Saturday, 31 December 2011

Have a Happy New Year!


This video has been a tradition in Germany for New Year’s Eve since I can remember, but I’ve not been watching it regularly since I moved to the UK (and I’m not able to find the videotape with it my mum sent me years ago). Thank goodness for the Internet, mmmh?? Open-mouthed smile

We’re going to have a quiet evening again this year, first have 2 friends over for Raclette (again, a tradition on my side of the family really) and once they’ve gone home or decided to stay over night we’re going to watch a bit TV or whatever we may have recorded or DVD (TV is going to be abysmal from what I can see!!) and then go to bed early-ish. Haven’t had a big New Year in YEAAARRS, think we’re getting old!! Winking smile
Oh – going through Wikipedia DH found also a Lego version of “Dinner for One”.
Which traditions do you have?
Have a great evening/night and all the best for 2012!!!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Tracking Santa...

If there's nothing else you're doing today, or if you're celebrating Christmas Eve and you have a bit of time, go here - we've been tracking Santa for years now and cannot wait for the girls to take part next year (currently totally oblivious to the whole thing!).



Track Santa with NORAD

Saturday, 10 December 2011

10 Things on the 10th–December

What easier to go for in December than Christmas baking! Winking smile So after a lot of Christmas Markets in my November 10 things, my 10 things for December are my favourite baked goods during Advent/Christmas time (not necessarily all made by me or at least not yet):
(photos for first 3 items are mine, the rest is courtesy of Google)
  1. “Stollen” (usually just the buttery type with candied fruit and raisins, but also like the Nougat type or Poppy seed one – just NO MARZIPAN one please – can’t stand the taste of it!!) – best with some squishy cream and a cuppa hot chocolate or tea!

    DSCF1694
  2. “Vanillekipferl” (vanilla crescents – tried my best in this country to get my granny’s recipe going, but somehow they don’t rise properly and go all flat – would have thought I’d have figured out why after 13 years!)
    DSCF1801
    (2008 batch)

    Vanillekipferl 2009
    (2009 batch)

    And the 2010 batch looked again like the one from 2008!!! I wonder if it’s the butter … or flour… Surprised smile 
  3. “Husarenkrapfen” or ”Engelsaugen” (that’s one of those jam filled Christmas cookies, and I love them! Probably because they don’t cause trouble like the Vanilla crescents! – And I always go for raspberry jam even though they can be made with apricot or other jam as well)

    Husarenkrapfen
  4. Gluehweinmuffins (Mulled wine muffins - have done them once, will try them again this year but with Ikea’s “Glogg” – non alcoholic – due to the horrendous prices of Aldi’s/Lidl’s Gluehwein this year!!



  5. Butterplaetzchen (easy peasy sugar cookies – but so nice decorated… can’t wait for the girls to be old enough to help out there!)


  6. Christmas Brownies (bought one from my lovely “Stoertebaecker” girls, loved it and found a recipe to try this year!)



  1. “Nussecken” ( didn’t have them in ages because DH doesn’t eat nuts with chocolate – and the roasted kind only since this autumn! – but might consider making a batch for myself and potential guests)


  2. “Spritzgebaeck” (one of those piping bag cookie types – haven’t made them yet but is one of the easiest ones to make if you are any good with piping – or so I’ve been told. LOL!)


  3. “Spekulatius” (spiced cookies – usually nice ornamental shapes and with almond slivers – only shop bought really at Lidl or Aldi).


  4. Chocolate Gingerbread (never liked the non-choc version and it’s only the shop bought ones so far (again, Lidl or Aldi), but who knows – might start baking them too one year! Winking smile )

Well, that’s my 10 things on the 10th for this month/year – definitely will continue doing it if Shimelle’s going forward – or maybe even by myself/with other bloggers. Who knows!

If you have any favourite Christmas cookies/baked goods, please comment with a link to a pic/recipe – I always LOVE looking at new recipes and maybe even bake them!! Smile

For more 10 things on the 10th click here.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Christmas/Advent???Where??

Yup – similar to last year me thinks – not really very Christmassy around here yet, no deco apart from the Advent wreath with the candles, the Advent Calendar Candle and the door wreath. Everything else is still in the loft.

Not sure why, apart from having 18 weeks old twins (and last year was pregnant with said twins).

Baked a stollen, so that’s a step forward, but somehow I don’t feel very Christmassy, and DH’s scroogey behaviour doesn’t help much (neither does his being made redundant middle of November).

