Thursday, February 20, 2014

Valentine's Weekend

I loooove Valentine's Day. Despite the complaints of others saying it is a holiday fueled by consumerism, I honestly believe that most of us enjoy a holiday centered around love. I feel the need to specify that I even looked forward to the holiday when I was very, very single. I didn't care, I had my friends and family to show love to! Also, I'm all for a holiday that promotes chocolate consumption.

One of my favorite parts of the holiday are the men everywhere purchasing flowers for the women in their lives. It is so endearing. 

Anyways, here's how we spent our Valentine's Weekend:

No shame. We love McDonald's breakfast. Most romantic way to start a morning in our opinion. 

Disclaimer: this picture is posed. 

I saw this card of A Cup of Jo, and knew I had to make a version of it for Nik. When Nik saw it he said, "You even used my favorite typeface!" I played it off like I did that on purpose. I wish I thought about design as much as he does. 

I told Nik a while back I wanted succulents for Valentine's Day a while back. The week of, he remembered I had asked for something different, but could not recall the name. A quick text to my sister solved his dilemma. 

This picture requires a backstory for context. Two Valentine's Days ago, we were engaged and I had expressed a desire to decorate my apartment like I had the year prior. I had just started a full-time job on campus and was planning our wedding. I was a bit overwhelmed, so decorating did not happen. On Valentine's morning I awoke to my entire apartment decorated with hearts made from book pages. 

This year, Nik surprised me with book page hearts again in our room. After work, I was in our house for an hour before I saw them. 

I had even called him, explaining I was home and packing lunches for our weekend trip. He thought I hadn't cared about the decorations. 

I've gotten a box of Junior Mints for every  holiday/birthday/celebration for the past three years. You'd think I'd be sick of it by now, but I pop them in the freezer, forget about them until I get a craving for something sweet. (Basically I eat them the next day.) Nik has an aversion to mint and chocolate combinations, so it's extra kind for him to enable me. 

I made one of Nik's favorite treats that I never make. Funfetti cookies don't even have butter, you use oil, and I just can't get behind a cookie that I can't brown the butter to make them better. 

They actually were really good, with a texture and taste of a muffin top. I can support a muffin-top-like-funfetti-cookie.

The cookies accompanied our road trip down the Provo. 

While stopped at a gas station, the car alarm went off. Nik was in the restroom with keys. We had to remain trapped in the car with its alarm blaring. A truly humbling experience.  

While we in Utah we did the normal Utah things like shopping and eating. When you live in a town that requires a thirty minute drive to get to a Target, good restarusnts and malls feel like the biggest luxuries in the world. 

We attempted to go to the overhyped ice castles in Midway. But the line of two hundred children singing Frozen songs was enough to deter us. 

Back at home, when putting away dishes to make room in the dishwasher for my messy kitchen, my box of coco spilled everywhere. This picture doesn't show where the majority of it fell. All over me. 

It turned out to be a huge lesson to me though. Lately, I have been "on the edge" and something like this would have probably pushed me over it. (Resulting in crying over spilled coco.) But we just laughed and vacuumed it up. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Beating Winter Blues

Nik provided our marriage with an important lesson in PDA. The lesson being, I don't like public displays of affection. 

I feel like I mention the weather in every blog post, but it's mainly because of its death grip on my emotions and productivity. 

I mean, it's kind of difficult to work up the will power to get your day started when the front door greets you with a balmy -10 degree morning. (I'm not even talking about when I open the door, I'm talking about standing in front of our excuse of a front door. It provides no insulation.) 

But in an effort to avoid adopting Grizzly hibernation patterns (which I feel like I had the first part down, bulking on pounds to live off of over the holidays) we're trying to maintain productivity. 

I want to add, I still love the snow. It's just  the ugly half-melted piles of brown snow with the negative temperatures that make winter difficult. (Difficult = unbearable frozen tundra that sucks life out of anything living.) You know that freezer on the show Chopped that has the cheesy name, like Ice-Blaster or something, where contestants put food to freeze it within the thirty minute time frame? That's Rexburg. I live in that freaky fast freezer. 

Anyways, here's what we're doing to combat the cold:

Getting out blood pumping, via the only sport I can hold my own in badminton. 

No one else has a passion for badminton that can match that of a Barnard sister. We were raised on the sport. 

Grocery shopping. I recognize that normally this wouldn't even stand a chance at being considered an "activity". But when the majority of your week consists of work, internship, go home, eat, sleep repeat, my "activity" standards are reduced dramatically. 

Also, I went shopping in Idaho Falls, which is a thirty minute trip, so it may even be considered an "activity" at the monthly level. 

Everyday, when I do the dishes (that is a lie... I do not do the dishes everyday) I look out the window into the field next to our apartment complex. It's a really pretty view, with snow blanketing the field, and this little red shed. 

Nik suggested we go for a walk on Saturday. I told him I wanted to trudge through the snow to visit the little red shed I always stare at while scrubbing dishes. He didn't even know it existed, and he does like the dishes three times as often as I do.

It seems silly, but I feel like the shed and I have a connection, considering the kitchen is my thinking place. I weigh things out in my mind, amidst the chopping and stirring and cleaning that takes place in our kitchen. And the red shed watches it all. It was great to finally meet her in person. 

And lastly, speaking of my kitchen, we experienced a domestic failure today. 

To complement the dreary weather, I wanted to make the ultimate comfort food: chicken pot pie. I've made it probably three times before today, but this time made some adjustments. I use a Barefoot Contessa recipe that calls for an alarmingly large quantity of butter. So I nixed some of it. It also calls for cream, but too rich of food makes me sick, so I replaced it with milk. It called for chicken bouillon, which I thought I had, but didn't.  So I improvised. The result? Humble pie. And no, it was not comforting.