June 10, 2013

Dinner in a Pouch

We are currently in transition waiting to move into our house in Germany.  We are a family of 4 living in a tiny one bedroom German apartment.  It's functional but small. I've been trying to figure out some simple and healthy dishes to fix so we can stop living off of microwavable foods.:)

After searching Pinterest for inspiration I came up with what I like to call "Dinner in a pouch."  I used to work at a Ranch and we made something similar to it...potatoes, onion, carrots, and ground seasoned beef in a tin foil pouch cooked over a campfire. 

This version is slightly healthier.
Here is my German kitchen to cook in. 
I have 2 pots and one pan, but no cookie sheet so tin foil has become my best friend.
Here is what you'll need:
tin foil
bell peppers (how many and which kind is your preference)
polish sausage
salt and pepper and whatever additional seasonings you want
(I made a tin foil pouch, one per person).

Take a medium sized piece of tin foil and lay it out on your counter.  Make sure you give yourself extra on the edges to fold in and create a seal (this will be more clear as you read on).  Cut your bell pepper, sausage, onions, and mushrooms and place them on the tin foil.  The size and amount of veggies and meat is completely up to you. You can also add different veggies than the ones listed-be creative since you will be the one eating it.

You will not need to spray the tin foil with pam or anything to prevent sticking.
Season the meat and veggies with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you want.  I also used garlic salt and a little Italian dressing.  Tear a second piece of tin foil the same size as your base tin foil and place it on top.  Fold the sides of the tin foil in to create a seal.  Place in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes on 350 degrees. 
BE CAREFUL when you open the pouches to check on their progress and when opening to eat due to steam escaping.  You can eat it right out of the tin foil or put it on a plate and serve with rice.  Very yummy!
So, whether you live in a tiny apartment or want something good to eat while camping, this is a great dish to enjoy.

May 24, 2013

Wiedenhof-German apartment

As I mentioned before, I am trying to add some extras to my blog to help those near where I live know some tips...
We are a military family stationed in Germany.  This is our 3rd week here. 
If you are military, you may know that when you PCS (permanent change of station-i.e.  move to a different base) you have a limited time to stay in the base hotel before being made to move out.  But, where do you go if you have not secured a home?  Or, where do you go if you have secured a place to live, but it is not ready for you to move into?
This is the place that we are at in our transition from moving from the states to overseas.  We were blessed to find a fantastic house our first weekend of house hunting and were able to sign a German contract on it to rent it.  BUT, we aren't able to move into it until the beginning of June.  Our 2 weeks in the base hotel was almost up so where were we supposed to go in the interim?
Well, there is a fabulous place in a village called Speicher called The Wiedenhof  Palace (pronounced Veedenhof). 
It is a place that offers fully furnished small apartments.  We are a family of 4 having to stay in a one bedroom apartment here at the Wiedenhof.  It is small, but functional and the staff is great.  They speak pretty good English and supply all linens to you, there is a laundry room in the basement for tenants to use, a small playground for the kiddos to play on, and an in house Greek restaurant.

The Wiedenhof playground
The attached Greek restaurant.  Open for lunch and dinner
They also have rooms that allow pets and there is a wonderful field and picnic area as well.

So, if you find yourself in the situation we were in and need a place to stay, the Wiedenhof Palace is an option.  You can pick up one of there pamphlets at the base housing office. 

Their website is:  www.wiedenhof-palace.com

Hope this is helpful to any newcomers or travelers. 

(I was told there is also a place similar in Bitburg called the Eifel- if I can find out more about it I'll post it).
(I was not paid or asked to endorse the Wiedenhof)

May 05, 2013

A new time...a new Country

So, we moved to Germany 3 days ago!  After months of preparation we are finally here!
Therefore I'm revamping my blog a bit.  I'll still include DIY items, recipes, and tips, etc.  but I'm also going to be including things to do here in Germany.  In my research I found a lack of information and tips for things around our area to do, especially with kids.  A lot of stuff is 'word of mouth' so I thought I would provide some things written down as we are living here for the next 4 years:)
Our biggest thing is adjusting to the time difference.  We previously had to do this when we lived in Japan but that was without kids. 
We are 6 hours ahead of eastern stateside time.  My biggest tip to adjusting to a new time zone is to keep your kids on schedule.  Wake them up at their normal time, or as close to it as you can.  keep the same sleep, nap, feeding, and activity schedule.  Get out during the day and get as much sun and vitamin D as you can to try to reset your body's system. 

We have been very blessed with a great spot to stay on our military installation, while we find a place to live, that is surrounded by parks.  the kids and I are in absolute heaven!
 Getting some sun and exercise has really helped with the kids adjusting to Germany.  They are still waking up around midnight and staying awake until about 3 a.m. but I still make them stay in bed during that time and try to sleep.  Each night their awake time is getting shorter. 
My best advice is to be consistent and things will fall into place after a few days.

February 21, 2013

Clothesline in a Bag

One day I was on a search for things for my 3 year old to do.  I wanted little learning activities for her, so I  scoured the Internet and found a few things.
Numerous sites mentioned 'activity bags'.  Such as, Ziploc or pencil bags filled with little activities that your little one could grab out of a box to keep busy for a little bit. 
I took a couple of those ideas and ran with them.

I decided to make what I call a 'clothesline in a bag' activity bag. 

What you'll need:

I took some string that I had in my craft drawer and pinned it under the windowsill in the dining room. 
I put the clothespins in a Tupperware container.
Cut a few shapes out of felt and decorated them with stitching, buttons, etc.  They were definitely nothing fancy, but my daughter had fun.

It was interesting to see how she had to really fiddle around with the clothesline and clothespin and felt clothing to get them all lined up and secured successfully.  So, it ended up being much more than I thought and was teaching her dexterity as well as entertaining her.
Even my 5 year old son did it a few times, creating numerous 'patterns' out of the felt clothes.  So, it worked for both kids, which was a double bonus!woohoo!

January 06, 2013

You Know You Have a Husband if.....

I had fun writing my 'You know you have children when...' segment, so I thought I would do one on husbands.  So, here goes...
You know you have a husband when:

~Part of your lovely 'adult' looking entertainment center you work so hard to make sure is free of kids toys and DVD piles has that one section that looks like this

~When you, as a mother and wife, come downstairs in the morning and find the cookie jar looking something like this

You know it had to be the hubby that finished off the cookies during an Xbox marathon of 'Call of Duty'.  Poor guy STILL asks me to this day if he can eat the last of something in case it is promised to the kids.

~You know you have a husband if he decides to be a sweetheart and cook dinner but inevitably leaves this

~When your cute and clutter free entry looks like this in a matter of 48 hours

~When the top or your refrigerator looks like the local GNC store exploded

I wouldn't change one thing though about being married to the man of my dreams.  I've known him for 25 years...yes, I have pictures of us sitting next to one another in the second grade. (don't do the math and you won't find out how old we are)...I've been married to him for 9 years.  I am truly blessed that I could count how many large arguments we've EVER had on one hand and that he is my best friend that I am in love with.  Just thought I would poke some fun at him a little bit:)

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