Friday, April 29, 2016

A Break in the Rain So...

This afternoon the rain stopped, if only temporarily, so Mike and I took the chance to walk to a local grocery store to stock up on some fresh foods.

We now are restocked with butter, cheese, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits.

Tonight, on the menu, is roast chicken with potatoes and carrots, green salad and French bread.  A Sunday dinner on Friday.

Tomorrow's breakfast will be eggs and some of the bacon we splurged on.

Soon we will be back to mainly vegetarian but we will enjoy these few special meals, Mike especially.  I think he misses the freezer most of all.

Empty Nest

Momma Duck and babies have left the nest.

Many of the eggs did not hatch this year.  Maybe because it is still so unseasonably cold here.  It is still getting below freezing and sometimes snowing.

Hard for one little momma duck to keep eight eggs toasty warm.

But a small family of three is better than no family.

So, now that the maternity ward is empty we can move on to cruising the canals.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

We're Back On The Boat

We arrived back from Berlin yesterday afternoon.

After unpacking, I made a loaf of bread and some nachos and Mexican corn for dinner with date bars as dessert.

While the bread was baking I walked down to a local lady and bought some free range eggs.

Today, after a breakfast of peanut butter toast, I had planned on walking to the local grocery for some butter and fresh fruits and vegetables. But, it is raining.

So instead I got an early start on laundry that I will hang to dry inside.

I also took a look in the cupboards and decided on homemade hummus wraps, Moroccan couscous, grapefruit sections, and fried green beans for dinner.

Tomorrow's breakfast will be the homemade granola I can smell baking as I type.

A cozy domestic day. Think I'll crochet next.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Babysitting the Furgrandbabies

We arrived in Berlin yesterday evening and will be here for about a week babysitting Max and Chewie.

DD1 is taking a trip to Norway.

We will use this time in Berlin to play tourist.

But today is all about giving the dogs time out of their cages and with lots of love from grandma and grandpa.

I'm not sure who enjoys it m.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Our Cruise (the condensed version)

Yesterday we got home from our very relaxing cruise across the Atlantic from Florida to England.

I don't believe I have ever felt so relaxed.

We had some wonderful tablemates that became more like friends.

We learned a fun new card game called Hand and Foot.

We ate way too much good food.

I had a lot of time to crochet.

We also saw Lisbon, Balboa, the the Battle of Normandy Cemetery and the Bayeux Tapestry.

According to legend, Lisbon was founded and named by Ulysses. The truth of this is lost in the mist of time .

However, it is true that it was a Roman city and later, during the Middle Ages, a Muslim city.

Unfortunately, a devastating earthquake in 1755 destroyed 85percent of the city's structures.

The city was rebuilt to modern 18th century standards under the guidance of its then Prime Minister.

In 1974 the mainly bloodless Carnation Revolution did away with the right wing Estado Novo government and established the Portuguese Third Republic.

In 1998 Lisbon hosted Expo 98 commemorating the 500th anniversary of Vasco de Gama's voyage to India. This modern and attractive part of the city is bustling.

However, as a whole, Lisbon is a city undergoing transition and renewal as a result of recent economic challenges. But the spirit of the city remains strong and it would be interesting to go back in a few years to see how it reinvents itself.

Bilbao was a clean, neat and beautiful city with lovely parks, flowers and fountains.

The metro, tram and Bilbaobuses make exploring easy and inexpensive.

The old quarter, mainly a pedestrian only area, was a wonderful place to do a walkabout.

The architecture was wonderful and the little shops fun to explore.

We stopped in one small cafe for tapas and rioja.  It brought back fond memories of when we lived in Spain.

The Battle of Normandy cemetery commemorates the thousands who bravely fought on D-Day, June 6, 1944 and after.

Situated on the bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, it is the final resting place of 9387. This represents less than half of those that died.

The names of 1557 are inscribed on a semi circular wall, paying tribute to those whose bodies were never found.

Touring the cemetery was a profound and emotional experience. We hope to return to experience more and pay further tribute to the thousands who made the ultimate sacrifice on those beaches.

The Bayeux Tapestry is 230 feet long and 20 inches high.

In just shy of 60 scenes it depicts the events leading up to the Normandy Invasion of England and continues through William the Conqueror's victory at the Battle of Hastings.

Done in the late 11th century, the exquisite embroidery is still vibrant and harmonious.

The original colors of the wool were dyed using vegetable dyes and beautiful terracotta, blue green, dull gold, olive green, blue and small amounts of dark blue and sage green were the result.

Later repairs to the tapestry were done using yellow, orange and light greens.

Commissioned as a piece of propaganda, the tapestry has evolved into a beautiful treasure.

Momma Duck Take Two


As many of you will remember, we had a momma duck build her nest on our boat roof last spring.

Well, she must have tweeted about it, because another momma duck has done the same thing this year in the same flower box.

We have been listening to her up there all morning.

She makes me smile.

I know Mike is smiling, too. He is just hiding his well.

I wonder how many baby ducks will hatch this year.

Stay tuned for updates.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Breaking My Arm?

I risk that by patting myself on the back in this blog.

Today we returned from our cruise to our boat at 4:00.

It's now 6:30 and without a stop at a grocery store I have made dinner, including a dessert, and bread is baking in the oven.

What is dinner?

 Stuffing with pea and chicken gravy
sauteed pineapple
vanilla cake with a spoon over strawberry glaze

The bread is for breakfast.

I am especially proud of this menu, hence risking a broken arm.

More about our cruise tomorrow.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Six and a Half Hours Late

Yesterday's thunderstorms played havoc with our flying schedule.

First, our flight was late getting into BWI so we boarded an hour late.

We then sat on the tarmac for over an hour waiting for storm cells to move through so that we could take off.

Once we were cleared to go our pilots no longer had enough legal time left to take the plane to Lauderdale.

Back to the gate we went.

We disembarked and proceeded to kill time while a new crew came up to BWI from Florida.

While we were waiting they fed us Dominoes pizza so all was not lost.

At 12:30 in the morning we got back on the same plane and tried again.

The trip was bumpy but we made it into Lauderdale and to our hotel by 4:30 this morning.

When we woke up we found an email apology from the airline and $200 credit each for a future flight(s) .

We started the day with a smile.

And, we can still make our cruise.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Emerald Princess

Later today we are flying to Ft. Lauderdale and tomorrow we are boarding the Emerald Princess for a two week repositioning cruise back to England.

I will not have internet connectivity during the cruise unless we find an internet cafe.

So if I am silent for the next two weeks please understand why.

I'll be back as soon as I can.

March Total

As part of this year's goals, I have again kept track of how much money we didn't have to spend in March just by adjusting a few mindsets.

We managed to "save" $1124.87 in March.


By "buying" daily free e-books, taking advantage of hotel room savings, buying items that had been further reduced at charity/thrift stores, taking advantage of military discounts, using our OAP (senior citizens) discount, taking advantage of sales, using coupons, buying through ebates, taking advantage of free food available at the hotel, using my earned free coffee at Starbucks, finding a less expensive place to have my hair cut, finding cheaper gasoline, doing my own pedicure and manicure and taking advantage of a free photo offer.

None of these negatively affected my quality of life. And, the money saved will actually enhance said quality of life.

Over the last three months we have managed to avoid spending $3495.11 or an average of $1165.04 per month. Not too shabby.