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June 30, 2011

Easter 2011 - Long Lost

I completely forgot to blog about Easter! We went to my Aunt's house and had a small Easter egg hunt for Rachel after dinner. She had lots of fun "finding" and picking up the eggs and putting them into her basket! It was a nice sunny day and we sat outside on the patio for most of the afternoon and were very entertained watching Rachel play in the water fountain.



And the giant glass pig filled with pennies makes everyone happy! 


I also made these cute mini cupcakes for her to take to school. 


June 29, 2011

Strawberry Patch 2011

I refuse to sit around when my husband is out of town. It's rough working and being a single mom while he is away, but it's just something that I have to do. When I got home at 6:30pm Tuesday night, the weather was windy and cool and I figured it would be a good time to pick strawberries.

I slapped halfway decent dinner in front of Rachel (while I ate crap, of course) and got the dog fed and we were back out the door headed to the strawberry patch.  We were racing the clock, since we had about a 20 minute drive to get there, it was already ten after seven and they closed at eight. Once we arrived we waited a few minutes and checked out the small petting farm before the wagon pulled by the tractor picked us up to take us to the picking area. For some reason Rachel loves tractors, and I love hearing her say trak-tor. The ride seemed long, at least 4-6 minutes and I was antsy to get my berries.

Rachel did well. I was worried because we were nearing her 8:30pm bed time and I wanted to get at least 12 pounds or a full tray the farm gives to you for filling. I frantically grabbed berries and began to fill up the tray as Rachel stood and watched. She waved to the dad and son picking near us and she watched the tractor drive away. I gave her a berry to eat and she ate it. I sat her in the straw row and she enjoyed touching and feeling and playing with the straw. She got up and said "help" once. I think she wanted me to help her pick a berry. I tried, but my patience wasn't there because I knew the next time the tractor came around, our time was up. After 10 seconds of trying to get her to pick a berry, I just picked it for her and let her eat it. I think in total she ate three of them.

The tractor came around the corner, distracting her again, and I continued to pick until the last second. The driver of the tractor commented about how I had a lot of berries for only having 20 minutes to pick. I asked him if he was offering me a job. 

In the end, I had 10.5 pounds, almost reaching my 12 pound goal, a tired, but happy 1.5 year old strawberry stained faced daughter, and $14.20 less in my pocket. 

We returned home where Rachel got a quick dip in the tub and was off to bed. I began to clean my berries and made jam, cut fresh berries for our lunches, made homemade strawberry shortcakes and enjoyed a strawberry shortcake snack, and made some popsicles with the left over mashed berries. It was a great night and my Strawberry Picking 2011 is complete! Now I'll just wait for the blueberries! 


So maybe her mom neglected to fix her hair, but it was super windy outside!


Ready for a bath and bed in the car. 

The 2011 Strawberry Loot - 10.5 pounds!


June 22, 2011

Germany Day 6 - Farewell to my Homeland

Monday had already arrived. My husband had meetings at BMW and I went to the city center of Munich to wander around and then wandered around Olympic Park while he was away. We then hopped a train to the airport so we could spend the night there before our plane left for Detroit in the morning. It was bittersweet. By Sunday I was missing my daughter, but I wanted to stay in Germany and be a tourist.

While I was away, I noticed lots of things that were different than being in the United States. 

Hand Sanitizer
There doesn't seem to be an abundance of hand sanitizer at every cash register in Germany. But maybe there should be because shortly after my departure a deadly strain of E Coli was found in Germany.

Check Please
Whenever we ate out, we always had to ask for our bill. We'd sit and sit and sit at our table and no matter how long we waited, we had to wait for the check.

Number 3
If you have ever seen the movie Inglourious Bastards by Quentin Tarintino you may recall the distinct way a German holds up his fingers to show the number 3. I witnessed this while getting ice cream and was immediately reminded of the movie.

This was one place my signature was readily checked whenever I swiped my credit/debit card. My card was also hand swiped a lot, rather than me swiping it at a machine at the register.

Portion Sizes
The portion sizes of everything seemed to be smaller - from ice cream to our steak dinner. It wasn't a bad thing, just not over-sized like in the United States.

Pillow Candy
Instead of getting a mint on your pillow, you get gummy treats/bears.

Sugar is Sweet
I noticed some of the sugar packets were not pouches, but sticks or straws similar to a pixie stick, but much shorter. I thought this was brilliant since you often spill sugar when you have to tear open a rectangle packet.

