Friday, February 27, 2009

a new book

I just ordered an audible book by Philip Yancey called "Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? ". It is a 11 hour book. It should keep me inspired this weekend.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I gave up coffee for lent and now I have really bad headaches. I know I need to just stick with it...but I'm not very productive the past few days. I guess its sad I was so addicted to coffee....not surprising, but sad!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

too interesting

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Grandpa draws ...and so do I

I just started another blog to post the art of my dad and Nicole. It is called Grandpa draws and so do I. Enjoy!

my car is "just" a Skoda Fabia, but it really does look and feel like a cross between a Mini and a BMW. It is a good car and I'm totally excited!!!

my new car...we ordered it today!

It's a Skoda Fabia. It comes fully loaded with anti lock breaks, air conditioning, CD player, MP3 hookup and Radio, 6 airbags etc... I got it in this color called cappuccino and it has a dark gray black interior. I saved over 5,000 Euros and will pay 8,100 Euros for the car. This is 3,000 more then the Panda but a much nicer car. We brought Philip, Thomas, and Sarah with us to test the leg room in the back seats. They all fit fine in this car. The Panda had zero leg room in the back seats. This was my chief problem with the Panda. Skoda is owned by VW. It is built in the Czech Republic . We would have liked to buy a German built car, but the prices are too high. Buying skoda at least helps a German company. We have to wait 3 months for the car to be delivered. Now this maybe a problem. You need to have the car before you can get the German governments money (2,500 euros) for buying a new car. The first 600,000 people to claim this rebate get it. If our car comes late, we will not get this money. Skoda said we do not need to buy the car, if they get it to us after the rebate offer expires. So anyway, if all works out well, I will have a very cool new car in 3 months. I feel good about our choice . I looked at what I could buy used in the 8,000 Euro range. I could not get anything half as nice. Since I know I will need a new car soon, Juergen and I both felt now was the best time to buy a car. We wanted something that meets all our needs and that will last at least 10 to 20 years. The Panda was too small, and a little too cheep to last. The Skoda meets the mark.

Friday, February 20, 2009

more about the Skoda

Some people love it, others hate it. It has loads of space. it does not have great style or power. Now I can not say the Panda has great style or power either. This is a good family car. Lets face it...that's what I need. I can not decide! I wanted a New Beetle!!!

or maybe a skoda?

I like the Panda but it is pretty small. The seats in the back are tight even for Sarah. If I pay just a little more I can buy a Skoda Roomster. Skoda has VW technology. It's a bit boxy, but has more power and space then the Panda. I do drive mostly in the city, and mostly alone , but for the times I need the space & power a Skoda would be better. Skoda has a special price just like the Fiat. The 12,000 Euro Skoda Roomster is now only 7,600 Euros. That is 2,600 euro more then the Panda, but a whole lot more car.

What color should I get?

Juergen and I test drove the little Fiat Panda. It is small. It's just fine for me, but a bit tight for the kids in the back. It handles fine in the city. It has a great response in the steering. I'm sure its super easy to park. It does not have a great deal of power on the autobahn. I wouldn't think it would be fun on a long trip! It has some good storage space for a small car. It is not as big as my Mazda, but probably half the price as a new Mazda. Fiat is running a special on the Panda. They guarantee if you order a Panda by the end of February they will give you the car for 5000Euros off the normal price. That is 2500Euros from Fiat, and 2500Euros for your old car. The German government will pay 2500Euros for your old car, but only the first 600,000 people get this deal from the government. It is only guaranteed when you take possession of your new car. So Fiat is basically gambling they can deliver our new car in time to get the money from Germany. If they are late, they pay. Our savings would be sure! Does that make any sense? So basically, if we order a 10,000 Euro Panda by next week, we only pay 5000 Euros for it. It is not a dream car, but its actually perfect for city driving. I think the kids will not love it because the back seats are very cramped. Generally they get around by themselves on the streetcar and bus. I'm not a taxi mom. I take Sarah to her swimming, and the boys to their youth group on Fridays. Juergen takes Thomas to drums. They manage everything else alone. I use my car to go shopping. If I take the kids to the doctor, its normally just one kid at a time. If I need to do anything more, I could just switch cars with Juergen. He has an 8 passenger Mercedes Viano. His car is great for long distance driving. So anyway, I'm pretty sure we will buy a Panda. I just don't know if it should be red or the olive green. Juergen likes red. I sort of prefer the olive.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

