Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Knight Times

So, as was mentioned in the post below (psst, if you haven't read that post yet, hurry up and read it because it will make much more sense if you do) I am now an actual member of a newspaper. 

The story of my journalism class is a fun one, but it is filled with tales of trial and heartbreak.  It all began in June of 2013 when I met with my councelor for the first time to choose my classes (theres a post about that too :) I chose my first elective without a doubt: foods class. It seemed to be a simple enough decision to make. 

That was, however, until I became smitten with another class: journalism. My councelor warned me that choosing a full year course my freshman year was going to be tough, but I didn't care. Journalism was my dream and a silly councilor was not going to get between my dream and I. 

Flash forwards to August 2013 and I'm waiting on the curb outside my house to pick me up and whisk me to my first day at the mysterious Grayslake North. The beginning of the day went pretty smoothly, I found my classes quickly and I didn't trip down the stairs so I considered it a success. That was, until 6th period. I first realized the largest dilemma when I entered the classroom. I turned around and began to walk out, immediately thinking that I was in the wrong room when the teacher, as short woman in her late 40s called out to me. 

"Ashley Ray-an?" she asked. I cringed at her pronunciation but I nodded. 

She patted the desk in front of her and I slipped off my backpack, taking a seat. I felt the eyes of the other students burning into the back of my shirt. 

None of them were freshmen. Not a single one. 

The 'big kids' all seemed to know the teacher and joked around with her while I shrunk further into my seat.

I made a couple of friends the first day. Mikey, a scary looking senior who was actually a big softie and Megan a short junior. We were paired up for almost everything until I realized that they weren't even a part of my class. They were only there for yearbook and would be leaving to join their class shortly. 

After Mikey and Megan left, I happened to see a girl in the back who I hadn't seen before. She sat near the wall and looked so familiar, yet I couldn't remember where I knew her from. The next day I figured it out. She was my locker neighbor. And with that, Yvette Rivera and I, the only two freshman in the whole Knight Times staff became friends. 

Yvette and I were each others lifelines in that class while we learned the basics. She was the only person I talked to in that class for the first two weeks of class. 

On September 16th, we began the big work. We were each assigned an article and began work. I was given the article about the poms (aka dance) team, a 200 word article for the last page of the newspaper that was all I thought about for the whole month of September. I got my interviews and began my story a week ahead of schedule. 

Most of you have already heard of the infamous writer's block. The first time it hits you is the worst, trust me. And of course I received my first jolt of writer's block while working on my poms article. For a full week all I did was spin in my chair and try to pull a lead for this story out of my brain. But it wouldn't work. Finally, with the help of my wonderful teacher Mrs. Smith, I broke through writers block and began the story. Within the hour I was finished with it.

The next step was editing. I was so afraid to approach my editor I had Mrs. Smith give it to him for me. Dalton brought it back to me and told me the words that made me so happy, words that I will not forget for the rest of my life: 'looks good. You write pretty good for a freshman.'

I was ecstatic. I made my edits and send it in the to page. And as promised I received the paper two days later. My name was in print. I wouldn't even breath while I read it. 

Today I have graduated from one article to five. I have written 4 sports article, 1 featured article, two captions and created my own page on the school website. Journalism is my favorite class and all my editors and classmates, Steven, Dalton, Hannah, Sean, Becca and Lauren are fantastic. Yvette and I are still extremely close and I am so glad to have a newspaper family like them. 

Please Don't Yell At Me Yet....


Well, everyone, long time no see.

Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

But, lets just get right back into the flow of things, shall we?

At this exact moment I am sitting in a room with 25 high schoolers after just taking my first ever final; a journalism one no less. 

And dearest readers, lots has changed since I last posted, yes and I am so entirely sorry for that, trust me I am. 

But I have so many fantastic stories to tell you! Homecoming, becoming school secretary, my wonderful journalism class, my fantastic high school, my extremely exciting advances as a staff editor for my school newspaper The Knight Times and most of all my adoring family who loves to tag along on these journeys and tell me their thoughts. 

