Out of the Office…

I don’t know when I have been so busy before.  Travel, house guests, home projects and work to name a few.  I thought it was high time I finally take some time to write this post for you.

There is no better way to say it other than… I will be Out of the Office for a while.  I have quite a bit of local and not so local travel planned and big trip too.  House guests in between.  It is a busy time for us and I feel so blessed.

I still have a delicious cake recipe to share with you from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, travel tips and a trip to the Northern Part of Germany.  Later this week I will be visiting a country I have never been to before.  Very excited for that!  Then soon, some International travel which includes yet another place I have never visited before.

This year I have gone back to journaling while traveling.  Something my Dad taught me to do as a child and of course something I did not continue doing as I grew older, unfortunately.  What a great way to save experiences as they happen and reminisce about special places.

I love taking a camera and a small journal with me lately to capture those special moments and places.

With that said, I don’t want to throw a quick post up sporadically.  I have great plans for this little space of mine on the Internet and will be back in December, ready to put those plans to fruition  and blog regularly.

Until then…

xo

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Welcoming Autumn – Our Weekend

This weekend we spent quite a bit of time bicycling.  Thirty-eight kilometers, to be exact.

Here is a little peek as to how we spent our weekend.  Saturday we visited some family which live a little distance from us.  It never seems so far going there and it is mostly along bike paths,over farmland and through a quaint village.  It takes 17 km there and only a few hills to tackle in the beginning.  Although, I always forget we have to trek another 17 to get home until I hop back on my bike.  But it is still worth being able to spend time with family and every time we go, it doesn’t seem quite so far.

Yesterday when we woke up, the weather was unseasonably warm for us.  As the sun was shining so bright we hopped on the bikes again and headed to a nearby town to check out a new subdivision that is being built.

Luckily, we have amazing bike paths along little creeks.

That is actually corn ready to be harvested on the right side there.

Here is a little peek at a nearby village along the way.

I enjoy these leisurely sunday rides.  The air is so fresh, town fairly quiet as everything is closed this one day of the week.  Just like the old days in America.  People are out walking or biking like us.  There is just a nice relaxing pace to end the last day of the week.  Or here, Sunday is considered the first day of the week, but I will always think of it as the last.

As we got closer to home, I stopped to photograph and share my favorite part of our town.  This area is practically in my back yard.

A lovely place to enjoy the sounds of the birds chirping and the occasional rooster crowing.  They just harvested the corn a few days ago.  This same photo would have looked totally different then.

 

The local train even came by.  I have never gotten a photo of it before…

Finally, Happily Mr. and I.  Sitting on a little bench, soaking up the sunshine.  Sometimes we sit here and have great conversation but usually we just hold hands, listen to the simple sounds around us and just enjoy being together.

xo

 

Merken

A Quickie….

Ok, minds out of the gutter!   😉  I just wanted to hop on to say hello.  Today is the first day back to school after summer break here in Southern Germany.  Autumn has also arrived.  The mornings are crisp and cool, leaves are beginning to change and I am feeling quite refreshed.

Finally, I am back in the kitchen after a too hot summer.  Happily, I am replacing my tank tops and shorts for sweaters and jeans.  Well, we are not quite there yet, but soon will be and I want to be prepared.

This cooler season of Autumn feels like a fresh new start.  More so to me, than New Years.  It is my favorite time of the year, since moving overseas.

There is much planned for the upcoming months.  Travel, family visiting, baseball playoffs, hockey games, fall cleaning, a bit more simplifying, a little organizing and back to work part-time.  Don’t worry, now that I have gotten my “life” organized, I have found time to blog a bit more, finally!

It is amazing once you develop very simple routines how much time one finds to do things that make them happy and relax.  It took me a while to finally develop a routine that seems to work.  (It also helped not to be so anal and obsessive about cleaning…(my deep, dark, secret),)  Oh, and limiting tv, surfing (online, not the ocean) and much social networking, opened up a huge window of time.

A few months back, I decided to track how I spend my time.  I had taken a time-management course a long, long time ago when I was a secretary and I applied the same idea.  All I can say is, Wow!   What an eye opener.  That seemed to get me back on the right track.

This doesn’t seem like such a “Quickie” post anymore so I think I will end it here.

I enjoy beginning this new, fresh season with much new content to share with you.

 

 

Merken

Merken

Coffee Chat: Thoughts on Creamed Chicken, the Fifties Housewife & other things

Long time no chat.  Hi there!  Let’s just jump right in with todays chat,  I hope you have a cup (or pot) of your favorite beverage nearby.  Today, I’m drinking ice-cold sparkling water with a slice of cucumber.  It’s HOT! I mean, Africa hot!!  Its 28 degrees (that’s 82 in farenheit) in my kitchen right now and its early in the day.

I tried another recipe from the Betty Crocker Picture cookbook for the cooking-through challenge.  The key recipe for Creamed Chicken.  It was really easy and quick, especially having leftover chicken breast to use.  I poured the mixture over egg noodles as suggested and it looked nice but the flavor to me was quite bland.  As you know, I followed the recipe exactly.  If I do make it again, I would definitely season it up a bit.

Unfortunately, I have no picture  (sorry) as the batteries ran out on my camera, it only uses batteries and of course I did not have any of the right size in the house.

So with that said,

Keep or Toss?  Hmmm….. probably toss, but not sure yet.

Now on to other things as to where have I been?  We ended up having company last week and we did a bit of travel.  A river cruise on the Danube from Plattling, Germany to Linz Austria.  Absolutely beautiful!

 

We had about 5 hours on the ship, leaving at 9:00 a.m.  We spent the rest of the day exploring beautiful Linz. 

Then hopped on the train back to Germany.  Long, exhausting but wonderful day!

We also went to watch baseball in Regensburg to enjoy the Euro Cup games.  So wonderful watching the different countries compete.  I love that we live near a baseball city too.  One thing you may not know about me but my husband and I are baseball geeks.  In fact, he is so knowledgeable about the sport, including statistics and players from the early days, one would think he is American.

What else, oh, I finally got my garden finished.  Happy to say that I  have a few things actually growing!  We have had Barbecues and been enjoying visiting with extended family.  Also, did two 32K bike rides.  Finally, swimming at the beach.   It was a wonderful week!

But now… its back to the grind and as I mentioned, the heat.  I am not sure what I will be cooking for the cooking-through challenge for the rest of this month.  Normally, I have a plan and I do (or did), but I just can’t cook in my kitchen in these temps.  We do not have air conditioning, in fact, Germany does not do air-conditioning or ceiling fans even.  This includes many restaurants and stores.  I am not kidding.  I guess grilling, wasn’t quite a thing in the Fifties yet. The heat wave is only supposed to last the rest of this week, so we will have to wait and see what happens then.

Other things… Remember back when I said I was going to try three months has a 50s housewife?  Well, here are the results of that experiment.  The 1950s housewife prided her self on running an efficient home and always looking and dressing modern.  She did not wear clothing or hairstyles that her grandmother wore.  I still have many of the core values I was raised with, I think I run a pretty efficient home,  I am frugal, although Happily Mr. is the king of frugal living.   As for clothing and hairstyles, I do have a vintage dress I love.  I can do pretty much any hairstyle if I so choose.  My hair usually has a mind of its own though.   I have stopped shopping though or should I say buying.  I do enjoy window shopping but finally don’t feel the need to buy.  I have enough to work with to look my best and that is finally good enough for me.

This experiement did make me reflect on a few things though.  Making do with what you have.  I learned it is more society telling  me I need  new and improved items and new styles, although, in reality, I don’t.   Sometimes, something a bit worn may just need a simple makeover or a needle and thread.  I also didn’t realize how much food I waste.  I guess I still am adjusting to buying only for two and having a european size refridgerater.  I have more recently changed my grocery habits a bit which ironically is very similar to the housewives of the Fifties.

As to limiting my internet usage and social media, since that wasn’t around in that decade,  I have to tell you, my hardest part was watching YouTube videos, I did not realize how often I will sit down in the middle of the day and watch a few!   Now, in the middle of the day, I do take a break, if I am home, but I watch a German soap opera.  I have to laugh as I remember my mom watching Search for Tomorrow!  I feel, this is a better use of my time as I really need to improve my language skills.

I still am online on my laptop though, or else I wouldn’t be posting this.  I just allow myself a certain block of time to answer emails and blog.  What I did learn is I need to have  another slot of time for reading my favorite blogs or watch my favorite youtubers and look at Facebook.  So what I do now is take only  half an hour 5 days a week to do this.  Which is usually between 10 and 10 30 am, again, if I am home.   I set my timer when I hop online.  Its a great way to keep track of the time.  The only social median I have now is FB.   Living so far away from friends and family, it is the only way, unfortunately,  that I can keep in touch.  Although, Facebook is a touchy subject for me as it usually makes me homesick and a bit depressed.  I am finding I prefer to email with loved ones, honestly, and may start doing that more often instead.  Darn, I am wordy!

So, to conclude, I don’t feel like I failed my experiment at all.  In fact, I feel more in tune to whats important in my life. I may not look or act like a fifties housewife but I guess that wasn’t what it was about after all.  I just am the best person that I can be.  I am proud to take care of our home.  Living in the moment, just being myself and keeping my husband happy.  If he is happy, than I always seem to be too.

Sorry, I will work on the length of my posts,  maybe stick to just one subject in the future.  I really need to get a bit more organized and I will!  Do I hear another experiment coming?  😉

Happy Summer my friends!

 

Merken

Merken

Coffee Chat – Peonies, Hansi, capsule wardrobes & a forgotten blogiversary

This morning I decided to drink my coffee outside after I got Happily Mr. of to work.  The weather here has been hot for May, which is crazy as 3 weeks ago we had snow and very cold temps.

I enjoyed waking up to my beautiful peony bush.  Its doing great this year.

Let me take you in for a closer look at these beautiful blooms.

Now, I would like to introduce you to a little guy I have a very big crush on, my cute garden gnome, Hansi.

I think he likes hanging out by my lavender which is coming in nicely as well.  Everyone names their garden gnomes, don’t they?

What else, oh yes,  I missed celebrating my blogiversary here on WordPress.  It was the twenty-fifth to be exact, also my brother’s birthday.  At least I remembered to wish him a happy birthday!  I cannot believe I have been here one year already.  So thankyou my friends, for coming back time after time to hang out with me.  It means so much to me and I appreciate all of you!! xx

One final thing I thought I would mention is how my capsule wardrobe is going.  I believe I talked about wanting to have one in a post quite a ways back.  I am happy to say, I have accomplished it.  In fact, I believe I can fit it all into a carry-on suitcase,  I’m going to try that later today.

Interesting to me, as this summer it contains more dresses and a skirt even.  I find I am so much more comfortable in a dress and am happy to announce I have no problem riding my bike wearing one either.  I think I will go into more detail  & share my 10 item wardrobe in a separate post later this week.  This has turned into a snowball effect of sorts as I have decided to do a “No-Shopping” thing for the rest of this year and you know what?  I am okay with that.  In a funny way, I feel relieved!    This also ties in with  my “Fifties Housewife” experiment.  Which again, I’ll be updating you on in the next few weeks.

Okay…. as always this coffee chat was longer than I planned.  Why am I always so chatty?!  Probably because I enjoy having coffee and chatting with you all!

x

Merken

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Merken

Coffee Chat – a 3 month experiment as a “fifties” type housewife

Another coffee chat so soon?  Yes.  Sit down and let me pour you a cup of coffee, I have some gossip for you!

As you may know, beginning in a few days I will be participating in a “cook-through” challenge where I pick a cookbook and every month pick recipes from the designated category to cook.

I began looking through the book of my choice, The Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, and came up with an idea.  Why not try to see if I can live ca. 1950’s housewife as well.  Not the glam vintage version that is found around the internet but a real one like mom, grandma and aunts.  Although I consider them quite “glam” too.  It would be more like adapting their way of everyday life into my modern-day life.  Okay, honestly, a little Marilyn could be fun at times too! 😉

I have always been drawn to that era, it is nothing new.  In fact, I have many vintage pieces around my home and in my closet and jewelry box.  It’s not the “glam” I am drawn to really it’s the ideal, the values of the time.  The simplicity. Living a bit more intentionally.  Not hearing phones beeping and such.  The constantly being connected.  I just feel as if there is something missing lately.  Okay,  I know you are saying how can you blog if you don’t use the internet?  Like I mentioned above, I am going to be adapting my version of this era into my daily life.

The other day as I was going through this idea in my mind, my first thought was, vlog it on YouTube or create another blog to document this journey but then I realized I would be defeating the purpose of this experiment and  be spending more time online where I truly wish to limit my time spent getting lost in the world-wide web, which admittedly, I do.   I m not against the Internet, I believe it has its good points for research, connecting with family and friends, and all of you wonderful people.  You see, I experienced childhood without the internet.  But…how do I explain?

For me it’s about materialism too, which truth be told, I honestly struggle with.  Not that having things is a bad thing.  It is important to have a good quality (not quantity) of living.  I want to enjoy the everyday details of life, not hurrying up to get them done like I do sometimes so that I can hop online or watch tv series’ before heading out.  You know, last week, I was hurrying up to wash the dishes which is my most dreaded task anyways and this crazy thought came to me, “Thank goodness I have dishes to wash because that means we have food on our  table.”  It led me thinking about  so many other things which I take for granted, that I just can’t write about it this post, because I would be typing for hours!