crossing Africa

This is from the blog of two people who crossed Africa in a Fiat Panda. I don't think I would want to take this trip (well, maybe). What a cool thing to travel. I have never test driven the Panda. I honestly don't know if I'll like it. It looks like a real fun car. I don't actually know what has gotten into me, but I want my car to be fun to drive. Juergen has the very big "practical" beast of a car. It has loads of room and feels like a house on wheels. Fun is not a word I would use to describe Juergens car (sad but true). I generally travel in my car alone, or with one or two kids. I take short trips in the city. I need something easy to park, and cheep to run. I hardly ever drive on the autobahn. I guess so much of my life is pretty dull. Driving does not need to be fun...but I want it to be fun. Maybe it's a midlife crises? I love my family but some times I feel like I never give myself what I "want". Is there anything really wrong with liking a sporty little thing of a car? It has 6 airbags, and a solid roll cage for safety. I don't plan on drag racing with it. I just want it to steer like a sports car, and move like a sports car. I have a young heart, and some times I feel so old.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the greenest car

THE Fiat Panda is the ideal green car to beat the credit crunch.
The 1.3 multijet diesel got the nod as Britain’s best for overall economy.

Not only do you get up to 65 miles to the gallon but other eco-friendly features made the Panda a winner in a green buyers’ guide.

Oh my goodness!!!

Fiat actually has a sale on the Panda! With the government money, the Panda is under 5,000 Euro. Look HERE. Now I don't even need to feel guilty about that price!

also in the under 10,000 euro class

The Opel Agilia

I think I don't want to spend the money for the VW New Beetle. It's a very cute and safe car, but cost about 17,000Euros new. I can find it for 13,000Euros (this is the most basic model) but that's more then I would want to spend. I don't really drive that much. I'm pretty cheep at heart. I need real value for my money. I keep thinking we really should take advantage of the money Germany is offering to trade old cars in for 2500Euros towards a new car. If I buy a car that's around 10,000 Euros, then the Government is actually going to pay 25% of the cost of that car. That's really a very good deal. Since I know I will need a new car in the near future, I feel I should get a new 10,000 Euro car. The Opel Agilia is around 9,900 Euros. It's got 5 doors, and room for 5. It is pretty safe, and comes with a 6 year warranty. I would not call it my dream car, but I could easily afford it. I'm trying to be wise here. There are other cars in this price range, but none I actually like. What do you think? I like it in red. I think I should go test drive one and see if it's a car I could live with for awhile. Maybe when the kids are all gone I will finally get my bug?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the best of both worlds

A friend of mine told me to look on this website called "auto scout24". I found a one year old New Beetle for 7200 Euro! It is fully loaded, air conditioning, electric parking helper, even a navigation system. The State money (2500 euros) is for new and one year old cars. I could have a 2008 New Beetle for just 5000 Euros! So maybe that’s the answer? It is the very best of both worlds! This has got to be a type- o. They must have forgotten to type a 1 (10,000 Euros too cheep). Juergen will call them tomorrow!

Update: it was a type o. What is the saying? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

a new car now...or no?

Should we buy now or buy later? I still don't know! Juergen just took Jessica for a ride in my 18 year old Mazda. It really is getting old, but it could last me a few more years (maybe...and maybe not). The problem is I just don't know if it will last. I would rather hold on to my money, but if I have to spend money on a car soon, then I might as well get the money from the government. This offer is for the first 600,000 cars sold. They have sold over 200,000 already. We can not wait forever if we are going to do this!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

we are screwed

ice cream

Juergen took Jessica for her nightly ride tonight. Often she is frustrated because she can not communicate what she wants. Tonight, as the walked out of the door, Jessica pointed to the ice on the ground. At first Juergen said, ice. Then it hit him. Jessica, do you want ice-cream? She said yeah!!!!

make me laugh

I want to teach my 2 adoptive sons some clean jokes. If you have any jokes for 10 year old boys (please keep it clean) then share them with me. I found some really cute egg covers. They look just like flowers. They are just the thing to make your Easter table look great. So let me hear your jokes. The best joke (as judged by Philip and Thomas) gets the 6 egg covers.

Should I buy a new car?

My car is 18 years old and starting to cost money in repairs. The German Government is offering people 2500€ to get rid of their old cars and buy new cars (hopefully German made to help the German economy). I found an online dealer that is offering New Beetles for 4000 € off the list price. So I could actually buy a New Beetle for 6500€ off the price. Since I need a new car (or will need one in a year or two) I'm wondering if I should consider this offer? Generally I would never buy a brand new car. I looked, and it's actually cheaper to get a 2009 car, then a 2008 car. I guess they are just desperate to sell things now. You can also finance a car for almost 0%, so why pay cash? Your cash earns you interest sitting in a bank. I have not decided to buy a car. I'm very cheep, and if I knew I could get by with my 18 year old car for a few more years, I would do that. The problem is my car is starting to leek oil. Anyway, I would love a New Beetle. My dad use to own and repair Beetles when I was a kid. I think it would be so fun to own a Beetle!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

They grow up too fast!

As I said goodnight to the boys they were teasing each other about the girls they both like. I asked them the names of the girls. Then Philip says Thomas' girl is short with glasses. I said that's OK. He just can not go out on any dates for awhile...they are both way too young. Way too young!!!

the force of love

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Monday, February 09, 2009

Marvelous Monday

It’s Monday morning and Jessica and Nicole are both sick. Nicole has a very bad cold and Jessica has a stomach flu. I asked Nicole if she would please keep this cold to herself. She has gotten me sick 4 times this year. I’ve been sick more in the past 6 weeks then healthy. I am beginning to think I had better wear a mask and some gloves at home. Oh, on the bright side they say we will get some snow!!!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

very interesting

I'm afraid for the USA. America needs to pay it's bills! America does not need to allow their government to go on a trillion dollar spending spree...on borrowed money!!!

He is to me priceless...and mistakes happen.

Juergen went to the old town of Heidelberg late last night to pick Nicole up from a party. He had planned to run right in and out so he parked in a no parking zone. He ended up staying awhile to play guitar with the father of Nicole’s friend. When Nicole and He returned, the car was on the back of a tow truck and the police were there writing him a ticket. It cost us 200Euro. That hurt!!! Then a few minutes later a couple from out of town came to find their car had been towed too. Juergen helped these strangers. He drove them first to the police station, and then to the tow yard to get their car. It took them hours. So I'm wondering what I should think about all of this. I'm trying very hard to save money. I'm not so happy this cost us 200 Euro. On the other hand, it was an honest (stupid)mistake. I'm so glad I am married to the kind of person that will go pick his daughter up at midnight. He is the kind that will play guitar with another parent. He is always the one who will help a stranger. It isn't my money, its Gods. You can not put a price on the value of such a man. He is to me priceless...and mistakes happen.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

the green monster

Today is Sarah's 6Th birthday. She has been waiting along time for this day to come. Juergen took her with him to the baker so we could set the party table. That's when it started. Thomas began to pout. It's not his birthday and he can not stand it! Just yesterday we cheered for him because of his good grades. I took him to Toys R Us for new Lego, Juergen took him to McDonalds for dinner. It kills me he can not rejoice for others. But I heard a sermon lately about the orphan heart. Orphans have to survive alone. They see things like “me agents the world”. They are very “me” centered. I would hope after 4 years of being a son (almost 5 years) he would get past this. He is better then he was, but look at this face. When will he ever learn that loving her does not mean less love for him. We are a family and we can be happy for each other. I pray in time he will learn to be a son, and not an orphan.

