Friday, December 30, 2011

free jars

I'm so excited. Someone in the paper was giving away their old canning jars. I just picked up 70 wick jars for free! I’m running them through the dishwasher. If you know anyone that wants to get rid of jars, let me know. I would be so blessed to take them!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Years Eve

We are having a small party (16 of us) for New Years Eve. I got an Italian cook book at an after Christmas sale. I want to give it a try. So I'm planning on cooking Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan and Balsamic Vinaigrette, Minestrone soup, Tortellini Carbonara, Chicken Lasagna, and caramelized peaches with ice cream. Wouldn't it be
cool to go to an Italian cooking school in Italy? Maybe I'll do that one of these years?
I canned my first beef broth with vegetables’ and red wine and herbs. I made 10 jars of it. Then I opened one jar to add to my spaghetti sauce. It was awesome, like sauce that had cooked all day. Juergen got me 2 canning books for Christmas. I look forward to canning the food I grow in my garden. I'm going to need more jars! Juergen has been working on organizing his workshop. I gave him a new workbench for Christmas. He isn't finished, but it looks much better.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Making Pad Thai

Pad Thai is Thailand’s National dish. Here is a post I did on my food blog. I'm making the dish today. Oh how I wish I was on a warm beach in Thailand! But we have had a restful day! I've gotten lot's of sleep, and I've watched art history DVD's I got Nicole for Christmas. It's interesting stuff! I could take a few more weeks of just eating well, and doing very little!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

We had a really wonderful Christmas Eve. We were so blessed to spend it with 3 International students. Fun people! After dinner, and opening gifts, we played board games. They are a very competitive group...but that's probably why they are the best of the best! Juergen is making me brunch right now. Now my vacation starts! I hope you are all blessed and safe. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas! The kids are with Juergen at Church, and I have a few minutes of calm. We cleaned, cooked and packed all day. Mexican food is on the menu. Fresh salsa, guacamole, fruit salad, Mexican rice, beans, slow cooked chicken fajitas, and beef soft tacos. We also expect 3 International students. They wanted to enjoy Christmas with a German/American family. I'm glad that the work is mostly done and soon we can just celebrate together! Happy Birthday Jesus...we celebrate you everyday!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our Christmas letter

We finally finished our Christmas newsletter. I put it on a blog. It's kind of a year in review letter, with lot's of pictures. Enjoy!

Christmas Crafts

Today I'm cleaning and shopping for food. We have friends coming for dinner on December 23rd.This should be special because my God daughter Anna is going to be there! On Dec 24th we go to church at 4pm, then come home to open gifts and eat Mexican food. Nicole and I will make tamales, Mexican rice, beans, and chicken fajitas. So far we have 2 international students coming on Christmas Eve, but it maybe more. I’m so excited! And Tomorrow is Juergen's last day of work. He is taking at least 2 weeks off (maybe even 3 weeks). The kids also have their last day of school tomorrow. Tonight Nicole, Philip, and Sarah made a garland of candy for our tree. They also made these cute candy cane reindeer. Fun!

Juergen did the paper work to change Thomas’ school. He will start at the new school in January. His new teacher seems very nice. Juergen met him today. I think it’s going to be a good move for Thomas. He seems really happy about the whole thing. It takes the pressure off him. I think God has given us wisdom on this decision. I hope it really helps Thomas relax and feel like he can manage things. I want him to feel like he can climb the mountain, not be crushed by it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


We woke up to some pretty snow today. It looks like we will get rain for the next few days...but maybe it will get colder and give us a white Christmas? That would be nice!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm looking forward to the extra sleep

The kids have school until Thursday. Juergen also works until Thursday. Then there is a 2 week vacation. We have a few things planned, mostly dinners. We will also go to see Juergen's dad for a few days. The kids will be at a workshop for a few days. But I am looking forward to the extra sleep. I will be so happy to just go to bed Thursday night and sleep in on Friday. Man, will that feel good! I hope I get to sleep and nothing happens to disturb me. No guarantees! I feel so tired.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

free Bibles on audible

You can get the audible Bible worth $50 free with 30 day free trail membership. also has a free 30 day trail with a free book. Die Bibel die komplette Lutherbibel 1984 could be yours for free (normally a 69,90€ price).

or here

I listened to the Bible 2 times this year. And faith comes by hearing!

