Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

power ball

There is a 550 million power ball lottery jackpot in America tonight.  I asked my mom to buy me a ticket (just one).  I figure my chances of winning are pretty poor, but I would love to be a part of this anyway.  What would you do with that kind of money?  I personally would get a lawyer and some good advise.  I think money can really mess you up.  So I think I would give each of my brother and sisters and parents a little money in a trust that gives them an income of 2 to 4 thousand a month.  That way they can keep working, or retire.  But know one would have enough to buy private airplane.  And I would give myself the same amount.  Enough to make life easier, not enough to ruin things.  I would set up education money for my nieces and nephews and  my kids. But I wouldn't give them cars of houses.  It's hard enough to get them to work.  They need a reason to learn , and I'm not going to give out cars and houses. The rest I would place in charity that helps causes I already support.  So I would give out adoption grants for special needs kids, and support programs that encourage people to be self sustaining.  I like shopping at 2nd hand stores and eBay.  I don't think I would change that.  What would you do with 550 million dollars?


Nicole and I collated seeds from our baby pumpkins today. I now have more seed then I can use in 20 years.  But I'll plant some plants in my garden, and maybe some to sell.  Maybe I can set up a stand in the front of the house to sell plants , flowers and vegetables.  We will see! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas Newsletter 2012

Sarah's advent calendar

Philip and Thomas in Italy
Nicole in Italy
It’s almost December and I’m busy making advent calendars and ordering Christmas gifts on eBay and Amazon. I don’t actually have the time to go shopping at the stores. I personally hate the crowds and the stress. And it’s so stressful shopping for a big family. I made myself sit down and buy everyone’s gifts in one day. And now I just have to wait for those gifts to arrive in the mail. I do love eBay! And now I have the time to think about our Christmas letter. I guess a Christmas letter is a good way of looking back on what you have managed to get done in the year. And we have done allot. I won’t bore you with all the details. But we grew! For example Thomas was in another school last December.

And we moved him to a local school so he wouldn’t need to travel 2 hours a day. It took awhile for him to feel good in his new school. But I think he has turned the corner. And he looks happier and more at ease. He gave up the soccer team, and now spends more of his time on music and archery. He and Nicole have joined an archery club that meets once a week. Soccer was a 3 afternoon per week commitment. He plays soccer with some local kids , but doesn’t feel the stress of being on a real team.  
Last year Jessica had no teacher, or school. She ended up being home until August (12 months home). But now she has her own private helper. And she just began attending a disabled workshop. She feels safe enough with her teacher. And with help she can be slowly integrated into the workshop. Some things take longer then you think…but we still see great progress!   
Nicole is in her 2nd year at Art school. She had very good grades last year and showed her work in a summer art show. I see amazing progress. She is really going to be a good artist! Right now she is working on a sculpture and a drawing. Today Juergen  picked up a professional drafting table he bought for her (used). And I’m giving her some clay tools for Christmas. She will move from doing papier-mâché sculpture to clay and metal sculpture.  
Philip has been working at the school store. He seems to love business. He attends art class once a week. He also loves dancing. He will be attending another dance camp during the Christmas vacation. We need to give allot of attention to Philip’s future career training. There are 3 different levels of education in Germany. The students that are University bound, the technical track , and the students that will eventually be doing more manual and vocational work. If you can not be a doctor you should try to be a plumber. That is the sort of thing we need to help Philip with because he is never going to attend University.
Sarah attended summer camp for the first time this year. She also began the 3rd grade. We weren’t sure she would be able to manage the 3rd grade. But so far she is keeping up with the work. And she has lots of friends,
and also loves to play with her brothers. But more and more she also loves hanging out with her big sister Nicole. She love art, and watching cartoons on you tube.
My big thing this year was my garden. I grew thousands of heirloom tomatoes from seed. And I also canned hundreds of jars of tomato sauce. And Juergen and Nicole built me a beautiful greenhouse. It isn’t 100% finished. You can only plaster walls when it’s warm. And we will need to finish this project next spring. But it’s the coolest greenhouse I’ve ever seen. I also got to help with the English Alpha course. We had international students from a half dozen countries in this basic Christianity course. And it was an awesome privilege to get to know some of these amazing students. We also hosted the graduation party for the International health department at the University of Heidelberg. That wasn’t so much work. The University paid for a caterer I only needed to clean the house and set up the party tent. It was an awesome evening! And I felt honored to be with these special people who are such a huge gift to this world. They are the answer to HIV, Malaria, and food programs for the poor. I am just a stay at home mom, but I still dream of changing the world. I also lead an English small group from January until August. And we had great fellowship. I am considering another small group next year. Maybe another January to July group?  
And my Mom and Dad got to visit us for a few weeks last spring. It was a nightmare for my dad to travel, but I’m hoping he can manage the trip again. If I come to America to visit them, I can only stay a short time. We have much more time together if they come here. But if he can not travel, I’m sure I’ll come to America next year. And Juergen and I got to teach a 4 week seminar on End Time Prophecy. That was awesome. I found the topic exciting just for my own information. We dug into the topic, and often studied until 2am for 2 whole months. It’s nothing I could do all year long, but I would love to teach again next fall (if they want me to).
Juergen is working very hard at work. And he had such a long list things to do for our house in Leimen, and our house in Bad Schönborn. We tried to sell our house in Leimen until May. And every week Juergen would paint walls and put in new flooring. We put in a new front door, and a kitchen, and a new heater. The roof was repaired, and the garden cleaned. It was so costly in money and time.  
But finally we found a good renter(the house stood empty 11 months). And we would have much rather have a buyer, but in the present housing market we are grateful for a good renter. And Juergen also put insulation in the attic in our big house in Bad Schönborn. And we are also getting a new natural gas heater. This should cut our heating bill in half. I also want a wood stove. But this may need to wait until next year.
We did go on vacation this year. We spent 2 weeks in Italy. The first week was on the Riviera near the French boarder. And the 2nd week was in Tuscany near Florence. I loved my day trip to Florence with Nicole. We saw Renaissance Art and modern art. We also visited a Renaissance garden. The kids just loved hanging out in the pool, and playing soccer. I think Juergen loved seeing Monte Carlo. What a view! I would love to return to Italy in 2013.
We also took Sarah and Jessica to Disneyland Paris for a weekend. I could easily go on and on. In a family with 7 people there are allot of stories to tell. But the most important thing to tell is we are well. We love God, we love each other and we are all healthy and happy. We will be spending Christmas eve with International students (God willing). Christmas day we plan to go to Juergen’s Dad's house. We should be home for New Years Eve. And I don’t know if we will be having a party yet. The kids go to camp on January 1st. So maybe we will just have a birthday party for Philip. His birthday is January 1st. We will see. I hope I will see many of my friends and family in 2013. And I pray God fills your heart with joy. We are grateful for all of you. Merry Christmas and God’s blessing in 2013. 

