Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day!

We got to eat Indian food tonite. Well, 4 of us and not the schnitzel boy. Jal frezi, rogan josh and chicken korma with naan and safron rice warm the heart and fill the tummy on a night as thick as pea soup out there. No flying until January, but maybe some school come Monday the 29th. Yep, I'm just about mean enough to get a few days at the grind stone while Daddy goes back to work for the week. I do sometimes miss my old job of substitute junior high teacher and then I realize, I'm spending time with some of the most important people in my world.

Type at y'all next year. For now, I watch a little House on the nasty tv and plan field trips for the new year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Home schooling on the go this week. With sledding included after lessons today. We appreciate hills in Iowa now that we've seen the lack of hills in Chicagoland. It's just that there are the trees at the bottom which aren't too handy. Where's the chainsaw? Mommy needs a lesson on a new power tool!

BTW, we included the great circle route in the lapbook as well as three or four of the minibooks from country report site. Many of the pieces are from train or site tickets which we experienced on the trip. It will all be stored in their school binders after I show it to the other set of grandparents this weekend.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter observations

The brightest moon I've seen just went to bed after keeping me up in the middle of the night. The owl that was whoot-doot-doodling on the tree outside my window around 2 am. is gone to bed too. There are still reindeer "food" and snow angels out there in the yard though. A beautiful new day awaits...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Space Rocks or Asteroid Belt, either way it's cool

We've moved into the chapter in astronomy about asteroids, meteoroids and the like. I also played the Bill Nye episode about comets and meteors. It was difficult to resolve the time spans discussed during the video and the reading, but I pray that these three will continue to understand that in His own time frame, The Creator made it all. It's a fine line for someone who's studied Earth Science for over twenty years. Lately, I've been trying to claim Psalm 90:4 "For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The last major site

We visited the Deutsches Museum on the only inclement weather day and it was a bit rainy. My favorite places were coffee with the little girl in the Internet Cafe and the basement Kinderreich with an amazing water display that helped to explain locks and damns. The next time they encounter those I hope that it is on the Mississippi River near Keokuk Iowa where I first saw it as a kid. Afterward we ate chinese food across the street.

This was definitely worth the stress of getting 7 people on an international flight stand-by. It wasn't free to fly, but it wouldn't have ever, ever been possible had we not taken the opportunity to try. God has a plan and we all learned a great deal on the trip even how to say hello and goodbye, our numbers in German. We learned that it isn't always possible to go to the bathroom for free, if you wish to sit down that is. We learned that even the most picky eaters would like kiwi and schnitzel, zaurbraten and apricot juice. We learned that we didn't need to see the inside of Mozart's home this time. We learned to stay together and follow the leader who had been there several times before. We learned to trust him as he knew what he was doing most of the time and was thrilled to share it with the rest of his family.

Of course we did Neuschwanstein!

How could we go that far and not visit the castle that inspired Disney or gave Chitty Chitty Bang Bang a place to land? It was the first organized tour I'd ever been on. Yep, I gave in to the luxury and swallowed every word the guide gave us. The children rode the train well by playing cards, drawing and yes, playing the leapster. It was a two hour trip and the day was beautiful for us to see the countryside, but the return trip was dark nighttime. I just couldn't get over how good Wagner had it to be bankrolled by Mad King Ludwig. The castle was still beautiful both inside and outside in the winter. I enjoyed the mosaic floors, but couldn't get over the lack of wildlife along the walk except for crows. I was looking for European Buckthorn which is such an alien nuisance here, and I found it in many places. We even listened to the tour guide when he told us a good place to eat on Leopoldstrasse named Wurthaus Brez'n. He was right.

BMW Museum and Olympiapark

While the girls shopped up and down Marienplatz, the boys went off to explore BMW and see a little of the 1972 Olympic Park. The big hit was the 1938 model car and the yellow one person car with the door in the front. Boys are so intrigued by this type of mechanical/ transportation history...

Chinese Tower and Englischer Garten

We stopped on the way back to our hotel one night at the Chinese Tower for their market and for a 3G ride on the carousel. It wasn't so glamorous, but it was memory making. There was a wonderful train set up inside a display for our kids too. Everyone enjoyed the hot, sugared nuts from each market too. There were many displays of food including a hot meat/cabbage combination as well as a crepe made with nutello. Scrumptious
The garden near our hotel was huge with a wonderful, full stream flowing through it. I wonder if this garden wasn't bigger than New York's Central park. It was big. We traveled through it on the tram to the subway to the train and had a wonderful visit in Munchen on public transport only.

Christmas Markets / Christkindlmarket

The Daddy had taken 3Gs down to Daley plaza last year for his first Christmas market, but I skipped it in favor of a quiet, warm Saturday on my own. This year, however, we visited many Christmas markets all over Munchen and Salzburg. My favorite was the Medieval market near Odeonsplatz in Munchen. There were fire breathers at the top of a high platform which my youngest G drew for us the next day.

The tea towel calendar is from the markets in Salzburg. It is for German, Italian and English speakers and is arranged differently than most calendars. I liked the German costumes and my green colors. The ornaments are for souvenirs. I saw them in each market and the tags say that they were made in Germany.
I could have spent so much more time in the Berchtesgadener Christmas market, but it's all good. I sure don't regret skipping the cuckoo clock purchase, because I may get a new bathroom sink instead. Trade-offs are ok.
I did purchase several single figure play mobil pieces that my Gs played with on the 10.5 hour flight home. The little girl, her gramma and I enjoyed shopping for those at Karstadts and Spiels toy sections. The children definitely enjoyed the chocolate covered eggs filled with small toys to put together inside (Kinder candies).

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Marienplatz on the front and back side of our visit

We arrived into Munchen after a successful flight from Ohare on Wednesday, November 26th. In order to try to acclimate the children for the new time change, we took a walking tour from our temporary hotel on the south side of the main train station to Marienplatz. We found Augustinerbrau for dinner even though we weren't ready for white boiled sausage yet. We ate bretzli or pretzels. The children are beginning to like schnitzel. On the back side of the visit, we found the noonish performance of the Glockenspiele on New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) with Frauenkirche in the background. But while waiting we found an indigenous music group in the tourist information center. I assume they were from Peru, but they sure spoke German well too.
We found that there would be an organ concert at Frauenkirche on Tuesday night before we headed back to the states which was a must see. The children even survived the concert quite well a week later surrounded by adults. You know, it was an amazing blessing to do this trip with the odds we had. Four adults to three children is always recommended or at least out number the children by somewhat prepared adults whenever possible. Everyone appreciated the Lavazza Italian coffee even though this mommy would have preferred a regular shot of Starbucks.
BTW, we didn't do any American chain food along the way and were working hard to avoid it for the entire trip. We did have to visit the Hofbrauhaus for Daddy's ox nuckle dinner. Or pigs nuckle, I can't remember. It's all the same though. I found a new brilliant drink made from carbonated apple juice called Apfleshorle. I love it!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Out of order already, but...

I'd better show you some pictures from Salzburg Austria before I forget. Actually, we couldn't take pictures at the salt mines near Salzburg (ever wonder why Salz-burg sounds like salts-burg?). We got to slide down the miner's slide just like Rick Steeve's said we would. It was the boys, the Daddy, me and the Gramma. We got all gussied up in the suits and wondered around underground while Grampa and the girl explored Berctesgarden (sp?). She had puked all along the drive through part of the Alps only after moving her twin brother up a seat because he had been turning green. I now know that Dramamine is my friend.

Start at the end - here's the landing story

This is the image from our first visit to the new Ohare runway 27R in September. Trust me, it didn't look like this when we landed Wednesday afternoon during a winter weather advisory.

Thanksgiving was...

an attitude of my heart. Well, I WAS traveling abroad for a week with my husband, his parents and our three children. It was made easy to thank God for my blessings while wondering around Salzburg Austria after a puke-filled ride in the Alps and an adventure to the salts mines that Rick S. tells us about on his tv show. We finally found a what to eat for a meal? A Turkish restaurant not a mile from our place to rest that night. I had wanted to be in Turkiye for Thanksgiving, but eating the Doner Kebab that included veil and turkey meat was most excellent instead. I was thankful and I did have an attitude of thankfulness for all the thorny stuff of the year too. the decade. my life.

Can you say the same thing?

When you do say the same thing, how does that influence your relationships with your spouse and your children?