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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Passionate Fashion ???

I had to share this on Facebook and my Instagram today because it was just too good not to share!  At lunch today, the music teacher said to me, "Wow! Your fashion is passionate today!"

My co-teacher told me to take it as a compliment!  :)  Thanks H&M!

Mav for dinner!

Aaron and I were sitting at the kitchen table tonight and looked over and saw Maverick sitting, right on top of our stove!  We had to remind him that we didn't wanna eat him for dinner and then laughed at how cute he looked up there! :)


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

This beanie used to be a skirt!

It's true... This beanie used to be a skirt!

My sweet friend Jess, in Seoul, is just weeks away from having her 1st baby, which I KNOW is a boy!  (She and Mayo have chosen not to find out the sex, but I just know it's a boy!)  So, when we were in Seoul a couple weeks ago, Jess asked if I could sew a baby beanie out of this knit skirt she doesn't wear anymore!  I though, sure, why not?!  I was thrilled to have a project to work on and even more excited that it would be for the lil' one!

So, here's the original skirt I worked with.  Cute, huh?!

First, I measured the bottom and cut at the 13 inch mark.

Then I measured 7 inches from the bottom to the top and cut across, making a 7 inch by 13 inch rectangle.

Then, I took one of my own beanies and laid it on a piece of paper and traced the shape. I made sure to lay it 6 inches from the bottom of the paper, because that's how tall our lil newborn beanie will be.

Then, I folded the striped fabric over and laid my paper template on top.

I took a blue marker and traced a line around the paper template and then stapled the fabric together, so it didn't move when I was sewing along the line.

Then, I took some white thread and went to town, sewing along the line.  SO EASY, right?!

After I was finished with the original stitching, I cut all of the excess fabric off.  Then, I folded the beanie so that the two sewn edges were touching at the bottom and sewed a + shape into the top of the beanie.  This is imperative!!  If you skip this step, it'll fit really funny on the baby's head!

Then, I turned it right side out and wala - I had myself a newborn beanie, made from a knit skirt!

But wait, you can make it even MORE adorable!  Jess asked me to adorn it with a pom pom, which I thought was genius!  So, I cut these three strips of blue fabric (about a 1/4 inch wide and about 1 1/2 feet long.  They don't have to be perfectly straight. YAY!

Then I wrapped those strips around 3 fingers.

.... And gently pulled them off my hand, laid them on the floor, took some matching thread and tied them tightly in the middle.  Then, I cut the ends of the loops, fluffed them up a bit into a ball shape, and wala!  I had myself an adorable pom pom.  I grabbed the same blue thread, turned the beanie inside out and sewed it right on.  That's it!  I was finished!  How easy is that?!

Remember that original beanie I used to create my paper template?  Well, I cut that one down and created another newborn beanie for the lil'one!  This was perfect because I can knit, but not this type of pattern, so I could give him a knitted beanie without ever knitting anything! haha!

Last buy not least, I was going through my clothes, since Aaron and I will be finally leaving Korea next month (after 4 years) and found some Thai wrap around pants that Jess, Mayo and I all bought when we were in Thailand together back in 2009!  I have a couple different pairs, so I grabbed the blue ones and went to town, using the fabric to re-create a smaller version for the lil' one!    I think they turned out pretty darn cute! There's a draw string trype of thing under the fold over, so they'll fit him for at least the 1st year!

So, the next time you're pitching your sweaters, knit skirts and beanies, think again!  Everything can be recycled - or "up-cycled" as they say!  You just need to use your imagination, a little needle and thread and  a bit of patience! :)  

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Breaking our vegetarian-ness!

Aaron and I were invited to lunch with Emo, Serry dog's mom, who owns a little teeny tiny convenience shop in our neighborhood.  How adorable is Serry?!  Man, we love this dog and she loves when we come to the store to see her! 

And man do we love our Emo (word for aunt in Korean).  She is just the sweetest, independent, gracious, giving, thankful, and inviting Korean woman!  We absolutely adore her and were really excited when she asked us to lunch!  We met in front of her shop at 1pm and walked over to a beef/pork restaurant down the street with two old men (who we've seen and talked to a bunch of times at her shop).

When we decided to be vegetarian, we decided that we wouldn't be obnoxious about 'it', and if people asked us to lunch or dinner for meat, we wouldn't say no!  We actually really enjoyed the samgyupsal (Korean pork) today!  It was the first time we'd had it in almost 6 months!  

The two old men who joined us are two of the nicest Korean men we've ever encountered!  This one is 78 years old and spent a lot of time in America over the years.  He works 7 DAYS A WEEK, on a ship in Yeongdo's harbor, and has traveled all over during his 78 years!  He speaks minimal English and usually mumbles so darn much we typically have no idea what he's saying and just nod yes and hope we're not saying yes to something we wouldn't never normally say yes too! lol

** I love that the servers cook the meat at your table for you if you can't do it (or don't want to do it) yourself!

I love how the drinking culture in Korea involves other people pouring/refilling your drink!  Not only do they pour YOUR drink, they hold their hand over their chest or arm, depending on the age difference between you and them.

My sweet Korean aunt!

This guy was saying over and over again that he really likes Aaron and I. haha

When we were leaving, we wanted to take a photo all together to commemorate the lunch, but the servers wouldn't touch my camera because they were afraid to use it, so Aaron had to take this one!  My favorite part about it is the old guy in the front who squatted down!  Aaron said, in plain English, "Why is he squatting like that?!"  There are perks to being with people who don't TOTALLY speak your language!

As we were walking out the door, the 78 year old man asked if he could take Emo, Aaron and I out to lunch on Feb 17th, before we leave for America!  I love how hospitable and generous he iis!  I was really blessed by all three of them today and had such a fun time!  My guess is that we'll probably never experience something like this from neighborhood store owners back home, so we're taking it all in and enjoying every moment before we say goodbye to Busan!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


The 6th graders all came to school this morning to find out which of the 4 neighborhood Middle Schools they'll be attending in March. (It's done by a lottery system in Korea and their elementary school teachers tell them). My entire hallway erupted, for at least an hour, with the loudest screams as the students found out which middle school they were assigned. They seemed to be either really excited, or really bummed about the news...  Either way, it was the SAME sounding, blood curdling, scream!  Gotta love overly dramatic Korean preteens! blog-signature

Just call me "Jill Productive!"

There's nothing more satisfying (okay, I'm slightly over exaggerating) than laying down in my bed at night pulling the covers up to my chin and realizing just how productive I was during the day!  If I ever sit down and do nothing for more than 3 minutes, Aaron will either ask me if I'm okay, or tell me he loves to see me relaxing.  :)  I'm a doer, through and through!  If you worked with me at Millennium High School, back home, you KNOW I'm intense!  I like to get things done, and WAY ahead of time! 

When the bills come in the mailbox downstairs, I'll sometimes turn around and walk right over to the bank and pay them. When a friend asks me to help design their blog, I'll work the next 24-48 hours straight getting it done.  If I feel like our apartment is a little messy, I'll put things away and then re-organize my entire closet before I sit back down!  Like I said, I'm intense (and this is an improvement from 5 years ago!) lol! 

Today was one of those productive days!  I started out with a bus ride over to Seomyeon's H&M, where I spent $36.79 TOTAL on these three coats) and saved $223.59 from the original price!  

Okay, that wasn't really productive, but it was GREAT!  With 35 days left before we leave Korea, I decided to start packing.  (See what I mean about doing things WAY ahead of time!)  I'm now 95% packed for our month in Indonesia, and all of my summer clothes have been rolled up and neatly packed into a box to ship home, or the suitcase I'm taking to America for our road trip!  ... All while Aaron sat nearby, laughing inside (I'm sure) that I was doing this so early!  Good news for him is, I'll probably pack all of his stuff too... Good news for me is, he'll probably cook me a delicious dinner and tell me how wonderful I am!  Sounds like a nice trade to me!   blog-signature

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Christmas is over...

