Monday, January 30, 2012

what's for dinner?

I often wonder, what do people feed their families for dinner? I just love getting recommendations for recipes and foods to try but never though of sharing our cycle of things.  So, here's a look at what we had for dinner the last 7 nights so you can get some ideas!  I've had a blast with Pintrest and have been trying 1-2 new recipes each week from online.  Please share yours with me!

Chicken Parmesan Wraps - fun and easy!
I only got a before picture and we gobbled up the end results! Easy peasy.
Curried Chicken Salad sandwiches (I added avocado) & fruit (this was so good I made it again the next day for lunch!)

Pancakes & fruit

Chicken Gumbo & no-knead bread (this was gross, no one really liked it. Don't tell Martha.)
White chicken enchiladas, chips & salsa (from my Real Simple magazine)
Crock pot split pea soup, my favorite!

Some of our "go to" things are the no-knead bread which I make ahead and freeze the extra for whenever we want to add bread to a meal, black bean burgers (you can buy them frozen and heat them up, super easy!), chicken curry & rice, breakfast for dinner (like eggs & toast or waffles), pizza (we alternate between home made and frozen), tacos salad or fajitas.

Other things I do to make cooking quick and easy...
*clean and chop all my celery and freeze for use in soups etc.
*clean and chop my green onions and freeze them too - I also do this for zucchini
*cook all my chicken in the crock pot in mass loads and then shred it/cube it and freeze - this makes dinner prep so much cleaner and again faster!
*freeze cookie dough in logs so you can chop and cook to have fresh cookies on command without the mess - thanks Amy H. for the tip!

And, for fun...
Pelican Lake Pancakes (family recipe):
1 C. buttermilk
1 C. flour (I tried whole wheat and they weren't as good, next time I'll try half white half wheat)
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
*cook on skillet or stove with or without butter to crisp up those edges :)  flip them once they are all bubbly on the raw dough side.

No-Knead Bread (recipe from Amy R.)
3 C. luke warm water
1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
6 1/2 C. flour (I use half wheat, half white)
*Mix ingredients in 5 quart container, let it rise at room temp for about 2 hours - covered loosely. Cut into four grapefruit size portions and sprinkle with flour and shape into a ball. Let it rest for about 40 min on a pizza wheel or wooden board (I actually put them straight into my everyday dishes bowls since that fits best in my oven here).  Cover with cornmeal or parchment paper while they rise. Once the over is heated pour water into a broiling pan and place beneath dough as it cooks for 30 at 450 degrees.

Please do email me your tips or recipes! Or leave them here - I know everyone would appreciate it :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

tidbits of life.

Norah is truly a hoot these days :)  Here are few of the funniest things she's done...
Boogers. Yep, she picks her nose. Probably no big surprise to anyone really but... she really is such a polite kid and likes to be clean-or rather I think we've made it clear that being clean is important. So, when she picks her nose she always holds her boogers out and says, "Booger Mommy/Daddy " (meaning please take this slimy or sometimes crusty thing from me please).  A few weeks ago in the car she says, "Mommy look, booger!" I say, "thanks Babe" which is my usual response and then proceed to take the booger (with a kleenex most times:)... she in-turn tries to keep the booger for some odd reason!  So I make sure to get it from her and then she starts to SCREAM "Booger! No Mommy, booger please booger please..." TOO funny!  We were in the front seat laughing so hard, what kid screams because they want their booger back? Gross - and so not what we taught her!
Moddy. David. Kelly.  For quite some time now Norah has been calling David "Moddy" when I'm around - not always but maybe 1/3 of the time. I think she says Mommy more than Daddy and realizes halfway through and ends up calling him Moddy. It's really cute because at the same time she's realizing she's saying the wrong name she looks at me and smiles and then hugs David like she's sorry.

When David's parents came to visit Norah heard me being called Kelly instead of Babe, which is what David usually calls me.  She started randomly saying, "Hi Kelly!" and I am shocked every time and just laugh.  She knows it gets a laugh so it probably encourages it more :)  So this morning she was calling me Kelly over and over again and so I tell her that Daddy's name is David!  So she said, "Oh, hi Moddy David!" and we laugh and laugh!  Basically all day she's been calling us Kelly & David and it's so stinkin' weird.  Okay one more thing on this - during her "nap" where she didn't sleep she was talking to herself but said a few times "I love you Daddy David. I love you Mommy Kelly." I LOVE when she makes us laugh, it's the best.

