Archive for the 'Christmas' Category

Spreading a little Christmas love

As Micah and I still decide on what to get each other for Christmas (yes, I know this is true), we already decided on what to get a local Seattle family for Christmas.  This year, we decided to go through the Seattle YWCA to participate in their Adopt-A-Family program.

It’s very easy to do.  I found the contact of the person leading the program online and just emailed her.  In response, she supplied the info on how the program works. 

You get to decide the size of family you want to adopt, and then the YWCA gives you a list that includes the children’s’ names, ages, a few things they like, and a few things they’d like to get for Christmas.  They do ask that as a general rule you get each child two gifts that are roughly $25 in value.  In addition, you provide a $15 gift card for the adult to a store like Target or WalMart. 

Shop, wrap the gifts, and deliver them to the YWCA…and that’s all it takes to make a local family’s Christmas a little bit more special. 

The family we were given had three teenage children – two girls and one boy.  It was really fun to shop to find the perfect gifts for them.  It’s also a challenge since they don’t provide too much detail in things the kids like.  For instance, one of the girls likes “drawing” and doesn’t like pink.  I must admit, I did 99% of the shopping online!!!  But I feel that gave me a wider variety of gifts from which to choose, and I got to comparison shop.  We also included three stockings filled with tasty treats.

Micah helped me wrap up the gifts.  He’s actually quite a good wrapper.

I’m hoping this becomes a tradition we can continue on for Christmas’ to come. 

Snowman cake pops

We went to a holiday party last weekend.  And I saw a basket of these:

Look how adorable they are!!!

They are cake pops – made famous (in my opinion by the fabulous Bakerella blog).  

They are super easy to make – and this snowman twist is ridiculously cute.

My tasty change-up would be to make the snowman head out of Oreo Truffles instead of cake.  I’ve blogged about them before – and they are FABULOUS!  They’ve been my “go to” treat for holiday parties this year!

Tis the season for candy

Micah and I exchanged stockings last night (remember the oh so cute ones we made for each other?)  Mine was filled with lots of goodies, but mostly…candy.  Despite my attempts pleas to not give me sugary treats this year (ahem…I do need to squeeze myself into a wedding dress in less than 2 months from now), Micah knew I’d still appreciate some sugary Christmasy goodness.  And he was right. It’s been a test of willpower to not hoard my candy stash for breakfast!

Despite my best attempts to curtail my sugar indulgences, I stumbled upon this the other day at the grocery store.

Have you heard of such a thing?  I had to buy…and I did. 

It was quite tasty!  It makes me wonder if M&Ms is going the way of the Kit Kat and trying to break out into more interesting flavor combos.  In addition to their standard flavors: plain, peanut, almond, and peanut butter, I have also seen/tried: coconut, orange, the strawberry one pictured above, and they even have cordial cherry.  But my allegiance remains with Kit Kat. 

With that said, my favorite candy bar is, and will remain: TWIX! So, it was a no-brainer that for a cookie baking party with my friends Jessie and Katie, I was going to bake these:

Chunky Twix Cookies!!!  Click here for the recipe.

It’s basically a choc chip cookie dough, but replace choc chips with chopped up Twix bars.  It’s really easy to make, bake, and EAT!

My stash of Twix bars!  I suggest buying 5 packs…that’s enough for the recipe, with maybe one single stick for yourself.  You know…quality control.  Smile

Christmas (Seoul style)

Spent four fun-filled days in Seoul for the extended Christmas weekend with our friends Gabe and Charissa. 


Overall tidbits:

  • Had a great time, but it was FREEZING there.  Much colder than Daegu. 
  • Definitely felt a bit more Christmas-y up there, but still lacking (in my opinion).
  • Koreans don’t stay in on Christmas (it’s not considered a family holiday) – they are out EVERYWHERE.  And everyone is carrying a cake.  Apparently Christmas is a time to eat cake.
  • Once you figure out the subway system, Seoul doesn’t feel so overwhelming.  Of course, my directionally-challenged self left the navigating up to others.
  • Our hotel was nice enough and located right next to a fancy department store AND many street-filled prostitute stands.  That was…interesting.  You can pretty much window shop for the girl of choice.  I don’t think foreigners are allowed to “shop.”  As we walked by, a Korean man (pimp), kept saying “English sex NO” to us. 

Christmas day:

Exhausted ourselves walking for miles and miles.  Visited COEX – a massive shopping mall/aquarium/movie theater/gallery/museum/exhibition hall.  It was pure insanity.  Half of Seoul must have been here.

blog1Walked for more miles to find an ice skating rink.  Didn’t realize the ice skating rink was inside of Lotte World – another mecca of Christmas insanity.  The other half of Seoul was here.  We opted to observe the insanity rather than join in on it.

Lotte World is part amusement park, ice skating rink, movie theater, shopping center, bowling alley, shooting range (kinda weird considering it’s a kid’s place)…and eatery. 




Ate a really delicious Xmas Buffet Dinner at a restaurant called Toque.  For 45,000 won (about $38), we could eat all we wanted of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, salads…oh…and scrambled eggs, waffles, french toast, and bacon/sausage.  Alright…I’ll go with it.  (Oh yeah, on the way to dinner it started snowing!  So perfect!)


SAM_0367Later, froze our butts, fingers, and toes off trying to find the Christmas Lights Festival.  Seems like it would be obvious to find…but we never did.  Instead, we played in the snow.









Day after Christmas:

Spent the afternoon at a friend’s house eating lunch and speaking English with his family.  Had a really fun time.  (The friend is a friend of Zoe’s who we met last time we were in Seoul).

At night, we again froze our butts off going to Mt. Namsan to see the Seoul Tower.  This requires a post of its own.  Just know that it was very cold.

SAM_0403After nearly escaping hypothermia, we all had a really delicious Italian meal (complete with white and red wine) at a nearby restaurant.  They even gave us our own private eating room and heater.  Ended the night with wine and card games in our hotel room. 

 The convenience store had a wine opener…convenient and classy. 🙂


Last day:

A little more sightseeing before going home.  Hit up a really delicious soup restaurant, and saw the Gyongbok Palace.

Micah and I are both the year of the ‘Monkey’ in the Chinese lunar calendar.  So naturally…we posed with our monkey friend.


Hope everyone had a wonderful, WARM Christmas!!!

Some more Christmas awesomeness

We got another package yesterday – this time from my sister (Tera) and brother-in-law (Brian).  Things like this are SOOO appreciated and really does help us not feel so far away from our friends and family.

Plus…who can’t use a bit more chocolate?  The amount of goodies in our pantry is a little absurd…I said ‘a little.’  :-)  But I love chocolate – and you can’t get Reese’s Peanut Butter cups in Korea (tragic…I know!)

SAM_0309 SAM_0310 SAM_0312

It’s Christmas Eve.  I’ve spent all day at school planning lessons for next week’s three day English Camp at my school.  I’ve been listening to non-stop Christmas music.  But, it still doesn’t feel a thing like Christmas.  😦

We are heading to Seoul later today with our friends Gabe and Charissa.  We are going to a Christmas buffet dinner tomorrow.  I REALLY hope Seoul is more Christmas-y than Daegu. 

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family!  We miss you!

Christmas “spirit” at my school

Just so you all know, yes – Koreans do celebrate Christmas.  However, they don’t celebrate it with the same intensity I’m used to seeing/feeling back in the states.  (But we’ll be in Seoul for Christmas this year, so hopefully it’s a bit more festive there.  I’ll let you know).

Really, most of my students don’t seem all that excited that Christmas is 4 days away.  I’ve been told that while Koreans celebrate Christmas, the only people who exchange gifts are couples.  And parents give their children gifts..but that’s about it.  No exchanging between friends and co-workers…no white elephant gift exchanges or Yankee swaps…no big family gatherings.

In Daegu, there are a few Christmas lights here and there.  A decorated tree every now and then.  You may even hear some Christmas tunes once in a while.  But…not at my school.  Had I not created a Christmas-themed bulletin board outside my office, there would be NO signs of holiday spirit in my school. 

I incorporated Christmas vocabulary/activities into each of my lessons the past week and had my English club students finish learning the song “Let it Snow.”  I bribed them with ice cream to get them to at least sing the song to four teachers who sit in my office with me.  Students will do just about anything for ice cream. 

I also had them each make stockings and hung them outside my office.  That’s about as Christmas as it gets at Jincheon Elementary School.


Wishing all our friends and family a much more festive and much more joyous Christmas!!


So to finish off the Christmas blogging, here is what Santa did bring to Micah and me. 

  • Micah’s mom, Sharon, bought me a new digital camera.  It’s a Nikon Coolpix S550 – the newest version in this line.  It has 10 megapixel resolution and 5X optical zoom – and it’s super tiny (mandatory for me).  I’m still figuring out the little tricks of using it – but so far, I love it!
  • I got Micah a Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote.  I really wasn’t sure exactly why it’s so awesome and why people love it, but it essentially replaces all the remotes in your house.  It does it all.  It’s wireless, uses rechargeable batteries (yay!), it has a color touchscreen, and it’s (supposed) to be intuitive.  Now, we had a few issues with setup, but for the most part Micah is enjoying using it – and I’m forcing myself to learn how to use it.  The pic below shows the touchscreen part – when you want to watch TV – you just press “Watch TV” and the TV turns on, automatically adjusts to the correct input, etc. etc.  Same for “Watch DVD.”
  • To go with his remote control gift, I spent a good 15 hours creating a 13 minute DVD video of “Micah and Lisa’s 2008 Adventures.”  I used Windows Movie Maker.  It’s really pretty easy.  I’ve spent a fair amount of time using way more complex movie editing software (i.e. Adobe Premier Pro), so this wasn’t too bad.  But picking out all the pictures, creating all the transitions and effects and of course, the most important part, synching it up with the right music – now that stuff takes time!  I got it done just in time – and Micah loved it!  It really showed just how much stuff we’ve done together this past year – it’s quite a bit!
  • Micah got me for Christmas a Clarisonic.  It’s sort of like a Sonicare electric toothbrush – but for your face.  It’s  made by the same people that make Sonicare toothbrushes by the way.  But it’s supposed to make your skin nice and soft, and remove all that dead skin, but in a gentle way.  And it in turn, makes your moisturizers and other stuff you put on your face work more efficiently.  A friend of mine has one, and she LOVES LOVES LOVES hers.  And apparently it made Oprah’s “Favorite Things” episode last year.  I am enjoying it quite a bit so far.  It feels really nice on your skin and you can use your own facial cleanser with it.  I say, anything that minimizes the look of pores, keeps your face soft and clean, and doesn’t add on anymore work to my normal face washing routine – is perfect!

