Monday, January 31, 2011

Grandma Moreno

I was named after my Grandma. Nicole is working on a painting of her. It's a dimensional painting made with paper mache on cardboard. She is going to add gold paper to it. It will be in her art portfolio. I love it! Oh, it is my Christmas it is my painting! I think I'm going to be really rich!

Thomas will change schools

Thomas told the kids in his class that he will change schools. He has a hard time telling the kids why, but it's a done deal! We basically said he should say he is moving because the school is just too big. He is in a class with nearly 40 kids, and moves to a class of 20. It's just too big for him...he is such a small fish in a big sea! I think the change will do him good. He also gets to drop French. That will take some stress off.

I like Tim!

I'm not sure who else will run but I like Tim! I thought McCain should have picked him as a running mate.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

More house ideas

OK, I'm thinking out loud on my blog. But here is what I'm thinking....
The house in St Ilgen-Leimen has a East facing garden. It will never get full sun. It's a great place to grow flowers, but not good for vegetables! I loved the garden in Bad Schönborn. What's more, I loved the location , the price and the house. Everything is good there except the size. We need more space. So Juergen found a company near Frankfurt that builds home additions from Shipping containers. Juergen found it(can you believe it)! And they can build us a custom addition at a good price. So Maybe it can work? I know 2 other families looked at the Bad Schönborn house yesterday. I'm not sure if they are interested in buying it? But maybe we will contact the Realtor and ask about adding on to the house. Maybe it will work? Here are the photo's I took of the house.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Maybe I should look at it anyway?

This is the house in Leimen-St Ilgen that has a busy street running in front of it. It's a cool house at a very good price. Maybe if we put a tall fence around the back yard I could consider it? Don't you just love the covered porch? It has everything I want and need. I just wish it was one street back? Picky,Picky, Picky! I should look at it!

So nice but

We saw farm house number 2 in Bad Schönborn. It was in great shape. I think they did a wonderful job renovating this place. It has an awesome garden. A family of 4 or 5 would love this place. We just happen to be a family of 7 (and I want an office and guest room too). It would be too small for us. We could add some rooms to the place, but that would cost a chunk of change. So sad! I just love the garden, and the location! I still think my first farm house is the best thing I've seen. I took Juergen around to see the out side of houses on the market. There is a really cool house built in 1922 that is rather large. It has a low price, bigger yard (not super big but big enough) and enough space. I do not care much for the location. It's on a busy street, next to the train line. It's loud. Personally I hate the location! Love the house, love the yard, hate the location! You know the saying "location, location, location"! Sadly you can not change that! I love the quite garden in my farm house. I love the charming street. I love everything but the idea of major renovation! Juergen is thinking we will find the perfect thing, in the perfect size, in the perfect place. I say sure we will but it will cost us more then we can pay. After all, we aren't the only ones looking for that "perfect" house! I'm sure it's a price!

Friday, January 28, 2011


Money isn't the most important thing in life, but it's reasonably close to oxygen on the "gotta have it" scale.
Zig Ziglar

I found a really great house in Sandhausen. It could be perfect except for the small matter of cost. It's 100,000 Euros more then our house. Maybe we could get a loan for it (I'm pretty sure we could) but we would have to give up so much to pay that loan off. I want to get 100% out of debt, not add 100,000 Euros to my debt! So I'm going to pass...I'm not even going to look at it. I will instead be looking at a house in Bad Schönborn. It is already renovated, and it has just as much land.

Juergen's Christmas gift

I gave Juergen a few hours in a real flight simulator as a Christmas gift. He finally took those hours today. He brought Thomas along with him. He came back really excited. It was one of those roller coaster highs...AGAIN...AGAIN!!!! So I'm glad that was a hit! It's not so easy to find a man who has everything , anything. The photo's are all of Thomas. Thomas took a few photo's of Juergen, but he is a much better pilot then photographer if you follow my meaning!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

That Dreadful Day (coming economic collapse) David Wilkerson

it's in my blood

Some of my earliest memories are picking black eye peas on my grandpa Moreno's farm. My grandparents grew vegetables, and so did my parents. Gardening is a passion of my dad. Sometimes I think I love plants so much because I miss him so much. I often think of what my parents would think of my garden. Someday I'm going to grow so many vegetables I'll need to sell them or give them away. And I believe that's just the will of God for my life. I see a garden like an artist sees a blank canvas...I see the potential. And I have already bought seeds for this years garden. I'll start the seeds, and trust God to give me the ground I need to put them in. I love this women in the video. She knocked on a door and asked for a yard! I did that last year. It wasn't ideal...but it worked..


I can see farm house number 2 on Saturday. If we get it, I'm thinking about renovating the barn into a large living room. I could extend it out with a straw bale winter garden. Then I could include a rocket stove. Basically use some of the very cool natural building techniques I've been learning about. The present living room could then become 2 bedrooms for the boys. Anyway, I love the look of this 2ND stove in the video. I love the look of natural earthen plaster.

And the guest house could be a cob cottage. Nicole could sculpt the walls. It would be a piece of art!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One more house to look at

This is an old farm house built in 1922 and totally renovated 4 years ago. They still need to put the insulation and stucco on the outside walls. That work is included in the price. It has 5 bedrooms (we would need to add on 2 more rooms to get our guest room and a room for each of the kids). As you can see from the slides there is a barn, and maybe that could be converted for the boys? The garden is awesome! I hope to see the house on Saturday. It's not as charming as farm house number one, but also not as much work. Imagine raised garden beds next to that wall, with roses growing up the wall! The place has good potential. It's Bad Scönborn, not Sandhausen. But I love both places...we will see.

Words that bless me today

I don't care what you've heard, impossibles not a word it's just a reason for someone not to try!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Best scene in The Blind Side

I watched The Blindside today for the first time. I loved it! This scene really got me!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy Birthday CodBaba!

My baby brother Rickey is having a birthday today. I hope it's wonderful! Almost 2 years ago he came to visit us. We took him to Cyprus. I would love him to come back with his family. We can go stay in the Lemon Tree House and enjoy the nightly music! Love You Rick!

Here is the website for The Codbaba in Northern Cyprus! They sell fish and chips. Rick is Sarah's God father. We gave him a codbaba tee shirt.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I think he will change schools

I prayed with a friend today about Thomas' school. We prayed that he would want to change schools now, not later. So when I picked him up I asked him how it went. I decided not to push a change, I decided not to even ask. So Thomas starts telling me about the day, and he says the teacher said they all want me to come to school there. So I asked him, so what do you want? He said he wants to change schools now, but he just doesn't know what to tell the kids in his class. I think we can figure that out...and I hope he will change schools at the beginning of the next term (only a week away). If we can figure it out He will change schools. I told him it's good to be loyal to your school, but he needs to invest in friendships that are good for him. The class is smaller at the Christian school. And the entire 6Th class at his school has as many students as the Christian school has (there are 8 over crowded 6 grade classes). Thomas feels like a number. He is shy and gets lost in the crowd. And when he plays soccer at his school they yell at him if he makes a mistake. So far they are so glad to have him on their soccer team at the Christian school. When he invited the kids in his class to Lego Day at our church, they laughed at him...they said Lego is for babies. The first kid he met at the Christian school loves Lego. He has cases of it. I told Thomas not to stress out over what his class will say, he needs to do what is good for him.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

now or in the fall?

Thomas had another good day at the Christian school. I asked him if he wants to change schools. He said yes, next fall. I asked him why wait. He didn't know. He was very happy to move, but not in mid year. I guess it's good he wants to finish the year out. His whole class will be moving in the Fall. He wouldn't need to explain why. Maybe it just needs to grow on him? On the one hand I want him to change now, but maybe the Fall is better. I'm happy if he moves...and that he feels good about the timming. So I'm pretty sure he will move, and next Fall.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The new school

Thomas tried his new school today. He goes there 2 more days and then we will decide. Juergen took him there and I picked him up. First of all, it's a private Christian school. It's one of the only Christian schools in our area. All the teachers really believe in God, they pray with the kids and teach from a Christian world view. The school is small, and there are only 20 kids in the class. There are close to 30 kids per class in his present school. I actually like his present school, I just don't like the values of his classmates. All his friends are allowed to play video games we don't allow, watch movies we don't allow, and carry cell phones loaded with pornography. The Christian school has very strong rules about cell phones and the parents share our ideas on certain video games, Internet , music and movies. Thomas for example was excited about getting Lego for Christmas. He told his friends at school and they called him a baby. Lego is so uncool! He would love to have good friends that do the same stuff he does, but right now the kids in his school just call him a baby...uncool. Maybe it will be better at the Christan school. He made a friend first thing. He seemed cautiously happy. I guess I'm cautiously happy too. I feel strongly about living our faith in a real world. But Thomas was adopted when he was 7 years old. He already has trouble feeling like he belongs. Philip goes to an awful school, but he manages to hang out with the "good" kids and he influences them more then they influence him. Thomas feels like he either hangs out with friends that are always doing what we don't allow, or be alone. He spends too much time alone. He needs good friends! Most of all I pray he finds good friends! So we will let you know if he decides to change schools. I'm pretty sure he will.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

