Monday, February 28, 2011

Technology Timeout & A Giveaway!

I have two blog announcements:

1)  I am going to take a "technology timeout" this week.  This upcoming week (March 1-7) I am planning to not be on the computer (no facebook, blogs, news reports, new recipes, emails, blogging, etc).  The one exception being I am going to check email (briefly) on Thursday evening.  I have done this before in the past and am always refreshed by spending time away from the computer (and internet in particular).  I am not a big TV or movie watcher so that has never been an issue (I don't really enjoy it) but I do enjoy the computer.  Although I do not think there is a single thing wrong with the computer, tv, internet, or movies I do find taking a break to be refreshing sometimes and I do think there are other things I would rather spend my time and energy on.  In addition to that, I want to spend some time this week praying over my time and my schedule and working through what I want to be spending my time on each day/week/month and working towards living a more disciplined life and living intentionally (I want to live my life on purpose!).  I promise I won't stop blogging and I will be back! Look for my next post on Tuesday, March 8!

2)  I mentioned the other day that there might be some incentives coming up for learning to post a comment on the blog....Here's the first one:  We are hosting our first ever blog GIVEAWAY this week.  While I'm gone, you will have a week to leave a comment on this post to enter in your chance to win a "Korean Surprise."  Nothing too big or fancy, but hopefully something fun for you!

Here's the deal:

- You may only comment once.  Please leave a comment with your name, what country/state you are reading from, and what your favorite blog post has been.  This will automatically enter you in the random selection.
- The winner will be randomly selected from the comments that are entered
- The winner will be announced next Tuesday, March 8
- Anyone can enter (even if you live in Korea!)
- We will mail your surprise prize to you if you live in another country and if you live in Korean, we'll hand deliver it to you

**NOTE: I recently changed my settings for comments to allow for anonymous comments, which will allow you to not have to use a google account etc. to comment (I think this is what was giving some of you trouble before) so all that to say if you have tried to comment in the past and it didn't work, try again now and see if it is easier!  Also, if you comment anonymously please be sure to write your name with your comment so I know who it is from! Thanks, Readers!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

To market, to market

To market, to market to buy a fat pig.
Home again, home again jiggity jig.

Not really, but it fit the picture.

This is a somewhat common scene as you walk through market on market day (any day ending with a "4" or a "9" is market March 4, March 9, March 14, March 19 etc).  Now that it is warmer out, I hope to do more of my shopping at the open air market....but I'm not brave enough yet to buy my meat there.  For now, I"ll stick mostly to fruits, veggies, grains, seeds, nuts and clothes.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Leave a comment

I have had a number of people ask me how to leave a comment on this blog and also heard a few people say they wish they knew how to comment, so I'm posting a link below that walks through leaving a comment on a blog.  It has screen shots and instructions.  Hopefully this helps.  I will also put some instructions below and hopefully the link and my notes will be helpful to anyone wondering how to leave a comment!

Also, I may possibly have some upcoming things planned on the blog that might give some fun reasons to leave a comment!  Stay tuned.

Instructions for leaving a comment link:

My Instructions:
It will at first seem like a number of steps but really once you get the hang of it, it isn't too hard!

- At the bottom of each of my posts there is the word "comment."  Click on that and it will pull up a box that says "post a comment."  Write your comment in that box.
- After typing it up, look at the bottom of the comment box and there is a pull down menu, choose how you want to identify yourself.  If you have a google account, you can use that name/password (if you don't have an account you can set one up).  After you hit "Post Comment" it will take you to your log in screen and you can enter your account/password and then it will allow you to comment.  After you get the hang of it this way, it is the easiest way for you to comment and for me to view your comments. 
- Otherwise you can choose one of the other options.  If none of those work for you, choose  "anonymous" and comment that way, just be sure to include your name in your comment so I know who you are!
- After doing that hit "post comment" it will give you a word code to enter. 
-After that, it should post your comment. You can go back to my blog and check if it is there by clicking the "comment" button again and it will show any comments that have been posted.

If you haven't commented before or haven't tried it, I would encourage you to play around with it and try!  If you can't figure it out or have questions, feel free to let me know and I'll try to help. 

Remember, all comments are public so everyone who checks my blog can also read what you wrote.

Stay tuned because there may be some "interactive" blog posts coming up that it could benefit you to post a comment!

Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

my epiphany

I had an epiphany today.

Or you might say an epi-fanny...nevermind.

Whatever you call it, "it" suddenly hit me:  what my next 10 years hold


Ladies and Gentleman, Readers and random passers-by:  I have a dirty little boy on my hands!

Said another way,
Newly walking + Adventuresome Boy+Springtime+Mr. Independent = Lots of Laundry

Korean Youth Recital

I titled this post "Korean Youth Recital" but it could also perhaps be called "Caleb's First Rock Concert."  I enjoyed it but I do have to say, it was really loud!  Does that statement age that a sign I'm getting old?(that I fiind concerts to be too loud)?  Just wondered that out loud as I typed.

