Saturday, February 27, 2010

Everything and Nothing!

I feel bad! I do because I haven’t blog much lately, so to feel better, I will post some of the thing that we have been busy doing or that is connected to us one way or the other!! LOL! OH and not necessarily in chronological order!!

For Valentine day I ask for a haircut. LOL!! I know! I know! How romantic is that??
Well, I didn’t know what to ask other than of course this (Which I know I don’t NEED) so…

I got the haircut that I needed! LOL. Oh and my kids were so nice to me, to make my day, they got a haircut too! LOL!
Rafael is a cub scout, Matt volunteer to be a “assistant leader” so sometime when he cannot take Rafael to activities, I am STUCK enjoying a mother/son outing! Last week was a visit of the AFN Headquarter in Mannheim. The location of the building is on an old “Prison” camp! LOL! So, you could see those “Guard” tower and barb wire fences… No way to escape this place! Spooky! LOL! Here are a few pics!
The boy got a chance to be part of a AFN advertisement. They are checking out the "Finish" product! Can't wait to see online! LOL!

Matt called his family back in Omaha last week, and it is always good to know what is going on with them. All of our pretty nieces are growing up and we miss them and their parents! We haven’t even met our latest one; I guess this is what being away means! Not seeing your family as much as you wish. I think we just need to set up time with them to Skype and do videoconferencing! I think the girls will enjoy that a lot!
One of the things that Matt told me about what his dad told him (you know he will never tell me important things) is that they had a HUGE snow storm back in the beginning of January; something outrageous like 46” of snow fell. Well apparently it is so FREAKING cold that that snow hasn’t melted yet!! Can you even imagine that??? How sick is that?? I knew winter in the Midwest was pretty Crazy hard, but not seeing the grass for so long must be just awful!
Well for all of those people who are looking forward spring!! (I am one of them) here we are starting to see more sunshine, and even stuff that weren’t visible for so long… COLORS, buds, flowers…. I am NOT kidding you!! YES I saw my first Crocus here, under my living room window. Not 2 yard from the entrance of the building! WHOOOOHOOOOO!!!!! So happy!!!!

Last week was a busy week for me, I decided that I am sick and tired of being “sick and tired” all the time! LOL! So, I took upon myself to kick myself in my French “derriere” and try to be a little more active! So I did end up giving away 3 ½ full (HUGE) trash bags of clothes to a good cause. It is OUT, and I am so glad I can’t see them anymore! LOL! I am trying to help out the USO tour Director, and we are trying to get all of our tour’s information in a computerized format so that we can just send the file to our guide and they can take whatever they want from it! It will probably help the guides in a long run; I know I sure didn’t have any info on the way they were doing tours. So now hopefully in a short while, we will each have a little “Briefing” about the tour that we are suppose to give! LOL! And then of course more and more pictures to “touchup” and the kids and the regular boring thing that we all tend to avoid have to do!

Voila this is all I am thinking of right now!! So… See y’all later!

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Schwetzingen Castle Garden Visit

This past week we have been bless with “spring” weather! Cloudy but concidering the fact that we didn’t see too much sun lately it was SUNNY!! So, of course I use this to open my windows everyday ALL day, instead of just a few minutes in the morning.

Then I recharged my camera battery and on Friday (since it was the only day of last week when I wasn’t busy) I took out!!
Camera in the bag & hat on my head. It was a pretty day, but lots of wind, so the clouds full of rain will come and go as fast as you could take refuge under a tree! LOL! BUT I did have a great time, I went to the Schwetzingen castle.

Here is a little info about the castle for those of you who one day will go around the garden, like I did!
Schwetzingen was the summer residence of the Electors Palatine Karl III Philip and Charles Theodore. It is situated in Schwetzingen, roughly equidistant from the electors' seats at Heidelberg and Mannheim, and is most notable for its spacious and ornate gardens. Other than these exceptionally well preserved gardens and the castle proper, the compound also features one of the few surviving theaters in the rococo style.

The Palace Garden
The Garden Complex was created in Schwetzingen based on the example of Versailles and is unequalled anywhere in Europe.
The Schwetzingen Palace garden consists of two parts:
• The Symmetrically designed French baroque Garden with the Arion fountain in the center and
• The English landscape garden, this lies around the large pond and its arced canals in planned naturalness.
The Baroque garden is divided into the parterre, hedge zone and forest section. An unusual feature in Schwetzingen is the circular parterre formed by the “Zirkelbauten” (Quarter-Circle Buildings) and the vine-covered galleries, which distinguishes it from all other of the period.
The Schwetzingen gardens, like all baroque gardens, are oriented on the center axis of the palace.

The main avenue is the reference point for all parts of the gardens. This idea embodies the concept of the absolute ruler: All parts of the estate are based on him; his glory shines like the sun over everything; his entire surroundings reflect his importance.

With his building and landscape architects Nicolas de Pigage and Friedrich Ludwig Sckell, Carl Theodor, with his love of art and the good things in life, realized a garden complex which shows the intellectual history and fashions stretching from the baroque to the enlightenment to the Romantic period:
• The gardens, with their use of antique mythology (e.g. in the Temple of Apollo and the figure of Arion on the dolphin), becomes a Baroque stage for courtly life.
• The reasonable rationalistic view of the Enlightenment is reflected in the geometry of the circular parterre.
• In accordance with the ideas of the Romantic period, the concept of the gardens approaches nature with its imitation of natural moods and landscaped areas.

In all ages a multitude of fountains, cascades, lakes, ponds and channels bring movement into the gardens. Statesmen, artists and scholars of the highest rank met at the Palatinate Summer residence in Schwetzingen for the purpose of enjoying the opera performances and the magnificent courtly life. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart gave concerts here and Voltaire was a guest here. Schwetzingen later irresistibly attracted Romantic Friedrich Holderlin and Freiherr Von Eichendorff.

The Mosque was built as a Garden Folly.

For those of you who want to see more pictures from that day, follow the link below. They are "sharing" so don't expect the qualities to be "Perfect". You know how to contact me if you want a print of it! LOL!
Schwetzingen Castle Blog ready

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Place Stanislas, Nancy

This past weekend was a “Long” weekend! Once a month Matt is off for 3 to 4 days. Most of the time the school are good to let the kids have the same weekend off, so it is nice because you can plan to get out of town and do something different. Well, we were thinking to go to Luzern (Switzerland) but decided against it as it is about 3 ½ hours away (one way) and we didn’t want to sleep over there (or at least not this time…. Way too cold to enjoy 2 days in Switzerland)
So we talked about it on Saturday and decided to drive to Nancy (which is still about 2 ½ hours away, mind you!!) Anyway, we stopped to see mainly the Place Stanislas, which is on the list of the “World Heritage Sites” of the UNESCO.

“Up to the middle of the 17TH century the Old Town and the New Town of Nancy were separated by a vast esplanade. Stanislas Leszczynski an exiled king of Poland who had become Duke of Lorraine in 1737, planned to create a square intended to honour and glorify his son-in-law Louis XV of France. The foremost of French royal squares, it sanctifies the royal image but at the same time is the setting for all popular festivities.
Stanislas and his architect Emmanuel Héré chose an ideal site for their project which was opposed to for a long time by Marshal de Belle-Isle, French military commander of the province. The foundation stone of the first building in the square was officially laid in March 1752 and the royal square solemnly inaugurated in November 1755.
At the beginning a bronze statue of Louis XV in the uniform of a roman general, the work of two sculptors Guibal and Cyfflé, decorated the centre of the square. The statue along with surrounding allegorical figures disappeared during the French Revolution and it was only in 1851 that a new statue, this time of Stanislas, was erected in its place.
The buildings round the square are classical in style with a play of colossal orders. The City Hall takes up the whole of the south side. The pediment above the main entrance is decorated with the coats of arms of both Stanislas and the town of Nancy. The present day Grand Hotel and the Opera House stand on the east side.
On the west side we find the Jacquet dwelling and the Fine Arts Museum which was in Stanislas's time the College of Medecine. To the north the passage between the Vaudemont and Haussonville Bastions was still in existence and in order to maintain it on military defence grounds Emmanuel Héré conceived the " basses faces ", buildings which were only the height of the first level of the others round the square.”

I found this photographer's web site with gorgeous pictures of the Place Stanislas. The one that are on the blogs are mine, hope you enjoy them!
And of course nothing could be more perfect than a few Roses to tell you "Happy Valentine Day!"

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Quiche Lorraine recipe!

I don’t think that I am a “Bad” cook, but I would say that I will never come close to my mother’s cooking!
My mother is to my knowledge one of the best cook that I have ever known. And I am not saying that because I love her and I was raised by her, I am saying that because she can always turn the smallest easiest ingredient into something magnificent!
One of the recipe that I took from her is the “Quiche Lorraine”, It is super easy to make and you can take the original recipe and add tones of stuff to make it to your taste, or your diet.
So yesterday I decided that I was going to make one for my dear husband who has always loved it!
The recipe below is for the regular Quiche, but for the one that I made, I added some spinach to it, just to spice it up! (something that I did learn yesterday while making it, is that you might want to cook your spinach before, because since there is lots of water in those, if you don't you will have lots of liquids when your quiche is done cooking, so I know next time, I will!)

You can add spinach, tomatoes, mushroom and all kind of different things in it (that is up to your taste as I mentioned before!) like for my friend Diane. You can replace the bacon with only veggies and voila you have your vegetarian quiche! ;-)

So here is the recipe and some of the pics of it! Hope you like it!
• 1 roll of pie dough
• 5 eggs
• 1 cup of milk (or add more milk if your pie plate is deep)
• 1/3 cup of sour cream
• 1 cup of cubes ham or Canadian bacon (I use bacon because of the fact that in Europe you can find already precut piece of bacon)
• 1cup of Swiss cheese (Emmental cheese is the one I used)
• Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg
Put the dough in your pie plate and cover it with bacon/cheese
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In a mixing bowl put the eggs, milk and sour cream. Mix them together. Add the spice and continue mixing.
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Pour egg mix over the bacon and cheese. (You can add more cheese on top if you want, just to get a nice brown cheese crust!)

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Bake in a preheated oven of 400 degree for 40mn to 1 hour (or until the dough look golden)

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Take out of the oven let it seat for 5mn and serve. You can add a nice lettuce salad with light vinaigrette and you have a nice meal in not too much work! ;-)

My kind of meal! LOL!! Bon Appetit!

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