Wednesday, March 31, 2010

last chance

Todays the last chance to enter the giveaway


check it out here

Thursday, March 25, 2010

B1 in 11 hours 40 minutes o_0

So just a recap:

Monday was the orienterungs test. That was a 25 question test from over 250 questions relating to German politics, history, laws, social standards, and culture. Oh yeah and it was 100% in German. I am pretty confident that I did well (knock on wood), but the official scores are not in yet. Assuming I passed I will get a certificate.

Now tomorrow comes the big Kahuna. The b1 test. It is actually over the next two days. Tomorrows test is 2 hours and covers: writing, grammar, listening, and reading. Then saturday is the speaking part. I must have level b1 in one of the three tomorrow, plus b1 in speaking. If you screw up in the speaking section 100% you fail the test which = 300 hours more in the course. Which is an additional 300 euro on top of the 1000 already shelled out.

So I am nervous as hell, and could use all the well wishes, them presses, finger crossings I can get lol. I hate tests and have major anxiety. I spent the last two evening with my exam partner so I don't think that we can be any better prepared. We just have to hope and pray that we get a theme we are comfortable or capable in.

Wish me luck.

My blog following policy

Lately I have had a lot of people sending me messages via networked blogs telling me they have signed up to follow mine and requesting I do the same, or offering to follow mine if I follow theirs, so I wanted to to take a moment to address my personal policy on the blogs I follow.

First and foremost, I will only follow blogs that interest me. If I am a follower of your blog, it is because I enjoy the content. I come online daily to see what is new and it is the highlight of my day reading blogs.

In terms of my followers, I only want people to follow me who likewise enjoy my content and what I have to offer via my blog.

Sure its fun to have more followers, but I really do not see the point when it is merely to boost stats. It is kind of like adding random people to your facebook just to build your mob I just do not do that.

Now that does not mean I will not check out your blogs, please do send me links and I will check out each and everyone. If I enjoy it I will follow it.

I guess the main point is, you should try to build your blog by finding readers with like mindsets who enjoy what you have to say, don't waste your time trying to have the most readers. Even if you have just a few who love what you have to say in the blogosphere, it means a whole lot more :)

So please do not hesitate to send me requests to check out your blog, but on the same token please do not approach me with the stat building request :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Update

I apologize for my lack of postings in the past few days. As many of you know I am currently completing the integration course in Germany and this week is our last week including 3 major exams that will determine my fate over the upcoming months. On monday morning I have a orientation exam on the history and culture of Germany. Then on friday I have a written german exam and Saturday a speaking exam.

I hope to get my frumpy to fab post up today or tomorrow and then I will pre-write a few posts for the upcoming week.

In addition I will have one post daily for the depression era cooking challenge. But due to the chaos of my schedule they may come out in a different order then planned lol.

I appreciate your patience, and I look forward to hoping back on the blog wagon once my course is complete.


Lots of Love

Rena

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Guest Post: Yumyumsommom

Hello all! I am Sommer! I'm a tall beanpole who loooooves to cook. If you don't trust a skinny cook then you don't know what you're missing out on! 


I can cook, well at least try to cook anything I put my mind to, and so can you. I'm sure Rena has a lot of friends out there who are marvellous cooks; hell, I've nosed at a few of her friends' blogs and I am very impressed! I am NOT a chef, but I do know my way around the kitchen. 


I would love help anyone who is not so keen on what's going on in the kitchen by whipping any dish they've been hankering to try. Yes. Send in any recipe request (not crazy expensive!) and I will whip it up for you. My dear husband will take pictures of the steps. 


I always think it's nice to see someone else do a recipe first before I whip it up. I am always looking at videos online for ideas. I love to cook Moroccan and Indian, so I ALWAYS refer to videos or pictorial blogs before I start.  It gets me inspired and excited to make and adapt the recipe into something I can call my own.


 So if you're lacking confidence in any recipe, allow me to give it a go first, and then you can go on and try!


Here is some of the dishes I whipped up over the years 


And don't forget to check out Sommer's blog over at yumyumsommom


******************************************************************************




Sommer is a stay at home mom to three wild and crazy but lovable kids. She is a military vet and expat in Germany. She takes homemaking one day at a time learning along the way. With ninja baby hanging on one breast, a daughter with her own new language, and her little ladies man, and air force hubby by her side, she is tackling the world one recipe at a time. She plans to use her GI bill to go back to school and peruse a degree in Nutrition. Make sure you stop by and check out her blog.


Thanks for the post Sommer

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Depression era cooking challenge Grocery list

I made a list of all items needed for the week in case anyone wanted to try this meal plan as well. I will note the things I have on hand or substitutions.

Grocery list:
Sausage links
2 packages of milk
1 loaf of white bread
1 bags potatoes (note 1 on hand total 2)
1 jar pasta sauce
1 can peas
grated cheese
apples
sugar
butter
thin cut meat
1 lb lentils
lemon
romaine lettuce
bread mix x2
1 pack eggs
raw spinach
2.5 lb ground beef
bottle ketchup
.5 lb ground pork
chili sauce
dry mustard
2 packs bacon
parsely- fresh
turnip
1 box couscous
carrots

Already have on hand:
1 bag onions
1 cup pasta
cinnamon
1 cup rice
olive oil
pepper
salt
oregano
flour
3 large bell peppers - note I am using frozen
can kidney beans
paprika
garlic powder
worcester sauce
can of tuna
chicken broth

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Renas Depression era cooking challenge- meal plan

This is for next week the week of the 21st ;)

I thought I would go ahead and share my meal plan and links to recipes I found. You are more then welcome to use my finds, or a quick google search will pull up tons of recipes. This post will include the meal plan and recipe links. Tomorrow I will post the grocery list.

Throughout the challenge I will post daily with pictures, and meal costs, and at the end of the week I will post an overall wrap up with total grocery costs and final thoughts.

This week I am only doing the meals I normally cook at home, I mentioned in an earlier post that later this yea I will expand that and do a whole week with all meals from depression era recipes. I plan to order some cook books off amazon.

Meal Plan
Sunday: Breakfast- Depression breakfast- coffee and cookies
              Lunch- Egg drop soup
              Dinner- Poor Mans feast
              Dessert: Baked Apples

Monday: Dinner- Pasta with peas

Tuesday: Dinner- Poormans meal

Wednesday: Dinner- 1929 Depression casserole

Thursday: Dinner- Mock filet mignon

Friday: Dinner- Tuna, Macaroni, and Cheese Casserole

Saturday: Breakfast- Sausage, milk, and toast
                Lunch- Peppers and Eggs
                Dinner- Couscous



Monday, March 15, 2010

Grocery Shopping in Germany

I talk a lot about the grocery prices, so I though it would be fun once in a while to share groceries. I realize the pic is a bit cluttered next time I will try to space it out more, and I will also add in priced next time so you can see individual costs of items.

Please not not seen in the photos: Potatoes, onions, 2x 6 packs water, and pork chops.

Total costs 63 Euro.
Yes that is my dishwasher, and yes those are Gwen Stefani and cabbage patch kids magnets and no I do not want to talk about it lol.


Sorry it is so cluttered, but I hope you can see ok.

1. Broetchen- German rolls. These are the kinds you have to bake before eating
2 Butterkeks- German butter biscuits, in between a cookie and a cracker
3 Lemons
4 Sliced Ham
5 Sliced Chicken Breast cold cuts
6 3x Bacon
7 French fries
8 Frozen Italian Vegetables
9 Pizza Margarita- Cheese in other words
10 Frozen Chicken Breasts
11 Frozen Broccoli mix
12 2x Croissant dough
13 3x Hackfleish- Ground beef 500g
14 carrots
15 tomato
16 tortilla chips
17 body wash
18 mexican rice
19 Johannesberry juice
20 conditioner
21 3x "American" bread
22 spaghetti noodles
23 2x Pasta sauce
24 milk
25 lettuce
26 Fleisch salat- meat salad.. no I don't eat it
27 gouda cheese
28 fish sticks
29 krauter (herb) bread 2  pack
30 Hamburger patties 16 pack
31 Cold cut cheese mix
32 bierwust- beer sausage
33 Toast cheese - in other words processed
34 eggs- in a 10  pack, not sold by the dozen here
35 Mozzarella cheese
36 Sour Cream
37 cucumber
38 strawberries
39 hamburger buns
40 margarine
41 salsa
42 fresh pumpkin seed whole wheat rolls
43 pineapple
44 kidney beans

What did you buy this week?

Heres a look at Germany check out shopping in Holland over at Home Cooking with Sonya

From Frumpy to Fab!


I came across this activity at A proverbs wife and realized that it would be great for me to do. I have gotten to the point now that the days I do dress up my husband asks me where I am going lol. And you have to admit that is pretty sad. I mean we can get away with sweats and hoodies in the states, but even jeans with a hoodie scream look at me I am American here.

So I decided that I wanted to take part in this activity for myself and to boost the mood around my home.

This activity is 5 days long March 15-19. Now seeing as I am in Germany, I am coming across this Monday night, so I still have my frump on. I will be joining in tomorrow for the next 4 days. 

