Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July Bookworm Bookclub: Written in My Own Heart's Blood

This is the 8th book in the Outlander series written by Diana Gabaldon.

When I first started reading this series, I almost stopped after the first book. I thought the Scottish accent was too heavy handed and that it interrupted the flow of the story.

Ah, the story. I was captivated by the story of a time traveling woman who fell in love with a Highlander after just being reunited with her newlywed husband.

And so I kept reading. And kept reading. And here I am writing a review of the book that I read on my Nook the very first day it was available. Because now I think I'm kind of  addicted.

These books aren't mysteries, or historical fiction or romance or fantasy. They are pieces of each genre expertly woven together to make a wonderful, interesting, completely enthralling novel.

And the 8th book fits right in with the rest of the series. I absolutely love how Gabaldon is able to weave together a cohesive story using so many character perspectives, even when the characters are often located in different times.

If you haven't read this series before I highly recommend that you start with the first book,   Outlander, and work your way through. Like tomorrow.

If you've read the books, I highly recommend a trip to the Scottish Highlands.  The scenery is so amazing. None of my pictures do it justice.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Stovetop Dinners

Since our move to South Korea, we haven't had an oven.  That couple with the high grocery store prices has seriously limited the variety of meals I'm able to make.

One of our new favorite meals is a spin off Tuna Helper. My husband mentioned that he would like a "Helper" style meal. However, we are trying to eat better and boxed meals aren't readily available here.

So, I turned on my thinking cap...err...opened Pintrest. I typed in homemade helper and was greeted with lots of homemade versions of these ready made favorites.

We've tried a bacon cheeseburger version and a tuna. Hands down the tuna has been the best.

I created a recipe that suited our tastes based on the one I found at Iowa Girl Eats.

I'm going to be honest with you. This dish does not photograph well! But it tastes amazing. Promise.  Here's a picture anyway.

The recipe is really simple.

Boil and drain egg noodles or your favorite pasta. We use fusilli.

Sautee onions and spicy peppers in butter until soft. Season with salt and pepper.
Add in 1 1/2 tablespoons flour. Cook another minute.
Whisk in 3/4 C chicken broth and then 1/2 cup milk.

Add drained tuna, salt and pepper to taste and the cooked noodles.
Stir to combine. Turn off the heat. Stir in 1/4 C sharp cheddar (grated) until melted.

Serve it up!

Try this blueberry crisp for dessert.

Note: This dish heavily caters to my husbands preference for spicy food. To me, it's almost too spicy. However, it is so good it doesn't stop me.

PS: This is the dish I was making when I realized just how hot my kitchen was. The cheese was melting faster than I could grate it.

Do you have a favorite stovetop supper? I'm in the market for new recipes! 01 02 12

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday!

Happy Thursday y'all!

I thought I'd throw together a list of "throwback" posts that you might have missed.

This post explains how we came to be in Korea.

There was a point during our first year here where I felt like I was living the fish and loaves story. Read about it here.

Here is what I did this weekend.

Here is what I think about cardboard spoons.

Living in Korea has definitely made me more thankful to be an American.

My first blog interview!

Happy Reading!!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Behind the Blog: Carmen at Life Blessons

As promised, today is our first Behind the Blog interview.
Today's guest is Carmen from Life Blessons.
I've been a fan of Carmen's blog for sometime now. I really love how open and honest she is. I first started reading Life Blessons because I was interested in how Carmen lives out her faith. Reading her blog, brings me fresh inspiration and encouragement. As a fellow Christian, it's nice to feel that sense of community with other believers. Now, I also enjoy the glimpses of life as a new mother that she shares with us.
I feel like she posts a good balance of articles ranging from  her faith, marriage and motherhood to fashion and lifestyle topics.
Read on to learn a little more about Carmen.
  1. What do you do when you are not blogging?
My husband and I recently bought a new house so any spare time has been spent doing a lot of house projects, unpacking and decorating. We also spend a lot of time outdoors with my daughter, Claire, who loves being outside.

  1. What inspired you to start a blog?
I started my blog soon after my husband and I married and moved to Atlanta where I didn't know anyone. Blogging was a way for me to find community and connect with people virtually at a time when it was difficult to do so in real life.
  1. How did you choose your blog name?
It came to me in the middle of the night as I thought about the purpose I wanted for my blog: to document the blessings and lessons I was experiencing--my "Blessons."
  1. What inspires you to keep writing?
Lately I have not had the time to do much writing, between moving and raising an active little girl. But I am most inspired to write lately because I know blogging helps me remember these moments of my young daughter's life and document them in a way I wouldn't have otherwise.
  1. Is there one thing you want your readers to take away from your blog?
I hope they are encouraged. I never want my blog to feel judge-y or better or stir up envy; I want it to be a place that helps people, whether it's connecting in their faith, making it through some of life's hard times or even coming up with a recipe for dinner. If you dig through the archives there's a little bit of everything there.

