Thursday, February 25, 2010

Learning How to Get Married

Saturday we go to our "How to get married in the Catholic church" class, otherwise known as Pre-Cana or marriage prep. I am a little anxious about it just because I don't really know what to expect, but otherwise, I think it will be fine. I just like to know what to expect!

....I hope it will be fine.

I have heard mostly good stories about the classes.

But also some doozies!

It is called Pre-Cana because of the Bible story about the wedding feast at Cana:
John 2:1-12

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there for a few days.

I am looking forward to talking about getting married and what it means in the Catholic faith. And spending the day with Adam in our normally crazy schedules.

Our pastor told me at one Pre-Cana class he was at the leader had all the grooms say their wedding date and most knew.....the month. So I have been drilling Adam! He totally knows....but being put on the spot is another story!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Visit to the Shedd Aquarium

We had such a busy and fun weekend last weekend...
Starting with Adam's birthday on Friday, tasting on Saturday, and then Sunday we went downtown. I was going anyway to try on bridesmaid dresses for Meghan's wedding in August (in California!) and Adam and I decided to make a day of it and go to the Shedd Aquarium. Then Mom and Dad decided to join us too!

I am just IN LOVE with all things ocean. I love the beach. I love fish. I love snorkeling. I love scuba diving. I love dolphins. Swimming the the dolphins in the open ocean in the Bahamas was amazing. I am SO looking forward to our honeymoon to St. Martin to participate in all kinds of water activities.

I do have to *warn* you that this post is chock full of pictures of the aquarium. Definitely a photo overload and this isn't even a fraction of the pictures I took!



At the Caribbean Reef exhibit in the middle when you first walk in.

Adorable penguins and a HUGE sea lion that was posing for everyone

Seeing this first guy was my least favorite part because it required standing on a glass floor and looking down and even though the water was only 18 inches deep...it definitely freaked me out!


video
They have recently changed the "dolphin show" to "Fantasa" (pronounced Fanta-Sea). First of all, I think the "s" should be capitalized to emphazie the "sea" part of it. But I am not their marketing person. Overall, it was really a disappointment! I was so bummed. That used to be the best part! There was very little animal and a whole lot of theatrics and lights. They teamed up with ComEd (to do the lights) and a theater major to design the show. The belugas and dolphins did a few tricks (the video shows pretty much all we saw of the dolphins), but mostly it was all lights, harnasses, floating people from the sky, weird costumes, and dramatic arm movements. We talked to one employee afterwards who explained the changes to us and said that the good thing is nothing is permanent and they are always making changes to it. I hope there are major changes before I see it again! Has anyone else seen the new one??

video
The last of our pictures. I really did love that huge sea turtle in the Carribean Reef exhibit! The video is of these crazy tiny eel things we saw. They poke up out of the ground, wave around, eat, and go back down. They were so funny looking!

It was an AWESOME day and we saw everything we could have wanted to see in the 3 hours we were there. I was worried we would be pressed for time, but we weren't at all. It was an awesome weekend!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Reception Food Tasting

This weekend we had the very exciting task of picking food for our reception. Luckily it was all amazing....because it would be pretty late in the game to not like it! We went with my parents, Adam's dad and step-mom (not the crazy ones) and Amy (as my mom's proxy as she is not eating so much lately).

We just had a fabulous time. Everyone got along fabulously, we had a ton of fun and everyone agreed really easily on everything!

We tried 2 beefs, 1 chicken and 1 vegetarian. Because we wanted to try the vegetarian too, we really hoped the chicken we chose was good because we were only trying one! We also chose between russet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and rice. They were all good, but the mashed potatoes were awesome! The veggies were yummy too (salad choices and the veggies with the meal)! And...O.M.G...the vegetarian dish was a-maz-ing!

I (obviously) didn't taste the meats, but the groups said they were all really good, but came to an easy consensus.


The tasting group!



Amy, Luann, and Rodney


Dad, Sandi (the event coordinator), and Mom



Adam and me


Yummy food options!



We looked at a wedding cake book and I liked about....one of the options. Luckily we can bring in our own design and I have found some online that I love.


We also picked out linens and that was fun too. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE black and white!


