7 Reasons to Visit, JAKO-O Haba Outlet

7 reasons to visit jako-o haba bad rodach germany outlet store

Starting March 22nd until April 8th. 2013, kids have off for the Easter holiday.  Two weeks!

(However, don’t quote me on those dates since I don’t have any school aged children yet). 

We decided that since some events like baby swimming were canceled for the holidays - we would head to the Jako-o / Haba Outlet in Bad Rodach, Germany. 

My first impression of this “adventure” was that there is no direct way to get from Rehau to Bad Rodach.  It was single lane roads almost the entire way (Route 173) with lots of slow trucks.  Basically, it wasn’t the most relaxing drive.  It is easier for folks driving from Erlangen or Nuremberg because they can take Highway 73 almost all the way up to Bad Rodach.

jako-o haba family outlet store bad rodach germany 2

jako-o haba family outlet store bad rodach germany store hours contact information








I brought my camera to take pictures and there were so many cute baby photo opportunities, but by the time we got to the store I was pretty exhausted… so I pocketed the camera and just enjoyed the store, time with my friends, and shopping. 

The outlet was nice inside, colorful, and there were LOTS of toys.  This picture above makes it look pretty spacious, but this was at the grand opening.  Since the grand opening they have added lots more merchandise, which is great, but with people, carts, and children the shopping space feels pretty tight. 

For shopping they had these roll-able high chairs, which I thought were really cute.  Basically they took highchairs and attached a mini shopping basket on the back and put wheels on the bottom.  Just flip a regular shopping cart around.  The only downside was the size of the basket.  It was only big enough to hold my diaper bag and jacket.  Which meant there was very little room to add anything that I wanted to buy.  But they did also have regular shopping carts with an attachment for your car seat; however, you couldn’t put a toddler / child in there so we couldn’t use the regular shopping carts.

Isaac didn’t really want to sit in a highchair after being in the car… so he headed straight to the shelves for some merchandise unstocking and restocking activities .  At one point I felt like I was at a yard sale with a pushy mom waiting to pounce on a toy I had in my hand.  The funny thing is that she asked me in English if she could have what I was holding.  I had to tell her that I was considering buying it.  I don’t think I have ever had that happen to me while I was shopping. 

But putting all the minor things aside here are my top favorites from the trip…

7 Reasons to Visit the Jako-o + Haba Outlet:

jako-o haba family outlet store bad rodach germany 3 cafe1.  They have a café. 

This was a great place to feed our babies, relax, and {if the weather had been nicer} enjoy the playground right on the other side of that sliding door. 

jako-o haba family outlet store bad rodach germany cafeThe food is not gourmet, but they have hot dogs, sausage, bread, soup, drinks, and lots of cake.  On the day we went, the, the café was packed! 

The café pictures are from the grand opening posted on the Jako-o facebook page.  Thank goodness they got new tables since the grand opening… see how {comfortable} that guy is on the left.  SOOOO glad they got different tables!  They actually use these wooden ones in the picture as benches to sit on now. :)


2.  The Outdoor Playground (Spielplatz). 

jako-o playground nuremburg germanyI wish wish wish – I had taken a picture of the playground.  I would love to play on this playground - even if I didn’t have kids.  I searched online for a picture of it.  I thought for sure Jako-o would advertise the outdoor play area as a really nice amenity, but alas no pictures of the play area were to be found online. 

I did find a picture of another Jako-o playground in Nuremberg.  Just look at this one and then scale it down a bit.  Too bad the weather wasn’t nicer and Isaac wasn’t a little older.  The main reason for us to come back sometime would be because of the playground. 

3.  The Indoor Play Areas. 

They had a play area downstairs for babies and toddlers.  It had a train track play table and a ball track.  The upstairs play area was for older kids (I liked it a lot better – plus there was more room for Isaac to actually play – the downstairs area was packed with strollers because there wasn’t any place to “park” them except for in the actual play area space).  The upstairs play area had an activity center box (which was good for Isaac), a climbing wall, ropes hanging from the ceiling that were attached to the floor to swing on and climb, a huge rocking horse, and big foam building blocks. 

4.  Crafts. 

They had a section upstairs devoted to crafts and learning products.  It is always fun to find craft supplies in Germany, since they don’t really have anything like Michaels or Joann Fabrics.  However, I didn’t need anything because I had just ordered some craft supplies from this website – Winkler.de.  It is mainly for school supplies, but they have A LOT of craft stuff.

