Monday, May 25, 2015

Currently, Vol. 9

Hello! Welcome to this week's currently! I am loving this link up with Becky over at Choose Happy, I feel like it gives me a chance to tell you what has been going on over the weekend and connect with other bloggers in a way we normally don't get to!

So, I am currently...

Remembering....it is Memorial Day in my home country, so today of course I am remembering all those who have died for my country, they paid the ultimate price for and that shall never be forgotten.

From Babble


Making....I've been working on some cards, they turned out really cute. Hoping to get them matched up to some envelopes, get some photos taken, and put them up in my Etsy shop this week. Will be my first "product" so we will see how it goes!

Enjoying...all the sweet babies  being born in the park near our house. I think these will be the end of it, but they looked pretty new...the teenager and I had so much fun just watching them waddle around.

Ordering....this new body scrub from Frank Bod. It is the same as our regular facewash but we've heard amazing reviews about it, plus since they are UK based we get free shipping for us Europeans so can't wait for it to get here later this week!

Thankful for...having a teenager that loves to go on evening walks or bike rides with me and will enjoy the little things...

Quote of the day...Unstoppable! I found this last week when I was having a rough week. Nothing too dramatic just feeling hormonal, a bit of anxiety because ya know-woman here-plus just tiny bouts of bad news made some of the week sucktastic. But, thankfully I have great friends and an awesome hubby and kiddo to cheer me up, got me out of the house, and totally turned the week around, like T-Rex here :D

Tell me, what are you up to currently?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Weekly Menu #19 and P90X3/T25 Workout Schedule Week 1

Happy Sunday y'all! How was your weekend? Have fun? Our kiddo was gone all weekend with her cheerleading team in Germany so it was just hubby and I until Sunday evening.


Friday night we had a nice dinner of chicken wings and fries. Then we just watched a movie.

Saturday we slept until 10:30! I woke up at 7:15 and grumbled all I want to do is sleep, I woke up like what felt as though it was a few minutes later but it was really 3 hours later! It was awesome and I totally didn't feel bad about it. We didn't leave the house on the cloudy rainy day and it was fabulous.

Today we didn't get up much earlier. But we have been more productive. Made it out to buy some local honey so I can keep my allergies tamed down, I've made a bunch of crafts and hubby is working his way through Witcher.

Tomorrow is a holiday here Whit Mandaag. It basically marks the end of the Easter cycle. I think the kiddo and I will just cycle around seeing some things around town we haven't seen, check the Van Gogh see if they have anything new there, and maybe have a picnic.

Just in case you missed it this past week here are a few must-see posts:
Three Days in Berlin
What I Ate in Berlin
The Berlin Bears and pop up wall art

Workout

Recap:
  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Walk
  • Wednesday: 2 mile run plus 20 minutes of strength work on the stairs
  • Thursday: Bike ride, walk
  • Friday:Rest day mostly, lots of walking
  • Saturday: Raining, we spent an entire day in bed pretty much. I feel like a bum.
This week's goals: I think I will restart a double workout with T25 and P90X3, on days it is nice I will also fit in a short run.
  • Sunday: Rest/Stretch/Cycle/Walk
  • Monday: Speed 1.0/Agility X
  • Tuesday: Total Body Circuit/X3 Yoga
  • Wednesday: Ab Intervals/The Challenge
  • Thursday: Lower Focus/CVX
  • Friday: Dynamix/Cardio
  • Saturday: Rest/Stretching
Last week I literally did one workout and I feel like crap. I loved when I had a full workout schedule back when we lived in California so I figure I will fill my mornings like that again. It might be a little difficult since I don't have weights or a good band, but I will make it work...at least I have a pull up bar! 

