Dino Bites

Dino Bites

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