Monday, July 27, 2015

Commencing Summer Projects

It's the FIRST MONDAY of Sommerferien, and I'm ready to rock and roll!  I don't really have a list of Summer Projects, but I did have a growing list of "things I need to stop ignoring once my busy days of shuttling kids to and from school comes to an end." And they truly were busy.  I would often go 4 times before lunch into the village to drop kids/transfer a kid from one school to another/pick up kids separately... for 10.5 months... I rarely had more than an hour and a half between runs.  It wore me out!  But Hallelujah!!!  It's over, and we enjoyed a very relaxing and long-awaited PJ morning on a Monday.  Hubby had the car, and I didn't plan on going anywhere today, so after leisurely finishing up my coffee, I busied myself at around 10:30 this morning.

Project 1:  not even worth a pic... but I emptied, washed, and re-organized the pantry today.  Lined the shelves that get grimy from the oil bottles.  Should be easier to wash the offensive rings, because the liners are rectangular plastic placemats I can remove individually and spot-wash.

Project 2:
I'm anticipating a bit more time to sew this fall, and need a better place to do it than the kitchen table.  Because if I get the machine out, I need to put it away before dinner.  So, I rarely ever get it out.

Hubby and I brainstormed, and we decided to use our guest room, and "make it work."  Perhaps we'll get a futon or sofa bed for guests, as the room is so small, there's no place to put a desk for a machine if there's a proper guest bed taking up the space.  That's a detail we've not yet worked out, but I still couldn't wait to start some preliminaries.

And there's a LOT of work I could do before getting around to furnishing the space... believe me.   The eyesore I tackled today was in my laundry room, hiding behind a closed door--My Fabric Stash.

Here's the guest room, with all the stuff from the shelves in the closet strewn all over the bed, and the fabric in front of it.  The only thing NOT in this picture is all the plastic totes from the closet that I had already placed into the laundry room (see below).  It's always got to look worse before it looks better, right?

Here's the laundry room after: 

There's now an empty laundry basket on the top two shelves in the foreground.
And here's the new home for my fabric: I will still have to battle the piles until I get around to implementing this plan when I get around to finding the proper resources (hopefully locally, or on My friend uses it, and her fabric stash is SO pretty.  Until then, the doors close so I can ignore my mess for months... make the room look tidy, even when I don't have time to re-organize my piles.

I don't hate my fabric stash so much anymore!
The next step will be to bag up my bed, and swap it out with my desk that's in the basement storage. Ordering the storage bags from today...  The sooner someone comes to visit me, the sooner I'll have to whip this room into shape... so anyone reading this is invited to crash here ASAP!

Bis dann!

Schöne Ferien!

It's been two months since the kids in our neighborhood started summer break.  In all that time, our household has been pining away for our break to begin!  While other kids were vacationing, staying up and sleeping in late, enjoying VBS and pajama days, we were plugging away at our routine.  It's not a terribly HARD routine, but when everyone else around is getting a break and we're not, it was work to try to remember the "immeasurable benefits" of willingly sujecting ourselves to the discipline of German second grade and kindergarten.
Last ride of Second Grade!

Last Ride as a Kindergartener!  Next Year:  First GRADE at Primary School!!

Little Brother's empty Garderobe!  He's done with Kindergarten forever!
FRIDAY was the day we could finally shout "School's OUT!"  ...If the locals did that kind of thing.  But they don't!  Last year, as I stood outside waiting for release that last day of school, I was underwhelemd by the excitement level of the children trickling out of the building.  An older boy had a smirk on his face, but it looked like any normal day.  The only difference was that kids had an extra bag full of supplies they'd not want to leave at the school for the break.  As they walked away from the school, they farewelled their friends with a friendly "Schöne Ferien!"   And that was it.  No excited shouts, no grins plastered on their faces, no tearing out the door and chanting the famous "School's Out!" song.  Well... until Big Brother came out with his friend David.  They were chanting "Ferien!  Ferien!  Ferien!" But it was still a mild celebration compared to the joyful exoduses I remember from my school days.  Perhaps it's because here there's only a 6 week break, and not three months?

To mark the occasion of the completion of a successful school year, we took the boys to get some crazy color for their hair (something they've been requesting for a while).

Saturday was a chilly day, but we still made it to the On-Post Fun Run in the morning, and a local FEST for some food and a tractor ride:

This was the shuttle that ran down into the Village hosting the Fest (Bierstadt, OUR fair village)!  We hopped on and stayed on it the whole way around, just to warm up (it was SO chilly and windy that day)!

Gotta get the FEST food in.  There's nothing else like it! 

I'm determined to make sure SUMMER happens here.  We're going to read a lot, bike a lot, play outside a lot.  If it's hot, we'll swim a lot. And I'm going to get some organizing projects done.  But, my kids need a well-deserved break.  It's after 9:00 our first Monday morning of Ferien, and I've got two boys watching cartoons in their PJ's. And they're quite happy about that!  Schöne Ferien!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

German Weekend at Home

Well, we're getting very close to the end of the school year here in Germany.  There are field trips, Schulfests, and a general ramp up to Summer BREAK!  We had a LOT to do this weekend, and I only captured a few pics of it.

Friday--Abschlussfest: a party just for the kids at the Kindergarten that will be starting first class in the fall.  Little brother and I did that one without other family members.

Saturday early afternoon--a Bike Ride on the paths in the farmers fields:

Saturday afternoon/evening--Grundschule Schulfest: Singing/dancing, playing games, eating food, running around the school yard, general merriment. And a lot of sweat.

Way to go, Mom!  This is the only "good" pic I got of Big Brother during the 2nd grade soccer game! He's fine now.

I failed to take pics of one of the most beautiful fests I've been to.  It was less than a half mile from our house, in the city's small Apothecary Garden.  We could hear the music from our house, and we enjoyed a few hours there on Sunday afternoon.  If I find pics (maybe on hubby's phone?), I'll share them later.  In the midst of all that, Big brother worked on oodles of math problems, since he found out that the workbook needed to be finished before the end of the year... we JUST finished it TONIGHT!!!  No more homework!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Pretty Summer Top

It's summer here in Germany!  While summer isn't quite HOT like the summers we experienced at Forts Hood (Texas), Bragg (North Carolina), or Jackson (South Carolina), we get the challenge of trying to keep cool sans Air Conditioning.  It's supposed to get up to nearly 100 degrees this weekend, and I started getting a little judgemental of my closet.  There was nothing for super-hot weather that wasn't a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, or tank tops that require a sports bra.  Sports bras and I do not get along because I do believe people wonder if I am a cross-dresser when I wear them.  I'm not making this up. One time, while sportily clad, I was drving down the highway with my windows down, I had a carful of young men ask me if I was a dude or a chick. Since then, I choose my undergarments carefully to help alleviate the mystery. But the bra straps always show when I put on any of my tank tops.  Another challenge is that we're allocating every penny before payday, and I didn't write any funds into the budget this month for clothing. As I was walking my boys to school, I saw another mom in a pretty tank top and was inspired.  So, I decided to hit up pinterest for ideas, and raid my fabric stash to see what I could come up with.

Here's my shirt: 

Here's the tutorial for this shirt, a pattern from Made By Rae posted in 2009 on Sew Mama, Sew's blog.

Fearing I'd be mistaken as expecting baby number 3, I amended the pattern a bit.  

Making the shirt took most of my free time in one slow day, including digging through my fabric to select what I wanted to use. But it cost me nothing, since I had everything I needed.  Since the fabric came from my stash, I have a story about where each piece came from... The body of the shirt came from The Quilt Tree in Anchorage Alaska, purchased about 5 years ago. The chest band was all I had leftover from Tina Birch's apron, purchased in the last month, and the straps... well, that fabric has been in my stash since my sister asked me to sew some scrubs for her LONG LONG ago... pre-kids, pre-Active Duty Army wife... when I lived in Springfield, MO. 12-ish years ago, maybe?  I wore it today (93 degrees fahrenheit), and I felt quite feminine. Today... I may just sew a bit more.  Perhaps a halter?