Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Markets

The day after Thanksgiving is supposed to be filled with non stop shopping. Not so much here since the day after our Thanksgiving was Sunday and all the stores were closed. :)

The Christmas Markets were open though, so while trying to keep with tradition, we girls went out shopping: Andrea, Sierra, Michaela, and Mommy. :) We all braved the below freezing temperatures and insane crowds. We are awesome. Someone should give us candy.

The boys stayed home. Paul had some work to catch up on in order to fund our outing and Scotty stayed behind because he needed a day of rest. :)

Downtown Hamburg doesn't have just one Christmas market... I think it has a zillion. There are little clusters of markets everywhere and some of them are bigger than others. We visited the "three" big markets... and bought a few gifts, but mostly we ate. :) Warm crepes, and these things...

Profetjes... something like that. KP made me some one day at her house in a special little Dutch pan. YUMMY, but I think from Holland.

The girls wanted a blue boot full of hot chocolate and I said no, but when we got lost and twenty minutes later circled around the same booth I gave in. We are now the proud owners of two ugly blue boots... which you can return for your deposit, but many people keep and "buy" them.


Saturday Thanksgiving...

This year we got together with three other American families and had a giant dinner. :) 9 adults and 12 kids... ages: 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2.

I like the part where there are four two-year olds. :) We should have taken a group picture... :(

It was actually a pretty calm event thanks to some movies, fun toys to play with and a few iPhones.

...and no holiday is complete without a sick child. Poor Scotty was up this year. He didn't feel well in the morning and we thought we would skip the entire event but towards the afternoon he perked up and went about the rest of the day/weekend without any "yuckies".

Here is Andrea eating chips out of his "yucky" bowl. :) Good thing he didn't use it... it was also her hat earlier in the day.
It was good to have a bunch of Americans to hang out and have fun with. I'm thankful I'm not alone in this big crazy foreign country. :)

Hey Grandma! I almost forgot to put the evaporated milk in the pumpkin pie!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thursday Thanksgiving

Just another normal day here in Germany... kids went to school and husband went to work. Making Thanksgiving Dinner for Scotty's class saved the holiday though.

Even though we planned to celebrate Thanksgiving with other Americans on Saturday it's just not the same. You always feel like your missing out on the actual holiday day. (I can say "always" now because I've spent enough holidays away to be an expert on the matter.)

Since I am an expert on the matter I did something to make sure I was amused on Thanksgiving Thursday. I offered to make Thanksgiving Dinner for the class. :) ...a simple version of course. :)

So on Thanksgiving I made turkey, mashed potatoes, corn and pumpkin pie. (Shelly made the crust because I hate making crust.) :) We took it into Scotty's class and fed it kids who, for the most part had never had "Thanksgiving". It took a bit of convincing to get the kids to try a bite of pumpkin pie. Who wants to eat a pumpkin pie? I should have just called it "PIE" and I probably would have done better. Actually, most kids did try it, but I had a few refuse. My own son didn't even like the pumpkin pie, but he's half Canadian... so it's explainable.

Here is Shelly reading books and explaining what a pilgrim is and why it's okay to put marshmallows on a dinner food.

Afterward lunch the kids went out to play and Shelly and I finished off ALL of the pumpkin pie. :) The kids returned and we made paper turkeys out of their feet and hands and that made me happy too.

Shelly also made this cute turkey and asked all the kids what they were "thankful" for.

Scotty's answer? "My mom because she always lets me play wii."

Andrea did great the whole day... just hanging out with the big kids. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

International Fair

Last Saturday was the kids "International Fair" at school. It is a giant fundraiser for the school at which we already pay a giant tuition. Better than selling wrapping paper I guess... :)

From what I hear this fair is the biggest school event for the year. Every country comes up with their own booth and sells things from their country... typically food. So I spent some time eating some really good food from Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand... and it was all made by real Japanese, Mexicans, and New Zealanders, so it was homemade and yummy. :)

I also spent a little time at the American booth playing games with kids and handing out tootsie rolls and silly bands as gifts. The American booth sold Root Beer, Hagan Daas ice cream, candy, brownies made from a box, and... Jack Daniels Whiskey.

Yep, alcohol at a school event.

I've been to this school's events before where wine and champagne was being offered, but this was different because it was noon and they were selling whiskey to people! :) It became oh-so-much-weirder when I saw people walking around selling SHOTS OF TEQUILA for two euros! It's not a bar, it's a school! ...and it's noon!! ...but people were buying and drinking it and I even watched some of the older kids trying to buy it. :)


The kids had fun though, I was happy to see them running around with their friends drinking root beer and eating American candy. :)

Oh, the Canadian booth... there wasn't one. :( There is only a handful of Canadians at the school and they just opted out this year. I tried to rally them together during the last week so I put Paul in a booth... but there really wasn't time to put it together. Next year though. They can sell tim-bits, swiss chalet sauce, and maple syrup. :)

This year some of the smaller or less represented countries combined with a common "name" like, "Scandinavia". I guess America could have been "North America" and could have included Canada ...but they didn't. :)

I did buy some Canadian bagels last week to support them... even though I'm not even sure how bagels relate to Canada. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


In Germany, November 11th is St. Martins Day.

For St. Martins Day there is a story about a rich guy who was going somewhere and gave his coat to a cold, poor guy. It's a way more involved story than that of course... and I'm not even really sure how a Lantern fits in the storey, but the kids all make lanterns in school before hand and that night they take their lanterns and walk around outside with them. I think there is supposed to be a horse involved and a band.

UGH.... hold on....

here.... I hate wikipedia for unknown reasons... but here you can read ALL about it because I'm not doing the holiday justice.

So Scotty made a lantern at school. His wonderful mommy came in to school to help him while Andrea screamed in the background. :) It's a see through paper wrapped into a cylinder shape. It has a bottom and a hole on top. A stick attaches to the top and a little light hangs down into the middle of the cylinder and it lights up the "Lantern".

Back in the day people used candles and I'm sure some still do. No qualms about giving fire to kids here... I still remember the play group Scotty went to in Denmark where they gave each child a FLAMING candle to carry across the room to place on the windowsill. All. By. Themselves. I stress when my kid has a full cup of juice.

So all the kids met at school at night but it was too windy and rainy to go outside so they walked around the school with the lights off. : /

It was loud and chaotic and next year I'll do it with just my kids or a small group, but it was a fun little tradition. The lantern was cuter when it was outside and glowing. ...and I think there are songs involved too.

I tried to be a slacker parent and just buy a lantern for Andrea, but they don't sell them on Lantern Day. You have to buy them in advance. Whatever. This reminded me of not being able to buy a pumpkin on Halloween. I had these two incidents in mind when I bought three turkeys at the store today. Buy it when you see it. That's the new rule.

This is Scotty's best friend. They are both crazy... :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Frozen Corn

This Thanksgiving I want everyone to be thankful for Frozen Corn.

Frozen Corn is EXTREMELY hard / near IMPOSSIBLE to find in Hamburg.

I seriously check for it every time I go into a grocery store. It's never there! It doesn't even have an empty spot where it should be, they just don't carry it.

This seems so stupid to me. They have every other kind of vegetable frozen... except for corn.

I know my mom is thinking right now, "They must have frozen corn." :)

...and I guess they do have it... or they did. Once. ...but I've never seen it since. Paul found it once and he filled a freezer drawer with it.

If I ever find it again I will buy it ALL, and I will do so without any regard for others who also want frozen corn. You all remember the "Dorito Incident"?

At first I thought I just had not found the special frozen corn grocery store. Just like any poor ex-pat, I know the sad reality of having to go to five different stores to get: rice krispies, hot dog buns, cheddar cheese, marshmallows, and sweet potatoes. (Which isn't that odd of a shopping list...)

I hadn't put too much effort into the corn until now. Now that I am aware of how silly-hard it is to find frozen corn, it's become my habit upon entering any grocery store. Pay one euro for cart, buy 12 liters of milk, look for frozen corn... sad, but true

I have two bags of frozen corn left from when Paul hit the Corn Jackpot a few months back. So no worries, this Thanksgiving we can eat corn. Phew!

I did fill a section of my freezer with turkeys though, because I know that soon enought they will be as elusive as frozen corn is...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Not soccer or T-ball...

It's field hockey!!

You are supposed to play outside on a field... (I think), but it's cold outside right now. You get a stick and hit a ball into the other teams goal (I think).

I have no idea of the rules. I have no idea of the strategy behind it. I know absolutely nothing about field hockey, but now I love it now because Scotty started playing... like every good European kid does.

I will now buy him his own stick and cute little stick backpack to carry it.

On Thursdays Scott is given a stick and a nice German man tries with his best English to teach the international kids to "make hockey".

Cute huh?

While on the "mom sidelines" watching the kids play I would cheer Scotty on... as well as some of the other kids that I knew names of. "Go Scotty", "Good Job Scotty", "You are awesome Scotty", "Almost Scotty"... ...you know, typical mom comments.

Then at the end they played a little scrimmage game. Then I, along with the other American moms, cheered our kids on... The Germans sat silent.

It was good the German moms were our friends though and they told us that Germans don't cheer. AND if they DO cheer it's only the men who do it. Hmmm... We kept cheering of course. I wonder if the German kids, who we also encouraged, thought we were weird...?

Boring, I know ...but true. I was at a shopping mall a while ago and a woman had won a contest. She got run through a super expensive kitchen type store and grab whatever she wanted. HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE!!! She's running and grabbing Kitchen Maid mixers and designer pots and tons of things... and it's SILENT. There was even a TV camera filming the whole silent event. RUN! YAY!!! GOOD JOB!!! I mean, come on!, she is winning thousands of dollars! It's exciting!!

So the kids and I cheered... and people stared...

Blah Europeans.

PS. Leda, you cheered the loudest. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I don't know how it got brought up but while hanging out with my family after Grandma's party we started talking about buttermilk.

Buttermilk is yucky. I can't remember the last time I ever even tried it. I've only bought it for cooking... and even then, like twice.

This is Buttermilk with Lemon Pepper.

I'm totally serious.

Yep, lemon pepper like what you would sprinkle on fish. APPARENTLY... you also sprinkle lemon pepper on top of buttermilk and drink it. Eww.

But I tried it. Grandma and her sister like it so it must be safe.

It wasn't that bad.

I don't know that I'll ever drink it again, but it wasn't as gross as one would imagine. It actually tasted just like a baked potato. I think that's an indication that I pile way too much sour cream and salt and pepper on my baked potatoes though.

I will put lemon pepper on my next baked potato though and see how it goes. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sneaky Me

I took a quick trip to California. :)

I didn't tell anyone. It was a surprise. :)

Hee Hee....

My mom, along with the rest of the family, had been planning a big surprise birthday for my grandma's 80th birthday. I decided to crash it. :)

The only person I told was my friend Trini who picked me up at the airport and gave me her car so I could drive to the party... passing by Target first of course. Thanks Trini, you are my bestest American friend! Frankie too. :) If Frankie read my blog he could be one of my bestest friends too, but Frankie, thanks for offering Trini your corvette, you must love her and me!


I showed up to the party late so I didn't dampen the BIG surprise that everyone had worked so hard to keep. I didn't have a planned entrance... I just walked in unnoticed, quickly found my grandma, told her sorry I was late, and gave her a big hug! :) Then my mom, who was walking over, saw me and she yelled out. After that I'm a little fuzzy with the details, but there were tears all around. :)

After the party, the family went to dinner and we just talked and visited with each other. I started to fade around 9pm so I invited myself to my Uncle Bruce and Aunt Ingrids' house. :) They, of course, took me in and even made me waffles the next morning. :) I love that I showed up out of no where and I had half a dozen places to sleep. ...made me feel good.

The party was great. My grandma was happy. She even had her best friend drive down from Oregon and that made me happy because I finally got to meet her friend... and I like her lots too. My family did very well with their surprise. What a lot of work!! I had the easy part of just sitting on a couple airplanes... without kids too! So it was even kind of fun for me. :)

It wasn't all fun though. It was pretty rough without my kids. I was actually surprised how hard it really was. The morning I left, Sierra had some tears. Scotty was drawing pictures of himself sad as well as taking pictures of himself sad with my phone. Then the Boy told me he wanted to hug me forever... Michaela might have cared, but she's good at not showing it. :) I told her to please take care of the little ones since she was the only one willing to talk to me as I left.

Paul drove me down the road to the train station and I cried. I cried on the train. I cried on the plane. I missed them and felt so bad for leaving them. Of course, I was just being a mommy. I knew they would be fine or else I wouldn't have gone.

I was really only worried about Andrea, only because I have never left her before and we couldn't explain to her that I would be back in a few days. :( She was fine though, so apparently unaffected that it almost hurt my feelings. :) Andrea had our family and I'm sure that made all the difference.

Even when I came home... I was expecting a grand entrance with hugs and kisses and clapping. Nope, I walked in, she looked up from her computer for a minute and went right back to it!! She didn't even get clingy as the day went on. Guess that means everyone took good care of her. Even Scotty wasn't all that excited to see me. :) Next time I'll just leave longer I guess. :)

As for Paul... :) He survived too ...with the help of my mom friends from school. Thanks Shelly! I probably left at the worst time for him as far as his work goes, but he managed. :)

One day for my Trini, one day for my grandma, one day for my mom... I'd so do that again!

Happy Birthday Grandma! I love you lots!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Puddle Park

Scotty's class went to the park today for a field trip. Being the super class mom that I am, I signed up other parents to go. :)

I did help too... I went for the first part of the day which was the wettest. It was pouring rain on the way there and continued to rain the whole time I was there. When Andrea got to the car we took her boots and socks off and they were soggy. I could ring them out. Apparently her snow boots are not as waterproof as they claim. ...or maybe they weren't designed to spend a full hour jumping in the biggest puddles that a two year old can find. Time for some rubber boots I guess. :)

I was happy to get to use Andrea's new rain coat though. :) It's really cute and I didn't think I'd ever use it. Paul bought it. :)

Until moving to Europe I never understood why people even had raincoats. If it was raining you aren't supposed to go outside. If it's raining you stay inside where you will be dry and warm. Duh. But if they canceled everything because of rain then nothing would happen here. It's just water I guess...

Monday, November 1, 2010


This Halloween was much better than last halloween

...and way back in 2008, I hated Europe because I didn't get a Halloween at all.

This year was finally the perfect Europe Halloween. ...for me anyways, some of my friends had some of my 2008 experiences... That said, 2008 was my first Halloween away from home... sometimes the first holidays away are just miserable and you have to just learn how to make them better... or just lower your standards. :) I think it takes about two years for you to forget what it is supposed to be like.

Anyways... My teeth weren't smashed in this Halloween so it was AWESOME! WHOO HOO.

Who did what:
Michaela went to a party at the school with all the 7th graders. Then groups of kids went out trick or treating. She had fun and dressed up like a Dracula-lett. (Girl Dracula with a cape, black skirt, black leggings, and a white icky face that scared Andrea)

Sierra went to a class party at a friends house and then they went out trick or treating. With the exception of the scary haunted house, she too had fun and dressed up like a "Halloween Freak". It was a matching outfit that her and her friends wore together. She put the entire outfit together herself so I can't complain.

Scotty had a Halloween/Birthday party and then another Halloween party. Afterwards we took him and Andrea trick or treating. I'll have to write about his second Halloween party later because it reminded me we are hanging out with Germany's privileged... :) WOW.


My new favorite colors are blue and pink. :)

For some reason Scotty was insisting on being a blue crayon. I guess it was my fault though... I was showing him pictures online of things he could be and I promoted the crayon when I saw a kid with a T-shirt on and the word "crayola" written on it... how easy would that be!

Easy, but when it came down to it, it just wasn't good enough for my little brown eyed boy!!!

...and if my little boy was going to be a blue crayon it made perfect sense for my little girl to be a pink crayon. Twas' the night before Halloween and Mommy stayed up waaaaayyy too late making crayon costumes...

These costumes were actually easy to make. They required minimal sewing and quite a bit of glue. :) Daddy made the hats. :)

Cute huh? This was the first real costume that Scotty has been willing to put on and keep on.

Andrea hated her costume at first ...but then she realized she got candy when she put it on and then she liked it. See the bag of candy in her little monstery paw? :)


The big girls went to their parties and Paul and I took the little kids trick or treating. Our first stop was the house across the street. Trick or treating in our neighborhood is difficult of course because you have to be buzzed into the gates at the end of the driveways. :) So we decided to head to the apartments where many international people live and the doors are three feet from each other. It is a well-lit, dead-end street... our new trick or treating spot.

Scotty loved it and Andrea quickly figured out the drill. Scotty pushes the button, someone opens the door, Scotty and Mommy yell trick-or-treat, and a bowl of candy appears. Score!

However, sometimes a bowl of candy doesn't appear. Sometimes the German people just stare at you and wonder what the heck you are doing there. We had some awkward moments when we were confused for a minute and didn't know what to do other than to repeat "trick-or-treat??", "trick-or-treat bitte?", but in the end the kids always got candy and hence I was happy.


We also carved pumpkins. :) The lady who lives downstairs really liked them. I don't think she had ever done it before so she was happy to see them glowing with a candle inside and she took several pictures. That made me happy. I think we'll invite her to our Thursday Thanksgiving so she can eat some sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top... that would really surprise her. :)

Little note for me for next year. Buy pumpkins early... because on October 28th they ALL disappear! Everyone pumpkin in town... GONE. Even the green ones, even the moldy ones... I was lucky to find a few the day before Halloweenand pay WAY too much for them. It's all about lowering your standards... no more roaming through fields looking for the roundest, smoothest, prettiest pumpkin. Kinda orange and has a stem that isn't too soggy. I'll take it!!


Related Posts with Thumbnails