Passport to Fun - Spain

Travel the world from the comfort of your living room with this Passport to Fun series!  Whether you use these ideas as a date night, family fun night, or homeschool study, you'll be sure to have fun and bring a bit of Spain's culture right into your own home!

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You'll remember that I came up with a pretty awesome idea for G's Christmas gift last year.

If you're new here and don't know what I'm talking about, then feel free to wander on over to this post to read all about it.

I'll wait.

Even though we spent all of 2016 traveling to new countries each month, we had so much fun I decided to extend this series indefinitely - so many cool places to learn about and we've even got a list of places we want to return to in the future!

This month, we headed to Spain. Mainly because I was craving some croquettes (although, funnily enough, I ended up deciding not to make them!)

I've been all over the country, but G has just visited Barcelona. While Barcelona is definitely cool, I want G to see some of the awesomeness of the rest of the country with me someday.

Until then, we'll have this little trip:

February - Spain

Set the Stage

I added this stamp to G's passport, then left it out where he'd find it the next morning before he went to work so he'd see where we were going:

What to Decorate With

The flag thing is our go-to wall art for each trip.  It's something fairly simple for Gv and I to do together, uses supplies we already have, and still lends an air of the locale.

Gv went with a minimalist look for the flag's crest!

I also yanked a few of my framed travel photos and G's Miró off the wall to set up in our entry and add a little bit more flavor to the day.

The small coaster and large frame are both of the Catedral de Sevilla

What to Dress Like

Hey, looky looky - another use for my red satin sheet!

Notice the way my arm is flailing about up there? Goofball me just couldn't keep still - I had to "flamenco dance" the entire time we took this photo!

I'm sure you can't tell, but I was going for a flamenco dress here. G's toreador costume was amazing, as always. Gv is in a traditional Las Fallas get-up, complete with mantilla (any excuse to dress up in a princess dress is fun, right?)

What to Listen to

I created a playlist for this month based off of whatever related songs I already had on my ipod:

I love the Gipsy Kings, so pretty much every song was one of theirs, interspersed with a little Bolero and some Carmen tunes, as well.

What to Eat

Like I said earlier, I totally planned this trip just because I'd been craving some croquettes, but then Grammy and Papa came over and we all went out to dinner to celebrate Papa's birthday...which included a big ol' bloomin' onion and there was no way my system could handle anything remotely fried for several days...

So I stuck with the tapas meal idea I'd originally come up with (after briefly considering a vegetarian version of paella) and scrapped the croquettes and empanadas for another time when my stomach wasn't already trying to cut through a river of grease.

We gorged ourselves on gazpacho, Spanish olives, jamón (just Serrano - maybe someday our budget will allow for some Ibérico), chorizo, manchego cheese, Pa amb tomàquet and plenty of sangria.

How much of this platter screams, "Heart attack on a plate!"

I toyed with the idea of making one of our favorite desserts, Crema Catalana, but realized churros con chocolate were a much more appropriate choice for February! 

They were a much better success than this time I tried making them in the past, but I realized that I really need to invest in a good pastry bag if I want treats like this to look a little more appetizing than a limp shrimp! 

G, if you're reading this, I've pretty much just handed you the perfect thing to give me for my birthday this year!


What You Need

1/2 a loaf of bread (I used this)
1 21-ounce can of tomatoes (I've used diced, crushed & whole, depending on what I have on hand)
2 handfuls of garlic (but if you're not as garlic-crazed as we are, just use 2-3 cloves!)
2 chunked onions
2 red peppers
7 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar this time)
2 teaspoons cumin (not required, but we like the taste)
2 teaspoons salt (G added more to his portion)

What You Do

1.  Slice or chunk the bread, then soak it in some water while you dump everything else into some sort of blending appliance. (For this job, I prefer the Ninja, because the soup runs out of a food processor's hole and a blender just doesn't seem to get the job done).

2. Blend everything up, then add the soaked bread (just the bread, not the water) and blend it up some more. If you want to get fancy (we didn't), then you can strain out the big pieces before you eat it, but basically at this point you just need to start guzzling.

3. This soup is best when served chilled, but we were starving and can attest to the fact that it tastes just as delicious lukewarm, as well.

Pa amb tomàquet

We ate half a loaf of bread's worth of this stuff (it's what's piled up on the left)

What You Need

A loaf of bread (I used the other half of the one I made for the soup)
Garlic cloves
Olive Oil

What You Do

1.  I'm sure you could find some exact recipe out there for this dish, but it's really not necessary. First, toast some bread slices.

2. Rub each toasted slice with a split clove of garlic. Of course, you know how we are with garlic, so I just pressed a couple handfuls of cloves in one of these and then spread it all over the bread.

3. Now, take your tomato (it can be fresh, canned, whatever) and smoosh it all over the garlic-rubbed toast. We liked ours clumpy, which was just fine for my lazy self.

4. Drizzle everything with some oil, sprinkle it all with some salt, and then add a dash of parsley if you're feeling fancy (Would you look at that? I was, for once!) 

