December 28, 2010

I take care of my dog better than I take care of myself

If you're family and have been following this blog from the start, you know that there have been many changes and upgrades to my blogging capabilities. I started this blog as a way to share our adventures here in Germany, but it's now developing into something that is my own, and something that I take a lot of pride in. A ton of work goes into this blog (believe it or not), from coding the new layout and settings, researching for things to come in the future, networking on other sites to get more followers, to actually sitting down and writing my own original and creative posts that are worth reading and commenting on. I do want to take a day out of the week though to also keep this blog personal, reflect on what it was originally intended for, and to keep all of you updated on whats going on here in Deutschland. So, without further ado:

True Life: I take better care of my dog than I take care of myself.

TJ had a game today that was a 6 hour bus trip. Our poor little pupper has some funky allergy going on where he is losing hair and his skin is turning pink so I had to man up and take the 75 pound beast to the vet myself. Brutus loves the vet. He smells the other animals, goes bananas, circles, pants. Its really just another walk in the park walking into the office. Not.  

Big Brutes went to the regular vet two weeks ago and was put on antibiotics, and today he went to the dermatologist. Yep, thats right, the doggy dermatologist. Have I ever taken care of myself and gone to the dermatologist to check out moles, freckles, allergies or to get a new skin cleaner? Nope. 

Anyways, the woman was great, spoke perfect English and most importantly - didn't make me feel like a dummy for being in her country and not knowing her language. Trust me, I've had run-ins with some serious donkeys since we've been here!

So, Brutus is on a four week plan - we are switching in a new salmon and potato meal and he seemed to like it tonight. We can't give him any treats (which is total bad news because I love sharing green apples and bananas with him, and he will literally wake up out of a dead sleep when I am eating one to come snack) or it will mess up the little science experiment we have going on. His test results will be back in four weeks, and the dermatologist said if his allergy doesn't clear up by then, we will put him under anesthesia and take some biopsies. 
The bloody spot is from the vet scratching for cultures.
Ugh - I have heard from others that the English Bulldog typically starts to have problems arise as they near their second birthday. Example - We know a couple who spends $200 a month on allergy injections for their five year old bully. They ended up taking out dog insurance for their pup because the vet bills were just astronomical. This is no surprise to us, we were well aware of what we were getting ourselves into as a financial responsibility and commitment. BUT - all day long I have been hearing my moms voice inside my head. When I first told her we were buying Brutus, she simply said "Kym, dogs die." 

Well no kidding, right? You always think and know that an animal will die, but for the first time today I actually felt it. I know Brutus isn't going to die over this silly allergy, but I just feel so helpless for him.
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December 24, 2010

Last Minute Christmas Gift?

Are you looking for a last minute Christmas gift or do you need a quick hostess gift for a holiday party you're attending? This literally takes under 10 minutes and is super thoughtful to boot. One of my girlfriends here who went back home for a couple of weeks was a sweetheart and brought me special treats from Canada. To thank her I made her a delicious smelling Sugar Scrub and an assortment of Christmas cookies. 

You can honestly make this with whatever you have kicking around in your kitchen - salt included, do a quick Google search - there are hundreds of different options! For my Scrub I stuck with sugars, vanilla and ground nuts.

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
3 cups ground hazelnut
Vanilla and macadamia nut oil




I put all of the dry ingredients into a Tupperware container. This made it easy to just throw the cover on and shake everything up.
When everything is good and mixed, pour in your oil and continue to mix well.
 Scoop into a glass container and tie on a bow.
For a nice touch, give the scrub with an exfoliating mitt :)
 

Homemade gifts are truly my favorite to give and receive :) Did you make any homemade gifts this year? 
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December 23, 2010

Christmas Traditions

To me, some of the best Christmas Traditions are simple and sweet. The countdown-til-Christmas paper chain that I make with my brother, decorating the tree, displaying Christmas crafts that we made years ago around the house, sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows after making a snowman, tracking Santas whereabouts on NORAD, opening one present on Christmas Eve, leaving cookies, carrots, and milk out for Santa and his reindeer, a big snuggle fest with my little sister and brother on Christmas Eve, getting excited for Santa to come (hey, it's hard to not get excited when you have a brother who is sixteen years younger than you!), creeping over the banister with my sister in the middle of the night to scope out the goods (parents - you didn't read that!) Moms yummy Christmas breakfast, a delicious lunch at my Memes. Gosh am I ever missing home today.
My mom decorates the tree so beautifully every year!
This will be me and TJs 4th Christmas together, but technically our first! The first two years we were playing in Massachusetts, so he went home to New York to be with his family and I stayed in Mass to be with mine. Last year we were in West Virginia so it was easiest to drive to New York to see family since Massachusetts is a (terrible) fifteen hour drive from WV. While it was great to see family, we had to wake up at 5am, quickly open presents, then hit the road for 6am to head back to West Virginia. TJ had to board the bus at noon for a 9 hour road trip. Yes, on Christmas day. Brutal, huh? I can't believe another year has come and gone.

