Thursday, January 31, 2013

half way there

I found a vacation house just outside of Innsbruck, Austria. It's half way to the house in Italy. They will allow us to rent it for just one night. Most houses want you to rent for 3 to 7 nights. So maybe we can rent here on the way down to Italy? And maybe even on the way home. I just hate the idea of a straight trip. It's kind of long for our kids.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Old blog posts

I'm reading old posts from my blogs and I find it great to look back on the years of growth. Thursday, August 19, 2010 (packing for a trip to Holland) the last min stress of getting out the door So I have the kids packed. The toys, roller blades, beach toys etc… I’m on my last load of laundry (I think). The car is cleaned out. The kids are not happy, but they are cleaning their rooms. Actually the boys are having a power struggle. I wish they each had their own room. They are trying to out lazy each other. When will they get past this awful stage? God please give me grace! We have a big car, but I’m not really sure how we will fit it all in. Juergen is a genius at packing. I’m sure he will manage it. He will be saying “Amy, you can not bring the whole house” but he will manage it. He is so blessed to be at work today. He doesn’t need to listen to the battle of the bedroom. Oh I wish I had a job ( you know what I mean)! Thursday, November 15, 2007 (You're Fired) Philip & Thomas got fired from their first job. I gave them the responsibility of picking Sarah up from kindergarten. Yesterday I got called into the directors office for a talk. I guess the wild boys would arrive at the kindergarten, run through the school, announce to poor Sarah lets go, and just race each other home. Poor Sarah was left racing behind them, leaving half her stuff at school. Any way, the director told me the boys could not pick Sarah up anymore. It made me feel sick! I think the boys were just so caught up in racing each other, they forgot why they were sent in the first place. We hope they will be given another chance by the director in a few weeks. We want them to learn how to be responsible. I know they can do this...they just made a mistake. Tuesday, November 13, 2007 Sarah was fighting with her brother Philip today. They fight allot lately. They are oil and water. Anyway, I went into Philips room to break them up. I told Sarah she could come in the kitchen and work with me. She grabbed my arm and said "My Mama"! I think it was the very first time she has said my named in that overly possessive tone of hers. It felt kind of good! She helped me with the dishes. She just loves to work. I paid her too. I gave her a box of peanuts. She was pretty proud of her peanuts! Thursday, December 21, (part of a short review of 2006) In March we saw Sarah for the very first time. I had been praying to adopt from China. You could say I was obsessed with the idea! Poor Juergen (trying to maintain some sanity) kept saying no! I kept looking at Special needs lists. One day in March (March 3rd) after looking at hundreds of photos of waiting kids, I saw her. I was pretty sure she was the one! I asked Juergen, and he said maybe...let me pray about it! One thing that was amazing about Sarah is she was holding a rubber ball in her hands. The ball had butterflies on it. Before I had made my trip to Southern California, my best friend Cindy T. had her small group prayed for us. They are pretty prophetic. One person had a word of knowledge. She said, I see her catching butterflies. When Cindy told me this in December 2005, I knew it had something to do with our adoption. Now Sarah was in this photo with a ball covered in butterflies. Long story short, we applied to adopt Sarah (who is by the way the only child Juergen ever even considered praying about). We received pre approval to adopt her on April 28Th. Our paper chase was long and bumpy...but all the important documents finally went to China at the end of October. We now wait for China to give us travel approval. We hope to travel with our whole family in early 2007.

Energy Efficiency Spin Driers and Cloths Washers

I'm trying to win the bid on one of these spin driers on eBay. I used one once on vacation. We use so much energy drying cloths. I do 2 or 3 loads of wash a day. In the summer I hang my wash on the line.

Buying stuff for the garden

I've been busy ordering a few things for our garden. First I ordered these noise makers that run on solar power. They are suppose to chase away moles. We have a very serious mole problem. We did use these things and they helped. But our noise makers could be heard by the neighbors and they didn't like the clicking sound. These send a vibration and high pitched noise into the earth. And perhaps we can chase those moles away. Of course they will probably run to the neighbors house...and I'm sorry about that. We are not allowed to kill them, and we have had no luck trapping them. Our garden is covered with mole hills. We need to do something. I also bought a shredder to shred my compost. Nicole has been busy giving the perennials a haircut. We don't have any trees to compost, just stems and leaves. But shredding it will help everything compost quicker. And I bought 2 new compost bins made from wood, and one thermal compost bin to put in the greenhouse. I hope to shred all my garden waste and build new compost piles. I have 3 piles now, but it all needs to be turned and cleaned up. I basically just need to clean everything up and start getting it ready for spring planting. Finally I bid on a pair of spiked shoes. they put holes in the grass. And you then spread sand on the grass to improve the drainage. Our grass is an awful mess. It's a goal to improve the grass this year.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The seed bank

