Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Military moving

There are a few thing that I wish someone had told me before moving to Germany with the military:

1) HAVE THE MILITARY SHIP YOUR CAR (yes, I would even yell it at you if we were talking face to face) Yes, you can also buy a beater euro car when you get here if you want/need but it's so much nicer to have your car shipped and not have to hassle with buying a car that may have wacko issues with it. And the paperwork and work involved with getting your car over after you're already here is a headache.

2) If you have a pet you're even considering moving with you, BRING IT. If you do not bring your pet with you when you PCS then you will have to bring your pet over on a commercial flight because Space A will not accomodate your pet after you PCS. Heartbreaking and/or expensive.

3) (Depending on what base you go to) There is hardly any room on base to live. You will most likely have to live off base or live in a stairwell apartment on base with noisy neighbors. Pick living off base unless for some reason you are bound and determined to live on base and are willing to wait months to move into your apartment (or duplex if you are higher ranking or have a bunch of kids).

4) Even though living in the hotel is miserable, take time to look at at least 3 places to live before signing the contract. We like our apartment and we love our landlady but sometimes we see features in other peoples houses we wish we had. Take the time to look a little so you're happy. The military won't pay for you to move to another house (unless you move on to base)

General observations you should know:

1) Learn how to recycle. Seriously. There are days when you drive down the road on recycling morning and can obviously point out the Americans by their horrible job of recycling.

2) Learn to waste less. You only get so much garbage space in your trash can. And if you put your garbage in your neighbors garbage can they will start to feel homicidal (in a nice neighborly way, of course...)

3) Learn to pay much better attention to your driving and forget about your cell phone completely while driving. Driving here can be crazy, especially in the smaller villages with a manual car. Pay attention.

4) Even though your German neighbors may look crabby and stare at you, smile and wave as you drive or walk past. Most the time they will smile and wave back!

I have more on my list but that's it for today

Saturday, October 13, 2012


I'm procrastinating the paper I'm supposed to be working on. I'll get back to it right after this... I'm to the point in procrastination where I have scrubbed every individual key on this keyboard with a clorox wipe. It's that bad people.

I love homesteading books. Any book packed full of fun do-it-yourself stuff can entertain me for hours. Raising goats, canning, building garden stuff, uprooting all grass in your yard and turning it in to space for a large garden. Yeah, that makes me happy.

So sometimes I dream about what the 'perfect' house/yard/etc would be. I'll tell you about it someday. I hope that someday in the future I can have some acreage and time and space to experiment. I think it'd be fun to retire and have a CSA with a little coffee/bakery. We'll see, in the meantime I'll keep dreaming.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


The driving in Germany is a little scary. The roads are very narrow (often on the country roads there is no centre line drawn on the road), cars drive fast, and people park on the sidewalk or where ever else they feel like.

We bought a little used manual car a month after we arrived. I can drive a manual but it's been a long time since I've had to. The first time I drove a manual was helping my dad with fencing and I could barely see over the steering wheel of his truck. Anyway. So the first time here I had to drive the car I was a little nervous. After dropping Levi off at work I had to drive to a neighboring town to a dr.s appointment. I killed the car twice before even getting off base. Everyone drives so fast I just panicked and accidently put the car in 3rd gear instead of first (it sticks going into 1st sometimes) and killed it in a roundabout. Eventually I made it off base and to the hospital with not many other errors (except I drove about 40 km/h the whole way).

That was about 4 weeks ago. Today driving home I felt like I had been driving our little manual for forever. Sometimes you have to remember that there is a (re)learning curve to just about anything in life and it's okay to drive ridiculously slow or accidentally kill the car in a roundabout. These things happen.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Healthy snacking

Once we moved into our house Levi asked that we always have fresh fruit / veggies available for snacking. This seems like it should be pretty simple. We like to eat healthy and love fruit (and most veggies). But, for some reason, it has been a chore.  It really isn't that hard to wash berries and leave them in a bowl in the fridge, or peel and slice a cucumber. But I just can't remember to do it until it's asked for. I'm not sure if I need to set a reminder to do it or just keep working on making it a habit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I'm feeling a little swamped by classes already and it's only week 2. There's just a lot of day to day things that have to be done that distract from the bigger projects that are due (and should be started on now) later in the semester. But I'm hoping this tech writing class I'm taking will improve my paper writing so that I can do well on my big research papers!

Also, I really don't like the time difference between here and home. I always want to text people but they're asleep and I don't want to wake them up. Oh well.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


So my husband decided today that he wanted to have a twitter account. I had signed up for one forever ago so I was like well maybe I should give it a shot too. So we're both playing around with twitter and this super creepy girl starts following him. Totally raunchy vulgar tweets. Seriously, how do these people think that it's okay?? It blows my mind that some people have no boundaries. He blocked her etc but really people, is that necessary??

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


The past week has been hot here. And it's supposed to stay hot until later in the week. Its been in the high 80s to high 90s every day. That temp doesn't sound terrible but there's no air conditioning here. Anywhere. So there's no escape from the heat. Luckily our house stays fairly cool. But riding in the car is the worst. No air conditioning and the window shield just makes the sun feel that much hotter. Really nasty. Sunday was in the high 90s, it might have even been over 100. We opted to hit a local indoor pool for the afternoon with some new friends. That was the best idea ever. The water was a little on the warm side but it still felt way better than being outside.

At the beginning of this nasty hot streak I had been doing some basic maintenance to my bikes. Cleaning chains and gears, tightening odds and ends, staring at my breaks wondering how I repair those (it can't be that hard, right?), etc... But it's been too hot for this girl to go out and bike. Hopefully when it cools down this weekend I'll go. I'm hoping we're getting into fall now and the weather will continue to cool down but someone said it can get pretty hot here in August and September.

I started up school again yesterday. I think this semester will be a little crazy with 3 classes but they look really interesting.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Topic-less Thursday

Second day in a row posting, pretty impressive for me.

I really want to get to go camping or backpacking before it starts getting chilly here. So I've been working on doing some research which feels more challenging than I think it should be. So I've switched from on-line research to book research and made a little more headway. Over Labor Day weekend we're hoping to make a trip somewhere but we're not sure where yet. Munich and Brussels are at the top of our list so far. But part of me just wants to go camping and hiking. Makes me wish we were back in the states a little. Just punch into the internet where you want to go and a million state and national parks pop up and you pick one and just go.

Anyway. I took both my bikes out for a short ride yesterday. They need some work before I can actually ride them but I stopped by Outdoor Rec on base and picked up what I needed (hopefully I can locate my bike tools at home this weekend). Outdoor Rec is a very small outdoor store on base. I think they mostly do rentals. But it's nice to know where to go if we need something. They also have a nice climbing area which I think I'll take advantage of. The climbing intro class is 25$ and they have women's climbing group every Tuesday night for 5$. Maybe I'll make some fun outdoorsy friends.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Here we go again. Not making any promises with this blogging ordeal. Just thought I'd write a little about what's been up in Germany.

Our household goods were shipped June 4th from Minnesota and showed up at our new home on August 13th! It's so nice to have all our home stuff. I had waffles for breakfast this morning just because I could! We really don't like our German washing machine. It doesn't get clothes clean and its super small. I can barely fit one of Levi's uniforms in the washing machine. But as much as we don't like our washing machine, we are loving our German dishwasher! Gets everything perfectly clean and no water spots to speak of. Totally impressed.

Today is garbage day, which is what I actually wanted to write about. I should have taken pictures but I'm already writing and don't want to run down to the street. So, Germans are big on recycling. Imagine your 'American' garbage can (the black or green plastic thing you set out by the curb on garbage days) and cut it down in size by about 40%. That's the size of our garbage can. No big deal, right? Well, garbage is only picked up every other week. So that small garbage can of ours has to hold 2 weeks of garbage in it. Which is where recycling comes in. The other weeks are recycling weeks where you take your recyclables (mostly paper and plastics) out and the recycling man picks them up. So if you don't recycle you'll be hurting a little for garbage space because your garbage can lid is 'supposed' to shut all the way. We have become very good at making sure recyclables get washed out and put in recycling!

I'll try and post a few pictures soon! Looking for my camera cord.... It should be in one of these boxes.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Weekend pick me up

 Coffee is my fail-proof beginning/mid/end of week pick me ups. I went on a bit of an iced coffee kick a few months ago and have finally perfected my recipe. It's delicious, and super easy. Sure to brighten any day. Even my husband (a life long coffee lover) frequently asks for MY iced coffee over going to Starbucks :) (he may be a little biased)

So here is my wonderful, tasty, easy, and fairly low calorie iced coffee recipe:

These are our favorite ingredients. This almond milk is 
very tasty and the french roast instant coffee is dark and flavorful
12 oz cup
2-3 teaspoons of instant coffee (or two packets if using single serve)
2ish teaspoons of white sugar
1/8 cup of warm-hot water
Mix until dissolved
Fill cup with desired amount of ice
Fill cup 3/4 full of vanilla almond milk
Top off cup with water (you don't have to do this, you could fill it all the way with almond milk but I think it gets too thick that way.)
Optional: coffee creamer of your choice! (we like to put just a little splash of vanilla coffee creamer in ours)
Mix, enjoy, de-stress, and look super hip on the way to your local library!

**Note** Yesterday I posted this blog from my blogger app on our ipad. I was NOT impressed. I wasn't able to move the pictures where I wanted them to go. Other than the picture part it wasn't terrible. So I deleted it and rewrote this morning. I think I would use it if I wasn't posting pictures, but personally I think pictures are the most fun parts of blogs :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Excess and moving

Something I've been thinking about a lot lately is being a 'minimalist'. I don't want to label it or be legalistic about it. There have been some book suggestions from friends that I'm planning on checking out.

This is something Levi and I have been talking about ever since we packed up our house back in August. We had only been married 13 months and we realized we had waaayyy too much stuff. It probably wouldn't have mattered so much if we weren't moving. But we are moving. And we will likely be moving again in 3 years. And maybe again 3-4 years after that. And maybe 3-4 years after that. You get the idea. Military life. Military life and having a lot of stuff do not go well together. Unless you really don't mind packing and unpacking.

After packing up our entire house in August (and taking numerous bags to good will) we decided the less we have the happier we will be. And we plan on sticking to that plan as well as we can.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Microwave update and others

Back to the microwave! That week I kept track of my microwave use. I used it 8 times in total. 4 times to cook frozen veggies. Twice to reheat my coffee and twice to melt butter. I could have used the stove to melt the butter and cook veggies. The coffee I suppose I could have thrown out and made fresh but that seems plain wasteful. All in all I think we use the microwave pretty minimally. I'm not sure if we will have a microwave when we move. I guess it doesn't matter one way or the other.

This weekend we went to Oklahoma City. We spent the morning and most the afternoon at the zoo, ended up getting awesome tea at this odd Asian place, at Chipotle, and saw the Hunger Games! It was a relaxing weekend, which was just what we needed.

