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Deutschland and the Frandsens

We had an excellent visit with the Frandsen girls in Germany. We started out nice and easy and ended running our tails off. The first few days were spent adjusting to the time change and just hanging with Leslie and her girls enjoying movies, spa nights, and home cooked meals.

First up, Leslie and I took a German Baking class offered through the air force base near by. It was a lot of fun seeing all their excellent and efficient tools like the torte ring, cake cutter, and cake lifter. Not to mention the delicious desserts Mandarin Orange Cake, Poppy Seed Almond Roll, and Berliners.

Next, we had a few days of shopping we bought some shoes, some chocolate, and Easter decor. They had the cutest Easter/Ouster decorations. My Mom and I had a lot of fun gazing at all the chocolate Easter Bunnies, eggs, and wee trinkets.We also went swimming. The base nearby has an excellent facility. Both McKenna and Ellie surprised us with their bravery. McKenna turned a new leaf that day and began to get her face wet and dunk herself all the way under. While Ellie couldn’t get enough of the little slide she was so excited she would clench her teeth and shake her fists.


Then our big adventure and truly the the highlight of the trip was a weekend spent in the town of Rothenburg.  Rothenburg is a Medieval city with a wall dating back to the 1400’s that surrounds the old town square. It was a beautiful city with so much preserved we were very impressed. We took a Night Watchmen tour there as well and learned some more interesting facts about living in that time and the crazy history of Rothenburg. The next day we visited a Toy Museum and the Christmas Museum where Leslie and I picked up the classic German Christmas candle light windmills.

The next town we visited is Strausburg, France. A town just across the boarder of France that has a good mix of German and French culture. First we hit the Cathedral. It was mind blowing with all the detail both inside and out. Some of the stained glass was dated back to the 1300’s and it was one of the tallest of the Cathedrals built in this era. Strausburg has a historical section of the city called “La Petite France” where we found classic half timbered architecture and a classic European feeling with quaint narrow streets and shops.

We enjoyed a boat tour through the cities canals as well and finished the day off with crepes.

Finally we spent one day enjoying the walkplatz in Kaiserslautern the main town near my sister. They had a farmers market that morning which is always a good thing to check out anywhere you go… The day ended with some sunshine to enjoy once we got home.

So overall it was a fantastic trip. Leslie and her girls were awesome hosts and we really enjoyed the time spent with them I loved watching Ellie play and get to know her cousins they are very special girls. I hope that we helped bring a bit of joy and distraction to them as they pass the time while their Dad is out working so hard. Thank you Leslie, Mark, Bailey, and McKenna! We love you and already miss you so much.

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On the 16th (Ellie’s Birthday) we spent the day checking out the wonderful city of Brugge, Belgium. We fell in love with this little city. We were expecting a big bustling city like Brussels but were surprise by its quaint little streets and shops. Now don’t get me wrong Brugge is still a good size city but it had a different feel to it. The first thing we did was head to the clock tower where we heard there were excellent fritts to be had. We filled our bellies and oriented ourselves around the square.

This city had a lot to offer but I think what will always stand out to Gary and I is our visit to the Church of Our Lady.

We approached it in a round about way where we actually benefited from getting lost and came across a woman making lace in a little alley. My sister has a great post about this and a little video clip you don’t want to miss showing the lace ladies skills. her fingers moved so fast I was totally mesmerized. Like my sister I regret not purchasing some of her handy work.

We also came across a cool little path leading to the Church of our Lady that crossed a canal and offered an intimate glimpse of what Brugge has to offer. We were able to sit and enjoy the canal and the cute little cottages for a few minutes before we were overtaken by a tour group.

The big draw to the Church of Our Lady is that it is the home of Madonna and Child the only work of Michaelangelo to leave Italy. She is BEAUTIFUL words can’t realy describe we were humbled to say the least and I felt very privileged to have been able to feast my eyes on the mother and child.

Gary and I were able to take a moment together and explore the Church while Ellie was entertained by her cousins and watched over by Mark and Leslie outside. It is a beautiful building and we were filled with a sense of awe as we looked about and took in it’s history.

There is still more to share with you all about Brugge, but I feel my writing skills are exhausted so I’m taking the lazy route and sending you yet again to my Brugge Flicker Set. Pictures really do more then words sometimes…

One last thing though look what we picked up on our morning grocery trip…

Leslie had informed me that this little treat existed just after they had made the move to Germany, so when I saw it with my own eyes I couldn’t resist I had to get some myself.

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Brussels Flower Carpet

We were lucky enough to have our vacation timed just right so that we could see the Flower Carpet in Brussels Belgium. This was an awesome experience the tapestry is made out of 700,000 begonias and all of them are grown in Belgium. It is displayed for only three days and four nights in the Market Square. It is assembled in less than 4 hours. CraZy. Needless to say it was beautiful.

Check out the my Flicker photo set of the event here. Also check out my sister’s take on it here.

We enjoyed everything Brussels had to offer. Including the famous or perhaps infamous Manneken Pis

The Chocolate…

This particular Chocolatier (Neuhaus) has been making chocolates since 1857. Their claim to fame is that they were the first to start making praline chocolates or filled chocolate, and yes they have pretty much perfected the art of chocolate.

the Waffels…

The waffels or gaffers are like none I have tasted they have this wonderful sugar coating that makes the crust so nice and crisp. Perfection…

The Architecture…

I have a flicker set for Brussels as well here.

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Hallo Von Deutschland

Everything is going great. Busy busy. We plan to catch everyone up soon. But haven’t had a chance, yet. I have so many photos but no time to download and such. I’ll have to put up a photo post when we get back to the states.

So far we have visited the Barfuspad (Bare foot Park) Where we got our feet wet, muddy, and lets say worked over. The kids were troopers and walked the whole thing, even Ellie demanded that she walk some as well.

Next up was a Medieval Festival in a village about an hour away. Where we were able to enjoy a jousting tournament amongst some feuding knights. We also enjoyed some authentic German Brats and picked up a few souvenirs.

We celebrated Ellie’s 1st Birthday a little early with the Frandsen’s German neighbors. We had a German style BBQ and Ellie had her first taste of cake followed by her first taste of brats as well.

We went to Heidelberg Monday on our own. By train, then bus. Good adventure. Train ride was about an hour and a half.. and was a challenge getting the city bus to where we were going for the day, from the train station. Once there walked around Castle ruins.. originally built in the 12th century, but vacant since 1619. Then toured the huge “Walkplatz” (walk plaza – shops, etc.) with Ellie in backpack.

While we were gone Leslie got everyone caught up some on her blog, she has some photos, here’s the link:

Tomorrow we plan to do a Rhine River cruise, but am afraid Ellie has hit a wall this evening. Seems to be running a low grade temperature. We’ll cross our fingers and hope some rest will take care of her. She has really been a wonderful baby so far as usual she is wide eyed and absorbing as much as she can take in.

We are also looking forward to a weekend trip to Brussels…

More soon..

Love, G/D/E

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Back in the Saddle again

It’s been a while since my last update. We took a little trip back to NY to visit with our family and do some house hunting. The family visiting was marvelous. Ellie entertained everyone and showed off her new skills. Gary got to celebrate his birthday three times this year once with Ellie and I out to dinner, once with my parents, and once with his family. He is a well loved individual. We got to visit with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins at Jessica’s wedding. What a beautiful wedding it was! The setting was perfect at a winery up on the hill overlooking a classic New York Finger Lakes landscape. We had so much fun watching the kiddos dance their hearts out and the ladies in the family as well. We also got to enjoy another trip to the Ithaca Farmers Market. Ellie got a fab T-Shirt from the Sundancer Designs Clothing Co. We also picked up some purple asparagus and a gorgeous white bleeding heart for Linda. So fun..

As for the house hunting we did good. We familiarized ourselves with the Ithaca area much better. We managed to narrow down our choices and pretty much came to the conclusion that we are in love with the village of Trumansburg. It is practically Mayberry reincarnate. We also learned that NY’s taxes are unbelievably high and painful. (We knew this, but just didn’t digest it until now) Yikes! We have decided to attempt a contingency offer on a cute little turn of the century farm house just out of the Trumansburg village. It sits on nearly 6 acres mostly wooded with trails and has a lovely distant view of the lake. It is a small house with a few imperfections but oh so cozy and warm and inviting and the property is so wonderful. So wish us luck. We still haven’t gotten any bites on our Timberlakes home for sale here in Utah but we are being patient and just keep trying to put good thoughts out there into the cosmic soup.

Ellie did good on the airplane. She got a bit fussy at times and tired of being held and the tight spaces but no major tantrums. On the way back we experienced the dreaded diaper blow out so we now join the ranks with Kim and Charie and the mile high diaper duty. I had to throw away the onsie and all! Nasty. She actually had quiet a few adventures, 6 plus full days of car rides and car seat confinement, 4 airplane rides, a two hour time change, a bonk on the forehead from a toy, and the porch swing breaking under her and Grandma Marcoccia. Well done Ellie your a trooper.

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Deutschland and the Frandsens

We had an excellent visit with the Frandsen girls in Germany. We started out nice and...
article post


On the 16th (Ellie’s Birthday) we spent the day checking out the wonderful city of...
article post

Brussels Flower Carpet

We were lucky enough to have our vacation timed just right so that we could see the...
article post

Hallo Von Deutschland

Everything is going great. Busy busy. We plan to catch everyone up soon. But...
article post

Back in the Saddle again

It’s been a while since my last update. We took a little trip back to NY to visit...
article post