Tuesday, December 25, 2007

They are here!

Rick, Dede, Elisabeth, Ben and Mikey made it! The only time it will be quiet is when they all are sleeping...like right now! Tomorrow we head out for some skiing and vacation. We will have lots of stories and pictures to share when we write again! Hope you all are enjoying your times with your families , as much as we are with ours!

Monday, December 24, 2007

These are a few of our favorite things...

On our first Christmas in Austria we bring you the following...

Living cross-culturally brings with it a mixture of excitement, confusion, & frustration. Humor is a necessary ingredient for longevity. In this spirit we bring you the following song, sung to the tune of the Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things.

Mozart and snowballs, chocolate and schnitzel,

New friends from school and the Glam Grams are well,

Neighbors who teach you to bake and to sing,

Theses are a few of our favorite things.

Vonage and ichat with friends and with family,

Quaint Christmas markets with toys, punch, and tea,

Up on our terrace we see to the Ring,

These are a few of our favorite things.

When the tram’s late,

Kids don’t feel great,

We can’t parse a verb,

We simply remember

our prayer team back home

And then we don’t get disturbed.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas from our family to yours...

Abby is on the mend. Thanks for your prayers, e-mails and calls of concern. Between loads of laundry, sanitizing the house and working on Christmas cards, I managed to make a batch of my favorite Christmastime cookies. Thanks to everyone who sent me red and green sugar!
Here is the recipe:

White Crack Sugar Cookies
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cream sugar, butter and shortening. Add egg yolks. Sift dry ingredients and add flavorings. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll into small balls and dip in red or green (or both)sugar. Bake at 350 for 8-10 min.

Another recipe that our family really enjoys is this...
You will find these at our house on Christmas morning...taste like cinnamon rolls, but way easier to make!

Magic Marshmallow Puff Pull-Aparts
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
3 tsp. cinnamon
2 (8oz) cans Pillsbury crescent rolls
16 marshmallows
1 stick melted butter

Heat oven to 375. In small bowl combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Separate dough into 16 triangles. Coat each marshmallow with melted butter and roll in sugar mixture. Place coated marshmallow on shortest side of each triangle. Roll up, starting at shortest side of the triangle, gently wrapping dough around the marshmallow and rolling to opposite side. Pinch edges of dough to seal. Coat each in melted butter and roll in sugar mixture. Place in 2 8" round pans and bake for 18-28 minutes-until deep golden brown.Cool slightly then drizzle with glaze.

Glaze: 1/2cup powdered sugar with 2-3 teaspoons milk. Melt in your mouth delicious!

A BIG, HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who have sent care packages and cards! It means so much for us to still feel like we are connected to those we love and miss back in the States! Sooner, or rather later, you will get our Hunters' Holiday Herald 2007, so be on the look out. You probably won't hear from us until after the New Year, as we look forward to just enjoying our family while they are here...please know that you are dearly loved and we wish you a Very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Late...Very Late!

So Abby started puking her guts out last night and literally just stopped about an hour ago...my day has consisted of laying next to her ALL day, getting her ice cold wash cloths (like Memoo did) for her forehead, reading stories, holding hair back and crushing ice cubes! I really wouldn't have wanted to do anything else than comfort my dear, sweet daughter...but please know this year that gifts and cards from the Hunter family will be LATE...VERY LATE!

The Countdown is on...

6 more days until the cousins come...14 more days til the Glam Grams arrive!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Everybody's got an opinion...

So tonight I overhear Luke telling Brad, "I like the cut, but not the color." Brad asks "why don't you like the color?" Luke responds, "because it's BLACK!" Then Brad follows-up with "I don't care what color it is, as long as it's not the WEDGE cut!"
And Luke then calls it a "wedgie?". Ugh.

First Haircut is a good experience!



Monday, December 17, 2007

A BIG chicken...

Tomorrow I go to get my first haircut and color since we left Florida the end of May. Pretty sad I know, but I am a BIG chicken. I have been trying to memorize words like stutzen, which means to trim and klein, which is small and ein bisschen, which is just a little bit! I have heard from a few folks around here that the hairstylists don't always listen to what you are telling them... and if I think about it, I have had that experience in the States too...like when I came home with a cut like this...

Anyway, tomorrow I will be armed with pictures of cuts and colors I like, words that should be helpful and a friend who speaks fluent German! There shouldn't be any problems right? Stay tuned...if I am happy, I will post pictures...and if it is really bad I probably will too!:)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Party

Brad and I don't know the first thing about wine and cheese...especially what types Austrians like. Thankfully our friend Herbert has a wine cellar in his house and the
man at the BIO Market was very helpful with the cheese selection. We had a great spread, a great turnout and a great time! Here are some photos!

