Friday, December 31, 2010

European Boots

Look at these boots. Aren't they wonderful? All warm and water proof.

One day last year I decided to wear them to work and then change into my nice shoes once I was at school. We take public transportation and have to walk a few blocks to get to school. So, I thought it would be nice to keep my feet warm.

Well, once I was on the U-Bahn (subway), I noticed people were staring at me. Now, usually this happens when I'm speaking English to someone I'm riding with but not today. They were staring at my boots. You see, in Europe, most women wear nice looking leather boots with a heal (maybe not the most practical but definitely the most fashionable). As I started to think about it, I've never seen a pair of boots like mine since I've moved to Austria. My bright blue plastic boots really stuck out!

However, I refused to let this bother me. I wanted to be warm. So, I continued to wear them. During the month of January, we take the elementary kids out ice skating. One day, when we were all getting bundled up I pulled these boots out of my locker and one little boy said, "Oh no, Miss Braun, please do not wear those!" Another said, "What are those, ski boots?" Another just pointed and laughed. But I proceeded to wear them, recess duty would not have been the same without them!

The style here is to wear your boots with leggings and a skirt, or over your skinny jeans. So, the first time I wore boots with my skirt one of my little boys said, "You know Miss Braun, you used to be a pretty bad dresser. But, now you're starting to do better." Oh good grief, I thought, everyone's a critic (even the first graders). :-)

So, when my uncle asked what I wanted for Christmas I asked for a pair of nice boots. I'm so blessed! No more stares on the U-Bahn and a much more fashionable wardrobe! Thanks Uncle Curt and Aunt Deb!!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

Reesa and I bought stockings this year! I don't want to take them down, they are so cute!
On Christmas Eve, Reesa and I had Green Monster smoothies and opened our presents to each other. I got a new place setting for the table, some expresso mugs, and a new purse.

In the evening, I went to a lovely dinner at the Hamms, a sweet family that works for the school. Jan Hamm helps out in my classroom! They have a lovely home and are great hosts. If I couldn't be with my family, they were the next best thing.
After dinner with the Hamms, a few teachers and I went to the midnight mass at the famous Stephansdom.

On Christmas day, my friend RheaAnne and I made cinnamon rolls and took them to a brunch with 3 other teachers that were here for the holidays.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Stocking Up

Normally, in Europe, you buy groceries for one or maybe two days. The food here has less preservatives and our fridge is the size of a dorm fridge. So, storing food isn’t really an option. However, our grocery store is practically in the same building we live in which is very convenient. The stores here close at 7pm and are closed on Sundays and holidays.

With all the holidays coming up we weren’t sure when we would be able to grocery shop. So, we stocked up. There aren’t baggers here in Austria and you bring your own bags. I shop with this roller cart. However, we filled that cart up so we had to bring the grocery cart home with us.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Before we made cookies we read the Christmas story from the Bible. It's amazing that I get to share that Christ came to save us from our sins to a class of half believers and half non-believers!

My 5th grader and my 10th grader adding the butter.

My first math class: 2 sixth graders, a 5th grader and a 10th grader.
Getting our hands dirty.
My other math class. A 10th grader, an 8th grader, and two 7th graders.

First time rolling out cookies for all my students.

Finished product.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

This young lady is from Africa. She came to ICSV last year in the middle of the year. She could not read or write very well. We worked on forming her letters and learned the sounds of the letters. Now we are reading 1st grade books and writing stories!

How sweet is that?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ace of Cakes

Reesa and I were asked to make a "book worm" cake for another teacher's baby shower. Bottom Book
Glazing the Cakes
Frosting on the "pages"
Bottom Book
Top Book
Covering a cupcake in fondant to make the worm didn't work..., we made the whole worm out of fondant.
Carrying the cake on the problem!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My New Classroom

I moved classrooms this year and now share a room with the ELL teacher, Leslie. It's fun sharing a room. It's just like the old days at Lewis Central. The book cases split our room in half. Me and 3 of my middle schoolers about to start up my Modified English class. I LOVE these kids!
Here's my quick attempt at a cute bulletin board. More effort will be given when time allows. The cute poka dot boarder was a gift from my lovely friend and roommate, Reesa!

Good Eats

Yesterday, my friend Rhea and I went to the Naschmarkt to grab fruits and veggies for the week. This is one of the health food stores where I get many of my milk free items.While shopping, we got hungry and needed a snack. We stopped for some falafel and hummus. I took a pic of my last one so you could see it. Mmmmmm....
Reesa had some artichokes sitting in the cupboard and decided to make some artichoke dip...vegan style so I could eat some too. It was made from tofu, nutritional yeast (for the cheesy flavor), spinich, artichokes and onion. was delish. We ate it with veggies and chips along with a Green Monster smoothy (frozen banana, frozen spinach, peanut butter, carob power, and soy milk).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Finish What You've Started

I've been praying for wisdom about next year. I signed a two year contract last year and was planning to be done this June. I was SURE a week ago that this year would be my last. But this week....ahhhhh...I don't know WHAT to do!

So today, I was reading Luke 14:25-35. Jesus is talking about the cost of being a disciple. "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him. Saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish." Wow, I can't believe I read this passage on this day. I felt like He was saying to me, "Nicki, don't just lay the foundation of a special needs program and leave." I want to be able to finish what I started. Question is, how do I know when it's finished?

I really feel like I need to go home and pay off my school debt but I also feel the need to see this through. I'm not sure what God has planned for me down the road but I do know that road is about to take a big curve and I can't see what's around the corner.

First Week of School

The first week of school was a busy one but a good one! I gave 7 entrance exams to new students, did a teacher in-service on how to give the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) and set up guided reading groups, started 3 middle school classes, and had Back to School night with the parents! Many days were 12 hour days and one night I had to make copies in the dark as the janitor had left for the night.

We changed our name this year from Vienna Christian School to International Christian School of Vienna. The new name better reflects who we are to the international community in Vienna. We are getting a new roof this year (praise the Lord) and you can see the scaffolding in the picture. Here are a couple of my students.
We went to the park for 7th hour on the first day of school. We played water balloon volleyball and soccer.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Look what I found!

Tofu Schnitzel!!! Only in Austria!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Family Vacation in the Dells

After we spent the morning skiing, we drove out to the Dells for our first family vacation since 1999. Our first event was the Tommy Bartlett show. Now, me and my brother used ski at the same time but he never let me ride on his shoulders! Mom, Dad and I got to ride a Military Duck that drives on land and in the water. It was pretty cool.
The Dells are really beautiful.
Dustin joined us the next day... He wrestled a bear and saved my life. Just kidding.
It wouldn't be a Braun family vacation without riding a fast boat! We rode a jet boat called the Wild Thing. It had 1200 horse power, did 360's, and had brakes that would make the water spray over the top...we were drenched by the end of the ride. It was pretty fun.
We went mini golfing.

A good time was had by all.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I talked my brother (who is afraid of heights) into riding this ride with me. Its 160 feet tall and moves 60 miles an hour. Plus, the seat your in flips around. At times we were falling to the ground head first. It was the best rush of adrenalin I've had in a long time.
I screamed and laughed so hard druing the whole ride. It was such a rush.
After the Skyscraper, we rode the "Hellcat." We were the only ones on the ride. We rode it 3 times in a row until we both felt sick.