Sunday, August 26, 2007


One of my favorite things to fix for myself is salmon--I've baked it, I've sauteed it, and I've grilled it. What makes it so easy, is that it now is sold in convienient packages that have several one-serving packages within. When I come home from work, it is so simple to take one out of the freezer, and have it thawed in minutes! It is also an easy thing to fix if I invite people over for dinner on the spur of the moment, as it is quick to thaw and fix (and people are always amazed when you can whip something up mere minutes after getting off work!)

This last week I invited myself over to Kym and Troy's for dinner, promising that I would bring a fair share of the food since I had invited myself over! :) I brought this salmon recipe, some shrimp to throw on the bbq, rice in the rice cooker, and multicolored zuchini and onions to grill. Troy and Kym added fresh potatoes and tomatoes from the garden, as well as Troy's sweet peas. Everything ended up on the grill to keep the heat out of the kitchen, except for the rice in the rice cooker. We had quite the feast, and all healthy!

Herb-Encrusted Grilled Salmon
(inspired by a recipe on Kalyn's Kitchen blog)

2 salmon fillets, thawed
1 1/2 T. olive oil
2 T. Fish Herb Blend (recipe below)

Mix olive oil and Fish Herb Blend together. Rub fish on both sides with herb mixture and let sit for at least 10 min. while you preheat gas or charcoal grill. Rib grill with a piece of paper towel dipped in olive oil or use nonstick spray (so that the fish won't stick), then heat the grill to medium high. Place fish on grill, and cook until grill marks start to appear, about 2-3 min. Then rotate the cook 2-3 min. to get criss cross marks. Turn fish carefull and cook 2-3 min. on the second side or until fish feels just slightly firm to the touch. Total cooking time will be under ten minutes. **This recipe is easily doubled!

Fish Herb Blend
1 T. dried basil
1 T. dried chives
1 T. dried dill weed
1 T. dried thyme
1 T. ground fennel
2 T. lemon pepper
1 T. sea salt

Enjoy! When I made the rice in the rice cooker, I also added sliced onion, garlic and various herbs. It was yummy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Did You Know; Shift Happens - Globalization; Information Age

This is the initial video that we had watched during inservice, the one posted below is an updated version with slightly different facts presented. I would recommend watching both, although there will be a bit of overlapping of facts at times.

Did You Know 2.0

My school year has already begun, and with it came the inservices. Last Friday was the Special Education inservice, and on Monday and today were USD 408 inservices. While my job as a teacher can be overwhelming when I think of all the academic things that need to be taught to prepare my children for state testing, etc..., it becomes more upsetting when I think of all the technological things I also need to cram in in order to prepare my kids. I think we all paused a bit after being shown this video, and wondered whether we are up to the task. I feel that I am ahead of most, if not almost all, of my fellow teachers when it comes to technology, but when I think of how far my kids have to come, I get scared! How can I ever prepare them for ALL of what they need to know!?!

July 18: Accio Deathly Hallows (no spoilers)

I am a fan of Harry Potter, and it was with much anticipation and a bit of sadness that I read the 7th and last book in the series. If you haven't read it, I will not spoil the conclusion to the story for you, but if you too are a fan, you might enjoy this link to a youtube video!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A few pics from the last weeks!--In random order because they won't load correctly!

Round the world and back again

So, I've had a bit of a vacation from this site, and I know that there are several people out there wondering exactly what I've been up to. Warning to all readers: This will be a long post, please accept my apologies. Sorry to bore you!

July 16, 2007
Today I left Wichita, boarding a plane headed for Denver and then to Frankfurt. Seated next to a Spaniard who insisted on talking to me the entire way, met an interesting guy (who knows where he is actually from, has lived in Santa Fe, but all over the world as well) who ended up getting the Spaniard and me in trouble with the flight attendants--kept wanting to discuss politics and world religions.

July 17
Arrived in Frankfurt with large box of groceries and luggage filled to the brim with maternity items and baby clothes and was met by Heidi and Tim. We bought train tickets for my ride to Bammental, and tried to figure out Tim's Bahn Card problem--"it's in the mail". Headed to Bammental for a quick shower for me, and to drop off the heavy luggage, and then went back to Heidelberg for Heidi's gyno appt. We learned that Heidi and Tim will definately be having a boy child--"X marks the spot!" Afterwards, we went home to Bammental for a Tim-cooked supper of my favorite sausages and potato noodles with onion. It was yummy, especially when washed down with a cold beer.

July 18
Tim had to go in to work a bit this morning, after a fantastic breakfast of brotchen. Heidi and I walked down the Hauptstrasse so that I could see a bit of the city they live in. We met Tim and his co-worker MJ at the bahnhof before heading into Heidelberg to purchase our travel tickets for the coming days. We bummed around Heidelberg, shopping and walking around--Heidi showed me all of her old haunts from her nanny days. Lunch was at Heidi and Tim's favorite German restaurant--salad, noodle soup, schnitzle and pomme frites with good beer. Mmmmm....LOVE IT! We walked around quite a bit more after lunch and then headed back to Bammental. Heidi and Tim showed me their offices and we checked e-mail. Spent a quiet evening eating Doners from the local joint and enjoying some more beer. Phone calls home to both future grandmothers were made to tell of their grandSON.

July 19
Rode to Munich today with arrival at 2:30 in the afternoon. We then rode bus 58 to Auenstrasse 23 and waited for Ruth to come home. (This was the family I worked for when I was a nanny). We talked awhile and then went with the kids to Englischer Garten to the Chinese Tower beer garden. A walk through all the naked sunbathers was an education for all of us! :) We all enjoyed a picnic supper of pommes, 1/2 roasted chickens, obatsda (fantastic Bavarian cheese spread), spiral cut radishes, spare ribs, brown pretzels, beer and apfelschorle (apple juice spritzer)--typical beer garden fare. It was good to have a chance to sit under the chestnut trees and visit with my German family. Afterwards, we rode the U-bahn home, then bus 58 and went for eis (gelato) at our local italian icecream place. We came home to Auenstrasse 23 and stayed up to chat, waiting for Uli to come home from his race at the Olympic stadium.

July 20
Today Heidi, Tim and I walked down the fussgangerzone in downtown Munich. We shopped a bit and just poked around. Lunch was sandwiches and a bottle of wine along the Isar river before setting out. My find for the day was a Blue Rider calendar, which Ruth will hopefully bring to KS for me. We wanted to go back to the Chinese tower for supper, but rain threatened. Instead we headed to my neighborhood PennyMarkt and picked up several pizzas and assorted beers to enjoy and then headed back to the apartment to enjoy a more quiet evening "in".

July 21
We got up really early this morning for Ruth's muffins and watching Matthew on TV. He and a friend were on a German TV show contest and won! After the early morning show, we went back to bed for awhile before a trip to one of my favorite places in the world--Viktualien Markt. We wandered amongst the many stands of fresh fruits and veggies, flowers, cheeses, imported oils and vinegars, jams, honey, etc... We bought supplies for our picnic: some hummus and tsatsiki and 3 large Brezeln (pretzels), before getting back on the U-Bahn and going to the English Gardens. The weather was absolutely beautiful today! We shared a massive meal under the shade of the trees. Feeling full, we walked a bit in the garden, found a piece of shade and all laid down for a nap. We awoke in time to walk back to the U-bahn and ride to Stiglmeier Platz where the English Cinema is. We watched the latest Harry Potter movie while enjoying SALTY popcorn, something that is rarely found in Germany.

