December 30, 2010

Hiking the waterfall - winter

We posted pictures of the Bad Urach waterfall this past June - during the summer. Here's a few photos from our trek in the snow today. It was absolutely beautiful and quiet amid the snow!


Merry Christmas! Praying everyone had a wonderful Christmas celebrating the "reason for the season," Jesus.

Here's a few snapshots of the kids on Christmas morning!

A drawing kit from Auntie Jen and Uncle Angelo - provides hours of entertainment!
A new Nerf gun to add to Jack's arsenal! Who am I kidding, it's dart tag- this provides hours of chaos and excitement for Daddy too! Thanks, Jen!

Here's Jack and the gang!

Razor scooters from Uncle Matty and Aunt Tanya! Thanks you two for the wonderful new indoor sport of scooter racing! With the snow piling up outside, this has become a regular evening event around here! I'll be sure to send the repair bills to you!

New hat and mittens from Mamaw & Papaw - just what Madeline wanted! She's too cute!

Here she is examining her new craft supplies and heat embossing kit!

A color and wash t-shirt from Grandma - they love it!

Thank you to all for the gifts! Your thoughtfulness was appreciated. We love you!

Mom's Cheesecake!

What would a Christmas Eve be without Mom's famous cheesecake? This year, being 5,000 miles away, I decided I would try making Mom's cheesecake for the first time! WOW! It was a hit - not a piece, not a morsel left. The only problem, is now everyone asks for it every time a dessert is needed!

Sorry, this recipe isn't for posting!

Thanks, Mom, for the recipe! Sure tasted great - but missed sharing a piece with you! Love you.


During one of our latest snow falls, friends joined us for an afternoon of sledding. We headed to our favorite hill and had a few hours of fun!

December 20, 2010

Christmas Cookies

A Christmas tradition around our house is making Christmas cookies. This year it seems as if Christmas came much quicker than last. Of course with international shipping deadlines of December 6th, we had to be much more organized with shopping and shipping gifts stateside! Since the first part of the month was spent preparing for the big "ship", our baking was put on the back burner.

This past week we were dumped on with even more snow! There were 2 days we weren't able to venture out - so baking seemed to be the best thing to occupy our time in the afternoons. Madeline's choice was to make thumb prints with strawberry jam. This has become her favorite recipe, thanks to my friend Karen! Jack of course, wanted to make our Christmas cutouts - 7 Cups of flour! Can you imagine the mess? Here's just a glimpse of the fun!

Indoor Soccer

Madeline had her first indoor soccer tournament for this winter. The day began at 7:30, meeting the team and carpooling for the first game at 10:00 - last game, 4:30. What a long day but great for our German immersion! Her team placed 5th out of 12.

Madeline is #8

A photo with a few team mates taken at their team Christmas party.

December 08, 2010

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Okay, here's another recipe worthy of posting. I'm going ahead and listing the recipe as I know many of you will ask! And yes, sweet potatoes. I don't like them as a vegetable, but this bread is delicious.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake
(From: Country Living)
Makes 2 9-inch loaves. Total cooking time: 1 hour

3 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1.5 C sugar
1/2 brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 C mashed sweet potatoes *
4 eggs, room temp
3/4 C chopped pecans

*you can peel, chop and steam 1-2 sweet potatoes then mash or drain and mash a 40-oz can of sweet potatoes

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and flour two 9-inch loaf pans. In a medium bowl, sift next six ingredients.
2. In large bowl, using electric mixer on medium, cream butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Blend in sweet potatoes, then eggs, one at a time. With mixer on low, add flour mixture a little at a time.
3. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans. Sprinkle pecans over top of batter. Bake until ckaes test clean - about 60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack. Dash with powdered sugar if desired.

The First Snow

Winter has arrived! We had our first dumping of snow Thanksgiving week. Heavy, wet snow and cold temps with the high of 17, made our area a winter wonderland. The kids enjoyed bundling up and playing in the snow. For 2 weeks the temps had a hard time reaching above 20 degrees F.

The total snow fall this time around, 1.5 feet. Nothing like the 3 ft last year in Virginia! However, I think I've already shoveled more snow this past week than all winter last year!

Monday morning we awoke to no heat or hot water. Cancel school? Not a chance, just bundle up and work through it. The kids don't like that aspect of homeschooling. No snow days!

Just like last year, our heitzung (furnace), decided to blow a gas valve. The temperature inside the house was nearly 40 degrees. We were so thankful to have a efficient wood burning stove and responsive landlord. I have now earned my "fire" badge, as I have proven myself in making a lasting fire. The wood burning stove heated our entire main floor all day and burned through 8-10 logs!

We are now experiencing the great thaw! Today's high 40 degrees and rain. Our front hedges were so heavy with wet snow that they were bending over the sidewalk impeding the pedestrians way. After creating "avalanches" to lighten the load, the hedges seem to have survived. The forecast....more snow tonight and through the weekend!

November 16, 2010


My neighbor, Annett, made this delicious pumpkin bread (kurbisbrot) for us several months ago. We have these wonderful Hokkaido pumpkins the Germans use for everything. I took a stab at translating the recipe and converting to metric measures. The final product tasted as good as is looks! Great, warm with fresh pumpkin squash soup!

November 13, 2010

Happy 8th Birthday, Jack!

While skiing in Austria, Jack celebrated his 8th birthday; another one to remember!

November 12, 2010

Skiing Solden, Austria

We just returned from 3 days of skiing in the heart of the Austrian Alps! It's so awesome that we can be transported to this amazing snow covered wonderland in just four hours! We rented a fully furnished apartment in town at the base of the glacier, that way we could do most of the cooking ourselves -and nothing is better than coming off the slopes and being greeted by a nice hot shower and warm fuzzy PJs!

A view from our apartment!

The top of the glacier

This time of year is still considered "Pre-season"; therefore, there was no snow in the valley and the only area you can ski is the glacier. We checked the weather report in advance and there was a possible chance of snow flurries one day on the glacier, but in the valley very moderate temperatures. When we woke up on Monday to our surprise we had a dumping of 8" of snow! Great for the ski conditions but what about driving up that glacier pass? We were told that we needed snow chains by some but noticed many other traveling without them. What did we do? Of course, we had to try it ourselves! Climbing the 15% grade in our 4-cylinder, 5-speed, diesel, we finally made it to the top only skating on our wheels a few times as we had a great view over the edge due to there being no guardrails!

Notice the small tunnel - this is where you drive out of the mountain! Crazy!

A wonderful view of the mountains behind the kiddos as
they take the first gondola of the day!

Here, Madeline and Jack take a rest in their "snow loungers"
while Daddy took in a few wild runs out of their league!

The first day proved to be a bit of a challange with the "white-out" conditions. Never fail, the kids did great! Even though at times you could only see a few feet in front of you and the snow pelting your face kept you from seeing well the day was a success.

The 1/2 mile ski tunnel that takes you from one side of the glacier to
the other - what a neat experience!

A view from the bottom.

A view from the top!

Time for another break to stretch their legs!

Days 2 and 3 promised better weather. The trip of the glacier road was much easier and the views amazing! Here you can see some of the fun we had during these days!

2 thumbs up from Jack - loving the powder!

Gotta love this view! Notice the peaks above the clouds!

Unmarked territory - this is where you'd find my brother and his wife!

Madeline and Jack have become quite the dare devils when it comes to skiing - this they get from their father! Following like ducks in a row, Brad finds the jumps first and the kids are close to follow. I was finally convinced to follow suit - yep, I was the only one who crashed and burned. Perhaps I should stick with my daytime job - taking photos - or as the kids call me "Mammarazzi"!

With all the new snow the snow cats were out in full effect!

This is one of my favorite snapshots! Taking a break for lunch.
Gotta love that smile!