Our Summer Destinations

Now the school’s over for the kids we wanted their summer vacation to be kind of special. We regretted that we didn’t get to let them enjoy much last year’s summer so we thought of giving them a treat this year.

As early as March I secretly booked our trip to Europa Park. This spectacular amusement park is one of the most popular and visited theme parks here in Germany. It is located in Rust which is a two-hour drive from our home. Although it is just a short trip we thought of staying there for a few days. We are also planning to make a short trip to Freiburg where the German Clock Museum is located. We know one day is not enough to explore the theme park so bought a 2-day ticket. Two-day tickets cost 77 Eur (approximately 104$) for adults and 67.50 Eur (91$) for kids ages 4-11. Hopefully the kids will enjoy this trip despite them still having fears of park rides. Besides, I’m confident that this theme park  caters to kids of all ages and there’ll be no reason for them not to have fun.

europa park, summer destinations germany, germany

europa park,

image credit: de.wikipedia.org

Honestly I’m also excited for this trip. Seeing the photos of the attractions especially the roller coasters makes me cringe but at the same time feel the eagerness to try them. I hope when I get there I still have that will. :D

Next destination is the Tropical Islands in Berlin. We’ll drive there 2 weeks after our Europa Park trip.  Dubbed as Europe’s largest tropical holiday world, this place will let every guest experience the life in the tropics with perfect weather, white sandy beaches and all you could imagine in a tropical island.

tropical islands, tropical islands berlin, berlin

image credit: cwcity.de

This time the kids got really excited upon seeing the photos especially the waters. We’ll be staying for long there, 3 nights to be exact. The resort offers different kinds of accommodations. You can stay either inside or what they call the Dome or outside the resort. There are rooms, tents and lodges inside, and campsites, mobile homes and apartments outside the Dome. I’m particularly excited for the Spa Complex. Finally I can have that spa/massage I’ve been longing for.

After spending 3 nights in Tropical Islands, we’ll stay for 3 more days in the city center in Berlin. We thought maybe we could stay there a bit longer since Berlin is a 6-hr drive and we have to make the trip worth it. It will be also a perfect time to visit my other Filipina friend.

I’m hoping to have hassle-free trips and stress-free vacations this summer so we could all enjoy our family bonding.

Which Tennis Player are You?

Hi tennis players and fans! Aren’t you just curious of which tennis player are you on the court? Well, quizzes are all over in Facebook nowadays; from personality tests to determine the color of your aura or even which character fits you in a TV series. Some may find them silly, and others just take it as truth to their characters. So for the sake of fun let me give you one of those quizzes. If you’re a tennis fan or a player, you can relate to this enjoyable quiz. If not you can still take this so you’ll know and if ever you don’t know much about the player, there’s always Google. :)

nadal, tennis, quiz

This quiz is simple. You may opt to answer it by creating an account or you can just proceed without it. There are only eight questions and this won’t take much of your time although I know if you’re a tennis fan you wouldn’t mind how long it takes. Just answer the questions honestly and you’ll know the result in no time.

Have fun!

I’m Hooked

I’m hooked with Asian dramas, particularly the Korean ones. Actually I’ve been watching Korean series, mostly romantic comedies since the early 2000′s and then I stopped. What made me watch them again? Blame it on a Facebook friend who liked a page of a drama which just had its premier. I got curious so I went to the page and saw that it looked interesting so I watched it and my “addiction” began. :P

From then on I searched and watched other series that would fit my taste while waiting for the next episode of the drama. By the way, the drama’s called My Love from the Star. It’s a love story about an alien, who landed during the Joseon era and lived on earth for 400 years, and a top actress who fell in love with each other. It really got popular around Asia and I guess in some parts of the world. I see some comments coming from different continents so I guess it really made big. There are really a lot of sites that have compilations of Asian dramas that one could easily get hooked. I couldn’t anymore count how many drama series I’ve watched. I even got to watch and love those handsome actors! Haha! The highschool in me!!! Just imagine how many hours I had wasted idling around and doing nothing. As a result of just sitting around, I have gained weight. Waaaah!!! I guess it’s a goodbye for me to wear a decent, stylish swimwear this summer season. Tsk tsk..

There were even times I stayed up sooo.. late I couldn’t stop watching ‘coz every episode was a cliffhanger! I also watch behind the scenes in Youtube, and read articles about the actors and the series. Addiction it is!!


