June 30, 2015

almond pesto

we have such nice basil growing in front of the house, iti's already the second time i'm able to make pesto this season. the plants are still delicate but not fragile anymore and i can clip off the tips and some more leafs for a good mixer jar full, add the nuts, ast time pecans, this time almonds (fair trade from gebana). a few garlic cloves, sea salt, ground balck pepper, lots of olive oil and some grated parmesan. all is being processed. sometimes it is a bit tricky, as i don't want the pesto to be super thin, but usually it works out. a gut amount of olive oil, get the first moments of processing done, if it just doesn't want to 'suck' down the rest of the leafs and cheese, i might have to stop the processer and push it down with a wooden spoon, that usually does the trick.

ready for consumption.
and one jar goes to my friend, with a bag of dinkel nudles, a special treat for a special event...

June 29, 2015

10 years of violin playing...

we have had a year end recital yesterday and it was like all the other years, wonderful. it's such a pleasure to listen to the kids play their violins, this time thea played 'may song' and 'long long ago', naomi was doing so well with the boureé and elias played handel's sonata no3 in f major adagio and allegro.
it has been 10 years since we are in the violin playing business and ii'm not tired yet to keep going (2008 2008 2009 and many more...). it is encouraging to me, when i hear each one of them, how they develop their own way of playing on stage. and i feel like, i'm getting to know them better each time, a lot better. it's those before and after performance which is really bringing out each ones personality.

we are very much looking forward to summer vacation, not quiet two more weeks. for elias one more week of school and dance and then school camp, which is mostly sports. naomi will start summer brake early as she is heading west, across the ocean, to spend four weeks in the new world. thea is a bit reluctant, as it will be her last two weeks of kindergarten, she is starting 1st grade in august! and for me, i'm very much looking forward to some unscheduled time, big junks of time to just be and go with the flow. summer we are coming...

June 25, 2015

on the field

i was out on the field strawberrie picking this morning. and boy how i love the harvest, such wonderful fruit and they taste great, it's not just the color which is wonderful, but there is not a lot right now, which can top that little red fruit.
and then after processing 3kg of the berries, pairing and putting them in the freezer, the doorbell rang.
i was not expecting anyone and to my surprise a friend was standing there, arms full with two big bowls of red currents! it is a wonderful season, a wonderful gift the berries are for us, and i already put 1kg of the red currents in the freezer as well just minutes ago. tomorrow there will be jelly cooking and tart baking and smoothies and what ever else i can think of. because, my neighbor just told me yesterday, that i should come over and harvest her red currents from the two big bushes she has. she doesn't like those sour berries...
guess i'm not writing tomorrow, i'm putting berries away! with love, with joy, with lots of gratitude.

June 24, 2015

stomping on switzerland

how great is this, stomping in lake geneva, just like that!
this map of switzerland in the heart of winterthur in front of the new archhöfe mall. we have to cross the plaza when we go to violin lesson and it has been so much fun to find our house, to follow the river rhine from it's well to basel, where it leaves the country. thea and i spent quiet a bit of time learning geography and it was exciting.
it is so very cool to see this photo, the 3D appearance is astonishing, the snowy mountains are really peaking out, when one looks at them. and i have to say, i do like the shape of switzerland, it's a bit like a little dinosaur.... ha, i guess that's what switzerland really is slow, steady and archaic not in a bad way.

and, about the dinosaur things, we do have a dinosaur museums here too.... even foot prints, here and here and here. we don't have to travel very far, who would have thought so!

June 23, 2015

elderflower cordial

it has been on my mind for a while and my plan worked out well. for the weekend scelebration i wanted to serve elderflower cordial. we had a friend live in the house in years past, she made that cordial every early summer season and all of us loved it (uups, no not all, joel doesn't he still has reasons to not like anything with the scent or taste of elderflower).
a week ago i collected a bunch of elder flowers. i tried to pick the flowers which just opened even some of the tiny buds were still closed, but thats fine; these young flowers will have the most scent and therefore give more flavor to the cordial.
in a bucket i mixed 5l water, 500gr sugar, 0.5dl vinegar and one sliced lemon, some good stirring and adding the flowers to it. all of this covered with a cheese cloth, i put it in a sheltered corner with lots of sun. it was not a very sunny and hot week, rather a bit gloomy, which is fine with the cordial, though it will take a bit longer to 'ripen'. somewhere between 3 to 5 days should be fine.
my cordial was standing in the sun and fresh air for 5 days, i stirred it once a day and covered it with the cloth. last friday then, i strained the cordial and bottled it up. it was resting in the fridge until sunday afternoon. when it was served to everyones pleasure.

and yes i will do it again, so little work for such a wonderful tasting and super refreshing summer's drink.

this was one source, besides the recipe i got from my friend.... and feel free to adjust  the way you think it would work.

June 22, 2015

celebrating E

a gathering of family and friends to celebrate the confirmation of our oldest son. it's hard to belief, he turned 16 three weeks ago and got confirmed yesterday. a wonderful moment for me and all the guests to celebrate and show him our love. to come together, enjoy the friendship and support.
it was moving me to tears, as he was standing up and humbly witnessed his faith in the Lord, in front of the congregation. telling us that he chose proverbs 16:9 'a man's hearth deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.' for this occasion.

it has been a roller coaster and growing experience for him, all that happened the past few months. his life has taken a turn, as his hope and dream of becoming a classical ballet dancer, investing all his time and energy for the past 31+ years into dance. he didn't get accepted into professional training and has to reorient from scratch.
though it showed me, that he is much farther in the process of accepting and letting go, then i expected him to be. growing in personality and trust into the Lord. it still brakes my heart, as i write this.
knowing a bit more about life and having lived through moments and stretches of broken dreams and an uncertain future.
well he has told us all, especially me, that there is just one thing: 'trust and obey, there is no other way' a hymn we have been singing a lot as of late.

this was a bit of a deeper insight into my heart, our daily life. it is good to be able to be true and in all of this i know i'm growing deeper in understanding and closer to my Lord and Savior.
It is also a wonderful thing to experience, how the kids care about each other and suffer when one is hurt.

we definitely enjoyed yesterday not just being together, laughing, encouraging and catching up on stories past. but looking forward, eating yummy dessert and most of us where just taken by the appreciation each person has for elias. there were many details which made yesterday very special. the wonderful 'cake-violin' was just one of many very special presents!

June 19, 2015

the green market

the market has been wonderful for the past few weeks, lots of plants, lots of veggies and lots of berries! it is just so wonderful to go on friday or tuesday mornings, a quick ride into the city. strolling along the high piled tables, radishes, asparagus, all kinds of lettuce, new potatoes and so much more. there is almost no end to the green kind of edibles!

there have been flowers too, peonies and poppies, i got 10 zinnia seedlings to go into my flower bed, hoping the slugs are not eating all of them. we will see time will tell.
of course there is also lots of the green variety  on the table. i love it and will keep getting greens! the kids search for the not so deep green parts on our lunch plates, usually they do find something. like 'grünkernbratlinge' (unripe spelt grain frittatas). the bounty is green, last year it was already in may, when i fell in love with the greenness of the season, here...

June 18, 2015

in the garden

this is a bit miss leading. of course we were in the garden while taking the photos. it was very enjoyable, the girls loved to swim in our pool. we put it up 10 days ago, and the kids have been using it almost every day. there is no weather to cold for them. and while they splash and swim and enjoy the water, i sit near by and keep my hands busy. as i realized, reading is really not very easy, with one ear and eye on the kids. but there is a little stitching project in the works. no big plans or very well planned idea, just fun with a few wonderful fabrics from the line; 'liberty of london'. it has been a scrap bag which i got from them and those little pieces are just so very precious.
with the blanket stitch, i'm working the lovely little pieces onto a, not yet defined size of linen. it's great to work the fabric and see the project grow.

it's wonderful summer work. easy to carry around and take out, even on the train. well lets discover it this summer a bit further and enjoy every moment of it.

June 17, 2015

where the wild things are

i was at kindergarten the past days and helped with a project. spending the days out of doors with 'the wild things'. the kindergarten teacher was so well prepared and brought us into the woods to live in the wild and get a bit of a feel for the wild things (in german it's called 'wo die wilden kerle wohnen'). it is one of my favorite books, i do remember having the second grade teacher reading it to us... and now i could help the kinder-gardeners to get a bit of a glimpse about the wild things.
i wanted to take more photos, but then figured, it would just not fit. so i did not take one photo, while working with the kids and experiencing the story.
i went back to our tree trunk, where our 'wilde kerle' wohnen. a wonderful idea to get the kids going with clay. the teacher dug the clay herself in a brook near by. the kneading was tough for the little hands, but with some help and the idea of throwing the ball a few times onto the ground, picking it up and throwing it again, it softened.
of course there were many aspects to the program, musical instruments were played to accompany the travels of max. some group experience with a big junk of clay, and the children would take turns shaping and reshaping, changing and working it over again and again. i was surprised how smooth and dynamic it all went, as i expected some disagreement about changing ones work through new ideas by each child. it didn't happen, it was very pleasant and wonderful to watch the process.

so here i am, with the wild things, a day later, i had to go back and take a few pictures, love them!

June 12, 2015

all yellow

this was one of my projects i had to get done until tomorrow. and yes i did it, done before dinner today! and boy am i glad to have that table deco for tomorrow's open house at birkengarten. the green leafy thing you see in the last picture, those are endive lettuce as well as a mixed bunch of flowers. it's a slow process, i started the seeds two months ago and yup, just about now, they are the size i was hoping. maybe i would have liked them a bit bigger and stronger, but it's ok, home made all of it and i'm happy.

there will be pictures next week, i hope the weather is not playing tricks with us, as we are depending on  dry afternoon and early evening. it's risky, some thunderstorms and 59% chance of rain.....

June 11, 2015

'concrete' mini pots

here we go, my little succulent concrete pots are slowly being made and collected and it's all really quick and fun so far.
i use some regular cement powder, mix a bit of sand and water to it. a collection of plastic cups, in a variation of sizes is doing the trick. about three table spoons of 'putti' are ladled in a bigger cup and one of the smaller kinds is being pressed into it. a bit of shaking it all down and wiggling it toward the center of the cup, in order for the concrete to settle without air bubbles.
in most concrete crafting they call for sanding the rim, though i really don't know yet if i want to do this... it's a bit funky and wild this way, and i like it. but we will see at the end. the second batch is right now in the cups. tomorrow i have to make a third batch, and on saturday i will decide on what to do next...
of course there would be lots of options, painting the whole pots, just some funky design, colorful or plain black, maybe some white lines? i'm leaning toward no plaint, maybe some white lines or dots to add some little details to the each pot.
we will see, i keep you posted

June 9, 2015

love for books

the library is still a frequently visited place. thea loves it and more than once she went without me going along. it's not far from our house, 5 minutes including the crossing of a major street (there is a pedestrian walkway). we have been reading lots of the 'little house on the prairie' lately, both of us like the stories with the ingalls family and we even started watching the series...

out side it has gotten into a rainy stretch, after almost two weeks of sunshine and really hot weather it is great to have some rainy droopy days. good for mother nature and it gives me the chance to pick up on indoor chores, which i have mostly neglected lately! o there is a stash of superwash merino, there are card board stars on my craft table wanting to be painted with glow in the dark paint (for a childrens play we are putting up in our church). paper cups and a bucket of concrete is waiting to be used to make planters for lots of little succulents. there is a little creative quilt in my head, though to work those images into real life, it will take an afternoon of quiet and a wonderful jar of iced coffee!

June 5, 2015

rhubarb & sugar

it's rhubarb season and we have really enjoyed a lot of rhubarb so far. the girls came up with a new idea of eating rhubarb, fresh raw sticks covered in sugar!
i guess if you like sour, and top it with sugar, it must be one of the best treats. the both of them anyway, did enjoy every moment of the mid afternoon snack. they got the stalks from a neighbor and the idea of adding sugar was quickly popping up. i'm glad, we have the opportunity to try out new fruit, or is rhubar a vegetable? here is the answer, it's a vegetable.
as i bought a plant last year, that one is not big enough yet to harvest stalks. i also tried to sow them, and yes it worked, i ended up with 12 plants, which i mostly gave away, the 4 little plants, which i still have in pots, i will plant and hope that they will get strong and well into producing stalks for consumption by next year.

June 4, 2015

being international

it is wonderful to be part of an international community. and even more to be able to host an international party at our community house. well, it happen again, the celebration of our 'nachbarfest', as the years before, we invited lots of families and many of them showed up and even brought their friends too. not just joined they all the big party, but everyone was contributing to the dinner table. mama mia!
food from all nations for over 100 people, this is about as good as it gets.

not just eating together but also sharing some cultural and spiritual gifts. we as the hosts were able to invite three alphorn bläser to play their music for us. as well as three women jodeling, even the jodeling women where international, a swiss born, a black woman and an asian. well go search for such diversity! in all that hustle and bustle, it is wonderful to have many helping hands and the weather was perfect.
some of the best moments for me, were definitely with the kids. as the music was sounding and they could be close up to the musicians. when ice creme was served, they were the first ones to run up front for their treat and were just plain thankful.

not much left to say, thank you God.

June 2, 2015

looking back

this is a moment of retrospect...

it was the weekend, or better said, it was our sunday. as for me, i was running (as fast as i could), a 10k, something i was looking forward to for a while and having the race in town was just super convenient for me. even though i needed a bit of  organizing to make the schedule work for all of us. starting out with me leading the kids program at church in the morning, a quick change of clothes at home and hopping on the bike to ride into town. joel took care of lunch for him and the kids, and got all of them motivated to come and cheer for me. just about the half way point the whole crew showed up on the side and hollered and handed me a drink of water.
from then on, they all raced their bikes along the course, at least one of the kids was cheering and encouraging me to just keep going fast, and that i will make it...

and yes, i made it. i'm happy with a 10k time of 50:48, and running a wonderful course! (it's the second half of the round course for the marathon)

and then on it went, quickly home and freshen up, as soon thereafter elias' birthday guests arrived. our oldest son turned 16 years old, what a big boy. friends and grandparents came for dessert and we enjoyed a most wonderful sunny sunday afternoon.

dinner was coincidental, joel wanted to grill and it was for a change just us, the little family of 6! even that was nice for a change. and think elias really appreciated the fact, that it was just us. of course including funky amos