Saturday, April 30, 2011

Post #320: In Which I Post the Post I Never Posted but Really Should Have Done

[image source]

This snippet is about being happy.  It was written while quite happy, and sharing it makes me rather happy again.  Scribbled down April 15, 2011, on a small notepad in my kitchen while our internet was misbehaving.  (That happens often.)
Where have the days gone?  May and smmertime are just around the corner. 
Dinner is simmering on the stove, dessert is baking in the oven, the sun is shining through my kitchen window, Kyle is napping on the sofa...and I am content.  What they say is true -- time flies when you're having fun.  And lately I'm always smiling.  I want to catch these perfect moments and put them in a jar -- bottle them up and let them twinkle on the shelf until a day comes when I need them.
This time last year the life I'm living now was just a dream.  Sometimes I still can't quite believe it came true.  I don't know what to say, what do do, what to think to express the immense amount of gratitude spilling of my heart.  To God.  To Fate.  To Luck.  To the Family and Friends who helped me along.  To Kyle -- who teaches me every day that it is possible to love a bit more, and be a bit happier.
This was meant to go on for some time more, but dinner bubbled over and started to stick to the stove top.  (That also happens often.  I'm not as good at mulitasking as I think I am.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Calling All Carrotspeakers!

Hey guys!  Exciting news!  The resort that Kyle and I went to earlier this month is having a competition, and the prize is a free two night stay.  Contest is open to families who have been before, which means we're eligible!  Contestants posted photos to the resort's facebook page, and the photo with the most "likes" wins.  After a grueling day of voting, Kyle and I are in the lead, but just barely.  We need your votes! 

And since I would never ask you to do something without a reason:  If we win, I'll host a double giveaway on my blog.  Two winners (who voted for us) will receive a surprise thank you package.  It will be something nice too.  If I get a nice prize, so do my readers!  What do you say, deal?

To vote, first like the resort's facebook page, and then like our photo entry.  You must like both for your vote to count!  I know we can win this with your help!  So get going carrotspeakers!  The deadline is 5pm Germany time tomorrow (11am in the eastern USA). And remember, prizes are on the line!

Help send us back here!
And hey, if any of you guys need internet tallied votes, I'm your girl.  That's what my email is for.

UPDATE:  We came in third place.  Even though we didn't win, I am extremely grateful for all of your support.  Thank you guys so much for the huge amount of votes you contributed!  And no worries, we're still planning a second trip this fall. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chewy Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies

I decided to try out a new cookie recipe for an Easter cookout with some friends.  These are hands down the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made.  Seriously.  EVER.  The recipe was taken from the inside of a Land O' Lakes butter box.  Enjoy!

Chewy Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies
(makes 26 jumbo cookies, or 4 dozen regular sized if dropped by rounded tbsp-ful)

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugan
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips

1.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

2.  Combine butter, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl.  Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.  Reduce speed to low.  Beat, gradually adding flour mixture, until well mixed.  Stir in chocolate chunks/chips.

3.  Drop dough by 1/4 cup fulls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased (nonstick) cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-14 minutes (mine took closer to 16 minutes) or until light golden brown.  (DO NOT OVERBAKE.)  Let stand 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from cookie sheets.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Post #317: In Which We Have an Eggless Easter Weekend

Our Easter weekend was surprisingly lacking in the traditional Easter charm.  There were no giant floppy-eared bunnies, no Peeps, no chocolate eggs.  Just a sunny picnic in adorable Tivoli Park a tram stop (and short walk) away.  I can't say I'd have it any other way.

Up close the fountains look like huge toadstools.

This harmless looking stack of logs was actually a giant hive of wood bees.

Kyle finally found something he couldn't climb.

We passed these adorable flower pot statues on the way back to the train stop.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Weekend in the Bavarian Alps

Somehow Kyle and I lucked into being chosen to attend a couple's retreat at Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany.  Three unexpected days off, a mini-vacation, and all expenses paid -- there was no refusing this trip.  Edelweiss is nestled in the Bavarian Alps, surrounded on all sides by gigantic snow capped mountains.  We spent our time enjoying the incredible view, free food and good company.

Day One (Saturday) consisted mostly of a bus ride...with camera pressed to window for the entire last hour.  The first glimpses of the Alps are unreal.  The mountains look like a photographer's painted backdrop behind the quaint little German and Austrian towns.  We even passed a gorgeous set of castle ruins along the way.  I wish we could have stopped the bus for a closer look!

We explored the resort for the remainder of the first night. (Excellent pool and hot tub, spa, fitness center, three restaraunts, and an internet lounge, in case you're wondering.)  The view from our balcony was beautiful.

Sunday, after a fabulous (FREE!) breakfast, we took the Zugspitzbahn (train) to the Eibsee, a large lake at the base of Zugspitze.  The top of Zugspitze (tallest of the gigantic mountains) is the highest point in Germany, and provides a view into Germany, Austria and Italy.  We opted not to take the train all the way to the top, as to save ourselves some 40euro per ticket.

(Another adorable German haus for the archives.)

It was a fantastic weekend.  I just wish it had lasted longer.