Tuesday, 31 March 2015

March Goal Review

Here are my goals this month:
  • Tidy/sort/unpack the hobby room - done!
  • Keep up with my fortnightly knitting course - done!
  • One sewing project - two done!
  • Get back on the bike - done! (Until it was stolen...)
  • Garden once per week - done!
  • Have a family outing - done! We went swimming!
Very successful month!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Make it Monday - Kitchen Blind


Last week I finally got around to taking down our Winter kitchen blind and making this nice short one for the brighter seasons. This one was just as simple. 

I made it a little wider so that it gathers more, which I like. 

I also used the same material as the door stoppers so it ties in nicely.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Saturday Update

It's holidays at last! It was a very short work week because of the third strike on Tuesday. It was a really interesting day. I was even interviewed for Bremen radio! Gone a long way from GCSE German speaking exam!

We've started the paleo diet and while it's fairly time consuming, it's tasty and I'm feeling good so far.

I got to take Isabella to her swimming course yesterday which was fun. She's like a fish! She's also started pointing at everything.

Apart from that it's been the usual little projects around the house. I'm hoping there'll be lots more of that these holidays. We're in the garden today - weather permitting and then we're getting ready for visits over the next couple of weeks.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Garden Corner

Things are really getting busy in the garden now that Spring is starting. We've got family coming to help us out tomorrow and with school holidays we have a little more time out there.

I've been starting my mini-projects here indoors. This week I planted my basil and repotted the dill. I think the dill was a little too delicate and may not make it. 

You can also see how the avocado is thriving and the lemon plant is still going strong.

Next up - the new balcony!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Paleo Experiment

Now that it's holidays I'm finally able to spend some time getting on top of things health-wise and part of that is trying to find a diet that helps me reduce my meds.

Yesterday we stocked up for our meals until Saturday which basically meant vegetables, meat and fish. We'll be starting this morning with beef patties (sounds better than burgers for breakfast).

I'll let you know how we got on next week.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Top 5 Childhood Games

Monopoly

This must be a favourite in most families. It's a classic! It could get a little competetive in our house but I can't wait until Isabella's old enough.

Trivial Pursuit

I always remember my parents playing this with their friends and I was desperate to be old enough to play.We had the junior version. We now have it in German and English.

Operation

We never owned this game but Boxing Days were especially magical as we could raid our cousins' collection and play this one.

Hungry Hippos

A real kids game - we used to love this fast and furious entertainment.

Super Mario

Of course we did have Gameboys in my childhood and this was a solid family favourite. It brings back many memories!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Make it Monday - Bunting

A friend recently inspired me to finally start decorating Isabella's room.  She wanted to make some bunting and I thought it was a great idea. 
I chose three fabrics that tied into her yellow room. I cut one triangle and used that as the template for the others. I cut four from each fabric.

I'd previously ordered some white and yellow ribbon which I now pinned these pieces to, leaving a gap between each triangle half as wide as the triangle.

I used the machine to stitch the pieces in place and voila! Done! 

Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Saturday Update

This week actually flew by. School was good, I'm up to date with planning and marking, meetings went well.

Isabella and Nico had a good week and got out in the garden too.

The in-laws visited on Wednesday and we had a lovely afternoon together.

Several projects have been ticked off the list, sewing, gardening, house...lots of posts coming up.

Just two more days at work before the Easter holidays. Looking forward to lots of family time soon!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Easter Fun

In Germany, little Easter eggs like these pop up on trees around about this time every year. This year we finally have a garden with trees to hang ours on! I love how it brightens up the garden.

Spring is blooming around here; I'm excited for Isabella's first Easter, I'm excited for Easter events in our new neighbourhood, I'm excited for this new season.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

First Birthdays

At the weekend we went to a friend's baby's first birthday party. It was really nice. First of all, they are English so it was a mixed party and it was niceto meet new people and mix English and German.

Secondly it was nice to remember all those childhood traditions - birthday cake with candles and singing, buffet food, kiddies presents, party dresses and special photos.

It's also always good to see the little ones together. Isabella is gathering baby friends fast and I love to see her mix with other tots. She's usually entranced.

I can't wait to plan Isabella's 1st birthday!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Top 5 Childhood Films

1. The Little Mermaid

This was the first film I ever saw at the cinema, aged about 5. It's always been my favourite Disney even though I cried all the way home that day, heartbroken that Ariel had to leave her family for her prince. Already got this one lined up for Isabella.

2. E.T. 

I loved this tale of friendship even though it was another tearjerker. It's such a classic. Some films lose effect over time but not this one.

3. Back to the Future

All three of these bring back such happy memories of fun films that I didn't cry over! I loved all three but especially the second as it hardly ever seemed to be on. The actors were brilliant as was the concept (even if it is disappointing that we have no hoverboards here in 2015).

4. Three Men and a Little Baby

Another fun 80s one with a happy ending. This was also the start of my following the avuncular Tom Selleck. Watching three single men try to bring up a baby...brilliant. Again, the sequel somehow seemed better as it was more elusive.

5. Labrynth

This was one that scared and thrilled me in equal measures. I always wanted to watch the riddle scene again to figure it out. I bought and watched this again a couple of years ago but it wasn't the same.

Special mentions: Flight of the Navigator, Batteries not Included, Crocodile Dundee, Home Alone

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Pruning

Having repotted our indoor plants, we're now starting to focus on the garden more as and when the weather lets us.

The first two jobs have been preparing the soil and pruning. The garden was clearly well cared for by the previous owners but there's a lot to do after some months of neglect and the winter months. Also, there are some things we just want to have differently.

I've never pruned anything in my life so after some tips from Nico and checking out some diagrams, I got to work on the lavender and hortensias. It's slow progress but it's coming along.

Isabella joined us outside in her new waterproofs and she loves having a change of scenery now and then.

The nice thing about the previous owners' hard work is that the first blooms are coming through with snowdrops and crocuses and thanks to Nico's gran we have even more colour from the pansies! 

I love this season and I'm so excited about getting some more done.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Make it Monday - Knitted Newborn Booties

This is the latest project in my new knitting course. Cute little booties. Too small for Isabella but they will make a nice gift for someone so it's just as well they are gender neutral for now. (I plan to add a lining at some point.

This was a more technical project and it was good to practise new skills.

Looking forward to the next one!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

The Saturday Update

Another crazy busy week here:

at school I had two meetings, one with a progress group which was new and quite motivating. Year nine were on work experience but things were still pretty busy and I taught my class some geography. Thursday was another strike day but this time there were seven thousand of us from two counties.

Outside of work, we had a visit and lots of help from Nico's grandparents, a family swimming trip, and some more knitting and gardening. We got sat out in the garden for the first time last weekend.

There are also lots of plans coming together - projects, family visits, birthdays and lunches.

Today we are going to a first birthday party and then it's the last full work week before the holidays.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Baby Swimming

Today I went swimming with my baby girl for the first time and it was amazing. Nico has been taking her to swim group on a Friday morning for a couple of weeks and they both love it.

I love that they do that together but I really wanted to see her in the pool too.  Then Nico did some research and found out that the local pool has a baby swim on Friday afternoons so we went.

It was fantastic. She loves the water and she even dives! I love how brave and independent she is. It was also really nice to have some family time out of the house.

I can swim but not confidently and I've had my issues with water over the years and I don't want that for her.

Now I'm really looking forward to summer and lots more swimming!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Top 5 Childhood Meals

Lately, I've been looking back at my childhood a bit more - thinking about things that I want to do for Isabella too. Now that she's eating more and will try anything, I've been remembering some of my favourite dinners growing up and I wanted to share them with you today.

1. Yellow fish

Otherwise known as smoked haddock, we used to love this when we had tea at my gran's. I don't actually remember what we had it with but it was probably her homemade chunky chips and veg followed by peaches and ice-cream.

2. Tuna pasta salad

Quick, easy and fresh, I still love this delicious summer dinner. Mum taught me to make this and I look forward to making it with Isabella one day.

3. Shepherds Pie

At the opposite end of the seasonal scale - a real winter warmer. Though it is not well known here, it's one we've often made. Yum.

4. Friday night Fish and Chips

One that we can't entirely recreate here (although Nico came extremely close lately) used to make the start of our weekends. One of us kids used to pop down the hill with Dad to Hillycroft Fisheries and return with fish and chips four times and one sausage and chips for my fish-hating brother. 

5. Sunday dinner

With parents who both worked, we didn't eat together during the week so Sunday dinners were nice - and a tradition I really want to introduce in our family. My favourite is lamb with mint sauce and of course, there has to be Yorkshire puddings...

Bonus cheat

Heinz tomato soup. It took me ages to discover this in our local supermarket and I was immediately taken back twenty years with the first spoonful - delicious!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Currently...

...working hard now I'm back into a school routine.
...reading the latest Ken Follett at top speed.
...getting crafty on a regular basis again (yay!)
...watching Cheers DVDs.
...witnessing wonders as our girl learns to high five, stand, drink...
...drinking more tea and (slightly) less coffee.
...enjoying more outdoor time and lighter mornings.
...looking forward to holidays and family visits.
...making lots of plans.
...ticking off lists.
...thinking about getting the Easter decorations out.
...striking for our rights.
...feeling optimistic for this new season.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Repotting

Since we moved, the plants have been somewhat neglected and several have died.

With the lighter days and new routine I finally got around to some garden work and started by repottingand fertilizing the avocado and lemon plants (grown from seed last year) into larger, terracotta pots.

The terracotta can 'breathe' better than plastic so between that and the extra space they should thrive. The avocado plant is already much leafier.

It's not warm enough for them to go outside yet but they are getting lots of light by the window.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Make it Monday - Knitted Patchwork Blanket

I don't have a finished product to share this week but I have been busy working away on these patches for my blanket.

I recently started buying a new magazine which is a knitting course. Each issue guides you through two patches using new techniques learnt that fortnight. 

Even though I wasn't a complete beginner, I'm already learning lots of new tehniques and there are plenty of projects to keep me going.

Baby bootees next!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Saturday Update

Things are finally settling into a routine round here so the week felt 'normal' rather than long or short.

We had the strike on Tuesday but otherwise work was normal and I'm finding a good balance.

Trying to get back on track healthwise received a boost with the cycling. I plan to keep that up and start to focus more on nutrition next.

Isabella started and loved her new swim course. She's also settling into a better routine with daddy.

There's also been some progress with projects - knitting, the house, the garden... as spring draws closer things are moving again. Looking forward to this season so much!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Linky links

Interesting take on the bookcase.

So glad this lady is back.

Love Tilly's back to basics posts.

Ali's parenting posts make me excited about the future.

Love Elise's new project.

Uplifting.

Trying to remember.

Must try recipe.

An excellent cause.

New release - looking forward to reading this.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Back on the Bike

This week I've been enjoying cycling more. Since Nico needs the car to take Isabella to baby gym and baby swim, I decided to get the train to work twice a week.

It's the perfect time of year to be out of doors again and it feels great to be doing some kind of sport again. 

The train only takes about fifteen minutes longer than driving and I can read or knit on the way - benefits all round!!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Strike!

Yesterday I was on strike.  Here in Germany there are two types of teacher. Civil servants who have more rights, earn more money but are also tied to the state in many ways. Then there are the 'regular' employees who do the same work for less pay.

As a foreigner, I currently fall into the latter category. This is normally reserved for the "old, fat and sick" as one union leader summed it up yesterday.

For a while now, the unions have been in talks with the government to increase our pay in line with the civil servants or at least with inflation. After talks fell through again in February, we were called to strike.

It was an interesting and informative day with the union and there's a follow up strike next week which we are preparing for now.

As my class notice my absence, I explained where I had been and why and they were very grown up and supportive. Explaining polar day and night to them in German today was much more difficult!!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

March Goals

Here are my goals this month:
  • Tidy/sort/unpack the hobby room.
  • Keep up with my fortnightly knitting course.
  • One sewing project.
  • Get back on the bike.
  • Garden once per week.
  • Have a family outing.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Make it Monday - Knitted Mug Warmer

I've recently started a knitting course and here is my first completed project. I loved the edging when I saw the picture and couldn't believe how easy it was to do.

It needs a little decoration and then I think it will make a lovely gift for someone special.