Other Goals
  • Visit one museum I haven't been to yet, and revisit two others as they have some new exhibits.
  • Make sure I keep the house stocked with food-this may seem like a no brainer but things come in such smaller quantities here I have to go to the store at least every other day and it is soooooo annoying...I am so sick of going to the freaking grocery store you have no idea.
  • Work on some of the crafts I have planned to use up some of these supplies I have!
Menu
Breakfast
  • Acai Bowl X2
  • Veggie egg bowl with brown rice X3
  • Pancakes, eggs, bacon (Saturday)
Lunch
  • Hubby: protein box
  • Kiddo: only takes two days: ham and cheese sandwich 
  • Me: two days kiddo doesn't eat with me: no pasta salad with grilled chicken
  • Monday: (holiday) open face toasti with apple sticks
  • Two days kiddo eats with me: leftovers
Dinner
  • Sunday: BBQ Bacon cheese burgers on these really tasty buns from our grocery store with sugar snap peas and french fries
  • Monday: Teriyaki beef with fried rice/mixed veggies/reg rice for hubby
  • Tuesday: black bean burgers with veggie fries and squash
  • Wednesday: Lentil veggie stew 
  • Thursday: Leftovers
  • Friday: Rotisserie chicken, veggies, potatoes
  • Saturday: BBQ chicken sandwiches, sauteed veggies from the market, any leftovers
Snacks
  • Cheese
  • Homemade bread
  • Leftovers
  • Fresh fruit
  • Boiled eggs
So, tell me, what are you up to this week?

What is the latest you've ever slept in since having kids?

P.S. This week I will be linking up with Mommy Run Fast, Jill Conyers, and I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Berlin Bears and a bit of extra Wall art

When we go to different cities many times we see that there is a unique flair for some sort of art. It becomes a common piece and many times they are just temporary art installations for charity to be auctioned off later, but sometimes they are permanent installation taken care of by the community.

Which, just happens to be the case for the Berlin Bears.

According to Buddy Baer Berlin this started in 2001 inspired by something going on in Zurich and New York. The bear is iconic to Berlin as it stands in the middle of the city's flag. As you can see below on the white and red flag...


At the time more than 100 bears were created, I don't know how many still stand today, but I am going to show you the ones we managed to capture!

Actually not at the train station or an airport, but some random souvenir shop in the middle of the city!







Not an art installation but a bear with a wiener has to be shared more than once!


Our favorite bear of course! If you visit ask to make sure you can take a photo first...this is inside the U.S. Consulate building. As many of you may or may not know you can't take anything electronic in to the Consulate buildings, anywhere in the world, that includes cell phones. If you are sweet and no one is in the lobby {like what happened when I asked} the guards outside the building will tell you "off course!" {and yes it is said like that by Germans and Dutch alike and I love it}.

I wonder how hard this artist thought about the placement of this design?! haha

Also, as we wandered we noticed there were free standing pieces of the old wall with some art on them, thought I would share those with you as well.



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There was actually a lot more of this sort of thing, but they were heavily populated by all the schools visiting Berlin at this time. These are the sort of unique things I love seeing around a city. 

Does your city have any cool art installations like this? If not, has it in the past? 

When traveling have you seen any unique and fun art installations?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Three Days in Berlin

During my daughter's second spring break, after King's Day we spend three full days in Berlin! We had such a wonderful time. We left on a Tuesday got there late afternoon/early evening and then left Friday morning-early! If you didn't see it already make sure you check out What I Ate in Berlin for the full foodie recap! :)
We took a train from Amsterdam to Berlin. We took the ICE (Inter City Express), it was 6 hours. We ate breakfast and had coffee on the train and had a few snacks...we had a late/lunch early dinner when we got in.

Our accommodations were Hotel Gat Pointe Charlie. I highly recommend this hotel. The staff was friendly and very helpful. In the evening the bar is quite populated and the bartenders make great drinks (alcoholic and non) and the desster is delicious as well. Our room was spacious and the colour scheme is a fun one! It is located very close to all the big tourist attractions and several malls.

Sorry for the blurry photo, we had been dancing around in the rain ;)

My teenager didn't believe me when I told her it was a cat hotel, she thought for sure I was messing something up...but, meet General Cat up there...his eye is always watching. 

I forgot to take photos of our room but we had a nice queen size bed and more than enough room to move around for the two of us. Like I said above, I highly recommend!

There was really cute art outside the hotel...

This reminded us of a Katamari Ball!

This lights up blue at night.

The night we got in we took a bus to a more local area of town, to see what we had for dinner click here...otherwise enjoy the walking tour.

We love the street art on this building, it is basically a political piece, I think it is made to look like a monopoly board where different parts of the city are up for sale. Interesting piece. What was even more interesting is this part of town was covered in graffiti...I mean covered! Everything from buildings to playground equipment. It seemed to be just a regular, nice middle class type neighborhood. To put this into perspective for my international readers where I come from if an area has this much graffiti it is usually a very bad area that you do not want to be in...but we felt perfectly safe. Any of my German readers, maybe some of you are from Berlin and can clarify as to why there is so much graffiti? Those I talked to about it didn't seem to think it a big deal.

A church.

The Owl Restaurant...I have no idea what it is really called but it sort of made us wish we had waited to eat just 'cause it was so cute!

These seemed to be in the shapes of different body parts...and they had graffiti...


Colorful shoes hanging from a beam in the gorgeous Oberbaum Bridge! I am in love with this structure. 

My girl in one of the arches.


Oberbaum Bridge from the middle of what was once a "no mans land" when the wall existed.

Then, as we continued our walk we found the East Side Gallery! I was so stoked to come across this as I did not think it was in this spot...from my research I thought it was much closer to our hotel, so I was really glad we came over to this side of town. 
 The East Side Gallery was formed shortly after the wall fell. I've seen a few different writings on the matter, but basically local artists were called upon to come down and paint a section of the wall with something meaningful to them. Many of these wound up being quite political and I loved them all! I wish I could show you the whole wall, but you much go see it yourself.

(Sadly, I've recently read some of the Gallery may have been destroyed in 2013 when they tore sections down to build luxury apartments. Not quite sure where those were built because we passed what looked to be an abandoned building with no windows...they weren't even boarded up it was frightening.)

I loved this poem next to this piece...



This has to be my absolute favorite piece! I am assuming this was a gate to get in and out of the "no mans land" back in the day so to turn it in to a locks of love gate surrounded by this beautiful rainbow of turbulent colors is so lovely to me.

I just thought this was hilarious. 


So, I didn't take a photo of the actual piece he painted, but I love the poem he put to his piece. This is by Kunjappu, go check out his work. These are definitely words to live by everyday.

I don't think this piece requires much explanation...it is a beautiful memorial.

My favorite I think.

Just some random street art...I think I'll buy it! :)

This is the sunset facing Alexanderplatz.

After the East Side Gallery we caught a bus back to our hotel area. During the day we could have walked, but with the sun having set it was just easier to take a bus.

We decided to get up close to Checkpoint Charlie Since during the day it is  surrounded heavily by tourists and there are some guys standing there waiting to charge you somewhere between €2-5 to take a photo with them. No thanks.

The flag.

Crummy picture of the inside.

After Checkpoint Charlie we wandered around a bit and came across Gendarmenmarkt. This has two beautiful "twin" churches...one is German, one is French.
The German Church.


The concert house.

The French Church.

I felt as though this sign was very German. haha

After breakfast the first morning the Gendarmenmarkt was the first place we headed to get some day time photos!

The square. You see the statue, the Concert House, and the French Church.

The statue and the concert house.

After the Gendermanmarkt we made our way toward Museum Island. We came across the Lustgarten, which is home to a museum and a cathedral. This Lustgarten was home to many a parade and rally.



I loved this door on the side of the cathedral.

The Spree River

One of the Museums

Columns

This Humpty Dumpty Sculpture really freaked us out.

After seeing that weird Humpty Dumpty sculpture we settled on seeing the German History Museum. This was a great choice because the kiddo really wanted to dive into some Germanic history since most of it is fairly recent. The price is very affordable as well, €8 for 16+, free for under 16!

One of the first truly memorable displays were these four paintings representing the four quarters in Germany in the time period of the 1500s. I stupidly didn't take a photo of the plaque as I usually do, but if you can read German go here, there will be a bit more information.
This was January, February, and March.

April, May, and June

July, August, and September.

October, November, and December.

I loved this ship model.

Some old currency.

Here is where we get in to the WWII stuff...


I really liked this series of prints, the are all equally powerful. If I had to pick one I would say the one on the far left of the allied forces breaking apart the symbol of oppression is my favorite. The one on the far right is extremely powerful as well.

