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July 29, 2010

Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing

This week I have baked something every day so far:

Monday: Banana bread (not so good this time; rejected by the kids because it just came out weirdly for some reason).

Tuesday: Granola.

Wednesday: Apple Tart.


Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing (A Bon Appétit recipe selected by David), topped with chopped walnuts. The clear winner. Even though I only put half the sugar in the icing (because I ran out). It ended up being the perfect amount.

Except I didn't use self-raising flour, rather the same amount of whole wheat flour, plus 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. 

I also only used 2 very large baking sheets, and baked them both at the same time. And I used light brown sugar. Yum!

See and download the full gallery on posterous

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July 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 28, 2010

Jason's summer internship at Kraft in Zurich

When one's son has a summer internship at Kraft Foods in Zurich, one learns that Kraft Foods owns Toblerone, TUC crackers, Suchard, Milka chocolate, Hollywood gum, Trident gum, Lu (e.g. Petit Beurre & Prince cookies), Oreos, Nabisco and they bought Cadbury in February as well. They don't only sell cream cheese and macaroni & cheese.

Zurich is the European headquarters; Kraft is the largest confectionery, food, and beverage corporation headquartered in the United States and the second-largest in the world (after Nestlé). It used to be owned by a cigarette company, but since 2007 has been independent (was spun off). Glad to hear that. They also make Grape-Nuts, Naked Drinks, Planters nuts, Ritz & Triscuit crackers, and....Vegemite. Amongst other things I'd rather not think about (like Velveeta).

Jason's enjoying his job despite the long commute by public transportation (he's been leaving at 7:15am to walk and then ride the bus, train, and tram, brave soul!). He has a desk, a laptop, a real badge that opens doors and can be charged up with money to pay for his lunches in the subsidized cafeteria...which has served him interesting and tasty things like watermelon juice...

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July 28, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 19, 2010

Weekend of Delight

My mother
She gave us the weekend
Just the two of us
As one
In each other
In our marriage 

God joined us
God keeps us
As one
In Him

My husband
A wonder
He loves me
Like my Father
Without condition
But with passion

Bound together
Nothing but death
Will be allowed
To separate
This union

We vowed
God promised help
He sustains

(550 million seconds married thus far)

July 19, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (3)

July 10, 2010

High Altitude Disc Golf and Bungee Trampoline Flips

The day before yesterday was another action-packed day... 

Emily, age 12, got her ears pierced...in Aspen, the same town where I got mine pierced at age 25, one month after my mom got her ears pierced at age 52...thirteen years ago. Emily was very brave, and there was a really cute, calm, diminutive, white dog sitting atop a wheeling cart of drawers right next to Emily's chair, encouraging her. I wasn't too thrilled with Emily's friends on Facebook who at first told her it wouldn't hurt, then afterwards said they said that so she wouldn't worry...so now she can't believe anything they say? The truth, please!!! We told her it would hurt a lot, and she wasn't allowed to complain since this was totally optional, and she had to have the second ear done once she'd done the first one, and checked multiple times to make sure she still wanted to do it - and then it didn't hurt as much as she was expecting. 

Then we took the cable car up Ajax mountain (11,212 feet, or 3417m) above Aspen, where Jason and David played 18 holes of Disc Golf (yes, Frisbee golf, except that's a trademark and not all flying discs are Frisbees TM), while Emily and I got the frame done of a 1000-piece ultra-colorful hummingbird puzzle while listening to the fans ooh and ahh over the Spain-Germany soccer World Cup game, and glancing at the screen occasionally. 

Then Emily and I tried out the bungee trampolines, where Emily did her flips as usual, and I did my first flip ever! Exciting. I thought the gargantuan bouncing was exciting enough, but due to an encouraging comment from my sweet husband, standing there with a camera, I tried it out, and managed to get all the way over on my third try. 

This summer is full of firsts! The hardest high ropes trail, jumping off the TN porch into the river, Emily's ears pierced, and now the bungee flip...wonder what's next. 

Then we met a boatload of soon-to-be new relatives, who had arrived yesterday from Texas and Connecticut: my mother-in-law's fiancé's brother-in-law from his first marriage (his wife died of cancer years ago), his wife, their two daughters, a son-in-law, and 4 grandkids, ranging in age from 7 down to 5 months. Let's see, what does that make them to me? My stepfather-in-law-to-be's family, let's keep it at that. I don't think there are names for these relationships, with multiple in-lawness... But also two older granddaughters who are blood-related - my step-nieces-in-law-to-be. For my kids, some new step-cousins. All the "to be" stuff can be removed on Saturday after the wedding! A nice group of people. I loved holding the 5-month-old boy, a very happy and cuddly baby. 

Then, if all that were not enough activity for the day, we all went to the rodeo, then came home for ice cream and berries. A fine ending to a wonderful day.


July 10, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 07, 2010


And now we are in Colorado, near Aspen, enjoying the gorgeous mountain sunshine and breeze, and getting ready for David's mom's outdoor wedding on Saturday. Vacation is such a blessing! 

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July 7, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Family Reunion in Knoxville, Tennessee

What a weekend - we spent it with 23 relatives in Knoxville on the Tennessee River, playing hard. The weather was perfect for water sports - hot, with refreshing but warm water. Our kids had six second cousins to play with.

I went on ten kinds of watercraft in 2 days:
- canoe
- paddleboat
- pontoon
- speedboat
- inner tube pulled behind speedboat
- jet ski
- surfboard
- floating foam chair
- inflatable chair
- inflatable mattress

Wow! We very seldom do anything like this, so this was a real paradise, with wonderful, loving family. I am really blessed to have married into this group of interesting, welcoming, and kind people.

Did I mention crazy? David's cousin Tim jumped off the roof of the house into the river. Oh my. Twice. See the photo below. I thought the people jumping off the porch into the water were really daring already! But then, he DID serve in the Marine Corps... Two years ago at the family reunion, I stood outside the railing of the porch for 30 minutes, trying to get myself to jump, but just couldn't. This year, I stood poised to jump for a good 45 minutes, telling myself that I would regret it if I didn't do it this time, and that I already knew what it felt like NOT to do it...and that I wouldn't get the chance for at least three or four years after this. I prayed for help and guts, people offered to jump with me, people gave me all sorts of advice, breathing exercises...nothing helped. Eventually, I figured out I could sit down, and I jumped from there, which seemed SO much lower... and jumped from a seated position three more times, before I eventually managed to jump from standing on my feet but crouched down - twice. I am really relieved I managed. It was pretty fun. But it took me so long to get around to it, and I had assured people so fervently that I was very unlikely to jump, and I was so nervous each time, that there are no pictures of me in action. Oh well. 

Emily had a wonderful time with her second cousin who is the only other girl of the eight grandkids, and nearly the same age. They stuck together the whole time, on the jet ski, the inner tube, in the water...

Jason took the fireworks photo, which struck me as the perfect 4th of July constellation, all red, white and blue. Great shot, Jason!

See and download the full gallery on posterous

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July 7, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

High Ropes Course on Mount Pilatus, Luzern, Switzerland

The first weekend of the kids' summer vacation, we took advantage of the lovely warm weather, arrived at long last in Switzerland after a very long and cold winter, and did the high ropes course above Luzern on Mount Pilatus for our third time. We all love it. The best thing about this particular visit was that all four of us managed to make it onto (and all the way through) the hardest trail: "Dragon Fire." None of us had managed to get up there before. In order to even begin the trail, one must first climb up a tall knotted rope to reach the platform. Or, a new option this time, scale a tall tree with indoor-rock-climbing-type handholds and footholds. All under one's own strength, with no help or support (only a safety rope that lets you fall gently down if you lose your grip). It takes a lot more strength, stamina, balance, and flexibility than you think at first glance. So we were all very pumped to have gotten up there. I'm not sure I could do it again - when I got to the top, my arms were quivering for a good long time. Then the course itself, way up there in the trees, takes a lot of strength and balance again, so halfway through I could hardly open my carabiners to move them along - my muscles were almost not working anymore. Turning my camera on & off was a challenge. Yes, I don't exercise much! Anyway, it was a ton of fun, and I'm so glad to have activities like this that every one in our family, different as we are in age and tastes, enjoys greatly.

After the ropes course, we took the cable car the rest of the way up to Pilatus Kulm (the peak of the mountain) and looked down on Lake Luzern (Vierwaldstättersee). After lunch, we came back down and then had our first experience with the longest summer toboggan run in Switzerland (or any other kind of summer toboggan run anywhere). A long wait, but enjoyable.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

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July 7, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)