               7. Has blogging allowed you to do something really cool, that you wouldn’t have done otherwise?
It's allowed me to connect with a lot of really inspiring and friendly women that I never would have known otherwise, and feel like we're friends even if we've never met and I love that. I have also gotten to try out some cool products to review on my blog that I likely wouldn't have otherwise, and that's been a fun perk, too.
               8. What’s your current obsession?
Decorating my house and making it feel like "me." I have been enjoying the creative outlet and the results make me smile.
               9. What are your goals for this year? For the next 5 years?
While setting up our house has taken up a lot of energy lately, raising my daughter and figuring out how to be a God-honoring mom to her is my ultimate goal. It is new territory and so difficult to cultivate when all she understands is wanting to go outside and play. But we are learning and so my goal would be to continue to home that and create a family where Christ's love and the Spirit's fruit are evident.
                10. What was your most recent “Wow!” moment?
Probably something involving my daughter and how quickly she learns things. It keeps me in awe of her little, energetic mind and the God who created it. She is forever inspiring me and impressing me! I love watching her grow.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Too Hot to Move

It's been so hot here lately I haven't wanted to do much of anything lately. I think the feels like temp on Saturday was in the 100's.

We just had a relaxing weekend, watching movies on TV and going out to eat. When it is 80+  degrees in your kitchen you really don't want to stay in there and cook!

I'm so glad that hubby had the foresight a few weeks ago and had us move our living room into the spare bedroom. Now, we can relax in air conditioning! Although, there is pink glittery wallpaper.

We hit up KFC for lunch yesterday. It was delicious but way over priced! We got a half bucket of chicken with fries and drinks and it was about $20. Yikes!

Saturday we went grocery shopping. We usually do one big Costco trip every six weeks and then small trips to our local store to stock up on milk, yogurt, bread and condiments. Meat is super expensive here so Costco is a life saver. Also, its the only place I've found non-processed cheese.

I really like that the grocery store has a food court. Not only that but they have plastic mockup of the food and you can order by number .It makes it super easy for foreigners. I had a delicious fried pork chop with spicy rice with an over easy egg on top, and onion soup. Hubby has something similar but with spaghetti instead of rice, and cheesy soup instead of onion. He also had an omelet on the side.  Not bad for $10.

How was your weekend? Did you get out and about or seek shelter like we did?

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Happy Days are Here to Stay


Some times its the small things in life that make us smile. Here is a list of 50 things that make me giggle and grin.

What things make you smile?

  1. Travel
  2. S'more brownies
  3. S'mores
  4. Swimming
  5. The Ocean
  6. Writing
  7. Making lists
  8. Organizing
  9. Planning events
  10. Girl's nights out
Smore 1

11. Lazy nights in
12.Popcorn with a movie
13. Homemade hot chocolate
14. Campfires
16. Going camping
17. Laser tag
18. Mini golf
19. Postcards
20. Sticky notes

Wooden Signs 3 Hot Chocolate

21. Making cocktails
22. Baking 3 layer cakes
23. Baking cupcakes
24. Hot Krispy Kreme chocolate glazed doughnuts
25. Really good chocolate
26. Creating pizza flavors
27. Watching Chopped
28. Moose tracks ice cream
29. The beach
30. Chocolate chip cookies

31.  Tiger lilies
32. Cooking
33. Meal planning
34. Buffalo wings
35. Buffalo sauce
36. Buffalo chicken dip
37. Cornbread
38. Grits
39. Chocolate chip pancakes
40. Mimosas
 Tiger Lilies
41. Brunch
42. Mudslides
43. Waterfalls
44. Pretty dresses
45. Outlet malls
46. Yard sales
47. Very sour lemonade
48. Y'all
49. Country music
50. Books
Old Books... 2


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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Get Ready!

I hope you're ready!

I'm gearing up to kick off a new blog series.

I'm going to be interviewing some of my favorite bloggers!

I'm so excited to get a bigger peek into their world!

If you know a blogger you'd like me interview, please feel free to leave a link in the comments.

Also, if you have any interesting questions, let me know and I'll be sure to pass them on.

Mark your calendars and come back on June 23rd for our kick-off interview. It should run biweekly on Wednesdays for the next couple of months.

Update: You can read the first interview HERE! 01 02 12

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Family Month: Holidays in Korea Part 2

May is often referred to as the family month in Korea. Parent's Day, Children's Day and Teacher's Day all fall in this month.

On Parent's Day, children give their parents red carnations. Some students told me their schools has special performances, also.

As a child, I remember asking my parent's why America didn't have a Children's Day. My mom told me that every day is Children's Day. Schools and academies are closed on Children's Day. A good many students told me they received school supplies from their parents .The majority, however, told me that their families took a trip to somewhere like an amusement park, zoo or waterpark to celebrate.