Anyway, as I've mentioned before, Steve works for a Korean Church that has a ministry outreach to English speakers.  The English ministry side functions in many ways as its own church, but it is technically under the broader Korean Church.  So there is a head Pastor (Pastor Bae) who is head over the entire church (Korean and English) and there are a number of other pastors for the Korean side (a children's pastor, a youth pastor, a young adults pastor, a women's director etc) and then there is Pastor Nelson Chapman who is the head pastor of the English ministry and Steve who works with the youth on the English ministry side.

That said, there is a large Korean youth group on the Korean church side.  However, since there are a number of mixed families that go to the church (usually Korean mom/American dad), there are a number of kids who speak both English and Korean and who have parents who go to both sides and because of this there are a few kids who like to attend both the Korean youth group and the English youth group. 

Recently the Korean youth group put on a large performance and so Steve and Caleb and I went to watch and support several of the students who attend both youth groups.  It was a huge production!  It is all in Korean but I thought you might enjoy some short clips -- both to see some of the production and to hear some Korean! I took these on Steve's phone so they are just really short clips but you can get the idea anyway.... Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Library visit

Just down the hill from us there is a big building that we were told some time ago is the Library in town.  I have had it on my "to check out" list and we finally made it over there this week.  It is a beautiful facility!  They have a "baby room" and that is where we spent our time....It is a big, clean room with shelves of books, low tables, fun decorations, a nursing room and a miniature bathroom with tiny little toilets and sinks for little kids.  The books are all in Korean but that's okay, we made up our own stories. AND we found several books that we own at our house, except they are in Korean (so we knew the story and Caleb got really excited to see "his" books there).  It was a fun afternoon.  I wish we had checked it out earlier this winter when it was cold out because it would have been a fun getaway place.  Now that it is in the 50s here, I'd rather be outside!  I guess there is always next winter or a rainy day.

Grandma, mom or Lizbeth, does this book look familiar?  It's the Danish book you gave us...except we found it in Korean at the library! One of the many "familiar" books we found on the shelves.

I can not get over the love of books this child has!  He will literally bring books to me all day long and want to be read to...he gets all excited at the mention of books, we can sit with a huge stack of books and he will sit happily on my lap while I read them all and then be sad if I try to stop.  I love it! I hope it continues his whole life.  It's been fun for us to have him share our love for reading but I just can't believe his reading stamina sometimes!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Renee!

Happy Birthday, Renee!

In celebration of you, Steve and I both wanted to share five things we appreciate about you:

Sarah's List:
- You love aren't always the gushiest, mushiest person but you love and you love hard
- You have made me feel overwhelmingly welcome, loved and a part of the Houser family - Thank you!
- You are witty and have a sense of humor
- You are an incredible Auntie....Audrey, Luke, Caleb and Natalie are such lucky, spoiled little kids!
- You have great can buy my clothes, by me makeup and pick a hairstyle for me any day!
- You work hard (I admire your work ethic)....Ooops, I guess that was six...I could go on...

Steve's List:
 - You love me, even though I'm me
- You are funny enough to make me and Chris cry
- You are a sweet heart who cares about our family a lot
- You are a lot smarter than I like to let on
- Even though we've had our moments, it is fun to see the woman you have become

Steve's Bonus Round:
- You know that it only takes 5 hours to get to Chicago
- You know it is okay to be wrong
- You give me every perfect reaction I'm looking for
- You are more like me than you would like to think (which isn't necessarily as bad as you might think)
- You've got unbelievable argument stamina

Okay, this is Sarah again...Even though it pains me to read Steve's bonus round, I guess I'll let him have it...You were his sister first I guess.  But I hope you know, Renee, that we love you and have so many things we appreciate and love about you.  We are wishing you all the best on Your Day and are praying for a great year ahead!  Love you!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hot Dog Fundraiser

Today is Sunday.  Sundays always end up being crazy-busy days for us.  Today even more so because of the hot dog fundraiser.  As I mentioned yesterday, the youth group put up a booth outside of church today and sold hot dogs after all the services to raise money for ICS and for the missions trip this summer. 

You can see Steve in the back of the picture, towards the right hand side, over looking the cooking process.  He is wearing a grey jacket....and then in the forefront of the picture is they are wrapping the hot dogs.  These are all kids from the youth group.

This is the "booth" they set up to sell the hot dogs, chips and pop.

It was a gorgeous day today and Caleb had a blast running all around outside after the service and during the hot dog sales.....Here are a few pictures and a short clip of our little social bug.


Shortly after we arrived in Korea, I posted a story about the intercom in our apartment going off at the same time the sirens from base were going off and also several planes took off overhead and I thought we were being attacked....silly me!  As I shared, I came to find out that all apartments in Korea have these random intercoms that randomly have announcements.  Ours goes off every now and again and we never have a clue what it is saying and it always startles me initially.  It went off yesterday and I caught the tail end on camera so you could see/hear what I'm talking about.  Just thought it might be interesting to some of you.

Street Vendor

Made a little stop on our way to market yesterday at the street vendor down the road from us.

