Science Fair: Making Tie-Dye Milk & Going 104 Ft Up in the Air

Coin given to me on my last day of work

Heidelberg’s Army Child Youth & School Services held a science fair on April 20th at the middle school on Patrick Henry Village. Kids could go from booth to booth trying out different projects. Many of the booths were operated by staff from the PHV Child Development Center, including myself. While the turnout for the science fair was much smaller than we’d hoped, it was still a pretty cool day. I got exposed to a lot of interesting projects, some of which I’d never heard of before. And I got to do something I never expected to do: see Patrick Henry Village from above.

Among the projects were goo made with cornstarch, food coloring and borax; a ‘bouncy’ egg, which didn’t actually bounce but was ‘bouncy’ to the touch because it had been soaked in vinegar; making play dough; a demonstration of cleaning a penny with vinegar; and mixing powdered tempera and water and blowing bubbles while a paper was held over it to make a ‘bubble painting’. I was originally going to take over the penny project if the girl who was doing it couldn’t make it, but since she did I took over our trainer’s project, which I had never heard of until he told me about it: tie-dyed milk.

To make tie-dyed milk, you get a plate, pour some milk on it (we used skim but I don’t think it matters), arrange some drops of food coloring however you like and then add Dawn dish soap for a tie-dyed effect. When I first started the project, I was just putting a drop of soap in the center, and it spread out and changed it, which was cool. But a teacher came over with toothpicks and told us that you’re actually supposed to put the soap on a toothpick and then touch it to the milk. This did seem to yield more interesting results. She also said that Dawn dish soap is the best to use because of the grease-cutting agent in it which is what accounts for the effect. This picture is from someone who used the drop of soap in the middle of the milk method.

Tie dyed milk ended up being one of the more popular projects. Most of the staff loved it. A couple of girls at the fair did it several times and said it was the best thing they’d done there. The girls ended up taking two toothpicks each and experimenting with touching them in different places. Since it had been so popular, I decided to swap out an art activity I’d come up with for the tie dyed milk experience on my next lesson plan. Because I was working with toddlers, rather than trust them with tooth picks and dye, we just had them gather around to see the experiment in progress a couple of times and talked about the different colors.

Another feature of the fair was an egg drop where students brought previously made creations in which to put an egg and see if it would survive a fall. A man from the local fire department came with a firetruck and took the kids up in the lift so they could drop their eggs from what he said was 104 feet up in the air. Two students managed to make creations that spared their eggs a messy fate. The firefighter was gracious enough to allow the staff also to take trips up to see the view over Patrick Henry Village. Regrettably I had left my camera behind (you’d think I’d have learned not to do that in Germany because there’s always something cool to photograph). Fortunately, a friend had brought hers, and she went up with me to take photos, which she was kind enough to let me share with you.

This is a photo of the group before us up in the air.

Me and Billi about to head up in the air.

Me and Billi on our way up.

Looking over the middle school.

Looking over Patrick Henry Village.

Aaaah. We’re 104 feet up in the air!!!

Panorama view over the school. Click on it to see the full size.

Panorama view over Patrick Henry Village. Click on it to see the full size.

Of all the things I might have expected when I showed up to work the science fair, getting a view over Patrick Henry Village from a firetruck’s lift was not on the list. I guess it just goes to show that you never know when an opportunity for an adventure will present itself. Hopefully next time I’ll have a camera with me, but I’m glad that this time Billi did.

The Crafty Practitioner

I was already planning to share this post today, but since it happens to be Thursday and I learned how to make tie dyed milk and that I should always bring a camera with me, I thought it would make a good post for Live & Learn Thursday. If you want to share something you’ve learned, head over to The Crafty Practitioner and add your post to the link up.

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4th of July Fireworks at Patrick Henry Village & Info About Some Events Going On This Year

It’s time to tell you about last year’s 4th of July (and some events going on this year). Yep, I’m officially a year behind, but the way events were spaced out toward the end of 2012, I should actually be able to catch up to this year in a couple months if I can keep posting a few times a week. (That’s catch up this year, mind you, not actually up to date).

Last year, I didn’t know that this year we’d already have relocated up to Kaiserslautern (more on that much later), and this year is the last 4th of July for Patrick Henry Village before it closes down in August, so this is also sort of a commemorative post. Last 4th of July, there was a little fair set up on the grounds near the library, but we didn’t take part in any of that. We (my husband, me, and a few friends) just went out to see the fireworks. They didn’t start until almost 11 pm because it was still lightish at 10:30.

The sky at about 10:30 pm

I always enjoy a good fireworks show, but there was something kind of nice about being on an Army post with people who have served the country on a day in which we celebrate our freedom. It was also kind of amusing to hear the groans when one of the songs played was that one from the Army Strong recruiting commercial. I thought it was funny that they used the Star Wars theme too. I took a bunch of pictures during the fireworks and thought I would share my favorites with you.

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I also took a couple short video clips. Here’s the best one:

After the fireworks, we went back to a friend’s. If you’re hoping to hear of a night of crazy debauchery, there wasn’t one for me. I stayed for a little while and watched people play Texas Hold ‘Em. Then, because I had to work the next day, I went home early. Exciting, huh? Next time, I’ll tell you about getting my Mazda fixed while overseas. Not exactly exciting either, but it was an experience…

If you’re at Patrick Henry Village this year, there is a BBQ party at the PHV bowling center with a live band and prize giveaways starting at 3pm. I have not been able to find out if there will be any fireworks on PHV. There is a “Rockin’ 4th Freedom Fest” in Ramstein that will have fireworks though. There is also a Korn concert in Wiesbaden (free to ID card holders).

I would kind of like to see Korn, but someone’s borrowing our GPS, and I’m not sure how much I can trust the one on my phone. For their event, Ramstein has a shuttle to and from bases including ours, and that’s supposed to run every half hour, so that might be an option also. Whatever I end up doing, I’m sure I’ll post about it here sometime. However you all decide to celebrate this 4th of July, don’t forget to take a minute to remember those who have given up their lives in service of the country. Our freedom’s never been free. Be safe, and have a happy 4th of July!

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Contributions to Germany Ja

The bumper sticker I received for contributing to Germany Ja

The bumper sticker I received for contributing to Germany Ja

Over the last few weeks I’ve had a few posts published on Germany Ja and wanted to highlight them as well as tell you a bit about Germany Ja and other “Overseas Yes” sites. The “Overseas Yes” series started with Okinawa Hai. Then Germany Ja was added followed by Korea Ye. The purpose of the “Overseas Yes” series is to help those who get orders overseas go from saying “Overseas Yikes!” to “Overseas Yes!” Each site contains information in several categories: to do, to eat, to learn, to live, to shop, to travel, and to parent. If you have been stationed in any of these countries and would like to share your experiences, go to the “Writers Wanted” section at the top of Germany Ja or Korea Ye and the “Submissions” section at the top of Okinawa Hai.

Below you’ll find my posts to Germany Ja in the order they appeared:

Saving Money at the Commissary was posted November 27th and provides a few tips on ways to save money at the commissary when stationed overseas (although some of the tips could apply to those of you Stateside as well).

Favorite German Products was posted on December 5th and highlights some of my favorite German products. It was originally posted here on May 28th and has been my most popular post so far with 1, 343 views as of today.

Military Installation Overview: USAG Heidelberg was posted on December 26th and answers questions about U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg in general.

On Post Housing: Heidelberg was posted on December 27th and answers questions about living in this particular housing section of Heidelberg, Patrick Henry Village.

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My Blogiversary: One Year of Overseas Adventures

A blogiversary seemed like as good an excuse as any to bake cupcakes.

I made my first post to Overseas Adventures on October 7th, 2011, about one month before we made our move. Originally I had planned to start the blog from the time we moved, but the moving process proved to be complicated enough that I decided to start early to give people an idea of what that was like and hopefully help some others along the way. Since then, I have gotten several questions from readers and many people searching terms relevant to moving here (more on that later), so that seems to have been a good call.

When I first started, I figured the blog would serve to inform family and friends about life here, and maybe a few other people would stumble upon it and want to stick around. By the end of October last year, I had 7 followers. Now I have 69. I know a few family members and friends occasionally read but aren’t subscribed as they occasionally comment about things I’ve posted, but I did not know most of my readers before blogging.

Screenshot from today of the countries readers are visiting from.

I also never expected how many views I would get from so many places. In October last year, I had 423 views. As of this posting, there have been over 18535 views from over 120 different countries. I appreciate everyone reading. Without you, I’d just be writing to myself.

I also appreciate when people take the time to comment. I read and respond to all comments. If you don’t comment, don’t be shy. I’d love to hear your thoughts. I used to try to ask questions on the blog to prompt discussion but stopped as it was hard to come up with a unique question for each post and I didn’t want people to feel limited to answering the question. I’d like to know whatever is on your mind, so feel free to share.

Since I have been posting for a year and am almost at one hundred posts, I thought I’d also share the top ways people have found my blog. At some point soon, I also plan to share those that may not be that common but I find interesting. Since WordPress lists the exact search term used, I had to do some combining to figure out what was most popular.

By far the most common was “German products” either alone or included with other terms. I counted 170. While I’ve mentioned German products in passing posts about a German Culture Class and in some Photo a Day posts, I am sure most got to my post Some Favorite German Products. If it’s that popular, I may have to write another post featuring more. The commissary doesn’t seem to carry Perwoll anymore and already didn’t carry Somat 10, so I will probably be shopping on the economy more which means more opportunities to find more German products to love and share.

The moon over Patrick Henry Village.

“Patrick Henry Village” or “PHV”, usually combined with “housing” was next on the list. I got to over 140 and stopped looking for one-off variations, so there may have been more. Here are all my posts tagged with Patrick Henry Village. I also have a category for life On the Army Post. If you’d like to know what life was like here in the early 70s to 80s you may also want to check out PHVArmyBrat’s blog Patrick Henry Village.

Third most common appears to be “Never Have I Ever” either with “list” or “ideas” with 62 reaching my blog through those searches. That would be because I posted Never Have I Ever Part 1 and Part 2, so named because the list, which I got from Katrin at Land of Candy Canes kind of reminds me of the game.

Meeting one’s husband is apparently a common interest, as 56 people reached my blog searching something related to that, most commonly “How I met my husband”. I assume they’re getting here because of this post, prompted by a game initiated by Laura at German-American Abroad where she asked how I met my husband and experienced my initial relationship to a person in the armed forces.

Passport cover

Over 50 people got here searching something about a “passport”. If you happen to be looking for posts on a no-fee passport, mine are here. I did not have a tourist passport at the time I got my no-fee passport and only recently applied for it. If you are looking for the process in getting a tourist passport while stationed overseas, I’ll be writing about that at some point.

I also noticed quite a few people searching about unaccompanied baggage (usually what to pack), international renters and/or auto insurance, and other terms related to moving overseas with the military, but they were pretty spread out so it was hard to properly track the numbers for them.

However you reached my blog, I’m glad you’re here and I hope you found what you were looking for. There are categories and tags to the right as well as a search box. If that doesn’t help, feel free to contact me, and if what you want to know is within the scope of my blog and knowledge or experience, I’ll be happy to tell you and/or write a post. Here’s to another year of Overseas Adventures and blogging about them. I hope you’ll join me!

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Schützenhaus near Patrick Henry Village

Schützenhaus’s location on Google Maps

We had heard about Schützenhaus from a friend who found it when he took a wrong turn. We tried to find it on my birthday but after driving for awhile down the street and not seeing it, we thought we were on the wrong street and turned around. On March 17th, we decided to try again and it turned out to be on the street we had turned down the first time. We had just turned around a little bit too early. If you’re looking for it, it’s at Rudolf-Wild-Straße 109, 69214 Eppelheim, Germany (close to Patrick Henry Village).

The day we went was one of the first 70 degree days of the spring, so the few people who were at the restaurant were out in the Biergarten (beer garden) and we were the only ones inside. It got windy near the end of our meal, so this turned out not to be a bad thing. When we first walked in, my husband asked the waiter if he speaks English. He said he does and asked if we speak German. I told him ein bisschen (a bit) and he said, “very good.”

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An example of Jaegerschnitzel, although this is much smaller and with different noodles than I had.

We were given a huge menu of several pages, all in German. I recognized some things, but didn’t understand most of it. I came across Jägerschnitzel (a cutlet served with mushroom sauce) which I’d had before, so I decided on that. After awhile, the waiter asked if we needed help. My husband wanted Paprikaschnitzel (pepper schnitzel) but didn’t know what the meal options were. I understood the mit Brot (with bread) option, but not the other. The waiter explained mit Brot only comes with bread and the other, which I forget the name of, is a combo meal that comes with salad and a side of fries, noodles, or something else I can’t remember. My husband got fries and I got noodles.

The salad was an interesting mix of lettuce on top of green beans, onions, and some other things I was not familiar with but which were all very good. When the schnitzel came, mine had two large pieces and my husband’s was one that was so large it hung over the plate. The waiter told him “good luck.” I ate one piece of mine and half the noodles. Surprisingly, my husband managed to finish all of his. I was able to get a box for mine.

Gipsy Schnitzel , Una's

An example of Paprikaschnitzel, although much smaller than my husband had.

The waiter never came close enough after taking my husband’s plate to ask for the check and we saw someone else who had been outside walk in to pay, so we walked up to the waiter. My husband handed him a tip after the amount of the check and asked if it was an appropriate amount. The man seemed confused at first and then said it was.

The man told us that Germany does not have a set standard for tips, so whatever you decide is fine. (Most people I’ve talked to about it agree that one to two euro is generally sufficient.) He also told us that many of the other countries, like France, include a gratuity in the bill. I wasn’t aware of that, so it’s good to know.

Overall, Schützenhaus was a good place to eat with great portions. I have since heard several other people talk about going there (although they usually refer to it as The Schnitzel House, so if people ask you to go there, make sure if they mean Schützenhaus or Schnitzelhaus, as there is also a restaurant by the latter name closer to the Altstadt). Unfortunately I managed not to take any pictures while we were there, but I guess that makes as good an excuse as any to go back some other time.

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