Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Day 1

It's 3:05 a.m. and I am sitting at my Mother In-Law's desktop blogging.  Gosh, I hope nobody wakes up...this lack of writer's block could lead to an awkward middle of the night situation. 
In case you were wondering, I'm happily jet lagged because Husband and I are back in the States for the next two weeks!  Each day I will document our events on here.  Since tonight we (started) watching a Christmas Carole, I will keep with the movie theme and organize my thoughts by Past, Present, and Future.
Less than 24 hours off of the airplane and my first stop was my former school.  I spent five years teaching with some amazing people, sweet children, and supportive parents.  Just walking into the office I was greeted with friendly faces, big hugs, and felt very welcomed.  My friend Kim and I were able to visit several classrooms, speak to teacher friends and say hello to what used to be our little second graders.  It was so refreshing to be reminded of what a wonderful school family we had.  I'm so fortunate to have taught with such giving people and to have started my education career in such a warm place.
After the school visit, Kim and I headed to one of my favorite spots in our historic downtown, Spoons Cafe.  I love this place because the food is comforting and the atmosphere has a vintage rustic vibe. I had a BLTA (mmm bacon!) and pumpkin soup with a passion tea. One of my classic Spoon orders!  Better than the meal though was our conversation.  Don't you love having friends that after months of not seeing each other you can just pick up where you left off?
Not a beat was missed as we talked about married life, future plans, and our walk with faith.  While expressing how Husband and I missed meeting with our small group each week, I had an "ah ha" moment.  It has been difficult finding a church to get plugged into in Germany and this past fall we have felt lost without worship. The "ah ha" moment came when Kim reminded me that the people are the church not the building.  If we can't find a place to feed us God's word then perhaps we should find other people like us in the same situation and form a new small group.  Perhaps there is more to the great plan than just work opportunities during our stay in Germany.
The last time I drove a car was July 22nd.  After five months of DB training me around and Husband chauffeuring me in our standard car, Flash, I was ready to be behind the wheel. My in-laws have been so kind in letting me store my car at their house during our time in Germany.  My car is the same one I drove in high school and after 10 years I still love it.  It took me to and from college, back and forth (nearly) every day of my teaching career, and man did we let the good times roll.  I was nervous about driving again after such a long time, but just like riding a bicycle, it came back naturally.  It is amazing how refreshing it was to get back behind the wheel, cruise down Highway 75 and blare the best of country music. The small things...  I know our time together is coming close to an end.  When Husband and I get back we will end up getting a new car. One with four doors, a roomy trunk, side airbags, childproof rolling windows, and if I'm lucky...automatic locks. 
Merry Christmas,

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Modernly Old Fashioned

Reflecting on our day over steaming bowls of homemade chicken noodle soup, Husband and I realized that today must be declared an Old Fashion Sunday.  Going through the things we accomplished today it was pretty hysterical to see a resemblance in what the day held.  

1st. Old Fashion Zucchini Bread
Every Christmas season my mom makes a delicious Zucchini Bread.  With a zucchini just hanging out in the fridge, I decided it was time to make some good use of it.  Not having my mom's recipe here in Germany, I took to the next best thing...Google.  There I found a healthier version of this timeless classic from Skinny Ms that uses honey in replacement of sugar and low fat plain Greek yogurt instead of butter.  I decided to experiment and used cherry yogurt but in the end could not even tell. Next time I will stick to the suggested plain Greek yogurt.  Breads do not last too long in our house, so knowing this version from Skinny Ms makes me feel less guilty when I have made it two weeks in a row! 

A delicious warm aroma fills the entire house while this bread bakes!

2nd. Old Fashion Orange Juice
One of the perks of visiting Great Grandma Alma in sunny California were her gorgeous orange trees.  Waking up in the morning you could expect to find fresh squeezed orange juice waiting to quench your thirst.  As newlyweds, Husband and I were so excited to receive an electric juicer as a wedding gift.    The first sip of fresh squeezed orange juice always takes me back to those warm visits in California.
Just about each week I buy a bag of orange from Aldi for about one euro.  
While they are not as wonderful as California oranges, they still produce a really nice juice.
The whole process of cutting and squeezing only takes me about 15 minutes.
It is so easy it makes me wonder why I haven't been doing this more often...
Our not so Old Fashioned Electric Juicer from Cuisinart.
I highly recommend this juicer!
One orange squeezes out about half a cup of juice.
One bag of oranges will make about one liter of juice.
3rd. Old Fashion Laundry
Our washing machine is downstairs in the keller with about 8 other machines in a washroom that each unit shares.  The washroom pump has been broken for about two weeks and a new part is on order but still not here. German time frames are a lot different than American time frames... Patience is a necessity!  Twice the laundry room has had a nice flood of water on the floor so it has now been closed off.  That means for two weeks our laundry has been piling up!  Do you realize I had to count my unmentionables to see how much longer I could last without doing laundry?!  Well today was Doom Day but I have a wonderful husband who took this damsel out of her distress.  He washed two loads of laundry for our bathtub...  You don't realize this when you run your washing machine, but that water turns a nasty grey color in it's first cycle. Ek! It was too gross to photograph for you to see. I think my husband deserves a Husband of the Year award! 
In Germany it is very common to hang dry your clothes.
Since it is snowing outside and below freezing... our bathtub has become our dryer.
It will take about two days for these socks to fully dry without the sun. 
I just hope my knickers won't still be drying when we have family visit this weekend!

4th. Old Fashion Christmas Music
While working on the chicken noodle soup tonight we enjoyed some classic Christmas music from our favorite artists via the not so Old Fashion Youtube.  It is December 2nd today and we still had not heard any Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, or Julie Andrews.  But huddled around the lap top with our bowls of soup we enjoyed these traditional tunes much like you would have experienced decades ago.  It was such a nice rewind to a laid back, Old Fashioned Sunday.
Enjoying Gluwein at the Residence Christmas Market Saturday night!

In other news:
After 6 months of being an "Accidental Housewife" tomorrow I start work at my new school.  I was hired in August for a job that starts the beginning of December.  After planning a wedding, teaching in a new testing grade with new content last year, and moving halfway around the world God knew I needed this time off to decompress.  I was burned out and this time has allowed me to get back the passion that had been spread thin.  Teaching is such a rewarding experience and I am so excited to gain new perspective in this field.  I'm looking forward to meeting people from all over the world, learning what kindergarten is all about, and hopefully some 5 year olds can help me improve my German speaking skills!