So here is my plan of action:
1. Lay out outfits and accessories the night before
2. Wash my face every morning
3. Apply at least light cosmetics- powder, neutral eye shadow, mascara, and lip gloss
4. Shower daily

I know, I know you are thinking umm don't you do that anyway. But in all honesty no. When your work is maintaining a home you often over look such things and it is easy to say oh I will take a shower in the morning and just run around the whole day in sweats. I take that a bit further by even going out in mine. My poor German hubby often asks, "I think you forgot to put your pants on" lol. 

So starting tomorrow I will post a photo of me from the day. :)

Make sure you check out the proverbs wife and join us if you want to tame down the frump this week 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

4 Expat Kitchen tours!!! New edition

Update:
In an attempt to add my final blog video to my last post I accidentally wiped out the first four sections of my blog post so it is redone here:(


I was super excited when Sonya over at Home cooking with Sonya invited me to take part in a collaborative blog with four fellow expats taking a look at our kitchens. Make sure you check out the other bloggers kitchens I will include links at the bottom :)




First off a typical Saturday in terms of cooking





The weekend is the only time that we cook and eat all meals together. On saturdays we have a traditional American breakfast and on sundays a german continental breakfast with rolls seved with meats and cheeses. We usually have a light lunch and then a heavy dinner. Traditionally in Germany, the meal pattern is a light breakfast and dinner with a heavy lunch. However due to work schedule, and my American desire to have a heavy dinner, we agreed to have lighter lunches and heavier american style dinners. Every Sunday afternoon we sit down for coffee and cake.




A look inside my fridge and pantry









As you can see the german fridges are itsy bitsy. Shopping is generally done for one a few days at a time. It is very hard to shop for the whole week here, not just due to the lack of fridge space, but also the shorter shelf life of foods. I often find myself having to freeze foods just to get them to last through the week. 


Kitchen Tour













Most apartments in Germany do not come with kitchens installed. They are actually liek empty shells, no ligt fixtures nothing. In some cases a built in kitchen is included in an apartment, as seen in our case. This is generally treated as a unit rented from the landlord and results in higher rent costs. We do have our own kitchen from our last apartment which is stored away. I do love having a in built kitchen with wall mounted cupboards. 


As you can see in our case our kitchen is on unit along the wall including cupboards, counter space, a sink, dishwasher, oven and stove. It actually has a fridge built in as well, but as you see in the video we use our own. On the other side of the kitchen I have a small table, a crate for drinks and our personal fridge. While the counterspace is very limited in our kitchen we are some of the lucky few who have two sections of counterspace, many modern german kitchens have only one. But it does suely take some getting used to after becoming accustomed to our oversized American kitchens. 


I hope to later buy a small freezer so that I can stock up and freeze foods in addition to a small standing cupboard that can be used as a pantry. 




Grocery shopping in Germany





Now in terms of grocery shopping Germany had a variety of options. From discount chains such as Aldi and Lidl to megastores liek Kaufland or Rewe. Personally, I like to buy as much as I can from the discount chains and only buy from other stores when items are on sale or only availible there, such as ethnic or specialty items. The discount chains often have weely specials on all shorts of things inclduing household goods, but one thing you should know, unlike the US, there is no replenishing of stock and surely no rain checks. The weekly sale items are often special added to the general stock only for one week and one they are gone they are gone. I was really bumbed out a few weeks back when they had a sewing machine on sale for 55 euro. It sold out within 3 hours on the first day of the sale. We even serached every location within a 2 hour radius to no avail. So in terms of the discount chains if you ever see a good deal on something you want or need make sure you pick it up right away. 


We ended up doing a quick grocery run today and I wanted to share what we got with you. I thought it would give you guys a general overview of food costs in Germany. I will note which prices were reduced or sale prices :)


Normal Groceries:
Paper towels 1,45
Toilet paper 1,95
cinnamon rolls 1,99 (on sale left over from french week)
whole wheat rolls 1,12
lettucs ,89 (sale)
turkey breast cold cuts ,99
cheese slice mixed flavors ,99
olive oil 750 ml 2,59
flour ,25 (sale price)
liquid cooking butter ,99 (sale)
kidney beans ,35 (sale)
ice tea ,59
herring fish 1,39
pineapple juice 1,29 (sale)
cookies ,85
6 pack water 1,14 plus 1,50 deposit
6 pack pepsi 3,30 plus 1,50 deposit


Special one time items:
Cardboard magazine holders 5 pack ,99 (cearence from last weeks sale)
Bathtub mat and pillow set 5,99 (specialty item this week)
water saving shower head 8,99 (special this week)
tabacco 5,95


Note that here we are charges ,09 per plastic grocery bag, so most people bring them themselves. It is not uncommen to see people use bags or woven baskets in the grocery store instead of carts. No worries, no one will attack you and accuse you of stealing :)


As you can see I like to pick up the items that are on sale. This is a great way to cut down on yoru food costs. Even better buy a few everytime yoru staple items go on sale. It just saves you buying them later at a full price. 


Well I hope you enjoyed a peek into my expat kitchen. Please do stop by and check out the other lovely ladies kitchens. 


And while you are here don't forget to stop by and enter my first blog giveaway for your chance to win a cope of "The New German Cookbook. Open internationally. Check it out here.


And make sure you check out the other expats kitchens!!!


1. Sonya, over at Home cooking with Sonya, is an American expat in the Netherlands


2. Candee, over at Amongst the Tulips, is a Canadian expat in the Netherlands


3. Lytha, over at A Horse Crazy American in Germany, a fellow American expat in Germany

4 expat kitchen tours!!!



I accidentaly wiped out this post while trying to add my final video :( *insert tear here*


But check out the same post, bigger and better
here


Expat kitchen tours updated

Become apart of the worlds first bible video

I just want to start by saying that I do try to keep this blog pretty neutral in terms of religious beliefs. It does by nature of content fall into the category of a Christian homemaking blog (as well as many other travel, cooking, expat, and more its really a hodgepodge), but that phrase in and of itself has a huge spectrum. I do try to write my posts in a manner that welcomes all people regardless of religious beliefs or spirituality. However, there are occasionally times that I do decide to share things that would be classified as religious. Please feel free to skip over this post if it does not appeal to you, no feelings will be hurt :)

Today I came across the website I am not ashamed, they are in the middle of a huge project to create the worlds first virtual video bible, and you too can sign up to be a part of it.



You sign up on the website and are given a passage. You can not specify what one you want, since they have done so many, but you can click next till you come across one you like.

I sure did a few times. I like to try to stay clear of words I know I say wrong, ha.

You then record your video on your computer and upload it to the site.

Check it out and let me know what you think, will you make a video clip and become a part of the worlds first video bible?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Yay!!!!

I am so proud. My cousin was selected as Rose court princess at her high school back home in Oregon. Here is the article. I removed the names both school and first to protect her identity :)

XXXXX Jackson was crowned the XXXX High School Rose Festival princess this morning.

"It didn't seem real to me," Jackson said afterward. "When she was putting the crown on my head, everything inside just went silent."

The senior is studying  photography and video at XXXX HIgh School and is the president of the school's Diversity Club. She wants to study psychology at Concordia University and become a child psychologist.

The other members of the XXXX Rose Festival court are seniors Shakeryha XXX , 17, Ebony XXXX , 17,and Esperanza XXXX, 18, and junior Erica XXXX, 17.

Jackson, 17, is the 10th of 15 girls to be named a Rose princess this year. The next  princess will be the Metro selection representing suburban schools who will be crowned Monday at the Hollywood Theatre.

On June 12, the queen will be crowned before the Grand Floral Parade.






xxxx 2010 Rose Festival Princess xxxx Jackson



I am so proud of you honey. I wish I was their to celebrate with you. 


I am not even going to lie, I totally cried when I saw that. 

Farmville takes over the world :)

I love me some farmville :P




And from wikipedia:
FarmVille is a real-time farm simulation game developed by Zynga, available as an application on the social networking website Facebook. The game allows members of Facebook to manage a virtual farm by planting, growing and harvesting virtual crops, trees, and raising livestock.[2] Since its launch in June 2009,[3] FarmVille has become the most popular game application on Facebook, with over 82.7 million active users and over 22.5 million fans in February 2010.[4] The total FarmVille users are over 20% of the users of Facebook and over 1% of the population of the world.[5][6]





Thursday, March 11, 2010

50 (ok well almost 50) follower giveaway


OK so here is the nitty gritty. Everything is states in the video as well.

Rules:
1) Must be 18 years of age or have parental consent
2) No spamming, anyone who abuses the lack of limits or posts obviously unoriginal content will have all posts disqualified. So be fair :)

Way to enter:
1. This step must be done:
Post a comment with a recipe that is special to your family. Tell me the history where it originated, and why it is special to you family. No limit, please do a separate entry per recipe, and no spamming or abusing.


Gain additional entries:
2. Become a follower of the blog , and leave a comment saying you are  a follower
3. Post about this giveaway on your own blog, make sure to leave a comment to your blog post.
4. And as a bonus a 4th entry if you sign up to follow the blog on facebook fan pages. :) Make sure you leave me a comment and let me know.

Giveaway runs through the 31st at 12 am Central Eurpean time.

A winner will be announced the following week

The prize:


It will be sent directly to you from amazon.

Note this book is written in English not German :)

Setting up a blog

I have had quiet a few friends ask me about setting up a blog. While I am more then happy to answer individual questions I thought I would do a brief overview here.

Anyone can blog and blogs can be anything from a hodgepodge like mine, to themed ones covering all sorts of topics from homemaking, crafting, and cooking to politics.

I started my blog originally as a travel journal. Once I moved to Germany it kept my family and friends stateside up to date with what was going on with me. But as I started reading more and more other blogs I realized there was so many thing I too wanted to talk about. I had played with the idea of create multiple blogs, but I realized this hodgepodge, that is me. Mine is a mix, my struggles an an expat, my daily life, photos, my struggles as an unexpected housewife, to cooking. Someday I hope to even include crafts. This blog is me inside and out. And you know what my friends and family love the cooking and homemaking posts just as much as the photos and updates. Woo hoo.

When reading other blogs I learned about various ways of networking and exposing your blog. Today I have over 40 subscribers plus my good old family who has not yet figured out that feature. Sure there are mega bloggers with thousands of followers, but I am stocked about my 43 and I notice every time I get a new follower.

So onto the good stuff setting up and networking your blog.

1. you need to choose your blog platform. I blog with blogger.com. I have also heard great things about wordpress. You do have the ability to change at a later date and there is some fancy way of importing all your previous posts.

2. Decide if you are going to go with a standard blog, or perhaps use your own hosting site, then you get a fancy url such as ichliessmeinherzindeutschland.com. You can also do this step later. Many bloggers make this jump after they have set up a significant following.

3. When you set up your blog you are given the option to customize it with templates and designs. Just like you can on myspace you can add html coding to get fancy backgrounds. Or even custom make your own headers. One great source for blog backgrounds is the cutest blog on the block That is the one I am using at the moment. Many people use programs such as Picasa or photoshop to edit their headers. YOu can also use free sites, I did mine with the Picnik app on facebook. Now of course you later have the option to have someone or company make you a custom background if you wish. Or convince your it hubby like I am trying to do ha. Once you find someone who is computer friendly or if you yourself are there are tons of ways to modify your blog, make it 3 column, or add tabs.

4. On great starting point is to link up your blog through the facebok app networked blogs. You get exposure to tons of potential readers and even have options such as having your blog feed post live to your facebook wall. People do not have to be your friends to follow your blog. There are other similar services such as blogfrog, and google reader. You can always add these little apps to your blog under the customize tag. And I am so technologically inept so I can tell you it is super user friendly.

5. Expose your blog through meme activities, join others and create your own. What the heck is a meme Rena? Well think kind of like those face book surveys that run around to everyone. Except this is a blog activity. So what happens is once you find a blog with an activity you want to do, you create your post. You then include your link on the original blog, and create a link back in your post. This creates a huge network of exposure. Not just from the readers of the original hosting blog, but also the readers of every other blog who participates. Now do note their are thousand of these, most are every week. You do not have to do it every time. Many people become weighted down trying to keep up with all meme's, only do those that make you happy ad skipping them is perfectly ok too.

6. Avoid Spam. I have my comments all set up for moderation. And I have never had issues with spam.

7. Make sure you reach out to other bloggers. Leave them comments and they are sure to return the favor.

8. Never, Never post to much info on your blog. I know I risked that a bit with my all you article. Which I should go back and photoshop out some info. Actually will do that today. Many people use nicknames online. You should never include your kids names, or information that identifies where you live or work.

9. The main thing abut blogging is to have fun. You do not have to post everyday, you can do it 1 a week, once a month or 5 times in a day. One cool feature is that you can set up blogs to publish at various dates. I love this. Often times I will write 5-10 posts on the weekend and assign them publishing dates. Ok, ok I know I bombed you guys this week, but I was sick and lazy. ha

10. Do not try to be like other bloggers. Do what makes you happy. It is that individuality that attracts people to read your blog.

11. And one last tip, put a tracker on your blog. I use site meter you not only see how many people come to your blog. But what articles they read, how they find your blog. I love seeing what google search terms pull up my blog. This is a great way to see which forms of networking are benefiting your blog most.

I hope that some of these tips helped. Feel free to leave me questions in the comment section

Hugs not drugs

Rena

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Home keepers Journal



Here’s What’s happening …..
In My Kitchen …. well today is low key with all the construction going on in the house. So we are having fish filets, boiled potatoes, and broccoli. I am also preparing a baked spaghetti. Just toss it in the fridge till tomorrow and then tomorrow I only have to bake it. 
With The Children ….. I don't have any yet :(
What I’m Reading … well you know me. I always read more then one book at a time. So I am reading a few- The Housewife's handbook, The lightening by Dean Koontz, and The shining by Stephen King
What I Have Been Learning … I have been trying all types of new recipes and teaching myself various aspects of cooking. I have also been reading about a lot of craft ideas and hope to give them a try. 
What I’ve Been Noticing …. that I understand more German then I give myself credit for. 
Something that pleases me …when my husband does something kind for me, regardless of how big or little. 
On The Back Burner of My Mind …. The big b1 German test.... 2 weeks
In The Deepest Darkest Recesses …. sometimes I really miss home. I worry about my parents health, and I am scared thats something will happen to them before I make it back home. 
Check out more journal posts at the Christian Homekeeper

