Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 12 - How to make Christmas cookies

The winter holidays period doesn't officially start for me until I hear George Michael crooning Last Christmas. This tune triggers an unnatural desire to decorate, cut out paper houses and ooohh and aaahh at every Christmas tree I see (the faker, the better).

I heard the song last week so I figure NOW is an appropriate time to start posting about the winter holidays.

We've already mentioned that we plan to bake cookies with Hershey Kisses in them. Based on previous experiences of me and Trevor in the kitchen, this is how it's probably going to be. He knows I shouldn't be left unattended (this made for a really ingredient-poor pizza at one point).

how to bake christmas cookies with your girlfriend stick figures

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 14 - How to do Thanksgiving stuffing (of self)

Thanksgiving is one of Trevor's favorite holidays, mainly because it involves the magical 3 Fs - family, food and football. I've asked him to tell me about what he usually does on this day and his stories invariably contain long descriptions of feasts and sports.

The peril of good holiday cooking, however, is this:

thanksgiving stuffing stick figures
This is actually one of my worries about moving to the U.S. Since both Trevor and I are gourmands, I'm afraid the little green blob in the picture above will be me come next Thanksgiving. It's worth mentioning that out of the 6 pictures that Trevor emailed to me on this day, 6 of them were pictures of food (you know, like 6 out of 6 dentists recommend you brush your teeth).

I'm looking forward to my first official American Thanksgiving, because last year we celebrated it by roaming the streets of Munich, crashing the Christmas Market and watching a misty sunset in the English Botanical Gardens. Trevor's friends cooked what we assumed was either a very large chicken or a small turkey, since nobody could understand the German label and there was no quick way of translating it in the store. It was a delicious meal nonetheless and my first encounter with the American version of stuffing, which I will euphemistically call interesting.

Christmas market in munich germany
Munich Christmas Market

fall autumn sunset in the englischer garten in munich, germany
Misty sunset in the Englischer Garten (also the only time we saw the sun in two weeks)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 16 - How to be thankful for the little things

With Thanksgiving over now, hopefully everyone has spent a little time being thankful for the things that matter: family, friends, health etc.

But Mickey and I decided to write a post about the little things. While having loving people in your life and all of your basic needs met is so important, sometimes it's the little things that gets us through. It's often the little things that can bring smiles to our faces everyday. So here is a list of the little things Mickey and I are thankful for. See if you can find them all in today's stick figure drawing.

1. Airline Miles
2. Smiles at the end of a long day
3. Sunshine
4. Flying a kite in the summer
5. Hot showers on cold days
6. Watermelon
7. Triple Dimples
8. Movie nights with wine and popcorn
9. Singing our sentences! (read in a singing voice)
10. Anticipation before every visit
11. Making lists
12. Postcards
13. Back massages
14. Long serious talks
15. Looking forward to life together
thankful for the little things

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 23 - How to read body language

In any relationship, whether international or not, couples inevitably learn how to communicate their thoughts and feelings without using words. Some of these messages are easier to read than others.

One very simple form of body language that Mickey uses was very easy for me to interpret. So easy, in fact, that I named it the "Huff Robot". This particular motion occurs when "someone" does or says something that might frustrate or disappoint Mickey. In order to communicate this annoyance to "someone", Mickey raises her elbows into the air and in a swift, nearly robotic motion, plants her fists firmly onto her hips. In case "someone" doesn't fully grasp the meaning of this, it as accompanied by a furrowed brow, pursed lips, raised shoulders and an adorable high-pitched "hmph!"

If "someone" is subjected to this response, they can further test its meaning by imitating the robotic nature of the motion. If Mickey laughs, then "someone" can suppose that the infraction was not all that serious. If Mickey does not even giggle, then it is time to consider an apology or exit strategy.

Be warned. The "Huff Robot" is cute, but dangerous.

the Huff Robot

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 24 - How to craft for Thanksgiving

It takes a little bit of effort and a good dose of creativity to fuel a good romantic relationship. It takes a little bit more creativity and a good dose of  "what on earth are they doing?!!" to nurture a long distance relationship.

Trevor and I take the time to come up with different ideas for date nights, even when we're more than 4000 miles apart. So far our Skype dates have included: movie nights, cooking nights, serenade nights, storytelling nights, poetry nights and even craft nights.

Last year for Thanksgiving we decided to have a little fun with paper crafts. So we found a few tutorials online, on a website which I'm pretty sure was for kids. With a little bit of colored paper and some glue we whipped up a turkey and a couple of pilgrims. Then we were very proud of ourselves and, in the spirit of the holiday, we felt very grateful for having found each other. I mean, who else would be willing to spend an evening to meticulously cut up bits of paper into this?

Meet the village pilgrim people:

thanksgiving pilgrim paper crafts
Fyi, this is not a police line up of the usual suspects, they're just holding hands because they're in love. Mr. Pilgrim's jacket looks a bit faded because I didn't have black paper and I had to color it in with a black marker (you hear that, Trevor? Nobody calls it a sharpie here, that's just the brand name).

And here is la piece de resistance:

thanksgiving turkey paper crafts

Yes, I felt the need to stick a chick on his heart. Why do you ask?

These are my crafts as Trevor claims to have misplaced his pilgrims. I think he just has pilgrim envy because his little redhead Pilgrimette didn't have that je ne sais quoi. As for the turkey, Trevor stuck it in a flower pot and it got watered down and it faded in the sun. So kids, let this cardboard turkey teach you a lesson: wear sunscreen pot is bad for you.

cardboard paper turkey thaksgiving craft euroamerican home

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 26 - How to shop like a pro

Trevor is flying here in less than a month, so the other day we were planning our December Fun To-do List. We're having Christmas lunch at my parents' so we thought we'd attempt to bake something. Ok, I thought we should bake something and Trevor reticently agreed, because he considers baking to be a science that you don't mess with (and we're messy in the kitchen).

Trevor found a relatively easy recipe that we can try. When I say relatively easy, I mean for me, since I'll probably just be jumping up and down next to the workstation, incessantly asking "are you sure this is how it's done?" and then running up and down from the kitchen to the bedroom asking "is it ready yet?"

The recipe calls for Hershey's Kisses and the plan was to have Trevor go to the store and buy one bag of Kisses and one box of hot chocolate (since this is also on our list).

Our conversation went like this:

Mickey: So JUST buy one bag of Kisses. Just ONE! We're going to have enough sweets for the holidays as it is.

Trevor: Ok, I'll just buy ONE. Don't worry.

Then this happens:

hershey's kisses cookie recipe
Trevor has this philosophy that if they're on sale we should take advantage of that and stock up, which usually clashes with my philosophy of 'there will be no uneaten chocolate in this house'. So he pretends to fight the impulse to buy more chocolate and I (sometimes bother to) pretend to fight the impulse to eat it all as soon as he unpacks it. We make a great team!

how to shop for the holidays stick figures

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 31 - How to prevent overeating

One of the first things that Trevor learned about me is that I like chocolate. A lot!

What he learned the hard way is that I won't stop from eating the chocolate until it is gone. For good!

Actually this is true for every food that I really like. This is how it usually happens: Trevor cooks or brings something delicious. I consume the first portion of it like a lady, then I pig out on the rest until there is nothing left. Then I start complaining that I feel like a balloon and that my tummy hurts and then I scold Trevor for letting me eat so much and make him promise to not let me eat as much next time. He never stops me in time, mostly because he has no idea how little food a tiny woman needs.

He did manage to save a few potentially disastrous situations by quickly eating the leftovers himself or stashing away his mother's fudge on top of my kitchen cupboard. I tried to get that by climbing on a stool but it was a bit shaky so I had to give up, in the interest of not breaking my neck. But man, my adrenaline was pumping from all that sugar rush and I was feeling a little bit like Catwoman. And I knew I couldn't rely on Trevor to catch me if I fell, because I sneakily waited for him to get in the shower before I attempted my evil master plan. I was planning to beam with a mouthful of fudge when he got out but alas, my plan was derailed by wobbly kitchen furniture.

Anyway, back to chocolate! A friend brought me two huge bars of chocolate from Wales yesterday, which I happily shared with my brother. By that I mean he sneaked away and started sawing them in half. Seriously, they were huge, he almost needed a chainsaw. Even so, I still came home with two considerably large chunks of chocolate. After I ate some after dinner instead of dinner, I started feeling the guilt. You see, each row was worth 160 calories, and I had already eaten 3 rows in 10 minutes. Add to that the big purple letters on the foil warning me to "be treatwise" and I felt that the leftover bar was judging me. So in an effort to remove temptation, I threw it on top of my wardrobe and tried to forget about its existence. But we're talking Cadbury Dairy Milk, Fruit and Nut here, straight from Cadburylandia.

Naturally, the first thing I did when I woke up this morning was to try to retrieve my Cadbury leftovers. I was full of sugar and fervor last night so I threw it pretty deep. I tried to reach it with a stick, but all I managed to do is poke at it and push it further away.

I could borrow a ladder from my carpenter neighbor but I really don't want to answer the question "what do you need it for?"

I could also defrost the emergency bar that I have in my freezer, but it's been sitting next to a bag of broccoli for way too long and I'm not that desperate yet.

So right now the best solution seems to be to wait for Trevor('s tallness) to come here in about a month and have him be my superhero, Chocolate-Retrieveman.

How to prevent overeating stick figures

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 32 - How to make a face

Mickey and I thoroughly enjoy each other's sense of humor, and one of the things that regularly cracks Mickey up is my face.

In our last post, I drew a dress on Mickey, which increased the accuracy of our artistic interpretations by 1000 fold. So I thought I would attempt a self-portrait. But in order to make it a bit entertaining for our readers, I will add a story to this portrait.

Also, it's late and I don't have a better idea.

Lately, a number of my friends have been popping out kids, and a few more are expecting. While babies are precious and adorable, sometimes they come out looking like raisin shaped alien beings. And thus one of the faces that has made Mickey laugh is called the "raisin-baby" face.

Get ready to laugh.

Raisin-baby face

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 36 - How to buy cheap candy

The trick-or-treaters are gone, the costumes put away forever, and everyone can take down the decorations and toilet paper. Now that Halloween is over and we have hit the month of November, it is time to start the preparations for Thanksgiving Christmas! Wait, what?!

The way I celebrate the first week of November, is to go to the stores and buy 50%-off Halloween leftovers. I don't buy candy often, but if I do, I try to be frugal. Okay, the truth is I am at the store the day after Halloween, Valentine's Day, and Easter every year. I would go after Christmas too, but that is suicide.

Plus, I never seem to be wanting for more exposure to Christmas. Perhaps it is because I have spent plenty of time with my family and loved ones. Perhaps it is because the cheer of the season so fills me with warmth that it lasts until my birthday. Or perhaps it is because by the time I hit December 1st everything smells like peppermint and fir trees.

I'm not a complete scrooge, I'm just one of those people who thinks Christmas celebrations would be just fine if they started sometime in the same month as the actual holiday. Next year I am going to go to the store on Halloween and give out Christmas candy.
shopping in November

Maybe Tim Burton will take my idea and start working on The Nightmare After Halloween.
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