Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Told You Already

IC had to remind me, 'Mama, I already told you I hate that. Please try to remember so that you wont do it again.'

Well, it was bath time. And bath time with us meant before bedtime. That means it is night time and dark. IC has repeatedly told us that someone should stay with her, at least on the same floor; until she is done.

Last Friday, we decided to make a little party in our bedroom; inviting the girls. Since the girls expected a little surprise, I was busy carrying things from the first floor into the third floor. Things such as sleeping bags, drinks and some chips. I forgot that IC specially requested me to stay with her while she's on the shower.

But IC didnt forget. She came up to our bedroom dragging her feet and was in tears saying, 'Mama, I already told you to wait for me if I am in the shower, a hundred times. I was alone in the bathroom; and nobody was in the same floor with me. And you know that I dont like it.'

She emphasized, 'you told us to speak up and now I am speaking up. Please dont leave me alone again when I am in the shower.'

And she added, 'I am telling you again and please remember that talking about it should help you in remembering.'

Am I being scolded or not? But I do accept my fault and I praised her for reminding me. Talking about it helps, right?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake with Milka

Suddenly, my girls and my husband wanted only cakes or cookies for their 'first breakfast'. I don't know if you have heard it but in Germany, there is such a thing as a first and second breakfast.

The first breakfast is eaten at home, the second is at work or in school or just wherever you are outdoors. Anyway, their regular first breakfast selection are mostly composed of cereal with milk or joghurt or a piece of fruit; accompanied by fruit juice or tea.

The past few weeks, they seem to crave cakes or cookies only. Since this is a special demand request, I decided to bake them something that would satisfy the taste of both girls (my husband would eat any kind of cakes or cookies, but only during breakfast!). Note: MC loves cheesecakes and IC loves chocolate cakes.

And I ended up here. And saw the recipe for a chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake. After ticking out all the ingredients, and thinking I have them ready, I decided to do it now!

It turned out that we don't have any chocolate morsels for baking anymore -- but we do have Milka Chocolate Bars, one bitter and three with hazelnuts. Plus, I saw a pack of almost melted chocolate teddy bears which is a mixture of white and dark chocos.

I baked the chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake using the Milka choco bar, chopped into small squares; plus and the melted teddy bear choco.

The result? The cheesecake looked flat and hard! After a taste, I concluded that it was indeed hard, in some parts. That was because the Milka Chocolate  were still intact. No melt chocolate? But that was made it Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake with Milka.

No matter. The cake was eaten with much enthusiasm by my girls and my husband. Of course, IC loved the crunch of the Milka bars while MC chose the cheesy parts. As for my husband, he gobbled up two pieces at once!

I guess the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake with Milka recipe would be an additional treasure in my recipe collection.

Check out the recipe here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

MC Pack's for A Three-Day School Outing

The whole grade three students are scheduled for a three-day school outing along the Vierburgenstadt (Four-castle-town).

They received the list of things-to-bring about three weeks ago. It was a long list. Knowing my nine-year-old daughter MC; I know that there would be additional items joining the list.

So MC and I sat down to tick-off the list. She's got most of the items on hand. The next thing to do is to decide on the right size of luggage. She said the middle-sized one, I said the smallest would be enough for a three-day trip.

I gave her the smallest luggage, so she could start throwing in things from her list. I also gave her a toiletry pouch with small bottles of shampoo, lotion, and sunscreen; a mini soap; a mini toothpaste and a toothbrush. I added a tube of all-purpose-medicinal cream, just in case.

In selecting her clothes, we checked the weather first so that she'd bring the appropriate clothings. Unfortunately, it's going to be a rainy week -- so we packed in an extra change of clothes and a rain coat.

The day before the trip, we sat down again to finalize everything. I was ready to believe that the smallest luggage would be enough but it turned out that she needs to bring a pillow! Since MC's worry is that she would not be able to fit everything in her luggage at the end of their outing; I grabbed the middle-sized luggage so we could transfer everything.

The middle-sized luggage is better. There was enough space for all her things, plus her bottles of mineral water and a few snack packs.

Still worried about space in re-packing, I told her that her that she should separate her soiled clothes. The dry ones she could roll (I showed her how) and throw in the luggage; and the wet ones inside the plastic bag and then in the luggage.

She's got her bottled water, snacks, tissue papers, a cap, and her digital camera in her backpack.

Here's more tips:
- I made sure she has memorized the telephone number at home
- I have the telephone numbers of her teacher and the youth hostel
- There are name tags in her luggage and her backpack
- At least two plastic bags for wet and really soiled clothes; and her pair of shoes

And some travel reminders, too:
- Make sure to stay with her partner and with the group during outdoor trips
- If she does not feel comfortable about something, inform her teacher
- If she needs help, as for it
- Don't forget to drink!
- Have fun!

Also, we talked to her teacher a few days before the trip and informed her of MC's tendency to sleep walk. When and if that would happen, MC should only be led to the toilet (she does that usually to pee) and then brought back to bed where she would continue her slumber.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Spaghetti a la Sebastian Vettel

I read about it in the local paper. And I am sharing it to you, too.

Restauranteur Antonio Follo is indeed a generous guy.

Imagine sharing the recipe for his famous Spaghetti a la Vettel?

A little backgrounder. Sebastian Vettel, this season's number one Formula 1 driver, is from Heppenheim. Heppenheim is where Follo's La Dolce Vita Restaurant used to serve Vettel's favorite dish for the past four years.

Follo's Heppenheim branch has closed this past year. But, Follos Restaurant in the Hemsbacher Wiesensee still offers Spaghetti a la Vettel. A note: The spaghetti would be pulled out of the menu card for sometime if Vettel lost a race.

Spaghetti a la Vettel Ingredients:

Spaghetti (Follo uses Barilla)
Fresh Herbs and Spices (that could be the secret of the recipe as they were not specified)
Fresh Tomatoes
Fresh Rucola
Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
Shaved Parma Ham


Cook the spaghetti per package instruction and put aside. Stir fresh herbs, spices and tomatoes in a pan. Add the cooked mixture to the spaghetti. Serve on a plate and top with rucola, shaved Parmesan cheese and shaved Parma ham.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Homemade Blackberry Sorbet

Can you see the blackberries on the upper left photo? We could harvest them daily and it would still be too much for us. (The apples are not yet ripe though.)

It is time again to be creative in using blackberries in meals.

Since the sun was high the first time that we harvested the blackberries, what was the first thing that the girls suggested? Sorbet!

Why not?

After collecting the ripe blackberries, found possible ingredients for our homemade Blueberry Sorbet.

350 grams blackberry
half cup of brown sugar
two cups of whipped cream
1 pack of vanilla sugar

Wash the blueberries.
Using a blender, mix the blackberry, sugar, whipped cream and vanilla sugar.
Pour in a container, seal and freeze for at least three hours or more.

In the above photo, I had to scrape the sorbet because it was still hard; but my girls just wanted to taste it real fast. Best to take the sorbet container out of the freezer and let it stand outside for at least 30 minutes so that you could scop it better.

Norway in Our Minds

Think of this...

Your child kid asked permission to join a youth meet in a popular vacation island.

You said yes. Helped him/her pack. Added his/her special snacks as a surprise. Told him/her to have fun.

You said goodbye knowing he/she would indeed have fun. Plus, he/she would have the opportunity to meet the most important man in the country. What fun, indeed.

Then a few days later, here's what you saw on the television: explosion in the capital city. And an unconfirmed report that the island where your child is, is under siege; unconfirmed reports that there's a lot of dead. That to escape the terror -- some hid in the bushes, some tried to swim...

You will pray. You will try to call your child. You will try to call their friends. You will try to call the authorities. You will try to call your friends...

You will do anything to know more. You will cry. You hope. You will pray.

