Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Time for a Change...

"Tell me about yourself"...it's a simple enough request, or is it?  I've had this blog for the past two years or so, and have been focused just on writing about our family travels.  It's a great topic to write about, and I've truly enjoyed it.  However...I have so many more interests than travel alone.  Some of them intertwine with traveling, while others are completely separate.  I feel compelled to broaden my blogging horizons, and begin anew.  

My new blog, This Joyful Adventure, will continue to contain stories of our travels, as well as tips for families that are traveling.  It will also include stories of our other 'adventures'...parenting, homeschooling, music, Pinterest failures/successes, and whatever else my mind thinks up :)  

Thank you for sharing in our family travels, and I hope you will join me on this new journey!  

Monday, January 6, 2014

Lessons Learned

This past September, we started a new adventure with our family...we began homeschooling.  It's been an incredible journey thus far.  I'm learning about how my children learn, what they enjoy, and how to motivate them even more.  Dare I say that the parents learn more in the first year of homeschooling than the children do?

Leading up to our recent Salzburg trip, we began to study Mozart as part of our schooling.  Keep in mind, for a kindergartener and preschooler, this isn't very in-depth.  However, we read through a biography of Mozart written for children and listened to his music.  Tootsie learned about Mozart's sister, Nannerl, and thought his dog had a silly name (Bumperl).  But these two nuggets of information really stuck with her.  When we arrived at the residence of Mozart, she was excited to see the likeness of Nannerl and Bumperl on the glass doors, and wanted her picture taken with them.

In all honesty, I was blown away by how interested the Tots were in the displays at the museums.  Tootsie and TurkeyBoy were taking everything in, and referring to the information we had learned from the children's biography of Mozart.

My point in writing all of this is to convey to you what can be so easily overlooked...the capacity of children to learn and understand things that are generally thought of as grown up interests.  It is truly astounding.  If you are traveling with your children and are interested in a museum GO!...even if you think your children might be bored senseless.  GO.  If you take the time and put forth the effort beforehand, your children can gain so much from these experiences.  Give them a few nuggets of information that pique their interests in the time leading up to your visit.  Talk to them about what they are seeing at the museum, and refer back to what you had read earlier with them.  Engage your children and GO!

For our upcoming trip to Giverny and Paris, we will be studying art by Monet and Leonardo da Vinci.  I've also acquired biographies similar to the one we read on Mozart.  I cannot wait to see what details the children latch on to, and what they are most interested in from the lives of these masters.  I know that their minds will continue to amaze me.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, New Adventures!

Happy New Year, dear readers!  I hope that 2014 will be full of great adventures for you all!

We've been thinking and daydreaming about locations to put on the calendar for this year.  Currently, we have 2 1/2 years left in Germany before we will be moving back to the USA.  I'm starting to feel the crunch to see as much of Europe as we can!  We've done fairly well so far, but there is still so much to see...I'm certain we will not fit it all in.

Here are a few ideas we've been tossing around for this year:

Daytrips to...
  • Luxembourg City, Luxembourg - this may turn into a weekend trip, if we visit the Patton Memorial, as well as the Butterfly Garden in Grevenmacher.
  • Heidelberg (would you believe we live ridiculously close, and my husband still hasn't been there?)
  • Speyer and Trier - these are two of our favorite cities...we go at least once a year

Ladies' Trips to...
  • Giverny, France - to see Monet's Gardens in May
  • Brussels, Belgium - the Flower Carpet returns to the Grand Place in August!
  • Our church group also plans a ladies' weekend once a year...the location for 2014 has yet to be determined

Potential longer trips to...
  • Take a roadtrip through Bremen, Hamburg, Copenhagen (Denmark), and Ystad (Sweden) - this has been on Travel Daddy's wish list for quite a while.
  • Easter retreat in Freiburg (Germany), also visiting nearby Triberg
  • Reformation retreat at a location TBD

We are also planning to make a trip to visit family in the States early this summer.  From the looks of things, I have a lot of planning to do!

Happy New Year, and Happy Travels!