Dec 31, 2011

Our First Christmas in Germany: Christmas Day


Our first Christmas Day in Germany, through photos:


Santa left me 6 bottles of my favorite German wines under the tree! Does that jolly guy know me or what?!


Cooking up a DELICIOUS breakfast of real, fattening, center cut bacon, Monkey Bread, and sugar cookie coffee! The smells coming from our kitchen that morning were other worldly. Mmmm.


Eat your heart out Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray! My Monkey Bread was insane. Perfect in every way!


After we enjoyed our breakfast bounty in front of the Yule Log, we opened up gifts from D's family!


Of course, no Christmas would be complete without watching the single greatest Christmas movie in the entire world, White Christmas! We played it while opening gifts. I love me some Bing Crosby.


D was such a happy boy! He got the first 3 seasons of one of his favorite shows, Boy Meets World! This guy can watch hours of Corey and Topanga and not get sick of it. Just one of the many things I love about him. :)


Then it was time to open presents with my family via Skype!


I see you Tucker Bear!! Tuck always gets SO excited when the presents start coming out. He's just like his mommy! Got his nose all up in that bag!


Momma got D and I a little Tucker dog replica. It's solar powered and lights up! Sadly, we've yet to see sun...so it hasn't worked yet. By the way, dontcha just love my Santa hat!? I found in in Strasbourg and just HAD to have it!


I got the most awesome gift ever! A Nikon D5100 DSLR camera, Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, AND a Kelly Moore bag to put it all in! Hubby totally surprised me on this one!


Then D opened one of his big presents from me. This was his reaction:


"OH YEAH, IPOD TOUCH! HECK YESSS! THAT ROCKS! YOU'RE AWESOME, BABE!"
Yes D, yes it does rock. Moments like that are what gift giving's all about. 


The aftermath...


D and I spent the rest of the in our PJ's on the couch. I love it when we've got not place to be, no one to see, and we can just cuddle up and enjoy each other's company by a glowing Christmas tree. Since we splurged that morning with a super decadent breakfast, we kept it low key for Christmas dinner. I made Baked Club Pinwheels (with the leftover bacon from breakfast) and Caramelized Onion Dip. Both were a home run. I've been on the cooking ball here lately!


For dessert, we dug into these adorable little treats called Mohrenkopf...which I think is the equivalent to a Mallomar in the USA...that we got at the Christmas market in Rüdesheim the day before. They're basically different flavored marshmallows with a waffle cookie bottom and covered in chocolate. The flavor on the far left is Latte Macchiato, the middle was Bailey's Irish Creme, and Zebra (regular marshmallow flavor) on the right. The Bailey's one was the best by far.


Even though Christmas was a little different this year, we still managed to make it wonderful. Now, it's almost time to ring in the new year! Happy Holiday's, everyone!

Dec 29, 2011

Our First Christmas in Germany: In Review

Truth be told, our first Christmas away from home wasn't horrible...in any sense of the word. D and I did a great job of keeping ourselves busy with Christmas activities to stave away the sadness. Ok, so I did get a little teary eyed when I heard Alabama sing "Christmas in Dixie" on a Pandora station Christmas Eve, but that was my only slip up! Of course we missed being home like crazy, but D and I had a lovely time starting new traditions and spending Christmas just the two of us. We did a whole lotta eating and a whole lotta relaxing. It. Was. Glorious. Sorry for the long blog hiatus! It was nice to be (somewhat) unplugged and away enjoying quiet time with the hubs on his holiday off. But, I'm back and ready to share a recap (through photos, of course) of our first Christmas in Germany!

On Christmas Eve, Eve we took a day trip to Rüdesheim, a quaint town right along the Rhine River. 


We bought a few bottles of wine at the little shop at the end of this alley...adding to our ever growing German wine souvenir collection. One fabulous thing (among many) about Germany and wine selling is that you can almost always taste the wine before you buy it! No wondering if the bottle you picked is worth the 8 euros...the wine seller will pop a bottle and let you taste for yourself! That's practically unheard-of in the states. I've often bought a bottle of wine (probably because it had a cute label) and after suffering through one glass, down the drain it went. I've never wasted a bottle here. Gotta love Germany!


I love that they put blankets on the chairs for the customers who choose to dine al fresco. Although, I'm not that brave. Maybe in the Fall?


After a few mugs of glühwein, we decided to make a pit stop for lunch. There were little to no food stalls (that were appealing, at least) in this particular Christmas market, so we opted for a festively decorated restaurant called Gasthaus Winzerkeller. 


 We've had the pleasure of eating lots of German food over the last 6 months and this place is definitely near the top of our list. The food was PHENOMENAL. Most notably, the Riesling soup. That's right. My favorite beverage of choice simmered with mushrooms and cheese and ladled right into an adorable soup bowl. Heaven. D and I ate a soup just like this a few weeks prior at his squadron Christmas party held at the fancy Kurhaus (which reminds me, I totally forgot to blog about it!). We never thought we'd get to feast on this delicious soup again seeing as we were served dinner that night from a set catering menu. Imagine our surprise when we found it hiding in the sweet little town of Rüdesheim!


Thumb of approval from D! Soooo good! We both got schnitzel with fries (seriously, fries here taste SO much better than ones back home...like yummy McDonald's fries ALL THE TIME. Of course, I'm partial to McD's fries). We also ordered 2 different kinds of schnitzel to try. Mine was called Zigeunerschnitzel and was a traditional pork cutlet covered in a sautéed pepper and onion tomato sauce. D went for the Zweibelramschnitzel (try saying that 5 times fast!) which was also a pork cutlet, only it was covered in onion sauce. Both were insanely good.


After our filling lunch, we meandered around the Christmas market for a little while and then ended up taking a walk through a vineyard. Granted, the vines are grape-less and hibernating, but the views as we topped the hill were amazing. We will definitely be back for a visit this summer. There's LOTS more to see and do!

After our lovely visit to Rüdesheim, we had to keep the Christmas activities going! We met up with some of our friends here in Wiesbaden and went ICE SKATING! Correction...I went ice skating. D sat this one out. I wasn't alone though. My friend and her family skated with me...as well as about 200 other German kids who acted as if they were all Olympic figure skaters. Needless to say, I couldn't keep up...and after two laps around the crowded rink, we were done. 7 euros well spent. At least I can say I've been ice skating in Germany!


 We then traded our blades for a hot mug of glühwein (seriously lost count of how many I've had this season!) at the Wiesbaden Sternschnuppenmarkt (Twinkling Star Christmas Market).


The most festive glühwein stand I've ever seen! As if glühwein could get any better,  this stall is where I tried my first Kirsche Glühwein (cherry mulled wine). Flavor explosion. 


Of course, what would a German Christmas market be without toasted bread and cheese? A very not good one, if you ask me! We dined on the finest Flammbrot in the market...bread covered in cheese, speck (bacon), and green onion then toasted over an open fire.


I can't think of a better way to enjoy the eve of Christmas Eve than exploring and taking in all that Christmas in Germany has to offer! I so wish our families could have enjoyed all of these magical places with us!

{Seeing as this post has gotten much longer than I anticipated (I didn't realize we stuffed SO much into one day!), I'll save my Christmas Day recap for the next post. Stay tuned!} 

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