Now Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding!

Every year We Wish You A Merry Christmas plays on the radio, and the question that always follows “What is Figgy Pudding?” So this year I made it my goal to wonder no more, by surprising my family with homemade Figgy Pudding for Christmas. 🙂

The whole process was an adventure from finding and prepping the ingredients, to making and serving the pudding. I honestly had no idea what I was making until it was on my plate! I always pictured a fig puree with the consistency of pudding, but instead it was a cake with caramel sauce!

IMG_20151225_134749    Surprisingly Aldi had 99% of the ingredients I was looking for    IMG_20151225_142835 Chopping the dates . Whole ones looked like bugs lol IMG_20151225_140755

Chopping the figs – very messy workIMG_20151225_144752

Boiling the dates and figsIMG_20151225_150047

What I expected the figgy pudding to be lol


Cake batter?


Grating chocolate is time consuming and messy work


Combining all the ingredients…


Fresh outta the oven – it’s a cake?!


Prepping the caramel sauce


Voila! The finished product.

I had a lot of fun doing it, and even more fun sharing it with my family! Merry Christmas everyone!

Thanks for reading!

-Anna San

Did Someone Say Pie?!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Being culinar-ily disinclined, I have never made pie before. So this year I decided that in addition to my usual Thanksgiving contribution of Green Bean Casserole, I was going to surprise everyone by making a sweet potato pie. 🙂 No one in my family has ever made one, and I acquired a taste for it from working at a McDonald’s who sold them.

This decided, plans were then put into place on how to make this a reality. However while looking up recipes to compile my shopping list, pecan pie came up as a suggestion. I glanced at it and thought, Maybe another time. Stopping myself in my tracks, I asked Why not now? So I found a recipe for that.

As far as I’m aware, no one in my immediate family has made pecan pie either, so I decided to make both! :3

When I brought the pies to dinner this evening, they were well received, the pecan of course stealing the show. It was a lot of work, but so much fun and well worth the effort. I wonder what I’m going to make next… 😉

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Thanks for reading!

-Anna San

Golden Year Project: Complete!
Check out some of the nifty things I did down below!

10 Miles

Today I assisted in taking our boy scout troop on a 10 mile bike ride. It doesn’t sound like much, but the preparation for this trip was astronomical. 

When I went to see the Tridge in Midland back in the spring, I had hung out with the scout leaders after the Eagle ceremony and discussed the possibility of helping my brothers and other scouts in the troop earn their cycling badges because there weren’t any adult volunteers able to do so. They needed to complete 100 miles of biking over six trips; two 10 mile rides, two 15 mile rides, and then two 25 mile rides. Being on the hunt for new ways of completing my Golden Year Project, I was game. Just need a bike and make time to meet up with some scouts. Right?

Wrong. To help out required that I first officially join the troop as an adult leader. I submitted my troop application to the council and purchased my bicycle gear in April. When the application was approved in May, I was sent a link to complete the online BSA Youth Protection Training, then had to wait to attend the Protecting God’s Children training session in June which is a requirement of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Once completed I figured that the scouts and I would be working toward the 100 mile goal right away… Came to find out that scouts were out for the summer, and meetings wouldn’t start again until the last week of September. Yeah…

Keeping positive, my brothers and I went on some bike rides to get in shape for all the miles we were going to be putting in. Unfortunately, not long after this, I fell off my bike while jumping a curb at the end of June resulting in a slow healing wrist injury. 😦

When my brothers and I went to do a test run at the Metropark in July, the bike rack I had borrowed failed on the express way and we nearly lost our bikes! The metal base had bent and it was dangling the bicycles mere millimeters above the asphalt when I pulled off the road. Thankfully my mom was home and was able to transport them back home for us. A new bike rack was quickly procured to prevent a repeat occurance.

In mid-September my mom, brothers, and I had our official 6 mile test run which went pretty well. The most difficult part was loading and unloading the bikes on the new rack. We took extra precautions to make sure they were well secured.

Today we had seven scouts meet up for our event. Leadership had everyone carpool and the bikes were spread across several vehicles. Loading, unloading, checking their bicycles and coordinating all the scouts was quite a chore. Thankfully I didn’t have to do it alone!


It was sunny, however once we reached the park it was super cold and quite windy. I don’t know what I would’ve done without the gloves my mom gave me! The ride proved to be the longest ten miles ever, but at the end we were all smiling. 🙂


We came, we did, and we conquered!

In conclusion, things don’t always happen when or how we expect it to, and encountering numerous obstacles doesn’t necessarily means its time for you to give up. It may be an opportunity to overcome, and achieve more than you set out for. I know I have. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

-Anna San

Adult leader requirements

  • Application with references
  • Get added to the troop roster
  • Child protection online class
  • Protecting God’s Children Class (requirement of the diocese)
  • BSA shirt

Cycling Gear Needed

  • Bicycle with gears
  • Water bottle holder
  • Helmet
  • Odometer
  • Bike rack
  • Bike lock

Scout Requirements

  • Location
  • Date and time
  • Permission Slips
  • Debriefing
  • Safety checks on scout bicycles
  • Helmets
  • Carpooling/Bicycle transport
  • First aid kit
  • Water bottles

Golden Year Project: Complete!
Check out some of the nifty things I did down below!


Skateland West

Today Maru, Nina and I went to Skateland West roller rink in Westland. Over a decade has passed since I went to one last, so we thought it’d be a great sisters outing, and another ‘golden opportunity’😉

Skateland Sign

When choosing a rink, we went based on proximity + availability and discovered that the closest is Skateland West who has convenient weekend hours.



Their pricing is reasonable, $7 per 3 hour session or $10 per day which includes free skate rental. They also boast 25 cent lockers and dollar+ drinks at the concessions. 🙂

The rink was cool with the universe theme, blacklights, live DJ and multiple disco balls. The floor itself was pretty smooth, just needed to watch for the occasional rough patch and for fallen little people. 😉


…Gotta love perspective and ancient skates!

The rented skates did their job, however I would recommend bringing a personal pair for comfort …and aesthetics.


Ready for skating!

Once laced up, I was ready to go! There were quite a few regulars flying by, so I was determined to give it my best and not fall flat on my face.

After stepping onto the rink floor I realized that skating is all about balance. I ended up using what I learned about balance and control from both skiing and skateboarding. In skateboarding you bend your legs, lean forward and use your upper body to direct the board. In skiing you bend your legs, lean backward and point your toes to direct your skis. With skating, if you lean too far forward, you’ll fall, so you need to lean back, but not too far back because you’ll fall. Lol! My solution: bend knees, lean back slightly keeping hips above ankles and use upper body for steering. I’m sure I looked a sight, but during the two hours there I didn’t fall once! 🙂

This outing has worn me out, but I am glad that I had the opportunity to spend this time with my sisters and learn something new. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

-Anna San

Golden Year Project: Complete!
Check out some of the nifty things I did down below!

  1. 2/14/2015: Oh Canada!
  2. 2/20/2015: Just do it! A Morning on the Slopes
  3. 2/28/2015: Facing the Rockwall
  4. 3/10-12/2015: The Amazing Chi-Town!
  5. 3/18/2015: On Target… or Not.
  6. 4/11/2015: The Tridge
  7. 4/17/2015: Play Me a Song
  8. 5/2/2015: Make a Run for It!
  9. 5/31/2015: Handy Dandy Eye Candy
  10. 7/2/2015: Tri-Harder
  11. 8/14/2015: Paddleboats Ahoy!
  12. 8/22/2015: Skateland West

Paddleboats Ahoy!

While my family was vacationing at the grandparent’s cottage up north this weekend, we had the opportunity to go paddleboating – which I have never done before this trip. 

DSC_0195 Although one can technically use a paddleboat by oneself, its so much more fun to have a crew. 🙂 DSC_0249
(See? Siblings can be super useful. 🙂 I’m the one taking the pictures.)

The Titawbawasee is a sizable river. See that speck in the middle of the pic? That’s what we looked like in comparison to our surroundings.


My crewmates. 🙂DSC_0297

Quite a workout…DSC_0323

Sean did a great job with the steeringDSC_0377

Beholding the beauty of the river.DSC_0443

The views were breathtaking and I couldn’t stop hitting the shutter.DSC_0314

I can’t even say how many pictures I took… 😉DSC_0328

The neighbor’s paddleboat. They let us borrow it later. 🙂DSC_0353

We encountered many many lily pads.




Water lily…DSC_0792

A mossy old stump that has become an island. DSC_0829



I would like to give a shout-out to all my paddle buddies this weekend – couldn’t have had this cool golden year experience without you!

Thanks for reading!

-Anna San

Golden Year Project: Complete!
Check out some of the nifty things I did down below!

