Monday, December 31, 2012

12 Lessons, Achievements and Memorable Moments of 2012

2012 was a tough and memorable year. May be every year of my life should be like that. A year with a few challenges and some happiness. That means and I lived throughly. This year, like previous years, went quickly. As I get older, the time goes faster. Even though it went fast, there are still a lot to look back. Here are some achievements 2012 helped me, memorable moments 2012 gave me, and lessons 2012 taught me

1. Experienced working full-time for the first time.
2. Moved to Ashland and survived living away from home for the first time. 
3. Got an internship offer!! 
4. Finished Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Accounting and Sat for CPA exam.
5. Not only studied accounting, but also taught accounting. 

Memorable Moments 
6. Made A LOT of new friends ALL OVER the world and this helped me improved three languages.
7. Reconnected my friends from elementary school in Japan through Facebook.
8. Received compliment about my piano skills and even taught others how to play.
9. Cooked for myself and other people, and they all liked my treats regardless of age, gender, and nationality.

10. Always put smile on my face no matter how bad the situation is, so that will help me stay positive and good luck would come.
11. Morning is the best time to study and get all the tasks done. 
12. Time of is quality over quantity because it is better to stay focused for a short period of time than not to be focused for a long period. 

How was your 2012? Happy New Year 2013!! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Recap

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I am sure you all have something special about Christmas in your life. For me, it is the most important holiday because it is also my mother's birthday. I believe some families have their own holiday traditions. My family tradition is celebrating my mother's birthday, eating cake, watching movies, and listening to a lot of Christmas music. 

Thanks mom for always being the good example for me. I love you. You are a Christmas child. 

Last year, I added baking my mother's birthday cake for our holiday tradition. We used to order cake from the bakery. We considered baking on our own, but we were either too busy or the cake did not turn well like the bakery. However, last year, I became addicted to baking, and my baked cookies, muffins and pies turned out to be very well, so I decide to give the cake another try. It was challenging at first, but I followed the recipe carefully, and it turned out satisfying. 
 The cake is ready to be decorated by using whipped cream and a lot of fruits. 
This year, there was a huge improvement. The cake turned out to be extremely successful. I putted a lot of effort into making the cake. I learned lessons from previous baking experiences and followed tips. I also spend time designing the cake. I decided to use a lot of delicious fruits to make it pretty and delicious.  

My mother LOVED the cake. She said it is better than the cake we used to get from local bakeries. She always complained about the cake was too sweet for her. She was not dessert person like me, but she ate TWO pieces. I am so HAPPY. 
I enjoyed the cake, too. It is best with a cup of tea, coffee, or milk. I can't wait to make it again. 

Besides baking, I also watched many Christmas movies and played and listen Christmas music this break. They change my way of viewing the Holiday. 

What I learned about Christmas:

1. Believing in Santa Claus is not about whether he exists or not, it is about trust in faith, hope for the miracle, and magic in life. 

2. Family traditions are important because that is what keeps them together and create family history. Someday when we get old, we have something to remember and give to our descendants.  
3. The main purpose of the holiday is not about luxurious presents, fancy parties, and elegant decorations, it is about family and gather together and spend time with each other. My favorite Christmas song is "All I want for Christmas is You." I listened and danced this song countless time, this year. 

4. Warm food and live music make people stay alive, active, and motivated during cold weather. I like to always have some food cooked in the kitchen and music played in my house during the winter days. 

5. Christmas music is so special. It is timeless, loved by people at all ages, and sung by the people all over the world. No matter where we go, who we meet, when the time is, people can be connect through Christmas music. 

Now Christmas is over, I am kind of sad, but New Year is COMING!! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe

I like cookies, and I love to bake cookies. First time I started to bake, there were trials of errors and I made the kitchen very messy. The more I bake, the better I become. There are various kinds of sugar recipe, and this one is my favorite. Sometimes, I found sugar cookies that are too sweet; however, this sugar cookie is perfect on its sweetness. Most importantly, this is cookie made me famous at Southern Oregon University. People loved this cookie regardless of their age, gender, and ethnicity. 

Tips for making the PERFECT sugar cookie. 

-Chill the cookie dough, so it would not lose its shape while it is baking. When the dough its too soft, the cookie will spread. 
-Measure the ingredients precisely. I recommend to weight the dry ingredients instead of using measure cups. 
-Use the good quality butter and pure extracts. Most of the flavor comes from those two ingredients. 
-Roll out the dough to the even thickness, so part of the cookie will not look darker than the other.
-Constantly scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure the all the ingredients are completely mixed. 

1 cup (227g) of butter (room temperature)
1 cup (200g) of sugar
1 egg
*1 teaspoon of vanilla 
3 cups (390g) of flour
**1/4 teaspoon of salt 

*I like vanilla flavored sugar cookies, however you can substitute any extracts. Sometimes I use almond as well.
**I usually use unsalted butter, so I add it, but if you used salted butter, omit it. 
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together
  2. Add an egg and vanilla
  3. Gradually add the flour and make the dough come together
  4. Divide the dough into two to three parts and wrap in the plastic 
  5. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least an hour to overnight
  6. Roll out the dough into 1/4 inch thickness
  7. Shape the dough using cookie cutters  (Be creative!!)
  8. Preheat the oven to 350F
  9. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges turned brown.
You can even package them and send as gifts. Aren't they cute? 
Enjoy!! Decorate them with sprinkles or color your glaze if you want!! Merry Christmas!! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dead Week and Final Week Recap

This is my first post for December. I can't believe it is already December, and it is almost middle of the month. I am sorry that I have not been blogging since Thanksgiving because there were dead week and final weeks, so I was EXTREMELY busy. Beside studying, there were so many other things going on as well. 

I studied A LOT during those two weeks, and I loved get in groups and study with other people. I had two study groups. 

First one was with my hall mates in the library. We reserved a room. I was pretty much live in the library around that time.  

Another one was with my classmate. We were suppose to go to the library, but I decide to have it in my room. This happened the night before the test, and we were basically cramming everything.

However, there are some fun going on, which added some excitements and made the weeks brighter. 

1. Friends' Birthday Surprise Party: two of my friends had birthday on the weekend before final, so we decide to throw a "Surprise Birthday Party"!! Although we were busy studying for finals, many people still managed to show up and celebrate. 

2. Baking Cookies: I baked Christmas cookies for my hall mates as my christmas gift. I felt glad that the cookies turned out to be successful. One of the girl from my hall helped me making them, so it saved me so much work. Thank you!!
3. Book Sale: Business club had our quarterly Business Textbook Sale. We buy and sell old books from students. Unfortunately, I did not want to sell any of my accounting books, and I am done with the program, so I did not have to buy any books. 

There were also something that helped me release stress and gave me relaxation.

1. Exercise: This helped me study better because moving my body gave me motivation. After a nice workout, I feel I cleared my mind and my brain feels refreshed. 
2. Choir Concert: My roommate was involved in the choir, so I went the concert. They sang some Christmas music and sounded beautifully. Listening to classical music makes me relax. 

3. Food: I was lucky that many meal related events going on. First, there was "Holiday Dinner with the Business Chair" from Business Club. It was a potluck style dinner, and there were warm comfort dishes. Then there was "Winter Wonderland Dinner Buffet" from the dining. It served various kinds of delicious food. Last one was the "Midnight Pancake Feed" from the Housing. I think the best time for eating breakfast in the midnight is the dead week. 

After all the busyness, I had to pack and drove back about 2 hours after my last final. Crazy!?

Overall, I am HOME from school!! Let's the winter break begin.