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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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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Five easy cleaning tips for a happier home

 

I know, it’s a cheesy title but I am “Happily Mrs.” and those that know me, know that I like to clean.  For many, I know it is not something that you may enjoy at all and that’s okay.  Today, I want to share my top five tips that may be able to get you on your way if this is an area you really would like to “clean up”.

Funny that my number one tip has nothing to do with cleaning, but I feel it is the most important before starting the cleaning process.

  1.  Tidy (or straighten up) before cleaning.  Don’t confuse “tidying up” with cleaning.  They really aren’t the same thing.  I found personally that cleaning is actually enjoyable if we aren’t trying to dust around old newspapers lying around (or tablets and chargers tangled up), blankets crumpled on a couch or last nights snack remnants reminding me that I really should not have eaten that before bed.
  2. Assign one cleaning task a day.  I know that sometimes we just don’t have time in our busy lives for a designated “cleaning day” or that something of importance comes up on that cleaning day. Or, we are just overwhelmed with the idea of cleaning.  I have certain days assigned for dusting, vacuuming, bathrooms, floors, mirrors and glass, etc.  Honestly, it only takes 10 to 20 minutes a day. I only do them monday through friday.  I am just too busy on the weekends.  Another thing I do, if I will be gone most of the day or out-of-town, I will double up and do two tasks the day before, than I don’t feel behind or overwhelmed when I am back home.
  3. Clean by task, not by room.  Cleaning is so much quicker and easier when you pick up your dust cloth (and polish, if you choose) and start at one end of the house and only dust.  This is so much easier than toting a pail of products and tools around the house and cleaning everything room by room.  Same on the days I vacuum, it seems so much easier and quicker to do the whole house at once.  I always make the last room the one where I store the cleaning item or tool.  It really does save time, I find.
  4. Don’t overload on cleaning products.  You do not need as many as you think.  I used to buy every product and tool under the sun thinking I could clean better with designated products for designated areas.    These days with multi-purpose sprays and micro fiber cloths, it really is that simple. You may be surprised at the small amount of products I use for a person who enjoys cleaning.
  5. Clean-up and put things away right after you use something.  For example, it really only takes 15 to 30 seconds to hang up the towel and  wipe the bathroom mirror and sink after you are done getting ready in the morning.  Wash the dishes or put them in the dishwasher right after eating.  If you are consistent with doing these things, your home will always look clean.  Remember the words of Lucy Ricardo – “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

I realize I could go into so much detail about cleaning, routines and organizing.  I am by no means perfect at it I just love the outcome.  There are times my house is a bit messy and that’s okay, I just don’t let it pile up.

If we start small and dig deep to find the discipline to keep doing these formerly dreaded tasks, they will become a habit.  Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much you can get done.  It may surprise you just as it surprised me.  I have actually found I have more time to do and enjoy hobbies I had forgotten about.

One last thing that could help, if you have children, make cleaning time fun.  Set a timer, hand them a cloth and let them follow you around the house dusting.   Or set the timer for a tidy-up time, they pick up their toys while you tidy up your things. They love doing this, it makes them feel grown up and a help to mom or dad!  Not only is it a huge help to you, it sets a good example and forms a good habit.

Do you have a cleaning tip or hack that works for you?  I would love to hear about it. Am I the only one who really does enjoy cleaning? Is that weird?

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My favorite resources for recipes

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Since I plan on sharing a plethora of vintage inspired recipes weekly on this blog, I thought what better way to introduce this change and show you my favorite go to sources for cooking and baking.

Let’s go in for a closer look at these treasured resources of mine.

One of my favorite cookbooks not only for the recipes but also for the tips and hints shared inside.  Cooking and baking, meal planning and how to’s from setting a table to measuring flour.  I actually follow much of this advice.

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Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book – published 1950

A book no housewife or single woman even should be without in her first kitchen.

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Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child – first published in 2000

Keeping with Julia Child, probably her most famous cookbook.

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Mastering the art of French Cooking Volume One – first publish in the USA 1961, in the UK 1963

Now on to my treasured gems.  First up, I know some of my family who lovingly read my blog will recognize this little homemade book of Aunt Katie’s.  Some very unique and favorite recipes.

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Next, this book has much sentimental value for me as well as cultural foods my husband grew up with.  Since, I was never fortunate enough to meet my mother-in-law, what better way to get to know someone than through their cookbook.  Even though the book is written in German, I love the old-fashioned photos and thankfully seem to have no problem with the translation of cooking terms.

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Das neue große Kochbuch by Roland Gööck – published in Germany, 1961 (Translation – The new big cookbook)

And my final resource is a book given to me years ago by my Mom which in turn was given to her by my Aunt Madge.  This book is truly unique, not only is it the oldest book I own but it has the most interesting wording for recipes.  It has advertisements from local business and household advice and was created specifically for the housewives of Detroit. (That is where I am from.)

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Marriage Record and Hints on Housekeeping by B.B. Schermerhorn Publishing Co. – published 1920

Here is a peek at the inside page.

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Oh, I almost forgot,  my recipe box holds many recipes written out by family members and was given to me in 1986.  I also keep my favorite “go to”  recipes and my creations in here.  This is my favorite way to store my  “everyday” recipes.

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There you have it.  My favorite resources and inspiration for vintage cooking and baking as well as a place to learn the “how-to’s” that go along with it.  Now when I share a recipe, I hope you will have a visual idea of where it actually was inspired from.


Real quick – If you have been reading this blog since it’s inception, first of all, Thank You so much!  🙂  I have been trying to find my niche, if you will.  I tried out different types  of subjects to blog about and find that cooking and baking are my favorite posts to share.  This is something I am so passionate about, being able to use recipes that woman worked with decades ago –  I absolutely love vintage style cooking and get such pleasure re-creating these recipes!  I will also continue to share the occasional “food” posts of what we ate at restaurants when we travel, especially from the quaint eateries and biergartens that have been around for decades.  

I really hope you these new type of posts to  this blog and if it is not your thing, I truly understand and am glad to of had a chance to get to know you.

Have a great weekend!

xo – Marianne

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Very simple fall decor & two easy diy’s

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature has been saving up all year for the grand finale” – Lauren De Stefano

I couldn’t have described my favorite season of the year any better than that perfect quote.  That being said I do like to make seasonal decor changes in my home using items I have on hand.  Here are the three areas I changed out for this season.  Even though they don’t scream, “It’s Fall” with the all the typical fall colors found outdoors, I like the subtle touches inside.

This year, I have a new small sideboard cabinet in my dining area so it is the first time for this tablescape.  Now, before I show you this picture I have to tell you this room is still in the process of being made-over.  I plan on removing the border and painting the walls within the next two weeks.  I think a table runner would look nice on this cupboard and I have one that would add some nice texture, but thanks to Khaleesi, my two-year old cat, she loves to pull them off along with everything on it.   In fact, the acorn has been glued once already.

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This brings us to the first DIY.  The candle holder.  As I was arranging the items, seeing what I liked best, I thought some height was needed and thought a pillar candle holder would be perfect.  I don’t have one, so I looked around my home and in my cupboard I have some of these glasses which I never use and decided they would be better put to use as a pillar candle holder.     Let’s go in for a closer look…

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All I did was hot glue them together after making sure the one on top was clean with no prints on the inside.  Then, I glued a tart tin on top of that.

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Next, I added some small stones I picked up on the beach along the nearby Danube River…

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Then the beeswax candle with a little bee pin.  The candles are made locally and last a long time.

Next, the coffee table in my living room.

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Everything I had on hand.  The book, I reversed the cover because I wanted a white book.  Three metal decor leaves, you can’t really tell but the one on top is gold color.  Again, one of those glasses like the candle holder with stones in the bottom, and I just love my pink rose so I did not change it out.  My squirrel figurine, which has a funny story which of course I am going to share right now.  The city I live in does not have squirrels.  Coming from Michigan, I got used to the furry tailed critters running around the neighborhood and I liked them.  My first time sitting outside in my new home, I noticed that there are no squirrels around.  Well, one day when we were out shopping, we found this cute squirrel.  I kinda like his little face in my home.

The crystal dish is a sentimental piece and I always keep it on display.  It was used in the baptism of both of my children, so it holds a special place in my heart.  When I see it, it fills me with joy and good memories of my babies which are now beautiful and amazing adults. I filled it with silver beads and white rose petals.  The rest, are just items I have and like.  Thankfully, Khaleesi is bored with this table.

On to my last bit of decor, if you can call it that, in my bathroom.

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No, you are not looking at in a mirror but now….

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you are.

This is also a work in progress area in my bathroom.  I plan on adding a small shelf on the left, eventually.  I noticed that our mirror faces straight across this to space on the wall in our bathroom/laundry room.  This leads me to the second DIY.  A dry erase board.  All I did was whitewash a frame I had.  I then cut out a piece of craft paper and glued it to the back part of the frame and with a dry erase pen…. well, you get the idea.

The only money I spent was on the craft paper and I needed that for other projects too.

