Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolutions and goals

So now this may seem long, but those who know me, know that that is just me :) So this year I decided that since I have a habit of setting unachievable resolutions I would divide my list up into actual resolutions (achievable tasks) and goals (ongoing attempts).

So by writing this here and informing others I feel more inclined to follow through, and I will write one post at the end of each month talking about what progress I have or have not made. And at the end of the year we will see how well it all turned out.

So first I will start of with resolutions. I define these as achievable tasks. Now if I were to say I will do x every day, then once I failed to do it one day I would feel as if I had failed so anything falling into that category will fall under goals.

Resolutions:
1. Wedding album- get pictures printed and wedding album completed (I was given a beautiful wedding album as a wedding gift from my mother and would like to finish it.)

2. Write 12 letters or Postcards home (12 in one year to 12 different people, goal once a month but with flex room)

3. Complete the Bob Greene Program (Years back I paid for an online weight loss program but never did it, it is no longer active but I can still access all the materials, I figured I would complete the program and that is more practical then telling myself I must lose x amount of pounds, this is a 3 month program)

4. Watch 4 movies a month with hubby, one rented (this can be on tv, but one new rented film a month, this is a way to get us off of the computer and spending time together, the ultimate goal is once a week, but by saying 4 a month that gives flex room)

5. Reading: English- 24 books (2 a month) 12 magazines (1 a month), German- 10 books, 5 magazines

6. Write 15 blogs a month (main blog), 1 a month (side blog)

7. Treat myself monthly- goal 1 clothing related item, one cosmetic or body, 1 book, and 1 household item (can be used, traded, second hand, the idea is just to treat myself but also stay frugal with my treats)

8. Visit 10 castles

9. Visit 10 museums

10. Finish my homemaking binder

11. Make a recipe book

12. Try 1 new recipe a week

13. 2 fold part 1) Finish the integrations course and 2) pass the b1 test

14. *secret*

15. Read the bible cover to cover

16. two fold 1) get my drivers license and 2) learn to drive stick shift

17. Complete the future homemakers program (its like a home ec course learning to maintain a home)

18. Start crafting and complete 10 projects

19. 2 date nights a month- one at home and one out, take turns planning

20. Get out of the house and meet a friend 2 times a month

21. Attempt a new baking recipe once a month

22. Stay in my OCD mailing group a full year (means keeping up with the posting requirements)

23. Go walking at least 3 times a week

24. Complete 5 small monthly mini goals/ projects

Now onto Goals. These are things to work on but not necessarily trackable.

1. Read 30 minutes a day

2. spend less then 1 hour a evening online (need to spend more time with my husband)

3. eat healthier

4. work on being a Proverbs 31 wife

5. Watch more German tv and read more German

6. Start Journaling

7. Keep a clean house

8. have dinner ready when hubby gets home

9. work on improving communication skills and responding to anger in a healthy manner

10. work on OCD with behavior therapy

11. work on Photography

Now my 5 mini goals/ projects for January:

1. File all loose papers
2. organize loose cords
3. clean out kitchen cupboards
4. organize bookmarks on computer
5. Clean out email

Whew that was waaaaay to long.

:)

Wish me luck

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Power of google

Here is the next round of random things people googled that led them to my blog. Enjoy :)



themen aktuell +german +english
deutschland friend
Deutschland ist, wo mein Herz is
originale nikolaus maske
knecht ruprecht poem translation
Sankt Nikolaus & Knecht Ruprecht, Deutschland

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Over 1,000 Views

Wow, thanks so much to everyone who continues to read my blog, it really means the world to me.


 VISITS
  
  Total1,253  
  Average Per Day3  
  Average Visit Length3:14  
  Last Hour0  
  Today2  
  This Week23  
  
  PAGE VIEWS
  
  Total2,323  
  Average Per Day6  
  Average Per Visit1.8  
  Last Hour0  
  Today2  
  This Week41  

Monday, December 28, 2009

Please leave your name and number and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

So after a lot of hurt feelings and complications regarding Skype I thought I would take a moment to address this issue.

Now for those who do not communicate with me via skype then feel free to just skip this entry :)

Now most of you know I have a skype account with a local number that allows people to call me, and also me to call both land and cell lines. But I think a lot of people overlook the fact that this is all linked through my computer. That said the likelihood of reaching me is based solely on if I am online at the exact moment. So it is better treated as a message number, leave me a voicemail and I can call back.

But I also tend to get a lot of calls in the late evening, which is no problem at all, but please to not be offended when I do not call back right away. We have a 9 hour time difference so if anyone calls me after say 11am home time I will likely not be online and wont even see the call until the next day, when you are then asleep.

I do have a overseas number that I can give anyone if you really need to reach me asap, you can get great rates with a calling card, but that is the only way to be assured to reach me at any time.

Thanks so much for your understanding

Best wishes

Rena

What my blog means to me

This is a topic that I have thought quiet extensively about. What exactly is this blog and what does it mean to me? I have contemplated creating side blogs but decided just to keep everything mashed together.

So what is this blog to me?

Well first and foremost this started out as a travel blog. I traveled to Germany for a summer and this was my means to keep my family updated on what was going on with my travels. As I later relocated abroad it continued to serve this purpose. But at the same time it has expanded to include other topics.

This is also a journal blog, my days, my thoughts, and my struggles. What I have learned and what I still strive to learn.

It is also a journey my life as a fast paced college student suddenly thrown into the role of a homemaker in a entirely foreign world. From recipes to funny stories, this is my daily adventures.

It is also a community with other bloggers. YOu will often see activities that I include that link back to other blogs.

So I came to the conclusion that it is fine just the way it is. This is a reflection of me, and written by me and at the same time for me.

I am thankful for everyone who enjoys my blog from my family and friends back home, to my blogging buddies, and even those who stumbled upon me via varies mediums and enjoyed what I have written. I hope that I can continue to write interesting posts that appeals to everyone who was drawn to my blog for varies reasons.

Lots of love

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas



Though we are thousands of miles away, you are with us everyday in our hearts.

I wish that I could have been home to celebrate with you.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Free craft and recipe ebooks

If you can't tell already I am a huge fan of free downloadable ebooks. I think it is a great resource. Now I can't read novels online, but I love free recipe and craft books.

I cam across all free crafts and discovered they had a free ebook section all books are in pdf format.


They have a variety of books:
Family Casseroles
Healthy Christmas recipes
How to Crochet
and much more

check it out :)


Get them here

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Enjoying the little things

I think that too often in life we become bogged down in the chaos and often forget to enjoy the simple things in life. So here are my top ten favorites, just small things that will always put a smile on my face or make me feel better.

1. Sitting at the window with warm chicken broth and watching the snow flakes

2. Curling up in bed with way to many blankets and a good book

3. A bubbles bath with a nice red wine and a good book

4. My husbands face when he comes home and sees a suprise- be it a clean house or dinner, most often dinner hehe

5. Seeing my family on webcam

6. Receiving letters or postcards from back home, oh and packages too :P

7. Good books, the kinds you cant put down and want to stay up all night reading

8. The smell of baking bread and cookies

9. Dancing around the house

10. Listening to my birds chirp, that is of course when they are not screeching ha

So what simple things make you happy?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

Here is my next posts of admission :)

Sorry if I repeat anything, I didn't have a chance to check the previous posts.

1. I enjoy playing kids games online. Like Neopets. That and facebook applications like Farmville :)

2. Nothing brought me more joy then watching ET in German and understanding what they said.

3 I drink juice from the carton, but yell at others when they do the same.....hypocrite, hypocrite lol

4. I see no problem in regifting and I am more then happy to receive regifted gifts lol

5. I read multiple books at the same time

6. I read magazines from the back to the front

7. I lay out not only my clothes for the week every sunday, but also the coordinating cosmetics and jewelry

8. I love to cut up magazines and make collages that represent how I feel

9. I am very fond of smells, not gross smells, but peoples natural scents. I could probably find my friends while blindfolded purely by their scent... ring a bell to the film Perfume much... creepy

10. I enjoy talking to inanimate objects, especially when they piss me off ...

so what skeletons are hiding in your closet ???

Friday, December 18, 2009

Free Craft Patterns

I cam across the website youcanmakethis.com through the Happy house Wife's blog.

I was delighted to see that they have a ton of free downloads in high quality pdf formats.

They also have a huge stock of patterns that can be purchased.

This site does require you create a free user name. But I did not have any issues, and was not required to make any purchases.

You can see the selection of free downloads here. They also have other free ones on their blog.

Enjoy

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What English sounds like to foreigners



This is rather interesting lol.

Kids say the darndest things

First Graders thoughts/writing about the ocean:

1) - This is a picture of an octopus. It has eight testicles.

(Kelly,
age 6)

2) - Oysters' balls are called pearls.

(Jerry, age 6)

3) - If you are surrounded by ocean you are an Island.

If you don't have
ocean all round you, you are incontinent.

(Wayne, age 7)

4) - Sharks are ugly and mean, and have big teeth, just like Emily
Richardson. She's not my friend any more.

(Kylie, age 6)

5) - A dolphin breaths through an asshole on the top of its head.

(Billy, age 8)

6) - My uncle goes out in his boat with 2 other men and a woman and pots
and comes back with crabs.

( Millie, age 6)

7) - When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the
ocean.

Sometimes when the wind didn't blow the sailors would whistle to
make the wind come.

My brother said they would have been better off
eating beans.

(William, age 7)

8) - Mermaids live in the ocean. I like mermaids.

They are beautiful and
I like their shiny tails, but how on earth do mermaids get pregnant?
Like, really? (Helen, age 6)

9) - I'm not going to write about the ocean.

My baby brother is always
crying, my Dad keeps yelling at my Mom, and my big sister has just got
pregnant, so I can't think what to write.

(Amy, age 6)

10) - Some fish are dangerous. Jellyfish can sting.

Electric eels can
give you a shock.

They have to live in caves under the sea where I think
they have to plug themselves into chargers.

(Christopher, age 7)

11) - When you go swimming in the ocean, it is very cold, and it makes
my willy small.

(Kevin, age 6)

12) - Divers have to be safe when they go under the water.

Divers can't
go down alone, so they have to go down on each other.

(Becky, age 8)

13) - On vacation my Mom went water skiing.

She fell off when she was
going very fast.

She says she won't do it again because water fired
right up her big fat ass.

(Julie, age 7)

14) - The ocean is made up of water and fish.

Why the fish don't drown I
don't know.

(Bobby, age 6)

15) - My dad was a sailor on the ocean. He knows all about the ocean.

What he doesn't know is why he quit being a sailor and married my mom.

(James, age 7)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Updated Christmas Crafts

So I decided due to the short notice, I did not want to go over board or set myself up for faliure. So I taimed it back a bit here is my final plan.

For my Christmas party friday I am doing a party platter with onion and ranch dip with veggies and chips. Plus I will bring the always famous kool aid.

Mother in law, father in law, oma in law- a home made american christmas cd, a hot chocoalte gift set (see details below), and homemade peanut butter cookies

Brother in law will get a standard purchased gift

Hot chocolate gift set:
a oversized mug, cocoa powder, sugar cubes, tea bisquits, cinamon sticks, and marshmellows. With hand written instruction card for my favorite cocoa.