Happy day

I had such an exciting morning at church. I met a women from Nigeria and another women from Thailand. We are seeing the nations brought to our door. I’m so excited!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A change of plans

I wanted to take some students to a Christmas market in France today, but the weather was bad. We had a storm last night, and another storm is on it's way. Today was actually OK, but we had already canceled. Sad! So I'm just taking care of some stuff around the house. Juergen is out shopping with the kids. He is stressed trying to find me a Christmas gift. I gave him a list about a month ago. Stuff he could order on line. But now it's too late, and the stores are a zoo. But there is just so much you can do to help. The kids wanted to buy me this vegetable chopper. That wasn’t on my list, but they were sure I needed (wanted) it. So they went to buy it, and it was sold out. That’s when the stress began. But at least I know they are giving me a whole afternoon of thought. This is progress! I guess you should ask people what they want? But giving gifts is a learned art. And my kids are learning from Juergen, and it isn't his strongest area of gifting. I love them all. I'm excited to get any gift at all. I shop for the whole family. It's allot of work. Come Christmas, I want to unwrap something too. And I don't care what it is, because I already have everything. I just want the "thought" and consideration. Does that make any sense? I don't want to give and give and give, and receive nothing back. I would feel bad. Tonight we have a babysitter. Happy to get out with Juergen again. But we are going to a friends house. So poor Juergen isn’t really getting rest this weekend. He needs a vacation.
We show the house in Leimen again tomorrow (God willing). It would be a great gift if we could sell the house.

Friday, December 16, 2011

an angel fell out of the sky and appeared in our store

The young father stood in line at the Kmart layaway counter, wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. With him were three small children.

He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn't be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.

"She told him, 'No, I'm paying for it,'" recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. "He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn't, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears."

At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents.

Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register.

"She was doing it in the memory of her husband who had just died, and she said she wasn't going to be able to spend it and wanted to make people happy with it," Deppe said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to "remember Ben," an apparent reference to her husband.

Deppe, who said she's worked in retail for 40 years, had never seen anything like it.

"It was like an angel fell out of the sky and appeared in our store," she said.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

an artist for Nicole to look at

Philip idea

Philip wanted something to hold his mp3 player, so he made this today. Very clever! It's a wrist band. I come home from driving Sarah to art school, and Philip has my sewing box out. He just thought the whole design up himself, and made it. I'm going to buy him a sewing kit for Christmas.

Juergen is so funny. I gave him an advent calendar. You are suppose to eat one piece of candy each day leading up to Christmas. By the 12th day this is what his calendar looks like. He said he was going to go buy 2 more calendars! He is worse then all the kids!

A free book

Today I got a free audible book on Amazon. I choose "A heart for freedom" by Chai Ling.
(from her web site)
Chai Ling was on a path to success: a girl from a small fishing village now attending China’s most prestigious university. But everything changed on June 4, 1989, when the Chinese government cracked down on the student protesters in Tiananmen Square, killing hundreds of unarmed citizens. Chai Ling, commander-in-chief of the student democracy movement, became a fugitive, on the run from authorities who wanted her imprisoned.

She eventually escaped to the U.S., earned two Ivy League degrees, found true love, and became a highly successful entrepreneur. But her desperate quest for freedom, purpose, and peace was never satisfied until she had an unexpected encounter with a formerly forbidden faith. Her newfound passion for God led her to her life’s greatest mission: fighting for the lives and rights of young girls in China.

It's a 13 hour book. I hope to hear it during the Christmas vacation. God birthed the idea of adopting Sarah from China because I had read about the one child policy, and a girls worth (or lack of worth) in China. China is an amazing and wonderful country, but it's people do not share the same rights we take for granted.

