What Living Abroad Is Really Like

What It's Like To Live In A Foreign Land

Every considered living abroad? Since the age of 17, I’ve visited 21 countries and 36 U.S. states. In 14 years of marriage, we’ve made our home in 10 different houses, 4 of those  in a land other than that of my citizenship. After living a combined total of five years in another country, I still have moments of frustration of trying to understand and fit into a culture that is not my own.

I grew up in small town Texas where a 45 minute trip to Dallas was considered a day trip. Moving 9,268 miles away to the southernmost country in Africa was a big deal. In high school, I dreamed of living abroad, in a different country and raising kids who had an awareness of what the world was like, not just what life in America was like. I got my wish, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I hope this little glimpse gives you an idea of what it’s like to live in a foreign land.

The first thing you should know, however, is that a “typical” day doesn’t exist in my world. I’ll tell … >> find out more...

Jen Price

Jen currently makes her home between two continents, one in the great state of Texas and the other in a small town in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. She wears many hats such as wife, mother, photographer, storyteller, communications director, writer, traveler, and lover of dark chocolate. She writes for several websites including her personal blog, I Believe In Love, where she shares her creative ventures, her photography, and the stories of the orphans she loves on in S. Africa.

How To Dye Your Hair At Home With Helps And Hints

This post is brought to you by L’Oréal Paris.

Dyeing at home, is it a thing for you?  It is for me.  In fact, I’ve only maybe had my hair colored at a salon once or twice in the last 10 years.  Truly.  There’s just no justification for me to pay someone to do it for $150 a pop when I can dye my own hair at home for under $15.

how to dye your hair at home

 

But I have simple hair.  One, all-over color to cover up the greys my super fun genes have sent my way.  Fun fact: my mom went completely silver when she was 35.  You know how old I am?  Don’t answer that, I’ll lie anyway.  The point is: it’s either dyed, or silver, and mama’s not going out like that.

 

how to dye your hair at home

So, you’re afraid to do it yourself?  Don’t sweat it.  I’ve got all kinds of tips from the pros (me, having dyed my own hair for the last 20 years) to keep it legit, and gorgeous for less than the price of a weeks’ worth of coffee. Or Diet Dr Pepper, your choice.

 

dye gray hair

 

Here’s the thing about dyeing your hair at home: there are all … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

My Top Five Reads For This Summer

Summer is the best time of year for me to tackle the stacks, and stacks, and STACKS of books I accumulate all year long.  I never really get around to reading all of them, I’m aspirational when it comes to what I think I can get through, but I do end up reading a fair amount of books in the summer.  It’s just easier to read when there’s more daylight and hammocks and pool time.  At least for me.

summer reads

I’ve already powered through about 10 books in the last two weeks, reading at day camp pick-ups, swim practice, doctor’s offices, trips to the hospital, and late night sick watch with my daughter.  Thank heaven, because the book stacks next to my bed seem to multiply in the night when I’m not watching.

beach reads

I also have a few stipulations about Summer reading: nothing heavy.  Period.  I’m not reading Tolstoy next to the pool.  The most complicated I want to get is whether Tiffanie should choose Todd the fireman or Chad, her long lost high school boyfriend to help her raise her complicated teenage daughter from a previous relationship.

I mean, I’m kidding, a little.  But I’m also serious.  No … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

Thanks You From The Tops Of Our Heads To Our Feet

I’m saying thanks today.  Thanks you, and you, and you in the corner.  Thanks you, all of you, for everything.

sick daughter

For the last 5 months (it’s hard to write that, actually) we’ve been in absolute crisis mode at my house.  In early March, my daughter started throwing up.  And throwing up, and throwing up, and throwing up.  I figured we were in the middle of a winter stomach flu, like every other kid we knew.  From the time school starts in September to the time we finish in May, my kids always get at least one major flu.  It’s just part and parcel of being a kid.  But after a week of my Sofie throwing up around the clock, we went to see the pediatrician.  The doctor ran a few tests and sent us home.  It was the flu, we were told, so we went home to ride it out.

ER

Halfway through week two of round-the-clock puking, we went to Instacare.  Sofie was throwing up between 10 and 15 times a day.  She had lost 10 pounds in 14 days, she was pale and listless, and I was officially worried.

knitting

The doctor at Instacare took 8 vials of blood, ran … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

Tech Summer Camps For Kids Apps + Design

Kids can be tricky in the summertime.  Believe me, I’m a work-at-home mom, which means summer is a blessing and a curse.  I love having my kids home more than life itself, but keeping them intellectually challenged and busy 24/7 is a job in and of itself.

