Tuesday, January 14, 2014

green thumb.

Recently, and it feels like from out of nowhere, James became the next Master Gardener.

His green thumb has actually made quite a few tasty additions to our dinners. Well, mostly spices...for now...but let me tell ya, there actually is a huge difference between fresh herbs and packaged herbs. Mmmm! (In fact, he cut some up for our pasta just last night!)

It may have started way before, but I first noticed it after Halloween. I think with all of the talk about everyone else's gardens & the season and seeing how expensive fresh foods are getting, James decided to start a garden all on his own! I got him some gardening tools for Christmas and his parents got him this gardening book that he took everywhere until he finished it. [Side note: James is like a cute little kid. He started randomly stateing plant facts and telling me all these cool ideas he had for his garden & what he wanted to plant. It was adorable to see him so excited!]

*I know zero gardening terms, so I hope the rest of this post doesn't make you wince* He built two planters out of pallets that he got working construction and fixed them up nicely with fresh dirt. Then slowly, he's added more & more pallets & plants, and a few pots that were left at our house. He asked everyone for tips and has been working on it every single day!

Now they look like this...

I can't wait to keep eating all of his delicious results! I am loving seeing him so passionate about this and truly loving taking care of it! Way to go babe!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

our first anniversary.

One year.

I can’t believe it’s already been one whole year with my sweetheart. 

I know anniversaries are a big deal, and they should be, but this year (with us still feeling the effects of college tuition) we decided to go small and stay home. Well sort of.

Saturday night, or our “anniversary-eve” as I like to call it, we had to go down and help clean the church. Starting the night off with a dirty job wasn't ideal for me. I mean, I wasn't angry or sad, but trying to vacuum tight pants and pretty high heels was harder than I’m going to admit. But afterwards, James was saying how it was nice that we got to start our next year out by doing a little service for the church. And of course, my “eh” attitude melted away. I mean, who can argue with that?!

After that, James told me that he was taking me to Kumo, which is a Japanese restaurant that we had heard so much about, but never had been. I felt a little anxious about it since we were trying to be smart with our money, but he told me that is [super sweet] parents had given us their gift card so we could have a nice dinner. I know. I definitely married into the best family. It was definitely worth waiting for.
A little memory that was funny for us, but might not be funny for everyone else: they asked us if we wanted to be seated “at Hibachi or booth” and I immediately said “Oh no, we’ll take a booth.” 


When we sat down and James showed me what the Hibachi actually was, I was ticked at myself. “I thought they were talking about the bar!!” That was my only regret of the night. But at least we sat neeear it so that we could kind of see. It was just like what I’ve always seen on tv. So awesome. James always makes me feel better about my regrets. “It would be kind of pointless to sit there and then order sushi. So we’ll come back again with a big group sometime and you can see it live then!” And I was fine with it after that because those rolls were sooooo good.

*Sorry about the pictures. Trying to take pictures in "romantic lighting" is WAY harder than I thought it would be!

My husband's hot. I'm just putting that out there.
Behold. The Monster Roll and the Kumo Roll. Mmmmm.
Then Sunday, our actual anniversary, we obviously went to church. But afterwards, Ana was sweet enough to take some anniversary pictures of us! I’m hoping it’s a tradition that we get to do every year because they turned out perfect. James had even MADE that number one for me before church! Talk about a great husband!

Our favorite. :) Love my little cowboy.
James had taken a nap right after church, before we were going over to Zach & Ana’s, so in the meantime, I baked a mini lemon cake (since James isn’t a huge dessert person. You know what they say, opposites attract! At least he likes lemon cake a LOT!) in a little empty can. [Side note: we did not keep our cake. It stayed in my parents’ freezer and became a rock while we finished college. Haha So we had to improvise] It was the perfect size. I actually baked a couple just in case (and thank goodness because I used an empty bean can-AND washed it-and it still had a slight bean flavor. Blech!) James woke up just as I was taking them out and I frosted them with whipped cream (we’re not huge frosting people) and we headed over to his parents’ house for dinner, just like every Sunday. [I always love that] But this time, Zach & Ana were able to come! Because Zach is a new leader in the singles ward, they usually have church at the time we have dinner. So it’s always awesome when we get to eat dinner with them. Anyway, right before dinner, just go ahead and guess what happened. JAMES STARTED TO FEEL SO SICK. I swear January 5th is cursed for him. It was so sad. But luckily he was still open to the cake.

So we went home and I stuck a sparkler right in the middle of it. Then I snapped a few pictures because it was COOL. It was still cool even when it was putting metal ashes on my cute cake. Haha But sadly, James was not doing too well so we went to go spend the rest of the night on our bed. After I scraped a lot of the topping off, I ate that whole cake. Poor husband.

