Friday, March 28, 2014

Foodie Friday with Hennessey and Jameson Boozie Cakes

Yay for Spring Break! I love having the extra time to bake, especially for my family and friends!

This past weekend I baked some Boozie Cakes for my cousin's boyfriend's birthday at Round One Entertainment Center up in Los Angeles!


They love Hennessey and Jameson so I decided to infuse my two favorite chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with the liquor. 

I used the Martha Stewart Devil's Food cupcake recipe for the chocolate cupcakes and the Boozie Cakes chocolate ganache recipe for the frosting:
16 fl.oz. of heavy cream
24 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a sauce pan, boil the heavy cream at low-medium heat. 
Place chocolate chips in mixing bowl and pour heavy cream over chocolate chips while mixing. 
Mix until chocolate is melted. 
Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until frosting is set. 

For the vanilla cupcakes, I used our Boozie Cakes recipe:
18 TBSP ( 2 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs at room temp
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Heat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy. On med speed, add 2 eggs at a time. Then add sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl. Sift dry ingredients and add slowly to wet mixture. Bake in oven 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown. 

For the icing, I use the Boozie Cakes cream cheese frosting recipe:
2 boxes of 8 oz. cream cheese
2 sticks butter 
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
With a mixer, combine cream cheese and butter. Then add powdered sugar and vanilla. 

Once the cupcakes had cooled for about 5 minutes, I infused the cupcakes with the liquor by poking a few holes in the top of each cupcake with a toothpick then slowly poured a teaspoon of the liquor into each cupcake allowing it to soak in slowly. I used the Hennessey with the vanilla cupcakes and the Jameson on the chocolate cupcakes. 

I also made bowling pins out of fondant and pastry pens. For the bowling balls, I used Whoppers

Here is the final product!


I hope everyone has a great Spring doing the things they enjoy!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

God's Good Work for This School Counselor

Over the past few weeks, I've been very frustrated at work.

I've feel like I've been giving 200% each day and every day without feeling like I've caught up with the work I have to do. Multi-tasking has become the norm, minute to minute. Check email, phone rings with a parent concerned about grades and/or defiant behavior at home and/or drugs, go back to email, then a knock at my door "Ms. Luansing, are you busy?" answer questions about every which thing you can image (community service, where to turn in the form they hold in their hand, they hate their teacher, they can't pass their AP class and want to transfer out), then back to email, then input classes for next year schedules, crying student comes in because of some cyber bullying, phone rings again from a college rep who wants to meet with potential students, then I find students stealing in our supply room then walk them over to the Assistant Principal office in hopes they'll be disciplined appropriately, work on guidance lesson plans on college and career readiness that uses common core standards along with American of School Counselor Association Standards...phone, email, papers, students...rinse and repeat, all day, every day.


My patience is running thin with students who are a few weeks away from graduating and can't follow simple directions I've given them to make sure their college apps are complete, financial aid forms are done, or even attend the last minute credit recovery classes they need to finish to make sure they graduate.

Even more, its hard to work in a school environment that does not communicate well, doesn't believe in planning calendars, dress codes, or behavior expectations. It's hard not to feel stressed out when our school always functions in a sense of urgency. Our school district has been in the news as well with teachers ready to strike and board members being charged with crimes and having to step down from their elected positions. Our counselor union is also has the potential of going on strike.

Yet, in a school of over 2500 students and dozens of staff members, I work with a cohesive, supportive counseling center team that makes the rest of the school district's dysfunction bearable. With our "teamwork" atmosphere and our intent of taking the time out of each day to laugh and have lunch together, makes each work day go by more pleasant. But, it's still been hard to get up each day to feel motivated to come to work.

Then, today at our faculty meeting I was reminded why I do the work I do. Each month, a staff member is recognized for their work for the school. At our faculty meeting today, our principal began to talk about the school-wide career day I had helped organize a few weeks ago. He shared that Sweetwater High's Career Day was better than any other in the entire school district. Then he called my name with the recognition of my hard work and dedication in bringing the awesome event to our school community. The staff cheered and clapped as I was handed the glass red apple that's passed to each staff member each month. Along with the award comes with a staff parking spot right in front of the school, just a few steps from my office!


The award could not have come at a better time. God knew I needed a pick me up. He needed to remind me of the good work I do each day, every day. Yes it gets stressful and the days are filled with work, work, work, but it's all worth it for the work I do is the good work many people cannot do.

I received this message from a colleague a few hours before receiving my award. God definitely works in amazing ways!

Monday, March 17, 2014

SeaWorld San Diego's New Explorer's Reef

Our boys can't stop raving about the new Explorers Reef at SeaWorld San Diego! Last weekend, we were invited for a preview of the new Explorers Reef which greets guests as they enter SeaWorld. As we entered the theme park, we passed beneath an iconic and stunning wave structure and immediately was immersed in a coral reef that gave us the feeling of walking on the bottom of the ocean!




In this underwater oasis,  our boys had up-close interactions with shark pups, rays, horseshoe crabs and cleaner fish in four new state-of-the-art freshwater and saltwater touch pools. The pools were huge with lots of room for kids to find a spot to interact with the animals. 


few weeks back, we were able to check out the cleaner fish behind the scenes at SeaWorld so our boys were excited to interact with the cleaner fish again. I have to admit, my husband and I couldn't keep our hands out of the pool either!




Our boys gained their courage enough to try and touch the sharks. I wasn't so brave!




Explorer’s Reef will open March 21, just in time for SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration! SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration featuring a Sea of Surprises™ kicks off March 21, 2014 and continues for 18 months at all three SeaWorld® parks. Guests will enjoy new interactive experiences, shows and pathway performances, even more up-close animal encounters throughout the park and the SeaWorld Surprise Squad treating them with prizes every day. 
A bonus for our military friends and families: The Waves of Honor program provides complimentary admission to SeaWorld for military and family members. Check out www.WavesofHonor.com for more details!

We always love our time at SeaWorld and we know you will too!

INFORMATION: For general park information: (800) 257-4268 or www.SeaWorldSanDiego.com. For information about marine animals, visit www.SeaWorld.org.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Love Your Kleenex Style and Find the Perfect Design

To celebrate Kleenex’s 90th anniversary, they’re bringing you another innovative first: The Kleenex® Style Studio. It’s a fun, inspiring way to discover more of the Kleenex® Brand designs and products you love.
Whether you’re decorating at home or adding a pop of color to your clutch, Kleenex has you covered.

During a recent visit to one of my favorite stores, Target, I picked up a few boxes of the decorative boxes of Kleenex to help our family with our seasonal allergies. I try to keep a few boxes around the house for easy access for my myself and my two sneezy boys. There were so many colors and designs to choose from, it was easy to find a few boxes that go along with the decor in my home.



Since March 20th is the first day of Spring, it's a great time to swap out your winter style to bring some spring into your home. I love switching out my winter throw pillows, vases, and candles for their brighter counterparts I save in the closets for Spring! I love how Kleenex has beautifully designed boxes that go along with all the different color schemes I have around my home.

Here is my Kleenex Style in my living room:

Check out my Kleenex Style in my guest bathroom:

I found the perfect Kleenex Style for my bedroom:

Visit the Kleenex Style finder to see which style suits you best! Take the style quiz and read fun facts about the history of Kleenex.

Whether its in your home, office, car, or even in your purse, Kleenex has the perfect style for you!
 Disclosure:
This post is sponsored by Kleenex, but my love for their Style Studio is all my own!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Support the Karangalan Scholarship

It has been my pleasure to serve on the Karangalan Scholarship Committee for a few years now. Being able to recognize outstanding Filipino/Filipino-American students and their awesome achievements makes my job all the more rewarding!



Karangalan is a Tagalog word that means, “pride, dignity, and honor.

For over a decade the Sweetwater Union High School District has sponsored the Karangalan Scholarship. Due to budgetary constraints, the SUHSD can no longer support the scholarship.

Therefore, the friends and family of the Filipino educators of the SUHSD is asking for the support of the community to continue the spirit of the Karangalan Scholarship.
Karangalan Scholarship 2011

The Karangalan Scholarship will be awarded to outstanding Filipino American senior students in the Sweetwater Union High School District who have demonstrated excellence in academics and community involvement.

Applications will be screened by the Karangalan Scholarship Committee comprised of teachers, counselors, and administrators of the SUHSD. Finalists will be notified and awarded at their school sites respective awards ceremony.

 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Technology Tuesday: Teach Me

People often ask me how I taught my kids how to read. Both my boys, since about the age of two, have been able to read. Books are very visible in our home and since my boys were in my belly, I've read to them. They've always loved being read to and now enjoy reading themselves.

I have to admit that the iPhone and the iPad has been a great learning tool for my boys. I totally give credit to some of the awesome apps we use for my boys having been able to learn to read.

TeachMe: Toddler through Third Grade iPhone and iPad apps have grown with my kids. They started the app as toddlers, playing simple games to learn their letters, phonics, shapes, and colors. My kindergartner is now learning addition, subtraction, as well as spelling on the Teach Me app.



The app encourages kids to get the answers correct to win a virtual “sticker” to place on their virtual sticker book. It is amazing to watch my sons play use this. They pick up the concepts very quickly! I've used the "stickers" as incentives at home. If my kids want to play outside or want a new toy, they have to earn a certain number of stickers to earn the privilege. i surprised myself on how well it works!

I'd have to say, one of the great factors in my boys' love of reading is that it's something we've always done together. In the busyness of each day, story time each night is a constant and I cherish that time with my boys. Thanks to apps like Teach Me, my boys have grown their love of reading and learning!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Sweetwater High's Career Day - DONE!

The past few months, I've been organizing my school's bi-annual Career Day! Despite the rain, it was a great success!

Finding career speakers for our 84 classrooms and over 2400 students was a bit of a challenge, but with our great network of alumni and friends, we had a great day!

For more about our Career Day and pictures of the event, check out SUHIcounseling.com's post here: Sweetwater High Counseling Center: Career Day - THANK YOU
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