Friday, March 30, 2012


I particularly enjoy dyeing eggs each year at Easter.  I also like trying new creative methods of dyeing them.

My inspiration this year naturally came from pinterest (rubber band stripes and sticker dots).

White eggs are quite hard to come by around here, so we went with brown eggs again.  As you can see, the dye takes quite well to them still and they're pretty vibrant in color!

I don't know exactly what happened with my eggs, but the color got splotchy in some places and scratched off in others (too much vinegar? brown eggs? new type of dye? combination of all these things?).  Nonetheless, I'm pretty smitten with the bright colors, of course ;)

I will say the two methods I tried didn't work so well for me. The rubber bands popped off too many times to count causing poor stripe-age (yes that's a new word!) and the stickers didn't stick as well as I was hoping.  Ahhh, oh well, they're still fun and I'll take it.

More Easter posts to come, but couldn't resist posting these cheerful colors :)


Add on:

Jas and I decided to give some more eggs a nice color bath...only this time we did it right.  Actually, Jason remembered how to dye brown eggs right from last many thanks to his smart brain for remembering.

You're supposed to bathe the brown eggs in vinegar BEFORE you dye them.  He remembered once they were already in the color, so we just let them soak and then peeled them and dunked 'em again.

I present to you my (new) favorite eggs...

All you ever wanted to know about dyeing brown eggs?  There ya go!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ringing in a Year!

It's hard to believe we have been in Slovakia for a year!  But, it's we celebrate one year.  In some ways the time has flown, and in others, well, not so much.  Irregardless, we have definitely been shaped and molded this year...

We thought it'd be appropriate to make a little list of things we both appreciate and are learning to appreciate about our new culture.

10 things we love about Slovakia (in no particular order):

1)  Halusky, Milka, Vinea/Kofola, Pirohy...need we say more!? There are some great foods here in the SK which we are happy to indulge ourselves in :)

2)  Walking.  While it was also an adjustment to walk everywhere, we love the built in exercise walking provides for us and we just enjoy being outside now.  It's a completely different thing from in the states where it's not as accessible to walk, but we really enjoy it here.

3)  Nature.  Maybe not so very much in Bratislava (though there are some great parks), but outside of the, watch out, world, Slovakia's got it going on in the natural beauty department!

4)  Soccer and hockey.  They take great pride in these sports and as a result these events are fun to watch and enjoy.

5)  The history.  How often do you get to walk out of the movies and say "oh wow, look, there's a castle out the window!?"  Seriously!  Amazing.

6)  Cafes.  We'll never stop loving the atmosphere of cafes...particularly in the summertime when everyone is out enjoying the evenings sipping caj (tea) by the storefronts (in FRONT of the castle :)

7)  The people.  We've truly met some great people during our year here so far...and we're praying we continue to meet many more.  (side note:  we're continually learning that this just takes time...period.)

8)  Taking your shoes off at the door.  This one may sound silly, but does create an intimate feel.  It's like saying, "hi, welcome to our home, take your shoes off, get comfy, and stay awhile."  I like it.

9)  The city at night.  It's just a really awesome view to see a city lit up at night.  Especially from our balcony...we're big fans.

10) Holidays. Christmas markets and New Year's celebration were especially good to take part in...but it's always fun to get in on a culture through their holidays.


10 things we're learning to love (er, at least appreciate) about Slovakia:

1)  The language.  Oh, the language.  It's no piece of cake to learn.  The grammar is beyond comprehension sometimes (or so it seems haha). But, alas, we're trucking through it and one day we will speak this language.  We're determined.

2)  Buses.  Man, those things can get crowded.  And when they're packed, they're packed...which makes getting on and off with a stroller challenging sometimes.

3)  Getting to know our neighbors.  This has proven to be tricky enough.

4)  Raising babies.  This one is strictly cultural differences that I could probably write a whole post on.  Basically, people here raise their babies differently (read: not bad, just different) from how we were raised.  We've learned and are learning to just embrace these things, laugh at them, and ask the Lord for wisdom as we raise Elise (in both the big and the little!)

