Story Time Part two

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

There is difference of opinion in our house on the two different styles above. Let us know what you think.


Story Time


Christmas Eve German Style

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Like most families, ours has it's share of family traditions. One of those traditions happens on Christmas Eve, where we have a traditional German Dinner. This dinner always consists of Bayrischer Weißwurst (Bavarian White Sausage) Along with this sausage we have Brazen (pretzels), Bayrischer kartoffel salat (German potato salad served warm), and rote kohl (similar to sauer kraut only red and sweet). It's funny that this has become on of those must do family traditions (even though Mom and Dad says no one likes it, which is not true.)

What I like most about this tradition is the reminder of our heritage (my father is half German my Grandmother on my fathers side came here as a child from Germany and my Grandfather and Father both served a mission there and my even my mother's side of the family came from Germany in the 1700's .) So for me it is an opportunity to reconnect to my families past and share the experience with my children. Plus I really do enjoy the dinner, well not the rote hohl but everything else. Below I have attached some photo's of the different dishes and a video on how to cook Bayrischer Weißwurst. Let us know what you think and what are some of your family traditions at this time of year.

Bayrischer Weißwurst (Bavarian White Sausage)

rote kohl (similar to sauer kraut only red)

Bayrischer kartoffel salat (German potato salad served warm)

Brazen (pretzels)


Where to buy: Bayrischer Weißwurst (Bavarian White Sausage)

Original Bavarian Sausage (Tigard Oregon)
Edelweiss Sausage and Delicatessen (Portland, Oregon)

How To Cook And Eat Bavarian White Sausages(This is not an endorsement just a funny video my Father found and made each of us watch this year before we could eat dinner.)


Someone likes the snow

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We thought it was part of every child to want to play in the snow. Well we were wrong. Looks like only one of our three kids will play in the snow. One after two minutes went to hide in the car to stay warm and the other one said she would rather shovel the sidewalk over making a snowman. Boy did we get odd looks from the neighbors when they saw this poor innocent child shoveling (by her own choice), while mom and little man built a snow man. I was amazed that he was even able to roll that big snow ball. Finally I convinced our sidewalk shoveling child to take pictures and the first two are the ones she took. Then a nice neighbor with a broken arm came over and finished shoveling our sidewalk one handed. I guess he didn't want to build a snowman either.

All are glad to see the snow go away. I know winter just started a week ago, but an early spring would be welcomed.


C is for Candy

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

With kids home, they need something to do. Otherwise they will fight or become part of the television. So we now have played in the snow and shoveled the drive way and sidewalk. The girls have painted ornaments at grandma's house and yesterday they baked lots of sugar cookies and decorated them.

So today the girls wanted to make candy. We started out with the Authentic French Meringues. Yes, we cooked them for 3 hrs. We made some of them with mint and some plain. The plain ones were not a winner, but the mint ones tasted fine in small quantities. Over all I would not make again.

Next we made fudge. You know the good old fudge recipe we make every year. Can we go wrong with this one? I hope not, after all it is called Foolproof Chocolate Fudge.

Now we could not stop there. I headed over to the website of Eagle Brand to see if they had any other recipes of interest. Wow, did they. So next we made Peppermint Chocolate Fudge. This one uses both milk and semi-sweet chocolate.

Next we
decide to live on the edge again and try Peppermint Patties. These also are time consuming. Hopefully they will be tasty, since New York Peppermint patties are Shaun's favorite candy. First you make a fondant like mixture and scoop out 1 inch balls and flatten. Then you let them dry on each side for an hour each. It took a little bit for me to figure out how to dislodge them from the wax paper. I learned it was just easiest to turn them over and peel the wax paper off verse try to peel them off the wax paper. Lastly after all that waiting they are ready to be dipped. We did a pretty good job keeping a nice appearance with the creme filling. When it came to dipping we lost the battle and beautiful was no longer a valid description. I guess I would try this again and do it a bit smaller and thicker next time and would hope to have better looks, more like the picture I copied from the website. Taste not too bad. The minty flavor is a bit off from the New York patties.

Next we found a recipe, we could not resist. Chocolate covered brownie Bites!! Okay so mine don't like nearly as beautiful as the picture, but they taste great and don't look too bad either. I even did a white decorative touch too.

Finally the girls wanted peanut butter balls. We got this recipe from V. Watkins at church. They only have four ingredients in them and they are great as a treat or dipped in chocolate.

At last, Shaun is home and we send him back out in the cold to get more ingredients to make the following fudge recipes for a platter to go to his work for a work holiday party.
Three stores later and a stop at his parents we are back in business. I guess most of the baking items are sold out. I guess everyone has the same idea to bake on snow days.

Peanut Butter Fudge, I am all for these type of recipes. Easy prep and hopefully great results. It called for white chocolate bar or squares. The store had none, so we had to use white chips. I know that chips are a bit more waxy, but that should be fine.

Lastly, we had a child insist we had to make these ones, so why
not. We will just add it to dad's platter of goodies anyway. It is Cookies 'n Cream Fudge. The bad part is that both of these take lots of white chocolate and the store only had one bag of white chips. Luckily Shaun's parents saved us on the other. Their food storage is handy too. The recipe calls for cookies to be broken coarsely. The reason I learned is to avoid the fudge from getting a gray tint. Ours was just starting to get that grayish tint, luckily it is not too bad.


Cookies Gone Wrong

Monday, December 15, 2008

I was so excited this year to make baked goods with my kids. It started off I found a website that does the 25 days of Christmas cookies from all around the world. As many of you know I really like to try new recipes. You never know when you will find a good yummy one like Brown Sugar Cookies that aired on America's Test Kitchen.

So each day or two I look to see what new cookie has been revealed.

Here is a few that we have tried in order tried:

Rosenmunnar, A Swedish filled cookie. Yum!

Finnish Cookie Sticks, from Finland of course. This recipe was okay, we would try it a bit different next time with a little less almond extract. It seems to over power the sticks not rolled in almonds.

Greek Butter Cookies, these are pretty rolled in an S-shape, other than that they taste like a standard butter cookie.

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies Day, on this one we tried to do the painted frosted glazy look. The cookies are good and the glaze is pretty, but not as tasty as butter cream frosting.

So since we had church canceled yesterday, I decided to search for some new recipes. The above recipes were not too bad and I wanted to try some old world ones from around the world. So these four are the ones we
decided to try partly, because of the ingredients we had on hand. All in all we were disappointed with our baking adventures. The worst part is my husband took them to all his HT families and gave them to our HT. How embarrassing, now everyone will be afraid to try anything we cook again, and probably for good reason. But here they are so you know what to avoid.

Scottish Shortbread IV, I liked this one best of what we made.

Old German Honey Cookies, mine don't even look like the picture, and these were a huge let down, especially after wasting a cup of honey on them. After the first batch was cooked, I added chocolate chips in hopes to improve the flavor to no avail.

Scottish Lace Cookies, also not a winner in our house.

Oatmeal Lace Cookies,
One picked out from a cooking show on tv by Abigail. Better of the last two, has some potential, if we were to try again to press cookies better and more uniformly.

So after all that work. Not one real winner to add to our collection. So today I looked at today's cookie revealed at the 25 days of Christmas cookies. It is
Authentic French Meringues, part of me wants to try it and the other part of me remembers yesterday and does not want to go through that again. After all if takes four egg whites. So a few more days and we will perhaps give it a try or perhaps find something else that catches my eye.


For Unto Us A Child Is Born

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This version contains the original color. Often I adjust the saturation and various other aspects of the color however, this one I thought was fine how it is.

For the second picture I used a layer mask and softened the color to create more of a pastel version of the picture. When I posted this picture I noticed how the color adjustments I made also adjusted the white matte. I am a little disappointed that I didn't notice this earlier. I will fix it on the original.
Obviously the third version is in black and white. I felt the Nativity was a good candidate for some of the new techniques I have been playing with. Let me know which version you like best. My wife finds it very interesting that the reflections are more vibrant in color than the actual subjects.-SG


Praktica Nova B

Monday, December 8, 2008

This camera is a Praktica Nova B. It was bought by my father while on his church mission in Germany during the late 60's. The camera is still functional and I hope to post some pictures taken with it soon (as soon as I figure it out). I consider this to be a great family treasure (even though it's not worth a great deal). I had fun taking and editing the above picture. I am practicing some new techniques.

About the Camera:
Pentacon Praktica Nova B, 35mm SLR camera, 1965-1968
East German made 35mm SLR. Pentacon benefited from German know how after the forced break up of Zeiss following the cessation of WW2 and the division of Germany between the allies, consequently these Nova series Prakticas are very well made.
With Domiplan f/2.8 50 mm. auto lens -SG


For Sale

Saturday, December 6, 2008

As many of you know, there is always a season for everything.
Some things are well thought out over a period of time and others just seem to happen over night.
We lived in our last house 4 years before we got the itching to move.
This time it looks to be only 3 1/2 years.

So you may ask, " Where do you plan to go?"

We really don't know. We haven't thought that far ahead.

Infact we weren't even convinced on moving until we woke up this morning to a sign in our yard, that used to be across the street in our neighbors yard.

Well some thing just seem meant to be, so we will just wait and see.


Medical Procedures R-US

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Well November was quite the month for us and general anesthesia. Denise got the ball rolling with having her "Wisdom Teeth" removed. She was quite the trooper and was back serving in the nursery 3 days later.

Next Anna had her tonsils removed remember that gross picture several posts back? You guessed it Anna's tonsils. She took real initiative on this one, she had us document the experience with photos, she took careful notes and kept a journal of her recovery. Why you ask? Well extra credit for science class. She made a collage, wrote a paper, and brought her teacher her tonsils (she really has figured out the way to a teacher's heart).

Lastly, the day before Thanksgiving I underwent the Cervical Facet Joint Nerve Block procedure, which required general anesthesia. My headaches are greatly improved but I feel the procedure was a real pain in the neck (literally my neck still hurts). We are not sure how long the improve headache state will last best guesses are from 3 weeks to 7 months (could be shorter could be longer who knows.) The good news the fact that it has brought relief means we are on the road (step 1 of 3) to a permanent solution.



You are Special

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

This is one of my favorite children's books. I think it applies to all of us. I love reading the book better than listening to it, but this is better than not at all. - DG

You are Special, by Max Lucado


Answer to the plate riddle

Friday, November 28, 2008

Susan has invited her family to Thanksgiving Dinner. As her plates are not the best, Susan wants to buy new plates – one for each person at her Thanksgiving Dinner.
There’ll be a grandfather, a grandmother, two fathers, two mothers, four children, three grandchildren, one brother, two sisters, two sons, two daughters, one father-in-law, one mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law.
At least how many plates does Susan need to buy?

Correct answer, Susan needs at least 7 plates.
• The grandfather is also a father and a father-in-law.
• The grandmother is also a mother and a mother-in-law.
• The father is also his parents’ son (and child).
• The daughter-in-law is also a mother.
• The grandson is also a brother and his parents’ son (and child).
• The two granddaughters are also sisters and their parents’ daughters (and children).

So we have
• one grandfather
• one grandmother
• two fathers (grandfather, father)
• two mothers (grandmother, daughter-in-law)
• four children (father, grandson, 2 granddaughters)
• three grandchildren (grandson, 2 granddaughters)
• one brother (grandson)
• two sisters (2 granddaughters)
• two sons (father, grandson)
• one father-in-law (grandfather)
• one mother-in-law (grandmother)
• one daughter-in-law


Thanksgiving Funnies # 3

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Gladys who?
Gladys Thanksgiving. Aren't you?

What's the best dance to do on Thanksgiving?
The turkey trot

Why did the police arrest the turkey?
They suspected it of fowl play

Why did they let the turkey join the band?
Because he had the drumsticks


Favorite Board Games

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Most people know we love board games in our house, even though we don't get a chance to play as often as we would like. Shaun wanted to list his favorite games, just in case any one wanted to know. Feel free to leave your favorite game list. Never know, you might convince us to try a new game.

Shaun' Top Board games that we own

  1. El Grande
  2. Capital
  3. Puerto Rico
  4. Candamir
  5. Alantic Star
  6. St. Petersburg
  7. El Capitan
  8. Settler's of Catan Series
  9. New England
  10. Conspiracy
  11. Ticket 2 Ride Series
  12. Smarty Party


Thanksgiving Funnies # 2

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A man in Jacksonville calls his son in San Diego the day before Thanksgiving and says, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.”
‘Pop, what are you talking about?’ the son screams.
‘We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,’ the father says.
‘We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Denver and tell her.’
Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone.
‘Like heck they’re getting divorced,’ she shouts, I’ll take care of this.’
She calls Jacksonville immediately, and screams at her father, ‘You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?’ and hangs up.
The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. “Okay”, he says, ‘they’re coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way.’

How can you make a turkey float?
You need 2 scoops of ice cream, some root beer, and a turkey

What kind of music did the Pilgrims like?
Plymouth Rock

Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?
The outside


Thanksgiving Funnies

Monday, November 24, 2008

Those of you who like comics. We will post two or three comics each day along with some jokes all the way through Thanksgiving Day. Some may be good while other may be lacking. Hope you enjoy the post and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Susan has invited her family to Thanksgiving Dinner. As her plates are not the best, Susan wants to buy new plates – one for each person at her Thanksgiving Dinner.

There’ll be a grandfather, a grandmother, two fathers, two mothers, four children, three grandchildren, one brother, two sisters, two sons, two daughters, one father-in-law, one mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law.

At least how many plates does Susan need to buy?

We will post the detailed answer on Friday for those of you who dared to answer.

Joke time
What did the turkey say to the man who tried to shoot it?
Ans- Liberty, Equality and Bad aim for all.

Asked to write a composition entitled, "What I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving,"
little Timothy wrote, "I am thankful that I'm not a turkey."

What will a turkey with a dramatic bent of mind say to another turkey on Thanksgiving morning?
Ans- To be or not to be roasted, that is the question.

Why can't you take a turkey to church?
Because they use such FOWL language


Headache Update

So its been a number of months since I have given an update. Yes I still have a headache every day, many days I will go for brief periods without one, and I can not say how grateful I am for these brief periods. The use of what I call the Lido cream (see list below) when my headache start to turn moderately severe, and Ambien have made the most improvement. One to two times a week I still get those pesky Migraines and I still struggle to cope with them.

After they have tried prescription after prescription and countless MRI's and lots of physical torutre (I mean therapy)all to no avail. They have come to the conclusion that the root cause of the headaches is due to a combination of sleep problems, and inflamed nerves in my neck and back of head due to authritis and minor bulging disks.

This week I will under go cervical facet joint injections, these injections are done while under general anesthesia and requires the use of a flouroscope which is used to track the exact placement of the needle to deliver a small dose of cortisone and lidocain. The goal here is to block the nerves which are triggering the headaches. If it is successful, it is the first step of three to permanently deadening the nerves which cause the headaches. On the down side is I will have two days of bed rest (over Thanksgiving, sorry dear I have to watch that football game dr.'s orders. Milk shakes, flowers and lots of gifts would be nice too.) and lots of ice packs for the days to follow.

I will let you know how that goes. In the mean time here is an updated list of the medications I have tried since my last post on the topic. Basically none of them worked, except for the ambien and lidocain cream.

Nadolol (generic for Corgard): 40mg twice a day- no side effects, but no benefit

Ketorolac 30mg and Promethazine 10mg compound suppository, taken needed not more than 2-3x a week

Lidocane injections

Diacetazone/Epidrin cap EXCE– (generic for Midrin)- droggy, but unable to sleep. Reduces headache

Vitamin D 50000IU: one per month, then moved to one per week

Lunesta 3 mg: took one for a sleep study at hospital

Methocarbamol (generic for Robaxin): take up to 2 tablets, three times daily max

Metoclopramide (generic for Reglan)

Bupeopion HCL 75 mg (generic for Wellbutrin) 2 tablets each morning, J reduces morning headaches, more energy

CPAP machine-

Tylenol w/ codine 30mg

Cymbalta 30 Mg

Toridal shot

Topamax prescribed, but ended up not taking it

Lidoderm Patches

Zolpidem 10mg (generic for Ambien)

Specially made compound of Lidocaine and Neurontin creame

Tizandidine 2mg

Meloxicam 7.5 mg (Generic for Mobic)

Home Cervical traction device (ouch)

Old list of medications from April to June Just incase you really like reading long lists of nothing.



And the Winner is....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The winner is Jef. Hooray!!!!!

A thank you to those who entered the healthier dessert contest. We only had two entries and they were both great entries. Now some of you have questioned if healthy and dessert belong in the same sentence. I guess we may have misspoke our intent, which was to find a yummy dessert and have a healthier twist to make it less fattening or sugary or so forth. The example we will now use is our low fat brownie recipe. It has two TBS each of butter and light sour cream and one egg. Not great I know, but much better than a brownie mix from the store. And best of all they taste good. Nothing like the applesauce brownies for those of you who have tried that. The texture is just all wrong in brownies made with applesauce.

Infact on, Here is an example of one of their brownie recipes, It has twice the eggs and fat in the form of shortening. Both to be cooked in the same size pan. Who even knows if that recipe even tastes good.

The fact is food should taste good, and at the same time there are often ways we can adapt it to slow the artery clogging and so forth. I remember my last conversation with my grandmother before she died of heart disease. She wished she had indulged less on the pastries. Now I know my grandmother liked pastries, but she loved fruits and vegetables even more. She would always send me newspaper articles on the health benifits of various foods. She told me, " I just wish I had more time." I didn't know then that it was to be a matter of a few days before she would be called home, but I think she had that feeling, just by the conversation she had with me. Now she was in her 80's, and ate a balanced diet. She exercised and had lived a full good life, but she wanted more time. She died two and half months before Abigail was born. She loved Anna so much, as she was her only great grand child. I miss my grandmother even as much today as then. She would have loved her next two great grandbabies as much as the first. I guess in the big picture of things, she will have her wish of more time, but not in this mortal life.

Thank you to all who entered and for the long awaited results. Please feel free to send us any recipes if you have any. If we get enough, maybe we have another prize.


Can you guess what this is?

We found this recently in a plastic cup. Can you guess what it is?


More Fall Color

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

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A video that is too funny

Friday, November 7, 2008

I guess I have had too many callings dealing with visit teaching (three to be exact). I think this is too funny to not post. I hope none can relate.-DG


Synchronized Swimming

Love this talent Show clip


New lens, check out the leaves

Friday, October 31, 2008

After the last shoot with the kids. I noticed the leaves were not coming out the way I wanted them too. So I finally decide to get a faster lens. The Cannon 50mm F1.8 for $89 at Amazon. Not terribly expensive, but I will be packing a lunch for the next couple of months. Let me know what you think of these. Sepia or Color? Got to love the leaves.- SG


Check out the news

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Presidential Candidate... It's someone we know!

There's an effort to elect an unknown random person as President... and it's someone we know! See this news website about the surprising new nominee: Check this news release here! Then watch the short news video.

Jot back a note to let me know what you think! Thanks Sonia for the tip, we would have never known otherwise.


More Fall Fun

Monday, October 27, 2008


Okay, so I have been playing with the Free Picasa program by Google. Can I say for the Price of FREE, I love this editor. Shaun took the pictures. I did a few with my point and shoot too. But all edits and collages are done in picasa. I am not techie enough like Shaun to use photoshop. The only problem is that I have wasted too much time. So off to work I go. -DG
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A Golden Afternoon in the leaves

We found a perfect spot where the sun was shining down through the trees. The leaves were yellow and made for an amazing background. The kids had fun playing in the leaves. Wished we had more time to play.

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