Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

In Germany four-leaf clovers, toad stool mushrooms, pigs, and chimney sweeps are symbols of luck and wealth for the New Year and are often given as gifts.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year's celebration.  We are heading across the street to our neighbors. Good food, cocktails and fireworks seems like the perfect way to send off 2010 and greet 2011.

All the Best for the New Year (with luck, wealth & health) and Guten Rutsch!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Turntable Redux

Awhile back I posted about organizing my spice cabinet.  I had to replace the single-tier turn table with a double-tier version to use the space more efficiently.  That left me with one question. What is a girl to do with an extra turntable? Drum roll please...

No more shuffling items around to get that one thing you want that is always in the back of the refrigerator.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt

We finally made it to Christmas Market in Frankfurt.  It was cold and the gluehwein was hot.  Perfect.


I picked up one of the stars in white to hang in the window over our front door.

Lots to do this week. Family is coming over on Christmas Eve (Heiligabend) and on Christmas Day we are heading to Austria for a couple of days.  Things I will undoubtedly become hectic at some point. Like tomorrow.  Will try to remember to breath deeply, light some candles and perhaps have a cookie or two.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Fairytale

One of my favorite guilty pleasures during the holiday season is to watch Drei Haselnuesse fuer Aschenbroedel (Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella), a film colloboration between the Czech Republic and East Germany.

It is a fairytale with a modern heroine set in a snow covered landscape and accompanied by a dreamy soundtrack.  Over the years it has developed into a classic in Germany and is shown on TV every year between Christmas and New Year.  I wouldn't miss it.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Last week we had a bit of snow.  Of course it is all gone by now, but I thought I would share some pictures.

It was pretty "warm" over the weekend but temperatures are back to about 26° F this morning and snow is on the forecast for later this week.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Weihnachtsmarkt, Plan B

We had to push the Frankfurt Weihnachtsmarkt to next weekend.  I am at the tail end of a cold and the weather was awful on Saturday.  The thought of pushing through the crowds of people all holding umbrellas just didn't appeal to me. Today the weather was a little better, so we headed to another local Weihnachtsmarkt.


A spice stand!  I came prepared with my list and am stocked up.

Couldn't go past this with Sam along.

Hamming it up.

Lebkuchen Nikolaus.

This market was a definite improvement over the one in our town that we visited last week.  Frankfurt is on the schedule for next weekend.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Our town in lights

We went to our town's Christmas Market yesterday.   Honestly the shopping was a little disappointing, actually tremendously disappointing.  No stands with cute handmade merchandise to be found anywhere.There was a lot of Gluehwein (mulled wine) to be had though.  At just about every stand, as matter of fact.  I like the stuff too, but geesh. 

The center of town was nicely decorated though. Paper lanterns lined the main downtown street.

Cityhall... (we were married here)

I had more pictures, but we have my husband has a new camera and I we need to practice.  Next weekend we are heading to the Christmas Market in Frankfurt.  The shopping will definitely be better.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Cheer

The last couple of weeks have been kind of rough. My dad fell and ended up with a proximal humerus fracture  (the upper arm at the shoulder joint).  It was pretty bad and he ended up having to have surgery to replace the ball portion of the bone.  Not an easy thing at 83.  At least he is at home now.  Now we just need to get him to take it easy. 

So Christmas cheer was a little hard to come by.  We even had snow and I couldn't get excited.  Then yesterday our doorbell rang and one of my neighbors stood there with a little gift bag.   It included a lovely note, a CD with 24 of her favorite Christmas songs, cookie cutters and hot chocolate.

Christmas arrived at my doorstep yesterday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I think that this post pressure thing might work (see To do's).   On Sunday morning, while the house was still quiet, I made myself a nice cup of coffee and got to work on my spice cabinet.  Stage one, take everything out of the cabinet and clutter up the counter top.  This is where the blog pressure kicked in, because I saw all of this crap and I just did not want to deal.

Deep breath.  I threw out everything expired and made two lists: have and need.  The need is especially important with the Christmas Season almost upon us.  It is Weihnachtsmarkt time and every respectable one will have a spice stand.   Anyway... I moved one shelf up and  replaced my regular turn table with a two-tiered version (by the way the old turntable has found a home and I will do a post about it soon). This is how the cabinet looks now.

A bit of an improvement, I think. Now I just have find some more cohesive containers to make it look a little less all over the place.  I am thinking of picking up the DROPPAR spice jars  from IKEA.  As you might be able to see (my apologies for picture quality) I have a RATIONELL VARIERA spice rack mounted on the door, but I think I will just keep it to one and will eventually keep my six most used spices in them.  On to the next.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To do's

In October I posted "So" with a to do list.  Here is an updated version with some excuses explanations for the state of progress:
  • Organize the basement (this alone is a huge undertaking) This is just to big to be listed as a single item. So, I am going to break this down into manageable tasks.  Considering that we have put in several hours of work, I already have some finished tasks to cross off my list. Yes, I add completed tasks to my to do lists just to cross them off. 
  • Sort & organize bedroom closet No comment.
  • Sort through Sam's room Seems kind of silly considering he is 6 and has the ability to completely "destroy" his room in under 5 minutes.
  • Organize kitchen cabinets Another one to break down
  • Repaint basement floor Can't really do that until I finish the organizing
  • Clean windows (we have 21, 24 counting the basement) I cleaned the ground floor windows.  Think I will list windows by floor. Anyway, five windows down.
  • Spring bulb planting
  • Roses to move and plant Can't move it until it is dormant.  Leaves are still green, so I totally blame the rose and the weather.
  • Hostas to split and move (not sure if it wold be best to wait until Spring for that one) Decided to go for it. I like to live dangerously.
  • Design built-in cabinet for bathroom I meant to do the professional thing and do drawings but it just didn't happen & so I winged it explained everything to the carpenter while he took measurements.
  •  Consolidate to do/project lists Sad, but I haven't found them all.
So I need to add:
  • Organize spice cabinet
  • Organize holiday decorations (basement)
  • Organize Pantry (basement)
  • Throw out the stuff that I have had in the throw out pile for months (basement)
  • Sort through High School and College Documents (basement)
  • Sort through letters (basement) 
This week's project is the spice cabinet.  Here is it's current state.

