Archive for August, 2010

Peachy Pancakes

I love pancakes. Perhaps you’ve noticed.

When I made a batch of pancakes this weekend, I ate some and froze the rest. This morning’s breakfast was therefore quick and delicious, thank you freezer.

P83089512 frozen whole grain pancakes topped with half of a peach, raspberries and maple syrup.


An incredibly powerful storm blew through last night so I didn’t sleep very well. The flower pots were blowing around the balcony and the wind was pelting so loudly against the windows I thought they might break. The cats were also scared and running around like crazies all night.

P8308954Here are a few photos from the hills and castles across from my apartment. The sky was still spooky this morning even once the rain stopped.

 P8308953 P8308952

I had a good day at work but the icing on the cake was running into a friend at the gym. When I acted in my first production with the Bonn Players, this friend acted alongside me. I haven’t seen him in almost a year so it was great to bump into each other. He’s the kind of guy who just brightens a room and makes people smile. I’m smiling now just thinking about him!

Maybe it was karma since I ran into him after just posting my very first Operation Beautiful notes in two of the lockers at the gym.

Du bist stark und schön!

You are strong and beautiful!

Now I’m off to bed.

I hope you had a great Monday!


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Celeriac Soup

Autumn is slowly creeping upon us. Her cool demeanor and elegant appearance is certainly present in the Rhineland.

A tree outside my window has already been brushed with Autumn’s golden red hand.

When the temperatures begin to drop along with the cool rain, one food item is on my mind.


Several days ago I showed you the ugly duckling of root vegetables. The celery root, or celeriac.


Yesterday, this ugly duckling grew into a beautiful swan when I made celeriac soup.


I Combined the ideas from this website and this website to create the recipe below. After taking my photos of the ingredients, I decided to add butter, nutmeg and pepper as well.

Start by gathering your ingredients.

P8288891 If you can’t find a celeriac in your grocery store, visit your local farmers’ market and request one. Any farmer who sells celery should be able to produce the root for you as well.


P8288900 Scrub and peel the celeriac. Be very careful to get into all of the root grooves or else you might end up with some sandy bites of soup. I speak from experience. Notice the celery-looking bits?


P8288903 Heat the oil and melt the butter before tossing in the chopped up veggies. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.


P8288919 Add the vegetable broth and bay leaf then simmer over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes, or until the veggies are soft.


P8288921 Out with the old.


P8288923 In with the new.


P8288926 Give it all a stir.


P8288930 Then blend until smooth! If you don’t own an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender or food processor, just be sure to work in small batches, blender no more than 1/2 full. The heat pressure along with the pressure from blending can cause an over-full blender to burst. Better safe than sorry.


P8288932 Stir in the nutmeg and pepper then serve.


P8288940 Celeriac soup is most similarly related to the French cuisine, so a dollop of crème fraiche is a must.


This soup is so comforting and rich. Perfect for an early Autumn day.

I already plan to buy another celeriac and leek from my fruit and vegetable lady on Tuesday so I can make this soup again.

I was feeling extra generous last night and gave the remaining two portions to my neighbor/ colleague/ friend’s mom who is preparing for knee surgery next week. When I called to ask if she and her husband would like fresh homemade celeriac soup for dinner, the response was a definite, yes!

P8288941I sprinkled a little more nutmeg and pepper on top of their soup and passed it on. I can’t wait to hear what they thought of it. I  hope they loved it as much as I did.

I hope you try the recipe and love it too!


Celeriac Soup

Ready in 45 minutes and very easy

3 large servings


  • 1 celeriac, cleaned, peeled and cubed
  • 1 potato, cleaned and cubed
  • 2 small onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 handful fresh herbs, such as parsley, chives and thyme
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. nutmeg, or to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • crème fraiche for garnish


  1. Heat the oil and butter in a pan and add the chopped celeriac, potato, onions, garlic, and leek. Allow to cook for 10 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the broth and bay leaf. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the celeriac and potato are soft.
  3. Remove the bay leaf and add your fresh herbs. Stir then blend until smooth. (See important safety note about blending above.) Stir in the nutmeg and pepper. Dish, garnish, serve and enjoy.

