Monday, November 30, 2009

School Update

I have had the very fortunate opportunity to work with some very special students in our middle school lately. These kiddos need just a little extra help in some of their classes and sometimes need a quiet room all to themselves to help them get their class work completed.

My task for the past several days has been to help these students in their classes and to schedule private one-on-one time with them during school hours to help them on their classroom assignments and projects. And, y'all, these are the sweetest kids but they test me in every way possible.

But wanna know what I have learned through all of this? I have decided once I have finished my master's, I am going to try to use grant money to finish my education certification hours and then teach.

**Gasp** Did I just say that?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Show Some Pride Already!

Guess what I learned last week?

I learned that the school days at RBEMS are now so jam-packed that they have stopped taking time in the mornings to sing the National Anthem or say the Pledge of Allegiance. They simply "do not have the extra time" as it was told to us.

Wow! Now that's a topic to debate. "Discuss Amongst Yourselves..." :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Day Recap

We hope you had a great Turkey Day like we did! I only got a couple of pictures from here but have not yet had time to post them. We'll just add that to the ever-growing to-do list.

We hosted a few from our Army family and thoroughly enjoyed it. Good friends, yummy food, video games, cuddly babies... it was great!

Something must have been in the air because now all of my lil family is fighting some kind of cold/sinus/flu crud. Hopefully it won't be too rough on us. We are trying to get out of here today to get to one of the local Christmas markets. That will be a whole 'nother post, y'all! :)

Have a good, restful day and be looking for more to this story...

Friday, November 27, 2009

This Site Under Construction

What a doozie of a day we had yesterday! I hope yours was a fun/hectic/crazy/exhausting/full of memories kind of day like ours was.

But for now we're left feeling a little out of sorts...

So we're taking a bloggy and life break for the day.

Enjoy your leftover turkey day!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Reflections

Today we are thankful for so much, first and foremost being living in this beautiful country. We have been seeing such awesome things and eating such good food and have made so many new friends. What more could we ask for!

Of course, we wish we were home to celebrate with family today but we are hosting some of our other "family" today - our Army family. We couldn't be more excited about this Turkey Day. On our menu for today: Turkey, Ham, Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Green Beans, Corn, Rolls, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, Rice Krispie Treats, Brownies, Hot Apple Cider, and Coffee. And yes, I am cooking it all. Yikes! And that's after we all sit around the appetizers and graze for hours. LOL! What are you serving?

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Randomness That Is Our Lives

Random Happenings In The Bowden Household:

On the agenda for this morning is to get 2 pumpkin pies to Neeley's school for the surprise feast they are having for the teachers. Since I am subbing today, do I get to partake?

Wahoo! We were just notified that our building is scheduled for the next round of ceiling fans that are being installed. Is that something to be excited about? Oh yes, yes it is. Especially here in Germany. Come visit and you'll know why. It's 4,297 degrees inside no matter what time of year it is.

Out of the mouths of babes: This morning I was fixing Neeley's hair before school and she made a comment on the tee shirt I was wearing. She is still at that age where she thinks I am such a hip & happenin' mom and she loves most of my clothes. So out of her mouth comes this: "When you get old and wear adult diapers, I get to wear all of your clothes." Yes she did!

And I leave you with those thoughts. Have a great Day Before Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What We've Been Up To

Here lately we've been enjoying a lot of this...

And this...

And we visit our fave place EVER for treats like this...

And we've enjoyed all of the above while watching this...

And this...

And we've even gotten in to the Christmas spirit and seen this one already...

Tomorrow it's back to work for Ronnie and Neeley will be in school but we do try to have some fun when we all have some free time together...

Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to spend time with a group of about 20 awesome ladies for our monthly Breakfast Club. It was great to fellowship with them. We missed the Community Thanksgiving feast last night because of Ronnie's schedule but are hoping to make the Thanksgiving Praise & Worship service tonight, and I can't wait!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Sneaky-Peeky At Chef Boyardee...I Mean... Bowden

Neeley loves to help in the kitchen. I think I've said that before. And last night she asked to help make one of her favorite recipes.

