Sunday, December 29, 2013

Holiday Season in Poland

In America, we are used to everything being overly decorated and paying for all the fun stuff to do with kids. Well each year we have been here we have seen a little more Christmas decor. This year was the most we have seen. Our new mall had a HUGE Christmas tree that went from the bottom floor to the ceiling at the top of the mall. There was a cut out at the bottom of the tree and Santa sat in there. It was so cute! We took the girls to see Santa one day...and then Macie wanted to see him again another day we were there. Get this...they both got their pictures made using our OWN cameras for FREE!!! What a concept!


Then there were elves and snow princesses wandering all around the mall. The elves just played and were silly with all the kids. The snow princesses stopped kids and asked them to sing Christmas carols and in return would give kids a gingerbread cookie or a piece of candy. The girls thought that was a great treat! There was also a little train that the girls could ride on...again FREE!! There was a donation box for money which I was glad to donate to.

The best part though, was that while Santa left for or returned from a break, he sat in the large sleigh that 2 "reindeer" pulled through the mall. It was so funny to watch him just slide around the mall. Haha Such a fun time. Ella kept saying it was the best day she had in Poland.

Unfortunately my phone didn't take great pics as Santa was "flying" past. 

Christmas Crafts and Snacks

This year I made homemade gifts for the girls' teachers and just as gifts for friends. They were a LOT of work but in the end they were super cute. I was proud of the way they turned out. 

First we made chocolate, white chocolate and dark chocolate covered pretzels. 

Thank goodness I had some fabulous helpers!

This was about the time James said, "I'm bored, can we do something else?" 

Then we hosted a Christmas party for all the American missionaries we know in the area. God has brought some pretty cool people into our lives. We try once a month to get together and pray and encourage each other. We have also all be able to help each other in various ways. Anyway, I digress. So we had a Christmas party and I had seen on pinterest an idea to make hot cocoa cupcakes. They turned out perfectly!!!

I also found some cute Christmas decorating stuff at Ikea 50% off! SCORE!! We got some very cute stuff. I am NOT a decorator. I wish I was, but I am not. However, somehow I pulled together some cute tables for our party. BUT I forgot to take a picture. I was so bummed! Here are a few of the things I used though. 

Ella's friend Misia spent the night with us one night and we made gingerbread men wreaths. They also turned out super cute! 

We made one for Misia to take and one for us to keep. Unfortunately our's didn't make it. While I was threading the ribbon, it broke in half. :( Oh well, it was still fun to do. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Malaga, Spain

We bought a time share several years ago and used it quite a bit in the States. Now we are able to use it here in Europe. This year we were able to use it to vacation in southern Spain. We have never been to Spain so this was another fun adventure. We were able to spend the week at a very nice resort. The girls made friends in the pools that they also got to play with at the kids' club activities. The resort had a Pirate's Club with activities each day...anywhere from draw contests and playing inside games or games out in the pool. They had bounce houses and face painting and even Dora came once. Two days they have an all day kids' activity. We thought it would be fun for the girls to go one day but they begged to go both days. This meant James and I had a couple of days to ourselves to lay on the beach and talk. We had lunch in cute cafes and just hung out together. Each night there was a kids' disco. It meant the girls were up late but they had a blast play musical chairs...and just dancing like crazy! One night all the child care workers put on the play Mary Poppins. It was so good!

Traditional paella...rice with different seafood..this was squid and shrimp. Yummy!!!

James had swordfish, I believe. 

Ella with her new friend...Ella. She and her family were from Ireland. They were so sweet!

Morocco is just an hour ferry ride across the sea from where we were...well and an hour or so bus ride to the pier. So we decided to take a day trip. Now we can say we have set foot on Africa, if even only for a day. The girls were quite a bit overwhelmed. The locals wanted us to buy EVERYTHING and did not take no for an answer. We are used to Poland where if you say no...that is it. No pressure. We got to go to a traditional restaurant and ate yummy food and even saw a belly dancer. Ella and I took a camel ride. This was not a quality location. These were SAD camels. But we will always be able to say we rode a camel IN Africa. Haha.

Of course we spent time on the beach. It was amazingly beautiful. The water was warmer than the Baltic Sea but still chilly. I am not a fan of pebble beaches. They are just painful to walk on. I know there isn't sand that sticks to everything but I just don't like walking on it. Give me the Polish beaches any day!! I digress...the beach. It was so pretty and the waves were amazing!! I love waves. I am fascinated by them and could sit and watch/listen to them all the time!! 

Lastly...the sunrises and sunsets were absolutely breathtaking!! This is one taken the morning we left for Morocco. Our God is an amazing God. He could have made the whole world black and white, and we would have not known a difference. But instead He allowed us to see the amazing beauty that comes in color!