Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Year Resolutions Update- January

Here is my progress in the month of January

1. Wedding album
Nothing done on this yet

2. Write 12  11 letters or Postcards home
Wrote one to my mom

3. Complete the Bob Greene Program
I have not started yet perhaps February

4. Watch 4 movies a month with hubby, one rented
Completed saw some great ones including: The Ugly Truth which was a great movie, a love comedy perfect for men and women

5. Reading: English- 24 books (2 a month) 12 magazines (1 a month), German- 10 books, 5 magazines
Books: He had it coming, second in progress
Magazines: Completed
German book and magazine: In Progress

6. Write 15 blogs a month (main blog)
I scratched the side blog, and I am pretty sure I hit 15 blogs this month

7. Treat myself monthly- goal 1 clothing related item, one cosmetic or body, 1 book, and 1 household item
I changed this too a yearly goal since sometimes there are better deals in one moth for one category
So this month I found a fabulous glass pyrex baking dish on sale for under 4 euro, I also got a glass tee pot with a seeper for under 3 euro. I also received a package from home with some very nice cookies sheets and a metal baking pan.
Body- I found a eucalyptus bath soak for 1 euro. I also placed a avon order with my mom, that will hopefully come next month.
1 book- I bought a book of amazon called The housewife's guide to running a modern home for 5 euro, and I ordered a book on my book swapper site, something about the Holy grail, oh yes Holy Blood, Holy Grail. I also swapped a second time for a new Dean Koontz book. 
Clothing- I did not get anything this month

8. Visit 10 castles
None this month, still too cold out, but we saw some beauties from a distance that we may have to go back and visit

9. Visit 10 museums
Not yet

10. Finish my homemaking binder
I have made some great progress I hope to finish it up in the next month

11. Make a recipe book
Have not started yet, finishing my homemaking binder first

12. Try 1 new recipe a week
Yes I completed this, I made red beans and rice, a noodle casserole, a chicken casserole, and a tuna alfredo (plus more hehe)

13. 2 fold part 1) Finish the integrations course and 2) pass the b1 test
In Progress

14. *secret*
Not yet started

15. Read the bible cover to cover
In progress, plus with devotional. I will do a separate post on this theme

16. two fold 1) get my drivers license and 2) learn to drive stick shift
I am studying the test materials

17. Complete the future homemakers program (its like a home ec course learning to maintain a home)
In progress

18. Start crafting and complete 10 projects
I am working on decorating the outside of my home binder, plus another top secret project (for hubby so I can't say, ask if curious)

19. 2 date nights a month- one at home and one out, take turns planning
We had a movie night, but no night out yet

20. Get out of the house and meet a friend 2 times a month
Not as easy as thought. I did make it one time to my friend YOgitas for the afternoon

21. Attempt a new baking recipe once a month
Not yet, but hope to use my new pans

22. Stay in my OCD mailing group a full year
So far so good

23. Go walking at least 3 times a week

24. Complete 5 small monthly mini goals/ projects
Cleared up below under the list of projects

5 mini goals/ projects for January:

1. File all loose papers: not yet
2. organize loose cords: not yet
3. clean out kitchen cupboards: in progress just a few left to do
4. organize bookmarks on computer: done
5. Clean out email: done

I will update my general goals every three months since they are not really measurable. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I made it on the cover

The "All You" article

It reads:

" I lost 40 pounds"

Serena XXXXX
XXXXXXX, Germany
Height: 5'3''
Before: 205 pounds, size 20
After: 165 pounds, size 12
Web site used:

Serena's Top Tip: I limit liquid calories. I buy a 2-liter bottle of soda twice a month. It it's gone I won't buy more.

Her moment of truth:
I was walking in the mall and a teenager said hey miss your belly button is talking. I thought maybe my stomach was growling. But my shirt had slipped up and my midriff was showing. He was referring to my rolls of fat moving. If I were self- confident the comment wouldn't have bothered be. But it did.

Why going online worked for her:
A lot of magazines I looked at offered one size fits all diets. I have nothing but respect for the women who can jog ten miles a day and eat fish and rice, but that isn't me. I needed something I could adapt to my life. Sparkpeople offers a premade meal plan, but I do not follow it to a T. I look at the different food combinations and then on Sundays, look for the sales for that week. I mix and match the meals and enter them in the food tracker. The site also suggests different exercises- if you don't like one, try another.

HOw she changed her eating habits:
The site taught me about portion sizes. Previously, I'd cook 1/2 to 3/4 pound of spaghetti and a whole jar of sauce with a pound of ground meat thrown in. I'd eat the whole thing myself. Now I don't do exact measurements, but I put a small portion of the main item on my plate and fill the rest with vegetables and salad.

HOw she stayed active:
I used to drive one block to the grocery store if I wanted a soda. But the site helped me understand that walking is great exercise. I bought a cart, and I walk to do errands. Those carts get pretty heavy. Pulling one is a great workout.