July 22
Today we got up early to repack and headed by train to Salzburg, the city of the Sound of Music. Tim had never been there, so it was nice to go with someone for whom it was all new. Once we got there we figured out the bus system and were able to find the youth hostel. Our room had a beautiful view of the castle! We quickly claimed and made our beds, and then headed out to explore. We walked up the mountain to the castle, but would have had to pay to get in, so we walked back down to wander through the old city. Since we were heading on further into Austria the next day, we wanted to make sure we had all the train information and tickets correct. We had quite the experience that exemplified Heidi and Tim's "middle-aged German women" theory, and were ever so thankful for the kind Austrian ticket agent. Once we figured out which trains we were going on, and which city we were all going to end up on, it was quite a relief. Then we only had to figure out the bus schedule that would take us to St. Johannes! After that was all sorted out, we took a city bus back into the AltStadt and shared a picnic for supper while listening to the bells of the area churches. We wandered the old streets and then headed back to the youth hostel. Our room had been invaded by other people and our beds claimed. Heidi and Tim staked theirs out again, but I gave in and made another. We went to bed early, but were woken up by our roommates arriving, and then later when they were talking in their sleep!

July 23
Today we boarded a bus early in the a.m. to head to St. Johannes in Tirol where there is a Huber brewery. We were lucky to be able to get on all our busses, that we weren't too late, and that Heidi remembered that she had forgotten her purse on one bus before we boarded the next bus. On arrivel in St. Johannes we went from the Hauptbahnhof downtown to the grocery store so that Heidi and Tim were able to purchase a bottle of Austrian wine for their collection. We then went and climbed the Huber turm (tower) and ate lunch overlooking the city and beautiful Austrian mountains. My Champignon schnitzle with rice and salad was fantastic, not to mention the great Huber beer. Yum! When we were done with lunch we headed down to the store to buy Huber beer glasses and 10 liters of Huber beer in a Huber kiste (case). This is a beautiful little village that I think I need to come back to sometime. After lugging our, no--Tim's, beer back to the train station and on and off several different trains, we finally made it home to Heidleberg and Bammental. We were happy to collapse at home and sleep!

July 24
Today we spent a quiet day in Bammental. We went for apple juice at the local garden store (Heidi and Tim get a discount because they help pick up the apples that make the juice!), sent post cards and visited the toy store. I ate lunch with the hausgemeinshaft--always an event! We relaxed and napped in the afternoon.

July 25
We relaxed around the house in the morning, and then did some grocery shopping, before hopping on a train to go to IKEA in beautiful Mannheim. Mannheim is NOT a city I need to visit again--there are many more interesting and better looking places in Germany that deserve my attention! We wandered around IKEA spending most of our time in the baby section (can't figure that one out!). At home again we tidied the apartment and made beds to prepare for Mom and Dad's arrival.

July 26
Heidi and Tim went back to work today. I stayed at the apartment and did laundry and dishes, waiting for our parent's arrival. Mom and Dad showed up in their big blue van at about 12. They dropped off luggage and then looked for a place to park the van. Dad and Bill went to Tenglemann's to buy some cheese and meat while I baked some bread for a quick meal for the group. After lunch Bill and Margaret took a short nap while Mom and Dad unpacked a suitcase for Heidi and Tim. Then Heidi and Tim headed back to work while we headed out to visit Heidleberg. We started on one side of the city visiting the ruins of a cloister and then an amphitheater used/built by Hitler. Then we rode down through the old city to the other side of the city and the castle. It was too late to tour the castle but we looked around the grounds. We then headed down to meet Heidi and Tim at the station. They were bringing Leroy and Jerri with them. We wandered around the Altstadt and found a nice little restaurant, afterwhich Heidi and I enjoyed a gelato, courtesy of Bill and Margaret.

July 27
Today we headed to Sinnsheim to a museum full of old cars, airplanes, and military things. There were also several "fashion models" to go with each exhibit. Leroy and I rode in the kiddie rides together, and the best part of the museum was the slide that started high in the air in an airplane, down through a chute into the museum. I made sure everyone went, although some were a bit reluctant. After the museum we headed back to Bammental to meet Heidi and Tim and then ate Doners with assorted drinks in the hausgemeinshaft common area.

July 28
Today we drove with Heidi and Tim (and the whole group) down the Rhine river between Mainz and Koblenz, looking at all the castles and the Lorelei. We then followed the Mosel to the village Loguich, stopping in Edigar for a bit of wine tasting (try the fantastic red peach liquor if you ever have a chance!) Supper was in a hilltop restaurant above Trittenheim, where the Mosel flows in a horseshoe shape below and you have a beautiful view of the area vineyards. We enjoyed the evening, despite the cool air during supper.

July 29
After a wonderful breakfast we headed for the city of Trier, the oldest city in Germany. We took a bus tour and then explored on foot. Heidi, Bill, Margaret and I enjoyed icecream at a special place that made their own waffle cones! We drove back to Bammental to spend the night.

July 30
Today we headed south to my hometown of Munich again. This time I was to be the tour guide for a group. Heidi and Tim had to stay home to work, but I was looking forward to showing off my city to the rest of the group! We stayed in Dachau, in a former brewery in the old city. After checking into our hotel, we drove into Munich to park at the Olympic Stadium and then ride the train into the heart of Munich. We walked around the downtown a bit, and then headed to the beer garden for a true "German Beer Garden" experience. We all enjoyed a good meal, and great beer!

July 31
Today after breakfast we headed for the Dachau concentration camp. Although I've been here several times, each time I visit I always experience the same feelings of sadness and disbelief. The cruelty that humans are capable of is astonishing to me. We spent several hours in the museum and wandering the grounds, which are immense. After the sobering experience of the camp, we headed into town to explore the Nymphenburg castle. We toured the inside, but spent most of the time in the beautiful grounds. This was one of the places that I spent quite a bit of time at and I have many good memories of time spent here playing with "my" children.

August 1
Today I awoke with a terrible migraine, so I had to skip breakfast and try to rest a bit longer before our group left. We traveled today to the village of Prien to visit a palace built by "Mad King Ludwig", which is located on an island in the Chiemsee Lake. This palace is one of 3 built by the crazy king, and was built to look like Versailles. The island is beautiful and home to several species of bats. I enjoyed walking the paths to get to the castle, and the amazing fountains in front of the palace. After the tour of the castle and walking around the grounds we headed for Bad Goisern which is southeast of Salzburg, Austria and our pension for the next evenings, located on the berg Predigstuhl. Supper was at the restaurant at the hotel, and we spent the evening looking out over the beautiful mountains, watching them turn from gray to purple to rose colored.

August 2
Our agenda today included a stop in Hallein to visit a salt mine and learn a little more about the history of the Salzburg area. We had a great tour of the salt mines (in German, Italian, and English!) and enjoyed our rides on the underground salt lake, and down the 2 slides. After the tour of the salt mine, and after shedding our white oompa loopa suits, we walked around the recreated Celt village that was also included as part of our museum fee, and then headed into Salzburg. A terrific rainstorm hit while we were there, but I managed to get some great shopping done! We spent the evening at our hotel enjoying another great meal at the Predigstuhl restaurant and watching the fog roll down the mountains. I love this place, and can't wait to come back! Absolutely gorgeous!

August 3
Today we drove northwest towards Meersburg (back in Germany) which is located on Lake Constance. We drove through beautiful country--the Austrain Alps. Beautiful! After our long drive we were eager to check into our pension and find a good place to eat. We took a walk out of town to a nearby restaurant (supper was a bit frenetic as the walk took longer than anticipated, and we were needing to pick up Heidi and Tim at the train station by a certain time!). Thankfully everything got sorted out and we were able to eat our meal, and get to the train station in the next town with Heidi and Tim only having to wait for a bit after their train came in.

