Category Archives: Spain

Christmas Pomanders

So, we took out our pomanders from our week in Spain and, much to our pleasant surprise (I had been warned of mildew issues) they turned out wonderfully. We hung ribbons on them and each hung them somewhere special in our rooms.  Car let our new student Hannane use his so she could have one too. I’m loving the scents that permeate the air each time I open my closet.

Gracias Espana!

Adios Espana

In my husband’s own words, “Tonight was one of the top five dinners we’ve had.”

Seriously though. It. Was. AMAZING!  Made me want to pick up and move to Spain right here and now, or at least visit one of our many students….

We’ll see how that plays out.

Tonight we had our special friend joining us and the kids excitedly greeted her at the door with “Dios miro todo lo que habia hecho, y era muy bueno. Genesis 1:31″.  They were so excited and pleased with themselves.  Crissy has been our dinner guest about every other Monday night for over a year now, but has been a friend for much longer.  (Actually, I have known Crissy since I was about 4-years-old.)  We are honored to call her friend as she brings such a joy and a depth to our evenings, along with lots of laughs and great conversation! 

Before we ate, we asked Crissy (who once lived in Venezuela and currently works with many Spanish speaking people at MIKA CDC-a WONDERFUL organization!) to pray in Spanish over our meal.  Addie, in her fantasy Spanish, joined along acting as if  Spanish was her first language.

For the menu tonight, we opted for a traditional “tapas-style” menu, featuring many different small dishes.  While the preparation for each dish was quite extensive, the end results were sublime.

Tonight’s Tapas Menu 

Pepper-Steak "Parfaits"

This recipe was adapted from here and was a wonderful combination of roasted red peppers, toasted baguette slices, pimento olives, spinach and  Spanish-style marinated steak strips.

Asparagus with Tomato Vinaigrette

This asparagus, taken from here, was served chilled with a tomato vinaigrette and hard-boiled egg on top. Amazing!

Fish in Pine Nut Sauce

Another delicious epicurious recipe gone good!  The ground pine nuts in this sauce definitely added to the flavor and the fish we used was fresh cod. While we’re still working on getting the kids to like fish, we rather enjoyed this entree.

Tortilla Espanola

This traditional “tortilla” (from the Food Network) or rather “omelette” was the perfect finish to our tapas-style meal.  Honestly, the caramelized onions, which browned on the stove for about an hour, might just have made it worth waiting for (it took a little longer than I expected.)

Of course all the while we were eating our fabulous dinner, we listened to some fun Salsa music, which got the kids out of their seats a bit early, shaking and moving all about.

And here is Crissy

we are muchos gracias to have her in our life.

Gracias Espana.

With so many wonderful friends to visit, we are sure to be there soon. Until then,

Adios y Hasta Luego!

Picasso and Pomanders

Over the past few days we have been working on a couple of Spanish projects. The first was a Picasso-inspired portrait done using oil pastels and tempura paints.  We had lots of fun drawing head, neck and body shapes with a black oil pastel, making sure to divide the face into two sections, then filled in the areas with different colored tempura paints.

After the paint had dried, we cut out shapes of eyes and lips and used oil pastels to color them, then glued them  on our portraits.  This is one thing I LOVED about this project, it was actually better if the art was slightly “messed-up” so perfect for a 4 and 6-year-old (and somewhat for a 2-year-old 🙂 ).

My finished Portrait

Addie's finished portrait

Tallinn's portrait

Next we moved on to pomanders, an orange covered in cloves and dried with spices and a natural preservative to ward away moths and make a room smell quite delicious.  This activity was actually found in one of the books  (Look What Came From Spain) read in this week’s reading list and was very age appropriate. Cardiff required a bit of help, but the other two could do this entirely on their own.  Now, we just have to shake the bags each day with the spices for the next month. Hopefully we’ll remember that!

First you divide the orange into 4 sections with tape and then poke holes in each section with a toothpick before inserting the cloves.

Then, we combined cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and sandalwood oil (a preservative) into 4 brown lunch bags, placed an orange in each bag, then shook then gently to cover the pomanders with the spices.  Once they are dry, we will remove the tape and hang them with ribbon in our home, just in time for Christmas!

Tomorrow we will have our finale dinner and I’m pretty excited as we have a special friend joining us who speaks Spanish and the kids have done a pretty good job memorizing their Bible verse in Spanish. I think our friend will be surprised for sure!

Modern Day Matador

Can’t learn about spain without including a proper bull fight.  I don’t think I need many words for this one. Watch and enjoy!


Buenos Dias!

For the past three summers, we have been blessed to welcome some sweet Spanish girls into our home during the month of July.  It has been a wonderful experience for everyone in our family and we are so happy to have these dear friends on the other side of the world.   Yesterday, as we ventured west from Russia to ESPAÑA, we remembered our fun times with our Spanish Amigas.

Almudena was our first ever student

 Sweet Almudena, we used to sing the song “A-ma-de-us. A-ma-de-us” using her name.  I still sing it every time I think of her.  She was a bit shy and very sweet with the kids.

Ene came a year later.

 We played a LOT of games with Ene, especially “Sing Star”, and we laughed….quite a bit.  When she was here, the “bachelorette” was in Spain and she would crack up at how everything was “flamenco”.  She also cracked up about all the pharmaceutical commercials that are so ridiculous. We would say, “Ask your doctor if Pristique is right for you.”   The night before she left we gave her an “unbirthday” party as her birthday was coming up soon.  She cried.  When she left, we all cried, that’s the not-so-fun part about hosting….the leaving part.

This past July we hosted Eva.

Eva was our most recent student.  She got to be a part of our neighborhood fourth of July parade where we took the rickshaw out for a spin.  The kids loved coming into her room and sitting with her on her bed and listening to her music…..

My wonderful friend Alicia often says, “You can never have too many people loving your kids”.  Hosting students has definitely taught us the value in this as we have had such wonderful people come into our home and bless us with their company and love.  Our kids would like to keep them forever and “adopt” them, but we always have to say “good-bye”, hoping we will see them again.  Fortunately, we get to stay in touch via the internet and even the “mail” (I just recently got a sweet letter from Ene.)

So, as we have landed in Spain, we are in a country that brings lots of warmth and fondness and we are cozy here.  Spain is also a country I spent quite a bit of time in during my college semester abroad.  We visited several cities during our studies including: Cordoba, Seville, Granada, Marbella, Madrid, Barcelona, and Toledo.  As I teach the kids this week about this Southern European nation, I love that I can picture the cities and the people and remember the wonderful experiences I had during my stay.

After beginning with our usual geography lesson, we excitedly opened up our new library books. Here’s our reading list for the week (on a side note, I SO wish I had been more faithful with collecting reading lists each week for this journey. That would be one regret that I have thus far.).

I love this book series as it really introduces you to a country in a very kid-friendly way.  Tallinn was even able to read along in parts as we learned about tapas, the ink pen, the siesta, flamenco music, merino wool, and other Spain-produced things. 

Puerto Rico (Festivals of the World)

Okay, so obviously we aren’t reading the Puerto Rico version of this series which is also quite fun, but I couldn’t find the Spain image and our camera has that terrible black dot.  You get the idea. One thing I love about this series is that at the back there is a craft idea and a traditional snack recipe specifically chosen for kids. They are perfect for our study!

Product Details

This book isn’t necessarily from Spain but it is lullabies in Spanish and I thought it might be a good intro into some Spanish for the kids. All the lullabies are in both Spanish and English.

We will hopefully open this one tomorrow along with our “Madrid” city book given to us by one of our students.

For our verse this week, I chose an easy verse in Spanish for the kids to try.

Dios miro todo lo que habia hecho, y era muy bueno.  Genesis 1:31

There is definitely a lot we can do with Spain, especially as we have a few more materials this week.  So, vaminos, here we go!