German Knockwurst In Beer Broth

I don’t know what is going on with me lately but I am on a roll with my German cooking! I promised myself I would try harder to learn these great dishes of Toblerone’s culture..anticipating one day that we have children of our own to share it all with. So far, looks like I’m living up to that promise!

The other day I found a package of German Knockwurst at our grocery store (made by Boar’s Head company) which I liked since it was in it’s natural casing with zero additives. I hate all that “added caramel” for color plus 8,000 extra chemicals. Just trying to stick to what is clean and good! (The German way of course!)

I wasn’t sure what I would make with Knockwurst but there is one thing I know…nothing goes better with Wurst than….yep…you guessed it….BEER!!!

What You Need:

Knockwurst (I used a pacakge of 4 for our smaller family)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Medium onion sliced

12 ounces of light beer (I used a can of Labatt blue…cuz I’m classy like that!)

1 Cup water

Salt & Pepper to taste

Parsley

 

Here’s How Its Done: 

First off, heat up a dutch oven with olive oil on medium heat. Add the wurst to oil, turning every couple of minutes to brown each side. I would highly recommend putting the lid on. These suckers spit hot oil at me!

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Next up, add the onions until they are soft. I added just a little extra splash of olive oil. Again, lid on and occasionally stirring them around and turning the sausages.

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Once onions are cooked through, remove the sausage and place aside. Next comes the fun part…or as some might see it…alcohol abuse. Pour in your 12 ounces of beer! I mean…if you ended up only pouring in 10 ounces because you were feeling a bit thirsty throughout the ordeal, that would be ok too! (I did it. No shame!)

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As the beer starts cooking up and the fumes start to slightly intoxicate you…add in your salt, pepper, and parsley to taste! Add your cup of water  and bring to a boil. Once boiling put on low heat and let simmer until reduced and you no longer smell the alcohol. This takes about 12-15 minutes.

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Once reduced, add back in your sausage and keep on low heat. Just need to heat the sausages through.

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While that continued to warm up, I made my homemade Spätzle and warmed up some Sauerkraut to complete the meal. If you want a thicker sauce you can certainly add a little sauce thickener or cornstarch and water mixture. I didn’t do that to mine, I liked it as it was but to each his own!

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There ya have it! It’s a really simple dish which requires very few ingredients. Let’s be honest…most of which you probably have in your home already!

Let me know if you try it out or what you would do to change it up!

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

 

 

The True (Southern) German Potato Salad

I know you’ve seen me post pictures of this on my Facebook Page so I figured it was time to spill the secret.  German Potato Salad is made two ways from what I’ve learned while living in Germany. There is the way the northerners make it and the way the southerners make it. The one ingredient that makes the difference, mayo. Thankfully, for my waistline I lived in the South where they opted out of using mayonnaise for this very common dish!

Many moons ago I asked Toblerone’s mom for her recipe for Kartoffelsalat and she wrote it out for me. I use it like there is nothing else in the world that matters. That stays with me in a special place. If I ever lost it, I would be lost. There is something about having a recipe handwritten that makes it feel more like a sacred piece of family history.  Same goes for recipes my mom has written.

On with it already, Kaitlin.

First things first…the ingredients here in the US are not exact but I will try to help you through it best I can!

You will need:

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Note: Some people cheat and use this little package by Knorr to “fix” Potato salad (See little packet on the right hand side of the picture.) We are doing things the original way today!

 

Potatoes – peeled, and cut in half if they are large. I normally use about 7-8 potatoes just for the two of us (Toblerone loves his leftovers!), or an entire 1lb bag or more for larger groups. (I use the yellow/golden potatoes. They are closest to the potatoes in Germany. Yes…even those are different.)

1 Onion – chopped in small pieces. (This time around I used a red onion for color. )

Vegetable Oil

Distilled white vinegar

Salt

Pepper

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Bouillon (powdered if you can find it. Mixed in warm water – about a 1/2 cup.) I use Knorr Delikatess Brühe (shown below) which you can find on many German import food websites. If you want to get the taste correct, trust me…you need this stuff. I’ve tried others I found in the import aisles at grocery stores and its all sorts of wrong. Threw out many batches because of this small ingredient!

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How it’s done:

Peel your potatoes and cut in half. They will cook faster when they are smaller. Place in pot and boil until soft or a knife goes through easily.

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Chop the onion in small pieces and throw into a large bowl. I always use my tupperware bowls because that would be very un-German of me if I didn’t use my tupperware.

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Once potatoes are done, drain water. Let sit until they aren’t scorching. If they are still warm I rinse them off with cold water before handling. DO NOT BURN YOURSELVES. IT’S NOT WORTH IT!!!! Once cooled, you will grab a potato and with a knife almost shave the potato over the bowl until it is in small pieces.

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Should look like this at the end:

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Now, here is where the recipe gets a little confusing. There are no real measurements. This is a “feel-it-out” situation as is any good recipe. First add the vinegar. I usually make a circle as I pour and that is usually enough to start. You don’t want a big pour. Little at a time is better so you can taste test it. Too much is hard to correct. Start small.

Next up, add the Bouillon that is premixed in warm water . Also in a circular motion.  Add your salt and pepper…also a taste as you go thing.

At the end I do the same with the oil. Circular motion. The idea is not to make the potatoes swim. It’s a salad after all…not a soup, people!! A lot of the watery bits will soak into the Potatoes but you don’t want a puddle at the bottom of your bowl.

Mix gently to get the flavors going.

Most important part of the process….LET IT SIT. Do not touch it. Let it sit on the counter for a while. Not in the fridge. Not in the garage. Just let it sit. Let the flavors work into it. Potato salad is served room temperature in Germany. So be German and do just that. Afterwards of course, whatever is left….if there is any left you can place in the fridge.

And…TA DA! There you have it….You just learned how to make a very Swabian styled Potato Salad. I bet your Omi would be oh so proud!

Guten Appetit!!!

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Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

 

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The German Cream Cheese Phenomenon

Yes. Cheese. Specifically Cream Cheese. Just work with me here…

To me, cream cheese is typically in the All-American household. We obviously are known for loving bagels and we all know that bagels are just NO BUENO without a big old glob of cream cheese on it. Besides the bagel situation, I was always a big cream cheese and jelly fan (mom can attest to that!) Its good for cooking as well. Some use it in sauces to thicken it and make it creamy and of course we can’t forget my birthday cake, chocolate chip cheesecake!!!

I actually don’t even know why I’m talking about this when I’m doing this special diet that does NOT allow any kind of cream cheese.

In Germany, cream cheese, known as frischkäse, is used as a spread on sandwiches among a few other things. I used to LOVE picking out a new flavor at the grocery store. There is just this mass amount of options it was amazing! I noticed here in the States it’s lacking in options which is weird considering we are the cream cheese capital of the world! The differences of course are that here in the US the flavors are strawberry, honey, and other sweeter options.

In Germany, it was option after option of tasty cream cheeses! Yes, so much that it means I need to write a blog post about this. People, we need to come together and ask Kraft Philadelphia to give us the SAME cream cheese options and rights as the Germans! Our palettes deserve a bit more variety!!

Check out these amazing options…brace yourself…there are definitely way more than is offered here. But it definitely is interesting to see how they offer different options for the different demographics!


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From top left to right

1. Regular – Light (Low Fat)

2. Regular – Balance

3. Regular – Double Cream (Extra Creamy)

4. Regular –  Lactose Free

5. Regular – Yogurt

6. Herbs – Balance

7. Herbs – Double Cream (Extra Creamy)

8. Herbs – Light (Low Fat)

9. Chive

10. Horseradish

11. Feta and Cucumber

12. Spring Onion and pepper

13. Pepper Chili

14. Sweet Chili

15. Grilled pepper

16. Smoked Salmon with Dill

17.  Milka (chocolate in Germany like Hershey’s is for us.)

18. Milka with Hazelnut

19. Honey

 

So they are missing another one from this list that I always saw: ham…lol..ham flavored cream cheese. Awesome.

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As you can see there are only 3 sweet options. The Milka one I will say tastes EXACTLY like chocolate chip cheesecake. It’s a diet KILLER! Only had it once but it was the very best thing ever.

I tried to find a similar picture of the American versions but unsuccessful.  However, I compiled a quick list for comparison:

1. Strawberry

2. Blueberry

3. Garden Vegetable

4. Chive & Onion

5. Jalapeno

6. Chipotle

7. Brown sugar and Cinnamon

8. Milk Chocolate

9. Dark Chocolate

10. Honey Pecan

11. Smoked Salmon

12. Pineapple

 

There is a limited edition I know they have which is pumpkin and cinnamon too. I’m sure there are others. But Pineapple? Thats just gross. You can see there are 7 sweet options as opposed to the 3 that Germany has. America….work with me here. We need more options!!! Too much sugar goin round!

What do you think? Would you try all the options that are available in Germany? Which ones are strange to you? What would you like to see here in the US?

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxo

 

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Spice Takes On Chicago

I’ve never been much of a “city” girl but Chicago changed me for good! Luckily this great city is only a hop, skip, and 3.5 hours of driving away.

We stayed in a great hotel right on the river with incredible views and really central to all the fun stuff!

Chi 3Our first night there we went to the Christkindlmarkt to see how close to the Christmas markets back in Germany it was. I must say, it was fairly close…however WAY overpriced! They had all the basic German stuff…wurst, cuckoo clocks, ornaments, etc. Before we moved to Michigan we bought a cuckoo clock in the Black Forest (where they originate from) for more than half of the cost they they charge here. We saw a smaller version of ours for almost $500 MORE than what we paid! So crazy! Toblerone and I decided that we needed to sell something at these markets, we would make thousands just by overcharging unknowing Americans! Is that bad?? 🙂

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I got my beloved currywurst and Toblerone had some kind of sausage thing with mustard. Was pretty close to the real deal so we were impressed with that for sure!

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Just look at that happy German!! 🙂 Chi 8

The next day we walked all over Chicago! We went to the Big Bean or I guess its official name is Cloud Gate. (I literally just had to look that up!) This was a great surprise to me! I LOVED seeing this in person!

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We also walked to the planetarium to get the best views of the city.

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Later on we went shopping a little bit at Macy’s which was just a mad house but is just a part of Xmas! I’m not sure if any of you are familiar with the movie Serendipity, but Toblerone and I LOVE this movie…and wouldn’t you know it…a black glove was on the ground in front of us 🙂 For those that know the movie, know the significance oof the black glove throughout the movie. Heres the proof:

Chi 4In the evening, I was able to meet up with my roommate from 8+ years ago! It was so good to catch up as if a day never went by. And of course, we had one too many old fashions…yikes…never again. But in this case, the hangover was WELL worth it!

Chi 2Our last day there we stopped at the original UNO’s Pizzeria where we waited over 45 minutes for our personal deep dish pizza. It was SO different from the franchise and was the best pizza I’ve ever had!

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Home we went, savoring the memory from the weekend and looking forward to going back again to experience all that she has to offer! Thank you, Chicago, for turning this “country gal” into a “city-loving girl.”

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Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

Settling Back In To America

It’s been a minute since I actually found some time to sit down and write. Toblerone and I have been slowly re-acclimating to all things American and the process has been fun so far!

We no longer are in the company apartment (THANK THE LAWD!), purchased a new home, and moved in! Everything happened so fast – literally 2 weeks time. Check out our new digs:

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The neighborhood we are in looks like Wisteria Lane (for you Desperate Housewives fans).  The people wave and are friendly and our direct neighbors are just incredible. It makes the world of difference to just feel like we would have someone to help us if something was wrong. In Germany, the neighbors wouldn’t even return a “Good Morning” until after 3 years! It was crazy.

I’ve already stored our Thanksgiving turkey in someone’s freezer while we waited for our fridge to arrive, and another one brought over her carbon monoxide detector after she learned we were having potential issues with our fireplace. We also got a quick visit and a bottle of wine on Thanksgiving from our other neighbors. I mean, where am I? Oh yeah…America! 🙂 But seriously, Michiganians (say that ten times fast!) are reallllllllllly nice people. We got so lucky!

I worked frantically to get two of the guest bedrooms finished for our very special guests (THE PARENTS!) I learned I forgot how to paint on walls here in the US so that took me a little bit longer than I expected! But they are mostly done. Need a few more things like end tables for one room and more pictures for both, etc. But we are ready for unexpected and expected guests alike!

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Thanksgiving was great! My parents and Toblerone’s mom came to visit us and we had a small yet very festive Turkey Day! It was so fun to host my first Thanksgiving here in the states in our new home. I wish the entire family could have been with us but some year we will host everyone. This was definitely a scale down from doing it in Germany for 15+ people!

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We went to a Christmas tree farm with my parents in search of the perfect tree. As you know, previously, my experience with Christmas trees wasn’t exactly easy for me to adjust to! At the farm we went to we didn’t bring any cameras, just our memories and it was the greatest memory I’ve had in a long time!

We put the tree together and it was really wonderful to have our parents here to be apart of the first Xmas in Michigan.

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Harley is adjusting and after going through a little bit of Reactivity (Fear Aggression) from being in a completely new place, he is finally starting to be more like himself.  We are all adjusting just fine and although we miss parts of Germany, I think we are happy where we are in this moment. We are where we are supposed to be. Which reminds me of my favorite quote from Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata”

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

The universe is unfolding as it should…profound if you can just believe it and let it.