      Thursday, November 11, 2010

      Tell Tall Heart

      The basement is my personal Tell Tall Heart.  Not that I murdered anyone and hid them under the floorboards, but I can hear the basement from all over the house or rather it is that nagging feeling of unfinished business that is always with me.

      This is what it looks like after several hours of clearing with my husband.

      Hard to believe,  but there really is an improvement.  Really. This is going to take time. Lots of stuff to sort through and a lot of decisions to make.


      A year and half after finishing college I moved to NYC.  Anybody who has ever lived or been in an apartment there knows that space is pure luxury.  These confines kept me weeding out and there is nothing like having a Brooklyn stoop sale to keep stuff from accumulating.

      Upon moving to Germany we found a two bedroom with basement storage. There should be a way to insert angel choir singing here.  Anyway,  it was pure bliss and the insanity commenced.  Don't need it right now, put it in the basement. Will probably never need it again, put it in the basement.  Don't want to deal with it, put it in the basement.  Then we decided to buy a piece of property and build a house.  A four bedroom house with a full basement.  Feel free to insert the angel choir. As you might imagine the insanity continued.  We moved in almost two years ago and it got to the point that I would walk through the basement with my eyes locked on the floor.

      So a couple of weeks ago I convinced my husband and we started cleaning out the basement. I thought about taking before pictures and posting them, but who would want to see that?  Besides, I really didn't want to share it. This morning I was catching up on my blog reading and saw Nicole's post "The Empty Basement". I think it was pretty gutsy and tomorrow morning I am taking pictures of our basement and posting them.  They may not be true before pictures, but I think everyone will get an idea of the real before considering we have already spent about 4 hours bickering and blaming clearing and organizing.

      Friday, October 29, 2010

      Sunday Walks

      In Germany stores are closed on Sundays (except for a few times a year when locally organized Sunday shopping events take place).  Here Sundays are a day to slow down.  It is quite common to go for walks and then have coffee and cake with friends and family.  We haven't gone on walks for awhile but regularly partake in coffee and cake at my Mom's house.  This past Sunday we decided to go for a walk.  It was a beautiful day.

      I didn't realize how unattractive my shoes were until I saw them when I downloaded the pictures.  I seem to remember a time when I would not have been caught dead wearing these.

      Friday, October 22, 2010


      The other day I saw Sam coming home from an afternoon of trying to fly his kite.   It wasn't really kite flying weather,  but being the 6 year old optimist that he is that wasn't going to stop him. I opened the front door to greet him.  He was holding the kite (a tangled mess) in one hand and these flowers in his other.  He said "You were right Mommy, no wind".  I wish I hadn't been.

      This morning I was wondering why my husband was taking so long to get back from taking Sam to Kindergarten.  The door bell rang and I could tell from the silhouette in the glass of the front door that it was him.  I opened the door and he was holding these.

      I am a lucky girl.

      Saturday, October 16, 2010

      Shoe shopping

      I have spent hours (seems like days, weeks, months) going through templates to use for this blog. It kind of reminds me of when I intend to go shopping for shoes. The choices are endless, but nothing seems quite right.  The only time I ever find shoes is when I am not actually looking.  So what do I need to "shop" for when I am actually looking for a blog template?

      Wednesday, October 13, 2010


      Time has been on my mind a lot lately.  Mainly because I just finished taking an e-course (my first) on time management.  When I say finished I mean the 6 weeks that it was scheduled for are now over and not so much that I actually finished all the course work.  Don't get me wrong, the class was really good.  I have read all of the material, but have yet to finish all the exercises.  I guess I am going through the process of digesting the course at a slower pace.   Time  and how we choose to spend it is so essential in our lives.  So allowing myself more time seems right to me.  I have routines and schedules to develop all in the hope to be a little less hectic and a little less late.  I see that it is 12:06 here and I think I will pick up Sam from the Kindergarten a little earlier than usual.

      Friday, October 8, 2010

      Found it!

      While at the nursery looking for spring bulbs I found the Echinacea that I have been searching for. Coconut Lime welcome home and I hardly care that I paid €8,- for it.

      It will be planted this weekend and will look nice next to the Champagne Bubbles and Alba Echinacea.

      Tuesday, October 5, 2010


      I have lots of projects and things "to do" swirling around my head at the moment.  Some I have started and some I have avoided:
      • Organize the basement (this alone is a huge undertaking)
      • Sort & organize bedroom closet
      • Sort through Sam's room
      • Organize kitchen cabinets
      • Repaint basement floor
      • Clean windows (we have 21, 24 counting the basement)
      • Spring bulb planting
      • Roses to move and plant
      • Hostas to split and move (not sure if it wold be best to wait until Spring for that one)
      • Design built-in cabinet for bathroom
      There are quite few other things, but I will have to check my two or three to do/ project lists that I have.  Oh yes...
      •  Consolidate to do/project lists

       Now I just have to decide where to start. Definitely not with the windows though.

      Monday, October 4, 2010

      The Beginning.

      Hi and welcome to 3@12!

      A blog about a home, my home, our home. The "our" referring to me, Milt and our son Sam. This is uncharted territory for me. Who knows maybe I will find a few people to join me on my way.