Here in Germany, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th. We will be going to my girlfriends house on (our Christmas Eve) Christmas and I am very excited for her special Bavarian meal. I think TJ and I will then come home and open gifts like they do here in Germany. The 25th we are hosting a small Brunch for the North Americans on the team who celebrate that day. I picked up a couple of steaks, perhaps I'll cook them up for the two of us later that night.

It's been really important to me to actively start creating our own little holiday traditions, but I'm having a really difficult time doing so. TJ and I were discussing today how this doesn't even feel like Christmas. Something is missing (family?), and it's really depressing. Maybe it will come back in a few years when TJ and I have a little one to get excited with, but right now I just feel like we are 5,000 miles from home and there is nothing magical about this holiday. I don't like growing up. I miss my brother and sister. 


Sorry folks, but I'm feeling a little green today.

Do you have any special traditions you have started with your significant other? Do you have any tips on how to keep the spirit and magic of Christmas alive?
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December 19, 2010

First Dance Song?

I mailed out the deposit for our wedding photographer yesterday and now all I've been thinking about are the hundred things I need to do before the big day I marry my best friend. I know, I'm slightly over reacting (we have a year and a half to figure things out) but sometimes I get in these super girly moods and just want to play wedding planner all day. 

I've developed our theme, style and color scheme down to a T...but TJ and I are having such a difficult time deciding on our first dance song! I spent twenty years of my life dancing, choreographing, studying and picking apart music that you can just imagine how important our first dance song is. All of the songs I have danced and choreographed to in the past focused on emulating a feeling to the audience, set a mood, and told a story - I want our guests to be moved by whatever song we choose on an emotional level, feel the love we have for each other and enlighten everyones senses, and most importantly, I want everyone to watch us dance to a song that reflects our story, not just something popular from the radio a year from now.

How did you decide on your first dance song? Was it "your song", did it tell "your story", or what?

We have a list, but they all have something wrong with them - perfect lyrics but sounds like a funeral song, to slow, too fast, too much about me. Here are our top contenders. I have bolded everything that screams "US" and tells our story. I wish I could just mush them all together :)

Steady As We Go by DMB

I walk half way around the world,
Just to sit down by your side.
And I would do most anything girl,
To be the apple of your eye.
Troubles they may come and go,
But good times they are the gold.
And if this road gets rocky girl,
Just steady as we go.
Any place you wanna go,
Know I'll be next to you.
If it's treasure baby you're looking for,
I'll search the whole world through.
Know troubles they may come and go,
But good times they're the gold.
So if the road gets rocky girl,
Just steady as we go.
When the storm comes,
You shelter me.
And I don't say a word,
And you know exactly what I mean.
In the darkest times,
You shine on me.
You set me free.
And keep me steady as we go.
So if your heart rings dry my love,
I will fill your cup.
And if your load gets heavy girl,
I will lift you up.
Troubles they may come and go,
But good times be the gold.
So if this road gets rocky girl,
Just steady as we go.

Such Great Heights Cover by Juliana

I am thinking it's a sign
That the freckles in our eyes
Are mirror images and when we kiss
They're perfectly aligned
 And I have to speculate
That God himself did make us
Into corresponding shapes
Like puzzle pieces from the clay
And true it may seem like a stretch
But it's thoughts like this that catch
My troubled head when you're away
When I am missing you to death
 When you are out there on the road
For several weeks of shows
And when you scan the radio
I hope this song will guide you home

 They will see us waving from such great heights
Come down now, they'll say
But everything looks perfect from far away
Come down now but we'll stay
 I've tried my best to leave
This all on your machine
But the persistent beat
It sounded thin upon listening
 And that frankly will not fly
You'll hear the shrillest highs
And lowest lows with the windows down
When this is guiding you home
They will see us waving from such great heights
Come down now, they'll say
But everything looks perfect from far away
Come down now but we'll stay


Lucky by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat

Do you hear me? I'm talking to you
Across the water across the deep blue ocean
Under the open sky, oh my, baby I'm trying
 Boy I hear you in my dreams
I feel your whisper across the sea
I keep you with me in my heart
You make it easier when life gets hard
 I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Ooh ooh ooh

 They don't know how long it takes
Waiting for a love like this
Every time we say goodbye
I wish we had one more kiss
I'll wait for you I promise you, I will
 I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
 Lucky we're in love in every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday
 And so I'm sailing through the sea
To an island where we'll meet
You'll hear the music fill the air
I'll put a flower in your hair
 Though the breezes through trees
Move so pretty you're all I see
As the world keeps spinning 'round
You hold me right here, right now
I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
 I'm lucky we're in love in every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday




Little Moments by Brad Paisley

Well I'll never forget the first time that I heard
That pretty mouth say that dirty word
And I can't even remember now what she backed my truck into
But she covered her mouth and her face got red 

And she just looked so darn cute
That I couldn't even act like I was mad
Yeah I live for little moments like that
Well that's just like last year on my birthday
She lost all track of time and burnt the cake
And every smoke detector in the house was goin' off

And she was just about to cry until I took her in my arms
And I tried not to let her see me laugh
Yeah I live for little moments like that
I know she's not perfect but she tries so hard for me
And I thank god that she isn't 'cause how boring would that be
It's the little imperfections it's the sudden change in plans
When she misreads the directions and we're lost but holdin' hands
Yeah I live for little moments like that
When she's layin' on my shoulder on the sofa in the dark
And about the time she falls asleep so does my right arm
And I want so bad to move it 'cause it's tinglin' and it's numb
But she looks so much like an angel that I don't wanna wake her up
Yeah I live for little moments
When she steals my heart again and doesn't even know it
Yeah I live for little moments like that
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December 16, 2010

Do you believe in your dreams?

No, I don't mean your goals and aspirations, I mean your literal dreams at night when you sleep.

Last night I had this horrible dream that my eight year old brother, my youngest sister and myself were abducted by this strange couple. They weren't hurting us, but we were terrified and I knew that we were in danger, so I devised this plan for us to break out of where we were being held captive and run away. We only made it to a neighbors house a few houses away, where I made my siblings hide under the bed as I stood watch by a window trying to figure out what to do next. Suddenly I woke up and jolted out of bed and couldn't fall back asleep to see what happened next (don't you just hate when that happens?)

I hardly ever remember my dreams at night, but this one stuck with me so vividly that I looked up what dreaming of being abducted means and found the following:

1. The main theme in abduction dreams is fear. The dreamer may be afraid of losing a very important part of himself or of losing his safest and most familiar surroundings. Also, the dreamer may be afraid of leaving his home, childhood, familiar support group, or long standing ideas. These type of dreams may be most prevalent during times of psychological or physical transition and during stressful times of life when the future is somewhat uncertain. 
2. To dream that you are being kidnapped, denotes feelings of being trapped and restricted. Someone or some situation may be diverting your concentration and your attention away from your goals.
3. Change in your environment. Loss of independence and freedom. Fear to assume responsibilities.
4. Kidnapping is a powerful image for us because it includes strong victimization and loss-of-power issues. Someone who is kidnapped goes from being in control of their own destiny to being completely in the hands of another.

Sure, it's super easy to relate my current situation into these descriptions, and they all seem to fit it quite well...but TJ and I have also been watching all kinds of whacky Criminal Minds episodes lately, and with Christmas upon us I've been thinking lots about my siblings. Maybe my brain just merged everything together...or maybe there is a deeper hidden meaning?

What do you think? Do you believe in dream analysis? Do you think the unconscious mind wakes up when the conscious mind goes to sleep?
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December 14, 2010

Tso what?

After consulting with my girl Martha and googling a few different recipes, I formulated my own little recipe and it turned out delicious! 

Tso (what?) Chicken

Ingredients:
Cornstarch
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 tablespoon ginger (could use fresh minced, but I didn't)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
peel of small orange (make sure you wash it!)
3 eggwhites
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1.5  pounds of chicken (cubed)
EVOO




Step 1:
Pour one cup of cold water into a bowl
Mix in 2 tablespoons of flour (or 1 tablespoon of cornstarch)

Step 2:
Mix in minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon ginger
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Orange peel
Stir well and set aside


Step 3:
In another bowl combine
3 eggwhites
6 tablespoons flour (or 3 tablespoons cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Step 4:
Add chicken to step 3 mixture and coat well

Step 5:
Heat a good amount of EVOO in nonstick pan over medium heat
Put half of chicken into pan
Fry for 6-8 minutes, browning all sides

Step 6:
Transfer onto a paper towel lined plate to absorb extra oil

Step 7:
Repeat steps 5 & 6 with the rest of the chicken

Step 8:
During all of this, you can start preparing your other sides...and send a quick email, and pour yourself a glass of wine! ;) I prepared brown rice, steamed broccoli, veggie spring rolls, and fresh sliced pineapple. 


Step 9:
In clean frying pan add mixture from Step 2 
Heat on low until the mixture starts to thicken
Add the chicken to the mixture and coat

Step 10:
Bon appétit/食飯/Guten Appetit!


