December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours.

Everyone have a wonderful holiday!

December 21, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Invitations!

I ordered them!!!

Now obviously I can't show you them as I am currently buried in invitations, envelope's, response cards and maps, and they haven't been sent out yet.

But I did want to talk about the amazing website that I ordered them from.

Invitations were beginning to become the worlds most annoying wedding duty. I couldn't decide if I wanted to make them or have them made, and when I went out to look at either option I couldn't find any that I liked. Not only that, but prices were ridiculous. Most packages I saw did not include reception or response cards and were already over 200.00. Not going to happen...

So two weeks ago when Chris and I were both off, we made it a mission to find our invitations. After an unsuccessful day of searching stores, Chris decided to take to the internet and found invitation styles

This site is amazing. They have thousands of templates for you to choose from and everything is totally customizable

I picked my invite, and pretty much changed everything about it. The colours were off, I wanted different wording and I played with the spacing. I sent them my order and I had a proof e-mailed to me within 48 hours. I made some small changes and had another proof sent in less than 24 hours.

Once I approved the final invite they shipped them and the whole process, including delivery took less than a week. I actually sent my order in a week after my guest book order and my invites showed up two days before the Shutterfly package (which came day late but who's counting?)

The process was completely painless and I absolutely LOVE my invitations (not exactly loving the assembly process, but that's another story).

What makes it even better is that I got 110 invitations, reception cards, response cards and two envelopes per invite and saved myself around $200.00.

So if your looking for invitations check out invitation styles (I'm not getting anything for this. I just love a good deal and want to share)

December 20, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Melted Snowman Cookies

Hey All!

How was everyone's weekend? Mine was crazy filled with last minute Christmas running around and our annual baking. I am like 90% done my shopping. I have some stocking stuffers left and the bestest's gift, which I will be getting tomorrow! It is going to feel so good to be done and finally get to sit back and enjoy the holiday (even if it is snowless...still a touchy subject).

Seeing as we just finished all of our Christmas baking, I figured I would use the next few Tuesday's to share some of the recipe's for our favourites.

This week: Melting Snowman Cookies.

My sister came to me a few weeks ago with these

Cute right?

Well they required about one hundred different ingredients and about a million different steps. Not very convenient when your making 8 different recipe's in one weekend, so my mom vetoed it. Until I decided that there had to be a way to do it cheaper and easier (I like modifying recipe's if you haven't noticed.

So here are my modified melted snowman cookies

We used a generic sugar cookie recipe. I believe we used one from Pillsbury but I'm sure any will do. When rolling the balls for your cookies make sure they are big. The cookies need to be large to make sure that you can fit everything that you need on them.

After they baked (about 8-10 minutes) we melted white chocolate to use as icing. *NOTE* Next time I would use icing sugar. The white chocolate is an off white colour so the "snow" looks dirty. Also you need a lot of white chocolate to make it look thick and drippy like it's supposed to. Icing sugar will probably be easier to work with and look nicer.

I placed a blob of icing sugar in the middle of the cookie and used a spoon to spread to the edges making it thick and drippy so that it looks like the snowman is melting.

After that comes the hard part. You need to take a large marshmallow and microwave it just until it becomes puffy (10 to 30 seconds). Then you need to somehow manage to grab them and put them on your cookie to make the snowman head. It's not easy. The marshmallow sticks to your hands and pretty much makes a mess. After a while you will get it down to a fine art and it becomes easier.

Then it's time to decorate! We originally bought mini M&M's to make the faces. I don't recommend this. They are far to big and the faces look scary and creepy instead of cute. After one we switched to mini chocolate chips for the eyes and nose and used the M&M's for buttons.

They were a lot of fun to make and I think they turned out fairly well, but I'm not going to lie, they were tedious and time consuming.

The marshmallows make your hands sticky and therefore everything else sticks which gets aggravating by the 20th cookie. I think decorating icing would make things go a lot smoother and may try that next time.

I also think these would be great to do with kids. You do the baking and they can decorate!

December 15, 2011

Thoughts on Thursday

* 10 days until Christmas!!!

* 10 days until Christmas and it is currently raining outside. Raining and warm. I'm really starting to worry about my Christmas day snow situation

* 10 days until Christmas and I am not even close to finished my shopping. I swore things would be different this year...

* All my Christmas traditions are happening this week. Our annual baking is on Sunday and the bestest and I are doing our shopping trip on Wednesday. These are only a few of the reasons why I love this time of year so much, so I can't wait.

