Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July!  I hope everyone has fun plans for the long weekend!  We will be taking a trip to a coastal city here in Korea.  We've been apart for the past two years at this time so it will be nice to spend the holiday together :)

I love to bake, although I don't do it often enough!  Last year I spent the 4th of July with a good friend and her family and found the perfect cake to make for the party - a flag cake!  It's a round cake that looks unassuming covered with frosting before it's cut, but when you slice into it... ta-da!

This flag cake starts with 3 round cakes: one red, one white, and one blue.  I used boxed white cake mixes and added gel food coloring which creates more vibrant colors than the liquid food coloring.  The rest of the cake is simple assembly - cutting and pasting with a knife and frosting instead of scissors and glue :)

I saw this cake on a blog called 17 and Baking and found a video of the blog author demonstrating how to make the cake on a Seattle news website.  You can view the video HERE.  There is a link to the recipe/directions below the video.

It is time consuming but the end product is totally worth the effort!  There are a few things that I will change the next time I make this cake: 1) I will use ready-made icing instead of making my own  2) I will line the bottom and sides of the cake pans with parchment paper to avoid having to cut off a dark edging from each cake.

I'll be making this cake again next year when we're celebrating the 4th together in a new location :)

"This nation will remain the land of the free
only so long as it is the home of the brave."
~Elmer Davis

Party Suits

The Air Force men and women here in Korea work really long, hard hours and it's not easy on them or their significant others.  So when we have a night out, it's important for everyone to relax, smile, share a laugh, talk to friends, and have a good time!  When everyone gets together at the officer's club bar, we often wear party suits.  A party suit is simply a fun costume that seems to lighten the mood and set the atmosphere.  The pilots wear party jumpsuits and green shoes if they have them.  The wives wear party dresses and wigs if they have one.

Johnnie and I in our party suits - the wig is such a fun accessory!

The wives' party dress has great embroidery on the back!

Instead of having the traditional party dress made, I finally had a reason to finish a project that I started a year ago.  I took apart one of Johnnie's old flight suits (it came with me in many pieces to Korea) and remade it into a dress to wear as a party suit.  I can sew decently but this was the most complicated project I've ever done.  I'm amazed and thrilled that it came out as well as it did!

I got some fun patches to put on it!

The pilots' party suits are a cross between a flight suit and an Elvis jumpsuit.  They have a large collar, bell bottoms, and lots of embroidery.

My favorite part of the the pilots' party suits is the elaborate embroidery they have done on the back.  Johnnie just got his suit made so his back is currently empty - we're trying to think of something as good as these :)

And my favorite...  but no offense to guys I know who are not pilots :)

"I get by with a little help from my friends."
~The Beatles

"Not Quite Right"

Korea is often affectionately referred to as the "land of the not quite right" due to odd things you can see here on a regular basis.  Here are a few more fun examples I've found to demonstrate this :)

Have your parents made into sushi!  That's a disturbing image.

Awww, you could put the "Olny you" sticker on a love letter :) 

Whatever it is, it costs about $2

Soap on a stick - very common in train stations and parks.

Okaaay... interesting name for cheese... and it's not even Korean!

"Running make me fit" but doesn't help my grammar.

Related Posts:

"The digital camera is a great invention because
it allows us to reminisce.  Instantly."
~Demetri Martin

Four Years Ago

On June 22, 2007, a boy from Seattle and a girl from Pennsylvania were brought together by all the right circumstances and fell in love.

Here is our "how we met" story:

My best friend and I were living in Asheville, NC working as teachers when she met an Air Force pilot stationed in Fayetteville, NC.  They fell in love and got engaged.  On June 22, I traveled to Fayetteville to be there for their wedding the next day.  That night, I went with them to a squadron party held at a house next to a lake.  We went out for a boat ride shortly after arriving.  While in the middle of the lake, another boat pulled up next to us and the two boats stopped and were tied together.  Johnnie was on one boat and I was on the other, sitting across from each other.  We started talking and kept talking for the rest of the evening.

A couple hours after we met... I obviously liked him even then ;)

The next day at the wedding, I was the Maid of Honor and Johnnie was the Best Man.  Really!  We spent the whole day together.

That was the beginning of a long-distance summer relationship...

... followed by me moving to Georgia where he had just gotten stationed...

... to getting engaged the following summer (in Guatemala)...

... to getting married six months after that (in Las Vegas)!

Who knew that meeting a guy in the middle of a lake in North Carolina would change my life forever?  Life has such surprising ways of working itself out :)

Hugs, Thanks, and a Happy Anniversary to my best friend and her husband! Without them, we would not have met.

"If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day
so I never have to live a day without you."
~Winnie the Pooh

Ulleungdo Island - Part 3/3

Ulleungdo Island is an up and coming tourist location but it will never be the quintessential "island get-away" type of place. This island is rugged, rustic, and a step back in time. The villages are small and old, the roads are narrow, the people are friendly and helpful, and the scenery is unchanged and amazing. There is one resort on the island (Ulleung Resort Daea), a few hotels, lots of inns, and many places where you can do a home-stay. There are enough things to do and see on the island to keep you busy for a few days. Our original goal for the trip was to do some serious hiking but the weather didn't cooperate. We still had an amazing trip exploring the island by car!

We found this garden when we took a wrong turn looking for our hotel. We returned the next day and walked around. I can't find any information about this garden on the internet or in our guidebooks so I don't know what it's called. There was a small entrance fee to go into this garden. It was well-kept and had many sculptures, bonsai trees, and plants. There was a wooden staircase that went up the side of the mountain, past a waterfall, to a lookout point with nice views.

We came upon the village with the Taehahyangmok Tourist Monorail by chance while driving around exploring. There was a long line at the monorail station and our guidebooks didn't say much about it so we didn't ride it. According to the Official Site of Korea Tourism, the monorail supposedly takes you to the best vista point on the island. Oops :) Next to the monorail is a large orange spiral ramp/staircase that leads to a relatively flat walkway along the volcanic coastline.

You can take the newer spiral ramp (we did on the way up)...

...or the old ramp precariously attached to the cliffside (we did on the way down).

This walkway had some great views of the volcanic coastline

Bongnae Falls is a three-level waterfall that is 82 feet high and apparently the only source of drinking water on the island. We hiked to the waterfall and met a small group of Korean tourists there. They took a picture for us, we took a picture for them, and then they all wanted individual pictures with us :)

The Naribunji Basin is the crater of the island's volcano and is the largest flat area on the island. It is very fertile volcanic ash soil which is used for farming. The road getting to it is very steep, curvy, and narrow. There really isn't anything there other than a lot of farmland, a few houses, and a restaurant or two but it was worth the visit just to say we drove around in the crater of a volcano :)

The Haengnam Shore Walkway is a must do on the island. We took a walk on it just because we had some time to spare and it's next to the ferry terminal but we were both impressed with it. This walkway is built into the side of the steep hillside and gives you an up close look at the volcanic rock and crashing surf on either side of you. Parts of the walkway are a metal grate that are a little slick when wet but very neat to see the water beneath you.

Ulleungdo Island is known for the exceptional quality of cuttlefish (a squid-type creature) and pumpkin. We did not try the cuttlefish but we did buy some pumpkin taffy and ate some pumpkin pizza!

Cuttlefish hung out to dry

Pumpkin Pizza!

The ferry terminal gets crowded during arrivals and departures

Our speedboat ferry for the ride home

This safety "diafram" was on the back of all the seats :)

Related Posts:

"The traveler sees what he sees,
the tourist sees what he has come to see."
~G.K. Chesterton