Monday, February 25, 2013

Unique Unity

I really wanted to do a unity ceremony for our wedding, even though we aren't particularly religious. We looked at all of the usual ceremonies, but couldn't quite find anything that was "us." We liked the candles, but then again everyone does it. Everyone who doesn't do candles? Sand ceremony.
We had looked at hand-fasting (but apparently some people consider this evil), rose ceremonies (I really wanted something we could take home afterward), and all kinds of other things on Pinterest and wedding boards... But still nothing that stuck out at me.

Until one day I saw a pin like this one over to the left on Pinterest and had an "ah hah!" moment.

Finger print hearts!!! 

There were three things that I loved about this idea:
1. The symbolism.
2. It's really cheap to do.
3. We've never seen it before!

Our minister wrote the following for our ceremony before we did the ceremony:

Sarah and Ryan, this celebration today honors a commitment by the two of you to continue to share and grow as individuals and as a family, today and every day for the rest of your lives. Unity ceremonies involve a symbolic representation of the bringing together of the unique individuals you are into a new and beautiful whole. Here, you have chosen to use your fingerprints, which are unique and represent the differences in you that compliment each other so well. As you make a heart shape with your prints, it represents the bringing together of those unique and different qualities into a unified whole while retaining your individuality.

I loved it. It couldn't have been better! The only thing to remember if you do this unity ceremony is to keep wet wipes or hand sanitizer up with the ink so you don't get any on your white dress!

Oh... And PRACTICE! 

Thanks to Katie for the beautiful pictures!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pinterest Party: Harry Potter Theme

If you haven't heard of a Pinterest party, they're super easy to put together and a ton of fun! How often do you have a hundred recipes on your Pinterest and realize you will never have time to try them all? Host a Pinterest party with friends and you can knock out more than a few. I'm going to tell you how we do it, but feel free to tweak the steps to work for you.

1. Create a group board on pinterest. Ours is here. When anyone posts, I ask them to tag the pin with the date of the party.
2. Choose a craft and pin it to the board. Pick something that will amount to ~$10 per person - nothing too expensive or too cheap. Nothing too crazy either. Try to avoid anything that will require long drying times, a ton of prep, etc...
3. Ask everyone invited to the party to pin a recipe to the board - and don't forget to do it yourself, too! You could even pick a theme for your party (holidays, movies, etc). Everyone should prepare their recipe and bring it to the party.
4. Get the supplies for crafting and get everything setup for the guests. Collect $10 from each guest, repay yourself, and keep an envelope for next time if there's any leftovers.
5. Eat your delicious food and make crafts!!!

Sounds fun, right? 

Recently I hosted a Harry Potter Pinterest Party for some friends and I and I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes with you!

Our craft was making wands, so I had my dining room table setup with all the different materials needed. I got the idea for the craft from here and even though we aren't kids anymore, I think everyone had a lot of fun. Oh, I forgot to mention in the steps above... Make sure you get a bottle of wine (or two!) to share with the pinners! It makes it more fun, especially if you end up with a "nailed it" moment.

You can check my Pinterest board that I pinned above, but I want to take a moment to highlight my absolute favorite recipes that we tried. First of all, this is the BEST homemade butterbeer I have ever had in my life. The recipe is posted to the board, but check here because I think some of the text is cut off. 

Next up, I had a chance to make Mrs Weasley's Rock Cakes. Mine didn't look quite as good as the ones in the picture on the recipe, but they were really tasty and not too sweet! I would love to make these again sometime, because they were just so easy. I do want to point out that they expand A LOT, so make sure you leave plenty of room between them on the pan, and smaller globs of the dough are better.

I'm not sure what we'll do for our next Pinterest Party, but if you have any theme ideas please post them here! Maybe something related to spring... Who knows!

Day Off Challenge: Living Room

I have today off for Presidents' Day, but Husband had to go into work, so I figured I'd contribute something worthwhile to society. Now, I'm not going to lie and say that I got up early and got to work right away... 

No, I snoozed my alarm several times. Watched some My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and had some snacks. (Healthy snacks, mind you - a huge bowl of various fruits!)

But all was not lost! I totally got up off the couch and did some productive things! My main project for the day, after figuring out how to get Pandora running on the PS3, was cleaning the living room. Believe it or not, this state posted below is actually not *too* bad compared to how it's been... But either way, it needed to be unfucked.

Just in case you couldn't tell where the problem areas were... Well, I highlighted them. Ahem.

So let me break down what I did to tackle this project step-by-step. This is for all of you that seriously hate cleaning. If you're a veteran cleaner/organizer, I promise you won't learn anything from me. Not on this post, anyway.

Step 1: Music. Put on your favorite motivational music. I like the Summer Hits of the 90s genre station on Pandora. Whatever gets you up and moving! 

Step 2: Dishes. Remove ALL dishes from the room and put them in the sink (or better yet, dishwasher).

Step 3: Couch. I cleared everything off the couch, fluffed it, febreezed it, and then neatly returned the pillows to their home. Always start by giving yourself a clean, comfy area to sit so that way you have somewhere comfortable to hang out and tackle that pile of papers that you've been meaning to go through but just haven't had the time...

Step 4: Coffee table. Our coffee table is where everything in the world lives, and it gets cluttered very quickly. Remove EVERYTHING from it (inside, outside, on top, etc) and move it somewhere else. Now clean the table. Noooow, you can slowly move things back. But keep in mind: does this item have a better home than the coffee table? If so, put it in its better home!! If you're lucky, you'll end up with a nice clean coffee table with nothing on it... Maybe now's a good time to find a new candle to burn. :3

Step 5: Floor. Same as everything else... Pick up everything and move it elsewhere. Then go through it. Find homes or trash it. This is a good time to vacuum, unless you still have a lot of surfaces to tackle. 

Nope, still not done. but here's my in-progress shot. I still need to tackle a few surfaces and then attack it with the carpet shampooer. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

How To: Pokemon Party

GIRL! How many times must I tell you?!
To have a successful Pokemon Party, you need to have a couple of elements. First of all, no party is complete without a delicious menu. And of course a Pokemon Party is no different...

On our menu was stuffed Pidgey burgers, pulled Piginite tacos, mesquite style BBQ Spearow balls, Moon Stone cookies, Krustle brownies, Bulbasaur salad, Pokemon jell-o shots, and various themed mixed drinks courtesy of The Drunken Moogle. I can't wait to have another one of these parties so we can figure out some more recipes to try. I know eating Pokemon is wrong, but I like to think that no Pokemon were harmed in the making of this party.

Lori with a jell-o shot.
We started up the evening by watching Pokemon: The First Movie. I think that without the beligerent comments throughout the whole film, I would have definitely cried during that final battle scene... Still a beautiful movie. Maybe it's just the nostalgia talking, but you can't help but love the story of Mew and Mewtwo. 

One of my favorite elements to themed parties is making everyone encouraging my beautiful and wonderful friends to dress up. I love Halloween, so any time I can add that element to other areas of my life is a win for me! So we had a few different Pikachu hats, a homemade Mew hat courtesy of a friend of mine, and an Ash Ketchum inspired hat. I can't even remember what shirts everyone was wearing, but they were, of course, Pokemon inspired.

If you're thinking this is the nerdiest thing you've read all day... You should have heard the conversations during the movies about the propulsion systems of Staryus and gendered versus genderless legendary Pokemon. I wish I could remember more of the debates we had, but I just can't. If I think of any, maybe I'll write a post and we can get some Pokedebates up in this blog.

That's a Wartortle mixed drink.

The Accidental Superbowl Party

Getting the beer ready while we wait for
the cable to come back...

I know I'm a week late in posting this, but I think it's important enough and will continue to be relevant enough to touch on.

My husband and I differ in our definitions of clean. I have a lot of house pride, and he... Can tolerate mess. Now, I definitely don't think I'm one of those crazy women that has to have a model home at all times. The dishes in the sink right now imply otherwise. But I like to keep the house at a certain level, and here's a real world lesson in why...

We were invited to a Superbowl party last weekend. We showed up about a half hour before kickoff and noticed immediately that everyone was sitting around a TV with a "no signal" message floating around the screen.

"So uh... What's up?"

Comcast was having an outage. During the Superbowl.

Stephanie's football whoopie pies! (Delicious!)
Yep... So that was interesting. After waiting a bit for things to clear up, and the game starting in the meantime... We needed to think of a plan B. Few people suggested some local bars, but with all the drinks and food that had been prepared, that wasn't really an option.

"Well, you can all come back to my house...?" Only a slight cringe. We had vaccuumed... So that was something. But still, there were a few people that would be coming to my home that had never been. I hoped that the mess wouldn't be too bad. No tumbleweeds of cat fur in the kitchen. No weird stains on the carpet.

Send Husband ahead to double-check that the cable was fine. Of course, the Ravens got a touchdown as he called and that was enough to get everyone's butts in gear. We were only 10 minutes down the road, but we still had to transport a few crockpots and cookies.

So all in all - we had a good party. No one noticed that the house wasn't 100%. But it got me thinking... How many more times are we going to have accidental parties?

So I've heard about party boxes that people keep with all of the elements needed for a successful accidental party. Plates, cups, soda, maybe some games, snacks, etc...

If you have any tips for what you would keep in your party box... Post it here!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Meal Planning: 2/4/2013

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, everyone! Go Ravens!!!


Freezer Pizza (Book club night!)

Pulled pork sandwiches (Craft night!) Trying this.

Leftover pulled pork and mac & cheese (Scrapbook night!) Leftovers (hopefully??)

Freezer pizza (Hair appointment!)

Pidgey burgers and pulled Piginite (Pokemon party!)

Yeah, I know I'm doing pizza twice this week. I have a lot going on and won't have too much time to cook...

Culinary Adventure: No Sweat Meatloaf

This isn't so much an adventure as it is, well, just a recipe. I haven't figured out how to get the meatloaf to remain "loafy" when it's done.. Mine is more of a meatblob. But it's delicious anyway, so have at it. Recipe is modified from 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know:

Onion Mixture
Onion Mixture


    1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
    2. 1 yellow onion, diced
    3. 1 garlic clove, minced (I use Tastefully Simple's Garlic Garlic)
    4. 1 bay leaf
    5. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    6. 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    7. 1 pound lean ground beef
    8. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    9. 6 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
    10. 6 tablespoons ketchup
    11. 1.5 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  1. .25 teaspoon cayenne
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. .5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


You really gotta get dirty with this recipe... Make sure you
remove your rings!
  1. Preheat oven to 375*F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until the onion is tender - 6 minutes.
  3. Add parsley and thyme and stir for 5 minutes.
  4. Scrape onion mixture into a bowl and cool. Remove bay leaf.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the meat, egg, bread crumbs, 4 tablespoons ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, salt, pepper, and onion mixture. Blend with your hands. Stop blending as soon as it's all well combined.
  6. Form a loaf on the parchment paper (or you can use a 8x4 loaf pan). Coat with remaining ketchup. 
  7. Bake for 1 hour until thickest part is 165*F.
  8. Let rest for 10 minutes, then serve!