Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Year in Review

As 2010 comes to a close, 
I find myself reflecting on the past year, 
looking forward to the next year and
creating New Years resolutions. 

Facebook has an application called 
My Year in Status.
After reading about this on Karen's page, 
I decided I wanted to try it as well.

I love it! It gives a nice little synopsis of 
your status updates over the last year. 
You can keep the one it creates automatically 
or select your statuses from the ones provided.
I choose my own and this is what it came up with:

2010 has been an interesting, busy, mostly great year.
Everyone has their ups & downs, but thankfully for me, 
this year was mainly ups. 

We found out in January that we were moving to Germany. 
In February we started sprucing up our house to eventually rent out.
In March I passed my boards to become an Advanced Nurse Practitioner.
In April we suffered through some stormy weather.
In May we celebrated our four years together anniversary, one year wedding
anniversary, packed up all of our stuff and began our cross country trip to Maryland.
In June we moved to Germany and began our travels.
In July we moved into our new house.
In August I drove on the autobahn for the first time by myself. 
In September we attended our first wine festival and realized again how much we love Germany. 
We also celebrated my birthday by going to Paris for the first time. 
In October we visited the States, J's brother got married and my mom came to visit.
In November we went on a Mediterranean cruise, spent Thanksgiving apart and enjoyed the first
snowfall of the season.
In December we went to our first ice festival in Brugge, celebrated J's birthday with friends and experienced our first 
Christmas away from our families. 
We had a wonderful year!

I dont usually make New Year's Resolutions, but this year I am.
Here they are:

*Try to keep better in touch with friends and family back home. When you move away, it's easy to think people forget about you. And some do. But those people who are true friends wont forget. Even if they arent good at keeping in touch doesnt mean that I have to suck at it too. Which means emails, hand written cards & post cards. Phone calls and skype calls would be great too.
*Paint. Ive got all the supplies. Now I just need to do it.
*Catch our travel scrapbook up to date. Im years behind.
*Work out at least twice a week. Dont most people make this one? If you knew me, you would know how much I dislike working out. No, let's just say it. I HATE working out. I get so bored at the gym and would rather be outside (or anywhere else really).
*Meet up with a friend at least once a week
*Not dwell on the negatives and focus on the positives. Positive thoughts = positive actions. Im a positive person by nature, but there are, or rather is, something in my life that isnt where I want it to be. It  is one thing that I want right now more than anything else, but it hasnt become a reality yet. Perhaps in 2011...

I know that I wont accomplish all of these goals and I may not keep up with some of them for long. But Im going to try and I think that's half the battle.

What are your New Year's Resolutions? 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our Christmas Eve Party...and how I almost ended up in the ER...

First of all I want to say hello to my new followers. We've reached 100! Woohoo! I will be hosting a giveaway very soon, so stay tuned!

So how was everyone's Christmas?

We stayed in Germany for the holidays, making it the first Christmas that either of us had ever spent apart from one of our families. It could have been weird, but thankfully we have a great group of friends here who helped us celebrate and we ended up having a wonderful Christmas.

We hosted a Christmas Eve party at our house. It was our first party in our German home and turned out to be a great success. Except for the fact that I almost cut my fingers off, but Ill get to that later.
Our idea for a Christmas Eve dinner party started off small with only about 10 people invited. Our house is tall and narrow, not really big enough to fit a ton of people for dinner, but somehow our little dinner party grew to 21 people, 18 of which showed up. We made it work.

I baked and prepped for several days prior to the party. On the menu was:
Two baked whole chickens
Homemade Gouda Mac & Cheese
Sourdough Bread Turkey Sausage Stuffing
White Christmas Chili
Crescent Rolls
Cranberry Sauce
Chocolate Snowballs
No Bake Cookies
Striped Delight
Cookies and Cream Fudge
Puppy Chow

Our friends were awesome and helped out. They brought:
Ham, Bourbon Sweet Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Apple Vegetarian Stuffing, Goat Cheese Dip and Asparagus Rolls.

Doesnt all of that sound delicious?! It was! J & I have been enjoying the leftovers. Ill be sharing some of the recipes with you over the next few weeks.

Now onto the finger cutting and my almost trip to the ER...
Cut #1: While I was cutting up the sourdough bread for the stuffing, I was distracted by J & Reese. I sawed right into my left thumb. Through the fingernail and into the skin above. It looked horrible, and bleed off and on for the rest of the night, but it didnt even hurt when it happened. I probably could have used a stitch, but I used super glue instead.
Cut #2: About an hour before the party started I opened the cranberry sauce (yes, it was from a can and yes, I like it, so no judgement please). I was holding the can, attempting to empty it, when I turned my head to talk to J. Somehow my pinky (on the same hand as the other cut) came into contact with the open lid and sliced it. Major ouch. This one hurt like hell and while short, it was very deep. It literally bled for over six hours straight. I tried holding pressure with my hand over my head, holding an ice cube on it, using a pressure dressing- all the tricks I knew, but nothing would stop the bleeding. I knew I needed stitches- three or four- but I really didnt want to go to the ER on Christmas Eve! I finally remembered that I had some steri strips and used those to help close the wound. I put a bandaid over it and went to bed hoping I didnt bled all over the sheets during my sleep. All this for a little cut on my pinky! Thankfully the steri strips worked and I didnt have to go to the ER the next morning, despite needing stitches. Next Christmas I think Ill ask J to cut the bread and open all of the cans!

It was our first true White Christmas as we still have about six inches of snow on the ground, topped off with an inch of ice. On Christmas Day we slept in, opened presents, ate lunch and went over to a friends house for food and games. We came home, video chatted with our families and played our new Wii game while drinking wine and eating cheese & olives. We had a fantastic time. While we missed our family and friends from home, it was a great Christmas!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Will it ever stop snowing?

I swear I feel like Im living in a frickin' snow globe.
So does everyone else who lives around here. 
It has been snowing here for days. 
Many, many days.
As of yesterday morning we had over a foot of snow.
A foot!
That is more snow than I have ever seen in my 
twenty eight years.

We had a brief break yesterday.
And then it started to rain. 
Which quickly turned to freezing rain, 
creating a thick layer of ice on top of the snow. 
Last night the wind was raging so loudly
that it kept me up for 2 hours. 
And now it's snowing again.

It's really is beautiful, like a real Winter Wonderland.
The snow covered trees are breathtaking 
and the large flakes of falling snow have a magical quality.
The ground glitters with ice crystals 
and everywhere you look are sledding children
and snowmen of every size. 

Surprisingly, our dog Reese LOVES it. 
She's a bit of a spoiled princess and doesnt usually like 
the cold and wet, 
but she has been spending lots of time 
bounding through the snow drifts and digging 
snow tunnels. 
It's been really fun watching her. 

For now though, we're all cuddled up on the couch 
while the snow and wind swirl outside, 
drinking our hot apple cider and watching Christmas movies, 
enjoying this Winter Wonderland together. 

Gorgeous Winter day
Taken a few days ago

Reese enjoying the snow

Taken yesterday
Over a foot of snow
Building a snow tunnel

Happy Monday Everyone! 
Merry Christmas! 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Four things...

First of all, I want to say hello to all of my new followers, the ones that have joined me over the last 3-4 weeks. Im so glad you're here! I am thisclose to 100 followers! Once I reach 100, Ill host a giveaway. 

This past week I wrote my 100th post. It seems like a milestone to me since I had no clue what I was doing or where this would lead when I began this blog. It's been a great 8 months and I am looking forward to what next year will bring.  

Juli at Its a Dog Tag Wife Life tagged me a few days ago (ok, maybe a week!) and I am just now getting around to it. Sorry Juli! If you guys havent checked out her blog, you really should. She is adorable, about to get married AND hosting a giveaway right now. She's put together 3 fabulous gift baskets and will give them away to 3 lucky followers if she reaches her goal. Check out her blog for all the details! 

So on to the tagging.... 

1. Four shows that you watch:
Modern Family
Cougar Town

2. Four things you are passionate about:
My husband

3. Four phrases you say a lot:
Pssh, whatever! But it's more like Pssssh, whateva! =) 
I love you! 
You're crazy! 
Im so excited! 

4. Four things you've learned from the past:
You cant control other people's actions or feelings, so dont stress yourself out trying.
It doesnt matter what other people think of you, so just be yourself.
You really will end up with the person you are meant to be with.
Make the best of every situation because positive thoughts = positive actions.

5. Four places you would like to go:

6. Four things you did yesterday:
Baked cookies!
Snuggled on the couch with my love & watched the snow fall
Checked my email
Started thinking about my next giveaway- for when I hit 100 followers! 

7. Four things you are looking forward to:
J's Birthday
Christmas Eve dinner at our house (20-21 people, gulp!) 
Christmas Day
Visiting my family in Jan/Feb

8. Four things you love about Winter:
The goodwill people show each other (I wish it lasted all year!)
Christmas movies and music 
Snuggling on the couch with my love, drinking hot cocoa/hot apple cider/coffee
Soups and chili and well, "winter" food in general

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you're having a great weekend!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Off to Brugge we went....

*Warning...this post is very picture heavy!*

The week after Thanksgiving,
J & I decided to take a trip to Brugge, Belgium.
We had heard wonderful things about the city- how romantic it is, 
how much there is to do, how beautiful it is, etc. 

We knew there was an international ice festival going on,
so we hopped in the car and away we went.
Our hotel was right next to the train station,
which is where the ice festival was taking place.
It was convenient, inexpensive and clean.
In other words, it perfectly fit our needs
and for 49 euro a night, 
we couldnt complain! 

I have so many photos from our trip, but
I didnt want to overload you so Ive
broken it up into two posts. 

The ice festival took place in 3 very large tents set up 
in front of the Brugge central train station. 
It was 21ยบ inside but it felt so much colder! 
We spent about 45 minutes examining the 
impressive ice sculptures before moving on to the
warm up tent. By that time, 
our toes were so numb that we couldnt feel them
and our noses looked like Rudolph, 
but we really enjoyed the festival!

The theme of the ice festival this year was "Around the World". 
It featured sculptures of landmarks and icons from 
multiple places around the world. 

The Colosseum with the Leaning Tower of Pisa behind it
Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man
Michelangelo's David

We brought our dog with us.
This is the first time we've traveled with her in
Europe and it went surprisingly well.
She was so well behaved,
even in restaurants.
It was freezing there and snowed on us a lot,
so of course we brought her
winter coat!
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Big Ben
Berlin Wall
Super cool car!
Mariachi Band
Statue of Liberty
Flamenco Dancers
Native American
Mt. Rushmore
Iwo Jima
Ellvis, Michael Jackson & Madonna =) 
Marilyn Monroe
Cathedral in New York City
MJ up close
Hindu deity

Indian elephant

To be continued....

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Recipe of the Week

Recipe of the Week- Christmas Edition

This week's recipe is incredibly easy to make and absolutely delicious!
I have been making them for years, usually around the holidays
and this year was no exception.
We celebrated J's 30th birthday (two weeks early) last Friday
with friends over dinner. 
I made these at favors for dessert to go along with the cake.
This is the perfect recipe for a large group of people,
and since we had twenty, 
there was plenty to go around.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles
Courtesy of: Kraft

8 oz. cool whip, thawed
8 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/2 c. peanut butter

Confectioners sugar
Cocoa powder
Coconut flakes
Chopped peanuts

or any other topping you'd like! 

1. Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for one minute, stir and
microwave again in 15 second intervals until smooth.

2. Stir in peanut butter until smooth. Let cool to room temperature
This is very important! If you mix the cool whip in too soon it will 
curdle up and ruin. Yes, I know this from experience... = / 
3. Gently stir in Cool Whip. 

4. Refrigerate for one hour. 

It will look like this after refrigerating.
5. Scoop with teaspoon (or ice cream scoop!) and roll into 1 inch balls.

6. Roll in topping of your choice and place on cookie sheet. 

Clockwise from top left: Cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar,
flaky coconut, chopped peanuts 

7. Store in air tight container and refrigerate.

 8. Enjoy! 

I ended up placing them on lollipop sticks and wrapping two each in cellophane 
and tying them up with a pretty ribbon.
They made super cute favors! 

Happy Tuesday Everyone!