Wednesday, December 4, 2019

House Hunting

It's been 10 years since we moved here in Stuttgart. 10 years of paying rent, which could have been spent to pay off mortgage for our own home. But it is not easy to find your own abode in this part of Germany because the prices for houses or apartment have sky-rocketed in the last 3 or 4 years. If you want to settle in a place very accessible by public transport, where schools and stores for daily needs are just within walking distance, you would have to pay a hefty price for it. Newly built homes are also way too expensive - you would have to pay more than half a million euros to get one. 

And if you want to get a loan from the bank, you would have to first have a permanent residency in order to get a long-term loan approved. In our case, it should be possible. 

The good thing about getting a housing loan at this time: the interest rate is relatively low. Depending on your capital and the selling price, you could get an annual interest between 1.01 - 1.35% per annum. This is indeed a very good time, and you can arrange for a fixed interest rate for 10-15 years. 

So where I am trying to drive at with this post? Well, it is a good time to buy your own house if you are financially sound to get a loan from the bank. But with so many people looking to buy their own home and with a very limited number of properties for sale, the competition is very high. You would need not just capital, you would need a lot of patience and a little bit of aggressiveness and a lot of luck to be chosen as the buyer.

As for us, we are still looking... hopefully the search will one be over one day and we will finally be able to move into our own home sweet home. 

Benefits of Professional Carpet Cleaning Services

Carpets play an essential role in almost every home. They are one of the most frequently used items in a household. As such, how you take care of your carpeting impacts your life. Your floors are exposed to an array of dirt sources whenever anyone walks on them. Also, pets may sometimes urinate on your carpet, not to mention the endless spills, oil stains and food crumbs. A carpet that is not well cleaned can pose health issues and may not last as long. That’s why you need professional carpet cleaning services.

Improved Air Quality
You have perhaps been in a situation where you have guests getting uncomfortable with the smell from your carpet. Even if you routinely vacuum, it’s embarrassing to put up with the stench. Professional carpet cleaning services use the right products to eliminate any odors and enhance your indoor air quality.

Quality Cleaning Equipment
One of the primary benefits you will get when you hire professional carpet cleaning in Calgary is the use of quality cleaning supplies and tools. Using a simple brush to clean your carpet may not get rid of all the spills and dirt. Professional carpet cleaners have the right cleaning supplies and equipment appropriate for your carpet fabric. That means that the professionals can effectively get rid of stubborn stains on your carpet and extend its lifespan.

Reduced Health Risks
You are probably wondering about the health risks that can arise from a dirty carpet. The truth is that your health could be at risk when you don’t thoroughly clean your rugs. Exposure to mold spores and tiny dust mites can be harmful to your health. That’s why you need a professional to clean and sanitize your carpeting to get rid of such contaminants embedded in the fibers.

Most carpets last for years when you take good care of them. With a professional cleaning service, you will most likely extend your flooring's lifespan. Enjoy these and more benefits when you hire professional carpet cleaning services.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Three Tips for a Fun Wedding Day

Your wedding is an incredibly important event that signifies an amazing commitment between two people. While marriage is a serious thing and is even sacred to many, it's also cause for some major celebration! Here are three ideas to help you make the most of your wedding day by keeping things fun and memorable at your reception.

Pick Your Reception Music Carefully
For starters, live music creates an exciting atmosphere and is an extra source of entertainment for your guests. Consider some local wedding bands NYC and see if there's a group that fits your style and tastes. If live music isn't your style, make sure you evaluate your DJ just as closely as you would a wedding band. Attend some upcoming gigs or ask for videos to help you get a better feel for their personality, and make sure you're very involved in picking the set list.

Include a Unique Activity for Your Guests
Surprise your friends and family with some special activities throughout the event. Hire a caricature artist, rent an adult-sized bounce house or set up a station with different games your guests will love. Be sure to include options that will appeal to all of the age groups you've invited to your big day. If your reception lasts for more than four hours, plan to order pizza for the guests that stay late to dance the night away.

Serve Extra Sweet Treats
Wedding cake doesn't have to be the only dessert option at your reception. Set up some tasty sweet treat stations so your guests can indulge whenever they want. An ice cream sundae bar is a delicious option that can still partner well with a slice of cake. A candy station gives guests the option to take home some sweets to enjoy later and can even serve as a wedding favor. For winter or outdoor events, set up a s'mores station for a special dessert option. 

Your wedding is something worth celebrating! Find creative ways to make the day exciting for you and your guests.

The Christmas / Advent Calendar

When we first moved here in Germany in 2009, the Christmas calendar is among the gift-giving traditions that I look forward to. And it is very interesting to learn along the way how this very romantic idea of a calendar to make waiting for Christmas day to arrive a little bit easier turned out to be a million industry.

Everything started very simply: with pictures and texts. It was in 1903 when most probably the first Advent calendar was designed, by the Munich publisher Gerhard Lang. The calendar was inspired by his mother, who made him a calendar made from 24 cookies when he was still a child. Every day a cookie for the little Gerhard, which made waiting for Christmas day to come a little bit easier.

Even before the published calendar, this counting tradition is already practiced by many German families - for example chalk marks on the wall or the door to count off the days. But then of course, colorful pictures and beautiful texts are more interesting. Lang's calender with the title "Im Lande des Christkinds" (In the Land of the Christ Child) is a kaleidoscope of various motifs of the kinder world. After the premiere in 1903, new versions were published every year. 

Because children love sweet things, the publisher soon had another idea: Christmas / advent calendar with chocolate. It was in 1920 when the first calendar was published, just like the typical calendar we have today: with 24 small doors to open. It was an optimal idea, because people love beautiful surprises. Clubs and parents in other areas then started designing their own calendar.

It was in 1945, after the second world war, when other countries and even the industry found the idea interesting. Famous artists designed calendars - there is the classic with the chocolate and slowly in more and more variants.

Today, there are all sorts of Christmas calendar available in the market - for all ages and for a wide range of products. There are calendars with chips, seasoning, gin, fragrance, make-up tea, coffee, even Lego and Playmobil - there is a calendar to almost every product that one can purchase. It has become a million-business. 

But do we really need all this? I personally love the chocolate bit, one for each day. But with all the products being sold out today, I think it has already lost its essence and meaning. The happiness that opening one door brings has maybe become superficial. Despite the massive commercialization, may we never lost touch of the true meaning of Christmas.

Three Gift Ideas To Show Appreciation to Your Staff

Gift-giving can be a great way to show appreciation to your employees. It's generally important to reward your staff for their hard work and determination. Go out of your way every once in a while and surprise your team members with thoughtful presents. However, picking out gifts is often not so easy. Here are three smart gift ideas to get you started on employee appreciation.  

Gift Baskets
Executive gift baskets usually contain selections of hand-picked goodies all wrapped up neatly in a beautiful hamper. A gift basket is often an appropriate present for any employee and any occasion. Something that can make gift baskets truly special and valuable is adding a few personalized items or touches that are unique to the recipient. Just about everyone loves gift baskets, and there is almost always an excitement that comes with receiving one because you never know what's inside.  

Personalized Presents 
Nothing says special like a personalized gift. If you're hoping to touch your employees’ hearts deeply, then personalized gifts may be the way to go. Find out what every employee is enthusiastic about, their hobbies, likes, and preferences. Then select gift items that best reflect an individual’s interests and personality. For instance, get game tickets for sports fans, dog collars for dog lovers, novelty items for art enthusiasts, and so on.  

Tours and Excursions 
Here’s an idea – don’t give your employees anything; instead, take them out on a fun trip or thrilling adventure. You don't have to pay for expensive foreign tours; visiting local attractions also counts as an extraordinary experience. Outings and collaborative activities are also essential for team building, socializing, and cultivating morale among co-workers. Studies have also revealed a strong correlation between workers' appreciation and workers' productivity and well-being.

Appreciating your employees through gift-giving goes a long way in showing that you recognize their efforts and care about them. An employee who feels appreciated is often inspired and motivated to work hard. 

Fresh, Fruity and Festive

The Body Shop has launched its Christmas edition products, with fresh, fruity and festive scents to get you in the mood for the holiday season.

This Christmas season, The Body Shop have released three limited edition product series:

1. Juicy Pear (fresh and sweet) - Luxurious body care highlights with pear extract from Italy.

2. Rich Plum (floral and fruity) - Turkish plum extract gives the sweet fragrance a nip.

3. Warm Vanilla (warm and creamy) - Vanilla extract from Madagascar encases the skin with a sweet fragrance.

I personally love the Rich Plum's fruity and floral fragrance. I still have to try the Juicy Pear. I am not a very huge fan of vanilla though, I find it too strong for my senses. I love The Body Shop products because they are committed to principles close to my heart: "Enrich, not exploit" by partnering with local communities in sourcing out sustainable and fair raw materials. It is also among the companies that have 100% vegetarian ingredients and continues to actively engage in a worldwide ban on animal testing of cosmetic products and ingredients.

