Thursday, July 31

a european deployment and cooking for two.

There are many opportunities Europe has to offer. One of my most celebrated conveniences is the quality of the food. There is a wondrous abundance of culture here, which provides many completely different styles of cuisine. One thing they all have in common is freshness. GMO's are banned in the EU and believe me when I tell you, you can absolutely taste the difference. Organic food here is not only affordable but even readily available in most grocery stores here in Germany. The foods we might buy only on a special occasion in America are abundant and economical (for example, a fine cheese, wine or meat.)

Since Marius deployed almost two months ago, I have had to re-learn how to prepare meals for Iris and myself. I don't use recipes or meal plans at all, as I find that much more freeing to eat what my body needs on any given day. Earlier this year, our family decided to lean into a Paleo-style diet. We now eat very little gluten, if any at all. Marius is a bit more strict with it than I am, as I can barely live without my two teaspoons of sugar in my tea in the morning, or far more importantly, cheese.

Since it's summertime and I would rather not heat up the non-air-conditioned house any more than necessary, I've ended up making the simplest healthy dishes that occur to my mind. I am currently eating about five small meals a day, most of which consist of chopped raw vegetables, fruit, meat and olives. I thought I might share some of the meals we have been eating since Marius left, and hope he isn't too envious considering his chow hall is less than appetizing!

A lunch of olive oil baked eggplant eaten with a big piece of goat cheese and a side of grapes and carrots.

An easy ginger stir fry with chicken, eggplant, carrots, edamame, and red peppers.


Iris' most requested breakfast - warm oatmeal with honey and strawberries.

A healthier way to eat cheese is on thin slices of apple!

A lunch plate of quesadilla for Iris with veggies, aged gouda, kalamata olives and caper berries to share.

Paleo pomegranate chicken salad where instead of mayo, I use a simple guacamole - mashed avocado with some salt, cilantro, scallions and  lime juice.

A lunch of sushi rice with furikake and a side of avocado.

A throw together dinner of salmon marinated in Maggi-Würze, garlic and ginger with rice and ginger spinach.

A lunch plate of salami and cheeses from Belgium and Holland.

My friend and I made this big plate of sushi. Iris and I love sushi so much, we eat it at least four times a week!

Homemade gluten-free pizza with orange bell pepper, artichokes, eggplant and kalamata olives.

Wednesday, July 23

iris says.


Iris pronounces most words very well, but she still has a few cute mispronunciations!


Wednesday, July 16

currently.


Reading... The Shining. I have seen the movies (the Stanley Kubrick film, as well as the made for tv mini series) and have also read the book before. However, I don't do well with the horror genre so I'm reading very tentatively. When I first read it as a teenager, I'm fairly sure I kept the light on every night for about a month... Iris is reading letters, repeating the sounds they make, and learning to sound out words.

Watching... or rather, rewatching one of my favorite shows of all time, Battlestar Galactica. Iris is currently working her way though Pokémon. On a more serious note, I recently watched a documentary called Auschwitz: The Nazi Final Solution. It's an amazing production that shows in gross detail and description the horrors of the holocaust. Through interviews from both survivors and from former Nazi party members, the viewer gleans a well rounded perspective on how and why this travesty occured. For anyone who is interested in this particular history, this is a must see.

Learning... lots of new things with Iris in homeschool. I generally do an informal homeschooling session every day, Monday through Friday. Iris' most recent favorite lesson focused on coconuts - where they grow and how to open and eat them. We watched a few videos of people and even monkeys picking coconuts from the trees, looked at diagrams of the different layers of coconuts, and then we cracked one open ourselves! While I broke a fingernail trying to get the darn thing open, Iris drank the coconut water and then finally ate quite a large quantity of the meat. Now she wants bottled coconut water every time we go to the market!

Eating... lots of interesting things, speaking of coconuts. While Iris does ask for ketchup for dipping (a request which is most often denied), she also has a taste for flavors which are usually considered more mature. For example, she loves sushi, olives, a variety of aged cheeses, and caper berries.

Anticipating... getting the tattoo on my leg finished. I finally have a followup appointment with Sebastian Brade this Friday! Sebastian's work is based in Berlin, which is about nine hours away from us by car. He is guesting at a tattoo shop about two hours from us (which is how I got my outline done almost two years ago), so I am able to finish what was started! Definitely looking forward to this - though not so much the knee area - ouch! 

Wednesday, July 2

iris says.

There's a horrible burning smell coming from outside.

 Iris: "YUCK what IS that??"

Me: "It smells like something is burning."

Iris: "Oh. Well. Maybe it's our neighbors house."




Wednesday, June 18

the cherry tree.

When we first moved into our home, our landlady told us we had an apple, plum and cherry tree in our yard. She said they only bear a great harvest every two or three years. Boy, was she right! Last year, our cherry tree was slim picking, and by the time we realized the cherries were fully ripe, the birds had stolen much of the fruit. 

This year, however, it was impossible not to notice the cherries. They are bright fire-engine red and there are TONS of them. Together with our friends, we have been picking buckets full and snacking on them for three days and there is still no shortage! We also have wild strawberries peppering our yard - a delicious treat! 

Here are the pictures I took of Iris picking cherries last year!












Wednesday, June 11

another deployment.

Our little family has been adjusting to life without Marius at home. This past Monday, Marius left for a six month deployment to Kosovo. Iris is adapting very well so far. I told her that when Papa gets home she will be much bigger and taller, which gave her something positive to reflect on. Since he left, she often cries out with a bright smile, "Mama! My head is bigger! And my nose a little and my feet! I'm THIS tall! And Papa will see me!" She snuggles her Papa doll every night and she understands about how Papa has gone to work for a very long time.

The last time Marius deployed was about two and a half years ago, when Iris was little more than a baby. See how little she was?? It has only been a few days, but I am still impressed with how well she is adapting. I've started implementing a new daily schedule for the two of us, which includes daily homeschooling and working out and weekly movie or out-to-dinner night together. 

Our location makes my living without driving very simple. We are able to shop, go to a park, go hiking, go out to dinner, and take a train - all with just a walk down the road. Along with the support of our wonderful friends here, I feel this deployment will be the easiest yet.

Any friends or family who would like Marius' current address, please let one of us know!