Monday, October 4, 2010

A Super Easy (and Thrifty) Craft Project

I remember the excitement surrounding buying my first house about a year and a half ago. I had big plans to paint every room and get the perfect decorations to accessorize and make everything look like a page out of Good Housekeeping. About three weeks later the newness wore off, and the extra money ran out, so all of the little projects I wanted to do naturally faded away.

One of the forgotten projects, though, has become a nuisance that keeps pestering me every day when I walk in my front door. When I moved into my house, my living room wall had a specific area where there were a lot of little white spots where the previous homeowners had spackled in nail holes, but failed to repaint over their spackle. So one day, in a moment of sheer brilliance, I decided to paint the white spots. I had painted my dining room a tan color that, I thought, was identical to the living room color. So I just walked right up to those spots with my paint brush in hand and painted over them.

This was my result:

The moral of this story: You can't match paint by eyeballing it and making your best guess.

I have hated seeing this spot on my wall for over a year now. And I haven't wanted to go to the trouble of painting the entire room just to cover this minimal area. I've been thinking about buying a painting or wall hanging to cover it up. The only problem was, the spot is shaped oddly and it would take a fairly large-sized picture. And we all know that fairly large-sized pictures come with fairly large-sized price tags. So I've been letting it sit. And contemplating my options. For over a year.

Last week, though, I was inspired by another website I saw, and decided to finally do something about this darned spot.

The project I saw on the website was to make a huge grid patterned wall hanging using scrapbooking paper and 12 x 12 picture frames.

I loved this idea, but hated the thought of spending $100 or more on the frames, so I decided to modify it a bit.

Here is what I came up with:

Here's how it happened:
For one, I knew that my local Dollar Store sold picture frames. Granted, they are not typically the greatest quality frames, but they are fine for a project like this, where the frame is not the focal point of the piece. I knew I wanted square frames, so I set out with that in mind. I ended up finding some small red plastic frames that were meant to hold multiple photos (I knew I wouldn't be using the photo mats that came in the frames, so I tried to focus simply on the exteriror frame as I was shopping). My frames were about 8.25" x 8.25" around the outside. (Total Cost: $9.72)

Then I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased some 12" x 12" scrapbooking paper (these retail for $0.59 each, but Hobby Lobby runs a sale on their scrapbooking supplies about once a month...the day I went they weren't on sale, though). I also picked up some bronze acrylic paint for $0.99 and some sponge brushes for about $1. (Total Cost: $7.87)

So instead of over $100, I spent $17.69 (and I would have spent less had I already owned paint and brushes).

This project was so easy, and the end result so beautiful, that I thought I would provide a little step-by-step guide to doing it yourself.
You will need:
-9 frames

-9 pieces of scrapbooking paper in coordinating colors (I repeated 2 of the sheets I found because I couldn't find anything else to match)

-1 small bottle of acrylic paint in bronze, silver, brown, or black.

-1 paint brush (or sponge brush)

-Some newspaper (or, cut a large trash bag down the middle and lay it flat to cover your work area)

-A small piece of foil or a paper plate (to put your paint on)

-Something to hang the photos with (I used command strips because my frames were lightweight. If you have heavier frames, you'll have to use nails.


1. I began by removing the backs and mats out of my frames. I reserve the backs and 1 set of papers from the frames (this will help with the grid pattern layout later). I chose to discard the glass that came with the frames because I didn't like the glare it put on the papers. You may choose to keep yours if you wish.

2. My frames had the little leg things that come on the back of tabletop frames to help them stand. Since my frames were going on the wall, they didn't need legs. And the legs would have prevented them from hanging flush against the wall like I wanted, so I removed them.

3. I spread newspaper over my entire work area and began painting my frames the bronze color I had picked up at the store. I learned that it can be quite cumbersome to cover plastic with acrylic paint. It took me about 4 or 5 coats before the frames were covered thoroughly. You should allow at least 30 minutes between coats to allow the paint to dry.

4. Once I was finished completely with painting my frames, I laid them out and allowed them to dry overnight (if you don't want to wait overnight, you should at least wait 2 hours to make sure your frames are completely dry before you start handling them again.).

5. After my frames were dry, I put all of my papers inside of them, and put the backs securely on the frames (you'll need to replace the front glass at this point if you're using it). Then I began to figure out exactly how I wanted my pictures arranged in my grid pattern.

6. Once I had my pattern laid out exactly how I wanted it, I took the inserts that came in the frames (reserved from Step 1), and hung them on my wall with masking tape. I wanted to make sure I had the layout figured out before I started adhering the pictures to my wall. This step was a little time consuming for me because I had originally planned on hanging the pictures with a couple of inches of space in between. But with my painted predicament on my wall, this was not possible with any arrangement I could come up with. I ended up deciding to hang the pictures as one giant square, with no space in between. This also made it easier to hang the pictures because I only had to measure the first picture I hung. The rest of them were hung by simply aligning the edges with the other frames that were already hanging.

And here is my finished project (with no ugly paint spots on the wall!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Life as a Wife

Now that I've been married for all of 6 weeks, I feel like I've got a decent handle on being someone's wife.....well, at least better than I did at the beginning.

Adam and I are going through Financial Peace University right now and we're really trying hard to pinch every penny that comes our way. We're making sacrifices and using coupons and searching for sale prices like we never did when we were single. And I kind of like it. I feel triumphant when I get a good deal on something we really needed.

One of the most frustrating domestic duties for me is grocery shopping. I hate it.

If I don't plan out my meals ahead of time and go to the store with a list, I end up spending way more money than I should and then I always end up missing ingredients when I go to plan a meal.

But meal planning is almost worse! I spend hours sifting through cookbooks trying to figure out which meals we want, how we can use the same ingredients in most of our meals for the week, and then trying to create a list that doesn't make me run in circles around the grocery store like a crazy person.

Sort of one of those things that's just a hassle either way.

At least that's what I thought.

I've been an off and on Dave Ramsey listener for years now, and one of his main advertisers is a company called Mealtime Makeover and their product e-Mealz. I had actually forgotten about e-Mealz until Adam sent me a link to their website several months ago.


e-Mealz is a website that looks at current grocery store sales, then formulates a weekly menu AND grocery list for you. It takes out all of the stress and time-consuming chores of meal planning, and takes advantage of all of the special promotions and sales in the stores.

You can select from a variety of grocery stores (Kroger, Publix, Wal-Mart, Aldi, etc.), or you can select special diet menu plans. They have a Weight Watchers Points plan, Low-Carb, or a vegetarian plan. And you can also select a meal plan that feeds up to 5 people, or one that feeds only 2.

Each week you go to the website and download the new menu plan. The first page of the menu plan contains your actual meals, with a recipe giving you specific instructions on how to prepare it. Page two is your detailed grocery list categorized by where you can find everything in the store. The grocery list also lists the prices of everything on the list and gives a total at the bottom of the page.

The plan is incredible. We have been following e-Mealz for over 2 weeks now and we haven't had a meal that we didn't like. The food is simple, easy to prepare, and tastes good.

Before we joined e-Mealz, Adam and I went to the grocery store to buy groceries for what we hoped would be 2 weeks. We spent $150 at Wal-Mart for just the two of us, and the food didn't last us as long as we hoped....except for our produce, some of which spoiled before we got the chance to eat it.

So we decided to try to save some money and start shopping at Aldi. We signed up for the "Aldi for 2" e-Mealz plan. Our grocery bill for 2 weeks this time was $99! AND it actually lasted us longer than 2 weeks because we went out of town in the middle of it.

Our e-Mealz weekly groceries typically cost $30-40 per week. Granted, that's just for dinners and you'll have to purchase additional breakfast, lunch and snack foods. However, we usually have one small portion left over after each meal, which provides lunch for someone.

E-Mealz only costs $5 a month and they do all the leg work for you!..And you get a special discount off your first 3 months if you're a Dave Ramsey listener.

I just wanted to share that with everyone and let you all know how much e-Mealz has helped me. I now look forward to going to the grocery store and finding the items on my list, then getting out of there in 30 minutes or so!

Click on this banner to learn more about e-Mealz and check out sample menus.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Greetings from the Mrs.

Hey everyone,
We're back.....well, we've actually been back for quite awhile, but I just haven't gotten around to blogging yet. Let me catch you up.

The Wedding
Everything with the wedding was absolutely perfect! We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day. And I am so grateful for all of my friends and family who worked so hard to make it special for us. I love the homemade touches our wedding had. From the hairpieces my friend (and bridesmaid) Amanda helped me make, to the centerpieces my mom and I worked on, to the cake my friend (and bridesmaid) Ali made, to the homemade dishes my aunts brought.....everything was so special! Adam and I agree it was the best day of our lives so far. We've been looking through our 2,000+ wedding pictures and just reliving the day and how amazing everything was. And we're so thankful that many of you were there to celebrate with us....And we're looking forward to seeing those of you who weren't at our receptions in a couple weeks.

The Honeymoon
We went on a cruise to the Bahamas, and it was incredible! We would highly recommend cruising to anyone. I was really nervous about being on a cruise ship. I had always said before that I would never go on a cruise because I was afraid of being trapped on a boat in the middle of the ocean.....but it's not like that at all. There is so much to do and the ship is huge. There's no way you could feel trapped. One of my favorite parts about the cruise was the food (naturally). Our dinner meals were nothing less than excellent. And our waiter made it so much fun by chatting with us and showing us magic tricks...and bringing us out more food than we ordered. We went to shows, special events, parties.....there's no way a person could ever get bored.

And we got to see Nassau in the Bahamas. We took a tour of the city in a rickety 15 passenger van with a lady named Ms. Joan. We got to see the Atlantis Hotel (where the most expensive room they have is The Michael Jackson suite, which rents for $25,000 per night with a 4-night minimum!). It was beautiful. And we tried conch fritters, which just tasted like deep fried yumminess.

We also went to a private island owned by Royal Caribbean called Coco Cay. There we did some snorkeling. That was one of my favorite activities on the honeymoon. I scraped up both of my knees on a giant rock and Adam got a sea urchin in his finger, but we still had a blast. We got to see remnants of a shipwreck and a plane wreck. And so many brightly colored fish and coral. It was beautiful.

So the wedding was perfect and the honeymoon was perfect. And I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life. Life is very sweet right now.

And I would like to leave you with a link to this's a picture of what I hope my marriage looks like in many, many years. And it will make you cry. Even if you're a dude.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Best Surprise Ever!

I've recently come to accept the fact that my life is crazy. And it will continue to be crazy for another week or so.

In the midst of the craziness, though, there have been a few brief moments where I could just sit back and breathe a sigh of relief.

Last night was one of those moments.

I've had my own home for just over a year now, and I love it. The problem is, I'm never there. I mean never. Before Adam was down here, I would typically choose to spend many (most) evenings with friends or at my parents' house simply because I didn't want to spend every evening in my house alone. And because I was there by myself, I didn't mind if things got a little cluttered....I was never there long enough for it to really bother me anyway.

And then Adam came. It has been so wonderful having him here, and adjusting to us spending so much time together. I've never been happier. But Adam brought a lot of stuff with him. Not any more than a regular person, mind you, but stuff nonetheless....

And I had 3 bridal showers, which provided even more stuff.....stuff I love, and stuff I'm grateful for, but again, stuff nonetheless.

And in the busyness and chaos of wedding planning, I still haven't been home much. It seems like lately I haven't gotten home until after midnight usually, and by then, I'm just ready for bed and not in the mood to work on cleaning.

So my poor house has been neglected as we just keep piling more and more stuff in it.

I had double booked myself this weekend....I was somehow going to be in Bloomington on Saturday, Flanagan on Sunday, and still manage to get my house clean and all of the laundry done, AND get myself packed for the honeymoon before Monday rolled around!

Yeah. Right.

I actually had just realized that I would not be able to be in two places at once yesterday while I was at work.

Then Adam texted me and asked me where he should put something at the house. That's when it hit me...I thought he was tidying up a few things around the house to surprise me.

I was so excited, and I asked him if he was. He told me not to get too excited because he wasn't doing that much...he was just picking up a little.

Later that evening I walked in to the house in total shock and amazement! Adam, my mom, and my brother's girlfriend, Katherine had conspired together to get my house absolutely spotless!

The house has never looked better and it is such a relief and a weight off my shoulders to know that the BIGGEST job I had to do this weekend has now been taken care of.

And Katherine is going to bring some pretty potted flowers to my front entryway since everything I had was dead.

What an amazing gift they have all given me! I know it was really, really hard work. And I know they must have really busted it to get done so quickly. But I am so appreciative and I don't even have the words to thank them all enough.

Needless to say, I was an emotional basketcase when I got home, and I still am, just thinking about all of the hard work that went into the day for them.

It was such a special treat. Now instead of feeling like all of the stuff that is lying all over the place is suffocating me, I can feel relaxed and at peace in our home. And that is a precious, priceless gift!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


You know you're in for a heckuva day when you realize mid-morning that you've put your underpants on inside out.

That is all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Very Merry Un-Birthday To Me!

Today is my twenty-eighth birthday. It doens't feel like it, though. I'm not complaining...birthdays become increasingly less fun as you get older. And this particular birthday has gotten lost in the shuffle of wedding planning and chaos!

My blog has gotten lost in the shuffle, too. Ten days of absence have made me a blogging failure! And I apologize to anyone who has been checking in periodically. Unfortunately, blogging has not been my priority over the last week and a half, and it's brought me to this realization: daily blogging is really hard!

I really thought I would stand the test of time. I thought I would make it to the finish line of the six month goal I set back in March. I came pretty close, I guess. But not all the way.

You'll notice I didn't put a day number at the front of this blog post....That's because I'm not going to even attempt a blog every single day anymore. I do plan to write on a regular basis. I love writing and I count it one of the things I'm pretty good at.

So I'm going to keep writing. And telling my story. And getting my thoughts on here. But I just don't have it in me at this particular time in my life to stick to a regimen of writing something every single day.

So I hope you'll forgive me (you kind of have to because it's my birthday, you know....).

And keep checking back. I'll post a link of facebook when I've written a new blog post, so it will be easier to check!

I'm very much looking forward to going to D'Arcy's Pint tonight with my family and my future hubby! One more buffalo chicken pony shoe before I start trying to eat healthy again! I don't want to pop a zipper on my wedding gown!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 136: And They All Lived Happily Ever After

It's been a little bit of an adjustment for Adam and I getting used to living in the same town. It's weird to factor in another person when you're making your day-to-day decisions (what to eat, where to go, what to watch on TV, etc.).

Adam and I have sort of had a wake up call this week just realizing that we do things differently. A lot of things. Very differently. And I think both of us are beginning to realize that doing something differently doesn't necessarily mean they're doing it incorrectly.

It's kind of a surreal experience learning all of this. You would think dating someone for almost a year would give you a pretty good indication that you know the person. But I think you really don't know someone until you live with them....which means for us that the learning curve really hasn't even begun yet.

That's scary and exciting at the same time. I'm looking forward to it.

By looking at the loving marriages I see in my life on a regular basis, I would assume that you eventually figure all of that out. But it's just interesting to me that I never thought about how it would be to make decisions with someone else.

I don't know if I'm articulating this well or not, so I think I'll hang it up for the day.

Suffice it to say I'm thrilled that Adam is here and that we get to learn all of this stuff together. I am very excited that in 3 weeks he will be my husband and we have our whole lives to figure it out.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 134: Wedding Wednesday

Whew! I am in the process of printing off 150 programs. It is complicated. I have to stay organized.

I am very pleased with how these programs look, though....I wanted them to be something special. I really think they are. I hope you all do, too, when you finally get to see them!

That's about it for today....I have another paper jam that I need to tend to. Forgive the length of this blog, please.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 133: Let the Games Begin!

You may have noticed that I have been absent from my blog for the past two days. There are three reasons for this:
  1. Partially because blogging has recently taken a back seat to wedding and marriage planning.
  2. Partially because I know this blog started out as a health and fitness blog and has somehow wandered off the beaten path, so I'm not as motivated to write.
  3. And mostly because my life has been a little chaotic and stressful over the last two days.

I'll address the last point first: I spent all day Sunday cleaning and organizing my house. I had a front porch filled with gifts from people, and even more in my car. So I began slowly weeding through all of it and giving each new little treasure a home in my home. I was also the enamored recipient of a 50lb. bag full of dirty clothes from my fiancee that needed tending to. I kid, I really don't mind doing laundry.........I wouldn't say I enjoy it, but let's put it this way, I'd rather do laundry than go for a jog!

And after my Sunday of frantic cleaning, unpacking, organizing and washing, Monday rolled around and I drove my dad's pickup truck to Adam's residence and we moved him to Decatur!! I should note that while Adam's stuff is currently living in the house, he will not be living there until after the wedding. Just so you know....

So last night was a doozy! Thankfully my younger brother has many, many strapping young lads as friends who are blissfully and willingly able to lend a hand at the drop of a hat. They moved everything in to my house so quickly I could not believe it was all done.

Now Adam and I are left with the simple task of finding the proper places for a person's whole life in a house where another person's whole life has already been happening for a year. We're up to the challenge, though.....even if we end up with a basement full of unopened boxes for now. That's what the cold winter weather is for.

I'll address the second point second. My blog has somehow gotten off of its diet. I don't know exactly how or when this happened, but I am doing what I can to try to get it back on track. My blog needs to learn more discipline and perseverance when my blog doesn't see the results it wants to see on the scale...or when my blog drives past a McDonalds and begins drooling at the thought of French Fries.

And I'll address the first point tomorrow.....come back for Wedding Wednesday!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 130: Blessed by the Generosity of Others

Today was a wonderful day.

Before I explain why, you need to know a few things:

1. Adam lives about 90 miles away from me in a very rural area.
2. He goes to a lovely rural church called Salem.
3. Adam and I very rarely spend weekends together because our schedules are opposite.
4. Because of this, I have only attended his church with him one time on a Sunday.

This is why my day was wonderful:

The ladies of Adam's church got together and planned a bridal shower for me. They don't know me. A few of them have met me a few times, but to most of them I am a complete stranger.

They love Adam so much, and they are so filled with generosity and kindness that they decided to give me a bridal shower.

It was beautiful. There were so many people who put a lot of time, effort and money into making the party happen and I am very grateful.

The decorations were magnificent. The food was incredible. And I was given so many things that will be so helpful as we begin our life together.

More than any of that, though, I was blessed with the godliness displayed by these women. They were so friendly and caring. I felt like I was enveloped in God's love while I was sitting in that fellowship hall this afternoon, and it was a wonderful experience.

A very challenging devotion was given by Tracey, a lady I've gotten to know from my visits to the ranch where Adam works. She busted many of the myths we hear about marriage and helped to paint a picture of what 1Corinthians love actually looks like when it's played out in a marriage. I appreciated hearing that, and I think her advice and wisdom will stay with me for a long time. And that's a good thing when you're at the stage in your relationship where it's easy to get caught up in the lovey-dovey of it all and forget that there will be times when you feel like screaming at each other.

I just want to thank the ladies of Salem Church for their generosity and kindness today. It meant so much for them to give me this shower, and I can't express my gratitude enough. I hope there are a few Sundays in the future in which Adam and I will be able to come up and visit with you all again.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 129: The Dress that Will Change Your Life!

My fiance doesn't understand the importance of a dress. A dress can celebrate an occasion. It can give you a little pep in your step. A dress can make a girl float on air. In preparing for our wedding and all the parties that go along with a wedding, I've faced a dilemma: I want to have a different dress for every event I'm attending. Unfortunately, that's not great on my pocketbook...and it stresses out my beloved future husband.

However, I have found a solution to my problem. I found it on (check out my previous post on Etsy HERE) and it's made by The Radical Thread Co. by seller Katesy. It has made all of my dreams come true. Well, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but this dress is seriously something to blog about.

The dress is called "My Wrap Dress" in Katesy's shop. It is a versatile dress that can be worn in at least 100 different ways. And it was custom made just for me.

The dress has a twirly skirt with a stretchy waistband that fits to your body. Attached to the waistband are two very long (probably 10 feet each) straps that hang down.

Here comes the fun part, you can get creative and wrap and twist the straps in whatever ways you want to, and create a look that fits your event or mood.

Want a tube dress? Just wrap the straps around your bust and waistline over and over again and tie at the waist.

How about a halter? Bring the straps up and around the neck and wrap around the waist.

You can do a Marilyn Monroe look, thick straps, thin straps, one shoulder, or even wrap it as a skirt only.

If you don't feel like showing your arms, you can even make sleeves out of the dress! Long, kimono-like sleeves, or little cap sleeves, and probably anything in between.

The dress usually comes in a tea-length, but I requested that mine be a little shorter, about to my knees. By doing this, I can also wear my dress as just a top with jeans or leggings by pulling the waist band up to my bust and tying from there...which doubles the number of looks I get with just one garment!

Kate can make this dress in any color or fabric you want, plus size, patterned, whatever your little heart desires. AND for a little extra she'll make a matching tube top to wear under the dress for modesty and to give you more options and comfort. I highly recommend the tube's worth the little bit extra.

I ordered my dress in a beautiful smoky blue shade and I couldn't be happier. I have had so much fun playing with the different looks and figuring out what the dress can do.

Expensive boutiques make dresses very similar to these, but they're not custom and they're more expensive. However, feel free to steal ideas from the boutiques on exactly how to wrap the dress. Check out the Butter by Nadia collection on You Tube.

I am really wishing I had found out about this dress earlier. They would have made great bridemaid dresses! They're cheaper and they can definitely be worn again (and again). I know my bridesmaids will look beautiful in whatever they have on for my wedding, but these would have been so cool!

If you are interested in getting 100 or more dresses for the price of one, head on over to Kate's shop. And be sure to tell her you heard about the dress on this blog! Mention my name or the blog name.

I know you're going to love this little gem just as much as I do!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 128: A New Phone and a New Look

Don't worry, you're not at the wrong blog...I've decided to do a little mini makeover. I'm not in love with this look yet, so don't be surprised if the appearance continues to change a little over the next couple of weeks.

I just thought it was time for something new and fresh...I don't know about you, but I got sick of looking at that same green background every day.

What do you think of this look? Should I switch to something else? I was hesitant to choose this particular background image because the color scheme is similar to what I had before. I think it's different enough to offer a fresh perspective, though. We'll see.

I got my new iPhone yesterday! I'm not too much of a technology geek, but I can appreiciate a fine piece of workmanship. And the iPhone is just that. The picture quality is astounding! Everything looks so crisp and clean.

And I'm glad to now have a phone that has old iPhone was the first generation one that didn't have any G's (Adam likes to make fun of me for saying it like that, but it's how my brain works).

Supposedly the screen resolution on the iPhone 4 is better than the human eye can even perceive. Whether this is true or why this is necessary, I will never know. But I can tell you that the screen is about a million times better than my old phone. And I never thought my old phone had a bad picture or anything.

I was surprised about a few things with the phone:
  1. I couldn't believe how heavy the phone was. To me, it seemed like the new iPhone, even though it is 25% thinner than the old phones, was significantly heavier than the old phones. Adam said this may be due to the fact that the battery is larger. I don't know. It's not painfully heavy or anything; it just feels very different.
  2. Maybe this is an Apple thing, and since I'm just starting to join on the Apple bandwagon, I don't know. But I was a little disappointed that there weren't any new ringtone options on this phone. There also weren't any new signal noises, either. I don't know why they didn't include any. Again, maybe Apple exclusively uses one set of sounds for all of their iPhones. I don't know.
  3. I was also shocked at how easily the phone smudges. I had the phone for approximately one hour before I went to Best Buy to buy a screen protector, and it was completely smudged on the front and back. I'm not sure why Apple would design something that can't stay clean. If we can put a man on the moon, and create a screen that's better than the human eye, surely we can invent a smudge-proof glass to go on the iPhone.

Those are my only complaints so far about the phone. There are many more pros than cons I would say. From the HD camera and video camera, to the front facing camera for video chatting (called Face Time on the iPhone), to the crystal clear screen and the thinner, sleeker look of the phone, to the longer battery life (I've had mine operating for almost 24 hours now...using it A LOT and I'm still over half of my battery life), to the speed of the phone and the ease of the use, it's a great phone to have. There is a new feature on the phone where you can multi task. I haven't explored that option yet. And there is also a way to organize all the apps on your phone into various folders, much like a desktop computer. I haven't experimented with that one, either.

But I am a happy girl with a 3G Smart Phone and I am looking for opportunities to use it. So maybe you should expect a call from me soon!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 127: Wedding Wednesday

Our wedding is exactly one month from today! It seems like the ball is really starting to roll now, and we're getting a ton of stuff done.

Wedding invitations are mailed out! I am so elated with how they turned out....they are stunning. Reception invitations will go out a little later. My cousin Karie made them and they are exquisite! Let me know how much you love them when you receive yours in the mail. Hopefully you'll get it today or tomorrow.

We're working on some decor ideas I've found. They're going to really make the ceremony and reception pretty. I'm very excited about these, but I don't want to give anything away unless you're going to be helping me make them.

I have bridal showers the next two Saturdays and I'm very excited about them. I forgot to mention yesterday that Adam's family threw us a surprise mini shower and brought us some really nice gifts for our home. For me, that's the part that makes it all seem real is that people are giving us things we'll need for our life together.

My mom and I are going to get started on making the favors for the wedding in the next couple of days. It will be a little bit of a daunting task, but if anyone can handle it, my mom can. She keeps me sane sometimes.

I'm hoping to get the programs designed, printed and cut within the next week or so, so that's my next big project.

I can't wait!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 126: I'm Baaaaaaaack

So I've fallen off the wagon when it comes to daily blogging. I am going to chalk it up to being out of town and out of my normal routine. Now I'm back to life and back to my schedule and I should be able to get a post in every day at least until the wedding....hopefully.

After the wedding we'll be out of town, out of the country, and we'll have other items on our agenda, so please don't give up on me if I miss a week or so. I sincerely hope you will understand.

Vacation was wonderful! If you've read my last couple of posts you know that Adam and I traveled to Kentucky to return my cousin to my aunt and uncle. They have a bustling and beautiful house full of love and screaming children. I love being there and spending time with them. They have a brand new baby in the family and she is just as sweet as can be. I had such a great time with my family and I only wish I got to see them more often.

After Kentucky we drove down to Tennessee to spend some time with Adam's family. I am so grateful we were able to go. I had a blast. I really love his family and I'm glad that I've been welcomed with open arms and southern hospitality. I can't wait to see them all again in a few weeks when I officially become one of them! I'm very excited about that.

Monday morning we had engagement pictures done at Centennial Park in Nashville. I really feel like they turned out great. Our photographer is amazing and I can't wait to see the finished product. We'll have them ready in time for everyone to see at the wedding and receptions!

When we were done with our pictures, we went back to Adam's parents' house and I wasn't feeling very well. I got physically ill (broke what was probably at least a three year streak). I think it was from the combination of being out in the heat with a really bad migraine and then taking migraine medicine without having any food in my belly. I took half a pill to help with the nausea, though. That pill ended up knocking me out! I slept for at least half of the car ride home,and I felt terrible for leaving poor Adam to fend for himself on the open roads. I wish I would have been a better travel companion.

Last night when we got home I was still groggy from the medicine...and even today as I was getting my hair done, I was overcome with sleepiness.

I think the stuff has finally worked its way out of my system, though. It was weird. My mom actually thinks the exhaustion has less to do with the medicine I took and more to do with the gigantic spider bite I have on my leg....that could be,too, I suppose.

That's about as concise as I can get in describing my wonderful weekend getaway. Thanks for putting up with me when I missed a few days!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 123: Summer Vacation

I missed yesterday because we were in the car all day, then we didn't have Internet service when we got to the lake. We're staying at Lake Tansi with Adam's family for a long weekend. It has been great so far.

The scenery is beautiful; the water is crystal clear; the mountainous backdrop is breathtaking. I was just told, however, that they're not mountains and I only think they are because I'm from Illinois (there you go, Adam!).

I actually went for my first swim in the lake today. I was a little apprehensive about getting in the water, but Adam graciously helped me out by giving me a little push. I ended up enjoying myself. The water wasn't murky. And it was warm and nice. I had a lot of fun.

We've just had a relaxing day with each other, which has been really nice. We don't often get to spend consecutive days together, so we're enjoying this little taste of what married life will bring. I love spending time with him and I can't wait until we can spend most of our time together.

We have one more day of this nice relaxation until we have to head back home...actually we're going to Hendersonville on Monday to take some engagement pictures....I am SO excited about those! We're going to have them ready by the time the wedding rolls around so everyone can see them. Monday afternoon we're heading back home to get back to the daily grind. Adam has just over one more week of work and then he'll be coming to Decatur for good!

Things are starting to move along quickly now...I can't wait!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 121: Kentucky Kids

Adam and I left Illinois last night to drive to Kentucky and stay with my aunt and uncle for a couple days. They have a new little baby and we wanted to come see her (and I wanted to hold her before anyone else in my family got the chance).

We always have fun here in Dry Ridge. There's a house full of excited, energetic kids waiting for us every time we come and they love to love on us.

It's nice being here and seeing my family that I don't get to see very often.

We had a little glitch in our invitation process....I tried to do a mail merge and printed my labels yesterday for all of my invitations. My plan was to get everything put together in the car and have them ready to go, however we ended up with labels that had no city or state line on them. So today I'm going to have to go through that process all over again. We're getting ready to go to Wal-Mart in a little bit to get some more we'll see how they turn out.

We're going to see my cousin and his wife tonight, along with their two baby girls, so I'm really looking forward to that.

Gotta run, now things are crazy around here, but in a good way!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 120: Wedding Wednesday

Since my sister's wedding is over, my life has taken a turn for the chaotic. With less than 6 weeks before the wedding we're going on a mini vacation!! Yikes! But I'm sure things will be fine and we'll get everything squared away when we're back in town.

This week I have been working on getting my invitations ready and my programs all typed up.

My cousins are working on our invitations for us, and I'm going to stuff envelopes, stamp, and address them during the 19 hours we'll be spending in the car this weekend...I'm really hoping I can get them mailed out by Monday at the very latest.

And I've been trying to figure out how I want to do the programs for the wedding. I feel like one thing I'm really good at is creating pretty things on the computer, so I really want our programs to look special. I have some fun ideas that will look really nice if we can execute them properly. We shall see.

This week I've realized just how difficult life becomes when you have children. I've been splitting time with my mom watching my six-year-old cousin who is dear to my heart and probably about the cutest kid ever made....but I now know that there is absolutely no way I can ever expect to have a daily blog...or possibly even a daily shower, when children come into the picture. I think it will be worth the trade-off, though, because Joshua has been so much fun to have around.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 118: A Gushing Post that Could Likely Make You Puke (Sorry)

Sometimes you just have to dote on the one you love. It's inevitable. And some people love hearing about it....and some people think you're dithguthting (as my little cousin Joshua would say).

I've learned that love makes you turn into a person you never thought you'd be. In my case, that's a lovey dovey mushy gushy girl with stars in her eyes. It's not that I'm a hypocrite...just that I didn't know myself as well as I thought I did.

I just have to say that Adam is wonderful. I've known this for quite some time, but it was made abundantly clear this weekend amidst all the chaos and stress of my sister's wedding.

He takes such good care of me.

Whether it's the 2 bouquets of flowers he brought me Thursday night when he came to town....that's right...two bouquets!

Or the way he willingly took on the responsibility of parking approximately 90 cars in a space built for 5.

Or the way he stood out in the humidity and heat for at least a good 9 hours total directing traffic and parking cars and making sure operations were running smoothly.

Maybe it's the fact that he voluntarily cleaned my house the day after the wedding, after a bunch of guys had stayed there the previous night. Just so that I could come home from an exhausting weekend to a spotless and stress-free environment.

Or perhaps it's the way he lovingly played with my six year old cousin last night and tolerated being jumped on and climbed on for hours.

Or even the way he allowed me to lean on him and take a little nap on Sunday afternoon, even though he was more tired than I was, and he wasn't in a comfortable position to fall asleep himself.

All I know is that I'm going to be well cared for by my husband for the rest of my life, and I don't need to worry about a thing. He makes me so happy and I am so grateful that he has chosen me. I can't believe I get to marry him and I am so excited for our wedding....SO excited!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 117: Nap Time!

Today I am feeling oh-so exhausted! The wedding was perfect and beautiful and....sweltering.

We were up until about 1:00 in the morning cleaning up and visiting with friends and family. Then we got up and spent a couple more hours in the humidity today cleaning up.

I know that I'm going to sleep like a rock the next few days because I am so tired!

And I really hope I do get some rest because Adam and I are taking a long July 4th weekend and visiting family, so I'm going to need some energy!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 116: My Sister's Getting Married!

Today is the day! Ten months of preparation and planning have gone into making this day happen, and I'm very excited for my little sister.

We had the rehearsal last night and everything is going to be absolutely, breath-takingly beautiful.

I teared up during the rehearsal, so that means I need to be sure to bring some kleenex with me as I walk down the aisle. It's an emotional day, but a wonderful one.

To Rachel and Karsten, I wish you all the happiness in the world. And I'm glad you can finally be together as husband and wife forever.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 115: I'm a Failure Because I Haven't Got a Brain

Fifteen points to anyone who can name what movie script that line is from without Googling!

So, I forgot to blog yesterday. Woopsie! I am not planning on this becoming a growing trend, although I should warn you that I will not be blogging (or using any Internet) from our cruise ship on our there will probably be a week's worth of no posts on my behalf. But that's still 6 weeks away (YIKES!) and I'm still let's get to it.

This is going to be a chaotic and wonderful weekend. My baby sister is getting married! Today we have bachelorette pampering, followed by the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner and a bunch of girly pajama party time with the bride tonight. It should be a lot of fun...hopefully my sister will enjoy herself.

She needs a little bit of a breather because some of the companies she's working with have not pulled through like anyone would have hoped or expected. But I hope she can take it all in stride and just enjoy the day.

That's about all I have for today, folks...I'm already tired and the real crazy stuff hasn't even started yet!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 113: Wedding Wednesday

The wedding is fast approaching, but we still seem to have gotten most things accomplished (or at least figured out) as far as this wedding goes....Here are some things we've taken care of in the past week or so.

1. Ordered ties for the groom, groomsmen, and ring bearer. I don't want to give anything
away...but I will tell you that they're blue...and they're awesome!
2. Figured out what we're going to do for wedding favors: Did you really think I would tell you?
The wedding and the Illinois reception will have a certain kind of favor and the Tennessee
reception will have something different. They're going to be quite a bit of work, but I know
we can pull it off (thanks, Mom, for your help!). I imagine we'll get started on them next
3. I got my dress for the rehearsal. Adam thinks it's silly to buy dresses for every separate
occasion of the wedding, but he just doesn't understand....he's been gracious, though, even
though it doesn't make sense.
4. Adam is in the process of figuring out how we're going to valet cars at our wedding. He'll get a lot of practice since he's in charge of parking for my sister's wedding this weekend.

And that's what I really want to talk about on this post....a different wedding! My sister is getting married this weekend and I'm so excited for her! Her wedding is going to be beautiful and I can't wait.

I know she and Karsten really make each other happy, and I'm very glad that she gets to spend the rest of her life with the man she loves.

I'm going to miss her, though, because he's taking her to Chicago. But I'm sure they'll be back to visit frequently.

I'm really looking forward to celebrating their marriage this weekend and to welcome a new brother into the family. This is a really special time for her, and she's worked really hard with putting everything together for her wedding and I know it's going to be perfect.

For those of you who are coming, I can't wait to see you Saturday!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 112: Tuesday Treasures - Uni-Ball Jetstream Pens

Today I will reveal something about myself that you may or may not already know: I'm a geek about office supplies, which makes me a nerd in general, I believe. If you want a breakdown on the whole nerd versus geek thing, you'll have to ask my fiance.

I get a thrill out of walking into Staples and perusing the aisles for the latest and greatest innovations for the office. And my favorite time of year is Back to School because you can smell the school supplies from 100 feet away at Target.

A couple years ago I came across a writing utensil that has changed my life....or at least my writing.

See: the Uni-Ball Jetstream pen. This pen writes so smoothly. It's almost as if you're writing with a gel pen, only without the risk of goopiness or smearing that comes with gel ink. The ink writes like a gel pen, but it has the consistency of a ball point.

They are a little on the expensive side when it comes to disposable pens...they're going to cost more than your standard Bic or Papermate, but I contend that it's worth the extra to not have to constantly scratch the pen on paper (or on the bottom of your shoe) to try to get it to work.

These pens last a very long time, too. I would say a person who writes a fairly average amount could make the pen last a good four months or so.

You can occasionally find these pens at Target, but you're more likely to find them at Staples or an office supply store. You can always find them on

I urge you to check out the Uni-Ball Jetstream the next time you are in the market for a new writing utensil. Your life will never be the same.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 111: Champion Chow - Arnold Sandwich Thins

A revolution has happened in the bread world and most of us don't even know it!

Do you love bread, but hate the carbohydrate load they carry? Do you nearly pass out from ecstacy as you make your way through the bakery section at the grocery store? Do you avoid eating breads at all costs to reserve those extra calories for other foods?

If any of those statements applies to you, you are in luck. Your life is about to change.

Enter, Arnold's Sandwich Thins. These sandwich thins are very thinly sliced pieces of bread that offer a wholesome and filling taste with half the fat, calories and carbs of their full-sized counterparts.

When I first picked up a package of the Arnold's Thins, I was a bit skeptical. I didn't think it would be enough bread to satisfy my hungry tummy. But I had heard several Weight Watchers ladies rave about these things so into my cart they went.

To be honest, the Thins don't look like there's anything to them. They're packaged similarly to hamburger buns with the top and bottom stacked on top of one another. And stacked together they're only slightly thicker than a regular pita pocket. I was nervous.

But to my surprise one Sandwich Thin with peanut butter on it was able to fill me up completely until my next meal. I'll blame it on the whole grains.

Arnold's Sandwich Thins come in 5 different flavors:
100% Whole Wheat
Honey Wheat
Whole Grain White
and Seedless Rye

Now, all of the varieties are going to have different nutritional information, but they all contain roughly:

100 Calories
1g Fat
5g Fiber
4g Protein

Per roll--that means top AND bottom!

I've only tried the Honey Wheat so far, but I am convinced that this will become a kitchen staple for me. Bye Bye, Butternut! So long, Sunbeam! Arnold's Thins are taking your place!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 110: Happy Father's Day

This post is dedicated to my dad. I enjoyed celebrating him today,and preparing for this post I enjoyed thinking of all the memories I have of my dad.

Like when he would "make my baby fly" by taking my favorite doll and throwing her so hard on the ground that she would bounce back up.

Or like Rachel playing her favorite game with him "Chinese Capanese" (she made up the name)....where he would sit in the floor on one spot and she would run around him trying not to let him catch her. I would occasionally, very tentatively join in...I'm not much of a wrastlin' kind of gal.

Or the time when my dad had an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen and bent down to let the dog lick it, and then commence eating it as if that wasn't disgusting.

I remember my dad being loving with us, hugs and kisses were abundant in our household. And I also remember stern discipline when it was needed. I'm thankful for both....affection and discipline are necessary components to child-rearing.

I'm fortunate enough to be able to spend hours with my dad every single day since we work together. We do butt heads sometimes, but I'm glad I get to share that closeness and see him every single day.

I know I have a lot more memories to come with my dad and I'm grateful for that. But this Father's Day feels extra sentimental to me. This was our last Father's day as just our family unit...Just Dad, Mom, 2 girls and a boy.

My dad is getting ready to give away both of his daughters in the next seven weeks. I know there will be many more Father's Days to come, but next year there will be husbands and not too long after that there will be grandchildren.

Dad, I hope your Father's Days continue to get better with time and you can draw your family around you to celebrate the Dad you are! I love you!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 109: Weekly Weigh-In

Today was such a great day! I had my first bridal shower and it was so much fun. My bridesmaids did a great job of putting everything together. From the decorations to the lemon-raspberry cupcakes (yummy!) to the fun was perfect! I am so grateful to have family and friends who always shower me with love and support. I'll never stop being thankful for that.

One game we played was terrible, for everyone else, I suppose. But I had to answer questions about Adam and for every question I answered wrong, I had to chew a piece of bubblegum. I got 9 questions wrong. Really, I only got 7 of them wrong, but one had 3 answers. It was gross. And I don't think I'll be chewing any bubblegum for awhile. I thought I was going to choke.

I had my weigh-in yesterday. I stayed exactly the same. I'm okay with that given the fact that I was bed-ridden for most of the week due to my back problems. I'm not going to be able to get to Weight Watchers for the next couple of weeks, so I'm really going to have to watch it and make sure I don't backslide.

My back is feeling much, much better today. It's bothered me a little bit, but not nearly as debilitating as it was earlier in the week.

I really want to thank everyone for stopping in and reading this. It means a lot.

Day 108: Junk Food Junkie

I had some really great things happen today and some not so great things. I will share them in list form and you can decipher the good from the bad.....
Got to see Adam
Chinese buffet
lots of water
really good premarital counseling session
birth control discussion
bridge mix
driving in a thunderstorm....both ways

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 107: Ouchie!

I have been dealing with some pretty acute back pain over the last couple of days, and I think it's because of sciatica.

The pain is completely concentrated in my low back....until it shoots down my right leg occasionally.

I've been spending the last couple of evenings in bed, just relaxing. The pain subsides when I lie down for a long time.

But sitting in my office chair at work is the worst!

I'm not sure what I did to cause the pain, but I think it happened when I was at my sister's recital, sitting in those old theater seats. I remember first feeling the pain when I left the theater that day.

Does anyone have a remedy for this type of pain, or any exercises I can do to help alleviate my symptoms?

I'm at a loss, and I haven't been able to exercise or do much of anything this week.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 106: Wedding Wednesday

There's not too much new to report this week...but here goes.

We are getting some engagement pictures taken when we're in Tennessee over July 4th weekend. We're trying to figure out what we should wear...does anyone have any suggestions? I don't think we want to go too dressy, but we don't want to be out there in t-shirts and shorts, either. We'll have these pictures back in time for the wedding and the receptions, so we're looking forward to showing them off.

Our beautiful invitations are in the works, so we'll hopefully be ready to mail them in a short time.

Musicians are getting lined up and we're excited about all of that.

I guess that's about it. Things have slowed down considerably on the wedding front, which is nice.

One recommendation I have for anyone who's planning a wedding, don't sign up for the website TheKnot. They litter you with a thousand emails a day. I've already unsubscribed twice and I'm still receiving them. Mainly I get emails from them and their affiliates trying to sell me things.

And I really didn't find their site to be that helpful at all. There's just too much there and they don't cater to your specific needs, unless your specific needs are to have a lavish wedding of the century, in which case, you've probably already hired a planner to take care of all that stuff for you.

Just a word of caution.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 105: Tuesday Treasures - All that Jazz

I think by now most people in North America have heard of Michael Buble. They may not know his music intimately, but I'm sure most people have at least heard the name.

I just want to take a moment to encourage you to explore his music. He sings with such a charming passion and charisma that you're instantly drawn in and taken back to the olden days.

His latest album is called Crazy Love, and it's beautiful. Clicking the link will take you to Amazon where you can preview this album and purchase it in digital form or a hard copy.

Michael Buble will be at our wedding....if not in person, at least his music will make an appearance.

My other favorite jazz artist is Harry Connick, Jr. Mmmmmmmmmm....if I wasn't a betrothed woman and he wasn't previously committed, I would have a huge crush on him. Okay, maybe I still do.

I. love. Harry Connick, Jr. Always have. His music makes me feel happy. Your Songs is Harry's latest album. Unfortunately I don't have the pleasure of owning it yet, but soon, my friends.

Also, if you haven't seen the movie Hope Floats in awhile (or, God Forbid--ever!), you should probably whip out the old VCR and watch it. That movie warms my heart more than I care to admit.

Next on the list is a more obscure artist named Jamie Cullum. He hasn't gained quite the notoriety of the previous two, but he's still worth checking out. His voice is so unique and soothing. Thanks to my friend Kim for introducing me to Jamie's music so many years ago. Twentysomething is not Jamie's latest offering, but it is incredible!

And finally, a female artist to round out my jazz recommendations for the day. Adele has recently come into the spotlight (by recently I mean over the last two years or so...I'm behind the times a little). Her album 19 is breathtaking. There isn't a track on there that I don't adore. And if you haven't had the pleasure of getting to know Adele's music yet, please do.

It's looking like jazz will be an unintentional, but warmly-welcomed, theme at our wedding. That makes me happy.

I hope everyone takes the opportunity to preview a few of the artists I've mentioned. Give Jazz a chance!

Day 104: Champion Chow - Watermelon

It's a good thing I was stricken with a bout of insomnia tonight because I completely forgot about my blog today! Woops!

I've been on a bit of a watermelon kick lately. I love the taste and the refreshment a juicy slice brings, but even more so, I think I love the feelings watermelon provides.

It reminds me of summertime. Especially summertime as a child. Where sitting on the front porch and having a slice of watermelon was the perfect way to cool down on a hot day.

Watermelon brings happiness.

Who doesn't love watermelon? The texture, the pretty pink and green, the sweet juicy flavor....I challenge you to find five people who don't like it.

Did you know that one wedge of watermelon (approximately 1/16 of the entire thing) contains only 86 calories and 0.4 grams of fat? It makes a very nutritional breakfast or mid-day pick-me-up.

In addition to its low calorie and fat content, though, watermelon also contains some powerful benefits.

  • 1 cup of watermelon contains about 25% of your total daily Vitamin C need, along with strong portions of Vitamins A, B6, B1, Potassium and Magnesium.
  • Watermelon contains several powerful antioxidants that help prevent illness and keep you healthy.
  • Watermelon is a great source of lycopene, a particularly notable cancer-fighting agent.
  • Studies have shown that eating 3 or more servings of fruit a day can help to reduce your risk for macular degeneration.

One word of caution, though....some people, like my father, have allergies when it comes to various types of melon. When my dad eats melon often times his throat will swell and he coughs and hacks and can't breathe. We think this is due more to the pesticides used on the fruits than the actual melon itself. Perhaps trying an organic melon would help with these symptoms. We have to try that experiment sometime.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 103: Pita Pizzas

Want a yummy and super easy dinnertime treat? Try my Pita Pizzas. You can use whatever toppings you want and calculate calories accordingly. My favorite is to get Carl Buddig deli meat (like ham) and dice a couple of slices, along with some of my favorite veggies.

1 Whole Wheat Pita (about 120 Calories, 1.7g Fat, 4.7g Fiber)
2 Tbsp. Pizza Sauce (about 10 Calories, 0g Fat, 0g Fiber)
1oz. Part-Skim Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (about 72 Calories, 4.5g Fat, 0g Fiber)
2 Slices Buddig Ham (about 24 Calories, 1.5g Fat, 0g Fiber)
A little bit of diced green pepper
A little bit of diced onion
Seasonings to your taste (like oregano or garlic powder)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Top pita with pizza sauce, then sprinkle with cheese
Place toppings on top of the cheese and season to your liking.
Bake for about 7 minutes, or until cheese is oozy and melted.


Nutrition Information (approximate, depending on the brands you use):
Calories: 226
Fat: 7.7g
Fiber: 4.7g

Points Value: 4!