Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thank you Elke and Happy birthday Mom!

I found a large red basket in a second hand shop today. I've been collecting candy for my family the past 2 months. We gave up sugar for lent. They will sure be excited about this loot on Sunday! I have American and German chocolate, and real jellybeans. I generally make a family basket instead of individual baskets. It’s just so much easier then 7 baskets! I also bought some water plants. A good friend gave me all sorts of fun stuff including large a planter with a water proof liner. I added stones to the bottom of the planter and water plants. I’ll take photos once the mud settles. My friend Elke gave me a pressure canner and old jars and lids. I am so amazed at her generosity! Thank you so much Elke!!! You will get lots of fresh salad and tomato’s this summer if I am successful at growing them!

Today is my moms birthday. I really wish I could be there. I am so grateful I got to come even if the time was short. I love you mom and dad!

Video of Italy...very good


This is an hour long video of Northern Italy. It's really well done by PBS. I know we will not be able to see it all in just 12 days. This will have to be the first of many trips.

the map to our vacation house

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Monday, March 29, 2010

you tube

Jessica is home from school with a bad cold. I spent the past 2 hours watching you tube videos of Tuscany. There's like a million things to see and do. So much to taste and not enough time. I can not rush...I must go slow. You can not rush the art of life. The only answer is to go again...and again!

No Reservations - Tuscany Part 1 of 5 (he has a dirty mouth but I love this show)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Juergen said yes to Italy! The house is beautiful and cheep. It cost 300Euro per week less then Garmisch. How cool!!! The pool is tiny, but the area is very nice. So yeah!!! We get a vacation in Italy and I am so blessed!

The Villa Tramonte near Pisa

I think I found us a vacation house. It is a private stone house with 4 bedrooms and a pool. It is near Pisa in the Northern part of Tuscany. The cost is very good, 300Euro a week cheaper then Garmisch. It is very close to Lucca, Pisa & Florence. Only 50 km from the coast. It is 8 1/2 hours drive from Heidelberg. The other house I had looked at was 10 hours drive and 200Euro more. They don't allow dogs (at least I think they don't). We will have to pay for a dog hotel. Anyway, if Juergen gives his OK I think we have a house. Nicole has been learning about Italian Architecture in her Art class. We have also been reading about old fruit trees. Maybe I can bring home some old terracotta and some old apple trees?

Friday, March 26, 2010

in Italy

We are looking at affordable vacations. I found a private house in Tuscany. It is 10 hours south of us. It has 4 bedrooms and a garden with it's own private pool. They even allow dogs. The house is about one hour south of Florence and not far from these waterfalls. I've always wanted to go to Terme di Saturnia. It has hot mineral waters. I'm sure it sinks but I bet it makes you feel like a million bucks after you sit there for an hour! We were looking at Garmisch too. I love to hike in Garmisch at the foot of the German alps. Juergen wanted to try something new...and warm. We had 10 days of rain the last time we were in Garmisch. We want to drive and keep the cost down. I really want to get our house painted this year.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'll sleep well

I spent hours in the garden today. The weather was so nice! I planted over 70 pots of seeds. There is green, yellow and green and white zucchini, Chinese cucumber, spaghetti squash, orange mini peppers, black bell pepper, brandy wine pink tomato, Rio Grand tomato, bush beans, and a half dozen variety of flowers (annuals). I'm now out of pots. In 6 weeks I should have a pretty nice garden. I already have onions, radishes, chives and 32 lettuce plants. I will plant carrots and spinach directly into the raised beds tomorrow. Oh the things I could do if only my yard was bigger! I will have loads of plants started to bring to my friend Petra. Thank God she is letting me borrow some of her yard! I’m so tired I could go to bed without dinner! I'm so glad to see the sun!

Monday, March 22, 2010

I have a very happy stomach!

Tonight we eat cheese enchiladas. I brought a can of enchilada sauce and corn tortillas home from America. I got fresh green onions and cheese today. Sarah and Philip helped me put them together. I made a green salad and beans as side dishes. We eat it all up. There was nothing left for lunch tomorrow. I would have taken a photo but the food just didn’t last. It was so good! We can not buy enchilada sauce or corn tortillas here. Sad! I have a very happy stomach!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I went to see "CATS" with Nicole. My good friend Patricia was one of the lead cats! She was great!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

a good day of work

Juergen, the kids and I spent the whole morning working in the garden. We cleaned up all the leaves, moved the compost pile, and planted 2 rhododendrons, 2 azaleas and a hydrina. This afternoon it started to rain. I feel good! Juergen made 2 trips to the dump with green garden waste.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A very nice day

The weather was super nice today. It's amazing what a little sunshine can do for a person. I planted all the flower bulbs I bought last year for my parents. They couldn't bring them home because of Agricultural regulations. I had them outside all winter. I planted about 100 tulips and daffodils. I can hardly find a spot in my small yard to place another plant. We are pretty maxed out here! Nicole and I planted 34 different heirloom tomatoes. I rolled paper pots out of newspaper. We filled these pots with soil, and placed them together in a deep plastic basket. Then I filled the bottom of the basket with water. The water soaked up the pots from the bottom up. Then I made labels for each of the tomatoes. 34 different labels, 7 different variety’s. The tomato seeds are tiny. We were very careful planting the special seeds. Now our tomato seedlings are in the green house. I wouldn't dare think of putting them outside for another 6 weeks. We could get another frost.

I am thinking about teaching Philip's school class how to make an African bag garden. All of the kids in his class come from disadvantaged families. Most are immigrants. All have single moms. All are poor. It's odd that Philip is the only one with a dad at home, and he is pretty well off money wise too. I actually think a dad is worth much more then money. I figure it would only cost us 150 Euros to build a sack garden for each of the kids in Philips class. We could bring the materials over to each kids house. This would give us good contact with the parents. We’ll talk with Philips teacher next week. Nicole is also thinking of going to Baja Mexico to teach how to build a sack garden to the poor people Baja Christian Ministries works with . BCM builds houses for the poor, she would like to teach them how to grow food. Maybe this is what she can do after she graduates next year? I think it's a great idea! BCM has built hundreds of houses for poor families in Baja. They have a goal to build 10,000 in the next 10 years. Nicole said the families could only afford the most basic food. Bag gardens could be easily set up in these yards. It could make a real difference!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More on keyhole gardens

Today I went to a good friends Birthday breakfast. She has allot of friends I've never met before. It was nice, but I think it would have been even nicer just having coffee with my friend. Afterwards I visited another friends garden. She said I could use some of her large yard to plant veggies this year. I have some ideas about what I would like to do. I have some wooden raised beds in my small yard. I would like to move those over to Petra’s yard, and then have Juergen build me a few African keyhole gardens. I have been researching the whole keyhole design. It sounds really cool! It was developed by SEND A COW. The charity send a cow teaches sustainable agriculture to poor families living in Africa. I guess they send cows, but also teach gardening. They stay with a group of families for as much as 5 years, helping them get established. They also teach their families to teach other families. The families that get livestock are required to give the first baby animal to another family. They are also required to pass on seeds and plant seedlings to other family. So when send a cow helps a group of families, it helps the whole community. Who knows, maybe Nicole can go to Africa and work with them as a volunteer? Anyway, I want 2 or 3 keyhole gardens and about 10 to 20 bag gardens. Perhaps I can grow all my families food in my tiny yard? If not, I also have Petra’s yard to play in.

Juergen’s mom died a few years ago today. I don’t think about her in a sad way anymore. I’m simply remembering what a great women she was. I was so blessed to have her as my mother in law and friend! I know she is happy and with God. I miss her but I know she is happy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A keyhole garden

there is a cool idea using gutters here to start plants.

How to help the poor

I got to teach the students at Pepperdine University this morning. About 60 students spend 9 months in Heidelberg every year. I have gotten a chance to share with them 4 times. This morning I told them how they could use their creativity to help the poor in short term projects and projects that lead to long term sustainability. I think the talk went really well. The response was very positive. It makes me nervous to teach anyone these days because I just don't get so much practice. I feel it's an honor to teach these kids. Pepperdine is one of the top Universities in America. These kids could change the world, and I get to influence how they think. I feel blessed!

Monday, March 15, 2010

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Do you know the story "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"? If you give a mouse a cookie he's going to want....and want...and want. We have a neighborhood of mice! They are actually kids that keep showing up at our door. They all have single moms. Their moms are good women, but they are probably stressed out and overwhelmed. Yesterday the doorbell rang a half dozen times before noon. Juergen was at church with the kids. I was home with Jessica (we take turns caring for Jess). I struggle with how much to give the kids. If you give too much, they will live at your door. One little 8 year old boy already does. I think we have gotten to the place we can invite these kids to church. I'm not sure our church would be up to the challenge! These are not the most polite and well behaved kids. They are pretty wild, and unrefined. I remember two boys my dad use to pickup on the church Sunday school bus. They also had a single mom. She would party on Saturday night, and wanted to sleep on Sunday morning. She saw church as free babysitting. The 2 boys came every Sunday morning. One of them got saved, and the other didn't. The boy that got saved went to college, and the other one went to jail. My dad just drove the bus. I want to find a balance at home. I can have the kids invade my house once or twice a week, but we also need some peace. Please pray with me that these kids will come to church with us. I can not meet all of their needs, but God can. I can be part of their answer, and I'm open to that...but I'm not the whole answer! They wear me out. I really need wisdom!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

happy pie day

coconut cream pie Pictures, Images and Photos
March 14th is pie day... 3.14 or pie. Nicole just told me this!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

on the way home

Shelley and Dianna took me to the Portland airport today. My brother Rick called just before we left. I think he wanted to hear me cry. I did cry when I gave my Mom and Dad a hug goodbye. I simply live too far away. I had too much stuff to bring home. My 2 bags were over weight. They wanted to charge me an extra $100 for the 13 lbs. I just pulled out my back pack and took out the books. I put them in my carry on bag. I had hoped to travel light…hah! The plane to Minneapolis was totally full. I had my book bag and computer at my feet. I feel like a pretzel! God please give me more room on the flight to Amsterdam! We landed in fog. That was very scary. The older women behind me was talking and talking. She was very entertaining. She was in Oregon visiting grand children. She had a manicure. Then she was so nervous on the flight she chipped all the nail polish. Lord, I want to be home!