Thomas and another school change

Thomas had a test day at the local school. I can not wait to see how it went. Juergen said that Thomas met 3 boys from his soccer club in the hallway before school. Also, our next door neighbor works there. So the school looks promising! It would save Thomas over 2 hours a day in travel time. It would save us about 400 Euros per month in school fees and lunch, train fees. A change could be a win/win for our family! I hope he likes it! I like his private school. It's wonderful. But it is so far away, and he has no time to get the German help he badly needs. He has no local friends, and no time for friends. No time for music lessons. No time for just hanging out and doing nothing. He is so tired and so stressed. We see no other answer but to change his school to a local school. But when he can change to the school, and it's an easy transition...well that would be such a gift from God. So I really hope that he loves it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

we could use your prayers

Not selling our house in Leimen is really hurting us financially. We are a one income family with 5 kids. We don't have the deep pockets some may think we have. Some may think it was foolish to move until we had a buyer. I guess they would be right. But Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. And we did. We feel very good in our new house. We can afford our new house. We can not afford our old house too. This is the problem. Please pray that we can sell the house in Leimen. Sometimes, in a bad housing market you need grace. I have had over a 1000 hits on our house for sale blog...but that just means many people have looked at it. We need grace because carrying 2 house loans is really hurting us. Please help us with your prayers. Thank you.
BTW, every time I think about this issue I get afraid. I hate feeling like we are bleeding money. It's killing us. But every time I look around at where I am and what we have done I feel peace that it was right. I so need grace. Some things you can not make happen by your work or ability. I can not manage this without grace. Grace is Gods unmerited favor. Fear makes me feel like God will not provide. But I know that God is a good provider...his hand is big, his ways are perfect. I'm praying for help, and looking for help. Fear is only how I feel, but it is not how I live.

God "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." (Ephesians 3:20).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas cards and other stuff

I'm trying to write Christmas cards today. Actually, I have Nicole working on the cards. I also cleaned the house, and took Jessica shopping. I'm looking forward to the Christmas vacation. It's been wet outside. They say a big storm is on the way. I hope that the weather is OK by Saturday. I hope to go to France for the day. I plan to take 3 International students, and Nicole and Sarah to the Christmas market in Strasbourg. But we may need to change our plans if the weather is bad. The students are studying International Health in Heidelberg. The program is taught in English. The students come from all over the world. It’s such an honor to get to know them. When they return home they will work for the government, or World Vision, or the United Nations. I’m so blessed to host them. How fun! Just my cup of tea!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

this weekend

It's been a full weekend. I shopped, and cleaned. We put up the Christmas tree. Saturday night Juergen and I took Thomas out to dinner. We needed to talk to him about school. He has had trouble finishing his homework. He travels 2 1/2 hours a day to school and back. The school is all day. He gets really tired, and the last thing he wants to do is homework. I can not blame him. Soccer fills 2 afternoons per week. That's been good for him, but it takes up all the free time he had. So we are considering a school change. He could go to school in Bad Schönborn and save all the travel. The school is also not all day. He would have time for friends, football, music (he plays drums and guitar) and he could get help with his German. So we will look at the local schools. He is pretty nervous about another school change. We hate to move him again, but we see no other way forward.
Today Juergen and I took Sarah to a movie. I guess we will take Philip out next. All the kids need their time. We are also trying to figure out what to do for New Years. We still haven't made any plans. Maybe just a movie and a pizza. I would not mind having a few people over, but I’m too tired for a big party. I’ll get rest between Christmas and New Years. At least that’s the plan. But right now I’m feeling very tired.

this looks good

Monday, December 05, 2011

more eBay seeds

A Honey Rock melon, White Scallop Zucchini, another melon called ATLANTIC, a
Chocolate bell pepper, a Zucchini called Romanesco and a Butternut called Watham. What a colorful garden I hope to have. Fun, Fun, Fun!

a few house photos

Looking past the winter

I'm no fan of winter. I hate the cold. I spend a good deal of time under a blanket drinking hot tea. I dream of Thailand. Maybe Juergen and I will have to retire in Thailand (winters). Last night the wind was so strong that it blew down a tree we had transplanted. My tomato house also blew down. I have a small mess to pickup in the yard today. I went on eBay today and bought some seeds for next year. I bought an assortment of heirloom tomato seeds (my personal favorite). I also bought Thai long beans, Chinese cabbage, Kale, 15 different peppers, and a small French pumpkin. I have 4 raised beds in my yard right now. I have lettuce and onions and garlic growing. And even in this cold windy weather, my plants are doing good. Maybe I'll cover the raised beds. I can make them into mini greenhouses. Then I could probably manage to keep a salad garden the whole winter. I am really looking forward to next year.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


Today I took an old wool sweater that was washed too hot and cut it up into pieces. I had the kids sew the pieces together, and put soap inside. Then we added ribbon to hang it up with. It's soap on a rope. The kids all have "god parents" that will be getting soap on a rope for Christmas. It smells very good.

I also took sticks and made a tree form. To this, I hot glued evergreen branches. Then I glued wooden ornaments. I hung this to a door. I saw the idea in a magazine. I also took the evergreen branches to transform my fall wreath into a Christmas wreath.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The garage door is here

The guy just got here to switch our new garage door with the old garage door we had in Leimen. My brother Rick painted that door for us. It was a certain thing we would move it to our new house. In fact, we had a new garage built just for the old door (made to order). So now the door is being switched. I basically have nothing left to move from the old house. Maybe the rain barrels, I think that's all. I do wish the house was sold. I would love to move into the new year with that chapter closed.
I'm getting a head cold. I'm feeling very tired and stressed. Jessica wants to go out every morning. I have a very hard time getting my work done. Juergen called the right people. It looks like we will be able to get the funds for a person that takes Jessica out a few days per week. I am really feeling the stress of no free time. And even when I have "free time" I have to cook, clean, shop, and do laundry for a family of 7. But believe me, all that is 100% easier when you don't have a bored 20 year old autistic girl crying to get you to take her places. I think I was OK for such a long time because Nicole was helping me. But now she is going to school and can not help me. I'm glad Nicole is in school(do not get me wrong), I just wish Jess was in school too. I'm getting sick (a bad cold), so I feel like I'm falling over the edge! I just need some balance. Juergen maybe taking a week off soon. We are just about out of vacation time, but he maybe able to use some of next years time. I understand the new vacation time is actually added in December, not January. At least that’s what someone at work told him. We used up all our vacation time this year for work on the house. We are beginning to feel the stress of not resting enough. It is hitting both of us. A little extra rest would do us some good. To sleep for chance to dream!

Hot cereal

I get the newsletter from Bob's Red mill. They posted something about their hot whole grain cereals and how to eat it. Here are a few of their ideas.

• Add nut butter (peanut, almond, etc) or an egg to your cereal to boost flavor and protein and really kick start your day with a breakfast that will fuel you until lunch.

• Add some flaxseed meal, chia seed, hemp seed or pumpkin seed to increase your fiber and omega-3 intake to support a healthy heart.

• Fresh, frozen or dried fruit also make a great addition to boost flavor and add vitamins and antioxidants.

• Add a few tablespoons of canned (or fresh) pumpkin for a decadent, holiday-themed breakfast. Pumpkin is loaded with Vitamin A, Potassium, Zinc and protein, making it a great addition to a whole grain breakfast.

• Adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to your cereal will help stabilize your blood sugar, not to mention that a little cinnamon can add a big flavor boost.

• Take it savory! Try this: add shredded cheese, sliced green onions, a dash of salsa and top with an egg for delicious and healthy Mexican dish.

I think the cheese, onions and salsa would taste pretty good with a hot polenta (corn meal mush).

the first day of advent calendars

The kids all have advent calendars. Sarah was excited to finally open hers. I got Philip, Thomas and Sarah all soccer trading card calendars. They will get new trading cards every day before Christmas. I sent Juergen a list of garden DVDs and canning and preserving books I want for Christmas. Someone should tell him it takes a few weeks to actually get these things in the mail. There is nothing on my list you can just run out and buy last minute. That's very bad news for him! You know you a person who has everything when all you want for Christmas are canning jars and gardening DVDs. But that is just my new hobby so I guess it’s understandable. And I do have pretty much everything!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

worth a listen

I had my computer in the livingroom today as I cleaned. I listened to a sermon by
Mark Hitchcock about receiving our reward from God.

It's really worth a listen. Towards the end of the sermon he says we should want whatever God gives us...not try to stick a deal before hand. There was a boy and his father in a small store. The owner wanted to be nice so he opened the candy jar and told the boy he could take a handful of candy. The boy played shy and hide next to his dad. The owner encouraged him to take the candy, and so did the boys father. Finally the owner reached in the jar and grabbed a big handful of candy and gave it to the boy. As they walked out of the store, the boys father said why were you so shy? The boy said, the owner has a much bigger hand.

Too many of us are asking God to give us this and that, not waiting for God to gives what ever he will from his big hand. And I am one of those! So this is a good word for me today, as I learn to wait for God to provide with his big hand.


