26 February 2011

Travelling with Doggie Tags


While planning for a trip, I like to come up with possible nightmares. Well, 'like' isn't exactly what I would call it but ... you know ... it's what I do. Nightmare 1: We are wandering through the souq in Fes and Spud suddenly gets lost in the crowd. 

Now I know this isn't going to happen; he has never been lost, in all his almost 7 years, for more than about 45 seconds. It's not in his nature. But when I run through all the 'what if' scenarios about travelling with kids, this one comes up for me time and time again. So this is what we've done as a back up plan to just never having him leave our sight ...

Dog tags. Weird? Kinda creepy? But I feel better knowing that he has all the information he could need to help someone find us if the worst should happen. It includes our names and an email address we created just for emergencies; if anyone emails to it, it will automatically get forwarded to family at home.

OK, wait, it gets better. In the back of the bottom one you can see that it's white. That's paper covered with some acetate for protection. I made a whole bunch of little paper tags where we will put our hotel information as we go along.

There. I feel better now. Back to happy-fun-travel thoughts.

24 February 2011

Making a List and Checking it Twice

So things may be heating up in Morocco. But we are not letting that stop us from preparing for this trip. Yesterday the family was chatting about what would happen if we couldn't go there ... and Spud piped up "We need a plan B! I think plan B should be Pennsylvania!". We could not stop laughing at the apparent randomness of this choice. "Why!?" I asked. "Well, I think Pennsylvania has a really cool name and it's in America and America has some cool stuff so I think if we went there and we looked for cool stuff we would find it!". Very well said, I thought. I know he's right. But with Morocco being plan A, Pennsylvania has some pretty big shoes to fill.

Anyway, the other day I spent some quality time on our packing list. On google docs of course. I stumbled across this fun site where you answer a bunch of questions about your trip and then it generates a list for you. Of course it won't have everything you specifically want to take but it turned out to be an excellent starting point for us. It even knew I wanted to bring a sketchbook!

23 February 2011

Leftovers Frittata

One of my favourite recipes for using up stuff in the fridge. It's never the same twice. For good or for bad. This rendition included leftover salmon.

2 T. olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, small, finely chopped 
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 C. mushrooms, chopped
1 C. cauliflower, cooked, chopped
1 C. salmon, cooked
8 large eggs
Salt and pepper
2 C. cheese, grated
Substitute wildly!

Preheat oven 350 F°. In the oil, sauté onion, garlic about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and red pepper and sauté another few minutes. Add cauliflower and salmon. Remove from heat and place in pie plate.

Whisk eggs, salt, and pepper together and pour over sautéd concoction. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake until done (20 – 30 minutes). Eggs are really no good runny or overdone and since every oven is different it's worth it to check in on its progress during the cooking time often.

22 February 2011

All Aboard the Marrakesh Express


Here's a trick ... try watching playing both of these at the same time ... Crosby, Stills & Nash kickin' it live with a couple of minutes of scenery going by (just turn the volume off the bottom one).

The boy has never really done train travel. Which is a shame I think. It seems like a perfect kid-friendly form of transportation. No seat belts. Able to walk around when the inevitable ants-in-the-pants arrive. Not to mention the long time fascination with trains. For both Spud AND Hubs actually. I think they are ok too. So we know we are keen to fit this into our Morocco itinerary but we'll see how it goes. Here's a round up of some of our research on the Marrakesh Express so far.

· The Marrakesh Express makes it on World Travel Guide's Top 5 Great Rail Journeys list (I love lists!). So far, I've only got the first one under my belt.

· ONCF has all the nuts and bolts on train routes, prices etc. Looks like one way, for the 3 of us, from Marrakesh to Fes costs 443,00 Moroccan Dirhams. How much is that I wonder. I love google. I typed in google's search "443,00 Moroccan Dirhams in CAD" and voilà! It appears right away.

Call me lazy but I like skipping the step of finding a good currency exchange site. The trick is knowing off hand the codes for the currency you are looking for.

· The Wandering Aramean was a bit disappointed that the trip didn't reflect the experience of Nash's 1966 adventure (no more chickens on the train!) but he got some great shots and in the end appeared to enjoy the trip nonetheless.

· The travellers reporting at Virtual Tourist make the train trip sound comfy.

· Faux Guide (false guide) or kind strangers? An inevitable question asked by many travellers more than once in place like Morocco. Gulch gives a worthy recount of their own questionable encounters to and on the train.

I wish I could find more. If all goes well, it would make an excellent Photo Friday for when we get back.

