December 29, 2010


Nicole and Greg and the boys rescued me the day before yesterday.  I also should admit, I lost track of the days.  That happens to me during the holidays.
Anyway, the snow started on Sunday, and ended Monday morning.  With a huge mess all over.  I wasn't going anywhere.  Went out and shoveled a bit, and went back in and wondered how one person living by herself in a house could make a such a mess.  And doesn't anyone ever clean up?  Question for the new year.

Anyway, toward evening on Monday, Nicole and Greg showed up with the boys and the snow plow attached to the truck, and Greg plowed me out.  Whoo hoo!

And then they took me home with them.  We had plans for the next two days.  We did go to the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx for the train exhibit, and had a great time.
 The Conservatory

Kennedy Airport, TWA building, with a concorde in front.  New this year, and totally awesome.
the Conservatory
This is the old Yankee Stadium, part of the train show, everything made from seeds, bark, nuts, twigs, etc.

The Brooklyn Bridge - the whole thing is just amazing
The little red lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge.
.And the gingerbread house in the Children's section of the gardens
On the way home, the bridge over the East River:

 It reminds me of an erector set.
And from the George Washington Bridge, lower level:

This is looking north, toward the Tappan Zee Bridge. From the car window, but what a view!

We did not, however, go to the city today.  I thought about it, and to go to Manhattan the day after a snowfall was very tempting, but having a baby in a carriage and a three-and-a-half year old in tow would have been a little too hard.  I've been in Manhattan when the snow had fallen.  Yes, the sidewalks are clean, but forget about the intersection when you have to hop across huge puddles!  So we decided to just go shopping.  Which was fine!  This way Greg, who had to work today, didn't feel left out either.  Some other time we'll go into the city, and we'll enjoy it.

I got to see the brothers play with each other:
 Jackson reading a book to Evan.  

 And Evan grabbing Jackson by the ears, totally happy to see his brother.

December 27, 2010


Post Christmas ---

A blizzard - I'm not kidding - has hit us here on the East Coast.  It's still going on.
My daughter and her family were on one of the last flights out of Newark Airport yesterday around 9 AM, before things started to get shut down.  It didn't start snowing here until about noon time, and then it came down and didn't stop.  I spent the day tucked in, watching TV, puttering around, put up a shelf, and played with my photos.

My cousin from Germany flew from Germany to Chicago on Christmas Day, spent a night there, and she and her husband were supposed to fly to Baltimore yesterday and go on a Caribbean cruise from there.  I wonder if they made it?  Or if they are still stuck in Chicago?

Today I'll dig myself out, and hopefully will be able to drive to Nicole's tomorrow.  We're planning to go to the Botanical Garden in the Bronx, and see the trains.

Hope you are all well, with not too much snow, and enjoying the winter weather!

December 26, 2010


Thank you everyone for Christmas greetings!
I hope your Christmas was as special for you as ours was for us.

At the moment I am watching the weather forecast.  Snow.  The snow that caused so much trouble in parts of this country and in Europe is finally supposed to hit us.
I pulled up the forecast for the flights here in the next hour, since the Matthew and Jessica family wants to visit family in St. Louis, MO, and I wanted to see if they would make it out.

On Christmas Eve I slowly got ready and piled all my presents in the car and drove to visit Evan and Jackson and parents.  We had a great afternoon together.  I made a buche Noel (turned out great), while Nicole put together a red velvet cake, both for desert the next day.

Then off I went to Matthew and Jessica's house to spend Christmas Eve with them, have sloppy joes, the sandwiches, and then it was off to the children's services at church.  We sang Christmas songs, watched the children's play, and went home.
We also stopped at a very decorated Christmas house:
Jessica with Santa, who was dancing at the moment.
Matthew with the also dancing snoman

I spent the night, and Matthew, the early riser, got us up a little after 6 AM.  We slowly opened presents and had great fun watching everyone opening their gifts and being delighted.
Clean-up and try-outs of some of the presents followed, and Jessica and I went for a long walk with her new doll carriage in the park near-by where we discussed all kinds of things.

Jackson and Evan came with parents and their other grandma, and Jim got his mother, and more presents!
We had a wonderful roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes, broccoli, kohlrabi, and bean salad, more chatting, more baby-holding, more photographs, more laughing, more present-tryouts, and before you knew it, it was time to go home.
I talked with my soon-to-be 94-year-old father-in-law, and chatted with Chuck who was on his way home from their Christmas with Noah and Sue.  I will see them later this week.

Oh, yeah, the snow --- blizzard expected today.  No heavy snow-fall, no, we'll be getting a blizzard.  Oh, well.

December 21, 2010


The photos of the New York Christmas tree will have to wait.  Technical difficulties.  They were shot with a Sony (not compatible with anything) camera, downloaded to an Apple (not compatible with anything) computer, which refused to spit out the DVD they were written on.  And since we're (I'm) good with a PC, but lousy on an Apple, it'll have to wait.

None of my Christmas presents are wrapped.

But that's all right.  Last night I attended Jessica's first piano recital.  She just started playing piano!  Two months ago, if that - amazing.  She was all excited after school and wanted to get changed immediately.  No, the recital wasn't until seven!  So she waited until after supper to start her transformation, and she looked gorgeous:

 At home, after getting dressed
 At church, were the recital was held
 showing her program
the happy performer

So much fun.  She played two songs, remembered to give a deep bow after she was done, and did another piece for us to sing along.  
That was her vision when she started.  For her to play piano and people standing around her singing Christmas songs.  So it is only one or two, but she is working toward it.

And Sunday I spent with two little boys.  One of which wasn't remembering that Santa is watching, along with his elf on the shelf, who reports back to Santa.  And when I told this little boy that I was going to tell his mother that he was being a bad boy, he turned to me and said 'I'll tell Mommy you are a bad Oma!'
Well.  Call me speechless.
 Cute, right? (I mean the baby)
 View from a three-year-old
And I have to show you the giant Santa.  I don't think he could get bigger, right?

December 19, 2010

The bus to the City

We - my friend and I - took the bus to NYC today.  Got off at Port Authority and met another friend right outside the Jackie Gleason statue.
Would you believe I  brought my camera, and forgot the memory card?  Yes, I did.  Don't worry, the day was saved.  No, I didn't buy the extra memory card on Times Square in the only camera store left there, that wanted $39.99 for a 1 gigabyte memory card!  Can we all say 'rip-off'?

My friend brought her camera, and generously let me use it.  And I did.  I will upload the photos tomorrow, or maybe the day after, we seem to be having technical difficulties...

What did we do in the city, you ask?
We had lunch. Immediately.    And then made our way through the crowds to Times Square, then up to St. Patrick's Cathedral, even though the one friend is Jewish, which she kept pointing out, but it was her idea to visit the cathedral.  And yes, she could light a candle, and say a prayer.  And no, she couldn't put $20 in and take out change out of the collection plate - she asked, I swear!

We admired the windows at Bergdorf-Goodman and at Saks on 5th.  We saw the tree, but didn't bother to get close, it was just too crowded.

December 17, 2010


It was time to bake the spekulatius, a thin spice cookie.  I made the dough yesterday morning, but couldn't bake it, since it had to have some refrigerator time.  When I came home last night, it was very solid, since there is a lot of butter in it.  So I left it on the counter overnight, and baked this morning.
No, I do not have a spekulatius mold, I just used my springerle roller.  Since it's homemade, I figured it didn't matter.  If I really like the cookies, I'll invest in a spekulatius mold.

Somewhat a distant cry from the usual windmill cookies, but that's all right.  One trick I read, which really helped, was to put cornstarch on the rolling pin instead of flour.  Worked like a charm!  I had tried the rolling pin before, but got discouraged, with the cornstarch - no problem.
I'm not a huge fan of roll-out cookies.  I don't think the dough stays nice, it has to be worked too much,  and that was one of the reasons the cookies aren't perfect, I was going for taste more then looks.

December 15, 2010

A cold

Really.  Who needs a cold right now?  Or any time, for that matter?  Nose is running, I get chilly really fast, even though I have what seems like a gazillion layers on.  And too tired to do all my planned baking.
I got some biscottis, which normally aren't at all in my repertoire, made.  They're my son-in-law's favorite, and shhh, don't tell him, he'll get a box for Christmas.

I been meaning to bake more, I even splurged and bought almond flour - holy moses, I had no idea it was THAT expensive - to make Spekulatius, a German spice cookie, recipe found on this website.  I also made the Pfeffernuesse from her recipe, I'd never seen a recipe for those, I for some reason thought you could only buy them.  Oh, and they really are really peppery!  I will, however, skip her recipe for the Dominosteine, since they are my favorite, and I know I would overindulge!

By the time I get home, I have no energy left.  Yesterday I dragged myself to the grocery store, bought some baking needs, and then was too tired/sick to do much else.  I was in bed a little after 8 PM.  But I'm determined to finish my projects, and I will do it.
Of course, now that I'm concentrating on getting my Christmas together, work got busier.  Btw, that is NOT a complaint!

Maybe tomorrow I'll bring some baking ingredients to the children, and we'll bake something together.....

Happy preparations, everyone!

December 13, 2010

Brotherly love

Yesterday found me in Philadelphia.  A friend and I went to see the Cleopatra exhibit in the Franklin Institute.
We met up with a friend who lives in a Harry Potter type address:
And the house feels fairy tale like.  Small and cozy and lovely.  Just like the person who lives there.
We enjoyed the exhibit and then walked a few blocks to the Christmas market.

The Philly Christmas tree
The Christmas Market was right next to City Hall

Lebkuchen - gingerbread hearts.  In Philadelphia.
Except for the Gluehwein, the Christmas Markets look just like the ones in Europe.
(Miss the Gluehwein, though, and potato pancakes)
 I seem to find things like that.
A crocheted covered pole.
Who thinks of things like that?
and who does it?
 showing off the sad monkey

 lunch at an Irish pub.  I had a salmon BLT with dill mayonnaise.
Who'd have thought?  Good!  

and a huge crocheted black-eyed susan.

The drive was miserable, it was raining all the way.
On the way home we got detoured.  Twice, in the same spot.  First there were some wires down, road closed, the next one, just around the corner, was a car flipped on it's roof.  Road closed as well.  But we managed and got home in good time.
Maybe next weekend I get to see the tree in NYC?

December 10, 2010

Cold, colder, coldest

It's supposed to warm up a bit, then get colder again.  Since I work in a warehouse-like space, I put on layers.  Long underwear, knee stockings (thick ones, from Germany), an undershirt, a turtleneck, a sweater, and sweatpants.  And if I don't watch it, and sit still too long, I still get cold.
My short, short haircut doesn't help.
But I did make hats - out of fleece.  Note to self: take pictures.


... I talked with my brother Claus this week for a long time.  He was telling me he puts apples out for the birds as well, some birds like them.  Since he gave me the idea, I thought 'why not'.  Put out my cut apple, thinking it'll be a while before it's gone.  No!  Every apple I put out is gone by the time I get home.  I am curious, who takes the apple -- so far I haven't caught the apple lover at it.
Tonight I'm having two little boys sleep over.  Their parents are hosting a Christmas party for their friends to show off their decorated house.
Tomorrow?  I had thought to go to the city and see the tree (New York), but I'm going to Philadelphia on Sunday to see the Cleopatra exhibit.  Maybe next weekend....

December 7, 2010


Christmas is coming closer and closer.  The weekend was ... busy.
Chuck and Sue came up from MD with Noah for a dinner with the sisters, their husbands, and more friends.  Nicole and Greg came over Saturday with the boys, and Erika and Jim in the evening with Matthew and Jessica.  Matthew, Jessica and Noah spent the night, which meant getting up extra early Sunday morning.
Oh, and Nibby stayed with us as well - a 100 lbs + German Shepard. I'd forgotten how busy three little ones can keep you!
 Chuck and Noah looking at my slideshow
 One of my stars
 The boys watching Dora in the kitchen (I love my little TV)
 Noah saying 'cheeeese'
 And the littlest so far (who, btw, seems so much better that I keep kidding the parents that someone came in and swapped the baby for a 'good' one!
 more watching TV
 Evan being held, not crying!

 Drawing and Lego fun with Matthew, Jessica and Noah
One cookie baked, just one batch, the ginger snaps from here
Sunday I spent more time with Jackson and his brother, and it is truly wonderful how happy Evan is becoming.
The whole weekend was like a Christmas present by itself.
Spending time with all the kids - priceless.