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Thursday, June 30, 2016


OK, don't get all confused by the title. I still don't have a clue. It's just that this month's theme of the photo challenge is baseball.

And a challenge it is. In Switzerland baseball is not very known at all. It may have to do with the fact that there is a strike ban in our country?! Hahaha!

If you type "baseball" into the search box of Swiss sports equipment stores, all you'll get is a Yankee's cap. Surprisingly there are still 20 clubs, none in my state, though. I wonder where they purchase their gear. 

No excuse, though. As we have learned last month, it's important to think outside the box, right?

So let me think. 

They have pitchers in baseball, right? 

They have pitchers at Starbucks as well! They use'em for steaming the milk!

Can you imagine how happy I was to find out that a cup of coffee is a baseball term for a minor league player who spends a short time (just long enough to have a cup of coffee) at the major league level?

Hey, I can do a cup of coffee! I usually have a doppio espresso. For this post's sake I was happy to order a triple = three base hit! 

Also, there is a Starbucks term for the person who switches from one station to another in order to support their busy fellow baristas, they're called floaters.

Where there's a pitcher, there's a batter, right?

I can make all kinds of cake batter! I understand a player who is striking out five times in a game, is getting a platinum sombrero, aka olympic rings? 

There you go, Olympic Ring Cakes!

I'm getting the hang of this! On Father's day we had brunch at a sports bar. Guess what, on the paper placemat there were all kinds of ballgame players! 

Oh, and on the menu, apart from egg varieties? Bread and butter! A player's most reliable skill, as I've learned from a glossary.

I went through the month of June, just keeping my eyes open for photo challenge opportunities. I was presented with another one when we had lunch @ Subway. 

If a free agent signs with a team that the player did not finish the previous season with, his former team will receive a sandwich pick for the departed player. 

For us it was what it was: a sandwich pick... 

First your bread, then the meat and cheese, finally lettuce, veggies and sauce.

PS: Did you notice Colin's Padres cap? My friend Lucy got it for him when we met in San Diego this spring!

Of course I actually wanted to watch a real ballgame, though. As we found out from the schedule there were going to be some games only half an hour from here on a Saturday. 

As I was sneaking around the field with my camera dangling around my neck, I noticed a guy who seemed really pumped. I asked him if they minded my being near the player's bench? No, no, go ahead. 

A couple of minutes later he introduced himself as Wayne and said "listen, it you're gonna take pictures here..."

Oh-oh, are they camera-shy? Do I need their marketing person's permission to use the photos for my blog? 

"...make sure to take some of me!!!"

As it turned out, originally from NYC, he is kind of a baseball legend here in Switzerland, and he was giving his comeback today after a long phase of being injured. 

Way to go, Wayne!

I also met his wife who was very friendly. She tried to explain the rules and gave me the location of the only real ballpark in Switzerland! As it turned out, it's super close to my favorite mall, and I would have never found out if it weren't for this challenge and Suzana!

Even though this month has been more than crappy weather-wise, we were lucky enough to catch a game!

So I'm kind of sad that I'm already done with my challenge. There would have been so many cool ones that I wanted to try:

Like window shopping (caught looking for strike three). 
Or being caught napping (a baserunner who wasn't paying attention to what the defensive players were doing.)

Anyway - I hope you are having as much fun with this post as I am! Now head over to the link-up and check out the other posts!

See you next month!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bad Mom Moments

So this friend of mine feels really bad because not only did she forget to give her son ice cream money, she also failed to sign him up for a field trip. Never mind that he's super forgiving, and they are planning a fabulous day out to make up for it - there is always that terrible, guilty feeling of being a bad Mom. 

I know, I have been there:

  • Didn't check Colin's school bag for messages (technically it is his job to deliver those school notes to me. Still.) Went to work. Got a text message from hubby "did you know there is track & field day at school? Luckily I was still home and helped him change into gym clothes!!!" Dad of the year!
  • Forgot to pack his snack. Good thing he has nice friends!
  • Went to the mall and forgot to get back home in time, so poor little Colin rang the door bell, and nobody answered it. Resourceful guy that he is, he went to a buddy's house and called me from there.

Actually, we have all been there. 


