Saturday, December 31, 2011

Working from home...

Nick was feeling a little under the weather the other day and decided to work from home. I snapped this picture of him...

I couldn't help but laugh to myself at his little setup. He has:
  • a computer hooked up to the tv playing music videos
  • a macbook pro
  • a macbook air
  • an ipad 
Too bad he can't work like this everyday. CoCo and I would definitely enjoy the company! 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Crafts...China Style!

I love Pinterest. BUT it can be dangerous here in China. I find so many things I want to try to make, but it is so difficult to find supplies, etc. Instead of getting my craft on, I  usually just try to look for recipes that I want to try, since I can find almost everything here I want to cook with. For Christmas though, I did get just a little crafty.

I wanted to make place-cards for our dinner with friends and found this cute idea. From looking at the picture I was a little daunted, I can't find scrapbook paper here, but I figured I could work something out with plain old green paper. Well, once I looked a little more into these place-cards I realized just how easy they were. All I did was print out the pattern from and then cut them out and fold them.

After I found the place-cards I did a little more searching and found a template for these cute napkin rings. Again, all I had to do was print and cut them out. I meant to get a picture of the table with all our food and cute placecards, etc. However, as soon as the food was done all thoughts of picture taking flew my mind and we dug in, so I snapped these after we were finished. I think they turned out pretty cute and made Christmas dinner feel a little more special than usual.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beijing Christmas

A quick recap of our Christmas:

We had an awesome Christmas Eve breakfast with friends at Grandma's Kitchen in Wudaokou. 

Nick's chicken fried steak

At breakfast
For Christmas Eve dinner we tried our hardest to find some pina coladas but silly TGI Fridays decided to have a set menu that night, so we ended up at Papa John's with our friends the Gobles. It was delicious, but next year I'm going to have to have two pina coladas to make up for it.

We tried really hard to get a picture with CoCo in it, but he was too distracted by all the presents (which we had to keep locked up in the bedroom so he wouldn't open them all)
Christmas morning we woke up early to start cooking, open presents, and skype with our families. CoCo was pretty excited to get into his stocking! After a great church service we headed home to have Christmas dinner with our friends the Putnam's and Goble's. Silly me, I didn't get any pictures of dinner, or the group so you can check them out on my friend Hailey's blog. We had a great meal, played games and enjoyed all the Christmas goodies we had made, and had a Yankee swap. Since we couldn't be home with our families this year, we really appreciate our good friends here in Beijing!

Not quite tall enough!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot like...


No, we didn't just get these up. We decorated a few weeks ago, but then I got sick and it has taken me this long to take pictures and get them on the computer to be able to blog them.

My friend Brandi introduced me to the wholesale market here in Beijing. It is always crazy, but they had so much cheap Christmas stuff for sale. Way more than we were expecting to find. Most of it was pretty chintzy, but it is definitely better than nothing. You can't tell from the picture, but our Christmas tree is fiber-optic so it gets pretty crazy when all the lights are off. I figured this would be the only time in my life I will ever have a cheesy tree like that so I might as well go all out!

First Kicks

I'm pretty sure I just felt baby kick for the first time! (and second and third) It's kind of a crazy thought that there is a person in there. Now I just have to wait three weeks (Jan 12th) to find out if baby is a boy or girl!

Sidenote: It will be so nice to be able to say him or her instead of avoiding the word "it." I can't call my child "it." That just sounds so weird. Instead I have to say baby everytime we refer to him/her (----->see! it just of those instances when I have to avoid using the word it and substitute something else awkward in its place) Does this bother anyone else or am I just crazy?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Life Changing Discovery

So the title might be a bit dramatic, but Nick and I recently found the easiest recipe to make our own buffalo wings/sauce at home. All you need is equal parts melted butter and Franks Red Hot Sauce (and a little white vinegar if you choose). Both of which we can find pretty conveniently close to home, and not that outrageously priced.

Before we were buying McCormick buffalo wing spice packets and hauling them back to China with us, but this was so much better! We have already used the sauce to make buffalo chicken salad, burritos, and wings. Next I'm thinking a buffalo chicken pizza will be fabulous!

It's funny to me how excited I get about small things like this now, but sometimes cooking can be such an adventure here (between going to 5 different import stores and paying LARGE amounts of money for pretty basic things) that I give up and order McDonalds. It's nice to have a simple back up plan for nights when I want to eat in, but don't want to work too hard.

Before I sound super lazy, I should clarify that some nights I really enjoy cooking and don't mind the extra work to be able to eat some good enchiladas, but it's not something I can do every night. If I tried to cook how I would if we lived in America (with Walmart just  2 minutes away) we would be spending hundreds of dollars a week on food and I would spend all day running from store to store, so we've learned to improvise. We cook at home a few nights a week, always western food. Then we order out a few others. It's hard not to do when its so cold outside and pretty much any type of food we want will be delivered right to our door, usually in half an hour or less.

Now we will just have to see how long it takes us to get tired of buffalo wings...I have a feeling it's going to be a long time!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2 years!

Happy Anniversary Nickolas!

So Nick has officially put up with me for two years!  This past year has been a busy one. Here's just a few of the highlights:

  • Added CoCo to our family
  • Moved to Beijing from Dalian
  • Got to go home twice (although the flights over the ocean don't count as highlights!)
  • Found out we are having a baby
  • Took mini vacations to Taiwan and South Korea

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Beijing Thanksgiving

We didn't get to celebrate on Thursday since Nick and I both had to work, but we hosted a few people from our branch for dinner on Saturday night. It was definitely a lot more work than last year in Dalian where we had a delicious meal with the branch, but it was fun. We had to plan a lot more to figure out how to get everything cooked in our mini toaster oven, but in the end it worked out great. The ingredients for most things were pretty easy to find at all the import stores, so it was nice to not have to worry about that.

We cooked turkey (cut up because a whole bird would never have fit), dressing, corn pudding, sweet potato casserole, and apple pie. Everything turned out good, except for the pie crust. I'll have to keep working on that. Our guests brought fruit salad, an asparagus dish, pumpkin pie, and apple cranberry casserole and some Korean cakes.

We had a fun and very diverse group. We had a woman from Sweden, another from the Philippines, and a man from Korea in our group, along with 3 other Americans. It was fun to be able to share our holiday with them. By the time everyone left that night I was exhausted. I collapsed on the couch at 8:30 and was instantly asleep.

Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the night. I was too busy running around trying to make sure everything got cooked, etc. Oh well!