And with all that, OF COURSE I’m behind with Shimelle’s JYC. Had hoped to do an album (even prepared some pages at the November Crop), then got realistic and said I’d at least do the daily blogging, but even that didn’t happen. Haven’t done ONE SINGLE ENTRY – be it on here or on paper!!! Nothing! Nix! Nada! Tomorrow is Day 4 of JYC…

Hope this will change soon – can’t believe tomorrow is already the 2nd Advent!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Friday Fill-Ins


FFI


1. One of my favorite things about December is Christmas.
2. I love German Glass ornament(s)!
3. This is what I'm hoping for today/tonight: well behaved twins who sleep longer than 6am.
4. Why does the weather make such a noise?
5. Ooh, a stollen is what I baked this evening! .
6. My ears are ringing – from the cold?!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to an earlier night than yesterday, tomorrow my plans include decluttering and Sunday, I want to catch up with the JYC!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Happy Turkey Day!

 

That’s for my American Friends… Smile 

We’ve opened our house to friends again who like American Football – this time the 2nd game is quite interesting, Miami Dolphins vs Dallas Cowboys (DH’s team vs one of our best friends’ team), so it will be fun.

We’ve cooked pies (2 Sweet potato pies – done by me - & DH’s Key Lime Pie) and DH is still going to make some Philly Cheese Steak Ciabattas and are expecting a total of 5 friends (one had to cancel). Think with the twins we will have more and more “events” at our place, and I quite like it that way.

And here are some photos of my Sweet Potato Pies (first attempt ever to make them – the pie shells are shop bought though).

WHOAAAAH! I really have to check out my mobile phone camera! That’s just ridiculous! They are a nice orangey colour!!! And that’s the before btw. Winking smile

Sweet Potato pies baked

And here’s the AFTER picture – you still can make out the NFL on the left pie, the marshmallows didn’t melt, just brown … can’t wait to have a slice!! YUMM!!!

Hope you all have a fab day, enjoy the meal and the football!! Open-mouthed smile

Thursday, 10 November 2011

10 on the 10th–November

Geesh – is it really the 10th already???? Let’s see what I manage this time…

Decided on the Markets/fun fairs etc in Germany I’ve visited often while still living there – either just for fun or working (all linked to Kriftel as member of the Kriftel Red Cross Group). All photos bar the Hofheimer Wochenmarkt one are stock photos from the Internet.
  1. Christmas Market Frankfurt



  2. Christmas Market Hofheim (stalls manned by members of sports clubs, Red Cross etc selling stuff for their organisations)



  3. Krifteler Red Cross Christmas Market (Small Christmas Market at the Sports hall Kriftel with the Red Cross selling food, handmade things and holding a Raffle, plus having Santa coming around – worked in stalls myself for several years)


  4. Christmas Market Rothenburg (beautiful Christmas market set within the city walls of Rothenburg)



  5. Hofheimer Wochenmarkt (Farmers Market)

    IMG_0043

  6. Hoechster Wochenmarkt (Farmers Market)



  7. Hochheimer Markt - a very old farmers market where you still get farmers showing their livestock and machinery plus vendors who sell everything from soup paste (used to be, now it’s granulated soup stuff) to food/drink and cooking devices). Also has a fairly big fairground! LOVED it there but not been in ages as we never went to Germany in November.



  8. Dippemess Frankfurt (similar to “Hochheimer Markt” minus the livestock and machinery – “Dippe” is Hessian for stoneware pots).



  9. Lindenbluetenfest Kriftel (a town market/fair in Kriftel)


And to be honest, I don’t have another one!! Surprised smile Ah well… had to happen one day!
If you want to see more of the 10 Things on the 10th, pop over to Shimelle, she’s listed them here.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

I just love it, and this year we had even more kids around than usual. Glad to see so many younger kids with their parents, and Doug can’t wait for the girls to be old enough to go “guising” = kids have to do something to earn their sweets – a joke/dance or similar – Doug prefers this to standard “Trick or treat”, and the amount of kids asking right out for money was next to nothing this year I think.

Have been sewing the twins’ costumes, didn’t give myself enough time to do it properly, and it’s been a while since I touched my sewing machine, so the outfits are a bit of a dog’s dinner. Suppose, they look ok as long as you don’t turn over the girls (I can’t measure correctly either, apparently – didn’t allow enough fabric for the “skirts”).

