Thursday, 31 October 2013

Recipe: Quick and easy sugar roasted almonds

I recently posted a picture of my first homemade sugar roasted almonds. I love them and I always buy them when I get the chance - which is rather rare because they are not sold on many occasions here. And apart from that they are always crazily expensive. So I tried a recipe for them that looked promising enough to be quick and easy - and it was. You can do it easily, too, if you like them as much as I do.


Sugar roasted almonds



Ingredients

200 gr almonds (whole; unpeeled) (equals just over 7 ounces)
4 tablespoons brown sugar (do not use white sugar, it gets too hot!)
1 level teaspoon cinnamon
2,5 tablespoons water

Directions

Use a microwave oven bowl (must be adequate for cooking in the microwave, not only for defrosting/warming of food as the sugar gets very hot!) and mix sugar, water and cinnamon. Melt for one minute at 600 watt (600 watt equals the second hottest level on my microwave oven).

Take the bowl out and add the almonds. Mix everything thoroughly until the almonds are covered. Put it back in again for 2 minutes at 600 watt.

Take the bowl out the second time, mix everything thoroughly once more. Put it back in again for 2 minutes at 600 watt.

Take the bowl out the third time, mix everything thoroughly again. Put it back in again for 2 minutes at 750 watt (750 watt equals the hottest level on my microwave oven).

Take the bowl out, mix everything thoroughly for the last time and put the almonds on a sheet of baking paper to cool down. When you take the bowl out this time most of the liquid should have been dissolved and the sugar should have crystallised on the almonds. This is when they taste the best!


Depending on the power of your microwave oven you might have to alter the times a bit.
Once more my warning: the sugar gets extremely hot so please watch out!


Alternatives

- You can alternatively use 1,5 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of Amaretto instead of 2,5 tablespoons of water. 
- You can also exchange the cinnamon with vanilla aroma.


It is really so easy and there is hardly any effort envolved! Just dare to try it - and enjoy!






Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Week In Pictures: calendar week 43/2013

This past week was filled with so much appreciation of autumn. I cannot remember that I was aware ever before of how beautiful the colours of autumn are. Therefore, there will be a lot of autumn pictures today. Enjoy them!


This was Sunny's first math homework

Hippo therapy in the dawn

So many gorgeous sunsets lately

Weekend = baking a cake

The remainders of summer are slowly disappearing

I never noticed how beautiful even the vineyards look in autumn

Who needs to travel to New England when we have our own "Indian Summer" here? (okay, almost...)



I am smitten by all those vibrant colours





When the leaves are gone, the berries remain

Sunny had a lot of fun with collecting leaves, too.





Saturday, 26 October 2013

Ten Things of Thankful: week 42-43/2013

The weekend is almost here! Also, today (Friday) is Sunny's first day of the autumn holiday which will end on Friday next week. So he has a week off. I don't know, he was enroled in school, I blinked twice and the first school holidays are already here! I remember when I was a pupil there were never enough holidays. Now, as a parent, I wonder if they are more at home than at school! ;-)

Anyway, my brain is quite empty, so I hope I will be able to come up with 10 things tonight...


1) I know I said it before but I am thankful for my cool, comfortable car. It is really reliable (not jinxing anything hopefully...) and takes me anywhere. We are in the car and driving a lot so having a great car is very important for me. Sunny loves to drive with me, looking out of the window, exclaiming excitedly what he sees and how much he loves driving. Being in the car with him is always beautiful and nice. I enjoy it a lot.

2) I have known "Let Her Cry" by Hootie & The Blowfish for years now, but every time it appears on my playlist I get major chills again. Just so full of emotion and great to sing along.


3) I am thankful that I am able to appreciate the beauty of nature that surrounds me more and more with every year that I get older. I was not that aware of how beautiful the trees are in autumn before. I mean, I knew it but right now I really see it and that beauty fills my heart and my soul.

4) I am thankful that I will get to see my family and friends again next week as I will be driving home on Wednesday.

5) I am thankful that my iPhone still works. Yesterday I thought it had died and I panicked a little (okay, a lot ;-) ). When it was clear that it was still working I was really thankful! ;-)

6) I am thankful that I finished my book today. Thankful because it was the first book I read in years. I do not have much time to read but I started reading a few pages each night before I turn off the light. It was my goal to finally start reading again this year and I am happpy that I am making small steps towards this goal. Moreover, I started another book today. It is not very thick so I might even make it until the end of the year (maybe).

