Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

I apologize for the sub-par blog posts for the last week or so, but I pre-wrote everything because we were on a vacation...a Roman Holiday!  David and I went to Italy with my family for Christmas this year.  We had a fabulous time...a once in a lifetime experience to have with my family that I am so thankful I was able to experience.  The highlight was celebrating Midnight Mass at St. Peter's Basilica with the Pope.

For now, I am going to sign off of the blog for the year.  For the last few days of 2011, I plan to relax and celebrate with friends and family.  2011 has been a weird year.  For lots of our friends, 2011 was a great year.  However, some of our friends have had some hard things happen this year.  This New Year's, my heart is thinking of them and how difficult it was for them to get through the holiday season.  But still, we were all lucky enough to wake up and experience the hard and the good things that go along with life and the New Year.  For that, we are blessed.  We all have so many things for which to be thankful.

On New Year's Eve, close to midnight, I will think of all of the people who have been a part of my life, old friends who influenced me during a certain part of my life, new friends who teach me new things every day, and my family.  When the ball drops, before I kiss my sweetheart, I will send a little wish that they all have a wonderful New Year.  Happy New Year to you and yours.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Card Outtakes

Everybody looks good except Thorina, who is having a mini-breakdown.
 We love sending out Christmas Card pictures every year and always have some funny outtakes.
All of the animals are saying, "why do we have to do this again?!"

David and I trying to reel in the animals.
Our actual card:
Merry Christmas from Chick in the Czech!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Movies

David and I have a tradition of watching a few Christmas movies every year.  Here is our list.  What is yours?

1.  Christmas Vacation
Poor Clark.

2.  It's A Wonderful Life
 I love this movie because it gets me into the Christmas spirit and is probably the most classic Christmas movie.  
3.  Love Actually
Don't you love the part where "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" by Otis Redding is playing and everybody resolves their issues a bit on Christmas Eve?  That is my favorite sequence.  It turns into the part where the friend holds up the signs for the girl he loves, which is one of my favorite love stories of the movie. 

4.  The Holiday
David doesn't really love this movie, but I like it!
5.  Holiday Inn
 Another old classic that I love watching around the New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

David and I had a lot of fun getting each other gifts for Christmas.  We don't really go all out for Christmas, but we do try to surprise each other with a little something for Christmas. 

Source
David got me the above robe and these slippers that I have been wanting for a while:






Did you get any good gifts for Christmas?



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours. 

Source

Friday, December 23, 2011

Don't forget our Favorite Christmas Special!



My favorite line: "How did you know I needed a kitty on my lap?" 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kitty...

Kitty Arwen keeps taking the stockings from under the tree (we just throw them under the tree because we don't have very nice stockings anyway) and carrying them around the house.  We told her that if she continues to do this she will confuse Santa and he won't be able to bring her presents! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Havel dies

Vaclav Havel, the former Czech president, died on Sunday.  You should read about his life and influence in Europe here or here.  Apparently many believed that he should have won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Having named my blog Chick in the Czech after the country of which he was president, I figured that I should keep you apprised of the news of the Czech. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Graduation

We had a great weekend.  On Friday my brother graduated from college!  We went to see his ceremony and then my parents hosted a nice meal at his college house for everybody who went to the ceremony.  On Friday night, we went out with my family and had a fun supper.  Then, on Saturday morning, I hosted a brunch in his honor at my house!  David was gone on Saturday because his brother also graduated from college that day and David went to his ceremony.  His entire family came into town that afternoon so that his parents could baby-sit his sister's kids that evening. 

After going to mass on Saturday evening and having dinner with David's family, David and I went out with David's brother and met our old friend Matt (the one with the blog who teaches in Abu Dhabi)!  Seeing them was a ton of fun.  On Sunday, we took the day to simply relax.  I ran a really long run because it was so nice outside, and then that evening we watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  So fun!  How was your weekend?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fast Holiday Decorations

This weekend I needed to come up with a fast holiday decoration.  We were having guests visit and I realized that I did not have a centerpiece for my table!

Luckily I got this bowl for my wedding.

Source
And also luckily, I bought a bunch of shatterproof ornaments last year in gold.  So, I just filled the bowl and put it in the middle of the table for the centerpiece:




Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa Baby

Yes, this is a bit small for the pup.
Thorina and Arwen have been developing their Christmas list for Santa.  They think that they have been good throughout the year and deserves some Christmas presents.  Santa (Paco) questions this but he said that they could still write their Christmas lists.  Unfortunately for Santa, they got their paws on the Christmas Tiffany catalog:
 Thorina especially loves the Tiffany Key necklaces....in diamonds, please:
 Arwen has more modest tastes.  She really liked the bow necklaces:
 Or maybe some nice cute pearl bracelets:
Santa thinks that these kitties are dreaming too big, considering that they have knocked ornaments off a display, knocked the sheep off the Nativity set, and drink out of the toilet.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Our Weekend

We had a great weekend!  On Friday evening we went to see the Nutcracker at the Kauffman Center.  It was a lot of fun!  David and I really enjoyed going out on a date night for the holidays.  We haven't been to the new Center yet, so it was fun to see the building.  It was also fun to see the production.  My favorite part is the second act, when all of the famous dances happen.

 On Saturday I went to yoga and did a little Christmas shopping...which reminded me of why I enjoy shopping online mostly!  The lines were huge at one store in particular, but I don't want to reveal where I went because I may spill one of Santa's secrets!

Finally, on Saturday evening, we went out to eat with some friends that we haven't seen in a while.  We went to Jazz, a Cajun-themed place here in Kansas City that David and I loved.  It was fun to see them and we enjoyed the food.  After that was over, we drove around town to look at Christmas lights, which was fun!  The lights were gorgeous on some houses.  We ended our evening here:

This guy made a LED Christmas tree that lit up with music that he put on the radio.  It was really amazing. 

I can't believe that Christmas is already so close.  I really enjoy slowing down and enjoying the holidays, and this year I have been trying to remind myself to stop and enjoy the Christmas lights, cold weather, and delicious sweet treats.  My favorite part of Christmas is the decorations.  I love coming home to our Christmas tree lit up and decorated.  What is your favorite part?


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hot Cocoa Cookies

This past weekend I was in the mood to make Christmas cookies.  I saw this recipe on Pinterest and had to try them.  I love Marshmallows and smore-like-tastes.  The cookies were absolutely divine! 
Instead of making them all at once, I rolled up the cookie dough into little balls and froze them.  I plan to take them out of the freezer and make the cookies as we want them. 
Ohhhh yum....even though I didn't make them all at once I could have!  That ooey gooey center was delicious.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Nativity

Yet again, our animals are defacing our nativity set.  Seriously, if you put a religious article in our home our cats are extremely quick to hop on it, bat it, or otherwise destroy it.  This year, they have focused on one particular sheep in the set.  When we get home, we note that the sheep is on the floor under the nativity set, and a cat is usually sitting next to it.  Okay, I kid.  It is really just one cat: Thorina. 

How can she possibly go through the entire set and pick out one particular sheep?  I put it in different places and yet on multiple days it was the one on the floor.  Sheesh.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Our Holiday party


As promised, here are the details from our holiday party:
Theme
The theme for our party was a United Nations of beers party.  In the invitation we asked everybody to bring a six pack of beer from a different country around the world.  During the party everybody exchanges beer so that each guest ends up with a six pack of various beers from around the world. 

Invitations
This year I decided to keep it simple and send a Facebook invitation.  I like the simplicity of FB invites, but honestly it is really fun to get an invitation in the mail!  Next year I think we will send paper invitations.  Another issue I noticed was that some people don't really check Facebook much, so they did not see the invitation until the last minute.  Some of those people were able to make it, but I think that sending paper invitations would ensure that everybody receives them.  Plus, it is always fun to get mail!

Menu
The party started at 8:00 p.m., so the plan was to serve light appetizers.  I made the following:
  • meatballs (surprise, surprise!  Haha!)
    • Honestly, these were kind of a waste to make.  I have decided that people aren't really comfortable with lifting a crock pot lid (especially when it is on and hot) to get things out of a crock pot (at least I certainly always feel that way at a party!).  So, while serving some kind of meat is probably a good idea, I don't think I will serve mine in a crock pot again.  
    • Last year we served bourbon weenies and they went over much better.
  • caramel popcorn (this deserves its own post)
    • One word: yum.  Look for this tomorrow!
  • chips and pineapple salsa (from Trader Joe's)
    • This went over very well.  Everybody likes salsa and chips!
  • olives 
    • Nobody ate these, so they were probably a waste to put out.  However, I just had them in my fridge and I really like them, so I sat them out.  After the party I just put them back so it really wasn't a huge deal.
  • meat and cheese plate
    • Every year, this seems to be people's favorite thing.  I like to buy salami from the store deli counter, "fancy" cheeses, and "fancy" crackers.  I sometimes also buy pepperoni, which people seem to like.  
Other people brought some cheesy dips, which people really enjoyed.  Those types of dips aren't my forte since I don't love cheese, so I am always happy when people bring them!  We moved the party from the upstairs to our basement midway through the evening, so it was great to simply pick up the dips and carry them downstairs.  

Drinks
Besides the beer, we served Christmas cookie martinis (one part vanilla vodka, one part butternut schnapps, one part Bailey's).  Everybody loves those!

Games 
We played flip cup and Trivial Pursuit, which is a bit of a tradition at our Christmas parties! 

Overall I think that everything went well, so that was good.  I can't wait for next year's party!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Our weekend

Last Friday we hosted holiday party.  It was a lot of fun!  Last year we hosted a party, so we decided to have one again this year.  It seemed a bit early for having a party themed around Christmas, but it was great to have an excuse to get into the Christmas spirit!

The most hilarious thing that happened was that we were rushing around at round 7:00 (the party started at 8) and I looked at our heater and noted that the thermostat was completely blank.  During the week this happened once and we just poked a button or two and it came back on.  Well, the poking didn't work this time, so of course I started to go nuts thinking that we would all be freezing at the party.  Luckily someone in our relationship is sane (David), so he called a heating company who sent a nice man out ASAP.  The heater was completely fixed before our second guests arrived!  Hooray!  

On Saturday we slept in (it was the first time in a very, very long time that I haven't set an alarm....I woke up at 9:10 a.m.!  Glorious!) and cleaned.  That evening I went to my annual yoga Christmas party at my yoga teacher's house, which was really fun.  If you put a lot of Bikram yoga students into a room together the conversation sounds like this:

"What is your favorite posture?"

"I also really, really hate head to knee pose!"

Most people probably wouldn't have a ton of fun at that event.  :)

Then, on Sunday, we hung around and caught up on the work we needed to finish before the week started!  How was your weekend?

Monday, December 05, 2011

Meatball Subs

One of our favorite dinners is meatball subs.  The recipe is pretty easy, really.  I do not love frozen meatballs, so I usually make mine homemade.

My favorite recipe is from this soup recipe.  I simply make the meatballs and then add some red sauce.  Normally, I add oregano, crushed red pepper, some sugar, basil, and a dash of salt to the red sauce.

Then, I buy a loaf of crusty store-bought bread, cut it in half, spread it with oregano and olive oil, and toast it in the oven at 350 for about 10-20 minutes (I just watch it to see when it is finished).

The result is a crunchy and chewy meaty sandwich (by the way, we have figured out that the sandwich is better if the meatballs are cut in half...it is much easier to handle).  This makes a delicious weeknight meal that everybody is sure to enjoy!

I have to admit that my blog posting has been rather sparse lately.  We have just been very busy, and sometimes life prevents me from keeping up with the blogging.  The Thanksgiving holiday has already come and gone, so sometimes I just like to give up a few duties in order to enjoy doing other things with family and friends.  So, please forgive me if the blog is neglected!