Nicole and I sorted the seed bank today. I really do have enough seeds to keep us going for a decade. I'm teaching a short lesson on container gardening in April. Maybe I can share some flower and vegetable seeds then. But I hope to start some plants today. I start my seeds in the basement heater room. After a few weeks I can move them to the green house. So today we start onions, broccoli, cabbages, kohlrabi, carrots, kale, spinach, in many different sorts. I'm sure I left some kinds of veggies out, but these are the kinds I remember off the top of my head. I wrote out labels and recorded each variety in a book. We are getting very professional don't you know! The weather is improving. We had ice rain yesterday, but it's melted today. It is actually suppose to get 12 degrees above zero by the middle of the week. I can not explain what it does for my disposition, the thought of being able to get outside. I get headaches from the cold. I am a sun lover. I don't think I wore shoes until I was 10 years old. I spent my early years in Arizona. I’m going to retire in Thailand and run a fair trade pineapple plantation. I’ll provide the very best health care, housing and education for my employees. And their children will escape poverty in one generation.

a book we are reading

Juergen and I just started reading a book called “why Christian kids rebel” by Tim Kimmel. Our kids are all pretty good. I know their youth pastor may have a different opinion. But so far we don’t have drug or alcohol problems, and no pregnancies. There are some bad attitudes, some disrespect towards authority. And we are trying the best we can to hold them up in prayer. To build them up, to teach them what they need to know. I guess we want to know if we are covering all the bases. We are not perfect parents. And we don’t have perfect kids. But I have hope that they will grow past these hard years, and find themselves. The book is funny. “My 17 year old daughter bought a thong bikini for the church pool party and can not seem to understand why I, as her mother can not stop hyperventilating”…”These are the kinds of incidents that jumpstart our relationship with God. It’s as though, during these crises, God puts two spiritual cardiac paddles on the side of our hearts, yells “clear” and gives us a jolt of reality.” I’ve personally seen many of my friends kids go through these difficult years and turn out as amazing adults. It does have an aging affect on the parents. I have hope my kids will also come through these years as amazing people…each one. And my hope is Juergen and I will also live to see them all established and living lives that honor God. But faith is what is hoped for…not all that is seen. I am happy for all those people that have easy kids. I had one myself. I call that grace. You are fooling yourself if you think it was your skill as a parent. Even the best parents see their kids rebel. And if they don’t rebel, you can count yourself blessed by unmerited favor. Amazing grace. I pray for grace. I pray for wisdom. And I pray for good influences. People that inspire them and help them find their way.

Friday, January 25, 2013

I just had to have them

I’m what you might call a seed-aholic. When I find good seeds I buy them. And Nicole will tell you, I have enough seeds. But she’s wrong! Well, no actually…she isn’t wrong. But I just love to collect seeds. And try them out. And sometimes I find some that I really love. I found awesome vegetable varieties in Italy. They have the very best onions and artichokes and peppers. Today I found some peppers (a mix of 8 kinds), lettuce, 5 different kinds of basil, orange sugar beets, a variety of sunflowers, a rainbow mix of carrots, 4 different kinds of zucchini, and dill and chives. I think I can safely start a few plants in our heater room this weekend. In 6 weeks it should be warm enough to transplant starts into the greenhouse. So even though it snowed today, and we expect freezing rain this weekend, I’m planning on a summer that includes a very big variety a colorful and healthy vegetables. When I buy seeds I can see the thousands of tomatoes, the fresh salad, the awesome pumpkin soup. I see the flowers. And with so little money I buy the very best store in town. It’s the store that lets me shop with out shoes. 5 minutes before I cook it, I cut it. And there is no line at the check out line, no money, and no driving. For a small investment I can see my garden springing up from these beautiful seeds. So how can I resist. You can not buy red carrots at the store. Know one sells this sort of yellow zucchini or orange bell pepper. And it’s 100% organic. I just had to have these seeds! Don’t tell Nicole! Promise!

