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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Lochmuhle

Located only about 25 minutes from our house, Lochmuhle is a fun place to take ones 10 and under crowd.  Even taking Roman was kind of pushing it as some of the activities he found to be absolutely boring.  Lochmuhle is hard to explain as it a combination of petting farm, playgroud, and amusement park all wrapped up in one.  One of the cool features about the park is that you can reserve one of the many grill spots and cook your own food or even have a birthday party.  Another great thing about the park is the price.  If I can remember correctly, it was just a little more than 50 euros for the 5 of us to attend, and no additional fees once you get in the door except if you want to eat lunch or get a treat. One more thing that I love is that there are not a gazillion gift shops, so your children aren't going to be begging you for a toy or t-shirt.  We will be definately going back, and I forgot the children didn't wait more than a couple of minutes to go on any of the rides which is an additonal reason to go back in my books.


















Thursday, July 27, 2017

July Movie Review

Hi! It is hump day, but what am I saying there is no hump day in the summer; especially, when your a stay at home mom. While I love my children, I am ready for them to go back to school and looking even more forward to it since Ivy will be going to school too. I have been with them 24 hours a day now for the last 8 weeks and I have a list of things I need to do like get my hair cut and colored, my toes done, would love to go for a walk without the gaggle of kids behind me whining because they don't want to walk and along with that pull out my camera to take photos where I can concentrate on the perfect setting. Looking forward to going to the store without multiple opinions on what I should buy and maybe sit at a cafe to eat a slice of cake in pure utter silence. Can you tell I am counting down the days? 3 more weeks and yahoo! Well, I better get to telling you about these movies before I fall asleep. We went to Mainz today my feet hurt and I am tired.


This movie is so sweet!  I think I watched it on Netflix, but I could be wrong.  It is in German, but has English subtitles.  It is about the relationship of a little girl and her grandfather who is suffering from dementia. While the movie brings humor to the subject of old age dementia, it touches on the idea of the tole having a family member with dementia can take on the whole family.  I would highly recommend this movie.  This movie is definitely worth watching.

Despicable Me 3 is totally true to the brand of Despicable Me movies.  Super funny and the children loved it!  In number three Gru meets his long lost brother Dru who is wealthy and despite being his twin is the complete opposite.  Dru want Gru to teach him how to be bad, but just one thing Gru lacks the talent and everything seems to go wrong for him,  The movie introduces a new villain Balthazar Bratt a child star from the 80's who is bent on world domination.  The movie introduces to the audience a ton of music from the 80's which was so fun to hear again.


Jackie was my least favorite movie in this line up.  While Natalie Portman is a fantastic actress her voice wasn't anything like the real Jackie.  I also am not that sure how close it was to her real personality.  It portrayed her as a not very confident person, and while you think it is going to cover her life it only covers during the time period where her husband is shot.  I really forced myself to finish this movie.


Based on a true story the movie bring to light the subject of interracial marriage which was forbidden in the south. However their love for each other is so strong they go take the chance and go against the law.  I mean where did law makers think they could legislate love.  The movie was good and I would even go so far as to recommend it to others.  These two really took a risk with their lives. So brave and also worth watching.  

Haven't been watching much TV lately nor really any movie other than these which by the way all except Despicable Me 3 all can be rented.  Have you seen anything good lately? I would love to see Dunkirk, but will have to wait until it comes out on DVD as it is not playing in my city here in Germany.  See you back here soon!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Elba

Elba is located just a 1 hour ferry ride off the coast of Italy with a departing port of Piombino.  You can get to Piombino by taking a train from Rome though a switch of trains is required.  I believe the train ride is just a little more than an hour long.  We drove to Piombino it is south of Cinque Terre and Livorno.  Why Elba?  9 years ago when we were living in Switzerland for the summer, we went to visit friends who vacation every year in Elba and we fell in love with the island.  If you are looking to relax than Elba is the place; while the island offers hiking, biking, sunbathing, scuba diving, and lots of wonderful eating there isn't much to see in terms of tourist attractions.  I should mention though you can visit the prison where Napoleon was exiled to when he was captured and imprisoned.  He eventually escaped.  This time we stayed at the Hotel Brigatino which has been newly renovated and is very kid friendly. The staff is so friendly and helpful and by the end of the week you will feel like they are apart of your family. I would say this might not be your hotel during the high peak summer months if you do not like kids or you are person who goes to bed early.  Italians do not put their children to bed at 7 p.m. and children's voices can be heard as late as 11:00 p.m. and thus I have to say it is not the most quiet hotel; however, quieter than a couple of the other hotels who are located directly on the beach as the evening foot traffic of those going out to get dinner, a drink, or crepes and gelato the tiny little village really comes alive at night.  It is pretty amazing because most cities look like ghost towns after 9  at night. I am trying to hold on dearly to all the sweet memories of our trip. The sun setting at night ever so slowly making sure you get a glimpse of it with it's pink, lavender, baby blue, orange and purple paint strokes across the sky.  Waiting in line with a gazillion children for crepes covered in Nutella and smarties though a ton of other toppings are offered like coconut, peanuts, almonds, jam, cinnamon and sugar, and marscapone. The smell of the sea air and the hot sticky air combined with the waves lapping against the shore.  Fresh hot pizza out of the stone fireplace combined with a cold diet coke or fresh clams and spaghetti and not to mention endless hours of conversations with our friends. The daily Uno card games and sand castle building contest.  Roman and Frank got to go on our friends grandfathers boat which was a total treat. The week couldn't be more dreamy.  The kids had a blast!  Thank you Elba for a wonderful week!








Monday, July 24, 2017

Swim Wear for Big and Littles

I know swim season is almost over for some of you as I have some friends in the states whose kids start school next week; however, it is never to late to think about next year.  It is actually a great time to find great deals and I will be searching for next years suits sometime this week.  This year Tea Collection won my affection.  These fish swims suits with the black striped bottoms were just too cute to say no.  Now if I were muchttp://www.bodenusa.com/en-us/girls-swimwear#navh skinner,  I would have bought these swimsuits.  It is a shame I am so big chested.  Land End won again this year; however, I also thought Lime Ricki had some really cute suits this year and they are totally modest.   I also want to give a shout out to Boden because that is where I bought the girls suits last year and I think I will probably be hitting up their sales for next year.    Where do you like to shop for suits?  Are you a beach girl or a pool girl!  While hands down I prefer the pool going to the beach is a must for our family because it is the only place we can stay from 10 a.m. till 6 p..m. without the children getting bored.  They love to dig in the sand, make castles, cover each other up, and look for crabs and star fish in the rock coves.  Well I better go.  Cross your fingers and pray we find a car this week. We have to turn in our rental car on the first and this means I will be without a car for a month until my husband gets back from Georgia.  See you back here soon!








Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dinner in Como

Have you ever wanted to hop on a flight and go somewhere for dinner like Paris for example?  I have though I know it is a totally unrealistic dream. I am not a spring chicken anymore, so the idea of sitting on a plane for hours just to turn around and go home does not sound like fun anymore. Let's not begin to talk about jet lag. When our hotel in Zurich turned out to be a lemon, my husband went on the Internet to find us another hotel room;however, all the hotels were either booked or we couldn't afford them. We came to the conclusion that we should move on to Italy.  Lake Como is just over the Italy-Swiss border and would bring us 4 hours closer to our next destination.  I have to say if you are only going to be somewhere overnight Lake Como isn't to shabby of a place to go hang out!  Once we checked into our hotel we headed over to the Lake where we ate dinner and the children played at the playground along the water front. The children had so much fun!!!!!!  We left in the morning to head on to Cinque Terre. See this post for the pictures.







Friday, July 21, 2017

Zurich and The Very Bad Hotel

The day started out with all the stars aligned.  We left our home without complications.  I packed us a yummy picnic breakfast which we ate about half way down.  We found our hotel without complication though discovered parking was limited.  We didn't let that get us down.  Quickly checked out our room but it wasn't ready which also didn't fluster us because it  gave us the opportunity to talk to the housekeeper requesting extra bedding for the children. Then we were off to meet a friend.  Our good friend had a good laugh at us because apparently our hotel was located in the Red Light District. How was I suppose to know? I just shrugged it off because I figured we would be in our room before the action started and the children would never know the difference.  We had a lovely day walking around the lake, eating ice cream, and playing in the splash pad with our friend Christoph and his daughter. Let's clarify, the children had fun playing in the water and we enjoyed watching them play. After saying goodbye to our friend, we stopped for dinner and made our way back to our room.  We opened the room to the hotel and we were hit with a wave of heat.  Oh my! How did we miss that! The room was unbearably hot!  Zurich was blessed with lovely weather that day, but without air conditioning we weren't sure how we were going to survive the night.  We rushed to the windows but once again no luck because the window couldn't be opened.  I quickly stripped down the children, brushed their teeth and tucked them into bed. Cold showers were in order which helped some, but around 3 a.m. I woke up in complete panic.  I felt like I couldn't breath.  I grabbed the key to the room and rushed outside for some fresh air!  When I came back into the room my husband popped up his head and asked me what was going on and I told him that in the morning we were going to look for a new hotel room.  Yes, even seasoned travelers like me make mistakes and in this case a big one. I forgot to check for A/C, I forgot to look on Trip advisor, and while 99% of the time booking through hotels.com is perfect in this case I had made the mistake to not check the cancellation policy before booking. This particular room had a no refund policy.  This also meant we had to eat the cost of the room; however due to my husbands quck thinking he booked us a road of beautiful hotel room in Lake Como at a hotel we had stayed at before and knew with 100% assurity that it had air conditioning.  Lesson learned and an expensive lesson especially in Switzerland where the hotels are expensive.




Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My Heart







Hi!  I can't wait to share more photos from our trip, but I just realized that the majority of my photos are on my iPhone and of course it is dead at the moment.  Usually, I don't take many photos with my iPhone, because I don't think the quality is very good but I was worried that my camera would be stolen at the beach and that sand would get into the components and break it.  I did bring it out one day and I will share those photos soon; however, I will share a little photo shoot I did with my children one evening before dinner.  The light was so pretty as the sun was beginning to set creating a pink glow. These babies have my heart and I am sure missing my other two tonight.  I still can't believe I am a mother to an adult now and in a month he and my husband will be packing up his things to take him to college.  Winston is currently hanging out with his grandmother and grandfather along with a slew of other relatives in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Well, it is 1 a.m. here in Germany.  I better get to bed!  Hope you are having a fantastic week!  We are off to go hang out with some friends at a trampoline indoor park in the morning because it is suppose to rain today. See you around!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cinque Terre

Hello!  We are home from an amazing 12 days in Switzerland.  It really was a dream well at least most of the time.  My kids are terrible in the car (just keeping it real).  Our first stop was Zurich where we visited a good friend that we hadn't seen in years.  I will share that day at a future date.Then from there we headed to Lake Como, Italy.  We have been there multiple times and love it!  Didn't see George Clooney though I heard he was in town. Then on to Cinque Terra which I am going to share today and final stop Elba, Italy.  When talking about places it is really hard to say one place is better than another because all places usually have something unique about them, but I seriously think God smiled down and worked a little harder on Italy.  I never get tired of visiting and each time I go I always add a few more places we need to visit. Five years ago when we were living in Heidelberg, we traveled to Sicily and on our way down after my husband had worked a week in Milan I planned for us to stop in Cinque Terra; however, our visit just wasn't in the cards.  Our rental car was acting up and so we had to stop at a car repair shop to see what was going on, then we hit traffic, and by the time we rolled into the small village we were staying it was dark.  The next morning we woke up and it was foggy and raining.  The visibility was horrible, so we moved on to Naples where we would catch our ferry to Sicily.  I was so bummed.  My husband promised me we would go back another day and so here we are five years later.  Cinque Terra was everything I hoped it would be.  Cinque Terra is actually five villages along the coast of Italy and we visited Manarola. We will go back and visit the others another day when we don't have children in tow.  You can actually hike a train along the coast that connects the villages, but being that it was July and hot we lot that would only result in hot whiny children.  My husband would like to add that the drive is not for the faint of heart and while it is beautiful it is probably best to take the train.  As he was driving he said make sure you write this because otherwise some poor husband is going to be a victim of your blog post.  Another factor in taking the train is that the parking is limited.  You can't drive into the villages themselves. You have to park at the top of them and walk down and is hard on the knees.  The train leaves from Genoa or from La Spezia which is where I would recommend parking.  It only takes 11 minutes and cost just a couple of euros.  The children and I took the train to La Spezia on the way home because the kids were tired.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves but seriously it was so dreamy.  My heart was bursting in happiness.