Ok now I'm in the Yotel in Amsterdam. I came very close to missing my flight because I didn't hear them call the flight. Again the flight was full. I did have a bit more room, and it was a good flight. I slept maybe 3 hours. We got to Amsterdam at 11am. I checked into this small cabin hotel by 11:30am. It's very comfortable. I'm listening to the Bible online. I'll also take a shower. I’m afraid to sleep. I don't want to miss my flight home. I am very happy this trip is nearly over. I can not wait to hug my kids! I can not wait to see my sweetheart Juergen!

Monday, March 08, 2010

another full day and my time is short

Today was full. I went to McDonalds with Bridgett, Zennick, Jade and Hannah because they have a playground. Really, I'm not suppose to go to McDonalds until after Easter. That was my goal for lent. Sorry about that...I'll try not to mess up on that goal again. I just thought it would be good for the kids so they could play. Bridgett is my niece and I haven't seen her in 13 years. She is a totally great mom! Her 3 kids are all bright and wonderful! Hannah reminds me of my sister Shelley, Jade looks just like Bridgett and my sister Dianna, and Zennick looks like my nephew Doug. I love them all! I hope they can come visit us in Germany someday. That would be great!!!
Dianna and Paul made us really good Barbeque for dinner. It cooked for 5 hours, and just fell off the bones. I only eat the chicken. I am trying to stick to my lent promise. Those ribs looked so good!
I watched the academy awards with Dad tonight. I want to rush out and see Blind side and the hurt locker. Both sounded really good!
Mom is doing very well. She is still in some pain, but moves around very well. It will still take a few more weeks to recover, but she is well on her way! I help her with her therapy, and her progress is wonderful!
I only have a few short days left. I don't even want to think about this fact. I simply want to hold the hand of my parents as long as I'm here. I'll post photos tomorrow. Thank you Juergen for holding down the fort, you are simply the best and I miss you my darling man!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Alone with the food Network

I helped my dad for awhile outside. Really, he did all the work. I tried to mow the lawn but the mower kept stalling. I don't know if the grass was too wet? I think it was too wet. Dad did an amazing amount of work, but now he's wiped out. He went to bed. I hope he didn't over do it! My sister Shelley and her husband and daughter and son in-law came by for a visit. It was nice to see them. Now mom's also asleep. I'm alone so I'm watching a show on the food network. We don't have cable TV, so it's kind of fun to see this kind of TV. I've got to pull out my camera and start taking some more photos. I miss my husband and kids. I feel like I just got here, and sadly it's almost time to go home.

Friday, March 05, 2010

The time goes by

Sorry I haven't been blogging. I spend my days sitting with my parents. I do a few small jobs for them. A small amount of cooking and cleaning. The dishes, shopping and laundry. It's all really easy compared to cooking, shopping, and cleaning at home. I got the oil changed in moms car today. I picked up some medication for mom and cooked lunch. While I waited for the car I shopped at a second hand shop. I think I'm going to have to buy an extra bag to take back. I have too many books and the weight will be too much for one suitcase! My dad planted the bulbs I bought him in Holland. They should be up in 4-5 weeks. Juergen sounds pretty tired at home. I'm sure he is doing a great job, but it's a big job. I talk to him every day and look forward to seeing him soon. The time here goes by super fast. The weekend will be very full.

Hi again

I have been pretty busy and haven't had much time to blog. Today I took my dad to the eye doctor. I also went shopping with my sister Dianna. My suitcase is full. I had better stop shopping. I also need to catch up with my Bible reading. I also have to study for a teaching I'm doing on the poor.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Hi to My family!

my airplane in Amsterdam

I am in Oregon. I had a good trip over. I landed in Seattle and had a short visit with my brother. His son is going through a crisis so it wasn't all that relaxing. I got to meet Amy, his future wife. She was totally wonderful. I also think I was a help to Rick, so for this reason the trip was worth it. I rode the train down to Oregon. I was afraid to death I would over sleep my stop. I didn't. I also missed the end of the Olympics. I missed the big hokey game. Too bad!

I am slowly getting over the jet lag. I got to bring my mom home from the hospital. I am doing a small amount of cleaning and cooking. I am also going to help mom with her therapy. It's actually pretty easy work. I love my parents and I'm glad to be here. I also spent a few hours talking with Shelley about gardens, and watching a movie with Dianna. Juergen sounds tired on the phone, and Jessica sounds sick.
I'll send photos later.