I have inundated you with pictures of Croatia from my recent trip to Europe, but I haven’t told you that we spend one day in Italy. When you stay in northern Croatia, the border to Italy is about one hour away. So, in other words, you get in your car and in one hour you could be sipping expresso on the Italian Coast. I know, what a hardship!


venice st marco

venice, realto bridge


st marco plaza, venice

st marco, canal

venice, grand canal

Not sure if you have noticed that the pictures on top are looking into Venice from the outside. I would have not gotten those had I not gotten into the wrong boat. 🙂 The right boat would have taken us through the Grand Canal where you get those close up views below (we got those shots by walking from St.Marco church all the way back to where you come in). Sometimes it pays to be an ignorant tourist…

Have a lovely day,

P.S. These pictures were the first I took with my Canon Rebel shooting in Raw. Shooting in raw means your pictures tend to be colorless and by editing them you bring out the colors you want. This is also my first time editing eith Adobe Lightroom thanks to my friend Emily, who has been encouraging me to do so. I feel like I have come a long way…but have a long way to go. At least I’m getting closer to the point where I can transform my pictures closer to the look I have in mind. Small steps…


Old Town Albuquerque

Hi there,

On Friday I had a chance to go to old town Albuquerque. We had an international student stay with us last week, so I wanted to show her the sights. Founded in 1706 it is quite charming. Spanish settlers organized the center in the traditional Spanish colonial way: with a central plaza anchored by a church. This is San Felipe de Neri church, built in 1793.

There are shops all around the plaza shaded by pergolas like this one.

What makes Old Town so fun are the little shops hidden in sideways like this one.

Here is the plaza in the center. On the weekends there will be bands playing life music and children dancing.

New Mexico is all about manana. Life is slower here.

Here you can see the blending of cultures in this area. Native Americans side by side with Spanish settlers and poeple of Mexican origin. This is reflected in the stores, museums, and performances in old town. When you get here on the right day you see a Native American dancer performing on the street.

Found this water well in one of the side passages.

Here is my 2 year old, Natasha.

The building still look very much like when they were built centuries ago.

This is me and Natasha cooling off with a smoothie. It was quite hot.

Hope you enjoyed it. Come visit us sometime.

Have a wonderful day,


Old Town Albuquerque

Jemez Mountains


how was your weekend? Ours was fabulous. We went on a family outing with the six kiddos in tow, and it was actually smooth and pleasant.  By that I mean nobody threw up, starved, had accidents, or got hurt. If you have little kids you know what I mean. Everybody had a great time, which is no small feat with 8 people. It was so fun, we might try it again. 🙂 We drove through the Jemez Mountains, northwest of Albuquerque. Take a look:

Love the color of the rocks.

Our first stop at soda creek. Everybody is acting like they haven’t eaten in days…

So pretty. Waiting for this cabin to be for sale.

The girls checking out soda creek, wondering if it safe to go in. They decided not to.

Next stop: Battle Ship Rock.

Here is my man.

Found a spot to go in. Lucille’s not quite sure…

Natasha sporting my sun glasses. The cuteness factor went up a couple notches.

Plotting a different route home involving four wheel driving. My 6 old commented: “This was the bumpiest short cut ever!”

On the way home.

What’s ahead for you this week? Is school starting or are you savoring one more week of summer? We will be gently easing into school, which will be disrupted by a German college student. Anna will be staying with us for three days until she can get into the dorms. We don’t know her yet, but she seemed quite nice in her e-mail.

Have a fantastic day,


Jemez Mountains

Playmobil Park


How is your week going? I’m still settling back into normal life after my  trip to Germany. I wanted to share another fun outing we did. My sister and I rented a German version of an SUV (the smallest one I had ever seen, half the size of ours), and we drove to Bavaria for the day to visit Playmobil Park. This park was so well laid out. Benches for the parents everywhere. A coffee bar conveniently located where parents were sitting and watching their kids play.


The water here was only knee deep, and the rafts did not tip. This was the funnest station for my 8 year old(to the left) and his cousin.


If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend going there. Especially if your kids are between 5 and 11 years old. Do bring a swim suit, a towel, and a change of clothes, since they have water play stations right next to sand boxes.

See you back here tomorrow with another book series suggestion from my 14 year old.


Playmobil Park

Ready For a Vacation?


my mind is seriously occupied with vacation. I am  getting ready to go to Europe on Friday. I will be doing a lot of laundry this week. Still need to buy presents for my friends and relatives. As if that wasn’t busy enough, my oldest is heading to camp today. However he will not be relaxing in a hammock. He and his youth group will serve all week among the poor, homeless, widows, and the elderly. They will be working with inner city ministries and Franciscan monks. At the end of the week they will be doing a 30 hour fast to raise money for World Vision. How cool is that?! My husband and I are praying that this week will shape our son for the rest of his life. He and I were part of an inner city ministry in Chicago for 10 years. Our two oldest where born there but they were too young to remember much.

How about you, are you getting ready for vacation? If so where are you headed? Visiting family like me, or exploring new places?

Ready For a Vacation?

Summer is here!!


we are done with school and summer has officially started. What sort of picture comes to your mind when you think of summer? My mind goes straight to the pool (above). We live in the high desert; there is not much else you can do. We are not big on organized sports, but there is one thing we do every year: swim team. The city offers two months of swimming every day, with swim meets on Saturdays for a very low cost. Once I have taught my kids how to swim I sign them up for summer swim team, so they can get good at their strokes. I swim there as well once a week doing laps.

That is one thing crossed off my summer to do list. Other things include organizing, planning for the next school year, cleaning, sipping on smoothies in the late afternoons… How about you what are your plans for the summer? Do you like to pack them full or do absolutely nothing?

Summer is here!!