How to Spend a 12 Hour Layover in Amsterdam

How to Spend a 12 Hour Layover in Amsterdam

A few months ago when I was searching for flights to Portugal from Helsinki, I noticed that for one the prices were pretty high and that the lowest ones had long layovers. The cheapest price I saw, for around $200 roundtrip, had a 12 hour layover in Amsterdam. I have been to Amsterdam once and loved it, so to have the chance to go again was something that interested me! I quickly asked my friend if this would be okay for her and she said yes since she has never been before.

Amsterdam is an amazing city and if you have a chance to stay for longer, do, but if not then it’s still a great place to have a layover. Here is how we spent out 12 hour layover in Amsterdam!

Where to Stay

How to Spend a 12 hour Layover in Amsterdam

MEININGER Hotel Amsterdam City West

This hostel is a little outside of the city, but Amsterdam is so well connected that it’s a great location. And cheaper. This hostel is also right next to a train stop that goes to and from the airport and downtown. You can get to both within 15 minutes.

What to Do

How to Spend a 12 Hour Layover in Amsterdam

Depending on when you get in Amsterdam, this will affect what you can do. We got to our hostel around 8pm so by that time a lot of the museums were closed. I do know the Anne Frank House is open later and you need to reserve tickets in advance. Here is what we did during our night in Amsterdam:

  • Walk the canal district
  • See the Anne Frank statue
  • Eat pancakes, french fries, and stroopwaffles
  • Check out the nightlife/coffee shops

If you are going to be in Amsterdam for longer or during the day, check out my post HERE on things to do in Amsterdam.

Spending a 12 hour layover in Amsterdam was fun and better than in an airport!


What city have you spent a longer layover in?



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My “Must-Haves” for Spring

This post may contain affiliate links. All thoughts are my own. 

My Must-Haves for Spring

Spring is my favorite season! The Earth is coming alive again and I think people are just overall happier. I have been getting into skincare/health a lot this year. Even though I am in no way old, I am not getting younger and that means I need to take care of my skin and my body. Today I’m sharing some of my recent finds that are now my “must-haves” for this spring!

Sheet Masks

My Must-Haves for Spring

I love face masks in general, but sheet masks are so convenient! I love to take them on a plane with me to wear so my skin doesn’t get dehydrated. I have been using the Garnier ones, since that is what is available in Finland, but there are so many good ones out there! Let me know your favorite ones so I can try them 🙂


My Must-Haves for Spring

If you don’t wear sunscreen or your makeup doesn’t have an SPF, then you need to get some now! I use this ACO Sun Face Fluid. I am not sure if it is available in the States, but I got this at a local drug store. I really like this kind because it is not oily or heavy on my oily skin.

Glass Water Bottle

My Must-Haves for Spring

I love glass water bottles because they don’t have toxins like plastic ones do and you are helping the environment! You are also helping your body stay healthy by drinking water more often since you have it with you!

Whole Fruit, Vegetable, and Berry Supplements

My Must-Haves for Spring

I have a pretty healthy diet, but even I struggle with getting all the servings of fruits and vegetables per day! These are great to bridge that gap so that you get all the necessary nutrients you need. You can find these HERE.


My Must-Haves for Spring

Omega can befit your body and brain! It is great for cardiovascular health, skin health, cholesterol, and many other things. I love these omegas because they are Non-GMO and plant-based, so there is no fishy taste. They also have omega 3,5,6,7, and 9 all in one pill! So you don’t have to take multiple. You can find them HERE.


What are your favorite spring finds?

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20 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

20 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day is an April 22 this year! This years theme is to End Plastic Pollution. I am personally really excited for this theme and that it will educate a lot of people on the plastic pollution in the world. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start to help the Earth. Celebrating Earth Day can be a great way to start making positive changes that will positively impact the Earth. So celebrate with me with one or more of the 20 ways this year!

Stop Using Disposable Plastic

Of course this is the first one on the list since it the theme of the year. Stop using plastic bags at the grocery store and invest in cloth ones. Refuse straws and invest in reusable bottles.

Join a Community Clean Up

Research a community clean up in your area and join it! Seeing a clean community makes you feel better about where you live too!

