Time To Say Goodbye

I’m sure you have all noticed for quite some time that I haven’t posted anything in a while. Obviously with infant twins, life is different but I think I’m ready to close this door and say goodbye.

Truthfully, when I do travel there isn’t much to say that I haven’t already said. Sure, traveling with a bunch of rascals makes things interesting but I think instead it’s time for me to graduate to a mommy blog! (EEK! I SAID IT!) As if there aren’t enough of those already but I’m a stay-at-home-mom and thats really all I do. Take care of my kids. 1

So, I want to thank you all. Thank you for the good, the bad, and the ugly. The ups and downs and all the love along the way. Thank you for being fans of my page and hanging around enough to read my babble from time to time!

I’ve had this blog for so many years and maybe one day I’ll come back to it (since I still realllllly love the name!) but for now it’s time for me to say “Tchüss!” and leave the expat world with one less blogger in it. Time for another up-and-comer to take my spot. It’s a great world to be a part of but it’s just the right time to move on.

From the bottom of my heart….Thank you.

Until another time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Advertisements

A Party For Two Very Loved Babies

I have to say that had we become pregnant in Germany, I would not have the pleasure of experiencing a real deal Baby Shower of my own. As most of you know they do not throw Baby Showers in Germany partially because it’s just not their tradition but the other idea is because they are superstitious about bringing gifts to a baby before he/she is born. Its considered bad luck!

A while ago I threw a party in Germany for a friend who was expecting. Giving her the whole experience of an American Baby Shower!  Go check it out if you missed it!

IMG_3655

So, I was just ecstatic that the people I love were willing to throw me my own special party for these two little nuggets. Toblerone and I traveled to upstate NY to my family’s home right before Thanksgiving. The drive was atrocious…9 hours in a car with thigh high compression socks is not particularly the most comfortable way to go! But we arrived and were just so excited to be back with family! People came from all over and even from out of state to visit us! My brother and his clan came from West Virginia and my Aunt and Uncle and cousin came from Pennsylvania! I mean….THATS what I call love!!

My mom’s house was decorated in my absolute favorite theme: nautical! We decided to have this as a Jack and Jill party as well so we could see all of our friends and family at one time. People brought diapers for a diaper raffle and gifts as well. These boys are SPOILED!

IMG_8270IMG_8280IMG_8271IMG_8272

It was just so amazing to be around family and to show them the belly we waited so long to have! Granted, I’ve now tripled in size since then!

We got so many amazing gifts and of course Toblerone was out of this world excited when he got his very own gift for the boys! Thank you to all our friends and family who came and gave us gifts for these boys. We are just so grateful! Having twins is certainly not cheap!!!

IMG_8279

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

 

A Big Time Out – But I’m Back

So it’s 4am here in Michigan and I decided to write a bit as I sit here in the dark on the couch. Time got away from me since I last wrote. I announced to the world we are having twins and then life just started to fly by!

I am now 33 weeks along and I look gigantic. Now it’s just a matter of trying to keep these little babies in!

In August we took a baby moon to Cape Cod and it was MUCH needed. You all know how much we love that place and I couldn’t imagine not going. It was a rough flight though. I was only about 13 weeks or so at that point but I was SO uncomfortable and the nausea…oh man. That was rough.

There is really something to be said about the healing powers of the ocean. I’m no hippy but for the first time since I found out I was pregnant, I could EAT. I even dabbled in a lobster roll 🙂 My parents were able to join us as well for the weekend which was so nice! Who knows when we will be able to do that again!

IMG_3253IMG_3249IMG_3248IMG_3278

As soon as we got back to Michigan, I was sick again. I wish I could have bottled up the ocean and brought it home with me. I’m not sure we will make it next year with the two babies so that will be hard on the heart. It will be our first time not going in over 7 years.

We went to Germany in September as a last hoorah you could say! Unfortunately, Toblerone had to work the majority of the time and I was left to my own devices. The things we planned (soccer game, Oktoberfest, etc.) were quickly shot down because of my growing belly and the risk of being around rowdy drunk people. So, we did a lot of visiting with family and catching up.

IMG_3389

The plane ride…oh man. Let me just tell you something. I do NOT recommend that. I was 16 weeks when we left and I was just about 18 weeks on the way back. A 9 hour flight stuck in the same position really does a number on the body. For two days it felt like my stomach was in a vice grip. Ouch. I will NEVER fly pregnant again. That crap is for the birds! However, I did it all for the Schnitzel and cake! I ate like a champ there. I definitely have two little Germans growing. All they wanted was the typical southern German fare: Fleischsalat, Schnitzel, Spaetzle, and gravy.

 

We had a great time catching up with all the family! I spent lots of time taking walks and going to lunch at Toblerone’s Omi’s house which was nice to catch up with everyone and keep my German going!

We were there during a holliday “Erntedank” that they celebrate here. It literally means “Thanksgiving” or “Thanks for the Harvest.” They are thankful for all that the world gives them. This first picture of the world and biblical friends was made from flower petals that were turned into powder and then this was “painted” somehow. Really incredible stuff. Plus they showcase vegetables and fruit that they are thankful for. It really was amazing to see in person.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

On top of all the fun, we revealed the Genders to Omi and Opi by having them open two gifts and….well…:-) Guess we gotta stock up on Lederhosen!

IMG_3402

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

Off To Italy We Go (Part Three)

The last and final installment of our vacation in Italy is FINALLY hot off the presses. Just a quick little update…I was taking a few classes during the summer and it took over my life! Hence why I haven’t said much since June! My apologies! I’m back at it though and have lined up quite a few fun posts!

Ok…on with it!

Our trip ended with a beautiful Easter Sunday Hike followed by a wonderful dinner of course. Luckily, the Easter bunny found me in Italy. I did send him a note to let him know so I’m glad he got that in time.

IMG_1818

 

But FIRST…the morning church bells that remind me of all things Europe. When we first moved to Germany, I used to be so annoyed by the early morning bell show that took place right outside my window (were were a road away from the church). But now, somehow, it brings me back really great memories of always knowing what time it was!

 

This was the front of our hotel. For some reason I just feel like decorations in Europe are really different. Granted, a majority of the products are with wood and felt but I just thought these big things outside the hotel were so cool! What weird shapes!

IMG_1783

 

Off we went on our hike (two VERY hungover people in tow…and no it wasn’t me!). I literally pushed Toblerone up the hill. Talk about a workout! But it was fun. We were walking towards a little restaurant that was a few miles up the mountain. And when I say up..I mean up.

IMG_1786 IMG_1794

The views were beautiful and the little bits of snow on the ground reminded us quickly how high up we actually were.

We made it to the restaurant and I met a few friends, furry ones of course! Apparently goats love peanuts. Did you know that?

IMG_1798 IMG_1800

On our way back down the mountain towards our hotel after a few drinks we stopped for some more drinking of course and snacks. My father-in-law is always providing the drinks for us. Only the best wine there is! (Note: The two most hungover people with no wine in their hands….:-) Brothers…)

IMG_1806

Back at the hotel we got ready for dinner. I put on my Easter dress and headed down to the dining room.

IMG_1845

Dinner was an array of amazing things. They had plate upon plate of meats, cheese, fruits, salad bar, etc. We also got a lamb or fish dinner and dessert but the main idea was a buffet! I do love me a good buffet!

IMG_1824 IMG_1826 IMG_1819

The weekend ended with a few drinks at the bar. My favorite? Amaretto liqueur with apple cider. The BEST. Try it sometime, you’ll thank me! Looking forward to going back to this hotel one day. We had such a great time!

IMG_1838

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxo

Off To Italy We Go (Part Two)

After waking up with a gorgeous view of the Italian Alps we headed down for breakfast. We decided we would head into town to do a little shopping.

While there, we went to The Speck Museum which in English means The BACON museum. Very exciting times! As we walked in this jolly old Italian man who spoke VERY little German and absolutely no English, naturally, greeted us and said to me, “Hello Speck!” and I gave him quite the stare down. Did that man just call me fat? Do I smell like bacon?  Then he said I was like the Coco Chanel of Bacon. I guess if I was going to be any kind of bacon, I would want to be the fancy kind 🙂 He laughed and we both understood it was just all for fun.

16

 

So there we are in a stone basement testing homemade smoked and dried bacon. There was bacon on the ceiling…

14

Bacon on the walls…..

