Mine cooks things fast.  Or you could just go out and buy a rotisserie chicken and add these dry ingredients after you have chopped the chicken, but I can't do that in China. :)

While the chicken was cooking, I boiled the eggs and chopped them. Set them aside. I added the pureed cucumber to the plain greek yogurt to make a cucumber sauce.  Play with it, some people like more cucumber than others.  Set aside.  

After the chicken was finished cooking, I chopped it up into small enough pieces for the chicken salad.  I placed the chopped chicken in a bowl and added a thin layer of Greek seasoning on the top.  I added the chopped eggs, chopped pecans, and cucumber sauce.  Mix that up and then add your shredded cheese.  These measurements were good for me because my cucumber sauce was a bit runny.  If yours is more solid, you can add less egg or cheese. These will hold it together. Just make it to the consistency you like.  Also, if you don't want to puree the cucumber, you can just chop it up and add to the yogurt. It's all up to you! Once it's all mixed together, taste test it and if it needs more greek seasoning, by all means add more! I can never get enough of that stuff! If you don't know what it is, you can get it at any super market in the seasonings section.  My mom used it all the time and now I do! It's so good! And especially in this, because it's Greek inspired. :)  

I have only 2 pictures and Stan took these. I meant to take some along the way, but I forgot. :/  

As you can see, we had this on some bread, but I think I might like it better on pita bread or a wrap.  Yum!

Sorry these aren't the kind of pictures I wanted, but thanks to Stan for taking some! Ok, now I can pin it! :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Winter Wonderland 2012

I know it's past Christmas, but I still haven't posted pictures of our Winter Wonderland from this Christmas! I love our huge window in our living room, so I think the lights on the window look so good! (Which reminds me, I still haven't posted pictures of our apartment. I will do that soon!)

Here's the window in our living room. Two pictures with different lighting.

Excuse the mess!

Paper garland!

 Baby tree!

 Here is our little stocking area, since we have no fire place. And a paper Christmas tree!

 Snow flakes!

 I learned how to do these snowflake stars on Youtube a couple years ago. So easy!

Here's a view from the hallway.

A view from the hallway at night, when it's most magical :)

Here's a close up of our tree. It was handed down to us by our friends Laura and Thomas (and Lucas) Fendt.  They moved to Hungary and we were given the tree because they couldn't take it. Thanks guys!

Here is our kitchen entry garland :). The two clocks are for America, and China. 
(That's for another blog post.)

We even decorated our refrigerator!

 ...And the wall in our kitchen!

Well that about wraps it up! Yay Christmas! Can't wait til next year!

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Grampa

I wanted to write out my feelings about my Grandpa's death (or as we say it "Grampa". So, that's how I spell it.) :)  On Thursday, October 11th, my Gramma and Grampa came over to my parents house to tell us how my Grampa's doctors appointment went. For those of you who don't know, he had been in pain from bone cancer for the past couple of months.  He had been through multiple rounds of radiation, and was still feeling pain. He said the doctor told him he could do chemo, but it would do nothing. So, his doctor told him he would be coming in to see him in January for a check up, and unfortunately, he would have to deal with the pain.  We told him we were going to be leaving for China on the 16th, the next Tuesday. We all planned to meet for dinner the night before.  I hugged him goodbye, and told him I loved him, and would see him and my Gramma on Monday night. 

He sounded positive about it, but there was some sort of non-verbal communication that he wasn't doing so well. And I could tell he was being positive for me. The next day I told Stan I was afraid my Grampa was going to die when we were in China. It didn't sadden me about his death. He's a Christian, and the death is a celebration for him.  The part that made me sad was it taking a long, painful time for him to die, me not being in America, and my Gramma being without her help mate.

Saturday night, the 13th, Stan and I and his parents had just ordered dinner at a restaurant in Gallatin, TN (1 hour from Bowling Green).  Stan got a phone call from my mom.  He said to my mom, "Oh, she must have her phone on silent." and handed me the phone.  My mom told me that Gramma had tried to get Grampa to get out of the bathtub, but he wasn't responding.  And that he had been having a stroke. So they were waiting at the hospital in Bowling Green right then.  I asked if I needed to come, and she said I could if I wanted to, but she would call back in a little bit with details.  I wasn't too upset right then, because the first thought that popped into my head was relief for Grampa, and his pain.  I hung up the phone and explained the situation to Stan and his parents.  Stan asked if we wanted to take our food to go.  I said, "No, it's fine. My mom's gonna call back in a bit."  I felt like I would throw up if I made any sudden movements, so I didn't exactly want to jump up and do anything.  I hadn't decided if I should go yet, because I didn't know if I wanted to deal with that process. Part of me wanted to only hear the news.

After we finished eating (I barely ate half of my food), we finally decided to go to Bowling Green. As we were leaving the restaurant, I called my mom and she told me it was pretty bad. She told me my Grampa had had a massive stroke that would be difficult to recover from.  She said they were life flighting him to Skyline Medical Center in Nashville, TN.  So, instead of going to Bowling Green, we went to Nashville.

We got to the hospital, and waited in the waiting area for a long time.  We finally were able to go back and talk to the doctor.  My dad had told us basically the same thing the doctor said; that this was something they would not be operating on because the stroke was so massive, his quality of life would be next to nothing after the surgery.  He was basically being kept alive by a breathing tube.  We went into the room to see my Grampa.  But it wasn't him.  He was not conscious, and obviously not being himself.  He was literally on his death bed, and we all knew it right then.  My dad was the only child of Grama and Grampa's that was at the hospital at this point. So we waited for other relatives to get there. It was Sunday morning by the time all the relatives were there who could come. 

At one point while we were at the hospital, Stan and I went out to our car to get some waters, and i told him, "I don't want to do this." I know about the grieving process. I know it has to happen. And i know everyone grieves in their own way. I know all that, but any time I have to endure anything horrible, I envision myself in the future, having moved past this. Happier, safer, stronger, at peace. And that's what I was doing when I said, "I don't want to do this." to Stan. I just wanted to fast forward, not skip it, just fast forward time to feeling more peace.

Half way through the night, me and Stan went to his parents house to sleep a little.  Everything I did, I looked at Stan and told him how I felt and what I wanted to do.  I told him all I wanted to do was sleep, a lot.  I wanted to curl up in a bed and sleep, and sleep, and sleep.  He made sure I knew that there was a possibility that my Grampa could pass in the night while we were asleep.  I told him that was okay with me. Other members of my family didn't want to leave because of this, but I just had to get away, and sleep.  I was already sad, and adding sleep deprivation to that, was not going to be good. I felt like I might not be able to handle it, if I didn't sleep.  The depressed feeling was calling me to a bed. If I couldn't fast forward time, I could at least sleep.

We got back to the hospital the next morning around the same time the other relatives got there.  The timing is a blur, but we all gathered around my Grampa, said a prayer and then we stood in silence. I started feeling a little faint, looking at Grampa.  I knew the doctors said he couldn't feel any pain, but he wasn't himself and he looked like he was in pain. I couldn't watch him, and at the same time, understand that he wasn't in pain.  I couldn't see it; I couldn't look at him that way and I just felt like I was going to faint, so I told Stan I needed to leave. That's the last time I saw my Grampa's body, right after we prayed with the whole family.  I kept putting those memories out of my mind. Pushing those away, because that wasn't him. He wasn't in pain.

Part of me wanted to keep it out of sight out of mind, because I didn't want to remember him like that.  So I waited out in the waiting room.  But then I would think, "No, I should go in there. This is selfish to be out here when every one else is in there."  Then I would ask Stan, "Is this really ok that I'm out here?  I just don't think I can be in there now or when he dies.  I just don't think I can do it."  He reassured me that any way I wanted to do this, was ok.  He made sure I wouldn't regret not being in there with him in the future.  I knew I wouldn't.  I just kept thinking, "He's half way to heaven now. And I don't want to see him like that because I can't handle it. It won't help me get over his death. I know I'll have those memories of him in that bed, and I don't want that. Some people need that, but I don't even want it." I am so thankful Stan was with me, because the rest of my family needed to be in there.  I was with Stan when his Grandmother died last December, and I thought to myself, "I don't want to think about my grandparents dying. I don't think I'm going to handle it very well at all." Stan being there helped me so much.

The doctor came in at 10:40 AM on Sunday and removed the breathing tube as the family had decided to let happen once all of the family members were present. At around 3:30, I started to think about him struggling to breathe, so I asked God to take him quickly because I just couldn't even think about him struggling at all.  The doctors were saying he couldn't feel anything, but I couldn't think about him not being able to breathe, so I said the prayer over and over.  I prayed for God to make it happen very soon, because I knew Grampa was almost with Him.  And we had all said our good byes. Part way through the day on Sunday, Elise came out and sat with us.  We were getting updates from my mom who was in the room with the family.  At around 3:40 PM, 10 minutes after I had prayed for God to take him quickly, I got a text that said he was stopping breathing.  And at 3:50 my mom came out and told us he had passed.  I thanked God, and cried.  The rest of the family spilled out into the waiting room and we hugged and cried.  

I feel like I said goodbye to him the day before we left Bowling Green on that Thursday. I feel closure because he will always be my Grampa and I will always miss him.  But I am so truly happy he is not in pain any more.  The times I start to cry is when I think about my Gramma not having her help mate anymore.  It makes me so sad for her.  But I feel like God gave us all a gift of preparation.  We were all fearful this cancer would take his life, and I had a couple months to say good bye, in a sense.  In the last couple months of my Grampa's life, he learned to text.  He would send us grandkids text messages. Just cute little messages here and there.  And I would send him random ones during the day.  I will save those forever.  I had months to say good bye, and I'm so thankful I had that time in America to do that.  I was saying goodbye to him because I thought the cancer would eat away at him slowly, but it was a painless stroke that took him.  I thank God for that.  I thank God for the time I had with my Grampa. I thank God for the memories.  I will always be his Julie-Bug. :) I'll remember him as he wants to be remembered.  I will miss him, but I know he's in heaven waiting for the rest of us to get there.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Team Work

I have gotten out of blogging since being back in China this past January.  There has been so much to write about, I was overwhelmed and just didn't write.  A few nights ago, Stan and I were at dinner with some friends, Kris and Michael Bowen. We were talking about blogging... or the lack thereof. All of us like to blog, but none of us have done it in a while.  I've got something to write about today. Warning: It's long. :)

I don't claim to be wise, or know more than others. In fact, quite the opposite: I like to learn from others mistakes, and teachings.  But I do like to talk to others about things I have learned in my life, sort of as an agent for my own processing of it.  This is a lesson I learned a while ago, but I've been thinking a lot about it lately.

When I was in High School, I was in color guard in marching band.  I started when I was a freshman.  Making State Finals was something that we all worked up to, but being a freshman, I really didn't understand the importance of it.  Well, my freshman year we were really good. I didn't know how good we were until I had a few more years under my belt.  That year, after we had performed in the semi-finals we went back to our high school gym and ate pizza and anxiously waited for our band directors to get back with the results.  There was tention in the air, but again, I couldn't fully appreciate it, having never done this exact thing before.  As our band directors, Mr. Morrison and Mr. Cecil, came in, every one held their breath, staring at their faces... trying to read them, to know the answer before they said it. Mr. Morrison said, "In this envelope, I have all the mistakes we made."  We were all humbled by this comment, waiting for the pregnant pause to end.  "And in this envelope..." Then he screamed, "IS WHAT WE'RE GONNA DO TONIGHT!!!" The entire gym erupted with screaming and cheering and crying!  Cokes were being spilled and even flying through the air! Pizza was being stepped on! I remember, I didn't have my shoes on and I stepped in some pizza. It was gross, but I didn't care! We had made State finals and we were all so happy!

Now, I mentioned people were crying because they were so happy.  If you know me, I'm not much of a cryer. I'm not against it; it's just not always my first reaction to joy.  So, I understood the crying.  We had worked so very hard and loved the show so much that it felt so right, and true, and we deserved it! But I truly didn't understand or appreciate the crying that night until the next year, and the next year, and the next year.  That's right, we made finals my freshman year, but we did not make finals every year after, during my high school education.

My sophomore year, I appreciated the crying coming from the upperclassmen. Because they had lost, before they had won.  The victory was sweeter.  But that year, I didn't cry, because I was feeling optimistic, seeing as how I had 2 more years!  We can do this!! My junior year, I had a deeper appreciation for the tears, but that's not how I reacted. I was angry, feeling almost cheated.  The judges have something against us! They didn't judge us fairly! My senior year, I remember seeing Mr. Morrison coming in the room we were being held in. Shaking his head and looking down, which wiped all the smiles off of our faces.  It was horrible.  I remember thinking this was one of the most disappointing times in my life.  Three years of nothing!?? Really?? And I burst into tears, saying, "This isn't fair!" Feeling that someone owed me something! I had worked too hard, too long for this! And this is what I get!?? IT'S NOT FAIR!!  I can remember my parents standing behind me and consoling me, knowing this was not easy to hear.

I learned many lessons through that.  I learned about team work.  If you think about what you just read, I said that I had worked so hard. My work mattered! It SHOULD have mattered to someone! But I didn't understand that it wasn't about me.  It was about the group.  It doesn't matter how hard I work if the team doesn't win.  I had learned about team work all through school and life, but THIS was application.  That was selfish of me as a senior in high school to think those things; that my work mattered more than the group, but I'm a better person for learning that lesson.