So this is what I thought I would do.  Since I am so passionate about this “experiment” of mine.  I will just have a coffee chat with you about every 10 days or so to share little updates on how I am doing or what I am working on.

My biggest resource is not found online at all.  I am so thankful Mom is around to answer my questions about this era, in fact we talked about that time in detail, the last time I got to visit with her.   After all, she was the original “1950’s” housewife, married in 1950 even.  You know, maybe a more appropriate term would be “traditional” housewife?

I have also read books from that time on home economics, read  Sheila Hardy’s book, watched the Coronet Instructional Films and enjoy reading Grandma Donna’s blog.  Her and her husband are spending the year living exactly as it was in 1942.  I find it inspiring and so interesting.  I’m not going that far as to have every aspect of our lives as it was in 1950, but to give you an idea, here are some things I or we already do that is so similar to that era.

  • Walk or ride my bike to the grocery store about every other day.  It’s true, we do not own a car
  • I do set a table every night for dinner and serve a regular meal, mostly cooked from scratch.  I love eating at the table together, always have. Even if he has to work late.
  • Hang most laundry and iron.
  • We actually live in an apartment building built 49 years ago, third floor, no elevator or central air conditioning even. Our heating is through old cast iron radiators even.
  • My husband and I do have “traditional” roles as husband and wife, like in that time.  I love it this way!
  • No i-phone.  I do have a cell phone, but no wi-fi connection unless I am at home and it is turned off between the hours of 9- 10 pm and 9 am.

You know, I can’t think of anything else, at this moment, I guess that is a good start.

Real quick as I think we just finished our coffee, here is a list of things I will be implementing, some may sound crazy to you , but  I feel this is so necessary for me to try out, that’s why I am giving myself a 3 month limit.  I know I could live this way for a week or two, but can I implement these changes into my life on a permanent level? Do I want to even?  Okay, the list…

  • makeup – a real classic housewife did not wear a lot, not if they were poor to middle class.   I really wear too much, honestly, I can’t wear blush without bronzer and highlighter!  I think this will be the hardest area for me to simplify it to what was used in the 50’s.  I am going to tackle this aspect over the weekend  and put the rest away in a closet for 3 months.
  • Hair products and styling tools… need I say more?
  • Household products.  I own every brand of everything to clean items I don’t even own.  I will be whittling it down to basics & put the rest away for now.  Can I clean as well withouth them?
  • Clothing – picking out the pieces that I love and need, and will fit into my small closet.  No extras.
  • My kitchen, I’m not sure what I can do, its pretty simple already.  No garbage disposal or dishwasher or blender even.  A small refrigerator and an almost non-existent freezer.  I will have to see what I can do there. I think a fifties housewife had more than I do!
  • Internet usage and TV.  Remember only watching an hour a week as a kid?  I will give myself, one hour a day to work on my blog and to keep up with my favorite bloggers out there, although not the weekends.  We do watch  baseball quite often though, which we won’t be changing.  After all, baseball is an extremely vintage sport! I am looking forward to rediscovering some of my hobbys though and crocheting more.

Of course, I will keep you posted on my progress or failures, if you would like.  To sum up…  I’m not really changing everything in my life to emulate the 1950’s.   I have just decided I am so tired of how loud and over connected this world is at the moment.  It’s not that I am disconnecting, just trying to go back to living the way my parents raised me.  Implementing some details I loved from grandmas house.  I am not going back to “living in the past”, just rethinking and changing the way I do live now without the modern-day consumerist influences.

Would I like to look like this every evening?

or like Mrs. Cleaver?

oh…. one more, please?  It’s a fun one!  Lucy?

You bet,  I really love the elegance, classic and clean look of that era!

I promise to keep the future coffee chats a bit (a lot) shorter than this by only focusing on one aspect of my project per chat! That is if I can last through 3 months even.

One final thought which might paint another picture as to why I have decided to try this. I remember something my dad said to  me once.  “I was an advertisers dream.”  I should have listened to him then, but of course I kept on thinking, “but I need that”!  lol

Need… now that is an interesting concept!

Enjoy a wonderful weekend!   See you next week!

Merken

Let’s have some fun! – This or That Tag

I did not have any plans to share a blog post today.  Its rainy & cold and  I was planning on brewing some ginger tea this afternoon and watch my new favorite BBC series, Call the Midwife.

I wanted to hop online first, and in my reader I saw a post from a blog I am enjoying, BeeFree.  It’s a tag!  This or That Tag.  I have seen them on YouTube before but never in a blog.  I had so much fun reading her answers, I thought I would do it too.  It’s a nice way to get to know a bit more about a person.

Here we go!

Questions:

Makeup

  • Blush or Bronzer: Blush
  • Lip gloss or Lipstick: Definitely lip gloss, more specifically MAC Cultured
  • Eyeliner or Mascara: Both
  • Foundation or Concealer: Foundation
  • Neutral or color eye shadow:  Neutral
  • Pressed or loose eye shadows: Pressed; I think if I tried loose, I would get it all over the place!
  • Brushes or sponges: Brushes

Nails

  • Long or short: Can I pick Medium?
  • Acrylic or Natural: Natural, but only because It’s too expensive to have acrylic here in Germany
  • Bright’s or darks: Bright’s, I love darks but they don’t like me!
  • Flower or No flower: No flower, but I like rhinestones

Body

  • Perfume or Body splash: Perfume (love jasmine & patchouli scents)
  • Lotion or Body Butter: Body Butter, always L’Occitaine Shea Butter
  • Body wash or Soap: Soap
  • Lush or other bath company: We don’t have a Lush near here, but I do love L’Occitaine!

 Fashion

  • Jeans or sweet pants: Jeans
  • Long sleeves or short: Long sleeves pushed up though.
  • Long Dresses or Skirts: Dresses
  • Stripes or Plaid: Plaid – probably from those school years of wearing a uniform
  • Flip flops or Sandals: Sandals
  • Scarves or Hats: Hats
  • Studs or Dangly earrings: Studs
  • Necklaces or Bracelets: Bracelets
  • Heels or Flats: I love both but out of comfort; flats.
  • Cow boy boots or Riding Boots: Cowboy boots, I wish I had a pair!
  • Jacket or Hoodie: Hoodies

Hair

  • Curly or Straight: Straight but my hair is a bit too curly
  • Bun or ponytail: Ponytail
  • Bobby pins or Butterfly Clips:  Both
  • Hair spray or Gel: Hair spray
  • Long or Short: Long
  • Light or Dark: Dark, but I really want to go light!
  • Side swept bang or Full bangs: Side swept bang
  • Up or down: Down

Random

  • Rain or Shine: Rain
  • Summer or Winter: Summer
  • Fall or Spring: Fall
  • Chocolate or Vanilla: Chocolate

I hope you enjoyed reading this different post.   If you think this is something you might like to share… I tag you!  Please let me know so I can read your answers too.

Now for that tea….

 

Merken

Bringing Back the Coffee Chat – niches, blogging & randomness

I realized that I haven’t chatted with you over a cup of coffee in 6 months! Too long, my friends.  What do I have to say for myself?  Life happens?  I don’t know.  If you have been reading my blog for the past year, congratulations & thankyou!  You are amazing people to have stuck around for so long and I truly do thankyou.

You probably noticed my subject matter, look and blog name (formerly Making it home by Marianne)  to be all over the place.  Yes, it has even made me dizzy.  There are so many resources out there that tell you not to change the look after you “create” a blog and to know your niche before blogging.  In all reality, I think it truly takes a year (for me at least) to find that niche.  In regards to the look of my site, I found that if something seemed a bit off in my eyes that I did not have the incentive to update my blog.  I instead found myself messing with the look and placement of items instead of writing my post.   By then, I was too tired to blog.

To make this story shorter, I stopped reading those blogging resources.  It was just too much and made me feel that I am not “good enough” to be blogging.   On the other hand, what should I blog about?  I know what I love to do which is baking and cooking.  When the sun is lighting up my kitchen, I discovered, I love to take photos of food too.  I guess I like playing with my food.

Lightbulb!  That must be my niche!  I am just not a “lifestyle” blogger, even though I thought that was what I should be sharing.  I found out I am not even an expat blogger.  This I was told even by an “expat” site.  They mentioned that I share too many recipes!  Okay, is this not enough of a hint?  Anyways, with all that said, I believe I can blog more often when I share what I love, so that is what I am going to do.  When something doesn’t fall into a food category, hence, the Coffee Chat.

After all, isn’t that something we do in our kitchens anyways?  Sit at the table with coffee and friends and chat?

If your interested, I did add-on to my about me page, at the top.  It may explain a bit more about my baking obsession too.  As for the look of this blog? The style is here to stay but the header photo will probably be changing with the seasons.  If you haven’t noticed anything  new because you subscribe to my blog in a reader format, than you might be a bit confused & think I’m a bit crazy.  Anyways, I am glad to have figured this blogging thing out, finally.  Now I’m ready to get cooking!

Coffee is getting cold here, I guess I chatted more than I drank. 🙂

Merken

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