bubbles

We started out the summer with Some Fun Summer Bags for Kids, and a couple weeks ago spent the weekend doing the Kids Adventure Games at Snowbird.  We’ve done an Easy Summer Activity Book DIY, we’ve made an Ice Cream Sandwich Cake, and we’re getting ready to blow up an entire box of fireworks.  But still, the children remain at home most of the time, imploring me to entertain them, as if I am their cruise director.

playing with beach balls

So I’m doing what any mom in her right mind would do, and I’ve signed them up for day camps.

design camp for kids

My little guy is going to a school day camp wherein he will learn about oceanography for 2 weeks, and my daughter is about to start an app camp for kids, followed by a design camp, where she’ll learn basic graphic design and Adobe Illustrator.  I’m teeming with jealousy.  I would’ve … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

Fun Photo App You Have To Download

surf in costa rica

I have a photo app to share with you.   It’s free, and it’s amazing, and you have to go download it ASAP.  It’s called Studio Design a design + photo app to make your pictures even better.  To tell a story.

france

Imagine your favorite Instagram photo with gorgeous designs layered on top, and the perfect amount of text to help the photo tell a little bit more of the story.

live life

Like this picture of my little guy in Warsaw a few years ago.  It was the perfectly captured photo of my son, who at that time legitimately believed he could fly.  He lives life at 200%, all the time, and even though we didn’t plan for his yellow shoes to match the yellow bench, it was perfect.  Add a little bit of text and you get a bit more of the picture.

sofie

This photo is a capture of my daughter who’s been sick for several months, throwing up all day every day, and the graphics and text on this photo of her complete the picture: think positive.

omelette

Go download the app.  It’s free and available for both Apple and Android devices and so much fun to play with.  Remix … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

Keep Your Kids Healthy During The Summertime

It’s really easy to end up having kids on the couch, inside all summer long, watching TV and playing video games. It’s too hot out, kids are bored, moms need a break. But it’s not a whole lot of work to get kids active and busy outside, if you plan ahead.

Every summer I make some fun summer bags for my two kids. I call them their ‘Welcome to Summer’ bags, filled to the brim with enough outdoor activities + toys to keep them busy all summer long. Outside.

I fill the bags with sidewalk chalk, beach balls, kits to make S’mores, squirt guns, water balloons, you name it. The kids look forward to it all year long, and it makes the transition into summer easier. It also sets the tone for the kind of summer we’ll have: a busy one!

Here are my top 3 ways to get and keep kids active, all summer long.

  1. Set the stage (make a summer bag!)
  2. Sign up for stuff!
  3. Plan ahead. Make a summer bucket list.

#1: To set the stage for an active summer, set expectations for your kids. Let them know the plans you’re making, tell them the kind … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

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Easy Summer Activity Book DIY

Kids Summer Activity Book

This Summer activity book DIY might save my sanity for the next 9 weeks. I’m not really kidding. The month of May was so insanely over-scheduled and hectic  it seemed the last day of school would never arrive. Then WHAM! The kids are home and it’s head first into swim team and t-ball and worrying about the infamous “Summer Slide”. It’s a thing, the “Summer Slide”, the thing where kids lose some of their academic skills over the summer. Turns out it’s legit–according to my resident expert and professional educator who happens to be my husband. The good news is a little bit of reading and writing over the summer can kick it to the curb.

So, school ended in a flury and frenzy and I realized I needed to come up with a strategy for keeping their brains busy and strong, not to mention keeping their mouths quite and bodies still for a precious few minutes. And I had to do it quick. Really quick. That’s how this no-frills, easy Summer activity book DIY was born. Or, rather, printed off, hole punched, and thrown in a binder. Made almost entirely of stuff I had on hand or could quickly … >> find out more...

Kimberly

...by day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.

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Some Ideas To Help You Celebrate The 4th Of July

4th of july fireworks fireworks

4th of July, 4th of July!  You know there’s nothing better than a summer holiday, right?  For me, it’s the 4th of July.  It’s my favorite holiday, hands down.  The weather is gorgeous and hot, the pavement is baking, kids sit on the sidewalk eating dripping Popcicles, and fireworks end the day.  It’s the most fun of the whole year, and that’s saying something.

 

family

I make my famous American flag cake.  We sometimes run a 4th of July 5k and watch the early morning hot air balloons.  There’s a parade in Provo, and we never miss it.  There are afternoon naps, BBQ’s and frosty cold caffeinated beverages abound.

cute babies

Cousins, adorable cousins come from near and far.

fun with cousins

Sometimes there’s a baby or two, on a good year.

fun with cousins

There’s grilled corn on the cob, and squirt gun fights and sparklers and a table full of desserts.  There just isn’t a better holiday than the 4th of July.

I have a couple of favorite recipes for you, so you can whip up something red, white & blue for your own celebrations.

4th of july jell-o

A yummy 4th of July dessert recipe made with the most American of ingredients: whipped cream + Jell-O.  An American Flag … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

Comments are off for this post