That is it for my little touches of fall in my home for this year.  I believe it is important to incorporate items that bring you joy into your decor.  I do plan on sharing natural fall decor outdoors as well.  Just waiting for the final burst of nature to make its appearance here.

Happy Fall!

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Very Early Morning Coffee Chat

Today, coffee will be my drink of choice and necessity.  Do you ever have one of those nights where you can’t sleep because your mind is thinking about all the things you would like to accomplish the next day?  Yep, that was me last night.  I was surprised I couldn’t sleep as we stayed up late watching the Dodgers and Nationals last night and it was the longest, slowest game ever! We are a day behind watching the playoffs because of the time difference, so please don’t give any of the scores away!  🙂

So, one would think going to bed at midnight and having to get up at 5 30, one would have slept well.  Not me and this is why.

Every fall, I usually re organize a room and go DIY and baking crazy.  I have taken on the huge task of reorganizing our small extra “catch-all” bedroom… again.  Yesterday, I also did some great DIY’s.  I made a pillar candle holder and have a bunch of craft projects and some crocheting planned.

I also discovered my most prized and favorite possession is my hot glue gun.  Oh, the things you can create and fix with it!

So, as I sat here sipping on my coffee once my husband left for work, that mind of mine really woke up.  I  realize I have not been sharing much here lately and if I don’t chat with you now, another day would go by without popping online.

I will make sure to take before and after and how-to’s of my little projects and cooking this fall and winter.  Today I have to make some birthday cupcakes and will be using a vintage yellow cake recipe and my mom’s butter cream frosting.  I will be photographing it, finally!  I also have some pillows to make over, some wash cloths to crochet and of course the bedroom organization to finish up too, which I will be sharing.

I am looking forward to a busy cold summer winter season  and only have one short trip planned to visit Holland.  I need to refill my coffee cup I think!

That’s it for now, I need to get a move on.   I just wanted to catch up and let you know whats up.

Do you have any fall projects planned?

Happy Fall!

xo

 

It’s the little touches that make it homey.

First things first.  I am not referring to Homer Simpson.

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At least, that’s what went through my head when I read the title of this post.  Right!  Let’s get on with the subject at hand.

But first… a little useful information about kitchens in Germany.

When you rent or buy a home, they usually do not come with the kitchen furniture.  Meaning, no cupboards, counters, sink or appliances.  It is up to the renter to furnish, not the landlord. Here is an example of what a kitchen may look like when you rent an apartment.

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My situation was a little different as my husband had a place, which I have very inexpensivly re-decorated to fit my needs since I love to cook and bake.  Many times people will buy “non-kitchen” furniture like a sideboard with a cupboard or whatever fits in the space.  It saves money as you can imagine what it costs to have a custom kitchen design.  (That is on my list of wants, I admit)  Although we do not have built-in cupboards or counters, we did add a few changes.   New flooring and two new pieces of furniture.

I was finding that my kitchen still  seemed empty, white and stark. I have been adding simple touches to warm it up and give it a “homey” feeling.  These little projects costs next to nothing.

As I didn’t have a cookie jar and being American…. need I say more?  I like having a cookie jar always filled in my kitchen.  I had found this glass jar with a glass lid in our cellar, added a bit of twine and made a label and now I have a cookie jar.  This little project did not cost me anything.

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Nope those cookies are not homemade.  Normally, it is filled with homemade, but when it’s already 82 degrees in the kitchen and no a/c, I just can’t bear to turn on the oven to bake.

As a kind of “matching” piece, I added the twine to my utensils container as drawer space is very scarce, I needed to keep my most used pieces contained somewhere.  Again, I found this awesome heavy glass jar in the cellar and added the twine like I did for the cookie jar.

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On to the next diy project.  I took a picture frame that we had, whitewashed it.  Put some plain white paper behind the glass and hung it on the wall.   Now I post our dinner menu for that evening.  My husband asks me every morning over breakfast what we are having for dinner.  So there it is on the wall.  I think it is a nice piece of artwork and gives this small area of my kitchen a personalized and cozy touch.

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Here is an overview of this little corner of my kitchen.

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These are just a few of the many simple things I did to decorate and organize our home.   I will share many more on another day.

These may not be “pinterest” worthy but I am happy with these new additions.  The cost was only a dry erase marker.  Everything else I had.

One of the key things, I believe in making a home yours, is to trust in your own creativity.  I don’t believe in running out to the store or ordering items online to decorate.   I like to try it on my own first.  Maybe repurpose something or shop the cellar and other rooms in my home.  Of course, once in a while I do look online for inspiration.  It is always fun to see what creative ideas others come up with.  You never know what will spark your imagination!

 

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