Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Cheers to the new year! I hope all your wishes come true!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas.

We hope you have the Merriest Christmas with the ones you love!
Katie & Chloe

Saturday, December 22, 2012

DIY Crayons

I always like to make a couple handmade gifts during the holidays, and this one is one of the easiest. After some of my work events, I was left with tons of broken crayons. Why throw them away when I could make recycled rainbow crayons? My mom did this with me when I was little, and it's the first time I've made them since. I made up two bags and bought some coloring books--one goes to my cousin Avery, and the other to my boyfriend's two nephews. Here's what to do:

1. Get your crayons together--I soak them in some cold water first, this makes taking off the wrapper much easier. You can cut them into whatever size pieces you'd like.
2. Line a muffin pan with foil. Make sure there are NO holes--the crayons melt all over your trays and that is no fun to clean up, trust me. You can also use a cupcake liner. I did both--but even when I used the cupcake liner, I put a small piece of foil in the pan first.

3. Fill each space with crayons. If you're doing rainbow, make sure to mix the crayons up well--the darker crayons tend to overpower.
4. Bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes or until completely melted. Let cool and remove from tray.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas in Pittsburgh

Last Christmas I needed a break from work, took a walk around the city and began noticing all the beautiful sites of the holidays around Pittsburgh. It was my first December working downtown, so I never really knew of anything but the ice skating rink in PPG Plaza. Well, little did I know the holidays were everywhere. I decided to do the same thing this year. Most of the buildings were decorated the same, but there were a few new additions and changes. Here's my Pittsburgh Christmas post from last year. Seeing this makes you realize that the littlest things in life can brighten your day!
Gallery in the Allegheny County Courthouse 
Allegheny County Hartwood Acres Mansion
Pittsburgh's City-County Building
Macy's Downtown
Holiday Market in Market Square 
Market Square
Holiday Market in Market Square
PPG Plaza
PPG Plaza Ice Skating Rink 
Allegheny County Courthouse Courtyard
US Steel Building
Beautiful Nativity outside the US Steel Building 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Getting in the Spirit.

I started my own holiday decorating yesterday! I bought the cutest gold mini tree from Target, then added my collection of peacock ornaments. I accidentally bought four new ones yesterday at Walmart--how could I not, they were $1.50 each, and super cute. One day I plan to have a big tree decorated in all my peacock ornaments, with beautiful peacock colored ornaments. Thankfully peacock has been kind of in lately, so I've been lucky finding some great decorations.

My second mini tree is for at work. I always like to decorate my office for each holiday. I figure, I spent most of my waking week hours there so why not make it homey? This tree has my Beatles ornaments and these cute little peace signs my old boss bought me! They're from 10,000 Villages and imported from Bangladesh!

Nothing crazy, but enough for me!
One of my Walmart ornaments--most of the rest are from Pier 1.
Looks much better with the lights plugged in.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Slovak Christmas Eve

My mom's side of the family is super Slovak. Like the kind who have magnets that say "Life's too short not to be Slovak," license plates with our very-Slovak last name, items around the house straight from Slovakia, you get the idea. And I gotta say, I love it. I always have. I used to sit on my pap's lap and he would teach me how to say every part of your face in Slovak--my favorite being "zuby" meaning teeth.

When I was younger, my grandma's entire family would get together for "Holy Supper" on Christmas Eve. We don't get together anymore, but I still remember walking into the hall and seeing the long tables set for dinner. Santa Claus would come, and all the Bubba's would be working hard making all the traditional Slovak Christmas Eve dishes. The dinner was so traditional, that even if you were in a serious relationship, even engaged, your significant other couldn't come to Holy Supper. We'd say our prayers and eat the wafer--something I was never excited about when I was little--I thought it tasted like styrofoam. We don't eat meat on Christmas Eve, instead we would have pierogies, mushroom soup, fish, pagachi, and many other delicious dishes.

My grandma still makes salmon patties, but the other traditional items have pretty much gone away. My mom was looking through the course book for the community college nearby, and noticed there is a "Slovak Christmas Eve" cooking class. Guess what I got for my birthday--yup, she signed me up for the class! I had it this past Saturday and absolutely loved it. I learned how to make pierogies, bobalky, pagach, and mushroom soup. Pierogies were way easier than I thought, and for not liking mushrooms, I actually liked the soup. My favorite dish was the bobalky. I told my mom yesterday that I plan on making it for Christmas Eve!

The class was very informative, and I learned more than just cooking. A lot of the students in the class were Slovak, so we talked about all the other traditions, different parts of Slovakia, and where their families came from. I would love to take the class again and have my mom and grandma come with me. I'm so happy to know that I can now carry on the traditions of our family heritage. The entire class I couldn't stop thinking about my pap and how happy I know he is that I'll be cooking some Slovak dishes for our family! I know he wishes he was here to try some, but he will be watching and helping me make sure the recipes are just right!
Pierogies pre-boil.
It gets to be a bit messy.
Pierogies and Bobalky!