Archives for February 2014

Pancake Party

Greeting 29 with a smile.

In honor of my 29th birthday, Mike and I invited our friends and my colleagues over for a pancake party. I wanted to do something inclusive that everyone would enjoy, even my new 3 year old friends! I knew I wanted to have a breakfast party but couldn’t quite decide on the food. Then, Mike piped up with a suggestion: Why not serve pancakes?

A few days later I became a co-owner of a pancake maker with my friend Katie. We weren’t sure how well it would work…seeing as it was actually labeled “Crap(e) Maker.” Luckily, it performed perfectly!

I tried to cover all the topping bases: butter, syrup, powdered sugar, strawberries, bananas, Nutella, whipped cream, sprinkles, honey, peanut butter, and the list continues. I wanted there to be something for everyone! There was also fresh orange, strawberry, and banana juice.

I feel like it’s safe to say the party was a success! There was even talk of more pancake parties in the future.

Unfortunately, the photos of the day did not turn out well so I’m not posting most of them. Plus, my favorite photos were starring the youngest guests, and I’d rather keep the kiddos off the blog. Just trust me, little ones posing with sprinkled covered pancakes are adorable.

Throwing the pancake party definitely made me miss all those Hump Day parties in Abu Dhabi. Those were the good ol’ party days…

Here’s to 29!

xo, jill

Kiva Loan: February

2 down, 10 to go!

It’s time again for Kiva lending! February’s loan is heading on down to Senegal. Astou Sekou requested a loan to purchase damask and muslin to grow her sewing business. What can I say? I’m a sucker for seamstresses. It must be the sewing withdrawal.

Photo from Astou’s Kiva listing / She’s raising her hand.

I took a glimpse at my Kiva portfolio today and noticed something pretty cool. The total amount of money I’ve lent is about three times as much as I’ve deposited. I love this system.

xo, jill

Moroccan in a Winter Wonderland

I couldn’t help myself.

I meant to post these photos a few weeks ago when the Northwest was under so much snow…

Back in early February Mike and I joined some co-workers and headed to Oukaimeden, a popular ski spot in the Atlas Mountains. Our group chartered a private bus and got an early start. The two hour bus ride felt like quite the transformation. We went from warm and red Marrakech to the white and snowy Oukaimeden.

A few people in our group took their chances skiing, Mike included. You can either rent gear from a rental shop or from several vendors at the base of the ski hill. It basically looks like a garage sale with outdated equipment on offer… but it gets the job done. In Mike’s opinion, the experience was similar to skiing in Dubai… good for the novelty (skiing in Africa!) but not great for the actual skiing itself.

These amazing ski suits were a common sight. 

There’s also a sledding area popular with kids and families. How could you say no to renting one of these bad boys for your kids?

For me, I thoroughly enjoyed my day relaxing in the sun at a little cafe. I was able to catch up on some reading and knitting, and spend quality time with a co-worker/friend I really enjoy.

Our little set up until a snow plow booted us.

After a few hours our group reconvened and a Moroccan style snowman was born. That guy turned out to be quite the hit. Children and adults alike came over to ask if they could pose in front of him.

Polar Puppy was there too.

We were stuck in a bit of ski traffic on our way down the mountain. A giant boulder in the middle of the road didn’t help things either. Luckily, the incredible view of misty clouds enveloping the ground below made the delay worth it.

xo, jill

Quiet Day in Mons

and a monkey too!

From Lille we headed to the last destination of our Christmas holiday. Instead of spending the final day in Charleroi, we stopped in at the smaller Belgian town of Mons. It was New Year’s Day so the shops were closed and the streets were quiet. That was just fine with me. It’s much easier to adjust to the realization that holiday is over when the sightseeing slows down.

We spent the day walking up and down the cute streets and made sure to visit the lucky monkey outside City Hall. Tradition states that if you pet the monkey’s head with your left hand, a wish will come true. If I was better at keeping track of wishes, I’d be able to let you know if it worked or not.

For lunch we stopped in at one of the only open restaurants. Our fellow patrons were a lively pair who alternated between shouting at each other and shouting across to us. I was actually thankful for the language barrier because it felt easier to politely ignore their drunken banter. The sympathetic looks from the waitress helped too.

A pop culture nativity scene.

After a comfortable night’s rest we were back on the train headed to the Charleroi airport and then onwards to Marrakech.

xo, jill

Happy 2014!

A lil Lille.

Since all good things must end, it came time to check out of our lovely one bedroom apartment in Brussels and say goodbye to the sweet kitty we’d been watching. After preparing the apartment for the next guests, we boarded a train bound for Lille, France. I had always heard that Lille was just an ugly industrial town and not worth much of a visit. However, Mike easily convinced me by showing me a few images of the town’s center. It’s actually a very pretty place.

Lille is where we rang in the new year. We celebrated with other revelers in the main square and watched the amateur firework show until it started to feel a tad bit unsafe. It just doesn’t seem wise to shoot roman candles off into the crowd. After dodging a few way too low to the ground blasts, Mike and I decided it was time to turn in. It’s just not quite as fun when singed hair or burned skin are a real concern.

2014 was off to an interesting start.

xo, jill

In Bruges

Bruges is for lovers (and tourists).

Our last day trip from Brussels was to the much fawned over Bruges. Two things were very clear during our visit: 1. Bruges is a beauty. 2. Her dance card is full.

Unlike in Ghent, it was very easy to find our way from the train station to the center of town. We just followed the masses. If Bruges is this busy in the winter, I’d be tempted to skip it altogether in the summer. At one point a mother in line ahead of me while I was getting a waffle kept complaining that there was no where to sit down to eat in all of Bruges. All the cafes and restaurants were full up. Mike and I didn’t investigate her claims much further, but by peeking through a few cafe windows in the square, she seemed to be correct.

Of course, all those tourists are in Bruges for a reason. It’s a really pretty town.

Mike and I spent our day milling about the town, eating waffles, and stopping into another Medieval cellar bar. We tried to ignore the throngs of other visitors and a pervasive feeling that you’re trapped inside a diamond company commercial. Still, not a bad day spent in one of Europe’s best preserved towns.

xo, jill

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...