Friday, June 29, 2012

Food Friday - Strawberry Salad

As I've mentioned before, I love strawberries!  This is one of Igor and my favorite summer salads.  I usually make it with fresh spinach, but I didn't have any on hand, so I just used "Roma herz salat" (not sure what it's called in English).

The salad dressing is a recipe that I don't feel at liberty to give away, so either buy vidalia onion salad dressing (or some other sweet-tangy-creamy dressing but not ranch!) or visit Camp Susque's website and order their cookbook - I used their dressing recipe for the bacon-lettuce-egg salad and added 2 Tbsp poppy seeds.  Background: the dressing is from the camp cook Mabel, who used to shut herself in a closet to make some of her secret recipes.  Since she passed away years ago, Camp has been able to use her recipes with more freedom, but I don't think it's my place to publish one of my favorite dressings from Mabel on the world wide web.

Anyway, the super-easy, super-delicious salad:

2 heads Roma herz salat (green salad) or 2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
4 sliced mushrooms

Tangy-sweet-creamy poppy seed salad dressing.

Wash and tear salad into bite size pieces.  Add sliced strawberries and mushrooms.  Top with dressing.  Enjoy!  It's kind of a strange combination but it tastes so good!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Little Outing

So, in the interest of establishing good habits, Monkey (5) and I took a short trip together last week.  Igor and I have tried to consistently (2-3 times a month) take the kids out individually for little dates.  It can get a bit hectic, trying to have one on one time in our house and sometimes an hour or two just isn't enough time to really get to know what a child's thinking/feeling/experiencing.  So we're hoping to start having occasional day or overnight trips with each child, starting with Monkey.

Early in June, we took the train to Speyer, about 1 1/2 hours south of Frankfurt.  The train ride alone was fun - all the different landscape to look at, questions to ask/answer, books to read or games to play.  Since Speyer is a very small town, it was easy for us to walk from the train station to our hostel.  We took our time, visiting a few parks and other landmarks, as well as having ice cream (of course!). 

One landmark Speyer is very proud of is their Imperial Cathedral, which is on the Unesco World Heritage List.  The cathedral was founded in 1030 by Conrad II and was elevated to the rank of a minor basilica by Pope Pius XI in 1925.

Can you find Monkey?

One of Monkey's favorite parts was the Bademax swimming complex directly next to our hostel.  We had a lot of fun splashing around in several of its pools.  I'm not sure which one of us enjoyed it more!

For both of us, though, the highlight was visiting the Technik Museum: planes, trains and automobiles galore (with a space ship and submarine to boot!).  We spent over 20 minutes in the submarine, turning each knob and pushing each button.

One of the many planes you could walk in and explore.

What has been great to experience is Monkey's excitement over this trip weeks later.  He told me the other day that he dreamt we were still in Speyer - awesome!

Do you have similar traditions in your family?  If so, I'd love to get more ideas on making special memories as a family.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hello, Monday!

Greeting another week and linking up with Lisa Leonard.

Saturday we attended a lovely wedding, where Sissy gathered several ideas...for her birthday party - this girl has high expectations! (including releasing doves, having a gospel choir sing and enjoying a carriage ride)

Hello, changeable weather - we go from beautifully, sunny mornings (between 5 and 10am it's lovely!) to cloudy, rainy afternoons...this is what makes me nostalgic for Arizona sunshine (and crazy but dry heat) or Pennsylvania heat waves!

Hello, final week of the European cup.  Hopefully we'll be watching Germany play next Sunday (in the final) :)

Hello, week of feeling better and having a doctor's appointment.  I'm 14 weeks pregnant (due date is Christmas Day...great timing:) and have been thankful for a healthy pregnancy but am ready to get back to feeling healthy again.  Slowly but surely I'm getting a few hours in my day where I feel normal:)

Hello, summer!  Monkey's kindergarten group had its Summer Festival Friday.  He was a flower in a play - so cute!  This was a new experience for me (and now I can totally understand feeling super-proud of your little one uttering a few lines - love this feeling!).

What are you saying hello to?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Strawberry Time

One of my favorite June activities is strawberry picking.  Growing up, my mom always had a bed of strawberries.  It was such a luxury to simply walk out to the garden and pick fruit for our dessert or snack.  Although we have a garden (just 10 minutes from our house by car), we haven't managed to establish a vegetable/fruit garden.  Actually, my goal for using the garden is simply having a one or two BBQs there each month of the summer, but that's a whole 'nother story.

Anyway, when I moved here to Frankfurt, I discovered strawberry fields located on the edge of the city.  This is a perfect activity with small children: there's a fence, the plants are smaller than the kids (so they can't disappear=), and there's strawberries!  We typically go a few times during June and enjoy making lots of strawberry desserts and jam.   It is so worth it!

 This trip we picked 10 kg (about 25lbs) of strawberries.  I'm glad they don't weigh the kids, to see how many kilos of strawberries they eat while I'm picking:)

And now, I'm off to make a batch of jam - I love June!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sitting and Running

As I mentioned earlier this week, the European Championship has started and with it, Igor's schedule has become very busy:)  Last Thursday was a perfect example. 

Igor spoke to me (very earnestly) Sunday night about how Thursday would be a busy day.  After work, Croatia played Italy at 6pm.  The JP Morgan Corperate Challenge started at 7:30pm.  Spain played Ireland at 8:45pm.  It would all flow so he could see the games and run, but he needed to be disciplined to be able to watch-run-watch as he hoped.  So he reserved at table at a pub close to the start of the race and after the game, ran to the start, then ran to the finish, then watched the second game.

The kids came along (it's all about teaching them important things at a young age: soccer is important. Make complicated arrangements to be able to see the game), which meant that I spent the first half of the game trying to keep them in the restaurant without breaking anything.  The second half was rescued by the restaurant staff, who brought out boxes of toys, set up a play corner for them and played with them - amazing!

One of the many bands that played outside
After seeing Croatia tie Italy 1-1, we went outside to the street to watch the runners.  Again, here is an example of how fun it can be to live in city: this business run (which takes place around the world in cities like New York, Sydney and London) has about 70,000 runners from various corperations in the Frankfurt area.  Although the 5k run doesn't provide too much room for actual competitiveness (unless your in the first top group), it does provide a fun atmosphere and a chance to leave work at a reasonable hour to get some exercise and fresh air.  About 5pm, the streets downtown are filled with runners, fans and bands.  After the race, most businesses have after-run parties for their employees; it's always a highlight to see what special events are planned for these parties - this year, showing the Spain-Ireland game was a requisite:)

Igor raced by (I'll put in a pic our friend took of him as soon as I recieve it) while our kids were being entertained by their uncle.  It was so cute to see them racing about, playing with their mini (Croatian) soccer ball.  Soon afterwards, Bubba made a new friend: Charlie.

It was very relaxing to have the children playing on this blocked off street (because of the race), enjoying the longer daylight we experience in summer.  Finally at 8:45 (even though it still looked like 7pm because of the light), I headed home with 3 happily tired kids.  Igor, of course, had an important game to watch and a party to enjoy:)
If you get a chance to experience Europe during a soccer cup time, do so!  I find the atmosphere of games being shown on big screens at most caf├Ęs or at live-viewing arenas set up by the city to be a unique and fun experience.  It seems like everyone has an opinion about the games and how they were played or how they will turn out, and I find the comaraderie shown between fans to be very special (even if I don't always understand it).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hello, Monday

So, we'll see if I can re-enter the blogger world with another Hello, Monday link-up with Lisa Leonard.

The past few weeks (in keeping up with this past amazingly-crazy spring) have been pretty incredible.

That said, there have been lots of moments of laughter and crying, resting and dancing, so we'll see if I can be a bit more regular in updating this blog about life in Germany.  Also, May 21 my laptop died, so I'm typing on Igor's (and haven't yet started uploading pics on his computer...).

Hello, week after having 3 weeks of vacation!  It was a very full time and we're actually feeling a bit exhausted. But we are super-thankful for living in Germany, where we have many holidays (like 3 in the last 3 weeks!) and where Igor can take many more days of vacation than if he worked at a bank in the U.S.  We're going to miss him, though!

Hello, week of being a bit more business-minded (lots of sewing to do!).

Hello, hoping to keep our bedroom big - Igor cleaned our bedroom when I was away last week (and it practically doubled in size! a bit embarrassing that it came to that state, but I am loving the extra space now that it's finally picked up!).

Hello, week of sunshine and thunderstorms.  The plan is to spend as much time as possible outside while we can - there are enough cold, rainy days during the year.  I want to enjoy the warmer days while I can.

Hello, returning to choir.  I finally returned to singing regularly with my choir, which is so nice!  We've had two lovely concerts (English Cathedral Music - think Elgar and the like - and Mendelssohn's Elijah).  It's nice to be back:)

Hello, EM - European Meisterschaft (Soccer Championship).  Igor's schedule is already revolving around the Croatia and German game plans:)  It's always a fun atmosphere to have so many people united by a common interest.  Our church is having showing on the big screen for the Germany games and Sunday games, which is lots of fun for the whole family.  So far, Germany's off to a good start - we'll see how Wednesday goes.

What are you saying hello to this week?