I was pleasantly SUPER surprised when the Christmas cards came rolling in this year!  Some were from old co-workers in Arizona, some from college friends, others from family and friends back home!  It was so much fun to be handed envelopes addressed to me at work, and even more fun to open them, gawk at how adorable the pictures, cards and notes were, and even more fun to hang them on my front door and enjoy seeing them everyday!  (Since Christmas was over 3 weeks ago, we realized it was probably time to say goodbye to all of our Christmas cards and finally took them all down yesterday... sad)

Thank you mom and dad, Amy, Keith and Kaye, Pegg, Mammy, the Tyson's, Heuseveldt's, Irvine's, Neilsen's,  Layman's, Kearns's, Moore's, King's, Hudon's and the Bould's for thinking of Aaron and I and mailing us a Christmas card all the way across the ocean!  We love you guys! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Moving out and moving on!"

According to my "Big Day" iphone app, I've got 39 days left in Korea...

With 39 days and counting, I knew it was about that time to start sorting through stuff and packing boxes to ship home. So, yesterday, Aaron and I walked over to the post office (yes, we walked ... and yes, it's that close...) to pick up the boxes. We only bought three boxes for now, but we're probably gonna end up using 3x's that many!  eeekkk.  How could I possibly part with all of my cute Korean coats, and how could Aaron possibly part with all of his new camera equipment and H&M sweaters!?  lol That's the question we've been wrangling with around here!

We poured some wine last night and toasted to:
before we tackled the packing!

For anyone living in Korea, looking to send stuff back to the US when they're finished with their contract, here's the deal.  For the slow shipping (which takes approximately 2 months), you can use ANY box, as long as the dimensions are within these measurements:
length + height + width = 2 meters (and they can't be longer than 1.05 meters)
Or, you can just pick up box #5, the largest box available at the post office.  It'll run you 1,600 won. 

Then, pack to your little hearts content... as long as you don't fill it with more than 20kgs!  That's the limit, for ALL boxes being shipped to the US.  And 20kgs will run you  51,200 won per box.  It'll obviously be less if you have less than 20kgs inside. :)

As you can see, Maverick is a big fan of his "new cardboard toys!"  I had to lay a heavy pot over the one in the background because I woke up to him, more than once, playing inside of it, on top of the stuff we had packed!  Oy vey! Speaking of Maverick... He got a bath today because he'll be meeting his potential new mom tomorrow afternoon! :)    

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kale, almond, onion and garlic sauce!

When Aaron and I were in Seoul last weekend, Jess told us about a pasta sauce she's been making at home that she thought we'd like trying, and boy did we! We've made it twice since we've been home already.  Hey, you can never take a good homemade pasta sauce for granted, right?!  Forgive me for the lack of photos in this post, but I accidentally deleted them off my computer while I was editing them. ugh... 

 So, here's what you'll need: 
a handful of greens (We used Kale.) 
4 cloves of garlic 
1 onion 
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil 
1 handful of nuts (We used almonds.)

Boil the greens, garlic and onion for 3-5 minutes in a pot. Then drain the water and move the greens, garlic and onions into a blender or food processor.  Add the oil and almonds and blend until it's the consistency of sauce.  If it's too thick, add a little more oil.  Make your pasta, pour your delicious homemade sauce over it and you're ready to eat!  How easy is that?!  ***We added a small dollop of homemade ricotta cheese too, which made it really rich and flavorful! 

Trip to the dentist!

Aaron is deathly afraid of hospitals and dentist offices! So, getting him to the dentist office before we move back to the USA and have to pay 10xs as much for the same procedures was a MUST! After months of bringing it up, he finally got the courage to go! (Mind you, he is a tough, manly guy in nearly every other aspect of life), which is why this was pretty cute to me!

When we got to the office, I sat Brownie (the weirdly famous Korean stuffed dog) next to A to comfort him! 

