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Roman Ruins at Caesarea - Exploring Israel with Kids 7

Caesarea — Exploring Israel with Kids

One of the most amazing things about living in Jerusalem is living within spitting distance of thousands of years of history. Caesarea (pronounced Keh-sar-ee-ya) is an old Roman town on the Mediterranean coast of Israel. It’s about an hour North of Tel Aviv, and about 90 minutes from Jerusalem. On the first official day of my “staycation,” we loaded the kids into the car and headed to Caesarea bright and early,...

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What I’ve Been Reading – 7/24/2015

The Year I Embraced Minimalism and Completed a Yearlong Shopping Ban I also added takeout coffee to the list of things I was not allowed to purchase. I’ve been drinking coffee for 15 years and, by the time I started the ban, I was buying $5 lattes at least 4-5 days/week ($80-100/month). That’s not a lot of money, in the grand scheme of things, but it was still money I...

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Chillin’ like villians at the playground

West Jerusalem has some really great playgrounds. The Israelis have a strong culture of outdoors and activity, and we are taking advantage of it while we’re here. Last weekend was jam packed, but somehow, my husband carved out a couple of hours to head down to a local playground and let the kids run around like maniacs. Our goal was to wear the kids out so that they’d both take...

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Grace’s Baptism

The day after Bertrand returned from Cotonou with the girls, the monks from the monastery where Bertrand attends services called to remind us that we were baptizing Grace on Pentecost. We hadn’t yet found godparents, we hadn’t made any plans for a reception. Hell, we didn’t even have a dress for Grace to wear. The brothers, however, were firm. Grace would be baptized on Pentecost, and the monastery would host...

Solo Travel to Akko, Israel

Old City Akko is a tiny fishing village slash crusader fort, about half an hour outside of Haifa. Over the past thousand years, there has understandably been a great deal of development outside of the ancient walls, but the tourist attractions are all in the Old City itself. I rose bright and early to walk the rampart walls before the city woke up. Like many cities in Israel, Old Akko...

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More Solo Travel in Haifa, Israel

Haifa’s a neat town. Traveling alone, I wasn’t looking for bars or a music scene—just beautiful scenery, the sea, and museums. Given that, it’s possible to see everything in a day, provided you’re traveling alone and don’t have to worry about potty breaks and naps and mealtimes like you do when traveling with children. I left Jerusalem before dawn in order to get to Haifa just as the Baha’i gardens...

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Visiting the Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa, Israel

Traveling alone is a surprisingly communal experience. After years of relying on Bertrand’s charm and ability to make instant friends, I found is startlingly easy to find good company and conversation while exploring Northern Israel on my own. When Bertrand abruptly left for Benin with the girls after his father passed away, I found myself with ample time on my hands. I would follow my family to Benin two weeks...

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Easter in Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

On Easter morning, we got up before dawn, dressed the girls, and drove downtown for Easter Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. What could be more spiritual than Easter in Jerusalem, supposedly on the spot where Jesus was crucified two thousand years ago? Well, a lot, actually. But it was a good adventure, and we’d definite recommend it to anyone without young children. Once we got downtown (the...

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Happy Easter from Jerusalem

  The photo above is of Jasmine skipping down the narrow passage ways of the Old City on our way to mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as the sun rose above Jerusalem this morning. Easter is my favorite religious holiday.  I find it beautiful that Christians all over the world are today celebrating second chances.  Jerusalem is often heartbreaking, and Easter reminds me that there is hope.  And...

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Our first trip to the West Bank — Biblical Bethlehem

Over the weekend, I woke up early and dragged our family out to Bethlehem. Like Ein Karem last week, it’s a quick inexpensive excursion that didn’t require a lot of advance planning.  It was more of an adventure than expected—both Google and Apple Maps failed us completely. No route available to get from our house to Bethlehem? Really? Maybe if we were Israeli passport holders, but as Americans? Please. So we...