So … here they are in their secret identities!! Kara on the right, Megan on the left.
halloween 2011
And yes … their parents are total geeks. Winking smile

And now the usual Halloween addendum:
“Hallo Ian”–still funny as!! :D

Looking forward to lots of years of the twins dressing up and starting guising!

Hope you all had a nice Halloween.

Monday, 10 October 2011

10 Things on the 10th

Ok, seems I’m doing this every other month maybe. Winking smile

I was thinking a lot about things I did in my kiddyhood and teens that my girls won’t be able to do (for whatever reason).

  1. See a movie at a drive-in cinema (the one I’d been to was closed and is now derelict since about middle of the 90’s I think)
  2. Camping with friends on a patch of land in the cul-de-sac (now it’s all in back gardens only)
  3. Go for a midnight walk in the woods during aforementioned camping (parents wouldn’t allow camping outwith house boundaries nowadays – lots of scare about abduction etc)
  4. Go for midnight swimming during aforementioned midnight walk (doubt there are any pools available and it’s too much scare for kids to do this now)
  5. Get fresh water for your tea in a well in the hills (not sure if the one in my area in Germany still exists, but don’t know of any around here really)
  6. Regular street parties with neighbours (does anyone do that around here? We had that regularly, and it was absolute fun!!)
  7. Camping holidays with driving from home to Croatia ( a) hubby doesn’t like camping and b) driving from Scotland would be a bit extreme!!)
  8. Taking the bike across the city to get to the swimming pool – by yourself (sorry, girls, the traffic is worse nowadays, with lots of idiots around!!).
  9. Travelling across the German/German border – that was a scary thing to do, lots of sniffer dogs around, we always felt weird going to and coming from our relatives in the old GDR (DDR). They did have a funny way of collecting your passports mind – reminded me of miniature ski lifts!!! Shame we never took photos of that (but that was probably forbidden anyway!!)!!
  10. Going into the woods with my mum, “mushroom hunting” and collecting chestnuts!! A fab adventure, we did that every autumn! Now that my mum’s not been on the mushroom hunt for years, and we don’t have really the woods for it anywhere near (oh, how I miss the taste of fresh porcini mushrooms we found!).

Well… that’s me. If you want to see more of the “10 things on the 10th” lists, have a look at Shimelle’s blog here. Smile

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

“Tausend Jahre sind ein Tag” Translation

Specially for my friend Jan who asked for the translation.

Thousand Years are One Day - Udo Juergens
“Do you know how many stars there are?
And where the rivers flow to?
Say, why does rain fall?
Where’s the end of this world?
What was here a thousand years ago?
Why do wheels work?
Are clouds faster than the wind?
A child has so many questions…
Child, forget the questions,
You’re still to small for that,
You’re not yet ready for that,
That can still wait..
Refrain:
What is time? – What is time? – What is time?
A moment
An hour
Thousand years are one day!

(that’s the part they used for the German version of “Once upon time – man”. I didn’t even know the rest of the lyrics until I googled them for my blog post!! And that’s why I stop the translation here – sorry, Jan! Winking smile Just not used to the rest of the song so not that easy for me to translate. And if anyone knows a better translation or wants to translate the rest of the song – feel free to let me know…)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Autumn–back to football…

although this year it’s only the NFL kind. I’ll miss being with “my lads” from the Stirling Clansmen, they had their Returners Training Camp last weekend, usually the first opportunity for me to take photos. On nice days we may take the girls in the “tumbler” up to Stirling next Spring if it’s not too windy.

So – it’s back to NFL via Fox Sports Fantasy Football courtesy of Johnny’s league – and the “DC Girls” (that’ll be my team this year!) has already got one W(in) in the column. :) This means reading some blogs about player news etc, my 2 main “go to” guys on the Net are Michael Fabiano of NFL Fantasy Blogs and Gregg Easterbrook’s TMQ on ESPN. Reading in between feeds when I have time. Winking smile

Have to point out that my draft picks were mostly due to help from our friend Scott who was here during "draft evening" and gave hints and tips to both Doug (he's in my division with his own team, the "Wonder Twins". So - if anything is going wrong, Scott's getting the stick!! ;)

Else it’s only anything on Channel 4 (Sunday night games only) as DH decided not to get SKY SPORTS or ESPN this year – money towards the Twins. And listening to the Radio 5 Live commentary which is quite funny and keeps us awake during night feeds. LOL.

