Two Dinners In One!

I love cooking, and regardless if it was a really long day at work or if I am tired, I still try to do home-cooked meals 6 out of 7 nights a week. Yesterday, I was preparing a Singapore dish that needs to simmer for a long time; I had already cleaned up the kitchen and was wondering what to do. You know the phrase, “kill two birds with one stone”? I had already bought the groceries for the next day, so then I thought, ‘hey, why not make that too’. I easily prepared what will be a tortellini bake within 15 minutes, covered it in saran wrap, and put it in the fridge! Today, I only need to turn the oven on! No prep works, no kitchen clean up. I wish I had started doing this earlier! Would be a great help to busy workers, moms, and anyone else who is trying to time manage! 🙂

Preparing tomorrow's dinner while todays cooks
Preparing tomorrow’s dinner while todays cooks

Bon Appetite! 😀

 

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36 Weeks Pregnant, FORGETFUL, feeling not organized enough!

I feel so behind in my planning! Organizing a baby nursery is a lot of fun but proves to have a lot more challenges than I had originally thought. One thing is, everything is so teeny tiny that it can easily get misplaced, thrown around, and despite best intentions still look unorganized. Well, I have stocked up on IKEA SKUBB re-foldable containers (see link below) they are like little lifesavers. You can arrange them in any combination that you like, they are under $10, and come in a 6 pack of various sizes. Currently I have all of his onesies, hats, socks, and toiletries arranged in them (like the little baby nail clippers, and hair brush). Now I just need to test if the significant other can keep up with the organizing or if I need to make labels for the containers 😛

Ikea SKUBB link: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60192633/#/00192631

Organizing; SKUBB containers

Getting lost and keeping your eyes open!

So everyone close to me, knows I have a tendency to get lost. It is not that I do it on purpose 🙂 somehow, GPS and I do not mix! But anyways, I just wanted to comment that sometimes getting lost is the best way to discover new places. This little gem that I fell upon today, is literally minutes away from my house but because it is located on a little tiny parallel street that leads to nowhere I would never have found it. Inside are fine Italian delicacies, an excellent assortment of wines, and a very small daily lunch special is offered.

Hidden Gem

Cheers to getting lost! 🙂

 

DIY Sister

To celebrate my baby sister’s Birthday, I decided to dedicate a post just to her! She has also caught the DIY/Pinterest bug, but is too shy to share some of her handiwork, which is why it is great that she has got a big sister to do it for her 😉

The original chair she found at Goodwill for under $10, she then stripped the old fabric off, cleaned the chair, and using a staple gun and numerous attempts at folding, (while distracting her dog, Nahli who for unknown reasons has an obsession with this chair) fixed the new fabric to it. In one day a complete chair renovation! Pretty impressive! I will add more of her DIY work as it comes in!

Before and After of the chair:

Baby Sister's Handiwork!
Baby Sister’s Handiwork!

The chair, and a happy Nahli, in its new home! 🙂

New Chair + Happy Dog

 

Starting the nursery….

So at 35 weeks, I am getting a very late start on setting up the nursery! :-O Of course, I am blaming this on the move 😉

But actually I am struggling because I have seen so many amazing and inspiring nurseries featured all over the web! One of my favorite resources is Apartment Therapy. I could stare at their website for hours on end. Etsy, because Etsy is just cool, and has too many vintage items that I want, and lastly everything under Ashley Ann’s website, Under the Sycamore.

http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2009/06/30/entering-the-girl-world-the-nursery/

So I decided to make a list of what was most important to me and then go from there:

  1. Whimsical and vintage
  2. Boyish (but not over the top)
  3. Practical in sense of storage, changing, etc.
  4. Colorful but not matchy matchy

Besides those things on the list I am just taking it as it comes! Here is some preview photos of what I have started with.

DIY Projects haves started... sneak preview of Nursery
DIY Projects haves started… sneak preview of Nursery

The white Vitrine is an IKEA hand-me-down that I am hacking to turn into a baby closet. I sanded down the shelves, changed the knobs, and removed the first shelf to place a clothing rod on the top to hang a few items. The blue chest is also a hand-me-down from my in-laws, it was a handmade gift from their landlord! I love refurbishing items.

I will post more about the nursery as I get closer to finishing! 🙂

Super Easy Strawberry Cake

So the in-laws came up and visited for the weekend and bought over a kilo of strawberries with! I absolutely adore strawberries but can not sit and eat over a kilo of them, so I decided/wanted to make something different than I had in the past. After looking for an hour at recipes for inspiration, I decided to just make up my own. You know the old saying, ‘Baking is Chemistry while Cooking is an Art’. While obviously that came to being, because for baking you should be pretty exact and measure, and for cooking you have more room to be creative and still come up with something fabulous! Well I am terrible at Chemistry 🙂 which means if the recipe for baking looks to complicated I simply do not try it. Also, as I live abroad, measurements, flour, sugars, everything is different. So here is my super easy recipe, feel free to modify it as you like 🙂

Materials you need: one bowl, one smaller sized coffee/tea cup, one smaller spoon or teaspoon if you have it, pan (I used a 9×13 glass lasagna pan), spoon.

