Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Little Garden Friends

I've got new little friends.  They live in my garden.  I have a feeling they aren't good for my garden, but I like them anyway.  They seem to be everywhere around here.

My little guy and I were looking for patterns for his math assignment and ended up on a snail hunt.

What started as a tedious math assignment turned into a sweet moment with my little man and a reminder to savor the small moments.

Happy Weekend to You!
Enjoy the small moments, they are the sweetest!
- Kim -

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

first peek into the kitchen: open shelving

There are many differences between life in the States and life in Germany.  Some subtle and some not so subtle.  Some that make complete sense and some that just plain puzzle me.  One of the differences that has puzzled me is that Germans take their kitchens with them when they move.  Yep, the kitchen sink and all!  Light fixtures too.  Hence that lightbulb dangling from the ceiling in the photo below.

Lucky for us, my husband's company has a warehouse of kitchens and they fit it to suit the house.  Of course I asked if I could pick out the cabinet colors, but alas, no.  Hey, it was worth a shot.  Anyhow, the kitchen turned out much better than I anticipated.  I was nervously expecting outdated cabinets from the 80s.  But thankfully, they are fairly up to date and basic.  However, the cabinets have an orange-ish tone I could live without.  But in the grand scheme, they work and there's always the art of distraction to tone down the orange undertones.  My plan is to add a lot of white and pops of black to distract the eye.  We have a great set up, but it could use a little tweaking.

There was a blank wall between the refrigerator and bank of upper cabinets.  So much wasted space.  This was the perfect opportunity for open shelving.

Since this is a short term gig, I went for the cheapest shelving I could fine at the local hardware store. I think it was 2 euro per bracket and 8 euro per shelf.

These shelves make me a happy woman!  Seriously, giddy!

I missed my chalkboard from my kitchen at home, so I remedied that with some chalkboard contact paper.  An easy and inexpensive tweak that makes this rental more like home.  I've since added washi tape to frame the chalkboard and it feels much better to me.  I was too lazy to take an updated picture, but it will be in a future post I'm sure.

The wide open space in front of the cabinets is screaming for an island.  I had hopes of a low cost DIY, but it was a bust.  I bought industrial shelving, building only half of it and putting a butcher block on top.  It was way too wobbly, so I've conceded to spending a little money to get a sturdy island.  Sometimes it's worth spending the money.   The island is an IKEA trip away.  Can't wait!

That's it for now.  Be back to share more progress when there is more progress.

Monday, May 19, 2014

everything's coming up roses

Quite literally.  Our home has 17 rose bushes and they are in full bloom.  I don't really know what to do with these guys, except water at the root, don't get the leaves wet, cut at an angle right above a five leaf cluster.  Any green thumbs out there have advice to share, please do.

I am in love with these yellow roses.  When they are buds, they have a vibrant orange color, then they blossom into to pale yellow with pink edges.  And they smell like no other rose I've ever smelt.  In fact, they don't even smell like roses at all.  They are fruity, sweet, almost like candy.  I can't help but smell them over and over.

Our garden is full of plants and flowers that I don't know what to do with.  I'm hoping one of you may have some insight for me.  I'm going to take some pics of them and hope to at least find out what they are and maybe some advice from you on how to care for them.  HELP!  Pictures coming soon...

Our German Apartment

For our first month and a half in Germany, we lived in a hotel apartment until our container arrived.  Here is a peek at our first home away from home.

We lived on the top floor, which meant climbing four flights of winding stairs multiple times a day.  Add in groceries, and we had a mini workout each day.

 One of the benefits of small living...I could jump out of the shower and do a load of laundry.

We didn't have a dryer, so we dried our clothes the old fashioned way.  Oddly, this didn't bother me as much as I thought it would.  It forced me to plan out my time better, rather than waiting for a mountain of laundry to overtake my laundry room.  Living in this apartment was a mini bootcamp for me to break some bad habits.  Although, now that I have a dryer again, the laundry mountain is growing again.

To get my house fluffing fix, I grabbed some cute napkins from the euro store.

And started collecting the pretty, blue glass water bottles the hotel gave us.  Little moments like this made me feel more at home at little or no cost.

I happily displayed a Michigan oven mitt my friends gave me before I left.  It truly is the little things than can make a difference.

Sorry for this dark pic, the lighting in the kitchen was non-existent.  Just wanted to show you this efficient use of space.  The kitchen was basically a hallway into the next room.

As you may already know, ice is not really a popular thing in European countries.  If you want it, you must ask for it.  I love my drinks iced up and stumbled upon these disposable ice baggies at the store. Again, the little things that can make you happy go a long way.

We had two murphy beds and a table and chairs that served as our living, dining and bedroom.  I missed having a couch!  Next to this room was a doorway into another room that was more like your standard hotel room and across the hall we had another hotel style room.

It was nice to live simply for a while, but I was more than ready to move back into a bigger space.  What I missed most was just a common area we could hang out with a couch.  Oh, how I missed having a couch!!  Oh and a refrigerator bigger than a college dorm fridge!! :)  It's hard to store enough food for a family of five in one of those little guys.  I'd never grocery shopped so many times a week as I did living there.

It was a great place to start our adventure.  We've been in our house for almost two months now and are settling in.  There are few things still hanging over our a kitchen table, but we may have found one.  As we check things off the list, I'll give you a peek at our house.

Friday, May 2, 2014

a refreshing {german} drink: apfel schorle

Happy Friday, my friends!

Can you believe it is already May?!  Yesterday was a treat here in Germany.  May 1st is May Day (similar to Labor Day), so no school and no work.  It was the perfect chill out day.  The weather was sunny, we rode our bikes along the river, had lunch and grabbed some ice cream before we jumped on the ferry.  It reminded of what a wonderful opportunity we have to be here and experience a new culture and traditions.  I've been waiting for May Day because it is also the day young men deliver trees to the one they love/like.  They actually deliver it the night before so it's there when his special gal wakes up.  I was hoping to catch some guys on bikes carrying trees, but I missed that part of the fun.  However, I was delighted to see decorated trees in front of many homes around my village.  Such a sweet gesture that actually takes some true effort.  I love it!

This guy must like her a lot.  It's a pretty big tree!

Our family is also enjoying trying new foods and drinks.  Our favorite so far is apfel schorle.  They sell it everywhere here.  Before we moved, my husband shared it with us after one of his business trips.  Since they don't sell it back home, we made our own version and so can you.

All you need is sparkling water and apple juice.  You can decide on the ratio you like best.  If you like it a bit sweeter, add more apple juice.  Not so sweet, add more sparkling water.  Personally, I do about half and half and maybe a bit more sparkling water.  It's so refreshing and perfect for spring and summer!

Apple seems to be the most popular flavor, but I just discovered at lunch yesterday that they also do it with wine...weinschorle.   Quite tasty.  I'm sure you could use the same method, half wine, half sparkling water...maybe some fruit.  YUM!

Happy Spring!
- Kim
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