Tag Archives: 2016

Wedding Anniversary

Wowie! June is just the month of celebrations!! I love it!!

So what all are we celebrating this month? (Glad you asked)
Our 9 year wedding anniversary…. Seriously, 9 years?!
A birthday for Mr. B… Oh la la
A first Father’s Day for Mr. B…. Eek!! ((I cannot wait!!)

So yeah, I’ve got some catching up to do since I’ve already posted on the fun birthday celebration we had this past week. Apologies for the radio silence on the blog the past few weeks. We’ve just been living life over here.

(belatedly written via this blog) 9 YEARSSSS!!! Goodness….we sure have come so far in these past few years of marriage.

In the morning our dear neighbor dropped off a gift on our doorstep with the sweetest card. Mr. B arrived after work with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers in hand! I’m still swooning over that sunflower!

Later that evening we celebrated our special day with our bumblebee at home. We dined on a fabulous sous vide feast of surf and turf, couscous and broccoli. Mmmmm! It was quiet, quaint and so very special.

Happy anniversary Beebs! To many more healthy and happy years spent with the two of you. Cheers!

Backpackbees

Birthday Celebration

Mr. B puts a limit on the amount of fuss and pizazz that I get to make over his special day, his birthday. He’s not one for parties, no dragging out the celebration, no telling the waitress while out at dinner (trust me…past experience he never lets me live down). His birthday request, celebrate one day, at home, a good home cooked meal, a favorite adult beverage (or a few) and his once a year praline ice-cream cake.

To me I feel that your birthday needs to be fussed about and you HAVE to drag it for at the minimum of a week, because come onnnnnn, it’s YOUR special day! Celebrate!!

So per his request last week we celebrated at home one evening with a good friend, delicious grilled rib eye steaks, foie gras, buttery scallops, hand cut French fries, a tomato cucumber salad with vinaigrette andddd of course his praline ice-cream cake. Mmmm-Mmmm!

Happy Birthday Mr. B. to the best dad and husband bumblebee and I could ever ask for.

Backpackbees

Frenchpress Friday: Same Person

Random thoughts over french press this morning…

You know what? I’m still the very same person, just with a bigger heart.
A heart I never even imagined could continue to swell in size for such a little being.
It’s crazy, as a parent I now am starting to understand and can reflect on some of my parents actions towards me and done for me more clearly.

Will Olivia only come to have the same realizations for our actions as her parents only after she decides to have children of her own?

I suppose only time will tell.

Backpackbees

Blueberry Coffee Cake

A friend recently mentioned in passing that my photos used to be mostly foods we cooked or baked and hasn’t been lately, but with good reason, and she missed reading about it. (Admittedly bumblebees photos filled my entire iPhone and I need to clear space now). This post is for you Leibe!

It does seem like ages the last time I REALLY got to sink my hands and teeth into something I baked out of our kitchen. Yes, yes I’ve baked oatmeal cookies almost weekly now…but I mean really baked something with the kitchenAid and all! So I found myself jonesing one Sunday morning and took advantage of the “free-time” and whipped up the most scrumptious Dahlia Bakery’s sour cream coffee cake (so kindly introduced to me by our dearly missed friends).

Imagine a nice thick blueberry sour cream coffee cake topped with just an irresistible cinnamony crunchy streusel topping. OKAY! Now STOP imagining and go bake it!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel
Serves 12
Recipe from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

Ingredients:

Streusel:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter

Cake:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 cups berries (blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries)

Directions:
Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 pan and set aside.

Make the streusel: combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Dice the cold butter, add it to the mixture, and blend with your fingers until crumbly. Set aside.
Make the cake: Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda into a bowl, and set aside. In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each and scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix in the sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Add the dry ingredients a third at a time, mixing until just blended. Fold in the berries.

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread it evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the streusel over the top.

Bake 45-50 minutes, until a tester comes out mostly clean. Cool in the pan in a wire rack.

Backpackbees

French press Friday: Savoring the now

Random thoughts over french press today…

I realize that there may come a day she prefers the company of friends to her parents…
The day she thinks and feels her first love is the ONLY person needed on this planet…
When she tells us we just don’t get her and will never ever understand…
and the day when she makes the big decision to move out on her own.

Thankfully today is not that day.
No, today in this very moment she is sleeping ever so peacefully in one of her favorite places in the world, my arms.
Thankfully today IS that day she’s letting me savor this very special moment.

^(savoring time over momma)

Backpackbees

Product Review: MamaRoo

I’m completely convinced GOD invented this machine.

No, I’m dead serious! This thing is made from unicorn tears and possesses PURE MAGIC! What on earth am I babbling on about? The mamaRoo by 4Moms!

Yey! This calls for a product review!

Originally I purchased a little bouncer seat that vibrated on Amazon by Fisher- Price (Bumblebee only has used once now). It all started when my sweet cousin in-law threw me a virtual baby shower due to our geographical separation…. We were all discussing what purchases we made for the baby when my other cousin in-law (thank you Meghan) a registered nurse working in labor and delivery stated we HAD to pick up the mamaRoo by 4Moms….she too said this thing possessed magical powers, the babies absolutely loved them and the nursery was tricked out with them. This of course sparked my husband’s interest and I saw him immediately in the background researching online.

Then I heard our credit card scream…. He made the purchase on Amazon here just like that.. hook, line and sinker. Eek! The price had me a bit concerned, because I’m pretty conservative. After the babyshower we discussed everything that made him make the purchase, watched the 4mom website product video, read a few customer reviews and then I understood why.

When the mamaRoo was delivered, Mr. B was giddy and immediately pulled it out of the box and put it together. The assembly was a breeze right out of the box!

Our first thoughts were wow… This thing is pretty cool. As I read through the manual on the features, Mr. B already had his iPhone plugged into the MP3 attachment and was playing his techno music as he selected the various soothing movements to go with the music beat. He was sold and wanted to write to 4moms and ask if they could fabricate one in adult size for his office. I Yi Yi… Lol! I on the other hand thought all we need is this baby to actually see if she likes it, but I did have to admit it was rather cool.

A few weeks later when our bumblebee arrived I was finally able to put the mamaRoo to the test…..We are now going on a little over two months with almost daily usage, we call it bumblebees “roo time”. I feel like we really have a good grasp on this product and can confidently give you our newbie parent review of pros and cons. (In no particular order)

The Pros:

  • EASY to use when you are zombified parents
  • Buttons are very intuitive are have a nice lite display
  • Blowouts and spit-up, let’s face it, it just happens….Thankfully the mamaRoo is easy to clean! Just unzip and pop the seat cover into the washing machine
  • It features 5 swing movements – The car ride, kangaroo, tree swing, rock-a-bye, and the wave. (Bumblebee loves the rock-a-bye setting) 5 different speeds to choose from
  • Multiple seating positions that range from sitting upright to laying down; very easy for parents to adjust during any meltdowns
  • It has Bluetooth connectivity – control it from your smartphone 4moms app…. Yep we’re lazy. Kidding… It’s great when you forget to switch off and you are trapped on the couch, or different room
  • Entire machine is lightweight at only 19lbs. Even I can easily pick up and move it from our kitchen to living room as needed
  • Overall size of the machine is small and helps maintain our baby clutter in our space – 33″L x 19.5″W x 25.5″H
  • It has built-in soothing sounds outside of the MP3 aux option – rain, fan, ocean and heart
  • A dangling attached mobile that features plush balls -one side is vibrantly colored with different patterns and the other side is black and white, again with different patterns love that feature as bumblebees vision and focus are changing and growing
  • Dual voltage – for us an ABSOLUTE must! (Hip-hip hooray no transformer needed!)
  • Option to order the newborn insert – you could literally bring your little one home from hospital and place directly into the chair if you had to
  • Five different color seat color options -if your into that sort of thing- black classic, silver plush, multi-plush, designer plush, and grey classic (we snagged grey classic thinking it would look cleaner; it has lived up to our expectations too)
  • Weight limit is 25lbs; or if baby attempts an escape -with that limit your baby will get a great amount of usage and before hitting that limit we assume she will be down crawling and exploring
  • Incredibly safe! So much so that if the blanket falls down while in motion and is caught in the chairs movement the obstruction error will display and all machine movement will seise
  • Comes with a 1 year warranty (WHEW)
  • If needed, there is the option to purchase replacement parts, such as seat cover, MP3 cord, mobile with plush balls, and outlet adapter
  • It is very quiet when turned on and in use….listen for yourself
  • It gives us a bit of hands free time when we need it

    The Cons:

    • The price factor…. I guess you can look on the bright side, you do get what you pay for (GOLD). A side note, around Mother’s Day 4moms website had 20% off…something to keep in mind
    • On top of price, you DO have to purchase the newborn insert separately if you want to use upfront
    • It doesn’t operate on batteries
    • Some friends also purchased the mamaRoo and their little one HATE it….this no guarantee. We have to remember we all have our own preferences and babies are no exception to this rule
    • We’d like to see bluetooth technology, or USB capability that allows you to stream your music without plugging MP3 or smartphone in, or even load MP3 playlist like a small 8GB flash drive
      The speakers could use an upgrade, they are not the best quality for the overall price paid
    • The wall plugin adapter could be longer for the option to keep away from walls and furniture if needed

    So there you have it, our entire review of the mamaRoo. If you have the ability to pre-test out with your babe before taking the plunge, we recommend you do it. Another suggestion, add to your baby shower list -a group could go in on the purchase. Obviously we didn’t have those options, but certainly would offer a try the roo out to any of our friends located around us wherever we may be at the time.

    Friends, did you purchase/test the mamaroo with your little one, or perhaps gifted to another’s little one? What were your overall thoughts? We look forward to your comments!

    Backpackbees

    Click, Ship & treat yourself…or in this case the bébé !

  • Co sleeping and a product review

    Welcome back to another mommy Monday! Just from the title I might have already lost a few blog followers… Why? Just saying that word “co-sleeping” out loud is so controversial in our culture. Or, perhaps you just have no desire to read my thoughts on it (that’s okay too).. Whatever the case, if I’ve still got you, thanks!

    In Korea I’ve discussed co-sleeping with many newbie moms like myself, as well as the more seasoned. Co-sleeping and attached-parenting is something the Asian culture practices as the norm. The differences to the western culture are that some Korean families all sleep together in their bedroom on a heated floor with a sleep mat.

    Trust me when I say, we get it. Yes, we were the couple, kidless mind you, making that judgement from the outside swearing we’d never co-sleep and have our baby in bed with us. Hahaha…. Let’s fast forward shall we?

    Enter our little bumblebee into our crazy life equation. The first few nights we had her in our room, but in a bassinet near our bed. It was working out…eh…okay. There were a lot of up and downs for feeding, as expected, but also separate up and downs for comforting, soothing and rocking. There were some nights I was so exhausted that I’d feed bumblebee while I’d lay in our bed, begin to burp her and we’d both pass out. I’d awake startled to realize what I’d done, only to find her still on my chest sound asleep and peaceful as could be. We continued to have this pattern a few nights and were both waking in the morning much more rested. ((Praise the lord!))

    It wasn’t until I was researching some other baby products and doing some browsing on Amazon when the light upstairs finally popped on. She’s most comforted by us holding her and feels more safe and secure in our arms. Just my luck I came across an item, Snuggle Me Co-sleeping Cushion
    , that claimed to replicated that sort of secureness, among other benefits, all the while keeping your little one safe in a co-sleeping environment.

    Eek… Co-sleeping…I was conflicted. However as I started to really think about the past few nights, that’s essentially just what we were doing….

    I was intrigued and decided to discuss the Snuggle Me with the Mr. before hitting that handy one click ship button on Amazon. We both were in agreement to try it out and decision that this was a safer way to co-sleep.

    Let’s product review the Snuggle Me co-sleeper and lounge cushion. (No specific order)

    This is a product designed for little ones aged 0-6 months.

    The design and shape of the cushion not only hugs and comforts, but also helps to prevent and protect your little one from turning and rolling over, keeping them safely on their backside.

    The cushion is made in the USA!! When does that ever happen?! Woot-woot! We strive to do our part and support those businesses, even while living abroad!

    We have a King size bed so there is plenty of room to stretch out to begin with, however even if we didn’t have a King the Snuggle Me co-sleeper doesn’t take up that much room and should be ideal for other size beds as well.

    The one we specifically purchased is made from 100% organic cotton, twill and fleece with a hypoallergenic fill. Also a very important note to mention is, the products are all free of lead flame retardant latex and phthalate bpa.

    The cushion comes with a muslin travel bag! How handy! It easily can fold up, bend, basically act like a pillow in your weekend or luggage bags. Check plus! We absolutely plan to use and take it with us on scuba weekend trips and any future country hopping trips.

    The Snuggle Me is all the listed above versatility plus the fact that it’s great for tummy time, infant massage and helping with ideal positioning in cases of acid reflux relief.

