Madrid, part 2

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The nightlife in Madrid is a calm electricity.  Whatever does that mean?  It is about stylish relaxation and just fun.

It was all aglow with Christmas decorations.

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I have to admit , I love the vibrant colors.

Of course they had a Christmas market.

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One of the fabulous things about traveling is learning about a culture in a real way.  Learning how Madrid celebrates this time of year is wonderful.  We saw many stalls selling the moss for the nativity scenes.   I was just soaking it up!

Hubby celebrated a birthday on this trip.  I wanted to do something out of the ordinary for the occasion.  So when in Spain, go watch dancing!

I took Hubby to a Flamenco show.  It was simply breathtaking.  We did not know what to watch.  The feet, the hands, the facial expressions, the singers.  It was all so wonderful.  A true experience of a lifetime.

We went to …

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The people were lovely and the dancers were passionate.  I know, I know, all Flamenco dancers are.

Here are some of the sights we experienced.

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Remember twirling around in your dresses as a little girl?  This was so much more.  The dancers were drenched in sweat after each dance.  I was in a trance the entire show.  It is something we will never forget and feel so fortunate to have experienced.

Tomorrow, I will share with you the all important subject of food!  Until then, enjoy your day!

 

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Madrid, part 1

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Old European elegance will be what I think about when I recall our trip to Madrid. It was regal.  It was sophisticated.  It was just amazing!

The weather was nothing to write home about… It rained the entire time.  I guess that is what umbrellas are made for.  The weather did not hinder us in the least.  We saw everything we had planned on.

The first day and a half we spent at three of the best art museums you want to visit, the Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia.  We saw art that we are still talking about.  Years ago I read a book about the battle of Guernica.  In my eagerness to learn more, I found out that Picasso depicted the battle.  I finally saw that masterpiece.  I stood in the room just studying each part of it for more that thirty minutes.  We had the privilege to experience Miro, Goya, Dali, more of Picasso, and so many more.  We thought going in that we would have loved the Prado the best.  However, our favorite was the Thyssen-Bornemisza.  One thing that I wanted was to really view Dali.  Not to understand, but to appreciate.  I did that.

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The entrance into the Prado.  Please keep in mind the weather!

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An amazing building right by the Prado.

Our favorite part of traveling is getting to know a city.  We do that by walking.  We do a lot of walking on our trips.  Most of time over 13 miles a day.  We just take everything in.  Madrid had fabulous architecture.  I could not get enough of it.  It seemed like every few minutes I was stopping and taking a picture.  In fact, I took over 200 pictures of just buildings.  I am just going to show you a fraction of those!

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This last picture is my absolute favorite.

Beautiful city!  I cannot wait to show more tomorrow.  Part 2 will be devoted to nightlife!

Spanish Treasures, part 2

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I will admit that I am a little obsessed about pottery.  Hubby would be doing an eye roll if he read that statement.

Pottery tells a story, a history of a country.  It was an attempt to make an ordinary routine of eating something more.  Pottery brings beauty to the everyday life.  I think we need a lot of beauty.

Before going to Madrid, I did a lot of reading about the different Spainish pottery. On  several websites I spent time on, they suggested to find pieces of ‘old’ patterns that are discontinued to go to this one shop off the beaten path.  I like the beaten path.

I spent over two hours in there talking to the owner and asking questions.  He was so kind.

I ended up with three pieces from three different parts of Spain.

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First up is this bowl from Toledo, Spain.  Yes, the dark color is blue.  All pottery has that common element.  The mellow yellow and melon color are so soothing.  It brings a smile to my face.

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Next up is serving platter from Valencia, Spain.  Bold, festive, and just darn gorgeous.  The colors in this platter are so rich and interesting.

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Finally, from Mallorca, Spain this pot.  I will be using it in the kitchen to store root veggies in.  It has that island-y feel to it, just as you would expect.  Soft lines and colors just give off a happy vibe.

How could I not be excited about bringing those home?  The owner knew I would be carrying them home by plane- carry on.  He did an excellent job of packing!

Hubby said he like this shopping trip.  I think that is because he was around the corner at a tapas bar.  He said we should do that more often!

Before I close this post, I want to wish my Mother a happy 29th birthday again!   Hope you have a fabulous day!  And I am sending positive thoughts and prayers to Amazing Daughter who takes the lovely LSAT tomorrow.  Rock it girl!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Spanish Treasures

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Since I cannot show you the beauty of Madrid until next week, I am punting and showing you the treasures that are going to be added to our home!

When we travel, I like to pick up something that we will be able to fondly recall our time there.  We do a lot of research of the sites we want to see, the places we want to eat at, and the places to shop.  Madrid was no exception.

When I thought of Madrid, I kept thinking Spanish shawls and the magnicifent hand painted fans that I use to read about as a young girl growing up in South Texas.  Anything sounded exotic when you grow up in a small town.  I just remember thinking how elegant the ladies were who had them naturally in their wardrobe.  I also remember looking at pictures of pianos with shawls draped over them.  I explained this image to Hubby.  He looked at me in confusion.  We do not have a piano.  I had to reassure him that I was not planning on buying a piano for my silk shawl.  That eased his mind.

When I we finally found the store I had researched, I was taken in by the friendliness of the staff.  It was a store that has been ran by the same family for  four generations.  I have to say, the kind lady pulled out over forty fans  for me to view.  I felt special until I realized all the sales people were doing the same thing with their customers.  Here is what I decided on.

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All hand painted beauty!   You know I am a blue person.  I originally went in with the intention of coming out with something red.   This one just spoke to me.

The shawl was a little different.  I was transfixed on the variety of colors and the craftsmanship.   They were all so beautiful.  It basically came down to how much I wanted to spend.  We are budget minded people.  I am in awe of what I selected.

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Here is a closer view. Yep, blue again.  And yes, it matches the fan.  Funny how that happened!

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I am deciding where and how this treasured piece will be displayed.  Right now, I have draped it over a chair in our guest bedroom.  Nothing is permanent in our adobe.  Next week it could be somewhere else!

Tomorrow, I will share part two.

Have a fabulous day!

Traditions

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It is hump day and I am already thinking about the weekend.  Why?  It is the weekend we will hit our first Christmas market of the season, decorate the house, and put up our tree.

As with all families we have a certain way we celebrate the season.  We turn on the Christmas music, make chili con queso, heat up the Gluwein, and bring out the decorations.  Since we are in a new house it will be about finding the perfect fit for our things.

It is fun opening up the bins each year.  We start talking about years gone by. Memories are such a wonderful thing.

Trimming the tree is my favorite part.  With a mug of mulled wine, Gluwein in German, reliving each place we have visited as I place an ornament on the tree.  Hubby thinks he is done after we put the lights on.  He switches to supervisor mode.

It is a special weekend that we share each year.  I cannot wait to add to it.  These traditions are the treasured moments that makes life just amazing.

Madrid picture update….

As you know during the week Hubby and I live in two places (sad, I know!).  To make a long story short, Hubby has the camera.  I will have to wait until next week to share. Urggggg…  However, I will give you a sneak peek tomorrow of some of the Spanish goods I ‘acquired’ along the way!

Happy Hump Day everybody!

It is beginning to look a lot ….

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The weather has finally decided to turn chilly around here.  In fact, we never got out of the 30s yesterday.  We get to repeat that result the rest of the week.  I am so excited!

Colder weather means thicker sweaters, tights, and these!

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Those are things of beauty.  When deciding what to wear for the week, I just could not help myself.  Four out of the five days are boots.  Nice.  It is like bringing out that familiar t-shirt.  They are comfortable and are just you.  I know by the end of March I will be ready to put them back in their bin.  However, right now I am simply going to enjoy having them here again!

On another note….

Hubby and I made it back from Madrid late Sunday night.  Got to love airport delays.  We had a MARVELOUS time.  Once I get all the pictures downloaded, I will be sharing some of the sights.  I cannot wait to share!

Have a fabulous Tuesday!  Just curious… Am I the only one that still has pumpkins laying around?  Guess you know what I will be doing this weekend!

Thanks

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Awe….

This is my favorite holiday.  It is my favorite month.   I know that it has to do with the fact that two of the most special and amazing people I love the most in this world were born in November.