A quick poll revealed the following:

When we were walking home from Kindergarten up the big hill, my 3 1/2 year old had a big tantrum as usual and wouldn't walk on.
I got fed up and abandoned her, knowing she would make her way home when she was good and ready.
A few minutes later the doorbell rang and I answered to a very angry lady who gave me a good telling off for being a terrible mother.

To this day that lady will not say hello to me 

Yesterday juggling a big shopping bag, a screaming toddler on my hip and three scooters to the school I managed in one typically awkward moment to drop the two bigger scooters whilst trying to pick them up the shopping bag swung off my shoulder and knocked the baby who then fell backwards over the two scooters on the floor and rolled off the curb and just into the road whilst all the food went everywhere. (There were no cars thankfully it's a side road in a village)
The lovely old lady who had been watching me struggle from across the street just tutted at me, averted her eyes and walked on, shaking her head...

I forgot to give my daughter a bottle of water for a whole day field trip with her school. It as at least a 30 degree (86°F) day.

Sent my son to school with Thai Chicken Curry for packed lunch - forgetting it was 'vegan day'

There are so many... one of my best is that I sent my daughter to kindergarten during easter break.

My son has afternoon kindergarten on Monday and I forgot Monday was a holiday and Tuesday was the first working day,  and I sent him to kindergarten in the afternoon, too. We were waiting for a long time at the entrance, no one showed up. Then after 30 mins at least we returned,  and on the way home the teacher met us and laughed for my status with a big belly nearing my due date I was walking like a penguin. 

I sent my son on a field trip in a little thin hoodie last "spring". It looked sunny and bright in the morning when I left him at the childcare, by the time they arrived at location it was 15 degree Celsius (= 59°F). Thanks goodness, they have the good sense of bringing an extra coat for the "neglected" children.

Thinking 'oh, my 9 month old won't be able to open that tube'. Then returning 2 minutes later finding her happily eating sunscreen...

My friend who has 4 kids once drove home from school (20 minute drive) before realising she had forgotten one of her kids at school.

I forgot about my son's kindergarten teacher's WEDDING! The whole class was supposed to meet and surprise her by carrying sunflowers they had made. We remembered this at dinnertime... when she had been married for about 4 hours already. Couldn't sleep last night as I felt like the ultimate loser mother! To let my son miss out on such a special moment!

I was 7months pregnant with my second boy and had a very bad case of sciatica. Took my eldest out to play in our semi enclosed and usually quite safe courtyard and got busy talking to other moms (how dare me!!) I look up and my boy was no longer playing in the sandbox. We found him happily chatting away to a complete stranger (who rescued him from being run over by a bus) on the other side of the main road. To this very day I still hyperventilate when I remember. The looks I got, I should be dead by now.

Poor old David Cameron (=Great Britain's Prime Minister) left one of his kids at the pub.

I forgot my son's cutlery on a picnic.... We packed home made food for him and he was looking at the food and cried  Luckily we packed ours as well and those thermos has cutlery in them

I made my 8 yr old daughter dress up for a scout evening, (as they were told they could). She was the only one who did.......

Tried to throw a special easter egg carton craft to my son through the 1st floor window because I could not be bothered to walk up the stairs and it fell into a small crack from which I could not retrieve it. Spent 18 CHF (about the equivalent in USD) on craft supplies to re-create it...

I let her climb up to sit on the ledge of a water fountain because "she's got this". Middle of December, and she obviously fell in.

Sent the kids to school on teacher training day. 
Forgot about non-uniform day 
Forgot to send a change of clothes on school disco day, so they had to disco in their uniform

Got off a 12 hour flight from Singapore. Picked up our lagguge and walked out to where my husband was waiting for us. After customs there was a hysterical lady (she was on the same flight as me) fighting with security saying 'I need to go back, I need to go back' It turned out she had left her son at baggage claim, and they would not let her go back in to get him. The best bit was the mum was also yelling at the dad for forgetting him. At their defence he wasn't a little kid he was about 9 and they were flying with 4 kids and had a shit load of baggage.

It was my 2nd son's birthday last Saturday and I had promised to bring a cake to the daycare today to share with his friends. Only remembered when they asked me tonight at pick up where the cake went.... Oops

So here's a let's try harder checklist 

Happy 4 years of blogging to me!

So it's been four years, can you believe it?

If I regret anything about blogging it's that I didn't start earlier. Like during pregnancy, or at least after Colin was born. 

But hey, we can't turn back time, so here I am, still writing, taking pictures, having fun!

Here's an overview about some blogging highlights:

First post (not a particular highlight, however it was my blogging premiere): how I accepted a freelance recruiting assignment and needed a purse to carry around all the resumes.

Most successfull post (because it was shared by Migros who asked me to write it): a day at Europapark Rust, Germany

First award, given by Beth, an author whom I met through a dear blogger friend, Karen, for whom I arranged a virtual advent calendarShe runs Secret Subject Swap and Use Your Words, among other writing challenges. If you'd like to participate in any of them, let me get you in touch with her!

Most fun post (in my opinion): the big escape and the sequel, Music Jeopardy

Greatest future post (going live June 30): monthly photo challenge, Baseball

What bet
ter opportunity than to bake four muffin varieties to celebrate four years of blogging? It looks like cherries play an important role in my blogiversaries.
Shout out to Candice who inspired me to give baking with cherries a try!

Today's recipe is the basic one from the Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins that I posted last month, minus the marinating. 

I got an egg with twin yolks, I'll take it as a sign of luck!

Fill in half of the batter, put in chopped up fruit / berries, cover with second half of the batter.

Bake and enjoy!

Thank you for being part of my blogging journey!

What can you do to further support me?

  1. Read and comment on my blog posts. I'm serious, I love hearing from you!
  2. Like my Facebook page, like and comment on my posts so they get seen by more people.
  3. Follow me on Pinterest, repin posts that you like
  4. Follow me on Google+
  5. Follow me on Instagram
  6. You may also follow me on Twitter, except that I am not doing anything there. I just can't see the fun in it??!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Runaway Boy

This weekend, Paul, a 12 year old boy disappeared from his home about 20 miles from here. It was a sunny Saturday afternoon, he seemed cheerful, said he was gonna meet up with his friends at the school's sports yard, kissed his Mom goodbye and took off with his bicycle.

When he wasn't back for dinner, his parents did the obvious, called friends and neighbors, drove around looking for him, and finally called the police. 


Family, friends and neighbors kept searching all over the village.


On Monday police questioned the boy's schoolmates. They were not surprised to hear that he took off. "He actually announced it" they confirm. "He kept saying by June 18 I'll be gone!" He even had some stickers on his desk at school where he checked off the days counting up to that day. 
At home they found notes that also talked about leaving home and not returning. 


Yesterday, three days after Paul's disappearance, citizens at the neigbor town found his bike near a church. It was in good shape, so an accident could be ruled out. The location was in the opposite direction of the school he claimed to be heading to. 

The mother said he didn't have any money or ID with him, however he took his backpack. 

"It's not like him to disappear without saying anything" she said. And still - he did.

There are rumours that there were problems in that family (doesn't every family have their problems?) and that he wasn't very popular at school (he is 12, they're all teenagers, it's a tough time.)

I don't know whether he has a cell phone, and I wonder why it has never been mentioned by the media. Update June 23rd: he doesn't have a cell phone. 
Also it is unclear if he ever made it to the school yard.

They have been looking for him by chopper and using track hounds, and they're searching his house.

If he had a plan, he probably took a bus and then a train, for all we know he could be in France at the soccer championship or in Germany looking for his relatives. Even without his wallet and ID, I'm pretty sure he could make it to close-by neighbor countries within very little time.

I told Colin about it. 

"He must be crazy" he said "why would he want to run away? If they find him, he's gonna be in so much trouble."

Colin turns 8. We'll talk again when he's 12. 

When I was about 12, I was reading "Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo" by Christiane F, a book about a heroine addicted girl in Berlin, Germany in the 80s. I also read about a kid that ran away from home at that time.

I remember thinking "when things get worse around here, I may have to try that, too. Maybe my parents will be so grateful to see me back, that they won't be so strict anymore." 

With strict I meant curfews. I wanted more freedom. 
Good thing I didn't run away. I'm pretty sure they would have grounded me forever.

Anyway. I am worried. First the quadruple homicide in our neighbor village in December. Now this. 

I don't know Paul, and I don't know this family. According to statistics, every year several hundred kids his age and older run away from home in Switzerland. Almost all of them are found.

Still, at night, I toss and turn, and I imagine his mother being awake as well, with undesirable thoughts in her head, asking herself why, what could she have done, should she have picked up on signs, is he alive, why doesn't he at least get in touch, ...?

Also I may have watched one too many "without a trace" episodes, because I keep thinking "have they analyzed his internet history yet, what did he google, who was he in touch with, what messages did he send?"

So I hope this boy is doing OK and he'll turn up soon. 

Update June 26: 

Paul is alive and physically unharmed! 

What a relief! German police found him in a house in Düsseldorf. A 35 yo man has been arrested in that raid last night. 

As the police chief and the DA released at the press conference this afternoon, it looks like Paul got in touch with the man via internet games / chats. 

What game it was, how he got to Germany, and if Paul was held at that house without his consent, is still being investigated.

The parents that were being brought to see him at the Düsseldorf police station, as well as Paul himself seemed happy to be reunited!

Colin, who watched that press conference with us, stated "this is pretty much the same thing as being offered candy by an unknown guy in a car, right? Just don't do it!" 

Exactly right, little man!

Update June 27:

Obviously a request to investigate for sexual abuse has been filed. The man who has been arrested is alleged to have advertised on his website to look after children and help them with homework. According to neighbours there were kids going in and out of that apartment.
Also it looks like he booked a flight to Switzerland for the weekend. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

If life hands you lemons...

... go ahead and make a super yummy lemon sheet cake!

For the batter:

0.5 cups unsalted butter, softened (1 stick, 113g)
0.75 cups granulated sugar (150g)
0.25 tsp salt
2 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice

2 eggs
0.75 cups all-purpose flour (100g)

In a bowl beat together sugar, butter, lemon zest/juice and salt until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, combine well. Mix in the flour until combined. 

Bake in a lined baking dish at 350°F (180°C) for 20 - 25 minutes

Cool completely before glazing

For the glaze:

8 tsp lemon zest
4 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup icing sugar, sifted (128g)

Whisk the ingredients together until combined, pour half of the glaze over the brownies, let it set. Pour the rest of the glaze, let it set again, then cut up squares and serve!

I used BeckyCharms' recipe

Friday, June 10, 2016

Use Your Words - Cabernet

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

Shells ~ Fabric ~ Cabinet ~ Guest ~ Copper ~ Fake

They were submitted by
 Southern Belle Charm - thanks, Minette!

What does TGIF mean to you?

Almost weekend? Happy hour? The name of a casual restaurant chain?

Recently I have found that TGIF is actually more like CTAIF which stands for 

Caution! Trouble Ahead - It's Friday!

The day before the Friday I'm gonna tell you about, was Ascension, a public holiday around here, and therefore on Friday many people are taking a day off work to make it a long weekend. Teachers, do it, too, meaning Colin was going to spend the entire day at his daycare.  

When we said goodbye in the morning I asked him "so are you gonna do something exciting today?" 

He didn't know.

It was about 9am when daycare called my cell phone. I always cringe when that happens. 

In April 2014 when they called, he had lost a baby tooth in a rather ungentle way, and I had to go and get him. Last December it was his teacher who called. This time he had lost about a third of both his permanent front teeth, and I had to go and get him.

Well, you know what was up today, right?

Nope. They were just asking if there was a reason he didn't bring his bicycle? Didn't we want him to be able to attend the outing they planned on doing?


"We were telling everyone about it upon pick-up this week, weren't you there on Wednesday?" Ummm, no, hubby had picked him up. 
Anyway. When were they gonna leave? Any minute now? Well, that's just great. I'll be there as soon as I can. I live for moments like these. Not!

His bike was at my parents'. Called my Mom who was home, fortunately. Picked up his bike and helmet. Took it to daycare, went back to the office. 

In the parking lot I noticed that there was a wet spot underneath of what I assumed was the exhaust system. 

When I checked back, the spot had become larger. I asked hubby about it. He looked at me funny "why are you asking me? Do I look like I know? Ask A!" 

A being my coworker. Who had taken the day off, see above. I texted him:

He advised me to touch the liquid and smell my fingers. If it was flavorless I didn't have anything to worry about, if it was gas, then there was a problem. 

I couldn't smell anything, but when I noticed that there were now drops, and the wet spot was getting even larger, I decided to rather call road assistance now than in the evening when we wanted to leave.

The friendly guy who arrived about an hour later asked "do you usually drive short distances?" Ummm, yes! He went on explaining about engines, exhaust systems, water condensation, stainless steal vs copper nuts and whatnot. 

