Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe



Paris is one of the most wonderful cities on Earth.
It is absolutely breathtaking.
The architecture, the history, the beauty.
It is a very luxurious city, so rich in culture.
It is our new favorite city.

The Eiffel Tower is without a doubt, spectacular.
One of the most recognized, interesting and special landmarks.
It is a must-see for those of you who like to travel.

I recommend buying your tickets online.
We did and bypassed waiting in line for 3 hours.
The first & second levels offer gorgeous views of the city.
And the elevator ride isn't bad at all.
We walked down the ~700 stairs and our legs were wobbly by the end.

There are restaurants, cafes, an ice cream shop.
Boutiques selling overpriced souvenirs.
(Which of course we bought!)
We didn't make it to the third floor this time.
I was sweating & a little nauseous from the height on the 2nd floor.
And the line to the top was crazy long.
But maybe next time.



We started our Parisian tour at the Arc de Triomphe.
It is a gorgeous site to see.
Almost like a gateway to another world.
The carvings and inscriptions are mesmerizing.
An eternal flame burns bright
for the solider that never returned.
It reminded me of Washington D.C.
A memorial to another soldier
in another land.



The Arc stands in the middle of an enormous intersection.
The largest that I have ever seen with
TWELVE different exits.
There are no marked lanes,
so it's sort of like a free for all when driving around it.
We had the pleasure (or misfortune) to
drive inside this crazy circle.
Our exit was number seven.
We made it.
=)



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Recipe of the Week- All About Pumpkins!

Spider Pumpkin?
Pumpkins in every size, shape and color
Artichoke Blooms
Pumpkin soup, Pumpkin butter on bread & pumpkin bratwurst!
It was all so good, but the soup was the best!

This past weekend, I went to my first Pumpkin Festival. They had pumpkin everything!
Pumpkin cookies, jam, butter and wine.
Pumpkin liquor, oil, seeds covered in chocolate and cocoa.
Pumpkin soup, bratwurst and bread.
It really got me in the mood for fall and inspired me to make pumpkin cheesecake muffins today. I found the recipe on Becca's blog, Lovely in Pink.

You all know by now that I LOVE pumpkin flavored anything.
Lattes, pie, candles, bread, anything.
After making these, I am now also a fan of pumpkin muffins.
These are delicious!
A heavier muffin than what I am used to, full of flavor, great with a cup of coffee.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins
Courtesy of: Becca

Ingredients

1 egg
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 T. sugar

2 1/4 c. flour
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. sugar
1 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. oil (I used light veggie oil)

(Not pictured: Baking soda)

1. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese, 1 egg and 1 T. sugar until well blended; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.
3. Beat remaining eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil; stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.
4. Divide the batter among 16 greased, paper-lined muffin cups.
5. Drop filling by teaspoonfuls over batter. Cover with remaining batter.
6. Bake 20 minutes in a 350º oven or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.
7. And as always, ENJOY!
( I enjoyed mine with a cup of Sumatran coffee, Starbucks brand, in my new Paris cup!)

Don't you just love my ceramic jack-o-lantern? I bought it at the festival for only
10 euro! What a steal!
It was the only one they had.
It's incredibly heavy & has a hole in the bottom to place a candle.
I love it!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Lovely Award


Thank you so much Mrs. Duh for this award!

Little things like this always make my day! Mrs. D is one of my favorite bloggers, so after you're done here, check out her blog.

So there rules are:
1. Accept the award and post it on your blog.
2. Pay it forward to 5 other bloggers.
3. Contact those 5 and let them know they've been chosen.

So I'm passing this on to these 5 fabulous bloggers:


And because I'm a rebel like that, I'm including a 6th one


Be sure to check out their blogs. Trust me, it's worth your time.

Don't forget to enter my Christmas in September giveaway if you haven't already. Only three days left!

Happy Monday everyone!


MilSpouse Friday Fill-in #15

By participating in a weekly Fill-in, I realize just how quickly time is passing! We've already been in Germany for almost 4 months!

Visit Wife of a Sailor to check out other milspouse blogs!

