Thursday, May 22, 2014

Weekly Dose-Culture Shock Week 3

I know I said this in yesterday's post but I honestly cannot believe how fast time is going by since we have arrived in Europe. I feel like time has flown & we really haven't done much in the way of seeing things so I am going to change that this weekend. The hubs & I are going to do drinks & a movie for date night & see some cool places in the more downtown/historic areas. Then Saturday after a little bike shopping we will be hitting up some museums. Now, why tell you all this? My latest "culture shock" has been service...or lack there of!

Being new our first few days here consisted of a lot of eating out. Great food, horrible service. We sort of new this coming in, but had no idea just how bad it could really be!

Example One:
Go to nice Italian Restaurant, get great food. Waitress was decent enough until an hour later when we all needed drink refills & still had no food. Once we got the food it was awesome, but not sure it was worth two hours & very little to drink lol ...we later learned we pretty much should have stood up & done a dance to get her attention.

Example Two:

Sat out on a great patio on one of the first really super sunny days & the waitress & waiter we literally flagged down by one of the gentlemen we were with. She passed us no more than 5 times before the local we were with stood up and got her attention. Even he was surprised at the lack of attention. I think, especially in more touristy areas, you have to be quite aggressive with the wait staff. At least that day we had this to look at...
Gorgeous wasn't it?! I couldn't even see when I took this picture...turned out pretty well.

That is the statue of Rembrandt through the trees there & is "Nacht Wacht" or Nights Watch.

Now, the second part of the culture shock has been getting used to not really tipping. Coming from North America where tipping is huge we always feel a little funny when we leave & don't leave anything. We've talked about this with several locals who've said not to feel bad or weird apparently the wait staff gets paid quite a nice wage 20-30 euro an hour! I don't feel so bad anymore. I will say we do usually round up to the nearest euro when paying the bill just to leave "something" to soothe our conscience and if we do get particularly good service at a place we will leave whatever we feel appropriate. But, that is not often the case and now I know why! In North America (states especially) service industry folks are paid basically nothing because they are counting on high tips and we all know this, but here why worry about your table when you know you are getting that 20-30 euro an hour anyway...I certainly wouldn't! ha!

Kind of a fun dose of culture shock this week, it has really taught us how to deal with people and to be a bit more aggressive and outspoken when we go out shopping even at boutiques or go to restaurants. Can't wait to see how tomorrow's service will be at whatever bar we choose!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday +workout review-Europe Week 3

Hello! Hello!

Hard to believe we have now been living in Amsterdam for three weeks! Time sure does fly. I am really enjoying cooking these days. I think because there isn't nearly as much convenience it puts my laziness at bay ;) If you check out my menu plan Monday post from earlier this week I showcased a few dinner's I cooked last week from The Fresh 20 Cookbook.

Banana pancakes topped with a coconut oil & peanut butter with greek yoghurt, blueberries & honey.

I called this concoction cheesy chicken bruschetta eggs

Detox banana split..heavenlly!

Amazing sandwich!

I know this looks kind of gross lol but it was amazing! Ultra clean meatballs from Blogilates 12 week new body makeover and a sweet potato with frozen spinach mixed in! Super tasty!

I've really been working hard these last two weeks to clean up my eating. I was way too lax on the desserts & even though my size has stayed the same luckily because I've packed on some extra fat my clothes aren't fitting quite the way I want lol So, just a few less desserts & really amping up the good foods..ya know the ones that actually fill me up! ;)


May 14-C25K Week 1, Day two Goodbye Stress Stretch
May 15-Since I didn't do a barre workout on the 14th I decided to do two today: Barre Workout for butt and thighs and Cardio barre
May 16-Woke up with very sore thighs & obliques after yesterday lol C25K Week 1, Day three (whoop whoop, finished that) and Floor barre
May 17th- Off, visited a friend in Haarlem (lots of walking)
May 18th- Nice yoga stretch +tons of walking
May 19th- C25K Week 2, Day 1 and stress release stretch
May 20th- P90x3 Yoga
May 21st-C25K Week 2, Day 2 & one full song workout

So I am totally loving the full song workouts I think I am going to add those to the end of each C25K day now. If you find them on buzzfeed they even have the sound cloud clip that goes with each workout!

Anyway, what was your favorite dish this week?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Menu Plan Monday-Fresh 20 Week 2 +workout Ideas

Well, hello! Last week my meal plan featured week one of the Fresh 20 cookbook. All my dinners were based around this and they did not disappoint! I've been sharing them on Instagram so if you aren't following me over there please do!

Here is what some of the meals from The Fresh 20 Cookbook:

This is the meal Parmasean Chicken Nuggets with Honey Glazed Herb Carrots and Orange Slices

This is the Coconut Curry Style Fish. If you aren't a fan of coconut this does have a very heavy coconut flavour so be warned...

This last one is the Pan Seared Chicken Panzanella. I just sprinkled a little balsamic vinegar on top & the kiddo ate hers with no dressing. It was really tasty, the flavors were amazing. I loved the homemade croutons I will be remembering that for the future!

I didn't make two of the recipes from this plan because we had two instances where we ate out and one instance where I made something different altogether. On Monday we had baked potatoes for Meatless Monday so I just took out the baked potato soup (I could tell my family just wouldn't like that one lol they aren't big soup fans) and we ate out a 2nd day because we were house hunting after a busy work day and the meal that  night was the korean style ribs & I couldn't find the short ribs anywhere in the city sadly. I may try this again but with some other type of beef.

But, overall all the recipes we made we loved and they are all family favorites now!

I think the best part of the book was the part where she tells you what to do to prep on Sunday night so you are set and ready for the week.

Now on to the meal plan....

This week my Breakfasts, lunches, and snacks are based off of Blogilates 12 Week New Body Makeover meal plans. I've been really suffering from eating poorly and need to get back on track. She is someone I can trust to give amazing advice so I figure I would follow her plans.

Oatmeal with banana coins and raisins, 3 egg whites
Yoghurt parfait and banana pancakes with almond butter/coconut oil drizzle
Brioche for the hubby and kiddo as grab and go for possible late days
Sunday: Banana Berry Crepes

**Prep: I will do over night oats for the oatmeal (1 cup almond milk with the oats & 1 T chia seeds & I will slice the bananas & divide up the raisins & let it set in the fridge. Morning of if I want I will heat it up & I will boil up a bunch of eggs & serve with hard boiled egg whites, I will also premake the parfaits & banana pancakes, crepes cooked fresh)

Hubby eats in the cafeteria at work each day and the teenager will take these items as well
Turkey, Spinach, Red Pepper Wrap and Pear
Ultra Clean Meatballs, sweet potato and roasted cauliflower
Sunday: Almond butter smoothie for me & the kiddo; hubby will snack

Apple slices with almond butter or pecans, fruit/veggies, edamame/pineapple, shakeology balls

Monday: Greek style lamb tacos with cucumber yoghurt sauce (I am unbelievably excited about these lol)
Tuesday: Orange Jalapeno Shrimp with broccoli and brown rice/For hubby: chicken wings with rice and corn (this will be my 2nd fave I think lol)
Wednesday: Chicken Satay with peanut noodles and cucumber salad
Thursday: Guacamole Tostadas with fried eggs/omelette, bacon, and toast for the hubby
Friday: Lamb pennewith a green salad/cucumber relish
Saturday: Cheeseburgers with potato wedges/sweet potato wedges
Sunday: Eat out, will try to do something fun like grab dinner and do bowling, we saw a place that looked like a decent restaurant with bowling so will see if we can stumble upon that again. As a side note this is a very busy day for us we catch a train (hour ride) to the teenager's cheer practice (it is 4 hours long +the 1 hour ride there & back for a total of 6 hours) and when I get home am pretty thoroughly exhausted so we will change "New Restaurant Friday" to "Sunday Funday Explorations"

We are giant dessert people. After dinner we love to have dessert together so I have put together some options that are picky hubby friendly, teenager friendly, and healthy for me.

