Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Whirlwind...

The Glam Grams arrived just in time to see Abby's last ballet class.
It was fun to watch what she had learned over the last 6 months.  It also was really a great time for she and her best friend, Alice to spend time together.

Of course a visit from Memoo wouldn't be complete without pulling one of Abby's teeth out...once again, she didn't disappoint and the tooth fairy made another visit (I think Memoo has pulled at least 4 of Abby's 8 teeth that she has lost) Abby is pretty convinced that Memoo is the REAL tooth fairy!

On Friday, the kids finally finished school and full-time summer could begin!  I am certainly ready to take a break from getting up at 6:15 am, packing backpacks and snacks and having to maintain routine. 
And finally, Daniel and Tabea's wedding.  I must say it was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever been to!  She was stunning, he was gushing and the setting was spectacular!  It was such a privilege to be a part of it!
All of these events have been extra special because we have gotten to share some of our everyday life with Memoo and Neena!  It is hard being so far away from our immediate sharing these moments with them have been extra sweet!

Tomorrow we head for a few days of vacation...
and we plan on more laughter, more rest and more ice cream and I am sure more fights about who gets to sleep with which Glam Gram!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Fruit Loops are here...

you may think that I am referring to the Glam Grams being here, but really I am referring to special requests made by the kids!  

We have been having lots of fun eating Fruit Loops for breakfast and dessert!  There is too much to write about and I don't have the we all need to get ready for Tabea and Daniel's wedding today...but check back later this weekend and I will fill you in on all the excitement we have been up to!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Yesterday we got Abby's report card and were so surprised that she got all "smileys"!
Last semester she still needed to work on her understanding of German and her ability to speak in sentences ...but all her hard work paid off and she finished the semester very well.

We are very proud of all of the kids accomplishments! If you would like to see some photos of all of our school programs, then click here

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Year Ago Today...

A year ago today we flew into Vienna with our 14 bags and a lot more unknowns.

When will the rest of our stuff arrive? Where would we live? Who will be our friends? How will the kids adjust? How long will it take for Stacey to learn German? (still an unknown I suppose:)

Sometimes it seems like we landed just yesterday, while other days it seems like we have been here for years. We have seen God graciously carry and provide for us in more ways than we can count. We are so thankful for how well the kids have transitioned and the friendships that we have made. This would not have been possible without the prayers and support of many people all over the world. For that we are also grateful.

A year ago when we landed, our goal for the coming year was to build a foundation that would enable us to feel at home and established in Vienna. For those who have been following this blog, you got to watch this process unfold, with failures and successes along the way--
learning our way around the city by public transportation and by car (and learning lots of new driving right turn on red!), German-German-German language for both Stacey and Brad, learning a whole new University German, starting an in depth study of the spiritual beliefs and practices of Viennese, making all new friends--mostly Austrians--and learning from them the spoken and unspoken rules of the culture, building relationships with other Christians in the city, receiving visits from potential teammates (and friends and family too!), and getting to know and love the city. Looking back on this year, we really have much to rejoice in...

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Favorite-Sacher Hotel

Here is a quick Friday I am off to breakfast with a friend. We are going here.
If you ever get to Vienna, it is a must see and you also must try the famous Sacher-Torte too!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Parties, Parties and more Parties...

The last day of school is next Friday, and the "end of school programs" have been in full-force. Since last Saturday, we have had 5! Yep, I said that right...five! You are counting on your fingers right now thinking, but they only have 3 kids...well, Abby had one, Luke had one, they had a "sommerfest" for the entire school, their hort celebrated their 10th anniversary and then Levi had one too!

One of the main reasons that I haven't blogged all week is because we are just plain "partied out"! Brad is finishing up his big paper, a sermon and the wedding ceremony for Tabea and Daniel, so I can't post any pictures because they are all on his computer.

But because the parties aren't over yet...tonight I made a 9x13 pan of this...
as we have another party tomorrow night for this happy couple!

Check back later this weekend for some better updates!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day...again

I say Happy Father's Day again, because really we celebrated last Sunday in Austria.  It's funny that we celebrate Mother's Day on the same day, but Father's Day is a week earlier than in the States.  Who knows...I'm sure there is a reason I don't know about.

