Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wedding Wednesday

When it comes to wedding rings, I must say that women have so many more cool, unique options.  Most men's bands are pretty standard... there's not a lot of customization to them most of the time, but I found something that I absolutely LOVE and that I think is the coolest thing I've seen for men's wedding bands

They send you an impression kit, you send back your finger print and they make a ring out of it.  There are a TON of options on these rings from a lot of different makers, and the prices tend to start at about $150 and go WAY up from there.  I think that this is a really cool option for a unique and personalized wedding band AND they make various styles of women's rings with a finger print!

You can check out all of my Wedding Wednesday pins on my Wedding Wednesday Pinterest Board!

Happy Hump Day!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap

Our first Thanksgiving was a success!!!  We had time with family and we are completely exhausted, which means it must have gone well, right  :)

Everyone arrived on Wednesday... J's mom and step-dad from Minnesota and my mom in the afternoon, and my dad late a night after he got done refereeing his basketball game.

We went to a local burger joint for dinner on Wednesday so we didn't have to be in the kitchen and then we went home and relaxed since everyone was tired from traveling.

We got up Thursday morning and got in the kitchen!  My mom brought cinnamon rolls (grandma's recipe) for breakfast and then we cooked all day until dinner at 3:30.  We had turkey, ham, a bunch of casseroles (corn, pineapple, sweet potato), green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and a pumpkin and squash soup that was my experiment that luckily turned out really well!  J also made 2 apple pies and 2 pumpkin pies and my mom brought a cherry pie for dessert.  Everything was delicious and we even used the china that I got from my grandmother to make dinner EXTRA fancy.  Here is a look at our table...

Our Thanksgiving Table

My DIY Centerpiece
Clean-up was quick because everyone was so helpful and then we relaxed and watched football.  The final Texas v Texas A&M game before the Aggies leave for the SEC, started at 8:00 pm (Horns win!!!) and it ended at about 5 minutes until midnight, when it was time for shopping!

J, my mom and I were the only ones who ventured out for midnight shopping, and it was a bust.  Kohls was so full that we didn't even make it to the parking lot... we just U-Turned and left.  We went to Target, where we did find a parking spot, but where there wasn't anything that was worth waiting in line to pay for, so that was kind of a waste, too.  We were home by 1:00 am and in bed by 1:30 am... much different than normal.

On Friday we got up and had breakfast and then went to Brown County... to Nashville, Indiana, which is a super cute little town for of craft shops and tourists.  It was crowded, but not unbearable and we did get a little bit of Christmas shopping done.  We got home and ate (again) and then J, his mom and step-dad and I went to the mall and to Lowe's.  His mom was taking our Christmas presents back to Minnesota for J's side of the family, so we had to get as much of their shopping as possible done.

We got home and I realized that I did not have any gift boxes, so I ran to CVS and got some stuff that I needed and wrapped a bunch of presents (I love wrapping presents) that are on their way back to Minnesota to go under J's mom's tree!  It's actually kind of nice to be done with a few people on our Christmas list.
Saturday, we got up and had another great breakfast and then J took his mom and step-dad on a quick driving tour around campus while my mom and dad and I relaxed around the house and got the Christmas tree put up... HOORAY!!!  When J got home he was so surprised to see the tree up... it was great!

J's mom and step-dad got packed up when they got home and headed out on their log trip north.  J and I went for our run (5 miles... I made it!!) and when we got back, my dad had already left to go ref his basketball game.  I ate a little bit of lunch, despite my upset stomach from my run, and then my mom and I headed out to do some shopping.

She was looking for Christmas gifts, which she found a few of, and I was looking for things to decorate the tree and the new fireplace.  I think I got some really great deals and the inside of the house is fully decorated (minus the tree topper that I wanted J to help me pick out) and the outside just needs some lights!

Our house just works with Christmas.  We have a warm living room with a really deep red accent wall and our dining room and kitchen are a light green.  Those are the colors I went with for my tree and my decorations and I just LOVE how they look.  PICTURES TO COME SOON!!!

Sunday, we got up and made breakfast and my mom got packed up and on the road.  I got the ornaments that I bought, up on the tree and there are even presents under there already (from J's mom and one from me)!!!

The rest of Sunday was spent on the couch for some much needed relaxation and quiet time.  A little bit on online shopping, some time on Blogger and some TV... perfect way to spend a Sunday!
The next couple of weeks are going to be SUPER crazy at work, so I'm hoping to have some really relaxing weekends, with some Christmas shopping and some quality time on the couch, enjoying the Christmas tree!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Progress Report...

Last weekend I told you about all of the things that we had to do before our parents came for Thanksgiving... I would say that overall, we did a pretty good job!

We did not get the doors painted, but that was last on our priority list, so we'll get to that eventually.

