Thursday, January 29, 2015

Friday Favorites: Let It Snow

Happy Friday to you....Happy Friday to you... Happy Friday dear Readers, Happy Friday to you. Are you singing?! It's the weekend!!! (well almost.)

Today I am linking up with Andrea to bring you all the fun and my Friday Favorites!

Eins: Snowy Mornings
Munich, Germany

The snow does not ever get old. Granted we live in an area where it snows off and on throughout the season. There is something rejuvenating about taking a morning walk with the rising sun, crisp air, and a fresh blanket of snow. This week I got to enjoy several mornings with such a view and it is my number one favorite this week!

Zwei: The Berenstain Bears

The Berenstain Bears are some of my favorite books to read aloud in the classroom. I just have the best time imitating Papa, Mama, Brother, and Sister Bear. Hello, suppressed southern accent! I remember being engrossed with the illustrations as a kid in the doctor's office. Now it does not surprise me to find my kindergartners almost too quiet, sifting through a box of these books for time on end. 

Drei: Sunday Hikes

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Sunday, Husband and I drove an hour into the German Alps to take in the winter scenery. We took Shelby Dog and enjoyed the afternoon hiking through the land and down into a frozen gorge. It was like an ice exhibit except made by Mother Nature. How did a Texas girl fall so in love with these mountain scenes? You can see more of our winter photos here

Vier: Toasted Corn
Toasted Corn

Last Saturday, Husband and I headed to our local grocery store. Every week we hit up the dried fruits aisle and this time I was shocked to find a bag of toasted corn sitting among the bottom shelf. Corn Nuts is not a product easily found in Germany unless imported with a huge mark up. When we tried the toasted corn, it was like biting into a crunchy Frito kernel. Next time we make chili, I'm garnishing with these babies. 

Funf: Snowy Evenings

Snowy mornings might be peaceful but snowy evenings are exciting. Tuesday evening the snow came down thick and I was covered after my walk from work. Luckily, my parka is a great coat and more often I am sweating than I am cold!

Do your kids read and love The Berenstain Bears?

What are your favorite winter activities?
We need suggestions for this weekend!

Stay Warm,

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wellness Wednesday: Living Well

Part of Wellness Wednesday is not just about eating well but also about living well. 

One of the things I struggle with is time management. My daily life consists of working full time, a two hour commute (roundtrip), household tasks, being a dog mom, corresponding, blogging, and creating material to blog about. Blogging can be a full time job in itself. Some evenings, once I get home, making it upstairs just about uses up whatever remaining energy I have. 

I have found once I start putting off a task, the domino effect takes place and things start piling up. When the To Do list gets longer and longer, I sink deeper and deeper into those couch cushions. This is how it goes until I wake up randomly one day and motivation kicks in. Then you better jump on board and help or get out of my way. Living this way and watching the items go undone just exhausts me to talk about the problem. 

Part of living well is being comfortable in our home, having a fresh mind, and starting each day anew. To keep on top of things and not dig myself into an overwhelming hole, I am now assigning myself daily tasks. 

Every Sunday night I write out the days of the week, the meal plan, which chores need to get done, and even schedule which nights I will sit at the computer to write. At the start of each morning, I glance over my daily tasks to keep myself on track. When I climb into bed at night, I once more look over the list and cross off my achievements from the day. 

Maybe this is old news to most people but I am just figuring this list thing out and it is refreshing. There is something satisfying about using my fancy pens to cross items off my list each day. I daresay it is kind of fun.
"Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it."-Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

Now my trick to turning this weekly list into action is all about timing. I know that the minute I sit on the couch my energy level will plummet and the chances of me getting up are very slim. If I keep moving things around the house are more likely to get done! 
This Week's List

Are you a weekly list keeper? 

Do you break chores down by day?

Friday night's dinner is still a mystery...any suggestions?!

