Sweet Bella Vita

a dash of motherhood… a sprinkle of homeschooling… and a pinch of photography ( with a side of compassion )


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Tarifa

The nicest beach we saw in southern Spain!

The sand was so clean and soft and my boys loved playing in the waves.

Watching the wind surfers was so nice and relaxing.

And there is a cool sand dune nearby to see.

A really chill place and a great vibe!

I think it is known as the windy capitol of Europe… hence all the wind power generators!

As a family we voted that this was our favourite spot in Andalucía Spain.

~Lisa


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been away in more ways then one …

Hey everyone

This blog has been quiet for some time.

I keep meaning to post so many things and have so many posts started; yet I never seem to get around to finishing them.

Some of it is time constraints and some of it is not feeling up to it; since loosing Bianca this summer  I was not feeling up to posting any blog posts.

But I am back now … and I hope to get on top of it  🙂

This blog may be taking a different turn though as life happens and changes.

We have been away in Italy again and I have lots to share about our travels.

We are still homeschooling 🙂

We also have a dog with us temporarily… she is a sweet black labrador retriever … and she is with us to be socialized with the hope that when she grows up she will be a guide dog for someone. Her name is Jazz and although the first few months with us here were quite difficult; as she was very nippy; she has now started to mellow out and is really sweet to have around.

 

So off we go with a new blog adventure… I hope you will join me 🙂

Lisa


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Florence…Piazzale Michelangelo

Please see my first post about Florence here 🙂

My number 1 favorite place was …

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Piazzale Michelangelo, not to be missed!!!

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The view is spectacular!

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You have probably seen it in pictures … try to go before sunset and catch the sunset there … breathtaking!

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~Lisa


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Hands On Learning

For me “hands on learning” is getting out in the world and seeing and doing… basically the essence of homeschooling in my opinion.

From museums to stores to nature … you name it … it is all hands on 🙂

I remember growing up and going to school and thinking “while I sit in this classroom … life is happening out there”

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This past week we hit the mountain for a hike / bike ride

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We are fostering some kittens for a rescue group until they get adopted so my kids have been learning and observing the kittens all week … as cats are very different from dogs.

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We checked out a museum we hadn’t been to in a couple of years.

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The boys participated in an Apple workshop all about publishing an ebook.

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Among the regular stops like the library, Aikido class,  grocery store and other places just to name a few things we have done 🙂

Please go check out my fellow Canadian bloggers and their posts on “hands on learning” here

~Lisa


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driving in Italy

my random thoughts about driving in Italy

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1. Italians are INSANE drivers!

2. Do NOT trust your GPS in Italy; It takes you down dead end roads or makes you take a side street just so you end up back on the main road. 

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3. Italians drive FAST… and I mean really fast!

4. Why bother painting lines on the road … Seriously think of all the money the Italian  government could save ?!?! I say this as Italians do NOT drive inside the lines._MG_6696

5. Seriously 130 as a speed limit !?!? What the hell is Italy a race track? What ever happened to “piano piano” ?!?!

6. And really with a speed limit of 130 and Italians still speed?? Wth !?!?

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7. Driving IN Italy is insane !!!!!

8. Driving on the highway costs a freaking fortune. All the highways cost a lot of money … basically they charge per km … so the more km you drive on the highway the higher the cost … it cost me over 50 Euros when I got off the first time … I was not impressed  coming from canada where there are almost no tolls, although I knew there was some cost I did not think it was so high :/

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9.  Seriously stop honking at me for driving in the freaking lanes !!!!!!! Italians honk A LOT!!!!  I got honked at as I would drive in the lane and someone would want to pass in the 3rd lane yet they wanted me ( in the middle lane) to move over closer to the 1st lane … and they would pass me extremely close pretty much while driving on the line separating the middle and 3rd lane… whereas in north american if one wants to pass a car in the middle lane they simply move to the 3rd lane and pass  … I am not sure how I didn’t get hit by any car … i swear it was a miracle.

And 

10. La vita e Bella so slow down and enjoy it a bit !!!!

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bonus 11. parking in one town I stayed in was close to impossible … but love how cars park in either direction when they find a spot … no need to do a u-turn just to park on the other side of the street

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bonus 12. after having gotten in a car with my cousins son who is around 21 year old I was totally beyond NOT impressed … the kid drove me a total of 90 seconds … and he did not put his cell down at all … this is very common behaviour for many young Italians that I saw driving …. I think the police should be monitoring this a lot closer  and giving much higher stricter fines … including loosing your license for such behaviour.

bonus 13. roundabouts are just absolutely amazing!!!! in the south I think I barely saw any traffic lights … they have roundabouts every where and they work so well to get traffic to move

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a side note… public transportation … like the long distance train  and local trams in cities like venice and florence are really great and I highly recommend them … I traveled alone with 3 young kids and a lot of luggage so I did not feel ready to do the long distance train thing this time… but our next trip to Europe will likely be all public transportation as I do not want to deal with a car in Italy again … at least not for the whole time we would be there; perhaps renting one for a weekend would be a lot less stressful.

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I rented from avis and overall it was okay. Do I recommend them? … yes and no. I had a lot of issues contacting them directly while I was IN italy as I needed to speak directly to the venice office which was close to impossible to reach as the direct number would only work after 9 pm and they would rarely answer the phone as they were so busy. Also I had to clear up some issues and had to spend a good 45 minutes with them prior to my return flight as a seasonal employer charged me for stuff she should not have (an error or about 200 Euros)  I got back to see that my credit card was charged for all the mistakes and it took me a lot of frustration to get back in touch with them. Finally twitter saved the day… yes twitter ! Amazing how companies are so helpful when the world is watching!

If you can I recommend taking the train instead … otherwise just search for the best rental rate you can find as I think all the rental companies are the same at the end of the day. and unless you have amazing insurance on your credit card; do yourself a favour and get the full insurance package. I ended up having to pay about 500 euros for some odd scratches when I returned the car; luckily I do have great credit card protection that covered all of them!

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~Lisa


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morning and male finches

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We have learned that male finches defend  their female mates rather then a nesting area  … and so we observed these 2 males fighting. These are not the best pictures as I was standing on the wrong side with the sun and they are so fast and difficult to capture; but I like the silhouette images.

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And a random morning shot from my morning walk today … I am loving this weather 🙂

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have a great weekend!

~Lisa