We hung all of the blinds and all of the curtains (we need more panels on some of the windows, eventually) and we even got some stuff up on the walls in the living and dining room.

We got the garage organized, which was quickly reversed when J's mom brought a whole bunch of stuff with her from Minnesota.  We also got the bathrooms organized, but the big room over the garage is now a storage room that will be sorted through gradually.  We want it to eventually be a second family room/craft room.  Right now, we don't have a TV to put up there and we also don't have furniture up there yet (the couch is coming from my mom and dad soon) so that room can be a work in progress!

I got all of the rooms and bathrooms cleaned and I am officially in love with our Shark.  We have the steamer, that cleans your floors, and I was amazed at the stuff that it took off the floor!  We got it at Big Lots (refurbished) for about half price because I wasn't sure if I'd like it or not, but I think that it was a good investment  :)

Overall, I was pretty happy with the way the house looked and everyone loved it!  My parents were down a few weeks ago (the weekend before Halloween), but at that point, there was a lot that still had to be done, so my mom was really impressed when she got here.  It is finally starting to feel like home and I think that we are at a point now that we can take some time to live in the house before we do more stuff to it!

Thanksgiving recap coming some time this week!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wedding Wednesday

Happy Day Before Thanksgiving!!!  I hope that everyone is able to spend the holiday with family and friends!

Since Thanksgiving is closely followed by the beginning of "Christmas Season", I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight some great winter wedding decor...


Another inexpensive idea for centerpieces, or you could use them to line a walkway to a church or reception.  A vase, some salt, some cranberries and a candle.  Very simple, but also very elegant!  If I can find some good fake cranberries (I'm not sure how long real ones would last???), this may make an appearance on my dining room table this holiday season!
You can check out all of my Wedding Wednesday pins on my Wedding Wednesday Pinterest Board!

Happy Hump Day!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

This Weekend's To Do List

We have company coming next week and we are hosting our first Thanksgiving in our new house... HOORAY!!!  I'm so excited, but it means that we have A LOT to do this weekend!!!  I was sitting at the BMV this morning, trying to get my car registered, and making a mental list of all the things that we have to get done this weekend:

  • Painting - finishing up some detail work and paint the doors
  • Hanging
    • Blinds - they arrived today... HOORAY!!!
    • Curtains - this is also on the "to buy" list for some of our rooms, but I'm waiting until the blinds are up to decide what kind of curtains I want in the bedrooms
    • Stuff on the walls - we currently have NOTHING on the walls in our house
  • Cleaning
    • Bathrooms
    • Kitchen
    • Floors
  • Organizing
    • One of the guest rooms - right now it's the shoe room, but it will soon be a bed room!
    • The garage - I'd really love to park my car in there!!!
    • The room above the garage
    • Our bathroom - we need to "his and hers" it... right now everything is everywhere!
We also have some furniture to move around and some boxes still to unpack.  There's a REALLY slight chance that we may actually tear down the weird vines that are growing on our back porch and up the side of our house.  I hate them and they need to go away!!!  Doing this would also mean that we would like get our fire pit dug out because where else do you think the vines would go  :-D

It's going to be a long weekend of a lot of work, but with a deadline in sight, we will hopefully have some extra motivation!!

What are you up to this weekend????

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wedding Wednesday

I previously posted about the Birthday Guest Book, but this one rivals it for one of the most fun, creative guest book ideas I've seen!

So, each guest writes a note to the Bride and Groom about one thing that they just MUST do together now that they are married.  AWESOME!!!

I think there are a few different ways you could do this.  I think one of the most important things that you should do with this idea is have a card already made so that their suggestion AND their name is on there.  That way you know who made the suggestion and it would be a great chance to send that person a post card or a note once you do what they've suggested.

I think another cool thing that you could do with these is give each one a page in a scrapbook that could be used as your check list.  You take pictures or save mementos from the experience and then add them to the scrapbook page with notes about the experience.

No matter how it's done, I think it's an amazing idea that gives couples some really great ideas of things that they could do together "as long as they both shall live".

You can find all my Wedding Wednesday ideas on my Wedding Wednesday Pinterest Board!

Happy Hump Day!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How Can You Help???

On Thursday morning, I went to a breakfast for Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County and learned a lot about an organization that has always seemed great to me, but I had no idea how great it really was!

I learned during this breakfast that it's not just a hand out.  I knew there's an application and selection process involved when people get their houses, but I had no idea that once they were selected as a "partner family" (meaning, they were approved to have their own Habitat house), each adult living in the house is required to put in at least 250 volunteer hours of building into the other houses in their neighborhood, or other neighborhoods in the city.

Another thing that I did not realize was that the families who are approved for the homes are buying the homes.  They have a mortgage with a 0% interest rate, but they also pay property taxes, which obviously contribute to their community.  In Monroe county, we have a 0% foreclosure on our Habitat homes, which obviously means that they are selecting the right families to be a part of ther communities.

We heard from a Habitat homeowner who has 2 kids and who has held the same job for something like 8 years.  He and his wife could just not seem to get ahead enough to get a home for their kids.  He was elloquent, hard-working and so very thankful for their chance to give their kids a yard to play in and a space to call their own.  I'm not saying that I was expecting something less from him, but I was especially touched by his story and his tears.

While working in Texas, we were asked each year (as state employees) to be a part of the State Employee Charitable Campain, and I always donated.  My money usually went to the Parkinsons Research Foundation, since my Grandfather had Parkinsons and it was something that affected our family so greatly.  Now that I am not in Texas anymore, I was trying to determine how and where I contribute, and where better to contribute than right in my own community?  I think once J and I get our feet under us financially in the next few months, we will make a contribution to Habitat.

I was invited to my breakfast by my boss, who also invites the Gradute Assistants who work with us.  This blog is inspired by something she said to them...

I invited you today, not because I want you to feel as though you need to donate today.  But one day, you will be in a place financially that you have money to give to a cause, and there will hopefully be a Habitat in your community, wherever you end up, that you'll think of at that point.

So, with this, I hope you'll look into Habitat in your community.  Maybe you can just start with some hours on Saturday morning, given to the construction of a house in your community.  Maybe like us, you have a Habitat "ReStore" where you can donate things in your house that you may no longer need or want, or maybe you are in the place financially that you can make a contribution.  I hope you'll learn more about Habitat and see if it's something you find worthy to support.

Hope you're having a great weekend!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Wedding Wednesday

For those of us who did most of our growing up in the 90s, you probably have a fond memory of Mad Libs.  Yes, they are a great way to help kids learn what adjectives and nouns are, and yes you can make them as dirty as you want, but who was the genius who thought of this????

OK, so they are not exactly like the classic Mad Libs because you aren't doing them blindly, but I think they would still be a really fun activity.  If you have a close knit group who all know each other, they could be a great way to share some major laughs!

You can find all my Wedding Wednesday ideas on my Wedding Wednesday Pinterest Board!

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Well, what do you think?

Hopefully you've noticed today that my blog looks different than it did last week.  I'm no longer the long distance bride for two reasons... I'm not a bride anymore, AND I now live less than 200 miles from the place I got married, instead of the 1,000 miles that I did during planning.

So, it was time for a change.  There will be a few changes to the content as well.  Wedding Wednesday is still happening... I love it too much to not keep looking at wedding stuff.  It's also going to change to more info about what we are doing to our new(ish) house that is definitely still a work in progress.  I think I'm also going to add a "menu" section to the week... maybe Monday, since I love alliteration   :)

Hopefully I won't lose any readers... I don't really have any friends here yet, so for right now, you're all I've got!!!  I promise I'll also do a better job of consistent posts... 2 or 3 a week for sure!

Happy Monday and welcome to the next chapter of my story!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

4 Months

An extra post today to say Happy 4 Month Anniversary to my awesome husband!!!

Photos courtesy of Catie's Captures

Wedding Wednesday

For brides on a budget... here is a a simple and yet totally awesome centerpiece idea that I love!


Seriously... start at the dollar store... find cylinder vases, a big bag of rubber bands and some tea lights.  Then you just need a few cans of spray paint.  put the rubber bands on in a random pattern, spray and VOILA!

You could do different shapes/sizes/heights and 3 at a table would be the perfect simple centerpiece!  I think these would be really cute as a winter decoration, too!

You can find all my Wedding Wednesday ideas on my Wedding Wednesday Pinterest Board!

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Happy Halloween (yesterday)

My parents visit last weekend was awesome... my mom and I did a lot of shopping and my house is all ready for Thanksgiving now!  I think one more trip up to their house and we will have all of the furniture for the house, too!  Once we have all the furniture it will be so much easier to really get things put where they belong and where they are going to live permanently.

Obviously yesterday was Halloween and it was kind of a depressing Halloween for me.  We had friends in Texas who always had a Halloween party and there was always a group of us at work who dressed up for Halloween... this year we sat at home and watched Hocus Pocus (DRVed from ABC Family) and gave candy to a few trick or treat-ers.  I dressed up for work, but I was one of only about 3 people who did so I mostly just felt silly, rather than festive.

I'm leaving for a 2 day conference on Thursday morning so I probably won't be doing much blogging this week, but I'm hoping that I will actually have some time this weekend to get some more house projects done and actually convert my blog, which I've been talking about for a while but haven't gotten around to yet.

Wedding Wednesday tomorrow!!!