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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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.

 

 

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I know…. right?

What else can I say? Mia so long…. I could make excuses but I wont. We have been traveling quite a bit these past two months, Coburg, The Ammer See, baseball games in Regensburg, Spring training at the Tegernsee again for soccer and a 5 hour Cruise down the Danube River to Linz Austria.  We have been taking advantage of sporadic days off which have been very welcome in the heat we are having this summer.  I did suffer a slight injury to my shoulder in May which I am happy to announce seems to be on the mend finally, or I would not be chatting with you at this moment.

I finally got back to hanging out in my kitchen and have in fact discovered a most delicate and delicious cookie recipe.  If you love white chocolate you will love this and I will be baking a batch next week to share with you.  Also and I mean a BIG also, I have missed cooking in the Chaotic cooking-through challenge and this month is a Wildcard month which means I will be trying a few new recipes that I have never tried before.

I have missed you all & reading about what you all have been up to and look forward to catching up.  Can I just apologize for not popping in quickly to say hi and let you know I am fine?!  If I made you a cup of your favorite brew and gave you a heart-shaped cookie or two, would you come back for more?

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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

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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

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. 🙂

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The winter blues & three positive things

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I’ll be honest.  I have had a bit lot of “writers block” lately.  Things happen, a cold, family stuff, changing of internet service.  I found it seemed like such a chore to photograph and make a mouth-watering recipe or even write something, that I chose not to blog.  I just didn’t know what to share! 😦  How sad.  It is frustrating though when I wanted to blog, my internet did not cooperate.  Happily, that issue is solved.

Anyways, it happens to many of us, I think.  So instead of not sharing, here I am.  I guess I could be suffering from the end of winter blues, but being a optomistic person, I refuse to get down.  No more stumbling either.  Those rocks won’t keep me from staying on the right path.

I realized that when things may look bleak for us, others have things so much worse.  I am so thankful for all I have.  My home.  Even though it is old and small, it is a solid roof over our heads and provides wonderful shelter.  Food to eat.  Even though I can’t buy a decent head of lettuce as it is out of season here.  We have plenty of other foods.  Clothing.  I sometimes complain, I have nothing to wear.  Some  items may be a bit out of style, but I have more than enough clothes to keep me warm.

Finding myself complaining over trivial things has really bothered me.   In fact, I have just began a “new” habit of journaling 3 things I am grateful for everyday.  Stopping focusing on the negative and switching it to the positive has really helped to change my outlook.  It has also brought me back here too. 😉

Soon winter will be over and we can enjoy the new beginning of spring.

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It’s a big one this year! – Thoughts on turning Fifty

Fifty years ago, a new house cost $14,200 and the average income was $6,900.  Gas was only 32 cents a gallon.  A gallon of milk cost 99 cents and a postage stamp  only five cents.  A tube of Revlon lipstick cost only $1.25 and hairspray just 47 cents. Pampers made its debut and the Baltimore Orioles won the world series.  Why am I sharing that information?  Well,  the number 50 is a big deal very soon and that has got me doing way too much thinking.  I will be turning 50 this week and honestly, I was not too happy about this.

These past few months I did a lot of reminiscing trying to deal with my age, looking at old photos, cooking and baking many things from my childhood and sometimes spending hours remembering all I could of the first 50 years of my life.  My mom said she couldn’t wait to be fifty.  Me?  I would like to be 30 again, in all honesty.  But, I can’t.  But did you ever see that movie 30 going on 13?  LOL  I know… thats just Hollywood.

Seriously though.  It is not that I haven’t accomplished things.  Honestly, I have done more than I ever thought was possible.  From a vanity standpoint, I don’t like the wrinkles and the new middle age bulge that has decided to show itself.   But it is not just that.

I am so thankful that I am going to be 50 years old.  I have been so blessed!  Some never reach that age.  My health is good.  I am living my dream of one day living in Europe.  I get to travel.  I am more in love with my husband than ever and my children are good, happy adults making the most of their lives.  I finally starting writing, something I had put off the first 45 years.

I thought by now I would have these accomplishments, a big house in Grosse Pointe, have that Louis Vuitton bag or wear Louboutan shoes, drive a Jaguar and throw lavish dinner parties.  That was something I really did want to have by 50.  Yep, I am being serious.   Funny thing is that now I don’t want those things.  Living out of the United States has really changed me, made me more humble and finally, have stopped having so large of an attachment to material things.

I hate to admit this but I always thought that 50 was old.  I think I thought that because in the 1960’s, the life expectancy was 70, so I thought that 50 meant you were getting up there in age.  I don’t want to be old and I know, I am not.  My Mom is going to be 85 this year, which helps my thoughts on this subject a lot.  It is time to stop being so serious.  Life can be so short so why spend it worrying about getting old?

pic14270I have earned every wrinkle on my face and I am learning that the more makeup I wear, having wrinkles really does make me look old.  I have stopped spending so much money on products trying to hide them, firm them and conceal them.  Just so you know, don’ waste your money like I did, they don’t work anyways.  I plan to smile and laugh more, not take things so seriously.  Stop planning and writing down every detail of my day and just live.   (This could be an adjustment as I am a list making junkie.)  I plan to spend time outside every day, rain or shine.  Breathe deeply and enjoy every moment spent with my incredible husband and traveling.  I want to watch even more baseball – is that even possible? 😉   I would like to Blog here more.  Organize my home quite a bit more.

Talk to my children a bit more, but I find the older they get, the busier they are.  Living overseas shouldn’t make a difference in communicating.  I am thankful for technology making it possible to stay in touch.  (It sure was not like that when I lived in Belgium in the 1970’s, letter writing was about it.)   I really need to learn to use technology more.  I am hoping one day to have a phone that actually has wi-fi or internet, don’t even know what it is called, so I can delve into the world of Apps.  I hear some of them are a good thing for communicating and sharing.  I would love to do that more with them.

It’s strange, I feel like the act of turning Fifty, means I should be making new years resolutions or goals.  My husband is taking me away to celebrate this monumental occasion.  I will have much travel time to think about this but then again… I might just enjoy the journey.   One thing is for sure, when you have lived as long as I have, made the mistakes I have, seen the things I have, you acquire a bit more wisdom. Just like Scarlett O’Hara said, “Tomorrow is another day!”   I am ready to greet the “Fifty” with much passion! Bring it on!

So to wrap up… when I get back from our travels next week,  I hope to have much to share and so on…

I am looking forward to my next 50 years after all, it is just a number and isn’t 50 the new 40?

 

Merken