Dino Bites

Dino Bites

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dishwasher Saga and Other News

As I have mentioned previously, our automatic dishwasher ceased functioning about 3 weeks ago.  It took several days to tell our landlord about the problem.  On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, he removed the old dishwasher and said the new one would be there on Wednesday or Thursday.  It wasn't.  I probably misunderstood.

The new dishwasher arrived Friday night. We came home from our date to find it installed and prepared to run a cycle. It wouldn't start. The manual was in French and three other languages, none of them English. Ben called customer service today. The remote diagnosis from the flashing lights was that either it was installed incorrectly or the heating coil is bad. The representative said they could send someone out to check. Ben said he'd call back and let them know. He had called from a U.S. number and didn't say we were in Belgium. I guess we'll call someone here on Monday.

I told our landlord that it wasn't working earlier today before we called customer service.  He wasn't happy, either.  It's quite a nice and expensive dishwasher.  

So, instead of an old broken dishwasher, I have a new broken dishwasher.  Good thing I have lots of kids to help wash all the dishes they generate.

In other news, we had a baptism in our branch today!  We have been working with the sister missionaries as they have taught this wonderful woman.  It was a beautiful service.  Our daughters even sang in French and did a great job.  (She made me feel grateful for my situation because her clothes washer was broken.  I'd rather hand wash dishes than clothes, that's for sure.)  We visited her this evening again with the sisters, and it was so much fun to see the light in her face.  She will be confirmed tomorrow at church.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving!

Dinner turned out just fine.  I did NOT have to pluck the turkeys (well, not much), but they cost far more than I was expecting.  Between the hassle and the cost, if I'm here next year, I think I'll just buy turkey cuts at the store.

We had 4 missionaries here, who were all a great help.  I never would have finished in time if it weren't for them!  The sisters helped tons with the cooking (especially the pies), and the elders helped with setting up the extra table and entertaining the boys.

Ben's coworkers arrived.  They brought lovely hostess gifts: a bouquet of tulips and chocolate.  Peter also brought some delicious homemade sauerkraut.  Peter was born in Poland, but he is in the process of receiving his American citizenship.  Having him join us at this American holiday was a special pleasure.  The kids love that he brought each of them a chocolate bar and a chocolate advent calendar.

We had turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato and peach casserole, green beans, a spinach salad, and sauerkraut.  We honored the local traditions by eating baguettes instead of homemade rolls.  For dessert, we had pumpkin pie (from fresh pumpkins) and apple pie.

It was odd to have a house full of friends and strangers instead of family, but it was great to enjoy the holiday and celebrate the many blessing we receive daily.

The next day we had a Relief Society meeting about gratitude and holiday traditions around the world.  I brought leftovers to share, introducing them to the wonderful turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich.  The other sisters brought amazing food, too.  I have eaten a little too well this weekend, I think!

We still don't have a dishwasher, but Ben and the kids got the kitchen clean before I got home from the activity.  I enjoyed a nap and a leisurely afternoon.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Preparation

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving yesterday.  Since it's not a holiday here, we planned our Thanksgiving dinner for Friday night.  We invited several people from Ben's work and all 4 missionaries from our branch.  They usually can't eat together at a member's home, but since Ben is now the Branch Mission Leader, they can!

10 days ago, our dishwasher broke.  Last Saturday, our landlord came and pulled it out, assuring me that the new one would be installed Wednesday or Thursday evening.  As I start this post, it's Friday morning, and the dishwasher is not yet installed.  On Wednesday night, my slow cooker pot got broken.  I was counting on it for my sweet potatoes, so I needed to replace it.

Yesterday was my day to get all the errands done so I could just cook today.  In Utah, when you go to the kitchen appliance section, there is usually a decent selection of slow cookers.  Not here!  I started looking at about 8:45.  After 6 or 7 stores, I had finally found one by 2:00.  It was also tough to find a roasting pan large enough for a small turkey.  Speaking of turkey, I ordered my turkey on Monday.  The lady was quite shocked when I requested a 22-pound bird.  Apparently they're not usually over 11 pounds here.  When we spoke later in the week, she did say they had found one of about 16 pounds.  I just called her, and it hasn't been delivered yet.  I hope that it arrives in time to cook it and especially that it doesn't still have feathers.

Yesterday I did succeed in finding bacon (we like to cover the turkey with it) and fresh cranberries!  I felt truly blessed to find everything I needed yesterday.  Well, except the turkey and the pastry blender.

This morning, Ben woke up with a terrific headache.  He is trying to recover enough to go to work.  I'm wondering when my turkey will arrive at the shop.  I'm also wondering if he'll feel well enough by this evening to have a party.  I guess I'd better go make pies and other such things that can be done this morning.  I'll let you know how it all turns out!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

Today is a national holiday in Belgium.  In America, we celebrate Veterans Day, but here, it is even a day for schools, banks, and other businesses to close.  On 11/11/18 at 11:11 am, the armistice with Germany officially began.

We went to a ceremony at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery for a special Veterans Day ceremony.  The kids didn't really want to go, but I felt that it was probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a celebration of the end of World War I inside one of the countries so heavily affected.  The gratitude of the Europeans for the Americans' part in their liberation is still very strong.

The ceremony was rather simple, but as I looked across the cemetery to the flag while the national anthem played, I was so grateful for the freedom purchased by the sacrifice of those many fallen soldiers.





Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween and Stake Conference

It's been a fun weekend!  Friday was Halloween.  We were invited to an amazing party in a nearby ward.  The kids had a ball getting dressed up, of course.  Kayanna was Rarity (from My Little Pony), Molly was a bat, Sarah was a clown, and the boys were both knights.  We were in a hurry to leave, so we forgot to get pictures of everyone before the party.  Molly did the face paint, of course, even on herself.  Kayanna had amazing purple hair extensions and cutie marks painted on her cheek.  She wore my high-heeled boots all evening.

Sir BJ

Molly, Sarah, and Abraham.  I'm not sure why it's so fuzzy!

Sarah, Robin, and Abe with their pumpkin

Sarah the Clown

Molly (and Sarah)

Our Jack-O-Lanterns


This morning we piled into the car at 8:30 am to go to the 10 am session of stake conference in Brussels.  The kids were thrilled to learn that there would be headphones with an English translation.  The conference was wonderful, of course.  After the meeting, we had a great time connecting with other English-speaking expat families.  Last night at the adult meeting, a family that lives in Brussels invited us to lunch today.

They have 5 kids, too.  We all had a lovely afternoon talking in English and playing games.  Kayanna found that the older daughters love to read, and they lent her 4 books.  I'm sure she'll have them read by Super Saturday next week.  She's planning to return them and bring some of hers to lend.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Two Wild Weeks

We had a couple of wild and fun weeks with my parents here. It was hard to keep up with blogging! Now we're back to school, which also takes a lot of time.  Before I completely forget, I want to write a list of what we did. I'll try to elaborate and add pictures in future posts.

Not everyone participated in each activity, but here are some of our destinations:
Downtown Liege
Fort de Loncin
Dinner at Le Duc d'Anjou
Cathedral in Cologne, Germany
Several Liege chateaux
Paris

Saturday, October 11, 2014

It's Always Fun For Everyone When...

As we were eating lunch yesterday, the bell on our gate sounded.  We all jumped up from the table and ran outside to meet my parents.  It's so wonderful to see them again.  All the kids kept talking at the same time.  They got the full tour of the house, of course, and then ate lunch.  After lunch, Sarah suggested we go for a walk to the woods down the lane.  It was Molly who next suggested that we try and make it to the chateau again.

It was a long and somewhat marshy walk, but we succeeded in finding it.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures.  The chateau is a private residence, so we didn't get too close.  It is very beautiful.  I hope to find an intact chateau that we can tour.

In the evening, we surprised my parents with a dramatic production of "Snow-White and Rose-Red."  The kids all did a great job on their parts.  I think they all get an "A" on this particular Fine Arts project.

Having grandparents in the house is a new experience for us because we have always lived close to my parents.  We have had the fun of seeing them very often, but we have never had the opportunity for them to stay in our house.  The kids are so excited.  This week should be fun and exciting.  I like that I can schedule my own fall break for school!  I hope they'll still learn a lot on field trips, though.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

American Alimentation and Annatunnel at Antwerp

Last week we learned that there is an American Food Store in Antwerp.  It's a bit of a drive, but we thought we'd go check it out last Saturday.