How to Grow Sweet Potatoes

The Benefits of Sweet Potatoes In Your Diet

Sweet Potato 101

Sweet Potatoes Health Benefits

Thursday, January 24, 2013

There is still room for friends

I'm very excited about our trip to Italy May 18-June 1. But it's a big Villa, and there are lots of rooms available for friends. So if you are looking for a vacation with your family, or with a group of friends the Villa Migliarina is a very good deal. You can get a 2 bedroom apartment for about 600€ for 2 weeks. Our idea is to take day trips with our family and hang out with friends at the villa at night. Everyone doing their own thing, with some time spent together. Some jamming on guitars, some board games, some soccer, some pool time with friends. Or Juergen will hang out at the villa with Jessica and the kids, and I take a day trip to Florence to see the art. I hang out with Jessica and Juergen goes to Rome for the day. We can only do so much with Jessica. She mostly likes to stay in one spot. And last year the kids didn't want to leave the villa. They were happy to spend the whole day at the pool. So Juergen and I would love to have friends around to tour with.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

So we booked the vacation

I spent allot of hours looking at houses, and trying to consider what to do. But today Juergen and I went ahead and booked the same Villa we stayed in last year. It really is perfect for our family. It's old and beautiful for me, low costing for Juergen, and has a good pool and a soccer field for the kids. It has the space for Jessica to have her own bedroom (very important for an autistic person to have their own space). And there are allot of interesting things to go do and see. The down side is the drive. But we will survive it (I hope). And I can look forward to the trip. I feel compelled to get some of these "big things" scheduled. The calendar seems to be filling in very fast this year. I'm not generally one to plan so far in advance. But this year seems different in that way. There are a number of "bigger" things I want to do. Paint the house, travel to England, Italy and America. So that decision is made. We hope to travel to Italy in May. And part of what drove me was the fact that my kids still want to go on family vacations. So many of my friends now take vacations without their kids. I'm sure that will be nice in it's time. But for now, I'm glad my kids still want to go on family trips. We almost said no to the trip. Let's just stay home this year. But in a few years the kids will be grown and gone. So I rethought that idea. And 2 weeks of family seemed better then just staying home. They will not be with us forever.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dear Alien Invaders

Dear Alien Invaders, This weekend Juergen brought me coffee in bed, did the dishes and shopping, made a gluten free lunch and down loaded a Jane Austen movie (all with out being asked). He is obviously a clever clone. I do not know what you have done with my husband, but I hope you are good to him. He is a good man. I’m sure you will find him helpful to your cause. And we will be happy to keep the clone. Sincerely, Amy Heymann Earthling

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How A Vornado Whole Room Heater Works

I'm sending a gift of 2 Personal Vortex Space Heaters to my parents. Dad said he was cold. This should help keep you warmer with out causing your heating bills to go up. I bought 2 so you can keep one in the living room, and another in the bedroom. I love you!

Monty Don's Italian Gardens - Villa di Castello and Boboli Gardens, Flor...

Nicole and I saw the garden at the Villa di Castello last June. Maybe we can see it again!

Saturnia terme(alba)

We think we will go to Italy again. I found a nice house in the hills just outside of Florence. And I want to go to this hot spring. We went here about 3 years ago. Jessica loved it.

Garden (playlist)

Saturday, January 19, 2013


This is Nicole's latest painting. It's s surreal self portrait. She painted it for my Christmas gift. Juergen hung it up for me today. I need to take another photo of it in the day without flash. But I love it!

my new lamp

I just bought a new lamp for my bedroom. I'm also looking for a new bed frame. I have pretty much ignored my bedroom since we moved in. But I deep cleaned the room this week. And now I want to do some decorating. I found an old bedroom set I'm hoping Juergen will let me buy. I want an Art Nouveau, Italian Villa look in the room.

Friday, January 18, 2013

quote from the captain of the Titanic

I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked, nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster. Captain Edward Smith in 1907.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mimi's Straw Bale Garden July 21, 2011

How to Make Vermicompost

I did this in Leimen but never got around to building a new worm bin. So I ordered new worms. I'll start another worm bin. Make sure and put something under it to catch the worm pee. That can be used in compost tea. We want to start setting up our straw bales in the vegetable garden. They need a few months of rain water and a natural compost like worm compost. After a few months of the straw breaking down, you can plant in the straw bales. I have about a dozen straw bales I bought last fall. I thought I would try straw bale gardening this year. I won't do it in the whole garden, just a section. And then next year, I'll take the used straw to cover my raised beds. The straw mulch in my vegetable garden has been amazing! I'm sold on mulch! The ground improved so much in one season. And I only needed to water my vegetables 3 times all summer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fork to Fork - 1 - Potatoes, Carrots, Beetroots and Parsnips

