Young and Wild and Free

Children's Shelter of Cebu

Yes, I’ve been baking peanut butter pies, yes, I’ve been going to bed early, and yes, I’ve been loving it. But there’s actually a good reason I took this week “off” from Pinch of Yum.

It’s all in preparation for a change. An international change.

A change that involves Bjork and I moving to the Philippines for a year. The one in Southeast Asia that’s made up of 7,000 islands. The one that’s 8,000 miles away. In 6 weeks. Moving. There.


It’s seriously 100% true. We’ll be there for one year, and I would love to tell you that we’re just going to be soaking up the tropical sun, but that would be bad news for one white-skinned-spf-100-extreme-sunburn Scandinavian boy.

Instead, we’ll be working in the shade at an orphanage in Cebu City. It’s called the Children’s Shelter of Cebu and you might have seen it mentioned here before because my siblings Roselyn, Romeo, and Rodrigo lived at this shelter for several years before being adopted. Up until this point, we have donated all of our blog income to the shelter because we really love what they are doing for kids. And now… we’re going there ourselves!

Here’s the official FAQ.

How did it happen? We were planning to visit Cebu this summer – Bjork has never been there, and we wanted to do some international travel, so it seemed like a fun way to spend three weeks in June. A few weeks ago, we got a call from the director of the organization asking us if we’d be willing to extend our stay from three weeks to one year. After some serious conversations, prayer, and extreme-stress-eating, we decided we were ready and willing.

What will you be doing? I’ll be teaching a small class of Level C (upper elementary) kids from the orphanage at the Children of Hope school. Bjork will work remotely part-time in his current job. He’ll also be volunteering at the shelter with technology-related projects and leading epic games of t-ball, because he does stuff like that.

Where will you live? In a furnished Cebuano apartment, which, from what I hear, comes with a few free baby lizards. Not cool.

How will you get around in Cebu? Hello Jeepney.

What will you do with your house? Rent it out!

What will you do with your cars? Sell them! If you’re in the market for a sweet SUV, comment below. I’ll even throw in a pan of brownies with the deal.

What will you do with your stuff? Pack it up and store it in Grandma’s basement. Thanks, Gma!

What will you do with your hair in that heat and humidity? I feel a 365-day pony tail nub coming on. And yes, I meant to say nub. I did not time that haircut well.

What do you think you’ll miss most? Family time, wide open spaces, appropriate temperatures, appropriate hair, and our bestie couples’ soon-to-be newborn baby boy.

What are you most excited for? Friends and family to come and visit, trying out a non-Western lifestyle, and a changed heart.

What will happen to Pinch of Yum? The flavor (literally) might change, you might see less chocolate and more Filipino kids, and mangoes could take over indefinitely. But really, I plan to keep things going with posts about our new life in the Philippines as well as the same ol’ yummy recipes. Hopefully you guys can handle the American-style Filipino flair.


So now you know why I needed a week to put my feet up and eat peanut butter pie. Emphasis on the peanut butter. And pie.

It’s going to be a crazy year. But we are young and wild and free, or at least we’re pretending.

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  1. I have such respect for you both. It’s not always easy following the Lords nudging. May He use you mightily over this next year….and beyond! You are an inspiration!!

  2. Wow, that will be quite the change. If I had the money, I would definitely think about purchasing your SUV and pan of brownies, although if I were to look at my funds too closely, it would probably end up just being the pan of brownies.

    I also love the last comment you made on the posting “….we’re young and wild and free…” Isn’t that just what life is all about? Throwing caution and doubt into the wind, dropping everything and just going for that big change? Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  3. What an amazing opportunity and I have so much admiration for you both to rise to this challenge. I’m sure you two are going to have an amazing year and you’re going to bring such joy to the children you will be teaching.

  4. Valerie at The Year of Living Healthfully says:

    Lindsay, what an incredible, thrilling, and daunting decision! I suspect this will be one of the most life-giving and life-deepening years of your life. What an amazing blessing that you and Bjork can do this together. You will have the strength of so many prayers and thoughts behind you. So, so, so happy for both of you.

  5. luv what you do says:

    Wow, that is a huge lifestyle change and an amazing opportunity. Good for you for taking this chance and seizing the moment! It will be an adventure that you will never forget and I look forward to the pictures of kids and mangos!

  6. I was wondering where you were this week! I have such respect for you and what a blessing those children and school have that you and Bjork are going out there. I’m really excited to continue reading your blog and seeing what you’re doing out there. Seriously, you’re amazing!!

  7. What an awesome, exciting adventure! I can’t wait to read about your adventures this next year! Good luck to you both!!

  8. Lindsay A says:

    Wow! What a wonderful inspiration you are! If only more of us were willing to take such a drastic move to help others. I know you will never regret doing this! I am sooo glad you aren’t taking a Pinch of Yum break though. I would be very sad and your recipes would be very missed by everyone in my family :-)

    • Thanks Lindsay! I really don’t think we will regret it either. Right now I regret not keeping my closet more organized… but other than that… :)

  9. Wow this is so exciting! I didn’t realize you were planning a move. I’m envious of the big change and all the experiences you will have over there. Looking forward to your posts about Filipino kids and mangos! 😉

  10. That is incredibly amazing. I’m inspired by your (and Bjork’s) dedication to this cause that’s so important to you–and I know that it’ll be an eye-opening, enriching, overwhelming, unforgettable year. I hope you’ll tell us all about it!

  11. Lindsay, GOOD FOR YOU! What an awesome adventure and incredible way to give back to the world. I look forward to keeping up with your new life in the Phillipines via Pinch of Yum, since your blog is truly one of my favs. And, don’t worry about those baby lizards. I’ve lived in places where they made themselves at home inside the house. They don’t eat much. :-) Truthfully, before long you’ll think they’re cute. All the best to you and Bjork on your Young & Wild & Free adventure!

  12. Oh. My. Gosh! Congratulations! That is AWESOME! I actually started tearing up for you. So happy, and a little jealous too! I’m sure you will love it. My heart is doing flips for you!!

  13. Holy…cow. What an amazing opportunity for you guys and how cool that you could both make it work to do it. Can’t wait to follow along on your journey over there. Good luck with all the stuff that needs to get done before you leave, I’m sure that’s a bit of a stressful process!

    • This is so awesome. What an amazing opportunity for the both of you and I’m so jealous of your ability to say, “YES. Let’s do this!” I really wish I had done something this … BIG … before the kiddos came along. You’re definitely an inspiration for after they all run off to college and leave me home alone. I’d love to do something like this and I can’t wait to read about your journey!

    • Thanks Gina! It’s a tad stressful, yes. But thank goodness for Peanut Butter Pie.

  14. What a great opportunity to actually make a difference!

  15. OMG! That is SO cool Lindsay! Wow, what an amazing, exciting time! I can’t wait to hear all about it. It is definitely the time to do it and you definitely are young, wild and free!

  16. I figured your blogging break may have had to do with a little freelance project or something. Had no idea that “project” involved coordinating a move to Southeast Asia for year. WOW!! Congrats and this kind of post inspires me. Way to go to follow your dreams!

  17. Wow! That’s a huge and exciting change! I’ll be praying for you guys, and I’m sure you’ll make a huge impact on those children. Good luck!!

  18. Wow Lindsay! This is amazing! I’m so thrilled that we get to follow along on your blog and vicariously live through your adventures. It sounds like a year in which God is going to work powerfully . . .

  19. Wow what an awesome adventure and great opportunity! I look foward to reading about your daily life and also the food Philippines.

  20. Congratulations to you both! What an amazing opportunity! Safe travels to you guys, and enjoy this incredible experience :)

  21. Amazing and inspiring! Big tip o’ the hat to you both and your adventure!

  22. OMG, that’s soooo great! What a great cause to help. It’s so nice that your husband can work from there too, I bet that makes things easier.

    What a great adventure to get into! Good luck! I’m looking forward to the new recipes with Asian influence!

    • Thanks Ana! We are so happy that he will be able to work remotely and keep his job. And hopefully the Asian influence will be delicious and not disastrous. Time will tell. :)

  23. Lizabeth K. says:

    We’ll miss you here at school! I am so glad to hear that you’ll continue blogging, though! :)

  24. So exciting!!!! I can’t imagine having 6 weeks to turn my life upside down completely, but I know that the experience will be life changing (in good ways!) for you. Can’t wait to see pictures and hear stories about what you’re doing there!

  25. Kristie says:

    I just started following your blog. I love the great mix of healthy and not-so-healthy but always yummy looking recipes! I think it’s wonderful that you and your husband get to have this adventure together. What a difference you will get to make in those children’s lives. Best of luck and I’ll keep you both in my prayers!

  26. WOW! You and your husband are both amazing people! Lots of respect for what you’re doing. :)

  27. Good for you!! I admire and envy you at the same time. God Bless you both:)

  28. Kristina says:

    What an amazing journey you’ll have!!! My husband works for the State Department and we’ve gotten to live in some pretty neat places (currently Panama). I know you’ll have an amazing time!!

    Best of luck over there and safe journey! I can’t wait to read about your adventures.

  29. This is so incredibly wonderful. I am so happy for you guys and cannot wait to read about the journey! Many blessings to you guys!

  30. Wow, you two are amazing! Good for you. I’m sure you’ll love it. As another American living abroad, make sure you have all your basic baking staples with you. Even things like double acting baking powder don’t exist in most places and the cost of shipping is absurd.

    I’m so excited for you! YAY! :)

  31. What an incredible adventure! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  32. Wow, this is amazing! And very inspirational. I cannot wait to hear all about it once you get there.

  33. Yay!!!!!! Alex and I are SO excited for the both of you on this adventure, and so inspired by this leap of faith! Congratulations and we can’t WAIT to read all about it! We love you both!!!
    Sonja (& Alex)

  34. WOW congratulations!! this is so exciting, and for such an amazing cause. Congratulations!

  35. How very exciting! I wish you guys the best and I can’t wait to read about your new journey! Xo

  36. Will miss you… or will you share from Cebu? David Wilkerson introduced me to Cebu & the Lord’s ministry there… I will keep y’all in my prayers, and as old as I am (lol), the year will pass quickly!! It’s already May!!!

  37. Kellie says:

    Hey I’m really excited for you1 I think I found you on Pinterest, not sure really, but I love your blog and I’m so excited for your new adventure in the Philippines. My family is moving there in July; we’ll be in Manila for a year before we move to our final destination in Davao. You’ll have to come visit us in the capital if you make it up there during your stay! And, btw, the little lizards in your house eat the mosquitoes, so they’re totally your friends. ; )

    • How cool! I am so excited that there are others doing the same/similar things! and glad to know that the lizards aren’t as bad as they seem. What’s the reason for your move??

  38. sara wynn says:

    Yay! So exciting! May God bless you.

  39. Cheryl says:

    How incredible!!! How blessed you are to have this opportunity!!! I am jealous but in a really good way!!! You won’t regret this time of your life… I think if anything you’ll look back at it as one of the best experiences ever.. and you can never go wrong when the Lord leads and you go!! Can’t wait for the mango recipes!!! I’ll be keeping you both in prayer!

  40. I am new to your blog, but I wanted to drop you a comment to say what exciting changes! I live overseas (in Guatemala to be exact).

    I look forward to reading about your adventures! When do you move – in June?

  41. You amaze me….I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for you both and to see what kind of yummy shenanigans you come up with for us! {Hugs}}

  42. That is an amazing opportunity and so wonderful you guys are going! Can’t wait to read about your adventures there! Send me an email about the SUV. We are in the market…and semi-close to your area. And I’m not just in it for the brownies (contrary to popular belief)

  43. I have just discovered you as a fellow Minnesota teacher and now you are leaving on a fabulous adventure! So thrilled for you! I am often tempted to do the same and head to Haiti! Blessings to you on this very big decision. I work in St. Paul Public Schools by the way!

