Wednesday, June 30, 2010

our new bathroom



Aging in place is the idea of staying in your home as you grow old. One of the biggest problems people have in their home is the bathroom. If we plan to redo our bathroom this summer I think it's wise to just do it adaptable now. Even if we don't need the design now...we will age into it. So with a bath it means grab bars on a zero clearance shower that also has a seat, and an adjustable shower head. We have 4 flights of stairs in our house. It's not the most ideal place to grow old in. But universal design is a good idea for everyone. It could be the difference between staying in your home or going to a nursing home. I'm not even 50 yet , but if we put in a new bathroom maybe We should be looking 20 years ahead? And when my parents visit now it can still be good for them!

a wake up call

Here are photo's from my garden today. The tomatoes are starting to produce fruit. It's so interesting to see the different sizes and shapes of these heirloom tomatoes. Soon they will be a rainbow of red, yellow, orange, black, purple, green and even white. In a week or 2 they will finally be ready to eat. I'm watering them every single day, even 2 times per day because of the heat. I hope to make sauce, salsa, and even sun dried tomatoes. And I love eating cherry tomatoes like candy. We will have lots of tomatoes for our salad too! And I'm getting squash , peppers and eggplant. I also have a large variety of summer flowers. And look at the grapes and kiwi! We have strawberries but only enough for a handful at a time. I'm seriously thinking about keeping my house. We hope to have it painted in the fall. The bathroom will maybe get done in August. To move would cost allot of money and time, and create a hugh amount to work. In the end I fear I could not physically manage more then what I already have. I wish I had a big farm house...but maybe I really don't wish it. I feel so shaken up by my fall yesterday. I love what we have here. The pergola is so nice and peaceful. I was so sure I should move…but now I am leaning towards staying. Maybe that fall was a wake up call? Is it wrong to read too much into it?

I'm up again

I'm able to move slowly today. I got up at 9am to water my plants. It is getting very hot. They say it will be over 100 F by Saturday. The kids come home early when it's hot because there is no air conditioning in the schools. I am stiff and have a little pain. I can move slowly. I'm glad nothing is broken. I tripped on the garden hose. We need to mount the hose to the wall. The pathway is too thin to have the hose just laying there. I could have broken my leg! I'm OK, thank God! It does make me think about my age. Am I really young enough to manage a small farm? I want a bigger garden, but how long could I actually manage a bigger garden? Falling down was a shock to me, and it makes me think. I'm not old yet...but I can not stop that stupid clock! I hate having to even think about getting old. If I don't plan on it...will I be able to manage it? Perhaps it's wiser to perfect what I have, and not take on new responsibilities? I want to be self sustaining, but I need to be in a situation I can actually manage. I'm not 25 years old! I think it's the pits to think about the limitations of age. But this is how it is!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

what I need because I am in pain

RICE, or rest, ice, compression and elevation, is a well known treatment for acute injuries and joint pain

yellow makes me sad

solor dehydrator

I just fell

I was in the garden cleaning up. I was carrying something down the path and tripped over the hose, and fell really hard. I twisted my bad knee and landed hard on my wrist (the wrist I sprained in China). The pain was intense. At first I thought I had broken my leg and arm. I just sat there in shock like a old person in one of those commercials. I kept praying, Oh God help, please God help. Know one was home. I wasn't sure I could stand to go into the house. But after a few mins I could see it was not a break. I slowly walked into the house and iced my knee and wrist. My knee is weak, but OK. My wrist hurts pretty bad. I don't think its broken, just sprained. I took a hard fall in China 3 years ago. I was taking pictures, and tripped on something. I have a brace for my knee. This is the knee I tore the ligaments in about 5 years ago. I guess I've always been a little accident prone. I’m always thinking and dreaming when I’m in the garden. I guess I had better be a little more careful about where I put my feet!

