November 30, 2011

hot coco and more cozyness

last saturday i had the opportunity to quickly stop by a local thrift store. i still don't know why it took me two years to discover the place... very well organized and a neat kept place. not to expensive missing the really old stuff. never the less i found some moca cups with saucers and they had to be put to use over the weekend...

yummy hot coco was made from scratch, a dash of nutmeg, a dash of cinnamon, a dash of clover powder was added to the coco powder, honey and milkd. well the result was a cozy afternoon with cute cups filled with the so very yummy warm brown drink.

as we sat and played games and talked and enjoyed each other, of course there had some stories to be read. as well as some stitches knit on a new pair of socks for my very own feet.

and the fire had to be observed and loved and and tended. all this made for a lovely sunday afternoon and evening. those moments are good and keep me going through the rougher ones we definitely also have in our days.

November 29, 2011

indestructible art

on the left is the "kreta oregano" i'm not sure it is winter hard and as the garden bed in front of the house is not deep and not sheltered at all i didn't want to take the risk and quickly planted it into a pot. the same for the succulent, it might have survived the winter in switzerland, though i hope it will survive the winter in our livingroom...
i do know this is a risk too, especially with balls being kicked indoors without caution. o well we will see and not get too sad if accidents happen.

a last little bunch of autumn's leafs and cones on our fireplace mantel, they soon have to do too as december is creeping closer by the day.

the same is going to happen to the snail houses the real once as well as the concrete once, i love those for looks as well as for the indestructible make of them is perfect for little hands to grab and play with. what better in a house with kids, unbreakable art!
this much for the last photos, i assume before the change to absolutely winter. it still doesn't feel like snow will be covering the land around us, november has been extremely dry and warm. but it's dark now early in the evening, the candles are definitely the next thing i'm going to grab from the up stairs.

i have been spending some moments on the sewing machine, lots of fun cutting fabric for a dress. more to come soon

November 28, 2011

the card

a few days ago a friends birthday was happening, it struck my fancy to make a card for her, instead of sending a quick email. birthdays are special and that's why i'm sending my wishes by snail mail. it's old fashioned and i love that notion.
now and then i'm fortunate enough to think of the upcoming birthday early enough to even take the time to make a card.
and this happen a couple weeks ago...
while i was looking through the scrap bag and some stash of old linens, i came upon a nice combination which suited the purpose of a little hand made design. an old inherited spool of metrosene stitching thread by mettler was in my spool box too and with the help of the circle cutter i started out.
deciding to take a moment of peace a moment of quiet instead of "wrestling" the kids into bed (that fell into joels bucket of responsibilities that evening....). a cup of spiced cider and shakespeare in my ears...

November 25, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by SouleMama. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

November 24, 2011

peanut toffee, so yummy

it has been a while since i was trying something like a peanut brittle or toffee, but it's the time of year to take those recipes out and indulge in the yummy sweet. at migros, they sold organic peanuts, i could not find any shelled once, as we are in switzerland and peanuts are not as popular as in the us.
the same with peanut butter is on the shelf in the grocery shop, but just two kinds the smooth and the one with chunks no organic or teddie's local... i do miss the organic variety with pieces in it, or also the kind which is freshly ground at the whole foods grocer or for that matter at my regular store in JP, harvest coop at center street.

the recipe called for lots of butter, lots of sugar and lots of peanuts, at the end some dark semi sweet chocolate. this sounded just perfect.

 the butter and sugar had to be cooked for a longish time. i definitely cooked it longer as called for in the recipe, as i was hulling the peanuts, which took longer as i expected. never the less this didn't matter and i was loving the contemplative work of shelling the nuts. thea was helping with this, it is somewhat busy work, but she liked to sort and kept at it for a long time.

the chocolate was just chopped finely and sprinkled on top of the hot toffee. some of it was able to cool and got eaten right away. a bit more is still in the pan, in the basement, waiting for it to be packed up and sent as little gifts to a few special friends, of whom i know they love that sweet american treat.

November 23, 2011

giving thanks

of course we are in switzerland and we are not even american, though we have lived the past 12 years in the US, we have grown to love the thanksgiving tradition. preparing a meal together, enjoying fellowship for a day with family and friends and getting ready to share a wonderful meal. giving thanks for all and everything we have been given.
tomorrow would be the day, though here it is a regular weekday, we decided to celebrate last saturday at my parents. i was really excited. the planning started a while ago and i was leaving through cook books and magazines for inspiration. when i was in boston just a month back i grabbed a magazine before boarding the plain definitely a helpful deed, as it turned out to be.

lettuce wedge, roasted wallnuts with a wallnut vineagrette and roquefort cheese to start the meal off

i managed to find cranberries, they were not the best quality, never the less, the relish turned out yummy, perfect not just to turkey but also to our pork roast. we decided on a pork roast as it is what my brother raises on his farm, maybe i can convince him to raise a hand full of turkeys next year...
the cranberry relish was as simple as ever, chopping cranberries, the flesh of an orange and add some of its zest. i forgot to bring the allspice along, o well we made up with ground cloves and some nutmeg and that was working out just fine. added brown sugar did it. (the relish was definitely needing that extra day to sit and gain it's full flavor)

a favorite of joel's brussels sprouds, the kids are not too fond of those green "soccer balls" the adults loved them

my dad fell for the yam, we prepared them very traditional, baking, pealing, pureeing, except we did added a yellow and orange not to hot chili pepper. this turned out to give it a little bit more savory taste. the potatoes were cooked and bacon bits sauteed, to the bacon fat i added a bit apple vinegar and brown sugar, this made for a bit different texture and taste of the slightly mushed potatoes. not to forget, there is some cilantro added at the end, but don't add to much if you don't like cilantro, add dill or parsley or chives for that matter.

enjoy your thanksgiving tomorrow, would love to be at your house...

November 22, 2011


marron are a special winter treat. the chestnut trees grow in the southern part of switzerland, the tessin. a bit over a year ago we went south for a few days in october and collected some of the wonderful bounty of nature. though this year no collecting, just stopping by the grocery store.

the preparation is very simple, the skin needs to be cut and then put into a steamer. or an other fun way we have roasted them, was over the fire in our backyard. either way works fine, they need some steam to roast, so while over the hot coals we had to spritz them frequently. but when they are done, pealing and eating right there, warming the hands on the yummy treat and drinking a cup of hot cider.

November 21, 2011


spending the weekend at my parents house was wonderful, relaxing and fun to meet a whole bunch of cousins and have some good play time indoors as well as outside.
as it is already dark soon after 5pm the cozy indoors have become favorite hangouts, around a big platter of cut fruit, each armed with a dessert fork, the kids were digging in and enjoying the appetizer.

and then games, very intense discussions among the littlest two and of course lots of help by all the older ones.
who would believe, the older boys of course wanted to watch pirats of the carribean III. though i was able to convince them, that a bath in the wooden hot top and a game of "elfenland". it was a lovely evening, even though we were missing joel, as he was playing at a session, and i was reassured by him he also enjoyed the music making at "the poeschtli".

the air was brisk and the "zuber" was all heated up, the photo was taken just before the kids jumped in...

November 18, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by SouleMama. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

November 17, 2011

first frost

the first time this season that frost is covering the ground. it is unusually late, i expected this much earlier. never mind, we all enjoyed the big nasturtium plant in front of our house has been wonderful to look at. i knew as soon as the first frost will hit it, that will be it's end. and so it is, never the less we got lots of flowers in our salads, very pretty and yummy too.
it was such a treat to quickly run out of the house before the sun came up in full force and "ate away" the pretty white.

November 16, 2011

it's november

and in the middle of november, there is not just thea's birthday but there is candle dipping next door in the community hall. of course we can'tmiss this. all of us are very enthusiastic about making candles and the workshop is set up right next door for one week. the ladies running it are very kind and helpful, so we have fun "dipping".
naomi is working totally on her own making "the perfect one"
thea was very enthusiastic about a long orange one.... and oops she let go of the wick and the candle melted in the red liquid wax pipe. no problem, so lets try a new one. brave girl, no tears just get started again once over
for elias i had a challenge, he worked on small bees wax dippers for our birthday-candle holder, so far he made three. and of course a very thick bees wax one with big decorations for himself.
i'm glad we get to do this at the workshop, they offer a big variate of colours and different finishes, a favorite of the kids is a snow star kind of glaceing. for me, i'm happy with the pure bees wax, they smell lovely. the dipping is a bit slower and even that is fine with me, it's contemplative and slowed me down for a moment of this afternoon. that's what i needed and what i so appreciate on making candles.

November 15, 2011

it's again that time of year

with advent approaching quickly, everyone is getting busy and secretive about their doings. thea started this season off with a friend visiting and her wanting to make a surprise gift. of course there was lots of wrapping and sticking and writing going on and i'm sorry not having a photo of the presentation of the gift. i love the sweet moments, when small children, o well anyone, is presenting their handmade gift to a friend.

It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.
Mother Teresa

November 14, 2011

thea's november birthday

starting the day out with gummy bears...
yes it is a special day for our 3 year old girl, it's her day and we love to remember her birth, all of us at home attending and enjoying and loving her. of course that is still the case today, especially her oldest brother has a soft spot for her, even if she destroys his homework...
and saturday was totally her day, with celebrating with all of us and many more from the house and with extended family.

she loves meatballs, she loves pasta, and that's why i made them from scratch. lots of fun and not really following the recipe, using up some grated cheese to add for flavor. and yummy they turned out, everyone loved lunch.

the big party was set for dinner, with cake and singing and sitting together, sharing thea stories. thank you friends and family, especially you cousins for showing up and celebrating with us.

November 11, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by SouleMama. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

November 10, 2011

the last summer flowers

we didn't have any frost yet, even though it's already deep into november. the zinnia and calendula are now pulled and the last few flowering heads put in a vase. the calendula makes it into our dinner salad, a nice and yummy addition to the regular green lettuce.
besides working in the garden a bit this afternoon, raking leafs and pulling the summer floor i was doing laundry cooking a lamb stew for lunch and together with a few friends we held our regular german conversation group in the morning.
it is a wonderful group of women from our neighborhood gathering to learn german. they are mostly from eastern europe and the middle east. all of them moms of school aged kids, having been in switzerland for a longer time now, but never had the chance to learn german in depth. it is still a very basic conversation we try to carry through the 1h lesson. and once again i realize how difficult the german language is...
i love the women, sharing life with them is so special and thea too, is looking forward to greet them every other thursday morning.

November 9, 2011

enjoying the moebius

i brought some very wonderful wool home from my trip to boston, having stopped by at JP knit&stitch...
and then just two days ago i cast on a moebius, the second. i love my first one, in the works here.
this wool is just about so delicious that i feel like having dessert, when knitting. it's a hand spun, hand died wool from a non profit called manos del urugay.

it has been brought into life over 40 years ago to develop and promote the economic and social living in rural areas of uruguay. i'm loving the aspect that it is fairly traded, that it empowers women to work, earn income and live a sustainable life. because there are over a dozen centers, the women can remain at home with their families and work in the coop center close to home. enabling a sustainable economic and personal development.