Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Wasn't Dreaming

Sometime last week, when I was feeling extra tired and delirious, I dreamed that I saw a man riding down our street on lawn mower/tractor/trailer with an old horse carriage bench as a seat.  I really didn't think twice about it because I was obviously out of my mind and imagining things.  But then the damnest thing happened.  I saw him again this morning while I was loading Evans up for school and I managed to stumble out of the car and snap a picture of him before he motored away.
So now I am convinced that I am not going crazy but I'm not sure about this guy.  I've seen some pretty weird things in our little town but this vehicle is by far the best.  As far as I can tell there are several components playing a part here.  It's pretty obvious that his "backseat" is an old trailer.  He might want to check the tire pressure on that back passenger side.  The bench that rests on top of it looks like it could be an old metal swing or something.  His steering wheel is most definitely the handle bar of a push lawn mower.  It is connected to the "engine" which is the mower part of the lawn mower, though it has somehow been mounted on a small set of tractor wheels.  Acceleration is achieved through the throttle on the handlebar.

Pretty nifty huh?  I wonder if he uses this as his primary means of transportation?  This morning he parked it outside the bakery for a little breakfast.  Maybe next time I see him I will ask for a lift in his backseat.

All is well in the Deaner household today.  Evans happily went to school this morning while Mama went and got a massage.  What a wonderful way to start the day!  Surprisingly enough Evans' teachers reported that he was HYPER all day at school and would not "stay on the rope" when they went on a "field trip".  I'm glad that he is starting to show a little pep at school.  Maybe now that little girl will think twice before accidentally chucking plastic ponies at Evans' head.  As for staying on the rope, I gather that when they go places the kids are supposed to stay in a line holding onto a rope.  Well, I could have told them myself that he was never going to do that.  I mean, does this look like a child that would stay on the rope when asked?
I didn't think so either.  Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

German RenFest, Anyone?

Way back when Deaner and I were newly dating in 2006 there was always much discussion and anticipation every year when the Georgia Renaissance Festival would roll into town for 6 weeks in the spring.  Every year Deaner would excitedly make plans with other couples (I'll do them a favor and not mention their names here) for some big fun partaking in steak on a stake, intricate hair braiding by people with dirty hands and perhaps a little wax hand making if you were feel extra wild.  For all of these anticipatory conversations that I know for a fact took place, we never did step foot inside the Georgia Renfest like planned.  I'm choosing to blame it on the rain or any other natural disaster that kept us from enjoying all this crazy fun, but really, I can't remember why we never made it.  Deaner (frequently) recalls growing up and looking forward to the Renaissance Festival every year.  He even made his acting debut at the tender age of 12 after being chosen as the participating audience member and when requested, can recite his line "I, Fleance, will fleet-footidly flee to Fife" on demand.  Impressive I tell you.  

Therefore, I really should not have been surprised when he started telling me back in March all about the German RenFest that takes place in October in Rudesheim.  Much to my dismay the advertisements started popping up right on time around the end of August and you know who had this date on his permanent unalterable calendar immediately.  So, this past weekend we finally got to experience the joy of the German RenFest together, as a family of three, braving the cold grey skies, enjoying ourselves throughly.
Do you know the difference between attending a RenFest when you are in 5th grade and attending one with you are 32?  You can drink beer.  And it clearly made all the difference in the world.  (to me anyways).

Deaner would have fit right in no matter what!  :)  Can anyone even tell which one of these guys doesn't belong?  I also feel like I should point out that those two giant tubs to the right of Deaner?  Yeah, those.  For 5 euro an hour you can strip nekkid and soak in their hot water.  Sound appetizing?  Not if you had seen the woman that we witnessed starting her soak.  Shiver.
For the more daring RenFest visitor, you could hop on this medieval looking swing like contraption and take a spin.  I took a pass since I have a massive fear of swings that spin in circles but I'm not sure that these could get quite up to the speed and dangerous nature of the ones I unfortunately chose to ride at the Gwinnett county fair one year.
This next picture left me with goosebumps all over my body.  At first glance it looks like a dressed up dude taking a leak on the castle.  Looker a little closer.  These two peeps are actually walking FERRETS ON LEASHES.  I just got goosebumps writing that.  And now I feel like I need to take a shower.

The afternoon was definitely a success.  Drinking beer out of a clay pot can make most things better but this was actually pretty fun.  I could eat another deep fried Flammkuchen RIGHT NOW.  Deaner got his fill of disgusting things that I would never make for him......
and Evans even glanced up from his video game a couple times to say "night night pig".  Otherwise he couldn't be bothered.
I'm pretty sure he is thinking to himself "I don't know how these crazy morons lived way back when they didn't have comfy jogging strollers, personal handheld tablets, monogrammed jackets and lollipops".  All the while his father is talking incessantly about the costume he is going to order to wear to next years fest.  You can hardly argue that we weren't in the perfect setting for a Renaissance Festival (even if these people really did take themselves a bit seriously).
I'm just hoping that my husband will be able to control himself next year.  Maybe if we are really quiet and don't discuss this again, we will miss the imaginary costume buying deadline.  We managed to get home without having purchased any weapons or tusks that doubled as wine goblets so I'll consider it a victory!

Monday, October 15, 2012


So, how cute are these white chocolate covered pretzel pumpkins?  So cute, in my opinion, that I decided my life would not be complete until I made them for Evans' teachers as a fall treat.  (really, I just needed an excuse to make them).  Of course, at the time of my obsession, our commissary did not have any food coloring so I was forced to buy a complete 15 color set from Amazon.  Having to wait longer only made my anticipation grow.  I just knew that these were going to be the greatest and cutest things I'd ever make in my entire life.  I bought two giant bags of M&M's and picked through them for all the green ones.  I even made Deaner hide the leftovers so that I wouldn't be tempted to eat them (until I demanded one night to know where they were, really I should have made him throw them away).  Finally sometime last week my food coloring came and I was in business.  I would first like to say this.  It is much harder to melt chocolate in the microwave than I thought.  In fact, just have fun trying it if you are crazy enough to try and make these cute little treats.  Things did not go well from the outset.  Secondly, my super nice super expensive food coloring that was supposed to require one teeny tiny drop to make this awesome orange color?  Give me a break.  Half the bottle gave me this nice pink shade.  Thirdly, dipping pretzels in hot melted chocolate like the directions said?  Ummmm, that hurts.  It's just that, HOT chocolate.  Fourthly, how in the world are her green M&M's so perfectly placed and actually dried in place?  And lastly, she was not kidding about needing to have wax paper for them to dry on.  I tried to improvise and while I was pretty much doomed from the beginning, it was not until the  very end that I realized just how screwed I was.  So, without further ado, I give you my version of white chocolate covered pumpkin pretzels.
Don't be too jealous of my incredible creation.  I'll be taking orders for them if anyone wants to invest in my talents.  :)  I can see now several ways would I could improve upon my "technique" on these pumpkins but I think I'll call it quits for the season.  In order to make myself feel better about the pumpkin debacle, I set my sights on something that looked a little bit more foolproof.  I saw a picture on Pinterest for these nutter butter bite acorns and figured with only three ingredients, I could possibly get these right (please don't remind me that the pumpkins only had three ingredients too).
Doesn't get a whole lot easier than this.  Unwrap all the hershey kisses.  Melt some of the mini chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave to use as your "glue".  The rest is pretty self explanatory from the pictures.  Sorry this first one is so dark.
You can see my "assembly line".  And the final product!
I was so excited with the way that they turned out that you would have thought I had just successfully performed brain surgery.  These made great Fall treats for E's teachers and had I not gotten them out of the house when I did, there would not have been any left.  I'd definitely make these again but I think the pumpkins will not be making a return appearance!  I'm open to any ideas that require any color food coloring.  I have them all.  Happy Monday to all!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Post Guest Letdown

We have had a pretty busy two months around the Deaner household in Germany.  With visits from Old Dad at the end of August, Buddy and Susie in September and then Gannie and Auntie Laurie in October, the inn has been quite full.  As I am sitting here writing this I am not sure I can remember the last time my house was this quiet.  We said goodbye to Gannie and Laurie on Monday morning and Evans hasn't quite known what to do with himself since.  It's pretty public knowledge that Evans is the boss of Gannie and now that he doesn't have someone waiting on him hand and foot, taking him where ever he points and playing with him for hours on end in his Choo Choo Doop (we don't know why but this is what he calls the playroom) he might be suffering from a small case of the Gannies.  My sister-in-law and I used to joke about her children having a case of the Gannies when Gannie ultimately had to leave and I now understand it a little bit more thoroughly.  Let me start off by saying that I, by no means, neglect Evans by not playing with him.  I think the kid is pretty happy.  But when I say that Gannie plays, I mean that she plays hardcore.  I actually witnessed a game of catch the beach ball last for over two hours at one point.  The two of them would disappear to the Choo Choo Doop and I wouldn't see them (I could definitely hear them) for the next three hours.  They were definitely each other shadows for ten days and it is no wonder that I find Evans sitting in our blanket basket looking like he is bored out of his mind now that Gannie is gone (really, he was watching something on TV and I think he was exhausted).

As things have started to get back to normal around here and the weather is slowly growing colder every morning it is nice to look back on our Fall and of all our visitors.
We spend an afternoon in Bacharach, a small town on the other side of the Rhein from us.  We have been there once before with my parents when Evans was born and loved it.  I'm glad we were able to make the short trip back so show off such a gorgeous place.
Bacharach is one of several walled cities that is still intact and this one is worth seeing if you ever have the chance.
This is actually a hotel that is built into the city wall.
It was a great afternoon and was only made better by the awesome Federwiesser that is currently "in season" here in Germany.  For those that haven't had it, it is wine that is made from grapes that are picked early and the wine is in the processing of fermenting.  Every time I explain it, Deaner corrects me on something I got wrong about it so the long and short of it is, it is lower alcohol content wine that tastes like grape juice.  Delicious.
Or, if you are my mother in law, you can just start calling it "new wine" for some reason, but it's not likely anyone will know what you are talking about.  Not even in France.  :)

The rest of the week was spent spending time down at our winestand in the afternoons since the days of it being open are numbered.  We had great weather for the most part and ate our way through the week.  I've tried several new recipes lately that have been hits so I'll be posting those sometime in the next week or two.  Since Gannie and Laurie left I've found myself constantly cleaning and picking things up.  People normally associate guests with added chores and housework but with these two around my house was looking fantastic and my laundry was always folded (albeit in very weird ways!).  The second they were gone Deaner and Evans managed to destroy it in 24 hours.  After their Monday departure, Deaner and I were nervous that Evans might be a little out of sorts.  Since it was a holiday for D and he wasn't working we drove out to the larger American base about an hour away for some Johnny Rockets and a new bike.
Not sure why these pictures kept turning out a little bit blurry but I have a feeling it had more to do with the photographer (not me) than the new iPhone.  Evans very nearly had a coronary while waiting impatiently for Deaner to get the bike assembled.
Hurry up already Daddy!
The joy of cycling with no pants has no end.  Until you realize that you actually have to pedal a bike to go anywhere.  We might still be talking endlessly about the "new bike new bike" but I haven't seen much riding on it since it takes some effort to stretch his feet down to the floor to scoot along.  Forget the pedals.  Hopefully we will have a chance this weekend to really test it out.  And just for the record, the bike was a way bigger hit than the new Cinderella "Diamond Edition" DVD (that cost $30!).  This child will take Mufasa and Mufasa's Baby (Simba) any day over singing sewing mice.  I can hardly blame him.

I'm off to read and troll Pinterest for new dinner ideas.  I have a project up my sleeve for this afternoon that I saw on Pinterest and depending on the outcome, perhaps y'all will hear about it.  If it is disastrous  
it might just stay up my sleeve.  Happy Thursday to everyone!  God, I love short weeks!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Apple Pickin' Fun

(I wrote this a week ago and never posted it so y'all will have to excuse my "tense" issues) Last Saturday was a sad day as we had to bid farewell to Evans' Fan Club, Buddy and Susie.  In the past, E does not take these departures very well so they have to be executed perfectly.  Buddy and Susie said good-bye to E on Friday night and when we woke up on Saturday morning for the airport, we did not wake him to see them go.  We have learned the hard way that it is just better this way.  Deaner and I wanted to do something fun with Evans on Saturday during the day before football watching officially started so we headed out to Appel Happel, an orchard near our house, for some apple picking.  To be honest it was way more about letting him run around and wear himself out but we didn't tell him that plan.  We met up with two sets of friends and their kids and let Evans and William run wild for as long as they could take it.
Evans surprised all of us by actually picking several apples and even taking a bite out of one.  There was a lot more apple throwing going on but at least he was using the rotten ones already on the ground.
I am not sure why but he loves to let the sleeve of his jacket cover up his right hand.  Frankly, it drives me bonkers but even with the sleeves rolled up he still manages to sneak that hand inside his coat.  j
We all know that Evans is not the most adventurous little kid so I was not surprised at his hesitance to partake in the bounce house.  Deaner tried and tried to force him to enjoy it but he was having none of it.  Hardly worth having to take the shoes off and put them back on!  
The weather turned out great and it was nice to have an exhausted child on our hands.  We didn't even end up buying any apples.
All in all it was a nice day at Appel Happel and I'm sure we would take him again.  Anything that results in a three hour afternoon nap is an acceptable excursion in my opinion.......even if you don't like apples.