Tuesday, January 31, 2012

German Discipline

I learned some things today about what is acceptable & unlawful in the land of sauerkraut & schnitzel....

First, it is against the law to spank a child - not that I am planning on beating my future children, but coming from America this is different and interesting to me.  The children here seem very independent too and I wonder how the two correlate as you might think that a very well behaved child is also a strictly disciplined child.....just something to ponder.

Secondly, kids can run around and scream at the top of their lungs, can kick a ball around until the noise makes you want to rip out your hair, and can climb all over the trains like monkeys.  They can do all of these things with out being scolded and there is nothing anyone can or will do about it because it is believed that 'kids need to be kids'.  Please don't imagine a bunch of children running the streets being annoying and rambunctious - although I have witnessed some very irritating children on the train that made me wonder what the hell was going on.  I agree that kids need to be kids and they need time and space to do so and I find it to be a great that society protects this belief.  On the flip side, there have been one or two times when I've wanted to ask some wild children to settle down, but I guess it would not have mattered anyway.

Maybe I find these differences interesting because I am expecting my own child and I've been reading a lot about raising children.  Food for thought for now!

Friday, January 27, 2012


Just as the days are growing longer and the birds can be heard chirping into the evening....Snow falls on Frankfurt!  I awoke this morning to a light dusting - not meant to last - instantly the child within me was awakened.  Coming from Michigan and loving the winter the last couple months have required a quiet acceptance of my new environment.  Although the sun seems to shine a bit more here in the winter - the lack of snow has been slightly disappointing - until this morning.

So of course, I had to play with my new camera and capture this magical morning....

Balcony window boxes - over looking church


Little green remnants of summer 

Neighborhood dusted in white

The parked snow dusted & quiet in the morning 

Quiet morning

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Share The Music

We are starting Nugget out young, sharing music, loving music, and dancing (when no one is looking) - thanks to my friend Erin who gave me this awesome gift....Sound Beginnings.  Basically, it's a tube top with built in speakers and a pocket for your iPod or any mp3 player.

As I type - we are listening to Paul Simon.  Actually, I am listening to Internet radio, but I do have the option of plugging my headphones and listening to the same music as Nugget.  Gone are the days of holding headphones to your baby bump.  Plus, the fabric band can hold up my pants as well!  This was possibly the most awesome gift - very unique and much easier than the old fashioned method.  Love sharing music with Nugget - I pray that he or she is blessed with rhythm, unlike me!

8 months & jammin'

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Baking "Home"

There is something about baking and cooking in general that grounds me and completely absorbs my focus.  Admittedly, me in the kitchen has a tendency to equal tornado, but enjoy every moment.  The act of creating something from fresh whole ingredients to nourish the body fulfills me deep down - maybe that is the origin of the term soul food.

Food has the ability to change our state of mind, to make us feel better physically & emotionally, to comfort us.  So what better way to channel home when living 4,000 miles away, not to mention, satiating the pregnancy cravings the biggest drive behind my recent baking experience.

Morning Glory Muffins - my favorite!
They sound healthy, they have carrots & fruit in them so I can easily overlook the two cups of sugars.

My Morning Glory Muffins
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. whole grain flour (Vita Brot Organic flour)
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix all the above ingredients in a large bowl.
Add to flour mixture;

2 c. grated carrots
1 apple, peeled, cored, chopped (next time I want to trying pineapple)
1 c. raisins
1/3 c. walnut pieces

In separate medium bowl, whisk together;

1 egg
2 egg whites
1/2 c. applesauce
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients.  Mix until just moist.  Pour mixture into lightly oiled muffin tins.  Makes 6 large muffins.  Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20-25 minutes (less time if using smaller muffin tins).

Finally, simply enjoy your home baked muffins (or two if you are pregnant)!

*Mom, if you read this, I know you are jealous and I promise to make you a batch or two when we come home this summer or when you come to visit!

Monday, January 16, 2012

European Bucket List

After a wonderful home visit to Michigan over Christmas & New Years we return to Germany with much to look forward to and feeling replenished - well with the exception of jet lag and a cold!

Four months passed between moving and the holidays and those months flew by - now I feel the need to make a European Bucket List.  We will only be here for a limited time and there are so many places to see...where to start...we've received some input, but welcome any additional ideas or recommendations.  Please comment if you know of or highly recommend any destinations/sights....So far we've come up with this list - not in any particular order:

-Amsterdam & The Hague
-Brunnen, Switzerland
-Palermo, Sicily
-Brussels & Bruges, Belgium
-Budapest, Hungary
-Copenhagen, Denmark

We are open to suggestions!  There are just so many places and so little time - not to mention - my teenage dream of backpacking around Europe will soon include our baby in a backpack.

Friday, January 13, 2012

30 Weeks & Counting

The weeks are flying by and it's hard to believe that I'm already in my third trimester.  Being so far away from home, family, and friends I've found comfort in some books that seem to have all or most of the answers.  I want to feel as prepared as possible, but know full well that once the reality sets in all the reading & theorizing may fly out the window.  Knowledge is power...right?

What To Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel this is a great book loaded with information that was given to me by my doctor's office back in Michigan.  I've referenced it countless times and found it very useful.  There is also a website - click on the link above.

The Baby Book by William Sears, M.D., and Martha Sears, R.N. with Robert Sears, M.D., and James Sears, M.D. was a Christmas gift that I was wishing for and possibly the closest thing to manual for a new baby.  The couple also has several other books on more specific topics regarding babies & children.  Another great resource full of information and they have a website - click on the link above.

The Breastfeeding Book by Martha Sears, R.N., and William Sears, M.D.  Even though our little bundle of joy is not yet here, I am still trying to learn as much as possible before hand and this book definitely has all the info a Mom-to-be will want to know about feeding her new baby.  I have not yet ventured down the road of finding a lactation consultant or anything, but this book has been very helpful so far.

FYI:  Even if you are not expecting or planning on future children - all these books, especially the first two make great shower gifts - as much as we swoon over the adorable clothing and miniature sizes these resources are priceless and useful for a long time.  Just an idea!




American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org/en-us/Pages/Default.aspx

For those living abroad, specifically in Germany, I recommend using the Toy Town English forum http://www.toytowngermany.com/ when trying to find English speaking doctors and parent meet up groups or meet ups in general.  If you are a living abroad somewhere else there is a good chance that there might be an American Women's Club branch in the area - you do not have to be American to join, just English speaking.

Life is a great adventure - enjoy it!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Picture Perfect

Santa was reading my mind this year....A Canon Rebel DSLR!  In our travels around we've taken hundreds of pictures and many times found ourselves wishing we had a better camera to get the desired shots of the great architecture, views, and experiences - well Santa must have heard our wish!

Although I have much to learn about my new camera, I am looking forward to capturing moments and better photographs.  Hope to post pics from the new camera soon - until then, here are some of my favorite shots so far.....
Flooded moat - Strasbourg, France

Moat at sunset around Strasbourg, France
Overlooking village & vineyard - Durbach, Germany

Vineyard overlooking village - Durbach, Germany

Pedestrian street, shops, architecture - Antwerp

Saturday Market and the largest capers I've ever seen - Antwerp

Het Steen, medieval fortress & castle - Antwerp

Puppets & Marionettes everywhere - Prague

Foggy Prague & sweet red berries

View of Prague from outside the castle 

Graffiti wall mostly dedicated to John Lennon - Prague