Monday, December 31, 2012

Our Merry Christmas 2012

Let me share our Christmas Eve in photos. Let me share our gratefulness, too.

The Christmas Eve breakfast, but our expected guests had to beg off  at the last minute. They did arrive a bit later,
but just to remove the  thread from IC's injured toe.
We are grateful that our doctor neighbors took time off to work on IC's toe, otherwise, we would have been spending most of our day in the emergency room of the hospital.
And because we cannot go for a short hike in the woods as a family (because of IC's foot) which we traditionally do during Christmas Eve, the girls chose a game of Monopoly.
We are grateful for board games that include the participation of the whole family, and needed total interaction with each other.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Boiled Egg Snowman

Boiled Egg Snowman



I saw a photo of this boiled egg snowman in Facebook and decided to re-create it for breakfast the next day to surprise the girls.

Cute, right?

The problem is, the girls decided it's too cute to eat :-)

But after taking photos, they started savouring the snowman, piece by piece. First they started with the carrots, and the toasted sesame seeds, then the eggs. They gave me the lamb lettuce.

How to create a boiled egg snowman:

Ingredients:
a carrot
two boiled eggs
toasted sesame seeds (or whatever edible thing you have that could be used for the eyes)
something green (lettuce, salad, dill, parsley, etc.)
toothpick (or a plastic/wooden stick)
egg holder

Preparation:
1. Cut the carrots into pieces according to your needs: for the hut, for the nose, for the buttons.
2. Put the snowman together, first the carrot pieces for the huts, then fix together the two boiled eggs.
3. Then add the other accessories: nose, eyes, buttons and something green.
4. Place in an egg holder.
5. Enjoy eating!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Foggy Fourth Sunday of Advent

The Fourth Sunday of Advent
Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent. It was foggy and wet.

We went to church, despite IC still on crutches, after a small accident last weekend. She feels better now.

The church's altar is decorated with a sprawling Nativity scene.

The first words the priest uttered when the mass started were: "Look at our Nativity scene. It is not yet complete. The crib is still empty, Baby Jesus is yet to be born. And we need your Christmas wishes, they would become the grasses and the hays that would make our Nativity scene complete."

And the last words that the priest said were: "Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Mama Mary would give birth to Baby Jesus. Just imagine that our city is Bethlehem. You would not want to miss such as big thing, right? Then come and celebrate with us."

We wish you a beautiful fourth Sunday of Advent. And let's continue praying for the people of Newtown, Connecticut; let's continue praying for peace and love on earth.

P.S. After attending mass, we drove to a nearby village to pick-up our almost traditional Christmas Eve feast, we would have trout and salmon trout. My husband is cooking, yehey!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Philippine Party Must: Embutido

Embutido

This is something that I have been longing to taste again. The last time I enjoyed this traditional Philippine dish was more than three years ago. It was not cooked at home, I just saw it in a local market and decided to grab a few pieces.

It satisfied my cravings, but I wanted to learn how to cook it myself. 

I really thought it would be challenging. So I skipped this recipe over and over again. 

And, I really thought my inexperience with using the steaming method in cooking would mean a sure failure. So I craved and craved. Until one day last week.

First I googled for the easiest recipe. And, I saw this.

It's simple, I told myself. I can do it. The next time I went food shopping, I bought all the ingredients. 

The very next day, I woke up early. I was ready for the Embutido challenge. As usual, I had to twist the recipe according to my family's taste. They don't like raisins and I don't think the tomato sauce would be for them, too. I lessened the raisins and substituted sweet paprika for tomato sauce. Then instead of mincing the carrots and bell pepper, I chopped them.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Rainy Third Sunday of Advent

The Third Sunday of Advent
Today is the third Sunday of Advent. It is raining and my heart is crying, too.

This third Sunday of Advent, we remember the people in Newton, Connecticut. We remember the innocent lives taken. We remember the educators who died. We remember those affected. We remember the grieving families, the grieving communities. We remember them in our prayers. We hope they would be strong enough...

I will not try to understand why these things happen. But I pray that we would find a way to prevent such horrible scenes even happening again.

Give love, not war. A very common phrase, but one I would absolutely like to happen, forever and ever.

May God bless us all.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy 11th Birthday, MC!

My 11-year-old MC
Dear MC,
You are now 11-year-old!
In the next months, you'd be taller than me.
This summer, you started rummaging into my closet.
Asking permission to wear my shirts, my dresses.
You started having interests in bling-blings..
(I mean those necklaces, those bracelets, those earrings, etc.)
And yet, shopping, as always, is not your thing.

You are now in middle school.
I am glad the transition was smooth.
You found new friends, and kept the old ones.
You fought for your friends if they are right,
and tried very hard to understood the misunderstood ones.
And no matter if your friends tease you,
you stay with what's true.

Yet with learning, it remains a challenge.
But you try.
Because I know, creativity is your main thing.

This year your learned what the words 'user' and 'bullies' mean
Just because a friend told you she was being used and being bullied
And I am glad you told us, you asked us directly
You just shook your head because you found the meanings 'stupid'
Why would one use another and why should one bully another?
That's what you said.
Because as you said, you help those who needs help
and keep away from those who are only making 'kulit.' (issues)
Keep that in mind, you are so right.

You still love Barbies and Playmobils.
Luca Hänni is still your Idol.
I know a highlight for you this year was watching his concert,
and the day you met your idol, eye-to-eye --
getting his fan card with his signature,
that's, cool, right?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Snowy Second Sunday of Advent

The Second Sunday of Advent
Today is the second Sunday of Advent and just like the first Sunday of Advent, it was snowing in our area.

While my husband prepared breakfast and the girls stayed longer in bed, I was out walking the dog. Rikki and I enjoyed the first snow flakes. We savored the quiet, hearing only the crunch of snow as we walked in the woods. I let her run while I carefully planned my steps though I would have loved to just run along with her.

The Snowy Second Sunday of Advent

Thursday, December 6, 2012

St. Nicholas Day 2012

For St. Nicholas, a letter from the girls.
St. Nicholas Day, December 6, is well-celebrated here in Germany.

In our home, traditionally, St. Nicholas Day always mean a visit from the man himself. 

We have started this when the girls were smaller. That time, it was their uncle who posed as St. Nick. The girls didn't show any fear from the tall man with the beard. They were too excited, I guess. 

The uncle stayed as St. Nick until the girls realized that he was wearing the same pair of shoes as their uncle! What a shock :-) Good thing my husband's officemate, took over as St. Nick in the next years.

When we were in the Philippines in 2009, St. Nicholas cannot come personally, we had to visit him at the German Club. That was okay, at least he personally knew all the kids (with the help of his elves, of course).

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Snowy First Sunday of Advent

Our Advent wreath 2012
Today is the first Sunday of Advent.
Today, it snowed in our area.
Today is our Kids' Day, too.

First, the first Sunday of Advent.
MC volunteered to light the first candle.
The girls and I created our homemade Advent's wreath.
We re-used the old decors, we mixed them up, and we skipped firs this time.
The only thing we purchased new are the candles.
We love our wreath.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Our Traditional Christmas Baking 2012

The three Christmas bakers in our home
As soon as November looms in the air, my husband would be counting the days for the traditional Christmas baking in the family.

He would be prodding me to make sure that the recipes of his famous traditional Christmas goodies are ready. The recipes include three biscuits/cookies: Kulleraugen (Saucer Eye Cookies)Spritzgebackenes (German version of Shortbread cookies), and Buttergebackenes.

The last two, are what we miss coming from Oma's kitchen; while the Saucer Eye Cookies we simply added because we just love them.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

November Harvest

Our November harvest, mini carrots and young onions
I never really thought our backyard garden is still thriving.

After all, the tomatoes that were still hanging outside and the spice corner located near the kitchen have already been damaged by the frost that came early October. I guess, we were a bit slow in harvesting them this time.

And I was hoping I'd get to dry more tomatoes and I was not yet done drying those herbs, too. Next time, I must move faster than the frost.

I have skipped visiting the backyard garden for a few weeks now. It is just too cold and too slippery and what ever, I have so many excuses.

The real reason is, I really thought there's nothing more to harvest. But my husband proved me wrong.

This weekend, he bravely faced the cold to make our garden winter-ready. I didn't help because I was out with the girls, I drove them to their vaulting class ( a legit excuse this time!).

Actually, I did help in the garden after the girls' lesson.

What can I do, my husband was yelling at me saying, 'come and get the harvest!'

I was surprised to know that there's still edible things growing in the garden. Our mini carrots and young onions are waiting, our November harvest. There's a basketful of carrots and a handful of young onions.

And I also got a glimpse of some spinach and feldsalat (lamb's lettuce) which are real favorites of the girls. Oh wow, I guess I really do need to go and check our backyard garden despite the cold, huh.

Now, our dog got the very minis of the mini carrots, Rikki loves carrots in her meals, too! And the girls munched on them while watching TV, the rest came into my husband's dinner surprise that same night.

The mini carrots for dinner

Yes, despite working hard in the garden, my husband took time to cook dinner for us, too. Isn't he a love?

Of course, I did promise him that I would be going down, regularly, into our backyard garden to watch out for the spinach and lamb's lettuce.

This is our first time to grow lamb's lettuce, I hope they'd thrive, too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

DIY: From an Old Jeans into Dog Treat Bags

Remember those jeans that I turned into shoulder bags?

Well, I wanted to use the scraps from the jeans and those scraps became dog treat bags. Very simple and real easy to do.

Most importantly, we also save because then we don't have to buy new dog treat bags. I noticed, those bags, no matter if they are bought cheap or we paid a bit more, don't really have long lives with us.

Now I could just sew a new one whenever needed :-)
A dog treat shoulder bag, since there's no pocket for the plastic bag, I just tie it around the strap.
I usually use this dog treat shoulder bag because, well, I just have to hang it over my shoulder.

A dog treat belt bag, I added a small pocket for the plastic bag.
My husband prefers this dog treat belt bag because it stays in place, belted.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dining Out with Kids, Version 2

The first version of Dining Out with Kids was written when my girls were 3 and 5 years old. It was initially posted in a mom e-zine and which I reposted in 2011.

In that post, I was exploring way on how to keep my girls busy during dining out; while we are waiting to be served, waiting for food, waiting for to be seated even.

Now for this latest version of dining out with kids, I am showing you images instead of my now 8 and 10 year old girls...

IC brought a book and got involved with it immediately after selecting her dinner
MC got busy with her book, too.
This is our first time in this restaurant. We wanted to try it because IC's first communion is scheduled next year and we are planning for her celebration and part of the excitement is food tasting :-)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Starting a new family Halloween tradition this 2012

Our Halloween party treats created by the girls

Our neighbors, two elderly couple, has been preparing for Halloween. They have been asking us since we put up all our Halloween decors 'when is Halloween?'

Since we live way, way up near the woods, our area is not a common path for trick or treaters but that has changed since we moved a few years ago. Our neighbors, who doesn't want to be surprised with nothing special to give, now cannot wait for the girls to ring their bell :-)

In fact, from the big bags of sweets that the girls received just from them, they could have stayed home and stuffed themselves for weeks!

Oh, our Halloween decors are still coming mostly from the garden. We have even more variety of ornamental pumpkin because we have planted them all over our garden!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Relief goods collected by the girls arrived in Manila

The balikbayan boxes filled with relief goods arrived in Manila
Remember when the girls volunteered to collect donations for the flood victims in the Philippines last August?

Well, the boxes arrived this month at the Malibay Health Center.

the boxes of relief goods in our home before being transported
I know, it took months, but that is why the relief goods are not perishable. Most of them are clothes, blankets, and toys. Of course, the girls gave a sweet pack of surprise to the Malibay Health Center staff who would end up with the work of sorting the items :-)

There were also drawings and notes from the girls, they said they wanted to let the people know, the flood victims, that everything would be okay. I guess they know that from experience, after all, they were in the Philippines when Ondoy ravaged the land in 2009.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Watching history unfolding with the family: On Felix Baumgartner

Let me tell you, I didn't know about Felix Baumgartner until last week, when my husband told me that I should be writing about him and his historical jump from just outside the earth's edge.

Huh? I was perplexed because I really wasn't aware that there was a plan to attempt such a feat! I was intrigued and a bit doubtful about the outcome. Well, I am also praying that everything would turn out well just because the man has families and friends who love him!

That first attempt, my husband left the television on, until it was cancelled due to heavy winds. The next try, we also kept the television on. But it was postponed again because of weather concerns. By that time, I was getting into the excitement of things and I think my girls, too.