Off to Stir the Soup Pot,

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up: Partnach Gorge

I woke up Sunday morning to an unexpected surprise. A fresh blanket of snow fell overnight and left everything glistening pure white. 
With such beautiful scenery, Husband and I knew we had to get outside and enjoy the day! He threw the snow pants in the car, I leashed the dog, and we hit the well salted roads leading to Garmisch Partenkirchen.

Garmisch Partenkirchen is a ski resort town nestled in the German Alps just an hour outside of Munich. It is one of our favorite day tripdestinations no matter the season! 
Icicles Hanging Over the Mountainside

 I call these my Michael Jackson snow pants.

Our last visit was in June when Husband’s parents came into town for his birthday. We spent the day exploring the highest point in Germany, Zugspitz, and then took things down low with a hike through the Partnach Gorge.
Frozen Ice

Nearly a year ago Husband and I visited another gorge, Breitachklamm, during the winter and were amazed at the frozen waterfalls. When we toured Partnach Gorge in the summertime we knew we had to get back there during the colder months.

To reach the Partnach Gorge, we took a 20 minute slippery walk up a farm road nestled in a valley. Luckily, neither one of us ate it but there were several moments of balancing acts I can only describe as ballet moves on ice. The splits might have been easy 15 years ago…but things are much different these days!

In a fictional life, I run a B&B out of this historic, now dilapidated inn.

Shelby Dog came along with us for the hike. We all need the exercise! This is her second time visiting a gorge and she did just fine with the steep cliffs and rushing water. She kept close to the mountainside and obeyed when other dogs came up on our path. Her biggest treat was running like a mad women in an open field covered in a week’s worth of snow.

Love spending time with these two!

Rushing Water

Our entire hike to and from and inside the gorge took about two hours.

Afterwards, we stopped by inside the old ski stadium from the 1936 Winter Olympics. It was really neat to see the arena covered in snow and there is a bunch of new renovations taking place. Seeing the ski jump in person is always astonishing to see just how high up those athletes jump from.

Besides laundry, 4 loads of dishes, and a stop at the grocery store that is about it for our Weekend Wrap-Up. Enjoy this last week of January!  

"Frozen" in Real Life,
Our Pretty Little Girls

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Friday Favorites: Sweet Warm Moments

It's Friday. Thank.good.ness. I thought about making plans for this evening but after a BUSY week a glass of wine, my Ninja Turtle pj pants, and take out curry is just what Friday night ordered. And if we are being total 8 p.m. bedtime is highly likely.

Alright let's get to those Friday Favorites! I'm linking up with Andrea to bring you all the fun!
1.Eins: Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses
Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses

If you've tried these before then I really don't need to explain them. During Target's After Christmas Clearance I picked up a bag of these Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses for 30% off. Then I stowed the bag away safely in my suitcase and flew these kisses across the ocean. That's love folks. I've been enjoying a few of these sweet treats each evening and my trashcan is full of those tiny foil wrappers. Shh...don't tell Wellness Wednesday.

2.Zwei: Funny Kitchen Print
"They see me rollin', they hatin'" kitchen poster #KateWishlist

I love when I get an email from Pinterest that someone has sent me a pin! It is also fun to run across a pin that reminds me of a friend and send it to them. My mother in law found this funny kitchen print and sent it to me. More often than I am proud to admit, this particular song verse is circulating in my  head. Although, I doubt it is in the way the original rapper intended! ;-)

3.Drei: Dress Up

Monday night, Shelby Dog played dress up with me. We put on matching scarves. Shelby Dog actually has a black fur lined winter jacket but she hates wearing it! She was a little bit more tolerable of the scarf. 
Santa Shelby Claus

She puts up with a lot of craziness around this house but she loves us. Just don't ever mention her Shelby Claus suit... that gave her nightmares for a week. 

4.Vier: Alaska The Last Frontier
kilcher frontier | Alaska The Last Frontier Kilchers Women

This is a bit embarrassing to admit... but Husband and I are huge Alaska the Last Frontier fans. Lately, I have become obsessed with the idea of moving to Alaska. Maybe it's because we live so close to the German Alps but I am in love with the snowy mountain views. I think the obsession is a combination of Husband's beard, flannel shirts, and my cozy fur lined boots but I'm ready to give up the city for a homestead lifestyle. (Nordstrom's ships right?) Does anyone else watch this show? I think Eve has got to be the coolest girl ever! 
My Flannel Family

5.Funf: Wool Socks

Wednesday night I spent 30 minutes in a department store picking out new wool socks. 30 minutes people!! For socks!!! I am NOT a fast shopper. Starting in November up until March I wear wool socks nearly every day. The thicker and fuzzier on the inside the better! These socks are my latest buy and I am in love with the color blocks. 

Favorite Song of the Moment:
I thought it would be fun to start including songs currently playing on my playlist while I write these Friday Favorite posts. Most of the time I wear my headphones and write while listening to whatever type of music I feel like at the moment. Of course there are a few times that I just can't help but belt out a chorus but Husband strategically keeps the door closed to avoid bleeding ears.  

Vanessa Williams Saved the Best for Last

Are you still enjoying Christmas chocolate?
 We have a whole shelf just full of chocolate... teacher life.

Who wants to go to Alaska?!

Have a Fantastic Weekend,

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wellness Wednesday: Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

Over Christmas Break, Husband and I had the pleasure of hanging out with some good friends. One of Husband's best friends from college drove up to Dallas with his wife to spend some time with us. Seeing how great they both looked, Husband and I were inspired. We continued to indulge ourselves in as much chips, queso, and enchiladas as humanly possible over the remainder of our stay in Texas, but the minute our flight touched down in Munich things changed.

It's been about two weeks now and we are very careful with our carb intake. Husband is doing better than I am...but at school there have been three days with birthdays. Hmp. It's so hard to turn down a cupcake. Teacher life. 

We are doing better when we are cook at home. It's easier for us to eat more healthy when we know what fresh items are going into a dish. This also gives us the power to keep certain things (like butter... "mo' butter mo' better") out of our food. If a recipe calls for rice or noodles we have replaced those starches with spinach. Surprisingly, the spinach has not disappointed once! 

When it comes to cooking in the kitchen, I just discovered butternut squash this past fall. It is one of the sweet squashes and is pretty low maintenance. Husband sometimes helps me cut the fat bottoms of the squashes but other than that I can cut the squash into 1 inch disks. Then I trim off the skin and cook it covered on the stove-top. I can always tell when the butternut squash is finished cooking because it is soft. Easy peasy! 

Last week I made a new recipe for Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup. It just might have been the lowest calorie soup known to man besides a pot of hot water. 

Here's What You Need:
1 Butternut Squash, cubed
4 Carrots, chopped
1 Medium Onion, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 tsp. Fresh Gingerroot, minced
3 tsp. Curry Powder
4 cups of Vegetable Broth
1 cup Coconut Milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

First, heat in a large saucepan 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Stir in the butternut squash and carrots. Cover the pot and heat for about 15 minutes or until the butternut squash and carrots are soft. (You might want to add a tiny bit of water to the bottom and turn the temperature down lower.)

Meanwhile, pour a dash of olive oil into a stock pot and cook the onions until tender. Mix in the garlic, ginger and curry powder. Cook an additional minute.  Add the vegetable broth and bring it to a boil. 

Reduce the heat, add in the butternut squash and carrots then simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Next, using a potato masher (or a blender if you want it without chunks) mash the butternut squash and carrots. Stir in the coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Bring the temperature back up to medium heat for an additional 5 minutes cooking time. Stir occasionally. 

Top off the soup with cilantro or parsley and you are finished! 

*Optional tip: This pot of soup lasted us 2 nights. On the second night I added two more cups of vegetable broth. Then I had an idea on how to get in some greens. I stirred into the soup fresh baby spinach just before serving. We found out that we preferred the soup even more once the spinach was added inside! 

Check out some of my other soup recipes perfect for the dark winter days!
Slow Cooker Taco Soup
Roasted Red Pepper and Carrot Soup

Do you have a healthy soup recommendation? I'd love to hear about it!

Happy Wednesday,