Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Favorites-Best Halloween Costume

As much as I love Halloween... baking treats, decorating the house and hosting Fall parties, I don't enjoy the dressing up part.  So when Kim chose to write about our favorite Halloween was easy...I don't dress up...but my dear husband does!

When we lived in Florida, we would always go to St. Andrews Fall Festival.

A few years ago Brad went as the old, chubby, washed up Elvis.  This picture does not do it justice, as you really can't see the curly chest hair or all of the "rolls"of padding under the costume. Let's just say that it was one memorable costume...and I think it made a few children cry!

And while we really don't dress up here in Austria for Halloween...we still manage to wear our holiday shirts from Target, sent with love from the Glam Grams.   

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Photos-Take 4

These are the last of my pumpkin shots...come back tomorrow for a special Friday Favorite!

And if you don't have anything better to do, get some pumpkin carving tips here

Pumpkin Pictures-Take 3

Another version of pumpkin... pumpkin cream soup with pumpkin oil and roasted pumpkin seeds. I was skeptical at first, but after one bite I was sold. It really is delicious. If you would like to try to make your own version...go here

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkin Pictures-Take 2

We don't know how they got this one to look so much like Jeff McMullen?

Yep, creative juices were flowing at the pumpkin festival...

If you are feeling a little creative yourself, then you might want to try this and this

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin pictures-Take 1

Yesterday, we went to a really great pumpkin festival in Retz, a village about an hour outside of Vienna. The entire village shuts down to put on this I had lots of opportunities to take photos of all of the cute decorations and PUMPKINS! There was pumpkin everything! (pumpkin soup, pumpkin seed oil, pumpkin chutney, pumpkin burgers, and don't forget the Retz Pumpkin King and Queen!...) So with Halloween coming this week...I might just daily post a pumpkin picture

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall Party Fun...

Yesterday was our Fall party...and aside from being a bit was perfect!  We had lots of fun in the park playing American Football and silly games!
Here is Abby taking a break from the action to color and below is our friend Johannes playing "Bat"sketball!

The adults joined in the fun too...and particiapated in a pumpkin rolling contest and you may not recognize him...but the "mummy" is teams took turns wrapping one another in toilet paper!

Herbert has fun balancing his pumpkin, while Alice carefully decorates her cupcake with festive sprinkles!

All of the kids do one final pose...

Friday, October 24, 2008

7 Things...

My friend Marla tagged me...

She wants me to tell you 7 random things that you may not know about goes

1. I don't like walking barefoot...ever.

2. I always over pack for trips.

3. My dad is a pig farmer in Iowa.

4. I used to sing in talent shows and weddings. (yep, thinking about it makes me laugh too!)

5. My husband says I am a "super-smeller" and a "super taster". Which basically means I can smell and taste what most people can't!

6. If I tried hard enough I could most likely remember ALL of the lyrics to Whitney Houston's Greatest Hits album.

7. The flavor of our wedding cake...carrot with cream cheese icing.

I will spare my friends from "tagging", but if you want to let me know 7 random things I don't know about you...then feel free!

Friday Favorites-Best and Worst Gifts

This week my friend Amy planned the Friday Favorite and she chose Best and Worst gift ever received.  I am never good at remembering these sorts of things, but my best gift is pretty easy.

For my 29th Birthday, Brad surprised me and took me to an island in the Bahamas called, Cat Island. It was absolutely beautiful and totally relaxing and a TOTAL surprise.  Really the best gift ever!
Here we are at the resort we stayed at looking all young and in love and refreshed from our time away with the kiddos. (We only had 2 at that time)

Well, my worst gift is kind of funny and now as an adult I really appreciate them!  Every year, my mom would fill our stockings with an orange at the toe of the stocking and then the rest would be filled with toiletries...which translated to a new toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and LOTS OF FEMININE PRODUCTS! (also known as tampons)  (my mom is laughing hysterically as she reads this and yet is probably mortified that I am sharing this family secret) :)

But hey, while we are sharing when my mom sends me packages to Austria she uses Tampons for packing material! (Kept in the packaging of course)  Yep, who knew there could be an alternative use!  So when I open a box filled with hot chocolate packets, mac and cheese and cake mixes...they are all nicely buffered by some good ol' tampons as they travel.

We were also supposed to add what we would like for Christmas this year...I of course think the best gift would be to spend the Holidays with all of our family in the States, but since that is not going to happen, I may just have to ask Santa for a new iPod.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cultural Expectations... Gifts

Today Abby and I have been invited to a friend's house for lunch. This means that I will attempt the few sentences I know well in German and then pantomime out the rest...:)
and it also means I need to have a gift ready to take with us.

Whenever you go to someone's house for a visit in Vienna, it is customary to bring a gift. It doesn't have to be big, it can be candy, wine or flowers. It is just a token of your appreciation for being invited.

So often I have found myself scrambling to get to the store the morning of my invitation, so finally I have started a gift is filled with candy, small toys, pencils, stickers and such for kids. Perfect for when we get that last minute afternoon invitation to a friend's house.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Abby stumps me...

Tonight she asks the question, "Do your eyes grow?"
Anyone know the answer to that...

Go here if you want some more facts

Monday, October 20, 2008

Trading Goods and Services...

There are many reasons why we love living in our apartment building, most of which are our neighbors. 
 I love that if I need an egg, I can just open my door and ask my neighbor across the hall and not have to walk to the store...or if I need to run an errand, I can see if one of the families can watch a kid or two. 
 I also love the spontaneous plates that get dropped off, filled with goodies...that I can return with American specialties.  We trade our goods and services and are building a special community.  

 Lily came by last week and Frederick came by this morning.  The kids love when they can "help" watch their friends and even return the goodie plates by themselves.  
Without even knowing it, our neighbors are spurring our kids on to good deeds and developing in them hearts to want to serve others.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More Fall Fun...


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Friday Favorites-Pumpkin Edition

I love pumpkin! So I thought it would be fun to do a Pumpkin Edition of Friday Favorites...

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

16 ounces (2 cups) canned pumpkin
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat pumpkin, sugar and oil. Add eggs, mixing well.
In another bowl combine dry ingredients. Add to pumpkin mixture.
Pour batter into greased 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Let cool, then frost with recipe below.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces softened cream cheese
5 Tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar 2-4 teaspoons of milk
chopped nuts for topping if desired
(taken from
Pumpkin Apple Streusel

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups peeled, finely chopped apples

Streusel Topping:
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons butter

To make the streusel:
In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in softened butter until mixture is crumbly.

For batter:
In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt, set aside. In med. bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add liguid ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Stir in apples. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tins. Sprinkle streusel topping over batter. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 18 muffins. (taken from the "Best of the Best from Iowa" cookbook)


Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Preheat oven to 350

1C heavy cream
3/4C canned pumpkin
1/2 C whole milk
1/2 C sugar
2 large eggs and 1 yolk
1/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
1/8 t ground all spice or nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves (I didn't have this and it was still fine)

Wisk all of the above ingredients in a bowl

Take 5 C cubed (1 inch) day old baquette or crusty bread put in another bowl. Pour 3/4stick melted butter over it.
Toss together... then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat.

Transfer to ungreased 8x8 baking dish. Bake until custard is set 25-30 minutes.... top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
(given to me by my sister-in-law, Dede)

Check out these recipes from

A Few Paths...

I take way too many photos.  So sometimes I try to figure out creative ways of sharing. Yesterday I found this site and was a bit inspired.  Here are a few of my paths...
Tabea and Daniel's Wedding June 2008

Stadt Park July 2008
 Croatia Feb. 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Panda love going a bit too far?

Austrians love their pandas...especially Fu Long.
This was the first baby panda born in Europe since 1982. And really, what is not to love.  A few weekends ago we went to Lange Nacht Der Museen, and started out at the chocolate museum and found this tribute

Then last weekend Abby was invited to a birthday party at the Wien Tiergarten.
We got to hear all about the pandas from the guide and were even shown this...
Any guesses?  Below is a picture of Abby contemplating whether or not she really wants to hold it.  For the record...she did!;)
p.s. my photo of the panda above is not Fu is a relative:)

many of you contacted me via e-mail, as you were a little shy to say "panda poo" on the blog! You were right...but it at least was perserved in some wax that smelled like honey.  That makes it better right?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The View From Here...

We took full advantage of the gorgeous fall weather this weekend and spent a lot of time outside!  We went to a birthday party, a brunch and to a few parks with friends.  Here are a few shots of the changing leaves and the kiddos collecting some of their "treasures".

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Favorites-Things I use on a daily basis (or almost)

1.  Some refer to it as the "sweet nectar of life" and I would have to agree.  My day is best started with an icy cold Diet Coke...or Cola Light as they are referred to in Austria.

2.  Learning German is still getting the best of me...but I am enjoying these picture books.  Yep, I am admitting it, the books that my 4 year old uses are really helping this old mom learn a few things!

3.  the Dishwasher-  This will be the last picture you will see of this little guy, as a brand spankin, new one arrives this afternoon.  I am giddy with delight!

5. Olivia Saves the Circus- Sometimes we read this book 2 or 3 times a day...:)

6.  My water boiler thingie- Now that it is cooler outside, the kids are always wanting hot chocolate or tea...and this will boil your water in about a minute!  Amazing, I know.

7.  This devotional, along with my Bible

8.  My Canon Rebel XTi

9.  My MacBook (which is shared with other family members too!)

10.  I end my day snuggling with one of these.

Now, tell me some of your favorite things that you use on a daily basis...Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Living overseas...

If you get a chance, here is a good article written by an American living overseas in Africa.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Happy Fall Ya'll