Adventures in Europe (Prague/Amsterdam)

For our 25th wedding anniversary, I gave Derek a framed travel map that we pin with all of the places we have traveled to.  We were excited that our holiday travels this year allowed us to push two new pins into our map when we visited Prague and Amsterdam!

We arrived in Prague at night but even as we drove into the city we could tell that this place was special.  We quickly set out to explore and could instantly feel that we had chose a very special place to ring in the new year.

First  Night in Prauge

First  Night in Prauge

There were tons of people all over the streets and a festive spirit in the air.   

We arrived in Charles Square to see a gorgeous tree that was decorated so beautifully and  surrounded by a Christmas market where you could sample local foods and drinks.

Charles Square, Prauge

Charles Square, Prauge

Our first night there we stayed at a hotel close to the Charles bridge where we planned to watch the fireworks.  This was a smart move because it was very crowded in town, especially the closer it got to midnight.

New Years Eve in Prauge

New Years Eve in Prauge

As midnight drew near we went to the bridge along with thousands of others waiting to ring in the new year together.

New Years Eve in Prauge

New Years Eve in Prauge

It reminded me of the time we spent New Years Eve in Times Square.  It was just a little less congested, equally as COLD but very exciting too.  

To the side of us there was an group of Spaniards who were joyfully passing out cans of grapes to carry out a tradition of eating 12 grapes during the count down to  midnight.  They were so excited and friendly, inviting others around them to join in with their tradition.

During the hours leading up to midnight the fireworks were going off in every direction but when midnight hit, there was a spectacular show all around us.  It was really incredible.  

The next morning we relocated to an apartment just across the bridge from the city.

Our apartment in Prauge

Our apartment in Prauge

It was a beautiful place.  We couldn't help but take photos as we explored each room of the house.

This "dressing room" had so many cabinets we couldn't imagine how you'd ever be tall enough to climb up to the top of the wall to use them.

Fun with Lynsay

Fun with Lynsay

All of this storage is a crafters dream!  If this was my home, I'd be tempted to convert this room into my stamp studio!

I spy a secret wall

I spy a secret wall

The master bedroom had a secret wall built so that the owner could move it to have a view of the Prague Castle from his bed!  

We certainly felt blessed to be able to stay in such a beautiful place where we could look out our windows, across the water to see this incredible city.

Prauge

Prauge

The buildings in Prauge were rich with history and amazingly beautiful.

New Town Hall, Charles Square, Prauge

New Town Hall, Charles Square, Prauge

I was glad that the Christmas markets were still up so there was always places to get fun treats like hot cocoa, sugared nuts or these fun potatoes on a stick.

Prague Street Food

Prague Street Food

We even tried these chips and as you can tell by Lynsay's expression, they were very delicious.

Prauge Chips

Prauge Chips

We enjoyed a walking tour where we got to explore all different parts of the city.

Wenceslas Square - Prauge

Wenceslas Square - Prauge

A highlight for me on our walking tour was discovering the Patriae Et Music, the theater where Mozart debuted Don Giovani in 1787.

Where Mozart debuted Don Giovani

Where Mozart debuted Don Giovani

Up the street from the theater we saw the building where he stayed and I imagined what it must have been like to have heard beautiful music coming out of the windows while he played music there.

Mozart lived in the house on the right

Mozart lived in the house on the right

The second day we were there we learned that Prauge was celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Republic and there was going to be a huge fireworks show that would be put to music.  We bundled up in our babushkas and found a perfect spot to see the show.  

Waiting for the fireworks - Prauge

Waiting for the fireworks - Prauge

This was clearly the MOST amazing firework show I've ever seen and I'm not a huge fan of fireworks.  However this show was worth the wait in the freezing cold air to see.  I found it online in case you want to watch it, you can do so by clicking here.

View from Prague Castle

View from Prague Castle

The next day we enjoyed exploring the Prague Castle.  It was a very chilly day so we found a Christmas Market near the castle and enjoyed some delicious warm Pear Cider.  I'll have to learn how to make it because it was so yummy and the perfect thing to warm us up.

Pear Cider

Pear Cider

Our time in Prague was short and we definitely would like to return to explore more of this amazingling beautiful city.

Our final stop was Amsterdam.  Just look at the tulips that greeted us at the airport.  WOW!

Amsterdam Tulips

Amsterdam Tulips

Amsterdam was just a short stop on our way home,  we were only there a day and a half but we hit the ground running and saw a lot of the city on a private guided walking tour.  

We saw a Royal Palace,

Amsterdam Royal Palace

Amsterdam Royal Palace

We passed by beautiful canals lined with dancing houses and more bikes than there were people!

Amsterdam Canals

Amsterdam Canals

We passed by the home of Anne Frank as well as the house below with the red and green shutters where Rembrandt lived and painted.

Remlrants House - Amsterdame

Remlrants House - Amsterdame

We saw the floating flower market.

Amsterdam Flower Market

Amsterdam Flower Market

We sampled local street food like pickled haring which as you can see Derek really enjoyed.

Amsterdam Haring

Amsterdam Haring

And at many local cafe's I discovered a love for fresh ginger tea.  Something I have been recreating almost daily since returning home.

Ginger Tea

Ginger Tea

Although I was really cold and a little under the weather, I really enjoyed exploring Amsterdam with loved ones and friends.  

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I was truly grateful for the opportunity to visit Amsterdam and I hope to one day visit again, hopefully next time in the Spring!

Derek and Cindy In Amsterdam

Derek and Cindy In Amsterdam

Traveling home with a cold wasn't fun but it felt GREAT to get off the plane in Honolulu and read this weather report on my phone.

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It's taken me a few more days than usually to get back to feeling 100%.  However I am glad that I am finally feeling good enough to get back in my stamp room to create projects with all our new products.  

My next post will feature some of the things I've been working on this week.  Until then, thank you for allowing me to share a little bit about our holiday adventures.  I hope you enjoyed traveling through Italy, Prague and Amsterdam with us.  

With love and blessings,

Cindy

Adventures in Europe (Italy)

In 2017 our Holiday Travels took us to three places.  They were Italy, The Czech Republic and Holland.  I have a new love of traveling light so it felt great to pack everything I needed into my carry on bag so I didn't have to check a suitcase! 

Travelocindy

Travelocindy

After four long flights (the painful part of traveling to Europe), we arrived in Florence, Italy where we were reunited with my friend Lynsay and her family whom we love to travel with. 

Lynsay and Cindy arrive in Florence

Lynsay and Cindy arrive in Florence

Lynsay was also a 2017 Global Top 100 Stampin' Up! demonstrator which is why she was also blessed to receive one of these adorable suitcases.

We stayed in Tuscany in a beautiful refurbished farmhouse about 40 minutes outside of Florence.   Since it took more than 24 hours to get to Italy it was great to arrive at such a beautiful location that we would call home for the next few days.

Tuscany Farmhouse 

Tuscany Farmhouse 

There are so many things I love about exploring Italy.  We went on private guided tours through the most beautiful museums hearing stories about the artists and the history of Florence.

 One of our favorite museums during this visit was the the Uffizi Gallery which is one of the oldest museums in the world.  

Uffizi Museum - Florence, Italy

Uffizi Museum - Florence, Italy

The museum is housed in a vast 16th century palace and is a must see for any art lover because its contains so many incredible masterpieces.

The Doni Tondo pained by Michelangelo was one of the favorite things I saw at the museum because of the bright colors and incredible details.  It looked especially beautiful being displayed on this red wall too.  

Doni Tondo by Michelangelo

Doni Tondo by Michelangelo

I loved hearing the story about how Michelangelo negotiated this sale when the person who commissioned the art tried to pay him less that originally planned.  That was a huge mistake because Michelangelo ended up only releasing the painting to him when he paid 3 times the original agreement.

Even outside the museums there are priceless works of art everywhere.  I really enjoy seeing Derek so happy as he learns more about art and history one of his passions.

Derek and Cindy in Florence

Derek and Cindy in Florence

Florence by night was amazing.  Do you see that dome behind us?  Since I was with Lynsay you know what we HAD to do right?  Just like our trek around Mont Blanc there was no elevator so we climbed up to the top.  

Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy

It was worth the effort to climb the 463 steps because there was a beautiful view from the top of the city.

Top of the Duomo

Top of the Duomo

It was magical at this time to be in Florence.  I loved all the lights and holiday decorations.

Baughmahontrips

Baughmahontrips

I loved seeing all the beautifully decorated Christmas trees around the city too!   The way the lights were strung on the trees was spectacular!

Christmas Tree in Florence, Itally

Christmas Tree in Florence, Itally

Two of the things I was anxious to do in Florence to eat and go shopping!  Unlike Derek, the later is one of my passions.

Leather Shop in Florence, Italy

Leather Shop in Florence, Italy

Florence is the place to buy Italian Leather.  So Lynsay knew just the right shop from a previous trip.  We enjoyed trying on several jackets in many different colors.  We forgot to take a photo of the ones we bought but looking at this picture these would have been good choices too!

Italian Food

Italian Food

The food in Italy is incredible and we really enjoyed the experience of relaxed dining with amazing service.   

Italian Food

Italian Food

Everything was made with the freshest ingredients and served with pride from the most entertaining waiters and restaurant owners I've ever encountered in my life. 

We spent a day exploring Sienna.  Although it was a little chilly out, the skies were blue and it was a beautiful day to explore this wonderful city.

Exploring Sienna

Exploring Sienna

While in Siena we visited the Siena Cathedral.  It was an amazing sight!

Duomo di Siena

Duomo di Siena

We also discovered the Nannina bakery.  As we passed by Derek mentioned he had read about it. It opened in 1943, so we had to go in.

Nannia Bakery - Sienna

Nannia Bakery - Sienna

We enjoyed warm cappuccinos and trying these amazing almond cookies.

Nannina Bakery, Sienna

Nannina Bakery, Sienna

These cookies were so good, we tried both the white and dark ones and couldn't decide which was better because they were both so delicious.  I wish I had the recipe as I would love to make these at home.  If this bakery offered shipping, I'd be ordering a box right now.

Of course when we travel with the Mahon's its kind of a tradition to eat gelato as much as we can.  So Lynsay got a little excited when we turned the corner on our last night in Florence  to discover Amorino, one of our favorites.

We love gelato, can you tell?

We love gelato, can you tell?

I tried something new.  It was a hot chocolate with hazelnut gelato and whipped cream.  Perfect for a chilly winter night in Florence.

Hot Cocoa with gelato at Amarino

Hot Cocoa with gelato at Amarino

It was very good.  Very, very, very good.  I'm glad we don't have an Amorino in Hawaii or I'd be driving there right now to have another.  However, if Amorino wanted to come to Hawaii, well I wouldn't complain, I'd just have to work on my self control.

Italy was just as fabulous as I expected it to be.   Some of the best times we had during our time in Italy were just at the house, enjoying meals together, playing games like uno, talking for hours and enjoying our early espressos.

Early Espressos with Lynsay

Early Espressos with Lynsay

I just loved the opportunity we had to revisit a city we had hoped to return to.  Since Derek has been so busy at work it was also wonderful to just have quality time with him doing something we love to do together, travel.

Sienna, Italy

Sienna, Italy

Cappucino "Cheers" to this beautiful country and the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones and friends.

Cappucino Cheers

Cappucino Cheers

We say "aloha" to this beautiful country for now, with hopes to return one day soon.

Siena Cathedral

Siena Cathedral

Our next stop was Prauge, a first for both of our families.  This is where we rang in the New Year.  I'll share a little bit about that amazing experience in an upcoming post.

Until then, Arrivederci

The Mermaid and The Knight

December was a month filled with huge celebrations in our family.  We had our son's wedding early in the month and then one week later Derek celebrated his 50th birthday.   That was followed by our annual Christmas gatherings with family and friends and then on Christmas day at midnight, Derek and I headed out to Europe for a two week adventure.  (I'll share about our travel adventure in my next post)

Since returning home I"ve been a little under the weather with a bad cold and ear infection but today I finally feel strong enough to get back to blogging and share with you a look back at one of our recent celebrations.

Today I want to tell you a little about Derek's 50th Birthday.

Let's me start with this precious moment from 5 years ago.  Raymee (our best friends daughter) and Derek were born on the same day so they are official birthday buddies forever.  They've been celebrating together for many years now but on this particular outing Raymee looked at Derek and said, "Today I am the birthday princess and you are the birthday Queen".  We all just smiled and laughed.  It was precious.

Birthday Buddies - Raymee and Derek

Birthday Buddies - Raymee and Derek

This year the two of them planned an outing at a local restaurant called Mac 24/7 in Waikiki.  If you've never been there I highly recommend it.  Its a fun place to celebrate and if you like pancakes, you won't be disappointed.

When the birthday girl arrived and saw Derek, she ran up to him and gave him a great big hug!  After all they are best friends and if you don't believe me she has a school project with his picture on it to prove it.

Birthday Besties - Raymee and Derek

Birthday Besties - Raymee and Derek

Raymee loves mermaids so when I saw the Myths and Magic Suite from our new Occasions Catalog I knew I wanted to use it to create a birthday card for her.   I bought the entire suite but I didn't even need to stamp a single mermaid because the mermaids on the Specialty Designer Paper are so stinkin' cute!!

Myths and Magic Specialty Birthday Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Myths and Magic Specialty Birthday Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Each of the mermaid tail has glitter on it that has been embossed into the paper.  So this paper really sparkles and shimmers when you move it.  I LOVE this mermaid print and know I will use it often to make projects for my mermaid loving friends.

Since I had this beautiful paper out, I decided to use it to make a card for Derek as well.  The great thing about this paper packet is that it has great options for masculine cards too.

 I chose the knight fighting a dragon sheet for Derek's card.  The dragon on this paper has texture and sparkle, it is so adorable and perfect for my knight in shining armor who truly is one of a kind.

Myths and Magic Birthday Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Myths and Magic Birthday Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

For the inside of Derek's card I folded back a corner to create a simple corner fold pop up section.  

Myths and Magic Birthday Card (inside)

Myths and Magic Birthday Card (inside)

The little corner pop up provided the perfect spot for me to add a knight in shining armor and the number 50 to celebrate my knight's milestone birthday.

Derek usually writes the cards in our family.  So it was sweet to see Raymee smile when she read aloud the birthday message from us that Derek had written to her.

Raymee's birthday card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Raymee's birthday card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Derek laughed when reading his card because he's been in denial about needing glasses. The subject came up as he struggled to read his card without using his cell phone for added light. 

Derek's Birthday - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Derek's Birthday - www.stampedwithaloha.com

That made for the perfect segue to him opening his gag gift from me.

Dereks bday glasses

Dereks bday glasses

Of course he said they hurt his eyes so he's back to using his cell phone light once again.  

I love traditions, it has been especially fun to see Derek and Raymee celebrate together over the years.  I hope that with each passing year Raymee will grow to know even more how much she means to her beste Uncle Derek and all of our family.  We feel so blessed to have this tradition, one that we hope will go on for many years to come.

Raymee and Derek's Bday

Raymee and Derek's Bday

 One that this year was shared by a special little mermaid and a knight in shining armor.

 

 

 

Holiday Stamp Camp

Christmas may be over but I am still enjoying the Holiday Season as I think about the fun I've had stamping with friends this past couple of months.  Holiday projects are some of my favorite projects to make.  As we draw near to the end of the year and the last couple of days to order from our Holiday catalog, I thought I'd share some highlights from our Stamped With Aloha Holiday Stamp Camp.

The projects at our camp featured the Christmas Around The World Designer Series Paper, Merry Little Labels Stamp Set and the Seasonal Chums Bundle.

This first project is a box that was designed by my downline Zeny.  

Christmas Around The World Box 

Christmas Around The World Box 

I added a layer of Copper Foil Paper under the Designer Paper.  This color of Metallic Paper went really well with the Early Espresso Card Stock the box is made out of.

Christmas Around The World Boxed Note Cards

Christmas Around The World Boxed Note Cards

When you remove the lid of this box you find a divided section that holds a set of 3 x 3 mini cards.  Each card has a thin strip of Copper foil across the center as well as green holly leaves with colored rhinestone berries.

Christmas Around The World Boxed Note Cards

Christmas Around The World Boxed Note Cards

These cards are small and perfect for adding to gift packages or holiday treats.

Zeny is great at designing boxes, she also created this Triple Treat Tube holder.

Triple Test Treat Holder

Triple Test Treat Holder

Triple Treat Tube Holder

Triple Treat Tube Holder

This project featured a little bit of the Christmas Around the World Designer Paper as well as a cute reindeer from the set Seasonal Chums.

Triple Treat Tube Holder

Triple Treat Tube Holder

These treat tubes are so cute.  You can fill them with all kinds of different candy but since this was a set of three, I thought it would make a great holder for everything you'd need to make a cup of pepermint hot cocoa with mini marshmallows.

My personal favorite of the projects was this teeny tiny clear treat box.  I used a paper cutter to cut the small clear box in half.  After cutting when you place the two sides back together by pushing them into one another you create a smaller box.  This is the perfect way to reduce the cost and calories of the candy inside without sacrificing the cuteness!

Teeny Tiny Treat Box

Teeny Tiny Treat Box

Another benefit to using Seasonal Chums is that you get to see the back and front of the stamped image.  I love snowmen so this is why it was my favorite.  

Teeny Tiny Treat Box

Teeny Tiny Treat Box

Everyone seemed to really like the projects we made this year.

2017 Holiday Stamp Camp Projects

2017 Holiday Stamp Camp Projects

I have such a wonderful team.  They all work so hard to make these events the best they can be for all who attend.  

Holiday Stamp Camp Team

Holiday Stamp Camp Team

At every camp each of the team members makes a special prize to be given out as a prize patrol.  Here are this years Holiday Stamp Camp Prize Patrol prizes.

Boxed Tag Set created by Zeny.

Zeny and her Holiday Tags

Zeny and her Holiday Tags

Here is a close up.

Holiday Gift Tags

Holiday Gift Tags

Paper filled Ornaments by Berd.

Paper Filled Ornaments

Paper Filled Ornaments

Holiday Stocking by Jodi.

Mini Stockings By Jodi

Mini Stockings By Jodi

Candy Card by Cindy.

Treat Tube Cards By Cindy

Treat Tube Cards By Cindy

The final Prize Patrol was my favorite because it was a snowman surprise!  Norine created it, are you ready to see how adorable it is?

The outside has a cute and simple snowflake.

Pop Up Pizza Box (outside)

Pop Up Pizza Box (outside)

When you open this pizza box, you reveal the surprise!

Pop Up Pizza Box

Pop Up Pizza Box

A Pop Up greeting card in a box... what a cute idea!

Pam did an amazing spread of treats that started with a snack station.

Pam's Holiday Treat Spread

Pam's Holiday Treat Spread

And ended up with pumpkin spice latte cupcakes in a cup!

Penny and Pam

Penny and Pam

I think of all the camps we've had, we got the most positive feedback from this one.

Lori and Roxanne - Happy Stamp Campers

Lori and Roxanne - Happy Stamp Campers

Happy faces and positive words make us feel so good to know all our hard work was worth the effort.

Prize Patrol Winners

Prize Patrol Winners

We were also surprised and delighted to see two of our guests, Cathy and Ann walk away as double grand prize winners.

Ann wins TWO prizes

Ann wins TWO prizes

Cathy wins TWO prizes

Cathy wins TWO prizes

We were thrilled for Susan who came away with one of the grand prize baskets too!

Susan and her prize

Susan and her prize

Thank you to all who came and supported this Holiday event.  I am happy to announce that our next stamp camp is coming up soon.  In just a few days we will officially release our 2018 Occasions Catalog and our annual Sale-a-Bration will begin.  We already have the projects designed for our February 17th Bloomin' Celebration Stamp Camp which will be held at Kapolei High School once again.  If you would like to attend, contact me and I'll get a registration form to you asap.  Registration for this event ends on January 15th, 2018.

It would be wonderful to stamp with you at our next Stamped With Aloha Stamp Camp, our next one is going to be a Bloomin' Celebration and one not to be missed!

As the year comes to an end I hope you will know what a blessing it is to stamp and share with each and every one of you.  Whether you are a part of my customer base, my amazing downline, my wonderful demonstrator friends or just someone who enjoys following me on my blog, I am blessed to have the opportunity to share with you.  I look forward to a new year filled with inspiration, creativity, sharing, love and God's abundant blessings!

Happy New Year,

Cindy