The Insel Mainau: The Flowering Island

Along the beautiful Lake Constance you will find a beautiful little island. Complete with a castle (still owned) and incredibly beautiful gardens that take you to another place. It actually didn’t even feel like Germany. The water around the island is a really crystal blue and with the palm trees and vibrant colored flowers it almost makes you feel like you’re in another world!

Luckily it was a little adventure we got to take with Toblerone’s parents also. The castle is occupied at the moment so it’s not something that is opened to the public for tours with the exception of a small area they set up for a gift shop and a restaurant attached to the orchid greenhouse.

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It was a bit too early in spring for all the flowers but regardless, it was just a beautiful day. It started off with a bit of rain but as we arrived on the island we put our umbrellas down and walked the grounds guided by sunshine.

My absolute FAVORITE part of the entire island is the butterfly house. There are thousands of butterflies in this man-made jungle house. It was just incredible to see so many different types of butterflies happily flying around and a few different vegetarian birds to add to the atmosphere.

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Walking around the grounds we saw these massively large trees called Mammouth trees (also found in the states) which were planted in the late 1800’s and have grown to the giant masses they are today! Channeling my inner hippie I gave those big guys a squeeze.

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We walked around the castle, went inside the church which was decorated in beautiful floral arrangements,  and made our way around to a little farm..where of course I had to pet all the animals. These furry guys are used to all the people I think so they just made their way right over to me and waited for bite to eat!

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We ended the day with a little train watching which I thought was just adorable with all the German homes stacked around. Very cute! There are also great playgrounds  which would make for a fantastic place to bring the kids to run out a bit of energy.

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It was a really beautiful place and thankfully the weather held out for us! It was a perfect start to our vacation. More to come!

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

 

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American Week in Aldi Süd

Aldi (grocery store), which is in the US and many other countries but was founded here in Germany, has “American Week.” They sell items that are “American” the week before July 4th. It’s funny because most of the Germans have no idea what that is. I saw on one German blog that they assumed it was American Week in Aldi because President Obama was recently in town. News Flash. You’re wrong.

**** INSERT GIANT GAME SHOW BUZZER SOUND****

Aldi Ami

Most of this stuff isn’t that special. It isn’t really anything you can’t get in Germany, however it’s packaging has an obnoxious American flag all over it and they write the product in English. Whoopty Doo. There are some things that are pretty gross and as an American, I am upset that they would make us look even more ridiculous and fat with false advertising.

Step right up to the freak show! They seriously have no clue!

American Sauces –

Ladies and Gents, Prepare your eyes for the sore of a lifetime! I give you the razzle dazzle of sauces…the splish splashy excitement offfffffff……..The 2 in 1! Sounds like a bad porn but the thing is, it’s mustard and ketchup in a single tube OR…(the excitement doesn’t end there) ketchup and mayo in a single tube! DISGUSTING! I’ve heard of the peanut butter jelly in a jar thing, which I will NEVER EVER try but this is just taking it too far. Really really gross.

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Next up in the Sauces department is the catastrophe of Sandwich Sauce (or you may have seen the “Hamburger Sauce” I posted on the facebook page. Either way, what is it? And why would they assume we always have sauces on our sandwiches?! Mustard sometimes, mayo sometimes, but no special kind of sauce. Get with the program, Germs! As for the hamburger sauce…I make my own but it certainly doesn’t look like chunky mustardy curry mess. Just a side note.

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Moving on with the program we come to the sweets:

I don’t even know what to do with this. What the heck is peanuts and flakes, anyways? And chocolate covered peanuts? Not something we Americans indulge in on the regular, unless of course they are in M&M packages. If even says on the carton, “from an original American Recipe.” This is bad. Real bad. And if it’s chocolate covered corn flakes you’re trying to put by me…well, I got news for you people. Thats just weird.

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This bothers me to the core. I have nothing against the Brits, in fact, my dad lived there for several years and some of my fondest memories are from there. However, DO NOT MIX US UP!! We are not the same culture, we don’t even speak the same bloody language. So, why on earth would they suggest that the Americans like sweet popcorn?!?! (Note: the word “Süß” on the bucket means its coated with sugar.) I know the brits do this after my first time going to the movies and ordering popcorn in England. A mistake I’ll never make again. Just so ya’ll know…we like ours with butter and salt. Amen.

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Theres a bunch of other things I’m not too fond of but I think I’ll let it go for now. I will, however, give them MASSIVE points for getting peanut butter right. This stuff is the closest I can find to Skippy or Jiff. I’m more of a skippy girl myself but you get the drift. It doesn’t taste like cardboard. Unfortunately, it only comes around once a year so I have to stock up. I threw 8 of these babies in my cart and Toblerone had to stop me from taking them all. I go a little bit overboard. But the jars are small! I mean, come on!

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Regardless, beggars can’t be choosers in the world so I take what I can get. Or just wait until I go home and take everything I can get there! If you’d like to dig deeper and take a look at what Germans think of our eating habits,
you can see the rest of the items here.

If someone asks you what is American food, what do you say? What is our food?

My answer is normally, we are culturally diverse so its a mix of a hundred different cultures. But I’m interested to see what you think is “American” food.

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

(All pictures belong to http://www.aldi-sued.de)

I Have A Secret Hiding Place, Wanna See?

I feel like I’ve been away from you guys for ages!!! I’ve been posting now but it’s food based or part of the Pinterest Challenge. SORRY!

Here’s an update or two.

So my best buddy Ryan and his parents came to visit for one glorious week! I was so excited to have some Americans around me. Plus it really forced me to practice my terrible German. You know what drives me crazy? When I’m obviously trying in German yet the German people sometimes turn around and reply to me in English! Don’t do that…don’t do that you crazy Germs! I’m trying here! I need to learn German more than you need to learn English! Regardless, it’s great to show myself how much I do know in German. I can have conversations now – YAY!

We traveled everywhere – Munich, the Alps, went to the Fruehlingsfest (similar to Oktoberfest except in Springtime), Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial (which I can’t wait to show you pictures of), and some of my usual favorites when people come to town. Castles – Monkeys…the usual! More importantly, it wasn’t what I showed them – it was what they brought ME!

I got two big hugs from my mom (sent through them) and LOADS of peanut butter and Reese’s yumminess. For a girl like me…this is essential. More so than makeup or clothes (can’t believe I just said that!) So I’ll be treating this situation like the Depression. One little Reese’s piece per week. Gotta make this last a LIFETIME! Or at least until the German’s figure out what they are missing!

This awesomeness has been added to my secret hiding place…and I’m going to show you. You are now going to see my greatest collection of all time. It’s a shrine to awesome and just goes to show how loved I am. I get showered in this stuff and now have a secret hiding place – hoarding it like a squirrel!

The rumors are true….I have a chocolate cupboard – filled with the greatest chocolates from Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, and of course AMERICA! I can’t get rid of it and it’s growing and growing! Will be starting another cupboard soon and re-gifting a lot of it. lol.

Is that unbelievable or what?!?! You know what else is unbelievable? Well…where Toblerone works they are a HUGE medical company – largest in the world actually – building everything from implants for knees to tiny scissors for heart surgery on neonatal babies. He brought home a few scissors that are defects but for me to look at that are strictly for cutting the umbilical cord. Depending on if you have a boy or girl you get blue or pink! This may be hard for those hardcore – “my child chooses their own gender” people. But I like the idea…it’s cute! So one day, hopefully, Toblerone will get to pick out one for him to use!

(The pink is usually much brighter but this one was made when they were changing out the molding)

Sweet aren’t they? Gives me butterflies in my heart to think about it!

So we are looking forward to our vacation in August back to the US and getting back to our favorite place, Cape Cod, for a bit as well.  I’ve been busy planning the bachelorette party for my bestest friend who is getting married soon! So very very very excited to be apart of that as well!

All of my flowers that I planted are coming out. I know what you’re thinking….are you seriously blogging about that? YES…yes I am! You know why!?!?! Because I don’t know the first thing about planting, gardening, etc. and I figured it all out…IN GERMAN! HAH! BEAT THAT! Anyways, you will see pictures of everything soon once it blooms and looks amazeballs!

So far, things are good…better in the Summer than they are in the Winter. That’s for sure! For now – eye on the prize. Getting home to see my family again and snuggle them all up! I miss America SOOOOOO much but I can’t think about it. If I do, I crash and go into serious psycho homesick chick.

Anywho, thats all for now, folks! Hope everyone is enjoying the nice weather coming their way (no more snow!!!) Harley says he’s ready for his first beer once FC Bayern wins Champions League Cup Final this weekend. It’s not animal abuse when the dude begs for it!

“Just take the damn picture and give me the snack, Mom!”

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Together Let’s Fight For Sarah’s Life

I’m just going to come right out and say it. CANCER SUCKS! But one thing that Cancer can’t affect is the amount of love and support that comes around when the “C word” is uttered. I’ve directly been affected  with Cancer in my family and I always try to do what I can when I have the means to. One thing that is free to give…LOVE. Another thing….SUPPORT. I know all of you know someone, directly or indirectly, who has been affected by cancer. However, for me, I feel that no matter if you know the person or not your support can be healing in more ways than one. That’s why I’m joining in the fight. Sarah’s fight. Won’t you join me?

Since Sarah is from Maine I’m targeting all my Mainer friends to pull through and head out to the benefits to do your part. You wouldn’t believe the kind of love one can feel from the kindness of a stranger. For the rest of you, no excuses. I’m 3,000 miles away and supporting this girl with loads of love!

Sarah is a 26 year old mother, wife, daughter, friend, and identical twin. She was 24 when they discovered she had a brain tumor which she kicked out in the summer of 2011. Five weeks later the tumor had returned and this time it was deemed, “inoperable.” She and her family are now in the fight for her life and every bit of support will help. I know this hits home for many of you so let’s see what we can do to offer a heartfelt, ” BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF CANCER” for Sarah. Let’s let her know that the world is cheering her on and we have her back.

She’s currently receiving chemotherapy treatments at the Infusion Center of Tufts Medical Center in Boston and the traveling in itself is tiring but we know the worst of it isn’t the travel time. Six days ago she completed her second chemo treatment and a few weeks ago, her beautiful daughter just started Kindergarten. Aside from the battle she is fighting she has a life to live, memories to make, identical smiles to share with her twin sister, kisses to give her highschool sweetheart husband, and hugs to wrap around her baby girl. Someone as beautiful as her deserves this chance. She can beat this and the more support the better.

How can you help? Great question….there are many ways to help!

Help 1: Join her facebook site and send her some support. Give her a shout-out. Tell her that you care about her from miles away or from next door. For those of you in Maine, they are constantly updating with benefits and spaghetti dinners that are happening. They have a Halloween Bash coming up so dress up and go have some fun!

Sarah’s Fight On Facebook

Help 2:  A great friend set up a blog for her with all the benefits, updates, pictures, and videos. I encourage you to go check it out and learn more about Sarah and her beautiful family.

Sarah’s Fight On Blogspot

Help 3: Purchase a bracelet. You can currently do so at selected stores and places around Maine. Please go grab one! Only $2.00, skip the latte and do something better with your money!

A Support Bracelet For Sarah

She’s one of the most fabulous people in the world for many reasons but one that is quite inspiring is she has started a project to provide housing to families that are fighting this disease. As if she doesn’t have enough to think about, she continues to think for others and how she can help make it easier for those that need to travel for treatments find housing close-by to the medical facilities. Read more about her amazing work here and also on her blog.

I know there are many people in the world fighting a battle right now. Our hearts are with every single person battling Cancer. Let’s fight with Sarah, give it your all, she sure as hell is!

Sarah – You are not alone. People all over the world are pulling for you! We put our boxing gloves on and we’re ready to knock Cancer out! Your smile is inspiring and will continue to win over the hearts of your supporters…your own personal army! Keep up the good fight – we’ve got your back.

The Finished Garden – FINALLY

As you all know from my previous posts that our yard was in the process of being overhauled! It’s complete now and I’m prepared to show you the aftermath. (I was waiting for the grass to grow.) So, don’t be shocked when you see how small our yard is…everyone here says it’s really big, which at that time I laugh in their faces and tell them the tale of living in America with acres of land to play in. However, we will make it work for us! I’m still trying to find a lilac tree here but no luck ;-(

Let the games begin. Enjoy the slideshow of “Before and After” pics. And then I expect to have all your comments/ideas on how to accomplish my English garden. I’ve bought loads of bulbs to plant from all sorts of flowers which will start going in the ground once it begins to cool down here.

I can say though that I’m SO glad this is finished. Now we just need to get our outside furniture and put up a fence (so our nosey neighbors can’t watch us from their windows anymore) and off we go!

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Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo