Back to the Future!!

So, after a few long weeks, we are back! We have been waiting on our DSL internet connection for about 4 weeks, and we FINALLY got it today! Words cannot describe how happy I am to be back in touch with not only the wonderful world of cyberspace, but my FAMILY and FRIENDS! I have been on Skype pretty much constantly since we got our internet up and running, and it's so nice just to hear the voice of family and friends. I have definitely needed it, since I've been feeling pretty homesick lately.

I really can't remember anything that's happened lately, except that I've been doing a TON of baking/cooking. I think I'm going to start archiving recipes here on this blog, that way I can easily find them, and if anyone else is interested, you can use them, too.

Last week was Mike's birthday, and, since we're here in Germany, I decided to make him Apfelkuchen for his birthday cake. Since we live in the middle of nowhere, I couldn't find a store that sold candles (I don't even know if they do candles on birthday cakes here... do they even do birthday cakes? I'm so uninformed!), and I found a store that had cards, but didn't have any cash on me, and they didn't even take EC cards. UGH. Anyway, he really liked the cake, and I was pretty proud, because I had to do EVERYTHING by hand (including beating butter and egg whites).

Here's the recipe:


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 medium (about 3 pounds) cooking apples, such as Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Greening, Jonathan, Macoun, Pippin, Starr, Winesap, Yellow Transparent, or any combination, cored and diced (peeling is optional)
(The glaze is optional - I prefer the cake without, because it's still plenty sweet, but has WAY less sugar)

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, or 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or water


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a kugelhopf, 10-inch Bundt pan, or 9x13-inch pan
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat the butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the flour mixture and milk.
3. Beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff but not dry. Fold one-fourth of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites.
4. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spread with half of the apples. Top with the remaining batter, then the remaining apples.
5. Bake until golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
6. To make the glaze if using: Combine all the glaze ingredients, stirring until smooth and of pouring consistency. Drizzle over the cake and let stand until set.

Note: I used a cinammon sugar mix with the apples that I put on the top layer. It was delicious!!! 

That's all!!! 



Hey everyone, just thought I would give a quick update on what's been going on for the past week or so. Internet is still just a surf-stick, so I've gotten horrible at updating the blog/ being online in general. I started school on Friday, so I figure that will be the main topic of this post. Once again, I'll break the post down into sections so if you're lazy or just don't care about a certain aspect, you're able to skip it.

The School
The school is really similar to any American high school. It has three floors, lots of windows, and chairs and tables. The classrooms are really plain, because teachers don't get their own classrooms here in Germany. The students stay in the same room all day, and the teachers travel to the students. Another big difference is the amount of technology available in each classroom. At my high school, every classroom had an old school projector, a TV and DVD player, a whiteboard, and the type of projector that plugs into the computer. Here at Gymnasium Nidda, there is only a chalkboard and old school projector in every room. In order to get a TV, you have to rent out a room in the school, and it's the same for the newer projector. Instead of using chairs with the desks attached to them like we did in the US, they have large tables that seat 3 or 4. There are a few lockers in the school, but the students have to pay for them, so I think almost no one has a locker. It's definitely interesting.

The Students
The students here seem to be really similar to American students. The school has students from the age of 11 all the way up to the age of 20. There are good students, bad students, know-it-alls, and slackers, so in that aspect it's JUST like American schools. Students here have a little bit less respect for teachers, though, and I'm not sure why. I haven't had that problem so far, because I'm new and interesting - many of the students have never met a "real American," so they're fascinated with my accent and the way that I speak. It's okay with me, because when I'm talking, they're usually pretty quiet for the most part, and if they do get too loud, all I have to do is give my "mom look", maybe say a quick, "Quiet!", and they shut up. One thing I do love about the students here is that they are generally pretty enthusiastic about learning, and they LOVE asking questions. In the Oberstufe (upper levels) today, I spent an hour talking about my political views and discussing a somewhat controversial article. One popular question has been, "Do you think Obama will get re-elected?" My answer is always no, and I REALLY hope that I'm not jinxing the election. :)

