Saturday, 10 December 2016

Honeymoon

We got back from our honeymoon over a month ago and I still have yet to post a single picture or say a single thing about it on these interwebs.  Can I use the excuse that when we got back a bunch of stuff happened and I haven't really had a day off from work since (other than weekends of course).  

Luckily, early this week we all had a snow day and so I had the time to do a little writing...

Here is the only picture that John and I have of the both of us from our honeymoon, taken on one of our excursions to Tulum to see some Mayan ruins


There were a bunch of pools on the resort and all but one were often nearly empty





We stayed at the Grand Palladium in the Mayan Riviera 

We actually had 2 rooms while here.  Our first room had 2 double beds so I put in a request for a king size bedroom and after a couple of nights in our first room we were able to move to this one.  Basically the same room just with only one bed.


Excursions:
We went on 3 

The first one we went to see some cenotes (sinkholes) and swim in them and through caves.  After that we went swimming with some turtles in Akumel which was the highlight of the trip for me and I'm kind of regretting not purchasing the pictures the photographer took of us on this excursion (note to self: when they say the photographs cost $30 this is actually a very good deal!)

The 2nd was to Tulum to see some ruins

The 3rd was to see more cenotes but this time we got to jump into them from really high, repel into them, zip line into them, and kayak through them.  It was pretty fun but the car ride through all the twists and turns was not.  The photos at this one cost $80 so needless to say we did not purchase them!

There were 2 shows every night at our resort which was nice but we were usually pretty tired (especially if we went on an excursion to go to them). We did see all of one and the last bit of another.  
John would say the food was the best part (and it was pretty good).

No limits as to how often you could visit a sit down restaurant and the buffets were pretty well endless.

Local merchants set up booths on the resort in the evening which was nice if you wanted to buy something local without leaving the resort.

All in all a fine time was had by all

Then we came home and by the next evening I had the flu.

BUT, 
I would still go back!



Wednesday, 7 December 2016

SNOW DAY

3 out of 5 of the divisions I can work in cancelled classes today (and yesterday as well).  All city school buses are not running.... sometimes even the substitute teacher gets a snow day!


So I've made a long list of things to get done today... 

I've already got a load in the washing machine and the dishwasher.
Once the dishwasher is done I'm going to attempt to put all these tomatoes to use and make and can some salsa (the jars need to be warmed for it to work properly).
I've got some presents to wrap.
I've got some meat to sort through and freeze.
I still have groceries in the car (because I had already done 5 trips up and down those stairs in the snow and didn't think I had it in me to carry the big bag of rice last night)
I'm going to make the executive decision on what we are doing for our preliminary batch of thank you's from the wedding and order those so we can hand some out this weekend.
Dishes need to get done (after I make the salsa though)
It looks like I have some snow to shovel
Maybe I'll vacuum
We got our free (included in condo fees) cable finally hooked up last night so I think I'm allowed to sit back and watch something.
If the road reports within the city seem better than yesterday I've been invited to a friends for dinner
Oh, and I've got Bible study tonight (if the roads are okay).

Bur for now, I'm listening to Family Force Five's Christmas album - Christmas Pagent, drinking hot chocolate, and not leaving the computer until I type up a little something something about our trip to Mexico!

(this last thing proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated... apparently my iphone needed updating before it would show up on my computer!)

Here's hoping it's a productive day off!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

10-14-2016

It's been just over a week since we got married.

We haven't jetted off on any honeymoon (yet)
... or even moved in all of John's things.

What we do have is a bunch of sneak peeks at our wedding photos though!
(which we actually got about a week ago because our photographer is so fantastic)

Here are the two that I've been sending/showing most people





Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Bachelorette Party

Despite what many people may think about a bachelorette party needing to be wild and crazy mine was not.
(and nor does it have to be)

What did I do?

I found a fantastic person that was willing to come to any location (I chose my sister's house because she had the space) and teach myself and 14 others (yes 14!) how to paint a beautiful painting.

You'll find the artist, Amber, at Painting on the Prairies and I highly recommend that if you are from around these parts and wanting to do some painting you contact her.

Why?  

First off, she told me that since I booked my party far enough in advance she could do a custom painting just for me!  What!?!  I felt so special that if I didn't see anything in her selection that I loved she would do something different for me (I went with the custom painting - which is apparently a huge hit now!)

I may be marrying outside of the Mennonite heritage but you can't take the Mennonite out of me.  I needed the best deal for a private party.  I didn't want my party at a bar of any kind and didn't want to have to find a community center to rent out.  With Painting on the Prairies all you need is 10 people and it costs $350 (of course you can have more... any additional people are $35).  If you have under 10 people the cost is still $350 which makes sense.. you gotta pay the artist for her time!  And she'll gladly attend your party at your house.

