Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy (belated) Easter

Whoah, I guess I didn't manage to slip in under the Easter in Germany wire after all but it's still Easter somewhere, right? These past few weeks have been rough ones with both expected and unexpected news of four extended family members/close family friends in faraway places passing away. We're hoping that the advent of spring will signal a few new beginnings instead of all these sad endings.

Saturday we visited the in-laws for some lovely roast lamb and the distribution of Easter treats a day early. Boy12 made this avant-garde pipe cleaner chicken for Oma.

Come Sunday morning we decided to have our egg hunt indoors. You'll understand once you see this.

Cold enough to freeze your bunnies off out there!

Boy15 informed us that although he wasn't in the mood to look for eggs behind the sofa cushions, he was by no means to too old to receive tons of chocolatey goodness

It wouldn't be Easter breakfast without our family tradition of coloured eggs in 'nests'. Boy12 loves these so much he wanted to have them for breakfast again on Monday.

Later on in the day we enjoyed some warming gingered carrot soup with bunny biscuits...

...and a composed egg salad (Yay, only 17 more hard boiled eggs to use up!)

Found this recipe in the back of the TV guide: lamb's lettuce, eggs slices, avocado, red onion, apple and chopped hazelnuts with a walnut oil and white wine vinegar dressing.

Since we had lamb on Saturday we winged it on Sunday for the main course and pulled a couple of Aldi lobsters out of the deep freeze. Sorry, no pictures - the lobsters refused to put on their bunny ears.

Dessert fell into the beloved "Food That Looks Like Other Food" category.

"Fried egg" cake (Don't you just love the puzzled look on the chicks' faces?) which wasn't as tasty as it could have been due to a textural-issue-producing gelatin malfunction. Oh well.

We still have two days of Easter vacation left. Tuesday is 'clean up day' (you should see this place!) and Wednesday we'll all head downtown for lunch and bit of shopping. If it ever stops snowing, that is!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

breathtaking, isn't it?

Not really surprising news to many of us...

Home to Germany's steel and coal industries, the area between Amsterdam and Frankfurt is the most polluted in Europe, scientists said. German researchers in Bremen based their findings on new, unique satellite data.

Well, I guess that explains this nagging cough.

Monday, March 17, 2008

a pat on the back for the birthday boy

It's been almost a week since my littlest monkey celebrated his 12th birthday. We are still recovering. No, not really, but bits of family stuff here and there prevented me from blogging about it right away.

So what does it mean to be 12? Well, I guess it means that you are no stranger to rude noises at inappropriate times. When our pre-teen was just a wee baby I used to nurse him and then put him over my shoulder and gently rub his back, waiting for the tiny burp that signaled the end of our feeding session.

And now that he's a big guy, almost a teenager? He can burp the alphabet on command. Nice, really nice.

We had a family party last Tuesday, Boy12's real birthday, and a kids' party on Wednesday involving the usual: cake, a pinata, a DVD. Chips, pizza, a whoopie cushion, copious amounts of soft drinks and the inevitable burping contest that results from drinking copious amounts of said soft drinks. What IS it with boys and burping anyway? Boy12 commented after the party, "Wow, I thought it was going to be lame, but it turned out great! Did you hear me burping?"

The cake this year was an interesting challenge - according to the BirthdayMeister it had to look like a pizza. So I set to work and with Boy12's help and vision I think we did a pretty good job.

pizza dough - sponge cake baked in a pizza pan
tomato sauce - strawberry preserves
cheese - grated white chocolate
salami - iced cookies
olives and peppers - gumdrops

And it even tasted good!

So that's that, no more family birthdays until the end of April. Pheww.

We're right in the middle of Easter holidays at the moment so blogging may be even more sporadic than usual.

P.S. I've got a little bit of Irish blood in me somewhere so I'll wish you all a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

expats, go forth and multiply!

What's with all the babies lately? The fun never stops.

Go and take a look at the new addition to the Cheeseburgers and Sauerkraut household. Is he not just the cutest little thing?

Shortly after the Dude's arrival, this adorable little one also joined the expat community.

And in the "Look, Ma, no hands!" category, we have American Expat in Deutschland's sweet big boy keeping his mom on her toes.

Who'll be next, I wonder?


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

hey, act your age, not your shoe size!

Anyone ever say that to you? Well, you won't hear it in Germany because as many confused expats have discovered, they measure feet differently here. A newborn, should he actually find himself in need of a pair of shoes, might wear a size 13, whereas a big guy like Dirk Nowitzki wears a size 50.

Mr. M, quite the big guy himself, is somewhere in between, and as of yesterday, his age IS his shoe size and will be until early March of next year. Yep, 46 on his feet and in his head. Another birthday come and gone.

A 46 is about the equivalent of a Canadian size 12 1/2 and while my husband does sometimes act like a pre-teen, the expression just doesn't cut it in this country, I'm afraid. Here are his big clodhoppers compared to my ladylike size 40.(And please excuse our dust, the front yard is still a construction site)

Celebrating your birthday in Germany can be rough. There's just no getting out of it unless you're like me and refuse to participate in The German Birthday Rules. Poor M. M had to provide breakfast for 20 of his colleagues yesterday morning. Breakfast in this case being several kilograms of raw seasoned minced pork (Mett in German), a bag of onions, various cold cuts, cheese, butter, dozens of fresh rolls and myriad bottles of sparkling wine to wash it all down with. Oof! Stomachs of steel, those Germans, especially when it comes to free food.

After work a visit to the parental units was in order since the father-in-law doesn't get out much any more. Cake and coffee, coffee and cake, same old, same old. As if Mr. M hadn't had enough, as soon as he arrived home the neighbours dragged him over to their place for more wine. While he was gone another neighbour showed up with a jar of homemade jam for 'The Boss'. Germans love calling each other on their birthdays and the phone rang off the hook all evening, including a couple of calls from Canada to shoot the breeze.

At the birthday boy's request I attempted a rack of lamb (recipe and video!) and I must say that it was very simple and totally delicious served with sauteed green beans and cherry tomatoes and potato croquettes.

For dessert I made an Austrian cake called a Donauwelle which translates as 'Danube wave' I guess because of the wavy pattern of the batter and chocolate topping. The sour cherries sink into the white and dark batter while the cake is baking and layers of vanilla buttercream and bittersweet chocolate finish it off later. Trust me, a small piece is all you need.

As you can imagine, by the end of the evening the 46-year-old Mr. M was really showing his age and had to go to bed early to rest up for next year!

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