Monthly Archives: May 2015

C is for…

My nephew Joseph asked me to teach him a little Dutch by making him a Dutch Alfabet. The easiest way for me to do this for him is through my blog. These are written for him, but hopefully anyone else reading this can learn a little Dutch!

C is for Carnaval.

Here the Carnaval colors are covering up the original colors of the Limburg flag
Here the Carnaval colors are covering up the original colors of the Limburg flag

Every year right before Lent there is a celebration called Carnaval. In America we usually just celebrate Mardi Gras on the tuesday right before Ash Wednesday, but in lots of places they have a celebration for a whole week.

In the Netherlands, especially the south, where I live, Carnaval is the biggest celebration of the year. They have parties and parades every day.

In the Netherlands each town has a special prince who is given the keys to the city, and he is in charge for all of Carnaval. There is a new prince every year, and he is elected a few weeks before Christmas. The prince carries around a special scepter, and everyone in the town tries to steal it from him. If they steal it from him, he has to buy them lots of beer. To make sure nobody steals his scepter, the prince picks a man from the town to be his body guard and keep his scepter safe.

In the Netherlands people dress up in funny costumes for Carnaval, and every day they try to dress in a different costume. It is kind of like Halloween, except they don’t go trick-or-treating.

During Carnaval in the Netherlands, the number 11 is very important, and so they try to start everything either in the 11th hour or on the 11th minute of the hour.

During Mardi Gras in America we usually decorate with the colors green, purple, and gold. In the Netherlands they decorate with green, red, and yellow. During Carnaval many people hang green, red, and yellow flags from their houses and they try to wear this colors when they dress up for the parties and parades.

During Carnaval when you see someone you know or if you are at a party, you don’t say hello to them, but instead you say “Alaaf!” and you salute them.

In our town the symbol of Carnaval is the owl. At the beginning of Carnaval they hang a crest on the town hall with an owl on it and they have a children’s parade with lots of music to tell everyone that Carnaval has started. At the end of Carnaval they take down the owl crest and they have fireworks to tell everyone that Carnaval is over.

Carnaval is full of funny music and silly costumes. It is one of the best times to be in the South of the Netherlands because there is always something fun happening.

365 Days of Joy: Week 20, 21 and 22

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, author of the Story of a Rose blog).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉 Now the consistency thing failed due to my week long trip and my procrastination problem, so here we go, week 20, 21 and 22!

*This is my fourth time trying to write this stupid post and every time it hasn’t saved, therefore, I’m going to do a big “END OF MAY” post and then call it good. Next week I will get back to doing the dates and go day by day. 

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The end of May brought so many joyful memories. I got to travel from Munich to Salzburg, Salzburg to Vienna, and Vienna to Prague. It was a long trip, but it was so amazing. It was my longest trip I have ever taken alone, but it really didn’t feel like I was by myself. I met amazing people, including a cousin of mine in Munich and his family, and a lady in Vienna who is about to be elected into the Austrian Parliament. Everyone I met and stayed with were so friendly and they made my trip a great experience. It’s hard to say which city was my favorite. Munich was full of life and history. Salzburg is full of natural beauty and a “small-town” atmosphere. Vienna is classy and grand. And Prague is Bohemian and magical. Sometimes when you travel all the cities mesh together, but the nice thing about this trip was that each city was so different that they remain separate trips in my memory.

Munich!
Munich!
Prague!
Prague!

Even though my trip was so amazing, coming back to the Netherlands was so refreshing. I realized how much I’m going to miss these kids when I have to leave them for more than just a week. It will be such a hard goodbye when I have to leave this family in July. But for now, I am going to enjoy this last month and pull as much joy out of it as I can!

Pax ex,

Maddie

Also, you can check out my Bavarian blog here: https://goingdutchtravels.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/bavaria-baby/

The others are on their way!

365 Days of Joy: Week 19

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, author of the Story of a Rose blog).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉  So here we go, week 19!

IMG_7971.PNGSince February I have been apart of a Bible study over the book of Esther. This study’s main theme is the idea  of a reversal of destiny–of taking the life you think you are meant to live and turning it into the life God has planned for you to live, and having the courage to follow his path when the moment comes along.
This quote is from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and I think it fits perfectly to what my Bible study has been talking about in our Esther study. We are not meant to be spectators in the world, but players. We cannot wait for the world to give us what we want, but we need to give to the world what we have–our gifts.
Spring is a wonderful time to set goals and start projects. One of my goals this spring is to work on enhancing the gifts God gave me in order to spread His glory to everyone I can.

05.07.15

The kids had bath time with NO FREAK OUTS! I guess there is a first for everything!

05.08.15

Night to myself! I had gnocchi and white wine for dinner and binge watched House of Cards–that show is a whole bunch of messed up.

05.09.15

KINDERDIJK! Finally got to see some windmills (19, in fact) and it was glorious! Definitely a good bucket list moment.

Almost all 19 windmills at Kinderdijk. Panorama beauty.
Almost all 19 windmills at Kinderdijk. Panorama beauty.

05.10.15

Had a Skype movie date night with Marissa and Kate, and we watched Anne of Green Gables! It took us a while to get the movies in sync, and I don’t think we ever really got them perfect, but it was so much fun–it was just like hanging out!

Talked to my mom and family for Mother’s Day!

05.11.15
Spent all afternoon outside because the weather was like middle of summer weather! At night I took a rosary walk. We used to do this all the time as a family, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I did it tonight. It’s so relaxing and refreshing to walk at sunset and pray the rosary at the same time–it’s a habit I want to bring back to my life.

05.12.15

The dandelions are in seed right now and the kids are having more fun than I’ve ever seen anyone have with dandelions–even if it’s the 50th one they’ve seen that day, they still scream out of joy when they see one. It’s hilarious.

Also, I finalized all my tickets and reservations for my Germany–Austria–Czech Republic trip!! Just a couple more days!!!

05.13.15

Today was the last day of my Esther Bible study–it was a great study and I’m sad to see it end. Esther is a great book to see the power God has in our lives and how he uses each and every one of us to complete a wonderful mission on Earth!

I also spent some time today writing fiction. It’s been a little while since I’ve done this and it was nice to have some creative time in my day again.

 

 

And that’s my week! I don’t know if I will have the chance to put up my blog next week because of my trip, but you can see updates if you follow me on Instagram (maddiemmaher) or if you are friends with me on Facebook!

I am going to try to put up a travel blog either today or tomorrow about my recent dutch travels, so keep an eye on goingdutchtravels.wordpress.com for that!

Please keep my trip in your prayers and I look forward to telling you all about it!!

Pax Ex!

365 Days of Joy: Week 18

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, author of the Story of a Rose blog).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉  So here we go, week 18!

8b39af641637a3c04ab962d6a45f7a4fUgh. I’ve started that awful process of searching for and applying to jobs for when I get back to Iowa at the end of July. If you are ever feeling too good about yourself, just job search for a little while and you will find soon find out how many things you are not qualified to do…trust me, you will be humbled very quickly. It’s hard staying positive in this process, and it’s hard sticking with it–I feel under qualified for every job I see, and it makes me feel like I will never find my true calling (if I even have one).  But, even if I feel under qualified and inexperienced, I still have to do it, because money is a real thing that I need, so I am giving it to God and trusting that He will help me find the courage and strength to continue this job search, and help me remember that I do have some nice things about me and so someone out there will hire me … hopefully!

4.30.15
Welcome to the world Bernadette Marguerite Kautzky! My dear dear friends Aaron and Alex Kautzky added a beautiful new member to their family! I can’t wait to get back to Iowa and meet the little princess!!

5.01.15
My sister Grace’s senior pictures went up online and they are beautiful! It’s so cool seeing her all grown up, but her pictures show how she still has all the joy she had as a child! You can see her pictures here!

5.02.15
My teenage past came back to me when I found Moulin Rouge playing on TV…I happily sang along to every song and teared up just like I did when I was 16.

5.03.15
Happy 5th birthday to my nephew Pepe!! This boy is so hilarious and sweet and we had a very entertaining Skype birthday call!

I made chicken wings for the kids and they we taken completely by surprised when I told them it was ok to eat with their fingers! They were cracking up the entire meal and it was so fun!
5.04.15
Went to a nearby thrift store for a little therapy on my half day off. The parents had been in Lourdes for the past five days, so it was nice to have a little time away after working double time.

5.05.15
I brought the celebration of Cinco de Mayo to the family here by making Tacos and drinking Corona! It was Muy Bueno!

Also, my host parents had gone to Lourdes with the Order of Malta and they brought me back an honorary pin from the Order because they while I am not apart of the Order, I helped them achieve the mission of the Order to serve those who are sick. It was a very special gift from them.

5.06.15
Put up my second Dutch Alfabet blog post! My nephew asked me to make him a Dutch Alfabet to teach him about the Netherlands, and so I’m using my blog as the median for that! You can check it out in the Dutch ABC’s category on my menu bar!

And that’s my week–I can’t believe I don’t have pictures to post…this has got to be a first!! Hope you all had a good week too and I’ll write again soon!

B is for…

My nephew Joseph asked me to teach him a little Dutch by making him a Dutch Alfabet. The easiest way for me to do this for him is through my blog. These are written for him, but hopefully anyone else reading this can learn a little Dutch! 

B is for Bitterballen.

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If you are in the Netherlands and you are looking for a quick snack, you should probably try some Bitterballen.

A Bitterbal is kind of like a fried meatball and you are supposed to eat it with mustard.

The Dutch like to eat these at parties, especially on big national holidays, like King’s Day, which we celebrated just a little while ago, on April 27.

I’ve never made them myself, but if you would like to try them at home you can find a recipe here!

If you are going to try them, they  go great with French fries and beer (or root beer for the kids 🙂 ).

A is for…

My nephew Joseph asked me to teach him a little Dutch by making him a Dutch Alfabet. The easiest way for me to do this for him is through my blog. These are written for him, but hopefully anyone else reading this can learn a little Dutch! 

A is for Aardappel

In Dutch aardappel means potato.

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Just like in Iowa, the Netherlands has lots of farms, and they grow lots of different plants. In Iowa we grow lots of different kinds of food, but mainly we grow corn, soy beans, and wheat. In the Netherlands they also grow lots of different foods too, but unlike Iowa, they grow a lot of potatoes.

Potatoes grow well in the Netherlands because it doesn’t get too hot nor too cold. Also, potatoes need a lot of water to grow and since the Netherlands have a lot of rivers, and it rains a lot, it is a perfect spot for potatoes to grow.

Just like the USA, the Netherlands send a lot of food to other people all over the world. And almost 25% of all the potatoes in the world come from the Netherlands, so the next time you eat a potato chip, you might be eating one that came all the way from the Netherlands.