Willkommen Sie meinen Blog

Welcome to my Blog, I'm glad you stopped by. I thought a little introduction was in order after I reviewed some Blogs of others and didn't have a clue what it was their Blog was about even after reading the last several posts. Not that it matters, if you like what I write, read on, if not, no harm no foul.

I began writing again after one of my grad classes last summer inspired me to do so. It was a class on the world famous author, Stephen King and it was incredible. In 2011 I received my Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. My undergraduate degree is also from UNCW in Sociology with a minor in Gerontology which I obtained in 2005.

A lot has changed since I began writing this Blog in 2010. I am rediscovering who it is that I am and what makes me happy. Feel free to read through from the beginning and see where I have come from and continue to follow along as I begin a new chapter in my life, one that proves to be interesting and filled with exciting challenges that I can't wait to share with the World. So for now, "Das ist Leben"...this is life!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Random things I miss about the United States

We have been living in Germany for four months now and in no way do we regret moving here or want to leave. Sometimes we really miss the good 'ole U.S. of A!

This list may be on going and is not in any kind of order...

  1. My family and friends 
  2. MCCS/Semper Fit programs that offer free group exercise classes (we pay $5 ea here)
  3. The BEACH
  4. Seafood from North Carolina
  5. Mike's Farm Country Store and Restaurant
  6. Sailor Jerry rum
  7. Pirates Popcorn in Greenville, NC
  8. Smokers Post Cigar Bar, our local hangout w/karaoke
  9. Free oil changes for life from National Volkswagen on Hwy 17 in Jacksonville
  10. Smithfield BBQ and all North Carolina BBQ and hush puppies
  11. Boating with my family
  12. The  "Fishing Village" of Sneads Ferry
  13. The Marina Cafe
  14. Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn
  15. The North Carolina Seafood Festival
  16. The Front Street Brewery
  17. Country music on the radio (when I'm in the mood)
  18. Dancing in clubs without 16 year olds (drinking age here)
  19. Sally Beauty supply store (they have a website but won't ship my hair color)
  20. Walmart (nothing is open here 24 hours)
  21. Ross & Marshall's (I miss the "deals")
  22. Hallmark (our base selection is so tiny and the cards off base are in German)
  23. Miller Motte Technical College (I miss getting highlights for $20)
  24. Kinston Indians baseball games
  25. IHOP, Denny's, Waffle House, and Taco Bell at 2am after a night of drinking
  26. EMR Wings in Sneads Ferry North Carolina
  27. Non AFN commercials
  28. Watching TV shows on Hulu for free
  29. Cookouts!
  30. Tail gating
  31. Sneads Ferry Presbyterian Church

This list will be updated from time to time, I think I'll start working on a list of things that Rock about living in Germany.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Trying to eat healthy can be dangerous to your environment

Good Friday morning to all! Matt is off work today and we slept in until 11:00, and decided to make a healthy breakfast before starting our four day weekend due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I put some turkey bacon on a Baker's Secret baking sheet and slipped it in the oven while I put together a delicious egg mixture in a large skillet on the stove. I chopped up some onion, green pepper, salami, and ham and mixed everything together with five eggs and some cheese. I checked on the turkey bacon, flipped each one over, and returned the baking sheet to the oven which was set to broil on high. Matt made coffee and did some dishes while I stirred the eggs. The next time I opened the oven, our bacon started to look burnt on one side of the sheet so I grabbed the oven mitt to remove the bacon and when I looked back in the oven our healthy turkey bacon was on fire.

This was not just smoke and heat but actual flames, real fire rising in my oven. I turned to Matt who was playing on his laptop at this point and said, "the oven is on FIRE!" He didn't seem to be worried, I wondered if he even looked at what I was talking about. I left the oven door open, removed the skillet from the stove and turned off both the stove top and oven. The fire grew, the smoke detectors went off in three rooms, we opened all the windows, and the fire still grew. I shouted over the beeping smoke detectors, "What do we do?" Matt grabs my vase which is sitting right next to the sink and just as he is about to remove the flowers, I see one thing happening...he throws water on the grease fire and we blow up! I shouted, "NOOOOO! It's a grease fire, we need a fire extinguisher!" He looks around the house while I start looking for the number to the fire department (it's not 911 here) and then he looks in the hallway (no fire extinguisher), knocks on our neighbors door and asks them if they have one. By now the fire has started to weaken and I begin to calm down enough to think about all the useful items we could have thrown on the fire, such as baking soda. With the fire out and our oven completely unresponsive and covered in soot, we begin fighting with three smoke detectors that will not stop beeping. I'm waving a sweatshirt around like a crazy person and Matt is pulling them out of the ceiling and unplugging them.

I cannot believe I caught turkey bacon on fire in my oven! I have a feeling it was due to the fact that the baking sheet I was using was burnt. The last time I used it I accidently put it on top of the stove while a burner was still on low and left it there for about half an hour. It never even started smelling and I thought it would be fine even though it was brown on both sides. If that wasn't it, I guess I just don't know the strength of this new oven! Needless to say, the next time I try to cook turkey bacon, it will be in the microwave!

How to Stop an Oven Fire

Stovetop Fires:
1. Turn off the burner. This will remove the energy behind the fire.
2. Put on an oven mitt or tightly wrap your arm with a kitchen towel to protect you from the fire.
3. Place a lid or cookie sheet on the fire. This will remove the oxygen supply and help smother the fire on your stovetop.
4. Smother any grease or oil fires with a large amount of baking soda or salt.
5. Get everyone out of your home immediately.
6. Call 9-1-1 if you cannot put out the fire.

Oven Fires:
1. Close the oven door to cut off the oxygen supply.
2. Turn off the oven.
3. Leave the house immediately.
4. Call 9-1-1 if you cannot put out the fire.

Safe cooking,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"il Poggio" our Christmas 2010 Timeshare resort

il Poggio Entrance

Tuscany, Italy was everything I thought it would be and more. We stayed at il Poggio, a resort owned by farmers who maintain organic orchards, raise organic fed animals, and serve them all in their Tuscan restaurant in the Main House. They also have a vineyard and skilled equestrian center. The hill where the farm stands offers peerless views over the Crete Senesi

Entrance & Main House

Thanks to the generous Monta Amiata, beneficial spring waters bubble to relax you at the local spas like those in San Casciano dei Bagni, Chianciano, Bagni San Filippo, Montepulciano or Bagno Vignoni. About 20 km from the Il Poggio farm you'll find the Monte Rufeno Nature Reserves, full of paths suited for every age in a vast area where flora and fauna flourish protected.

View from Main House

The kitchen in the authentic Tuscan restaurant of this estate is enhanced by the organic farm that cultivates the Poggio in his vine Sangiovese and breeds in its vast green spaces. From the Cinta Senese , the Pici and handmade pasta, the ' DOP oil organic virginuntil wine Rosso del Poggio and Poggio Corno , these food and wine can be enjoyed in the Main House restaurant or can be purchased at Dispensa Mafalda , even on line.

A Taste of Tuscany

We lived in apartment #13 during our stay and it was towards the back of the apartment area near the most amazing restaurant I've ever been to! They served handmade Pici  pasta, boar, rabbit, spinach filled chicken, and so much more. Everything was fresh and grown locally, we even had a bottle of local wine from Montepulciano called Vino Nobile.

Restaurant behind the Resort

House Wine

Now for the apartment photos

Apartment 13 "Parfait"

Court yard view from interior

Entrance to apartments, view from main house

Living Room w/pull out couch

And Fireplace!

Dining Room

Kitchen w/ tiny fridge

Bed Room

Bath Room

His & Hers potties :)



Three Countries in one day...road trip to Italia Dec 2010

EuroTrip 2010 begins in Germany!

This was our first Christmas in Germany and Matt and I wanted to take a vacation to some place warmer than Germany but close enough to drive our car. It's not that we dislike using the train or taking a plane, it's just that we are big road trippers and wanted to experience a real "Euro Trip." 


Since Matt wasn't able to take off work for an entire week surrounding Christmas, we decided to take a vacation earlier in December. I searched our timeshare site, RCI, and found a beautiful resort called "il Poggio" located on the hill of a medieval town called Celle sul Rigo in Tuscany, Italy.

Keys to our apartment at il Poggio


We left Germany around 10:30 am and it was cold, wet, and dreary. We set out on what we thought would be an eight hour drive...twelve hours later we arrived at our beautiful resort.

Rhein river

Crossing over the Rhein


We started on the Autobahn in Germany and drove into Austria where we had to stop and purchase a sticker for our vehicle. The sticker cost us 7.50 euros and was good for 10 days of unlimited travel throughout Austria. "Austria requires all vehicles using the autobahn to display an “Autobahn Vignette” highway tax sticker on the inside of the vehicle’s windshield. The sticker may be purchased at border crossings, gas stations in Austria, and small “Tabak” shops located in Austrian towns. Fines for failing to display a valid autobahn vignette on the windshield of your car are usually around $150." ( Travel.state.gov)

Passenger side photo shoot!


We didn't even realize we had entered Switzerland until we noticed the Swiss license plates on all the cars and a clearer view of the amazing Alps. I guess I expected there would be "Welcome" signs each time we crossed over into a different country like we have in the states each time we enter a new state.

Alps in Switzerland

Once in Switzerland we should have purchased another sticker for the autobahn which cost us 40 euro. Some how we drove right through with no problem on our way to Italy but we were stopped at what I guess was the border on the way back home and had to purchase the sticker. 


"Travel on expressways (indicated by green signs with a white expressway symbol) requires purchase of a sticker (“vignette”), which must be affixed to the car’s windshield. Vignettes can be purchased at most border crossings points, gas stations and at Swiss post offices. Drivers using the highway system without a vignette are subject to hefty fines levied on the spot. Public transportation in Switzerland and Liechtenstein is excellent." (travel.state.gov)

It was such a long road through Switzerland to Italy but the view was well worth the trip. On the way home we found a shorter route which got us home in nine hours but we missed a lot of the Alps so I'm so glad we did it once, that's enough!

Almost there


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Oops she did it again. Britney's back!

 Britney Spears

Britney Spears' new hit single "hold it against me" released today and it ROCKS! I can't get enough of it. If you're a Britney fan too, I think you'll agree...Britney is back! Did she ever really leave?

"If I said I want your body now, would you hold it against me? Cuz you feel like paradise and I need a vacation tonight."

Britney Spears: ‘Hold It Against Me’ Lyrics!

Hey, over there, please forgive me
If I’m coming on too strong
Here to stare, but you’re winning
And they play my favorite song

So come near, little closer
Wanna whisper in your ear
Make it clear, little question
Wanna know just how you feel

(Chorus )

If I said my heart was beating loud
If we could escape the crowd somehow
If I said I want your body now
Would you hold it against me?
Cuz you feel like paradise
And I need a vacation tonight
So if I said I want your body now
Would you hold it against me?

Hey, you might think, that I’m crazy
But you know I’m just your type
I might be, little hazy
But you just cannot deny

There’s a spark in between us
When we’re dancing on the floor
I want more, wanna see it
So I’m asking you tonight


Download available on iTunes


Monday, January 3, 2011

Weihnachtsmarkts 2010

Christmas Markets in Germany

Me, Shannon, Shari, and Alison

The day after Thanksgiving I went to my very first Weihnachtsmarkt in Esslingen. It was my first “girls trip” with Alison Hadzic, Shannon Torrescollazo, and Shari Weiss. Three super fun ladies I've recently befriended here in Germany. We arrived around 3:00p.m. and got right to shopping, taking pictures, tasting the delicious sweets and drinking Glühwein.

Glühwein Recipe

The beauty of glühwein is that you can tailor it to your own tastes. I like mine to be rich in spices, however if that is not your cup of tea, then reduce the amount of spices you add. Just use this recipe as a base and then go in the direction that best suites your tastes. Some people even add rum, or berries, which soak up the alcohol quite nicely. In a more glögg-esque version (The Swedish version of glühwein/mulled wine), having this with gingerbread is quite yummy. I have also tried some consisting of amaretto with white wine (such as a German Riesling and even Schwartz/black Riesling) instead, and that was also delicious

  • 1 bottle of red wine. Use an inexpensive, full bodied, fruity wine. You definitely do not want to use an expensive bottle and try to avoid one with oak aging. I think a Gallo Ruby Cabernet would be ideal. Or a red Zinfandel or Syrah /Shiraz.
  • Caster sugar (amount proportional to quality of red wine, the worse the wine the more sugar you need, add it to taste, but start with about 2 cups)
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks (break the sticks into pieces 1-2 inches each) 
  • 16 Whole cloves
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Tbs Whole allspice
  • 2 cups of orange juice
If you wish to get your friends and yourself tipsy even more quickly, or just to add a little extra kick, add brandy, sweet sherry or port to the mix.

