Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Last fall I flew to the states on Oct. 9th. I had also been invited to a wedding reception that very night - a wedding reception for which I had volunteered to make their wedding cake. (This is a secret hobby of mine for anyone who doesn't already know.) So I had planned this elaborate 5 tiered wedding cake with alternating cakes of chocolate chip (recipe: compliments of Lee & Lisa Broadhead) with an incredible chocolate mousse filling and orange cake with an orange buttercream filling (recipe: compliments of Sister Smith). Then my husband booked me a flight to the states. I was a little worried how I was going to pull off getting this cake finished before leaving for my flight at 10am. The biggest thanks here goes to Sister Beazer. She is an older sister serving currently with her husband here in our ward and I had heard she had made wedding cakes in a bakery for many years before she retired. So we met and planned how everything would work. I made all the cakes ahead of time and froze them. Then the day before, I made all the fillings and frosting, ordered the flowers and gathered all the other paraphernalia together that one needs to complete such a monumental task and took it to her and wished her the best of luck and thanked her greatly. I knew it would turn out great... and I think it did.

Here are some pictures of our work of art.

This post is dedicated to Mariella, who also tasted several of the cakes I made for Peter and Maren to try, but didn't see the finished product. Since Mariella and Steffen need to decide what kind of cake they want for their wedding that's coming up, I thought I would post a few of my previous cakes...

This was the yellow cake with lemon creme I made for Franzi's wedding.

This was the strawberry cheesecake with white chocolate frosting I made for Julia's summer wedding.


I know, it was funny the first time, but not as funny this time... I had to say it again though, I just couldn't resist. My kids love the WII Fit board and are always battling over who gets to excercise. They try to out hula or out ski or out race the others and it is fun. I love that they actually enjoy the idea of excercising.

Since Tyler is always around, he is probably the best observer. Here he is carefully watching Tori.

But just always watching is not really any fun. He wants to be part of the action. "I too, I too" he begs and steps on the board... of course throwing the weight way off and frustrating Tori in the process. How can she beat my scores when Tyler is on the board too.

And here I have caught him making another attempt to get on the board. "Ah, ah, ah Tyler," I say and he looks at me again to make sure I'm not looking before he puts his hand down where he knows he's not supposed to.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


We toasted in the New Year with sparkling apple cider, kissed, and then headed outside for the show!

New Year's Eve in Germany is crazy - like 4th of July crazy. The streets are so littered in the bigger cities, that you literally have to wade through the debris from the night before. Our little street is not in the big city, but the show is quite worth watching anyway.

The fireworks display lasts at least a half an hour, and as with most years, this year being no exception, we were frozen by the time we headed back inside.

The kids really get into the action too.

All the kids have sparklers and pop rocks and can't wait to help an adult light off some little spinning thing or anything they might be allowed to.

I'm not sure if Tyler really thought he'd get to light everything in "his" package, but he wasn't letting go of it for anything. It was his!

When we came back inside we had "BERLINER," most commonly known as a jelly filled doughnut. This is a huge tradition to eat these on New Year's Eve / New Year. I'm not sure why, but we do. Funny thing though, Boris and Becky lived in Berlin the last 8 years or so and Boris told me that in Berlin they call them "PFANNEKUCHEN" which means pancake. Go figure! In any case - here's wishing you all a belated HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Friday, January 16, 2009


Boy, It's kind of lame to post this late after the New Year, but I am just trying to stay caught up and keep everything chronological.

Since Christmas was "the most wonderful time of the year" and we received lots of fun gifts, we invited family and Becky and Boris and their kids over to try it all out and to help us get to the next level of Rock Band, so we could have a few more songs to play to. Not everyone made it till midnight and some did whom you wouldn't have expected them to. Wii played till three, what a blast!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Christmas Eve is a night of traditions at the Schulze home. Every year the evening begins with a meal of fresh Schlesien Wurst. Even the preparing of the sausage is tradition, as it is done differently in different families. In Benny's family the sausage is first boiled and then fried in butter and served with Sauerkraut with pinapple chunks, boiled potatoes, gravy and most recently - Finnish sweet mustard. For desert we have a huge bowl of fresh fruit with fresh whipping cream. Besides that, the table is lavishly decorated with Christmas goodies and cookies that Benny's mom has spent the last month painstakingly preparing for this night. After dinner the program begins. We were "only" 12 persons this year - a relatively small group.

We act out the Christmas Story with costumes and all. This year we had the angel, the three wise men, Maria, Joseph and a baby lamb (not pictured - the pillow laid in swaddling clothes)...

Then many share something on an instrument they are learning or share a poem they have memorized...

Then we sing lots of Christmas carols, ending of course with Silent Night. This song is not typically sung until Christmas Eve.