15 17

It was indeed the Bacon Museum! There was also cheese down there but that’s not important. We did buy some to smuggle in our suitcases. Totally worth being a rascal!

We walked around the streets and did a bit of people watching. The Italians are such wonderful people. Somehow they are just so relaxed and inviting. I can’t really explain it!

13 11

We went to a little cafe around 11:30 and the scene was something I could definitely get used to. A small cafe with outside seating as well as inside. Every table filled with friends sitting and standing, laughing at jokes, and drinking glass after glass of wine. Oh Italians, you have my heart! Here is a peek from inside the cafe from where I was sitting. It just made you feel like you were part of a bigger story…a big family.

12

 

Back at the hotel after a day of shopping we spent the rest of the afternoon in the spa. I tried out one of the “quiet” rooms to see if I could actually sleep like everyone else does. I just hung out and read a book and listened to the spa-like music that was available.

10

After hours in the spa and relaxing we got ready for dinner. I apologize in advance for the bad quality pictures. I only brought my phone with me…which is also a no-no in this type of fancy schmancy place but the things I do for my readers…:-)

9

 

As with every night they start our table off with bread and a special cream cheese spread. On this night it was with Rosemary.

Next up we had a “Gruß aus der Küche” / “A Greeting from the Kitchen which was a sesame breaded shrimp on a marmalade of sorts.

8

 

For an appetizer we had fresh made brioche or bread and with two different items made with tuna fish. The first option (on the left) was actual raw tuna that you find often in restaurants. On the right was a creamed tuna fish fluff that was out of this world good!

7

 

Soup was a tomato cream soup with Parmesan foam and a raw ham chip. (Very salty ham chip…lol)

6

 

Moving right along, We received a breaded shrimp ball in asparagus salad. Sooooo delish!

5

 

Time for a little snack to clean up the palette before the main entree, we had a wild berry sorbet with passion fruit.

4

 

The main entree was veal filet with vegetables and layered potato gratin. I actually opted not to have this because I don’t eat baby anything so veal was out of the question. However, I did order my own amazing shrimps dish (not pictured.)

3

 

And lastly, to close the stomach we had fresh strawberries with a Sour Cream ice cream (Not like sour cream, but like pudding just not so sweet), with what they call Eier liquor drizzled. It’s not like anything I can compare it to here in the states. It’s an Egg-like liquor. Not like egg-nog…thats a thousand times tastier. lol 🙂

1

 

That was our lovely evening and we were serenaded by this sweet girl who played the Harp for quite a long time…and really well if I do say so myself! Please excuse the awkward filming but again…was trying not to be too obvious. Here’s a small snippet nonetheless! (And you can hear the Swabian accent from my in-laws while you’re at it.)

More to come later on our trip!!

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxo

 

Off To Italy We Go! (Part One)

I finally have a moment to share with you all our Easter trip to Italy this past April with Toblerone’s family. I was just looking through the pictures again and I am have a serious withdrawl. Looks like we need to plan another trip! (Hear that Toblerone…:-))

We left the house so early it was still dark out. I normally hate mornings that start off like that but we were all just SO excited about this trip that I could have left any time of the day and would have been ok with that! 6 hours of driving on the Autobahn and finally up into the Alps and on very curvy roads. It was a beautiful sunny day for traveling and we arrived in the early afternoon to our hotel, Alpen Tesitin…also known as, Heaven.232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-;79-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;7-7445632-nu0mrj

 

Since there were six of us (Toblerone and I, his parents, his brother and sister-in-law) we took two cars up. One car (ahem…his parents) took the wrong exit so naturally while we waited I plopped myself down in the lobby and allowed myself to be waited on. A fresh glass of Italian red wine would do the trick!

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-4-4-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;7-5879932-nu0mrj

 

We also checked out our room. I just love the way that they make up the beds. I mean…how cute is this?! With our little spa robes and slippers. Just perfect! For those that don’t know, this is a typical Alpine Hotel and the room decorations show it. Really quaint and adorable. This hotel is quite modern but they definitely tried to keep the appeal of the Alpine style.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-7;--nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;7-5879632-nu0mrj

 

Every day they place out a “lunch” snack of sorts. They had a large salad bar (much better than in the states), cold salads, hot soups, and of course….CAKES!!!!!

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3;2-9-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;7-53-;332-nu0mrj 232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv33533-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;7-5879732-nu0mrj 232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv36283-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;7-53-;232-nu0mrj

Complete heaven…is it not?!?!

As we got settled in, we got ourselves situated. The Germans in the sun, per usual, and I wandering around checking out the “grounds.”

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv39-56-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;7-53--432-nu0mrj

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv35-;4-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;7-53--532-nu0mrj

 

Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore so I headed down to the pool and eventually into the spa. Yes, you know the kind of spa I’m talking about. The NAKED SPA!!!! My favorite!

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-839-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;7-53--832-nu0mrj

 

This pool connected to the outside pool with a view. I could sit out there forever just staring at the view. WiFi was limited so it really was great to “disconnect” and just be in the moment. I think we definitely needed this to recharge!

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv36347-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;7-53--632-nu0mrj

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv37986-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;7-5879-32-nu0mrj

More on the trip later!! I’ve got lots more to share with you all! 🙂

Until next time, Readers!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

A Family Recipe: Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte (Black Forest Cake)

I’ve got the goods, lovelies! I cornered my mother-in-law and held her hostage until she showed me how to make the infamous family favorite, Schwarwalder Kirsch Torte (or as you may know it..Black Forest Cake.) Ok, so maybe I didn’t hold her hostage…and maybe she actually was excited to show me. Just maybe.

I’m ready to share the recipe but first you should know that some of these ingredients are not easily found in the US. Actually, for those of you who have made this cake here, maybe you can help us all out to find better equivalents for a few of these.  You can get the majority of these items in import/export stores and online on Amazon as well for a steep price. Also, I apologize for the pictures. I was writing down the recipe (trying to translate in my head), talk, help stir, and take pictures of each step. It was NOT an easy task…but I do these things for you people because I care. 🙂

First things first….The cake part. Please note that this particular recipe for cake is standard for any “Torte” that you are making. Anything with fresh berries or cream (sahne) you will use this same basic recipe. Just remove the cacao. Cacao is strictly for chocolate cake or mainly used with the Black Forest Cake.

What You Will Need:

6 eggs (Separate whites and yolks in two different mixing bowls)

200 grams/ 1 cup of sugar (Can use 250 grams but the cake is sweet enough so we use less)

Butter to grease the pan

300 grams/3 cups Flour (Best to use half all purpose flour, King Arthur brand is really good, and half cake flour)

15 grams/ 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder

1 Tablespoon Pure Cacao (Can use hot chocolate if you don’t have this on hand.)

 

How To Make It:

Preheat oven to 150 Celcius or 300 Fahrenheit.

Take the 6 egg whites and beat with a mixer until you have a meringue.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-6;2-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556726832-nu0mrj

Take the 6 egg yolks, add 6 tablespoons of luke warm water.  Next, take your sugar and mix with the egg yolks. You can add a couple teaspoons of vanilla flavored sugar or vanilla extract to the sugar, but it’s not necessary. Just added flavor.  Beat the egg yolk mixture until it’s almost white.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv37753-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556726932-nu0mrj 232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv34888-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556727232-nu0mrj

Spread butter on your spring-form baking pan and up the sides as well (I use a 28cm pan). Add a little bit of flour and shake around to cover the bottom of the pan. Shake out any excess.

Next take your 150 grams of all purpose flour and 150 grams of cake flour and mix together. Add in your baking powder and mix gently. Next add in your Cacao and mix until combined.  Add the entire flour mixture slowly to the egg yolk mixture as you beat.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv33-59-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556727332-nu0mrj

 

Add a little bit of the meringue you made with the egg whites (about half) to the flour and egg yolk mixture. This keeps the cake from becoming too hard and helps to soften it. Once combined, remove the beaters and mix very slowly with a spatula the remaining meringue until it is fluffy.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv36299-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556727532-nu0mrj

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv33778-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556727432-nu0mrj

Pour mixture into pan and bake for 30 minutes. Test with a fork. Note: DO NOT open the oven door once during those 30 minutes. Strict orders from my mother-in-law.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3--6;-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556727632-nu0mrj

