Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Look at 2009-Part 1

Since we were terrible at blogging in 2009 and failed to blog about our trips we've decided to take you back in time, mostly through pictures. Hopefully we'll be better bloggers in 2010, but no promises. 2009 was a great year with heaps of fun adventures. Alisha & I feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends, family and opportunities. Thanks to all of your for being a part of our lives. Since the posts will be long, I'll probably break them up into several parts. Here's Part 1.

January 2009-San Diego

Over Martin Luther Weekend we decided to take a few extra days off and spontaneously booked a trip to San Diego. This was Alisha's first trip to California so she was especially excited since she'd always dreamt of going there. To save money, we stayed at the International Youth Hostel in Point Loma. Staying at a Hostel was a first for Alisha so I wasn't sure how she'd like it. The place was super clean, in a really convenient location and we met some neat people every morning while making breakfast. We'll probably stay there again since we liked it so much and the price can't be beat.The weather was perfect, well because it's San Diego and the weather is always perfect there. We of course had a great time, because again it's San Diego and how could you not have a great time.

We bought one of those Go Cards that inlcludes admission to a million things and you pay a set price according to how many days you want to do things so we did a two day and crammed as much as we could in. We went kayaking in La Jolla and looked for leopard sharks, unfortunately all we saw was a bunch of seaweed. The water was pretty chilly but we got used to it. La Jolla is absolutely beautiful and the views of the town are great from the ocean. Alisha really loved La Jolla and said she could totally live there. Yeah, me too, if we won the lottery! Later that day we went whale watching and saw a bunch of dolphins and a few amazing whales as well as sea lions. The narrators or oceanographer people who pointed everything out to us were hilarious and made the trip very enjoyable. We really loved looking back at the San Diego Skyline, especially as the sun was setting.

The next day we went to the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park as well as the Wild Animal Park which is pretty far outside of San Diego and totally feels like you are on an African Safari. Later that day we headed to Coronado Island. Coronado was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We rented bikes and road all around and had the most amazing frozen yogurt from one of those yogurt places that Cali is known for but I can't remember the name right now. We rode around for a few hours and then soaked up the magnificent west coast sunset right on the beach. Afterwards we ate some delicious half price appetizers from the Hotel Del Coronado while sitting on the beach around their fire pits and listening to the crashing waves. It was so relaxing and nice! The trip was short but jammed pack full of good times. Right before we headed to the airport we got In-N-Out burgers one last time. They are hands down the best burgers ever. If you haven't tried one yet, you must!

February 2009-Colorado Ski Trip

We went on a ski trip with Holly & Chris Hettinger and their friend Dave. It's a package deal where you ride an overnight sleeper bus from Kansas City to Colorado. The sleeper bus was hilarious! When we first got on we sat in these little booths that seat 4 people (2 on each side) and a table in between where we played games. Most of the evening I couldn't for the life of me figure out how the bus could sleep as many people as were on there since each bench that sat 2 people looked like it slept one person. Oh boy was I wrong! We had no idea how small the beds would be. Imagine a toddlers bed and then imagine sharing that with another adult and then having two more adults above you on another toddler bed that's only about 2 feet above yours. I'm so glad I brought tylenol pm, my sleeping mask and ipod so I could pretend I wasn't crammed into the tiniest space ever. I actually slept pretty well except when I woke up to Holly saying "Sir, Sir that's not a bathroom!" over and over. It turns out one of the other passengers was a little intoxicated and ended up urinating behind our bed instead of in the bathroom right in front of him. It's a great story to tell.

We stayed in Keystone went skiing there as well as Breckenridge. As far as the slopes, I liked Breckinridge better cause they had a lot more mountains and options for our beginner/intermediate skiing abilities. The keystone slopes weren't hard but they were so long that it took 45 minutest to get down one slope. I thought my legs were going to just give out. Alisha did really well for her first "real mountain" skiing and I thought I did well for not having gone skiing in 5 years. The trip was really fun and we of course had fun with Holly, Chris & Dave. I loved being in the mountains with all the snow. It would have been nice to have more down time to snow tube, shop, and relax but since we had the ski passes we want to use them as much as we could.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Green Life

I've been wanting to post about this for a while and haven't gotten around to it but was reminded again by someone else's post. I'm pretty passionate about doing all we can to Save the Earth and really enjoy reusing and repurposing things. I'd like to share what we do in our household in hopes that others might adopt some of these as well as suggest more things we can do.

