Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Favorites-Donauinsel Wasserspielplatz

With the temperatures soaring again today, Levi and I decided to meet Luke and Abby and the rest of the kids from their hort class at the Donauinsel Wasserspielplatz.

It comes complete with a spraying fish
a few imported palm trees
a floating dock attached to a rope, that the kids can make continuous trips on
plenty of places to run and explore and most importantly, freezing cold water!  (and I almost forgot to mention that it is FREE!)

It was a great time of fun in the sun!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Meet Alma

Hier ist Alma. Sie ist meine Freundin.

That is about all I can write before it all starts to unravel for me...but anyway,

This is my friend Alma. She has been in my German class with me since I first started. She originally is from Albania, but she and her family have been in Vienna now for almost 2 years. A few nights ago we had Alma and her daughter Ingrid over for dinner..oh and her dog "Jessica" came to! Her husband works for an oil company, so he is out of town a lot.

It was such a blessing to have them over and learn a lot about Albania and what it was like to grow up in the Communist era. She had a lot of interesting stories to share and it was really nice to be out of the "school" environment.

I am hopeful that our friendship will continue to grow outside of the classroom setting...and I think we also may have scored her 16 year old daughter as a babysitter! Ingrid speaks really good English, she loves playing Monopoly and she needs community service hours for school!

The Common Loon...

Our Lukey sometimes has a hard time falling asleep at night...

I think he has trouble shutting his mind down. Recently we have told him that he can read for awhile until he gets tired. He has been taking it a step further though, and has been doing "reports" for us (even though we haven't asked for them)!

So here is last night's...

The Common Loon is an incredible bird.  Did you know it can dive 150 feet?  His favorite food is fish.  He can dive up to a minute.

Size: 37 inches

The Common Loon lives in North America.

(Here is the best sentence...)

They only breed in non-icy water lakes.

(Who knew...yet I completely understand why!  Ha!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Terrace Time

I am having flashbacks to last summer when we played "The Polar Express" using every fan we had to blow any sort of breeze our way, as the temperatures were into the high 90's and even 100! Now I don't know exactly what the temperature got up to today...but it felt really HOT!
Fortunately, we are more settled than last summer and now our terrace is a place where we can find a much needed cool breeze, a comfortable table and plenty of sights to keep us occupied! Here is Levi with his art supplies making a card for the Glam Grams...,

Here is one of my Clematis flowers that are blooming....
Here is just one of the many planes that fly overhead and Levi took time to count...
And let us not forget the crane that carries the cement to the top of the construction site on the building a few doors over...this can keep Levi occupied for a loooong time...

Now we are headed inside to make some popcorn and watch a is too hot to make dinner!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Heavy Heart...

I wrote on my Facebook status that I had a "heavy heart" and many of you have written to check on me...well, our family is doing fine.

My heart is actually heavy for another family who was just given the news that their wife's cancer has spread. This is a wife, a mom, a grandmother and friend. I hate cancer...I hate that this world is broken and that there is so much suffering and sadness. I am more and more longing for complete restoration in heaven and also more and more thankful for the work of Jesus on the Cross.

I started reading "Restoring Broken Things", by Steven Curtis Chapman and Scotty Smith in February after our team leader's retreat. It was there that I heard Scotty speak on how God is in fact "making all things new" Revelation 21:5. Life sort of got in the way, and I never finished the book. Since hearing of the death of Steven's daughter, I have picked up the book again. I highly recommend it for anyone who is struggling with any sort of brokenness...which if we are honest is all of us.

So my heart is heavy. Heavy for my friend with cancer, heavy for the Chapman family who lost their five year old daughter in a tragic accident and heavy for many in this city that are far away from the God I love.

P.S.  If you get a chance, please listen to the sermon that Scotty Smith preached the Sunday after Maria Chapman was buried.  It is powerful.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Perfect for a Picnic

Today we have been invited to a picnic in our friend's garden. The weather isn't quite so perfect, but the brownies that Levi and I made are pretty is the recipe:

1 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped nuts
*I also added 1 cup of dark chocolate chips

spread onto 1 inch cookie sheet
Bake 20 min. at 350 degrees
(Taken from Reader's Digest)

Here is Levi using his foot to push the button to chop the nuts in the food processor, cause he doesn't want to put down the beaters that he is ever so carefully licking!!! He's a smart little fellow when it comes to his chocolate!

