Wednesday, December 31, 2008
*We started this year with my parents preparing to move to Germany. They have lived in the same town their whole lives and in the same house for 30 years. It was really strange to have them move and even stranger that it was as far away as Germany! Dad left in February and, after taking care of a couple loose ends, Mom left in March. It was really emotional for me, since I did everything with Mom, but after a little while I got used to not having her around.
*We were finally able to take family vacations this year! We took 2 camping trips with Rich's parents and brothers in August and September and had a wonderful time! I hadn't been camping in quite a while and as tiring as it was, it was also refreshing just to get away as a family.
*I was able to lose the weight from having the kids this year, which feels wonderful! I won't mention any numbers, since I am quite embarrassed that I let myself go so much during the pregnancies, but I'm almost back to my old self. I just need to get into shape now! :-)
*I feel like Rich and I are at a new place in our relationship. We have basically stopped looking back at what we missed out on by moving so fast with our family and have started looking forward. I think we are excited about the future of our family, our financial goals and just our life together. It's exciting! :-)
*I was able to travel to see my parents this year and experience Germany! I feel so grateful to my parents for the opportunity and to Rich and his family for taking care of the kids and the house while I was gone! I'll never have an experience quite like that again and, despite missing Rich and the kids like crazy, I am so happy that I went and I had a wonderful time!
*Rich and I found a church that we are really fond of. I'm not sure what was holding us back from going for so long, but we finally started going in October (thanks to Shelby for the invite!) and love it. I feel like it will be a wonderful place for our whole family to learn, worship, and fellowship with other Christians. I am hoping to find a place there where I can use my talents and get involved, as well.
*I have to admit that I also got hooked on giveaways and blogging this year, too. Sometimes I wonder if I drive Rich crazy talking about it, but it has been a lot of fun! I started the year hardly knowing what a blog was to actually blogging on a regular basis and signing up for giveaways on other blogs and I love it!
All in all, it has been a wonderfully busy year. Things just seem to be looking up and I can't wait to see what the new year brings for us!
Monday, December 29, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
We had a very busy Christmas this year. It started Christmas Eve with a lot of food preparation for each family get-together. We then headed to my parents' house to open gifts with my nieces, since they couldn't be with us on Christmas Day. (My parents are home from Germany for 3 weeks for the holidays.) After the activity there, we took off to my aunt's place to have Christmas with my mom's side of the family. They only live next door, so we didn't have far to go :-) The last place of the night was to head to Rich's parents for some traditional eggnog, reading of a Christmas story and opening one gift.
Christmas Day was even busier! We got up around 6:00, so we could at least check out our stockings and the kids could open their gifts from Santa. By 7:30 we were at Rich's parents' to open gifts there. Then it was off to Rich's grandparents' for breakfast, more gifts, and a traditional Christmas shot of Peppermint Schnops or Black Velvet whiskey-Nostrovia! After the festivities there, we went back to my parents' to do more gift exchanging and dinner. We then had to head home for a little while to unload the car from all the gifts, so we could get the rest from Rich's parents' house, which is where we headed next. We had a little to snack on, loaded up the rest of the gifts, mingled and headed back home where my parents met us to see what everyone had gotten. By 9:30ish we were finally able to settle down, but since Blake was passed out, the kids finished opening their gifts from Rich and I the next morning.
We love all the family get-togethers! Neither Rich nor I really want to give up anything, but we realize, for the sake of our sanity, we will have to cut a lot out next year. As much as I'll miss all the running on Christmas, I'm looking forward to starting our own traditions as a family at home :-)
Thursday, December 25, 2008
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
For more Wordless Wednesday check out 5 Minutes for Mom.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I felt fortunate to be able to visit Germany during the holidays. Seeing all the Christmas Markets, or Weihnachtsmärktes, was truly a neat experience! Each town and city hosted a Christmas Market and length and size of the Christmas Market depended on the size of the town/city. All the markets we made it to were in large cities and were open every day of advent. Others may have only been on the weekends and even smaller ones may have only been on one weekend of advent.
I loved the look and general feeling of the Christmas Markets. All the booths were wooden and they all matched. There were usually lights and greenery hanging from each of the booths. Each market usually had either a huge Christmas tree, a pyramid or nativity or a combination of a couple or all of them. A lot of times there was also a carousel and other rides for kids.
The products that were sold really varied, but were mostly wintertime related. I saw things like ornaments, wooden toys, hats, mittens, scarves, pyramids, nutcrackers, and the list goes on! On top of that there were all sorts of food booths that usually had potato cakes, sausage, sweets, crepes and many other goodies depending on what market we were at.
It seemed like the main draw of the Christmas Market was the gluhwein, or hot spiced wine. I think we had gluhwein at nearly every market we went to. The area surrounding the gluhwein booths were always packed and hard to get to. When we'd purchase the gluhwein, we'd have to put a deposit on the mugs that they served it in. If we didn't want the mug, we just had to return it and get our deposit back. We never returned them, though, we kept them as souvenirs :-) The only Christmas market that didn't have gluhwein was the Medieval one, but they had Love Potion, which was actually gluhwien :-)
Here is a slideshow of my gluhwein mugs:
I'll admit after so many Christmas Markets, we were kind of Christmas Marketed out at the end of the trip. We were seeing a lot of the same things over and over again at them. I wouldn't change anything, though. The Christmas Markets were still a wonderful part of our Germany experience!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Here is an example: H A H J C would be Have A Holly Jolly Christmas
I had a blast playing and I got into it so much that I was singing the songs to the kids! Even if you don't want to sign up to win, just go and play the game-it'll be worth it! :-)
Didn't it turn out nice? I figure I can give it to Blake for Christmas, then hide it while he's sleeping and give it back to him when he's old enough to play with it :-)
Thursday, December 18, 2008
When we were in Trier's Christmas Market, we kept seeing people walk by with what turned out to be potato pancakes, or Kartoffelpuffer (pictured). The same man who recommended the bratwurst that I tried in Trier, also suggested that we try these potato pancakes. They reminded me of a doughy hash brown, like at McDonald's, and just as greasy! They served the pancakes with applesauce, which really didn't sound too good to me, but I tried it. The applesauce turned out to be great with them-almost like it cut back on the greasiness!
I also had other potato dishes, but they weren't much different than what we can get here in the U.S. I had some french fries, which they call 'pommes' that came with my schnitzel and I also had American fries, which I mentioned in my previous 'German Food: Sausages' post.
The soups I tried while in Germany were nothing like what I expected! The first soup I had was in Munich while we were at the Hofbrauhaus. I ordered a potato soup, which was quite different than what I would usually order in the U.S. The U.S. potato soups are usually creamy and have bacon, cheese and chives on top. The potato soup there had a thick broth with potatoes and wasn't nearly as flavorful, but it was still good.
The other soup I had was a goulash soup, which I had in Rothenburg. I had never heard of goulash soup before or, if I had, I never thought anything of it. The goulash soup was very tasty and had potatoes and pieces of what I'm assuming was beef in it. I had thought there would be pasta in it, since I associate goulash with pasta, but there wasn't any. It was definitely a great soup to have to warm up, since it was also very spicy (for me at least).
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
We put up our Christmas tree this weekend and I decided I'd try to get pics of the kids in front of it. This turned out to be the best one and it happens to be the first one I took :-)
For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The next one I tried was in Munich and was actually a sausage. Munich is actually very well known for their Weisswurst Sausage, which is a boiled white sausage made with veal, bacon, parsley and lemon. It is served with a pretzel and sweet mustard. I loved the mustard, the pretzel was good, but the sausage was just okay. It was very soft and I could mostly only taste the parsley. I'm glad I tried it, but I probably wouldn't get it again. :-/
The last bratwurst I tried was in Neiderjoshbach, the town my parents live in. I'm not sure if it was a regional bratwurst or not, but it was more like what we have here in the U.S. It was quite spicy and very good! It was served on sauerkraut with american fries on the side. I am very good about eating everything that I am served, and if I can't finish it I'll take it home and finish it at another meal. It's a different story when it comes to sauerkraut, though. I tried it, because I was going to try as much as I could in Germany while I had the chance, but it had never been for me in the past it wasn't for me then, either.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
P.S. I only have a couple posts scheduled for the next 10 days and I probably won't have time to post while I'm gone. Sorry to those who check my blog on a regular basis, but I hope to have several posts about Germany when I get back! :-)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
If you'd like to have tech savvy kids, there are several giveaways going on right now that, if you win, could get them headed in that direction. Check them out!
Poingo Reading System
SAHM Reviews (ends Nov. 25th)
Mammalicious Finds (ends Nov. 23rd)
5 Minutes for Mom (ends Nov. 28th)
Berrie Sweet Picks (ends Nov. 30th)
(Learn more about Poingo through Poingo's webpage.)