Anyway – yesterday was the first Miami Dolphins game of the regular season, and the girls got all geared up for it. Despite them not being able to watch it (wasn’t on terrestrial TV and it was the “Granny & Papa” night #1 of this week (we have the in-laws over twice a week until their holiday in October) so we – well, DH – can catch up a full night’s sleep for work).
IMG_0037 (363 x 600)IMG_0039 (380 x 600)
Kara (on the right) has already gained first right on the “I watch the Miami Dolphins with my Daddy” bib, as she’s been “watching” a pre-season game with her daddy (well… one night when she wouldn’t settle that is). Megan got one up on her when it comes to Grand Prix though. Winking smile

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Where were you when … 9/11

(photo-heavy, and emotional contents)

With all the programs on the TV I was thinking back about that fateful day of 11 September 2001. I’m sure it’s one of those days you will always remember where you’ve been when you heard the news.

(photo taken from Orlando News Centre)

The day was only 4 days after our wedding, and we were looking forward to our honeymoon starting on the 20th – in the USA.

I was at work when I heard the news, some of my colleagues had internet access and had checked the news and then passed the info on – a plane  (American Airlines Flight 11) flew into 1 WTC (World Trade Centre North Tower) at 8:46am local time (12:46pm UK time). We were all shocked about this “accident” and worried for the people in the tower.

When I saw the news of the second plane at 1:03pm UK time (9:03am local time) into the South Tower (2 WTC, United Airlines Flight 175) I thought it was a repeat, couldn’t be happening. At that point I started worrying about my friend Susan who was working in the banking district of Manhattan, but with no internet access at work and no internet on my phone back then I couldn’t contact her – so even more worried!! And the common thought was “This can’t be another accident!”, which was getting more and more a factual thought when we heard about American Airlines Flight 77 (plane into Pentagon building) and United Airlines Flight 93 (plane which was brought down by the passengers destined for Washington DC).

(photo taken from September 11 news)

 
(photo taken from Freedomfiles.com)

I’m not sure, but I *believe* we were able to go home at 3pm that day because of what happened. I believe that as I was home quite a bit earlier than Doug, and the news repeating pictures of the planes crashing into WTC and the Pentagon over and over again on all channels. I was crying and in shock and had sent an e-mail already to my friend Susan (who fortunately was several blocks away from WTC, so was not affected).

 
(photo taken from crystalinks.com)

It is human nature to still read/watch all the news of disasters despite being shocked and not really wanting to see them. Not sure why, but it is like that. And seeing the people jumping from the towers, the towers collapsing (I’d never been to NYC before, but DH had as a child and later as a student on holiday without his family) and the rescue operations over the next week before our honeymoon.

Flights were cancelled during that time, and we looked into cancelling our honeymoon (we’d be flying into Boston) but in the end were able to go (think we were on one of the earliest international flights back into the US (not sure if it was out of UK as well, with attacks being expected here after it transpired that this was a terrorist attack.

(photo taken from behindblondiepark.com)

FAST FORWARD TO 2010

Doug and I travelled to NYC as part of our holiday in March 2010. First time I visited the city, and it felt just natural for me that I wanted to go to Ground Zero. Not for sensation seeking sake, but out of curiosity and just to get my mind settled. Can’t really put it into words.

It was still a building site and we didn’t go very close to it, but I took some photos of the high-rises mirrored in the glass of the Millenium Hilton which is opposite Ground Zero.
Ground Zero mirrored Millenium HiltonGround zero mirrored2Ground Zero mirroredGround Zero


















We were staying close to Hell’s Kitchen and one evening we walked past the Engine 54 Ladder 4 Battalion 9 fire station (“Pride of Midtown”) – the station who had the biggest loss of firemen on 9/11 (15 fire fighters lost). At that point a fire truck was coming out of the fire house and I managed to take a couple of shots.
engine54 ladder 4Engine54d

Engine54b
Engine54c




















Seeing on TV and on the internet what the WTC Memorial looks like is amazing!

 
(photo taken from usatravel.about.com)

September 11, 2011

Lots of programs on TV this week, and I’m not too fond of the conspiracy programs (9/11 Road Trip – geesh!!). However, I loved the remembrance services held in the US all over, e.g. at the New York Jets v Dallas Cowboys game.

 
(picture taken from dailymail.co.uk)

(photo taken from urbanpeek.com)

Reflecting on what happened 10 years ago is quite emotional, and I’m still in tears watching TV about it. Doug thinks that the 11th anniversary could be even bigger than the 10th, just because of the date.