Ein Schön Tag!

Guten Tag!


It is another beautiful day here in The Land of Fairy Tales.  Ryan and I took the boys out to play in the meadow again and we got some pictures for you!


Please excuse the weird focus of my camera… I don’t know what happened but I still like the way the pictures turned out… It just looks like I was focused on the grass instead of the flowers!  LOL


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 This is just so typical of my boys… Yoda running full tilt and Gandalf looping along with a grin on his face!


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 There are little blooms on every thing!


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 Somebody is a shameless beggar when it comes to the pettings!


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 A shot of the meadow.


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 Ryan with the boys… Yoda has just discovered a group of kids playing in the park!


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 These little white flowers dot the meadow grass.


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 Here is Gandalf posing pretty with his bushes.  When the birds came back earlier this month he discovered that they like to flit around in these bushes.  Every walk he stands at them for about five minutes hoping for one to let him catch it.  It’s actually really fun to stand behind him and throw rocks and pine cones into them and watch him jump and bound around.


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 Such beautiful scenery…


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Yoda galavanting through the grass…


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More flowers and my meadow with Bitburg in the background…


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Me and my boys…


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Our weeping willow tree with the flowering bushes in the building yard.


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Ryan in front of our weeping willow.


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The moss growing on a very old tree in our building yard…


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Me in front of the willow…


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I love that beautiful spring green color…


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It’s a beautiful time to be alive and to be blessed with the opportunity to live and explore in the Eifel…


So from us to you…


Ein Schön Tag!  (A beautiful day!)


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Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney 


 

~Spring~Spring~Spring~

Guten Tag From the Land of Fairy Tales!


I think spring has finally sprung…. the little meadow behind our building that only days ago was covered in snow is now green with grass dotted by little white daises and the willow trees are spring green with new leaves.  Maybe I’ll get some pictures when I walk the dogs later!  The high today was a beautiful 56 degrees… I find it funny how quickly one’s body adapts to weather changes… 59 degrees is the middle of winter back home in Phoenix, AZ while here it’s the warmth of a spring day!  We’re simply going to melt when we go home for the wedding!  They have been having record breaking heat and have already topped out at 99 degrees in the middle of March!!!


Speaking of the wedding, we leave in 11 short days!  I have already begun to make lists and start pulling out things we need.  I’m really excited to go home and see everyone again!  And I’m so excited for Ryan to get to see everyone for the first time since we moved here.


I have had so much energy the last few days!  I’ve been cleaning and cooking and rearranging… spring cleaning I guess.  I suppose the light has something to do with it.  Just a month and a half ago when Emily was visiting it wasn’t getting light until nearly 9am and it was full dark by 5pm… the whole day was cloudy and the light was just grey.  Now a short time later it’s getting light at about 6:30am and it’s not fully dark until almost 8pm!  It just amazes me how quickly that change happened!  The skies are blue and it’s a blue like I have never seen almost a deep periwinkle!  So beautiful and the light is golden and warm… simply exquisite after the long dark of winter. 


I think for the first time in my life, I can’t wait for the summer!!!


Well I better get back to dinner (I’m making a layered baked ziti lasagna with garlic bread and fresh green beans!)


Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney

A German Snow Glove…

Guten Tag!


Today was another beautiful snowy day!  We woke up to a small dusting and by noon it was going in earnest!  So we got a few more pictures and then walked the dogs in it and played!


This is what it looked like when we woke up this morning.


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 And then at noon it really started to fly! 


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 Look at those big, fat, fluffy flakes!!


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 So we went for a walk… me of course in my cloak!


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 It’s funny how one’s body can so easily adjust to 30 degrees… I wasn’t cold at all! 


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 Ryan sticking out like a sore thumb!  The one climate he can’t hide in! 


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 Have I said before how much I love my cloak?  The way it swirls in the wind and puddles gracefully in the snow… sigh… sorry… girly thoughts!


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 So pretty and clean… I hope our Christmas is like this next year! 


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 Standing at the spot where I feel and got grass stains only a few days ago!  See how close to the road it is?


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 About halfway through the walk we discovered that the boys would jump to catch snow… it was so cute that we just had to share!



 As cute as this picture is not… being that poor Yoda is frozen and wet I just had to show you the little snowballs that form in the hair on his feet!  His whole body is covered in them when we’re outside!


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Well that’s it for me today!   I’m off to clean and craft and snuggle up!


