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Monday, December 10, 2012

Oh What Fun - Advents Calendars and Cloved Oranges

Hi all,

It's been a looooong, loooong time. Can't believe it's the Holiday Season again, and for the first time we're celebrating in Germany. Yes, that's right, we made the big move and that's the reason why I neglected my blog so much during the past months.

It's been a very different lifestyle here, I got to say. Don't even know where to start. The city we live in have the so called "Biotonnen" for example, that's a garbage can for compost and leftover foods, grass and garden waste only. They pick it up twice a month and even clean it out for you. Awesome, I think. Of course it's better to have your own compost in the garden, but if that isn't an option, at least there's that.
The "normal" garbage can is tiny, especially compared to the American ones. You wouldn't be able to fit more than one what we call normal size garbage bags in it (30 gallons), and we have a deal that it only gets picked up twice a month as well. Can you imagine??? I doubt that many people in the States would be able to deal with that - but being who we are and given the fact that literally everything except diapers, textiles and very little other stuff is recyclable here, it is very much possible! You also have to pay for the garbage services here, not through the taxes, but directly to the provider, which, as much as it stinks in a way, I think is a good idea to make people think twice how big a garbage can they want and how often they want it to be picked up.

So with the holidays being very near and the fact that half our stuff is not yet unpacked (of course the Christmas stuff is tucked away in an unreachable corner :-( I have to think about green options to decorate the house.
One thing that is really big in Germany and is getting bigger in the States as well is the Adventscalendar - where you get a little surprise for each day in December until the 25th.
This surprise can be anything from little notes to toys, sweets, whatever you can think of. My hubbie got me a story - it came in a tin with 24 round papers, and each paper has a part of a story on the back. I got him a tea calendar, with a different tea for every day.
Our boys got "Ueberraschungseier". My German friends will know those, the rest of you won't. It's a chocolate egg filled with a tiny toy. 
They sell those already done, but I wanted to make my own.
So I just wrapped each egg with green and red paper, closed it with yarn and  hang them all on a rope, each one with a sticker with the number of the day on it.
In one of the many second-hand stores that I found here, I bought some cute Christmas decoration which I also hung on the rope - it came out really nice and the boys love it:

I know a lot of people love a Christmas-y smell in the house around the holidays and buy room sprays to achieve that.
Not only are most of those really bad for the environment, and for yourself, of course, they usually also cost a lot of money. An easier way getting a really nice smell into your house (and a nice craft project for kids) is to take some oranges and stick a lot of cloves into them. I hung mine up(just poke a hole through them with a knitting needle or something like that) but you can also just place them somewhere.

The first one is hanging in front of our window with an LED light curtain in the background, the snake-shaped one is just sitting on a table.
Fun to make and gives a really nice aroma. My 6-year old was just a little concerned about wasting food for decoration purposes - but I think it's worth it.

Have a happy Holiday Season everybody!

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