Monday, June 28, 2010





I think it's summer

It's warm outside. I don't know how hot it is but I'm sweating! I need to do some gardening . I'll wait until it cools off. As long as I keep watering everything my plants love the heat. Especially the tomatoes. It will feel good to take a shower tonight. We don't have any grand plans for summer vacation. I hope to be harvesting tomatoes and make sauce. The kids will be going to camp, maybe we will remodel the bathroom. I am also hoping to buy that video game system that does Nero feedback. I will be making the kids read and do extra math every day. We may do some weekend trips. Maybe a trip up north to see Juergen’s Dad, and a trip to Disneyland in Paris. I would love to go to Thailand for 3 or 4 weeks. That’s not going to happen this year…but maybe next summer!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

SWEET

My kids took off on a parade around the neighborhood! Germany 4 to 1 over England!

Go Germany!

Germany plays England in the world cup today. My family will see it on a big screen TV at church. It's so exciting for Germany! I hope we win!!! USA played a very good game last night. They should be very proud. In 4 years or so they could be winning the world cup! Towards the end of the game the goal keeper from team USA was with his team mates fighting for one more goal. I never saw anything like that. They didn’t lose with out a good fight! I’m sorry America lost, but I’m glad Africa still has a team in the game.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I made jam

Cherry, strawberry and raspberry jam.





my other garden is doing fine



I'm growing a bucket garden at my friend Petra's house. We added a few new containers of plants today. Everything is doing great. As you can see, we have peppers, zucchini and tomatoes. The kids jumped on the trampoline and I worked in the garden with Nicole. We also picked cherries. Tonight I watch the USA game. The weather is wonderful and it feels so good to be tired from garden work!

Friday, June 25, 2010

I need to plan a trip to Rome

I love the weekend

I had a hard time dragging myself out of bed today. I’m glad it’s Friday. We can sleep in (God willing) in the morning. The weather is very nice. I hope to do allot of yard work. I’ll work on my garden today, and Petra’s yard tomorrow. I took the kids to Bad Schönborn yesterday. Nicole is getting tutored in Math by my good friend Inkeri. Philip and Sarah jumped on the trampoline while I watered plants. The plants are all doing excellent in the bucket garden. I harvested a large bowl of salad. The bell peppers are half grown, the cabbage is forming heads and there are about 10 tiny cucumbers on the vine. Everything looks beautiful! Now I want to expand the garden to include about 10 more large containers. We may need to skip the paint for now. We can grow flowers and veggies this summer, and paint the containers in the fall or winter. It’s getting late, and we don’t have time to paint anymore. We will see what can be accomplished tomorrow. I have tiny tomatoes on my plants. It’s very exciting to finally see some fruit. We only needed sunshine. But I can not control the weather! I’m so glad we finally have some sun!
So I will garden today and tomorrow. This weekend is also soccer. Germany plays England on Sunday and America plays Ghana Saturday. It can be super exciting, and or very depressing if we lose. I think Germany can win if they don’t get too nervous. They are a great team. I think America has already past my expectations. I would be amazed if they won…but that would be very cool. Ghana is Africans only team (if Ivory Coast does not advance). I am half cheering for them too. They are a great team, and Africa needs a hero too!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

shrimp



I made shrimp with coconut curry and rice for dinner tonight. I used fresh peas and spinach from my garden. Nicole now says she likes shrimp as much as Philip. I wish my dad was around to share it with us. He loves shrimp too! The shrimp was on sale this week. If I had a big freezer I would buy more. It's fun to spoil the kids now and then. Juergen doesn't really like shrimp, and I could take it or leave it. This is basically for them! Sometimes I'm amazed at the love God has given to me for these kids. They can drive me crazy but I worry about them and love to spoil them. God loves us like that too. Every once in awhile he spoils us...even when we haven't been good...just because it gives him joy. Every good gift comes from him!

Check up

I had a check up today. I get so nervous before a doctors appointment. I guess I am worried they will find something wrong. Fear is such a powerful tool to paralyze us. But Juergen prayed with me and I felt OK. So it looks like everything is fine. This was the gynecology check up. Now I need to go to the house doctor for the blood screening, and another clinic for a mammogram. I have to pay for the mammogram because they are not free until age 50. It takes a little work to get a real checkup around here. I feel like an old car. I drive OK, but the oil needs to be changed and the break pads changed, and you can only expect so much at my age! The warrantee has expired years ago. If I want to keep on the road I’m going to have to get regular maintenance!

1956-Ford-Fairlane-convertible-blue-white Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

now the teacher is sick

Jessica has been sick for 2 days. Today she felt better and wanted to go to school but her teacher is sick. She is home again. I have a head cold. Juergen let me sleep in today. I feel like my head is swimming! But I need to get up and get going. The yard needs water, the cloths need to be washed, the poor dog needs a walk. I don't have a maid...I am the maid! I'm not very good at the job, but it's hard to find good help these days! The family keeps me for sentimental reasons!
maid service Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sick again

not me, Jessica. Jess is sick again with fever and an upset stomach. Poor baby!

Treating ADHD With Video Games



NASA has helped develope technology that helps provide biofeedback to help treat ADHD. Here is a video about this....

http://videos.howstuffworks.com/nasa/2135-treating-adhd-with-video-games-video.htm


You can buy this technology HERE.

This system works with the Sony PlayStation Dora the Explorer: Journey to the Purple
Planet. This is a very easy game that I think even Jessica could play. It also works with games the boys would want to play! Sounds
very interesting. We really need to look into this!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Neurofeedback for Attention Deficit Disorder



I was thinking about buying a Neurofeedback machine to use on Philip, Thomas and Jessica. The boys have ADHD, and Jess has Autism. Maybe we can find a used machine? I wonder if there is a Neurofeedback or Biofeedback book for dummies? I want to get the boys off the medication, and just see more progress in all of them. It could take years. It cost 60-100 Euros per Neurofeedback treatment. The average treatment for ADD is 80 sessions. For Autism it's years. A new machine cost about 4,000 Euro. I'm sure I could learn to use it. I could also turn around and sell the machine when we are done with it. I have no idea why I'm thinking about this...it just came to me.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY



Juergen and the kids got home from the retreat. I'm making apple strudel. Happy Fathers day! Dad, I wish you were here!

God bless you Rick and Amy!





I use to be the Amy in my brothers life...now he has a wife he calls "my Amy". I'm so happy for him I am crying! Amy is the sweetest, kindest women of faith! She is truly a sister! I'm sorry I was not there but Shelley writes on her blog that it was a great wedding. It rained a little, but know one really cared. It was beautiful!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stop and smell the roses



I took Jessica to the church retreat today. She was a wreak. She basically did not want to get out of the car. Oh well! That's autism. What can I say? I had lunch with Sarah. She was excited to tell me all about her time. I assure you she is having a great time! Juergen watched Jess so I could drink coffee with a good friend. He was sick last night but is feeling much better. Thank God! When I was in the cafe I could smell the best rose I've every smelled. Really, it was amazing. I found out it's called a Frederic Mistral Rose. It is a very good rose. It is disease resistant, and hardy in winter. It grows to be 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. If you get one, you will need a large place to put it. I'm not sure I have the space. I'll keep it in mind for the day I have a big garden! So I got to see my boys playing soccer, Nicole sleeping in the sun, Sarah playing hard in the sand box, and I kissed Juergen good bye as he went for a hike. I brought Jessica home. I'm not feeling sorry for myself. I had a cappuccino in a castle and I discovered the most beautiful rose. My family is very happy...and this makes me happy! Some day I will have a garden that has a Frederic Mistral Rose surrounded by lavender! The smell will be over whelming!

Happy Birthday Chris

Happy Birthday Chris! It's Ricks wedding day, I hope someone remembers to bake you a cake! Big Hug to you!!!!

