November 13, 2011

Sölden - days 3 and 4

So we finished up our ski vacation with yet 2 more beautiful days. The weather was warm, sunny, and no wind! This trip was just like a spring ski trip - just the way Madeline and I like it!!

Here's a few more pictures from the last 2 days.

Like father, like children: no fear

Don't worry, they all landed without falling!

Loved this guys hat so much, I asked if I could take a picture. Angry Bird.

The overall thought of the trip - two thumbs up from these two.....

Complete exhaustion from this one!

November 10, 2011

Happy 9th Birthday Jack!

Here's a quick posting of Jack's 9th birthday here in Sölden, Austria.

This looks like it could be our last birthday celebration on the slopes. Who knows where we'll be for Jack's 10th birthday next year. But for now, we're loving the beautiful weather here in Sölden!

Here's what Jack thinks about this being the last year for birthday celebrations on the ski slopes:

First birthday wishes of the day!

A hug"e" thanks for birthday breakfast

Two thumbs up for pancakes and bacon (little Alan)

Me and my "not so little" birthday boy!

The Gang at the top:

Birthday Tacos (every year)

The candle looks better on the birthday brownie!

See those bunny ears waiting for the picture?

Dinner for two....I mean four

Home Ec 101:

The kids have been asking for over a year to be able to plan a meal for Brad and I. So this week we finally made the time for the whole project.

Brad had been traveling the whole week for work and so Friday, his return, seemed like the perfect time for a romantic dinner for two! The kids picked out the recipes, made their first Power Point invitation, emailed it to Daddy, made the shopping list, went to the grocery, cooked the meal, decorated the table and BONUS...clean-up!

Takes after his Dad in the kitchen!

The invitation read something like this: You're invited to a candlelight dinner for two at Buona Punta (the Good Point in Italian - this was all their idea).

The Menu:
Stuffed Shells (w/ Italian sausage, ricotta, mozzarella, parmasan and fresh basil)
From scratch Red sauce
Garlic bread with homemade garlic spread
Tossed salad and
Frozen chocolate dipped, peanut coated bananas

Making homemade sauce requires getting your hands messy!

Tossing of the salad

Prepping the pasta

Making the chocolate dipping sauce

Banana Assembly

The Final Product

They did such a wonderful job, and the food was amazing! We couldn't let the "hired help" eat in the kitchen, so we insisted that they eat with us!

Job Well Done!

October 18, 2011

The Latest Project

Preparations for our church Thanksgiving is well underway. Here's a photo of my latest project. One of this year's gifts for the missionary ladies is a rice and lavender filled bag. These can be warmed in the microwave or oven and used during the cold months or for those aching muscles!

If you want to make on your own it's very simple.

Supplies Needed: 2x 10" sq. pieces of fabric, 2x 10"sq. pieces of muslin, 2 pcs. of ribbon, rice and lavender. *I harvested the lavender bush in my yard this late summer and laid it all to dry in my dark/cool basement. The just remove the lavender from the stalk and you're ready!

1. Cut your fabric and muslin into 4 10"sq. pieces. Iron all 4 pieces.
2. Sew the muslin squares together leaving an opening (large enough to insert funnel) to fill with rice and lavender.
3. Sew the 2 pieces of fabric together (wrong side facing out), leaving a large enough opening (approx. 7") to insert the rice bag later.
4. Snip the sharp corners off all corners, then turn both squares right-side out and push out corners.
5. Fill the muslin bags with the rice and lavender and sew the opening closed. Be sure to check that the bag is completely closed and no rice falls out.
6. Take the fabric square and iron in the the opening fold.
7. Center the ribbon on one side and sew at opening. Repeat with other side and ribbon.
8. Insert rice filled muslin bag into fabric/ribbon bag and tie.
9. Viola! You're finished.
10. Heat at 45 sec intervals in microwave or at 200 degrees F in oven. Be sure to always keep an eye out as they can catch fire if left unattended for long lengths of time! They will burn also, if heated too long. Please help your little ones!

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Columbus Day we took a short road trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, an old walled city. Last time we had been there was back in 1999. Notice the rain jackets and drab weather. Winter is coming, you can just feel it in your bones. What you don't see in these pictures is the wind howling down the side streets. We definitley weren't dressed warm enough for the day!

Brad thought it would be a highlight if we went to the famous Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas store. This bus parked outside was about as interesting as it got. We like to kid him anyway that we drove 2 hours for this!

A view from another entrance into the city.

Jack has added this car to his 16th birthday wish-list! I'm sure we'd get really good insurance rates on this one! Not sure about the gas efficiency though!

Either this was a very short door, or the kids have really been growing!

Another side street view.

I think they could use some Round-Up to help with this ivy problem.

Any guesses how old this barn is? Scary thing, the sign is advertising parking inside and rooms available! Maybe it's the cheepest place in town?

The first thing we saw coming into town was the local bakery! This should be on no surprise to anyone! The locals favorite is the Schneeballen. We decided we would wait until the last stop of the day to buy some - then we'd have a nice snack on the way home.

Look at how yummy they look! Well, we were highly disappointed. They were nothing more than a deep fried, elephant ear-type concoction, covered with powdered sugar, cinnanon/sugar, chocolate or maple. So just enjoy how good they look, and save the calories!

We took the back roads on the way home and came to this bridge that supports the autobahn above. Pretty impressive! I was able to capture this photo while sticking the camera outside the window!

The Kochertalbrücke (Kocher Viaduct) near Schwaebisch Hall, Germany, the Autobahn 6 crosses the Kocher valley between Heilbronn and Nuremberg. With its maximum height of 185m above the valley bottom, it is the highest viaduct in Germany, and was also the bridge with the tallest pillars in the world before the Millau Viaduct in France was completed in 2004.

The nine spans of this prestressed concrete girder bridge cover a length of 1128m, the individual span lengths being 81m for the outer two and 138m for the remaining seven. Pillar height varies from 40m to 178m. The bridge table is 31m wide. Construction was from 1976 to 1979.

Okay, these photos below, I was able to find online.

First Indoor Tournament for the Season

Here's look at Madeline's new team this year. They took 2nd place out of 12 at last week's indoor tournament!

Ever wonder what makes 'em so smart?

Here's a glimpse of the "Breakfast of Champions!"
Okay, maybe not...but it sure does make them happy!

What kid wouldn't want to wake up with homemade biscuits and gravy and pumpkin pancakes? Yes, these two are being a bit spoiled when it comes to breakfast the homeschooling way. I keep telling them it will be a rude awakening next year when they go back to school and have to wake up at 6:30 and scarf down a bowl of cereal on their way out the door!

But for now, we're embracing the many benefits of the homeschooling atmosphere!

October 17, 2011

Historical sights in the Schwäbische Alb

After the day at the Backhaus (see previous post), we headed into the Alb to see a few sights. First, was a stop at Hohenwittlingen, castle remains of where Baptists were killed during the Reformation Age.

Here's basically what this says. That from 1560 to 1617 many men to include Paul Glock and Mathais Binder were held prisoner here because they believed in the teaching of Jesus Christ and not of the Roman church. These men were left here to die a very slow and painful death.

The climb to the top with a historical lecture along the way. Nothing like learning Biblical history right there on the sight!

A view from the top

Afterwards, we stopped at Grafeneck, the place where the Holocaust began.
Take a minute to read about it...very facinating!

October 10, 2011


What an opportunity! Our family had been invited to go to an original Backhaus and see the traditional way Schwabisch Holzofen Brot was made.

The original Backhaus: with the owners far right, their children and husbands back row. Our missionary friends, Bill and Gay Richards, center and us.

Look at the beautiful view from the front door of the backhaus. No, this isn't a postcard, but an actual picture. It was an absolute splendid time!

So what makes this bread so special? Its the holzofen (wood burning oven). Here was Jack's assignment...load the wood and keep it burning!

Here's where it all begins. A roaring fire for 1.5 hours to warm the brick ovens.

Then making the dough. I think there was a total of over 120 lbs of flour used to make all this bread! Look at the size of that mixer.

Now, that's some sticky dough. We filled 6 of these steel bowls with dough for the second rise.

In they go, in a special copper pot fitted with a broom handle. I'm sure it's been around for centuries! We found out that it doubles as a great soccer ball retriever for the beautiful stream from the first picture! Yes, Jack and Madeline made sure they found some time during the baking process to kick the ball around. Guess who launched it into the stream? Jack! And guess who had to go fishing? Yep, Brad. Little did we know at the time the "tool" we used for retrieval was actually used for this bread making process! Shhhh, it's our secret!

Brush washing with water to make the crust shiny.

Here's a sampling of the 40+ loaves of bread that were made that day.
Too bad you can't smell these pictures!

And yet more and more bread lined the walls of this small house.

Of course, while all this bread was baking, we were able to have a sampling of the local favorites that some right from the oven. There is something so good about a wood fired crust!
In fact, ask these two, they made sure they were busy tasting, and tasting, and tasting....

Here's the before.... (pizza, zwieblkuchen,apfelkuchen, und brot mit kuemmel und meersalz)
Oh, sorry in, onion cake, apple cake, and bread with caraway and sea salt)

And here's the during...

And there was no after!