Welcome to our life!

Hi, I'm Allison! I'm a thirtysomething, freshly baked, stay-at-home mom. I'm originally from Connecticut, now living in Germany, hence the name of the blog. I live in southern Germany with my German husband and our baby boy. Life has turned out to be nothing I ever expected, and am so incredibly happy with it! We certainly do have a lot of laughs! I hope you will enjoy following our new experiences raising a little half American/ half German in a little German town.

Dienstag, 31. März 2009

Outside my window

I realized it has been a very long time since I've posted about sheep. Really sad when I think about it, because sheep are my absolute favorite animals. You could even say I'm a bit obsessed. By the end of my semester in Ireland, I was telling people that I was going to become a shepherdess when I graduated. Yes, I love sheep that much.
One of the best things about Neckartailfingen, besides the name, is the fact that it is relatively rural. Here's what I saw outside one of our windows when we got home from work:

Just in case you can't tell what those white dots are:

Nothing beats a crazy day at work like a hill full of sheep!

Sonntag, 29. März 2009

Peanut Butter!

Like many Americans, I am a total peanut butter person. Thanks to my mom, I am actually a pb addict. Germans are not really peanut butter people, and finding a good one is quite difficult here.
I was fortunate that for my first five years here, I was able to buy my peanut butter at the commissary on base. But, since moving off base, job-wise, I've been at other's mercy in terms of getting my fix.
I met up with two colleagues last week for coffee. One of the things that came up was, peanut butter. You'd actually be amazed how often a simple spread comes up in conversation among expats. We discussed Skippy in particular. I completely gave up on Skippy years ago, while on the South Beach Diet, avoiding sugars. I became a natural pb eater. I love Smucker's natural. Mmmmmmm.
Last night, in the grocery store, I meandered over to the peanut butter. They do sell it here, but most of it tastes much worse than Skippy. Then, I noticed the small, unassming jar of Peanut Mush. Peanut Mush has definately been here forever, and is actually housed in the organic and healthy food section. I never gave it a second thought, thinking, it must taste gross. But last night, I decided to pick up the jar and inspect. The longer I looked at the jar, and reading the ingredients, the more I realized it looked like natural pb. So, I decieded to take a chance and bring a jar home.
Turns out that it is natural pb! And almost as good as Smucker's!!! While it is a bit pricey, it definately does the job, and now, I am in peanut butter heaven! I guess it really will be okay to live in Germany for the next 20 years. As long as I can always get my Peanut Mush!!

Samstag, 28. März 2009


I have been busy the past few weeks planning our Easter break travel. Since Good Friday and Easter Monday are holidays here, meaning everything is close, Joern suggested we go somewhere for my week off. It started with Rome. I have been dying to go to Rome, and since my friend Emily just returned from there, I have been even more excited about visiting the historical city. But, the further along I got with the planning, we realized that Rome would be far too busy at Easter. We really need a relaxing trip. So, we put off Rome for the four day weekend that just happens to coincide with my birthday this year. Not too shabby to spend my 30th birthday in Rome!
Instead, we have decided to stay in the Emilia-Romagna area, often refered to as the "Gourmet Belly" of Italy. We'll be in Parma for two days, where we'll be visiting a Parmagiano Reggiano cheese factory, a Parma prosciutto factory, and possibly also a balsamic vinegar factory. We'll also head to Bologna for two days, where we will enjoy some more delicious foods, as well as the magical city of Bologna.
From Bologna, we'll be making a stop in Imola, the site of a Formula One race, and then on to Ravenna for a night or two.
We'll leave from work on Thursday the 9th, and should be in Parma by 11 pm. I am so excited for our relaxing and enchanting trip! Now, just to make it through 9 more days of work!

Multicultural Night

Yesterday was a pretty good day at work! I got an email to set up an appointment to sign my new contract for next year. Hooray for having a job! Secondly, I got set up with a mentor- FINALLY!
After all that good news, it was so exciting to return to work last night for our Multicultural Food Evening.
Okay, it does seem odd to be happy to return to work on a Friday night, but it was so worth it! One of the most incredible aspects of an international school is, well, the internationalness of it.
Every year our school has a multicultural night. Many of the parents and teachers run tables, where they serve oodles of food from their home countries. There is a 2 Euro charge for entrance, which goes to our PTA, and then you get all the food you could ever want. This year, it was totally packed, but the food was sooo good! I only wish I could have had more room to eat!

I met up with my friends Iris and Alison, while Joern and Marcel stalked off to start eating :) We headed to the Thailand table first. Unfortunately, I never even made it over to Japan, simply because the line was way too long. The Thailand and Israel tables were next to each other, so this is why my first plate includes delicious Pad Thai and Hummus with pita.

Some tables also had information and items from the country as well. We snagged some great Dead Sea products from the Israel table. Wahoo!

I'm still a little sad too that I didn't make it to the Mexico table. Besides the amazing food, it was so much fun to mingle with colleagues, parents, and of course, the kids. Many of the little ones, and their parents too, dressed up in their nation's traditional dress for the evening. Once again, imagine all our little Japanese kids in their amazingly beautiful kimonos!
Joern got some homemade pizza and cured meats from Italy, which really whet our appetites (literally,) for our upcoming trip. One of our Italian students from last year even gave me an Italy travel guide and a few recipes.

I stopped by to take some photos of the Nordic table, which was Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.

Of course, I totally enjoyed the India table. In typical Indian fashion, my plate was totally overfilled with rice, a HUGE Samosa, Chloey, and the perfect ending, a sweet.

By then, I was starting to enter my completely stuffed, overdone stage. Then,
we bumped into one of my current students, who is Hungarian and Spanish. She brought her father over to talk to me and my friend Alison, who just completed her student teaching in the EAL (English as an Additional Language) department. She talked to her dad in Spanish, but I could tell she was excited to tell him that Alison spoke Spanish. She was also excited to tell her dad that I could say 8 and 17 in Spanish. Oh, the kids are just so cute!! She then ran me over to the Spain tabe to see her mom. I was able to squeeze in one piece of Tortilla, before bursting.
It was such a fun night!

Samstag, 21. März 2009

Where I've been

I opened up my blog this morning to link to my blog friends, so that I could catch up. Then, I saw the most shocking thing, I have not updated my blog since March 9th! That was almost a month ago! Oy!
Well, the major reason for no updates is really because I've been busy. But, I realize that I could talk about my busy crazines on my blog too.
On February 25th, I restarted my teaching certification course. So far, I like it, but there is a lot of work. I am actually almost finished with my first unit on classroom management. There are so many common sense things in this unit, yet somehow, I think they are lost in most classrooms. I hope that I can remember what I've learned, and apply some of it when I am a teacher.
Besides lots of reading and notetaking, and assignments, I've been in the throes of a cold that will simply not go away. I can't wait for the stuffy nose and headache to be gone, and hope my energy level will increase when I can breathe again!
The good news is that our classroom worm, who eats an apple a day, just ate apple number 120 on Friday. This means that there are only 60 days more of school! That is really very few, and with breaks coming up and the sun coming out FINALLY, the rest of the year is going to go by really quickly! Hooray!

Montag, 9. März 2009


When I moved here, which was a frighteningly long time ago, Jörn bought me a fab book, Getting along with the Germans. It is since out of print, but it is a treasure. The book provides a humorous look at those often funny, sometimes frustrating German characteristics.

One of those characteristics, that frequently makes laugh, is "inside every German is a hidden policeman." He's right. No joke. Germans, the perpetual rule followers, love to let you know when you have broken a rule or a law. Many take an almost a perverse pleasure in letting you know you've been bad. I mean how many other countries have a Department of Order?
Yesterday, we encountered another policeman hidden inside a German.
We were back at the model home park for an entire afternoon of home discussion. After two hours, with two different builders, we headed downtown for a quick bit to eat before another 2 hour meeting with our top choice builder.
We found a wonderful cafe in the Stuttgart train station, that has bagels! We were so excited and had a delicious lunch. We then returned to the home park to meet with our Finger Haus project manager.
We parked and walked for about five minutes to get back to the park entrance. As we started up the stairs, a woman called out to us. She was cruising along with her Nordic Walking sticks, another popular German past-time, and told Jöern that he left his lights on. Um, hello lady! Please tell us when you catch us leaving the car, not after having followed us for the past five minutes. But it was the second comment that really got us. After telling us that our lights were on, she then had to add, with a smile, and a pointy finger, "And one of your lights is out." If only I could put the tone of her voice on a computer. It obviously made her day simply to tell us that one of Jörn's parking lights was out.
Being a rule-follower by nature, I love rules. But, to tell others when they have broken them, and to take pleasure from this act, is one of those German traits I will never understand!

Montag, 2. März 2009


We had Maultaschen for dinner tonight. Funny that I have never mentioned one of my favorite German foods before, but now's better than never I guess.
Maultaschen, or "muzzle bags," are actually Swabian, but they are now sold all over Germany. They are similar in concept to ravioli, but usually larger and most often filled with ground pork,spinach, and spices. I love Maultaschen! You can serve them many different ways, in a broth, sliced and pan-roasted, or with baked with butter and onions. They are delicious in all different forms!
Tonight's variation was cooked in broth. Yum!

Please excuse the stars in the soup, Jörn used a chicken and stars soup.
Maultaschen are especially yummy fresh from a butcher, like ours, or homemade. We made them once with Jörn's Oma. It was such a special experience, and I wish we had taken pictures as a memory. But at least we know her recipe now, and one day, we'll make yummy Maultaschen on our own!