HOw she dealt with setbacks:
At the end of 2007 (Personal note they made a mistake the year should have said 2008), my grandfather and aunt died within six weeks of each other. I gave up my diet for a while. But come New Years, I started fresh. I took it two weeks at a time, focusing on one goal. For example, for one two-week period my goal was to enter the food I ate everyday into the site. That was it. Once I eased back into the routine, it was less challenging.

The photo shoot behind the scenes

The photo shoot the unused photos

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Daddy

I wish that we could be there to celebrate with you. I hope that you have a wonderful day. I love more then I could ever express with words.

Daddy's girl

Thursday night update

Well yesterday was not my day to say the least. It started off with me drugging mud through the school unknowingly and getting yelled at by the teacher. And ended with the landlord popping in unannounced with my house in utter chaos. So I am working on finalizing my home-binder and getting to work on my new household schedule.

However I have a lot of catching up to do lol. Today was not as productive as I would have liked. I have had a terrible time sleeping and am fatigued throughout the day, so I have been taking naps in the afternoon, then in evening I feel fully refreshed. So perhaps that will be my most productive time. I plan to go back to the doctor and talk to him about the ongoing problem. I am not sure if it is a side effect from meds, stress, or who knows what else could be thrown my way next.

I actually do have two legitimate concerns in this regard that need to be checked. All of my close relatives have sleep apnea, so I want to make sure that is not the cause. But I have always had a deeper underlying fear. Both my mother and grandmother had very rare muscle disorders that manifested in the mid to late twenties, and I have always feared coming down with it myself.

As far as housework today I did manage to get somethings done. I worked for about 45 minutes in the living room. I cleared the mold to prepare for painting. And went through the items in my desk, which some of which also had mold. Some things I was just devastated over things I had brought with me. I hope that I can get everything cleaned up, and until the room is all fixed up everything will be removed, to avoid any more damage. Toni's passport was covered in mold. Never in my life have I seen mold act this way. I mean we have all had the mold in the corners. But I have never seen it leap to furniture, woodwork, and even glass.

After my midday nap, while cooking dinner, I cleaned out my pantry, worked on my food inventory, threw out all old foods, and reorganized most of the food back into the cupboard. Tomorrow I need to finish up with condiments, and odds and ends. I also got all the dishes in the dishwasher and it is currently running.

I plan to have a quiet evening. My favorite new how big brother is on in 15 minutes, and then I will do my daily journaling and devotional, and then I think I will just lay in bed and read.

I hope to get more done tomorrow, and I will try going to bed earlier tonight and see if that makes a difference.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Goal for February

So I have a new major project that I guess could be added to my resolutions but I would rather do it sooner then later, so we will make it my February goal.

We actually had a productive day in terms of the landlord, not as productive a we would have liked, but hey I will take what I can get. He is going to have the hole by the window professionally fixed, and the rest of the renovation will be my projects.

Once I am completed  I will celebrate by finally having people over for the first time. We might need to have a game night or something special.

So here is my plan:
1. Take the old tires to recycling so we can put our current ones in the storage outside
2. Break down all cardboard and take it to recycling
3. Clean and treat all furniture
4. Repaint the walls
5. Rent a carpet cleaner and clean the carpets
6. Find someone who can help me re hook up the lamp
7. Set up a dehumidifier
8. put new silicone around the windows
9. Put new weather stripping in the windows
10. Patch over the crack on the interior wall
11. Clean the apolstery with furniture cleaner
12. Rearrange furniture
13. Get some used furniture ad household deco from friends or second hand shops to add to the room

Ongoing my plan is to:
1. Clean the carpets weekly with a deodorizer
2. Get one of those room scent machines

Hubby has agreed if we can fix the problem, even if it is ourselves we will stay put, which would be a huge relief.

So if anyone is good with do it yourself projects and wants to help I would be forever grateful. And we will have a fun party when it is all done.

And on a final note, our nebenkosten was way below what the last tenants used. So what does that mean for us??? Not only should we get money back, but it will be less next year. Sweeeeet :)

Things are finally getting better, now if we could just get this place fixed up, that would be a huge step.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yeah for apple

I know the subject of care plans is always a hot topic to do or don't and if it is even worth the costs. I can say that I am super happy that I invested in the Apple care plan. I am even happier that they honor it worldwide, that apple here offers support in English, and that they will fix all issues with my mac free of charge under warranty. Now I just need to find a local service provider, looks like the closest is Stuttgart and hubby would not be too happy if I do not find one closer. He will not for the life of him drive into Stuttgart, so hopefully he can help me search a bit more when he gets home.

I need to have my cd repaired, as it will not properly read or burn cds. My fan is possessed and runs was to much and way to loud. My case is broken from the magnetic closures. My microphone jack doesn't work anymore. And a few keys and my mouse pad have issues.

But they will fix it all yeah. And I can also see if they can retrieve any of the files that were lost after the crash.

I am super happy and the apple support if fabulous. A hell of a lot better then dealing with DEll in the US who took a few years and threatens of legal action for not honoring my warranty to get the to fix the damn thing a year after I left the country.

So thank you apple for not outsourcing my calls to other countries.

Thank you for having staff who are actually well trained.