It's so sad to see it has gotten so bad in America. The families in this story are amazing, creative and brave. I'm sure most do not manage it as well. Sadly 2012 looks like a very bad year with little hope of change. I like the attitude of the father that took a job as a trash collector...proud just to work. I remember graduating from Oregon State University. Times were bad and I felt blessed to get 15 hours a week as a waitress at a pizza place. 200 other people applied for that job. I got it because I had gone to high school with the manager. You do what you need to do to cover the rent.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I took the kids to church. Afterwards we watched Cars 2. I didn't see it in the theater. Then we had lunch. Now I'm just waking up from a good nap. Juergen and Nicole are playing guitar in the hallway. It's really awesome to hear them play. Nicole was at a song writing workshop all weekend. She is inspired. Tonight I plan to go to a Christmas worship concert. It's really a good, restful Sunday.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

advent, advent

This morning Thomas told me that he had volunteered me to make the advent wreath for his class. I'm not sure he realizes that takes a little bit of thought. I'm surprised he didn't tell me Monday morning, 5 minutes before he left for school. At least the stores are opened today. I have the time to pull something together for Monday. I think I’ll put candles in jars. Put the jars on some kind of platter with oranges and dried flowers and nuts and moss. That sounds safer for a classroom.

I also have Philip digging through every space in the house...hunting for gifts. My sister Dianna use to do that. And she was so awful, she would unwrap our gifts and tell us what we were getting. It wasn’t possible to sleep in on Christmas morning because Dianna would unwrap your gifts.

Today Juergen is weatherizing the windows and doors. I’m putting away laundry and I guess I’m making an advent wreath.

Friday, November 25, 2011

black friday

I put a Christmas CD into the stereo and drank my coffee in a room light up with candle light. Last night I bought Thomas' Christmas gifts on line. I really don't get why people would get up at 6am, stand in line and compete for bargains at an over crowded store when there is eBay and Amazon? I'm almost done with my shopping. I'm not planning on over doing the decorations (what goes up eventually has to be taken down). We will eat left over turkey soup with crusty French bread for lunch. This weekend we want to weather proof the windows using plastic wrap made for the purpose. Juergen had a heater guy over to the house in Leimen. We are getting a quote on a new heater. We also plan on having the hardwood in the living room redone. We may also get the entire inside of the house professionally painted. Many people that have looked at the house say it needs this and that, and then try to talk the price down. For example, a new heater cost about 4000€ installed. They will say it cost 10,000€ and ask for 10,000€ off the price. The floor only cost 600€ to have finished, but they say it cost 3,000€ to redo. So after getting the house is top shape, if we still can not sell it, then it will be ready to rent out. We honestly don't know what else to do...just praying for grace and wisdom. We don't want to own 2 houses. But if know one will give us a fair price we have no other choice but renting. I have to believe that God is perfect in all his ways. I love our new house. It is so right for us. It’s wonderful. I’ll have to take pictures. I can get so upset about the house in Leimen not selling. I hate wasting so much money. And every month we are paying mortgage there. 1200€ gone each month for an empty house. But God knows that! And I just know he does not do things half way. He has a plan. I just want to do my part as I wait for him to do his!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas shopping

No, I'm not making a big Thanksgiving dinner today. It's just another weekday in Germany. The kids went to school, Juergen went to work. I am making turkey soup. That's basically all I ever do on Thanksgiving. I hope I can visit America on Thanksgiving one of these years. I would really love to do that!
Today I went Christmas shopping with Jessica. I'm shopping for 5 kids and a husband. It does take some time. And I'm wrapping gifts as I buy them. That saves me the back breaking marathon wrapping session the day before Christmas. I will also be doing some serious online shopping this weekend (God willing). I got a list from everyone, I have ideas. Hopefully I can get this whole matter under control. It really can be a stress. It's best to get as much as you can done early. Then you have a chance to also enjoy your self. I guess I want some garden DVD's for Christmas. I am looking forward to my garden next year. For now, I want to dream of what can be done. If anyone has an idea of what's very good to watch on gardening, let me know. Juergen needs a list.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I spent today at the heart clinic with Philip. They ran all the tests, and he is OK. The only thing wrong maybe that he skips breakfast and doesn't drink enough water. But we needed to check. I'm glad it's nothing serious. They did keep us waiting for hours. I really hate that. You have an appointment at 10am, and wait until noon to see the Dr. I really hate that!
But today is the day before Thanksgiving. I always feel so odd living in Germany on Thanksgiving. It's such a big deal in America, and a non deal here. The kids will go to school, and soccer practice. Juergen will go to work. There won't be a parade or football, or visiting friends and family. We always have turkey soup to get some of the taste of the day. But I won't feel stuffed, or pass out from an overdose of carbs. I guess I can pull out the Christmas stuff. I can start to make an advent calendar. I always miss America most on Thanksgiving. If I had the money or vacation time I would jump on a plane. But I don't have the money, and Juergen can not take vacation. So I guess I can just wish you all a great holiday. I wish I was there! Eat some pumpkin pie for me. I love pumpkin pie!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The teacher meeting

