Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Sweet Surprise

We took the camera along yesterday, because I, Laura, really wanted to get a picture of these yellow thistles, since the only ones I've seen in America are purple. We went for coffee with a friend, spent some time comparison shopping for soveniers, ate dinner at an outdoor cafe where we watched Wimbledon, and then went to visit some other friends.

Imagine our surprise on the way home to see this tiny little hedgehog foraging in the grass. A bit farther on, we saw another one, but he was too fast to photograph. We weren't even aware that they were native to the area, although we had learned the Serbian word for them, "jeŇ°" (pronounced yesh). If he would have curled into his defensive posture, he probably would have been the size of a baseball.

As we passed through the center again, we decided to get a picture of the fountain at night, as the lights make it quite lovely.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Making Mint Tea

Every so often a product you have come to rely on is no longer available for purchase. We've had this problem in the states as well. Recently, we've discovered two different discontinuations on items we had used frequently. We can no longer find lemon juice (easy enough, just buy real lemons and squeeze the juice out of them) and we also can't get the packets of drink mix we liked. Solving this took a bit more thought. Then I, Laura, thought about how I used to make mint tea with the fresh leaves we grew at our home in America, and how ice tea makers use tea bags to make ice tea, and why couldn't I combine those two methods to make ice mint tea?

Step 1, in a two liter container, add a small amount of water, and approximately a cup of sugar.

Step 2, add 8 mint tea bags to a pan of boiling water and steep for about 5 minutes. Remove tea bags.

Step 3, pour concentrated tea into 2 liter bottle , shake well, and then fill bottle with water.
Continue to shake until sugar is dissolved.
Refrigerate, and shake before serving.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Having Fun With Friends

We went to a party this week to celebrate the wedding anniversary of some friends here, even though the wife had to be away to get some neccesary paperwork filed. We had a good time, and had fun being silly for photos. Bunny ears in particular got a little out of hand.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Time For More Plantlife

It's been awhile since I posted any pictures of trees and flowers. So I am now including shots of a fig tree, a grapevine, some neat little wildflower that I can't identify (although I do recognize the Queen Anne's Lace next to it), and a wild geranium (I think).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Anniversary Mom's and Dad's

By a strange twist of fate, Laura's parents celebrate their anniversary just one day before Steve's parents celebrate their's. So on behalf of both of us, we want to send a happy anniversary to both of them. I really wanted to post pictures from their wedding days, but I don't seem to have any along. Wishing both couples all the best for many more years.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A New Washer!

When we first moved in, our apartment had a very old washing machine. It had a few quirks, but we figured out how to use it, and got by. Recently though, it wasn't spinning properly, and there would be water in the bottom of the drum when we went to take the clothes out. Wringing a load of wash by hand is not much fun, especially towels and sheets. But we need clean clothes, so we dealt with it. On our final attempt however, water started pouring out of the emergency overflow valve and the entire drum was full of water. We let our landlords know, and they very graciously provided a brand new machine. We did a load yesterday and it was lovely. The clean clothes smelled like fabric softner and were ready to be hung on the clothesline without any wringing.
We have found the informational pictures on the control to be rather funny though. It appears that we can wash sheep and butterflies, although not on the same cycle :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

English Party

This past Saturday we had a party for our English students to wrap up the year. Children could choose from table tennis, fooseball, Wii, English matching games on the computer and tie-dying T-shirts. Laura baked two batches of chocolate chip cookies for an authentic American treat. We also presented our students with certificates and a small toy for attendance. To receive the certificate, the student was expected to say something in English. It was wonderful to see how well each child had improved in speaking English since they started coming to our class.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Matchless Matchboxes

Products with English translations usually have something amusing about them. The restaurant that offers "mashrooms" on your pizza, or "meat fingers" (sausages). The blueberry tea that vaunted it's ability to aid renal health. And these matches. Just what does "average contents" imply? That these matches are not excellent? That they are merely better than some lesser matches? But not as good as those "best" matches next to them?