Friday, May 28, 2010

Another way to help

Hello all! If you're looking for a way to make a difference, check out this link.  Marla is selling coupon books to help fund her missions trip to Cambodia - check it out!  For once this book looks like it's full of stuff you would actually use.  Buy one for you and a friend and know you're doing something great!

Thanks for helping and please pass the word!

Make Mine Freedom (1948)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 3 in Paris

Remember yesterday I said we were going to have a kid day today?  Well, our intention was to get up and out early so we could enjoy the Dinosaur exhibition.  We made it to the Expo center around 1:00pm - would you like to know the reason of the delay?

My wonderful, ever so helpful husband Paul was doing the dishes this morning when he walked out of the kitchen and said "we have a problem".  The trail of blood running down his arm was NOT reassuring.  Turns out he broke a wine glass and cut his hand - a big deep cut.
So, I spent a few minutes on the computer looking for hospitals or clinics and off we went.  After walking for a bit I forgot the exact street number of the hospital and not wanting to go the wrong way on the street I started to look around for someone to ask directions.  Along came a lovely young couple and I asked in the worst french possible which way to the hospital?  Luckily they realized right away I speak English, and so did they.  Fluently.  Not only that but they had an Iphone with lots of information to help us.  They told us the hospital we were looking for had closed - strange since the website I found made no mention of that.  So, they took us to the Pharmacie just across the street to ask advice and after looking at Paul's hand the advice was to go to a nearby clinic.  The couple offered to walk with us to the clinic, we politely declined not wanting to take up their day shuttling bleeding Americans to the clinic.  They showed us the location on our map and looked up the exact street address on the Iphone and off we went.  Never ever let anyone convince you the French people are rude - we have had nothing but the nicest experience with the locals and especially this lovely couple today.
We found the clinic with no problem and went inside.  The nice lady at the reception asked us something and Paul uncovered his hand to show her the reason for our visit and she motioned for him to follow her.  Less than 2 hours later we were done and on our way again.  The Dr. gave Paul 3 stitches, one inside as he cut the tendon just a bit and two outside to hold the skin together-  a nice splint, some gauze, a prescription for antibiotics and instructions to not do housework for three weeks.
I told Paul there are easier ways of getting out of housework.

We go to Sicily, broken ankle.  Paris, sliced hand.  I can't wait to see what happens in Greece.

The good news - the boys were sooooo well behaved at the clinic and we all enjoyed the Dino Expo!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Bonsoir mes amis!  (Good evening my friends!)  I'm writing from Paris!  By the way, Parigi is Italian for Paris.

It's been over 10 years since I've been to Paris and I'm thrilled to be back.  I knew I loved this city, but being here has reinforced why.  It's so beautiful!  Quiet!  Clean!  Paris is such a lovely city to stroll around, window shop and dream of life as a Parisian.

Today we took the boys to the top of the Eiffel Tower and also walked over to the Arc de Triumphe.  We are now the proud owners of 3 miniature Eiffel towers!  yipeeee.

Tomorrow I think we'll do a "kid day" and go to an exposition featuring - dinosaurs!!!!  yipeee again, but you have to do these kid days or they start to rebel.

I'll finish this post by sharing my little slice of heaven for the day - sushi for dinner.   YIPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!  and the best thing about it?  they deliver - right to your door - so I can have it again without the walk!!!!!  and I will have it again, maybe twice.

Ahhhhhhh, Paris.

Friday, May 21, 2010


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The good - tomorrow we're leaving for a one week trip to Paris
The bad - I have not planned one detail of the trip other than where we are staying.
The ugly - I'm currently on day 2 of a yucky stomach bug.

In other news, the crosses I ordered from Jennifer Hanson at arrived and are absolutely beautiful!  As in, "order them now for yourselves or you'll be disappointed" beautiful!  Thank you Jennifer for a great product, I can't wait to mail them to their new homes with my dear friends.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another Reason I'm Glad We Homeschool :: Five J's

Another Reason I'm Glad We Homeschool :: Five J's

What a day.....

Last night I awoke to the rumblings of my stomach signalling the "yucks" had taken hold and it was going to be a bumpy ride.  Long, not fun night. 
This morning I am better but still under the weather.
Oma left just about 30 minutes ago, Paul took her to the airport.  I have spent the past 30 minutes consoling my boys, one at a time, as they cry and realize how much they'll miss Oma.
This is going to be a loooooooooooooooooong day for all involved.

Safe travels Oma!  We love you and miss you already.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our time is winding down

We are currently enjoying time with Oma (Paul's mother) and I'm already sad our time is almost up.  She's leaving on Wednesday and secretly I'm hoping for some more volcano trouble so she can't fly out.  Is that selfish?  sneaky?  bad?  Oh, who cares!  I want her to stay!  The boys have absolutely loved having her here.  She plays games with them - and let me explain - she plays games with them in the morning, before coffee!!!!!  Can you imagine?  I have a hard and fast rule that no games or puzzles will be attempted until at least my 2nd cup of coffee.  Trust me, it's better for all involved.  Anyhoo, back to Oma.  She is lovely to have around and my heart is already aching at the thought of her not being here.  William will especially be sad, he has really bonded with her and cried this morning when she went into Naples without him.  Wednesday is going to be a sad day.

I think I'll head outside and do a secret "volcano dance"!  shhhhhhh, don't tell her.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Rhinos go to Umbria

I'll try to write a brief summary of our trip to the region of Umbria.  Umbria is the only region of Italy that is landlocked - little trivia for ya.

It was truly a lovely trip.  We have established a good routine on our family trips.  We're up early (every single day despite my pleas for sleeping in) and we have our breakfast, shower and head out to explore.  We do our sightseeing while most people are still waking up and it's fantastic this way because it's not too crowded yet and you get to see the real city.  Around midday when the streets start filling with tour groups we find a restaurant and have lunch, enjoy people watching and beating the crowds as typcial Europeans eat about an hour later than we do.  A bit more looking around and maybe some gelato (ice cream) and then we drive back to our apartment/hotel.  This particlar residence was perfect as it had lots of outdoor space for the boys to run around and burn off energy.  Paul and I would relax with a glass of wine and enjoy the scenery and the sounds of little boys playing.  We would have a light dinner and call it a night.  Perfection.

We went to the towns of Assisi, Gubbio, Perugia, Orvieto and Panicale and we also did a bit of exploring around Lago Trasimeno.  Lago = Lake.

Assisi is of course famous for its' patron Saint Francis.  It is quite interesting to me that St. Francis lived a life of poverty and the Basilica they built to honor him is rather fancy.

Perugia is famous for its' chocolates, though I never saw a single chocolate shop in the town.   I thought that was very strange in comparison to Belgium which is also known for its' chocolates and you can't walk more than 10ft. without finding a new and yummy treat to try.  Oh well.

Gubbio was quite an unexpected gem.  We hadn't heard much about this town but the guidebook made it seem interesting so we took a look.  It is a beautifully preserved medieval town and we really enjoyed wandering its' streets and exploring all the different alley ways.  We were very surprised to find a big kids' playground next to the Roman theater - it would have made a great place to take a picnic but we had already enjoyed lunch in the main town.

Panicale was recommended to us by our host family and we were thrilled we took the time to see this quaint little town.  It's what the other touristy towns were before they only catered to the tourists.  It was quiet, lived in, real.  And we had some of the best gelato of our trip right in the little square!  I tried to link a wikipedia article but there wasn't any real information to share.

We had a kids' day and went to a local park.  It was an amusement park of sorts, quite old fashioned and really a little boring but guess what?  The boys LOVED it.  There were petting zoos, things to climb on, cars to drive and rockets to climb.  It was here our boys rode a horse for the very first time and now they want to take riding lessons! 

On our way home we stopped in Orvieto to see the Duomo and it was very impressive.  But, of the other little towns we visited Orvieto was my least favorite due to the large amount of tourists.   

The local food and wines were fun to try.  Truffles are abundant in this region and are incorporated in very interesting ways into the food.  My absolute favorite was the pizza I had in Orvieto.  Light, crispy firewood-oven baked crust topped with a truffle cream sauce and mozzarella di bufala - divine.  I will say that the local breads we tried were very disappointing.  I'm not sure if our tastes have grown specific to the breads of our Campania region or if the bread was really bad but something was just "off".  Another regional favorite is Cinghiale (ching-GYAH-lay) which is the local wild boar.  Everything from sausage to meat sauces are made with this, interesting flavor - not my favorite but I think I could get used to it with time.  The local olive oil is very good, a light almost buttery flavor that's great on a simple salad with a touch of balsamic vinegar.

We enjoyed being here in Spring as we were treated to new blooms of gorgeous flowers everyday.  In particular we loved the poppies - bright red specks of joy amongst the fields, along the sides of roads and in the most unexpected places.  I think the poppy is actually a weed?  But what a beautiful weed.

In my humble opinion, Umbria is better than Tuscany.  Tuscany seems to be way too eager for the tourists whereas Umbria continues to live life and invites you to join right in.  The rolling hills are beautiful, the weather in late April is fantastic and there is enough to do to keep you busy everyday all-day or it's peaceful enough to do absolutely nothing but relax and take in the culture.  Umbria is the Italy I thought we were moving to, it's the Italy you visit and say "I could live here".

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Another way to help!

If you've been reading my blog you know I LOVE to find ways to help those helping themselves and glorifying God in the process.

I found this blog today and she's giving away coffee from Africa along with a travel mug.  I can't do the explanation justice so here is the link - please read and please help if you can.

Hope you're having a very blessed week!  I know I need to update, I promise I will soon.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Hello All!  I haven't disappeared, but I have been quite busy.  After returning from our lovely and much needed getaway, we are currently being blessed with the presence of Oma (Paul's mother).  The boys are having a blast, they love her so much and we are enjoying our visit.

I'll try to update this weekend, I hope you're all having a very blessed week!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

One of those moments

Today I had one of those moments, they're rare but oh so enjoyable.

I was having lunch in a piazza in Orvieto with my family.  The sun was shining, there was music in the background as a street performer entertained the boys with juggling, great food, good wine - one of those moments in life that makes you sit back and say "Thank you God". 

I actually looked over at Paul and said "if I died right now, please know I'm going to heaven a very happy little clam."

Do you have those moments?  I certainly hope so.

We had a fabulous week in the Umbrian hills, I'll write about it tomorrow but for now I'm off to bed.