The middle-schoolers are receiving their first graded assignments, the one where they described an object. Here’s a suggestion: Take a photograph of the object and attach it to the composition. I’m not a scrapbooker, but I can see that in a few years it might be nice to see what they wrote about the favorite baseball gove, the antique pocket knife, or the vacation seashell souvenir.
Why I’m thankful…
This past week I had the privilege of grading the first batch of papers from my oldest group of students. Two American Lit classes, filled with sophomores to seniors, and as far as I’m concerned, the best of the best. The assignment: To write a chapter in your own autobiography, styled after Benjamin Franklin’s, including what you learned from your mistakes along with a wise saying or two.
The results? Some touching, some humorous, and some heartwarming descriptions. I read accounts of childhood accidents (pain is memorable) and tough decisions. I traveled to other countries to learn of mission trips that touched lives near and far. I saw the endurance needed to reach physical goals, goals that resulted in true mountaintop experiences.
I always try to write an encouraging note at the end of each paper. I found myself saying on so many of them “..I’ll pray… the Lord is going to use you!…What a blessing you were to those children…”
This is why I do what I do. And this is why I have hope for our nation, and more than that, our world. The Lord is working!
Here you go!
Dear Classic Lit and American Lit Parents,
One of the unique teaching techniques I use with my high-school classes is the 5 color highlighting system. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it means that you can’t re-sell the books. I am firmly convinced that this can and will create strong readers. To give you some more of the rationale behind this, here is a more detailed explanation. I wrote this article for the CIRCE Institute and it is worth your time. http://circeinstitute.com/2011/07/on-wrecking-books-to-bring-them-to-life/
Several of you have asked, so here you go! Any questions – just ask!
No tests yet— enjoy your summer!
Food adventures. One of my family’s favorite things to do is explore new places to eat. Germany has much more to offer than just sausage and sauerkraut (although we enjoyed our share!) and we were fortunate to be there during Spargel time. This white asparagus was usually the star of its own special menu.
I’m no professional food photographer, but hopefully my iPhone and I can give you an idea. One German cookbook made its way home in my suitcase (surprise surprise) and you can find traditional recipes here. (This site is a Houston restaurant that is known for authentic Bavarian/Tyrolean cuisine.) I’m going to attempt to organize this post topically. (Yes kids, arrangement is ever present!) Hope you are hungry!
First up – lunch in Bacharach. After a long plane ride over, where the culinary offerings could best be described as “nondescript”, we were thrilled to find an outdoor cafe where we could relax and catch our breath. The waitress apologized for taking so long because the chef was making our potato salad from scratch. No complaints! Here you can see the sausage, a mini-pretzel (not in Bavaria yet, just wait!), local cheese, hearty brown bread, and that wonderful potato salad!
Lunch at Burg Elz: A local specialty that friends recommended was Curry Wurst. Take a grilled bratwurst and top it with a spicy curry flavored tomato sauce. (Ok, not Tex-Mex or Cajun spicy, but definitely flavorful!) French fries were a common side dish, even at dinner time in “white tablecloth” restaurants.
Another lunch featured Spargel both in soup, salad, and topped with hollandaise. (We didn’t eat this every day, it just seems like it because I took so many pictures!)
Did you notice the Schnitzel in that last picture? “Schnitzel with noodles” be one of Julie Andrews’ favorite things, but in our travels we encountered more Schnitzel with Potatoes.
At the Rhein Hotel in Bacharach, they offered a seasonal tasting menu. Oh now you’re talking my language! Bring on the local specialties.
The appetizer was served on a piece of slate. Important to the local economy and one reason the ground is conducive to growing grapes. Clockwise from top we have a chicken liver pate w/ grape jelly, goat salami, goat cheese with thyme and honey, and smoked trout sushi w/ horseradish cream. I’m not a liver lover, but every bite was delicious!
Main course: Sauerbraten of Wild Boar, served with berry sauce and a baked potato dumpling.
Dessert was a trio of mousses. Creme of riesling and black currant, white mousse au chocolat with saffron and flour de sel, dark praline mousse with roasted hazelnuts. (That’s Mr. M’s creme brûlée in the background. What? You thought I was going to share?)
In Rothenburg we at at the Kuchenmeister’s cafe. I’ll bet you can figure this one out! My plate was even heart shaped. I love this place!
In the little town of Dinkelsbuhl, along the Romantic Road, we stopped for lunch at a creperie. The ham and cream crepes were so wonderful and filling that we had to pass up the Nutella dessert crepes. But they sure were tempting…. Made on the spot, filled, rolled, and served in a paper cone.
Once we arrived in Austria, the food was very similar (schnitzel, fries, dumplings) but we especially enjoyed the traditional cheese and wine soup. See what’s garnishing the top? Bacon! What a country!
Lunch in Oberammergau where we enjoyed a meat and cheese plate with cheeses from the local monastery. Hey, I’m all about supporting the local industry! (Actually this is what our breakfast buffet looked like each day as well. I loved the fig mustard to go with the cheeses.)
And in Munich, the home of Bavarian beer halls and pretzels and more sausage! These next pictures are from the Hofbrauhaus museum so you can see what is typically served. Do I hear an Oompah band playing? Pork knuckle, white radish, and liter sized drinks. Now we know why the wait staff has huge muscles. How’d you like to carry 3 or 4 of these in each hand???
I told you there would be pretzels!
As much fun as it was to eat meat three times a day, there came a point at which I craved some carbs. Bring on the Kase Spaetzle. The Deutsch version of macaroni and cheese, this dish is made of homemade noodles (drop dough in boiling water, kind of like a dumpling) topped with several different cheeses and garnished with fried onions. Did I mention I brought home a cookbook? I also brought home a Spaetzle Maker!
From the Munich art museum, a Veggie Tale. I do think this is Junior Asparagus’ paler European cousin, don’t you?
Did you save room for dessert? How about some Black Forest Cake and some Apple Strudel? Sweet dreams (and may someone else be there to do your dishes!)
Mr. M. and I became quite good at navigating the public transportation system. (Ok, truth be told, he read the maps and I said “Are you sure this doesn’t involve another ½ mile walk?” My wimpiness was beginning to assert itself.)
Off to the Deutsches Museum, Bavaria’s answer to the Smithsonian. Imagine an entire museum devoted to science and technology. Imagine an entire wing devoted to…math. Imagine airplanes and rockets and engines and physics and…. I’m no Einstein so my first thought – just keeping it real here folks – was “Shoot me now.”
Yes, let’s be honest we’ve all had our little trip temper tantrums and I was worried that one might be imminent. Guess what? A couple of deep breaths and “get your act together” prayers later and Mr. M. and I were off on a subterranean exploration. This museum had an entire underground system of tunnels devoted to mining! Not only was that my husband’s specialty in grad school, but we had the exhibit to ourselves and we could explore at leisure. It truly was one of the most fascinating, up close and personal, looks at this subject I have ever seen.
Another day at the Salt Mines
Emerging from the darkness, we enjoyed a whirlwind trip through some of the other exhibits. Remember, if you are a “must stop and read everything” kind of tourist, language barriers will cure you of this immediately.
Ok, maybe it wasn’t all bad. Here, from the math wing, are some logical displays. I used to teach logic so this was kind of a fun stroll down memory lane.
If you are a WWII history buff, this next machine will interest you! It’s an enigma. No, I don’t mean it’s hard to figure out, I mean it is the Enigma Machine, a cryptologist’s dream (depending on which side you were on!)
In this museum, everything is fair game for a technological exposition. What do you think was brewing here?
After lunch we took the tram over to the Residenz, palatial home to the Wittelsbach family, reigning rulers of Bavaria for years. Many of the exhibits have been rebuilt since WWII, since bombs destroyed much of the palace. This particular Memorial Day gave me a very different perspective with which to meditate on the sacrifices made by our troops. Dachau is 45 minutes away and here in front of me was evidence that madness must be stopped, even if it means destroying beauty in the process.
The ceiling in the Hall of the Emperors. You miss a lot if you don’t look up!
No, this is not a VBS project. This is a grotto covered in shells. When the original was destroyed, citizens from all over Bavaria contributed shells to construct a new fountain. Intricate and detailed:
After dinner under the chestnut trees at Augustiner Keller, we headed back to the hotel to pack for the trip home.
Auf wiedersehn and Danke! Good-bye and thanks for joining me on my trip reports. I’ve had fun walking these cobblestones
all over again with each of you!
(In the next post: The real reason this is called the pretzel diaries!)