Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1st stop in Luxembourg....

*Picture from the American Battle Monuments Commission
A couple weekends ago we took a day trip to Luxembourg which is only about an 1 1/2 drive from our house. We were able to visit a few places on our list, but not all of them, so we'll need to make another trip.

Our first stop today was at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial which was established on December 29, 1944.

This is not the most interesting of places for kids....or so I thought. My kids really surprised me because I didn't hear one moan, groan, or sigh when we told them that we were going to a cemetery for our first stop. They smiled and said ok with enthusiasm! I don't know why I'm surprised by this, but I guess I was expecting them to be disappointed or something. We gave them a little overview and then we were off to explore.

After walking through the gates, the visitor center is on the left. It was quite strange being in an American cemetery in a foreign country.

American flags blowing in the wind is not a common sight here...in fact, we only see them on the base, however, there is a lot of red, yellow, and black blowing in the wind!

The stone chapel is just inside the gates....

Mosaic on the ceiling inside the chapel....

5,076 US soldiers are buried in this cemetery.
Many of them lost their lives in the "Battle of the Bulge."

The city of Luxembourg was the headquarters for General George S Patton's US Third Army.
General Patton is buried here.

There are actually 24 American burial grounds on foreign soil....this was surprising. Presently there are 124,909 soldiers from WWI, WWII, and the Mexican War buried in these cemeteries.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Super slide trio.....

Our last stop at the park was this fun slide area. I thought is was really smart that the park didn't have to have attendants over here because they use a ticket to get in the gate. Basically, you purchase a card for a certain number of slides and then use that card in the scanner to get through the gate to get on the slide. The scanner tells you how many slides, or turns, you have left. It does seem strange to have so much technology in this little secluded park, but it worked well!

Now for the slides!

There was the wavy slide.....

...and the winner was Sarah!

Look at the cool handles that you use to hold on as you're going down!

Then there was the ever popular tunnel slide!

....and finally the dreaded vertical slide!

It took a lot of nerve to go down this slide. Lauren was the first to go down and she LOVED it!! Sarah attempted to go down a few times and ended up hanging from a pole over the opening (so much safer than just sliding ON the slide) and had to have help getting onto the landing. Colton saved her once and another man the next time.

Here is Colton trying to convince her to go down. Why would she listen to him when he himself wouldn't go down??? Funny how easy it is to encourage someone else, but not yourself!

Sarah did eventually get up enough nerve to go down and
she was actually terrified!

I really wish I had a better close up of her face as she came down!

Colton on the other hand didn't want to admit that he was scared to go down. Instead, he would go up and sit and then eventually act like he was going to be nice and let another kid go ahead of him....how thoughtful right?? Well, he did this too many time to count until he got teased enough from everyone that he finally took the plunge!

We had a great time just sliding and jumping for a couple of hours. The prices were really reasonable so I see more trips in our future!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fast, Fun, & Scary!!

After the trampolines, we went over to the rodelbahn. You sit in a "bob" as it takes you all the way up to the top of Peter Mountain....584 Meters to be exact! Here is a view from the valley as the bobs are heading to the top for the sliding adventure to begin.

The speed for each bob is controlled by a hand brake on both sides. I wasn't too worried when we purchased our tickets.....I mean you only have to be 8 to drive one by yourself! I should have remembered that ride safety in Europe is not exactly what you'd expect. I was standing on the side waiting for everyone to ride by when I see a teenager coming to the end WITHOUT breaking!!! She hit the bob in front of her and was ejected onto the track in front of her as her bob went the opposite direction. Luckily, she jumped off the track before it came back and plowed into her. I now know there are NO seat belts and am beginning to get worried. What do I do?....yell at my kids as they are riding by to make sure they use the break...they are smiling and looking at me like we know.

Here is Lauren on her way up. See that girl wearing all black in the background? That is the one who somehow forgot to break!!

Colton & Sarah...

Then the journey begins back down the mountain through the wooded area. There are 15 turns and I thought we were going to fall over the edge as our bob slid up the side every single time!

It was FAST, FUN, and totally SCARY all at the same time.

See that guy tailgating me?
He rode my bob the entire way down!!!

Our next slide excitement involved 3 very different slides and no bob!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Awesome slide park!

We went to the AWESOME Sommer Rodelbahn today!! This was actually our second trip, but the first time it started pouring down rain half way there. However, today was a beautiful day with no rain in sight so we packed up the kids and headed to this outdoor park....we WILL be going back!!!!

Here is the one and only building which houses the restaurant with a bier garten outside.

Our first stop was at the much anticipated trampolines! Of course these trampolines had a special hook up so you could jump REALLY high and do lots of flips!!

Check out the air time!

...and Ian had fun watching and chewing on that toy!

The next stop involved a really high slide that required a lift!!!....more to come:)

Super simple Cinnamon Rolls!

I've had a bottle of Sweet Cinnamon Sprinkle that that has been taking up valuable space in my kitchen for a while now. My kids love cinnamon rolls, well we ALL do, and this bottle has a recipe on the side that I've been wanting to try out. Today was the lucky day!

