Es herbstelt schon! Autumn in Germany and Austria

(323 Posts)
LinzerTorte Fri 11-Oct-13 07:56:45

A thread for all those living in Germany or Austria or anyone who just wants to chat/ask a question about living in or visiting this part of the world - all welcome. smile

Previous thread here.

AntiqueMuppet Fri 11-Oct-13 08:26:22

Thanks for the new thread, Linzer!
I'll pop back later to catch up.

AmblingAlong Fri 11-Oct-13 09:53:54

Thanks Linzer
Shame about your birthday afternoon but good that dd's toe was Ok. Hope you still had time to celebrate after the hospital visit.

Did anyone hear the weather forcast - they have the first snow somewhere in Bavaria! Do you all have the heating on already? Ours has been on for ages, it's going to be a mega Abrechnung when we get the end of year bill.
One of the girls who slept over with dd the other night was surprised that we had the heating on and said they hadn't had it on once yet.

Also, I saw the first Glühwein in the supermarket today! All the Christmas stuff is in the shops too. What happened to Halloween then? Used to be full of Halloween stuff first then the Christmas stuff came out.

itsMYNutella Fri 11-Oct-13 09:54:12

Thanks for the new thread Linzer
Just checking in. grin

AntiqueMuppet Fri 11-Oct-13 20:49:46

Our heating is on already, ambling. I've had it on in the evenings sporadically over the past few weeks, but our house is quite cold in general. If I don't put it on for a few hours in the evening DS wakes up on the night as it is too cold in his room. His final few teeth are on their way this week so he's not feeling great anyway and slept for a grand total of one and a half hours last night, in 20 minute bursts.

I read recently that (in the UK at least) October temperatures are about the same as last year, but that gas usage is a third higher or something, as people are feeling the colder after such a hot summer and putting the heating on earlier.

What are you reading on your Kindle? I love mine, but it does eat money if I'm not really careful. (Obviously the Kindle is at fault, not me....)

Happy belated birthday, Linzer! I did read on the other thread ha what you did but I've totally forgotten! Did you at least have a glass of wine after your hospital adventure? How was your DD's toe today?

Hello Nutella!

I've been meaning to post for ages but have been so busy lately with registering DS with a load of Kigas for next year, the home study course I'm doing, DS slowly dropping his nap and on top I've started up a second playgroup as demand for the first was so great, so that has taken up all my time. My caffeine intake is through the roof, after my unsuccessful attempt to give it up! (I'll also have just completely outed myself to anyone who knows me, but I've been meaning to name change for a while anyway.)

Hope everyone is well and that the Bavarians on the thread aren't suffering too much in the October snow!

AntiqueMuppet Fri 11-Oct-13 20:51:07

Sorry for all the typos - I think it is a combination of a lack of sleep and a strange, renegade autocorrect.

AmblingAlong Sun 13-Oct-13 18:58:29

Antique you can say that agian about the kindle being expensive! It's so easy to buy new books as soon as you've finished one. I put a stop to that for a while since I got all the old classics (am reading Utopia now) but since Linzer mentioned downloading lots of sample chapters after going through the gripping reads thread - I made the mistake of going over to the thread and have also got loads of samples to read. Up to now the 3 I have read are on my wish list!!
Hope you get a place at the kiga, do you have a favourite one? What's your course about?
Just had a lazy Sunday, reading and watching videos with dd and shopping online with her while she spends her birthday money. She just made a deal on a lovely scarf that was 37€ reduced to 11€.

Hello Everyone, happy autumn smile

We're in Bavaria and haven't had the heating on yet - it snowed early in the morning and settled where DH works but didn't here. The house hasn't felt cold really though, guess its well constructed. We have had the wood fire in the living room lit a few nights though, and yesterday DH and DS1 put the snow tyres on the cars - DS1 can almost do the entire job by himself now, DH just has to tighten the nuts (proud smile ) Pity we can't send him to drive the car to the garage and fill up the air in the tyres, given he's only just 6 grin He'll be able to charge people to change their tyres for them in a few years I reckon - I'm sure he'll have the strength to tighten the nuts properly by the time he's 10, going by the size he is already smile

Linzer I hope your birthday wasn't ruined and your DD is OK.

Antique hope the teeth come through asap and sleep returns to your house, sleep deprivation is the absolute hardest part of parenting (so far anyway, 8 years in but still doing the sleep deprivation with the youngest). Good luck with the KiGas too - is it a lottery where you are? Well done on the sucessful playgroups though! smile

Waves at Ambling and Nutella

BoffinMum Sun 13-Oct-13 20:29:59

Hello folks. Missing Bavaria so much work are sending me over for a few days on marketing duty! Luffs my employers.

LinzerTorte Mon 14-Oct-13 07:24:25

Hello BoffinMum, what a nice employer you must have, enjoy Munich!

MrTumbles We've just put the heating on but it hasn't been on much so far (it comes on automatically whenever the house falls below a certain temperature); it seems to take a good few weeks before we notice the change in temperature outside indoors.

Ambling I don't find having a Kindle too expensive as I mainly buy books that are on offer; I still prefer the look and feel of proper books so unless there's a big difference in price would go for the non e-book. I do spend too much money on books overall, though! I sometimes download sample chapters on my Kindle and then end up buying the "proper" book.

Antique I went one better than a glass of wine; we opened a bottle of Sekt. grin (I did only have a glass, though. Or maybe two.)
Hope DS's teeth are through soon and that you can get a bit more sleep. I don't blame you for resorting to caffeine; it's my downfall too (plus I've failed to give up having milk in it so am not doing very well on the vegan front).

outnumbered How did your DH get on in Vienna?

Hi to Nutella, platanos and anyone else around.

We're enjoying some beautiful autumn weather here at the moment; I'd have liked to go for a walk after dropping the DC off at school (I'm trying to do more walking since I haven't been running for ages), but I have to work. Talking of which, must make the most of the only morning that DS has five hours at school and get on with it.

Hi all,

Is it really okay if I pop my head in and intrude? Am moving to Berlin in December (very excited about it!) and just wanted to introduce myself. Have already got a lot of good advice on my kindergarten thread and hoping everything will go smoothly.

Everyone keeps telling me how brutal the Berlin winters are, I'm a bit scared! Will be stocking up on fleeces.

Anyway good luck staying warm everyone. Oh I can suggest one free classic on Kindle -- recently read The Age of Innocence and it was quite good smile

Good morning, and thank you for the new thread linzer

We've returned from our trip up north, and it was lovely. I got very emotional during the church service. Because I could see how much my dad and his new wife love each other. And because I was thinking about my mum and how much my dad loved her too. What I really like s that my mum always gets a mention. In my dad's wedding speech, he spoke about his first big love, my mum, and how lucky he s to have found a second big love. I think it takes a very strong and confident lady to be my dad's new wife, as my mum was a very strong lady and spent 40 years with my dad thus is still mentioned a lot. The way she accepts this really speaks for her! Her children were clearly very happy for them two and even shed quite a few (happy) tears.

linzer dh didn't see anything Vienna, sadly. He spent all day in a meeting, they didn't even have a lunch break! He did buy some Mozartkugeln as a souvenir for the boys though grin

Hello and welcome dreaming smile I still remember a trip to Berlin one winter when I was a teenager, and it was -24 degrees!! I doubt that tat s the norm though.

ambling we turned the heating on this morning. This house really doesn't have the best insulation. Hot in summer, cold in winter. I always think the cold floor is the worst. If everything goes to plan with the house opposite, we will have underfloor heating by next winter. That would be so nice!!

mrtumble well done to your ds1. You can send him on to ours how, as tyres need changing smile

antique which course will you be doing?

Right, must get ready to pick up the dog again. Hopefully I'll be a bit more present on the autumn thread

Thanks outnumbered smile

-24 degrees! shock I reckon I will be learning how to swear in German quite quickly in that case.

AmblingAlong Mon 14-Oct-13 11:08:28

Hi dreamingbohemian. I used to live in Berlin-Mitte and my 2 dc went to primary school up to year 4 then we moved to Hannover. Do you know wher eyou will be living yet?
It does get very cold and -5 to -10 is just an average winter. I remember having freezing cold feet so I bought special thermal insoles for all our shoes and good thermal socks helped too.
Thanks for the kindle tip by the way, another to add to the list!

Linzer I agree about real books though. When I finished the free samples and put them on my wish-list I seriously thought that I'd prefer them as a real book! Then I thought how easy it is to throw my kindle in my handbag when I have to sit waiting to collect dc etc and have a choice to read. I'm also always losing my space so great that the Kindle just automatically saves where you left off.

Outnumbered glad you enjoyed the wedding even though it was a roller-coaster of emotions for you.
Under floor heating would be great. I'm just looking online to buy us all warm Hausschuhe for the winter as our floors are freezing!

MrTumbles well done to your ds and dh for the tyres. I'm meant to be getting an appointment for ours to be done at the same time as they change the brakes. Going to cost us just under 400€ for the 2 front brakes. Seems alot to me (quote from the garage where we bought it) and if I was good on the phone I might phone round and try to get a better deal but doubt that I would get far trying to explain what I want.

Better go and start lunch as we're off to the orthodontist this afternoon and then have to re-fill the fridge and cupboards. Big shop due - €€€€!

Ambling yes actually, we will be in Mitte! We found a great long-term sublet near Rosa Luxemburg Platz. Am very excited, other than the kita issue (going mid-year, ouch) everything proceeding well. If you have time to share any tips though, would be much appreciated smile I have been hearing bad things about Berlin supermarkets, for example, but never know how much to believe these stereotypes before I get there.

-10 is bad enough! I am so stocking up on everything warm. Brrrr. Thanks for the warning smile

AntiqueMuppet Mon 14-Oct-13 12:15:29

We even had the heating on during the day on Saturday, but it was really cold. The house isn't well insulated at all, and the white, tiled floors seem to make things a lot colder too. Of course, it may be that I am just a big wimp, but even hardy DH has been turning the heating on in the evenings recently.

I saw a play at the English Theatre in Frankfurt with some friends last night and spent an hour or so ambling around the English bookshop beforehand, which was really nice. I had a whole stack of books in my hands but had a sudden burst of guilt willpower and put them all back as we're trying to save money at the moment. I still have a few books on my bookshelves which I haven't read yet so I should probably work through those first.

The course I'm doing is 'Wirtschaftsübersetzen' for those who were asking. It's only a short, part-time course but it's been quite difficult so far. I'm just trying to keep my CV up to date while I'm at home with DS.

Well done to your DD for getting such a good deal on her scarf, Ambling!

The nights of no sleep seem to have reduced again here, MrTumbles. He is still waking once a night and calling for us, but as soon as he is in our bed he generally falls asleep again straight away, so I don't mind that. He does sleep though about 50% of the time too so it's really not too bad. How is your DS2 sleeping at the moment? I think I saw on Facebook that you were having problems again.

Boffin Yay for your trip to Bavaria!

Linzer I never got around to my vegan week in the end - neither of us are doing very well, are we! grin

Hello outnumbered!

I read The Age of Innocence recently and really enjoyed it too, dreaming.

Hope everyone is well! I'm waiting for a parcel to be delivered today, from..... Wait for it.... Tesco clothes! I needed some new jeans and they were the cheapest Half-decent looking ones I found online. I ordered a few jumpers and a few bits for DS too. He will be so pleased when he sees his new Postman Pat pyjamas, bless him.

LinzerTorte Mon 14-Oct-13 14:13:53

Antique Hope your parcel arrived OK; you've just reminded me that I want to place another Tesco order. Possibly. grin I ordered some pyjamas for DD1 a couple of weeks ago and found myself ordering a dress at the same time, which I really like so am now wondering about ordering it in the other two colours. blush (It's not expensive, I hasten to add.)
What kind of texts are you translating for your Wirtschaftsübersetzen course? I really didn't enjoy the financial translation part of my MA and have avoided anything financial ever since, but do translate general business correspondence which is OK.

dreaming I remember it being very cold the first winter I was in Berlin - I put on about a stone while I was there and blame the cold weather! - but not unbearably so (unlike in Schwerin, where I went for a weekend and was the coldest I've been in my life). Lined boots definitely help, especially when it snows. I have to confess I don't have particularly happy memories of the supermarkets in Berlin, but it's 12 years since I lived there so things may well have changed since then; I know the opening hours have improved, at any rate.

Ambling I always have at least two books on the go, as I keep a Kindle in my bag; it's certainly very handy when I'm out and about as nothing annoys me more than having to wait somewhere when I don't have a book with me. (OK, there are probably a few things that do annoy me more but it's still very frustrating!)

outnumbered Glad the wedding went well; it sounded like a lovely occasion. I suppose it's inevitable that it was going to be very emotional, which isn't necessarily a bad thing of course.

My latest complaint about DD1's English teacher: DD1 lost half a point on her last vocab test for translating groß as "large" instead of "big". Not a big deal in itself I'm trying to tell myself, but the annoying thing is that it meant she got a 3 rather than a 2 (as she made two other bona fide mistakes). DD1 wants me to photocopy the test and speak to her teacher about it at the Heurigenabend on Friday evening, but I'm thinking it will look a bit petty. Am wondering whether to write something on the test itself, though.

LinzerTorte Mon 14-Oct-13 14:16:10

Also meant to say that I just saw a van delivering what I thought was wine, but it turned out to be wishful thinking - the website address was glas-wien rather than glas-wein. grin

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 16:33:15

I am apparently off to Berlin and Munich at the end of November/beginning of December, which is lovely, as I am thinking Xmas markets and a bit of light shopping, between work engagements.

If anyone fancies a brief Kaffee und Kuchen MN meet up in Munich around that time, let me know. I have developed a bit of a liking for the cafe on the first floor of Dallmayr, now that Kreutzkamm has been ruined in the rebuild, and I daresay I am not alone on MN in appreciating their cakes. grin

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 16:33:55

Linzer grin How utterly Freudian is that?!

platanos Mon 14-Oct-13 17:27:07

Hi all,
hiding away from the madness of homework, showers and dinner making. DC on my phone. DD1 has downloaded some app onto my smartphone - POU - a creature that you have to look after. Problem is, it does a poo (with sound effects) every now and then...great when that happens at work!

Thanks for starting a new thread*linzer*. mixing up wien and wein is funny. Will you say something to the teacher?

dreaming hello, and good luck with the move. I lived in Berlin and loved it, it was pre-dc though. I would love to go back. The winter I was there, the lowest temperature was -10C but that was just a few days. All bearable with the right clothing.

Ambling good to hear you are enjoying the kindle. I am also reading a free classic "The way we live now" and enjoying it. The Gutenberg project converted lots of books to digital format and are all free. I also bang on, (sorry Linzer) about the kindle deals of the day on amazon.de. Often in english and sometimes quite good - all for €1.09!

outnumbered glad the wedding was lovely. And can only imagine how emotional it must have been for you. If I have got it right, my dad died around the time your mother died (July 2011) and there are times when grief still knocks me out. Over 40 years together and everything that goes with it, is something very very special, and the new wife sounds very sensible in acknowledging that.

Antique english play and a walk around a bookshop sounds like bliss. Well deserved for you!

mrtumbles I am very impressed by your son. I would not know where to start changing the tyres. In fact, get the child out of kiga and on a trip round the MN thread - after outnumbered's tyres he can do mine. How is the dog?

My time is up. ds is here complaining that the girls are being mean to him. Must go and sort it out.

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 17:38:09

I am seriously wondering whether winter tyres will become law in England at some stage. Our winters are a lot more snowy.

doradoo Mon 14-Oct-13 17:47:29

Hallo zusammen! Well we're all moved and unpacked after a dramatic and stressful week - thank you very much sparkasse......

Loving the new house though! Had the fire on over the weekend for the first time but not much heating on properly yet - need to work out how the boiler works first.

No winter tyres here yet either as it's a bit warm for that still.....

Can't believe it's almost herbstfereien time already - will by christmas before we know it!

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 17:50:31

Doradoo do you have a Kaminfeuer? Or Kachelofen?

doradoo Mon 14-Oct-13 18:53:12

an open fire/kaminfeuer - which we love!

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 20:56:11

That's lovely - we opened our fireplace up 2 years ago, and we have never looked back. grin

LinzerTorte Tue 15-Oct-13 07:27:21

platanos I did look at the deal of the day when you mentioned it, but it was a biography of Mohammed Ali IIRC and I wasn't too tempted. Must keep an eye on it though; the UK deals of the day aren't great atm, although I've managed to find a few other 99p books to buy.
I did write a note on DD1's English test in the end; DH usually tells me I'll look petty if I mention anything (I know he's right, but it's the pedant in me), but did agree that I should say something this time. In a previous test, she'd written a correct alternative to the word they'd learned and hadn't lost any marks for it so I don't know why the teacher had to deduct half a point this time (especially when it made the difference between a 2 and a 3). He banned me from writing anything about the date though (she forgot to write the month first again).

Boffin I'm normally always up for Kaffee und Kuchen, but sadly we're about four hours from Munich so a little too far for a day trip.

dora Glad you're settling in OK.

DD2 has her first ever Schularbeit today; I can't believe how quickly her last year of primary has come round and that we'll have to start looking at secondary schools for her soon.

BoffinMum Tue 15-Oct-13 07:48:31

I actually saw Mohammed Ali in a hotel in Munich once!

AmblingAlong Tue 15-Oct-13 08:00:40

Linzer how annoying for your dd to have to put up with that. I'd like to know how the teacher translates large into german? Must admit, my two have both lost points for 'wrong' translations whereas wrong means the class hasn't covered that word yet so they were meant to use a different one (even though it was correct).
If it's any consolation, once they get to year 9 and 10 and are expected to write reports or reviews in english the teachers seem to accept more, even if the class hasn't had the ord in their vocan list, and only correct spelling mistakes.

BoffinMum most of the Weihnachtsmärkte should have started by the end of November! Dd can't wait as she loves the Kinderpunsch stand and in Hannover they set up a Mittelaltermarkt. If I remember rightly Weihnachtsmarkt am Gendarmenmarkt is one of the nicest ones to visit. Although the Weihnachtsmarkt am Opernpalais is impressive too partly because of the location.

doradoo our Herbstferien will be over at the end of this week. It'll be a long term until they break up for the Christmas holidays. Sorry you had a dramatic and stressful week. Most of my moves have been similar to start with! Hope it's all sorted now.

platanos I'll have to start checking the deals of the day/week too. My Kindle is registered to my German Amazon account as I found that most of the books were more or less the same price as on the UK site. Must be due to the the exchange rate.

Antique did your parcel arrive? Dd is excited as her scarf is on it's way and should be delivered today. Not bad considering we ordered it on Sunday night. Never used Tesco online. Which jeans did you get?

Dreaming we lived just behind the Naturkunde Museum and the dc went to primary school behind the Charite hospital where dh worked. It was a Europa-Schule for portugese but my two were in the German class. Everyone told me that Berlin would be very unfriendly but I never had any problems and public transport is great too. Good luck finding a kiga. My dc went into Kindergarten not speaking German and picked it up very quickly. I didn't put them in until they were 4 to make sure their English was well established.

Today we're off to the dentist for a check-up (ds amd dd) then dd has an appointment to get a mole checked on her face. She wants it removed but we'll see what the doctor says.

Thanks platanos! DH and I have loved Berlin whenever we've visited pre-DC, now hoping we will love it mit kinder as well smile DS's favourite thing in the world is going to cafes (he's my boy!) so I hope we will have fun exploring.

Thanks for the tips Ambling, I'm definitely going to check out the English Europa schools for when DS is older. I'm also curious about this 'Berliners are unfriendly' stereotype because I haven't seen it at all yet (it does make me wonder how friendly the rest of Germany must be!)

And a wee note of thanks to Boffin for mentioning legality and winter tires, because I had no idea they were an actual legal requirement, so you may have saved us a big headache!

It's freezing and wet here in western France and the building hasn't put the heat on yet, so I'm getting some good practice in for Berlin smile

Plantanos The pooing creature on your phone sounds a bit blush in a work context. Thanks for asking - the dog has calmed down quite a bit in some ways, but is now growling at DS2, which is worrying and another layer of stress. Unfortunately I just don't think I'm ever going to like this dog very much, despite having considered getting a dog for almost 5 years before we finally did, and thinking we were going about it the right way, I am fairly certain we have managed to make utterly the wrong decision, and I am very angry with myself about it. Our lives are definitely worse rather than better for having the dog in it, and I am very short tempered, she has had a worse effect on my mood than 8 years of broken nights have managed! Ho hum. Sort of in limbo over it all atm, not sure what the long term holds. The kids claim to love her if DH and I discuss re-homing her, but I'm not convinced they actually do, they don't really want much to do with her, aside from DS2, who she growls at but who is too young to care that she does. sad

Linzer grin at Wein/ Wien - we get beer delivered, (typical Bavaria, there are 3 breweries who deliver to our liny village/ hamlet, but of course there's no internet food shopping option, nor such a thing as a milkman, as there would be in the UK grin )but never seen a wine delivery... I would have had to write something on your DD's test in your place too, although I have read some other stuff about this and some posters on a local forum claim the teachers then vindictively penalise the native speaker children down the line, so it backfires... shock No idea what the truth of the matter is.

DD has just started English at school (just started Year 3), and so far she has been allowed to chose whether to help in lessons or go down to the Year 2 class and help the teacher, which is a little odd. When she helped in English the teacher assumed she'd be literate in English without checking first, as the first thing DD was asked to do was to write up on the board how you write English in English! She was then asked to write the names of various classroom items in English on the board. Luckily she does write in English at home, but I know some American girls DD's age who have never written or read anything in English according to their mum, so it was an assumption on the teacher's part that she'd be able to spell in English just because she speaks it! I'm pretty sure it just never occurred to her though.

Boffin I am an hour outside Munich but I don't really get in much due to 3 small DC, toddler with my full time and older 2 finish at 12.30 on average, so it doesn't really work. I think I've only actually been into central Munich 6 or 7 times in 6 years here, the hassle factor just isn't worth it, esp as there is no public transport in our village, so I have to drive and take the train. DH almost ever goes in either, he just drives around it to the other side for work! I originally thought we were moving "to" Munich, but really its rural Bavaria... I must admit once I had DD I was the same living in Surrey an hour outside London - I rarely actually made it into London once we moved out!

Oops better go, have wasted Ds2's TV time when I should have been preparing my class for tonight, what is wrong with me! shock sad

LinzerTorte Tue 15-Oct-13 09:53:32

dreaming I lived in Berlin for two years and, although I had a few negative experiences, they didn't happen any more frequently than when we lived further south. Plus I think I magnified my negative experiences of Germany after leaving; we went to Berlin for a long weekend a couple of years ago and I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly everyone was (although I realise visiting as a tourist is slightly different from living there).

Ambling Hope the dentist and mole check go OK. I had a mole on my face which I hated, but it's faded over the years and is barely visible now; I have quite a few otherwise too, but can put up with the rest!
I've just realised that I made a mistake in my post and DD1 wrote big rather than large (which she should have written), but it doesn't really change things, plus they must have learned "big" in class already!

Boffin Keep meaning to say I have your book on my Kindle (it is you, isn't it?) and have found it really useful so far. I'm on a constant decluttering/simplifying/organisational mission, but progress is rather slow!

MrTumbles The children have never been asked to help out in their English lessons (apart from the teacher asking them the odd word) and have always had to take part, although they've never minded doing so. DS came home after his first English lesson yesterday, when they learned what various animals are called in English, and said that everyone in his class has an American accent as "they all said perrot and elligator." I told him to carry on saying parrot and alligator!
grin at Bavarians being able to have their beer delivered but not their groceries; they obviously know where their priorities lie!

LinzerTorte Wed 16-Oct-13 08:06:47

Just seen this expat shopping website mentioned on another thread, which looks quite good - it sells Tesco and other products. Delivery to Germany is 13 GBP (14.50 to Austria), but prices are quite reasonable.

AmblingAlong Wed 16-Oct-13 08:17:15

Thanks Linzer will have a look later when we get back from the city. I have managed to get ds out of his bed and we're off now to get him kitted out for winter! Wish me luck!

SmokedMackerel Wed 16-Oct-13 08:29:30

Can I join the thread please?

I have looked at it before but it always seems to move a bit too fast, so I thought I would get in at the beginning of a new thread.

We live about 30 mins outside Frankfurt, we've been here about 8 months. I have one child in Kiga, and the other at home with me. Finding it a bit lonely at times as I don't have any good friends or people to meet up with, and my German isn't very good, so it's awkward having conversations with the other Kiga mums (though they are polite and friendly).

How long did it take other people to settle in?

LinzerTorte Wed 16-Oct-13 09:17:42

Hi Smoked and welcome to the thread. Sorry to hear you're finding it a bit lonely; I would say it took a good few years before I really started feeling at home here (but we lived in a different town, where I never really settled, for the first year).

Does your older child have any friends at KiGa who you could invite over? I found that was the best (about the only!) way of meeting people initially since at that age, the other mum usually comes along too. Or are there any playgroups/toddler groups you could join, where people are generally interested in socialising? What about other expats, are there any near you? I know you're supposed to immerse yourself in the local culture, avoid living in an expat bubble and all that, but if you're feeling lonely then a cup of coffee with another expat can be a lifeline.

Hi Smoked,

Have you looked at Toytown Germany? I think they have a lot of expat meetups around Frankfurt.

In my experience as an expat, first in the UK and then France, the first year is the hardest. Around one year you'll find you have a few friends to meet up with and by two years you'll feel quite cozy. This is just my experience but I've heard others say similar, so it may be broadly the case. So maybe just give it a bit more time, it will get better probably.

SmokedMackerel Wed 16-Oct-13 11:06:08

Thank you Linzer and Dreaming

Dd has made a couple of close friends at Kindergarten, has been to their houses and they have come here, but the done thing seems to be to drop and run (they are five year olds). One of the mums invited me to stay for coffee the first time, which I did, but I had to leave after about half an hour because dc2 needed a nap and was getting grizzlier and grizzlier. I invited her in to ours when her dd came round, but she was rushing off somewhere. I will have to grasp the toddler group nettle! Tbh I find them scary enough when I can speak the language

I have looked at Toytown Germany, was a bit put off tbh, there seemed to be lots of aggressive Just use the search function, this has already been asked in response to everything. But perhaps I should give it another go.

I think the problem is we live in a really small place. I have lived abroad before, but it was in a big city with loads of other expats.

Mind you there are lots of great things about living here too, and i'mglad we came. Just drives you a bit crazy sometimes when your only source of conversation for most of the day is two years old, and thinks Peppa pig and bottoms to be perfect conversation-fodder. grin So I shall look forward to chatting to people on here.

I think Toytown is sort of hilarious in how inappropriately aggressive it is. Tis an odd one. I'm not really tempted to join in the forums but they do seem to advertise meetups of all kinds so that is pretty useful.

LinzerTorte Wed 16-Oct-13 12:54:13

Smoked Actually, the social aspect of MN shouldn't be underestimated - it's my only source of adult chat most days. grin Expats are few and far between where we live and I'm lucky if I speak English to another adult (phone calls excepted) more than about once a month. And I have a 9 year old who still likes talking about Peppa Pig!

I find toddler groups pretty scary too, but I've had to force myself to be much more outgoing in order to meet people. I even found myself accosting a woman at the supermarket not long ago when I heard her speaking English - amazingly, she didn't run off in the other direction and we've met for coffee a few times since then. Looking back, I never used to stay with DS on his playdates while he was at KiGa (I usually did with the DDs, although that was partly because I was then friends with the other mothers) - but often had or offered coffee at pick-up time. It is tricky, though; I know lots of nice people here now, but those you really click with are few and far between.

dreaming Whereabouts are you from? <nosey>

Ambling Hope you had a successful shopping trip!

I had a reply back from DD1's teacher; she conceded that while I was correct about large and big both meaning groß, large was the word used in Unit 2. I shall have to make sure in future that DD1 remembers which words they've learned when!

smoked I was/ am in a similar position to you, though mine were nearly 2 and still in the womb when we moved grin Similar area. I couldn't string a sentence together in German when we moved, but we established ourselves by having an absolutely massive 2nd birthday party for my eldest and inviting everyone we saw in the playground with a toddler - as my DC2 was born the day after the party this established us fairly firmly in the minds of other parents of toddlers grin

5 year old play dates are absolutely drop and run, the idea of staying is positively ludicrous (this was somewhat problematic for me with DC2 as he can be very shy, and developed an insistence he would only go on play-dates if he was able to walk home alone from them, should he need to). Your 5 year old is too old to piggyback on her social life already grin

Your toddler is the key - you are going to have to force yourself to go to toddlers groups, and talk to people in playgrounds. Is there an International Women's Club in Frnadkfurt? Could be worth a look.

I hate Toytown too, but there is a FB group for English speaking parents in our nearest city, and that is more friendly and I have been to a couple of meet ups and book swaps, though as I don't live in town I don't go to much, too much hassle... There are no ex-pats out our way though, like you.

Good luck - the first year is hard, especially winter - you have to plaster on a fake smile and make yourself get out there!

Linzer not nosey at all smile I'm originally from New York/DC but moved to London 9 years ago, France 2 years ago and now Germany.

I understand there is a German word, bodenlosigkeit, which means "willed rootlessness". I kind of relate to this idea smile

I know what you mean about MN being a lifeline, I have felt the same since coming to France. Where we live there are not many English-speakers or expats and my French is not great.

