Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Let's Talk Tuesday

The plan for today's post was supposed to be a review of the places Husband and I stayed while road tripping through France, but it's still not ready. (As in I haven't started) Then I racked my brain for Plan B and all the ramblings came together as just that, Plan B.

It's all a bit random but this is what made up my Tuesday:

1. Sriracha Scharfe Chilisauce

Move over Ranch, Sriracha's the new sheriff in town. I'm not sure if this is a southern thing or a college thing... but somewhere in the last decade I started dipping my pizza slices into ranch dressing. Then a few months ago, over a hot bowl of Vietnamese Pho, I fell in love with this squeezable bottle. Is it horrible that most days in my house you can find the bottle of Sriracha nestled between the two remote controls on the coffee table? Now I've taken to dipping my pizza into Sriracha, like as I type this...my taste buds are doing the hot and spicy dance. 

2. Getting Geared Up for Oktoberfest

Munich is 10 days into the world famous Oktoberfest and we STILL haven't gone. Husband and I are planning to visit Thursday and over the weekend. This will be our third year to attend but our first visit in true Bavarian lederhosen and dirndl. (pictures to come, I promise!) Today I went shopping for my dirndl's finishing touches. I bought a "shirt" (can you even call it a shirt?) to go under my dress. Wow, what a squeeze....

3. Life as a Kindergarten Teacher 

Today the kiddos painted an apple tree for each of the four seasons. I thought I was safe wearing black but that was far from the case. How lovely is this orange streak down my tights? It matches the splotch on my dress and compliments the yellow smudge on my cardigan. Dressing nice? I tried.

4. Shelby and the Gang 

Husband is out of town again but thankfully is on his way home as I speak. When the master's away, the dogs will play! Somehow I managed to get four dogs to sit still for a photo. Granted two are stuffed, one made of wax, but the fourth one is so obedient, sitting at attention! 

5. Selfie with Shelby 

Shelby's winter fur is coming in and I love it! It gets extremely thick around her neck and sticks out like a husky. When Husband's away, Shelby does a great job keeping me company. We spend the days playing chase, catching stuffed animals, and running around in circles so fast the rugs get rearranged. It can get a bit wild around here...

How has Tuesday been for you? Are you ready for October 1st?!

Make Tuesdays Beautiful,

Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up: Husband's Edition

Originally, when I started the blog "Mainly Maren" I intended for Husband to also share his insight. But I didn't ask first... and well... he has said "I'm more a reader, you are the writer." Oops. Looks like I get to do all the talking. His participation with Mainly Maren is more behind the scenes; proof reading, technical help, etc. 

Since I am the writer... today I will share with you Husband's Weekend Wrap Up. Since I was not with him over the weekend, this is my interpretation of what he did. Husband's Saturday just sounded too cool to go untold. 

Husband had a much needed "man's weekend". He and his good friend woke up early Saturday and headed for Austria. The drive took around two hours but where they ended up had me in awe.

What better place for a man's weekend than the Austrian Alps?

As the car wound and twisted up the mountain road along the side of the Alps, Husband could see hundreds of cattle being herded to lower lands for the upcoming winter months. Alpine cows are iconic for their clanging bells and with the windows down, the clangs echoed off the surrounding mountainsides. 

Later in the day, standing near the top of the mountain, Husband could see a heard of cattle blocking one of the narrow curvy roads down below. A line of 20 or so cars were stuck at the mercy of the cows moving from the roadway. Doesn't this sound like something out of a movie?

Maybe I'm awestruck because I grew up on a cattle ranch, but imagining this scenario was quite picturesque. I can envision standing in the beautiful countryside, on top of a mountain, listening to the clanging bells, and watching the hilarious undertaking of herding cattle. Riiiiiicola... anyone?

The rest of Husband's Saturday was spent working on a friend's cabin. Husband was handed a nail gun upon arrival and he was in "Tool Time" heaven. I was shocked he was put to work on his day off, but Husband said that is because "You're a girl and don't understand." Apparently, it is a guy thing. Tools are cool. 

As for me?

I spent my Saturday lunching with some of my favorite ladies. We visited a fairly new place in Munich called Tribeca Cafe. I had hummus and a Mexicana (hot chocolate + espresso= score!)  Afterwards, we shopped. I bought a new skirt that I can't wait to show you on Wednesday! I topped off the day with a few episodes of Gilmore Girls and a glass of prosecco. There also might have been some Cookies and Cream ice cream as well... How's that for a girl's day? 

I hope everyone has a fantastic week,

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Wiz Kid

This afternoon on my commute home something happened to me...

Riding my bicycle, light breeze blowing through my hair, soaking in the beautifully sunny fall day, the biggest concern I had was whether or not there was enough Diet Coke chilling in my fridge. Living in the moment and enjoying the bike ride, a smile spread across my face when I saw an adorable boy walking towards me dressed in full wizard attire.

A dark towel hung down the backside of his neck. He held two wands, made from sticks, one in each hand. All I could think was "How cute is this little boy?!" "It's refreshing and rare to see a child engaged in imaginary play out in public."

Then... it happened.

Right as these wonderful thoughts filled my mind, eyes sparkling at the sight of his innocence, he cast a spell on me. 

Only it was such a big clash of a spell that the wand flew out of his tiny hand. I saw it coming from afar, twirling about in the crisp autumn air. My feet kept on peddling, my arms clenched to control the weeble- wobble of the bike frame, all while my face and shoulder met each other in some form of defense from the inevitable. 

That little wizard hit me with his wand. I couldn't believe that on my first wizard sighting I had been struck in the arm. My instinctive teacher look quickly softened when as I whizzed passed him I heard him exclaim "Excuse me." 

Home safely and still with two functioning eyes, now all I have to ponder is "What type of spell did he cast?"

Has your Wednesday had any beautiful life moments?
Shelby Dog Enjoying the Outdoors

Thanks Aunt Nicci!

Happy Bergfest Day,

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sometimes You Get Lucky

When Mainly Maren was created, one of the objectives was to allow a place for stories from our travels. I wanted readers to be able to find helpful information, tips and reviews from the places Husband and I have visited. One of the best parts about blogging on Mainly Maren is when I receive emails from readers asking for trip suggestions. It is such a joy to help others make the most of their holidays!

Last December, Husband and I sat down with his parents for their Germany trip planning meeting. I will be honest, we did not provide much help in this situation because Husband's dad is a top notch trip planner! After their two week vacation in Germany turned out to be a big success, I invited Terry to guest write on Mainly Maren explaining how he planned. Terry also included some of his recommendations. 

So here he is, Husband's dad, Terry:

My wife, Debbie, and I spent 2 weeks in June visiting our son, Andrew, and daughter-in-law, Maren, who are currently living in Germany, just outside of Munich. 

A good vacation needs a good plan, especially when travelling during the busy summer season to very popular tourist destinations. Having spent several months researching destinations and hotels on Trip Advisor and several guide books, I had a good plan, but sometimes you just get lucky.

We rented a car in Munich and traversed Bavaria, stopping in Fussen, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and Regensburg. In Fussen, we were walking back to our hotel after visiting the Kings Castles and trying to decide what to do for dinner when we stopped in front of a restaurant to look at their posted menu.

At that time a woman came by, stopped, and said if we were looking for a good restaurant, she knew of a great place just up the street where she had eaten the night before. She couldn’t remember it’s name, but she was going past it and would point it out to us.

It turned out to be the Ritterstub’n and it was the best meal we had in Germany. The pork and spatzle were terrific. It was in a 500 year old building with a plaque showing the names of every owner. Luck brought us there and it was fantastic.

Luck also contributed to our best hotel and best overall experience. From what I had read and from talking to Debbie’s sister who had been there, we knew we wanted to go to Rothenberg ob der Tauber, an old walled medieval city. I had planned for a weekend stay just because it best fit our schedule and was planning to stay in a hotel recommended by Rick Steves in his book, but as luck would have it, it was full, so I went with a hotel reviewed in Trip Advisor and it was by far the best place we stayed.

The Hotel Gotisches Haus is a 700 year old building that still has original timbers in the ceilings but has been fantastically remodeled. We stayed in room 30 which I would highly recommend. It has a deck overlooking the city and the valley. The bathroom has great looking stone work and a large double tub. The hotel even has an elevator.

The other lucky part of our stay there was timing. After I had made reservations I received an E-mail from the hotel manager saying they were sorry, but we would not be able to drive into the city and park in front of the hotel because it turned out to be “The Master Draught” festival weekend. We had to carry our bags from a lot outside the wall, but it was well worth it. 

The festival included an open air market and hundreds of performers in medieval costumes. Our hotel was next to “The Armory”. We came out once to see more than a dozen soldiers in full armor lounging at tables and drinking tankards of beer, all of this while cannon fire was going off over head. Platoons of soldiers marched through the streets singing. We also saw mounted barbarians kidnap fair maiden tourists and hold them for ransom.

The weekend was the high point of our trip thanks to good planning and a lot of good luck.

I agree with Terry, the best part of their visit was when we again visited Rothenberg o.b. Tauber. The festival took over the city and I felt like we had stepped into a fairy tale. Husband and I already have marked our calendar with “The Master Draught” festival dates for 2015. Who's coming to visit?

Husband and I have visited Rothenberg several times during our time in Germany. Each visit has shown another majestic part of the famously walled medieval city. I highly recommend a day or two spent in Rothenberg o.b. Tauber when making trip plans to Germany. 
Happy Trip Planning,

Monday, September 22, 2014

Back to Blogging

Well friends, I am back. Sorry I didn't tell you I was going to take a break from blogging...but one day became the next and well you know how that goes. The end of the school year was crazy busy and then suddenly it was summer break.

Feeling Appreciated

I decided to take a few weeks to myself to reorganize our lives, lunch with the ladies, travel, hibernate, engage in a Band of Brothers marathon, and get mentally prepared for my 8th year of teaching!

"Momma put my toys away"

Now the house is back in order, I'm on top of the chores, the wedding albums are started (from 2012, ahem*) and the first week of school went off successfully! 
A Favorite of my Dad

Here are some highlights from Summer Break 2014:

Traditional Ice Cream Photo

Husband and I spent one-way-too-short-of-a-week visiting my family in Denmark. We were so sad to leave and had a fantastic visit. 

 Traditional Farm Photo

I feel very fortunate to have contact with my extended family. I'm already looking forward to our next visit...whenever that may be!
Champagne, France

Husband and I took a road trip through the northern part of France. It was AMAZING! Better than last year's near disaster of a trip to Paris. This is us standing in the middle of Champagne two weeks before the grape harvest!

Normandy, France

A lot of rough headlines have been running through the media lately but standing on this beach made me proud to be an American. We watched the sun rise above Utah Beach along the coast in Normandy. It was an experience of a lifetime and a moment I hope to never forget. 

Thank you everyone for your interest in what Husband and I are up to this side of the world. It is a pleasure to share our stories with you and it is great to be back!

Happy Monday,