Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blog Post 5 (in which parentheses have taken control)

Well, as you can clearly see, I made good on my First Ever Blog Post promise to neglect you.  What have I been doing all this time, you ask in outrage??  I was sick for 5 days.  Courtesy of my husband, who was also sick, but not quite as bad as me.  (curses!!)  But we’re both better now.  I was also just pretty busy.  Chad and I went shopping at Tyson’s Corner two weekends ago.  I did end up getting the Zoku Duo Quick Pop Maker!! (which was great because immediately after that I got sick and I always love popsicles when I’m sick).  Then last weekend we went to Borders twice (because they are going out of business, I’m sure you’ve heard) and we both found a few things to bring home.  It’s funny because even with their sale prices everything is still cheaper on Amazon.  I read two books (which, oddly enough, were not the ones I got from Borders).  I love to read, but I never have time anymore.  But they were really good books.  I liked them a lot.  (Hey!  Maybe sometime I’ll do a review blog post on one of them?!  There’s a fun idea.)  We went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Wal-Mart, Lowes, and Hobby Lobby, like, twice each.  Some other stores, too.  My mom and I got groceries a couple times.  Chad and I had dinner with both sets of parents.  We ate at the Greene Turtle & Rosalie’s and those were both delicious in the extreme.  We went for lots of ice cream (also delicious).  I baked a cake and made chocolate covered pretzels (yes, all delicious, too.  Gosh, is food my whole life?  Writing this all out makes me feel like I need to go weigh myself).  And, as you can probably tell, I’m getting into the mundane things things now that you have no actual interest in hearing about… if you haven’t already given up reading…                    


Wait! Come back!  I’ll be more interesting!! 

I just finished up writing all my wedding thank you notes!  Finally!  Whew…   I’m so late in getting it done.  I feel like a horrible human being.  Really, I am VERY thankful for everything.  And really, I did start writing these notes RIGHT after the wedding.  I have no idea why it’s taking so long to get them sent out.  And I will be so glad when they stop commandeering our coffee table.  So anyway, half of the envelopes are addressed, stamps are bought, and I just have to get the other addresses and I will be good to go!  Except (of course, there’s always something else) I really really want to get a return address stamp with our address on it (obviously, Elana) so that I can just stamp those babies and be done!  I think that would be really cool to have for all letter writing situations!  There are, like, a ton and a half designs over on (which I just added to the Websites We Love section – don’t know how I forgot about it til right now??) but I don’t really have a particular affinity for any of the ones on there.  (Is affinity the right word?  I dunno??  My fingers just wrote it.  Don’t ask me.)  So I found a few websites where you can make your own stamp for something like $20.00.  I made up a pretty simple design (or seven), so now I just have to decide if I want to attempt to make my own and possibly have it be crap (and if so, decide which of my seven designs I want to use) (and if not, which one I will settle for on Etsy) (OR if I just want to drop the idea entirely and hand-write it 75 times).  Gosh, why can’t I just make anything simple??  It’s a curse.  I seriously over-think EVERYTHING.  Ask Chad.  (He’s nodding in the background.)  (No, not really, I just made that up.)  (I did warn you that I might do that.)  (He IS actually in the background though.)  (So it’s only a half-lie.)  (I have no idea why I feel the need for all these parentheses.)

Okay, so, looking back on this entry, I’m not entirely sure that I succeeded in my earlier promise to be more interesting.  I’m also not entirely sure that I had an actual point to make here.  That is a dangerous situation for me to be in because I have been known to take a simple conversation and turn it into this spiraling out of control, several topic, no end in sight, attack on the English language.  That is why I’m going to make this the end.  (Why are my conclusions always so awkward??  I have no idea how I passed my speech class.  And I’m doing it again.  Seriously, this is what my blog posts look like before I go back and edit all the randomness out of them.  I’m going to leave this one alone to set an example of the horrors you could be subjected to if I didn’t hold back a little.  You're welcome.  If I ever tried to be a real writer I think my editor would end up strangling me, or breaking my fingers, or at very least, ripping the 9 and 0 off my keyboard.)

