Christmas Eve

I had Christmas Eve off, which is as it should be, but still got up early to bake Jason’s work cookies. Our package from my parents arrived bright and early and contained all the Pullan treats I have been craving: cinnamon bears, dipped pretzels, mint m&ms, gingerbread, German chocolate bars, and dipped caramel peanut clusters. Oh, and homemade chex mix, also known as scrabble, also known as the fifth food group of Christmas. There were also potholders and a couple wrapped gifts, one of which I was almost sure was David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism.
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After Jason left for what turned out to be about a 3/4 day, I sat down on the couch to read Big Fish and promptly fell asleep. Can I tell you, taking an uninterrupted nap at 9 AM is a beautiful thing. I woke up forty-five minutes later and decided it was time for a quick run. I did 3.5 miles (just 6.1 left until my goal is reached!) and stopped at Safeway afterward to pick up some foodstuffs for our Christmas Eve feast.

Jason got home around 2, after which he rested (still getting over his sinus thing) and I cooked.
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We elected to open presents before dinner, since we would be getting up so very early the next morning. Jason and I had been pretty transparent–and sometimes blatantly obvious–in what we were each getting. When we got home from Utah and there was a package from Gap sitting on our doorstep, Jason remarked, “oh, is this something I’m giving you for Christmas?” Thus, there were not too many surprises, except for the pajamas I got from Jason, which I had ordered but not seen in the flesh…
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…and the Finnbear, a Finnish utility knife my parents sent Jason. The Finnbear is half a Pullan joke, half a Pullan necessity. It made us both laugh (and then Jason tested its mettle on his arm hair).
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The other surprise (for insistent me, at least) was that the book was actually one by Alonzo Gaskill, which we are both very excited to read.

We had a pared down holiday meal in light of our leaving town the next morning. I made a tiny ham, of which we now have many leftovers in the fridge, these updated Mormon funeral potatoes from the New York Times, Lion House rolls that I hadn’t made in a long time, and green beans. For dessert, we feasted on pistachio cookies, after which we watched Elf and video chatted with our respective families. Then we packed our bags and headed off to bed (where visions of sugarplums danced in our heads, of course).

weekend eats

Friday was a rather awesome day. I had a work picnic out in Virginia, so I spent approximately two hours there and the rest of the day lounging at our complex pool. I finished my book, talked to my mom, and bought a box of graham crackers just because I love them. Jason got home early, which is always nice and even better when I’m actually home to greet him. The Carters very kindly invited us over for kabobs, which were like summer manna to those of us without a grill. Post-dinner we tossed a frisbee back and forth and I tried to redeem myself from Jason and my last game of frisbee, which occurred in the summer of 2008 and ended with a bloody lip for me because I am terrible at catching and throwing and pretty much all things of or related to frisbee.

The Carters also introduced us to Zinga!, the frozen yogurt sensation that is sweeping the ward. Two things won me over: the cup dividers, so one’s chocolate and fruity flavors don’t mix, and the wall-mounted candy dispensers. I’m always a little turned off by frozen yogurt topping bins that are within the reach of spitty toddlers, an issue solved by these hotel cereal-esque containers.

Saturday was a lazy day, punctuated by a matinee showing of The Way Way Back, and a trip to the grocery store. In the evening we ate pizza and read, as we so often do. We also put together a key lime icebox cake in anticipation of Sunday dinner.

Sunday. Church. I remembered mid-sacrament meeting that I’m teaching YW next week. Eek. Upon our arrival at home, we were greeted by the savory aroma of homemade meatballs simmering in the crock pot. We had meatball subs with green peppers and caramelized onions for dinner, followed by the aforementioned key lime icebox cake. Neither course disappointed. The evening was spent talking to family (or trying to, in the case of those Pullans) and crocheting and reading more. This was our first weekend at home together in five weeks and it was nice.

wednesday like thursday

Not much is new here. It’s getting cooler, which means fall–and the accompanying Things To Do In Autumn list–is on its way.  So far on the list: lasagna soup and apple-picking and voting in a presidential election. I just got my voter registration card in the mail yesterday, so I’m good to go for my first Virginia ballot (Swing state! My vote counts this year!).

This was my after-church lunch on Sunday: pineapple quesadilla. No surprise there. I think we can safely say that meal is the new neon-colored pancakes and flaxseed bagels, but which I mean I will eat it obsessively for several months and then stop cold turkey.

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Lovely Sunday clouds.

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Tuesday night dinner: coconut jasmine rice, black beans, fried plantains (my first attempt), and mango salsa. There’s an avocado in there somewhere.

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I also ate that one Wednesday night, after which I went skinny jeans shopping. I’ve never been the most fashion-forward girl (see: glasses circa 1998, hair 1998-2006, etc.), but I keep seeing colored jeans on Pinterest and thinking “I’m not so old. I could pull that off.”

I went to the mall by myself, which is not my favorite. Jason is a good clothes-finder, while I just get apathetic and sad when I don’t see exactly what I’m looking for. Almost immediately, though, I saw the perfect pants: corduroy skinnies in the most marvelous and on-trend coral. I snatched them up in two different sizes and booked it to the dressing room. The first pair fit perfectly, and I spun to look at myself in the mirror.

My dad used to tell a story about his roommate who ignored the rules of tasteful Halloween apparel (1. Clever 2. Comfortable 3. Easily transitions to party-appropriate wear so you can enjoy the evening post-costume contest) and dressed as Pepto Bismol in a pink sweatsuit. This was the eighties, after all.

When I looked at myself in the mirror in pink skinny corduroys, the only thing that came to mind was the Pepto Bismol sweatsuit.  It was not good.

Over the next hour, I tried on approximately twenty pair of jeans across a wide spectrum of hue and size. More than once I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered whether I was a smokin’ hot hipster or delusional. (In the clear light of day, I recognize how silly it sounds to be concerned about age-appropriate apparel at 24, but skinny jeans are woefully unforgiving.)

In the end, I texted my mom and Mio a couple pics and begged for honesty. I ended up purchasing a pair of red skinnies and like them.  That’s kind of an anticlimactic story.

This is how I eat my fruit snacks.

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It bothers me that the last cherry is not red like the other cherries.

My hair is long enough now that I can get it mostly into a French braid or an upside-down braid, which someone once told me was called a Dutch braid.

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I’m in the middle of All The King’s Men, but switched to To Have and Have Not last night because I couldn’t handle any more corrupt Depression-era southern politics–even if some of the action does take place in Lexington, Kentucky. I’m expecting a shipment of paperbacks tonight (doing me no good, pretty much) which includes the ward book club pick. I resolve to actually attend this month, instead of just waffling about it whenever I see the Relief Society bulletin.

tidings from the beehive state

My mom brought us some cinnamon bears from Utah (hallelujah!) and I hid them in our cupboard so I would forget about them. I remembered them on Sunday and accused Jason of eating them all–before he reminded me that they were in fact still in the cupboard. I ate (not quite the rest of) them with Ghiradelli 60% cacao chocolate chips and also made nonlinear multimedia art.

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Today was the first day of school for my not-so-little brothers. They both look so jazzed and so tan.

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Speaking of, the beach gave me my first tan of the summer–perhaps my first tan since 2010, sadly enough–and I monitor it daily to make sure it isn’t fading. It is. Sad.

Before Mariel and my cousin Rachel head out on their respective semester adventures (Mio in Idaho, Rachel in Jerusalem), the ladies of the Pullan family gathered for a girls’ night out (sans Hannah and Amanda, of course). Wish I could have been there and that I lived close enough to borrow Mariel’s coral-colored pants!

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I just realized the title of this post makes it sound like we, the Frosts, are in the Beehive State. Nay, we are still squarely in the Old Dominion Commonwealth, but look forward to more Utah visitors in October.

In non-Utah-related news, I made some excellent roasted corn and tomato soup on Sunday, and ordered this poster for my work wall.

some pretty great things

Beautiful weekend weather.

That we are going to see Dave and our other favorite nutmeggers in not very long (40 days, to be exact).

Eating a delicious sweet potato veggie burger with avocado and homemade bread for lunch.

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My mom is coming in August and again with Dad and the boys in October!

Jazz in the Sculpture Garden on Friday night…which we’ll have to catch another time, apparently on a day we can get there at noon to camp out. Instead: dinner out and a long mall walk. Just as great.

All the Little Live Things, by Wallace Stegner.

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The Library of Congress, especially the Jefferson library display.

Edy’s caramel swirl ice cream in waffle bowls.

Excellent scenery on a lunchtime walk. Sometimes I feel spoiled by this city.

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six degrees of pinteresting

As a by choice not-wedding planning, not-parenting, not-crafting, not-home-decorating individual, I have a narrow range of pinterest interests.  I use it for recipes. Period. I love being able to store all the recipes I find online in one, easy-to-access location. I like being able to show Jason my “Recipes” board and say, “What do you want to eat this week?” I appreciate being able to tell Mio that a recipe is on my Pinterest, instead of having to hunt for the url and remember to send it via email. Bottom line: I could easily live without Pinterest, but it’s occasionally useful.

What I find fascinating about Pinterest, though, is being able to track how and when my friend circles intersect. A friend from Payson will pin a pin and minutes or hours or days later, a friend from Kentucky (who I know for a fact doesn’t know said Payson friend) pins the same thing (and so on, and so forth). Do they have a mutual pinning friend? Is this particular pin just making the Mormon Pinterest rounds (because I swear Pinterest was made for Mormon women)? How long would it take for one of my pins to make it to any other Pinterest user, via friend re-pinning? I anticipate that the answer is less than six degrees, and if I were a cool, mathematically-minded person I might try to figure it out.

Anyway, that is what I think about when I browse Pinterest–that and how I should really reupholster, paint, and distress some funky, chic, vintage furniture.

blog rewind: 2012, take two

Note: this post was originally written on February 1. I just realized I forgot to publish it three weeks ago.

I feel like the first month of 2012 was kind of a wash, resolution-wise. The move, job-starting, traveling to and from Kentucky, and settling into a new place made it hard to get into a groove. Now we are groovin’ and I will be gainfully employed after President’s Day, so I am declaring January a prologue, and February 1st the new beginning of 2012 (not to be confused with the Frost fiscal year 2012, which ends on May 1. Not confusing at all).

In the spirit of the newish year, I’ve made what might be considered an unemployment bucket list (except I hate that term because it makes me think of a list you keep in a bucket, which if you do, cool. I do not keep my list of things to do in a bucket, so that designation doesn’t fit). I have 20 days left of unemployment, so 20 things should be apt. UPDATE: I had twenty days left of unemployment when this was written, but now I’m just down to 1 day. Let’s see how I fared on my non-bucket list.

1. Host Mariel for her Christmas visit.
2. Read all the General Conference addresses from October.

3. Cook (at least) one new recipe each week. Week 1: Whole wheat crackers and pita bread; Week 2: Korean beef tacos with cucumber slaw; Week 3: Sally Lunn breadmaker bread (epic fail) and macarons.
4. Finish For Whom the Bell Tolls.
5. Finish The Unconsoled.
6. Read the scriptures daily. Close enough.
7. Go to the ward’s craft group again.
8. Finish my latest crocheting project. DONE! Photos to come.
9. Compile Lexington photos.
10. Decide what to get Jason for his birthday and purchase it.
11. Enthusiastically fill in my new planner when it finally arrives (long story).
12. Write in my journal daily.
13. Work out daily.
14. Not watch any movies where the protagonist is unemployed (see Sliding Doors and Morning Glory.
15. Write something.
16. Do something nice for someone else.
17. Write Hannah and Dave physical letters.
18. Cook something for lunch that is not sweet potato fries.
19. Make pita bread.
20. Make chilaquiles.

Other things of which I am proud:

- Started running consistently again

- Got up early every day to make Jason’s lunch, have breakfast together, and see him off.

- Didn’t go crazy overboard eating cookies all day long, despite being in and around my kitchen almost 24/7.

- Learned to use the bread machine.

- Did laundry while Jason was at work more than once (usually he does all our laundry and I very much appreciate it).

- Relished my at-home time and actually never got sick of it.

- More than once sat in my poang chair and watched the sun come up.

latest/greatest

I ordered my 2012 moleskine planner on January 4th. On January 24th, Amazon let me know that the planner was nowhere to be found. I scoured the internet with little luck and begrudgingly ordered a similar one from an obscure Oregon bookstore (and prayed it was legit). Twenty days later, my planner arrived and I have felt infinitely more organized ever since.

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I made wheat rolls. They are delish.

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While perusing Wal-Mart in search of a one-year-old appropriate board book (Wal-Mart has terrible book selection, it turns out), I found socker boppers! I’m pretty sure the ones my fam owned in the early 2000s were called sockEM boppers, but the concept is the same. We used to have bopping tournaments for family night, because nothing brings the spirit like being walloped in the face with an inflatable mitten by your four-year-old brother.

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I made heart-shaped crackers. Less delish, but kind of cute.

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Before dinner on Jason’s birthday, I made him try on a fedora at Banana Republic. He makes it look good.

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Even Rosie got into the birthday spirit on February 8th.

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Tonight we picked up our glasses! Depth perception seems a little off, but I think that may be because we both have the correct prescription for the first time in a while. To good vision!

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wintertime is here

Today is officially the first day of winter. You wouldn’t know it from our Kentucky weather (57 degrees yesterday! No snow yet…and it can stay that way as far as I’m concerned).

I’ve been plugging away at my To Do In Fall 2011 list and am mostly pleased with how many things I’ve completed.  I started the list because I really wanted to read The Book of Mormon again this fall, which reminded me of other fall-y things to do. However, last night at 11:00 PM, I realized that winter started in one hour and I was only in Ether 1. I thought about going to bed and finishing up today, but realized I would feel like a fraud. Instead, I muscled through Ether and Moroni and finished with six minutes to spare! Hallulujah. 

Completed:

food
- Bake a pie
- Bake pumpkin bread or cookies
- Bake pistachio cookies
- Bake graham crackers
- Eat orange rolls and/or cinnamon rolls (thank you, Taryn)
- Bake pretzels (technically I made pretzel-y rolls, but that counts)
- Cook with butternut/acorn squash
- Eat Thanksgiving dinner
- Eat Pre-Christmas dinner
- Drink hot chocolate and/or cider

outings
- Go to/tailgate at a football game
- Go to North Carolina
- Go to Big Blue Madness/a basketball game
- Go to Washington, DC
- Go to an orchard
- Hike to Heublien Tower
- Decide what to do for Thanksgiving (and then do it)
- Decide what to do for Christmas (and then initiate travel plans in a timely fashion)

miscellaneous
- Read The Book of Mormon
- Put out our fall decorations (full disclosure: we only have one decoration)
- Put out our Christmas decorations

- Vote in the gubernatorial election on November 8th
- Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and eat Halloween candy
- Take a midterm (not something I necessarily want to do, but it’s a foregone conclusion and thus an automatic check-off)
- Crochet something
- Watch Secretariat
- Watch General Conference
- Take more pictures, because I realized while preparing this post that we take a preponderance of photos during winter, spring, and summer, but completely neglect fall.
- Take a walk and/or go on a drive exclusively to look at fall leaves
- Figure out what we’re doing with the rest of our lives (or at least after December)
- Read (at least) the six books on my To Read Next list. I’ve since added more  books to my list, and now can’t remember which six were on the list when I made this goal. I did finish Rules of Civility, Food Rules, and have been dually plugging along in Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Also, can my school books count?
- Determine goals for 2012.

Not completed:
food
- Bake Christmas sugar cookies
- Bake ginger cookies
- Eat caramel apples
- Cook lasagna soup (if not during Soup Week)
- Cook french onion soup (see above)
- Cook beef stew
- Cook pork chops with apple-cinnamon glaze

outings
- Go to Keeneland
- Go to the temple
- Go to the Louisville Trader Joe’s (it’s okay. Soon we’ll have a much closer TJ’s)
- Go Bible mini-golfing. I am actually really torn up about not doing this, since we will likely never have the opportunity to Bible mini-golf again. Sigh. Maybe we can make a trip out for the opening of Ark Encounter and include Bible mini-golf in our plans.

miscellaneous
- Carve a pumpkin (though to my credit, I gutted several acorn squash and one butternut.
- Ride a horse
- Run another half marathon
- Watch the Butterball hotline episode of The West Wing.

We still have a few days to accomplish the following:

before leaving kentucky…sigh
Eat at Puccini’s
Eat at Planet Thai
Eat fried banana peppers
Eat at Josie’s
Eat at Graeter’s (if it is open before we leave. We may have to go north for this one)
Eat at The Local Taco
Find a new place to live
Find a job (if your name is Amanda). Working on this.
Celebrate Christmas
Get something for the house that will help us remember how much we love Kentucky