one life

I stayed up until 2am scanning old photo’s of my good friends mom. She passed away last week. The funeral is on Friday. It’s sobering to see the photo’s of one persons life. You can see from the photo’s how fast a life can pass. In one photo she was a school girl (during the war), and then she is grown, married for 50 years, a grandmother. She reminds me so much of my dad and my grandmother. She had a love for her garden and she made dolls. I think it is impossible to measure a persons life by a few photographs. In fact none of us can begin to imagine our real worth. Only God knows how priceless we really are. The world tells us this is not true, but one day we will see clearly how beautiful we are in His sight.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm wondering how we will do it, but I'm sure we will be Ok.

a sailing ship Pictures, Images and Photos

I got up early with Philip, Thomas and Nicole. I watched Thomas pack his swim stuff for school. About an hour later the phone rings. Thomas had forgotten his swim stuff under the table. I am in my PJ's. I have to get dressed to put Jessica and Sarah on the bus. Juergen has to deliver the swim stuff to Thomas' school. No big deal...right? But it's Monday morning and I had plans to drink my hot coffee slowly. And on Wed-Fri Thomas will try out the Christian school. Juergen will have to drive him to school every morning. I'll have to get dressed and put the girls on the bus every morning. No more waking up slowly with a nice hot cup of coffee! But OK...I can give up my coffee for my son. I'm wondering how we can do any of it? I'm thinking about changing his school, I'm thinking about renovating an old farm house. Crazy! Why not just stay in my PJ's and drink my coffee? I think about my own Mom. She left a safe job, and the income of that job to go to the University (this was after all her kids had grown up). After she graduated she could not find a job in Oregon, so they moved out of state so she could work in her field of study. Was it worth all the trouble? It makes me think of a saying "ships are safe in the harbor, but that's not what they were built for". I really can not say if my parents would have been "better off" if she stayed in her job, never moved, and played it safe. But she knew she was meant for more. I respect her for taking the risk, and I respect my dad for supporting her dreams. I have dreams too. Yes, I'm almost 50 years old and maybe I should just slow down. But I really don't want to regret anything and say "I should have, could have". So even if it means giving up my morning cup of coffee I'll do what ever it takes to get Thomas to a better school. And we will just have to see about the rest. If it's the right path for us, we will renovate a house. That's just not clear yet. But I'm not playing it safe just to "play it safe". I'm grumpy, it's Monday but I'm not ready to stop living!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tomato seeds, Berlin and my farm house

I won the bid on 16 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes on eBay. I’m already thinking about starting my plants in another 6 weeks. I guess all I can do is plan to be where I am right now. I’d love a big garden, but I’m thinking that will not happen for me this growing season. Even if we do manage to buy the farm house in Bad Schönborn, I’ll need to concentrate on renovating the house. The garden will have to wait. So I’ll start my tomato seeds at the beginning of March. I’m looking around for other seeds to invest in. This year I think I’ll try a variety of peppers. I use them allot in cooking. You should grow plants you enjoy eating.
Jessica’s class is planning a trip to Berlin in May. I’ve never been to Berlin. It should be fun for her. We found out that she can not go to the autism house in Sandhausen if we move to Bad Schönborn. That’s not good. But we also found out she does not have the funding to go there yet, and they are having trouble securing that funding. We also found out the director of the house quit, and they don’t even have a director now. So I’m not really sure what to do or think. The autism house may not really be an open door for Jessica and maybe something good is available for her in the other school district. I guess we just need to look. I know God has a plan that is perfect. I’m going to just wait until it is clear what’s really right.

