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! http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/euthan/grefeneck.html

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 English...pizza, onion cake, apple cake, and bread with caraway and sea salt)

And here's the during...

And there was no after!

October 09, 2011

Schwetzgens, Apples & Hokkaidos!

We absolutely love the late summer early fall in this part of Germany. Fresh fruits and veggies abound from all the local markets. A friend of ours in a neighboring town invited us to come pick schwetzgens a few weeks ago. What is a schwetzgen? Its a small plum that is often used for making prunes. Take a look at the first crop!

This box measures approximately 2 feet sq. and 1 ft deep. You think this is alot of plums, take a look below...

4x 5 gallon buckets + 5 flat crates = a week of stained fingers, a fridge full of frozen plums, a shelf of plum jam, a Rubbermaid full of dried "prunes", 5 schwetzgen cakes, and 4 qts. of stewed plums for winter!

Did I also mention that it's the season for apple picking and hokkaido pumpkins! Already made 2 apple crisps, pumpkin soup, prepped and frozen 5 qts. of pumpkin for winter and a box of apples just begging to be turned into something yummy!

Busy, busy, busy!

October 01, 2011

Daytrip to the French Countryside

Over Labor Day, we took a day trip to the French countryside; only a 2hr trip! First stop was to do a recon of French pottery in the town of Soufflenheim. My plan is to revisit and shop when my parents come at Christmas!

Upon our arrival, the shops were preparing to close for lunch for 2 hours. We were able to do a bit of window shopping and grab a bite to eat.

Along the way, we found a walnut tree. So of course, we had to stop and see if we could harvest a few for ourselves. Madeline enjoyed opening hers very meticulously...

while to boys were busy crushing them along the concrete wall!

Here's an example of the homes in the area - look at the garden!

Next, we were headed to the town of Ribeauville but took a detour as usual to the town of Kintzheim to see The château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg.

Here's a mini replica of the fortress and grounds.

A few views from the top...

The mountain ridge at the top of the photo is the Black Forest in Germany.

Inside the castle.

Where's Madeline? Oh, taking a turn at being photographer!

Jack was really impressed with the large cannons at the top of the castle. Madeline, not so much.

And yet, another great view!

Another detour...on our way back home we came across this river lock on the Rhine river near Basel, Switzerland. Not something you see everyday. Very neat to watch this boat load, rise and leave.

Stuttgart Driving Range

So, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather and took the kids to the driving range. As you can see from the photos, it wasn't Madeline's "cup of tea". Jack, however, enjoyed hitting all 100 balls!