Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Rainy Christmas Day 2013

Oh no, my first rainy Christmas day! But the dog had to go out and that means I have to go with him.

Despite the rain, it was warm so I enjoyed the short stroll in the woods. It smelled so fresh and the stillness after the chaos of last night was a welcome change, too.

My husband took care of our breakfast this morning, too. It is actually a brunch as it was already 12 noon when we sat down.

After breakfast, my husband didn't leave the kitchen as he had to prepare our dinner tonight. The main dish being a wild boar, we got it from our friendly neighbor hunter. The wild boar would take more than three hours in the oven (after being marinated with butter milk overnight).

No chance to go out, as the rain didn't stop. The girls refused to even think of places to visit today, and I refused to walk in the woods. Instead, we cuddled in front of the television and watched Eight Below, a film featuring Paul Walker that focused on eight Husky dogs left for months alone in a research base in Antartica after a snow storm.

Actually, this is the first time that the whole family really sat down together to watch the whole film. That would say how the movie got our attention the whole time. Okay, I cried a bit while watching the movie and I guess I am not the only one :-) Anyway, it has a happy ending so out hearts were warmed, too.

Christmas dinner consisted of:

Roasted wild boar on the table

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

I woke up to feed Rikki, as she refused to eat the food provided by my husband!

Then I decided to play Santa for a few minutes, passing by MC's friend to give her gift (A gift certificate for creating crafts by us plus a marzipan Santa boots), then gave a Christmas card and Choco crinkles to the couple who gave us cash donation during our donation drive for Haiyan survivors. I also had a surprisingly interesting story-telling time with them during war time, when Germany needed help to rebuilt. The husband said it would not take time, but the people in the Philippines would rebuild definitely.

Meanwhile, Rikki waited patiently while I chatted with the people before we left to go in the woods, where we met a hunter along the way and exchanged Christmas wishes.

Breakfast was ready when we arrived home. We lingered a bit during breakfast, before the girls and Papa drove to the cemetery to visit the grave of my in laws, where they left a Christmas wreath and lighted a candle.

While they were away, I cleared the table and started preparing for the evening. Setting the table, etc. etc. Most importantly, I decided to bring the gifts out. Yes, the Christ Child came!

Our Christmas Eve table

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

The Fourth Sunday of Advent
Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent...

My husband woke up to feed the dog, who refused to eat. That means, I had to get up and feed the dog before walking her (yawn)! The reason why the dog won't eat? My husband forgot to give her her early morning Christmas treat, before feeding her :-) Spoiled dog, huh.

Our breakfast was short as we had to drive to a trout breeder in Mossautal-Hüttenthal because the girls wanted fish for our Christmas Eve's dinner. When we arrived, we noticed a note on the door stating they are not open Sundays! Oopss, but when we tried the door and it opened, a friendly woman greeted us and informed us that as long as people arrive to buy, they are ready to serve. Arent' we lucky they have excellent customer service?

She told us to go down to the pond where the owner would catch the fish for us. I chose a big salmon trout to the suprise of the owner because as she said, 'it is too big for a woman so small like you.' I told her not to worry. Since I am the only one who chose the salmon trout, I am sure the girls would be wanting to 'taste' my fish. Meaning, I would have enough for the three of us, right? The girls and their Papa would rather have the normal trout.

We also brought two pieces of smoked trout for our appetizer.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Third Sunday of Advent

It's the third Sunday of Advent.
The third Sunday of Advent
Three candles were burning during breakfast, afterwhich, the whole family took off to buy our Christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

MC is 12

MC is now 12-years-old.
How time flies... and now her highlights.

MC's birthday cake
She watched her first open air concert this year, featuring her favorite DSDS winners.
And started collecting CD's of her fave artists.
During our summer camping, she mostly would disappear with her friends in the camping area.
She even went to a Friday disco with her 'camping friends' family, together with IC, of course.
But she would still refuse to go alone to the toilet and the wash room.

Then she joined the three-day class outing to Worms.
Where she called her Papa a day after crying, saying she wanted to be picked-up.
The reason? She was so irritated and extremely frustrated because her roommates said she is simply to small to join some game.
After talking to her and calming her down, MC decided she would stay and enjoy the rest of the outing.
She did!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Second Sunday of Advent

The second Sunday of Advent...
The second Sunday of Advent
IC was not home. She was invited for a sleep-over party and was picked up after breakfast.

I went out to walk with the dog while Papa prepared brunch. MC helped in the kitchen and she also set the table.

After our brunch, MC realized we forgot to light up our Advent wreath! It was her duty today, so she hurriedly did her job. Our prayer for today is for good government, especially in the Philippines and extra special prayers to the survivors of Haiyan.

Afterwards, Papa fetched IC and went outside to rake the leaves. MC got busy in her bedroom. IC helped me bake more Christmas cookies because MC would be bringing them to school for her birthday this Tuesday.

And since the oven is already warm, I decided to bake more cookies, this time for our dog. I checked the backyard garden on what I could use with the frozen chicken broth. There were some spinach and arugula, they would do.

I will share the recipe for this dog treat later.

Spinach and Arugula Dog treat
Meanwhile, I need to help IC dress up. She is going to a club party as Papa's date tonight. It was MC's turn last year. Hopefully, it would be my turn next year :-)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Today is St.Nicholas Day

A popular German tradition, it was in 2007 that the girls got a bit curious when it comes to St.Nicholas.

St.Nicholas Day
Usually, we asked their uncle to wear the Santa costume. It used to be a December highlight for the whole family when we would gather for dinner. But before supper, a special someone would ring the bell, and lo and behold: St. Nicholas in a Santa costume would come bearing gifts.

Then one time, we celebrated St. Nicholas, the girls asked why their uncle was not in the house. Is he not invited, they asked? We all said he would come a little late. And then their cousins (the daughters of their uncle), started giggling. That was when the St. Nicholas rang the bell, more giggles came because the girls noticed that the St. Nicholas was wearing the same boots that their uncle used to wear! Gasp!

Everything went well that year. The girls forgot about their questions on the identity of St. Nicholas when they saw the gifts. The year after that incident, we asked an officemate of my husband to be the one in costume, bearing gifts :-) Whew!

Monday, December 2, 2013

First Sunday of Advent 2013

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent.

Our special prayers went to the survivors of Haiyan.

Advent Wreath 2013

Yesterday was also our Kindertag (Kids' Day). Instead of going out for an adventure, the girls chose to simply enjoy the day after breakfast. IC went biking with her Papa in the woods. Afterwards, the girls (including Rikki) drove with their Papa to the cemetery to leave our Christmas wreath on oma and opa's tomb.

Then they went to our favorite country stall to buy apples and pears where Rikki got to play with the farmer's German Sheperd, Emily.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

DIY: Advent Calendar from Plastic and Glass Jars

It's that time of the year. After the Advent wreath, another item is on the list: Advent calendar.

This year's Advent calendar took sometime to make because I needed 24 jars that would be big enough to carry the surprises I have collected throughout the year. Plus, the pieces of woods I intended to use as the base for the calendar were not stored properly that. Our dog, Rikki, kept on playing with them and disappearing with them in our garden!

I finally finished the Advent calendar made of wood and jars after three days of working on it. I really though I would have to do overtime work that would keep me up this weekend because I was focused on our donation drive, but the girls have stressed that I promised to create one for them. "Promises are not made to be broken, right, Mama?"

Advent calendar using plastic and glass jars

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

DIY: Simple Advent Wreath

I was so busy with our donation drive, it took my husband's nudge to remind me that the first Sunday of Advent is fast approaching. He asked me if we need to buy something to create our own Advent wreath, like some greens?

I told him we would have a simple Advent wreath, using the old ornaments I have collected the past years. And nope, we won't need any greens, too. I managed to finish the Advent wreath last Sunday.

The only things new are, of course, the four candles.

Materials needed for a simple Advent wreath:
four candles
some clay (or a glue gun)
a sturdy plate or bowl or whatever type of base you want to use
assorted Christmas ornaments
some nuts and twigs, if possible

How to create a simple Advent wreath:

Make sure you have all the materials on hand. If you are using a glue gun, it should be plugged and ready to use.

Place the four candles on the plate or bowl. Fix them in place using the clay or the glue gun.

Put the candles on the base of your choice.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ich bin Kaputt!

Yes, I am dead on my feet!

After a late Thursday night lugging and dragging boxes of donated items to be loaded into our car to be delivered to LBC, Friday morning started with washing.

As mentioned here, I have decided to wash most of the donated clothes. Most of them are new, but because they have been in the storage for a long time, they smell funny already.

The washing machine was in full working load that day. Okay, I was also in full working mode as I have to hang those clothes to dry and fold them afterwards, too.

Good thing my girls helped me in sorting out items and again and again, translating/labeling some of them.

The staircase is the only space left to work!!!
Then Saturday came. I wanted to clean the house because we are ready to box all the donated items. So I did. The girls have an arts lesson, but since they were invited afterwards to the cinema, I didn't have to wait for them in the city.

I dusted, vacuumed, and mopped. I changed bed sheets and towels. And in between, I washed., hang and folded clothes.

And because my girls reminded me of my promise, I started making their advent calendar. This is after all, a family tradition.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Conclusion of our Donation Drive for Haiyan Survivors

Day Eight of our donation drive:
From the mother who attended the World Youth Day 

She told me she's visited our country. She was there during the World Youth Day with Pope John Paul II. She was amazed how big the crowd was during that event. I was there, too, I told her  She has attended every World Youth Day since.

She said she also went to Boracay, Subic, the Smokey Mountains, etc. She said visiting the Philippines was an experience that she would never forget. She said the Filipino people are amazing. I totally agree with her, as I agree that German people are amazing, too. :-) (Okay, everyone is just amazing especially the generous ones!)

She told me she's visited our country. She was there during the World Youth Day with Pope John Paul II. She was amazed how big the crowd was during that event. I was there, too, I told her  She has attended every World Youth Day since.

She mentioned going to Boracay, Subic, the Smokey Mountains, etc. and added that visiting the Philippines was an experience that she would never forget. 

She said the Filipino people are amazing. I totally agree with her, as I agree that German people are amazing, too. :-) (Okay, everyone is just amazing especially the generous ones!)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Days Six and Seven of Donation Drive for Haiyan Survivors

It is now day six of our donation drive and I am completely exhausted but happy with the result.

Day Five came with a small package but before that day ended, I received a call from a hotel/restaurant owner, who wanted to clear things.

Number one, until when could they send the donations? A lot of people have asked already. That is something I should have noted in my letter. I told her until the middle of the week as I need time to check the labels before we bring them for shipment.

She gave me happy news. She informed me that she communicated with doctors in the area who promised to organize medicinal packages. And since she's a hotel owner, she would also be providing bedsheets and towels. Yay!!! I mentioned to her that underwears would also be much appreciated.

Day Six is a Sunday. Rest day. But wait, while washing the car outside in the cold, my husband was approached my somebody who said they are organizing the items for donations and would be ready in the next days.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Other Donation Drives for Haiyan Survivors in Germany

A Filipina from Ziesar in Brandenburg has already booked her ticket to visit her family in Davao end of November, but she decided to cut short her time with her family to help out those affected by typhoon Haiyan. 

She has decided to travel to Bogo, Cebu, an area located southwest of Tacloban, were 98% of houses and and infrastructures have been reportedly destroyed and as of this writing, might not have been reached by the bigger aid agencies and seemed to have been forgotten by media. 

Appealing for more donations, (she has already paid for her plane tickets); she asked for support in making this action a success.
Let's support her, please.
If you want to donate, here is her bank details: Dr. Gerhard Harfner Deutsche Apotheker- und Ärztebank Konto-Nr.: 0007468458 BLZ.: 30060601
Verwendungszweck: Pag-asa Hilfsprojekt e.V, Spende für Bogo
*Steuerlich abzugsfähige Spendenquittungen werden ausgestellt.* (Tax deductible donation receipts will be issued when requested.)

Read here for the interview made by a local newspaper about Frau Hafner.

Meanwhile in Stuttgart:

For the Benefit of Typhoon victims Haiyan/Yolanda, the Filipino Community of Stuttgart is inviting to give and share on November 22 starting 18:30 p.m. at St Georg Gemeinde Stuttgart Heilbronner Str. 135.
Lend a helping hand, join them in raising funds, packing relief goods, clothes, collecting donations. Give and share in your own way. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Days Four and Five of Donation Drive for Haiyan Survivors

More donations arrived late afternoon of day three.

My post ended with the bandage sortiments, right?

And I did say more people called. And there's also people who just arrived on our doorstep, not to mention those who simply left their donations leaning on the front door. It felt like Christmas, I tell you. I am so happy for the people who would be receiving these generous gifts.

There was this call about a woman who said she gave copies of the donation letter to her officemates, right? She left her bundle of gifts leaning on our front door late afternoon. She promised more items would be coming.
bandages, medical tapes, plaster, bed sheets, towels
Next came an elderly woman a house away from us. Her husband was one of the first people the girls and I approached with our letters. We found him working in the garage. I asked him if we could leave him our letter and he said yes. Then he added, 'back more than 50 years ago, it was Germany who needed help, and help came. Not it's our turn to help.'

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day Three of Donation Drive for Haiyan Survivors

And we continue our donationdrive to help the survivors of the devastating typhoon Haiyan...

Yesterday I posted the items we received here.

Last night, a friend who I have never heard for a long time, called up. She said she has been meaning to call me to ask about my family in the Philippines. I told her they are okay but their area in Iloilo needs help, too. Then she offered help and I told her I am collecting donations, reading out loud the list of suggested items for donation.

This morning, a neighbor called up informing me that she gave copies of our letter asking for donations to her officemates. She further told me that in case I am not home, she would simply leave the donations, as they come, on our doorstep.

After a few minutes, the mother of IC's friend called. Telling me that her husband would come around noontime to bring some toiletries and a number of bandages. She wanted to be assured that the donated items would be received by the people who really needed them. I said everything would be coursed through LBC Foundation.

Her husband arrived with this:

All kinds of bandages, gauzes, and wound dressings plus some toiletries!
I didn't realize how many kinds of bandages, gauzes, and wound dressings there are. There are also gloves and emergency blankets.

Another neighbor followed with a call. She asked if clothes, shoes, kitchen items would be urgently needed, too. I said it would be best to stick on what's on the list first, though this time I added that underwears are also badly needed. She said she would get in touch with me as soon as she has everything organized.

A mother of MC's classmate just called and asked if clothes and toys would be appropriate. I sadly have to say not now because other items needed priority. She would get in touch as soon as possible, too.

I am touched by the people's answer to our call for help.

My God bless them all.

I am falling in love over and over again with my neighbors.

P.S. Here's something I learned, though. Since we live in Germany, I might need to label other items that does not have English translations so that the people there would know the uses of most items.

This is a wash powder but might need an extra label so that the end user would know.
For example, this wash powder. There is no German nor English translation. Although you could smell it's a soap. To avoid any confusion, make time to place English labels, please?

No English
These are bandages and wound creams, I might not need to translate but I
would take time to label the wound cream in English as when you open the boxes, there creams are in tubes.
I might even translate it's how to use note.
Also for those donating clothes and shoes. Make time to sort and label them such as for babies, for kids, for men, for women -- let's also help make the work volunteers who would end up with our donations a bit lighter, okay?

I am sure the extra effort to translate and to sort items out would be appreciated.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Relief Drive to Help Typhoon Haiyan Survivors in the Philippines

Image from NBC News
It is day six after the super storm Haiyan almost flattened parts of the Philippines.

There are estimated 10,000 deaths, more than 10 million people have been affected among them 1.5 million children and 4.3 million are now homeless.

It is now day six and despite the international aids coming in, more and more people are begging to be fed. More and more people are suffering from thirst. More and more people are begging to be evacuated to a safer area.

Sadly, many people are also still looking for missing loved ones. Sady, people are slowly dying. Sadly, another storm is coming...adding to the misery of the survivors.

We have been bombarded by news about the typhoon. The images were horrific and unimaginable.