Amber was so easy to work with!  The plan was to possibly paint outside (weather permitting) but the weather did not permit for this.  So instead we painted in 3 different rooms.  All the rooms were on the same floor but still separated enough that Amber had to show the same thing 3 times.  And she did a fantastic job working all 3 rooms.

Clean up was also super easy... to be honest I didn't even realize it happened.  

Anywho, I'm beginning to sound like Painting on the Prairies sponsored this post and I'm just not that popular for that to happen... I'm just letting you all know that you should consider it! 

All in all it was a fantastic afternoon and evening and I feel incredibly blessed that so many people wanted to come out and spend time with me and bless me with my upcoming wedding.  

I couldn't have imagined anything better!

Bonsai Beauty

3 MORE DAYS!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Marriage Councelling

Over the last 2 or 3 months John and I have meeting with the pastor that is going to marry us and going through this book:



But guess what?

On Friday we finished our last session!

Guess that means we are ready to be married.

Huzzah!

To anyone debating on whether to do marriage counseling or not my vote would be to do it.  In fact if you have the choice I'm not sure why one would opt to not do it.  There were a lot of questions and things John and I talked about because we went through this book that we likely would have never thought to talk about before getting married.  Hopefully we just dodged a couple of big arguments because we did it.

17 more days

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

We've Registered!

.. A while ago

And let me tell you... I've noticed a few things that you don't realize when you are always the person purchasing items off others' gift registry's and never making your own.

1.  I distinctly remember thinking someone was crazy for putting a $30 (or so) paper towel holder on their gift registry once... now I understand... we just scanned stuff at the store and often tried to go with the cheapest option (when we weren't concerned about colour and what not) but it isn't like there is a wide range of prices at just one store.  So we scanned the items anyways knowing that we weren't attached to any specific brand and if someone found that citrus zester for $5 instead of the (probably) $15 one we found... we would probably be perfectly happy with that $5 one too.

2.  I got reprimanded by one of the sales ladies at one of the stores we registered at for checking prices because... see above.  I just don't want anyone to think that the $150 waffle iron is the one I want and no other will do... when the one right next to it was only $40 and would definitely do just fine!  So I continued to check prices... I just did it a little more sneakily.

3.  Neither of the stores we registered at sold a Swiffer Wet Jet and I really want one.  I don't like sweeping/cleaning floors at all (in fact I've already told John - and I'm sure he's forgotten, that the floors are his job to clean!)... maybe the Swiffer will make me want to do it a little more often though.

4.  I also couldn't find mustard yellow bath towels (bath, hand, and face clothes).. I want a yellow and grey bathroom... someday... maybe.

5.  Pots and Pans are expensive!  Our plan was to go with some open stock pots and pans but... do these even exist?  We couldn't find any.  So we didn't register for any.  The 2 places we register offer us discounts on our registry after our wedding for up to a year.  So when we find ones we like we'll just add them to the registry and go purchase them ourselves.

6.  You know what else is expensive... Kitchen Aid attachments.  I registered us for an ice cream maker attachment though because it was on sale for under $100.  Then it went back up to regular price and I sort of felt guilty about leaving it on there...  Another purchase to make with our discount cards!

7.  Our most expensive item is a lovely Dyson vacuum that would be oh so wonderful to have but we aren't expecting it... that might be a purchase that we use our savings card on within a year after our wedding.  Otherwise, everything else is pretty reasonably priced (I hope!)

8.  We've had some people get stuff not on our registry and I (we) don't mind that either.  The games we received are awesome!

9.  We've also had people get stuff off our register from a different store.  I (we) don't mind that either!  I just go online afterwards and remove the item from the gift registry myself then.

10.  Finally, John had some fun while registering for items.  So on our list you'll find 1 hula hoop, maple syrup (which we actually got), an Olympic sweater, a pizza maker (which is apparently a serious addition despite what I may think), and I think there may be some fancy cloth napkins on there as well.  I left them all on though until our most recent shower... when I went on an updating spree and deleted things that we had received and deleted things we didn't really need (like that hula hoop).

And just a tip... before we headed out I looked up a list of things online that people register for, regretted registering for (because they don't use them), and wished they would have registered for.  This really came in handy and I made a list for John and I (before looking these lists up I had like 5 things on my list and was stumped.. so it was a HUGE help!).  Once we registered for an item that was on the list I checked it off so that we wouldn't forget and register for a second one.

But what's most important to note with our gift registry is that we don't NEED anything... Nor do we expect anything.  We are super grateful for the showers that we have already had and for everyone's generosity.  And we hope you feel like we appreciate them.  Because we do!

In fact people have been VERY generous.  My spare bedroom is now officially the present room... until we move into a place with a much larger kitchen that can hold all these precious things.


I've already used the breadmaker (which is why it is out of it's box)

Psst... want to know a secret?  If you look closely you can catch a glimpse of part of what we are giving away for favours.  I've been spending my evenings tracing and cutting out 150 circles just for them!

Friday, 16 September 2016

Making Room

My goal over the summer was to make sure I made room for John to potentially (I say potentially because we are house hunting) move in here after our wedding in October.  I don't think I would be too happy to go from having all kinds of space (not that he really has all kinds of space now) to hardly any at all so hopefully my efforts will be noticed (and appreciated).

I have a walk in closet so I wasn't concerned about that at all.  It's probably big enough for 3 people... so if it isn't big enough for mine and John's things we have a problem.

I have 2 dressers (one is in the closet) and I think I've managed to get 4 drawers in total between the 2 dressers emptied.

I have 2 nightstands.  One is (sort of) emptied for him.  I say sort of because I store extra sheets and pillow cases in the bottom drawer of both nightstands.  So he technically has as much space as I do there.

There was never much I could do about the spare bedroom.  We'll have to figure out a way to move things around so John has space in there for his computer.  Since I only use my laptop I imagine packing up my desktop would be the best solution.

But my biggest accomplishment was tackling the indoor storage room (I have outdoor storage as well and I'm hoping we'll be able to store both our bikes in there).

Here is the before photo:


And the after photo:


Those random green bags on the floor I usually keep in my car... they were just there because I had just gone grocery shopping.

Or maybe we'll find a house to buy and have much more space!


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

My Closet

A week ago I picked up a little something, something and hung it up in my closet... can you guess what it is?


Friday, 9 September 2016

Ice Cream

You scream, I scream, we apparently ALL scream for ice cream.

Cake Batter and Golden Oreo Ice Cream
Well guess what, I've found a handy little way to make it in your very own home... no fancy ice cream maker required.

All you need is a can of sweetened condensed milk and 2 cups of heavy whipping cream.  The rest is pretty well up to you!

I found the recipe on The Comfort of Cooking.  The first one I made (which was not one of hers) was a chocolate peanut butter one.  So I used her Double Chocolate Pecan Ice Cream and just scooped in a bunch of peanut butter and left out the chocolate chips and pecans.  It was quite good.

The second one I made was her Funfetti Cake Batter Ice Cream.  I just left out the sprinkles and tossed in some crushed up Golden Oreos.  This one was also pretty good (but I think I like the chocolate one better).

I want to make a couple more while the weather is still decent.  I'm thinking I'll make a vanilla one but add a bunch of bananas to it.  Then another vanilla one but add a bunch of crushed up regular Oreos.  

You should probably try it... it's pretty easy.


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The fruits of my labour

Don't worry readers!  I've realized that I've been blabbering on about wedding stuff for a while now!  Today we take a break from anything wedding to talk gardens.

I live in a 2nd story condo so I don't have any yard... but what I do have is a (in my opinion) very large balcony.  I've tried growing tomatoes in pots for 2 years in a row and have never had more than a tomato (or 2) come from them.  This year though... John helped me out.
hydroponic tomato plant
John has a dream of a big garden... and when I say big I mean more like BIG so I guess we are in the testing phase of a new kind of gardening this year... so that we (he) can decide if we can upgrade to a larger operation once we have a yard.  That new kind of gardening?  Hydroponics.

From my understanding hydroponics is growing things in water.  So what you are seeing above is a container (hidden behind the black one) filled with perilite (sp?) and absolutely no soil.  Water is pumped through  3 times a day for about an hour each time (I add nutrients to the water so that the tomatoes don't actually need any nutrients from the soil).  Any excess water trickles out from the bottom of the bucket (that you can't actually see - it's orange though).  The orange bucket has 2 tomato plants growing out of it.  Why 2?  We had originally bought 2 plants but then it took us (John) a while to get the hydroponics set up so the plants were looking not so lively anymore.  So we bought one more that we were certain had a decent shot at growing and put one of the other better looking ones in with it.

These plants have been through a bit though.  Improper fertilizer, insufficient power sources, broken pumps, insufficient water sources, and having to live indoors while my balcony got redone for at least 2 weeks.  But somehow they have still managed to do really well (in my opinion).

hydroponic tomatoes
Currently, however, the pump is broken.  This means that unless I water them manually (like most people do with their gardens) they don't get any water.  So three times a day I go out there and scoop water from the black smaller bucket (that already has the proper nutrients in it) into the larger orange one... when the water in the black bucket runs out (about every other day) I mix up some nutrients into some fresh water and add that.

Here is my pickings of about a week that I haven't gotten around to eating yet (I suppose I could probably stop purchasing tomatoes now).
Those cherry tomatoes come from another plant.  It isn't looking nearly as great (but give it a break, it also had to live indoors for at least 2 weeks while my balcony got finished)




I have some other plans on my balcony as well.


Left:  Lemongrass and purple calla lily mixture.  The calla lilies were doing great a couple of weeks ago which is probably when I should have taken the picture.  I think I put too many plants into the planter though.. maybe.
Right:  The pink ones I actually got from church for mother's day (all the women in the church get something - not just those with kids).  It came in an itty bitty planter so I'm pretty impressed with how well it has done!  
Behind the pink ones was a longer planter that we attempted to grow some spinach (it wasn't successful) and some swiss chard (which I already cut and made for John (I'm not really a fan of it)
I also have 2 tall white planter with just some shrubs in them... I wasn't lying about having a large balcony!

In the future I'm sure we'll have some sort of greenhouse going in our yard... John has already spoken about wanting one someday and I think it would be pretty cool to have a large abundance of fruit and veggies just growing in the yard!





Friday, 26 August 2016

The People at the Wedding

I usually do this on my other blog but today I'm doing it here and linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching to tell you 5 different types of people at our wedding.



1.
The wedding party

We are having an uneven wedding party.  I'm still unsure of how exactly I feel about this but in the end I knew John wanted 2 and I only had 1 for my side so... why not?  Really, what's important is that John and I get married; and not how many people are in our wedding party or attending.

2.
The guests

We kept our numbers to under 200 so far we've got a grand total of 43 people coming.  Should be a nice, small wedding if people don't start RSVPing.  We are using an online service to keep track of our RSVP's that is working out well BUT I don't think people understand that they have to go on it and say that they aren't coming (if they aren't)... we clearly have a bunch of unknowns!

3.
Photographers

Yes I said photographerS... there is more than one so you best get ready to have your photo snapped and always look top notch and keep your finger our of your nose.  People will be are ready with cameras!

4.
Videographers/Audio

In case you somehow are able to escape the photographers there will also be 2 videographers... we should have our day well captured in the end.  Our plan was to only have 1 videographer but then she asked if she could bring a second shooter (which isn't actually costing us anything!)... we couldn't say no!  The audio person is to help capture audio for our videographer... you might not even see him.. he has a pretty easy but important job.

5.
The bride and groom!

That's right, John and I will be attending our wedding!

Oh, and of course, all the staff at the event location.

If you haven't RSVP to our wedding yet (and have your invite sitting on the counter, stuck on the fridge, or tossed on the floor... what are you waiting for!?!  I'm looking to order you all some prezzies for attending and I'm guessing I'll have approximately 120 or so people leaving without a favour at this rate!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

First Dress Fitting

A week ago I had my first dress fitting and there's some good news.  I still like the dress!



Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling too great the day of the fitting so I walked in there looking a bit like I just rolled out of bed to get there.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

RSVPing

I've mentioned it before and I'll mention it again... we are using an online service to keep track of all our RSVP's.  In my very limited experience with keeping track of a large quantity of RSVP's this seems like the best option (not that I've ever done it before or anything).

The service we are using is AnRSVP (just in case you are interested in using it too)

First, the problems.

Everyone on your guest list has to have a different first and last name combination.  This didn't work out for us.  So, say for example you have 2 people you are inviting that are both named John Smith... that's not allowed.  We had not 1, not 2, but 3 instances where people had the exact same name.  It was an easy fix for us though.

One of the places this came up was with a child having the same name as my grandpa.  To fix this problem I grouped my cousin with the rest of his brothers and sisters.  So instead of it just saying "John" on the first name spot it says "John, sisters name, other sisters name" and I gave that line an invite count of 3.  I know that family can't make it already so I wasn't too worried about how I set it up.

The other problem was with John's side.  He has an uncle with the same name as his grandpa and an aunt with the same name as his grandma.

The solution to this was also an easy one.  John told me that his grandparents wouldn't be RSVPing for themselves anyways so for the first name for his grandparents I put Grandpa *his first name* and on the next line Grandma *her first name*.  This way the aunt and uncle (whom will likely have enough knowledge of the internet to RSVP for themselves) can RSVP for themselves using their actual names and we can just do it for his grandparents.

The other annoying part was that I put the names into the online program in the order that I had them listed on my list... so according to families.  The program jumbled them all up into an order I couldn't understand.  So eventually I just put them in alphabetical order to make people easier to find.

I also put the names in individually,,,  I know you can also do some importing of stuff but I figured I would have more control over the names if I just did it myself (plus, on the document we were keeping track of their names I also had written in if they were my aunt/uncle/grandparent.... I would have just had to do some editing anyways.  It took a bit of time... not a lot.  What did get frustrating was that I missed some people and then because the list wasn't ordered the same as my hard copy it was hard to see who I missed putting in.  But I eventually figured it out and now our RSVP list matches our hard copy list.

The benefits

The program keeps track of your RSVPs for you!  I don't have to worry about forgetting to mark someone down as a yes and what kind of allergy they have.

You can make your own questions to accompany your RSVP.

We have just 2 questions...
1) If there are any allergies (our caterer is willing to work around these)
2) What kind of song(s) they would like to dance to that night.

The program also lets you know how many invites you need to send out.  I think we ended up with 94 that were going out.  It helps when you need to know how many invites you should be printing or how many envelopes you need to buy (it's just too bad John didn't have his list finalized before I ordered the invites and envelopes).

The online service gives us a unique (but easy to type in) URL that we included on our invites so that guests shouldn't have too hard of a time RSVPing.

According to the site as of right now we have 17 people attending our wedding.  Should be a small and intimate wedding with only 6 songs people want being played during the dance portion.  People likely don't realize that we need them to respond with a no if they aren't coming.  But, about 3 or so weeks before the wedding we will get on all these people that haven't responded and likely just do it for them.  Hopefully, we get a lot more responses to make this job a little easier on us!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Wedding Invites

Our wedding invites have all been sent out so I guess it's safe to talk about this now...

I wanted to make sure we used our engagement photos somehow because sometimes you never end up seeing a single engagement photo of a couple at their wedding.  Since we aren't using any of our pictures for our guestbook it was an easy decision to use one in our invites.  We had TONS of great pictures to choose from because our photographer is AMAZING!  Click here to see some other photo options we considered for our wedding invites.

The design.

John and I decided on all the wording for our invites.  We knew we wanted a Bible verse somewhere on the invite as well and I really didn't want the front of the invite to be too wordy (I was looking at some examples and one in particular just seemed too jumbled with words).  Because our wedding venue is outside of the city just off a highway we also decided it was important to include a map to where the venue is.  BUT, we didn't want the map on another piece of paper because that just adds to printing costs... so we made sure that got on the back of the invite.  Other than the important information for date, time,and location the only other thing we needed to include was an RSVP date and how they could do that.  We are actually using an online service for our RSVP (hopefully it works... I'll talk more about that next week).

But in the end we did not design the invites.  I have a very talented cousin that was (hopefully) more than eager to do this for us.  All we had to do was pay for printing and get some envelopes that would fit our cards (we had our cards designed so that 2 would fit on a regular piece of paper to help cut printing costs).

We had them printed at Staples... all we did was drop off our USB with the file of the invites on it and explain what we wanted.  They charge you to open the file on the USB but it was only $2... and in my opinion to do that in store rather than online ensures that you are getting the invites done properly... well worth the $2.  I was warned about them charging a fee for cutting so John and I had already planned to go to his parents place on Monday to use their paper cutter.  BUT, then the employee at Staples told me the fee to cut them would be $3 to get them all done... so I "splurged" and had them cut it.  My reasoning (other than it only being $3) was that if they messed up on the cutting I'm sure they would reprint them free of charge (we actually might not even know that they messed it up) but if we messed it up we would be back at Staples paying to have more invites made.

So all in all we paid $5 extra to have them printed at Staples but we are pretty happy with the results.  PLUS, it only cost us $78.87 to get 120 invites printed (so 60 pieces of paper) which was well under our budget of $150.  When we added some envelopes (I just bought a pack of 100... so some people are getting invites not in an envelope - but we are handing some out so I think that's ok) it came to $103.46 which is still a good amount under our budget.

I didn't even look into any other types of wedding invites... I know that at Michaels you can get a package of them and you can design them online with their program. But even then you still have to pay printing costs and we would have likely needed to get more than one box of them (I'm guessing one box might have 50 invites or so)... so I still think we went the smarter route.

A huge thank you to my cousin for designing these beauties!

the front

the back

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Wedding Florist

Psst... sometimes when looking for people to hire for your wedding you just have to ask the most recent person you know who got married.  That way they do all the hard work of pricing things out and seeing who offers the best stuff for the best price.

And that folks, is exactly what we did for our florist.  John's sister got married in February and she had mentioned how a lot of florists charge A LOT for flowers but she had found someone that was super reasonable.  So John and I didn't even look around.  We (okay, it was me) asked John's sister who they used and called her up.  Turns out her prices are really reasonable (am I the only person that gets excited when things come WAY under budget?).

We went in to see her not really having too much of a clear vision of what we wanted (or knowing if certain flowers even existed... ahem John ahem) and I'm confident she'll be able to put it all together into something beautiful for us.  After talking with her and corosponding through email a bit I think I do have a pretty good idea of what I want things to look like (and I think we are on the same page... I guess I'll see soon when she puts together the silk mock up for us)

What is she all doing for us?
Bouquets (mine, my bridesmaid, and one to toss into the crowd)
Boutineers (groom, groomsmen, and our dads)
corsages (for our moms)
Flowers for centerpieces

If you are in the area and want a reasonably prices florist let me know... I'd be happy to pass on her information to you.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Top 20 Cookies from the Year

I said about a month ago that I would compile a list of my top cookies that I made during the last year .. after reviewing the candidates I decided that the list had to be 25 cookies long (and let me tell you narrowing it down from 52 Weeks of Cookies to just 25 was kind of hard.  But here we go (in no particular order

5.  Graham Cracker Cookies 
(I'm going to make these again soon to bring to the lake!)
8.  Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
(I might make these again this summer too)
9.  Banana Cookies
(these are next on my list to make and bring to the lake)
25.  Birthday Cake Cookies (because... special occasions)

I've noticed now that I've compiled my list that a peanut butter cookie is noticeably absent from the list... so.. do you have a go to peanut butter cookie recipe?  Because I might need to try it!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Wedding Photographer

Selecting a wedding photographer was one of the easier things John and I had to do.  

First, I asked for suggestions.  My sister went through photography school and so I asked her who she thought would do a good job.  John's sister also recently got married so we [kind of] looked into who she used as well.

Out of all the suggestions I emailed just 2 photographers.  

How did I narrow it down?  That's easy and something you should know I always default to because of my Mennonite ways... price.  If they didn't have a price listed online I didn't bother to send them an email.. I mean they could have been really affordable but come on... list your prices so I have an idea of how affordable!  

One of the photographers was someone my sister had recommended and the other was an acquantice.  
In the end, we went with the photographer that I knew.  I knew that she would be easy to communicate with and because she knows me she is willing to do (in my opinion) so much more for us!  

Sometimes going with someone you know isn't the best option... they might give you a really good deal but take their time getting pictures back to you (I've heard of this happening) or they might give you a really good deal but be relatively new to the field.  

I feel like we are getting the best of the best for us and I'm looking forward to her (and the second shooter... that's right it's going to be like the paparazzi showed up!) capturing our special day.

We ended up using one of our engagement photos for our invites that we hope to have sent out (or hand delivered) by the end of the month but here are 4 photos that we also really liked that didn't make the cut..





and here is a much better shot of the ring... John zoomed in on it



Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Guest Book

We've come up with a great idea for a guest book (but I'm obviously not going to tell you exactly which idea that is).  What I will tell you is that I sent the following images to John to help us make a decision for what we wanted our guest book to be (and we decided on one of them).

1.
Wood


It goes well with our centerpieces and is pretty well free!

2.
Engagement Picture on Canvas


I feel like we need to find a way to use our engagement photos and show them off to people that attend the wedding.  This would be a great option!

3.
Polaroid Picture Scrapbook


We'll need someone manning the table to take our guests photos (we'll also need to purchase/rent/borrow a polaroid camera) but you have more than just a signature to remember the person by.

4.
Hearts in a Frame


Ok, I wasn't sure what to call this one but basically people sign the little wooden hearts (they can maybe write a message on it if they really squish) and drop it into the frame for us to have forever.

5.
Classic Wedding Guest Book with Engagement Photos in it

I didn't think a photo was needed for this one but it's also an option.  A great way to show off our engagement photos!

Feel free to venture a guess as to which one we picked.  Like I said we did pick one of them (but I won't be telling you which it was... you'll just have to stay tuned until after the wedding for that)




Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Wedding Day Accessories

The day I bought my wedding dress I also bought a couple accessories to go with it (mostly because I was for sure buying one of them and then the 2nd - a bracelet was half off).  I make lists for John and I to get through in a week or two and last week I had "buy shoes" (for myself) on my list of things to do.  

Luckily for me that same week Aldo sent out an email reminding me of the presale for shoes that are 50% off that I never even looked at the first time they sent it because I was 100% sold on the idea of getting my first pair of Toms to wear on my wedding day.

Why Toms?  I think they do great things and I found a pair that I liked (and I thought it was a great reason to spend $70 on a pair of flats).  Then when I finally found them in a store (I was just going to order them online if I never found them in store) I was uncertain on them.  $70 is a bit of money to spend on shoes you are uncertain on.

So, with this knowledge in mind and that reminder email from Aldo just sitting in my inbox I made the very short trek to Aldo to get some regularly $60 for $30.  Only, for Christmas I had asked for a gift card from there to buy a black purse (which I actually JUST bought for a wedding I went to recently - also half off) and with what was left I only had to pay about $14 for my shoes.  What a steal!

This week I've been wearing them around my condo to stretch them a little (I was torn between sizes to get.. 7 seemed almost too big and 6.5 seemed almost too small but the guy told me I had time to wear them around the house and return them if I didn't end up liking them).

I'm not going to be announcing which ones they are (I guess you can go online and make some guesses though) but I will tell you that I will not be wearing any kind of heels at the wedding.  John isn't too much taller than I am so I get to wear flats (which is exactly what I would have chosen to wear anyways).

Now I just need to decide on what kind of earrings to wear (or if I need to go out and purchase some) and I'll be all accessorized for the big day!

Unless,,, I'm forgetting something (and it isn't hair that I'm forgetting about.. I'm just not talking about accessories for that.... yet)


Saturday, 2 July 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookies With Frosting

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 53


That's right folks... I've got one (and only one) bonus week for all of you!

We've got so much to be celebrating...

Schools out for summer
Canada Day
My birthday
Wedding Planning is still happening
Oh, and I've got relatives in from The States.

This weeks recipe comes from Cookies and Cups

So, it's everyone's two favourite things.. chocolate chip cookies and frosting... and when you put 2 things that you really like together it's supposed to make something REALLY tastey... right?  Just watch Full House Season 5 Episode 25 for confirmation of this.

Anyways, obviously when you pair tuna with ice cream it may not turn out so well and I'm assuming frosting and cookies hasn't turned out nearly as bad as that did.... but still not so great.

Am I still bringing the cookies to the lake next weekend?  

Of course!


If these seem a little familiar they probably look a lot like my very first week of this madness when I made some Birthday Cake Cookies which I'm going to go ahead and recommend you make!

Last week I also made some pretty good cookies: Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies



Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Wedding Centerpieces and Wedding Cake

John and I had a hard time picking out colours for our wedding.  I initially proposed the idea of purple and orange to him about a month ago and he did not like it.  When I asked what he didn't like about it he said it was the orange.  So I let him hum and haw over it for a while and eventually we decided on the colours (by talking about centerpieces) and they are... purple and orange (I guess it was the wrong colour of orange).

Some inspiration for our centerpieces came from these photos...





We haven't picked exactly what kinds of flowers are going to be in them... I think John said some wispy kind of looking orange ones... a few purple, white (probably babies breath), and a bunch of green.  There is going to be one special touch that is unique to us that John wanted to include from the beginning (I just helped him come up with a more elegant way of including that special touch)

As for the cake... we asked my sister early on if she would be willing to do our wedding cake for us and so we kind of had to have an idea of what kind of cake we wanted early on.  So, we looked up some wedding cakes online (without fondant because lets be honest, who actually enjoys that stuff?) so we sent her these 2 pictures of cakes that we liked.

My choice for wedding cake

John's choice for wedding cake


My sister said she could make us 2 smaller cakes instead of one large cake so that we could both have our way on this one but then I mentioned to John that no one would believe that he wanted the fancier looking cake.

In the end we are going with my choice of cake.  

Why?

Because John said he cared more about the centerpieces then the cake.

We haven't decided on a flavour of cake yet... once we spot a great deal on cake mixes is when we'll have to decide on that one.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 52


Well folks, this is it... I've officially made a different type of cookie every week for an entire year.  Not going to lie... sometimes I definitely didn't feel like doing it (and sometimes I made 2 cookies in one week but only posted 1 type per week).  There's also a good chance I've put on some weight from this endevour.  I'm pretty happy that I don't need to be making a new type of cookie every week from here on out and can stick to some that will freeze well for a little while (so that I don't constantly have cookies on the counter or in the freezer.  In the next week or so I'll be compliling my list of cookies that I will make again (I'll try to keep it to 20 cookies or less.. but I can't make any promises because if I remember correctly there was a number of delightful cookies that I ate this year!).

Anyways, this isn't my first time making Oreo cookies... Only a few weeks ago I made some Ultimate Oreo Cookies and I've also made some Carrot Cheesecake Cookies, some Mint Sandwich Cookies and if we are just going to go ahead and count all sandwich like cookies I also made some Jam Jam Cookies.

This weeks cookies come to your from Chef in Training and they will not disappoint.

Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies
I didn't change the recipe on this one.  In fact, I was actually going to make a full recipe (which I haven't done in a while) but then realized I still had a half box of devils food cake in my cupboard from another cookie recipe and so decided to just finish that off.

My verdict:  9/10.  They are really tasty but next time I think I would make half the amount of filling that's required... it made a lot and was pretty sweet... I just think it's not necessary to have that much (but a child would probably disagree).

Last week I made some Turtle Twix Cookies that were also quite good.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Life Lately

I interupt my usual talking about wedding stuff to tell you all about my life lately (because it's more than just cookies and wedding over here!)

School is winding down and my pool has officially opened (it actually opened about a month ago but this weekend was the first time I headed down there).  My friend and John's sister came over for an evening swim because it was just way to hot to do anything else.

Those same 2 girls that came over for a swim also went to a wedding with me (John also came).  It was for a friend from life group (and John's sister knew the bride).


the whole life group!