Use Cloth Towels Instead of Paper

This is a win-win since you will save money buying paper towels and you will help the Earth!

Plant or Donate a Tree

You can donate one HERE.

Change Your Paper Bills to Online

A simple change that can help the Earth!

Buy Local Food

Find your local Farmer’s market and buy what you can from them!

Buy Organic Food

This keeps harmful pesticides out of the environment.

Or Start Your Own Garden

If you like to garden, this would be a great way to help the Earth and save money on groceries.

Use Non-toxic Cleaning Products

Keeping toxins out of the Earth is so important!

Donate Old Clothes Instead of Throwing Away

The clothing market is one cause of pollution I did not even realize was a problem!

Use 100% Recycled Paper

This way new trees won’t be used!

Make Sure to Recycle

Look up how you can recycle in your community.

Reduce Your Meat Consumption

You can read about some of my favorite vegan recipes HERE.

Compost Kitchen Scraps

Here in Finland they actually have a biodegradable trash service, which is so cool! But since we don’t have that yet in America we can compost in the meantime.

Wash Your Clothes Only When Needed

And use cold water.

Turn Off Lights

Always when they are not needed!

Take the Stairs

Saving energy and getting exercise!

Read Online Instead of Printing

Saving paper!

Join Earth Day Network’s Campaign

You can join HERE.


Reducing traffic and pollution!


I hope you will be celebrating Earth Day in some way with me this year!

How are you celebrating this year?


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4 of My Favorite Vegan Recipes

4 of My Favorite Vegan Recipes

So, I’m not vegan. Since I am living in someone else’s home and they buy my food and I cook dinner, I’m not going to put my diet on them. I do plan on going back to vegan when I return home though. As I said before I do cook dinner for the family and I do cook vegan recipes for them a lot, but sometimes I will have meat or something on the side for the kids to add in. The kids have tried so many new things since I have been cooking for them and I’m excited they have been open to them. Here are some of my favorite vegan recipes that I cook quite often!

Chickpea Curry by HurryTheFoodUp

4 of My Favorite Vegan Recipes

Not only is this recipe delicious, but it is also soooo easy! It only takes about 25 minutes to make. If I make it just for myself, I like to take the leftovers for lunch and also freeze it for quick meals in the future. Here in Finland I will make Shrimp for the kids on the side to put in theirs so they will be enticed to try it 😉 You can find the recipe HERE.

Vegan Pasta Salad by The Awesome Green

4 of My Favorite Vegan Recipes

So we are really into lemon pasta here. The pasta absorbs the lemon so well and you don’t need to add any cream, so it’s pretty healthy. I really like this recipe because you also have zucchini and chickpeas. I will say that I did not like the chickpeas roasted in this pasta, maybe in a salad. But the crunchy didn’t go well in my opinion and I think it would be better if they were just cooked. You can find the recipe HERE. 

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili by Alida’s Kitchen

4 of My Favorite Vegan Recipes

I love love love chili! It’s the perfect fall and winter meal. I do like to eat it anytime though really. This recipe includes sweet potatoes, which is another favorite of mine. You can find the recipe HERE.

Energy Bites

4 of My Favorite Vegan Recipes

I couldn’t leave a vegan desert off of my list! These energy bites are the best. I eat them for a quick pick-me-up or when I have a chocolate craving. They give you that sugar taste without the sugar! You can make them any way that you want, you just need something to make them “stick” together like almond butter. The energy bites pictured are called almond joy bites. You just need 1/2 cup of almond butter, 1 cup of dates, 1-2 scoops of chocolate protein (you can get my favorite kind HERE), and 1/2 cup shredded coconut. Add all of the ingredients into a food processor, roll into bite sized balls and then roll into coconut, and enjoy!


What are your favorite vegan recipes?


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Three Ways to Reduce Stress

3 Ways to Reduce Stress

April is Stress Awareness Month! As someone that can get caught up in stress, I am sure there are others out there that feel the same way! Stress comes and goes in our life. For some it is easy to handle, but for others not so much. I know for me, I know there is really not much to stress out about because everything always works out but sometimes your mind can’t let it go. Stress can cause problems though. It can make you not sleep, eat, or weaken your immune system. It is important to try and reduce stress as much as possible so that you are healthy and happy! Here are three ways I reduce stress!


