We've moved!

In an effort to streamline the blogging process, we can now be found here.

This in no way guarantees that updates will be more frequent, but it will be easier (and FTR, I like WP's commenting options a lot more).

I'll be taking this blog down in about a week, so please update your reader or bookmark.

See you there!


OYD Cooks!

Carb Fest '09!*

This has been our first Thanksgiving on our own, and since our living arrangements have put us in a much smaller space, it has also been our smallest endeavor to date. We didn't want to do a big production this year as we have the last couple, because with The Guy's work schedule I just don't have the energy to do it all alone. We had just us and our friend, Mazetov Cocktail, from our annual Jewstravaganza, and it turned out to be just the right size.

We have a ton to be thankful for. We have a wonderful family, and a great home. We have been incredibly blessed with the opportunity to live in a foreign country where we get to observe and experience a different culture. We have amazing friends, in both Meat World and Bloglandia who have held us up through so much. Basically we are surrounded by love and awesomeness every day, and that is incredible. I pause a moment to the Goddess and thank her for all we are blessed with as we prepare our meal every year, and it was extra special because I was able to share that with The Kid this year, since she was a big help in the preparing process.

Dinner this year was so much more simple than in the past. There was no need to do three turkeys and I don't think we will be eating leftovers for every meal for days to come. Oh, and it was also the perfect size for Mario Party. W00t!

I did start with some of Grammy's Pumpkin Cookies, something that has been part of my holiday experience since I can remember, but they didn't last the day between the Kid's school and home and friends popping in. I can't keep them in the house!

I discovered that our refrigerator is too cold for thawing, and even when I thought that I could thaw the turkey the way you are supposed to, I wound up right back where we always are, with the turkey taking a bath during the day, but this time in our spa bathtub, and I thought the jets would help things along:
I admit to being a bit jealous that the turkey got to relax in the spa...

Fortunately this year we knew we didn't need a lot, so we only bought two turkey breasts, so they thawed quickly.

Have I mentioned how great household child labor is? I am a malevolent Matriarch!

Peel those potatoes! Go! Gotta teach her the ways of the Patriarchy early! *snerk*
Wash those dishes! I can has clean measuring cups so can makes teh Thanksgivings!

Kid made the green bean casserole all by herself this year, something she was very excited about. It is a great first recipe to let them try ... it's right there on the can and so hard to mess up!

But that is not how you start! LOL!

She did the whole thing from beginning to end and it was perfect. She was very proud, and made sure to fish a compliment on it out of everyone who ate it. Heh. Guess she's modest too!

Kid also helped with the peanut butter pies (yes, Anna! Peanut butter pie! They are not dangerous!).

I swear I do not know how that happened. ;)

I love it when all three of us get into the kitchen together. It really makes things so much more fun.

The turkey breasts were the best idea, and we still had plenty of pan drippings for gravy!
Everything turned out wonderful. And yes, as a matter of fact that is the cranberry jelly, which I crave, and will shamelessly eat from the can! YUM!

I hope everyone in the States has a pleasant Thanksgiving.

*name from the fabulous Red Queen.


OYD Cooks!

Worm Infested Dirt Cups!


The recipe that saved me time is apparently a Weight Watchers' recipe, but since diets are crap, and they don't work (even "lifestyles" like WW) I changed it a little (another mum gave me the idea originally, but I couldn't remember the proportions).

You will need:

A boxed cake mix (any variety. If you get a vegan mix, which many of them are now, this is a great vegan alternative recipe)

A can of soda (or about 10 ounces/295 ml)

That's it! Don't add any of that crap that the box calls for. Just mix the soda and the mix in a bowl. Divide it into cupcake cups, and bake according to the box. I used Sprite, for anyone who is interested, with both a Pillsbury white cake and a Pillsbury triple chocolate cake.

For the toppings:

One box instant pudding
Cookies, crushed into good chunks.
Gummy worms. If you plan ahead there are websites where you can order realistic looking gummy worms, but I didn't really feel the need since this wasn't an actual Halloween party.

For the chocolate I used chocolate pudding and hydrox style sandwich cookies, like Oreos, and for the white I used vanilla pudding and 'Nilla wafers. I have heard that chocolate chip cookies work well too, but I wanted a non-chocolate option available.

Prepare pudding according to directions and chill. Mix crushed cookies and pudding in a bowl to get a clumpy mud like texture. Top each cooled cupcake w/ a scoop of "mud" and nestle a worm into the mess.

They were totally easy, a lot of fun, and a little gross (not at all! NOM!). They are on the way to school right now to be enjoyed.

ETA: I just got a call telling me that they look so delicious that they can not wait to dig in! SUCCESS!

Hope you get a chance to try them out!


The 63rd Building

We took Kid and a friend, S from school, to the 63rd Building over the long weekend. It was the tallest building in Asia when it was first built. It has a decent Sea World Aquarium inside, and a really cool observatory from the top, with one of those elevators that makes your ears pop. It was a lot of fun, and I think the girls had a blast. Plus, a monk smiled at me while we were eating gelato, so it was a good day.

Kid is getting to be an Ol' Pro at the Seoul Subway. She even has her own T-Card now, and likes to stop at the 7-11 at the stations to get her favorite drink for the ride.

The 63rd Building on Yeouido. Very shiny.

The girls in the only place where their giddiness can be contained. A giant bubble under water.

A view from the top of the building. If you squint really hard you can see our ville. Just kidding!

More of Seoul.

I thought this was really fun...someone enlarged a print of a Monet and replicated the bridge so that kids could have their picture taken on it.


The Three Hour Tour -- The Sequel

(Moderatrix' note: I am going to make the pictures smaller to make the post shorter...click any picture to embiggen. KTHX)

Part One

We took a C-5 to Guam. A C-5 is the largest plane operated by the military today...and it is a lot like flying on a commercial jet. I actually like it better, since when it isn't filled to capacity there is a ton of room to lie down. You can kick up the arm rests in your row, lay all the seats back and stretch out. It is the most comfortable flight I have ever had the pleasure of taking.

Guam... is just like Hawai'i... only more humid (but not as humid as Okinawa if you are keeping score at home). It's lovely and tropical and I bet that there would have been a lot of fun stuff to do if we had been there longer than overnight. On the up side, most of the housing has been turned into lodging...so we were given a two bedroom house for the same low lodging fare. The best part is that it had a washer and dryer in the house so we were able to wash our clothes. Yay!

From Guam we made it to Hawai'i, and were on the ground less than we were in Guam. We were able to catch a flight to California first thing the next day.

We arrived in California at about 0500, got a hotel with a late check out, ate the free breakfast, slept for a few hours and were on our way to Ohio. As far as Space A flying goes this was one of the smoothest trips we have taken. We drove from Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio up to my mother's house in Indiana (Hi Mom! *waves*) where we picked up The Kid...who was surprised to see us a whole day early. Tee hee.

After spending a nice afternoon w/ my Mom and her Partner (sorry, ma, "boyfriend" doesn't really cut it for me anymore... LOL) we drove up to my Grandparents' house in Northern Michigan. Real Northern Michigan, not that top of the Lower Peninsula crap that most people South of Traverse City think is Northern Michigan, but actual, beautiful, sacred Above the Bridge Upper Peninsula. We had only two days to spare before we were hoping to catch a flight out of Indiana...so we had to make it count.

We took Mom and L (Mom, I need a good nickname for this dude) out for lunch, and then went back to the house where L treated Kid to a Harley ride. She had been talking about it all day, so we couldn't very well leave w/o allowing her this indulgence. "Grandpa L" has really taken to her (who could resist her charms?), and I think he was just as excited as she was.

Then we loaded up and made the trek North.

We had tons of Very Important Business to attend to while there. Not the least of all was paying a snorgle visit to The Cutest Nephews Evah! *Extreme NOM Warning* I can not believe how big they have gotten because it hardly seems that they have been around for over ten months now! Believe me when I say...trouble does indeed come in pairs.

It had also been far too long since I'd been out to visit Dad. For many reasons. First is that I am usually home in the Winter. This is the first time that the cemetery had been accessible when we were in the Sault. Second, it is extremely difficult for me to do. I haven't yet gotten to the point where I don't sometimes forget that he has walked on and want to call him or go see him...even after ten years.

We barely had enough time to squeeze in an all too brief visit w/ my Grammy. One thing I didn't have was a picture of The Kid w/ Grammy, and that simply had to be rectified. I always regret not having more time w/ my whole family, but our time is constricted by circumstances beyond our control.

We got a brief bit of sleep before packing up and heading back to Indiana to catch our plane back to California. This time we had a bit of down time, and were able to take The Kid out to Fairfield for a tour of the Jelly Belly factory. The tour was definitely worth the price (FREE!), but our tour guide was lacking. She used this phony accent that I can only compare to the way Gwyneth Paltrow tries to pretend she is British, but in an overly dramatic theatre diva tone. She also didn't know what flavor they were making that day...which I think should be a minimum requirement for being a tour guide. We are, however, still eating the Jelly Belly supply that we picked up while there. NOM!

Our next stop was Alaska, and this time we had the fortuitous timing to be in time for the Alaska State Fair. We rented a car w/ an awesome woman and her daughter (with whom Kid hit it off and is now a penpal w/) and went out to see how my BFF Sarah gets her Fair on. Other than the scenery being absolutely astonishing the Fair was a hit. The Guy, The Kid and Kid's Pal had a blast riding all the rides while Pal's Mom and I played Paparazzo. There was delicious Fair food to be NOMed up, including Indian Tacos, hot dogs in fry bread, and a ridiculously huge smoked turkey leg.

Being back in Okinawa was a spectacle and a half...and I don't mind saying here that the Airman that was working at the terminal when we were cut from the flight was an unhelpful Jerk, and that I know he allowed people to jump priority. Aside from that, we were shown incredible hospitality by Kid's Pal's family, and we managed to make it to Yokota in decent time.

Getting from Mainland Japan home was slightly hairy. In order to get Kid and Guy home in time for work and school we ended up splitting up, leaving me to hang out in Japan for a few days by myself. In the end we ended up getting me a commercial ticket for a reasonable price a few days later. I managed a few pictures on my way to Narita Airport...and hopefully we can return when we have more time to see more of Japan. I must confess, the bamboo forests won me over.

Oh, and the toilets at the airport. They amused me w/ their "flushing sound" feature. You can turn on a simulated flushing sound so that no one can hear you going about your business. Even our fancy bidet doesn't have that feature!

That pretty much wraps up The Three Hour Tour. Hope you enjoyed the virtual tour! I will return you to the regularly scheduled BaCaW blogging post haste!

The Three Hour Tour -- The Sequel

The return trip to The States to pick up The Kid at Summer's end was ridiculously more enjoyable than my solo trip back to Korea. Having The Guy along as a traveling companion increased the fun factor by about a nonillion times.

It was pretty much the same song, different verse. We headed to Osan, AFB to catch a plane off the Peninsula. There happened to be a flight going to Kadena, a tiny little C-12, and we were lucky enough to be traveling lightly enough to make the roll call. C-12's are a turbo prop plane, and therefore subject to very strict weight regulations. You can not even be one pound over the limit set. Luckily we traveled lightly to make room for souvenirs for the fam (and for us too!)

The best part was having a window so we could take it the sights of flying so low. I got some great shots on the way. I seem to have a particular fondness for the way the clouds look over the Ocean. There were times I thought some of the clouds looked a little like the Castle in the Sky.

It took us about three days to get out of Okinawa. In the mean time we had occasion to visit American Village again. We found an awesome pay by the gram frozen yogurt place, where you pick what flavor(s) you want out of a dozen or more, and then pile on all the toppings you want.

We strolled around looking for some souvenirs afterward. We weren't exactly sure, but we had a feeling that the Joshua store was having a sale...

I found something I wanted to take home...

...but sadly it wasn't for sale.

We took a sunset ride on the ginormous Ferris wheel:

and enjoyed the lights of the strip afterword.

The Guy took me to an awesome Teppanyaki Steakhouse, which if you haven't been to one I highly recommend it. It's a lot like a Hibachi steakhouse. Only better.

The chef worked too fast for even my sports setting to catch. He juggled seasoning shakers and chopped stuff up so fast that it was like dinner and a show all in one. The steak was also almost to die for...I've never had kobe beef before...it definitely lived up to the hype.

We made it out of Okinawa the next day, and caught a flight to, can you believe it, Guam!

(Apparently Blogger has a limit on post length...so to be continued...)