(Okay, I lied.  I did go back and edit some of it out.  Yeah, it was that bad.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Shutterfly and Less Meals To Make

Last night Chad and I went down to my parent’s house for dinner!  We really enjoyed that!  I’ve been missing my family, but it’s so hard for us to get there on the weekends because Chad and I keep going away, so we thought right in the middle of the week would be the perfect time!  My mom had a really yummy meal complete with lots of garden tea (she may just come home one day to find a large portion of her tea plants missing…) and homemade strawberry jam (fortunately, I already have a stash of this thanks to her help last month).  I think we will try to make this dinner thing a weekly tradition!  Plus, we almost always have dinner with Chad’s parents one night a week so they can talk about business stuff that they don’t have time to discuss during their busy days.  So that’s two nights a week that I don’t have to worry about dinner! YES!!!! :)  That makes me warm and fuzzy (and also lazy). It’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking because sometimes I do.  If it was baking I’d gladly do it every night.  I like baking a lot, but I tend to bake so much (sweets) that I have to throw the majority of what I make away.  And that is not a warm and fuzzy feeling…

But anyway, today I was briefly browsing Shutterfly (again), and thinking about how I really want to make another photo book.  I’ve been going crazy on Shutterfly since the wedding.  I could spend my life savings there.  If you’ve never heard of it you should check it out.  I like it cause they offer so many different photo objects and they are so easy to customize.  I first heard about it when Chad and I signed up for our wedding registries.  We used Target and Bed, Bath, & Beyond (which are great places to register, by the way – our only glitch was with target – when we scanned our bath towels, they showed up in the registry as diapers.  You can see how that could give the wrong impression…).  But both of these places have a cool little package that they give you with some coupons and stuff, and each of them included a different Shutterfly offer.  Maybe you should consider making a "wedding" registry just for the free gifts.  (I'm just kidding, of course, that would be wrong... probably.)  Bed, Bath, & Beyond gave me a card for a free 8x8 photo book, which I made before the wedding and gave to Chad as a wedding gift. 

Target’s offer was a free $20 to spend how you like.  At first I thought I’d get another photo book, but the offer was going to expire before I could get my book made, so I decided to go with a customized 252 piece puzzle.  We got it about 2 weeks ago and finished it last week.  Not the highest quality thing, but for the price it’s a fun option.

I also made an 18 month calendar.  (I choose 18 because if I started it at the beginning of this month, it would get the whole way around to December 2012 and I wanted to round it off at the end of a year). I’ve really wanted one for a while and around father’s day they had a great sale where everything was half off, so I went ahead and ordered it then for $11 + shipping.  Great deal!  It’s my favorite creation so far!

On top of those, I’ve gotten about 70 free prints from Shutterfly since the wedding, all from email offers.  Usually when there’s a holiday, they send out an email with something like 30 free prints (you just have to pay a few bucks for shipping).  So you can check it out if you want.  There’s a link on our “websites we love” list over to the right of the page!

I’m headed to work now.  Looks like it’s going to be a pretty busy day!  …but I don’t have to make dinner tonight! :D Hoorah!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yes, Please.

I usually have a list going of things I’ve seen around that I think are awesome and that I need (want).  Please?  <insert irresistible smile>.  But I think at the top of my list right now is the (drum roll…) Zoku Duo Quick Pop Maker.  ($36.95.  Williams-Sonoma.)

Oh my, the popsicles this thing makes look good.  Like, really good.  The main reason this is at the top of my list right now is because it is smack dab in the middle of summer and it is HOT out, and don’t you always crave a nice icy treat when it’s this hot out?? Yes, please!  Plus, this baby is available at Williams-Sonoma, which just happens to be one of the places we received a nuptial-prompted gift-card.  One of the many wedding gifts we love!  (I will definitely talk about more of them in later posts).

What sets the Zoku maker apart from other ice pop products is the speed with which you can create popsicle masterpieces.  The Duo (with 2 popsicle slots) can make 2 popsicles in as little as 7 minutes!  This is because you keep the Zoku base in your freezer so it is super cold when you pour the liquid of your choice into the molds.  With the Duo, you can make up to 6 popsicles at a time before refreezing is required.  There is also the normal Zoku Quick Pop Maker, which can make 3 at a time and up to 9 before refreezing! ($49.95.  Williams-Sonoma.)  There are also several “add-ons” for this thing to make your popsicles even cooler (and your wallet even lighter)!

They have a set of Zoku Tools that allow you to make prettier ice pops, adding stars or hearts to your popsicle or slanted layers. ($19.95. Zoku Store.)

Extra Sticks & Drip Guards are available if you are going to make more ice pops than what sticks already comes with your Zoku Maker.  ($11.95.  Zoku Store.) And a Storage Case to keep them in!  ($19.95.  Zoku Store.)

