We're back! After a grueling trip home (Thessaloniki to Athens to Frankfurt to San Francisco to Reno), I am back in the glorious country that is America. Daisy lost it when she saw us. Slobbery kisses and "Arfs!" all around. It felt so good to be in a home not a hotel. A place with a fully stocked kitchen and an actual two person bed--no more twin beds pushed together!
It was a quick visit to Tahoe for me, just enough time to say hi to the mountains which are now capped with snow and see the dogs romp around on the beach--a little teaser that got me very excited to be dancing in the New Year outside in the powder at SnowGlobe Music Festival (more on that to come).
Only a day after returning from Greece, I hopped on another plane to Kansas City for Christmas with the fam. Christmas in Kansas City is gorgeous. Snow covers the expansive lawns and huge oak and elm trees. The Plaza Shopping Center is famous for its lights display, which is best seen on a horse-drawn carriage underneath cozy blankets and holding hot chocolate.
My whole family lives in Kansas City, so I love getting back to see my siblings and how much their little ones have grown. There is never a dull moment with this crew.
We continued our bizarre holiday tradition of going to the casino for a couple hours during the day on Christmas Eve (not sure how this got started since none of us are really into gambling). Let me tell you about the people who are in the casinos in Missouri on, of all days, Christmas Eve. Picture lone elderly people with oxygen tanks and seedy individuals with sagging pants. It breaks my heart and sketches me out all at once. In our family, the girls spend their time on the slots while the guys hit up the Blackjack and Poker tables. Shockingly, my oldest sister won $500 on a penny slot machine with a $1.80 bet. Merry Christmas to her!
One of my favorite things about Christmas is spending time cooking and setting the table with my mom. She has an endless supply of antique votives and decorations, many of which she acquired while living in England and Germany. Her kitchen walls are covered in old copper bundt pans, silver chocolate molds and beautiful china plates. To get our creative juices flowing, my mom (a closet Francophile) made us her new favorite drink, a Kir Royale.
2 Champagne flutes
Creme de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur)
Pour 1-2 Tbsp creme de cassis in each flute and top with 4-6 ounces champagne. Enjoy!
On Christmas, we stuffed ourselves with prime rib, veggies and Yorkshire pudding while the dogs hovered by the table waiting for scraps. The kids ran around with their new toys as we attempted to keep them away from the piano. My family loved their "Greek gifts" of olive oil, ouzo, truffle oil and candy. It's always a little sad when Christmas is over, but it also means we are one step closer to the New Year--a time for betterment, goals and new projects--and I've got a lot of those in mind!