    • I have some friends who just went to Haiti and came back feeling the same way! How funny that you’re so close to me – I work in North Saint Paul (technically the Roseville district).

  44. Wow – what a big move! Sounds like a wonderful opportunity to give back and have a once in a lifetime experience yourselves! Good luck!

  45. Wow, so excited for you! What a wonderful thing you are doing for these kids and I’m sure you both will learn so much too along the way. Good luck and I can’t wait to read about your adventures!

  46. This is so exciting, Lindsay! I can’t wait to follow your adventures. Good for you!

  47. Wow! Congratulations and good luck! What an exciting time for you guys. How many rows of seating does your SUV have? I’m looking to buy and I’m near Minneapolis, I just need three rows!

  48. SO exciting for you guys! A hugely admire you for taking such a leap of faith, and you’re right, wild and free is the time to do it! You will be such a blessing to the orphanage.

  49. Wow! That is amazing. Best of luck. Can’t wait to read about your adventures, culinary and otherwise, and to see it through your awesome pictures.

  50. Well – how cool! My colleague and her husband traveled to the children’s shelter there in January… and were just at the dinner last weekend. I am thrilled to see you heading there & will certainly send lots of prayers in your direction.

  51. Oh my goodness. This is amazing!!! I can’t wait to hear about all your adventures!

  52. I think what you’re doing is absolutely amazing! I wish I could send you a muffin basket or something! And I’m super excited to see what’s in store for American-style Filipino food from Pinch of Yum!

  53. I am so, so excited for you! A group from our church is getting ready to head to Africa, and I’m definitely adding you two to our international prayers list :) Cannot wait to follow this (crazy awesome) year of yours here!

  54. Howdy! I actually live in the Philippines and it’s definitely very different from the US (which I’ve also been to), but really a lot of the people here are “Westernized” so I think you’ll be fine! (By the way, to the other readers, not all the houses here look like the shacks in the photo above, but there are quite a few even in the city.) There are definitely a lot of things that could be better around here, but no doubt you’ll find some things to love (like the food!). Everything new just takes a little getting used to, including the lizards, which actually won’t bother you anyway. I’m really excited to read about your adventures in Cebu!

    I really really hope you enjoy your stay here. I think what you’re doing is a great thing. The kids need all the help they can get! God bless! :)

    • That’s so great! I’ve been there once before and saw all parts of the city – the best and the worst. I don’t have a clue where our apartment will be, but I’m hopeful that we can experience some of that difference of culture even in such a large, semi-Westernized city. :) Do you live in Cebu? I’d love it if you’d email me any tips or things you’d recommend while we’re here!

  55. Awesome! I am also Filipino and have never had the pleasure of traveling here. Enjoy. You’re going to have an unforgettable year!

  56. What an incredible experience you are going to have! My boyfriend did something similar in Tanzania, Africa a few years ago. It changed his life (for the better) and can’t wait to go back. Enjoy this experience!

  57. That is amazing. I admire you for thinking about it and making it happen! All the very best and have a great year!

  58. That’s amazing! Enjoy this wonderful journey… I’m looking forward to reading about all of your adventures and the good work you’ll be doing.

  59. Awesome!!! What an adventure 😀 I just spent 3 years on Guam so I can relate completely to everything you are about to go through! I’m glad you already have a ponytail mentality 😉 It’s such an interesting part of the world to explore! Obvs I can go on and on haha, if you ever want to – feel free to email me!

    A friend of mine on Guam was very active with her church and an orphanage in Manila, they would make a spring break trip out there every year. If you want to see her experience her blog is

  60. Is there an award for World’s Most Supportive Husband? Because, if there is, I’m nominating Bjork immediately. Good luck!

  61. Coolest thing ever. Ever. Good for you guys! Be safe and enjoy a change of pace! Did you just take a leave of absence from teaching?

  62. This is wonderful I am so happy for you and your husband. What an experience I hope it is worth all the effort and more. Praying for you and your family in this time of stress and moving. Cannot wait to see your posts from there and recipes too. :) Amee

  63. Lindsay, what an exciting time for both of you! I am so proud and happy for you on the new adventure your life is leading you! You’re an inspiration!

  64. Valerie says:

    Lindsay, I think this is wonderful! I live overseas too and it would be the hardest thing ever to give it up and go back to the States permanently. I thought it was sacrificial to leave the U.S., but a part of me is always there with family members, friends, technology, and visits, but now I’m realizing it would be much more difficult to give up life here. Living here adds SO MUCH to our lives – now, but also always, no matter where the Lord takes us. May He bless you and Bjork as you listen to His voice.

  65. You will be missed at school here, so glad Kieran had you for her teacher. She loves you! If you need supplies let us know.
    Blessing and prayer for you and your husband~ The Killians

  66. Wow, you are trully amazing, the world needs more people like you, I wish I had more of that determination, and selflessness. Good luck with your new life and please keep us readers informed, all the best to you both!

    • Thanks Tesei! We are thankful for the people in our lives who have inspired us by doing far more courageous things. :) We will definitely keep the blog up-to-date with our adventures!

  67. Cathy Enders says:

    Wow! My prayers will be with you on this great adventure as you follow the Lord’s lead. Definitely looking forward to your blog updates. I know you will both touch those young hearts.

  68. wow, what an awesome adventure you two will have! blessings as you follow the Lord’s lead. :) sweet!!

  69. How exciting and scary – you will flourish and grow so much with opportunity. Think of the experience teaching those children and you will be able to use that experience and knowledge when you return. Best wishes!

  70. Oh my gosh! That’s where I live! I was so surprised to find out you will be staying in Cebu for a year to teach at an orphanage. I’ve always loved your blog and yummy recipes (I still can’t stop thinking about your Tamale Pie and I have to make it one of these days!) but after reading this, I have even more respect for you, Lindsay. You are not only a talented cook but you have also a big heart. Don’t worry about the lizards. They’re harmless and usually mind their own business. I hope you keep it up! Good luck to you and your husband :)

    • No Way! You live in Cebu??

      • Yes, Lindsay :) born and raised in Cebu. It’s not that bad here actually. It’s not like Manila. There are also a lot of foreigners living in the city, mostly Koreans and some are Japanese. People are friendly and there are a lot of nice beach resorts (but pricey!). If you do take the jeepney, it might be better to learn some Cebuano words since most jeepney drivers and “conductors” (people in charge of the jeepney fare) speak very little English. I’ve seen a few foreign tourists take the jeepney and had trouble communicating with them. Luckily the passengers were helpful. Of course, there are also places that are best to avoid, at night and during daytime especially if you are a foreigner but then that’s the same as everywhere else. I think you will like Filipino cuisine, which has a lot of Chinese and Spanish influences. There are also plenty of Korean restaurants.
        I hope you will your enjoy your stay here.

        • Thanks JoAnn! It’s so helpful to hear from people who have experience with the culture. We just picked out our apartment in the city. Kind of exciting! :)

  71. I for one will be happy to read your updates of your year to come.

  72. Wow you two are amazing!!! What an incredible opportunity. I wish you the best and I am excited for the Filipino food! Best of luck to you both. Maybe you will come home with a baby??? :)

  73. I missed this post! Congrats!

  74. I immediately started thinking of the song “Follow you” By Leeland as soon as I read your blog post. Now I can’t get it out of my head…..
    May God bless you abundantly throughout your journey!

  75. Whoa. I don’t know how I missed this one !! Glad you linked back to it! Congratulations!!! I’m so happy for you guys, and for the kids. It’ll change your life forever!!!! Can’t wait to keep reading about it!

  76. i am so happy for you guys and i don’t even know you. but i’ve tried a few of your recipes and am inspired by your creativity. i also am excited b/c i have done something similar – except it turned into 3 years in Malawi, Africa. it was so rewarding and so difficult and so amazing. beware – you will get attached to your new home and find returning to the US to be much harder than leaving! be sure and take the things that make you feel “at home”. glad you have each other to go with and may you feel blessed through the children you are serving…

  77. Rebecca Hahn says:

    Lindsay, I’m so excited for you. What an awesome adventure you are going to have! Just wanted to let you know that I have two students who spent time at CSC before being adopted by a family in Milaca. They would have been very happy to have you for a teacher. Blessings to you!

  78. Khadijah says:

    I can relate! On May 31st, my husband and I are moving to Saudi Arabia!!! I don’t know how to pack, how to get rid of all our stuff, how to transfer the lease on our car, how to bring our cat, etc…you get the picture!

    It sounds like you have it all planned out and are going for a great cause that will make all the stress worth it. Best wishes!

  79. Oh my!!!!! How awesome!! I cannot wait to see where this takes you two. Prayers and best wishes with EVERYTHING.

  80. Big beautiful blessings to both of you! You will change their world and they will change yours!


  81. Liz Okrent says:

    Happy Days! Filipino food is delicious. I love Pansit, Lumpia, and above all, Leche Flan. Gloriously rich egg custard pudding made with SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK, and featuring the yummy browned sugar syrup on the bottom. Oh pools of sweetest joy. Sorry. I tend to get carried away. But not for real, like you and your husband.
    Wow. Enjoy. Learn. Be blessed.

  82. How exciting! This seems like an awesome opportunity and I’m sure it truly will be life changing. On a similar note – my boyfriend and I are planning on backpacking through Europe and Asia for 2 years (starting this September) and we want to continue my food blog and have started a travel blog ( We will be spending 3 weeks in the Philippines so it will be interesting to read about your adventures there in preparation!

    • How cool! Where will you be in the Philippines? And when? :)

      • As of right now we are planning on being there the first 3 weeks of June 2013. The itinerary that I’ve put together includes 8 days in Cordilleras (Batad, Banaue, Sagada, Bontoc), 2 days in Manila and 10 days in Palawan (Puerta Princesa, El Nido, Coron). Still trying to decide if there’s enough time to make it to Boracay, Cebu and Bohol. There’s too much to see and never enough time! Have you guys planned out any trips around the islands?

  83. Jennifer says:

    I spent almost four months in the Philippines and it was four of the best months of my life! I hope that you have an amazing time – it is a beautiful country full of wonderful people!

    Words of Wisdom: Slather on the bug spray and make sure to check your shower for giant spiders in the morning!

    • Ew ew ew! I will definitely do that! I’m so glad to hear that you had such a great time there – what were you doing there and where were you??

  84. You will love Cebu and all the Philippine Islands have to offer. We were on holiday back in 2005 and went to Malapascua Island which is a tiny island located 3 hours by car plus a 45-min boat ride from Mactan Int’l. It was well worth the trek. You’ll love the new ingredients you will discover and new flavors to boot. I’m so excited for you. That’s a good call to spend a whole year there.

  85. Laura Berkas says:

    What a fantastic experience! I look forward to hearing of your adventures. Enjoy!

  86. SO, I am LOVING that you are going to be posting more Filipino flared dishes. I LOVE your blog by the way. And I also LOVE the Philippines. A couple summers ago I spent 8 weeks there working at an orphanage called Love the Children Foundation in Davao City. I fell in love with the culture, kids, and food. Very encouraged by your going to live there! Good luck! And, I will love checking your blog and seeing adorable Filipino children again :)

  87. Wow Lindsay – what an awesome thing to do! I was wondering what you were doing abroad, and now I have my answer. Bless you both!

  88. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging
    for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is great, as well as the content!

  89. Theodore Biele says:

    During 1993 and 1994, I lived in manila and served the Episcopal prison community. Difficult job I don’t think That I can return for various reasons but I had quite a time likving near St. Lukes’s hospital in Quezon City. Totally different way of life. My wife is a Filipina and Iwe have one daughter aged 26. Quite beautiful. Great mixture.Mestizas, I believe are the most comely people in the Phils. Hope you had a good time and accomplished a great deal.

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