Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday....Christmas Edition!

Join the rest of the party with Jenn over at Peas and Crayons!

Well, well, well...we have arrived...New Years Eve at last!!! Who is ready for 2015?!

Me! Me! Me!!! 2014 was an amazing year, so many fantastic things happened between a trip to London, going to Hawaii for the first time, and moving to Europe it was a year of dreams come true for us. No better way to wind down the year than recapping what we ate for Christmas....but not before throwing it back to my top three favorite What I Ate Wednesday posts!

Now, on to what we ate for Christmas!

Christmas Eve
The table all set, ready to sit down.

We did brown sugar glazed pork chops, broccoli with cheese, and mashed potatoes and gravy for the kiddo and husband but I am not a huge fan of gravy or mashed potatoes for that matter so I doused mine in sour cream and cheese haha
 Christmas Day
Started the day right: Baileys, hazelnut delight red eye!

Effort: 10, Taste:10, Execution: 2 haha
It does  not look pretty, I know, but they were amazing lol I have several things I will do to make this better next time the first being bake the rolls in a circle crammed together so they look like rolls and are smothered in the brown sugar goodness, then put them in the shape of a Christmas tree. lol I will also make the frosting more pasty instead of drizzly.  But these were amazing...seriously. Here is the recipe:
2 cans of crescent rolls
1/2 stick softened butter
1/2 cup-1 cup brown sugar (I didn't measure lol)
1 tsp cinnamon, or to taste (again, I didn't measure)
First lay out the crescent rolls to form a rectangle and using a rolling pin roll them together so it becomes seamless.
Spread softened butter over rectangle and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
Roll up and cut into 12 rolls.
Bake at 200 Celsius for 10-15 minutes until desired doneness.

This is what we snacked on all day, after presents we got dressed and decided to treat ourselves to unlimited movie passes at our local theater. It is a fantastic programme our theater offers and so we wanted to take advantage especially with a teenager on our hands she loves to go to the movies!

We left early and decided to see if a restaurant was open and one was! We got really lucky. Not only was this place delicious which is a rarity here, but the prices were good and the service was amazing!

Being silly...as you can tell she is trying so hard not to laugh her butt off and act like a "typical teenager" these two crack me up!

They know me here apparently...sat us right next to all the wine!

We got these cheese stick type things. They were super tasty so long as you like Feta and Dill. I really enjoyed them but the kiddo and hubby do not like dill...at all! haha

They were all out of whole wheat pasta I was so sad, but the dish was still good chock full of egg plant, zucchini, onions, peppers, and mushrooms!

Hubby's pizza...tasty huh?!

When we got home from the movies we snuggled up for The Santa Clause and drank some amazing hot cocoa!

Serves 2:
2 cups whole milk or half and half
300 grams milk chocolate (I love Tony Chocoloney's if you are Europe)
1 tsp vanilla
Whipped cream or marshmallows, optional (but not really, we all know this lol)
Chocolate shavings/sprinkles, optional (but so much more fun)
Shot of Baileys (totally optional! put in after you pour in to mugs, don't serve to kids, drink responsibly...duh)

Heat all over medium to medium low heat stirring constantly until chocolate is melted. Once done can give a whirl with an immersion blender to make it a bit frothy. Divide up between two mugs, add Bailey's if you so desire to the mugs that will be served to adults, top with some whipped cream or marshmallows and chocolate shavings if that is your bag, baby!

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas day were so delectable! I even got in my two workouts: Max Cardio Conditioning on Christmas Eve and Cardio Recovery on Christmas Day!

Since this is New Year's Eve we are headed out to a club/cafe that does a dinner and dancing so pics to come of that...we are attending with friends from our hometown. New Years Day, we don't eat anything special...we will be in recovery mode so I am thinking a bike ride downtown if weather allows and an early dinner with our friends and kiddo will be in order. Pasta I think. Lots and lots of Pasta.

So, what was on your menu for Christmas Day? Do you have anything special you eat for New Years Day? 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Menu Plan Monday #67! Happy New Year!

Last meal plan of 2014, and first of 2015! How exciting!

This last week was a blast with our Christmas Celebration. Even with everyone on break I managed to keep up with my workouts. It helped that we didn't want to go anywhere since it was rainy and gross all week long!

Workouts last week:
This was my last week of Insanity!
Monday: Max Interval Circuit
Tuesday: Max Interval Plyo
Wednesday: Max Cardio Conditioning
Thursday: Cardio Recovery (Yes, yes, I workout on Christmas Day, round of applause to all of us that did)
Friday: Rest, did lots of shopping, gotta love Boxing Day! :D
Saturday: Max Interval Circuit
Sunday: Rest...did lots and lots of cleaning.

Workouts planned for this week:
Monday: P90X3 Dynamix
Tuesday: 2 mile run and Isometrix
Wednesday: PIYO Sweat
Thursday: 1 mile run and Asylum Vol 1: Speed and Agility
Friday: 3 mile run and Asylum Vol 1: Strength
Saturday: Back to Core
Sunday: 4 mile run and Asylum Vol 1: Vertical Plyo

This week Marks 30 days of working out everyday. Some days will be stretching days but I am starting Insanity Asylum Vol 1, I hear it gives amazing results if you really are on track with your nutrition so I am stoked about that. I really want to see abs this year, so fingers crossed I can have self control and really change my eating habits for the better!

Toast with sprinkles
Over night oats
Brunch at restaurant by our house
Eggs and toast
Pumpkin Muffins

Soup and bread/sandwiches
Veggie bowl/grilled cheese for hubby

Out with friends
Rotisserie chicken with potato wedges and salad
Out with friends for NYE
BBQ chicken bites with potatoes and salad
Burgers/veggie burgers with salad and fries
Breakfast for dinner
Pizza and wings/cauliflower wings and salad

We are really looking forward to our New Year's celebration, some friends of ours are coming in from our hometown that we haven't seen in ages so we are looking forward to partying it up with them, then on New Years Day, meeting up with our teenager for breakfast once she leaves her friends house! What are you doing to ring in the New Year?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Day Recap!

Now that we are done with the 2nd Day of Christmas, aka Boxing Day I thought I would do a recap! We had such a lovely, wonderful two days. Christmas, even with a teenager is still magical. It is so funny because sometimes, this "in between" time where they aren't really kids anymore but they aren't grown up are the times when we have to work harder to make it even more magical than we did when they were little.

My kiddo's birthday is 10 days before Christmas. She just turned 15, she is loving being "Santa" and giving gifts, but she is also still obsessed with the magic of Christmas as if she were 5. So...here is our recap of Christmas...


Since our kiddo is older, and there is just her we get up and have coffee and breakfast first. No presents are opened, just stockings. I've found this helps to extend things and gets the anticipation high!

Gift time.
Once breakfast has commenced and is cleaned up we begin opening presents. We guess at what we think it could be and then open.

Guessing first gets everyone involved and puts the spotlight on that gift.

As you can see for the kiddo her favorite was her Nike Air Force One's and her guitar. Due to having to replace her laptop for school in early November since it is a required item and being treated to an iPhone 6 when we started a new contract in the Netherlands. Christmas was smaller than we would normally make it, which I think made these two gifts all the better.

The Nike's she'd been asking for for months and I told her after her laptop she would just have to do without. I had these things in the closet for over a month, it was killing me not to give them to her! haha

YES!!!! hahaha I think this is the best one!

She has long been a music lover and had been asking for a guitar for months. This was a last minute purchase (thanks to a lovely woman on Marketplaats) and has brought her much joy. She is great at teaching herself to play and has devoted a few hours everyday to playing it.

For hubby, his favorite gifts were his Assasin's Creed Unity jacket and his Sandalwood shorts.

The jacket I found at this great store called Pop Cult on the Kalverstraat. Being a video game producer you can never have too much video game apparel and this is such a different item.
The Sandalwood shorts were a gift from my mom to him. Totally unexpected, as that is his old high school where he played basketball all 4 years of his high school career. He is very nostalgic about his school and was excited for this to be a surprise item!

As for me, no one ever takes pictures of me opening gifts, I need to change that next year! haha my two favorites are the special edition plum compact from MAC and this necklace my parents got me.

The compact I found months ago at MAC but didn't treat myself too...not sure why just didn't want to splurge so for hubby and the kiddo to remember that meant a lot...plus, look how pretty and sparkly it is!!!

It is also so versatile. With my brown eyes these are great day colours in the top row and fantastic night colours in the bottom.

Plus, look at the new brushes the compacts come with! I love the blender...I will never lose this thing! haha

This Brighton necklace from my parents is a gem. The background is topaz, my birthstone and the back says:

...which is me completely. To find something that described me so well and to buy and send it to me really meant a lot.

After opening gifts I did my daily workouts: Cardio Recovery. No photos but woke up boxing day with sore ribs and back!

After that we got dressed and headed out to dinner and to the movies the movies.

We went out to the Bijlmer ArenA area, they had some adorable Christmas Decor up and hubby and the kiddo were goofballs as usual.

Dinner was at this great little restaurant called Mamaris....check back Wednesday for the in-depth review! It was fantastic and just what we needed for Christmas Day!

After dinner we decided to treat ourselves to Unlimited Gold Passes at our local theater.

We did this for a couple of reasons: 1) we have a teenager that is constantly asking for money for movies so this will resolve that problem 2) we never go to the movies because they are so expensive, this eliminates that 3) hopefully this will help hubby deal with not having a proper surround sound and a 60" television.

So far we've seen The Hobbit in IMAX 3D and Mockingjay, Part I. Totally worth the €26 a month!

When we got home we decided to cuddle up and watch The Santa Claus and drink cocoa...

We ended with the lights off enjoying the glow of the tree...

How were your holidays? What do you celebrate this time of year?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas around Amsterdam

Merry Christmas Friends! I know you are all spending time with your family today, but if you happened to wander by my little bit of the internet I thought I would share a little bit of Christmas around Amsterdam with you!

As I've wandered around the city the last couple of weeks I have taken pictures of various bits of Christmas, things that make me happy and joyful this time of year. So, without further ado....

Christmas tree and wreath at the Hard Rock Cafe in Leidsplein.

Christmas Tree Lights on the side of the Mariott in Leidsplein.

Some Christmas lights donning the street in Leidsplein.

Lights on the Bijenkorf

Lights and a small tree decorating the Kalverstraat.

The Christmas Tree in the Bijenkorf.

Under the Christmas Tree in Magna Plaza. Amazing how the suspended it from the ceiling right?

Such a grand and gorgeous tree...you'd never know it was "floating" from this picture!

This one was a bit different, I found it in the window of a dress shop...I love the high heel ornaments.

Finally, I leave you with our primary mode of transportation...the Kerst Tram. 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Countdown2Xmas, Day 22 Recap!

Well, just two more days to go...I guess we have entered ready or not territory huh?! Well, if you aren't here are some great posts to help you get there!

3 Kids and a Fish brings us this super simple delicious chocolate covered cracker christmas tree stack! How fun?!

Occasionally Crafty brings us these adorable printable travel activities for planes! If you are headed out on the open road make sure you print these off!

Finally, Taylors4You brings us this great recipe for Reindeer Food! I remember making something similar for my daughter to put on the lawn when she was a little tyke. Special memories.

Are you traveling for Christmas? If so, how many miles will you be covering? 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas House Tour!

Well, we aren't too far from Christmas now...and I think we are finally all ready for the big day!

Normally, we have all of our Christmas decor up the day after thanksgiving, but due to celebrating Thanksgiving late and having to acquire/make all new decorations we are done a bit late this year. But, here is how we decorated as expats, keeping true to our traditions.

Our Tree

Out of focus

Per usual I bought a fake tree. I figure I can leave it in the storage unit for the next tenants if they celebrate Christmas, if not they can leave it for the next people after that-or figure out a way to take it back to the US because it is a really full, really nice fake tree and wasn't horribly expensive.

I started the three with 300 multi-colored lights. I think I will switch back to white lights next year though because it is a little difficult to see the ornaments and just makes the tree appear really busy I feel. But still cute none-the-less.

I bought one set of red bulbs and one set of silver bulbs.

Each pack of ornament had plain, glittery, reflective (as you'll see later a lot of unintentional selfies haha), and the silver even had some with designs on them.

Then filled the tree out with these great paper dolls I found in the latest Flow for Paper Lovers book. Here are a few of my faves:

hula girl
I love this one because it reminds me of our trip to Hawaii back in March.

little red riding hood
This one I love just because I love Little Red Riding Hood.

When I bought the Flow book, the woman at Bruna gave me these adorable little chipboard ornaments to put together as well. They add some nice flair.

For our 2014 Ornament we purchased this adorable little owl because we couldn't pass it up...we still need a keepsake ornament. I am having a hard time deciding between an Amsterdam ornament and Cinderella set to commemorate our trip to the ballet this year. Heck, maybe I will cave and get both! haha

For the tree topper I wanted something fairly ridiculous, but couldn't find anything that really stood out to me at our local store so I made this really easy star topper.

Tinsel Tree Topper

Flair and sparkle, just the way I like it!

Finally, our tree skirt was another simple one. I didn't see one at our local store and all the ones I saw at garden centers were too old fashioned for me, so I bought a vinyl tablecloth and just wrapped it around the base of the tree. Simple yet adorable.

(See, #unintentionalselfie ha!)

Living Room
I've always loved Christmas Villages and saw this idea on Pinterest for a recycled Christmas Village. I had a bunch of boxes and miscellaneous paper lying around so I created this fun little village.

Sort of reminds you of canal houses right?!

To add some extra flair I used some euro wire from Flying Tiger to make these really simple Christmas Trees.

Then, I used a box top from a Sinterklaas gift my daughter got at school to create an ice skating rink:

Just above the village I put some Christmas lights:

I hung some lights above the window and covered the tape up with these easy and adorbale Washi Tape Christmas Trees.

Dining Room
My tablescape is super simple.

My runner is an end of the roll piece of wall paper.

In the center I used this great little candle holder a friend brought us as a hostess gift for Thanksgiving. Then I just put some ornaments inside two wine glasses and inverted them to hold my bigger candles!

I still felt like our living room was lacking so I added this adorable chain made out of Christmas scrapbooking paper I bought from Flying Tiger.

Entry Way
In the entry way I put this fun glass vase full of white branches and threw some red bulbs on them to make it stand out!

I also did this pinterest inspired art on our door to turn it into a snowman!

Teenager's Room

In the kiddo's room we put a small Christmas Tree and decorated it with her Cheer Bows.

She added some lights to her door with Christmas pictures cut out from a magazine.

She of course had to have a scented candle.

Yankee Candle

That is how we are decorating for Christmas, come on over to the Facebook page and share your Christmas/Holiday decorations with us!