    Our bumblebee now usually falls right asleep in the evening and we concluded it’s one of her favorite places to sleep, so much so that she almost sleeps through the entire night! Need I say more?? We’re incredibly pleased with the purchase and absolutely recommend to any soon to be parents! Get it added to those babyshower lists!

    What are your thoughts on co-sleeping? Did you and your family do it? Did you use anything special to make the co-sleeping situation safer and comfortable for all? Would you try the Snuggle Me co-sleeper?
    Love to hear from you!

    Backpackbees

    Click, Ship & treat yourself…or in this case the bébé !

    New Chapter

    It’s been awhile guys! So where have you been? Kidding… I know it was us, we basically fell off the blogosphere. But hey, with good reason!

    They say that every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. So here we are…at a new beginning, a new chapter in our lives, a close from another beginning’s end. Life is funny like that.. some chapters allow us to open on our own, while others are sort of forced open. Nevertheless, within these chapters of our books we are ever-growing and learning something from each of them.

    Exactly where am I going with this? As you could have guessed, we’ve opened a brand new chapter in our lives. Yes, I struggled with the decision to post anything on our blog about my pregnancy, or if I’d keep that chapter of our lives closed from online and kept private. Ultimately I made the decision that it is a HUGE part of our lives and is an incredible blessing not to share with you all.

    Funny when I think back on this now…we didn’t know at first we were even pregnant with our little bumblebee until we were already a few good weeks in. Crazy! Huh? Then we didn’t announce to our families and friends until we knew we were in the clear. I’m so terribly superstitious with certain things, especially because of our past experience and struggles.

    Prayerfully everything progressed as normal and healthy with our daughter and we baked perhaps the very best treat of our lives yet!

    Live in Korea? Need an amazing photographer for maternity, newborn or family style photos? Excellent! We’ve got you covered! Check out Little Lime Tree Photography here.

    Backpackbees

    What’s cooking?

    Continuing on with our new year quest for meal prepping and planning, consuming better foods and striving for less food waste, we’re glad you found your way back into our kitchen and home again for our food recap.

    There’s just something very meditative about weekly food preparation, perhaps it’s my OCD coming out? Seriously…coming home after a long week of work and preparing/ menu planning for next weeks round of breakfast, lunches and dinners has a calming and relaxing end result when you really let yourself enjoy it. It also helps that the Mr. supports and recognizes the importance of it too. (I have express and give my pure gratitude to this man too! Feeling under the weather this week, he cooked almost all of the deliciousness for us shown below).

    ^Homemade buttermilk scones served with a nice cuppa vanilla honey rooibos tea.

    ^ Homemade oven baked chicken kiev, with a side of crispy curried carrots and sun-dried tomato and feta spread served on top of homemade rye bread.

    ^ No bake 5 minute brownie from Minimalist baker. Slowly trying to curb my crazy sweet tooth, plus I’ve been itching to use up my cacao powder Healthworks Raw Certified Organic Cacao Powder, 1 lb This was very different texture wise, not terrible, but filled the temporary void, left out the espresso the recipe called for.

    ^ Spicy Japchae, jabchae, chapchae, chop chae, or chap chae (Korean: 잡채) (glass noodles, peppers, sesame seeds, onions and veggie-meat) and Maneul Jangajji (chili paste and pickled garlic scapes). Served with a side of korean purple rice.

    Lots of pickling, preserving and burning our mouths this past week! Mr. B Made some garlic scapes Korean style. If you don’t know, garlic scapes are the green parts of the garlic, do NOT throw these away, instead make Maneul Jangajji!

    Maneul Jangajji

    12 hrs total (11.5 soaking)

    Directions:
    Pepper mixture:
    1 cup dried pepper flakes (ideally Korean peppers)
    1 cup Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
    3 Tbs white vinegar
    2 Tbs fish sauce (or to taste)
    6 garlic cloves minced
    3 Tbs brown sugar
    1/2 cup hot water (may have to add slightly more if scapes are very well-drained)

    The intent is to have a thick paste with a consistency of cream spreadable peanut butter or very slightly watered down.

    Scapes:
    cut off whiter tougher parts of scapes and trim to 3″. Boiled salted water. Pour over scapes in an insulated bowl (glass/ceramic etc) and leave sit (make sure to cover with a plate) for 11-12 hours or longer until they start to yellow. Drain and cover with pepper mixture (easiest to do with gloved hands).

    These can be eaten immediately or saved if packed in the mixture for several months in fridge.