After we left the hotel, we went back to Mom and Dad's house to try some cakes. We got 3 different 6 inch cakes (3 cakes and 6 fillings!). They were all amazing and even ended up talking about aesthetics because they all tasted so good. We thought the yellow/chocolate combo with the raspberry filling goes nicely with our black and white with a pink accent color scheme!


Also....
Have I ever mentioned how much I want to blog about other wedding plans....invitations, favors, programs, dresses???? However, too many people read this blog that will be at my wedding and I don't want any surprises ruined! Part of the fun is seeing it all put together there! So a lot of times....I just have to sit on my hands!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy 30th Birthday Adam!

Friday was Adam's 30th Birthday! I have been planning a surprise for him for quite a while. I had to tell him that there was "something" happening so he didn't totally freak out...but I kept the rest of the details to myself (and the people that helped me plan!). I called about 4,000 bowling alleys in the area to find one that allows open bowling on a weekend night before 9:30/10:00....and then I finally found one! We arranged to have everyone meet us there for 2 hours of bowling and then to go back to his brother's house for a get together.

Adam loves bowling and has bowled on a league for years, however, he gave it up to join the RCIA program at church to become Catholic. I really wanted to get everyone together for some bowling because I am so touched he gave up his bowling this year!



Before we went out, I surprised him with his present....a charcoal Weber grill! He was surprised (yeah!!) and excited.


Happy Birthday my love!

I told Adam we were going to go to dinner and then suggested stopping at a bowling alley (I had to tell him that we were going bowling so he could bring his bowling ball and shoes. I knew he wouldn't enjoy it without them!) We went out to dinner at Olive Garden...however....we finished way earlier than expected. I told him that open bowling didn't start yet, so we went to Best Buy and wandered around....but then we took too long! While at Best Buy, he called one of his brothers to talk about TVs who thought we were insane for being at Best Buy when we were supposed to be getting to the bowing alley!

We finally got there and as we walked in Adam said, "Balloons???".
My dad printed some signs for him!


We had yummy cake!


Adam was very touched to arrive and see all of his family and friends there to celebrate with him. We had a great time bowling and then had a very entertaining evening at his brother's house.

I feel so lucky to have been able to celebrate Adam's 30th birthday with him and I look forward to many in the future. I am such a lucky girl to have met him and I cannot wait until we get married in just a few months. He is so special and always makes me feel special. I am happy I was able to take time and arrange something especially for him to make him feel special and let him know how much he is loved!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine's Day and French Silk Pie Recipe

Adam and I have developed the tradition to stay in on Valentine's Day and make dinner together. Also, the last couple years we have decided to give each other gifts that are hand made. Last night we made lasagna (half meat and half zucchini) and French Silk Pie for dessert. The lasagna was really good, but the French Silk Pie was amazing. I got the recipe from a student's family last year when I made a dessert cookbook of recipes submitted by my preschool families. I just HAD to share the recipe because it was easy and amazingly yummy!

Ingredients:
Pie Crust:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs or Oreo cookies
2 T white sugar
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
(or use a store bought crust)

Pie Filling:
1/4 lb butter or margarine (room temp)
3/4 cup white sugar
2 squares unsweetened melted baking chocolate
1 t vanilla
2 eggs

whipped cream

Directions:
Crust:
Combine graham cracker crumbs, white sugar and melted butter and press into an 8 inch pie pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool.

Filling:
Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla an melted chocolate and mix well.
Add eggs one at a time, beating FIVE minutes at high speed after adding EACH egg.

Pour into cooled crust.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Top with whipped cream!
Enjoy!

My beat hammer thing worked great for smashing graham crackers.


Beating the mix for 5 minutes after each egg was a little boring because I couldn't hear the TV. I also really wished I had a Kitchen Aid because my hand was getting a little tired. Here's hoping someone sees it on my wedding registry! =)

The pie before it was put in the fridge.


Ummm....yeah. My teaspoon got accidentally stuck to the bottom of the stock pot when I put it on the stove to boil water for the lasagna noodles and caught fire. Oops.