I do have a friend here who I swear knows every single English speaker in town because if she hears someone speaking English anywhere she will just walk up to them and rope them into going for coffee. I'm not that ballsy unfortunately but it does work for meeting people!

BoffinMum Wed 16-Oct-13 13:31:15

oo, Linzer, I am very flattered. grin

AmblingAlong Wed 16-Oct-13 13:48:48

Phew, we're back from town and a couple of hundred euro lighter but dc are kitted out more or less for winter! Dd bought herself a candle in a lovely glass jar then went and smashed it on the way back to the car.

Hello SmokedMackerel I also know the feeling of living in a village/outskirts and not knowing anyone. I hated it when the dc were small (before kiga), felt isolated but I managed to join an english playgroup once a week that I had to drive to but got to know some people there. It took a long time to get as far as inviting each other round or meeting out of playgroup but atleast I had that one day a week to look forward to. Have you seen any groups advertised that you could get to? Do you drive?

Dreaming do you think you'll ever return to the US? My dd is obsessed with all things American at the moment and according to her she's moving there as soon as she can! We just had family over from Houston and they were very impressed with life in Europe and would move here tomorrow if they could! My nephew is a doctor, finished studies and all the rest but can't get a job.

Linzer that's you put in your place then shock What did your dd say to that answer? Is she doing well on the oral side? Ds is happier than ever now in English as they're at such a high standard that the teacher accepts whatever ds says and even asks him for help with pronouncing some words. They're not just expected to stick to the school book as they are allowed to do their own research for topics etc.

SmokedMackerel Wed 16-Oct-13 14:48:27

Linzer you are right! MN keeps me sane! I would love it if someone accosted me in a supermarket grin. Actually someone did the other week, but it was because he was very very drunk, and he couldn't speak English (though he thought he could). He offered to babysit the dc, but I eventually managed to get rid of him.

MrTumble,and Ambling yes, I am going to have to use the toddler to make friends. We don't have a car, but there is a bus, so maybe I can look further afield for groups.

Anyway, as a result of this thread I have just been back on Toytown Germany, and sent a PM to someone who is not too far way (about 20 mins on the bus) and who was asking about meet-ups for parents. So fingers crossed she will write back to me!

AntiqueMuppet Wed 16-Oct-13 15:08:08

My Tesco order arrived yesterday and it was all lovely! I'm really pleased smile

Just a quick one - SmokedMackerel I'm also not far from Frankfurt and have a two year old. I also run a toddler group where we live. If you want to, PM me, as we might not live too far from each other, depending on which direction out of Frankfurt you live! I found it really hard to meet people here, and I have to say almost all of the friends I have made are UK/US expats, with a few Germans thrown into the mix. Having a child definitely made it easier to meet people in my case.

Hello to everyone else!

SmokedMackerel Wed 16-Oct-13 15:36:46

Thanks AntiqueMuppet. Have Pm you (I hope) smile

Oooh looking up Smoked! smile

Ambling no I don't think I'll ever go back to the US. I think the quality of life is so much better over here, the politics are more sane, and I get along with my family better from a distance wink

What about you?

I do wonder how my DS will feel about it when he's older. Mostly I'm just pleased to be able to give him lots of options, having two passports.

LinzerTorte Wed 16-Oct-13 16:24:32

dreaming Sounds like we have a similar kind of background; we spent three years in London (am originally from the UK anyway) followed by two in Germany, two in the USA and have now been in Austria for 10 years. It felt quite strange not to be moving on after 2-3 years, but I feel very settled here now! DD1 also had an American passport as she was born in Pennsylvania; it's expired now, but she can always renew it later - she'll have to anyway if we want to go back for a visit, which we're planning on doing when the DC are a little older.

Antique I now have six items in my Tesco shopping basket. All for me. blush I think I need to find a few bits and pieces for the DC to justify my order!

Smoked Sounds like you have a couple of promising leads now. smile I definitely agree about MN keeping you sane - well, that's my excuse whenever DH mentions me spending a lot of time on here. grin

Ambling Sounds like a productive shopping trip; a shame about the vase, though. DD1 seems to have got over her disappointment about the spelling test, but I'm not sure DH has - he said he's going to have a word with the teacher on Friday and tell her that DD1 is learning English differently and not by unit! They don't get marks for oral work yet (other than part of the overall grade) but I think she's doing OK; it's mainly her spelling that she struggles with.

Just took DD2 and DS to their climbing course, but had to bring them back home again as it turned out I should have enrolled them properly after last week's Schnupperstunde (I'd filled out a form with all our details before the class started and thought that was the registration - but obviously not). DS was in tears and DD2 was quite disappointed too; I just don't understand why they didn't make it clear last week that we needed to enrol them for the course after the Schnupperstunde. DS's friend is in the same boat and his mum was really annoyed too.

MrTumbles While it's not the norm to stay with your 5 year old on playdates here, it's not unheard of either - although more to do with the social aspect than for helicopter parenting reasons (not that I've ever been desperate for coffee, cake and adult conversation, oh no). I still get asked in for coffee or will ask other mothers in when the children are being picked up/dropped off; very often I/they don't have time, but it's amazing how a bit of adult conversation can lift your mood some days. grin

AmblingAlong Wed 16-Oct-13 16:45:47

Linzer that is a shame about the climbing. Will you still be able to get the dc onto it for another time or is it full now?

I think MrTumbles, living the very small village life of Bavaria, you get a slightly different deal on alot of things compared to how things roll in the rest of Germany! It could just be village life in general as compared to a bigger town or city though.

My 5 year old play dates were drop and run but as Linzer says very often at pick up time mums would come in for a chat and stay a while. Keep trying smoked - one day they'll maybe have time and come in. Get a long list of things to ask the other mums about to get things started, that's what I used to do at first. It's lantern time soon too so you'll be out on a few Laternenlauf meet ups through kiga probably!

Antique would you say the sizing is generous or rather not risk it and get a bigger size for the Tesco stuff? Never had anything from there but the prices are certainly interesting!

SmokedMackerel Wed 16-Oct-13 17:28:26

Linzer your poor DC with the climbing, my dd would have been in tears too.

Ambling dd was actually in the middle of making a lantern when I picked her up from Kiga today. Or at least, she told me it was a lamp grin. So it is for something special rather than just a random craft activity then.

Linzer your poor DC - mine would have been really upset about that too, really hate it when things like that happen sad

Antique I like Tesco for kids basics especially, though also for me smile Very good value for reasonable quality usually, with a few exceptions, but still easy to put too many bargain items in an order and have them add up to shock . Ds1 keeps growing and a couple of times I've needed to get him an entire set of new trousers or T shirts, and if its winter fleeces, and even sticking to absolute basics it comes to too much!

By the way random unoriginal thought, but who knows where all my DCs socks have gone all of a sudden, and why we seem to have hundreds of odd socks and no pairs? Perhaps the new dog eats odd socks, as although the odd sock issue has always existed in this house, it has reached epic proportions these last few weeks, so I am scrabbling for socks for the older 2 DC only a day ahead each day shock I'm behind on the washing, but not that behind, they have plenty of all other clothing items in their wardrobes...

Ambling you're probably right, I possibly live in a parallel universe - the fb group for Munich English speakers that I mentioned before is another place I sometimes think what on earth are these people talking about, this is not how things here work - only 50km away but the city must be an utterly different place to live in some unexpected ways, not just the obvious, expected city v country ways. I also wonder there though how much is people being "expats" in their expectations and view of how life should work (there was a SAH mum of 1 3 year old on there this morning asking what the right word was for a "maid" in German, as she was having no luck finding one prepared to do housework and child care, and thought she might need a certain key word to use to get her requirement across) shock - it is hard to know with some things what is objective reality versus subjective perception of the society around you.

Smoked be glad she's made it herself at KiGa - we are supposed to sign up to go in to make them with our KiGa DC on a week day afternoon (after the core KiGa hours), and the ones KiGa have parents make the kids make with parental assistance are horrendously complicated, well beyond my skill level blush - I use the fact I have always had a toddler with me to get out of it and keep re-cycling the one I made with DD her final year at KiGa, when she did most of it grin I have also had the DC take their Lego lanterns sometimes, and bought ready made lanterns (cop out). The St Martins Zug is something to see and experience the first time or two, I do remember thinking it was all very atmospheric and lovely the first time... but I am sick to death of it tbh - this'll be our 7th year, with no prospect of the kids outgrowing it as the youngest is only 2, DH never gets home in time to come and dragging 3 DC 'round in the cold and dark, listening to out of tune singing from Bustly efficient Elternbeirat types over a loud hailer as they stop far more often than can possibly be necessary or pleasant for a jolly sing along on the walk, while everyone else seems to have both parents and Oma there for just to keep one or two children happy, doesn't fill me with joy!

I shall take my cheerful self away again, now I have gone off on a tangent, oops!

SmokedMackerel Wed 16-Oct-13 21:38:38

MrTumble be warned, I had the same thing with missing socks, a few days after I started wondering why I had so many odd socks the washing machine started making horrible grating death-throe noises, and stopped being able to spin. The repair man came and opened up the motor, which had been strangled by all the odd socks. Goodness knows how they got in there ( washing machine made a full recovery BTW)

Now very much interested to see the St Martin's lantern extravaganza. So it is walking round in the evening singing? Hope there wasn't a sign-up sheet, I do normally miss that sort of thing, but presumably the staff would have told me <frets>.

SmokedMackerel Wed 16-Oct-13 21:42:39

Ambling I would say Tesco sizing is fairly generous width-wise, but not so much length wise, if your DC are tall, I would maybe size up.

wigglybeezer Wed 16-Oct-13 22:25:37

Hi, there, just popping into thank those who gave me advice about things to do with the kids in Berlin; we are on the last evening of our holiday here and have had a great time, DS3 doesn't want to go home, DS1 had his hair cut in a trendy salon and now thinks Germany is cool ( hope his German teacher notices renewed enthusiasm). I am have sore feet and DH is xhausted, back to reality tomorrow. The expat life is appealing at the moment but my oldest are halfway through high school so we have left it too late!

BoffinMum Thu 17-Oct-13 07:37:15

I am glad you had a good time. I am off to Berlin on my lecture trip and I have never been there before, so it'll be good to see a new city.

LinzerTorte Thu 17-Oct-13 07:41:02

Hi wiggly, glad you all enjoyed your holiday, my DC loved Berlin too!

Smoked At our KiGa a notice about the Laternenfest used to go up about a week beforehand; it usually takes place around the 11th November (St Martin's Day) in the late afternoon/early evening. We didn't have to sign up for it; it was assumed that most of the children would go and those who didn't were able to take their lantern home the next day.

MrTumbles As Smoked said, you can probably blame your washing machine for the missing socks. It sucks them down tiny holes and chops them up into small pieces. Or something like that. grin I've lost count of the number of socks of ours that have gone missing, although only ever the DC's - I suspect DH's are too big for the WM to eat. I should really only ever wash them in pairs (I tend to stuff whatever I can into the machine, which means that pairs sometimes get separated) and put them into a net bag before I wash them.

The Laternenfest is certainly one thing I don't miss; the novelty wore off after a year or two and eight years were more than enough for me! I realise now that we could have had it worse, though; the DC always made their lanterns at KiGa so no parental input required, thank goodness! It does mean we have about 12 lanterns in the cellar gathering dust, however, which I am not allowed to throw away.

Ambling The climbing course is now full, but they might be able to go next semester. I'm quite tempted to boycott the place now, but it would be the DC who lose out more than anyone - if they still want to go then - so I'd be cutting off my nose to spite my face.

Am not too sure about Tesco sizing; I haven't noticed it being particularly generous (but not on the small side either). I blame this thread (and particularly Antique, who started it all) for encouraging me to place not one but two orders last night. grin (DD1 wanted a cardigan, but as it wasn't available for international delivery so I had it sent to my parents' address - and found myself adding a few more items to the basket so that I could get free delivery. The fact that I ended up spending far more on these extra items than the postage would have cost is beside the point.) It's less than a month since my last order, so I think I'll have to ban myself from the site for the rest of the year.

AmblingAlong Thu 17-Oct-13 11:28:47

Hi wiggly glad you had a good trip to Berlin. I remember having sore feet and being exhausted living there! We used to walk for miles to get to after school activities (and cycled sometimes too).

smoked lucky you that the kiga took charge of making the lanterns! Honestly though, those shop bought ones with the batteries and little light bulb are the least hassle compared to the candle ones. Take a lighter if you go on any lantern walks as you'll be re-lighting the things every 10 minutes!

tumbles have you checked down the back of the sofa and under beds for socks? I only have odd socks from dd who tends to stuff them down the side of her bed! Or one gets stuffed down out of sight and the other gets chucked on the floor so I end up washing the floor one and only getting the other one when the young lady decides to make her bed properly! Thanks to Primark she has an endless amount of socks to keep her going so she's not bothered.

Linzer what a shame about the course being full. Are you going to be able to find another activity or have they got enough going on? At the moment ds has table tennis twice a week and an afficial game every month and dd has just started cheerleading twice a week. That's enough for now as school hours have also increased this year. They might join one of the afternoon school clubs.
Dd has signed up for Streitschlichtung club or somethng like that. It's for the older pupils and they are taught how to help younger pupils solve arguments and once the course is done they get a certificate and can be called on to help sort out fights during school time and they'll also have a Sprechstunde once a week at break time! Lets hope it teaches her how to solve fights with her own brother (although they are getting rarer nowadays).

Ambling I find Tesco sizing very generous so tend to size down. The jeans were a bit long, but I'm only 5'4" so if you're taller than me you might find them ok. I got a normal pair of straight-leg F&F jeans and a pair of skinny jeans for wearing in boots in the winter. I can't remember exactly what they were called but had some sort of shaping/form-fitting something to other. They fit really nicely and both pairs were under £20 (each).
Was your poor DD really upset about her candle?

SmokedMackerel I've replied to your PM, but I'm not sure whether the reply will have come from my old or new username.

Linzer I'm this {} close to placing a second Tesco order! but am trying to hold off so that it goes on the November credit card bill so DH doesn't see both at once and wonder what on earth is going on. (Although that tactic is really only for self-delusion, DH won't be fooled for a minute!)
Your poor DC with the climbing club - such a shame they didn't make it clear at the Schnupperstunde.

wiggly Glad you enjoyed Berlin!

MrTumbles Fingers crossed all those missing socks aren't causing havoc inside your washing machine and that they are all just in a ball under a bed somewhere.

Hello Platanos!

MIL is here for a few days and has been taking DS out on walks, to the park, the zoo and all sorts, which has been lovely. I've got so much done around the house in between the hours spent drinking coffee and messing around on the internet and even managed to get a bit further with my coursework.

Sorry, forgot to mention the name change. I am the former old puppet. (Vague attempt at water-muddying.)

LinzerTorte Fri 18-Oct-13 08:01:42

Woolly Your MIL sounds lovely; can you send her over here after she's finished visiting you, please? wink I fool myself that DH doesn't realise exactly how much I order online, but unfortunately he checks our bank account regularly - and can see immediately how much I've spent on his credit card (I know the number off by heart blush), even if it doesn't come out of our account until the following month. I think I may have blamed you slightly unfairly for my Tesco order btw, so apologies - I've just remembered that the dictionary website I use has been bombarding me with Tesco advertising for days now, so I'm being reminded eveywhere I look!

Ambling Streitschlichtung sounds good; I think they offer something similar at one of the Gymnasien here. DD1 has just come home with a list of all the extracurricular activities on offer at her school, so we'll have to go through those at the weekend - she's expected to choose at least two.
I don't think I'll look for another activity for the DC as there's nothing else they particularly want to do; DD2 goes to piano lessons but didn't want to carry on with gymnastics this year, and DS doesn't do anything. I put his name down for scouts about a year ago, but the waiting list is around two years (!) so I don't think he's going to get a place until next September.

Just back from Lidl, where I wanted to buy a slanket but they'd already sold out (apart from one in a horrible leopard print design). Serves me right for not going yesterday.

We've got DD1's Heurigenabend this evening; I'll be interested to see how many turn up this time. We didn't ask parents to RSVP after so few bothered letting us know last year, but I'm not sure whether that means that people are less likely to come as they haven't committed to anything.

Argh no! I hope the run away socks haven't been eaten by the washing machine, esp if that means they'll take their revenge on it by breaking it eventually! It's DD and DS1s socks but not DS2's smaller socks so much, so I hold out some hope its my kids at fault, not the machine - with a laundry pile the size of mine a broken washing machine would be a major disaster! I did find 5 socks in the playhouse in the garden on Friday... :/ grin

AmblingAlong Tue 22-Oct-13 10:01:26

Good luck finding all the socks MrTumbles

Linzer how was the Heurigenabend? Was there alcohol on offer? That would make a school meeting so much easier to get through! Wonder why they don't do it here in Germany? Although one year a group of parents did set up a Stammtisch and invited the teachers but it was before my 2 were responsible enough to leave alone so I never made it!

wooly that's nice of MIL to help out. Bet your ds is having a great time!
No, dd wasn't too upset about her candle as the candle stayed intact (even though it's a bit of a greasy kind of perfumed candle made with soya wax) and at home she pinched one of my nice silver serving bowls to put it in!

Is everyone enjoying this amazing weather? It's around 20° here. Dh is off to Bremen to help a PhD student today. He's just sent a text message to the house phone! When the phone doesn't accept text you get a call from telekom where a machine reads it to you!

SpookedMackerel Wed 23-Oct-13 08:53:46

Well, goodbye to the lovely weather, it is pouring here this morning. And I have doubtless managed to reinforce the stereotype that the English are unable to dress appropriately for the weather by sending dd off to Kindergarten in just a sleeveless gilet (didn't realise it was raining until after she left.)

BoffinMum Wed 23-Oct-13 23:25:40

Cruel mother,Spooked grin

LinzerTorte Thu 24-Oct-13 07:08:24

Spooked I thought of you just now when I dropped a friend's DD off at KiGa, as there was a big notice reminding parents to dress their children appropriately for the weather. I think it's one of our school rules as well, although what's appropriate according to Austrian standards probably differs from the British idea!

Ambling The Heurigenabend went well thanks, and a surprising amount of parents were there after the poor show the last couple of times. Despite wine only costing €1.30 a glass, everyone was very restrained and stuck to one or two glasses (I may have had three) - although I did think, as I looked at DD1's teacher smoking and drinking, that I couldn't imagine a teacher in the UK socialising in the pub with other parents.
A friend of mine sent a text to our landline once and it was very strange to hear an automated voice reading it out.

MrTumbles Some of our socks do turn up weeks or even months later (corners of fitted sheets are a favourite hiding place), but I'm still convinced that the washing machine is eating some of them.

Early start here today, as a 5 year old, 6 year old and 7 year old arrived at 6.30am - not a problem in itself as I'm always up by then (albeit usually in the shower), but the DC also insisted on being up and dressed by the time they arrived, so I had to wake everyone earlier than usual which meant getting up slightly earlier myself too. After a late-ish night last night (deadline to meet), I'm now looking forward to my first coffee of the day!

AmblingAlong Thu 24-Oct-13 07:23:38

Linzer what an early start! Ds had to be on the bus by 7:13am this morning which was early for him as he usually sets of to school at quarter to eight!
It'd be interesting to know if teachers in the UK would go to Heurigenabend although I'm sure they'd have to be careful not to drink one too many and then let some top secret school info slip.

SpookedMackerel did you get told off at pick up time? When people told me my dc must be cold or should wear a jacket I used to say something like oh it's our Scottish blood, we don't need 3 layers of clothing in October! My 2 also rarely wore gloves or hats so you can imagine the comments.

Well I'm off to get the car looked at so they can order the parts. The front brakes squeak so although the car just passed the TÜV the garage wants to change some parts and have estimated it'll cost about 350€. Anyone had their brakes done recently? Does that sound alot justfor the front two?

SpookedMackerel Thu 24-Oct-13 07:50:23

Linzer that is an early start <shudder>. Dd and Dh leave at quarter to eight, and I thought that was bad enough!

Ambling no, they didn't mention it at pick up time, but she was inside rather than playing in the garden. Don't know if they told her to stay in or if she just decided herself though. I have been told off in the past for in appropriate clothing (lack of hats), but always by passers-by in the street. I have noticed lots of toddlers wearing cotton beanie type hats. Obviously to my British eyes they seem totally unnecessary grin.

LinzerTorte Thu 24-Oct-13 08:31:00

Spooked The comments have definitely got fewer as the DC have got older - although they may just have become more Austrianised as they'll actually ask to wear hats, gloves etc. now rather than refusing to do so. They've all been wearing hats most days for weeks, at any rate. blush

Ambling No idea about the brakes, I'm afraid. What time does school start there? DD1 starts at 7.45 and she usually leaves with DH at around 7am as she likes to be one of the first in the class (school opens at 7.15 and it's a 10-15 minute walk away). The other two leave just after 7.30, but I quite like being home and ready to start work at 8 as I can concentrate much better first thing in the morning.

Linzer why were you acquiring 3 extra children this morning? Were you responsible for getting 6 children to school and Kindergarten today?

DD has to catch the school bus at 7am every morning, so we are also always up between 6am and 6.15am absolute latest - usually all dressed and downstairs by 6.30am, and DH has left for work by then smile Despite that it wouldn't be a great time for 3 extra kids to arrive, as the 6-7am hour is a finely oiled machine here, and distruptions would be fatal and result in DD leaving unbreakfasted/ with unbrushed hair/ without Brotzeit/ without a hat grin / or missing the bus - which is a total pain in the bottom if it happens because then I have to drive her (an 8km 'round trip) and then do the identical trip again an hour later, as DS1's Kindergarten is right opposite school, but he isn't allowed to get there til 8.30am, and she has to be inside by 7.45am!

The boys and I stupidly often slump and get too relaxed after DD has left for the bus, and and up still in a rush when I realise it is 8.10am and we need to leave for Kindergarten immediately, but the boys are in the middle of a game, DS2 has taken his socks off and lost them and filled his nappy, needing it changed before getting in the car, DS1 can't find one of his shoes or something else crucial... etc. grin

I bought a 10 pack of kids socks (DD and DS1 handily wear the same size so mostly share socks - that's OK at age 6 and 8 isn't it? grin blush ) That of course guaranteed that quite a lot of the odd socks turned up when I was putting away laundry yesterday smile I still have an absolutely ridiculously large collection of odd ones though, pretty much all DD/ DS1's... blush

I don't think we have Heurigenabend - or maybe I'm just not invited hmm To be honest as we have no babysitting options locally (except Oma in the school holidays - she's too far away for just an evening, I have to take the kids to her, and as its 4 hours driving there and back, twice they have to stay overnight) I'd have to go alone (DH never would) so I guess it wouldn't be that appealing - don't mind going to parents eves alone, but a social thing where other people go as couples is very unappealing alone. Do you learn lots of interesting gossip/ get to know other parents on a different level at them?

I work 2 evenings a week, and DD and DS1's football training days and times have just been changed for the winter season, when they train indoors - of course now they will train one on each of my work evenings, making the already tight turn around on those evenings (dinner and handing over to DH, getting changed for work and out the door in time not to arrive a frazzled mess) even tighter, grrr! The trainers are volunteers though, so obviously I have to be happy with whatever they can do!

Do is improving somewhat - Aldi super cheap dry food seems to agree with her stomach much better than the very expensive tinned dog meat we were told to feed her grin so I don't have as much disgusting mess to clear up grin and she is somewhat calmer, and has fattened up a tiny bit, and is less frantic about stealing food (though it is still an issue). The barking is the biggest thing still, but is also slightly better, and she is no longer generally barking during the night, which is a great, and necessary, improvement!

Argh better go and help DS2 find his Playmobile motorbike, it appears to be becoming a matter of great urgency... grin

waves to everyone I didn't reply to!

LinzerTorte Thu 24-Oct-13 09:15:46

MrTumbles The older two (a brother and sister in DS's class) come to us three mornings a week at 7 am anyway, as their mother has to leave early for work, but she had to leave even earlier this morning so asked if I could take her youngest to KiGa as well. DD1 makes her own way to school so I "only" had to take five of them. It wasn't too much of a disruption, apart from everyone getting up earlier, and they brought breakfast with them (even if it was doughnuts - I sometimes think I'm the only person in the country who fails to get excited about doughnuts).

The Heurigenabend was for the whole family (we don't have a babysitter either) - obviously not ideal if you have KiGa-age children, but DS was by far the youngest sibling there, and he enjoyed running round outside with the older children (while DD2 stayed with us and eavesdropped). No gossip, unfortunately - but I did get to speak English with another adult (the father of one of the boys in the class is British), so it was almost worth going just for that. grin

AmblingAlong Thu 24-Oct-13 20:10:46

Good that the Heurigenabend was more of a success than last time Linzer, sounds like a good idea to get to know everyone especially if the class is staying together for a few years.

Great that the dog has settled down abit more MrTumbles, maybe she just needed abit more time. Still, quite a shame that the people where you got her didn't offer more advice.

Speaking of hats, just remembered dd bought herself a trendy winter hat in New Yorker. It'll be the first winter she's ever worn one once winter gets going!
Two big red 4's brought home this week from school. One from ds in chemistry and one from dd in German (but it was a dictation so was expected). Ds isn't bothered but dd is in a rather bad mood. Three years to go and counting...!

Glad the Heurigenabend went well and that you got some English conversation out of it, Linzer!

How is your DD feeling about her 4 now, Ambling?

Glad to hear the dog situation has improved slightly, MrTumbles. Did you find the Playmobil motorbike in the end? Have any more odd socks mysteriously reappeared?

I take it your DD hasn't contracted some nasty infection from her lack of waterproof sleeves, Smoked? grin I haven't had any comments so far this autumn, thinking about it, but it's early days yet.... I acquired a lovely winter coat and some winter boots for DS today for the princely sum of €20 from someone I know, so I'll have no excuse for inflicting my British weather-inappropriateness (that is the official technical term) on the poor boy come winter!

BoffinMum Sun 27-Oct-13 10:06:45

Linzer, that deserves a medal, surely!

SpookedMackerel Mon 28-Oct-13 11:40:30

Wooly dd survived the lack of sleeves unscathed grin.
But can I ask a boring and clueless question about winter gear? We were here last winter but dd 2 was mainly in her pram, whereas now she walks everywhere.
So... I have got her fleece lined waterproof dungarees, will that be enough for the depths of winter, or does she need snow trousers too? If so I can rush to Aldi as they have them in today.
Secondly snow boots. Dd 1 has some with a rigid waterproof foot part, dd2's from last year still fit, but are just standard snow boots, without the waterproof foot. Will they be OK? I don't want to spend uneccessarily, but don't want to get halfway through the winter and find they're not good enough confused.

AmblingAlong Mon 28-Oct-13 14:13:21

spooked I'd say you will need the snow trousers rather than just the waterproofs if you're planning on going on plenty of walks and playground trips in winter. Even better would be a snwo suit, that's what my two wore in winter. I used to spray boots and the snow suit with this stuff, ds also had fleece lined wellies for slushy days worn with thick socks.

wooly dd has got over her 4, partly because she atlast got a 1 in English. For some unknown reson the teacher has decided to take dd's dyslexia into account and hadn't taken points off for spelling mistakes. To top the collection of bad grades though, ds brought a 5 home for his last german test. I have a feeling he is going through a 'bad year' since they were put in new classes for year 10. He reckons he can iron it out with the next test and the oral grade.

It's getting very windy here, leaves hitting teh windows (and we're on the 2nd floor). I wonder if it's the start of the storm that's just swept over the south of England?

AmblingAlong Wed 30-Oct-13 07:18:04

Morning all. Please, is anyone with better German skills than mine around? I have a letter from the Vermieterin and I don't actually get what she wants us to do. I understand the jist and all the words but the end message she's trying to get over is completely lost! Anyone fancy reading it through?

ambling got ds1 at home today (inset day) but he's playing Lego. Could have a quick look through it if you like

AmblingAlong Wed 30-Oct-13 08:46:59

Thanks Outnumbered, I will PM the letter to you.

BerstieSpotts Wed 30-Oct-13 08:54:45

Ooh, hello all! Flying in with a question. We're going to see the Doctor Who anniversary show in the cinema. The website says (google translated)

Rated: from 12 Years,
released 6 years accompanied by a parent

Does that mean any child can come if accompanied or just children over 6? We have a tall 5 year old who will be furious if he is left out, do you think it will be OK? It's a PG in the UK confused

BerstieSpotts Wed 30-Oct-13 08:59:51

Ambling we had awful wind here. Our bathroom door slammed so hard that the paint came off the ceiling!

AmblingAlong Wed 30-Oct-13 09:06:13

Must admit, I have smuggled my at the time younger dc in to fiilms with a released 6 years accompanied by a parent rating. I reckon, as long as it's busy they aren't going to be checking identity cards/passports! Go for it!

hupa Thu 31-Oct-13 11:07:14

Just a quick post as I haven´t had time to read the thread yet. I haven´t had time to post for ages. We had Herbstferien and then decided to decorate dd´s room. I thought we´d need a couple of days, but the wallpaper seemed to have been stuck on with super glue and it took ages. I´ll read the thread now and hopefully have time to post later.

hupa Tue 05-Nov-13 11:11:37

I hope I haven´t killed the thread.
It took me so long to catch up, I didn´t have time to post.

outnumbered I´m glad the wedding went well. It´s lovely that your dad was able to mention your mum.