Just one of my favorites from the OST of the drama sang by the main character, Kim Soo Hyun (credits to the owner of the video)

Yes, even my blog sites have suffered! I would always say molds could have grown in my sites because I haven’t been updating them frequently. So unproductive of me thanks to my self control. Really, my failure in time management skills had shown! Sometimes I could also feel hubby’s irritation when he sees me in front of the laptop and just watching, haha!

I need to lose weight… I remembered the last time I gained this much was when I was pregnant with Zyc but since I was working then, I got my normal weight back. Now, after more than 3 yrs here in Germany I weigh the same weight minus the baby! :’(  I’m thinking of going on a diet (just thinking :P ) like what I did before. It was actually an unhealthy way and I don’t know if I could still do it. What I did before was I lessened my food intake especially at night. My problem now is I easily get hungry (normally I already get hungry 2-3hrs after a full meal :P ). I also bought a skip rope but I haven’t really been regularly doing it. My self discipline is a total fail. Oh my… I really have to get my weight back!

Top 10 Things to Know Before Renovating your Bathroom

Home renovations are one of the latest trends sweeping the nation. Each week millions of viewers are fixated to their television screens as they watch couples, friends and families take the great renovation challenge. Spurred with this determination many of you sitting at home want to take up this challenge, starting with smaller projects around the house and working on to bigger and better things. For many, the first place to start is the bathroom - a room that can be anywhere from simple to stunning! Need help? Take into consideration these top tips before you whip out the hammer.

Renovating can be tough!

Don’t be fooled, you’re not in for a walk in the park, but that’s the fun part! This will be a challenge, learn to love it. If you don’t think you go it alone, there are always bathroom renovation specialists like Choice Bathrooms who will walk you through every step.

Always get a second opinion

renovating bathroom, bathroom renovation

Just because one renovating expert says yes, it’s imperative that you get a second or even third opinion from a number of experts in the field. By knowing all the facts from a range of sources, you will be able to make an informed decision about certain aspects of your bathroom.

Colours. There are lots of them

Have some ideas of the colours that you want to include in your design. It’s ok to mix things up a little to make your bathroom something different and unique.

Get Inspiration

Gathering ideas for your perfect bathroom can be a bit of a challenge – especially if you want to cram as many ideas as possible into your space. Set up a Pinterest account and subscribe to your favourite renovation magazines to start collating ideas. Have your dream plan, as well as a number of backups as there will be times when your dream is not always feasible in your current space.

Less is more

bathroom design, bathroom renovation

Remember your bathroom doesn’t have to be cluttered with too many designs and features; some of the simplest bathrooms are often the best.

Ventilation is key

Nothing could be worse than having to spend every weekend scrubbing your new bathroom for increasing mould buildup. Planning for correct ventilation will help reduce excess mould in the future.

Plan ahead

Make a timeline and think about how long your bathroom will be out of action, do you have somewhere else to stay or at the very least, a friends shower to use?

Pace yourself

Just because the contestants on renovation shows work all day and all night doesn’t mean that you have to. Take the time to enjoy your renovation experience, plan breaks and rest times. A rushed job will not always be a perfect job.

Work to your budget

Often ideas may crop up along the way, as creative and fantastic as they may be try to ensure they still fit within your budget. If they don’t, brainstorm creative ways to approach the same idea with cheaper materials and execution.

Finishing touches

Remember to think about the little finishing touches that will add character and style to your bathroom. They may not be expensive features and gadgets, but small trinkets and displays can increase the aesthetic of your room.

Your renovation will be a great way to truly help make your house a home. Make sure you enjoy the experience, plan for what you want and work hard. The finished product will be something you will always be able to admire with a strong sense of satisfaction and accomplishment knowing it is something you created.

Under the Sun

There are so many fun ways to enjoy the summer season. In tropical countries like where I came from, going to the beach resorts or staying over night in rented private pools help us cool ourselves from the scorching heat. Even going to air conditioned, giant malls without shopping became a habit to those who don’t want to spend more on their electricity at home. You won’t see us walking along the streets and having fun

Here of course is different. Although people would also spend their time in public swimming pools during a rise in temperature, aside from this they really go out and make the most out of the season. Ride a bike, jog, drive around with their convertibles, a grill party, or even just sit in their garden and read a book are some of the common summer activities here.

