Monthly Archives: March 2013

Hoppy Easter Everybunny!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Isn’t this little veggie and dip tray that I made fun?

Over the last few years our dinner table and holiday traditions have changed a lot. We have moved from our small hometown, to a new state, then to move again across the ocean to South Korea. A big part of celebrating Easter for we Bees has been gathered around that ever-changing dinner table with our family and friends and enjoying a delightful Easter brunch or dinner. This year was no exception, we joined our dear friends and celebrated together as one, however I wouldn’t call this your typical Easter dinner. We celebrated Armenian style!

Dinner included:

Cheese Borek
Eggplant Caviar
Easter Pilaf with dried fruit
Lentil Bean salad
Fish Plaki
Beef Kabob
Mini Baklava
Khavitz halva
Lenten Peanut Butter balls

Is your mouth-watering yet? Everything turned out so scrumptious and was absolutely divine!

Our gracious host served in the Peace Corps when they were first married. Armenia holds a special place in both of their hearts and they wanted to share that experience with us. What a treat getting to talk about the Armenian traditions, have an Armenian egg fight, learn to make Armenian coffee, listen to them share their Peace Corps stories, and of course enjoy our little babes too! What an amazing comfortable feeling it is to have such close friends that have become extended family to us. I’ll count that as one of my many Easter blessings this year.

(Dye your Easter eggs Armenian style using onion peels!)

2013_03_31 Easter

2013_03_31 EasterMar 30, 2013Photos: 43


5 Days

5 Days… I can’t believe that’s all it took to build a home for a family in Cambodia!

The words home sweet home have a nice ring to it, don’t they? I can announce that I am officially home safe and sound from my trip with Habitat for Humanity in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

There are so many things that I associate with the word home. My heart, my loving husband, my Bean cat, safety, my serenity, my comfort. I cannot imagine my life without having my home and all the feelings associated with it.

I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to give the gift of home to another family, all thanks to the support and donations from people like you! Your contributions and support allowed my team and I to build a 4 x 6 brick home for a well deserving mother, her children, and her grandchildren. Makes you really count your blessings, right?

On this build, myself and twelve other volunteers lived and worked in a small village located west on the outskirts of Phnom Penh city. We partnered and worked alongside of  local artisans and the future homeowners. We mixed, shoved, and carried mortar, moved and laid piles and piles of brick, bucketed and poured concrete floors, dirt, sand, and we hammered on an aluminum roof.

Not once did I ever feel unsafe or outside of my comfort zone. Okay, maybe once when I had to use the squatty Potty and let the door cracked because their was no power to be able to see anything. HA HA! That is a whole other story in itself, I’ll spare you this time. The village that we built-in was so friendly and always waved and smiled at as. Everyone popped by the site to tame their curiosity and practice using their best English vocabulary to say “hello”! We had two wonderful translators on site, and one supervisor that we nicknamed BN. Sorry, somethings have to remain left unspoken and in Cambodia. Use your imagination…wink,wink.

The children quickly warmed up to our group and eventually learned our work schedule. My heart eagerly looked forward to every morning knowing that when our work vans were pulling in, those kids would be running alongside or up to us to greet us with the biggest grins and sparkles in their little eyes. You could feel how genially excited they were that we were giving them individualized attention. These children had next to nothing, some not even fully clothes, yet they were the happiest and strongest children I have ever met. Another thing that I was absolutely taken back by was, the children would try their hardest to work alongside of us. Mimicking our brink or bucket lines that we formed to get items quickly from point A to B, helping us collect trash, trying to be helpful and bring a tool they would find somewhere. I learned so much from that village in such a short time frame that will stick within me for the rest of my life.

On the last day of the build, we held and attended a ceremony that presented the family with the keys to their new home. After every member of the build took a snip of the red ribbon, the homeowner took the last snip with the scissors and cut completely through to finalize the ribbon cutting ceremony event. We were all invited to remove our shoes and come into the home. Once we were inside we were asked to say something to the family on our experiences during the build. It was incredibly emotional. What a journey it had been for all of us. We all came from such diverse backgrounds, we all were in search of something different when it came to  reasons we were volunteering for the build. However, one thing that bonded us and linked us together in that very moment was the prayers, well wishes, and our hearts all filled with thankfulness and fulfillment for the family.

The words thank you will never ever truly be enough to express what I feel…but for now they will have to do. So, thank you all!!!

Ah! I still cannot believe WE BUILT A HOME IN 5 DAYS!! I hope that I never come down from the high this trip provided my soul. I don’t know about the rest of my team, but I’m ready for my next build!

Please feel free to check out the remaining photos from my trip. You will find photos of the Royal Palace, Independence Monument, National Museum of Cambodia, Wat Phnom temple, Toul Tum Poung Market, our river cruise down the Mekong river,  various foods that I loved (too bad they didn’t share the same love back for me), The killing fields, Genocide museum, and the Cambodian traditional weaving house.


Reality Check


Socks, check.
Bug spray, check.
Bandanas, check.
Sunblock, check.
Bean cat, Wait…Bean cat?! Little miss cannot resist an open bag.



It’s now a reality!

Only a few short hours away from gathering my packed bags and heading off to Cambodia.

My heart and mind are open and ready to be fulfilled with this amazing experience and opportunity with Habitat for Humanity.

I can’t express my thanks, my love, and sheer gratitude enough to my husband, all my dear friends, family, and co workers who are supporting me with praise, prayers, words of encouragement, and have donated to the cause! Without you all I’d never be able to accomplish half of what I have!

Thank you, Thank you!


Good, Bad, Everything in Between

Many apologies, lately I feel like I’ve been rather inconstant with keeping up on our blog. I know it’s only been a week or so since the last update, but it feels like months have went by that I’ve left you all hanging. Life has certainly been fast paced here for the bees. Travel, wonky work hours, and life, just plain life. Now I’m left trying to catch up on my e-mails, blogger friends, pen pal, books, and the heaping pile of laundry that’s bursting at the seams every time I open our walk in. The only real comforting fact to subside my OCD is that i know my grandma’s advise would be, it’s not going anywhere, you will get to it when you can get to it. She’s sweet! I won’t even get started on the fact I haven’t put any thought into packing for my trip to Cambodia yet. Eek! Yes, that’s this Friday…more on that later.

Lets start with the good! I like to jump off on a positive not anyways.

Over the weekend we decided to get more adventurous and try out another new restaurant. Sweet victory! We loved it! Excellent duck and outstanding sides. Of course I included photos for you, even threw in a bonus video too. Sorry for the iPhone quality guys. Can I just point out how ingenious is that table with the built-in rotisserie! Oh Korea, you make being foodies so easy!






Onto the bad…no sugar coating…the place below was the pits. Period.



So whats everything in between? Planning to leave for my Habitat for Humanity trip in Cambodia this FRIDAY!


I wasn’t kidding, fast track life lately! I feel like it was just yesterday kicking off my build fundraising for my team. Here we are almost $2,000 later and boarding a plane soon. Everyone keeps asking me if I’m ready, if I’m excited, if I’m worried. Yes, yes, and yes!

I find myself soul-searching a lot, looking for ways to give a piece of myself, my heart, to something meaningful in this world. What an opportunity with Habitat! I get to build a home for a deserving family, give them a forever place. In so many ways I know this will fill my heart temporary. I’m ready to give my all! My sweat, my energy, my manpower. Oivay, sweat…did you see those temperatures above? I’m thinking there will be plenty of sweat to give.

I’m excited to learn about the Cambodia culture and way of life, work hand and hand with the people, be a tourist, and disconnect completely from all the technology that bogs me down. Yes, worry, had to mention that of too. What can I say? I’m a worry wort. With any trip outside of the norm there is always the element of worry, right? Mr. B made me make two deals. One, come back alive, and two I cannot bring any children back with me. Does this man know me or what? Shushhh don’t tell him I admitted that openly.

Cherio! I’m off to finish up and finalize all the in between things before leaving on my trip, but I’ll be back soon with lots of exciting things to share!


Sashimi House 횟집

Hoejip (횟집), means “sashimi house” in Korean. This weekend I was invited out to dinner to enjoy fresh raw fish, or sashimi as we mostly call it in America.  In Korea, the fish is sliced a bit thicker than that of the Japanese style, and the fish is known as hoe. Like almost all meals in Korea, the sashimi is served with complementary side dishes.

It was a lot of fun to see and compare the differences in ones dining experience when it comes to enjoying sashimi. We have eaten at a few restaurants in Korea that serve sushi rolls and sashimi, but nothing where it was the full-blown Korean Hoejip.

The restaurant was located very close to the Ganeung subway station. Very small, only housing roughly five tables. Two of the tables were tables with chairs, the rest were dining on a raised platform where the floor was heated for your bum. Thought the space may be small, the restaurant is very plain and very clean. I was told that this particular restaurant was well-known for its freshness and quality of fish. Also, if you didn’t have a reservation for dining chances are that you may not be able to get in most nights.

Koreans often serve raw fish in a different manner. They usually take a very large fish (mostly whitefish) straight from a tank that is displayed out front of the restaurant. A lot of times they let you pick the fish that you would like to eat. They will then prepare it and slice it  into  translucent slivers, and carefully arrange it on a very big platter of shredded cabbage, which is then placed in the center of the table for everyone to share family style.

Another difference in eating sashimi in South Korea was the way it should be enjoyed. Yes, even a simple dish of sashimi has it’s own traditional way. You take the  raw fish wrapped in ggaenip (similar to shiso leaf) and a slice of jalapeño, raw garlic, wasabi, and some rice, roll it up and shove it in your mouth. Of course one does this as gracefully as she can…haha! Yeahhhh…still feels like I’m breaking all the rules every time I do this, and goes against everything I was taught growing up.

Tonight I got to experience a true Korean treat, hoedeopbap. Hoedeopbap is a raw fish mixed with veggies and rice. It’s like bibimbop but without the rice! What’s not to love? It was delicious!

At the end of the meal, the last course served was a spicy soup called meuntang (매운탕). The soup was all of the bony parts that could not be served with the raw fish, (are you ready for this?) to include the fish head. Eek! Keeping my promise to myself, knowing that I’m only going to live once, I ate it too. It was spicy and pretty tasty!

Traditionally you should enjoy soju or some type of Korean alcohol with your meal too. You will look around towards the end of your meal and see all of the red faces, hear the bottles of soju clinking, hear the loud laughter and stories in Korean. In that moment you will know they are completely unwound from the everyday stressors in their life, and are now able to enjoy the deliciously fun moments of their dinner with their friends and family.