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

A Bah Humbug Story

The countdown has officially begun. Which countdown? Oh silly you! Obviously not the countdown until Christmas! Naturally, I’m talking about how much longer until I’m driving to Switzerland to pick up my family!!!

1 day, 33 hours, 1993 minutes, 119625 Seconds……make that 119624 seconds…oh wait…119623. You got it, count with me now!

Excitement doesn’t even cover what I’m feeling. I think stressed is more like it! I just want everything to be perfect. This is collectively their first time to Europe and for two of them, first time out of the US. One went to Mexico for work but that was a disastrous suicide mission. So I want this to be perfect, I want the house to glisten, I want their Christmas away from home to be one of their greatest memories. I know, that they will love this no matter what – I have a super easy going family, but in my mind…it’s something straight out of clockwork orange. It’s all a mess and crazy and miscombobulated! Got that?

Not only that but this is the first Christmas that Toblerone, Harley, and I will have together. I know…we’ve been together 3 years…that sounds weird right? Well the first year Toblerone went to visit his brother in Michigan (who was there for a internship) and Harley wasn’t even a thought yet! The second year, Toblerone and Harley moved on December 19th to Germany (and then I followed a few months later.) So I need it to be nice for that reason too!

Want to hear a funny story? So I wanted to get a fake tree but here in Germany they are TERRIBLE looking. They have three options all named after different parts of the US( ie: Salt Lake, Aspen, Anchorage.) Wretched things. Toblerone’s Uncle who is the mayor sells trees from his town and offered to give us one from his stock. We went to grab one quickly, he threw a giant one at us so we went home to take a closer look. What do we find? A few things to make our already stressful days a completely fire of rage!

1. The tree is about 3 feet too tall.

2. There are random branches that are longer than the others. Not to mention the branches wouldn’t come down at all – they stuck up straight to the sky!

3. Giant gaps between branches brought me to tears.

4. THE TREE(s) WAS(were) A(A) SIAMESE TWIN(s)!!!!

This tree was worse than Charlie Brown’s tree. In fact, at least his tree was somewhat proportionate! This was all sorts of whack and impossible to decorate. I know how much you all would love to bask in the glory of my madness so I took pictures just to show you how incredibly painful this is. We immediately took the bastard outside and threw it in the woods. (Actually, we felt really sad and had to reason with ourselves why we would do such a cruel cruel thing!)

Giant lopsided mess

Two bodies, one private part

Today we went on a search for another tree but it seems Germany is out of trees. All that is left are the Charlie Brown types…or ones that are full on the bottom and not on the tops. Maybe I should start by telling you that the type of Christmas trees they have here are NOT what we have in the US. I’ve never seen a tree like this so I can’t even describe it but they are pretty bare on the tops it seems. We’re off AGAIN (third times a charm right?) in hopes of finding our perfect tree. If we do not succeed, well then I’ll tramp on up to the woods myself and get me one!

I bought all these GREAT ornaments and I had a lot given to me as well so the tree will be full of memories old and new.  Lesson learned…NO waiting until the last minute anymore.  Maybe you all have a few tips for me on this tree hunting thing. This is so new to me, I’m a lover of the fake trees!

I can’t wait to show you guys pictures of all the fun stuff we’ll do while they are here. From Lighted waterfalls to Christmas markets, shopping, and all that fun stuff! All the cultural mingling we will do! 🙂 And once again, I have to test my translating skills.

Happy Christmas to all and to all a goodnight! Until next time, Readers!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

……1 day, 32 hours, 1967 minutes, 118032 seconds…1189031…..1189030……:-)

Organizing My Life and Other Such Musings

I’ve been kicking myself for being so out of place. Of course my new obsession on Pinterest certainly isn’t helping any! I read somewhere that your house can be clean as a whistle but completely unorganized. That’s exactly what I am!!

I’m a list kind of person and I found some great ones on this site. I printed out two. One for meal planning with a grocery list option as well as a weekly cleaning guide to follow.

Check them out here:

Weekly Planners

I start this new method tomorrow and I’m hoping it sticks. I mean, no one is born into the HausFrau mode. Or maybe some are but for me it’s a struggle! Trying to remember everything that needs to get done is just overwhelming! I’ll keep you posted on how this thing works or not! Anyone have any tips?!?! My goal is to go to the grocery store only once a week to save money on gas and all that. I was going several times a week to grab little things that I needed to make dinner. What are some other good ways to save money?

In other news, Christmas season has started and I’m beyond excited for my mom, step dad, and sister to arrive for Christmas in Germany! I hope the snow kicks in by then! It’s much more beautiful covered in white. I have lots planned from the castles to the wineries to the Christmas Markets!!!!

Toblerone and I went to a Christmas market last night and it’s so magical. This one was small and close to our house but I’m excited to go to the bigger ones. For those of you that don’t know what this is, google it for the images, it’s a sweet market filled with vendors in little huts selling handmade crafts, typical German fare, and of course the Glühwein (warm spiced red wine)!

We picked up this German Advent centerpiece from a friend of his families. You’re supposed to burn a candle on the first Sunday in December. On the second Sunday you burn another candle and the first one again. By the time Christmas comes you will have all 4 burning up!

We’ve yet to get a Christmas tree. This is stressing me out! I’m thinking a fake tree is better for two reasons: 1. Harley won’t want to pee on it and tear it down and 2. The cleanup and watering. Who has good ideas on how to keep your giant dog from eating the tree?? Remember, this is the guy that gets mad when I’m gone to class for 4 hours so he rips everything to shreds. Help!!!

As far as my homesickness goes… It comes and goes. I think we may be able to make another trip in February again for a week or so which would be great! 8 months without going home in the first year of living abroad is an absolute no no! Granted, Toblerone had his emergency surgery so we didn’t have a choice but to stick around. I definitely miss all of my family and friends. I was spoiled being home and being able to text them (thanks Dad for the interim phone!) and see their cute faces!!!!

Here are a few highlights from my trip! Enjoy!!!!

Out for some brewskies with the older Bro

With my Dad and 3 of my brothers!

Snuggling up my baby nephew!

My Brother and I stalking our old house from when we were little

Toblerone with the Brother!

Bonfire and Smores with My Mom and Toblerone's parents

My Best friend RyRy (on the far left) and his Thanksgiving Extravaganza!

Uncle Toblerone and nephew Aidan!

The In-laws and my family participating in the Tree decorating! Goofing off!

A much needed night on the town with the girls!!! "Dear Dan" (long story)

Until next time, Readers!!!!! Xoxoxoxoxo