Sunday, December 16, 2012

"If my nose was blowin' money, honey, I'd blow it all on you. But it's snot."

Talk about a busy week! I feel like we have been going non-stop since getting home from Portland last weekend. To highlight a few (I again failed at taking pictures... Only have a few) we went to a pampered chef party and ate a yummy pretzel caramel mousse cupcake of awesomeness. We did end up winning the kitchen accessory that we wanted, a pan scraper. 

We also had our ward Christmas party on Friday. I would have taken some pictures, but we were too busy helping in the kitchen the whole night. It was a ton of fun and I have to say that it was pretty awesome not having to wait in line to get food. :) We had some good entertainment and music along with awesome food (menu included ham, stuffing, green beans with onion and bacon, mashed potatoes, cornbread, and salad). We also had some activities for people to help out with like quilting and old school games from the Nauvoo, Illinois era of the church. It seems like everyone had a lot of fun.

Last night, Emily and I went out to the coast for a date. We went to Mo's for dinner (we had some yummy soups and our favorite hot artichoke dip with shrimp) and to a play at the Florence Event Center. The play was a trip around the U.S. stopping at various locations and hearing some of the traditional music played. There were also some pretty funny skits. One of my favorites was a bluegrass band that sang a song about snot. Some of the lyrics went like,"If my nose was blowin' money, honey, I'd blow it all on you. But it's snot." Pretty entertaining... at least to me. The crowd there was quite old. We ended up leaving at intermission because it was getting late and we had a long and scary drive back home (about an hour on windy roads and tons of fog, but we made it home alright).

There is our yummy cups of clam chowder and chili as well as Emily's cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream on top.

That's me enjoying that awesome hot artichoke dip with shrimp and garlic bread.

Waiting for the show to start.
I have to say, we are quite excited for a white Christmas (it better be white!) in Utah. I looked at the forecast for this next week, and it was a lot of snow. :) And, of course, we are excited to spend some time with family doing a lot of our favorite things like ice skating, eating Chinese food, visiting with friends, going to the temple, watching Christmas movies, going on the Christmas cruise, decorating everything, making food, and so much more! I hope that you have a great week! Love you all!

Monday, December 10, 2012

From One Holiday to the Next

We have been missing from the blogging world for a few weeks. Finals were killing me (Emily)...BUT THEY ARE OVER!!! Wahoo! Now I can organize my kitchen and catch up on the blog and dream about sugarplums instead of Marbury vs. Madison. I love the holiday season. 

For Thanksgiving, we drove down to California to be with James's side of the family. I am so lucky to be in love with my husband AND my in-laws.

James and Mikey.

Toy Story Mania on the Wi. Such concentration!

And of course, I have to document food. This was a great (aka EASY) crockpot chicken and Mexican rice recipe I found on this blog.

And on to the next holiday...I roped James into decorating our apartment for Christmas. He was a good sport, but the "smile" kinda gives away how he really feels about the decorating process :)
Our tiny Christmas village - more magical in person. We found these tiny houses at Goodwill - my new favorite place.

This weekend, we spent a few days in Portland with the fam bam up there. This was our candy-eating, face-painting, how messy can we get, gingerbread house decorating activity.  Homemade gingerbread and all.

Kirsten, the perfectionist, who I am pretty sure was determined to make me laugh every time I used the frosting so that my house wouldn't be as cute as hers. She totally succeeded.

The face-painters.

...and a close-up on their house. Isn't the lake adorable?! And the dog house? They were a great team.

Not even Kayla knew she was so talented at gingerbread house decorating. Her house turned out so well - even without any help.

My house. It kind of turned out to be an odd mix of Whoville and The Nightmare Before Christmas with a Fijian flare. 

James's gingerbread house...

...but we can still give him a little credit :) I'm so glad I have a sweet hubby and festive family to celebrate the season with!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weird Bird Phenomenon

Have you ever seen millions of birds at once? This weekend, on our way home from Portland, we witnessed the most amazing bird phenomenon. Cars were slowing down to about 20 mph, and all we could think was, "what's up with this traffic?" Then we started seeing wave after wave of birds flying from a tree on one side of the freeway to the other side and landing in a field. Each wave must have consisted of thousands of birds! They flew in such close groups; it was amazing that none of them flew into each other. As we drove under the swarms of birds, bird poop came down like rain drops; pretty crazy stuff! Once we passed the birds, traffic resumed to normal speed. To get a better idea of what I'm talking about, check out at least the first few seconds of this video.

We are excited to be hitting the road on Wednesday to make our trip down to the Silicon Valley for Thanksgiving. We know traffic will be fun (not), but are excited to see family, especially our new niece Makenna, who was only born on the 9th of November. We hope that everyone else will enjoy their Thanksgiving week and look forward to seeing some of you soon!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Confucius say, "Share your happiness!"

 Quick photo update from this week.

How to make pumpkin puree. Minus the college apartment kitchen, this cheesy face could appear on a cooking show. I should do some career exploration in that realm...

Bake pumpkin face down at about 375 for about an hour. Unless you have a super oven like me that burns everything if you leave it in for the suggested time...then do 45 min.

Scrape out the innards. Discard (or compost!) the outtards. Yes, it's a

Puree! And make sure you make a mess while you do it. I am planning to use it for pumpkin soup this week and maybe even a pumpkin pie next week. We'll see how it turns out!
James and I passed Panda Express yesterday on our way to do a little window shopping. At the stop light, James turned to me and nearly shouted, "Panda Express?! Now?!!" How could I refuse? This was our fortune.

This was definitely James's happiness...and he did share it with me.
And this is a small sampling of  MY happiness...I have discovered a new obsession with the used books section at Goodwill where they sell books like Pride and Prejudice for 49 cents! And a used bookstore that we visited for date night turned out to be very useful because I bought a conflict resolution book for $1 AND found James's Christmas present. We are also the proud owners of a library card, which is responsible for the rest of the mess....research books for class.

James walked into the living room one night and happened upon this sight. It was homework time, and I was in my groove. The phrase, "bug in a rug" has taken on new meaning. Thanks to my awesome mother-in-law for the snuggly blanket that gets used EVERY day.
And one more bit of happiness that doesn't have a photo yet...James and I are yet again proud uncle and auntie! Congratulations, Janet and Bo! We are so excited to see baby Makenna in a couple weeks when we go home for Thanksgiving. Wishing all of you a happy week!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Applying to Graduate School

I hope everyone had a great Halloween! We had a few Trick-or-Treaters, but most of the evening we were in the community center for our apartment complex co-hosting a Halloween party for Emily's cohort that she studies with. We weren't sure how many people were going to show up, so another student from Emily's cohort and us made some taco soup and a bunch of sugar cookies with Halloween colored frosting. It was a lot of fun preparing for, and it was fun to just get to know more of the people that Emily is studying with. Didn't take too many pictures though. :(

Only two people are really dressed up in this one. We have Madeline on the left and Dora the Explorer on the right.

I got to go with two different classes to the pumpkin patch earlier in the week. It was a lot of fun and the weather was even nice. The kids loved being able to pick out their own pumpkins, feed some farm animals, and just get out on a field trip.

I'm not going to get into any politics, but I just wanted to say that Emily and I have successfully voted this year. Yay for us for being contributing citizens... :D
Other than all those fun things, It was quite relaxing over the weekend. Emily was able to get some studying done and I was able to work on some of my own goals for the future. For the past few months, I have been really struggling whether I should apply for graduate school for next Fall or to wait until Fall 2014. I have decided that I will try and apply for several programs for this upcoming Fall and we can see what happens.

Not that anyone really cares at this point, but I decided to apply for the MPA programs at Syracuse University, Portland State University, and University of Oregon. Like I said, I'm not sure exactly how realistic it will be to attend any of these programs next year, but we may find ourselves in a situation that they may work out. So now I have the fun task of gathering all the needed information for applications and getting them in within the next several months. So exciting!!! I would appreciate any advice anyone has for applying to these schools/programs. :)

We love you all very much and appreciate your love and support! Hope you all have a great week!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Our 13.1

Big news from the Sinkovic household this week...we ran our first half marathon yesterday! It was the longest run James or I had ever done - like 4 or 5 miles longer than the longest run we have ever done, actually. Crazy. Our goal was to keep running the entire time, and we did it! For 2 hours and 33 flipping minutes, we ran our hearts out...and probably some other vital organs too, come to think of it. It was actually really fun, and I would totally be up for doing it again, but not for a couple months probably. (Not until my memory of the bad and the ugly parts have faded a bit).

The Good:

*Being completely pampered by cheering people with cowbells that handed us little Dixie cups of water or PowerAid every two miles or so
*Adorable running-friendly Halloween costumes that everyone except us seemed to be wearing
*Accomplishing one of our major goals for the year
*Hot chocolate after the race. I probably scared the waitress at lunch when my cousin Brady asked politely for some hot chocolate and I shouted involuntarily, "ME TOO!!!" The waitress was probably thinking, "Ok girl, don't get your panties in a bundle. There is plently of hot chocolate to go around." It just sounded so good.
*Knowing that I could do it again
*The warm shower after the race. I have never EVER appreciated warm, clean water more that I appreciated that glorious $1 public rinse with industrial hand soap at the local community pool locker room...I could say more about this, but it probably wouldn't be blog-appropriate. Let me just say that it was a somewhat scarring and very humorous experience.
*Getting home and snuggling up in bed to watch Pride and Prejudice. Even James enjoyed it.
*My AWESOME new shirt! Maybe I am just too easily pleased, but I think just the shirt and all the free stuff in the goodie bag was worth the $55 and 13.1 miles.

The Bad:

*The ravenous hunger that hit me hard at about mile 10. It almost did me in. James and I had to break out a granola bar from his backpack and eat it "on the run," literally. Then they had some really strange wasabi cheese at the end of the race that I think was probably not good on my stomach right after a long run (See "The Ugly" for more details)
*The nasty blood blister on my foot
*Sore hips and knees - I feel old. 
*Finishing one audiobook and having to start another one at about mile 3. It took a solid three miles before I could get into the new audiobook enough to really take my mind off the run.
*The cold
*The feeling that the toenail on my second toe is going to fall off in the next few weeks
*Looking down at my hands somewhere near the last third of the race and totally not recognizing those giant sausage-fingers! Good thing I didn't wear my rings.
*Soggy pants that kept threatening to fall off from so much rain. I must have looked so goofy hiking my pants up every hundred steps or so. 

The Ugly:

*Something dreadful happened to my insides while I was running - I'm sure of it. Either that or I ran with a bout of food poisoning. My stomach (and digestive track - need I say more?!) have not really been the same since about mid-race. And this is a solid 32 hours later! Anyway...
*The violent shivers that started about 10 minutes after I stopped running and lasted for about 2 hours. Ugh...Don't ever want to experience that again.

All in all, it was a phenomenal experience, and I'm really grateful I had my sweet hubby to be my running buddy and stay with me the whole time to cheer me on. He was great. Enjoy the pics!

The pre-race pic. Uncle Jeff, James, me, and cousin Brady. See any difference in our choice of clothing? Yeah, I look like I'm ready to go snow skiing or was pretty chilly.

I like this picture a lot :) Three guys I love. It was good to have all of them there.

The three of us were first-timers and pretty excited to be there. Can you see some of the costumes in the background? 

My view of the race. Not a bad one :)

Yeah baby! Longest run ever!

Ok, I had to put this up because I thought it was so funny. I found probably five of these pictures of the view from inside my pocket...not sure what went wrong there...

Still the longest run ever...

I was finisher #500! Kinda cool...kinda pathetic. Whatever.

Post-race pic. We are still all intact. We should have gotten some pictures of us trying to get up on the trailer...our knees/hips/calves were all pretty stiff.

The reward. Oh yeah. Except I couldn't really eat it until later. Tummy not so happy with me. 

James, on the other hand, had no problems finishing this monster burger.

Food. So exciting! I love this face.

So who's up for the next one in DISNEYLAND?!!!