Thursday, December 23, 2010


Some photos of the snow last week. Also, playing with Photoshop (well, more like hitting "play" on free PS actions). It's been raining recently, so most of it has melted, but I'm sure we'll have our fill of it come February.

We're spending Christmas day at home; cooking up a goose and inviting some of Craig's single coworkers over for dinner. I ended up putting up the three-foot fake tree this year. I have a hard time spending twice as much on a tree that doesn't look nearly as full or large as the ones we could get back home. I guess ya can't beat driving less than a mile down the road (honestly, we could see the tree farm from our apartment!) and cutting the tree ourselves. Fourteen dollars and 30 min later we had a fresh cut tree ready to decorate.

Maybe I'm just a little nostalgic for home right now because of the holidays. On the bright side, we don't have to feel guilty for choosing one family to spend Christmas with over the other one!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In 24

1. What is the best gift you have ever received or given?
I'm a TERRIBLE gift giver and receiver. Just wanted to get that out there. Um, for my birthday one year I got the Barbie mini van/ RV and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. So far the best gift my husband has gotten me was a vacuum cleaner (no lies, I loved it). Oh, and a nifty wine rack. For wedding gifts, I love the dutch oven I got from my cousin and a handmade personalized bowl from Craig's family friends.

I'm still working on giving decent gifts to people. I've given some duds in my day.

2. Do you celebrate holidays differently when your loved one is deployed/gone or do you keep tradition?
Fortunately, we've never been a part for the holidays. I'd probably still put the little three foot tree up and bake some goodies.

3. If you celebrate Christmas, do you put an angel, star or something else on the top of your tree?
A star.

4. What are your three favorite websites?
Ones I go to the most:
-Online banking

Ones I like the most (besides those mentioned):
-Army Wife Chat message board
-Pioneer Woman (yeah yeah, like everyone else)

5. On your man do you prefer… boxers, briefs or boxer briefs? Or commando? (yeah, I’m starting to get desperate for questions!)?
Anything but briefs... they remind me of my dad. Yeah my dad likes to sit around the house in his underwear. I swear it's a farmer thing. When I sold feed, I'd have to wait for some customers outside so they could put their pants on. There, I said it... family secrets are out in cyberspace now.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Organized "The Fridge"

In a previous post, I mentioned our home came with a built in refrigerator (der kuhlshrank, your German word of the day!), which is pretty typical of German kitchens. The Furniture Management Office (FMO) gave us an American size refrigerator to use. Moreso we need it for the freezer portion. So unless we shell out Euro for a stand-alone freezer, we'll gladly accept the borrowed fridge/freezer combo. But what to do about that built-in sucker?

I figured it out!

I now have a climate controlled baking center. In the door, I have all the baking supplies. The top shelf is spice mixes, which didn't fit in the spice cupboard. Yes, I have a crazy number of spices. Mom, if you're reading this, I know you're not surprised.

On the right is breakfast items and other quick staples for making lunches and snacks. Once I get my Ikea shelf up, I'll have decent storage for the flour and sugar. A work in progress!

I baked up a storm this afternoon and it was so nice to have everything right there. Usually, I'd keep all the spices for baking and cooking together, the vanilla next to the oil and vinegar, etc. This is so much simpler.

I'm so beside myself with my ingenious plan. I made Craig stop what he was doing and come look... he was less impressed. And yes, I just blogged about organizing my kitchen. Perhaps I licked the spoon a few too many times this afternoon...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Fill-In 24

1. What do you see your life like in 10 years?
I'll be 37. I hope to be done popping out kids by then, however if I'm going to get to 5 or 6, I better start now! Haha, just kidding Craig if you're reading this.

As far as career, who knows. I wouldn't mind doing the stay at home mom thing. I just want to have some land, some animals, and be pretty self sufficient.

2. What do you like most about your job?
My job right now is learning German and being eine Hausfrau. My class gets over next week, and I still haven't decided if I want to move onto level two right away in January. I like that it's really challenging and keeps my brain ticking.

As far as the housewife thing, I like being able to have time to do crafty things and not spending money on things for a job (ie gas to and from work, dress clothes). Also, I can go shopping on the weekdays and take my time looking for the best deals, and do fun things on the weekend instead of heading to the grocery store.

3. What are three things you do every day, no matter what day it is?
No matter what, I brush my teeth twice a day. If I fall asleep before I get a chance to, I wake up and go do it! Then, probably go on the computer and feed the cat.

4. What would you do with an extra five hours in the day today?
Humm, today? Waste it on the computer, haha. Honestly, I probably would have went grocery shopping and picked out a Christmas tree.

5. What is your favorite Christmas (or whichever holiday you celebrate) cookie recipe (please share!)?
Although not a cookie, I'd have to say buckeyes, even though my family just calls them peanut butter balls. Coming from Wisconsin, making "buckeyes" would be a sin in Badger country! Here's the recipe stolen from allrecipes.com:

1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups confectioners' sugar
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and confectioners' sugar. The dough will look dry. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet.

Press a toothpick into the top of each ball (to be used later as the handle for dipping) and chill in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until smooth.

Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate holding onto the toothpick. Leave a small portion of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like Buckeyes. Put back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until serving.

I dunk the entire thing in chocolate- you know you want to.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Winter is Here

In the words of my aunt Lisa, "Oh shoot, I forgot the camera!"

Times I wished I had it in the past few weeks:

Right before the snow, I ventured out to the Kaiserslatuern cemetery on the edge of town. A very somber, peaceful place. The cultural differences of how people honor their loved ones who've passed away is pretty interesting.

Our first snow on Thanksgiving! Unlike in Wisconsin, where the first couple snows usually melt because the ground it too warm, this stuff stuck! And it snowed for three days straight.

Christmas market in Kaiserslautern. Had some Gluwein with two of my classmates. I'm starting to see that Germans take Christmas pretty seriously in terms of celebrating the season.

Speaking of classmates....

Next week, I start my third week in a German language course. Ya know, if I could just learn all my life instead of actually applying it to the working world, I'd be alright with that. I'd doing pretty well in the class as far as writing goes. Speaking, not so much. I've met some pretty cool people. I think about 10 countries are represented in the class, and quite a few know English. It's humbling when most of the class already knows 2, 3, or 4 languages.

This passed weekend, we ventured out to the Nuremberg Christmas market. I loved the city, but the market was very crowed and the gifts they had at the stalls really didn't interest me. We did have our fair share of Gluwein and kept the commemorative cup. We also toured the museum at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds, did some shopping, visited some of the sites of the old town, and met up with some wives I met online from Army Wife Chat, a message forum I'm a member of.

Check out the photos from Nuremberg.

Friday, November 19, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In 22

Yikes, I think I was off on my number of Friday Fill-Ins. We're at 22! Life is a bit slow at the moment, but we have tons of things planned in the next few month. Stay tuned!

1. If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs – such as food and water – were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
A laptop and reliable internet. But if it was deserted, there's be no internet... so... one of those Kindle book readers with unlimited books and something that plays music. I need music in the background to get anything done!

2. If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have?
The kind you get at German restaurants. I can't seem to find the recipe or the bottled version in the store, but it's so good!

3. If you had to live on a ranch, what kind of animals would you raise/own?
If I "had" to? More like if I "could" live on a ranch..... Already have this planned out. I'm going to try my hand at either milking goats or sheep. I like sheep cheese a little better, and the industry is really taking off. Also, I'd have a horse or too (well, if money was not an issue). A beefer or two for meat, and then some 4-H livestock projects for the kids- probably pigs, maybe market sheep. Craig likes lamb, so we'd raise a few for meat too. A milk cow for fresh raw milk..... I grew up on that stuff and miss it! And fainting goats, because they're funny.

4. If your life was was portrayed as a movie, who would you choose to play you and your significant other?
Husband would be played by Jason Bateman, and I'd probably be Tina Fey. I'm kind of a goof-ball like that.

I asked Craig this, and he said someone told him once he looked like Matt Damon... and then confessed it was his grandmother who said that, so it doesn't count, haha. For me, he said Winona Ryder... wth?!

5. What was the last thing you put a stamp on (envelope, duh, but what was in the envelope)?
My stamp of approval on the breakfast Craig made this morning, haha. But really, it was a letter to cancel my dental insurance... because I have perfect teeth, well, and I'm cheap.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Fill-in 18

1. Were you named after anyone?
Yup. My dad's name is Lance, and I'm Laurie. Sometimes at Christmas, I'd just see the "La..." and end up opening my dad's presents... which are usually socks or long underwear.

Lynn is a pretty popular name in my family (but I guess isn't it with everybody's?) and it just kinda rolls off the tongue: Laurie Lynn.

2. What color, if any, are your toenails usually painted?
Right now they're not painted, but I usually try to pick a bright color I typically wouldn't use on my fingernails.

3. How do you flush a public toilet? Hands? Feet? Something else?
Whaaa? With my hands... what's up with people being germophobes? I like to keep my immune system in top notch condition.

4. When you were a little kid, which TV character did you have a crush on?
So I can't think of anyone from TV, but I remember liking Devon Sawa (from "The Little Giants" and "Now and Then"), oh and David Bowie in the movie "Labyrinth." Might have been because of that bulge in his tight spandex pants.... I know I know, I was a perverted child.

I asked my husband this question- he said Clarissa from "Clarissa Explains It all", and Christine Taylor from "Hey Dude," who's now married to Ben Stiller. Wow, his were much more innocent!

5.Let’s say you had to lose one of your five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell). Which one would you choose? Why?
Smell... I lose it every winter with my perpetual seasonal cold anyway, so I could deal with that. And it seems like it would be the easiest one to adapt to.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blog Feature and a Thank You

Wow, I'm really excited that my blog was featured on Verseo's 100 Warm Feet Sweepstakes Military Blog Video! Mine is featured at 1:27. Nothing major, but still cool!

I actually didn't know about it until they wrote a comment on the last post. I'm pretty pumped they liked my amateur design skills... enough so that I don't care they did it without prior permission. But when you put yourself out on the internet, that's bound to happen. Most of the blogs features came from Household 6 Diva's milspouse blog roll.

However, I have to admit I don't feel quite right about it. My blog has been less about military life, and more about our German adventures. Honestly, Craig's military life is pretty boring- but trust me, I like it boring! Sure I could complain about his crappy work schedule, him having to work on days he's supposed to have off.... but when I think about the sacrifices of other milspouses, I feel I have no right to complain.

I was pretty humbled looking at the other blogs in the video- people dealing with deployments, children dealing with separation and moving, and even those spouses willing to share their experiences with losing their loved one.

And here I am blogging about our amazing trips.

So I'm not sure if I should change the title and go a different direction? I don't think I will- I love the milspouse community and feel the love, so I think I'll stick around :-) So I would like to say thank you to all the military spouses bloggers for sharing your experiences. You've kept me sane and keep everything in perspective!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hochheimer Markt

We almost thought this day was going to be a complete bust. After waiting for the shuttle for a long time, we decided to head into town towards the Hochheimer Markt. We ended up finding a free parking spot two blocks from the festival!