This can be in any way that you like! I hate running so I’m not going to go running to reduce stress. I like doing yoga, lifting weights, and going for walks. Doing these things really help me reduce stress and stay focused!

Get Fresh Air

Sunshine and fresh air make a big difference! Go outside to read a book or go for a walk! Let yourself enjoy nature. Going outside for a walk is one of my favorite things to do when I’m stressed, especially in a forest.

Talk to a Friend

Sometimes just talking to someone can help you reduce stress. Meet a friend for coffee or dinner and let yourself relax and laugh! I find that most of the time my friends are also stressing about similar things, or have in the past. They can help give advice or just understand how you feel.


How do you reduce stress?



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3 Things to Ask Yourself Before Becoming an Au Pair

3 Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Becoming an Au Pair

Deciding to become an au pair is a pretty big decision. One that I should have probably thought over a little more than I did. Luckily it ended up well and nothing horrible happened, but there are some things I should have asked myself before I signed my contract.

Am I okay with doing more than what my contract says?

For example staying home with the kids when they are sick. I don’t get paid anything extra and I lose my free-time during the day. Or doing the dishes everyday. I am only supposed to clean once a week lightly and then once a month a heavy cleaning. Even though this isn’t a big deal, spending 15 minutes of your morning almost everyday cleaning up after people can get old (and they start to expect it). If you aren’t okay with doing more than what is in your contract, then you need to be true to yourself and know how to say no. I am still working on that one.


Am I patient and flexible?

Not only will kids test your patience being belief, but sometimes situations will arise where you need to be flexible. Like if the taxi doesn’t come at 5am for the dad and the mom needs to drive him. That means you have to wake up and be in the house with the kids (if you don’t live in the same house). Or maybe a toddler is throwing a tantrum and has cried for the past 20 minutes. You can luckily learn these two things over time, but I would ask yourself if you are willing to.


Am I okay with doing these differently than I do?

Not every culture does things the same ways you do. What they eat for breakfast, how they spend their free time, and how they raise their children. Are you open to do things differently or not?


I think these are really tough questions to answer and ones that should be thought over before making a decision. For some of you these might be easy and you know or have known you wanted to be an au pair for a while. That’s great and I hope you have the best time! If you want to know how I became an au pair in Finland you can read my post HERE.


Do you have any more questions about becoming an au pair? Feel free to ask me!



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Four of My Favorite Children’s Books

Four of My Favorite Children's Books

April 2nd was Children’s Book Day and as an Elementary teacher, I love children’s books! Even as an adult, some of these books inspire me. Today I am sharing a few of my favorite children’s books that I like to read in a classroom or to any child I know!


Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

Four of My Favorite Children's Books

Red is a crayon, but is not good at drawing red things. All of his “red pictures” like strawberries keep coming out wrong. That is until he realizes that he is not actually red at all, but blue! This book is so inspiring to be your true inner-self!


The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Four of My Favorite Children's Books

This book is hilarious! It’s a story about a boy, Duncan, who went to get his crayons but finds letters about why they have quit instead. Orange and yellow believe they are the true color of the sun and are no longer speaking, black wants to do more than just outline, and blue is done coloring bodies of water.


Maya Angelou (Little People, Big Dreams) by Lisbeth Kaiser

Four of My Favorite Children's Books

Maya Angelou is one of my favorite authors, so I love being able to add that into a classroom. This books shows a glimpse of Angelou’s life and how she never gave up on her dream!

The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch

Four of My Favorite Children's Books

In most fairy tales you will find that the Princess is the one who needs to be saved, but this is not the case in this book! When Princess Elizabeth finds that her Prince, Ronald, has been kidnapped and her clothes have been burned by a dragon; she sets off to save him!

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Food You Have to Try in Barcelona

Food You Have to Try in Barcelona

Spain is one of my food heavens! My number one is still France, but Spain is right behind it. Sitting at an outdoor table with friends, beer, and tapas is my ideal day. While on my weekend trip in Barcelona we even tried to do a tapas crawl (we didn’t make it very far). But I did get to try some yummy food. If you are planning a trip soon, I’m sharing food you have to try in Barcelona!