Look at all of those rich Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips...are you drooling yet?
Levi doesn't stop with the beaters, he has to eat the batter off of the spatula too...I'm telling you, the batter is that good! (I promise that he only does this after I have poured them into the pan;) Enjoy your brownies and have a good weekend ...we are off for a little adventure that we will tell you all about next week...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Wishes!

Last year at this time we got to have a double birthday celebration for my sister-in-law, Dede and my Grandpa, Mel. Dede's birthday is the 20th and my Grandfather's is the 21st...if you get a chance, tell them "Alles Gute Zum Geburtstag!" Which means...All good things on your birthday!

(hey, I couldn't say that a year ago...aren't you all impressed!)

We hate that we can't eat cake with you this year too! We love and miss you both very much!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sweet Silas

This is sweet Silas. He is just a few days old. Isn't he precious? Since we moved here, we have had the pleasure of getting to know his parents, Eric and Melissa. They are also from the States and are doing ministry in Vienna. Every month or so the ladies meet for fun activities or prayer and the guys meet for prayer...they don't need as much fun as we girls do! :)

Anyway, today we went with Missy and Kai (another couple who are also part of the group) to visit them in the hospital. Here are a few shots I got...

After our time at the hospital, we worked up an appetite and so we headed out to Centimeter...where our food was served in a wheelbarrow. Yep, the picture proves it. Everyone should try food served from a is one of the many perks of living in Wien:)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Who knew...Waterloo

There is always something going on in Vienna. Last night was no exception. We headed out to the Rathaus to see if we could scout out any famous people who were in town for the Life Ball, an eclectic event which raises money for AIDS awareness. (supposedly Sharon Stone is attending, but Bill Clinton had to least according to the papers)

We started our evening adventure, by first getting a bite to eat at our favorite, reasonably priced Mexican restaurant in the city called Fresco Grill.

How would you like to sink your teeth into one of these puppies...

Anyway, back to our story. We filled our bellies with tacos and burritos and then headed out to where we saw a crowd gathered and music blaring. You won't believe it, but the one and only "Waterloo" was playing live on the streets. We were so close, we could almost reach out and touch his flowing mane. You mean to tell me you don't know who Waterloo is? Only one of Austria's greatest 70s rockers, that's who.

Here Brad is really chanting "OOOH Waterloo!"

To experience more Waterloo, click HERE and make sure you check out choice photos of Waterloo as an Indian chief, Waterloo with a zebra, Waterloo dressed in all white in the middle of a highway with shirt unbuttoned, Waterloo and chimp, Waterloo on Germany's Dancing with the know, all the sorts of things 1970s Austrian rockers are in to.

Friday Favorites-Laxenburg

So, earlier in the week I told you about how we went to Laxenburg on Mother's Day...
and now it is one of our family's favorite places!  It was the spring and summer residence of the Habsburgs and it was beautiful!  There were gardens, parks, climbing trees, a castle with a moat, a lake where you could rent electric boats,  and a cafe where you could get anything from Schnitzel to ice cream!  Joanna Foley came with us (she lives in Budapest)  and we met our friends, Thomas and Gianna (Alice and Christopher's parents).  It is the perfect place to relax, explore, play, eat and take LOTS of pictures!  Click here and here if you want to see more!  

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Translation required...

Abby found a note today that she had forgotten to give me on Mother's Day.  It was very sweet, but I found that it needed a little translation.  See if you can figure out the original version before you read the translated version.

Mommy I love you and I lick win you put me to bed.
Mommy I lick win you go sopin wich me.
Mommy I lick win you dresup wich me.
You r Prite.

Mommy I love you and I like when you put me to bed.
Mommy I like when you go shopping with me.
Mommy I like when you dress up with me.
You are pretty.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Summer Eating...

