You brighten my day..

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Season's greetings...

from our family to yours.
Hope you are having a lovely time with your near and dear ones.

The break from blogging was unplanned. I have my sister visiting from India and we have been spending a lot of time together. Also it being our last german christmas, we have been making the best of it. Hopefully I should be back to blogging and visiting each one of you shortly. Till then, have a great season of cheer!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nürnberg Christkindlemarkt on Instagram

Finally, sharing pictures from the world famous Nürnberg Christkindlesmarkt. 
Having lived three whole years, we never ever visited the major christmas markets of Germany. December generally is a stressful month for the family even during the weekends. Hence with the time available we were content visiting the smaller markets around Lohr. And after the visit to Nürnberg, I think we are kind of done with a major market. The crowds during the weekend are terrible. You have to be on a constant lookout for your kids, be alert that nobody shoves your piping hot glühwein into you, the best stalls are always packed. To me, the crowd kind of killed the moment. Pretty soon, the kids were begging to go back home. So, it's back to the little charming ones for us. 
Enjoy the lighter moments that I managed to capture..

160 stalls are spread around the market square of Nürnberg.

The markets are also spread around the walls and towers of the city where handicraftsmen display their crafts.

As we walked along, to warm ourselves we had to continually sip on hot glühwein and the kids on kinderpunsch.

Nürnberg christmas market is famous for its lebkuchen, the traditional gingerbread. It was fun watching the woman below decorate the bread and place it into the earthen oven behind her.

Roasted chestnuts, a must try at the christmas markets. Not my favourite though. They taste just like roasted jackfruit seeds.

Trinkets, snowmen, snowglobes, wooden cribs, figurines, singing angels.....makes you want to have all the money in the world to buy it all. It does look pretty!!

Pretty tins with freshly baked lebkuchen inside. Must buy and try!!

A christmas market especially for the little ones with lots of activities and treats.

 Information about the entire event is explained in detail both in german and english at this website.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Spessart Waldweihnacht

Over the weekend we visited two christmas markets. The world famous Nürnberg Christkindlesmarkt and the other one right in the middle of the forest. While I choose to rant about the world famous christmas market in another post, for now I shall share pictures of the market which is very close to our heart. The Spessart Waldweihnact is held every year during the first 2 weekends of the advent season in the middle of the woods, a 25 minute car drive from Lohr. Since there is not enough parking spots at the destination, buses ply from all the neighbouring villages and towns hence making it easy for people to travel.

The charm of this market lies in the bare branches covered with snow coupled with the twinkling lights of the small huts and the illuminated trees. 

The entire path is lit up with candles to help you walk through.

We sat in the warmth of this building and warmed ourselves with eintopf suppe, a simple broth made with a mix of veggies and meat (We did have our share of glühwein outside as we walked around).

Fireplaces lit up here and there to provide heat to your hands and feet.

Home made liqueur, you can taste(1.5€ a glass) and then decide to buy a bottle or just be content with the sip you've had.

The market has about 20 to 25 stalls, all selling handmade ornaments.

The children's favourite, making bannock bread over a campfire.

My goodbye shot of the market! Not a good one, but enough for memories!!

If you would like to see more pictures or know information about the same, here's the link to the german website.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Deck the window..

A walk around town made me realise how very late I was in decking up the home. I haven't even begun. The past few days I have been experimenting baking christmas cookies in small batches. I don't know what's your definition of small, but in this home about 40 to 50 cookies is a small batch cause they are over in more or else 24 hours. They last a wee bit longer if I wail out loud and ask them to slow down.  The purpose of this experiment was to take the help of the family in deciding which were the best and hence should make it to our table on christmas eve. So far, all of them have been given the go ahead signal to be baked again.

Coming back to the home, the best we have done is get the christmas boxes from the cellar into the house. Walking around town made me realise that maybe I need to take a break from the kitchen and do something. Hence the windows in the entrance to our home are just now dressed up.
And now blogged about..:D

Empty Yoghurt bottles, sand, red ribbons and some greens make up my t light holders which will be lit in the evenings to light up the entrance to our home.

I bought a few shoots of pine leaves/ever greens and 2 potted plants. Replanted them again(though they aren't visible), poking in the evergreen shoots to fill in the spaces. I didn't realise that the pot is quite stained. The hanging geraniums seemed to have covered the stains before. Yet to figure out how best to hide them. The kids cinnamon stars have found a home and Santa is a treasure from a christmas market we attended last year.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Monday!!

 A new day, a new week!! Just wishing that the day will be just like the one below. But, I very much doubt it. Such days are a special treat during the dark days of winter. The sun rises late, sets very early. No problem with that. The days are enveloped with a kind of fog(which some of you  may say, how pretty it must look). That's where I have a problem cause no way does it look pretty.  The mountains are invisible, it is grey, dark and gloomy, so much so that it makes you want to weep. 
(This picture was taken last week when we experienced sunshine and blue skies after 3 whole weeks!!)

I am grateful that the season of advent coincides with a part of winter. Something exciting to look forward to and keep myself immersed in the preparation and festivities to follow. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cinnamon Ornaments: A disaster

When you look at the pictures, i am sure you must be thinking, disaster?? No way!!
I too would have loved to say the same. When I first saw this on Pinterest, I knew I had to, wanted to make them. After scouring for ways to make them I finally narrowed down to one. Only difference being, i decided to make the applesauce and cinnamon powder from scratch!! That was mistake number 1!!!

Back in summer, I had plucked apples just for the heck of it during our walks and different day trips. I knew that no apple would fall on my head, so to the amusement of my kids and dismay of my husband, I would jump a little, pull a few branches here and there trying to get one juicy apple. In all I had plucked 10..:D  They had survived so long, not rotten in any way, just a wee bit shrivelled. What better  way than to use them for a craft project. The end result, a beautiful apple sauce.

Next was the cinnamon powder. There began my trouble. I don't know what made me think that I could make lots of it myself. My poor spice grinder kept giving up so many times, thanks to the ridiculously hard barks. Before you knew it, my kitchen was covered in powder, I was covered in powder, husband says the floor feels sticky too and now I see, the camera too has a beautiful brown shine.

Then came the kneading part, mixing the sauce and powder together to get the perfect dough. As much as I tried, I never got it. By this point I didn't even care. I was covered from top to toe with this heady scent of cinnamon and Ms A realised how very frustrated I was. From here, she took over. Patiently rolling the dough, cutting the stars out and getting them ready to bake.
(The result of homemade cinnamon powder, the stars looked coarse)

I must say, the final part(baking)was a test for me. I had no clue whether they would come out hard as rock, or crumble like cookies. We had come this far, we would continue.
So there, we should have had a happy ending right?
Well, they came out like stone, black stone, burnt well!!!
(The original baking time was an hour, they had burnt in 35 minutes)

All that was remaining was for me to weep. I had spent 2 hours preparing and covering my entire house and myself in cinnamon and this was what I got. Burnt ornaments and lovely pictures. 
Honestly, they would have found a place in the bin.
Well, the children came to their rescue once again, and promptly painted them. They still have to add a few final touches.
Will I attempt making them again. I do not know.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Weekend!!

Yeah, it's FRIDAY!!! Woo hoo...:-)
And guess what I love about fridays?
Picking up hubby from work. Yes, you heard me right.
No, not by car or any other vehicle for that matter. 
When he is done for the week, and I feel like it, I wait for him here, seated on the wooden benches. 
He gives me a time, well a time. He's lucky he has a patient wife who loves waiting for him.
Till he arrives, I generally watch the world go by and also be grateful for the fact as to how small Lohr is. Otherwise I do not think I would have had this opportunity to walk with the husband home.

As I wait I watch couples walking hand in hand, singles dressed up well, maybe heading to the nearest restaurant or better still, meeting that someone special, some of them walk with freshly baked bread perhaps for the night, kids like mine happy running around the marktplatz as they wait for their dad too.

