Thursday, May 22, 2014


Last month I found myself in Amsterdam. I like to refer to this as Europe's Las Vegas. The city was celebrating its annual King's Day (formerly Queen's Day). Everyone boasted in their bright orange hues and trampled the cobbled streets in search of alcohol, sex, and/or drugs. Yes, you're right, I do not drink and I'm a married woman... so... um... NO, I was not looking for drugs nor did I find any. I spent my day with a very amazing woman I met on another guided tour. We shopped and laughed and sampled delicious treats. We rode on a beautiful boat and ate at a floating Chinese restaurant. Due to the holiday, everything was closed and the streets were blocked off. Imagine a citywide block party dedicated to alcohol and music. Take that image and apply crack. Tons of crack. That, my friend, is King's Day in Amsterdam.

This month I stayed a bit more local and ventured on a 2 hour drive up to Hotel Bareiss in Baiersbronn located in the Black Forest. My husband booked this trip for my Mother's Day present. He could not have chosen a more suitable establishment. Let's just start with the village in which the resort sits. It's breathtaking. The scenery is impeccable. Flowers bloom along the roads and the trees are every shade of green known to man. During my stay, the weather was perfect. It stayed a nice 70 degrees the entire time and never dared to rain.

The hotel is a family establishment where the great great great great nephew of the Henry IV still works the front desk. Im not really sure how many greats he is, but he really does make an appearance in the hotel. I was able to speak to him on my second night at dinner. I had just finished my 7 course meal, when I recognized a young man working the dining tables. Everyone greeted him with a smile and he in turn chatted a few moments. He reached my table when it finally dawned on me why he was recognizable, he is the man from the brochure. The descendant of the first caveman to open a Hotel Bareiss. Where then the fine establishment was only open to the best hunters and gatherers of the time.

My weekend included a gorgeous view of a hillside from my suite. The old fashioned lock and key for my door was brilliant. The room's balcony was private and equipped with a quaint seating area for relaxation. I did spend a few hours out there enjoying a random food & wine magazine. The spa was located less than a minute from my room two floors below. There I was able to receive a pedicure, silk massage (with raw silk gloves to take home and continue my treatment), and a facial. They really know how to show a girl a good time. Just an FYI, there's no modesty in a massage in Europe. Hop your naked ass on the table while I massage every inch of your body.

The resort has a golf course, several pools, saunas, ponds, children's areas, parks, bike riding, group trails, and more for your enjoyment. The included breakfast buffet runs until 11 if you're a late riser or want to return for brunch. In the afternoon, cake is served free of charge to guests. In the evening a 7 course dinner is served at your own special table. Thank goodness for Pretty Woman teaching me which forks and knives to use! Bwahahaha... slippery little suckers :) You have a few choices if you're on a low calorie diet or vegetarian lifestyle. Once you arrive the clerk shows you to your room and from that moment forward every worker knows your name. Cheers anyone? Please tell me you know that show. If not, Google it! The entire experience is worth every penny and the bill is quite hefty. Just remember all of the inclusions. Words and pictures will never do this place justice. It's something you should definitely experience for yourself. I tried with the words and now here are some photos.

I've no clue where I'll go for my June trip, but it will be pretty hard to top these locations! Until then... CIAO! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Im a hooker

Recently I've befriended a very nice lady. She lured me into her life and her heart. Slowly she began showing me a new way of having fun. Her joy became my joy. Her obsession became my obsession. She is a hooker and she has recruited me as well. Does that make her a pimp? My pimp? A madam? I dont know what label you will give her, but I call her my soulmate. She has opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of hooking.

My husband knows what I do. My children have even watched and I've let my oldest twin hook a little as well. She has to learn some time and 3 years old is old enough in this house. Judge me if you want, but when you're up late watching tv wasting your time, Im hooking and making money. Well, Im not making much money yet from it. Im still a newbie.

My mom taught me how to hook when I was younger, but I didnt stick with it. Hooking is just like riding a bike!

Ok, ok... here goes. I CROCHET! I love it and my kids love all the beautiful things I create. My husband is so supportive of my crazy endeavors. My stash of yarn is ridiculous already. Let's get a few things straight, well one thing. I dont knit. Crochet uses a single hook and knitting uses two needles. Get it now? Hooking? No? Really? Hmm...

Here are a few pieces I've completed in the last few months.

Elmo blanket for my son. He sleeps with this every night :)

Hippo blanket for a dear friend of mine expecting her first girl next month. The colors and animal match her nursery theme.

My son wearing a bearded beanie.
Im finishing a Doc Mcstuffins blanket for one twin and the other wants Dora. My husband has an awesome Chicago teams mashup waiting in queue. 

Crocheting does come with a little pain. Depending on how you grip your hook you can have
discomfort in your fingers, wrist or like me in the space between thumb and index finger. I very tightly grip my hook like a pencil and it has caused some sharp pains in that area. I've researched different hooks, holds, and possible relief methods and I've come up with this. I made some porcelain clay and molded it to fit the hook. Then I held it and pressed in the areas I normally hold without allowing too much pressure. I tried a few stitches and I like the grip and it feels great. Im hoping this added space will cause me to open the space between my thumb and index finger allowing less strain. The clay will dry after a few days and then I'll spray with a gloss and viola! The recipe was quite simple if you want to make some of your own or just make clay projects.

Porcelain clay recipe:

3/4c    white Elmer's school glue
1c       cornstarch
2tbs    baby oil 
1tbs    lemon juice

mix all ingredients over a low heat w/a wooden spoon until chunky like mashed potatoes and no longer "wet" in appearance. 

add another few drops of baby oil and knead at the warmest temperature you're comfortable. 

you can add color at any time. adding acrylic paint in the initial mix gives an even coloring or after like mine to have the swirl effect.

store in the refrigerator in a ziplock bag with as little air as possible. 

takes 2-3 days to dry and up to a week to completely dry. trying to cure this in the oven can cause the material to expand and then shrink more than the original design. 

This weekend I'm going on my TRIP OF THE MONTH! Cant wait to share that experience with you all. Until then...


Saturday, March 22, 2014

I woke up like dis

Im completely convinced Beyonce has ecstasy sprayed over her crowd through the ventilation system at her concerts. No, I've never tried ecstasy or any other drug for that matter. This is the only explanation I can formulate for the calm manner in which we all waited over 90 minutes for her to take the stage and for the camaraderie we displayed during her performance. Let me explain...

Beyonce's show started right on time with her warm-up DJ hyping the crowd. He flooded our emotions with current hip hop as he bounced around the stage. Of course he demanded people stand up and bounce around and throw their hands in the air. The long haired sister to Cousin It standing next to me refused to do any such thing and I was just as bougie. We bobbed our heads and shook our booties to a few lyrics, but we were already restless. After his 30minute warm-up session the giant monitors flickered on and a video played advertising some way to upgrade your seat. Blah blah. Then a few minutes passed and the backdrop fell down displaying BEYONCE in bright pink letters.

You'd think she'd appear within a few minutes of all this hype. You'd be in the mindset of the other thousands of people at this sold out concert. Yet, there was no Beyonce. There was nothing. No hype man. No more large monitor advertisements. Nothing. The crowd started to do the wave. I was actually on the ground level so it was pretty cool to watch the wave go around me in an almost complete circle. This lasted a few minutes before they all began chanting Beyonce's name. Still... nothing. I started to get annoyed by everyone trying to push their way around and Cousin It's hair was covering my phone as I tried to text my husband about our wait. He of course has JayZ on speed dial and told him to tell his wife to get this party started. He listened and moments later a euphoria spread over the crowd as Beyonce's dancers kicked off one of the greatest concerts ever. I imagine this is the exact moment the ecstasy was pumped through the vents. Everyone was in complete awe. 

