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Archive for October 2010

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween, it’s a close second with Christmas, I just love all things spooky and being able to dress up as someone else!

The Mister and I got engaged in the middle of August and planned our wedding for this last October.  We decided the perfect way to celebrate with our families was to throw a Halloween engagement party.  It was a costume party and we all had so much fun.

It didn’t take much brainstorming to come up with a costume idea, we had to be a couple and what better couple to be than Mario and Princess Peach, the Mister is a HUGE dork, and this was one of his favorite games.  I started working on sewing my Peach costume and it surprisingly didn’t take that long.  Without further ado…

All of our guests dressed up, including both of our mothers.  We even dressed up our dog as a princess, but she did not care for it, so she got a fun fabric collar.

Everyone have a happy and safe Halloween!

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Get to know my family

I have a crazy family, but they are the best and I wouldn’t replace them with anyone else!  I talk about them a lot so I’m going to take this post to introduce you to them.

The first and really the most important is my darling husband, Jeremy, whom I will likely refer to as the Mister or Mr. Martha, I haven’t decided which yet.  I’m not worried about someone stalking us, just more so for future readers who won’t know him by his name!  We met at Barnes and Noble and bonded over frappuccinos and our desire to see Sweeney Todd, which had just come out in theaters.  Our relationship wasn’t perfect, we hit a few bumps in the road, but I think that just pulled us closer and even more in love.  We were married on October 8 of this year at an amazing wedding with all of our close friends and family.  You can see the recap in my very first post with tons of pictures!

Jeremy is an ‘instructional staff’ member, I believe, at our local university, Western Kentucky (Go Topps!).   He teaches a book club for Literacy 199, which is a class for students who didn’t score high enough on their ACT.  He also runs the literacy lab, which is a place for these students to go when they need help.  He loves his job so much, I love that he’s happy but he works really long days half the week, and I just miss having him around the house.

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Snorkeling in Rivera Maya

Playing in the snow

Best day ever - Our wedding

We are the proud parents of 2 puppies and 2 kitties.  I’ll start with our first and move on to our new addition.

I’m allergic…to basically everything that moves.  Outside is basically off limits to me while everything is blooming and pretty.  Worst of all I’m allergic to anything with fur.  I’ve always had a soft spot for furry critters though, they’re so helpless most of the time!  We have a store here called Repets, it’s a store front, they sell all kinds of pet supplies, but they also have dogs and cats for adoption.  When we’re in the area of the shop we like to stop by and see what they have.  We’d been talking about getting an animal but we weren’t really to the point where we were going out to actively look for a cutie.  New years ever we were in the area of Repets and had to stop and we found two of the cutest little kitties and my heart just melted and I had to have one, or maybe both.  We asked about getting the kitties, they have a buy one get one for $5 special on cats, so why not get 2?  They were 4 and 6 months old, the 4 month old was chocolate brown with big pointy ears, such a sweetie and the 6 month old was black with white spots, a half pink half black nose with half black half white whiskers, he was so cute!  We were told they had been there basically their entire lives.  The chocolate brown’s mother would not nurse him so he moved to the black and white one’s mother and she nursed him like her own.  They were basically brothers, and all alone, all their other brothers and sisters had been adopted and they were left in this crate to await a home.  We inquired about adopting them and were sadly informed that the chocolate brown one had just had adoption papers drawn up on him by that couple over there, as she pointed.  They were not happy that there was a wait period, they wanted the cat right then.  We were disappointed but went about the process of adopting the black and white one.  We went and bought all the necessities and 2 days later they called and told us to pick up our kitty.  We went and picked him up and the adorable chocolate kitty was still there.  We took our cat and told them that if the other couple didn’t want him we did and went home to play with our new bundle of sass.  We hadn’t even pulled into our driveway when the store called and said the other couple decided against getting the kitty and told us to come get him.  I stayed home with our kitty while the Mister went to pick up the other.  Apparently the other couple only wanted him that day and changed their minds!  All the better for us!  The staff said they really wanted us to take both of them, so I wonder if they fudged something so they couldn’t have him.  After observing them for a while we decided the black and white one was Roosevelt and the chocolate one was Hemmingway.  Roosevelt was very cat like, I like to call him uppity, he’s better than the rest of us.  Hemmingway was very aloof and playful but as the days went by he became a little heathen who jumps all over the furniture and attacks Roosevelt, but all in a playful way.  We decided a few weeks after we got them that he was not a Hemmingway he was more a Guinness and he became so.  He’s never changed, still all over our furniture, and crazy.  He’ll attack your leg for no reason whatsoever.  He often does Matrix moves on the walls.  He’s our little puppy kitty who likes to chase his tail and fetch and lick your face.  Roosevelt is indeed still uppity, he only likes to be held or really even looked at on his own terms, he’s quite mean and often gets drenched with water because he doesn’t know how to control his claws.

Roosevelt

Roosevelt napping

Roosevelt's favorite spot

Napping Guinness

His bunny ears for easter, never wore them but liked napping with them!

Guinness's favorite spot - the washing machine

Guinness in his element - Crazy!

A few months later we decided we needed a puppy addition and looked to petfinder to find our perfect dog.  It didn’t take long, we found a beautiful Shiba Inu who was rescued from a hoarder situation in a neighboring county.   She was one of hundreds of animals kept in a one room school house.  The majority, including her, had mange and horribly malnourished.  She had been at the humane society for several months to become healthy, she was finally ready adopt, but she’s such a sweetie and so good natured they didn’t want to let her go.  The day we picked her up was a bittersweet day for all the humane society workers, but we promised to send pictures and updates and that made them all happy.  She’s very damaged but she’s so good natured and loving that everyone who mets her instantly falls in love with this precious face.  The Mister really wanted to call her Molly and the name was very fitting.  Molly’s teeth were in such bad shape they guessed her age to be 4 years old, but she is so fragile and arthritic that we think she is older than that.

Molly Sue

Molly in her new home, with her new brothers

The last addition was another surprise.  We went to an awards banquet held by the Mister’s then employer and sat with his good professional acquaintance, I’ll call her Nita.  Nita was being recognized and brought her family to enjoy the banquet as well.  Nita’s daughter is a veterinarian in another state and fosters several animals until homes can be found.  Some how before we left the banquet we had another puppy, the vet had had this puppy for several month, couldn’t keep him, but grew to love him very much, so to let him go to a friend who could keep in contact made her very happy.  We wanted to keep him in the M name family with Molly, and brainstormed until we came up with Malcolm, and he just seems like a Malcolm to us!  What a handsome little dummy, he’s coming up on his 1st birthday!

Malcolm's first bath

Malcolm all handsom

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Hot Cocoa and Marshmallows

We had some horrible storms come through our neck of the woods yesterday. We had, I think, 4 tornado warnings in a 2 hour period, I hear a tornado actually touched down at the National Corvette Museum, which is only a mile and a half from my house. I opened the windows so I could hear everything that was going on and it got so hot in the house! After everything was over and it stopped raining I took my puppies out to do their business and it had dropped about 15 degrees! It was rather chilly and that put cocoa in my mind and there was no getting rid of it! It’s the very beginning of the cool weather around here and there was none to be found in our house! There was no way I was going out in the nasty weather so the only other option was to make it! After making this delicious hot chocolate I don’t know if I’ll ever buy store bought again!

Chocolately Hot Cocoa
This was originally a Martha Stewart recipe, but I doctored it a bit with some chocolate chips. Here are the ingredients:

* 1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa
* 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
* 3 ounces milk chocolate chips (or your favorite variety)

It really could not be more simple than this! You combine all of the ingredients in a food processor with the chopping blade and pulse. It combines the sugar and cocoa and coarsely chops the chocolate chips into smaller, easily melted pieces.

All chopped together

Martha says to add 3 tablespoons of mix to 1 cup of milk, but that’s just to gritty for my taste. I like eyeballing the milk to about a cup, I’m usually generous, and 2 tablespoons of mix, tastey! That is a little This recipes makes a delicious semi-sweet cocoa, if you like a sweet cocoa, add more sugar! For a little variety add caramel chips, mint chocolate chips, or even instant coffee!

No hot cocoa is complete without marshmallows, and of course we didn’t have those either, so home made those became too!

This too was a Martha Stewart recipe, but not nearly as easy to prepare as the cocoa. In fact it’s an overnight process. The taste is absolutely amazing, this would be a great activity with kids, what kid doesn’t love to get messy, and this is a messy recipe! Here are the ingredients:

* 1 cup water
* 2 ½ tablespoons unflavored gelatin
* 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
* 1 cup light corn syrup
* ¼ teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
* Confectioners’ sugar

A stand mixer is really a must for this recipe, a hand mixer could work, but it is mixing intensive! Start by mixing 2 ½ Tbsp of unflavored gelatin, I used Knott’s gelatin, it comes in five individual packages and I used almost all five packages, mix with ½ cup of water with a whisk attachment. It becomes a gooey gelatin that has a horrible smell! Don’t let this scare you, it comes out delicious. This has to sit for 30 minutes, so continue on and come back to this.

In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and the other ½ cup of water. Over low heat, stir until the sugar dissolves. Martha suggests using a wet pastry brush to brush the sugar down the side of the pan. After the sugar dissolves, turn the heat up to high and with a candy thermometer monitor the heat until it reaches exactly 244°, firm-ball stage. This took a lot long than I expected, it shot up to 215 within seconds but then took several minutes longer to move up the additional degrees.

Waiting for the right temp

When it reaches 244°, remove from the heat immediately. With the mixer on low speed, combine the heated mixture with the gelatin. Allow to mix until it is thick, white and nearly triple the volume, approximately 15 minutes.

Minute 0

Minute 15

While that is mixing prepare your pan. Martha suggests 1 8” x 12”. I only have a 9” x 13” and it was occupied with delicious lasagna. Instead I used 2 8” x 8” pans. My marshmallows came out about 1” thick, the small the area the thicker they will be. Generously coat the bottom of your pan(s) with confectioners’ sugar, this is what will keep your marshmallows from sticking.

Prepared Pans

Once you’ve reached the desired consistency pour into your prepared pans. Coat the top surface of the marshmallows with confectioners’ sugar. With wet fingertips, smooth the surface of the marshmallows and dust with more confectioners’ sugar. If you plan to cut your marshmallows into shapes with cookie cutters, it might be easier to smooth them thinner than one inch on a sheet of parchment. Leave the marshmallows on the countertop to dry overnight.

Dusting top with Sugar

Smoothing flat

To remove, run a knife around the edge of the pan and lift with your fingertips, it’s much easier to jiggle it loose with your fingers. Cut with a hot dry knife, this works very well, but only stays hot and dry for about 2 seconds, then it’s all gooey, so I typically worked with a gooey knife, not the easiest thing.
My marshmallows ended up being approximately 1” squares and made somewhere near 150 to 200.

Clean up is the perfect time to taste, kids absolutely love this….and I know I do as well!

Can't waste any!

Housed in mason jars, this would be an adorable and delicious any time gift! Here is my finished product, quite quite even unadorned.

Gift time!

Cuddle up with a good book and a cozy blanket and sip til your heart is content! Enjoy!

Yummy

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Wife Cave

I’m so excited to create my wife cave, not a mom cave, because I’m not a mom. But I’m a newlywed and while I LOVE spending time with my husband, I need some alone time too to work on my crafts or read or whatever may be on my mind!
Here is my prospective Wife Cave

Total mess, but it has great potential! As I posted in my last and first post I just had a DIY wedding 2 and a half weeks ago and this is the aftermath of that! Wedding gifts, left over DIY decor and a wedding dress with broken hanging loops litter the floor. Think this looks bad, you should have seen it right before the wedding!

I love to craft and I need a space of my own, the Mister just tolerates my crafting, I get quite messy! A gift card to Homegoods, one of my favorite stores, might get my wedding recovering butt into gear to get the room cleaned up, organized and decorated so I can start crafting and sharing it with everyone with my new blog!

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10.8.10 – My wedding!

What better way to start my new blog than with a post about my recent DIY wedding! My husband and I tied the knot in an amazing ceremony at Lost River Cave and Valley in Bowling Green, Kentucky. We had planned our wedding for 14 months and when it finally came we were not disappointed!
It was not an uneventful day, that’s for sure! It started out with waking up a 4:30am, giddiness just would NOT let me sleep, and shortly thereafter being bit by something, still not sure what. After a trip to the doctor’s office, just for peace of mind, we set out for the cave to unload and set up! The day went pretty much how I believed it would, total chaos, we were late for our hair appointment which made us late for dressing which made us late for our first look! But everything ended up on time end the end and really that was all that mattered!
I got dressed at my photographer’s studio, BGB Photo and Design. My mother took me and two of my bridesmaids came to help me get into my lovely dress.

After that, we headed to Western Kentucky University’s campus to meet my groom! We did a ‘big reveal’ or a ‘first look’, which is an orchestrated first look for the bride and groom before the ceremony. We, my husband and I, hate waiting, sometimes hours, for the bride and groom to take pictures after the ceremony. Not to mention our ceremony time was 6:30 down in a valley, and sunset was at 6:29, so by 6:45 when I ceremony was over it was completely dark, but more on that later. We met on the steps of the university’s concert hall, and it was such a perfect location!

Then we walked to what is known to students and alumni as Western’s Kissing Bridge. I don’t actually know the story behind the kissing bridge, not because I haven’t tried, but it’s a lovely area of campus that is perfect for pictures, don’t you think?

Then onto my favorite photo session of the day, Barnes and Noble! The Mister and I met at Barnes and Noble so this seemed like the natural place to remember on our wedding day. We got quite a few strange looks and several comments, but we got our frapps and sat all lovey dovey in the middle of the starbucks for about 30 minutes while our photographer snapped away.


Then it was time for the cave! We met all our party and family to take lots and lots of pictures.

There was a car fire that blocked Interstate 65, which kept the majority of guest list stuck since our wedding was 45 minutes south of both of our hometowns. But somehow almost everyone made it on time and the ceremony started on time, which was VERY important to me!

On to the party! I basically planned our entire wedding myself and also designed and created the entire décor myself. We had a ‘cocktail hour’ between the ceremony and reception that had no cocktails nor was it an hour, but that was the best name for it! We served lemonade, apple cider and water while our guests mingled, which the few who actually attended, the majority stayed at the mouth, but that’s their loss! I made what I call ‘photo ribbons’ which were, well, what they sound like! I took photos of us, engagement photos, vacation photos and just random photos and put them on pretty brown and orange ribbons. Then my great husband hung them from the trees at the river walk, which is the area next to the river of course, where our cocktail hour was held. We didn’t get any good pictures of the cocktail hour, it was apparently completely forgotten! But here is some sad little pictures, you can even see the pretty rhinestone embellishments I added to the pumpkins!


Our reception was full of DIY treats. From the centerpieces to our monograms to the buzz of our reception, the quotes at each place setting.








We were all about time management for our wedding! Our ceremony was about 15 minutes, if that, then the reception started with our introduction straight into our first dance, cake cutting then food, all within 15 minutes. I’m not a patient lady nor is my husband a patient man. That’s probably the reason why everyone said they thoroughly enjoyed our wedding…not to brag or anything!
Last few pictures, I promise! Some of my favorites




The night ended on a sour note though when my husband, I, our bridal party and families had to clean up our reception in our pretty pretty wedding clothes because we hired a useless wedding coordinator who left 15 minutes after the reception was over, never use Lasting Impression by Leona if you are in the KY/TN area. Then we came home to pack a leave for the Nashville airport at 2:45am for our honeymoon in Antigua! But that’s another day. Thanks so much for reading, maybe next time it will be more crafty and interesting!

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