Those of you who know me, know that I am a woman of cravings.  Lately since it has started to feel more like summer around here, I have been craving things that I would term "summery".  Like homemade lemonade and BLT's,  or delicious salsa that you can whip up in a flash without heating up the kitchen.  So, I thought I would share some recipes that we have been enjoying these last few weeks...
Here is the recipe for the salsa:

 1 can crushed tomatoes
A few more tomatoes that I have on hand, diced
1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 1 green pepper all finely chopped (I use the Pampered Chef chopper)
1 small red onion finely chopped
1 lime juiced
1-2 T. olive oil
lots of salt and pepper (to taste)
1 handful of cilantro finely chopped

Best if made ahead of time so the flavors can marinate, but not can also make it spicy if you want!  Serve with chips of your choice.

And while I know swimsuit season is just around the corner, I was craving this little number above too...A Vanilla Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Coconut frosting.  I adapted the cake from the "Cake Mix Doctor" cookbook and the frosting from The Barefoot Contessa Coconut Cupcakes recipe.

Here is the cake:
1 French Vanilla boxed cake mix
1 package(3.9 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup warm water 
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup coconut

Mix together and bake in a bundt pan for 40 mins. at 350 or (until toothpick comes back clean) 

For the frosting I sort of guessed, so you might want to look up the specific amounts on the Food Network site

1 package cream cheese softened
1 stick butter softened
1 box powdered sugar (give or take a little)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract

Beat together with mixer until smooth.

Once the cake is cool, frost and then sprinkle with some leftover coconut!  Yummy!  
It sort of feels healthy cause there is coconut on it:)  

Happy (almost) Summer Eating!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Great Mother's Day!

My Mother's Day began early on Saturday when our neighbor brought over this yummy strawberry torte...and only got better when I started my Sunday with a delicious breakfast "fit for a queen" and the arrival of our friend Joanna, who came in from Budapest for a few days.

My special gift was a rose bush for our terrace.
We spent our day in the town of Laxenburg at a castle.  We packed a picnic lunch and spent the afternoon relaxing with our friends, Thomas, Gianna, Alice and Christopher and Joanna of course.  I will post more from our time there on Friday, as it definitely is a new family favorite.

We went to evening worship at the church we are currently attending here and then ended the day with s'mores!  Here is our neighbor Alfred eating his first s'more EVER!!!  His life is forever changed thanks to the Hunters!:)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

We love and miss you!!!

Friday Favorites-Kids Edition

With the EURO2008 just a few weeks away, there is a certain buzz around Vienna. Everyone seems to be getting excited about the fussball matches that are going to be played here...even my kids! That is in part because of a brilliant marketing scheme.

A company called Panini, has put out an official sticker book for the EURO2008 and you can get them for free at McDonalds. The stickers (players, stadiums, teams etc.) are sold at every Tabak (a place where you can buy passes for public transportation, magazines and of course, cigarettes) and McDonalds. The stickers themselves are reasonably inexpensive...but the brilliant scheme of the marketers is that collecting them is ADDICTIVE! Especially since everyone wants to FILL their books up.

The good thing about these albums is that everyone can do it (boys and girls)...and most of the kids at Luke and Abby's school carry around these albums and show off their collections and trade with one another. For our kids, it is also teaching them about geography and is helping them feel like they are a part of the culture that they are now living in.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tabea's Bridal Shower

Last Saturday was Tabea's surprise bridal shower!  I don't know how they pulled it off, but she definitely was surprised!
Here she is hugging her maid of honor, Rahel.

Daniel got to be a part of the action for a little while too!  She had to guess answers to questions that he had been asked about their relationship.  If she got an answer wrong, then she had to eat a sour piece of candy.
Tabea also had to prove that she was ready to be a wife, by showing off her cooking skills!  She had to make whipping cream in a certain time frame...and she did it!:)

Here we all are toasting to Daniel and Tabea's bright future and Happy Marriage...
Along with a few games, I did a short devotional and then we got to encourage Tabea by leaving her special notes on a flower that had been made.
This is Tabea's future mother-in-law.  She is an amazing seamstress, and is making Tabea's wedding dress and all of the bridesmaids dresses!
And last but certainly not least, here is Tabea's proud momma!