Archive for February, 2010

In early celebration of World Math Day (which is this coming Wed. for those of you desperate to know,) Sebastian and I went to Arithmeum, the museum dedicated to Mathematics.


It was really fun playing with the hand-cranked machines to solve calculations. Fascinating to see what people used before calculators! Maybe I’m a dork, but I would go back.

Last night I regressed to middle school hurt feelings. As I mentioned earlier, I was really looking forward to go to a colleague/ friend’s house for dinner and drinks last night. When I called to see if there was anything I could bring, I was told, “Oh yeah, I was just about to call you Kendel.  So we all went out last night and are feeling a bit rough today so I might not have people over after all. I’ll call you back later to let you know.” Well, needless to say, I was not called back. My feeling were really hurt since I had been looking forward to hanging out with my work friends all week. I wasn’t even invited to go out on Friday night. The thing that really sucks is that it wasn’t only the guy who organized things who could have called me and didn’t, it was at least 4 other colleagues and friends who either didn’t think about inviting me or decided not to. One think that is difficult about living as a teacher abroad is that your colleagues also play the role of friends and family. They are all I have here beside Sebastian. It really hurts to feel like my friends and family chose not to include me.

Poor-me aside, I had a really nice evening with Sebastian. We decided to go out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Tacos. Apparently we’ve been in the Mexican mindset for a week. Mexican restaurants are certainly not common in Germany, but in one week we’ve been to two such restaurants and created our own at home.

I had veggie fajitas and a margarita.

Drinks were half-price so I also treated myself to a mojito and pina colada. Enough alcohol for a month.

Before heading home, we stopped at the only bagel place in Bonn, just before they closed. It must have been our lucky day because we were able to but 12 bagels for the price of 6. The extras are chilling out in the freezer.

Breakfast was a blueberry bagel and cream cheese. Taste of home!

After breakfast, it was gym time! A year and a half ago, I attempted the step aerobic class at my gym. My German language skills were far too low to keep up with the fast pace of the instructor, putting myself at risk for injury with every 2-step-behind-try-to-catch-up-cheat. Luckily, I left the class with my pride being the only hurt thing. Today, I decided to brave it again and had a really great time! The instructor was so cute and energetic. He explained what was coming early enough for me to translate and make the correct step. By the end of the class, my body had produced more sweat than it did while running a half-marathon.

Wow, what a great workout!

After the class, I walked on the treadmill for 15 min. to cool down then relaxed in the sauna, took a shower, ate and apple, drank an herbal tea, and headed home.

I came back to an almost immaculate home– Sebastian had been busy while I was away doing dishes, vacuuming, mopping floors, emptying the garbage, tidying up, and scrubbing the bathroom. Of the HUGE mess we had created over the week, all that was left for me to do was change the litter boxes. He really is amazing, but I sometimes feel really guilty that he does most of the house work!

Once the place was spick and span, I started cooking.

Late lunch was German Aldi’s take on a flatout flat bread, topped with mushrooms, red onions, red peppers, and goat’s cheese.

Cooking commenced with restocking my almond butter supply.

From nuts… to butter!

Thanks to the little food processor that could!

Since the oven was already on to roast my almonds, I decided to attempt a new granola bar. I’ve been drooling over Luna’s new White Chocolate Macadamia bars, but unfortunately, they are not sold in Germany.

The answer to my dilemma? Make it myself.

White Chocolate Macadamia Granola Bars

1 ½ c. rolled oats

½ c. spelt flakes (or equal amount rolled oats)

½ c. wheat germ

½ c. packed brown sugar

½ c. macadamia nuts- roughly chopped

100 g. white chocolate, shaved

¾ c. dried cranberries, unsweetened

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 t. cinnamon

¾ t. sea salt

1 flax egg (2 t. flax stirred into 2 T. water)

¾ c. honey

½ c. apple sauce

1 T. canola oil

1. Mix the dry ingredients well.

2. Create a well and add the wet ingredients. Mix well- hands work best!

3.  Pat evenly into a greased 9×13 cake pan. Bake at  350° F (175 C) for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

4. Cook, cut, and enjoy!

Sweet and crunchy!


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Saturday Start

Good Morning Everyone!

After sleeping in, eating a filling breakfast, reading guide books in bed, showering and getting ready, I’m off to make the most of this beautiful Saturday! It may be 3:00 pm here, but my Saturday is just about to begin! On the agenda for today:

  • The Arithmeum Museum
  • Walk along the Rhine
  • Dinner and Drinks at a friend’s place

Breakfast was coffee, 2 fresh and hot rolls, 1 hard-cooked egg, slice of French cheese, nutella, peanut butter and strawberry jelly.

I hope you are all off to a wonderful weekend as well!

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I have a job I love. This has been a wonderful, fulfilling, enjoyable week, but still TGIF! Teaching is exhausting. By the time Friday rolls around, I just want to crash. And crash is what I plan on doing for the remainder of the day.

Breakfast- This Friday started with a happy, healthy bowl of oats.

1/3 cup oats, milk, and water. Dash of salt. 1 mashed ripe banana. 1/3 cup chopped strawberries. Topped with more berries, flax, hemp, cinnamon, and coconut. Delicious!

I treated myself to a “special” coffee this morning. Germans don’t drink flavored coffee. When I visited the US last summer, I brought back 3 bags of hazelnut flavored coffee. My stash is almost empty- I usually do half special and half normal. Luckily my Grandma sent some more yummy flavors at Christmas to hold me over! Oh, and the beautiful quilt you see beneath my food, yeah, my talented mother made that!

Morning Snack- Total sugar load, oops!

Trail mix- pumpkin and sunflower seeds, raisins, and butterscotch chips.

I wasn’t planning on this little delight- stollen! It is actually a Christmas cake but I would eat it any time of the year! I also had a really strong Earl Grey tea alongside this sweet cake.

Lunch- Leftover Red Curry Coconut Soup

I ate about 10 times that amount of bread. No joke.

After school snack- Almonds!

I may have also eaten peanut butter dabbed in chocolate chips at some point in time this afternoon.

Dinner- Tofu Tacos

Tofu taco “meat” with kidney beans, tomato, avocado, lettuce, and plain yogurt. I also had 2 glasses of red wine this evening while cooking, eating, and relaxing post-dinner. What can I say? It’s Friday!

Dessert- From my starred google reader folder to my mouth- finally, Gina’s Coco-cado Pudding!

Hidden inside this decadent pudding is an avocado, almond and sunflower butter, coconut oil, agave nectar, coco powder, vanilla, and sea salt.

This pudding is so rich I can only eat a few spoonfuls at a time. Absolutely Amazing. Gina, you are a genius!

Earlier this week I had  a spinach talk with my colleagues during our lunch break. You see, Germans love spinach but only in the frozen form. It is very difficult to find fresh BABY spinach here. Many of my colleagues know my struggle for spinach and last week the Aussies picked up a huge bag of beautiful spinach for me. I was telling them how I was able to use every last bit of the spinach and mentioned putting it in smoothies. That was it. Since then, I have been teased endlessly about my spinach smoothie love affair.

I’m thinking about sneaking this yummy pudding onto the staff room table. I just know everyone would go crazy over it! Maybe once they taste avocado pudding, they may consider spinach smoothies!

That will do it for me today! Have a wonderful Friday everyone!

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The highlight of today- taking a walk through Bonn’s local history.

Within walking distance from school is a historical little village, riddles with history. My parallel teacher and I took our classes on a walk to this village today as part of our Comparative History unit. We are studying and comparing Ancient Roman times, 500-600 years ago (when this village was built,) and modern times.

It is wonderful living and teaching in a place where history is literally right at my feet.

Before I share some photos from this wonderful walk, let’s talk about food.


Strawberry and blueberry granola with milk and coffee. Please take the time to notice how my mug matches my food. Color coordination in action.

Morning Snack

Strawberries. I ate 4.


