Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Saturday Update

Good morning!

We've had a great week here.  There were a couple of quiet days in between but here are the highlights:

  • Gran turned 91 on Monday, that's an achievement in itself these days! She had a quiet celebration dinner with my mum - she doesn't go in for big parties but she did enjoy it.
  • Baby group was a hit again, I love that it's a bit different every week but we always start and finish with the same songs. It's always nice to have the exchange with other mums.
  • We got the car fixed. It was a bit expensive for a highlight but at least we are safer on the road again.
  • I had a couple of medical check ups and everything is looking much better - touch wood. I'm feeling better right now too.
  • We had a lovely catch up with our friends Aynur and Mira. This is always a highlight for me. Next time it will be at the xmas market which opened this week.
  • Isabella is becoming more and more mobile. It's great to see but also scary how fast she can move! We'll be baby proofing before xmas.
  • And the big one...WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!! We finally got the keys last night. Obviously things have been in motion for a while but I didn't want to jinx it. Now it's offcial and we are heading over there this weekend to clean and paint so be prepared for lots of house updates!
Have a great weekend!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Christmas Cards - Round Four

It's the last one, I promise.

For the latest round of cards, I experimented with my Christmas paper stock and some 3D sticky tabs. I think these ones look a little more traditional and the tabs stop the cards from looking too flat and boring.

I also used more red cards this time which felt extra seasonal.

Of course I need  few more cards still but I plan to use some of the same techniques again. I'm still enjoying working in mini-batches after bedtime so I'll be keeping that up too.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Thanksgiving

While Thanksgiving is an American holiday and I'm not American or living in America, it is one of the holidays I almost wish we did celebrate as it's always good to be grateful. So today I'm thinking of all the things I am grateful for this year.

  • Our beautiful baby girl and her safe arrival in the world.
  • An amazing, patient husband.
  • Wonderful family and friends.
  • My job and fantastic colleagues.
  • Good health.
  • My gran making it to her 91st birthday this week.
  • Our cat, Pete.
  • So much time for crafting fun.
  • Sunshine and trips we've made.
  • Our car.
There are probably lots more things I can't think of right now but I am very grateful that we got through this very eventful year healthy and happy.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

November Goals Review

  • Sort out the christening guests - done!
  • 3 of my 30 things - 1 done, may get another done this weekend, watch this space.
  • Clear out my wardrobe - done!
  • Start on the Christmas presents - done!
  • Zumba once per week - done!
The most successful month for a while - roll on December!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Christmas Cards - Round Three!

The latest round of card making was a bit of a mix of techniques as I sorted through what card stock I have left over. I finished using those stick ons, used some of my German text stickers and dipped into my paper stock. 

My favourite is that stripy one and I'm going to experiment with the paper some more tonight. 

I'm really enjoying working with these small batches after bedtime instead of pressuring myself to do them all at once. It helps me come up with fresh ideas and not get so bored.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Food Links

We haven't tried any new recipes this week so I'm sharing some of my favourite foody links from around the web today.

Another colitis patient with lots of handy tips and recipes.

I really want to try these soon since they are in season.

A dessert that's been on my wishlist for a while.

Another approach I'm looking into.

A gluten free snack to try.

Another seasonal recipe making my mouth water.

I love Sarah's Kitchen Globetrotter series.

Combining two of my favourite flavours.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Saturday Update

What a week!  It has absolutely flown by.

We notched up 12000 steps on the pedometer on Monday when Isabella and I took our first tram ride into Bremen for some shopping, breakfast and coffee with some friends. The weather was so nice we sat outside in the market square for coffee. I think that's a first for November. It's always great to meet up with mum friends and swap tips. We may be on to a new place for family swimming.

Tuesday was our second week at baby gym. This week we had mirrors and a rocker for playtime as well as the songs and advice round. Isabella was very curious again with so many other babies.

Our quiet day was Wednesday. We were home getting jobs done. 

We had lunch with a friend on Thursday before heading to school for the Christmas market. It was great to catch up with colleagues and pupils. I can't believe how fast the kids change! It was a bit too much for Isabella but she slept well afterwards.

Friday was another day of chores and getting bits and bobs done.

The christening is all planned - godparents, flights and accommodation for guests. I've started Christmas gift shopping and I'm on track with getting back into zumba (not that Isabella is happy about that).  All in all, a productive week.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Christmas Cards - Round Two

Tonight I got around to a little more card making. I wanted to continue on the simple theme - especially since I'm squeezing in this craft time after baby bed time.

I found this Christmas themed washi tape at Idee on Monday and used it to make some cards in the same style as the October and November birhday cards.

When I'd finished, I felt like there was something missing so I dug through my supplies and added some little green Christmas tree stamps which matched the tape.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Christmas Cards - Round One

Yesterday, I started work on this year's Christmas cards. I've been making them myself for a few years now and while I plan to try a new technique later, for the first ones, I stuck to something tried and tested.

I really like these stick on details. They are easy to work with and you can make the cards as minimalistic or as busy as you like. As you can see, I go for the more simplistic look.

The colour theme is always the same for me - green, red and cream. Those colours are Christmas for me.

Looking forward to trying some different ideas next week too. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Crochet Winter Hat

While I was shopping for Christmas card stock on Monday, I stumbled across a display of hat crochet kits and bought a simple one.

With the help of a few youtube videos and a patient husband, I had this one done in a day and a half.

I love the colour and the hat is wonderfully warm. I'm looking forward to wearing it lots this season and making some more too.

If you are interested, you can find this kit and others here.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Reading Review

Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

This is a book I never would have picked up had it not been on the BBC top 100 list and it took some getting into but it really was worth it.

This is Owen Meany's life story told from the point of view of his best friend. There are lots of twists and it's actually quite funny. The charcters are so well written and the story very compelling. It kept me guessing right to the end.

Disgrace - Jussi Adler-Olson

This is the second book in the department Q series and it was another good, fast read. As with lots of the Scandanavian crime novels, there was a complex plot with well formed characters.  The main detective is quite the underdog but it's also easy to identify with him. Again, I'm really looking forward to the next of these.

Dune - Frank Herbert

Again, not a book that would normally find its way onto my radar but one of the top 100 and I'm glad I read it.  Sci-fi is not my go to genre and it took me a while to get into this one because of the new jargon and unfamiliar names that took a while to recognize and get used to. (I later discovered a glossary at the back of the book.)

Dune is the now almost 'typical' story of a race war,set on the planet Arrakis.  Considering when the book was written though, this must have been one of the earlier versions of such a story. It is very cleverly written and the politics could be applied to a number of real world settings.

The characters weren't as enjoyable for me in this book but the story made up for that.  I'd still say this was a book for sci-fi fans more than anything.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Recipe: Cottage Pie

Ingredients:

  • 500g potatoes
  • 1 leek
  • 1 onion
  • 250g mince
  • 4 carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomato puree
  • Worcester sauce
  • Stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • Milk
  • Cream cheese
  • Parmesan
Instructions:
  1. Boil the potatoes for fifteen minutes, draining the water and adding the leek for the last two minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, brown the onion and mince for five minutes.
  3. Add the carrots and mushrooms followed by the puree, worcester sauce, stock and seasoning. Simmer for fifteen minutes before transfering to an oven dish.
  4. Mash the potatoes with the milk and cream cheese and cover the sauce. Grate the cheese on top.
  5. Bake for twenty minutes.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Saturday Update

Things were fairly quiet around here this week. Nico was back at work and apart from Baby Gym, Isabella had no appointments. 

We got back into a slight routine but one thing I'm learning quickly is that routines never really last long with babies. Our main change this week has been a new high chair which has made it easier to feed Isabella and sometimes easier to do chores while she's awake, depending on her mood.

I'm even making a slow start with other projects, clearing out my wardrobe and Christmas shopping. Little and often seems to be the key there.

Next week could be hectic with the car being repaired, coffee with a friend, baby gym, lunch with a friend and the autumn market at school as well as our usual 'routine'.  Have a good one!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Link Round Up

Some of the sites catching my attention lately:

Planning to make these soon.

Brought a tear to my eye.

Something to make me pick up my needles again.

Still loving these essays.

Future sewing project...and this.

Constantly finding life inspiration here.

How many of these have you read?

Started the Christmas shopping this week.



Thursday, 13 November 2014

Clearing Out

source
While I wish I had Carrie Bradshaw's wardrobe, I don't have the space or the finances. I cleared out my wardrobe last year but have been thinking about doing it again for a long time.

I finally got around to it this week and probably got rid of about a quarter of it. Despite several previous attempts, there were things in there that I wore aged 18, and probably never again since. There were also plenty of things that didn't fit.

I tried to follow a few rules:
  • out goes anything that doesn't fit.
  • out goes anything to grubby/overwashed to wear any more.
  • out goes anything I wouldn't wear any more

I have been on a spending diet when it comes to clothes ever since I moved to Germany so many of the clothes are older and I often forget what's in there. While I'm still a way off, I plan to keep cutting down until I can wear anything I put my hand on.  

Apart from the obvious space saving and time saving, there is something very therapeutic about a clearout. I am looking forward to much more clearing out.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Currently...

...dreaming about the near future.
...filling boxes.
...enjoying baby giggles.
...feeling refreshed.
...watching birds on the balcony.
...socialising with other mummies.
...preparing for some fun family events.
...clearing out my closet.
...eating healthily again.
...cosying up on these dark nights.
...making plans for a quieter but fun 2015!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Baby Gym

This morning, Isabella and I went to our first baby gym! I wasn't at all sure what to expect but it was really good. It was more of a play group in that we started and finished with songs - I sang in public for the first time ever...and in German!

We had an introduction round and the leader explained about baby development. There was also time for questions and answers. 

There were seven babies there, all at a very similar age and development. Isabella was curious as ever and there were some sympathy tears again - as with baby massage. There were giggles too though when we were doing the actions to some of the songs.

I can't wait to see how the group develops and how it helps Isabella. It was really great to mix with other parents and babies - something we should do more of.

We're already looking forward to next week!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Recipe: Stuffed Pumpkin

Ingredients:

  • 1 pumpkin
  • Olive oil
  • 250g mince
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3tbsp tomato purree
  • 1 red pepper
  • Salt, pepper, chilli, coriander, parsley
Instructions:
  1. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and place face up in a baking dish in the oven at 200℃ for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, brown the mince, add the onion and garlic for five minutes before adding the tomato puree, red pepper and spices.
  3. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and fill both halves with the mince mixture before returning it to the oven for half an hour.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Saturday Update

Not a lot to report here. We had a nice quiet week, getting lots done around the flat and binge watching Boston Legal.

Last night we had a lovely meal with friends in their lovely new flat in Bremen. It was lovely to see them again and have an evening out with Isabella.

Next week Nico is back at work and Isabella and I will be attending baby gym. I'll be continuing work on this month's goals and seeing more friends.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

October Project Life


I really enjoyed this project again this month. We were pretty busy so it is quite photo heavy.
This month, instead of printing all the photos I like and trying to fit them in, I planned out the spread and cropped some photos to make them fit. Unfortunately, this meant that some quality was lost but it did mean I could experiment with filters too.
At the end, I added a square insert for our Harz trip and I love the look. Embelishments from the Seafoam kit and tourist information.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Harz Photos

As I talked about on Saturday, we had  couple of days in the Harz last week. Here are some photos from the trip.

The view from our flat

On the walk up to the castle

Arriving at Wernigerode castle

On the castle tour

An impressive building

The view of the Brocken

Walking to the top of the hill

A sneaky break with my extra six kilos

Finding our way

Looking back down on the castle

Beautiful view

Amazing light in the forest...

...and shadows

The smallest house

Love these little streets

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

November Goals

First up a review of my October goals:
  • Plan Isabella's christening - we have a date! Just the guests and food to plan.
  • Repot the lemon and avocado plants - done!
  • 3 of my 30 things - 2 done, still on track.
  • Clear out my wardrobe - not yet done - see November.
  • Start planning for Christmas - plans made, action to start in November.
  • Put out the Autumn decorations - done!

Now my November goals:
  • Sort out the christening guests.
  • 3 of my 30 things.
  • Clear out my wardrobe.
  • Start on the Christmas presents.
  • Zumba once per week.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Recipe: Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

  • Pumpkin
  • Onions
  • 500ml stock
  • Fried onion pieces
  • Spices
Instructions:
  1. Chop the onions and pumpkin and roast for about 40 minutes at 180℃.
  2. Transfer the pieces to a pan with the stock and spice to taste. Bring to the boil and simmer for 40-60 minutes.
  3. Top with tge onion pieces.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Saturday Update

We had a wonderful relaxing week.

We spent the first half in Wernigerode in the Harz. It was our first family break and quieter than usual with a four month old, but just what we needed.

On our full day, we walked up to the castle, took the tour and had a coffee before walking back to the car. We had amazing weather and Isabella was brilliant in the baby carrier for so long. 

We bought some Harz walking passes where you can collect stamps on different hikes and we can't wait to start filling them on our next trip.

After the busy year it was very relaxing to be away and have some quiet time together.

We spent the second half of the week with Nico's family to celebrate his mum's birthday. It's always great to see Isabella with family and she was crazily excited for those two days.

Now we are home again for a quiet second week of holidays, enjoying some quiet time at home getting bits and bobs done.