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Sunday, December 12, 2010


I spent yesterday at my mom and grandmother's house making our traditional Ukrainian Christmas meal: Vereniky (better known in the U.S. by their Polish name, pierogi.)

Every year, the women in my family get together a couple weeks before Christmas and crank out hundreds of these simple yet satisfying dumplings, as well as ushka (much like mushroom tortellini), which are served with borscht on Christmas Eve.

We make two varieties of vereniky...one with potato and cheese filling, and one with sauerkraut filling. They are the main dish on Christmas Eve, and are served boiled, with fried onions and a dollop of sour cream.

Last year I graduated from the vereniky assembly line to making the dough, which was my job this year as well. I had long been intimidated by it (no one wants to be responsible for making a crummy dough and having the vereniky fall apart when boiled), but now that I've got it mastered, I've got the know-how to carry on with the tradition for decades to come.

Because honestly, it just wouldn't be Christmas without home made vereniky.

P.S.-Although I haven't had them in years, vereniky can also be sweet...filled with cherries or blueberries, and served with melted butter and a sprinkle of sugar. Definitely going to have to try and make some this summer!

P.P.S.-If you ever want to give it a shot, Martha (whose mother was Polish) has a whole bunch of recipes and tutorials on her website.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The New Living Room

Here is our newly finished living room. It's not exactly done in the "decorated" sense, but certainly in the "renovated" sense. As I mentioned in the previous post, we stripped the wallpaper, had the walls skim coated with plaster, had the floors redone, and painted everything. Ahhh, feels SO good to have a living room again, especially a freshly revamped one!

We chose a low gloss polyurethane for the floors, and it's just the right amount of gleaming for us.

Steven did a great job scraping and painting the old steam radiators. (He used a high heat engine enamel spray paint.) We also had the valves replaced because there had obviously been some long term leaks going on. I love the scroll detail on these old beauties.
Not gonna lie, we have been rather vegetative since the entertainment center was reinstated...it won't last forever, but right now we're giving ourselves a free pass on being couch potatoes!

This heirloom wall clock that belonged to Steven's grandfather is the only item we've hung on the wall so far. It looks really nice against the cool green wall, adds a touch of vintage character, and has this soothing tick tock which makes Steven sleepy, lol.
We'll slowly be adding the final touches to this room...wall decor, CURTAINS, something for the coffee table...but for now this is it. It's so nice to curl up on the couch and relax in our new living room!

P.S.-Yes, I know there are some angles missing in this room reveal...namely, those that show the view into the girl room and foyer. They'll be coming soon enough!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Living Room BEFORE

We're finally ready to share some "After" shots of the downstairs renovation, starting with the living room. But just for perspective, and to set the mood, here is a montage of "Before" pics.

*A shot from the original MLS listing*
*From our first weekend as homeowners*
*After tearing out the dingy gray wall-to-wall carpet, revealing oak floors*
*As in the dining room, we found murals under the wallpaper in the LR...*
*...decidedly less charming murals.*
*And here it is after the new plaster skim coat*
Stay tuned for the next post...the AFTER pics!