Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pretty Pink Weekend.

Last Saturday (yes, I'm a week behind in getting this post up) we went to the Mandelblütenfest, in the beautiful Weinstrasse.  Friends who live in Neustadt, invited us for snacks and drinks before heading out to the festival.

Oh, I suppose you're wondering what Mandelblütenfest is, right?  That would be, the Almond Blossoms Festival.  

So, pink trees were everywhere.  It was a gorgeous day.  The sun was shining, strolling through the little town of Gimmeldingen...the day truly could not have been any better!  And on top of that, we spent some quality time with dear friends.  

 Similar to most German Festivals, the candied nuts, ice cream, and handcrafted goods were present! 

These almonds were wayyy too good.  

Have you ever seen a dog walking in a straight line, and all of the sudden, it's like an invisible string pulls its nose towards the direction of something wonderful smelling?  (or in the case of last week's blog, it's not always something wonderful smelling.)  Well, you get what I'm trying to say.  
That was me when my nostrils caught the smell of sugary goodness from roasting almonds in melted sugar.  

 And the ice cream man was there!

 I was tempted to buy one of these little hens, which were filled with lovely lavender and herbs.

We stopped and stared at the this fellow rubbing sand, clay, mud, or something from the earth, all over his face and chest.  I suppose in the sun it dried and created the look a life-size statue.

 Oh.  I forgot.  THIS also smelled amazing.  

 I'm noticing an unintentional trend going on here!  Smells of Springtime is what I should have titled this!  Blossoming trees, candied almonds, lavender pouches, rotisserie meat.  Goodness, my nose was having a hay-day last Saturday!

And so was this little pup's nose!  Poor little guy couldn't help but reach as far as possible to catch of whiff of those smells.

Of course, there's a Wine King and his Princesses, and since the Mandelblütenfest is the kick-off of the Wine Festival Season, the king and his court of royal beauties was seen out and about.   

 Now THAT is a wine GOBLET.

The day was coming to an end, so we headed back.  I had to laugh, because little Jazzy was working on that ice cream cone for a long time.  

AND, this girl knows how to work the camera!  She's always aware of where the camera is, and is always ready with a smile.

Parking was basically, ANYwhere along these beautiful vineyards.  I can't wait to see this area in the late summer.  

Melissa had these delightful little cookies at the house.  She found them at the bakery near their house.  They're meant to resemble the Almond Blossoms!  How cute!

When the sun was setting, we took a short drive up to the Hambach Castle, and saw this incredible view of Neustadt.  I kind of forgot to take a picture of the castle.  It was cool, like always!

So, it ended up being a really great weekend.  I kept saying to myself, "We are so blessed" to be where we are right now;  the opportunities to see such unique festivals, castles, cultures, and traditions...God is so good, and we just can't stop thanking him for these memorable times.  

Thanks for reading, friends! 

Come visit us, and we'll show you the beauty of Germany!  We'd love to have you.  

Have a Happy Palm Sunday tomorrow!

-the Ogdens

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Prickly pear, Dog perfume, and Spring-time treats.

It's been a wonderful winter and spring here in Germany!  My days have been full of planning summer trips, walking the pups, editing some pictures, and a few random treats. 

And, I promise, this is the last post I'll make for awhile that is 90% about my dogs.  
Are you bored with them?  Am I?  Never!  I just love them pieces.  Here's a few pictures of Boomer and Wrigley and our daily activities.    

So, who knows what Prickly Pear is?? 

This fruit, is my favorite.  The cactus fruit.  
I could solely live off this fruit, forever. 

Apparently, I'm not the only one who loves it.

{I checked.  No prickly needles!}

My dogs are healthy!  Among their favorites:  Carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and other produce.  

And we walk.  The path I was standing on to take this picture is part of our 4 miler.  Not very long, but doing this walk at LEAST 4 times a week, 16 miles a week isn't bad, right?  And once summer roles around, it's 5 days a week.

{aint it purdy?}

Here's a shot of roughly the same location, from last October.  

     What's the best thing about living in Stambach?  The walks!  By far, it's my favorite.  What a place of perfection to worship God and meditate on his goodness!

So, SOMEtimes, I can convince Nate to join us on our walks.
And actually, the only times I get to take my camera along is when he's there to round up the dogs when they run too far ahead.  

Here's a question.  Do any of you have dogs that, um, you know, roll in other animals' droppings?  


What. In the world.

He smells it.  Beelines for it...

And tada!
Poo-makeup, cologne, whatever he intends this to be,  it's done.  

Aside from that lovely happening our walk, I DID take note of the cute dry flowers.  

Oh, I forgot to mention that WHEN Nate joins us on our's the short walk.  We drive to the top of the hill.  Hey, it's still a good mile and a half walk, though.  

{Finding a parking spot generally isn't a problem.}

Turned out to be a nice evening stroll.  Even with the stench, it was a happy and pleasant walk.  And don't worry, an immediate bath followed the short 2 minute drive back home.

Take note...THIS is Wrigley, with whom I am snuggling with.  HE did not take part in the rolling.  Boomer still had a lingering odor, even after I used copious amount of Herbal Essence Shampoo.  


Onto a few food items!

I made this a few years ago.  I need to make it again.

Perfect for these spring afternoons with friends!  Sipping tea, and eating a slice of this no-bake cheesecake = Happiness.

A very good friend of mine gave me this wonderful little cookbook, that I've really enjoyed!  

So far, I've only tried two recipes in it, but they all look awesome.  Here are two that sound scrumptious:

I'm especially excited to try the Roasted Dates recipe, because I LOVE dates, and soon I'll have a boat load of them.  Dates from Jericho, Israel...nothing compares.  

I made Lemon Chicken Salad on Crostini a few days ago, and it was a total hit with the hubby.  Which surprised me, because generally, Chicken Salad is too girly for him.  Wrigley stole one, however.  Thank goodness I caught him, otherwise I'm positive they'd all have disappeared quickly. 

Lemon Chicken Salad on Crostini:

French or sourdough baguette
Salt and pepper
Rotisserie Chicken
Fennel bulb
Green onion
Fresh tarragon

Combine these in a bowl:
3 Tbsp. of lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1-2 Tbsp. of finely chopped fennel bulb
2-3 finely chopped green onions
2/3 cup of mayo
Salt and pepper

{Spoon onto baguette slices, and that's it!}

Chopped tarragon 
(or whatever fresh herb you have in your fridge.  I used cilantro.)

Depending on how big the chicken is {the one I had was small} the amounts and measurements should vary :)

My goal for this summer to make all the recipes in this book.  Even the Fritto Misto.  That is, if I can find baby octopus at the Globus.


Well, that's all, folks!  It's almost noon, and I cannot stay indoors any longer.  Time for our walk!  Have a fabulous week: 


{Have fun looking that word up!}