Christine & Spencer

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The Wedding Afterparty

We’re back!

March 16th, 2015

The website is up again after the old laptop we were using for it died. Fortunately nothing seems to have been lost.

It’s taken a while to get things back up and running because we’ve been rather busy:

I'm pregnant!

Day 4: Honey Barbecue Meatloaf

September 4th, 2014

2014-09-04 20.33.00I used this Honey Barbecue Meatloaf recipe as a guide for tonight’s dinner. We didn’t have any Worcestershire sauce, so I just left it out.  Come to think of it, I doubt they have that here.  Still, it turned out really well – not greasy or crumby, just right.

Only once it was out of the oven did I realize I had prepared nothing to go with it.  Spencer quickly reassured me we could just have salad, but the lettuce we had was bad and had to be thrown out.  Luckily we had some really good Swiss bread, but even that is far from ideal.  Something to work on…

Day 3: Sweet & Sour Chicken with Rice

September 4th, 2014

2014-09-03 20.50.28This Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe was easy to follow and turned out really well.  Once it was finished baking I realized it needed rice to go with it.  The quickest solution we had was wild rice, which isn’t the number one choice to go with sweet and sour chicken.  That took almost 20 minutes while the chicken just stayed warm in the oven.  Oops…

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken (cut into bite size pieces)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 3/4 cup corn starch
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Sweet and sour sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup + 1 TB rice vinegar (distilled vinegar will work too)
  • 1 TB soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken, corn starch, salt, pepper and garlic salt in a large ziplock bag and shake until the chicken is evenly coated.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and place in the frying pan with a fork. I did half the batch first. Fry both sides of the chicken for about 2 minutes a piece. Line a baking sheet with foil and place chicken on the pan. Dispose of the burnt oil and then heat up the rest of the oil and finish the chicken.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  4. In a medium size bowl whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce.
  5. Next you’ll pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 20 minutes. Pull the chicken out and flip the chicken to evenly coat it with sauce. Then bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve with steamed rice and veggies.
  7. Enjoy!

Day 2: Spätzli & bratwurst with a mushroom cream sauce

September 4th, 2014

2014-09-02 20.28.12We bought the spätzli from the store, which is a lot quicker and less messy than making them ourselves, though we have done that before as well.  The bratwurst we cut up and browned in a pan.  The sauce was the tricky part, especially for me.  I followed this White Wine and Garlic Mushroom Cream Sauce recipe which turned out really well.  It didn’t thicken like I was expecting it to, and in the end I gave up and served it as it was.  Spencer loved it and didn’t think it was too thin at all, so it was a success after all!  This was really delicious and I highly recommend it.

I also baked Lemon Crinkle Cookies which look quite plain (I didn’t add the food coloring), but taste very good.  Spencer and I both brought some to work and they disappeared quickly.2014-09-02 20.29.17

 

Day 1: Chicken Bacon Mushroom Flammkuchen

September 4th, 2014

2014-09-01 19.58.45   Flammkuchen is similar to pizza.  We got some pre-made dough and added Carbonara sauce, mushrooms, onions, chicken and bacon.  We baked it according to the dough directions and it turned out really well.  First day is a success!

September Cooking Challenge

September 4th, 2014

I am the first to admit that I am not a good cook.  I love to bake, but I don’t like to cook and I’m not good at it.  I can follow a recipe, but if something goes wrong I can’t improvise, it’s just ruined.  Spencer is a far better cook, but even so we end up having a lot of the same meals (pasta, namely).  So, I decided to challenge myself.  The plan is to cook something different every day in September.  That’s 30 unique recipes.  They don’t have to be fancy or even delicious, and they can be ones we’ve tried before, but within September they have to be different.  Spencer has agreed to join in on the challenge, which greatly increases our chances of eating good food this month.  :)

I’ll post recipes as we go – hopefully we’ll have a nice collection by the end.  I’ll also post my mistakes (there will be mistakes).  Hopefully there will be some progress toward the end of the 30 days.  Here goes!

