Passport to Fun - Germany

Travel the world from the comfort of your living room with this Passport to Fun series!  Whether you use these ideas as a date night, family fun night, or homeschool study, you'll be sure to have fun and bring a bit of Oktoberfest right into your own home!

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You'll remember that I came up with a pretty awesome idea for G's Christmas gift this year.

If you're new here and don't know what I'm talking about, then feel free to wander on over to this post to read all about it.

I'll wait.

For our next "trip," we visited a country that even Gv's been to (in my tummy!) - Germany.

It was the perfect destination for this month - we had our own Oktoberfest without even leaving the house!

October - Germany

Set the Stage

I added the next stamp to G's passport so he'd see where we were going, then left it out where he'd find it the next morning before he went to work:

What to Decorate With

The flag thing is our go-to wall art for each trip.  It's something fairly simple for Gv and I to do together, uses supplies we already have, and still lends an air of the locale.

I also grabbed a couple of cowbells and a framed photo of Neuschwanstein:

What to Dress Like

I was pretty much going with an Oktoberfest theme for our outfits - it's not like we have lederhosen or dirndls hanging around the house, but my creative juices were flowing and I'd already scrounged up everything I needed to create our makeshift apparel.

I'd gathered the shorts, white shirt, tall socks, shoes, belts to use as suspenders, and was planning to draw up a construction-paper design for G's breast plate.

G, as always, was totally fine with the crazy outfit I'd cooked up, but as he was getting dressed, he came up with his own brilliant idea.

Need a hint?

Gv and I stuck to what I could throw together to create dirndls, but G's Dieter just cracked me up!

My dirndl outfit consisted of a black camisole over a white tshirt over a green dress, with a red, folded-up pillowcase tucked into my waist as an apron.  Tall white socks, black Mary Janes and my hair in pigtails completed the look. G's Dieter was simple: all black, slicked-back hair and a pair of my glasses. Gv's dirndl was simply a regular shirt and skirt with white tights and black Mary Janes.  I pinned some green ribbon to her skirt for suspenders and gave her two adorable braids.

What to Listen to

Even though polka is technically from Bohemia, I still think of beer halls whenever I hear it.  Plus, I have a ton of it and it makes me smile, so I'll take any excuse to stick it on a playlist.

Dancing the polka!

I filled the rest of the playlist up with all kinds of German classical greats (Wagner, Brahms, Beethoven, Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Strauss, Orff) and these guys:

G said he could have done without that addition, but it's probably just because he wanted more of his favorite classical piece ever.

We also sung along with these two standards:

What to Eat

We'd hit a huge sale on sausages during our last Whole Foods haul, so we just gorged ourselves on Bratwurst.

Plus, G had stopped at Aldi on the way home and they not only had imported German sauerkraut, but a variety of imported Spaetzle, too.  I'd completely planned to make some from scratch, but I have to admit, it was kind of nice just boiling water and dumping in the bag...

I made a tasty batch of pretzels (find the recipe here) and made sure we had plenty of mustard to go with it (find that recipe here) to give us something to snack on before dinner.

I'd thought about making some Flammkuchen, but we'd just had pizza the night before, so I went with Zwiebelkuchen instead.  (It's kind of like an onion quiche.)

Spaetzle upper left, sauerkraut upper right. Zweibelkuchen lower left and bratwurst on right.

For dessert, I considered a Black Forest cake or something using Bavarian creme, but made some Lebkuchen and it was soooo delicious! (It's kind of like gingerbread on steroids.)

We washed it all down with plenty of beer (I had a Radler) and a little bit of Riesling.  If it had been even the slightest bit cool, I would have whipped up some Gluehwein, but 87 degrees just wasn't even close...


What You Need

4 cups flour (I used whole wheat)

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 teaspoons (or one package) yeast

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 cup warm water

1/4 cup butter

2 1/4 pounds diced onions

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups sour cream (although I used 2 cups of yogurt plus 2 teaspoons of baking soda)

1 cup milk

4 eggs


caraway seeds

What You Do

1.  Mix the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and yeast together.

2.  Stir in the olive oil and water (add the water 1/4 cup at a time).

3.  Knead the dough a bit, then cover and allow to rise about 30 minutes.

4.  Melt the butter in a pot and then cook the onions until soft (not brown).

5.  Roll the dough out until it's large enough to fit inside a lasagna pan.  Drape the dough in the pan (it should cover the sides a bit, as well) and poke holes in the bottom.