Ingredients:

2 of your cups of flour

1 of your cups of white sugar

2 eggs

1 of your cups of vegetable oil (I used Sunflower oil)

2-3 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons of vanilla extract or vanilla sugar (vanilla extract is very hard to find here)

Topping is optional, but I love streusel toppings and used this very simple recipe:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/crumb-topping-for-pies/

Directions:

Step 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Step 2. Lightly grease the cake pan you are using.

Step 3. Mix all of the ingredients, excluding the strawberries in a bowl until smooth.

Step 4. Pour the batter into your slightly greased pan.

Step 5. Cover batter with a layer of strawberries.

Step 6. Add in optional streusel topping (recommended but not required)!

Step 7. Bake for 35 minutes or until top is light brown.

Step 8. ENJOY 🙂

 

This is how I like to measure things! 🙂

 

 

Staying in our new HOMETOWN for Easter!

Typically Berliners go out of Berlin for the long Easter weekend, but we decided to make the most of the April weather, and try to explore more of our new ‘hometown’.

Overcast clouds, always seem to produce the best photos with my iPhone. And I definitely wasn’t disappointed taking numerous photos of the Berliner Dom. I included the wiki page incase anyone is interested:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Cathedral

Anyways just want to wish you all a lovely Easter Weekend!!!! ❤

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Hanging up paintings with bobby pin!

So I am mildly obsessed with Pinterest and always tumble on to the most inspiring pins. A few weeks ago I saw a pin taken from Real Simple for using a bobby pin as an assist to hold a nail when hammering…. for some reason it seemed to stick in my mind. 

Could be because: 

1. I am terrible at hammering and always seem to hit my fingers more than the nail. 

2. Always seem to have bobby pins laying around although I don’t use them! 

Anyways, long story short, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to try it. And guess what? It actually worked, and even better, it was really easy to do! Only additional tip, would be to slightly squeeze the bobby pin while holding the nail. Otherwise it wiggles just slightly! See my photo below! 

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For more surprising tips on how to use bobby pins check out the original link from Real Simple:

http://www.realsimple.com/new-uses-for-old-things/new-uses-accessories/bobby-pin-nail-holder-00100000116763/index.html

Wait is over…

So after waiting for what felt like forever, the landlord contacted us and said when we want it, it’s ours! I am pretty sure I started jumping up and down at my work from happiness! 🙂

One thing that we found out afterwards, is that our apartment comes with some history! The owner of the flat is actually the widow of the Berlin famous artist, Kurt Mühlenhaupt, his works can be found in the Kurt Mühlenhaupt Museum! That is where the bathroom tile inspiration came from in the apartment. Feel free to check out the museum link below:

http://www.muehlenhaupt.de/V2_TAA/index.html

So we are now about 80% moved… And now starts the ‘fun’ of unpacking! I swear, unpacking is even worse than packing. It seems every time that I think I must be getting close to being finished there is 20 more boxes!!! Also I have learned the importance of measuring…. We have one of those very practical IKEA Expedit shelves (you know the kind that can store everything), and I measured one centimeter off…. Incredibly irritated with myself see photos below. I am not a perfectionist, but this is just going to drive me crazy! I gotta find a new location for the bookshelf….

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So, let the hunt begin…

Seriously, hunt is not even being dramatic when it comes to searching for an apartment in some of urban cities in Germany (aka Berlin, Munich, Hamburg). Now add on top of it, a family friendly apartment with 3 rooms. Which reminds me- for some reasons Germans sometimes like to create systems that just make living here more confusing for foreigners, I swear the German forefathers are somewhere laughing their heads off! Three that come instantly to mind:

  1. They say the second number first, which even after living here for awhile likes to screw me up! For example, the number 28 would be said as “eight and twenty”.
  2. The first floor is actually the second floor. (HUH) I know totally useless. They call the real first floor the ground floor and then start counting up from there. But if you are calling a friend and they say, “oh yeah, come on over I’m on the third floor”. You think to yourself, oh- only three flights of stairs, I got that under control, and then it is actually four flights! I have the same problem in the elevator! Cause then I am wondering if they actually meant the 3rd floor or if they have taken it already into consideration and meant the 4th!
  3. Lastly, I don’t know if this is the American part of me that confused it or the German cause theoretically they would be correct in this one. A 3-room apartment actually means a 2 bedroom apartment with a living room. So 4-rooms is 3 bedrooms 1 living room, and so forth. So when I wrote I am looking for a 3 bedroom apartment, it actually means a 2 bedroom apartment with a living room.

Sorry for getting sidetracked (happens to me a lot)! 🙂

Ok right, so back to the hunt! So as we are both still working while flat hunting we literally have only the option to go to viewings on the weekend. Which further narrows down the list of potentials. Plus in Germany, things that are standard in the states, like having a kitchen, lights, closets, etc. are not the norm here. So pretty much when you rent a place here you are getting an empty box. Only pro to this is that you have a little bit of room to customize. See my old kitchen:

Benefits of not having a built in kitchen is that you get to add one in yourself!
Benefits of not having a built in kitchen is that you get to add one in yourself!

However, with installing a kitchen comes all sorts of headaches, costs, and time estimations (usually you estimate wrong and it takes double the time).

Ok, back to search again 🙂 We drove up for a weekend and ran around like a nut all day Saturday. This is the apartment that tugs our heart strings! (AND OMG it has a kitchen! Is a double win)!

Flat we are hoping to get! With even a kitchen inside!
Flat we are hoping to get! With even a kitchen inside!

Now let the wait begin…

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