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Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Year is coming to an end

2011 is coming to an end and what a year it was… lot’s of changes, opportunities and chances to reflect upon...




dawn 31.12.2011


6 month ago I was made redundant from Convergys, this was difficult for me as I always saw myself as a Convergys child. It was the first company in the UK I worked for, I felt at home with Convergys, the people have been amazing and the opportunities that I have been given have been great, my personal growth was amazing and the opportunities that were laying ahead of me where great too. That all changed with the redundancies and while I was off the market within hours of being made redundant and had a new job, there is still a hole in my heart.



But the this was also an opportunity to look at my life not just my work life balance (which was shocking, I was reading and responding to work e-mails at midnight, 5am, 10pm etc was just the norm) but as my life as a whole which I would have not done otherwise. I realized that maybe it is time after 8 years to pack my bags and move back to Germany. This has been something I have thought about for the last 6 month (back and forth) and truth is, I cannot see myself raising my children here in the Newcastle area. The mentality is so much different then what I want for my kids. I know I am an odd-ball here, I don’t have a TV, I knit and sew and garden. Most importantly though I wish for my kids to grow up with their grandma and in the country and so I am thinking about moving back to Germany within the next 24 month. I mentioned this to my mom just a few days ago and she was very pleased with this. It’s a decision made for a quieter, slower country lifestyle that I so love and with my family being close.



So 2012 is going to be dedicated to plan for this move.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Quote

All Outside is dark and cold
But just beneath the earth
Sleep seeds from which new life springs
Bringing nature’s gifts to birth


– Betty Jones



Sunday, 25 December 2011

Quick change trousers

A few weeks ago I bought the book Handmade Beginnings, today I decided to try my hand at the quick change trousers for toddlers. I had a lot of fun and it was the first swewing project I did. It turned out pretty good and I will keep them for my own baby that I will have one day.




Christmas

cooking Christmas Eve dinner

Christmas eve dinner

attempting a family picture

the dogs christmas

what's in there

toys

Christmas Day Breakfast - apple puff pank cake

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas

Merry Christmas 2011 from Anja, Jessie and Lily

Friday, 23 December 2011

{this moment}


A Friday ritual Inspired by SouleMama

 A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.



If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see


Thursday, 22 December 2011

The year is coming to an end

'Yule' is the ancient word for the Winter Solstice, which is the shortest and therefore darkest day of the year. It is the proverbial 'darkest before the dawn' time in our Solar year. It is something that has been celebrated throughout human history, from the Japanese to the Welsh, nearly every culture boasts Solstice rituals. This year the Solstice falls on December 22nd.
 
The ancients knew that the winter solstice was the longest night of the year -- and that meant that the sun was beginning its long journey back towards earth. It was a time of celebration, and for rejoicing in the knowledge that soon, the warm days of spring would return, and the dormant earth would come back to life.
 On this one day, the sun stands still in the sky, and everyone on earth knows that change is coming.




My mom and my brother arrived in the UK on Sunday and it's great to have them here. After all both Yule and Christmas is a time for family, so I am very grateful that they could come over. The house is starting to be festive but the temperatures are still at around 8 degrees.
We've been out for a walk this afternoon with the dogs and I took the below picture. It looks so much like spring, yet I still looking forward to the festives over the next few days

Monday, 31 October 2011

Monday, 17 October 2011

Grocery challenge - weekly check-in

Soon after entering the challenge, I was sitting down and created a meal plan for the rest of October. I had wanted to do this for ages already and this seemed just like the perfect timing. I tried to variy it as much as possible in terms of meat, vegetarian and not to make the same thing twice. It was challenging but after a bit of thinking I came up with 19 different meals. I started on Thursday with my vegtable soup (lentils, carrots and potatoes) and fresh made bread.

Friday is my pasta day, so I had my lovely tomato sause with pasta and used the left over for Saturdays pizza. Yesterday I had rabbit and fresh vegetable and today I have planned a noole soup with meat balls.

Knowing just what to shop for made shopping much easier and I didn't do any impulse buys, thinking 'oh this would be great to have one day'. The shopping for this week is all done and apart from getting fresh eggs, there is nothing I need to go and buy this week.

Total spend £29.90
Left for October £30.10

That is totally do-able

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Weekend


This weekend was absolutely gorgeous weather wise. It was very mild and sunny, perfect for outdoor activities. Therefore it was such a shame that I was feeling poorly for most of the weekend. I carried the flu around for tha majority of the last week. At the end of last week, I was poorly with sore throat and then once that was gone, I ended up with a bad cough and running nose this week. By Friday, I only dragged myself into work, knowing that a 3 day weekend to recover was laying ahead of me but after 2 hours of just coughing, having a headache fromthe coughing and generaly feeling like shit, I decided to go home and rest. My body was clearly showing me that I have done enough and should rest. And rest I did. I only went out on Friday night and Saturday to take the dogs out but that was it. It was difficult with the weather being so nice but I really need to get better first of all.

So what did I do if I wasn't outside?

To start of with I stayed in bed and read and drank cups and cups of herbal tea. Then I got a delivery of some wood supplies that I had ordered just on Friday morning and did some paining them (see below)

 I also used the time to finish up the curtains I was working on and hung them in the windows.

 Oh and I was knitting...

I am feeling much better today and made a lovely rabbit for lunch. I have not had rabbit in years and never made it myself (my mom or grandma always used to do this). It turned out so lovely, I had coated it in a bit of mustard to start with, before I quick fried it to turn it brown. I then put it in the oven for an hour together with the carrots and potatoes. It was a wonderful Sunday dinner.
I also decided to change the duvets on my bed. Since it's getting colder, I took out my woolen sheep duvet, which is just perfect for the colder season. I don't need the heating and I will stay nice and warm, what more can a girl ask for? Jessie agrees by the way and snuggled up on top of the bed after I done the changes...

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Grocery Challenge

Due to Nicole's post I came accoss Heather's $400 a month grocery challenge. I really like her idea and this is something that I have done for the past 14 month, when I started to become debt free. While I am debt free now, I decided to continue with this anyway, as it helps me plan more in advance, provide me with better nutrition and I am able to save some money that can be put towars my own little place of heaven.

$400 Grocery Challenge

For the month of October and November I will spend no more than £120 on groceries each month, I started of with about £250 and reduced this to £150-200 over the last 14 month but was still having quite a few take outs, which I want to cut out for the next 1.5 month.

This budget includes all consumables with the following exceptions:

 
•Pet Supplies and dog food

I am starting this challenge today 13/10/2011, which means I have roughly £60 left for this month to spend on groceries.



I am doing this because I belive that food made from scratch is so much better then junk food or prepared meals. I belive that you should live as simple as possible which is very rewarding. I belive that a carefully planned and prepared meal is so much more rewarding, then the takeway arount the corner. And I belive that if I make the majority of my meals from scratch, I can save some money that can be put a side for the acre of land I want to own one day.

I will provide updates with how things are going each Monday over the next couple of weeks, including challenges, sucess and learning. Will you join me?



Sunday, 9 October 2011

It's a knock out

Today I participated in a charity even for St Clare Hospice. They had organzied the event 'It's a knockout' based on the english TV show from the 70s. Several teams competed in ten games made up of giant colorful inflatables, water and foam. It was a lot of fun and my team 'The wolfpack' not only raised approx £600 for the hospice, we also won the competition.
The Wolfpack before the games

after rescue the prisoner (me)


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Golden October

The golden season of October has approached fast. At the back end of last week, we had some goergeous sunshine and really hot temperatures in the 80s. I spend the morning out with the dogs, who enjoyed the sun where knackered afterwards. On Thursday night from my way home from work, I got mugged, so took Friday off to sort out htings like new locks, temp phone, get some money from the bank etc. I am fine and wasn't hurt but the inconvenience is just a nightmare. So I was on Friday, which I mainly used to get things done in the mornings and to relax and sleep in the afternoon, as I did not get much sleep the night before.

Saturday was another gorgeous day, this was spend cleaning up the back yard. I build a wodden box, in which I added all the soil from the grow bags and mixed it with some of the leaves I collected int he park. I ripped out the cucumber plants and took the last few cucumbers of it. The tomatoes are still out as they only started to turn red a week or two ago, so I still have quite a few tomatoes out. I also planted some salat in the greenhouse. I really enjoyed the salat throughout the last couple month so far and thought that I give it a try to grow it all year in the greenhouse. We see what happens.

Sunday turned out to be rainy and cooler, so I spend it in the house baking cookies, enjoying some nice tea, knitting and watching movies. It does get colder now too, this morning was pretty fresh but still gorgeous. you can feel it getting colder. I can't believe that in 2 month time we are already in December and then my mom and brother will be over soon.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

I am from

I am from Canning Jars, from cloth lines and country air.



I am from the vegetable and fruit garden, fresh meat and bare feet.

I am from full hearts, empty pockets and hard work


I am from the crocus, the cornfields and woods.



I am from fathers and grandmothers, from homesteaders who worked all day long. I am from mothers and grandmothers who loved us all.



I am from the early bird catches the worm and from never give up


From trust and honor and love of nature.


I am from a God who cares about who and what I will become



I'm from the longing to explore other countries, from Seboldshausen and Lower Saxony


 

I am from canned beans and apple pie.


From the country life the sport shooting career and a hopeful future

I am from Karin and Wolfgang, from love and hope.









Where are you from?


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Quote

Don't dwell on those who let you down...cherish those who hold you up. Unknown

Monday, 22 August 2011

Potato Harvest

I have beenm busy redecorating the house for the last few weekends. I am now nearly done with all rooms and jsut some finishing touches are missing, as well as cleaning up the spare bedroom/office, that has been used for storage. This weekend I decided it was time to harvest the potatoes. It's been quite rainy here the last few days and Friday/Saturday was the first time in weeks where it was sunny and hot (at times I thought we have been transported forward in time to November that's how it felt and looked).

I had only planted 6 potatoes in two grow bags and the harvest is pretty nice. I got about 50 potatoes out of those 6 plants, which I think is quite decent. Of course I had to have fresh potatoes for Sunday dinner and they have been amazing.

Now I still have salad and tomatoes as well as some carrots left. I have lot's of tomatoes but they are still green and need to turn red and the carrots have only been planted a couple weeks back, so I expect them to be harvested late August/mid September. 







Tomatoes need to turn red now

Thursday, 28 July 2011

What the Garden looks like

Since I mention my litte court yard that I call quite frequently, I thought I show you what little sace I actually have:



This is the view outside my back door

green house and water barrel next to the back door
Tiny huh? But I optimize the space as good as I can and I am getting some fruits and vegetables

Lessons Learned



Let's go back in time shall we? Living a self sufficient and frugal life, has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. In Summer last year I realized that I would never be able to live this life, if I don't sort out my financial problems and become debt free. You see when I moved to the UK, I fell in the trap of having a credit card. As a kid and teenager, as well as a young adult I was always pretty good with my money and saving a lot, this was what allowed me buy my rifles and later on spend a year in the USA. When I got here, I got a credit card when I opened my bank account, I didn't ask for it but it was handy, especially that first month when money was short. I paid it off fully every month and soon my credit limit was increased. This went on until 2005 or 2006 and then things went out of control... Early on last year I pulled the plug and cancelled my credit card. I had a debt of £3000 on it, not to mention £1000 council tax costs to pay and £500 store credit.

The past 12 month have been challenging for me. I decided to put a good quarter of my wages towards paying all of this of on a monthly. That meant I was cutting down on any additional and unnecessary expenses, such as meals out etc. It was though without a doubt, challenging at times but on the 1st of July 2011 I paid of my last outstanding debt and I am now debt free :)

This means on Friday for the first time in 12 month there will be a good chunk of money left in my bank account that I can spend on my choosing.

I plan to treat my self, I will go out to the movies on Saturday and watch Harry Potter and go to the market to buy a handmade basket. I have seen them on the market a couple weeks ago and thing this basket will be great to storage the wool I use to knit. I decided to move the majority of the money into my savings account, after all, I have learned I can live on little money and it will be good to put the money towards saving for a piece of land.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Weekend

The weekend was a rather good one. When I finished work on Friday, I went home and it looked rather gloomy and I expected rain soon. I took the dogs out for a walk around Saltwell Park before going home. I decided I might as well try and get the main weekend cores done on Friday and have time to relax for the rest of the weekend. So I cleaned the kitchen and living room, filled the paperwork that was over due to be filled, put the washing in the machine and so on. At around 8pm I took the dogs for another hour long walk and after that I hung the washing out to dry. By 10pm all was done and dusted and I relaxed and went to bed.




Saturday was very rainy, with frequent changes between sunny and rainy. After the morning dog walk, I did some games in the house with the dogs. Since Lily got attacked, she is snappy when on the lead and scares easily. I worked with her all week during walks and she stopped snapping while on the lead. Saturday I decided to build her confidence by having her walk through all kinds of tunnels, curtains etc. It was good fun and when the girls got tired, I left to go to the fruit and vegetable shop. I only wanted to get some potatoes and carrots but then bought some tomatoes too. Once I got home, I prepared some dough to bake bread and cut the potatoes and carrots and cooked them in water on the stove. I spend the afternoon cooking potato soup and baking 'onion bread'. That was one yummy treat when it was done and the right food for a rainy day.



Sunday was nice and sunny. After breakfast I left the house at 8.30am and walked to Watergate Park with the dogs. We spend a good 5 hours walking and swimming up there. I love walking through the fields up there. It's gorgeous with lot's of farms and fields. Places for the dogs to play and for me to daydream.



pasture on our walk

me with the corn field in the back
the girls

Once we got home the girls went to rest and I went in the garden to cut some green salad for lunch. Next to the salad are the cucumbers and I was surprised to see a cucumber there. They flowered lots month ago but nothing else happened and I thought that was a waste, it was a nice surprise. I cut of one of them, to add to my salad but there are quite a few left that need more growing.


self grown cucumber

By the time I was done, I went back in the garden. I ripped out the beans and peas, as they were done growing and producing fruits. I thinned out the tomatoe plants and added some tomato feed. I moved the greenhouse to where the beans and peas where, this will be used to grow some salad in autumn and winter. I moved the cucumbers more into the sun, as well as the potatoes. Since I only have a courtyard, I grow in 'growbags', so it was an easy feast. The courtyard has more room now and the greenhouse is in a better position now. This also means there will definitely be no beans and peas next year.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

New Job

After 3 weeks 'Garden Leave' I will me made redundant at the end of this weekend. 7.5 years working for Convergys will be over then and it feels strange. I moved to the UK for this job and I loved every minute of it but even the best things have to come to an end sometime.


In the stocks for Red Nose Day

The Red Head Team  (Red Nose Day 2011)

Last Day with some of the Tech Guys

Outhinking Outstanding Outdoing Winner 2007
I spend my time on 'garden leave' with my dogs and working around the house and garden. I harvested the first peas and beans and they have been so yummy. On my first day off I had an interview for a Team Manager position and a day later I got confirmation that I got the job. That meant I was able to enjoy my time off without hassle of finding a new job or worrying. I went out 2x with my mates from work and had a great time on both occasions. Now I am looking forward to start my new job next week. I really don't like being off and not do anything, that so just not me. It still feels strange though but the new job is way closer to home and that will reduce transport time by a good 45 minutes each way, so am pleased.