This is a holiday about family, food, and creating those memories that last a lifetime.  All of those things are sacred to me.

Since we moved over here to Europe for work many, many years ago, we made a pact.  One year our house would be filled with friends and family enjoying a meal and then one year we would take advantage of living in Europe.  The last two years we have broken that tradition.   We opened our house up to many friends for  fabulous celebrations.  The laughter, the stories, the smiles are precious to us.

This year, Hubby and I are hitting the road.  We will be spending this holiday in the wonderful city of Madrid.  We are so excited.  It will be our first time.  We cannot wait to experience everything.  Our bags are packed.  Our itinerary is solidified and our research is done.

However, this holiday begs for us to sit back and reflect on our lives.  It begs for us to see and treasure what we are so thankful for.  I, for one, feel so blessed.  I have a job that I jump out of bed for each morning.  I have a wonderful Hubby that I  still get goosebumps when he walks into a room.  Together we have an Amazing Daughter that continues to just blow us away. Life is so good.

I hope that you enjoy this marvelous time of year.   I will be back on Monday with tales from Madrid.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Test Drive

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Remember last week when I shared the cookbooks Hubby surprised me with?  Well this weekend I took one of them on a test drive!  Oh it was so much fun!

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First off, the book is just beautiful.  Here is what I mean.  I just had to take some pictures of the inside.

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The layout is bright and festive.  It is just screaming, “Come cook with me!”  I am a visual person.  I like lots of pictures in cookbooks.  I want to know what the dish is suppose to look like.  If I get close, I feel like I won.  I also like to see how they present the food.  Presentation is everything!  One of the lovely things about Mediterranean cuisine is the colors.  Each dish is a work of art in more ways than one.  For those of us that had a difficult time doing a paint by number project, this is how I get my creative juices flying.

The first dish I made was Cinnamon Braised Beef Tajini.  I sautéed bell peppers and mushrooms in a truffle olive oil for some color. Finally, I topped it off with a generous sprinkle of cilantro.

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It was amazing.  The favors blended well together.  I was so proud of myself.

With the second try, I thought breakfast.  I made the Fried Sweet Potato Omelet.

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Oh, we enjoyed ourselves with this meal.  I would have never thought sweet potatoes for breakfast.  Boy, I will now.

I cannot wait to dig into it some more.  It’s a wonder that we are so delighted with food.  I know it is because I have so much fun cooking it!

 

Pumpkin Dilemma

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We are reaching the end of Fall.   I, like many others, have used pumpkins as part of making our home more inviting over the past months.  Now that we are about to pull out all things red and green, we have a pumpkin dilemma!

A few years ago, it dawned on me instead of tossing the lovely pumpkins into the compost bin and buying canned unusually orange pumpkin, I could give the ones I already bought a second life.  Yes, I am a little slow sometimes!

I looked up how to purée pumpkins.  The first year I did it, Hubby said it looked like something from Fargo.  Every since then, the weekend before Thanksgiving I gather all pumpkins and chop, purée, and freeze for upcoming soups, muffins, pies, and smoothies.

For some reason I love this weekend.  I love knowing that we enjoyed looking at them for over a month and now we are going to enjoy eating them over the Winter.  No waste!

 

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Nice selection.  I still love the beautiful colors of nature!

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After going thru the food processor….

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These are resting in my freezer.  I ended up with more pumpkin purée than last year.  Now, we are set.  I’m thinking pumpkin soup is in our near future!

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!

 

 

To Do Weekend

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Weekends are suppose to be about relaxing from the work week.  Of course, we have our errands to run, our clothes to wash,  and our house to pick up.

This weekend will be a little different for us.  Our to-do list has been created and prioritized.  We will be like a busy CEO!

Whatever we will we doing?  Ah……  A lot.

It is suppose to be a chilly weekend here.  Yea!   It is perfect for the things we need to get done.  The not so much fun things about life.  For example, cleaning out the frig or rotation all the ‘thicker’ blankets to the beds or change out wardrobes.  Busy and vital things you just have to do.

We will turn up the 80s music loud and get it done.  We will stop each evening in time to have a wonderful dinner and finalize our Thanksgiving plans.

See, even the not so fun things can be fun!

Have a fabulous weekend!