One Quick Take

BW400cn, Canon AE1, theFINDlab

My sister took some pictures of me with the kids in Poland. I think I’m going to need to take her on all of our Europe trips from now on, for so many reasons.

Poland 2012

I was still pregnancy sick during our trip to Poland this year, so it wasn’t quite what everyone was expecting. My FIL took work off so we could go out and explore the country a bit more, but I only managed to make it out of the house twice in two weeks. Next time I am planning to take Poland by storm!

Our first outing was to the Wieliczka Salt Mine. I’ve actually been to this mine once before, on my first trip to Poland with my mom back in 2008, and I loved it so much I asked if we could go again so I could experience it with That Husband. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, and if you are headed to Poland I think the salt mine is worth it. Our tour guide told jokes that were actually funny (his humor was very dry and I really liked it) and I love the mix of history and folklore told throughout the tour.

My favorite part is the Chapel of Saint Kinga, filled with statues and reliefs and even chandeliers carved entirely out of salt. To read more about the mine and see more pictures click here.

The other day I made it out of the house was for the birthday party of a family friend. We were there for a few hours in the afternoon and I managed to squeeze in two naps. It was ridiculous, but everyone was very nice about it and expressed lots of love and well wishes for the baby. The time when I was awake was spent eating, playing Settlers of Catan (a new obsession of mine), and staring out at this view from the front porch of the cabin where the birthday party was held.

The rest of my time was spent recovering from the incredibly taxing task that is eating and showering (note: sarcasm). T1’s trip wasn’t at all affected by my knocked-up-down-and-out status because he did the same thing he does every time we visit Poland: spent copious amounts of time with Jaja and Babcia, ran around the wonderland that is my FIL and MIL’s backyard, ate a whole lot of sausage, and relaxed in his little green chair watching Polish cartoons.

We didn’t get a single picture of the three of us together. For shame!

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Europe 2010: Pt IX

First the ceremony, then the food, now it’s time for the biggest post of this Polish wedding series, the reception! I’ll do my best to explain what was happening, though the language barrier means I’ll be guessing at times. Feel free to correct me if you know better. 🙂

This is chlebem i sol?, or bread and salt. It’s presented to the bride and groom as they walk into the reception.

The bride and groom stood in the middle of the room while the guests sang to them. They drank out of the glasses they are holding here and then tossed them over their heads. Z supervised while K swept up the shards of glass.

My in-laws stepped forward and threw some coins at the new couple, and they handed me a few so I could do the same. The same thing happened at our wedding. 🙂

We all stood around while they bent down and picked up the coins.

Then it was time for dinner. The first course.

As you’ll see, TH spent most of the night with his cousin Kuba (I have no idea how to spell this nickname of his so that’s my best guess).

The bride had a few moments to relax while we ate.

And then the dancing and games began.

Hours and hours of dancing, most of it paired off and so fun.

That Husband and his cousin spent most of the time like this. Kuba has been to a lot of weddings and he’s a bit jaded about the whole thing.

Since they weren’t dancing I asked TH and Kuba to come outside and take pictures with me.

Kuba ended up being an excellent photographer. I didn’t have to provide much direction at all!

Sporting my new pretty heels.

My cute in-laws.

And TH’s aunt who has always been so sweet to us. We love her!

More dancing while TH looks on. He danced with me one time, and I got a little too excited and freaked him out with my jumping around and mad swirling/twirling.

The band was fantastic, by far the best I’ve ever heard at a wedding. They didn’t take very many breaks, but when they did they sand a song that went something like “Now we need to take a break and drink some vodka,” and then they went and drank some vodka.

All of the not-dancing I was doing with my husband was getting kind of boring, so I started playing around with the tilt-shift lens I rented for our trip.

They broke the dancing up with all sorts of games. I have videos of a few of them that I’ll put up. In case you need any ideas for your own wedding. 🙂

I’m not really a soda person, but I needed this Pepsi to stay awake through all the partying.

TH had a chance to catch up with a girl he used to torture in elementary school. Apparently he used to throw plums at her, but she was kind enough to forgive him.

I did do a little bit of dancing without my husband, once with the groom and once with the father-of-the-bride.

The cake and another dinner course were wheeled out in a very dramatic manner with ominous music and sparklers.

One of my favorites, brother and bride dancing together.

The bride dancing with her bridesmaids to her favorite song.

Toward the end of the night it was time for the garter and tie toss.

The girls in the room gathered around and made a circle around the bride. Then the groom wove around them trying to break through their circle until he was able to touch his bride’s arm. He removed her garter (with his teeth!), and then tossed it over his shoulder to his groomsmen. She repeated the process trying to break through a circle of boys and then removed his tie, which she tossed to her bridesmaids.

More food came out, more dancing happened, and That Husband and I were ready for bed. Somehow the bride, groom, and guests kept going in this manner for several more hours. Maybe it was the vodka?

There were a few more things that I only have video of, which I hope to get approved by the groom and uploaded soon. My pictures just don’t do this day justice. I am so grateful we were able to share this experience with That Husband’s family. I just wish he had more siblings so we could go back and do it all over again!


Europe 2010: Pt VIII

This post contains pictures of nothing but food. It will bore some but foodies like me will love it!

One minor little detail that made a big difference for my dining experience was the sheepskin pads resting on the benches we sat at for dinner.

Around the room they had displays of food that sat out for the entire night, so guests could keep dancing all night long.

This guy kept watch over the dishes you see below.

I asked TH to help me identify everything. This is a plate of cheeses (which for some reason I never sampled, so unlike me!)


Some kind of herring dish. I couldn’t get any m ore than that out of TH because he wasn’t immediately familiar with it, but he said it looks delicious and he wants some right now.

To me this looks like pulled pork, but TH said it is probably a vegetable dish of some sort.

Vegetables and meat in meat gelatin.


Another type of gelatin dish with some sort of chunks floating in it.

I am a little ashamed to say that I didn’t try any of the dishes you saw above! I’m not very brave when it comes to food sometimes, and now I kind of regret it.

This isn’t for eating, it’s part of a Polish tradition which I’ll talk about in my next post. Isn’t it pretty?

What could all of these fruits be for?

The chocolate fountain!

I don’t know if you know this, but in America catering companies usually cut the chocolate with vegetables oils to keep it liquid. This fountain was obviously made with chocolate and heavy cream, and the difference was obvious. I went back for seconds and thirds and kept right on going from there!

Dessert trays that we grabbed and brought back to our tables after dinner was served. I liked the little cookies the best.


Someday we will go back to this lodge just so we can have this soup. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would probably be this.

The first course of dinner.

TH doesn’t remember broccoli until after Communisim fell. Isn’t that interesting? If it wasn’t common until the fall of Communism, that might explain why it would be such a great luxury at weddings.

These dishes kicked off the second course.


Boiled potatoes with dill.

Baked potatoes.

The first round of desserts was an ice cream sundae in a waffle cone for each person.

A little later in the night they brought out even more food, cuts of meat, vegetables, and other things.

And then they fed us again! They brought out a pig with fireworks coming out of it and served us this delectable ham. This ham was also probably the best I’ve ever had. I’m not sure what the white thing is, but the dish in the bottom left of the plate is sauerkraut.

We left at about midnight, right after the cake was served, but the part went until 2 am and it’s entirely possible that they brought out even more stuff after we were gone.

Definitely the best wedding food I’ve ever had!

Europe 2010: Pt VI



We made it to the point in my recaps where I get to talk about my SIL’s wedding day. I’m going to call her Z, and her husband K. Z and K were married in a town about 2 hours from the house where TH grew up, and we left T1 behind with a sitter for the weekend.

The two of them got ready (together!) in a room at the lodge where their reception was held. Z had a handful of friend buzzing around her doing her hair and makeup, and then all of the sudden it was just the two of them getting dressed (and me taking pictures of course). I told them that in America this almost never happens, and that the bride turns getting ready and the revelation of her wedding day beauty into a very big moment, but Z just laughed and said that wasn’t the way they do things.

Disclaimer: Sometimes I think things get lost in translation when I ask questions so take all of my interpretations of Polish traditions with a grain of salt!

I’ve never seen these before! This would make it a whole lot easier for the grooms at my weddings who are always asking me to figure out how to fold and stuff their pocket squares.

Z had her dress, sash, and jacket custom made for a few hundred dollars. She went online and found a dress she loved and had the seamstress make it from scratch for her. A similar purchase in America would cost 5X that much at least!

Although I love the drama of the American style wedding day first look, it was really sweet watching them help each other get dressed.

After they finished dressing we had a few minutes before it was time to go, so I asked her to let me take some portraits out on the deck.

A few minutes before we left for the church, both sets of parents came in and gave blessings to the soon-to-be-married couple. I wish I knew what they were saying, but it was very sincere and beautiful. I wish I had done something like that with my parents on my wedding day.

Off we went to a picturesque little Catholic chapel for the wedding!