Category Archives: My crazy life

Eastern Europe- Christmas 2015: Part 4- Berlin

The train ride to Berlin was one of our longest rides, about 5 hours, the girls did a great job on the train.  Apparently train rides are better than plane rides, they can get up and walk around, they aren’t strapped down, it is so nice!


We arrived in Berlin got situated and Grammy and Gramps arrived as we were checking into our house.  The girls were excited!  We caught up,. visited and then let them nap while we went grocery shopping.  That night we visited our first of many Berlin Christmas Markets.  This one was in a courtyard, and supposedly very traditional.  It was cute, but SO, SO crowded.  the girls got to shoot plastic darts at the castle invaders and won some prizes.  i was disappointed that this was the first market we showed Kelly and Gerry, but it was fun, and we knew we had several more to visit throughout the week.  Besides, we got our delicious potato pancakes with applesauce… YUM!

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The next morning we headed out to Checkpoint Charlie.  This was the spot during the Cold War that America controlled and allowed passage through the Berlin Wall.  We visited a nearby site where there was a part of the Wall left, and then a couple museums about the Cold War, the most interesting parts for me were the stories about escape attempts- people did some crazy things to get out of East Berlin.

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Our next stop was the Berlin Wall Memorial.  This is the biggest remaining chunk of the Wall.  There also was a statue that has matching statues in Salisbury UK and Japan… I had visited the monument in England and Jeff had visited the one in Japan, kind of cool.  It was so interesting to see and learn about all the history in Berlin.

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That night we visited a Christmas Market within walking distance of our house.  We had our favorite dish of the Christmas Market tour there… pitas with shaved pork and onions, yogurt sauce and cabbage… holy goodness, I wish I could eat it again!  The girls got to play a few more games and we ate our hearts out until we rolled ourselves home!

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Our next day took us to the Reichstag, which is the Parliament building in Berlin.  The views were great from the top!  Then we walked over to the Brandenburg Gate.  We ate at Jeff’s current travel favorite, Hard Rock Cafe and visited the Lego Store and then we headed to third Berlin Christmas Market… we had goulash, hot dogs in BBQ sauce and Jeff took the girls tubing down a big fake hill (no pictures, it was too dark).  The night before during the duck game Hattie won a pirate set and walked around all day with her pirate sword saying “Arrrrg!”  It was adorable!

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Eastern Europe Christmas 2015- Part 3: Nuremberg

Our next stop was Nuremberg.  We checked into our hotel, admired their Christmas tree and then headed out to the Christmas Market.  We had delicious sausages, and this delicious pork sandwich with mustard grilled onions, and it was divine!  The girls scrounged and had whatever looked good to them, corn and chocolate covered fruit and a myriad of other food!

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The next day we headed to the Documentation Center and learned a whole lot about Hitler’s rise to power and the trials.  Nuremberg is the location of all those photos of Hitler in the stadium with the flags behind him and the troops in front.  The history was super cool, and a little disturbing.  We walked back to the hotel and got lunch at a cute German restaurant, the only place we ate where the staff didn’t speak perfect English.  Afterwards we headed to the American theater to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  It was fabulous!  Opening day, no crowds, no more than 20 people in the theater, and the lady brought us our drinks and popcorn to our seats!  Hattie fell asleep first things and woke up as the credits were rolling.  The theater owner even gave us a pillow and blanket for her nap!

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We headed back to the Christmas Market, walked through the castle and ate dinner again… this time enjoying Nuremberg sausages, which were our favorite.  We ended the night with a bunch of giant chocolate covered marshmallows!

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The next day we were off to Berlin!


Eastern Europe Christmas 2015- Part 2: Frankfurt and our First Christmas Market

We took the red-eye out of Joburg and landed in Frankfurt at 6:30 AM… we hoped to check into our hotel quickly, but it took a few hours.  After we checked in, napped and showered we were ready to visit our first Christmas Market.  It didn’t disappoint.  The atmosphere was so festive, the food was delicious and abundant and the number of fun things to see and explore were innumerable.  It was great.  We had bratwursts and steak sandwiches made on a giant grill, kinderpunsch (the obsession began) and chocolate pretzels the size of our heads.  Delicious and fun!  What a great way to start our vacation.

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Eastern Europe 2015- Part 1: Johannesburg

I know that the title doesn’t make sense, Joburg isn’t in Eastern Europe, but it IS where we started our trip… as always.  We got to spend a couple days in Joburg finishing our Christmas shopping and getting yourselves in the holiday spirit.  We were just so excited for our vacation and a trip with so much cool stuff to do.  While in Johannesburg we visited the Garden of Lights, it was a lovely display, and the girls loved their light up wands more than almost anything they saw!

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Get ready for some serious blog overload, it is coming your way over the next bit… aren’t you so excited?!?!

Pre-Christmas 2015

Because we were going to be tripping around on trains, planes and automobiles (just kidding, no cars, just taxis, buses, trams and others) during our Christmas trip we decided to have all the girls open their presents from Jeff and I before we left, we just didn’t need more stuff to haul around Europe!

So the weekend before we left we had a little Christmas celebration.  We watched Home Alone (1 and 2) and had homemade hot chocolate (I will never make it another way again) and opened several presents.  The girls loved it, and it made the trip a whole lot easier for us, without having to ruin Santa and his day.

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This was the year of homemade gifts… the girls got at least 1 homemade gift.  Sophie got a pineapple quilt (the pineapple craze hasn’t left her life yet), Violet got a doll with a variety of clothes, and Hattie got a bunch of peg dolls (our family and her Frozen friends).  We had a lot of fun, and the girls seemed to like everything, always a plus!

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After all that Christmas fun there wasn’t anything left to do but pack and leave on our exciting trip!  We couldn’t wait1

MB Thanksgiving 2015

This was my last year organizing the Thanksgiving here at MB (seriously… I don’t care what else happens, Jeff will kill me if I ever do this again!).  Luckily, I had my friend Roxanne helping me co-chair everything… as always, the event was fabulous and the tables were great!  The hostesses always do a great job decorating their tables, and no matter how different they are they are always beautiful and make the event a success!  This year I remembered to take pictures of all the tables, so I could share them.

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This year I decorated a table with Lisset, we had too much fun.  We visited the local fabric store and bought the fabric for our tablecloth and runner and pooled together resources from our houses… jars from everywhere, lights from me, cute crates from her and a whole lot of flowers from all over the neighborhood.  I loved how it turned out!

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As always I didn’t take enough pictures once the party started, but I did get one of the kids and our table… so at least I took some!

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Cape Town- ATV’s and More Beach!

Thursday we headed out to a place where we all could ride ATV’s and we had a great time.  The kids loved it, and the big kids loved it even more!  It was awesome!  We rode all the way up to the top of a mountain and could see all of Cape Town, the views were fantastic.

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That evening, after more shopping (!) we played on the beach for our last night in Cape Town.  Jeff got pretty good with the kite and it flew well for a long, long time.

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We headed to a delicious Italian restaurant for our last meal.  I tried to get pictures of the kids in front of the Christmas tree… they didn’t turn out perfect, but good enough, sparkly twinkly babies!  Oh we enjoyed our trip with our Angola family, and it was pretty perfect!  We love Cape Town!

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Cape Town- Beach, Kites, Scootours and Fish

We had a good easy relaxing day that involved a lot of fun on the beach and a lot of shopping and delicious burgers!  The kids couldn’t wait to get home and run straight to the beach… They were out until they couldn’t stand it any more!  Carlos and Lisset had bought a kite and they spent hours trying to get that thing to fly.  The next morning Jeff and Carlos kept trying to fly it, while the kids watched from the deck!

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Tuesday we headed to to Table Mountain for our Scootours adventure.  It was a lot of fun (and then Sophie and I bit the dust, and it got a little less fun… but right up until I fell down on top of my kids, and shoved rocks up her nose, we were having a good time).  Violet rode with Edgar the first run and then Lina the second run.  When she wanted to go faster she got to ride with the guide!  Hattie loved it the whole time, it was a lot of fun!

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The next day we headed to the Waterfront and the Aquarium.  It is a small aquarium, but the kids LOVE it, and it is cheap.  It is a perfect 1/2 day activity for the age kids we had running around.

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We had lunch on the Waterfront and rode the Ferris Wheel with Edgar, Lina and Nico.

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That evening we took family pictures on the beach… after which my children decided to dig a giant hole and bury Sophie in it!

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Cape Town- My Favorite Gardens and Royalty

Sunday we headed to church in the morning.  We had an adventure getting there… the first building we googled was not in a great place in town and then was all locked up you couldn’t even park.  By that time it was already 9 and we weren’t sure we would make any services, but googled the next closest building and arrived at 9:30… just as their meeting was starting!  It was a small ward, but a good meeting and always fun to hear talks in English.  When we got home we changed and then headed to my favorite place in Cape Town… Kirstenbosch Gardens.

We had a lot of fun with the kids, they loved the new dinosaur area, they loved running around and tackling Jeff and Edgar, the loved the climbing tree and playing Red Light, Green Light on the hill.  Too much fun and a beautiful day!

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That last picture of Hattie one of my favorites… the sisters were running down the hill and Hattie tripped and just cracked up!  It was hilarious.  That night we walked down the beach to eat and the kids saw the thrones on the beach were empty… we had to pry them away from the thrones after about a hundred pictures!

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And of course, my sunset pic!


Cape Town- Our Beach and The Cape

We didn’t get a chance to leave during Fall Break, but we were lucky enough to get away in November.  We rented a gorgeous house near Camps Bay with some friends and it was a pretty dang fabulous week!  Our house was right on the beach and despite the cold temps the kids and many adults didn’t seem to mind getting in the water!


We started our trip super early in the morning so we could take the direct flight to Cape Town and still get there around lunch time… the girls did great and played with their toys while we waited to board the plane.  Once we arrived, settled in, had lunch and everyone had arrived we walked on the beach.  This meant that most everyone was soaking wet after 15 minutes!  They had so much fun!

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The views from our house were amazing (as you can see) and we loved sitting out on the deck and relaxing and watching the sunset, it was pretty much perfect every night!

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That night we headed into Camps Bay for dinner.  The kids had an epic game of telephone that had them giggling and happy forever!

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The next day some of us headed out to the Cape of Good Hope for hiking and seal island.  It was a lot of fun, we have been to Cape Town a couple times, but Seal Island was new for us.  We took a ferry out to see the THOUSANDS of seals on the rocks out there, it was crazy. No sharks, there is a natural barrier against them there.  Also, the swells were just huge, sometimes you felt that the boat was never coming down again!

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After the seal expedition we headed to Cape Point for lunch and our hike.  We used Edgar and Lina’s driver so that we could hike from Cape Point to the Cape of Good Hope without having to do a round trip.  Lunch was fabulous and the hike was really nice, the kids did a great job, all of them kept up and many ran large section sod the hike!  They were such troopers!

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We also got to do some bouldering right at the end, which made Edgar nervous as Jeff was carrying Hattie on his back… apparently we are obviously 3 children parents and we can’t help it!

It was a good first few days in Cape Town… and ended with more beach time and fun in the sand and water!