When in

Seoul, South Korea and Lizards

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul the capital of South Korea is a city my husband has visited many times, including this past August. He enjoys the culture, temples and especially the food in South Korea. Fun fact….Did you know that Seoul is the home of fried chicken and barbecue??? Who would of thought!! This was right up my husbands alley and now I see why he visits so often. While there he visited the Coex Centre in the Gangnam district, home to Asia’s biggest underground shopping mall complete with casino, kimchi museum and traditional Buddhist temple. While there, he also visited the Joseon Royal Tombs, Garden of the Gods that has the tombs of the Joseon dyanasty. The Joseon dynastry lasted for 519 years and produced 27 kings! And if you like the Olympics check out the Jamsil Olympic Stadium aka the Seoul Olympic Stadium home to the 1988 Olympics. But it not just and Olympic stadium, it also served as the stadium for the 10th Asian Games in 1986, music concerts, and the centerpiece for Seoul sports.

Here at home, we were sorta settling into the 3rd week of school. School starts in August in the South so we were trying to get our school groove back from footloose and fancy free over the summer. And of course this was the week that all the after-school activities started, tons of paperwork for fundraisers and events for the year were being sent home and the parents opportunity to visit with your child’s teacher to review the curriculum for the school year. After a week full of activities, I was FINALLY getting a chance to stop, catch my breath and absorb all the info I had received ……or so I thought. It was Thursday evening, the house was quiet and was about to settle into bed when I saw it….a shadow cast from my nightstand lamp on the wall. At first, I thought it was my eyes playing tricks on me from sheer tiredness and having filled out tons of school forms. But no. There was clearly a shadow on the wall. But it wasn’t just any shadow….it was a small shadow with legs….4 legs to be exact. Due to the position of the shadows, whatever it was was closer to me than I thought. Completely frozen, I finally found the courage to turn my head to see what was there……a LIZARD!!!! Let’s be honest…..yes, I squealed and yes I jumped out of bed to the other side of the room. Considering where I live you would think I would be accustomed to this sort of thing but alas, I’m not. It starred at me and I starred at it. I have no idea how it got into our bedroom but didn’t have time to process the logistics. And then to my horror it scurried behind our bed. Ugh!!! At that point I had to think quickly assess the situation-my husband was on the other side world, I was NOT going to bed with the lizard in our room, it’s night time and my kids are fast asleep so we can’t leave. I knew at that point it was him or me! Thus began the hunt to find the lizard, which happened to blend in with everything. By the time I found it I had……moved 2 nightstands, flipped the mattress and box spring to vertical positions, knocked over a plant, etc. Chaos has ensued trying to find the lizard that our room looked like a tornado hit it. Once I finally found the lizard, I trapped him in a cup and put him outside (it took a TON of courage). I did call my husband and explain what I had just encountered….which was met with a ton of laughter (yes, he laughed at my pain). Nonetheless……I survived.

Our bedroom…surviving chaos

Here are you surviving chaos tips:

  • Bundle Paperwork: If deadlines permit, complete school paperwork all at one time and send them to school all at one time. This frees up your weeknights for other activities, keeps you organized, and sane.
  • Be Strong & of Courage: No matter what life throws or crawls at you, be brave!! Find your inner strength to conquer your fears (this applies to life in general, not just lizards).
  • Backup plan: If this had been a more dire situation….snake, tarantula, fire, etc have a plan to call someone for backup or leave the house. Always have a plan, you never know when you will need it.
  • Wine: This is self-explanatory.

Family, Surviving Chaos

Loving Abroad

Absence makes the heart grow fonder…

When my husband first started traveling, I thought I was prepared and would be comfortable while he was absent. The beginning trips were small, 2-3 days but as his achievements in career progressed, the business trips grew longer to 5 days and now 7 full days. When his role expanded to a global position, not only were the trips longer but we also had to coordinate the time difference, which really hindered phone calls. I thought I was prepared for this type of separation -I wasn’t. It was harder than I expected , sometimes more than I was able to handle and more than I wanted to deal with. So I needed to be creative…..how could stay connected while we were so far apart? So, I started putting cards with hand written notes in his suitcase. While he was busy working on logistics of his trip, I would go and hide them in his suitcase. I became an expert at finding good hiding places in his suitcase…..between shirts, inside shirt sleeves, in his toiletry bag, inside a pant leg, etc. The possibilities were endless! And these cards were not your run of the mill cards; I would specifically choose cards that were quirky, odd, funny, romantic or matched whatever was happening in our lives at that moment. He was so thrilled to receive a card and find it in the most unsuspecting places and when he was least expecting it. He would call me and tell me what part of his trip (or where he was in the world) when he found it and how he found the card, which was always the best part and the most hilarious! Thus started our tradition of writing cards to each other whenever one of us was traveling. He has kept every single card I have given him…..a whole drawer full (he travels a lot!) These cards gave me the opportunity to write all the things I hadn’t had time to say or the courage to say. To make up for missed opportunities. The idea of him reading a heartfelt note about what was on mind and on my heart brought me comfort over long distances and during the long separations.

Although I would write all kinds of things in his cards…appreciation, thanks, funny stories, etc, it wasn’t always about the content. It was more about receiving a personal note from a loved one, a small token of affection, or that I took the time during all the chaos to write something especially for him. If this note was going to be the last thing he would see or my last opportunity to say what was on my heart, why would I not take that opportunity? I encourage you to find ways to connect with spouse during travel times. What may seem like a small gesture or insignificant action makes a huge impact on someone else. It definitely gets us through the long trips and tougher parts of having a traveling spouse. How do you stay connected during times of travel?

Food, Surviving Chaos

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Taco Soup

Tuesdays are for tacos or so the saying goes. But how about a twist….Taco Soup! If your looking to change up your Tuesday dinner routine, put some soup on!!! This slow cooker recipe is a perfect addition to your fall or winter Taco Tuesdays; the longer it cooks, the deeper the flavor. And don’t forget to pair it with some avocado and tortilla strips. Buen Provecho!!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 14.5 oz canned low sodium pinto beans, drained
  • 14.5 oz canned low sodium black beans, drained
  • 14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 14.5 oz canned corn, drained
  • 2 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
  • 1.25 oz taco seasoning

Let’s Make It!

  • Add all ingredients to Crock-Pot
  • Cook on LOW 4 hours (up to 8 is fine)
    • The longer the soup cooks, the deeper the flavor
  • Remove chicken and shred/chop
  • Return chicken to soup. Enjoy!!!

Surviving Chaos

  • Vegetarian option: Leave the meat out entirely and add more of you favorite beans.
  • Don’t forget to freeze: This soup freezes really well for up to 2 months.
    • Freeze in small portions for quick and easy lunches.
  • Customize it: Switch out the chicken for ground beef or ground turkey.
    • Be sure to brown the ground beef or turkey first.
When in

Best airlines for 2020

AirlineRatings.com recently released their best airlines for 2020, the worlds only safety and product rating website. Based on the top 10 list below, Air New Zealand took the #1 spot and has appeared in the top 10 for the 6th time in a row. In order to make the top 10, advisors at AirlineRatings.com rated the airlines on major safety and government audits and 12 key criteria: fleet age, passenger reviews, profitability, investment rating, product offering, and staff relations. You can read more about why Air New Zealand made the top spot, the other winners and best low cost winners here. Safe travels!!

  1. Air New Zealand
  2. Singapore Airlines
  3. Nippon Airways
  4. Quantas
  5. Cathay Pacific Airways
  6. Emirates
  7. Virgin Atlantic
  8. EVA Air
  9. Qatar Airways
  10. Virgin Australia
Food, Surviving Chaos

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

This Butternut Squash soup recipe is perfect when you’re short on time or get home late week nights. With all the activities we have going on (dance, soccer, piano, gymnastics) this is my favorite recipe that we can make when we get home and its supper health. Its a great source of Vitamin A, C, Magnesium and Potassium and helps us keep our goal of 1 vegetarian meal a week. And of course the kids love it, especially since its yellow!!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 green apples, cored and cubed
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 24 oz of butternut squash (frozen squash saves you time!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (tsp) ground pepper

Let’s Make It!

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, and apples for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  2. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Add butternut squash.
  3. Bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Mix any remaining stock for desired consistency.
  7. Garnish options: sour cream, chives, nutmeg or cilantro!

Surviving Chaos Tips

  • You can freeze Butternut Squash soup for up to 2 months!!
    • Store in freezer bags (lay flat for better storage)
    • When your ready, add to your soup pot to defrost and reheat

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