Which Christmas Edition product variant have you tried?

Note: Images from The Body Shop.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Essential Things You Should Know About Ovens

Congratulationss on acquiring your fancy new appliance. It must be exciting to bring your oven home finally. You probably have a whole list of meals that you want to prepare with the new fancy appliance. However, you will have to do a few things before you start cooking with your new oven.

Oven Installation
It would be wise to hire an expert for the installation process, rather than installing it by yourself. You may think that the installation process is easy and you can save money with a DIY project. Unfortunately, you could be putting yourself at risk. You need to hire professionals such as oven installation Washington dc if you want the installation process carried out with expertise. The professionals are certified and licensed to carry out oven installations. As such, they can handle any complexities that arise during the installation process without damaging your oven.

Break In
You should break in the oven once the installation process is over. The step is vital for both electric and gas ovens. Failure to break in the oven may leave your oven with a sticky chemical smell that can permeate your food when cooking. Most manufacturers advise oven users to heat their new ovens to a high temperature to aid in removing residue from surfaces inside the appliance.

Maintenance Tips
An oven, just like other kitchen appliances, requires regular maintenance. You can read through the user manual to see the instructions for using your oven correctly. But, oven installation experts can also help you with that. You can ask the expert questions regarding regular oven maintenance. Let the professionals guide you on proper oven handling and maintenance based on their experiences.

You can now prepare your delicious emails on your new oven. Make sure you read the user guide and contact the installation experts whenever you have any questions. Don’t forget to properly take care of your oven so that it can serve you for longer.

The Wilhelma Christmas Garden

Winter is slowly making it's way in this part of the world. Days are getting shorter and shorter, and the wind is chilly and icy. But despite the cold, I always find joy and wonder in this season, for winter is after all "the most wonderful time of the year".

Why? Well, because of this of course:

And these mammut trees that seem to be dancing in a play of lights or these angels, playing the hymns of Christmas:

Or enjoy the lotus pond illuminated with lights:

Should you ever get hungry or want to grab something warm to drink, a small Christmas market is available at your disposal:

Yes, everything lights up, making the sleeping botanical garden alive and awake:

Where is this, you ask? The lighted elephant gives it away.

Yup, you got it right! It is in the Wilhelma Zoo! Visit the Christmas Garden at Wilhelma in Stuttgart between 17.00 - 22.00 PM. They opened the Christmas garden last 14th November 2019 and will be available until the 6th of January 2020.

Don't miss the Christmas Garden at the Wilhelm Zoo in Stuttgart, now on its second year! Tickets are available online at or at the selling booths outside the main gate.

Photos were taken last year and are the blogger's own.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Three Tips for Picking an Instrument To Learn How To Play

If you want to learn how to play an instrument, there are so many to choose from! Before you settle on one, consider these three questions.

1. Do You Buy Or Rent?
If you are going to learn how to play an instrument, you need to decide whether you want to buy that instrument or rent it. If you want to learn how to play the piano, check out some Boston piano dealers before hand. Is there a piano in your price range? Do you have a place to store it in your home? Maybe you want a flute or saxophone that is more portable. If you cannot afford to buy it maybe renting or leasing is the best option. Think about what instrument would suit your situation best.

2. Do You Know How To Read Music?
Before choosing an instrument to learn how to play, you want to consider your proficiency at reading music. If you can read treble clef but not bass clef, you might want to go with an instrument whose music is in treble clef. If you can read tabs then maybe you want to pick up some kind of guitar. If you want an instrument in a clef you do not know or you have never read music before, factor in taking some music lessons that will include learning music notation. 

3. What Do You Like To Listen To?
When you think through the logistics of owning and learning an instrument, you want to think about what instrument fits you. If you love rock music, maybe you want to pick an instrument that is featured on your favorite songs. If you like jazz, consider a drum set, saxophone or trumpet. If you love the symphony, maybe a clarinet or some string instrument would work best. You are more likely to stick with the instrument you choose if you like how it sounds!

Monday, October 14, 2019

What's Happening in October in Stuttgart?

