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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

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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!

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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.

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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!!!!!

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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.”

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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!

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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!

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

Until next time, Readers!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

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

 

Don’t forget to follow along on Facebook for other fun updates!

 

 

2014: A Crazy Good Year In Review

Another year has gone by…flown by I should say. I guess when you have big life events, time just seems to coast right on through. I’m ok with that and more importantly I’m really looking forward to 2015 being a pretty low key year. More time for acclimating! 🙂

Before I give myself fully to 2015 I wanted to give a proper salute to 2014 by reviewing my favorite memories of the year! I’ve shared many great times between two different countries and strangely enough…Toblerone and I are feeling a bit homesick for Germany. It’s been fun going back through my blog and looking at all the pictures and reliving the moments! Can’t wait to go back there for Easter!!

Here’s a look back into my favorite memories of 2014!!!

1. Father-in-law’s 60th Bday Party – nothing like having a party for the half the town to celebrate your bday! 🙂

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2. Fasnet in our town – nothing like crazy costumes, drinking, music, and parades to get you in the spirit!!! We are so sad to be missing it this year!

Toblerone is in the red rooster costume :-)

3. Being in two places at once (First trip to Italy) – The absolute most memorable trip (besides my engagement in Ireland!) thus far. What a fantastic country Italy is… and being on the country line between Austria and Italy, I was able to knock off an item on my bucket list!

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4. Hiking in the Alps – I say it every year that I won’t go but I’m glad I went this last time. It was a view worth the exhaustion!

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5. Wedding in August – Cape Cod, pink wedding dress, lobster bake…whats not to love?!

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6. Going Away party in Germany – Bittersweet, but a great excuse to wear my drindl and party with the family! It was a warm send-off!

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7. Buying our first American home – We were lucky to find it so quickly and seal the deal a week and a half later! BAM!

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8. Thanksgiving with the family – We loved having Toblerone’s mom and my parents with us on our first hosted Thanksgiving in the US. I just hope we can host many many more!

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9. Christmas Market in Chicago – Hands down my FAVORITE city! The Christmas market gave us that little bit of that special German Christmas magic we were missing!

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10. New Years bowling with the parents – Great end to the year! We decided last minute to do a little NYE bowling while my baby sis lay sick in bed with some kind of crud. We were home by 10:30 and relaxed while watching the ball drop. Was really low key and I didn’t have a hangover the next day! WIN!

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2015 has a lot to live up to and I’m hoping it brings a lot of great changes for us! I’ll be taking my Placement test this coming week for school! Can’t believe I’m really going back!!! Of course we still have hopes for a baby just like every year for the past 6 year. Lets see what miracles will happen!

Wishing you all a wonderful start to the new year! Take a moment to reflect on all the wonderful memories that you made and make a plan to make more this year! Travel, meet up with old friends, make goals, make bucket lists, take a cooking class, join a choir! Do something outside of your box. I think you’ll find a great memory just waiting to be made!

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

 

 

 

Counting Down The Days

We can almost count on two hands the days we have left here in Germany. It’s been slightly hectic but not too much that it feels as if everything is spiraling out of control. I’ve been packing to keep me busy since I left my job at the end of July. The wedding came and went and now here we are. Next chapter! Just like that!

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I’ve been actively searching for homes and there is a massive amount to choose from! Our Realtor sent me over almost 90 properties to start sorting through a while back and we’ve finally figured out what we are looking for. Location is key for work and also easy to get to stores, city, etc. And my number one main “must-have” is a fence for our dearest Harley Noodle Jones Butt Butt. I just want to be able to let him outside so he can run free around his “own space.”  Waterfront is also ideal but not a necessary factor at the moment since there are so many lakes around us!

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Today Harley and I ventured out to our favorite spot, “The Butterfly Field” and through the woods…which is also a mansion for ticks and other such things! He had a little bit of a photo shoot and loved all the snacks he was getting! Living it up in the place we called home the last three and a half years.

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There are many new houses being built directly behind us blocking our entire bedroom and bathroom windows. In a year from now, our house won’t be the home we once had. This town won’t be what it once was. Things are changing, people are coming and going and that’s just how life is!

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Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxo