Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ramen Salad Recipe

   I can't get plurk.paste to load, so I'm typing up a Ramen Salad recipe here instead. :D It'll do.

I'm lazy and usually just use a bagged salad, then add the dressing and topping to taste. I generally don't mix everything together if I take it to a potluck or something just in case someone is allergic to nuts, but it's a lot more convenient if it's all mixed together before you leave for wherever you're going. You definitely want to have the topping and dressing prepped ahead of time because they need to cool down before you put them on the salad.

Ramen Salad Recipe

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, melted
2 pkgs Ramen noodles, crushed (you only need the noodles)
1/4 C. sunflower seeds
1/2 C. slivered almonds

Heat oven to 350F. Mix ramen noodles, nuts, and butter together and spread on a cookie sheet. Stick in oven and toast until light golden brown. 

1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. vinegar (I use rice wine vinegar, but any kind works)
3/4 C. oil (I use olive, but any kind will work)
2 teaspoons soy sauce

Mix all dressing ingredients in sauce pan and simmer until sugar is melted or boil for 2 minutes. Place in fridge to cool.

You'll need around 6 cups of whatever salad you'd like to use, Just mix salad, dressing, and most of the topping together in a bowl. Sprinkle leftover topping on top before serving. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

K1 Visa Paperwork!

   Thursday November 15, I sent in a good sized box of paperwork (US medium flat rate mailer box) to the USCIS. Tracking number shows they received it Nov. 17...then we didn't hear anything for awhile...until Sunday Nov. 25, 2012! Woohoo! When you send in all the paperwork, there's a form you can include that allows them to reach you by email, text, or both, rather than just by mailing you a hard copy. We sent that for in, and last night we got both a text and email saying that they got the paperwork, assigned us a case number, and let us know what service center (California or Vermont) was going to process the paperwork. :D Talk about a happy moment!
   Now, we have to wait for awhile, and if we don't receive any RFEs (Request for Evidence), we should get another text, email, and hard copy stating that they want my financial info. Whee! The ball is finally rolling!

Monday, September 24, 2012


  I'm a little late in updating this, but now is as good a time as any to start this. :D The end of July, the Fella flew over to the US on holiday to visit friends of his and to visit me. He flew into JFK, then down to Charlotte, NC to visit a friend there for a few days before flying back to NYC to head over to Pennsylvania to visit a few friends there. A few days after he arrived in PA, I flew into NYC, we explored the city for a few days, then headed out to PA to hang out with his friends there for a week. :D After that week was up, we flew out to Nebraska so he could spend about 3 weeks with me! :)

   Part of the plan when he visited was the we'd head up to Montana to visit my parents over Labor Day weekend. We did that (so nice to not have to make the 10 hour or so trip by myself) and he got to meet my parents, siblings, and grandparents. The morning we were leaving my parents' house he proposed to me! :D Now we're onto the next part of our journey together...
   With him being a German citizen and myself a US citizen we have a bit more of a hurdle when it comes to getting married. We have to decide what country we're wanting to live in, the pros and cons of both countries, how it'll affect our families (mostly the one moving), etc.

  • He's been wanting to move to the US for awhile anyway, so that decision was pretty easy. We still looked into what it'd take for me to move to Germany if we went that route and decided that'd be harder.
  • There are a lot of good points to both countries. Major deciding factors is that if I immigrate to Germany, I have to show a certain amount of proficiency in German, have to go through their driving school and retake my driving exam--practical and written, he has to show that his home is large enough for both of us. However, the wait time on the visa isn't as long and the visa fees are way cheaper. The other stuff is nowhere near as cheap though. If he immigrates to the US, visa and immigration fees are higher and take longer and we have to file a work authorization form after we marry so he can work. It usually takes 5-8 months to approve the K-1 (fiance) visa and about 3-6 months to approve the work authorization form.
  • All my family (excepting 2 of my cousins) live in the US. All his family lives in Germany. Needless to say, both sides are affected on that and affected just as much.

   As I said, we'd decided on him immigrating to the US. So now we're getting finances in order and figuring out different things (like what possessions to keep or get rid of) so that we can start getting paperwork for the K-1 visa put together and we can file. It'll be a bit before we get to that point, but I'll update when we're there. :)

   So now you know what's up. It'll be interesting to see what happens from here!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Post Germany Trip

Well, I made it to Germany and back in one piece. Yay!  I absolutely loved it over there. Such a beautiful place to be!  I even got to go to Paris! I'll admit that I have mixed feelings about Paris after having been there though, but first let me give a synopsis of the trip.