Xmas 2008

We had ourselves a merry little Christmas

*Warning: Really long post – can’t help it – lots happened during the holidays! 🙂

Christmas this year was different than those in the past.  1) We weren’t going to be spending it with family – either Micah’s or mine.  2) The economy really was a downer – and many of us decided to not exchange gifts.  Just not the thing to be spending money on.  3) The weather was nuts.  With the down pour of snow – we weren’t sure if we’d even have anyone over for Christmas Eve dinner (which Micah and I were hosting at our house).  But, regardless of all of these factors – we had an excellent Christmas Eve and day.   Here’s the run down…

Christmas Eve:  Snowed pretty much the entire day

We had a total of 8 of us at the house, and that’s alot because our place isn’t that big.  We created a major seafood feast for dinner.  It was awesome!  We had Dungeness crab, Alaskan King crab legs, fried oysters, shrimp cocktail, and steamed clams with bread for dipping.  It seriously was so delicious, and everyone was satisfied and stuffed.  And that doesn’t include the yummy banana creme delight dessert. 

Xmas dinner Xmas Eve - friends

From left top box (clockwise): Ty and Ian, Christine and Micah, Mike and Jonah, Lisa and Tera

After dinner, we pretty much just played games all night long.  And those that know me, know that I LOVE GAMES!!!  We played Scattegories, a new game called “This or That” and hours and hours of a card game called Mafia.  It’s too hard to explain, but it was so much fun.  We all stayed up into the wee hours playing games.  Very fun – I love spending nights playing games with friends. 

Xmas Eve- games

Christmas Day:  Snowed pretty much the entire day

So, Tera (hoping for it to be a surprise)  had ordered three live Maine lobsters and they were (supposed to be) delivered to the house.  But with the massive snowfall, those deliveries were all delayed.  The idea was to eat them on Christmas Eve, but instead – FedEx called on Christmas Day and said if we wanted, we could come pick up the package ourselves at the local distribution center (about 5 miles from our house).  Tera (with her huge truck) and I went to go pick up the precious cargo.  Fortunately, the lobsters were still alive – because apparently, if they are dead and you cook and eat them – well, that’s not good.  This is the part where some people might find it cruel and unusual punishment to put alive lobsters into boiling hot water – which essentially kills and cooks them.  Ian and Jonah did all the dirty work – but all of us were quite interested in these live lobsters.

Xmas lobsters

During Christmas Day, we were once again stuck at the house.  So what do we do?  We play more games!!!  And we feast!!!  Ian and Jonah decided to be adventurous and made lobster bisque.  Yeah, just looked up a recipe and made it – starting with homemade lobster stock (from the shells).  And Christine made homemade chili and katsu chicken and pork (Japanese dishes).  So yummy!!

Rory and Jessica (and Riley) joined us for dinner that night, and joined in on more Mafia playing.  It was great.  Another super delicious dinner with friends, and more game playing.  Doesn’t get too much better than that!

Xmas Day

Day after Christmas:  Snowed part of the day, but were finally able to safely leave the house

We were finally able to drive Mike, Ty, et. al back to their apartment in Kirkland on Friday afternoon.  I’m sure they appreciated being able to shower and wear a change of clothes!  Tera, Micah, and I – we were going to go see a movie that day – but the snow started up again, and we opted to postpone for Saturday.  Instead, we watched The Dark Knight on DVD (Tera hadn’t seen yet) and then got ready for a potluck that night at our friend, Adrian’s condo. 

At his place, we ate, played games (cards and Rock Band), and just hung out.  I drank, for the first time, a hot buttered rum – yummy! 

Xmas at ADs


Saturday we were able to finally go watch a movie.  We went and watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  We all agreed – good movie, but extremely long!!!  It felt a little Forrest Gumpish in the way the story was told.  But we also acknowledged that the movie was 3 hours long, b/c it had to be that long….otherwise, we would have missed alot of depth in the storyline.

Following the movie, we were all tired and just went back to our house and played lots of Dr. Mario on the Nintendo Wii – I’m talking LOTS of playing – until 3 in the morning actually.  We love that game!



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