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!