This week’s questions are:

  1. What characteristic about yourself has either been strengthened or weakened due to your experience as a Military Spouse? (from The Albrecht Squad)
My independent, ambitious nature has definitely been strengthened. I'm not sure if anything about me has weakened. Perhaps that I spend a little less time with friends knowing that every day J and I have together is precious since he travels so much for work.

2. What is your favorite vacation spot and why? (from 'Tis the Life of the Army Wife)

Right now it's a tie between Paris and the Caribbean. I loved Paris for the culture, the architecture, the food and drink, the history. It really is a beautiful city. On the flip side, my heart lies at the beach, with the ocean. I've traveled pretty extensively throughout the Caribbean and I've loved almost every place that I've been to. Give me a tropical location on a beach, a fruity drink, and my husband and I'll never want to leave!

3. If you could have any fast-food restaurant in the food court on base/post what would you pick? (from The Only Pink in a House of Blue)

Hmm...well, I would rather not have another fast food place on base. We've got BK, TB, Johnny Rockets, a Chinese place, a sub sandwich place and Captain D's. I would prefer a Starbucks. A real Starbucks that served Pumpkin Spice lattes. (The European Starbucks, sadly, do not serve them. My heart breaks a little every day about this. I would be willing to pay if some sweet someone wanted to ship the International Delight travel creamer cups to me in this flavor. I would pay you AND I would send you German chocolates in return! =)

4. Where did you go on your honeymoon? (from Pennies from Heaven)

We went to the Turks & Caicos. It was beautiful and we had fun, but we weren't super happy with our resort- Club Med. It was our first experience there and we felt like we were at summer camp on a cruise ship! We were married at the Adventura Spa Palace in the Riviera Maya and spent five days there first. I highly recommend this resort and we cant wait to go back!

5. If you could have any job in the world regardless of money, degree or experience, which job would you have and why? (from Proud to Be a Navy Family and The Calm Before The Storm)

I would love to be a super translator, as in- be fluent in 10 or more languages. Ive always wanted to be fluent in another language and think it would be so cool to be able to communicate with just about anyone. OR a travel writer who gets paid to travel, eat, drink and experience the world. Yeah, let's go with that one!

Happy Weekend Everyone!
Don't forget to enter my Christmas in September giveaway!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Recipe of the Week


Today's recipe is one that I made for dinner last night. It turned out delicious if I do say so myself! J raved about it and said that he wanted me to make it again soon using the sauce and a different kind of meat. I think his exact words were "You could put that sauce on anything and it would be good!" Quite the compliment. For Cooking Light really, not me. I just followed their recipe. Ok, maybe a little for me. =) For those of you who aren't really into spicy foods, fear not, it's really not that spicy. More like a slow burn that never fully develops. I love spicy foods, so it was pretty tame in my book.

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs
Courtesy of: Cooking Light

Ingredients:

2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cumin (I substituted ground nutmeg- I was out of cumin)
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (Mine had bones)
6 T. honey
2 tsp. cider vinegar

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Add chicken, one at a time and toss to coat.
3. Place chicken in a greased broiler pan. Broil 5 minutes on each side.
4. Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, mixing well.
5. Remove chicken from oven and brush with 1/4 c. honey mixture.
6. Broil for 1 minute.
7. Take chicken out, flip, and coat the other side with remaining honey mixture.
8. Broil an additional minute or until chicken is done.
9. I served it with broccoli and corn on the cob.
10. Enjoy! (Maybe with a little wine?)
We only drank a glass, not two bottles like this picture implies!


Guest Blogger

Today I am guest blogging over at A{muse}ing Mommy on a Pink Park Bench. Be sure to head over and read my post and while you're there, check out her awesome blog! It's my first time as a guest blogger, so be gentle! =)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Christmas in September


It's time for my last Birthmonth giveaway!

My second most favorite month (after September of course)

is December.

J's birthday, Christmas, New Years, holiday movies, presents,

eating, baking, celebrations with friends and family, decorations.

I love it all.

And now that I live in Germany,

I'll get to experience the famous Christmas markets.

So, to get ready for the holiday season I've got a

Christmas themed giveaway.

Here's what you get:
Cranberry tart lotion and body gel
Two Yankee Candles in "Christmas Wreath"
A bite of German Chocolate
Two Christmas cookie cutters
Santa's Little Helper napkins
and what's in the box? ...
A Kathe Wohlfahrt ornament!

