Tag Archives: Family


And So It Ends

It’s probably no surprise to you that I’m writing this.

It IS a surprise to me.

I’ve been pondering about it for months now, trying to make time for everything, trying to hang on, trying not to say goodbye.

I’ve rationalized too long, finding comfort in my internet securities.

I’ve remembered that the hardest decisions are almost always the right ones.

I’ve realized that in order to keep growing, you must allow change.

And, wow, have I grown.

I’ve been in Germany for over a year now and I have moments where I don’t even recognize myself. And, that’s not a bad thing.

It’s just….time to keep growing and make more changes in the hopes of reaching even bigger goals.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I’m saying goodbye to this blog. I know people have found it helpful. I just received an email from someone the other day, thanking me, but I think this is the right decision for me.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I will delete it or leave it up, although I’m leaning towards deletion.

I can’t let go of this name though, or the cool idea that jolted me back into a lost dream. So, you’ll still be able to find From Casinos to Castles in social media.

As for me, I applied for almost 20 jobs today. The boy is in kindergarten now and I am hoping with all my heart that something works out. Anything.

I’m not giving up my dream of being a writer either, so, you can still find me over at Tipsy Lit. You may not know, but I’m Managing Editor over there now. I’m really excited about that opportunity and I think this year, I’m going to grow even more than the previous one. I have so many things in the works.

I’m working on a memoir as well as my first book of poetry.

I’m also working together with 7 other fabulous women on a new site we will be launching soon that is community oriented with a goal of helping and supporting women.

I’m working on finding myself again and figuring out who that is without all of the labels I had before.

I’m working on making one dream come true, while letting go of another.

I’ve loved getting to know all of you and I’ve appreciated you coming here and getting to know me. As I said, this is goodbye for the blog, but not for me. I wish you all the best and if you’d like to keep in touch you can find me at these places:

Facebook - Author Profile
Facebook Page - From Casinos To Castles
Twitter - Author Profile (C2C will be deleted)
Tipsy Lit

And the new site isn’t ready yet, but you can follow on twitter to stay up to date on the launch!

The Sisterwives

Thank you again and I hope to see you at one of my other online locations!


One Way Streets Are Lonely

Hey guys! I’m over at Jennifer’s blog, Dancing in the Rain, contributing to her series, “A View from Here”. Jennifer hosts this weekly and invites other bloggers to come and share their own unique perspectives on well….whatever you want! Please stop by and stay hello if you have the time.

Otherwise, here’s a picture. :-)


Saturday Feature: Sara in Le Petit Village

Yes, I realize it’s not Saturday and for those of you just tuning in, I explain the delay caused by living life here. And boy did we live some life! I had 4 glorious days with my boys filled with sunshine, great food, shopping, apartment hunting and even a DATE! Can you imagine? We haven’t been on a date, alone, for almost a year. Did I mention it was wonderful?

So, here I am, back to all my lovely fellow expats and readers and for this feature, I want to share Sara with you. She was an American expat in France who is now going through the stages of becoming a repat as she adjusts to life in the states once again. This post in particular, she says goodbye to the LPV and I thought you’d all love to meet her (if you haven’t already) and see the place she used to call home.

The Last Days of the LPV

My last days in The LPV whooshed by. I was busy; suitcases needed to be packed, bits and pieces had to be sold, given away and moved out, and goodbyes needed to be said. I was sad, but after six months of preparations, ready to go.

Because my move date was closing in, and I was a spinning top barely able to catch my breath, I made a point of snapping a photo or two every time I was out and about in the village. I was too busy to truly appreciate it all at the time so it was important that I captured it to savor later. Well it’s later.

I have no idea what the story behind the unicorn that has tagged Le Petit Village is all about. I’m pretty sure our local tattoo artist painted it, but as for the significance behind it, I’ve got nothing. I dig it though and like to think a unicorn was chosen because that’s The LPV’s symbol. I honestly couldn’t think of a better one.

I’m actually going to miss walking into my yellow post office. Post offices should be painted cheery colors, it’s a bit deceptive to be sure, but cheery nonetheless. Every time I accomplished something at La Poste (which doubled as our bank), I felt like I had slayed a mythical beast. It tried to better me on more than one occasion, but I remained victorious. Suck it La Poste, I own you.

And of course I’m going to miss the creepy tree house behind my house. It became my favorite thing to show visitors… it’s a medieval building that has been eaten by a tree for heaven’s sake! How does that even happen?!

But what I’ll miss the most in The LPV, is coming home to this door with Gregory and Fifty. There’ll be other doors of course, other homes, more memories, but I doubt any will hold a handle to the quaintness of this one. It’s too darn cute.

There was one last thing that I knew I had to capture, the bells. The church bell at the top of my garden that clanged hourly, driving Fifty batty and ensuring that no one in our house ever slept past 7AM. Now I find myself straining to hear them toll. Clocks strike another hour and are met with nothing, no sound. It’s downright un-Petit Village like.

Sara I was glad to see that Gregory and Fifty made it safely. Hope you are all adjusting well and I wish you the best in your new repat adventure!

Everyone else, please go give Sara a virtual hug and thank you for being patient with me. Don’t forget, no linkup this week as I work on the exciting Tipsy Lit feature, showing off several of your favorite expats!

xx Deanna

Cooking For Expats: Mexi-Chicken Casserole

cooking for expatsWelcome back to the Cooking for Expats series on C2C! I’m looking forward to bringing you more budget and “Germany friendly” recipes. Also, don’t forget to check out Emma, from A Bavarian Sojourn, and her “Expat Essentials” series today.

Well, if you can believe it, today I actually have a chicken recipe! Shocking, I know! I initially planned to share vegetable soup, but I made this last night and it turned out SO GOOD. This is an excellent “expat recipe” because it’s another that calls for condensed cream soup that I made myself. I have made versions of this before, but this one turned out the best by far. It’s pretty versatile, so throughout you’ll see where you can use other options. Also, don’t let it scare you that it has a few steps. It’s really very easy and you can do the cream soup ahead of time to make it easier. You would just need to add a little milk or chicken broth later if it’s too thick. I also cook the chicken in the slow cooker because it makes for more flavorful tender chicken. Again, not necessary if you have a preferred method. You can also add green chiles when cooking the chicken or jalapenos to the casserole before cooking if you like it spicy. We would, but alas, not good for the boy. We clearly need to divide our meals in half for his portion and our spicy portions!

Make sure to read all the way through when preparing for this as the ingredients are listed for the total needed but used at different times in different amounts.

  • 1 diced green bell peppermexichicken casserole
  • 1 diced yellow onion
  • 1-2 TBS taco seasoning mix (I used about 1/3 of a seasoning packet)
  • 300ml (plus another 3/4 cup to be used later)  chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/4  cups of milk
  • shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese of your preference - I used the light Reibkase)
  • 100g sour cream
  • 450g cooked shredded chicken
  • tortilla chips
  • salt and pepper

1. Place cleaned chicken breasts, bell pepper, onion, taco seasoning, tomatoes, 300ml chicken broth in slow cooker for 4-5 hours on low. Stir every so often. When done, pour contents into a colander to strain out liquid. Let chicken cool so you can shred. Shred and set aside in a medium-sized bowl including the tomatoes, onions and bell peppers.

2. Preheat oven to 350F/178C. Lightly spray casserole dish with cooking spray.

3. Melt butter over medium heat.

4. Whisk in flour until smooth. Add 3/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup chicken brother. Stir until thickens. Add salt/pepper to taste. (I only added pepper).

5. Pour sauce into chicken mixture. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk and sour cream. Mix well. You may add more taco seasoning or even just cumin at this point if you prefer. I didn’t because my husband doesn’t really like the strong flavor. *gasp*

6. Layer the bottom of casserole dish with crushed tortilla chips. Pour half of chicken mixture over chips and spread evenly. Add another layer of crushed chips and cover with remaining chicken mixture. Sprinkle the top with cheese.

7. Cover and bake for 25-30 minutes. I have a top-only heat,old sucky oven, so I ended up having to uncover and bake until the cheese browned on top which I think turned out better.

8. You can serve with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes (optional).

Please let me know what you think and feel free to suggest ideas for recipes or ask any questions you may have! I hope you enjoy and if you make it, come back and tell me!

*recipe adapted from Key Ingredient

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Expat Life: Releasing Feelings of Isolation

As I mentioned yesterday, we had a bit of a rough weekend. Nothing bad happened, it was more of a releasing of emotions. My husband is my very best friend and sometimes we just have to get it all out. These are things that are hard for me to share, embarrassing to share, but truthful. 

Sometimes, expat life is hard.

Sometimes the only way to be free of something, is to feel it completely.

I recently wrote this for another site and I realized that no one understands better than my fellow expats so I surely must share this here as well! If you’ve seen this before, feel free to disregard. 


There are things you don’t fully realize when make a big life change. Sure, you know they are there, you know they will be hard, but you don’t realize just how hard.

In May, we will have lived in Germany for a year and it has been one of the harder years I’ve experienced. Underneath the romance and spontaneity of our move, lies the reality of it all. We started over, completely over.


I’ve done this before, but this time, this time has been so much harder. I’m so isolated and not by anyone’s fault, it’s just the situation we are in. We’ve had to rebuild our life, so what does that mean? Well, my husband had to find a job to which he still is only employed under a temporary contract. We had to buy furniture, television, some necessities. The only furniture we shipped over was our son’s bedroom set. We are limited to one very small income and one car which my husband has to use for his commute to work. And, technically now, that doesn’t matter since I’m only permitted to drive on my U.S. license for 6 months, I can no longer drive legally; I need a German license. Add all of these things together and you can see why life may be difficult; how just the act of being social could be difficult.


Most weeks, I only leave the house on Saturdays when we run errands as a family. I have no friends. I’m embarrassed even admitting this, putting it out there for all the world to see, but it’s the truth.

We aren’t living, but surviving.

I woke up with a heavy sadness today; a heavy, dark sadness. I wasn’t sure where it was coming from until I accidentally heard this song. Suddenly, as I was singing, tears started pouring from my eyes.

Why today? Why is this hitting so hard today?


Last night, I had an amazing two-hour Face Time date with my best friend in Las Vegas. I miss her. I’m homesick. I still know we made the right decision moving here. We are making a sacrifice for hopefully a better life for our family, but today, I am sad. I am lonely. And I wish had some friends here in this new home to help it feel more like home and less like sacrifice.

I will listen to this song on repeat and shed all the tears I’ve been holding back.

I will hold my little boy.

I will hug and kiss my husband.

And tomorrow will be better.




How about you? Anything you keep buried that’s been hard about expat life?

And in case you were wondering, it helped. Letting it all out, crying, feeling it fully, helped. Today is a better day because of it.