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

 

 

Spice Gets Married (AGAIN!)

Don’t let the title fool you. Two weddings, same man, under 2 years 🙂 Yup! Thats how life works sometimes when you are in a multi-cultural relationship like ours. I got double the wedding fun! And ever so fitting is that in 10 days we will be celebrating our 2nd year anniversary from our first wedding. A lot of people have asked us which day will we celebrate and the answer is both! Something German for our October 26th anniversary and something American for our August 18th anniversary. We’re lucky enough to have two awesome days to remember…why not celebrate both! 🙂

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Hit play on the video below and listen to the song I walked down the aisle too. This song is more of a party song from the 80’s early 90’s but this version lets you actually hear the lyrics. It was beautiful and made a bunch of us cry! Even Toblerone! But how cute is it that a man that has been with me for 6 years, married for 2 would still cry when he sees me walking down the aisle. Beautiful moments all around, people!

During the past two years I have had MANY expats ask me about the wedding planning process from 3,000 miles away. You want my advice? DONT. DO. IT.  Not only did things come out a bit differently than if I had actual time to do things but the amount of stress compressed into the few days before the wedding is just not healthy. Weddings are stressful but imagine seeing your decorations and things you ordered online for the first time one week before the wedding day. If I had a month to go home and organize all wedding things, I would have in a heartbeat. It would have saved us all from combustion!

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We held our wedding in a house we rented for the week in Cape Cod, MA. It was the most beautiful setting for our wedding day. It wasn’t on the beach but I didn’t really want that necessarily. We just wanted it to be in our favorite place on earth.

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We had over 65 guests and every single person there came from out of state or out of country. Think about that for a minute. 65 people (including kidlets) that came for this moment. This special day. It’s this kind of feeling that just can’t be described but that fact that our destination wedding pulled in that amount of love and friendship was just jaw dropping. We were speechless.

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My darling cousin did my hair and makeup and surprise!!!!!!…… My dress is PINK! Wouldn’t want it any other way! We took wedding pictures at the gorgeous Mass Audubon Nature park and wildlife sanctuary. It was a perfect spot. We had the ocean, we had sand, we had forests, we had ponds. So many different cool aspects for a great backdrop. One would even say magical.

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It was 78 degress, sunny (hot in a massive dress), slight seabreeze, and little tiny bugs just LOVED getting up in between the layers of pink tulle I was wearing! My groom looked crazy handsome in his blue suit specially bought in Germany. Our wedding party looked fantastic! It all turned out well considering this was all primarily discussed through email before hand. Everyone looked perfect for the part!

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The morning of our wedding I woke up around 7am and asked Toblerone to walk with me around the yard to take it all in. That was the one and only moment of “calm” that I felt! lol…but I suppose thats normal! Everything was slowly getting set up and we had lemonade and iced tea set up for our guests as they arrived. They got “fan” programs, noise makers, some got rice butterflies to throw in honor of our grandparents who were looking down on us.

Alot of what I did was DIY. I found a bunch of templates online and the real deal of it is…no one cares about the paper products at a wedding. The name cards, escort cards, programs, all of that gets thrown out or drinks spilled over it. I knew that going in so I did ALL of that myself. Even our invitations. I found a lot of great stuff over at weddingchicks.com. But doing a simple search for “templates” is very helpful! Don’t spend a dime on stuff if you don’t have to!

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The ceremony was perfect and personal. Private and intimate. Everything we wanted. AND…done in two languages thanks to our very good friend who did the whole ceremony for us. Just perfect! We had a “stone and time capsule” ceremony.  On each seat we placed gold painted stones that each person was instructed to hold tightly and say a blessing, prayer, wish, and simply put their love and energy in to while Toblerone’s Dad and brother serenaded us with a trumpet duet. These stones were collected and placed into a box with wine and a love letter for us to open on our first anniversary. This was my absolute favorite part of the whole ceremony.

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The reception started off with me sobbing basically while I thanked everyone for coming all this way just for little old us. Our Cape Cod Clambake was fantastic and people raved about the meal. It was a lot of food and for a great price. More importantly kind of fun! I literally was cracking a lobster in my wedding gown. I highly recommend it!

As for the music, I did it all myself. I spent WEEKS….no make that MONTHS working on a playlist long enough to keep the crowd going! I used an app on my phone called Wedding DJ which was great through all the testing but suddenly stopped working by cocktail hour. Thankfully I had the playlists on my computer in iTunes and we used that the rest of the night. I never left the dance floor. For some reason I felt like if the bride was on the dance floor…people would always dance. No one wants to leave the bride alone up there! Right?! I also didn’t have a sip of alcohol. I was sober through the COMPLETE thing! It was awesome! 🙂 Nothing classy about a drunk bride!

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The party ended around 2am and I ended the night with two of my best friends in my bed talking about the day and life in general while Toblerone hung out with the late-late night crew in the tent. Catching up and just loving the moment. It was the most stressful day of my life and I would NEVER do it again but it was the greatest thing in the world to have everyone we love there (and a few missing!).

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So again for all other expats out there planning a wedding from afar…take the time to sort out the big stuff as best as you can and be prepared for nothing and everything to go wrong on your special day. I received one piece of advice from everyone and that was “Just enjoy the day.” But as a perfectionist, that’s impossible and I wish I could have enjoyed it more. Looking back at it now though, I wouldn’t have changed a thing! Wouldn’t be our story if it wasn’t a little bit crazy and out of hand!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo

 

Take Me Home, Country Roads

It’s almost time…that time to make the HUGE trip back to the states! So much has been happening and to be honest the blog has suffered. It’s been sitting on the back burner for quite some time now. I’ve completely been enveloped in stress. I’m planning the wedding (which is exactly 27 days away now…OMG!), still working full time, trying to organize what gets packed or trashed in the house…the list goes on! But I won’t bore you with the details!

Slowly I am really starting to get excited about whats to come! As soon as the wedding is done, we will fly back to Deutschland for 3-4 weeks to pack up our house and then ship out at the end of September! There is no time left to do anything! But Toblerone and I share constantly what we are looking forward to. Granted, my wants are very different from his. He wants the total American dream. The house on the water, a boat, fishing license (thats hard to get here in Germany), a big Mercedes, etc.

My wants are something a bit more sentimental. The things I lacked here are the things I am in dire need of. I never realized I wanted these things so badly in my life until I didn’t have them. Thats always how that goes though…isn’t it?

Here is my list of MUST-HAVES as soon as I put my feet on American soil!

1. Library card – A library with ENGLISH books in them. omg…and the smell of libraries. Give me it all! They have libraries here in Germany but I didn’t have any close by that actually looked like a library and/or had English books in them.

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2. Flat walls to paint – I’ve talked about this a little bit but this “stucco” idea that they have for the walls (inside and out) is ANNOYING to say the least. It takes AGES to paint walls and I am just beyond excited to paint our new house without having to go over the same spot 800 times. You don’t know how I’ve suffered…..

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3. Compassionate doctors – I won’t get into this too much but when my GYN tells me he doesn’t understand why we aren’t pregnant because he never had a problem. How he would just look at his wife and she was pregnant. Yeah…this is just a small taste of what doctors are like here. FULL of compassion and sympathy…am I right?!??!?!

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4. Craft stores – Oh dear heaven! I don’t care how many people boycott Hobby Lobby. I will buy out that store!! I miss those stores terribly. The VERY TINY “hobby” stores here are literally the size of my kitchen and have mostly felt. Germans really love getting down and crafty with felt. Which I personally feel should only be used in Kindergarten. But I digress…. Pinterest has turned me into a pretty craft person and thats all I want to do now..make my own stuff!

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5. To watch Ellen DeGeneres –  When I was really homesick I would watch small snippets of the Ellen show. For some reason I could just get lost in this and not feel sadness anymore. It’s weird, I get that. But you wouldn’t understand unless you were in my shoes! BRING ON THE ELLEN!!!!

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6. Plethora of food options and fad diets to try – Stores here are very standard. The foods in every grocery store are mostly the same. Same brands, etc. I used to think the Germans lived in a sort of Utopia. Everything the same. When I go home we have Wegmans (if you don’t know what that is, your life is not complete until you step inside one of those!) and there is also Whole Foods and a bunch of other ones too but each one is different to me. Each one offers something another one doesn’t. I can’t wait to just spend a day walking around and getting familiar with cereals again. Lucky Charms…oh how I’ve missed you!!  Plus all these new fad diets people get into. That’s always fun to try out and then quit after a couple days. Thats my style 🙂

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What do you think? Is my list totally awkward and weird? I hope it is! Because these are the things I just NEED in my life.

America here I come!!!!!!! AND THE HOME OF THE BRAAAAAAAVVVVVVE!!!!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo