Heidelberg Christmas Market

Glühwein, Bratwurst, cotton candy, crepes, roasting chestnuts – these are just a few of the wonderful smells that greet you as you enter a Weihnachtsmarkt. Booths decorated festively selling everything from leather goods to wooden toys to candles to intricate glass & wooden Christmas tree decorations to puppets line the market area and everyone wandering around seems to be in a happy mood. This is just one reason why I love Germany at Christmastime.

The day after we arrived in Germany, the whole family (except my mom) spent the late afternoon/early evening wandering around the Heidelberger Weihnachtsmarkt. I was so excited to finally have Loren experience everything I had told him about this wonderful Christmas tradition. The Heidelberger Weihnachtsmarkt is spread out between 6 city squares, and we wandered through most of them taking in all the sights and smells. It was raining pretty steadily that evening, but it was magical nonetheless.

We couldn’t stay away, so Loren, Emberly and I went back downtown to the market the next day to explore more and dine on Bratwurst and Nutella crepes. Naturally, Emberly just napped the entire time, so we’ll just have to go back when she’s older and can ride the carousel like her big cousin!

If you ever plan on going to Germany (or Europe for that matter) during the Christmas season, I highly recommend checking to see if wherever you’re going has a Weihnachtmarkt!

Life Lately

I’ve been rather absent from the blog since baby’s arrival, but it’s time to pick things up again! Starting off my official return with a few recent life highlights:

Emberly had her first Dr. visit and wasn’t a huge fan of getting naked for that.

We broke out the stroller and had our first family walk, which also happened to be daddy’s first day back at work.

I took Emberly on her first Starbucks and Target run – teaching her the important things in life! 😉 Also, why can’t all stores have grocery carts as smooth as Target!?

We had a Friday night family ice cream date and walk along the Canal.

Several family members and friends came to meet Emberly.

My cousin Dennae and her husband Daniel all the way from SC
Blake warmed up to the idea of holding a fresh baby. 😉
Cincinnati cousins & aunt & uncle
Joanna & Jeffrey also came all the way from SC to meet E
And of course the grandparents

When Loren’s parents came for a visit this past weekend, they babysat Emberly for a couple hours and Loren and I snuck away for a baby-free coffee date.

This past weekend, I had the privilege of helping host a bridal shower for my friend Vashti. It was so much fun (and these are all the pictures I got)!

And one more baby picture because she’s just too cute.

That’s about it for now!
We’re are taking our first roadtrip (just to Cincinnati) with baby this weekend, so we’ll see how that goes!

Birthday Weekend

Guys! It’s Monday! And I’m doing a weekend recap! Lately I’ve been slacking on recapping our weekends on time and they haven’t appeared until Wednesday.
Anyway, here are a few highlights from my birthday weekend:

I painted some shelves for the nursery, which we hung up, as well as arranged and set up some other things. It’s all coming together and I think we’re pretty much ready for baby girl’s arrival!

Saturday evening we had a little picnic & ice cream date at Mrs. Curl (apparently we can’t get enough this summer) in the perfect summer weather.

I noticed in the ice cream line that I can’t see my toes anymore. #37weeks

Sunday morning (my actual birthday) we headed to our church’s annual picnic & baptism. It was such a blessing and encouragement to see so many take that next step in their faith and then to fellowship with everyone during the picnic.

Sunday afternoon, I opened my gifts from Loren (these shoes!!), took a nap, then later on that evening we ventured downtown for dinner at Tinker Street. I was pretty set on having tiramisu for my birthday cake, so we found a place that did takeout and went and enjoyed it on the Circle. Eventually we came home and started a movie – the perfect ending to a perfect low-key birthday. 🙂

I hope you had a lovely weekend!

Taste of Cincinnati

This past weekend we were in Cincinnati and ventured out to the nation’s longest running culinary arts festival (Taste of Cincinnati) with our friends Caleb and Chelsea. Basically, a few streets are blocked off downtown and several of Cincinnati’s top restaurants set up booths to sell “tastes” of their best food. We walked down the whole length of the festival to scout out our options before deciding on what we wanted. Even between the 4 of us, we only tasted a fraction of the food options, but they were all delicious (not everything we ate made it on camera). There was rain in the forecast for that afternoon, but it never came and it was the perfect afternoon for wandering around stuffing our faces with delectable food.

Pork tacos
Frozen lemonade
Banana acai berry smoothie

Salted caramel Belgian waffle

Chicken kabob with rice

Sauerkraut balls
Creme brûlée – by far my favorite item of the day

Key lime cream puff

Thanks for the fun, Cincinnati (and Caleb & Chelsea 😉 )!

