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.  


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!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Wedding Dresses

Some people might think it's a bit crazy to get engaged one day and the next afternoon be out dress shopping with my mom.  But I knew I would need to order the dress soon because we are planning to get married rather quickly (but more on that later).

Anyways, I have found a dress.  It was actually the very first dress I tried on... I guess the consultant that was helping me really knew her stuff when I showed her the picture of what I thought I wanted.

BUT, I wasn't sure that was THE dress until I checked everywhere else first.

A number of things went into my decision to purchase this particular dress (that I will not be posting a picture of for hopefully obvious reasons).

1) Price

I don't think I had made a budget for John and I yet.. actually I know I hadn't because John said to wait until I saw what was out there before I limited myself with a budget.  But in my head I was hoping a dress for under $1000 wouldn't be unreasonable.  And it wasn't... I found many for under $1000.

2)  Style

I was fairly confident that I wanted a particular style but I wasn't 100% sure of it until I tried on other stuff.  After the first store I knew I didn't want a number of other styles... like I said my consultant was VERY helpful.

3)  Alterations

The fewer the better.  I had one place offer to make me the dress that I wanted using an existing dress that I liked the bottom of.  She told me all in (well, not including taxes) it would cost $850 which still seems like an amazing deal.  If this is an option for you and you fully trust the person doing the alterations than I say... why not!  I opted to not do this because I felt like I was paying for things I didn't want with the original dress... and well... I knew I already had one I liked.

By the end of the first day I had 2 options.  Going into the 2nd day of dress shopping I had 1 option and after the 2nd day of dress shopping I had 3 options.  Those 3 options were:

1) The dress that would need to be altered.

2)  The dress that I was showing everyone every store I went to.  I used an app called "Lookbook" by The Knot to search and save wedding dresses I liked... so I used a picture from on there.

sidenote:  I also used this app to decide on a ring style that I liked... and it's free!

The only problem with this option was that I had never actually tried it on.  BUT I was confident I would love it if the price was right.  Well, I never found out the price because they told me it wouldn't come in on time so that was an easy no.

3)  The first dress I tried on!  I could actually purchase this one in 3 ways.  The first being in store... easy and safe because they would take care of the ordering process for me.  The 2nd being online.  Not a great option because it was all in American dollars.  And the third being online though their sample sale.  I was seriously considering ordering it online though the sample sale.  They had it in my size after all and everything I had looked up about their sample dresses sounded very promising.

In the end I ordered it through the store.


Because they told me they were having a sale and everything would be on sale.  And well, can a Mennonite even resist a sale?  I don't think so.

So, as of Friday I have my dress ordered.  I'm hoping that with alterations it comes in well under my budgeted amount of $1200.

I had a number of other options to keep it well under budget.  A couple places had me trying on grad gowns... but I wasn't sure if I wanted a train or not and didn't want to have to not have one. Plus, it's hard to envision it being white instead of red.

And... if you are wondering if I'll be showing you the dress in person... the answer is probably no.  I haven't decided if I'm showing people it yet so I'm just not showing people.  Other than the 3 people that have seen it (my mom, John's mom, and a friend).

Psst... John and I set a date and booked a venue over a week ago!  Stay tuned for some details on that!

Miss The Proposal Story and want/need to read all about it?
Here is a picture of The Ring.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Chocolate Snickers Cookies

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 49

Alright folks, I lost my edge on being a full week ahead on these posts and quickly threw these cookies together at 10pm last night (I got distracted looking up information on wedding favors, centerpieces, videographers, and photographers... yes I looked into all of that!).  I already knew I was making these ones because I was fresh out of eggs but it turns out I was also practically fresh out of peanut butter.  So... I only did 1/4 of the recipe... which may have led to some errors in ingredient amounts.

Anyways, I found this recipe on Pinch of Yum.

This isn't my first time adding Snickers into a cookie I've done it with my Snickers Cheesecake Cookies (and these ones were pretty good so you might want to check them out)

Other than attempting to quarter the recipe the only other thing I changed was that I didn't have dark chocolate cocoa powder... I didn't even know this was a thing and I just used regular cocoa powder. But since I quartered the recipe that probably means I  pretty well changed everything!

Did they turn out?  They did!  I have yet to properly sample them because of how late I made them (and ok, I had already cut up Snickers for half the recipe and then when I found out I could eat half of what I chopped up I probably nearly ate the full half).  Here are my thoughts without properly tasting them (and I promise I'll taste them in a few hours hopefully and I'll come back and change all of this)... they seem kind of dry.  I was expecting them to be a little more wet.. especially since it said you could add extra oats if need be.  The scent when you add the boiling chocolate sauce to the oats and peanut butter is delightful!  AND these are so simple to make.. seriously they definitely didn't take me more than 10 minutes to put together and I was quartering the recipe folks!

Update:  I had a couple of friends over and these all got gobbled up so I guess they were pretty good (or we were just really hungry!).  I thought they were a little sweet though.. if I made them again I'm not sure I would include the Snickers.  I'll give them an 8/10

Last week I made some Cinnamon Bun Cookies that you might want to try out.