They're BAA-AA-ck

It still makes me do a deep belly laugh to run past the field behind our house and "stumble" upon the sheep that have been herded there for a a day or two... 
Today, once again, I stumbled upon them and had to bring the whole family back, including the dog.  Then we witnessed the great sense of humor nature has as our kids fed them, our dog dug for Mice oblivious to the sheep, and the sheep were oblivious to the food the kids were throwing because they were enthralled more about our dog vs. mice match ....

I don't think we would see this in our backyard in Birmingham Alabama!!!


Holiday traditions

 According to the dictionary, the definition of 'tradition' is....
tradition-noun- 1. the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice.

I guess when you do something two years in a row, it can be called a tradition.  As is Hoff tradition, we made our trek down to the Christmas open-air ice skating rink in Stuttgart to kick off the holidays.  AND...sticking with tradition....the ice skating only lasted about 30 minutes before the kids were pulling off their skates.  I guess that is pretty good for a family from Alabama that knows ice best as a little cube that cools off your glass of Pepsi. 

I suppose it is also a tradition to spend the day with friends anticipating all of the Christmas markets that are being built, the cold weather that is swirling in the air and the holiday cheer that seems to be in the air,  all while sipping on some nice warm Glühwein (It is a traditional beverage that is offered during the Christmas holidays. It is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, star aniseed, citrus, and sugar)

Whether it is a tradition noted from before the 1400s like Glühwein or a tradition that is barely two years old, they are just that...traditions.  I hope "the statement" that we are handing down a generation is that a person can create traditions no matter where they live or what the circumstances as long as it is filled with love and laughter!!!


Food glorius food...in Istanbul

dinner looking out on the Bosphorus
A few years ago when I was about 8 years old or so, I was in the chorus of  a local production of "Oliver".  I still remember the fun melody's of all the songs and still today (now that I'm 10 yrs old) still find myself often singing a number from my days of stardom.   Therefore I will sing you a few verses that sum up our eating experience in Istanbul Turkey...again...it aint' no gobble-gobble!
Food, glorious food!
Eat right through the menu.
Just loosen your belt
Two inches and then you
Work up a new appetite.

Magical food,
Wonderful food,
Marvelous food,
Fabulous food
Enough of the singing....now for the drooling!
Large tray of mixed Kebabs

To start every meal a tray of  "meze" was brought out for us to choose from.  We almost always choses the dishes of hot pepper paste with walnuts, thick strained yoghurt with eggplant,  chopped eggplants and peppers served with garlic yogurt , meatballs or fresh Bulgar Salad with Pomegranate and molasses dressing.  I forgot these were all served with unlimited fresh brick oven baked Turkish bread?

Bulgar salad
pepper paste and yogurt meze

cutting up eggplant and tomato at table


Cooper not liking this "food"

 Then there was the "Grand Bazaar" that had all the local "staples" to make the glorious food....


more sweets

spices and tea


waffle stand

Lokum sweets
fresh prom juice everywhere

And to finish it off as strongly as Oliver sings....Marvelous food AND Turkish Coffee and Turkish TEA (With a touch of Turkish Pistachio ice cream which has a very different texture than ours)

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I wasn't sure what to expect on our trip to Istanbul Turkey.  I felt a tad out of my comfort zone...such a big city, so much history, different cultural, different dress attire and yet, I quickly found my comfort zone.  Since moving to Germany, I am learning that when I do go outside of my comfort zone (which is often when one lives in a foreign country) and overcome that fear of the unknown, I am rewarded more often than not. 

The people in Istanbul were warm and friendly and seemed to have a special place in their heart for children.  As seems true with much of my traveling, I didn't put one bite of Turkish food in my mouth that didn't start an immediate salvation (tomorrow I'll post a blog on the food alone).  The historic sites that we toured were exactly that...historic and breathtaking. 

Yes, I think we all quickly found our comfort zone in Turkey and that ain't no gooble!

About Me

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Stuttgart, Germany, Germany
We are living as non-military expats for a second time in Stuttgart Germany. The first time, we moved from Alabama to Stuttgart, Germany in December 2010 for three years and now are back after six years.. This is a great adventure for our whole family that we enjoy sharing.