Jess is sick

Poor Jessica is now sick. I'm guessing it's the same flu that has half the city down. I hope we can keep everyone in the family from getting it...but we are a family. Oh fun! Elderberries were listed in the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs as early as 1985, and are listed in the 2000 Mosby's Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever. In Israel, Hasassah's Oncology Lab has determined that elderberry stimulates the body's immune system and they are treating cancer and AIDS patients with it. The wide range of medical benefits (from flu and colds to debilitating asthma, diabetes, and weight loss) is probably due to the enhancement of each individual's immune system.

What I really want is Thailand

It's very cold today. And they say we will be getting snow tonight. Jessica's teacher just returned from Central America. She came down with a fever. Hopefully it's nothing serious. But Jess is home. Most likely for the rest of this week. And I know we can afford Italy, but I really want to go to Thailand. I even tell myself Texel (a very cold Island off Holland) would be fine. But we have never had much luck with the weather there. The place is very beautiful. I know there are much bigger problems in this world. It really is the cold, dark, depressing German winter talking. But if I could go anywhere on a vacation, I would most surely go to Thailand. There is no other place my entire family was so united and relaxed and happy. There is just something special about the sunshine, the food, the water and the fact that Philip, Thomas and Sarah look like everyone else. Jessica loves it there. The sunshine does her good. She is a different person. And when Jessica is happy, we are all happy. The flight is a nightmare, but one worth enduring. I wish money was no object. But it is an object. The cost of airline tickets have gone way up. And I'm starting to think we should just stay home this year and paint the house. I get to go to England with Nicole, and America in the fall. The kids will all go to summer camp. I'm sure I'll be better when the weather improves. I was never a fan of winter. I should turn my thoughts to a freshly painted house. That is a dream that could be realized.


I just pulled myself out of a very warm bed to make sure my boys got off to school. One of them is in the habit of going with out a coat. You would think he wouldn't forget when it's below freezing, but it takes awhile for him to registers cold. And then he is half way to school, and will not turn back for his coat. The other rides a bike. And I got the "MOM" look when I made him bring reflector lights. His hair is black, his coat is black, and the sky is dark. He does not drive a car. He can not judge if cars can see him on his bike. He can only think how uncool the reflectors look. I have to drag myself out of a warm bed for this ungrateful audience. I don't expect they will ever think to say thank you. In a year or two they will be on there own. Right now Sarah is much more receptive to my input. I hope she continues to be appreciative. I guess the boys just don't want to be babied. They aren't babies anymore.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Year at Kew

We get to go to London

I just booked our tickets to London in April. Just Nicole and I for a Mom and Daughter cultural weekend. We want to go to the Tate Modern, The National Gallery, The British Museum, Kews gardens, Hill song church London, and see "Singing in the Rain" the musical. 4 full days. I had better start walking everyday so I can manage this trip! Thank you Juergen, you are the best! I took Nicole to London when she was 5 years old, and again when she was 9. Now she is 19 and it's a long over due return trip. And because she is studying art this makes the visit that much more interesting. I remember showing her the Monet and Picasso paintings in the National Gallery when she was 9. Maybe her own work will Hang in the Tate one day. And I took her to see My Fair Lady. She sang "All I want is a room somewhere" on the streets of London. And now we want to see "Singing in the rain". That use to be Nicole’s favorite movie. It's suppose to snow tomorrow. It's so cold and dark here. I think I was getting depressed with the cold and darkness. The hope of this trip is sunshine to me. It will help me to get through another few months of winter. this is Nicole feeding the birds in Trafalgar Square when she was 9years old.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

