Thursday, October 27, 2011

Albert Heijn

Today I want to talk about a great service Albert Heijn offers.  (For those of you in The States it's an equivalent to Publix).  They deliver groceries!  It's awesome, I think I can count on both hands how many times I've stepped foot in a grocery store in the past two years, it's wonderful!  It all started when I was around 6 months pregnant and Ryan broke his ankle.
Ryan couldn't drive and there was no way I could shuffle to and from the grocery store carrying enough food to full the fridge.  I had heard about the delivery service through a friend, a busy Mom with two small kids (you know who you are) and decided to try it out.  In the beginning I was only going to use it until Ryan was healed and back driving again, but like I said, I'm still using it.  It probably seems crazy to some of you and lazy to others, but really it's a time and money saver.  Oh yeah, and it's saved me and Ryan from plenty of petty arguments.  (There was always the argument about when we were going to go and then we argued while there about it taking too long.  If you know Ryan and I well, you know we bicker a lot, but we like it that way).  You're probably asking yourself how it saves money considering there are delivery fees, well, for the first time I paid attention to the sales.  (I always watched for sales when it came to clothes and other things but never at the grocery store).  I guess I didn't watch for sales because it was always buy 2 get 1 free, was I really going to walk (or ride my scooter) with 3 large boxes of laundry detergent plus groceries, no way.  But now that they deliver it to my front door of course I'll buy all three, it's not breaking my back!  The money I save on watching the sales makes up for the delivery fees and then some.  I go online and order groceries for the entire week, so not only am I watching for sales I am also planning the meals.  (Something I never considered prior to having a child).  Plus there are no more sporadic purchases; you know the ones, you walk passed the cookies and toss them in the cart just because they look good.  It's another way to save money, in the past I would easily add another 10-20 euros to my bill just because it looked good.  What's also nice is they also take your recycling for you (not basic paper, plastic, and glass) but the soda and beer bottles you get money back for at the stores.  They figure in the costs and then deduct the amount from the bill, also a time saver.  I am an avid online shopper, going to a store sounds like torture, so grocery shopping online fit right into my lifestyle.  I've tried to convince everyone I know to use Albert Heijn's delivery service ( but not many of my friends/family agree with me, oh well, their loss!  If you read this and think, hey sounds good, then be sure to mention me in your first purchase and we each get 10 euros off our next purchase (I love saving money).  Here's a better photo of what the deliveries look like (cold foods in one bag, freezer foods in another, and everything else in crates) :
This picture is recent and I purely took it for my blog, don't think it's a usual habit to photgraph my groceries.  The other photo was taken because it was all new and exciting, plus I was pregnant and wanted to document everything (I'm not pregnant now and still document everything, hmm, trait of mine, I guess).  Notice the picture with me in it was blurry, that's because Ryan was sitting on a chair with his ankle in cast trying to get a shot that made his pregnant wife happy.  He's a good husband!  Well, this wraps up my blog for today, hope you enjoyed another one of my random fleeting thoughts!

Monday, October 24, 2011


For those of you who know me well, know I am a stickler for recycling (and not just the soda/beer bottles we get money back for at the grocery store).  I go through great lengths to recycle, my laundry room resembles a trash dump thanks to all of the bags I need to seperate and recycle.  But I don't mind because I know it's for a good cause.  I think the idea of recycling was burned into my brain during elementary school days at Carlton Palmore, they had a huge "Save the Earth" campaign and it just stuck.  It does take effort to recycle, not only do you have to seperate your trash but you also have to then take it somewhere to recycle it, but it's worth it.  Often I wonder where my glass, plastic, and paper goes; part of me wonders if some company is making millions off people like me.  But I don't care, all that matters is it does not end up at some trash dump or landfill further polluting the Earth.  If everyone just tried a little we could really make a difference.  This is something I try and instill in my daughter, I make recycling fun and make sure she understands what we're doing (well as much as I can, she is just 2 yrs old). 
For those of you who live in the area this is what the recycling bins look like (you can find them at most any grocery store, they are also spread throughout the city) :
These are for glass; brown, green, and clear :
And these are for plastic :
As far as recycling paper, that's a little different.  The city is nice enough to pick up paper on the sidewalk in front of your house.  But generally this only happens once a week, so be sure to check out your trash calendar (afvalkalendar) to see when it happens in your neighborhood.

For those of you not living in the area, go online and see what your city has to offer.  It's a worth while and rewarding experience.  And it condenses your general trash drastically, we are down to about one 40-50 liter (10-13 gallon) bag a week and this is for a family of three!  I am not a nature activist, I'm not even a tree hugger, I'm just an average person, taking a little extra step to help future generations.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


For my Dutch friends who are unsure what "tailgating" means, it's when someone picnics/cooks from the tailgate of their truck. It's a popular American past time, especially at sporting events.  I even included a couple examples I found online. 