Did I tell you that MC has expressed a few months ago that she wanted to be an astronomer? Well, that story about jumping from space has tickled her interest, too. Although she and her sister, IC, have no patience to wait in front of the television. And they really didn't think it would push through because it has been cancelled twice already. How pessimistic are my kids? But I think they really cannot grasp the reality of someone jumping from way, way up there.

Then came October 14, a Sunday, the third attempt -- we left the television turned as early as 8 in the morning. Now we have a very strict rule at home, no matter what day unless there is really something very, very special, nobody is allowed to watch TV before 12 noon.

The girls protested, as expected, but we told them that today, history is in the making because of Felix Baumgartner. We invited them to join us in watching the event unfolding because they really should not miss it. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Beware of online ticket seller viagogo UPDATED

Beware of online ticket seller viagogo

If you usually buy your concert tickets online, never buy them via viagogo.

Viagogo serves mostly European countries, as they have French, Italian, English and German websites but I am sure that they also sell globally because I saw a site for the United States, too.

And their website says: "Buy and Sell Tickets 100% safe and guaranteed."

Let me tell you our story

We bought three Empore tickets at 59 Euro each for a Luca Hänni concert in Capitol Mannheim through viagogo on July 14, 2012. Our tickets were confirmed through an e-mail which we received a few minutes after buying them online. They also informed us in the same e-mail that:
Tickets werden vom Veranstalter oftmals erst kurz vor dem Veranstaltungsdatum verschickt, weshalb Sie mit dem Erhalt Ihrer Tickets 3-5 Tage vor der Veranstaltung rechnen können. Wir informieren Sie mit einer E-Mail, sobald Ihre Karten auf dem Weg zu Ihnen sind. Verfolgen Sie den Weg Ihrer Tickets hier.
A rough translation: Tickets are normally sent by the organizer a few days before the event, please expect to receive your tickets 3-5 days before the event.

Now, my husband was already a bit dubious from the start. He told me we should have received the tickets as soon as the money transfer is done which was two days after the transaction online. Or, we would receive a copy of our tickets for print-out which is what normal procedure in most online sellers.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Watching a Concert with the Girls

Luca Hänni in Mannheim

I promised them we would watch the concert of the winner of Germany's Idol, Luca Hänni, who they absolutely adore.

In fact, MC used up her mobile loads calling to vote for her favorite candidate, they even created a poster and held that poster proudly while watching the finals on television!
the poster

Now, I know we were already too late when we decided to book a ticket online in July, the concert is on October 11. But we were happy to find tickets, with seats, via viagogo.de. I realized tickets are more expensive but for the girls' first concert, I think their enjoyment and comfort would be my first priority.

The girls announced that they are watching the concert to the whole school and even the whole neighborhood, that's how excited they are.

Two day before the concert, the girls, once again, decided to make a poster for their idol. It was done a few hours before we are to drive off for the concert because they really took time to create something colorful and with love :-)

Meanwhile, our online ticket seller viagogo.de has emailed us a day before the concert that they don't have any tickets for us. Remember we booked the ticket in July? And they are letting us know in October, a day before the concert, that they don't have any tickets for us? They asked if we would accept Standing Room Only tickets? Of course, I was mad with anger when I received that last minute notice.

I e-mailed them I wanted the tickets that we ordered and paid for, those tickets that were confirmed on June by them. My husband, who already told me not to expect anything from that unrealiable viagogo ticket seller, has started calling the concert venue and were told that only SRO tickets were available.

He informed the ticket seller there that we already paid for our tickets via viagogo and the reply from the venue was, 'oh, you were also victimized,' meaning, this has been happening regularly with viagogo! (I will post more about our bad experience with online ticket seller viagogo.de later).

Friday, October 5, 2012

My 8-year-old Girl Thinks Her Tummy is Big

My third grader, IC, approached me a few weeks ago.

She showed me her tummy and said, 'Mama, I cannot breath anymore when I need to pick something up from the floor. I think my tummy is too big.'

Then with a bit of shame in her voice, she added, 'I think I need to exercise. I need to stop eating sweets, especially chocolates because I am becoming fat.'

'Mama, you need to help me,' was her plea.

I hugged her and told her that her tummy is not too big. That it is her jeans that's making her uncomfortable. But that it is also good to avoid eating too much sweets, too.

I also told her that walking to school daily, which they normally do, is a good exercise, too.

Then I told her if she wants, that she could start joining me in my morning jogs, with our dog, during weekends. She happily agreed. Let's see :-)

I remember that when MC was the same age, her big issue was that she is too thin, she wanted to be fat!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Our Traditional Once a Year McDonald's Visit

Ich liebe es, love ko 'to, i'm lovin' it
It is already September when my girls and I finally entered McDonald's restaurant to enjoy our traditional once a year fastfood binge.

The best surprise of that day was that instead of toys in their Happy Meals, the girls got to choose from eight 'cool' books. It was the girls who used the word 'cool' to describe the books and not me, okay?

Now, the girls are both members of the youth club of Mcdonald's and they receive a quarterly newsletter with free snack stubs. They always receive a free Happy Meal gift certificate for their birthdays. And we always get these promo stubs together with our post.

But despite these free treats, we have narrowed our visit to once a year. (Never mind those unused stubs.)

Not for anything but...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dog Treats: Pumpkin Biscuits

Pumpkin dog biscuits
This is the first time that we are harvesting pumpkin from our backyard garden although we used to plant ornamental pumpkin in our mountain garden.
After harvesting an eight kilo pumpkin, a few weeks ago; I decided to give our dog a taste of the orange vegetable, too. 
But not before checking if pumpkin is an appropriate dietary supplement to our golden retriever
I found out about the benefits of pumpkin to dogs, in this website
Pumpkin is a great sourse of fiber, therefore, it helps dogs who have problems with indigestion of upset stomachs. Second, pumpkins are excellent source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron. And third, it is a major aid in weight loss, if ever your furry friends have an obesity problem.

Ingredients for pumpkin dog biscuits:

2 cups mashed pumpkin
2 cups flour
a pinch of garlic powder
some chopped parsley or dill

Preparation:

Combine mashed pumpkin and flour, mix. 
Add the garlic powder and chopped parsley or dill and mix thoroughly.
Form into a ball.
In a pre-heated oven, 180 C degrees, bake for around 10-15 minutes.

Here's a recipe for spinach dog biscuit.

Pumpkin dog biscuits with parsley

Monday, September 24, 2012

DIY: Garden Label Sticks

Okay, this post might not be too relevant in our part of the world as it's autumn now; but for those of you who are still busy in the garden, you might want to try this: your very own garden label sticks.

This idea came to mind because we cut down some trees; we separated the bigger branches and the smaller ones which we plan to use for our grill. And while doing that sorting, my girls, who got bored, started carving into some branches. And the garden labels sticks were born :-)

Materials needed to create your own garden label sticks:
The garden labels made from tree branches
Materials needed to create your own garden label sticks:
- enough branches as needed
- a knife
- paint brushes
- a pair of pruning shears
- paints (we used watercolors, which lasted the whole summer despite the rain)

here's what we need: enough branches, knife, paints, paint brushes, pruning shears  
How to make a garden label stick:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Grocery Shopping at Langnese Fabrikverkauf (Factory Store)

Here is a place especially good to visit during summer time, Langnese Fabrikverkauf (Factory Store) in Heppenheim.

We always go there not only because of the variety of ice cream, but because they also sell an assortment of frozen meat, veggies and baked goodies that are cheaper than those found in the supermarket (even in the discount shops!).

Surprisingly, they also now have toiletries such as those from Dove (shampoos, lotion, etc.), perfumes, etc. Also included are chocolates, baking items, noodles, ready-to-bake cakes and cookies, ready-to-mix sauces, and whatever the new product specials are being offered in a particular week!

Yes, a good tip is to check the special offer in their website; especially if you are looking for a specific something. In our case, we love the ice cream and the pretzels and the frozen fish section!

Entrance to the Langnese Fabrikverkauf 
Tips to bring if you plan on visiting the Langnese Fabrikverkauf in Heppenheim:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dear Egai (1969-2012)

Edgar 'Egai' Elguerra (1969-2012)
Hey, Egai.

Remember our early grade school days?
Hurrying to the canteen during recess.
Finding a place to enjoy our snacks.
Sharing lunches.
Playing around the school grounds,
(naalala mo lumulusot tayo dun sa may dulo ng waiting shed para tumakas minsan?)
buying street food behind the school gates,
while waiting for our 'sundo?'

And then the time when we were allowed to go home alone?
Sometimes, we would walk together.
Even though I am supposed to be turning left and you turning right.
But we simply needed the short walk to chat up,
to look at the baskets of goodies sold by the street vendors,
to buy some yummy street food.

Then high school.
You went to the boy's school next door.
I remained loyal to the girl's school.

But everytime I would see you, I would always call your name.
Greet you, chat a bit, ask about your mother.
(Remember, my mother and your mother got to know each other, too)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Story of the Girl Who Wants a Nintendo

Remember her?
The girl who has been pestering us to buy a Nintendo for her? 
The girl who has been begging to find a Nintendo under the Christmas tree for her?
The girl who has been pleading for a Nintendo birthday present?

Well, the last time she asked, we told her she could have a Nintendo only if she'd be able to pay for one herself. Meaning, she needs to save her allowance and all the gift money she would receive to be able to realize her dream of having a Nintendo. In fact, she did say she'd buy one when she's in high school. Well, MC started high school (middle school).She's in grade five already.

The best things is, she has enough money saved. She is ready for her Nintendo. And a few days ago, we went shopping, for her Nintendo.

Look what the girl who wanted a Nintendo ended up buying...

Monday, September 10, 2012

MC's First Day in Middle School

Okay, okay. I don't really know if they call it middle school here in Germany. But see, MC is now in fifth grade. That means goodbye grade school!
MC's new school bag and her mini school cone, beside it, IC's super mini school cone :)
Leaving the fourth grade is a little bit complicated here in Germany. There are many kinds of middle school levels that are available for the fifth graders: the Haupschule, the Realschule/Werkrealschule and the Gymnasium. The school choices depend on the following: the school grades, the teacher's recommendations, the parent's agreement (in other German regions, the school grades automatically discerns the school's level), the kid's nod, and of course, the number of fifth grade applicants.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Homemade Dried Tomatoes

We really thought our tomatoes this year would be a lost cause. The weather went a bit crazy; more cold and wet than warm and dry. The latter most favored by the tomatoes.

Good thing we have most of our tomatoes planted under a roof. They bloomed. The tomatoes came, but they were mostly green. As if they would never turn red! Then we went camping, taking advantage of a one-week warm weather forecast; leaving the watering of our tomatoes and other plants to our friendly neighbor.

When we came back? Wow, the tomatoes were thriving! We gave away most of the first harvest. The rest we packed and froze.

The red, red tomatoes
The tomatoes kept on thriving. We pluck them out daily, early morning and late evening. We eat them for breakfast, just like that. We have them as salad for lunch, with olive oil, salt, pepper and vinegar. We serve them as relishes for dinner.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Girls' Rock Climbing Camp

MC's first climb.
Our little adventurers are back! From a long list of available day camps for this summer school holiday, the girls chose the most challenging.

The first one was the rock climbing day camp. They do love to climb trees, but rock climbing is different!

MC got a slot, but IC didn't. But hey, we always go together. And this time, we came as a family because we wanted to watch MC and there's a hope that maybe, IC would get a chance to try out, too.

Then IC chose to wear a long dress. Given the chance, would she try out?

Here's the photo story:

Friday, August 31, 2012

No Egg Peach Cake

Because our peach tree is abundantly giving us fruits this year, I cannot help but experiment with recipes; usually substituting peaches instead of using apples or nectarines or even currants and other berries.

This recipe is an almost flop, because the recipe needed eggs; which I forgot to add! It was only after I shoved the cake in the oven that I checked the recipe again, by then, it's too late!

Hoping that the cake without eggs would be a success with chocolates, I topped them with melted chocos (without even tasting it!). Well, it didn't end up in the bin! It was chewy and surprisingly delicious! The girls love it topped with fresh peaches and whipped cream!

No Egg Peach Cake with Choco Stripes
Ingredients for the No Egg Peach Cake:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Simple Peach and Apple Strudel

Simple Peach and Apple Studel
Simple Peach and Apple Strudel Ingredients:

2 pcs chopped apples
3 pcs chopped peaches
1/2 tsp cinnamon
some vanilla sugar
ready-to-bake pastry dough

Preparation:

Mix the apples, peaches, cinnamon and vanilla sugar in a bowl. Set aside. Spread the ready-to-bake pastry dough on a baking paper. In the middle of the dough, put the mixture; then fold the dough, making sure that you pinch the edges.

Bake on a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees (375 degrees) for 20-25 minutes.
Simply delicious peach and apple strudel
 It is best served hot with whipped cream and a scoop of ice cream. In our case,we added grapes, too.

Our peach tree

Monday, August 20, 2012

Our 11th Wedding Anniversary

Early morning of August 10. Our 10th wedding anniversary. There's something special going on. I can hear the chaos in the kitchen, my husband and the girls are busy.

And then I know, a breakfast surprise! The girls are shouting, 'Mama, you are not allowed to go into the kitchen!'

The breakfast surprise in celebration of our 11th wedding anniversary.
After almost an hour, I heard the call, 'Mama, come for breakfast!' The girls proudly presented their last minute drawings, their gifts to us. (Actually, MC cried last night when I announced to them that tomorrow is our wedding anniversary. She said that we always inform them too late when there's a special occasion. I promised her, right there and then, that I would give her a calendar with the special occasions highlighted immediately.)

The Strahlenburg, photo taken from the main street.
As usual, we always celebrate our wedding anniversary as a family. Traditionally, we drive to the hotel-restaurant where we celebrated our wedding. Not this time. My husband took over the activities, he said it's going to be a surprise. The girls dressed up, took time with their hair styles, too. They were a bit disappointed that my husband and I; were both wearing casual clothes (in short pants and sandals, too!).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Falling Stars

This photo was taken from our terrace last September 2011,
as we were watching the festival of hot air balloons.

How many falling stars did you see last night? 

As soon as he read the news, my husband announced that we could catch the falling stars late last night. Although to save the girls from disappointment, he told the girls that the best time to see them would be between 1-4 a.m.

Would that stop my girls? Of course not. Despite being tired from partying that night at the city's Kerwe (city festival); we all retired in the terrace, with our favorite drinks. My girls with their vanilla green tea, my husband's weizenbier, and my radler. 

It's nine o' clock but the sun is still shining, and the girls were restless and a bit sleepy. Good thing we could see a lot of activities from our perch. And then a surprise, fireworks!

We were enjoying the fireworks when we saw our first falling star of the night. The family saw the falling star all at the same time! And we shouted almost in chorus, 'make a wish!'

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Help send donations to the Philippine flood victims

UPDATE dated November 11, 2013: Philippines needs help after super typhoon Haiyan devastation. Click here for information on how to donate.

NEWS UPDATE: Appeal to help two million flood victims
This is for the benefit of the flood victims in Malibay, Pasay City Philippines.

Flood image taken from Facebook
My daughters, aged 8 and 10, are knocking on our neighbors doors; asking for donations of clothings and toys to be send to the flood devastated communities in Malibay, Pasay City, Philippines. As of today, the rain is still pouring and the floor water has not abated. The flood victims need your help. Please donate here.

My girls have agreed to donate their savings of 80 Euro to pay for the courier of the first balikbayan box; but the girls' first few hours of hardwork have already filled the first box. Now, they would need at least two more balikbayan boxes to accommodate the other donations. That means another 200 Euro would be needed. I hope you could help, too.

 My family, together with my two girls, were victims of the September 2009 Ondoy storm, with a devastating damage of 1.09 billion dollars and 747 fatalities. I think my girls are doing this to shake up the trauma that they felt when they saw the water rising; when they saw that their Papa could not do anything to stop the water; when they realized that they were supposed to stay alone in the second floor of the house because the rest of the household were doing everything they can to save things in the house; when there were no food available for a time... I don't know what else they felt that time because they never did talk about it. All I know is that everytime there's a storm, they tend to cling.

Just this morning, when I showed them the photos of the flooding; they decided to help.

First by donating their savings, and then by collecting items to be donated. They chose Malibay, Pasay City because that is where their grandparents live. Please help them help the communities in Malibay. They only need 200 Euros.

Here's the link: Go Fund Me

Thank you very much. SPECIAL THANKS TO URBAN GYPSY'S CREED!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fun at Odenwald Camping

It was a spontaneous decision: driving off to a camping holiday right after the girls' last day of school.

Well, the weather forecast pushed our plan. It's supposed to stay warm the next days. Finally, we would have our camping vacation realized!

The whole family immediately packed up our camping gears and stuffs. I stocked up on groceries. And made sure we have everything, well, almost everything that's needed for a camping holiday.

My husband took charge of loading everything up in our vehicle. There was a moment there that I was afraid it would not all fit in, good thing we have a luggage carrier roof box which provided extra space. And yes, I also lost my foot space on the passenger side because that's where my mama bag and our dog's backpack ended up.

At least the girls and the dog have enough space in the back, we want to make this 1.5 hour ride comfortable for them. Our destination? Odenwald Camping in Limbach-Krumbach.

Our tent at Odenwald Camping
It is our second time to camp out there. We have fond memories of our time there that we decided to go back. A good decision. After a few wrong turns, we found our camping area.

My husband specifically asked for a place near the playground, and we got our nice spot; sorrounded mostly by mobile homes :-)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Very Easy Cinnamon Rolls or Schneckenringe


And I didn't know they call it Schneckenringe here in Germany!

All I know is that I love cinnamon rolls. And that I have never seen something like that in the bakeries I have visited.

I have been wanting to try my hand in baking cinnamon rolls but I was not sure as it seems to be a lot of work. Plus, I am not really sure if my family would eat it with me; not fun, right?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Red Beets (Beetroots) Salad

Red beets or beetroots from our garden
They are strangers to me, these rote beete (red beets or beetroots). I have never tried them before (nor had ever had the urge to try it).

But my husband loves them. He remembers them on their family table, prepared lovingly by his mom; he wanted them on our family table, too. The main reason why those red beets ended up in our backyard garden this year? He has been longing to eat red beets for years. Yet he has never tried to introduce them to us.

Friday, July 20, 2012

DIY: From Mama's Long Skirts into My Girls' Summer Dresses

Looking for new summer dresses for your girls?

Check your closet first!
From Mama's long skirt into  my girl's summer dress
I found something in my closet: long skirts that I have yet to wear. A gray one and a striped black and white skirt. Perfect for the girls! 

The idea is to have those dresses done as fast as possible and to save money, of course.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Yellow Plum Joghurt Ring Cake

Already, our yellow plum trees are filled with fruits! I'm keeping a close eye this year.

Last year, we neglected them. They were located in the very bushy end of our backyard were we don't usually go. A visiting neighbor saw the yellow fruits and exclaimed how lucky we are. Huh? Then she started pulling the branches to get to the fruits; munching, giving us a handful to taste. Delicious, juicy, like a yellow cherry :-)


We saw that many ripe ones were already on the ground! What a waste. The fruits were a hit -- we shared them to our neighbors, I baked cakes with them, I made fruit salads, I added them to vegetable salads, I created fruits shakes, and most of them went into the freezer which lasted us through the winter season.


So this year, I am harvesting them, as soon as they turn yellow! Here's is this year's first yellow plum recipe:
yellow plum joghurt ring cake

Thursday, July 12, 2012

There's a Line to Heaven

Our little baby Chris John is in heaven.

He visited earth for eight short days.
And then he earned his wings.

My sister, his mother, who had him in her womb for six months, asked the question, 'what do you call a mother who lost a child?' I guess, the answer is they are called 'very special mother.'

Special mothers who could endure all.
Special mothers who would endure all.

Special mothers chosen by God.
Special mother chosen because they can.

Special mothers who are blessed with a special strenght.
Special mothers who are gifted with special hearts, special souls, special angels.

And yes, special mothers have a special line to heaven, too.
Just like special aunts like me :-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dear Baby Chris John,

Chris John (July 1, 2012 - July 9, 2012)
Hey Baby,

That was a short visit.
Six months on your mom's womb,
Eight days on earth.

That was a short, wonderful visit.
Maybe you just wanted to say hello.
We did hear that wonderful hello. 

That was a short, silent visit.
Later, I have to tell your cousins MC and IC.
I have to make sure they didn't missed your gentle hello.

That was a short, sweet visit.
Only Ate Clae was able to carry you on her arms.
But your mom and dad will carry you in her heart, forever.
(As with Ate Cha, Ate Tin, Kuya Topher.)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

IC's Rouladen (Stuffed or Rolled Meat)

IC preparing her Rouladen
Rolled meat is the number dish in our family. Tonight, it was IC's turn to present her own version, choosing her favorite ingredients. 'Tonight, I will cook for all of you,' she said. And she did!