TAG Reading System
Mums The Wurd (ends Nov. 23rd)
Mamanista (It's part of their Hottest Holiday Toys for 2008.) (ends Dec. 3rd)
Livin' with Me! (ends Nov. 23rd)
Leapfrog Didj and 3 games
Chefdruck Musings (ends Nov. 29th)
Playstation 2 Bundle
5 Minutes for Mom (ends Nov. 28th)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Rich has asked on several occasions if I have signed up for any giveaways for him. I always enter to win things for the kids and I, mostly because I like to visit mom blogs, but the only time there were giveaways for him were at Father's Day. So, today, I actually entered a couple giveaways that Rich would love. Both Mommy Daddy Blog and A Cowboy's Wife are giving away $100 gift cards to Home Depot. Follow the links and sign up to win for the guys in your life. I'm sure Rich will be happy that I did :-)
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
To be put in Blake's "My First Curl" box.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
The first week we attended, we didn't know that the church had a nursery, so we kept the kids in the service with us. We didn't have the most pleasant experience. The kids, acting their ages and being impatient, did not do well in the service. Rich and I were so occupied trying to keep the kids entertained that we heard very little, if any, of the sermon. We both agreed that the next time we would try out the nursery, since we now knew it existed.
The following week, we went again and tried leaving the kids in the nursery. Morgan was great when we left her in the 18 month to 3 year nursery. She went off and played with the toys and didn't even seem to care if we were there or not. Blake went to the Birth to 18 month nursery, where he was crying when we left, but I expected that he would have a harder time. When we went to pick them up they were total opposites of how we left them. Blake had done fine and slept most of the time, Morgan had been had been crying and kept saying "no church" all the way home. I wasn't sure what was going to happen, but we were going to keep trying.
The next Sunday Morgan had stayed the night at her Grandma's, so we only took Blake and we kept him in the service with us. The following week went as well as week number two and last week, feeling guilty that they had such a hard time adjusting, I never left the nursery. I stayed with them and totally missed the sermon. I was starting to wonder if going to church was going to work out at all. We knew they couldn't stay in the service with us, because Rich and I would miss the message and we'd be stressed trying to keep them entertained. Leaving them in the nursery was stressful to all of us. (I could hear Blake screaming from inside the sanctuary!) There was no way that I could stay in the nursery with them, since that would totally defeat the purpose of going in the first place. I realized that it takes time for them to adjust, and as long as the nursery workers could handle them, we were still going to keep trying.
Today was our fifth Sunday at the new church and yet another attempt at the nursery. We tried leaving them in the same nursery room, hoping they would be better together. When we left, Morgan was crying and Blake was fine . When we went to pick them up, we were told that Blake started crying because Morgan was crying and they had to separate them. All I thought was "oh no", but to my surprise they both seemed happy and there were no tears. I really don't know the best way to help them adjust, but I do think we are starting to make progress....finally! :-)
Thursday, November 13, 2008
It feels like it's been forever since I've seen my mom and dad, so I'm really excited to see them again! It's been since February that I've seen my dad and since May, when she came home to visit, that I've seen my mom. For some reason, I've really been missing my dad. I can't explain it, but there are times that I find myself bursting into tears when I think about him. It's mostly things that bring about good memories, like a father-daughter dance at the last wedding I was at, that make me so emotional. It's crazy that I thought I'd have the hardest time without my mom, being that we did everything together, yet I get the most emotional thinking about Dad. We talk on the phone and the web cam, but it isn't the same as seeing them in person or just having them home again.
Besides seeing my parents, I'm also looking forward to getting a better idea of the German culture and, of course, the sightseeing! I know mom and dad had a tough time adjusting to how different it was to live in Germany. I would have never guessed that they are so culturally different than the United States. It will be neat to see how my parents have adjusted to life over there and actually experience some of what they did when they moved. We'll also be checking out all sorts of sights. Between the research I've done and the places my parents have been, I don't think we will have any downtime in the 10 days I'll be there.
As much I'm looking forward to the great opportunity I have to travel to Germany, I'm also apprehensive about leaving Rich and the kids behind. In some ways it will be nice to not have to worry about changing diapers, naps, tantrums, etc., but I know that I am going to miss the kids like crazy! I have only ever left them overnight with their grandparents before. One night without them wasn't bad , though, because it gave me a little break and I always knew I'd be seeing them the next day. Being gone for 10 days, I'll be going to bed several nights knowing that I won't be seeing them again for days! I admittedly cry ever time I think about it and I know it'll be even worse when I'm in Germany. I guess I feel guilty for leaving them and I am also feeling guilty for leaving Rich. I know he would love to see Germany too, but he keeps telling me to go and have a good time.
In the end, when I think of the trip as a whole, I am definitely a lot more excited about going than apprehensive about leaving. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel. It'll be great to see my parents, have some time away from the little ones and tour a beautiful country. As much as I'll miss the kiddos, I know they'll be in good hands and 10 days isn't forever, right? I may have red, puffy eyes the whole time I'm gone, but gosh darn it, I'm going to do as Rich says and have a good time!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
If you missed my post about Indian Popcorn and would like to learn more about it, just click here.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Blake also loves to climb on the coffee table! He has been leaving all sorts of fingerprints on the TV screen. He even loves to give either the TV, or the characters on the TV, kisses. It is really cute!
The one thing Blake hasn't mastered climbing, out of everything he has tried, is the couch. He begs for Rich and I to put him up there, so he can practice getting down, though. There have been days that I bet I lifted him onto the couch 50 times, so he could just get down again. I'm sure he'll figure out how to get up there soon. The only thing stopping has been stopping him so far is how slippery it is.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
We are coming into the time of year where a lot of us start thinking about what we can do to help someone in need this Christmas. With so many people losing jobs and homes this past year, I can imagine there are several people who could use a little extra help during the holidays. In the spirit of Christmas, 5 Minutes for Mom has started a program called Under the Tree. They have rounded up several companies who are willing to donate gifts to children of families who might not otherwise have presents under their tree this year. The only thing is, they need families to donate to! If you happen to know of a family who is really struggling to make ends meet this Christmas, just head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom and leave a comment nominating the family or send them an e-mail at info(at)5minutesformom(dot)com. They ask that you do not let the families know you are nominating them to avoid disappointing anyone.
I also wanted to mention that 5 Minutes for Mom is also hosting a Christmas Giveaway where they are giving away a bunch of prizes throughout November. Check it out by clicking on the Christmas Giveaway button in my sidebar.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Total with 6% sales tax: $47.67
Sale Price with coupons:
2 separate purchases
Minus coupon: $.99
Total with 6% sales tax: $1.05
Minus coupon: $1.98
Total with 6% sales tax: $2.10
Total sale price with coupons: $3.15
I bought $47.67 worth of clothes for $3.15! That is 1/15th of the original price! It really pays to be frugal! :-)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
I think it is so cute that Blake is already following in his Daddy's footsteps! I don't plan on trying Blake's chili anytime soon, though.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
5 Minutes for Mom is hosting a FUN with FOOD photo contest sponsored by Prego, where you can win a $500 gift card for groceries. Head on over and check out the rules to enter. $500 in groceries would be a big help for everyone right now!
P.S.-For those of you who read my post "Flies, Flies and More Flies!", you may notice the flies in the photo. I think I counted 9 just on the back of the highchair and that was just the beginning of the problems we had with them on Blake's birthday. His party was in the garage, though, so they had very easy access to disturbing us that day.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
- 2 cups flour
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 cups milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
1. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture-just enough to combine.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan to medium heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
Thanks to All Recipes for the wonderful recipe.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Pumpkin Coconut Bread
- 2 cups flour
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups pumpkin
- 4 well-beaten eggs
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 packages (3 oz. each) instant Coconut Cream Pie filling
Mix all ingredients together. Pour into 2 loaf pans. Bake @ 350 for 1 hour.
Pumpkin Upside-down Cake
- 3 eggs
- 2 cans (1 pound size) pumpkin
- 1.25 cups sugar
- 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 package yellow cake mix
- 3/4 cup melted oleo
- 1 cup walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Make filling: beat eggs, add remaining ingredients. Pour into ungreased 13x9x2 pan.
2. For the topping, sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the filling. Drizzle butter evenly over cake mix.
3. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle nuts on top and return to oven. Bake 30 minutes longer or until top is golden brown.
Monday, October 27, 2008
We decided to make our animal pumpkins last night, but it didn't work like I thought it would. The pieces were really hard to push into the pumpkins. So hard that Rich and I had to decorate the pumpkins while Morgan and Blake watched. Blake was already tired, got bored quickly and ended up was fussy through most of the decorating. Morgan tried pushing a couple pieces in, but when that didn't work, she was content seeing the animals take shape. It wasn't exactly what I had planned for getting them involved. Even if we had carved a pumpkin, they could have at least taken the insides out. I guess we'll have to stick to pushing face pieces into Mr. Potato Head, for now, and be sure to try painting or carving pumpkins next year.
The animal pumpkins did turn out super cute-check out the pics!
Friday, October 24, 2008
This picture reminded me of a couple that I took of Morgan this time last year.
In this picture, she is on another table looking at her new little brother in his Pack 'N Play.
Blake has a little ways to go to catch up with the heights Morgan was reaching this time last year. He is learning quickly, though, and I'm sure he'll be climbing all sorts of things before I know it.