Happy belated Valentine’s Weekend, everyone!

Though our 2 year anniversary was just weeks ago, John and I were ready to celebrate again. I don’t know if I can speak for him, but…

Hi, I’m Haley and I’m addicted to celebrating. (Hi, Haley!)

There something about an upcoming event or birthday that gets me giddy. I start daydreaming about gift ideas. Crafts, cooking, baking, shopping, making. It all makes me so happy. So, no surprise, I get excited about Valentine’s day. A day to celebrate love; what more could anyone want?!

John and I decided to not do gifts this time… we’ve had so many celebrations in the last few months and I don’t have a job right now. So, we decided to do what we’ve found we enjoy more than gifts- food and a trip or event of some sort. So I got looking at recipes and he started planning a trip.

I devoted a good bit of time on Friday to cooking and baking while trying to study for an online test that was due by midnight. I decided to make some fun valentines cookies and chicken fried rice (I sent John a bunch of recipes and he chose this one)!

For the cookies, I planned originally on making two of the adorable heart shaped cookie boxes, but after rolling the dough (I just used pre-made sugar cookie dough because I was tight on time) and baking them, I’ll just say one of the boxes deserved to be thrown in the trash. SO… I made one for John and filled it with the valentine’s colored M&M’s. It really didn’t fit as many M&M’s as I expected. Maybe I should have followed the directions. But I think the one box came out pretty cute! With the rest of the dough, I made round cookies and decorated them with my favorite icing, Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip Frosting, dyed pink.

For our Chicken Fried Rice, I started by cooking the chicken a few hours early and then storing it in the fridge. I had some errands I had to run before cooking the rest of the meal. But man, that chicken was good. The directions in the recipe had a teriyaki sauce recipe but I just used Walmart brand to save money and time. By the time the chicken was almost done, I knew this recipe would be a winner. I was eating little pieces of it while I got other things ready. So. Good.


Shredding the teriyaki chicken


A few hours, a test, and 2 errands later, John and I were in the kitchen making this delicious meal! He scrambles eggs for me while I ran around the tiny kitchen preparing other things. The end result was pretty great. The recipe is called “Better than Takeout Chicken Fried Rice” and we both agreed it was an accurate name. I found some egg rolls at the grocery store and we had those with dinner too.

After dinner, we watched an episode of one of our favorite shows and then the IMAX Hubble movie from 2010. John had already seen it, but he enjoyed watching it again. We love learning about space and had a great conversation about how it all points to God and his amazing creation.

The next morning, we were headed for our fun Valentine’s date! John had done some research and found that the Tennessee Aquarium was half off for college students during the month of February. We had talked about going to an aquarium for a date for a long time and we were both super excited! We packed a lot in for a day trip. The aquarium was 3.5 hours from Auburn, so we tried to leave early (but left almost an hour later than we planned on, thanks to a busy Dunkin Donuts). We got lunch on the way and then waited in line for about 20 minutes outside in the 30-degree weather… without our jackets. After our trip to the Coke Museum a few weeks ago, we thought it would be more enjoyable to not carry our jackets around all day. Even though it was freezing for a few minutes, I’m glad I didn’t have to carry my huge parka!

We had so much fun seeing all of the cool creatures! My personal favorites were the otters who were SO excited about everything. John and I both liked seeing the huge turtles too. We managed to make it the whole day without a good picture of us together… as usual. Seeing so many interesting and beautiful beings made me think about what an awesome God we serve. He made so many unique creatures. The intricate designs on turtle shells, the electric eel, the fascinating sea walnut that refracts light into the colors of the rainbow… it all points to Him.

We also got to see an IMAX movie on one of the newest and best projectors in the world. We saw National Parks Adventure and it was really great! Watch the trailer here. After watching the IMAX, we splurged a little and went to Chili’s for dinner. By splurge, I mean we spent more than we would at one of our usual dinner venues… fast food places. The food was fantastic. I forgot how much I loved that place! We may have also stopped at Ben and Jerry’s…

Our Valentine’s Weekend was so sweet and fun. I keep thinking of the verse James 1:17- “Every good and every perfect gift is from above.” Let us never forget to give thanks where it is due, to the one who created heavens and earth, who created love and life and who blesses us beyond what we even know. Thank you, LORD, for love. Thank you for your Son who showed us love in dying for us. Thank you for the blessings you give us every day. Thank you for John. Thank you for this weekend.


– Haley

For the record, the last few weeks have not been easy. We’ve both been sick, I was dealing with the loss of a beloved cousin, and school has been kicking both of our butts. This weekend was such a refreshing time in the midst of a difficult period.


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