And I know that it took me a while to get back on track, but here I am. Back and better than ever. 

So stay tuned my lovelies, there's so much more to be written!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Baked Chocolate Chip Banana Doughnuts

Recently, one of Neil's best friends, Jonathan, spent a week at our house. After a couple of days of eating cereal for breakfast I decided to take matters into my own hands to make a fast, easy and healthy breakfast for the kiddos to eat so that they wouldn't be waking me up at 7 am and requesting me to make french toast for them. The result were these fantastic baked chocolate chip doughnuts. 

Baked Chocolate Chip Banana Doughnuts


  • 1 cup Mashed Ripe Banana (Roughly 2 small bananas)
  • 1/2 cup Raw Cane Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Fat Free Greek Yogurt (I use 0% Fage)
  • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter (Melted)
  • 2 Eggs (Room Temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups Spelt White Flours (You can also use AP Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Chocolate Chips (I used 1/2 dark chocolate chips and 1/2 milk chocolate chips)

Topping (Optional)

  • 1/4 cup Raw Cane Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon 


1.Preheat the oven to 325F
2.Using your electric mixer with the whisk attachment, add the mashed banana, sugar and greek yogurt. Mix until incorporated.
3.Add melted butter, eggs and vanilla extra and mix.
4.Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the batter and mix until just incorporated. Do not over mix!
5.Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.
6.Scoop the batter into a zip lock bag and seal shut. Using scissors, snip the bottom corner of one side of the ziplock bag to create your homemade piping bag.
7.Grease your doughnut baking pan and pipe 3/4 full the batter into each doughnut mold.
8.Optional: Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture on top of each doughnut batter before baking. Or you can dip the doughnuts once baked in the cinnamon sugar mixture. You may need to paint melted butter on top of each doughnut before dipping the doughnuts in the sugar mixture to allow them to stick. Both options work perfectly.
9.Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool before eating.
*The reason my doughnuts look funny is because I do not have a doughnut pan. I used a muffin top pan instead, they turned out just as good :)

On another completley unrelated note, my hair has recently gotten very brown and very curly. It might just be because it is sunny and summery out, but I really love the way that it looks. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hooray, A Wedding!

Weddings in my family are anything but normal. 


This month we had one of the best weddings I've ever been to. And I personally love weddings, so I decided to compile a list while giving you the components of uncle Terrence and aunty Nitya's wedding.

Steps to having the 'MOST FUN' wedding ever:

My uncle Terrence and aunt Nitya had their wedding in Connecticut, fulfilling the first step: 

1. Do not have the wedding close to home. Make it fun with a commute. 

Now, not being able to drive, this is the most fun way to have a wedding because it means that: 
-everyone gets to eat out instead of eating at home
-you get to sightsee nearby
-you get to stay at a hotel
-everyone stays in a single place instead of going home after the wedding ends
-lots of family bonding


2. Hotels are fun. But only if they have a swimming pool.

This is definitely one of the important ones. I love staying at hotels for weddings because everyone is just so close together the whole time. And don't have your wedding at a hotel without a swimming pool, you're just wasting money.

  3. Let there be dancing.

The best weddings don't just have dancing, they have DANCING. This means that all men, women and children are on the dance floor until midnight at least. Dancing includes a couple of organized dances and then an open dance floor and DJ for the rest of the night. Terrence and Nitya had both and they were amazing!


4. The wedding must go past midnight.

Uncle Terrence and Aunty Nitya's wedding ended at midnight, but we roamed the hotel until 2 am.

 5. Henna is a must.

Unless everyone attending the wedding is wearing white, go for henna. There were a lot of stains, but in the end it was worth it.

  6. Cool wedding entrances? Uh, yes!

This wedding party's entrance was fantastic. Let's just say that the flashing sunglasses made a HUGE impact :)

7. Adorable wedding party

Rohan had this one covered. 