Me: banana ice cream (I will season it with some cinnamon probably), shakeology "ice cream"
Hubby & Teenager: Milk & Cookies, and Coke Floats. I am doing this so they don't feel deprived. The milk & cookies hubby takes two cookies teenager one and milk is always allowed we use full fat. For the coke floats I use smaller glasses (honestly this isn't by choice glasses are just naturally smaller here lol)

So, that is what we are looking at this week. I can't wait to get to making it, everything sounds so delicious! I am really looking forward to those lamb tacos, I think they will be amazing!

Now, this week's workouts!

Last week I completed week one of C25K. Plus a week's worth of barre classes on YouTube. This week will be similar, just the workouts I'm doing after the run & on non-run days will be different.

Monday: C25K Day 4 and Standing Abs
Tuesday: 1000 Calorie Workout-HIIT Cardio, Strength, Kickboxing and Abs
Wednesday: (hopefully I am still alive after Tuesday lol) C25K Day 5 and Stretch
Thursday: Another 1000 Calorie Workout just because I am totally insane
Friday: C25K Day 6 and Thousand Burpee Burnout just because I want to be in pain
Saturday: Quiet apartment workout and a ton of walking because we will go do something touristy
Sunday: Yoga/Stretch/Walk (As mentioned above I will be spending 4 hours at the teenager's cheer stuff so I will use a corner of the gym to to do some stretching and recuperating from the week's workouts)

What are you most looking forward to cooking this week? Do you take a day off and eat out? What about workouts, are you working toward any goals?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Weekly Dose: Culture Shock-Week 2

Here we are our second full week in Amsterdam. So hard to believe 14 days has already flown by! We've had so many unique experiences I feel like I could bust trying to share them. I am enjoying my runs and exploring my new neighbourhood. I seriously cannot take enough pictures! I have to slow down & dole stuff out other wise I think my instagram friends might start to get a little mad lol

This week I wanted to tell y'all about something that will probably...well, hopefully...crack you up, make you laugh at me, and probably say, "wow that woman is an idiot!" But, this was a major, major point of contention to me when trying to settle into our new home. I was prevented from doing laundry, cooking, and being warm! haha What the heck could this be?! Appliances!!! We had the doggone worst time figuring out our appliances.

The first appliance was the cook top.

I walked in and was super excited because we have a gas cook top. Over the years I've become very accustomed to gas and don't like cooking with electricity nearly as much. Well, the first time I decide to cook something I quickly realized there is no spot to "ignite" the flame!

So, when you turn the dial the only thing that comes out is gas. Apparently, this has to be done the "old fashioned" way and you have to light it using a match or lighter. Thanks to the wonderfully supportive cooking group I belong to on Facebook and there amazing advice we went and got a nice long bbq lighter and haven't had any incidents. But the first two times were absolutely terrifying!

Side note, there are no YouTube videos for being successful at this...maybe I should make one???

Next we are still in the kitchen, we have a convection microwave oven.

This truly puts the "oven" in microwave oven. However, be warned if you have one that does a simultaneous use of the convection part and microwave part you can't use any metal otherwise-BOOM-fire! I don't know from experience but I heard about it in a YouTube video. ;)

Third would be the dryer.

I am sure by the time I got to this the property manager was ready to throttle me. I'd already asked him a million and one questions and this just piled it on no doubt. But, we have what is called a "condenser dryer". This is a unique piece. They are commonly used in Europe so they don't have to run all the hoses and piping and whatnot. It is a really cool concept...until you think the dryer doesn't work anymore.

So, basically what the condenser dryer does is tumbles the clothes around evaporating the water off of them, the water then collects in a tub.

Great idea, however, when said tub gets full you must empty it or the dryer won't dry. This is where the issue arises. I once had to empty the container the water collects in 3 times in one drying cycle. That made me not a happy camper. But, then I remembered how lucky I was to actually have a dryer and I quickly changed my tune ;)

Finally, the heat....or lack there of. I am used to the US where we have central heat & air pretty much everywhere. There are some places in California & even Vancouver that supposedly don't have central heat & air but by the time we got to those places everywhere we looked at central heat & air. Here however, no. Which is fine the weather seems mild in the spring so far. However, some days have been very chilly and we had to turn on the heat. I semi-figured it out the first day, however we learned it does have a central control as well. So basically, once you get the main control where you want it you can leave it there then  each heater unit has a knob on it. You turn it to the plus to let out heat, or the minus to take away heat. Great concept but two things: 1) it takes a while to kick in and heat up, 2) once it is heated up you quickly swelter as if you were standing on the sun dressed in ski gear.

We've quickly learned to pretty much just keep it off. I turn it on in the morning to lift the chill but then it goes off otherwise by the time we crawl in bed no one will be even naked....with a fan...

I will say some of my troubles came from two things: 1) the owner didn't leave us with many of the books on how to use them and 2) the ones we were left with were in Swedish. Not even Dutch so we couldn't ask someone to translate lol But, in my defense: I am doing better than a friend of ours that has been here 2 years...he hasn't used his dryer in all that time because he thought it was "broken" after the first two uses...he is now going to empty the part that collects water ;)

It was fun times these first couple weeks figuring out all the little tricks and getting used to doing things in a new and unique way!

Have you ever had trouble with new appliances? I'd love to hear your stories. Don't let me be alone!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday-Europe Week 2

Well, we are around at hump day AGAIN! Just a few more days until the weekend...can we make it?! I hope so! We've been having some great meals since moving to the Netherlands and I have really found a joy for eating healthy, unprocessed foods again! My body is so thanking me!

So, here is...

French toast with banana's & daughter & I split this for breakfast was so filling!

Then, some apple & cranberry juice at a pub with hubby. I Love the muddler (is that a word?! LOL) they give you to smash up your lemon with!

The lunch I had was amazing. Baked egg covered in cheese and it had ham & tomato inside. I couldn't eat it all but it was tempting lol

Locally made Dutch ice cream. This is so creamy and amazing. Thank goodness I just got a small scoop because I could have done some damage with this. It was called chocolate chip cookie.

My mother's day dessert...chocolate ice cream with whipped cream...thank goodness for small bowls to make me feel like that was a lot of ice cream hehe

This has been my breakfast the last couple of days. An orange, banana, and cherries. So tasty the flavours when mixed together taste like an orange cherry creamsicle!

My coffee this morning was all like well, Meow hehe

Our meatless-ish Monday dinner...yams with cheese and green onions and eggs scrambled with cheese, tomato, and green onion. I've been on a serious green onion kick the last couple of days!

This last week I've been doing some fun workouts...I got some new running shoes so I was able to start my C25K running...

Aren't they adorable?! #sweatpink

So here is my review of workouts:
May 9th-Barre Workout
May 10th-Off went shopping all day and had a fun party that night & then walked the Red Light district so that was workout enough in 6" heels!
May 11th-Off-out late the night before, it was mother's day and we had to go to another city for a cheerleading practice. I walked a solid 6 miles that day lol a workout was not happening
May 12th-Day 1 of C25K & Barre workout
May 13th-Ballet Body Sculpt (Barre)-Her dog is hilarious & does a "magic trick" haha
Today, May 14th-Day 2 of C25K & Barre workout for butt & thighs

What are you doing for your health? What have you been eating?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A pesky situation: Lice

I am a former teacher, but more importantly I am a home grown girl from Florida with long hair with a teenager with long hair. Lice-gasp-yes, I said it lice has always been a figment of my worst nightmare...until one day it wasn't!

Growing up I had really, really, really long hair. I remember lice going around my school, I remember my mother treating me once for lice and nitpicking but I don't think I ever actually had lice. Pretty lucky right? Not really. Back then there were all kinds of rules about being nit-free when you came to school, plus I was always very careful about not sharing my hairbrush or using anyone else's hair brush and I didn't share hats and rarely coats. I remember wearing my hair up more often than not.

Fast forward 20 some odd years or so and now it is my daughter's turn. I honestly never gave lice a second thought until she started going to camps. There was one dreaded camp where she went in lice free but came out an itching maniac. The nurse said it was probably dandruff from not conditioning and probably some of the shampoo dried one her scalp since they take short showers. So, since a nurse told me that I had always believed it was dandruff. I honestly had no idea what lice was and she'd been to the hair dresser and doctor and no one ever said it may be lice. Finally, after moving to Texas in 2010 the itching became more than she could bear I took her to the doctor and sure enough-lice :(

Now, her school in Texas has no policy in effect about lice. You don't miss school because of this nuisance. You still go to school even if you have nits. Well, my kid didn't. We spent an entire weekend treating lice with a prescription killer and combing through our hairs with a nitcomb and washing linens and whatnot. The outbreak in her school continued. It was a nightmare.

Moved to California no incidences. Moved to Vancouver bam-lice problem! Big one too. Apparently it is so bad it has now made the news. We've just left Vancouver but have a lot of friends there and still get some news so thought I would share a bit of what is going on.

According to this article lice are becoming resistant to treatments we are having to go the old fashioned route to be rid of lice. This means folks you are about to spend hours upon hours of your life nitpicking.

First things first: Identify your child actually has lice. If you are like me and had no idea what you were looking for consult this article from Rid.

Next, treat or kill the lice. When we were "diagnosed" with lice we were given a prescription. Since we had insurance this only made the cost of the medicated shampoo $10 total US. I know there are over the counter shampoo's like Rid though that you can use. Get one of these. Y'all know I am a huge advocate of doing things naturally but don't skimp on this. Just do a one time medicated treatment and kill them off.

This is the part you will hate. It really is a nightmare, but if you don't want the lice coming back it is essential. Get a nit comb (found in the pharmacy section and it has really super duper close together teeth and is metal), going through small sections of hair comb through the hair. This took us four hours the last time we had to do it, but it was well worth it. Really go through each section of hair and make sure you look and see that you are getting all the nits. My daughter read a book while we did this. Literally she read an entire book.

Comb Again:
Sadly you are not done after one session of combing. But, good news is it doesn't take as long the second time and is even short the third time. Our second session took two hours and the third just an hour.

In between each combing section I do boil the comb to disinfect it. I know lice & the nits or whatever die soon after leaving the hair shaft, but I don't like to take any chances. I mean these suckers are becoming resistant to the chemical baths so I figure why not just take this one little extra measure.

I inspect once a month now just to make sure.

All this will be for naught if you don't disinfect. Gather up the stuffed animals and either dry them on high or package them up in garbage bags and put them away for a solid month. Gather up the pillows, fluff them in the dryer on high to kill anything. Wash all the bed linens, blankets, jackets/coats, hats, etc. For our beds I recommend sprinkling them with baking soda and vacuuming then lightly spraying with a vinegar/water mixture that has lavender and tea tree essential oils in it.

Now, prevention is a loose word. If you are going to get lice you are going to get it but here are a few things I've done to "prevent" lice:

  • Check for nits at least once a month. If there is a current outbreak in your school or extra curricular activity check weekly.
  • Lecture your kids: explain the importance of keeping heads separate, not sharing hats/brushes. We all know lice die soon after leaving the hair shaft and it's been an old wives tale for years to not share brushes and hats, but you can never be too safe. Just best to avoid sharing these items. During school projects or when taking selfies tell the kits to try and keep their heads apart. This will prevent the direct transfer.
  • Preventative shampoos: there is nothing that will prevent lice but there is a shampoo that I have my daughter use when she goes to camp and then once a week during the school year it is called Fairy Tales. Great stuff and has really helped us keep our sanity.