In the end we open our gifts and enjoy what is left of the evening together, talking, eating, reading, playing games, eating some more or whatever we feel like doing. I coerced my children into posing for a picture (or more) in front of the tree.

I was asked on the post about Nikolaus how we celbrate Christmas [with conflicting traditions], actually though, my mom's family always had the tradition to go to Granny's house Christmas Eve and then the rest of the presents and stockings and Santa gifts were opened Christmas morning at home. This suits us perfectly, so that is how we do it too. We are then also keeping the traditions started in my mom's family and I love this!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

QUINN'S CULTURAL QUIPS #3 - Burgdorfer Spargelstrasse

Have you ever heard of the Romantic Road, or the Fairytale Road or even the Wine Road? Well, the city we live in is on the Asparagus Road. It has taken me many years of living here to fully appreciate the ramifications of living on this site-seeing road. When we first moved here it also took me quite some time to figure out what the actual symbolism was behind such pictures and statues that are found all over the city.

Today, as I was driving in my car listening to the radio, there was an announcement that made me remember living in Coos Bay and having my best friend named as the County Dairy Princess. I never knew such a thing existed. Such was my reaction today when they asked for eligible women between the ages of 18 and 25 to apply to become the Burgdorfer Asparagus Representative (for lack of a better translation) it used to be called the Asparagus King or Queen, but they have changed that this year. Well what do you know! Add another thing to living along this great road that I was not aware of.

Representatives from 2008

Sunday, January 4, 2009


After we decorated our Christmas tree this year, I often found Tyler rearranging the beads. The bottom of my tree is actually always plastic ornaments, so there are no worries about breakage. Tyler thoroughly enjoyed taking all the beads and hanging them on one branch - again and again and again. For awhile I tried to spread them out again, at some point I just gave up though. When I caught him in this picture, he didn't even have the nerve to look guilty!


This post pays tribute to our friends Sam and Liz, whom we miss a whole lot. We hope they are doing well in America though. True FRIENDS fans forever! Till next summer...


It has become a tradition now that we celebrate Thanksgiving in the Schulze family. In fact, it has taken on quite a large proportion. Most of the family living further away all travel in for the celebration. We have some greater obstacles to overcome here in preparing a turkey feast akin to that of one in America. First of all, there is no Thanksgiving holiday, thus no time off of work or four day weekend. We have conveniently moved Thanksgiving to Friday or Saturday depending on travel arrangements from those coming home. Problem number two would probably be the bird. We don't buy such a big one because the ovens are not big enough to fit it anyway. Please notice we have roasted two turkeys instead. Other than that we put on a pretty traditional feast. The menu includes cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoe casserole, green bean bake, stuffing and various pies for dessert. We TRY to keep it basic and simple.

Here we are enjoying the spread. Note that Tobi and Coni and kids missed the beginning.


Before the guests arrived, we took our 2008 Schulze family portrait:

The third problem is not really a problem but more of a dilemma, but for those traveling here provides a double header. Thanksgiving most often falls the same weekend as the first Advent (or 4th Sunday before Christmas). The first Advent is the start of the Christmas season here in Germany. It is also marked by tradition. The Schulze family spends it traditionally with Tante Bärbel and Onkel Gerd. (The dilemma being two fun filled days of overeating!) Tante Bärbel traditionally makes meat rouladen, a typical German fare. Due to health reasons, we skipped the dinner this year and they came to Schulze Sr. house for pies and cake. Onkel Hagen and Tante Angela were there again too. It is fun to have the family all together.

As part of the evening we sing Christmas carols and then play some games.

Two highlights of the weekend were the announcements of new additions to the family. Congratulations to Julia (Benny's sister)and Levin who are expecting their first child in May.

Congratulations also to Steffen (Benny's brother) and Mariella who are engaged to be married in March.


I am now of course playing catch-up. There were quite a few things that happened in the last 2 months, that I haven't blogged about yet. We've had two birthdays... Here a just a few pictures.

Benjamin's birthday party we celebrated probably for the last time with Liz together. Her birthday is the day before Benjamin's and for years they've celebrated together. (Often with Annelie too - she has the same day as Liz) This year though, Sam and Liz moved back to the states just a couple of weeks later.

We just hung out with our friends and played pool and ate yummy food. It was great to have Becky and Boris back amongst us after living for years in Berlin. As you can see, Benny enjoyed himself immensely.

A couple of close-ups of friends: Lars and Mimi

Susan and Lasse

Jen, me, Liz

Tyler's 2nd Birthday we celebrated with family. He was soo excited. He almost burned his lips trying to blow out the candle.

Tyler got a Thomas the Train take-a-long set. He used to play with his buddy Isaac with his and I knew he loved them. Thomas makes noise and it is his favorite toy right now to take to bed with him.