Ryan just called to ask me something about our bank account and right before we hung up he said, “Honey I have a question.  If you were an anorexic european would you be from hungry?”


What a goofball!


Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney

Mangiare at Dino’s!

Guten Morgan!


Last night our friends, Dirk and Nichole, took us to Dino’s at last.  Almost since we first arrived here in The Land of Fairy Tales they have been attempting to take us there and one thing or another has always stopped us…  Once the restaurant burned down, the second time it wasn’t open and we later found out it was because Dino’s wife had left him and taken half his staff, and the third time he had to leave the country for a family emergency. 


But at last we got ready… 


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We put on our smiles…


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And to Dino’s we went!


Dino is an Italian immigrant who has opened a real Italian pizzeria in the heart of Trier.


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He tosses his dough by hand, makes his own sauce, and bakes it in a brick oven in full view right in the center of the restaurant and it is like nothing you have ever experienced!


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This is the lovely Nichole!  If any of you come to visit we’ll be sure to take you to her restaurant so you can try her fabulous German cuisine!


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 Me getting ready to eat my Pizza Funghi (mozzarella and fresh mushrooms)


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 This is Dirk.  He and Nichole are engaged and have been together for over 15 years…  They are in their late 30’s and own the hotel that we stayed at when we first arrived here.  The Landhaus Biehl. 


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 Ryan getting really excited to eat his Pizza Italia (mozzarella cheese with fresh tomatoes and basil.)


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 Here is a short video of Dino tossing the dough for an appetizer pizza!




 An Italian appetizer…


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 Another video of Dino making pizza…




These are two of the people that came with us.  A Captain and a Major, both pilots with the Air Force…  They wanted to show off the size of their large pizzas…  These are already over half gone!!!


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 Dino putting the finishing touches on our pizzas.




The final spread!  The dish in front of Dirk is the Tris de Pasta… a dish with three marvelous types of pasta… for only 12.50 euro!  All the other dishes cost between 7 euro and 9.50 euro.  Wonderful prices for the portions.


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 Dirk and Nichole.


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 The heart of Dino’s established (again) in 2006.


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 Us as full as can be!  But that was not to be the end… just moments later we were served real italian Tiramisu… there are no words.


All in all we had a lovely time at Dino’s and can’t wait to share the experience!  So come on over and mangiare!


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Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney


 


 

Guten Morgan!


Nothing much to report… nothing new going on…


We only have 17 days until we go home for my little sisters wedding so we’re just starting to get ready for that… making lists… deciding what we need to buy when we get there and what we need to take when we go…


Today I’m not feeling the greatest so I may just sit and cross stitch or read a book…


Auf Wiedersehen!



Courtney

Out like a lion?

Guten Tag!


Just as spring seems to have sprung and the birds are once again singing in the trees we have been hit by a surprise winter storm!!  But you know what they say… “In like a lion out like a lamb and In like a lamb out like a lion!”


This morning as the alarm clock was ringing Ryan and I sat up and looked out the window and saw this amazing sight!


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We moved here expecting a white Christmas, feet of snow, ice, scraping our windshields and were told that the winters here can be harsh!  Only to be here for the warmest recorded winter in their history!  So this ends up being our first real snow (we received two dustings over the five long months of winter but nothing that really stuck!)


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Not that this is a big deal or a lot of snow in any way but keep in mind we’re from Phoenix, AZ!


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It’s already starting to melt…


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And the skies are beginning to clear…


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But it sure is pretty!


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… I just looked out the window and it’s snowing yet again!  Big, fat, pretty, fluffy flakes!!!


What a day to snuggle in and read a book.


Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney


 

Pride Goethe Before the Fall…

*EDIT*


After simply hours I believe that I have visited everyone and caught up for the most part.  I hope that I’ll be able to keep up from now on… I have missed all of you so much!


*END EDIT*


 


Guten Tag!


I know it has been sometime since I have been on in a regular way.  I hope I have not lost too many of you because of it!


After weeks of trying to figure out how to repair my laptop and get everything up and running we ended up buying a new laptop  (I’m in love by the way!)  All said and done we may even end up being able to have the other repaired in the future so that Ryan will have one for TDY’s and the like.  So here I am once more, hopefully to stay this time!  Please forgive me for my absence!


And enjoy…


~~~


Once upon a time there was a young woman. Some would call her pretty, though she had always thought handsome was probably more appropriate, due to her large nose, strong jaw, and thin lips. Some would say she possessed wisdom beyond her years, yet she would tell you it’s only a bit of common sense.  She was tall and thin, I believe that the popular phrases for her body type are slim and tall; however long, lanky and coltish are a bit more like it to tell the truth. This is all quite beside the point I endeavor here to make. Suffice it to say that she had been called many things before and would be called a plethora of things in the years to come. The one thing she was never called was graceful.



So many times in her life she has proven that she is quite a klutz… something she had hoped to grow out of, but she never quite managed to do so in the end. She can constantly be found with bruises in varying shades of the rainbow adorning her limbs. In truth she is very lucky to be whole as far into life as she has progressed and fortunate that dirt doesn’t bother her to excess (due to her childhood of tom boyishness)



Such events as “The Fall of 1988”, “The Great Lighting Electrocution of 1996”, “The Tarzan Fence-Meets-Face Incident of 1999”, “The Incredible Stair-is-now-a-trapdoor-while-she-carries-groceries-up-to-her-apartment Accident of 2001”, “The Amazing I-slid-into-home-on-the-pavement-in-front-of-Mimi’s Escapade of 2004”, and “The Cabinets-are-out-to-kill-me Fiasco of 2006”, adorn her oh so colorful past but today, ah today my dear readers I shall account to you the “Pride-Goethe-Before-The-Fall Incident of 2007”!


~~~



As she walked around the building into the large grass field a gentle spring breeze caressed her cheek. She smiled into the glorious sun, gone for so many months from this land, and sped up a bit. Her husband walked by her side enjoying the day almost as much as she. Today was a perfect day for a play date with their two loyal and very much loved canine companions, Gandalf and Yoda.



They bent down over the harnesses of the boys and prepared to unhook the leashes that held them in place…



“Ready boys?” she called.



In an instant they were released and off at a run chasing birds. The proud parents followed them into the yard with toys in hand, smiles on their faces, and hearts willing to run and play in this warm spring afternoon.


~~~



Who could have predicted the disaster that was soon to befall the young family?


~~~



After a lovely interval of tug-o-war and fetch the young couple decided to run with the dogs, so as to get some real exercise… In a flash she ran left and he right, the dogs splitting to chase them.



She looked back over her shoulder to see that her veritable horse, Gandalf, had chosen to chase her, as he always did, and was hot on her heels and behind him she saw that Yoda had gone after her husband.


~~~



Here is where you expect the tragedy is it not dear reader? You would think so but alas it is not so. You may ask why I choose to use the word alas but soon you will know all.


~~~



She neared the end of the field and turned to play tag with Gandalf. He pranced and jumped all around her with his big happy grin, enjoying the play after a long winter of endless quiet hours. But after a time they both began to tire.



She looked to the far side of the field to see that Yoda and her husband seemed to be finished playing as well.



She called out, “Are you ready to go in?”



“Yes! Come back!” He called out to her.



She feinted one way and ran the other in order to get Gandalf to once again chase her; for neither of them would take harm at a bit more exercise (Or so she had thought) She was about halfway back when she realized that her husband was watching her run. She grinned a little, lifted her chin, shook her hair and sped up… (For what husband doesn’t like to watch his wife run to him from time to time?)



And then she spied it! A way to impress him, a way to make herself look coordinated and a little less girly, Yoda’s little squeaky toy! She quickly thought to herself how impressive would it be if she could kick it back to where he stood without breaking stride?! She giggled in delight at the great achievement she was about to make.


~~~



Let me pause here, dear reader, to inform you of a most dire result of this little giggle. It was, of course, much louder than she had intended as she was running full speed at the time. And the volume was great enough to draw the attention of; the four gate guards checking in cars, the people across the street walking their dogs, the man waiting at the bus stop at the end of the field, and of course it captured the attention of every person in the 8 cars sitting in line to get on base with their windows rolled down so that they might hand the guard their ID cards. This in itself would cause a smidgen of embarrassment to the young woman being that she doesn’t actually like to be the center of attention but, trust me, oh trust me dear reader that this little twinge is far out shadowed by the shame of what happens next.


~~~



She finally reached the toy, brought down her foot to kick it, and…


~~~



Do you know what happens when you plant your foot down solid in the midst of a dead run? No? Well she does!


~~~



Suddenly she was reeling forward trying ever so hard to regain her balance but alas, it was not to be! She did a face plant into the soggy turf and slide a good five feet in the mud leaving a trail of ripped up grass in her wake. As she slid to a stop she lay there in horror listening to the snickers and chortles of the gate guards and the coughs and clearing throats of the people in their cars coming onto base. And as her large loving dog dug his cold wet nose into her neck to inquire if she was okay and the people began to laugh in earnest she got to her knees, snatched up the toy and yelled…



“I’ve got it!”



Having given everyone a reason to roar, she hobbled back to her husband in shame (for she had bruised both knees and sent her belt buckle digging into her abdomen most painfully) and waited for him to stop laughing at her so hard that snot and tears flowed… (If there was anyone that had not laughed at the moment of impact they were laughing now, for who can resist when the woman’s owe loving husband can not?) She walked back home with her little family and sincerely hoped that this would be the last of it…


~~~



Ah but alas dear reader it was not to be so for here I sit bearing all to you. For whom would I be as a writer of fine stories if I did not report so clear an example of the old adage, “Pride Goethe Before the Fall”?



Go ahead and laugh…


Everyone else in Bitburg Germany is…


Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney


 

My war with fate…

And so it would seem that fate has intervened and decided that I am not to be able to keep up with all of you as I had promised. 


Fate and I are going to have some issues soon… she keeps turning me into a liar and I don’t like it much.


My precious and beloved laptop bit the dust yesterday… and I do mean BIT IT.  I was sitting there playing around on an avatar site, trying to build a character to look as much like me as I could, (I don’t know why, just bored I guess, I never use them!)  and suddenly my computer shot up a blue screen that said the operating system had encountered fatal errors and was booting down to save my setting…  Apparently it saved them good and tidy because now the darn thing won’t restart at all…  When I turn it on it just gets stuck in a start up loop.  It won’t recover from the recovery disc or boot from the Windows XP restor disc either.  Every time I try to boot from either of those it gives me another blue screen error.  I simply am at a loss as to what to do.


To top all of that off… Both the other computers are having some kind of major issue with the German internet right now.  They will both log on and sign into the Yahoo IM, which is good since that is our only phone, and the one in the family room will still log onto the Slingbox so that we have TV but neither will allow you to actually go onto the internet… except for an occasional allowance from the one in the office which is how I’m talking to you right now.


So all that to say, that unless we figure something out I may not be around for a while…  For all of you whom I owe emails I apologize most sincerely.  I had been hoping to spend today getting caught up and it looks like that may not happen for quite some time.   I truly am sorry for I miss you all most desperately… 


Ah melancholy days…


Until fate allows us to meet once more…


Most sincerely yours,


Courtney

Souvenirs of Our Travels…

Guten Tag!


 Well, I believe I’m finally over my jet lag…  It hit me so hard this time around, on top of the emotional roller coaster that Ryan and I rode this week I just could not recover!


So here I sit this fine Monday well rested, my house is spotless, the laundry is done, dinner is planned, life is, at long last, caught up, (for the time being at least) and I have a bit of free time before Ryan comes home to spend visiting (at last) with all of you!


As I sat here staring around my home desperately trying to figure out what in the world we should visit about…. (since of course I gave you a quick overview of the last month and have spent the time since trying to recover my sleep schedule)  I realized that it has been sometime (around August if I remember correctly) since I have shared some of the things (local crafts, antiques, ect) that Ryan and I have been collecting here in Germany.  So I decided to do a picture post for your viewing pleasure!


First up today is an antique and hand carved Egyptian scarab!  I won’t lie, it thrills me!


Scarab


Speaking of Egypt, Ryan bought me this handmade jewelry box from Egypt to keep it in.   The woman we bought this from says that these boxes are handmade and each piece is individually laid into the wooden frame.  There are copies of these that come out of the East but they have begun using machines that make a form of veneer that is simply applied to the wood.  Egypt is now the only place that makes them like this.  Isn’t it beautiful?


Egyptian Jewelry Box


Since we are on the subject of jewelry I will share this last piece with you.  This has quite the history that I find so incredibly fascinating.  It is called The Damascene Work.


The origins of this art began in ancient China, where pieces dating 600 years before Christ have been found. Later the art was practiced by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, although they each used different techniques. After the Roman Empire period, the Byzantines passed this craft on to the Arabs, whose city of Damascus gave this craft it’s name.  And then at the time of the Arab conquest of Spain (about 1600 years ago) this handicraft was introduced to the city of Toledo, Spain. It developed side by side with the culture of the city. Today, this craft is done only in the city of Toledo.



It is best described as embroidery with golden thread on a tarnished iron base. The Damascene Work of today can be traced to the Chinese, Mudejar, Byzantine, Gothic, Pletersec, and Baroque styles which are present and intertwined.




The Damascene Work is crafted as follows: The untempered iron is thickly grooved with cuts in two directions with an engraver or well tempered steel spoon. The surface is covered with thousands of microscopic grid squares. The artist then draws the patterns and designs with pure gold wire or leaf in his right hand, while pressing it into the base grid squares with a special tool held in his left hand. The ridges made by the engraver are hammered flat to secure the precious metal. The work is plunged into a bath of nitric acid heated to 600 degrees centigrade. This causes the unworked iron parts to oxidize and become a rich velvety black, making a beautiful contrast with the inlaid golden designs. Subsequently, these patterns undergo work with a chisel and polisher, giving them beautiful texture. This is The Damascene Work.



The recommended cleaning method for Damascene is to pour vegetable oil (olive oil works best) on a piece of bread and rub The Damascene Work gently. Then wipe clean with a soft dry cloth.


Isn’t that an amazing thought?  They say that this art was popular in the main areas of the Roman empire at it’s peak…  There were women walking around wearing something very similar to this when Jesus walked the earth… 


Damacene Gold


Next up is a new Cuckoo Clock.  Ryan and I have been saving up to buy a large eight day Cuckoo Clock and we finally did it.  We choose this clock because it simply embodies this area of Germany…  In a very real sense this clock is the Germany that I know and love.


The roof line is very reminiscent of this area… right down to all the intricate carving on the balcony and roof line. 


When the clock cuckoos and plays music (it plays Edelweiss and The Happy Wanderer) the water wheel on the left hand side turns, the dancers on the balcony turn and dance, the man on the left drinks his beer and the man on the right saws his bratwurst.  It is simply delightful!


Cuckoo Clock


We also purchased our second beerstein.  When we saw what is was we could not pass it up.   This is called the Berlin Wall Beerstein and there are only 5000 of them in the world…  however ours is signed by the artist and dated since we were there when he put the finishing touches on it.  The thing that makes it quite unique and special is the piece of the actual Berlin Wall affixed to the top of the stein.


Berlin wall beerstein


Last but not least are the Lithuanian Candle Houses.  


Each piece has a place for a small candle or tea light and then a spot (usually a chimney) to pour a small amount of water and a few drops of scented oil…  They are used as scent diffusers.


Lithuania, the largest of the Baltic states has no natural resources except for it’s clay.  So it was only natural that a tradition of ceramics evolved.  Each of these is individually hand made and then fired three times for strength.  There is no automation or molds used and each is only made 1000 times and then the templates are destroyed.  Each piece takes three days to complete and is 100% hand made….There are no two exactly alike.  Each of these are based on a real structure in Lithuania.


Lithuanian Candle house2


The clay is rolled flat and each side of the house is cut out and then assembled as you assemble a gingerbread house.  Then all the windows doors and detail features are cut by hand, fired, painted, fired, glazed, and fired once again to finish the process.  These are so unique because time is taken to accent windows, stair rails, roof tiles, siding, doors, chimneys, and many other features common to all Lithuanian Houses.


It is traditional now for each household in Lithuania to have a scent diffuser, and it will be placed in the center of the table at meal times.  The candle is then lit to give a feeling of calm.  Once the meal is finished water and a few drops of fragrant oil are put into the chimney.  The heat from the candle disperses the aroma.  Giving the family a pleasant atmosphere to rest in after their meal together.


Lithuanian Candle house


The widely accepted story to explain how these became such a tradition in Lithuania is that candles played an important part in the drive for freedom.  In 1991, when the Republic of Lithuania broke away from Russia, the Lithuanians showed their longing for freedom by placing lit candles in the windows of their homes.  The candles blazing in the windows of thousands of homes validated the widespread endorsement for freedom.  This image ignited the concept of making ceramic houses to resemble homes in the villages commemorating their unmitigated longing for freedom. These are made as a reminder of a nation united in it’s quest for freedom… each small home and large alike.


Lithuanian Candle house3


Well there you have it…  Some of the things that Ryan and I have found in our explorations of Europe.  


And with that I have a few things left to do on the computer before Ryan gets home and I better get to it! 


P.S.  I think I have gotten around to comment on everyone!  That took me forever but I’m now caught up and will hopefully be able to keep up now!


Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney