Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Christmas & Merry Birthday

Every Christmas Eve I go with my Grandma, Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother-in-law, and Hubby to the service at the church I grew up in.  We hear the Christmas Story, sing carols, and light candles.  It is one of my favorite things to do all year.  But most of all, I look forward to going to the 11pm service wherever that may be to be awake and in a state of praise when Christmas Day greets us.  After the early service with the family we went back to my parents' house and had snacks and cookies.  With no avail, I'd begged my mom to go with me to the 11pm service at the church up the street since our church decided against it this year.  I'd even asked my hubby to go with me and his response was "Two services?!? That's too much Jesus for one day". I'd convinced myself that I'd have to wait until next year to restart my 11pm service tradition.  Then, at 10:45, my sister and her mother-in-law said they had to go if they were going to make it to service.  I was so excited and quickly invited myself and was the first one ready to go out the door.  Christmas Eve Candlelight service at 11pm is honestly my favorite service all year.  I love seeing the Churches all decorated with lights, trees, Nativities, poinsettias, banners, and filled with other lovers of the Christmas Season. I love the silence in the night as we prepare to celebrate the Birth of Jesus.

Christmas has always been a special time for me.  Being a Christmas Baby isn't a common thing {although it's probably just as common as being a Halloween Baby, Valentine's Day Baby, or 4th of July Baby}. I haven't always been as grateful as I am this year of having my Birthday on Christmas.  My whole life, my parents have done the best they could to make me feel special.   When I was younger, they separated Christmas and Birthday by having my party on the 15th.  As I got older and didn't do so many parties, Christmas was in the morning then we'd break out the balloons and banners in the after noon.  Still, I always felt a little bit 'jipped' when it came to presents.  It seemed to me that others got to open just as many as I did when it was MY birthday!  This year's big milestone of 25 was no different.  The morning started out with slight jealousy, like most years.  I made an escape just after presents to think quietly for just a few minutes and I quickly realized that for all these years I've been taking the best gift for granted!  The gift of family.  For 25 years now, I have been shifting from praising God on Christmas Eve to thinking only about material things on my Birthday/Christmas.  I'm not sure why today was different.  Maybe I gained some magical wisdom I gained at that moment 25 years after my birth {not very realistic, but just go with it....}.  Most people get cards in the mail from aunts and uncles, phone calls from parents and siblings, or text messages and facebook wall posts from friends.  Not many get the privilege of seeing their faces and receiving hugs from them to celebrate a birthday.  I'm not sure why it took me so long to see this but it was the best gift I've ever gotten.  I am more grateful than ever to share my Birthday with the most gracious human to set foot on earth.

Merry Christmas to all!
Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

dijon-crusted chicken breasts

My mom gave me a subscription to Taste of Home magazine which I usually end up stealing from here house when I go visit.  Joe and I tried out a recipe from our 1st issue!  It turned out fantastic!  We ate our dijon-crusted chicken breasts with some leftover homemade mashed potatoes from the weekend.  Yum!

dijon-crusted chicken breasts
from: tasteofhome magazine December & January 2011 issue

Prep/Total Time: 25 min.
Yield: 4 servings

1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. reduced-fat margarine

Place the first six ingredients in a shallow bowl. Brush chicken with mustard; roll in crumb mixture.

In a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken in oil and margarine over medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170 degrees.

Nutrition Facts: 1 chicken breast half equals 169 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 63 mg cholesterol, 380 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 24 g protein.
Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chocolate Rolo Pretzels

These are my favorite treat to make any time of the year.  They are delicious with pecans on top and even taste like turtles.

Chocolate Rolo Pretzels
Source: I got the recipe from my mom who got it from someone else


• Bag of Mini twist pretzels
• Bag of Rolo
• M&Ms or Pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Place the pretzels flat onto a cookie sheet
3. Unwrap rolo candies and place one in the center of each pretzel
4. Place in preheated oven 1 to 2 minutes, until rolos are solf. Remove from oven and place one candy-coated chocolate in the center of each pretzel.
5. Chill until set. Store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Raspberry Pinwheels

Raspberry Pinwheels

Makes 54 cookies
Hands-On Time: 30m
Total Time: 2hr 30m
Note: Total time includes cooling.

• 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 8-ounce bar cream cheese, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
• 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or coarse sanding sugar

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour, mixing until just incorporated.
2. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and gently knead it 2 to 3 times, just to bring it together. Form the dough into two 1-inch-thick squares. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
3. On a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll one of the dough squares into a 9-by-12-inch rectangle. Spread half the jam over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into thirds, making three 9-by-4-inch rectangles. Starting from a long side of each rectangle, roll into logs. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.
4. Heat oven to 350° F. Slice the logs into 1-inch pieces and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 1½ inches apart. Brush with the egg and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
5. Store at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Cookies: Palmiers

Source: The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook - Good Housekeeping
Active: 35 min
Refrigerate: Overnight then 2 hours
Bake: 15 min per batch
Serves: 112 cookies

• 1-1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), cut into pieces
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup sour cream
• 1 cup sugar


1. In large bowl, with pastry blender or two knives used scissor-fashion, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir in sour cream. On lightly floured surface, knead dough just until it holds together; flatten into 8" by 6" rectangle. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 400° F. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar evenly over work surface. Cut dough in half. With lightly floured rolling pin, on sugared surface, roll 1 piece of dough into 14-inch square; keep remaining dough refrigerated. Using side of your hand, make indentation along center of dough. Starting at one side, tightly roll up dough to indentation. Roll up other side of dough until it meets first roll, incorporating as much sugar as possible into dough; refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 3 days. Repeat with remaining piece of dough and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.
3. With serrated knife, cut one dough scroll crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. (Refrigerate if too soft to slice.) Place slices, 2 inches apart, on two ungreased large cookie sheets.
4. Bake 10 minutes. With wide metal spatula, carefully turn cookies over. Rotate cookie sheets between upper and lower racks and bake until cookies are deep golden, about 5 minutes longer. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets, then, with wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat slicing, baking, and cooling with the remaining dough scroll.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Makes: about 54 cookies
Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 10 minutes

• 1/2  cup  shortening
• 1/2  cup  peanut butter
• 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
• 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
• 1  teaspoon  baking powder
• 1/8  teaspoon  baking soda
• 1    egg
• 2  tablespoons  milk
• 1  teaspoon  vanilla
• 1-3/4  cup  all-purpose flour
• 1/4  cup  granulated sugar
• 54    milk chocolate kisses or stars

1. In a large mixing bowl beat the shortening and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of bowl. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.
2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate kiss into each cookie's center. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Creme de Menthe Cheesecake

I have spent almost every moment the past few weeks in the kitchen.  I prepared treats for our Holiday Party that we had on December 11th and made enough to take home for Christmas to share with our families.  I got up really early one Saturday morning and  baked the Creme de Menthe Cheesecake.  This is only the 2nd cheesecake I've ever made.  It was pretty easy but next time I'll probably crush the creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies a bit more.  My crust didn't seem very solid before I put the filling in but it turned out really good. I'll be sharing my other baking recipes in the next week or so.  Enjoy!

Creme de Menthe Cheesecake
from the Pampered Chef, Ltd.

Crust and Filling
14-16 creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (1 1/4 cups finely crushed)
4 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp Double-Strength Vanilla
4 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
8-12 drops green food coloring (optional)
2 pkg (4.67 oz each) crème de menthe chocolate candies, unwrapped, divided (about 56 candies total)

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 1/2 cups thawed frozen whipped topping
7 crème de menthe chocolate candies (reserved from filling)

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. For crust, lightly spray sides of a springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line sides of pan with two 3 x 15-in. pieces of parchment paper. Press cookie crumbs onto bottom and slightly up sides of pan. Bake 8 minutes. Remove pan from oven to a cooling rack.
2. For filling, place cream cheese, sugar, 3 tbsp of the flour and vanilla into 4-qt. mixing bowl; beat on medium speed of electric hand mixer 3 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs; mix on low speed 2 minutes. Add sour cream and food coloring, if desired; mix until smooth.
3. Set aside seven of the candies for topping. Cut remaining candies in half crosswise and toss with remaining 1 tbsp flour. Pour half of the filling into crust. Arrange candies, slightly overlapping, over filling; gently spoon remaining filling on top. Bake 55-60 minutes or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken (center will firm as it cools). Remove from oven to cooling rack; cool completely, about 3 hours.
4. For topping, place chocolate morsels, whipped topping and reserved candies into a microwave safe bowl on HIGH 1 1/2-2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring after each 30-second interval. Spread topping over center of cheesecake using Small Spreader. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Yield: 16 servings

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Our Holiday Party Menu

Since we finally got our living room painted and removed the 'wonderful' painters-tape blue color from the wall, we're having people over.  We haven't really had people over for a party yet.  The only people who've seen our house have been the visitors we've invited from out of town and a few of our friends who have briefly stopped by.  So a 1.5 years later....a party.  The holidays are a great time for celebration so I'm in no way complaining about this delayed open house.  We're expecting 20-25 people and we'll have plenty of food to fill everyone!  Below is the menu we're planning.  In the coming days I'll post about my time spent in the kitchen in preparation.

~ Meatballs & Little Smokies
~ Buffalo Chicken Dip
~ Cracker & Cheese Tray
~ Rotel & Velvetta

~ Creme de Menthe Cheesecake
~ Christmas Cookies Trays including:
     ~ Chocolate Chip Cookies
     ~ Sugar Cookies
     ~ Peppermint Bark
     ~ Chocolate and Caramel Pretzels
     ~ White Ting-A-Lings
     ~ Raspberry Pinwheels
     ~ Palmiers
     ~ Christmas Crack
     ~ Fudge
     ~ Peanut Butter Blossoms
     ~ Meringues

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Zesty Ravioli Skillet

So I posted yesterday about my recipe desaster.  Hubby asked me to "make that ravioli thing for dinner that had spinach and was kinda spicy".  After much searching I found the recipe in one of my beloved Pampered Chef Seasons Best Cookbooks.   It yet again turned out delicious.  This is definately going to be a more regular dish on our table.   There was even enough for us to have for lunch today *bonus!*.

Zesty Ravioli Skillet
adapted from The Pampered Chef, Ltd.

4 cups loosely packed fresh baby spinach leaves
6 oz shredded Motzerella cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded
4 garlic cloves, pressed
2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes with onions, undrained
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 pkg (24 oz) small frozen cheese ravioli (about 65)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Wash spinach; drain. Set aside spinach and cheese.
2. Add oil to a 12-in. skillet; heat over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes or until shimmering. Finely chop jalapeño. Add jalapeño to Skillet; cook and stir 1 minute or until crisp-tender. Press garlic into Skillet; cook and stir 15-20 seconds or until fragrant.
3. Add tomatoes, salt and black pepper to skillet; cook and stir with spatula 1-2 minutes or until simmering. Add ravioli; stir to coat. Cook, uncovered, 4-5 minutes or until tender. Stir cream into skillet. Cook, uncovered, 1-2 minutes or until simmering. Sprinkle spinach over ravioli; cook, covered, 1 minute or until spinach starts to wilt.
4. Remove skillet from heat. Top with cheese; cover skillet and let stand 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Yield: 8 servings

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Top 10: My Christmas & Birthday List

Well, it's that time of year again.  Time to make wish lists for the 'rents, in-laws and siblings.  Every year this list game becomes more challenging.  It makes me think about things I wouldn't normally buy myself but I would like.  Things on my list typically include sewing or baking items.  These are things I enjoy doing and wish I had more time for.  Since my birthday falls on Christmas, I typically need to begin writing things down in October in order to have enough options to split the list for Birthday AND Christmas. 

This year, I've come up with the Top 10 things I'd love to get.

1. Baby Lock: Sophia2
My poor little Brother machine that I got for Christmas a few years ago just isn't quite cutting it anymore.  After making all those aprons for my "bride-to-be" friends, it's not sounding so great anymore.  Poor thing.  I'd love to start dabbling in embroidery so this little machine would be the perfect starter.

2. Sonia Kashuk Make-up Brushes
In college I bought a set of Sonia Kashuk brushes and LOVE them.  However, I have pretty much warn them out.  Lately, I've noticed a lot of bristles coming out and I just think that the past 6 years has finally taken a toll on them. 

3. Wine Decanter and Journal
My BFF Kelly and I got into wine when we lived together that summer.  We'd go to the store and just pick the bottles that had great labels.  I know, so juvenile of us.  These days I forget which wines I've had and which I should get.  A journal would really help out in this department.  I was visiting Crate & Barrel a few months ago and saw they used a wine decanter to store their wine corks.  I love the look and can't wait to replicate it to decorate the bar cabinet Joe just refinished.

4. Cookie Press
Because I love the spritz cookies my mom makes at the holidays and I'd love to have my own press to make some that are just as delicious.

5. Indoor Weather Station
I'm not quite sure that I would have survived college with out one of these.  Mine happened to die after about 4 years.  I really would love to know the outside temperature before I leave the house in the morning so standing at the bus stop isn't as shocking.

6. Pampered Chef Double Boiler
I have this slight obsession with Pampered Chef products.  Just about everything in my kitchen is from Pampered Chef.  I'm pretty much a walking sales woman for them (even though I'm not a Consultant).  I just LOVE their products.  I have the pot & pans set that this will be perfect for.  I do lots of baking that would be much easier if I had this around.  Yes, there are probably some double boilers out there that aren't as expensive but I'm very much a minimalist and this would take up less storage since I've already got the bottom half.

7. Fiskars Easy Action Pinking Shears
I have a set of scissors in the Easy Action series.  I love the set.  They work so well and are easy on my hands.  They also lock closed so I don't have to to worry too much about them.  Pinking shears would be the perfect addition to my set.

8. Electric Tooth Brush
Well, lets just say I really need one.  I have always taken care of my teeth, so I thought.  Honestly, I try.  Probably even harder than others and still I have too many problems to count.  I just can't seem to get my teeth healthy again.  It all started with a bike ride turned disastrous when I was 6.  Lets just say that one should never face plant into concrete especially one with bad jeans to begin with.  I'm not quite 25 and I've gotten 2 root canals, 1 crown, and 1 crown on the books for next year.  Yikes!

9. Crock Pot Carrier
I saw this when searching for an inexpensive 1.5-3 quart crock pot to add to my appliances.  It just seems so genius.  They're pretty inexpensive and definitely a must if you go to a lot of pot-lucks or parties. 

10. Barefoot Contessa Cookbooks
Can someone really have too many cookbooks?  I think not! Especially if they are ones that have delicious concoctions in them.

Recipe Disaster

Well, it's official, I must blog more.

I need to do a better job at keeping track of the recipes I make.  Espeically if we like them!  Hubby just asked me to make "that spinach ravioli dish that's kinda spicy" for dinner tonight.  I guess I know what I'm going to be doing after work today....tearing apart my cookbook cabinet in search of the recipe. 

Note to self:  if the recipe is posted on this blog like intended to be, it won't be hard to find next time Hubby wants to eat it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Report - Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison

Image Source:
I just finished reading Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman.  Now, if you know me at all I'm not a fan of Memoirs.  I just don't seem to connect with memoirs and I really can't get into them.  That being said, something about this book caught me.  I decided to disregard all past memoirs I've encountered and check it out from the library.  I have this wonder of things that happen in a women's prison.  See, about a year ago I was working on a construction site for a medium security prison.  Some of the project team were maintenance workers at a maximum security prison.  The stories I heard about incidents, experiences and inmates were completely fascinating to me.  I couldn't get enough of their stories.  Only men were and would be held at the prisons so I began to wonder what a women's prison would be like.  I saw this book had come out and HAD to read it. 

Like the months I was working on the prison, I again became fascinated with the stories that come from prison.  This book gave me a different perspective seeing that she was a middle-class white woman being charged with a 9 year-old crime.  It's crazy to think how she'd changed in those years leading up to her sentence.  I was taken to a whole new place when reading this story of vivid characters and realistic situations.  I cannot imagine how she survived but she was portrayed to be a strong woman who was doing the right thing and serving the sentence she'd earned.  She had taken responsibility for her actions and it was good to see that.  I couldn't have been as strong as she was.  I couldn't put the book down.  I read at every chance I could and really hope you take the time to enjoy it also.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

A Veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including, their life. That is beyond honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer remember that fact.

Freedom is definitely NOT free.

Freedom is fought for day in and day out by those who serve in our Armed Services.  I was lucky enough to grow up as a daughter of an Army service member.  I feel privileged to have so many people in my life who sacrifice or have sacrificed everything to allow me to have the freedoms that I have today.  I can personally thank the following people who have had an influence in my life.

Thank you Grandpa Blew.  You never spoke of the days of your service, but I remember you and your buddies at this time every year for your bravery in the Battle of the Bulge, WWII.  I love and miss you.

Thank you Dad.  You and mom always were great role models and taught me to be a grateful American Citizen.

Thank you A. Foster, J. Kovach, J. Hines, C. Sloan, Blood, J. Senft, W. Viegas, B. Spohr, J. Rapone, S. Rapone, R. Rapone, J. Deehr, C. Moline, K. Ralston, B. Ralston, B. Stone, A. Martin,  and many more that I know I'm forgetting.  You are my all friends.  I thank you and think of you often as you are serving our country. 

Thank you B. Smith.  You were a true hero who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  You will never be forgotten for being a hero. 

Thank you Hubby.  You are my friend, and my rock.  You get me through the trials in our lives and you celebrate with me the joys.  You are humble, smart, caring, and many other things.  You are a veteran.

Have you thanked a veteran today?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

National Vanilla Cupcake Day

Happy National Vanilla Cupcake Day!!!

Today's cupcakes were vanilla with lemon icing.  Everyone at work loved them!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Natalie's Bridal Shower

Natalie and I met in college when I joined the sorority.  She became my big sister and roomate.  We watched many movies together, stressed about school, baked LOTS of things together, and she always had a smile on her face.  I didn't realize how close Natalie and I would stay after she graduated from college and got a 'big girl' job.  After I graduated, I got a job near Natalie {and my soon-to-be-hubby, of course}. I lived with her for 3 months until I got married and she was one of my lovley, beautiful bridesmaids.  I am so honored to have her as such a great friend.  She's loyal, loving, caring, fun, and we get along so well.  I am honored to be a bridesmaid in her wedding in less than 60 days!

She loved the cake I made for her shower today and had a great time with fun games and conversation with family and friends.

There's the Bride!

Gifts, Gifts, Gifts

She loves the cake :)

Cupcake Apron!

Natalie's Bridal Shower Cake

I made this delicous 1/2 chocolate, 1/2 vanilla cake with buttercream icing for my good friend Natalie's Bridal Shower.  I serched the internet for outline pictures and ran across the one I ended up using shown already on a cake.  I loved the simplicity of it.  Natalie will love it!! 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween


I hope everyone out there is enjoying this holiday favorite of many.

Tonight I'm decked out in costume passing out candy to Trick-or-Treaters with the Hubby!

Natalie's Halloween Bridal Shower

Happy Halloween Bridal Shower!!!!

Today I attended Natalie's Halloween Bridal Shower!  Kelly did such a great job on the decorations!  They are so creative.  We had some cheese and crackers, fruit, cookies, and cake pops.  Oh, I almost forgot the dipped strawberries that looked like ghosts!  {such a great idea}

It was a Pampered Chef Party and I'm so glad she got one because it was sooo much fun.  And I was able to get a few things for myself, even though one of those things must now be removed from my already growing Christmas List {I know it's a bit early, but I've got lots of people asking me what I would like}.

Here's the Bride-to-Be helping get everything ready!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Party 2010

Yup, hubby and I decided to be Tourists this year.  Thanks to some last minute brain-storming with Alex before leaving work yesterday.  Alex and her hubby were having a halloween party at their house and we had no luck coming up with something ourselves.

The only thing we bought to complete the outfit was Joe's fabulous shirt.  A total of $5 was spent on our costumes.  Don't we look awesome?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Cake Pops

When I opened Bakerella's Cake Pop's Cookbook {blogged about here} and saw the cute little pumpkin cake pops, I knew immediately that they would the hit of whatever party I went to.  They were so fun to make and now that I'm getting a bit used to the technique I'm getting better at the crumbling, mixing, rolling, and dipping.  Hubby and I couldn't find green tic-tacs so we used a light green so I don't think they turned out that well.  Also, I tried to use the edible pens on the pop without luck.  It was carving the pop instead of drawing on it.  I might need some new edi-pens.  However, here's the result:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quote of the Day

Yup, I'm one of those quote calendar girls.  A quote for every day.  I don't do the daily e-mail thing or the horoscope thing.  These quotes are meant to lift me up or get me thinking about my life in some way.  Everyday at work I tear off the page of my Daily Quote calendar with curiosity and anticipation of what will come.  Today's was something I thought I'd pass along.  Hopefully you'll enjoy it as much as I have.  We've all gone through tough times and this quote says it all.

When you get into a tight place
and everything goes against you,
till it seems as though you could not
hang on a minute longer,
never give up then, for that is just
the place and time
that the tide will turn.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe -

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kelly M & Michael's Wedding

I got to spend the weekend with one of my best friends!  Joe and I traveled back to St. Louis on Friday morning.  I was dropped off to meet the Bride-to-be and another bridesmaid for lunch.  Then we went and got manicures and pedicures with the Mother-of-the-Bride, Grandmother-of-the-Bride and the Maid-of-Honor.  That night we attended a Wedding Rehersal and beautiful Rehersal Dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory to begin our celebrations of the wedding of Michael and Kelly.  At the Rehersal Dinner we received these lovely wine favors!  The groom's dad makes wine and bottled these especially for the dinner tonight adorned with an engagement picture of the bride and groom.  I love the keepsake!

There are many definitions for the word LOVE.

Webster's Dictionary: strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties

The Bible: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Children: "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." Karl - age 5

Today, Kelly and Michael professed their love for each other for family, friends and the world to see.  Their wedding ceremony was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen!  I may have even teared up during the sermon when the pastor read out loud letters they had written to each other.  The letters told of the love they have for each other and some of the events throughout their relationship.  Part of the reason I may have gotten glossy eyese was because this was similar to the sermon told at my own wedding.  Thoughts of happiness filled my head when the realization that the amazing and wonderful feelings I felt on my wedding were now being felt by one of my very best friends.  I was honored to stand up there as a bridesmaid to be a witness of their love.

Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kelly H & Bryan's Wedding

I love weddings.  I love the ambiance.  I love the excitement.  I love the support shown by friends and family.  I love the happiness in the couples' eyes.  I love the beauty of a woman in a white dress and the look in the groom's eyes when he sees her for the first time.  I love the first kiss.  I love the significance of the cutting of the cake. But most of all, I love that the Bride & Groom have invited me to share this special day with them. My friends Kelly & Bryan are some of the most caring people I've ever met in my life.  I know we will be life-long friends because of this. Kelly lives in California and Bryan lives in Utah.  They are both in the Air Force and hope to be stationed together very soon.  I just can't get over how happy they are to be together.  I wouldn't have missed this day for the world!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Kelly H's Bachelorette Party

I took 2 days off work and drove 4.5 hours to help my friend Kelly celebrate her upcoming wedding with a Bachelorette Party!  Dinner was fantastic and the night was...well, crazy.  It was great to spend time with my friends, Kelly and Sarah, whom I don't get to see very often since they live in Cali.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Crafts Are Taking Over!!!!

Okay, this has gone too far!  Having a dual guest bedroom/craft room isn't working out too well for anyone.  I don't have the space I need to store my crafts and the guests have to deal with a semi-cluttered room.

Does this mean I get my craft cave?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mod Podge....

I remember the day I joined my sorority like it was yesterday.  It wasn't actually yesterday, it was over 5 yeras ago.  I will always be thankful for the things that my sisters taught me.  They taught me all about real friends, living with 40 girls, cleaning up kitchens (not exactly taught but I did get a lot of practice), how to parallel park into the tinest places, and most importantly of all: how to be crafty!  I've always been a crafty soul, but once a member of the sorority, I learned about craftiness like never before.  I will never forget my first converstion about Mod Podge.  I remember asking what it was, followed by laughter from my friends.  All through college I did many, and I mean MANY projects with Mod Podge. I began thinking that it seriously was the greatest invention!  I have since moved onto other things, and have not really had the need to use Mod Podge since my college days.  That was until today!!!!  I ran across this blog. Oh Mod Podge, how I love you and have missed you.  Hopefully I will have time in the near future to start another Mod Podge project.  I'm crossing my fingers that my jar of matte is not dried out.  Thank you Mod Podge for helping to decoupaging my world!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy 60th Mom!!!

Happy Birthday Mom!!! Hubby and I had fun at my mom's birthday party that she, of course, threw for herself.  My Aunt from Iowa even came down to celebrate!

Ginna & Adam's Wedding

Congratulations to Adam & Ginna.  It was such a beautiful wedding!  I had a great time and it was lovely to see both of them and our many friends.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Football Cakepops

Hubby and I met up at a friends' house for a Nebraska Football watch party.  Lots of our friends are a fan of the big N.  I had to take these cake pops!  They turned out adorable and delicious.  Some of the little guys didn't make the 30 minute drive and, lesson learned, I shouldn't have placed the lollipop stick so far into the cake ball.  I'll have to remember for next time.  They were a HUGE hit!  Everyone loved them. I can't wait to make some cute pumpkins for Halloween!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Here it is....the book I've been waiting months for!  I wasn't feeling well today and stayed home sick and got a great surprise! I went out after lunch to get the mail and there it was on my front step!  I am so excited to get started in my kitchen!  I have the perfect event this weekend and I know our friends will LOVE these! Yay!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kelly M's Bachelorette Party!!!

Bachelorette Parties can get CRAZY!!!!  For Kelly's: it was a guarantee!  When us girls go out it gets a bit wild.  I was sworn to secrecy so this is all I can say.  We went to Villa Maire Winery before dinner for a little relaxation. 

 There were 14 of us at Lucas Park Grille in St. Louis for Dinner. After dinner we went out for the night on The Landing down by the river.  Everyone had so much fun dancing the night away!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sorting M&Ms

So, I like to be thrifty.  I had TONS of M&Ms left over from Kelly's Bridal Shower that I helped throw for her over the weekend.  I mean TONS!  So I thought to myself that I'd sort them into their colors to make holiday cookies with! 

Orange, Yellow, Brown: Fall/Thanksgiving/Halloween
Red, Green: Christmas
Blue: hmm....any ideas?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Kelly M's Surprise Lingerie Party

And boy was she surprised! Up until the week of the surprise dinner Kelly was only under the impression that it was just her and me going out to dinner to catch up and talk about wedding stuff.  Of course, my big mouth had to accidentally slip to her in a e-mail the mention of her "surprise dinner". Last night Kelly, my two friends Andrea and Danielle, and I met up for a girls night dinner and drinks.  Kelly suggested TGI Friday's which is definately "Our Place".  We've gone there numerious times and we obviously love the food and atmosphere.  When I dissed the idea she picked up that we would be eating there tonight. 

Her mom, sisters, grammy, to-be-mother-in-law, two friends from our sorority were all waiting there to give her the big surprise.

See, Kelly only new there woudl be a "surprise dinner" at TGI Fridays.  She didn't know there would be guests or gifts.  However these gifts are more for Michael. He-he. 

Jamie, a friend from college, even found, in her mom's stash none the less, naked man wrapping paper from the 80's for all of us to laugh at.  I hope Kelly really enjoyed the low-key event and the gifts that will help keep some spice in their marriage!

The best gift: from her mom.  She dug it out of Kelly's stuff from high school. She needed this for a show one year.