Friday, February 3, 2012

Funny Foto Freitag

I call this one:


I realize I should stick to my day job which obviously has nothing to do with any kind of art, culinary or otherwise...

Seriously though, my kids are pretty good eaters. I mean, Bird asked for cherry tomatoes for his birthday treat. But they all have their limits. The "masterpiece" above is slightly mashed cauliflower, edamame, carrot sticks, kalamata olives, a yogurt mouth and sprinkled with cheese.

Do what works... Happy Foto Freitag!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ein Auge lacht, das andere Auge weint...

We are not on vacation in this picture...

As the life of expats go, we have now returned to the Motherland.

I mean where else could we have found an entire plate of fried stuff as big as Igel's head?? (We also got a cornbread muffin on the side that was also as big as his head but I was so in shock, I forgot to take a picture...)

We have settled somewhere in Southern California for a job that was "too good to pass up." We weren't planning on moving so quickly but that was that and here we are.

I was never one to pine away for the beaches and warm weather of So Cali. But now that we are here, I have a growing appreciation for the warm, perfect weather almost everyday. And the beaches? How did I live without beaches?

Christmas Day on the Beach-don't be jealous :)

But know that my heart is still far away in Berlin sometimes.

a little reminder everyday of our time in Berlin-just don't think it looks this clean all the time.

I am a changed person- one foot in America and one in Germany. I must admit this seems hard to believe, even for me. I mean, I lived in the good ole USA for 30ish years. But I think only those who have lived away for some time, can know just how easily we, as humans, can adapt to our new surroundings... (Speaking of which, I don't make fun of my Midwestern-born aunt who now lives in TX when she says y'all...anymore)

I believe the Germans say it best "Ein Auge lacht, das andere Auge weint..." I am sad and happy at the same time. I am crying and laughing at the same time. I am living in my Motherland which sometimes feels quite foreign to me.

I hope to have more time to write about our adventures as an ex-expat now.

Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland...and I mean that.

P.S. You can find me on Twitter if you do that sort of thing. But I don't have a fancy schmancy Smart Phone so don't expect every minute updates. So Cali hasn't gotten to me quite yet... :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stuffed Squash

{{dusts off blog}}

{{cough cough}}

I am here. Alive and well. Although many of you already know this, I have a big announcement but will wait until I feel like blogging about it. Until then, I leave you with my favorite subject: FOOD.

I simply love this recipe. It is so flexible that I have cooked it in many countries. Kids as well as adults gobble it down. It can be as spicy or mild as you want. Leave the meat out if you want an amazing vegetarian main dish. You can make it ahead & leave it in the fridge overnight. Just remember to bring it to room temperature before you cook it. I don't know where I found this recipe but I found it scribbled in my personal recipe binder with no credit.

Stuffed Squash
Guten Appetit!!!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

RIP Knut...

In case you are living under a rock, there was some sad news out of Berlin Zoo today.

Bird, Igel and I went to the Berlin Zoo today to pay our last respects to Knut, the polar bear. Knut captured the worlds attention and controversy when his mother rejected him and instead he bonded with his trainer, Thomas Dörflein. And by bonding, I mean doing everything that a parent does including sleeping next to the baby polar bear and staying with him round the clock.
picture from the Associated Press
Poor little Knut's life was unfortunately wrought with controversy. His rise to stardom happened when an animal activist suggested that if his mother rejected him, he should be left to die. Cries from around the world for his life luckily won over. After all, being born in an unnatural environment shouldn't mean you have to follow the harsh rules of nature.

His trainer and surrogate parent died suddenly at 44. Another trainer noticed that Knut was unable to handle life without a human audience as Knut wailed when no one was near his enclosure which prompted animal welfare activists to call for his removal. He ate 10 live carp out of his moat in front of horrified onblookers. Animal welfare activists (presumably the same ones) were again aghast. He even became the spokes-polar bear for global warming.

Bird and I visited him at least once a week since we moved here and I can honestly say I was moved to tears to see his empty enclosure this morning.

There was a small memorial for him outside the zoo which grew bigger as the day progressed.

Stuffed bears and candles added to the display.

Flowers, croissants (his favorite treat as a cub) and homemade sympathy cards started appearing in front of his empty pen.

A large group of people huddled in the front of his enclosure sobbing and looking very concerned.

Personally, Knut was a favorite of my 4-year-old, who was the same age as the bear. He was always active and doing something silly in his pen besides an added plus of being located next to the Zoo playground(which is really amazing.) Bird was fascinated by his white fur and piercing black eyes that always seemed to have something behind them more than the menacing stare of a predator.

There was lots of press there and Bird and I were even interviewed on camera although I forgot to ask what news organization they were from.

One of Bird's first toys in Berlin was something he picked out: a Schleich baby polar bear he called Knut. Poor Bird. His favorite polar bear died just as another of his favorite animals also kicked the bucket recently; the giant crocodile in the aquarium also went to that wild place in the sky.

We have had many experiences with Knut including the time Bird threw his trains at him and our first visit to the zoo which also ended up with some interesting questions concerning the elephants. (Ahhh, the Zoo-where all of life's uncomfortable questions are raised)

RIP Knut...I hope your tummy is full of fish and you have plenty of romping room wherever you are.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

American views of Bavaria...

Leavenworth, Washington (not Leavenworth, Kansas-no prisons here!) started off as a little town in dire need of tourism dollars during the Post-depression era. So, they did what any respectable little town would do - they decided to get a theme. After debating between "Cowboys and Indians" and "Bavarian Alps", the obvious choice won.

Fast forward to 2011, the town of Leavenworth is thriving due to its convenient location just a few hours from Seattle and a popular location for outdoor activities in the winter and summer.

And then came this...

Is Kielbasa really Bavarian?

Oh dear...There are some many things wrong with this, I don't even know where to begin...

Leavenworth is actually a nice little tourist town that we have visited many times due to its perfect location in the middle of the Cascade Mountain Range. We did a lot of this near there:

And just a little outside of Leavenworth was a perfect location for this:


Saturday, January 8, 2011

I am officially old...

I love DJ spin master at 2:37

Friday, January 7, 2011

Traveling with Children

I see you. I see you cringing as I board the plane with...children.

Baby Bird on his first International plane ride

Should you travel with children?

The Scientist and I had been planning on living abroad for some time. When son #1 made an appearance, we briefly thought that having a child and trying to live abroad was a mistake.

Thankfully, that thought only lasted a second.

Baby Bird on his arrival in Berlin - what a trooper!

Since that time (2 1/2 years now!) we have traveled to many places in the US, Italy, the Czech Republic, the UK, Germany, Belgium and France. Although none of these vacations were spent like our travels before, such as spending time leisurely drinking wine till the wee hours of the morning eleven o'clock, we relish this time as a family.

The Scientist and Baby Bird at the Eiffel Tower

Which is why I was dismayed to read a post entitled "Traveling with Terrible Children." (originally found on Have Baby Will Travel Blog). Corinne covers a lot of what I already wanted to say but I wanted to add some other thoughts.
Runied Monastary in Belgium

In his article, Matt said:

If you’re traveling with kids like it or not, you are going to be held to a different standard. People will look at you and judge your parenting skills based on only a few moments of interactions. That’s why, as the brand ambassador for parents everywhere, you not only have to parent, you have to do it well.

Traveling with children is hard enough without the added stress of knowing you are responsible for every other parent and child on Earth!

I would ask those of you who heave great heavy sighs when children board the plane to rethink your attitude. Don't we want children to be exposed to new and unique situations? Don't we want more people around who have been out of their comfort zone? Don't we want to raise children who are well-rounded and not afraid of others who are different?

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all people cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends. -Maya Angelo

Baby Bird Munich 2009

And what better time to start this when they are young and the world is their oyster?

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand. – Chinese Saying
The Scientist and Baby Bird in Sardinia

So to anyone out there who has had their sleep interrupted for a couple of hours by a baby crying on an airplane...Take note... that the future leaders of this world all had to start somewhere.
Stonehenge England 2009

With the arrival of #2, we have already been on 2 trips. We can't wait to do more...

baby Igel, Baby Bird and I in Hamburg October 2010

My point is that travel with kids is tough, and, sure, it may bug the childless among us. But travel enriches all who partake, and only more so for children who are lucky enough to experience the wonderful world around us.