Peanut butter cookies- will be my friend Sarahs recipe.

I am also going to do a cheese cake attempt with my mother in law. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

4th of July Recipes and crafts free ebook

I found this today and thought I would share it with you guys. It downloads as a pdf, you can just file and save.

It is a 69 page, full color ebook.

Totally free with no catches.

Show your American pride with this downloadable collection of craft projects to decorate, wear and entertain on the 4th of July. Find the perfect July 4th recipes to complete your celebrations.
Let's celebrate this great nation! At FaveCrafts.com, we put together this collection of patriotic craft projects to decorate your home or wear to the fireworks, BBQs and other festivities. Whether you prefer to sew, crochet or create beautiful accents from paper, you will find just the right craft project to show your American pride. We even have some great 4th of July craft projects for kids.
This eBook also includes a 4th of July recipe collection that will create a great spread, but won’t leave you panting over a hot stove all day. These summer recipes are quick and easy and are sure to please even the pickiest eaters.


Get it here

Monday, December 14, 2009

A daring Christmas

So I am planning this year to make christmas gifts.

I do intent to attempt baking once again, but have some fall back options in place.

Here is what I am thinking

Mother and father in law- a fresh cut veggie platter with onion, ranch, and hummus dips - Anyone know the shelf life after they are mixed?

Brother in law- Peanut butter and sugar cookies

Grandmother in law- Herbed rice mix

I would also like to attempt a cake to bring with us. I have a great recipe for buttermilk pie, or was thinking of making a cheese cake.

I also found easy cheese ball recipes.

Have you ever made Christmas presents? How did your turn out?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our Meal Plan

I am still tweeking our meal plan, but this is what I have come up with for this week. I want to expand and try new main and side dishes. I would also like to include more fruit into our diet :)

(This is only hot meals or weekly breakfasts and lunch tend to stay the same)
Monday- Spaghetti

Tuesday- Cutlets, Knoedel (a german potato dumpling) corn, and brown gravy

Wednesday- Chicken and wild rice casserole

Thursday- Grilled Cheese and tomato soup

Friday- Tuna cakes and Baked potatoes

Saturday- Breakfast- English muffin bake with tomato, bacon and cheese
Lunch- BLT with fries
Dinner- Pear and Walnut salad with Basalmic vinaigrette

Sunday- Breakfast- Hot rolls with wurst and cheese, or marmalade
Lunch- Soup with french bread
Dinner- Red beans and rice

So what are you having for dinner this week?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The legend of St. Nicholas

A man with a long white beard, a bishop’s miter, and a thick red cape comes knocking on the door at some houses every December 6. Other children wake to find their shoes have been filled with treats. Who is this international man of mystery?


“Ho, ho, ho, have you all been good?” The old man with a long white beard, a bishop’s miter, and a thick red cape stands with his finger raised before the excited children, his eyes moving from one beaming face to the next. “Yes!” they all shout in unison, impatiently eyeing the heavy brown sack that Saint Nicholas has carried in from the cold night over his shoulder. What could it possibly hold? Toys, books, or even candy? “Well, that’s good to hear!” Nicholas declares and opens his big golden book, from which he reads the names of the children and presents each of them with a small gift from his sack. They politely thank him, offer homemade cookies to their peculiar guest, and recite small poems. Finally, they accompany him to the door, where he trots off with a jolly “ho, ho, ho,” disappearing into the dark on his way to the next house.

Such a visit is not at all unusual in Germany in the pre-Christmas season, for every year on December 6 Saint Nicholas is remembered and celebrated in this way. Like many traditions handed down over the centuries, it is unclear what is true and what has been added over time to the legend of Saint Nicholas. What is known, however, is that the person we now celebrate as the holy Bishop Nicholas is purely fictitious and has evolved from two historical figures: The first is Nicholas Bishop of Myra, who lived in the forth century in what is now Lycia, Turkey. The other is Nicholas Abbey of Sion and later Bishop of Pinara. The figure who later became known to us as the powerful Saint Nicholas Bishop of Myra evolved from them and the good deeds they did to help the poor, infirm, and oppressed.

From that figure have grown numerous legends describing Nicholas’s altruistic and sometimes miraculous good deeds. In the most well-known story about him, Nicholas peacefully stopped the plundering and rioting in the city and saved the lives of three innocent men who had been condemned to death. In one of the more mysterious legends, he rushed to the aid of sailors on a ship during a raging storm and calmed the sea, thus enabling them to reach the harbor safely. The tradition of gift-giving is believed to be based on the story in which he generously gave the entire inheritance left him by his wealthy parents to the poor and protected them from the cold and hunger. These and many more legends about this saint have been handed down from generation to generation and are meant to teach children how to live unselfish lives.
Read more here
German Missions- St. Nicholas

In Germany, Nikolaus is usually celebrated on a small scale. Many children put a boot called Nikolaus-Stiefel outside the front door on the night of December 5 to December 6. St. Nicholas fills the boot with gifts and sweets, and at the same time checks up on the children to see if they were good, polite and helpful the last year. If they were not, they will have a tree branch (rute) in their boots instead. Sometimes a disguised Nikolaus also visits the children at school or in their homes and asks them if they have been good (sometimes ostensibly checking his golden book for their record), handing out presents on a per-behaviour basis. This has become more lenient in recent decades.
But for many children, Nikolaus also elicited fear, as he was often accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht (Servant Ruprecht), who would threaten to beat, or sometimes actually beat the children for misbehaviour as using this myth to 'bring up cheek children' for a better, good behaviour. Any kind of punishment isn't really following and just an antic legend. Knecht Ruprecht furthermore was equipped with deerlegs. In Switzerland, where he is called Schmutzli, he would threaten to put bad children in a sack and take them back to the dark forest. In other accounts he would throw the sack into the river, drowning the naughty children. These traditions were implemented more rigidly in Catholic countries and regions such as Austria or Bavaria.
In highly Catholic regions, the local priest was informed by the parents about their children's behaviour and would then personally visit the homes in the traditional Christian garment and threaten to beat them with a rod. In parts of Austria, Krampusse, who local tradition says are Nikolaus's helpers (in reality, typically children of poor families), roamed the streets during the festival. They wore masks and dragged chains behind them. These Krampusläufe (Krampus runs) still exist.
Wikipedia

So does that mean I get a stocking and a shoe? :)

Freebie of the week- 17 free ebook novels

For adult readers only :)

You can download (in pdf format) 17 full length novels from Harlequin

check it out here

Friday, December 4, 2009

A2 ist fertig

Well for the most part that is. We did the majority of our test today. That included reading, writing and listening comprehension. We were supposed to do the speaking component as well, but after waiting 45 minutes for an additional instructor to make an appearance, our teacher said the hell with it, she will call in her assistant next week. I believe I did pretty well over all. I know that I made mistakes, but I understood this test better then the A1 and I consider that a substantial improvement. I will find out Monday the grades on these three components of the test, and then the completed score late next week.

So next we will take on b1, and then the orientation course, before taking on the b1 test next March. In a few weeks we will be getting a 3 week Christmas beak and I look forward to that as a time to wind down and relax, but also to catch up and refresh on some tough spots.

I am glad that we are coming toward the end of the course, but at the same time I am a bit saddened. I have made so many wonderful friendships, and I look forward to the class daily. And while I am sure many of these friendships will remain outside of the course parameters, I am a bit disappointed for the days when I no longer get to look forward to the next days course.

But I am truly happy with the progress that I have made. Liberating is an understatement in terms of the changes it has made in my life. I think that two often we are quick to judge immigrants, but really have no standing to talk until we too stand within their shoes. I came to Germany with 2 suit cases, a carry on bag, and two words of German. And for the first time in my life I know what it feels like to start a new life in a foreign world, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for everyone who conquers that difficult task.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Our Meal Plan

Here is a peak into this weeks meal plan.

Monday- Corn roll sandwiches

Tuesday- Pizza

Wednesday- Spaghetti, herb bread, and salad

Thursday- Pork, spatzle with Jagar sauce, and salad

Friday- Soup and Salad

Saturday- B- Eggs, Hash-browns, L- Sandwiches, D- Tuna cakes, mashed potatoes, and spinach

Sunday- B- hot rolls, L- Sandwiches, Mid day tee and cake- Quark cake D-Red Beans and Rice

So whats for dinner at your house:)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I came here to talk






Honey you are a rock
Upon which I stand
And I come here to talk
I hope you understand

That green eyes, yeah the spotlight, shines upon you
And how could, anybody, deny you

I came here with a load
And it feels so much lighter, now Ive met you
And honey you should know, that I could never go on without you

Green eyes

Honey you are the sea
Upon which I float
And I came here to talk
I think you should know

That green eyes, youre the one that I wanted to find
And anyone who, tried to deny you must be out of their mind

Cause I came here with a load
And it feels so much lighter, since I met you
Honey you should know, that I could never go on without you

Green eyes
Green eyes

Ohohohohooooo
Ohohohohooooo

Ohohohohooooo
Ohohohohooooo

Honey you are a rock
Upon which I stand

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Thanksgiving suprise

Well it was intended to be a Christmas package from my family, but do to the fact it was one of a bundle, and it contained Christmas decorations, I let the hubby open one box early and called it a Thanksgiving days present lol.

I wish I would have taken photos. But I will take some and add some later.

But we were super excited to open it and find:
2 American stocking and Christmas decorations
A pink and black hoodie for me
Ear warmers for me
A new laptop bag for hubby
and Sloppy joe mix and kool aid

:)


Saturday, November 28, 2009

My new favorite author

Many of you already know that I am a nerd for books. I love to read. I could easily sit up all night with a book. Ok well maybe not, now a days I am getting old and 11 pm is the new 5 am for me lol. But I sure do out in a good faith effort.

Recently a family member sent me 3 Dean Koontz books. I could not even begin to tell you how fabulious they are. They are edge of the seat can't put them down thrillers. So my new goal is to read all of his books. However, I was highly disappointed to see that a lot of his early books are no longer in print. I doubt the libraries here will have out of print English books, but one can hope right?

So my modified goal is to read all his still in publication books.

I finished "Odd Hours" which was fab.

And I am currently reading "The Bad Place"

If you enjoy a good thriller, I full heartedly suggest you check him out.

So what Author do you go crazy for?

Top 10 Thankfuls... (Belated Thanksgiving Post)

I came across this activity on All that is Good and thought it would be fun to do myself.

I am thankful for (in no particular order)...

1) A wonderful Family who supports me no matter how wacky my ideas or aspirations are

2) A Husband who can always make me laugh no matter how angry I am

3) The change to live in such a wonderful country overseas

4) Great Friends who have never forgotten me even though I am a world away

5) The wonderful friends I have made in Germany, who bring so much joy into my life, and make living in Germany such a joyful experience

6) Good Books the kind you can curl up under a warm blanket and read for hours

7) A loving God, that never gives up on me, no matter how many times I doubt him

8) A amazing German teacher who not only makes learning fun, but has taught me so much about so many things, her sense of humor is worth millions

9) The wonderful friends I have made online via Forums or Blogs, who are just as much a part of my life as those near me

10) My mac who brings me so much joy, fun, and keeps me in contact with those that I love


I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I wish that I could have been there to celebrate with you. But I have so much comfort in knowing that everyone is just a phone call away.

I love you all so much.

Happy Thanks giving

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Toni's Brain

Today I clicked a link to a news story and came upon this. This is one of the things Toni was trained to do, writing coding. Now I do not know about you, but this junk looks like a foreign language to me. It just goes to show that intelligence really does manifest itself in many differnt ways among all of us.

So heres to my computer man.

}  if (vv_ads['postroll']) {   vidavee_ad_ref_str += 'post=' + escape(vv_fixAdRef(vv_ads['postroll'])) + '&posttype=' + escape(vv_ads['server']) + '&';  }  if (vv_ads['midroll']) {   vidavee_ad_ref_str += 'mid=' + escape(vv_fixAdRef(vv_ads['midroll'][0])) + '&midoffset=' + vv_ads['midroll'][1] + '&midtype=' + escape(vv_ads['server']) + '&';  }      var movieHash = 'movie' + (new Date()).getTime();  var proxyFilesPath = 'http://tribeca.vidavee.com/advance/vidavee/playerv3/js/';  var playHeight = 405; // internally- height + 53(skin controls)  var objectStart = '<' + 'object width="470" height="' + playHeight + '" align="middle" id="' + movieHash + '" codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=8,0,0,0" classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000">';  var objectEnd = '<' + '/object>';            var scriptSrc = 'http://tribeca.vidavee.com/advance/vidavee/playerv3/vFlasher_debug.swf/d=D9CBA4B679637D35DB8F0326182ED6BD&p19=' + movieHash  +'&">=&width=470&wmode=transparent&height=352&dockey=D9CBA4B679637D35DB8F0326182ED6BD' + '&p2=off' + '&p7=on' +'&p16=v3AdvInt_oregonLive.swf'+vidavee_panad_skin_params + '&'+vidavee_ad_ref_str + escape(adseek_param);  var param1 = '<' +'param value="always" name="allowScriptAccess"/>';  var param2 = '<' +'param value="' + scriptSrc + '" name="movie"/>';  var param3 = '<' + 'param value="high" name="quality"/>';  var param4 = '<' + 'param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" />';  var param5 = '<' + 'param name="wmode" value="transparent" />';  var embed = '<' + 'embed allowscriptaccess="always" wmode="transparent" src="' + scriptSrc + '" name="' + movieHash + '" quality="high" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="470" height="' + playHeight + '" allowFullScreen="true">';  var embedEnd = '<' + '/embed>';  document.write(objectStart + param1 + param2 + param3 + param4 + param5 + embed + embedEnd + objectEnd);  delete(adseek_param);   delete(vidavee_ad_seek_policy);    delete(adreplay_param);   delete(vidavee_ad_replay_policy);   delete(vidavee_ad_ref);   delete(vidavee_ad_type);   delete(vidavee_ad_offset);   delete(vidavee_ad_ref_str);  delete(vidavee_ad_preroll_ref);  delete(vidavee_ad_postroll_ref);  delete(vidavee_ad_midroll_ref);  delete(vidavee_ad_midroll_offset);  delete(vidavee_panad_skin_params);  delete vv_fixAdRef; delete vv_fixOffset; delete(vv_ads);

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Look what I made


Yeah!!!

1 month....

Until Christmas oh boy oh boy.

The Christmas tree is up and already has two packages underneath it how exciting. This will be our first Christmas at home, so I have to start thinking of what type if meal I will put together and how to make it our own special day.

So I through this out to you, for those of you without kids, or even those with reflecting back, what are or were your christmas traditions before kids were in the picture?

Monday, November 23, 2009

5 Meals under 5 Euro

There are always times when we need quick and easy super cheap meals. Be it the end of the month, or just a late day at work. So here are a few ideas to get you through those tough times.
(On a note these are German based meals, but could be easily adapted in the states)

Note many of these only use part of the ingredients listed so they are actually even cheaper yeah!!

1. Spatzle with Rinder Fleish and Jager Sauce
Spaztle 88 cents
Rinder Fleish on sale 2 euro
Jager Sauce 3 for 99 cents
Just add a salad or some veggies and you are good to go

2. BLT's with egg and cheese (yeah I know its not really a BLT, but who cares)
Eggs 1,29
Lettuce ,69
Tomatoes ,50
Toast cheese ,89
bread ,45

3. Steak Pfanne and rice
Steak pfanne (in the frozen section) 1,79
Rice ,35

4. Spaghetti and herb bread
Box set with noodles, sauce, and sprinkle cheese ,69
bread ,78

5. Salad with Tuna
Tuna ,99
Lettuce ,69
Tomato ,50
Bell pepper for 3 ,99
Carrots ,99
Dressing mix 5 pack ,99

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Organizing your life in Binders

One of the most helpful tips I have ever come across was in regards to paper clutter. We all have it. Those odds and ends that you just have to hold on too. So what do you do with it all? Well the old days of filing are just too out of date and nothing gives you more control then organizing your life in binders. I am happy to say at any moment I know exactly where to find things, and that is a huge relief.

While everyone has a different system accommodating to their own needs here is a brief example of what works for our family. I am sure this process will evolve with time, but this is what I have as of now and it works great.

When my husband and I first moved in together he had a system he refers to as organized chaos, or in my vocabulary mass headache. Nothing could be found. Papers were strewn about in boxes drawers and all throughout the house.

So I took upon the task of getting it all organized. Now that in itself is a process, but let me tell you how much fun that is in German. Oh man!!! lol

So here is what I have as of now:

Binder 1: Husbands work and education history- this includes all school related papers, grade sheets, certificates, and degrees. As well as all work history documents- work contracts, pay stubs, old tax cards, vacation cards, important letters from employers

Binder 2: All government affiliated paperwork- unemployment, retirement, financial administration

Binder 3: Household- rental contracts, electric bills and contract, telephone contracts, health insurance

Binder 4: All things financial- banking, investments, insurances

Binder 5: Mine: Now I have only lived overseas a year so my paperwork is much less at this time thus it is easier just to keep it all together in one binder this includes- banking, bills, health insurance or records, and any misc documents I need to keep

I keep these all nicely tucked away in a bookshelf. I do have a separate folder for currents months bills, or applicable documents and I file those away after being paid.

So how do you organize your papers?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day Book


FOR TODAY Saturday November 21st

Outside My Window... Darkness and scary shadows from trees
I am thinking... I do not feel well. I hope a good movie comes on tonight. I need to work on my German.
I am thankful for... Having a wonderful husband who cooks me chicken noodle soup when I do not feel well.
From the learning rooms...Still chugging away at German.
From the kitchen...Oh yeah, I spent 28 on groceries go me.
I am wearing...jogging pants, a long sleeve plain old navy tee, and a hoodie, oh and socks
I am creating...A new blog, and a household control binder
I am going...nowhere in particular this weekend
I am reading...The Parenthood Decision
I am hoping...I get feeling better, I get all the cords in the house organized this week
I am hearing...Spiderman in German
Around the house...Need to tidy up, and deep clean the bathroom.
One of my favorite things...Journals and collages
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: clean up the living room, work on my control binder- nothing too fancy
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
For more information on Monday daybook check out The simple woman

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ode to Ramen

One of the wonderful American foods I have come across in Germany is the super cheap and easy Top Ramen. Now they do not have such a wide variety of flavors. I would kill for some creamy chicken, but they have oriental so I can't complain too much.

Now the possibility with these noodles are truly endless. Here is a few of my favorite ways to whip up Top Ramen.

1. Use the noodles as a stir fry base add veggies and or meat.

2. Cook into Tomato soup

3. Add an egg or veggies into the noodles while cooking

4. Eat the good old fashioned way, just as they come

So what do you do with Top Ramen noodles?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spend to save- Buying in Bulk

I recently came across a great post at The happy Housewife in which she talked about spending money on dental care products in order to save money on long term dental repairs, and she tossed out the questions how do you spend to save.

So here is my tid bit.

I know for a lot of us on a tight budget we live paycheck to paycheck. Planning every detail of our spending. But one thing that has helped me tremendously is occasionally buying extra products.

To give you an example today while grocery shopping I found butter for 65 cents a tub, normal price 1,29. Now I could say ok, I will buy two which equals the normal amount I have planned to spend. But instead I bought 6. Now my husband thought I was nuts, but think about it I saved 50% and that will last us a while, and save us on our upcoming grocery bills.

Buying more at the sale price saves you money in the end. This can also be true of buying in bulk. The key is being able to access what your family needs and will actually use.

I also buy items we do not currently need but are always using for instance bathroom products, why wait a week and pay 1,29 for shampoo that is this week 40 cents. Planning in advance always saves in the end.

So how do you spend to save?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You Capture- Real Life


Today while reading The Happy HousewifeI came across a post she made for You Capture. I went to I should be folding laundry's Blog and checked out what it was all about. Basically every week is a themed photo post and it looks like loads of fun. So this weeks theme is real life and this is my interpretation of it. A few of these photos are old, but starting next time I plan to try to get out and take new photos, which is the whole theme behind this activity. Head over and check out their blogs and leave me a link if you post a entry n your blog as well.




This was just a totally unplanned moment captured by my husband. I am quit the beauty in the morning aren't I.
This was after a few too many drinks in Bremen.
This was our wedding anniversary and I just thought this really captured the real life theme.
Yes this is the hubby, and yes his pants are on backwards. This is what happens when smokers don;t have their morning cigarette fast enough.
And nothing gets better then the unexpected hear cut shots.

So what do you think. Do these represent real life to you? How do you define it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate that is the question here

The Swine flu......dun dun dun.... We are all going to die right? A global pandamic, one marked with fear world wide. But is the fear actually rational? I mean how many people die yearly from the standard flu, and you sure don;t see people robbing armored trucks to steal the yearly flu vaccine.

I mean yeah I get it, it is a new strain and is attacking a previously safe age group. So yeah it is a bit scary. Don't get me wrong, but I do thing the media is as biased as ever, and for once we need to form educated opinions on our own.

So to vaccinate or not? No one can answer that for you, but it does make for an interesting discussion, and I would love to hear your points of view, so here are ours.

Hubby recently received the H1n1 shot, after a women at his work (hospital) came down with the Swine flu. Now I understand that when working in a hospital environment it makes since to be vaccinated, many jobs require this.

So the big too do, side effects. Well here is what happened to him. He got the shot 8 am and by noon felt like crap, he came home early. He was tired and his arm hurt like hell. The next morning he went back to work and came home after an hour. He had a elevated fever, but I wouldn't even call it a fever. Just a overall sense of crappiness. He stayed home a few days, each day feeling a bit better and plans to return to work Monday. In the end, you feel like crap for a few days but nothing too serious.

Then comes me, I have not gotten the vaccine, nor have I formulated an opinion as to if I actually want to. My doctor seems to suggest against it. Now I am not in an at risk group. If I was for example pregnant, I would get the vaccine. But I am stuck now in the position of deciding if I want to or not. I have never in my life had even a normal vaccine against the flu, and have perhaps only once as a child actually had a serious case. Other then a few stomach bugs here and there.

So what is your take on the swine flu and the vaccine, will you or wont you get the shot?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Medical Adventures in Deutschland Update

I had previously posted regarding issues with my ear and an upcoming MRI. Well that appointment was yesterday, so I thought I would post the update here.

It was an interesting adventure. I got some great advice from people who had been through an MRI before and it really helped prepare me for what to expect. I was so nervous the night before that I could barely sleep, I stayed home from my German class and caught a few extra hours sleep before my appointment. The hubby left work a few hours early to take me. So we had to drive to a nearby city about 15 minutes away to a radiologist. Once there I had to do the standard prep paperwork. I was asked if I had anxiety in small places and wanted to be sedated, I said yes. But did that happen? Nope.

So after waiting in the waiting room a bit I was called back. The radiology assistant did not speak English, but luckily my German was good enough to go through the procedure without ordeal. I was taken to a little room where I had to remove all metal and leave my personal belongings. Then I went into the MRI room and saw the machine. I never knew how small those little tunnels really were, but let me tell you I had one hell of a panic attack when I saw it up close in person. I told her I was freaked out, but that didn't help much she just loaded me up on the machine.

They put a Hannibal looking cage over my face, and a huge head set on me, and then handed me a ball and told me if I freak out to squeeze it :). Then placed a huge pilot looking headphones over my head. The head piece had a mirror so I was able to see outside of the tunnel. Then I was slid into the tiny tunnel, which words can not even describe unless you have been in one.

So I couldn't help but notice the women kept waving at me, I guess in hopes I would not have a mental break down lol. But then once the machine came on, nothing, even the warnings I received could have prepared me for the noise it made. At first it wasn't so bad un un un di di di, I am like ok I am at a Daft Punk concert, then came bam bam bam, alright I am at a Daft punk concert that is being bombed, every time you become accustomed to the noise it changes. So in the end I cam to the conclusion that I was on a train listening to daft punk, while being bombed in world war two berlin. great visual lol.

So after that joyful experience, I was told to go back and sit in the waiting room. That had to be the longest twenty minutes of my life. WE were then called back to talk to the radiologist. Now this in itself was rather entertaining as I had looked to Toni to help me answer his questions, at which point he told him to shut up he wanted to hear from me hahahah. Well I managed pretty well and in the end was told it is in fact not a Tumor. Thank God. However, he was only trained in Brain scans, so he could only comment on that aspect and was unable to see f a problem lied within the ear itself.

So back to square one, at this point I need to go back to the HNO and have her review the films. I am unsure what will happen from there. She had said before it may be the case that no medical explanation is found and only the symptoms can be treated. So our next step will be researching into the costs of the ear piece that is needed, finding out how much is covered by health care, and if it is something we can afford to do at this point in time.

I am so thankful for everyones well wishes. It helped me so much, and meant more to me then I could ever express with words.

I will keep you all updated on how things unfold.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Belated Veterans Day post



These are my veterans day heroes. To often we are caught up in the politics of war and forget to take the time to realize that these soldiers are real people, not just names, they are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, and grandchildren just like us. So what makes them special? The fact that they are willing to put their very own life's on the line to protect the very freedoms we so often toss aside frivolously. I am not ashamed to be a part of a military family. I am damn proud.

My Meal Plan

For a long time I have been trying to come up with a meal plan our outline to help me with shopping and meal planning. I am sure with time this will change, and I would love your tips and suggestions, but here is what I have as of now :) Enjoy and leave me feedback.

Sunday:
Breakfast- American hot
Lunch- Sandwiches and veggies, leftovers, or odds and ends whipped up

Monday
Breakfast- Cereal or yogurt
Lunch- Sandwiches and veggies, leftovers, or odds and ends whipped up
Dinner- Fish themed

Tuesday:
Breakfast- Cereal or yogurt
Lunch- Sandwiches and veggies, leftovers, or odds and ends whipped up
Dinner- Meat themed dish based on sales

Wednesday:
Breakfast- Cereal or yogurt
Lunch- Sandwiches and veggies, leftovers, or odds and ends whipped up
Dinner- Soup or canned themed

Thursday:
Breakfast- Cereal or yogurt
Lunch- Sandwiches and veggies, leftovers, or odds and ends whipped up
Dinner- Hot sandwiches theme

Friday:
Breakfast- Cereal or yogurt
Lunch- Sandwiches and veggies, leftovers, or odds and ends whipped up
Dinner- Frozen themes

Saturday:
Breakfast- German Hot rolls and wurst
Lunch- Sandwiches and veggies, leftovers, or odds and ends whipped up
Dinner- Vegetarian themed


Snacks: Fruit, crackers, a few sweets, veggies

Desserts: ( weekend only) Saturday: yogurt, pudding, or canned fruit Sunday: Cake of some form

Share your thoughts or a link to your meal plan or outline

I think I set a new record

We went shopping today and purchased food for 8 days (minus a few items needed from other stores) for a wopping total of 28.59. Originally 6.25 more, but we brought back bottles.

So here is my method:
1. Normally I sit down every sunday and look for the shop with the best deals. I used to try to go to every store to get the cheapest of items, but hubby would always see something he wanted. So I challenged him I said give me one week and we only buy what is on my list plan the meals and eat what we planned, and this was our result.

2. Always take back bottles, we do it every week or 2 weeks since hubby drinks so much water. I do not count this in the total since it is already money paid, ie this weeks will go toward next week.

3. When regular items are on sale buy a few more, it cuts off the later need at a higher price.

4. Plan your meals based on the items you already have on hand, and build your stash with just a few extra items per week, it only costs a few bucks more and saves in the end.