Here is my garden last July

Friday, January 14, 2011


Today started last night. I have been praying for a friend who's mom died last night. This women was very sick, they have been expecting it. But I can not imagine it ever being easy to say goodbye to your parents. By God's grace I still have both my parents. I hope I can hold on to them for awhile. I have a birthday card my dad drew, and my mom wrote me last year. It has 49 hearts and it says I've been loved for 49 years, and that I will always be loved. I'm so blessed because I know this is true. I really know it! It's not so clear for others. In fact the doubt can really cripple people. I went to speak with Sarah's teacher today. Sarah is smart and the reading and math are fine. That's the good news. The bad news is she will fall apart at the smallest correction, or criticism. She carries so much fear of rejection. She needs some counseling. You can not walk through life fearing to make a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes...we all do. But Sarah (who was adopted from China at the age of 4) acts like you do not love her if you correct her. So we need to address this. Somehow she needs to know emotionally that she will always be loved...every day of her life...forever!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

10 years ago today

10 years ago today Jessica, Nicole, Juergen and I sat in a hot waiting room in Bangkok. Then a small and scared 2 year old boy walked into our lives...our son Philip.

the 2nd child in the line is Thomas

It must have been so scary for him to meet these people they said would be his family. We obviously didn't look a thing like him, and we couldn't even speak his language. But here we were, and poor Philip looked like he would cry. They didn't let us take him right away. Instead we just visited with him. The nanny was pushy. She tried to make him say Mom and Dad. I tried to make him laugh. It worked! We were building blocks. All the kids were trying hard not to cause the blocks to fall. I built a high tower, then knocked them down in a somewhat dramatic way. I said "Uh Oh"! Then I laughed. Philip laughed too, and he did the same thing. Then Juergen played football with him. He relaxed. And the thing that really helped us was the other kids. Dozens of other kids clung to us. They all wanted a mom and dad. Philip began saying "mine".

And when he left that orphanage, he never wanted to look back. He is still knocking down towers and making us laugh. I praise God we took the steps to find him and bring him home. I could never imagine life with out him! Adoption is such a great gift. Sure he is a handful...but what preteen isn't? He makes me so proud! You think we blessed him, but he transformed us. At the time I was so depressed about Jessica's autism. Philip gave me so much. He taught me I still had the power to change the whole world. Autism tried to take that way from me but adoption gave it back. I learned just how much power I really do have when Philip walked into my life.

more acid stained concrete

very cool site

Here is a web page on acid stained concrete art.

What an art!

I watched a DVD called "Building with awareness" yesterday. I learned about using earthen plasters and stained concrete. So cool! The farm house I want to buy has a large concrete courtyard that would be so cool stained. And Nicole is already thinking of taking the method to Thailand and doing art work in the concrete slums of Bangkok.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

no dig

garden idea

If I get to have the farm house, I want it for the garden. I think what I would do is place square straw bales to form large raise garden beds. I would cover the straw bales with a mud plaster. I would place wood on the top of the bales to act like a bench. In the center of the beds I would do something like this no dig method to build up good soil. At the very top I might place drip lines to water the plants. I then would have a low maintainance vegtable, and flower garten. It would take loads of work to set up, but very little work to maintain.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

the floor plan

My Mom wrote…

"Could you use that area as a living room? I am assuming there is access from the back of the property that could be used for the car."

...The back of the property has no access. It is a grave yard (really). And on either side another large garden. So it has no place to park a car. It's very quite in the garden, and private. So I guess that's the good news. You have to park in the court yard. There is no parking on the street. We would have good space in the attic for a living room. We think we can put the guest room on the ground floor where there was once a small kitchen. We think that we can put a hall way where the pantry is, and the old laundry room can become my mud room and back door. Here is a link to the floor plan. The first plan is how it is now. The second plan is how we think we can use it. We need to see an architect to see what he thinks. On the ground floor I want to put a wheel chair ramp, and wider doors. I also want to redo the small bathroom so it has a zero clearance shower with a seat, and bars for the toilet. I’m thinking about my parents, Juergen’s dad, and us 20 or so years from now. If you have to redo it, you might as well do it right. Feel free to give me input. If there is something more I should be considering, stuff I would wish I had done?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

More farm house dreams

I made a new video of the farm house. I also have a few new ideas. If we turn the living room/dinning room into a big kitchen/dinning room, and turn what is the kitchen into a coat room/laundry room that would work better. Then on the next floor we could have 3 bedrooms, a bath room an office and a guest room. Then in the very large attic, we could have 3 more bedrooms and our living room. Normally you would have the living room on the ground floor, but I don't see the space for it there. Eventually I would love to renovate the barns, but we would need some big money for that. The architect can tell us if we can use the space under the roof. I'm really excited about having a big kitchen. We will see!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

the farm house

Here are some photo's from the old farm house in Bad Schönborn. Juergen and I saw it again today. It is smaller then I remembered. You can not add on to it with shipping containers the way I had thought. We need an architect to tell us what can and can not be done with the barn. Juergen isn't trilled. I see the garden, and have a hard time looking realistically at the small house. We need an architect.