Rant wrap up

Now that I got all that negativity out in my last post I want to clarify a few things

1. Will I take up the land lady on her offer to help me?
Yes, of course. If she wants to give me some things, or teach me some tips super. I just think the whole thing could have been handled in a much more positive tone. Had she come to me and said oh hun, I see you don't have much furniture I have some stuff in storage if you want it, I would have been totally happy. Or even hey I see you have burn rings on the stove I can teach you some tips, super. But everything is about tact and when people come across very cross, it hurts peoples feelings. And as a women and a housewife, nothing hurts me more then comments about my home, to me it is a punch in the gut. But I am appreciative of her offer, and I will of course welcome any help.

2. Is an overbearing landlord 100% negative?
Yes and no. Sure he cares about his home and wants it to be tip top, so do I that is why I pay rent monthly. But lets work together and respect one another. And fix things that matter, rather then my washer that has worked fine for a year, can't you fix the broken shower head?

3. Can cultural differences play a part?
Yes, of course. And that is why I always try to think of others points of view in a situation, but I ask for the same respect in return. Lets talk learn from one another. Maybe we can learn something new you know.

4. Why don't you just move?
Well there are a few reasons. First and foremost moving is horrible here. 98% of apartments have real estate fees meaning at time of move in you pay 2 1/2 months rent as commission. This is in addition to 2 months deposit and first months rent. So do the math 5.5 months rent plus moving costs. That is at least 2 months income.
We like our apartment and assuming we can get the issues such as mold take care of we do want to stay. The rent is low. I love having a in built kitchen with full cupboards.

5. What will you do about the mold issues?
Well this week when they come in to fix the walls they will also do the hole in the living room. I have said that I will increase heating, not to 70 degrees, but I will make sure the rooms do not get to cool. But if after doing so it is not better, I will go back and demand they reevaluate it after I have met their terms.

My week of madness

Now I have posted the pics yesterday. But you never start any story with the climax so we are going to go back a bit and add the back story for the full effect.

Rewind to last Tuesday:
I called hubby at work and asked him to make me a doctors appointment because my throat was killing me. So we went to the Doctors after he got home from work and low and behold I had streap throat. I was put on antibiotics and sent home. Told to come in Thursday for a check before I was approved to return to normal schooling.

Wednesday:
Even though I was written home sick. Which is treated very differently in Germany. Here even people who are employed are  paid all sick days, there is no limit. I attended school since we had a special seminar. A professional trainer came in to teach us about German resumés and interviews. Now that did not go to bad. Except that the russian chick who is always mean to e kept asking the most obscure and ridiculous questions, like about wording in her personal cv that did not help the group. Well that pissed off the teacher so when I asked legitimate questions that actually affected all of us, such as where to place the Cover letter in the map (germans have  fancy system) I got yelled at.

Thursday:
My throat starts feeling better, but then I develop a cough. We go back to the doctor and he orders me home and in bed through Tuesday. Germans are very firm believers that if you are sick you are in bed, I have even heard stories where people claim someone worked while sick then had a heart attack or stroke and died, all because working with the flu. Man in the states I would have died a long time ago ha. So I am told to finish out the antibiotics and add one of the expectants that makes everything come up.

Friday- Sunday:
Hey my throat feels great, but cough turns into full blown bronchitis. Sucky. Spend the weekend in bed. Now sick 7 days so the house is not tip top, I mean not anything like Hoarders on A&E but not tip top.

Monday: I wake up and go into the kitchen to make coffee. As I walk bake to bed with my coffee I hear water dripping. Did I leave the machine on? The sink running? Nope. So as I turn around I see water running down the halls of our hallway. I call hubby at work tell him its serious and to get home. He notifies the landlord who then tell us he had a company renovating his bathroom. They said it was safe to turn on the water and were currently gone to lunch. So the water spread down the walls and into three streams of water in this time. So the company is back from lunch, do they come, nope. Landlord has them finish up upstairs first. I finally went up and said look the water is still coming and they came down. They them proceeded to stab the walls, cut out portions never finding the source. 5 hours later still didn't find it Went back up stairs and ripped out the newly renovated bathroom, and finally find a pipe    hole after 5 hours.

Now the landlord has no respect walks in the house without knocking, snoops around and walks straight into other rooms that has nothing to do with the leak.  By the end of the day I am exhausted and still sick.

But the highlight of the day was his wife coming down and going off about ow our house is an embarrassment to them and we should just move out and if we do not conform the their standards they will evict us. Now first let me tell you what a joke that is, because you can't just ask people to leave in Germany like in the US. Even people who stop paying rent cant just be told to leave. The landlord must pay thousands and go through a lengthy legal process that takes years to get people out. So they are just blowing steam out their mouths.

So now you wonder what is so bad about our apartment dun dun dun...
1) Hmm young married couple living on one income, not all that unusual to have only a few pieces of furniture in the living room. Maybe second hand, maybe they don't match but you are just starting our right? Nope not ok, she said if we are not going to use the room which is apparent we don't just to move into a studio apartment. That our lack of furniture is embarrassing because people look in the windows and ask if we are moving out.
2) Curtains- She does not like the design, the way they hang, the cut. And we need to buy new ones.
3) Why are we storing our old kitchen, just throw it away. Excuse me, what I choose to keep in my storage area is fine as long as it ain't dead bodies.
4) Mold- they claim since they have to return some nebenkosten this year that we do not heat enough. Therefore the mold is not a problem with the building even though there is a damn hole in the wall. Therefore and here is the kicker, the apartment must be 70 degrees at all time. Um no, even in the states most people do not keep the apartments so warm, and sure as hell not 24 hours a day. Any apartment over 6-65 degrees should not have mold issues. Fertig.
5) Oh and the best part, her idea of a clean house is one that is not lived in. She does not want to see anything on counters, papers on a table -nothing. the house should look unlived in. One shoe print in the whole house by her standards show it is filthy. And then she asked do we not learn how to clean in America. Excuse me, my house is clean, just because we live in it and it actually looks like a lived in home does not make it filthy. We have no trash lying around, no food, no pests. So why is it an issue if my cookbooks lie in a pile on the table? I can understand complaining when tenants do things that affect the structure of the buildings, but you cannot tell me how often I need to mop my floors that crosses a line.

So the conversation was left with, I will help you, but this is your last chance. My last chance at what? Living in your jacked up apartment where your pervy overbearing husband gardens outside m bedroom window on a daily bases- bite me.

So all day long in and out, landlord, his wife, construction workers, poring water, walls ripped out. Just not my day. But did it end their - nope.

Tuesday:
You would think it would get better after the crises, but no. Landlord is back at the door at 8 am, once again walking in without knocking. The construction crew brings in a machine to dry things out that should be the end for the day right. But no he find 1001 excuses and comes in at least once every half hour. So what was his complaints today, it just gets better I tell you.

1) When you moved in I put in a new stove and now its ruined. Wow are you serious because of one brown ring that just needs to be scrubbed. I am sorry I didn't realize your bathroom would implode in to my house nor that you would be here so often that you could have moved in the past two day, nor did I assume you would inspect other rooms, when the issue is in the hall.
2) A spot of mildew in the bathroom- That has never happened before we must be doing something, so he insists on showing the work crew and then says we must heat the bathroom to 70n degrees to while having the window open year round, wow.
3) Wife comes down. Normally I keep my laundry in a basket on my dryer, but since its pulled out I have a small pile by the washer- my god not ok. She runs in an brings me a hamper and informs me that is how people live in Germany. I am poor and I am an immigrant but I am not and idiot. If you want to help me feel free, but do not do so by belittling me as a person.
4) landlord does not like the way hubby has set up the washer and demands the construction crew set it up his way. He has no right to make any other repairs nor touch our personal belongings, and you better believe if he tries to bill us for that all hell will break loose.
You know there was more, but you get the idea.

And to top it off at the end of the day he informs me i need to be home tomorrow for the wall guy, but he doesn't even have a time set up or know when he is coming. Um yeah people have a life they have school or jobs, you work around them not visa versa.

Then comes today:
Oh thank you lord, he did not show up until 10. Of course just to make sure us idiots did not turn off the dehumidifier. But the best part was i locked the door. He still had to try to open it, but once realizing he could not walk in he had to ring the doorbell. Not two minutes after leaving he comes back to inform me they do not like my husbands ashtray outside. Well would you prefer all butts went on the ground? Oh and they want the entry way cleaned even though construction workers messy it up every 5 minutes. Did I mention I am sick and supposed to be in bed??? Oh I almost forgot he said because of the tiny bit of mildew the professional dryer has to go in the bathroom next. Hubby said that is enough no and no. None of this junk has anything to do with the water leak. He was only allowed in to fix that problem. It is not the home inspection hour. Nor does he have any right to make "repairs" to our personal belongings such as our washer. So I have no idea what will happen now but hubby said he is telling him today he only has authority to fix the hall. If he wants to talk about others things later we can talk, but he cannot just come into the home and do as he pleases.

So the best part is that we get no compensation. Under German law he is required to offer us other accommodations during this time and not charge us rent, well you know neither of those will happen.

So is he fixing yes. And I am happy he is so proactive about it. But he does not need to come in every 5 minutes. He needs to learn to knock, stop snooping, and respect peoples privacy and rights within their own homes rented or not.

I am so tired emotionally and physically.

Relationship randomness

This was just one of those little Facebook surveys. I always like to share on here, since my all my family, friends, and readers can read it rather then just those on the social networks :)


♥ How long have you been together? Married since Aug 2008


♥ How did you guys meet and who asked whom out? We met on myspace. I flew to Germany for the summer to visit and then flew home. I came back later and we got married. 


♥ Whose siblings do you see the most? Neither.

♥ Do you have any children together? No

♥ What about pets? 2 birds Jerry and Abby



♥ Did you go to the same school? Definitely not. He went to school in east Germany in Neidersachswerfen, Thuringia. I went to school in POrtland, Oregon.

♥ Where do you eat out most as a couple? We eat together most at home. When we do eat out we like traditional German restaurants. I love Mexican and Thai, but he not so much. He does like Chinese though.

♥ Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? We drove down to Southern Bavaria an into Austria. Also up to the north to Bremen.

♥ Who has the craziest exes? I think we both do, but his was stupid enough to piss me off. Thank god I finally snapped and with my hostile American words that appalled her so, has never called back :P

♥ Who does the cooking? Mostly me. Unless its pizza or fish sticks lol. Nah he can cook some German dishes too, he just doesn't want to.

♥ Who is more social? Me

♥ Who is the neat freak? Neither. I do the cleaning, but he wont pick up after himself. He hates my papers.

♥ Who is the most stubborn? Both in our own ways

♥ Who hogs the bed? Me

♥ Who wakes up earlier? He does and then he watches tv and wakes me up later.

♥ Where was your first date? We never had a "first date". We first saw each other summer of 2008 when I flew to Germany for 2 months.

♥ Who has the bigger family? I do, but patchwork.

♥ Do you get flowers often? Nope

♥ How long did it take to get serious? About a month

♥ Who eats more? He does. He could eat a small cow.

♥ Who sings better? Neither, but I got a great video of him singing and dancing to Bollywood music ha

♥ Who does the laundry? we share

♥ Who’s better with the computer? He is, he is an IT professional. I don't do computers. When mine doesn't work I cry lol.

♥ Who drives when you are together? He does. I do not have a license here, nor can I drive stick shift.

♥ Who picks where you go to dinner? We usually take turns.

♥ Who is the first one to admit when they’re wrong? We are both pretty good at it. Neither of us stay mad very long. But he gets mad faster.

♥ Who eats more sweets? Thats a tie.

♥ Who cries more? ME. Look ok, I was sad that Carlos had to leave Bad brother, and when Daniel's aunt died. Just because I cry for tv shows doesn't make me a bad person :P




Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Saving money via online coupon codes

One thing I discovered through my obsession with youtube, is that you can search for coupon codes online.

I started doing that and 9 times out of 10 found a valid coupon code. It takes a bit of trial and error, but worse case a message pops up that the code is expired and you try the next.

Today I was able to find a coupon code for 50% off one month of e-mealz. Fabulous. I tried 2 codes and the second worked.

There are tons of resources online for coupon codes. I have had a good run with retailmenot.com

It takes only a few minutes time, and you would never think twice about taking a paper coupon to the store. So don't be so quick to disregard online coupons.

Happy Couponing

Rena

Keep your eggs from expiration

Let me quickly apologize for the lack of photos. I just found this blog activity and decided to participate, next week I will plan in advance with some fab photos :)

Nothing is worse then throwing away expired foods. No one has money to waste these days.

So here is a tip for keeping your eggs from expiring.

Freeze them!

Eggs can not be frozen whole, they need to be beaten or separated first.

They last up to 3 months in the freezer. Always note the date and quantity of eggs with a label before freezing.

Just thaw and they are ready to use :)

How great is that!

Heres a few tips:
1. One great way to do this is in a ice cube tray. This method is great if you want to separate egg whites and yokes. Make sure you add a tad bit of salt to the yolks to keep the consistency.

2. Combine eggs by serving. With a small container you can freeze beaten eggs together. Pull them out, thaw them out, and fry them up or include them in any recipe as you would fresh eggs.

Do you have any kitchen tips?


Check out more Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at Tammy's Recipes

Not my week

Here is just some photos to give you the general drift. I will post the back story in the morning.

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