5)  Road signs.  Some Slovaks may disagree with this one, but when driving we've found the road signs/markings to be less than accurate and slightly confusing.  However, it needs to be said that where I grew up, in Hickory, there are about four 39th I guess we're not doing so much better in America :P

6)  Time spent traveling.  For me, personally, this one has taken some time to adjust to.  Call it being spoiled, or partially Type A, or whatever you want to call it, but it can often take 30+ minutes to get out the door to the bus stop and then to the final location.   I'm working on patience :)

7)  The lack of thrifting.  I'm a thrift-lover.  Garage sales, secondhand stores, etc...I love them!  There are a few here, but you have to hit them JUST RIGHT (like on one particular day) to benefit from them.  I do miss a good garage sale...but hey, maybe they're here and I just haven't discovered them yet.  (they wouldn't be called garage sales, though, since many people don't have garages here :)

8)  The weather.  The cold has been hard on us...we won't lie.  We'll adjust (perhaps?)...but we do miss warm weather (and the beach!)

9)  Snowy, white pollen.  In the states it's yellow and all over it's white chunks of pollen snow and it's all over everything (in spring).  I'll never love pollen no matter where I am!

10) Being sick.  Living in a new culture you contract all the viruses and bugs you're not used to...I think we've experienced all the ones that were going around town within the past two months.

We've learned that all cultures are different (obviously we knew that, but it's become even more real to us).  Each one has their strengths and weaknesses and no culture is perfect...far from it actually.  It's kind of cool, each culture is like each person...unique and special with its own set of qualities, both good and bad.  And similarly, every culture, like every person, needs Christ.

We've learned a lot.  We've grown a lot.  We've got much more to learn...but we're thankful for where we've been and from where we've come.  Now to start year TWO!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend Happenings...

By way of camera phone pics (yep, I know, still no iphone/instagram for me...)

This weekend Jas was away in Presov (in the east of Slovakia) with Tom. So while the guys were doing this...

Us girls had us a girls' weekend :)

First off we shopped it up with our friend Zuzana...

Elise thoroughly enjoyed the stroll and taking in all the sights and sounds of the mall.

Then Saturday we headed to a really fun downtown open air market with our friends Claire and Gabo.

(this is a big area set up for kids with lots of fun activities...and colorful balloons!)

(and another side note...we're famous!  Claire, Elise, Gabo and I had our pic taken for one of the local newspapers.  I'll now be signing autographs ;)

Elise also enjoyed some more sweet potatoes...and she discovered her newest game of taking all the toys on her high chair and throwing them to the floor. Then repeat. And repeat again.  Oh, and then repeat :)

Sunday we headed to church...

Then it was time for Elise to attend her first birthday party!  Her friend Filip turned the big ONE, so we headed over to help them celebrate...

(small kiddos are hard to capture, ya know!?)

And then it was time for daddy to come home...and we were both ready!

But it was a good weekend.  What did YOU do this weekend?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Half Birthday!

Someone celebrates their half birthday today!!

Yep, it's true...Elise is a big six months old.

{That pose is just perfect because she's all about some toe-eating these days}

Weight:  No clue...will update once we go to the doc next week.

Major Milestones:  This past month has been a big one here in our household!  Elise now rolls over from her back to stomach - and vice versa - often, however, she does it only when she wants to, of course ;)  She also started laughing on occasion...which is just precious.  And as I blogged earlier this week, she started with solids.  Last, but not least, she can now sit up on her own (though she's a bit wobbly and it doesn't last for more than a few minutes at a time).  Big things, I say!

Other:  Her regular schedule has been off since returning from Germany, so Operation Get-Back-On-Track is in full force these days.  She's gotten a lot better with naps and is now napping ~ 1 hour or more twice a day.  She continues to love baths, doesn't mind flashing a smile at strangers, and overall is just a little ham...wonder who she gets that from? ;)

Cute as a button.  Happy half a year, big girl!  You're so loved.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Real People Food!