  1. 2/14/2015: Oh Canada!
  2. 2/20/2015: Just do it! A Morning on the Slopes
  3. 2/28/2015: Facing the Rockwall
  4. 3/10-12/2015: The Amazing Chi-Town!
  5. 3/18/2015: On Target… or Not.
  6. 4/11/2015: The Tridge
  7. 4/17/2015: Play Me a Song
  8. 5/2/2015: Make a Run for It!
  9. 5/31/2015: Handy Dandy Eye Candy
  10. 7/2/2015: Tri-Harder
  11. 8/14/2015: Paddleboats Ahoy!

Pick a New Dream

Right after my sister and I started swimming in January of 2014, we decided would like to earn our Lifeguard Certifications. After a five month break from swimming, I picked up that idea again in November when I started private swim lessons and worked on my stamina, surface dives/brick retrieval. In January it made the top of my list of things I wanted to complete for my Golden Year Project where I am accomplishing 28 new/different experiences to help me grow as a person. Since then it has been my goal to certify in June as I figured that would allow me enough time to build up my stamina and be able to successfully complete the prerequisites and be accepted into the course.

It is now June and the class I was planning on taking starts in tw0 weeks. I have been making sure to watch a lot of swimming videos, reading up on requirements and practicing daily to tighten up my form. I have even started reading the lifeguard manual in preparation for the course.

The prerequisites for the course I have no qualms about successfully completing:

  • 300 yard continuous swim combination breaststroke, freestyle – Check
  • Treading water for 2 minutes without using arms or head going below water – Check
  • Swim 20 yards, surface dive to and retrieve a brick, carry it back to the side of the pool in less than 1:40 – Check

After all this preparation, I just had to come to terms with the fact that I will never earn my American Red Cross lifeguard certification. There is a technicality about one of the requirements that wasn’t in the literature I originally based my training on. It’s mandatory to do the brick retrieval without goggles.

I can’t see underwater without goggles. Above water I am near sighted and often misjudge distance; underwater everything is so blurred together I have absolutely no depth perception and can’t make it to the bottom. (No, contacts do not help.)

9 months of getting kicked by other swimmers, hit by stray balls, bumping my head and shins into the wall, slicing my toes on the line, getting bruises from climbing out and fainting from fatigue and dehydration and this is the first time I’ve cried at the pool. Unfortunately nothing is going to fix this.

Time to pick another dream. 

Handy Dandy Eye Candy

Happy Sunday everyone and welcome to my new followers! Today I tackled another task for my golden year project – basic auto maintenance!

About a week ago the check engine light came on in my Focus and has been bugging the bejeebers out of me. Whenever I thought about it a million questions would swirl around in my head. “Whats wrong?” “Is it an idiot light?” “Is it serious?” “Am I going to break down on my commute?” “Am I ruining my car by driving it with this unknown problem being unresolved?”  “Should I go to the auto shop?” Do I have the means to pay someone to fix this?” and the kicker “Will I need a new car???”

Outside of the engine intermittently skipping, I didn’t notice much of a difference in the handling but I wasn’t going to take a chance that a bigger problem be created by ignoring it. So I borrowed a code reader. IMG_20150527_203056

P0193 Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor Circuit High Input is the code that I pulled. I discussed it with my brother and my dad and was relieved that all it meant is that the sensor needed to be replaced. The only damage I was causing by not addressing it immediately was reduced fuel economy. Phew! After we watched a very informative video showing how to replace it, my dad helped me locate the correct part and I picked it up from the local auto parts store. Since I was beat from my super long work week, I sat on the part for a day and then… the rain rolled in.

It’s been a day and a half of torrential rain but my sensor needed to be replaced before the work week begins so.. yeah.


I gathered the necessary supplies – the fuel sensor, a 7mm socket wrench, and the code reader – and went out into the rain.


Good times….


Mission accomplished! The sensor has been replaced without much ado, and the code has been erased! (Chicks can do (super) basic auto maintenance too!)

Thanks for reading!

-Anna San

  1. 2/14/2015: Oh Canada!
  2. 2/20/2015: Just do it! A Morning on the Slopes
  3. 2/28/2015: Facing the Rockwall
  4. 3/10-12/2015: The Amazing Chi-Town!
  5. 3/18/2015: On Target… or Not.
  6. 4/11/2015: The Tridge
  7. 4/17/2015: Play Me a Song
  8. 5/2/2015: Make a Run for It!
  9. 5/31/2015: Handy Dandy Eye Candy