7) I am thankful for my wardrobe because I have a lot of beautiful "nothing to wear" inside of it ;-)

8) I am thankful for the gossip (and fashion) magazine I like to flip through because it keeps me up to date which is absolutely essential for my life ;-)

9) I am thankful that I do not have to strictly obey to the rules, so I'll end this list here because I am just tired. Sorry guys!










Ten Things of Thankful


 Your hosts

Friday, 25 October 2013

Halloween

One Halloween, I just did nothing special. Which is what I do on Halloween each year.

Because we are not celebrating this day in this home. You know, I am not a fan of Halloween at all. It is something that came into vogue in this country some years ago. And I am not so sure if it is even done "right" here. Kids dress up in scary clothes (but I learned that kids and adults in the US dress up as whatever they want to, they are not limited to only scary costumes), go trick-or-treating and mess around on your property if you do not open the door (thank god we live so far out of town that no one feels like taking the long way to ring at our door). The shops are flooded with all things Halloween: pumpkins, spider webs, ghosts, scary masks, ...

I do not like holidays that did not evolve naturally over time in our country's history. We have so many own traditions here that I think we do not need to add another, artificial one. Do we really need another holiday? I don't think so. Instead, I want our own traditions to be handed over to our kids like they were handed over fom our parents to us and so on. They are part of our grown culture and should be treasured.

We have something that is quite similar to Halloween. It is called the carnival, taking place in February. It is celebrated quite differently in our country, depending on where you live and how the carnival developed in the respective area. But wherever you live, the basic things are the same: The kids and adults dress up in fantasy costumes and have fun, too. There is no trick-or-treating but there are a lot of parades where enormous amounts of sweets and candy are given to the kids so they get bags full of candy and, therefore, their sugar crush, too. But it is just something that evolved naturally and, in some parts of our country, is a tradition that is hundreds of years old. It feels natural, not artificial. It has a real meaning in our country. There are many lovely things that are connected with the carnival: old habits, traditions, special ways to do things. It feels homey and lovely and good, like an old, worn and warm blanket that you wrap around your shoulders. It is the essence of home for me.

I wrote about it this year already. So if you want to know what our traditional carnival looks like, please read about it and watch the video I posted here.

So, I guess you will find my next "Halloween" post (aka carnival post) next February! :-) Stay tuned until then!









This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday using the sentence "One Halloween, I..."

Your hosts:
Kate of Can I Get Another Bottle Of Whine...
Janine of Janine's Confessions of a Mommyaholic
Stephanie of Mommy, for Real
Kristi of Finding Ninee

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Week In Pictures: calendar week 42/2013

Is it really Tuesday night already?! I don't know how or why, but the weeks are rushing by quicker and quicker! The chores and the duties pile up while the days seem to lose hour upon hour, becoming shorter and shorter.

Let me show you briefly what happened last week - in retrospect it involved a lot of food ;-)


I wanted to try it for a long time and last week I finally did: my first homemade Caesar's salad with chicken breast. So yummy!!

Awesome morning sky while driving to physical therapy with Sunny

I finally found the time to go to the hairdresser again. My last visit was in May!

I had to prepare three cakes for the weekend (and by Friday night I was really fed up with baking!): one for my men at home, one for the cake sale that the school organised in order to raise some money...




... and the third one (Bavarian style) for the birthday party of my dear friend (because it was a Bavarian motto party)

I also made some homemade sugar roasted almonds for her party for the first time and they turned out deliciously

Love marveling at a beautiful afterglow



Saturday, 19 October 2013

Ten Things of Thankful: week 41-42/2013

Just a quick list today because I am about to sign off for today....


1) Thankful that my husband will take care of Sunny tonight while I drive home because one of my best friends celebrates her 40th birthday. It will be the very first time that I am not with Sunny in the night so my husband has to look after him. I am quite nervous and I hope all will be well.

2) When I hear the first tunes of Joe Satriani's "Flying in a blue dream" that is exactly what happens: I start to dream. I just LOVE this song and could listen to it on repeat for hours.


3) We have the most awesome autumn weather today: the sky is blue and cloudless, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the leaves are flashing all kinds of beautiful colours today - red, orange, yellow and green - and it is wonderfully warm. A day to be thankful for for sure!

4) I went to our family doctor yesterday and got my annual flu shot and the one against tick-borne encephalitis. I am thankful that I live in a country that is rich enough to have people vaccinated.

5) I am thankful that my friend invited me to her party tonight. There are a lot of kilometres between us since I moved to my husband and I am glad that we have not lost contact since then. It is nothing that is a given in my opinion. A lot of friendships die due to long distances.

6) I am thankful that I will be able to sleep at my sister's home. My parents are on holiday at the moment so she will give me a place to sleep tonight. Looking forward to seeing her and the kids and have breakfast together tomorrow morning!

7) I am so happy that Sunny's stomach bug was only a "mayfly". After he threw up once in the night he was done and he could return to school on Wednesday. I hope I am not jinxing anything by writing this... :-/

8) I am thankful for the cosiness of our home.

9) I am thankful for chocolate truffles. They are my absolutely most favourite sweets! Just recently I discovered new ones and they are sooo delicious!!

10) I am happy that I finished my list now because I am about to leave and was a bit under pressure to get it done before I leave for my friend's party. See you tomorrow night! :-)









Ten Things of Thankful


 Your hosts

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

How I was directly confronted with the R-word last week for the first time

It was Sunday night. I was printing the pictures for Sunny's communication journal and checking Facebook from time to time while doing so.

One of my friends had recently posted that she was watching a movie starring Leonardo di Caprio for the umpteenth time. Comments were made about the movie and Leonardo di Caprio when all of a sudden the following conversation took place (translations by me except for the words in italic which were posted in English; the parts in angled brackets [ ] are explanations I am adding to understand the context. Please bear in mind that I am translating offensive terms because this is what was written):

~~~~~

Person A: My problem with Leo is that the first movie I saw of him was the one where he played a disabled person. Since then I always think that he looks a bit retarded every time I see him.

Me: Retarded? Not a good choice of words, Person A. :-/

Person B: Retarded??!! LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL

Person A: It does sound better than "being slow in development" [I have to paraphrase this because the term she used cannot be translated literally], doesn't it?

Person B: Yes, you are right... I really need to remember this one! :-)

Me: Please do not remember it. The word Retard is neither cool nor funny nor appropriate. In the United States they are desperately trying to curtail the use of this word. Anyone who never heard of this and thinks s/he found a great, hip word I kindly ask you to read the following link: http://www.lovethatmax.com/2012/03/would-you-call-my-child-retard.html
Please do not participate in spreading the use of this word here, too. Thank you!

Person A: The British use this word and it is new to me that it is not politically correct. Besides, I referenced the movie "Gilbert Grape" where Leo di Caprio plays a mentally disabled boy - I never said that he was disabled.

Me: Have you read the post I linked? I guess it is made absolutely clear there that this word is not PC. Unfortunately, it is still used by many in the US and the UK although it is not PC. I can show you many more links on this subject. It would be great if you did not use the word anymore.

Person B: "Disabled" is not nice, either.

Person A: Yes, I read the post. Is there anything left that we are allowed to say at all?

Me: Person B, you are right, that does not sound nice either. The best way to say is that a person has a disability and not that the person is disabled. But retarded is definitely not a good alternative at all.
Person A, it is one thing to use a word you think is fine because you do not know any better. However, using a word that is not okay and being told so and still using the word says a lot in my opinion. And I am sure that you are able to communicate and get your point across without using this word. There is even a whole campaign with the goal to eliminate the word: http://www.r-word.org/
I mean, there are also still many people who use the N-word but that does not mean it is PC.

Person B: That is what I am talking about. Every now and then I say something that is not PC without meaning to insult a whole group.
And I think it is definitely better to call someone "retarded" in German (!) when I get upset whereas all the teens run around and call everyone "a spastic" or "dumb moron" or pose the stupid question "are you retarded?" [which is the fitting translation for the pejorative German term she used here so she totally does not get the point what "retarded" really means and how insulting it is...]
In the United States it probably depends who I am talking to. I would pay attention not to use it but if I pointed out to my mate in Idaho that this word is not PC then he would probably lock me in his truck and surrender me to some obscure country so that he never has to see me again :-)

Me: Okay, I am casting pearls before swine... :-(
Just one more thing before I leave this conversation since obviously no one here cares that you consciously use this word, because in your opinion it is apparently not that bad... not all disabilities are visible. Maybe you say it to someone you do not even know that s/he or her/his relatives have some kind of disability.
This word is just as bad as the words you mentioned above that all the teens unfortunately use. You both look like grown-ups to me. It is a shame that you are not able to refrain from using this word then.

~~~~~

Frankly speaking, that conversation shocked me. Since I started reading blogs some years ago I have repeatedly read many, many posts about the use of the R-word and how insulting it is. But those were English blogs. So I always read those posts and kind of stood on the sidelines. Of course it infuriated me to read about it but since it was nothing that occurred to me personally (yet, as I have to say now) it was no topic I could add anything to. I never came across this word in the German language before - until I did last Sunday.

I truly do not hope that this word is going to make its rounds in our language because it is thought to be hip, cool, better than all the other insulting words against people with disabilities our language already has to offer and which are used frequently, especially by the younger population. But these were grown-up women who used a term they were obviously not familiar with. They picked it up from someone who speaks English and really, honestly think it is more flattering than the equivalent German expression - which means just the exact same and is as insulting?? Oh, how stupid can you be?

It is even more questionable when you are being called out for the use of a word and still refuse to not use it anymore because you cannot grasp the true meaning and the context in which it is used. I was quite taken aback about how I explained and explained and nobody seemed to listen or care.

It makes me sad that I have to write a blog post about the R-word because that means it finally arrived in our part of the world, too, and that is something I did not expect would happen.




Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Week In Pictures: calendar week 41/2013

Aaah... another week out of the ordinary. Sunny seems to have caught a GI infection, he was very exhausted yesterday evening all of a sudden and did not even want to have anything for supper. That was when I already suspected that something was off. Then last night at 2:00 he threw up in his bed. So I had to give him a shower, I changed the sheets, prepared some chamomile tea for him and we returned to bed at around 4:00 only to wake up around 6:30 again. I guess I do not have to mention that I am slightly tired now...

Oh well, so he will be staying home today. I wonder when he will be at school for a whole week without any interruptions. Somehow the infection season does not start too good for us... :-/

Anyway, here are last week's pics.


I made my first homemade hot dogs ever. Like in my whole life. Must say that they were quite yummy.

Love the red autumn leaves

We went for a walk and fed the ducks. It has become a big hobby of Sunny.

Some drawings of Sunny on the iPad. He is not really into drawing so it is always something special when he does.



Saturday, 12 October 2013

Ten Things of Thankful: week 40-41/2013

There is one thing this week that I am especially extremely thankful for, so it will be number one on my list! Of course there is more, so here goes.


1) I am ever so very thankful that Sunny was not ripped away from his teacher and out of his class!! Thank you to anyone who helped us in this matter. It would have been the worst. 

2) The song "Stolen Dance" by Milky Chance. It might sound a bit lame at first but the chorus goes right into your head and does not get out there again. Love it!


3) Thankful that I already exchanged the duvets with our feather beds and put the snow tyres on my car. We had a significant temperature drop here and the first snow (not where I live though) with closed schools and roads and all the stuff that makes winter "fun".

4) Thankful for eye drops because my eyes feel scratchy somehow and I hope the drops will help me to get better soon.

5) Thankful for the appointment with our developmental paediatrician this week. It was rather uneventful which is not always a bad thing, taking into account that there are no new things to worry about. He also told me that it will be sufficient to have the next appointment in two years (instead of annual) which is fine for me because I do not really like those appointments. Not because of him but because of the circumstances.

6) Thankful for my friend who was there for me when I was bawling like a lunatic because of the school thing. She tried to come up with ideas to help and support me and she consoled me which was exactly what I needed. I am so glad that we met last year!

7) I am thankful for modern digital cameras and my iPhone because they both enable me to capture our everyday life and put the pictures into Sunny's communication journal. This helps him to remember and tell me about his past.

8) I am thankful that our SLP and the teacher are both so determined to teach Sunny on how to use the talker. We agreed to have a conference together in order to clarify the details and agree on the next steps. Love how good we all go together!

9) I am thankful for the new brown half-boots I bought recently. I am so in love with them! :-)

10) I am so thankful for my sofa because this is the place where I will crash as soon as this post is finished and scheduled. I really had a tough, exhausting week and now I just want to enjoy a glass of Hugo and watch a movie with Will Smith. The kitchen and the living room are quite a mess but I cannot be bothered to picking them up now. Not tonight (Friday). There is time to do that on Saturday morning.










Ten Things of Thankful


 Your hosts

Friday, 11 October 2013

Five Minute Friday: Ordinary


It is Friday which means it is time to link up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday again. This means: write for five minutes flat, no editing, just let it pour out of your fingers. This week's caption is


Ordinary...

GO

Ordinary is not what we are nor is it what our life is like. Everything here is far from ordinary.

Sometimes I wish for ordinary. An ordinary temper tantrum. Ordinary dinners together. Ordinary family outings. Ordinary playdates. Ordinary food. Ordinary speech.

But a lot of things in our lives are extraordinary. And some of them are really good.

Like extraordinary joy in living this life. Like extraordinary friends who just get it. Like extraordinary people we meet and whom we would have never met had our life been ordinary. Like extraordinary love that I feel for my son. Like extraordinary encounters I have with strangers and an extraordinarily happy child.

Sometimes not ordinary sucks. But sometimes it is really okay not to live an ordinary life. All you have to do is try to see past the ordinary you wish for.

STOP




Wednesday, 9 October 2013

What a day...!

Anyone who has been following my blog for a while knows how much I was afraid of and dreaded Sunny's transition to school. It took me almost a year to be okay with him going to school and to accept it. I have written about it numerous times.

And if you have been following, you also know how excited I was lately when I finally got to know Sunny's teacher. She treats the kids so lovingly, is so dedicated, supports us with the communication journal and the talker... Sunny is so happy to go to school, his best friend from kindergarten is in his class, too... he loves to go to school and he always comes home contently. We could not have gotten a better teacher.

So you might be able to imagine my utter shock when the principal called me today and informed me that there have to be some changes in another class due to a child being too loud and that this will also affect the lower classes and that Sunny therefore has to move to another class with another teacher!! I felt like I was being punched in the stomach, I literally felt sick. I repeatedly pleaded him, on my knees almost, not to do that to us. Please, do not do this to us. Please don't. Please! Please, don't! I was really devastated. Then I had some kind of nervous breakdown, sort of freaked out and started crying hard. The really ugly cry kind of crying. The principal, who tried to downplay it at first, was taken aback by my fierce reaction and told me that he would have another conference with the teachers. I hung up and cried. And cried and cried. I just could not stop the tears and the sobbing.

All the fears I had with regard to school came up again. Everything had turned out to be just perfect and now they wanted to take it away from Sunny again - after only one month in school!! I could not believe it. Moreover, he has such a hard time to adjust to new situations, to trust and open up to new people so why should he - of all kids - be the one to be moved? It just did not make any sense. He has been there in kindergarten for three years. They know him. How could they make this decision? It was just not right.

With tears streaming down my face and sobbing heavily I wrote a pleading e-mail to his teacher, begging her to fight for Sunny to be able to stay in her class.

Then, still crying, I called my friend because I needed someone to talk to and my husband was in a meeting.

After that I called the kindergarten teacher and left a message on her mailbox, still crying. She fortunately called back within a few minutes and after I explained the situation to her she said that she would walk over to the conference and talk to them - because she has taken care of my son for three years now and she totally thought that this was a bad idea, too. I knew she would understand and I was so thankful that she wanted to help us.

Meanwhile, Sunny returned from school, so I tried to brace myself and prepared lunch but I was still completely beside myself with confusion.

After what seemed like an eternity the principal finally called me again and informed me that they would find another solution. Which means that Sunny will stay in his class with his teacher and his friends.

To say that I was relieved would be a complete understatement. Those 1,5 hours were so unnecessary and now I am so relieved and exhausted and tired and glad. All of it.

And I also treated myself with a big glass of Hugo tonight!

What a day!!








PS: I am sure there are some of you who do not understand all the fuss I make about school at all. Maybe some of you think that I exaggerate, that no one was harmed or ill or something like that and how can I have a heavy reaction like that. But yes, it is a big deal for us due to various reasons. And while I do not like the fact that I cried like that in front of the principal I think it was good (in a certain way) because he realised how important this is to us and that our fears have to be taken seriously.

Monday, 7 October 2013

The Week In Pictures: calendar week 40/2013

It has been a busy week. Because of our national holiday we had a prolonged weekend so Sunny and the husband were home from Thursday through Sunday.

As I skimmed through the pictures of last week in order to pick those for this post I was heavily reminded of how much autumn is already here and influencing our lives. I was not really that aware until I saw my picture collection. But it just cannot be denied: summer is more than over and we are in full autumn mode.

Have a wonderful week, friends!


There are plenty of autumn leaves already. We are slowly preparing for colder weather.

Awesome autumn sky. I love to watch this landscape and see it change every week.

Hippo therapy in the woods is always very relaxing and allows me to breathe deeply amidst all the weekly craziness

The sun came out for a bit and we headed out for some delicious ice cream

But it was still cool so I had to wear my autumn parka

We watched "Gravity". It left me breathless from the beginning until the end because it was so suspenseful! (Credits)

I saw a rainbow in the early morning last week. However, it was not multicoloured like rainbows normally are but it was red because it reflected the red colour of the rising sun. It was just awesome and I have never seen anything like this before.

I love to take pictures of the sky. This was while I was waiting at the traffic lights.

With the cooler weather approaching I finally exchanged our duvets with the feather beds for winter.

And I also gave in and bought the first gingerbread of the season.