UP Date...Thomas got over it. It took him about 3 hours, but he finally got over it. He ended up being a very sweet kid.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Thomas got his report card today

Actually all the kids got their mid year grades today. Nicole got her usual good grades, and Philip needs some help...but Thomas!!! Thomas moved his 4 and even 5's to 2's and 3's. He even got a 1 in English. I took that boy to Toys R Us! I am very proud of him!!!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I can handle it!!!

I got these photos sent to me by my Brother in Law Paul. Just like giant leaves floating in the sea, thousands of Golden Rays are seen here gathering off the coast of Mexico . Very Cool! Thank's Paul!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I just got an e-mail from . It said you could even try to get 60% off on flights if you name your own price. I'm thinking why not give it a try...Rick?

a small set back

I just read the small print on the car rental offer (I have not paid for the car Thank God) in Cyprus. The 8 passenger van I wanted to rent at a great price can not be driven in the North of Cyprus. There is no love of the North from the people in the South. I hope I can find us a car. I'm pretty sure I can rent two small cars, but I had hoped to avoid that. This is just a warning, if you want to come to the North of Cyprus check your rental car contract first. BTW you can not take a car from the North to the South. The South will not allow it. I realize the people in the South have reason to hate the Turks...they did after all invade the country. Still, if there is ever going to be a unified Cyprus, they need to get along. I'm just a tourist. I'm not going to take sides on this conflict. I want to see all of Cyprus. The sad news is I may need to drive...and they drive on the left.

Monday, February 02, 2009

I didn't see the game but I saw the ads online

Denny's: Wise guys

Get to Dennys from 6am-2pm for your free breakfast tomorrow!

The Avakas Gorge near Paphos in Cyprus

This is something we may want to do on our last day in Cyprus. It takes along time to hike this Gorge, and we need to check out of our villa early and our flight leaves at 3am. I'm not sure if Jessica could do it? She likes to walk be the surface here is very uneven. It might also be too hard for Sarah? I think it looks amazing! HERE is a blog post from someone who hiked this trail. I think we could just start it, and goes as far as we feel comfortable. If we do the whole 7 miles then great, if not I'm OK with that too. We need good shoes in Cyprus. It is a very rocky place.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Dental Stem Cells

Why did I think this was interesting? They do stem cell treatment for autism. They take stems cells from the autistic person, mix them with some liquid and put them in an IV back into the autistic person. It helps reduce swelling in the brain and increases blood flow to the brain.

Lemon Sorbet

I found this when I was looking for cooking classes in Northern Cyprus. It looked pretty good!

Lemon Sorbet

Basic ingredients for 4 people

4 lemons, 200g sugar, Half a litre of water, 2 egg whites, The rind of one lemon, Half a cinammon stick OR some leaves of mint, A pinch of salt.


Grate the rind of one lemon and squeeze all four

Heat up the water with the cinnamon stick in, and once it starts to boil, let it simmer for 10 minutes. Let it cool.

Once cool, put in a bowl and add the lemon juice and the grated rind. Stir well and put the bowl in the freezer.

When the mixture is starting to freeze, beat the egg whites until they are stiff, adding the pinch of salt. Take the bowl out and mix the eggs into the freezing mixture.

Put the bowl into the freezer until it is cold and hard.

If you prefer a minty sorbet use mint leaves instead of the cinnamon stick.

Add a good sized sprig to the water when boiling, also decorate each portion with a mint leaf or two.

Scuba diving in Cyprus

This is scuba diving in Cyprus. I guess they dive in the pool first. They call it a bubble maker class. I think you need to be 8 years old, so I think Sarah will not be able to do it. After some time in the pool they take you out to the sea with instructors. I'm not really sure how much time it all takes, and if they would be able to graduate to the sea, but it looks amazing. They haven't given me the price for the class so I'm not even sure we can afford it. We will see. I do think swimming in the clear waters around Cyprus with the fish and sea turtles would be so cool. I hope they can do it...for no other reason then to get Jess Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.