It was hilarious how excited my kids got about seeing Twinkies--especially since I never buy them.  It was neat to see things we don't see here!  The prices were high (2.50 Euros for 1 box of Macaroni and Cheese), but at least I do know where I can find cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, and other things for Thanksgiving.

We then looked for something else to do in Antwerp and found a cool attraction:  Sint Annatunnel.  It's a pedestrian tunnel that goes under a river.  You have to take 2 long escalators to get down to the tunnel and 2 more to get back up.

Ben and the kids going up


They were built in the 1930s, and they're made of wood!

At the other end of the tunnel, we came up to a beautiful park area with several playgrounds.

The girls on the teeter-totter
Another playground had a neat Viking-type ship and beach sand.  There were also anchors, buoys, propellers, and other objects I didn't recognize sitting around.  We tried to get a nice family picture in front of one of them.  They weren't too nice, but here they are anyway!


Then it was time to go back through the tunnel.


It was a fun trip!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Water Museum

By Kayanna Kendrick

A gray sky complete with drizzle. What a perfect day to visit a museum devoted to water. Complete with several fountains, a timeline, a "cave", and a virtual roller coaster, Source-O-Rama in Chaudfontaine is amazing.

The water in Chaudfontaine bubbles up from hot springs (hence the name, Chaudfontaine means "Hot Fountain"in French.) Water that they package in water bottles today in their factory fell to the Earth as precipitation 60 years ago. They explained that this happened because the water seeps into the ground and joins with underground rivers and other sources of water below the Earth. the water travels down 1,600 meters to temperatures of about 55 degrees Celsius and very high pressure. Then it comes back up to the surface after a very long time underground. Then it gets packaged and drunk, but that's another system. The virtual roller coaster followed this journey, everything from evaporation to packaging. You even get to go down a stalactite and a waterfall. It was funny, because Abe was complaining for almost the entire thing, while BJ wanted to go on it again.

There was a tunnel that explained clouds, tornadoes, tsunamis, and the difference between cascades and streams. First was the clouds. The sound effects weren't very loud and the information useful. The lights were nice too. The storm section had claps of thunder and roofs being torn off for sound effects and flashes of fake lightning from the ceiling. Poor Abe was terrified and ran from that part. The facts were very cool. The last section of the tunnel was much better. Soothing sounds of waterfalls and burbling streams with calm lighting and useful information.

There was a fake cave after that with really fascinating facts about types of underground water. I couldn't read it all before it was time to leave that section though. I'm told that there was a life-size bat, but I was otherwise occupied.

Then a room came up that showed how much water each person uses per day on the wall. There were several countries on the wall. South Africa used the least and the USA used the most. Next to that was a display showing how much water was in what objects. In addition to a few fruits and vegetables, they showed a T-Shirt and shorts, jeans, and other bizarre items that I thought had no water at all contained within.

The finale was a beautifully choreographed fountain. They played music and the fountain would spurt water in time to the music. Sometimes, the water would almost hit the lights above. Behind the fountain, a screen showed a projection of their mascot (a raindrop) playing the fountain like an orchestra.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ardennes American Cemetery

This morning we took a trip to the Ardennes American Cemetery near our house.  Although it is named the Ardennes, we learned that it is not the burial place of many soldiers from the Battle of the Bulge.  It is the resting place of 5,323 soldiers.  Many of these served in the Air Force.

Looking from the monument toward the flagpole

It wasn't easy to get the kids settled for a picture around the flagpole.
All the flowers pictured here are arrangements placed by various
cities and organizations, including Liège.


Looking from the flagpole back toward the monument.

Among these graves, there are 11 sets of brothers buried side by side.

It was a sobering experience.  The most amazing thing is that this is just one of many American cemeteries in the world.

If you want more information, you can check out the link at Ardennes American Cemetery.

Volcano

For science this week, we made a baking soda and vinegar volcano.



Home school is going well.  We are getting into the groove.  It still takes tons of time, but I'm getting faster at preparing for each day.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Adventures Close to Home

I'm sorry I haven't blogged much lately.  With the kids doing lots of home school on all the available computers, it's hard for me to get a turn.  When I do, I'm often preparing their lessons for the next day.

Home school is going quite well.  I have found lots of great resources online.  Some days are better than others, of course.  As I'm sure others have noted, the best thing about home school is that my kids are with me all the time.  The worst thing is that my kids are with me all the time.  I love having them around, but it is harder to get the "me" time that's so important to my emotional well-being. (Although I think it was easy to fall into the trap of having too much "me" time and not playing with and teaching them as much as I should have.)  But I digress.

This week for science with the boys, we took a 5 Senses Walk to the woods nearby.  We didn't taste anything, but it was wonderful to take time to hear, smell, touch, and feel so many things.  We took a few pictures of our discoveries.  The funniest was the empty snail shell we brought home.


Which, it turned out, wasn't really empty.

The pictures don't do it all justice, of course.  That's the point of exploring with all your senses.  The open seed pods above are amazingly velvety inside, and the green leaves had a lovely scent.  I tried to find if they were any herb regularly used in cooking, but I didn't find it.  I'll have to keep looking.

Three happy explorers: Sarah, BJ, Abraham


Yesterday we spent a lot of time with our neighbor and landlord.  He showed the kids all around the garage where he now lives (he rented the house because it is really big for 1 person).  One of the biggest hits was this contraption that he uses to break up apples and greens into smaller portions for the sheep:

He made the children wait outside while he fed the sheep initially so they wouldn't get run over when the sheep came in.  It was really neat to see them all when he called them.  The pen was empty, but when he called them, they came very quickly.  I understood the idea of sheep knowing a shepherd's voice in a whole new way.


Watching him feed the sheep

After the initial stampede, we entered the pen and then the pasture, hand feeding them when they would let us.

He is slicing an apple in half so the kids can feed the sheep.

Again I noted the importance of the shepherd.  They were scared to approach us, even if we held food, unless we were near their shepherd.  Then they came much more easily.

I love living in the fresh air.  Feeding the sheep was fun, although I'm thinking that if the kids do it much, they'll each need a pair of shoes just for the sheep pasture.  We went for a drive in the evening, and the smell of sheep lingered in the car a little too much.

Speaking of which, I better go clean some shoes.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Franchimont Again

Last Saturday we took the kids to see the ruined castle at Franchimont.  They're the same ruins Ben and I went to in May.  Getting there was an adventure in itself.  There was some sort of race blocking the normal entrance, so we had to find a back way.  Part of the experience at the castle is going down into the old bunkers.

On our way out of the bunker.  Ben took a picture of the group above him:
Abe, BJ, and Sarah 
 He took another picture of the group below him:
Molly, Robin, and Kayanna

There are 5 of these bunkers.  As we tried to go down to the second one, we ran into the racers again.  Apparently they had opened the gate at the bottom, and the race course ran up through the bunker and stairs and through the castle!  There was also a wedding party happening in the old courtyard.

I think Sarah's favorite part was the gift store.

The castle from the parking lot

The kids were eating a snack in the car and didn't want to get a picture with the castle.



Kayanna

Ben & Robin

Monday, September 8, 2014

The "Mexican" Restaurant

Post by Ben today.

I love Mexican Food. The taco cart on the corner of 800 South and State in Salt Lake is a wonderful place. Lorena's was the first place that I went to after getting back from my mission and I go whenever I can. Due to the heavy involvement of cheese in most Mexican places, and given Robin's current issues with dairy proteins, Mexican Food has been less of staple in my restaurant diet.  Now I know that authentic Mexican is not necessarily what one gets in most of the restaurants, but I love a lot of the home made Mexican that many of my neighbors have shared. The tamales, tostadas, and even the soups with the odd meats floating in them have a certain "Sabor a la Mexicana"

Since I have been living in Berleur (mid June), I have driven past a restaurant called "Fiesta." The sign outside says "Mexican Restaurant and BBQ." Robin and I decided to try it out Friday night on our date night. I was craving good Mexican food.

When we went in, I noticed a distinct lack of any of the typical scents that I would associate with good Mexican. There was not the tang of salsa, the bite of acidic tomatoes, or the odor of pungent spices that might suggest anything resembling heat. There was no smell of the corn tortillas, either from a package or on a griddle. I was suspicious. The manager explained (In English) that this was an all inclusive buffet with a hot and cold buffet and a BBQ at the table. I thought this odd for Mexican, but being hungry and adventurous, we paid the entrance and he showed us to our seats. He did highlight that all of the Sangria and wines were included. Oh, Joy.

The food encountered at these buffets had absolutely nothing in common with anything that I would associate with the words "Mexican Food." We could get some chopped meat and vegetables fried for us on a large griddle with some seasonings that consisted mostly of salt. The result was vaguely similar to what you might put in a fajita, but there were no tortillas at all. You could put corn in this mixture if you wished. I guess that was kind of Mexican.

There were really cool gas grills in the middle of each table where you could make shish kabobs of meat, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and pineapple. The pasta salad at the cold buffet was pretty good, as were the cold meat balls. Those were about the spiciest things in the restaurant. The lasagna and spaghetti with meat sauce smelled pretty good, but I didn't try any.

The mariachi music playing over the sound system and the bright yellow shirts on the servers seemed a little out of place considering what we were eating.This truly was a "Mexican" restaurant. Robin says that it resembles a Mongolian grill combined with a do-it-yourself Brazilian steakhouse. I described it as almost what a Belgian restaurant might be if one were opened in Mexico City, except the food would be spicier.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Chocolat

Belgium is very famous for three basic foods: chocolate, fries, and waffles. (They are also quite famous for beer, although that is technically a beverage and we aren't going to try it.)
These three foods are everywhere, but I especially want to talk about chocolate today. First of all, there is a reason Belgian chocolate is famous! It is delicious. It also has a rich history.  For example, the composition of Belgian chocolate was regulated in 1884 to prevent adulteration by inferior ingredients.

What is so amazing is how it seems there is chocolate in just about everything. In the U.S., there are several chocolate infused cold cereals. Here, the selection of cold cereals is quite smaller than in a U.S. supermarket, but well over half of the varieties involve chocolate.

Waffles are a subject in themselves, but I have to say this:  Packaged waffles are available in staggering varieties, many of which are also dipped in chocolate. I was worried about my kids wanting to eat only cold cereal for breakfast because it is so expensive. That's no problem because they LOVE the packaged waffles, plain or chocolate.  I think this is actually cheaper, and given the unhealthy cereals, the nutrition trade-off is minimal.  (They do miss Frosted Mini-Wheats.)  

If you haven't had enough chocolate for breakfast, you can always spread Nutella on your sandwich at lunch. 

How about a snack?  Cookies usually involve chocolate. That's not that they don't in the States, I guess, but the only place in Smith's to buy a cookie topped with a slab of chocolate is in the international cookie section.  Cookies are dipped in chocolate, have chocolate chips (cookies americains, anyone?), or have chocolate fillings. 

And all this is not to even mention the entire aisle in the supermarket devoted to chocolate.  Sure, there are other candies, but again, the chocolate presence is, I think, more than the U.S.  There is also the quality to consider.  Cheap store brands of plain chocolate bars are more delicious than some name brand bars in the States.

Part of the chocolate aisle.

If you still haven't had enough chocolate by the end of the day, you can have a dessert of chocolates, chocolate ice cream, or chocolate pudding.

Depending on how you look at it, it's a chocoholic's paradise or downfall.  I'm just glad I have to go up and down the stairs a lot in this house.

Monday, September 1, 2014

First Day of School!

It was the first day of school for us today.  I forgot to take pictures, but maybe that's because they didn't put on brand new clothes and walk out the door.  Today began an adventure for us all: I am teaching them all at home.

It went pretty well.   What bothered me most was that the lessons I had spent hours preparing (I'm new at this, so I really hope I'll get faster) took minutes to teach.  In reading and writing, I loved being able to discuss their written answers verbally and personally.  I hope they liked it, too!  In social studies, we just learned and researched together.  Now I'm preparing lessons for tomorrow.  I better get back to it!


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Weekend Adventures

Our outing on Saturday was a visit to downtown Liège.  We wandered around the local mall. While there, we wandered through several stores.  In one bookstore, the kids and I were excited to discover a second book to a cute picture book I brought home from my mission.  We also went to a toy store and finished up by eating some ice cream.


The three younger kids weren't too excited to go to the mall at first, 
but they loved the little fishing pond outside.

They also loved this fun airplane in the plaza.  The teenagers hanging 
around the tail had fun joining in the pictures.


Today was our second Sunday at church.  Ben has been going there for a couple of months, so they were all awaiting our arrival anxiously.  The kids were better prepared this time for everyone to be speaking French.  There are leaders for both the Primary and Young Women's that speak English thankfully.  Kayanna has brought the total of Young Women up to 3, and the younger kids have doubled the Primary.  I played the organ in Sacrament Meeting today.  Unfortunately, 2 of the songs were really tough even with sufficient practice, so I didn't do so well.  I could also really tell that I hadn't touched a keyboard in 3 weeks.  I think I just might have to find a cheap keyboard or a loaner while we're here.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Castle Ruins at Palogne

Yesterday while Ben was getting ready for work, I looked at the weather forecast.  The chances of rain were very low, and after two days of rain, the kids and I were ready to get out of the house for a bit.  "I have to have the car today!" I said to Ben.  I jumped out of bed and got dressed quickly to drive him to work.

I came home and did some quick research to try to find something to do.  I found a website with lots of great ideas and picked one called Domaine de Palogne.

After lunch, I piled the kids into the car and we drove off to our latest exploration.  After lots of fun driving on backstreets, we arrived at our destination.  There was an awesome playground where the kids had a great time playing.



 After a long time, I finally convinced them to hike up to see the castle ruins.

The kids are in front of the entrance to the castle.


The kids at the front of the castle ruins

The view from the wall in the picture above

The weather was great!  We experienced one short episode of sprinkling while we were in the ruins, but it dried quickly.  The castle was built over natural caves, and some of them were apparently used as passages during the castle's strong days.  We went through a couple of them, but I didn't get any pictures.  I was too busy watching my feet and using my phone as a flashlight.  They did have lights, but they weren't very strong.

After we hiked back down, the kids played at the playground a lot longer until it was time to pick up Ben from work.

At the Domaine de Palogne, they also have a falconry show, kayaking, biking, and min-golf.  I'm pretty sure we'll be going back there again!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sausage & Stoemp

Dinner this evening was a traditional Belgian meal of liegeoise sausage & stoemp.  Stoemp is a dish of mashed potatoes and other vegetables.  This particular recipe used carrots and also included lardons (similar to bacon) and onions.



Most of the kids were excited to try something new.  Sarah's feelings are quite evident.

The verdict?  We will definitely be eating stoemp again, and Abe is asking me to buy more sausage.

If you want to try it yourself, here is the recipe:

500 g potatoes, diced
500 g carrots, diced
200 g lardons or bacon
1 onion
butter
salt
pepper

Cook bacon/lardons in some butter.  Remove from pan.  Add diced onion to pan and cook until carmelized.  Bring water to boil in a large pot.  Add diced carrots and potatoes and boil until soft.  Drain but keep the water.  Mash the vegetables, adding water as necessary.  Stoemp should be a little chunky.  Add the bacon and onions and mix well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

This is traditionally served with sausage, although serving it with chicken or other meats is also common as well.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Gallo-Roman Museum

In learning about Belgium, I learned that one of the Roman cities here was where modern Tongeren is.  Although the original Roman city is long gone, I was anxious to go and see what little was left.  I learned that there is a museum there covering the history from prehistoric man to the invasion of the Germanic tribes in about 400 AD.  Even better, it had a reasonable price for families.  We packed a picnic lunch and set out!

Here we are at a rest area enjoying peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches.



At the museum, they also had a traveling exhibit about prehistoric man with cool workshops.  We got to try to use a granite rock to chip off flint.  The kids also had fun striking flint on iron pyrite into dried toadstool to make sparks for a fire.  Here is Abraham giving it a try.

I succeeded in getting an ember from the sparks.  After we all tried for a while, the demonstrator made a great fire in some kindling.


The upstairs was really neat.  We got to see a model of how the Roman city probably looked.  There were all kinds of artifacts from Roman times, including a beautiful mosaic floor under glass so you could walk over it.  I never knew they used glass bottles in Rome, but there were lots on display.  They say that part of the wall and aqueduct are still visible, but we couldn't find them as we left.

Abraham had kind of a hard time, but that's to be expected from a four-year-old at a museum.  I think we'll be doing this kind of thing a lot, though, so I hope he gets used to it.  There is so much history here and so many neat things to see and do.  I think next weekend we'll target the boys' interests a little more.  I really enjoyed our trip today in spite of whining and tantrums.

On another topic, I have decided that learning to cook in a foreign country is almost like learning to cook all over again!  So far nothing I've made here tastes the same as it did in the States.  It's not bad, though.  The glass cook top has also taken some getting used to.  I miss my gas range where the heat turned up and down much faster.