Williams-Sonoma also has a Character Tool Kit which would be super cute to do with kids cause they can make all kinds of cool/funny faces.  (14.96. Williams-Sonoma.)

And (I could go for this one, too) there is a Zoku Recipe Book that gives you lots of cool ice pop flavor ideas. ($16.95.  Williams-Sonoma.)  You can also find some really yummy-sounding free ones on Zoku’s Website and on Williams-Sonoma’s Website.

There’s no way I’m kidding myself into thinking that my popsicles would look anything as nice as the ones they show in all the advertisements, but I’m sure they’d taste just fine.  

There are only a few things holding me back from running down to Williams-Sonoma right now and picking this baby up.  The first was a good question from Chad: "Are we (his nice way of saying 'you') going to use this a few times and then forget about it?"  That is a fair question since it does tend to happen with me sometimes.  I get really excited about something and have to have it and then barely use it. (sigh...) I think I would use it a lot!  Especially since it's so fast and easy!  But would I??  

Also, a few reviewers had a lot of trouble with their Super Tool (which is a tool that comes with the Maker that allows the popsicles to be pulled out of the mold).  Apparently, if this doesn’t work, there isn’t any getting those ice pops out.  You basically have to defrost the entire thing.  Furthermore (and this is much less of a concern for me, even though it really should be), you cannot make sugar-free popsicles with this maker.  It seems that something about the sugar is what allows them to easily be pulled out of the molds after they are frozen.  If it doesn’t have enough sugar content, you can’t get the popsicles out.  Zoku’s website has some healthier recipes, though, that still have enough sugar to make a good popsicle, and with the Tools, you can add in shaped (or not shaped, if you’d prefer) fruit pieces to your ice pop!  Pretty and pretty healthy!

What do you think?  To buy or to pass by?  Anyone have one of these?

Hmm… maybe I will just pop (pun! hehe!) down to Williams-Sonoma after all…

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Yummy Weekend

Well, the weekend is almost over. Sad face. Friday, which I like to consider part of the weekend (at least the second half of it), was spent cleaning the house. I love to get this over with on Fridays cause then the house is nice for the weekend and I get to relax Saturday and Sunday (usually). I also made a really yummy dinner for Chad Friday night. Ham Loaf, Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes, and Garlic Cheddar Biscuits. That all turned out very yummy, I must say. I meant to get a picture of it, but of course I forgot. The Twice Baked Potatoes, I think, are my favorite. Mmmm.

Then Saturday, Chad and I went for a drive toward the general area of Raystown Lake. We didn't really have a final destination. We just felt like going for a drive. Well, we ended up at a Wal-Mart in Huntingdon. Yep... we drove two hours to go to a Wal-Mart. We didn't even get anything. Bahaha! But it was pretty fun and very scenic. On the way home we stopped and had dinner and ice cream at the Milky Way. That was really good. I didn't realize how close we live to it! It's only about 15 minutes away!  Sweet! (pun! yay!)

Today, Chad and I watched King Street's live sermon feed from home because I wanted to get my dessert together for a cookout that we are going to tonight in honor of Chad's Grandmother's Birthday. I've had my eye on this dessert for a while, but never had an excuse to make it since it makes rather a lot. It's a very easy recipe (or I wouldn't be doing it), just a little bit time consuming.

1 package brownie mix (about 20 ounces)
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix (3.9 ounces)
½ cup water
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed (8 ounces)
1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed (12 ounces)
1 bar chocolate candy, for garnish


 *Start by preparing the brownie mix according to package directions and allowing to cool completely. I use Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie mix. These are Chad and my favorite brownies. They have chocolate chunks in the batter that just make them so yummy. I baked these last night and put them in the fridge to chill overnight.

*Then combine the pudding mix, water, and sweetened condensed milk. Mix this well and fold in the 8 ounce container of whipped topping until there are no more streaks. This makes a tasty, thick and creamy, marshmallow creme-like pudding.

*Place half the brownies in a single layer on the bottom of a trifle bowl, or similar clear glass bowl. Next, dollop half of the pudding mixture over the brownies. I wanted mine to be pretty, so I took extra care into making it slide nicely between the brownies. Then spread half of the 12 ounce container of whipped topping on top of the pudding layer. Then just repeat: remaining brownies, pudding, whipped topping. I had just enough to do two layers perfectly.
*Shave chocolate from candy bar onto the top for garnish. I used a Hershey's dark chocolate bar and vegetable peeler and this was the hardest part for me. Apparently I don't know how to shave chocolate very well. But it turned out pretty anyway.

Mmmm can't wait to eat this tonight.

Then Chad and I took a brisk walk (at least it was brisk for me since I spent the whole time trying to keep up with Mr. Long Legs) and for lunch, we finally used our Panini Maker, a wedding gift that we've been wanting to try out forever. Chad made us both a delicious ham Panini, and I got off easy (“that's what she said” -Chad) with just making us simple salads with American blend and romaine lettuces, peas, red beet egg slices, cucumber, mushrooms, cauliflower, tomatoes, cranberries, bacon pieces, and croutons (At least that's what mine had. Chad is less adventurous with his salads). 

And we drank the last of my Boston Mint N' Tea that I just made yesterday! Chad actually asked if I wanted the rest of my full glass (which meant, of course, that he wanted it) and I let him have half (because I am the perfect wife).  We drank a whole gallon in two days! Gah!! We love that stuff!

Tonight is the cookout with Chad’s family and I’m looking forward to that, and also to tasting my Chocolate Trifle, which I haven’t tried yet. Hopefully it’s as good as it looks.  Chad keeps insisting that he make sure it’s not poisoned or anything horrible like that before anyone eats it. (“Not that you would poison it,” he quickly adds when I give him that special 'think-before-you-accuse-my-food-of-being-poison' look.  “But maybe the condensed milk… or the chocolate… maybe that was poisoned before you got it…”)

Nice try, buddy.  Nice try.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Our First Ever Blog Post

Sooo… Chad and I decided to start a blog.  And by that I mean, I decided to start a blog about Chad and I.  He will probably never, in any way, contribute to it (or read it) but I’ll pretend like he will and perhaps force him (in a very loving way) to add a few comments every once in a while along the way.  There’s also a strong possibility that I’ll just make them up.  (Okay, okay, in all fairness, I could probably get him to at least read it…)

I first thought about starting a blog when I was planning the wedding because there was just so much going on in every aspect of my very, very busy life that I thought everyone would probably be, like, blown away and incredibly interested to hear about.  Hence the reason I did not start one.  I already had no time and it’s not like the sun and moon were going to get together and start hanging out an extra hour here and there so I could write stuff down.  I decided that instead of doing it then, I would start one right after the wedding and write about being all happy and newlywed and la-te-da.  Well, it turns out that marrying the man of your dreams does not suddenly cause your life to become carefree and devoid of responsibility.  

I got even busier AFTER the wedding.  There is a routine you have to fall into.  You have to get used to living in a different place, and doing all your own shopping, and cleaning the whole house by yourself (which is, technically, what I’m supposed to be doing right now…), and doing all your own laundry and then doing the towels again cause apparently towels can never just. stay. clean. (oh, the folding!!! curses!!!), and deal with two very different work schedules, and make meals, like, 5 times a week!! What?!  5 times a week?!  (“No, honey put down the frying pan! That’s a good girl, and the knife… that’s right… I think we better eat out tonight…”).  It’s pretty insane being married.  I think for the first few weeks the most common phrase you’d hear in our house was, “I don’t wanna be a grown-up anymore.”

But of course we love being married and grown-up and there are very fun and good things about them both, and now, at long last (like, 2 and ¾ whole months later), things are starting to fall into a nice workable schedule, and we are finding ourselves with more time on our hands again! :) So, obviously now was the perfect time to finally start that blog!

So, anyway, I think that this blog is going to be, like, really super interesting and entertaining and awesome.  We’re (I’m) going to share our vastly amusing life stories, and stuff that we like, and things that we do, and stuff that we just think you should know in general.  There’s going to be action, adventure, comedy, drama, lots of the words ‘lol’ and ‘like’ and parentheses, and plenty of run-on sentences.  I do feel a little obligated to warn you that over the course of this blog’s existence you should probably expect to be neglected, subjected to my amazingly horrendous grammatical abilities, aware of what tangents are, and able to read sarcasm.  So, in conclusion, if you are okay with all of those things, I think you all should follow our blog.  There is a little ‘followers’ category over there to the right, and unless someone took pity on me since I wrote this, it’s just me in there… alone… following my own blog.  So, I could really use some company.  Just click on that little follow button.

Hmm... I don’t really know how long is long enough for blogs.  I feel like this one might be a little on the longer side of what some blogs are probably expected to be.  Probably should have tacked on “accepting of long-windedness” back in that last paragraph with the other warnings.  So, I’ll just wrap this up now… however awkwardly… bye.