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Friday, June 22, 2012

Guess what?!

I'M GETTING MARRIED TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

4 more days

So, of course, not counting today (Monday) or the day of (Saturday), we have 4 days left until we get married! I am super excited! Things are coming along for the wedding, a little slower than I'd like, but they are coming along. I still have a list of things that I need to get done, like finding a cake server deal for the cake cutting thing. Oh, and the rest of the picture slideshow, and picking and finalizing the music. And finalizing the itinerary. No big deal. However, with the rest of this week, I'm going insane.

Tomorrow, we have to go get our marriage license, get house and car insurance (because both of them have officially expired), go back to the house to finish deep cleaning it (to start paint either tomorrow or Wednesday), and there might be something else, but I don't remember what it is.

Today, I decided to take the day off from work on the house and catch up on the apartment work that needs to be done, since we are still residing here. The dishes and laundry have sat neglected for about a week. We are officially out of clean utensils, and I am all out of clean underwear. My other goal is to get more of the picture slideshow done for the wedding.

Some advice to any future brides, when your fiancee says, "We have plenty of time, don't worry about it.", don't listen to him all the time. Especially when it comes to wedding music. I have to find a copy of the Father/Daughter song that my dad picked, and I don't know how to do that. Brian's at work, so he needs to do that as soon as he gets home...

Monday, June 11, 2012

12 Days

Hello, all! I have been so busy the last few weeks!

We have only 12 days left until the wedding!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited to marry my best friend!!!! For the last month, I have had to constantly remind myself that mine and Brian's wedding is just that, OUR wedding. Not my mom's wedding, not my sister's wedding, MINE AND BRIAN's! I am a people pleaser by nature, so when someone says, "I think you should do ____ this way:___", I feel like I should do it, whether or not I like it. I'm getting stressed out about the little things, like my bridesmaid's shoes. Nobody will be looking at their shoes, but it's something that I can worry about, so I do.

On the other hand, we have the house. We go in on Wednesday and review the contract and sign if we agree. On Friday (or maybe Thursday night) we get the house keys and she's all ours! I start on Friday by doing carpet and paint and ceiling!! My beautiful friend Sam is coming to help us redo the house because her bedroom is being redone and she has some "insider" tips! Plus, I'm feeding her, so it's a win-win.

The last few days, Brian and I have almost completely finished the memorial frame for the wedding reception. We had to print out pictures, find appropriate quotes for the occasion, fit those into a 4" x 6" frame and work on the font. All we have left to do for that is the "what this person means to me" section of it, and then that whole table will be done!

Mom sent me a picture of my wedding bouquet that she finished last night, and I am so excited to walk down the aisle and say "I do" to the love of my life!

I'm sorry this post has been kind of all over the place, but I'm having random thoughts just pop up. They all need my attention (just like the dishes in the kitchen sink), but I can only focus on a few things at a time.

Brian's sister applied for her trucking job the other day, and she leaves on Monday to go! She said that she will leave her computer for us so that we can do the slideshow for the wedding reception, which is very handy since Brian wants to do the slideshow, but we don't have powerpoint on our computer. Plus, on Kenda's laptop, it will be much easier to have everything set up and take care of it. Otherwise, we would have to move our desktop over to the church, then move it again, and that's just too much for me to worry about.

Because we are getting the house with 5 acres, Brian and I are talking about getting a couple dogs for the kids. We want something that will be good for outside dogs (even though Em really wants a lap dog, ugh), so we are looking at the bigger breeds (to ward off coyotes) like the chocolate or yellow Labradors! The kids kind of want a beagle because there is a little beagle that follows us and walks with us when we go on walks around the neighborhood, but I'm worried that a beagle won't hold his own with the coyotes out in the country...So we are still talking about our dogs, but we are one step closer to owning them!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mini Shortbread Apple Pies

An Original Recipe
Mini Shortbread Apple Pie

Several months ago, I was helping little Em with her Girl Scout cookie sales. We sold all of the boxes that she was given to sell. Some of those boxes never left the house and we paid for them. I think we had a total of 4 or 5 Trefoils (which is a fancy way of saying "shortbread"). I had no idea what to do with them except for eating them like they were. One night, I had the idea of mixing some broken pieces of cookie into strawberry yogurt. It was actually pretty good, but I knew that there had to be something else to do with these leftover cookies besides mix them with yogurt and make miniature ice cream sandwiches with them (we never did the ice cream sandwiches, but that was the only recipe I could find online that used these particular cookies). 

Brian and Em LOVE Dutch apple pie. What separates Dutch apple pie from regular apple pie? The yummy crumb coating on the top, rather than pie crust. Knowing this, I set out to the local grocery store to pick up one ingredient: Apple Pie Filling. 

My genius idea was to crush a sleeve of the shortbread cookies, mix it with some melted butter and create a pie crust. Then throw in the can of apple pie filling, and top with a crumb mixture (which also happened to be the crust mixture). So, how did I get from a full sized pie to cupcake sized pies? Simple. Because we are in the middle of the move, I had the bright idea to pack up all of the pans that we don't use on a regular basis, and the pie pan was included in that. I still had the muffin tin, so I lined it with cupcake liners and called it good. 

Mini Shortbread Apple Pie

  • 1 1/2 sleeves of the shortbread cookies, crushed (I found it helpful to crush them in a ziplock bag)
  • 3/4 Tb butter, melted
  • 1 can apple pie filling
  1. Line your muffin tin with cupcake liners. 
  2. Mix the melted butter and the cookies in a bowl. Spoon some of the cookie mixture into the bottom of the cupcake liners. I prefer a little thicker crusts on all of my pies, so I was using about 1/2 of a regular spoon in each pie. 
  3. To get a nice even crust, I used a cupcake liner and a glass cup to press the mixture to the bottom of the pan. So, I had a cupcake liner, the cookie mixture, another cupcake liner, and a glass cup and then I gently pressed down so the crust was spread evenly. After I finished one pie, I moved on to the next and repeated the process until they were all crusts. 
  4. I divided the can of apple pie filling into each of the 12 pies. They all were pretty full.
  5. Bake the pies for about 8 to 10 minutes at 350. They will start to smell like a real apple pie. 
  6. Take them out, and using the rest of the cookie mixture, top each pie.
  7. Pop it back into the oven for about 7 minutes. 
  8. Let them cool and enjoy!

It was a pretty easy recipe. I had the whole thing done in about 30 (including the baking). The family and I played a game of Uno while they were cooling, then it was time to eat them. They were so good! I think Brian had 3 that night...then he got up and had another one for breakfast the next day! I'm not much of an apple pie fan, but these were pretty good! 

I was pretty excited about this! It was my first original recipe and it worked! I have never made up a recipe until the other night. Now I have more confidence in the kitchen. Hopefully, with the move and repairs we are doing on the house, I will have more confidence doing DIY projects as well!! If you use my recipe (or make an adaptation to it), please comment and let me know how it turned out!!! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mommy's Day

This weekend was so much fun! I loved getting to see my family again! The last time I saw most of them was back in July of last year for Grandpa's retirement party. On Friday, Aunt J and Uncle E came and met us in OKC to take out to the lake, which was extremely nice of them! I loved getting to go on that mini road trip with them and catching up without all of the chaos of the rest of the family. On Friday night, after the rest of the family got there, Aunt R, Aunt L, Grandma, and I took a walk around the camp and found the lake. We took some pictures on the beach and had some crazy ones, I'm sure!

Then on Saturday, we spent the day hiking, fishing, swimming, and just some general hanging out. Saturday night, we had a campfire and that was pretty fun! I was really proud of A for getting up and singing 2 songs a capella in front of people he had only known for 24 hours! He had a great time! And Ms. Em had a great time, too! She loved getting to play with my sisters and female cousins! All of the kids had a great time! Daddy made me cry during the campfire, but it was a good cry, so it wasn't all bad! On Sunday after a breakfast of omelets in a bag, we packed up the entire cabin and campsite and checked out to head home. Shareen brought me and the kids back to OKC to meet Brian again, and then we all came home and crashed. We were all in bed no later than 9:30 last night. Brian had been moved to days at work, and he didn't get very much sleep.

We also found out last week that we are able to move next month! Which means that starting on June 15, I will be spending most of my time ripping up carpet and painting walls until our wedding on the 23rd. Then, the kids will go to their mom's in Arkansas on the 24th, and we will move in as soon as we can! I might be more than a little crazy moving and getting married all in the same 2 weeks, but things just kind of fell into place that way! I am so excited about all of it!

Camping this weekend help me realize a few things. One of the major ones is that I can finally read a book. Now, I've known how to read since I was little, but the last time I talked to Chris, he suggested that I read "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck. He even tried to give me his copy of it. Well, it has now been over a year since he took his life and I am finally okay with reading this particular book. Thinking about reading the book and finishing it used to scare me. I used to think, "What is going to happen when I get done with the book? Will Chris no longer be a part of me?" Completely irrational thoughts, right? Well, that's what happens when you are grieving the suicide death of some one that you love. You don't always have completely sound thoughts. So, fast forward to where we are now. I have come to realize that just because he is gone and suggested this book doesn't mean that at the end of the book, the world will end. My life will keep going, I will keep healing, and I will get stronger. It has taken me over a year to realize this. Suicide grief is so hard to deal with. I never thought that anything I did would be this hard, both mentally and physically. I have never been in so much physical pain as I was in the first month after his death. The mental battle that I deal with every single day is so draining, and there are some days when I just have to tell Brian that I don't want to talk about something and I don't want to deal with anything, that he will have to do it. He is very good about offering me the support I need and taking care of the things that need done when I am out of commission, so to speak. I am a much stronger person now than I was back in September when I first started going to my SOS meetings. I love my group. We are a family, bound together by the common thread of suicide.

