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Round-up #30

Speaking of "no cash", our Belgian bank has been in operation for 500 years! No wonder cause I got a paper hand-written receipt for a deposit the other day.

My beloved Slingbox is BROKEN tonight!  I have  no video but sound and everything else.  I’m already in a bad mood because DH had to go TDY after just getting back from a deployment, but as always, we will roll with the punches.  To balance out the scale, I went ahead and took the kids out to a nice dinner at the club on post.  I lose all ambition to cook when DH is not around!  Tomorrow, I think we’ll hit the goulash leftovers.  Even though it was a wonderful and warm Spring-like day today in Belgium, our home is FREEZING.  I may have to put on a fire to make it a cozy night.  While I am rambling on, here is my favorite blog and news fare of the week!  As always, I only pick the freshest stuff!

15 More Things You Didn’t Know about Belgium -  Belgium is just a strange little country. I have warmed up to lovely Belgium just a tad in the last few months, and these things are a reminder that wherever you are, find the good in it and enjoy.

7 Tips for Surviving the Louvre – You may not get a chance to get in there, the first time you visit Paris.  Imagine many football field’s worth of world famous art and sculpture in one spot.  You are obviously not going to see more than the very big highlights in one trip.  Here’s the best way to maximize your visit.

What’s a fork and knife combined? – I’ve never seen the thing except in this photo.  I kind of like the idea and of course would like to have one.  Have you ever seen a knork?

LC’s First PCS (move) – I can’t even remember the first time we PCSed or moved!  Since I can’t remember, go read what LC has to say about it.

11 of the Best Customer Service Stories Ever – Of course when you read these, you say to yourself, “wow, that is really something!”.  Then you realize almost every company mentioned here is a company offering LUXURY goods not meant for everyman (or woman).  Well of course they have better than average customer service!  They wouldn’t be able to charge the prices they do without it!  But, even with that said, I enjoyed reading how at least some companies will go the extra mile and that sometimes, as a consumer, if we don’t ask for it, we don’t get either.

Frosted Cupcake Cones - I think the next time I am invited to an event where there are children present, I am going to bring these.

Baked Hard Boiled Eggs – We have too many people in our household who enjoy hard boiled eggs NOT to have an electric egg cooker.  It is a no brainer.  You don’t even have to watch it, and I use it all the time to get my eggs ready for deviled eggs.  BUT, if I didn’t have the egg cooker and needed to make a whole mess of eggs, I think I would try this method.  I didn’t even know you could bake eggs without them exploding all over your oven!  Have you tried this?

Ultimate Checklist for Returning US Expats – We talk all the time about getting prepared to move overseas.  We almost never talk about what it’s like to go back stateside beyond a brief visit.  I have such a hard time on short visits, I definitely had to read this blogpost to see what awaits us when we FINALLY return whenever that is!  Our kids may be adults by then, who knows?  Anyway, I think it’s a good blog topic, but I guess I won’t be able to write it until I get back!

Dutch Install Slide to Subway – I am just wondering if this will catch on, and if it does, will it go outside the Netherlands?  Can you imagine grandma with her shopping trolley trying to make a run of it?

St Patrick’s Day in Brussels – If you are planning to head up that way, go see what’s going on.  I think the only change is that Mannekin Pis will not be peeing Guinness beer in his little green uniform, out of respect for the group of Belgian schoolchildren who died in that horrific bus accident this week.

Khan Academy Ipad App – I absolutely LOVE the way this guy teaches math, science and a few other things.  Even a box of rocks can understand his blackboard videos.  Both my youngest and I watch whatever my son is currently working on in mostly math.  I love that the videos are free (see them on youtube and through his site) and now I can organize the teaching videos we like the best through this ipad app.  Great stuff!  See how Khan got started, how he got famous and how he can make just about anyone understand math and science concepts.  Wow if all teachers could be like this.  If your child is struggling or stuck, be sure to check him out!  Did I mention this is ALL free?

How to speed up laundry, the world’s most boring chore – This is one that will NEVER go away unless you start wearing disposable clothes!

The Importance of Silence – It is NEVER ok to blab.  And I can’t think of a more rude thing to do than to post condolences on someone’s Facebook or Twitter account or God forbid to send a text.  If humanity means anything to you, or that person means anything to you, just wait until they have been officially notified and go through the unit’s CARE Team to see how you can TRULY help.  I have a terrible memory of having to go on a casualty notification ONLY because I was the fastest person they could get ahold of who could speak the young widow’s language.  This incident is imprinted on my brain forever and no sense of time has made it go away or diminish.  I can’t IMAGINE being the one to drop the time bomb on a newly created widow as just some random wife who barely knew the person and without the support of the military or command.  Keep your mouth shut, don’t spread rumors or even truths, even if someone has spilled the beans to you.  Wait to hear what you can do after the official word has been released.  If you want to be even more proactive, contact your unit’s FRG now, and see if you can be included in the next scheduled CARE Team training.  That way, you will be on one of the teams that has the authorization, the organization and the means to help when needed.  If you want to know more in depth what a CARE Team does (as there are many moving parts and a place for everyone, whether you like to cook, can take care of pets or children or answer the phone to name a few of the duties)…here is the US Army CARE Team Handbook.

The Slow Death of Cash – This post scared me a bit.  I can’t remember the last time I had a dollar in my hand.  When I shop at the PX or the foodcourt, I use a credit card.  That is the only place other than online shopping, where I use dollars.  When I use Euro, most stores in Belgium take the bank card (it’s like a debit card) from our local Belgian bank.  I think the last time I used cash was on our trip to Berlin and buying street food and in the few restaurants we frequented.  Can you imagine a world without any cash?

The American Foods we Can’t Find in Germany - Ha, ha…I completely forgot about the grape jelly when I blogged about this recently!  Do you have any others to add to either list?  If you are about to come overseas and are panicking about not finding your favorites, don’t worry.  If you have commissary access (DOD and US Government employees, US military and some contractors), you’ll find most of your favorites.

I was digging for an article the other day for someone who was traveling to see King Ludwig’s Fairy Tale Castle Neuschwanstein, so I will include these two from my archives, a podcast on how to plan a trip there and Things about Neuschwanstein I Didn’t Know.

Do you have any juicy recommendations for the rest of us?

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