After a 20 minute teeth cleaning ($65), I went in to check on him and he was doing great! Not like I had an doubts!
Turns out, the guy got lucky and was told that he was CAVITY FREE!  Way to go A!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Homemade ricotta cheese!

Aaron and I just got home from a 3 day vacation to Seoul!  We stayed with Jess and Mayo, undoubtedly one of my favorite couples in the world, and ate the most delicious food, talked about life, love, relationships, traveling, the future, healthy food, crafting and blogging... We played games, took walks, watched a 4D  movie, drank wine, felt baby Perlaza jumping around inside Jess's belly and relaxed together... you know, all of my favorite things!  I left feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and blessed to have friends like them in my life!
*** Sorry there are no pictures of the weekend!  Sometimes memories are best held, well, in our memory! :)

So, this morning, NFL football has taken over the TV, Maverick is purring into the blanket next to me, I'm wearing my most comfy and cozy pajamas while lounging on my Thai lounge pillow on the floor and I have the next 8 days off of work!  Does it get any better than this?!  Well, yes, it can!  It can be better when homemade ricotta cheese is fermenting in my kitchen! :)

Making ricotta cheese is surprisingly easy and chances are, you already have everything you'll need in your kitchen (minus the cheese cloth)!  So, here's what you'll need:
1 carton of whole milk
1 spoon full of salt
2-3 spoon fulls of vinegar
a pot
a stove
a wooden spoon
a bowl
a strainer
a rubber band
a cheese cloth.

So, let's begin... Pour the milk into a pot, throw 1 spoon full of salt in, and turn the heat up to low/medium.  Then stir and stir and stir.  If you don't stir, the milk may burn on the bottom of the pot and that's never good!
You'll start to notice gooey stuff forming on the top layer of the milk.  Just take a wooden spoon and scoop it off and throw it away.

After a while, the milk will start to boil and rise.  Take it off the heat before it goes over the edge of the pot and drizzle 2-3 spoon fulls of vinegar over it. (I used brown rice vinegar, but regular, or apple cider vinegar work well too!)  With a wooden spoon, slowly drag the milk from one side of the pot to the other.  You'll notice that the milk's fat will begin to separate, and the liquid will become more clear colored.  If it doesn't., throw the pot back on low heat and continue to drag the liquid with the wooden spoon, adding a little bit of vinegar until the liquid is clear.

Then, let the mixture sit for 30 minutes (off the heat).
After 30 minutes, wet your cheese cloth and throw it over a strainer. I laid my strainer over a bowl to catch the liquid.  Then, pour the mixture into the strainer, ring it out and let the liquid drain through it. Tie it closed with a rubber band and hang it over your kitchen sink for no more than 6 hours.

Then, wala, you'll have your VERY OWN home made ricotta cheese!  So easy right?!
Recipe via by sweet food guru friend, Jess Perlaza!
Check out her food blog at  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter Camp is FINISHED!

My 4th and LAST English Winter camp ended today!  This was the first time in 4 years that I was asked to teach 1st and 2nd graders and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit freaked out!  I only teach 3rd-6th graders during the school year, so I knew these little munchkins wouldn't know a lick of English and would have to be fully trained (yes, trained!)!  I'm proud to say that after teaching them for 1 hour a day for 2 weeks, they are leaving today being able to: 
- count from 1-20
- read the alphabet
- name a bunch of different animals
- name a bunch of different foods
- name all of the colors in a standard crayon box
- write their English names
- say, "Hello teacher!" in the morning.
- say "My name is ..."
- say "I like..."
- read a couple simple words
- understand simple English commands
and most of all, how to have fun!

I'll miss these little munchkins, but I'm thrilled to not be waking up to my alarm or walking a kilometer in freezing temperatures to work and back for the next two weeks! 
Let Winter Vacation commence!  

BTW: Aaron and I are heading off to Seoul on Thursday to spend 3 1/2 days with Mayo and a VERY prego Jess!!