Another lesson I learned was about work ethic.  When you work hard and do a good job; whether it's for someone else or just something you do daily, do your very best.  It shouldn't matter if no one is looking, because you know you've done a good job.  And when you see others doing a good job, you appreciate it. Fully appreciate it, just like those upperclassmen appreciated the State Finals my freshman year much more than I did.  When you've endured something, you appreciate others who have the power to endure, no matter what it is.  My dad had taught me about endurance and appreciation for a task when I was growing up, by doing yard work, school work, or any other work.  But again, this was a real life application for that.

I also learned to appreciate the good things that happen.  I was dwelling on the three years of nothing and not thinking that I had a wonderful opportunity to experience State Finals at least once!  This makes me think about my life today.  There are things in everyone's life that are unfair, that make them mad, or feel unimportant, or unappreciated.  But how often do we see the other side of it? How often do we think about the families we have? The friends we are so fortunate to have.  All the material things we have.  Good health! I should thank God for what he has given me, and stop thinking about the bad things that happen to be ailing me now. Or how unfair I feel something is. Or how much I think I deserve something.  I deserve nothing, but am thankful for everything.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Silver Linings

My mom took this picture! I stole it from her facebook to use here. :)

We've been traveling for 3 weeks on business. Busy busy busy!  Yesterday (Saturday) we came home! After a long time on the road, we were happy to be back in our town and go home.  We were in a taxi, on the way home from the airport when we got a call from Andre, a Chinese friend of ours. He told us that our landlord was in our house right then and was mad about something.  #1. We were thinking, "What!!?? Why is he in our house!???" But, we had heard that this has happened to some people. It's still not ok, but it happens.  #2. We were thinking, "We don't want to have to deal with this now because we are so so so so tired from traveling." #3. "What's he mad about???" #4. "What!!?? Why is he in OUR HOUSE!???" (Haha! Yes, I know I already mentioned that one.)  :)

So, we stepped out of the elevator and our door was wide open and the landlord (whom we had never met before) was standing outside our door.  After some awkward glances (because we knew we couldn't communicate very well with each other) we walked inside and he made himself at home while we put our baggage in our room.  We called Andre back and asked him to translate.  After it was all said and done, the landlord said we had damaged the apartment and he wanted us out by the end of the month.  Keep in mind, this apartment was never in our name and we were not responsible for those damages.  We took over the rent from some friends who we work with.  The damages were minor and the previous owners had cleared it with the landlord.  5 months ago those damages were not a big deal to him, but suddenly now they are.

There is so much more to tell, however, I didn't write this blogpost to complain. So I won't say anymore about how unfair this situation is.  The bottom line is we have to leave our apartment by the end of the month.

Silver linings....

#1. We are leaving China on May 16th, to come to America! We will be there until sometime in July. While this is pretty stressful to have to move everything out of our house when we just got settled, we have some friends who are going to allow us to keep some of our things in their house while we are gone.  When we get back we will have to find a new place to live, but meanwhile, we will at least have a place to put our things.

#2. This month, we have had a few extra bills that we have to pay.  Because we are essentially going to be homeless, we will not have to pay rent and utilities, and that will free up some money! Not that we couldn't pay it before, but this is so helpful!

#3. If we were going to continue living here, our rent would be due on May 15th.  Like I said before, we will be leaving China on May 16th. How much more perfect could that be?  I mean, really?

This situation stinks so much. It's not fun, and it makes me feel so stressed every time I think about it.  But when I think about the good things which are coming from this, it makes the stress not matter at all.  Sometimes I don't know if God has his hand in things directly, or if he just turns a bad situation into a good one.  It doesn't really matter if I know or not, He gets the credit and the glory no matter what!

I am thankful for this horrible situation and I pray I can keep this positive frame of mind until we get back to China in July. In July, we will have to begin the search for a new apartment. We will not have enough time to look for an apartment before we leave to come to America.  I pray I will have patience and the right frame of mind to deal with the frustrations of that.  A verse has come to mind during this situation.

Phil. 4:8

I pray we all can look for those silver linings in our lives. Thanks for reading! I love you all!

Monday, April 23, 2012


More Chinglish pictures! There are a lot that were from a menu. They are always so funny! The last one is my favorite!

Who would like some Jumping Tongues!?? Anyone?

I wasn't aware that plums were green, or had bones. :)

Pork Nuckles!

Spiced Salty Chicken Feet! A delicacy here!

Who would like some goose webs?

Salty Hoof!

"Who you callin's..."

I love to get my food massaged.
This one is far away for you to see the whole picture, but it says, "Care yourself. Do a healthy person."

I enjoyed these so much! And I hope you did too! Have a great day everyone!