  • Pour the red wine into a large pot and put it on the stove on a very low heat – you must not let the wine boil or the world could end… and that is not something you want to risk...
  • Cut the oranges into slices and then put about 4 cloves into each slice, then put them in with the wine.
  • Break the cinnamon sticks in half or thirds and put them in with the wine as well as the whole allspice.
  • Add in the sherry or port (optional) as well as 2 cups of orange juice.
  • Add in 2 cups of sugar and stir.
  • Stir on and off for about 30 mins to give the spices time to infuse with the wine and for the magic to occur, then taste it, and add more sugar as needed (possibly up to 4 or 5 cups more if the wine is really bad).
  • Let it cook/infuse for about 30 mins more (again, not letting it boil).
  • Drink and be happy :)


With over 180 stalls, the Esslingen Christmas Market is one of the largest in the region. What makes this market unique is the Medieval section. Towards the back of the Christmas Market there is a Renaissance Faire taking place. Once inside you will find traders in period costumes selling their wares and glühwein served in stone cups. We saw a felt dyer, a blacksmith, and an old glass blower showing off their crafts. 

This year guests had the opportunity to take part in the "participatory workshops" at the silversmith, Lederer, broom-maker, engraver, or even try out the scissors grinder. 


The next market we visited was Nuremberg; a two hour drive via car on the autobahn. Once Matt and I finally found a parking garage we bundled ourselves up and hit the streets for some warm drinks and a toilet.

Every year, Germany's most famous Christmas Market opens its stalls for visitors from all over the world, right in the middle of the city, on Nuremberg Main Market Square. At 5:30 pm on the Friday before the first Advent Sunday, the Christmas Angel opens her market, reciting the solemn prologue from the gallery of the church of Our Lady. And as every year, by Christmas Eve, more than two million visitors from all over the world will have sampled the delights of the Christmas Market.

About 180 wooden stalls, festooned with red-and-white cloth, have given the Christmas Market its name of "Little Town from Wood and Cloth". 200 stall holders present their traditional wares: Nuremberg spicy gingerbread, fruit loaves, bakery goods and sweets, typical Christmas articles examined as Christmas tree angels, cribs, Christmas tree ornaments and candles, toys as well as arts and crafts products. Favorite souvenirs include "Nuremberg Plum People", little figures made from prunes. And of course, by way of refreshments, there are always rolls with Nuremberg roast sausages and mugs of mulled wine.

Shari eating a crepe

The staff of the Market Department keep a watchful eye on the stalls and the goods on offer. So plastic fir garlands are a definite no-no, just as much as non-stop taped Christmas muzak or carousels. The market's stall holders therefore compete for the most beautiful and tasteful stall design. And reap their rewards: since 1981, the City has presented an annual award of gold, silver and bronze "Plum People" for the most beautiful stalls.

Nuremberg Christmas Market with its traditional image has been a model for other Christmas Markets. The "Little Town from Wood and Cloth" has been much in demand as a picturesque backdrop for TV productions.


Matt and I agreed, the best Weihnachtsmarkt in Germany was right here in Stuttgart, one of the most famous in all of Germany. The festively illuminated city dominated by the medieval Old Palace, the towers of the abbey church and the magnificent baroque buildings of the New Palace, is the magnificent backdrop of the Stuttgart Christmas market.

In 30 days, about 3.5 million people visited the Stuttgart Christmas Market. There was a wide range of 274 stalls selling things like handmade ornaments, socks, toys, jewelry, kitchen essentials, and art.

Throughout the market one can find Christmas lights, sparkling jewelry, the smell of cinnamon and vanilla,  Bratwurst and mulled wine. There is also Christmas music playing aloud for all to enjoy. 

The booths in Stuttgart have wooden roofs which are beautifully decorated to include images of Santa with a flowing beard, angel figurines, and beautiful winter landscapes. With more than 300 years of tradition and the attractive range of Christmas goods it's no wonder why this is one of the most magnificent Christmas markets in Europe.

The Stuttgart Christmas market has been a historic success since1692. It was first mentioned for being the "decorated shack town" between the castle, Schiller Monument, and the marketplace which was turned into a popular meeting place for visitors from all over Europe. All kinds of Christmas magic, Christmas decorations, wooden toys, nativity figures, snacks and delicacies can be found at the Stuttgart Christmas market, which has maintained its character of a historic market over these 300 years.