Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Recipe for a rainy weekend at home

So, as promised I am back today and feeling a little bit better after last night's fiasco.  I still need to get some good quality sleep tonight before I will feel back to normal but I am on my way.  It may come as no surprise that I slept terribly last night; I kept waking up in terror from nightmares where I missed my train!

This past weekend was dreary here in northern Bavaria.  It rained all weekend and prevented us from going to the Christmas market.  It kind of prevented us from doing anything that required leaving our apartment, actually.   It flew by way too quickly, but it was a really wonderful weekend.  Here are a few tips for creating a cozy weekend at home this winter.  It is the perfect way to take a chill day during the busy holiday season or to get some one-on-one time with your love or your family during a hectic time at work. 


Here are my suggestions for creating special moments indoors:

1.  Decorate with lots of fairy lights, candles and blankets (no problem around Christmas).  Fairy lights and candles up the coziness factor and also give off a soft, warm light.  They make you look better even if you are just in your sweats and also give you the feeling of a time before electricity and overhead lighting and all the complications of today.  They create a slower-paced atmosphere.

Of course, be sure to stock up on blankets because, well, let's face it, it's cold and they're just so soft and warm. 

2.  Have a special "chill outfit" that is NOT what you wear to bed.  Yes, it can be fun to stay in your PJ's all day, but it can also make you feel lazy and gross.  I find that if I stay in my pajamas I feel much more guilty about the time I am taking to relax--like I am being lazy and ignoring "real life" and should therefore be guilty.  When I change into my still comfy but slightly cuter (and cleaner) "chill outfit" I feel like I am relaxing with a purpose.  (For me, washing and moisturizing my face and brushing my eyebrows help, too.)  My go-to outfit right now is a pair of black leggings with a super cute white, baggy knit sweater (seen above) that I recently purchased.  I top it off with a pair of super warm socks and sometimes a scarf.

3.  Pour warm drinks.  My favorites are tea, hot chocolate and, of course, Glühwein.  If it is a special or romantic evening, I would go for Glühwein (or hot chocolate for a non-alcoholic choice).  Tea is great for reading.  I like coffee but, unless I am drinking it with breakfast, I associate it with a "gotta get stuff done" attitude that doesn't work for me on days of relaxation. 

We had Glühwein this past weekend.  Honestly, I wanted to do a Foodie Friday Glühwein recipe.  But, when I actually made my Glühwein, it tasted pretty bad.  A huge fail on that one.  According to one person I talked to, it all depends on the wine and you have to choose a good one.  I guess a 2 EURO bottle of wine from the discount market doesn't count, huh?

The basic recipe is a bottle of wine, 1 lemon (and sometimes orange, which I think I would prefer and try next time), 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 cloves, 3 tablespoons of sugar and a bit of cardamon.  You can find some actual recipes online by searching Glühwein.  I suggest the German recipes if you can read them. 

4.  Have a non-TV activity.  I find that I enjoy my relaxation more when I do something other than watch TV.  I always enjoy reading when I am alone, but a great tip for reconnecting with loved ones or families is a board game.  It doesn't have to be anything fancy or complicated.  In fact, I prefer my games simple.  It is amazing what a good, simple game can bring out in people or in a group.  We are hooked on Mancala lately, but Janga is also great.  Card games can be fun.  And Trivial Pursuit is always a blast.  What I love about board games is that they get you talking--something you can't do while watching TV.

A little Glühwein and Mancala.

5.  Make it special with a blanket bed or a fort.  This may sound ridiculous, especially because I am also suggesting this for the adults, but I find that it makes hanging around home on the weekend so much more fun and special.  Everyday after work, I plop myself on the couch and check my emails, Skype with my mom or plan the next day's lessons.  I am so used to it; it is so mundane.  My special Sunday of relaxation feels just like a Tuesday night after a stressful day at work when I sit on my couch.  :-( 

So, one night, wanting to give a bit of a "special" feeling to our relaxation, I took all the blankets in our house (even the ones from the bed) and layered them on the floor in front of the couch.  Suddenly we had a little blanket bed that made watching a movie SO much more fun.  Plus, we felt like we were having a little party down there with our cookies and glasses of wine.  It's hard to explain why, but I am sure you will understand if you try it.  Something about switching up the routine just a bit and making a bit of an effort to make a luxurious space to relax in makes all the difference.  You could also make a little fort or canopy.  It would be so fun, childlike and special.  And, come on, admit it, you LOVE forts!

Peter has since become a HUGE fan of the blanket bed and often begs for it when we just want to hang out and watch TV.  I made this one as a surprise for him one night after he had been really busy at work.  I left a nice little note, too.  ;-)


Now is a great time to hunker down and get a little "me" or "us" time after a busy spring, summer and fall.  You may be tempted to spend all winter just hanging around. 

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