We are already halfway through the month of October, but it still has lots to offer for both young and old. Here are some events and activities that the City of Stuttgart and its neighboring cities has to offer this fall season:

1. Kürbisaustellung (Pumpkin Festival) at Blühendes Barock in Ludwigsburg
The annual pumpking festival runs until November 03, 2019. This year's theme: The Fantastic World of Fairytales. If you grew up enjoying the tales of the Grimm Brothers for example, then the giant pumpkin exhibit is a must! Lots of activities are in store for visitors: halloween pumpkin carving, music, story telling, pumpkin gourmet creations, and lots more. Entrance fees: 9,00€ for adults, and 4,50€ for children from 4-15 years old.

Giant pumpkin sculture of Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle. Sculpture by Pit Ruge.
Photo taken from Blühendes Barock website.

2. Culmination of the Remstal Garden Show:
For 164 days the Remstal became a unique experience, opening up new paths, testing new formats and making new encounters possible. With it, the communities and cities around the Remstal became closer more than ever. To culminate, an inter-community closing ceremony will take place in Waiblingen on 20.10.2019. In the evening, Waiblingen lights up, with the city center bathed in a colorful sea of lights. A fireworks display forms the brilliant finale of the event and the Remstal Garden Show 2019.

3. Halloween at the Wilhelma: 
It is Halloween at the Zoo on 31.10.2019! Children and teenagers until 18 years old in costumes have free entrance to the park. Wilhelma transforms into a Halloween town with spooky lights, a dim atmosphere, scary silhouettes and creepy decorations. Special Halloween program from 11:00 - 20:00. 

These are just some of the things that you can do with your family this month of October in Stuttgart. I wish you lots of fun and enjoyment with the whole family! 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Safety Tips for Aging Loved Ones

More and more seniors are deciding that they want to grow old in the comfort of their own home. As your loved one ages, however, safety becomes a major concern. If your parents or other loved one has decided to remain in their Denver home, here’s how you can ensure their safety.

Reduce the Injury Risk
Older adults are at an increased risk for falls, which can result in serious injuries or death. Make some adjustments to the home to help reduce the risk. For instance, you can install grab bars and non-slip mats in the bathroom, convert the bath into a walk-in shower, and place a bench by the front door. Also make sure that the driveway, walkways, and porch are free from potential hazards.

Improve the Lighting
Many seniors have a harder time seeing, which can increase the risk of accidents. Ensure that your loved one’s home is outfitted with proper lighting. Install additional lighting in halls and stairways. To help your loved one find light switches, you can install plates that glow in the dark.

Install Locks and Security
You want to make sure that your loved one is secure in their home. Install quality locks on their doors and windows. You may also want to consider a security system and a way for your loved one to easily call for help if they need it.

Check In
Check in frequently with your loved one. Visit when you can. Call often. If you can’t be there to check on your loved one yourself, look into memory care denver. This way, you can ensure that your loved one is being looked after when you aren’t able to be there yourself.

Just because your loved one is getting older, that doesn’t mean they can’t do so at home. With just a few simple adjustments, you can help to ensure their safety and your peace of mind.

Ramen 8: Japanese Ramen Bar

The days and nights are getting colder, and what better way to ward off the cold than filling your tummies with the hot, savory goodness of Japanese Ramen. It is not easy to find a ramen shop in Stuttgart, especially if you are looking for authentic Japanese ramen. Thankfully, Ramen 8 finally opened its doors in Stuttgart.

S was very happy with her Ramen. Here, she was almost finished with her bowl...
We were too excited to eat we forgot to take a photo of the served ramen! :) 
Located along the Bohnenviertel in Eberhardstrasse, this unassuming ramen shop serves different ramen soup bases served with hand-made wheat noodles, a choice of tenderly cooked, roasted pork (Chasu), chicken fillet, or tempura or just vegetables for the Vegetarians. There are also various side dishes that you can add to your meal like gyoza (dumplings with vegetables), yakitori (chicken barbecue on a stick), tempura (deep-fried shrimps) among others.

They also serve Japanese beer, best paired with edamame (blanched soy beans), as well as genmaicha, which is a green tea preparation with roasted brown rice.

So, if you are in the mood for some Japanese comfort food, head on over to Ramen 8! A plus: the staff always has a smile, makes sure everything is okay, and very nice! 

Location: Eberhardstrasse 47, Stuttgart Mitte
Opening times: Monday to Friday, 11:30 - 15:30 and 17:30 - 22:30 and Saturday, 11:30 - 22:30.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Preparing Yourself To Welcome a New Baby

Finding out that you are expecting a child for the first time is a moment unlike any other. You may be filled with wonder and dread, excitement and concern all at the same time. It's fun to buy baby clothes, set up the nursery and get ready for baby to come, but consider some of these tips taking care of you as well.

Medical Care
You might be amazed to learn that there is are many women never visit a doctor or midwife during their pregnancies. Whatever their reasons, it is essential to get early and regular care during your pregnancy, not only for the baby, but also to ensure a healthy mommy during and after delivery. Things like high blood pressure and water retention can alert your midwife to potential problems early, allowing time to correct the situation.

Choose a Facility
The staff at any given facility are the first humans your baby will come in contact with and the ones who will help you deal with any pain and nervousness you may have as you go into birth mode. Visit the midwives at the pregnancy care center Tampa FL residents rely on for a good birth experience to see how they can help you when your time comes.

Care and Feeding
The importance of caring for yourself while you are expecting a child cannot be over emphasized. Getting adequate amounts of quality sleep including naps will help you cope better emotionally and allow your body the reserves it needs to do the hard work of growing a child. Fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of good clean water are essential to provide vitamins, nutrients, and energy needed during pregnancy. Exercise or stretches according to what your midwife feels is safe for you can improve blood flow, reduce swelling, and can stimulate a feeling of well-being.

Don't take this time for granted. Growing a child takes a lot of work and effort on your body's part. Take care of yourself and you will feel healthier and happier when the big day arrives.

Suki Is Two!

It's already fall... The leaves are beginning to fall and she loves the fragrance of the autumn air.
Our little Suki just turned two last Sunday, and oh my, aren't we sooo glad that she came into our lives! Who would have thought that this wild ball of fur would turn our lives update down. We couldn't even imagine our life without her now...

Just cuddling and hanging out with family.

She is one ball of happy, wild, slimy, sweet, needy, cuddly, adorable FUR! She drools when she wants a piece of what you are eating and gives you her look that you can't resist. She loves to fart especially when you are beside her and it just STINKS A LOT! She is a springer - she would jump at you just because. She hates it when it rains and doesn't want her paws to get wet, so she could be stubborn if you force to go out for a walk on a cold rainy day. She sheds a lot, it doesn't matter what season. She snores very loud, louder even than the husband, that he can't sleep too when Suki sleeps with us. Hihi! But despite all these, we are not complaining. 

Getting a bite of her favorite snack: carrots, anyone?
She is one sweet dog - she is content to just sleep beside us whenever we hang out in the living room. She is family to us, and I am her Mama. Imagine having little kids at home who would follow you around, even to the bathroom? Suki does that too! Suki is our french bulldog. She is our family pet, but she is more than that. I guess you can say that she is our 2nd baby. And we thank God she is in our lives. May we get to spend more years with her.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

What to Do If Your Loved One Can No Longer Live Independently

As your parents get older, it can be difficult for them to accomplish tasks that once came easily. If you think that your parent or loved one needs a bit of help living on their own, here are some strategies to try.

Consider Moving Back Home
Sometimes it is best for your parent to have a child living with them to assist with day-to-day chores and errands. This way, your parent can still maintain his or her freedom while having some help from a family member, and you are also less likely to disrupt their schedule or lifestyle. Moving home might seem like a drastic step, but it can be hugely beneficial for your parent and your relationship.

Look Into Home Care
Older folks with more persistent or complex health problems might require a level of care that you are unable to provide. If this is the case, hiring a home care worker might be a better option. To find home care workers in your area, simply do an internet search to see reviews and cost breakdowns. For example, if you reside in Washington, D.C., search for "home care washington dc" to find agencies near you.

Research Retirement Communities
A retirement community can be a wonderful choice for seniors who need some help or companionship, but also want to maintain a relatively independent lifestyle. As people age, they still need to surround themselves with a community of friends and family. Finding a retirement community where your loved one can engage in group activities and have on-hand assistance may be a perfect middle ground between living on their own and types of full-time care that is more hands-on.

Depending on the amount of assistance they require, it may be frustrating to think about living accommodations for your parent or loved one. However, with these tips, you are sure to find the situation that works best for everyone involved.

e-Scooters / e-Rollers in the City

e-Scooters from lime parked near the tram stop in Zuffenhausen-Kelterplatz.
I have been noticing e-Rollers parked just about anywhere around the city. It started I think last month, when the first few of these battery-operated scooters for rent can be spotted in the city center. The e-Scooters or e-Rollers are operated by lime, a US-company.

Could this be the start of the mobility revolution in Stuttgart? These e-scooters are not meant to compete with the public transportation like buses, trams and trains but as a supplement to it. These e-scooters are said to run up to a speed of 20 km/h. Oh my, is that fast!

To protect it from robbers, it has anti-theft features: it alarms so loud like a car alarm system when someone tries to use it by force. The e-scooters can be activated via a smartphone app, where you have to be a registered user to be able to rent, locate available e-scooters and pay.

The e-scooters may be used by anyone aged 14 years old and above. They may only be used on the bike lanes or cycle paths; driving along the Königstrasse is tabu. Helmets are not required when using them but it is recommended for your own safety.

Have you ever tried using an e-scooter? Would you rent an e-Scooter yourself? Let me know how your experience was by leaving your comments below.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Three Things to Consider When Choosing a Natural Birth

Women today have so many options when it comes to giving birth. Choosing natural childbirth is becoming a more popular selection with many mothers-to-be these days. However, it's important to keep in mind that natural birth takes planning and preparation in order to be successful. If you've made the choice to go this route, here are three things to consider to make your pregnancy and delivery a positive experience.

Receive Your Prenatal Care From a Certified Midwife
Choosing to make your prenatal appointments with a licensed midwife tampa rather than an OBGYN could help better prepare you for a natural childbirth. Licensed midwives are qualified to perform all of the necessary checkups and procedures during pregnancy, as well as deliver a baby during childbirth. Midwives specialize in the natural approach, so they will be able to offer sound advice and tips for dealing with common pregnancy woes and pain during labor and delivery.

Hire a Doula for Preparation for and Help Through Labor
Labor, especially with your first child, is a very challenging process. A doula can help prepare you for what to expect by sharing wisdom and advice from past experiences. Not only can they help you prepare your body and environment for the event, they can also provide peace of mind and coaching during active labor to help ease anxiety and make contractions more manageable and productive.

Choose the Right Hospital or Birthing Center
Some hospitals aren't very supportive of natural childbirth and are more focused on speed and efficiency. An exhausted and overwhelmed mother may not have the strength and endurance to stand strong in her wishes for a natural birth. Do your research and find a hospital or birthing center with a history of supporting this approach. Ask if they have midwives on staff, whether or not they allow remote monitoring and if they provide birthing balls or tubs for expectant mothers.

It takes a lot of help and preparation to prepare for a successful natural delivery. With the right tools and support, you can experience a beautiful natural birth.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Day 2 in Salzburger Lungau: Hiking Day to Rotgueldensee

Rotgueldensee is considered as one of the most notable and beautiful mountain lakes in Salzburger Lungau. It is located in Murtal (Mur Valley), within the National Part Hohe Tauern.

From our apartment, we drove about half an hour to Hintermuhr and started our hike from there. Tagging along with us is of course our french bulldog Suki. We started our hike from the parking area of the Arsenhouse, following the road going up the mountain, passing through a number of informative natural trail about the mountain and its Flora and Fauna.

The family on the way up to mountain lake, Rotgüldensee.
The hike normally takes about an hour for regular hikers, but it took us longer as we needed to take more short water breaks for our Suki due to the hot weather. It rained hard halfway through the hike and we were all wet when we reached the lower Rotgüldensee and the Rotgüldensee-Hütte. Although cloudy and gray, it was a sight to behold. The lake water was calm and silvery-gray due to the clouds hovering above. We took a rest at the cabin, where we ordered some hot beverages to help ward off the cold. 

This beautiful lake greeted us, with the foggy Großer Hafner further up.

Later, the sky cleared up, revealing the lake's beautiful almost turkish blue water. Further up, one can see the waterfalls coming from the upper Rotgüldensee and the shimmering ice-cold beauty of the Großer Hafner, a partly-glaciated mountain, up ahead.

The sky cleared up a bit revealing the cold beauty of Großer Hafner
and of course, the lower lake's turquoise water.

We wanted to take the challenge of going up to the upper Rotgüldensee but decided otherewise due to the weather condition and the fitness level of our group which includes a french bulldog, a complaining-not-quite-a-teenager daughter, and me, whose fitness level is close to null. The only fit person in our group is my husband. Hehe! :)

The hike back was quicker and more pleasant for our Suki because the temperature has cooled down. 

It was a beautiful day still, one that we will forever cherish.

How to Add More Natural Elements to Your Home

No matter your style, every home can be made more welcoming and comforting with some additional natural elements. You could choose to replace your flooring with a hardwood like Monarch Plank Windsor Collection, or you could simply add features here and there around your house. Whatever you decide, you don't have to spend a lot of money to do it. Try repurposing old items or using found objects from trips or even around your property.

One of the easiest and healthiest ways to bring nature indoors is with plants. Ones like pathos, ivy and ficus act as natural air purifiers as they can filter dangerous chemicals and toxins from the air. You can also do double-duty with herbs as accents to your decor as well as to your food. If you feel that your thumbs are more brown than green, try cactus or succulents. They require little water or attention and are excellent choices for those who may forget to water other plants regularly.

Accent Walls
For a more dramatic effect, try an accent wall. Techniques could vary from covering a wall using repurposed wood planks to creating a wood-framed showcase of art or photographs. You could also add a living wall. Succulents planted in a vertical planter can be a showstopping look while adding the health benefits of living plants to your space.

Do you love to travel? Use the natural bounty around you. Bring back the beautiful sea glass or seashell you found at the beach. Maybe you found an unusual piece of driftwood that would make a unique holder for tealight candles. Keep strange rocks from your excursions and display them on a shelf or windowsill. You'll have a personal remembrance of your trip along with the warmth that natural elements add to your home.

Friday, August 23, 2019

3 Alternatives To Traditional Labor and Delivery in Texas

Pregnancy and birth can be an intimidating process, especially if it's your first time. You may not have considered additions or alternatives to a hospital stay during labor and delivery. Three are some options to optimize your experience.

Go Natural
If you would like a more natural experience you should consider water birth san antonio. It is exactly what it sounds like- you would be in a bath full of warm water during labor and also during delivery if you wish. It is established as being very safe and soothing. Some hospitals even offer this, if you don't want to seek out a separate facility. You could also stay at home instead of rushing to a delivery room. Midwives are certified to provide care during labor and delivery as well as obstetric care, during and after the pregnancy. Just imagine how much less stress you would feel in the familiarity and privacy of your own home.

Get a Doula
A doula is someone who can guide you and your family through the pregnancy and birthing process to make it the best experience possible. With the complicated healthcare process and seemingly endless advice books, it can lift a lot of weight off of your shoulders to have a certified expert steering you in the right direction. They can provide informational, physical and even emotional support.

Go To a Birthing Center
Another way to avoid the hospital is at a birthing center. These are health care facilities specifically focused on childbirth and abide by the codes of midwifery. They emphasize helping women make decisions about the labor and delivery process according to their own values and beliefs. They are set up to look like large bedrooms and living areas, to give a feeling of home. Services also include educational programs, postpartum care and breastfeeding services.

Your future child deserves the best, so don't skimp when it comes to your health and well-being. Be sure to research everything that is available to you so you can make informed decisions regarding your care.

Summer Roadtrip 2019 - 1st Stop: St. Michael in Lungau, Austria

We started off our summer roadtrip one rainy Saturday. First stop of this trip: St. Michael in Lungau, Austria. St. Michael in Lungau is Salzburg's vacation paradise, surrounded with lush mountains offering a variety of hiking opportunities for families, and deep-blue idyllic mountain lakes. 

We stayed at a family run apartment in St. Martin, with a view of the mountains and just very near the Sonnenbahn.  The Sonnenbahn will take you up to 2,0000 meters above sea level, a great starting point to explore the Speiereck mountain on foot or see the mountain lakes in the area.

Good hiking shoes are needed if you want to go further but sports shoes will suffice if you just want to take a leisurely walk, see the alpine cows lazily grazing on the mountains. There is a restaurant and alpine hut called the Peterbaueralm where you can enjoy traditional Austrian food or stay the night if you somehow ended up still in the mountains and it has already gotten dark.

On our first full day in St. Michael, we went up Speiereck. It was very foggy when we got there but the skies cleared up while we were hiking. It was amazing how the mountains would clear up one moment and then with just a gust of wind be all covered up in fog the next. We brought our french bulldog with us of course and she had a lot of fun up in the mountains. Dogs need of course to always be kept on the leash since there are alpine cows in the area. The cows were very calm creatures but if they see other animals, they might see them as a threat and could then pose a danger to people.

It was a great day up, taking in the breathtaking view of the mountain, with its fresh and cool mountain air, a wonderful experience for the entire family. It was tiring but we all had a wonderful time. Another adventure awaits on the next day.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Try These Easy Pest Prevention Tips

Summer is the perfect time for picnics and cookouts. Everyone gathers around the grill eager to gulp down hamburgers and hot dogs. Laughter and music fill the air and cold drinks keep things chill, even when temperatures are high. It’s idyllic, at least until your guests start bugging out. Apparently, friends and family aren’t the only ones invited to the party. Insects invade by land and air only to crawl across the food, and worse, your company. Your next cookout doesn’t need to turn into a scene from Creepshow, however. Here are four easy tips for a bug-free barbecue.

Oil is Essential
Essential oils offer therapeutic benefits, but many people are surprised to learn they also provide pest protection. Spiders steer clear of decks and outdoor furniture when sprayed with a solution of peppermint oil, dish soap and water. Citrus and lavender oils are other effective deterrents.

Muscle Up Your Mulch
If ants, beetles, moths or termites are a problem, add cedar chips to your mulch. It’s perfectly safe for people, animals and birds, yet emits a toxic aroma for many insects. Additionally, spreading chopped citrus peels is particularly effective against mosquitos and roaches. You also may want to use one of the all natural tick and mosquito control products available on the market.

A Penny for Your Thoughts
It turns out those pennies you picked up off the street will come in handy at your next outdoor party. Place several pennies in a clear bag, fill it with water and then hang it in an area where it will catch sunlight. Flies will keep away due to the reflections cast.

Wasps Aren’t Welcome
If you’ve got fresh fruit or soda at your cookout, chances are you’ll also have wasps. These stingers may love sugar but they sure hate hornets. Stuff a brown lunch bag full of plastic bags, rags or cotton balls. Tie it at the top and hang it so it resembles a hornet’s nest. Wasps will stay away.

Don’t let bugs ruin your summer fun. Bite back with these four tips.

A Family Roadtrip for the Summer of 2019

School is officially out and six weeks of "doing nothing", as the daughter likes to call it, is in! But no, it will not be six long boring weeks because there will be things other than school stuff to do. Plus, this family will be going again on a roadtrip this summer, this time for the first time with our adorable french bully Suki. Yay!!!

It has been quite a while since our last roadtrip as a family and we sure could use a vacation for a number of reasons: 

1. We need to take a break and get our minds off work, hence this much deserved holiday.
2. Our "little girl" did very well at school and this milestone has to be celebrated with the family.
3. We didn't get to spend our summer with Suki last year since we flew back to the Philippines so we are spending this summer with her. She was still happy last year though because she spent it at Pino's Hundehotel with other dogs.

So where to this year? We initially wanted to drive through France and then Spain and back but because it would be too hot in Spain in the summer, we decided to drive to central Europe, where the summer weather will hopefully be milder and more friendly to our frenchie. Thank God for Google maps, I was able to map out our route that will take us through St. Michael in Lungau, Austria, Heviz and Budapest in Hungary, Bratislava in Slovakia,  and back to Germany.

Our route has been set and our dog-friendly accommodations have already been booked weeks ago. What is left is to research on what we will be doing in each country that are foremost "dog-friendly"and family friendly too. If you know of any dog-friendly destinations or activities in these areas, be sure to drop a word or two in the comment section below! It would surely be very helpful and is much appreciated!

I will be writing another entry in the coming days so be sure to drop by every now and then. Thanks!

How To Package Your Dangerous Goods

Whether you are starting a business or sending a present through the mail, it is important to know if anything you ship is considered dangerous and how you need to package it. There are relevant government and international agencies which have their own guidelines for how things are packed and shipped.

Packages and Testing
Anytime you want to sell a product, you will need to make sure that it is packaged correctly and that the package has competent authority approval. This means that it has been tested and approved by someone certified in that field. You can find competent authorities to approve your dangerous goods packaging by going online or contacting the relevant government agencies.

It is a good idea to make sure that you are using approved packaging materials and that they are durable enough for the bumps and bangs of transportation. The materials also need to be rated for the things that you are putting into them. For example, corrosives can eat through metal containers in a violent reaction that can cause injury to people and damage to transportation.

Laws and Regulations
The laws and regulations are different if you are shipping the packages by air than if you are transporting them by truck and can be different for local versus national or international shipments. It is a good idea to check with relevant governing bodies before talking to a package tester to make sure that you are getting the right kinds of approval. There also may be specific regulations involving part of a package but not another. For example, most batteries will need to be shipped separate from the items they go to.

Shipping and packaging your dangerous goods can be easier than you think. You will need to research the best materials for your packages and ensure that they are tested by a competent authority certified in that area. You will also need to know the relevant laws and regulations to know which shipping methods you will need to use.

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