Monday, January 03, 2011

100 years

Juergen is 51 and I'm 49 years old. We want to have a 100Th birthday party together. I don't have the date yet, but I'm working on a menu for a small crowd of 100 or so people. I was thinking chicken and rice, beans, salad, fresh fruit, a corn zucchini casserole, tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole and a desert of some sort. Maybe I'll even ask some friends to bring desert. I like the Mexican direction. I wanted dishes that are not too hard to cook, and easy to cook for large amounts of people. What do you think? I also need to be able to buy the food in Germany. I have to keep that in mind.

This is from

Chicken and Rice

This is for 6 people
1 whole chicken, cut in serving pieces
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp smoked paprika
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/3 cup sliced green olives
2 tbsp capers
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt (or 1 1/2 tsp fine table salt)
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups white long grain rice
4 cups chicken broth

so this recipy times what? 15 or 20? I mean if you are cooking for 100 to 120 peple?

What Faith

While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.

Matthew 9 verses 18-19

The Leader of the synagogue actually had faith that Jesus could raise the dead. I never actually noticed this. What faith!


Nicole has 8 school friends coming for dinner tomorrow. We spent a few hours shopping for Thai ingredients. She will do the cooking. She’s making coconut chicken, vegetable curry, and spring rolls and shrimp. It’s been allot of fun learning to cook with her. I'm taking Sarah, Philip and Thomas to see the movie Mega Minds, and Juergen will be watching Jessica. Nicole takes her comprehensive school exams beginning next month. She is also hoping to take a vacation with her friends (one week). But that just depends on time and money. Most of the friends will have to pay their own way...we would pay for Nicole's trip. So where and when will depend on money. That's fine with me. I know they can not go far, or spend too much. I'm totally cool with that. But I'm saying no to Egypt and Turkey. There has been too much violence there. And Greece? Too unreliable. Nicole wanted to go to Thailand, but it cost too much. Know one they are also restricted in that way too. I'm so happy she has good friends. But they all realize they will be going in a dozen different directions after graduation. The reality is starting to sink in. It will be a very intense year.

Tom Yum Goong (Thai Prawn Soup)

Raw prawns 12
Straw Mushroom (halved) 40 (80 pieces)
Fresh galangal (thinly sliced) 2 tablespoons (19 pieces)
Kaffir lime leaves (shreded) 4 leaves
Lamongrass (cutted) 9 segments
Fresh Thai chili (lightly pounded) 25
Coriander (sliced) 1/3 cup
Chicken soup stock 3 1/2 cup
Fish sauce 4 3/4 tablespoons
Lime juice 5 tablespoons

• Wash the prawns and shell them
• Clean straw mushrooms and cut them in half
• Bring chicken stock to boil with medium heat (take 5 mins); add lamongrass, galangal, and prawns until prawns turn pink (cooked through) (take another 4 mins); add mushrooms, kiffer lime leaves and fish sauce (take another 2 mins); turn the heat off
• Add lime juice and lightly pounded fresh Thai chili
• Garnish with sliced coriander; serve while it is hot

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

Our party was very nice. There were 6 of us plus kids. I got to hold my God Child Anna...I am tempted to write her name Anne (with the e). If you know the books Anne of Green Gables you would understand why. Last year at New Years we didn't know Anna was on Gods radar. But it is amazing how God has things planned, and how a year can bring forth all kinds of stuff we never thought about. Yes good things, but also hard things. One of my new favorite verses in the Bible is Revelations 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. God is the creator and finisher. He can have the first word in a matter...and no matter how difficult things appear God has the last word. I think about this verse on the last day of 2010, and on the first day of 2011. In context John wrote that Jesus is coming soon. Verse 12 reads “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done." If you want focus then remember this truth. Jesus is coming very soon. Today is a great day to live as you should. It's a great day to build bridges and a great day to start a new. God has the power to create what is not there. He can give us dreams, and provide what we need to finish our dreams. I don't know what's going to happen in 2011 but I'm trusting God to initiate good things, and give us all we need to finish what He has started.