Saturday, January 29, 2011

Updated Wedding Website - 280 Days To Go!


280 days seems like a really long time, but I have a feeling that it is going to just fly by! Have you noticed that we updated our wedding website over the past few weeks?

We started our registries with Amazon, Target and Macy's. This seems like it would be an easy task, but we really struggled with it. I think the idea of asking for gifts was a little tricky.

We each chose our bridesmaids and groomsmen.

We chose some possible hotel options for out-of-towners and listed them. I am pretty certain that my mom and I will be staying at the Valley Ho in Scottsdale the night before the wedding, but I included options in Scottsdale and downtown Phoenix.

I created a place where you can contribute your favorite old photos of us for possible inclusion in a slide show or some sort of photo collage, please check out the link for that too!

And finally, we nailed down our rehearsal dinner location. My mom is hosting our rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. We really wanted to be able to include any family that is in town, especially since we aren't doing a formal dinner on the wedding day. We already have quite a few family members who live in Arizona and will have lots and lots of family coming in earlier that week up until rehearsal day, so we needed a place that could handle a fairly large group. We found it, Ajo Als! It was our first choice. I called in December and learned that the owner's son is getting married the same day as us and they booked the patio for their rehearsal dinner. He called me back today to let me know that the church moved their rehearsal to Thursday 11/3, so they moved their dinner, and we can have the patio! I was starting to worry a little about finding the right spot so it felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders.

Please take a moment to visit the wedding website and see our new details. Don't forget to let us know that you dropped in by signing the guest book. Things are really starting to get underway now.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Art History Assignment - An Autobiographical Collage


I tried to portray "joy". Although we've had a lot of grief these past few months from loss and the recent flu epidemic in our home hasn't been all that lovely, this really is a time of "joy" in our lives. We are new home owners, freshly engaged and both feeling pretty hopeful about our future.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Puppy play date



Jaime and Mark have a new little puppy named Monty. He is just a big ball of fur with an itty bitty body. Honey just loves little dogs. I can't explain it. They fascinate her. Other dogs, she just ignores. But give her a little dog and she is as happy as can be. Although the pictures don't make it look like it, she was very excited to have a puppy play date earlier this week. And, Joshua and I were happy to see friends.

Let me give you a kiss.

Come on...just one kiss!

Please....

Why won't you let me kiss you? I love to give kisses.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Best healthy meatloaf


This Turkey Meatloaf Recipe from Giada is honestly the BEST meatloaf I've ever had. Erin and I made it a few months back and were both in awe of how easy yet flavorful it is. Loretta left me a fully grown parsley plant when she flew back to NY. I trimmed up the plant and use the fresh parsley in this dish. Unfortunately, Joshua does not eat meatloaf. I knew that he had other plans for dinner tonight since he has what seems to be a nasty sinus infection, so I took the opportunity to make this dish again, minus Erin. It was just as good as the first time. I think that I can finally feel confident about making it for others. Yay!


Ingredients:
Vegetable cooking spray
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped garlic and herb-marinated sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat

Directions:
1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Spray a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, if using, eggs, milk, feta, salt, and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat.
4. Carefully pack the meat mixture into the prepared pan and bake until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and slice. Put on a serving platter and serve.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gnocci and Brussel Sprouts


One of my new year's resolutions is to cook more homemade meals for Joshua and I and to eat fresh. This worked out quite well while my cousin Loretta was here because her favorite topic these days is organic farming and her second favorite topic is good food. Loretta is turning 20 in about a month and attends Copper Union in NYC. She was home a few weeks over holiday break. It was a fun visit for me because it was really the first that I've seen her since she's officially become an adult, a fledgling adult, but an adult all the same. She taught me how to cook brussel sprouts and gnocci. She also planted a bunch of herb seeds that are just starting to sprout. So I look forward to the fruits of her labor. I exercised my new year's resolution this week by going to Sprouts about every other day to pick up fresh meats, veggies, and more for homemade dinners. I am happy to report that Joshua liked the gnocci but he was not willing to try the brussel sprouts. Oh well, more for me!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Arizona Bridal Show

I'm not sure how much we actually accomplished at the Arizona Bridal Show today, but we sure had fun. We tested out every photo booth on the show floor. I also found some interesting ideas for flowers, photos and more. If the mission was simply to have fun, I can definitely say "mission accomplished".




Saturday, January 8, 2011

Josh's Grandma Evelyn


It certainly wasn't easy, but we made it through Evelyn's mass today at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I have to say, it might just be the most beautiful and meaningful mass I've ever attended.

Evelyn's 90th birthday with Bishop O'Brien

Evelyn's 90th birthday with Father O'Grady

Bishop O'Brien attended, while  Father O'Grady led the service. Having known Evelyn since the 50's, he knew very well how special Evelyn was and he spoke most eloquently about her life as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend and a Catholic.


Afterwards, we ate...we ate...and then we ate some more (as shown in the photo above). Between the more formal reception at the church and the more informal reception at our home, there was tons and tons of food.


Josh's mom with her siblings.

Some Grandchildren and significant others.

Josh's uncle Greg and cousin Wendy.

Josh's dad visiting with his sister and her husband.

Looking at old photos.

Saying good-bye is never easy. In fact, it is downright difficult, trying and sometimes even terrible. Even at 90, all of us agreed that her passing was just a complete and utter shock. I think that we all just assumed that she'd live forever. Although she was not my Grandma, she will always have a special place in my heart and my memory. After all, she was a pivotal figure in creating the man that is my husband-to-be. He credits some of his best traits to her. For that and for the short time that I got to spend with her, I'll be eternally grateful.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

10 months and counting down


Is it too early to start a countdown for the wedding? Our wedding day is exactly 10 months from today. Can you tell that I'm getting excited? I am! I updated our wedding website with some hotel suggestions tonight. There are so many great places to stay in the Phoenix area, it was hard to choose.

So far the plans are coming along. My girlfriends Erin, Jaime, Marietta and I are planning to attend the Arizona Bridal Show at the Phoenix Convention Center for fun this Sunday. I've narrowed down my dress to a specific designer. Erin and I are planning a trip to visit her boutique in April. And my very good friend Kristen who owns Creative Stash will be custom designing our invitations. I'm holding tight to my motto, "keep it simple and casual". So far, so good. This is fun!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Snow Days

Our family.




Our Christmas present from Josh's dad. It is an entryway table. He just needs to add the wood planks. He even added some personal touches for us. 


The above photo shows a project that Josh's dad added at the ranch since the last time I was there. Isn't it beautiful?

 Honey with her new boyfriend Kodi. They enjoyed walking at the same pace as Sonny scouted ahead of us on a long walk. 


 8 dogs is a lot of dogs. I think Honey thought she was just at really, really, really cool dog park.


Kodi fetches snowballs and then eats them. 

Meredith winding up to pelt Jody with a series of snowballs. 

Before.

After.

Luke loves a good game of tug-a-war. He thought Meredith's glove was a perfect opportunity to play. Good thing she is such a good sport. It took several people to get that glove out of his mouth.

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