All in all, weddings are an amazing experience for everyone involved. Our family just has a lot of fun with them, the dancing and the ceremony. Can't wait for the next one! (Sonya, we are bringing home the prize for you!)

Monday, July 1, 2013

This Is Family

This is family.

Sitting together and playing Uno, even when your hands are aching.

Even when it's getting annoying.

Even when you have been hit by 3 draw fours in a row.

Even when you don't have a red and have to pick through a deck of what seems like 400 yellow cards.

Because family is more than bloodlines and who lives under the same roof as you.

Family is about who would eat your overcooked spaghetti and slightly burnt garlic bread and pretend like it was the most gourmet meal on the planet.

It's about who would wake you up at midnight to ask you to switch bunk beds with them.

It's about the people that secretly promise to let you watch Paranormal Activity even after mom says no.

It's the people who can't get rid of you no matter what.

Its about the people who would sit and play the longest, butt-numbing, laughter-filled game of Uno that you have ever heard of.

Thats real family.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Miss Graduate

I graduated!
After a long 5 years with all these kids, we are all separating. 

It was a sad ceremony, but I think that we all enjoyed it as well. It has been an amazing journey and I am going to miss them all an unimaginable amount, but I wish them all nothing but success in the future. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Europe Trip- Part Four

Dad and I
Arc de Triumph


Blurry, but you can see the
Eiffel Tower well
We got on the Eurostar from St. Pancras Station and got off at Gar De Nord Station in Paris. There were a whole bunch of creepy people at the station. One drunk guy started talking in French to us and was probably trying to sell us these wilted flowers. Paris was disgusting and dirty and crowded and smelly. Apart from that there were a lot of thieves and scammers and pickpockets and crazy people. My aunt Marisa came to pick us up from the station. Then we walked with her two kids, Isabel and Nathaniel, to an Indian restaurant where we all ate. Then Neil and Kiren decided to go back to aunt Marisa's house in Poissy while my parents and I took the subway to downtown Paris. The subway stations were disgusting and dirty and covered in graffiti. We took the train down to the Arc De Triumph, after getting lost a few times because no one at the station spoke English. We walked down the Champs Elysess and went into the huge Sephora store and took lots of pictures. There was also a HUGE H&M there too. Then we went back to Poissy to my Aunt Marisa's. She lived right next to a high security prison, which was really cool. The prison we where Carlos the Jackall was being held. 

Mom and Dad in Sephora

Sacre Coer
The next day we woke up and got ready really early. It was drizzling the whole day, which made for a miserable walk to the train station. We took the train to the Sacre Coer, the church for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Next we went to the most adorable macaroon bakery. We bought Pista, Raspberry, Almond and Caramel Sea Salt flavors. I liked the Rasperry the best, but Caramel Sea Salt was pretty close :) We also got lollypops. Then we went to Notre Dame Cathedral. We had to wait in line to get in. Next we went to the main attraction....... The Eiffel Tower!! We didn't go in because tick,lllets were all sold out, but it started raining really hard. I just wanted to take a few pictures and leave by that point. Next we took the bus to see the Louvre. The rain had died down a bit by then, but we still were happy to get in and out of the cold. We walked around a bit before leaving and heading to Illy, a coffee shop. The hot chocolate was literally melted chocolate. It was just pure chocolate with some dots of cream on top. Then we went to a Mc Cafe. And guess what we saw! They were selling the most amazing macaroons and flan. I loved it so much and wished that they had one in the US :(

Eiffel Tower
Illy Hot Chocolate


View of Frankfurt
We left Paris early Tuesday morning to leave for the area that most touched our hearts. Germany was just a well of memories for us. We arrived at Oma and Jenny's house after a few stops. We had hit 200 km/h on the Autobahn, which was definitely fun for all of us. We relaxed for a bit before heading over to Rolinda Grandma and Princeton Grandpa's house. We saw Priya and planned out the next day before heading back to Oma's. She bought two brand new mattresses just because we were coming. Suffice to say, we all slept very well :) 

Oma and Jenny
The next day we ate croissants and jam before leaving to go to my old kindergarten and visit our old house. My old school was closed already, but we looked around a bit. Then we went to a small mall that mom and dad had been to many times when they lived in Germany. We stopped at the grocery store and bought lots of chocolate! Then we went to Grandma Alphona and Grandpa Sorius's house. Then we made a mad dash to the Ziel Mall where we were going to meet up with some old friends. Priya and Bindu took me around to all the shops and we met up with Aunt Jana, Uncle Stephen and Stena. It felt so good to meet up with everyone again.
Kiren and Stena
View from the living room


Nithika and I
Soooo cute!
I'm going to tell you first, I loved Switzerland. It was beautiful and relaxing and lots of fun, so I might be a litttlllee bit biased :) We left Germany early Thursday morning, making a stop in the Black Forest on our way to Switzerland. The views were breathtaking, like they were taken straight out of a panoramic postcard. We drove the 5 hours and they went by fast. Finally we reached our little HUGE guesthouse! It was fully furnished with 3 bedrooms. Mom and dad slept in one, Nina, Aunt Dula and Uncle Kandiban slept in the other and all the kids slept in the room with 4 beds (two bunk beds). It was so much fun! The next day we went on a waterfall hike and then went into the town of Interlaken. Today we took a train and then hiked up to another waterfall. Most of our time is spent relaxing, and it feels a lot like a vacation, unlike how the rest of our trip has been!


A special thank you to EVERYONE that we met on our trip. The fact that you all came out to visit when we were there for such a short time makes us all feel so special! We love all of you and hope that you come to visit us soon here in the good ol' USA.

Much love,

Friday, May 24, 2013

Europe Trip- Part Three


Scotland in one word is just beautiful. I loved it. We rented a cute bright red ford to take with us. The ride from Doncaster to Dumbfries was about 5 hours. We stopped in Yorkshire to eat lunch and then we took a long waterfall hike in this place called Ingleton. The first part of the hike was one mile of rocky foresty land. Then we walked up farmlands for three miles. We saw all sorts of sheep and cows everywhere and you had to be careful not to provoke them. The last two miles were the same rocky forest land as was in the beginning. There were these wooden structures with money stuck in them littered around the area. After walking we were all muddy and tired so we went to our friends, Joshua and Ananya's house. Their mom is my mom's cousin so they invited us to stay the night. We stayed up all night playing monopoly and jumping on the trampoline. Finally they went to sleep because they had school the next day. We left around 10 the next morning. We stopped at this cute place called Lake District where there are a bunch of connected lakes. Because we were pressed for time we just fed some ducks and went to a cute cafe where I got hot chocolate, Kiren got ice cream, mom got a latte, Neil got hot chocolate and my dad got tea. Then we drove back home to our cousin's home in Doncaster.

Sheep in the mountains

View from the mountain

Miss Model

Neil's meal at the cafe.

Neil feeding ducks in the Lake District

After we got home from Scotland we had to pack up and leave in an hour. We went to my grandpa Matthew's house. We ate dinner there and then the next morning we ate nutella and toast and jam and jelly and eggs and sausages. Then we drove to London. We had to drop off the car because it was a rental. After that we went to the train station to buy subway tickets. We took the subway, then a double Decker bus and then the subway again. Next we visited Buckingham Palace and walked through Kensington Gardens. Then we took the subway to 10 Downing Street and Big Ben. Then we took the subway to the London Eye and saw the Royal Stables. During the changing of the guards we met theses guys making a video dancing to some random k-pop song and he looked just like PSY from Gangnam Style. We took a picture with him. Afterwords we visited the Tower Bridge and Saint Paul's Cathedral. By then it was really late so we went back to our hotel. The next morning after mass we took the Eurostar, a train that goes underwater, to Paris.

The cousins on the bus

Red telephone box

Big Ben

Cousins <3

St. Pauls Cathedral

My favorite!