Meal Plan

Starting this up again as we try to get into our grove of life here. I feel so lucky to be living in a country that has baking powder, baking soda, maggi, teriyaki sauce and tortillas. Such little luxuries that I would have really missed. Let me know if you have any great family approved recipes! I’d love to try them out!

Monday: Roasted Chicken, Roasted Cauliflower and Capri Salad

Tuesday: Cold Mexican Salad (Black beans, Tomatoes, Red Onions, Corn, Rice, Shredded Chicken, Salsa and fresh cilantro) top onto green salad or make into lettuce wraps.

Wednesday: Pierogi (meat), Homemade Potato Salad, Sliced Apples

Thursday: Pork Pot (Pork chops, apples, yellow onion sprinkled with cinnamon)

Left over night!

Saturday: Tacos

Sunday: Frozen Pizza

Monday: Teriyaki Chicken and White Rice

Tuesday: Fajitas

Wednesday: Grilled Tuna Sandwiches, French Fries and Baked Cinnamon Apple with currant/granola

Thursday: Frozen food night! Lasagna for adults and fish sticks for kiddos

Left over night!

Saturday: Beef Enchiladas

Sunday: Teriyaki baked chicken thighs with pineapple and sticky rice

Monday: Spaghetti, crunchy bread and salad

Tuesday: BBQ Kielbasa, baked potato, veggie of some kind

Yesterday my heart broke. My family was waiting at a tram station on our way home, and a homeless man who obviously had too much to drink was staggering around waiting for a bus. He was saying ‘Hi” to everyone but nothing more. As he was waiting he was unaware he was standing in the middle of a street. Well, needless to say he stopped traffic and cars were honking so he would move which he was…very slowly.

The first car drives by slowly but the man in the second car gets out. Yelling at him, grabbing him by the shirt and dragging him the other way to the side walk. He was being so rough with the man that the homeless man staggered and fell over on the side walk, hard. But that wasn’t enough for the man from the car. He reached down, grabbed the man again and DRAGGED him another 10 ft. and began screaming in his face. All the while his car door is open and still stopping traffic. I honestly hope the man was too drunk to remember the encounter.  I could tell that everyone waiting for a buss/tram, EVERYONE, was watching and became alarmed at the extreme actions of this random stranger to the homeless drunk. I honestly thought he would start beating him- he was so angry and seemed out of control.

But here’s the deal. They were two strangers. How could one get so angry and almost out of control with a stranger immediately?! What had happened earlier that must have angered the man? Because the homeless man did nothing to the other. And the thought that keeps going through my mind is- the homeless man is a fellow human being. How could one come so close to hurting another for no reason? My heart tore at the whole scene.

But I wasn’t standing there alone- my kids were with me. Mainly Emma who has a specific and sensitive heart towards the homeless. I chose to not let her see the violence that one man was giving to another who couldn’t protect themselves. As she gets older yes, but not at 6 yrs old.

Anyways, that’s it. The man in the car got done saying whatever felt the need to scream and got back into his COMPANY car with logos on the side and drove away. The drunk man got up slowly and walked back to the bus station and got on the next bus. Completely unaware of the shift in my heart that occurred watching the confrontation between the stranger in the car and himself.

There’s just something that gets me all riled up when I see or hear about someone taking advantage of a weaker person. If they are unable to protect themselves, even if they are a homeless drunk, I have an instinct that screams that they should be given respect. We don’t know the man’s life story and therefore have no right to judge him.

And honestly, I have to remind and force myself to not judge the man in the car for his actions. Two worlds collided in the street yesterday, and I don’t know the back story to either not that I think it would justify such actions. There must be a wound or something in his heart that propelled him to act as he did. We’re all wounded somewhere because of something. Sigh, life.

 

Just some thoughts to help me process.  Hope you have a good day.

Why I fed my children plastic hot dogs…

Yeah, I know. You read the title and you’re like, ‘what?!’ But Travis still laughs at me and I shake my head in shame because of my actions but in my defense they were completely innocent.

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You have to first understand that as part of a breakfast here, you can see thin sausages/hot dogs. Well, being in Poland, you can imagine the many kinds of kielbasa (sausage in Polish) they have here. Many. That huge selection includes breakfast kielbasa. I personally love them and got excited to buy some…but which ones? They all looked the same. So, like anyone  else who can’t read labels…I bought the one with the nicest looking packaging. Because they care the most about their product. 

You can hear it coming right? Yeah, just wait…

So I make these babies and I’m all excited. Travis didn’t want any because he’s weird. And I’m thinking, more for me! But I have to be a good mommy and feed my children first before myself. So I begin cutting them into safe bites and thinking , ‘Man, these are horrible! They’re not easy to cut at all!’ But I do it because I love my children and don’t want them to choke, and serve it. Emma, who is cautious with new foods, loves them and askes for seconds. That’s my girl I think. Elena however didn’t really like them. So while they’re eating I get one for me and try to cut it. Yeah- TRY. Because it didn’t want to cut! What?! 

‘Oh no,’ I think ‘I hope I didn’t buy….no, I’m sure these are right….’

Chomp, chomp, chomp……chew chew chew…..not breaking down in my mouth.

I can’t stand it anymore and explode at Travis complaining about how horrible these sausages are and how I’m afraid I bought the kind with a thin (yet incredibly strong) plastic coating. Yes,that’s right.

The kind I’m suppose to peel off BEFORE serving my growing hungry children. Travis starts laughing and I feel horrible and mad- the packaging promised me perfect saussages…. and partly disgusted because Emma wanted seconds.

So have I learned my lesson? Nope, not really. As I write this I can’t remember how the packaging looked but I’m going to rely heavily on Google Translate. That beautiful app. 

So there you go. Hope you had a good laugh at my expense and have a great rest of your day knowing you didn’t feed your children plastic sausages for breakfast. 

 

Papa for now!

Welcoming an Adventure

Today marks our family being here for one week. Wow. I have tons of friends and family who have about a gazillion questions and are hungry for pictures. I’ll do my best to keep up to date with it as best as I can. Travis and Emma are taking trip #2 to IKEA today. It was incredible yesterday, using two large shopping carts and filling them up with tons of items and ordering other larger ones such as beds, mattresses and wardrobes. And although we didn’t really receive, what I would say was justified, stares I had to keep reminding myself that this is what happens when one moves across the world. 

I’m thinking of writing a thank you letter to IKEA headquarters. 

So tomorrow Emma and Elena should be able to sleep in their own actual beds! And have toys! Man, having two…energetic girls without toys or even tuperware for them to play with has been a handful. Speaking of the girls, they’re doing wonderfully. Elena could care less where we are and is just interested in making friends. She walked up to tons of kids at church gabbering away and smiling at them. Emma is also doing well so far. We went to a friends cafe and there happened to be a children’s cooking food class thing and although they were speaking only Polish she wanted to join the group so badly! YAY! I was so encouraged by that and we’re looking into how we can sign her up to begin making POLISH friends. 

Personally, I’ve been doing really well. And actually really having fun and enjoying myself! I LOVE our neighborhood and our managers are super nice. Having friends here to meet us was HUGE and made me feel loved. Before moving here I wondered if I would shrink into a shy person and not as questions, order food or engage in any conversation but so far so good! I make it a point to not give those fearful whispers any attention. I’ve also had to just keep smiling and reminding myself it’s super important to laugh at myself when I goof up and they give me that long stare like I’m crazy. I have an American friend in Sochi, Russia and she reminded me of how she still has to laugh at herself and her learning curve and I will take that piece of advice and tuck it in deep. I take myself too seriously sometimes, putting pressure on myself for pretty much no good reason. 🙂 I’m taking a crash course in that you might say. 

Don’t worry, you’ll be getting pictures as I blog more, but I’m still trying to figure out how to do everything on a new lap top and new theme thru WordPress. 

Some fun observations so far:

The Polish love their ice cream. I mean love.

