Friday, June 29, 2012

Polish Roulette

One more drinking game to tell you about before the weekend. I'm sure my friends who didn't grow up in the States are rolling their eyes at me majorly, but T-Slav came up with this one and it's really a great one! So, of course there is Russian roulette, but man that's sooooo not Polish peoples' style. So while at Babcia and Dziadek's last week, Tomislav had a brilliant idea and came up with the Polish counterpart.

Let's say 6 people are playing Polish Roulette, you have to fill up 3 (or 4 or 5, as you wish) shot glasses with vodka and 3 shot glasses with water. Then, everyone takes a shot and upon drinking it, everyone must try and keep a straight face. No sour vodka faces, just stone cold poker faces! I think the Polish version of Roulette is much better :)

Na zdrowie! Ċ½ivjeli! Cheers everyone! 

How awesome is this Croatia/Poland supporter? He's such a cutie. I'm pretending last night's Germany vs. Italy game never happened and pretty much ignoring the rest of the Eurocup. Terrified of hearing seaside-7 Nation Army-singing by the Italians. Not talking about it anymore. Anyway! Have a fab weekend and hope you get to spend it outside in beautiful weather!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

House Hunters International Drinking Game!

Since our episode of House Hunters International first aired, we realized there were several phrases that were often repeated throughout the show and Pistol Pete was the first to realize that our episode would make a great drinking game! So it has become one! We invite you to play the "Falling in Love on a Budget in Zagreb Drinking Game."

Here's how it goes:
You can watch our episode here (if you're in the USA):


If you're anywhere outside the States, consider getting UnoTelly. It allows you to watch all the normally blocked websites that are available only in the USA all over the world. Easy to install, very low monthly cost, and I have 3 more coupons to give away to my readers! If you're interested (and you should be! You can watch everything then! Hulu, Netflix, NBC, Food Network, ABC, I mean just so much American TV that is normally unavailable), at checkout, use this coupon code: [ dreamofhometonight ] to get an additional 25% off! That means only $3.25/month for a premium package and $6/month for Gold. Woohoo!

Anyway, the drinking game! So, as you watch, you'll see T-Slav and I, and our families, and our home! Listen closely, and every time you hear the word "budget", take a swig! For you thirsty folk, you can also drink every time you hear us say, "We're planning our wedding" or every time you hear Tomislav say, "preferably." The budget game will get you tipsy enough but if you really want to put it over the edge, take a shot at our totally cheesy, but totally honest and unplanned decision scene in the park :)

We're still on that vodka kick post-Poland ;)

So enjoy our episode and play Pistol's drinking game! Let us know what you think :) It'll also air on HGTV on July 5th, 2012 at 7:00PM EST so you can check it out then too!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The best part of an 18 hour car trip?

 Tomislav and I are no strangers to long car trips, we've gone on road trips throughout Eastern Europe before, and especially as of late, T has done a lot of business travel by car. For our familymoon, we caravan-ed our way down to Dubrovnik in 2 big vans for the 8 hour drive. After Dubrovnik, we drove the 8 hours back to Zagreb, then embarked on a 1,300 km trip up to Poland. With so many drivers, we were able to get there with plenty of time for each of us to rest and relax. On the way back? It was just me and T. The first time we'd been alone since we got married and we were about to embark on an 18 hour car ride!

 

Many of you may know that my dream is to be on The Amazing Race someday. Unfortunately, you have to be a US Citizen to be on the show so my hubby wouldn't be able to be my partner on the show. This doesn't stop us from turning everyday life events into race challenges. Even little things like making it to the tram that's about to drive away, we book it and run, never giving up, as if we're on the Race. On our long ass car ride, we were making announcements like, "The next leg of the Amazing Race...starts NOW!" Our race started in Northeast Poland, we drove through the whole country, down to the Czech Republic, then through Austria, next came Slovenia, and finally back to Croatia.

So, what are the best parts of an 18 hour car trip?


1.) The views and scenery! Sometimes it's so beautiful but you just can't snap a pic in time to capture that beauty. There are many highways still being built in Poland so a lot of the drive is on more local roads on gorgeous tree lined streets like this, sometimes the trees even grow into each other so it looks like a tunnel of trees!

I just love seeing cows on the side of the road! It's so Poland!

 

 2.) Taking turns being the driver and the co-pilot! My Uncle gave us some maps of Poland which was so helpful. Believe it or not, it's the first time we ever road tripped with maps (we usually just follow signs) so it was great to be able to cross off the cities we've already passed off our list. It's also good that I'm not afraid of driving in Poland anymore and have gotten used to European driving with roundabouts and passing cars on narrow laned roads. It's up to each of us to keep the driver as entertained as possible so they don't get sleepy and the driver needs to gauge when they feel awake enough to let the co-pilot take a nap. One of our favorite things to do on long car trips is I read out loud to T-Slav. It's even better than audio books because he gets to hear my impressions of different characters' voices. I read him Catching Fire this trip and he got hooked!

 

3.) Taking breaks at random detours that we think look interesting! We saw this massive flea market from the side of the road so we decided to go take a break and check it out! We were totally surprised by the first things we saw.

It was actually a pet/farmers' market with farm animals! There were so many different types of animals, it kind of made us want to be farmers (OK maybe, I should speak for myself). But someday, we would  love to have our own chickens and a big garden, much like Tomislav's dear Aunt and Uncle have here in Croatia. Talk about farm fresh!

Sometimes it makes me sad to see the adorable little animals but these little duckies were so cute and were all shnuggling so close together. I was trying to secretly snap pics but we looked so out of place next to call the farmers, especially T in his Jersey-style sunglasses and me with my pink and purple blinged out iPhone case. Yeah, no. Not so farmery!

 

4.) Stopping at random rest stops, especially ones named "Old Timer!" After about 14 hours or driving, we made it to Vienna and it was about 9 pm at this point so the England vs. Italy game was on and I just had to watch at least a part of it! We stopped at this really cute rest stop (with the strangest name) to grab some food and watch at least part of the game.


 I was glad we got to watch even a bit because it was my turn to drive and T's to nap and I couldn't find the game on any radio station. Finally as we got closer to the Austrian/Slovenian border I found a weird Croatian station just as they were in double overtime. I woke T up to translate during the PKs! No offense to any Italy fans, but Germany is gonna KICK ASS tomorrow! Woooohooo! Germany for the win! Anyway, I was getting really sleepy at this point of the drive so T-Slav took over and then we had to blast some Call Me Maybe and LMFAO to keep our energy pumped up. I'm so glad he drove the last leg of our trip!


5.) And my personal, absolute favorite part of 18 hour car trips (here in Europe anyway!) is being able to stop and get different magazines, especially cooking ones, in the languages that I actually understand. I got so many and I'm so excited about them all. The paella on the cover of the Polish mag on the left looks amazing and I'm definitely gonna make it one day soon. I love being on summer vacation now from work so I can really get my housewife stuff on. We've been home barely 2 days and I've already made chicken gyros with a Polish cucumber salad, German potato salad (my fav!), crunchy veggie filled salad with Thai peanut dressing, and sweet and sour vegetables with rice noodles (which was so unbelievably delicious, T-Slav literally didn't realize there wasn't any meat in the dish until I mentioned it near the end of his gorging. I just love that.) Delicious!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Happy (European) Father's Day!

So, we totally missed American Father's Day last week as we were traveling from Dubrovnik to Poland throughout the night. Luckily, my sister and I have the chance to make up for it and wish our amazing, wonderful, best Dad in the universe a Happy Father's Day! Since we're all still currently in Europe (despite the fact that we're all in different countries), we can wish him the best day and let him know how much we love him. Plus, he's Polish so European Father's Day totally counts. You rock, Pistol Pete!

"I have an excellent father, his strength is making me stronger" - Taylor Swift


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Gingers Do Europe

I am still amazed by the fact that so many of my friends made the long journey over to Croatia for our wedding. Despite intense fears of flying, high costs of flights, and not enough vaction days, my loves made it to share the love with us on our big day. One of my besties had the plan from the start to put together a video of their Eurotrip and I can't believe she already put it together! It is amazing and I absolutely love it. These are two of my best friends in the world, the ketchup heads to my mustard, and (sorry T-Slav) but they are great loves of my life as well! I love my ketchup heads so much! Check out this fabulous video Morgan made below:

I love them both so much!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Car Rides, Familymoon, & (almost) no Kissy Pics!

Hi!!!
Czesc from Dobre Miasto, Poland! It feels like it's been absolutely forever and I'm so glad to have Internet access for the first time in 2 weeks so I can finally let you all know that we're married!



 Yes, we're blocking a bus from crossing, and yes, there will be so many more pics to come! Thanks for this one Noemi!

It's been absolutely amazing, without a doubt the best day of our lives, and we've been embarking on a honeymoon familymoon (as we've been calling it!) with our nearest and dearest for the past 2 weeks, road trippin' throughout Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, our travels are coming to a close soon (even though we have a super long trip back to Croatia), but before it all commenced, Taylor over at The Daily Tay wrote this great blog post about all the jobs that she's had over the years which sparked some car ride conversations among my fam and friends about their favorite/whackiest jobs. Anyway, I'm so thrilled to finally welcome Taylor over here to Dream of Home Tonight! I love her blog and I think you all will too!


First off, I'd like to say a huge congrats to

Nikki and her husband on their wedding!

What an amazing time in life for both of them.

I'm really hoping she'll give us all a treat and post some pics...



Anyway,  my name is Taylor and I blog over at

The Daily Tay

I blog about anything and everything

regarding my daily adventures living in Chicago.

My posts are usually a bit sarcastic,

sometimes cynical (depending on whether or not I've had a coffee)

and almost always involve my dog, Harlow

and my boyfriend, Chris.



In honor of Nikki being a newlywed, I wanted to share a post

about having recently celebrated the 4.5 year mark with Chris.

(4.5 dating mark, to be clear)
Big moment, I know.
Although when I called him at work and said,
"don't you want to say something to me?"
he responded with,
"Oh yea, do we have quarters for laundry tonight?"
Wrong thing, Chris.
When I told him it's our 4.5 year anniversary, he laughed and said,
"That's today, huh?"
I knew he remembered.
One of our first nights hanging out.
(I went as Captain Blackout, he's Neil Armstrong,
a match made in heaven, I know.)

We've come along way since that Fiji frat party we met at
in the musty old basement of one of their party houses.
He said I was a little too sarcastic,
I told him I've never been accused of that before...
Which was obviously sarcastic.
But he gave me a chance anyway.

Our first date was at a weird little mexican restaurant-
because they didn't card and I couldn't handle the pressure of going on a first date without drinks.
(I'm just socially awkward like that)
And I was 20, so basically legal.
That was my first date I'd ever been on.
And will hopefully be my last because I'm awful at first dates.
I don't laugh at jokes if they're not funny (luckily Chris is funny)
and I actually judge someone pretty harshly if they tell un-funny jokes.
We bonded over movies like "Saving Silverman," 
"but it only counts as one nacho if they're all stuck together..."
and he introduced me to even dumber great movies like "Out Cold."

And just when I came home and told the roomys I thought I had finally found a guy who I didn't think was annoying and could probably be my first boyfriend
Chris dropped the ball on me he was leaving for Europe in 4 weeks.
Dick move, I know.

Then again...

What a great reason to visit.
And just for the record this is the only "kissy photo" I've ever taken.
And it will be the last.
I am  blushing right now as I post it just because this is so not me.
Look closely and you can see me smirking thinking,
oh my God this is so cliche I want to die but go with it...

And after five long months of being apart the sneaky little devil that Chris is,
came home without me knowing and surprised me on my 21st.

(at midnight.)
So I was little tipsy by then and you can imagine my shock.
I just kept repeating,
"So do you have to go back? Are you home for good?"
Drunk-me thought he just made a quick trip back for the night and was going back to Spain the next day, because I didn't actually think he was returning for another two weeks.

And I'm happy to report things only kept getting better living in the same country again.










We've always been good at keeping the fun in the relationship.
And I was able to keep the "cool girlfriend" facade going for at least three years...
But when you move in together shit starts getting real.
He uncovered all the crazy in me I tried to keep under wraps for so long.
Like...
I prefer a clean house, all the time.
I will spend at least ten minutes picking out paper towels with a seasonally appealing design
(this is a sickness my mother most DEFINITELY gave me and I hate her for it.)
I don't like dirty mirrors in the bathroom,
or shit on the counter in the bathroom.
I don't think a toaster should be left out (we barely have any counter space, people.)
And I'm a terrible person to travel with because the TSA makes me incredibly irritable.
And I spend hours on Facebook creeping on people I shouldn't... Usually girls. 
It took Chris a while to get used to this one,
I don't have a rhyme or reason I just have certain people I like to stalk, and they're usually girls because most boys are boring on social media.

And that's a bit about how we've gotten to where we are.
I like being with Chris because he makes me better,
or at least he makes me want to be better...
But it's a process. 
It's all a learning process.

Hopefully the next 4.5 years will be just as great...


Thanks for hanging out, and I swear I'm not usually this sappy...
Now stop on by and say hello!



Don't you just love her?! Thanks for letting me be a part of your Guest Posting Blitz, Taylor! Follow her blog because she's hilarious and fun (Captain Blackout, anyone?), and welcomes you right in to her life like any good girlfriend! 

My husband (ahem, ahem) and I will be road tripping back to Zagreb most likely on Monday so if you have any ideas for fun car games to play, please do let me know! 


Friday, June 8, 2012

Mr. and Mrs!

I think it's impossible to stay calm during wedding week and as much as you want to, you just can't! I'm trying to stay in the moment and enjoy everything and not stress so much. We can't change anything now, as long as he's there and I'm there...that's all that matters. Tomorrow's the big day. I can't believe it's already here! Here we go, this is it. Today's our 'Welcome to Croatia' party for everyone and it's all happening! This is what we've been waiting for and planning for and I just hope I can stay calm and enjoy it as much as I can. I have the best MOH ever though and thank God she's making me take deep breaths and relax. I'm so excited, seriously the excitement and adrenaline are just all over the place!
 
WEDDING WEEKEND!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A 7 Year Old Mom?

I've read those crazy articles about children becoming Mom's at very young ages, 10 year olds even. I'm 23 years old, 24 in October and I am a teacher. I have been working with little kids lately but I still sub for high school classes sometimes and I tutor high school students. So, I was helping one 10th grader with his research paper and the day came when he was presenting his paper to his class and to the parents of his classmates. One of my colleagues asked me to find out whether the student she helped would also be presenting that day. So, I went to the group of 16 year old students who I know from teaching them German to ask whether Monika* was presenting today. They replied, "No, she presented yesterday." One girl, who I didn't know, who was sitting with them quickly asked, "Aww, why? Are you her Mom?"

UH, SERIOUSLY GIRL?! 16 Year Old Girl?! You think I could be a 16 year old's Mom?! Not possible, love. The boys were laughing so much, they're like, "That's our German teacher!"

It was a weird situation, I was totally surprised by her question, but I also thought it was really funny. I've been confused for a 15 year old many a times, but as a Mom of a 16 year old, never! Well, I guess I have been now :)

Not Lorelai Gilmore and not yet old enough to be! By the way, this was yesterday at the airport when I was picking up my sister and her hubby! And no worries, their last name isn't really Stankaroni ;) hahaha

*Name has been changed


Has anything like this ever happened to you?!  
I need to get back to the States and get carded all the time again so I can feel young. 
The kids at school are starting to make me feel old!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Meatless Monday



I have been reading a great book recently that I found in the school library's adult non-fiction section while I was helping do inventory last week. The title caught my attention straight away - "Eating Animals." I assumed it would be a book about vegetarianism but right as I began the book, the author, Jonathan Safran Foer, explained that although that's what many people might think, it's really more about his education and knowledge about the culture of eating animals. I wanted to write down so many interesting facts from the book and was reading quotes out loud to Tomislav. The book is an absolute must read to meat eaters and vegetarians alike as it gives you an inside (and sometimes very graphic) look at the world of how animals come to the table. At times, it's sad, but all the time it's terribly fascinating and I couldn't stop reading it.

So the book got me reflecting a lot about my own ideas of food and where animals and plants come from or the idealized version that I've had in my head for a while. Growing up, my Grandma and Grandpa were farmers (and they still live on that farm in Poland) and that gave me a different vision of animals, allowing me to see what farms are really like and how happily all of the animals live on their farm. Since my grandparents are older now, they don't have many animals anymore but they still have their chickens running around. One of my favorite jobs was and still is gathering the eggs from the chickens. I love walking around the yard where they run around and play while I feed them with my Grandpa, calling them "cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep!" So I would love to think that that is how animals are treated on farms and so-called factory 'farms' in the States. Unfortunately, that is so far from the truth. The truth is horrifying - read the book.

 My Dziadek and I, the chickens, and our very beloved farm dog Kubus

The book is changing my way of thinking a lot and it's making me make a lot more vegetarian dishes (once again!). And I finally understand now why an old friend I met in Egypt who is an American, explained to me that she was vegetarian for 'political reasons.' I could go on and on about this but I just HAVE to share this amazing veg dish that I recently made.

Couscous-Stuffed Peppers with Basil Sauce (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)


Yum!
Here's what you need:
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 2 tsp ground cumin/turmeric/curry powder
  • 3/4 cup couscous
  • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
  •  1/4 cup of olive oil
  • salt and ground pepper
  • 4 red, orange, or yellow peppers
  • hot water as needed
For the Sauce (which you WILL want to make):
  • 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra, as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra, as needed
OK so - this is pretty easy to make and quite quick to prepare. My peppers were on the small side so I had some couscous leftover after I stuffed them and I'm glad I did because I was so hungry and the peppers need to roast in the over for about an hour! I couldn't wait that long ;)

Preheat your oven to 400 F (about 200 C)

For the filling, in a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth and spice mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover the pan until the couscous has absorbed all the stock, about 5 to 6 minutes. Put the couscous in a large bowl and add the beans, diced red pepper, and 1/4 cup olive oil. At this point, you can add some dried fruits, spinach, and/or goat cheese or parmesan cheese as you prefer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir until all the ingredients are combined.

Slice the tops off the peppers and remove all the ribs and seeds. If necessary, cut a very thin slice from the base to help the peppers stand up. (I used the extra top and bottom to dice up and put inside the couscous mixture.) Stuff the peppers with the filling and drizzle the tops with olive oil. Put the peppers in an 8 by 8-inch square baking dish. Fill the baking dish with 3/4-inch hot water and bake until the filling is golden and the peppers are cooked through, about 60 minutes.

For the Sauce: In a blender, combine the basil, creme fraiche (or sour cream), olive oil, water, garlic, lemon (or lime, like I used), juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.

Remove the peppers from the oven and arrange on serving plates. Spoon the sauce around the peppers and serve.

This was so delicious and filling, Tomislav and I both loved it and again, didn't miss the meat at all! As for that sauce - oh man, I love putting my basil plant to good use and that sauce you can literally drizzle on anything and it would taste amazing! Next time, I'll make extra sauce!

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