Tuesday, May 21, 2013

To Disney or Not to Disney?

Husband and I are celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary in less than a month!  Crazy...can't believe it...

We are taking a trip to Paris, France in August to recognize this special occasion.  The planning has just begun, meaning, we have a Paris travel book sitting on our bookshelf.  

While in Paris we will do as most tourist do; Eiffel Tower, Mona Lisa, Notre Dame.  After all, we will be first time tourist!
Well, today I casually mentioned to Husband that I think a day of Disneyland Paris might be fun.  This turned into a debate.  Husband argued, why go do the most American thing possible while in Paris, France?  I agree with him completely, but at the same time I have to say that is the very reason why I want to go!  
Am I becoming jaded of all the ancient artifacts, gold plated ceilings, and 1,000 year old statues?  

Or do I just need a modern day of pink princess castles, felt mouse ears, and brightly colored plastic statues?   

The debate is still out there and has been tabled until further discussion.  I agree that first we should see the historical things that only Paris has to offer.  But if time allows and there is an extra day, wouldn't it be fun to just be a kid again?

To Disneyland Paris or not to Disneyland Paris? That is the question!

Monday, May 20, 2013

How to Organize a Bookshelf

Many months ago this Ikea Expedit bookshelf was the only piece of furniture in our home.  Wait, that isn't completely the truth....Husband and I also had 6 patio chairs set up around our living room.  As you can see, our new to us (FREE!bookshelf was in need of some Monica Geller.  

My Favorite Expedit Bookshelf Inspirations

How I Organized My Expedit Bookshelf:
1. I took everything out of the bookshelf that did not belong in our living room. (ie, blow dryer, wall paint, Aggie flare, bathroom light)  
2. Then I organized the remaining items into the following groups: 
  •  Husband's books
  •  Maren's books
  •  Travel books
  •  Coffee table books
  •  Board games
  •  Puzzles
  •  Picture frames, any decorations, misc.

3. Next, I alternated rows and columns by placing books vertically or horizontally so that there was varying displays.  I also switched up whether or not the books were on the left or right side of each cube. The board games and puzzles are larger so I placed them on the 3rd shelf towards the bottom.  It took several tries and moving things around until I got the look I was hoping to achieve.

The Finished Bookshelf!

4. The bottom shelf was empty for a long time (7 months) until I found these white baskets at Ikea.  I did not want to use the traditional square baskets that fit the Expedit shelves because those are underneath our TV stand.  I thought 8 of the exact same Ikea baskets in our living room would be too matchy matchy.  To break up the white shelf from the white wicker baskets, I added a weaved green cloth tie to the top of each basket.

Another idea I had for the bookshelf was to wrap each board game and puzzle box in coordinating gift wrap. I think that varying green papers would match the magazine and stationary box nicely. On the outside of each box I could place a label that stated what game was inside...Apples to Apples etc.  Perhaps I might do this come a rainy day... Is this a crazy, insane idea?

Here's a final look at the bookshelf transformation:
Much Better!

Organizing Freak of the Week,

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How To Spot An American In Munich

Last week during a team meeting my coworkers had a good laugh at describing to me how easy it is to spot an American in Munich, Germany.  They said there are several big indicators and after awhile I will also be able to identify who is not European.

Tips to Spotting an American:
1. Sweatshirts with hoods
2. Tennis shoes
3. Water bottle
4. Surfing on a Smartphone

I just about fell out of my seat as they nearly described in perfection my favorite outfit!  There I was sitting at the table with my travel cup in front of me, sporting a lemon fresh Brita filtered water, in jeans and my well worn grey Converse.  (I really should at least buy new shoe laces) There have been times on the train in my morning commute when I have felt out of place among the dark suits, pantie hose (yes, they are worn here), and carefully groomed Germans.  I love being comfortable and if I do dress casual I at least try to pair it with my classic pearl earrings.  

Example of an American Tourist
Tennis Shoes, Jeans, Fleece, Husband's Jacket, Camera Bag

Since that meeting I have now purchased three new items to my wardrobe.  
1. Espirit Skinny Jeans- The majority of my jeans are meant for tall boots, not the summer flats I see the local girls wearing around town.
2. Grass Green Flats- To be paired with the skinny jeans and to replace the tennis shoes when walking throughout Munich.
3. Spring Scarf- It's almost an identical Anthropologie knock off and can be worn into the summertime! Scarves are everywhere in Munich all year round!

So far my grass green flats have been surprisingly okay for all the walking I do to and from work.  In my new  "European" inspired outfits I don't feel like such a sore thumb sticking out during my commutes.  I think from now on I'll let my Southern accent do that job for me!  

Here is a funny article I found on how to avoid looking like an American tourist in Europe.

Happy Wednesday,

Monday, May 13, 2013

All I Want From America Is...

In a few weeks two of my best girl friends will be coming to Munich for a visit!  We have a jam packed 4 day schedule that I will post about another time.  I'm excited to show them the places that make Munich unique and for a chance to show them where Husband and I are living!  I know we are going to have a great time and I absolutely can not wait.

Even though we already have established that Germany is not a third world country, there are some things that an American girl can miss while overseas.  My friends asked for a list of what I "need" and here is what I said:

1. Tampax Pearl- Yes, this list is prioritized.
2. Secret Sheer Dry Solid Deodorant- I haven't found any antiperspirants only deodorants so far. Why mask a smell when you can prevent the sweat?
3. Aveeno Aerosol Sunscreen SPF 50+- Go ahead laugh it up! Red heads understand...
4.Bath and Body Works Stress Relief Eucalyptus Mint Shower Gel/Bubble Bath and Body Lotion (Not in the glass bottle)- A former Teacher Appreciation gift gone addiction.

5. Clorax Bleach Pen- A request from the creative lady over at Cut and Tear who will hopefully give us ladies an art museum tour of some of Munich's finest works.
6. Pure Vanilla, Pure Almond, and Peppermint Extract- Husband and I might not have enough food to last 3 months in the event of a Y2K type episode, but I'm working hard to create my Extract stock pile.

7. Packets of Concord Foods Banana Smoothie Mix- I just really wanted something from Wal-Mart to remind me of those crazy shopping trips back home.

8. Packets of Ranch Dressing- I have pinned just way too many recipes on Pinterest that call for this stuff!

9. Flea Market Style Magazine- It's like Pinterest but on glossy paper.

 *AND* My super big wish but it's a far out there stretch are a pair of these guys.  Not only did I take chemistry at least two times in college, but I taught science, and they remind me of Sheldon Cooper.  Three reasons why I "need" a pair. 

 It is interesting to realize the things you miss when they are no longer easily within reach.  Sure I can live without the items and no I don't really "need" them but they sure would be nice to have again.  As Fraulein Maria sang, these are a few of my favorite things!  I wonder what would be on your list?

American Woman Signing Out,

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sweet Petunias

Husband and I spent the weekend pretty low key.  Since last week I still seem to be battling a bit of a spring cold.  All of the trees and flowers are finally in full bloom and we've had a lot of rain here in Munich.  No doubt there are some allergies and colds going around. 

We did get a chance to plant some new flowers.  In Germany during the summertime it is pretty common for people to place flower baskets over their balcony railings. By late summer you sometimes will see Petunias bursting out of their baskets in massive groupings.  Petunias are a popular choice and they seem to grow quite well in the area. 

My Inspiration

Our New Petunias Outside the Bedroom Window
We have a ways to go!

I decided to give Petunias a shot this year in hopes of achieving my own overflowing baskets of bright colors.  We planted two red and one deep purple in a basket just over a foot long.  These flowers are special to me because they remind me of my grandfather.  He loved Petunias and even used to call me Sweet Petunia when I was a kid. Hopefully we will have a beautiful flowering display come the next couple of months. 

In other news, Husband and I both had the pleasure of Skyping with our mother's today.  With our big year in 2012, we could not have done it all without the help of our moms.  Thank you guys for everything you have done for us not only last year but every day before then.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Happy Sunday,

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Two Homesick Texans

Today is Father's Day in Germany!  We had the day off and every place is closed.  I did not get out of bed until about 4 p.m. due to a sore throat and swollen glands.  Eck. Husband wins big points for cooking, walking the dog, running two loads in the dishwasher, changing out the laundry, unclogging drains, and reestablishing a sparkling lemon fresh bathroom.  I did get around to looking at hotels for some very special visitors we have coming at the end of this month.  Two of my best girl friends and their hubbies will be with us in Munich for 5 days!

Somehow this hotel search lead to reminiscing through old photographs on Facebook...A.D.D. much?  Lately, Husband and I have really been missing our friends from back home.  These are the people who have seen us at our worst, the weirdest craziest times, and those that are so special in our memories.  Nestled here so close to the Alps, surrounded by 9 other countries, we are craving some good o' hometown times;

-A Friday night spent watching the Texas Rangers play under the warm evening sky
-A good spin around the dance floor singing country music at the top of our lungs
-Sitting around the fire pit drinking Shiner Bock roasting marshmallows
-Enjoying shrimp on the Gulf of Mexico
-Queso on any patio in North Dallas
-Tailgating, friendly football rivalries on college game day

OH The Things They Could Tell...

Hopefully in a few weeks we will make some super great new memories. Then someday we will sit around the fire pit once again, talking about that crazy trip over to Munich, Germany.

Y'all Come Visit,

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Honey Almond Zucchini Carrot Bread

Yesterday was May 1st! Can you believe it?  Weren't we all just gathered around the Christmas tree opening pretty little packages? Anyways, back to May...the first day of the month is celebrated in different ways around the world.  A friend back in Texas leaves on doorsteps candy filled baskets, some celebrate in traditional clothing around a May pole, and here in Germany it is called Tag der Arbeit, or "Day of Work".  That's right folks, it's the German version of LABOR DAY!!! Meaning no work and thus causing 11 hours of UNINTERRUPTED SLEEP!

After waking from my deep May slumber I was itching to do something with the zucchini collecting in my fridge.  (You all wake up with first thoughts of zucchini right?!) What could be better than an old time favorite, zucchini bread?  OH wait, a "HEALTHY" version. Unfortunately, or fortunately, baked goods do not usually last more than a day around my house.  The great thing about this bread is that it is made with 3/4 a cup of honey instead of sugar.  I always buy local honey because it is thought to help with area allergies.  Thinking about the honey got me curious about trying almond extract instead of the normal vanilla.  I always love honey almond flavored sweets and it is one of my favorite lotion scents. So at the last minute I put in a teaspoon of pure almond extract.

When I opened the fridge, next to the zucchini I noticed a lone carrot on the verge of being a not so beautiful orange creature.  After I chopped up the zucchini in my miniature food processor I did the same thing to the carrot.  My thought being, if people put carrots in cakes why not try it in a bread? And this is how Zucchini Bread became Honey Almond Zucchini Carrot Bread.

Honey, Oil, Yogurt, Egg, Cinnamon, Baking Soda, Salt, Zucchini, Carrot, Flour, Vanilla Almond Extract

Chopped Zucchini and Carrots

The Wet Ingredients

The Flour Mixture Added to the Wet Ingredients

 Evenly Poured

 Baked Goodness

 Through out the house I could smell the honey as the bread baked in the oven.  The almond flavoring added a nice subtle aroma to each bite.  And when I heard my husband say with a mouthful "Oh. Wow." I knew this recipe was blog worthy.  Let me know if you give it a try and what you think.

Happy Labor Day,