It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start. -Mother Teresa

Friday, January 2, 2015

Winter Hosting Day 14 (New Year's Eve)

We were invited by Russian neighbors to celebrate a traditional New Year with their family. The girls started planning with our host, Alina, days before. They were so excited. We had a lot to learn and were thankful for generous and patient friends. One Word: Salads

We were also reminded that the girls still aren't that comfortable with us. In the morning, I put away the Christmas Tree. Later in the day I would find out it, is actually traditional to put up the tree on New Year's Eve because it is the day you do your big gift exchange. The girls didn't say a word. :(   I know they live in a world where no one asks or even cares if they share their thoughts and opinions. I hope they soon realize that we care very much. I am eager for the day that they are secure enough to say, "Hey, Mom, I really want for you to leave the tree up! It is important to me."

The girls spent the afternoon making gifts (and wrapping a few regifted items) for our family and our hosts. 

Eastern European/ Russian families have a different time schedule. Do NOT arrive early. Good friends arrive about on time (a little later) to help cut vegetables. Arrive an hour late if you aren't that close. We arrived about on time to help prepare food. 

LOTS and LOTS of beets needed to be grated. 

We watched a traditional New Year's Movie in Russian called "The Irony of Fate". Thankfully there were subtitles and friends to explain the soviet-era context.

You can learn more about this iconic movie HERE.

Olivie salad - Alina's family recipe. Some of the ingredients include beef, peas, carrots, pickles, and mayo

Herring in a Fur Coat or Shuba Salad

Ian and JoJo loved running around wild together! 

beets, potatoes, pickles, onion, and more

beets, prunes and more....

Kielbasa and gluten-free chocolate kielbasa

traditional fish salad 

walking home right before midnight


  1. It's not just what's on the table that counts, but even more who is sitting at the table - and we are excited to celebrate the evening with you all!

  2. Jen, because girls requested two beet salads, and the third one was for my daughter. :) normally, we only have one beet dish per party, but I guess we have real fans of beets this year. :)