Friday, December 31, 2010

I will dance with Cinderella

We slept in until 10 am. That felt really good. Then I cooked and cooked. The results are wonderful! Spanish rice, re fried beans, zucchini and corn casserole,fresh salsa and Chimichangas made with grilled beef and chicken. I marinated the meat over night with lime, vinegar, sugar and spices. It's going to be great! After cooking I took a long hot bath. I could hear Nicole playing the song Dance with Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman. The song makes me cry. Nicole graduates God willing in 2011. I see the clouds of change on the horizon. I'm trying not to look too far ahead. I'm trying to simply dance. But soon the clock will strike midnight...I can not believe how quickly the days and years have flown by.





She spins and she sways
To whatever song plays
Without a care in the world
And I'm sitting here wearing
The weight of the world on my shoulders

It's been a long day
And there's still work to do
She's pulling at me
Saying "Dad, I need you

There's a ball at the castle
And I've been invited
And I need to practice my dancing
Oh, please, Daddy, please?"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone...


She says he's a nice guy and I'd be impressed
She wants to know if I approve of the dress
She says, "Dad, the prom is just one week away
And I need to practice my dancing
Oh, please, Daddy, please?"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone


She will be gone

Well, she came home today with a ring on her hand
Just glowing and telling us all they had planned
She says, "Dad, the wedding's still six months away
But I need to practice my dancing
Oh, please, Daddy, please?"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone




Thursday, December 30, 2010

Carne Asada

I'm going to put Carne Asada in my Chimichangas tomorrow night. This is how you make it.

1 to 2 pounds of thin flank steaks
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 large jalapeno
¼ bunch cilantro
4 large garlic cloves
2 TBS white vinegar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 TBS sugar
Salt & Pepper
Rinse and pat dry the meat. Place it in a non-reactive container and add all of the ingredients. Use your
hands to coat the entire pieces well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Remove the meat from the marinade and grill or cook in a large, hot skillet with a little bit of oil.

Mexican Rice is on the menu



Mexican Rice is on the menu for our New Years party.

Heat some olive oil in a pan.
· Add 2 TBS finely chopped yellow onion, ½ T minced jalapeno and 1 minced garlic clove.
· Add 2 cups long grain rice. Brown the rice, stirring constantly, until rice is lightly browned .
· Add ½ cup tomato sauce.
· Add 3 ½ cups water.
· Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What's cooking on New Years?

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid271521142?bctid=1455377270

I'm cooking Chimichangas, beans, rice, fresh salsa, fresh corn chips,a Mexican corn and zucchini dish and Tamales. I have people bringing deserts and salad. We will be playing the New Wii Dance 2, and also playing guitar. I also have some fire works to shoot off. If you are coming please bring instruments to play. If you still need a place to come, give me a call.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is the National dish of Thailand. It's not so hard to make, so we decided to give it a try! Here is some history of the dish. Thai prime minister Luang Pibulsonggram decreed the Pad Thai recipe as a national Thai dish sometime during Word War II, and that the dish is a very important part of Thai culinary history. Further research says that Pibulsonggram popularized the dish in an effort to reduce rice consumption so there was more to export to other countries, and some sources also say that after the war, the Thai government used Pad Thai as part of their plan to decrease the unemployment rate of the people by adopting a new trend of noodle-making and noodle-house dining.
Most of you know that Philip and Thomas were both adopted from Thailand. Our family loves Thailand. I hope we can even travel there in 2011. We will see what comes!

Before you begin to cook this dish you prep everything. You will need...



One chopped onion
5 chopped garlic cloves
2 cups chopped spinach greens
2 cups chopped firm tofu
10 large shrimp, or 2 cups small shrimp
1 pound of soft rice noodles (you can just take the dried noodles and soak them in cold water for 15 minutes).
3 eggs
6 table spoons of Pad Thai sauce
2 cups bean sprouts
1 cup chopped green onion.






In a hot wok with oil, you brown the onions and garlic
then add the tofu
when that's browned add the shrimp and spinach greens
do not over cook the shrimp
then add the noodles and some water (maybe a half a cup of water). Put the lid on the wok and let it steam the noodles for about 2 minutes).
Then stir in the eggs and let them cook.
Finally add the bean sprouts and green onions.



You serve this with freshly cut cucumbers, tomato's, lime. It taste wonderful with lime juice squeezed over it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

one goal for 2011

I did it once, now I want to do it 5 times. I listened to the whole Bible this year online. That was great! I loved the daily reading. I have just a few more days to finish the whole Bible. But now I'm up for a new challenge...and I want more! So I just downloaded the NIV Dramatized Bible. It is 75 hours long. I figure if I listen to it 1 hour a day I can get through the whole Bible 5 times in 2011. I have an I Pod. Instead of music I can listen to the Bible. I can hear it while I drive, clean, and shop. I may even manage to get through it more then 5 times. I love hearing the Bible. It gives me life!

NIV Audio Bible (Dramatized)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Christmas Story

Christmas 2010

Building With Awareness

Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas? I was watching you tube videos about the construction of straw bale homes. I still want to buy the farm house in Bad Schönborn. But the house is too small. If we do buy it, we need to either renovated the barn, or the attic, or add on to the house. I prefer adding on to the house. We need a dinning room, and 2 or 3 new bedrooms. We could add to the house with shipping containers, or with straw bale construction. Both are cool! I just bought myself a DVD on straw bale building. People have done straw bale building for centuries. You use wood to frame the house, but fill the walls with bricks made of straw bales. Yes the walls are thick...but that also gives you very good insulation. The house stays warm in winter and cool in summer. I also love the way the homes look. You plaster the straw with adobe. It reminds me of the homes you see in the south west and Mexico.

http://www.buildingwithawareness.com/

Content

The past few weeks I was compelled to do the shopping, wrapping, cooking and cleaning. It's amazing to think of the mountain of food I bought. It took 3 different trips to about 20 different stores. And we are a family of 7. I'm the one who buys most of the gifts, and wraps them too. I think everyone was happy with what they got. Everyone is busy playing. Juergen is playing with the gift he bought for me. It's a special scanner that converts slides and negatives into jpgs. He is copying the slides he's dad took of our wedding. I love it! To be honest with you, I don't feel like doing anything. I'm so tired I just want to sit and drink my coffee. I don't need anything at all. I'm happy we are snowed in. I'm happy we aren't going anyplace. I'm glad to hear my family, busy playing. Maybe I'll just listen to a book.
Juergen talked with his Dad today. Richard had a nice evening with Juergen's brother's family. While he was out someone tried to break into his house. They could see the footprints in the snow, and on the roof. The thief was not able to break in (thank God). They did contact the police. I'm sure it will be OK. I remember the year Jessica was in the hospital. She was 3 months old. She was going to have open heart surgery. We had a small Christmas tree in our apartment. There were only a few gifts under the tree. While we were at the hospital, someone did break into our apartment. They stole our VCR, food, and the gifts under the tree. It happened the night before Jessica's surgery. I guess the whole thing distracted me a bit from the stress I felt at the time. My 3 month old first born baby was going to have open heart surgery. I look back on it, and I'm glad for the distraction. The thief took nothing of real worth. My treasure was in the hospital. By the grace of God, she lived. 19 years ago today (Christmas day) Jessica left the hospital. We had no gifts in the house, we had no food. It didn't matter at all. We spent that Christmas at home with our baby. She was alive and that was all we wanted!

