Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer vacation!

Hey, this is EHB. 
On Friday, the 26th of June, I ended this school year. It was a nice school year, my 5th grade.  And I got my report card. (In Germany, we just get report cards in the middle of the school year and at the end of the school year). It was great: a 1,3 grade point average (1,0 is the best)!  I was really happy.

On Tuesday, before my long summer break, I had a "Day for Afrika". I sold Cakes and Cupcakes and books for schools in Afrika and we earned 200€ (about $225). In our group, there were 5 girls.
 Do you see me? I'm on the far right.

Our whole class earned 1500€ (about $1700)... it was just great! Two of the girls stayed over night at my house Monday night.

What I also did shortly before summer vacation, I met our good friend HP in Koblenz. She brought her twin girls EP and AP. We took lots of pic's together. 

We had lots of fun together! 

My mom made caramel rolls (recipe from my aunt). They were very yummy, but they're a lot of work!

My best friend S and I like to bake together. We can be really funny:

And now it's summer vacation! Six and a half weeks hanging around and doing things we want to do.
We're driving to a German island with my cousins, aunt, uncle, Grandma, & Grampa from Germany.

Happy summer on the other side of the ocean!



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Favorite Child List

We have a couple of different points systems going on in our family.

My sister and I have an ongoing contest in which we gain invisible points anytime someone says "Is ____ your sister?" Whenever this happens, we call the other one and award them their point. The contest has been going on since 1998. Neither of us know the real score. Since this is my blog, then I can confidently announce that I am winning. :)

The other contest we have is the Favorite Child contest. We can gain rankings on the "list" by either doing something nice/great/out of the ordinary OR by one or two of the others NOT doing something. The ranking is self-declared.

For 11ish years, my sister claimed she was always in 1st place simply because she had kids. Now that my brother has two little boys, she has to work a bit harder to move up the list.

On Father's Day, my brother and his wife hosted a dinner, but my sister and her family had plans with her in-laws. So of course, this was a perfect time to declare the rankings....

We took this picture on my dad's cell phone and then I tried to post it using his facebook account with the following description:

"(My sister's name) has fallen to the bottom of the favorite child's list. (A) is in first place thanks to her awesome homemade chocolate pie. (My brother's name) came in a close second with his smoked brisket."

My dad was watching over my shoulder as I was typing this on his phone and was laughing right along with me. The problem was that for some reason, just the photo posted but no description. So my brother swooped in and rewrote the story.

Here is the facebook conversation that followed:

(Bro) "(Older Sister) fell to the bottom of the favorite child lost today. (A) stayed in the middle! Sky rocketing to the top was the one who cooked all the food! Except the pie!"
(Sis) "I am always at the top of the favorite list!! I just let you near it every once in a while!! You are Welcome!!"
(Me) "The homemade chocolate pie totally pushed me to the top!"
(Bro) "(Older Sister) you only make the top 3 by default...."
(Sis) "You know you are adopted (Brother)."

The line "You know you are adopted." tends to bring up a few other family stories that also show our sibling rivalry. Our parents gave up trying to teach us differently. Now they just laugh right along with us.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The New Beginnings

My recent trip to Florida was to help my friend move there to volunteer at The New Beginnings ministry for single moms. While I was there, I got to do photo sessions with each of the moms and most of the staff. This week, I finished editing their photos and emailed them online albums. Within a day, I started seeing the photos pop up on facebook and then I discovered their website had been updated to include their favorites. 

I was so happy they like them.

And I am also happy to be able to share some of them with you.

This couple and their kids are on staff.

And my dear friend who is settling in just fine with all of the ladies and their kids. 

You can see more about The New Beginnings and the work they are doing at

As I was poking around their website I came across this quote that I found very insightful.

“Single parents and their kids are modern-day widows and orphans,” Gary Sprague, founder of 17-yr-old Center for Single-Parent Family Ministry.
Today 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 – a total of about 17.5 million – are being raised without a father and nearly half (45%) live below the poverty line.


If you live near me, you can always get involved in the work going on at Dream Center Peoria. Their ministries include a shelter for single moms and their kids, plus so much more.

But don't wait for a formal event or volunteer application process to take the time to reach out to single moms or their kids. They need babysitters, company for dinner, lessons on homemaking, assistance with their house/car/apartment, mentors for themselves and their kids and encouragement. Each of us can help with that.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bragging rights

Just look at these two cutie patooties!

We have been hanging out together this weekend....kickin' back, reading books, swinging, taking naps (them, not me), eating, playing with new friends (new to them, not me) and visiting with grandma and grandpa. 

I took some great photos with grandma and grandpa, but they are on grandpa's camera. {Someone remind me to transfer those to my computer.}

My friends get to (have to) hear me tell stories about my nieces and nephews all of the time, but I can't think of a time where I have gotten to introduce them...until today. IL J lives "around the block" from my brother. So we had a play date today. Her kids were so excited to play with the babies. I was excited to get to catch up with J. 

I should probably take photos of the 3 dogs and 1 cat I am watching this weekend too. I wonder if they feel left out? At the moment I am typing this, all 6 of them are quiet. No crying, laughing, talking, barking, yipping, or meowing for the first time today. I better take advantage of it and go to sleep.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Quick stories

A. In the past 7 days, I have driven (helped drive) up to Minnesota and back home and then to southern Florida. Thankfully, I got to fly home from Florida. That was plenty of time spent in a car for one week. 

B. The Minnesota trip was with my parents to attend a 70th birthday party for my dad's cousin's widow. We get to see her and her kids every few years. It is always good to see them. 

With the party, there was not much opportunity to really get to catch up with our cousins. We did however get to spend a lot of time catching up with a couple who happen to be friends with my dad's cousin and my aunt and uncle. We see them at a variety of family weddings, graduations, birthdays. They happen to live 10 minutes from my parents' house. So it was nice for all of us to drive 700 miles to spend the evening catching up with people who live in the same county as us. :)

C. The Florida trip was to help a friend of mine move there for the summer. She is volunteering at a ministry for single moms. 
She will be one of two mentors that help with everyday life with four single moms and their kids. 

D. Since we had a destination in mind and were using a map, it wasn't an official Roadtrip. We each had our own idea of the type of map we should use to find our way there.
By the end of the trip we both agreed it was good to have both kinds of that talked to us and the other that showed us the big picture.

E. On this particular trip I did something I almost never do....bought something at Casey's. You may have been one of the poor victims of one of my soapbox speeches on the fact that there is NOTHING sold at Casey's that I would eat or drink. I am now in the editing process to change my soapbox speech, because I bought something to eat/drink at Casey's.....

a cup of ice for $0.16.

F. My international friends "hid" a Chiquita sticker for me. I found it on Interstate 75 in Georgia!

G. I added another car to my 100,000 mile marker list. I believe I am up to 6 cars that I have been driving when they rolled over to 100,000 miles or 200,000. I can think of 4 that I have even had my camera ready for the exciting event.

We had to make a few loops around the rest stop parking lot in order to work it out for the photo opp. It made one of us nervous to be driving on the interstate while taking photos. 

H. I have to break it to my co-workers that I started the ice cream tour without them. I was feeling a little guilty about that fact until I learned that one of them started his own frozen custard tour without us also.

Can you guess which dish is mine?

I. We ate at a great cafe near New Beginnings. It focuses on using local foods and completely homemade. I had the buffalo chicken wrap with avocado, sprouts, tomatoes and lettuce, with a cup of tomato basil bisque. It was delicous. The wrap was a little spicier than I normally eat, but even though my mouth was burning, I still ate it all. 

My friend had a cheeseburger with hand-cut fries. She raved about it.

J. While I love a great adventure, it is good to be home.

PS - I just read my CFA's blog over at Look to Him and be Radiant. She has a beautiful post about making beautiful things. You must simply pop over there for a visit and to get a heads up on a give away she is hosting this week.