Sunday, March 31, 2013

High Tea

In the last year or so High Tea has become popular here in The Netherlands. Many of the restaurants & cafes offer it on the menu.  Now it's spreading even further!  A friend & I were able to enjoy High Tea at an indoor playground while our kids ran around also enjoying themselves, win-win!  Pretty smart of the company, NoNo's Land... on a weekly basis they're guaranteed to have tons of Moms sitting around while the kids wear themselves out on the slides, jungle gyms, and ball pits. Why not offer the Mom's something too (other than the extremely strong coffee they serve that make us tremble after a couple cups)! My friend & I meet often at the indoor playground and this time she suggested we reserve the High Tea menu. The playground was happy to serve us even though she did comment it's usually for larger groups and most women actually drink tea instead of coffee, but hey, as long as you're spending money they can't really complain!  We had no idea what to expect, each restaurant is different, and to be honest it was my first High Tea.  The playground had actually decorated our table... table cloth, napkins, silverware, china plates and cups, awesome!  It's hard to remember each course, pretty sure we started with mushroom soup, then little sausages (pigs-in-a-blanket), then ragout, then chocolate mouse, and then when we thought the courses were finished, she brought out two 3-tiered trays covered in baked goods and candy.  The display looked so nice even someone else's kid came up to us asking for some goodies.  Our kids dropped by occasionally mostly just thirsty from running around, but when they spotted the 2 trays full of sweets they also decided to hover around for a while.  (Don't worry we fed our kids nutritious sandwiches before going to the playground!)  It was a fun idea and didn't cost much more than what we would have spent on food and entry anyway.  Next time we're thinking about testing out the brunch, I'll be sure to keep you updated!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Movie Time #4

Here's another quick movie review... it's actually been a while since I watched some of these movies but I wanted to send this portion of the list out since it's continually getting longer with each movie we watch!

The Campaign
This movie isn't going to win any awards but it's worth watching for the laughs.  I absolutely love Zach Galifianakis & Will Ferrell is also one of my all-time favorite comedic actors.  As usual Zach plays the underdog surrounded by people that just don't understand him.  You'll have to watch to see
if he beats out Will's character to win the campaign.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I decided to watch this movie but it turned out to be quite good and I'll probably watch it again.  Chloe Moritz was good (she's always good), Blake Lively surprisingly not bad or too cheesy, and the story intriguing and keeps you hooked.  So much happens in this movie that you'd never wish upon anyone's child, a hard way to grow up fast.

Here Comes the Boom
What movie with Kevin James isn't funny?  I guess it takes a certain sense of humor to like this movie because of the MMA fighting.  I had no problem with the fight scenes or the intensity of the arenas but I did find it should have a higher rating than just PG, I sure would let my kid watch them bloody each other up.  But the idea of saving the music dept through MMA wins was meant well.

Taken 2
The movie was still watchable despite the fact it was way too similar to the first one.  They really didn't need to make a sequel but I guess the first one was so popular they didn't have a choice.  No matter what it's awesome that Liam Neeson has become an action hero in his 60's, when does that ever happen?  I like him in the action role, just would like to see him in a different film!

This is 40
The movie was o.k. and it was a funny idea to follow up Knocked Up but I probably wouldn't watch it again.  Sure there were some laughs, it wouldn't be good if there weren't ways you could make comparisons to your own life.  Love watching Paul Rudd & Leslie Mann back together again, they have great on screen chemistry, plus they're hilarious!  Glad the movie was about their characters.

10 Years
To be honest I was disappointed with this movie.  They had a great cast, a good story idea, and yet it was a let down.  Not really sure what they could have done to help, maybe the characters shouldn't have come across desperate or weak, but maybe that was the point. 10 yrs after high school isn't that long and a lot of people haven't found themselves yet.  I will not be watching it again though.