I had coffee with Philip's teacher. She is really wonderful & positive. She is going to look into a practical job for Philip. Perhaps working one afternoon (unpaid) with a wood worker. Philip has serious learning issues. He is doing better and better in school...but. He will never make a career from his brains. He needs to find a different way to employment. And I know, he is only 13 years old (14years old in 2 months). But there are certain character qualities that will either qualify him or disqualify him for jobs. Being friendly, hard working, honest, reliable, and teachable...things like that. And if he starts now, he has an advantage in the future. He will be able to get a job if he is a good worker. So we know he may not do well academically, but he can find a way forward. For his sake, we better help him learn other important skills, and invest heavily in what is a sure thing. I did ask about the garden thing. They do gardening with the kids at school. So we will not do a project here with his class. If we do build a straw bale green house, they may come work on it for a day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Marc Chagall Biography

Nicole and I hope to see the Chagall exhibit at our church tonight. There are 70 of his paintings (prints). There will also be a talk about the meaning of the paintings. We saw the Chagall windows in Jerusalem. There is a different stain glass window for each of the 12 tribes of Israel. That was truly amazing. I like the way he uses color. Philip’s art work reminds me of Chagall.

I want to get on with it!

Juergen showed the house. The man looks like he will offer us 50 thousand Euro less then the value. I think we have to rent it out. I can not take this anymore! It's not a good market for sellers. We need a good long term renter! Today we are hiring someone to finish the wood floors. We may go ahead and put in a new heater. Does anyone know anything about LichtBlick? We are thinking about instuling LichtBlick in the house in Leimen.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

How to Weatherize Windows with Plastic Film Insulation- DIY Home Improve...

Children Blossom While Learning to Garden

I'm talking with Philip's teacher next week. She will be coming for coffee Tuesday morning. I'm thinking about doing a garden project with his class. I'm not sure how small or large I want to make this, or if they would even be interested in doing something? They may not be interested in this sort of thing? I thought I could offer them a few raised beds to work in. They could start seeds (vegetable and flower seeds). Grow the plants, harvest the crops. Maybe learn about compost? Maybe help us build the greenhouse? I want to use our party tent frame for a greenhouse. I would use straw bales as the side walls. They could help mix the earthen plaster that would cover the walls. They would be like playing with mud. I don't want his whole class here all the time. I only want to do it if the teacher adds it to the class time instruction. But it's very good for kids to work in a garden. Either way, my kids will be working in my garden.

Friday, November 18, 2011

DRTV: Rocket Stoves

I just love this idea.

greenhouse construction + rocket mass heater how to tutorial

so here is where I got the idea for a rocket stove to heat my greenhouse.

Jessica's arm

I took a photo today of Jessica’s arm. It’s bruised very badly. I’m not posting it because it’s very disturbing. I think she got this burse from the disabled workshop. She was pretty awful there. She was scratching the workers and other disabled people. I’m sure they were only trying to hold her back. But they were too ruff. Her arm looks awful. She was crying when I came to get her (after only one hour). Some people question why Juergen and I don’t put Jessica in a group home. How could we protect her? I’m pretty shaken up. I really don’t know what we will do. But I do know that place was wrong for her. They could not manage her…not even for one hour! I felt so bad when I saw her arm today. My poor baby!

