Sunday, November 30, 2008

I made it!!!

Coming up with something to blog about everyday for NaBloPoMo (it still sounds dirty) has been a bit of a challenge. I realize that some days I really just don't have anything interesting to say. The little blue finger monster doesn't have anything to say either.


See him shrugging in befuddlement?

It's been a -good- challenge though. I have some set ideas about what I want to post and have a vague idea of a schedule for them (recipes on Tuesdays, for example). I think I'm also going to start writing ideas that I have on post-it notes! I will have a good idea and forget it by the time I get back to the computer, so that'll be a good solution.

Thirty straight days of posting- I'm glad I did it, but I think I'm more glad it's over!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Have You Seen This Bicycle Bag?


Picture 337


Name: My Awesome Bicycle Bag
DOB: Sometime last year
Missing: Sometime during the night or early morning of November 28th or 29th, 2008
Height: Average bicycle bag height
Weight: Not terribly much
Missing from: The front of my apartment building

My Awesome Bicycle Bag was last seen on the evening of November 28 in front of my apartment building. Details are sketchy at this point, but this being treated as a kidnapping.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of My Awesome Bicycle Bag please contact me using the e-mail in my profile.

If you are the person who kidnapped My Awesome Bicycle Bag, I hope you put some priceless very breakable object inside there and the bottom falls out.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I want to ride my bicycle!

I live in a country where bikes are more common than people. When you've got a population creeping up towards 17 million, that's a lot of bikes.


This is my main mode of transport these days. I have since replaced the headlamp (my bike has a headlamp!) because it was dying and I didn't feel like finding out how much the fine was for having a dead light.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

image created and courtesy of

I am thankful that...

  • Martijn's job is flexible enough that he can take the morning off and rush me to the dentist when my teeth revolt
  • we finally got the authorization letter from the insurance for my medicine
  • I managed to get through the second part of my Dutch courses without being jailed for assaulting the terribly unpleasant teacher
  • I have found a good group of ladies around here that I'm getting to know better
  • I have the awesomest family in the world and I get to go visit them for almost a month very soon now
  • I am getting to be a better cook (Martijn is probably thankful for that too)
  • the elevator (usually) works and that I don't (usually) have to trek up 8 flights of stairs with perishables that need to go in the fridge
  • after months and months and months of healing my ankle is finally to where it doesn't bother me much at all anymore
  • Martijn can completely crack me up laughing

I am thankful for...

  • super cheap voip service so that I can call and talk to my mom whenever I feel like it
  • my cute husband who works hard to support us and takes such good care of me
  • my mattress warmer
  • thick fuzzy socks
  • my mp3 player, Big Daddy, and audiobooks
  • my bike and the bicycle paths
  • lower gas prices
  • my kitties, even though they can't live here right now

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Case of the Meh's

I'm sneaking in right under the deadline here today.

I half wrote 5 or 6 posts but I really wasn't "feeling" any of them. I am battling after effects of the antibiotics (which I -thought- was dealt with but it CAME BACK) and as I was chewing tonight the crown on my tooth fell off. So I'm grumpy and a little bit miserable. I have a definate case of the "meh's" (yes, that's the technical term).

On the good side, tomorrow is a new day. Martijn will call the dentist, I will go get a couple of things from the health food store to help me combat my afflictions and with any luck things will be set right again before I know it!

In other news, we did have -actual- snow on Sunday and Monday!

It's all melted by now, but it was quite pretty at the time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cranberry Relish

It's no secret that I love Jello. In fact, I would probably be happy eating Jello for just about every meal until I started getting sick and dying from vitamin deficiencies. Even then I'd still probably keep eating it because it just glides down the throat with very little effort on my part.

Here's the problem: You can't buy sugar-free Jello here. You can find some flavors of gelatine, but not the real stuff, and certainly not sugar-free. So whenever I get my grubby hands on a box, it goes into my stockpile only to be used on very special occasions. My stockpile keeps growing (thanks Mom, Grandma M, Liz, and Bobbi) and I'm not eating it. This is really silly so I've decided to make a Thanksgiving resolution (I don't wanna wait another month and a few days til New Years) to EAT MORE JELLO!

This is my Grandma Russell's cranberry relish recipe, complete with Jello.

