Monday, 31 March 2014

March Goals Review

 Talk about pushing the deadlines, I just finished this list yesterday.  Saying that, I did a better job this month than in January or February.  Considering what a busy month it has been, I am feeling very good about all of these things and ready and raring to go for April!
  • Complete the next quilting project - loved this, check it out here.
  • Find a midwife - very happy to have this organised.
  • Plant some basil seeds - still growing well.
  • Order my new contact lenses - done, despite a little set back.
  • Skype with my best friend- done, but already due for the next one!
  • Meet with my boss about maternity cover for my classes - done although not a success as we still have to cover for English!
  • Stock up at Idee for next month's birthday cards - done, looking forward to my April session this week.
  • Apply for parental leave and pay - I didn't realise these were two seperate forms so parental leave is done and pay will be done in April.
  • Finish writing my 30 things list  - done, looking forward to revealing these this week.
  • Get a haircut - done and still loving it.
  • Take a tour at the hospital - done and feeling much more prepared and secure about the whole process.
  • Prepare the balcony for Spring - done at the very last minute - it was hard work but I am loving how it is looking and looking forward to the next step in April.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Saturday Update

It has been a looong busy week this week.  There have been lots of ups and downs - most of which I have been posting about throughout the week.  I had a loooong lie in this morning to make up for all the craziness and insomnia attacks and am finally feeling a little more like myself again and ready for the weekend, a short work week and holidays!

We found a midwife and my first appointment went well yesterday.  She is very thorough.  We listened to the little heartbeat which was just perfect.  I will be taking my antenatal course with her in April and May, possibly having some accupuncture, and then having eight weeks of follow up appointments after the birth.  It feels really good to have that extra support with our first little one.

Work was crazy with lots of trips and events going on and having a full time table again but I took it in my stride and took my time getting around - I feel like an elephant moving around school and there are still two months to go!!  There's still no cover for most of my classes which is worrying and makes me feel a little guilty - especially for my exam groups, but at the end of the day, it's the system which needs to be sorted out.  

There was good and bad news from home.  My gran had a fall and broke her wrist - not something to take lightly at ninety but luckily, she is dealing well with it and everyone is keeping an eye on her.  She sounds surprisingly upbeat on the phone so that is good.

After a quiet time on the creative front, it felt good to get back into knitting and get another project under my belt this week.  I am hoping the holidays will give me the time and energy to boost myself on that front and get some new projects going.

This weekend, we are taking things easy and getting bits and bobs done.  Hopefully I will manage to get the last of the March goals ticked off ready for the new month.  The nice weather makes everything seem possible again!  Hope you have a good one too!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Sweeter Dreams

From the little research I have done, I expected crazy dreams during pregnancy and even some insomnia but I thought the insomnia would be brought on by the baby moving about.  

The sleeplessness has only just kicked in but I'm finding it really hard to pinpoint what is causing it.  I don't have trouble nodding off but when I wake up at two or three in the morning, there is no getting back to sleep.

However, for the last few nights things have improved again and I thought I would share some of the things I've been trying on here in case someone else could benefit from them.

It's a long time since I went to bed without reading a few pages first.  If we watch TV until bed time, I find it much harder to switch off.  It's not something that I've changed lately but something I really recommend.

First of all, as soon as I get into bed, I've started filling out a gratitude journal.  Lately, what with all the hormones, lots of things have been getting me down and I wondered if that might be what keeps me awake, so I decided to take the focus off the negative and start appreciating the good things.  I aim to write at least three things each day and so far it is working.  I go to sleep feeling much more positive.

Something I have been using for a while that suddenly started working is one of these pregnancy pillows.  It helps soo much.  I thought it was just to stop pregnant women rolling onto their stomachs but it really helps with the joint pains and heartburn and for the last two nights I haven't moved in my sleep.

Finally, I have been applying lavender to my temples and pulse points before I go to sleep.  We used to just use it when we couldn't sleep but now I use it all the time.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Knitting Project

It took a little longer than I thought but I loved putting this little guy together.  He is another character from one of the books from my mum - same as the whale and the Easter chicks from last year.  There are also a few accessories I may make the little guy... 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Recipe: Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Ingredients:
  • Two chicken fillets
  • Two peppers
  • Two courgettes
  • Two carrots
  • Rice
  • One can of apricots
  • One can of coconut milk
  • Honey
  • Salt
  • Curry
  • Turmeric
Instructions:
  1. Brown the meat in a wok.  At the same time cook the rice.
  2. Add the carrots to the meat.
  3. Add the coconut milk. 
  4. Add the courgette and peppers.
  5. Spice to taste.
  6. Add the apricots to the rice.
  7. Serve together and enjoy.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Les Miserables

source
Left to my own devices on Saturday evening, I finally got around to watching this film.  I bought it just after finishing the book which I really enjoyed and then forgot all about it until I was searching for something to watch that Nico wouldn't mind missing out on (I'm saving the SATC marathon for maternity leave).

I really enjoyed the film.  Enough time had passed between reading the novel and watching the musical for me to forgive the changes made to the plot.  Of course, I will always believe that the book is better than the film but this time I really felt that the film was a nice reminder of the story.

The only criticism I would have is that absolutely everything is done through song and it gets a little repetitive.  Of course, I expect a lot of music in a musical but I prefer the likes of Grease where the dialogue is still plain dialogue and the musical numbers generally fit to the story line.  By repetitive I mean that often it seemed the same music was used with different words rather than having a whole new song.  However, the numbers were so epic that I could overlook this.

On the positive side, I liked the acting and the singers were very powerful.  Russel Crowe's singing voice really reminded me of someone else and it is driving me a little crazy but I can't figure out where I have heard it before.  I've probably mentioned before that singing is my big no go so I have a huge level of respect for anyone who sings in public, especially when it's not directly how they learn their living.

Monday, 24 March 2014

We have a midwife!!

After much searching, emailing and ringing around we have finally secured ourselves a midwife!

This wasn't something I even thought about until another pregnant colleague told me that she was trying to find one and they were all booked up until September.

I didn't even know that you have to find one yourself here in Germany.  We will actually have two midwives.  One who helps us through the preparation and the first weeks with the baby, and one who delivers the baby in hospital, unless there are complications, which is when they call the doctor.

The problem is that Summer is very busy because many midwives take holidays then, plus more babies tend to be born then.  A couple of midwives I spoke to are actually expecting their own babies in June.  The added problem is that German insurance companies are boosting the premiums for midwives next year, forcing many of them out of practice.

Anyway, we have been very lucky at last to find a midwife - and one who is actually based in Huchting.  She offers prenatal courses and post natal check ups which are covered by my health insurance.  I am so excited to be meeting with her on Friday to discuss our future treatment.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sweet video

So Tom and Giovanna Fletcher (McFly) did it again and brought me and my hormones to tears this morning with this sweet sweet video:


Oh who am I kidding this and this brought me to tears well before I could blame it on the hormones!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

The Saturday Update


Well, what a week it has been!  I am absolutely shattered and looking forward to catching up on some sleep this weekend.  SInce the weather is no longer playing along, I think I am just going to curl up with a good book.

It's been a full on week at work, even though year nine are still out on work experience, our class have been more than making up for it the demands on our energy!  There's also been a lot going on with extra activities and that will only continue next week with our trip to the cinema on Monday.  I am soooo ready for the Easter holidays, they can't come soon enough!

Apart from that, things have been pretty quiet - I haven't had the energy to do much on an evening.  I'm on with a new knitting project but it's not moving all that fast.  The never ending midwife search is getting me down.  I'm hoping to have it resolved soon - even if it means not having one.

I did receive some nice and unexpected letters in the post so I will be sitting down to answer them this weekend at some point.

Pete had his teeth cleaned on Thursday.  It sounds like nothing but being an indoor cat, it's important and he had to be put out for it which always worries me.  He was certainly very unsteady on his feet on Thursday evening but soon back to his normal self.  Another blessing I am counting at the moment.

I was also nominated for the #nomakeupselfie challenge this week, as you can see above.  It's for such a great cause that I couldn't not play along.  It really has been a week for reflecting and counting my blessings.

The baby is growing.  It seems to be finally getting to grips with day and night, more active at school and letting me sleep a little easier.  Unfortunately he/she is growing faster than my tummy can and my kidneys/ribs are taking the brunt of it at the moment.  Looking forward to the well earned break today and tomorrow.

P.S. Made me smile this week.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Brutal Honesty

One thing about my job is that you can always rely on pupils to be brutally honest with you, especially the younger ones.  This week it's been nice to have some positive comments on my new haircut.  (Only one pupil said just 'but why?'!)  Sometimes though, you have to develop quite a thick skin to last long in teaching.

One particular pupil was astounded to learn I was pregnant this week despite seeing me every day.  When we asked her if she hadn't noticed, she said 'I haven't seen you with your stomach lately...'  I almost pointed out to her that I hadn't been anywhere without it lately!

I don't mind that though - I did mind when the pupils thought I was pregnant last summer.  Cue crash diet!  No, seriously though, it is one of the joys of my job to collect some of their little comments.  I think the following may be my all time favourite:

Pupil 1: 'Miss, are you married?'
Me: 'No.'
Pupil 2: 'Do you have children?'
Pupil 1:  'Are you deaf?  She just said she's not married!'

I will miss this when I am on maternity leave.  The pupils are really the best thing about the job.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

New Haircut


So I finally went for the chop last week.  I wanted something more practical for when the baby comes.  I had my hair cut short just once before when about fourteen years ago and couldn't stand the waves but thankfully, then along cam hair straighteners so I decided to give it a go again.  And...

I am really pleased with the results.  It's much easier to deal with so far and cooler for Summer.  It is a big change but I think it's a bigger change for those who have to look at me.  I keep forgetting until another pupil or colleague comments.

I thought I would be more sentimental but it was okay.  After the hairdresser cut off my ponytail there was no going back.  I couldn't let him throw it out though so the above image is what I wake up to at the moment - I can't figure out what to do with it but can't stand to throw it away!!

As it grows back I want to try doing a little more with it.  It's always either down or ponytail with me - even now although the ponytail is barely there!  I need some inspiration!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Mario vs Sonic

source
We recently became a gaming household with the purchase of a Playstation 3.  It's been quite therapeutic to have a game on an evening - racing each other or having a game of chess.  

Growing up, I never had a playstation, we were more of a gameboy household and as such, grew up with Mario.  I loved the Mario games!  Playing this week has taken me right back.

Unfortunately Mario isn't available on Playstation but his long lost cousin, Sonic is and it arrived today.  This could be dangerous!  My only memories of Sonic are when we went to visit distant relatives on Boxing Day - they had a Playstation and were more than happy to whip us at Sonic!  

It really makes me wonder what kind of childhood memories our little one will have one day.  At least there's one we will kind of share.

What were your favourites growing up?  Any recommendations for us?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Monday, 17 March 2014

Fruit Milkshake

Ever since our trip to Buesum, I have been getting a little too into milkshakes.  I hadn't had one since I was little but now that I have been reminded and can blame everything on the bump, I was going a little crazy.  

Luckily, I have an amazing husband who whipped me up this healthy shake with some frozen fruit and yoghurt - delicious! 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Knitted Penguin Jumper

My second knitting project of the week is this penguin jumper.  It was a little more involved than my whale earlier this week but still fairly quick - done in just three days and it allowed me to use up some of my crazy coloured extra wool.

The jumper is part of this project and I'll be posting it off later in the week.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

The Saturday Update

This week was a short week at work as I spent Monday and Tuesday sweating out a cold at home.  As usual with these things, the mornings were worse so we made it to the hospital tour on Monday evening and I was still not 100% on Wednesday but it was nice to be back with my classes.

I think being pregnant meant that I was knocked a little harder than usual as I couldn't just blitz this cold with lemsip like I usually do and we had to find as many homeopathic remedies as we could.  They took a little longer but eventually did the trick.

Despite the setback, I made some progress with my March goals this week - I picked up my contact lenses, spoke to my boss about cover for my lessons, Skyped with my best friend, took the maternity ward tour and got a haircut!  Whew!  

We're planning a quiet weekend but I hope to get some more goals off the list over the next couple of days too.  I also spent most of the week reading Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy and am looking forward to finishing that and indulging in the film over the weekend too.

Apart from that I got back into knitting - more to come on that - and we watched a new series, dubbed into German, called 'The Bridge'.  It's a crime drama set between Denmark and Sweden.  It was really good - I like Scandanavian series and films.

We also experienced this this week and it was really nice to see a sign of things to come hopefully.  It brought out the wildlife and I watched what I thought was a black and white squirrel in the garden the other morning - I now think it may have been a marten!

Next week is already the last week without year nine - a couple of whom I randomly ran into on their work experience places this week - but still, a full work week so I will be spending the next two days relaxing before it starts again!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Basil Update

The first basil update - the little green shoots are finally making their way through!  It's very exciting!  So looking forward to eating things we have grown ourselves this summer.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Maternity Ward Tour

On Monday evening we headed back to the hospital to get more information on the maternity ward and process and other things we need to do in the next three months.

I wasn't really sure what to expect.  One nice thing about the whole pregnancy process for me is that it is new to both of us and I have no experience of the UK system so nothing to compare it to really.  We're learning as we go along and with advice from friends and colleagues which feels really nice.

The evening started with the head midwife and one of the doctors giving a talk in a lecture theatre and taking questions.  This bit was especially good for me as I learnt lots of vocabulary that will be useful - although I am not sure I will remember it all while in labour...  The process made everything seem much more real and a little scary but nothing too bad. For the parts that did worry me, I felt it was better to have time to consider them rather than have them sprung on me during labour.  It was great to be able to imagine the labour a little more clearly though.

After the questions we were taken on a tour of the maternity ward.  There is a waiting area with warmed seats and then several birth rooms which were, for my expectations, very modern and spacious.  Each one has a big bed and a bath for water births.  They have been renovated fairly recently and have lots of modern equipment.  The dimmed lights made them seem quite calming and I hope it has the same effect in June.

The post-birth process was also explained to us.  There are rooms where you can stay with one other mother and baby for two to five days depending how the birth goes.  

All in all, I was really impressed with the system and the facilities and am looking forward to going back while on maternity leave to formally register there.  We got lots of information so now it is onto the search for a midwife!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Knitted Whale

While waiting for some a wool shopping trip to finish another project I am working on, I had a browse through some of the patterns I have and the wool I have and here is the result.  I think it is very cute.  Looking forward to working on some more of these projects.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Recipe: Chicken in Peanut Sauce





Ingredients:


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 200 ml stock
  • 1 tsp green curry paste
  • 3 tbsp cheese spread
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • Mint
  • 1 tsp honey
Instructions:

  1. Brown the chicken pieces.
  2. Add the garlic and carrots for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the stock, curry paste, cheese and peanut butter.  Allow to simmer for fifteen minutes.
  4. Season to taste, adding the mint and honey.
  5.  Serve with rice.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Spring Photo Walk!

 At the weekend it seemed that Spring arrived early.  We took advantage of the amazing weather and temperatures to have a wander with our cameras.
 I managed to get some snaps of Nico to make sure he is well represented in this month's project life spread.
 The sunshine seemed to bring lots of people out of doors and we saw lots of people out on the bikes or by the lake.
 It was even warm enough for summer clothes and no coat!!  Love this bump photo.  Big contrast to last weekend's weather!
 Alone the blue skies make me feel more inspired and positive!
 Nature is finally waking up after the winter.  I can't believe that it is almost exactly a year since my hen weekend when we were knee deep in snow!
 Taking some snaps of my own.
 The ducks are out napping in force - this is Spring for me.
 I love that we live so near the green and the water.  Hope to make more of that this summer.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Sewing Project 2014 - 6 Triangle Cushion Cover

Yesterday I completed the third project from Elise's Quilting Course.  I am soooo in love with this one.  I absolutely love Elise's blog and style and for me it feels like having a little bit of that in our home now as this pattern is something you see a lot of in her work.

I learnt some new skills in this project - adding a zipper and doing lots and lots of ironing in between each stage.  It was complicated and did take longer than the others but I love the results and I feel more prepared for the future projects.

I was really worried when I saw this project that being a type A personality, I would be really frustrated that the lines don't match up perfectly but to be honest, I hardly notice it in the finished product - I absolutely love the effect of all the triangles.  The material is also a soft felt and gives the cushion a much more professional finish - I love it!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

The Saturday Update

It's been a little more relaxing this week.  We had a case of Scarlet Fever at school which means all pregnant teachers are sent home for four days so I finished for the weekend at Wednesday lunchtime.  The work week was going well up until then as I had some extra time with year nine being out.  It's taken some of the sting out of the long month of March and I am ready to go back on Monday.

On Thursday we had our latest scan and a diabetes test.  Results on Monday but all looks good there - touchwood.  I had a couple of sleepless nights with all the wriggling that is going on in there but it is not every night.  We are planning to visit the hospital on Monday to have a look at the maternity section and get some more information.

I got lots of bits and bobs done and read a lot with my two days off.  I even got back on the bike to cycle to the Roland Center in this lovely weather before getting the tram into town.  It felt good to be out and about in the fresh air.  I joined Nico's growing campaign and we are going to be doing some more gardening over the weekend - inspired by the sunshine.

I'm also working on some new craft projects and rattling through those March goals.  Once again, I feel like we are really making progress just being out of February!

P.S.  Another good link I found this morning.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Links!

Some interesting finds on the web lately:

Very true.

Calling out to my nesting instincts.

Another good European expat blog.

Made me laugh.

My latest project.

A new source of craft inspiration.

And another.

You can find my regular favourites on the sidebar too.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Currently...

...reading Wolf Hall.
...relaxing at home with my boys after an outbreak of scarlet fever at work.
...watching those basil seeds carefully for changes.
...drinking lots of hot lemon to fight off a cold.
...walking around Huchting to make the most of the glorious weather.
...starting new projects.
...writing good old fashioned penpal letters.
...sitting on the balcony more.
...cuddling with Pete.
...enjoying the look on his face when the bump wants to play.
...congratulating friends on the many babies born in the last weeks.
... feeling blessed and inspired as Spring makes its first appearance.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Basil

As per my March goals, I got started today and planted some basil.  Well I say planted...here are some things I learned during the process:

  • Basil seeds have to be on top of the soil so that they get lots of light.
  • There's more than one kind of soil (not just clay, sandy etc) and you should use a specific type for planting seeds.
  • I can avoid overwatering by using a spray bottle to spray water onto the seeds.
  • Our nursery is filling up very quickly.
I'll let you know how the seedlings get on.  I love fresh basil in salads or pasta dishes in Summer so I hope they grow well.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

March Goals

Handing in our tax return yesterday officially finished off my January and February goals.  I haven't been sharing my monthly goals this year - January's list was crazy long and fairly mundane.  February's was very short.  This month I have finally found a balance and decided to share again on here as it inspires me to get things done!  So here goes:

  • Complete the next quilting project
  • Find a midwife
  • Plant some basil seeds
  • Order my new contact lenses
  • Skype with my best friend (arranged for Sunday)
  • Meet with my boss about maternity cover for my classes
  • Stock up at Idee for next month's birthday cards
  • Apply for parental leave and pay
  • Finish writing my 30 things list
  • Get a haircut
  • Take a tour at the hospital
  • Prepare the balcony for Spring
Look out for some regular updates this month!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Project Life: February

 It took me a while to put this month's spread together but I am still really enjoying the monthly spreads rather than weekly.  It gives me more time to be creative and really tell the stories that happened that month.
 Some of the techniques I kept the same such as the monthly review typed journalling and some different sized inserts.  Each page really tells a different story from the month and I like that.
 I also tried some new things this month - my stamps from Elise's online shop arrived so I went a little bit crazy with those but I love the effect and am really looking forward to using the rest over the next months.  I also remembered that I ordered her calendar which can be incorporated into Project Life and enjoyed using that too.
I managed to get more pictures of Nico in there this month and am planning on keeping that up.  I am also still enjoying playing with colours and I love the coral kit.  Looking forward to journalling what this month brings!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Buesum


 We spent this weekend in Buesum on the north coast of Germany.  I got Nico a voucher for a wellness weekend for Christmas and we finally managed to book it.
We drove up on Saturday morning and after checking in we headed straight to the spa.  It was very relaxing - we enjoyed the steam room and relaxing with our books on the loungers.  The only disappointment was the lack of a pool even though I am convinced I saw one somewhere on the website.  The main thing is that we came out relaxed.
We had our evening meal in the hotel and got an early night after a long, tiring day.  We were up bright and early on Sunday for a lovely breakfast in the hotel followed by a walk around the town and onto the beach.  The weather wasn't amazing but we enjoyed the break and made the most of it. 
It was great for me to see somewhere new in Germany and we were both happy to have been away and be more relaxed.




Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Saturday Update

Another crazy long week.  The whole month of February has dragged, despite it being the shortest of them all.  Finally it is behind us and we are into March.

It's been really busy at work again.  I've been sole in charge of our class while a colleague is off sick and I honestly do not know how anyone manages a class without a co-teacher!  Anyway, she should be back next week and I am looking forward to teaming up again.  Also, year nine will be on work experience for the next three weeks so my timetable should let up a bit.

Apart from that I got a little bit more creative and productive again this week which felt good, but was tiring.  I did a lot of reading, made those birthday cards and finished our tax return.

This weekend we are heading to the coast for some relaxation at a spa - my Christmas present to Nico, we are really looking forward to it and then it is back to work and into a new month of goals and projects.  There's lots to do to get ready for the birth - more than we realised so that is a big priority - but first, that relaxation...