First April Weekend Recap

Friday evening & Saturday I was supposed to attend our church’s ladies retreat in Nashville, IN, but I got a nasty cold Wednesday/Thursday and wasn’t feeling up to much on Friday. So I stayed home Friday night (and drank lots of fluids and slept as much as I could all day) and felt good enough to go for Saturday’s sessions. It was a blessing to fellowship with the other ladies and study some of the characteristics of God. Since Nashville is a small town known for its quaint little shops and restaurants, we naturally also did a little shopping.

Sunday afternoon we crossed several things off our to-do list (including taxes!), then went for a little date at Mrs. Curl’s and walked around a close-by park.

I hope you had a great weekend and got outside once the sun came out. 🙂

Food Bump Weekend

This weekend in Cincinnati makes up for the lack of excitement and pictures of last weekend.

Friday  afternoon we headed to Cincinnati for a maternity shoot with the super talented Sarah (can’t wait to see the pics!!), and after the official shoot, Loren and I headed around to find this mural to take a couple more pics. We then headed to Coffee Emporium so I could finish up work for the week. After grabbing a quick dinner, we met up with Loren’s parents at his grandma’s for the rest of the evening.

Saturday morning, Heather and Marcus joined us for a delicious pancake and bacon brunch at Mom and Dad’s. Loren did a little photoshoot for Mom and Dad, then we spent the rest of the afternoon just chatting.

Later on, we met up with Caleb and Chelsea for our monthly get-together. We changed it up this time and met up downtown Cincinnati for some window shopping, doughnuts from Holtmans, a most amazing dinner at The Eagle, and coffee at Coffee Emporium. Always a good time together! After all the good food and conversation, Loren and I headed back home to Indy.

Sunday after church, we laid pretty low for most of the day, but did venture out to take dinner to some friends who had just moved.

A great weekend filled with lots of great conversation!

Happy first day of spring!

Weekend Brunch at Milktooth

Instead of listing everything we did this weekend, I’m just going to post about one of the highlights.
We decided to push our date night from Friday night to a brunch date on Saturday. I really wanted to go on a hike since the weather had been nice all week, but then a storm came through Friday night brought the cold again. So we opted for brunch instead. I’d been wanting to introduce Loren to Milktooth ever since I went with some of my coworkers for my birthday, and it finally happened. Milktooth is just open for breakfast and lunch and was pretty hopping that morning, but we didn’t mind waiting to be seated while we sipped some of their delicious coffees.
Each of their menu entrees has some kind of unexpected, yet delicious, twist. Like the cranberry walnut & TP caerphilly cheddar grilled cheese with black truffle honey and local sunny duck egg that Loren ordered and the sourdough carrot cake waffle with shredded carrot, pineapple cream, spiced maple and walnuts that I ordered. Both were delicious!! Their fresh-pressed orange juice is also worth noting.
Overall, a fun date exploring another local eats of Indianapolis.

I hope you had a great weekend as well!

Holiday Party 2016/2017

As I mentioned yesterday, we had two parties this weekend. As soon as Abby’s party was over, we headed home to finish setting up for our annual holiday party. I usually like to have a party sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but between weddings, new job training and the holidays themselves, it didn’t happen until now. Which turned out just fine and I may start doing it every January instead of December. It’s all just a plot to keep up my Christmas decorations longer. 😉

Anyway, we squeezed 4 other couples around the table for a Raclette dinner and chocolate fondue. Raclette is a Swiss meal that involves lots of melted cheese and potatoes. We used to eat Raclette regularly in Germany while I was growing up, and when my parents sent me my very own Raclette grill for Christmas, I knew we had to have it for the party.

After we were stuffed, we exchanged white elephant gifts and played a few other games before taking awkward family photos. We had such a fun and laughter-filled night, and once again, I am so grateful for the friendships we’ve established here!

Happy Thanksgiving/Merry Christmas/Happy New Year!

Layered Taco Dip

This taco dip is an old family favorite and one we used to take to youth group and other events all the time. Even though we always hoped there would be some left, the dish was usually licked clean. It’s the perfect appetizer or snack for any event – time to start planning that Super Bowl party!

Layered Taco Dip

Ingredients:
1 (8 oz) can refried beans
hot sauce, to taste
1 tsp cumin
1 cup  guacamole
1 cup sour cream
2 cups salsa
1 cup Mexican cheese, shredded
1 (6 oz) can chopped olives
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
tortilla chips

Directions:
Throw the refried beans in a small pan over medium-low heat. Add a few dashes of hot sauce. Stir well. Add the cumin.
Spread the beans in the bottom of a 9×13 glass dish. Next, layer the guacamole over the beans, then the sour cream. Spread the salsa over the sour cream.
Sprinkle on the cheese, olives, green onions and tomato. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving with tortilla chips.

Enjoy and try not to eat the whole dish yourself!