5.  Nice Diaper Changing Room. 

It would be pretty weird if there wasn’t a place to change diapers – since it is a baby / child toy company.  Overall it was a nice room and they seemed to have thought of every amenity.  I liked the small port hole in the door so you are able to see if anyone is currently in the room without opening up the door.  However, it was a little strange to have port holes in the bathroom doors, but I am sure it is probably a good feature with small children using the bathroom.

6.  Good Deals. 

As far as I could tell you could get some great deals at the outlet.  One website I saw said that the prices were anywhere from 10 to 40% cheaper.  It is hard to say how good the deals were for sure because I haven’t been in Germany long enough to compare prices, but imagemy German friends said they got some good deals.   

7.  Lots of different products. 

It isn’t a huge store, but they had women’s clothing, bathing suits (my friend got a bikini for 6 Euro’s – wow that sounds like a great price!), science experiment kits, craft stuff, dolls, stuffed animals, Legos / Duplo’s, gardening products, playing in the sand stuff, books, music CD’s, DVD’s, kid clothing, outdoor play toys, baby stufjako-o shopping bagf, and they even had a MEGA stroller that fit 6 children (FYI - I am NOT in the market for one of these).

8.  The Shopping Bags. 

So this may sound really random, but I love the Jako-o shopping bags.  I even have a crafty / creative project in the works using the critters that I cut out of the bag.  Hopefully I can share my final craft project with you guys soon.  :)

Unfortunately there is a pretty big downside to mention and no it wasn’t the drive home :) although it was another truck infested slow exhausting drive. 

The downside was that when I got home the two toys I bought weren’t really {DEALS} and one of the toys I bought was actually broken. 

I bought:

  • Magnetic Alphabet for the Fridge – 6.95 Euro’s (Amazon.de price 8.90)
  • Metallophon - 10.95 Euro’s (Haba online price 17.95).Ministeck Magnetic Alphabet for the Fridge Germany Review

Turns out the magnets on the alphabet letters are not as strong as I remember having in my set growing up.  It might just be another case of reducing manufacturing costs, but keeping the prices the same.  It isn’t horrible and they still technically work, but I was a little disappointed that they fall off the fridge with the slightest touch.  One review on Amazon.de  mentions that the magnets are not strong.  Uggh if I had known about the magnets then I wouldn’t have bought these.  I guess I could {try} to add additional magnets on the back to fix this.   

haba-metallophone product reviewThe real disappointment from the trip was the out of tune Haba Metallophon. 

The C and D notes sound more like C and D Flump.  It sounds good as you go up the scale and then you hit C… after that who knows what note you are playing.  Of course Isaac likes it because it makes noise, but it won’t work if he actually wants to play an actual song.  I tried “oh Susanna” and it was hard to tell that I was actually playing a song – it sounded more like a Chinese hymn.  Unfortunately, I can’t drive 260 Km round trip to exchange this toy – maybe I can contact Haba and they will have another suggestion. 

Overall the trip was good because we got out of the house, went on an adventure, saw new sights, learned new things, and we have shopping memorabilia. 

However, I will wait until the weather is really nice {not sure how long that will take} and Isaac is able to run around and enjoy the outdoor play area before I make another trip.

Also next time I go to Bad Rodach… I should consider going to this refreshing pool first.  That way I will be nice and relaxed for the Jak0-0 / Haba outlet shopping.    

Bad Rodach Germany Spa Swimming Pool

PS – There are LOTS of other great Jako-o stores in Germany.  Click on the map for the locations.  The only other Jako-o store I have been to is Erlangen.  I enjoy that store because it is inside a nice mall; however, it doesn’t have the kind of play areas that the Outlet in Bad Rodach has going for it. 

   Jako-o store locations in GermanyErlangen Jako-o store Germany

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Kale vs. Grüne Kohl

Kale vs grune kohl differences between the US and Germany

Turns out Kale in the US is NOT the same as Grüne Kohl here in Germany.  I was pretty disappointed to discover this fact.  We went to the farmer’s market here in Germany and bought some kale plants.  We went to OBI and bought some pots and soil to plant them in.  We spent time picking bugs off the plants.  We waited until they looked nice and ready to eat.  Then we tasted them and threw the whole thing away (we kept the pots of course) :). 

