It’s either the gloom of Monday… having to work on a holiday… or just having to leave behind a truly wonderful weekend that have me kind of sad today.

Ryan and I are not really big on Valentine’s Day, even though we’ve found each other and finally have love to celebrate. We just very strongly believe in having a dynamic marriage in which we show each other love every single day. Whether it’s from a tiny note stuck to the bathroom mirror in the morning, a sweet and unexpected gift, or a wonderful romantic meal together… or even just saying those three words (which we do ALL THE TIME). We try to express love in new ways and to never take each other for granted. So, a holiday celebrating love (or rather, attempting to capitalize on men’s wallets), doesn’t really appeal much to us. But… this was our first as a married couple and I think we got a little caught up in it. Or, at least I know I did.

We slept in a little late on Saturday (a gift in itself, for us). While Ryan was still in bed, I tip-toed to the kitchen and popped a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls into the oven. I had spent most of Friday night preparing them… but wow, it was worth the effort.

They really do taste just like the ones at Cinnabon, maybe even better (recipe below)! We shared breakfast together and chatted a bit while I got to savor the sounds of Ryan enjoying the cinnamon rolls, “Mmmmm… Oh my gosh… Yummmm… ahhhh…” (one of my favorite sounds).

Then Ryan surprised me with another gift (he had already given me 3)… American Idol Karaoke Revolution 2 for Wii! I’ve wanted it since we played it at our friend’s house. And, don’t knock until you try it! It’s so much fun.

Ryan got it warmed up for me and sang a few songs. He has absolutely no reservations about singing as loud and as wild as he can. I almost died laughing. I didn’t have the courage to start singing that early on a Saturday morning so we opted for a long walk instead. It was such a beautiful day. You could see the snow capped mountains clear as could be against the blue sky.

After that, we got to our usual Saturday routine of housework, yard work, laundry and such. Much to our surprise, we received another Valentine’s gift, which we don’t know quite what to do with yet. As you can see in the photo below, we were joined by a sweet dog on Saturday morning. He came, we showed him some love (walked him, fed him, gave him water) and now he won’t leave. We bounce back and forth between wanting to keep him, taking him to a shelter or posting “Found Dog” flyers around. He’s really sweet and seems to have a great temperament… but I just don’t know if we’re ready for a dog??? Ryan has left the decision to me and I couldn’t be more confused about it.

Anyway, I spent the afternoon making one of Ryan’s favorites, Red Velvet Cupcakes, in honor of the holiday and because I know how much he loves them. Later that night, we shared a lovely romantic meal, toasted with champagne and cupcakes and played the new game. The champagne gave me courage, maybe TOO much, and I sang a few songs myself. It was such a fun and romantic day. It’s the best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had.

The mood seemed to carry on to Sunday. We attended church in the morning and had lunch with friends, the Peters’ (AMAZING Sunday roast, potatoes, carrots and zwieback – a yummy yummy German bread). Our friend Aaron also shared in the experience of American Idol on Wii before we went to lunch. He has the same unabashed quality as Ryan, so again, I almost died laughing. We have such fun friends.

After that, we headed back home for a short afternoon nap together. Later, we headed out for Ryan’s basketball game. SEVERAL HOURS LATER… Ryan treated me to some delicious Chinese food since we ended up staying at the gym much longer than anticipated. We finished out the night indulging in another cupcake, some time resting in front of the fire and watching DVDs.

It was the perfect weekend. Maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t so bad? 😉

Clone of a Cinnabon
Recipe by: Marsha Fernandez on

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.

After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. (I mixed the sugar, cinnamon and butter together into a paste and it worked really well – and prevented the filling from melting out into the bottom of the pan).

Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture (or spread with mixture). Roll up dough (cut off ends) and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. (I put them in the fridge at this point and did the 2nd rise in the morning). Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

(When removing rolls from oven, flip pan over while warm to make sure all the ooey gooey filling stays on top).


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