July 14, 2017

summer vacation :: we come

Vallée de Derborence

it's a the day before everyone travels to an other destination. the whole family is "running" away from the city and and it's busy life. school is done by today and summer vacation has finally arrived.

Elias has been gone for a week already and loves the sky dive training camp as much as he is challenged by getting up at 6:15am every morning.

Amos heads to a youth camp in croatia, camping and swimming with friends.

Naomi will be in Romania to do a week of volunteering with her group of Royal Rangers, in a poor neighborhood. And lucky her, she will be able to visit our long standing friends, a family we shared a house for a couple years. They are back in their home country and Naomi can go and see them!

Thea is looking forward to spend a good week with her grandparents, and they will go and visit Elias at his camp... all super exciting.

finally Joel and I, we head out into the wild. the bernese alps in the valais. 4 days from hut to hut, getting started in derborence. we hike the "tour des mouverans" a not very highly frequented tour, it should be this way, wonderful solitude and the purity of nature itself. that's really all we are looking forward to.

i will be back late next week.

July 13, 2017

banana-grapefruit jam

naomi arrived home from camp with her school, at the end of last week. she also took home all the leftover bananas...
well it was about 3 pounds, rather brown speckled bananas then anything else. what to do, as not a lot of people in the household like banana-bread. i looked through my collection of recipes and found a banana-grapefruit jam. this sounded delicious and two days later, while going to the grocery store, i added three pink grape fruits to the basket, not having looked the amount of banana compare to the grape fruit, i ended up to not have the opposite amount of bananas and grapefruit.
well, never mind, lets just twist everything around, as with jams this is absolutely possible. and so i did, half and half and adding sugar and some orange juice to it.

an hour later, i was the happy mama, putting 8 jars of freshly made banana/grapefruit jam on our pantry shelf.
at least that's what i was thinking. it wasn't that easy, it didn't get thick the way i planned it. on to the next step: back into the pan and a second cooking is going to be done tomorrow!

July 12, 2017

the new chicks

a couple weeks ago, i noticed that one of our white swiss chickens was broody. as i didn't have enough on my plate the past two months, i could not pass by this opportunity to have a natural hatching. i was quick in finding a breeder of "appenzeller spitzhauben" and talked with her and two days later thea and i went to pick up 10 fertilized eggs of three different breeds. we were super excited but needed to place our "swiss miss" into her own corner (out of the laying box). she quickly settled and we were able to exchange the eggs.
happily and full of excitement, we waited 19 days and soon enough the first two chicks hatched. what a big event, so small so new to this world. soon thereafter an other few and two days later we now have 6 healthy little chicks with a wonderfully caring "mama".

of course they are being watched by all of us and the kids friends and neighbors. it is the attraction in the neighborhood, as most people have a moment to stop by, just before summer brake is coming around the corner next weekend.

i'm challenged to keep up and organize the hen house according to new family plans...
those little ones are already jumping quiet a bit and luckily the other 5 hens are very curious but not aggressive at all. there is an other little obstacle to overcome, one more hen is broody and i can't get her out of the "mood", well i try my best from keeping her out of the laying box. it feels like i'm chicken herding all day long, we will see if i master the tricks to get the hen house in order before we leave for vacation next weekend...

July 11, 2017


it was exciting, a couple weeks we found two beautiful caterpillars on our fennel plants in the garden. in order to be able to observe the caterpillars as well as their metamorphosis, we decided to take them into our "butterfly garden". a vase with fennel greens was put in the "cache" and the caterpillars grew, they loved their food and thrived. of course, we knew, they would not take very long anymore to transform, as the animals were already quiet big when we found them. still it is wonderful to watch the process and check in on them a couple times a day.

and one morning, there was just one caterpillar left...
the next morning none. two chrysalis were hanging, nice and neat tied to the top of the cache with two threads. the transformation process is in full swing and we watch those two chrysalis change in color, just slightly.
and then one morning there is a fully grown, beautifully unfolded machaon or so called common yellow swallowtail (schwalbenschwanz, in german). it's all super exciting to watch and experience. letting the butterflies go and watch them as they ascend into the air.

it seems so close to me, as our oldest boy, never mind, he is definitely not a boy anymore...
as our oldest left for a two week sky dive training camp. well he was super excited and i'm sure he will enjoy every moment of it. and yes to my own surprise, i didn't feel strained or anxious nor did i want him not to do it. much more, i was so happy for him and felt a lot of joy, noticing how he is shaping his life, and making decisions on his own while i stand by and just observe and watch. of course there where moments of me wanting to help and support and make sure he has packed everything for those two weeks, but that turned out rather poorly. so i left  him alone and i guess that's what i have to learn. let go of any of my ideas and helps for him. i guess my part can be in prayer and emotional support from afar..... steps which i have to take and i want to embrace.

let him fly!

July 10, 2017


our garden has seen many celebrations in the past few weeks. the most special and very dear to me has been this past saturday. our international summer-fest.
lots of planning, decorating and high expectations while a team prepared for it. we have had this summer fest for a few years now and it has been succesful and lots of fun for all people involved. not just planning is exciting, as we never really know how many people will show up.
but this time, the weather seemed nice enough and turned right at the moment, when we had set up everything and in a jiffy we were able to rescue the paper napkins....
luckily table decorations were water proof and after 20 minutes of hard rain and some hail,  we took the paper table runner away. it still looked good enough and what wonderful happening, when the families we invited showed up, one after an other, many people made it out into a bit of an uncertain weather, to celebrate 10 years of the kids club mikado.

super special and so much excitement for many a grown up. and of course especially the kids, letting balloons fly, with post cards attached, for the finder to send back and we will see who's balloon made it the furthest.
a big birthday cake was ready, lots of desserts to top the wonderful main course, which was organized as a pot luck. that big buffet is a high light, all the yummiest food from around the world. just a dinner at it's best. and with the great food come the even greater people. mothers with their children and this year more fathers have come, which is wonderful to see.
looking at all the photos and closing my eyes for a moment i taste and smell the wonderful flavors of food and one moment more, i hear the voices and see the happy eyes, telling me the stories of their life. there is really not much more then thanking the Lord for all this people, and them, joining me and loving how friendships form and grow.

and so i love wednesday mornings, with all the work they bring to my weekly routine. it is good to learn together and study german with a group of eager ladies, wanting to understand and be heard.
it's all worth it.

July 7, 2017

the week :: through the lens

it has been on the back burner, i have not been taking a lot of photos for a while now, and that should change. so i put the "hand made" lens back on the camera body and got started this week. it touched me in a special way, as i wander and have the camera ready be it in the kitchen, or living room table... this enables me to see with new eyes and i like it. we will see if it sticks, it is a start to a new friday review of what caught my eye. there is to be said, that i was inspired by erin boyle and her blog "reading my tea leaves". she does a wonderful job and it is so inspirational to have a look at her photos...

 :: 1. the target is getting organized for picture taking

:: 2. lovely and lush summer evenings, it's a sonnenglas from south africa

:: 3. my little friend coming over for an afternoon swim...

:: 4. the big boys recital, playing 1st violin

:: our caterpillars are changed and flew off this morning

July 5, 2017

target quilt

and here we are, the target is done, all is stitched and handed over to the big boy. and he loves it, i do too! it has taken me almost a year from start to finish, just a week short of it!
when i got started last summer, it was quick progress. some stalling and then i got to it in spurts of excitement and chunks of time. and then this past june, silly me, when it was the hottest, i sat in the shade of our chestnut tree and framed the big piece on my knees...
and i love the look of it, as amos is not a big fan of colors and fancy patterns, so this is definitely the kind of design he likes. he has been the last child in the family to get one of my quilts, and has been patiently waiting for it...
and now, there are two people in the house which have already announced their requests, one needs a new one, as the old one is braking down any moment and the batting is all crumbled up inside. the other one has requested a king size, as he has grown out of the mister tweedy quilt.
and you know what, i have no plans yet! and that is fine.

and this are the pics to the back of the quilt. using up some scraps and the middle piece of fabric is designed by amos via "spoonflower". it was lots of fun and of course it had to be included into his target!

July 4, 2017

being together

celebration and family and eating wonderful foods, being together and enjoying the moment.
we wanted to do that for amos confirmation. the plan was to enjoy the garden to be out of doors and have enough space for the kids to run and play.
the weather was not as planned and it was rather cool and wet. a quick change of plans and we moved all of it into the living room.
we have two of those big spaces in our house, so we can still move around and give the kids some space. appetizers were served in the "upper room" humus and pita bread, olives and some chips. white wine and orange juice, all as planned. babaganush was home made and a few adults really liked it, it was a new kind of dish for our guests. fine with me, my goal was, to introduce our family and friends to lebanese and balkan foods.
a good friend and neighbor is from mazedonia, she made two sheets of börek, a great dish for everyone. the kids loved the börek with spinach as much as the one with cabbage. amos helped me with the meat, we had chicken drumsticks marinated and köfte. joghurt sauce to top it and oven vegetables. lovely who it worked out and with a very happy crowd in the living room, all is well. i realized how happy it makes me to serve food and find ways to introduce my family to a bit of my neighborhood and a world which is new and unique to them.

dessert was a potluck, as we are used to do such family gatherings and usually we just all bring something to the fest. dessert buffets are a wonderful way to make every ones mouth water and especially the smaller kids, they can't wait for this part of the day to happen.
a big and loving thank you, to all my family for coming and enjoying and being with us.