Flew out of Denver 5 May and landed in Frankfurt 6 May. I didn't have trouble going through US security--there's a reason I'm stating this and you'll see what it is later--and made it to my gate early. We ended up boarding and leaving early, so that was pretty awesome! I had a pretty uneventful flight over and we landed in Frankfurt early.  Clearing German Customs and claiming my baggage and meeting up with my boyfriend went well and without any trouble. Yay! Since there was construction on the Autobahn on the way up, he (The Boyfriend) opted to take a different route home. We took a few wrong turns, so we had a very scenic drive back to his place over near Heidelberg.  It was fun and definitely worth it.  I got to see some gorgeous scenery that I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise. I got to meet his family, then I did the "I made it here alive" call to my parents and posted on FB for everyone else before called my cousin to figure out when to meet up with him. Not a bad first day there I'd say. 

Monday-Thursday we went and checked out Heidelberg, Mannheim, and different sites in the area. I got to see Heidelberg Castle, Luisenpark, Sinsheim, and a few other things, including a fair/carnival in Mannheim!  Friday-Sunday we went to see my cousin and his family over in Grafenwöhr (he's in the military and is stationed there). I haven't seen my cousin in quite a few years and hadn't met his wife or kids yet, so that was really awesome!  It was good to get to see family I hadn't seen in years. 

Monday-Wednesday was more local sightseeing and hanging around the house and trying to decide where to take a spontaneous mini-holiday to. We opted for Paris (he's been there a few times before, so he knew how to navigate the city some and what was awesome to see) so we bought plane tickets and made reservations at a motel and flew out Thursday afternoon.  The next morning we did our own super quick tour of Paris and went to the Eiffel Tower, walked around Notre Dame, checked out Montparnasse Tower, Centre Pompidou, Hôtel de Ville, Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville, Père Lachaise Cemetery (we checked out Jim Morrison's grave--awesome!), Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, and back to over near La Grande Arche de la Défense where we were staying. I know we saw more stuff just walking around, but I can't recall what they were.  I became somewhat well acquainted with the Paris Metro and RER since that was our main form of transport besides our feet. My legs hated me for 2 or 3 days after that, but that's ok.  We got back Saturday evening, then I unpacked and repacked so I could leave Sunday.

Sunday was a bit rough. I did not like leaving, but alas, it had to be so. Made it to the airport, cuddled with the fella awhile, then cleared Customs (didn't take long), cleared Security (who eyed my bag with a bunch of Ritter Sport chocolate bars kinda funny, but let it through), then went to my gate to wait. Here's where crap started to kind of go downhill. Plane was supposed to leave at 1:30, but sometime around 1 they were asking all the Economy Class passengers to limit themselves to one personal item/bag on the plane and check the other because the plane was full. Sometime around 1:30 we were starting to board. We ended up taking off about 2ish. The rest of the flight was uneventful and we actually landed on time in Denver at 4 pm. Yay! Mobile phone battery died 10 minutes after landing, so I was incommunicado for the rest of the day. Cleared US Customs and Security (the lines were just really, really long), then waited almost 45 minutes for my luggage, handed in my Customs Declaration form (a matter of seconds), and headed for the front door to wait for the shuttle back home. That was about 5 or 5:15. Well, since my battery on my phone was dead, I missed the call that the shuttle was running late because the one van broke down, so they had to wait for the other to arrive and instead of picking me up at 6 as planned, it'd be closer to 7. Oi. There was another person waiting for the shuttle too, so when they didn't show up and were about 30 minutes late her daughter called and found out what happened. The shuttle didn't show up until 7:30. It's about a 3 hour ride home and we had to stop for fuel at Fort Morgan, CO. I didn't get to town until 10:50 and it was after 11 by the time I walked home. Dropped my luggage off, then went to reclaim Bear from a friend's place and talked to them a bit, so it wasn't until 12am when I got home for good. Notified other people that I was home, alive, and safe, then went to bed close to 1am. Talk about a long day! By that time I'd been up over 24 hours (I did nap for about an hour or so on the shuttle ride home). And guess what? I had to get up Monday morning so I could go to work!  At least I made it home ok and got about 5 hours of sleep. 