Throughout the year my students bring me gifts of candy and fruit. On Teacher's Day they were especially generous with perfume, cheesecake, candy and lots of handmade cards and letters. I especially loved the note from a little boy in opening class. We were just learning out letters when Teacher's Day arrived. He made me  a card and scrawled "I love teacher!". So sweet!

This is part 2 of a series on the holidays I've experienced in Korea. To read the first part of the series, Candy and Spam, click HERE. 01 02 12

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Oldie But Goodie #2: The Letter S

I once started a series where I wrote something about my self that coordinated with each letter of the alphabet.

This post was brought to you by the letter S.

S is for Hospitality

Some say you're born and bred with it.
Others say its a skill you learn.

As for me? I love it. I think its part practiced skill, part natural love .

A lot of things have been changing inside me lately, thanks to my growing relationship with the my Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.

One of those things is a growing sense of hospitality. A desire to love through taking care of people- feeding them, talking to them, making them feel at home.

Reading Bread and Wine started to ferment these feelings and ideas.

At our bonfire last weekend, someone commented to me that I always have plenty of good food around when we have company. Wheels turned a little further down the track.

Today, a godly woman at work remarked that she sees me  as being in the hospitality ministry.

And then it clicked. That's who I want to be. Who I feel God is leading me to be.

I am shy. When I am in my element, I am more open. More likely to share the Word of God or voice my opinion.

I love feeding people, sharing and laughing with them.

My new dream is to be the one who invites the newcomer (at work, church etc) over for dinner. The one who holds old groups of friends together by hosting gatherings

God has blessed me greatly and I can't wait to share them!

What talent, skills and desires has God blessed you with? 01 02 12

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Who Knew? My Superpower is Invisibility.

I never knew I had a superpower. And honestly, I'm not sure invisibility was first on my list of powers I'd choose. And, if that's what's going on here, its not all that cool. Actually, it causes you to get hurt a good bit.

No, I'm not actually invisible, but some days I sure feel like it.

For some reason, people are constantly walking and riding their cars and bikes into us.

I've had two men all but check me in the boards. I was the farthest to the side of the sidewalk I could go without walking on top of wall or border. I even turned my body sideways to avoid the brunt of the hit and they still ran into me.

My friend had a guy run his bike into her in a crosswalk. There were maybe 5 other people crossing the street and he still managed to knock her on the ground.

Just this week, I had an old man get off his bike, start walking it and walked it right into me.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband was halfway across the crosswalk at an alleyway and a car turned, without looking and my husband landed on the man's roof. My husband stood up, the man waved and drove away.

One of my Korean friends tried to explain that there is confusion because when Japan ruled Korea, people walked on the left. Afterwards, a Korean president officially changed it to where people would walk on the right. So, old people walk on the left, young people and foreigners walk on the right.

I'm not satisfied with this explanation. It's not like we're doing the tango and end the end they bump into me. They plow straight ahead into me like they never saw me to begin with.

Am I really invisible?

I'm linked up today with Mingle Monday. 01 02 12

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Lessons in Gratitude

Being here, in South Korea, has taught me many things. One of the most important lessons I've learned has been gratitude.

The water here isn't potable without being boiled or treated first. When we first moved here we purchased a pack of six 2 liter bottles each week. In an effort to save money, I started boiling drinking water for us. It was very time consuming to boil enough water for two people and a dog. I can't imagine boiling it for an entire family. Something that, according to a friend, is fairly common. Thankfully, we were able to rent a water machine that filters water for us.

In addition to not being potable, hot water isn't available with the turn of a spigot. For hot water, we push a button on the thermostat and the water will heart. It doesn't take long, maybe 5 minutes or so.  However, this means when you take a shower in the winter, the hear turns off until you signal for the thermostat to stop heating the water.
In the winter time, out bathroom is freezing because we must leave the window open to prevent mold. There is no other ventilation and because of the bathroom's design, the entire room gets wet when we shower.  Likewise, the kitchen window stays cracked because that's how case, cable and other things are run into the house.
Some smaller, random things come to mind, like food safety and hygiene. Many restaurants don't have soap or towels. I've seen a waitress drink from a soup ladle and then return it to the pot.

Liquid Soap
As I've mentioned in a previous post, I've come to be more grateful for the smaller, everyday, blessings in life and I see God's hand in them. This past Christmas I was overjoyed to receive a box of American toiletries. The Christmas before, if they same person had given me toothpaste and deodorant, I would have believed them crazy or thought that they didn't care enough to purchase  a more personal gift. Not that you can get more personal that armpits and tongues.
Slowly, I've learned to be more grateful for what God has given me and for where he has allowed me to call my home. I've never been more thankful that I was born an American. ( I realize the environment and living conditions in Korea are not the worst in the world and that saddens me.) I  still think that as a country we've made some bad decisions and have wandered off the path. But now, I truly know how blessed we are and I hope we are brave enough to hold on to it.

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