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.

Sonntag, 30. Januar 2011

Dinner with Friends

A few weeks ago, I posted about an old school friend, Amanda, who was here visiting her boyfriend.  Well, last night was her last night here, so we got together for a dinner with both Amanda and her boyfriend.  We went to the Dinkelacker Brauereigästatte, which is a restuarant run by Dinkel Acker brewery.  Joern had been there before, but I hadn't.  Joern said they had good food, but typically a native of this area, was concerned that the restaurant was not "nice" enough to bring visitors there.  My feeling is that a restaurant connected to a brewery is always a good choice :)
It was so enjoyable to meet up with Amanda again.  When we first met her for lunch, her whole trip lay ahead.  It was interesting and enjoyable to hear about the month that she has been here, and her experiences.  Once again, I was reminded of how little time Joern and I spend exploring our area.  It is so easy to run off to France or Italy, but to spend time around here, at first seems wasteful, but in reality, would be a really smart thing to do.  There is so much to do and to see right here!
It was also nice chatting and getting to know Amanda's boyfriend better.  It is so fun to meet up with Americans here, and even more fun when you know them already. 
Of course, we also enjoyed some yummy beer.  The restaurant offers a sampling of 5 of their beers, which is really cool.  Dinner was also really yummy.  The restaurant served traditional Swabian food, and Joern had a steak with onions, served with sauerkraut, maultaschen, and spaetzle.  Yum!
The restaurant also offered a variety of foods cooked with beer.  I remember Joern telling me that this was inacceptable to waste beer in such a way, but I guess a brewery is allowed to cook with beer.  I had turkey in an Apfelweizen (apple wheat beer,) sauce.  It was a little sweet, but also quite delicious!

The restaurant was a fantastic place to enjoy good food and good friends.  I am looking forward to Amanda's return to Stuttgart, and I am looking forward to returning to the restaurant with  new friends!

Freitag, 28. Januar 2011

Brought to you by the lovers of smooth roads

I heard a report on the radio yesterday that one of the topics currently being dealt with by parliament (yup, the Bundestag in Berlin,) is the pot-hole crisis.  Imagine this being a topic of national importance?  And that is listed as a crisis? 
I'm sure pot-holes are discussed on a town, or maybe state level, but only the gigantic tire-shredding pot-holes are fixed at home.
Gosh, what a great country that encourages smooth, pot-hole free roads.  It only adds to my addiction to big engines and fast cars.
I love Germany!

Sonntag, 23. Januar 2011

Lotsa cuteness

I realize that I don't post about my job too much, but sometimes, it deserves a mention here.  The kids this year are so gosh-darn cute.  And of course, they do the cutest things and say the cutest things. 
Here are a few ultra-cute examples:

1.  Peanut butter has become a hot commodity among the Junior Kindergarteners this year.  I have no idea why, as most kids don't really know or eat PB.  But whatever, most kids think peanut butter is better than, well peanut butter and jelly :)  So the other day, the teacher in our room had used some peanuts in a shell to decorate the classroom.  I was sitting at the table with one of my little guys (who I happen to adore,) and he picks up the peanut.  Here's our convo:
Me:  "Hey, do you know what this is?"
Kid:  "Of course, it is a shell."
Me:  "Yeah, but do you know what is inside?"
Kid:  "Don't be silly, Ms. Allison.  Of course I know, its a Peanut Butter Nut!"

2.  The other day, we played "Farmer in the Dell."  The music teacher is from Wales, so her acccent is slightly different than say, mine, to which the kids have become quite accustomed.  So, back to "Farmer in the Dell," we get to the part where "the child takes a nurse,"  but you can imagine it came out more like "nas."  One of our kids, who came from Belgium, and is now a very good little English speaker, looks very confused.  I asked her what's wrong, to which she replied, "In Belgium, (points to nose,) this is nas."

And of course, other cuteness abounds.  Last week, one of our kids turned 5.  Normally birthday parties fall into two categories at school: 1) Moms with lots of money and little time buy a cake that no one eats, or 2) Moms who have enough time, but make cupcakes from a mix (yes, I admit often the Americans,) but again, cupcakes that no one eats.  Well, this mom almost borders on one of those moms I read about in blogs.  I feel like her birthday cupcakes could end up on the Hostess with the Mostess blog that I adore.  Mom made garden theme cupcakes, with crumbled cookie crumbs on top, and then on top of that, marzipan vegggies.  When she put them all in a pan, they really resembled veggies growing out of dirt.  She even had edible "signs," on which she signposted the rows of different veggies.  In the front, she had a large label, "Kid's Garden."  As a party favor, she bought each child and us teachers, a little flower.  It was such a creative and fantastic looking idea!
Here's a picture of my cupcake and flowers:

Sonntag, 9. Januar 2011

Adventures in Shopping

Yesterday afternoon, we headed out to Geislingen, which just happens to be the home of the German pots and pans company, WMF.  WMF has a factory outlet in Geislingen, but it turns out there is so much more than just WMF products to be found at this store.  It turns out that there is a small outlet mall in Geislingen, and it is pretty much all housewares.  COOL!
The WMF outlet itself does not only have pots and pans, they had a huge selection of beautiful cutlery and a large selection of WMF items.  But the outlet also sells products from Sillit, Kaiser Backform, and Auerhahn cutlery.  But the most amazing of all?  They sell some 220 V Cuisinart products!  Anyone looking for 220 V Cuisinart should head on over to Geislingen!  They had blenders, coffee makers, coffee grinders, food processors, and most exciting of all SLOW COOKERS from Cuisinart!  The slow cooker was beautiful, sadly, we already have one so I couldn't justify buying the Cuisinart one.  But, we did buy this coffee maker:
image from cuisinart.com

We really needed a drip coffee maker, as we have been using our Bosch built in coffee maker for the past few months now, and well, that's prett dumb considering that the built-in is for the house.  Also, we missed just having a pot of coffee around.  The Cuisinart is so very nice, and so far, it has been making great coffee!

After WMF, we decided to check out the other outlets.  There is a Ravensburger outlet, which will be cool when we have kids, because Ravensburger makes beautiful games and puzzles.  There was an outlet that sold really beautiful towels and bedding.  There was also a Lindt outlet, which seems great for gifts.  And, there was a glassware outlet in this center.  They sell Nachtman, Spiegelau and Riedel, and had some good prices.  I especially love Riedel products, and am so excited to head back once I figure out what we need for our house!

It was a pretty fun hour of shopping.  I admit, outlet shopping here is nothing like outlet shopping at home, but that is to be expected.  I will definitely keep the Geislingen outlets in mind though next time we need to make any purchases for our home!

Samstag, 8. Januar 2011

"Its a Small, Small World"

After living abroad for a long time, you start to realize that the very big world is indeed, very small.  A few years ago, I found out my best friend from high school, Erica, was living in England with her husband and adorable daughter. It then became the reason for a few wonderful trips to England.  I work with a teacher at our school who grew up in Trumbull, CT.  I even met a mom of a preschooler at our school, she and her husband are from Texas, but her husband's mom is from Trumbull as well.  See, small world.
I am currently going through my smallest of small world situations though.  A few months ago, a girl I went to middle school and high school contacted me to let me know that her boyfriend was moving to Stuttgart.  Woah, small world!  Well, the world gets smaller because she is here now!  Joern and I met with Amanda yesterday.  It was so weird, so cool, and so fun.  We went to our favorite Greek restaurant in Nuertingen for lunch.  It was so fun to catch up while gently throwing in references from Fairfield.  You truly would have to grow up there to really understand it.  It was so nice to see how life can take two people on such a very different path and yet, you can wind up in the same place, so very far from where you started.
After our lunch, we impressed Amanda with our fantastic life of house building, grocery store and electronics store.  It also highlighted to me how different life in Europe is from what I expected.  When I moved here, I was looking for romance and adventure.  In reality, we have jobs, a house, go to the grocery store, and the electronics store.  Life isn't much different than it would be at home, just in a different language.  It is truly what you make of it.
It was a fantastic afternoon, and I am already looking forward to meeting with Amanda again before she leaves at the end of this month.  It is so strange and so fun to be in this situation.

Donnerstag, 6. Januar 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I don't normally post my resolutions, because I am not the best at keeping them.  This year, instead of setting some hugely lofty goals that will not be met, you know, like losing 50 pounds, I am keeping it simple this year.  If I do something huge, it is a plus,  if not, then I am just happy to have made simple goals that I can stick with.

1.  Read a book once a month.  I love reading, but tend to read during school breaks.  It is nice, but that leaves me usually bookless in February, May, September, October, and November.  Joern and I are actually on our way to Ikea today, and I am going to search for a solution to a light so that I can do some reading in bed.  I love reading in bed, but Joern has control of our bedside light, so I have to have the light out before Joern is asleep otherwise I'd have to climb over him to wake him up.  Maybe finding a solution with a light would help me to keep up with my reading goal.

2.  Have a date night once a month.  Not like a huge date night, and it doesn't need to be on Saturday.  But, once a month, we should do something a bit out of the ordinary.  And no, picking up Chinese take-out doesn't count, unless it is accompanied by a movie.

3.  Take walks.  I don't want to commit to a five day a week walking schedule, but something want to get outside and get walking. 

4.  Probably the most lofty of all goals- a cleaning schedule.  I currently don't have a cleaning schedule, but it works in our tiny apartment.  I can go a few days without really cleaning, although dishes are a daily thing, and the apartment manages well.  But, we are looking at moving into over 200 sq. ft within the next 6 or so  months.  There is no way I can keep up with that without having some sort of a schedule.  This is my way of forming a habit that we will bring into our new home.

5.  Post more often.  I managed 55 posts on this blog in the past year, which comes out to roughly once a week, but it was not a consistent once a week.  In my perfect 2011, I would post at least once a week.  I need to realize that just because I think my life is rather dull, doesn't mean that it isn't blogable.

Well, there you have it.  With this post, I have already worked towards goal #5, I have a post for this week, and I will have a post at the end of the year, when I review my goals.

If you have resolutions, I wish you all the best in keeping them!

Dienstag, 4. Januar 2011

How we rang in the New Year

Instead of going out this New Year's Eve, we decided instead to enjoy a lovely meal at home, just the two of us.  Later, we headed over to our house to celebrate.  And, we ended the evening by a toast with my in-laws.

Our original plan was to cuddle together and enjoy a dinner of cheese fondue and a thermos of Glühwein in our house.  But, we were dog sitting the week between Christmas and New Year's, and the dog was upset by the fireworks, so we thought it would be best to stay at our apartment for the majority of the night. 

We started with some wine and a platter of nuts, that my friend Iris made as a Christmas gift. 
She made Tandoori Cashews, Roasted Almonds, and Wasabi Peanuts.  They were delicious, and the perfect accompaniment to our wine. 

Later, I wipped together a tossed salad and prepared a cheese fondue.  Growing up, cheese fondue was very much a New Year's Eve tradition with my parents.  I'm not sure I really enjoyed it when I was 5, but I must agree, it is a decadent, delicious way to ring in the New Year.  It was my first time making cheese fondue, so I was a bit nervous.  I decided to use my mom's recipe, from her 1970's Betty Crocker Cookbook that was her go-to cookbook.  I was also excited to use my new All-Clad crockpot.  It has an aluminum insert for cheese and chocolate fondues, which excitingly enough, can be used as a pot to start the fonude on the stove.  One less pan!

The recipe suggested serving the fondue with apples and pears as well as bread.  We never had apples with the cheese fondue before, but they went really well with the cheese.  Quite a yummy dinner!

After dinner, we watched James Bond, Quantum of Solace on TV.  It was nice to cuddle on the couch with the dog, and imagine how life will be when we have a dog of our own.  The movie ended at 11:00, so we decided to head over to the house.  We brought Abbey over to my in-laws first, because we didn't want her to get scared and get hurt somehow in our house.  Then, we trudged through the snow with a bottle of Champagne and a few glasses.  There was just enough time to take a tour of the house, and spend a few moments discussing the future, before it was midnight.  We enjoyed our first glass of Champagne inside our house, and watched the fireworks explode in the sky. 

We are looking forward to the year ahead and wish you all a wonderful, surprise filled 2011!