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.”
A.A. Milne

Thursday, November 22, 2012

my work is done

I was on my computer all day long. And I also got lists from my kids. Philip usually doesn't care what he gets for Christmas. But he had given it some thought. I got a giant list of very specific requests. I kept telling him I wouldn't be able to buy everything, I am on a budget. But I did manage to buy some great stuff. And I bought it all on eBay. Some things I got new, and other things used. I asked the kids ahead of time, and they didn't care if I got some used stuff. So for example, I got Sarah over 250 Euros worth of Lego for 40 Euros because it was used. She is going to be trilled. I had a budget, and managed to stay very close to it (about 4 Euro over budget including postage). And I didn't need to pay for parking, and there was no impulse shopping. I am pretty happy to get it all ordered. Now I just need to wrap things. I am missing my family for Thanksgiving. I hope to be calling my parents. I downloaded the audible book "The greatest generation speaks". It's allot of personal stories from WW2.I am glad there is a cease fire in Israel but I feel like we will live to see WW3. I am grateful for the peace we have right now.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Christmas gifts are in the mail

I do not do black Friday shopping, I do eBay and Amazon. And today my shopping is nearly done! The idea of getting up early to stand in line (in the cold) seems a little crazy to me. I’ve done it once…and that was enough for me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The clean house

The ground floor of the house was clean before the party. Juergen told me to take pictures. I didn't manage to clean the upstairs. I also got pictures of our pies. They are all gone now. They were pretty good if I do say so myself. The crust was a little too thick. But I am way out of practice! We did manage to raise some money for send a cow. So poor farmers in Africa will be able to feed their families too. And I’ve got left over’s, so I don’t need to cook much this week. That makes me happy. We raised enough money at our thanksgiving party to pay for seeds, tools, and education for a family. We also paid for milk for one child for an entire year.

Victorian Kitchen Garden: Episode 1 Introduction

We had a very nice Thanksgiving pot luck party. It's quite today. It's cold outside. I have time to watch garden video's on you tube and time to dream of next year.

How To Be A Gardener 4 - Practical Planting

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Charlie Brown: Origins of Thanksgiving [Part 2/2-Full HD]

Charlie Brown: Origins of Thanksgiving [Part 1/2-Full HD]

A full day of work

Juergen worked with the kids in the garden. They got allot of work done. They cleaned up all the stuff around the greenhouse. Everything is put away for the winter. Then Juergen put a coat of paint on the wood that did not get plastered on the greenhouse. It's too cold outside for the plaster to dry, so we will need to finish that job in the spring. The boys chopped 2 wood pallets up. We now have wood for a new years eve bon fire. And Nicole and I cooked. We made 3 pumpkin pies and 2 apple pies from scratch. We used one of the pumpkins we grew in the garden. And I also made stuffing. And I filled 7 zip lock bags with turkey fillets that are marinating with onions, garlic, limes, oranges and olive oil. The whole turkey I could find was too small to feed a crowd of 30 people, and cost too much. So we will have turkey fillets instead. All lean white meat. I'm cooking them tomorrow in oven bags. Our Thanksgiving pot luck is after church. I'm very tired from all the work, but it should be a nice party. These pictures were sent to me from a friend. She had lunch with us in September. I’ll try to get pictures of our beautiful pies and turkey. The kitchen smells so wonderful. And it’s always wonderful to get so much done!