Good eats

I feel like I spent all day in the kitchen today!  But it felt GREAT.  I’ve been gone from home and busy the last several weekends, and it was nice to do some baking and cooking again.  I can’t wait to use all my new pots and pans, though!

Lunch was leftovers from last night.  I’m usually a plate cleaner, so I’m glad I saved half this time!  (It was shell pasta with marinara sauce and about half a meatball.)  Please note the floor plan for our reception in the background!

0425 001

Re: the seating chart.  We’re still waiting to hear from ten people, but our count right now is 94 yes, 99 no.  We got a surprise “yes” from one of Tim’s old college friends today, which I’m really happy about.  I’m antsy to hear back from everyone else so we can run some hard numbers and figure out our final upgrades!

I stopped at the grocery store for a few things, and they were out of my beloved cantaloupe.  But, giant pineapples were on sale for $2.99, so I risked it!  I got a ton of chopped up fruit out of it for us to munch on all week.  It was really good!

 0425 002

I also had to do some baking.  I work at a university, and during finals time, the faculty and staff all bring in treats for the stressed students.  I decided to bake two things, and send some to work with Tim.

Peanut butter brownies… 0425 003

And the return of the infamous cake balls!

0425 007

All day I simmered a giant roast in the crockpot.  This couldn’t be easier—about a two pound roast, some beef broth, a few cloves of garlic, and let it go on high for about 6 hours.  Pull the roast apart with forks as soon as possible!  We made sammiches out of it.  This was Tim’s.  (Mine was smaller, on a sandwich thin!)

0425 005

And now we have dinner for at least the next two nights!

I decided to be a little creative with the side dish.  The other day when I went out with my boss, we had wonderful Portabella “fries.”  I tried to make my own version today, and it turned out pretty good!  We only had regular mushrooms, and they were about to turn, so I’m glad I got to use them.  I didn’t measure—I just grilled them on a griddle with a little EVOO until they softened up, then dipped them in an egg wash, then dipped them in a mixture of Italian breadcrumbs, whole wheat flour, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and put them back on the griddle until they’d crisped up a bit..  They turned out great!  Tim even asked for seconds.   I’ll definitely make these again!  I love all things mushroom.

0425 006

I also managed to finish up a last minute DIY project for the wedding.

0425 004

Directions: raid Michael’s cheap flip flops.  Buy lots of ribbon.  Remove ugly tags and tie together with pretty ribbon.  Spray paint clearance basket from Michaels.  Attach ribbon and sign with glue dots.  Enjoy.

I don’t know why I did this other than that I think it’s cute. 

Anyway.  I’ve got a fridge full of delicious shredded beef, pineapple chunks, and sweets.  I’m a happy camper.  Normally, I’d at least try some of the sweet stuff, but I’m on my absolute best behavior until the wedding—it’ll be a scoop of fro-yo for dessert for me tonight!  Also, I’m happy to announce I’ve been coffee and Diet Coke free for…four days now, I think?  Not going to lie, I’m craving both here and there, but it helps not keeping it in the house.

I got really excited today when I realized that by the time our gallon of milk expires…we’ll be married.  See?

0425 008

I’m off to finish getting ready for my last full work week before the wedding—we’re officially getting married next week, y’all!  I can’t wait to get back to the gym this week—I hope hope hope my leg feels better so I can get some running in.  I feel lazy!

What things do you bulk cook? I love making a full roast or chicken on Sundays to eat all week, and usually cut up fresh fruit too.

Getting shit done

Yes, boys and girls, that was the theme of the day.

Hey, look, the wedding bracelet I ordered from White Aisle came.  Mysteriously, there was also a green soft case for a Droid phone in the package.  Not sure how that happened, but…whatever.  It’s pretty.  I like it.  0402 001

I went grocery shopping and spent major cash.  Our house has been pretty barren lately, and I’m sure I’m not going to want to shop a lot next weekend after the half. 

Speaking of the half…I am getting more and more optimistic about finishing every day.  I’ve had no knee, shin, ankle, or calf pain to speak of since I started taking the anti-inflammatories.  I am going to run again on Monday—nothing crazy, since it’s supposed to be the official start of my taper—but I would like to get a few runs under my belt mostly as a confidence-booster before the big day.  Cross your fingers and toesies, people.

Now, if only my allergies would stop making me want to throw up everywhere, I’d be 100% psyched for domination.

Thank goodness for our new printer.  With a rewards certificate, we ended up getting it for $40 at Best Buy and it scans, prints, copies…you name it.   0402 002

I finished my bouquet charm by just printing a contact print.  Easy peasy.  Not the highest quality, but it’ll do.0402 003

Then I finished printing the brochures for our out-of-town boxes.  And folding them.  (Tim helped.)

0402 005

That leaves two more DIY projects to do—programs (which I’m holding off on to print) and escort cards (which we can’t do until the seating chart is made).  I don’t have a ton going on the two weekends before the wedding, so I think those can get done then.   I think programs are expendable, and if they don’t get done they don’t get done.

Milhouse and Southpaw have become cuddle buddies.  We found them snuggling in various positions today.

0402 004

0402 006

We have found Southpaw grooming Milhouse and Milhouse licking Southpaw as well.

Tim and I went out for tapas for dinner.  He was curious about the concept because he’d never been and I raved about them after my bachelorette party.  So, we went to La Bodega for dinner.  I had white wine sangria, of course.

0402 007

0402 008

Everything was really good, except the service, which was pretty slow.  We shared four different tapas and two desserts and I’m full, but not overstuffed.

Tomorrow we’re heading to church and I’m going to make a yummy pork tenderloin, green beans, Christmas rice, and brownies for Easter dinner for just Tim and me.  Hooray!

Any exciting Easter plans out there?

Out of town boxes

One idea I really like is the new concept of the out-of-towner bag/box.  Generally I’m not into random wedding things that cost money, unless they are something I really think my guests will like and benefit from.  I travel a fair amount for work, and I always love love love Holiday Inn Express because they often have water bottles and snacks waiting for me in my room.  So…we’re having out-of-town boxes.

Thankfully, this is a project where my mom took the bull by the horns and ran with it.  So, I’m doing virtually none of the work on this one!  Hooray.

She ordered white gable boxes online to start with.  For those of you who have no clue what a gable box is, this:

They are going to be wrapped with the same ribbon we used on our invitations, as well as our monogram.  So, basically, they will have a big belly band on them.

My mom’s also gotten the following things from Sam’s Club to put in them:

  • 8 oz. bottles of water
  • Trail mix
  • Granola bars
  • Small bags of M&Ms
  • Pretzels
  • Cheese and cracker sandwiches
  • Advil

When all is said and done, they should look something like this:


I also drafted a brochure-type insert for the inside.  It has our contact information, the schedule of events for the weekend, and sights to see and things to eat in Chicago.  Like so:

What would you like to get in an out-of-town box as a wedding guest?

Milhouse’s Close Up

Remember my favorite DIY project?  Well, I finished the numbers before we got Milhouse, and of course he can’t be left out.  So, I spent the day hounding (heh) Milhouse with a camera.  This is what we came up with.

I just have to print them tomorrow and they’ll be done!

In other news, I accomplished everything else on my to-do list for today–I paid bills, vacuumed, made pizza dough, tweezed my eyebrows AND finished the cards to label all the photos on our family wedding photo display.  Now, I’m seriously considering a nap and we’re going to head out to dinner later.

What do you think?  Thumbs up?

DL Day One

This sight this morning made me sad.

Me, walking out the door to go to work, intentionally leaving my running shoes at home so I didn’t do something stupid like go to the gym after work.

Being injured sucks.  I feel lazy and I hate it.   Resting is the reasonable thing to do, but I still have that nagging bug in my ear telling me “don’t be a baby, just run through it.”  No fun.

Perhaps instead of running, I should work on my abandoned DIY projects…

Or pay attention to my dog.

Focusing on the positive is hard.  Stupid shins.

In completely minimal wedding news, our calligraphied wedding invitation envelopes should be done and mailed this Friday or on Monday!  Woo.  We’re trying to decide when to send them–I’ve read everything between 6-12 weeks, so I think we’re just going to shoot for the first week of March-ish.  Fun!  Getting RSVP cards will be pretty exciting.

Anyway, apparently my life is significantly less interesting when I’m not running, so I’ll stop reaching for content.

How do you keep from going nuts when you’re supposed to be resting?

Thank you!

I’ve talked before about how talented my aunt is when it comes to making cards.  She is a stamping genius and makes some really incredible stuff.  Since I ended up taking over the invitations, she’s handling the peripheral wedding event paper, so to speak–wedding and shower thank you notes, shower invitations, and rehearsal dinner invitations.  She had a mock-up of a few of them ready and waiting for me!

This is a partial mock-up of the shower invitation.  The circle will have the quote from our save-the-dates on it: “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone…you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”  (Yep, from When Harry Met Sally.  We got engaged last New Year’s Eve.  It’s appropriate.)

This is the thank-you note for the shower.

I don’t speak “stamp” very well, but the design on the background of both was made with my aunt’s Cuttlebug, and the stamps are, I believe, by Stampin’ Up.

This will be the thank-you for the wedding, although we might sub out the “thank you” for our monogram stamp.  I actually think I probably will, I just have to mail her the stamp!

Again, the background is a swiss dot Cuttlebug pattern.

I keep trying to convince her to set up an Etsy store, but she hasn’t gotten there yet.  I wish she would!  She does some amazing stuff.

Thumbs up?

Another fun wedding project

T and I both have big families.  My dad was the oldest of 7 kids and my mom is in the middle of 5, and T’s mom is also the oldest of 7 and his dad has 2 siblings.  Somewhere along the way, I saw a wedding picture where the couple had displayed tons of old family wedding photos with labels.  I thought that was a great idea and would be fun conversation piece for people to check out during the cocktail hour.
T’s mom and dad were visiting this weekend, and she happened to bring me a CD of pictures she’d found and scanned.  She is really into geneaology, so she thought this project was really fun.  I thought she was just going to bring pictures of the aunts and uncles and whatnot, but she REALLY took this seriously and found pictures going WAY back for us.  And obviously, I think they’re awesome and I had to share some of my favorites!

These are T’s great-great grandparents on their wedding day–April 4, 1888.  They got married in Chicago, just like we will be.  Can you believe it?

Christine&Philip Breyer 4.4.1888

These are two pictures of T’s great-grandmother in 1911.   (I’m keeping these pictures large so you can see the incredible details in them!)  I LOVE this wedding gown.

Katherine O'Dowd Dark 11.14.11

Katherine O'Dowd Dark2 11.14.11

Here’s another set of great-grandparents in 1920.

Henrietta&Lawrence Campbell 10-6-1920

Here’s another one of T’s great-grandmothers,working the flapper-style wedding look in 1923.  Doesn’t she look so happy?

Isabella Breyer Dolan 6.30.23

These are T’s grandparents on their wedding day in 1949.  According to his mom, she wore a blue velvet dress instead of the traditional white!  (T’s mom was born on their first anniversary!)

Phyllis-Harry Dark 10.29.49

And finally, look who I found in one of the more recent family wedding photos?

Joan-Ed Harter 7.6.91(2)

That would be T, on the left at age 7, and his brother and our best man, on the right, at age 11.  Precious!

What do you think?  Thumbs up?

I think I’ve settled on…

The design of the actual informational part of our invitations.

Backing up for a minute: I have an aunt who is awesome at stamping and making cards, who immediately volunteered to help me with invitations.  I am so, so grateful for her help, but I’ve tried numerous stamps and embossing things and nothing really seems to work for me.  I love what I’ve come up with, I just need to execute it now.  This will likely involve a lot of cutting and swearing and complaining.   Good times!  I look forward to these little darlings sucking up my weekends from now until March.

The actual invitation part is white paper with the pink rose printed on it, with an overlay of ivory vellum with the wording printed on it.

random 008

And the inserts:

random 009

random 010

random 011

random 012

I still have some work to do on where everything gets placed and how it gets cut, but that’s a pretty good approximation of how it will be.  I really like the touch of pink the flowers add, without being too overwhelming.

What do you think?  Yay or nay?

DIY Cardbox

First up: I cannot take credit for this idea.  All props go to Heather at Road to the Aisle.  Click here for her awesome, step-by-step directions that I followed to a T.

I did this project awhile back.  I used our engagement photos on all four sides, and finished the top with plain ivory satin and a little bit of ribbon left over from our DIY invitations.  I actually had to do this project twice, because the first time, I bought screws that were too long and couldn’t be screwed in all the way, resulting in a very shaky and unstable card box.  But, the second time, with slightly shorter screws, it worked just fine.

cardbox 001

cardbox 002

Eventually I will find a lazy susan and it will spin, but I haven’t been that motivated to find one lately.  Anyway, hopefully this will achieve the two purposes I would like it to: 1) keep our cards from being stolen and 2) show off our purty engagement photos in a fun way.  Definitely check out Heather’s blog for instructions if you’re interested–I’m really happy with how this turned out!

Photoshare cards

I really, really love getting things for free.  Which is why I love Vistaprint.  If you sign up for their e-mails, you will get a daily e-mail offering free printing for things like postcards, business cards, address labels, et cetera.  I used their free postcards for our save-the-dates, and now, I used their free business cards for our photoshare cards.

To explain the concept of photoshare cards a little bit better–people have digital cameras.  People bring their digital cameras to weddings, and take tons of pictures.  Then they get home, and they’re like, “Well, crap.  I have all these pictures of someone else’s wedding.  What the heck am I going to do with these?”

This is where photoshare cards come in.  I created a free Gmail account, and a free Shutterfly account, and linked the two.  I made up these cards on Vistaprint, and I’m going to leave them at various locations around our reception (and maybe even stuck in our wedding programs).  So, guests will tuck them into their purses, and hopefully go home and upload their pictures to the website for us to see and print if we like them.  I’ll probably also bring some to pre-wedding events like showers and the rehearsal dinner.

I just used a free template on Vistaprint.  I got 250 cards for free, and paid about $4 in shipping.  Not bad for such a minor detail!  Here they are:

raceprep 010

raceprep 011

Hopefully people will actually use these and we’ll get a lot of great pictures.