  • Last, if you are dealing with lice right now I am so sorry. I truly feel your pain. Lice brought me to tears once upon a time but if you follow these simple steps you will have it gone in a couple of days. I can't stress enough though combing and disinfecting are going to be the best bets for ridding lice from your life forever.

    Products I recommend: Please visit my amazon store to see all the products I have used, use, and/or recommend for the treatment and "prevention" of lice.

    As a side note if you are in the Vancouver, BC area and are having a hard time getting rid of lice or don't have this kind of time contact the Greater Vancouver Lice Clinic. I heard about them last year but being a stay at home mom decided to do the lice stuff myself I bet these guys could help if you. I am not writing this as a promo for them have just heard good things and wanted to pass it on for those busy moms and dads who could use a service like this! :)

    Diclaimer: Clicking and purchasing from some of the link(s) provided allows me to receive a small commission to support my blogging efforts. Cheers!

    Sunday, May 11, 2014

    Menu Plan Monday-Fresh 20 Week 1 +workout ideas!

    Goedendag! Welkom op mijn tweede menu plan maandag in Amsterdam!

    Just a little Monday morning fun for you all! Seriously though, this is my second menu plan from Amsterdam. So far we are absolutely loving living here. It has been a real dream come true for all of us. There are some things we are still getting used to...check out last Thursday's post on a few culture shocks we are dealing with ;) One thing we have noticed though, the weather here is crazy! One minute it will be cloudy, next it is pouring, drizzling, then sunny. We did have to deal with a big thunderstorm last Friday night. The lightening was too extreme for me to get a video of it, but I did get this from the other day:

    So random rain, then it was sunny again! Anyone who has ever lived here is it always like this or is this unique to the area? Also, when the heck is it going to get warm?! I'm freezing my wee little tushy off!

    Prior to leaving Vancouver I had bought the Fresh 20 cookbook. I'd looked at The Fresh 20 meal plans for years, but never wanted to invest in them because, well, my husband is wicked picky and quite frankly I don't want to waste the money on something I wouldn't use. But, a cookbook I can work with I can make my way through with no pressure and mix and match recipes if needed. 

    The recipes in the book seem fairly "normal" and easy. For this first week's meal plan I only have to make a couple of changes so not bad.

    Breakfast Options:
    • eggs, salad, and half a yam
    • egg "burrito" (stuffed with ham, cheese, tomato)
    • fruit salad with nuts
    • sweet bread with pb & sprinkles
    • overnight oatmeal
    Lunch Options
    • salads: chicken, tuna
    • lunch meat roll ups
    • egg pizzas
    • grilled cheese
    • leftovers
    Dinner-Fresh 20 based
    • Potatoes (regular & sweet), peas/mixed veggies, cheese, salad
    • Parmesan chicken nuggets with oranges, honey carrots, salad
    • Korean style short ribs with cabbage salad (hubby will have corn for his side)
    • Coconut curry style fish/omelette for the hubby
    • Eat out (will probably do a late lunch/early dinner at a new place)
    • Pan seared chicken Panzanella (this is like a salad)/Will serve hubby the chicken with a side of cucumber/tomato relish
    • Tomato soup and grilled cheese with leftover salad
    Super easy meal plan and best thing is everything is cooked on a cooktop only a few little things using the oven. Coming up I will be discussing my oven woes, or lack there of so the fact these recipes use the cook top vs oven is a huge plus for me. Also, in the front of each week's meal plan there is  prep for the week! It totally takes all the guess work out of getting the food ready so your cooking time is cut short! Super awesome!

    Now this week along with making sure we are eating really healthy I am of course focusing on my workouts as well. I finally got some new running shoes and a new yoga mat so I'm super stoked to use them this week.

    Since I got new running shoes I will be focusing on running more. I decided instead of killing my legs right off the bat I would do the C25K programme to get me back in the saddle.

    Then, each day I will do one of these workouts:

    • Monday: run +fitness blender barre workout
    • Tuesday: Cardio barre
    • Wednesday: run +barre workout for butt and thighs
    • Thursday: Floor Barre
    • Friday: run +The look good naked barre workout
    • Saturday: Ballet body sculpt
    • Sunday: The teenager has cheer for four hours on this day so I will fit in a nice walk and some stretching somewhere...maybe they can spare a corner of the gym for moi. ;)
    If you want to join me in my workouts for a little accountability find me on FB or leave a comment here and let me know! I am always happy to have a virtual workout buddy! 

    I hope you all have a great week!

    Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

    Weekly Dose: Culture Shock

    Thought I would start something a little fun around here, our weekly dose of culture shock! We have been in Amsterdam almost a week now, and there are some things we just plain aren't used to! Each week I will feature two items that are simply different to us and our typical way of living when we were in North America.

    Bikes! Bikes, bikes, bikes, bikes, bikes. When we were moving to Amsterdam we were warned everyone rides a bike. Ok, cool, whatever that's great we will get one. But what no one can prepare you for, even with pictures, is the vast amount of bikes. I am serious. These things are everywhere, I honestly have never seen so many bikes in my entire life!

    Bike racks are overflowing with bikes. They are parked and locked to light posts, some neighborhood fences if they have a metal railing. Other times they are just simply parked and not locked up. They are all equipped with baskets or milk crates, bags or whatever for carrying everything. Lots of baby seats, and some even with little trolly's in the front to carry multiple children or lots of grocery bags at once! Today we even saw a woman carrying a carry on suitcase in her basket! Yesterday we saw one guy peddling around with a bag of recyclables! Bicycling is second nature to these people. I am in awe, seriously!

    This is one trolly that people carry their kids in. I even saw some that had like a booster type seat mounted into them! 

    But, with this awesomeness comes bad parts as well. Apparently there is a lot of bike theft. But, I will say with the amount of people that leave their bikes unlocked it doesn't surprise me honestly. Some people have referred to some bikes as "communal" bikes lol Stating just buy a plain black bike so if you come out and yours is gone no big deal just pick one like yours! This fella was kidding of course, but with the number of plain black bicycles it really makes me wonder exactly how much sarcasm was in that statement?

    Crossing the main street when there isn't a pedestrian light can be difficult. The bikers to not care at all and will not stop for anything. These guys will mow you down so watch out! After just 6 days we are still trying to remember the bike path is not in any way shape or form to be shared with pedestrians, just wish the bike paths and sidewalks weren't so close together! ha!

    The last thing is some of the stunts we see people pulling. Where a crate would normally go on a bike we see people (kids & adults) giving others a ride, on the back we saw a little girl standing where her dad's crate normally goes & she was holding on to his neck as he drove around, saw a gentleman giving his girlfriend a ride and she was sitting on the middle bar that connects the frame. It is shocking to me as a North American who is used to a million rules about riding a bike to see these crazy things going on, but it sure is fun to watch!

    The Supermarket
    There are several options for shopping in Amsterdam: Supermarket, Bakery, Cheese shop, Produce Store, Health Food Store, and Outdoor Market.

    I will get into the ins & outs of all these markets later on, but I have thus far mostly stuck to just the supermarket. First weird thing: eggs are not kept in the dairy section. I've only found eggs refrigerated at the outdoor market & at the cheese shop & produce shop. Rumour has it I can find the eggs in the baking section of my supermarket, but I've yet to find that as well. I did however find the cookie aisle ;) The second thing: everything is printed in Dutch! Ok, so this really isn't a huge surprise. But, you know how most thing in the US are in English & then Spanish (sometimes French) well here I assumed the 2nd language things would be printed in is English...uh, no...IF & that's a big if it has a second language it is German, French or Swedish typically. So, when I was buying PB I stayed with the biological (organic) because it had the fewest listed ingredients. I know, I know you are asking why don't I just use google translate...well in the store google translate mobile likes to crap out on me :-/ So, I was left to fend for myself. But, thankfully most everything in the grocery store has a picture so I can be like a kindergartner & match pictures to words. ;)

    Our grocery store...see those bikes?! And the store had just gets worse!

    This is my basket. I snuck some snickers ice cream bars in there for hubby, he was having a rough time adjusting to Amsterdam. lol Some frozen veggies they don't have a big selection of these surprisingly....and other goodies like that addicting sweet bread...NOM.

    These cookies have chocolate lining the bottom. Holy deliciousness!!!

    These are amazing. You will see them featured 

    Half loaves of bread, what?!?! So much awesomeness in one little package! lol But seriously we don't go through a ton of bread so this is awesome for more stale loaves!

    This things are awesome. Pear, mint, mango juice & apple, cherry, lime juice. They are amazing. So fresh and yummy!

    There ya have it, your daily dose of culture shock! I am a big believer that not all culture shock has to be negative, it is just a different way of living than what I am used to and I am really enjoying getting used to it all...most of it is really easy to get used to (like the food! ha!).

    Have you ever experienced culture shock? How did you handle it?

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014

    What I Ate Wednesday: European Edition +my week in workouts of course!

    Woohoo! Finally back to What I Ate Wednesday! These last few weeks were so hectic I haven't been able to even think about blogging! But, I am finally back in full force! So, over the last week & a half here is a selection of what I've been warned there are a ton of pictures.

    Discovered these cookies on our flight from London to Amsterdam...then found them at the grocery store. My word are they addictive. I have to tell myself I can just have one with my afternoon coffee that is all no more. Except today, when I sort of gave in after dinner and wanted a second lol They are chocolate chip (white dark & milk) then lined on the bottom with chocolate!

    Found this granola to go in my yoghurt. It is super, super tasty! Has 8 grams a protein per serving and the dates are what give it a sweet taste.

    Brioche. I'd never had this before. Simply amazing. Light, sweet bread...mmmm

    Found fresh squeezed juices at our supermarket! They are amazing. This one in particular. Think I may do a juice cleanse with them!

    Real cream. Before we left Canada I was sometimes using whipping cream in my coffee...that stuff doesn't even come close to this. I mean seriously. It is so thick I hardly need but a drop in my coffee. Amazing, amazing stuff. 

    These are so fun. When we'd left a "selling" point to the teenager was a typical dutch breakfast was bread with some sort of spread (butter, peanut butter, etc) and sprinkles. I had my bread with the shavings & she has had the rainbow sprinkles so far & we really really like it. It is a nice treat. Something fun to start the morning off.

    Our first dinneri n our new apartment. Roasted chicken from the market, corn, leftover lasagna, and fruit salad.

    This is the other juice I got. It is pear, mango, mint. I was sort of afraid of it, but I am currently craving it & am going to have it with some egg for breakfast!

    Sweet bread, gouda, and grapes. Need I say more?!

    Breakfast our second day here: eggs, salad, bread. No I didn't eat all of that bread. All the salad yes, all the egg yes, but only half of that deliciously crusty baguette!

    This was heaven in a bowl. I am still trying to get my digestive tract to recover from it, but it was well worth it. This is a giant bowl of the cheesiest best lasagna from a local Italian place. I could only eat a third, then the three of us split it during our first dinner in our new apartment. I decided the next time I can have this is my birthday lol

    Also, this last week I put together an insane burpee & squat challenge.

    It went really well. Was super sore, especially Monday after doing all the workouts on Sunday. 

    Monday I did this apartment friendly workout:

    I was sweating a ton during this. I didn't think I'd be too sore though. Boy was I wrong! I was working incredibly hard during this routine and today my arms & booty are definitely feeling it!

    Tuesday: 20 minute yoga for digestion. I told you I am still recovering from that lasagna lol 

    Today: I will do Blogilates Ultimate Hot Body Workout along with a nice long walk around our neighborhood

    I'm working on scheduling my workouts for the rest of this week and next week. Trying to mix it up and work my body in different ways.