I had the company of two lovely little girls for a lunch-time picnic. Amazing that our sticker chart reward menu has about 40 other rewards like computer time, extra play time, free homework assignment, and the likes yet lunch with me remains the most popular choice. I like it too! Sebastian shudders at the thought of kids wanting to spend lunch with the teacher. He grew up in a very different school system!

Flatbread with cream cheese, roasted red pepper and veggie spread, lettuce, shredded carrot, mushrooms, tomato, and avocado. Yummy!!!

As I put this bad boy together, one of the girls asked, “How are you going to get that huge thing in your mouth?” Have no fear, I am a pro at stuffing my face with 6 inches of layered veggie goodness.

After School Snack

1 camera shy apple and pizza bread


Warm, comforting, delicious and home scenting Red Curry Coconut Soup

Red Curry Coconut Soup

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can water
  • 8 shrimp
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 15 g. Lemon grass (I couldn’t find so left it out)
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • 1 Tbsp. Soy sauce
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tsp. Ginger powder (I also added about 1 inch of sliced fresh ginger root)
  • 1 heaping tsp. Red curry paste
  • 1 Tbsp. Canola oil
  1. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan. Add the onions, mushrooms, and shrimp. Cook for a couple minutes. Add the coconut milk.
  2. Put the bouillon cube in the now empty can, add water, stir to dissolve then add to the pot. Also stir in the lemon grass, curry paste, lemon juice, honey, soy sauce, and ginger. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the tomatoes and reduce heat to medium- cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

After Dinner Drink

Green tea with fresh ginger and a drizzle of agave. I feel a cold coming on, let’s hope the ginger helps!

On to Muffendorf!

Since we are currently studying houses for our 3 time period comparison, our focus was mainly on the timber-framed houses in this village.

This one is actually a small pony stable.

This is one of the oldest churches in Germany.

The first school in this village was in the church courtyard, as was the teacher’s home.

I wish my school provided a sweet place like this!

This house was built in 1657. Keep in mind the USA hadn’t declared independence until 1776. This exact building was standing 119 years before we even had a country. Amazing, huh?

Want even more history? This is a dedication plaque which was  uncovered when the church shown above was constructed. The Ancient Romans had a temple to the Goddess Diana in the exact same location built between 55-9 BC.

That will do it for today’s history lesson! I’m off to bed!

Question: Are you a history buff?

I love history but am terrible at keeping dates and related events in my head. I was really lucky today as my parallel teacher has lived in this village for over 30 years and is an expert on the history. Today I was able to follow along and take it all in!

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I have always had trouble with time.

  • Keeping on time
  • Being on time
  • Predicting the amount of time an activity will take
  • Today- I add a new time trouble- Telling time
  • One would not expect a teacher to have trouble telling time, but two instances today made me very aware that I can not accurately tell time.

    Experience #1. The new German math teacher asked me what time her lesson with my students was to end.

    “11:45. Oh wait, (frantically looking at my time-table) oh, no, it’s actually 10:45. Just go by the bell, that’s what I do.”

    Probably not the best, most professional, “I have it all together,” first impression.

    Experience #2. During our Spring is almost here let’s go outside for PE nature walk, I rushed my students back to school (as in we ran for one block) when I noticed that the day would end in 5 minutes. Only to get to school and hear no bell. Weird. I looked again more carefully. Minute hand= 15. That’s correct. Hour hand=2. Oops, I expected to see 3. Apparently I had overestimated the amount of time 2 science experiments took and was off by ONE HOUR all afternoon.

    This morning my oats took longer to cook than I had expected. They also didn’t taste as good as I had hoped.

    Lemon Poppy Seed Oats

    Don’t try this at home… it isn’t worth it!

    1/4 cup each of oats, water, milk

    1 tsp. wheat germ

    dash salt

    1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds

    1/2 mashed banana

    Juice of 1/2 lemon

    1 spoon peanut butter

    ground flax

    At least my coffee never fails me!

    Luckily, I made it in time to both put together and enjoy this beautiful tuna salad salad for lunch.

    Lettuce, shredded carrot, cucumber, tuna salad made with tuna, light mayo, italian seasonings, and pepper, along with a slice of “Farmer’s Bread” – literal translation.

    One thing I am good at is finding time for chocolate!

    Funny Fact: A few years ago a survey showed that German children believe cows are purple. This product is to blame.

    Class fruit snack happened on time– well not really.

    I was able to hitch a ride with a colleague to the local hardware store- to save a bit of time this afternoon.

    I spent €50 on duct tape for a class project. Yes,€50. Note to self, never plan a project using affordable and easy to find American products. They are neither affordable nor easy to find in Germany.

    I munched on a roasted red pepper baguette from the bakery to fuel me before hitting up the gym.

    Unfortunately, while in the rush of packing my gym bag, I forgot my sports bra. Not good. I took it easy- bike and treadmill for 45 minutes then called it a night.

    Dinner was a time-saving fruit salad.

    Lettuce, two furry kiwis, 4 strawberries, 1/2 avocado, roasted pecans, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, melted goat’s cheese, and balsamic glaze.


    I’m now in the process of making sunflower seed butter and doing dishes. Both are taking longer than I had expected. After that I look forward to spending some quality time with my fellow bloggers!

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    Night Off

    It may be just past 8:30, but I’ve already got visions of sugar plumbs dancing in my head.

    Today was exhausting- of the “I love my job, my whole body hurts from laughing and smiling all day” variety. I was having so much fun at one point that I was kicked out of my own classroom for disturbing the other groups. (Don’t worry, the special education coordinator and my teaching assistant were the ones who gave me the boot.)

    I can’t wait to climb into bed with a hot cup of tea! Reading will certainly follow before my eyelids become too heavy.

    So, before I take the night off, I want to share (most of) my eats from the day.

    Coffee with frothy milk and cinnamon.

    Pumpkin oats with pecans.

    Lunch was leftover couscous from last night. No photo.

    After school snack of bread, cheese, and red wine.

    Veggie loaded baked noodles with tofu.

    That will do it for me today! Early to bed will hopefully = early to rise; I have a morning work out planned!

    Question: Are you happy in your current job? What is your dream job?

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    In the swing

    It sure is hard to get back into it after having a week of rest, pampering, and traveling… but get back into the swing of things is just what I did today!

    Up before the sun- check

    Shower and put on teacher clothes- check

    Eat a filling and fueling breakfast- check

    Frozen smoothie from yesterday’s overload along with a fried egg with low-fat cheese and spinach between wheat bread.

    Get to work on time- check (barely)

    Teach my little heart out- check

    Celebrate a student’s birthday with delicious chocolate swirl cake- check

    Attend to another student who had an allergic reaction to the supposedly nut-free cake- check

    Eat a killer spinach sandwich with mushrooms, tomato, and veggie burger- check

    Share the photography love with eager students- check

    Facilitate an impromptu discussion on sportsmanship after a rather vicious finger poking, you didn’t pass it to me, I was open, 9 year old girl fight- check

    Tutor a mathematician magician- check

    Hit up the gym for a strenuous 1 hour tai chi, yoga, pilates class- check

    Feel strong, balanced, peaceful, and proud of my uniquely amazing  body- check

    Continue to peace out in the sauna- check

    Eat a ready-in-10 dinner of veggie and raisin couscous, pollock, and garam masala spiced spinach- check

    Say a little prayer for my colleague’s passed on cat as I unpack the unused goods- check

    Bust this one who’s trying to taste test the high-end feline feast- check

    What, it's for me isn't it?

    Think about my dear friend and the wonderful time we had together in a freezing cold London apartment while reading this blog check

    Boil water for green tea and water bottle love- check

    Treat myself to the last of my Lindt chocolates- check (I ate the beautifully wrapped one)

    Read about awesome blogger give-aways and hoped for random selection favor- check

    Head to bed feeling happy, content, and back in the swing of things- check

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