Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ringing in the New Year - what a blast!

So it turns out that fireworks are legally sold here in Germany between Christmas Day and New Years Eve. Actually, they go on sale on December 27th. Zev COULD NOT wait to go down to the store when he got home from work on the 27th, to go and buy fireworks. Look at his sweet face. He can't decide which firework is his favorite.

We invited some friends over for a NYE party at our house. As you all know, I married a secret gourmet chef who moonlights as an Air Force Officer. Zev cooked up an amazing array of appetizers, including blue and goats cheese wrapped in puff pastry; endives with caviar or shitake mushrooms and a special mustard sauce; twice baked potatoes with a delicious filling; dates wrapped in bacon; spinach pinwheels and this delicious crepe dessert with Grand Marnier sauce filling. Here Zev has graciously provided a cooking demonstration on how to construct his crepe cake. It's as easy as 1,2,3,4....

We put to use the cheese markers that Lauren and Deven and family bought us for Christmas.

The crepe concoction with orange shavings on top.

Adele and Romain brought along their delicious homemade foie gras with gelee. What a treat!

Outside, Zev had set up a "launching station" to launch the rockets from our balcony. We got approval from Heinz and Magda beforehand to set off fireworks from our balcony and they were fine with it. We even saw them watching the "show" at midnight!!

Let the show begin!!!

Zev made sure that us girls had some sparklers to wave around in celebration.

And then he got down to business and lit off the "big boy" fireworks, along with Daniel, Romain and Ryan.

Ryan made sure that he had good safety procedures in place. He kept suggesting that Zev wear his safety googles too but Zev was too excited with all the fireworks going on to go and get his safety goggles.

The picture of a very happy man.

It was a wonderful start to the new year.


People in the street were letting off fireworks- we saw fireworks going off for at least 40 minutes straight. Hence the thick fog at around 1240am...Yes, those are car tailights that you can see. We couldn't believe that cars were driving through this fog!

The day after. The debris didn't take too long to pick up though.

Here's to a lovely 2010!

Love and hugs,
Zev and Fi xoxo

There's a LOT of snow out there - well compared to what I've seen before!

The ground outside is covered with a thick blanket of snow. It looks like a lot of snow to me (anything that come up to your ankles when you walk is a lot of snow to this girl from Down Under!). Zev has of course seen snow that comes up to his waist. I'm glad the snow doesn't come up to my waist. It began to snow a lot on Thursday, and by Friday we had a decent covering, so Zev sent me an email from work asking me to go out and buy two sleds from the local hardware store. I just HAD to buy the pink one, and picked up the other available color- yellow, for Zev.I honestly didn't realize that our sleds/coasters would match our ski jackets (but I like that they do! Ha!)

We walked up through the woods behind our house and sledded under the moonlight. Lots of fun!

Yesterday we went skiing at a little mountain not far from our house, in the Schwaebisch Alb.

You will see from my previous post, how excited I was for Zev to come home from work to see the nice work I had done with shoveling the driveway. Rookie mistake. When you live in a snowy climate, the snow can come and undo all your good work- we spent about 20 minutes before heading out skiing, in taking the snow off our cars and de-icing the windows and shoveling the driveway yet again. Maybe someone could invent a leaf-blower equivalent for snowy driveways!

Little PT Cruiser, where are you?

Hope everyone stays warm and dry (or in Australia- cool and dry!)

Friday, January 08, 2010

The orderly disposal of Christmas Trees

I thought you would be interested to know how Christmas Trees are "put to rest"/ disposed of here in Germany. Real Christmas Trees of course. Unlike our sweet, pre-packaged, pre-lit, PX special right here:

Here in Germany, each neighborhood has a designated Christmas Tree Disposal-Pick-Up-Point. Ours happens to be right across the street from our house. I have a good view of it from my office window.

In good, orderly German fashion, the locals have been depositing their Christmas Trees at the designated disposal spot. I have been working at home this week on my business, and so I have watched the process unfold during this week. It is especially cute to see dads come along with their small kids to drop off the trees, and to see the kids try to help dad pull the tree from their car and onto the pile. All stacked very neatly, of course ;-)

You can barely see the temporary sign indicating the disposal area, above. You can also see our house over the tops of the Christmas Trees. I love the smell of a real Christmas Tree fir, however you've got to admit, that the convenience and easy-clean-up-ability of the (ok I'll say- faux) American Christmas Tree has its place. I'm sure one day again in the future we will get a "real" Christmas Tree again, maybe when we have kids, but for now our little special works just fine. Our friend Romain (Adele's husband) just kept staring at our tree when they came over for New Year's Eve. After about an hour he said:

" I would like to buy your tree."

"Oh Romain, thank you for complimenting my tree, but you can easily get a Christmas Tree here."

"No really, I would like to buy your tree when you go back to the United States."

"But this tree is special to us."

"You can keep the decorations then."

I think he likes the way it packs up neatly in a box. Just so:

On another note, I "surprised" Zev by shoveling the driveway AND salting it this morning. It is snowing buckets (I'm not sure if you can say "it's snowing cats and dogs") but it is snowing constantly right now. Well, I think this is a lot of snow. As Zev says whenever I make a comment like this "oh this is nothin'. You should see the snow in upstate New York". Anyway, Zev usually does the shoveling and salting/ de-icing of the driveway. I have offered to do it numerous times, but he likes to do it. So this morning, I went out with my snow shovel and salt bucket and went to work.

Gotta begin by shoveling out your walking areas....

Heinz from next door even came out for a chat. I like chatting with Heinz because he is not afraid to correct my German. Which is a good way to learn German.

Hope you are all having a good start to 2010! This is going to be a good year. I just feel it in my bones.

Love and hugs, Fi