In about an hour, I will be leaving to drop off my baby boy at the sitter’s house for our “practice” day. I set this up so he would get used to being at the sitter’s instead of with me all day…but now that the day is here, I’m pretty sure this practice day is more for me than for him. Tear.
So to distract myself, I looked up something that always makes me happy: wedding pictures. I’ve really got weddings on the brain right now: We went to my cousin-in-law’s wedding this past weekend, one of my favorite people in the whole world is getting married in Chicago at the end of June, and my dearest friend Katie just got engaged last week!! Wedding excitement all around!
With all the weddings going on for my loved ones – and all others out there – I wanted to post my favorite wedding pictures. These are from Pinterest (of course) and include couple shots as well as group ones. Because weddings just aren’t about two people coming together; it’s about two lives coming together – and all the lovely, wonderful, crazy folks you hold dear.
I love the bride’s smile in this one – so happy! And candid photos are truly my favorite.
… I’m obsessed with infused water. I may be late to jump on the infused water wagon, but better late than never. I purchased these bottles from Amazon and tried them out for the first time last week. Wowza. I am in love with “mojito water” – lime slices with fresh mint. Yum, yum, yum. Blackberry, cherry and lime is next on my list to try.
… My college roommate makes the best chocolate chip cookies EVER. When Allie and another of my college housemates came over to visit me my new baby yesterday, she brought the world’s best chocolate chip cookies. She claims Pinterest deserves the credit, but Allie is seriously one of the best cooks/bakers I know. That plate of cookies is quickly disappearing! As much as I am loving the cookies, getting to hang out with two of my best friends was the sweetest part of yesterday.
… Roasting a chicken is surprisingly easy. There are a few things that have intimidated me in the kitchen in the past: grating ginger, deep-frying, anything that calls for tofu and roasting a chicken. But thanks to my sister, I decided to give roasting a chicken a try. I’m happy to report that it was fairly simple and not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Even though the ick factor was pretty high (touching raw chicken is ALWAYS gross), I’ll definitely be doing this more often. I made chicken chili and chicken salad with the meat – and I plan on making broth with the carcass. I feel like Julia Childs!
… Winter often lasts well into April in Northeast Ohio. I didn’t technically learn this last week (I’ve lived in Ohio my entire life), but for some reason, I seem to forget it every year. And judging from my Facebook feed, I’m not the only one. Everyone seems to have their own opinion about the snow we got a couple of times last week, but one thing is for sure: we are ALL ready for warmer weather. Speaking of – it’s 48 degrees and sunny right now. Time for me to get outside!
Valentine’s Day is all about telling the special people in your life how much you love them, and what says “I love you” more than a homemade gift? Plus, DIY gifts are usually easy on your wallet – and give you the satisfaction of putting effort and an added touch into your gifts.
Break out of the dinner-and-a-movie mold this Valentine’s Day, and get crafty! Here are some ideas I love:
Does your significant other, best friend or family member live too far away for you to spend Valentine’s Day together? Let them know you’re thinking about them from afar with these distance mugs. Full instructions are here.
Even for those lucky enough to their sweeties, DIY mugs are great gifts. Below are some adorable ones I found online:
The possibilities are really endless. The Internet has about a million ideas, so you’re sure to come up with one that fits your loved one perfectly! Just fill the mugs with chocolate, add a bag of their favorite coffee (or tea) and the present is complete!
I first did this for a friend’s baby shower, and I just loved how they turned out. It’s easy to make them for Valentine’s day, and you can get really creative with how you want to make them.
My favorite way to use scratch off cards for ANY occasion is to include “lucky” in the card somehow. Try making a “Are You Lucky in Love?” card – with a few presents your loved one can scratch off. These don’t have to cost a lot of money; in fact, free presents are sometimes the most appreciated! Some ideas might include a back massage, breakfast in bed or getting to pick the next movie you rent. You know them the best – so pick things they will love and appreciate! Here is an example of a card I found online:
There’s a saying that the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. That may be true for the man in your life, but it’s most likely also true for the friend, mom, dad, sibling, co-worker and children in your life as well! Take the time to make your loved one’s favorite meal, snack or dessert and your effort will not go unnoticed! If you need some inspiration, check out some easy recipe ideas here, here and here.
Another great way to show love on Valentine’s Day is to cook WITH your loved one, instead of for them. Ryan and I did this the first Valentine’s Day in our new house, and it was such a fun time, we do it every year. Make the dinner special by whipping up something you usually don’t cook, open a bottle of wine and just enjoy each other’s company. We always do a surf-and-turf dinner with filet mignon and scallops, and we change up the sides every year to suit our taste-buds. Even with a “fancy” dinner like that, it’s MUCH less expensive than going out to eat, and we get 100% of each other’s attention. Perfection! And don’t worry if you aren’t a culinary expert – our favorite Valentine’s Day story is when we messed up dinner SO BADLY that it was inedible. It was funny then – and it’s even funnier now! So even if everything doesn’t go as planned – there’s always pizza delivery!
One last food gift: I saw this idea on Glitter Guide and fell in love with the idea. No matter what your “significant other” status is, your friends have been with you through life’s crazy up’s and down’s. So why not show them how much you love them by hosting a Friendship Brunch? Just you and your friends, with mimosas, waffles and plenty of love. I am sad that I didn’t think to do this before – but for sure next year, girls!!
A few years ago, my college roommate started making her own cards. They are cute, they are unique, and most of all, there are personal. Hallmark has nothing on her! I’ve been inspired by her creatively and started making my own cards, and even though I’m nowhere near her abilities, I have a lot of fun doing it. Google “DIY Valentine’s Day cards” and start crafting! Whether you go with “Owl always love you” or “I mustache you to be my valentine”, you’re sure to make an impression.
Three weeks from tomorrow, Ryan and I will welcome our little man into this world! I can’t even put into words how excited I am, but even with all the joy his birth will bring us, a big part of me will be sad to not be pregnant anymore. So, in honor of one of the most beautiful times of a woman’s life, I wanted to share something that makes me laugh no matter what – pregnant or not.
Enjoy these pregnancy photos I shared a while back, and some new ones (here and here) that are really something special.
– We both made it through 3 surgeries (one for Ryan, two for me), which is a big deal for two people who have never gone under the knife before.
– We suffered heartbreak not once but twice this year. Our hearts will never be the same….
– …but neither will our marriage and friendship. I can call 2013 the year that formed a truly unbreakable bond between us, and as horrible as the road was, I’m so grateful that we traveled down it together.
– Ryan graduated from paramedic school. He worked hard for 12 long months!
– We welcomed our second dog, Gunner, into our house. It’s been an adjustment, as he is so much different from Sarge, but we could have not asked for a more loving, sweet-natured dog.
– We both participated in the National MS Society Pedal to the Point. I did the 30-mile leg, and Ryan did the full 150-mile route. We had an amazing team – and I can’t wait to do it again next year!
– My family welcomed another nephew this past November!
2013 was by far the hardest year of my life – but it also brought us the biggest blessing we could ask for: becoming pregnant with our son. And in February 2014, we’ll welcome our little man into our home! We could not be more excited for the day we finally get to hold him…and kiss him….and spoil him…. I know that I’m going to love him so much that no woman will ever be good enough for him! hehe 🙂
But as much as we are looking forward to our newest addition, from what we’re told, babies change just about everything in life. So today, as I was thinking about what I wanted my “word of the year” to be, I asked myself: What do you really want to accomplish this year? The first thing that came to mind was that I just wanted all parts of my life to be in harmony. I know from experience that my life will never be “perfect” by others’ standards, but as long as my home, religious, work, social, financial, fitness and health “lives” are all working together in harmony, I will be more than happy. I will NOT strive for perfection – I will instead work towards balance.
I’m working on a post with my specific goals for the next twelve months, but for now, I want to know: What is your word of the year going to be for 2014? Happy New Year, everyone!
It’s a snowy, white world out there for half of the United States. Hopefully everyone is taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones from the harsh winter elements. And hopefully our furry friends are included in the definition of “loved ones”.
Animal neglect is considered a misdemeanor in all 50 states and Washington D.C., and in several states, those charges jump to a felony if the animal dies (source). All legal consequences aside – leaving an animal outside when it’s this cold is just plain cruel and awful. So, PLEASE – protect those who cannot protect themselves. The Humane Society has some great tips on how to protect your pets from extreme outdoor temperatures.