Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wooden Shoe Rather Be Dutch?

Hello, dear friends and family!  Since my dad has been visiting this weekend while attending a conference in Scottsdale, it has been a fun weekend of family time a Dutch indulgence!  On Thursday evening, I made a modern take on a traditional Dutch meal, Boerenkool met Worst.  Usually, this is mashed potatoes with boiled kale and sausage.  I am not big on boiling kale, so I sauteed it and mashed it with sweet potatoes.  The sausage is beer-boiled with onions.  It was a fun and easy meal and quite tasty!  Friday, Dad attended his conference, Matt and I went to work, and Nancy, my step-mother, arrived by plane in the evening.  We went out to the Salty Sow in Paradise Valley - it was a pretty cool gastropub type restaurant.  I definitely overate!

"Boerenkool met Worst"
On Saturday, after Dad had been to his conference in the morning and I had more students, we went to the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale.  I love this place and have been at least 4 (maybe 5) times in the (almost a) year since we've lived here.  Unfortunately, the museum closes at 5 PM, so we couldn't linger very long, but we saw a lot of great pieces and had a lot of fun!  We went out for Thai food in Old Town and then enjoyed an evening at home, where Nancy is trying to get me hooked on Breaking Bad.  I enjoyed the pilot, but I might put it off until I am all caught up on Game of Thrones.

Dad hits the gong!

Nancy enjoys the MIM interactive room.
With Monet

Today has been the pinnacle of our Dutch-iness!  Nancy and I went for a hike this morning while Dad finished at the conference and then our cousins, the Vandenberghs, who live in Chandler, came up for poffertjes and brunch.  We ate poffertjes, little pancakes about the size of a half-dollar, with butter, jam, powdered sugar, and keukenstroop (super sweet Dutch syrup).  We had marzipan candies, bread with hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles), ginger cake, almond cookies, and more!  I am definitely feeling the food coma!  I know have a pantry full of more delicious Dutch treats to keep me fat for the next few months! (Or days, depending on my self-control or lack thereof...)  Now we are all relaxing on this beautiful Sunday afternoon and napping off the food.  What a fun weekend!

Lazy Sunday with the Vandenberghs

Matt and Rudy - cousin bonding
So many sweet treat leftovers!
My dad took some pictures of the poffertjes, I will try to upload it when he sends it to me.  Thanks for reading!

UPDATE: photos of poffertjes!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Like so many New Year's resolutions...

... sad to say that, this one, too, seems to have been abandoned in March.  But fear not, dear readers, I will try to pick up that torch once again!

Let me regale you with tales of March!

After returning from our wonderful vacation, it was back to the grindstone for both Shapiro Adventurers.  It's always hard to get back to "work" after the adventuring spirit has called.  I sang in some concerts with my Scottsdale Chorus, which were terribly fun to sing.  (Side note, our regional competition is coming up at the end of April.  I have high hopes for our success!)  My aunt Diane was in town with her husband Earl to do some serious square dancing, so we got to meet up for brunch at a delightful spot called Butters.  I'd never been there before, however, they had gluten-free (and regular!) pancakes, which Aunt Di requires, so we gave them a shot and it was fantastic!  I will definitely be heading back at some point.  I also got to check out the Arizona Opera with Saralyn, my mopsy-in-law, and we had a delightful afternoon seeing La Traviata.  We also celebrated poppers-in-laws birthday a little early, since Matt and I were out of town for his real birthday!


Auntie Di and I!
We went out of town for the nuptials of my college roommate, Irina.  She had a lovely wedding in Palo Alto and I had a lot of fun being a bridesmaid!  She's posted tons of pictures on facebook already, and there are a lot of great shots.  We wish a lifetime of happiness for #andrina!

Bridesmaids on a Bus!

Me and the Blushing Bride
Purim was in middle March and I had a Hamentaschen Party at our apartment.  A very assorted group of friends came over to help make some very avante garde and some more traditional cookies - we had fun and ate a ton!  Last weekend, the Shapiro Adventures became time travelers!!  We went to our very first Renaissance Faire.  We ate turkey legs and chocolate, watched some Jousting and Whip Cracking, and overall had a merry time.  We also went to an Arizona UCLA Alumni gathering to watch the Bruins in March Madness in the second round.  The victory was celebrated.  We were saddened when we lost to Florida this week, but remain proud of our Bruins for their valiant effort!
Hamentaschen is serious business

Sweet Ads at the Ren Faire!
That brings us up to date, I believe.  Besides working today, my big plans for this weekend are NOTHING!!  It's nice to take a day and make no plans now and again.  Of course, you know me, I am always making plans and we have lots of fun things to look forward to in April.  Besides the Sweet Adeline's regional competition late April that I mentioned earlier, we will be adventuring to Los Angeles for Passover in mid-April.  Before that, my Dad is coming to visit us here in Scotts-y-dale-y, and will be seeing our apartment for the first time!  I've ordered lots of dutch deliciousness to enjoy in the meantime and we're looking forward to seeing our Chandler-cousins as well.