When we went to Munich last April we were lucky to have a sunny weather. It was still spring and the wind was a little cooler. We went to the Odeonsplatz and I was really surprised with what I saw.

Odeonplatz, munich, germany, ways to spend time under the sun

I thought this was a really great way to spend time under the sun especially those who just love the season. Bean bags were all over where everyone could just sit after hours of walking around, taking pleasure with the historical city. Bookshelves are filled with books for everyone to read. If you live nearby, this could be a great place to meet up with a friend and catch up.

Odeonplatz, munich, under the sun,

There were also hammocks aside from the bean bags. For those who are more comfortable reading books while lying down, this is just perfect.

As for me, I can never stay there just to read books :P . I love the sun, I really do but only when I need to dry my laundry. Hahaha! I just can’t bear the heat when it touches my skin. Despite wearing sunblock, I couldn’t stand it. I’m just thankful that summer here doesn’t feel that hot compared to the one we have back home because of the wind. The wind here is dry and cooler unlike ours which is wet and humid.

Top 10 Movie Cars From Our Memory

Everyone has a favourite movie and everyone has a favourite movie car. Younger fans may opt for Cars while older fans may opt for Knight Rider or something from https://www.pureperformancemotorsport.com/, however everyone loves a celebrity four wheeled vehicle. Here are the best movie cars of all time.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

chitty chitty bangbang, movie cars

image credit: telegraph.co.uk

A car that flies?! That’s incredible. Or so thought children of the sixties and seventies. Now we have Need For Speed and Gone In 60 Seconds, and Chitty has been relegated to the shelf. Bring back Chitty. The world needs more flying cars.

Starsky & Hutch

That red and white Ford Torino (lovingly reprised in the 2004 remake) is an icon to a generation. Any sensible car fan wants one – and a chunky knit sweater to go with it.

Le Mans

Steve McQueen’s 1971 classic car movie with a Porsche 911S to die for. That beast is lowered so far, it’s practically underground. All car freaks love this movie with minimum dialogue, sweet motors and roaring engines. It’s genius of the highest order.

Knight Rider

knight rider, movie cars

image credit: krmagazine.webklik.nl

A talking Pontiac Trans Am with built in flame throwers? That’s almost as good as a flying car. KITT also reappeared as a Shelby GT500KR but the original Trans Am can’t be bettered. Knight Rider will forever be reinvented because you can’t beat a talking car and a Hasselhoff inspired crime fighter.

The A-Team

That black GMC Vandura with the red stripe made vans sexy again. You can even hire a replica for your wedding or prom, though you might not be able to get a Mr T lookalike to drive it for you. Or maybe you can?

Herbie

herbie, movie cars

image credit: herbiemania.com

You can’t leave the (questionably lovable?) Volkswagen Beetle off a list of classic movie cars – even if he does annoy the hell out of you, it’s guaranteed the movie industry will keep reinventing him every few years for each new generation of movie-goers. Beetle fans can point out the evolution of Herbie from the sixties through to the noughties. Don’t encourage them.

Back to the Future

A DeLorean DMC-12 that runs on plutonium and can travel through time is something that any sensible person wants – and any car with doors that open upwards is super-cool. End of story. But then you get flaming skid-marks and the story just gets better and better.

The Fast and the Furious

toyota supra mkiv, toyota supra, fast and furious

image credit: topspeed.com

How do you pick one car from a movie that’s jammed full of sweet motors? Surely it’s got to be the Toyota Supra Mk IV driven by Brian O’Conner? Or maybe Dominic Toretto’s Mazda RX-7? Too much choice.

Mad Max

A black Ford Falcon XB Interceptor with an exposed super-charger poking up through the bonnet? Oh yes. It’s not good to shatter illusions (or is it?) but that super-charger was non-functional. Who cares? It looks totally awesome and form over function wins out in this instance.

Scooby Doo

Who wouldn’t want a lime green Mystery Machine for fun-times with Fred and/or Daphne (your choice) in the spacious back of this Ford Econoline Van? There’s plenty of room for ghosts, hungry dogs and bearded hippies in this classic movie car.

Did we leave one off the list? Tell us about your favourite car in the comments below.

Catching up with Friends

I have been living here in Germany for more than 3 years now but still I could still feel homesick. I still miss my family, the Filipino food, my weekend habits and of course, my friends. That’s why it’s always been a joy for me to find a fellow Filipino wherever I go here, more so those living near my place. I know being with them and establishing a relationship will somehow cure my longing for my friends back home. However nothing beats meeting and catching up with my friends back home who share the same experiences. Agree?