Friday, December 24, 2010

I woke up early. It's snowing outside. We will not be going North and it's a good thing. Yesterday the weather was so bad in the North that there was a traffic jam over 100 km long. We could have been stuck for 8 hours on a cold freeway. So I'm going to be making tamales today. I am a little nervous. I grew up thinking the hardest thing in the world was tamales. Only the best cooks could make this very special dish. I don't think my mom ever made them. Only my grandmother and great aunt made them. And I'm making other stuff just in case mine don't turn out.
The kids are very excited. We open gifts after church tonight. Sarah is sort of in the Christmas play. They took photo's of many of the kids (including Sarah). They will show the photo's as part of the play tonight. They went to a manager and dressed in costumes as Shepard's and angles. Sarah was a Shepard. I will be home with Jessica , but Juergen will bring a memory stick to church, and copy pictures for me. I hope I can at least see the photo's. I've also got about a dozen more gifts to wrap. There is a tone of work preparing a celebration like this for a big family. But I love it! I look forward to cooking with Nicole. I'm happy to have my kids all at home. It will not be long until they are all grown up. Boy will that be strange. These are very special days. I'm going to enjoy them while I can! We don't really do Santa here. Our kids know we give gifts because the Kings gave gifts to Jesus. We are celebrating the gift of our Savior. Happy Birthday to my Lord and King! Jesus has transformed my whole life and I am so grateful! Thank you God for giving us your Son!

she makes it look easy

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

the weather

It rained over night and melted most of the snow. What remains is ice. I see that it's bitter cold in the North of Germany. It looks like it could clear up on Christmas day, but then get cold again. It could be that we could travel North but not be able to come home. Either way, it looks very cold. I think we will try to decide about traveling to Juergen's Dad's house by tomorrow. I feel badly if we can not go, but I don't want to get stuck on the cold frozen road, or get involved in an accident. It's better to just stay home. I really feel sorry for all those people stuck at the airport! Oh how sad and stressful! Maybe we can travel in January instead? Juergen has from Thursday until January 10th free. We miss him because he has been working very hard lately. Last night he stayed home and watched "Hunt for Red October" on TV. This was the first movie we saw together in Germany. We saw it the week before we were engaged. What a sweet time in our lives!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

How to make Albondigas (Mexican Meatball soup)



I remember my Grandma Moreno making the tortillas and Grandpa Moreno making this soup. My family will laugh at me because they make the soup all the time. I've never made it...but I will!

Flour Tortillas



I've made Flour Tortillas , but I use olive oil.

Tamales Oaxaquenos Recipe



I think I like this better then the last video. But I have corn husks. I think it will still work with corn husks if I oil the husks?

Monday, December 20, 2010

How To Make Chicken Tamales :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vHUZw_Ksbc&feature=list_related&playnext=1&list=PL6D9BC98439D303E4

This is a 12 part video on making Tamales. I want to make tamales for Christmas and New Years. I hope I can do it. I respect the cooks who can cook them. I grew up with tamales at Christmas time. I love them! Juergen brought home the ingredients. Thank you to Rick and Mom and Dad!

It's a mess out there

It's snowing really hard. So hard the streetcar stopped working. Nicole phoned me and asked for a ride. It took me 45 minutes to get to her, and 45 Min's home. Everything is slippery. Everyone is driving very careful. There aren't enough trucks spreading salt on the roads. There aren't enough snow plows. I was suppose to go to Thomas' class party. I called Juergen and asked him to go. I don't have snow tires on my car(they are all weather tires but not really snow tires). I didn't want to drive home after another hour of snow fall. Thomas also takes the street car, so one of us needed to pick him up anyway. Thank God Juergen was able to move some meetings around. I'm sure the people at work were anxious to get home before things get more dangerous. It's not looking very good for a trip to North Germany on Christmas. It's suppose to get warm, but then snow again. We will have to play it by ear. I just feel happy to get back home in one piece. I pray Jessica gets home safely too. She comes on a school bus. We just aren't use to so much snow here. Many parts of the country have already run out of salt for there streets. The airports and trains are also experiencing delays and cancellations. I'm OK if we have to stay home. I don't want to take any chances out there...it's such a mess! Juergen's brother and sister can spend Christmas with Richard (Juergen's dad). Maybe we can still go up, but it's not looking good.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Christmas newsletter

Here is our family Christmas Newsletter. It is not a brag letter, and I hope it's even encouraging. I hope you all have a safe and wonderful Christmas.
Sorry but Jessica's beautiful picture got somehow distored when we made it a pdf file. Too bad because she is so beautiful. Here is a photo of our brave girl walking on the beach. She is afraid of the sea, so she was being very brave!

A word from Jessica

Some of you know I gave a special advent calendar to Juergen this year. Today I got a very special note of love to him from Jessica. Jess is our 19 year old non verbal autistic daughter. She is so sweet and every word from her is gold! It was in German.

F: Was liebst du an Papa?

A: Er ist immer freundlich und großer Mann mit Herz für Kinder.

F:Was möchtest du Papa schenken?

A: Freie Zeit mit mir im Car und am Kometengeist der Lichter große Sorgen weg.

In English is basically reads

Q: What kind of characteristics do you love on dad?

A: He's always friendly. A great man with a heart for kids.

Q: What do you want to give daddy for christmas?

A: Free time with me in the Car and at the comet spirit of the lights(a bright spirit) large concerns away (free of concerns).

I love the words "A Comet Spirit of Lights"! Only Jessica could put it in such a beautiful way!

comet Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Narnia

We took the kids to see the new Narnia movie then out to an all you can eat Chinese buffet. I loved the movie. It made me cry when Reepicheep went to Aslan’s home. I read the book (all 7 books) with Nicole a few years ago. I would love to read them with the boys too. Jessica doesn't like to go to movies so we had a sitter for her.

You can do really cool stuff with shipping containers!

http://dornob.com/two-if-by-sea-diy-cargo-shipping-container-home-on-stilts/
This is a very cool shipping container house. It is built with 2 containers, a wooden frame, and big windows. The roof is built to capture water. I love the design.





Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tom Swift and the Visitor From Planet X

You can download Tom Swift and the Visitor From Planet X for free Here
http://www.archive.org/details/tomswift_planetx_mn_librivox. They have many free audible books. Free Christmas gifts if you want to burn them on Cd's. Other wise something fun to listen to in the car! They also have Emma, by Jane Austen, A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain and the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes amoung the 1000's of other books!

My Man of the year!



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manure

The farm house I want has a chicken coop and rabbit cages. You need the manure from animals to grow healthy plants (with no chemical fertilizers).

5 ways to use rabbit poo around your home garden
•Rabbit poo is excellent dug directly into a garden prior to planting. Pre-dig your veggie patches or use a tiller or rotary hoe. Cast rabbit manure over the garden bed. 2 - 4 inches (50 - 100cm) is an ideal depth. Use a fork to roughly dig the manure into the soil.•The manure can be added directly at the base of individual plants and watered in. This allows nutrients to slowly leach around the root ball of plants.•Mixing a third of a bucket of rabbit manure with two thirds of a bucket of water can make a liquid fertilizer. Allow soaking overnight. Strain the liquid off into another bucket. Add 2or 3 cups of this concentrated liquid to a 10 litre watering can and water plants liberally. The solid matter left after collecting the liquid can be added to a compost heap or around trees or shrubs.•Rabbit manure makes an ideal bedding material for worm farms. It is also an ideal supplemental feed or bulk feed if you will not be looking after them for some time.•The manure can be added to traditional compost heaps. It is especially ideal where materials such as seaweed, that leach nitrogen from the heap are included.What Are the Benefits of Chicken Manure?Top of Form