Juergen is sick

I talked to Juergen on the phone. He is at the church retreat. I'm planning on going there in an hour. Poor Juergen is sick. He is missing the morning service. I hope he recovers soon. He will probably watch Jessica in the room and I'll visit with people. I was sick at the last retreat. Seems to be our family tradition. Life is wonderful but it's never what you plan it to be.

wedding day

It's my brothers wedding day. The forecast is for rain. My poor sister Shelley has busted her behind to get her yard looking like a garden at a 5 star hotel. It's beautiful. Thank you Shelley...you put so much love into every detail. You really out did yourself! It would be sad if it rains. But know one invited the New York times Social Editor, or Vanity Fair Magazine. I understand Martha Steward turned down a request to broadcast the wedding and The paparazzi are busy covering a Royal wedding in Europe today. So if it rains I hope you can break out the board games and pass out the hot chocolate. It is family...and family does not care. Enjoy each other and celebrate Rick and Amy’s commitment to each other. Please have fun...and laugh about it! It will be a great great day! Love you!

Friday, June 18, 2010

we lost

The German football game was a National disaster! First the euro now this. How much grief is one nation suppose to bear? I need chocolate!

Peace to my family before the wedding

My brother is getting married tomorrow. It's a big family event, and I'm not there. My sister Shelley has really out done herself. She deservers a great deal of honor! Truly everything looks amazing! Bless you Shelley for your hard work! Bless Eric too! I hope you get some good rest after this is over. I hope God blesses the birth of your first grand baby! What an exciting summer your are having!

Rick and Amy, I love you both! It is huge the step you are taking. You need rest and peace too. Amy especially has so many changes ahead. Have fun in Hawaii. And I hope you can enjoy your big day!

Dianna, so sorry about the loss of your grand child. There is nothing I can really say. I send you my hugs and prayers. I'm glad you will finally have your own space. I'm so glad you'll be surrounded by your kids and grand kids in that new home! I still expect you to come over next year!

Mom and Dad, enjoy the ride! And also enjoy the calm after the circus has left town. You know I love you! Sorry I’m not there…but I’m never far because you are in my thoughts and heart. I will call you.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer time sit down dinners

We sit down for dinner every night. Generally I cook a hot lunch and we eat bread and cheese for dinner. But in the summer time it's too hot to cook during the day. I am now making a nice dinner, and just eating cereal or bread for lunch. Tonight I think I'll cook chicken. My kids really love chicken! REALLY LOVE IT!!! After dinner we tell a story about someone in the family. Each of us has a day, tonight is a story about Nicole. Then we will read the Bible to the kids before bed. We are trying to establish a good routine. Our kids do better with a routine. So I'm off to the store to buy chicken and butter milk. I start the marinade this morning. I am also teaching my kids to cook. So each one will know how to cook fried chicken. This isn't something we eat all the time...it's a once every 6 month kind of dinner. What sort of things do you do to establish culture in your home? I want my kids to feel like they really belong to a strong family. Home is so much more then just where you live. Home has routines, rituals, tastes, and sounds. And these things are taught so you know them, and you actually take these skills with you when you grow up.




Ingredients:
3 1/2 pound chicken, cut in 8 pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp ground dried herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage)
2 cups buttermilk

for the seasoned flour:
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

2 1/2 quarts peanut oil for frying

http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2009/07/buttermilk-fried-chicken-southern-fried.html