Growing Kale Brassica Oleracea Acephala germany grune kohl sabellica












Now I can understand why Germans eat Grüne Kohl chopped into small pieces with potatoes and LOTS of butter.  Grüne Kohl is bitter and chewy.  They say that after the first frost it can develop a more sweet taste, but in my opinion nothing can help it taste like the Kale we were eating back in the US.

In the US we enjoyed raw organic Kale in salads, smoothies, and even made Kale chips (yummy).  But here you probably wouldn’t come out with the same results if you made these things with Grüne Kohl.  You would think I would have learned my lesson with the red onions

According to Wikipedia:

Kale (US)= Brassica Oleracea ACEPHALA

Grüne Kohl (Germany) = Brassica Oleracea SABELLICA

They are not the EXACT same plant. 

Some suggestions people gave me were to eat spinach (which is a great alternative although it is not always available in our local Edeka or farmer’s market) or Mangold.   One more suggestion was to soak Grüne Kohl in water for a while and that should help with the bitterness.  But I haven’t tried it yet.

(PS – I love the group Henhaus on Facebook because I can put a question out there and other mom’s living in Germany answer / help me figure things out!  I don’t live in this part of Germany, but I have found this to be a really helpful group.  I have asked questions about taxes, food, and fire detectors.  Here is the link to that facebook group or click on the picture below.)

henhaus germany website blog banner header

Here are some more articles that I found about Grüne Kohl in Germany and the health benefits of eating kale (just click on the pictures).  Hopefully this summer we can grow the US Kale variety and enjoy our green smoothies and salads again. :)  Lots of Love – Judi

A vegetarian in germay all kinds of kale not

mind body green top 10 benefits of eating kale

german food guide kale



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to read – lesen (present tense)

This was a fun image to make.  We randomly took a picture of our son reading Harry Potter (just for a second) and then the rest of the idea naturally fell into place.  You can see a picture of the Harry Potter page that I tried to replicate AND at the same time I learned the verb {to read} - lesen (Present Tense).

I hope you guys enjoy. XO JudiTo read Lesen conjugating verbs Learning German


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Renaming Culture Shock…

Now that I have been in the midst of {Culture Shock} for 8 months – I can confidently say we need to change this label.  The words culture shock don’t really convey what is actually happening. Culture Shock versus Cultural Adaptation Transition Syndrome CATS

I am not constantly shocked by the culture.

When I hear the words culture shock I picture someone walking around in a zombie like state with their mouth hanging open in awe and shock.  

Here are some suggestions that I think more accurately describe the situation:

  • Transition Fatigue
  • Cultural Adjustment Transition Syndrome (CATS)

My Favorite :)

  • Language Isolation, Frustration, and Eventually Tough Decisions Syndrome (LIFTEDS)       

I manipulated that one - just so it would almost spell something :)

  • Life Turned Upside Down Condition (LTUDC)

Sounds like a good cake

  • Put your Whole Head in and Shake it all about Confusion 

Other wise known as the Hokey Pokey Syndrome…

But seriously.  Who decided to call it culture shock? 

Let’s start calling it Cultural Adjustment Transition Syndrome (CATS).  It would also be great if we could rename one of the stages because I am in full blown Transition Fatigue.   

There are a lot of positive benefits to changing the term to CATS.  We can:

1.  Relate to more people.  The new terminology allows people going through cultural changes to also relate to people experiencing several life changing events all at the same time.  Like a new baby, job change, and a major move. 

We might have different stories, but underneath we are ALL very similar and can relate to each others Transition Fatigue symptoms. 

2.  Feel more understood.  The term culture shock has left me feeling misunderstood and misrepresented.  The new term will hopefully convey the right message. 

Cultural Adaptation Transition Syndrome (CATS) will now make me feel described as someone who is - adjusting and adapting with all the NORMAL ups and downs while also experiencing set backs, frustration, and anger, but also growing and seeing good changes happening, realizes that there have been some amazing blessings along this journey so far, and yet exhausted from the changes and the thought of a million more adjustments and changes to come.  (excuse the run on sentence) 

ALL of that is normal and natural.  By not going through these stages - I might not grow as much as a person.  I would be numbing myself and not truly living an authentic vulnerable whole hearted life if I didn’t truthfully live and breath these stages.  So I will take the down moments, the pain, the confusion, the disconnection, the anger, and the frustration because I know it is strengthening me – I won’t wish it away and I won’t rush through the transition stages because I can learn something in each stage about myself and about others. 

