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Ostereierbaum / Easter Egg Tree

Happy Easter everybody! Holidays like Easter are great because they showcase just how eclectic American folklore traditions have become. Because I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, I sometimes take foregranted the unique traditions carried out by my neighbors. Some of them are very strange indeed – like decorating a tree with plastic Easter eggs. So I was very surprised when meine Tante shared a picture of a decked out tree that she spotted on a trip to Garmisch!  It turns out that this is an old German tradition! Nobody knows exactly why it began, but eggs are a symbol of life all over the world. The trees around our house are nowhere near as impressive as this one, and in fact the world record belongs to the Rostock Zoo, which in April 2007 decorated a red oak with 79,596 blown and painted eggs!!! 

We do not have a tree in our front yard, but if we did I would totally decorate it, with the help of the kids of course. The boys are eagerly awaiting the goodies brought by the Easter bunny, or Osterhase, who originated with German Lutherans as a symbol of fertility and a judge of whether kids have been well behaved or not…sounds like Santa Claus! 😉

Food

Aldi Love

Aldi is the answer, people. Do you get frustrated with the tedious, overstocked nature of your local grocery store? ALDI.  Hate paying a ton of money for groceries? ALDI. Want to be able to afford organic food and fresh produce? ALDI. Love German food? ALDI!!!!!!

Today my mom came over and watched the kiddos so that I could take a luxurious solo trip to my favorite grocery store.  And while they sadly did not have Bavarian wursts in stock 🙁 they DID have lots of sweet treats from Germany, just in time for Easter!!! Check out the most exciting items:

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  1. Haribo – If you don’t like Haribo, then I’m afraid you can’t be my friend. That’s how serious we are in my house about these little gummi guys!
  2. Heller & Strauss candies – I haven’t seen these in a long time, but they are just as good as they were when I was a little kid at Oma’s house.
  3. Apfel Schorle – defined by Wikipedia as “consisting of carbonated mineral water and apple juice“, I would add that it also has the magical property of quenching great thirst beautifully. This is especially true if you have spent any amount of time outdoors, perhaps hiking in the woods or taking a walk in the sunshine! I have great memories of drinking Apfel Schorle after hiking up a German mountain 😉
  4. CAKE – no need to go into great depth with this one because, well, it’s cake! With chocolate in it and on it! Goes particularly well with a good coffee when hanging with your best friends.

If you don’t have an Aldi near you, I’m very sorry. If you do and have not been, please go – you’ll be glad you did. Make sure to take a quarter for the shopping cart (no stealing a cart!) and reusable grocery bags (Schuetzt unsere Umwelt!) The best day to go is on Wednesday since that is when the Aldi week begins and you can grab all the good German food before other people do. When it is Nuernberger season, watch out – it can get crazy if my mom is there stocking up. lol

Clothing

The Dirndl Challenge

Something you should know about me it that I LOVE DIRNDLS. A dirndl is a dress typically worn in Southern Germany, Bavaria, and Austria; while it derives from traditional folk garments, the dirndl has morphed and changed over the years and is still worn by many women today, especially during Oktoberfest. Designers offer everything from traditional frocks to haute cou·ture masterpieces, and I can’t get enough of them. I first fell in love with dirndls as a preteen – I was a young girl, about to hit puberty HARD, and I drooled over those pretty dresses in the shop windows.  (Pig nose, hot breath on the glass, you get the picture). I’ve always relished interesting details and intricate fabrics, so am naturally drawn to the dirndl, which even in it’s more traditional form still boasts a high level of complexity.  When I visited meine Tante in Munich as an adult, we combed the racks of C&A until I found one that I felt was truly “me”.  I’m proud to say that I still enjoy (and fit in!) my one and only dirndl, but I am getting antsy for another!  If my pinterest board could speak it would say “Halt, bitte! Genug ist genug!”  😛

My dream that I am currently working towards is to run my own online boutique where I can sell dirndls, lederhosen, and other Trachten (traditional garments) accessories to Americans.  But before I attempt to do that, I want to understand what makes dirndls so amazing, through and through. Therefore, I have decided to attempt to sew a dirndl for myself (GULP! GASP! FINGERS CROSSED! KNOCK ON WOOD!)

I have downloaded and printed out this Burda pattern, and now must begin the pain-staking task of taping it all together, tracing it (adding a seam allowance too!), and then creating a muslin because I dare not skip that step and end up with too much or too little fabric in places. Being a very busty girl, I anticipate quite a bit of tailoring. But I found the CUTEST fabrics at Wal-Mart of all places and am excited to work with them.

Please say a little prayer for me as I begin this (possibly insane) endeavor and let me apologize in advance to my husband, parents, and neighbors for any swear words that reach your ears in the process!!! Updates and pictures, however gruesome, to follow….