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

school pictures and tomatoe news

Juergen had an early meeting. I had to get Sarah and Jessica both on their busses. I forgot that Sarah has her kindergarten photo taken today. She was not dressed up very nice. The other kids were. One little boy had on a 3 piece suite. Poor little guy, his hair was greased back. I asked the driver to wait while I ran and got her a nicer sweater. She dresses herself. Today she had an older play t-shirt. It was perfect for play, but nothing for a school photo. At least her hair was shinny and clean. I have 100's of great pictures of Sarah. The school photos don't really mean much to me. I don't even buy them unless they are very good. I'm not a fan of formal portraits.
I watered my tomatoe plants before my first cup of coffee. I thought it was funny that I thought about my plants before I thought of myself. I baby these plants. I've been growing them from seed since March. It hasn't been easy. We have had allot of cold rain, and not enough sunshine. But my plants are all tall. I have hundreds of flowers on the vines. It will not be long until we get fruit. I'm very excited about this! I don't grow enough food to be self sustaining, but I have made good progress this year. Some people think I've grown vegetables for years. It's not true. Last year we tried growing vegetables with very little success. This is our 2nd year, and we have made progress. It is a long term goal, and I'm only just beginning. Hopefully we will not get hit by any serious storms or bugs. Really, it is not all skill. It is so much in Gods hands. Like everything in life, every good gift comes from God. I can plant and I can water but only God can give the increase!

Monday, June 14, 2010


Juergen signed us up for a new energy program. If we run our dishwasher, or cloth dryer after 8 pm ( actually any electric use) we save 15% off the cost of electricity. So I'm saving the dishes until after eight, and doing a load of laundry every night after 8pm. It's not convenient for me to do this. I would rather get it done in the mornings. But we have 5 kids and one income. It's actually pretty expensive to raise 5 kids. They eat more and more. They have braces, new shoes, singing lessons, and summer camp. There is spending money, movies, birthday gifts, swimming lessons, and math tutors. The list goes on and on. I use to have the money for a house keeper. Now I have to do it all myself. And 15% off the cost of electricity could pay for music lessons or something. So I find I need to form a new routine, a new habit. Every night after 8 the dishwasher goes on, the laundry gets run, and I may even run the vacuum cleaner (no…that’s taking it too far)!

My sister is learning verses

My sister Shelley is memorizing a Bible verse a week in Sunday school. I like the idea so I thought I would learn with her. This is the cool verse this week. It almost makes me cry! I was talking with a friend on the phone. This friend is in some conflict and does not feel appreciated or really acknowledged for all they have done. But all this conflict would melt away if their boast was simply in God who is kind and righteous. They may not see this now, but God is true to his word. I pray for peace and an end to this conflict! I am not wise, strong or rich but God is! He is kind and he is just! Our worth needs to come from God and not man! this is a lesson I need to know well. Juergen is now an elder. Everyone will ask him what he thinks, seek his wisdom, and give him a chance to preach. I am know one. I have no title and no job in the church. I am here to back him up, free him up. I would love to preach but I'm not allowed to. But God is kind and God is just. My worth doesn't come from money, strength of position, or riches. I know God and he is kind and just.


Jeremiah 9:23-24
This is what the LORD says:
"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
but let him who boasts boast about this:
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,"
declare the LORD.

Monday Monday

It's over cast and dark outside. It looks like rain. I'm checking the adds online. I sort of plan to go to certain stores based on what they have on sale each week. There is nothing all that exciting. I’ll just buy the basics. I'm thinking about the weekend. We can not take Mickey to the retreat. Nicole wants to go to a school play on Friday Night. I know Jessica will not be so happy at the retreat. She is restless sleeping in a strange place. So I think I'll take Jessica and Nicole on Saturday morning. I'll stay until after dinner Saturday, then come home with Jessica. This way I don't need a dog sitter. Juergen can stay all weekend with Philip, Sarah and Thomas. Nicole will be there Saturday and Sunday. It's just one hour away. It's not ideal, but nothing ever is when you have to deal with autism. Jessica spent the majority of time in her room at the last retreat we went to. I never saw anyone. I might as well stay at home. I think if I go for Saturday only, Juergen will care mostly for Jess so I can visit people. The kids basically disappear at the retreat. They have fun playing with others. They are not any work at all. It's Jessica that needs 100% attention. That’s just how it is. I accept it. Juergen and I are very good at taking turns. It would be so nice if we could do everything together…live a normal life. But that’s not how it is. I will be glad in all that I get and all that I have. It is enough! It’s more then enough! Perhaps I can Skype my family late Saturday at my brothers wedding. That would be good! That’s another good reason to come home Saturday night. I’m not that sure I can Skype from the retreat. My heart will be with my family in Oregon. I’m so excited for Rick and Amy! I pray God blesses them greatly this week and in the years to come. It is such a big deal to start a new life together.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

what a beautiful game!

It's a great time to be living in Germany. We have a great football team. My sons know all the players. They were so into this game! It was so much fun to watch Germany beat Australia 4-0. The final score was made by Cacau. He is a very strong Christian and he spoke at our church about 2 years ago. What a gift to play in the world cup and to score such a beautiful goal! Every time Germany scores a goal people shoot off fireworks, and honk horns. The whole neighborhood was alive. I shot some video but the sound was somehow not working on my camera. Next game! We are so excited here because we have one of the best teams ever! I think we have a very good chance of becoming the world champions!

my garden today lots of flowers

world cup hats

US FANS



I'm a US fan too! I watched the whole game mostly alone. My family was sure England would win so they kept busy around the house. It was funny because Juergen walked in the living room in time to see America sort of score their 1 point (did they score or was it really England’s goal keeper who scored?). Anyway, it was great! They held their own against one of the best teams in the world. I think in a few years America could really be a world power in the game! I hope Germany lives up to their fans expectations. The US team has already surpassed my expectations! I think they will make it to the 2nd round!

Today is the big game

Germany plays their opening game in the World Cup today. We are still a little sick so we will be watching at home. Sarah was up half the night with a fever. She still has a small fever, but I'm pretty sure she'll be fine for school. I'm tired but better. So far everyone else is fit.
I have been watching the progress my sister Shelley has been making on her beautiful garden. She has a small park! My brother Rickey is getting married to Amy on Saturday. I'm sorry I will not be there. I'm glad I went to Oregon to help Mom when she got out of the hospital. I think I did the right thing, but It also cost me missing the wedding. I also did it for Juergen. He is a new elder at our church. The church has a retreat this coming weekend. Juergen really wanted our family to attend the retreat. If I was at the wedding, Juergen could not manage our 5 kids (especially Jessica) alone. So this coming weekend Juergen will help lead worship at the retreat, and I'll be there to support him. I guess that's life. You can not have it all... I definitely have my thoughts on my family in Oregon. I'm excited for Rick and Amy. It will be a beautiful wedding. My heart is there!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Helen Thomas' Reign Ends

Way to go USA!!!

Green is my favorite color! America held their own agents England! Go TEAM!!!

new blog

I moved Grandpa can draw and so can I to an new address. You can find that address on the sidebar of this page, or Here. If you are a member of my family please send jpg photo's of your art work to me and I'll add it to this site. Thank you!
http://grandpadraws2.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 11, 2010

What can be done for them?

and so am I

Just saw the Mexico-South Africa game with the boys. Now I'm getting Sarah's virus. I'm definitely not going to any World Cup parties.

Sarah is sick

We may need to watch this weekend football games alone. Sarah is sick with the virus Jessica had early this week. I guess it's contiguous. We had better be careful. Nicole and Thomas both had "it" last week. I guess they are safe to go out.

I don't feel like doing anything!