(Note – It is wonderful that others have already gone through this and can see these stages from the “other side”.  Those people can be a great blessing in your life if they are good listeners and can relate to you without pushing you to be where they are now.  They have the benefit of time and space to reflect and see what they learned.  Just like parenting, we want to teach our kids every tough lesson we ever learned, but sometimes the best thing we can do is let them know we love them, offer them grace and forgiveness when we see them making our same mistakes, and give them what we wish others had given us – lots of understanding and a shoulder to cry on if they need it.)

3.  Remove the Zombie Shock Image.  With the new term I can finally delete that image of a Zombie walking around in shock.  Instead, I can now confidently embrace the image of a person taking normal adjustment steps towards transitioning into a new country, language, culture, home, and way of life. 

4.  It is a Great Acronym.  Not only does it accurately describe the situation, but the name spells CATS.  And when you are going through Cultural Adaptation Transition Syndrome (CATS) sometimes all you need is a little bit of laughter to brighten your day. 


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to take – Present Tense

I guess we can always try multiple {takes} to get things right.  I know that when I am speaking German – I need many {takes}.

Hope you enjoy!  Lots of Love – Judi

To Take Conjugated Learning German the Wander Weg 


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Storytime is not the same…

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the focus on Monday’s Post will be the differences that I see between the US and Germany.  I have been living here for about 8 months (oh my gosh it has been 8 MONTHS) and my current stage of culture shock is where I can observe differences without getting too worked up about them.  At least not ALL the time.  But I still have ups and downs.  I am also slowly {starting} to see myself come up with solutions to differences and creating new pathways forward in life.   

Differences between the US and Germany - Library Storytime

In the US, a lot of parents, grandparents, and care givers take their babies and children to storytime at the library.  I started taking Isaac when he was just a couple months old.  I didn’t realize how much I liked that kind of program until I arrived in Germany.  The first thing I did when we arrived here was go to the library in Rehau.  BUT it turns out that the library here has really limited hours and barely any programs for kids and NO programs for babies. 

The difference is….. the library in Germany isn’t a source of community events like it is in the US.  Instead there are multi-generation houses that serve as a source of community events and programs.  They have things like musik class and they can help network you to mom groups with local churches or the La Leche League.  I can post another time about the mom groups and programs I have discovered in the Hof / Rehau area.

{I have to note that we live in a really small town in a quiet area of Germany so there might be more resources and programs at your library if you live near a bigger city in Germany.} 

But basically, I went to as many mom groups as I could find and did a musik class, but it all still left a huge {storytime sized hole} in my heart.   I missed storytime.

To fill this hole – I decided to start my own storytime group.  So far it has worked out great and might even be better than if I had found a storytime at the library.  I enjoy having mom’s and babies over to our house.  The atmosphere is relaxed and we enjoy books and songs in both English and German.  It will help me learn more German in a fun way and the other kids will be exposed to some English.  It is so great that I have met a really wonderful group of mom’s who want to come over each week. 

Because I think it would be helpful to other mom’s or even folks who are at the early stages of learning German – I will start posting the program that we do each week.  Maybe another mom somewhere in the world wants to do something like this with their kid, but just needs some ideas.  

The BEST part is that this storytime program pushes me to search out children’s songs and books in German, learn more German words as I write down the program each week, and clean my house. 

Lots of Love, Judi

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20+ I Heart Germany

20+ products with I heart Germany

After finishing the {to love} image.  I was inspired to share all the sites that I came across with merchandise that said things like I <3 Germany, Deutschland, German Beer, Bavaria, Berlin, Munich, etc…  Just thought I would share.  The products I was surprised to find were the ipad and iphone covers (I guess I don’t think about those things), the German flag with grommets is a pretty specific product, and the tackiest things were probably the ties {check them out below}.  Hope you enjoy! 

Disclaimer – I am not supporting or promoting any of these products – just thought it was cool that there was a lot of products someone can find with this theme. 





COFFEE CUP – I love Bavaria


TIES – soooooo many {great} choices….


German Chick Neckwear

































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