I am still pretty tired from the camp out, and my entire family has been in bed for an hour and a half. It is too quiet in the house and I'm fixing to crash, so I will say goodnight to you all now.

But before I go, I just want to say that it is an honor to write for you. I'm hoping and praying that as my page views increase that I touch the life of just one person. I only have 4 followers, as of last count, but you mean so much to me. It isn't easy, this life that I chose to lead, but it is worth every tear, every mental battle, every late night and early morning. I wouldn't trade in my family or close friends for anything, and I hope that they know that. If losing Chris so suddenly and tragically taught me one thing, it would be to not take for granted the people that you have in your life. The people that chose to stay, even when the going gets tough, are the ones that really show you that you are loved, and you are not alone, and you are worth it. If it weren't for Brian, my support group, my family, and a handful of friends, I would not be the same person that I am. I am so blessed by all that God has given me.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Camping and wedding prep

Last week, Brian, the kids, and I were invited to go camping. Last  year, my dad's family decided to start a Mother's Day camp out and make it an annual tradition. I couldn't make it because I was working, but I get to go this year. Brian can't because he has to work, but the kids and I are going. I haven't seen my family since last July at Grandpa's retirement party. Part of my contribution to the menu is bringing Trail Mix. Since everyone knows the best kind is the one that you make yourself, I made two different varieties. Using the recipe from Chex, found here, I adapted it to be my own.

The first recipe I made did not have the cheerios in it (it's really the only way to tell them apart in the pictures).

Emily's Mix #1:

  • 6 Cups Rice Chex cereal
  • 3 Cups Corn Chex cereal
  • 2 Cups of mini pretzel twists
  • 2 Cups of mixed nuts
  • 1/4 Cup of butter
  • 1 Tbl Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbl Yellow Mustard
  • 2 Tbl Honey
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
And prepared according to the original Chex preparation directions. This recipe made about 21 servings, 1/2 cup each. 

Emily's Mix #2:

  • 3 Cups Corn Chex Cereal
  • 3 Cups Rice Chex Cereal
  • 3 Cups Honey Nut Cheerios
  • 2 Cups mini pretzel twists
  • 2 Cups mixed nuts
  • 1/4 Cup of butter
  • 2 Tbl seasoned mustard (I used a mild mustard with herbs, from Germany)
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
Again, prepare using the original Chex prep. This recipe made about 21 servings, 1/2 cup each. 

That was for the camping trip over Mother's Day weekend. Now, for the wedding prep that I did last week! 
I found a blog here that has one of the most awesome thing I've ever seen. I wanted to make mine and Brian's toasting glasses for our wedding this summer. So one morning, we were at a garage sale and found a set of 4 martini glasses for 50 cents a piece and I made my own version of her glasses. 

These are the results from mine: 

I am so happy with the way they turned out. I only showed mine and Brian's because my lovely Maid of Honor sometimes reads this and I want her to be surprised with hers! I mixed two different paints to get the color we got. All of the instructions are on the link above, along with pictures that show the steps. I used the oven cure method, as the author said that was the best one for this particular project.  

Anyway, that's what I've been working on. I think sometime in the next few days, I'm going to make some puppy chow and take that with us camping. The recipes I made (above) are both a sweet/salty flavor. It's actually really good! 

Peace out, Girl Scout!!! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

50 Days to Mrs!

I am so excited!! We are getting closer to our wedding date! June 23 could not get here fast enough for me! I had a conversation last night with my mom and my maid of honor about my bachelorette party, and now, everything is going to go more like what I wanted!

A few weeks ago, the kids and I had been invited to go on my family's annual Mother's Day camping trip to Quartz Mtn. State Park here in OK. I had originally told my family that we couldn't make it because we didn't have a car to get there. Brian would need it to get to work and back that weekend. Plus, we don't have much camping gear, so really, it wouldn't be very much like camping for us. Today, I was telling my stepmom the reasons why we wouldn't be able to make it, and she said, "Well, I will find you a ride. Start packing!" She and my dad have enough camping supplies for boy scouts, or as she put it "a refugee camp". So we are all set! When the kids got home, I told them that I wanted them to go try on their swimsuits. They asked why, and I said that we would go camping next weekend. They were so excited that they started jumping up and down and screaming. Then, I told them that they would get to meet my family and they got even more excited! It's all that they could talk about tonight! I'm so happy that they want to go camping and meet my family!

I still have so much to do before the wedding...and packing for the camping trip.

Yesterday, I spent a good chunk of the day at my mother-in-law's house going through a huge plastic bin of pictures. I picked out some to put in the slideshow for the wedding reception. Mom sent me a picture that we are going to use. I'm excited to get some more stuff done!