I finally decided it was time to step out from behind the camera and be in some family pictures with my family. I love taking pictures and it’s often only we are done for a day that we realize I am in maybe one or two pictures. I think for a long time I was putting off pictures wanting to be in better shape or find the perfect outfits for our family, or the boys were getting along exceptionally well,  but push came to shove with our timing and I realized that we needed to celebrate this time and season, just as it is. I couldn’t make it into something new for pictures. I asked my friend Lucie at Primrosa Photography to capture us naturally even if that meant the boys were fighting or hanging on us. We wanted to keep it real!  And I am pretty sure we did. There were many moments of sibling rivalry, hungry troops, whining, me feeling self conscious and silly taking pictures, Seth being a good sport and humoring my old barn fetish.

We loaded up our wagon with some old vintage suitcases that we normally use for decoration, our favorite quilt, the boys favorite book,  a giant wooden frame I found at the neighborhood sale and some other things that we thought really were “us”. We walked down the street where we live to a farm at the end of our road. They have a pretty field of poppies and a few barns. Now you don’t really think we just walked on in do you? Seth went the day before and asked premission  to use the land. the owner seemed flattered.

So we got going yesterday. We spent nearly 2 hours taking pictures with Lucie, except for the time spent talking to the 2 farmers that came to check on the situation. It seems someone called and reported that a family had moved onto the land with suitcases and a wagon. When they said “moved in” they literally thought we were trying to move in and occupy their empty barns. Seth reassured them that the suitcases were empty, introduced them to our photographer and tried to put them at ease. The man eventually took pictures of our props and then a picture of us so he would have some record.  there must be some law here where you can occupy empty land when it’s been empty for a while.  If I could buy it and make it into a bed and breakfast I would do it in a heart beat but I think it might be a bit out of our budget. Swiss chalet Kolb will have to wait, our Virginia cottage is waiting!

Back to the farm, I thought we would be aiming for a great barn door but it turns out there were 3 buildings tucked back there with lots of great spots and lots of neat old barn doors. We are hoping for some good shots.  If nothing else we will have some fun Swiss memories to take back with us.

BUT, we have to wait to share pictures because Lucie is still working on editing! So for now you will have to see Jackson and my renditions of our family that we drew about a month back on a rainy afternoon. (I took the liberty to make myself look extra tiny in a sundress and Jackson made every effort to make us look as natural as possible.)  I am going to bet that Lucie’s shots are much more accurate!














ps- Jackson does know how to write his name correctly so no worries there. He ran out of room here and decided backwards was better for such a small space! Kindergarten will do him good!

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Hey folks, sorry for the silence this week. I would say we are 90% done getting everything reading for shipping but I am trying so hard to have things totally organized so that when we arrive in VA unpacking can run smoothly!  I don’t naively think unpacking will be easy in VA but I have learned along the way that the more I do on this end gradually the less I have to do all at once there.  Here is a bit of our exciting (okay, not so exciting) week!

junk drawer sorting….done, whew.










and don’t worry, I didn’t drink all of these in one sitting, actually I found these bottled in a box in our storage room. They are from special occasions like my grad school graduation, Seth’s foreign service acceptance, our engagement, and others I can’t even remember.  Not sure why we didn’t just save corks but at the time it seemed fun.  I decided to take a picture for the memory and recycled these guys!   Reminders of lots of special times! I haven’t decided if the sorting every couple of years is therapeutic or will land me in therapy someday :) the jury is still out!








blueberry yogurt while nodding off before nap…(oops)







lots and lots of veggies and salads!  (although I am not sure it is making much difference!)







hedge hog bread…copied from this billboard. So cute, huh?! Ours were more a consistency of biscuits (American style..not cookies) but they were cute and Jackson was awfully proud.  Eating them with strawberry jam was a bit reminiscent of the armadillo cake on Steel Magnolias.



















ohhhh, and I almost forgot. We tried a knock off recipe for a certain chicken nugget place back home which may or may not be Chickfila. I need to tweek it a bit and try a couple of more times before I share it. when I served them to Owen he immediately asked if he could have a “spwite pweez”.  He’s had sprite maybe 4 times in his life and of course it is a treat if he gets fast food so the fact that it is imprinted on his brain with chicken nuggets is scary.







So not too much to report here! If you took me up on the challenge to make a meal and deliver it to a friend write to me in the comments! I hope it was an encouragement to all involved!

Have a great week, y’all.   I’ll be back here soon with some yummy leek recipes in honor of Swiss cooking! Don’t be scared, if you have never had them they are really tasty!





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This afternoon we went downtown in Bern for ‘Up To Faith” which is a global dance movement that got sparked by Second Baptist’s “Dance your Shoes Off”. It was a celebration of the resurrection of Christ and a call to rise up. I had seen the original video back when it went viral and it was very powerful. I don’t know if Second ever knew it would go global but apparently it has.  A friend told us about it and we decided to go one down to see.

I don’t think I have ever gone into detail about the religious climate here in Bern here on the blog but we have found Bern to be a very spiritually dark place. We sometimes find it very hard to be Christians here. In general I feel that most people are very anti-God and religion, or maybe if they do have a relationship with God it is very private. When we arrived at the big square in front of the parliament building and saw the crowd of people lined up waiting for the music to begin I literally got chills. It was like there was a light in the middle of  darkness. That’s really the only way to describe it.  It was like we were in a place that had never heard the name of Jesus and it was heard. I know it sounds dramatic but it really felt that way. I looked around at one point and the bystanders appeared to be mostly straight-faced and just staring.   At one side of the square there were people holding flags representing the regions of Switzerland. There is evidently an organization that  assigns groups of people to pray specifically for each area. What was also crazy to me is that this crowd was comprised of Christians from all over Switzerland whereas the Second baptist group was likely just from one single city (Houston!!!, sorry, just a quick shout out for our dear Texas!). In American we take our communities of faith so for granted. And if you don’t think you do, let me tell you as someone who has now spent 4 years away. What you have is amazing!





































here is the video I got! Sorry if you get dizzy. If you missed the original video we attached that as well.





“He’s alive He’s alive within us and we will rise up”


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I promised I would hop back on and bring you some recipe ideas for meals to take to friends and family in need!  If you missed the first post you can find it here.

*Remember it doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to know if it will be their favorite, just pick something that your family will enjoy and trust that someone in the family will get nourishment from it :) Don’t stress about kids being picky about it, chances are if they don’t want it and are super picky mom and dad are used to accommodating. You can’t anticipate every like or dislike!*

Here are some quick and delicious meals to deliver! They all make a good size batch, heat up well the next day and  are for a variety of seasons! Remember to grad yourself some cheap foil pans and save jars so that your friends don’t have to worry about making any returns!

*rotisserie chicken, salad and bread! (you can cheat on this one and buy it all!!)

*homemade bolognese sauce  . this is our new favorite sauce! (I assumed bolognese was a jar of sauce with a lb of ground beef browned and added, you must try this sauce!!) My sister-in-law and I decided the best way to take pasta is to take a pack of pasta along that your friend can cook!  Pick something that cooks quickly like angel hair! Add a salad and some bread!

*Wegman’s Minestrone …..modify with what you have if you don’t have a Wegman’s close by!  You can prepare this in your crockpot and take it over so they can smell it cooking all day! Just leave out the spinach and beans for them to stir in in the end! My friend Rebecca brought this when Owen arrived. It has become a family favorite!

*Barefoot Contessa’s Macaroni and Cheese! This one is rich but a super yummy comfort food! Ina mixes in a variety of things to make it a main dish so you can toss in bacon or whatever sounds yummy. This heats up well as leftovers. The cheese can be pricey (if you aren’t in the land of gruyere like we are) so maybe split the recipe and take it as a side, keep the other half to feed your family. Add a salad and they are set!

*Tomato Feta Pasta Salad this one is great with grilled chicken, or even by itself with some bread! A good summer salad!

*Tomato Basil Soup, so only glance at this Le Madeline knock off and you will see it isn’t so healthy but so yummy. .I have experimented and you can use half and half and for sure less butter. I do it with half the butter and it is still plenty rich!

*Tomato Basil Pie  you might remember me putting this recipe up last summer during tomato season! This, like all these others goes great with a salad and bread!

*Quiche is another great thing to take. It is a good dinner and can double as breakfast if they have leftovers!  Here is a link for about a dozen recipes for quiche from Southern Living!   You guessed it, add fruit salad or a green salad and some kind of bread or muffins!

*Scalloped Potatoes-this one below I am actually adding the recipe instead of a link because Better Homes and Gardens doesn’t have this recipe on their website. A friend brought this for us when Owen was born and it was wonderful!  I have to mention that this friend, Tiffany, had two tiny twin babies of her own at home and whipped this up!  I was so impressed at how she juggled it all!

For a main dish, sprinkle 2 cups chopped cooked ham between the layers of potatoes
Prep: 25 mins   Bake: 55 mins   Oven:350 F  Makes: 4 Servings
1/2 c. chopped onion (1 medium)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T butter or margarine
2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup shredded white cheddar, American, or process Gruyere cheese ( 3 ounces)
3 medium round red or white, long white, or yellow potatoes (1 pound), peeled, if desired
1.  Grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole; set aside.  For sauce, in a small saucepan cook onion and garlic in butter until tender,  Stir in flour, salt, and pepper.  Add milk all at once.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Add in the shredded cheese to thickened sauce until melted. 2.  Thinly slice potatoes.  Place half the sliced potatoes in the prepared casserole.  Cover with half of the sauce.  Repeat potato and sauce layers. 3.  Bake, covered, in a 350 oven for 40 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more or until potatoes are tender. ***I added the chopped ham, as suggested above and I would also suggest doubling this recipe because I am always amazed at how little it makes.  Enjoy!

Oh and you can of course add dessert to any of these meals! But that has to be another post because this is getting to be too long!







So there you have it! If you get a meal from us someday it may be lacking in surprise as you now know all of our favorites!  But now if you are needing ideas you have a few that have been tried and true!  This weekend when you go grocery shopping or plan your meals think of what meal might be easy to double and do it!! Think of who you can encourage…doesn’t have to be a mom with a new baby, who do you know who is having a really crummy time?!  I forgot to mention in the last post that if you feel too shy, just deliver the meal and put it on the families doorstep and ring the bell, only make sure they are home or that it is an entry way they will find it at! Nothing like surprising them with a rotten meal a few days later when they discover it!

Who do you plan on being a help to this week?? What is your favorite recipe to deliver?




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