Thursday, December 22, 2011

White Christmas

Wowzers!  Did we ever get enough snow to have a White Christmas here in Denver!  I took these pictures at 7:30 this morning and it hasn't stopped snowing yet.  After spending over an hour clearing the driveway, deck, and sidewalks (with a little help from a neighbor) I'm ready for a hot tub, cocktail, and massage...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Warming Up for Christmas

Last weekend we prepared for Christmas by celebrating the holidays with friends and eating way too much.  On Friday night, Ryan and I went to the Arvada Beer Company in Olde Town Arvada.  It seems like we've been waiting forever for this spot to open up and it finally did so we had to check it out.  They serve only beer that they brew at the facility, but Mannekin Frites is connected so you can walk over and order some Belgian frites to enjoy with your brew, which we did.
The next morning I woke up early to bake cookies as I had a pierogi pinching party/cookie exchange later in the morning.  Pierogies are a Polish type of dumpling that have various fillings; for the past few years I've been attending, Krissy has always provided a potato filling and a cabbage filling.  Pinching pierogies is quite a process.  We have someone that makes the dough, someone that rolls and cuts the dough, a group that pinches the pierogis (i.e. puts filling inside and closes the dumpling) and someone that boils the pinched pierogies.  And of course we were all involved in eating them.  As soon as the first batch was done we were all over there putting melted butter and salt on top of the piping hot dumplings.

Later that evening, we went to Roy and Marlene's for dinner.  Marlene had the house decorated beautifully and she made such delicious food for us.  She also served me my body weight in cookies and coffee. 

What a great day to continue the holiday tradition of pierogi pinching/cookie exchange and to celebrate the holiday with new friends.

The next day we enjoyed a long coffee outing after church with our friends from early service, as we won't see them again before Christmas, and then watched an unfortunate Bronco loss.  Then we headed to the Sherpa House in Golden with Amy and Dion.  The boys got to sit in back with Lily.  They seemed a bit cozy back there.
Golden's downtown is decorated so beautifully for Christmas so I'm really glad we decided to go.  And the Sherpa House was amazing.  The interior is decorated with various Nepalese artifacts and the information about Sherpas.  I really didn't know a lot about Sherpas but they are a Nepalese ethnic group that lives in the Himalayas.  Apparently, they are such renowned mountain people that they are regularly sought out to be mountain climbing guides.  The server suggested I try the daal bhat and the next table over mentioned that they had been to Nepal on a guided climb with Sherpas and they were often served daal bhat for dinner.  My dish came out with all these different items on it and I had no idea what to do!  The server told me to pour three of my containers over my rice and then the other three containers were sides.  As I've mentioned before, I love playing with food!  This was the perfect dish for me!  And it was super delicious.

Ryan was super adventurous and tried yak bindalu.  He seemed to enjoy it so I wanted to have a taste but he orders everything hot and after a test dip of my naan into his sauce I decided it was a little too hot for me to handle.  Anyway, I definitely want to go back to this restaurant and try more Sherpa food...maybe after I go climb some mountain.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


My last night in NYC I decided to walk around the financial district and see the sights.  I got to see the Charging Bull:

I walked by the beautiful Trinity Church:

And I walked down Wall Street and saw the New York Stock Exchange and walked by Federal Hall where George Washington was inaugurated.

After I toured the financial district I walked to Century 21, a large discount store that carries several designer names.  The place was huge and they had so much stuff!  Of course I walked away with a few new items I just couldn't live without.  :) 

Later I took the subway to Chinatown for dinner and shopping.  I went to Joe's Shanghai to try the famous soup dumplings as I'd never had one before.  Soup dumplings are like regular dumplings but in addition to the meat filling they have a broth soup contained within.  To eat them, you have to open up the dumpling and either slurp the soup or pour it into a spoon before eating the rest of the dumpling.  As I tend to love playing with my food, this was perfect for me.  I also liked that the hostess sat you wherever there was room so I ended up first sitting with a group of three Chinese people who were in the middle of their dinner and then after they left a group of three Italian men were seated with me.  I actually ended up ordering the Italians' dinner for them because they didn't speak English or Chinese.  I left before they received it so I hope they liked what I chose!

After dinner I perused Chinatown and bought a few goodies to bring home, such as moon cakes.  I then ate my way through the rest of the neighborhood.  I enjoyed a boba tea:
And I had some soy milk with a Chinese fruit cake (don't worry, nothing like a Christmas fruitcake):
Oh, and Chinatown is right by Little Italy but I didn't make it into that neighborhood.
After I was sufficiently full and everything was shutting down, I headed back to the hotel.  A couple hours later, I realized what a terrible idea it was to drink boba tea, which has caffeine in it (and I don't drink caffeine much anymore), late at night.  The next morning was an early morning indeed!  I finished up my last day of training and flew back home.  I had such an amazing time in NYC and my training was extremely helpful for my job.  All in all, the trip was a success!

Monday, December 19, 2011


A week ago today I flew to NYC for software training.  I have always loved New York so I was extremely excited to get to attend training in the city.  I chose a hotel in the financial district as my training facility was just around the corner.  The first night there I was able to meet Holly, one of my sorority sisters from K-State.  She moved to Manhattan (The Big Apple in NY, not the Little Apple in KS - hehe) a little before Ryan and I moved to Denver.  Here we are at a cute little West Village bar called Wilfie and Nell.  It was so great to see her and catch up!
I stayed out much too late but when in Rome...right?  The next night I went to Rockefeller Center as seeing the tree was number one on my sightseeing list.  The walk from the subway station to the tree was beautiful.  The city is just magical during Christmas time.  Everything it decorated so beautifully and the Christmas spirit is palpable. 

I was lucky enough to stumble upon Magnolia Bakery on my walk so I stopped in and purchased a Red Velvet cupcake that I took with me to enjoy while I was admiring the Rockefeller Center tree. 

I decided then to walk around a bit more and head towards Times Square. 

I ended my evening with dinner at Tony's di Napoli, which was delicious, and then headed back to the financial district.  I stayed out way too late again but I wanted to squeeze every single minute out of my trip!  I did a great job the first two nights and had a fabulous time!  I'll write about my last night in my next post. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011


On the Saturday that Luke and Leslie were in town we headed up to Winter Park to go snowmobiling!  We signed up for a 2 hour guided tour which took us up to the Continental Divide.  Leslie and I decided to be passengers, which is probably a good thing because Les has a strong history of breaking bones while in my company. 

Trying on helmets:

Getting our sleds:

We stopped about halfway up to take pictures:

Here we are at the Continental Divide:

We stopped on our way back down to take more pictures.  The train tracks were so pretty.  Apparently there is an old ghost town, called Arrow, somewhere in the area that serviced rail traffic when the trains were still running this route.

On our way out of high country we stopped and had mountain pies at Beaujo's.  When we got back, Leslie and I crashed.
Notice our matching blankies?  I had admired Leslie's so much when I first saw it that she went and picked out fabric for mine and her Momma Sharon and Aunt made it for me last year.  :)  Because I never shared it with Ryan and he was a bit envious, he ended up getting a blankie this time.
Unfortunately Luke and Leslie had to leave early Sunday morning, but we had a wonderful few days and I know I'm so lucky to have such great friends.  I already can't wait until the next visit!