29 September 2010

Cinnabon tastes like America

We heard there was a Cinnamon in the Vienna SCS (shopping mall) a few weeks ago, so we decided to make a special trip. You know you're desperate for some gooey American flavored goodness when you go way on the outskirts of the city just to get a cinnamon roll.

Ollie and Elora were pretty excited. And we didn't even give them the good stuff. Just some little cinnabon sticks for them.

After spending like 9 dollars on two cinnamon rolls, which we horked down in about 4 minutes, we decided to double down and spend 20 dollars on 4 more to take home! Here we are proudly showing off our cinnamon rolls in front of the German advertising sign encouraging us to "Enjoy the sweet moments".

And yes, that is a pregnant lady showing off her cinnabon box. Classic.

28 September 2010

Meat!! Cheap meat market prices in Vienna

So we found this wholesale meat market in Vienna. It's in an industrial park, located next to the restaurant and beverage distribution warehouses. It's a real wholesale market, not one of the ones that pretends to be with low prices. They have huge docking bays, with lots of shipping trucks around to make deliveries to the stores and restaurants in Vienna. The place is called F-Eins and there are some super cheap prices. Boneless skinless chicken breast is 7-8 euro a kilo in the supermarket (that's about $6 a pound). We got it here for 5 euro a kilo. And if you buy it sliced/chopped so it doesn't have to be the complete breast it was 2 euro a kilo! To top it off, it was all fresher than what's in the shop because they are cutting up the meat right here before sending it on for retail.

Tons of other meat and great prices. This picture is of me, proudly showing off our receipt for about 25 pounds of meat, which we had to cram into our tiny little ice box.

27 September 2010

Karen's Pregnancy Portraits

Although Karen has a lot of growing left to do with 30 more days of
pregnancy fun, we figured it was time to do some belly portraits while
she could still stand up and smile at the same time.

Vote for your favorite Karen!

Bakery Karen, whose motto is, "If it's got chocolate cream or vanilla pudding inside, it's gotta be good. Even better if it's got both!"

Church-going Karen, whose motto is, "Naktfuss und Schwanger in die Kirche"

Swiss Chocolate Karen, whose motto is, "I only pretend to like skiing in the Alps so I can hang out in the hutte, hork down lots of swiss chocolate, Kaiserschmarren, and hot chocolate before wobbling back down the slopes."

26 September 2010

Painting T-Shirts

We had a Relief Society activity where we painted shirts and bags. Elora was so excited about her new shirt. She asked every day for two weeks if it was time to go paint it - and finally the day arrived! Here is Elora posing with her finished shirt (which she wears at least twice a week) and our friends Jessica and Bijou.

We also painted a bag, and Elora used some paint markers to put beautiful flowers all over it.

Elora with MaryAnn and Mercy (and chowing down on cookies....)

The very most exciting part of the evening was probably walking Bijou around the room. I think it is so funny to watch Elora walk Bijou because it is about the same scale as an adult walking a big dog. Elora loves Bijou!

24 September 2010

Relief Society Women's Day

This year the Relief Society (a women's organization from my church) had a Women's Day where all the ladies got together and could choose different tours of Vienna. Most of my friends and I decided on the "culinary tour" - a tour of the culinary history of Vienna, and most importantly, visits to the most famous pastry shops.



Here is my friend Jessica hamming it up for the camera while we were learning where coffee and cafes originated in Vienna. Everyone else kept stepping out of my pictures... We learned that coffee came from the 2nd attempted siege of Vienna by the Turks... After the Turks left their supplies and ran away from an army that came to save Vienna from the siege, the Viennese people came out and discovered coffee beans among the supplies. Along with some bread shaped like crescent moons, now made in Vienna and called Kipferls. Hmmm... interesting...



Here we are at Hotel Sacher. The famous Sacher Torte originated here in 1832 when a sixteen year old apprentice was left with the task of making something tasty for a very important person... the cake was a success, named after the apprentice, and there have been power struggles over the secret recipe... For more history click here. It's actually a pretty interesting story about a cake that I don't really like that much... Jessica and I shared an Eisschokolade and pancakes with plum jam instead, and those were both amazing.



We walked around the city and came across a big Farmer's Market/Festival in front of the Hofburg palace. The entire area was decorated with real vegetables. So we decided to bob for peppers...



Next we headed to Demels, which is a certified kaiserlich und k├Âniglich Hofzuckerbacker - or Imperial and Royal Court confectionary. They have been around since the 1700s and often made treats for the Habsburgs. The shop is located right next to the Hofburg palace.


Krista with the candied violets. These were Empress Sisi's favorite, and yes, they are real flowers! I would love to try them except this little package costs 16 Euro.


Check out the super expensive Rolos! But I do hear that everything here tastes amazing, and that it is the best hot chocolate in Vienna...


Brooke with all the beautifully packaged goodies. I would love to buy some of the chocolates as gifts because they all come in the cutest boxes and packages. I think each individual chocolate probably costs 2 Euro though, so maybe I will stick with the chocolates I get at the grocery store. Does that make me a cheapskate? I might be missing out on something amazing...


While touring the city, we found a random courtyard that none of us had ever seen before, and stopped for a photo. Here is our tour group from the day - we had such a great time!


There was a small market inside the courtyard, so we all looked around at the stands. Some really cute vintage jewelry and some nice antiques too.


This building is a Greek Orthodox church, and the facade is quite elaborately decorated. It is rarely open, but today visitors were allowed in so we stepped inside to check it out. This small area of Vienna near Hohemarkt is really cute with small alleyways and cute cafes. I would like to come try out some of the restaurants in this area.

Here is the inside of the Greek Orthodox church - everything was very ornate and decorated with carved marble or paintings. Quite different from all the churches I have seen in Vienna so far.


Krystin checking out the beautiful chocolates in this window display.


We went to our tour guide's favorite cafe called Cafe Diglas. The hot chocolate was super good, and such a cute little display with the different sugar cubes, and of course, a glass of water. That is a sign of a good cafe in Vienna - if you get a little glass of water with your hot chocolate or coffee.

The bathroom in this cafe was quite the novelty. The doors were clear glass until you turned the lock - then a light turns on and makes the glass appear frosted with a big stop sign projected in the middle. So funny. There were some people in the bathroom who had not been forewarned who found this quite exciting.

And of course, more dessert. This was called "cheesecake" but it was really a sponge cake with a creamy filling. Very tasty, but I think I ate too many pastries today! This was such a fun day, and so nice to take some time out with the ladies while Chris got to enjoy playing with the kids all day!

23 September 2010

Elora Starts Ballet!

Elora's friend Grace asked if we would like to join a new ballet class - so we headed off for our free trial lesson to see if it would be something Elora was interested in. Look at all these cute little princesses!

I was only allowed to watch the first ten minutes while the girls were warming up, but Elora was having such a great time! She was so excited to try and follow her teacher's example.

And here is the cute man who plays the piano for the class. The teacher and piano player are both so sweet with the children. After class Elora came running out to me and said, "I love ballet class! I want to come again!" So we signed her up and after two more classes she still says she loves to dance. In fact, she is so excited that she wears her ballet shoes around the house almost every day, and when I bought her a leotard she insisted on trying it on that very second. I hope she doesn't wear out her ballet clothes in the next month...

20 September 2010

Shave A Sheep

Our friends Christine and Elcid came over for lunch last week, and Elora was so excited to show them her lego Shave-A-Sheep game. We actually bought it as a joke for a friend of ours, but the game is so cool we bought one for ourselves too. Elora happily showed everyone how to collect wool, shave sheep, trade sheep, and most of all...

Use the wolf to steal wool! This was the most competitive game of Shave-A-Sheep I have ever watched, and lasted about 35 minutes instead of the traditional 7 minutes... with the wolf being used on everyone!

19 September 2010

Finger Painting

With all the rain we have had this summer and fall, we have been exploring new inside games. Today we tried out finger painting! Elora was sure about it at first, but she got the hang of it pretty quick!

Here she is smiling and writing her name.

And finger painting quickly turned into hand painting...

Oliver thought it looked like so much fun he wanted to join in too! He loved mixing all the colors on his hand and just looking at the front and back of his hand before putting it on the paper.

The kids each painted many pretty pictures for us to decorate our apartment with. Elora was also excited to learn that if she mixed all the paint together it made gray. And Oliver learned that if you clap your hands when there is paint on them, paint sprays everywhere.

We eventually got out the paintbrushes, which Oliver mostly used to paint himself. It was a fun and very messy way to spend the afternoon, and the fun continued with lots of splashing in a warm bathtub in an attempt to clean off all the paint!

18 September 2010

Zoo with Friends

I know, we go to the zoo a lot. But the weather has been pretty good for going outside, and my zoo pass is going to expire soon... so we are trying to enjoy the zoo as much as possible!

We went with our friends Ellie, Charlotte, Luke, and Baby Audrey. Quite the crowd of little ones. It was a fun day, with lots of chasing small children going on! This is Oliver's new favorite spot in the zoo - the big turtle shell! He loves turtles, and thinks it is so neat to go inside this one.

When walking to the Orangutan habitat, there are life size animals all along the walls, which the kids like to look at. Oliver was excited to see the Giraffe (one of his new favorite animals) but I like this picture because of Elora in the background! She was just a little excited to be running around outside.

Oliver is about the same height as a penguin these days.

There is a playground near the Orangutans where we spent most of our zoo visit. Oliver liked pulling on these ropes.

Elora and Ellie got very brave and tried to cross this interesting bridge. I was impressed that Elora made it almost all the way across because the little platforms move... it is actually much harder than it looks!

Little monkeys everywhere!

The favorite game of the day was "racing" back and forth along this wooden walkway. You can see that the girls were in the lead, with Luke and Oliver running behind.

Oliver has a new favorite - Ellie! He was following her around and giving big hugs.

I love watching all the kids hold hands! So cute and the added benefit of knowing where at least three of the children are!

Here are Oliver and Luke hanging out at the top of the elephant. I can't believe Oliver can actually go up and down all by himself. He is quite the adventurer and needs a lot of supervision...

The girls decided to join in the fun!

The hippos were outside today, and the kids were excited to be able to see them. Usually you just see their eyes and ears poking up out of the water. Oliver learned a new word - "Hipfo!" Very cute. We love having little friends we can meet up with during this nice fall weather!

17 September 2010

Aquarium

Due to my continuing lack of computer, the blogging is a bit behind. A few weeks ago we went to the aquarium with Daddy - a very special treat for everyone!

Oliver has never pet the fish before, he always chickens out! This time he let one suck on his finger which made him giggle, but he was all done petting the fish after that. Elora loves touching bugs, fish, snails, whatever - Oliver is a little more cautious about such things.

Chris was watching these lizards and wondering why they were all just standing around - until he noticed that they all have assumed a defensive position in a circle around the entrance to their underground home. They were are always standing around looking alert - apparently they still think some prey might be trying to attack their home!

The monkeys were down low where we could get a good view of them today. Oliver was so happy to see the monkey. Here he is pointing at it when he first saw it hiding in the tree.

And then he reached out to pet its tail saying, "soft! Soft!" He was so excited. It was a fun day at the aquarium.