28 October 2009

October happenings....

One last Peanut Buster Parfait before heading back to Korea... mmmmm....Granddad's 90th birthday- Cheryl fashioned a "cake" out of cookies and a candle, as we were en route to the airport. Evan is asking if he can help Granddad blow out the candle. Granddad must have been a little taken aback by the request, given his expression...
Lu swinging at Dad's house.
Enjoying tasty Jonagold apples- fresh picked from the farm= delicious!!!

13 September 2009

09 September 2009

Mango Chicken Curry

Adapted from a Reader's Digest recipe...
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

You Will Need
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 chopped carrots
1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
2 tsp. canola oil
1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 tbs. curry powder
2 tsp. minced fresh gingerroot
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. califlower florets
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup chopped peeled mango- add more to taste
1 can reduced-fat coconut milk
2 tbs. tomato paste
Hot cooked rice, optional

What to Do
1. In large skillet, sauté onion, carrots and red pepper in oil 2 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add chicken, curry, ginger, garlic, salt, califlower and cayenne. Cook and stir 5 minutes.

2. Stir in mango, coconut milk, and tomato paste; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Serve with rice.

Yield: 4 big servings

Roasting chestnuts

The other day we spotted our friendly Korean neighbors using brooms to beat down a tree. Curious behavior that certainly got E's attention!!! Upon closer inspection, we discovered they were knocking these spiny balls out of the branches and scooping them into a pile in the alley. They covered the pile with branches, leaves and sticks from the underbrush, then lit a small fire and the pile smoked for a couple hours.

E thought we should try that for ourselves... so, being a good sport, I strapped Lu on my back and we hiked off into the woods behind our apartment- armed with a broom and a paper bag for collecting our loot.

First lesson- don't wear flip-flops when walking in the forest.
Second lesson- those spiny balls are SO SHARP that neither E or I could pick them up to put them in the bag, but instead devised a game of swatting them with the broom while one of us held the bag open.
Third lesson- mosquitos find young flesh especially tasty at dusk
Fourth lesson- if it looks like a maggot, moves like a maggot.... it's probably a maggot.
Fifth lesson- "I don't want to climb the tree." is not a good enough reason to pass up on all the chestnuts in the upper branches.

So... we bring home our nuts, sort them and rinse them off. Then to find a recipe....

Preheat your oven to 425 F (210 C). Take your chestnuts and make a cut across the round side of each to keep them from exploding, and arrange them either on a rack or on a cookie sheet. Roast them until the skins have pulled back from the cuts and the nutmeats have softened (exactly how long will depend upon the chestnuts, but at least 15-20 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven, make a mound of them in an old towel, wrap them up, squeeze them hard -- they should crackle -- and let them sit for a few minutes.

I'll let you know how they turn out... it's a lot of work for a cookie sheet full of chestnuts!

15 July 2009

Hawaii Standard Time... in Korea.

We got back from Hawaii a week ago... so why are the children still waking up at 4:45am? I don't know. But it's ruining my early workout schedule. I'm up early... but so are they!!

It's now 5:48pm, and their both passed out- They both skipped their afternoon nap to go to the pool on base. E. is on the couch with McQueen clutched in his paws and Lulu, is in the crib, with a pacifier in each hand. So, yes, it's nice to cook dinner with some peace and quiet, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they will be up past their 8:30pm bedtime....

A few of the highlights of our Hawaii trip-

Seeing Anna and John in Honolulu while we enjoyed the Hale Koa in Waikiki.
E. and Matt got to ride on a submarine.
Dinosaur exhibit at the Honolulu Community College
Visiting (well, crashing the quiet vacation of) Dad and Kissy.
Picking up new fabric at the Kapaia Stitchery- inspiration for a bed-sized quilt and patterns for stylized Japanese stitching.
E. learned how to swim!! still has floaties on, but he can paddle around by himself!!
Tasty dinner at the Hanapepe Cafe- third time's a charm.
Lovely sunsets from the south shore of Kauai.
Seeing sea turtles in the surf at Tunnels Beach.
Relaxing by the pool with the sweet scent of plumeria on the breeze... ahhh.
Going for a run in the mornings- listening to the birds and the waves.

Enjoy the new slideshow of pictures in the upper right corner of the blog- you can click on a pic to enlarge.

14 July 2009


Andes Peppermint Chip Oatmeal Cookies... the best EVER!

