How To Make Vanilla At Home

How To Make Vanilla At Home With The Rosevine Cottage Girls

We've wanted to make this for a really long time, in fact, the beans have been sitting in the pantry since 2012... Whoops! Anyway, we finally got around to doing it! This is so easy, and fun- yes that is a bottle of vodka in the next picture, yes Ms. Ruby the little southern lady next store would be horrified.


Related Article: Double Trouble Chocolate Chip Cookies


What you will need:

8 Vanilla Beans
80-100 proof Vodka 
Jar with tight sealing lid (we used a quart mason jar)


Slice beans down the center leaving about an inch of room on either end, cut in half and insert into the jar. Fill the jar with vodka leaving an inch of two from the top. 


Screw on the lid and sit someplace dark for a minimum of 4 weeks (the longer you wait the better it will be). Shake a couple times a week. Yep, it's that easy and so much cheaper than buying it, especially when you use it as much as we do. 

I Have Cared For You

I have cared for you since you were born. Yes I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime- until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:4
I have cared for you since you were born... no qualifiers, no ultimatums, no earning, just I've cared for you. Since day one until you breathe your last breath, He's cared for you. Every step on this very long journey He's walked beside you. Not once has he deserted you, left you behind, gave up on you, or walked away. Not once has He said you are too broken, too insignificant, to lost for Him to care about. Only I have cared for you, and I will keep caring for you. When life goes smooth and when life is tossing you like a piece of driftwood in the ocean. He is with you.

Devotional about how god will never you

How many times we forget this. How many times we turn to the things of this world to care for us, to make us feel better, to tell us what we are worth instead of our creator. Why do we look for comfort in things that we were never meant to seek? Why do we expect a broken world to tell us if we are worth His time instead of running into His arms and letting Him carry us? We look for purpose in meaningless things instead of seeking Him. 
"With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared? Isaiah 46:5 

Who is His equal? That He could love me, not cleaned up- but in the mud and the muck, in the places where I hauled off and chased the shiny things or thought I could do it better my way. In the places where I ran ahead instead of waiting with Him. He still loves me, He still cares for me. No matter how bad I mess up He's still there ready to take me back with open arms. How beautiful is that?
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. Psalm 139:7-10

He knows the things that have broken your heart, the things you are struggling with, the pain. He knows it, and He is right there with you, holding your hand and guiding your path every step of the way for all of your days.
..."Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go... Genesis 28:15

8 Days In Germany

Welcome to another post from Germany, today marks my 8th day here. I was woken by my morning wake-up call just like every other morning since I arrived and began my morning routine stumbling around getting dressed, reading my bible and brushing what little hair I have left and headed down for breakfast.

Broccoli Soup in Germany

We have a lot to choose from, I usually go with fresh fruit yogurt, bread, and slices of meat with cheese (yes girls I actually put cheese on my bread). They also offer boiled eggs and scrambled, the scrambled are pretty good but just a bit runny. There are also four different choices of juice. Come on people way too many choices for a guy first thing in the morning! Can I just have a bit of everything?

Food in Germany

After breakfast we had to go to the banquet room for our second week of training, after a while, we get an hour long lunch (I guess it takes a while to eat a 3-course meal) before hitting the books again. The first course was a broccoli soup, then bratwurst on cabbage with boiled potatoes and then desert- but alas I was full by then so I didn't try it.



WW2 ammunition shells

After class, a colleague and I went to the museum that is down the street from where we are staying. We got there just before it closed and the gentleman running it allowed us to go through for free. He told us about the history of the town and about the items in the museum.

Antique glass wear

During World War II the city was used as an ammo manufacturing area, and glass making facility (odd combination I know). Prisoners of war from France, Italy and another country that I can't remember. They also had ladies from Auschwitz working in the factories. He told us several years ago the survivors returned to the area, I can't imagine what that must have been like.


Some of the artifacts in the museum are from WWII but not all, I want to go back and spend more time looking around. He told us that a lot of the building that had to do with the ammunition production were destroyed so they couldn't be used again, but some are still standing. He gave us a map with the buildings marked out so we can see them.


After the museum we headed back to the hotel for dinner, I don't remember what we had but I'm sure I enjoyed it- then again me not enjoying food would be darn near impossible.


Here's more of my time in the museum.



Stay tuned for my trip to Marburg!

Mr. Cottage

End Of Log.

What Is Keeping You On The Bench?

What holds you back? What stops you from completing your goals, chasing your dreams and grabbing them? What holds you back from doing what you have always wanted to do? From scaling the walls blocking you from where you want to be, where you should be. What's detouring you from where you're going?

Is it fear, fear of failure? Fear of what others may think? Of not being accepted? Is it too stressful right now between work, the kids, and running the house? Are you sidetracked, being pulled into too many directions at once all with glittery promises and big let downs?


Related Article: Kissing Fear Goodbye And Making A Splash

Depressed because you haven’t succeeded and you feel like you are just spinning your wheels? Are the cares of this world getting you down? Perfectionism? Hard times? The feeling that one more thing on your plate will push you beneath the water? Is your life like the waves of the sea battering you like a wild hurricane? Not in the budget? Is it just too hard? Too impossible? Good times, where everything is going so good so why do I need to go after those goals, after all, I'm comfortable here? Waiting for the perfect time?

With God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

There will never be a ‘perfect’ time. Do something -even if it is small- that takes you one more step toward your goal. 

Related Article: I'm Done Being Afraid

Maybe it's something like being organized. Go through one drawer, spend 10 minutes in one room. Maybe it's losing weight or getting healthy, go for a walk- take the kids and turn it into a scavenger hunt or let them ride their bikes. Maybe it's something bigger, just do one thing that will get you closer to that goal He has put in your heart, maybe it's just hitting your knees and asking him to provide the way.


 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph 2:10

Seek Him, secure your grappling hook, and climb. Climb like you never have before, run and don't stop running. Because when you finally stop to catch your breath you'll look back and see how far you've come. You'll see that not for one second did He leave you alone on this journey and the fears that controlled you, the fears that chained you back and kept you sitting on the bench were nothing but tiny flecks instead of mountains.

Related Article: Life Can Be Hard
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24

My First Week In Germany

Guten Morgen!

Well, it's the end of week one and I'm finally sleeping- you can stop giggling girls they think all I do is sleep and eat. (*We are in fact not giggling because he drug us out of bed to edit for him ~ Rosevine Cottage Girls*) Who is writing this post? Ahem, anyway I thought I would tell you a little bit about my week.

I took your advice and bought him a couple of small gifts. I got him a t-shirt from Nashville, TN, and an American Calendar. I know you guys said key chains and postcards and stuff but I could not find a Tennessee postcard or keychain anywhere and was running out of time.


Everyone has been very kind to me and I have been enjoying my time here. I am trying to practice my German language but my mentor (who also only had one week of English Language as I did one week of German) wants to only speak in English to practice his skills. I must say, he is better than me. He has been good to me and I am helping him with his English terms which happens to scare the girls to death because of my Kentucky English. :) Ha ha! Don't worry, he will talk Gut English!



I ran out of time getting my money changed over. Note to those leaving the country, do it early. The bank has to order the foreign currency and it takes a few days to get it in.  So I went to another country with only American money. I was told not to get it done at the airport because it is expensive so I just went on with the trip and thought that I could do it at a German bank when I got here. Upon arrival, I was told that the local banks don't exchange money unless you have a bank account there and that you have to go to a bigger city like Berlin to exchange the money. Not sure how I will do that. I have been given a per Diem for food and for now that is fine. It is about $40. a day and I am easily able to live on that. The breakfast is free at the hotel, lunch is at the cantina at work and dinner in town or at the hotel.


The town I am in is small and during WWII it was used as a munitions center.  It was at one time the largest munitions center in all of Europe producing munitions in one building and explosives in another.  Actually, the hotel where I am staying was one of these facilities and they during the war had grass on the roof so it would hide it from the allied forces. These buildings were in the forest to hide them and they were not discovered by the Allies for the duration of the war. These were staffed by Germans, forced foreign laborers, and concentration camp prisoners that were in the surrounding camps. In the 90's they worked on cleanup of the area and found 3 tons of TNT *unexploded* 


The weather is in the low thirties (F) but it does not feel that bad and was able to go out for a walk.  I was shown around town and to a local bank where I will try to get some of my money changed. I am hoping to travel to a local college town and maybe I will have some luck with it there if this bank is not able to. I hear the town is a beautiful medieval town and there are many that speak English there since there are many students there. I am hoping because of the student population they will be able to do the exchange for me.  It is a 15 min train ride from here.  I hear there are beautiful churches and other buildings there.


I am looking for a church to attend tomorrow. The only ones I have seen so far are Catholic. I hear that the northern areas are more protestant so Catholic worship services may be what I have here.
The ones that I have learned about are the church of Hatzbach, Church of Erksdorf and Wolferode Church.  I will try to get photos of them for you.  


I'm enjoying the food here, The girls tease me that all I do is eat while I am here! I assure you, it only seems that way (ahem). The cantina at work has some amazing chef's that work there.  I would like to take them back to America with me. I am amazed at the taste and portion size of my meals.I had a sausage dish with vegetables that I don't know the name for but it was wonderful.  I was able to go out to an Italian place with the people from work and had a wonderful pasta dish. I don't remember the name but the sauce reminded me of a hollandaise sauce but a bit thinner.  Last night in the hotel I ordered the ravioli.  The plate was so full that I couldn't even eat half and then I gave my leftovers to another guy I was with and he ate until he was full and still we couldn't finish it.


For breakfast's I usually have yogurt with fruit, some bread and cheese and sliced meat that I think is ham. Water (which is all I drink) has been interesting to find. Mostly they have mineral water and not regular water.  I don't really care for the mineral water. If you have not had it, it is a bubbly water.
I went to the Aldi here and looked for water and I only found mineral water there too.  Finally, at a little shop, I was able to find 8 bottles of water and was so excited to find them.  I was like a little kid with candy. :) I was told it was considered rude to order water here in Germany and that you are supposed to only order beer or wine with your meal.


I had training today and I was taken on tours of the facility. Boy, I got tired quick, our mentors got a kick out of us. They asked if we wanted a "birds eye" view- thinking they meant on some kind of machine we said "sure". And before I knew it there I was, up a ladder and standing on the roof. Now, most of you probably don't know this but heights and I don't care for each other much. I don't like it, and it doesn't like me (long story, maybe I will share one day).


Next week I will be training at the hotel, and no- by training, I do not mean sleeping. The week after that we start on forklift and crane training- no girls, no one is going to get hurt. After that, I'm headed on a 3.5 hour trip towards France (shhh don't tell the girls) for still more training. I am hoping that I will have time to go over and visit France while I am there. 


After the first tour, it was lunch time, I had stroganoff, It was "gut" (good). Then they took us on another tour for a closer look at what we will be training with and more stairs. Now I have a question, why did I, a guy with short legs get stuck on the tour with someone with very long ones?


Oh well, I made it (girls stop laughing I can hear you from here).

 I also learned there is a chocolate factory in this small town.  I wonder if they give tours? I think I can use some chocolate in my life. Turns out its right next door. When you're outside it's an unusual smell of molten metal and chocolate. We were told they make more tons of chocolate than they do molten metal. That's a lot of chocolate! Oh yeah!

Related Article: American Guy In Germany



Until next week. 

Mr. Cottage

End Of Log. 

Kitchen Remodel | We Have Counter tops!

Image may contain: one or more people and food
We have counter tops!! I'm singing in the rain, we're singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling- *Cough! Cough!* Anyway, Wednesday Sumner Granite showed up with our white lace counter tops and installed.

They came trooping through the living room carrying the big pieces of granite soaking wet. What a day to rain... After a couple of trips back and forth while we sent Mr. Cottage pictures it was all in and they started to install it. Luckily for Mr. Cottage since he is in Germany, he liked it.

All I have to say is thank you, Lord, I didn't have to carry it in. Instead, I got to sit on the couch and watch the guys do all the heavy lifting while I sat sipping coffee and relaxing. Yes, that's my oatmeal.

Luckily it's a warm day because the silicone fumes stank up the house, we ended up having both doors and most of the windows open along with every fan we could scrounge up. Who knew putting in countertops could smell so much! 


All we have left of this very, very long remodel project is to hook up the faucet and sink, touch up our paint job and decide if we want to put in a subway tile back splash! Hmm... "Oh Pinterest!"


 It looks like this is finally winding down and so I am off to look at fabric for the window seat! In the mean time here is a close up of the countertop, what do you think?

Soy Free Broccoli Beef

All right who's ready for some soy free Chinese food? This is a simple recipe that we all love.

Ingredients: 

1 lb of grass fed top sirloin steak cut into slices
1 tablespoon cornstarch or tapioca
1/4 cup cooking sherry
2 tablespoons water
2 heads of broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of a large saute pan) 
2 tablespoons water 
1 tablespoon honey 

Related Article: Soy Free Fried Rice Recipe

Instructions:

In a Ziploc bag toss the beef with cornstarch or tapioca & sherry, then let set for twenty minutes. Heat oil in a large saute pan and saute broccoli until just slightly firm, then remove them from the pan and set to the side. Add your sliced meat to the pan, season, and sear on high heat 1 minute on each side. Add some of the marinades from the bag the beef was in, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes Add the broccoli back into the pan. Add the honey toss until it melts and combines then add sesame seeds for garnish (optional). Serve immediately with rice.

Related Article: Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

This article contains affiliate links. Affiliate links cost you nothing extra but help to support the Rosevine Cottage Girls so we can continue bringing you recipes, travel posts, garden and farm posts and so much more. 

I'm Done Being Afraid

I care what you think about me. I care too much. I see you eyes staring at me down at me across the aisle, see your smirk as I get out of my car. I see your glare and sneer as I chase after my kids- I could let you control me, let what I think you are thinking to shackle me in shame and fear. Or I could ignore you, and find my inner kid, I can chase after my kid and laugh with him. My kids are only small for a little while, they'll only want to play a superhero at the store or tag at the park for so long.

I can let your negative expressions, whatever made you so cranky affect me or I can swing with my daughter. I can pretend to be driving a race car instead of a cart with my little one or splash through the puddles in the parking lot or I can let your scowl hold me fast. Afraid of what others will think.


I'm taking that power from you, no longer will you control me, no longer will I stress about what you think. I'm tired of being afraid, and I'm done. The only person I need to worry about what they think is my heavenly father. No mom sitting on the sidelines, critiquing my every move and casting judgment from her bench throne while she clings to her iPhone will make me be afraid, she won't make me ashamed because I chose to make memories with my kids.

Related Article: Kissing Fear Goodbye And Making A Splash

My worth is not measured in what others think of me, I'm not perfect but it doesn't matter. I'm here, I'm facing my fear and becoming a kid for just a moment. Because one day my kids will have to face another their own fears, and maybe another glaring sideline mom. They'll remember the fun we had and not your disproving scowl. You see mam I don't need your approval, my approval comes from God. My job is to raise these little ones the best I can, and today that means being a kid.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
 Today I'm leaving my fear behind and being a mom, fearlessly playing with my kids while they are in my arms because they won't be here forever. You will not control me. I'm taking back the power I gave you, to make me feel less than God made me.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 

American Guy In Germany

Well it is Monday morning and we are headed to Franklin KY to meet the group that is flying to
Germany ( Even though I live 25 minutes from the airport, I have to travel 50 minutes to meet the group and then drive about an hour to the airport. Who knows the answers to questions like this). There are 20 of us in all. We were separated into groups and then sent onto different flights. Mrs. Cottage thinks that it is so if one plane goes down, the other one makes it and they don't lose us all. Possible but not all that comforting.


My group is headed towards New York, JFK. But of course, there always has to be an issue when you travel, right? One of the group, not me luckily, had lotion with glycerin in it and of course it sets off the alarms. He got frisked twice and his carry-on got completely emptied and checked.  Note: Check your ingredient list on your lotion before going to the airport. Soft hands are not worth the embarrassment.

Getting Ready To Leave For Germany

So, the first leg went well except for the young kids behind me screaming the whole time and doing loops outside of JFK for 45 minutes.

traveling to germany

Oh. and also not having any leg room... and I am a short person.

Well, we land (and no Cheyenne didn't get a picture of the Statue of Liberty). Then we waited for almost 3 hours for the flight over the big pond. Can we say we are having fun now...

landing at JFK airport
During the wait, They moved our terminal from 37 to 33 go figure. 

We started loading- now I have a question why don't they load planes from back to front instead of front to back? I know they pay more but still, it would prevent me hitting everyone with my duffle bag and computer case on the way back to my seat. Do they realize just how many times you have to apologize on one trip to your seat? Don't get me started on having to squeeze up the row again to use the bathroom.

The people up front are probably groaning every time they see me coming. It's like a game of whack-a-mole. Oooops! there goes someone's head- "Sorry," Yes, I said I am sorry but am I really? Ok, I am.

plane

With the plane finally loaded (The only thing that moves slower than an airport line is a post office line at Christmas time.), and then we find out that we have to wait for some luggage, and because that's kind of necessary we waited, and waited, and waited some more.  An hour later we finally take off. I finally doze off- only to be rudely awoken by a food cart running my foot over. So, I left it in the aisle and you'd think they could see it, maybe kick it out of the way but no, roadkill it is. They served us ravioli -at least I think it was ravioli- salad and a brownie. And if your wondering I did save the brownie for last... I do have some manners.

The little TV had issues so I tried to sleep to get some sleep but my neck kept cramping and waking me up. And then it was Tuesday and we were still flying, unannounced to me Cheyenne was tracking my flight and keeping Facebook entertained with "Well the flight hasn't turned into a cruise yet..." Thanks for that Cheyenne.

We got to Frankfurt but of course, we had to do laps again to wait our turn for 25-30 minutes. Go figure, after a 7-hour flight just let me out! We disembark the plane and get on a shuttle bus that takes us to our gate and then a walk what seemed like a mile (Well at least for a short and out of shape man, who has been sitting for since 11 AM yesterday morning).


Luckily there were no issues with customs or meeting our bus to the hotel... and again we rode for about an hour and of course I cannot get comfortable to nap, just my luck. I can hear you girls laughing stateside- apparently, I can't sleep everywhere like you thought. 


We get here they give us our rooms and then we had about 30 minutes to go to our rooms (mine is the Rapunzel themed one) and put our stuff in them before a special lunch with our mentors from the plant is ready. They took pictures afterward and then walked to the plant to get our lockers and uniforms. When were done they walked back to the hotel, I guess they thought we'd get lost. There you have it my first day in Germany, of course, that day lasted 36 hours and spanned two continents but hey not too bad. Now for some shuteye- hopefully...


Signing Off,

Mr. Cottage
End Of Log.

Kissing Fear Goodbye And Making A Splash

I’m not afraid of water, I’m afraid of not being able to touch the bottom. I’m afraid of losing control. The only thing I can attribute this fear too is this one time my twin and I were playing in the kiddy pool on a hot southern summer day and my sister fell on my back making it so I couldn’t get up. I wasn’t in any danger of drowning mom was right there and she was only there for a few seconds. I really never noticed it until this summer when my family went to the lake. We moved to the deeper part so we wouldn’t disturb the younger swimmers in the shallows. Suddenly my foot slipped off the rock and I was distinctly aware that I could no longer touch the bottom.


Quickly on its heels clawed panic, all around me, people were having fun swimming, diving, splashing and there I was afraid of not being able to touch the bottom and keep my head above water. Pretty silly huh? I don’t remember ever feeling like this before, I’ve been in friends pools and ours hundreds of times and it never bothered me. But a few years ago Grandma Cottage passed away and just before that our two foster kids left our care along with the passing of a very dear dog. That year I struggled with feeling like everything was out of control- I think that’s really where my sudden fear of not touching the bottom stems from. The world was spinning out of control and for some reason, I decided I could control it, I could make the chaos stop. But it was all an illusion, kind of like how standing on the rock meant safety. I could paste on a smile and fake that I was having fun from my safe little perch while the others stepped off.

See I was never really in control, I was kidding myself the same way I was kidding myself that I could have fun watching from where I thought was safe. It wasn’t until I decided I wasn’t going to be afraid, that I was never meant to control it and stepped off that rock and let go, trusting God to handle this out of control chaos called life, trusted that I, in fact, could swim (I have pictures to prove I had lessons) that I was able to have a good time. Sure there were moments that I desperately wanted to thrash back to my rock, and in truth, all I had to do was reach out and grab the buoy and I would be safe. But there was something freeing about letting go, refusing to be afraid and trusting that He has the answers.

I will be your God throughout your lifetime--until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:4

It’s hard not to reach for that buoy- spring back for that unseen rock of my safety, to rip the reigns back out of God’s hand. Instinct tells you to lunge for it, your heart pounds in your chest, step back onto the rock, your fingers burn to grab that buoy to ensure your head doesn’t slip beneath the water- but maybe that’s just where God wants you, maybe letting go and hanging on to him is the lesson your supposed to learn.

In the water you can trust only one thing, your ability to swim, in life, we can only trust one thing Him. In the water our arms may fail us, he will never fail us. He is standing there, ready to take the fear holding you on your man made rock. Keeping you from diving into the water of your destiny, shackled by what others may think, or that you aren’t good enough.

The truth is he’s put that water in front of you to prove that it isn’t impassable; he’s assigned that mountain to you to prove that it can be moved. You hold the key to your shackles, give it to him, lay it down at his feet and dive into the water trusting Him to catch you. He’ll be there. He will never leave you, his plan may not be yours- keep trusting. Even when the waves roll over your head, lean into him and let him take you deeper.


Are you struggling with fear? Maybe you’re like me and it’s the fear of losing control, or maybe it’s something else, check out Kellie Balarie’s book Fear Fighting and let's start a new chapter of our lives fear free. This is a wonderful book, that will change your life! Kellie shares about how she overcame her fears and encourages you to do the same and rise up and be the woman he wants you to be.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you... Isaiah 41:10

Being afraid takes up way too much time and energy. Time that we could be using to shine His light to a dark world that we could be using to invest in our families and making memories that will last a lifetime. Time we could be reaching out to our community or a hurting friend or fulfilling the mission He has laid on our heart. Let’s kiss fear goodbye together and open a fresh page, are you with me? Then let’s make a splash! Let's dive off of our rock leaving behind our illusion of control and let's find peace in Him. Let's let Him revive our hearts that were once desert wastelands and make them beautiful places once more.

Related Article: Revive Our Hearts In This Desert Place

Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the Lord will display his glory, the splendor of our God. Isaiah 35: 1-2
Break the door from your self-made cage, your rock above the waves and embrace His plan. And when fear comes creeping back in again look to Him. Don't live with regrets, dragging around the extra baggage to hold your chains. Drop them at the cross, let them clank to the ground, nail that fears to the cross and follow Him.

Related Article: Fear Fighting: Are You A People Pleaser?

Find #FearFightingBook on Amazon and check out her websites Fear Fighting Book on Purposeful Faith

This article contains affiliate links. Affiliate links cost you nothing extra but help to support the Rosevine Cottage Girls so we can continue bringing you recipes, travel posts, garden and farm posts and so much more.