Waiting Game
It seemed like when people waited for the train, they were not super connected to their electronics. Sure, there were people with cell phones and headphones texting and listening to music, but most people just sat and visited or sat and hung out on the train or platform. I kept thinking to myself that we (as in Americans) would probably be playing a game on our cell phones, or texting, or talking on the phone the entire time, or on facebook on our mobile device. I was surprised at the number of people NOT talking on their cell phones while on the train.

Baby Strollers
Being a new mom (and secretly scoping out how mothers travel with kids because I wanted to live in Germany) I noticed many of the strollers were "luxury" strollers - Stooke, Bugaboo and Peg Pergo were some of the strollers and "carriages" I saw.

It seems like everywhere you go in Germany there is so much history. It can easily be seen and the one thing that surprised me is how most places were destroyed in World War II. While the United States was booming during the war, Germany was hit hard and had to re-build.

What time is it?
There are no alarm clocks in the hotel room. I still find that CRAZY!

The Gideons are everywhere! There was a bible in our hotel room!


And I found my relatives in a phone book!



June 20, 2011

Germany Day 5 - Palaces & Concentration Camps

On Sunday, my husband and I wanted to go to two places - Schloss Nyphenburg and Dachau Concentration Camp. We began our day at the palace. It was somewhat busy and we were able to walk around the grounds at our own pace to see various locations on the grounds that were also smaller museums. The place was a summer home and although we thought the gardens could have been more beautiful, we enjoyed the day very much. The sun was awesome, the breeze was warm and it was simply great to be outside, not in the office and more exciting was that we were together in Germany.





The Dachau Concentration Camp was awesome, yet sad and somber. Most of the "tour" was reading large boards and walking through various locations that had been preserved. I didn't take too many photos because of the subject matter, and the eerie fact it was a concentration camp and thousands of innocent people were killed there, made it sad. We watched a short movie (thankfully in English) about the camp and it was interesting to see photos and video of individuals lined up at the entrance - the SAME entrance we walked through in order to visit the museum.  The entrance to the camp translates to "Work Brings Freedom."



This was found during the restoration of the camp. It translates to "no smoking" and was painted over. 


I thought it was crazy that after the camp was closed, it was used for refugees. They didn't have a home to go to, so many stayed at the camp until they could find permanent housing! 


I should have purchased this book, The Dachau Concentration Camp, 1933-1945 at the gift shop, but thankfully, Amazon has it! 

June 01, 2011

Germany Day 4 - Neue Pinakothek

I knew I wouldn't be able to see a lot of museums since I was only in Munich for a few days and there were so many other things I would like to be doing in the city that were outside because the weather was perfect. I did some research on this museum after a quick question to my husband (modern or 18-19th century art) I picked Neue Pinakothek.

I like museums. Mainly because I like art. I not only like to look at the painting from afar, but I like to look at them from very close. I like to see the brush strokes, the cracking of the medium and sometimes I count in my head how old the canvas I am gazing at really is. How much simpler the time was when the artist was creating the work and how the artist probably never imagined hundreds of years later, people would come from all over the world to gaze at his masterpiece. 

I can't really tell you my husband's thought on artwork, but I will say he was a good sport. Maybe the audio helped a little bit, or the fact that the museum was not very busy that day.

There are so many great artists, and although I can't name all of their works, I can usually recognize them and remember learning about them in Humanities in college. One thing my husband said that brought him back to his days at LSSU was, "Manet and Monet, I remember them from Humanities." When I asked what he remembered about them, he said, "That they are two different people."

Max Liebermann - 1890 - Woman with Goats in the Dunes



Augustine Renoir - 1976 - Portrait of a Young Woman



Claude Monet - 1874 - Bridge at Argenteuil



Claude Monet - 1874 - Monet Painting on His Studio Boat



Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - 1897 Woman in Armchair


Vincenzo Gemito - 1881 - The Water Seller



Paul Gaugin - 1896 - The Birth


Vincent Van Gogh - 1890 - Plain Near Auvers


Vincent Van Gogh - 1888 - Sunflowers




Edgar Degas - 1890/1900 - Dancer


Theo Van Rysselberghe - 1903 - Fountain in the Park of Sanssouchi Palace Near Potsdam




Claude Monet - 1915 - Water Lilies




There are so many more great images I have, but I'll stop here! I'll gaze at them on my own! I do want everyone to know we weren't super stuffy in this museuem. We were able to lighten up a little.