"Ber" Months Are Here · 1 day ago

Let the Christmas music begin!!!!

And it has!
Blaring in the mall today, sounds of Christmas.
The “ber” months mark the start of the Christmas Season here in the Philippines!

Every Christmas season, Filipino homes and buildings are adorned with star-shaped lanterns, called paról from the Spanish farol, meaning “lantern” or “lamp”. These colorful stars represent the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Magi. (Tagalog: Tatlóng Harì).

Parol are as beloved and iconic to Filipinos as Christmas trees are to Westerners.

The most common form of the lantern is a 5-pointed star with two “tails” at the lower two tips. Other popular variations are four, eight, and ten-pointed stars, while rarer ones sport six, seven, nine, and more than twelve points. The earliest parols were made from simple materials like bamboo, Japanese rice paper (known as “papél de Hapón”) or crêpe paper, and were lit by a candle or coconut oil lamp.


we love getting Christmas boxes!!!


— Beth Symanzik

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September 8th · 2 days ago

Our school, being an international school, has various holidays it observes, some Korean, some Filipino, some American, etc.
Students will be off on September 8th to celebrate Chuseok – the Korean Thanksgiving.


Chuseok (추석) is one of the biggest and most important holidays in Korea. Family members from near and far come together to share food and stories and to give thanks to their ancestors for an abundant harvest. In 2014, Chuseok Day falls on September 8, but the holiday is observed for a total of three days (September 7–9). Fortunately, this year’s Chuseok holiday period makes for a 5-day weekend since Wednesday, September 10 was also designated a day off during this national holiday period. Many Koreans will visit their family homes to spend quality time together, and the holidays provide a good opportunity to enjoy traditional cultural experiences throughout Korea. (from http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_6.jsp?cid=811650)

It looks like they have some great food they serve on this holiday. I think we may try to make some or at least purchase some pre-made!

— Beth Symanzik

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Making KimBop (or Gimbbap) · 8 days ago

Our friend, Faith (her English name), recently came over one Saturday morning to teach Mikayla, my friend Rachel, and I how to make KimBop.
We started our morning out with a visit to a Korean market to pick up pickled radish, also known as pickled daikon radish (also called danmuji or takuan), bamboo rice roller, seaweed sheets, ham, cucumbers, carrots, sesame oil, Korean salt.

While the kids played (Rachel’s three, Faith’s two, and my James),
we thinly sliced carrots and sauteed them, thinly sliced cucumbers and soaked them in a mixture of vinegar and sugar and salt, heated up thinly sliced ham, and fried beaten eggs.
I had already cooked the rice (3 cups regular white rice and 1 cup sticky rice).


We then started putting the rolls together. It was a fun, yummy morning!

Below is a recipe for Gimbap (Kimbap) from the website
http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-gimbap-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-185502

How To Make Gimbap
Makes about 40 pieces
What You Need

Ingredients
3 cups warm, cooked short-grain white rice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
5 sheets roasted seaweed (also called gim, nori, or laver)
4 to 6 fillings of your choice
Toasted sesame oil

Fillings shown here:
5 pencil-size strips pickled daikon radish (also called danmuji or takuan)
1 carrot, julienned and sautéed in sesame oil until crisp-tender
4 cups spinach, blanched, squeezed, and seasoned with sesame and salt
2-egg omelet with sesame oil and salt, cut into pencil-size strips

Other ideas for fillings:
Fresh cucumber, bell pepper, or avocado slices
Julienned and sautéed burdock root
Sautéed shiitake or portobello mushrooms
Kimchi and other pickled vegetables
Baked or fried tofu
Cooked meat such as beef, ham, imitation crab, or fish cake

Equipment
Bamboo rolling mat
Small bowl of warm water
Clean cloth or paper towel
Pastry brush (optional)
Cutting board and sharp chef’s knife
Instructions

1. Season the rice. In a small bowl, stir the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar dissolves. Pour it over the warm rice along with 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds and gently but thoroughly mix together. Let cool.

2. Organize your workspace. Arrange your ingredients and tools so that everything will be close at hand when needed. Place the bamboo rolling mat on a flat surface with the long side nearest you (the bamboo sticks should be horizontal). Lay out the seaweed sheets, a plate or tray with fillings, and a small bowl of warm water. Also designate a place to put your finished rolls.

3. Position the seaweed on top of the bamboo mat. With dry hands, place one sheet of seaweed on the bamboo rolling mat with the shiny side down and the long side nearest you.

4. Spread a layer of rice on top of the seaweed. Lightly moisten your hands with water and evenly spread one-fifth of the rice (about 2/3 cup) on the lower two-thirds of the seaweed, leaving the top third of the seaweed empty. If the rice sticks to your fingers as you work, lightly dip them in water (avoid using too much water as it can make the seaweed soggy).

5. Arrange the fillings on top of the rice. About an inch up from the bottom of the rice, arrange the fillings in neat, horizontal rows.

6. Begin rolling. Beginning on the side nearest you, roll the bamboo mat up and over the fillings. Use firm but gentle pressure to hold the ingredients in place.

7. Continue rolling. As you’re rolling forward, pull the mat up and out so it doesn’t get caught in the roll. Keep rolling and releasing the mat until you form a compact cylinder.

8. Seal and season the roll. Dip your finger in water and moisten the edge of the seaweed to seal the roll. Wrap the entire bamboo mat around the roll and give it a firm but gentle squeeze. Using your hands or a pastry brush, lightly coat the outside of the roll with sesame oil to give it shine and prevent it from drying out. Set it aside.

9. Cut into bite-size pieces. Begin cutting when all the rolls are complete. Using a towel or pastry brush, coat the blade of the knife with a thin layer of sesame oil. Slice the roll into bite-size pieces, periodically wiping the blade and re-applying sesame oil to prevent sticking.

10. Garnish with sesame seeds (optional). Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the cut rolls.

11. Serve. Serve gimbap at room temperature. Best eaten the same day.

— Beth Symanzik

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Updates on Life Here · 12 days ago

Hi! It’s been a while since I blogged. We haven’t dropped off the face of the earth. !!!!

With school starting my days have been fuller with activity.

I homeschool James in the morning for his 1st grade work. We are using MCP Mathematics, MCP Phonics, Wordly Wise 3000, Explode The Code, Memorizing Colossians 3, doing lots of reading, creative play, crafts, etc. I’m enjoying working with my little guy!

I have also volunteered this quarter to teach a creative writing exploratory in middle school. There are six students in my class that meets twice a week. I’m really enjoying working with them and teaching them creative writing skills.

There is a strong possibility we will not be returning to the USA until the end of May/beginning of June for several reasons – paperwork for James’ immigration taking longer than we’d thought it would and most importantly, to help our kids have a good transition from life here back to the USA.

Thanks for your prayers!

— Beth Symanzik

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Moving Forward on Travel Documents · 19 days ago

On August 13th, James had his interview for obtaining a Philippine passport. He has been approved and the actual passport should be ready to pick up the first or second week of October.

We then need to obtain a US immigration visa for James. We are not sure how long that will take. But we’ve been advised it may take longer than we were thinking.
As we’d been hoping to travel December 22 back to the USA this may be delayed due to lengthy wait times obtaining the needed documents for James to come to the USA with us as our officially adopted son. If we don’t leave in December, we’d probably wait til the school year finishes in May of 2015 and travel then.

We’ve learned to hold loosely to our plans and cling tightly to His. His ways and timing are always right. So we rest in His leading.

Please pray for this process to proceed with no complications. We’ll keep you posted as to whether we are traveling to the states in December of this year or May of next year!

— Beth Symanzik

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