July 31, 2015

all the goodness

my dear love has been visiting boston, he has brought me a big load of books and presents, a cornucopia of greetings, hugs and lots of love!

he is still home sick...
even though a week has past upon his arrival at home, every day we talk about memories and friends and yes we talk about traveling. no, we will not board an airplane tomorrow or within the next couple months, but eventually we will be flying to the new world again, all together the whole gang of six. we will be visiting friends and places we love, lots of memories will come alive again. though for the moment being it's just wishful thinking and savoring all of it.

thank you, all my dear friends, for hosting joel and still taking well care of naomi. i do miss my girl, it's three weeks now and it will be an other 9 days! but so far, i'm super content and happy for her. when ever i hear or skyp with her, she seems fine. and you know what, she will bring home some more treasures!

well, the books are already on our night stands and in the kitchen, the living room and with me when i leave the house, so far "the pilgrims regress" by J.R. Tolkien is what i'm absolutely enjoying best.
the hot sauce is the boys regular on the table for the last few days and joel got me something very special, he has figured out my taste, it looks like. he got me a "chocolate salt oat" from kayak cookies, super tasty, what a perfect Joice.

July 30, 2015

halfway through the year

at the beginning of the year, i sat down and jotted down a few points, rather say i wrote a list with things i wanted to do, get done and enjoy. things to make and be a attentive about. it works well for me, i love lists. it is in the middle of summer, the first longish heat wave is over and it was really nice. i loved the hot days and even warm nights, there should be more of them. as for the moment, it is a bit fresh for july. though thea still eats ice creme like a pro.
we have also had a good first part of this summer, with leisure days, some more reading and lots of delicious food. as for today, there is a crate of zucchini and two crates of apples, a smaller crate of tomatoes and a big celery root waiting to be prepared and pickled and put into jars for keeping, and i'm all excited to get the stove "fired up"

1. sit down a moment a day with a cup of tea
- most days i'm doing this, though it's not a habit yet

2. learning to play the ukulele
- i started and am able to play two or three songs, not there yet

3. quilt the long ago sandwiched granny square lap quilt
4. knit a leksak for thea and maybe one for myself...
- unwound the almost done leksak as it didn't fit

5. finish the golden shawl (i started three years ago)
6. some more free form art stitching for little frames
- there have been attempts and little things, it's fun

7. run 25 plus kilometers a week
- so far so good, right on track

8. doodle and do little drawing exercises a couple times a week
9. sew a pair of pajamas for each child with brushed cotton
10. go on a two or three day hike with joel
- not even planned yet...

11. do cross country skiing during winter brake
- no there was no cross country skiing, but lot's of down hill and a lot of fun in the snow last winter

12. work through the book "sehen lernen", by cora banek and use it while taking pictures
13. read a book a month
- a history of the world in 100 objects
- generous justice, how God's grace makes us just
- half the sky
- geschichte des balkans

14. try out linoleum printing
15. practice some story telling with the kids and hand puppets
- for the sunday kids group i used a hand puppet squirrel to tell the miracles of jesus, it was wonderful and "fredi" has become a favorite among the kids

16. sit in the sun for moments at a time, when ever possible
- and i do, i have my own sun chair now...

17. say more yes to the kids
18. have one on one time with each child more often (especially the older ones, when it has to be planned and it doesn't just happen)
- with thea this works out well, with naomi more or less, with amos almost inexistent, with elias we have been doing fine

19. go out for dinner with friends
- yes we are doing ok on this one, january once, march twice, april twice, july twice

20. support the kids in their adventures, even if i'm not seeing the reason or goal as clear as they do
- this seems to come along fine, just today the boys went on a one day trip to a fun park and i didn't give them a hard tie...

21. practice the daily eucharisteo
- evenings have been really good for me
22. going on saturday hikes with naomi regularly
- we went in january, february was more of a train ride only, and since then we missed out on it

23. inviting joel for a dinner out with good friends
- done once, there will be at least one more time

24. work through my closet and give away what ever i have not been wearing in the past 12 months
25. think twice about shopping new clothes, even if i go to th
- i got a new dress from the second hand store, i thought i needed new underwear but then it turned out to be an absolute unwearable two pairs. i guess i can say, so good so far, not easy for me to hold on to this one...

and i do want to add a few more ideas::
26. be more inventive in regards to vegetarian cooking
27. keep thursday afternoons open for crafting
28. sew a skirt for myself and a dress for naomi and one for thea

July 28, 2015


 there are so many words allowing me to express the plenty or lavish amounts of the "things" we have. be it only, when we see the cups and bowels in our cupboards. not to mention all the food right now in the garden as well as at the market ending up on our tables. never ever had a member of my family to suffer hunger, not even a tiny little bit.
and then also making things, crafting and taking time to enjoy the making. we made soap balls, different flavors and herbs were used, all plentiful and fragrant and luscious to work with. in such good company with friends sitting around the table and working together, relish in the communal work. and at the end, being able to give it all away. very pleasing for me, to have this opportunities and a friend who instructed me in the craft of it.
what you not see here, we also made lip balm heating up bees wax, cocoa butter, almond oil and jojo, ba joil, and then filling it up into little tins. something i will be doing again with the girls. it was much fun and i'm sure it will be appreciated by my friends, as it is done without any color pigments (which are usually plastic particles)...
well there is a lot to learn from my friend d, who makes soap and more of all the natural cosmetics. i even got my shampoo soap, and i like it.

and then after all the working and making, there is more, there seems to be an invinite amount of sunshine this summer, and i love it, all of it!