6.  Spread the onions over this crust.

7.  Whisk together the sour cream (or yogurt & baking soda), milk and eggs.  Pour this over the onions.

8.  Shake a bit of pepper over it all, then sprinkle some caraway seeds across the top.

9.  Bake 30-45 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown.


What You Need

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons lemon peel

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 1/4 cups flour (I used whole wheat)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cloves

1/4 cup finely diced fresh ginger

1 cup powdered sugar

6 Tablespoons brandy or apple juice (I used Triple Sec)

What You Do

1.  Boil the honey and brown sugar until completely dissolved, then allow to cool.

2.  Beat the egg, lemon peel and lemon juice along with the cooled honey/sugar mixture in a stand mixer until well combined.

3.  Add in everything else but the powdered sugar and booze.

4.  This dough will be strange.  Expect it to be stiff or even crumbly.  It'll taste great regardless, so don't worry.  Cover it and stick it in the fridge overnight.

5.  If the dough can be rolled, roll it out.  If it's like mine and all crumbly, just knock it all loose.  Whatever yours looks like, stick it in a lasagna pan (I lined mine with this first).

6.  Bake this for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees until it's brown, but not burnt. {grin}

7.  Mix the powdered sugar and liquid of choice until smooth and drizzle it all over the top of this dessert.

8.  If you had dough, you'll cut this into bars.  If you had crumbs like me, you'll scoop some out and eat it out of a bowl (try it with some ice cream, too!)

What to Do

I pulled one of these down off our wall and stood it up to be a section of the Berlin Wall, which we then covered with our own graffiti.

Then we learned a little about a glockenspiel (a xylophone is made of wood, a glockenspiel metal) and took turns playing one at this cool site.

Finally, I have several friends who love games like Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan and since those both hail from Germany, we decided to explore them for ourselves.

We don't have either of those game sets, but I found this and this online for us to fiddle around with.

Since neither G nor I had ever played the games before, we couldn't quite figure out what to do, but my interest is definitely piqued - have you ever played either of them?

What to Read

Fairy tales!  Germany is home to the Brothers Grimm, so we read about a zillion and one fairy tales from our many collections.

Gv's favorites? Snow White, Hansel & Gretel and The Bremen Town Musicians.  I'm sure you have some fairy tale books somewhere, but if you need some suggestions, check these out:

This looks great, too:

And two titles come to mind when I think of German-themed books for the grown-ups.  You might have already read The Book Thief, but I bet you've never read The Day After Tomorrow, which is one of my favorite novels.

What to Watch

I thought about watching one of our favorite movies ever (see #2 on this list), but felt we should watch something a little different, instead.

I came up with The Lives of Others, Metropolis, Wings of Desire, Run Lola Run, Das Boot and Good Bye, Lenin (all in German) as well as the American films The Book Thief, The Monuments Men, and Valkyrie.

We've seen several of these before, but G had never seen Valkyrie and I'd not watched it again after visiting this in person:

Memorial to the German Resistance

Gv watched Snow White - I think it might be her favorite Disney movie!


And that wrapped up our tenth "trip" together for the year.  It was another huge success and we can't wait to jet off to someplace new next month!

Travel all over the world, without leaving your living room!  Come back each month to see where we head next.  Can you think of any other ideas to add for a trip to Germany?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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Want more?  Check out some of our other trips:

Italy - India - France - Africa - Ireland - Switzerland - Canada - Greece - England - Thailand - Russia China - Jamaica Egypt - Mexico - Japan  - Brazil Cuba Scotland - Australia - Scandinavia

Love this idea, but want the easy, made-for-you-and-all-you-do-is-print-it version?  Click here to get your own pack and see what inspired me to create this series!

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