The bananas are in the exotic fruit section in my local grocery store. 

They have cherry everything here. Juice, jam, tea, stuffed pierogi…I’m in heaven.

French fries are a side to tons of food. Tons.

Starbucks food is WAY BETTER!!!!! I’ll have to take a picture next time I take the 20-25 min tram ride there. Yeah. 

Coffee beans at said Starbucks are much more expensive.

Oh the shoes. People here just dress so nice and their shoes are beautiful.

I’m making friends with our local bakery lady and ice cream lady and I cherish that.

NO Mexican spices as far as I can see near me. Quietly freaking out inside.

But they have peanut butter. 

Church was amazing. Just amazing. A whole other post will go towards that. I already have a new Dutch friend! Yay!

I’m loving this city and there is still tons to see. I’m looking forward to being a tourist this summer, taking a map/camera with the family and bike ride around the neighborhoods. 

Finally being able to buy permanent purchases is so nice. I officially have my own dining room table that I won’t have to sell/give away!!

The homes here have big window sills because most everyone has 2-3 plants in their windows. LOVE that. And according to some Polish friends of ours, a traditional house warming present is a house plant! Cool.

 

Papa for now! 

(bye bye for now)

Meal Plan for August 15-31

snack

As boring as this might be for you to read, it’s a necessity for me. As our lives seem to speed up it’s mandatory for me to have a list somewhere I can turn to for answers. I am thankful that even though our time slots are filling up we make the time to eat as a family. And we have a new addition to our little family- my sister! She is staying with us while she gets her footing in a new city, new job and can save up/ find a place to move into.

Fun for me because I LOVE her. But also because she’s a vegan and that has proven a fun challenge for me. A lot of you have asked how I ‘do it’. Well, here is our menu plan to read. I’ll label the meals and how they are/could become vegan friendly.

Some of you have also asked does Emma actually eats the healthy meals? The answer is most of the time. She has a ‘thing’ with spinach. (hates it) So I try to sneak it in as much as I can. She eats brown rice, crusts of sandwiches and unhealthy amounts of hummus. However, the vegan pizza is a no go. Plain cheese only. Or the stir fry- just meat and rice.

15th: Veggie/Vegan Pizza: spinach, basil leaves, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms. Cheese added on our separate pizza.

16th: Camping

17th: Camping

18th: Tuna Melts (vegan: avocado melts) with fruit kabobs.

19th: Beef Enchiladas in green sauce, cold black bean/cilantro/corn salad. (vegan: black bean enchiladas/vegan cheese)

20th: Hamburgers/Vegan Burgers, Corn on the cob, BBQ Beans, cucumber salad

21st: Tortilla Soup, Mexican Salad (greens/corn/salsa/tomatoes)

22nd: Grilled Cheese/Tomato Soup

23rd: *pre-made and frozen* Stuffed Bell Peppers (rice, salsa, corn, black beans, spinach).

24th: Pineapple/Chicken Stir fry with brown rice. (vegan: all veggies with rice)

25th: Black bean patties, cold homemade potato salad (tons of dill)

26th: Any non vegan leftovers.

27th-31st: SEATTLE

For Desserts these next two weeks:

Fresh Blueberry Cobbler (dairy/GF)

Chocolate Banana muffins (vegan)

Adult Blueberry/ White Wine Popsicles

 

Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney World

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*Warning: Overload of Disney World pictures* 

We spent two full (over 8 hr) days in Disney World, Magic Kingdom and could post at least a week of all we did and saw. But I think I’ll shrink it down to a couple posts. Yes it was amazing, awesome and totally wonderful! It was great having a child at the perfect age for meeting and loving all the Disney princesses. In fact, you could say we went and did a princess tour.

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 Travis was so patient and even mapped out and scheduled for us when certain princesses would be available for us to meet. And you know what? I was excited to meet the princesses too! Disney has a way of bringing out the inner child in us all that’s for sure!

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 While we were there we lived it through her eyes and found it even more magical.

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Her favorite: Ariel. Travis got her the special outfit and Emma HAD to go back, stand in line again- just to show Ariel Emma’s new tail. My heart melted. (thank goodness Emma didn’t notice it was a different Ariel hehe)

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and now….camera pictures!

979966_10151457950212379_1304805765_oI wish I had someone who pushed me around the whole time! Sheesh! 😉

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Out of order pictures, but this is Emma on the airplane. You better believe we dressed her up in a princess outfit for the journey! Everyone ooo’d and awww’d over her and she ate it up. She smiled, twirled and told them where she was going. Not that the Mickey ears gave it away. 🙂

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We Mielonen ladies FROZE with the air conditioning! That is why her blankets are up to her chin. We stayed at the Coronado Springs Resort and had a serious ball.  It was an exhausting but amazing day.

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Mayfield Park: Austin, TX

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I had the chance to research fun things to do in Austin, TX before our trip. I’ve been there many times, but this trip we had two little ones in tow which altered the places we visited. This one I’m showing you today is free and relaxing. Choose a morning to visit- it can be pretty hot in the midday/afternoon.

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 It’s kinda set up into two parts. A nature walk which they made to look native. Local wildlife everywhere. Tons of tree cover and a nice flat path to follow. Every so often you’ll hear a peacock yell keeping you searching for them through the bush. The second part is a large house and well kept grounds, which is where 90% of the peacocks actually are. There are many trees keeping you cool as you stroll on a wide slate path sharing it with the peacocks. Large pools with koi give it an extra relaxed atmosphere.

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Yes, they are proud.

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 All in all a great place for the whole family. And did I mention it’s free?!

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Mayfield Park

3505 W 35th St

Austin, TX 78703

Blueberry Muffins

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*last post using my phone as my camera. So sorry!*

There is nothing as relaxing as eating a muffin. I don’t know if it’s just me (which is highly likely) but when I see a plate of muffins, I know the other person likes me.

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 And if they’re fruit muffins- they love me. 🙂 I’m so weird because I would never say this to a friends face…..probably because it would come out sounding slightly psycho. I mean who says those things? Why is it more acceptable to read them on a persons blog?

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All I can say is to find a good, safe muffin recipe and experiment. These are basic blueberry/cinnamon muffins. My mom’s recipe actually. We’re visiting her this coming weekend for a wedding and so in honor of her I made a batch.

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* disclaimer: DO NOT BAKE if you also have no air conditioning and is crazy hot in your home. Learn from my mistakes- don’t bake on hot days. It seriously ended up hotter inside our home than outside.*

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1 Egg

1/2C Milk

1/4 Oil

1 1/2C Flour

1/2C Sugar& 1 Tsp Cinnamon

2 Tsp baking powder

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 C Berries

Beat egg. Stir in milk and oil. Add dry ingredients. Mix. Add blueberries. Grease muffin cups 2/3 full and bake at 400’F for 20-25 min. Serve warm.

Oatmeal Chocolate Bars

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*My apologies for the quality of this picture. Phone picture. 🙂 *

I made up this recipe last night because I was already half way through making a dessert only to realize I didn’t have a couple items. Yikes. Time to get creative! And throwing out what I had made wasn’t an option. I hate- HATE- throwing out ingredients.

This ended up surprisingly more dense (but not too much). The oatmeal really adds a more chewy texture. And even though butter is used in this, it didn’t turn out greasy. We enjoyed it with some strong coffee and Star Trek. Enjoy!

 ***You could easily make this vegan by switching out the butter/chocolate chips for vegan  friendly ones. And as always, a great substitute for eggs are 2T ground flax seed and 5T water. Give it time to ‘goop’ and you have 2 egg substitutes**

1C Butter

3/4C Sugar

3/4C brown Sugar

1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla

*beat all above*

Then add: 2 eggs

Then add: 2 3/4C Flour

1/2C Quick Oats

1 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Salt

1/2C Coconut flakes

Chocolate Chips (however chocolaty you like it)

Bake at 350’F for 20ish min in 9’13 pan.