July 27, 2015

enjoying community

it was a wonderful week in the swiss mountains. we went with over a dozen mama's and their children for a week long summer camp. it was definitely uncharted territory for us leaders as well as for the participating families. and it turned out to be a wonderfully blessed time we spent together. the kids were all ages (2-14 years old) and loved each other, played and laughed together.
starting out with the challenge of three strollers on the train, 3 different transverse... lots of luggage and we managed. the little town in the mountains was the best place for the week long stay. a wonderful fountain right in the middle of town, next to our group house was the welcome cooling place.

hiking and picnics, playing at the great madrisa play ground, after enjoying a long gondola ride, listening to stories and singing together, i feel so rich and glad to have been part of this camping week.
i have never been part of such a diverse group, in regards to nationalities. we were 16 families and represented 8 different nationalities.

every morning we were singing together, this was so joyful and really touched my heart. especially the kids, all of them chimed in, if not in german then in their mother tongue. with the guitar, clapping and pure joy of being together in fellowship.
lots of deep and personal conversations, learning from each other, be it about the child rearing, about personal struggles and the sharing our faith. what a blessed time, especially for those mamas which do not call the place they live their home land, but have are struggling with so many difficulties. i'm thankful for each of the ladies and their children, that they let me be part of their lifes, if only for one week...

July 21, 2015

all green

:: in front of our house
it's the green of my tomato plants and even the tomatoes will stay green, these are my green zebras. they do well and enjoy our wonderful hot and dry july weather. i'm watering every day, a good thing we have a hose right there, close to the plants. hauling all the water in watering cans would be too much for me. there is more green out front, the fig tree is full of fruit and has a lush foliage. i'm waiting and looking forward to harvest the fruit, a couple more weeks and the sweetness will be ready to eat.

 :: in the house
yesterday morning i got a bunch of wild flowers, i love these cow parsley. i just found out the english name for "kerbel". they stand in a vase on our living room table and i stand still to look at them. it's almost magic, a bit of wild and green.

:: behind our house
is our pool set up. i don't particularly like this algae green. it has been too hot over the past week and we didn't catch it right at it's onset, so we are now fighting algae. elias has been vacuuming the pool floor after we used some chemicals. i'm so hesitant with that algaecide though we will treat it once or twice and keep the water until the end of the season (maybe end of august...)
the kids and some other water loving folks don't mind it too much, the green look of our pool water. it's the not so pleasant green, if you ask me.

July 20, 2015

her third B'day

it's her birthday!
and that makes it an extended family celebration, which we all enjoyed at the walcheweiher. the little girl turned three and had a blast. her favorite color is yellow, so of course there were yellow presents and yellow decorations on the chocolate cake and her swim tank is yellow and what ever else she could find to wear should of course be yellow...
i like this age, absolutely adorable, already understanding a lot and capable of a little hike with all of us.
the ponds were fun to swim in and at one end there was a rope to swing and jump, of course that was our boys favorite.

we wish you well dear J and love you!
my kids are now all a bit older, so the toddler age is past for my own "little" ones. though that's why i love to be an aunt and that's the fun part, i get to spoil my sister in laws children. and i can tell you, it's fun, and full of joy and smiles...

July 17, 2015

summer dinner and more

it just so happened, i was not planning it ahead or even thinking about it, but elias was the only one home with me, last night. we took the opportunity and went out for dinner. the choice was easy, as both of us like the food served at tibits...
it was a lovely evening, into town with the bike and meeting up with him, i did want to stroll around the city for a bit, but the boy was hungry. well so be it then. it really is not often, that we go out for meals, and even less doing it with just one of the kids. and when it happens it's great. the opportunity to interact with just one person over a meal is by far one of my favorite times.
this time we both got a great choice of a drink, i got a cold beer infused with elderflower syrup and he got some kind of wonderfully refreshing citrus fruit drink. there was really not more we desired.
before we headed home, we quickly stopped by the restessbar fridge, and unexpectedly found 2 crates of cherries. of course they came home with us and late yesterday night i made 1.5kg cherries-lime-mint jam. i have never heard of this mixture, but figured it sounded refreshing. especially as it has been really hot and will be for a few more days, making a summer kind of jam was just the right thing to do.

July 15, 2015

playing together

it was a wonderful occasion to play together, my dad's birthday!
visiting and making music for other people is something, thea really enjoys. though she is still somewhat shy, together with me we were doing fine. my dad, of course like it a lot. a mid afternoon mini serenade on their balcony was just ok, not too hot, as the weather here is so wonderful. it's those little moments which stick with me, which make all the tedious hours of practicing worth while. and to my joy, thea showed up this morning, right after breakfast: "mama i want to play, happy birthday again", of course we will play it, over and over again, until her fingers know it on their own.
all that muscle memory is being jogged every day and it is not that easy every day, as it came to her this morning. but it is still one of my convictions, to start training early, listening, singing and making music. it really doesn't matter what instrument, as long as those little fingers and ears have the opportunity to do something and get better at it while playing and having fun.
thank you bekka for getting our family started, many many years ago.

and as i write this, naomi and joel are attending the catskills irish arts week in east durham. i'm looking forward to hear from them, as they are attending workshops and sessions and are living music.

July 14, 2015

küsnachter tobel

we went on a day trip yesterday, a little hike which naomi did with her third grade class a few years back. it was wonderful, and a bit adventurous, as we traveled by train, ship and forchbahn. a quick tour at rapperswil was also done, it is a pretty little town and has such nice views from the lindenhügel.

the küsnachter tobel is said to be a pretty place, and we discovered that it was not just beautiful but it is super interesting, in regards to geology.
there is a rock garden at the beginning, right after the town of küsnacht. wonderful and super interesting to see the big rocks. the path is winding it's way once right then again left of the brook. many bridges and places tempting to step into the water, fish and lots of "steinmannli"

of course, there was ice creme at the end, and it was even fair trade ice creme. not anything less than ben and jerry's! a good day it was.

July 10, 2015

fun with M

our friend from the US is staying with us for 10 days. it is so much fun to have him here, lots to talk and laugh, refreshing our memories, as we lived together for a good long while, when we were in JP. good times then and even more so now. Joel and the girls took him to the Rhine fall, for a little hike, a spontaneous visit in Germany and then to Schaffhausen.
its a sad, that joel and naomi have already left for boston, as we do miss them. the kids last day of school was today and there will be a little celebration tonight. ice creme and some drinks, who knows what else...

amos will leave for a week long camp with the scouts, going with the bike and living in tents for a week, out in the woods somewhere in the rural parts of zurich. he is very much looking forward to it, and i'm looking forward to help him pack, that is usually very special and fun. a tiny bit stressful, mostly for amos, as i'm particular about how he should pack :)
maybe there is an anecdote tomorrow...

July 9, 2015

hot and lazzy

the weather has been super hot in he mid to high nineties, which is rare for switzerland. lots of people don't like it that hot, but we enjoy it. sitting and sipping lemonade, swimming in the pool and enjoying the shady areas in our backyard.
we had guests coming over to enjoy the pool, though the water was already very warm, the kids absolutely liked it, they stayed over 2h in it! good for them and even better for us. the grown ups, really didn't feel like moving at all. so we lounged in the shade of the hazel bush and it was good. wonderful cake and cold drinks, not that i got to stitch very much, but some how i just needed it to be close by as i really like looking at those pretty little pieces of fabric.

there will be more stitching, more sitting in the shade and more enjoying in the weeks to come. vacation has really started now, with naomi and joel on their way to boston as i type these lines...

July 8, 2015

good by

i know, it has been a few days, and not without reason. lots of emotions, lots of hot days here in the heart of europe and this is for now the good by to ballet for our oldest.
we all have nejoyed the past 3 years, elias has opened our eyes to a very special world. thank you for this all of it.

July 2, 2015

uups! that was not liked

i figured, that those green wonderful carrot tops should be eaten and wasted in the compost bin. i read that the greens are healthy and nutritious, and it seems perfectly ok to make smoothies with them. well as it turns out, mama is maybe a bit a nerd in regards to healthy foods...
carrot tops, milk, vanilla, a bit brown sugar (as my oldest suggested, that some sweetener would help), and orange juice. liked the taste, except that after adding the sugar it was too sweet. and the kids, well they didn't like it.

the following picture sequence is showing it clearly. and a big bravo to amos, as he drank the whole glas, even though the greens were still big enough to keep hanging between the teeth. and that was the big issue the kids had. it was not smooth at all, but grassy!

so here we are, trial and error, i need new ideas for carrot tops, any one know of a yummy recipe?

July 1, 2015

rhubarb :: the beautiful

i just could not say anything else to this wonderfully colored veggie. though right up first, sorry for no picture of the baked pastry... they didn't stay around long enough for me to catch.
i got an second big bunch of rhubarb from a neighbor and quickly had to caramelize some sugar for the rhubarb stew. a whole wheat puffy pastry dough was the base layer for this little treat. packed into the pocked is some rhubarb stew, the rhubarb is not too soft, just to the bite. a table spoon of sour creme, some bourbon vanilla was packed into the pastry besides the rhubarb stew.
the pocked was closed and a pink of brown sugar for garnish, into the oven and 20 minutes later everyone standing around tried the treat.

with the next batch of rhubarb i will bake a linzer tart....

there are more red currents on my neighbors bushes and i'm trying out an electric juicer, more when there is something to show for.