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Sankt Nikolaus

One of the interesting things about living in a different country is finding out about all the different holidays that get celebrated where you are.  Well, today they are celebrating Sankt Nikolaus (name sound familiar?).  He is considered to be a pre-Christmas messenger that examines kids’ behavior.  The kids leave a boot outside their door during the night.  If they are good, when they wake up they will find gifts of toys or sweets (where we are at, it is usually apples, oranges, nuts. etc.).  On the other hand, if they are bad, they will find a tree branch in their boot (basically to represent a bundle of switches) reminding them that they need to shape up or else!

Anyways, just a little bit of culture from this side of the ocean for those interested!

If you’re interested in reading more, you can find information here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas     


The Small Things

As I was looking through the pictures on our page, I noticed somethings.  First, I realized that our television is really dirty. A special thank you to Gavin and Tristan for that contribution.  Second, you can really get a sense of what it is like to be in our home.  I noticed some of Tristan’s artwork.  I noticed our crazy dog locked up in her kennel.  By the way, she loves her kennel, but she finds herself locked up in jail when we have company or when she decides to eat the boy’s food.  I also liked seeing the little chairs that belong to the little people in our family.  I just know that some of these characteristics will change over time, but it is nice to pick up on those small details.

 Ginger



Thanksgiving at the Barker's

This year we had a church Thanksgiving dinner the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  I cooked 2 turkeys for that dinner and was pretty turkeyed out by the time Thanksgiving Day rolled around.  So, since it was just going to be the 4 of us, I decided I’d take my chances with cooking a duck.  This was the first time I had ever cooked a duck, but I figured – “What the Heck!”  It can’t be that difficult, right?  I read up a little bit on how to cook a duck and decided I’d give it a shot on the rotisserie I have for my grill.

The day before Thanksgiving, we invited some friends of ours (Fred and Beth) over to share Thanksgiving with us and figured the duck would be enough for all of us, so everything was ready to go.  So, about two hours before our friends are supposed to show up, I fire up the grill and get it ready to start cooking.  I had prepped the duck earlier in the day, and it was now time to cook it up!  I got it all ready on the rotisserie spit, put it on the grill, had everything just right, and walked away.  It was supposed to cook for about an hour and a half.  So, about 15 minutes into it, I look outside and see a huge amount of smoke.  I ran out there and found the entire duck burnt to a crisp!  On Thanksgiving Day and only an hour and a half before we are supposed to eat!

PANIC MODE!  Okay, so I will admit that I didn’t exactly keep my cool, but I did go into fix-it mode.  I had to think of what kind of animal I could throw on the fire and have cooked in time for dinner.  Fortunately, Thanksgiving is an American holiday so the German grocery stores were open.  I headed over to the REWE to see what they had.  So, if you can’t serve turkey (or duck),  why not serve chicken?  I almost bought a couple of whole chickens (since they come out great on the rotisserie), but since time was of the essence and I prefer dark meat, I decided to stick with thighs and legs.

Fortunately, it all came out just fine and we had a great Thanksgiving!   Afterwords, we sent the kids off to bed (after Fred whooped up on Gavin in Whack-a-Mole) and had a great time playing games and just enjoying each other’s company.  With the burnt duck behind me, I was reminded what Thanksgiving was really all about.  Giving thanks to God for all he provides – even if I did burn it!  Just kidding.