IC class have been receiving the local newspaper daily because of a project have been discussing the Philippines and the typhoon. She has came home so overwhelmed because of the questions thrown at her, which of course, she cannot all answer.

MC meanwhile, came home on Monday saying her friends all rushed to her and asked immediately about the typhoon, if we have relatives in the areas affected, etc.

Both girls experienced typhoon Ondoy back in 2009. I guess, that became their reference. Plus, they also watched the news reports with me.

My mother, who hails from Ilo-ilo (another area affected), still have sisters there. That means, we have relatives there. When asked, my siblings told me that they were okay, which is good news. We just don't know how okay they are though.

I cannot stop crying while watching the news and video images online as I fervently clutched my rosary to pray.

But praying at this time, would not be enough. People are starving. People are screaming for help. I cannot take the desperation I see anymore. I feel so useless with my tears. I needed to do something to help.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Help Victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

Dear World,

"It's like the end of the world," narrated a typhoon survivor here.

The people of the Philippines needs help. There's now an estimated 10,000 death caused by drowning and collapsed buildings after typhoon Haiyan, said to be the worst storm ever to make landfall in recorded history.

A family waiting for food relief. Image taken here.
"The typhoon barreled through six central Philippine islands on Friday, wiping away buildings and leveling seaside homes. Most of the deaths and destruction were on Leyte Island, where Tacloban is located," according to NY Post.
Interaksyon stated, "If the 10,000 death toll is proven true, the devastation from Yolanda would be the country's deadliest recorded natural disaster."

More than 330,900 people were displaced and 4.3million 'affected' by the typhoon in 36 provinces, the U.N.'s humanitarian agency said, as relief agencies called for food, water and tarpaulins for the homeless, reported Daily Mail.

This after an earthquake that devasted towns that also were affected by the super typhoon.

Red Cross Philippines are accepting donations.LBC Foundation on their Facebook stated that they are also accepting donations intended for Red Cross worldwide. Check LBC link here

There are many ways to help, check CNN's list by clicking this.

See devastating images of the typhoon here.

Meanwhile, I am sorting out clothes, blankets, shoes, canned goods,etc. and would try to work with our community to collect more donations for the survivors. There must be something we could do to help out despite the distance. 

And yes, our prayers continue. God bless the Philippines.

For those in the Philippines, there's a Dine for a Cause at all Yabu branches. "In the spirit of giving, all branches of Yabu will be holding a Dine for A Cause event on November 13, 2013. 100% of our profits from all Yabu branches will be donated to those affected by the recent calamity caused by Typhoon Yolanda. Go and join them to help."

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DIY: From a Shirt into a Simple Dog T-Shirt

I did say I am not a fan of dressing up pets, right? But hey, my sewing machine has been busy these past weeks creating Halloween costumes and the girls wanted to be fair to our dog.

They are convinced that Rikki wanted to have her own Halloween costume, too.

I compromised by making a simple shirt, signifying our pet's super power :-)

Materials needed to turn a shirt into a simple dog t-shirt:
- an old long-sleeved shirt
- scraps of easy to stretch cloths (I used old leggings)
- a pair of scissors
- pins
- needles
- thread
Rikki's t-shirt, with cuffs, too!
Get the shirt ready. I used a long-sleeved shirt. You would notice that I already removed the neck area.

After cutting off the neck area, cut the sleeves.

To make sure that the shirt would fit Rikki, there's a short fitting time.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

DIY: From a Skirt into a Halloween Treats Bag

Because she's wearing a newly-made bat costume, IC decided that her ever reliable Halloween bag would not do anymore. She wanted a new Halloween treats bag.
Halloween treats bag from an old skirt
Busy, busy Halloween. I know why, because it falls in the same week as the kid's autumn break!

Anyway, if there's a will, there's a way; especially when IC asked so sweetly.

A confession: there's this skirt I have already set aside because I wanted to make a bag out of it. I have decided it would do for IC's Halloween treats bag.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DIY: From an Umbrella into a Kiddie Bat Costume

I have actually been planning on creating a kiddie bat costume for my girls since I saw a photo of a bat costume using an umbrella a few months ago. Why? Because I have a broken black and silver umbrella that would fit the bat costume!