I finally found this recipe- it makes the most delicious holiday cookies I've ever had. This is the generic recipe-
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups Andes Mint Baking chips
(I substitute applesauce for 1/2 the butter, and use just 2/3 c. brown sugar. I also like to use 1 1/2 c. flour and 1 1/2 c. oats with sprinkle of allspice.)

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  3. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
  4. On low speed, add baking soda and salt, and then flour. Mix completely.
  5. Stir in oats and Andes baking chips.
  6. Measure out 2 tablespoons for large or 1 tablespoons for small cookies. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet two inches apart. Press lightly.
  7. Sprinkle some of the remaining chips (from the 10 oz. bag) on top of each cookie.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes for large cookies or 12-15 minutes for small. Do not overbake.

25 June 2009

Happy Birthday, Lulu

Well, the little munchkin is the big ONE. She's got 20 lbs, two little teeth, some big smiles and chubby thighs to show for it. We celebrated the big day a home with close friends (and neighbors) Megan, Brian, Anna and John. Lulu opened up her beautiful presents with glee... new blocks and a truck from Grandma and Clayton, new clothes and blocks from Nana Cheryl and Papa Chuck, new clothes and a swimsuit from Aunt Ching Yi, and a Lulu puzzle from Pops and Kissy.

We all enjoyed the party- I made some nice summer salads and Matt picked up a dolphin ice cream cake from BR.
Posted by Picasa

20 June 2009

Kiddos at play

New visors for the kiddos to block out the relentless Korean sunshine... and so they can fit in with all the other Koreans who wear visors. E's says "Friend Ship" and Lulu's says "SweetHeart". awwwhhhh.

Doing a little light reading... and helping me "organize" the bookshelf. What were all those silly books doing on the shelves?? It's much easier to find things when they are
spread out all over the floor!!

Plastic tunnel from Oriental Trading Company- fun, fun, fun!

Little Bean playing at the new play area in Pyeongtaek. She isn't walking yet, but getting quite brave about climbing up on things. I was suprised that she was able to navigate all the plastic balls on the floor.
Posted by Picasa

10 June 2009

Letting go...

Just Let Go

Link above is to a nice article in Yoga Journal about letting go.
The steps of detachment:
1: Acknowledgement
2: Self-Inquiry
3: Processing
4: Creative Action
5: Freedom

Detachment is one of the hardest lessons in life, I feel. Perhaps for me, the harder thing to learn is letting yourself become completely absorbed in something- to trust, to have faith, to love. My tendency is to keep my distance, so that part of me is always detached, from everything. But, the tree that stands alone in the field is more easily uprooted in the windstorm. The trees in the forest have each other for support.

From the article: " I have a huge amount of respect for the Zen warrior approach to the inner life, the one in which you heroically renounce your weaknesses and tough out the hard stuff, perhaps using your sense of humor to give you the power to move forward." I identify with this, but it also leaves me drifting over the tops of my emotions and never getting down the weeds to think about how I really FEEL about things. My DH can attest to this!

So, PCS season is here and we bid a "till we meet again" to the friends that we've made, and begin to feel that emptiness in our hearts. Not so many familiar faces around base. Fewer kids at the playgroups. Nobody left to invite to Lulu's birthday party :(

I was just commenting to a friend the other day- "I'm so busy dwelling on everyone that's leaving that I don't have any energy left to welcome the new folks to town."

I guess I'm still acknowledging all the detachment that's taking place. I'll keep you posted on how the "self-inquiry" step is going-

02 June 2009

Out and around Osan

The boys riding bikes- the community garden is just behind them. We are nursing along some tomatoes, radishes, potatoes, onions, parsley, mint, peas, peppers, lettuce and a smattering of random flowers. CE doesn't have the water spigot hooked up yet, so we are hand-carrying water to the garden every couple days.
Pics of the family a one of the many fini-flights this past month- Lulu actually LIKES wearing the earmuffs- she's probably realized that having your cheeks squooshed is better than being deafened by a gaggle of F-16s.
Ms. Lu and I exploring the Dragon's Jewel temple with Anna and Jane. LOVELY PEONIES. Ah... reminds me of my wedding boquet... 5 years ago. Amazing how the time has flown; 5 zipcodes and 2 children later... here we are!

