Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our 1st Christmas in Germany Army Style

Christmas Eve is when we always do our big cooking family dinner well this year we decided to invite the gang from Thanksgiving and a few others even though some of our friends didn't make it we had an awesome turn out and our Christmas eve was amazing..nothing better then spending the evening with great friends and our's not a party unless Santa shows up...
A holiday get together is not complete with out video games according to the boys...yes that is more then one tv you see there I believe they had 3 tvs running on Christmas Eve honestly the techno gaming is not my thing so I am not sure what they were playing but they sure had fun lol
Love comes in all forms, all shapes and sizes...this is what Army love is about Avila, Maddie and Charlie all smiles. I can not tell you how much the girls love Pachenkos battle buddies these guys aren't friends they are our family...there is not anything I wouldn't do for them...

Friends, food, laughter these are the things memories are made of...those good times together where you share the small things that mean so much.. some of us are away from home for the first time..some of the boys are missing Christmas away from home for the first time so it was important to me that they had a place to be to have the home & family feel for the holiday...and I think we succeeded...families aren't always conventional, life isn't always how we planned but we roll with what we got..and what we have here is pretty special our post is a community we are family.

Our daughters see daddies battle buddies as big brothers yes...Charlie is really sharing her toy with Topete...
I was a little sad this holiday season Julianna is still back in Montana and honestly I have never been apart from any of my daughters on a holiday...except for when I was pregnant with the twins, on lock down in the hospital on bed rest but at least the girls were minutes away and Pachenko brought them to see me..but in this case Julianna is like 5000 plus miles away and thousands of dollars away.  I came to the realization that this is why I am so attached to the boys they are away from their moms & families so there moms can't take care of them and Julianna is so far away from in my thinking I can take care of the boys the way I'd hope some one would take care of my daughters.. The photo above is Gilly and my babies Maddie felt sick so Gilly wrapped her up and held her so she still could be in the photo...
Girls getting ready to say good night to the boys picking out the perfect cookies for Santa Claus takes a minute or two though...then it was time for a big group cuddle hug with the boys and one last photo of the night for the girls 
A perfect ending to a wonderful holiday with family and friends...I hope everyone had the opportunity to spend there holidays with the ones they love..
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from our family to yours..

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cookie Swappin with some friends

Well my friends were smart they made their stuff ahead of time and came over had some snackies and hung out while I whipped up every other time we have gotten together it was mostly just laughing and having fun. Unfortunately Kelly B was stuck at work and poor Laura C got sick but like always she was awesome enough to send cookies over..
I had a complete brain freeze while the gang was here and didn't snap any pics of the girls hanging out...but Ashlie P, Kaitlin O and Rachel G were here and of course like always they just cracked me up...I did manage to snap pics of everything they brought though...
Ashlie P, her kiddos and I believe Laura C's kiddos made like a 1000 cupcakes...I loved all the different colors she also made rice krispie treats with sprinkles..

Rachel G. made these cookies with the Hershey Kisses I think that these were one of the first ones to disappear...I think she also made Oatmeal Raisin cookies...

Kaitlin O made Chocolate sprinkle covered pretzels you can honestly never go wrong with pretzels and chocolate as far as I am concerned...these were awesome...she also made chocolate chip cookies...

These were the yummy cookies Laura C sent over gingerbread I believe...

Left the cookies on the table and everyone swapped out....sent some cookies to the barracks and a couple other places with some 3rd Bat Delta girl labels ...last thing I wanted was a bunch of tempting cookies sitting around for too long...I just love a reason to get together with the girls...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

3rd Battalion Winter Ball Quick Strike Storck Barracks Illesheim Germany

Never far are the memories we share with our friends...The ball was very nice I so would of enjoyed myself more if my tail bone wasn't killing me thanks to falling down the stairs 2 weeks prior to the ball I  broke my tail bone long periods of sitting on hard chairs was wreaking havoc on my tail bone...ouchie however it was a wonderful night and I had a great time..beautiful local, everyone dressed up, good food, great laughs and wonderful memories to be shared..

The boys looked all Snazzy dressed up absolutely dashing gents and for the most part they were on their best behavior...
The table settings were impressive however the napkins were so big that they sort of got in the way no one really knew what to do with it when you took it out of the wine of the guys sat on his to squish it so it would lay flat on the table...inventive
My friends looked beautiful all dressed up I am glad they had a good night they all deserved it...Laura C, Ashlie P and Kelly B..the prettiest friends a girl could have..
Kelly B at some point her husband disappeared it was funny because the guys were circling Johns dish of food cause he hadn't come to eat it yet...the guys are vultures never leave your food unattended lol
I love her smile
The Army might claim them as my husbands battle buddies but in reality they are just as much my battle buddies..I will forever love each and everyone of these guys...thank you boys for always having my back as well as Pachenkos
There is nothing better then ending the night in the arms of a man who loves you with his whole being...not a day goes by that I don't thank God for blessing me with a wonderful husband, healthy & happy daughters and amazing friends... At times being a soldier keeps us physically apart but when you have trust, love, faith no distance can take that away...

Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market 2010

Just another wonderful things about being posted in Germany for a few years nothing is too far away and there are a million things to see and do. This wasn't our first adventure to Rothenburg however this one was a lot more pleasurable. I honestly will say it was the friends that accompanied us this time who made it fun and light hearted the last trip was with a couple who argued the whole time. This trip we took along the boys Gilly and Hall plus our daughter Sophia  I really wanted to make another trip to a Christmas Market so we decided to check out Rothenburgs Christmas Market which was an adventure itself.

If you haven't checked out an authentic German Christmas Market then definitely add this to your to do list for next year leaving yourself all year to fill up your change jar with lots of Euros. However I will say you don't need a special occasion to take a trip Rothenburg Any time is a perfect time.
Living in Germany you should be prepared to stroll and shop so walking shoes and BYOB are in effect at all times no I do not mean "bring your own beer" since you can find beer every where in Germany that was BYOB in the "bring your own bag". Germany is green very earth friendly so when shopping if you are expecting a free plastic bag to carry your stash of goodies ummm yea not going to happen be prepared with your own bag or to purchase one a good sturdy reusable tote bag is a must have for Germany living.

Rothenburg has lots of parking areas but my advice is to try to park as close to the the entrance to the market square entrance as possible this way you don't walk 3 miles prior to entering the walls of Rothenburg a mistake we made our first trip there. Even though this time it was a little chilly with a dusting of snow on the ground and some icy spots the day was enjoyable and the weather didn't detract from the adventure in anyway. Strolling along the cobble stone alley ways makes you feel like time has stopped and your living in the old world of course you have the normal businesses that are open all year long bakeries, meat markets, cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, tailor, Christmas shops, shoe stores, linen shop, a shop that sells silver steins and other steins and glass shop.

Now with the Christmas Market in full swing the market square and alley ways are full of booths with goods for sale wood ornaments, nativity's, beads, doll house miniatures, candies, chocolate covered fruits, brats, pastries, glass ornaments, linens and knitted / crocheted goods like hats, scarves and gloves.
I was on a mission with this trip I really wanted one of these adorable wood cut out ornaments that said Rothenburg and of course I found one that was just perfect. I saw so many neat things that I would love to buy I need a euro lottery win lol. I stumbled into this fantastic linen shop with these lace wall hangings of Rothenburg I will definitely be going back to that shop again to pick up a couple more of them.

One of the many things I love about Rothenburg is that you can stroll around, shop, browse, eat and of course don't forget to enjoy some history. You can tour the church a major pilgrimage site of Rothenburg Germany is the gothic church St.Jacob. Its main attraction is the Heilige Blut Altar (Holy Blood Altar) carved by Tilman Riemenschneider, said to contain a drop of Christ's blood.
Learn about the Thirty Year's War by visiting the historical vaults of the Town Hall with dark dungeons and exhibitions or go to the Crime Museum, which shows the Middle Ages from the dark side with instruments of torture, execution items, weapons etc., walk along the fort wall remember to bring your camera,extra batteries and a tote bag to carry your goodies. Pass the Plönlein, that scenic fork in the road is the landmark of Rothenburg Germany and one of the famous pictures of Rothenburg. Head for the market place and climb the platform of the nice Town Hall to get impressive views. Then you shouldn't miss the idyllic Burggarten (Rothenburg castle garden).

While you are out and about make sure you stop by any one of the many bakeries and pick up a Schneeballen a fried dough creation that is heavenly do not pass this up. They come covered in different flavored sugars, nuts, sprinkles, peanut butter, chocolates and caramels. They are beyond yummy.

We ended the day with giant foot long weiner brats and of course the boys posed for some funny photos.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


When I got the email about the need for volunteers for this years upcoming Kinderheim event I excitedly asked Pachenko what he thought. I wanted to make sure he was up to having another child even if it was just for the day of course he said yes that our Kinderheim child could just take Julianna's place. That is a joke though since no one could ever take her place. I also asked my bestie Kelly B if her and John would be interested in doing it of course they were and they signed up too.

For those of you who haven't heard of Kinderheim I will give you a little information about the program.
Kinderheim provides a loving shelter and care for children who are alone or separated from their parents. Every year, the children come to our community to spend a fun filled day with an American family.
Organizers look for families, groups, or organizations to sponsor a child for the day. Sponsors meet the children at our local Longbow Lounge and enjoy a day of activities like helicopter and fire truck displays, bowling & pizza party, arts and crafts the day ends with a visit from Santa who delivers the children the present that they had on their wish lists. I definitely suggest that every one take the opportunity to spend the day with these great kids.
The child we were united with was awesome his name is Francesco and he is 13 years old since the day is about the Kinderheim children I decided to only bring Sophia since she too is 13 I figure it would be fun for her to meet a German teenager the same age as her plus I though bring all the girls would take the focus away from Francesco which was something we didn't want. I have to say I was a little nervous at first a 13 year old boy wow what do I do with a boy? I have 7 daughters lol but I worried for nothing Francesco was great he fit right in. After we were introduced we took them to see the fire truck and then to the hanger to check out the Apache Helicopters it was fun. We then headed to the commissary where we let Francesco pick some snacks up to take home with him after that we headed over to the BOSS where they had snackies and video games. Mays broke out the game tables and the kids were playing Chess, Checkers and Oh Lord I saw a poker game going on at one point next we hit the bowling alley where they had pizza and of course bowling the kids had a blast as well as Pachenko and John B. We then headed over to the teen center where they had disco dancing and video we wrapped up a fun filled day we headed back to the longbow lounge to wait for Santa to arrive with presents.

While waiting for Santa to arrive they had finger foods, veggies n dips, fruits and stuff to make sandwiches of course I took way too many photos but I wouldn't be me if I didn't take photos. It was wonderful seeing the children getting presents some of the single soldiers bought cases of soda for the kinderheim homes which must of been a surprising treat for the teens because they were sure excited by the soda. After the presents were handed out and the children had time to sit and check out their goodies it was time to say good bye.
Good Bye what a horrible thing that we have to do on a regular basis as an Army family we say good bye to our soldier as he goes to the field, training or to deploy. I guess since we are so use to instantly bonding with new people and making them family since we move around and make new homes at new posts we become attached quickly it was really difficult to send Francesco off to board the bus Sophia asked repeatedly if we could keep him she reminded us for the zillionth time she wanted a brother. As I looked around I saw other families struggling with letting go of their new found family...
As Francesco boarded the bus he had a giant smile on his face he told us thank you for spending the day with him and that he had alot of fun but the truth is it was our family that was grateful to him he was a joy to have, we had so much fun with him it was another reminder of how precious family is and to enjoy that time together. Kinderheim is not just something that you can do at Christmas Kinderheim Homes run 24/7 you can visit the children, make donations, send gifts, letters or emails all year long

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chili Cookin With the Delta Girls

Getting together for Chili Cooking for The Christmas on Main Street was fun..Our Battalion was in charge of providing pots of chili for our 3rd Battalion food booth and of course the Delta girls stepped up and got it done...
Plus as always it was a perfect excuse to get together with some really awesome friends...laughed, watched Laura teach Ashlie how to cut onions and peppers and taught Autumn to make her first home made pot of chili and even though I showed her what to do I have to say I think that girl could make an awesome chili on her own..

 Poor Kelly B had to work but she swung by after work to be a taste tester lol later on some of the guys came over for a chili dinner.
I feel really blessed to have met these girls and to have them as friends...they help make Germany a fun place to live...never a dull moment with them around.
 Our family loves a good pot of Chili in this case I was making massive pots of chili so we had a ton of beans including different types...I love kidney beans and Pachenko loves chili beans so we compromise and normally I throw both in I know I am such a nice wife lol.
Everyone chili came out awesome I should of got the recipe Laura used it was good the kids loved was a little sweet until she tweeked it just right ...
 My not so secret ingredient plain Hershey kisses yep toss 6 kisses into a big pot give it a stir melt those yummies up and let it simmer as long as possible the great thing about Chili is it tastes even better the next day.. try serving it over elbow noodles a couple days later with some grated Parmesan cheese on it...delish :D

Another Wheels Up Adventure...Nurmberg Christmas Market

Our wheels up adventures are becoming EPIC everyone loves commenting on the way too many photos I take. This day trip adventure was interesting that is for sure and the story is still getting laughs from family and friends. We decided to go check out the Nurmberg Christmas Market now we knew we needed new tires but the weather was good so we set out to experience a real German Christmas Market. Lets see our trips seem to grow in group size this time it was my bestie Kelly B & John, Nick & Autumn R and their baby, Ashlie & Peo P, our daughter Kate and of course my boys Gillymore & Hall.
After following John and Kelly B to Nurmberg we got stuck at a red light ugh after some round and round driving and some cell phone conferring Kelly B and I managed to find each other again. Now this is what happens when the lead car has the GPS and you lose them. Once we managed to get back together we made it to the Christmas Market we had an awesome parking spot close to the market square. I personally didn't think the weather was bad but Pachenko was cold and our friends Nick and Autumn R brought their son along so it was a little chilly for him. We wandered the lanes of Christmas booths it was awesome I loved it from chocolate covered fruit booths, to Christmas ornaments to hat and mitten booth and coolest of all this awesome minatures booth.

We then decided on an inside sit down restaurant to warm up the baby but that turned into a 3 hour drawn out waste of time and euro..the food took an hour for some of us 2 hours for others then we all dropped way too much euro next time we decided we are eating at a booth getting a giant weiner or brat.
The original plan was to wander the Christmas market for a couple hours then head over to Graf well after wasting all the time at the restaurant John & Kelly B headed home and the rest of us decided to go on to Graf I was in search of a strapless bra for the upcoming ball. Now as I mentioned John & Kelly B left which means we are now without a GPS ugh well after an hour or more of driving off and on the autobahn, missing exits, over shooting and back peddling we finally made it to Graf with about 2 hours until closing. So we all split up in search of good deals I snagged my bra and then it was time to hit taco bell since that is what lured Pachenko there in the first place. We noticed it started to snow it was about 6PM so we decided to call it a night and get back on the road...and boy this is where the fun begins
The snow was coming down it was decided we were going to try to get to the autobahn since that road you would assume would be the clearest well after driving through the woods like we were little red riding hood headed to grand mothers house we finally made it to the Autobahn which OH LORD is not cleared needless to say we were going 20mph on the Autobahn ugh not cool I know.
At some point we are closer to home and get off the autobahn cars are slipping and sliding as well as ours too now snow is great, driving through yellow lanterend, cobble stoned, snow covered idyllic villages is beautiful however when the roads are iffy and you need new tires it makes for a stressful ride. At one point we had no traction to get up a big hill so the van slid sideways so Pachenko turned the van into the right turn lane luckily no one else was around at that point. The boys Charlie H and Thomas G decided to hop out and ride up on the Nick and Autumns car which needed some traction too..after getting the cars realigned the boys rode up on the hood of our van while Peo P and Nick R pushed the car up the was a sight to be seen that is for sure...Once we hit some traction the boys stayed on the hood until we made it to the top then they ran down the hill to do the same for Nick and Autumn R car...
All I can say is the Germans driving by probably were laughing their butts off at the "crazy American antics" I think all in all the 2 hour trip took 4 hours all the way home Pachenko was saying no more road trips until spring but low and behold after letting him have this past weekend off we are already for our next wheels up adventure Rothenberg Christmas Market and I can't wait.