You will do anything to know more. You will cry. You will pray. You hope.

Then the next day, more than 80 people dead in the island (seven dead in the city).

Where's your child? Where's hope? Where's your child?

You will cry. And we are crying with you.
To the parents of victims in the island of Utoya, we are thinking of you.

To all the people of Norway, we are praying for you.

Dear people of the world, let's pray for peace.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Love and Bikinis

It happened while posing in front of the mirror wearing my bikinis...

I was feeling a bit naughty and so I asked my husband, 'Darling, do you think my bikinis shrunk or do I need to diet?'

And so he said, 'I think that your bikinis need to diet.'

Love and bikinis.

Love is blind.

Love is bikini blind!

But I am not. Blind that is. So I packed my bikinis to go on a diet first.

And declared my love to my husband. Who, I know now, is definitely bikini blind!

P.S. Just in case you need oversized clothes in Germany, here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kids and Tree Climbing

Do we have monkeys in the backyard?

No, those are my girls chasing each other from tree to tree! They climb trees so fast just like Tarzan and Cheetah, but go closer and you would see that they would be wearing their Princess costumes, complete with stockings and their good shoes!!

The first time I saw them doing tree climbing was in our smaller garden yard about five years ago. But we only had fliederbaum (lilac trees) then and those trees are not so tall especially as my husband usually trims them to a certain level. The girls would disappear inside those lilac trees and would appear on their thin barks once in a while. Eventually, those barks would gave in; but the girls already had their fun.

Then when we were staying in the Philippines, they were taught by some friends on how to climb real trees such as mango trees, there are even attemps on coconut trees (not so successful). They are told to look for a sturdy tree and if there are no barks, this is the way it should be.

Short tips for kids in climbing trees:
- make sure the tree is sturdy
- make sure your heart is on climbing that chosen tree
- make sure you have the energy (not sleepy, not tired, not hungry)
- make sure your have comfortable clothes and shoes
- leave both hands free
- be careful, better have someone with you before you try that first climb
- you don't have to reach the highest point on your first try, practice makes perfect!
- and have fun!

Now that we have a bigger backyard with around 15 fruit trees, -- there's no stopping the girls.

If you cannot find them anywhere, just look up. If the trees have fruits, they would stay up there longer; you would even see them passing around baskets. If it is fantasy time, you would see them in costumes even. If they have friends, you would hear them discussing their next climbing steps up there. If it is raining, that won't really stop them. If they have secrets to share, they would disappear higher.

Actually, the girls have influenced me. I am climbing trees, again! You would love the view up there, too.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Kids and Responsibility

My girls? They are responsible.

It's noticeable because upon waking up, they would immediately make their beds.
And before going to bed, they would have chosen their outfit for the next day (would even ask what kind of weather it would be so that their outfit would fit the weather); they would have their school bags ready; their pair of shoes would be standing outside the door, waiting for them.

Upon arriving from school, they would remove their water bottles and bread box from their school bags and bring them in the kitchen. Homeworks are being done. Papers from school are being shown to us.

During meal time, they would even help in cooking and in setting the table. Afterwards, they would also be assisting in clearing the table.

All the wastes? They belong to the garbage bins, which of course, they segregate, too.

And their rooms? They help in tidying up. And their closets? It's their own, so they do it their way.

There are no toys scattered in the garden because they gather them up after playing with them. Their bikes? They put them back in place after using them.

If we have activities outdoors and it is time to leave, they tend to look not only twice but thrice, making sure that we have left nothing behind.

Do they bring their teeny weeny toys outdoors? Do they bring their precious breakable items out of their rooms? Do they wear their favorite dresses to play outdoors? No, they are too careful for that.

Do they play with fire? Do they play with knives or any sharp objects? Do they tinker with plugs and sockets? No, they are too careful for that.

These are all true, at least, 60% true. They are kids therefore the remaining 40% is my responsibility -- to acknowledge that they are doing great and to continue guiding them to be responsible.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Husband's Secret Fruit Garden

My husband's got a secret. He's got a fruitful secret.

We had a guest last Thursday. A former neighbor. Who loves gardening.

Instead of greeting her through our main door, we asked her to detour through the garden. And she was fascinated by our backyard garden. (My digital camera's decided to sleep on me so I can't upload photos).

You see, our garden is divided into at least six levels. The first level is the one located after the street gate. That is where we have our strawberry patch, tomatoes, various flowers and plants. The second level would be our veggie, herbs and spices corner. The third would be the 'let's do it later' level because we wanted to trim the heavy bushes and cut down some trees. The fourth is the climbing area for the kids where cherries, apples and plum trees are lording over; and where we planted some beans and peas. The fifth level is the wild part that we discovered a few weeks ago ripe with colorful berry sorts.

The sixth level? Well, that's the part where we drag all the 'garbage' coming from the garden -- we wanted to use it as compost area. We rarely venture there. Well, only if we are doing gardening works.

I havent done any gardening in the past few weeks, havent even ventured past our garden's third level. But my husband, well, he loves to look around. He was almost always doing his garden rounds.

Anyway, let's go back to our visitor. Since she's a hobby gardener, she was fascinated and wanted to look around. The kids and I tagged along. The cherries are long gone. The apples need a few weeks more. The peach tree needs a year. As for the beans and peas, well, our nightly visitors; the wild boars, unfortunately, got to the seeds!

Our guest wanted to see the whole garden. When we reached the fifth level, MC started picking and munching on red currants and gooseberries. Our former neighbor? She saw something else, beyond the fifth level. She saw the sour cherries beyond the compost heap! The girls saw the fruits and wanted to taste them, too. Well, all three of them (I had one piece) cant get enough that I gave them a basket.

Another surprise. The next tree was bulging with small, yellow fruits that I am not familiar with. Our guest happily informed us that these are mirabelle (yellow plums) and grabbed one to taste. Well, I havent heard about yellow plums before so I tasted one, too. The girls followed suit. It's sweet and juicy and crispy. We took time filling our basket with the fruits before my husband called out that dinner is ready.

We appeared before him with a basketful of sour cherry and yellow plumps. We excitely told him of our find. And he shrugged it off, 'well, I know about those fruit trees. I tried them before and I thought they were bad fruits so I didnt tell you.' Oh well...

And that's the story of my husband's secret fruit garden :-D

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's Frauenfußball Time! (Women's Football World Cup)

Of course, I cheer for them!

In fact, during the opening game between Germany and Canada last Sunday, although already in my pajamas -- I smeared the color of Germany (black, red, gold) on my right cheek. (Of course, like everyone else, we are also going to be cheering for Japan!)

When the girls saw me, they laughed. But they wanted to be marked, too. I did. As for my husband, he grinned when he saw me walking with the 'flag' on my cheek; nope he doesnt want to be marked.

Only then was I ready to watch the game. It was my thoughtfut husband who reminded me that the game would soon start and he watched with me, too. Germany won (2:1).

Yet I seem to miss something. Yes, there are loads of commercialism going on -- trikots (football shirts), banners, flags, scarves, cakes, cookies, chips, beers, etc. In fact, I am planning on buying trikots for me and the girls this coming weekend. But....

You see, when it's the Men's World Cup -- you would hear firecrackers being fired everytime there's a goal. And then after the game (never mind who wins) -- you would hear more firecrackers and then a parade of cars complete with shouts and cheers and hoots -- there's a lovely chaos all around!!!

Why not the same during the Women's games? I told my husband that it is unfair. So I decided to cheer and hoot and sing for the Frauenfßball. I wasnt alone, the girls, attracted by the noise; joined me. As for my husband? He was shaking his head and grinning. In the end? It was the four of us creating a lovely chaos in our bedroom for the Women in football!

Yeah!! Go, Ladies!

Let's all have fun. And let's not forget to shop afterwards!

P.S. Looking for football jerseys? Here.