Sunday, December 29, 2013

French Alps

This year we didn't go home for Christmas, which was my first time away! Ry planned a trip to the Alps for a week. He found a great deal for an all inclusive package, that we couldn't miss out on. Before we left we had Christmas Eve on the 20th and the next morning we opened up gifts. We then took a bus to Les Menuires (the 3 Valleys) and spent the week skiing (or learning to!). The place we stayed was 'ski in ski out' and had a fabulous view. We met another couple and spent most of the week eating, drinking, and skiing with them! I signed up for a ski class for 6 days, 3 hours a day.... and it was totally worth it. By the end of the week something 'clicked', I was confident and skiing parallel. "Parallel Bruce Lee, Parallel" is something I heard all week from my instructor. 

 The view from our room! 

 Stopped in Val Thorens for a high altitude beer and 
hot chocolate.

 My ski class! 

Skiing with the other couple. 

It was a great week, but truthfully it didn't feel like Christmas. Christmas time is all about family, not the presents or the sales. I am glad I got to be with someone I love, but I wasn't with everyone I love. We can't wait to be back next year to spend time with family. I really do think that going skiing is a great way to celebrate Christmas time though. If all our family could get together and spend a week with out the internet or TV, it would be wonderful! One can dream.... 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Christmas Crazies

This was my first year teaching during Christmas time. It was nice that my school allows us to celebrate Christmas, they even host a Christmas Market. Although, the week before break was absolutely crazy. Our school had a performance on Wednesday night, so Monday through Wednesday mornings were spent at a theater nearby for rehearsals. Then, our class would return to school to 'learn'. On top of that, Saint Nicholas came to our classroom bringing massive chocolates for each child.... at 9:30 in the morning. St. Nick obviously isn't a teacher. Here's a peek at the days leading up to Christmas break... 
 Watercolor painting of The Nutcracker (themed with the school play) 

 St. Nicholas and his Zwarte Piet (or Black Pete Elf) very controversial 
right now in Belgium. 

 Ornaments for the tree 
 The parents in my class had a surprise party for me when we returned from the Theater. 
It was so thoughtful, gifts, lunch, and Christmas songs. 
 Pretty flowers and a special cake! 

Love when the Mom's take over for story time! 

But we all survived! And now we have a nice break to regroup. 
Enjoy your holidays x

Thursday, December 5, 2013

On the Table

Here's a glimpse of some things we ate this past week (unfortunately no Thanksgiving recipes!) 

This isn't the actual recipe we use, Ry is the sweet potato 
guy and seasons these bad boys with a ton of spices... make
sure to use some flour or corn starch so the spices stick! 

First time making this and it was delicious! 
Great for Meatless Mondays :)

This is my go to salad when I am craving pesto - super easy! 

I had to use the last pumpkin jar and we were in the mood
for a bit of oatmeal, these did the trick. 

Last Saturday the Brugge International Club had a Christmas Market to raise 
money for a local cause and I thought it would be fun to to 'donate' some bread 
for them to sell. Although, we didn't get to try the lemon or chocolate swirl bread - they 
were simple and smelled great. I then packaged them with the Baked with Love tags (free download) and wrapped them with some red twine and green wrapping paper.
After making this bread I started following Sally's blog. Great baking 

Baked with Love tags
Free tags to download and print. 

Not pictured: Take out Indian for Thanksgiving :) 


News Update

Although I am thousands of miles from the States, I still believe it is important to be informed locally and nationally. Here are some of my favorite ways  I stay connected to the world daily: 

The Skimm - This site sends you a morning email with quick news updates. 

NPR - Growing up listening to NPR on the radio, it is now my homepage. I skim through articles every day to get a general understanding of what is happening. 
     Side note: NPR's Car Talk podcast is one of my favorites. Listen to two brother's talk 
     about car repairs, car troubles, and other callers problems. 

Today Show Podcast  - This is part of my morning routine, during my 2 hour commute to Brussels. You can watch the Today shows first hour with out commercials, daily! On of my favorites. Who doesn't love Matt, Al and Savannah? 

60 Minutes Podcast - After the Today show this podcast is up next, a classic. 

You all might be seeing a trend here, I love podcast. Maybe I will write a blog about my favorites (I could make a top 10). 

How do you stay informed?