Saturday, November 30, 2013

Travel Links

Booking a holiday or weekend getaway can sometime feel overwhelming and stressful. I have found some useful sites that help me plan more effectively!

Starting from the top left to right: 

AirBnB - We use this ALL the time to book apartments for reasonable prices. Stay in an assortment of homes, from caves (we stayed in one in Granada) to 'glamping', to apartments with a view of Buckingham Palace. - Great link for hotels with reliable reviews.

Trip Advisor - A well known website to find restaurants, hotels, flights, and things to do. Also check out the different forums with travelers questions and responses. - A new site for me, but a way to book vacation rentals all over the world! 

Always on Vacation - Another new sight that I haven't used yet, but seems to be very user friendly and a good way to book a holiday rental. 

Rick Steve's - Who doesn't love this guy? And how do I work for him? I use his sight, books, and tours... go ahead and get lost in his website with new travel destinations. - I have just switched from using EDreams to Kayak. EDreams is a SCAM. But that's another post. Anyways this is a great website for finding the best flights. 

Spotted by Locals  - I LOVE this website. It's great to experience a city by a local's point of view. They also now have an app which I will have to download. 

How do you plan for your next trip? 

Monday, November 25, 2013

On the Table

I really enjoy trying new recipes each week and would love to share with you all some of my favorites. Maybe this can turn into a weekly event, we will see!

This was the best pick me up between breakfast and lunch, so dense and rich. I only used 1 cup of sugar and could have used less (it calls for 3). I also had extra batter, which made about 4 muffins. We will be making this one again! 

I started day dreaming about these bad boys the day after we made them. The pancetta really adds a smokey and salty flavor. The best part is they are super easy to make and perfect for the winter time. 

Quinoa is usually a dish we make at least once a week. This fall version, from Iowa Girl Eats, was delicious! The parmesan cheese on top really added to it. 


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Christmas Came Early

I can't believe it, I am that person that decorates before Thanksgiving. But I feel like I should be given a free pass, they don't celebrate Thanksgiving here! And, I was just too excited. Last Monday I went to Ikea to purchase some decorations and a tree. I found a great deal on a fake tree. Side note - I also can't believe our first tree together is an artificial one, my Mom (Martha Stewart) will be upset reading this but here are our reasons ... 

1. As a teacher I already waste enough paper. 
2. It's a sturdy, good quality and size tree for us. 
3. It's cheaper. 
4. It will last a while! 

Brugge is a beautiful place to visit or live during the holidays. All of the streets are decorated and in the center they set up an ice skating rink. Surrounding the rink are little wooden shops with hot chocolate, warm sweet wine, and other Christmas goodies. This December our goal is to try to ice skate. I will make sure to capture this moment via iPhone :) 

 Kitchen table change up, it's nice to have a 
candlelight dinner just because!

The tree! And some classic stockings.

Some greenery, wish we had more but it's hard to find here!

My 'DIY berry decor'.

I guess I'll end this post with a Merry, Merry? 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Midweek thoughts

Yesterday I had 13 parent-teacher-conferences! Need I say more? ... On Wednesday's we have half days. We teach until 10:30 and then go to Mass from 11:00-12:30. Guess who is responsible for keeping all of the 1st and 2nd grade boys (3 classes) quiet during the French and mostly Latin Mass? You guessed it, this girl. Depending on the Wednesday they are relatively good but of course yesterday before my meetings, they were a bit 'busy' in their seats. 

Anyways back to some thoughts ... 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Travel To-Do's

I make to-do lists for everything, but this to-do list isn't stressful or the least bit boring. We have about 7 more months left and we decided it's time to make a list of the places we definitely want to travel to before we depart. I started my list before our move to Belgium in a fun decomposition book from my grandparents in Florida. I keep track of hotels, restaurants, travel ideas and itineraries in this book. I have a tendency to also keep every ticket, restaurant business card and map from each place we go to. Right now it's in a box but maybe one day I will get creative and make something out of it! I also really like this New York Times "36 Hours 125 Weekends in Europe" book, it's a fun book for the coffee table and I love to peruse through to dream up a weekend.

Of all of the places on my list that we haven't been to yet I have narrowed it down to four places. In no particular order they are... 

1. Visit where Ry studied abroad: Copenhagen, Denmark 
 2. Hike through the Cinque Terra or the "Five lands" 
 3. Edinburgh, Scotland 
4. The island of Capri off of Italy

What's on your travel to do list? 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Good Reads

A friend of mine from Brugge just recommended the site goods reads and now I have become addicted!  It's a great way to catalog books you have read, books you want to read, and rate books to get recommendations. It also allows you to link up with your Google or Facebook page to see what your friends are reading.

Here's a glimpse of what the site looks like:

I love reading and have started to read more and more nonfiction books. I just finished a classic book, Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. The book is a memoir about the authors survival of the Nazi concentration camps and its spiritual lessons that helped him survive. Some things I took away from the book: 

  • “Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” 
  • “Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.” 
  • “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” 
  • “For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth - that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.” 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Colorful Week

This past week we have been learning all about colors. I introduced the class to Mr. Roy G. Biv. A guy who helps us remember the rainbow - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. We also read poems and books, wrote colors in alphabetical order, and made our own 'crayons' in our favorite colors.  Lastly, we did a science experiment to see if water can walk! The kids loved this experiment, they were so quiet you can hear a pin drop. It has been a busy week - and it's not over yet. On Friday we will collect some data and graph our favorite colors :)
Mr. Roy G. Biv

The bulletin board of our favorite colors and a poem.
Walking water!

Have a colorful day x 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pumpkins Galore

Finding cans of pumpkin puree is impossible in Belgium. Last month when we went to the Commissary (a large base) to stock up on food. I went a little overboard on pumpkin products. This past week I have made two new pumpkin recipes. The whoopie pie recipes calls for too much cream cheese icing, so I used the same icing in the cake rolls. 

1. Pumpkin whoopie pies 
2. Pumpkin cake rolls 

Both were relatively easy and delicious. I still have left over icing (which is perfectly good by itself!) so who knows what I will make next. 

Happy Fall x