"You should give your nice car a break and go for a drive tonight. For at least half an hour, can you do that?"

Sure!! It was a nice spring day, and I pictured ourselves cruising to a nice restaurant at the lake, and having dinner.

Only around 5pm I got yet another call from daycare. Can you believe they said Colin's had an accident, and they were pretty sure his teeth were involved, could I come and get him?

I thought it was pretty ironic that it happened after the bicycle tour. They went to the playground, and it happened just as they were getting ready to return to daycare. "I slipped and fell when we were running around on the rubble" he said. 

The good news was that by now I had saved the number of the dental clinic in my phone.
The not so good news was that they coudn't see us until 6:45pm. Yeah, well. 
The bad news was that we were there on time, but they were so busy that it got almost 7:30 till it was our turn.

The dentist and his assistant didn't harmonize well with each other, and he was pretty impatient about it. Also he has a unique communication style which makes it hard to follow directions. 

Here's an example: he showed me how to apply a special gel to Colin's gums. I needed to do this three times a day, he told me.

Before we left he told her to give us an appointment for Monday and the prescription. She did, and it was written out to a completely different name and address, and it contained  an antibiotic, a painkiller syrup and an antibacterial mouthwash. 

I asked "are you sure this is for us, and what about the gel?" 
"Oh, right, hold on, I'll fix it."

That very moment the doc was walking by, slipping into a jacket made of some special fabric, ready to go home, and I stopped him. "You told us we need a gel, now there is a gel AND the mouthwash - do we need both?"

"The mouthwash is fine. Take care!"

Out the door he went. 

"Can I get it tomorrow from the pharmacy or is it very time-sensitive?" I asked the assistant. She was looking into the direction of the exit door that was just closing shut as the doc left, she seemed kind of shell-shocked. It was obvious that she had no idea what to tell me. 

Never mind, we're going now. The pharmacy at the train station was open till 10'pm. Plenty of time! We arrived at the train station at 9, but there were so many people in line that it was almost closing time until we left.

Can you believe, as we were walking towards our car, C went "now that I've been such a brave boy, can we go to the toy store?" 


Of course we went the next day, and he got some LEGOs, even though I'm trying to cut back on "just because gifts". 

It is Panini season here in Europe, and some of his friends seem to get a lot of stickers from family and friends. 

It takes 680 stickers to complete the album, and you know how it works... you have hundreds of duplicates and still not the ones you really need. Depending on where you purchase them, a sachet containing 5 stickers costs between 0.70 and 1.00!!! 

So I offered to pay for chores: folding and putting away laundry, loading the dishwasher, wiping the table and the like. He did it once or twice, then he decided he'd rather go play and hope to swap his duplicates with friends.

Fine with me, we have too much stuff in the house as it is!

Just got some more items from the pharmacy for our bathroom cabinet! 

By the way, when I got my words, I read Cabernet instead of cabinet by mistake. Well, we can't really call that a mistake, though, right? After a day like that, a glass of wine would have been more than appropriate!

Not much later, I got the delivery from the tasting, yay! Only trouble was... I couldn't get the cork out... So I had to open another bottle. 

To my surprise I discovered a bunch of soccer stickers on his desk a couple of days later. 
When I asked where he got those from, he shrugged. Some kids at school gave them away, and everybody got really excited, until it turned out that they were fake ones!

The next couple of days there were very few opportunities for play date and soccer sticker swap party guests. Instead I picked him up from school every couple of days to drive him to the dental clinic right away.

Toothbrush, toothpaste, check

Doing homework in the waiting room, check

Way home, check

One would think that after that, things went back to normal around here again, but no. 

  • My neighbor bumped into my car in the parking garage. 
  • Her husband accused me of having snuck up onto her
  • Colin asked me what a blow job is.
  • The dishwasher broke down.
  • In Switzerland there was this initiative on unconditional basic income
  • I got locked in with a couple of coworkers. 

Just off the top of my head. 

But I guess this will be for another post. Feel free to submit appropriate words for next month's UYW ;-)

Here's one for the road: Emily Eagan took this picture at Nautical Bean Café in San Luis Obispo, CA. In case you can't read well, there are a couple of hiring requirements, one of them being "to like people or at least to be able to fake it".

Now go find out what my friends' words were, and what they did with them:

Baking In A Tornado 
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy