Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Blog

I have opened a new blog to the public.

Purely informational, and targeted toward military families PCSing to Germany [or overseas in general].  Not much fun to look through just for kicks, but spread the word if you have any armed forces families you know that will be moving soon!

On a side note: It's been snowing the past couple days, and actually stuck!  I woke up, picked up my camera, and...no SD card.  Can't find it anywhere, no clue where it cold possibly be.  Perfect opportunity missed.  So, off to the store tomorrow to buy a new one and praying the snow sticks around that long!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Decorating, slowly

Ever so slowly starting to put my house together.  I could probably get the majority of it done in one day, but when Timmy is home I would rather spend time with him, and when he's at work I focus on homework and walks in the woods.  I don't regret it.  I"ll have six months of boredom to fill with decorating.

Hello, beautiful old suitcases.  You look good in my living room. 
Not a single frame in the house has pictures in it.  I kind of like it...I just imagine something different in there every day.

Thrifted sewing table and vintage cameras.  You look good in my living room, too. 

I'm liking it so far.  Now just to sweet talk the landlord into letting me paint, and I'll be golden.

I get asked a lot what I eat.  I'm a tad picky, and am not a big fan of most meats...hamburgers, steak, chicken, turkey, ham, etc. I'll eat them if I have to, and like some dishes including them, but don't usually cook meat up when just by myself.  So, how do I feed myself?  Pasta, salad, fish, & fruit.  Yum. Yum.  Here's one of my favorite meals to throw together when Tim's at work:

Garlic & Vegetable Pasta

1 serving pasta [about 2oz.] of your choice [thin linguine for me!  even better if it's whole wheat]
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil for sautéing and to taste [2 tbsp. total, divided]
Your favorite vegetables!  Mine are broccoli, cauliflower, onions, zucchini, & mushrooms.
Parmesan cheese to taste [optional]
Whatever else you can think of!

Chop vegetables for sautéing.  The amount you slice up is up to you!

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and toss with .5-1 tbsp. olive oil until well coated.  Set aside.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in pan over medium high heat.  Yes, I used a little more than a tbsp.  I forgot to pay attention when pouring.

Sauté vegetables and garlic until soft, three to five minutes.

Once finished cooking, add to pasta and mix it up!  Top off with a little parmesan cheese for added flavor.

Other possible ingredients you could include are red pepper flakes, bell peppers thinly sliced, asparagus, or anything else sitting in your fridge.  One of my favorite impromptu meals since I never have to plan for it...just see what I have laying around, and throw it in.  Do you have any easy meals you like to make when it's just you in the house?  Share them in the comments section, or email them to me and I'll post them up.  I love simple delicious dinners or lunches, especially since I'll only be cooking for one when Timmy deploys. :)

Tomorrow or Sunday will be the debut of the new blog dedicated to helping other military families PCS to Germany.  Nothing fancy or overly pretty, but definitely filled with tons of facts.  Hopefully it will help ease some minds or remind others of crucial steps.  Guess I'll find out soon!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bookish Sundays: The Alchemist

Title: The Alchemist

Author: Paulo Coelho

Category: Fiction, Inspirational

Synopsis [c/o Barnes & Noble]:  "Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. The Alchemist is such a book. With over a million and a half copies sold around the world, The Alchemist has already established itself as a modern classic, universally admired. Paulo Coelho's charming fable, now available in English for the first time, will enchant and inspire an even wider audience of readers for generations to come.
The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.
The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, above all, following our dreams."

c/o Barnes & Noble

So, you're moving to Germany.

I've managed to empty all of the boxes in our house, but actually finding "homes" for everything is taking a while.  The top two floors of our house look amazing, if a tad empty, but the basement...don't go down there.  My craft supplies and random decorations are everywhere.  It will be organized.  One day.

My friend Alyssa brought me these from....somewhere cool.  Nicaragua?  
Not pretty, but it's nice to have our furniture in.  That curtain hanging over the doorway?  Saving us a fortune in heating.
My wedding reception decor has come in handy.
So have the super skinny bookcases I thought I would never be able to do anything with.  Perfect fit!
A minute portion of the craft mess going on in our basement office.
On a side note, this move and everything in relation to it has got me thinking.  As first time PCSers in the military, we really didn't know what to expect.  So, I'm linking another blog with a series of posts full of information for those PCSing to Germany, and even some basics everyone should know about PCSing in general.  Know of anyone in the military who might or will be moving overseas soon?  Please have them contact me.  I would like to make the posts as detailed as possible, and wish to ask other military members what information they would have me include.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Catching Up

I'm so far behind in my requirements for life, it's ridiculous.  The house needs to be cleaned, laundry done, yard picked up, trash taken out, groceries shopped, pounds shed, hairs cut and much much more.  What could possibly be keeping me from accomplishing, well, everything?

School.  One word sums up the extent of all that is occupying my time.  So the photo isn't necessarily of school books, but who takes pictures of text books?  I don't need to be reminded that going back to school may be a wise decision, but doesn't mean I necessarily enjoy it.  The photo contains my Nook [on which I do have text books 'cause electronic version was cheaper], my iPod to help drown out distracting surround sounds, and coffee because school exhausts me and gives me headaches.  Now, I could probably show pictures of my house to represent the full scale of disarray, but no one wants to see that.  I don't even want to see that.

On a positive note [if one can be found amidst the complete and utter dislike of education], this whole college deal definitely makes me feel smarter, and I love the fact that I am exercising my writing abilities.  I guess it could be worse.  I could be taking a math class [yuck] and failing miserably.

On my to do list this week is catching up on book reviews and actually getting out and doing something wonderful, like visiting Worms for a architectural photography session.  Plus, be prepared for some how-to tutorials on making some pretty cool items, and see my house come together as I start decorating.  I'm excited.  So you should be, too.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Move In Day

Well, technically we already moved in.  We've been in the house for...three weeks now?  Can't believe it's already been that long!  But we still hadn't received all of our household goods that we packed up in California in October.  They're finally here, and I'm up to my eyeballs [literally...I'm short] in packing paper and boxes.

I immediately put Timmy to work altering some furniture so it fit our living room better.

It didn't seem as though we had as much "stuff" before.  Now my little house is packed full.

Favorite chair arrived: check.

Ninja didn't quite know what to make of everything

Veronica got started on organizing books and reattaching furniture legs.

Pots & pans!  Oh, how I have missed thee!

I found these and wore them the rest of the day.  Why not?

Veronica is very attached to my headphones.  They are now hidden so she can't steal them when she leaves.
I still have tons of work to do putting items away, washing dishes & clothes, and actually using my decor that is piled up in the basement.  But we have our furniture [i.e.: bed.  so much more comfy than air mattress] and my kitchen supplies, plus all of my crafty objects that I have missed so dearly.  I'm excited to put our "home" together, another project that will keep my very occupied when Timmy leaves for deployment next month.  Hooray!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Welcome to 2012

I feel so out of touch with the world.  I never realized how being disconnected from the internet and virtual ability to contact my family & friends leaves one so...lost?  Restless?  I’m actually quite ashamed at how dependent I am on my computer to keep me entertained, and am dreading the legitimate possibility that I will not have internet in our home for quite some time.  I hate not being able to get ahold of my mom, see what my brothers are up to, laugh at my dad, and watch as my friends and their families continue to grow.  Plus I hate not being able to do this.  I do love my blog [perhaps a tad too much].  But Germany is a learning process, and one such process I have recently had brought to my attention is: each village has a limited number of internet hook ups [due to the fact that it’s underground?].  Just because the previous tenants had internet does not guarantee the new tenants [us] that same ability, and it actually looks like we fall under that category.  Oh. No. Looks like I’ll be doing a lot of traveling to coffee shops to get my fix.
On to the real subject.  Believe it or not, that little rant has a purpose.  We recently arrived into the New Year [2012?  Already?], and this holiday actually makes me more thankful and thoughtful than Thanksgiving.  Here is a quick flashback at how my life has changed over the past ten years, and a tiny list of New Year’s resolutions [which I have never done].
Ten years ago: Attending middle school in Glasgow, Kentucky.  Wow. 
Six years ago: Finishing my last year of high school in Minnesota.  Getting ready to enter the Air Force.
Five years ago: Learning Korean in the Air Force in California, and missing my family so so much.  Also starting the time period of growing into an adult, making tons of mistakes, and realizing that I’m not invincible.  Not a pleasant year.
Three years ago:  Starting to date Tim Anderson, and would not have believed we would end up married.
Two years ago: Deployed to Kuwait in the Middle East.  Same year Timmy & I married, I discharged from the military, and we gained our two pups.  I can’t believe it’s already been that long!
One year ago: Living in California, planning our belated reception, no clue we will be in Germany by the end of that year.
Now: Settled into our home in a new country, keeping myself occupied with cooking, crafts, traveling and the works.  I can’t believe the person I was even five years ago, and how much I’ve changed.  Ready to see what this year brings us!
-Be satisfied.  There are billions of people in the world who couldn’t even imagine living my life.  I am happy, healthy, and alive.  There is no need to want or desire more. [This would be my reaction to my constant desire to fill my time with internet.  Needs to stop]
-Write more letters.  I’m so far away from my family and friends, but lacking technology shouldn’t stop me from keeping in contact.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve penned more than my name on a receipt, but I’m sure I can manage.
-Keep a journal.  I could argue that this blog is somewhat of a journal, but there are tons of things and pictures that occur every day that I don’t think should be shared with everyone.  I would like to keep an actual journal of amazing events, thoughts, ideas, etc. that can be read in the future or by our children of a time in a foreign country.  Cool, yeah?
-Get a polaroid camera.  Much easier/cooler/unique to put those pictures in a journal than getting digital ones printed.
-Learn German.  I am a firm believer in learning languages, and speaking the host countries’ words.  If you’re in America, you can speak whatever you want since we don’t have a national language.  If I’m in Germany, there’s no excuse not to learn German.
-Excel in school.  This might actually be the toughest of them all.  I’m dreading the start of my online semester, and have no desire to actually study or do homework or anything.  I joined the military instead of college for a reason.  But it needs to be done, and I need to do it well.
-Be kind.  It can be very easy [for me especially] to become extremely self centered and self focused.  I tend to be brusque with others when I’m in a hurry, wait to speak instead of listening, and think only of myself when...well, thinking.  Time to turn that focus outward.  I’m too old to expect everyone to think only of/about me.
-Repurpose a piece of furniture.  I've been wanting to do this for a while, but with the move thought it would be impractical.  This year, it's happening.

Do you have any New Year's resolutions?  Any favorite DIYs or projects that you have always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to yet?  You should probably do them.  After all, isn't this year the end of the world or something?!

To end the post, here are some pictures of my own New Year's Eve party.  Hope you had a great one as well and have an amazing 2012!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bookish Sundays: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Title: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Author: Stieg Larsson

Category: Fiction, Mystery, Intrigue, Foreign

Synopsis [c/o Barnes & Noble]: "A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue.
It’s about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.
It’s about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance . . . and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age—and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it—who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism—and an unexpected connection between themselves.
It’s a contagiously exciting, stunningly intelligent novel about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives."
Image c/o fanpop
I absolutely adore crime novels.  James Patterson is my go to guy when I want some cop mystery with a happy ending, or was until Stieg Larsson came along.  There is tons of hype about the movie adaptation that was released on 20 December 2011 [starring the ever delightful Daniel Craig], but the book was definitely around first.  And coincidently, so was the original Swedish version of the movie [which was amazing, btw].

After being translated from the original Swedish version, this novel received immediate adoration from the US book club population, and from me after it was recommended by a Boarder's representative.  I will admit, I got pretty lost during the talk of Swedish financial issues, but the overall intrigue involving missing people, metaphorical skeletons in closets, and the bada** "girl with the dragon tattoo" definitely makes the money talk worth it.  Following the steps of a well known but scandalized reporter, you are taken through unique love triangles, caught up in an old man's obsessions, and find out the truth despite all attempts.  Sounds amazing, right?  Well, it is.  If you'd like to learn how it ends, you should probably follow up with the other two novels, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Day with Ninja & Sass

We have two dogs, Ninja & Sass.  Ninja is a full boxer, and Sass is a boxer mix.  I adore them both, and thought I would dedicate this post to some of my favorite pictures of them.