Patatas Bravas (Spicy Potatoes)

Four Things You Should Do in Barcelona

This was a group favorite. The sauce is almost like a chipotle mayo. Overall super delicious and a must try.


Food You Have to Try in Barcelona

Picture found here

I don’t think it’s a trip to Spain without trying some paella! Since you are right on the Mediterranean Sea you can get some with fresh seafood! If you are not a seafood fan you can also have meat or vegetarian version.


Food You Have to Try in Barcelona

picture found here

These are mini potato croquettes with two different sauces.  You can usually order them by whatever amount you would like!

Pa amb Tomàquet

Food You Have to Try in Barcelona

Picture found here

The only reason I actually tried this is because it was brought to our table on accident. No one ordered it, but we ate it anyways! We were all glad it came to our table.


Spain is a great place to relax either alone or with family/friends! The relaxed feel, architecture, food will make you fall in love instantly. If you have never been abroad or looking for a place for you next trip I would definitely recommend Spain as your destination. I have only been to Barcelona, but I have only heard good things from others who have traveled to different cities.


This is just a short list of the good food available in Barcelona. I could go on for days!

What is your favorite food to eat in Barcelona?


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Four Things You Should Do in Barcelona

Four Things You Should Do in Barcelona

Barcelona was the first city I ever visited in Europe! I will say since it was the first one, I didn’t really know how to travel yet. So I didn’t get to see the city as much as I should have. Once you go to Barcelona, you will fall in love! This city is laid back and also so much fun. If you are heading here soon here are some things you should do during your trip!

Park Güell

Four Things You Should Do in Barcelona

A must do in Barcelona! You can see the iconic house that looks like it is from candy land and a great view of the city! Make sure to book your tickets before you go. This will ensure you can get in! You can get your tickets HERE.


Sagrada Familia

Four Things You Should Do in Barcelona

This church is breathtaking! We stepped out from the metro and it was right there. This is another one where you need to book your tickets in advance to go in. We didn’t and were not able to go inside. I think this is a sign I will need to come back one day 😉 You can order your tickets HERE.


Hang out by the beach

Four Things You Should Do in Barcelona

Since it was March it wasn’t the warmest weather, but it was still nice to sit on the outdoor couches of restaurants and enjoy the view. The first time I was in Barcelona it was July so we grabbed a bottle of sangria and hung out at the beach all day.


Eat all the tapas

Four Things You Should Do in Barcelona

Spain is known for tapas so this is a must do anywhere you go in Spain. I’m pretty sure my next post is going to be dedicated to tapas 😉 You can also enjoy their cheap beer and wine while you eat!

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3 Reasons Why You Should Start Listening to Podcasts

3 Reasons You Should Start Listening to Podcasts

Until this past year I have been completely unaware of the podcast world! There are so many out there about anything you can think of, we have a whole app designated for it an iPhones. After I found out about these and the app on my phone, my life has changed. Because of this, I want to share with you 3 reasons why you should start listening to podcasts!

Listening to Podcasts Makes Information Personal

When you are listening to the podcast, you almost feel like you are apart of the conversation. This makes it meaningful to you and you want to listen.

You Learn Something New

There are so many things in the world that we don’t know! This also means that we are missing out on a lot. There is some pretty interesting stuff to learn and some interesting podcasts out there that talk about those things.

You Become a Better Listener

Sometimes when you have a conversation with someone you might not even realize you have taken over the conversation. When you are listening to a podcast it is kinda hard to give a response to someone who can’t hear you. This forces you to only listen to what they think and feel and not respond at all.

If you are new to the podcast world, here are a few of my favorites!

  • Manifestation Babe
  • Self Service
  • Atlanta Monster- if you are into crime shows this is a good one for you
  • Empty Frames- a mystery podcast where the speakers look at great unsolved museum mysteries
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class
  • 60-Second Science
  • The Gratitude Podcast


Don’t see anything that might interest you on this list? Google something you are interested along with the work “podcast” and you are sure to find something you will enjoy!


What podcasts do you like to listen to?


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