Monthly Archives: July 2013

So where did the first half of 2013 go?

I feel like my life keeps speeding up, going faster and faster, and no one else notices.  Maybe LOML does.  He’s on this roller coaster with me.

So, yeah.  If you are still following my blog you will have noticed I have not been so good with the postings lately.  This half of a year has been very busy.  January was in Arizona.  February we came back to Germany and got re-acquainted with this time zone. March I started my German classes, which I am still taking.

Err… they finished the end of June.  It is now the end of July.  Time.  It keeps getting faster.  Didn’t I say this at the beginning??

March, April and May were kind of a blur for me.  We were sick a lot with the Kindergarten Kold because the weather was so terrible for so long.  So cold and dark and wet and long.

I did, however, enjoy my German classes.  I really like learning this language.  The classes are every week day from 8:30am – 12:30pm.  Each module is 1 month long.  So far, I have completed 4 modules and am at a beginning/intermediate language level.  You can think of it as a part-time job, my 20 hours a week of class time.  I have to get up and ready in the morning.  Then get the girls up and ready and dropped off at the Kindergarten at 7:45am.  Well, ideally they would be there between 7:30 and 7:45.  That usually doesn’t happen.  Yeah, I think I’ve gotten them there at that time about 10 times the past 4 months.  Normally it’s closer to 8, which makes me late to school because I have a 30 minute drive each way.  Whatevs.  The teachers are super nice and understanding.  Mostly they can’t believe that a mother with 2 small children would be taking this class to begin with.

The last week of class my dad and older brother arrived for a visit.  The first week of July we drove to Croatia for a week-long vacation.  (I feel very European now because I only want to refer to it as a holiday, not a vacation.)  We searched for — and found! — the villages of one branch of our family tree.  It was awesome to experience this with my dad and brother.  It would have been better if the rest of my siblings had been able to make it this summer, too.

The past 2 and a half weeks I have been home from school while the girls are in Kindergarten. (Today is their last day before a 3 week summer break.)  In my mind, I envisioned myself getting loads and loads of stuff done around the house.  Refinish the dining room table!  Organize the stored clothes!  Clear out the clutter!  Yeah.  Not so much stuff has gotten done.  Do you even know how much clothing miniature humans require in a year and a half time span?  Ridiculous.  Like, at least 12 diaper boxes worth of clothes.  And that’s not counting the ones in their dresser, the ones my mom took back with her, and the ones folded from when I did laundry earlier this week that haven’t gotten put away.

Little E wore 9 month sized clothes when we moved here (at 4 months of age) and is now in 3-4T size (kid is big.  and dense.  and super cute.).  Big Ive is only in size 4-5T herself (she’s a skinny tall one, my ginger).  I know kids grow, but I forget in the day to day until I see evidence of what used to be.  Somehow Little E is turning 2 in 11 days.  That can’t possible be right.  No way.

Onward and upward to finish out the rest of the calendar year, I guess.  At some point LOML and I will know where we’ll be living after September.  Until then we keep living each day, enjoying the gift of life we’ve been given.  When we know what we’re doing I will definitely let you know.  This Germany adventure may continue for a couple more years.  Or we could be moving back States-side.

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[what we’re eating] pasta with ricotta and veggies, and sometimes sausage

I found this recipe (http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2013/06/bowties-with-sugar-snaps-lemon-and-ricotta/) while perusing the interwebs last week.  You should check out this blog.  They have much better photos than I of their food.

If anyone has talked with me about my cooking, they should know that I never follow recipes, even the first time I make something.  So, I changed it.  Just a little.  To make it fit what I had on hand and what my family likes.  She adds lemon juice and fresh mint and I’m not sure my kids would been too keen on that.  That was the main reason for my changes.  Also, LOML is a fan of meat in the evening meal.  We attempt 1 meat-free meal a week, so this could work for that, but we’re not always successful.

I started typing out the directions, thinking to myself, ‘Self [[I don’t actually call myself ‘Self’.  I don’t call myself anything.  In my head it is strange when I use my own name to talk to myself, like I’m going crazy.  So I don’t use a name.  Reduces the crazy just slightly.  Hopefully.  Please…?]], this is totally a quick and easy meal to make.  Shouldn’t be too many steps on this recipe.’  And then I get to step 4 and we’re not done.  So I start combining steps, attempting to be more concise, less verbose.  Fail.  Maybe I’m trying to include too much information?  Maybe I just like to include it all because I wish everything came with more information that I need.  Like, my children.  Or instruction manuals for everything you buy.  You know, the important stuff.

Serves 4 to 6 (main course-style), up to 8 as a side (I think it could easily be made for a potluck or a very large group of people.)

Salt for pasta water
vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, green beans, corn, peas, bell peppers…what ever you have and whatever you like will be good.  Use less if you want it a little more simple.  You can also steam or boil or sautee the veggies up separate and serve separate if you have anti-veggie people in your house.)
1 package spaghetti noodles broken into quarters
1 pound sausage (omit if you don’t want it.  Alternatively you could throw in some grilled chicken at the end.  I think that could be super yummy, too.)
olive oil
Coarse or fine sea salt for sprinkling
Ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
500g ricotta (Sorry about the metric.  I bought 2 small 250g tubs of ricotta and used them both.)

1.  Start browning the sausage in a big frying pan.  When it is mostly browned drain off a bit of the fat and add whatever veggies you want to saute.  This last time I did zucchini and onions.

2.  While that’s going start washing and chopping the veggies.  I like to chop my veggies into nice medium-small bite sized pieces.  I don’t like having to cut them with my fork on my plate.

2a.  Except for onions.  I like to slice those really thinly, like I did last night when I made this meal.

2b.  If you’re using broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans you should probably steam or boil them in a separate pot to add to the whole later.  Cook the veggies if you aren’t going to saute with the sausage.

3.  Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil for the pasta.  Cook pasta according to directions for your desired chewy-ness.  Reserve one cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.
Side note:  I attempted to reserve the pasta water last night.  And then I pumped a bowl of not-quite-so-clean water into it, sighed, and used clean water from the tap in lieu of the pasta water.

4.  Add the pasta back to the empty pot with 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, a glug of olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Stir.  Add veggies and sausage.  Stir.  Add a splash more cooking water if pasta looks too dry. Turn heat off, dollop ricotta all over in large spoonfuls and stir it a little.  Add more pasta water if you still think it looks too dry.  It’s ok if it’s not homogenous.  It’s kind of nice to get some slightly bigger glops of ricotta once in a while.

5.  Serve quickly; eat happily.

This is a LOML approved recipe.

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