Hope you liked my quick movie reviews and there will be more in the future.  (And if you liked these check out my last movie review post!)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ender's Game

I can only remember listening to one audio book in my adult years, Ender's Game.  At this time in our lives (over 7yrs ago) my husband was easily spending 4-5hrs in his car everyday and he was looking for ways to entertain himself.  A colleague suggested audio books, so he took him up on the suggestion and borrowed a stack of cd's.  One of which he enjoyed so much he wanted to share it with me.  Despite the hours he spent in the car for work, at this time we also often went on Sunday drives, which took us all over The Netherlands and occasionally across the border.  It was the perfect time for us to pop in the cd's and get lost in Orson Scott Card's imaginative book.  We were big on movies and owned a couple tv show collections on dvd but we didn't read together.  (Do you read with your partner or at least exchange books?)  It was an entirely new experience for us!  Sometimes we would return home and just sit in the apartment parking lot finishing off a chapter, we couldn't get enough.  Even the ending of the book shocked us, all of that listening and imagining and somehow the author still surprised us.  When we finished the audio book we talked about buying more but it never happened.  Then here we are all these years later and I've started seeing advertisements for Ender's Game, but this time it's a movie!  For old times sake maybe I can convince my husband to watch it at the theater with me, but if not, we'll definitely be renting it down the road.  The book is about kids, but the idea behind it is so much more.  I'm crossing my fingers that the director gets it right and passes on this intriguing story from 1985! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #46

Link up here for Wordless Wednesday!
Our curious camera compilation can also be found here...

Monday, March 25, 2013


I'm joining in the panic and signed up for Bloglovin'
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Spring Displays

Even if the weather doesn't feel like spring at least the stores remind us!  The florist, Bergflora, across the street from our apartment always has great window displays.  Along with unique vases, pots, plants, flowers, & gifts, they go above and beyond just the generalization of florist.  As soon as spring rolled around they changed the displays in the two large store windows.  There are neon green sheep and endless colorful eggs.  And besides these eye catchers they've also added the cutest display of owls & chickens.  Something about these little decorations made me want to stop and take a picture, so while out on one of many dog walks I was sure to get a picture for you (and me).  Just something to perk up your day and remind you it's spring!  The little owls are so cute I might just have to stop in and see how much they cost! 
(Please excuse the reflection and the fact my hands/phone are photo-bombing the pics, even a photo editor couldn't help these shots, but I tried!  It's not easy taking pics when your dog is trying to jump on everyone that passes!)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Crazy Clothes

Yesterday my husband wanted to do something fun for our 3yr old, and out of every option he chose to dress up in a crazy combination of clothing.  At home this wouldn't have been bad but we were headed to the grocery store!  I threatened many times to stay in the car, but it's important to teach your child confidence.  So I just pretended he was dressed normally and mostly went about things that way.  He claims it was our daughters idea, but it was completely his idea.  I at least convinced her to wear a princess gown over her clothes and under her jacket so at least people thought there was a themed party or something, ha-ha! 
Let's take a close look at his outfit choice...  It starts out with a base layer of pajamas, t-shirt & plaid cotton pants.  Then he added slick basketball shorts over the pants.  Then a random volleyball sweatshirt.  Followed by a corduroy dress jacket.  Then he added carpenter boots and a belt.  And finished the assemble off by wrapping himself in his Snuggie which he also tied behind his back and tucked into his belt. 
Some people glanced and continued walking on... some people did double takes... some people actually stopped to take in the entire outfit.  At least one man spoke to us normally, he must have gone with the they-were-at-a-party idea.  And once we headed to the parking lot, me taking a breath of relief, we ended up helping a lady push her broken down car, what a sight!  I think this is just the beginning, because my husband keeps reminiscing about the crazy clothes combinations his father used to wear when picking my sister-in-law up from social events.  Maybe I should be worried for me & our tot!!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #45

Trying to blog from TN last week somehow my WW moved to Thursday!  And this week I was too sick to post one yesterday, apparently brought a mean cold home with us.  Hopefully next week I can get back in rhythm. 
Link up here for Wordless Wednesday!

Our curious camera compilation can also be found here...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

We're Back!

We're back in The Netherlands after our adventure to Tennessee, USA!  I am so glad that the trip went by without many issues, travelling so far alone with a toddler was very intimidating.  The night before the double flight to the US I nearly hyper-ventilated, it was a combination of nerves and a cold.  And the morning before the double flight back to Europe I threw up, that was a combination of nerves and taking a vitamin on a fairly empty stomach.  Both road trips between Nashville Airport and my grandma's I felt light-headed & my heart raced, also nerves.  For my toddlers sake I didn't show her any of this, I wanted to make the trip fun (also instructions from my husband, ha-ha!)  She too was sick, she threw up on the big flight over, too much excitement and apple juice.  And she threw up on the big flight back, who knows why because we stuck to water and ate lightly.  So it's official, we're wimps, but wimps that made a huge journey with very little help! 
Our time in TN was great, I'm sure you saw my 4 blog posts, right?  Driving in the mountains wasn't as bad as I thought, and it didn't take me too long to get used to the American rules of the road again (my grandma might disagree, ha-ha).  I accomplished almost everything I set out to do while in TN, and even tagged on a few extra things.  I can say the trip was a success.  And miraculously we are dealing with jet-lag quite well (there & here).  I follow the rules and it works.  If you arrive early in the day in a new country take a short nap (2hrs) then stay up at least until 9PM... if you arrive late in the day don't nap and force yourself to stay up until 9PM, it works like a charm!  It was wonderful getting to see my grandma and getting to see her & my tot enjoy each others company and make memories of their own.  And my Dad was even able to fly up for a weekend, spoiling us because we just saw him around Thanksgiving.  I am so appreciative to my husband for making this trip possible, thanks you're an incredible guy!
And quickly before I close out, we chose to fly Delta this time and I was so happy we went with their airline.  Great service, great planes, great layover times, and great prices!  Fly with Delta if you can!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bloggin' From TN #4

Wow, I can't believe I've managed to pump out 4 blog posts while visiting Tennessee.  Between my phone and my grandma's little Acer Aspire One I've been keeping you all fairly updated.  To be honest the point of this trip was to help my Grammy clean house, so it's not like you're going to get adventurous posts from the Smoky Mountains or even the heart of Nashville.  Besides helping my grandma, this trip has been about squeezing in some of the things I miss about The States, like extended family, shopping, and even a good steak.  (Is it rude to put them all in one category?  I hope not because I mean well.)  I've been putting a lot of great shots on Instagram but haven't used any of them for Wordless Wednesday, for me it's an entirely different creative outlet & audience. 
Today we managed to squeeze in a trip to Outback Steakhouse.  I used to work at Applebee's so you most likely will not catch me in that type of restaurant but I do find Outback & Red Lobster acceptable (even though I know they probably work just the same behind the scenes!)  Anyway, I was in the mood for a lot of seafood at a price I can't find in The Netherlands but it turns out my grandma doesn't like it.  End of plan.  So, I opted out for surf 'n turf at Outback, for those of you unfamiliar with this term it means you get a combo of steak & seafood on one plate, yes!!!  And if you're at Outback you're almost required to also order the Bloomin' Onion for a starter.  Then there was the cheesecake, something you don't often find on a Dutch menu.  So after ordering half the menu, including caesar salad and grilled asparagus, I realized there was no way I could eat all of that, even though I was sharing the appetizer.  So in American style, we brought a doggy bag home (this is what Americans do because the portions are too large and/or they want to get their money's worth).  The restaurant even had hooks on the end of the booth to hang the doggy bag, can you believe it???  Now I'm stuffed, and it's been 3 or more hours since we ate!  All of the calories I worked off busting my butt around my grandma's house I consumed in one meal... oh yeah, and the Budweiser I'm sipping on isn't helping either!  We'll be leaving soon, and like I said, I have to squeeze everything in.  I actually wanted Michelob Ultra, that's what I used to drink in The States but I'm too used to Dutch beer and it would be like drinking water.
And in usual fashion, I have included pics for you!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #44

Link up here for Wordless Wednesday!

Our curious camera compilation can also be found here...

Bloggin' From TN #3

I'm not much of a reader, mainly because I'm a writer and that's where a lot of my free time goes. But about a year or so ago I bought my grandma a book through Amazon and it's occasionally crossed my mind, oddly enough. I often wondered if the characters were too young or if possibly the book interested me more than her, but it's a romance and that's the genre she avidly reads. Being that there isn't much to do here at night once the tot & grams have gone off to bed, I turned to this book. I miraculously finished the book in 2 days! The book caught my attention and even reminds me of some of the partially written light-hearted romances I have (or am) working on. This book, He's No Prince Charming, by LuAnn McLane is even a southern cowboy-cowgirl romance perfect for my stay here in Tennessee.
The 1st night I stayed up until 1am reading, woke up at 6am and read until everyone awoke, and then finished it off by 10pm! I had to find out more... maybe that's another reason I don't bother with books I can't stand putting them down. But once finished with the book disappointment set in, the story was over. No more hopes of what might or might not happen to Dakota & Trace's relationship, the book wrapped up neat enough that I know there will not be a sequel. I thought about re-reading it, but that would just be crazy, it was good but there wasn't anything I possibly could have missed. I even considered buying another one of LuAnn's books but when I return to my usual life it'll back to writing my own stories. But if there are any of you out there looking for an easy read that will make you chuckle and also want to hop in bed with your hubby, check out this book!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bloggin' From TN #2

Here I am again, still on our short trip to Tennessee. When visiting The States there are always a few pit-stops we have to make, like American Eagle & Old Navy!!! But clothes stores aren't the only places we hit up, I love Walmart! When I used to live in Florida I avoided Walmart but since moving overseas I've learned to appreciate the deals. You may take Fruit of the Loom & Hanes for granted but we sure don't.  Where we are in TN, Walmart is one of the largest stores in town, it also includes groceries... I think I've been there 3 times already and intend to go again!
Like me, my grandma also appreciates saving money (I guess being frugal is in the family, and so is hoarding but that's a different post). In the hopes of saving some money we also hit up Dollar General (I mentioned bargain stores in an old post, I love them). I was glad we did because I found cards to mail home for 50cents!
As always I snapped a couple shots for you. The 1st is an insanely busy Walmart, especially for 2:30 in the afternoon. And the other is Dollar General for those of you unfamiliar with it.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bloggin' from TN #1

Well, I've never written a post from my phone before, so I hope this turns out o.k. I'm in The States now for a short trip so I can't promise a lot of posts but I'll do what I can.
Saturday we had the pleasure of visiting a poultry farm in Tennessee with our extended family. I think my tot thought we were at a petting zoo, ha-ha!  There was everything from chicks to peacocks. Besides the poultry there were other animals roaming around too, dogs, goats, etc. I witnessed a couple things I personally have never experienced before in my 31yrs. One of which I wish I had filmed! I watched a llama chase a donkey over a hill, then in defense the donkey back kick the llama in the neck. Have any of you seen this before? Another thing, one I could have done without was a chicken having its leg cut off! Luckily, I realized it wasn't a joke and distracted my tot while holding down my own vomit. Turns out they did it to try and save the chicken but still, ahh!
Overall it was a fun outing between a big family get together. Here are some pics for you to enjoy! Not sure when I'll post gain but this should tide you over for a little while.
Oh yeah... maybe I don't know enough about animals but have you ever seen a white peacock or a turkey with a blue face?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #43

Link up here for Wordless Wednesday!

Our curious camera compilation can also be found here...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Guest Blogger???

Since I have an upcoming trip to The States planned, I'm looking for a few guest bloggers to help keep things interesting around here while I'm gone.  My blog is pretty random so I'm not looking for one theme in particular.  It's always fun to connect and also to promote other blogs... you know I love promoting blogs, stores, music, etc.  Maybe you just want to write about yourself and your blog, maybe you want to write about something on your mind, maybe you just want to ramble on, maybe you want to talk about expat life or parenthood, maybe you want to write about struggles or triumphs... I'll take it all into consideration. 
If you're interested please email me at :
danicasthoughts (at) upcmail (dot) nl
Please submit your name, contact info (including your blog address), and your idea for a post.  If you happen to already have a draft or finished post, you can also submit this via mail.  I also post pictures with every blog post I write, so also consider what picture (drawing, photo, etc. or even just a blog logo) you'd like to use.  In return I will let you know if it is something I am interested in and we go from there.  I'll be accepting applicants all this week and possibly into the following weekend.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Couples Getaway

Read something funny in "odd news" today and thought I'd share...
Any couples out there looking for a long secluded getaway with your partner???  Well, a non-profit organization is looking for a couple (preferably married) to take a trip that'll last roughly 1.5 yrs.  The living quarters are small but the view is out of this world!  There's only one issue, you might not make it back alive.  So it's for thrill seekers only! 

Check it out, ha-ha!  Mission Mars