London Travel Guide - Cheap Tips and Sightseeing

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN - new video trailer

It's cold and dark outside. So I am dreaming of travel. I'm pretty sure I always dream of travel in January. By March I am fully engaged in my garden and Ok with staying home. I'm now looking at a short trip to London with Nicole, Thomas, Philip and maybe Sarah. I say maybe Sarah because I'm not really sure she could keep up with all the walking and museums. We would have 3 short days and 2 nights. I would want to see allot in that short time. I promised the boys I would take them to London one of these days. I took Nicole when she was 9 years old. I need to take Nicole to the Tate Modern. She should see the best modern art because this is what she is studying. And we should see a show. Maybe the Lion King because of the masks. But I noticed that “Singing in the rain” is showing in London. That would be a great show. All that dancing! And if we have time I would want to see the green house at Kews garden. And I’m guessing it’s best to see the garden in the spring. So maybe we should go the 2nd week of Easter vacation? And I checked ticket prices for America. Maybe I can go to see my family for 2 weeks in September. I could be there for my dad’s birthday? I would love to have my parents here for a month but I can not afford the tickets. I’m not sure my dad could manage another flight anyway. So far a few friends have expressed interest in going to Italy with us next year (2014). So perhaps we will wait until then? Maybe we will try Holland again? I love Texel but it does get so cold. But I do love it there! And it is cheap. We would go to Thailand in a heart beat, but it cost too much. We are thinking of taking the family to Thailand for our 25th wedding Anniversary. That is in 2015. But by then it may only be Sarah and Jessica with us. The boys and Nicole will be grown up by then. None of these plans are in stone, but it’s free to dream. Only God knows what he has planned for us in 2013.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

A long trip

View Larger Map Just 8 1/2 hours South of Heidelberg.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Back to Italy

I hated the long drive but loved Italy. So when I think of a warm vacation (and who doesn't think of a warm vacation in the winter) I think of Italy. It was so wonderful in the Villa in Tuscany. The only question I have is, who will go with us? The Villa we went to last year has many separate apartments. It's on a large farming estate. They make their own wine. And it has a soccer field and very nice swimming pool. It's about 1 hour south of Florence. Who wants to go to Italy with us in May?

Sunday, January 06, 2013

I did not get the wagon

I waited until the last 20 seconds to place my highest bid, but someone else was willing to go higher. So Juergen does not need to worry about spending his Saturday moving my wagon. I'm a little sad, but that's how it goes. I really went as high as I wanted to go. I wouldn't have been happy going higher. It's not like I was going to use it on the farm. It would have looked nice as decoration in my vegetable garden. And I'm happy that Juergen let me bid on it. He was willing to waste a Saturday moving it too. Good man!

Take a breath by Nicole Heymann

this is a ruff recording of a song Nicole just wrote. It’s a work in progress, but I like it.

Thomas dances at Ten Sing 2013

Saturday, January 05, 2013

How high should we go

Someone has started to bid on the wagon. I had placed a bid of 56Euro on it, but now they have out bid me. And I guess I'll just have to wait until the last minute and place my highest offer. It sells tomorrow. I don't know if I'll get it. Too bad for me! It is very nice, and worth a great deal more then I would want to pay. I put a photo of Jessica sitting among the flowers in Holland. I wish it was spring. I look forward to the spring.

Friday, January 04, 2013


You can find really cool stuff on eBay. I have had my eye on this wagon for the past week. Juergen has resisted my making a bid. And the truth is, everything I buy on eBay means work for him. But he finally allowed me to bid on the wagon. It is being sold from someone in the next village (less then 5 miles away). It sells in 2 days. There is no guarantee I’ll win the bid. I can not imagine there is a high demand for old hey wagons. I would put it in my vegetable garden as a sort of sculpture. I would fill it with plants, and surround it with old cottage garden flowers. I would need to find a way of getting it home. And then getting it into the back yard. The wheels would need to be made secure, and some kind of steps built so I could get up into the wagon to garden. But I think it would be charming. And now Juergen agrees with me. He is out test driving a car we may buy for Nicole and Jessica. The State gives me money for gas and maintenance on my car. Jessica’s teacher uses my car 5 days a week to drive Jess to school. The only free time I have is in the morning, but I have no car. So I stay home. And then Nicole barrows my car many afternoons and evenings. So I also stay home. And my car gets used allot, but not by me! So now Nicole has a job and can pay for half a car. And Jess can pay for half a car with the money the state is paying for gas and maintenance. And Juergen is out test driving a car. And perhaps I’ll win that much more freedom and flexibility in this new year. And I’m grateful to just have that much more freedom and control over my schedule in the mornings. Sadly Juergen’s vacation is nearly over. We didn’t do much. But I feel rested. And I guess I will get allot of stuff done in the next month. And maybe I will have an old wagon in my vegetable garden.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Daily Audio Bible

I've done it 3 years, and I am doing it again. I'm listening (God willing) to the entire Bible in one year. And It's so awsome to hear it again. Each time I learn more, understand more. And I invite you to hear it or read it too. You can buy the Bible on CD's or Mp3. Or you can hear it for free online.