{Disclaimer:  This post is full of pics...and while I think Elise's baby mouth covered in potato mash is priceless, some may get tired of so many pics...proceed at your own risk.  You've been warned ;) }

Well, after picking myself up off the floor from realizing that our daughter is a whoppin' 6 months old, we broke down and gave her real people food!  (How can it be that time goes by so fast!?)

I spent an afternoon earlier this week preparing some foods to freeze.  I boiled, baked, and blended up some sweet potatoes and green peas.  Then, yesterday, we gave the sweet potatoes a whirl.

I think she was a little uncertain what to think at first, but then she seemed to like it alright!  She managed down about five yummy bites :)

Pre-food smiles.

Posing with mom.

Here goes!

Haha!  Such uncertainty...

Daddy's turn.

Still a little confused, but we were pretty impressed at how well she did for it being the first time.

And now for a video of her finishing up... (it's actually her last bite of her first bites...does that make sense?)

Oh my.  What. a. big. girl.  Up next week...BANANAS.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Painting Progress

I was able to get a little more work done on my painting before we went to Germany.  It's still a long way from being finished, but I thought I'd update anyway :)

Once the main colors are down, I will then go back and detail and doodle (with black paint pen).  Maybe it's hard to tell from the pictures, but it's quite the large canvas.  Once it's finished I think it will reside right above the bright red couch in our living room.  Can you tell I love color!?

Gotta love the creative process.  Speaking of the creative process, check out how this lady used canvas in her latest project.  LOVE it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Little Croissant

I was lying on the couch taking a nap (read: trying to bounce back from lack of sleep due to a little one whose schedule is off) when I suddenly noticed that Elise was quiet.

She was on the floor playing...or at least that's what I thought.

Instead she decided to roll herself up like a little croissant in her blanket.  My motherhood instincts kicked in and I quickly got up (er, slowly rolled) off the couch and grabbed the camera.

Her croissant had unrolled a little by the time I got back, but you get the idea.

And yes, I did put her in happy rainbow baby leggings for the day, because, well, they're just too fun not to! :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

To Germany and Back...

We're back from our week in Germany...and we made it in one piece!

Overall, Elise did a GREAT job traveling, I'm thankful to say.  Let me break it down (mainly so I remember for the future)...

Flights:  On our flight TO Germany, E did GREAT.  She didn't cry at all, and slept mostly the whole way.  She took her paci almost the whole trip.  Walking the airports she was in her carrier and was just fine.  On our flight BACK to Slovakia, she did well until the airplane's descent.  She started crying from what I'm sure was the change in pressure.  Bottle didn't work, paci barely worked, but we did our best to distract her until we touched ground.  Then she recovered :)

Never fear, we documented her first flight, of course! (phone pics)

Conference week:  Given the circumstances, E's schedule was off most of the week and her nursing/napping times were changed...but all things considered she did a good job.  She didn't mind being passed from person to person and even showed off that little toothless grin.

Jas and I enjoyed the fellowship with friends, encouragement, and sessions.  We also got to take part in communion, which was a big blessing.  One afternoon, Jas and I got out in the lush green woods next to the conference center for some fresh air and good hubby/wife convo...

Since pics of he and I are less common these days, I felt two were needed ;)

We got to spend short but sweet time with these friends that we don't get to see often...

And while we were there Elise started (along with rolling over more and laughing) eating her feet...fascinating, haha.

Look at that baby tummy.  It's too much, I say, too much.

All in all, it was a refreshing and much needed week away.  Now I feel ready to start back with learning Slovak.  Bring it on, grammar, bring it on...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Germany's calling...

Well, we are headed off to a conference in Germany for a few days.  Things will be a bit bare here on our little corner of the internet...

This is our first time flying with a little one in tow, and although it's a short flight, I feel sure we'll learn a thing or two during the process.  We'll be sure to divulge all the fun facts upon returning :)

In the meantime, take a look at this cute and drooly face...

That's some serious eye-rollage and chin-droolage.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Letter Photo Shoot

I've been meaning to do this lil photo shoot with Elise for some time now.  Today was the day.