Time Travel

May 1st, 2014

Fred & RosaThis past week I have been on Spring break.  To back up a bit- I found a job working with a first grader using ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis).  ABA is typically used with Autistic children, but can also be applied to others.  The boy I work with is not autistic, but he is a refugee from Nigeria and has some behavioral problems in school.  I also teach an English class for adults once a week in the evening.  I got that job through a family friend of ours who still lives here and is the principal at a language school here.  I hadn’t taught before but I’m glad he gave me a chance- I’m really enjoying it!  So- I work at a school and therefore I have two weeks vacation for Spring break.  Spencer is still going to work at his lab (which he is also enjoying very much), so I have spent a lot of time with my grandmother.  We started cleaning up and organizing the garage as well as the attic.  It’s slow going but it’s a lot of fun.  I feel like I’ve been time traveling this past week.  We have found all sorts of old things that I had no idea existed (like a wooden tool used to loosen up the fingers of new leather gloves).  We also uncovered lots of family pictures.  The one here is a picture of my grandparents in 1950- she was 21 and he 33.  Good looking pair, right?  We also found copies of handwritten letters by my great grandmother and great grandfather (my grandmother’s parents).  Each of them had written a short letter about their life.  My great grandfather’s was written less than two years before his death.  It recounted how he met my great grandmother and that it was love at first sight.  He said he knew that it would be a love of a lifetime and at the time he wrote the letter they were less than two years away from their diamond (60 year!) anniversary.  My great grandfather waited for that day and they had a wonderful anniversary celebration with friends and family.  My aunt overheard him whisper to my great grandmother, “If I had to do it all over I would marry you again today” (he said it in German).  That night he went to bed and never woke up.  A true romance story from start to finish.

Tomorrow my grandmother and I head back up to the attic and I am looking forward to setting foot into another time.  Who knows, maybe we’ll visit my mother’s birth, my grandfather’s writing career, my great grandparent’s struggle with poverty, or some new place in time that I have yet to learn about.  It somehow gives my small life so much more meaning, knowing that in so many different points in history some slight change would have made all the difference and I would not be here now.

March 15th, 2014

A New Adventure
Spencer and I are embarking on an epic adventure. We are moving to Zurich, Switzerland. I was born in Switzerland and moved to the U.S. when I was nine. I’ve always dreamed of going back to live there, even if it’s just for a few years. Spencer did a year abroad in Zurich in 2008 – coming home from which he met me at the Philadelphia airport. Now Spencer has about one and a half more years until he finishes his PhD, and he’s allowed to do those from abroad.

Day One/ Car sick, home sick, just sick: (Jan. 6 & 7, 2014)
Day one is really two days that are connected into one day only by lack of sleep. We woke up around 4am on Monday, January 6 and headed off to the airport with my mom, dad, and brother. I had been sick with a mean, long-lasting cold for the past three weeks. That was nothing compared to the stomach bug that my sister and her husband caught the morning before their departure back to Mississippi. It doesn’t last three weeks, but packs a lot of misery into a short amount of time. So off we go to the airport and I am feeling a little car sick on the way. Once we get there we check in and make our way to security while my family walked along on the other side of the railings. I still felt sick, but decided it was early, I was nervous and excited…
We got to our gate and it was clear that I had the same bug my sister had. I’ll spare you the details, but let me say that: “I feel nauseous, do you mind if I go next?” will get you to the front of the bathroom line on a plane. So the four hour flight to Toronto was unpleasant to say the least. Bailey, our cat, did exceptionally well and I didn’t hear a single sound from her the entire way. Once we landed in Toronto we debated staying there and going on to Zurich the next day, but I was feeling a lot better by then and we decided to press on. Our flight was an hour delayed, which was nice since it gave us a little extra time to stretch our legs. Once we got on the plane it was delayed again because of the extreme cold. The pilot announced the delays in twenty or thirty minute increments which in the end added up to two hours. Adding two hours to an eight our flight is not pleasant, especially when you’re making no progress toward your destination in that time. Very frustrating. Still, we got off the ground eventually and made it to Zurich around 11am on Tuesday, January 7- three hours behind schedule. My best friend Natalie was there to pick us up and took us to my grandmother’s house where we are staying. My grandmother lives on the first floor (though she is in Spain enjoying the sunshine at the moment) and we get the second floor apartment. It has beautiful light wood floors and a very modern kitchen.
My aunt and uncle stopped by after work, but Spencer and I were both exhausted so they didn’t stay long. We went to bed early and woke up around 5:30am the next day.

Day Two, Three, and Four/ Jet-lagged on a tram with a cat tree: (Jan. 8, 9 & 10)
Spencer has the cold that I had which makes sleeping hard to begin with. Add some jet lag and it’s even worse. We’ve had bizarre sleeping schedules – yesterday we went to bed around 8:30pm, woke up at 2:30am, got up and did a puzzle for a few hours, went back to sleep at 5:30am and then woke up at 12:30pm.
Today we ran around doing some errands and checking things off of our list. We got bus passes, checked out some furniture at a consignment store, and I got a cell phone. We also got a cat tower for Bailey so she doesn’t scratch our furniture once we get some. The one we picked was half price if you buy the floor model. The guy at the pet store offered to dismantle it, but we took it as-is. We managed to cram ourselves into a very full tram (not without getting several chuckles and sideways glances), and then carried it half a mile uphill to our new place. Bailey seemed to like it, though, so it was worth it.

Random Facts:
-It seems Swiss renters take everything with them when they move out.  Everything.  That includes light fixtures.  It reminds me of this movie I saw where the realtor jokes about certain things not being included in the price of the house this couple is buying- the stairs, the pool, etc., and when they move in those things are really gone.

-Swiss cell phone carriers don’t have family plans.  Every man for himself.

-You cannot seem to get internet by itself.  You must either have a landline or TV service with it.  It’s not that this makes it cheaper or it’s a better deal, you simply cannot get internet without something else.

 

 

Billy’s Visit!

June 1st, 2013

IMG_20130505_152256_495

IMG_20130505_124934_889Billy finished his first year of college in Chicago and stopped by to visit us on his way back to Seattle.  It was so much fun having him here.  We went to a farmer’s market in Hillcrest and had delicious crepes. We played music together—cello, violin, guitar.  As is evident from the picture, Spencer is an expert cellist…


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On a Saturday morning we went to Pacific Beach to have breakfast at Kono’s, a place with excellent breakfast burritos and seating right by the beach.  There we walked out onto the pier and watched the surfers.


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Sadly I had to work during the week, so Billy was left to hang out by himself.  On Friday he got to come to “work” with me- we took the boy I nanny for to Sea World!  Spencer came too, so he and Billy could go on some of the rides together.  We also got to touch bat rays right under the “Manta”—the newest roller coaster they’ve added.


IMG_5358On Sunday we went on a hike by Torrey Pines.  It was the perfect day for it- sunny but not too hot.  At the top of the hill was a small museum with facts about animals that could be found in the area.  We made our way down the other side of the hill which ended at the beach.  We took our shoes off and walked along the beach back to the car—the perfect ending to a nice hike.

Quilts

March 30th, 2013

    We got a lot of amazing gifts for our wedding.  Two of the gifts that took an incredible amount of time and love were these gorgeous quilts.  The one hanging on the wall is from my first cousin once removed, and was the very first wedding gift we received, not long after we got engaged.  The one on the bed was made by my aunt- it’s huge, even on our queen size bed.  Both are amazing works of art, and I know they took many many hours of work.  I love to craft, but I couldn’t sew to save my life (right, mom?).  Somehow that makes these even more precious- it would take me a lifetime to make one even a fraction of that size!

This picture definitely does not do them justice, but I like the feel of it anyway.  Pictures of our wedding on the wall, and beautiful reminders of what an amazing family we have.