Tuesday, May 29, 2018

It's Been 84 Years...

Back in 2015, I was exhausted, emotionally and physically, after we moved back to the United States from Germany. After a couple weeks of resting and getting back on our feet, I tried logging into the blog and couldn't! I tried for awhile.....it wanted to send my password recovery to my old German phone number, drats!... and basically I just wanted to throw the laptop out the window. Most likely, I was still exhausted. 

Over the next few weeks during that summer, my mom shattered her ankle (I became her volunteer caregiver), Husband and I were still waiting for our house to be move-in ready, our shipping crate was basking in the hot sun somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, and I was gearing up to jump back into teaching 5th Grade Math/Science. Phew. So sadly, MainlyMaren was put on the back burner. 

Returning to Mainly Maren has always been something that has been in the back of my mind and in the back of my closet. That's where over 1,000 business cards continually fall out of their weak storage box reminding me, "Hello....Mainly Maren is still here... waiting." 

So here we are in 2018. I literally had to blow the dust off of my laptop and said a silent prayer that the charger would miraculously reappear after three years of hiding. It did. 

We are traveling a lot less now, but the adventures keep coming. My latest "project" is launching this Friday. I'm thrilled to share that news with you later this week, unless of course, I'm exhausted. 

I Can Still Smell the Fresh Paint,

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Hello, It's Me

Is this thing turned on?
*tap tap
Mic check 1
Miiiiiic check twoooo
*long blow into microphone
Can you hear me out there?!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May in Review

What We Are Eating This Week:
Husband and I spent two days with my family in Denmark. Our breakfast taste buds were spoiled with the delights of ebelskivers, eggs, bacon, fruit, and their family specialty, Dragon Tail. A few years ago my cousin was twisting together dough for a cinnamon roll ring when her son exclaimed, "Wow, Mom! A Dragon Tail..." Now the name has stuck!

What I'm Reminiscing About:
Since this adventure is coming to a close, I have on graduation goggles and keep thinking about all the wonderful times we had in Europe. It feels like we just moved here... How is it possible it has really been 3 years?

What I'm Loving:
Husband and I got to spend some time in Denmark for a family picnic. Every Pentecost, a large number of my Danish relatives have a get together at a park overlooking the Baltic Sea. This year we were able to attend as well as my brother and Margo. We had an absolute blast and still can't name everyone that we met. I love seeing family on both sides of the Atlantic!

I'm 5'8. These guys are how tall?!

What We've Been Up To:
Friday I shared that we were in Hamburg for two days on our way to Denmark. After two days with family, Husband and I drove down to Weimar, Germany for a quick day trip. It is famous for the home of the Bauhaus art movement, visits from Martin Luther, and home to Goethe. We are now spending our last two days living in Europe back in Munich scrubbing the house until it shines!

What I'm Dreading:
Saturday morning at 5:30 a.m. we will be standing in line at the airport check-in with our pup, Shelby Dog. I am a bit worried about getting her checked onto the flight and how traumatic the flight will be on her. 

What I'm Working On:
If you have followed for awhile, you know I craft. A lot. 
Usually, I make wreaths and hair accessories but I was recently asked to work on a wedding garter.
Ek! I am really excited to try out a new project but man there is some pressure when it involves a bride's BIG day!

If you are ever interested in a custom piece, I would love to help you out! Just send me an email at mainlymaren(at)gmail.com.

What I'm Excited About:
After our flight out of Germany and into Dallas, we are meeting both of our families for Mexican food Saturday night. I am looking forward to visiting with our folks, stuffing my face from a bowl of queso, and hopefully enjoying a summer evening on the patio. (Ugh...rain?!)

What I'm Watching/Reading:
Our TV is packed inside a shipping crate most likely in a port yard somewhere along the canal in Hamburg. To keep myself entertained and sane during this transition, I'm reading all of your blogs right now!

What I'm Listening To:
Right now I am typing on my laptop in the car somewhere on the autobahn between Nurnemberg and Munich. The music selection is not the best, but is a continuous rotation of the latest songs on a local radio station. I really really really really really wish for a new song...

What I'm Wearing:
I kid you not, I am wearing a day old pair of socks. How did I miscalculate the number of pairs of socks I would need on this road trip? Oh that's right, I planned on flip flops...but Converse won out again.  

What I'm Doing This Weekend:
This weekend, my lifelong dream of living abroad is coming to a close. Our time in Europe has been a fantastic experience and has taught us more than we ever will know but it is time to get back to our family. 

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month:
Homegoods, Ross, Pier 1, Marshalls, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Tuesday Morning, Estate Sales, repeat.
Homegoods, Ross, Pier 1, Marshalls, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Tuesday Morning, Estate Sales, repeat.
Homegoods, Ross, Pier 1, Marshalls, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Tuesday Morning, Estate Sales...
I have been deprived of good shopping for 3 years... 3 years without the thrill of a bargain. 
Shopping is on!

What Else is New:
Nothing yet, but surely something will be new by next weekend with all that shopping I have planned!

What's going on the grill in June:
Husband is celebrating a birthday two weeks after we make our move back to Texas. If you know him well, you know he is the master of the BBQ. You asked what is going on the grill? I'll ask this, what's not going on the grill?! Ribs, chicken, salmon, brisket (hint hint!), pineapple, kabobs, steak, burgers, you know, regular Texas BBQ!
Husband's Bavarian Birthday here
Husband's Hourly Presents here

Today all the fun has been part of the monthy, What's Up Wednesday link up party! See you in June!

Happy Bergfest Day,

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Favorites: From Hamburg

Things are wrapping up for us on this side of the world. Our crate was packed Wednesday and we said goodbye to some great friends. As you are reading this, we are in Hamburg, Germany starting out on our last European vacation for a while. 

Here is a glimpse into this week's favorites:

Eins: Packing + Common Sense= ????
So far we know the movers packed all of our paper towel rolls, half of our water kettle without the base (with Euro plug), a basket of garage sale clothes, a ripped Nike bag meant for the trash, and almost a dirty French Press. (Luckily, Husband caught that near mistake just in time) Who else knows what crazy things might have ended up boxed? Read more about this craziness here.

Zwei: Goodbye Tour of Munich
My brother and his girlfriend stopped for a quick visit in Munich. (Travel tips here) We took them on a marathon tour of the city. There was so much walking involved, my sandals cracked. (Take note of my tennis shoes the next morning....) Showing them all of the popular sites gave Husband and I a chance to say "Auf Wiedersehen" to Munich.
This was Sunday night after a street festival ended. The cleanup crews were out and about but that didn't stop all of us from taking a few photos. I just love this picture of Husband and I with the blue night sky, yellow glowing street lights, and lit arch. 

Drei: Pinned This Week
I found Maria's blog "Sew Travel Inspired" this week through a crafty link up party. She created rattlesnakes (or any kind of snake really!) using old men's ties. Even though I absolutely HATE snakes, I thought these STUFFED snakes were too cute! Maria gives a step by step tutorial and I can just imagine how cute several of these snakes would look bunched together. 

Vier: Hamburg
Yesterday, our drive from Munich to Hamburg took nearly 9 hours. We were exhausted but still wanted to see a bit of the city at sunset. This is the city hall with a beautiful copper rooftop!

This is me with Mr. Martin Luther. Hamburg is mostly Lutheran. Today we plan to visit a few of the cathedrals including a sailor's church. I am also looking forward to a boat tour of the massive shipping harbor. 

After our stop in Hamburg, we are making our way up to Denmark for the weekend. I am looking forward to attending a family reunion with my Danish relatives. This will be our last visit for a few years and I am a bit sad. If you know me well, you know Denmark is my absolute favorite place to travel. 

Happy Weekend,

It's another Friday Favorites with Andrea! Linking up to see all the fun from this past week!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It's a Crate Day!

It's Crate Day at our house. The movers are here, boxes and packing paper have taken over our house. In fact, I'm sitting on a bare mattress like it is my own personal island safe from all the madness. 
Last night, Husband and I stayed up late packing all of our winter clothes and bedding into vacuum sealed bags. (The kind you suck all the air out of) My friend Anat pointed out that I won't need nearly as many of my winter clothes in Texas but... I love a good sweater so they are all packed.

Originally, I wasn't taking our Marigold chairs from Target back to The States, but I did not get them sold in Germany! I just couldn't give them away, so Husband disassembled the chairs and they are now getting shipped. We plan to set them up in our home office.  
This is my favorite corner in the house. It holds all of our decor items and things that are extra special to us. (Well...maybe not the Brita pitcher)

I thought this was the moving truck but Husband told me the truck with the crate is coming at noon today. This truck just held the boxes, bubble wrap, and packing paper. 

We took a selfie with some of the packed boxes. Surprisingly, all the boxes are labeled in English! 

How is it that the tiniest room in the house, the kitchen, has the most boxes?! I am so thankful someone else is here wrapping each plate, bowl, and cup in paper. We will have some major recycling on the other side of the ocean.

This morning we brewed coffee using our French Press. Husband walked into the kitchen and caught the mover wrapping up the dirty pot. Just kidding. But Husband did get the coffee pot cleaned before it was packed. Wahoo! Remember last time when we unwrapped a dirty spatula?!

We won't see the boxes again until August. It will take approximately 3 months for our crate to go through German customs, make it's way on a barge across the ocean, have a visit with U.S. customs, then get loaded on an 18-wheeler and make it's way to North Texas!

For the next couple of months Husband, Shelby Dog, and I will be at the mercy of our parents. Since our home will not be available until August, we plan to rotate our parent's houses. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Going Back to Texas,

And congrats Elaine on winning the Mainly Maren and My Fable giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Slipping Down a Mountain

*After reading through some "Momfessional Moments" I realized I completely misunderstood the assignment. I thought "Momfessional" was a play on the word "professional" but looks like it is really "confessionals". Whoops. So I wrote a story about being a professional mommy to Shelby and keeping her safe. Hopefully you find it is a funny read!

This is the story about that time our car started sliding backwards down a mountain road. It was one of the scariest moments in my life. Here's a spoiler, everything turned out okay in the end. 

Last week Husband, Shelby Dog, and I headed to the Austrian Alps to spend two nights at a friend's cabin. The drive from Munich was around three hours and we left in the evening after Husband got off of work.

As the sun was quickly setting, we wound our car up the curving mountain roads. The higher our car got up the mountainside the narrower the lanes became. We didn't quite know where we were going but were looking for a specific dirt road, with a harsh turn back, and a steep incline.

Not finding hardly any street signs and with a fuzzy memory of the last visit, Husband saw a gravel road, hard turn back, and a steep incline and instantly turned the car onto the lane. Then the car really struggled to get up the steep incline. Dirt was flying behind, the tires were kicking, and Husband had the car set in high gear. 

When the drive up the road wasn't getting any easier and the car dangerously struggling the climb, Husband declared "This is the right way." So there we were, on a one lane gravel road, with a weak car, next to a steep edge with a dramatic enough drop down the mountainside below.

With nowhere to turn the car around, Husband put the car into reverse. Sensing his nervousness and trying to keep my inner panic under control I said,  "Ok, let's do this slowly and together." Using the review mirror and back window I helped Husband navigate down the lane. 

Then suddenly, the incline became too steep and the wheels took on a mind of their own. Even though Husband was steering the directions I told him, the wheels would not turn enough with the gaining pull of gravity and unstable rocky road. We were slipping down a mountainside. 

With the tires fighting Husband for steering power and the car quickly rolling, there was little to be done when the car was headed straight for the corner of a barn. Husband slammed the breaks and the car finally obeyed stopping a mere inch from the wooden walls. When he tried to gas the car in high gear to move the car away from the barn, the car only smoked with tires spinning. Quickly breaking again, whatever inch or two we made moving forward was denied when the car rolled back towards the corner of the barn.

After coming to another halt, Husband put on the emergency brake and got out of the car to seek help. I sat inside the car for a few seconds and then thought "Well, I'm not rolling down this mountain in a car." So I went to open the car door but was stopped by a chicken coop. I can not make this stuff up. I ended up having to climb over the driver's seat to get out of the car. 

Standing outside the car, I saw Shelby Dog in the backseat. I knew I couldn't let her stay inside because well... what if???? Shelby Dog climbed over the driver's seat and out. 

I stood with the dog on this deserted road wearing a bright sundress, flip flops, and freshly painted toes. Not exactly a normal sight halfway up a mountain deep into the Alps. 

Luckily, a few minutes later Husband's friends came to our rescue. They were able to help push and wedge the car away from the barn. That was scary in itself and I kept praying that the car would not run over anyone. It took a team effort slowly backing the car down the gravel lane and back to the main paved road. 

Miraculously, there was no damage to our car or the barn. I thought for sure, we would spend the next week helping a mountain farmer rebuild his barn. Instead, we got to spend a couple of days hiking, grilling, and introducing s'mores to the locals. 

A major "momfessional moment" for me that day was seeing Shelby Dog sitting concerned in the backseat. I knew I would never forgive myself if something happened to her and I didn't get her out of the car. She might be just a dog to some people, but to us Shelby Dog is a major part of our family. 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a pair of handmade earrings by a local Munich artist. The giveaway ends tomorrow! You can read about the artist and one of my favorite coffee/art shops here

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Make Life Beautiful,

Today's "Momfessional Moment" is part of the Show and Tell link up party hosted by Andrea! I am also linking up today with Tuesday Talks!
Sweet Little Ones

Monday, May 18, 2015

Munich in a Day

It's been two years since I last did a post on visiting Munich. In 2013, I shared travel tips for those spending four days in and around this Bavarian city. But since European travel is usually a fast paced marathon for travelers from America, I thought I would give my guidelines for seeing Munich on a tight time frame.

This weekend we were so fortunate to have my brother Garrett and his girlfriend Margo visit. They arrived late Saturday afternoon and left early Monday morning. We had just a few short hours Saturday evening and all day Sunday to see the top highlights Munich has to offer.
Saturday Afternoon:
An important tip to remember when traveling to Bavaria, is that all the shops and stores are closed on Sundays. Ahead of time, Margo had compiled a list of three stores she wished to visit.
Since it was close to 6:00 p.m. when we made it to the city center, we stopped in the Dallmayr Coffee & Tea Shop first. There they were able to pick up a few gourmet goodies to take back home. On Saturdays most of the stores close at 7 p.m. so after Dallmayr, we stayed in the area and stopped inside Schuhbeck's spice shop. 

Now it's the time of year when the days are bright until around 10 p.m. each night. After our shopping and a walk thru at the Hofbrauhaus we still had a couple hours of daylight. We headed over for an evening  stroll in the English Garden. 

Originally, we had planned to eat dinner inside the English Garden but as the sunset it got a bit too cold. Instead of a beer garden dinner, we decided to head to Husband's favorite traditional German restaurant, Schneider Weisse. It was perfect for sharing some of the best foods and beverages known to the area!

Sunday was my brother and Margo's only full day in Munich. We had a full schedule to see all the major sights. We started with a walk from Stachus (the old city gate) down a pedestrian zone towards the city center, Marienplatz. There we looked at the glockenspiel and took a few photos in front of the town hall. 

From Marienplatz we headed towards one of my favorite plazas, Odeonsplatz. Along the way we took a minor detour and stopped at the Michael Jackson memorial. Yep, Munich has a MJ memorial still actively visited by visitors and locals. Always curious to see inside one of his favorite hotels, "Bayerishe Hof", we poked our heads inside one of the most glamorous hotels and bars in Munich. 
At Odeonsplatz, we took Garrett and Margo to my favorite cathedral, the Theatinekirche. The church is completely covered in white plaster moldings. It has been beautifully up-kept and is currently undergoing more restoration.

Lucky for us, Odeonsplatz was the start (or end) of a city wide "green initiative" outdoors festival. We picked up some cheesey-bratwurst sandwiches and sat at the beer tables listening to live music. It was the perfect spot for a quick bite surrounded by the Residenz, Theatine Church, and the famous Feldhernnhalle. 

After our quick snack, we walked inside the Residenz garden, headed by the Residenz theater, and finally ended up at the Monkey Tower. This tower is called the Monkey Tower because as a baby, King Ludwig almost fell out of the window but was pulled back by a pet monkey.

One of the most fun highlights of the afternoon was climbing to the top of the bell tower at St. Peter's Cathedral. It was the first time we have seen Munich from up above. Viewing a city from above really puts into perspective where each attraction is located, how far you have walked, and you see things you might not otherwise had seen from the ground level.
Our day ended with a trip to Nymphenburg Palace.  I have talked about this palace before and how quaint it is nestled in a residential part of Munich. Nymphenburg was originally built as a summer house outside of the city for the royal family. The architectural style is modeled after the famous Versailles in Paris.
We took a walk through the gardens, saw the hunting lodge, and walked through a field that made us feel as if we were out in the middle of nowhere. One of my friends highly recommended eating at the traditional German restaurant on the grounds of Nymphenburg. Nestled in a quiet alley to the side of the palace we found Schlosswirtschaft-Schwaige.
At first glance, we thought we were way under dressed in our tennis shoes and t-shirts for Schlosswirtschaft-Schwaige but... they let us in. We found an atmosphere full of class with white table clothes, elegant Bavarian decor, and a wine list that did not disappoint. Then we tasted the food and declared it the best of the entire weekend. Wonderful setting, fabulous food, and an affordable menu now makes Schlosswirtschaft-Schwaige a place that I must also recommend when you are visiting Munich.

Speaking of visiting Munich, if you are in town and looking for a great cup of coffee... you must check out My Fable. It is an art and coffee shop combination with entertainment some nights of the week. 

Last Friday, we kicked off a giveaway together for a pair of earrings sold inside My Fable's storefront and online shop. Don't forget to get yourself entered to win a new accessory perfect for summertime!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a Fantastic Week,