Mr.Tumbles How are things going with the dog? I must admit that over the summer we were toying with the idea of getting a dog, but the combination of your posts and the horrible weather have made me think again.

platanos We also have the pleasure of POU here. How´s your dd getting on in the new school? DD is really exhausted by the end of the week and I think is finding the change from Grundschule a bit of a shock to the sytem.

Smoked I´m also in Hessen, but up in the north near Kassel. I also live in quite a small place were everyone grew up together, so people already have established friendship groups that are quite hard to break into. I have the advantage that dh grew up here, but it took a long time before I made friends through the children rather than through him.
I definitely think a snowsuit would be a good idea.

This is going to turn into an essay, so I´ll stop now and just say a quick hello to everyone I´ve missed.

bibiundtina Tue 05-Nov-13 19:54:16

Hello

i read this thread but never post smile. i wanted to say to smoked i am also in hessen, not far from Frankfurt. If you would like to PM me you are very welcome too.

That did not hurt, maybe I can post again....

petitemom Wed 06-Nov-13 16:24:30

Hello, we've recently moved to Germany with our 5-year-old and are looking for a place in Wiesbaden.

Just wanted to say hi, especially to anyone else in the area!

The snow gear advice sounds great, AmblingAlong. We spent last weekend buying winter boots, matschhose, gym shoes (we bought a pair from Fink Shuhe -- anyone else think they are a bit girl-y -- where else do you buy them?) and indoor shoes for DS for his kindergarten.

We're also looking to buy a car soon. Does anyone have experience of car dealerships in or near Wiesbaden; are there any you would particularly recommend or avoid?

BerstieSpotts Wed 06-Nov-13 19:13:04

Hi petitemom! I'm in Karlsruhe which is about 2 hours away by train. Sounds far if you're used to UK distances but here it's not so much.

I have a 5 year old son too - lol at the millions of schuhe! We had a similar excursion when DS started kindergarten. We've only been here 2 months.

The traumschuhe do look girly and DS wasn't keen but all the boys and girls wear them - I think once they see the other children in them it's not an issue. He did insist on black ones though rather than white. We got ours from Real.

Talking of Real, I bought him some waterproof trousers (required by the kindergarten) about 6 weeks ago and they have split right from the ankle to the crotch. I'm quite annoyed about it. I don't have the receipt though - do you think I'd be able to take them back? I suppose I can't prove how long ago we bought them which might be the problem.

MrsNutella Wed 06-Nov-13 19:59:42

Hello all, I haven't really kept up.
The wedding was the Saturday just gone, it was awesome. I'll try and get around to posting more often....

hupa I know what you mean about thread death... It does seem to go very quiet in here occasionally. smile

Hello to all the new people, I'm in Hannover in the north... I'm pretty much no help with small people advice, DS is only a 10 month old hooligan so I'm still getting to grips with making him sleep, let alone all the long lists children seem to have here for kiga/school equipment

Berstie I have friends who visit family in Karlsruhe often and it sounds like a rather nice place. I should really encourage DH to organise some long weekends off work so we can take some little trips

I hope everyone else is well. I'll try and come back soon!

BerstieSpotts Wed 06-Nov-13 20:59:44

It's a bit of a building site at the moment. They are redoing the whole tram network and putting a lot of it underground, which I think is quite a shame really! They are apparently having some trouble excavating under the pyramid in the Marktplatz because nobody actually knows what is underneath it so they have to go very carefully. Rumour has it that the town's designer/founder is buried underneath shock but nobody seems to know! From what I understand Karlsruhe is a new city, rebuilt after it was essentially destroyed in WW2, but I don't know enough German to read the local papers. Perhaps something for me to look up grin

Bertie they won't check ID (under 16s don't have any compulsory ID anyway so, unlike an adult, can'T be expected to produce it) . They just wouldn't let you in with an obviously vastly younger child. My only just 6 year old saw a couple of 6 rated films while he was 5 - he is as tall as his sister, who is 2 years older, and they greatly enjoyed concocting a story about being twins for when they were asked their ages, and were most disappointed that the cinema staff barely glanced at him grin

Spooky hope you got a snow suit - you do need it, esp for sledging etc. - otherwise you are very time limited with staying outside once it gets really cold as she won't be warm enough for more than half an hour or an hour max without the proper clothes. Aldi is good though - I bought my older 2 all their new snow stuff in Aldi this year (my smallest is fully equiped with his big brother's cast offs smile ). I got the very last 2 size 128 snow jackets in Aldi, and it was only 11am on the day they got them in! grin but then they got more in later in the week and there were a lot of returns, so I was able to exchange the blue coat that turned out to have a pink zip for a neon green one DS1 will actually wear grin smile

Nutella congratulations!

hupa the dog is a bit better - and getting fatter, which I think helps grin Aldi dry food seems to agree with her much better than the expensive brand of tinned food we were instructed to feed her (which is handy) and as long as that's absolutely the only thing she eats her stomach issues are almost resolved - if she gets hold of anything else we're back to square 1 for 24 hours though. She still barks a lot, but its better than it was on balance.

petite my older son wears white soled trainers instead of the ballet slipper style gym shoes for KiGa sport. When he was 3 he accepted the gym shoes (if you search you can get dark blue with diggers on, as well as black and white smile ) and most of the boys at KiGa do wear those (they're cheaper than yet another pair of trainers anyway) but by last year he was much more self aware and had very strong opinions on clothing of all kinds, and he'd have walked bare foot on nails before wearing ballet shoes - so we have cheapo supermarket white soled trainers (7.99 I think). Aldi sells them sometimes, ours are from Kaufland, who always have them (the closest thing to a big Tesco type supermarket I've found here, but our nearest one is quite a drive, and they may not be Germany wide). He has so many pairs of trainers, as he also needs indoor trainers for football training, "strong" shoes for KiGa forest days (regular trainers and wellies not acceptable), trainers for every day wear, wellies, snow boots, outdoor football boots, even before taking into account summer footwear... I need to replace 6 or 7 pairs of shoes every time he goes up a size sad

waves at everybody sorry haven't replied to everyone - hello Ambing sorry about the grade blip going on atm! Linzer that's very kind of you being a breakfast club for those 2 kids every week!

We are in Bavaria btw so nowhere near anyone new to the thread - hello to all of you though smile

petitemom Thu 07-Nov-13 17:03:13

Thanks for the notes, Berstie and MrTumbles! Nice to know your son recently started kindergarten too Berstie. We did get DS dark blue gym shoes with diggers on. Can't believe the shoe prices too, though I suppose as we're still not savvy about shopping here it's not the same as waiting to pounce on a Clarkes sale.

Berstie, I guess with no receipt it would be difficult... We bought ones for DS at H&M, yet to see how they'll hold up.

Sorry if I'm being dim, but just wanted to be sure. We got a letter asking us to register for TV and radio tax. I registered at https://www.rundfunkbeitrag.de/anmelden_und_aendern/antworten/index_ger.html, said we moved in in September, and selected "quarterly in advance (1.1./1.4./1.7./1.10.)" and "durch Überweisung oder durch Zahlschein". I'm planning to pay by bank transfer online.

Is the next step then for us to wait for an invoice at the end of the year, which will have the details of the bank account we need to transfer to?

LinzerTorte Fri 08-Nov-13 08:17:50

petite Have you tried Deichmann for shoes? They're usually quite reasonable. I used to miss Clarks and would always try to buy shoes there when we were back in the UK, but find them useless for the girls now - unless they want black school shoes or trainers.
Am no help on the TV licence I'm afraid, as we're in Austria. I paid ours yesterday and really resent having to pay the best part of €300 a year when I watch about five minutes of Austrian TV a month and listen to very little radio (Radio 4 podcasts aside).

MrTumbles Well done on getting the snow suits; children's winter gear goes so quickly. I hate braving the scrum, but you have no choice really! Having said that, I'm hoping I won't need to buy anything new this year as I've stocked up in previous years and we've had a few hand-me-downs from SIL too.

Nutella Congratulations; you looked lovely in the FB pics!

Berstie I would try taking the trousers back as the worst they can do is say no - they really should have lasted longer than six weeks.

bibi Hello and welcome. smile

Ambling What happened about the mole on your DD's face - did the doctor remove it?

I was quite excited just now to discover that I can now make online appointments to see my gynae. Apart from the fact that I'm not a huge fan of the phone anyway, half the time I end up putting it down wishing I'd gone for an alternative appointment/asked for something earlier, etc. Being able to see all the free appointments takes the stress out of the situation! I'm definitely better at going to the dermatologist more regularly since she's been offering online appointments too.

SpookedMackerel Fri 08-Nov-13 08:29:19

Ooh, I thought the thread had gone, it didn't reappear in Threads I'm Watching for some reason hmm.

Since I wrote before, I have managed to find two groups to go to with dd, and befriended the French girlfriend of on of DH colleagues, who is also quite new and has a baby boy, so I have met up with her a few times, and get a chance to speak English ( though sometimes I talk in halting schoolgirl French too, to make it fair grin).

Not the greatest success on the snowsuit front though, I went to Aldi and they had already sold out off the right size, so I had to get one that is too big. So the next week I needed something else and we went first thing and it was like supermarket sweep crossed with Ozzie rules football shock all these women blocking the aisles and shovelling armfuls of packets of clothes into their trollies to look through, snatching stuff from under each other's noses. I didn't get a look in grin. Is this normal, or do I live near a particularly cut-throat Aldi?

We have just been informed we need Fest shoes for Forest day at Kindergarten. Do they mean walking boots? Can't believe I have to buy another sodding pair of boots. Petitemom I agree about the shoe prices!

Spooked that is absolutely normal, yes. shock If you want to avoid the scrum you have to avoid Monday and Thursday mornings, (when they get new special one-week-only special items) but that doesn't work if you want those items! If you go later on the same day, or the following day, you have a chance of getting returns if its clothes, as a lot of people buy items in several sizes fully intending to bring what doesn't fit back.

Fest shoes are light walking boots really - you might find them in Deichman as Linzer suggests, or try second hand, we just got a pair for DS1 from an acquaintance for €5, and then DH looked them up online and they would have been €120 new! shock (they are a "good" brand, but who pays that for kids shoes that will be outgrown in no time!) If you have a local listings site that would be a good place to look, DH is always buying and selling on www.quoka.de - you can search under your town name and schuhe-stiefel and find some locally, and then ask to try them and just take them if they fit.

BerstieSpotts Fri 08-Nov-13 09:36:54

YY to second hand - see if there are any expat groups on facebook near you. I'm in one and people buy/sell/give away/swap outgrown stuff all the time, especially things like shoes and waterproofs. One lovely lady on mine gave me her son's outgrown waterproof trousers for DS when she heard of my plight and said she doesn't want them back as her DD won't want a "boy's" colour by the time she gets big enough for them smile

Spooked if you think Aldi is bad, never ever venture near a German Primark. It is TERRIFYING. One opened here last year and people apparently travel for hours just to visit it confused If you go into the shopping centre on a Saturday there are people strewn around sitting recovering against the walls and pillars surrounded by huge Primark bags.

SpookedMackerel Fri 08-Nov-13 09:54:17

Haha Bertie, we actually did go into to Primark last Friday afternoon, as we had a bit of time to kill before an appointment. We turned round and walked out again pretty sharpish though, we must have been in there about 15 seconds, which was still enough time for dd to get her foot trodden on!

AmblingAlong Sun 10-Nov-13 13:13:07

spooked and Berstie we also have a Primark in Hannover and it's exactly the same picture, people strewn around sitting recovering outside the shop surrounded by huge Primark bags! There's a TK Maxx too and they queue up outside it before it opens at 10am to get the best deals. Dd and I went in yesterday to get some bits and bobs that she needed and it wasn't too bad, must have been a quiet moment between the early shoppers and the after lunch shoppers (we went at 12).

Linzer I agree it hurts to pay the tv licence for German TV. I'd rather pay the UK one and get decent TV instead.
Dd was told the mole on her face would be easy enough to remove but it would be private and cost 'around' 100€ per mole (she has 2) so she's now thinking about maybe getting the one that bothers her most done first. Does that price sound about right to you? Any experience? She didn't reallylike the doctor but I was with her and he was OK, just abit straight to the point, not over friendly but that sort of thing doesn't bother me.

petitemom did you find out about the GEZ? Ours is booked from our account quarterly as we gave them our account details. I'd guess they would send you a bill every quarter for you to pay.

BerstieSpotts Sun 10-Nov-13 19:38:09

They have just opened a TK Maxx here - I haven't been into that shopping centre since but I dread to think!

MrsNutella Mon 11-Nov-13 12:37:33

Hello everyone!

Have to completely agree to primark and TKMaxx over excitement! Ambling I heard the primark here in Hannover is the biggest in Germany... If you look up its opening day on you tube there are many videos of all the excited people queuing to get in. hmm I know some people who recommend it for baby clothes but it isn't much cheaper than C&A and the quality is appalling.
On the other hand, you can pick up some great stuff in TKMaxx. Their baby section is pretty good for books, sleeping bags and toys. smile

AmblingAlong Mon 11-Nov-13 13:17:34

Nutella I've seen that video! Dd tried to talk me into going to that opening day. I am really glad that I had already, by chance, seem another Primark opening video online (Berlin I think) so I was wise enough to wait a few weeks. Even then, when we went we saw groups of girls running towards the shop screaming with excitement.
Do you still have family here from the wedding Nutella? Must have been nice to have everyone together at once! Doesn't happen often when you live abroad!

I have another taxi day ahead. Getting abit fed up tbh. How long do you all sit around waiting for dc to do activities? Dd's cheerleading club is over on the other side of town so not worth me driving back home but still long for me to be sitting in the car. Thank goodness for my Kindle but in winter it's going to get pretty cold.

LinzerTorte Mon 11-Nov-13 13:34:25

Ambling I don't think the DC have done any activities that have been more than a 5-10 minute drive away so I've never hung around waiting for them - apart from when they went swimming, but then I sat at the side of the pool. I did get fed up with the amount of chauffeuring I had to do a few years ago, but now we just have DD1's dyslexia lesson and scouts and DD2's piano lesson, which is quite manageable. DD1 usually walks to scouts and gets a lift back with a friend, so I hardly do any driving during the week.

€100 for the mole removal sounds about right. I can't remember exactly what I've paid, but I know that a check-up is €90 and I think mole removal is slightly more (but it includes a follow-up appointment to have the stitches removed if necessary).

Primark madness has reached Austria too, but I have no intention of going - it's the other side of Vienna from us anyway, so not the easiest place to get to. Not that this puts us off going to Tesco and M&S in Bratislava. grin

Our 20th anniversary is coming up soon and we were hoping to go out for a meal to celebrate, but our neighbours - one of whose daughters we would normally ask to babysit - are most inconveniently away that weekend and I'm a bit stuck about who to ask otherwise. Virtually everyone we know here has children the same age as ours, which is no good for babysitting purposes, and has family on hand to babysit, which means I can't even ask for recommendations.

AmblingAlong Mon 11-Nov-13 13:43:24

Linzer what a shame about the anniversary dinner, could you make it a family meal out for a treat so you atleast don't have to stand in the kitchen that day!

Having activities 5 to 10 minutes away has always been my goal too! We moved to this part of town especially so the dc had a 10 minute walk to school and dh 15 minutes to work. Ds obliged my plan by joining the local Verein for table tennis but dd has other plans!

The club she has chosen is 35 minutes away by car when traffic is OK but today she has to be at training at 5pm meaning we'd have to set of at 4pm due to Berufsverkehr. I think I'll send her on the tram (40 minutes) so she atleast gets there on time and I can pick her up at 7pm. She's 14 now, I keep forgetting she's not my baby anymore so she is quite capable (and willing) to go by tram.

SpookedMackerel Mon 11-Nov-13 14:46:40

I love the image of groups of girls running towards Primark screaming grin. That would be me but running in the opposite direction!

Does anyone here subscribe to LoveFilm? We were thinking of doing it, as finding the actual German TV not very compelling, and we thought it would be easier to watch films with subtitles (or in English!) It is €6.99 a month, not sure if it is worth it or not.

AmblingAlong Mon 11-Nov-13 14:53:31

Spooked we don't have it but it's got to be worth it when you see the rubbish on German TV!

OK, dd is going on the tram to her training so she's just got in from school (long day until 3.10pm), scoffed her lunch in less than 5 minutes and is getting changed to go. I'm going to drop her at the tram station but it's only 5 minutes away by car. Phew, no sitting around for me atleast!

LinzerTorte Tue 12-Nov-13 07:21:06

Argh, just typed a long message but IE went all weird for a minute and now it's suddenly disappeared from the box!

Ambling The tram sounds like a good idea if it saves you all that driving and hanging around. That does sound like a long day - does your DD do her homework in the evenings then? I find it can be a real struggle for DD1 to fit in all her homework and revision on her long days if we have anything else planned in the afternoon - like yesterday, when she had an appointment at the dental hygienist's. Her long days are "only" until 2, but by the time she's walked home, had lunch and is ready to do her homework it's getting on for 3pm.

Spooked Sorry, no idea about Lovefilm. Someone on here did recommend it to me (or recommended a couple of films that are available on it, at any rate), but I don't know much about it otherwise.

Our search for a babysitter is looking a bit more positive as I've been given a couple of phone numbers to try. DS wants a babysitter to come and look after them when I'm at the parents' evening in a couple of weeks and was quite disappointed when I told him that he can come along too (until I reminded him that there'll be a buffet)!

SpookedMackerel Tue 12-Nov-13 07:48:22

I think I'm going to have a lot to learn before Dd starts school - do you mean that if your kids have a "long day" at school then they don't get any lunch until after they get home?!

Good luck with finding a babysitter Linzer! We had to take the DC with us when we went out for our anniversary meal. Luckily it was in the summer so we could sit outside

I think I am going to bite the bullet with love film - had alook last night and there seem to be lots with the option of English. And iit's too cold to sit out on the balcony in the evenings now, so we need to find something to do !

LinzerTorte Tue 12-Nov-13 08:26:14

Spooked Most secondary schools have a canteen, I think - I'm not actually sure whether ours does, but I can't even give DD1 a packed lunch as she wouldn't have time to eat it (her two long days go from 7.45am to 1.50pm, with just a 20 minute break at around 10.15am and otherwise five-minute breaks in between lessons). People here are shocked that primary school children are at school until around 3pm in the UK, but I think that expecting an 11 year old to do those hours with no time for lunch is hardly ideal either.

Sounds like a good decision re Lovefilm; I need my fix of British TV to help keep me sane! I was thinking recently that I really should start reading and watching more German as, even though I speak it every day, I feel like my German is stagnating atm - but somehow, when there's an English option available, I'll always go for that. grin

C4ro Tue 12-Nov-13 09:52:00

Hallo new-thread!

DDs St Martin/ Laterne fest walk thing got cancelled last night as it rained so they held it over to tonight. Fixed rictous-grins of forced-sociability being practiced and pasted on face already for that. DH is coming too as I have a feeling DD is making a couple of friends now and wants to sort playdates. She has been telling Kiga buddies about her Ritter-burg which is a giant house thing engineer DH made out of a bedrooms worth of IKEA boxes!

I can warn anyone unaware of it that SCS/ Shopping City Sud Vienna carparking is getting worse. Not just the bit round the train stop but all round IKEA where the entrance is remodelled and it doesn't look possible it will be fixed before Christmas- it's absolutely hellish. We had to go as my BIL/ SIL have unsensible cars with no boot space but needed a large amount of kit (they are expecting twins in Feb). Payback at least is sweet- it's in the form of babysitting as I got tickets to a concert 22 Nov. I don't know how useful it is but I will PM you my childminders dets Linzer.

AmblingAlong Tue 12-Nov-13 10:34:40

C4ro I noticed a small group of dc walking with lanterns last night when I went to pick dd up from training. Will you have a Glühwein stand at the end of the walk? I remember that was one of the rewards for the parents after walking round in the cold!

Linzer yes, the long days are a rush but dd had prepared most of her homework on Sunday and when she got home at 7:30pm she showered the sat in the kitchen eating toast and doing her french homework with me (I helped her so she got it done quickly).

Long days here are from 8am to 15.10pm with no canteen in school. Under year 10 dc aren't allowed off the school grounds to go to the bakery or Imbiss either so those days I pack extra snacks and then my 2 have their hot meal at 3.30pm when they get home.

Primary school in Berlin was just as bad really as they had 8.20 to 2pm classes with no lunch break and by the time we got home it was half past two. Not surprisingly the last lesson was a waste of time as all the dc were hungry and not concentrating. That's one of the reasons I'm just hmm when they talk about ganztagschulen - the sooner the better, but they need to start building canteens onto their school buildings before they make the change.

LinzerTorte Tue 12-Nov-13 11:53:25

Ambling That makes the DC's mornings seem short in comparison! Unless they do afterschool activities, the children are always out of primary school here by 12.45pm. Are people in Germany very sceptical of Ganztagsschulen or is it just here? It seems to be considered almost akin to child slavery. And Glühwein stands at the end of the walk? envy I might actually have enjoyed the Martinsfest if we'd had such a luxury!

C4ro Thanks for the PM - looks like I have a few options now. smile
I really didn't want to hear that about the SCS, though; platanos and I are meeting there on Friday and it's only the second time I've driven there. The car parking area is difficult enough to navigate at the best of times - has it got worse over the past few weeks? We last went about a month ago and had to drive to the top of the Ikea multistory car park then.

C4ro Tue 12-Nov-13 19:43:11

Back from day-late Laterne thing now. There was indeed apple-based "Erwachsene punch" at the end to make it bearable! The kids one smelt/ looked a bit similar so I may have dosed up DD now by possibly getting the cups muddled up while juggling paperplate of cake and salzstangerl!

We also had a quite ineffective policeman blocking cars from coming as we walked slowly round the block in the middle of the road! He couldn't quite stop both ways of traffic as we did the t-junctions but it was only 30-speed backstreets so not too critical and fairly clear to the drivers what they'd accidentally come across! All three classes of DDs Kiga sang a song and did some play thing. It was amusing enough. Despite it being actual candles in the lanterns I didn't smell burning hair or child once which did impress me.

SCS horrors are the SouthWest side of IKEA. Shops and parking being remodelled there- but on a weekday I think you'll really be OK.
You know how there is that massive ring road round the place that you usually start on the South side there is more parking if you go all the way to the North/top and cut in around Media Markt/ Reiter/ ToysRUs for parking (so go all up the long side and a bit across the top of the whole shopping-behemoth). Recommend not to go on a Saturday though!

AmblingAlong Wed 13-Nov-13 13:26:01

Erwachsene punch is great stuff isn't it? Our Stadtteil does a lantern walk and then sets up a Glühwein stand on the public carpark at the end of the walk which seriously improves attendance by parents, grand-parents etc.

Vienna parking sounds fun. Parking is a nightmare where dd goes to training. Sometimes I have to drive round and round the block until I can get in a space.

We had the brakes changed on the car yesterday and the winter tyres are on now too. They were so generous as to only charge us half for changing the tyres seeing as they had the front wheels off anyway to do the brakes. That's 360€ spent.

Both dc brought Klassenfahrt letters home too last night. Dd's is 340€ for 5 days camping near Poland in the Uckermark forest area, a hundred of which has to be payed by 31st December (not a great time for some families to have another 100€ going out of the bank I'm sure) and ds's is 220€ for 4 days in Berlin.

LinzerTorte Wed 13-Nov-13 13:50:11

I'm sure we only ever got Kinderpunsch afterwards, which wasn't quite enough of a reward for me. wink They dropped the walk once KiGa started taking 2.5 year olds as they decided it was too far for them, which was definitely an improvement in my eyes. I prefer to walk when it's light, dry and not too cold, and at a reasonable pace!

Ambling All the school expenses really add up, don't they? Particularly if you have more than one child at school. DD1's trips away have only cost just over €100 so far, but they only went for a few days both times. They were supposed to be going on a week's skiing trip this year but too many of the parents refused to send their DC, so they just went away on a "normal" trip for three days away instead. DD2 went on a class trip yesterday, just for the day, and gave everyone a fright when she fainted after lunch; she's been fine since, though.

C4ro I try to avoid the SCS on a Saturday full stop, even if it's DH driving! Luckily we rarely need to go any more, although there was a time just after we first moved here when we would find ourselves at Ikea almost every weekend.

Off to the doctor's now to see if anything can be done about DS still wetting the bed. None of them was dry at night particularly early and I know that boys usually take longer than girls, but I thought I'd better get him checked out now that he's 7.

AmblingAlong Wed 13-Nov-13 14:05:22

Hope you can get it sorted out Linzer, does it upset your ds when he has accidents at night time?

Not sure what to think of school's latest news.

Teachers in Nidersachsen (at Gymnasium) are being asked/made to teach an hour longer than usual. They're not happy and are threatening to stop all extra Nachhilfe, day trips and extras unless the rule is changed back to how it was before.

Last week they called the entire school together and presented their side of it, then asked the dc to vote if they agreed or not (ds voted no and dd abstained).

Now they've sent a letter home with a copy of a protest letter for parents to sign and send to the Bürgermeister! Niedersachsen already has one of the lowest Pflichtstunden that a teacher has to be in class (23 I think compared to 28 in Bavaria). We won't be signing (wonders if dh will make it home before 9pm tonight after a 13 hour working day)!

LinzerTorte Wed 13-Nov-13 18:12:00

We had a similar kind of thing here a couple of years ago, Ambling - I think it was primary school teachers then, who were being asked to work an extra two hours a week. There was talk of strikes but it didn't get that far in the end. I found it hard to have much sympathy for them, as they're at school for far fewer hours than primary school teachers in the UK and are probably better paid - I read somewhere that Austrian primary (I think) school teachers are among the best paid in Europe. I bet they have less paperwork to deal with as well and far more freedom to teach the way they want (teaching methods and curricula vary hugely even from class to class within the same school).

DS does get a little embarrassed about still wearing a nappy at night and would really like to be able to do without it - he's particularly worried about going away to the Pfadfinderlager for a week in the summer (although as he didn't get a place this year, it won't be an issue until summer 2015!). He has a chart to fill in - whether he's dry/slightly wet/very wet - over the next few weeks and we also have to measure his fluid intake and output over a weekend. He'll have to have an ultrasound (IIRC) at his next appointment and, if no physical cause is found, can be given tablets to adjust his hormone levels. So it's all looking quite positive and as if the problem will be able to be sorted out before too much longer.

I've had quite a stressful afternoon trying to find someone willing to lend me their Android phone so that I can test an app I've translated. I was even thinking about putting out an appeal on FB, but have now arranged to go over to a friend's tomorrow morning to borrow her phone for a while. I'm sure that arranging to borrow other people's electronic equipment was never in the job description. grin

That all sounds positive, Linzer. I hope it's sorted fairly quickly and that your DS doesn't have to worry about trips etc. What sort of app did you translate?

Ambling I was a teaching assistant in Niedersachsen on my year abroad (10 years ago) and as far as I can remember an average of one teacher a a month went off sick with stress or had a nervous breakdown. That might just have been my particular school though. I remember them talking about leaving the classroom at 1pm, but not actually stopping work until 11pm or thereabouts. This was 10 years ago though and it might just have been the school I was at. That said, it does seem like they have it easier than teachers in Bundslaender with more Pflichtstunden. I think anyone would revolt at the idea of an extra hour nailed onto your working day, but I don't think I know enough about it to really form an opinion, especially with not having school-age DC. So really, that was a bit of a pointless waffle on my part grin

c4ro Glad you got some punch out of the Laternenumzug!

Have you found anything good on LoveFilm, spooked? A friend of mine here uses it and really loves it. We had the free trial and enjoyed it, but then cancelled it as we were trying to save money.

Hello to everyone else!

DS has completely dropped his daytime nap, yet appears to have twice his usual amount of energy, which is why I haven't had chance to post for ages. The days seem very long at the moment! Bedtime has become a lot easier though, which is a really big positive. I took a few of the bars out of his cot so he can get in and out, thinking that he could come to our bed himself when he wakes in the night. Unfortunately, while he's happy to climb in and out of his bed during the day, he refuses at night and cries for us to come and get him, and screams at the suggestion that he might like to come out himself. Maybe he just needs a bit of time to get used to it, who knows! He had a nasty virus the other week too and is still a bit clingy, so I think that might have something to do with it too.

BlingBubbles Wed 13-Nov-13 20:10:12

Hello everyone,
I have been living in Munich since July, moved here with my DH and my 2 year old DD from London. We have been enjoying all that Munich and the surrounding areas have to offer and I am slowly getting use to no shops been open on Sunday and I hate to admit it but I am missing the variety of food in tesco.

Will look forward to reading this thread smile

AmblingAlong Thu 14-Nov-13 16:12:42

Hi Bling I would love to have Sunday shopping in Germany too. We sometimes go into the city by tram to the Hauptbahnhof just because all the shops are open! Does Munich have Sunday shopping on the build up to Christmas? When we lived in Berlin the opening hours were getting better and better, often shops open up to 9 or 10pm too, lots of Sunday open days etc.

woolly can't remember exactly how old your ds is - is he just gone 2? Do you have a night light for him when he wakes up at night? Maybe he can't see to get to you in the dark?
My dc kept their afternoon naps until around 3 years old but they were late go-to-bedders. Now they are teenagers and have an afternoon nap quite often after school and never go to bed before 10pm - infact I've been in bed before them a few times this week!

Sounds like your doctor is very good offering so much help with ds Linzer, hope it's worked out soon. I have yet to find a doctor who doesn't seem to be in a rush to get me/the dc out of the place.

Just got back from the vets with the gerbil. She has scratched her eye until it stated bleeding and now that's making her scratch it even more. Hope the gel we were given will help stop it bothering her.

LinzerTorte Thu 14-Nov-13 18:02:46

Ambling Poor gerbil, hope her eye is better soon. We were wondering whether to take the tortoises to the vet before they hibernate, but DH reckons we can leave it until next year.

Hi Bling, I'm another one who misses Sunday shopping and Tesco! We don't live too far from the border with Eastern Europe so can get to Tesco there, which is open on a Sunday - but has only a tiny shelf of British food, unfortunately.

Woolly The app is for women affected by DV. It really felt like I was translating something worthwhile and the actual translation was quite straightforward, but the technical side was a bit of a challenge; actually, finding someone with an Android phone who was around this morning was the biggest challenge! Lovely friend made me coffee and took her toddler off into her bedroom so that I could work blush - although she insisted it was fine.
Hope the nights get better soon - neither of the DDs would ever get up in the night and would always cry for us to come and get them; DS is the only one who would ever get up and come into our bed (still does, occasionally), which is much easier albeit rather cramped!

We've lost the girls this evening (they're sleeping at a friends), but have gained an extra boy as DS has a friend staying overnight. They're off school tomorrow for St Leopold's Day so we're off to meet platanos and her DC if I can manage to negotiate the roads round the shopping centre. smile

platanos Fri 15-Nov-13 14:05:58

Hello everyone!

boo hoo hooo linzer and I could not meet up because ds has a fever. I am waiting for him to wake up to take him to the drs. He's got a history of emergency drs coming round in the middle of the night and dispatching him in an ambulance to hospital, so I would rather get him seen by the GP before the weekend. Hope you had a good day Linzer, I was so looking forward to catching up. And discussing naked vegan cooking wink.

The Lanternefest stories made me smile - first year without one! I found the walk quite stressful as was never sure where my dc were, and hoping someone was looking after them. Always a relief when they found me at the end of the walk, and "shared" their Kipferl with me. I say "shared" but I got the tiniest crumb, they kept the rest. I told them it was like St Martin giving the poor man a thread of his coat. But the message never got through.

The long school hours with no lunch, or a proper break, are a nightmare. DD1 goes from 8 - 14 with no food. I could not do it. At the beginning of the year, taking a Jause was not "cool" but she is now taking one with her. Yes, hupa she is tired at the end of the week. We have had to endure some horrible behaviour at home. She took to shouting, hitting and kicking (me and her siblings) so we have been strict and things seem to be improving.

Hope you have stocked up on shoes, boots and winter gear. So far, DS has had fleeced lined waterproofs rather than snow trousers. Maybe why he is constantly ill? Or is that because he does not wear a wooly hat in 20 degrees? Which reminds me, I came across a blog - a spanish mum in germany. It is rather funny and many of the things she finds "odd" are things we discuss on here. But one thing puzzled me - she says that when a child is ill, her German ILs insist on putting raw onion under the bed, in the bedroom, everywhere. Have any of you ever come across this? DH says he has never heard of it.

I am dreading the cost of those school trips.

Must go as ds seems to be waking up. Sorry for the disjointed post! Hope you all have a good weekend!

BerstieSpotts Fri 15-Nov-13 16:03:37

I keep hearing the onion thing, not from Germany though. I have to keep biting my tongue. The "theory" is that it absorbs bad bacteria hmm hmm and I just want to shout HOW DOES IT DO THAT, DO YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW BACTERIA ACTUALLY WORKS AAAAAAAAARGH.

I've heard that onions have antiseptic properties, which is why one could put raw onion on a wound. Haven't heard about it getting rid of flu, colds etc though

Sorry meant to post properly but ds1 just arrive...

SpookedMackerel Fri 15-Nov-13 17:03:27

My Irish grandmother used to claim you should drink hot milk with cloves and onion in for a cold. Never heard of putting it under a bed though.
No room under any of our beds to squeeze a raw onion anyway, too much rubbish stored under there.

First Lovefilm envelope arrived today - perfect timing. The King's Speech. Very much looking forward to packing the DC off to bed and watching it

BerstieSpotts Fri 15-Nov-13 18:49:10

Exactly! For something to have an effect against bacteria you need to actually touch the bacteria with it, it doesn't magically suck it out of a sick person through a room! confused

It's like saying, oh, bleach cleans toilets. I'll just leave this open bottle here and it will magically suck all of the dirt and germs away! Er, no, it won't.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 15-Nov-13 21:56:30

Hello - the OP says this is a place where we can ask about visiting so perhaps someone here can help me with a couple of questions relating to DD's German exchange which is the first week of December, somewhere near Cologne?

The first question is, she needs to take a gift for the host family and for her partner (another 14/15yo girl) - which should be something typically English, ideally local (Lancashire). So... can you think of anything you'd really like from hereabouts? Obv not heavy/bulky or too expensive (as they will doubtless reciprocate on the return visit).

The second is a reality check on what the weather is likely to be like - the teacher says it will probably be very cold, probably snow ... her normal non-school footwear is canvas hightops which I doubt will be adequate, her boot selection is wellie, walking or snowboots, which seem like overkill or inappropriate so I'm trying to persuade her she needs something else (I've got the one teenage girl who doesn't like shopping, esp not shoes).

Danke! thanks

ErrolTheDragon Fri 15-Nov-13 22:00:48

(Just reading the last few posts about onions... well, if you surround a sick person with onions, it probably keeps everyone else at a distance so the infection doesn't spread. Maybe that's how that idea started? )

Errol my 6 year old is wearing his snowboots already, but my 8 year old is still wearing canvas trainers (with a ski jacket which she refuses to do up, and woolly hat) - we are in Bavaria, which is generally one of the coldest and snowiest parts of Germany. No snow yet, actually quite mild - hovering around 4 degrees, no wind chill, doesn't feel that cold. Tea, Whisky, local honey or jam, for the parents. For the girl herself I don't know - some teen mags in English along with something edible - toffees go down well. Are you near the lake district - Kendal Mint Cake would definitely be something you don't get here! My eldest is 8 so I don't know what 15 year olds are into! Inexpensive locally made jewellery?

People here put onions (sliced in half, cut part on the ear) on the ears for earache - tied on with a scarf, I've seen it! (They only seem to do it to children, although maybe in private they do it themselves). Under the bed is a bit of a mystery? Maybe the idea is a bit like primitive vapour-rub? Though they'd have to be peeled - in the process of being peeled... smile

Those long school days without food sound horrible. In year 1 and 2 DD finished school at 11.20 4 days a week and 12.15 the other day, and still took Brotzeit to eat in the 20 minute break smile Now in year 3 she has school 8-1pm (except Fridays when she finishes at 11.20), but they get 2, 20 minute breaks and she takes a sandwich, babybells, an apple, and often goes to the tiny village shop 20 meters down the road from school and buys sweets a Bretze with her pocket money too - then is home for lunch by 1.30pm as well. I hope once she is at secondary school she'll continue to take Brotzeit and to eat it! I can't imagine any of my kids going more than an hour and a half without food atm! shock plantanos I can imagine my kids flipping out like that in the afternoons too - when DS1 was doing a slightly longer KiGa day he was a nightmare in the afternoons, and there was no hunger in that equation, it was just too much for him - he's much pleasanter after a 4 hour KiGa day, even though he'd like to stay longer as I often interrupt some important building project he and his mates are deeply engrossed in when I pick him up at 12.30 shock grin

Wooly my DD never got out of her cot on her own at night, even though like your DS she had bars out and got in and out herself in the day and at bedtime. She just used to howl for me from her bed - even when in a toddler bed and sleeping through til 5am, she'd just howl for me when ready to get up, and I had to go to her quite promptly before she woke her baby brother so it self perpetuated, in the end I did a reward chart to get her to get up quietly and come to us, when she was about 3, or nearly 3... My boys have never had the issue, I think its just personality (DD has a somewhat fevered imagination and has since tiny, so can imagine all sorts of horrors if she gets out of bed in the dark - I think this is also why she was night dry later than DS1, as she didn't want to get up and go to the toilet in the night!)

Which reminds me Linzer it's great that your doctor is being so helpful with you DS's night issues - there is an 11 year old boy who lives opposite us, he's at Gymnasium, but his mum still tells people about the night time pull ups he still has to wear! shock I really think she should stop chatting to other mums about it now the poor boy is 11! hmm

Best go, the kids are demanding second breakfast... hmm smile

Errol www.wetter.de/deutschland/wetter-koeln-18220679.html handily gives you a "dresscode" too grin

AmblingAlong Sat 16-Nov-13 17:58:07

Errol, dd is in year 9, pupils aged between 14 to 16 years . They don't have a uniform but every year they kind of copy each other and end up wearing the same thing! This year the girls are all wearing this sort of shoe as the winter boot of the year! I'd say December will be too cold for canvas shoes. Warm socks or thermal tights would be the best bet with boots if they're planning on going round the Christmas market or day trips etc. No need for snow boots though if they're in the city.

Cadbury's chocolate, fudge, marmalade, lemon curd and tea are all classic gifts to bring. I can ask dd what she and her friends would most like to get from the UK if you'd like more ideas. In summer they were all obsessed with Baby Lips lip balm only available in the US. It's just gone on sale here in Germany this month and they all rushed to the shops to get some!

My neighbour in our last flat was into homeopathy and herbal remedies and she once made us a cough mixture out of raw onion and sugar. Tasted OK and helped ease ds's cough. She also told me to put a cut onion next to the bed at night!

petitemom Sun 17-Nov-13 18:53:04

Interesting onion talk!

Linzer, will have a look at Deichmann next time there's a new shoe requirement (highly likely)

Linzer and Ambling, TV licence now sorted, thanks smile

On a different note, the cashiers at REWE have been giving us strips of little WMF logo stickers. I'm guessing there's some promotion going on? Can anyone shed light on this?

SpookedMackerel Sun 17-Nov-13 20:11:41

Petitemom if you collect 30 stickers you can buy certain bits of kitchen equipment at a discounted price - I know they have electric mixers and digital scales. You can get a little card at the till to stick your stickers on, and on the back it will show what you could buy.

BerstieSpotts Sun 17-Nov-13 20:45:43

I love the wetter.de site that helpfully advises you on what to wear grin

I'm in South West Germany and the weather here is no colder than the UK normally is at this time of year, with much less rain. There's snow forecast for next week, but it was forecast last week and it never came.

Kendal Mint Cake is a great idea, or Eccles cakes? Too fragile perhaps? Good English tea (Yorkshire Tea or even just PG Tips) - really hard to find good strong tea here.

Shoes - something like this?

I would say take the snow boots - perhaps wear them on the plane as they will be bulkier - and take the normal canvas type shoes. Unless the snow boots look totally ridiculous, anyway. I have some primark converse and have been wearing those although I have some sort of boot type things which look a bit like walking shoes and are lined with a furry type material which I prefer as they are warmer, but I've been going to work at 6/7am recently so the warmth is needed.

If she's good with money you could put a bit extra in her account in case she sees some she wants while she's here - I hate shopping for shoes but find it much easier in Germany because there are loads of styles which are practical rather than just fashionable and I find it much easier to find things I actually like.

On a random unrelated note - if she has a smartphone, MAKE SURE she disables roaming on her mobile internet - it costs a fortune. Most networks now have a cap on the spending limit but it's still about £50 or so. You can reach that frighteningly quickly. A good practical tip for her is to download the Google Translate app (free) and then download the German dictionary on it while she's at home, and it will be available offline so if she gets stuck or needs to translate something she can do it. With internet roaming off, obviously she can still access wi-fi so if her host family has wi-fi she should be able to facebook to her heart's content there grin

ErrolTheDragon Mon 18-Nov-13 10:11:28

Thanks for all the helpful tips, everyone. thanks

DD had suggested tea, I thought that was a bit of a cliché, sounds like she was on track. She'd already mentioned the data roaming, she's quite sensible like that - good idea about the app/dictionary. I'll point her to that wetter site too.

The footwear solved itself, I think, as she asked for some Doc Martens for xmas after I'd posted so we got them this weekend rather than waiting - should do the job with warm socks. I love the look of those furry boots, maybe I should ask her to find some for me! grin

hupa Mon 18-Nov-13 10:42:51

Errol I hope your dd has a great time.

I know a couple of people who wrap raw onions in a cotton cloth and then wrap it round their necks when they´ve got a cold. Luckily they don´t go out in public while wearing them.

DD must be really lucky because she gets a 45 minute lunch break and they´ve got a school canteen where she can get freshly cooked hot food if she wants. Mind you, she would rather do without the lunch break and come home 45 minutes earlier.

plantanos I hope your ds is feeling better.

Nutella a very belated congratulations from me. Did you go away on honeymoon?

platanos Mon 18-Nov-13 14:02:56

Thanks for all the onion stories. Interesting. I had never heard anything about it. And not something I will be taking up, I don't think. I don't like raw onions in any form, and especially not stuck to my ear or round my neck. Also shuddered at the thought of raw onion and sugar.

errol I think Doc Martens are a good solution. I was thinking of getting some for myself but have hesitated because mutton dressed as lamb issues, and the last pair I had took ages to break in and cost me a fortune in plasters. So good idea to get them now and break them in slowly!

hupa how civilised to get a lunch break! DS is better, thanks, I picked him up early and is now asleep.

spooked did you get to watch the film?

Some Christmas markets are open here - it's big business here. DDs wanted to have a look round yesterday. I can't get too excited at the goods on offer, though. Same old, same old.

And I am waiting for the plumber to come and have a look at a couple of radiators that don't work. I should be off to clean the house - cleaner cancelled again today. I am beginning to think she did not like me swapping bleach cleaning products for vegan/eco- friendly products!

ErrolTheDragon Mon 18-Nov-13 14:43:50

Platanos - she wore them round the house for the remainder of the weekend...including when she was trying to work out a warm-up routine for her PE class today, I was in the room below when she started on the star jumps! grin

AmblingAlong Mon 18-Nov-13 17:06:09

Errol dd tried a pair of Doc Martens on the other week and I was quite relieved when she said they didn't feel comfortable as they were 179€! She settled on a similar style for 49€! Should be nice and warm for December outings anyway!

platanos I agree with same old for the markets. dd is also really looking forward to ours starting in Hannover. It's more and more expensive every year too. If all 4 of us go it costs a fortune just for one drink and a snack each. Lucky for me, dd is now old enough to go with friends so she can decide what to spend her pocket money on and when it's gone - it's gone!

hupa sounds good that they get a proper lunch break. Is it a ganztagsschule? Our gymnasium is building a canteen but it won't be ready before my 2 have left so atleast 3 years are planned for the building. Seems along time but that's the plan as it looks as if ganztagscule is coming, ready or not.

Berstie great tip about the roaming. Don't suppose you could give me a good tip on which mobile to get the dc. They have Samsung 'smartphones' but they aren't smart enough so I'm told. For example they can't download Whatsapp. They need to up-grade but I'm not prepared to spend 400€ for the latest phone seeing as I need to buy two. Any ideas? I have an ancient mobile and no idea about what's OK.

Well, dd has gone off to training on the tram (ds missing his training toda yas he's gone to sleep). On the way out she said I don't see the point in doing a hobby, I have too much to do for Gymnasium. She's stressed about getting a good report in January so she can use it to apply for Praktikum and has a good chance of getting a good work experience position.

SpookedMackerel Mon 18-Nov-13 18:14:20

Doc Martens were fashionable when I was at secondary, funny if they have come round again - maybe I should dig out my ancient purple pair. Or the pink Timberland boots that were my pride and joy.
Or maybe not grin. Fortunately DC are still young enough not to find my clothing choices excruciatingly embarrassing.

Platanos yes, we did watch the film, it was excellent! And we had a Chinese takeaway as well, so great luxury. Very impatient for the next one to arrive, although have put a few for the DC on the list too, so it will prob turn out to be the Lion King or something.

I am excited about the Christmas markets, though I can see how the snacks get expensive. They had a small harvest market in town the other week, just a few stalls and a carousel, and we spent 4 euros just one one portion of chips (they were fantastic though), then 6 Euros on 2 carousel rides for the DC, then another 4 on a few measly roasted chestnuts to share.

As always, I'm scanning the thread, catching up on what's been said, and then don't have time to write...

ambling how about htc mobiles? Me and my siblings are decided into htc and iPhone - 2 of us ave iPhones, the other two ave htc. Much cheaper, a d they are very happy with it.

Not really much news here. Got a Krisensitzung at the Jugendamt tomorrow morning re ds1. And met a psycho fellow dog owner this morning who threatened to report me to the police because our puppy (admittedly now very large and playful) puppy ran up to her dog, tried to get her (aggressive) dog to play and he took at least 15 seconds to return to me (with an injury to very close to his eye from her dig's teeth).

Anyway, sorry for just popping on so briefly again. He.lo to everyone. Hope you are all more organised than me - I still have summer tyres on and there's snow forecast for Wednesday!!

BerstieSpotts Mon 18-Nov-13 18:44:19

Which samsungs do they have? I'm guessing something like the tocco lite which is touchscreen but not android?

I had a very basic samsung (Galaxy Apollo, so basic that it's not sold any more because it's not capable of running the newer stuff) and that ran whatsapp. The Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Y (AKA Galaxy young) or Galaxy Mini (NOT Galaxy S3 mini, that's a higher market one) will all run Whatsapp.

I would not recommend the cheap HTCs as they tend to be shitola. Mid range is okay, top range good, but the cheap ones are not great. Samsung is much better for budget phones, make sure they're definitely Android, and they will run whatsapp.

BerstieSpotts Mon 18-Nov-13 18:45:39

Which phones DO they have at the moment? If you're not sure of the actual model the model number will be under the battery or you can go into Settings/About Phone and it will tell you there.

AmblingAlong Mon 18-Nov-13 21:02:32

Berstie thanks for the tips! At the moment they have a Samsung Wave 723 S7230. They've had them for over two years so probably completely old fashioned now! I was looking at Sony Xperia as I found some around the 200€ range. There are so many though, too much choice and I have no idea what to look for except wi-fi and android ...confused dd might like this or is it a bit small? Samsung

outnumbered sounds like that woman has a problem with HER dog. Hope your puppy is OK.
HTC look nice too - too much choice!

spooked I remember DocMartens from my youth too! I've been trying to get dd interested in getting that style for years and she's always looked at me as if I'm mad. Then this year, it's all she wants! I didn't realise they would cost so much over here. I'm sure they're cheaper in the uK.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 19-Nov-13 08:59:20

Ambling - DDs Docs were these £95 - she might be able to try them on locally but then buy off the net? It's still quite a lot, but DDs feet are pretty much full-grown now so she should get years of use from them. (Kid's sizes are more like £55-60)

FrauEnglischLehrerin Tue 19-Nov-13 09:36:28

Hi everyone. I'm a regular who hasn't been on for quite a while, although I have tried to keep up reading the thread now and again. It's great to see several new posters - I'm in Thûringia and have a 4 yo dd.

Ambling - if you want I have an iphone 3GS (three years old, small crack on back) and a cheap htc (DH bought it to bridge a three month gap until his contract was up for renewal, so virtually new and he had no problems with it). I'd be happy to send them to you if you're not planning to give your kids new phones for Christmas.

Can I also just grrr about kiga and footwear - a sign was up today saying they would no longer put anything other than WARM shoes or boots on our children and that unlined wellies should be taken home. I suppose the need for a sign indicates that I'm not the only parent sending their child in "inappropriate" footwear, but honestly, when should you wear unlined wellies if not in autumn confused?

FrauEnglish <they> won't put unlined wellies on your dd, but that's OK - obviously she can put them on herself! ;) I got told to get DS "fest" shoes for the forest - I did, at some considerable hassle logistically (though second hand so no great expense at least) ... and of course they haven't been to the forest since :/

FrauEnglischLehrerin Tue 19-Nov-13 11:45:14

mrtumbles the same thought had occured to me too about dd putting her own wellies/shoes on! DD's group went to the forest last Friday, but since they only gave us half a day's notice, and PIL had picked her up on Thurs, I took her in thin tights and a pair of trainers and had to scramble together a pair of socks to wear inside the inappropriately unlined wellies. It was fun making MIL feel guilty about not having checked the notice board, though - she rang up on Sat to check dd hadn't developed pneumonia overnight grin.

BerstieSpotts Tue 19-Nov-13 14:56:32

Ambling I would recommend this which is a bit cheaper. It comes in white too. The S3 mini is a pretty good phone if you do have a higher budget though. If you want to compare models or read reviews, www.gsmarena.com is fantastic.

www.amazon.de/Samsung-Smartphone-Touchscreen-Betriebssystem-onyx-black/dp/B007UOXRS6/ref=sr_1_1?s=ce-de&ie=UTF8&qid=1384872114&sr=1-1&keywords=galaxy+ace+2

Yes the Wave isn't running android which means that it is a bit outdated these days. You want to look for something with a decent sized internal memory - at LEAST 1GB, otherwise after you put a couple of apps on it they freeze up. A lot of the older/more basic models have this problem.

FrauEnglisch the iPhone 3GS is now unsupported so apps will stop working on it sooner or later - okay as a phone but pretty useless as a smartphone. Only problem with technology moving on so fast these days!

One of the girls at DS' kindergarten has taken a real shine to him and the other English-speaking boy there. Today when I picked him up she was all over him, literally pulling/holding him so he couldn't get his shoes on. He seemed to find it a mixture of "Do not want" and hilarious, but I was really stuck! I couldn't say "Get off my child, you're supposed to be upstairs with the other children!" because I don't speak enough German. Eventually I sort of separated them physically and just said "Nein!" and she left him alone then. Then we went to Aldi on the way home and a little boy of about 18 months kept following him around and trying to hug him! Again he was just standing there sort of looking a bit uncomfortable, and the mother was saying "Okay, sag tschuss! Sag tschuss!" and trying to drag him away. We had to double back to avoid them. Bizarre.

platanos Tue 19-Nov-13 17:21:59

FrauEnglisch bizarre about the wellie boots. It's not that cold yet, is it? grin at poor MIL worrying about pneumonia, and you having fun! I am glad your dd survived and does not need to go around with onion accessories.

outnumbered hope the Krisensitzung went well. And that you did not hear from the police about the dog incident. I think they might have better things to do, unless you live in a veeery low crime area, with no need for any prevention or educational work.

spooked glad you enjoyed the film. We bought it ages ago and have not watched it..yet. By the time our dc go to bed, we are both too tired to watch anything long. Enjoy The Lion King!

I did not mean to be spoil the Christmas market magic. There are some smaller ones around town that are quite cosy. But the big one in front of the Rathaus is a bit too commercial. Plus Glühwein makes me sick - it must be the combination of wine and sugar. I hope I don't get banned from this thread for confessing that wink.

bertie how old is your ds? It sounds sweet but not if he is uncomfortable about it. Thanks for the phone information. DD1 wants one, but I don't think she needs a mobile yet.

Plumbers came - most impressed - they rang to let me know they would be here at 14:15 even though we had agreed on sometime between 14:00 and 14:30. They fixed the broken radiator (yipeee, it was the bathroom one) and will come back to change the rest soon. Best news: landlady pays!

Off to do showers and dinner. A mild curry, but it contains onion and celery amongst other things- healthy things like vegetables. DC are going to love me!Have a good evening all!

BerstieSpotts Tue 19-Nov-13 17:33:26

He's 5 but he's not ever been very good at saying "I don't like this" - he just goes quiet and still and sort of retreats and sometimes laughs as a defence mechanism so it's hard to tell if he's actually having fun or not.

However he recently had his kindergarten report thing and they said he was starting to tell other kids to stop doing stuff he doesn't like, which surprised me. But then, I suppose, you still have the age old problem of when you tell someone you don't like something and they take no notice and carry on anyway.

They have all been playing some kind of kiss chase game apparently which he thinks is fun but he's starting to realise there's "more" about kissing than it just being a random thing you do to anybody. He went all shy when he was telling me which girls he had kissed grin

SpookedMackerel Tue 19-Nov-13 18:11:16

Berstie your DS sounds lovely, and very similar to Dd -and we also have just been told by the Kiga that Dd was now much more able to tell the other children when she didn't want to do something. Dh and I almost fell of our chairs in astonishment (to be fair, we were perched uncomfortably on tiny kiddy chairs, with our knees around our ears - I always feel it adds an element of farce to trying to have a serious conversation about your child's progress when you are huddled precariously on a ridiculously small seat grin.)

Platanos<whispers> I'm not a huge fan of Glüwein either, though I liked a cherry one I tried last year, and also a white wine one <non-conformist emoticon>.

AmblingAlong Tue 19-Nov-13 18:27:07

Berstie thanks for the tips again. I've saved all the different models on my wish list and will go over them with the dc when we get time, then dd wants to go and have a look at 'real' phones to get an idea what she likes. I'll probably order online in the end though as I find there are better offers than in the likes of Media Markt or Saturn. I like the S3 mini but dd wants to look at the Sony Xperia ones that she has her eye on.
Your poor ds! How is he coming on with the langauage learning? It's so frustrating when you can't speak the language isn't it? I remember getting really mad at myself for not finding the right words to tell someone off or speak my mind on so many occasions!

platanos dinner sounds lovely, I'd be happy with that! Hope they eat it! Great that the heating got fixed, don't fancy a bathroom with no heating at the moment. Our caretaker just came by to check something and left big lumps of black soil all down the hall way. He then started trying to push them out of the front door with his boot making even more mess and I had to shout nein, lieber nicht so!

I feel your pain FrauEnglisch and MrTumbles, finding shoes/boots/slippers/wellies/trainers for the dc has always been one of the absoloute worst jobs here in Germany. Funny, back in the UK I always managed to get them affordable and nice looking shoes when they were smaller. Now I just have the problem of them having to suit the 'fashion according to teens' and my budget! Won't be long until they stop growing and then I won't mind investing in an expensive pair of shoes or boots for them.

Errol those are the ones dd tried on (but burgundy I think) in size 5 but she said they were uncomfortable (thank goodness). I have no idea why clothes and shoes are so much more expensive over here. It's the same with sports wear. I now order online from the UK and even with postage, I save a fortune.

BerstieSpotts Tue 19-Nov-13 18:43:43

He's actually doing really well although he seems to jabber away at the other children in English most of the time confused He's very popular though, every morning there's someone shouting his name or "come on" etc. Perhaps being able to tell people to stop is one of those "having different personalities in different languages" things? He's been pretty much left to it here blush whereas when he was little I used to sit with him at playgroups etc.

Thankfully our kiga has an office with adult sized chairs grin They did actually ask me in the meeting how long he'd been learning German for and I said "Only since he's been here!" They thought he'd been learning it for a year!

Cherry Gluhwein sounds nice... I love the sauer kirsche juice you can get at Edeka.

LinzerTorte Wed 20-Nov-13 07:17:58

All the phone talk has been interesting, as I've just ordered a smartphone for DD1 - we got her a Samsung Star, which I think you recommended a while back Ambling. Personally, I think she likes the idea of having a smartphone - and texting is definitely easier - rather than needing all the latest apps, so the more basic the better really. DS wants her old phone but I've told him that, until he starts walking to school on his own, he doesn't need one.

Berstie I definitely agree about the two different personalities thing; I feel like a completely different person when I'm speaking German.

Ambling Well done for shouting at the caretaker; I'd just have been seething inside!

platanos Hope DS has fully recovered now; I was going to suggest meeting at a Christmas market, but if you don't like Glühwein... shock wink What a shame that we weren't able to discuss the trials of having a non-vegan-friendly cleaning lady. grin Hope the DS ate the dinner; I find whizzing the vegetables in the food processor until they're as unrecognisable as possible helps! Although, strangely enough, they're quite happy to eat carrots, broccoli, etc. with the dinner - it's just veg in the dinner that DD2, in particular, seems to have a problem with.

FrauEnglisch I think you might be putting your DD at risk of a kidney infection too. wink Or is that just from bare feet? I have problems keeping track sometimes.

MrTumbles Poor 11 year old whose mum tells people that he's in pull-ups. DS went to a birthday party on Sunday and I was trying to tell the mum very discreetly that we were keeping track of his fluid intake etc. as I know he gets embarrassed about it.

There's an information evening about the local secondary schools at our school this evening, but I won't be going as DH is in Germany this week and, after all the hassle we had trying to find a babysitter for Saturday (finally sorted thanks to C4ro), I couldn't face looking for one for this evening as well! DD2 knows which school she wants to go to anyway, so we'll just go to the open days and I think that will be enough. Was speaking to another mother about it yesterday and she said that her DH is going to try to come home from work early, but the children are now old enough to leave on their own for half an hour or so. Her youngest is 2; I'm constantly amazed at how different attitudes are here to leaving young children and even babies on their own.

AmblingAlong Wed 20-Nov-13 09:21:57

Linzer yes, ds has the samsung star, dd and dh have a similar version. They are OK as they do have wi-fi so there is the possibility to check google or my dc watch you-tube videos (music mostly) sometimes. Ds managed to get some decent apps just not the ones the rest of his class mates have.
Dd was meant to start school an hour later today but the class sent whatsapp messages that they were meeting early at 8am to play table football in the school hall. Luckily her friend sent her a text message so she didn't miss out.
Is dd2 not going to the same school as dd1?

Berstie and spooked sounds like your dc have really settled in well. I don't recall having a meeting of any kind at kindergarden, maybe I missed the invitations! I went to almost every parent meeting from year 1 onwards though and the chairs slowly start to get comfortable around year 4!

LinzerTorte Wed 20-Nov-13 10:04:08

Does WhatsApp work on the Star, Ambling? I'm assuming not - it's the only app that DD1 has mentioned although as she hardly ever texts anyone at the moment, I'm not convinced she needs it. The most important criterion for her is that the phone has square rather than rounded edges!

DD2 wants to go to Gymnasium, whereas DD1 is at middle school (which is only for four years, so we'll have to start thinking about where she wants to go afterwards next year). The main issue for DD2 is which class she goes into; she wants to go to the Sportklasse, but I'm not convinced it's the right one for her. She does enjoy PE at school but isn't particularly sporty otherwise and, unlike her friend who also wants to go into the Sportklasse, doesn't do any sports activities after school. Then she has another friend going to the same school whose mother doesn't want her to be in the same class as DD2 and this other girl as she feels her DD will be pushed out; it's all rather complicated!

FrauEnglischLehrerin Wed 20-Nov-13 10:37:45

Berstie Ah, that's interesting to know for definite that the apps will stop working on my old phone. I'd realised they weren't updating any more, along with the OS. Is Apple the worst offender for this, or do Android phones age similarly quickly? I'm sort of resigned to it with phones now, but it really cheeses me off that my 3yo ipad is also unsupported and has been for at least half a year (probably much longer, but that's when I noticed).

Dd is another quiet child who isn't particularly good at fending off unwanted provocation from other children. She doesn't have the language problem to contend wth, though, and possesses an effective hysterical outburst of sobbing which quickly attracts adult attention. There's a boy in her class who is really suffering from being expected to learn how to defend himself with no adult input, though, and I often think the kiga teachers could keep a bit more of an eye open for kids getting cornered.

AmblingAlong Wed 20-Nov-13 11:09:54

Linzer no ds's doesn't run WhatsApp but maybe that one Berstie linked to would be a better idea if that's what dd wants it for too? They all seem to communicate through WhatsApp at school. I've never seen it but I presume it's cheaper/quicker/better than plain old fashioned text messages. No idea, I'm so behind the times in technical stuff!

FrauLehrerin it's really annoying how quickly these devices become out dated when you think how expensive they are. Makes me think the big companies like apple must be laughing their heads off at us all. Good question about android. I'm going to have to look up all the 4.0, 4.1, 4.2 versions to see what they mean! I'm just starting to get used to Windows 8 on my laptop, don't like it and wish they would stop changing things, Windows 95 worked perfectly well back in the day (that's the one I had on my first computer)!

LinzerTorte Wed 20-Nov-13 11:34:52

Too late now Ambling as I've already ordered the Star; I hope DD1 isn't too disappointed... I have WhatsApp, but don't use it all that much - mainly to message a friend in Germany (cheaper than texting), DH (no advantage to texting really) and platanos (I can bore her with random photos grin). I think its main advantage is that you can have group chats, which I don't use it for at all but can see that it would be useful in a school class, for example.

DS has decided he wants to be a vegetarian; he's managed nearly two weeks now so I've signed him up to the Vegetarian Society's children's club for extra motivation. grin (Couldn't find a German/Austrian equivalent.) I wasn't at all convinced that he would stick with it, but he's turned down meat at friends' houses a few times now so he seems quite serious about it.

BerstieSpotts Wed 20-Nov-13 11:51:33

Linzer the star doesn't support Whatsapp as it's not an android phone.

Whatsapp uses the phone's internet connection (3G or wifi) to send text messages so you don't pay for the message, but obviously you do need internet. It doesn't use much data, though. I used to use it for texting DP when we lived in separate countries and it's also good for sending picture messages for free (although this uses more bandwidth!)

Android phones do a similar thing Frau - the new apps/updates are written for more up to date technology and eventually you get to a point where you can't run it on the older technology. It would be like trying to use modern software on a Windows 95 PC - it just ends up really slow and glitchy and can overload the phone which can actually cause permanent damage if you do it too often. Usually the app store will prevent this by just preventing you from downloading the latest updates but eventually the older version of the software will stop being supported - you wouldn't get technical support now for Word 97, for example, although Word 97 would still work perfectly fine on your hypothetical Windows 95 PC! The problem is that so many apps are now internet-dependent, things like facebook for example will stop supporting the older versions of their own apps so they will become unusable in time.

However, iPhones tend to last longer in terms of physical usage, Android phones get really glitchy after about 18 months - 2 years depending on the model (some more, some less) and they are just a pain, even if you totally reboot everything, it does the same thing. iPhones seem to last longer in that respect.

I used to work in a second hand phone shop, and I tend to absorb useless information grin

FrauEnglischLehrerin Wed 20-Nov-13 11:52:26

Ambling I use Whatsapp exactly like linzer, except I send the random photos to my sister grin. It's cheaper for me than texting within Germany as I pay for every text (except to other iphones when imessage covers it). You have to have some sort of internet connection to get whatsapp messages, though. I've just discovered Viber as well, which lets you make mobile to mobile calls over the internet - great for ringing dsis who doesn't have a landline.

AmblingAlong Wed 20-Nov-13 11:56:51

Linzer oh I hope she is OK about it - my 2 were happy with their phones until this WhatsApp thing turned up. Can you send it back? Maybe try and indirectly ask dd1 how important it is (is it a surprise)? I guess it could be the group function of WhatsApp that you don't get with texting and yes, the photo thing. I know dd went for a walk with her friend and her dog the other day and they were sending pictures of the dog to the group and getting comments back on her friends phone.
Well done to ds for sticking to his decision! Now you just need to convert the dds and dh and your life would be easier in the kitchen!

LinzerTorte Wed 20-Nov-13 12:37:43

I've just broken the news to DD2 and she was fine about it - she did say that most of the other children in her class have Samsungs and have WhatsApp, but it turns out they have Galaxys (or should that be Galaxies? grin) and she said she doesn't really need it. She was mainly disappointed about the fact that her phone still hasn't arrived (she's paying for it herself).

Berstie I didn't realise until a week or so ago, when I was looking for an Android phone to test the app I'd translated, that not all non-iPhone smartphones aren't Androids. And I also didn't realise, when I ordered it, that the Samsung Star isn't an Android. Ah well, you live and learn. grin

FrauEnglisch That's true, WhatsApp also has the advantage of being cheaper in your own country if you pay for your texts. I've heard that Viber is good; will have to look into it.

Ambling I actually stopped cooking meat for the DC a few months ago; we have vegan main meals now but they eat dairy at other meals and have meat if we're out/at friends'/if DH cooks it for them at the weekend. I made a red lentil flan today, which went down well; DD2 even asked for a second helping as it was "so yummy".

BerstieSpotts Wed 20-Nov-13 13:43:30

I think it is only Samsung who continue to make the non-android smartphones - I don't really understand why! In fact, the Star is the same phone as what I would call the Tocco Lite, which is ancient in phone terms! It is very reliable though and they last a long time. I'm not a fan of the operating system myself but it's still a very popular phone even with the newer technology out, which must count for something! smile

I think that all of the Samsung Galaxy something-or-others are Android phones, but there are so many - The Galaxy mini, Galaxy Y, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Apollo, etc etc.

BerstieSpotts Wed 20-Nov-13 13:45:13

I've just done a search and there are 185 phones produced by Samsung which are some kind of Galaxy!!

BerstieSpotts Wed 20-Nov-13 13:45:44

There is in fact a Galaxy Star which looks like a good basic model too grin

LinzerTorte Wed 20-Nov-13 13:50:57

I'll bear that in mind for DD2 when the time comes, Berstie (and everything will no doubt have moved on since then!). grin

SpookedMackerel Wed 20-Nov-13 18:28:56

Could I ask if anyone does (or has done) Mütter-Kind Turnen with their toddlers?

I've found a class nearby, and I thought I might try it as part of my drive to meet people by doing stuff with Dd2.

But I don't know what to expect - will it mainly be the children running round and climbing stuff while parents encourage them, or will parents actually have to do gymnastic type things too? Do I need to get those funny slipper Turnshuhe for me and dd? Would I wear gym kit,or would iI get laughed out of the sports hall?

Spooked I've done Mutter-Kind Turnen with all 3 of mine at one thing or another - believe me I wouldn't have if I was expected to do gymnastics ore wear lycra grin I've done it 9 months pregnant and with a baby in a sling - you just encourage/ hover anxiously/ police turn taking / stop them beating up bigger kids for a go on the trampoline/ wander off and have a chat then dive in an unlikely fashion to grab them as they fall from the wall-bars grin
Those shoes for dd are ideal, but I always just worse socks - "grippy" socks on a good day, if I remembered to put them in my bag - you do have to take your shoes off but as long as your dd is in comfortable clothes to climb and run and jump there is no dress code.

That's my experience anyway, other experiences may vary, and I sometimes appear to be living in a different Germany than even (especially) people in Munich (or nearest city) let alone everyone else in other parts of this massively varied country, so I am sure somebody else will tell you if all other Mutter-Kind Turnen groups require you and your child to wear matching leotards and prove you can climb the rope with your baby balanced on the end of your nose in order to join grin

LinzerTorte Thu 21-Nov-13 05:43:50

Spooked It's basically as MrTumbles said - parents are there to help the children rather than perform any daring gymnastic feats of their own. grin I've never seen an adult in Gymnastikpatschen (as they're called here, bound to be a different word in Germany) but most of the children wore them; they were allowed to go barefoot as well, but not sure that's the case in every class. All the adults just wore socks and their normal clothes.

Off to get the DC up and ready for their school photo part II now. For some reason, DS didn't have his taken on Monday as scheduled; it's also the day for the Geschwisterfoto (which DS doesn't want to have taken) plus DD2 is having a photo taken with four of her friends. I didn't even realise this was an option but one of her friends asked the teacher, who said it was OK.

FrauEnglischLehrerin Thu 21-Nov-13 07:24:53

Linzer Gymnastikschlappen here (no idea if I've spelt it right, though).

spooked same experience here as mrtumbles. One of the nicer things to do with one's toddler ime.

berstie your 'useless' information has come in rather handy on this thread, don't you think! I feel a bit better now about falling for Apple's marketing if Android are the same or worse grin.

hupa Thu 21-Nov-13 11:04:19

Spooked My experience has been the same as the others. Dd just wore leggings, a T-Shirt and Turnläppchen and I wore normal clothes and socks.

All the talk about phones has been really interesting. We´ve decided to get dd one for her birthday in December. I don´t think she´s that bothered at the moment, but I know most of her friends have got their own phones and have started to use WhatsApp. She´ll probably decide she needs one in January, so we´ve decides to get one now.l I must admit I´ve left it to dh to organise and all I know it´s Samsung (and hopefully supports WhatsApp).

Ambling Dd does go to a Ganztagschule, hence the warm lunch. She still comes home at either 13:40 or 14:25, although the dc can stay to 16:00 and do various clubs. She only stays on Wednesdays and goes to unicycle club.

If anyone wants to buy Christmas crackers, I managed to buy some yesterday in TK-Maxx. They also had lots of packs of Christmas cards.

hupa Thu 21-Nov-13 11:06:25

or even Turnschläppchen as they´re called here.

SpookedMackerel Thu 21-Nov-13 11:23:21

Phew, feeling quite optimistic about the Turnen now, somehow the thought that heavily pregnant women can do it in their socks makes it seem less daunting! (I have been giggling away at the mental picture of parents and children in matching leotards grin.)
Everyone seems to have a different word for the shoes. Must be like plimsolls being called pumps or daps or guttys (actually that last one may be just my Dad). Anyway, it doesn't matter because they don't seem to make them small enough for dd in any case.

AmblingAlong Thu 21-Nov-13 12:13:11

Hupa that sort of flexible ganttagschule sounds good. The ones where you have to stay until 4pm sound hard going especially with the 8am start.
Let us know which mobile it is in the end will you? Hopefully we'll be going into the city at the weekend to look at phones before we order one.

spooked good luck at the kinderturnen! I only went to one session when ds was tiny and dd was a baby and he didn't enjoy it. They built an obstacle course in the middle of the gym and there was a trampoline I think.

linzer hope ds manages to cope with the geschwister photo session! Our school does a class photo and a set of passport size photos of each child then a black and white slightly larger copy of the passport photo. Dd was mad this year as the photographer fiddled with her hair (and we all know how serious hair can be for a teenager) and she hates her photo now.
Have you got a link to that red lentil flan recipe? Sounds nice and it's something I've never tried. We're having roast pumpkin and butternut squash with basmati rice today. I think I might stock pile some pumpkins and butternut squashes next time I see them in the shops as it's our favourite meal at the moment. I had to go to 3 shops until I found them this time. Lidl had them for ages and they seem to have stopped getting them now.

FrauEnglischLehrerin Thu 21-Nov-13 12:46:15

linzer oh yes, I'd like the lentil flan recipe as well, please!

spooked non-slip socks (the kind with a proper rubber sole and not just paw prints) are better for Turnen anyway. I only bought schlappen once dd started dance class and found some small ones at H&M - size 25 at least.

LinzerTorte Thu 21-Nov-13 14:30:55

Ambling / FrauEnglisch This is the lentil flan recipe. The DC ate the remaining half today without complaint, which is always a good sign! I used half white and half wholemeal flour for the pastry to make it a bit less "heavy".

I didn't sign DD2 and DS up for the Geschwisterfoto as DS didn't want to have it done (I didn't last year either, but they still had one taken hmm) and I decided we could live without it, particularly as DD1 wouldn't be on it. DD2 wasn't able to have a photo taken with her friends after all as the photographer would only do sibling photos; it would have been nice, but it's saved us a bit of money I suppose! She now has two friends over and there's lots of screaming and squealing going on - mainly because DD1 and DS are annoying them, I think, but I'd better go and investigate.

AmblingAlong Thu 21-Nov-13 16:08:06

Thanks Linzer sounds good, might give that a go next week.
Has the screaming and squealing stopped?

Is anyone interested in a Gutschein for 10% off online orders on Tchibo? I have a Tchibo card and they sent me 2 vouchers, one for me and one to give away. Have to spend 30€ atleast. They don't have much for dc on their website at the moment but I think the voucher is valid until the end of December. Let me know and I'll send you the code.

WannabeFayeMouse Fri 22-Nov-13 09:22:50

hello smile I hope it's ok if I drop in… we're moving to the Black Forest in January. I wondered if any of you are around there?

petitemom Fri 22-Nov-13 21:18:27

Spooked, thanks -- we've got the card now!

One thing I noticed here which is nice is that shopkeepers and cashier people tend to give DS (5 years old) something free in the store -- candies, a small piece of chocolate, a biscuit, Disney stickers, an apple at the obst store, etc.

It wasn't like that in the UK where we were (Northwest).

FrauEnglischLehrerin Sat 23-Nov-13 08:19:33

Welcome to the thread, Mouse. I don't think anyone is in the Black Forest area, but I am rather hazy on where exactly places like Karlsruhe and Kaiserslautern actually are, so maybe there'll be someone within a couple of hours of you. It's a lovely area of Germany though smile.

WannabeFayeMouse Sat 23-Nov-13 08:46:39

ha ha, thank you FrauEnglisch smile We're a good bit south (or will be come January) in a village outside Freiburg. My OH and I had a spell there once when we were young free and a couple, but this will be with our DDs this time, so could be quite a different experience. You're right, it's beautiful there, really looking forward to it grin

Can i pick your brains? Both our DDs will be at the local school. We have a bit of experience now, because DD1 went to school (Grundschule class 1) for a few months when we were living in Potsdam before. Does it make a difference though, whether you're on the old East or West side for schooling? I'm not sure exactly what classes they'll be put into - well DD2 in class 1 I guess, because she's 7. DD2 is 9 now, but although she has some German from last time she's a long way off fluent. I'm a bit nervous - the Potsdam school were really great and just dealt with her lack of German as if it were no problem at all. The next school/teachers mightn't be so patient…

What do you think? I guess some of you must have been in a similar situation at the beginning? Is there anything I can do to help the girls and/or the school?

platanos Sat 23-Nov-13 09:52:08

Hello mouse and welcome to the thread. I am afraid I am no use on schooling in Germany- I live in Austria - but wanted to say hello!

Just quickly as I am getting ready for DS's party later on. But something is bugging me, and DH is out of the country and unable to answer grammatical problems that keep me awake in the night.

I was telling my colleagues that, after some years in the UK we moved to Berlin for 10 months. I said "wir sind nach Berlin gegangen" and they laughed and said "ah, du bist dann lang gegangen". I do often say "gehen" when I should say "fahren" or "fliegen" and it has become a bit of a joke in the office. But was I not right in this case?

Back to baking.... have a great Saturday all!

LinzerTorte Sat 23-Nov-13 11:40:47

mouse Hello and welcome! Sorry, am also in Austria so not much help on Grundschule.

platanos Yes, I would have said that you were right in that case. If you were just talking about going to Berlin for a weekend/on holiday then you would obviously use fahren, but as you actually moved there I'm sure that "nach Berlin gehen" is perfectly fine (and actually better than fahren in this instance).

Back to work... was rather annoyingly (but as usual) sent some work about 10 minutes before the DS came home from school yesterday, so it's going to take up quite a bit of the weekend. But at least I have our meal out tonight to look forward to. smile

mouse helle. I lived in Freiburg for a year. It's so beautiful there. If you are arriving in January, it will still be the first Halbjahr anyway, so maybe you can take your dds to the school for a long chat to see which class would be best, taking into consideration age, language and what they've done already at school.

platanos I would probably have said 'wir sind nach Berlin gezogen' but don't think it's 'wrong' the way you said it.

Hello to everyone else smile

LinzerTorte Sat 23-Nov-13 12:18:30

platanos Just asked DH what he would say (without mentioning either gehen or fahren) and he helpfully said "Wir sind nach Berlin gezogen". Upon further questioning, he said that gegangen is fine and there would be no reason to find it funny (but that you wouldn't say gefahren), so I'm not quite sure why your colleagues would have found it amusing.

LinzerTorte Sat 23-Nov-13 12:19:16

x posts outnumbered - should have refreshed before I posted!

WannabeFayeMouse Sat 23-Nov-13 15:20:40

that would be good outnumbered - that's what the Potsdam school did. They were ever so kind, and gave DD1 a pencil case which she still treasures smile I guess I'm a bit nervous because they were so super nice and I can't believe it will be as good again… must be more optimistic smile

Just been reading all about the onions upthread. I am readying myself for the culture shock…

Thank you all for the lovely welcome smile

platanos Sat 23-Nov-13 17:44:33

Thanks outnumbered and linzer and husband. I'll use gezogen next time then, just to be on the safe side. They only find it funny because I often use gegangen wrongly, but I think they are too strict with me wink.

linzer hope you manage to get your work done. Enjoy your meal out - is this your 20th anniversary meal? If so, congratulations are also in order!

petite it is nice that children get given extra little things. But here it tends to be sweets, and only sweets. That annoys me a bit. Even the dentist gives them Kinder eggs hmm.

ambling I also love butternut. I made some buttenut lasagna last week. DH, DD1 and I liked it, ds and dd2 were not that impressed.

spooked have you been to Tournen yet? Hope it went well and your dd enjoyed it. Any matching leotards in sight?

Party over...phew! They are all so little - 6 and 7 years old! I am sure that when dd1 was that age I thought she was a big girl. And expected a lot more from her, than I do from ds. Interesting change in perception and one which I must be more careful about.

Speaking of "big girls", one of dd1`s friends (11 years old) was told by the school dr that she was "fett" angry. Apparently the girl then told the PE teacher who will have a word with the director. I have seen the girl, looks perfectly lovelvy, she is not skinny, but neither is she overweight. And even if she were, how insensitive and stupid is that dr? DD1 has not yet been to the dr, so waiting to see what she comes back with. I am thinking of mentioning it to the Klassenvorstand at parents' evening next week, even if it is none of my business.

MrsNutella Sat 23-Nov-13 20:35:07

Evening all!
Welcome mouse. Sorry, I'm also no help. DS is only 10 months old.

Things always seem so hectic and I am so tired at the moment. When do children stop taking up all of your time, hanging from your trousers when you put them down and wanting to be in your arms when you want to do something? And then when you sit down on the floor to play with them they decide that actually you're not that great and the mirror in the hallway/the washing machine/ the cables in daddy's office etc etc are where they want to be??!

I'm so jealous of the mummies with babies that sit and watch stuff hmm DS is definitely a hooligan. We did go to a tagesmutter (would like to do some semblance of work 2 ish days a week) and he managed to scare her 2 year old daughter by being very forward and wanting to play with her grin she had never seen a baby do that before! We haven't found one yet; But I think I feel better knowing there is the possibility of having some free time.

Sorry, I meant to say more hellos and comment more but then this will turn into a massive post! I'll try and come back more often!

AmblingAlong Sat 23-Nov-13 23:52:15

MrsNutella aww, it's tiring but enjoy all the cuddles and hugs! Before you know it he'll not have more than 15 minutes a day to even acknowledge you (I've seen ds for only 10 minutes today while he made me a cup of tea and found himself some snacks in the kitchen).
Are you looking for an english speaking Tagesmutter?

platanos is it standard to have a school doctor visit in Austria? Never heard of it here in Germany. Did you manage to speak to the girls mum? She might be planning on saying something already? Not OK of the doctor.

wannabe welcome! We used to live down south near Freiburg and also lived in Berlin (now in Hanover). Nice accents down there! How long are you planning on staying? I'd guess the schools will be flexible with your dd1. If your staying for a long time it's be worth trying to avoid year 4 straight away to give her time to catch up with German. Year 4 is when they decide on secondary school (Gymnasium,, Realschue, Hauptschule) and you need a good grade especially in German and maths to get into Gymnasium.

Hope you had a nice meal out Linzer. Did you find a good babysitter?

petitemom yes, I remember when my dc were smaller there would often be offers of sweets, mini Brötchen, wurst, Lyoner or cheese when shopping! The local bakery had two different women working there and one didn't give sweets to toddlers, the other did and on the day we were served by the no-sweet woman ds would stay standing blinking at her at the till waiting for his sweet!

ambling just very briefly....I just saw that Aldi Sued will be selling Sony Xperia L on Thurs 28th! For €169. dont know if that's a good price or if that's what your dd was after, but that I'd let you know.

LinzerTorte Tue 26-Nov-13 07:51:37

Ambling Yes, we had a lovely meal thanks and were very happy with the babysitter. It was just a shame that she doesn't live a bit closer, as DH had a 40-minute round trip afterwards to take her home.
School doctors are quite handy as it means the DC can have their jabs at school, but we always get a note home saying that they've got Senkfüße/Plattfüße/Senkplattfüße. We took DD1 to the orthopaedic specialist the first year, who said there was nothing to worry about, but have ignored all the notes since. grin

Nutella It does get easier, even though it probably seems relentless atm! We're not quite at the stage where I only see them for 10 minutes a day, but I can certainly get on with other things when the DC are around - and if they have friends over, then quite often I don't see them all afternoon.

platanos shock at the school doctor. A friend of mine had an issue over the KiGa teacher apparently calling her DD fett and I remember DH saying at the time that it's just not a word you'd use to a child, it's really not nice at all.
Yes, 20 years together... thanks for the restaurant recommendation; it was certainly an experience and the food was delicious. I was amazed at the size of one of the courses brought to the woman at the next table until DH pointed out that it was actually a tiny portion served on a very large stone. grin

MrsNutella Tue 26-Nov-13 08:05:15

Linzer glad to hear you had a great anniversary meal out. 20 years... You get less for murder grinwink

Ambling with DS it's like trying to hug an irritated cat, he isn't keen. But then sometimes he is asleep.

Today DS is particularly miserable. He had another croup attack type thing yesterday morning. The hosp dr offered to keep him in because she really wasn't happy with how rattly he was after all the medicine he could have was given to him. Then we had to take him to our dr to sort out a problem with the prescription and of course the dr who I've never met before and spent 30 secs with DS thinks I'm just a worrier. angry So annoying! And I hate being rushed, after waiting for at least an hour it would be nice to have a couple minutes with the dr. angryangryangry

hupa Tue 26-Nov-13 10:31:42

Nutella Sorry to hear that ds has been ill again. Hopefully he´s feeling a bit better today.

Linzer I´m glad you enjoyed the meal.

wannabe Hopefully you´ll strike lucky again with the school. I agree with Ambling, in that I would try to avoid Year 4 for your oldest dd if at all possible. It would give her a bit more time to settle in and improve her German before the move to secondary school.

Ambling Dh has bought a Samsung Galaxy mini for dd. I think it´s probably a bit small for your two, but I don´t think dd will be using it for much more than sending WhatsApp messages.

Has anyone else had snow yet? We had a couple of cms last week, which was enough to keep the dc entertained outside for an hour of two.

FrauEnglischLehrerin Tue 26-Nov-13 10:34:54

mrsnutella so grr when drs do that. I mean, probably every second child he sees atm has some sort of cough/bronchitis and he might be right that you are worrying more than you need to, but he could still take the time to reassure you and not give you the impression you're wasting his time. I do think hospital drs err on the side of over-cautious (DH is one) simply because they always have some horrible but rare case in the back of their minds where something was missed. Trust your instincts, though, and go back to the hospital whenever you think it's necessary.

Do you think your ds is building up to a new skill if he's in a difficult phase? Is he crawling/walking? I remember dd loved to empty things at that age - clothes pegs out of the peg basket, washing out of the basket, stationery and pens out of the cupboard, empty bottles out of a crate, dvds off the bookshelf... Maybe there's some creative way you can provide him with more of whatever he's currently really into, but in a different or safer way?

linzer congratulations on 20 years! Glad to hear you had a nice meal out. I'm very impressed that you're managing to serve your family vegan main courses now. What sorts of things are you doing, apart from the lentil flan? Are you using soya or seitan products at all, or sticking to pulses and nuts?

re: the Berlin thing, could it possibly be because saying you went to Berlin sounds more like you went there on a trip rather than you lived there?

(am German student and sometimes lurk on this thread, envying you lot over there!)

LinzerTorte Tue 26-Nov-13 11:22:32

Nutella Grr, how annoying about the doctor. Hope DS is on the mend soon.

hupa Yes, we had the first snow of the season yesterday and it's snowing fairly heavily atm. Definitely getting towards the end of the cycling season! (DS, on his scooter, was moaning all the way home from school.)

FrauEnglisch I'm mainly using nuts and pulses; tofu is ruled out (although I buy it for myself) as DD2 doesn't like it. We had a seitan steak kind of thing the other week which we all really liked, but the cost alone would put me off buying it regularly (plus I try not to buy too many "vegan ready meal" style things anyway). I made kidney bean bake today but, so far, DS hasn't been impressed (he's eaten all his veg but left the rest).

Was wondering what the other vegetarians/vegans on the thread do about omega 3s? I used to give the DC fish oil tablets but DS won't take them any more. I add ground linseed to my muesli but I've been looking into it and apparently it's not as good a source and I even read somewhere that it's not recommended for children.

quirrel Hello! Do you have a year abroad/in Germany coming up? Re gehen/fahren - that would be the case if it was the other way round but platanos used gehen (it would only be if she'd used fahren that it would sound like she'd been there on a trip). It just sounds like her colleagues are being picky because she sometimes uses gehen when she should say fahren (which is not something I ever do, oh no grin).

FrauEnglischLehrerin Tue 26-Nov-13 12:18:18

linzer help, I didn't realise I needed to worry about omega 3s as well as calcium/vit d/iron/b12, etc. wink I make my own muesli with linseed in, although I think I read whole linseed was so badly digested as to be worthless. Didn't know it was bad for children, I must google that <panic> What about using rapeseed oil? I think it's probably important to get plenty of fat in a vegan diet since so many main ingredients are then fat-free.

quirrel I think platanos's colleagues deliberately misunderstood her, rather than it being a mistake. A bit like saying you shouldn't say "ich heiße FrauEnglisch" because you could wilfully misunderstand it as "I sexy FrauEnglisch"!

LinzerTorte Tue 26-Nov-13 12:29:36

FrauEnglisch Sorry! From what I remember, the article just said that flaxseed/linseed wasn't recommended for children as not enough is known about the side effects rather than it having been proven to be detrimental. It doesn't seem to have the same cardiovascular benefits as fish oil, however, although I'm not sure what the alternative is. Yes, I've also heard that there's no point in eating whole linseed - and have finally found a use for our coffee grinder. grin

BertieBowtiesAreCool Tue 26-Nov-13 13:57:31

Hi Mouse! I'm the other side of the black forest to you, but it looks as though we may share a closest airport - Baden Baden has Ryanair flights to London Stansted very cheaply. Shame it doesn't fly to Birmingham where we actually want to go grin

My DS is 5 so we haven't had to deal with school yet. The kindergarten are very keen on him playing with other German children though to improve his language rather than just having playdates with the English-speaking kids. It's hard though because I get nervous that I can't talk to the children if they only speak German! He has a little girl-friend and he has been to her house, her mum was quite amused that they'd just (apparently) rolled around together on the floor the whole time like puppies! He is starting to learn German but hasn't picked up enough to actually use much yet.

LinzerTorte Tue 26-Nov-13 14:34:33

Bertie We need to start a campaign for more flights to Birmingham; we can't fly there from Vienna either. angry We usually fly with Ryanair from Bratislava, or sometimes from Munich.

WannabeFayeMouse Tue 26-Nov-13 14:36:18

hello again smile It's sounding snowy over there!

Bertie! Hello! Lovely to hear you're in the BF too - I will be very interested in your weather updates wink That sounds very sweet with your DS and his little friend smile How long have you been in Germany? I think it is definitely harder understanding children than adults. OTOH once you've tuned in it's a great way to learn German - I used to go to a Spielgruppe with DD2 and I was a very enthusiastic learner of nursery rhymes grin I like the ones with actions… Little children are so much more sympathetic to an adult just doing their best to communicate (no gehen/fahren/gezogen issues wink )

Stansted is quite a way from us too - we're up in the North East, so we're flying from Newcastle to Dusseldorf. I've not been to Dusseldorf yet but I know the motorway around it quite well now, isn't that awful? Must go in sometime.

Thanks, that's an excellent point re Yr4 and Gymnasium entry Ambling and hupa. We're not really sure yet whether we're there long term or not, but either way I wouldn't want her feeling worried. She's young in the year so there'd be no harm going down a year (at least). If the school don't mention it, I will. Thank you!

Mrsnutella it sounds like you're having a tough time at the moment, hope your DS is better soon.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Tue 26-Nov-13 16:39:59

It has snowed here but not settled yet. If DP's photos from last year are anything to go by, when it does it will be here to stay. Actually the weather here tends to be milder than most of Germany because it's in a big valley (or something like that!)

We can fly Stuttgart to Birmingham but you have to book months in advance or it's twice the price, which as it's in the 100s anyway is a big difference. I do often think we're utterly insane though as everyone else who lives abroad seems to have tons of money to start with whereas we're just about scraping by! Love it though.

Need to find a new apartment before August of next year and DP is stressing about the commission. From last year's experience, we're starting to look now. It's probably harder in a way this time because we've got DS settled in kindergarten now so we don't want to move far away from where we are.

WannabeFayeMouse Tue 26-Nov-13 17:20:47

that does sound hard with the apartment. I started looking at renting a flat for the time we're there, but it just seemed so complicated and expensive I've negotiated a rate on a holiday apartment instead (which funnily enough is owned by a woman who lives in the midlands - I only found out after I'd written an email in my best German then felt a bit foolish blush ) If we do stay longer we might have to do the proper rental market. Up til now we've always got away with finding something off a friend of a friend or doing the holiday apartment option, much easier… but like with the schools I worry eventually our luck must run out!

I hope there's some decent snow after Christmas! I suppose ideally none at all down in the valleys, but then lots of pretty snow to "visit" up on the hills. That's my request put in, if you could just sort that please grin

BertieBowtiesAreCool Tue 26-Nov-13 18:15:54

Yeah, we looked at holiday apartments in the end when we got desperate. Our current place is a holiday/student let so it was nice and cheap but it's tiny and really not set up for living in long term, we have a tiny little non-kitchen with no hot water and we're right up under the roof so it gets very cold and also very hot depending on the season.

AmblingAlong Thu 28-Nov-13 10:36:07

Bertie good luck with the flat hunting. It's a stressfull job as I know too well! We wanted atleast 3 bedrooms and it took us over a year to find this place as we wanted to be near school. Are you on a facebook group for expats or English speakers? I know the Hannover based group often has people moving back home offering their flats so that's one way to avoid paying the agent fees atleast. Otherwise advertising yourself in the local paper.

WannabeFayeMouse I also need to fly to the Newcastle to get home but this xmas I was looking at 2000€ for 4 tickets (dc are full price now) from Hannover. I used to get cheaper flights from Berlin but don't want the hassle of getting there and back so we are staying put!

Linzer and FrauEnglisch if you're looking for a quick meal idea for the dc we just tried the Gemüsestäbchen and the Spinatstäbchen by Iglo as I read somewhere they're vegan. I thought they had cheese in but on reading the package they don't. My two liked them (with sweet chilli sauce) but thought they're a good veggie 'fast food' to have in the freezer!

Nutella Hope your ds is feeling a bit better today. Have they checked him for asthma (not that you got a chance to ask about anything like that by the sound of it) - change doctor maybe?

Hupa you're lucky that your dh sorted the phone buying out. I hate having to decide and there's far too much on offer! Ds says he wants a Samsung and some expensive headphones for his PC so he's looking at slightly cheaper phones than the ones dd is looking at so he can get both!

outnumberedbymen thanks for the tip, aldi nord has it too this week but I'm too much of a wimp to fight the rush on specials day at aldi, I'd rather pay more!

I won't be on for a few days now as we're picking our nephew up today at the airport. Tourist programme planned for the weekend and entertainment for a 26 year old! Xmas market visit and maybe Berlin. He's from Texas so he'd quite like to see snow but doesn't look as if it's going to happen, lovely and mild today.

WannabeFayeMouse Thu 28-Nov-13 10:50:22

Bertie that does sound a tricky place to live (though cheap is always good!). If we do go to Berlin after Freiburg I will have to look into the expat-flat option Ambling. Actually the first time we lived in Freiburg we got our flat through advertising in the paper, that worked well.

What a shame the plane tickets are so expensive though! Do you mind staying in Germany for Christmas?

We're just at at the stage now of having to pack everything away. Big sigh, I hate sorting things out! It always makes me feel inadequate (i.e. I should have been more sorted out in the first place). So I'm going to commune with a black bag upstairs!

Can I ask another question? The move itself: I had a look at this website and spoke to them about moving some boxes of stuff. We're not doing a full removal, just some stuff for work, so a few boxes not furniture or anything like that. Have any of you used the Excess Baggage Company or anything like it?

WannabeFayeMouse Thu 28-Nov-13 12:51:18

actually ignore my last paragraph! I've found it's a lot cheaper to use parcel post (and probably faster too).

LinzerTorte Fri 29-Nov-13 07:31:00

Mouse Glad you got it sorted in the end. We shipped a couple of boxes of books over when we moved back from the USA, but DH's employers paid for it so I'm not too sure about costs etc. I still find it amazing that we brought everything else back in our suitcases; we lived a far more minimalist lifestyle then!
And good luck with your snow request; let me know if it works. wink I like the look of the snow, but not the effect it has on the practicalities of getting anywhere!

Ambling Hope you have a good time with your nephew!
Ouch at the flight tickets; we've never paid more than €1000 (usually more like half that) to fly back to the UK, and that's for all five of us. I don't think airlines do child fares any more, do they? We've always paid full price for the DC once they'd turned 2 and needed their own seat, at any rate, although I was quite surprised to find that DD1 is now classed as an adult when I booked for Christmas. We paid just under €600 with Lufthansa, which I didn't think was too bad - once you've added on luggage, priority boarding, etc. Ryanair isn't usually that much cheaper.

Bertie Good luck with the apartment hunting. The flat we rented before we bought our house was up in the roof too and it used to get unbearably hot in the summer; the summer that DD2 was born was just the worst.

We had parents' evening on Wednesday, although I had a quick chat with DD2's teacher after teaching English so only needed to go and see DS's teacher. She was so positive and full of praise that I almost fell off my chair; I'm so used to "she works well and doesn't have any problems" being the most praise you can expect and have always felt that if a child isn't having any problems, it doesn't seem like there's anything to discuss. So that was a pleasant surprise!

On a more annoying note, our coffee maker has broken and I'm now facing a good three days either without any coffee at all or with just instant (I have turned into a coffee snob and am not sure which is worse!). This is when I miss having decent shops nearby. There is a small electrical shop in town but I'd probably go in, discover that the cheapest coffee maker is €80 but feel obliged to buy it anyway. grin

Nutella that's annoying about the doctor! Hope your DS is feeling a bit better by now. My Ds1 used to get croup every autumn, and was very wheezy (to the point people used to stop and ask me if he should be out of bed) every time he got a cold - to which he was very prone. Finally (touch wood) he seems to have grown out of both this year, at 6 and a bit, a year later than the doctors told me he would - his lung function tests have always been normal to better than average, which is how they rule out asthma.

I could leave DS1 to play for a bit from about 18 months, but only if I'd "walked" him first - I used to drop DD off at Kindergarten then walk him to the next village and back (about 4km altogether) - he had to be on his running bike or pedal tractor, he wouldn't actually walk and pushing him in a buggy was worse than pointless. As long as I did that he would then play in quite a contented, self contained way for the remaining hour DD was at KiGa and I got stuff done. Both DD and DS2 are totally different though - physical exercise made no odds to how demanding DD was, she wanted constant interaction and still does at age 8 tbh - the difference now (and since about age 4 tbh) is that she can have friends around, so she doesn't need me , and being able to read helps a lot too, as that's something she will get absorbed in. She has never played alone though, not ever. Having a brother close in age also helped from when they were about 4 and 2, as from then they would play together, also meaning less intense demands on me. At 2 and 7 months DS2 is like DD - he plays alone a bit, building with Duplo or playing Playmobile or with cars, or drawing, but only if I am chatting to him the whole time, I certainly can't be in a different room. Siblings help. But they also fight and the boys are so wild together (its actually amazing how physically wild, and how loud, their happy play is - totally different to the way DD and DS1 play when its the 2 DSs) even in their happy play that somebody often ends up in tears...

DS2 is at Kinderpark now - like drop off playgroup. He loves it (I never managed to settle either of the older ones in there, but he started asking to stay with DS1 at KiGa so I thought I'd try) so now I get two 2.5 hour blocks a week child free in term time, which is very useful, if only for MNing putting laundry away!

Bertie our house was just advertised in the paper - I was surprised to discover you can search our local paper's adverts online (hardly anything is online locally, but the adverts from the paper are!) its a good way to find something provisionfrei and often cheaper rent.

SpookedMackerel Sat 30-Nov-13 18:48:22

Good luck with the apartment hunting Bertie. We found ours through Immobilienscout24, then DH had to arrange viewings for when he would be visiting for work. I didn't see it until we moved in (luckily it was a nice surprise, although he had arranged the furniture in bizarre configurations.) A bit stressful at the time, but actually I think we were lucky to find something so quickly.

Linzer I would have thought 80 Euros was a bargain for a coffee maker! Or do you just mean a cafetiere rather than a machine with capsules? Tchibo have cafetieres in this week.

We went to the Christmas market today, it turns out the good thing about living somewhere a bit gritty and unattractive is that the Christmas market isn't crowded at all. We actually managed to sit down at a nice wooden table in a little hut for a drink. I had a "SchokoLady" which was hot choc with Baileys in - clearly something no self respecting man would dream of ordering grin.

LinzerTorte Sun 01-Dec-13 07:12:27

Spooked Neither - it's just a normal filter coffee maker. I've ordered one from Amazon but we've got friends coming for a meal later on today, so DH ended up going to Media Markt and buying one (for €30). I have friends with coffee makers that cost hundreds of euros but I don't think the coffee tastes any better; in fact, it's very often disappointingly lukewarm.

Our elf arrived this morning, so DS is very excited. Apparently the elf has told him that he's DS's friend as he's also a vegetarian. grin Now just need to think of some mischief for him to get up to over the next few weeks.

MrsNutella Mon 02-Dec-13 11:07:27

MrT thank you, DS improved a lot over the weekend. We rang up to make an appointment on Friday because he wasn't much better but they obviously close at lunchtime on Fridays now. They answered the phone but the first appointment was monday morning at 10:30. It was only after DH hung up the phone that I saw the calendar marked for DS's U6 on Monday morning at 9am grin so we had two appointments!!
But it was good because out usual dr did the U6 and we had the weekend to write down all our questions and she had time to answer them.

Linzer my mum used to have a very posh coffee machine that made very tasty coffee from beans but I know it was about £400 shock and the built in grinder was the part most likely to break fastest because sometimes little stones get in with the beans - she found out once it needed repairing. We have a cafetiere and a hand filter thing. I also can't drink instant any more. I think when you have it you get used to it. Now if someone gives me instant coffee it tastes of nothing and smells a bit like marmite strange. The PIL make instant espresso and offer it after meat lunch at theirs...

DS is being very cute. Last night in the shower tray bath he kept shouting in a very annoyed way "Da-daa" when DH left the room grin he will often crawl into dh's home office and say it as if he is asking where da-da is smile

MrsNutella Thu 05-Dec-13 08:54:14

Oops... How do I manage it? I finally catch up and have time to post, only to kill the thread... hmmhmmhmm

AmblingAlong Thu 05-Dec-13 11:55:56

Hi Nutella good that you had a better experience at the doctor for the U6.
Just spent a few days off doing tourism around the region with dh and nephew. He was lucky as the weather was great for this time of year. He left yesterday.

Are you ready for the hurricane? Warnings were out yesterday and I understood it was expected to arrive today but now they're saying tomorrow! Oh well, got all my balcony bits and bobs cleared anyway. Only think left out there is a beer crate full of empty bottles. I just wish the people in the house opposite us would take down their lifesize climbing santa who is hanging down from their balcony. If it goes flying in the wind it'll take a window or two out.

AmblingAlong Thu 05-Dec-13 11:57:50

think = thing!

SpookedMackerel Thu 05-Dec-13 12:57:46

Hope we don't get a hurricane! Dh said yesterday there were supposed to be storms and snow this evening, but that it would be up in the north, around Hamburg. Might have to secure the trampoline just in case it comes in this direction. We are predicted heavy rain tonight, which is bad enough.

MrsNutella Thu 05-Dec-13 13:01:42

Amblimg good point on the balcony stuff... I hadn't thought of it... Oh well it's only a few plants. It is really windy here. The windows in our living room whistle when the wind hits them directly. confused It's a bit chilly today. I don't see me venturing out to get blown around with the buggy!

jimeyrose Thu 05-Dec-13 14:28:46

I've been following this thread for a while now and have finally decided to post. DH and I have been considering a move to Germany and he has actually applied for some jobs now. We have DD who is 2 and DS who is 8 months. I am a SAHM and we would have a net income of around 2000 euro a month including child benefit. This is roughly the same as our income here in the UK but is it doable in Germany? We would be looking to rent a 3 bed house/apartment and we don't live an extravagant lifestyle.
We have both lived and worked abroad before but that was when we were single so it wasn't such a risk. I know it is a bit of a vague question but any help would be greatly appreciated.

AmblingAlong Thu 05-Dec-13 15:04:27

MrsNutella they even sent the school kids home early today. Is it windy yet down your side of town? It's going wild here but then keeps stopping and going all quiet and still.

jimeyrose it'd definately doable on that income but would depend which city you move to. We lived as a family of four on 1600€ when the dc were that age and dh was a PhD student but we only managed because we has a very cheap (and small) flat. We had an old banger of a car too but it got us from a to b!
Which part of Garmany are you looking at?

spooked we also have snow forcast once the worst of this wind/storm has gone. I hope it calms down by the weekend as there's a vegan xmas market at the weekend that dd and I are planning to go to. Dd is hoping to get some candles, more choice than the usual xmas market ones anyway.

jimeyrose Thu 05-Dec-13 18:57:02

AmblingAlong Thanks for answering. It's good to know that it is possible. DH has applied for jobs all over the place but the best one would be in Stuttgart. That one would actually give us 2300 euro a month. He's been out of the field a long time though so I don't know what his chances are.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Thu 05-Dec-13 21:12:17

Hi jimey. We are currently on about 1200 between me and DP net, and that finances a tiny 2-bed apartment, bills, food, kindergarten fees for DS (5 years old) essential clothing and tram tickets for DP and I to get to work and not much else. We are in Karlsruhe so assuming Stuttgart is pretty similar as they are fairly nearby. I think you'd be okay on 2000 but it would be tight. It's best not to factor in kindergeld at first because it can be a real pain to get it. And the one for a child under a year is even worse! If you've been receiving any benefits in the UK you MUST go and badger the relevant offices for a cancellation confirmation before you leave, it will make things much easier.

The biggest worry for us moneywise is saving for our next move because the commission you pay on finding an apartment is horrendous and you usually have to buy your own kitchen etc as well, plus pay the deposit! DP wants to save up about 4k for the move and I'm a bit worried we won't have enough, I hope to be earning more soon though.

jimeyrose Thu 05-Dec-13 21:46:35

Bertie Good to know that about the kindergeld because I had assumed it would be quite straightforward to apply for. You have given my DH a bit of a wake up call on the moving costs! He didn't believe me about the whole new kitchen thing when I told him before, so it's good you mentioned it. Hope things improve moneywise for you soon. We are lucky in that we own 2 houses in the UK and we are hoping to sell one in the next few months so that would provide us with a bit of a safety net to start.
When they quote rental prices do they include utilities or are they on top?

MrsNutella Thu 05-Dec-13 21:51:47

Hello jelly utilities are normally on top. You will often get the "cold" price (Kaltmiete), which is without heating. Unless it is explicitly included always assume it isn't. Then there are Nebenkosten, a sort of service charge/water/council tax type bill which is calculated per person normally.

Hmmm can't think what else...

ambling where is the vegan market? I came across a vegan restaurant recently near ish to the town centre. I haven't convinced DH to try it yetthough.

MrsNutella Thu 05-Dec-13 21:52:26

jimey oops fat fingers! Sorry!

jimeyrose Thu 05-Dec-13 21:58:27

Hi MrsNutella It is so hard trying to decide what is for the best. DH and I have permanent itchy feet but we really want to find somewhere that would be good to settle now we have children. I don't want to blindly rush into something and realise that we have ended up worse off!

LinzerTorte Fri 06-Dec-13 08:34:22

Hi jimey, good luck with your decision! I'm not much help I'm afraid, as we lived in Germany pre-DC. As others have said, estate agent commission can be ridiculously high (we paid three months' rent IIRC) and you'll probably need to factor in the price of a kitchen, although you may be lucky and be able to buy the kitchen from whoever's moving out - we sold our kitchen to the new tenants.

Nutella Good to hear that DS is better now. I must confess that my decision to buy my parents a coffee maker for Christmas several years ago wasn't entirely altruistic. wink

Ambling The vegan market sounds good. I was quite excited - not to mention amazed - to discover a vegan cooking course here, but it's been cancelled twice now as I was the only person to sign up!

DD2 is off school today as we're going to the open day at DD1's school in about half an hour. DD2 doesn't actually want to go there, she just wants to see where DD1 goes to school (and particularly her classroom). hmm I don't actually mind, although the timing could have been better as I have a deadline early next week. I don't think many of the others from her class will be going; about half the girls from DD1's class went there but the parents in DD2's class are a little more ambitious for their DC, shall we say - one has even banned her DD from going to the open day!

BertieBowtiesAreCool Fri 06-Dec-13 08:48:35

"Cold" is just the rent, but "Warm" doesn't necessarily include heating. (Just to be confusing!)

Most places will have "Cold" and "Warm" rates advertised. You always have to pay the warm rate, but it's best to find out what that covers - it could be heating, water, electricity, cleaning of communal areas, or any combination of those things - it's unlikely to be ALL of your utilities at once. It's just that in apartments it's usual for things like the water, electricity or heating (and sometimes internet) to be shared between several flats so the landlord gets the bill and divides it up between the tenants.

Sometimes just the cold rate is advertised but the utilities are quoted on top. For a 4-room house (places aren't advertised by number of bedrooms, but number of rooms discounting kitchens, hallways and bathrooms) you're probably looking at an average of 200€ on top of the cold rate, but obviously that covers some of the utilities, so isn't all bad.

AmblingAlong Fri 06-Dec-13 09:02:35

Linzer have fun at the open day! Is dd1's school like a Realschule in Germany?
I was planning on doing that lentil dish you linked to today but realised I forgot to ask - did you have yeast flakes in yours? Could you mix abit of marmite in maybe instead do you think?

Nutella the vegan market is at Steintor just over the weekend. We were going to go on Sunday but dd is going iceskating with 2 friends so we'll have to fight the shopping crowds and go on Saturday instead. Where was the vegan restaurant that you came across? Good to have an address in case I get offered a meal out! Usually if we go as a family the men want meat so we end up at the Greek place and I have salad!

Bertie very wise to save as much as you can before you move but I really hope you can find a place without commission as that hurts when you hand over that money! Every time we've moved house it's taken us almost 6 months to financially recover from the moving costs. We've had luck with kitchens so far though and have only bought the one we have now (for 800€) from the people moving out.

jimeyrose Stuttgart is very expensive for rent but you can get cheaper flats if you're prepared to live in one of the smaller towns around there. I'd say the cost of living is less in Germany compared to last time I was in the UK. I was surprised at the price of food and transport. Only thing that seemed cheaper in the UK was clothes and shoes and maybe books.

Well, I've ordered the smartphones for the dc for xmas, lets hope they're the right ones and do all the cool stuff that I have no idea about! I've also got the parcel ready to send to my family in the UK but it's still windy and keeps trying to snow so I'm putting off going to the post office.

AmblingAlong Fri 06-Dec-13 09:07:08

Bertie that's a good tip - I fell for the Warmmiete trick thinking it included everything but it didn't include warm water. We pay for that with our extra electric bill as there was an electric water heater kind of hidden in the bathroom that I missed when we viewed. We were so desperate to find a place though.
So, when flat/house hunting always check under sinks and in bathroom corners if there's an electric water heater. Cost a fortune to run. we pay 150€ a month just for electricity.

FrauEnglischLehrerin Fri 06-Dec-13 12:41:21

Ambling I made the lentil flan last weekend and it went down well. The recipe calls for marmite instead of stock and said the yeast flakes were optional. I actually used stock instead of marmite as we've just about run out (going back to UK to stock up soon, though) and I managed to get yeast flakes at the supermarket here. I can't say I could taste them particularly and after 30 mins in the oven the b12 will have broken down most likely, so I wouldn't bother buying them extra.

Did the giant Santa survive the storm? We had a blowy night and a bit of snow but definitely escaped the worst.

jimey good luck with the decision. DH had a couple of days in Stuttgart recently and complained how expensive it seemed. I like the city though.

linzer I followed a link from the flan site and came up with a couple more vegan recipes that sound good. We had vegan thai jungle curry last night and I fancy trying this stew which sounds very versatile.

LinzerTorte Fri 06-Dec-13 12:58:11

Ambling I didn't use yeast flakes as I didn't have any at the time and didn't have marmite either so, like FrauEnglisch, used stock. I was going to make it again last weekend when we had friends over but then realised I didn't have any leeks; I could have used onions, I suppose, but was worried about ruining the recipe. grin

DD1's school is the alternative to Gymnasium; they were rebranded a few years ago as middle schools and are supposed to be for all abilities (with extra tuition for gifted children, for example) but as long as we still have Gymnasien, the Einser-Mamas most parents of academically abler children will continue not to send them there.

FrauEnglisch (I don't feel I can abbreviate your NN any further without sounding rude grin) That stew looks good, although I might have to leave out the mushrooms for DD2 unless they're no longer detectable. Thai jungle curry sounds interesting as well; was it very spicy?

FrauEnglischLehrerin Fri 06-Dec-13 15:29:11

grin linzer. DH made the paste with two small hot chillies instead of three as we'd used one from the same packet for a salad dressing and found it overwhelming. Actually the curry wasn't too hot and I would have liked an extra kick to it yesterday, but I was craving something palate-blowing and it was hot enough to make my nose run (sorry if tmi). The lemongrass and ginger are probably more important for a distinctive Thai flavour. I googled other recipes for jungle curry and one had ground coriander in the paste. DH said he wasn't making it if he had to follow two recipes simultaneously though, so we had the herbifit version grin.

jimeyrose Fri 06-Dec-13 21:44:23

Thanks everyone who has responded. It has been really helpful.

Ambling We would be happy to live in a smaller town as long as there were good transport links. I hate driving in the UK so don't think I would ever cope in Germany. Good to hear you think cost of living is lower in Germany, we manage here so hopefully things would be ok.

Linzer I think if DH got a job we would go. His job here is terrible with no chance of progression so it would be better for him anyway. I am generally happy anywhere. One benefit of growing up in the middle of nowhere is that you are very used to your own company!

BertieBowtiesAreCool Fri 06-Dec-13 22:11:49

Karlsruhe is nice. It's about an hour from Stuttgart by train (I've got on the Stuttgart train by accident before...) and there's a large-ish expat community who are very supportive, almost like a RL version of mumsnet. Main jobs here are IT or technology if that's any use to you.

AmblingAlong Wed 11-Dec-13 10:25:23

All quiet on the German front! How is everyone?

FrauEnglisch we buy little green chillis at the Asian shop and sometimes just half a chilli will almost ruin a meal as it's so hot and other times you can't taste them!

Linzer finally got round to making that lentil flan. It was very good and will be making it more often. I added some roast pepper to the mixture before baking too. Just noticed the recipe came from 'The Caring Cook' written by Janet Hunt. My most treasured recipe book is a very old and tattered book of hers '365 Plus 1 Vegetarian Main Meals' that I bought as a teenager to get some vegetarian ideas for meals. Each recipe also has suggestions to serve with such and such a salad or side dish of this or that so you never run out of ideas.

Is everyone done with xmas shopping?
I had a weird day yesterday. Took the parcel to the post office and it was just (but only just) a mm over the line on the scale for the next price up postage and the woman said oh I'll let you off this time and sent it for 8.50€ then I took a prescription into the pharmacy for dh that was actually almost a month out of date and the woman said oh I'll let you have it this one time! That's never happened to me before - must be the xmas spirit or something making everyone so laid back. I'm used to getting told off for less!

LinzerTorte Wed 11-Dec-13 13:28:36

I used to have that book when I was a teenager too, Ambling! I'm sure there was a sequel called something like Another 365 Vegetarian Meals, but I can't find it on Amazon... although I did also have The Vegetarian Lunchbox, which I used to use a lot when I was a student. I hadn't recognised the author's name, though.

It's so refreshing when you get unexpectedly nice customer service, isn't it? Lakeland have a reputation for excellent customer service anyway, but I had to phone them recently as one of the hooks on the clothes dryer I'd bought had snapped off and they sent me a whole new dryer! I was only expecting to be sent a replacement hook so felt a bit guilty, as the old one is still perfectly usable, it's just very slightly harder to get the drying net across the top (but DH can probably superglue it back on anyway).

I've hardly started my Christmas shopping, but don't have many people to buy for as DH buys for his family and the DC, DH and I don't exchange presents, and I've agreed with my family (which is only very small) to cut down on Christmas presents this year. I've been so busy with work recently that I haven't even had time to go food shopping, although I've bought one or two things online and have had them sent to my parents' address.

I'll be going to a parents' evening at the Gymnasium that DD2 wants to go to tomorrow. I spoke to the mother who banned her DD from going to look at the NMS, who said that having grown up in this town, there's no way that she'd ever send her DD to the NMS as all the worst pupils used to go there when she was at school and it was a Hauptschule. The Gymasium is the be-all and end-all for so many parents here, although they had to open a new class at the NMS this year for all the pupils who'd failed the first year at Gymnasium.

AmblingAlong Wed 11-Dec-13 15:11:15

Linzer the Gymnasium where my dc go now is quite free of Einsermamas (except one in dd's class) but ds was in a Gymnasium where it was over powering (for me) at the parents meetings, all far too pushy and loud and over important bossy types. I was glad when it was over.

I'm starting to try and get my head around the next load of choices that ds has to make. I've no idea how the Abitur works and what I have read so far is beyond me, too many abreviations that I don't understand and I'm hoping that the school will offer some info evening atleast so we know what is going on. I think they have tp pick 3 or 4 main subjects that count mor ethan the other subjects (even though they continue to have lessons in all subjects).

Ds got a 1 in maths on his report but one older boy has told them not to take maths as it gets really hard for abi next year. Dh's student told me the dc should go with the subjects they have had the best grades in, so maths as one subject for ds. Hard to decide when all you have are two opposite opinions.

LinzerTorte Thu 12-Dec-13 07:27:53

It's amazing how much the competitiveness differs from class to class, let alone from school to school. DD2's class is the kind where both child and parent seem to feel a failure if grades are less than a 1; she often comes home and tells me that children were crying because they didn't get a very good grade, which I'm sure never happened in DD1's class. The parents themselves are actually very nice and I get on with them better than the parents in DD1's class, but I think I'd probably feel a total failure as a parent if my child only got very "average" grades.

I don't have a clue about Abitur/Matura either - I vaguely remember something about choosing Leistungsfächer, but that's about as far as it goes! I'm pretty sure that you have to do maths here, though, and the maths that DH's niece was doing at 16/17 looked horrendous, way over my head! They also have a lot of oral exams, not just in languages. It all seems very subjective, with the teacher setting and marking the papers, although that is changing v e r y s l o w l y.

LinzerTorte Thu 12-Dec-13 07:28:23

Where has the gap between very and slowly gone? I left about 10 spaces!

FrauEnglischLehrerin Thu 12-Dec-13 11:46:06

linzer and ambling I am beyond baffled by virtually everything anyone tells me about German schooling atm. My y10 music student told me he was hoping to work with my y12 nephew on a Seminarfacharbeit which would be worked on over a year or so, but dnephew will be leaving school next summer confused. And someone else told me that Grundschulen have stopped teaching children how to spell, so they just write down the sounds (phonetic spelling?) and they are supposed to work out the correct spellings over time without being corrected by parents or teachers. I don't understand at all how they learn to read without learning how to spell at the same time, plus this father said his y3 daughter would not be able to sound out cuh-a-tuh cat. Surely all German kids learn to read using phonics? At least the school dd will be going to still uses te Fibel (whatever that is)!

LinzerTorte Thu 12-Dec-13 12:20:28

Ah yes, the Fibel - we have it here too, although exactly what it means I've never been quite sure. confused I was just talking to another mother at school about the new Zentralmatura - well, she was talking (as she has five DC at Gymnasium shock) and I was listening - I didn't have much to contribute as I knew very little about the old Matura, let alone the new one. All I could gather was that the teachers no longer know what kind of calculators the pupils are allowed to use in maths!

The teachers here can pick whichever method they want to teach children to learn to read, so it varies from class to class. DD1 started with whole word recognition and found it very difficult. It really seems to depend on the teacher and how close they are to retirement. DS's teacher is the first one under 50 that any of the DC have had at primary school and seems to be a bit more progressive, with Buchstabentage etc.

LinzerTorte Thu 12-Dec-13 12:50:28

Oh, and how do they manage to take off to Ireland, Canada or some other English-speaking country for a semester not long before their Matura? Are they just not examined on all the stuff they missed while they were abroad?

BertieBowtiesAreCool Thu 12-Dec-13 15:48:20

Isn't German fairly phonetic anyway though? It seems to me like the direct sound-to-spelling translation would work perfectly with phonics if there was only one sound for each spelling and one spelling for each sound which I think is closer to German than English. I am doing phonics (English) with DS at the moment so have been reading up!

Hello smile
As always, I don't get to comment on everyone's posts sad

ambling I don't know how or if things have changed but it used to be that kids had to choose two subjects as Leistungskurs. I believe the counted 4 times as much as other subjects (ground kruse)?? And then another two subjects as Prüfungskurs. They counted twice as much as Grundkurse. From those Prüfungskurse, one was a schriftlicher, and the other was a mündlicher Prüfungskurs. But that difference only really mattered when it came to the vey final exam. The rest was the same as the Grundkurse.
Pupils can't just choose any subjects they like, but with those four Kurse, all areas must be covered (languages, natural sciences, music and the arts). And there are certain subjects that must be continued until year 13 (like maths, either at Leistungskurs or Grundkurs level, and same with English iirc), and then others until year 12 (I think I second foreign language), and I think either biology, physics or chemistry (or to f them??) had to be taken up to year 12 or even 13.
A bit more complex than taking A'Levels wink

Also, I can't remembered who asked about Stuttgart? But afaik it's one of the most expensive cities to live in wrt rent and property prices. A close friend of mine lives there. They have a 2 bed flat (though reasonably central) and they pay the same rent as us in a 5 bed detached house. My friends laughed out loud when I told here our house buying budget, as they wouldn't get more than a 1 bed fat for that budget. Not sure how much cheaper it gets a littler further out. But then,although I consider German public transport to be very good, and I have managed well without a car for up to two weeks (due to car problems) I would not want to completely do without a car.

I hope everyone else is keeping well. I can't believe it's nearly Christmas!!

scripsi Fri 13-Dec-13 13:20:09

I am a bit of an imposter - am not living in Germany alas. I wonder if you know of any German pharmacies who would post to the UK? I have anxiety and am just coming to the end of a five month supply of Lasea (which is made from lavender oil) it is apparently quite popular in Germany as an alternative to valium and it has worked wonders on me. It is available over the counter. A friend travelling to Berlin picked them up for me and I don't know how to get some more. Is there an online pharmacy (preferably taking paypal) which I could use?

LinzerTorte Fri 13-Dec-13 14:27:28

scripsi I've never used an online pharmacy, but I had a quick look on Amazon and this has about the cheapest postage - but still €13 to the UK (unless you're buying direct from Amazon, postage to a country outside Germany tends to be annoyingly extortionate). And Amazon doesn't take paypal, of course. You seem to be able to order a few packets for the same delivery charge, though.

scripsi Fri 13-Dec-13 14:55:32

thanks so much LinzerTorte thanks am just having a look (with an online dictionary to hand) can I order this through my amazon uk account somehow? I don't have a credit card, only a debit card so I am wondering how I can make this happen!

LinzerTorte Fri 13-Dec-13 15:34:54

scripsi I think you might need to register with Amazon.de to order from there, but can see it might be tricky if you don't speak any/much German. I'm sure I use my Visa debit card on Amazon.de (I definitely use it on the UK site), but will check. If you need any help with the German, just shout!

LinzerTorte Fri 13-Dec-13 15:40:59

Actually, I've just checked (by trying it out on Amazon.fr!) and you should be able to log into Amazon.de using your UK account and it will have all your details - addres, card details, etc. - so that should make things a little easier.

LinzerTorte Fri 13-Dec-13 15:42:35

And yes, if you can use your debit card to pay on the UK site, you'll be able to use it on the German site too.

scripsi Fri 13-Dec-13 16:34:10

Thanks so much LinzerTorte, I think I have just ordered a couple of months' worth (probably not the cheapest combination of available tablets on amazon.de but I got very confused with the various options!).
I will do more research in future too.

AmblingAlong Fri 13-Dec-13 18:01:13

scripsi just checked the online pharmacy that I use in Germany and the tablets are cheaper on amazon.de so you've got a bargain not counting the shipping costs!

outnumbered thanks for trying to explain the system, still sounds complicated! My dc are on the 12 year Abi so no 13th year either. It's all crammed into year 10 and 11 now. Ds is sailing through year 10 though so I guess it'll get harder in year 11. Year 10 is called the Qualifikationsphase as far as I've understood.

FrauEnglisch interesting about the Fibel or other methods of learning to read and write in Germany. My ds was taught by a new, very young teacher who used the method you heard of from someone - not being taught how to spell, so they just write down the sounds (phonetic spelling) at first, Hauptsache get them writing and enjoying it, pariase them lots etc and they go onto worrying about the correct spellings later in year 2 and 3. Ds loved it and loved reading (and still does), it worked well for him.

Poor dd had the Fibel (in Berlin) and it was very dull and she hated it and didn't start writing much until the end of year 2, lots of copying poems, handed out by the teacher, red pen all over the page if there were mistakes, stress, headaches, tummy aches sad Thank goodness that phase is over!

Just been to get our xmas tree, put it up with dd and she's now covering mini pretzels in white icing for her gingerbread house which I hope she is going to want to do on Monday and not now as I'm officially entering weekend and I don't do kitchen stuff at weekends (and she'll leave a sticky mess if I let her do it alone)!

scripsi Fri 13-Dec-13 19:29:43

Thanks Ambling! MN saves my mental health and not for the first time ;-)

AmblingAlong Fri 20-Dec-13 10:26:27

How is everyone?

I guess everyone is dashing about trying to get things sorted for Christmas, attending parties or braving the shops (not looking forward to that one). Who's leaving/left for the Uk? All our Verein, Schule and work xmas parties are done and thank goodness school breaks up today!

I think I'll try and do my food shopping today, need to go to a couple of shops to get all the veggies I need. Got loads of xmas dinner vegetable recipes and treats lined up and the men (dh and ds) are going out on Sunday for their meat fix at the Greek restaurant! Dd has invited her Turkish friend round on the 25th as her family don't do xmas, she's a vegetarian too. Dd has put her a couple of parcels under the tree aswell!

Dd wants to go into town tomorrow but I've said only if we get up and are there really early as I hate crowds and it will be busy for sure later on. Still waiting for a parcel to arrive with 2 presents each for the dc, meant to arrive yesterday.

Well, hope you're all having a relaxing festive time and will enjoy the holidays!
Our 'es herbselt' thread fits well to this mild slightly damp weather we're having too, not going to be a white one this year!

hupa Sat 21-Dec-13 16:41:07

Ambling did you brave the shops today? We went out early to do the food shopping and it was surprisingly o.k. I think this is the most organised I've ever been. I'm probably tempting fate and I've actually forgotten something important.

I'd like to write more, but I'm on the i Pad and it's driving me nuts.

I hope everyone has a lovely, relaxing Christmas.

platanos Mon 23-Dec-13 14:28:39

That sounds very organised hupa. And fingers crossed you have not forgotten anything!

Ambling did you go into town? I have been avoiding the shops --dh bought the dc's presents. did your parcel arrive? Your Christmas sounds lovely. We have gone for the favourite dishes meal (everyone picked their favourite dish), which we will have over the 24th and the 25th. If I make it to the shops for the final bits and bobs- I wanted to bribe the dds into going this afternoon, but they have a friend round so am planning to go tomorrow at 8am. I am going a bit mad trying to feed this family of mine: vegan with ds being allergic to nuts and others with soya, tomato, lentil, and mushroom intolerance. All we need now is a gluten intolerance grin.

I am not sure through what method ds has learnt to read and write. His teacher did not explain it to us, but she did (modestly) mention she had the best method. But I do know they learn the letters slowly and she does expect correct spelling. And that ds, has suddenly become interested in letters and reading.

Hope you all have a very merry Christmas! fsmile

Hi all. I have a bit of an odd question for you, I hope it's ok to ask it here. It's very hypothetical but my husband is an automotive engineer and could probably get a good job in Munich. My eldest DD is 2.5 and we currently live in a London suburb. I've been wondering whether we could have a better quality of life in Germany. I was also particularly wondering if anyone could tell me how schooling works, especially whether if we lived in a professional 'middle class' suburb of say, Munich, do the majority of people send their kids to the local school or do you end up having to play the catchment area game and have the brightest/richest kids being taken out of the state sector into private school (which is what happens around here). It's one of the big worries about where we are at the moment and a catalyst for considering whether to make a big move.

Also, on quality of life, has anyone made a similar type of move? Would you mind telling me what you like/dislike about it? Thanks v much.

FrauEnglischLehrerin Tue 31-Dec-13 14:16:32

Hi pink. I didn't want to leave your question unanswered for too long, although I'm not sure I'm the best person to do so. Germany is very different depending on which Bundesland you are in and I don't live in Bavaria, or in a large city. However, I am fairly sure that London is a more expensive place to live than anywhere in Germany. Munich is possibly the most expensive German city, but it won't come close to London. The SoL in Germany is generally very high and the pace of life less frantic than in the UK.

Re schools: you could search on toytown for info on Munich schools, but afaik there isn't the divide between private and state schools here. Where I live there is a privately-owned Gymnasium and a state Gymnasium, but the cost to parents is virtually the same. Schools in Bavaria are generally thought to be very good, but the curriculum and methods are not what you would get in the UK.

There's a poster on this thread who lives near Munich and who will hopefully be along soon with some much more helpful information smile. In the meantime if you have any more questions feel free to ask.

MrsNutella Wed 01-Jan-14 07:42:47

Happy 2014 everyone! Cannot believe Nuttelachen is 1 today!shock Feel a little bit sorry for him that he will be spending the next 10 hours ish in a plane... Hope it goes well. See you all in a few weeks. We are off for our honeymoon to Florida. Yay!!

Thanks so much Frau - I'll check out toytown. Stuttgart also under consideration if anyone from here is around there.

Happy new year everyone!
I never seem to have time to post these days, but I will try & pop on for a catch-up soon.
Hope everyone is well!

FrauEnglish I think central Munich probably does come close to some areas of London - you can easily spend a million € to buy a terraced house or appartment without even being right in the centre, rents fo way up to €5000 a month and beyond for a really plush 3 bedroom apartment in the centre... but of course there are cheaper options too and you can get a 1 or 2 room flat in a not very popular area for €650, or move out into the sticks to the north of Munich and commute in by overland train, and get a house for under €1000... I haven't read the thread, and am a bit rushed atm but will read today and replysmile

Pink look at http://www.immobilienscout24.de/wohnen/bayern,muenchen/mietwohnungen.html

Pinik I am in the countryside about 50km outside Munich. There is an excelent fb group called Parents In Munich which I recommend - I hate Toytown personally, though it can be useful for some things.

I don't think there is the catchment area game here really - local school is the norm and you certainly can't select a choice of school - your address dictates your school, unless you go private.

I have a 2.5 year old too, and also an 8 year old in her 3rd year at school here and a 6 year old in his last year of Kindergarten. We moved from Surrey when my eldest was 19 months old, and in many ways I would say the kids do have a better quality of life, yes. However I wanted to be a SAHM, it was one of the 3 main motivations we had for moving - state school here in Bavaria still finishes at 11.20am in the first year, with a gradual lengthening of school day as the kids get over, but still 1pm finishes are the norm even for older children, with 1 or 2 long days a week at secondary level. If you want to work more than a few hours here and there you will shell out a lot for childcare.

FrauEnglischLehrerin Mon 06-Jan-14 11:30:27

Happy new year, everyone!

Mrtumbles - €5000 a month rent shock Can't imagine many people could afford that! I shall be glad I don't have any intention of ever moving to Munich...

Mrsnutella - hope you're enjoying your trip and happy belated birthday to nutellachen.

Woollyhooligan - nice to hear from you. I'd just fb stalked you to check you were still around!

I've just joined goodreads and am trying to get to grips with it. Is there a way to add people without linking the account to fb? And do you all read the reviews of books you are reading/have just finished? I finished a book this morning and was so irritated by the reviews I wanted to bang the reviewers' heads together. Still, I think seeing how many books linzer manages will inspire me to read more books this year (and hopefully by extension less internet).

platanos Mon 06-Jan-14 14:26:33

happy new year all!

Pink - I am afraid I can't really help, am south of the border in Austria.

*MrsNutella *- happy birthday to little one! Hope you are having a great time.

FrauEnglisch - that's funny-I just joined Goodreads over Christmas too. And the MN group on there. I am also struggling to find how to add friends - I am not too keen on using the facebook link as fear everything I will read will show up on my facebook page. But not sure if that actually happens. I came across goodreads looking for reviews on books I thought I might want to read. It can be useful as it gives you an idea of the plot and the way it is written. But they are all opinions so I don't pay that much attention to them. Maybe we should swap goodreads usernames and that way at least I would have one friend :-)

LinzerTorte Mon 06-Jan-14 16:54:09

platanos You can add me on Goodreads! I'm on there under my real name (as opposed to a fake one grin). You can search for friends via their name or e-mail address FrauEnglisch, although I think all of mine are either from FB or the MN group. I generally read one or two reviews after I've read the book, but like platanos don't always pay too much attention to them.

I include books that I've read to the DC just to make the numbers look more impressive keep track, but I'm definitely reading far more since I've been on Goodreads. I decided to do the 50 book challenge last year and got a bit obsessed by it, so kept upping the amount. Having a Kindle helps too, as it means I've always got a book to read when I'm out and about and I've read quite a few quick and easy reads on it. I tend to read at absolutely every opportunity, even if we're just going somewhere in the car for 10 minutes (and DH is driving, obviously grin). I got through a couple of books on the journey back to Austria; a few years ago I'd have been lucky to be able to read for more than 10 minutes altogether!

Frau-English obviously we don't pay €5000 a month rent or earn anything close to that altogether, never mind to pay out in rent but on the Parents in Munich group (for English speakers in Munich) I mentioned somebody was moving away and posted that their "lovely" rental appartment was going to be available, if anyone would like to snap it up - it did look lovely... as it would have to at that price! shock I assume they were the "type" of ex pat who moves around every couple of years on an ex-pat contract, wherever the compan sends them, with kdis private international school fees and housing costs and "don't lift a finger" removals where other people pack for you included in the package... but still, clearly very, very expensive appartements exist in Munich!

I don't think you could live in Munich on under €3k a month all in - and that is living in modest accommodation (2 bedrooms if in the city, or living a long way out) shopping at Aldi and watching the pennies very carefully - it is an expensive city, a beautiful, historic, child friendly one with a high standard of living and amazing countryside on the doorstep for mountain lovers too obviously, but a very expensive place to live. Also an old fashioned place too, with regards to things like schooling and Kindergarten... which has pros and cons.

AmblingAlong Tue 07-Jan-14 10:21:40

Happy new year everyone (bit late I know)!

Just been inspired to go back on Goodreads! Forgot about it for ages and now that I have the kindle I should hopefully read a few more books in 2014!
Linzer good idea to add books that the dc read. Ds reads alot. I've just read one of his 'to read' books from his kindle. It's good that both kindles are registered to one amazon account so we can transfer from kindle to kindle. He's reading an old classic now 'On the Beach'.
platanos I'm on Goodreads with my real name too! I did a search for you but no luck! FrauEnglischLehrerin you found me!

We didn't have a feiertag yesterday so my 2 were back at school. They coped quite well with getting up and had a full on long day from 8am to 3pm then both were back at their sport clubs in the evening and then sitting doing homework until 10pm. Straight into an exam day for dd today.

Dd announced that the next thing 'we' are trying is juice fasting! So up to now we've had the smoothie phase, vegan week and now it's the juice fast! Atleast the vegetarian phase has stayed and although my family don't realise it, they eat more vegan than anything else (except dh who can't live without meat - but I'm working on that)!

FrauEnglischLehrerin Tue 07-Jan-14 11:51:59

Ambling and platanos - I linked my fb account to goodreads to get the contacts and then disabled the connection again, so I got 11 friends that way. I'm not sure I've got you, platanos, though. I'm starting to make more sense out of it by going on the desktop site - there seems to be a lot missing on the app.

Ambling - do you have or have you flicked through any of Attila Hildmann's recipe books? I found a Thalia voucher in a pile of papers which I thought I might use to get one, but I don't particularly want one aimed at weight loss.

Mrtumbles - we're well-off by most people's standard, but sometimes you get a glimpse of how the other half top 1% live which makes your jaw drop.

AmblingAlong Tue 07-Jan-14 13:09:28

FrauEnglischLehrerin yes, the Vegan for Fun is good and the Vegan for Fit is very low carb/sugar/fat but great recipes. The books are only 9,99€ on kindle btw. Sending the English version (the Fun one) to my dad for his birthday as he's into cooking and is a vegetarian already.

Well, one of my dc is home, has eaten and has gone to bed for a quick nap! Expecting the next one home in an hour and then he'll be very happy to see his xmas present has arrived from the UK (a fancy head-phone set for his laptop).

Ambling I've been thinking of getting Vegan for Fun for a while now. I might nip into the bookshop this week. I don't really like the idea of cookbooks on the Kindle but I'm not sure why.

I did the same as you with Goodreads, FrauEnglisch. I shall have to have a look and see if I have you on there. I haven't logged in for so long though that I have no idea what my username and password are anymore. I have the app on my phone though and I think it keeps me logged in all the time so I'll have a look there.

MrTumbles <faints at €500/month rent> Saying that, there are a lot of expats where we live, all on expat contracts (not us though, unfortunately!) and I know the US army at least pay a ridiculously high rent allowance. The wife of an acquaintance is a mid-level US government employee and I think he once mentioned that their allowance for rent was around the €4000 mark. This isn't exactly a poor city though. I've also heard a lot of complaints that natives of the city are being priced out of the area as the landlords all whack the prices up to attract the expats.

platanos Feel free to add me on Goodreads too!

Hello Linzer and anyone else I've missed. The hurricane is currently asleep after a busy morning so I finally have time to sit and post. He doesn't nap during the day any more and, although he is a lot less destructive now, it's still hard to find time to do anything that involves taking my eye off him, as that is when he rediscovers his inner danger mouse, for attention, of course. Luckily he seems to be the only one out of his little group of friends who hasn't hit the terrible twos in a big way, and is always happy and smiley and in a good mood. I do, however, have the fear that the threes will be hideous to compensate though.....

Oh and a question for you all: How do you deal with slightly bigger, slightly aggressive kids, when the parents aren't taking any notice? There was a little girl, about 4-5 I think, at the cafe this morning, and she was being quite aggressive towards DS, hitting and pushing him every time he came near where she was playing, trying not to let him on the slide, trying to push him down the slide stairs and I think she even spat at him once, but I can't be sure. If that was DS I would have told him off and explained that everyone can play with the toys etc (he wasn't grabbing toys off her or anything, he was just playing near her, if that makes sense), but her mum was taking no notice at all, so every time it happened I told her that it wasn't nice to hit or kick and that there was room for everyone to play, but I'm so clueless about these things that I don't know if that was right. DS wasn't bothered by it at all, but I don't want him to think that is acceptable behaviour for another child or for him. Normally I would just let him deal with it himself but she was really whacking him and trying to push him down the slide steps etc, so I stepped so he didn't end up hurt.
Was I being over-protective? What do you DO in that sort of situation?! I would have thought it was just common sense, but I'm a bit lost. I know when he's in Kiga he'll have to deal with these things, but I want to teach him how to deal with it as he's a total pushover with other kids as he loves being around them so much and she was quite a bit bigger than him.
(I'm perfectly willing to hear that I dealt with it badly, btw!)

I'd have handled it exactly the way your did Woolly and it usually works. I throw kids out of toddler play areas too :D At a toddler group I'd draw the parent's attention to the behaviour, pretending to be helpful to the parent ... but you never know with total strangers who have managed to bring up a 4 or 5 year old like that - if the child has known SN you'd think they'd be paying attention, and if not you have to wonder what sort of parent they are...

Not pfb to intervene when a 4-5 year old is repeatedly attacking a 2 year old, I am also a believer in letting kids solve their own problems, but that only really applies when they are evenly matched grin or between children who spend reasonable amounts of time together on a regular basis and both of whom are known to you (siblings, friends, KiGa classmates maybe) not strangers, esp when the child is 2.

My thoughts exactly, Mr Tumbles. Thank you for Tim reassurance!

I should probably add that I was jumping in whenever something happened or looked like it was about to - I wasn't just standing by & letting her whack DS!
On the the plus side, I seem to have perfected a pretty effective death stare grin

FrauEnglischLehrerin Wed 08-Jan-14 09:06:21

Woolly - I read an article a while back (probably in the Guardian) about traditional Norwegian parenting which said that adults in that society would consistently correct children's behaviour gently, ie. children were assumed not to know better and were therefore not being "naughty", but needed to be told/shown by any adult present when their behaviour was not what would be expected from an adult

I like that attitude, partly because it's less likely to result in confrontation with another parent (as mrtumbles says, if the child is behaving like that at age 4-5 without the parent reacting, then who knows how they might take you saying something to them), but also because it makes me feel that it's acceptable and necessary to correct other people's children.

Ambling - thanks for the tips about Vegan for Fun/Fit. I remembered that Müller have quite a large book section, so I'm going to go there and to the bookshop today while dd is at Turnen and see if they have either of the books. I bought River Cottage Veg every day for £5 while in the UK over Xmas, so I really don't need any more new cookery books, but hey.

I have a question about swimming lessons. Have any of anyone's dc successfully learnt to swim under age 5? Dd loves going to the pool and can do doggy paddle very slowly with armbands on and will blow bubbles (while trying to keep her eyes out of the water). I was going to sign her up for lessons starting in March (she will be 5 in May) and a couple of friends wanted to do the same so the kids would know someone else in the class, but one friend has now signed her ds up for lessons starting this weekend in a group that is possibly less old-school in approach. Wwyd?

FrauEnglish DD wasn't quite 4.5 when she learnt (she snuck in as her friend's mum arranged a course for a group of 4 of them, the official minimum age was 4.5) - she did the course and got her SeePferdchen at the end (unlike the friend, who the teacher said wasn't ready by the end of the course - oops!). However DS1 took the same course at 5 and still couldn't really swim by the end, took another "gentler" course after that and it still didn't click, then we left it and he finally put everything together for himself, but he was almost 6 by then...

Perfectly possible at 4 I think, but don't be disappointed if he doesn't get it ... DD was much smaller at 4.5 than DS1, so in some ways he should have been physically more capable, but I think at the initial stage it is more psychological than physical.

*She

FrauEnglischLehrerin Wed 08-Jan-14 15:10:54

Mrtumbles - thanks. I've just asked dd, who said she wants to learn to swim when she's my age confused and doesn't seem keen to start lessons on Sunday, so maybe I'll leave it until March. I don't really mind too much if the course is successful or not in teaching her to swim, but I would hate for it to scare her out of her love of the pool. I spoke to another mum at kiga today whose dd I am trying to encourage dd to be friends with (because dd will be moving into her class after the summer and because I like the parents). She wants to sign her dd up for lessons in March, so we could probably get both into the same group.

Do children make a leap at some point of deciding they want to learn things? Dd joins in things without complaining and seems to enjoy them, but hasn't shown any passion for anything or nagged to do anything yet.

LinzerTorte Wed 08-Jan-14 15:55:27

FrauEnglisch My three were all different. It's only now, at 7, that DS is actually starting to want to do things - he's just started fencing and also wants me to sign him up for electric guitar lessons next year. hmm DD1 was never too bothered about afterschool activities, although like your DD went without complaining, while DD2 has always been quite vocal about what she wants to do. She was desperate to do ballet at 2 and I remember her crying hysterically because she was under 3 so wasn't allowed to join DD1 in her class - and I also remember her crying hysterically because she didn't want to go to recorder lessons any more.

Talking of hysterical crying, I had to take DS for two jabs this afternoon. I'd put Emla on his arms beforehand and told him it shouldn't hurt much, which seemed to calm him down a little beforehand, but once the doctor got the needles out he started screaming and trying to run away. He had them done in the end, but I can see it's definitely too soon for any kind of desensitization therapy for his allergies!

Woolly I think you dealt with the situation perfectly; I'd like to think I'd have behaved in exactly the same way - although I may well have ended up just muttering PA comments in English about badly behaved children while giving evil looks to the mother. grin

Ambling We gave DD2 a Kindle for Christmas and I set up her own Amazon account - unlike mine, registered to our address here - as she wanted to read books in German that aren't available in the UK store. However, she's just had an e-mail from Amazon saying they've noticed that she downloaded a book in a different country from the one in which she's registered (a sample chapter she downloaded when we were back in the UK over Christmas) and we need to fax proof that she's a resident of a German speaking country! DH e-mailed them to say she'd downloaded the book on holiday but they still want proof that she's a resident of Mannheim. hmm (DH's e-mail address must still be linked to our old address there.)

So off to look for her and DH's Meldezettel now... I'm glad Amazon UK aren't quite as picky; I've never had a problem buying Kindle books from them.

LinzerTorte Wed 08-Jan-14 15:56:38

platanos Meant to say before that yes, I think Goodreads does post the books you've read to FB as a default setting but I switched it off.

AmblingAlong Fri 10-Jan-14 07:50:07

FrauEnglisch my ds was nearly 8 when he got his Seepferdchen at a private course, the same course dd went on just traumatised her, along with the teacher at school shouting at her to jump in and making her cry so she didn't get her Seepferdchen until she was 10. In ds's course there were two 4 and 5 year olds who managed well and enjoyed their whole time in the water. If your dd loves the pool so much and she can go to the course with her friend then she'll probably have a great time.

WoolyI'd have handled it exactly the way you did at the playground. Hopefully it didn't bother your ds too much. I remember ds getting pushed a few times at English playgroup and then not wanting to go back. He must have been around 2 as I had few month old dd with me so I wasn't near him to step in.

MrTumbles Munich prices always scared me into never encouraging dh to apply for jobs there although he has seen a few offers. I'd never want to live out in the sticks again and we'd never pay that much rent to live in the city. So many landlords must be laughing all the way to the bank down there it's crazy. What are public transport prices like? We live on the edge of Hannover city and a monthly ticket is around 53€ for dh and we get to travel on weekends and after 7pm as a family with it.

Linzer that sounds like a good idea to set the dc up with their own accound (and dh's credit card!) as ds was complaining that his kindle had my name on it when he logged in! Has your dd enjoyed reading on her kindle? I might get dd one of the basic ones or even better, give her mine and I could upgrade to one with a light of some sort as I find it a pain that I need to clip a light on to read.

Dd has decided to change cheerleading club. The group she trains with has alot of much older girls over 20, working already and they don't want anything to do with the younger ones and the trainer who is 24 doesn't even call dd by her name, she shouts 'Hey du da..' when she wants her to do something!

Ds starts work experience on Monday. I have to check what sort of travel card to get him for the next two weeks as he'll have a bus and tram journey. Not sure how much money I should give him. He doesn't know if he'll be going to a cantine/mensa (work is attached to the university), maybe for coffee. I'm so out of touch and dh takes his packed lunch and gets his coffee for 1€ at the work cantine! Does 10€ sound enough to start with?

FrauEnglischLehrerin Fri 10-Jan-14 09:00:45

Ambling - what is your ds going to be doing on work experience? My experience of theatre canteens is also that a coffee costs about 1€ and I think a main meal is always under 4€ (I never eat them as they're always meat-based). Those are non-profit prices of course, and Ossie workplaces, but I would have thought that 10€ would be ample - he can always get a couple of Schnitte or a Bockwurst if he can't afford more. I would have said that no German worker would be happy with forking out 50€/week for lunches at work, but after our discussion of Munich house prices I have to concede that I'm probably not qualified to judge!

Linzer - I hope dd is like your ds and starts asking to do afterschool activities at some point. I most particularly want her to choose an instrument to learn, rather than me just signing her up for piano lessons when I can't repress my tiger mother instincts any longer.

Out of interest, how many books did you manage last year? I challenged myself to read 100 this year because it's a round number and because I think I probably manage more than one a week, but I've no real idea whether that's realistic for me. I don't want to put myself under imagined pressure to race through any book that I might want to savour, either.

LinzerTorte Fri 10-Jan-14 09:51:53

FrauEnglisch I read 137 books last year, but that includes the ones I read at bedtime to the children (chapter books; I didn't count anything that could be read in one sitting) so the true figure is probably more like 100. I ended up challenging myself to read 150 and did get a little stressed towards the end of the year whenever I logged onto Goodreads and it told me I was 7/8/9 etc. books behind schedule! I didn't find it made me rush my reading, though; it just encouraged me to find more time for it and to pick up a book rather than logging onto MN, say.

Ambling IIRC I only used to pay a couple of euros for lunch at the canteen when I worked in Germany, but that was years ago now so probably not much help! Most canteens in this part of the world (not speaking from huge experience, admittedly) seem to be quite well subsidised/cheap, though; I don't think DH pays a huge amount more than I used to.

DD2 loves her Kindle and is now reading it legitimately again. grin I bought her a case with a light attached, which I found very handy when we were travelling back from the UK; I borrowed the light to read my "conventional" book as my Kindle was broken. I was very impressed with Amazon's service - phoned them up at about 5pm and my replacement Kindle was with me at 11am the next day (luckily I still had a month left on the guarantee).

We had an extra parents' evening last night to meet DD2's new teacher. She's very young and it's her first job, but she seems very competent. She made all the parents in their forties laugh when she described herself as "nicht ganz taufrisch" as she swapped to teaching halfway through her studies - she's 26! One of the mothers was talking afterwards about starting Gymnasium and realised she'd done so before the teacher was even born. grin

platanos Sat 11-Jan-14 08:38:53

wow, so nowadays 26 is no longer considered young?!?!

Linzer- what happened to your kindle? good you still had a month left on the guarantee. I keep wondering whether to get a light for mine. Though recently I seem to be reading lots of old fashioned books. Has DD2 got a new teacher for her last semester at Volkschule then?

Ambling-no real help, but I am sure 10€ is enough. Our canteen is not subsidised, but the most expensive meal (meat and with soup as starters) is €6,90 which I find quite expensive for what it is. I can get a vegan meal for under 5€ - they make a vegan meal once a week or I can have a combination of side dishes. Hope your ds enjoys it! Are the Vegan for Fit recipes very soya based? (We don't eat soya due to intolerances).

FrauEnglisch- my dc are also different, and depending on the year will ask to do different things. On swimming - can you put her down for a short course and see how it goes? I think if she goes with a friend, she will be probably be fine. Our neighour's dd On musical instruments, the girls did 3 years recorder (eek) to learn the basics - this was at school, with their friends and a nice teacher - and then chose an instrument.

woolly- I think you were right to step in gently and firmly.

I have found some of you on Goodreads! (I couldn't find you woolly). And I used FB to find other people on there. I think, and hope, I have disabled the link now. I am not setting myself any goals, I just like to keep a record of what I read. But I am doing the Magic Square (reading lots of different types of books) it seems like. I realised I read NO poetry at all, for example.

Our dishwasher broke the week before christmas, I emailed the landlady and she has still not responded. It is not rude to email again, is it? It's unclear who is responsible for it - it was in the house when we moved in, it is mentioned in our contract but that does not say who is responsible for it.

Also, dd2 got a document which we need to enroll her in secondary school. The typed version says "Muttersprache: Deutsch" and her teacher has crossed it out and put "Englisch". I don't think it makes much of a difference really, but dd2 hardly speaks English. I am wondering whether to change it...Dh and I had thought about what "muttersprache" actually means in this context. Is this the language the mother speaks, the child's first language or the child's strongest language? I feel it is the latter, but clearly the teacher felt otherwise. I am tempted to cross it out, or I might ask what they use this information for when we go to the secondary school to sign her up.

Must go, Saturday morning homework troubles....have a good weekend!

platanos Sat 11-Jan-14 09:04:02

Sorry, i just read that through after posting and noticed an incomplete sentence which is meant to say: Our neighour's daughter learnt to swim before she was 5 but she went every week since she was about 2.

AmblingAlong Mon 13-Jan-14 11:29:19

platanos I think I would have left the Muttersprache deutsch on the form just to not give the school the chance to say they'll struggle because they're not German and also because I know that their bilingualism isn't even seen as a positive thing in this school system (it would be positive in the UK - or it would have been back in my day).

how did the weekend homework go? I spent years trying to train my 2 to get their homework done and out of the way for the weekend and now that they're in charge they both leave it until the last minute on Sunday night! Oh well, their choice.
Yes, the Vegan for Fit recipes are quite soya based. Hope you get your dish washer fixed or replaced soon.

Linzer which light did you get dd? Can you link it? I'm also impressed with Amazon's service. dd's new phone had a problem with the charger and they sent a new one. The new one was also faulty (charger and phone freezing for no reason) and now they're refunding us so this week we're taking her to buy one, probably to Saturn as it's a 5 minute drive away. Anyway, the Sony Xperia L was a lovely phone but we had bad luck with 2 of them so we might talk her into getting something else.

FrauEnglsich ds is at the Institut für Mikroelektronische Systeme. He's there now on his first day. He was up and ready far too early this morning, slightly nervous but really looking forward to it. He's got a full 2 weeks to do so I hope he enjoys it. Some of his class mates ended up with placements that weren't really their first choice so he was lucky. One boy has to do 2 weeks at a florist shop including extremely early starts to go and buy the flowers at the market.

LinzerTorte Tue 14-Jan-14 07:21:55

Ambling DD2 has this case for her Kindle (but bought on Amazon UK for about half the price), although I've noticed that you can also buy the light separately here - is that similar to the light that you have? Hope your DS enjoyed the first day of his placement; do they go on work experience every year?

platanos The bottom third of my Kindle froze; even when I switched it off, the screensaver still didn't go away. I'm also doing the Magic Square and never read any poetry either, but I do have three books of poetry on my shelf (two of which I did for A level and haven't read since), so I'll probably reread one of those.

Yes, DD2 has got a new teacher for the last six months of primary school; her old teacher didn't even stay until the end of the semester, although at least she made sure that they'd done all the first semester's Schularbeiten before she left.

What did you decide to do about the Muttersprache? I asked DH in case there was some strange Austrian connotation that means they take Mutter literally but he said no, it's your strongest language. It would be slightly more understandable if they had two native English-speaking parents but considering that your DC speak fluent German, have a German parent and are going to school here (and I think speak more German at home than English?), it seems like a bit of a strange thing for the teacher to do. I usually write Deutsch/Englisch, and would probably be quite annoyed if a teacher crossed Deutsch out as it would imply that their German isn't native speaker level (although maybe that's just me being hypersensitive) - I'm assuming she knows your DH is German?

Off to the paediatrician now as I forgot DS's Mutter-Kind-Pass last week and need to have his vaccinations nachgetragen plus also need an Überweisung for DD1, who's being retested by the psychologist this week. It will be interesting to see how much of a difference the auditory skills training she's had over the past year has made; she's definitely improved, but how much of that is down to the training is difficult to say.

hupa Tue 14-Jan-14 11:15:39

A very belated Happy New Year to everyone. We were away skiing last week and the dc only went back to school yesterday, so it´s great to finally have time to mumsnet again.

planatos Like Linzer, I would probably write Deutsch/Englisch on the form as that represents the languages spoken at home.

Ambling How did ds get on yesterday? Was he still keen to go in today?

Linzer It´s interesting what you say about dd1´s improvement and how much is due to the training and how much would have happened anyway. Ds has been having speech therapy for 5 years and is obviously much easier to understand, but I do wonder how much is due to the therapy and how much would have happened in any case.

I´v only had a chance to read the last couple of posts, so I´ll catch up now before ds comes home.

FrauEnglischLehrerin Tue 14-Jan-14 11:33:23

platanos I think the teacher is mixed up about the meaning of Muttersprache. I can't think that it's particularly necessary for the school to know that your dd may speak English with you/at home if she's a native German speaker. It's surely more to do with identifying which children may struggle due to language issues. But as you say, it probably doesn't matter too much on the form (although I would change it back personally) as you will have a chance to tell someone at some point that your dd is perfectly fluent.

Do any of you regularly eat porridge? It's not something my parents ever gave us growing up, but I've bought some almond milk and wanted to try it for a bit of breakfast variety. I just don't know what I need to add to it to make it tasty -applesause? fresh fruit? brown sugar?

AmblingAlong Tue 14-Jan-14 12:01:27

Linzer great that your dd1 has improved so much. It's probably a combination of therapy, dd1's effort and time. Do you feel she's matured alot too? My dd has matured alot in recent months and the strops and moods are getting better too.
Thanks for the link. I think I'll get that light to try as mine is useless!
No the work experience isn't every year but they have had a Zukunftstag every year (formerly know as GirlsDay but due to that being unfair to boys they all go on it now) from year 5 but this 2 week thing is part of the curriculum and Politik und Wirtschaft lessons in year 10.

FrauEnglisch yes I eat porridge made with half almond or rice milk and water. I like it plain but sometimes add a chopped banana or sprinkle some cinnamon on. I've just seen a tip online the soya or oat milk with added vanilla that you can buy is nice in coffee so I might try that but it would make nice porridge I think too.

Hupa welcome back! When did school go back where you are? We're on the countdown to the end of the first half year, just a couple of weeks to go.

Ds was very happy with his first day at 'work'. He has 3 other Praktikanten with him and the people are very nice. They all went to the university mensa and he got a hot meal for 3.20€. He spent some time in a library and has a few Arbeitsblätter but nothing he doesn't understand (his biggest worry).

LinzerTorte Wed 15-Jan-14 07:56:20

Ambling That's useful to know about the milk; I've tried coffee with soya milk and didn't like it, but maybe the vanilla makes a difference. I've also read that a can of coconut milk mixed with a teaspoon of vanilla essence tastes good as a dairy alternative in coffee, which is another one I keep meaning to try out.

FrauEnglisch I haven't eaten porridge for years (I always used to have it with All-Bran and an unhealthy amount of brown sugar), but I do use rolled oats in my muesli base and add fresh fruit such as bananas and blueberries.
I finally managed to get DS to eat breakfast this morning (he's not a big breakfast eater and hasn't had breakfast on a school day for about a week now) by telling him he could add brown sugar to his porridge. I gave him a little dish of sugar to prevent him adding the amount I used to add and one of blueberries; to my amazement, he only added about a teaspoon of the sugar (he has a very sweet tooth) and ate all the porridge.

hupa Sounds like you get a nice long Christmas holiday; it feels like the DC have been back at school for weeks (although it's only their second week) and they only broke up just before Christmas.
DH (who helps DD1 with her school work much more than I do) doesn't think that the therapy is helping all that much, so I'm not sure whether we'll carry on with it after she's been reassessed. The money is a factor too; we pay €65 for 50 minutes and for that amount, I want to be pretty sure that it's making a difference!

AmblingAlong Wed 15-Jan-14 08:19:32

Linzer I've just heard from someone in ds's class who was getting 4 and sometimes 5 in maths and French and who now gets 2 to 3 in all his tests after attending a Nachhilfe class (Schülerhilfe or Studienkreis) for one and a half hours twice a week. It's a class with 5 or 6 pupils so something like that might be good for dd1 if she has a weak subject rather than the specialist therapy?

I think dd is going to agree to go for some lessons in maths and we might try German as she's just hovering between the 3 and 4 line and of course that usually ends up as a 4 on her report. Her therapy did help alot but there's no way she will be able to catch up on spelling in English and there just isn't the time to invest in learning all the spellings as she has so many other subjects to get through.

Last night she spent ages doing a Bewerbung letter and CV on her laptop as that's the subject they're doing now in German.

Better go to the shops, it's raining and one of my new year resolutions was to use the car less and walk more so I'm going to get my raincoat on and brave it!

FrauEnglischLehrerin Wed 15-Jan-14 11:18:52

linzer & hupa you're being very non-German in your attitude to therapy grin. You need to adopt the "my daughter had a bruise so I gave her --sugar pills- arnica and the bruise went away, therefore homeopathy works" attitude!

I made porridge this morning and put banana and honey on it. Dd didn't like it and I ate a bowlful but wasn't massively impressed. I guess we're not a family that likes that kind of texture (none of us will eat rice pudding or semolina either). The almond milk is good, though. I might try it with muesli tomorrow. Am also going to try AH's tofu bolognese tomorrow as I found the recipe online. I don't think his recipe books are going to be right for me, though.

platanos Wed 15-Jan-14 15:03:20

Thanks for the thoughts on the Muttersprache incident. The teacher does know dh, and what languages we speak at home - she was the one who suggested that dd2 was not very good at using her imagination to write stories because we also spoke English at home shock.I have not done anything yet, the enrollment date is in February. I will ask then, but I will change it to either: Deutsch, or Deutsch/Englisch.

Ambling thanks for the information that Vegan for Fit is quite soya based. I will have a look next time I am in the shop, but suspect it is not for us either. Glad your ds is enjoying his work experience. And that food cantine sounds nice and cheap. Has dd got good and understanding teachers? DD1 used to love maths but has gone off it since going to secondary school because of the maths teacher not explaining things well.

Liner hope dd's reassessment goes well. It must be hard to judge whether it would have happened anyway or whether she would be struggling more without it. But it is very expensive, and I would want to see results too. Thanks also for the links - tempted to get a light, though I don't really need one.

hupa -wow, that was a long holiday. Did you have good skiing conditions? Hope you have managed to catch up on mumsnet now!

FrauEnglsich funny you should mention the arnica example. I got told to take it after childbirth by midwives in the UK. And for a long time had some at home, which I would give to dc when they hurt themselves. Much to German dh's amusement. I guess I went native in the UK wink but not generally into homeopathy. DH and DS have maple syrup on their porridge, with blueberries or raisins or some other fruit. I quite like porridge, but don't eat it for breakfast as I am hungry 20 minutes later...it does not fill me in the same way as muesli does.

I finally got permission to buy a dishwasher, but most annoyed as I haven't had time to get it. I went into a shop in my lunch hour on Monday, but was confused by whether I wanted an "integrierbar" or "vollintegrierbar". The man explaining the difference was rather impatient at first, but he must have felt sorry for me as I explained I had no idea what the difference was, had not built the kitchen myself and they are called different things in English (though I have no idea what they are in English either grin)....I was tempted to add I was about to pass out as I was on my way to buy some lunch, but his tone changed and I did not need to pull out the whole sob story! wink

hupa Thu 16-Jan-14 09:43:44

We went to Obertauern, so were high enough to have snow. We have friends who went to lower resorts who skied on not very much snow, in the rain for the first couple of days, so we were really lucky in comparison.

I think Hessen is the only Bundesland that has 3 weeks holiday at Christmas. The dc went back to school on Monday, but now have to work through to Easter without a break. I think it´s 14 weeks and I don´t envy the teachers at all.

planatos I´d have no idea of the difference. Hopefully you´ll get it sorted soon. We visited dh´s aunt and uncle at Silvester and they haven´t got a dishwasher. The novelty of washing up by hand didn´t last long.

Frau English I love Porridge, but only eat it with a bit of sugar. Ds enjoys his with dried cranberries, but any fruit would do. I must admit I do like quite bland food, but would draw the line at semolina.

Linzer Ds´s health insurance pays for the speech therapy otherwise I´m not sure we would have perservered for 5 years, or not as intensively if we´d been paying ourselves.

LinzerTorte Thu 16-Jan-14 09:49:09

platanos shock at you going to buy a dishwasher without knowing the difference between integrierbar and vollintegrierbar! (OK, I don't know either.) grin So which type did you need? And do you understand the maths they do at secondary school here? I have to leave it all to DH but even if I try to help, DD1 tells me she doesn't need me as I don't know what I'm doing!

FrauEnglisch I don't like the texture of porridge either (and still shudder at the thought of semolina and all those other school puddings), hence all the All Bran.

Ambling We had DD1 assessed at a Lerninstitut that sounds like the place you mentioned, but it would have been two hours twice a week and we decided it would just be too much for her (I think she was in the last year of primary at the time) and it wasn't cheap either. She's now getting much better grades than at primary school; she does get the odd 3 or 4 in test, but got all 1s and 2s in her Zeugnis at the end of last year (she was the only one in the class who didn't get any grade lower than a 2). I think maybe it's time for her and our bank account to have a break from the therapy and see how she gets on without it; if her grades then take a dip, we'll obviously reconsider.

I've also stopped using the car for short journeys and it's amazing what a difference it makes to our petrol consumption. DS is still not overly enthusiastic about going to school on his scooter but DD2 complains if we do happen to go in the car, so I can't win either way! DS will be walking home from school on his own for the first time today (I can't pick him up as DD1's appointment is at 12), but will be walking with a friend who's coming to play and who seems to be fairly sensible. I often see two boys walking to school who will just step out into the road without even looking; groups of boys walking together are the worst.

LinzerTorte Thu 16-Jan-14 09:54:20

hupa 14 weeks is a long time without a break; we go straight through from the beginning of September to the end of December here with just a couple of bank holidays, which must be almost as long, and the children are exhausted by Christmas.
The psychologist said we could apply to the Jugendamt if we couldn't afford the therapy, but I think the income threshold is quite low so there's no way we'd qualify. We did get DS's speech therapy paid for, but he went for less than a year; it's a shame they don't cover dyslexia therapy as this is DD2's sixth year now.

FrauEnglischLehrerin Fri 17-Jan-14 09:25:13

hupa that is unrelenting at this time of the year. We go from Easter to the summer holidays without a full week's break, but there are bank holdiays to break that up and it is at least Freibadsaison! I'll have to see if it seems worse once dd is at school though (as a freelancer I can cancel or rearrange lessons and we haven't religiously had to stick to school holidays to go away yet).

ambling and linzer good resolution about the car. I have been reading a thread about why obesity is increasing and it made me think that I used to walk to school at dd's age and it probably wasn't any nearer than the kiga is for us. I'm put off a bit by the extra time it would take, though, and we're both struggling to wake up in the mornings when it's so dark. Maybe after the Winterferien in Feb...

platanos interesting that you came across arnica in the UK. I don't know any Brits who think homeopathy is anything other than complete bunkum, but maybe that reflects more on the narrow social strata that my British friends come from - virtually all of them are university graduates who work in the arts or education!

I enjoyed the tofu bolognese yesterday and it was very simple to make. DH and Dd both ate it without complaining as well, so we'll probably do it again. If the other AH recipes are also that straightforward then that's a big plus point - I have one vegan cookbook with delicious recipes, but so many of them involve a list of ingredients which involve "one portion nut-tofu ricotta (see page xxx), one portion tomato sauce (see page yyy)" etc.

There's an article in the newspaper today about how German Standesämter are turning down fewer unusual baby names. Apparently one child was allowed to be called Imperial Purity, nowever Gucci was vetoed confused.

AmblingAlong Sat 18-Jan-14 12:09:58

FrauEnglisch which tofu brand did you use for your bolognese? I've been buying the BioBio Tofu at Netto but the dc are both starting to turn their noses up at it. Maybe I've used it too often! The other day I made a chilli with it, mashed it with a fork then fried it, but maybe not enough, before adding the tomatoes and spices but somehow it all looked quite disgusting even though it tasted good.

Linzer I was quite surprised when we applied for dd's therapy there was no question of income at all. We had to apply with the Jugendamt but no one asked to see any proof of income. They only wante dthe child psychologists report and the dyslexia tests that we did there. How did the reassessment go?
I agree about saving petrol. We used to fill our tank for just over 70€ and last time we ended up putting close to 90€ worth in.

platanos I had to study the meanings of integrierbar and vollintegrierbar recently when our dishwasher broke. We needed vollintegrierbar as we had a panel that matches the kitchen cupboards to stick on the front of the machine. So which did you need in the end?

Dd got a new smartphone atlast. She was fed up without one for a few days but she's ended up with a much better one than she started with, it's got a great camera too.
Ds has started building his first electronic circuit at his Praktikum. He has all next week to finish it and set his programme up on the computer. Complicated stuff but he's enjoying it.

LinzerTorte Wed 22-Jan-14 07:37:17

Which smartphone did your DD get, Ambling? DD1 wants a new one as she finds hers a bit basic (no WhatsApp etc.); she was hoping to persuade DD2 to buy her old one (although it's actually still quite new) off her but DD2 is perfectly happy with her Tastaturhandy so not interested.

We won't get the detailed results of DD1's written assessment until mid-February, but the woman testing her said she'd improved in some areas but that others still needed work. I'm pretty sure they're going to recommend another year of therapy, but I'm really not sure it's worth the money. DD1 hasn't done brilliantly in her last two German Schularbeiten so her grades haven't really improved since she started the therapy (they improved a lot when she started middle school, but that was before the therapy began).

FrauEnglisch I'll have to look up the tofu bolognese as simple recipes are always good! I got a vegan cookbook for Christmas but most of the recipes have long lists of ingredients and look rather time-consuming, so I've only tried one or two so far.
I've been reading the obesity thread too and it's really made me think about what the DC are eating (even though they're all average to below average weight). At least DS is regularly eating breakfast again now; porridge with brown sugar is a bit hit (he also likes using fruit to make a face on the porridge). And it probably still contains less sugar than the cereals that DH used to buy he used to have.

FrauEnglischLehrerin Wed 22-Jan-14 12:26:17

ambling I used Alnatura tofu. It was a double pack (2x200g) and DH made the bolognese again last night with the other block. It was even better than when I'd made it - DH seasoned it better and didn't skimp on the olive oil which I'd had to do because the bottle was almost empty. I've just scoffed the leftovers on a jacket potato for lunch.

linzer the recipe is here I used 200g tofu, not 250g and reduced the tomato paste and the red wine somewhat and didn't have any basil. The recipe makes enough to easily serve three adults, with salad and garlic bread you could probably stretch it to do the whole family.

FrauEnglischLehrerin Wed 22-Jan-14 12:31:57

Forgot to say, the pine nut parmesan substitute is not worth the effort imo. We just left it out yesterday, but depending how strict you're being you could use actual parmesan (cheddar) or buy vegan fake parmesan.

LinzerTorte Thu 23-Jan-14 07:08:09

Thanks FrauEnglisch, I googled and came across two different recipes so was going to ask which one you made. I've heard that it's not worth spending money on vegan parmesan when you can make it just as easily yourself by mixing equal parts of nutritional yeast flakes and ground almonds, which I must try once I get round to buying more yeast flakes.

AmblingAlong Thu 23-Jan-14 16:23:05

linzer have you looked at mobiles yet for dd1?

Dd ended up getting a massive upgrade on the origional phone that she got for xmas. She had a Sony Xperia L, first one the charger was faulty then the 2nd one (replacement from amazon) had a faulty charger and the screen kept freezing. They told us it must be a bad batch from where they bought them and gave us our money back. Now she has a Sony Xperia Z, great phone but in my opinion far too expensive really but she was lucky and had her dad with her when she went to look in Saturn. Ds is very happy with his Samsung S3 mini and I wanted dd to get one too but she didn't like the style.

FrauEnglisch I'll try the Alnatura next time. We got some at DM Markt once that was quite good. Maybe that was Alnatura.
When I fried my crumbled tofu for my chilli it browned nicely but when I added the tomatoes and liquids the brown washed off and it looked disgustingly like vomit. Did you brown yours for the bolognese until it was realyl crispy?

I'm not sure if it's the weather or what but I've been suffering with the arthritis in my fingers. I only have it in 3 fingers but it's been agony and I've had to take the strong tablets that the doctor gave me. Problem is, they also knock me out so I've just got up from a long sleep and still feel groggy. I honestly don't know how you're meant to cope when you have it in all your joints, think I'll take an overdose or something when it gets that far.

FrauEnglischLehrerin Fri 24-Jan-14 09:42:02

ambling maybe it's the recipe? I followed the bolognese one closely, so the tofu is fried on its own for a bit, then with the onions and garlic, then you add the tomato paste, etc., but it doesn't get really wet at any point. The end result was very red, brighter than a meat bolognese would be, but definitely not unappetising-looking. Mind you, a reviewer on amazon pointed out that a real bolognese would have carrot and celery in, and she couldn't understand why AH had left them out (being veggies) - maybe there is more of a danger that a tofu dish can end up looking like vomit when you have chunks of veg...

I spent my thalia voucher on other books in the end. When I get to a bigger bookshop at some point I will have a look at Vegan for Fun, but 30€ is a lot, plus I'm not a new veggie who can't imagine life without goulash - I'd rather have a book full of bean and buckwheat recipes grin.

AmblingAlong Fri 24-Jan-14 11:47:05

FrauEnglisch that's where I must have gone wrong. I added a tin of chopped tomatoes and some water/vegetable stock after browning the tofu and onion and garlic and it kind of washed all the nice browned tofu back to white.

Have any of you noticed Lebensmittel have gone up again? When I do a big shop at Lidl I used to pay between 50 and 60€ most times but last couple of times it's been 80€! Didn't buy anything new except some chai tea that dd wanted to try.

platanos Fri 24-Jan-14 13:53:24

I am with you on the bean and buckwheat recipes rather than meat substitutes FrauEnglish. But before we knew ds should not eat soya, I used to make lasagne etc with the soya granules. Has anyone tried those instead of mashing up tofu? And on the homeopathy, our health visitor suggested homeopathic teething granules. Though she did add: "I am not sure if they work, but you can give them a try"grin.

I am sitting at home waiting for the dishwasher. I hope I got the right one - integrierbar as the controls are visible. Fingers crossed. But I shall soon find out. We agreed on a delivery time between 13-18Uhr and they rang me at 11.30 and were a bit annoyed I was at work and could not be home in 10 minutes. I would be aftraid that they make me wait until 17:59, but it is Friday and I hope they all want to be finished sooner rather than later.

Sorry to her about your arthritis ambling. It sounds painful. Hope it gets better soon.

Inspired by your cooking talk, I have just ordered this a 30 minute vegan book. here. I'll keep you posted. Must be said that the nakedvegancooking website had some good recipes. To some extent I could ignore the naked pictures, but Jan* in the Netherlands, standing starkers in his kitchen, with his mixer and his pot of soup really put me off the site.

*not his real name. Don't want anyone googling that and coming across this thread smile

AmblingAlong Fri 24-Jan-14 17:19:14

platanos that's a cool site for recipes the nakedvegancooking one but why? Why naked, am I missing something?!
Did your dish washer arrive? And did they fit it for you? I decided to be brave and fit ours myself. There were tears (almost) and quite a few swear words and next time any appliance needs fitted we will be paying for a Handwerker to do it!

LinzerTorte Fri 24-Jan-14 18:24:09

That recipe book looks good, platanos - I could do with a book of quick and easy recipes, so let me know if it fits the bill! There are men on the nakedvegancooking site too? shock grin I obviously didn't investigate it for long enough; I think I was too traumatised by the sight of the women with their sweetcorn fritters!

Ambling DD1 hasn't mentioned getting a new mobile for the last couple of days, so I'm hoping she forgets about it for as long as possible so that she gets a bit more use out of her current one. I'm not sure whether she has the money for a new one atm anyway.
Hope your arthritis is better soon; it sounds awful. I haven't noticed that food prices have gone up here, but €80 sounds like a lot for Lidl (although I could easily spend that at one of the more expensive supermarkets).

We went to our final secondary school open day today, but DD2 wasn't too impressed with the school; she said it was too big and she would get lost! The Gymnasium she'd like to go to is closer to us, but is supposed to be more academic (not that that's necessarily a disadvantage).

Sorry to hear about your arthritis, Ambling, it doesn't sound nice at all.
I hadn't noticed that food prices had really gone up here, but they may well have done as we've gone from doing a big shop once a week and picking up a few little bits during the week, to just doing the one weekly big shop. We're definitely spending a bit less than we were, but I'm in the middle of potty training DS so we're not really buying as many nappies as before, which has knocked a big chunk off the shopping bill, so it's hard to tell whether prices have gone up and we're not saving as much as we think. Does that make sense? In my head it did......

platanos I laughed out loud at the thought of Dutch Jan, naked in his kitchen with his pot of soup. I'm supposed to be studying but I've probably completely given myself away with my giggling. grin I'm translating texts on Keynesian economics, so I really, really needed that giggle!
How is the new dishwasher?

Do you have a preference as to which secondary school your DD2 goes to,Linzer? We're currently trying to get a Kiga place for DS in September. Fingers crossed she gets into the school she wants!

I had a look at 'Vegan for Fun' in the bookshop here, FrauEnglisch, and wasn't that impressed so left it. It seemed quite soya-heavy, which wasn't really what I wanted, but that's entirely my personal preference.

It's all go here at the moment with potty training, Kiga applications, interviews etc and studying. I'm going to have to start looking for work at some point in the near future too, as hopefully DS will start Kiga in September. I was hoping to be pregnant by now so DC2 would be here by then but no luck so far. Two of my close friends here are currently pregnant (after only a month each of trying!) and I counted up the other day and realised I know 14 people expecting this year! There really must be something in the water smile

platanos Tue 04-Feb-14 10:24:51

What sort of work are you looking for woolly? How is the potty training going? Is it costing you a fortune in washing powder, stickers, chocolate (for parents and child)and wine (only for parents)? Good luck ttc. Sounds like there is something in the water - drink lots of it and I hope it happens for you soon.

The new dishwasher is great ambling. I did pay for someone to deliver it, fit it, and take away the old one. It was the best 99 euro I have spent in a while!

I was not impressed by the cook book. It's American, and I am not sure I can get all those ingredients easily here. And I made a soup from it, and it was yucky. (That sounds like I cooked the book to make a soup!) All in all: I would not recommend.

Linzer would dd be happy at the more academic gymnasium? There are advantages to it being closer too. DD2 has decided she wants to go to the same school as DD1, so that makes it all easier for us. Phew.

DD2 is unwell and lying in bed. She is "the healthy one", and has only missed one day of school in four years. And that was my fault due to my Kotzenlinsen, where we all got ill. It is Semesterferien here so she is not missing any school today either. And DD1 had three teeth pulled out and braces fitted yesterday. She is also feeling sorry for herself, and saying she looks dreadful and they will all laugh at her. What a cheery bunch we are today grin. When I am not needed by DDs, I am de-cluttering...always good for the soul!