Her grandparents each gave her an initial or set of initials for Christmas (great minds think alike? or....great grandparents think alike? :)  I LOVE them both and they're proudly displayed in her room.

I knew they'd make the perfect props for some photos.

A few notes:
1)  This blanket was made for Elise by our friends' mom, Jeannie...we think it's great.
2)  The pink flower headband was given to E by another friend, Caitlin.
3)  This onesie is my absolute favorite.  It's from The Children's Place and I wish I had one just like it :)
4)  Homegirl wasn't so very into smiling for this there's a fair share of Elise serious face going on here.

I could just eat her up.  (That's kind of a strange English phrase...but you get the point, right? ;)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Recipe Review

As we all know, pinterest is a great resource.  I mean, really, what isn't to love about one big endless resource that pulls from the interwebs at large and combines great ideas all in one place?  Well, other than the many hours you can drain sitting there looking at everything...that can be problematic.

One of my favorite things to pin is recipes.  There are a gazillion great ones out there (and some bad ones too).  Each week I have been giving new recipes a try, many thanks to pinterest and the original sources.

Here are two recipes I've tried this past week...

(links below are to the original sources, but if you'd like to follow my pinterest food board you can go here)

This chicken bacon pasta was DELISH.  It had quite a few steps, but the end result was yummm ummm.  Both Jas and I liked it.  A definite "make again" recipe for us now!

And for small group this week I made these...

Hmm, these "best lemon bars" were, good, but not what I would call the best.  I would give them a 3.5 out of 5.  They just weren't lemon-y enough.  I totally should have added some more lemon juice/zest, but as the recipes stands by itself they just lacked a little "umph."  There are a ton of recipes out there for lemon bars, and I pinned several, so I think I'll have to give some of the others a try next.

Now for a completely non-pinterest food item...

Family members sent us some of these (thanks!) and we were smitten.  They're pretty much amazing.  If you're in America, head out and get some...they're special edition, or something like that.  And let me just say, they live up to their name...a little party in the mouth, I tell ya.

Now you should be hungry, go get your "mnyum" on ;)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In Their Grill

The other night while I was doing this, Jas was able to go to his first hockey game here in Slovakia.

He joined a group of friends up close and personal on the FRONT ROW (7 euro tickets...yes sir!!) for the game.  To say he enjoyed it, in spite of a head cold, would be an understatement.  Supposedly they went into a four minute overtime and then he had to leave (we had skype dates).  So, sadly, we don't know who won.

He did catch some great shots and a video to demonstrate how close up to the action they were. 

When trying to be ghetto I like to say that they were all up "in their grill." (yes, I'm that cheesy :) Here, let me show you...

He also grabbed this lil video of it all going down.  Pretty sweet, huh?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I just want the world to get a small sample of why I believe I am the most blessed husband and father. My wife and daughter are the most amazing and beautiful people in the world. I love you two!

Monday, March 5, 2012

How I've missed you...

Oh my dear,

How I've missed you...

My grandmother is an artist.  A painter, really.  Though she dabbles in lots of creative areas, she's a painter through and through.  Her basement is filled with tons of them...on every wall.  And we're not talking dinky paintings either, these are legit.  For real.  She's good.

Growing up I always admired her skill.  I wanted to be like that.  I wanted to paint.

I loved art in high school, and took it again throughout college.  I even minored in art, I loved it so much.  And I've always loved painting.  Though I'm not nearly as good as my grandmother was/is (she's claimed to have given it up lately since her studio is downstairs...boooo), I thoroughly enjoy the process.

Sooooo while Jas was at a hockey game last night (post to come on that...front row seats, baby!) Elise and I were hanging out and painting.

I've only just begun, see...

...but I have big plans for this painting.  My hope was to start it while it's still cold out and be finished by the time warmer weather sets in...can't WAIT to get outside again (then I may just paint outside, too).

We'll keep you updated along the way and we'll see how it turns out ;)

Happy Monday!
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