Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Social - Movie Star

Sunday Social

Again, a weekend is coming to its end. Again, no real sleeping in for me, as I was woken up by a wet Violet this morning, who's sticking to her routine of wetting her bed every other night. So I was spending 5am peeling an upset 3-year old out of her wet clothes, showering and dressing her, taking the sheets off her bed and starting a load of laundry. Right now, the girls are spending an hour of quiet time while I'm procrastinating starting on dinner.  Thus, time for the Sunday Social, today it's all about movies and stars.

1. What is your favorite movie of all times?

2. What is your favorite movie quote?
Recycled this one from an older Sunday Social, but it's still true..

3. What is the best movie to watch for a girls' night in?
Mostly unknown but beautiful! (Source)
4. What is the best break-up movie?
Don't ask me why, it's just so beautiful and sad (Source)

5. Who would you want to play in a movie about your life?
Not sure.. Maybe Claire Danes?

6. Which movie star's closet would you want to raid?
Hands down, Kate Winslet. Maybe because there is a chance that I'd fit in the clothes, but also because I just love her red carpet dresses and also her casual look.

Have a great start into the new week, everyone!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Modern Cooking - Veggie Doener

We had a heat wave the other day, so no-one felt like either cooking or eating a hot dinner. After a couple of days of salad, I picked up a flat bread and a bunch garlic and whipped up a yummie veggie doener. As a little background: doener kebab is a sandwich made from meat cut of a huge skewer, chopped up lettuce, tomatoes, slaw, cucumber, onions, you name it, topped with a garlic sauce. Turkish immigrants in Berlin invented it back in the 60s to be able to compete with burgers and other on-the-go sandwiches, and it's AWESOME! I definitely never feel guilty after eating one, especially since I substitute the meat, which can be quite greasy, for feta cheese.

1 flatbread
white or red cabbage, raw and thinly slices
iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
tomatoes, slices
cucumber, sliced
carrots, cut in thin strips
onions, cut in thin rings
1/2 lb feta cheese, cut in slices
garlic, minced
1 cup of greek yogurt
salt & pepper to taste

Bake the flatbread, cut it in quarters and cut pockets in them. Fill it with lettuce, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and feta cheese. Beat greek yogurt with garlic, add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle sauce in the flatbread pockets and  enjoy the goodness.

For meat lovers: add gyros from your favorite Greek restaurant or thinly cut chicken or beef strips instead (or on top of) the cheese.

For vegans: use soy yogurt instead of th greek version for the yogurt sauce.

I hope you enjoy it as muc as we did. It can be messy, so it's helpful to have a fork around!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Ready For Summer?

Finish the Sentence Friday

A major TGIF-shout out to all of you out there! I'm so glad it's weekend, read for some much-needed sleeping in and spending quality time with the family. I don't know why I'm so exhausted all the time lately, but I know I'm not the only one. Trying to get my energy back up by excercising regularly and getting fit again. I cannot believe that it's been 6 years since I've been running regularly. Today's run went great, I went further than last time, seems I'm getting back in the routine quickly. Only a little over 2 months until the day of the run!

To start this weekend, I'm once again linking up with Kate and Janine for Finish The Sentence Friday:

The best Fourth of July I had was...  probably my first one. I'm German, so we obviously don't celebrate Independence Day. the first Fourth of July I celebrated was the year I married the hubby. It was only a few days before we were getting ready to move to our new duty station in Ft. Riley, KS. Since the hubby took the tour bus with the rest of the band from Bamberg to Wuerzburg, I took the last opportunity to spend some time with my best friend, who studied there. We were both excited to witness the first military Fourth of July celebration. And I can tell you, it was awesome. The band wore their dress blues; they were playing their music, the 50 flags were presented, the canons went off, and it all ended in a great firework.

Ever since we're not in the military any more, we didn't do much for 4th of July, especially not since we've been in Germany, but I'm planning a little something for him and the girls this year. Not quite sure yet if we can do the bbq, because the neighbors had to dig up their yard due to drainage issues. Maybe I just prepare a picknick after work at the playground. But there will be something today.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

No Non-Believers To Serve

A friend form the Atheist/Agnostic parent group we went to back when we lived in Washington recently posted this article on group's Facebook board. Colorado's Representative Jared Polis proposed legislation that would allow non-religious chaplains to serve the growing number of non-religious service members; the proposal was defeated 150 to 274.

Several of my friends shared their opinion on it, and while we agreed that indeed it was a step in the right direction to even bring up a bill like that, it is disheartening listening to the elected congressmen and –women explaining their decision to vote against the bill. Atheists, secular humanists, or ethical culturists would not be able to provide proper service as chaplains. They would call fallen comrades “worm food”(Texas Rep. Mike Conaway) and upset the wounded or dying soldiers; Louisiana's Rep. John Fleming went as far as calling the proposal "a mockery". Again, the same old prejudice. Again, the bias against a group of people that is ever-growing (the number of non-religious soldiers in the military may be as high as 25%, according to the article), but sill screamed down so often. I, myself, have faced prejudice and alienation by people for my non-belief. On the other hand, I have experienced people coming up to me with an open mind and sincere questions, which I always appreciate.

Something that has been lacking for a long time and must be engrained in society again is tolerance and acceptance. This is a country made of people from many countries, with different traditions, different skin colors, different customs, and also different faiths. So why is it so scary for many people to wrap their heads around non-believers? We are just another group in this big old melting pot. There are good people among us, those who strive to be as good as they can, those that only care for themselves, and bad ones, like in any other group of people. I have met so many deeply caring people, doctors, nurses, whole-hearted mothers who have raised amazing kids, teachers, artists, you name it, just like in any other group.  

I have met others, too.  But I have honestly never met someone cruel enough to do what we are accused to by these congressmen. Yes, an Atheist chaplain would probably not tell a soldier about heaven awaiting him, but he would be just as fit to accompany a soldier on his last path. He will be just as qualified to provide solace and support to family members and comrades. A Hindu or Buddhist chaplain probably do things different than a Christian chaplain, and so would an Atheist one. There are so many ways of providing chaplain services to those needing them, since there are people of many believes in this world. 

As a question back to the people who claim an Atheist chaplain cannot serve a Christian soldier: if your claim is true, how can a Christian chaplain serve a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or Atheist soldier? In that case, a chaplain of about every (non-) faith has to be attached to a unit, in order to ensure that every solder is provided with proper service. Near impossible, I dare to claim. It is a fact that the number of non-religious people - and soldiers - including those that are not attached to any church or unsure about their believes, is increasing, and there should be chaplains available to serve them.

As some of you may know, I have been an Army wife. Back when we were engaged and Richard needed the leave pass from his commander, he sent him to see a chaplain for pre-marital councelling. I was confused that this councelling would not include me, but found out shortly after why. Obviously, the chaplain briefed my husband that he should be assured that he did not have to marry me, even if I was pregnant (which I was not), that it was ok to just "have a little" fun without having to get married right away. And when Richard insisted that he had his heart set on marrying me, he gave him this book. Well, it was in the trash before the weekend was over.I wonder how this Protestant chaplain served my Atheist husband. Thinking about it, I wonder how this particular chaplain would have served any soldier. Maybe this person was just a total failure in his job, but it was a somewhat memorable experience with a Christian chaplain. He did not take the time to listen to Richard, to get to know him and learn about his motivations; he did not include me at all, even though I was a major part of this impending marriage. And when he had the impression that he couldn't change Richard's mind - and heart - he just gave him a book, which could only serve as to light the grill.

What is your opinion of non-religious chaplains in the military? I'd love to hear your opinion!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Once Upon A List...

Back in February, I created a list of goals for this next years, this last year in my twenties. Four months later, a little resume.

Points 1 - 3: A lot of things regarding the house are pretty much up in the air. We know it's going to happen, but right now we don't know if we'll be able to move in before the big 30 or afterward; I will plant the apple tree with Lily, no matter what, but the move and decorating may have to wait.

Point 4: I have been dating the hubby, if couch-dates count. But with the kiddos, this is pretty much all that's reasonable for us.

Point 6: The color is "Hollywood Red", check this off the list!

Point 8: Cooking it up, and enjoying new goodness. Couscous is a new family favorite!

Point 11: That's the one! The Erlangen Night Run. Right now, I try to make up my mind if I'll do the 2 laps (7.8k) or 3 laps (11.7k) run. I'm tending to the three laps. I have found a buddy for the run, my wonderful coworker, and I started running for the first time since getting pregnant back in 2007; that's been six years! Breaking my pinky toe last Monday was a little bit of an obstacle, but nothing that would stop me. Today, I resumed my training, and it's been going a lot better than last time. I plan on running about every other day, toning up and getting the distance up.

Point 13: I've been shopping for the fabric. Haven't really found something yet, but I plan on sewing matching dresses for me and the girls for this year's family pictures.

Point 16: Been there!! Check this off the list.

Can't believe how time  flies! In between day-to-day life, enjoying our time together, and the one or the other scare, I am happy. I'm still somewhere in between looking forward to the new decade and laready griefing for my 20s, but then again, it's just an age. Yesterday, yet another colleague of mine turned 30, leaving me all by myself in my 20s. Mot for too much longer!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


A new group of activists is swapping all across Europe: the FEMEN. Women protesting the exploitation of women by writing their message across their bare chests. They protest at political function, they protested at GNTM, they protested at the Barbie Dream House in Berlin.

They originally were a group of women protesting sex tourism in Ukraine. They originally protested like every other group, with signs, and dressed. But when they felt like no-one was listening, they took their protests to the next level, without signs, and without clothes. They carry their message on their chests, because obviously, that’s where it will be seen. They are students and professionals; they are single women and married mothers; they may be your neighbor or the woman you meet at the bank counter. And their voices are finally heard. Their pictures cover the newspapers across the globe; it has grown from a local group of women fighting for an important cause to an international network. They fight for freedom from oppression and against human trafficking and exploitation; they give a voice to all women confined to their homes, whose voices are never heard; they fight for our daughters to be able to grow up in a world where they are equals, appreciated for their intellect and their talents instead of their bodies and looks. And they do it using their bodies.

The major criticism the FEMEN women receive is that they are exploiting their own bodies in order to fight exploitation of women. Why not just put their message on a t-shirt? Because no-one will look at a t-shirt. But the world does look on bare chests. It’s not them who are immodest or scandalous, it’s society. The FEMEN activists are holding up a mirror to show to everyone what this is what it really takes for women to be heard.

I personally admire the determination, bravery, and endurance of all FEMEN activists. They are fighting for a cause we all, men and women, should support. They face violence from security and law enforcement personnel, criticism and bias from the media and conservative groups, and even imprisonment. I admit, there was a time in my life where I might have joined them to fight in the front line for all the women who don’t have a voice. Today, I do my part on the home front, trying to change the world starting with our two daughters, with the way our family lives. Promoting a change in women’s position in society from home. I wonder how it can be that the majority of college graduates are female, but their number in management positions are still so low? How comes that a women still earns less doing the same job as a male colleague in many companies? And why is it that women have to turn their bodies into protest signs to be taken serious?

What is your opinion on FEMEN?



Monday, June 24, 2013

Threevil Is Not The End

Richard was off tonight for muc deserved band practice (yes, I'm SO looking forward to the concert in two weeks!). The girls and I had good cuddle time on the couch, and bath time was fun, including some chases through the living room and attacks from the tickle monster. I was just taking Missy Violet to bed, when the mood went south.

Lily started a near epic tantrum after getting in trouble for destroying a puzzle book she has gotten from a family friend a few weeks earlier; there was moping, pouting, yelling, screaming, and insults involved, it was not pretty. I started with the ignore strategy, until the door smashing started, which is a big no-no in our house. I went in for a stern talk with her, discussing her jammies and why she had destroyed the book. She confessed that she just felt like being a bad girl, we tried to talk about destroying toys on purpose and what the consequences would be if she did it; that was whe she lost it again. At a point, it was enough; I let her know that her behaviour would have consequences and she would not be allowed to play with her inline skates for a while. Lound crying and "bad, bad Mami" followed. After she had calmed down, I tried to talk to her again, explaining to her that we need to work hard to earn money and she was showing a lack of respect if she was destroying things on purpose and taking everything for granted, even demanding more and more all the time.

She ended up wanting to be swaddled in her blanket and cuddling her to sleep. Right now, she's going through quite a difficult stage, which is also poses many challenges to us. I know that she wants to assert herself as an individual, and we try to teach her to voice her opinion. Moping doesn't help us understanding her, if she wants to contribute to the family decisions, she'll need to talk. She's starting to make some little improvements in this matter. Her moods and stubborness still remains a challenge. Usually, once her tantrum is over, she feels bad and needs quite a bit of consoling. She's a clever girl, a normal 5-year old, and so much her mommy's daughter, it's almost scary. Can't wait for the tantrum phase to be over for good!

PS: enjoying the "Mami I'm thirsty, Mami, I need to go potty, Mami, I want to cuddle, Mami, I'm not tired, Mami, I can't sleep"-game with Sweety, getting some extra-sweet cuddles in.  Good night, everyone!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Social - Time To Style

Sunday Social

It's been an exciting weekend; I've been MIA for two days, playing D&D with the guys Friday night and being totally whiped after hiking the 8 miles on a local trail hitting all 5 breweries (all that on a broken toe) with my colleagues. Spent today playing with the girls and taking a good long nap this afternoon, needed it after getting up with Violet at 6:30.

To wrap up the weekend, I'm once again linking up with Ashley for Sunday Social. Today it's all about shopping and style:

1. What is your favorite store to shop in?
I loved the GAP in the States. Here in Germany I mostly shop H&M and s'Oliver.

2. If you could afford anything and everything, which designer brand would you covet?
That's a difficult one, since I mostly take the practical approach to fashion (i.e. not look at any fashion magazines). Maybe Prada? Or definitely Vivian Westwood, she's just WOW! But then again, I might not have the guts to wear her designs..

3. What is your must have closet staple?
I'm not a fashion expert, but I think a well-fitting LBD is something every woman should have.

4. What is your favorite kind of shoes? 
Ballet flats!!
my current favorites!

5. What is the best clothing deal you've ever gotten? (sale or amazing find)
The closet swap I've done with my friend! We both picked cloths from our closets we didn't wear any more and got a good chunk of new clothes for free. Got my LBD out of it!!!

6. What is a style you'd love to try?
Again, not sure. It happens to me a lot that I see women on the street whose style I love, but it never seems to suit me. One day, I'll just suck it up and get a personal styling done, I start getting really sick of myself  ;-)

Have a good start in a new week, everyone!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Runaway Girl

It took me a while to be able to write about this, I needed some time to digest the initial shock. Last weekend, Lily ran away. Again. Well, she didn’t technically “run away” in the troubled teenager way, she took off to do her own thing. Her explanation from last Sunday? – I just wanted to go and visit the building site up where the new house is going to be built”. Said building site is about 1.5 miles from our current house, and she would have to cross a busy road a few times. She was playing outside when she announced: I’m going now. I said “ok”, thinking she would go until the end of the street and then turn back. I circled around to catch her on the other side. The only thing: she wasn’t there. I kept looking, but no Lily anywhere. I was scared she would have crossed the busy road and headed off to the playground. At that point, my neighbor also started to look for her. When she was not at the playground, I started to panic, wondering when it was time to call the cops on a missing 5-year old, when I saw my neighbor walking towards me with Lily on his hand. I have rarely been this relieved, giving her speeches on not just walking away, staying away from the busy streets, etc. Obviously, he had found her at the traffic light, waiting for the green light to cross the street. Fortunately, we have taught her well on how to participate in traffic properly!

This episode has unfortunately not been the first time she had run away. Just a few weeks back, while I was on an after-dinner walk with Violet (Lily had decided to stay back and read a magazine), she left the house without the hubby noticing to look for me. When I returned with Violet from our walk, our neighbor was talking to a woman I didn’t know, informing me that the lady had just brought back Lily, who was standing somewhere in the neighborhood, crying when she could neither find me nor the way back to our house. I made her promise never to leave the house without permission again.

Even before that incidence, there were two episodes of her running away. Once, when she was about 18 months old, she left the apartment without Richard noticing. I was at a neighbor’s house, chatting, when I suddenly saw the hubby walking outside. I asked him what was up and he said that Lily had taken off. After a panicked search we found her at yet another neighbor’s porch, playing with the toys there. The next time, she left my grandmother’s house just a few days after our move there. I thought she was with Richard, he thought she was with me (it was a huge house). In fact, she had left through the back door, in her jammies and without shoes, walking out onto yet another busy street. A driver stopped and lead her off the street, ringing on our door just to check if she lived there. I tell you, heart-attack worthy! 

I am glad that Lily doesn’t run off because she’s unhappy at home; she does it because she wants to be independent. She sees that if adults want to go somewhere, they just go (even though this is not completely right, the hubby and I usually let each other know where we go). And that’s what she does. That’s what she has done a total of 4 times now since she’s been 18 months old. And it scares me. I refuse to lock the door of our apartment. We’ve done it for a while after the last time she took off, but stopped again. I don’t like locked doors, and we live in a very secure neighborhood, so it’s not necessary. I don’t want the girls to get the feeling being locked in. We want to foster independence, but Lily takes it a step too far. This little 5-year old has the self-confidence of a big one, which I love on the one hand; on the other hand, it gets us all in situations like that. She does not know enough of the world to be safe. And we don’t want to scare her, if she would even understand the potential dangers out there. Again, we live in a very safe environment, but you never know who might pass through and take advantage of the opportunity. After last Sunday, we tried to tell her that there are bad people out there, who might hurt her, or take her away from us, and then we would not have a Lily any more, which would be beyond sad to all of us. She just held my hand, hugged me and told me it was ok and that she would always come home to me again. I love her for her optimism, but need to find a way to make her realize what kind of dangers are out there without taking this optimism from her. I need to make her realize that she is not a grown-up without smothering her inherent independence; I have experienced myself that this will only drive her away from us. Any advice that does not involve locked doors is welcome! 

My little whirl wind girl

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Good Old Days

Sometimes, I get nostalgic. I remember the days when CDs were a novelty, when I was excited to own my own cassette recorder, when my Dad's hi-fi station was a huge, three-piece monster and we'd sit in the living room flipping through his LP collection. When there were three channels on TV, and we were SO excited when my Dad bought a video recorder and would record Duck Tales for me.

The highlight of modern technology happened one Christmas, I think I was six or seven at the time, when my aunt gave me THIS:


I was SO excited, and to this day, I love playing Tetris until my wrists hurt sometimes (hubby owns a Gameboy Advance, my Brick died when I was about 10 or so and was mourned properly).

The other day, I was reading an early reader's book with Lily, with a list of all the key words from the story under the corresponding picture. One of them was, of course, a Gameboy. And what does Lily do??

"What's that?? An App?? Oh no, I know, an iPhone!!!"

Do I feel old?? Very much so. I hit me like a train that this is a totally different world. I realized how substantially the world has changed in not even two decades. I remember when my Dad got his first computer and I was SO frustrated with my vocabulary program, but liked to play THIS:

I remember the novelty of the internet, when I did most of the research for my graduation paper online while my fellow-students dug through tons of books. And then, my first cell phone!

And the world today? I have to admit, I chose to not participate in the latest technologies. I prefer paper books over e-readers, do not own a smart phone, and am just putting an mp3-player on my wish list for Christmas. Or maybe not? I prefer not jumping on every band wagon, stay a little bit with the basics, maybe I try subconsciously to channel a little bit of the world of my childhood... not... who am I kidding? I cannot imagine a life without the internet any more, so I embrace the new world and all it has to offer to our family and especially to our kids! And if Lily has an uncle crazy nice enough to let her play with his iPhone, so be it!

Blogger in the making? Lily at 2 years old

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Buena Vista Social Club

I had different plans for today, but those won't happen. Not today at least, maybe tomorrow... Tonight, I'm in Cuba!

Have I ever said that I want to see Cuba? Not just "oh, I'd like to vacation there some time", more like a "I can't die in peace before having seen Cuba". The hubby can't go, obviously, but there's nothing stopping me. My best friend promised me to go on a trip with me in 10 or so years, once the girls are old enough to be able to do without me for a couple of weeks so I can go with their auntie, enjoy good old cuba libre, walk the crumbling streets of Havanna, trace the steps of Ernest Hemmingway and Ernesto Guevara.

I hope they will still have all the old cars there, and the one or the other Castro. And most of all, the musicians. What would Cuba be without its music? I found the DVD "Buena Vista Social Club" in my company's library and am currently revelling in the pictures and the music of Cuba, in the portrays of all those different but wonderful musicians who have come together to bring the feeling of Cuba to the world. That is why I dream of Cuba today. The fact that summer has arrived full blast helps, too!

Music is a big part of our lives. My hubby is a musician by heart and profession, our daughters are growing up in a house filled with all different types of music, and Lily is already not only showing a love but also an exceptional talent for music, which makes me very happy. I cannot make music, and I don't sing well, but I love to dance. Tonight, Cuban music is filling the house, and I'm dancing (as much as my *more than likely broken* toe allows). I'm watching the pictures of Havanna and Santiago de Cuba, and listen to the stories of those unlikely but wonderful musicians.

See you tomorrow when I'm back from Cuba-in-my-living-room  :-)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Guest Blogger Wanted!!!


So, because my work rules, I could secure a week at a work-sponsored retreat in the Bavarian Forest during the first week of August, I'm looking for 5 more awesome bloggers to fill in for me. If you're interested, please comment for details or email me!

Bye Bye Work-Out!

Well, I overslept this morning, big time. As I was rushing through a short-cut morning routine, chopped my breakfast so I at least would get something nutricious in my body, I ran my foot against a chair. Cussing most child-friendly I slipped into the first shoes I came across in the hallway (black heels) and headed for the bus trying not to throw up from the pain.

Well, it went downward from there. The foot swell, I tried taking off the shoes under my desk, but it actually hurt more without the counterpressure in my shoes. I had to skip yoga class, and hobbled around the office for the rest of the days. I could not walk over to the vision store to order new lenses for my sunglasses, since summer has finally arrived full blast. I missed my bus because I could not hobble fast enough, and right now I decide that I'd rather stay put on the couch instead of walking down two flights of stairs to get myself some yummie ice cream.

To top off this Monday, our car battery died, and the car won't move a bit, yay!

On the plus side, I have an awesome neighbor, who works at a car shop and will order a new battery for us first thing tomorrow morning. And my wonderful hubby called off his orchestra practice tonight to take care of me and provides my mangled foot with ice packs. I'm a lucky girl!

I hope for a better Tuesday, and the foot'd be better like new by Saturday. We have our long-planned and once-postponed office outing hiking 6 or 7 miles to 5 different breweries and one distillery. If the foot still hurts, I will at least have the chance of some pain relieve of the grainy kind.

My training for the 10k this summer/fall, however, is on hold right now. But, I've decided on the run, the Erlangen Starnight Run in September, and I have a running mate. So: foot, HEAL!!

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Social - Pet Peeves Et Al.

Sunday Social

It's Sunday, once again. We enjoyed the day with a family breakfast for Father's Day, part II (the German Father's Day is earlier in spring), I went and picked up a pair of inline skates for Lily, which she tried out immediately. We enjoyed ice cream and an iced coffee with vanilla ice cream for me and dinner on the porch in the evening. Finally, summer is getting established in Germany!

To wrap the weekend up, I'm once again linking up with Ashley for Sunday Social:

1. What is your biggest driving pet peeve?
I probably have to say impatient drivers. I admit, we're not the fastest ones on the highway (no speed restrictions on German highways!), but we're definitely faster than the big trucks. I really hate it if we're in the fast lane to get ahead of a few trucks and some BMW is racing up, flashing lights at us, and almost hits our bumpers. I'm sorry, important BMW-owner, the road is for everyone!

2. What is your biggest blogging pet peeve?
Bad spelling and grammar. I cannot stand it. If a blogger has terrible spelling, I may not be able to read them, because it really annoys me. If I, as a foreigner, can spell *mostly* correctly, I expect the same from native speakers.

3. What is your biggest general pet peeve?
Intolerance and a lack of respect for others. I may not agree with others all the time, if that happens, I have two options: either stay mum or discuss the issue in a respectful way. I cannot stand people becoming personal and hurtful. This also applies to the blogging world!

4. What is your most irrational fear?
My fear of heights most likely. Seriously, if I'm on a tower with a 4.5 ft. high wall and a 7 - 8 ft. fence on top of it, there's no way the girls will miraculously fly over it and fall down. Still can't take it!

5. Name 3 celebrities you'd want to have dinner with?
I REALLY want to say Neil Gaiman, David Tennant, and Matt Smith, but I don't want to bore you all to death, since I have mentioned those guys time and again, so I'll come up with something new:

Hilary Mantel, awesome writer!

King Joffrey Jack Gleeson, nice guy in real life

Paul McCartney, no explanation needed

Wishing everyone a good start in another week!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

How You Find Me On The Internets

I've seen a few post recently, where people share the search words that were entered to search (or be randomly referred to) their blogs. I especially loved the post Lisa at Two Martinis wrote about it. You should check it out, it's hilarious. I bet most people never think about weirdos ending up on their blog after writing about some strange/embarrassing/NSFW topic.

So, besides the obvious search word, which is my blog name (thank you to everyone who's actually looking for me out there), here are the next top three search words:

1. a fairly degrading

Who, please, is entering something like that into a search engine, I wonder. I couldn't even think of a post that might relate to, so I put it into my key word search and came up with this post on the big sister / little sister personalities, and an, indeed, fairly degrading fist fight (yes, I did that!).

2. hello kitty cthulhu cake

Actually, most of the other search words on the list hover around this one. I love it, and it shows that there are more nerds like us around. It refers to a "Foto Friday" post I did back in 2010. A friend's husband had designed this cake full of references about the two of them for her 50th birthday. It's probably the most awesomest cake I have ever seen in my life (and it tastet extremely good as well).

3. comedy and tragedy

It actually surprised me that still 7 (!!) people were referred to my humble blog via those key words. I have written a post on the philosophic equation of comedy = tragedy + time in April of this year, and would have never thought that anyone would ever end up here by searching those fairly common words.

What's in your statistics? If you have never checked them out, you definitely should, it can be SO funny, or even give you a little insight into your own blog or your readership (that may not always be the people who actually follow you!)

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Good Morning And Good Bye...

Finish the Sentence Friday

It's Friday!!! Oh, and I tell you, I so need it. Tomorrow, we will go shopping for flower girl dresses for the girls with a wonderful bride-to-be and her mom. I'm so looking forward to a great day of shopping with all girls.  Tonight, I'm linking up with Janine and Kate for Finish The Sentence Friday.

The hardest part of my day is...  heading out for work when all I want to do is cuddle up on the couch with the girls, make some popcorn and watch a movie.

Most days, it's easy, the girls are mostly bright and early risers, help me get my stuff together and see me out the door (sometimes to the point of throwing me out to go catch my bus).

But there are days when it's rainy outside, they're feeling yucky, and just need some extra cuddles to get started in their days. On those days, I wish that work could be optional, that I could work at night after they have gone to bed, or during their naps. Unfortunately, my work requires for me to be at the office, so I keep trotting out every morning, rain or shine, and leave it up to Daddy to cuddle his girls. But the nights are all mine!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lily's Caterpillar

Last week, Lily and Violet were invited for a friend's birthday party at a local playground. Everyone had a lot of fun running around, playing, and enjoying the wonderful spread and ice cream that was delivered from the most famous local ice cream parlor. Towards the end of the party, one of the dads there found a tiny little caterpillar. I expected the girls to be grossed out, but they were watching it so intently. Lily was actually so excited about it that she decided to take it home in a paper cup, laced with some fresh leaves. She planned to feed it and watch it cocoon and eventually turn into a beautiful butterfly.

Lily and her caterpillar
On the way back to our car, I was a little behind with Violet, Lily suddenly started to cry. Somewhere between the playground, she must have turned over the cup and lost the caterpillar.

She was so inconsolable about it, worrying for her caterpillar being trampled on the street by someone. I promised her that someone surely would find it, pick it up and place it in one of the many flower boxes that cover the town. I told her that it will be quite happy there, and soon would turn into a beautiful butterfly.

It made her feel better, thinking about the caterpillar going on to become a butterfly; I, however, felt a little guilty about lying to her. I am not at all sure that someone would put it in a flower box. Most likely it will be trampled or die on the street, but I definitely did not want to tell her that.

Early on, Richard and I decided that we don’t want to lie to our kids. On some matters, like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, we’ll leave it up to them to believe whatever they want. Yes, I admit, we do use Santa as some sort of pressure keeping them in line the weeks before the holidays, but I am actually pretty sure that at least Lily does not fully believe in it. Heck, she’s seen me walk in the door with bags full of stuff the weeks before the holidays, and she’s a smart girl, she has figured it out, but still loves to put out cookies and milk for Santa. But in general, we refuse to lie to them. They know about the world, they know about life and death. They know where babies come from, as far as they have asked. We don’t believe in making them believe in a world that does not exist. However, I simply could not bring myself to tell her the truth about the caterpillar. Yes, there is a chance someone actually put it in a flower box, or that she has actually lost it on a patch of green, but that’s a fairly small chance. I don’t think the caterpillar made it, but it consoled her believing it did.

How do you raise your kids in this world, which is doubtless cruel at times? Do you agree with white lies or prefer the truth at all times? I am confused about it sometimes, especially since a friend of mine, who does not have kids, told me at some point that she thinks I’m ruining our girls’ childhood. I don’t think I do, they are happy, feisty, energetic little girls, who would definitely let me know if I was ruining something for them. Mostly, we feel fairly confident in the style we’re raising the girls, but I’m always open for new ways.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

House Update - It's Going To Happen!!

A tad bit of excitement about thw whole adventure is coming up again! A couple of weeks ago, we FINALLY received this in the mail:

It's a building permit!!
Yes, it has finally arrived, and we were so excited about it. Our property has also been cleared of trees and most of the shrubs in May, actually, when we checked today, all the roots and other stuff had been cleared and the ground leveled.

Our property, about 3 weeks ago.
Today, we met with our building engineer, Mr. O. again. We signed off the final details on the house (who would have thought that the way the doors open was something worth discussing...). We almost cannot believe it, but right now, there's nothing really for us to do. Mr. O. will stop by the property to measure it out. The soil analysis is ordered. At some point, we will have to put in the preliminary applications for water, electricity, and gas utilities, and we still need to provide the insurance for the house, and we're set to start! Mr. O. says it may be as early as the first or second week of July. Yes, we're getting closer to our house one little mouse step at a time, and there have been a few during the last few weeks!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My View On Death

First of all I want to express my gratitude to all of you wonderful people out there. Your support, acceptance, and kind word as response to my post on being an Atheist meant the world to me. I was at a point when I felt like an outcast for something I really don't have much control over. I have read many testimonies of people who were non-believers or casual church-goers but at some point found a deeper meaning in the bible and found solace in their faith. For me, it was the other way around. I have tried for a long time to believe, to be a good Christian. I have read the bible cover to cover, I have attended bible retreats, worship and bible studies. I remember the last time a former boyfriend of mine prayed with me. I really wanted to believe, but eventually accepted and embraced being a non-believer. I don't have it in my heart to believe in a god, which does not make me a bad person, since I definitely have a conscience and high ethical and moral standards.

The lovely Kimbra over at Mommy's Rambles asked me a question, which I responded but decided to explain in more detail, since I felt that I wasn't quite able to put everything in a post comment. She asked me what I believe happens at the time of death.

Well, at the moment of death, all the body functions shut down. It may be the heart stopping to beat due to a heart attack, which leads to the brain not being supplied with oxygen and dying and all the other organs following suit. We all know the different types a body can die, and that is what I truly think happens.

I don't believe in an afterlife per se. I would like to believe in re-birth, but don't really do. I, however truly believe in a life after death in the hearts and memories of our loved ones. In the traces that our actions and words have left on this physical world. I had a wonderful coworker a few years back. She and my other coworkers were my support network during my first pregnancy, as my mom was half a world away. We actually were almost like family. Just before Thanksgiving back in 2007 they found out that her husband, who was in his early 40s, had cancer, which soon turned out to be terminal. He put up an amazing fight but lost it on Easter Sunday of 2008. He was a wonderful man, in so many ways. He was the first dead body I had ever seen in my life, and it wasn't the man I had known any more. What I remember with so much fondness was the moments I spent with my coworker, just sharing memories about him. I had not known him for a long time, but he was just such an original. A year or so ago I chatted with my former coworker, and I asked her if she remembered the lunch we had at work where he showed up in shorts, white tennis socks, and flip-flops; she scolded him for that, and it was so hilarious. I have to smile whenever I have to think about it; she said that she had forgotten about that, but yes, it was hilarious.

To me, these are the moments when our loved ones are among us again. They live in our hearts and are right there with us if we remember them. Maybe this legacy is what some religions call the soul, or karma. Some people should not be remembered, and if we think about them, there are no positive thoughts, and other people just bring to us happiness as they did in life. I hope that when I am gone, I will be among the latter. This is one reason why I try my best to live a good life. I want to leave this world  to my children a better place. And if I have just changed the world to the better for one single person, it was all worth it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Adult ABCs

The awesome Melissa at Home on Deranged has tagged me in this fun game. And that is just what I need after having to stomach that not only Doctor Who is on break but also season 3 of Game of Thrones ended without a certain wedding (not giving more details, don't want to spoil it for people who have not yet read the books). Here we go with the adult version of our favorite ABC song...

A. Attached or Single? Very much attached. And he's not getting rid of me.. (you should read Melissa's answer to that one, I loved it!!)

B. Best Friend? Of course the hubby, but he doesn't really count in that because he's so much more. So there's my best friend since 8th grade, who is so awesome (or crazy/insane/naive, you choose one) to agree to take care of all of our kids should something happen to us. It puts some mind to ease!!

C. Cake or pie? Both! I have a serious sweet tooth, as long as I'm not pregnant in my first trimester, then I cannot stand either. And now, I crave apple pie!

D. Day of choice? Saturday. Everything's possible on a Saturday. Sleeping in, watching a movie with the girls, going shopping. I just love Saturdays!

E. Essential item? Probably my wallet.

F. Favorite color? purple (yes, I admit it!!)
G. Gummy bears or worms? Yogurt gums. I don't do jellied animal candy.

H. Hometown? My hometown of choice is Erlangen. I technically live in a suburb of Erlangen, because it's affordable and we really love this little town! The town I was born in.. I hate that place!

I. Favorite indulgence? Artisan chocolate. We have some really awesome chocolate stores in town. Dark chocolate with red pepper or lavender anyone??

J. January or July? Can I say October? I love seasons, so I like both January and July, but fall is my favorite season.

K. Kids? Miss Lilly and Miss Violet, yes, I'm an unlikely girls' mom and love it!!

L. Life isn’t complete without? the family and coffee.

M. Marriage date? April 7, 2006. Why? Well, it was the first date we could get after struggling with the paperwork for months.

N. Number of brothers/sisters? That's a difficult question. Technically, I have a sister, but I don't call her that any more (long story); but I have learned over the years that blood is not always thicker than water and have an amazing "adopted" family.

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples!! But orange juice.. weird..

P. Phobias? Height. Makes me panick big time!

Q. Quotes? Mami, is Jesus a zombie??? (Lily this year around Easter. A longer conversation on the different types of undead according to the D&D universe ensued .The result? Jesus is a lich)

R. Reasons to smile? Everything. I try to smile as much as possible because it simply improves my mood and oftentimes that of others as well.

S. Season of choice? Fall!!

T. Tag 5 People. Pinky, Jessica, Jen, Susannah, Adrienne

U. Unknown fact about me? I'm kind of scared of needles. Which makes it more difficult having two girls watching me getting a tetanus shot. Wanted to whine but couldn't.. As a kid, however, I could, and did bolt on occasion.

V. Vegetable? It's asparagus season in Germany right now!!

W. Worst habit? I just learned that I grind my teeth, not this loud, annoying grinding but the subconscious clenching my teeth. My dentist says that I am way too young for my teeth. I've been watching myself and try to stop it. It's annoying.

X. Xray or Ultrasound? Ultrasound. I don't like being bombarded by radiation.

Y. Your favorite food? Plain old spaghetti and tomato sauce.

Z. Zodiac sign? Pisces

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I Got Featured!!! @ The Wondering Brain

Yes, I'm so excited I just need to share it!

The fabulous Jessica at The Wondering Brain featured my rant post on a wacky BMI chart on this week's "My Favorite Posts Show Off Weekend Blog Party".

To show some support, please join the party and link up with Jessica and her co-hosts!

Sunday Social - Blogging, Anyone?

Sunday Social

Today, I am again linking up with Ashley at Ashley Lately for Social Sunday. It has been a busy weekend, and quite honestly, I am ready for another weekend just to relax, but luckily, tomorrow is my lunch-time yoga class, so there is some time for a quick nap during the day!

This week's 6 questions are:

1. How did you come up with your blog name?
I was at a point in our lives where everything was possible and nothing guaranteed any more. Against all expectations (least of all my own) we were about to move back to my native Germany; we were about to have a second baby, which has been a huge surprise a few months earlier as well. Our lives had definitely taken some unexpected turns, thus the name.

2. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
Meeting people I would have probably never met in real life. And having a space where I can talk about things that I may not feel so comfortable sharing with people in my real life. So many more opinions form different people.

3. What is one thing you have discovered because of blogging and now can't live without?
That writing about things that really weigh on my shoulders is better than keeping it to myself. It's better than any therapy!

4. Facebook or Twitter, and why?
Facebook. I don't have time for Twitter, since I work all day and refuse to own a smart phone. I also only have a personal FB page, that I check once a day most days. Don't have time for a FB page for my blog.

5. If one celeb read your blog, who would you want it to be?
Neil Gaiman, hands down! I am so in love with his writing, and believe I would squeal and jump up and down for at least an hour should I find out that he did. *I'm not delusional, he would never read my blog, he's a busy man*

6. What is something you want people to know about your blog?
Right now? I am searching for at least 7 guest bloggers for the first week of August  :-)  If you are interested, email me or respond in the comments!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Turning Point

Finish the Sentence Friday

Linking up with Janine for Finish The Sentence Friday. This week is a good one:

I hit a turning point in my life when...

- I just wanted to get out of my home town. I don't exactly know when it happened, but sometime between
   being an angsty and depressed 12-year old, panicking when my parents considered moving to another
   town and being an extremely annoyed 18-year old, ready for the big, big world..

- I met The One. I knew that he was my man from the very beginning, and gave up a promising career to
   live the Army life with him.

- I became a mother. I have always been a career girl who never cut herself any slack. Even when I was
   pregnant with Lily, I planned on going back to work full-time as soon as possible. Having a baby turned
   me into a wuss (in the most positive sense!!). I would love working part-time and spend more time with
   the girls during the week, but that obviously didn't happen.

- I became pregnant unplanned. This was probably the most defining turning point. Once the two little lines
   appeared on the test, we knew that we had to make radical changes in our lives. We thought back and
   forth, from Richard taking advantage of the GI Bill and going back to college to moving to a place with
   better job prospects for both of us. We ended up moving back to Germany, to the place we started out
   over 4 years earlier, and it has been the best decision in our lives.

What was a defining point in your life?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Summer Is Coming...

Yes, people, it is true! Summer is coming.. even to Germany. Mostly, the flood is receding in the Eastern and Souhern Germany, we have not had any rain since Sunday night, and even summer temperatures. I got to wear a skirt to work today and the girls spent their afternoon at the play ground, darn, I missed it!!

Summer is coming...  (Source)

So, what are we going to do this summer? I already announced that I was able to rent a vacation rental sponsored by my company in the Bavarian Forest and I will be gone for a week. I so can't wait to have a change of scenery, I need it! I'm looking forward on hiking, swimming in the natural lakes, watching the kids playing at the playground trail, and going down the the summer toboggan slide.


But before the summer fun starts, I'd like to take the opportunity to say "Happy Birthday" to my mom! I know, we don't always see eye to eye, but I know that I wouldn't be where I am today without you! I love you, Mom!

My mom and me, summer 2007

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What It Means To Be An Atheist

I've thought about this post for well over a week. I had a quite disappointing and painful experience with someone, who basically told me that I was a bad person because I didn't believe in the Christian god. First I just brushed it off, but soon I noticed that I actually did hurt.

Along the way, I have noticed that there is still a huge lack of knowledge of what it means to be an Atheist in the general population. At a PTA meeting at Lily's school, a mom approached me, asking if we really didn't believe in anything. I loved that she was open-minded and actually asked me this question without prejudice. So I thought that I would compile a little list of what being an Atheist means to me:

No, I do not believe in any gods or supernatural beings. I trust in science, and I deeply believe in love and that there is goodness in most people. I believe in family bonds; I believe that life is this crazy thing of lucky and not-so-lucky events, but don't think that they are controlled by anyone.

Something that almost got me off my chair at said PTA meeting was Lily's teacher saying that it's necessary to teach "Christian values" to the children. But what are those values, I asked. Doing good, I was told; sharing, taking others' feelings into consideration, not hurting each other on purpose, valueing each other. Well, it happens that those are our values, too. And those of Buddhists, and Muslims, and Sikhs, and most religions I know of, which would make them ethical values, necessary to create a functional society. "Christian values" like being god-fearing, doing good in god's name, etc. should be a personal issue, not something that's being taught in school.

Something I might miss about not being part of a church is the socializing. In Washington, we had a wonderful parent-group of all secular parents. And no, we were not sitting together during our monthly Sunday brunch, talking religion into the dirt. Actually, religion hardly ever came up; we mostly watched out kids play, enjoyed the food and company of other parents, without having religion to be an issue. However, we do not limit our circle of friends to other Atheists; actually, we have always had Christians among our close friends. Most of the time, religion is not an issue; we respect our friends saying grace before a meal, even at our house, since we want them to be comfortable and feel at home. But we can also have respectful religious debates with them, which is wonderful because each side respects the other's standpoint.

We are raising our daughters in a secular environment, but planned on introducing them to the concept of religion once they were of a certain age. Unfortunately, Lily's kindergarten teacher has decided that three was the appropriate age to introduce Christianity to her. We've had a few difficult conversations, trying to explain to her in manner fitting for her age he concept, and I think we've done alright. We have explained to her what a god is, and also had a long conversation about Jesus of Nazareth. One day, we will talk to both of the girls about religion more extensively; our goal is that one day they will be able to make a decision on the matter from their own hearts, and we will support them in their decision.
Apart from the issue of religion, we are raising our girls to be free-thinkers, to be respectful, to be thankful for the things they have and not to be greedy, to be creative, to be able to explore every interest they have, and to be happy.

Holidays and Traditions:
This one has been a tough one for us, not only because of religion but also because we're a culturally blended family. Before we had kids, it didn't really matter to us, but once Lily arrived we thought about how to raise her being aware of both traditions. As of the origin of holidays, we are relating to the old pagan traditions. During the Yule celebration (Christmas), we are focussing on family, being able to be together, appreciating the warmth of our homes in the darkness of the world and finally celebrate the re-birth of light, the winter solstice (which used to be December 25 according to the old Julian calender). Easter, we celebrate spring, the awakening of the nature after winter and the cute animal babies. The girls love it so far. Yes, they get to make their wish lists for Santa, which to us is simply a cute fairy tale; I'm pretty sure that even at their young age they do not totally believe in Santa, but close enough to get them in line with threats of no presents during the time before the holidays.

Radical Atheists:

I don't agree with them in most respects; well, the only thing we do agree on is that there are no gods. Besides that, I think they do a great disservice to all the Atheists out there, just as fanatics and radicals from every corner make whatever they stand for look bad. I don't agree with the opinion that Christians or other religious can never do good just for the sake of doing good, but always act with their salvation in the back of their minds. That would mean that all religious people are not good but only act because of fear of damnation. Even though at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if good was done just because or with an ulterior motif, but I do think that every person, religious or not, can do both good or evil just because.

All in all, I consider myself pretty normal. I do not define myself as being an Atheist, there are way more things to bond over with people than religion. I am hurt if people claim I am a bad person, because I'm not. I am far from perfect, but I try to live my life accepting people as they are and respecting them for who they are. And that is all I ask for in return. I don't ask to agree with me or to tell me I'm right. I know my truth in my heart, as others know theirs. All I want is for my family and me to be happy, and this is what most people are striving for.

If you have any questions about what I think or how I feel on certain issues, please step up and ask, whether it is as a comment or via email. I'll gladly answer about every question.

And at the end of the day, don't forget:


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Happy Tuesday!

Last night, browsing my Facebook, I came across something -well, judge for yourself:

My friend and her boyfriend have just moved into a new house, their first place together (yay for them!!). Well, I hope they get married, soon, because their last names make quite an unfortunate combination (I swear that they are very nice people!!)

This is NOT fake, believe me!!

Enjoy your first house together, Moni and Markus!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Fat Kid - Thin Kid - Pretty Kid

In early May, we went to the routin check-ups with both of the girls. They were tested for their physical, mental, and emotional development, and I'm glad to say that both are doing so well. Violet has outgrown her timidity well enough and Lily has caught up speechwise to the level she should be in German, impresses with her English, and is overall a very impressing leftie.

A couple of days ago, I punched as ever-so-often the physical data (height and weight) into a unit converter (seriously, how long are the US sticking to the imperial measurements??) for the report to the State-side grandparents, when I happened to stumble upon this percentile calculator. Curious as I am, I checked their stats in comparison to their U.S. peers, and received back a quite infuriating result: according to this calculator, Lily is considered marginally overweight.

Let me be honest: yes, I am aware that both my girls have very different body types. Lily has already been showing signs of becoming curvy later in life as a toddler, while Violet has always been tall and rail-thin. To be honest, I've always seen her marginally underweight (to the point where my mom wants to know what she eats!), but according to this calculator, she's somewhere in the middle range.

Ok, dear doctors who drew up this chart: we are giving our kids healthy food to eat, little processed foods, as much whole grains as possible, fruit, vegetables, and yes, most days a treat after dinner, which is usually a small piece of chocolate, an individual sleeve of gummi-bears, and in summer orange juice popsicles. And both of our kids are active. If the weather is nice they spend the evenings outside until it's time for bed; we sing and dance, play catch around the coffee table, and sometimes (if Daddy is out for band practice) jump on the bed. I would like to know what exactly makes you believe that our daughter is "marginally overweight"? Do you have an idea what you can possibly do to a young girl's emotional state of mind with a completely unfounded opinion like that (this chart goes to the age of 12, and many 10 or 12-year olds may be able to figure their score out themselves)? What a I - as a "good parent" supposed to be doing with the information you kindly provided? Cut her portions? Make her work out? Cut her dessert? And how am I going to explain to her that her sister is still getting her treat while she doesn't? Am I telling her: "oh, sweetie, that's the thing, you're just a tad bit on the heavy side, so we need to fix that until you can have dessert again!"

She will remember it, and make it a part of herself. She'll watch other girls her age or older, or younger, and want to be like them even though there is a good chance she'll never look that way due to body shape and genes. She will start hating her body and put all her energy into it to conquer it; or she will give up and start eating up her frustration. Why do I know? Because I've been there. I have lost years of my life watching every single calory that entered my body. I ate and puked. I became tired, my skin dried out, I became weak, but not able to break the circle. Whenever I ate, I felt guilty, I felt like betraying the person I could be, until I realized that I can either accept the person I am and embrace her, or keep fighting her for as long as I can and still lose this war. The experience that helped me win the battle in the end was getting pregnant. I knew that I wanted a healthy baby and I knew that only a healthy me could ensure that; and once I held this beautiful little girl in my arms, I promised her to raise her a strong woman who will love who she is and enjoy every minute of her life. I know it won't be easy, but I'll do my best to fulfill this promise to both our daughters.

So what am I going to do now? Nothing. I will not change her eating habits, which are fine. I will not cut the treats from her diet and punish her for inheriting my genes. I will not chase her around more, because she is already a healthy, active, and beautiful little girl. Her pediatrician is happy with her, her speech therapist is happy with her, and her physical therapist is happy with her, and most of all, I am happy to have such a remarkable girl be my daughter!
Not fat, not skinny, just having fun!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Social - Summer and Social Media Favorites

Sunday Social

It's Sunday, time to link up for Sunday Social at Ashley Lately. Today, it's about some more favorites in the area of social media and - most anticipated - summer.

1. What is your favorite social media outlet?
I only have a personal Facebook page, and this blog. Don't have time for much more social media.

2. Do you subscribe to any daily news reads? If so, which ones?
Nope, no subscriptions. I watch the news most nights on TV (old-school, I know) and check out yahoo news before checking my mail at night. Besides that, just my company's intranet news  ;-)

3. What is your favorite magazine to have by the pool?
Not too much into magazines, just my subscription. I prefer a book.

4. What is your favorite summertime song?
Probably California Dreaming (The Mamas and Papas); basically everything that feels like sunshine, flowers, and fun.

5. What is the best summer concert you've been to?
By far, Rock im Park in 2003. I had just graduated from high school and treated myself to this 3-day rock music festival. It was awesome, especially Reamonn at the Alternative Stage. But nothing could beat Marilyn Manson and Metallica, just WOW!

Wishing everyone a good start into a new week!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Modern Cooking - Asparagus Casserole

I know I'm late with my new dish for May.. By about a day. I promise I actually made this in May, but never came around to share the recipe. And I forgot to take a picture before dishing it out as well, but that proves (kind of) that the crowd actually ate it:

1 lb of green asparagus, ends trimmed off and cut in bite-sized pieces
4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
3 - 4 large potatoes, cut in bite-sized pieces
1-1/2 cup of milk
2 tbs butter
1-2 tbs flour
swiss cheese, grated (or any other cheese, I just like the flavor of swiss cheese in that meal
salt, pepper

Melt butter in a sauce pan; when it starts to foam sprinkle in the flour and stir. Pour in the milk and stir until it thickens. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix asparagus, potatoes, and carrots in a casserole dish, pour sauce over the veggies and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350° F until cheese is starting to brown and potatoes are done.

Enjoy by itself as a main dish or, for meat lovers, as a side for a nice steak or grilled chicken breast.

And the crowd's verdict?

Miss Violet approves!