My new workout regime consists of carrying Lulu everywhere. So we've done the flight line twice w/ her in the backpack. 6 miles with 25 lbs on my back is certainly a good workout!! This picture is from an afternoon where we explored the trails around Osan. Matt was able to join us and we hiked up to a little temple and gazebo about Pyeongtaek. Nice cool day and a sweet baby cooing in my ear all the way up the hill. What could be better?
Posted by Picasa

21 May 2009

Lost in Translation....

Sign seen at Seoul Grand Park:

You may suck your baby here.

12 May 2009

Last trip to Everland

Our last trip to Everland, as our membership expires May 11, 2009. We shared the day with Anna and John, our dear neighbors.

E. was quite in awe of the spraying game... this photo was taken before E. realized that he could steer the stream of water. He was delighted to spray anything within 180 degrees- who cares about getting a ball up a track!?!

Ah, yes, the motorized carpet camels. great fun.

And we even found a new ride in a corner of the park we hadn't been to before- E. rode it three times in a row. Up in the trees "just like Daddy's plane."
Posted by Picasa

21 April 2009

Gramma and Clayton come to visit!

Gramma and Clayton do a great job of feeding Miss Lulu all sorts of tasty treats... raisin bread, bananas and oatmeal, strawberries, avocado, pears and crackers. yum yum.

We journeyed two hours south of Osan to Jeonju- which is a BIG city. I'm hoping we can get back there to explore more of the sights- there is a large university, a Folk Museum and a paper-making museum. We did get up to a temple on the outskirts of town- Songgongwa-sa. This is a picture of us ladies in front of the temple. They had everything decorated for Buddha's birthday- May 5th- and the trees were just starting to fill with blossoms. Lovely!

Gramma and Clayton at the street market with Lulu. Notice the tree in full bloom behind them- it is a beautiful time of year to be in Korea.

Playing hide and seek with snookums. She continues to be a VERY happy and joyful young lady. We are so delighted to have her in our family.
Posted by Picasa

13 April 2009

Happy Easter!!

This year we attended the Easter Egg Hunt that was held at Osan Air Base. The yard in front of Turumi Lodge was filled with eggs for kids of all ages. Ev and Lulu were happy to see lots of eggs and balloons decorating the area.
And...they're off!!! All the kids dashed off to pick up as many eggs as they could fit in their baskets. Then the eggs are traded in for an age-appropriate treat bag... which was filled with many tasty things :) Ev was delighted.
Lulu trying her hand at egg collecting...
Easter dress for Miss Lu.
Posted by Picasa

09 February 2009

Change of scenery

"Uh, Mom? It's snowing.... "

Yes, 8 inches of snow welcomed us on the morning we were set to depart for Hawaii. Finally, winter had arrived! But what timing! Ah!

Matt braved the icy weather to wipe the car clean and take a quick jaunt on the cross-country skis. E-man threw a few snowballs and we took Lulu out to taste some freshly fallen snow. Yummy!
We quickly packed up everything and got to the bus terminal four hours before our scheduled departure- which was a good thing because the buses were running at least 45min behind due to the snow.
We all napped on the ride up to Incheon, checked in and explored the Seoul airport for a few hours.

As a note to any families traveling through Seoul: there is a nice little playground on the upstairs level, by the sky lounges, after you go through security.

7 hours and 25 minutes later- which both children taking long naps, we were in Hawaii!! Talk about a NICE change of scenery! We met up with Matt's parents at the Lihue airport, did a quick shopping trip at Safeway and hit the beach. I didn't fully appreciate how much I miss American grocery stores- things like teeting biscuits, organic vegetables, quinoa, chipotle peppers, and high quality deli meat are just not found in Korea. Yes, I am a consumer that likes choices. I admit it.

We played in the surf, made sand castles with E, and just really enjoyed the sunshine. Matt and I were able to spend a few evenings shopping and having dinner without the munchkins in tow. Everything is so quiet and still without them around- amazing! BTW the best place to eat on Kauai is Casa de Amici in Poipu.

It was a WONDERFUL and relaxing vacation. I'm very blessed to have two children that are good travelers, a healthy family and in-laws who like to vacation in Hawaii :)

Posted by Picasa

The Merica

The commemorative issue of Newsweek arrived the other day. I was reading it on the couch when Evan asked what I was looking at. So, I showed him the pictures of the inauguration and pointed to President Obama and explained "This is President Obama. He's in charge of America. He's in charge of the roads, the schools and the food. He's a very important guy."
To which Evan replied, "Why is he in charge of The Merica?"

"Uh... not "The Merica", it's America."

"Yeah. A Merica."