Poland 2014

March 03, 2015 By: Jenna Category: Travel

I’m working to put together a plan that will get us to Poland this June, and it reminded me that I haven’t written a post about our trip last year. These experiences are too important to skip over!

Last year as we flew home with an exhausted baby and fidgeting four-year-old we said that we were done with this trip for the next few years. We wanted the kids to be older so the flight and jet-lag would be a little easier on them, and on us. T1 in particular struggled with this trip. It was hard for him to adjust to the foreign language and food, and I didn’t feel like he ever quite warmed up to his usual sweet self. It’s a lot for a sensitive kid to handle.

I assumed it would be best to give him some time to mature, until the day he turned to me and said “Who are these people who give me presents?” My in-laws are some of the best people I know, and it was awful to hear that T1′s memory and association with them had to do with items instead of interactions with them. It’s not his fault of course, but after that I became ultra-committed to making yearly trips a priority. Someday, hopefully a very sad day far away from the present, family members are going to die and I don’t want to face down regrets about not making enough effort to see them and deepen our relationship. My kids lovingly refer to their Nana and Papa on a regular basis and I want to hear them doing the same for their loved ones across the world.

Before I book those tickets for 2015, let’s rewind a bit and recap the June 2014 experience! June 14th-June 28th, 2014.

2014 was the beginning of my obsession with film, and the only digital camera I took with me was the one on my iphone. My FIL not only very generously offered to purchase film for me so I wouldn’t have to fly it over, he also helped me search the Polish ebay for good deals on cameras and bought me my first medium format body, my beloved and broken Mamiya 645. It wasn’t broken back then though, and we got some really fantastic family shots out of it! I hope they are ready for another round of family photos this year too because I feel very passionate about making the time to fit group shots into the trip schedule.

The kids lounging on the bed TH and I share when we stay there. Once they adjust to the foreign time zone this place is a sort of paradise for them. All the TV, treats, and screen time they desire! Plus we only visit during the warmer months so they can splash in the backyard and eat off the many fruit trees and bushes growing in the backyard.

TH’s parents are incredibly generous when we come visit and take the kids on so we can travel Europe together. On this visit we went to Berlin (here is my Pinterest board for the area.) I finally understand the difference between West and East Berlin, largely due to the excellent Red Berlin Tour put on by Sandemans. If you’re into Soviet history or raving all night long I would recommend going to Berlin (we didn’t rave all night, but I know that’s a thing based on all the travel guides I read.) If you’re into food like me, you’ll probably like: Read more →

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Wodna Wieza

June 20, 2014 By: Jenna Category: reviews, Travel

I think this post represents two firsts for me – the first time I’ve written a recap within 24 hours, and the first time I’ve done so with photos taken and edited on my iphone. All edits were done with VSCOcam and the side-by-side shots are done with TwinCollage.

Everyone else in my family is sleeping in today (we are still in Poland), and since I was up at 5am I’ve had plenty of time to process photos and put this post together. I’m hoping I can keep this early morning momentum going because I love feeling like I’ve accomplished so much before 8am.

I wanted to write up a post about our dinner last night for a few reasons. I’ve been doing lots of Europe trip planning lately and the English-language blog posts I find about things I’m researching are really handy. TH and I also fell in love with Wodna Wieza and when we like a restaurant that much we start to worry it might go out of business. This happened to our favorite Dallas restaurant, Aurora. I know odds are slim that any of my readers will be heading to Krakow anytime soon, but if you ever do visit the southwestern area of Poland I think it would be worth a trip.


 Wodna Wieza calls itself a Steampunk Cafe, though I think the use of the term cafe makes it sound a lot simpler than it actually is. It’s nouvelle cusine with a touch of molecular gastronomy in a setting that has attention to detail unmatched by any restaurant I’ve ever been to.

Is there a Steampunk Restaurant Supply catalog somewhere? My iphone couldn’t do this place justice.


The wine cellar.


It wasn’t just the decor that wowed us, with each course of our 5 course tasting menu they brought us unique silverware unlike anything any of us had ever seen before.


The restaurant is on the top floor of an old water tower, so the views are stunning as well!


Our dining group for the evening.


The first course was a grouping of individual mushrooms, in a very unique serving dish, made 10x cooler when the server “watered” the largest mushroom and revealed the presence of dry ice nested underneath. Throughout the meal I was really impressed by how far they were able to take things without it feeling cheesy or trite. We ooohed and aaaahed with each new thing brought to the table. Even the bread and butter! (Honey and lemon infused butter, delicious.)

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Children and Foreign Grandparents

June 20, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Parenting, Travel



We have been in Poland for about a week, with another week to go. TH’s family is as lovely as ever, and once the (grueling) flight from the States to Poland is over I always feel we shouldn’t wait so long to come back again.


I anticipated a really awful flight, and the kids actually exceeded my expectations. It was overnight and they slept for a good portion of it. We bought a seat for T2 and put her in a car seat and that made things a lot easier. I also expected jet lag with two kids to be tough, and it was. The kids have been sleeping in the same room for several weeks now, but here we have been unable to get them to settle in and sleep through the night if they are together. I’m grateful that my in-laws are providing us with several days in Berlin without the kids. We are craving some serious re-connection time as a couple.


One thing I didn’t anticipate was how hard this trip would be for T1. Previously he was very young, either not talking yet or just learning to speak, and he didn’t seem to mind the language barrier so much. All speech probably sounded a bit confusing to him! Now though he seems really thrown by the lack of English and strong accents. I confess I’m not sure how to walk the line between affording him space to be shy and autonomous, and pushing him outside of his comfort zone in order to be polite and attempt to form bonds with these family members who love him so much.

We’ve talked about different options but aren’t sure what will be best. Maybe we keep the current approach, visiting for two weeks every 1-2 years, and see how things develop. Try to prioritize video conferencing more often. Long summers in Poland for the kids at some point? Are there things we can do now to prevent the same disconnect for T2?

It’s been really hard for me to watch all of this unfold, because I feel like one way I can express love and gratitude for my inlaws is to encourage my kids to engage with the in meaningful ways. But T1 is his own person, and I can’t force him to feel and think and act in ways that don’t match with what he wants. I hope this is just a stage, like most other things with kids this young.

Do I have any readers with family who live internationally and speak a language that isn’t spoken by their grandchildren/nieces/nephews/etc? How have you made it work?

Poland 2012

September 13, 2012 By: Jenna Category: Poland

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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Krakow Cake

May 03, 2012 By: Jenna Category: Cooking

Every time we’ve visited Poland we have been treated to one of my favorite desserts (anywhere), a cake my husband’s family refers to as Krakow Cake. It’s a recipe developed a world away from anything we know now, with the absence of overpowering sweetness that we’ve come to expect in American desserts. After a big meal this moist and slightly tart (depending on the jam you use) cake can really hit the spot.

When we’re in Poland I can be found eating this cake several times a day. I admit it’s one of my favorite breakfast items. We can call it a breakfast pastry, right?

A big thank you to That Husband’s family for allowing me to share this recipe with all of you. If you try it I know they would love it if you would come back and share your thoughts with them in the comment section below. Read more →

      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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