Monday, January 18, 2010

Sony Touch Reader!

Are you or your spouse Active Duty Military? Yes....Have you ever wanted to try out a Sony Touch Reader? If so, here is your chance to win one for FREE. Check out the giveaway at Household 6 Diva!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's time for skiing!

Today was the first day of ski lessons for the kids. They were all really excited this morning! It is amazing how quickly they can get ready when they want to!! In fact, we didn't even have to wake them up because they were already out of bed and getting ready!! Now, if I can only get them to do this on school days!
Here they are just before loading their gear under the bus.
......and they are off!Colton will be learning the tricks to snowboarding and the girls are learning to ski for 8 weeks. The ski area is located about 40 minutes away. They get to ski from 9:00 to 3:00...long day, but tons of fun! The last week is the BIG ski trip to the Black Forest (awesome opportunity for them)!

It has been really cold around here lately and there has been an enormous amount of snow. It was like we were driving in a winter wonderland today. The trees have been frozen for the past few days and look beautiful.
Here's a close up....

Monday, January 11, 2010

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

I recently purchased this cookbook and have been very pleased with what I've made so far! The potpie on the cover was delicious and the Ham & Egg Casserole for breakfast on Sunday was great too! However, the King Ranch Chicken Casserole was a huge hit the other night for dinner!!! I didn't take any pictures to share, wish I had, so here is the recipe instead. I seem to have trouble actually measuring anything that I have to cut so I'm going to add what I actually did in GREEN. This really was YUMMY!
What do you need??
1 C onion, diced
(diced up 1 huge Vidalia onion)

1 C green pepper, diced
(diced up a really ginormous pepper)

8 oz pkg sliced mushrooms
(sliced an entire pkg......I really, really like them!)

1/4 C butter
10 3/4 oz cream of mushroom soup
10 3/4 oz cream of chicken soup
10 oz can tomatoes with chilis
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T chili powder
1 T chicken broth
12 (6inch) corn tortillas, torn into quarters...oops, forgot to quarter
3 C cooked chicken, diced, and divided
(just diced an ENTIRE pkg of chicken breasts...way more than 3 C)
16 oz pkg shredded cheddar cheese, divided
(actually used the Mexican mix instead)

How to put it together:
Saute onion, pepper, and mushrooms in butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add soups, tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, and broth; heat until bubbly and set aside.

Arrange half the tortilla pieces in a lightly greased 13" x 9" baking dish; top with half the chicken, half the sauce and half the cheese. Repeat layers. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees (well...I had to cook at 176 Celsius) for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serves 6.

I also need to THANK my husband for putting up with my love for mushrooms. He despises them, but he puts up with me cooking them! Sarah is with me on the mushroom love so at least it is not all for me:) He nonchalantly picks them out into a huge pile and saves them for me (or Sarah)...what a guy!!! I found a kit the other day for growing your own mushrooms...he put his foot down on that one. I thought it sounded like a fantastic idea!

Almost favorite thing....

The slide from the 747 was a huge hit with the kids..and the big ones too:)
Just around the corner we saw this....

This submarine was used for almost 30 years.
We've never been inside of a submarine so this was pretty exciting for everyone!
I have to say, it was a little scary to get into though!
We all managed to climb down!

The first thing we saw was the torpedo area.
The numbers match the ones on the outside of the submarine.
Here is torpedo #1.....

This is one of the tightest spots.....

Here is a view from the opposite end that we entered.
You can see the spiral steps that we climbed to the top.

Section of the Berlin Wall......

Jacque & Ian patiently waiting for me to get out of the sub.....

Friday, January 8, 2010

Now that's a slide!

Once we headed outside the kids were totally looking for this.....
Boeing 747

Here's why....
Yep, you get to slide ALL THE WAY DOWN!
There was an old phone booth that housed the slide blankets.....
Getting ready to slide down.....

...and down they came!

Yes, everyone headed back up to do it all over again!

Here is a glimpse at the next outdoor highlight....

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles......

Align CenterLast Saturday we decided to take the kids over to the Technic Museum in Speyer. We have driven past this place several times and it has been on our "we'd like to go there" list. We really were not sure what to expect. As it turns out....this place is HUGE. If you have kids and they like planes, trains, automobiles, or anything else mechanical then this is the place to go!

There are a couple of steam engine trains in the building. The kids were able to walk around the inside of the engine which they loved! We put a 1Euro in the machine outside the train so they could see the wheels turn and listen to how LOUD they are!
There were all kinds of planes in the building.....many more outside too.

Does this not look like the plane from Madagasscar Out of Africa??
The kids sure think so!

There were lots of interesting firetrucks....

A beautiful carosel that also ran for a Euro....

Jacque considered dashing under the ropes to catch a ride....
we had to catch him a couple of times!

Music anyone??

...all of these played too!

Ready for a "Mini" tour??

Some random cars....

Check out that license plate.....
I guess a little US car history!

Completely random yet interesting....

Here is a sneak peak at the one of the kids''ll be surprised why!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dachau Concentration Camp

We headed towards Munich to visit the Dachau Memorial Site. I have been asked numerous times if we took our children....the answer is yes. I know that some people would disagree with our decision, but we couldn't have them miss out on this learning opportunity. With that said, here is our experience at the Memorial.

The railroad tracks that led to the front gate of Dachau.
They eventually ran right through the gate and into the Camp.

The front gate....

We have read books, watched videos, and talked about the Holocaust and none of them came close to the 4 hours we spent at Dachau. Through these gates is a piece of history that was inhumane, appalling, sad, and just plain difficult to believe ever happened. This was the first Concentration Camp and the one which all others were modeled after.

Work sets you free....on the entrance gate

We rented the little audio tour guide so we could have more explanation in English. What is great about this guide is it not only plays descriptions of given places, but it also has a survivor of the camp talk about each location. The children were very interested in hearing what the survivors had to say about different area in the camp. They said, "we learned more about what happened there from the real people." I recommend renting the audio tour....I'd also get one for everyone!! We made the mistake of only renting one which caused a few disagreements since each of the kids wanted to hold it while it was playing! They are super cheap (3,50 Euro) so spring for a few extras!

The area when you enter the gates was known as Roll-call Square. There were some buildings to the right that we went to next. Ironically, there was a prison inside the camp. The prison was the first building we toured. Lauren is standing in front of one of the "standing cells." The cells were modified to make 4 small connected compartments which were each 12"x12" (I don't remember how high they were). You can see a diagram of how this small cell held 4 people.

Here is a glimpse at the forbidden area....the grass.
Prisoners were shot if they touched the grass.
Sometimes they intentionally entered this zone to put an end to their misery.

One of the watchtowers...

There were 34 prisoner barracks that were built to hold 6,000. By the end of 1934, there were over 30,000 prisoners in these barracks. The barracks were demolished after the liberation. There are numbered stones representing the location of each building.

There are 2 reconstructed barracks that visitors can tour.

The prisoner bath area was in the building that housed most of the artifacts. This area became an additional site for punishing the prisoners. Pole hangings happened in the bath area between 1941 and 1942. Remnants of the hooks can still be seen on the pillars that divide the room.

You can see the floor of the bath under this table that was used for another form of punishment.

The museum is quite large and houses the movie theater. We opted not to watch the video since we had the kids with us (too graphic). One of the things that I didn't realize the extent of was the experimental testing that was conducted on prisoners. These include high pressure testing, cold water survival, and numerous medical procedures/testing. There are pictures and many artifacts on the prisoners made, clothing, eating utensils, shaving kits, etc...

We left the museum and walked the grounds. This brought us around to one corner where there was a small bridge. The crematory was located on the other side and was very much hidden away from the prisoner area.

Here is an "illegal" picture of the crematory that was able to be recovered.....

Here it is today....

Have you ever seen the movie "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?"
If so, the crematory is set up just like in the movie.
This was the entrance to the gas chamber.

There are a couple of rooms that led to the crematory...

Our day was coming to an end as we headed back to the Visitor Center. We saw this dedication on the wall just on the other side of the gate.

I can say that we all learned something today.
The kids did have some questions:
"Why did people listen to Hitler?"
"Why didn't they just not listen? "
"Why would people do such mean things?"