* Even though we have a huge baking day on Sunday I'm in a mood for baking right now. So I think I might be making cookies tonight.

* The Christmas cards are out and I'm pretty sure everyone has received theirs. Unfortunately I'm still at war with my scanner, so I'm having problems showing them to you. I may need to get the boy to come and look at it.... Stay tuned!

* OK I'm going to get off of the Christmas topics.

* I'm waiting (not so patiently) for my guest book from Shutterfly to get here. The range for delivery that they gave me was between Monday this week and Monday next week. In my logic that means it should already be here. Hopefully today!

* I missed Wedding Wednesday yesterday due to my work's Christmas party and I actually had exciting stuff to talk about! Oh well, there's always next week.

* That's pretty much it! It's going to be a busy but fun weekend, so bring on Friday!

December 13, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Quick and Easy Mac and Cheese!

I'm back after another crazy weekend!

A friend and I went to see this on Saturday:

It was actually really cute. I mean it's not going to make an Oscar list any time soon, but it was a cute, fun movie. Not to mention all of the amazing views of New York City, which is enough to make me happy. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. I was very concerned that it was going to turn out like Valentine's Day, which was not so cute.

This weekend also included my 4th party lite party since September. I am literally drowning in candles. The bestest and I have decided that the power could go out for a year and we would be totally fine.

With all of these busy weekends I feel like December is flying by. We are already half way through and there isn't even snow yet! Today I could go out in a heave sweater and no jacket. As much as I hate snow, I want it for Christmas. I have never had a snowless Christmas and since there are only 12 days to go, I'm starting to get a little antsy.

With all of the craziness that December brings, I figured I would share a quick and easy recipe that Chris and I fell in love with a couple of months ago.

Chris and I both work full time, and I don't own a car, so he needs to pick me up before going home himself. After the drive, taking puppy out and finally getting ready to eat neither one of us wants to wait an hour for food to be ready, so recipes that are good and easy to make are very important.

I found this recipe on Campbell's website sometime last year and it became an instant hit. The hardest part is cooking the pasta, and then popping it in the oven for 20 minutes.

Quick and Easy Mac and Cheese:

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup

1/2 soup can milk

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/3 of a 1-pound package rotini pasta or medium shell pasta (about 1 1/2 cups), cooked and drained

1 tablespoon plain dry bread crumbs

2 teaspoons butter, melted

  • Heat the oven to 400°F.
  • Stir the soup, milk, black pepper and pasta in a 1-quart casserole dish.
  • Stir the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the pasta mixture.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the pasta mixture is hot and bubbling.
My Adjustments:

  • I normally double the recipe (4 cups of pasta and 2 cans of soup) but I make them in separate trays to make sure the portions are right (and I may have once crammed it all into one dish and had a small exploding incident in the oven....not important...). This way we always have left overs the next day, meaning no one has to cook, and occasionally Chris has enough to take for lunch.
  • Honestly, the breadcrumbs are the best part and a tablespoon isn't enough. You barely know it's there. I normally use about 2-3 heaping tablespoons of melted butter, and then add the breadcrumbs until it is crumbly enough to sprinkle over the top of the whole dish.

Other than that I just follow the directions. Watch the oven because it will sometimes take less than 20 minutes and your breadcrumbs will burn (Also learned that one the hard way!)


December 7, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Guest Book!

I have been on a roll with this wedding this week. All of a sudden I got motivated and have been ticking things off the list everyday.

Since getting our engagement pictures done, I have become obsessed with getting my guest book finished.

If you know anything about me, you would know that I am obsessed with pictures. I ALWAYS have my camera with me, and I'm pretty sure my friends have just stopped bringing theirs because they know I will have mine and I will be taking pictures.

My room is covered with pictures of friends and family and I'm slowly running of places to put frames (this doesn't mean that I stop buying them or printing pictures. Nope, it just means that I have a nice pile of frames sitting on the floor waiting for a place to go).

So, when looking for a guest book, I knew right away that I didn't want a generic one. I didn't want a book filled with signatures that I probably wouldn't be able to read and would probably end up in some box in my non existent attic.

I wanted something that I could display, that showed our personality, that I loved looking at and most importantly that used the million engagement pictures that I payed a fortune for.

I used Costco to get my Christmas cards printed because of the location and price, but when I went to look at their guest book, I wasn't impressed. Not to mention that Costco's website limits the sizes of the pictures that you can upload, so most of the pictures that I wanted to use I was unable to actually upload.

I spent days on different photo book websites, Costco, Blurb, Walmart, Black's and my fussiness was starting to show because I just wasn't loving any of them. Either the photo book wasn't what I was looking for, too pricy or the website was impossible to use.

I finally decided to bite the bullet and listen to all of my bloggers and try Shutterfly. This was the one. The site is super easy to use, they put no limits on the size of your pictures, and you essentially drag and drop the pictures to where you want them to be. Super easy.

I worked on it for a few days, adding boarders and playing with the pictures to make sure it was exactly how I wanted it. I ordered it last Thursday (when it went on sale for 30% off) and I got the notification that it had shipped last night.

I cannot wait until it gets here. This was my first experience with Shutterfly and I can honestly say I will be returning. The prices are amazing, the shipping is reasonable and the website is so easy to use. I should have saved myself hours and just went there first!

In other wedding news my dress came in! Stay tuned for updates of fittings!

December 5, 2011

Long weekend recap!

I'm back from my relaxing 4-day stay at home vacation!

We started it on Thursday by sleeping in (until after 11....heaven!) then getting up and heading out to grab some lunch. After that we hit some stores to check out invitations (this turned out to be very unsuccessful...I'm picky and didn't like anything I saw) and then went to see a matinee of Hugo.

I will admit that this was 100% Chris' pick. I had no idea what Hugo was, and when I was told it was 3D, I was even more disappointed. I find that 3D movies don't agree with me (unless they are really well done, like Avatar) they give me headaches and if the 3D is really crappy (*COUGH...My Bloody Valentine....*COUGH) I become nauseous. It's not fun.

Anyways, back to the point at hand....Hugo was AMAZING! The 3D was really well done, not overly blatant and there was never pointless objects flying in your face just because the director saw a good opportunity to show of his 3D abilities.

The story was even better. I'm not going to give anything away, but if you have the chance go see this movie.

The movie was actually fairly long so even though we entered in daylight, by the time we left it was dark, so we figured we should go home and spend time with the puppy. The rest of the evening was spent cuddling with my boys, catching up on the PVR and finishing my Christmas cards so they could go out on Friday. I also ordered my guestbook (more on that Wednesday) and found invitations from a site online that I loved and were a price I am willing to pay. I have a few details to work out, but hopefully they can be ordered sometime in the next week.

Friday we decided to get up early to accomplish the list of things that we failed to get done on Thursday (somehow lunch and a movie was so much more appealing than running an endless list of errands). We started by grabbing breakfast (gotta eat!) then ventured to Sears to work on our gift registry. We got a lot done on it, and I think the rest of it I can finish online. Working on the registry is fun, but I still find it so overwhelming. Who can remember what you have previously scanned? And the sales rep is a tad bit persistent and keeps sending us off in different directions. Needless to say I'm glad that process is over.

After that we went to pick up Miss. B and take her to Chapters for some Christmas gift ideas (very successful here, I picked up her gift at Walmart on Sunday), we had lunch while C got his hair cut. Then we dropped her off and hit some sport store. After that I met Mommy for dinner, a nail appointment, and a meeting to get a quote on bridesmaid dress alterations (this wasn't quite so successful, I don't think we will be going there). After a very busy day I went back to Chris' for another quiet evening catching up on the PVR.

Saturday was one of my favourite days of the whole year. We got up and met my family for lunch and then took off to go cut down our Christmas tree!

This is something we have been doing for 20 years, so pretty much as long as I can remember and I absolutely love it. It just wouldn't be Christmas for me without a real tree. I love coming into the house to the scent of fresh pine. I love tracking through the snow (although not this year) and watching the boys cut down the tree, and then going back to the chalet for hot apple cider.

My baby all ready to find a tree

Tree Cutting

Me and my boys

The family

We then headed to a crazy mall so Chris could buy a T.V stand for a T.V he doesn't have yet. Then it was nap time, tree hunting is hard work!

Yesterday was a bit of a lazy day. We visited Chris' grandma, and met his family for dinner to celebrate my future sister in law's birthday. Then it was home for football and, you guessed it, more PVR. A Good way to end a busy weekend.

It was a well needed break. I got a lot accomplished and I also got to spend some time with my fiance which is always nice.

Hope everyone else had an awesome weekend!