1. Use reusable groceries bags and baskets. We also have mesh netted ones for produce to avoid those little plastic produce bags. Plastic bags can also be recycled if their use can't be avoided. Use reusable water bottles like the SIGG ones or Stainless Steel ones. This one is such an easy change. I have a few reusables that I always have filled up and with me in the car. They keep the water cooler longer too. Travel coffee mugs are another great alternative that saves money too if you make your own pot at home. We have a few of these market totes that I found at T.J. Maxx a few years ago. I'm sure you can find them online for cheap too.

2. Buy local food. This one is so easy in the warmer months since there are Farmer's Markets all around the city offering fresh and delicious produce. Plus it's WAY cheaper than the grocery store. You can even sign up for a CSA and have all your weekly produce, eggs and meat delivered to your door. Here are some resources www.,, and

3. Use reusable plates and cups instead of paper/plastic for parties. We use our everyday dinnerware but you can also by products made of Bamboo if you really want something that you can throw away. Bamboo is renewable so it's a little better on the environment.

4. Pack our leftovers and lunches in glass pyrex tupperware instead of ziplocs or plastic tupperware that has to be replaced. They are also come in handy for microwaving foods at work so we don't have to put plastic in the microwave. Pyrex makes a great set that you can get at Target.

5. Earth Friendly, Chemical Free, Non-toxic soaps, detergents and house cleaners. Our favorite is Caldrea Citrus Mint Ylang Ylang. They have their own version of "comet" and "windex". All of their products clean wonderfully. Also, wash clothes in cold water and wear jeans and other clothes a few times between washings.

6. Washclothes and dish towels for messes. If we do buy paper towels, we buy the unbleached 100% recycled ones from Seventh Generation. They are awesome!

7. Buy in bulk to reduce packaging. If it's too much stuff, share with someone or another family.

8. Lately, we've been buying a lot of furniture and home decor items that are vintage, or repurposed. Not only are they unique but they come with history and no new trees were used to make them. I go to this sale once a month.

9. Buy recycled paper products whenever possible like printer paper, paper towels, toilet paper etc. I've even gotten notebook folders and dividers that were 100% recycled. If you want it, most likely it's out there.

10. Turn lights off when you leave a room and use CFL light bulbs. Also, unplug electronics or power strip when we aren't using them. They still use energy when they are turned off. This one saves a lot of electricity and money.

11. Ride our bikes to the store whenever possible and plan to go to multiple places in one trip to save gas and carpool.

12. RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE. You'd be surprised as to how much you can recycle. We have so little trash that we only put out our trash every other week and it's still not full. We are fortunate that our city gave us enormous rolling Recycle bins that take almost everything except glass. We save up that glass and take it the recycle center a couple times a year.

We have a few herbs that we use on a regular basis, but I'd love to have an actual garden. Once we get the garden figured out, I'd like to compost and water it with a rain barrel.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Baby Jags

I'm so happy to announce that my sister gave birth to my adorable lil nephew Sosaia Jagger Hoeft on Wednesday April 22 (Earth Day) in Seoul,, which was actually Tuesday afternoon for those of us in the US. They are going to call him Jagger and I call him Jags or Jaggie. He was 8 lb, 3 oz and 20 inches long. I was super worried as this is the first grandchild in our family and my sis was so far away, but thankfully, they are both healthy and doing well! I just love him to pieces already and can't wait till I get to meet him. Here's some pics from the hospital.

Sosaia Jagger Hoeft

Mom & Jagger

Dad & Jagger

Monday, April 6, 2009


We found out on Friday that my sister Charlotte, the prego one is moving to Italy. i've never been to Europe and Alisha's never been to Italy so we are ecstatic about visiting them and enjoying all the wonderful things Italy has to offer. Instead of doing my school work Iv'e been researching Vicenza. This website is really cool if you click on the photos they have lots of cultural info as well.

