Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Weird foods they sell in Europe

by young A

They sell some pretty weird foods in Europe, so I will talk about some of them.

chocolate chips (chips made of chocolate, not chips of chocolate.)

party tacos (they're cheese flavored chips, not tacos.)

strawberry yogurt flavored chocolate (it is tasty. It tastes like it is strawberry ice cream flavored.)

bacon snacks (not bacon. They're bacon flavored snacks. They don't taste much like bacon.)

chocara stars (chocolate caramel flavored star-shaped cereal.)

hot dogs labeled "American" (packaged in jars. We didn't get any)

Apple-rhubarb juice (it may sound weird, but it doesn't taste weird)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Assignment 1

As part of Young T's "homework", we took pictures of the birds at the park and identified them.  Here are our findings:

Embden Goose

Canadian Goose

Egyptian Goose

Mallard Duck

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Cologne Cathedral

by Young M (and Rachel)

The day we went to the cathedral, it was windy.  We went on the tram to Neumarkt and walked to the cathedral.

First we looked around and Young A went to the bathroom.  Then we went to the tower and got a family ticket and put the stroller under the stairs.  We walked up all the stairs (over 500) and some of the windows had writing or something like that on them.  Mom had to carry Miss S over halfway.  Miss M helped.  When we got to the big open space, we went and took a rest.  Miss S was scared.

Then we went up rickety metal stairs in the strong, strong wind.  When we got to the top of the rickety metal stairs, there were more stairs.  After we went up those, we were almost at the top.  Then some of us went to the top where it was super duper windy.

Then we went down and went out the side to the treasury.  There was lots of gold in the treasury.  There were also some wood that they think is pieces of the cross and a nail they think is from the cross.  Then we went up stairs and Mom asked for change so we could go to the bathroom.  He said sure, but there was a free bathroom downstairs not marked on the small map.  Then we went home from a train station nearby.

Miss M's hair was acting energetic. It was a fun and windy trip.  I liked it.  (I am afraid of heights.)

My trusty steed

by Miss S (and Rachel)

When we go on adventures, we take Minimus, my stroller.  Minimus is my horse, just like Sofia has.  Sometimes he is Anna's horse from Frozen, instead. Then, I am Anna.  Sometimes, he is just Strolley.  And on Sundays, we leave him home, and I am Cinderella in my pretty blue dress trying to catch my carriage to the ball.  (Then I don't have to worry about my horse at church.)

I would like to tell you about Link Between Worlds.  (This is very important to me, so Mom will quote verbatim.)  "I can't go in the castle on my file with Blue Link, and I'm trying to save Zelda.  And Dad was Shadow Link so I killed him on Miss M's file without asking permission to play.  And I'm trying to get in the castle to save Zelda.  That's my email at home in the mailbox."


by Young A (and Rachel)

Yesterday we went to a "mountain" called Drachenfels (Dragon Rock). It was a short mountain (at least compared to the mountains in Utah.)

There are stories that there used to be a dragon living in a cave in Drachenfels. There are a few different stories about why there isn't one right now.  Some of them are that the dragon attacked a boat full of gunpowder or that when it was about to eat a girl, the sight of her crucifix was too much for it.

We hiked up there instead of taking the train.  It was steep except for where it was flat.  First we went to the ruins at the summit of the mountain.  Then we hiked back down to the castle Drachenburg and checked that out.

We walked up the spiral staircase at the tower after exploring the public parts of the castle. Then we went down the mountain and ate french fries (Pommes Frites) with curry ketchup and mayonnaise. Then we walked back to the train to go home.

We left our train catching abilities at home and missed the train (barely) unlike our trip to Schloss Augustusburg.

Schloss Augustusburg

by Young A (and Rachel)

We went to a palace called Schloss Augustusburg on Wednesday, April 8.  (We almost missed our train there, but because it was late, we made it.)  We went through with audio guides and listened about the different things.

Afterwards we went out to the gardens and wandered around in the forest which had paths running through it.  On each side there were tons of wild flowers and, since it was a forest, there were trees. There were often tire tracks running along the sides of the path.  We took a lot of pictures while we were there.  

After the forest, we went to a "little" hunting lodge which was connected by a path to the palace.  It was a lot less fancy there.  It looked like a place that would be nicer to be in.  After that we walked back to the train.  

The train was late and was about half of its normal size.  It was very crowded, and we almost didn't fit on the train.  While we were waiting for the tram, we got Doner Kebabs for dinner.  After that we barely caught the tram to go home.

Things I like to eat in Germany

by Miss E (assisted by Rachel)

I don't know where to start.  I like their cereals because they don't have too much sugar but they still taste good.  The meat I like.  I like the chicken most with different kinds of sauce like butter chicken sauce, and the curry sauce is really good.  

Their juices are also really good.  They have mixes of different juices I like.  I like the Apple-Cherry-Plum juice best.  Some others I like are the Apple-Pear, the Apple, and the 5 fruit, 7 fruit, and 3 fruit kinds.

The chocolate and candy is tasty, too.  They have a lot of different kinds of chocolate including chili pepper, orange, hazelnut, caramel, oreo, etc.  They have literal chocolate chips.  These look like potato chips made out of chocolate and taste like very thin crunch bars or caramel crunch bars. 

The candy we get the most is Haribo, which they have a whole bunch of flavors of.  We even went to a store full of Haribo.  We made our own bag from a section where you can choose a few of every kind. My favorite kind was the apple rope. They also sell bags of just one kind.  We have gotten Lemon-Ginger, Finger Puppets, a bucket of Pink Edition Phantasia, a lot of Tropi Fruiti for Mom, and Pandas.

The bread is really good.  My favorite kinds are the little rolls we can get at the grocery store and the pretzels.  The pretzels are my favorite. 

They have lots of kinds of tortilla chips, too. They have one kind that tastes like it is flavored salsa.  They also have normal tortilla chips.  They have bacon snacks too, which are meant to look and taste like bacon.  They don't.  The weirdest kind is the Party Tacos.  These are tortilla chips with cheese dust stuff on them that sort of taste like Doritos, but not really.  They are really weird and the kind of chips that you don't really like the flavor of, but as soon as you eat one, you can't stop eating them.

There are lots of kinds of spreads here.  I like the Nutella, honey, and jam. There was also a kind that everyone else in my family thought tasted like frosting that I like. There is also some very yummy, drizzly caramel stuff that we put on pancakes.

Their ice cream is really good.  My favorite kind is the lemon stuff that Miss S got and shared with me.

Their soda is a lot like the soda in the US, except less sugary and much fizzier.  We have tried the Sprite, Fanta, carbonated apple juice, carbonated lemonade, and grapefruit soda.

Oohh, the Doner Kebabs are reeeallly good.  My favorite are from Best of Doner.  I think they were lamb.  Doner Kebabs are big sandwiches with meat that they spin around to cook and then shave off.  They also put sauce and toppings like lettuce and tomatoes and cabbage on them.

I like most of the food here, but some of it I don't (like the curry ketchup fries).  I'm glad we could come here and try new foods.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The walk

By Young A

Yesterday we went walking in the path behind our house. It went through some woods. Partway down it we found some stairs, but they went to nowhere. Soon we reached the end of the path. We then went into a park or something similar. Farther down the path that the path we started on went onto we found a flea market that was open that day. Then we went home. I liked that walk. It was fun.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Day 12 (Sunday)

Sunday morning we needed to leave, with everybody clean and fed and dressed nicely, in time to catch the 8:20 tram nearby.  Amazingly enough, we made it with time to spare.  We only forgot the diapers and wipes for Miss S.

Day 11 (Saturday)

Saturday we cleaned up the apartment.  In the morning, we took all the kids and walked to the grocery store.  We needed to pick up treats for Miss S's birthday the next day.

After lunch, we got ready for another exploration.  The day kept raining.  Every time we were ready to leave, it started to rain.  Finally, we just went.  We walked through the Volksgarten to show the Professor since he hadn't been yet.  The rain stopped, and we finally saw some blue sky for the first time in Cologne.

Day 10 (Friday)

Friday morning the children worked on school work again.  The Professor went to work again, and I worked on laundry and cleaning some more.  

Day 9 (Thursday)

Thursday was spent settling in to our new place.  The Professor headed off to the university to get his keys and start his collaborating.  The kids worked on school in the morning.

I spent the morning trying to figure out how to throw things away.  Am I supposed to recycle?  How do they sort garbage here?  Do I have to wash things?  Is it compulsory or optional?  I think I've figured it out.  Glass is recycled at bins a few blocks away, but only if it isn't broken.  Paper and cardboard go in the two bins with blue lids by our front door.  All other recycling that is rinsed goes in the bin with a yellow lid.  Everything else is garbage.  It goes in the bins with the gray lids near the front door.  Whew.  Now I could put our garbage in the correct places under the sink.

Family Home Evening (March 23)

(By Miss E)

    Family Home Evening, also known as FHE, was interesting. We started with Miss S's song, Seventy-six Trombones. Then mom said the opening prayer. Next we had scriptures. Then Miss M's lesson on faith. Then we had a very interesting performance by Young A. He smelled everybody's feet, muttering things like eww, gross, not too bad, etc. He than said that his feet were the worst, but Young T's were a close second. Then Young T's activity, during which Miss S asked why she couldn't write in my mathbook.  Then dad said the closing prayer and we ate my treat, pastries we had gotten at the bakery that day.

Day 8 (Wednesday)

Wednesday morning was spent cleaning the apartment. Feeding eight people and trying to run out of food but not be hungry is not simple.  We managed pretty well.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Why playgrounds in Europe are better than at home

By Young A & Miss E 

  Today we went to the park and there was an awesome playground. It had climbing structures, a seesaw, a sandbox, and a cool swing you could lie down on. Parks at home (especially newer ones) usually don't have those. The newer ones don't even have normal swings. What's the point of a playground if nobody is going to use it because it is so boring?

  Maybe they are trying to make it safer. However, if people can't have fun following the rules they aren't going to follow the rules. That is going to result in more people getting hurt than if they had just made a fun playground in the first place. I don't see why they are doing it.

  In Paris, they tried to make it both fun and safe. They put stickers with recommended ages on them on each piece of equipment to keep it both safe and fun.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


It's Miss S's birthday today!

We are in Germany. It is an hour each way to church. On a train. It can get boring.

We finally got to see the sky- the clouds cleared up enough.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Miss S

(by Miss S, translated by Miss E)

    The Eiffel Tower was like this big (holding up her hands).


 I went on the Eiffel Tower and it was so tall. I did not like being on the Eiffel tower because I wanted to go down.


I didn't like going on the train because it was too tippy.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Day 7 (Tuesday)

Tuesday was our last full day in Paris.

We spent the morning in the Musée d'Orsay.  We mostly saw Monet, Seurat, and Van Gogh (with a bunch of others thrown in, but they were less memorable.)  It was lots of fun watching Miss M and Miss E enjoy themselves.  Apparently, Miss E likes Monet and Seurat's styles.  She would find a painting she liked, and, sure enough, it would be either Monet or Seurat.  Miss M would have loved to spend forever looking and experiencing.  The children each chose a postcard, and we left to find lunch.

Day 6 (Monday)

Fun with new friends
Just her size
By Monday, (before then, actually), the troops were getting restless.  The children were getting tired of museums and paintings and walking.  The two playgrounds we had found were small and mostly for little ones.  That morning, we set out to remedy the situation.

Day 5 (Sunday)

I was wary before Sunday even began.  We had yet to get everyone up before 10, and that usually involved lots of effort to wake the sleepy kids up.  Church started at 9:30 and involved two different metro trains (not hard, just takes time.)


(by Miss E) and m

Tiny apartment. Lots of stairs. Less cigarette smoke, but still quite a bit. GOOD Haribo. Less people. And much, much more...

Bob the cat & Fred the Dog

(by Young A and Miss E)

Bob the cat was born on March 22nd. He caught on fire on March 23rd. He then fell into a pool of nitroglycerin. He then died. the end (of Bob the cat)

Fred the Dog has a (slightly) happier story. He  was born on December 19. He was a healthy dog until March 23, when he tripped over the remains of Bob the cat into the nitroglycerin time bomb and died.
                                               The End


(By Young M)

"I ate Bob the cat," claimed Fred the Fox. "MWA HA HA HA!"

"So what," said Shark. "I'm going to eat you." 

And that is how Fred died.

Germany (Group post)

(By Miss M and the rest of the kids)

     Young A: This should be called "Bob the Cat".

     Miss E: We should take turns typing.

     Miss M: Weren't we writing about something else?

     Young A: We need to tell the story of Bob the Cat! Because that's the title.

     Miss E: NO! This is called a group post, so we all need to take turns typing.

     Miss M: No. This works.

     Young A: No, it doesn't.

     Miss M: Yes, it does.

     (Repeat above two lines as many times as you want. You can also substitute Miss E for Yoing A.)

     Miss M: It does.

We are now in Germany. Young A says this is BORING. Miss E is apparently hungry. Everyone else is playing. The end. Young M says this should be called "Cuckoo".

 Young A:The story of Bob the Cat. (There.)

About Bob the Cat. The END!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Day 4 (Saturday)

Friday night (Saturday morning) Miss E and Young A woke up around 2 and could not get back to sleep.  Miss S had not yet fallen asleep.  This is not good.  They played quietly for an hour and eventually went back to bed.  We did not get up early on Saturday.
The picture that caused all the trouble.
Saturday we took the train to Versailles.  We did a super quick walk through the rooms (at this point, many of the children were not so interested in fancy buildings filled with paintings.)  (I am so glad I do not have to live a public life like the kings and their families did.)
Afterwards, I went to collect the stroller and two backpacks carrying our lunch and our jackets. Unfortunately, the bag-check ticket was nowhere to be found.  I had put it in my pocket with my phone.  Presumably, it fell out when I took my phone out for a couple of pictures.  A few of the kids and I went to plead for mercy at the bag-check counter.  Fortunately, the attendant that spoke English remembered us.  Unfortunately, the guy in charge, who didn't seem to speak English, was not impressed.  But somebody found the ticket while we were there, our bags were returned, and a crisis was averted.  (The French are really good at "not impressed.")
We continued on to the gardens.  We spent the next few hours wandering the gardens, eating our lunch, getting blocked in by gates and walls and moats, and visiting Marie Antoinette's hamlet and the nearby farm.

The entire area is beautiful.  The snowdrops and daffodils were blooming here and there.  In a couple of weeks, it will be breathtaking.

The small moat between us and the gate out
We exited through the nearby gate and walked a couple of cold miles back to the train station.  Along the way, we passed the partially completed Paris LDS temple.  It will be beautiful.
Bored on the train
We walked home past the Eiffel Tower.  Our feet were worn out, but the kids were patient, and we made it.  We picked up a lemon tart at the grocery store across the street for an evening pi-day celebration.

Day 3 (Friday)

Friday morning at 3 am, Miss E threw up.  Shortly after that Miss S woke up.  They eventually settled.  But that was not the night that I caught up on my sleep.  Later that morning, Miss E seemed to be feeling much, much better, and so we continued our adventures.

The Parks

(by Young M)

The parks here are really fun.  They have lots of stuff that I don't get to play on very often.  There was a big, tilted disc that spins.  There was a merry go round that you could spin like a sit and spin.  There were platforms on springs for jumping.  There was a tall climbing structure made out of ropes with a fast slide at the end.  There was also a four person see saw.  There was also a three person spring toy.

Yesterday we went to the park and ate lunch there.  They sometimes have carousels by the parks.

I don't think that you should let the bread get very old.  It gets hard fast.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Day 2 (Thursday)

Thursday morning we headed out to the Musée de Arts et Métiers.  I have been excited about this museum from the beginning.  It is full of inventions.  

We saw Pascal's Arithmetic Machine and flying machines.  We saw looms and weights and measures.  We saw a camera in a bowler hat and robots.  We saw an apparatus for measuring the speed of light.  We saw an original Foucault pendulum. We saw a sundial with a lens that lit a tiny cannon at noon.  We saw train engines.  We saw a miniature Statue of Liberty.

Foucault's pendulum, the Statue of Liberty, old cars, and the flying machines were in an old church.  Miss E was fascinated by the stained glass windows.  I must admit the sun coming through them was breathtaking.

The Louvre

A few days ago we went to the Louvre. It was fun. Some of the artwork was interesting. It's fun to find other interpretations of the artwork-like selfie dude. (Really a Roman guy holding a sword that broke off-sorry, no pictures.) (Athena was doing it too.)

The Mona Lisa was, amazingly, not very crowded. (Must be March.) We had fun.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Young T's perspective.

(by Young T)

I like the trains that go fast and underground.

I like the Eiffel Tower when it has the flashing lights and the spotlight.

I like the playground.

I don't like walking a lot.

I wish I could sleep last night.

(by Young A)

Last night I couldn't sleep. So I stayed up until 3:15 A.M.

Yesterday we went to Notre Dame, a big cathedral. I think it was boring. The park we went to wasn't.


(by Young M)

Paris is a crowded smelly (like smoke), place but has interesting stuff and yummy bread and weird cheese in some people's opinion.

Yesterday we went to La Louvre, Notre Dame, and we ate crepes.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Day 1 (Wednesday)

After a morning nap, we settled in.  During the afternoon we tried to start exploring, but a small bathroom crisis brought us home briefly.  (Thankfully, not before getting two delicious baguettes.)

After dinner we tried again.  And we ended up in the Champ de Mars as the sun set.

As we walked away from the Eiffel tower towards the river, we looked back to see it sparkling, completely magical.  We wandered down along the Seine and back home again, finding some croissants for our bedtime snack.

(And proceeded to try to get not super sleepy kids to sleep... Let's forget that part.  And its sequel between 4 and 7...)

(pictures below the break)

The beginning (Tuesday)

After much packing and cleaning and last minute everything, the Professor and I went to bed late only to get up early.  Four and a half hours of sleep are enough.  Right? 
The children got up happily (except for Miss S, who refused to wake up until I was in the middle of dressing her) and got ready quickly.  A good friend was kind enough to drive us to the airport.

(We made it on time!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

First Day

(by Miss E)

    Yesterday we flew to Paris. We went on 3 trains to get to our apartment. We were all tired this morning, so we took long naps (slept into the afternoon). Then we went to the bakery. We came home and we ate the bread. Then some of us went to the store, while the others stayed home and played 3DS. We bought a bunch of stuff. We played more video games. Later today we will probably go to the Eiffel Tower.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Young T

(by Young T and Rachel)

I am Young T.  I'm 5 years old.  I really like screen time, especially Minecraft and Terraria.  I also like playing with my brothers and sisters.  I made up a great game called "The Everything Game."  I really like to play it.  In "The Everything Game", whoever is playing chooses a character (like Link, or Mario, or the guy from VVVVV), then we go around fighting bad guys and bosses and finding treasure chests.

I really want to see what it is like on the airplane.  I also really want to see what it is like in Germany.  I, also, really want to see the Eiffel Tower.

Young M

(by Young M)

Hello, I'm Young M. I am 8. I like board games, card games, and video games.  I also like French. (I do French immersion at school.) I like hikes too. I like math, reading, and friends.

Here are some reasons I'm excited: la Tour Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower), being on an airplane, and having fun!

Miss E

(by Miss E)

I am nine. I like to eat, play outside, play inside, play video games, read, sleep, do origami, etc.

I NEED FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm excited :) to go to Europe. It will be both more fun (sightseeing), and more boring (same clothes) than here. Will it be better? (Their chocolate/candy certainly is.) Who knows....

Young A

(by Young A)

I am eleven. I like to eat and play video games, build with legos, and set things on fire. (I don't get to do much of the last one.)

I am glad we get to go step on a big tripwire that is part of a trap that sets things on fire. It will be fun. I will get to go on all sorts of adventures with my family in the next six weeks.

Miss M

I'm Miss M. You should probably know a bit more about me, since I'll hopefully be posting relatively often. I'm in seventh grade, and I'm at a gifted/talented magnet program at a nearby high school. (Translation-I like math and learning.) I enjoy reading, cooking, helping people with math, doodling, writing, playing video games (especially Zelda games), and a lot of other things. I play the cello and I like to sing. I'm taking German, but I have a tendency  to confuse German with French.

One more thing. I'm semi-obsessed with Shakespeare. His plays, that is. Mainly A Midsummer Night's Dream, but I enjoy everything of his that I've read. I also enjoy classic books and authors, such as Jules Verne and Agatha Christie. I read just about anything I can get my hands on.

Unfortunately, I'm not usually very crazy, especially when I'm typing something out, (Oh, horror! Anyone could see this!) but hopefully you'll get to see some of that side of me.

I'm excited to go to Europe, and I think it'll be interesting to be immersed in German culture for five weeks. I'm definitely excited for the chocolate and the food.

Across the ocean we go

Across the ocean we go,
Laughing all the way.
We love to cross the ocean,

We are going to rent a house
across the ocean,

(An original song/poem by Miss E, adapted for our current adventure.)

In a couple of days, the Professor and I will take our crowd on an adventure. We will spend a week in Paris and five weeks in Cologne. This is our travel journal, school assignment, and correspondence with loved ones. Come follow along.

Let me introduce you to my traveling companions...

I am Rachel.  I love books, games, math, food, creating, and people.

This is the Professor.  He is amazing.  He enjoys math, books, games, and friends.

These are our six children.  I will let the older ones introduce themselves.

And this is our youngest, Miss S.  She will be 3 in a couple of weeks.  She loves princesses and trains, doing it herself and playing with her siblings, being big and being little.