Oh, back to my mixed thoughts on Paris-- Parts of Paris were just beautiful! We were over in the business district, so the area wasn't that bad and a bit cleaner. The places we ate at over there had at least one person on staff that spoke enough English for us to order without major issues. We did eat lunch somewhere in the middle of Paris which had awesome food and although the staff didn't speak English we were able to point at the pre-made sandwiches and get some food.  On the other hand, Paris seemed to be a rather dirty place and a lot (not all, but a surprisingly large portion) of the people were quite rude. The Metro usually stunk. Where I had been in Germany was much cleaner and although a lot of the people were brusque, I wouldn't call them "rude." I'll admit though that I'm from a small city (about 900 people). Until this point in time, Denver, Colorado was the biggest city I'd been in. There are some really dirty parts to Denver, but something about Paris just really didn't appeal to me. I'd definitely visit again-- there were things that I didn't get to see this time that I'd love to go see. Personally, I couldn't live there though since there though. WAY too many people.  I've never been able to figure out the French language, so I think that's part of why I didn't care for the place either. How they say words and how they're spelled usually don't match, so you're left wondering what the heck they just said. Or at least I am. I tried to learn a bit of French one time, but other than counting to 10 and saying please, thank you, shit, big, small, exit, and cabbage, I really don't know much.  

As for German it was easier for me, but that's partially because I'd learned some of the basic sentence structure and pronunciation rules in 5th grade and I've always had a fascination with the language. I know a little bit, but nowhere near enough to have a conversation. After 2 weeks there, I do understand a bit more, but I definitely couldn't communicate by myself. With the help of a dictionary or phrasebook I can kind of make what I want or need known. Still have a lot to learn of the language and culture though. 

Some major differences I noticed between the US and Germany:
  • They really like carbonated mineral water (I dub it "fizzy water). That stuff is vile and evil in my opinion.  Generally in the US we only use something like that for mixing drinks. It has not other purpose. lol
  • They don't believe in lines...or at least lines as the US understands them. If you're waiting in line in the US, people generally don't cut in front of you. Not quite the same in Germany. There's a line looking thing and where ever there's an opening, someone (generally more than one someone) will make a move for it no matter if they're farther back in line or next in line. The opening is free game for all.
  • The cashiers in stores get to sit down on chairs at the register. I haven't ever seen that in the US. All our cashiers have to stand. It's enough of a difference to make me notice it.

That's about all I can think of right now.  I had a blast going though! I can't wait to go back. :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

May You Have...

   A while back someone posted a link for making your own stenciled pillow. I love typography styled stuff. It's simple, clean, and just nice to look at. I really like reading, so maybe that has something to do with it as well. LOL. Anyway, I decided to try my hand at making one last night!

   It actually wasn't too bad, just time consuming to do. I really wish I'd gotten a better paint marker though. I'll use this one up, but I'm definitely going to have to either order a better one or pick one up next time I'm shopping in a bigger city. This one did the job, but it took for freaking ever and toward the end I was really having troubles getting it to do more than one letter before I had to put the cap back on and shake it again and I managed to get a few ink/paint splatters on the case. Ooops! 

   I found the quote I wanted to do, printed it off, then I got to stenciling it out on my pillowcase. I put a bit of poster board in the pillowcase so that the marker didn't bleed onto the other side. 

   After getting it all stenciled in with pencil, I then went over it with the marker. I managed to freehand it since I had the penciled in bits to guide me and I don't think I did too bad at all! 

   Now I just need to heat set the paint, stick a pillow in it and all will be well. :D I'm trying to decide if I'm ambitious enough to trim the excess on the one side down and add a zipper to it. I have no sewing skills whatsoever, so I probably ought to leave well enough alone. Maybe. LOL.  I have another pillow case to use, so now I just need to decide on a quote for it! I'm really contemplating using the one in the tutorial link, but that's a huge quote and I'm not sure I have that much ambition.  We'll see. It took me about 2.5-3 hours to stencil in with pencil, then go over with the paint marker. Now that I've got the hang of it, it should go a bit smoother next time!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


   To preface this post-- Man, it's been awhile! Ahem. Now onto the good stuff.

   In 9 days (May 5) I'll be getting on a plane and flying to Germany. I'm quite excited about this since I've only ever been out of the US once and it was to Canada. Saskatchewan is just beautiful, by the way, but it's still close enough culturally that it didn't really feel like it was a "foreign country." Germany, well, that'll be a different sort of endeavor. Grocery stores aren't open on Sundays (not that I foresee that being an issue for me. lol), you pull up to the light you're stopped at (as in "right under the blasted thing," not pull up to the line on the other side of the intersection like we do here), most people there speak another language... and a few other things like that. It'll be fun, interesting, and exciting! And before you ask, yes there will be many pictures taken. I think everyone I know has told me that I have to take them. Rest assured. There will be photographic evidence of a trip. LOL.

   So, that's it for now. Yeah, a bit of a floppy ending to such a post, but it's all I can think of for a conclusion. LOL. I probably won't be online much while I'm there, but check out my plurk account  to keep up with what's going on. You'll have to add me as a friend since my timeline is private, but plurk is actually a really fun community. :D