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!