21 February 2011

Book: Drawing Lab

Bought this book recently and I'm very excited to delve in. And what better time than while on vacation! But this is causing me a serious internal debate. Given that we are travelling VERY light it seems sort of frivolous. I've brought sketchbooks on holidays before and usually they came back in the exact same condition as they left. I'm hoping that adding a little bit of structure, in the form of exercises, will be what I need to actually do some drawing.

I'm also really excited about doing some of these with Spud. There are a number of 'labs', as they call them, that are very Spud friendly. 

I also think that these exercises could make very good contributions to our travel journals.

20 February 2011

Guyot Squishy Bowl and Cup Set


Found these at our local MEC yesterday: silicone cup and bowl set that will pretty much fit anywhere. Even your pocket. We think these are going to come in mighty handy on our upcoming pack-extremely-light trip. I can see these working well for many on-the-move, impromptu, kid-snacking scenarios in grungy train stations and the like.

18 February 2011

Apple Millet Cereal in the Slow Cooker

I was tidying our cupboards last night and thought I should use up some of our grains by making an overnight cereal in the slow cooker.

1 C. millet
1 C. brown rice, short grain
7 C. water (you can add more in the morning if it gets too thick)
1 C. apple sauce (helps to sweeten it)
2 apples, large, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 t. salt

Eight hours on low and it's done! If you had time to snazz it up a bit this would also be yummy with warm toasted nuts on top.

Also love how well it freezes: about one evening a week I pull one out of the freezer, in the morning I put it in a glass bowl, add a bit of water, cover it and toss it in the microwave. Once warm, I add berries if we have them, some milk, and brown sugar. Of course.

17 February 2011

Making our Own Travel Journals with re-bound

Look at this wonderful book that just arrived in the mail. Making notebooks and journals out of reclaimed things ... so up my alley! I've always been fascinated by the art of book making. I think this will get me one step closer to making our own travel journals ... and another tick on the life list! Stay tuned.

14 February 2011

Sweet + Salty Seedy Cookies for the Freezer

These little guys are earmarked for Spud's future school snacks.

1 C. butter
1 C. brown sugar
3/4 C. white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 C. flour
3/4 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
2 t. cinammon
1 t. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 t. anise, dried and ground
3 C. oatmeal
3/4 C. dried cranberries, pre-soaked and drained
3/4 C. chocolate chips
1/4 C. seseme seeds
1/4 C. pumpkin seeds
1/4 C. sunflower seeds

Preheat to 350° F.
Cream butter and sugars in large bowl. Add beaten eggs and drained cranberries to creamed mixture. In medium bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. Add oatmeal, chocolate chips and seeds to flour mixture and stir. Add all dry ingredients to creamed mixture and mix well. Form into 2 tablespoon-sized balls on cookie sheet. Bake 10 – 12 minutes or until slightly browned on the bottom and done in the middle.

These are really yummy. If I was going to tweak them at all I think I would try taking down the amount of oats and replacing them with even more seeds. And maybe more cranberries too.

09 February 2011

Armed with Audiobooks


With some long travel days ahead of us, we want to make sure we are equipped well with high impact, low bulk activities. The latter consideration is due to our attempt of having carry-on luggage only! Crazy? Maybe. Or genius? We'll see.

Airport waiting room, Cuba 2008.

Of course we will have other activities up our sleeves but in the meantime here is our collected audiobook reading list for our 6 year old Spud.

  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Ian Flemming
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory + James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
  • Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things, Lenore Look
  • Nim's Island, Danielle Denega
  • Stuart Little, E. B. White
  • Flat Stanley, Jeff Brown
  • Various Magic Tree House stories, Mary Pope Osbourne (These are an old favourite. I've bought a few new ones to freshen things up a bit)

Our inspiration for this list came from the following:
1. Our local library (I heart libraries)
2. iTunes
3. Travel Savvy Mom
4. Common Sense Media (It's a great place for reviews, including appropriate age ranges etc.)

So, I'd love to know ... what do you think we are missing in the audiobook world?

04 February 2011

Guess Where We're Going?


It's true. Tickets purchased. Public library visit. And travel book store. Next steps: rough itinerary and packing list. Exciting! This will lead to at least 2 Life List ticks!

02 February 2011

wee love on wednesdays


Well, we have travel on the brain right now. A trip is in the making and we are very excited. More posts on the subject soon. In the meantime, some fun Etsy finds that I am loving today.

01 February 2011

String of Hearts


We were up to a little crafting on the weekend. Pop over to ohdeedoh to see the process.

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