Earth Walls: Cob and Straw Bale Construction in Wisconsin

I'm thinking about using the frame of my party tent to build a greenhouse. I want to use straw bales as the side walls. I want to use cob or earthen plaster over those walls. On the top of the greenhouse I'll use insulated plastic. In the ends I want to add antic wooden doors. I also want to add end walls that are cob and wine bottles. Inside the greenhouse I want to add a rocket fire stove, with pipes running under the raised beds. That way I can heat the greenhouse. The only issue will be water. I just need time to build it, and the OK from Juergen. It would be a 40m² greenhouse.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

this and that

I've been driving the kids around most of the day. It's cold outside and I'm tired. One fun thing was picking up Nicole’s drivers license. We picked it up, then she drove home.

The phone also rang allot. We now have 2 appointments to show the house. One of the families needs a house before the end of the year. They have 2 kids, and also want to live in Leimen. So maybe it will sell this weekend? I hear they will raise the sales tax on houses soon. Perhaps that will help drive interest in the house. The tax is going up 1.5% of the cost of the house. That's allot of money!

OK, back outside to pick the kids up from sports.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The day so far

It was cold this morning. I had to scrap the ice from my car windows. I drove Jessica to the workshop. When we got there, I had to drag her out of the car crying. I knew it wouldn't work. So I told them when we entered the room. Jessica would not stay, not even for one minute. I have zero idea what is next, but you just know when something is not what you are looking for. I feel fine waiting for a better answer. Why force it? Jessica would only cry and scratch. The teachers and other students would only stress out. So that is a no...a closed door. And we know you need to close doors in order to say yes to what is right.

Nicole got her drivers license today. She was worried she would not pass the test, but she did. So that's cool! She will drive my car for now. We don’t really have the money for a 3rd car. She hasn’t had much practice driving. I’ll probably just let her drive me around for awhile.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Matt Redman - 10,000 Reasons (Available July 12th)

I got this cd for my birthday. I am loving it! I will put it in my car, and now gladly drive my kids everywhere!

A hard day

Today began with a melt down from Sarah. She was so upset about going to school, but would not say why. Finally she told us that there is a 4th grade boy that is really bothering her. He rides her bus, and is harassing her in the breaks. The other kids are also chasing her and calling her Japanese. Juergen had to take her to school because we could not get her to calm down before the bus came. We talk with the teacher next week. Maybe we need to call her earlier? Then I took Jessica to her workshop. I planned to leave her one hour to start. I shopped for the hour. When I returned she was crying. She had scratched everyone in the class. It almost seemed that was it. They looked like this just isn’t going to work. But they said I should bring her again tomorrow for one hour. We will see. It doesn't seem it will work, but we will see. Then I returned to find out Juergen had to pick Philip up from school. He was complaining about his heart hurting, and not being able to breath. So Juergen took him to the Dr. The Dr did an EKG. Then he told him to go to the hospital in Heidelberg for a echo. The heart seems fine, but the beat is a little irregular. And they took blood to check for an infection. They may need to keep him in the hospital. And I have no one who can watch the other kids, so Juergen would need to take the time off work. That's stressful to Juergen. Even taking the time off today is a stress. It seemed like such a normal day when I woke up. You really never know how things will go. But I pray that they can figure out what's really wrong with Philip. We had a heart appointment next week. He has been having problems for awhile now. I pray they really figure what is wrong and deal with it. Pray also for Sarah. This fear of the 4th grade boy, and the other kids at school are robbing her of her joy and freedom. Kids can really be mean. And poor Sarah does not have the language skills to express herself. She just takes it in, and eventually explodes with sadness and fear. As for Jess? We will just see. Juergen and I both are unsure about this group. All the other people in the group are very disabled both physically and mentally. We are afraid Jess will never fit in there. She needs much more movement, and outside activity. She will be bored there. We see no better options yet, but we don’t really think this will work either. If Jessica keeps scratching the other people, then the option is closed to her anyway. We will try it again tomorrow. And I am not going to be too consider if it doesn’t work. I feel sorry for the people Jessica is scratching. But I have to believe if this door closes, another option will present it’s self. In fact, they will not look for other options until we try this first. So we will just try it again tomorrow.

Up date...they didn't find anything. I guess that's good news. We have to take Philip back next week. They will run more tests. Juergen missed the whole day at work. Not fun! But Philip is OK for now. I'm glad for this.

Cool band photo's from our house party

These photo's where taken by Martin Dietrich. He is a very talented person!