Chicken manure is an old-fashioned garden fertilizer. Because chickens are vegetarians, their manure will be free from parasites and diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Chicken manure must be composted before use because the nutrients are very dense and can "burn" the roots of most plants (resulting in death). The nitrogen level in chicken manure is 1.1, the phosphorous level is .8 and the potassium level is .5. Be aware, though, that nutrient levels fluctuate according to the age, overall health and diet of the animal.
Nutrients
The nutrients in chicken manure are important for healthy plant growth. When composted, chicken manure nutrients dissolve readily in water and can be absorbed by the roots of the plant. In areas with a short growing season or depleted soil, adding nutrients to the soil is an important part of growing a garden. In areas with good soil, replacing the nutrients that plants take from the soil prevents depletion.
Retains Moisture
When chicken manure is composted, it's combined with other organic material like yard waste and bedding material to retain moisture near the roots. Some plants thrive with moister soil at the roots, and a soil that's rich in compost can provide that. Moisture also keeps the soil from getting too hot near the surface.
Bacteria
Another benefit of chicken manure is that the bacteria from the chicken's digestive system is designed to break down organic material. It gets passed into the soil and is an important part of the ecosystem.
Organic
Because chicken manure is natural, vegetable gardeners won't have to worry about chemicals in their soil or food. This is also important also for people who have children and pets near their gardens, or for those who are sensitive to chemicals.
Odor
Because chicken manure is composted before use, the odor normally associated with manure fertilizers is eliminated. For people whose gardens are right outside the kitchen door, that's important. It's also important when you use your yard for entertaining.
Storage Time
Composted chicken manure can sit in dry storage for a long time without losing nutrients. In fact, for the first two months after it's been composted, it needs to cure. The micronutrients and beneficial bacteria are enhanced with aging.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Revelation 6 :5-6

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

I read that there was a farm bill last year that sought to control all farms in the US, and food growth (even back yard gardens). They wanted to make it illegal to save seeds, or do organic gardening. Everything was going to be controlled by the government...even your own backyard garden. I don't know if it passed...hope not. But imagine the government forcing you to use gm seeds and chemical fertilizers. They wanted to do this...control your food. That is really a wake up call.

"Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009"

Provision includes mandatory registration and inspection for “any food establishment or foreign food establishment engaged in manufacturing, processing, packing, or holding food for consumption in the United States,” and sets standard practices such as minimums for fertilizer use.

Any food that the agency deems “unsafe, adulterated or misprinted” can be seized and the food establishment or farm fined. It’s not clear how these foods will be deemed unsafe. The bills aim to industrialize farms, standardize farming practices, require registration and inspection for any one producing food, and make practices key to organic farming illegal. I am an organic gardener! In Germany GM food is not cool! But I find this very scary! The government trying to control food. I want a bigger garden to control my own food. And maybe the government can one day come and take it all away.

Snow until Christmas

The long term forecast reads snow...snow...and more snow. We are suppose to have snow everyday until Christmas (7 days in a row). I'm not sure if we will be able to make it to Northern Germany to visit Juergen's Dad. I think we need to play it by ear. Jet lag has finally hit Juergen! He fell asleep early tonight.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

R4House Prototype from Luis de Garrido

This prototype home was displayed in Construmat 2007, a massive international building show. The environmentally-friendly design actually consists of two houses (or a house and an apartment) that boast a zero overall energy consumption rate due to geothermal and solar energy sources. The R4House (the four Rs are reuse, recover, recycle and reasoning) is made of six recycled shipping containers and other sustainable and recycled materials.

I love the idea



I think I've loved old stuff my whole life. I love 2nd hand stores so much more then new stores. And a container house is really just taking what is old and using it in a new way. It's cheaper to build with and good for the earth.

Monday, December 13, 2010



This photo was taken in Texel Holland. It is a cafe on the beach that was built from 6 shipping containers. It only takes 1 day to build up, and they store it in a barn all winter (because of the storms on the beach). Nicole, Philip, Sarah and I eat there. It has a very cool wintergarden area. Anyway, this is the inside of a shipping container. I am interested in adding a shipping container extention to the farm house. I posted the picture for Juergen to see.

It's great to have him home! He will have jet lag a few days. The kids were all so excited to see him! I'm just so glad!!! But I'm glad he got to see so many people, and that he was treated so well! With open and loving arms from my family!

Almost home!

Juergen just called from Frankfurt. Praise God he is almost home! I told the kids last night he might be bumped. I did not tell them he was on his way home today. They should all be surprised when they come from school. Philip was so sad when he went to school. He wants to show Papa the bed that he built! We sure missed him!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Little Monster Seeks A Family

I'm starting an adoption fund raiser blog. No we are not adopting again (not yet). But I know a local family that does want to adopt. They are trying to adopt domestically but that isn't so easy. In Germany they have 22 families for every baby. Often you wait years, and more often it just doesn't work. I think they would adopt internationally if the money wasn't such an obstacle. So I want to start raising money to give as a grant for adoption. It is only a seed idea. I can not say if it will amount to anything. But you have to start some place. I'm starting with a blog. We will see what comes of it! I don't even know if this local family will try to adopt internationally. I have many friends in the adoption process. I don't think it will be hard to find someone who needs the money we raise. I guess I'm just so convinced kids need families, I had to do something more! Juergen isn't saying yes to kid number 6 (and I can not really blame him). So being part of another families miracle is the next best thing!

http://littlemonsterseeksafamily.blogspot.com/

In the air!!!

Juergen called me from Seattle and said they wanted to bump him for $800. I said ok, but felt sad! Anyway, they didn't need to bump him. He is in the air, and I'm so glad I'll see him in about 14 hours (by God's grace)!!! Money is nice, but Juergen is nicer! The kids have been great, but 10 days is really long!
I told each of the kids Juergen would not be coming home until Tuesday. They were sad, but brave. We prayed and said goodnight. Then I got Juergen's call saying they did not need to bump him. Maybe I will not tell the kids he is coming. Then they will each get a special surprise!

Adding containers



I'm still very interested in the farm house in Bad Schönborn. It is a little small for us (just a little). I think it would be so cool and cheaper to add some shipping containers to the house. I would love to have a dinning room off the kitchen, and widen the space under the lower part of the barn to make a living room. Then we could convert the top of the barn as a 2 bedroom apartment. Trust me it could be very cool!

Here is a slide show of container homes.
http://www.urbanspace.com/gallery.html

Friday, December 10, 2010

So cool!



Juergen flies to Seattle very soon! He will see my brother (and family) and Mom and Dad! Oh I wish I was with him! I hope they have a great visit! The kids get to go ice skating with the youth group tonight. It's also pizza night. I am looking forward to Monday...I miss Juergen! I remeber when Juergen played "rock around the Christmas tree" in our church when they collected the offering. Everyone laughed! It's not exactly a religious song! But it's so OK to have fun in church! This group is having fun!

what I want for Christmas...and yes I know I already got my gift!



This would be a great Christmas gift. It's on sale at PLUS for 67 euro.
http://www.plus.de/JAY-tech-FS170-Dia-und-Filmscanner/Scanner/Technik-Multimedia/p-1068698000#productDescriptionAnchor

I know...it's in German, but you get the idea. It is a portable scanner, to scan negatives and slides. I would love to scan all my old negatives, and Juergen's dads negatives and slides. All my wedding photos etc... just think of the possibility's ! All of Jessica and Nicole's baby pictures. All my childhood photos! It looks so easy to use, I wonder if we can buy one for Richard (Juergen's dad) to scan his own slides? Maybe one for my mom and dad? Maybe it could be a good job for my dad to scan pictures?

http://www.tchibo.de
/Dia-Scanner-p200021503.html

and this one is at tchibo for 59 euro

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Juergen, what in the world?

Juergen sent this to me, he thought it was funny. All I can say is I would need allot more then $800 to drop my towel! In fact, I would not open the door in a towel. I would just speak through the mail slot like I did the other day when I lost my keys. I have no problems saying come back later, or call back later! The moral of the story is take the time to ask questions!



5-Minute Management Course



Lesson 1:
A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings.

The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs.

When she opens the door, there stands Bob , the next-door neighbor..

Before she says a word, Bob says, 'I'll give you $800 to drop that towel.'

After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob , after a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.

The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs.

When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, 'Who was that?'

'It was Bob the next door neighbor,' she replies.

'Great,' the husband says, 'did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?'

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I got a new clock

Today was full! First of all, Jessica slept well. Thank you for your prayers. She gave me nearly 7 full, wonderful hours of sleep. I felt like a different person today! I actually had the energy to get through the day! The boys got their new braces. I'll post pictures tomorrow (God willing). Philip had speech therapy, Nicole had her small group, and Jessica had her big Christmas party at school. Philip broke his bed. I bought him a new bed. It is rather complicated to put together. I'm letting the boys build it. It is taking hours. There must be a 100 screws in the thing. So far they are doing a great job. It's one more thing for me to be proud of! They really seem to like to build things. I mean real things, not just Lego. Philip especially is getting very handy with tools. It's another reason to buy a farm house! I made him read 1/2 hour. I'm also making Thomas do extra math. But you don't have to make Philip pick up a screw driver. It's so amazing and encouraging! Oh, I bought a basic Alarm clock. Not a fancy one, an old fashion kind you wind up. I'm figuring it out! I'm figuring out how to parent 5 complicated kids alone. Nicole has really been a great help...so it's not true I'm alone. I'm so glad Juergen comes home in 5 days, but we are doing OK. We are not killing each other, and I'm not dead! The kids are being very good. Jess is sleeping, and I even found time to watch a movie on TV (Coming to America). Juergen quoted the movie in his Dr Thesis, "when you think of trash, think of Akeem". He did a paper on computer garbage collection. I thought of my prince! He is in Canada right now, but he is coming to America on Friday. He will get to see my family. I'm so glad about that!
(excuse the language...it's rude)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The brag letter



I love this! I'm trying to write a Christmas letter to send in a real card. I even bought a Newsletter template. I'm not sure I'll be able to find the right words to summurize 2010. I need to give it some thought...and for that I will need sleep. I'm not getting much sleep these days. I think the you tube letter sounds pretty cool. Maybe I can do that instead. I am not sure I even have anyones physical address. What was I thinking when I thought about sending cards? I guess I was feeling like I would love to get some cards. I hardly ever do get them. I was totally willing to send some cards out to get some cards back. But I'm being honest with you, it may not get done. Right now I feel like I am just able to keep my head above water. With out Juergen, there is no creativity! No time for it!

sick tired

Jessica slept for 3 hours in the afternoon yesterday. I could not wake her. Unfortunately she would not go to bed until 1:15 am. Then at 1:30am I hear the TV blasting. I race down the stairs in my socks and tripped. I caught myself after a few steps. That could have been tragic! It was Jessica that turned the TV on. I made her come upstairs with me. She slept in my room, at 1:30 am. I had to get up at 6:30am with the other kids. Then I got Sarah and Jess off to school. I took the dog for a walk, took the trash out (almost forgot) and did a load of dishes. I'm sick tired. I can go back to bed. Please pray for Jessica's sleep. This is really killing me! I can not live on 5 bad hours of sleep per night. Being the single mom of 5 is hard enough...I need sleep!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Praying for answers

I was able to talk with Juergen for an hour. He couldn't sleep (jet lag). I guess the trip skiing was amazing! He sent me a few pictures. The camera isn't the best, but it gives you an idea of how beautiful it is there. He totally deserved that day. I'm so glad it went well!

I spent too much of our talk griping about the boys and what they have been up to. I guess I just needed to vent. In the end I remembered the times the boys have made me proud. I said we should pray for those times to happen more often. When Philip got home I talked with him about "getting into " other peoples stuff. Like digging into the other kids Christmas socks at 12:30 am. That was a downer talk. But I prayed that he would make me proud. And 20 minutes later I hear hammering. It was Philip building an arena for the tops he got from Santa. The idea was original he said. It works too. I shake my head! That boy really gets to me!





warm reading

I just ordered the book "The Homeowners Guide to Renewable Energy: Achieving Energy Independence Through Solar, Wind, Biomass and Hydropower". I still have my eye on the old farm house. One thing I do want is Biomass heat and Solar energy. After all, if you need to redo the whole house, you might as well do it right. Being sustainable means having Energy Independence.

Old Saint Nick

It is Saint Nicholas day in Germany. Santa did remember to fill the socks last night. And at 12:30 am I heard someone moving around loudly in the dinning room. It was Philip digging through the socks. Not just his, but every ones!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Ugly truth

The truth is I hate alarm clocks. I would use stronger words but I don’t talk like that. I have a very bloody history with alarm clocks. I kill them! Really…I do. I smash them, crash them, and through them out windows. They are rude! They disturb my sleep. I choose to avoid alarm clocks. Juergen wakes me up in the morning. He is not rude, he is thoughtful. This morning Juergen’s alarm clock went off at 7:30 am. I do know how to turn it off. What I don’t know how to do is set it. I need to wake the kids up tomorrow at 6:30am. I can not see the small controls on the clock with out my glasses. I’ll need to figure this out before tomorrow. Did I ever tell you Juergen gave me an alarm clock as a gift for our 20th wedding Anniversary? He was in the hospital with Sarah. He was stressed. I figure he just wasn’t thinking straight. I didn’t try to read more into it then that! He has tried to give me watches too. That’s a whole other story. I love that Juergen wakes me up each morning. It’s one of the many things I love about him! There is no way I want some rude little clock doing the job! I wonder if Nicole knows how to set the alarm clock?

time change Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday, December 04, 2010

it's a night

I finally got Jessica down for the night. I think it's about midnight. I think Juergen arrives in Canada very soon. He will still need to get his bag and find the hotel. It has been a long trip for him.

Oh, just as I was writing this Juergen called me. He just got there. He had a good flight. He watched 3 movies. That helped him pass the time. The suitcase was just a few ounces under weight. So thank God he didn't have to pay extra for it! And he says the airport is very nice!

Anyway, we did fine today. Nicole and Sarah went to a Christmas play at our church. They pulled kids from the audience to play parts. Sarah was Mary. I drove the boys and Jessica around for a few hours. We looked at the outside of 2 houses that are for sale. I didn't like them, so they can be marked off my list. I also showed Thomas the outside of the Christian school. We timed the distance from the school to our house. It took 20 Min's and 5 seconds. Not bad! I watched the movie step up 3 with the kids. We love it! I made cookies with Sarah. I did laundry, dishes etc... and I missed Juergen. So now we are about 24 hours closer to his return home. I'm grateful he arrived safely! The house is quite, and I will say goodnight!

Safe trip

When you need grace you find it. I was able to go shopping last night. I stocked up on food for the next few days. I also made sure I had the special stuff that needs to be in the house on Monday morning. Santa comes Sunday night you know. The kids would be disappointed if he didn't show up at our house.
We had a nice breakfast this morning. I told Juergen I feel like a tight rope walker. When he is not there, I can still walk the rope...but I'm operating without a net. I'm sure by Gods grace we will manage it. I just feel nervous without him. If you had my kids you would feel nervous too.
So Juergen is on his way to the airport. God willing, he will have a safe trip to Canada. He didn't have much room for his own cloths. I packed his suitcase full of stuff for my family. Actually, he packed the case himself...I just gave him the stuff. I hope it doesn't cost extra money for being too heavy. I also hope Juergen can upgrade to business class. It is a very long trip. God willing, he will go skiing tomorrow. As long as he doesn't break anything, I'm very glad he gets to ski. The location looks breathtaking. He has been walking stairs and ice skating to prepare for this trip. I'm sure it will be amazing! They say Vancouver is also very nice. It's actually warmer in Vancouver then it is here. I bet you can get great Chinese food in Vancouver BC. I understand all the rich people from HongKong moved there before China took HongKong back. I wouldn't mind moving there. At least I would be closer to home. I told Nicole that today. You could see this little bit of panic cross her face. She is planning on going to Art school in Karlsruhe. I guess it would be OK with her if she left the country...but we are not allowed to move! Don't worry Nicole, we will not leave you! I'm not planning on moving to Canada. If I leave Germany, I want to live in a warm land! Maybe Thailand? But I don't see it happening...don't worry! There is a Pixar studio in Vancouver BC. Maybe I will visit Nicole there someday?

Friday, December 03, 2010

I need grace!

Juergen goes to Canada tomorrow. Jessica has been home most of the week, sick. I haven't been able to shop or cook ahead. I'm so tired. Jess was up until 3am. I'm really trying to stay calm, but I'm not looking forward to the next 10 days! Please pray that Jessica feels better next week. I need my mornings to get organized. I'm already living on coffee and Juergen hasn't even gone yet.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

day one

Shelley (my sister) wrote that it's time to watch "It's a wonderful Life". I'm sad Juergen is going to be gone 10 days (until Dec 13Th). I figure I can watch It's a wonderful life in 14 parts as a Advent calendar of sorts. Each day one part until Juergen returns home! Some of you think I'm crazy because I miss Juergen so much. You do not have our kids...it's a 2 person job!

I was locked in today

Jessica has a very bad cold. Juergen let Jessica and I sleep in this morning. He got the other kids off to school. When I got up I started to clean the house. At around 11am the door bell rings. It's the mail man with a package. The door was locked, and I could not find my keys. I could not open the door so I signed for the package through the mail slot (strange)! I looked some more, but then I remembered my keys were in my car! I could get out of the house through the back door, but I wouldn't be able to get my keys. I called Juergen. He came and got the keys (thank God he had a spare key). What will I do with out him when he goes to Canada and America? He is such a great help and I will miss him so much! I can not even sleep when he is not home. I stay half awake listening for the kids.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

it's time to dance!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

An eye for a bargain



Juergen took a few hours off to look at the farm house in Kronau. It was way too small for our family. The garden and barn are really nice. The house it’s self needs allot of work. The house cost 165,000 Euro. For another 100,000 Euro, it could be nice for 4 people. We are 7 people, and need much more space. It did manage to make my favorite farm house in Bad Schönborn look really good! Maybe Juergen is ready to ask an architect to look at the farm house to see what can be done to it…and at what price. I traded 3 days for 2 hours. Juergen was suppose to take 3 days off before his trip to Canada. Things at work are so crazy he just couldn’t do that. So instead I asked him for the 2 hours it took to see this house. If in the end I get my farm house in Bad Schönborn, you can say I was getting a very good deal?

The photo is Nicole’s latest painting. I think it’s very cool!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I miss him already!

I hate getting up on a cold morning. I feel like an old car, that has to have it's motor running 20 minutes before you can drive. Juergen jumps out of bed and just goes! He has plans to travel on business next week (starting on Saturday). He will go to Canada and America. People think I'm a saint raising 5 very complex kids. The truth is, I don't do it alone. Juergen is a very hands on dad. I really miss him when he is gone! I'm already dreading the long 10 days! It's especially hard in the mornings. Jessica stays up so late, and I have to get up at 6:30 with the other kids. I'm excited for Juergen. He gets to ski, and visit Vancouver, and see my family. He of course will be working very hard. It isn't a vacation trip. But it should be interesting for him. By the grace of God, we will manage with out him...but I'll be so glad when he gets home! I'm so blessed to be walking this road with such a wonderful friend.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wouldn't it be cool?



and wouldn't it be cool to build a guest house from straw bale? You could even build the back of a passive solar green house with straw bale walls and the front being recycled windows.

looking ahead



I'm looking at a farm house on Tuesday morning. It is in Kronau, about a 5 minute bike ride from the Kronau/Bad Schönborn s-bahn station. It has a very large garden. The house needs to be renovated, but the price of the house is very low. What's good about renovating a house is you can try to make it as sustainable as you can. I'm interested in solar electricity, biomass heat etc... And if you have biomass heat, you can even make your own pellets. You can use leaves, junk mail, and grass to make pellets. I can send Philip out to collect leaves, and turn it into energy that keeps our house warm. The farm house has a small barn...the perfect place to make pellets! I would probable have gas heat, with biomass stoves in the house. That way we could use either or both forms of energy. The biomass heaters could lower our heating costs, or maybe even do the whole job. I don't know if this will be our house, but I would love my future house to include biomass heat.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas past

In Germany you usually put the tree up late. German homes are very dry, and many Germans use real candles on the tree. I've always thought the candles were crazy, but most people don't have my kids! I must admit real candles on a fresh tree are lovely. I do love real trees! Anyway, we put our artificial tree up today. Many years we have a real tree, and some years we go with our artificial tree. I would like to say we are saving the environment by not cutting down a tree. That wouldn't be truthful! I want to go to Juergen's dads house for Christmas (in North Germany). I just don't want to deal with a live tree in the house. It would be a fire risk to kept one up when we are not home, and I don't want to take it down before we go. We decorated early so I could give away the boxes of extra ornaments. I have far too much Christmas stuff. It takes up too much of my storage space. I figured that if I wanted to give it away, I had better do that early, when someone actually wants it! My sister and mom are doing the same thing, but I had the idea years ago (I just never followed through on it). Here are photos of some of my favorite Christmas things. Many of them are things the kids have made. I also love the Playmobel. I wish I could say I was in a good mood. Thomas was juggling glass Christmas balls and broke 2. They were not special, and it all got cleaned up. 12 and 13 year old boys just stress me out at times. It's sort of the up tightness you would feel having a bull in a china shop. Most of this stuff is very special, collected over many years. It all brings back the Christmas' past...and they could never understand how sad I would feel if they juggled away my treasures!

Friday, November 26, 2010

This old house

This is a house I'm going to be looking at (God willing) on Tuesday morning. It needs allot of renovation, but the location is pretty good and the price is low. The garden has 919 m2. It's a big...we will see! But here are some photo's anyway.







Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanks giving everyone! This is just your average Thursday here in Germany. I call it the oddest day of the year. I know everyone back home is eating turkey and pumpkin pie. I don't even have my turkey soup made. It looks like it will be too busy to get that made today! Life is just so full! But I guess I can be thankful for my full life! I thank God for my 5 beautiful children. I thank God for my amazing husband. I'm thankful for all my friends. I'm thankful for my freedom. And I am so thankful for the love of God!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Outlive your life

I just started to read Outlive your life by Max Lucado. This book is my kind of book! It inspires all of us to do something to change the world. It encourages us not to be great, but to do great things. Everyone has value...and God wants us to make a difference! I think I want to study this book in a small group next spring. And more importantly, I want to outlive my life!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dancing with the Stars

I called my dad tonight to tease him about dancing with the stars. He of course thinks Jennifer should win because she is the best dancer. I agree, she is the best dancer. But Bristol Palin is the most improved. My mom told dad he wasn't allowed to break the TV if Bristol wins! So dad...be good! I almost think Bristol deserves to win because of the unfair way she was attacked when she was just a "private person". They put her on the show totally expecting her to be voted off early. People watched to see a train wreak! That took courage! But after I talked to dad I watched the dances on you tube. I love Kyle! He has a killer personality. I think all the black Democrats should get out and vote for him! Sorry, just kidding! People are so ridiculous! Isn't it all so stupid!!!! IT IS A DANCE SHOW! People should really relax a little! What will the next election cycle be like? I love Palin, but I sure hope she doesn't run. She brings out the ugly in some people. The country has some major problems. People need to stop this stupid fighting! I applaud Bristol Palin. She is a shy young kid. Boy has she grown! Totally amazing! But North Korea is trying to start a war with South Korea. Get a perspective. It is just a show. It's OK to elect winners of dance shows based on popularity...and not talent. Now when we start voting politicians into office based on ability and qualifications and record, we may actually see some change we can believe in!

UPDATE: Jennifer (the best dancer) won. Kyle took 2nd place, and Bristol took 3rd place. America voted...and it worked out! I am proud of Bristol Palin. I think she is very brave for a 20 year old kid. I'm glad she did not win. If she won, some crazy person would try to kill her.

The story of Jonah

The story of Jonah from Corinth Baptist Church on Vimeo.



This is so cute! My mom sent me the link. This is word for word from a video Jessica use to watch. I've heard this before, a 1000 times before.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

she is sleeping

Poor Jessica is really sick. She slept most of yesterday, all night, and sleeps now. She is very warm. You can see the stress in her face. My poor sweetheart! My mom asks to hear more about the adult autism center. I do not know much (yet). It will be in Sandhausen. This is very near to where we live. They will have their own house just for autistic people. Jessica will work there during the day. We have no interest in putting her in a residential situation. It is just a day care situation. It looks like it will start in September. It looks like her teacher will go with her. We hope she can continue to learn. She likes to work, but she also likes to learn. To be honest it seems like the 100% dream situation for her. Everything depends on funding. That's being considered right now...how to pay for it. I have peace about it.

Today Juergen has gone with Nicole to the Art Academy of Karlsruhe. It is the 2ND oldest art University in Germany and very famous. They have a student information day today. Nicole will be able to find out if this is really the direction she should follow. Juergen and I where sceptical about an art degree. But her painting has gotten amazingly good lately. I think I would still like her to get a degree in art education. That way she can work as a teacher. I want her to have the means to earn a living. She may be a great artist, but often it's hard to eat from art. She is very interested in illustration. At Karlsruhe she will learn all forms of classical Art. painting, sculpting and illustration.

Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe

The painting above is by Akela Möhren who was a student in Karlsruhe 1959-1962


and this is by Wilhelm Hasemann 1850-1913



and this is by Alexander Kanoldt 1881-1939 who was also a student in Karlsruhe

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

God is in control

I was going out to breakfast with a good friend today but Jessica got sick. She has a cold. Her nose is running, she has a cough and a small fever. She fell asleep on the couch in the living room. It's so sweet to see her face. We found out that she probablly does get to go to the new autism house they are planning for people with adult autism. She was going to go to a disabled workshop after she finshes school. We never really felt excited about this. Then we got word a workshop just for autistic people was being planned. Now we have heard Jess can probably go there, and her dear teacher may even go with her. Jessica has a private teacher she loves. Her teacher may even get to continue to be with Jessica. You know what, I did not stress out over her future, I prayed. Now I can just cry as I see her future unfold before her. We did not plan it, but God had it planned! It is not 100% sure she get’s to go…but it looks very good!

The other news of the day is a new house I want to look at. It’s being sold privately (that saves about 4% off the price). It still cost more then I want to spend, but the location is pretty good. Maybe it's too hard to get to? I need to drive there to see! It has a very large yard, and it’s been renovated. I’ll write more about it later if we get to see it. I guess what I need right now is to remember that I prayed about Jessica’s school. I did not stress out, I prayed. Now I’m seeing her future unfold perfectly. It was out of my hands…and God has done more then I could ever ask or hope. So I need to pray for my house! HERE is the website for the house. It’s in German, but there are allot of pictures.

Update on the house...
Jessica and I drove there. The location is awful! It also looks like they have a great photographer because the house doesn't look at all like the pictures. This is easy...no way..no...sorry but no!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The weather and a 100 year party

We had really beautiful weather yesterday. I guess it was the calm before the storm. Today it's dark and wet. I'm afraid it is going to be cold and dark for months. I'm no fan of winter. I'm sorting socks today. This is one of my least favorite jobs. We have 14 feet in this house. Each one of us has way too many socks...and it's so hard to get them sorted out! I often feel like tossing the whole pile out and starting over. I’m also thinking about the 100th birthday party of Juergen and I. I think I want to do it in the spring (April). I think we should have it at our church. I want everyone to do skits and sing songs. I also want Juergen and I to each give a 10 minute testimony about our lives and faith. We are now 100 years old together…but only until June! Would any of my friends or family from America like to come to our party?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's been a full day

Last night we had a really wonderful birthday dinner at an all you can eat Chinese restaurant. They also had Mongolian barbecue. My friends loved the sea food. They had octopus and shrimp. I loved the sushi. But more then the food, I love my dear friends. I love sitting down with them and sharing stories. I prayed it would be a restful and inspiring evening. I was very blessed.
This morning I drained most of the fish tank and moved it across the room. The kids helped. Juergen and Nicole picked up my china cabinet and side board. I love the furniture! I could just sit there and look at it for hours! The big problem is, my house is not nice enough for this furniture. We need a new house! Actually it looks very good! I'll take pictures tomorrow. I'm really tired!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Life, death and gingerbread

I spent the whole morning taking everything out of our very large living room cabinets, moving the cabinets, and putting everything back. We have way too much stuff! Anyway, it's done. I had to make some space in the room. God willing, Juergen and Nicole will pick up my China cabinet and sideboard. We still need to move the fish tank. And I can already hear Juergen tell me for the 100Th time how he wants to get rid of the fish. I like the fish, and so does Jessica. In fact I think Jessica always wants to sleep in the living room because of the sound of the fish tank pump. I personally like to drink my coffee and watch the fish. It calms my mind. So I want to move the tank to the other side of the room, but I want to keep it!

I will have my birthday party tonight (again God willing) at a Chinese Restaurant. I have invited 8 good friends. I will not need to cook or clean, just enjoy! Two of the friends coming are Peter and Petra Lang. We use to live in a 2 family house together in Rot. Petra called me today. Our old landlord died of stomach Cancer. The funeral is today. She will go, and send my condolences. He was only 71 years old. Now that I'm 49, that seems very young to me! He was a very cheerful and kind man. I'm sorry to hear this news.
I am going to be building gingerbread houses with Sarah and Byram. Byram is the little boy I'm watching, so Philip's best friend, and sister can attend Royal Rangers. So instead of attending a funeral, I'm making gingerbread houses. I'm actually considering inviting a few other children I've met. We will be making cookies, doing crafts, and anything else I can think of. So do not be surprised if I have a half a dozen kids at my house every Friday afternoon. God willing it will give us a door into their lives, and community. I was in the home of Sarah's best friend last night. They had a birthday party. It makes me happy to see the love this family has for their daughter. It makes me sad to see the poverty they live with. I want to bring paint, and flowers there. I want to give them our extra blankets, and toys. I know we don't have a good enough relationship yet. You don't just ask a family...can I paint your house? But someday I will ask them. In the spring I will bring flowers, and build my high raised beds there. They will eat salad, and tomato's because I have a vision to bring it there. I can not make it all better for them...but I will do what I can. I would feel so sad if I just enjoyed my good life, and ignored the poverty 3 blocks away.
I'm so grateful to God for blessing us with every good thing. But God does not bless any of us so that we can keep it to ourselves. He blesses us to bless others. My grandpa Moreno use to pack his truck with rice and beans, blankets and medication and drive it down to Mexico every year. That made such a strong impression on me. I'll never forget it. You are blessed to be a blessing. And I am so blessed...I am aware of the riches of God. Sometimes I feel so hummbled...how could I have so much?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

guess who?

this is me...but with a smaller yard



I want to grow my own food! I want a bigger yard, and a place for chickens. This lady has a great way to collect water. She also keeps bees.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Whistler Blackcomb



Juergen has not gone sking for a few years. I'm afraid he will break his leg...but oh well! He is hoping to ski at Whistler Blackcomb for a weekend before working all week in Canada. I guess the other members of his group are planing on going there. I'm not looking forward to having him gone an extra weekend, but I'm excited for him. It looks like he is going to have a great time!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

the house I rented





Juergen is going to be in Canada on business next month. On his way home he will stop in Seattle to see my brother and his family. My parents are also going to drive up for the weekend. Rick has a full house right now, so I rented a house for the weekend. Juergen is excited about the house! It has a view of Puget Sound from the deck. He can sit in the hot tub and watch the eagles flying (of course it will be December...so I'm not sure if he will really want to sit outside). I just got off the phone with my parents. I'm sorry I can not come but I'm sending my best man, and Chrsitmass gifts!

I had an idea

OK, I have loads of ideas!!! Anyway, I had this idea yesterday. I had just dropped Sarah off at her Karate class and I met Elisabeth's mother. Elisabeth is this beautiful blond haired blue eyed girl. She could be in TV commercials because she is so cute!!! She rides the bus with Sarah to school. Her mom is from Russia (Siberia no less). Anyway, it was nice to meet Elisabeth's mom. I was on my way home and I thought again about all the doors God seems to be opening up to me here in the neighborhood. Doors to bless and care for people like Elisabeth's mom. I thought again about how confused I am about my house and my garden. My house is fine, I just want a bigger yard. I really don't like the idea of moving. So I get this idea. There is a large piece of land (an empty field) behind my house. Maybe I should start praying for 200-300m2 behind my house? Now you probably think I'm crazy. Why didn't I think of that before. But land is so expensive. And Why would the owner break that piece of land up? He could build an apartment building there. I don't think it could happen easily in a natural way . If it happens, it would be an amazing thing. I don't know what is right. I'm willing to move, but I'm willing to stay too. I just want a garden. Maybe the garden is just behind me...I just haven't asked for it? I love old houses with big gardens...but I love people too. God has been putting so many people in my path, and they live here.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Christmas is early this year!

I saw a buffet and sideboard (1920's, Italian) on sale on eBay. The two pieces together were at a very low price. I have been looking for a buffet. They are even in Heidelberg! So anyway, I called Juergen and asked him if I could have them for Christmas. He is so great!!!! He said yes. Before I instant bought them, I measured the walls in the living room and dinning room. They will fit PERFECT!!!! So I will get an early Christmas gift. Juergen got me very nice porcelain dishes in Italian style about 10 years ago. Now my dishes will have a home! What a way to begin a week!







Saturday, November 06, 2010

I get the camera!

Juergen likes the camera and ordered it on Amazon! Cool!!!

this camera is on sale at REAL



Juergen said I could have a new camera for my birthday. This one looks pretty cool! It's on sale at REAL.

it's still for sale...just waiting for Juergen to say yes!

making dirt and growing kids

The kids and I spent a few good hours in the garden. We built 2 large compost piles using the soil from my 40 potted tomato plants, leaves, and horse manure I bought on e-bay. I'm one of the only crazy people in the world that pays for poop! I added compost worms and wet newspaper. We should have really good dirt next spring. Now if I only had a garden to put it in! We harvested the last of the heirloom tomatoes. I’ll save some more seeds. I also harvested Brussels sprouts, and oregano. The season is about over. I just have to finish the cleanup. In 4 months I’ll be starting seeds again. I told Philip I would pay him 50 cents a bag for leaves. I’m making as much dirt as I can…I hope God gives me a big garden to put it in! It’s really cool to be teaching my kids how to make good compost. Someday they will have the knowledge they need to grow their own food. I feel like this is one of the most valuable things they can learn. None of us knows when we will need this knowledge to survive. At the very least, they are learning to work as a team. I’m so proud of how they are growing!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Sunday Nov 7th is Orphan Sunday

Today I took Philip and Thomas to the Orthodontist. Afterwards we stopped by Chang Mai Food land (a Thai food hole in the wall restaurant). We ordered the food to go. As we waited there we talked. I remembered when Thomas first came home from Thailand. He wanted to have his hair colored yellow. I said no. He hated everything to do with Thailand. He would cry when we went to a Thai Restaurant. Why? Because he feared going back to the orphanage. He never wanted to be an orphan again. So we took a vacation to Thailand. I made him face that fear. We went to his orphanage. Then, we left with him. After that he knew he was not an orphan anymore...he was a son. He looks forward to Christmas. He knows he will not be disappointed. And he is proud of his beautiful dark brown hair and brown eyes. He loves Thai food. He loves his beautiful home country! I've seen the eyes of kids that have waited...and have lost hope. Adoption is such a powerful thing! If you can not adopt, help some one who can.
Nicole wants to go on a trip after she graduates from school. Thailand is her number one choice. We will see. I told her to look into volunteering at this Christian orphanage in Bangkok. She could maybe go with her friends for 2 weeks of vacation, and then stay for 3-6 months of volunteer work. Just one of our MANY ideas. We will see what actually happens. I would love to go to Thailand again!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Migraine

I woke up with a Migraine headache. I don't get them so often, but more and more in the past year. I know it's hormonal (I'm 49 years old). This one was so bad I felt like I could vomit. I took aspirin, and a hot bath. Then I went back to bed for 2 hours. I've got so much to do today. Oh well! Nicole is still doing the laundry, and the kids are playing on the computer. I feel much better now. I've got to get some yard work done. The air will probably help?
Migraine Neck Pain Aspirin Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I'm so tired!

I'm really tired. I've been doing a MT of cloths because of the lice. I washed Sarah's hair, and my hair. Nicole washed her own hair. We still need to wash Jessicas hair. I'm going to fall into bed. I'm glad about the US elections! Sorry Californinia didn't elect Meg Whitman...but oh well! I do love politics.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Oh, fun!

My head has been itching the last 2 days. Nicole brought me lice! She has lice, I have it, and Sarah and Jessica will have it too (we share the same brush). So I get to buy the special shampoo for all of us. I also get to do more laundry then you have to do in a month. Just what I wanted to do this week! Believe me I had other plans!

We had a nice trip

It's 5 hours there and then 5 hours home but we had a great weekend with Richard (Juergen's dad). He is doing well. He forgets things more and more (he is 83). But he can manage his daily living pretty well. Juergen's brother is very near to help. I wish we had that big house that was for sale. I could have a room for Richard to live in. I can not imagine him wanting to really move...but he would come for very long visits. Richard is a great man. Juergen has a wonderful father! I loved cooking for him. He was very happy to try new stuff. I can not cook as well as Juergen's mom could...but I've gotten better. I baked cheese wrapped in Italian ham. Juergen doesn't like it, but the kids love it. Richard loves it too. In fact he eat so much cheese, I thought he would get a stomachache. I'm hoping we can go up again at Christmas. I invited Ricard here, but he didn't seem too comfortable with the thought. He does fine when he is home. It seems about all he can manage. I respect that.

Friday, October 29, 2010

It was faster then I had thought

Last week I thought I should ask the sister of Philip's best friend to go to Royal Rangers. I knew I would need to take care of the little brother during the 2 hours of Royal Rangers because the mom is not home. I was thinking about it...but Philip did it. He asked, they said yes, and they showed up. What could I do? I said OK. I brought the sister, and I carved Halloween pumpkins with he brother. He had a great time with me. Next time we will make gingerbread houses. The sister had a great time too. Philip's best friend loves it. And Philip has already invited his other friend from school. The problem with this is that the other friend is Muslim. I need to speak with his parents first. I don't want any trouble. So, I guess I'm taking care of a little boy (the terror of the neighborhood) every Friday. He was nothing but good for me. Please pray for them. They are so open to know God. They are so hungry for love.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

my birthday

Today is my birthday. I’ve reached an age (49) where I have enough of everything. In fact, I have cardboard boxes in my dinning room I plan to fill with the extra stuff (books, knick knacks, and old cloths). My closets and shelves are full, and over flowing! It’s not that I don’t like nice stuff. I do. I would have been more then excited to buy that Art Nouveau mansion I looked at last month. But I’m trying to be content with what I have. And I’m trying to let go of all the extra stuff that clutters my life. Some times I’m embarrassed by how much I have. Sarah played with her best friend from school on Monday. Afterwards I took her home. Her parents are very poor immigrants. Sarah packs extra food in her lunch everyday. I suspect she is feeding this girl. When I walked into her housing complex I felt ashamed by my wealth. I was humbled. I don’t know how else to put it. How can I have so much, and they have so little? It was humbling.
This morning Juergen woke me early. The kids wanted to give me gifts before school. Sarah gave me a sweet stuffed polar bear. Philip bought me a dancing dog. Juergen took the morning off and took me out to breakfast. I got cards, phone calls, and a cake baked by Jessica and her teacher. Again I am humbled. I’m overwhelmed by the love of my family and friends. Sometimes I can not speak with out crying. I’m over whelmed by God’s grace. But my heart breaks for the poor. I find it uneasy to walk in a world with so much goodness and so much poverty. I guess God believes I can handle the extremes. I find myself more and more confused by it all. I’m very grateful for all that I have. I hope I can help lift people out of physical, emotional, and spiritual poverty. I find it all odd…life is so extreme. I guess this isn’t your typical birthday reflection. It’s what I feel right now. I feel overwhelmed by goodness, and overwhelmed by the needs of others. My heart and mind are much too small to manage it. I’m so glad I’m not God. How can he manage it all?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Addictive Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients
• 1 1/2 cups raisins
• 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 4 cups white sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
• 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
• 6 eggs
• 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin
• 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
• 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Grease three 12 cup muffin pans, or line with paper muffin liners. Soak raisins in hot water for ten minutes to plump, then drain.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground cloves. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, pumpkin, and applesauce, until smooth. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to make a smooth batter. Stir the raisins and walnuts into the batter. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


this is from allrecipes.com
I have fresh pumpkin I need to use
these are also low fat, and maybe you can use Agave nectar instead of all that sugar? I guess you would use 1 cup agave nectar instead of 4 cups sugar? My guess...I'll try it.
I'm also going to use 2 cups whole wheat flour instead of all white flour. In fact, I might even add oatmeal too. Let's get some fiber!

Won't you be my neighbor?



Does anyone want to be our neighbor? This house is for sale. The house just behind it is our house. It's 8 rooms, 210 m2, with 388m2 garden, and only 279,000Euro. It’s near the street car, schools, shopping, our church, swimming, tennis and many other sports. I would love to have a friend move next door! I don’t think we are going anywhere soon. God is giving me a heart for the kids in the neighborhood. I also have an appointment to look at a garden in Leimen on November 5th. So maybe I can have my house, and a vegetable garden too. I do not care about moving, I just wanted garden space! Here is the link to the house that’s for sale.

http://www.immobilienscout24.de/expose/57746876?is24EC=IS24&style=is24&navigationbarurl=/Suche/P-2/Haus-Kauf/Baden-Wuerttemberg/Rhein-Neckar-Kreis/Leimen

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Looking



Thomas got a book for his birthday. The English title is "There be Dragons". They made a movie about it. The movie is going to come out next year. Thomas wanted to read the book on his class trip. I said no. Juergen said maybe. It is a very popular book, but so was Harry Potter. I'm thinking why read this when you can read Narnia? And after Narnia read The Lord of the Rings. Why spend your time filling your mind with questionable stuff when you can have a story that is sure? I do not want my son addicted to dark literature. I have not read the book. Maybe it's Ok? I don't really know. But I ordered CS Lewis The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in German. He can read it before he sees the movie.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's time to pack your shoe boxes

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/operation_narnia/

Every year we try to pack at least one shoebox for every member of our family. It's an easy way to teach your kids to give. Please consider taking part in Operation Christmas Child. This is a program run by Samaritans Purse. They bring millions of shoe boxes packed with toys and school supplies to needy children all over the world. If you want to give me a gift for my birthday this year, please don't buy me anything...just pack a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child. You can find instructions and ideas at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/operation_narnia/ . Just imagine the joy of a child who recieves a new toy...it's so easy to be part of that blessing!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

the news

Yesterday was very full. Nicole went to Vienna, we cleaned the yard and house, the boys had a party, and we went to a party. The boy's party went really well. They bowled, eat pizza, then came home and played on the computer. It was Thomas' first real friend party. He was very happy! I'm so blessed he had a great time! My camera is broken. I took photo's at the bowling alley, but they just didn't turn out! My camera is totally broken! I sent the small spare camera with Nicole. Juergen says he will buy me a new camera for my birthday. I was hoping I could get by without a new camera. I wanted a paint gun for my birthday. But the camera died just in time! Our babysitter can not watch the kids until next month, so I'll celebrate my birthday then. Maybe we can rent a paint gun? I want to paint the inside of my house next month!

The boys started to attend Royal Rangers 2 weeks ago. This week Philip brought his best friend to the group. The friend loved it. I would like to see Victoria, the sister of Philips friend attend Royal Rangers. The problem is, the mother works. Victoria is watching the youngest brother. If Victoria goes to Royal rangers, then who will watch the young brother? Should I watch the little brother so Victoria can go to Royal Rangers? The little brother is the terror of the neighborhood. But going to Royal Rangers could transform Victoria's whole life! Thomas may also ask a few friends to attend the group. I watch Sarah and Jessica during that time. Juergen will have to come home early so I can manage it. In a year or 2 the little brother could also attend Royal Rangers. It's just a few hours a week for one or 2 years. But what's that compared to the life long impact this could have? I must be getting old because it seems kind of scarry to me! This kid is a real handful!

Friday, October 22, 2010

packed

Nicole leaves in the early am. I will miss her! She will be gone one week (God willing). We plan to go to Juergen's dads house when she returns. Thomas also has a class trip. He will go to Stuttgart for 3 days next week. Tomorrow Philip and Thomas have a joint birthday bowling party. They both invited 4 kids, and 3 kids from both boys can come. But 8 boys is a good number. They bowl, eat pizza, then come to our house to play and eat some more! Should be loud! Nicole is leaving at a pretty good time! Philip and Thomas are both excited. Thomas has never really had a friend party. I'm so glad he finally has friends to ask!

Juergen and I also attend my good friends 50Th birthday party tomorrow night. Busy weekend! But first we clean house, and yard.