Thank you for honoring warranties so wonderfully, and worldwide :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Our meal plan this week

So this week I am trying to use up some items in my pantry. Always best to rotate what you have on hand. So this is not set in stone, it may fluctuate, but this is my hope for this week.

Sunday- Ham and cheese noodle bake
Monday- Hot rolls
Tuesday- Chicken and wild rice casserole
Wednesday- Chinese noodles and rice
Thursday- Red beans and rice
Friday- soup
Saturday- Steak pfanne and rice
Sunday- Spaghetti with herb bread

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hubby is sick

Hubby will be home sick for the rest of the week. Always sucks when getting sick after returning from vacation, but at the same time makes for an extended vacation. He has a ear infection yucky. But at least I won't be home by myself all week :) I go back to my course nest Monday.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Years

Send this eCard !

Here is wishing you the best in the upcoming year :)

Happy New Years German edition

I know its not New Years back home yet, but here it is 1AM, so I can wish everyone a Happy New Years German time lol.

Just a small update on us, we are currently in south Germany in Sonthofen, visiting my family. Let me start by saying I have not seen my brother in 16 years so this has been an amazing experience. I will write more about this later, but thought I would start buy just telling you a bit about our day.

I woke up today at 8:30, spent a half hour in bed with my mac doing my normal online routine (yeah I know I am an addict). Then I got ready and at 10 I headed downstairs and learned some German recipes with my brothers mom.

This is my half brother on my fathers side. He actually lives in the same apartment building as his mom, she and her brother live on the first story and he lives in the apartment directly above.

So this morning I learned and helped make German potato salad, egg salad, tomato salad, cucumber salad, and noodle salad. Super easy and way fun.

Then Toni and I headed to Austria in search of the infamous tax free gas. Now my brother had intended to come with us but he wasn't feeling so well, so we headed out on our own directions in hand. So we went on a nice drive through the Alps. Now that was all fun and gravy until we realized we were on the wrong road and I had to pee like a race horse. So I started making a shit fit because I had to pee and was scared we would run out of gas lol. But my brother saved the day, and helped us find our way back. Turns out that street light we were supposed to turn at never existed in the first place lol, damn brothers and their directions :)

So after a long drive along the border with me whining about having to pee, we finally made our way across the border and into Austria. We found the gas station, which actually saved us 20 euro in filling our tank. It was full, autos lined into the street. Haha I just wrote Autos the german word, my lord I am losing my English :). Any who, back to the point. While hubby was in the line waiting for gas I ran in to use the potty.

Now my German is pretty good, and I know Austrians speak German, but that dialect was like Portuguese to me. The lady could understand that I was asking for a bathroom until I said the word for toilet in German lol. Thank god they had one and I didn't explode. I told hubby if he didn't hurry I would be peeing in the snow.

So after that we filled up the car. Poor hubby was mortified by the fact you had to fill up the car and then pull forward. I guess after so many years in Germany he feared a big scary man would come chasing him thinking he was trying to drive off.

So we drove a bit in Austria and took some pics that I will add after we get back home. Then we headed back to Germany. I know it was short but hey that counts I was in Austria :)

So we took some great pics, saw the amazing Alps and they were a beauty.

We came back and my brother had cooked some supper spaghetti.

Then we hung around and played on the computers and watched tv. I went down stairs and hung out with B and HJ (bro's mom and uncle, but I hate typing that they are family to me so I will just say B and HJ:)) and we had talked and hung out.

I went back upstairs and got ready for our evening.

At 8 we all headed down together and I helped cook Frikadellen, while B made Chicken. We hung out until 10 and my brother neighbors joined us for the celebration.

We ate tons of food, drank good German beer, and at midnight we rang in the New year with a toast and watched the amazing fireworks. No I know this sounds crazy but Germans set off those huge ones in the sky, you know like the big shows on the river. But they do it just on the streets, so it is like a bombing raid. Within minutes the city looked as so there was fog, it was so dense with smoke. But it was gorgeous. Hubby got a bit upset as a firework landed on the car and another was tossed under, didn't look like their was any damage we will have to check for sure in the morning.

So then we chatted a bit and headed back upstairs.

My bro gave up his room for us, and I am about to hire a uhaul and run off with his super comfy bed lol. He has American pillows and it was so nice to sleep with on again, and his blankets are soooo comfy.
I want to barricade myself in j/k

So it was an amazing experience to ring in the new year with my brother. Though we have been apart for many years, I have never once felt any distance from him. He is an amazing man and I could talk to him about anything. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to live close to him and have him in my life once again. And I am at a loss of words for the kindness that his family has extended to me. They have opened their arms and welcomed me into their family, and that has made my experience living so far away from home so much more enjoyable.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful new year. I always consider it my fresh start. A chance to make the changes or set the bar to do things I have neglected to do in the past and this year I am setting the bar high for myself. But I am confident that I will make it.

This is my second New Years in Germany. And while it may be hard to be away from home. Away from my family, friends, and loved ones, I have finally realized that I am living my dream. With an amazing husband by my side, castles around every corner, I can never forget I am one heck of a lucky girl


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