Anyway, we celebrated Brad, and the kids presented him with all sorts of goodies that they made in school.  My favorite is the "tie" card that Abby made!  I also made him one of his favorites...Sunburst Lemon Bars!  Below is the recipe.  

Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there!

Sunburst Lemon Bars

 2 cups Flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened

4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice

Heat oven to 350. Mix base ingredients until crumbly.  Press evenly in the bottom of an ungreased 13x9 pan.  Bake 20-30 minutes or until light brown.

Meanwhile, combine filling ingredients EXCEPT lemon juice. Blend well.  Then right before you add the filling to the crust, stir in the lemon juice.

Remove the pan from the oven, pour the filling over the warm base. Return to oven and bake 25-30 more minutes.  

Cool 1 hour.

Combine 1 cup powdered sugar and enough juice for desired glazing consistency; blend until smooth.  Glaze cooled bars.  Cut into bars.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Levi and the lollipop...

Levi:  Mom, guess which cheek has the lollipop in it?

Me:  Uhh, Let me guess...and I point to the cheek without the stick hanging out of it

Levi:  I won!  You lost!  It's this one mom...Ha! Ha! Ha!
I love this little guy with the lollipop!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Favorites: Another new friend

So we have another new friend...sort of. Brad brought this little guy home for me a few weeks ago and I just love him! Just look at that face! Sweet, yet probably bound to get himself into trouble! He totally belongs in our family. You can meet him if you come to our terrace!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Klavier Spielen

Abby had her first piano (Klavier) lesson yesterday! From what I understood, she did very well.

See, the woman who gave her the lesson lives in our building and until yesterday, Brad had been communicating with her. I asked him several times if she spoke English and he kept telling me, "I'm sure she does!". When we met yesterday for the lesson (she comes to our flat) she immediately started talking to me as if I knew German (Ha!) so I asked her if she knew English...her response...Nope.

Anyway, we all survived, with another lesson planned for next week. Most importantly, Abby loved her teacher, understood her and had fun learning a new song! Bravo Abby!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


We aren't big soccer fans...but if you live in Vienna while the Euro 2008 is happening then you must check out what all the hype is about! So last Sunday we ventured out with our kids in tow, wearing red and white and donning painted faces (well, Abby and Brad painted Austrian flags on their faces). I thought Brad was going a bit overboard until we encountered other fans on the U-bahn and then in the Fanzone. Wow! Some folks go all out. It was quite a site to see. Here are a few statistics in the paper regarding the Fanzone ring at the Rathaus:

74,420 Fans
300,000 Drinking Cups
86 Food Stands
1200 Toilets
500 Police officers
320 Private security guards
and 5 crazy Americans trying to check it all out!:)

We got through the security and then ventured into the crowd with another family that we are friends with. It soon got crazy when Croatia scored against Austria in the first 4 minutes. We decided that it would be better to find a quieter spot with a better view of the massive screen viewing the game...

on our way to the "better spot" we saw 3 vans filled with police officers getting out and putting on their riot friend and I were like the paparazzi trying to get a few good shots. Then as we lingered around, we also got to see those that they had taken into custody! We were glad we decided to move!

All in all, it was a fun adventure for all of us. Brad and Luke plan to go back to see a few more games...I however have had enough of the crowds and chaos! :) 

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Popsicle sticks...

Almost every evening we do "Family Worship" with our kids. Most of the time it is after dinner, and we make our best attempts to sing some songs with Brad on the guitar. We also do a short lesson...usually with memory work. Currently we are learning the Westminster Creed, with hand motions and some catchy tunes and using the book Training Hearts Teaching Minds, by Starr Meade.

Last night we were memorizing "we believe that God has forordained whatever comes to pass" and when it was Levi's turn to repeat it, this was his response...

"we believe God has four more dames whatever comes to pass"...always a teaching moment!:)

So why the popsicle sticks you ask?
These are our "prayer sticks". We write the names of our family and friends on them and each night when we end our time of worship, each family member gets to pick a stick and then pray for that person. I can't remember where I got the idea, but the kids have fun with it (aside from the occasional fight that occurs because one sibling wants the other siblings stick) and it is easy to do. Our hope is that it also instills a love for praying for others!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Favorites-Milka chocolate!

Anyone who knows our family, knows that food is really one of our main love languages. We love good food, and we love good for my Friday Favorite I will highlight my favorite chocolate bar that you can find around these parts..MILKA!
We chop it for cookies...
We melt it to dip our fruits in...

and we also eat it in bulk just by the bars! There are too many different types of Milka chocolates to name, but my favorite is the Zartherb, which is the dark chocolate. It is creamy, rich and just plain D-lish! :) ( Yep, I'm on a chocolate high right now, and that is why I am rhyming things with words like D-lish)

I'll leave you with a recipe that I made today using the Milka bar to add the finishing touch to my Banoffee pie... a recipe that my friend Wilma gave me:

Start by removing the labels from 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk and submerge them in water, making sure to cover the entire can

Boil for the next 3 hours...yep, I wrote that right...3 hours, making sure to keep the cans fully covered in water, so they don't EXPLODE!
Sometime during those 3 hours...take your butter cookies or graham crakers(whatever your country offers) and crush them in your food processor...

then add some pecans, and continuing crushing until you make a fine crust...
add some melted butter to your cookies and pecans and then pat it into your pie dish and bake it until it turns golden brown...
ok...3 hours have gone by, yep..3! But look what happens to your sweetened condensed turns into a rich caramel sauce! Just be careful when you remove your cans from the boiling water and be sure to have a towel nearby when you open your the carmel wants to oooze out all over the place...
pour your cans of carmel over your crust and let it cool for awhile...once cool, add a layer of cut bananas over the top of your caramel...

now beat some whipping cream...cover your pie or just add a dollop to your piece, whatever you are in the mood for...
then bring out the Milka dark chocolate...(unless you don't live in Austria)
use a grater to shave a bar until it covers your whipped cream to your liking...

now grab a fork and DIG IN my friend! It is D-lish! Yep, still on my chocolate high...

Banoffee Pie (recipe from Wilma Graham)

Boil 2 unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk for 3 hours. Make sure the cans stay completely covered in water, or they could explode.

About 12 cookies or 7 "Digestive biscuits" is what she uses, crushed
1/2c chopped pecans
1/2c melted butter

Mix and press into the bottom of a pie pan. Bake at 350 until golden brown.

Spread the toffee/caramel over the crust.

Cut up about 3 bananas and put over the toffee. Top with whipped cream (use about 2-3T of sugar and 1/2 t of vanilla to sweeten your whipped cream)

After putting on the whipped cream, shave dark chocolate pieces or sprinkle with cocoa powder

Thursday, June 05, 2008


We all look forward to Thursdays.  School lets out at 12 and usually we head to McDonalds for lunch with Gianna and Alice.  Then the girls are off to ballet.  Once again Abby has amazed me with her perseverance and desire to learn...even when all of the instruction is in German.  She and Alice really have a lot of fun in class and it has also been a time for Gianna and I to spend some quality time together.  Hope your Thursday is as much fun as ours...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Put it into perspective...

So, I think that I didn't do so hot on my German test today (even though many of my neighbors said they would "press their thumbs for me"...I don't think it worked) Been pretty bummed and then I read THIS

It put it all back into perspective for poor little ol me who didn't do so good on her silly German test...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bodensee Konferenz

Here's a belated post of our weekend on the Bodensee (Lake Constance, in far western Austria) May 23-25, where we attended a conference of the Evangelical Reformed Church. Church members and leaders from Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Ukraine, and America (yes, that's us) all gathered to discuss the establishment and growth of churches. It was an invigorating and exhausting weekend, getting to hang out with Christians from all over and being encouraged by them, yet driving 7 1/2 hours each way. The kids very much enjoyed spending time with the other children, trying to understand Swiss German and Vorarlberg dialect, while they put on their best Viennese German.

On the drive from far eastern Vienna to the westernmost section of Austria, we also passed through a little chunk of Germany for about 50 Kilometers. There I (Brad) got to fulfill a life-long dream, driving rather swiftly and completely legally on the speed-limit-free German Autobahn.

Here's a shot of the Motley Crew:

See lots more pictures of the weekend HERE.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Finish Strong...

With the arrival of June, it is hard not to think in "full-time summer mode"...

but even though it feels like summer around here, school is in session for 3 more weeks.  Luke, Brad and I all have tests this week and Brad still has a 20 page paper to write. (using the books in the picture to complete his task:)

Pray we finish strong. We all have learned a lot this school year and are thankful for how well everyone has done, but we also are all ready for summer!