Friday, November 30, 2012

Sort of DIY: Christmas Paper Ornaments

Last month when I was shopping at a local craft store for the supplies to make the kids' Laterne I happened to stumble upon a super cute Paper Ornament kit. I figured it would be an easy little craft to work on one night when I was either bored or procrastinating on doing my homework. 


It came with everything needed to make 7-8 ornaments. The strips were pre-cut and punched which made things so much more easier for me. But, there were no directions. I'm the type of person who reads and follows directions. It was pretty simple to figure out by looking at the picture through. 

I think they turned out ok. The kids enjoyed selecting the paper for each ornament, too. But it was a bit too difficult for them to help me build them. Maybe next year. 

 I hung them above our front window with some ribbon. You should have seen the kiddos' faces when they came home from school and seen the ornaments hung up. 

Even though this came in a kit it would be super easy to make your own. You just need an assortment of beads, wire, and paper strips. And wouldn't these be a cute for Valentine's Day?

What do y'all think? Any other fabulous DIY Christmas decorations that you've tried? Please share. I'm always looking for little crafts to do.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rome Part 3

Day 3- Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps and Palatine Hill

Another busy day walking the city of Rome. We took a bus to a stop near the Trevi Fountain where we walked to our destinations. First up was the Trevi Fountain. From there we went to the Pantheon, Spanish Steps and hit up Hard Rock Cafe. We decided after all that walking we were still in the mood for more site seeing: Palatine Hill. 

The Trevi Fountain was gorgeous! I was quite impressed with the size. I swore I took a picture of the whole thing, but apparently I didn't. 

It is said that if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain you will be sure to return to Rome. This fountain collects over 3,000 euro in coins each day. The money collected is then donated to a charity. In 2002, the police caught a man stealing the coins. Apparently he had been taking them for years. He was banned from the fountain and new security measures were put in place. Eventually, the ban was lifted after the court decided the coins were not considered stolen because they were discarded and no longer belonged to anyhow. Recently, the man was caught stealing the coins again with the help of the police. The mayor plans to make removal of the coins a criminal offense. 

Oops... James didn't throw it over his shoulder....

See the two horses? These are sea horses. One is docile and the other wild- representing the moods of the sea. 


The Pantheon! The BEST preserved piece of history in Rome. This was built between 27 and 25BC on the location of where the founder of Rome (Romulus) was killed and seized by an eagle, then taken away to the heavens to be with God. 

The Oculus- the center of the dome ceiling. This is the only way light gets inside the Pantheon. When it rains, the rain also comes through the Oculus and onto the Pantheon floor. 

Raphael's tomb. 

Some Italian yumminess.

Kylee and I on the Spanish Steps. 

One awesome door. Who can't love this?

Palatine Hill
Legend has it that Palatine Hill is where Romulus killed his twin brother and founded Rome in 753BC. There was so much to see in this area, and I do not remember what everything was called. 

This was some type of stadium I believe.

The lower peristyle of the Domus Augustana.

The kids are acting like statues. 

These were Romulan huts, where apparently Romulus and his brother, Remus. 

More excavations 

Roman Forum area. 

A few last pictures of the Colosseum, still my favorite site in Rome. 

Day 4 had consisted of good food, gelato (twice) and walking around the city one last time before heading home the next day. 

Rome was beautiful, but I'm glad to be back in Germany where there is no traffic, no graffiti, and lots of beautiful open spaces. 

I will post some tips of traveling in Rome tomorrow. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rome Part 2

The Vatican- Day 2

The second day (Thanksgiving) was reserved for the Vatican, museums, and surrounding area. 

You can't walk past the Colosseum and not take pictures. Here is another view of the Arch of Constantine. 

I just love this place! 

My gorgeous kiddos did pretty well with pictures all week long. No bribing needed. 

Thankfully, both kids enjoy taking pictures of James and I. 

Just some random pictures while on our way to the Vatican. 

This is part of Palatine Hill and the ruins there. We will discuss more of this area tomorrow. 

I don't know why this amused me so much, but it did. He's directing traffic at a very busy unmarked intersection. Drivers do not pay attention to the lines on the road nor obey basic traffic rules. I suppose this time of day is necessary to have someone direct traffic to prevent accidents. 

And we are here. The Vatican! 

Its a gorgeous building, but like everything else in Rome, its under construction. 

The wall that separates The Vatican City from Rome. 

Wyatt gets his very own map of interesting things to see in the Vatican Museums.

A public water fountain inside Vatican City. 

I've never seen a hallway with so many heads! 

View of Rome from one of the windows in the Vatican City

On our walk from the museum back to the Vatican we saw this. Parking is nothing short of crazy here. I think this driver might be waiting a while to get out. 

Back in front of the Vatican I start taking more pictures. The kids really enjoyed this fountain. 

Did you know The Vatican City has their own police and Swiss Guards!

View from the Vatican

View towards the Vatican

We didn't go inside St. Peter's Basilica. By the time we were done with the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel we were all worn out. The plan was to go back the next day but we decided to save it for a future Rome trip. 

The Sistine Chapel was amazing. After a really long walk through the museums you finally get to the Sistine Chapel. Its worth the walk though. The paintings are beautiful and breathtaking. Pictures were not allowed sadly. Apparently Fuji Film once cleaned all of the Sistine Chapel in the late 1900's and therefore has copyrights to all paintings. 

Vatican Fun Facts

Did you know that the Vatican is its own State? It is not part of Rome nor of Italy. In 1929 the Lateran Treaty between Italy and the Holy See finally recognized its sovereignty. It is only 108 acres and is the smallest sovereign state. It has its own postal city, radio station, currency, passport, newspaper and railway station! And of course the Pope lives here. 

Did you know that Michalangelo originally painted The Last Judgment with the people totally exposed? But then many years later after much controversy another painter came in and added clothes to cover them up. 

Did you know that Fuji Film once cleaned all of the Sistine Chapel in the late 1900's and therefore has copyrights to all paintings. That's why we can't take pictures. 

Did you know that The Sistine Chapel also holds the famous chimney that releases black smoke to announce the pope has died and white smoke to announce a new pope has been selected.