The mummy costume was easier because I have all materials ready, though.
Bat costume using an umbrella
But it took me a long, lone time to finish the bat costume because I don't have the proper materials to work on the umbrella spines as suggested here. It was only when I presented the bat costume idea to IC that I really gave enough thought for an alternative. So here goes, presenting my own version of a kiddie bat costume made from an umbrella.

Materials needed for a bat costume made from an umbrella:
an old black umbrella
a black hoodie
barbecue sticks
a pair of scissors
thread and needles
My old, broken umbrella

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DIY: Easy Kiddie Mummy Costume

This is a result of another last minute request from the girls: 'Mama, we need a new costume for Halloween!'

Mummy Costume for Kids
Mama needs to think fast and work on the costume faster. Therefore, a mummy costume. I think it's easy and yes, it was done after 30 minutes. It helped that I already have all the materials ready for the mummy costume.

It also helped that I used a very old table cloth I retrieved from the store room, therefore I don't need to dye the fabric to create a seemingly-authentic mummy-look.

Materials needed for the mummy costume:
Rikki protecting the skirt, the shirt and the table cloth
for our mummy costume project

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mom's Early Christmas Prepping

It’s only October but I am already prepping up for Christmas. Why? Because December is the busiest month for me.  (I know, December might be the busiest for all of us, but let me continue so you would understand how specially overwhelming December is for me.)
In Germany where we live, December does not only mean Christmas but also the celebration of  the traditional St. Nikolaus Day on December 6. Add to this my daughter’s birthday which falls on December 10, another big celebration. Those are not all.  Do you know that Germans consider the 26th of December the second day of Christmas, too?
Read more here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Food Fight One Crazy Night

I normally don't approve of food being wasted. But one crazy night last week, a food fight started after a dinner of mashed potato and sauerkraut.

It began when the girls started teasing their Papa that his left cheek is smeared with a piece of sauerkraut. Instead of helping him remove it easily, the girls just laugh at his attempt to clean his face.

He teasingly attempted to smear the piece of sauerkraut on the girls faces. By then, the girls were already running screaming around the dining room. That's when I pretended to scoop some mashed potato to toss to them.

But MC was faster, she dipped a finger in the left-over bowl of mashed potato and smeared it on her Papa's face and declared giggling, "I have always dreamed of experiencing a food fight!"

I guess, most of all have dreamed of having a real food fight and thus, the real food fight started. Still seated, I also dipped my finger inside the mashed potato bowl and smeared it on my husband's face. IC meanwhile sneaked beside me, dipped her fingers on the same bowl and gave her Papa another face dirt. Because he was laughing so hard, he thought he could escape the ladies' power by running into the kitchen.
Papa was the target of the mashed potato missiles

Friday, October 18, 2013

How to Ripen Green Tomatoes

Are you still waiting for your green tomatoes to ripen? We are.

It's October and it's colder. We wanted to save our green tomatoes! We have to do something.

We have more than enough tomato harvest last year. I decided to make homemade dried tomatoes, aside from those we have already frozen. We still have two bottles of these dried tomatoes so we wanted to make something else, especially, we wanted to save tons of those green ones.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Time for Lamb's Lettuce or Corn Salad

Freshly-picked Feldsalat (Lamb's Lettuce or Corn Salad) and cocktail tomatoes 

These past weeks, I have been serving rucola (arugula) salad at meal times. Last week, I discovered our Feldsalat (Lamb's Lettuce or Corn Salad) corner is thriving.

My husband decided to keep the snails from invading the lamb's lettuce corner by placing a plastic wall. It was effective and I could see that we would be harvesting a load of lamb's lettuce this year. Good thing because it is the girls' favorite salad!

I am also glad that we could still harvest tomatoes from our backyard garden. Greens and reds for a great side dish, yes!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Preparing to Turn Our Pet into a Therapy Dog

We have been playing with the idea of training Rikki as a therapy dog when we learned that her mother and older brother were both working therapy dogs. That was a few weeks after bringing her home in 2011.

Rikki, taking a break :-)
After which, we learned that her twin brother (I call him her twin brother because their mother had only two litters), was also adopted by a special child with special needs. Lennie (Rikki's twin)  is being trained as a therapy/companion dog, too.

We have not stopped contemplating about the idea. Actually, the whole family was keen on turning our pet into a therapy dog but when I talked to somebody knowledgeable, she recommended that we enjoy our time with Rikki first. So, we did!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Short Hike to Celebrate the German Unity Day (in photos)

Today is the Day of German Unity (Tag der Deutschen Einheit), a national holiday in Germany celebrating the anniversary of German reunification in 1990. 
Since the holiday was on a Thursday, the school declared Friday a holiday, too -- a long weekend! What to do?
We took advantage of the sunshine and decided to go for a short hike. The girls were not too fond of the idea but they went with us after telling them we could also collect walnuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, etc. along the way.
We are near the forest parking area and
here's Rikki running after a cat :-)
The cows are also enjoying the sunshine.
Walking beside the pet cemetery.
Inside the forest now.
The girls walking along the pet cemetery.

Walking deeper into the woods.
Back in the path after exploring the pet cemetery.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September Harvests

Sunny September means longer harvest time.

We are enjoying our harvests and there are more to come...

Tomatoes are still hanging in our garden. There are loads of green ones, too.
That means, we would have enough frozen tomatoes for winter.
Rucola (arugula), I love the smell of this green leafy thingy whenever I pluck them for salad.
Spinach and red beets. They were victims of the snail invasion but despite that,
there were enough harvested to start a great meal.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September Kids' Day:Fried Fish Festival in Worms (Wormser Backfischfest)

I can't believe we have been celebrating kids' day since 2007!
Worms Promenade
A short explanation. We declared every Sunday of the month a special day for our kids. A day where they could decide and plan what they want to do. They are our bosses on this day. (Actually, we are their slaves the whole year, the thing is; we pretend it's not true.) This day is really, really something special and the girls have something to look forward to every month.

What's more, when their friends learned about us having kids' day, they wanted to have one special day in their family, too. Not everybody was convinced as one mom told her daughter who asked for a kid's day, 'come on, you know that everday is a kid's day for us!'

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Meatball Soup with Japanese-style Noodles and Zucchini Bits

Meatball Soup with Japanese-Style Noodles and Zucchini Bits
A big favorite among my girls, a meatball soup. Usually, we use a Philippine noodle called miswa for our meatball soup. But this time, I used Tomoshiraga Somen, a Japanese-style noodle, and added some zucchini bits.

I remember the meatball soup being cooked by my mother, thus, this has become a comfort food.

Although a big fave by my family in Germany, I only cook this soup during the winter time. They said it tastes better, though they won't complain if they get this soup during summer.

I tried substituting the miswa noodles with other noodles but the best alternative seemed to be this Japanese-style noodle that I found in the Asia shop near our place. Miswa is a bit softer compared to Tomoshiraga Somen, which is deliciously firm when cooked right.

Monday, September 23, 2013

How IC Prepared for her Three-Day Class Outing

IC's luggage and her backpack
Ever since her big sister MC went on a three-day outing in Dilsberg with her classmates in third grade, IC has looked forward to her very own school outing. She was disappointed that it did not happen on their third grade, but she's happy when she learned that it was scheduled on their fourth grade.

She learned about the planned class trip to Steinach am Donnersberg during their third grade and it was scheduled and confirmed a few weeks before they were released for summer vacation. Yipeee :-)

You think she forgot about her class trip during the summer vacation? Nope. She has that trip swimming around her mind almost the whole time. Thinking about what to wear, worrying if she would get enough food and drinks, wanting to see if her luggage is passable, choosing possible roommates, counting the days, etc. etc.

And because the whole family was also curious about IC's class trip, we decided to go and visit the place ahead. Well, I entered the youth hostel, with IC (a bit hesitant) following me. We saw the reception area filled with shelves of books and board games. There's a sweets corner and a souvenir shop, too. We also discovered a Celts Village and Garden nearby. All very interesting.