Chef Bowden loves to do anything that a kid can manage in the kitchen. Here's the full-length picture just so you don't think our stove is short and made for kids...

I gave Anna Banana permission to help clean the floor during the process but she did more begging than anything else.

Then we sat down to this delicious meal...

Yummy potato soup and cheese toast. And it was good! :)

Neeley Beth's Favorite Potato Soup

6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1-2 onions, peeled and diced
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cans low sodium fat free chicken broth
1 tsp. basil
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/4 C. flour
1 1/2 C. fat free half & half or whole milk

Bring the first 8 ingredients to a boil. In a small bowl, whisk flour and half & half or milk together. Add to soup mixture. Simmer on stove top until veggies are tender. Top with cheese, bacon, sour cream, or any other fixin's you like.

(Picture disclaimer:
Yes, that is a puzzle on my dining room table; Yes, that is Cafe World on Facebook on the computer in the background, and No Neeley does not have wild hair in this picture-her popcorn plant is sitting on the window sill behind her and just so happened to appear in this picture.)

Hope you like the soup as much as we do! Btw, this is our 200th post. Wow!

Father/Daughter Dance 2009

Last night was the Girl Scouts' annual Father/Daughter Dance. My lil cutie had the hunkiest date...

They had the best time, oh let me tell ya...they danced the Macarena and the modern day Jitterbug and every other dance imaginable and ate lots of yummy treats.

They had so much fun, they came home looking a lot like this...

Gotta love those two! What would I do without them? :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Tablescapes

It's almost Turkey Day! And we are finally gearing up for it at our house. We are hosting at least one family with a baby and at least one other single soldier so we'll have plenty to eat and good company.

We now have the menu set and all is well that way. But you know me being the everything has to be perfect even if it is planned at the last minute kind of girl...

I need your ideas for a cheap/creative tablescape. Since our table isn't my favorite, I want to do it up right...yes, even though I know these people won't care. :) It's more about good company and not having to spend the holidays alone...but has to be cute too, right!?! :)

So send me your ideas or a website if you have any. I have been doing some thinking but my access to crafty goodness is next to nil here so I'm having to get kind of creative in what I can get to use.

Thank you! I hope you are getting as excited as I am! Yay for turkey!

Neeley's Veterans Day Contribution

I forgot to show you the masterpiece Neeley created in her Computer Apps class for Veterans Day.

According to her teacher, they worked a long time on these. They had to choose the background, draw their own picture, and then they were responsible for choosing the words or phrases they wanted to use using the acronym SOLDIERS.

Each student got to read their poem along to music and they were played during Parent Teacher Conferences last week. I couldn't help but shed a tear or two while reading through them all. What a treat!

We are so proud of her creation and so proud of our soldier!

I am helping out with some very special students at the school today. More to come on that at the end of the day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quick Update

Boring title, I know, but I just couldn't help myself today. Just a few quick updates today...

I am officially finished with my first graduate semester. Yay! Yay! Yay! My classes officially ended on the 14th and I couldn't be happier right now. I can relax until January 2nd. I know I passed all three of my classes but I am just waiting for the final grades. Quite frankly as long as I passed, I don't mind the rest. Probably won't have all A's but I just want that piece of paper at the end, so I'm all good with that. Is that bad?

Our Thanksgiving plans are finally coming together. We are going to host a few families and soldiers who are here without their families at our place this year. We are going to do a pot luck style meal. Still don't have a menu and don't really know much more, but that part I do know. Oh boy! I better get started. One this I have noticed about myself with this move . . . I stress far less than I used to. Thanksgiving is in how many days, and I have no idea what I will fix or what I need to do to this place to even make it presentable. Nor do I care because I know our friends here don't care either. And that brings me peace.

Is it wrong that I already want to put up the Christmas tree? We are going to use the artificial tree we got last year and I am so ready to decorate. This is the first time I have said that in three years. Remember the funk I was in last year? I just couldn't get it together and really was feeling like Scrooge but I am so ready to see that tree up and decorated and to just bask in all that comes with the season. Would it be weird to have up so our Thanksgiving guests could enjoy it? :)

We've been doing some Christmas shopping when we can. It is very different doing so from Germany but we are finding our way around...well somewhat... :) Ronnie is on days this month so it has been a rather interesting month. I still like nights better. It seems we have more time to spend with him when he is working nights.

And speaking of Christmas, it is coming up so quickly. Yikes!

And last but not least I need your help. I am looking for some more good music to have here at the house on the days when I am here alone. I am so the person who blasts good tunes while cleaning house and I have become bored with what I have. What is your favorite music to play at home and in the car? And do you know of any new Christmas music?

That is all! :)

Stuttgart's First Band

We happened upon quite a celebration when we were downtown last week. And I so wish I knew more of the German language so we would have known what in the world was going on . . .

We were able to read that this is the Stuttgart First Band. We have no idea what that means or who these people are but they paraded around the area when we were ice skating last week and it turned in to quite a party. They played lots of songs we recognized, and then one of the little local pub owners brought out drinks for them all (and oh my little guys Neeley's age were taking shots right along with them) and they had a great time playing and parading around and we enjoyed watching them and listening to the music.

They were marched in behind some type of beauty queen or something of the sort. She is in that last picture above. I tried to read her sash but it was covered up by her coat.

Look at those costumes/uniforms!! And those hats! Wow! That really was an experience all its' own. The locals were out in the streets just dancing and having a great time.

I am so thankful that Neeley is getting to see and do these things too. It is times like this that really do lift my spirits and make me glad that we are living here and able to experience a different culture.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Days Like This

We were so thankful to have some down time last week. Those few days off allow us such a time of relief from all schedules, extras, and just give us some time to breathe.

I did have to go to Neeley's Parent-Teacher Conference on Thursday morning. She is passing with flying colors too. LOVE that! And have I mentioned she has been picked up for G/T!?!?!?!? Woohoo! Don't mean to brag, but we mommies do that sometimes. :)

There at the conference I found out that her teacher has been allowed special permission for the kids to chew gum in class. Hhmmm...I kind of like the idea. I always let the middle schoolers chew gum when I am subbing. Wait...maybe I shouldn't publish that last comment. LOL But I just find that it does help them get in to less trouble basically. And apparently Neeley's teacher thinks the same thing and has allowed them to bring in sugar-free gum to chew. They are allowed 2 pieces a day and we are to send 2 packs at a time to school. Wow! Neeley thinks that's really cool! :)

We also had some time to hang out with some good friends over the break. We had a cookout and then while the menfolk were at work, we ladies and kiddos got together for some games and good food and good ol' fashioned woman gossip...I mean talk. :) It is very good for the soul to get together and just share our lives. Some have kids Neeley's age, one has a brand new baby, and others are newlyweds, so we are all at different stages in life. But......we do enjoy each other's company and better yet, we LOVE a good cup of coffee, and we have a similar love of board games and puzzles and books and the list goes on and on. Let's just say I always walk away from those times feeling even just the slightest bit renewed and rejuvenated and a wee bit happier.

Better end here and get some cleaning done. But I leave you with this...

We are very quickly saying goodbye to the beautiful leaves and the nice weather. We have already drifted in to the cold, rainy, wet, cloudy, drizzly, misty, dreary, yucky German winter. And we don't embrace it like some do, but we're making the most of it. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the leaves and taking pictures this time of year. This pose was all Neeley's idea. We were walking home from the CX (our combined Commissary/PX/Furniture Shop here on post) one day and passed these leaves and just couldn't help ourselves.

More to come soon . . .

Meet Kimmy

Today we made a new friend.

Meet Kimmy, the new Bowden varmint. Neeley has been begging FOREVER for a hamster. She even asked for a mouse or even a rat a time or two. I am usually so dead set against little pesky critters that have to stay in a cage and make a lot of noise and I just don't get all the hype, never have and probably never will.

But anyway, this girl has just about worn off my ears with the begging and begging. And one of her new friends here has the cutest little hamster named Kimo. And he is a cutie! But not cute enough to bring home.

Well, the other day we had some free time so we took a little trip to a local place here called Kolle Zoo. It's really just a big ol' fancy-schmancy pet store but they have everything under the sun. It really was a very neat place to just look around and see what they have. They also have another place next to it called Flanzen Kolle, which was the biggest plant store you will ever know.

So this is where we met Kimmy. I have to admit she is cute but I didn't quite think she was cute enough to bring home. :) We were pleading with Neeley for what seemed like hours to consider the cost of the pesky little critter and all her stuff to make her house a home. LOL After much consideration and what may end up being empty promises on her part, we boxed up little Kimmy and brought her and some fun stuff for her on home with us. I think Ronnie was more for this than I was, but I have to say I have spent plenty of time with her myself and I guess she can stay. :)

Have I told y'all I am officially finished with my fall semester? Yay! Yep, ended Saturday. And I can't believe I am saying this, but at this crazy early hour I am actually up and getting ready and actually hoping they will call me to sub. Call me crazy, I know, but I have had the past several days off with Neeley and have had some time to just veg at home and now since I really don't have anything going on this week, it would be nice to make a lil cash. Will let you know how that goes this week. I have heard they may have some long term assignments coming up soon so we'll see...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

No Camera Equals No Pictures While in Ramstein

Wouldn't you know we were able to get out and head to Ramstein last weekend and I forgot my stinkin' camera . . . I haven't posted about it yet because I'm still fuming that I can't share it all with you, but oh my . . .

So we headed out to Ramstein Air Base last weekend. It is about 2 hours and 20 minutes Northwest from us. They have a new PX there that is well . . . indescribable. Let's just say we were in heaven, having been really missing the States. We got there and took a look around. What did our eyes see? Wow! They had everything. I had heard that it was a "mall" but people have different ideas of what a "mall" is. But yes it was a mall. Every kind of store imaginable. Jewelry, clothes, souvenirs, hats, furniture, rugs, a spa, hair salon, barber, Harley Davidson for the boys, knick knacks, The Body Shop, a candle shop, a Shoppette, a movie theater and arcade, and many more. We headed over to Macaroni Grill for a yummy lunch. Yes, they have that and Chili's and Johnny Rocket's and probably about ten other places to choose from. Then we headed in to the PX for a little Christmas shopping. Their PX is massive! Can we please get stationed there instead of Stuttgart? That's all I ask . . .

I thought and thought about my camera the entire time I was there. Almost couldn't even enjoy myself because of it. We even looked for a disposable camera somewhere, well we didn't look too hard for one because we were so busy oohing and aahing over everything they had to choose from.

We walked around and just browsed all the stores and then headed over to Cinnabon for a small treat before we headed home. Wait, did I say small? I wish I could have taken pictures of the Cinnamon Pecanbon Neeley and I shared. We still had a ton of it left over. Those were bigger than I have ever seen them! And you know we couldn't resist bringing a box of them home for breakfasts this week. I have to confess that yesterday that tasted better than any German pastry I have had so far. But that was only true for yesterday. LOL

We finally got home somewhere around 6:30 that evening exhausted but very happy. We finally got to have a little "taste of home" that we have been craving.

All in all, it was a GREAT day!

Turkey Time Techniques

This year, Thanksgiving will be very different for us. Obviously we will be spending it either as a family of three or we may even be sharing the day with a few others. We still have yet to confirm plans. And well, it's almost that time.

I am fresh out of ideas this year. I haven't cooked a Thanksgiving meal since 1997! What!?! LOL! And we were talking about it the other day and we really have no desire to spend an entire day cooking and just staying home since we have had some time to do just that lately.

So now I ask you....any ideas? Fave recipes? Things to do? I really have no ideas. I know we will have some good food no matter where we go or what we do, but I want something different and fun! :) That's not much to ask for, right??

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ice Skating Fun

Wednesday we were all home so we decided to take a lil trip to the ice skating rink downtown. This is part of the seasonal festivities much like those they have in Hot Springs and other places in the States. It was so much fun!

Ronnie and Neeley skated and I was the designated photographer. You're welcome and thank you for not asking to see me on the skates. That would have required a trip to the hospital I'm sure. :)

We had such a good time. We LOVE this area of downtown. Shopping, good places to eat, a STARBUCK'S!!!, and neat cultural things.

What are some of your favorite things to do this time of year?