What did you cook for dinner tonight?? 
Want to share a new recipe for me to try? 
Leave a comment below!
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December 13, 2010

Weekend in Review

Friday night I got together with one of the girls to make Christmas treats while the guys were on the road. Yummy chocolate covered peanut butter balls, shortbread cookies, chocolate covered pretzels drizzled with white chocolate, lots of girl talk and lots of sweet red wine! 

Saturday TJ and I went to the Weihnachtsmarkt (German Christmas Market) for the first time. 
It truly was a wonderful experience and definitely put us in the the holiday spirit. For those of you who are wondering what the heck a Christmas Market is -- they are huge over here in Germany since this is where they originated, and over the years they have spread to most of Europe as well. To put you in the mood so you can share just how special this fabulous Christmas carnival is - envision and smell wonderful foods, roasted nuts, festive music, lots of lights, people singing German Christmas Carols, crisp winter air, carousels and ferris wheels.
The Weihnachtsmarkt evokes the excitement I had back when I believed in Santa, and maybe it's just because I went with TJ, but it has a sense of romanticism, too. There are over 150 beautifully decorated timbered booths that replicate a small Christmas village and each booth houses different hand made items - wooden toys, carved items, blown glass, pottery, candles, books, tree ornaments, etc. 


A popular drink over here during the cold months is a hot mulled red wine called Glühwein. It is spiced with cinnamon, vanilla pods, cloves, oranges and sugar. One of the girls here said that it is an acquired taste and you either love it or hate it - I for one think it's delicious - especially when I'm freezing my buns off in -0 weather at TJs games!
Yesterday I picked up one of the girls from the airport who has been up in Manitoba for the past couple of weeks with her adorable little guy visiting her hubbys parents. It's so great to have her back! :) 

The second I walked into the airport I choked up and fought tears. Sounds lame, right? I've been thinking more and more about how I felt yesterday, and I can't shake the feeling. Airports are such energy centers and full of all kinds of different emotions - the stress, the worry, the happiness, the sadness, the boredom, the frustration, the impatience, the anticipation, the joy, the terror, the heartache, the exhilaration. For the first time since I boarded the plane at Logan Airport to come over here, I felt raw and I felt alive. I saw all of these happy reunions and I literally had to bite my cheeks to stop myself from crying like a baby. The last time I was in an airport I said goodbye to my family, I hugged my sister and brother for the last time for 8 months, and I cried a cry I have never felt before - it was stressed, worried, happy, sad, bored, frustrated, impatient, anticipating, joyful, terrified, aching, exhilarating, and a million other different adjectives and emotions all wrapped up into one. While I love it here in Germany, I cannot wait for that amazing reunion with my family. 4 months down, 4 more to go!
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December 9, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Sorry I have been MIA for the past few days - I've been extremely tired, achy, and have been coughing like a 95 year old who has been smoking for the past 82 years of her life! I've done a whole bunch of updating to VIV, caught up on two seasons of Criminal Minds and drank enough green tea to swim in! I feel about 90% back to normal today, and will hopefully be 100% tomorrow, because we all know how rattled I get when I don't follow a schedule or routine ... plus my butt is starting to hurt from sitting bundled up on the couch for the past three days!

In other news, it's beginning to look a LOT like Christmas here in Hannover! 



We keep getting blasts of snow today, but it's nothing compared to whats going on where TJ went to college in Upstate NY --- 45+ inches of snow in the past four days, yikes! The snow is already up to Bruttys belly when he walks! I have decided I am just going to enjoy whatever Mother Nature has to offer this winter - I am up for just about anything except a re-hap of anything like the ice storm we had in 2008 when TJ played in Worcester. 
My poor Mazda :(
Yes, this gigantic branch fell on my car.
From this tree!
:(
I'm not gonna lie - I have had our Christmas decorations up since before Thanksgiving! I figured now is an appropriate time to share my recent interior design skills (ha ha ha..) since I don't have anything else of importance to write about today :)







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December 6, 2010

Chocolate at the gym

So, today is St. Nicholas Day here in Germany and I just had chocolate attached to my membership card when I left the gym....hmmm, something doesn't seem right about this...


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December 5, 2010

My dog is spoiled (and I am terrible at sewing!)



Remember Beanie Babies?


This is what happens when you give them to an English Bulldog!




And this is what happens when I try to sew!



Nursing himself to sleep...


Thank goodness he doesn't care what it looks like!
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December 4, 2010

How intense are our fans?


Just a quick update for tonight.

The guys are on a 4 game win streak and I am so happy! The start to the season has been pretty rough, but our injured guys are starting to come back healthy and the team is finally getting their act together. TJ has decent stats, 8 goals and 7 assists in 20 games. I am proud of him and the hard work he puts in and I am really looking forward to an exciting rest of the season. We only have 28 more regular season games left over here, can you believe it? 
 
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