Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 2

Today is day 2 off of work.....Yesterday I finished some last minute shopping I needed to do and then wrapped presents for nearly 4 hours. Once I find my camera cord I will take a picture of all the presents under our tree (and Santa hasn't even come yet).

Today is laundry day and clean bathrooms day! God I love vacations! I'm starting to wonder if I could be a stay at home wife!! My house is going to be sparkling by Christmas Day!

Only 3 more days until Christmas....we sure are ready around here!

Friday, December 18, 2009

No More Wake-ups

Today is my last day of work until January 4, 2010. I've been counting down my "wake-ups" all week. And as of this morning I will not be waking up to an alarm for 16 days!!

This afternoon I have our company Christmas party and then after that we are meeting at the local watering hole for some holiday festivities.

For the first time in FOREVER I am totally stress free. I know the remaining holiday season will be busy for me, but at least I won't have to go to the office!! Let me say that one more time...."I will not be working for the next 16 days". Now that is music to my ears!

Happy Holidays to all and best wishes for a Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bah Humbug

I love all things Christmas. I wish it was Christmas season all year long (minus the snow and cold weather, of course). But, what I don't like is when the stress of the season causes me to lose my temper!

Yesterday I purchased two $50 prepaid gift cards to Meijer to give to two employees of mine who are truly less fortunate than myself. Well, as I'm sitting at my desk this morning I decide I'll activate the cards for them that way they don't have to worry about it (seeing as neither of them have a phone or access to the internet).

To make a long, disturbing story very short.....the cards cannot be activated and I may not be able to get a refund. And if they do approve my refund than it will take 10-14 business days for a check to come in the mail!!! WTF......so now I have to decide if I'm going to go spend another $100 and get 2 more cards or if I should just put cash in an envelope or should I just bag the whole idea.

I am heading to Meijer right now to see if I can work this out with someone "in person". I pray that I remain calmer than I did while on the phone to the help line!! It's very disappointing to me that by doing something nice for someone it's caused me this much grief! Bahhh Humbug

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lazy Day Sunday

I never got out of my PJ's yesterday.......what a glorious day!! My house still needs cleaned and those Christmas presents aren't going to wrap themselves, but I needed a day of rest.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Snow Blower Etiquette

I'm sorry to keep posting "weather" related things, but I've got a question.........

I bought a snow blower yesterday but didn't want to use it at 5am this morning because I didn't want to wake up all the neighbors, so I shoveled....again! Should I be worried about the neighbors or should I be more worried about my sanity? This "blizzard" has buried us in snow for 2 days straight and shoveling for hours at 5am makes for one grumpy girl. I'm not sure if I can shovel anymore....I can barely lift my arms and my back is killing me! (Yes, I'm THAT out of shape).

Let me know what you think....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bring it on Snow, I'm ready!

I'm the new owner of a.........SNOWBLOWER!!! I realized this morning that I'm not the young chick I used to be. I shoveled for 1.5 hours just to get myself out of the drive this morning and my arms and back are killing me. About 1/2 way into my adventures I made the decision that come hell or high water I was buying a snow blower today....and that's what I did!!

Winter Blues

This is our first major snowfall of the year and I'm sick of winter already!! Getting up at 5am to go shovel for 1.5 hours is just too much!

We got about 6-8 inches of snow already and they are calling for another 5-9 inches today. I'm over it........

Blizzard warning still in effect until 4pm today. And then hopefully the wind will at least die down. 60+ mph winds doesn't help when we are getting this much snow.

Winter........bah humbug!

UPDATE: Blizzard Warning has been extended until 6am tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Blizzard in West Michigan



** Winds and snow showers will increase in intensity by early this afternoon. Snowfall rates of two inches per hour will be possible into the afternoon and evening.
** Wind gusts of 40 to 50 MPH are expected by late this afternoon and lasting into Thursday. These winds will cause considerable blowing and drifting snow. Visibilities will frequently be reduced to near zero at times this evening into Thursday.
** Gusty winds along with rapidly falling temperatures will produce wind chills in the single digits by late tonight.
** Expect total snow accumulations of 6 to 8 inches through Thursday afternoon.

** All travel should be completed by this afternoon.
** Travel will be most severely impacted late this afternoon as snow... blowing snow... and rapidly falling temperatures occur near the time of the afternoon commute. Blizzard conditions are likely throughout the evening
** Power outages will be possible tonight into Thursday morning due to the strong gusty winds.

** It would be best not to travel tonight through Thursday.
** If you must travel... keep an extra flashlight... food... and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.
** A blizzard warning is issued when sustained wind speeds or frequent gusts of over 35 MPH are expected with considerable falling and/or blowing and drifting snow. Visibilities will become poor... with whiteout conditions at times. Those venturing outdoors may become lost or disoriented... so persons in the warning area are advised to stay indoors.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Memory Candles

You absolutely, must go here to see the instructions on how to make these memory candles. What a great way to add a personal touch to your weddding/rehearsal/bridal shower.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How Does That Happen?

I gained a TON of weight at weigh in this week (2.6 lbs). This was a result of "taking a week off" from the Weight Watcher program. I hit my goal last week and decided to reward myself with way too much food. I just needed to take a break and I told myself it was only for a week.....and that's truly what it was. Tuesday after weigh in I was right back on program. It's so comforting to know that I can "fall of the wagon" but have enough determination inside me to get right back on.

Anyway, what this post is really about is this.......Tuesday/Wednesday I was at the same weight but somehow this morning I've lost 3 lbs. I weighed less this morning than I did at last weeks weigh in when I hit my goal weight.......HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?

I understand that my weight is constantly fluctuating based on time of day, time of month, water retention, etc. but I just don't understand how 3 lbs can just disappear overnight....Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining....I'm just confused!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

DIY Wreaths

I just happened to come upon two of the most adorable wreaths today.....

The first one is from Domestifluff made with felt rosettes.

And the second one is from Weddingistas and is made with none other than marshmallows.

How cute would either of these be at your wedding or maybe even just hanging in your house! If only I was crafty I would seriously attempt one of these....but, since I'm not I'll just drool over the pictures.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Back on the Wedding Bandwagon

The Knot tells me that I have 220 days until the wedding. I'm having a terrible time trying to grasp the concept of that. In one aspect it seems like an eternity, but on the other, it seems closer-than-ever-and-I'm-never-going-to-get-everything-done-in-time! I noticed that my "checklist" is finally starting to fall behind so I think it may be time to step it up and get back into wedding planning mode.

I will admit that the last few months that I took a break from planning were incredible. I took the time to appreciate our new every day lives. We have been taking the time to learn new things about each other. We've maneuvered our way through the household chores and how to handle our finances. We've learned how to sit quietly together after a long day and how important the "little" things matter. It was for all of these reasons and more that we decided to have a long engagement. We didn't want to jump into living together and planning a wedding all at once. I finally feel like we are falling into a rhythm and for that I am thankful.

Next on my to-do list: Finalizing the guest list, Gift registry, Groom's wedding band and Finalizing the rehearsal dinner.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I DID IT....I DID IT.....

I REACHED MY WEIGHT WATCHERS GOAL WEIGHT TODAY (actually, a pound "under" my goal weight to be exact)

It took me 6 months to lose 30 lbs, but I couldn't be more proud of myself! I feel like a kid on Christmas morning, I feel like I just won the lottery, I feel like I can do ANYTHING!!!

Today couldn't have come at a better time. I've been really down lately and this is the best "pick-me-up" I could have asked for!

Whoot Whoot.....that's me tooting my own horn!!! Yea for me!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chocolate Clouds

For those of you wondering why I needed the Cream of Tartar.........it was to make these

I made 45 of these bad boys to take to my fiance's Thanksgiving this past weekend and I only came home with 5 of them. To get my point across even more you need to understand that there were only 7 people at this dinner and we managed to wipe out 40 cookies!

They are only 1 weight watcher point each which was a bonus for me!!

Please go here for the recipe!

Go Tigers

My hometown football team, HUDSON TIGERS, has made it to the finals....Yahhoooo!! I couldn't be more excited for them.

For those of you who don't know....Hudson is a football town. We basically eat, sleep and breath football. At one time, our Hudson Tigers held the world record for most consecutive wins - 72 - by a high school football team. This record has since been surpassed by Concordia (CA) De La Salle High School, unfortunately.

We are headed to Ford Field in Detroit this weekend to watch our Tigers do their thing. We've got our hotel room booked and I'm counting down the days!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Surround Sound

My fiance is not an easy person to shop for. He is really picky with his clothes/shoes, which is about the one thing that I'm really good at shopping for. I've been really thinking hard lately about what to get him for Christmas and the only thing I can come up with so far is a home theatre system. Day after day after day he is consistently taking about how he wants surround sound and how this movie would be so much better with surround sound and the music on this channel would sound so much better with surround sound.......yada, yada, yada!

Well folks......here's my dilemma: I have no clue where to even begin shopping for this item. Do I have to go to a store like Best Buy or maybe a department store like Sears? Or would someplace like ABC Warehouse have this? I am stumped. And my next question is....how much does surround sound even cost? I might be in way over my head here!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cream of Tartar

Can anyone tell me what "Cream of Tartar" is??? I have a recipe I want to make and it calls for Cream of Tartar and I have never heard of it. This recipe also calls for covering my pan with "Silpat"....what the heck is silpat?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

T Minus 14 Days.....

Can you believe it's only 2 weeks away from Thanksgiving? Where did the year go? I guess most of it, for me, was spent wedding planning. And let me tell you....this break I've been on has been wonderful, but as of next week I will be back in wedding planning mode once again.

Not only is Thanksgiving only 2 weeks away, but my sister's birthday is on the same day. I can't wait to spend time with the family, relax, and of course, do a little Christmas shopping. I'm already totally pumped up for Black Friday! I love the adrenaline rush of waking up early to stand in the freezing cold just to try and beat the person behind you to the best deals possible.

But to be totally honest, I'm most excited about having some much needed time off work. I will not be working the Wednesday before Thanksgiving or the Monday after....yes, you do the math...that's 6 days of nothing but total awesomeness!! Sleeping in, decorating the house, shopping, spending time with family.......I can't think of a better way to spend my mini-vacation.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Weight Watchers Update

I began Weight Watchers on June 2 so I am just over 5 months into the program. I was progressing at an unbelievable pace until about 6 weeks ago when things halted. I've been hovering the same weight for almost 2 months now and I am beyond frustrated. But don't get me wrong...I'm not frustrated with the program, I am frustrated with myself. I have not given up, but I have definitely been slacking. I don't count my points anymore and I am much more lenient when it comes to making the right food choices. Just last week alone I consumed 3 slices of Jet's deep dish pepperoni pizza, a huge taco plate at El Chaps, Taco Bell, a triple-cheese grilled cheese on texas toast with fries at Millers, and boat loads of candy left from Halloween.......what is happening with me? Three months ago I was almost grossed out by the thought of eating any of the food I just listed. Why, all of a sudden, did I think it was okay? And then to think that I was shocked when I saw my weight on the scale at weigh-in this week.

I am declaring to the blogging world that today is the day I turn things around. I am going to start counting points again and planning my meals. I am only 3 lbs away from my WW goal weight and only 8 lbs away from my personal goal weight and I know I can do this!!!! It's only a couple weeks away from Thanksgiving and if I don't get my butt (mind) in gear and get back on program I am going to regret it. I can do this........I can do this!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dear Santa

This will be the first Christmas in my new house and I'm so excited to start decorating! I know, I know....I just took down my Halloween stuff this week. But, really is there anything better than Christmas and the joy it brings?

We are planning on putting up our lights this weekend so we won't be doing it when the snow comes. Oops....I just said the "S" word! God forgive me.....

This is my inspiration.....

Now I just need to get me a new house......with 2 stories, pillars on the front porch, a long driveway, a brick gate and some pine trees out front! I better start my Dear Santa letter.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Be Happy

I've been having a crappy week....okay, I'll be honest, I've been having a crappy few weeks. But today, I feel happy!

My sister called me today with some very good news and since our phone call I can't stop smiling. I am so happy for her. It is the best feeling in the world to know that someone you love is so happy, so excited, so full of life! She has always been my inspiration and today she inspired me to be happy!

I couldn't be more proud of my sister and I hope she knows that.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shopping Trip Update

My shopping trip last night was a success!! And I'm down another pant size....Yippee!!

We mostly shopped the clearance racks and managed to come up with some great finds. I ended up with 3 pairs of dress slacks for work, 6 tops, 2 belts and 2 pairs of shoes for $200. I couldn't believe it. My dress slacks alone were regularly priced at $50 each, so right there tells you I bargain shopped like it was my J-O-B!

The only items I didn't pick up that I still need are a couple pairs of jeans and a fall/winter coat. I guess we are going to have to plan shopping trip #2.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Girls Shopping Trip

I'm going shopping this evening with one of my girlfriends and I couldn't be more excited. I'm not sure if being able to hang with my BFF is making me giddy or the fact that we are GOING SHOPPING......

I used to be a shopaholic, but then I gained a ton of weight and shopping with low self-esteem just isn't as much fun. Well, now that I am down 25 lbs and could use some additions to my wardrobe, I'm all jacked up. I just hope I can contain myself......

Here is what I'm hoping to find:

1. Some great new shoes for work.......Aren't these Dijon colored shoes from Chadwicks to die for?

2. I also need some new dress slacks for work. I'm thinking something along the lines of these creme colored ones from Chadwicks. I love the waistline. (notice the shoes....)

3. New fall tops that will be used for work and also for casual wear. The ruffles on this shirt from Victoria's Secret make me drool.

4. And lastly, I need a new fall/winter coat. One that can be worn with my dress slacks for work but also one that can be slapped on over jeans for a casual night out. This coat from Macy's is all that and a bag of chips

So here's to great time with my girl and hoping I don't break the bank

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Going through a rough patch......

I'm going through a rough patch in life. I struggle every day to find something positive...anything to make the day a little bit brighter. And lately, I'm struggling even trying to do that. There is a black cloud that is lingering over me and I need it to go away.

My tolerance is stretching thinner and thinner and I'm afraid that I'm going to make some HUGE changes in my life that may shock the hell out of everyone! Most people are going to think I'm crazy....but I've spent so much of the past few months thinking about this and I feel like I am prepared to forge ahead with my decision. After all, it is MY life.

There will be surprise....and there will be disappointment....but, I don't know what else to do. I'm struggling......BAD!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Parenting...Not as easy as it looks

My fiance has a 14 year old son and let me be the first one to tell you...parenting is not easy. And step-parenting is extremely difficult. And step-parenting a teenager....even harder!

Teenagers are rarely without something to argue over, worry about, or be annoyed with. Talking back to their parents becomes second nature and questioning authority seems effortless for them. Now don't get me wrong, I know that teenagers go through changes that are both understandable and expected. However, when these behaviors are no longer what we, as parents, consider "normal" the family goes into crisis mode.

In this uncertain and dangerous world, it is the parents' job to protect their child until they acquire the common sense of adulthood. And when you, as the parent, feel you have failed in this area, you experience a myriad of emotions - frustration, fear, disappointment, anger and hopelessness. And let me make it very clear that none of these emotions are good for making informed, well-reasoned and thought out decisions.

Parenting is definitely a full time job without any benefits at times. We try so hard as parents to teach our children between right and wrong and it hurts when they make poor decisions for themselves when they should know better. It is hard as a parent to know that teens are going to make some bad decisions, but it is the adults job to stop them any way they can when that bad decision can change the course of their childs life.

I'm doing the best I can...given the crisis we've been faced with, but I'm wondering if any of you have any advice on parenting with both head and heart, responding with wisdom and love when children need it most.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

H1N1 Hits West Michigan

I heard some disturbing news this morning........we have 49 schools in our district that are closed due to illness (swine flu). I'm really starting to get a little scared.

This has got to be the largest disease outbreak that I have ever experienced. My fiance's son has been sick for almost a week now and to be honest, I'm terrified to keep him this weekend. The way I see it, he's already exposed his mom's household to whatever he has, so maybe he should just stay with her until he is healthy and we will make up our weekend with him some other time. Why should my fiance and I be exposed?? Not to mention that I get so nervous that my fiance will get sick. He only has 1/3 of his lung capacity as a result of the accident, so if he gets this swine flu then it could be very critical. He will be on a ventilator, I'm sure!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention upgraded Michigan to widespread H1N1 influenza, the most pervasive level possible. And the worst part is that they are calling Southwest Michigan (where I live) the epicenter. How lucky am I?

And you wanna know the thing that is ticking me off the most? Since the students are not going to class due to cancellation, they are hanging out all around town. The malls, skateboarding parks, the arcade....the local news is basically "begging" parents to keep their children at home, whether they are sick or not! This is serious people....Social gatherings should be the last place anyone should want to be right now. Parents, I'm begging you "Please keep your children at home".

And here's another question for you....Is just closing the schools down for the few days left this week going to be enough? I've heard this swine flu usually last for about 2+ weeks. Most people feel ill for about a week but then they can pass along the virus for another 7-10 days after that.

I think I might be scared enough that I might try to get the H1N1 vaccination. I originally didn't want it, due to the fact that it's so new and I don't know if there has been enough testing done yet. But, this morning I read getting the flu is far more risky than getting the vaccine. That might be the push I needed...now if I can only convince my fiance.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dodge Caliber....I will always love you!

I've been looking for a bigger car for about 6 months now, but most of the ones I like (Dodge Journey, Ford Edge, Chevy Traverse) are all out of my price range. I currently drive a 2007 Dodge Caliber and although I love the car, a little bit more room would be ideal. Something a little "heavier" to drive in these Michigan winters.

I refinanced my 2007 Dodge Caliber a couple months ago and found out that I am going to lose almost $5000 if I try to do a trade-in on it. The value of this particular car is so far below average for other cars the same year and size. It's been upsetting, but in the same breath, I love my Caliber so I wasn't too heart broken.

Well, I think for once the God's have answered my prayers because we received mail on Saturday informing us that there was a "bank sale" in my town with hundreds of vehicles that were bank-owned and they were ready to wheel and deal to get the cars off their hands. Along with the advertisement was a key that you could try to unlock a new 2010 Chevy Cobalt. The sale ended on Saturday at 6pm so about 5:30 we decided to head over and see if we held the winning key to the Cobalt. I mean a free car is a free car, no? Well, as you all figured...I did not win the new car, but instead I picked up this beauty.....

It's a 2007 Chrysler Pacifica with almost 10,000 less miles than my Caliber had. It is the exact size of vehicle I had been searching for and the color fit my taste just right. After some wheeling and dealing....I got this vehicle for the same monthly payment that I was paying for my Caliber and they even gave me almost full trade in on it so I didn't have to carry over a large amount to a new loan! Can you believe it....I NEVER have good luck, but I guess sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time. The sale had ended and the bank was pretty much desperate to get one more car off the lot. I had them eating right out of my hand....I almost wish I would have played a little more hardball with them...hehehe

And for those of you who know me personally, you know I tend to get very attached to material objects, so I'm sure it doesn't surprise anyone that I spent a majority of Saturday evening crying over my Caliber that I missed so much. I was so emotional that my fiance was convinced that the only way to get me to stop crying would be to call the dealership first thing in the morning to see if we could get my Caliber back.

By this morning I was a little better.....until I saw my exact Caliber drive by me on my lunch hour! Again...the tears flowed. Do any of you have trouble letting go of things??? I guess maybe my problem is that I don't like "change". It makes me uncomfortable.

Let's just hope that this Pacifica grows on me as much as the Caliber did and I'll be able to put this all behind me. One day I hope to look back at my "Caliber withdrawal breakdown" and laugh about it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Calligraphy Alternative

If you are in any way part of the wedding world, you know it's all about calligraphy, calligraphy, calligraphy! And if you know anything about calligraphy you know it can be very expensive. And quite frankly, it does not fit into my budget.

Since our return address is something we'll be writing over and over again during the course of the wedding (invitations, thank you notes, RSVP cards) I thought this purchase from Lettergirl was totally worth it.

It's a self-inking stamp that seemed like the perfect alternative to the all-mighty calligraphy. They even have return address labels that I may end up purchasing.

What are you waiting for....go check out Lettergirl.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Anthony

Today is my baby brothers 23rd birthday.

Happy Birthday Anthony....a wonderful brother and a good friend!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm Struggling......

I feel like every day is a struggle. I struggle to get out of bed, I struggle to find something to wear, I struggle all day at work.......but most of all, I'm struggling at home. I don't feel like I have the time (or energy) to get anything accomplished. By the time I get home from work I struggle to get dinner made, only to eat it and then have get ready for bed. And that doesn't even include the days when I have errands to run after work or simply want to take a minute to visit with family.

I'm struggling........Where are the days when I would get out of work, get home in time to make dinner, get the lawn mowed, water the flowers, and take a walk....all before the sun went down!

I'm struggling........I'm not ready for the change in season. My days are becoming shorter and shorter. I can barely get home with enough daylight to accomplish anything.

I'm struggling........I need life to slow down. I need to take some time out to accomplish everything that's sitting on my "to do" list. I need to take time to relax, to enjoy the moment.

I'm struggling........

Monday, October 12, 2009

Holiday Inn Dayton, OH

So we took off on Friday to head down to Dayton, OH for my cousin's wedding. I was beyond excited. This was going to be the first trip that my fiance and I had made together. He doesn't travel much after the accident but he was excited as well. We booked a nice handicap accessible suite including a sitting room with couch, bedroom with king size bed and kitchen with a fridge, microwave and wet bar. We were going to have it made.........that was until we got there and the front desk told us that we did not have a reservation for the handicap suite but instead they had reserved a "regular" room for us. We had just traveled over 6 hours and she was about to mess with the wrong person! Regardless of the fact that I reserved the room by calling the actual hotel and speaking with them about our "special" needs and not using the general 800 number for reservations.....and I had a printed copy of my confirmation stating the exact details of the room I reserved, but she insisted that there was NOT a handicap accessible suite in their hotel. After a few minutes of me trying to rip this ladies face off she finally admitted that there WAS a handicap suite but it had been double booked and the other party was already checked in. She then proceeded to tell me that they didn't have anymore wheelchair accessible rooms available in the hotel.....If you know me at all, you know that at this exact minute I lost it......I was NOT going to go back to the car to tell my fiance that we had just traveled this far and had no place to lay our head. Traveling is not easy for him and I was not about to make the journey even worse! Needless to say, after a few select words from myself, the front desk was able to miraculously find us an available handicap room for the weekend. It obviously wasn't the suite we had intended on, but it was good enough! There was a king size bed, but most importantly there was a wheelchair accessible bathroom.

And this was just the start to our lovely weekend.....it only goes downhill from there!!!

FYI ~ Holiday Inn - Dayton (North) is NOT ever going to get a recommendation from me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Halloween Fever

Edit: Picture added

This is the first holiday since we've been in our new house. Well, not technically, but does anyone really decorate for 4th of July or Labor Day??? Didn't think so!

Halloween is the first holiday that we are decorating our house. It is so much fun. I had a few halloween decorations from my apartment days and we picked up some pumpkins (large for outdoors and small for indoors) the other day. I love decorating for Halloween because there is so much Black Cat stuff to choose from. One can never have too many black cats around the house.....

Walker & Tucker
My future MIL went to an antique auction and bought me the cutest black cat decoration. It stands about 2 ft tall and is made entirely out of metal. It even has a head that moves (well, bobbles back and forth) and a tail that moves. (see pic below)

And my mom just sent me the cutest link on how to decorate your pumpkins to look like black cats. How cool would these look sitting on my front steps?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,
Sorry to disturb you, but we Michiganders have something we would like to say. First of all, thank you for allowing us to keep our electric bills lower this summer. No need to run the A/C when it's only in the 60's. I mean, who needs sunshine to brighten their day? Secondly, thank you for the abundant amount of rain you have blessed us with over the past few months. It sure was nice of you to turn my backyard into a mud pit. But, I don't mind. I didn't really plan on spending much time outdoors this summer anyway. And lastly, thank you for giving us a 4 month break from the snow before blessing our presence with it once again. Not only do you normally bless us with snow for Thanksgiving and Christmas but it looks like you will be blessing us before Halloween. How very kind of you.

Mother Nature, thank you for going out of your way to make sure we Michiganders had plenty of nice weather this past year! Now if only you would be kind enough to give us wind chills of -30 again this winter. It was such a pleasure being stuck inside the house for 4 months straight.

Amy Jo

PS ~ If it seems like you don't have many friends left in Michigan, don't take it personally!

Friday, October 2, 2009


The first week of October signifies much more than the unofficial start to fall for those of us who live in Michigan.

Call it a battle of the intrastate powerhouses—the Paul Bunyan contest, the rivalry that tears apart family members, (hopefully only for an afternoon), or as students like to refer to it as, the “Big Brother—Little Brother” showdown.

That’s right—it’s Michigan versus Michigan State week. The rivalry between the two teams and their fans is intense, to say the least.

Who will you be cheering for?

Will it be the All-mighty Wolverines?

Or will it be the less than impressive Spartans?

In case you haven't figured it out yet......I am rooting for the Maize and Blue! Go Michigan!

Game Time: Saturday, 12:00 noon (Big Ten Network)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcome Fall

So this brisk 32 degree weather kicked my butt into gear this morning! I am so glad I brought my plants into the garage last night since we had a pretty good frost when I woke up this morning. I even had to break down and turn on the heat so my poor fiance wouldn't freeze to death at home while I was gone.

Try to stay warm and have a great day!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Grumpy Pants...

I'm not sure what happened in the past 48 hours, but I have become quite the grump!

It doesn't help that it is 48 degrees outside, dark, rainy and miserable. I am NOT ready for this kind of weather. Fall is a beautiful season here in Michigan, but I'm just not ready. And has anyone realized how early it is getting dark at night and how it is still dark until late in the morning. The time change associated with this time of year just kills me.

In addition to this horrible weather I feel like I haven't seen my fiance in a coons age! It's literally been almost 2 weeks since we have spent one night/day together. Granted, we do live together so at some point in the night we are both sleeping in bed and I wake him every morning before work, but that's been the only "us" time we have had. We are just so busy doing different things during the week and then last weekend I was out of town.....uurrgghhhh! As of right now it looks like Sunday will be the day we can spend some time together. That is until one of us commits to something else......

Weight Watchers is still going great, in leiu of the fact that I gained 1.8 lbs this week after losing almost 4 lbs last week. I'm on this roller coaster for the past 4 weeks and I just wish I could keep losing instead of going up and down, up and down on the scale.

Work is.......well, let's just say that if I don't get a vacation soon I'm going to lose it! And I'm pretty sure that none of us want that to happen!!

Money has become another big stress! We have done so well saving money for the wedding and we should have most of that paid off the first of the year and of course we have cut down on our home improvement projects until after the wedding to save money.......but, Christmas is right around the corner! How did we forget to budget for the holidays??? I just can't even think about it......Where are we going to get the extra money? We are stretched to the max right now with our income and holiday spending IS NOT INCLUDED!!! Will we have to take it out of our savings? Will we have to take it out of our grocery money? Can we skip Christmas this year?

And last but not least........Here's a little story (with a little background history) about something that happened to me last weekend. It's a little reminder that not everyone has class and not everyone understands the true meaning of love..........
As unfortunate as it is, my fiance is in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, as a result of a car accident a few years ago. But the fact that he is handicapped, does not take away the fact that he is the love of my life. That he treats me better than any person on this earth has ever even attempted to. That he has the most amazing strength and character and I feel blessed to share my life with him. Knowing all of this about him I hope you have the same reaction as I did to what I am about to tell you..........I went back to my hometown this past weekend and had someone come up to me and mention that they heard I was engaged. When I replied that "yes, I'm getting married and I'm so lucky" this person responded with "Lucky, I heard you were marrying a cripple!" Yes, people....you read that right! Someone actually had the audacity to call the man I consider my hero, A CRIPPLE!! I've got to believe that most of us know that you JUST DON'T SAY THAT TO PEOPLE but obviously not everyone does.

And on that note.........I must say good-bye! I'm still so angry about the previous story that I can't even think straight or type because my hands are shaking. We will talk again soon....and hopefully I've taken off my grumpy pants by then!

Wedding Blah's.....

"The Knot" tells me that I am 284 days away from my wedding! I think that gives me a good enough excuse to take a break from wedding planning. Don't get me wrong...wedding planning has been the funnest thing ever, but I'm tired. I need a break. It's probably going to be a small break, but as long as I can rest long enough to get my "second wind".

Next week is my one year anniversary of our engagement and I have been wedding planning this-whole-time. If you'll remember here, here and here, I changed my wedding plans earlier this summer and had to start over from scratch. It has been a blast....but I need to rest.

I feel like I'm ahead of schedule with the planning anyway, so a little time off to re-group shouldn't do any harm. Wish me luck!

And before I forget.........MY WEDDING DRESS IS IN.........So much for taking 6 weeks, it was only 9 days and that baby was here. I've yet to pick it up yet due to the fact that I just don't know if I want it in my house. I'm not sure I have the will power to stay away from it. I want to wear it ALL.THE.TIME

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Heart Darius

So last night my good friend Kerri took me to see Darius Rucker......I think I love him! He moves like nobody I've ever seen before. His hips, his feet...it's mesmerizing! Not to mention his voice....it is so smooth and soulful.

Here are some pics from the concert. In addition to playing his new songs off his debut album, he also sang 3-4 Hootie & The Blowfish songs, along with one of my favorites by Jayme Johnson, In Color and even a Prince song. What a talented musician!

After the first encore everyone started clearing out when all of a sudden he came back on stage for another song! Kerri and I quickly made our way to the front of the stage and were able to get front row....it was awesome, but hard to take pictures with all those people around you.

After his 2nd encore Darius signed his baseball cap and threw it out into the audience. Look at that bald head....Yummy! At one point he came over to where we were standing by the stage and Kerri held out her cowboy hat for him to sign, but no luck....bummer!

We had a great time and I'm still dreaming today about that soulful voice of his!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'm a Country Girl....

Yes, ladies.......this girl is going to see Darius Rucker tonight. I couldn't be more excited!

For those of you not familiar with Darius he was the frontman for Hootie & The Blowfish.
His evolution into country music has made my heart pitter-patter! His voice is so unique and his debut album has won me over!

I love you Darius!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Master Bedroom Dilemma

There is just something about our Master Bedroom that we don't like. After numerous conversations with fiance we decided that maybe we needed a headboard or some type of new bed frame. Of course, I was all for this.....any excuse to go shopping is okay by me!

After countless hours on the internet and searching a few stores we ended up at ArtVan last night. I'm attending some decorating classes there and they had given me a 15% off coupon so we thought what the heck, it's worth a shot.

Well, we started off in the clearance center and we found a couple bed frames we liked, but the headboards were both damaged and even with the clearance price it wasn't worth spending that amount of money on something in that poor of condition. After almost giving up our search the sales associate asked us if we had seen the new models that they just got in. Of course, in my mind I knew we could never afford them but agreed to take a look anyway.

As expected, I fell in love with one immediately but was scared to look at the price. The tag had gotten flipped over from a fan that was blowing on it so you couldn't see the price and I just couldn't bring myself to walk over and take a peek. Well after 20 minutes of talking with the sales associate he stepped away for a minute. Fiance and I kept talking about the bed, but neither one of us wanted to look at the price. Finally, we agreed that if by a miracle it was priced under $400 we would buy it on the spot (considering the prices of the ones in the clearance center that were damaged were over $200). I quickly turned over the price tag and gasped......this was a $1000 bed frame that was 50% off. And don't forget that I had a coupon that I could use toward 1 sale item of my choice. And this was definitely my item of choice. We quickly did the math in our heads and figured out that the discounted price should be around $425.

The sales associate came back just as we realized this may be in our reach and we asked him to please do the math and let us know what our final price would be. Just as we had figured $424.99......oh, the dilemma! I knew I wanted the bed, but I wanted to make sure that fiance was on the same page. The sales associate stepped away again and as soon as he was out of sight fiance turned to me and said "we've got to have this bed. I've never had a bed frame before and wasn't sure I wanted one, but we have to get this". And that my folks, is how we became the owners of this pretty little thing

Edit: Sorry the picture is so big but you get the general idea!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Did It....

....I bought my wedding dress!! And I love it....I wish I could wear it every day!!

I ended up with a dress that isn't ANYTHING even close to what I thought I would like, but once I put it on I felt amazing. I've never felt so beautiful in all my life.

I know I have found "the" dress, but I wish I could try on more...it was so much fun! I never anticipated buying my dress on my first time out. But, I guess you know when you have found the one, and I definitely knew.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bridesmaids....My Besties

I thought when I got engaged last October that my most favorite part was going to be picking my bridesmaids, asking them in the most creative, meaningful way to stand beside me and then life would be perfect and the wedding planning would begin! Well, to be honest.....choosing my bridesmaids was the hardes thing I've done so far. I have been fortunate in life to come across an amazing group of girls who have touched my life in ways words cannot describe. I would have been honored to have them all stand beside me on my special day, but once we started the actual wedding "planning" I quickly came to realize that it wasn't going to fit into our "plan" to have that many bridesmaids. My heart was crushed and I stressed over this for months. Almost 8 months to be exact! Until finally it was time to bite the bullet and finalize the wedding party.

I am in no way upset about my decision, but there are days when I wish things could have been different and I could have had all my "besties" standing up there supporting me. I wonder if this will ever settle right in my heart or if I will feel a little regret over my decision up until my wedding day?

I am moving forward and ready to introduce my BRIDESMAIDS to the blog world:

Matron of Honor: Rachel, my older (and much wiser) sister who has been my rock for as long as I can remember. I can't even begin to imagine how my life would be different without her. She keeps me pointed in the right direction when life tends to throw me off path and she is one of the most creative people I know.

Bridesmaid: Sarah, the friend I've had the longest. She has shared more of life's challenges with me than anyone else. We went to school together since kindergarten and everyone has always mistaken us for sisters. In college it was hard to convince people that we were not related. She is one of the funniest people I know and there is never a dull moment when she's around.

Bridesmaid: Megan, another friend who I have known since early childhood. Megan is another hometown friend who has become a "necessity" in my life as I have gotten older. We were friends growing up, but the past few years she has become that friend who you cannot live without. She is one of the most intelligent woman I know and I look up to her for more reasons than I can list on this here blog.

Bridesmaid: Lindsey, She has been with me through almost everything I've ever experienced in life and she has taught me so much (even though I'm the older, wiser one..haha). Her friendship to me isn't one big thing - it's a million little things. She is my key to sanity in an insane world. I can't imagine my life without her by my side.

Bridesmaid: Kerri, who wasn't introduced to me until my adult years, but has been an important person in my life since. She is so outgoing and always comes up with these fantastic ideas about how to have fun. She is strong-willed and I love her for that. She is the friend who will tell it to you "like it is" and won't sugar coat anything. Everyone needs somebody like Kerri in their life.

And there you have it........my bridesmaids! What a fantastic group of girls to have standing beside me on the biggest, most important day of my life!

All the Single Ladies.....

I think I have already shared that I will absolutely not be hurling my beautiful bouquet across the room and really would rather not isolate all the single ladies in an attempt to catch said bouquet. I have been put through this awkward and uncomfortable tradition too many times and the only thing that ever came out of it was me making more trips to the bar in order to blur any memories of the humiliation that accompanies said tradition.

Well, in speaking with a customer on the phone today I was informed of a Turkish wedding tradition that says to have all your single female friends sign the soles of your wedding shoes before the ceremony. It is said that the name which has worn away the most after my trip down the aisle and my signature moves on the dance floor, is the next woman to get married.

Maybe this is something I could do at my bridal shower and/or bachelorette party (although, at this point in my life I don't really have many friends/relatives that are still single. I'm one of the last ones to get hitched). Anywho........what are your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday Blues

I don't know what it is, but I'm having a horrible day! Nothing is going right....how can I come off a 3-day weekend like this? Today was supposed to be a good day...it's Tuesday. Not Monday...Tuesday! A short work week and I'm starting it off like this....totally unacceptable!

Friday, September 4, 2009

I Must Have You.....

During my lunch hour today I began browsing the Target website and stumbled upon these beauties!!
I must have them.....one of each please!

Okay, Okay, I know that's a lot to ask, so maybe just this one for my living room....mmmkay?

Weight Watchers - Week 13

I almost forgot to post this week.......Good news, I lost 1.4 lbs this week. That puts my total weight loss at 19.8 lbs. I JUST WANT TO HIT THE 20 LB MARK AND IT'S KILLING ME!

When I first started WW my fiance asked me how much weight I thought I could lose and how much I planned on losing. The first thing that crossed my mind was "I want to lose 20 lbs" I wasn't very convinced that I could do it, but it sounded good when I said it. So here I am .2 lbs away and it's killing me! I mean come one...what exactly is .2 lbs anyway? I think my engagement ring weighs about .2 lbs....OMG, why didn't I think of that? I need to start taking off my ring before weight in!

Let's hope this holiday weekend doesn't do too much damage because I'm going to hit the 20 lb mark next week if it's the last thing I do! Bring on Week 14.......and bring on the hot dogs, macaroni salad, pie, pasta.......errrrr wait a minute....that's not going to help me lose weight at all!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wedding Industry Can Suck

I've talked numerous times about how happy I am with our revised wedding plans. And still to this exact moment I'm more excited than I ever thought possible. I'm still okay with the fact that my wedding will not have grand chandeliers, a gigantic dancefloor, and a ballroom that is picture perfect. It's the meaning behind our new wedding plans that make my heart flutter.

In the beginning stages of my wedding planning I stalked every wedding blog I could find, I over-saturated my senses with inpiration photos. It seemed like we were planning the perfect wedding with perfect details because that's what the wedding industry had led me to believe. Don't get me wrong, I'm still detail oriented and I know our wedding will be beautiful. But, it will look like us, not like it came straight out of a magazine.

And as far as our wedding budget is concerned, I'm content with what we have spent so far. I'm content that we are concentrating more on why we buy certain things and not listening to the wedding industry who is telling us what to buy. The wedding industry also encourages you to buy, buy, buy like there's no tomorrow....because you should, because you have to!

Hopefully five or ten years down the road we will still reflect on our wedding and not have any regrets. I hope we will still think our "simple" centerpieces were cool and our cheap (but creative) favors were awesome.

And this is why I'm loving every minute of planning our non-budget, casual, backyard wedding.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My New Favorite....

Yes, I'm still stalking wedding dresses.......here is my new favorite! Go here to see details

Monday, August 31, 2009

DIY Flower Trial

I'm sure you all remember my decision to use silk carnations as my flowers for the wedding and reception. Well my inspiration picture (see below) has been taunting me for weeks now.

I am so in love with the idea of using these as some of my centerpeices, so I finally decided it was time for a "trial run". I went to Michaels's Craft store and bought all my supplies and headed home to figure out this glue gun thingy.

I am not a crafty person (I leave all of that up to my sister) so I wasn't sure how this project was going to end, but I was praying nothing too bad would happen. If I managed to stay away from the emergency room I knew I would be on the right track. I seriously kept imagining burning myself (or Don) with this glue gun. They put so many warnings on the package and I was nearly scared half to death.

After 30 minutes of cutting stems (1/2 of that time Don had to take over because I broke the wire cutting scissors). I told you I wasn't "crafty". It took about 30 minutes for me to meticulously put all the carnations on.......someone with OCD should NEVER attempt these types of projects......I could have been there all day working on this thing. It was finally Don who said "Enough is Enough"........Here is the finished project

It didn't take long for me to realize that the 6" ball that I used was way too big for most of the stands I had purchased. I ran back to Michaels and bought some 5" and 4" spheres and those seem to be the perfect size. I also was able to purchase the white milk glass vases that I've been searching for this weekend. I hit the jackpot at Salvation Army and Goodwill. I still need more, but I will keep searching.

Here is a picture of the 5" ball next to the 6" ball. In addition to the size difference you may also notice that the 5" isn't as "tight" looking. We decided to space the flowers out a bit more so we didn't have to use as many (cost savings).

After making a few trials we finally started to get the hang of this. I think we did about 6 of these and by the last one, we had it down to a science. I knew it would only be a mattered of time before we perfected it. Our only problem now is that I hope we can remember all of our "tricks of the trade" by the time it comes around to making the rest.

We also messed around with some mock set-ups of our reception tables. My pictures are all horrible because I think I was too exhausted by this time, but you get the jist of what we are doing. Black tablecloths, damask table runners, white china with red napkins, and red, black, white accents as centerpieces.
And please don't anyone point out the fact that one of the votives is not in the right spot. Little Miss OCD almost died when I pulled up this photo this morning.... And also please note that the only reason there are so many red carnations on the table is because we ran out of white ones. We were simply trying to get and "idea" of what we were doing. And lastly, don't mind the couch in the background....it was the only open floor space at the time.

You will notice in the pic above that all of the red carnation balls will be in the white milk glass vases and all the white centerpeices will be in clear china.....it looks so awesome in real life!! I'm getting more and more excited every day!

Now, I'm on a mission to find more white milk glass........keep your eyes peeled for me :)

Friday, August 28, 2009


One of my best friends happened to be in town last Friday visiting her parents, and so I got the chance to meet her for lunch. I sometimes forget how much I miss her.......but we have that relationship that allows us to jump right back into things as if not a day had gone by that we didn't see each other.

She has been with me through almost everything I've ever experienced in life and she has taught me so much (even though I'm the older, wiser one). Her friendship to me isn't one big thing - it's a million little things.

She is a part of my past, will be beside me on my road to the future and she is my key to sanity in an insane world.

Thank you Lindsey for being the best friend any girl could ask for!

Now enjoy these pictures and remember all of the good times we have shared....Love ya!