Let the cake cool completely. Once cooled, Turn cake over so bottom is facing up (this will allow for the top of the cake to be a bit more even), cut about an inch all the way around in two different places, making three layers.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv346;;-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556727732-nu0mrj 232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv33577-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556727832-nu0mrj

 

Take regular old sewing string and holding both ends bring very slowly through to complete the cutting of the sections. My M-I-L brought the string towards her, crossing her hands to make an X to make sure the entire section was cut.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv397;6-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556727932-nu0mrj

 

Remove the top two layers, leaving the last layer as is. You will need an adjustable cake ring to hold everything in place for adding the filling.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv334-9-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556727-32-nu0mrj

Next up: The Filling!!!

What You Will Need:

100 gram/ 1 jar of sour cherries in juice.  (NOTE: In the US this hasn’t been easy to find. They do have them in the canned fruit section..usually on the top shelf. Make sure you get the TART cherries. Also, you can buy the German ones here: BavariaSausage.com)

Cornstarch mixed with water to thicken

Kirschwasser (most liquor stores have this, you will need about a cup approximately so not too much..but a little extra on hand is always good for drinking in between :-))

800 grams/28.5 ounces of whipping cream (30% fat is ideal)

2 packages of Sahnesteif/ Whipped Cream Stabilizer (King Arthur brand, which carries a good flour that is similar to that in Germany, also carries Instant Food Starch or there is also by the Dr. Oetker brand, Whipped Cream Stabilizer. The higher fat content of  the whipping cream also will help the stiffness in the end if you can’t find the stabilizers.)

Sugar

Finely Shaved Chocolate Pieces

 

How To Make It:

Remove the juice from the jar of cherries and pour into small pot. Save the cherries for later, keeping about 16 completely separate for decoration. Heat cherry juice on high and add in the cornstarch mixture while continuously whisking. Bring to a boil and add cherries to pot. Mix gently and remove from heat to allow to harden.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3;-97-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556728332-nu0mrj

Sprinkle 4 Tablespoons of Kirschwasser over the top of the bottom layer of cake. Once cherries have hardened, Use a spoon to spread over the top of the bottom layer evenly. When finished, sprinkle a little more Kirschwasser on top of the cherry mixture. Using a spoon helps to sprinkle this evenly.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-6;2-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556728232-nu0mrj

 

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv346;;-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556727732-nu0mrj (1)

 

In large bowl, mix whipping cream with 2 packages of whipping cream stabilizer and beat. Add 2 tablespoons Kirschwasser and continue to beat. Add approximately one tablespoon of sugar to the cream mixture. You don’t want it too sweet. Germans don’t do sugar like us Americans do…hence why their cakes are way more amazing! Whipping cream is done when you can turn the bowl upside down and nothing comes out. 🙂 True story.  Spread just a little bit of the whipped cream to the top of the cherries. Just to give it that extra thickness and taste.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-786-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556728632-nu0mrj

Take your 2nd layer of cake and place it on top of the cherry mixture. Again, sprinkle 4 Tablespoons of Kirschwasser over the cake. Next, spread the whipping cream to cover the top of your 2nd layer cake. Be generous with this layer, majority of the cream will be here.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv362;3-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556728732-nu0mrj

Finally, place your 3rd layer of cake on top of the other two. With the remaining whipping cream mixture, spread evenly on top making sure it is smooth. Save a little bit to do the sides. Remove the cake ring and spread the whipped cream along the sides, smooth and evenly, saving a small amount to decorate the top.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv38;48-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556728832-nu0mrj

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-589-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556728-32-nu0mrj

Depending on how many cherries you saved to decorate for the top you can use one of the fancy frosting decorating thingy majiggies or you can do it the old fashioned way like I do with a plastic bag with the corner cut off. Put remaining whipped cream in bag and squirt into small puffs of fun on top of the cake. Place your cherries on top of said puffs of fun, sprinkle your shaved chocolate pieces on top and VOILA! You have made yourself a traditional Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte!

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv365;9-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;556728932-nu0mrj

Keep in cool area or refrigerate until ready to eat. (Cream melts, you know!)

Hope this was helpful and for those of you who asked me to post this, I hope this fills up your home with the tradition you know and love! Guten Appetit!

Until next time, Readers!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxox