Monday, February 16, 2015

Show & Tell: How We Met

Driving down 121, chasing the setting summer sun, I answered a phone call from my aunt. Wearing my new, slightly revealing sundress, I felt butterflies fill my stomach. I explained to her through my dry mouth and just short of dry heaving breaths that I was on my way to a dinner date. And that is when Aunt Gail asked "So how'd you meet him?"
Aunt Gail and Me in 2010
Just five days earlier, a few girl friends and I headed out for a night out on the town. Our destination? A country dance hall nestled somewhere in between Dallas and Fort Worth. 

Now I could end the story here, making it a quick one, I met Husband that night. But... then I would be leaving out some less than glamorous details. 

Sitting on bar stools, over looking the dance floor, a then stranger, Husband approached our group of girls. He asked me to dance and I accepted. My first thought was "Wow, he's tall."
Casino Night Fall 2010

As the next song started up we walked out onto the floor and we made the usual introduction exchanges. You know the quick details you want to get out of the way before the dance hall is completely engulfed in fiddles and acoustic guitars. 

"Hi, I'm Drew. What's your name?"

"I'm Maren. Where are you from?"

"I grew up in -----. You?" 

"Oh, wow! I'm from -------- just down the road. Where'd you go to school?" 

"Texas A&M"

"Uh Oh. I went to Texas Tech."

Red Raider aside, I was little excited to hear this guy Drew graduated from Texas A&M. I love a little rival football!
Our first football game together! A&M v. Tech 2010

Our conversation pretty much ended there because the walls were bouncing with music vibrations. He twirled me around, spun me this way, spun me that way, it was a fast paced, no time to think twice polka/waltz, and I smiled through the entire thing.

Until the last beat. This guy spun me into one more twirl and went into to land the entire dance with a big dip backwards. But....his foot slipped... my foot scuffed... and his boot scraped upwards forcefully right over the top of my big toe.

A nerve shocking amount of pain ran up my spine and I knew something not good had just happened. Not even saying goodbye to this new face, I ran off the dance floor into the nearby restroom. 

Inside a bathroom stall, I looked down and saw my big toe completely covered in blood. I wasn't even sure if my toenail was still attached. Why oh why did I have to wear wedges to the country dance hall? 

This guy, Drew, not knowing me assumed I was sick from alcohol. He found my girlfriends and told them "Uh, I think your friend is sick in the bathroom." Confused, my friends vouched for me and said "She hasn't had anything to drink...." 

Then Drew sent one of his friends into the restroom to check on me. She walked in to find me buying a $2 band-aid from the bathroom attendant. That's right, $2 for ONE band-aid. No sympathy from that bathroom monitor. 
Kneeling down next to me, his friend Jenny asked "Did Drew do this to you?" I shook my head and frantically said "No, no." Then I raced through my mind those first introduction questions again. Remembering this guy's name was indeed Drew, and I quickly restated my answer, "Wait, yes. Yes he did."

Fortunately, the night did not have to end there. After a quick band-aid fix and a promise to myself to buy cowboy boots that week, I headed back out to find Drew waiting. We chatted a bit more and eventually took some more spins around the dance floor. 

Then as my girl friends and I were heading out, he asked for my phone number. Except when he started typing my name into his phone he put "L-A-U-R..." And as I saw what was happening I realized he had heard my name as "Lauren" not "Maren". A quick fix, and a good laugh he had my digits.
Two days later my phone rang as I was on my way to Bachelor night with the girls. I stared at the blinking number buzzing in my hand and wondered "Should I answer this?" 

And I am so glad I did. Our first date was July 2, 2010. He proposed July 2011. We were married June 2012. But that's a story for another day...
So ladies, make sure that when you go country dancing, you wear cowboy boots. Save the wedges for lunch dates. 
Valentine's Day 2015

Linking up today with Andrea for her Show and Tell Tuesdays and Tuesday Talk. Wahoo! So much fun.
Tuesday Talk Link Up

Keep Dancing,

Monday, February 9, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up: Birthday Edition

Yesterday was my birthday. My 31st birthday to be exact! Husband did a fantastic job making sure my day was full of celebration. Check it out:
Sunday morning started out with some dog tricks and dog treats. This is Shelby Dog's "High 10".
Husband put out our tradition birthday banner. Growing up his mom put up the same (and still does) birthday banner each year. We created the same tradition but with our own banner. I think I picked this one up a few years ago at the dollar store! 
In my family beignets (French donuts) are a special breakfast treat that my dad made every so often when I was growing up. Now, Husband makes beignets each year for my birthday.
After breakfast, we headed into Munich. My good friend told us that the canal outside of Nymphenburg Palace had frozen.
People were ice skating and playing hockey on top of the frozen river. We walked along the canal and took in the people watching.
The water underneath the bridge was not frozen. 
Standing on top of the bridge looking down the canal. People were out skating the entire frozen length. 

My friend Kate came out to join us on a little coffee break and stroll along the canal. 
We walked up to Nymphenburg Palace and it was surrounded by frozen grounds. Everything looked so different than in the springtime!
It's always nice to get a photograph that is not a selfie!
Back at the house, Husband finished icing my cake. He is a man of many talents. 
Of course I wanted to dig right in! 

For dinner, Husband prepared a traditional Swiss fondue in my brand new GREEN APPLE fondue pot. 
It was DELICIOUS! We are already planning our second fondue night for later in the month. 
This birthday was perfect in my book. We relaxed at home, spent some time outdoors in the snow, and downed some mount-watering foods. It was the best way to start my birthday week ;-) 

Here's to 31,

Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday Favorites: Cold Season

Hello World! I'm sure you are excited that it is Friday and ready for the weekend... Today I am featuring a few Friday Favorites and I'm joining Andrea in on all the fun!

This week I have been home sick. I went to the doctor on Tuesday and she tried to write me off from work for the whole week. I said it wasn't necessary and I was SURE I would be better within the next day. I went into work yesterday and it was a huge mistake. My voice is gone again. It is really hard to not talk when you LOVE to talk. My spirits are high, my head is clear, but my throat is just not having it.

So this edition of Friday Favorites is featuring my items necessary for the cold season.

Eins: Hot Tea
Healthy Elvis Cookie Recipe here
Even though I didn't grow up drinking a lot of hot tea, think more ice tea with lime wedges and sugar, now that we are living in a cold weather climate, hot tea has become a near daily necessity. We have a whole shelf dedicated to boxes and bags of different teas. Currently, I am enjoying a winter tea with almond, cinnamon, and apple infusions. Staying hydrated is important during these dark, cold days!

Zwei: Saltine Crackers
When winter time hits, I make sure to keep saltine crackers in my pantry. A lot of people associate these crackers as "flu food" but I actually enjoy them just about any time. I might have a slight peanut butter addiction and these crackers are the perfect base for a small snack. You can read about grocery shopping in Germany here

Drei: Lemons, Ginger, and Honey
You probably already saw this picture on Tuesday's Show and Tell but lemons, ginger, and honey are three more items I like to keep in stock. This week alone I have gone through several lemons and almost depleted the bottle of honey. When sore throats need a cure, I boil water, cut several slices of fresh ginger root, squeeze in half a lemon, and add in a tablespoon of honey. This hot tea combination is supposed to be a great aid in helping the body fight off the bad. 

Vier: Parenthood
Joel: Why do we still have a home phone. The only people who still have our number are telemarketers.  Julia: And my parents.  Joel: Exactly.
A few weeks ago my Facebook newsfeed was full of friends sad to bid the show Parenthood goodbye. Misinformed, I thought the show was mostly about a life stage I can't easily relate to so we never tuned in. Caught up on our shows (Thanks cold season!) and looking for something new, Husband and I decided to give Parenthood a try. Let me just say, We LOVE the Bravermans! And I'm already declaring around the house that I want a BIG family. just. like. that. Because TV is real, right?!

The following has nothing to do with the cold season but I thought you'd enjoy a mishap from this week!

Funf: Valentine's Decor
Last weekend I finally got around to photographing our Valentine's decorations. To create the look without spending money, I repurposed Christmas garland filled with pink and red ornaments to add some festivity to our home. I also made another banner using old Valentine envelopes, heart doilies, and Danish heart baskets. You can read more here.

Sechs: Valentine's Decor Gone Bad
And then I witnessed this happen. In slow motion. Helpless with the clothes drying rack blocking my running catch. 
And then I kind of laughed and saw the humor in what had just happened. My initial thought? "Well, that's 8 less Christmas ornaments I have to store." Of course, I quickly got the dog away, put on some shoes, grabbed the broom, dustpan, and vacuum. 
This was the sad, pathetic pile of tiny shards of broken glass and two day's worth of dog hair waiting to be swept up and moved on into the trashcan. 

What do you do when cold season hits your house?

Anyone remember the episode of Friends where Phoebe loses her voice but gets a "sexy, raspy, singing voice"? 

Stay Well,

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wellness Wednesday: Healthy Elvis Cookies

"Mo' Butter Mo' Better." Right?! Ugh... maybe not so much.

Husband and I are trying really hard to live a healthier lifestyle. We are eating less carbohydrates during the week and limiting ourselves to one cheat day on the weekend. It's HU-ARD. Especially when you are a baker...*sigh* please cue the sad music.
Determined to do some long over due baking, I set out to see what few "good" things I could find in my pantry. No oil (yuck.), no butter (hmm), and a pound of sugar was far from my mind.

I did spot two bananas quickly ripening in our fruit bowl and I just knew we had a random handful of dried oats lost in the back of the cabinet. A quick search for "bananas and oatmeal" led me to the perfect recipe for 2-Ingredient Cookies.

Except I made mine into 3-Ingredient Cookies. With Elvis in mind. Because he is the King of Rock and I'm kind of like the Queen of Baking  (well, at least in this house) With the main ingredient as bananas, I just knew Elvis would totally approve of me throwing in something sweet like peanut butter chips. Can I get an "Uh Huh"?

Elvis "Uh-Huh" Coaster
Here's what I used:
-2 ripe bananas (Don't fear the brown, go for the brown!)
-1 cup of oatmeal (not quick oats)
-1/2 cup of peanut butter chips mixed with a few Reese's Pieces (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

First, I poured the oats into a small bowl. Then I placed the whole bananas on top of the oats. I mashed the bananas and stirred until both ingredients were mixed.

Then, I folded in the peanut butter chips. Originally, I had planned to use a full cup but in the end I only needed 1/2 cup. If you want an even healthier version, you could replace the peanut butter chips with raisins, cranberries, walnuts, etc. 

The last thing I did was to scoop the mixture by a tablespoonful and place it on the baking sheet. I did use a silicone sheet to keep the cookies from sticking to the pan. If you don't have one, make sure you spray your baking sheet with cooking spray first. (Mine even had to be pried a bit off the silicone sheet)

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The cookies will not expand while cooking so don't worry if you think they are not baking. The heat allows the cookies' ingredients to better stick together for a nice chewy cookie. This recipe makes 12-14 cookies.

These cookies are practically guilt free. I just ate four of them right out of the oven. *Gasp* but no worries, when I break it down I got some banana, oatmeal, and a tiny bit of peanut butter. The health benefits of oatmeal shouldn't be forgotten!

Here's What I Read:
  • Oatmeal is a heart healthy food. It actually helps lower cholesterol in the bloodstream.
  • Oatmeal takes longer to digest and therefore provides a full feeling stomach for longer than most foods.

Recipe Adapted From: The Burlap Bag
Sharing today with The Wednesday Roundup

The King sure knew what he was doing when he fell for those peanut butter and banana sandwiches!

*Follow up- Husband LOVED these. To be honest, I was shocked because I thought the cookies would be a little "too out there" for him. After eating the last cookie he asked, "Do we have any more bananas?" How can I resist baking more of these cookies when I know they are as healthy as cookies come?

What would you mix-in with banana and oatmeal cookies?

What's Baking,