Churros con Chocolate

I don't know what possessed me to drape this churro over the glass like a limp shrimp cocktail...let's just say that by this point, I'd consumed much sangria...

What You Need


1 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder (remember to make your own!)
1 cup boiling water (boil it in seconds with this)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
oil for frying (I used coconut oil, which definitely affected the flavor of the churros) 


2 ounces of chopped dark chocolate
1 cup milk (any kind)
1/2 Tablespoon arrowroot
2 teaspoons honey

What You Do

1.  For the churros, heat a couple of inches of oil in a deep pan in preparation for frying.

2. Mix the flour and baking powder together, add in the oil and salt, then the boiling water. Dump it all into a pastry bag (I just used a zippered bag and cut the tip, but trust me, it will pop open at some point and you will be covered in exploding goo, so invest in the bag!), then squeeze the dough out into the boiling oil. You'll want to cook this in batches, but the size of the batch will depend on the size of your pot.

3. Remove your churros with a slotted spoon or fork and let drain on paper towels.

4. For the sauce, heat the chocolate with about half of the milk and stir until the chocolate has melted.

5. Mix together the rest of the milk, arrowroot and honey, then add to the melted chocolate and continue to cook and stir on low until it has thickened a bit. This took at least 5 minutes and it was still pretty runny (it's a drink, not a sauce), but you'll notice that it's thicker than typical hot chocolate.

6. Pour the hot chocolate into cups and dip the churros in it before drinking up whatever chocolate's left at the end.

What to Do

We did a whole bunch of activities for this month's trip.

First, we only spoke in Spanish, although as the night wore on (and we drank more sangria), it took a decided Spanglish turn.

Next, we watched a few videos to get our bodies ready to move:

I had to make G sit through Torvill & Dean's Bolero routine:

Then, I considered showing him Carmen on Ice, but opted to merely expose him to The Battle of the Carmens of '88, instead.

Then, even though we'd just seen the show live less than a month before, I made the poor guy sit through this routine from Riverdance again (because Gv needed to see it, of course!):

He's such a trooper.

I wasn't through with the dance torture, though. 

No, now it was time for us to try some moves out ourselves. I looked up a few "how to" videos to help us get our feet wet with some Spanish dance steps of our own. 

We tried some Flamenco, then did a little Paso Doble (one of my favorite ice dances to do!)

The Paso got us in a silly mood, so I played this clip before we acted out our own little goofy bullfight with a blanket.

We felt we still needed a bit more cowbell, so we watched this craziness and then ran around the backyard, pretending we were being chased by bulls.

We all took turns playing the guitar:

No inhibitions with this one - she's just belting out the tunes!

Finally, we flipped through some of my scrapbooks to introduce Gv to Gaudí and then took a little online tour of the works of Picasso, Dalí and Miró.

What to Read

The Story of Ferdinand was my obvious choice for Gv.  (Disney even turned it into one of his Silly Symphonies - it's a fantastic collection to own, but you can see the Ferdinand piece here.)

Other fun books you might want to explore with your child are Amazing Pictures and Facts About SpainAnno's Spain, Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail and Lumpito and the Painter from Spain.

For the grownups, you can't go wrong with classics like Don Quixote, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises, or Tales of the Alhambra.

What to Watch

We just stuck with the Silly Symphony Ferdinand cartoon that I mentioned above for Gv, but Puss in Boots might be another option your kids might enjoy (not exactly a story from Spain, but I think it fits just fine).

Grown-ups can watch The Business, Man of La Mancha, Barcelona, El Cid, L'Auberge Espagnole (so fun!), Ocho Apellidos Vascos, Open Your Eyes, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, or Don Juan de Marco (just because it's named after the Spanish legend).

We considered watching L'Auberge Espagnole again since we like it so much, but decided to watch Don Juan de Marco instead, because even though the theme song gets me grooving, I've never actually gotten around to seeing the movie.

And that wrapped up our "trip." It was another huge success and we can't wait to jet off to someplace new next month!

Travel all over the world, without leaving your living room!  Come back each month to see where we head next.  Can you think of any other ideas to add for a trip to Spain?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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Want more?  Check out some of our other trips:

Italy - India - France - Africa - Ireland - Switzerland - Canada - Greece - England - Germany - Thailand Russia - China - Jamaica Egypt - Mexico - Japan - Brazil Cuba Scotland - Australia - Scandinavia

Love this idea, but want the easy, made-for-you-and-all-you-do-is-print-it version?  Click here to get your own pack and see what inspired me to create this series!

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  1. Welcome to Spain!! You did a great summary of typical things around here, I would only add to make tortilla de patatas for dinner, it is soooo delicious! I shared a recipe on how to make churros on my blog and a special churro maker because the dough it so tight a plastic bag is not the best for that. Love the way you dressed up, any reason is great to have some fun!

  2. Oh my that was quite a full post Lisa. So much to see and do. You know I went to spain for my honeymoon a lifetime ago. It was incredible.

  3. Your adventures are always so much fun! So many wonderful ideas here... and Spain is one country we have not yet "visited!" Thanks for linking up with us at Love to Learn. Pinned.