August 4
After breakfast we headed into the Old City and wandered the streets and small shops. There was an arts/crafts fair type thing, so it was fun to poke around in the little stalls. I found some little fairy tale books auf Deutsch--I'm always looking for German children's books to keep. After several different meeting places and time changes for our group, we finally all met up and headed for the boat landing. We took a ferry to the beautiful island of Mainau which is in the middle of Lake Constance. This was my second visit to the island, but as before, I found that I love this place! Mainau is an island that is famous for its flowers and plants. The last time I visited was at Easter time, and the island looked completely different this time. The best part last time was a green house filled competely with orchids. This time there was a special building filled with butterflies. Beautiful!

August 5
Today we started back north towards Bammental. We drove through the Black Forest, making a stop for some parts for Burton's cookoo clock, and another stop at a wood carvers shop. We also had to stop for a meal and some excellent Schwarzwalder Torte (chocolate cake with kirsch drenched cherries, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings!) Yum!

August 6
Today Heidi and Tim went back to work again, while the rest of us headed to the Alsace area of eastern France. Many of the people here speak German as well as French (the area changed back and forth between France and Germany depending on several wars). We stopped in the beautiful village of Riquewhir, which is famous for wine and the storks that nest on top of the houses. The group split up to poke around the city. Mom, Dad and I stopped at a little cafe and enjoyed a lunch of quiche. I also bought some Alsatian wine to bring home with me, and enjoyed talking to the grape farmer about the different wines and the weather for the area! After getting a bit lost in France, we finally found our way back to Germany and then to Bammental. The evening was spent packing our bags again and getting ready to go back to KS.

August 7
Dad, Mom, Leroy and I left early in the morning so that I could make my plane on time. They dropped me off at the airport (Dad got another speeding ticket, we think) with Dad heading back to Bammental to pick up Margaret and Bill, and Leroy and Mom going to pick up Burton's rental car. I was a bit worried that my luggage would be too heavy and I would have to pay additional charges, but everything went through ok. There was a bit of trouble at the passport check to let me out of Germany--there were some American's in front of me who aroused the concern of the German government and were being severely questioned about their travels, and a got sorted out, but took about 20 minutes. By the time I got up there and showed them my American passport, they were suspicious of Americans, which meant I got questioned too. (My passport still has all my working papers in it from my time in Germany, so it always raises some eyebrows, but I think the people in front of me made my questioning experience worse!) My plane connections were a story unto themselves. We didn't leave Frankfurt until 1 1/2 hours later than we were supposed to--people who had checked their baggage never showed up, so we waited for them to come for over an hour, before the pilot decided that they weren't going to come. We couldn't just leave though, instead they went through the cargo and had to find the people's luggage first! This took another 1/2 hour. So...we left Frankfurt late, and I was supposed to have had just an hour layover in Chicago. Once we got to Chicago, we had to go through customs. As always I was questioned (what is it about me? do I look dishonest?) and had to have my luggage pawed through and checked. By the time I got my luggage rechecked through to Wichita, and headed to the right terminal, my flight had left without me, or so I thought. When I got to the gate it was supposedly leaving from, there was a long line of ANGRY customers. My flight that was supposed to leave at 10:35 hadn't left yet, and it was 12:00. People were fighting over who should get the standby seats if there were any seats left over, being rude to each other and the airline workers and grumbling in general to themselves and anyone else who would listen. At various times there were airplanes supposedly sent to pick us up, but because of mechanical difficulties, they never arrived. Finally they sent an airplane for us, but we all had to change to a different gate. While waiting for the airplane to be cleaned and restocked, we watched what we think were two luggage carts crash, and 3 Chicago fire trucks arrive with firemen and hatchets running all over. At last the firetrucks left, the airplane was stocked, and we were ready to leave. And it was only 2:00! The plane that was supposed to leave at 10:35 really left at 2:15 with plenty of angry people on board. I was just glad to be heading to KS, and hopefully a chance to set my bags down and rest! Carmen picked me up at the airport and let me nap on her couch while waiting for my parents. Mom, Dad and I got home to Hesston around 11:15 or so, and headed straight to bed!