September 10, 2014

Visitors En Route

Good morning, my friends! The next few weeks in my life are going to be pretty busy. The Hubs and I have more company arriving, for a several week visit. I know what you're thinking, 'Didn't you just have company?' Yep, we did…  but everyone wants to visit now that we're living in beautiful Germany. The B&B that is my house is fully booked all the way through 2015!

This means that our regular schedule has been tossed out the window. We're now in a cycle of prepare for visitors, have visitors, take a few days off, then start preparing for visitors again. Rinse and repeat. 

This time, my grandma and my aunt are coming to tour around the country a bit. We'll mostly be staying within Germany, but I have hopes we'll also visit Salzburg and Prague. I'll try to keep up as best I can with new posts and travel pics.

But don't get mad if I take a few days off, ok? 

Of course, if anyone wants to volunteer to clean my house and cook our meals, I'd have a lot more time for blogging. Any takers??? I didn't think so, but it never hurts to ask, ha. 

I'll be back soon, peeps. Until next time! 

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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September 8, 2014

Happy 7th Anniversary!

Whew, the Hubs and I have made it through 7 years of married life! Like, without killing each other. Lucky number seven…

We've certainly come a long way from where we started. We've got a deployment, several moves, and basic army life junk under our belts now. We made it through infertility, health issues, and a whole host of other things. So after seven years I gotta say, I'm so happy I married this man!

Our wedding day :)

Sure, marriage is a lot of work. Yep, it's not always wonderful. And yes, occasionally I want to hog tie and gag my husband just to get five minutes of peace.

And I know he has all those same feelings too. But we're still there for each other. We're a team, and we promised to be one until one of us croaks. That is serious business, peeps.

So today I want to celebrate some of those things that make the Hubs, the Hubs. What do you think? Let's do this!

1. For the past couple of months, the Hubs has been trying really hard learning to cook. It's actually pretty funny, and he does some wild stuff (like boiling frozen chicken), but he's actually getting better now.

2. He always supports what I'm excited about (like blogging!), even if it makes no sense to him whatsoever. I'm pretty positive he only reads this blog once every six months. But he supports it anyway. All the new recipes don't hurt anything either, ha!

3. Hubs has an amazing sense of adventure, so we're always trying out new things… like swimming with sharks, on purpose!

Swimming with sharks, Virgin Islands

4. He takes care of me when I'm sick. He brings me juice, sets up the tv, and doesn't get annoyed when I call him up three flights of stairs to help me find the remote... usually this is what happens. But sometimes he yells that I'm sick and need to sleep, and why can't I just listen to sense?? But mostly it's the other thing.

5. Hubs bought me football paraphernalia for the first birthday we celebrated together… it was so lame, I couldn't help but love it.

6. Hubs is almost always willing to work at our relationship. This is HUGE, and probably the reason we're still married. Of course, I practically have to bash him on the head sometimes to get a point across, and sometimes we "work" on our relationship at the top of our lungs… but nobody's perfect.

7. He tries to listen, even though he's totally ADHD. Like, I'll be asking what he wants for dinner and he'll answer me with, "I don't know, what color is it?". What??? Makes no sense whatsoever, I know. I should record him one of these days, just so people will believe me.

8. Hubs got a wee bit tipsy this one time and sang me Christmas carols while I drove him home. His rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was particularly inspiring.

9.  Once, I finally got fed up with the Hubs leaving his stuff all over the house. So I packed up everything that was in the wrong place (in big black trash bags) and set it on the stairs to our attic. I thought he would eventually ask where his stuff was, and I could tell him (in a very superior way) where it all was.  INSTEAD, the Hubs decided to be proactive, and took all the trash bags in the house to the dump.

Without looking inside of them.

This is now a family legend.

10. Hubs can be silly. This might not seem like a big deal, but it's so important to me. You've really got to be able to laugh at yourself, have a good time, and not worry what other people think of you.

Even when your wife takes a picture of you with pink hair. This also requires enormous amounts of patience on his part.

So, those are just ten of the things that I love about my Hubs! I figure I better save some for next year, right? So happy anniversary to the best guy I know… I love you more today than I did when we were first married, and I am confident that trend will continue. Kisses!

Until next time, my friends…

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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September 7, 2014

Italian Cream Soda

After visiting Italy so much this summer, I've been inspired by their cooking (and their wine!). One thing I've always wanted to make at home is Italian cream sodas. I'm not a soda drinker at all, so this may seem a little weird. But the cream sodas always look so pretty and refreshing. I couldn't wait to try it out myself.
Strawberry vanilla cream soda

The basic recipe is so simple, even the Hubs could do it! All you need is a bit of sparkling water (or club soda, but I found I like the water best. Club soda has a bitter aftertaste), your favorite flavored syrups, and a splash of cream. There are all kinds of syrups to choose from, but two popular brands are Monin and Torani


The cool thing about these syrups is that you can pick from a huge variety of flavors. And, you can mix flavors to make your own yummy combinations! I've included a list at the bottom of some possible flavor combos to help inspire you. I stuck with fruity flavors because that's what I tend to like. But I'd love to hear from you about other combos, maybe involving chocolate and caramel??? 

On this night, I especially wanted to try a raspberry vanilla soda. The Kid wanted to test out pina colada. We got down to business...

I began by adding the syrup to an empty glass. I often see people adding ice first, but I think the soda mixes better if you add the ice after. Whatever floats your boat, my friends! The amount of syrup really depends on you, your taste, and the sweetness level of the syrup. 3 tablespoons is a good average. For example, The Kid's pina colada mix was much sweeter than expected, so we added a little less. Using raspberry alone was a bit tart, so we added a splash more.

You got that so far? Good.

 Next, add your sparkling water, around ¾ cup. The syrup and water will blend a little naturally, but give it a little stir too before adding your ice. Add enough ice to fill the cup, but leave a small gap at the top to add 1 tablespoon of cream.

Syrup plus sparkling water

A word about cream: I made an interesting discovery with my pal Michelle one day as I made these (for like the 10th time, they're so good!). Never, ever use the fat free junk you see in my pic. I used this because it's what the Hubs brought me home, instead of the full fat organic kind I normally like.

Boys never get the right stuff at the grocery store, do they?

Anyway. Not only is organic better, but the full fat is pretty important. The no fat does ok for some flavor combinations, but if you add it to anything acidic… the cream breaks.  You know, that chunky ooky grossness that happens when you spoil your cream? Yeah, not pleasant. So the moral of the story is, always buy the half&half with the fat!

Pouring in the cream 

Gently stir in your fatty cream (I use my straw, no sense dirtying up another utensil), then top with whipped cream if you want. Note: You should always want to top your Italian cream soda with whipped cream.

Add a cherry, strawberry, or other garnish, and you're done!

I'm curious to hear what flavor combinations you come up with, so be sure to comment below peeps. I've included some possibilities to get your brain juices flowing. And, of course, the standard recipe is below.

Until next time my friends, happy cooking!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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The Standard Form:

Italian Cream Soda


3 tablespoons of your favorite syrup, or combination of syrups (Torani or Monin are good brands)
¾ cup sparkling mineral water
1 tablespoon cream or half n half (full fat, no reduced fat)
Whipped cream, optional
Garnishes, if desired


Add your choice of syrups to the bottom of a glass. Stir in the sparkling mineral water. Add ice to glass, stopping one inch below rim. Stir in the cream. Top with whipped cream and garnish with fresh fruit, if desired.

Flavor suggestions:

Blackberry Cucumber, Cherry Vanilla, Cherry Lime, Cranberry Lime, Cucumber Melon, Cucumber Watermelon, Guava Mango, Mango Coconut, Peach Vanilla, Pina Colada, Raspberry Lime, Raspberry Mango, Raspberry Mint, Raspberry Peach, Raspberry Pineapple, Raspberry Vanilla, Strawberry Coconut, Strawberry Kiwi, Strawberry Lemon, Strawberry Mango, Strawberry Peach, Strawberry Tangerine, Strawberry Watermelon, Tangerine Peach, Watermelon Kiwi, Watermelon Lime, Watermelon Mint

Garnish suggestions:

Whipped cream, maraschino cherries, wedges of fresh fruit, lemon and lime slices, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, coconut flakes