According to Buzz of Base, Hochheimer Markt is best described as part market, part carnival, and part Oktoberfest with a hint of Christmas in the air. I'd also like to throw in county fair in the mix too with the livestock show. It has also been held annually for over 500 years! There was also a medieval market- our favorite part was the pig roast.

I loved the somewhat random booths at the festival. The most random one was the dental and medical tools booth. Pictured here is a display case full of tulip bulbs.

Not gunna lie- the reason I wanted to attend this festival was for the cattle show. I made poor Craig fast-walk past all the fun food and beer stands looking for the animal barns. But alas- the animals only arrive for the show and leave shortly after, which was the day after we were there. Darn!

And as always, you can see all the pictures I took.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In 20

Well, I'm super early today! And yes, in Germany, it's Friday! It's 2:30 AM, just got done playing HOURS of Guitar Hero...

1. A different twist on last week's question. This week, the first question is: what’s the nicest thing a MILSPOUSE has ever done for you?
I'm still new to the MilSpouse scene, however, so far, having Danielle as a friend made living in Augusta tolerable, and it was great having someone to drink wine and watch Sex and the City with. So I guess just being my friend.

2. How often do you drive faster than the speed limit?
What speed limit? lol... ok ok, the Autobahn actually does have speed limits. I speed when I'm on the highways, but I stick to the posted limit when I'm in town.

3. Did you have a nickname in school? If so, what was it?
In college, my friends sometimes called me Volks (because of my last name), and Laur. But really, that only person who called me Laur was my good friend Laurie. Also, the name Salty comes to mind... after I told my friends that when I little, my sister and I used to lick the salt blocks at the feed mill.

4. If your life was a book, what would the title be and how would it end?
Um, I'd die in the end?....

5. Look back (in your planner if you have one) to September 14th... what did you do that day?
Even this unemployed gal keeps a planner! So a random Tuesday, eh.... well it looks like Craig had just came back from a week of training, we had just gotten our loaner furniture, and we still didn't have my car. So I'm imagining he escorted me around (in the stick shift I refuse to drive) to the library, post office, commissary, or PX, in attempts to make living without our stuff tolerable.

Friday, October 29, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In 19

Another Friday is upon us. Not a lot of fun things to report since the last Friday Fill-In. October has been a very long month financially for us, so we've been hunkering down. I can't believe that November is just around the corner! Also, I apologize for the formatting differences. Blogger doesn't like it when I copy and past directly from Wife of a Sailor.

1. What’s the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?

I've had acquaintances do things like pull me out of the ditch, coworkers that went out of their way to help me, etc. But a perfect stranger? I'm thankful for all the people who donated to the Sears Heroes at Home program. Oh, and the nice couple who stopped to help us when our car broke down. Although we didn't need their help, it was nice to be remembered that there are truly genuine, good people in this world.

2. If you are having a hard time going to sleep, what do you do to help yourself?

For the worst case scenario, I take some Advil PM. It works, but I try not to take drugs too often. A lot of times, it helps to make a to-do list, because most of the time I can't sleep because I'm thinking of things I have to do. Or I read. I've learned if I open the laptop, I might as well be pulling an all nigher.

3. Name something that makes you wish you were a kid again.

Getting the Toys 'R Us or the Fleet Farm Toyland catalog around this time of year! I want kids so I can play with all their cool toys.

4. What is something you never believed until you experienced it?

I'm normally not the religious type, but the power of prayer. I'm not talking like praying for a new car, but praying for guidance and strength to get through a tough time.

5. What can’t you say “no” to?

Staying a little longer, or having another drink, or what have you. My husband and I always seem to be the last ones to leave at a party. Great, now we'll never be invited to another party, haha.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Then and Now

Today, I came across a series of photos of Germany after WWII. Above is a photo of Mainz. According to the caption, this is a view from the cathedral. Upon closer inspection, I knew exactly where this was, and many of those building have since been renovated. I am absolutely amazed by this, because much of the original architecture is still intact. See the building the immediate foreground, the one on your right?

That's this building in the photo I took- the one on your left. Pretty much my photo is the exact opposite of the 1945 photograph. I'm taking a picture looking up where the photographer was standing over 60 years ago, and he was taking a photo from the cathedral, looking down toward where I am standing.
This is the building where we had dinner. In the 1945 photograph, it's the building just to the left of the building I mentioned above. See the arched windows and doors on the main floor?

You can view the rest of the post-war photographs and article if you'd like. I'm currently reading End Game, 1945 by David Stafford, and this fits in well. I remember quite a bit about World War II in school, and there's tons of movies about the war, but I'm finding myself more and more curious about what happened after the war. I guess I have this desire to find out how we (meaning my husband and I) got to where we are today; living and working in Germany. It's fascinating to think that these events, as large scale as they are, have shaped my life today on such a basic level.

MilSpouse Friday Fill-in 18

It's Friday already? I guess time flies when you're unpacking boxes all week!

1. Are you a night owl or an early bird?
Night owl, hands down.

2. What makes you jealous?
People with awesome attitudes and drives to succeed. I wouldn't call it jealousy, but more of an admiration.

3. Have you started Christmas/holiday shopping yet? When will you finish?
Since we just PCSed, a lot of our money has been going towards setting up the home, car repairs, etc. So no, I haven't. Both mine and Craig's birthdays are in the fall, so we get through that first, then work on the holidays. Also, I'm pretty pumped to check out all the Christmas markets that are opening up soon.

4. What would you have a personal chef make you tonight?
Seafood, because I can never seem to cook it right. Pretty sure I always overcook it.

5. Where was your first kiss?
Probably at my parent's house. Scandalous, I know.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Just a quick update on how everything is going.

- We got our household goods on Monday, and I'm happy to report NOTHING got broke or lost!


- Our queen box spring mattress doesn't fit up our staircase. But fret not! The PX had queen split box springs in stock (which I thought had to be custom made). Not an expense I was planning on, but I'm thankful it only took a few days to get it taken care of. Now I just gotta get that box spring sold that's sitting in the living room.... any takers?

Also, take note fellow milspouses- keep this little fiasco in mind when purchasing a mattress set. With as much moving as we all do, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's run into this problem!

- Our car failed the inspection-- twice. I was very upset when we had just spent $400 getting new brakes. We went back to the mechanic, and they're going to look at it again for free. At first, I was pissed at the mechanic, but he explained the repair and what's wrong. There's obvious improvement to the brakes, it stops great, but he explained the equipment they use on-post compared to what they use to test cars on the German economy is different. So pretty much our car would pass German inspection, but not the inspection we have to do through the military.

- Craig is going on the days schedule starting next week! That means 4am to 6pm instead of 5pm to 7am, and he'll work 3 days on, then 2 days off, 2 days off, and 3 days on, so he actually gets "weekends" and not just a day where he messes up his sleep schedule.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Fill-in 17

1. What are some things on your bucket list?
- Get through today :-)
- Milk a cow on 6 continents. I've got 2 down; the third should be easy. That leaves Africa, South America, and Asia. Maybe I'll convince Craig to stay in the Army long enough to get sent to Japan, just so I can complete my goal.
- Have a family

2. How long have you been a MilSpouse and where have you been stationed so far?
Make that 1 year and 7 months. BCT at Ft. Jackson, AIT at Ft. Gordon, which I count as a duty station because I lived there too, and Craig was there well over a year. His first official duty station is Landstuhl, Germany.

3. What is a list of songs that sums up your life so far?
Wow, this is going to take a lot of thought. So in somewhat chronological order:
- "Thank God I'm a County Boy" (err, or girl...) by John Denver. Loved growing up on the farm.
- "Redneck Girl" by Bellamy Brothers- I can be a little rough around the edges :-)
- "I Can Sleep When I'm Dead" by Jason Micheal Carrol- for my college years. It was a crazy hectic, fun ride! Oh, and "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off"...... just kidding!
- "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" for pretty obvious reasons.
- "I Never Promised you a Rose Garden" for adjusting to being a "grown-up"
- "Right Where I Need to Be" by Gary Allen. When I gave up some things for the truly important things- as the song goes, "getting my proprieties in line"
"Why Don't We Just Dance" by Josh Turner- our wedding song, and some days ya just gotta dance
- Right now, I feel like "Road to Nowhere" by the Talking Heads- let me explain so you don't freak out- I'm a little lost with where I want to go with my life at this point- start a family? be a SAHM? Continue with my career in agriculture? Start over my career? Work "just a job" ?
- But really, I want to live my life like "Simple Life" by Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

Hmm, apparently my life is one big country hits album.

4. What is your favorite kind of pizza?
Sausage and mushroom. Preferably Tombstone. I ain't too fancy.

5. What are three good things in your life right now?
Being with my husband, the promise of great adventures in the next three years, and getting our household goods on Monday! Ah, sometimes it's the little things in life.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ruminations on Photography

I really would like to take better pictures. The world is a beautiful place and I've seen some amazing things. Some day when I'm old and senile, I'd like to have some good pictures to look at to remind me what a hell of a ride it's been.
Obviously, my photos are point and shoot, and most are straight out of the camera. The blog world is full of beautiful photos taken with fancy DSLR cameras. So I got to thinking- do people take these awesome pictures because they own awesome cameras, or do they have actual talent/practice at taking pictures? Or, do they buy the expensive camera, and that forces them to work hard at becoming a decent photographer? Or are they just awesome at digital editing and Photoshop?

I told Craig I wanted a fancy DSLR camera for Christmas. We're talking $600 plus here. I wonder if it'll make a difference in my photos. Or maybe by carrying around a huge-ass camera, I'll feel like a photographer and get all into it. Hey, fake it 'til ya make it, right?

On a side note, I'm super excited that I have 35 followers on my blog! Thanks everyone for checking this out.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Today we explored the two-thousand year old city of Mainz. Home of St. Martin Cathedral, Johannes Gutenberg and his printing press. The cathedral was first built in 975 and was added on over the centuries. In my photos, you can see the progression in a series of models on display.

Click here to view my photos of Mainz.

There were about 11 churches all within walking distance. Each had a distinct style. We spent a ton of time at the Gutenberg Printing Museum, so we were unable to get inside the churches before they closed. My favorite was St. Christopher's which was actually in ruins left over from WWII. Rather than raze the building, it serves as a monument to the scars left from the war.

We saw some amazing things today, included Gutenberg's original bibles, books printed by Martin Luther, a 12th century bishop's miter, jewelry worn by bishops that were discovered in tombs, and decorations used by the cathedral dating back from 11th century to the mid 1900s. There was even a crucifix sculpted by Salvador Dali.

I didn't realize that the Gutenberg Museum included history of printing from ancient times to today. It was a huge museum, and lots of things I didn't expect to see. There was a diorama depicting Korean monks making and using movable type, among other Asian forms of printing. I also enjoyed the progression of handwriting in Germany, including that in 1941, Nazis banned a certain type of print from being used, ultimately changing the way people in the country write today. There were tons of very old books on display, they were neat, but there were so many. After awhile the novelty wore out, and it became," great, another 16th century book.... " What a museum snob, right?

We ate at a restaurant on the square right in front of the cathedral. I loved the fact that they had fleece blankets available for use while dining outside. How smart! I had my first flammkuchen, which is similar to a pizza.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Friday Fill-In 16

Wow, I've been away from the Friday Fill-ins for awhile now, but what the heck....

1. What is the longest road trip you've ever taken?
Washington Leadership Conference for FFA. We left Wisconsin and took a bus to Washington D.C. I forget how long it was- maybe 20 hours? Back when we lived in Georgia, it took about 18 hours to drive back to Wisconsin- and we could do it without stopping at a hotel.

2. Do you collect anything? Tell us a bit about it.
I'm an anti-collector. My parents are crazy about it. TV guide collector's editions, precious moments, beanie babies, newspapers when the Packers won the Super Bowl, old farming magazines, calendars, you name it....

The ONLY thing I can thing of off hand that I collect is my Christmas village, which I haven't added to in a few years. I will say though that I do collect a lot of tools and supplies to do DYI projects and crafting.

3. What is your favorite part about being an adult?
Hmmmm..... staying up late? Can't really thing of much, haha.

4. What song brings a tear to your eye?
Guess it depends on the mood. "In Color" by Jamey Johnson has done it, "Bridge over Troubled Waters," "Alyssa Lies," "Sissy's Song." Wow, I am a big crier apparently.

5. Describe your first plane ride (how old you where, where you were heading, etc.).
I was a junior in college, so 21-22 at the time, and I was in a class called "Dairying in Mexico" which included a 2 week trip to Mexico. We flew into Mexico City at night, which was really neat to see! It was probably the best circumstances to fly my first time because I was with a bunch of my friends and that kept me occupied. I'd have to say, that flight was probably the one I was the least nervous about, which is odd, I know.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Birthday Dinner

Craig and I ate at Ölmühle Resturant in Landstuhl for his birthday. The hotel & restaurant has a really neat history that you can read on their website. As someone from the midwest United States, I find all these 300 year old and older buildings fascinating.

Craig had the steak and I had the wild duck. The food was good, the service wonderful. My only criticism is that the pomegranate sauce was a little strange for my tastes, but other than that, I would recommend it for a nice, more higher class dinner. Well, it's high class for us anyway. And we were the youngest people in the restaurant by far, which goes to show we're just a classy young couple. :-)

I spent several hours at the grocery store today. It's fun to see new foods and figure out what they are. I'm looking for a traditional German cookbook written in German, because they would be true to the ingredients you find in local stores. I'm not having any luck, probably because these are recipes that are passed down and are just so basic. I did find a few in English at the bookstore on-post, but I'm not sure if they modify the recipes to fit grocery stores in the US. I want authenitic, darnit! Craig says I sound just like Julia Child... in his best imitation: "There are no good German cookbooks in English!" Huummm, maybe he's on to something there... however, I don't think becoming a famous German cooking chef is in the cards...

Also, I'm trying to figure out how to make the salad dressing I keep eating at restaurants. The salads here are so good! I tried one recipe I found online which was a total failure. Milk, vinegar, and honey just didn't seem to work for me.

Speaking of new foods to try, I found this at the store today:

Mmmm... horse sausage. Don't be grossed out; you should be thanking me- I uploaded a small image so your computer wasn't taken over by sausage. The funny thing is, blogger decided to flip the photo on it's side, and the brats looked a little... um... phallic... so I cropped it. I'll let you know how it tastes, but I bet they add enough pork fat in it that it will taste delicious.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Great Oven Debacle

Let's just say European ovens are different, and I'm an idiot. To work the oven, there's two dials. One sets the temperature, the other lets you pick which heating elements you want on. You can just do the bottom (like most US ovens), the top, both, or the broiler. I can only assume that the top is like "low broil" and the broil is like "high broil." If you have an electric oven, you don't set a temperature, but rather a number like 1,2,3, etc.

In New Zealand, they had this two dial system too, plus the oven I used had a convection oven. Talk about options! So when I moved into our home in Germany, I was like, "oh I so know how this works."

One pizza that took 45 min to cook later, I wasn't so smug.

First, I blamed our landlord, then I blamed the prior tenants for breaking the oven and not telling the landlord. Then I blamed myself for not knowing how to work an oven. And yes, I even checked online. You know something should be idiot-proof when you can't google how to use it.

Then, I figured maybe the dial was off.... it didn't seen to click over the pictures. I would turn it to a setting, see which elements got hot, then record it on a little chart. But it didn't seem to be the same each time! And if I turned it to like 500 degrees F, the broiler would kick on.

So I spent an entire afternoon cooking a chicken, sitting on the floor, watching the oven. And ate lukewarm enchiladas and a questionable meatloaf. I was ready to call the landlord.

Tonight, I had an epiphany. The dials were switched! I was setting the temperature instead of the heating element, and the other way around. So on the element dial, the top and bottom element option is the first option, which is what they recommend you use for most things. Because I was setting my dial to that not realizing it was the temperature setting, I was only cooking my food at the lowest temperature possible (so like 200 degrees F)!

Duh.... see that thermometer above one of the dials? That should have been the first clue. Wow.

I have this picture in my mind of the tenants before us sitting around plotting ways to mess with us. Well, whoever you are, you got me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's been too long

After 3 weeks, I finally have a home phone and internet. Because we're deep in the valley, we get null cell phone reception at home (come to think of it, neither at Craig's work, and that's on a hill), so we have two pay as you go cheapy cell phones. I don't mind because really, I never used all the cool features my nicer phone came with. At any rate, I'm back with the blog. We've moved into our new home, so I'd like to share some pictures.

My number one criteria, which no one seems to understand, is that we needed a backyard. The landlord wasn't too thrill when I asked about putting in a garden. It's not like the grass is all that spectacular, to tell you the truth. I've done a TON of work on that retaining wall in the background- pulling out vines and crazy weeds. I have big plans for that wall come spring. Also, in the shed is my nifty electric lawnmover. Already used it and didn't electrocute myself, yay!

Our funky staircase into the attic. Craig had to sign a waiver at the military housing office saying we didn't have any kids at the age that could climb it and hurt themselves. Also, gotta say I'm digging (somewhat sarcastic there) the metal fence that reminds me of the panels you put around calf hutches.

The next few pictures showcase some of the common things you see in German homes that aren't so common in the US:

Window in the kitchen looking out towards some old barn. Best thing about the windows....

... they're zombie proof!

Oh just a regular kitchen cabinet you say?

It's a refrigerator! So the military gave us a US style fridge to use, but I think this one is so cute, and I don't need both, but I do need the freezer on the US style one.... so many things to think about! Oh I know, the conundrums of a housewife...

I'll also be sharing some more interesting tid-bits about our home in the next few posts.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Trier and Bernkastel-Kues Winefest

This past weekend was a 4-day weekend for us, so we took advantage of it before Craig has to start shift work. (Booo to 6pm to 8am shifts.) We decided to take two short trips yesterday to Trier and the Bernkastel-Kues Winefest. Trier has the largest concentration of Roman ruins north of the Apls, and is also the city where Karl Marx grew up. We took a walking tour of the city, and the guide pointed out the small house where Marx lived. We had a "sign of the Apocalypse" moment as well:

Craig's Friend: This would be great if I knew who Karl Marx was.
Craig: You don't know who Karl Marx is? Ya know, Karl Marx, one of the Marx Brothers, ha, ha.

Ok, so apparently the Marx Brothers reference doesn't work well with our generation. Craig and I are officially huge nerds. I gotta say though, he did have to remind me who Constantine and St. Helen was. The following picture is the inside of Constantine Basilica. After living in Trier for some time, he went on to present day Turkey to form the city... wait for it... Constantinople. Istanbul is Constantinople..... Good thing for catchy weird songs to teach us history.

Constantine Basilica is now a fully functioning Lutheran Church, serving 10,000 Lutherans in the city of Trier. In fact, there was a service going on when we first arrived. It's not full of the bells and whistles of most churches, which I think makes it just as beautiful.

Next stop was the Middle Mosel Winefest in Bernkastel-Kues. The Mosel River region boasts quite a few vineyards, and as luck would have it, we arrived in Germany just in time for wine festival season. After parking, we took a little cruise down the river to get to the festival. We were able to buy wine by the bottle and enjoy it while walking around the festival, eating food, listening to local bands, and sitting by the river. At night, there was a fireworks show.

The fireworks were set off from the Landstut Castle. It was perched up on the hill high above the town. It looked like quite a hike to get up there! It would be interesting to come back sometime and learn the history of the castle.

Here's the castle lit up at night.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Vaterland

I made it to Germany... last Thursday actually. Sorry to keep you in suspense, but we've been super busy. Between house hunting, car shopping, tours, in-processing, phone shopping, hitting the town, and finding out way around, I can't believe how much we've accomplished.

Here's our own little hooptie. It's a 92 Golf... low mileage, and per Craig's request, a manual. We bought it from a nice German guy. We probably paid too much for it, but we were in desperate need of transportation, and neither of us have the knowledge or tools to fix up cars, so we wanted something that was ready to go. Speaking of nice Germans, the people here love to talk! Another one of those traits that makes me go, "I don't think my family knows just how German they are."

I don't have photos of our house. We'l be moving in next week, so pictures to follow. The village we'll be living in is about 5 minutes from Craig's work, which we were really fortunate to find. It's really rural and small, which I'm sure I'll fit right in, and is about 10-15 minutes from a decent sized city. Here's a preview of Langwieden.

For those of you that don't know, that is a box spreader... a very old one. What does it spread you ask? Manure, my friends. That means someone in town has farm animals, which warms my heart like you wouldn't believe. Our landlord seems nice, and has told us there's a very good restaurant in the village. I can't wait to get settled.

So far, the experience has been positive... oh, and yes, the beer is good...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Friday Fill-In 7

1. What is something you wished you’d learned to do earlier in life?
I wished I would have learned to sew and do woodworking. I don't know how to do either yet, but it's on my list. Also, I agree with Wife of a Sailor- I've driven stick only once, and it was last year. My boss had me borrow his truck to take something into town to get fixed- he was flabbergasted that as a 25 year old, I never drove a stick. It was like the third day on the job, and I was almost in tears in front of him. Not one of my finer moments.

2. What is your biggest pet peeve with the military?
Not getting things done in a timely fashion, and there always seems to be paperwork lost somewhere in the process.

3. What tourist attraction near you have you never seen?
Here in Wisconsin, I've never been to Noah's Ark Waterpark. Also never been to the EAA Fly-In or the Packer Hall of Fame to see the Lombardi Trophies.

4. What are you avoiding doing right now?
My family's computer needs to be cleaned off and Windows 7 installed, but I'm procrastinating.

5. Wine, beer or liquor?
Beer most of the time! It's the German in me.

Greetings from Wisconsin

Wow, that sounds like a postcard... as I write this, I am in beautiful Wisconsin and life is good. Went to the state fair today, mowed lawn, got to play with some cows, saw my sister show her calf (she did awesome!)..... aaaaand Craig is somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean!

My sisters also take photography as a 4-H project, and one of my sister's photos was selected for state fair, which there only a few from each county to go to the state level. I'd post it, but my family's computer is having trouble reading her SD card, grr!

Also, I'm pretty pumped to have 21 followers. I feel like I'm going to have to watch what I say more. Also, it creeps me out that my family actually reads this, which is funny, because that's the whole reason I started this in the first place.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Fill-In 6

1. What is your spouse's best feature?

His back. I know, weird. But from behind, I get to see his broad shoulders, and the silhouette is so manly (more weirdness...), and his back is completely hairless, so that's a plus!

2. Mild, Medium or Hot sauce?

Depends if I want to taste my food or just taste heat, but most of the time I go hot.

3. What is the worst uniform you had to wear for a job?

When I worked as a livestock nutritionist, having to bundle up in the winter was the worst. Because you never knew what environment you'd be in from one farm to the next, you're constantly taking off layers, putting them back on, etc. One minute I'd be sweating in someone's kitchen, and the next be standing out in a barren field somewhere with 15 below windchill digging into a frozen silage bag. And I always felt like a marshmallow with long johns, winter boots, two coats, two layers of gloves, etc. I hate the cold!

4. You have invisible powers… where is the first place you would go?

Probably someplace I shouldn't be.

5. What’s left on your “to do” list for this summer?

We had plans to head to Savannah and the beach, and to see a baseball game, but the car decided to take a dump in the middle of nowhere a couple weeks ago, costing us $800 in towing, repairs, and car rental, so now the plan is just to sit around and wait to move. After we move, I'll have tons of stuff on that to-do list.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Done and Done!

I'm so excited because we finally have a plan and dates for moving! I'm not quite sure why it took making an appointment made over one week ahead of time just for 10 minutes. The meeting was basically, "Do you own anything big, here's the date we can come, sign here." Wow.... could have done that 3 weeks ago.... In fact, I called the office asking if I could make the appointment online to speed things up, and they said we would still need to come in. Pretty sure we could have done it on the website, but whatev'....

I'm not liking that Craig will be going a couple weeks ahead of me. I hate flying alone (as you might know if you've read my posts a year ago when I flew to New Zealand). And I have to move and clean the apartment by myself (which I also did by myself a year ago). Thanks buddy... but he really needs to get started over there. This three month wait has been absolutely ridiculous. Wait, have I said this already? Are you getting sick of the same thing over and over again? Yeah, me too. But I PROMISE I won't be this bitchy from here on out.... ha, I think I've said that already too!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Product Plug

I just started following two blogs today, and one of them is having a Scentsy giveaway! Check it out at: The Thoughts of a Household Six

I was unfamiliar with Scentsy up until a couple months ago when I received one as a wedding gift from my cousin. I like them much better than the Bath and Body Works oil burners. Is it just me, or after a few minutes of burning, they get a weird smell to them? Plus I like not having to buy little candles.

I've been getting more and more involved with this whole blogging community thing. This can't be good.... well at least it's keeping me entertained.

Friday Fill-In 5

1.Besides the horizontal mambo, what do you miss most when your spouse is deployed?

Craig hasn't deployed, but we did spend a fair amount of time apart while he was in BCT and AIT, and I was in New Zealand with dodgy internet and a crappy time zone. When he was gone, I missed the silliest things, like every night, he'd ask if I grabbed a glass of water to put on the nightstand. I also missed cooking with him, and his shirt folding abilities (I realize that's the second time I've mentioned this skill- it's starting to border on obsession). Mostly, I missed his "million dollar smile" as I put it, and his laugh.

2. What do you miss least?

Picking up his crap and his books laying throughout the house. Wow that was easier to answer than the first question.

3. You only get three crayons to finish your picture… which three do you choose and why?

Purple, orange, green. The secondary colors, because they match. Sorry no philosophical answer from me.

4. If you could have your own fragrance, what would it be called?

Eau de toilette of farm. A mix of fresh cut hay, clean country air, wood shavings, and a little hint of cow manure. It would be a big seller.

5. If the shoes make the man (or woman), what do your shoes say about you right now?

This girl doesn't like shoes. I never wear shoes if I don't have to. But if someone had to look at my shoe collection, they'd say I'm frugal on the verge of being cheap, and quite practical, oh and that I must have a short husband, because I don't own heels. Oh, and that I must be fun because my CFM boots are quite worn in. Oh if those puppies could talk...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Life is Funny

Today Craig and I had this great idea that we'd visit and do things you can only do in the south and the US, because we'd only be living here for 2-3 more weeks. Plans:

-Visit an authentic hole-in-the-wall BBQ place.
-Go to Savannah, hit the museum, the beach, and maybe River St., oh and have a nice dinner celebrating our 1 year anniversary
- Go to a Greenjackets game and tailgate

Sounds great right? We were on our way to a barbecue place that is nicknamed "100-mile barbecue." So named because people travel a hundred miles to eat there. I Google Mapped it- 106 miles. You betcha! I was thinking that it was unfortunate I forgot my camera. I finally could get some photos up on this here blog.

About 50 miles in, the car died.

We were able to rent a car, and for some reason I get the feeling we were ripped off. We still don't know what the repair costs will be. Because it took us so long, we went out to dinner, and it ended up costing much more than the BBQ place ($8 all you can eat buffet- flippin' sweet!)

Well, that's going to eat our budget majority. No Savannah, and we'll see about the Greenjackets game. However, some good came out of this. We met some great people that were willing to help us, and they didn't expect anything in return. I was starting to think everyone from the south was rude and unwelcoming, but from the people that stopped to help us, to the police officer, to the tow truck driver, to the lady that showed us great places to eat in Aiken- it really instilled my faith that people are inherently good. I was starting to worry.

I believe attitude is everything, and even though today could have been pretty crappy, we made the best of it, and it was quite an adventure!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Fill-In 4

What food reminds you of your spouse?
Rice. I grew up in a household that really didn't like rice, so it was weird when I first met him and he had gotten a rice cooker from his parents for Christmas. If there's nothing in the house to make, he'll just have rice for dinner. Also sushi. On our first date, I had it for the first time and he was such a pro with teaching me how to eat it, use chopsticks, etc. Definitely a turn-on.

Who would you rather sit next to in a cross-country plane ride: an irritating non-stop talker, or a quiet stare-er?
A quiet stare-er. Pretty sure I'm also one as well, and we can just sit and stare at each other for the entire flight.

What are your best tips on how to save money?
I could go on and on about this topic. I keep an excel spreadsheet with a budget that I keep track of obsessively. Knowing where your money is going is probably the best tip I can give ya.

What is your favorite summer memory?
Going to Upper Michigan with my family. My grandparents lived in a very remote town on Lake Superior. My grandma was the postmaster there. We loved having bonfires on the beach and learning about nautical history. The sand dunes were really neat, it made me feel like we were in the desert. Ya know that song "All Summer Long" by Kid Rock? The line "it was summer time in northern Michigan," I had the same summers! Well, except for the sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. But who knows, while I was making s'mores with grandpa, he could have been partying it up a campsite away...

Do you believe in ghosts?
Eh, not really. Those stories freak me out, but I'm not going to go search for them.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You Have GOT to be Kidding Me

A continuation of yesterday's post:

Apparently my lovely husband forgot to mention yesterday to the transportation office that we're still on the look out for my no-fee passport. He went to the meeting today, and they won't schedule a darn thing (not even the movers) until I have my no-fee. He went to the lady's office who has it, and she wasn't in. This lady is NEVER in. Where does she go?

Why does it take us four days to have a simple appointment. This process shouldn't be so darn hard. We're losing money because I'm not sure when to put in our 30 day notice for our apartment. I should just hand it in and be like, ok, Army, get your butt in gear or else I'm homeless.

Or not. I'll just complain here about it. Aren't you so lucky!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting This Show on the Road

Seems like we can't get anywhere. Craig had the transportation meeting set up for Monday morning. He had to cancel because he had to pull a 24 hour duty the day before, and got off at 8am on Monday. He didn't want to be there any longer than he had to! Totally understandable.

He rescheduled for this morning. Last night I thought it would be a great idea to make more copies of his orders. I left them by the printer, and he forgot to grab them this morning. He went to the meeting this morning, but couldn't do anything because he didn't have his orders with him. He also scanned them and had an electronic copy on his laptop he had with him, but forgot he had done that. Ok, first time waiting for something was totally our fault and not the Army's.

So the meeting is tomorrow! However, we can't get plane tickets because I don't have that pesky no-fee passport.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Friday Fill-In 3

1. What is your favorite household chore?
Typically, it'd be mowing lawn, gardening, anything outside if we actually had a lawn (apartment living is REALLY dragging on me). But now I'd have to say cleaning the bathroom. I hate jobs that involve dust, enjoy jobs that include getting wet. Or maybe it has something to do with sniffing the fumes.

2. What is your favorite childhood memory?
Playing pretend town with my sister. We used our long driveway as a highway, and the trees in our yard were houses, and each had a crazy family living in them. The shed became the auto body shop, and there was an ice cream shop, a waste treatment plant (yeah, we were weird kids), and a baseball diamond. We even made "custom" jackets for the baseball team by writing on old jean jackets with pens.

Another great memory I have is all the times my sister and I would get in trouble around the farm, like the time we went into the corn crib and used the cobs as a slide. This caused the corn to shift, and blocked the door. We yelled for my dad for what seemed like hours. It was probably only 10 minutes, but as a little kid, it felt like an eternity. I could tell more individual stories, but I'll leave that for the book. I'm currently in contract negotiations for my life story (kidding...).

3. What is your most embarrassing moment?
I met someone on a band trip, started talking, and accidentally referred to someone we both knew as "a f**ker" (I guess I was trying to be cool? I meant to say I didn't care for the particular person, but it just popped out.) Then it turns out this guy was super religious, and he kinda stopped talking to me after that.

Also, when you spend your first few years out of college doing outside sales and cold calling, you have plenty of embarrassing moments, and a few of them come to mind every once in awhile, and I try my hardest to forget them.

4. What uniform of your spouse’s is your favorite?
Since he's low on the Army totem pole, I've never seen him in his class A's. Plus it looks a little empty yet. I saw him once in his class B's when he did dress & ceremony. They were ok- the shirt remind me of my dad- he wears my uncle's old military shirts to the barn. I don't like the beret. I call ACUs his jungle PJs (ok is it just me, or after awhile, do they start to turn like a drab color pink?!). So now I've narrowed it down... um, the patrol cap? Or the spandex boxers he wears sometimes. :-) But I guess that's not really a "uniform" Maybe someday he'll have the dress blues.

5. What canceled TV show do you miss the most?
Sex in the City, but if it was still on, it wouldn't be as good. It left off at a good spot. The second movie was a sign that enough is enough.