Today, lots of kids around the world are headed back to school. Some may have started a little earlier, and some are probably still enjoying the last days of summer, but back to school is definitely in the air.
The kids here in southern Nederland, where we’re currently staying, started back on Monday. There’s a Montesorri across the street from our hotel, and I’ve been watching the parents bringing the wee little kiddies in. During my observations, I’ve determined that…
A. These kids are dressed so cute it kills me.
B. These are the best dressed moms dropping their kids off for school ON BIKES I’ve ever seen.
These observations have inspired me to share some things with you guys.
These things are Lies the Internet Told Me About Europe.
These lies are mostly about fashion, but there are some other lifestyle lies, too.
“Europeans don’t wear flip flops.”
Europeans wear flip flops. They wear sandals. They wear flats, heels, boots, sneakers, and boat shoes.
“Europeans don’t wear shorts.”
Europeans wear shorts. They wear shorts of all shapes and sizes, in every length imaginable. Both men and women, young and old, wear shorts.
“Europeans don’t wear t-shirts, particularly with writing or logos on them.”
Europeans wear a huge variety of t-shirts, and while yes, I do see fewer of them, they wear them with writing and logos on them, as well.
“European homes are WAY smaller than American homes.”
We’ve had the opportunity to see everything from sweet 1 bedroom lofts to charming 2 and 3 bedroom apartments spread over 2 to 3 floors, and even large family homes with up to 5 bedrooms and beautiful lawns…all in our price range. Admittedly, there are few homes with a large range stove/oven, which you find standard in American homes, and yes, the refrigerators are going to take some getting used to, but the idea that moving to Europe means massive downsizing to teeny apartment life is a myth.
“Europeans don’t like fast food.”
There’s three McDonald’s near us, that I know of, and a Burger King…..they are always packed. Full. Every table filled. Inside and out (because they have terrace seating). And no, they’re not all Americans. In fact, I’ve yet to walk by and hear any English speakers. I’ve also observed huge bags of McDonald’s carry out being trotted around by people throughout the day.
Admittedly, there are some truths out there…
One that I find quite funny…”Europeans do NOT wear white sneakers.” This is mostly true. I read many, many times that Europeans know American tourists, because they go everywhere in these big honkin’ white athletic shoes that stand out for miles. The idea behind the many people who choose these is comfort. Nobody can be faulted for wanting to be comfortable when they know they’ll be walking for hours at a time, sightseeing some of the most beautiful cities in the world. But it’s true. The only white sneakers I’ve seen on Europeans are Converse.
“Europeans dress slightly nicer than Americans.”
This is admittedly true. Many, but not all, Europeans dress nicer than a lot, but definitely not all, Americans. See above lies…they do dress comfortably – shorts, tees, sneakers and flip flops, but you see many more collared shirts, slacks, skirts, dresses, and ties mixed in.
Basically, what I’m saying is, the Internet is prejudiced. It’s prejudiced against Europeans and Americans, and it’s stupid. If you’re preparing for a trip to Europe, be sure to take advice from the internet with a grain of salt.
No matter what you do, though, bring cookies. Cookies are common ground for everyone.
Now, these cookies were one of the most fun, and cutest, things I’ve done in a while. I got these crazy cute Munchstache Cookie Cutters/Stamps by Fred and Friends a couple of months ago, and I’m downright smitten. Not only do they cut the cookies out, but they’re also stamps, so you can press the mustache design into the soft dough before you bake the cookies, or into fondant for decorating.
Before you buy these, know that they are slightly annoying, in that the cookie dough can get stuck in the, because the pressing creates suction. I solved this problem, by putting two small holes in each cutter, to allow air to escape, and be drawn in, while cutting the dough.
I also got a very fun set of cutters from ebay that contained these stamps in them. There is a polka dot stamp, stripes, and a sort of butterfly shape.
I used gel food coloring mixed with a little water to create edible water colors. Then, I just painted each cookie with various colors and designs, and allowed them to dry.
Recipes and Resources
Rolled Sugar Cookies (Scroll down for recipe)
Faux Royal Icing (Scroll down for recipe)
Munchstache Cookie Cutters/Stamps by Fred and Friends
Band of Outsiders Cookie Cutter & Stamper Set Neiman Marcus + Target