Cranberry Relish

You will need:
16 oz cranberries (I think this is a regular sized bag in the US, but the ones here are smaller)
4 apples, cored
3 oranges (mandarins work okay, but you'll want to use a couple more)
Rind from one of the oranges, grated
2 (small) packages or one large package red Jello (use a flavor you like- raspberry is good, but any of them work really)
2 cups sugar (Splenda works but it doesn't set as firmly, and I've found using less is okay too but it depends on your tastes)

Grind all the fruit together. If you have a nice big food processor, this is a good job for it. I used Little Choppy's choppy bit and the stick blender part to grind stuff up in batches. You don't want to completely puree it, it's good with a little texture left! Add the sugar and let set for 1/2 an hour. Make the Jello using only 2 cups of water. Let it cool down a bit and pour over the fruit. Chill until set. You can make this ahead and freeze it until you need it too, which is rather handy.

Check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays for more yummy recipes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- November 24, 2008

click the banner and "Menu Plan Monday" for more menu planning ideas

Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup in the Crockpot

Fabulous Freezer Chicken Drumsticks

Fish Sloppy Joes

Mini-Thanksgiving since we already celebrated on Saturday
I'm going to try to find a little chicken to roast, and we'll have stuffing and some sprouts!

I'm leaving one open day this week, but if I must cook I'm probably going to make spaghetti!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving Stuffing

I got this recipe from my Grandma Mortensen. I think it's the best stuffing recipe I've ever had!

Thanksgiving Stuffing
2 quarts (8 cups) bread cubes
1 cube margarine or butter (115 grams), melted
1/2 cup water or turkey bullion
1/2 cup melted honey
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sage
1 tsp rosemary, crushed
1 apple, grated
1/2 cup carrots, grated
1/2 cup celery, cut small
1/2 cup onion, grated

Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the bread cubes. Stir until bread is covered. Bake at 350 F (175 C) for 45 minutes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Celebrations

We had a wild blizzard last night.

First Snow!
Okay, okay, maybe blizzard is overstating it a little bit. It was a little exciting though because the only time it snowed last season was when I flew home to Utah in March, and then I saw real snow.

Living in another country during the holiday season can be a challenge. The celebrations and traditions are different and it's very easy to fall into being homesick and lonely. I feel really grateful that the North American Women's Club has a Thanksgiving celebration each year because there's no way on earth I'd be able to cook a turkey in my micro-sized oven, let alone everything else to go along with it! One of the ladies is gracious enough to let us invade her house on a Saturday around Thanksgiving and we gather together and share good company and good FOOD! She cooks the turkey (which our club dues go towards every year) and then everyone brings a dish to share. I took cranberry relish and stuffing! Both of which I will be posting recipes for in the coming days.

Thanksgiving Table

I really wish I'd snapped a picture when everyone was sitting down and all the food was on the table. It was so so good! We had turkey (of course), mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry relish, stuffing, corn pudding, salad with tons of veggies and a vinegar dressing, sweet potatoes, green been casserole, pea casserole (just like the green been casserole, but with peas), cornbread with corn in it, and for dessert someone made pumpkin pie and someone else made a pecan pie.

The best part was just getting together, like a big crazy family.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Coolest Postcard on Earth

I am really scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of what to write here folks, and I still have NINE more days to go.

I got a haircut.

Picture 1712


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kitty Wallhanging- in progress


In my horrifying stack of unfinished projects I have this little wall hanging. Which has really been in the unfinished projects far longer than I care to admit to. I put it on my 26 before 27 list so that I'd have some sort of goal. I got quite far with it initially and then got hung up on how I wanted to do the appliqué stitches. It's felt, so technically it would probably even be okay if I just let it be, but it didn't really look -finished- that way.


I decided to do a blanket stitch around the kitties. I've done quite a bit more stitching on it since I took these pictures, but I think I'm going to pull out the black and do it with one strand of floss instead of two. I did the maroon parts on the grey cat with a single strand of sewing thread and it's a lot less obtrusive. I want it to be visible but I feel like right now it's a little thicker than I want it.

Now since I posted about it, I'm hoping my dear faithful readers will occasionally say "Hey, how's that little kitty wall hanging of yours coming along?" Because then I -have- to finish it. I can't let you people down!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Picture 1675

This is a picture of a luchtalarm (an air raid siren). I marvel at the fact that I live in a place that actually -has- air raid sirens. I know that in some of the midwestern states they're used as tornado alarms and the such, but we didn't have them in Utah.

On the first Monday of the month at noon they test the sirens, and though they're now used as an emergency siren instead of an air raid warning, one of us will undoubtedly scream "THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!" If the siren goes off at any time besides noon on the first Monday, you are to go inside and close all the doors and windows and turn on the radio or television to find out what sort of ramp (disaster in English) you are facing and how to proceed. Luckily that hasn't happened since I've been here!

Speaking of disasters... The first time Martijn visited Utah, we were driving to my grandma's house and had to get on the interstate. As in many places you need to go up an onramp to get on the freeway, and so it was nicely labeled in big bold letters "RAMP." So this funny little voice exclaims "OH NO! We're headed for disaster!" I think my friend Liz and I are still to this day laughing about it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No Bake Cookies

I was frantically trying to think of something to make for dessert tonight that wasn't the standby "go to the store and buy two random flavors of pudding." Since I don't feel that fabulous I also wanted it to be something FAST. So I was staring in the cupboard and it dawned on me that it's been -ages- since I made these babies:

No Bake Cookies

No Bake Cookies

115g butter or margarine (this is the same as one stick in the US... I don't recommend using a whole stick of Dutch butter- your arteries will stop working immediately).
2 cups sugar*
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Before you start, line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil and set aside.

Melt the butter in a pan over low heat.

Add the sugar, cocoa, and milk.

Turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil.

Let boil for two minutes and remove from the heat.

Add the oats, peanut butter, and vanilla and stir until the oats are all covered with the mixture and the peanut butter is melted in.

Quickly drop spoonfuls (you decide the size of your delicious cookies) onto the cookie sheets and let cool.

I suggest eating these with a very giant glass of milk.

*I am going to attempt a half batch at some point with Splenda, when I do I shall let people know of my results.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- November 17, 2008

click the banner and "Menu Plan Monday" for more menu planning ideas

I have lots of carryovers from last week's plan partially because we weren't around and partially cause we had leftovers one night. I did make enough Crockpot BBQ Ribs for two nights in a row and the Chicken Chili wasn't bad. I might try kidney beans in it next time instead of white beans cause I think they have a more interesting flavor.

This week:

Pasta with Cauliflower and Aged Cheese- I made this tonight and it was good. I had no light for a photo so I'll try to take a picture of it tomorrow when I eat the leftovers for lunch.

Boeuf Stroganof (recipe is in Dutch)- It's Martijn's turn to cook in his weekly dinner "club." Strangely, his turn means I'm cooking.

Curry Sprouts- Still planning on making this one, I really liked it the first time we had it.

Gestoofd varkensvlees met kidney bonen-- Stewed pork with kidney beans. This is a carryover from last week.

Ham and Egg Quiche- I still have the mix for this, might as well use it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Trekking through Zeeland

Today the weather ended up being okay enough that we could go do our geocache! It was in a nice area along the coast and I snagged a marble out of it and placed a little stuffed turtle inside.

We needed to do a little bit of calculating to find the final coordinate, and since there were no tables handy, Martijn made use of my back. I told him to never say I didn't do anything for him!

Picture 1684

I seem to be coming down with something, so I slept a good part of the afternoon and felt a bit better afterwards. I think I'm going to lay low this week and hopefully I'll feel better in time for the Thanksgiving celebration that the North American Women's Club is doing on Saturday. I'm bringing the stuffing and the cranberry relish!

Here are some more pictures of our treks, and a sea urchin (it was dead)!

Picture 1679

Picture 1676

Picture 1683

Saturday, November 15, 2008


If you were to gauge how interesting my life is by the amount of traveling I've done in November, you might conclude that it is very interesting indeed. You would, of course, be wrong.

Martijn's folks booked a place in Zeeland for the weekend, and that's where we are now. It's not bad, but I don't find it to be as cozy as the bungalow we stayed at in Texel.


Zeeland is the south-westernmost province in The Netherlands and is made up of several islands and a strip of land that looks like it should really be in Belgium. Much of the province is below sea level and is actually reclaimed land. Wikipedia has a rather interesting article about the Delta Works which is the name of the projects built in the southwest of the country to protect it from flooding.

We did one geocache today and then took a nice walk along the beach. Afterwards, we headed to Goes to pick up my sister in law from the train station. If the weather holds out, we'll do another geocache tomorrow and then head home on Monday morning.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tortilla Pie

Tortilla Pie

4 tortillas, I used flour ones because that's what I can buy here
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 small can (70 gram) tomato paste
1 lb ground beef (really, I think you could cut this in half and not miss it)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 can corn
1 can tomatoes (can be whole or chopped, if they're whole just smash them up)
1 can* chickpeas
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced thinly
1 cup shredded cheese

I have made this in a round casserole dish with no problem, but it really looks awesome if you use a springform pan (you can see the layers of deliciousness).

Pour a little olive oil into your pan and add the onion, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender. Stir in tomato paste, then add hamburger and garlic. Cook the hamburger until it's done, and drain any excess oil. Remove the hamburger mix from the pan and toss in the zucchini slices. Let those cook for a few minutes until they start getting tender. Add the corn, chickpeas, and tomatoes to the mix. Stir in the hamburger mixture.

Put 1 tortilla in the bottom of your springform pan. Spread 1/3 of the veggie/beef mixture and sprinkle with a small amount of cheese. Repeat twice, and then add one more tortilla on top and sprinkle liberally with the remaining amount of cheese. Bake in a 175C oven for about 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite salsa and guacamole, and a little sour cream.

*I used dry chickpeas. 1/2 cup dried beans will yeild about 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans, which is exactly what you need for this recipe.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why I'm not an artist

It's only day 13 of NaBloPoMo and I'm running out of things to say.

So I drew you a picture...


It's a portrait of Baron von Sockmeister.

He didn't approve.

Picture 1108

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ribbon Blankie

I was invited to a baby shower in a couple of weeks and started having this panicked feeling about what I was going to do for a gift. For many of the recent (uh, recent being before I moved) showers I've attended, I'd put together diaper cakes. I had it down to a science and I knew where to buy the most economical supplies for said diaper cakes. Here I struggle to find GROCERIES sometimes, so I decided that probably wasn't an option for this one. I was kicking around the idea of making a teddy bear, but quite frankly my teddy bear skills are still in their infancy and I didn't want to give a bear to a child who would be merrily playing with it only to have it's head fall off or one of the limbs detach. Talk about trauma!

So I was at the thrift store browsing through the fabric that they sometimes have and I spotted a very bright funky piece of fabric. I asked Martijn if he thought it was unisex-ish enough for a boy gift and he said yes. Now I just needed to figure out what to do with it! I did a little brainstorming and decided it would be perfect for one of those little ribbon tag blankets. I went to my favorite store on the planet, the Smitje (a shop with every kind of crazy little sewing notion you can think of) to get some ribbon, and to the market to get a piece of fleece for the backing.

Since it was probably going to be barfed on at some point in it's life, I prewashed all the fabric and ribbons and dried them in the dryer to make sure there wouldn't be future shrinkage. I cut a 20 inch square from both the cotton and the fleece, and then cut all the ribbons I'd found into 5 inch pieces.

Picture 1663

Then I folded the ribbons in half and pinned them to the right side of the cotton fabric. To make the sides somewhat even, I found the center of each edge and placed the striped ribbon exactly in the middle. I then measured two inches from either side to place the next two ribbons, and then two inches out again from there. That seemed to work pretty well, but if all of my ribbons had been as wide as the yellow one or the striped one, I might've used less ribbons per side.

Picture 1664

Next, just lay the fleece right side down onto your square and pin it. Stitch around the outside edges using about a 3/8" seam allowance. For extra security you can reverse over the ribbons, but I found it faster to just go around the whole thing twice. Make sure to leave an open edge for turning it right side out! Turn it right side out and poke the corners out so that they lay nice. With the bulkiness of the fleece, mine had a slightly rounded edge. Whip stitch up the hole you left to turn it right side out. Then top stitch around the outer edge. I used a decorative stitch because I could, but it's certainly not necessary.

Ribbon blankie

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Good News Moment!

Last time I went "home" was in March to go to my Great Grandma Johnson's funeral. It was a -very- last minute thing. We thought there was no way on earth we'd be able to afford a plane ticket on two days notice. A miracle occurred and I was able to go home. But, we kept it a secret from everyone. No one except my parents knew that I was going to be back. So I spent the next few days surprising several people. I was worried that I'd caused the need for two funerals when I walked into Grandma and Grandpa M's livingroom. Grandma looked like she was going to faint dead away! It was really a sneaky thing to do, but to be honest I really got a kick out of surprising people and seeing their reactions.

Since I know I cannot get away with that sort of covert operation again, I am happy to announce that I am COMING TO UTAH in January!

Here's a picture of what my face looks right now:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- November 10, 2008

click the banner and "Menu Plan Monday" for more menu planning ideas

Chicken Chili- New recipe. I've got everything to make it so I'm gonna give it a go.

Crockpot Barbecue Ribs- I still have some of the ribs I got a few weeks ago in the freezer and since Martijn liked these so much I'm not going to seek out a new recipe for them.

Gestoofd varkensvlees met kidney bonen- Stewed pork with kidney beans. I hope this will be good, I have everything to make it except the wine and I will just sub beef broth and a dash of vinegar or something along those lines.

Curry Sprouts- These were so good I'm going to make them again! And this time I'll remember to take a photograph so I can post it with the translated recipe.

Ham and egg quiche- I have a mix that we didn't use last week that I can make this with.

I'm gonna go to the market on Tuesday and see what vegetables I can get cheap for sidedishes.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

7 Random Facts

My evil for tagging me sweet friend Ken tagged me. I'm supposed to post 7 random things about myself and then tag 7 random people afterwards. I'll post 7 random things about me, but I hate tagging people so if you read this and feel compelled to participate, consider yourself tagged by me!

  • For as long as I can remember, my parents have called me Ralphetta Rooney. In recent years, this has been shortened to Ralph. No one seems to have an explanation for this, and it's also the reason I named my little monkey faced cat Ralph.
  • According to my husband, I have a "strange obsession" with the color orange. I don't think it's really strange at all. The world would be a truly better place if more things were orange, really! The fact that we have an orange car was a complete coincidence.
  • I have no sympathy for short people who complain that their pants are always too long and the sleeves on their shirt hang down past their fingertips. There is an easy solution for that. If you can give me an easy solution for adding inches that would look reasonable, then maybe we can discuss my sympathy boycott.
  • When I was little (haha as if I was ever little), I burned my head on the light bulb in a refrigerator.
  • I was very disappointed to find out that appelstroop was not some sort of delicious apple syrup as the name would lead you to believe, but a thick black tar of nastiness that my husband really likes to eat on bread.
  • When I worked at RadioShack, my nametag said Kim with SuperStar beneath it. It was pretty awesome.
  • People usually misspell my last name over here because it ends in a double L. Dutch words never end with two of the same consonant. Apparently names fall into this rule as well and I'm forever trying to correct it. I'm pretty sure the doctors office still has it wrong even though I tell them to fix it every time I go. I'm used to people misspelling Kimberley (they always leave out the extra e), but the last name was a new one for me.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Texel- A Week in Review

We stayed at Kustpark Texel in their TX4 "detatched chalet with terrace." I had a slightly different vision of a chalet, but this place was comfy and warm so I was happy.

Picture 1725

Sticking with the strangeness that is bed situations here, it was 4 single beds, but we successfully slept on two pushed together and used a queen sized sheet with no problems. We decided to save a little money by bringing our own bedding, but what I didn't know is they still provided the pillows and comforters. So instead of taking our two down comforters, pillows, AND sheets, I really only needed to bring the sheets and pillowcases. They also offered an end of stay cleaning service which we opted out of since it was €65 and the only "extra" things they did was clean the stove and inside of the fridge, and mop and vacuum the floor. Since there was a mop and vacuum in the bungalow it seemed silly to pay for them to do it.

Texel accomidations

The only real complaint we had about the kitchen was that the knives were as dull as hen's teeth and we ended up grabbing a packet of paring knives from the supermarket. Otherwise it was decently equipped for the amount of cooking we did there. Our bungalow didn't have a dishwasher, but I think some of the larger ones at that particular facility may have. The bathroom was a little smelly, so we got some toilet bowl cleaner and solved that problem right quick too.

Before we left, I was having concerns about the availability of groceries and such on the island. My experience with tourist areas in the past is that they tend to jack up the prices to silly levels, so I gathered up almost a weeks worth of food and piled it into the car. As with the comforters and pillows from home, this probably wasn't needed. There was a LIDL in De Koog (the village where our bungalow was located) as well as a Super de Boer. I also spotted an Albert Heijn in Den Burg (one of the main towns on the island). Next time we go I'll pack sandwich stuff (maybe a non moldy avocado and do the rest of the shopping on the island.

While I did enjoy seeing the seals at the Ecomare, it's probably not something I would go do again. The entry fee was €8.50, and I just felt like maybe there should've been more to it! I am not sad that I went though, how else would I have found out about the woolly rhino?

The Schipbreuk- en Juttersmuseum was great though. I'd go back there again for sure. It was so interesting to see all the things that washed up. The only downside was the video explaining the finds was all in Dutch. I caught some of it and Martijn helped fill in the blanks so it was alright in the end. I loved how much weird stuff he had found on the beaches!


I can't leave out the fact that we managed to do TWENTY ONE geocaches while we were there! I'm quite certain we walked at least 7000 miles this past week. My legs are aching, but I think it was worth it.

Don't you like my fabulous hat? It has a fold-down ear covering and is very warm.

The last thing I'll mention is the ferry. There's no road to the island, so you must take the ferry. The round-trip "ticket" was €35 for us and the car. If you go by bike or by foot the charges are different, and can be found on their website. It's a fairly quick ride, only about 20 minutes and they have restrooms and a cafe on board.

We enjoyed ourselves quite a lot. We plan on going back again sometime.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Texel- November 7, 2008

Today we did a few more geocaches. Our total for the week ended at 21. All but two were micros, but those are tricky to find sometimes!

Picture 1736

We took the ferry back to the "mainland" and then had a very very long traffic-jam filled drive home.

I'll post a wrap-up of the trip tomorrow, but methinks it's bedtime now.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Texel- November 6, 2008

Picture 1719

A few weeks ago Martijn was reading his magazine that we get free from the ANWB (like AAA in the US) and he spotted something interesting that we could do when we came up here – The Schipbreuk en Juttersmusem. Schipbreuk means shipwreck, and jutten means to scavenge beaches. So a jutter is a person who scavenges beaches for interesting things. One such person is the man who founded the museum, Jan Uitgeest. He's been scavenging the beaches for things that have washed ashore for the past 56 years and has amassed quite a collection! The museum has a lot of life preservers, buoys, fisherman gloves, and other “normal” boat things that you might expect. But the interesting things are the unexpected ones: four thousand cans of powdered milk, televisions, hard hats (apparently lots of people lose their hard hats at sea), suitcases, and tennis balls.

Picture 1696

Picture 1697

We headed over to the museum and realized once we got there that we had no cash on us. Well, that's not completely true. I had two 50 cent coins in my pocket and Martijn had at least four 5 cent coins, so we weren't quite destitute, but it wasn't enough to pay the entry fee. So we said we'd be back and Meneer Uitgeest told us to go inside and after we were done to come back and pay later! I thought that was quite generous and we really enjoyed the time we spent there. The video of him explaining some of his funny adventures was all in Dutch but I was able to piece together some of it, and Martijn helped me by explaining a lot of it afterward. After we left and did a couple of geocaches we finally found an ATM so we could pull out some money and go pay the man! He laughed and said thanks for coming back to pay since he'd completely forgotten. We even got an autographed brochure.

Picture 1710

The caches we went after were in the dunes known as De Muy. The first one was a rather quick find, but the second one involved some walking and climbing of lots and lots of stairs. I shouldn't complain though, at least I wasn't trying to walk my way up a huge pile of sand. There was a really lovely view from the top.

Picture 1720
That's the sea way off in the distance, shrouded in the FOG!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Texel- November 5, 2008

Today found us making an emergency trip to the pharmacy (Dutch: apotheek) because I didn't eat the required 50 cups of yogurt per minute needed to combat the bad effects of the antibiotics. The plus side was, we did get to explore the town of Den Burg a little bit. All 50 houses of it – including one supermarket selling moldy avocados (more on that travesty later).

Since it was windy and cold we decided that we'd had enough outdoor explorations and headed to the Ecomare. It's a museum and wildlife rehabilitation center for seals and birds on the island and in the surrounding areas. They have a lot of neat information on how the island of Texel was formed and over industries in the North Sea. The best part was, of course, the seals. I did like the little teeny crabs that we saw in the aquarium they have in the basement. Also, did you know that there were woolly rhinoceroses in the ice age? Cause I sure didn't.

Picture 1689

Picture 1694
This little guy was trying to escape into the pool next door, unsuccessfully, I might add.

Picture 1683
Strangely enough, they used sheep's wool to make this woolly rhino's coat.

After the Ecomare, we headed back to number 123 to have some lunch. We decided to take the rest of the day off and just have a quiet afternoon since Martijn wasn't feeling that great. It was fine by me too – I got to steal the cute little new toy and play with it for awhile. By the way, his new name is Ned.

Martijn cooked us tacos for dinner, but when he went to cut up the avocado we discovered it should've gone to the grave far before we bought it cause it was moldy and rather unpleasant inside. Annoying, since we JUST BOUGHT IT TODAY!

Now we are just arguing if “should've” is actually a word. I say yes, Ned says no, and my wicked husband agrees with the computer. Such loyalty. It's a word I say! A contraction, but that counts as a word, right???

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Texel- November 4, 2008

Yesterday we left Eindhoven around noon to drive to Den Helder, where we boarded the ferry that brought us to Texel.

We arrived at the bungalow park a little after 3 (good timing, since that was the time that we could check in), checked in, and made our way to bungalow number 123. It's a cute little two bedroom place, but of course it's 4 single beds. LUCKILY this time we aren't battling against a chasm of death or bunk beds. The kitchen is workable and even has a gas stove, which we don't even have at home. We spent a little while making ourselves at “home” and then took a 4 km walk around the area. It was our intention to find a nearby geocache, but by the time we got where it was supposed to be, it was getting dark and we couldn't see well enough to poke around and find it.

Last night when we went to bed we decided not to set an alarm since we are on vacation after all. Somehow I think waking up at 7am this morning made that a futile decision. Luckily both of us were able to fall back asleep for a little while.

Today we went to the tippy top of the island to see the lighthouse (Dutch: vuurtoren). The problem with this plan was the insane amount of fog!

Picture 1655

See what I mean?

The fog wasn't a deterrent for our caching efforts though. We manged to find six in various places around the island. There were a few we didn't manage to track down, but it still gave us the opportunity to explore around a bit. It would've been nice if the fog wasn't so thick but we did (sorta) see some neat stuff.

Picture 1660

One of the places we went to was De Schans fort. It was established by Willem van Oranje in the 16th century to prevent the Spanish from taking back Texel. The fort was used until the middle of the 19th century. In 1931, half of it was demolished in order to place a dike. Napoleon added two smaller forts on either side (which have since been demolished) and it was used by merchant ships as a safe haven when they couldn't get to Amsterdam or to the North Sea.

Picture 1666

Picture 1669

Picture 1673

Monday, November 03, 2008

And we're off

My puffy head isn't any worse, so we're going to go ahead and go. We wrote down the urgent care doctor information for Texel and we'll just go there if it gets worse!

So for now we're


Sunday, November 02, 2008

It's the ONE!

Today's post is brought to you by Martijn's cute new toy! He used some of his overtime pay to purchase this little beauty (or very handsome machine... it still has no name and is thus genderless)-

Acer Aspire One

He got the 8 GB solid state memory model, so we'll watch for a good deal on a 16 GB SD card to upgrade the memory. It runs on Acer's flavor of Linux, Linpus (which sounds like a disease... "I'm sorry sir, you've got three months to live, it's Limpus."). It's so teeny and cute! I thought it would be really hard to type on due to the very small keyboard, but it's actually not that bad. I wouldn't want to write a novel with it, but for blog posts, it works alright! Martijn might live to regret me borrowing it to write this post. I'm already hooked on the frozen penguin game.

He monkeyed around with it all weekend, only taking a break to take my puffy headed self to the doctor yesterday (that's true love right there I tell you). Lots of "tinkering" lead to three crashes, one image reinstall, and one backup restore so far. I'm sure there's some sort of nerdy trophy for how many times you can reinstall your computer in the first 3 days you own it.

I leave you with a picture taken with the built in webcam.
Acer Aspire One webcam picture

I have a swollen face, be nice.
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