5. When you can use coupons. I have not found so many here, but I do use them when I come across them.

So here is my 8 days of meals for 28 Euro

Breakfast: Weekdays- Yogurt or cereal Saturday- American breakfast Hashbrowns and Eggs, Sundays- German breakfast hot rolls with wurst

Lunches- Sandwiches, or misc odds and end funf minuten terrainen, salad, left overs

Snacks- Bananas, 99 cent cracker mixes, bagel crackers, and cheese twists

Desserts (weekend only) canned fruit, and a cake

Dinners (9 total)
1. 2x Soup and krauter bread (I buy this in the can it is only 85 cents cheaper then self made and I buy the frozen break two loafs for 78 cents)

2. BLT's and french fries

3. Asian stir fry with rice (I buy the cheap noodle mixes and add rice)

4. Fish filets, spinach and potatoes

5. Spatzle with jager sauce, butter veggies, and salad

6. Salad with Tuna

7. Tortilleni with bread and salad (I buy the frozen mx all ready just cook for 1,79.)

8. Mexian fahitas (I paid teh most for this, but it was mexican week I bought a burrito set for 1.79, and a mix with marinated fresh meat and veggies for 2,89)


I will have to pick up a few missed items under 5 euro at our local store
rice, water, sunday cake, and one can of fruit

For the longest time hubby insisted we eat only a few hot meals a week. He insisted cooking hot costs to much. Luckily h got sick of so much bread and took up my challenge. Even up until the moment we paid he insisted the costs would be over 50 euro, he was flabergasted. But happy, that with the right amount of planning you can eat hot every day of the week and super cheap. So I will try to keep this up and let you guys know how it goes.

As you know right now we are in a pinch so we have to live frugally, but I think either way it is a good skill to have, and while I am sure when we can we will spend more on food, I will try to keep up saving money by careful planning. That just leaves extra money for those special moments or long awaited purchases :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Big mouth


So in a moment of randomness, I said one day to my husband that he had a really small mouth. He insisted no he didn't. So we had to compare. His conclusion he has a normal mouth and I have a big mouth. While I do agree with the latter, I still say he has a small mouth. Now up for review.




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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The words you never want to hear

I had thought long and hard about wether or not to talk openly about this. But given some thought I realized that 1) It was not very kind to selectively choose who I would and wouldn't confide in and 2) I did not want a vast array of rumors flying around. I used this medium because I thought that a mini blog on facebook, was to little and I didn't want to drop a nuck bomb without full explanation. So you can read through the whole story and explanation or skip through to the juicy details your choice. So easiest for me is to start at the begging and to tell the whole story.

For the vast majority if my life I have had issues with my left ear. At times I have passed hearing test perfectly and other times showed signs of hearing loss, no one ever knew the cause and it was associated as a byproduct of chronic tonsillitis. This problem has continued in Germany, I was having issues with the hearing cutting in and out, and chronic ear aches as well as tinnitus. I was referred to a HNO specialist.

So I attempted to go to the appointment alone, and discovered rather quickly she was not used to talking to people with limited German, so DH came to help. In the mean time she did the standard exam and then a standard hearing test. As before my hearing test came back with optimal results, which contradicted the symptoms I had been experiencing. DH came along and was better able to communicate the symptoms and explain everything to me.

She concluded further testing needed to be done and she did a BERA hearing test.

Brainstem evoked response audiometry (BERA or ABR) involves sophisticated, computerized equipment. Sounds are placed in the ear, and the brainstem's response is recorded from electrodes (similar to electrocardiogram electrodes) that are taped to the patient's head. This testing is extremely helpful in:

  • Distinguishing sensory (inner ear) from neural (nerve) causes of hearing loss

  • Helping to localize problems in the brainstem auditory pathway

  • Determining the ability to hear soft sounds, in selected cases

When the results of the test came back she was able to see that something is blocking the nerves in between my ear and my brain. This result is characteristic of a illness known as acoustic neuroma.

An acoustic neuroma, correctly called a vestibular schwannoma, is a benign primary intracranial tumor of the myelin-forming cells of thevestibulocochlear nerve (CN VIII).[1]

The term "acoustic" is a misnomer, as the tumor rarely arises from the acoustic (or cochlear) division of the vestibulocochlear nerve. The term "neuroma" is also a misnomer, since it means "nerve tumor" but an acoustic neuroma is a Schwannoma. The correct medical term isvestibular schwannoma, because it involves the vestibular portion of the 8th cranial nerve[2] and it arises from Schwann cells, which are responsible for the myelin sheath in the peripheral nervous system.

Wikipedia


In laymens terms, acoustic neuroma is a benign slow growing brain tumor. Yes I said it, scary word Brain tumor. You can only imagine the shock and terror I experienced when I was told this. The statistics have been set at 1 in 100,000 having such a tumor, but with the increased use of mri to detect tumors it has been found they are much more prevalent and often go undetected for years. Most do not show major symptoms until the age of 30.


So where do we go from here. Well first things first I will go in for a MRI on the 5th of November and we will go from there. If it is acoustic neuroma the treatment varies based on the tumor. Small ones are monitored yearly via MRI, while larger ones have to be removed to eliminate risk of complications. The acoustic neuroma is the only known medical issue to cause these symptoms, if it is found that is not the cause, then it remains a mystery and only the symptoms can be treated. In either case I will need to use a form hearing aid in my left ear.


So that is where things stand as of now. I am doing ok. Though I ask that everyone keeps me in their prayers. As anyone can imagine being told you may have a brian tumor, is a traumatic experience to say the least. I am terrified, but hopeful with god at my side I will come through ok. I hope and pray that it is not a tumor. But at the same time I know that I am in a country with wonderful healthcare and I will get the best treatment possible. So before we press the panic button lets take a step back, and realize it is just a possibility, a scary one all be it, but not definitive.


I love you and I miss you


S

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