Then we decided to start another tradition. We both write each other a letter every year on our anniversary. The next year, we will write a new one and open the letter from the year before. I think it will be such a neat thing to look forward to each year. I ended up wrapped cute black & white twine around it too, just to keep it extra safe, but here’s what our simple little envelope filled with love letters looked like.

I have to say, even though it was SUCH a simple anniversary, it was one I will never ever forget. It was so nice to just get to be together with no distractions. As I was writing my letter to James, all these memories came flooding about the past year. We had no money, and had to live so simply. But I won't forget coming home to our little apartment after a long day at school and making dinner together (or having dinner waiting for me!) and watching a movie on James's laptop because we had no tv. Or decorating the entire game room for James and having him let out a little giggle with a big smile when he opened the door for Valentines day and opening our gifts on the twin bed in there while we ate heart shaped gummies. Or camping for the first time and proving to James that I am NOT a city-slicker. Or filming the youth Trek on my birthday and having James sing me Happy Birthday when we were finally all alone. This was our newlywed year. The first one that people always look back on with such fondness, and we definitely felt that. It was the best, most wonderful year I could have asked us and I CANNOT believe how blessed we were. I almost cry every time I think about it. I can't believe how lucky I am to have James right by my side, all day, everyday. He's the perfect companion in every way and my absolute best friend in the world. I can't wait to grow old together and see what life has in store for us. If it's anything like this year, I can't imagine a better way to live a life!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

bring on the bubbly and ban the bloating.

WHOOOO!!! Happy New Years everyone!! First post of the year. I guess that means it better be a good one.

I should start it out with how our New Years Eve went down, because I have to say, SO awesome.

So in James's family, they typically do fondue for dinner on NYE. I don't think I have ever actually had real fondue before. Chocolate fountains were always the tradition for us, and it was completely different. Even more, I have never tried cheese fondue. And it was definitely worth the wait!

Ok, sorry about the terrible lighting on all of these photos. My camera didn't adjust in time and I'd much rather have the photo than spend all my time trying to adjust the settings and missing it, am I right?

Anyway, what a spread! Along with the freaking delicious cheese fondue that Ana made (she is literally a real life Martha Stewart...without the criminal record), we had apples (yeah, you would think it would taste weird? But you'd be wrong. It was one of my favorite things to put the cheese on! I know, crazy!) and bread. In fact, my awesome chef of a husband made HOMEMADE wheat rosemary & olive oil bread and we could not stop eating it! He did an amazing job!!! It was definitely my favorite part. I could've eaten just that and been delighted. And there was some white bread from the store too, and also yummy! I'm telling you, we really hit the nail on the head with this one!

Then there was chicken & steak chunks and I've never seen what they do with it before. I had to ask James, which made me feel like a little toddler, but he was sweet about it. There was a pot of hot oil and you just stick the meat on a fondue stick (skewer?) and put it in the oil and then pull it out about a minute later. Totally cooked, totally yummy. Especially with the cheese. We were literally scraping the cheese out with bread by the end, AND Ana had to make a second batch! Crazy good.

They also had little dipping sauces for it so that you could basically have whatever you wanted with the meat. Teriyaki, honey mustard, spicy ginger...mmm!

I know, I'm rambling about the food, and I should stop because this post would go on forever! But it was a major highlight of the night...for me at least. One of the best dinners I had all year!! Oh! And James made the YUMMIEST punch too! Ginger ale, Kool-aid packet, sherbet, and ice. I think that was it...there was hardly any left at the end of the night, and we made a drink dispenser full, so that tells you right there that it count for something. It was sooo yummy delicious!! Sorry, the word "yummy" was starting to get weird...

Poor Ana. We ate the other one so fast that she really didn't get to eat until the end!

And for dessert, we had some dark chocolate fondue, pound cake chunks, bananas, strawberries, and pineapple. Endless combinations!
After being stuffed past the rafters, we had some other friends over to play games! That was the fun part. I don't think I have sweat so much from being so into games as...well, recently, as I did last night. The first game they played was Quelf, which is basically every game rolled into one. There's curses, charades, funny things you have to do...it's fun. But there weren't enough pieces so the girls sat out and watched all of the 8 guys play. It was pretty hilarious.

But then, we played Heads Up, which is a game that Ellen DeGeneres plays on her show. You basically try to get the person holding the ipad, or whatever has the app on it, to guess the word on the screen. You can say whatever, no rhyming or saying the word. It goes a little something like this...

And finally, it was time for the timeless classic, the ball drop!

A few weeks beforehand, when I was talking I had told James before that I really never had a real New Years Eve kiss at midnight. Sure, I kiss my friends' cheeks and everything, but not a real romantic one. So when the clock struck midnight, I just keep cheering (since it was what I was used to) but then, James came over to me and said "Don't you want your kiss?" and pulled me in for one. :) So cute he even remembered that.

I'm lucky to have such fun friends and a great husband by my side to ring in 2014! Here's to so many new adventures. I just can't wait!