I guess I'm tired. It rained hard this morning. I have to clean the house, cook lunch, do laundry etc... But I don't want to do anything! I'm guessing we will be watching allot of football this weekend (soccer). America plays tomorrow, and Germany plays on Sunday. We have been invited to a BQ tomorrow. We will try to have friends over Sunday. If any of our local friend want to come over Sunday let me know. We have a big screen TV. It should be good for something! I'm very happy for Africa (the whole continent). This isn't just South Africa's World Cup, it's Africa's time to shine. I bet the whole continent is excited! They say Germany has a very good shot at winning this World Cup. We will see. In the mean time, I better load the dishwasher, and the washing machine. I better pull out the vacuum cleaner. I better figure out what to cook for lunch.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

a little wind

There was a storm last night. The wind blew down a shelf I had on my balcony, and all the plants on that shelf. I have to repot about 6 plants. I haven't checked the yard yet. I'm guessing there is some sweeping up to do. I did plant all those plants I bought in Italy. Thank God for the rain. It was hot yesterday and it will get hot again today. I’m planning on taking the kids down to Bad Schönborn to check on my other garden. They get to visit their giant trampoline.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

I have one of these but I haven't used it.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

A blog about kale

Kale is a super food. Here is a blog about kale...how to grow it, save it and cook it.

http://www.365daysofkale.com/

I did the kale wrong

I didn't blanch the kale and other greens in hot water before freezing them. I hope it's not too late to do it now. I'll try. I read this on a blog, I guess it's how you should do it...

• Put on a big pot of water to boil.
• Wash kale in sink of water then drain in a second sink or on a towel on the counter top.
• Tear or cut into 2 inch strips or manageable sizes (I did not freeze the big thick stems from the curly kale but smaller stems are ok).
• Fill sink with clean cold water, including as many ice cubes as you have on hand.
• Place the cut kale in boiling water and boil for 3 minutes.
• Take kale out of pot with tongs, a colander, and/or slotted spoon.
• Put hot kale in cold water and swish around.
• Take kale out of water.
• Drain any excess water off greens (save for future soup broth!).
• Measure either 2 cups or 4 cups and place into freezer bags.
• Mark freezer bag with date and type of greens.
• Press any excess air out of bag and freeze.

I'm new to home farming, and I don't really know how to save food. I'm really just learning.

garden update

I picked 6 large bags of cabbage and kale today. Nicole and I washed it and chopped it up. I'll keep it in the freezer for stir fries and soups. I still have another 6 bags to harvest. I need a bigger freezer. The daylilies began to bloom. I'll plant the plants I bought in Italy. They will take the place of all the cabbage and kale. Everyday I pick a big handful of ripe strawberries. I love my garden!



Tuesday, June 08, 2010

World cup

The world cup starts in a few days. I just love seeing the flags flying everywhere you go. Germany needs a healthy national pride.



I love my man!



20 years ago a very nervous computer nerd asked me if I wanted to marry him. I immediately answered yes. I wasn’t about to play games with him. He was/ is a priceless treasure. I look at him now and still ask myself, how did I get so blessed? I am so totally blessed!

Monday, June 07, 2010

the Penne all Arrabbiata mix

Jessica has the same bug Thomas had last week. She stayed home from school and slept all morning. I didn’t have much food in the house. I generally shop on Mondays. I decided to try the Penne all Arrabbiata mix I bought in Italy. It was so hot It made my nose run! Too hot for the kids. So I added 3 cans of beans and a can of sweet coconut milk. So now it’s sweet and spicy. Philip and I eat it. I’m not sure anyone else will give it a go. It has a very good flavor but a real hot bite!
Here is a skit called Darth Vader at the death Star canteen. He orders Penne all Arrabbiata. I warn you the skit is funny but the language is a little crude. If you are easily offended then don’t watch this.

I love you Dianna! Happy Birthday!!!

Dianna, I wish you were here. I would take you to old town Heidelberg for Dinner. IOU…OK? Happy 50th Birthday! And many many more!!!

“Looking fifty is great if you’re sixty.” ~ Joan Rivers

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. You know I love you and I'm so glad God has blessed me with your friendship and love.
old fashioned roses ... Pictures, Images and Photos


Will you love me in December as you do in May,

Will you love me in the good old fashioned way?

When my hair has all turned gray,

Will you kiss me then and say,

That you love me in December as you do in May?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

a 11 hour drive but we are home!

The photos from the trip home are HERE.