If any of you have been there or other places in Italy I'd love to hear about it.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Seoul Sisters

Alisha & Holli at Gyeongbok Palace

Over Thanksgiving Break Alisha and I went to Seoul, Korea to visit my two sisters-Charlotte & Holli.
Seoul is such a beautiful city that is surrounded by mountains. The transportation is super cheap so getting around is a breeze. The weather was perfect and we didn't have to wear a coat most days. We really enjoyed seeing my sisters' schools, apartments, neighborhoods and meeting their friends. Charlotte lives in Itaewon which is the International part of Seoul so we ended up meeting quite a few different people from all around the world. Holli lives in at tiny apartment the size of our dining room and all she has to cook on is a hot plate. Her neighborhood is a traditional Korean one with really cool night markets up and down the streets. I am not a fish fan so I found most of the food on display to be scary and smelly. I'm not really a fan of any Korean food, but I do have to say that the Kimchee over there is delicious.

Fried Foods Cart

Yummy Gelato

Holli's neighborhood night market

Fish for Sale. Gross!

During our 8 days there, we saw lots of sights, met fun people and attempted to cook a traditional Thanksgiving meal in a Korean kitchen. We took in the historical and cultural attractions on the city bus that provided english descriptions of each place . Nothing opens in Seoul till 10 am at the earliest and because of the time difference we were waking up at about 6 am and wanted to start our day. One day we headed out on the subway to Seoul Land Zoo. It was a beautiful place but Zoo itself left a lot to be desired. We were the only people there besides a couple eldery men and women who were there to exercise. I like to refer to them as the Zoo walkers, much like our Mall walkers.

Alisha's best friends at Seoul Zoo

We also did quite a bit of shopping. Seoul has some really great markets, including the Dongdaemun Fabric Market and the Namdaemun Market where Charlotte showed us her amazing Flower shop where two dozen gerbera daisies were about $5. I tried some pumpkin soup at a little food stall. It was good but I would call it pumpkin porridge as they put tiny pieces of rice in it. We stopped in at the eyeglass shop and I got a new pair of glasses for $45 and only had to wait 20 minutes for them to make them . Harry Potter kids frames were the only ones that would fit. I love them! After making our way through most of the insane fabric maze, they call Dongdaemun market, I bought some really cute fabrics for these sewing projects I had in mind. I must have forgotten that I don't know how to sew. Ooops! In Itaewon, Alisha got a great deal on a snowboarding coat and pants which will come in handy on our upcoming ski trip. Oh we also visited the Tailor down the street from Charlotte's house so I ended up getting my pants hemmed for $1.80. Can you believe that?? It's about $15 here. I wish I had brought all my pants with me.

Charlotte & Alisha at Namdaemun Market

Flower Market

Cute Buddha

We went to a birthday party that ended with both Holli falling flat on her face and Alisha rolling down a slope with her pants at her ankles in the street. Why you ask? Soju is to blame.

Birthday Party

Somewhere along the way we picked up a visitors guide type of magazine that kept advertising this play called Nanta. I remember hearing about 5 years prior when I visited Seoul with Charlotte. It sounded like it would be similar to stomp but they would use items in the kitchen instead. Everyone thought it would be a good cultural event to check out. We were wrong. We couldn't help but laugh at how ridiculous and cheesy it was and I was very happy when it was over.

Seoul is such a beautiful city that is surrounded by mountains. The transportation is super cheap so getting around is a breeze. The weather was perfect and we didn't have to wear a coat most days. It was a great trip that was far too short. We can't wait for our next international trip!

View from Charlotte's Balcony

Motorcycle Delivery

Alisha with super skinny Pepsi can

Alisha in tiny door

Alisha & Aisea at Hard Rock Cafe

Me @ Seoul Tower

View from Seoul Tower of only a small part of Seoul. It's enormous!

Holli looking at North Korea

Alisha & Holli at DMZ

City Lights