We (my sisters and I and all our significant others) took our parents ziplining for Mother's and Father's Day (because it was something that my mom actually wanted to try!)

just my sisters and I hanging out with my dad

the guys hung out with my mom


my mom even managed to climb this... and by the time we got to this point it was pretty windy!


I've got tomatoes, flowers, spinach, and swiss chard growing in my "garden" outside.  The tomatoes are an experiment John is doing because they aren't actually growing in any soil.  So far, lots of flowers on the tomato plants but no tomatoes.

And of course wedding planning, wedding planning, wedding planning.  We have pretty well made our way into the 7 month part of the checklist I found online which is nice... mostly because we have less than 4 months before the wedding!  I'm not too panicked about it though... it'll all get done.

The list for the next couple of weeks includes:
finding shoes (for me)
deciding on suit (for John)
finalizing the guest list
deciding on invites
deciding on a florist (pretty sure we already know who we will go with... we just need to contact her)
figuring out flowers for the centerpieces (ahem florist ahem)
make gift registeries
finalize the cake

The list seems long now that I look at it... but I think it'll be doable... most of the stuff we already know what we want we just need to make sure it's going to happen (or possible for it to happen)

And that folks,
Is my life lately!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Turtle Twix Cookies

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 51


This is it folks... just one more week and I have officially made a new cookie every week for an entire year.

I've made Turtle Cookies before and I've made Twix Cookies before but never have I ever combined the 2... until this week that is.

These ones come to you from The Chunky Chef and they won't disappoint!
Turtle Twix Cookies

I didn't change much about these (in fact I even made the full recipe because I was bringing them to a get together).  But what I did change was I didn't add the optional salt to the caramel (ok, this is because I forgot about it) and I also almost forgot to add the pecans which is why my pecans are on top... I wasn't trying to be different or anything.

I was pretty surprised that most of these cookies were still in the container after the get together.. turns out one of the newbies to the group has a severe nut allergy... so I'm going to go ahead and blame it on that and not because these don't taste delicious!
If you also have a friend with a severe nut allergy the recipe does say how to make them just twix cookies and it's pretty easy... you just leave the pecans off of them.

I give these cookies a 10/10... looks like I'm saving all the great ones for the end!

Last week I made some Pecan Pie Cookies that were pretty tasty!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Venue

In case you haven't heard I got engaged!
And we picked a date for 5 months after the engagement.
So needless to say we've been doing a lot of planning!

A couple of weeks ago we officially booked the venue

We didn't have a whole lot of options because of the short timeline which was possibly a good thing.  I think I emailed about 10 venues asking for prices and dates and only 4 got back to me with dates and prices that we thought were reasonable.  So... a couple of weeks ago John and I set out to look at the 4 venues.

There were a couple things that influenced our decision as to where we picked to have the venue.

1)  Price.  Obviously.  It came into play when I was buying my dress so it came into play here too.  Someone told me that we need to invest into our futures and not just this one day.  So I think that's what we are trying to do.  PLUS, I really believe that we can throw a beautiful wedding and keep the costs to a minimum.  At least, I hope we can!

2)  Dates.  The venue we actually ended up picking didn't have the most desirable dates BUT we did eliminate some right away because they had dates at the beginning of September.  4 months was too soon.

3)  The Actual Venue.  The date we picked for our wedding (which I'll reveal in a later post) may not have nice weather.  There is a chance there could be snow.  There is a chance it could be beautiful.  There is a chance it could be somewhere in between the 2.  Because of this I wanted the option to have a nice indoor space to get married in (our venue has both indoor and outdoor options).  I wanted to make sure the guests would be comfortable (one venue we looked at had bathrooms outside... not heated and some didn't include heaters which concerned me because the temperatures will drop quickly one the sun sets).  

For us the choice of the venue was easy.  Our venue offers both in and outdoor spaces, a house to get ready in that is on the property, and the owner just so happens to also do the food (at some pretty reasonable prices).  Our guests should be happy and perhaps more importantly, John and I should also be happy with this choice (and we are!)

And... because I'm sure you're dying to see some kind of photo I snapped this one when John and I took our parents to see the venue.


and that's all you're getting!
...for now at least.
In case you missed it... I talked about Wedding Dresses last week

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Pecan Pie Cookies

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 50


You guys!  These ones taste really good!  And despite what you may think with them having the word pie in the title they are pretty easy to make!  

You can find the recipe for these cookies on Celebration Generation and I didn't change a single thing up from the recipe except that I didn't include the option spices.

What do I like about them?  The cookie part is delicious and it tastes like how I remember a pecan pie to taste (although it has been at least a couple of years I feel since I've had an actual pecan pie).

pecan pie cookies

Anyways, make them.  You won't be disappointed.  10/10
Last week I made some cookies that would have been a better choice to make this week given how hot it has gotten... Chocolate Snickers Cookies that don't require any baking!