They sell these nummy little crispy fish that aren't fish at all but more like warm deep fried goodness with either a bean paste filling or a cream filling.  You get 3 for 1,000W (or about a dollar).

The Temple Ladies

The Temples are a family that go to our church.  I have been blessed to get to know Ashley (who could easily be the very definition of  a sweet "southern belle" in every positive sense of the word) and Caleb lights up when he sees her two little girls and they both seem to adore "baby Caleb."  The other day we went to E-Mart with them and had fun playing on the squishy mats (they have a play area in the middle of E-Mart), watching Korean cartoons, going to McDonalds and (as you'll see) making friends with the manikins!

In the picture above I was hanging out with the littlest two....they were facinated with the coin slots/chain on the carts....In Korea, all the carts are chained up and you have to put 100W (a coinpiece about the equivalent of 10 cents) into the slot in order to get your cart.  When you are done shopping, if you return the cart to the right place, you get your 100W back.  It's a great system that keeps the carts orderly and in place.  And it is a source of endless fun for kiddos while mommies shop.

And below is a picture of the oldest Temple daughter, making friends with the manikin...We turned around and there she was just standing there looking adorable holding the manikin's hand!

Caleb and I enjoy spending time with these 3 pretty ladies!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Eating food!

I'm trying not to get too excited but Caleb seems to be eating more solid food these days.  He will now at least take one bite at every meal and sometimes he takes so many bites, I stop counting.  He seems to like soup the best, he enjoys spice (curry, chili powder etc) and he likes meat (Steve's child, in case you can't tell by looking at him).  He enjoys puffs, bread and crackers more than I would like him to.  He loves oranges but doesn't like vegetables...I guess that's a typical kid for you, though, right?

Lately, he has been all about using a spoon to feed himself.  I've resigned myself to the fact that life is just going to be a bit messy for a few years.  The other day I let him tackle his yogurt.  It ended up getting a little more carried away than I was anticipating but by the end of it, he had figured out how to get yogurt from the container to his mouth with the spoon fairly well.  We both had fun and hit the tub after.  I almost forgot to take pictures but am glad I remembered.  These are the ones you enjoy looking back on!

And since we had so much fun we just had to show daddy when he got home, so I let him experiment again the other's a little clip.  Don't ask me what all his little facial expressions mean, we are still trying to figure it out ourselves!  Also, listen for his "mmm-mmm!" and "more" part way through.  Love his little voice!

And here are a few from when we ate chili the other night, which he loved.

Korean Countryside

Steve made it back safely and although he is exhausted, it sounds like they had a great time!  And everyone stayed stafe -- Praise the Lord!  He arrived home this evening and we promptly left for another church event and just arrived home not too long ago.  Tomorrow Steve and the youth are doing a hotdog fundraiser to raise money for a local Christian school.  They will be selling hotdogs most of the morning and into the afternoon.....I think Steve is really looking forward to his day off on Monday! I know Caleb and I are!

Before Steve got home today, Michelle and Nelson Chapman (the pastor and his wife) took Caleb and I and their dog Posie out for a drive around the countryside.  It was fun to see some more of the scenery and I'll post some pictures below for you!

We have been in Korea for 3 months yesterday.  We've survived!  In some ways it feels like we have been here a lot, lot, lot longer than 3 months. Truth be told, I really haven't seen a lot of Korea in the past 3 months.  Mostly, I've seen our neighborhood and Songtan.  We don't have a car and I haven't explored public transportation much, plus it has been colder so we haven't been as adventurous.  I'm really looking forward to hopefully getting to travel more this summer and see more of the country.  I'm told where we are now really isn't the pretty area of Korea.  And winter isn't a very pretty month either.  But these are a few pictures of the countryside around us....keep in mind, it is winter so still pretty dreary.  But I thought it was pretty in its own way and I thought you might enjoy some more pictures of Korea.

As I've shared before, Korea is a small and highly populated peninsula.  Because of this, they are very effecient at using space.  No space goes unused!  For the most part it seems space is used for apartment buildings, stores or farming.  Many of these pictures are fields that are used to grow rice in the spring, summer and fall.  Although Korea does work hard to use land effeciently they are also working on building up the aesthetic appeal of the country so they are investing some in things like the park I had pictures of the other day.
Pictured above is a frozen lake!!! I almost felt at home, like I was back in MN!  I didn't realize it but it has been a little odd to not have lakes all around me....If you look close there is a house nestled between the two mountains.  Although most of Korea is apartment buildings, you do see an occasional random "real" house here and there....they are far and few between but there are some. 

Caleb catching a ride on Michelle

And Caleb catching a ride on the Pastor.....Caleb is extra-holy today!

Caleb LOVES "Miss Michelle."  I think she is probably one of his favorite friends...He absolutely lights up when she walks into a room and she is one of the only people that he likes to hang out around and doesn't cry when I leave if she is there.  It's pretty cute.

On our little outing, we stopped at a retreat center.  It was beautiful and had great coffee too!