I do promise to myself to try and write more often - thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

St. Baldrick's - My 3 year Anniversary!

My First Head Shaving in 2011!
On October 21, 2011, I shaved my head for St. Baldrick's for the first time. (You can see the results of that here.) This October, I will be shaving again for the three-year anniversary of that date. As such, my goal will be to raise three times my original goal! Finally, after all this time, and some great hair-do's in between, my hair is long enough to donate and shave again. Please join me in the battle against children's cancers.

My donation page for the $3000, 3-year anniversary is:

You can also check out my post from the original event:
Getting a Mohawk in Costa Rica in March (ish?) of 2012

See videos of the ponytails being cut for donations here:

I hope you'll help me reach my goal of $3000 by October 26 - to celebrate 3 years since my first head shave AND three years since we embarked on our adventure to South America.

Awesome side-shave from August 2012, in Peru on the Jungle Trail

Monday, February 17, 2014

Our Final Sunset in El Salvador

Sad to say, the time has come to say goodbye!  Here is the cabana we have come to call home:

How did 12 days of doing nothing go by so quickly?  It was a perfect last day - I woke up early to get some morning beach sun after we both got delicious fruit smoothies.  We had a leisurely mid morning breakfast followed by some poolside sunning.  Then we repaired to the hammocks for some shaded reading and then wandered out for lunch. 

 In the late afternoon we soaked up the final rays of the day and then watched the sunset on the beach.  

In a bit, I'm sure we'll wander out for some food and maybe have a few drinks with some of our new friends.  After all, Monday night is Mopelia's biggest night!  

There was some local excitement: a Golden Cerveza commercial was shot on the deck of Monkey Lala hotel where we have eaten and drank a few times.  The Lala is right next to our hotel, so we could see some of the action.  Take 3 of opening a bottle and smiling into the camera:

We've definitely had a great time here!  I doubt that this will be our last visit, but who knows what El Tunco will look like next time we come by?  See you back in the states!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentines Day and a Frog

We had a lovely Día de San Valentín here in El Tunco.  We went for a sunset dinner at the Monkey Lala hotel patio bar, which has a lovely view of the beach and live music.  We had some drinks and are a nice relaxing, slow dinner.  

Today was more tanning and relaxing.  I can't believe our trip will be over so soon.  As I was typing this, a little frog hopped onto our patio!  Unfortunately, it was too dark to properly photograph him and when I tried to use flash, my leg got in the way!  Sorry!

See if you can make him out there!  Good night!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Geckos and Iguanas

This is one of our new roommates.  We found him hanging out in the shower this morning.  He seemed to have disappeared by the time I got into the shower this afternoon, but then I saw him swimming in the water!  I hope he survives the deluge...

Another larger gecko fell from the ceiling while Matt was taking a nap, but he quickly ran back to his hiding spot.

Lastly, for the last few days, I've sworn that there was something living on the roof of our cabana, big enough that I can hear it breath when it's startled she we return, but Matt kept telling me it was just birds landing on the roof.  Well, this morning while we were reading in the hammock, a friendly iguana poked his head over the edge and later jumped to a nearby tree!  He's about two feet long.  Hopefully we'll get a picture of him in the next week.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Not much to report...

I suppose you're probably tired of hearing how we woke up, had fresh juice smoothies, sat out by the pool, read in hammocks, took naps, and then swam some more.  So I won't bother you with the details.  

Today was particularly laid back as I seemed to have caught whatever bug Matt was fighting off when we left the states.  Nothing too serious, just elevated temperature, slight headache, and general fatigue.  Luckily, Matt is now feeling fine.  Nothing a couple of days of rest by the ocean can't cure...

Here is a picture of a bunny rabbit who lives at our hotel and is Matt's spirit guide.  He accompanies Matt to fill our water bottles every morning.

We've been having fun hanging out with other travelers.  There are two British "blokes" we've chatted up a bunch.  I especially love when they say something really British, like "blimey"!  It's so adorable.  They also seem to have extreme difficulty pronouncing Spanish city-names correctly.  (LEE-on instead of León (ley-own), LIE-ma instead of Lima (lee-ma), etc.)

Nothing else to report today folks.  Thanks for reading.