I got out the bike last Friday. I'm not sure why I haven't been using it more. Probably because we've been running. We took a week off running and never really got back on track. We've been keeping up with going to the gym but running has decreased to once or twice a week. So I got the bike out Friday and did a fun 20 miles. It felt good to spin my legs for a bit. I did another 15 miles today (sore butt!). I'm looking forward to biking more and hopefully alternating it with running (and continuing to go to the gym). It's starting to feel like summer here!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

7th grade

There are people in your life you will never forget. Acts of kindness that make an impact for life. High school was not easy for me (not academically speaking). The first hour of the first day of seventh grade I awkwardly showed up to class 15 min early. There were only a handful of people in the classroom. I remember being so nervous. I was the kid in a plain t-shirt, no make up, baggy pants, unpopular and unknown. Our high school was a blend of 3 smaller elementary schools. Mine being the smallest with only 12 kids joining the 125 total kids in our future graduating class. I only knew one kid from my elementary in the class and I knew I didn't want to sit next to him. In the back there was a girl with short brown hair, camo shorts, reading a book. I remember asking her if I could sit next to her and her saying yeah. I don't think I sat next to her for more than 20 minutes before we had a new seating chart but I will always remember how relieved I felt went I sat down next to her. I had made my first friend.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Microwave

After having a very good friend share this link with me I'm going to keep a tally of my microwave use for the week. The microwave has never had a huge appeal for me. When I went to college the apartment I lived in didn't have a microwave and I sure wasn't going to buy one. So I went without. But I'm curious as to how often I use it now.

After reading multiple books and blogs about hair care, last weekend I decided to actually start trying apple cider vinegar in my hair. So far I'm pleased with the results! But my-oh-my do I ever need a trim! My split ends are looking awful.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fun Weekend

 Ever have a day where you want to run away? Start the week over? Find the deepest darkest hole and hide? Feel like the biggest schmuck in the world?

Yup, happy monday to me.

Saturday was a WONDERFUL day. We went to check out the adoptable cats at petsmart, and said hi to the cat that looked like Harriet. Then Levi took me out for chips and salsa at Qudoba! I thought that was a fun treat and he said he had two surprises for me!! What? Me? Really?? The first surprise was getting to go see Act of Valor at the movies! We even got a snack to share :) Act of Valor was really good but I have to say parts were a little hard to watch without feeling choked up. After the movie we stopped for a second treat! Levi took me to the cutest place to get a glass of wine and a cupcake! What a great husband :)

I also got the book I won on Saturday! There are so many fun projects in here, I can't wait to get stared!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dallas and the weekend

We had a fabulous weekend! We went to Dallas on Saturday for a little day trip. We first stopped at REI and Levi got himself a pair of vibram five-finger shoes. We then went to Chipotle and the Zoo! We really like going to the zoo. Generally it's pretty cheap and hours of entertainment. It was raining so we only really got to see the reptile house. We also saw the otters and the tiger. After getting down-poured on on the way back to the Jeep we decided to swing past Whole Foods Market. We had a fun time walking the rows of food. Who knew food was so interesting?

Sunday I had a sad morning thinking of everyone I was going to miss once we moved... We bummed around town and then went to petsmart. Sometimes we'll go to petsmart to visit the cats up for adoption. There was a cute cat that looked just like Harriet! We felt very sad. One thing turned into another and I had complied what felt like an enormous list of things I missed about our home. Anny, Harriet, our coffee pot, the bamboo floors, waking up in Kensington on saturday morning and making coffee, letting Anny out, and making breakfast in my kitchen that had everything I needed.

Bonus! It was a three day weekend! Always nice to have an extra day to relax and hang out.

Running report: taking an easy week, mostly just going to the gym. Healing a few injuries. Looking into more minimalist running. I'm not sure if my feet will handle it but I'd like to give it a shot.

Reading report: Still reading Born to Run, busy week last week and didn't get it finished.

Also, I've been watching Downton Abbey. So. Good. I highly recommend it! But really, has PBS ever let us down? We also started watch Prison Break on Netflix. I like it but some parts are a little scary!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Levi and I have been training for a half marathon. I feel like a fake saying that. I've never been much of a runner, biking has usually been my strength. Running intimidates me. I even backed out of a 5k at the last minute last summer and made my little brother take my place. That's how much I try to avoid running. Usually at the end of runs my feet are in pain, my lungs feel like they have all but collapsed, and I usually have a headache. My feet have issues. In college there would be mornings I would get up, after having soccer practice or going on a 1-2 mile run the night before, and literally hobble all the way to class my feet hurt so bad. Not an enjoyable experience! Which lead to my avoidance of running.

While Levi was gone at BMT I started running a little (helped with stress and kept me occupied), not paying attention to time or distance and toyed with the idea of a half marathon. When I moved down to Mississippi I kept up the running and then Levi and I started running together in the evenings. I'm pretty slow but Levi has been such an encouragement. He doesn't complain about the slow pace and always cheers me on. What a great guy! So then when we moved to Texas we started following Hal Higdon's training plan. By follow a training plan I mean we usually run 3-4 times a week and go to the gym twice, in no particular order. We treat the training plan as a guideline. 

My feet haven't had a really bad day yet (knock on wood). Sometimes they're a little sore but nothing serious. My breathing has gotten better, I've noticed that somedays my breathing is fine and other days I'm choking to death on phlegm. I'm going to do research on that. I'm also going to do more research on feet and running health. Levi has started doing research on minimalist running so we'll see where that takes us! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Germany and Texas

We're moving to Germany! We have practically no details yet but they will come sooner or later. I've been doing a fair amount of researching in the past week since we found out. Here are a few things we've discovered. Houses/apartments in Germany rarely have carpet!! This is exciting for me as I'm not a fan of carpet. I'm super excited to buy a cute pair of house shoes to wear in my carpet-less house or apartment. Most houses/apartments come with a balcony or patio/backyard. Can we say cute breakfast area!? I currently have no idea (besides how to get a job in germany. I decided (after an afternoon of frustration) that I'll just wait until we get to Germany to worry about it (there will be access to more resources).

Texas has gotten better. Well, the state hasn't gotten better but my attitude has. I've finally settled into a routine and have begun to like my weeks. Mondays and wednesdays are library/school days, tuesdays are cleaning/organizing/craft days, thursdays I usually go to a friends house to chat and play with her two cute kiddos, and fridays are for errands and then pick up Levi. Obviously there are variations each week but that's the gist of it. The library here is great! 80% of the books I want to read are in the library. And the corner of the library is perfect for doing homework. Lots of math. Every assignment has either been on math or statistics, which I'm really liking.

I've also been catching up on my reading list. Last week I read the book Boundaries in Marriage by Townsend/Cloud (highly recommend). This week I'm reading Born to Run by McDougall.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Driving in Wichita Falls TX

I got a new phone so I can't upload pictures as easily but I have taken lots of pictures and I will post them when I figure how to get them from my phone to here. :)

It's been one of those days. I went to bed crabby, woke up crabby, can't figure out how to do my homework, blah, blah, blah. Sigh. Wichita Falls is hard to navigate. Even with a gps. The roads here make NO sense. So today I needed to renew a prescription. I called the dr's office to have it sent to the walmart across the street from me because of course the target (where I usually go for pharmacy needs and could have easily transfered my prescription) here doesn't have a pharmacy... Apparently the pharmacy at walmart phone has been disconnected. So the dr's office calls me back and the lady picks a random cvs pharmacy and I say fine. So I gps the cvs and it's on the other side of town!! WHAT!? So I embark on my 20 min drive across town (only taking one wrong turn). I get there and hand the lady my military id and wait for her to get my info in their database. 10 minutes later she says she needs Levi's SSN which of course I don't know (shame on me)..... So I thanked her and said I'll be back tomorrow...

Then I stopped at Starbucks (I didn't want to make a 20 minute drive for nothing) and decide I should go to the library and finish up some homework and email the prof the question I'm struggling with. While at the library I decide to print off my resume and cover letter for a job opening here. After waiting for an eternity for the slow library computer to get to my email and paying for the print job this is how my resume and cover letter look:

This girl is ready to be done for the day...