We spent a good amount to time packing the car yesterday. It's good we didn't try to visit Florence. We decided to leave early this morning. So we were up at 4:30 am and on the road at 5am. 11 hours later I feel like kissing the ground. I wanted to check my tomatoes before anything. They have grown a foot! All my plants are beautiful! I even have giant poppies still in bloom and they are so amazing! Last year we were in Cyprus and I didn't get to see them. We bought 2 tomatoes in Italy that have been cultivated for over 300 years. I'll be adding them to my big collection. I also bought artichokes and 3 kinds of basil. I also bought 2 different kinds of olive oil to go with these. We will eat well this summer.
I'm so tired! I'll write more later. If I can get it posted, here are some of our favorite photo's from the trip. It was really wonderful, but I'm also glad to be home.
video

Friday, June 04, 2010

Last Post from Italy

Day 8
Yesterday was Juergen’s 51st birthday. We drove south to the Saturnia Spa. It was a 3 ½ hour drive. On the way we stopped at a hole in the wall sandwich shop on the coast near the port that takes you to Elba. The landscape was amazing. I personally wanted to stop every 5 mins to take photos. But then the trip could have taken weeks. You need to drive through very curvy roads and very small mountain villages to get to the spa. It was in such an out of the way place we were sure no one would be there. Wrong. It was very hard to find parking. This place was wonderful. I thought I would be the only one enjoying the spa. I love warm water. Wrong again. Jessica soaked in the warm water for one and ½ hours. Philip, Nicole and Sarah were so cute rubbing the mud all over each other. Afterwards our skin felt like silk. And I slept better then I have in years. We all slept well. It was great!
When we returned to the Villa we had our family story time. It was Jessica’s day. The kids asked all kinds of questions about Jessica’s autism. They have never really done that before. And then Philip and Sarah wanted to watch all the videos I have made of our family, and past vacations. I have dozens of videos and slide shows stored on my computer. Juergen sat with them looking at pictures for an hour. I feel so blessed!

Today I took Nicole, Sarah and Philip into town to ride a bike and post my blog. Unfortunately it started to rain hard. We went for a walk instead. It was also a holiday (I guess it was Italian Republic day). Most of the stores were closed and so was the internet café. I did find a shop where I could buy local olive oil and noodles. I have a nice collection of food and plants to take home.

Day 10

Today was long and very interesting. We drove through the Apennine mountains (not sure I spelled that right). Our first stop was Grotta Del Vento, the largest cave in Italy. I stayed with Jessica in the car while the others took the 2 hour tour. It sounded incredible but Jessica would have been freaked out in the dark. I understand it was also pretty hard to climb in this deep hole. I would have had a hard time with it. They took a few pretty cool photo’s.
Our next goal was the Carara marble mine. You have to drive through the mountains to get there. It looked so much like driving in Yosemite park in Northern California. My photo’s don’t do it justice. It was breathtaking. The kids were a bit bored on the long trip. But Juergen and I were in awe. When we finally arrived at Carara it was so cool! This is the same place Michelangelo came to get marble for his statues. We got a tour from an old man who fought with the Americans in WW2. He was the best part of the trip. He was so proud to show us around. We bought some marble from him, and he also gave the kids some marble. Nicole and Thomas both want to try carving marble.
Then we drove along the coast. Most of the Italian coast in this area is private. You need to pay a pretty steep fee (25 € per person per day) to get on the beach. We stopped at a private beach. It was already 6:30 pm. I asked if we could just go on the beach for a half hour for free. They agreed. So the boys tossed stones into the sea.

We tried to reserve tickets to the Renaissance museum in Florence, but couldn’t manage to get through on the phone. We are pretty tired so I am sort of glad we aren’t going to Florence tomorrow. Instead we will try to just ride bikes in Lucca again. We have to pack. It will be a long trip home. So this will be my final post from Italy. It’s been a full and wonderful time. I love it here. I hope we will return someday soon.