Tag Archives: musings

Autumn Patio Daydreaming

Fall is my favorite season. I love sitting on the patio with a nice cup of coffee or tea and enjoying the early Autumn colors and sun. It’s a time of year when I like to reflect on what has passed and what will be. I am already well underway in my holiday planning and crafting, and I’m busy with all of the fall activities such as harvesting the last of the summer crops, attending back to school events, and getting into my literature and education studies. However, this year we are in the process of moving back to the States and to our beautiful home in Colorado. I’ve enjoyed my time living in Germany, but I am ready to return home. As I was sitting on my patio this morning, enjoying a hot cup of coffee and wishing that fall would hurry and arrive—It’s been unseasonably warm here in Germany—I started to daydream about my little patio back home and how I want it to look.

It must have the following items:

  • A large table with seating for up to six people
  • A sunshade/rain shelter
  • One lounge chair with a side table—for my morning contemplation

This is our current backyard.

View from the corner of the yard

We have plans to increase the size of the patio, but those are plans for a more distant future. As a homeowner, I’ve learned to prioritize and a patio renovation keeps getting pushed down on the list. In the meantime, I’ve found some awesome furniture that will last a long time, won’t blow away in the crazy Colorado wind, and works with several décor styles. I found this amazing table at arhaus.com that is made with real wood and concrete. I don’t think it will be blowing away in the wind, unlike our last lightweight wood one.

This is the Bourdeaux Rectangle Stone Dining Table from arhaus.com. It is simple, but can be set with a lovely centerpiece, pretty plates set on either chargers or placemats, and would look awesome in the evening with candles set along the center.

My dream table from arhaus.com.

Of course, this 84″ dining table is a bit large for our current tiny patio, but this is a daydream, so imagine this table on a large, gorgeous flagstone patio.

The patio would look something like this…only a bit smaller to allow for my veggie and fruit garden.

It would look like this if you compare it to the view of the backyard from the corner. Photo from dansonlandscaping.com

I sense a theme of natural woods and stone, so why not add in a little decor?

Garden Decor from arhaus.com

So now we have a table, a larger patio, and some decor. I think we need some chairs. I love the look of these Mississippi Dining Arm Chairs by Oakland Living from wayfair.com. I think the curved lines soften the overall look of the bold dining table. And they are wrought iron, so they won’t blow away!

Mississippi Dining Arm Chair by Oakland Living


Now we need the sunshade/rain shelter. My goal is to build a pergola when we redo the patio. However, I do realize that a simple pergola does not offer much shelter from the harsh Colorado sun or the rain. Since I am still contemplating it, we could just settle for a large Cantilever umbrella. I found this one on backyardcity.com. I like that it has a heavy base and support system without compromising style in favor of functionality. When the winds are strong, the umbrellas can simply be closed and secured.

View from the corner of the yard

All I need now is my little corner with a cozy chair or loveseat and a side table for my morning contemplation. I love the idea of a fully upholstered chair, but even in a daydream, I think about stains, weather, and bugs. I think I will go a bit more conventional for this particular item. I found this darling Carlisle Loveseat with removable cushions at frontgate.com.

Carlisle Loveseat in Onyx

I love the idea of adding more natural textures to the patio, so why not add an old tree stump? I mean, we are outside right? I love this one because it has legs that will prevent the tree trunk turned accent table from rotting at the bottom as it sits in water or snow melt.


I think we’ve covered all of the criteria on my list.


Since it’s autumn, and I love decorating, I think a nice fall decor is needed. Here some ideas I came across during a recent Pinterest binge. All links can be found on my Autumn Patio Pinterest Board.

Autumn Tablescapes
Autumn Lanterns

Now that you are inspired (hopefully), go outside and enjoy the beautiful beginning of autumn! I’m headed back outside right now to read a book and enjoy a nice hot cup of Earl Grey tea. I will just pretend that I am curled up on that cozy loveseat with a knit blanket draped over my legs.


Parenting American Teens in Germany

Or the Worst Mother’s Day Ever

Sunday was Mother’s Day. Happy belated Mother’s Day by the way. On Friday, my daughter called me from the grocery store to ask if we had certain items in stock. I wasn’t sure what she was up to, but I suspected that it had something to do with Mother’s Day. My daughter loves to cook and bake, so I assumed that a treat was forthcoming for Mother’s Day.

On Saturday evening my daughter decided at the last-minute that she wanted to see a movie with her friend and her friend’s mother. I said Okay. My daughter then calls me while she is at the movies to ask if she could stay the night at her friends house. I said sure, but don’t forget that tomorrow is Mother’s Day and have her mom call me after the movie is over. I fell asleep before I received the phone call from her friend’s mother.

I had been working hard all week on my final essays and projects for my British Lit and Shakespeare courses, so when Sunday finally arrived, I decided to sleep in until 10. I had already discovered that my daughter planned to make brunch after I heard her tell her father not to make reservations at our favorite gasthaus. I woke up, excited at the idea of omelettes, pastries, yogurt, and fresh fruit.

I checked my phone. The mother had never called. I tried calling her, but received no answer. I figured that she was probably bringing my daughter home.

At 1130 we got THE call. The one that every parent fears. The MPs called to tell us that our daughter was in the Nurnberg hospital. WHAT?!?!

She had been picked up by the Polizei at the bahnhof. She was unresponsive for two minutes as the Polizei tried to wake her up.

We rushed to the hospital (just over an hour away). When we arrived, she was sleeping in the waiting room.

The Doctor gave us her blood test. Her blood alcohol level was 1.4 when she arrived at 930 am and 1.2 two hours later. Her last drink was at 4am.

In case you are wondering how a 16-year-old can go clubbing, I should probably tell you that the legal drinking age in Germany is 16. Crazy right?

She had no idea where her coat, purse, and cell phone went. She assumed that her “friends”–who left her at the bahnhof–were in possession of her stuff, but she could not remember. She remembers getting separated from them at the Nurnberg station and then finding a Polizei for help. The Polizei gave her a train ticket to get home. She got on the wrong train. So then she gets off a few stations later and sits on a bench to wait for the next train going back to Nurnberg. This is where she passed out. A Polizei found her and called the paramedics.

Nurnberg is a known party spot for Americans and Germans. There are numerous clubs, fights, and deaths. THis is where most young soldiers (and apparently dependent teens) find trouble.

We have warned her numerous times to stay away. We have told her how dangerous it is and that the consequences for my husband are severe. Like most teens, she ignored us.

We spent the next 2 hours trying to locate her belongings. After a hopeless search, we headed off to find food and take our errant teenager home.

Long lectures, yelling, crying, and more lectures and yelling ensued. It was a long ride home.

At 530pm, her friends finally decided to bring her belongings–which contained her Passport Visa, military ID, and SS card–to the MP station so that someone would know that she was missing. Her “friends” waited almost 12 hours before notifying ANYONE that my daughter had gone missing!

I sat on my patio and watched a young mother play with her little girl. My heart ached for myself and for that mom who has no idea that in just 12 years that sweet little girl will break her heart.

Parenting is hard. Parenting teenagers is torture. Parenting teenagers in Germany is a nightmare.

So here I am, remembering the sweetest little girl that was once my daughter and every  time I think about it, my eyes begin to fill with tears.

I am so very grateful that my daughter was not raped or murdered.

She will rue the day she lied to us and went to clubbing. How do you punish a modern teen? Take away ALL social media, electronics, and friends. If I had it my way, I’d lock her in her room until she turns 18.

Do you have any teen parenting related horror stories to share? Please feel free to comment below!

Pinterest Musings: Pallet Projects

We ran into a little problem after opening the Malm boxes form Ikea. There were no slats for the mattress. Yes, I should have listened to the husband. Here’s the conversation we had as we stood in front of the center rail piece and the bed slats:

Husband: “I think we need these bed slats”

Me: “it’s not on the Ikea shopping list that I printed out. They must be in one of the two boxes.”

Husband: “just because it is not on the print-out, doesn’t mean that we don’t need them. Better to have than to be sorry tomorrow when we put the bed together.”

Me: “I’d rather not have to deal with returns. If we need them, then I will pick them up on Monday.”

Husband: “Okay honey. Whatever you think is best.”–which actually means “you are an idiot and I don’t feel like arguing”

I don’t say this often, but he was right.

So, instead of heading out to Ikea on Monday, husband found a great solution–pallets!

They are free at the Post Exchange (PX).

So he went and grabbed about 5 or 6 of them. After we put the bed together and measured the area, he went outside and cut them. They work great! My mistake saved us 20 Euro!

More on the pallet bed slats later.

Now we have some leftover bits from the pallets. So, I asked myself, “toss them, or check Pinterest?”

I checked Pinterest of course!

Here are a few ideas that I found. Just click on the Picture to go to the web page.

This would look nice in my daughter’s room.

Mason Jar Organizer DIY Playbook

I like this idea for the Laundry room. Could do a couple of these with each family member’s name.

Check Your Pockets Laundry Room Sign by BandLCreations on Etsy, $18.00

I love this one too. We drink more beer now that we are Germany, so this one makes a lot of sense.

Bar Decor

These could make a nice gift.

Barn Wood Coasters

I also love these. They would look great on the patio.

White barn wood mason jar candle holders

These are just a few of the thousands of ideas on Pinterest. Of course, I’m working with bits and pieces, so I’m doing small projects. I can’t wait to get started on one of these ideas. Or maybe I’ll come up with an idea of my own.

Have you made any pallet projects that you would like to share? Post a link in the comments!

Early Morning Musings and Shakespeare

The sun still sleeps, yet I sit

with the morning birds;

They drink the dew upon the leaves,

and sing a chirping morning song.

I have put King Henry to bed,

and praised his Machiavelli qualities,

while blissfully unaware of the hour;

tis a quarter to five in the morning.

Oh, William, how you do intrigue!

Upon finishing the masterpiece,

I yet yearn for more of your brilliant

prose in iambic pentameter.

Away off in the distance

I hear a dog’s echoing bark.

Does he see the third Richard, or is he

merely announcing the morning hour?

Ah me! As Juliet would sigh,

it is early, yet late–somewhere

in the between of night and day

and yet, I am at peace.

Neither tired, nor wired for daily

doings, I will sit and ponder

the worlds of Lear and Othello;

All the while–glad that I am neither.

A stirring in the next room alerts

me to others waking for the day.

Goodnight my dearest William.

Tis time to greet the morrow.

Time Is Not Fair!

It’s the time of year when I start to reminisce about the days when my kids were little. Their birthdays are coming up soon and they will be 17 and 15 years old. My daughter will be off to college in a year and a half! It seems unfair that time drags when you are young, but seems to speed up once you have children.