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Thursday, May 21, 2015

How to make coffee

Today's post is dedicated to my dear friend Ch who is a huge Starbucks fan, who went through seven (!) coffee makers in only one year and finally broke down to purchase a Nespresso machine.

It goes to prove that making coffee is not a no-brainer. 

But it can be done!

Agreed, it's simpler to press the button of a fully automatic coffee machine.

I am going to show you how to actually brew your own coffee without even using a French Press!

This is what you'll need:


  • Whole bean coffee, ground coarsely (grade 9 on a regular coffee grinder)
  • Water kettle or regular pot
  • Kitchen scale or measuring cup
  • Small sieve
  • Cup, preferable with a spout
  • Your favorite mug
  • Kitchen timer - iPhones work well ;-)


Instructions:

Measure your ground coffee. It's 10 grams or 1/4 US measuring cup:


Put the ground coffee in your spouty cup.


Boil your water. Actually it should not be boiling-boiling! 

Temps between 80 - 90°C (176 - 194°F) are perfect. 

That's what you usually get if you live around here. 
Please do your own research if you want to brew coffee while trekking in Nepal!

Back when I made milk bottles for the little guy I used a meat thermometer to measure water temps. The things a first-time Mom does...


Start your timer (4 minutes) and pour in 180ml (6oz) of water.



When 4 minutes are over, pour contents over the sieve.



If you're a gardener you can use coffee grounds to fertilize your earth. 
Otherwise dump it in the trash. Not the sink, it'll clog your drain with time.


Enjoy your coffee! 
If you have selected a variety like Verona, anything chocolaty goes well with it.


Chocolaty and / or nutty! 
I tasted it for you - you're welcome!



Friday, May 15, 2015

Use Your words - Mother's Day

Today’s post is another writing challenge as well. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: 

candles ~ dinner ~ extra ~ stretch ~ floor ~ basket

They were submitted by
Climaxed  - thank you, Jenniy!

I will use my words to tell you about my Mother's Day.


 



Colin hat big plans and made a grocery list consisting in lots of strawberries (because really, what says Mother's Day louder than strawberries?), raspberries, blueberries, eggs, bell pepper, pineapple, sausages, blackberries, mango and spaghetti. 


So on Saturday he went to meet his Dad at the office, and the two of them went shopping.



Sunday Morning, 7am.



As soon as I had my breakfast consisting of coffee and chocolate cake (it was MY day after all) I got my first gift. A cardboard heart box, filled with dried apricots and mango slices, dipped in chocolate, made in school. Made me want to text his teacher to thank him - and to ask for some extra!



Then C went to work in the kitchen. He boiled and dyed eggs (yes, in this order)...


…cut up sausages and assembled them to the cutest smurf huts:





I was pretty floored!

It took him a looong time to make this, and I heard hubby lecturing him when he dropped an egg and thought somebody else was going to clean up the mess, and he was getting tired of this hard work, but again, nobody else was doing it for him.

Time for cocktails! "Strawberry Mimosas"! We had been talking about this for days, and it was a huge highlight of the day! 

By the way, can you detect a pattern in my kitchen accessories? A Christmas coffee mug, Santa hat stirrers, I  admit, they're a bit of a stretch, but hey, what are you gonna do?


The larger bottle is alcohol-free. Can you believe I am the only one who actually drinks? To my justification, I didn't drink the whole mini bottle. I used the leftover to make champaign risotto for dinner the next day. Yummy!

Speaking of dinner, they made pasta and heated three different sauces. 



Had I defined to use Mother's Day for my word challenge, I would have insisted to lit a candle! ;-) 

After so much yummy food I should go back to the basketball court and sweat it off. 




Instead we watched World Cup Hockey. 




We lost 7:2 against Canada but still made the quarter finals! Unfortunately the USA kicked us out a couple of days later.


I had a fantastic Mother's Day! My sweet little boy really worked hard to spoil me. Hubby even unloaded the dishwasher on Monday morning. Because what good is Mother's Day if Mom has to clean up the next day?


The best thing was that I got my no. 1 wish: not having to scold Colin all day! 

Of course the heart shaped candy holder, made at daycare, wasn't bad either!



PS: On the grocery list there were a couple of fruit and berries that I didn't mention here. He did have plans for them, but kind of ran out of time and energy. Can't blame him.

PPS: After the smurf hut success, C has more plans! He wants to open a sandwich stand. He put together a menu, complete with diffferent ingredients, sizes and prices. As for the location he is thinking "in front of daycare". Opening hours: as soon as he is done with homework, let's say 2:30pm. Who wants to buy a sandwich at this time? Ooohps!
Now go find out what my friends' words were, and what they did with them:


Baking In A Tornado 
Spatulas on Parade 
The Bergham Chronicles
The Momisodes
Stacy Sews and Schools
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo
Eileen’s Perpetually Busy  
Battered Hope
Southern Belle Charm
Someone Else's Genius
Confessions of a part time working mom 
Climaxed
Searching for Sanity
Evil Joy Speaks
Disneyland in Kentucky


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Real Life Romance

Welcome! Today we are going to talk cars.

That's right! 

What are you saying? The title? Romance? Nothing to do with cars?

We are going to see about that.


The other day I was reading Zee Monodee's guest post on Real Life Romance, and it got me thinking. 

If you are going to commit yourself to spend your life with a person, should you go for chemistry, butterflies and roller coaster emotions? Or trust that your parents will choose the best partner for you?

The other day I had car trouble. That's how it usually starts. A call to road assistance here, a trip to the shop there, spare parts, bills. My patience with unreliable means of transportation is pretty limited. My time is precious, I can't be stuck. 

So the offer is on the table. A brand new company car. I would have to pay for the monthly leasing charges, and pretty much everything else would be taken care of. Registration maintenance, gas, insurance costs - gone.

While I'm typing this, I'm thinking how stupid could I be not to accept it?

The catch is - I'm not in love with this car. I test drove it last week. The driving was fine, nice even, and the parking went well, too. Even sideways and backwards ;-) It has a screen the size of an iPad!




  • It's a Skoda Octavia, the Czech Volkswagen 
  • It's reasonable
  • It's safe
  • It's spacious
  • It comes equipped with features I didn't even know existed.
  • The sales guy at the dealership is super nice.
  • The shop is a 15 minutes drive away
  • Their market share is almost 30%, so there's plenty of experience and spare parts 
  • Skoda is an important ice hockey sponsor.



However...

THIS is the one I'm lusting after the one that makes my heart race, the one I've always, always wanted!


I test drove it, too. It was over 15 years ago, and it kind of scared me. 

It was manual gear changed, and with the slightest nod of the gas pedal, that beast boosted off. It took actual leg power to hit the brake - driving that car was hard work! 

I was smart enough to take that baby home to see if it even fit in my garage, because, frankly, it was a bit wide! 

It did fit! Only the door… I could barely open it to get out of the car!!

I looked at gas milage. Not too encouraging.
Insurance? I'd have to live off mac and cheese for 25 days a month.
Official dealerships in Switzerland? There were some.

So 15 years, a husband and a son later (and a wider garage) it might be time to revisit my old dream! 

Today I went for another test drive. I can not afford a new one, so I was looking for used ones. This one is 19 years old and has 50k miles. 




Did I say I went for a test drive today? 

Let me rephrase: I wanted to go for a test drive today. I didn't really get to drive. 

See, the first thing I always do when I drive a car that isn't mine, is I have to move the seat forward. Because short legs. 

The seat could not be moved forward! The little engine that is supposed to do so is obviously broken. Also the inside looked very used. So I guess it's good-bye, old Mustang.

Back home I had a call scheduled with R, my friend and advisor in all things finance, insurance, taxes, and stuff, and I tell him everything. 

He listens patiently, feeds me with info, and when I'm done, he's like "it's funny that you mention this. On my way to the office I actually thought I saw you!"
"Really, where?"
"In front of a car dealership in W (town not far from here). I saw a lady with white pants standing next to a - now sit down - red Mustang convertible!"

Unfortunately I currently don't fit into my white pants anymore, but hey, everything else? Could have been me. 

So my test drive in W is Saturday. God have mercy!!




Friday, May 8, 2015

May Secret Subject Swap - What's a mother to do?

Welcome to May's Secret Subject Swap. Again 15 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  
Sit back, grab a cup (a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, your choice) and check them all out:


Baking In A Tornado


My subject is 


It was submitted by Battered Hope - thanks, Carol!


My blog is called confessions of a part-time working mom. 
It's time for a confession.

It is Thursday at 4:50pm, and I am having a glass of wine. 

Not last night - the other week.

The above picture was taken on Cinco de Mayo. We had some yummy enchiladas.