The finished product! The graham cracker crust wasn't very pretty...but I am telling you....This. Was. Amazing. It was very rich so I was satisfied with a little piece (which is good for making sure I can fit into my wedding dress come July!).


While waiting for dinner to cook, Adam and I exchanged our Valentine's Day presents. I made him a shirt (with very fancy iron on letters of course) that says "Team Cake Boss" because you know how we feel about Cake Boss.


My present totally pales in comparison to the awesome one he made me.

How amazing is this???? He made the piece of wood that holds the wine bottle like that! (I put a wine bottle in it that Bridget gave us for our engagement with our picture on it.) I am just amazed by it! I love my gift! My fiance is the best!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy 50th Birthday Dad!

Today is my dad's 50th birthday!

Just in case you didn't know, I have the awesome-est dad in the entire world. Seriously. First of all, he knows everything. It is pretty funny because when I was a teenager I knew everything and now he does! He is also very funny. But again, when I was a teenager he wasn't funny at all and now he is hilarious! My dad can fix anything. And I mean anything. I have been so lucky to grow up with a dad who can fix anything. But it can also cause problems because I always think everything can be fixed without a professional's help....but sometimes it can't. He loves me a lot. I can tell. He is always there when I need help. He is always there when I need advice. But he won't say "I love you" when he gets off the phone at work. But it's ok. Sister-Erin and I joke about it. He will say it all the other times. My dad will always help me with last minute projects on the computer and will even do a quick project for me if I email it to him and then call him and say "I just emailed you something that I need right away, can you please help????". When I was growing up my dad taught me how to do everything with him and I still like to help with projects. He also taught me to be a computer geek and I am very grateful for that. One of the most important things I learned about computers is that there is pretty much a way to do whatever you want to do you just have to find out the way. Google is pretty amazing for that. And if I can't figure out something on my own, I call my very own PC Help Desk (my dad of course). I am so lucky to have the dad that I have! I love you dad!

For his 50th birthday Mom wanted to surprise him. We decided to do dinner the 4 of us and then suggested going to this winery in the area afterwards. Unbeknownst to him Mom invited a few close friends to meet us there.

We had a lovely dinner at Outback and then as we were walking up to the winery, Dad looked in the front window and saw this:


Then he turned around and gave us a look that looked like this:


The place was so cute and we had a lot of fun. We had a champagne toast to dad:


See how silly he is??


My mom and dad are so cute!



Of course I had to take the token self portrait couple shot here:


There was also fun entertainment all night:



We had a really fun night and Dad was definitely surprised. I like when a surprise can REALLY be pulled off. Happy Birthday again Dad! I am so lucky to have you!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Remember when the cat fell down the heating vent?

Poor Fudgie.

I should preface this story with "She is OK" so you don't worry too much.

Fudgie is Adam's cat. She is one of the sweetest cats ever. In fact, she is kind of like a dog. She greets whoever walks in the door, she comes when she is called, and she is SUPER friendly. The only problem is that I am allergic to cats. But we haven't decided what to do with her when I move in because she is so sweet!

Anyway.....

On Wednesday night last week Adam had to work at night, starting at 9:00. He arrived home about 2:30 in the morning (dead tired) and noticed that Fudgie didn't come to greet him. He almost blew it off, but then decided to look for her. After calling her name a few times, he heard something in the wall. He got a flashlight and went upstairs in one of the bedrooms we have been redoing. He looked down the (uncovered) heating vent and saw her 2 stories below in the cellar. She must have gotten scared earlier in the day when his brother's dog was over (even though she has been over many times before) and somehow fallen in the vent!

Poor Fudgie. She had to have been in there for 10 hours. With the heat blowing through the vent.

Adam apparently tried to drop a rope down the vent. Although it isn't funny, the image of the cat possibly trying to grab onto the rope makes me laugh. Then he tried to drop a sweater down attached to the rope that she could grab onto, but it was too bulky to make it down.

So he called one of his brothers (thank goodness for family) who came over in the middle of the night and helped him take apart the vent in the cellar to get her out. His brother even took video of the whole ordeal!

video

After they got her out, she hid up on top of the vents hissing and crying. She wouldn't come out in the morning before he went to work either. We were very very worried about her falling and the heat! But after work, she was waiting at the bottom of the stairs for him and seems to be back to her normal self.

Poor Fudgie!

But at least she is OK.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Running For Haiti

If you haven't seen her page, my sister is participating in a 5K with other Peace Corps Morocco volunteers to raise money to send to Haiti. She talks about the tendency during a disaster for emergency money to flood in immediately. She and her friends want to make sure that they do their best to keep the money coming to sustain relief efforts. She is aware that she has asked for a lot of donations in the past year, so she is just asking for $5 towards this run! Take a look at their donation page if you are interested.

Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco Haiti Earthquake Relief 5km

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Easy Crock Pot Recipe

A few years ago my mom got a super easy recipe from my Aunt Kris. She couldn't believe how easy it was (and yummy!)! My mom made it recently for Adam who really really enjoyed it. I made it this week and Adam said it was super yummy. I also brought some to Mom and Dad's house to try. They both said it was delicious.

Want to know the recipe????


Here are some of the leftovers being rewarmed.

Ingredients:
Pork Shoulder Roast
1 jar of Salsa Verde (I used the Target brand: mild)

Directions:
Place the Pork Shoulder Roast in the crock pot.
Pour the jar of salsa on top.
Let cook all day.
*Mine cooked for about 10 hours on low
Serve!

I know! SO easy! And yummy! It is really moist and pulls apart so easily. It doesn't taste spicy at all. If you want more of a kick, you could probably use hotter salsa. Adam liked it this way. He didn't know it was made with salsa, otherwise he probably would have been weirded out!

He has had it just on the plate in bigger chunks and also pulled apart on a bun.

If you make it, let me know!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Houston, We HAVE a Vanity

Remember how we have been on a quest for a bathroom vanity? And we couldn't find anything in the color that we wanted? And we were going to settle for something that we liked OK? Even though we didn't really love the countertop. And then remember when after finally making the decision they were sold out?

Well my awesome fiancee spent some time letting his fingers do the walking and found out that at HOBO you can actually custom order a vanity in the color you want. ?!?!?!?!? Why couldn't someone have told us that the 5 million times we were there???? We had decided that we HAD to order from HOBO because the vanities were $279 and anywhere else we didn't see less than $530 for something we liked. We went back to HOBO (again) on Friday and custom ordered a vanity in the color and door style we like....for only $60 more! TOTALLY worth the $60! Also, with this color, we found a granite top for only $179 that we like with it (elsewhere is at least $300-$400 with a discount!!!).

It is hard to get a good picture in the store because of the lighting. You get the general idea. This is the cabinet color and the granite color we chose.

no flash

flash

The door style and color we chose

What do you think? And make sure you tell me you love it...because it has been quite the journey!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Teaching CPR Class Is Kind of Like Ordering Chinese

Clearly this is Desmond performing CPR on Claire...but I'm excited to see Lost and hey...they are doing CPR!


Do you ever have those things that you never want to do, but once you do them you enjoy it?

Like ordering Chinese. I never think, "Hey! Let's have Chinese tonight!". And if someone says, "Let's order Chinese." I usually make a wrinkly nose kind of face about it and think, "I suppose....". But then when it comes....I thoroughly enjoy it! I do really like Vegetable Lo Mein. And I look forward to the leftovers. But why do I NEVER want to order Chinese?? Why does it NEVER sound tempting???

It is the same thing with teaching a CPR class. Well...mostly about teaching a CPR class to strangers. I don't have this problem when I do it for friends and family. It usually happens when my mom says, "Hey. I have a class Wednesday night. Do you want to teach it for extra money?" And I wrinkle my nose and say, "No thanks." I think that I don't really like it that much and I don't want to take the time out of my super busy schedule and it just isn't worth it. But whenever I DO teach a class, I really really enjoy myself. I DO like to teach CPR classes! I love watching the students do their skills. I love reviewing what we have learned and answering really good questions. I really love when I see fabulous skills that they have learned just in the hours we have been together. I think learning CPR is so important and I love helping people learn this life saving skill. But why do I never want to? Why do I always think I am not going to enjoy myself?

Why is teaching CPR class the same as ordering Chinese?