Monday, December 29, 2008


We decided to spend Christmas with my family this year (we spent last Christmas with his), and we had a lot of fun! My family is really big on Christmas traditions. On Christmas Eve, we have a fish and unleavened bread dinner and read the Bible.

We don't always get Christmas PJ's, but we did this year (just the 3 girls)! They are super comfortable and cute. My sister Micia really went all out this year (again). The Christmas tree and presents all looked so coordinated and everything was perfect.

It was JJ's first Christmas with my family, and I was excited. He seemed to have a lot of fun.

We got a GPS (my parents couldn't find it for a while, but then it turned out to be in plain view in their mudroom--we got it a couple of days after Christmas), a breadmaker that's on our return list, I got some clothes, JJ got hunting gear, and lift passes. I gave JJ some nice brown dress shoes, pocket squares, a tie, and some cuff links. He gave me a panini press, a jewelry box, and the iPhone headphones from Skullcandy that I wanted really really bad.

After we opened presents, we played a lot of rockband. Notice the matching pants:

We then ate Prime Rib for dinner and then saw the (whatever) Tale of Benjamin Button. It was meh. When we got back from the movie, we played more Rockband and then got ready to leave the next day(Friday).

When we woke up, it looked like this outside, except you could see tons of snow falling at the same time. My sister took good pictures, so I'll upload them later. We definitely wouldn't be able to make it out of the driveway, let alone all the way down the mountain where my parents live.

So we decided to stay and have some fun with my family (we had brought our PS3 and Tiger Woods '08, too). It was actually fun to be stuck in the house, eating Christmas treats and drinking hot chocolate and not feeling one bit bad about stuffing our faces.

We played this funny board game called "Would You Rather...", in which one of the challenges is that you have to let someone draw a moustache and glasses on you and leave them on for the rest of the game. JJ got to draw on me, and everyone thought it was really funny.

He tried to make me look like my dad:

And I decided to kinda act like him:

Later, my dad got to draw on my mom, which ended up so funny that she almost peed her pants when she saw a picture of herself:

On Saturday, we decided to just stay through Sunday night, since we go down every week for Sunday dinner anyway. Micia and Stewart had already planned a party for the UFC fights that night, so we joined them at Stewart's house and it was a lot of fun. Then we came back to my parents and went to sleep.

On Sunday, we were lazy. We woke up extra late, played some TW'08, and then watched the Cowboys (Micia's team) get beat by the Eagles (JJ's team)... it wasn't a major loss for the 'boys, though... just 44 to 6 ;)

Dinner was delicious, it was my mom's homemade clam chowder, which is better than your mom's/favorite restaurant's, and Steak 'n' Everythings (they're sandwiches like philly cheesesteaks but with onions, mushrooms, and peppers. And tomatoes that JJ and I don't eat during the winter because hydroponic=nasty) .

Overall it was a way fun holiday, and I was glad to be at home. There really is no place like home for the holidays, and, even if you try to have a lot of fun, it's not the same. Next year is JJ's family's turn, which made me appreciate my family extra this year. Thanks everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Very Shady Maple

Every Christmas Eve, JJ's whole family goes to a buffet in Pennsylvania called "The Shady Maple Smorgasbord". This year, we're going to be at my parent's house (side note: This blog may be called marikaandjohn. etc... but I think we've all realized that JJ likes me writing, he never gets around to it) for the Holidays, and JJ said the day he'll miss the most is Christmas Eve.

That's what got my new brilliant surprise plan in the works. I decided to make our own version of Shady Maple for dinner tonight (he always gets up too early for me to surprise him with a breakfast). So I went to the grocery store, bought all of the stuff, and got started at 3--since JJ was going to be home at 5.

I made biscuits and gravy first, then I made the bacon (a whole package, because Shady Maple is all about eating copious amounts of fatty meats and eggs). Then I got working on the pancakes. One of them became quite a pain in my rear.

Here's the story of the epic pancake:

Number One: I'm allergic to bananas. Like, eat-a-banana-and-die type allergic. But JJ's favorite is banana and walnut (I'm also allergic to walnuts). After figuring out how to get a banana open, I started making a GIANT pancake, pictured here:

The pancake filled up the whole pan! I swear I didn't start it this big--It GREW. Good thing I have a GIANT pancake spatula:
It's almost as big as m'face! So I go at the pancake with the flipper, and....
I think you can tell how I feel about this:
I decided just to put it in the oven with everything else while I made another of JJ's favorite pancakes, Peach and Brown Sugar. I made a peach, brown sugar, and pecan one for myself.
Then I decided to make our house look more like Shady Maple...