Well now it's finally in The Netherlands, and it's Dutch style!

It's ingenious, it's great, it makes me want to run out and get one, well except for the fact I bike poorly and it's winter.  But maybe next year, and we can attach it to Ryan's bike.  For anyone else interested in this awesome product you should visit the website of the designer :

Every year Eindhoven hosts Dutch Design Week (Oct.22-30, 2011), it gives creative people the chance to display their designs and concepts.  Since we live in the center of town we get full exposure to what Dutch Design Week offers.  You can see an array of ideas from food to clothing to art.  If you want to learn more about it there is an English version of the website :

I wouldn't have found out about the above Bicycle Stove (fietsfornuis) if we had not visited a friends store last night.  Our family friend, Willemijn de Wit, works at a concept store in the center of Eindhoven.  The store, YOU ARE HERE, is one of many stores to host designers from Dutch Design Week.  It's a store worth visiting, for those of you in the area.  The store is not just about clothing, it's much more.  Here's a photo of the store so you'll recognize it the next time you're shopping in town.

For those of you not living in The Netherlands you can visit them online :  They'll be getting a webshop soon!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Driving Decisions

 I probably have no right to complain about people's driving decisions considering I do not have a license, but I am going to anyway!  As mentioned in previous blogs, I walk everywhere, while out and about I can't help but notice odd decisions people on the road make.  I don't know if it's legal to post pictures of people's vehicles so if my blog gets shut down you'll know why.  Also, if this happens to be you or your car, sorry but c'mon!  In one 10 minute walk I came across 3 situations worthy of taking photos (there's a big chance you'll see a follow up to this blog). 

The first shot is of a man who decided to park in a non-parking zone vs. an actual parking spot.
While walking along I actually saw him make the conscious decision to block a driveway (a non-parking zone with a large X painted on it) instead of parking in the open parking spot directly in front of him!  It makes me wonder what he was thinking, was he trying to avoid putting change in the meter yet risking a more expensive parking ticket, does he know the owners of the driveway, or does he not know the rules (he had a Polish license plate)???

The second shot is of a car frustrated with work traffic.
The traffic around them is at a stand still because of a light about a block away and this person decides to pull out halfway and sit there.  According to the laws they should be stopped behind the triangles on the road.  Instead they decide to block a bike path and also risk a ticket.  I understand people want to get home from work and some intersections can be frustrating but seriously.  It's not just rush hour for cars but also for bikes, now every bike and scooter has to swerve to avoid this car.  And for those of you that know the intersection, you'll also notice the black car in the corner of the photo is blocking a pedestrian/walking path.  This all might be understandable if they were both rolling through the intersection but like I said they're all waiting on the light to change.

The last shot for today is of a prize winning parker!
I think it takes effort to park this bad.  If you could see the light blue car from the side you'd see it is a dinky (small) car.  How on earth do you get out of your car and walk away leaving it like that, with one adjustment they'd be in the middle of the spot.  They obviously can park straight they just can't judge distance.  I also question the person next to them, why would you squeeze into the spot next to this car?  I hope for them the parking lot was full when they made these decisions.

I can think of a couple family members and friends that also make these kinds of decisions, so please don't take this blog the wrong way.  You are allowed to make whatever decisions you want, as I am allowed to laugh at them!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Green Thumb?

Is it possible, have I somehow developed a green thumb over the years?  In years passed I couldn't keep a plant alive longer than a few months maybe a year, tops, but something has changed.  Take a look at my pride and joys, they are over two years old!
 To be honest, I have no idea what types of plants they are, but they're alive thanks to me!  The first one I received as a birthday present when I was pregnant (2009) from our friends Linda & Bjorn.  It's survived summers outside and winters inside.  Every once in a while I see new growth, it's amazing!  And the second plant I received as a gift from Kevin (my father-in-law) when our daughter was born.  There used to be three beautiful orchids in the middle but they didn't make it.  People tell me that orchids can all of sudden pop back up after a while, but it has been a long while.  This plant was the decoration on our front window sill for years but eventually it grew so large that it was making it hard to see the t.v. from the couch.  So I decided to get a new plant for the window sill and this one moved to shelf (actually the entire living room was rearranged due to one plant, but that's another blog, in itself).  My mother-in-law (Liz) bought me the newest addition to the living room.
When I set the new plant down next to the old ones, I noticed how much healthier it looked.  But that doesn't matter, I still love my other plants.  Liz & Kim (Ryan's mother & sister) decided to tell me how shabby my old plants were and that I should throw them out, no way!  I worked hard to keep them alive, plus they're sentimental (everything is sentimental to me, according to my husband I am a borderline hoarder).  Since these plants have gone so well, I have bigger plans in mind.  When we get a house I want a vegetable/fruit garden (Dutch = moestuin).  Growing up in Florida someone in every generation of my family had some type of veg/fruit garden.  Maybe it's in my blood, maybe I can have a green thumb too, or maybe they all just got lucky because of the warm Florida climate!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Born To Be Wild

♫ Get your motor runnin', Head out on the highway, Lookin' for adventure, And whatever comes our way, BORN TO BE WIIIIILD♫  Everybody knows the song, right?!  It's one of the best motorcycle songs, according to people on the internet.  Anyway, just wanted a catchy opening to today's blog about my scooter (bromfiets as the Dutch would say).  When we moved from Best to Eindhoven six years ago we bought a scooter so that I could get to work.  (Here's a photo of me and my darling dark blue Yamaha Neo's when it was brand spankin' new)
For those that know me well, know that I am not the most coordinated person; walking, driving, sports, etc.  (It's in the family, you know who you are, ha-ha!)  So needless to say I put this poor scooter through hell and back.  Multiple flat tires, new exhaust system, multiple minor accidents, and one larger accident.  Since my scooter didn't go faster than 25km (15 mph) I was allowed to drive on the bike path and I wasn't required to wear a helmet but I probably should have.  Sometimes the bike path is seperate from the road and sometimes it shares a lane with the cars, but it didn't matter, I found a way to ding up my scooter no matter what.  I clipped more car mirrors with my mirror than a gardener clips hedges.  I even managed to drive into the forks of a forklift and rip open the bottom of my scooter.  But my scooter drudged on!  Since we live in an apartment and our storage room is up three steps the poor scooter had to sit outside, day in, day out, rain or snow, for years.  Surprisingly enough it wasn't my lack of coordination that ended the scooter, it's the lack of use.  Once my daughter came along my scooter days were over, not out of fear, but just because I didn't need it.  Apparently using it once a year isn't enough and it died.  It seems simple enough, take it to a garage and buy a new battery, but for what, it'll still just sit there.  It's now become a parking lot decoration, a home to spiders, and possibly even a science experiment for anyone studying rust.  It's hard to part with, all the memories, from Sunday afternoon cruising around Eindhoven with my husband to toting overly stuffed grocery bags stacked on top of each other home.  What to do, what to do??  Before parting for the day I'll leave you with an up-to-date photo of my poor darling scooter.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Crocs!

I used to be good at maintaining a blog but I have slacked off over the past year, but here it is, I'M BACK!  If you know me at all, you know I like to talk and I'm very opinionated.  So what better way to get it all out than through a blog.  This one is an ODE TO MY CROCS.  I love Crocs, I don't know many adults that wear them, but my wardrobe wouldn't be complete without them.  There were my white Prima Ballet Crocs, then my khaki Crocband Crocs, and now my purple Crocband Jaunts!
I received them as a b-day gift back in July and I've been waiting for just the right occassion to wear them, and today was that day!  Autumn's here, it's cold and rainy, when else better than to slip on a pair of rain boots.  Of course with the boots I had to wear a outfit that fit the theme, I pulled out a pair of tighter fitting capri jeans (everyone knows I tend to wear loose fitting jeans) so that I could tuck them into the boots and an old Brunotti winter/athletic jacket (pink so that I looked bright and cherry among the dreary weather).  I was very pleased with my assemble (I'm not the best at matching clothes).  You'd think I was ready for a walk in the woods or maybe a trip to the pumpkin patch, but no, I was ready for a visit to the pediatrician with my 2 yr old daughter.  I don't have a car or even a license so I walk everywhere, sun, rain, or snow!  This trip seemed to be the perfect occassion for trying out my new Crocs.  I must admit, they're my first pair of rain boots, so walking in them took getting used to, but I managed.  I wasn't walking my usual pace (fast), but I was still on the go and managed to make the appointment on time.  I felt like a pro, stroller in one hand, umbrella in the other, and of course my rain boots.  Funnily enough, my daughter didn't notice my new shoes, she noticed the large box.  I can't wait until she wears her first pair of Crocs, she has a pair but won't be able to use them until next year when it warms up again.  I grew up wearing "jelly" shoes (some sort of slip on plastic shoes), I guess that's what makes me love Crocs so much.  They're so easy to clean, you can get them wet and they survive, plus they're comfortable, what else could a busy stay-at-home Mom ask for!  If you're wondering right now, what did I just read, an infomercial for Crocs, nope, just a random rant from yours truly!  Oh yeah, I can't forget to include a photo of my Crocs on the go!