Is it a big one?  Last silly thing, for now. I have an idea where this came from (my big mouth) but not quite sure... lately if we change Norah's dirty diaper (poo) or when she gives us a booger she says, "Is it a big one?!" Like she's proud if it is indeed a big one. Oh how I love the innocence.  Love it to death.
What else... well, you know my girls are the best but they both seem to be a little hormonal lately (*read* emotional and dramatic). I'm not sure that will likely change, in the near (if ever) future. I do however love the expressiveness on the other side of things when it's screaming with delight or fake laughing so loud it's ugly!
The drama is almost palpable. It's a fake cry by the way.

We've been trying to be very social lately and meeting more and more people, adults and kids. Every time we leave a place with kiddos Norah says over and over, "Bye friends! Bye friends!" It actually has made me cry a few times because she used to say "Bye (insert friends name)" but since she doesn't really know the kiddos yet and is seeing so many new ones all the time it's just "friends".
They are so happy to have each other, God is good.
For my birthday (almost two weeks ago) I went out to the city ALONE! Yes, I cried when David told me I had to go because honestly, I like my people (which at the moment is our little family). But, I did go and had a few HOURS to walk around Kaiserslatern and try to shop (I'm not very good at it), sit and read at a coffee shop and then after arriving home David tells me a massage is booked for me. Sweet husband right?! I'm blessed.  In Germany it seems a lot of businesses are run out of people's home - maybe because gas prices are so high (around $8)?  My massage was in the next village over at a lady's house and it was very tastefully done. I mean, it was no spa but it was clean and relaxing - thanks again David for the adventure!
This is the face Evelyn makes when she likes what she's eating and she's ready for more. So funny!
Happier by the day is our little 18 month old :)
There isn't much else to report here. It's been gloomy weather with a few days of unexpected sunshine but pretty continuous rain.  David had the privilege to travel to Portugal for his job this last week and me and the girls did our at home thang.
All the girls in our aprons!

Oh in other very very exciting news... I am sew (haha) excited to announce I'm signed up for a sewing class!  10 weeks for me to learn and sew---every week!! I cannot wait till it starts in February!  Here's a few fun little projects I've done lately - nothing too complicated. I recovered our couch pillows, so much cuter and cleaner! And, I made a few dolly diapers which Norah loves.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

good food, company & roman baths.

After our great weekend in Munich, we came home for some relaxing and more eating!  Monday we did just that - relaxed around the house, slept great, went for a walk and went to Kaiserslautern, the nearest city to us, and had a great German dinner. 
One cultural thing here is no tap water at restaurants.  Beer and wine are cheaper than bottled water and Coke but I still usually order some water to accompany my meal.  It's fun because most of the time you get your water served in a fun little wine glass... Norah does well with these glasses and drinks a LOT of water if we let her :)
On Tuesday Chuck & Karen took a night away to Baden-Baden, a spa village about 2 hours from here.  While they were off enjoying the good life, the girls enjoyed some creative time playing with their tea set and dolls!  Norah lined up all her babies and set the tea up and was telling them to be quiet and other jabberings we couldn't understand:)  It was awesome!
David went into work a bit while his parents were gone and we got another Christmas package :)  The girls got these adorable hats and Norah sure thought they were great.
Thursday came and it was our turn to leave for a night in Baden-Baden :)  We were excited to get away without kids but also a little sad to leave them. It was our first night (mine) leaving Evelyn and only the second time leaving Norah. But, the girls did awesome and were heavily doted on by the grandparents!
Where we had soup, pretzel & beer on Thursday night.
The highlight of our time in Baded-Baden was the Roman-Irish bath.  When we arrived on Thursday we checked into our modern fancy hotel and then headed straight to the bath!  We enjoyed three hours of this historic bathing experience.  The bath house was built about 130 years ago and the 17 stages of warm and hot dry air baths, brush massage, steam baths and thermal pools were awesome!

Here are the stages: shower, warm air, hot air, shower, massage, shower, steam (with peppermint!), hot steam, full bath, whirlpool bath, exercise bath, shower, cold bath (yuck), towel down, cream application (lotion), relaxation (sleeping room), and reading.
This is the Roman-Irish bath house.
The brochure says you can "slip into another world and savour the unique culture" and we so did!  Since the baths are in the nude (yikes!) we were a bit nervous but decided to just embrace the culture of it all and kept reminding ourselves that no one knows us and we'll never see them again!  We opted to visit on the day where men and women were separate and could meet during stages 10 & 11 but we somehow totally missed each other with the timing so... we enjoyed the experience alone in separate sections of the building.

*Baden-Baden is the setting for Anna Karenina but has a different name

The next day we decided to try the other bath house since we enjoyed the first one so much. The second one was more modern and even had tanning beds to use.  It was half in suits and half out of them - lots of kids and more of a pool type experience with larger thermal baths and jets.  A great relaxing 24 hours away from home and away from feeding, lifting and disciplining our kids!  Thanks Chuck & Karen!
Enjoying a great lunch before heading home.
The road that leads to our village - the sun came out for us!
Back in Nanzdietschweiler we filled the grandparents in on our experiences and they filled us in on the girls and we headed out to dinner!  We got a few cute pictures of the girls in their matching outfits (thanks Sootie!).... oh, and the first time I've seen Evelyn ham it up for the camera... hilarious!
Bedtime dance... so fun!
This morning Grandma & Grandpa had to back home :(  We are so thankful they came to visit us and that we had the chance to show them our new life here.

Now, we have to jump back into the realities of life. I think it just hit us last night, oh yeah, we have to continue to transition into our new lives here... keep moving forward to meet more people and make friends... it's exhausting but at some point it'll be worth it, when we feel less lonely here and more in community!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

christmas & new years 2011.

We have been truly blessed this Christmas season with a lot of quiet family time here at home.  It's been tough to be away from our family this but we are so overly blessed to have BOTH our girls home this year!!  I'll give you a little recap of our time during these past two weeks.

Christmas Eve was a beautiful mix of chilling in our pj's and sippin' on some kaffee... and, getting out and about in Strasbourg, France!
We drove the 2 hours to visit the Christmas market in Strasbourg and loved the whole experience. We ate crepes, candy, pretzels and pizza on a baguette :)
Norah and me in front of the beautiful cathedral in the main square of the market.
Just an interesting tree that we saw every where in the city and these cute little stoplights for the pedestrians :)
Christmas day was another beautiful hit! We spent much of our day relaxing and eating. David prepared a mini feast for breakfast and then we had butternut squash soup for lunch and buffalo chicken sandwiches and cous cous salad for dinner.  What day of feasting! We gave the girls Happy Feet for Christmas and watched it midday for a break from our good food :)
After breakfast we had a few presents - really only two from us to the girls, a movie and a flashlight and I made Norah this apron since she loves helping in the kitchen these days!
We even caught some sisterly love on camera :)
The day after Christmas we were busy baking and cleaning!  David's parents arrived on the 28th and it has been so much fun to have them here.  We have been very much looking forward to having guests and showing our place to someone special.  They've definitely been spoiling the girls, as all grandparents should now and again, and making us feel just as special in the meantime!
Directly after arriving and getting reacquainted with the girls, present and cookies were on the docket!

The girls are enthralled by the little finger puppets Grandma brought them.
The girl loves her chocolate - so unlike me!
Two of the days and nights Karen & Chuck have been here we ventured to Munich.  It was a wet cold city this week but still beautiful and fun to experience.
Norah & Grandma enjoying the worlds largest cuckoo clock in downtown Munich
Just beyond me is the cuckoo clock in the tall tower - the figures dance and move around
Lovin' on Grandpa
On the way home home from Munich we took a few hours to explore Dachua concentration camp.  They have a very thorough museum of the camp and even a 20 minute video to help understand the history.  It was the first concentration camp in Germany and was in use 51 days after Hitler  took power.  This camp is not as large as some of the other camps but it is estimated that 200,000 prisoners lived there during the time it was open.  Having had crematoriums and one gas chamber (but never was used) they camp saw 31,351 deaths recorded (more that are unknown).

It was so moving to be there and to learn more about the war and the camps.  It is hard to process it all when you are there, standing on the ground that holds so many awful memories -- and we didn't have nearly enough time to take in all the information the large museum had to offer. 
This beautifully disturbing art is a center piece in the roll call area depicting many of the bodies of prisoners piled on top of each other awaiting cremation.


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