Seeeeeeee? Almost as awesome as my Christmas decorating scheme.

JJ was very happy with the dinner, anyway, and here he is after he ate his first course, a biscuit and gravy with eggs:

This picture is of the bacon after we were done:

And JJ after he's done eating 2 giant pancakes, a few strips of bacon, and 3 biscuits with gravy... and more than half of the 4 eggs I scrambled:

It was so much fun to see JJ happy! It wasn't the same as regular Shady Maple, because there weren't any whoopie pies, shoo-fly pies, doughnuts fried in LARD (which is a word you hafta capitalize always), plethora of soda machines, or millions of fat people, but... I made it feel more like Shady Maple by wearing a soup strainer on my head (like the Mennonites that own the place...okay, they wear traditional hat-thingies. But they look like soup strainers!).

...I'm officially Shady Maple Crazy.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas!

Everyone has been showing off their Christmas decorations on their blogs, so I thought I'd show off our lack thereof.
Our mini-tree came from my parent's basement. The presents are real, though. We're not bah-humbugs! We are just spending the holidays at my parent's house, and thought it'd be silly to go all out in an apartment we plan on not living in next Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Vegas, Again!

I feel bad that I haven't written in forever! Here is a general update about our lives:

We spent Thanksgiving at my (Marika's) parents' house. It was a lot of fun. We ate, played Rockband, decorated for Christmas, played Rockband, and ate.

My school is going well, even though I did fail my first class ever halfway through the semester, and then found out that I didn't even need it--and then found out I can't graduate until May 2010. UGH. Oh well. I'll get 'er done.

JJ's work is fun, he's traveled twice since we last wrote--to New Orleans and to Vegas. He can write about N'awlins if he wants, and there will be more mention of Vegas in the near future (I have this feeling it might be in this very same blog entry... hence the title). He also has been going through an interview process to try and get a job elsewhere--we're hoping nothing comes through 'til I graduate, but it's looking like he might get offered a great position in DC, so we may have to live seperately for a few months... sound familiar, Joe and Britt?

We've eaten at a couple of good restaurants lately, including the Hong Kong Tea House in SLC. It was IMPRESSIVE dim-sum!

So, let's talk about Vegas. JJ was going to Vegas Dec. 1-5 to go to a nerd-conference (that's what he does for work, be nerdy), and I was invited! But I couldn't go, because I had 2 presentations on the 2nd and was supposed to have a test and a presentation on the 4th. When I went to school on the... whatever the Tuesday before Thanksgiving was, I was told that my test and presentation for the 4th were moved around and I didn't have to do anything on the 4th! I was so excited, so I picked up my phone and called JJ. He didn't answer.... so I decided to be sneaky-sneaky and surprise him!

After my presentations on the 2nd, I hopped in the Jetta and drove, all sneaky-sneaky-like, to Vegas! Here's proof:

Sooooo sneaky-sneaky. I ended up calling JJ when I got to his hotel and telling him that I was there to surprise him. We walked the strip that night (the other work guys hadn't been there), and ate at the Seafood Buffet at the Rio. It was sick. Don't waste your money.

The next day, I stayed in the hotel and filled out the take-home test that was supposed to be due on the 4th, and then I mailed it to my teacher. After JJ got done with his conference, we went to the buffet at the Wynn--where else?! We wanted to make up for the yuckiness that we had experienced the day before.

The Wynn Buffet was not as good as it had been the other time we went, but we still ate copious amounts of crab legs--which made both of us extremely happy.

We also checked out the golf course at the Wynn. If you hate golf-talk, skip this paragraph. It was AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS! We want to play at it someday, but... it's $500/person for 18 with a cart, which is maybe just slightly out of our price range right now. Maybe if they gave us a 90% discount we'd play.

I then realized that I hadn't taken any pictures of the trip at all... and we only had one day left! Luckily JJ got out of his conference early (I had an ETD of 5 PM), and we went to a late lunch at BLT Burger, which is new in the MGM Grand--it's located where the Lion's Den was.

We ordered the fried dill pickles and the BBQ nachos for appetizers, which were both delicious, although I'm partial to fried pickles. JJ had ordered the Shaft's Burger, which had blue cheese, caramelized onions, and mushrooms, and I ordered the Lamb Tandoori Burger, because that's how I roll. We also got the "skinny fries" to share, since we'd already had our fried course. I mean appetizers.

It was a LOT of food! When you add my Diet Coke and JJ's milkshake to the list, it was AMAZING that we ate even half of it.
I thought I'd give y'all a bird's-eye-view.... cuz... that's how I roll?

We split the burgers, which were both cooked perfectly! I don't care how you think a burger should be cooked--they're meant to be served medium!!!! I also benefit from JJ's hatred of cucumbers--see how I got both of the pickles? They tasted really fresh and delicious.

Other than that, I guess the only news about Vegas is that I'm $1.81 up! I played penny slots while we waited....

Overall, good food, fun surprise, but mostly classic Vegas--lots of walking on the strip, lots of clangy noises, and lots of chilling in the hotel. We didn't want to spend the money to see a show this close to Christmas :).

We're so lucky to be able to take little vacations--we're grateful that we've so far been okay enough financially to have fun while we're young, pre-kids, and married.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What exactly....

What exactly did Zack and Miri do? I don't know, because I live in Utah.

Yes, this was actually outside of the theatre. UGH. Let's move, JJ.

Tee Hee

I took this picture of JJ trying to figure... something... out with the dishes, and I think it's funny. He's the best husband ever because he always does the dishes and I love that! Dishes are icky.

Also, I finally figured out how to add a list of friends, which is actually really easy. So if you have a blog and you come here a lot you should tell me to add you to the list so I can blogger stalk you, too!

Staci and Garrett--Your blog won't add to it! I don't know why. :(

Sunday, November 9, 2008

6 Month-iversary!

I can't believe it! We've already been married for 6 months! Sometimes to me it feels like longer, because we got the hang of being a married couple pretty fast, and sometimes it still feels like we were in Hawaii yesterday, riding around in the sweet minivan my parents rented doing last minute pre-wedding prep.

I'm not going to get all gushy or anything, because that's gross. This report is going to be a pretty dry report on what we did last night to celebrate... If you want to read gushy stuff, pull out a book or something. We're not into that.

We got dressed up all cute to go out to dinner. We both knew where we were going, so it wasn't much of a suprise, but JJ was suprised that I can do my own makeup pretty well.

Then we made our way over to.....
That's right! Steaks and more steaks for us to celebrate. JJ and I have both been wanting to go to Ruth's Chris for a while, and our 6-month-iversary seemed like a good excuse. :)

Oh my goodness, y'all! The food was SO good. We started out with the Seared Ahi Tuna with...sauce? and the Ruth's Chris Chopped Salad. I liked both, JJ was not such a fan of the Tuna--He thought the sauce overpowered the "delicate flavor of the fish itself"... now you know why I love him (okay okay that was a little mushy)!

MY STEAK WAS HUGE! This is all I could eat of it, seriously. The steaks there are cut like 2 inches thick and served in a puddle of sizzling herb butter. I had the Cowboy Ribeye with a side of Au Poivre Sauce (which was AWESOME!) and JJ had the New York (his usual) with a Bleu Cheese Crust (his other usual). They were both done to a perfect medium-rare and had the best crusty outside. I'm in love. With a steak. And it's a Cowboy!

For sides, which are served family-style there in large portions, we opted for the Broccoli Au Gratin (which our server annoyingly corrected JJ's good pronunciation for the fakey-American "og rotten"), which we thought had too much cheese on top, and the Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Sugar and Pecan Topping. K SERIOUSLY?! This was the freaking best thing ever! I know it probably was more butter than potatoes, but we didn't care--we were celebrating!

Last, the restaurant provided us with a free dessert--we chose the Chocolate Duo--molten chocolate cake and a "light" chocolate mousse, with berries and sweet cream. We loved it, but the mousse definitely wasn't light! It tasted like pure milk fat solids. Which we love. But are bad for us. But we were celebrating. But now we're chub-chub. It's okay though. We're married.

Overall, it was an awesome experience. Don't look way close at this picture or you'll see that both of us are so full we're going to up-chuck.

We definitely recommend this restaurant if you don't think about calories. And you've gotta get the sweet potato casserole or you'll miss out on the best thing eva!

Let us know if you eat there--and, in almost the words of Jacques Pepin, "Happy Eating!"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Here's the good pic of the caramel apples. YUM! See the post below and you'll know why it's here.

October Fun

Oh my goodness, y'all. JJ and I wake up on OCTOBER 12th and THIS is what's outside our window! Good for skiing, bad for just about every other reason.

I figured out something in the recent... hour. I have a handicap: I'm horrible at Blogger! So... here's pictures that were supposed to be in later that somehow ended up right here:

Caramel Apples with Peanuts for Punkin Carving Festival at our apartment. We also had worms and dirt (if you don't know what that is, your life is sad), and Roasted Chicken and Veg. DANG IT I JUST DELETED THE BEST PICTURE OF THE APPLES!!!!!! I'll post it later.

We went to PA October 15-21. The leaves were just starting to change colors and it was AMAZING! Here's what it looked like on the drive from DC-PA. P.S.: "We" (Marika) forgot our camera, so these were all taken on my phone....which is why we don't have many pics.

Next stop... GOLF! What else would we do? Brad (one of JJ's best friends... actually, probably JJ's bestie) was able to get us on to golf at the Hershey Country Club, where he works, for FREE! We loved it, even though both of us didn't play well.

It was such a beautiful old course. Thanks Brad!
JJ's parents took us to spend a day at the Renaissance Fair. Now, if you're reading this and dig renaissance fairs, look away, or go put on a costume and talk all nerdy, because that's what you enjoy anyway. I was surprised by how many of the people that went there were WEIRDOS! Well, now we know what happens there... so we'll never choose to go again :). Thanks anyway, in-laws! This pumpkin guy was the coolest part of the fair (for me). Besides the turkey leg that tasted like ham.

Last stop? Chinatown (DC), o'course! WHY? TO EAT, DUH! We had dim-sum, and it was delicious.

OKAY, now you get to see what we did today! The punkin carving fest:

JJ was very methodical in his carving. He drew the face on his punkin first, and then cut. Jaime and I had a different style: Jab and do whatever. Jaime thinks hers looks like it has a hat on. She demonstrated:

Anyway, I think all of our punkins ended up so cute! Jaime's has a unibrow,

Mine (Marika's) kinda looks like Shrek?

And JJ's is like a skull. Of course, methodical ended up more awesome. OH WELL!

It was a really fun thing, I'm glad we did it! It was the first holiday JJ and I have celebrated on our own (since we're not doing anything on halloween night, this was it), and it makes me realize how much I love being married to him. Starting our own traditions is so much fun, and I'm happy that I'll be able to do the same stuff every year, even after it gets old, because a tradition is a tradition, and we'll have to do them together every time!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blogging is DUMB

I decided that blogging is dumb when all you do is school and work. Seriously. So don't look forward to anything new from us until we do something.

We'll be in PA from Oct. 15-21. Maybe I'll think of something to write then. :)

TTFN--Until we have something to blog about.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Crawdad Dinner

I somehow messed up and deleted this last part of the last post, but, you'll get the idea:

I was way happy that I got up, but mostly happy that I didn't feel like I had frostbite, and that a minimal amount of water got up my nose. Here's proof: We went ashore and had a crawdad dinner (again). Here's me and Micia being proud of my wakeboarding skills. And Stewart trying to make a Burt's Bee's commercial.

It was such a fun time! Thanks Mish and Stew!

We Went Wakeboarding!

We had another adventure this weekend. We went to Scofield Reservoir (again) to catch crawdads and go wakeboarding. Micia and Stewart had been trying to get us out for a while, and we finally got to board! It was so much fun. Here are the highlights:

The morning was pretty cold, so we just hung out on the boat for a while. JJ's sister, Jaime, who lives with us now, got to come. It was super fun.

It warmed up pretty quick, so we decided to hit the (freaking cold) water.

Stewart went first to show us how it's done. He made it look super easy, so we all felt confident.

Then JJ flopped around in the water for a while, which made me and Jaime really really scared to try it... and he also made it pretty obvious how cold the water was, he started shivering.

Micia then took a turn, and she did really well! I think this made me want to go again, even though JJ didn't have such a fun time.

Jaime got the hang of it pretty quick! As soon as she got up, she lasted for a long time.

I was so scared of the chilly water! It was overcast as soon as I got to go, too. Micia gave me a little advice, though and....

After a couple of tries....

I got up! I couldn't believe it!!!! YAY!!!