I wavered back and forth whether or not to post this, but it was powerful for my teenager to see as she hasn't seen any movies dealing with WWII, so for her to see this image really brought into perspective how horrible life was in the concentration camps.

How cool are these manhole covers?! Each cover I noticed was designed like this.

How adorable are these street signs?! These were the only ones I saw like this.

After lunch we walked some more and happened upon Alexanderplatz. I didn't realize what a big square this was...there are neat sculptures and tons and tons of shopping. They also have a TK Max which is like a TJ Max...but they serve wine there. haha
This is a world clock.

It was pretty neat the top piece actually moves.

Loved these fountains and all the shopping behind me.

It is a fountain of Neptune guarding is sea. Complete with trident.

Front of Neptunbrunnen


I love all the sculpture pieces surrounding the fountain.

After our time spent in Alexanderplatz we wandered back toward our hotel and discovered this traveling library. The funny thing...somewhere behind all that construction is the book burning memorial.

 This traveling library travels through Germany and Austria.
Pretty nice set up with the bean bags and hammocks.

After this we decided to do dessert first and went to Fassbender and Rausch...you can read about our experience in the cafe here....but here is our experience in-store...

It is located in this really cute very European building...

Inside there are all sorts of chocolate sculptures! They were phenomenal.


Chocolate volcano. I think this was the least impressive one as it wasn't very bubbly. 

A Berlin Bear! (check back tomorrow for more on this)

Fassbender and Rausch

I wanted to take this home! He was so cute!

Picking out her chocolates!

Last one before we left.

That night we grabbed a bite to eat at the McDonald's by our hotel, it had a pretty nice view.
This was the old sign marking that you were leaving the American sector. 

I don't remember this being up the whole time we were there. But, meaningful nonetheless.

Full view of Checkpoint Charlie from the patio.

We went back to the hotel and got a good nights rest so we could get an early start the next day. Our first stop was a photo booth...


It took a while to get our photos, this looked just like the ones we had growing up so it is an antique! Plus, was only €2 total bargain!

Our next stop was the Topography of Terror. I expected this to be a lot more gruesome memorial, but it was quite informative.

A sculpture peering through the wall. There were a couple of these in this area of the city.


Overview of the Topography of Terror.


Reading through lots of info, trying not to get rained on.

This was probably the craziest piece of propaganda I saw. It was a poem in primary school books modeled after the "Our Father" prayer. The kiddo and I discussed how the design was so much like some of her primary school workbooks and how she could see that this would be appealing for children to look at. She said it reminded her a lot of some of the stuff she used to get excited to get to simply because of the design.

Some history of the Olympic Games being held there.

Now that we've talked about some bad stuff, here is a bear holding a wiener :)

Next we were making our way to the Holocaust Memorial but happened upon this cool art installation.
It was a temporary exhibit celebrating the fall of the wall. The men represent openness.

So many green men walking!

One of the men close up.


Giving the man a flower.

We finally made our way to the Holocaust Memorial.
 This memorial has raised some controversy thought of as "unnecessary" by some and also because it only commemorates the Jews lost during the Holocaust.
 Each of these concrete pillars represents those lost during those horrible years.

Next we made our way to the Brandenburg Gate. 




Next up was the long walk to the Victory Column. We learned at the German History Museum that this had been located outside the old city palace (if I remember correctly at the very least this was not it's original location) and was moved to this location in the WWII era.
Landmark on our way to the column.

Our first view of the column.

A bit of the park on our way back from the column.

It was very lush and green.

These markings were all over the city marking where the wall was...

 We of course had to do something silly...someone did get a good laugh out of it she walked by and said that was the goofiest thing she'd seen someone do there...
 In case you don't get it she was modeling after some of the sculptures we'd seen, pressing against the wall...
 Pretending to climb the wall...
...and finally, peering through the wall. 

We popped into a mall because it had started pouring down rain!

After this we made our way back over to the Brandenburg Gate area to see it after the rain.




We had a really wonderful time and would highly recommend spending a couple of days there...especially if you are really interesting in diving deeper into German History.