The Teachers
The teachers here are great so far. Most of the English teachers speak pretty decent English, and are willing to listen if I correct them. I did have one teacher today who didn't believe anything I said, because he's dead set on the fact that American English and British English are exactly the same. I told him multiple times that there are things an American would rarely (if ever) say, and he didn't believe me. That's okay, but I think I know.... I WAS raised in America, after all. The teachers all speak German with me, and I appreciate it. I've asked them to stop me and correct mistakes, and my German is already improving. I've learned a lot of new words, and my vocabulary is growing, slowly but surely. I must admit, though, I'm awful with names. I'm bad enough with American names, and German names are even harder. I can remember most last names, but have forgotten almost all of the first names. The only ones I can remember are Alexa and Chris, and that's because those ones are EASY!
Changing the subject completely, I've noticed a huge difference in teaching styles, and am constantly thinking about how I would do things differently. For example, it's very common here for the teacher to sit at a desk in the front of the room while lecturing. I don't necessarily think that that's the best way to do things, and have noticed that when I stand, I feel like the students pay more attention. I have also noticed that a lot of the teachers don't get bothered when students are talking and not listening, and many of the teachers were completely ineffective when they tried to get the students to quiet down. That could go back to the respect thing, though.
Dress is pretty casual - every day is casual Friday here. However, I have been dressing nicer than jeans and a t-shirt, just because I feel like I'm taken a little bit more seriously when I dress the part. It is nice to know, though, that if I HAD to wear a tshirt, it would be okay!

The School Day
Every day here is different. German students have a weekly schedule instead of a daily one, and it's SO confusing! They may have 1.5 hours of English on Friday and 45 mins on Tuesday, and that's it for the week. Some days they may get out of school at 1:05, and others they get out at 4:30. I still have no set schedule because no one knows what to do with me, but so far I know that I will be working from 9:00 to 2:00 ish on Mondays, 8:00 to 12:15 ish on Tuesdays, 2:00 - 3:30 on Wednesdays, Thursdays are unknown, and Fridays will be 8:00 to 1:00 ish. This will not be the same every week, though, because when there are tests, teachers won't need me.

Basically, I'm getting settled in really well, and KNOW that this is what I want to do. I'm not even REALLY teaching yet, but it's just been a total confirmation for me. I LOVE sharing my knowledge with others, I LOVE answering questions, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE seeing kids eager to learn! I can totally understand how rewarding it would be to be a teacher. I can also see how hard it really is, but I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

In other news, it's colder every day, and I love walking to the train station each morning because I can feel the crisp, cool air that comes with Autumn. The leaves are starting to change, and the days are getting shorter - it's the best time of year here in Germany!!


Koeln/ Altenberg

So, there has really been nothing new going on in our lives lately, so there have been no blog posts! I guess I can just summarize what we have been up to since the weekend!


On Sunday, we woke up super early, forgot that it was fast Sunday, and Mike made crepes for breakfast. I know I'm a horrible person for saying this, because we really should have been fasting (and we would have been, had we remembered), but those things were REALLY delicious. No, I mean it. They were PHENOMENAL. By far the best crepes I have ever had.
Anyway, the bishop came and picked us up for church at 8:15 on the dot (those Germans... immer so puenktlich). We got to church a little bit early, so Mike and I went and sat in one of the classrooms with a piano so that he could get his fix in - it'd been almost a month since he'd played. Church was great - we had classes first, then the main meeting, so it was backwards from here in America, but I didn't mind it. I found that I payed more attention than usual. I acted as a translator for both Mike and a lady who didn't speak German, and it was VERY exhausting. Mike said that I did a really good job, though, so that made me happy. Apparently I'm not too bad at doing the whole talking/listening/translating at the same time thing! If I didn't have my heart set on teaching, maybe I'd make a good translator someday, but who knows/cares. Anyway, the lessons were great. We talked about the role of women in our Heavenly Father's plan for us, then in Sunday School we talked about Paul and the Corinthians ( I will admit that my brain was turned off for most of that). Sacrament meeting was a little different than here in America, though, because they just passed the microphone around for testimonies. It was definitely a little odd to me.
After church, we had SO MANY people come up to us and welcome us to Germany and the ward, and tell us that if we needed anything, we could call them. I swear I got more business cards there than at a job fair! One kind lady, Tanja, even gave us some towels as a welcome gift. I seriously felt so welcome and loved, and I don't even know these people. It was a great feeling to know that we have a sort of family/home away from home already. That's the great thing about the church - it's the same wherever you go. The doctrine and scriptures don't change, even if the language and people do. It's great. It was especially great to hear these people's love for the gospel and the scriptures as they bore their testimonies. It was awesome translating, because I really had to listen! I loved it.

Monday - Wednesday

So, since Monday, Mike and I have been in Altenberg, which is just outside of Koeln (Cologne for all you non-Germans out there). I've been in meeting after meeting, learning about the German health insurance, visas, classroom etiquette, and how to prepare a lesson, and Mike has been working on homework and watching NetFlix and playing Foosball. I think he's gotten the better end of the deal here. Ha. But seriously, this orientation has actually been really helpful, and I have met so many new people! It's great to see how other people plan on teaching their classes - I've gotten plenty of ideas on what to do and what not to do.
Haus Altenberg (where we are staying) is such a beautiful place, right by a cathedral. It's beautiful. There are some pictures below.

Enjoy the pics. If nothing else, just skip all the boring reading and enjoy seeing what Germany looks like. I mean, you don't have to read what I write, because it's mostly just me rambling anyway, so unless you're REALLY interested in what I have to say, it's irrelevant. Besides, if there's an exciting story somewhere in a post, you're likely to know from the title. :)

The Koelner Dom

Haus Altenberg, the place of the conference

Mike, with his big cheesy grin

I just really liked these flowers. I swear, Germans have the prettiest gardens!! 

The cathedral by Haus Altenberg

Ummm... I really have no words to describe the ridiculousness contained in this photo. 

The Dom at Haus Altenberg

Dom at Altenberg again

... and again

This girl was so dedicated! She did yoga as soon as she got here. Pretty intense stuff, too. 

I hope you guys enjoyed this post! 

Bis gleich! 
- M&A

Holy Moly

Wow. Where do I even begin? I guess I'll start with yesterday. It was a VERY eventful day to say the least. We woke up, went to pick up the car that we rented, got lost on the way home from the car rental place, almost died from killing the car a couple of times in the middle of traffic (note: I was not driving... the man killed the car). Once home, we strapped the mattress to the top of the car and filled it with all of our suitcases. Internet is bad right now, but once I get the chance, I will post pictures. We were quite the ridiculous sight to see. Anyway, we got lost on our way to Echzell (darn those German highways), and went about 25 km in the complete wrong direction! It was crazy. Once we finally got here, we were able to unpack, but had to hurry to get the car back to Frankfurt by 5:00. We left the rental place, and hopped on a train to the main train station in order to buy a ticket. We bought our tickets home and went to the platform to wait.

This is where the story gets interesting. We waited and waited, and finally our train came. Or so we thought... turns out it was the wrong train, and our train wasn't going to come. We hopped on a random train that stopped in the town where we needed to switch trains, and it was so packed that we barely had enough room to stand. In Friedberg we hopped off, ready to get on the Sbahn toward Nidda. We had just missed a train, and had to wait 30 minutes for the next one. No big deal, so we went up and sat on a bench. Then we found out that it was cancelled. Well, the next train didn't come for another 30 minutes. Guess what?! That train never showed up. By this time it was nearing 8:00, and the last train comes at 8:19. We sat down to wait for that one. Surprise, surprise, that train is cancelled as well. By this time, I was wanting to go give the Deutsche Bahn a piece of my mind! I mean, REALLY?!?!? All of the trains cancelled? Turns out the drivers had decided to go on strike. REAL nice.

We were STRANDED. We had no way to get home! Luckily, I was able to call the bishop's wife and explain the situation, and she came and picked us up! She is seriously the sweetest lady! We were able to get home safe, and all was well. We stayed up pretty late unpacking, rearranging, and building our awesome 39 EUR IKEA bed. Our landlord came down and helped us put together a SUPER comfy couch, and we finally got to go to sleep.

This morning, we were able to go with Sis. Uhlig to Aldi (see, she's AMAZING - Aldi is in another town, and she offered to take us with her on her weekly shopping trip). We got a bunch of stuff, and came home and cooked brats for lunch. We went and opened a bank account this afternoon, then our landlord offered to drive us to another town to help us set up internet! Oh my goodness! What in the world have we done to deserve all of this kindness? I am seriously amazed by how much people have helped us, how much they have done for us, and the fact that they ask absolutely nothing in return. I have thank you cards that I'm working on writing, but I have no way to express how deep my gratitude really is. I keep trying to think of ways that we can repay their kindness, and so far, nothing seems enough. It truly is amazing how things have fallen together perfectly. I don't think I'll ever forget any of these people, and I've known them for such a short time!