You brighten my day..

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Row row row your boat.

In the two and a half years that we have lived here, the german friends we have made are countable. Yet, I know that these friendships will last a life time. 
With these friends we are able to have experiences which otherwise would not be possible. The few times we get together, we love exchanging stories and information about our respective countries, traditions and culture. 

The past weekend saw temperatures soaring quite high and we were invited to this pretty lake nestled deep in the Main Spessart. This patch of land has been rented by the family for the past 40 years. They say it's a lot of hard work to maintain it. The water's got to be pumped out, the grass cut, the weeds pulled out..a lot of work. But in the end, when they are able to simply relax and listen to the sounds of nature, it is worth the hard work.

They also had a little boat with oars. The kids simply took turns rowing and rowing, going around in circles searching for frogs. They seemed to not get enough of this adventure. 

So smitten were they with the whole thing,all they now want is a boat of their own...:D And me, I did not even know that renting a patch of land in such paradise was possible. I had written a post about leasing land for having a garden of your own, but this was new to me. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Spring, we welcome thee.

I do not know about you, but I have been waiting like crazy for this burst of green...

Though its cold and the sun is definitely playing hide and seek, am so grateful for the sight of color.

See there, the boat rides have begun too. I am determined to go on not one but two of them this year. One will definitely be on the dear river Main and the other, hmm....maybe the Rhein?

For now, I am content with the long walks and simply listening to the squeals of delight from both the birds on the trees and my kids who have long been waiting for this season to arrive!!!

How has it been in your part of the world?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fruit cake for tea.

Tis the season to be berry!
The makerts are overflowing with berries of all kind. Name them, they are all there.
For the past 2 weeks the kids have been wanting to have vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries and chocolate sauce. That's all they have been wanting as dessert. I thought it was time for a change...:D
So here's what they were treated to last evening. Victoria's sponge cake with cream and strawberries.

Beat 3 eggs separately. Cream together 175 gms unsalted butter and 175 gms sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add the beaten egg. Fold in 175 gms of sifted self raising flour and spoon the mixture into a prepared cake tin.

Bake at 180 deg celsius for 20 to 25 minutes(I kept it a wee bit longer and ended up browning the sides)
While the cake cools.....

Wash, wipe and cut the strawberries. Whip 500 ml double cream along with 3 tbsps sugar until thick.

Once cooled, cut the cake in two(alternatively you can bake 2 cakes if you like) and sandwich them with the cream and fresh strawberries.

What are you doing today? Link up with us and share your world.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Amsterdam and around

As promised, a post on what we were up to in the Netherlands. We divided our holiday into 2 days visiting Amsterdam and around and the other two exploring the remaining part of the country.

To experience the windmills, wooden clogs and Dutch cheese this fully inhabited open air museum flanked by the river Zaan is the place to be. Wooden clog making workshops, cheese tasting and seeing how a windmill actually works are some of the highlights of this pretty little village. The best part for us was visiting the paint mill De Kat and actually watch a miller doing his work. His story can be read here.

Once we were done with the above we simply strolled down this quaint village. At times I felt this was all a dream. The Dutch houses, the canals and the bridges leading to every house, so very pretty!!

Anne Frank needs no introduction. Having known her story and read books about this little girl's life in hiding during WWII I thought I was prepared. The self guided tour with visuals of people who knew her during her life are presented. Visiting her house, reading the excerpts from her diary(which are put up on the walls of the house), listening to stories about her from the mouth of others(in the visuals), climbing up the stairs of the secret annex and just standing in those empty rooms(as was her father's Otto Frank's wish) is more than a humbling experience. At the end of it all I choked up with emotion.

To be in Amsterdam and not visit her house would be such a shame. I have heard of people who having gone there and simply not visited the house due to the seemingly never ending queues. I was fortunate to have also stumbled upon a blog which mentioned that online tickets too get fully booked weeks in advance. We bought the tickets a month ahead and this was the best decision we ever made!! 

(The kids helped print this etching during the demo. They were then gifted this print for remembrance)

Rembrandt, the world famous Dutch painter and etcher of the 17th century lived in this house until he was forced to declare bankruptcy. To get a peek into how an artist lived in those times and an actual 17th century house, this museum is worth a visit. There are live demonstrations showing you how he etched his prints and also the way he created his paints which my kids enjoyed immensely.
(paints created by mixing fine powders from crushed colored stones and linseed oil)

A canal cruise, one of the ways to see Amsterdam with kids. This city with its beautiful canals with house boats , a little more than 1500 bridges and  gabled houses is best explored by foot, but when you need to give your feet a break, then these canal boats are the next best thing.
We experienced the canals Herengracht by boat, and walked around Prinsengracht, Bloemgracht and Singel.

The beautiful canal Bloemgracht was my favorite.

The gabled houses of Amsterdam by the river Amstel.

The floating flower market by the canal Singel.

Amidst all these amazing houses and stunning flowers, much to the amusement of my family I always forgot that there was a separate lane for cyclists and bikes. The Dutch bike a lot, yes a lot!! And way too fast and I always ended up in these lanes mistaking it to be for people like me who love to walk..:D

As I sit here going through my pics and writing this post, I cannot but help and think how much I miss this beautiful city. Who knows, I may go back again. Just a thought....

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tidbits from the Netherlands.

Spring break's over, the kids are back in school. After recovering from the holiday hangover I must say I too am back. It's funny how after a holiday I find it pretty hard to get my groove back. 

We spent 4 lovely days in beautiful Netherlands.Being an avid follower of Sonya's blog for the past 2 years, an American expat living in the Netherlands I pretty much knew what to expect. But then, we fell in love, my daughter and I. It is a beautiful county, flat with meadows filled with cows, horses or sheep and with an occasional windmill, a sight to behold. And not to forget the canals with such small houses(I remembered you a lot here Sonya) yet so very pretty. It's a different world out there. 

Once we crossed the border we could not figure out what were the speed limits and where the road signs were. It took a pretty long time for hubby to figure out...:D Can you notice the speed limit? 

The modern architecture was something else altogether. Husband loved the neatness and the quirky designs of the buildings .

The country side is amazing. Truly!! Meadows sandwiched between canals and dotted with Dutch houses. And then there are these biking trails running the entire length of the canals. The Dutch bike very fast. They must have been pretty annoyed to spot us in the middle of the path breaking their rythmn!!

Will get back with what we did in this beautiful country in the next posts.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter eggs

The kids are home for their Easter break. Given a choice they would love to be in school! Yes, school!!! While it makes me proud that they enjoy learning and having fun with their friends it also means that staying at home is a bore..ahem!! so, mom has to get her act together...:D

On Monday they wanted to get the Easter eggs ready! While we do not have an Easter egg hunt, we love dotting up our home with painted eggs. The ready kits that come along with paints and gloves is a neat idea.What you then need are old rugs, newspapers, hot water, boiled eggs(they should still be hot) and you are ready to go!!

The kids did a fantastic job with the eggs!
Happy Easter in advance my lovelies!!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The month that was!!

This post should have been up yesterday, but let's just say it has been a crazy weekend!! And it will be an even crazier week.
Here are the pictures which made it to my Facebook page last month. 
I love interacting with my followers on Facebook and have small dialogs along too. 

March saw the onset of spring, my fascination with little german towns and villages continue and yes, I have begun going on walks again. I need to shape up before we are headed back home...:D

And here's my favorite of the month. What do you love to do with your kids on a rainy day? We love to Karaoke! In fact, when we are at it, I wonder when will the neighbors be knocking at our door to quieten us down!! :D

Happy Week Everybody!!

Unknown Mami