Living Vicariously Through Other Travelers

Summer reminds me of travel – road trips, flights, or discovering things closer to home. While we road tripped to North Carolina for a wedding over Memorial Day weekend, we do not have any immediate plans to travel out of state with our family.  Shorter, kid-friendly trips are what work best for my almost 2 year old and 3.75 year old, though I DREAM about the time when I can take them both on an overseas flight to visit friends across the pond.  Right now my son has really found his voice, and is using it VERY LOUDLY!  I know airplane passengers would LOVE that.

Back in my college days I spent an entire summer in Tokyo, Japan, came home for ten days and flew to Vienna, Austria to study there for a semester.  My time spent abroad was nothing short of amazing.  I loved meeting some wonderful friends, being immersed in the culture, exploring and traveling to new places.  Since then, I have been on a few trips, though it’s difficult to find the time and funds to do so.

To satisfy my overseas travel dreams for now, I am going to be living vicariously, or should I say viKERRYously through my friends Kerry & Matt, who left yesterday on their flight to Lima, Peru.  They sold their home, cars, and severely downsized to become ex-pats in Peru, where Matt will be working as a school principal. I’m am so excited to follow their journey, as they acclimate to their new surroundings, culture, and language.  You should check out their blogs too:

I once met a colleague during a summer internship, who had an opportunity to move his family and work in France for a few years.  He described it as the “most exhilarating experience ever.”  I truly hope Kerry & Matt find their experience to be the same!

This leads me to my next question – could I leave everything in Wisconsin and the U.S., pack my family, and move to another country for an extended period of time?  At one time in my life (before kids), the answer was unequivocally YES, but now the answer is a big MAYBE.

What about you – would you want to live / work in another country?

I featured Kerry On and Untethered as part of the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge.  Check out the link to read Tricia’s latest finds.  I can definitely relate to her latest post on parenting young children.

Do Good Read More Summer Reading Challenge

What great blogs have you read lately?  Read more & share what you found! I’ve really enjoyed checking out the variety of voices and making new connections in the blogosphere, and I’m sure you will too.

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Newsflash: Cardboard Toys Don’t Last

I knew that, right?!

When I set upon making the Cardboard Kitchen and Cardboard Choo Choo Train, I knew it wasn’t going to be a keep-forever type of toy.  I was simply making use of some old cardboard boxes in my basement, hoping that they’d have more value as my kid’s toys instead of in the recycle bin.

Since CARDBOARD happens be a a popular search term on my blog (geez, my writing on other topics must be so thrilling), I thought I’d share a look at these cardboard toys almost one year later.

What can I say, it’s been well loved, and a cheap toy for hours of enjoyment for my kids!  I have been thinking about pitching it in the recycling bin, but just saw my kids playing with it yesterday.  It will be a fixture in our basement for a bit longer it seems.

The Cardboard Train Engine has fared slightly better than the kitchen – a testament to my superior cardboard construction skills.  It still has that slight lean to the right in the cab – again a testament to my superior cardboard construction skills.

More Cardboard Craft Ideas

As part of the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge, I found some other bloggers with more cardboard craft ideas.

  1. I love this post from Zing Zing Tree. Egg Cartons, Houses, Cars, and Story Diorama. Check it out for some fun craft projects on a smaller scale (it won’t take up as much space as the cardboard kitchen or train engine)!
  2. The Little Crafter that Could shares an awesome cardboard letters project. This would be really cute in my kid’s rooms!
  3. Finally, the BEST CARDBOARD MASTERPIECE that I found comes from Japanese artist who goes by Upunushu: Matsumoto Castle.  Apparently she has been working with cardboard since 5th grade and is now in her twenties.  All I can say is WOW!  You have to check it out!

Home Improvement Blog – Do Good Read More Summer Reading Challenge

In light of some recent home improvement work we had done at our home, I searched for blogs on that topic, since it is so near and dear to our hearts right now.  It seems that EVERYTHING we do or have quoted on our home is $300 minimum.  New glass block windows in the basement = $600, stone block railing = $500, ant control program = $155 + the bargain price of $31 per month, equaling $310 for the rest of the year!  Wow – where do I sign?!  Guess who was hiding some child-resistant ant traps and spraying eco-friendly ant spray before sitting down to blog tonight?  You got it – this lucky Mama O.

With a home that would definitely receive the senior citizen discount, we are doomed blessed to have home improvement projects that keep us – or expensive contractors busy!

In honor of this reality that is our life, I bring you some blogs on home improvement as part of the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge.

Do Good Read More Summer Reading Challenge

One of the first blogs that caught my eye was Dogs, Dishes and DecorIn This House Needs a Hug (Or I Want to Fix Everything), – what a fantastic title right – she grabs me with a line from one of my favorite films Dirty Dancing.  It’s a quote from steamy dance instructor Johnny to Baby.

“I’ve never known anyone like you before. You think you can make the world better. Somebody’s lost, you find them. Somebody’s bleeding…”

“And I go get my daddy.”

Anika feels this way about beautiful architecture.  Check out her blog for the adorable home that needs a hug – STAT!

I can also relate to things of mine being covered in pet hair, though I have the feline variety in my home and usually clinging to my clothes.

When perusing her blog a bit more, I came across This One’s For You, Justin (Or How to Make a Kale, Banana, and Nut Smoothie). It’s a post about family, loss, and finding ways to honor a loved one.  This truly struck a chord with me as I remembered my Grandpa on July 3rd.  Anika’s statement about food being so much more than just food is spot-on.  Read her full post and have a tissue ready.

Happy Reading, and feel free to join the challenge!

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Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge – Part 2

Aside

I’m at it again – reading and discovering new blogs that pique my interest as part of the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge.  I don’t know that I’ll be posting DAILY as the challenge recommends, but I’ll do what I can….here goes –

Do Good Read More Summer Reading Challenge

I have a soft spot for new bloggers (since I’ve still been blogging for less than a year too – that’s still new, right), especially those who seem to cover topics on my radar: parenting, working, marketing, travel.

I discovered Jo’s blog All Marketing Things with her post Audience, Are You There? It appeared in my Related Articles suggestion when I was writing Blogging Blues.  I could completely relate to her questions about how some blogs seem to have “it” while some others do not.  It certainly takes time, discipline, and good writing to attract a following (and have fun while doing so).

I also think it’s quite genius for university students to start their own blog – especially when going into fields of advertising (like Jo), to learn firsthand about social media and showcase your talents for prospective employers.  She smartly talks about the need to use caution in social media in her post You Never Know Who’s Watching.

In this post she says, “It’s an amazing thing the internet, be careful what you do with it!”

So true!

I also discovered this blog post when writing my last post about padded bike shorts.  This tip is essential for buying new gym gear!

The Lululemon Effect

Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge

Quote

I recently read about the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge at The Do-Gooder Mama’s blog, and I was inspired…but not immediately moved to action. The truth is I have been a bit lazy and TIRED lately from all of the summer fun, and blogging seems to be harder to do when the weather is beautiful.

Do Good Read More Summer Reading Challenge

Anyway, tonight I am motivated and raring to join the Summer Reading Challenge!

Today I found The Happy Guide with a post of delicious looking summer adult beverages (whoo hoo the kids are in bed – party time), and another post of favorite inspirational quotes.

One that seemed particularly meaningful to my current state of mind and lack of blogging –

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
Jack London

Well said Jack!  I will try to take your advice in the search for inspiration / motivation.

I also love this quote from Theodore Roosevelt (that I came across while reading an Oprah interview with Brene Brown):

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…[And] if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Cheers to all of us “bloggers” in the arena, sharing our stories, and putting ourselves out there.  Keep going & ignore the naysayers, who may simply be onlookers.  Special thanks to the Do Gooder Mama for inspiring me to discover new blogs among many other good things!