The wait in spring and summer(also the beginning of autumn) is beautiful. Geraniums spill out of every window in the Altes Rathaus. People sit out in the ice cafes, some in the restaurant in front of me. Having an early dinner or a glass of beer. Hubby and I too love to pop in once in while either for a bowl of ice cream, or just grab a cone. As we walk home he listens to my ramblings of the week gone by...:-)

(Now that it's cold it's a different scenario. It get's dark by half past four. There is no more outdoor seating at the restaurants, the ice cafes are closed for the next four months. Everybody have a faster pace to their step wanting to get into the warmth of their homes. In two weeks time the town will be lit up with the christmas lights and everything will be transformed into a fairy land. Till then, what do I do as I wait? Look at the christmas delights kept out in the window shops)
P.S: Above pictures taken exactly a month ago just as the autumn leaves began to fall.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Frosty the snowman

If you've been following me on facebook you would have by now figured out that I have begun working on christmas deco. For the past three years, our christmas deco has multiplied into almost 3 boxes(we came with one). It's hard to overcome temptation especially during the famous german christmas markets. In our case, the husband likes an ornament, I like a handcrafted piece and the kids fancy a christmas memento or two themselves and voila, we all come home with something. 
I like to think that all of this will remain for many years to come and maybe the kids will someday have fond memories of them all(just like how I have of the christmas tree and deco in my parents home)

This year, along with the the advent wreath for the candles and one more for the main door, I decided that we shall have a string of pine leaves on one of our doors with only handmade deco. Something to do to keep me busy during the dark days of autumn and winter and also look forward to the season of cheer. These snowmen were first on my list. While you got to buy all the material(which is easy), assembling it all was like unlocking a jig saw puzzle. I managed to glue nothing but my fingers every time(thanks to the teeny tiny beads). Almost close to giving up, I so badly wanted to make them and gave a last shot with some experimentation. So here's what I did(sadly no pics). 

You need: Styrofoam balls or cottonwool balls, 5 cm and 3 cm. Red buttons or wooden beads 8mm, A black hat 40x20mm, A red satin band 3mm, wooden beads in red 6mm(for the nose), Black wooden beads 3mm(for the eyes), Checked cotton band 15mm. Super glue.
Glue both the cottonwool balls together. Work on the beads one by one(Make a rough marking of the eyes, mouth, nose and beads with a light pencil). What I did was to put the bead one at a time through a safety pin, glue it on the desired spot and pull the pin out gently. Worked like a charm(after I had glued my fingers together quite a bit). Before gluing the hat, stitch in the red satin band through to help you hang the snowman later. Tie the snowman's shawl around him, brush his cheeks with some pink colour and he is ready for X'mas.
If you like you can stick a tiny paper snowflake on his hat. I also have added light eyebrows since the photo shoot..:D

(4 more to go!!)

Friday, November 9, 2012

October on Facebook and Instagram!!

So I missed the round up of the months of August and September here on the blog. These two months saw me making a lot of NEW friends on both facebook and Instagram.
It's funny how the seasons have greatly influenced the look of my pictures. The collage below looks red, orange and yellow with the odd appearance of Santa in between..:-) Yes, the christmas frenzy here begins as early as mid September!!!

Last month saw us experiencing our first early snowfall, a very very rare sight according to our local friends. Hubby and I went on long walks and did a lot of mushroom spotting. The leaves changed colour too soon and shed them even faster. A kind of disappointing final season of autumn for us. But then, we cannot let that dampen our spirits, right??
We are eagerly looking forward to the season of advent along with maybe a white christmas for the kids. Which reminds me that I have to get my act together soon. How early do you begin preparing for it all??

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A tearful goodbye... the colours, sunshine and all the beauty that spring, summer and autumn bring!!!
Now the town is bare, the leaves have fallen. Nobody sits out for that cup of coffee, beer or meal.
 I am now waiting for the advent lights and christmas trees to brighten up our town. 
Then, we shall have a reason to cheer.