Archive for May, 2011

Rainy Day Activity

It is a rainy morning here in Bern. Thank goodness! I have been loving the sunny weather but the pollen has almost been unbearable. I hope it rains hard enough and long enough today to wash the pollen away! But along with rainy days comes the need to occupy the kids inside more!

Most of you know that Jackson attends a playgroup 2 mornings a week. They call it a playgroup…it’s basically a Mother’s Day Out. They do crafts and learn about seasonal things, they have playtime and music time. It is more structured than a free for all but not a formal preschool. One of Jackson’s favorite things to do at “school” is play with playdough. We have it at home so it isn’t novel to him but he thinks it’s different there. One day when I picked him up the teacher said “I promise on Friday I will get you the recipe for the playdough”. I thought, “hmmm. Okay, no rush. I had no idea we needed it.”  On Friday the teacher made a beeline to me with the recipe. She explained that while Jackson played with the playdough one day he asked all about where to buy that kind. She explained that she made it and he asked her for the recipe. Such a funny kid.

A couple of weeks ago on a rainy Sunday morning Jackson and Seth made a batch! Jackson and Owen have enjoyed it so much so I thought I would share the recipe with you too.  I added a few of my own little tidbits but all credit goes to the English Speaking Playgroup for this fab recipe.

ESP’s Famous Playdough Recipe

2 tsp of cream of tartar

1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup of salt

1 T. oil

1 cup water

Mix ingredients into a smooth paste. Stir in some drops of food coloring. Cook slowly on the stove over low heat until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan. When it is cool enough, knead for 3-4 mins. Put water in pan to soak to make sure it doesn’t stay forever!

My sweet friend Amy in Bogota made some for Jackson’s second birthday. I don’t know what recipe she used but I bet it was similar! She made 4 colors and put them into little plastic tubs! It was a super cute, cheap birthday gift that Jackson LOVED and enjoyed for months following!

Hope you and your kids enjoy!!

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Mother’s Day

We did things a little differently for mother’s day this year. We celebrated on Sat because Seth was worried that so many things would be closed on Sunday. The boys took me downtown to the market that I LOVE! I could spend hours roaming the market, taking in the sights and smells! Now I knew going into it that Jackson didn’t have the same feelings because 10 minutes before leaving the house Seth told him about the plans. He screamed “I don’t like mothers day and I DON’T LIKE THE MARKET”. So, we browsed quickly to keep the troops happy. Jackson actually had a great time and lasted longer than expected. After taking it all in we hopped over to the homemade taco stand and bought tacos and quesadillas to take to the park nearby. We also bought some cherries and blueberries at the market to add to the picnic. We had a fun lunch and the boys got to run around.

Yesterday on Mother’s Day Jackson and Seth made Pioneer Woman’s Lemon Blueberry Pancakes which were amazing!! Jackson gave me the cards he had made at school last week and the boys tried so hard to behave! (It’s Mother’s Day stressful when kids know all you want is for them to be easy-going and on their best behavior) We had a pretty chill day of bike riding and church!

Deeper thoughts on motherhood later…for now, some pictures from our day

I love how they put the bouquets into old cans

Super curious how much the farmer would sell this painting of a tomato for! I *may* have asked Seth to sneak back during a weekday market to ask. I love it!

a proud bride and groom parading through the market.

These days Owen feels so big to me, this picture reminds me in the big picture that he is still my little guy!

these were my favorite flowers of the day. Jackson picked them out with Seth…saying he knew I would love pink!  Truly blessed to have 2 beautiful, healthy boys and a husband that helps me raise them!!  Thanks boys for a special Mother’s Day!

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to our moms! And to our friends that are moms! And to all of my dear friends that long to be moms!

Here are some Spring pretties to brighten your Mother’s Day! It is good our moms aren’t in town because I would not have been able to choose flowers for them. I loved everything I saw at the market! Pictures will have to do this year! Wish we were closer!

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Only in Switzerland

In our grocery store there is a bagged salad section similar to what you would see in the US. When I am lazy and don’t feel like washing lettuce (read: every time I go to the store because I am in a season of my life that does not warrant lettuce washing except for RARE circumstances)  I head on over and grab a bag of greens.  A few months ago I discovered that they have one bag that is the salad of the month. During the Fall I was pleased to discover chopped apples in one of the bags. Since I don’t speak German I usually don’t even attempt to decipher the ingredients. I just glance in the bag and if it seems relatively normal I snag it.

Yesterday I hurried through the store on my way to get Jackson from school. I grabbed the salad of the month for May. Much to our surprise last night we had a salad with heart shaped carrots.  Somewhere in the Swiss alps there is a machine set to cut carrots into hearts for the month of May.

I can’t even imagine what the salad of the month for June will contain!!

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About a month ago I was having dinner with some girl friends when my friend Haley gave me the most amazing thing. A magnet for my oven with all of the conversions of temps.

This may seem like an ordinary gift but for me it was very timely. Nearly every day I use our oven. And every day I checked my little dripped on print out that was crumpled in the kitchen drawer by the oven. You would think after living in Bogota and converting for those 2 yrs that I would have all of the important temps memorized but I don’t. It appears that I have a mental block . Something is engrained in me to rely on what I know. What I am comfortable with. And that, my friends, is Fahrenheit.

I find culture shock rears it’s head at times and in circumstances I wouldn’t expect. I think I thought in clean, fancy shmancy Switzerland that there wouldn’t be culture shock and if there was I should just buck up and accept it because who can complain living here. I agree, there are much worse places we could be. Thank you to those of you serving in places that are even farther away feeling! At the end of the day when we are away from home, we are away from home. You know that feeling you have after being on a long trip…all great places and fun people…you just want to be home. I have days like that here. We are soaking in experiences and enjoying all of the wonderful things Switzerland has to offer. But the truth is it isn’t home.

How could something so simple as converting temps for the oven be annoying?  How could I be so thrown when cilantro is not available on the one day I want to make guacamole because I am homesick for Tex Mex?  How could I feel like shrieking at the lady at the store who glares at Jackson for just being in the store with me? How could I be grumpy about cooking dinner because there isn’t any easy pick up dinner that we can afford? How could I be so anxious about driving…isn’t a car a car anywhere? Aren’t roads all the same? Those things that we know and are comfortable with just aren’t the same every where we go. It doesn’t make them wrong it just makes them different from what we know.  It brews the perfect concoction for culture shock. It comes in many different forms. Sometimes it boils over (God forbid when I am driving or in the grocery check out line with 2 toddlers), sometimes it calmly simmers, but it’s there. And unfortunately it doesn’t discriminate. It occurs anywhere that isn’t home.

So thanks, Haley, for giving me a gift that reminds me of home. And that provides a crutch for my brain that is locked into Fahrenheit and can’t seem to embrace Celsius! I am so glad that you are a friend that reminds me that is okay!!

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Salad anyone?!

For my entire life I have seen dandelions as weeds….until coming to Bern. In Switzerland they eat dandelion leaves in salads. In our garden there are lots of leaves and no flowers because our boys pick them..and we don’t use the leaves for salads. A few nights ago I was on a walk in the evening and saw loads of lanky dandelions, naked of all of their leaves.  Guessing one of our neighbors had a nice salad with their dinner. I have heard people here talk about eating them with egg and bacon but when I googled it it seems like there are lots of salads out there using dandelion leaves. Who knew? I didn’t.  So, if you are running low on greens and have an abundance of weeds, I mean dandelion leaves, get picking!

After writing this and getting distracted I opened a bag of salad mix for dinner and I am pretty sure we had some dandelion leaves in there. I can’t say I noticed anything extreme but I still don’t think I will join our neighbors in picking our weeds.

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They said…

…he wouldn’t likely walk again.

…he wouldn’t live through the year.

…he wouldn’t be able to have kids and would have heart failure if he had radiation.

…he might have to have his leg amputated.

But God had different plans for this little boy.

He now runs, jumps, kicks, walks, skips and talks non-stop!!

He is healthy and happy and full of energy.

On May 1st our family took time to remember our story and thank God for his blessing of Jackson’s life.  If you are new to our blog and don’t know Jackson’s story you can look back here.

We know that not every family gets this end result. If you want to learn more about Rhabdomyosarcoma and MD Anderson Cancer Center click here.

Thank you to our family and friends for your support back then and for your continued rejoicing with us now! Some may think we talk about it too much but it is such a good reminder for us to have faith and remember that God is carrying us through sickness and health.

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