So the other Thursday I had a glass of wine before happy hour.

That's a first. Usually I wait till dinner. Or at least till I start cooking. Some sauces need to simmer for hours, you know. And if you are going to pour some wine over the browned meat für deglazing, you want to make sure it's good wine. Right?

Back to last week.

What happened?

It all begann the week before. Usually when Colin comes home from school, he is cheerful, kicks off his shoes and shouts "what's for lunch?" 

The other day he was looking preoccupied.

"Mommy? D told me that R wants to beat the crap out of E and myself, and kill us!"

WHAT?

I had occasionally heard about this boy R but didn't know him.

I started asking questions.

"Did you guys have a fight? How does D know, and why would he tell you - isn't he R's friend? Do you think it's even true that he said that? Where does R live, what's his last name,..?"

And "are you scared?"

No specific fight, he is mean to all the kids, and sometimes D is his friend, other days he isn't. I don't know where he lives or what he's called, I just see him at daycare. I'm not scared, I mean, it's not that he's got a gun or anything. Also I asked around, some kids are going to protect me.

Whoa. 

Is this a rookie mother overreacting? 

I wanted to march into daycare, grab that young man by his ears, sit him down and yell at him that nobody is making threats at my son! Nobody, understand? What the f*** is wrong with you? 

I knew I had to calm down and sleep on it.

The next day I was still upset but still didn't have a plan. 

A text from a friend / mother to whose daughter's birthday party C was invited, presented an opportunity. I asked her if by any chance her daughter went to Kindergarten with R, and would she happen to know this family or at least their name?

Carlos Eduardo García Fernández Iglésias Delgado Sanchez
she replied. (That's not his real name, of course, but you get the picture.) 
Brilliant. They are not listed in the phone directory. And if they are, they go by an abbreviation. Maybe a gangsta name?
I needed to get a grip. 
Friday we stopped at E's mom to wish her a happy birthday.



Note the absolutely brilliant age recognition software!!


I didn't have a chance to ask if she's heard about it and what her thoughts were, but I did talk to E, and he said when R annoys him, he just ignores him. 
Good thinking. I wish I was this cool.



I was just about to drop the whole thing when I got an e-mail from K, the daycare manager and friend, asking about a day school got cancelled. I asked her if she knew anything about R. No, but she'd ask S who is in charge of the big kids.

We tried to reach each other several times. Today we finally got to talk. 
I can't repeat everything she's told me. Only that this boy had serious issues, and that he is going to attend a different, special school as of this summer, which means he'd also quit coming to daycare. She'd keep the boys away from each other until then because there was no point in trying to integrate him.

Now I felt sorry for the guy.
Which led me to have a talk with C this afternoon. We talked about being excluded by other kids, and I thought it was a good idea to use an example about sports.
Do you guys ever form teams at the gym, you know, taking turns in recruiting team mates? Yes? So who are the ones who always get chosen first? I see. Are there any kids who are usually among the last ones? (I remember belonging to that group) How do you think they feel?
"Well, it depends, if they suck at the game we are going to play, then they just know and have to accept it. Sometimes they are lucky and end up in the winning team anyway, even though they don't score themselves. 
If they're strong, they most probably are like "what kind of a stupid captain is that, he should pick me!!!??"
Bwwaahahaha!
After our little talk, during which he enjoyed the ice cream I got him as a snack, and I felt that we really connected, and that he was immensly mature for his age, he was supposed to do his homework, but he didn't feel like it.

We had a fight.

The neighbor boy rang our bell and asked if C could come outside to play.

Mean Mommy said no, not before he's done with his duties.

We fought some more.

When he was finally done - it took him all of 5 minutes -


I wanted him to go to the bathroom - which he didn't appreciate -
he went outside, only to come back inside after a couple of minutes to the upper floor, shoes all dirty, asking to take the iPad outside.

Mean Mommy said absolutely not! And take your shoes off at the door!

Back outside he went, and loudly told his friend that his mean Mommy said no to iPad.

Next I heard them yelling to sh** the f*** up at a stupid cow, the girl two houses down.

I ran outside and said if I heard one more of those words, they were coming inside and fold some laundry for me. And when they were done, they could scrub the floor.

Then I poured myself a glass of wine.

What's a mother to do?



PS: I found this the other day on CTworkingmoms.com and want to share it with you:


Love the scrapbook style sign the SAHM made. Oh, and the lady who said "I don't even know what 'wear your baby' means!" 


I will never understand why SAHMs say they don't work just because it's not a paid job outside the home?

Did you notice there were no signs saying "I (didn't) vaccinate my kids"?

Also there was not a single Mom who said "when my kids drive me crazy I have a glass of wine". So I guess that's just me.

Brilliant campaign, either way! 
Happy Mother's Day, friends!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Empty Battery

Yesterday was one of those days… 

Rainy Friday, Swiss labor day, but not a day off in our canton (state), headache, tired after a busy week... 

When 5pm came around, I was quite happy!

This spring we started a trial to have Colin walk from the community center, where he attends  KIK every Friday afternoon, to our office. 

So far he either arrived late because he had to get his backpack at daycare, or because he took a detour by his friend's house, or one day because he brought this friend and his brother to the office. We ended up going out for dinner with their family. 






Today, due to 99% chance of heavy rain all day, we agreed that I was going to pick him up.



They made a painting. 

"Wow, looks great, very bright colors! Who are those people?" I asked. 

"Dunno, some bible dudes. One is Petrus, I think."




I always suspected that he liked to attend KIK because of the candy they get which I think is kind of annoying. 

The red line on his face? As I said. They were painting...
Anyway, we were ready for our Friday night outing! However when I wanted to start the engine...



Not AGAIN!!! The exact same thing happened on Thursday night before Easter. I just went to pick up groceries at Le Shop which is very close, so the engine didn't have a chance to properly warm up. Plus it was raining. 

Back then - by the time I finally found the number for my particular road assistance - I tried to start the engine again, and it worked. 

I forgot about it. 

Until today.

I could have called right away, but I wanted to give my engine the time to recover from what ever kept it from doing its job.

After about 10 minutes I called road assistance. "It's going to take 30 - 40 minutes" the dispatcher said.

Then we waited. And waited...


In the meantime I kept in touch with hubby who was still at the office:


Oh, wait, wrong screen shot ;-)


The reference to Skoda is that hubs basically ordered one company car too much and wants me to buy it. Only they are not being produced till late July.

July started to sound good for a different reason: with my car battery dead (this is what I suspected) it became cold in the car. I didn't have a jacket or an umbrella with me. Not even my purse, only the phone with a half empty battery.

Plus Colin began to make funny movements with his legs. The ones that make a Mom think he needs to pee. First he said no. Then he admitted he wouldn't mind going to the bathroom. 

When C needs to pee - and I know the feeling, I am the same way - there is usually no time for discussions. We need to go, and quickly!

He got out of the car and ran to the community center door. And was back a couple of seconds later.

"It's closed."

Are they #$@&%*!ing kidding me? A member of the community needed to pee, and the door was closed, a mere half hour after class is over?

I could get out of the car and start canvassing the neighborhood, ring bells, explain we are not Jehova's witnesses, just desperate people with a full bladder. We probably should leave the bible dude painting in the car, though

However… by the time we may find somebody who lets us use their bathroom, road assistance would arrive, find an abandoned car and turn around?

"Is it really, really urgent, or can you hold it until Daddy picks you up and takes you home? The alternative is that you get out and find yourself a tree!?!"

"It's cool. I'll hold it. But can you ask Daddy to come and get me anyway?"

Hubs agreed to come here and bring my purse that I left on my desk. After all this was supposed to be a quick pick up and get back to the office!

Fortunately my rescue arrived shortly after that! A friendly road assistance guy who charged my battery and asked if this has happened before. 

Yes? What, a month ago? And no trouble since then? Lady, you have been lucky. This battery is this close to dying! I strongly advise you to go to a car shop right away and get yourself a new one!


"Right away? You mean on Friday night after 6:30pm, on Labor Day?"

I hear you. If you're lucky I may have one in my trunk. Hold on.

So, the car engineer found a battery, and it was one that fitted into my car. Should he build it in here and now?

YES, PLEASE!!

Only

All I had on me was a credit card and a 20 bill. 


That'll do, he said.

Then hubby arrived. He had been walking here! In the pouring rain! With my open purse in which there was an umbrella!?!?


All I could think was "what a stroke of genius that I didn't choose an LV bag today!!!"

You can't see well on this picture, but it was pretty soaked

There are two kinds of purses...
It all worked out in the end. The handheld credit card device accepted my card, the friendly guy got my 20 bucks tip, and we were on our way to the restaurant.


TGIF at last!