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

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Sometimes it just doesn’t turn out – Shortbread fail

I wanted to share one of my fails with you today because it’s just real life as I see it.  Not everything turns out perfect all the time, at least not for me.  I have begun my looming task of sifting  through my haphazardly stored hand written recipes and saw one for shortbread  I just don’t remember but it was in my handwriting.  I suspected right off the bat that there was something not quite right about it.  It required vegetable oil instead of butter.  Oh well,  I tried it anyway.  It looked okay although I do not have the correct size pan but found one that was similar.  See they look okay, they are quite flaky and do melt in your mouth ….

That is where the problem came, what an awful taste!! OMG  where did I get this recipe? Or did I write it down incorrectly?  I honestly don’t remember, I have so many!

I happily tossed this piece of paper in the recycling.  From now on, I think I will stick with shortbread recipes that require butter.

Does anyone else have a recipe fail they would like to share?  I would love to know that I’m not the only one this happens to!  🙂

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

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Simple things – new kitchen stuff & snack cake

It obviously does not take very much to make me happy.  Case in point – Saturday I came home from TK Maxx with 2 brand new Cuisinart dish towels and a cookie sheet.

In fact, it was Happily Mr. that saw the dish towels, which were on sale for only 3€!  He actually noticed that my dish towel supply was quite sad and diminishing.

The cookie sheet – well, it’s quite an amazing story.  I did not bring any kitchen things with me when I moved overseas and they just don’t sell or use cookie sheets here.  I have been looking for an “American Style” cookie sheet for six years!  I can’t tell you how excited I am to bake my White Chocolate Chip cookie recipe for you all tomorrow using this new cookie sheet.

I am really glad they put in a TK Maxx in our small town.  Oh, in case those of you who live in America are thinking I misspelled the store name, I didn’t.  For some reason TJ Maxx is called TK Maxx over here.  I wonder what it’s called in Canada?

My other simple pleasure this past week was enjoying a slice (okay… 2) of this delicious chocolately and easy snack cake.

It so quick to make and also does not require eggs, if you prefer eggless recipes.  I found the recipe years ago here at BettyCrocker.Com.  

I was really craving something chocolate and don’t keep much in the way of snack or junk food in the house.  It was the perfect addition to a little coffee break!

Sometimes the simplest of things are just so satisfying and make a day, perfect!

Merken

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?

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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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. 🙂

Merken

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