(Santa's a pilot of course! =)

Here's how to enter:

Be a follower of my blog (1 entry)
Follow my on Twitter @kmack143 (1 entry)
Blog about this giveaway (1 entry)
Leave a comment telling me what your favorite holiday movie is (1 entry)

Four ways to enter.
Be sure to leave a comment for EACH entry or it won't count!
The winner will be chosen by random.org on Sept 30th.
There are only 95 days left until Christmas!

I'll leave you with one of my favorite pictures from Paris...


Monday, September 20, 2010

Winner & Update!

The Winner of the Sweet September giveaway is.......

#2: The Annoyed Army Wife!

Congrats! Send your mailing info to me at kendra143j@yahoo.com.

(I figured out how to get the Random.org widget on here! BUT I can't figure out how to type underneath it. =/)

It's been a whirlwind birthday weekend! We left on Friday night for Paris to celebrate my birthday and got back late last night. It was an absolutely fantastic trip and Paris is my new favorite city. I will blog about it this week! I was without internet for two days, so I've got a lot of catching up to do this week!

Also, I was so busy last week that I didnt get a Wine of the Week up, but I promise that I will this week. Ill be adding in all of your recommendations!

I wanted to have the next giveaway up today, but I just don't have the time, so Ill get it posted later this week!

Lastly, I will be a guest blogger (my first time!) this week over at a{muse}ing mommy...on a pink park bench, so stop by and check it out! =)


Ps.....I actually put in a max of 9 but when I copied it, it changed the max to 100....(shrug)
True Random Number Generator 2Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Friday, September 17, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-in #13

It's Friday, so that means another round of MilSpouse Friday Fill-ins! Stop by Wife of a Sailor to check out other milspouse blogs!

*How do you spend your deployment money, do you save, pay off bills or enjoy the extra money while it is there to buy the things you do not normally have? (from Troop Petrie)
First deployment- Vacations to California and Europe
Second deployment- Cruise and bought a house
Third deployment- Grad school and Christmas (It was a shorter deployment)
*If you could relive one occasion or moment, what would it be? (from Currently On Land)
My wedding day. It was absolutely fantastic! Our wedding was at the Adventure Spa Palace in the Riviera Maya, a 5-star resort that was perfect. It was the most wonderful day and I would love to go back and do it all again!
*What’s the worst job you ever had and if it was so bad why did you take it? (from Faith and Deploying)
I was a nurse in a 24 hr observation unit in a university teaching hospital. It sucked. We got all the crazy patients, the ER admissions, the drug addicts, etc. It was all made worse by being understaffed. I took the job because the was the only one available at the time. I needed to work at that hospital so I could get the 90% tuition discount for graduate school.
*If you could play any character on TV, who would you be? (from Many Waters)
I would like Padma's job from Top Chef. Traveling, eating the world's best food, meeting cool people. Yes please. Also- I love Rachel and Monica from Friends.
*If you could become the world’s expert in something, what would it be? (fromArmy of Two)
Tropical Paradises! Making money! Wine, chocolate, coffee! =)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Recipe of the Week

This week's recipe is rich, creamy and delicious! I made them for the Wounded Warriors program and only saved one for myself to try. I'm so glad I didn't have the entire pan sitting around or they would have all been eaten by me in no time!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars
Courtesy of: Southern Living

Ingredients:
1 c. flour
1/3 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 c. butter, softened
3 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 c. sour cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (12 oz. pkg.) mini chocolate chips, divided

1. Beat first 3 ingredients at medium-low speed with electric mixer until combined. Increase speed to medium and beat until well blended and crumbly.
2. Pat into lightly greased 13x9 inch pan lined with aluminum foil and bake at 350º for 13-15 mins.
3. Beat cream cheese on medium until creamy.
4. Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating at low speed until just blended.
6. Add sour cream, vanilla, and 1 c. chocolate chips, beating until just blended.
7. Pour over baked crust and bake at 350º for 25 mins or until set. Cool on wire rack.
8. Microwave remaining chocolate chips on high for 1 minute or until smooth, stirring after 30 seconds. Cool slightly then drizzle over cheesecake.
9. Cover and chill at least four hours.
10. Cut into bars and ENJOY!


Now, because I'm a sucker for chocolate, I've added a few more goodies to the Sweet September giveaway. The international liquor chocolates look so good!


Monday, September 13, 2010

More Random Ramblings


The first edition of Random Ramblings was such a success that I thought I would give it another go and perhaps make it a recurring post. So here is this week's random thought from my head to yours.

*One of my hydrangea plants died. I officially have a black thumb.

*The orchid I was given as a welcome to Germany present by our landlord is still alive. I just received another from a friend for my birthday. Maybe orchids will be my new hydrangea.

*Birthdays are huge in my family, in fact, we often celebrate birthmonths. (The birthmonth thing may or may not have been started by me.) I'm a bit sad to realize that due to our recent PCS across the ocean, this year's festivities will definitely be different from previous years, in both positive and negative ways. I'm ok with this, but I just realized the truthness in it.

*I like to make up my own words (see above-truthness) & say things like "may or may not have".

* I am unbelievably excited to spend my birthday weekend in Paris this year! This will be our first trip there and we're going to cram in as much sight-seeing as we can.

*My right hand looks like it's been through the shredder. I've cut myself on a knife, saw, and metal grate, all in the past three days. I'm thinking I may need a tetanus shot before the week's over.

*I miss being a provider in the medical world. I actually like to talk about things like blood sugar, cystic fibrosis, sphincters and infectious diseases. I'm weird, I know, but it's all part of being a nurse practitioner in the medical world.

*I'm finally getting a car after 8 months without one of my own.

*My newest favorite snack is a rice cake topped with 1-2 T. peanut butter and 1 T. organic hazelnut spread.

*I'm going to start structuring my days. As in writing out a schedule from 830am-4pm detailing what I'm going to do that day. With so much time on my hands I feel listless, like I'm not accomplishing much during the day because I have no set deadlines, no structure. And I need structure. I thrive on plans, lists, things to do, and scheduling.

*An awesome benefit from all this free time: I'm getting to bake and cook like never before and I've found a ton of yummy recipes! I'll continue sharing them with you in the recipe of the week feature.

*I was nervous about hosting a giveaway. What if no one entered? What if no one liked the prize? These worries and more were on my mind, but I really wanted to do it anyway. I am in such a wonderful position- living in Germany- and it allows me access to all sorts of cool things that aren't found in the States, so why not offer them to my lovely readers? =)

*Why haven't there been any great new music acts lately? Or are there some and I just don't know about it? Our radio stations out here are not the greatest, so it's definitely possible that I've missed some new talent.

*I'm not quite sure what the reason is, but I find that I am more tolerant, more understanding, more ok with a lot of things that I haven't been ok with in the past.

*I love reading all of your blogs, leaving you comments, and reading your comments to me!

*The glass recycling laws here kill me. If people are recycling, who cares what time of the day they do it. Seriously, does it ruin your lunchtime if I drop my glass off in the bin? I think not.

*I loved the Hunger Games. LOVED. The other two books in the series were great too, but Im not sure I liked the ending...

*I read fast. Very fast. (Thank you Mom!) I'm not a "savour every word and take weeks to read one book" kind of person like J. If I like a book I am eager to see how it all works out, to see how it ends, and I don't want to drag that out for days, much less weeks.

*Do our neighbors really need to start working on their house before 7 a.m.?

*Don't forget to enter my Sweet September giveaway here! I'm a sucker for chocolate and found several more things to add to the mix this weekend.








Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wine of the Week


It's no secret that I love red wine. My blog is called Uncork and Unwined, so it's obvious (at least it should be), so starting a wine/beer of the week feature makes good sense. (Thanks Becca!)

I've been debating how I want to do this: how I want it to look, what information to cover, etc.
J & I taste and review wines all the time and have a fairly extensive list going under the wine pages here on the blog. I would like your input though on how this weekly feature should go, so comment away!

Here is this week's wine:

And a closer look.....
What: Finca De La Vega
Grape: Tempranillo
Where: Spain
When: 2007
Cost: ~5$
Corks: 4
He says: Nice & spicy! Smoky start with a slightly tart ending. Not my usual
combo in terms of favorite flavors , but it works!
She says: Absolutely wonderful! I really like this wine. This was our first
experience with it. It has a high alcohol content (13.3%) but it doesn't
taste like it. Spicy & full bodied, loaded with flavor.
We will definitely be buying this again!

J & I are so used to drinking red wine that we rarely get a "wow" moment. Our first taste of this wine gave us just that. It really is good and after we try it again, the rating will probably go up. Wines here are so much less expensive than in the States. We used to buy bottles of wine that ranged between $7-$15 for everyday consumption. Anything cheaper usually tasted cheap. In Europe though, we can buy a bottle of wine from many countries around the world for about $3. It's crazy and wonderful and we always stock up when we go to the German grocery store. Some bottles we like, some we don't but for $3 a bottle, who can complain?

So now I need your feedback! Too much, too little, what other information would you like, etc? Next week I will probably be reviewing a beer, either German or Belgium (because that's what we have in the house right now!).

***It's the ninth anniversary of 9/11, so take a moment today and reflect.***




Friday, September 10, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-in #12

Here's another edition of MilSpouse Fill-in. Head on over to Wife of a Sailor's to participate!

1. Do you set goals for yourself during deployment? What are some of them? (from Military Mommy)
Sure, get out of bed, shower, brush my teeth, get dressed.....
Other than that (because sometimes even those things are difficult), I try and stay as busy as possible. I've been scrapbooking all of our travels, so I try and catch up on it during deployments.

2. What would you say to someone dating a military guy or gal? (from Mothering Off the Cuff)
Good Luck! =P

3. If you have children, how do you prepare them to move to a new place? (from The Random Ramblings of A Household 6)
No kiddos here yet!

4. Name one hobby that gets you through alone time. (from My Sailor's Mistress)
Reading. I absolutely love to read! Chick lit, mysteries, historical novels, whatever. I just finished
the Hunger Games series and it was amazing though I'm not sure I liked the last book and how it
wrapped everything up.

5. What's the one food you don't ever get tired of? (from That Army Wife Life)
CHOCOLATE! So don't forget to enter my Sweet September giveaway!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sweet September





The winner of my very first giveaway, a Coffee Indulgence, is.....

Just_Megs!


Congrats! Send your address to me at kendra143j (@) yahoo (.) com.
Thank you so much to all of you who entered the first giveaway! You made my day! =)
Now on to the next giveaway!




Can you tell that I like chocolate, baking, desserts in general? Well, I do. Love them in fact. The best part is that I only need a bite or two to be satisfied. This helps keep me from packing on the pounds from my calorific love.
One of the greatest things about living here in Europe is the chocolate. Belgians and Germans are in fact, known for their chocolates. I've been lucky enough to sample sweets from several countries already and I want to pass that sweetness along to you. The prize includes chocolates from Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands!

J and I absolutely LOVE Milka. It's very popular here in Germany and we were first told about it by our German movers. We have a piece (or two or three...!) almost every night after dinner. The one with hazelnuts is out favorite.

Gummy Bears are hugely popular here, so much so, that they even have stores that sell nothing but gummy bears and gummy candy! At our hotel in Stuttgart, instead of getting a chocolate or a mint on your pillow, you got a travel size bag of gummy bears!

Toblerone has been a long time favorite of ours and now it is so easy and less expensive to get.

Kinder brand treats are another very popular treat here in Germany. Everyone loves them and they are super cute.

A distinct difference between German sweets, and even some European sweets in general, is that while they are sweet, they aren't sweet like what we as Americans are used to. It's less sugary sweet and more naturally sweet, but still as satisfying and great tasting. I actually like it more than the artifical, calorie and fat heavy American sweets. And I love to eat it cold. Freezing cold! We stash all of our chocolates in the freezer. Does anyone else do this?

Entering is super easy this time....Just be a follwer of my blog and leave me a comment telling me what your favorite sweet treat is. That's it, easy-peasy! Everything pictured here is included. The giveaway will end on Sunday, September 19th at midnight. I'm heading out to another wine fest this weekend (our third in as many weeks!) and I'm hoping I find some more treats to add to this, so if you win, there may be more sweet surprises in store!