I met with two of my classmates from the Goethe Institute (where I learned the language in the Phils) and was just overjoyed. Thanks to Facebook we are constantly in touch and with the same timezone, sharing our experiences, letting out our problems and worries, or even talking just about anything is easy.

We took advantage of meeting up while one of them, Mishel who lives in Berlin, stayed in Cherry’s house in Rheinplatz which is a two-hour drive from Stuttgart. We spent our day in Wilhelma Zoological and Botanical Garden where we know the kids will also enjoy.

It was their first time to visit the 74-acre zoo. Fun and laughter filled our day while we roam around the place and while hubby constantly capturing our moments together. The kids? Hmm.. we thought we could have just brought them to a near playground. Haha! The zoo is so big they were just contented with running around. Although there were areas where they displayed their curiosity.

kids in the playground, wilhelma playground, wilhelma

kids in the playground

While waiting for them, we took the chance of taking photos with the ever beautiful tulips in the garden. It was such a colorful view and sure is the perfect sight of spring season.

wilhelma in spring, wilhelma, wilhelma stuttgart, tulips in wilhelma,

The whole gang…

I don’t know with them but I haven’t had such laughter for a long while. Nothing beats being with people who make you laugh out loud.

I’m really thankful that even for a few hours we have enjoyed each other’s company and made each other’s worries disappear.

A mini reunion with our other classmates who are also now living here is in the pipeline. Hopefully it will push through. :)

Building A Pool? How To Know What Surface Is Right For You

There are a huge array of pool surfaces on the market to choose from these days and a quick search of the internet will reveal dozens of companies urging you to click here to find out why their product is the best. In this article, we will look at some of the pros and cons of popular pool surfaces to help you decide which one is best suited to your circumstances and budget.

Tiles

Tiles are regarded as one of the best pool surfaces you can have; they are easy to clean, durable and aesthetically pleasing due to the huge choice of colours and styles available. On the negative side, they are very expensive and require a skilled tiler to ensure they are properly installed and water tight. You can also have issues with algae building up in the grout between tiles and once they start to become worn or damaged, they can cost a fortune to repair.

Pebble

pebble pool, pool with pebble flooring, pool surfaceRough pebble pool surfaces have several advantages such as being non-slip and very durable. However, they share some of the same problems as tiles in that they are prone to algae due to the many small gaps and crevices between the pebbles. They can also increase wear and tear on automatic pool cleaners, meaning your cleaners wearing parts will need to be replaced more often.

Composite

Composite pool surfaces are rapidly gaining in popularity and are marketed under a plethora of different brand names. Made up of a mix of concrete, pebbles and other materials, they come in a range of colours and can greatly enhance the look of your pool. They are also easy to apply to irregular pool shapes and create a smooth, yet non-slip and therefore safer, surface. On the downside they are rather expensive and can run into to trouble with calcium build up and staining if the water in your pool is not chemically balanced correctly.

Vinyl

vinyl liners, vinyl pool, pool liners, pool surfacesVinyl is mostly used for above-ground pools or to reline an existing concrete pool that has a leak problem of is in need of a revamp. While cheap, vinyl is prone to tearing and can be damaged by chemicals if they are not added correctly.

Fibreglass

Fibreglass remains a popular pool surface for its flexibility and durability. Most commonly, fibreglass pools are prefabricated in a factory and moved by truck to be installed on site. They have the advantage of being relatively cheap, and their forms are usually mass produced so they have been tried and tested. They usually come with all necessary fittings in place making installation quick and easy. The strength of fibreglass means that they rarely leak or crack and last for a very long time without significant maintenance.

These are the main options for choosing a pool surface, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. Have a chat with the staff at your local pool shop to see what surfaces are common in your area and which they think would be best suited to your needs.

Image credits:
favhomeideas.com
homeandofficedecors.com

Three New Skills You Should Learn in 2014

learning new skill, welding, woman weldingA new year means new experiences, and what better way to start off the year than by learning some new skills. Something about the beginning of a new year makes us motivated to learn new things and enter a new phase of life. If you’ve been thinking about learning a new skill, now is the time. Not quite sure what it is you want to do? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Gardening

You may think it’s simple, but there is a whole lot more to gardening that just planting things in the ground. Not all plants are the same, and they need different conditions and levels of care. By researching the different families and varieties of plants, you can help yourself become more acquainted with the needs of the different species. Start off by purchasing some easy to care for plants, if you don’t know what these are, your local nursery will be more than happy to help.

Over time you will realize the differences between plants. You can start growing vegetables, herbs and fruit. If you’ve got a creative side you may even want to landscape your garden. Get down and dirty and dig up some flower beds. Separate them with a simple plank of timber, and use spare bricks to build pathways through your garden.

Building

Perhaps you promised your kids you would build them a cubbyhouse? It’s time you learned how to build. This isn’t an easy thing to learn, but the more practise you have, the better you will be. Talk to somebody who’s in the know, and start on small, easier projects. Build yourself a box and get acquainted with the tools you will need before you start on bigger projects. Over time you will become more and more confident. Only when you know you’re capable should you try the harder jobs.

Welding

Similarly, if you’re looking to learn to build, you should probably learn how to weld. Building isn’t all about wood, and you will need to learn how to work with different kinds of metal. Unfortunately, welding is one of the much harder things to learn. It’s important that you do as much research as you can. You should never assume that you can figure it out, as welding can be dangerous. Get some lessons from a professional before you try anything too soon. It’s important to be cautious and aware. At the same time, if you’re going to weld you need to make sure that you have the right safety equipment. You will need a mask, goggles, solid work boots and clothes that cover you from top to bottom.

It’s always a great idea to learn something new, especially when you can put those skills to use on something creative. But make sure you take your time, learn all that you can and have the appropriate safety equipment before you begin. 2014 is your year, so invest yourself in a new project. For more information about learning DIY skills visit http://www.welding.com.au .

Image credit: reporternews.com

How I Enjoyed a Live Football Match

I am a sports fan and I won’t deny that. My brother was a big influence on my love for sports. I played volleyball in high school because of him. I love watching basketball. The thrill in the action and physicality between the players and even the passion of the fans make me enjoy the game.

For those who do not know, football (soccer in US) is the prominent sport here in Germany. Since we came here I began watching football games on television. Actually hubby is more oriented in the game than basketball. I’m not familiar with the rules of the sport. Honestly, I used to get bored watching football. Seeing the players running back and forth on the field and taking too long for them to score, I found the game less exciting. I feel their exhaustion, actually.  Yesterday we had the opportunity to watch a live game courtesy of the school where the kids are going.  Free tickets were distributed to the kids. The Scholz Arena where the game was held is just a walking distance from our home. Knowing it would be difficult to find a parking space we opted to walk and enjoy the sunny weather.

Aalen vs. Frankfurt, 2. Bundesliga

The match is between our city, VFR Aalen and FSV Frankfurt. Actually I just learned last night what VFR means. Haha! I will not delve into the technical details of the teams or the league coz I really don’t know much. Anyway, when we got to the arena we found out that our place was behind the goal. It would have been better if we were seated on the sides but nevertheless it was okay. You can’t complain when your tickets are free, right?

Chants and flags adding excitement to the game.

I was entertained by the non-stop chanting of the fans. I may not understand what they were saying but still I got carried away by the “noise”. It made me so excited and really enjoy the game. I can’t imagine how a football game would be without this chanting from dedicated fans…

Tor!!!!

It took a little over 30 minutes when Aalen made the first goal. The crowd just went crazy and of course there’s the chant again. I was amused when Zyc was also doing the chant. I didn’t even know he knew it. I was hesitant at first to let Zyc watch a live match. I didn’t know if he could stand the noise made by the crowd. I remembered when he cried during a live basketball game we watched in the Philippines. I guess it helped that the venue was an open air and of course if he is familiar with the game and players.

First half ended and we hoped Frankfurt would not make a goal anymore but they did. Since they are the visiting team of course no noise was heard. Hehe… Good thing Aalen scored a goal again a little over the 60 minute mark and soon the game ended. We won 2-1. :)

I realized it’s not hard to appreciate this sport. I think the excitement relies on the challenge of taking away the ball from the opponent and making a goal from any part of that wide field. Really not an easy sport. I admire the energy and stamina of the players in this sport.

a Filipina mom's journal of new experiences, discoveries, travels and everything else as she adapts to a new life in the land of sausages and beers.