Saturday, May 28, 2011

DMZ & North Korea

My kids have had field trips every Friday for the last 5 weeks. This past Friday both kids had plans, so Steve took off work to go with Madi to Seoul Land (like a Six Flags) while I went with Ben to the DMZ and North Korea.It's only maybe 35 miles from school to the DMZ...CRAZY!!! We drove through lots of rice fields to get there...I think it's so beautiful.

We drove through lots of barriers. You can not get to North Korea by mistake.

We drove into Camp Bonifas. When we got up there they told us no cell phone us...and that our phones wouldn't even work. All of us adults pulled out our phones to check. Yep sure enough they were being jammed by North signal.

PFC Futch was our security tour guide. He is too cute, funny and young...CLASS OF 2010. All of the parents on the bus cracked up that we were old enough to be his mother or father. Last May he was in high school and this May he is up here gaurding the border of North and South Korea.

Well here we are on Conference Row. Those Blue houses house meetings between..the good guys and bad guys. That white building is FULL of North Koreans. We we warned of that, that they would be watching our every move. There is no pointing, waving, calm.

If you look close at the doorway next to my head and above Ben's you can see a North Korean guard. They had their binaculars and were walking back and forth.

Mostly Ben's class with a few kids from another.

Going in! This is where we stepped into North Korea.

Here inside...I am on the South Korean side...when you walk to the other side of the table you are in North Korea. So when the meeting between the 2 countries happen they sit on their respective sides.

Me, Ben and his friend Keegan.

You must at all times stay 1.5 feet away from the guards.

The Freedom House...built to host reunions of families from the North and South.

Overlooking North Korea. That town employs 43,000 Noth Koreans....some of the wealthiest North Koreans...they take home $20-$30 a month.

Overlook into North Korea. See that white tower on the's a North Korean tower...they were watching our every move still.

Yes, we were at all times being watched by North Korea. The kids watched a film at school and MP's from Camp Bonifas came to the school a few weeks ago to brief everyone on what was to take place and to prepare the kids on what to do and not to do.

The Bridge Of No Return.

We got to go down into the 3rd Tunnel.

Mrs. Martinez's 5th Grade Class, Seoul American Elementary School.

It was a beautiful ride home along the river. The river is heavily gaurded until you reach the Seoul city limits. I can't believe we only live 35 miles from the DMZ and that it's so heavily guarded just a few miles from my house...I forget sometimes. I must say this was the most fun/unique field trip I have been on. We saw lots of other things but everything is CLASSIFIED. After going to the DMZ and into North Korea we can not donate blood for 2 years....just a strange piece of info. I had such a great time with the other moms too. We all love and are greatful for the chance to live here in Korea. What a special way to kick off our Memorial Day Weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


We live off-post here in Seoul, Korea. I absolutely have the coolest and nicest neighbors. Some of them are American, Russian, other Asian countries and lots of Koreans. Some are in the US military, some are embassy workers from all countries, diplomats and the one who's house I went to yesterday, her husband works for the Korean Stock Exchange. My neighbor has a HUGE kimchi fridge...were she stores tubs of kimchi. Koreans eath kimchi's very healthy. There are different kinds of favorite is cucumber kimchi. My neighbor yesterday shared regular cabbage kimchi and...

this kind in the picture made with asian radish. They were fresh and very good. We ate them last night for dinner with some kimbap.


5 cups green or Chinese cabbage, cut into bite-sized pieces

6 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. to 2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes...depends how spicy you want it

1/4 tsp. finely chopped ginger root

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

2 green onions, chopped

-In a large colander, mix cabbage with 5 tsp salt. Let stand for 3 hours.

-Rinse cabbage two or three times. Gently squeeze out excess liquid with your hands.

-Place the drained cabbage in a large glass bowl. Add the remaining 1 tsp. salt and the rest of the ingredients and mix.

-Cover cabbage mixture tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temp for 1 or 2 days.

-Chill kimchi before serving. Store tightly covered.

-Kimchi will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.

My May flowers I am working with...hexagons of course! My favorite passtime! I hope to make this big so maybe it will be finished next May?

Saturday, May 21, 2011


This past week all Americans on the Korean Pennisula participated in the NEO exercise...noncombatant evacuation operation. It was good for Ben and Madi...we live in Korea and only 1 hour from the North Korean border but we tell them if we are prepared there is nothing to be afraid of. We have our gas mask which they got to practice with today, we have food storage and we know what to do. Plus we constantly remind our kids they have more of chance being killed in a car accident because someone is on their cell phone than we have of getting hurt or killed by North Korea.

I got this super cute pattern to stitch from a little sweetness. There are too many cute things over at the shop. This little stitchery makes me smile everytime I go in to start laundry.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Things have been busy with lots of fun lately. Friday we went to Everland which is like a Disney Park here in Korea. I will share pictures of that later. On Saturday I went down to Osan and look what I got...a Gucci bag. Boy am I going to miss designer shopping when we leave Korea!!!

On Thursday night I went to an activity and we made these super cute snap-together bags. It's pieces of metal measuring tape in the top...that's what makes the snap-together part...who would have thought of that. This was my first time making prarie points too...they are easy!

Yesterday I made Grape Salad to take to quilting club. Steve's mom had made this for Thanksgiving and it has been one of my favorites ever since.

Grape Salad

2 lbs. green seedless grapes

2 lbs. red seedless grapes

8 oz. cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

8 oz. sour cream

Wash and stem grapes. Mix sour cream, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla by hand. Stir in grapes. Sprinkle with 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup crushed pecans. Chill and serve.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Soldier's Stew

We love Soldier's Stew. The history of Soldier's Stew: Back during the Korean War, when the American soldier's finished the food and tossed out the leftovers, desperate, starving Koreans picked it up. They gatherd the mac and cheese, lunch meat, hot dogs, spam, pepperoni and threw it all in a pot with seasonings and water to make a stew. Today it's a classic dish here in Korea. Last month I went out to dinner with the Weather Wives for the first time at this yummy place and had to take my family back.

I love the story behind this stew, boy is it good and spicy too I might add.

Oh yes I did! I made a Schnibbles pattern. They have the PRETTIEST patterns ever. Look at the knock-out cute pin cushions I made.