Friday, December 14, 2007

This is what it is supposed to feel like...

My kitchen is warm from baking. Christmas music is playing. I look outside my window and big flakes of snow are falling slowly to the ground. My hollyberry candle is burning.

After spending many of our last 10 Christmases in Florida, I now remember why I like winter. Yes, it's cold...but also very beautiful. Ask me how I'm doing in February.

Here are a few things I am working on for our Christmas party tomorrow night...
Sugar cookies...mix compliments of the Cates Family!:) Thanks!

Toffee Caramel Squares (you can find the recipe here)

Impressive Bed-Head

Levi started the day with some impressive bed-head!

Hope your day is off to a great start!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I'm not sure if that's a real word, but it describes what this post is about. It means, read backwards to forwards, a "report on the experience of being humbled". That's a good way to describe my exam yesterday. At the end of the mere forty-five minutes allotted for this exam, I had 4 questions out of 14 (short answer, mini-essay questions) left unanswered, and I alone was left in the room. I scribbled something down for one of them which the professor said looked ok, and then the prof went on to ask me the last three questions orally, and graciously accepted my weak answers on two of them. I'm unsure of when we'll find out our grades, but my hope for now is ANY passing grade. Expectations have to be adjusted in such situations!

Thank you to all who prayed for me. Evidently God knew that I needed an "experience of being humbled" more than I needed a gold star.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Prayer Update December

Dear family and friends,

Forschungspraktikum: Datenerhebung
That's the name of one of the courses that I've been taking at University of Vienna. Research Practicum: Data Collection.

Not the most glamorous of courses for such a long name. Actually, that name's a piece of cake compared to another couple of words I have to get down before Wednesday's exam. Try Reproduzierbarkeitskoeffizienten and Fragebogenkonstruktionskriterien on for size. Yes, I admit it. I, Brad Hunter, am in over my head. I need your prayers as I go in for this exam.

Throughout the semester I have gotten to work together with 6 other students in a research group, researching superstitious beliefs of Austrians. It has led to some startling revelations for me, as conversations wander from simple "good luck charm"-type superstitions to esoteric beliefs to Zen meditation and Reiki. Nature abhors a vacuum, and in the immense spiritual hole left by the decline of the institutional church in Austria, Eastern thought is streaming in. Highly-sophisticated, yet broken people, are grasping for some sense of the divine. Pray that we, our team, and other Christians in the city may be able to point Viennese to the One who can truly satisfy their longings.

Also, would you pray that our visas would come through? We're still "legal", but we've been here almost 6 months, and it can be unnerving to live without a visa.

This Saturday we are hosting a Christmas party for many of the folks we've been building relationships with here. Pray for the aroma of Christ to be present in the way we welcome people. We plan to send out a Christmas greeting as well, but in the mean time, may the peace which only Christ can bring be yours this Christmas and forever.

As always, we are so grateful for you,
Brad, for the viennahunters

For those who have asked how to support us either monthly
or with a year-end gift, click HERE.

Rare moments...

It isn't very often I get to spend the afternoon with other American women, who are also here serving in Vienna. Today was one of those rare moments. Five of us from all parts of the US, with varied life and ministry experiences gathered together for a nice lunch and fellowship. We laughed, cried, shared our struggles and joys. (and I even learned where I could buy a ceiling fan!) It felt normal. I didn't have to give anyone strange looks because I understood everything they said, I didn't have to explain what I do with my time, because they all understood what adjusting to a new culture is like. I forgot how much I missed just hanging out with other women who could understand me! We also ate chocolate! Really good chocolate desserts!:)

After my time with the girls, I took the children to see a movie. Brad needs all the quiet he can get as he studies for his test tomorrow, so we went to see "Mr. Magoriums Wonder Emporium". It is with Natalie Portman, Dustin Hoffman and Jason Bateman. I had never heard of it until today, and it actually was a sweet movie, filled with all sorts of lines like "Life is an occasion-rise to it"! Cheesy I know, but it was nice to just watch a "feel good" sort of movie. We don't go to movies in the theater that often, so that was a rare moment in and of itself, but rarely do we also eat popcorn and gummy bears for dinner! Another treat!

