November Update: Where am I?

It’s no surprise that I’ve been absent from blogging. I may be stepping out of the blogging world for a bit. Life has been pulling and pushing me to different degrees, and I have to admit that much of my hesitation to blog came after returning from the Philippines. I started to ask the questions (again): why I wanted to blog, what does it mean to me, how much time do I want to devote, is it fulfilling, and is it bringing me closer to any dreams? Do I even HAVE dreams and goals for this?

From www. facebook.com/SoThisisJulie

October Pic-a-day Challenge: Dreams

This year I set out to DO more, and stop drooling over other people’s activities. I just wanted to engage more.

My loved ones

My loved ones

Summer with my brother and cousins

Summer with my brother and cousins


Taking pictures, then writing and documenting – it just took more time than I wanted to devote. And, it’s definitely been a great year – much of it I need to thank to One Little Word and new friends (best penpal ever!).

Came home to an amazing letter and package… My #olwsmpp14 pen pal is the best! @twinsmama2011 can’t say thanks enough. #happymailday #kindredspirit #craftymom

A photo posted by Julie Tiu (@sothisisjulie) on

I still love this outlet, but I’ve found that Facebook and Instagram has been more conducive for my on-the-go life right now. And, unlike a lot of bloggers out there – I never had a real plan for this website. (I’m a planning sort of person, too!! Oh the irony.) I have WAY too many ideas floating around in my head, and I think it’s time to regroup so I can make these ideas actually come to life! Perhaps a rebranding… now doesn’t that sound official?

My wish is to continue creating and making something every day – even if it sucks – and that I can inspire a few folks down the road. I’ll still post here and there. In fact, I will be teaching a holiday crafterhours workshop at our local tea shop in a few weeks – so I’ll have some things to share from that, too.

I just felt like I had to get this off my mind… thanks. See you on FB and IG!

On Facebook: Pic-a-day challenge last month

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Recipe for Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

The weather is cooler, fall colors are everywhere, and pumpkin has invaded every corner of the food world. Personally, I love it, though I know a lot of people are over it. (Especially with the hashtags #psl, #pumpkinlatte, #pumpkinstakeovertheworld…) It’s only one season, friends. Enjoy it. Embrace the pumpkin.

Every year I make my fair share of pumpkin bread and bars. Here I am offering a new recipe (in our house). Pancakes are a perpetual fave here, so I tried adding pumpkin and spices. Delicious.

We like to make a bunch and then freeze the leftovers. I space the leftover pancakes in a single layer on cookie sheets and freeze for a couple of hours. When frozen, I take the pancakes off the cookie sheets and store in a plastic bag for easy handling. They reheat easily in the microwave or the toaster oven.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Yield: 2-1/2 dozen 5-inch pancakes

Dry ingredients:
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
Hefty pinch of salt

Wet ingredients:
2-2/3 c. whole milk
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
4 lg. eggs
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp. dark rum
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cup canned pumpkin

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Whisk until mixed well. In another large bowl, mix all the wet ingredients, except the pumpkin. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Gently fold in the pumpkin.

Heat your griddle (pan or skillet) over medium heat – lightly oil or butter your griddle. Using a ¼ cup scoop, pour batter onto the hot griddle. Leave space for batter to spread. Flip the pancakes over when the bottom side is golden and the topside has popping bubbles. Cook until underside is light brown. Serve immediately, or hold in a 200 degree oven.

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Happy first weekend of #autumn. Pumpkin spice pancakes on the table this morning. #nofilter

View on Instagram

So, hello, October. We’ve been on the go over the last month. Not a bad thing, right? Be active, make memories, enjoy the outdoors… it probably helped that our laptop (what I work on the most) was acting all goofy, and I didn’t really make time to fix it. Until now.

Catch me at Instagram and Facebook!

One Little Word: A Project Update

This year I joined an online workshop, Ali Edwards’s One Little Word. I’ve wanted to try something like this for a long time, to be part of a creative community even if we’re all miles and miles away.

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I haven’t updated on a regular basis at all (in January and April), but I’ve been working along with monthly prompts and reflections. My One Little Word is “dare”, as I explained in my January post. Below you’ll find a gallery of my journaling so far. Just click on the pictures to see them larger.

Earlier in the year I worked on intentions, taking a look at different facets of my life: spiritual, physical, emotional, creative, relationships. It took a while, but I also came up with a symbol for this year. The fleur-de-lis. I love this symbol for so many reasons: it reminds me of Montreal, (where my husband and I went on our honeymoon), New Orleans (vacation spot and amazing culture and food), and it reminds me of St. Joan of Arc (incidentally also the name of my elementary school). And if you don’t think she was daring, I don’t know who is.

I made actions cards that have goals and ideas for the year. Some have been successful, while others… not yet. I’ve reflected on letting go. One month, I put together pictures that connect with my word. It’s been so much fun making time to be creative and introspective.

The best part of all of this has been meeting a pen pal and connecting with the community in a private Facebook group. My pen pal was chosen randomly, but holy cow, it’s crazy eerie how we have a lot of similar craft tastes. She and I send happy packages of mail to each other (last picture in the gallery).

Most recently I created artist trading cards with the phrase “I am” on each of them. I’m looking forward to sharing how I put these cards together.

One Little Word 2014: Art cards

June and July: An Update

We’re back from our big family trip to the Philippines and Seattle. We even added a few days in Vancouver, British Columbia. Summer heat, native eats, lots and lots of family time.

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We visited my husband’s family’s pineapple farm. Oh my, the juiciest, freshest pineapple I’ve ever tasted. So tender and ripe, you could eat the center core.

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We stopped for a little afternoon snack at a local resort one day. Super warm and sunny, but once in a while a breeze came by. Bummer that my son and husband broke out with heat rash…

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While much of the Philippines is tropical, Manila is very metropolitan, very big city… and in the middle of the city is a Chinese temple where we visited my husband’s grandparent’s resting place.


We checked out the Oceanarium in Manila. So cool seeing different and diverse ocean life! And the fish were so active in their tanks. OMG, they have a fish spa… amazing. Crazy little nibble fish nipped at our feet.

Bellevue WA at Sundown

Bellevue WA at Sundown

We found ourselves back in the U.S. sooner than expected after a food allergy incident involving our son. (It’s still rough for me to talk or think about – The worst 24-hours for our family.) An emergency run to the hospital in a foreign country wasn’t how we wanted to end the trip, but know that it ended well, we all came home in one piece. And even though we weren’t home-home, it felt reassuring to be back in our home country.

I’d really like to return to the Philippines, sooner than later. So much has changed after (gulp) 24 years. Yeah, my husband was there more recently… 17 years. Yikes.

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We made the most of our time in the Pacific Northwest with a side trip to Vancouver. My two aunts were thrilled to have us visit them. I crossed the Capilano Suspension Bridge this time… I tried about 30 years ago. (The bridge is 460 feet long and 230 feet above the Capilano River. Talk about nerve-wracking!)

Mugshot Monday: Unpacking

Things were a little weird after being away from home for 28 days. Routines were out the window (summer vacation, oy), and it was a major victory when we all woke up before 10 am. Luckily that only lasted a few days.

We’re back on central time. I’m back in the kitchen, helping out with our parish’s vacation bible school. And I can’t wait to get back to the craft table!

If you’d like to see some Mugshot Mondays from the trip, you can head to my Instagram page, and the official Monday Mugshots community page, too. I hope you do. :)

Recipe: Chicken stir-fry with Red Pepper and Broccoli

Chicken stir-fry with vegetables

Good eats with rice!

I love cooking with chicken thighs mainly because they are so forgiving. You gotta do a lot to overcook them, and while I can bake and roast, sometimes my pan-frying or stir-frying doesn’t always turn out. So, after a lot of trying, I think I have it down now. I made this for dinner, and my kids loved that there was plenty of gravy to spoon over their rice. Keep reading for the recipe!

In the Garden: Propagating Christmas Cactus

Continuing with some garden talk from earlier this week

A few weeks ago, I relocated my mother-in-law’s plants to my house.  She has some low maintenance plants, so with her traveling, you’d think they’d be okay. They still need care, and it only makes sense that the plants live with us since I look after them anyway. I know, I look wary…

Cacti and succulents

A rare pic of myself. (The car is parked.) Good thing I have a station wagon.

And, I gotta say, I’ve never dealt with cacti before, but don’t they look sad? Poor plants…

Propagating Cacti

These guys need some care

After some reading and searches for cactus care, I thought I’d start with the Christmas Cactus (far left in pic above) and Jade (not pictured) since they were already shedding leaf segments. (Probably stunned from the move.) By the way, Christmas Cacti don’t live in the desert… they come from the rainforest. Who knew?

First I learned that the leaflets have to callous over, and they end up shooting out roots looking for water. I left them on a paper towel in some indirect light. With the Jade, an empty stem stuck in the soil started to bud.

Caring for succulents

Jade (above) and Christmas Cactus (below)


Keep reading to see how they turned out!

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