    (Best compliment ever was when Our Korean foodie friend was over eating dinner with us and said that this was better than her moms! Mr. B’s Korea cook level awesomeness was achieved!)

    ^ Spaghetti and our homemade meatballs! You know.. Plenty of garlic and basil, you know, a nice dose of nerve-steadying herbs.

    ^ Shared a meal with our dear friend over our ground beef patties seasoned with our own special blend of spices. The burgers had oyster mushrooms, red onions with torched sharp cheddar cheese, fried egg and foie gras flavored with homemade BBQ sauce and horseradish mayo. The buns were coated with foie gras oil and toasted in the pan for finishing. Annie’s White cheddar Mac and cheese and salads on the side (you know, keeping it classy).

    ^ Homemade almond biscotti from America’s Test Kitchen (Household favorite!)

    ^ A delicious mediterranean steak salad!

    And last but not least…. freezer meal prep for the unknown weeks that are to come. Chuck steaks ground, seasoned and formed into 1/2 lb burgers. Not pictured, because someone fell asleep on the job, vegetable beef stew and slow cooker pork BBQ with homemade BBQ sauce.

    Backpackbees

    Click, Ship & treat yourself

    What’s cooking?

    Welcome back to our kitchen! Pull up a chair at our kitchen island and get comfy. Outside of our mini Mardi Gras feast and unbeetable Valentine cake, we’re sharing the recap of what we whipped up in our kitchen over the past week. We’ve got some exciting nostalgic dishes we’ve made a bit more modern to share with you!

    Drumroll please..we tested out four more family recipes from Mr. B’s grandparents handwritten cookbook that dates back to 1949! It’s so special thinking about and picturing Howard and Rose cooking these very recipes together back then in their kitchen, perhaps doing the same exact things were doing in the present day.

    ^
    This super crunchy coconut granola! It’s been perking up our morning Greek yogurt and fruit routine. Try it! Next time I’m thinking I’ll use coconut extract instead of vanilla.

    ^
    Chicken Marsala with homemade garlic bread and garden salads.

    ^
    Seared tuna, a fairly regular staple at our table, was served as the main dish alongside of diced oven roasted rutabaga.

    ^
    The first family recipe tested was parsley curried corn. Originally we prepared as directed straight from the recipe, but in the end slightly altered it to more of our taste. SPICE! Yeah, we had to kick it up a notch and make it a bit more modern with the addition of hot madras curry powder. This dish was absolutely delicious and is a new favorite for sure.

    ^
    The second B family recipe tested was, pork tenderloin in cream sauce. Again, after preparing as originally directed, we modernized and altered by seasoning to our taste, it just didn’t have the pizazz we were after. We ended up adding green peppercorns and chopped onions.

    ^
    We paired the pork tenderloin with garden sweet peas, sautéed mushrooms in a pepper sauce and puréed sweet potatoes seasoned with maple, butter, pepper. D-licious!

    ^
    Oven roasted eggplant halves stuffed with zucchini, yellow squash, spicy Italian sausage, onion, and gorgonzola cheese. Like spaghetti, these were even better served as leftover for lunch, the flavors just popped even more!

    ^
    The stuffed eggplants were served with a side of roasted garlic butter mushrooms sprinkled liberally with salt and cracked black pepper. These little guys were like a vegetarian alternative to Escargot! The mushrooms gave the texture and the butter, garlic, salt and cracked black pepper brought the taste. Plus who doesn’t like the fact that the caps hold in all that buttery goodness? It’s all about those vehicles for butter 😉

    The third family recipe tested was “Boston Baked Beans” and “BBQed Chicken”.

    ^
    The Boston baked beans used dried beans and minimal ingredients which consisted of molasses, sugar, salt and a bit of pepper and home cured bacon. The Flavor was fantastic!

    ^
    The BBQed chicken was a chicken quartered and the sauce was from scratch. The sauce simmered away for quite a bit of time on the stove, then it covered the chicken and was baked. This recipe was delicious with a delightful blend we were not accustomed to. Oh! the chicken came out super moist too!

    ^
    Then there was a quick last-minute dessert created. Inspired by our recent trip to Manimal in Itaewon, Mr. B halved bananas and drizzled them with homemade caramel and then topped it all off with fresh vanilla whipped cream. Boom! Front runner to the Bananimal!

    Alright folks, we will meet you back in our kitchen again soon!

    Backpackbees