This recipe really could not be any easier! Here it is.....Roll out an 8oz package of crescent rolls and pinch seams together. Brush with butter. Sprinkle with 1/4 C Sweet Cinnamon Sprinkle.

Roll up.

...cut into 16 pieces and then bake for 10 minutes. Really....that simple!!

I only made one batch to try it out this morning. Hmmm...they ALL disappeared in about 2 minutes tops! So, I made another batch which was gone just as quickly. They really were delicious and I'll certainly be making more.

I have no pictures of the finished rolls because....well there just wasn't time with all of the devouring! Enjoy.

(Check out my Pampered Chef site if you're interested in trying out this recipe)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Creepy & sweet at the same time!

Today was the last day of a 4 week long enrichment summer school that was offered on post. This year's theme was Mysteries...they LOVED it! Last year they learned about famous artists and composers. The kids begged to go again this year so......we said YES! It was only 3 hours each morning so it kind of helped us get back into a routine before school begins in a few weeks.

They were discovering the Wonders of the World and of course Egypt was a hot topic. While learning about the pyramids, they discovered the treasures that were kept inside. So, my daughter Sarah created her little box of things she would choose to take with her if she lived during this time period.

Here is what you would find in her pyramid....

By the way, everything fits nicely inside this box....

Our dog Chica....

Our cat Pumpkin....

Some money...

Our cat Spooky....

And finally "My Mom's heart"....

What did my husband have to say about this???
"Well at least I'm safe!"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yummy dinner...

I've been trying out some new recipes in the Pampered Chef Season's Best Cookbook S/S 09. This little book is packed with delicious appetizers, main dishes, and desserts...best part is it is only $1!! We really like the Mexican Chicken Lasagna and the Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cakes, but needed to try out some more of the main dishes. They are designed to take about 30 minutes and cost about $2 per serving. This dish is pictured on the cover of the catalog above.

So, tonight I made the Sweet & Sour Pineapple Stir-Fry and it was a HUGE hit! The sauce was so simple to make and kid approved delicious!

1 lb pork tenderloin
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch divided
2 C fresh sugar snap peas
1 medium pineapple (fresh is THE best)
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/3 C apricot preserves
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium red onion (I used a sweet onion)
cooked rice

...and our dinner before it was devoured!

Check out this giveaway!

How would you like to win a really awesome shopping bag?? I know I'd like a new bag for my collection. Most shopping bags tend to be a little blah so I was really excited when I saw THIS giveaway over at My Litter! She is giving away the cutest bag with a cupcake pattern and reversible polka dots. Oh, and the best part is that the bag is full of Kashi products.

Check out the goodies!
**picture borrowed from Tiffany's blog**

I have to admit that I really didn't use shopping bags until we moved to Germany.....gasp! I know I'm a little behind the trend to conserve the environment by not using those nasty plastic bags! However, shopping bags are a must have over here because stores don't provide bags!! Yes, you read that correctly...not even at the grocery store. So, you can see how bags are a necessity. I've been collecting shopping bags over the last year so I can actually walk out of a store without trying to balance everything in a big stack AND get it into the trunk without it crashing to the ground. Or better yet, have 4 of my children walking out with a big stack too...and not dropping it. I also don't want to look like an idiot and I am trying to be "greener" so I've come to love reusable shopping bags!

I think stores in the US should consider ending the plastic AND paper bags that are handed out for FREE everyday. How do you think this would go over????

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sweet nap time.....not today!

Nap time is a time I look forward to each day. Everything is usually peaceful and quiet for a little while. Jacque, my 2 1/2 year old, wakes up in such a sweet and cheerful mood. He really needs this time everyday because he gets grumpy and it becomes very obvious that it IS nap time!

His bedroom is upstairs which seems normal. What isn't normal are the way these German houses are made. EVERY wall and floor is made of cement. Yes, the ceiling of the basement, main floor, and upstairs to the full attic are cement. They build these house to last for many generations. There is no wood framing in the house which makes it difficult to hang things, but that is a different story. Why am I mentioning this little detail?...It also creates a sound barrier!

So, my sweet little boy woke up from his nap today and went into the bathroom upstairs. Seems normal except for the fact that he did a little decorating with my nail polish. I love hot pink toes and he had very carefully watched me paint them yesterday.

As he came downstairs form his nap I could smell polish. In fact, the closer he came the stronger the odor!
This is what he was busy doing!
I'm wondering how long he was working on his little project?

Not a nail was overlooked!
Very detailed.....I guess I could say he colored in most of the lines.

I went to the bathroom to see the rest of his work!

I have to add that he was quit proud of his accomplishments...I was not! The polish was put away where he should not have been able to get into it...of course the stool he carefully brought in gave him that little extra help he needed to grab it.

Lesson learned: NEVER ever let your kids see you do something, no matter how big or small, that you wouldn't want them to use their ever increasing independence to do themselves!