The next 90minutes seemed to go by like a blur. Fire explosions, dancers, half naked Beyonce, more video, more Beyonce, glitter exploding from the stage and falling on us like snowflakes, and crowd singing filled my world. Cousin It and I no longer hated each other for being in one another's personal space. We were booty shaking and fist pumping with the rest. When Beyonce sang Flawless it was like she and I were soul mates. We both "woke up like dis" over and over and over together. I should have been upset that everyone was holding their phones in my view to take their pictures and video or that Mrs. Carter took forever to take the stage or any of the other countless nuances which occurred that night, but nothing seemed more important than singing and dancing. 

Other than my drug induced concert experience, I had a wonderful weekend with my family. The city of Cologne has much to offer. I was shocked to learn that 80% of the city was open on Sundays! That in itself was amazing. We arrived Friday evening at the Hilton and enjoyed dinner at the hotel. It's a quick 2hour drive (or less if you speed like my husband) from Kaiserslautern. Our weekend was filled with visits to the chocolate museum, Oddysseum Science Museum, zoo, Triangle Observation Deck, organic vegan candy store, Hard Rock Cafe, train ride tour of the city, shopping and plenty of dining. We walked everywhere with our 3 toddlers. My husband backpacked my 18month old son and the twins rode in their double umbrella stroller. As always, we were the spectacle. 

Ecstasy. That's the only logical explanation.

My favorite moment was placing our engraved love lock on the bridge.

It's never easy traveling with three toddlers, but we manage. I can't wait for my next trip, but I think I'll leave the kids (and drugs) alone :) 


Friday, February 28, 2014

Where's your tooth?

Good morning! It's morning somewhere. I took the kiddos swimming today and then promptly passed out at 8pm. So, naturally I am awake at 2am with absolutely way too much energy. Brilliant! Let's blog away.

This month I did travel to the beautiful country of Austria. I took a guided tour bus with a great friend. Im not very fond of long bus rides, but they do provide a few hours of peace. Pair that with a great friend and it has to be an amazing trip. We laughed, huddled together to keep warm, stuffed our mouths with delicious treats and laughed some more. I love laughing. I have that super loud, it must be funny, why is she still laughing so hard laugh. I cant help it. Laughter is good for the soul.

We did take a lift up to the midway point of the Alps. It was breathtaking and freezing. Which forced us to drink hot tea and eat cake at the little cafe. There's always a reason to eat cake :) Please take note of my fabulous wild hair. One day I'd like to say that hair got me a free (fill in the blank) or because of my hair I was taken backstage at the Beyonce concert! One day... one day.

Fast forward to the end of February and I find myself at the doctor's office with all three of my children. It was just the regular well baby examinations. The twins are now 3 and my son is 18months. I'd like to give a special shoutout to Jesus for keeping my kids sane and well behaved during our 3 hour stay there. We arrived at 7:40am and didnt leave until 10:45am. To my horror and shock, they removed all toys from the waiting area due to possible germ breeding grounds. Yea... ok. We were seen and my girls were dressed in their Doc McStuffins' lab coats and stethoscopes. After our visit we waited for my son to get his shots. This is where the fun began. At 7:40am there's not much traffic in the waiting room. Now closer to 9:30am there's plenty of amusement.

One particular young man was about 10-12 years old and very interesting to say the least. He was unassuming at first. He simply sat with his mom as they waited. If you know anything about my daughter Lilly, you know she is Ms. Social Butterfly. I'm not sure where she could possibly get that from (he he he). He never knew what hit him. She approached him and greeted him with her favorite line, "Hi! Im Lilly Bean!" This is what we all call her and so of course this is what she calls herself. He responded and offered to show her his dinosaur book. My other two children approached and all were listening very intensely to his lesson. All, but Lilly. She was focused on his mouth. Her eyes were narrowing and her eyebrows were taking on the shape of that fearful letter M. And that's when it occurred. As he was pointing out some other amazing fact, Lilly promptly interrupted him, "Where's your tooth?" And bless his soul, he didnt miss a beat. His mother giggled and I just shook my head. He tried to explain to her about some future surgical procedure. Even I tuned him out at this point. His mother told Lilly it would grow back. Lilly looked at him again and said, "Dont swallow it." And with those words of wisdom she walked away, leaving her siblings to continue the dino lesson in her absence. My child. How do you raise a little you without filters? With love :)

Next month's trip is going to be super amazingly awesome! I cant wait to share it with you. I wont say I'll write before then, but I hope I do. Writing is so therapeutic. Even if my sister is the only one who reads this! Until then... CIAO!

Friday, January 17, 2014

2014: The year of nuts & hookin'!

Where have I been? Right here... in the same place just doing so much more. I really have missed blogging and Im not sure how a few weeks turned into a 6month hiatus. Regardless, I'm baaaack!

Since my last blog entry I have traveled to Italy and Switzerland. Of course we took a family trip back to the states for Thanksgiving. Ah the joys of endless shopping, discounts, Chuck E Cheese, and food! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves even though I somehow found 10 lbs of fat on the side of the road and attached it to my waistline. I just couldnt help myself. Everyone else was doing it! :)

I havent made any huge new year resolutions or outlandish promises to myself. I do believe those who make these types of decisions have every flippin' right to do so. Of course many other bloggers and Facebook philosophers would disagree and even criticize. I'm sure I saw my share of memes about resolutions. By the way, how is that pronounced? Me-mes? Meems? I have no clue.

My new year goal is to travel to a new city or country each month. So far? So good! Hehehe. I purchased a ticket on a tour bus to Switzerland and couldnt have had a better time. My husband stayed at home with all three babies. Keep in mind, they are all under 3 years old still. Actually, I never once worried about them. He can handle them and probably 2 more without going completely nuts. Is he super dad? No, but he is pretty super to us. Ask me about the pile of dishes, dirty floors and death trail of toys I returned to and I will be singing a new tune! I met an incredibly funny and sweet lady on the trip. We laughed and shopped and ate together like we had known each other our whole lives. We shared pictures on our smartphones, giggled about silly jokes and took on the city of Lucerne with our arms linked (literally at one point) and our smiles broad. Dont worry, we swapped information and plan on traveling again in the future.

The year of nuts & hookin'? Let's finally address this title. My sister is an absolutely amazing person. She has this gift of selecting perfect presents for people. They are always thoughtful and amazing. This year I watched as each of my children opened these exciting and awesome Christmas presents. It was like she just knew what they'd like. Even weeks later they are still playing with them. Other gifts have been forgotten or dismissed, but not hers. Even my husband absolutely loved his presents. I couldnt contain my excitement. It was my turn to open my gifts. She had them shipped to us here in Germany and my husband had to wrap everything. My family knows I live for gifts and unwrapping them. It doesnt matter if they are from the $1 store. I need it wrapped. Individually wrapped. I busted open this unassuming box to reveal a set of mason jars. Ok... ok... what's in this other box? Almonds and cheese cloth. I looked at my husband who looked at me for the explanation and I just stared blankly back. HA! I had no clue what this was. A puzzle? Someone else's Amazon order? Is it missing the main part that would complete the circle? Later she explained it was to make my own almond milk since Im such a health nut according to her. I immediately made plans for all of the pieces to this puzzle, but I was intrigued. Almond milk? My son has to drink almond or soy milk due to a milk protein allergy. Could I make my own? I read I could use the strained almond meal in other recipes!

I did eventually make the almond milk, but it was sour because my water wasnt high enough to cover the almonds and my kitchen was too warm. I did enjoy the process and I really want to try again to perfect the process. So... maybe she DOES pick the best gifts. :)

And quickly- hookin'? I'm back to crocheting. It spawned from needing a giant beanie to cover my colossal head and huge hair. My first beanie was way too large, but Im keeping it as a yarn tote. My second beanie is beautiful and I absolutely love it. Ignore the bad lighting and my evil look. I'm going to start some other projects soon and I will share more than you can probably handle :)

Lastly, I'll be working on reorganizing and revamping the page. After I had to search through pages to find some old recipes I decided it's time to get organized. Until then I'll leave you with this quick pie I made the other day. The crust is peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough baked and cooled. Then add this mixture: vanilla pudding, milk, cool whip, caramel sauce & walnuts. Freeze and enjoy : ) You can play around with the crust options and additions to the pudding whip filling.