Grow Your Blog

2:00:00 AM Brooke Neal 30 Comments

Welcome to my blog and thanks for stopping by...
I started blogging in 2008 as my interest in scrapbooking began to wane, yet my desire to keep a family history did not.   It was also a way for friends and family members scattered around the United States to check in from time to time on our lives.  When my family moved to Germany in 2010 my blog turned into a place to vent my frustrations about moving to a new country and culture. Then as we gradually adjusted to our situation I began to blog about our many travels.

We have always enjoyed traveling together as a family, but living in Europe has afforded us the opportunity to see some amazing places in a short span of time.  We are finding that while the big cities are exciting and worthwhile, it is the smaller villages and local traditions, that don't make the travel books, that are what make a place unique and worthy of falling in love with.

Traveling with children is not easy.  Kids argue, they get bored, they have to use the toilet at the most inopportune times and trust me, in Europe that is a biggie!  If my attention span for a church is 30 minutes, my kid's attention span is 10 which is why I never leave home with out an electronic buddy because it buys me a few more precious minutes to dawdle and awe at these magnificent structures.
Autographed photo from my pal Ricky--a birthday gift from my sister.

I often hear from parents, "oh, I could never go there, my child would be bored" or "wow, your kids like museums?"  Well, the answer is, NO, they don't especially like going all of the places I take them, but I also don't give them much choice.  It does help though if I've done some prep work beforehand to familiarize them with where we are going.  On the drive down to Scrovegni Chapel we watched a DVD that explained every panel in the small chapel.  Knowing that the panels depicted stories from the Bible and Christ's life made it easier for my children to connect with the art.  I asked my then 6 year old which was her favorite panel so that I could be sure to point it out to her the next day. You can imagine how excited I was when she, excitedly pointed it out to me instead. It doesn't have to be that elaborate though, simply finding some clip art that your kids can color will help them make important connections and get them excited. 

I travel with my children because I want to expose them to the things I enjoy; good art, ancient cultures, 2000 year old buildings, beautiful music and let's not forget good treats.  Treats go a long way in extending the good mood of my children.

So, with this blog I share places we've traveled, accommodations we've stayed in, restaurants we've eaten at, activities we've participated in and whether they've been "worth it."  I hope our adventures will inspire you to create your own.

As you can see from the photos above, I am a Rick Steves' fan.  I like his PBS TV show, I think he is quirky and real and his books are full of solid information--we almost always travel with him. As part of the "Grow Your Blog" event I will be giving away one copy of his travel books--the destination is your choice.  Entry is simple, leave a comment and be sure to tell me which book location you'd like!  (Rick specializes in European travel only).

Winner will be announced Feb 15th right here on the blog, so be sure to check back. Good luck and thanks for stopping by. 

30 comments:

  1. Well yours is the first blog I have stopped by in this "party" and i did sign up on email notifications. If you check out my blog, Butterfly tales, you will see that one of my most favorite things in the world is travel. I have been to europe several times, and also love traveling in the US where I live. I am a nurse practitioner, and several years ago, came very close to accepting a job in Germany. My kids are grown though and i have children, and two homes in the US, so in the long run, I just did not do it. Still sort of sorry about missing the opportunity. What great memories you and your family will have from this experience. If i did win your giveaway, my choice would be a book on italy. I have never heard of Rick Steves, but will definitely check him out on PBS, so thanks for the heads up. Will look forward to following your blog, and seeing Europe through your eyes.

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  2. Hello there, I've come across your blog through Silent Sunday before but thought "wait a minute, I don't recognise it" then I saw your previous post on changing its look! So this time I'm back with the GYB party and hope to get to know you better. I am also a big traveller, I blog about my life in France. I agree totally with exposing children to the culture that's all around us here and travel with my kids loads. It's great to find a kindred soul! If I were to win your giveaway I'd like Iceland (if it exists in this series) as that's our next family adventure - we're going for 2 weeks this summer. If he hasn't done Iceland then I'd take Garmany as a second! Thanks.

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    1. I left a comment on your blog, but after looking at some of your other posts, I have to add your neck of the woods to my long list of places to see. Beautiful beaches and countryside!

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  3. Oh, I know I am going to love your blog! My husband wants to take me to Germany to see where my family used to live. I am first generation in America. My mother was born and raised in a small town of Schleerzay in Germany. I know I did not spell the town correctly but I wrote it as is sounds. You and the children are so blessed to tour parts of beautiful Europe. I am here from GYB party and am now a new follower. If you have time stop by and visit my blog at www.littleputtylittlepaint.blogspot.com. Take care my newest friend!

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  4. Hello! Just wanted to let you know that I have followed your blog for a few months, and really enjoy your Munich tips as well as great photos. My family moved to Germany 5 months ago, and we are trying to find our way between balancing daily life here, and travelling whenever the kids have days off from school. I would love a copy of Rick Steve's Italy since we are heading there twice this spring. Keep up the great blog entries!

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  5. HI, I'm new, came from the Grow your Blog challenge. I have lived in Europe - Germany and Portugal and have a daughter whose partner is French, and they have just moved from the south of France to Holland a few days ago (work related). So I will certainly enjoy reading about your travels.

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  6. I just want to say I love your attitude about your kids and educating them in thing they may not appreciate right now. Right on! Happy to be a new follower.

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  7. Thank you for dropping by my GYB post. I'll have my first trip to Europe from Canada this summer on a garden tour of Ireland.

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    1. I have heard good things about Ireland, hope it is enjoyable!

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  8. Hello,

    Nice to meet you.:)
    I would like to participate in your giveaway.
    petitearmoire2@gmail.com

    Greetings.

    Bernadett

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  9. I am so excited to drop by from the Grow Your Blog Party. We will be going to Italy soon, but I already have Rick Stevens Italy book, but would love another country!! Di@Cottage-Wishes

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  10. Really enjoyed your "Hiking in Garmisch" Post :-)

    Following.

    ~Val

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  11. Hi there. I'm thrilled to have found your blog through the GYB. I'm anxious to spend more time reading it once this party is over. Now I'm busy hopping! Please include me in your draw for a travel book. I'd love one on France or Italy as they are both destinations I need to spend more time in. Thank you for visiting my blog.

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    1. Thank you Nan for stopping by. I know what you mean about hopping around the many sites, so so many.

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  12. Glad to "meet" you! I'd love to be entered into your blog party giveaway too please! :)

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  13. :) Children belong in museums! Our children literally grew up in museums and academic libraries!!!! The hardest question of the day...a travel book destination.....hmmmm I love the cathedrals, Lascuax, museums, art.... why not surprise me with an unexpected destination! :)

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  14. Hi,
    My biggest hobby is travelling, so now I'm your newest follower!
    I have lived in a few different countries and I agree that living in central Europe is great because you are close to so many interesting countries/cities. If I would win your giveaway I would choose the travel book for Prague, because that's where I live now and I just can't get enough of it.

    I also blog about travelling (although no children included), so check it out if you want.

    Sara
    http://asvoltasnomundo.blogspot.pt/

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    1. Sara, thank you for stopping by, we love Prague, such a beautiful city.

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  15. Visiting from Vicki's party and so glad to find your blog- I'm a huge Rick Stevens fan-he's so laid back and unpretentious - we just were in Europe in Sept. and I borrowed several of his books from the library before we went- I'd love to be entered to win any book- esp Paris, France or Italy
    Cheers
    new follower
    Christina

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  16. Hello from Switzerland, Brooke! I'm here thanks to the GYB party and it's wonderful to "meet" another American with such a taste for Europe! I have been lucky enough to go to some of those places on your shelf but would love to see the guide on Vienna, Budapest or Athens. Thanks for the giveaway!

    http://www.busyneedle.ch

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  17. I see I have to "share" my Rick Steve's love with another woman now! haha. My book shelf looks very similar to yours. So, I have to say I am here via the GYB party...but I'm staying and becoming a follower because any gal who relies of Rick...is a friend of mine :)

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  18. Hi Brooke, You know how much I love your blog! I always love when you comment on my blog as well. I'm not sure which book I would want. I still have so many places on my list to visit and some to visit again. I agree living in Europe we are able to see so many places. Hopefully I can see them all before it's time to move back to the US. I look forward to all your posts! Carla

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  19. Hey Brooke, It must be so excited to travel all over and to share it with your children is so special. you take lovely photos. I'm intrigued by the blog to book concept I will have to go check it out. It has been lovely meeting you.

    Hugs
    Caroline

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  20. Morocco is one of my favorite countries in the world; Dave and I visited there three times. I just had 2011 printed into a book, will check out Blurb and see if it's better than what I used. Visiting via Vicki's GYBP and enjoying your beautiful photos.

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  21. Greetings from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. Wonderful photos. I'd be happy to win any of the books.

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  22. What a great blog! I like that you point out the good & the bad, keeping it real. I traveled to England (mostly London) with my 12 year old daughter & my mother this past May. What an experience! We had a great time, but it is difficult to reconcile what my mom likes & what my daughter likes.

    My daughter loves art museums & any museum with animals- natural history, zoo, aquarium. If I can entice her with those, she will hit any museum I throw at her. & she is always up for an adventure out of the house.

    Check out my embroidery/ redwork blog if you are interested. (GYB)

    aprilsongstress

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  23. 1. Hello , my name is Dawn your my one stop on the blog party, Hope that I soon will be friends with all of you cyber neighbors. Can’t wait to see more of your great projects in the making. My site http://overboardcreations.blogspot.com/ and contact info is ovr_brd@yahoo.com
    I don’t have a lot of blog time in. but I like all things creative.

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  24. Wow - such a great informative blog - I especially loved your posts on Morocco as I am going there in October of this year. I have subscribed to your RSS feeds so I can enjoy your photos on a regular basis. Thanks for sharing.

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