Speaking of treats, I took some of my favorite bread to my lunch to share with the girls. Everyone I know here in Vienna is getting this bread for Christmas. Teachers, neighbors and friends! I wrapped the finished product in aluminum foil, tied it with some silver ribbon and attached a silver cookie cutter! Ta! Da! My attempt to be Martha Stewart like. Below is the recipe!

Poppy Seed Bread Recipe

3 cups flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/8 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons each of vanilla, almond extract and butter flavoring

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon each of vanilla, almond extract and butter flavoring

Mix all the ingredients together for 1-2 minutes with an electric mixer. Put batter in 2 large loaf pans or 4 small ones; bake for 45-one hour in 350 degree oven.
Right after I take them out of the oven, I pour the glaze over the top of the bread, while it is still in the pan...then it seeps into the warm bread. Remove from pan when cooled completely.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Abby's Artwork

Inspired from Luke 2:1-16

Thursday, December 06, 2007

St. Nikolaus Day

Last night our neighbors invited us over for a St. Nikolaus Party."St. Nikolaus brought his bag of goodies and passed a bag out to each of the children, filled with candy, nuts, fruit and a few toys.

Unfortunately, I can never get these vertical photos to rotate...but you get the point. This is our neighbor Peter, who played the part of St. Nikolaus. Abby said she knew he wasn't real because "his brown eyebrows didn't match his hair";)

Today, authentic, homemade Austrian treats brought over by one of our neighbors to help us celebrate St.Nikolaus Day!

As if there wasn't enough excitement around here, but our good friend (a pastor and missionary from St. Andrews) Gordon Woolard arrived this morning from the States. He is on his way to teach in Kenya, but stopped for a few days to hang out! This afternoon we went to the Schönbrunn Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market). We enjoyed looking at all of the beautiful things and even saw the "real" St. Nikolaus, who was passing out goodies to the children.

Our kids are a bit confused, as Santa never looked so slim, nor did he ever wear a bishop's hat and carry a staff in the US. To clarify (or maybe add to the confusion), Brad keeps calling St. Nikolaus "Santa's Austrian brother". In Austria, Nikolaus comes on Dec. 6 and either fills shoes or little bags for the kids and then the "Christ Child" comes on Dec. 23 with presents and decorates the tree only then. (And a friend told us that in Italy Santa's wife brings presents on 3 Kings Day in January.) Classic.

Back at our place, Gordon enjoys a good beer, while Luke shows off his new Nutcracker and Levi "cheeses" for the camera!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


An Advent Wreath. This is the first thing you see when you walk into Levi's school. Last week they were for sale at every grocery store and market. The kids even made some in school. What is "Advent"? While I am not exactly sure how most people here interpret it's meaning, I found this helpful from a website that Brad's brother gave us.

"Advent is a word that means "coming" or "arrival". It is a four-week period in which the church remembers the promises of Jesus' first coming, and looks forward to his promise to come again. Thus, Advent is a season of tension. Christ has come, and yet not all things have reached completion. While we remember Israel's waiting and hoping and we give thanks for Christ's birth, we also anticipate his second coming at the end of time. Just as John the Baptist told the Jewish people to "prepare" for the Lord's coming, we need to encourage each other to be ready for his coming again, when he will fulfill God's promises. Indeed the wolf will lie down with the lamb, death will be swallowed up and every tear will be wiped away".

I am longing for this day.

It goes on to explain "The Christian Church has observed a Christmas season since the 4th century. There was always a period of preparation before Christmas Day, which varied between 3-7 weeks, and functioned as a penitential season, a time for discipline and intentional repentance in the confident expectation and hope of Christ's return. In the 10th century the 4 week pattern was finally settled(so we've only been doing this for a millennium)! European Christians used greenery and candles to enhance the season, and that practice has caught on in America and around the world in recent years. The Advent wreath itself is a tradition that is centuries old. A candle is lit during and for each week until Christmas Eve when all 5 candles are lit. Three of the candles are purple, which is a penitential color (a symbol of self examination and preparation). They remind us that, just as the prophets and John the Baptist called Israel to "get ready for the Lord," we need to be doing the same thing! The pink candle for the fourth week of Advent signals a transition to the white candle, the "Christ candle", which is lit on Christmas Eve. This reminds us that it is not all "preparation"-Jesus really came, and will really come again."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ebola in Uganda

To all who read this post, please pray for the World Harvest Mission Uganda Team. The horrific ebola virus has hit their district, with at least 18 dead already. The situation is dire, and we need an army to rise up and commit to pray. Who will join our brothers and sisters?

Click HERE to read their blog and learn how to pray.

"When one part of the body suffers, all suffer..." 1 Corinthians 12:26