30 April 2010

Kaiserschmarren, or how I learned to love the emperor

Kaiserschmarren is translatted as Emperors Pancakes. Sometimes translated as chopped pancakes or an omlette. It's definitely not an omlette, but it has more eggs than pancakes. It's definitely one of our favorite things. People eat it in Austra for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert.

It takes a lot of work to make. Whipping egg whites by hand takes for ever, but we don't have a mixer! The whipped eggs are the rising ingredient, and it poofs up quite a bit when you cook it. Then you chop it all up, douse it in melted butter and powdered sugar and serve with some kind of fuit mixture (apple sauce, or strawberry or plum compote)

Is it good? Heck yes!

23 April 2010

Guess what?

Relevant information...
Sex... dunno
Due date: October 28th. A halloween b-day would be cool, but Karen hopes it would be earlier so she can still go trick or treating this year.
Most important feature. The Doctor's name is Macho. Christian Macho. Dr. Macho. Excellent. Or Maybe this.

But either way we need opinions. Considering the sheer awesomeness of the Dr.'s name doesn't it behoove us to incorporate his name into the child's be it a boy or girl? Mr or Ms. Macho Williams has an awesome ring to it.

22 April 2010

Easter Fun with Amy and Amanda

The day before Easter our church had an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids. Elora was so excited to go look for candy. She is wearing her new favorite outfit from Aunt Sharon. It was the first day warm enough that we would let her wear it. I think she wore and slept in her skirt for about a week after that until I convinced her I really did need to wash it!

Oliver found a chocolate lollypop right away and then really had no interest in finding anymore candy until he was finished eating it. We tried to convince him to get eggs.

By the time we convinced him how cool it was to find eggs most of them were already found, so we just took some out of his and Elora's baskets and threw them on the ground for him. Then he would yell "Egg!" and run pick them up. Maybe next year he will have the hang of it!

Afterwards we went to the Schonbrunn Easter Market with some friends - Carmen is off to the left, her husband Elliot was there, and also our friends Becky and Louis who actually lived by my sister Lisa in CA before coming here, so they had fun chatting with Amy and Amanda about goings on back home in Monterey.

I think Oliver is so excited because he is holding Dirty Teddy, that is a pretty rare occurance for him...

The kids liked crawling around on the grass more than looking around at the market, so we didn't buy anything, but it was a beautiful day to relax on the grass! There was also a little egg hunt at the market, where the kids could find paper eggs and turn them in for a bag of treats. The kids were all excited have more candy (in fact, Amy and Amanda may have been most excited about the treats).

Next we walked out to the Gloriette and enjoyed the views. Unfortunately my camera died shortly after this, so we don't have many pics of this day.

Here we are in the gardens of the Schonbrunn.

Amy and I had visited the Labyrinth the day before, but Amanda hadn't come with us (she was enjoying a good book, so we left her home with the kids!) But we felt bad Amanda hadn't seen it, so we all headed back to the labyrinth. I followed Oliver and he took me almost straight to the middle. He has pretty good instincts I guess. Although on the way back out with dad and the girls Oliver led them down every single dead end....

I think Amy remembered the labyrinth pretty well, so she solved it pretty fast. When we came the first time they gave us a secret map to read in case you get so lost you can't find your way. I think that is funny, because it isn't that big... Even making every single wrong turn I think you can still get to the middle in about twenty minutes (we know, the first time we came last year, we did make every single wrong turn!)

After solving the labyrinth, we went to the kids labyrinth which has little play areas. It was a super fun day. My camera died now, so I don't have any more pics of our trip with Amy and Amanda! We took them back up to Frankfurt two days later and had to say goodbye! We were so happy to have them visit so we could show them around this city that we love so much, and it was fun for the kids to play with their cousins. Oliver still gets super excited and yells "A-Duh!" and "A-Dee-Dee!" when he sees pics of their visit.

21 April 2010

The Treasury and Lainzer Tiergarten

Elora's daddy, being the nice daddy that he is, thought it would be fun to bring a snail inside and let it play on the lovely lavendar plant in Elora's room. As you can see, she is thrilled to have a new addition to the family. Actually, she cried when he had to go back outside because "he will miss me so much, he loves me!" I love her fascination with animals. Too cute.

Amy and Amanda went to see the crown jewels at the treasury. Here they are outside the Imperial Palace, with the lovely surroundings of Vienna in the background.

Pretty fancy stuff.

Amanda is intently studying the treasures. Perhaps contemplating where she would put it if she could only have such ornate artifacts in her own bedroom.

Check out Elora in the background. A bit tired from all the excitement of the last few weeks perhaps?

Amy especially liked the fancy swords. Perhaps she is contemplating how she can obtain such a fancy sword, and if she could, where could she ever find a teacher proficient enough to teach her to use such a magnificent piece of weaponry? Or not, but it is fun to project thoughts onto other people...

Outside the palace. Elora was super excited to have a new tiara from the gift shop. She has been asking us to buy her one for about a year now.

In the afternoon we went to the Lainzer Tiergarten near our house. It used to be the Imperial Hunting Grounds, and it is basically a large walled in area of forest that still houses some interesting animals. It is such a fun place to walk around. We saw some people collecting plants or something in the forest, and not knowing what they were getting, Chris told Elora he thought they were collecting mushrooms (people still do that here). She began her own hunt for mushrooms that continued the rest of the hike. (We later found out that mushrooms are collected in the summer, the people were actually collecting a plant that smells like garlic and is used in salads and cooking.)

Here we are at the Warning! Frog Crossing! Sign. We love these, they just make me laugh. I actually have driven somewhere though where there were tons of frogs in the road, and when that happens, you really can't miss them all...

We stopped to look around at the Hermesvilla. Oliver and Elora love the fountain here.

There is the Hermesvilla in the background. It now has a special art exhibit in it, we haven't gone yet. Hopefully we will go sometime this year!

The garden in Hermesvilla has wonderful trees for climbing. They are easy for Elora to get in and out of by herself, and she loves to sit in the trees.

Oliver found a nice big stick to use for hiking. He now doe this everytime we are out! "Need big stick!"

We found a random teeter-totter while we were walking, and Oliver loved riding it with Amy and Amanda. Elora was busy poking a stick into piles of dirt. She said she was looking for moles (?) Interesting. She never found any though.

We always tell Elora there are animals here, but we had never seen any before and she was quite disappointed about it and asking where all the animals were. Right after that we found this large enclosure with mountain sheep and are these antelope? We weren't sure, but the kids were super excited. Oliver insisted they were all sheep and cows, so I guess it doesn't really matter what kind of animals they were!

20 April 2010

Elora's Knight Birthday Party!

Finally, Happy Birthday Elora! We are only over a month late in posting it, but here it is. Elora wanted to have a big birthday party, so we invited tons of kids, and prepped ourself for the chaos that would follow!

Her party had a knight theme, so I decided to get ambitious and make a castle cake. It turned out pretty well I think. I usually don't attempt to make shaped cakes, so this is my first attempt at anything this fancy. Chris helped think up all the designs on the front, and I especially love that the front gate has the Eiffel Tower on it. Ha ha, next time I will look for chocolate biscuits with a castle on them....

As the kids were arriving, we had them paint their knight banners. We made little stencils and flags for them to paint, and Chris found awesome huge sticks that we tied the finished flags onto. He said he got some weird looks as he was carrying his armful of huge sticks home. Here is Jewel, Elora and Amy working on some flags.

Oliver was so excited whenever the doorbell rang. He would run to the door, open it, and sit at the top of the stairs to see who was coming up.

Next we had jousting. Amy and Amanda had helped me make the little castle and rig up the system so the knight and horse inside could be attached and not fall to the ground when hit. We ended up tying it to the light fixture to play the game, which was a little scary as we set the four year olds loose with the big long jousting stick. It was a fun game though.

Oliver laughed hysterically every time someone hit the knight with the joust. It looks like we will have another child who loves knights, swords, and medieval festivals.

Here is Oliver trying out the jousting. I have so many awesome pics of all the kids playing the games, so sad I can't just post them all!

Next we played pin the knight on the gigantic horse. We didn't really draw them to scale, but we figured the kids would have a bigger target to aim for that way. I love that Elora is clapping for herself after pinning up her knight.

Here is beautiful princess Mia who pinned her knight in just the right place, I think she won this game!

Next the kids all got some legos to build towers. This is prepping for the crossbow, which is usually the favorite activity when we have a party at our house!

Oliver opted for a story from Heidi instead. He loves Heidi!

Here are all the kids getting ready to shoot the crossbow: Charlie and Mia in the back. Left to right in front: Jewel, Benjamin, Spencer, Elora in her knight costume, Ellie, Oliver, Sarah, Zach. It was kind of an eye opener when I was getting ready for the party and counting in my head how many people we ended up inviting, but Elora really wanted to invite Everyone. We were even missing a couple and still had ten kids.

Shooting the crossbow. I think this was Sarah's favorite game, she looks so excited!

We thought this one was funny because it looks like Mia is about to shoot Zach. But Chris is a very responsible father in charge of crossbow shooting, and kept all the kids safe. There is a reason I let him lead this activity though...

After lunch, but before the kids were allowed to eat cake, we all learned a little medieval dance. It was so fun. We weren't sure how well the kids would participate, but we showed them a little video and told them they had to dance if they wanted a piece of cake, and they all had a great time. The adults had fun too!

If it looks like Elora's mouth is full, that is because she was sticking her fingers in the back of the cake the entire time we were singing to her! I guess she liked the frosting!

I love how all little kids like to help blow out the candles! With the help of her friends, all the candles got blown out (and the cake got blown on from all sides. Excellent.)

Also cute is that all the kids love to help Elora open presents. The funny part is, she doesn't mind at all. She is also odd because Elora always stops to read the cards before opening the gifts. She really likes to know where each present came from! Our favorite part of her knight costume is her new hello kitty headband she wore over the chain mail. We don't know who gave it to her though, she fished it out of one of the gift bags at the very beginning of the party.

I included this one because look above Elora's head - a cannonball in midair! Who was shooting the toy cannon? I didn't even notice this the first few times I looked at the pics.

I think we found the culprit. Here is Om shooting the cannon with Oliver and Zach.

After Elora opened her presents, all the girls gathered around the table to color with Elora's new coloring books and markers.

Meanwhile all the boys ended up playing with the cannon and cannonballs. Funny stuff.

Elora really wanted us to include this pic of two of her new books. She loves to read and was so excited to get new books! She would rather get books than toys any day. Her other favorite gift was a pretty pink skirt that her Aunt Sharon got her. What kind of four year old prefers books and clothes to toys? I love it! Happy Birthday to our very unique and imaginative baby girl - who likes to inform me that she is not a baby, but a big girl and a ski princess. and a knight.