Deutschland vs USA- a house divided

It’s no secret, when it comes to soccer in the world arena, my veins bleed Black-Red-Gold. Today, however, a tie would advance both teams to the next round. I despise tied games- BORING! But in an effort to keeping peace in the house, I am not completely opposed…hopefully we still get to see a few pretty goals.

image image

Ravensburger Spieleland

My boys have been blessed with a few pretty cool uncles! Last Tuesday, my fantastic brother-in-law A. took our eight year old and his other eight year old nephew to the Ravensburger Spieleland. You may be familiar with Ravensburger games and puzzles- they have the blue corners on their boxes. Spieleland is a theme park based on these games and particularly geared towards 4-12 years of age, although thirty-something year old uncles will be entertained quite nicely as well!

Their awesome day began with a sleep-over with aunt and uncle, and was further preceded by a pretty incredible soccer match between Germany and Portugal the night before. Not only that, but uncle A.  bought croissants and pretzels for breakfast, packed a delicious picnick, and crowned the outing with ice cream. And the just-as-awesome aunt J. made their favorite spaghetti dish for dinner! Here are a few pictures from their day:


Germany scored their second goal.


The boys are putting out a fire together.



What do you think? Does somebody deserve the Incredible Uncle Award???

Wimsener Höhle

Field trip time!


A few days ago, we went on a lovely little hike to a charming little cave. The cave is a water cave, meaning it is only accessible by boat. In fact, we were only able to see the first 70 meters of the 900 meter cave, as for the rest you need to go on a 12 hour dive….Um, no thanks! It was quite fascinating though- our boat guide assured us that there was no risk of rocks falling on us, as the cave is washed out by water of a solid piece.


Wimsen cave is one of the main attractions of the Geopark of the Swabian Jura. It is also known as Friedrichs cave and it is a natural monument, representing the only “active” water cave in Germany named after the Elector of Wurttemberg Friedrich. Frederick I William Charles of Württemberg was the last Duke of Würtemberg, then briefly Elector of Württemberg, and was later elevated to the status of King of Württemberg, by Napoleon .

A plaque at the entrance to the cave is a greeting and dedication to Friedrich. Can you tell what it says?


P. was super excited at the chance to practice some Latin live:)

“Grata tuum preasens numen mea nympha salutat.

Laetior unda tibi nunc Friderice fluit.”

At the “Backhaus”!

Learning doesn’t stop for us just because it’s summer. Especially right now, being in a place that is relatively new for my boys. Saturday we had a fantastic opportunity to observe and participate in baking bread in a large wood burning stove at the local Backhaus.


A large fire is made approximately 2 hours before the official baking time. The glowing coals are spread throughout the stove.

Prior to “Einschiessen”- the “shooting in” of the bread loaves, the coals/ashes are completely removed and the stove is wiped clean with a wet rag. The bread is baked completely with the remaining radiating heat, no fire burns during the actual baking!


The loaves are quickly formed by hand and placed onto a flour coated board. This board, which is affixed to a long pole, is used for the Einschiessen process.



Finally, 2 pans of a thin cake, a salty and a sweet one, are placed into the stove. The temperature today was 300 degrees Celcius, around 525 degrees Fahrenheit.


After around 25-30 minutes, the thin cakes are removed and consumed, while we wait on the bread to be done. Yum! Yum!


Another 30 minutes later the bread loaves a lightly brushed with water and removed from the stoves. The remaining flour and occasional ashes are brushed off the bottom. Altogether we baked 32 loaves.

IMG_0784 IMG_0782

We took home these two!!!


Backhaus history:

Some towns had communal baking houses as early as the 14 th century. The wide spread building of them dates back to the 17 th century. Individual ovens in private houses were uncommon, and often against the law, due to fire danger. Official baking days brought towns together in community, as the work load was shared, and the waiting on bread and cakes gave people time to visit with one another. This practice was widely used until the 1960’s. Today, functioning Backhauses can still be used, they may also be used by groups or school classes for fun and educational field trips!

Jetzt geht’s los!!!


I have this slight obsession with the World Cup.

I now live in the football nation, but where I come from “Fussball” is an entirely different sport. The only similarity is the size of the field and the number of players. Fussball is simple, the rules are easy to follow. All it takes is a ball, that’s it, which explains its popularity around the world. You can play if you have 2 people or 22, children and adults alike. No protective gear needed, 90 minutes, that’s it. No dragging on of technical time-outs, moving the chains, reviewing the play. 90 minutes. Done! Beautiful!

So today it starts: 1 month, 32 countries, 3 matches a day during the group game phase. Ahhh!

I will proudly wear schwarz-rot-gold and wave my flag.

The Art of Assisted Check-in or Air Travel at its Finest

We arrived at the airport with over 2 hours to spare before our flight. Yes,yes, I am aware, you’re supposed to be there 3 hours before an international flight. I now know just why that is:

1) the self check-in kiosk will not recognize a foreign passport- GO STAND IN THAT LINE!

2) when flying stand-by, an infant ticket is NOT easily issued. This takes upwards of 45 minutes at the counter and several phone calls to a magic genie ( whose first quote for the non-rev infant ticket was higher than the buddy pass I purchased for myself- um, try again, Genie!)

3) if you are trying to list for a flight within the hour of departure, you have to be listed by the gate agent, not the check-in counter…more phone calls!
4) a print- out of the flight itinerary DOES NOT qualify one to pass through the magic gates of security…back to the counter, please, M’am. (Mind you! at this point we are 30 min away from departure time and still in the wrong terminal)
5) once one finally holds all necessary papers to pass through security, you must travel via train to the other (domestic) terminal…hmmm….That one I still can’t figure out. Why again did Atlanta build an international terminal? International flights leave from domestic terminal, but check-in is at the international terminal, which you have to access from an entirely different interstate…That makes SO much sense!

We made it though. What’s air travel without a little excitement? The bright side? We got 4 seats and we were on the plane a mere 5 minutes before it pushed off the gate. No unnecessary time spent there! And: recent upgrades to our plane now offer individual flight entertainment. Both older boys were in absolute heaven!


All aboard- we’re headed to the mothership

Yes- that’s right- this German and her three half-bloods will be boarding a plane in circa 3.5 hrs and my next blog posts will be from a German in Germany! This will be F’s first trip and I am excited to introduce him to all my extended family back home. The other two are well-versed in air travel and I will rely heavily on their help. iPods, Kindles, and DS are charged, new books are packed, passports renewed. Let’s GO! I will meet you on the other side of the pond!

We survived…

…our first year of home school. And I would do it all over again! I learned a lot about myself this past year, about my boys and their learning preferences, about planning, and about letting go (there is my Frozen plug-in). About 4 weeks into our journey, I threw out all my “plans” and completely adjusted them to what seemed realistic. And I am proud to report that we got just about all of what we had planned done. Granted, P took his final Math test a few days after our official “last” day, and J still had a few reading lessons to finish, but over all we all feel really good about our accomplishments. I am super grateful to the framework Classical Conversations provided for our learning.
I was a little scared for P, pulling him out of public school in 7th grade and not wanting him to fall behind. Weekly meetings with his tutor and 7 other teenagers kept him on task and gave him the motivation he needed to study hard. His research and writing skills have grown by leaps and bounds.
My middle one, J, completed second grade. He loves to memorize information and is pumped about the Memory Master program for next year. He states he wants to be an inventor and scientist like Copernicus. Especially for him, I really enjoyed being able to do more in subjects that make him “tick.” We have our basic daily requirements, but especially during the second half of the year I let him do a lot more self-directed learning.
And the little guy? F joined our family just before Christmas, and his “learning” includes rolling over and starting to sit. He’s been such a joy and we all treasure every moment with him! I am a little anxious about next semester he will be into EVERYTHING!!! Will I be able to hold my Type-A in check? Stay tuned….

Cinnamon Bread and European Capitals

I wrote this post in early March… somehow it never posted…It actually is in the mid 80’s now, temp-wise, but I wrote it… so here it goes:

We are tired of winter and repeated cold snaps- it is after all Georgia and the tease of nearly 70 degrees this past weekend has our family itching for spring. What to do on a blustery Wednesday afternoon? “Let’s bake something!” my oldest says- I think to myself that at least the kitchen will be warm, if the oven is on, so why not?

I have been itching to try out a recipe I got from a friend a couple of days ago and the ingredients are all here- Cinnamon Bread it is. Baking usually turns my kitchen into a math and science lab, especially if yeast is involved! Enrichment activity for the day?-Check!

While dough is rising we spend time reviewing vocabulary and throw in a German lesson. Later, as the tantalizing smell of warm cinnamon fills the air, we pull out our Sharpies and cut a piece of the big paper roll. Add an atlas to the mix- voila! Enrichment activity number 2! We draw and color and review European countries as well as their capitals, all the while baby is blissfully sleeping in his swing. When the timer goes off, we can hardly contain our excitement. The wait to let the bread cool to a cut-able temperature seems almost unbearable.

At last… we get to sink our teeth into the warm, sweet, yummy-ness. Winter? As long as there is delicious, warm bread- might as well stick around for a while.

For the recipe of this oh-so-delightful bread check out