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Saturday apparently is now synonymous with pancakes.

For three weeks running, I’ve made pancakes for Saturday morning breakfast.

I don’t plan on ending this tradition any time soon.

There are just too many possibilities.

Like Pancakes with Banana and Nutella, for example.


Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 cup of the Whole Grain Pancake Mix from this post

1 cup butter milk

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix the ingredients and let sit for 20 minutes before cooking over a hot non-stick pan.

Nutella Sauce

Ok, so we don’t buy the real nutella in this household. It’s generic brand all the way!


Chocolate and hazelnut goodness in a jar!

Take one almost empty jar of nutella and add a very small slash of milk. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and microwave for an additional 15-30 seconds.

Drizzle over hot pancakes and banana slices.


Say it with me now, Mmmmmm!


You won’t regret making this combination!

One more exciting thing! Today my fruit and vegetable lady was selling her first harvest of pumpkins! Yippy!!!!! 


Let the pumpkin oats eating fest begin!

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Oh Happy Day!

Before heading out the door to go to the gym this morning, I peaked my head into the apartment mail room to find something very special dangling from my post box.


I literally squealed with excitement and started jumping up and down as I ripped open the package to find this…


The old ladies in the mail room were probably already confused, what with my wild behavior, but their confusion likely grew even deeper when they saw that I was so excited over a book.

Not any book. A book about a movement that has inspired and uplifted people around the world. A book that I ordered months ago and have been waiting very somewhat patiently for. Operation Beautiful is finally mine! Caitlin, your book is here, all the way in Germany!


Here I am, feeling as beautiful as ever. Post work-out, no make-up and loving myself, just the way God made me.

I started reading the book while waiting for my bus. By page 16, I had to put it away. Crying on a public bus only makes the other passengers uncomfortable.

I had a wonderful workout at my favorite Saturday morning Body Balance class. The class always makes me feel so strong and capable.

After living her for over 2 years and getting a grip on the language, I finally feel ready to start leaving Operation Beautiful notes at the gym. German, don’t fail me now!

While unpacking my gym bag I pulled out my current book along with my new Operation Beautiful book and realized something very coincidental.


Spot it?


Both books are written by a Boyle. Both also inspire a change of thought and global action. Coincidence, I think not.

I couldn’t be more excited to finally have Operation Beautiful, the book. I am so proud of Caitlin and can’t wait to share her message with as many people as possible.

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I remember several of my “first days of school” very vividly.

When I think back to my own school days, I remember walking into a new classroom, smelling of fresh paint and floor polish. The walls were bright and colorful. When I saw my name on the carefully organized desks and workbooks, I knew I was where I belonged.

I was always excited to start school. Meeting a new teacher. Exploring a new room. Eagerly awaiting all the fun activities to come.

As a teacher, I now know just how much preparation goes into that first day of school. Teachers spend weeks beforehand changing displays and creating an exciting and inviting learning environment.

For all you other teachers out there, or those of you who wish to revisit your own school days, this post is for you!

Welcome to my classroom on the first day of school!

Familiarizing a New Environment


Many children are nervous and unsure of their new classroom surroundings. The first thing I do on the first day of school is have the children collect their school supplies through a classroom scavenger hunt.

P8238645 Put clipart of an old map behind your writing and blow the printing up to fit a large piece of paper. Tear the edges to give the map an extra-old look. Roll the maps and tie with string then place the maps in the desks of every third student. If you have new kids to the school, hide the map in their desks- this will give them ‘the power’ and take away the pressure of joining a still unfamiliar group of kids.

Rather than stand at the front of the room and point to the garbage can, pencil sharpeners and other important locations (boring,) I put them on the treasure map. The children know that they are correct if they find the given ‘treasure’ at that location.


One treasure map is shared between 3 children. They must find their way around the classroom and collect each of their treasures, storing them in their treasure chest (desk tray.)

P8248783 By forming their own relationship with the new classroom, the students will better remember the important locations. It is more fun for the teacher than to stand and point, and the students are able to feel more welcome, comfortable and confident in their new class.

Classroom Rules

It is never fun to talk about rules and discipline, but by helping the children understand what is expected of them and what consequences exist for misbehavior, they will have the right tools to make good decisions from day one. I introduce my classroom management system through a fun and familiar concept: football/ soccer.


Football fever is still raging high amongst the kids in the class even though the world cup is over. This display (although not photographed very well,) gives the children a positive example of what behaviors I believe are ‘goals.’

  • Work together
  • Do your best
  • Encourage others
  • Be a good example
  • Give a helping hand

In addition to the goals, I also introduce the yellow and red cards to talk about misbehavior and discipline. Kids can earn a yellow card by showing:

  • Disrespect to learning
  • Disrespect to others
  • Disrespect to property
  • Unsupportive behavior

At this point, we discuss what disrespect means. I tell the children that they will always get one warning. When giving warnings, I’m sure to use a very specific vocabulary so that the children know that if they keep it up, they’ll get a yellow card. For example, I might say, “Suzie, calling out answers when someone else is talking is very disrespectful. Disrespect to others will get you a yellow card in my class, this is your warning. Please raise your hand the next time you want to share an idea.”

When someone does earn a yellow card, they must miss 10 minutes of break time. I physically give them a smaller yellow card. On the back, I’ve written an out- what the child needs to do to have the card removed. This involves apologizing and one more requirement which is specific to the yellow card.

If a child earns a red card by purposefully hurting someone else either physically or emotionally, they must stay for a detention with the vice-principal during lunch break.

We then create the written classroom rules together, using the kids own ideas.

After this serious talk, we did a project where each child wrote about themselves and what they bring to the team.


The kids drew themselves and a jersey with pictures on it to represent their interests. I wish I would have taken a picture for you! The completed pages are now hanging on more netting which is attached to the wire which runs across the classroom.

Recipe for Success


Although each activity on the first day was well received this year, the recipe for success was definitely the star!


Everyone wants to know how to be successful at something new. 8 year olds are no different. I created a recipe this year that combined personality traits and behaviors with a delicious outcome.


After the second break, the kids came back into our classroom which my amazing assistant and I transformed into a bakery.

I bought one trail-mix ingredient to correspond with each ingredient on the recipe for success.


P8248809 Puffed wheat cereal, raisins and dried banana chips

P8248810Coconut flakes and an empty bowl for the pumpkin seeds which I forgot at home!

P8248811Dried cranberries, the health-food equivalent of m&ms and sunflower seeds.

I first made the recipe while explaining each of the traits and why we needed them in our classroom to be successful.  The kids then read aloud the method and when we got to the part that says, “success is always better when shared,” I gave each child a small portion of success.

Now that they had a taste of success, they needed to share it with someone else!


So, each child then mixed up his/her own bag of success to take home and share with his/her parents.

P8248819 One mom later told me that her daughter now wants to have a handful of success each day before coming to school. She told her mom that it will make her a better student.

Once the bags were stapled shut, the children put on a chef’s hat, I prayed that they didn’t have head lice, and then I took a picture of them with their bag of success.


There is now a wonderful collage (thank you, Prachi!) of each of these little chefs in the empty space on the display above.


My goal for the first day of school is create an environment where my new students feel comfortable, confident and knowledgeable about the expectations I have for them. I also want them to laugh and feel loved on the first day. By introducing topics that tend to be serious in a fun yet clear way, important boundaries are formed.

I had a wonderful first day of school on Tuesday and think my students did too. Each and every one of them came into the classroom on Wednesday with smiles on their faces and an eagerness to get started.

If you are a teacher, I hope you’ve enjoyed looking into my classroom on the first day of school.

If you would like to use any of the files mentioned here, please visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store to download  free files and follow me.

Recipe for Success FREE Download     Classroom Treasure Hunt FREE Download

It’s all about sharing the love, right?

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What a great day it has been!

I couldn’t be more excited about my new class. I have 18 students this year. Each and every one of the 18 kids are incredibly kind and well-behaved. We had such a nice first day together!

One little girl, who is new to the school, was so nervous that her tummy hurt and she wanted desperately to go home. I was able to make a deal with her that if she still felt ill by lunch time, I’d call her mom. By 10:30 she was laughing and smiling so much that every thought of an upset tummy was history!

Before going home, each child had to write about their feelings and the new school year. One little girl wrote, “I feel happy in this classroom because I know Ms. Brady already loves me.”

Melt my heart!

Each of the activities I planned for today were very well received. Expect a marathon posting session tomorrow because I want to tell you what all about we did on our first day of school.

Unfortunately, the standardized testing begins tomorrow so we need to get right to work. I’m sure I can still squeeze in some memorable fun between boring tests!

So, let’s move into food… because I do recognize that this is what most of you come here to see!


P8248780 Homemade Greek-style yogurt with chocolate chip banana bread crumbled on top and a dollop of peanut butter.


P82488152 tomatoes stuffed with tuna salad (made with tuna, mayo, fresh parsley and Italian seasoning.) 3 Sesame seed crackers.

After school we had a staff meeting and then I stayed behind to get a little more work done. I left around 5:30 and went to the grocery store. While there, the electricity went out! I was shocked to see that a grocery store didn’t have a back-up generator to keep the refrigerators and freezers running. The electricity was out in the whole neighborhood, including my apartment. It came back on around 7:10 so I had to make another very quick dinner before going to play rehearsal at 7:30. 


P8248840 Couscous with sautéed smoked tofu, red peppers, onions and zucchini.

It has been a great day but an exhausting one too. I am now ready to drop. My face hurts from smiling so much today. Anyone know any good face muscle exercises?

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10 minute pizza for dinner and a 10 minute post before bed.  Tomorrow is my first day of school so I need to be well rested!

Today was a crazy busy day.

P8238643 Breakfast: 2 slices of banana bread (recipe to come) with peanut butter and a glass of milk.

We had the welcome day for the new families at our school. I have two new children in my class this year, so today was their day to meet me and our wonderful classroom assistant while familiarizing themselves with their new class and school.

P8238648 Just a preview of one of my classroom displays.

Once the families left, we put the final touches on the classroom. I want to put together a post (and perhaps new page) about classroom and lesson ideas for any other teachers out there. Expect to see this soon!


After school, I went with Kate and Zoe to visit our friend Rosetta and her new baby, Lily Rose. As a baby gift, I offered to take photographs of their little one.


She was so well-behaved and slept through the whole thing.

P8238756 Check out those long eyelashes!

I really wanted to get some almost-naked baby shots but mum and dad were afraid that taking off her clothes would startle her into a fit. Too bad, I just love wrinkly little baby skin in black and white photographs!


Once the photo shoot was over, I ran back home, made 10 minute pizza and then was back out the door for play rehearsal within 20 minutes. This meal certainly didn’t receive the appreciation and devotion it deserves.


Faster, healthier, and more delicious than frozen or delivered pizza!

10 Minute ‘Pizzas’


1 premade pita bread

1 large tomato

several olives

soft goat’s cheese

fresh basil


  1. Toss the pita bread into the toaster and then slice your tomatoes and olives.
  2. Once the toaster pops up, take out the warm pita bread and cut it in half. Next, layer the tomatoes, olives, and crumbled goat’s cheese on top.
  3. Broil in the oven for several minutes, until the tomatoes are hot and the cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Top the finished “pizzas” with fresh chopped basil.


Whew! 15 hours later, I can finally sit down and rest!

Have a good night everyone, and wish me luck on my first day of school!

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