Monday, June 24, 2013

the weekend that sort of wasn't

Say what? Well what I mean is that I didn't get done what I normally do on a weekend, because I was otherwise engaged most of the time, outside of the house at a 24 hour Relay For Life event.

Relay is really important to me - cancer has negatively impacted my life and the lives of many people close to me, and this is my outlet to give back. This is my way to deal with my anger, frustration, sadness and grief that asshole cancer has caused. Since Relay is 12 or 24 hours with someone walking on the track at all times, you can't do it without a team. My Random Acts of Kindness teammates have been with me for five years. They don't have to come along on this journey with me - the drive is mine - but they do and each year they show up ready to walk and determined to raise what we can. I appreciate them so much. Missed you this year Michelle! My littlest teammate below first came to Relay as a month old baby. We also joined up with another team this year, and had Tara, a new teammate/old friend join our team. Thanks Dyanne's Defenders for a successful joint effort! Thanks also to Martha, Julie and Lauren for introducing me to Relay five years ago.
Relay scenes: a bra decorating fundraiser, two people rocking out their 80s campsite theme, even on Relay night MFD needs to crush that freaking candy, track scenes, Kit Kat D dancing along to the Sign Language Interpretive Songs. Our team raffled off baskets, did a 50/50, sold Debbie Rae Design bracelets, baked goods and some other stuff. We raised over $1,100 at the event, bringing our total team total to about $4,500.
It was hot walking during the day, and I got my typical back of the knee sunburn that I get every blessed year despite major sunblock reapplication. But overall, it was gorgeous and we enjoyed the best Relay weather day we've ever had. We also saw the super moon, which was not actually super until about 5:00 a.m.
The luminaria ceremony is the heart and soul of Relay. If you've never experienced one, you should. We had too many bags lining the track of people we've lost or people we honored who are battling cancer now or have beaten it. These are just a few of ours. My Grandmom died in December of pancreatic cancer. I dedicated my Relay to her this year. I checked her candle at 5:15. Still going. Her candle was one of the only ones still burning at 6:30 in the morning on Sunday - 10 hours after it was lit. So typical of her to persevere. Thanks for the sign Grandmom.
There's nothing like walking part of every hour for 24 hours to come to terms with some things and honor people in your life who've had cancer.
I hobbled into my house about 25 hours after I left on Saturday, got one of the top five showers of my life, and enjoyed an awesome lunch a la MFD: a steak, baked potato, and steamed broccoli for lunch. Boom.

Other Sunday things:
-Five hour nap
-Two epsom salt foot soaks
-Lots of ibuprofen
-Blister care
-Foot elevation
-Mexican takeout
-Sweet Home Alabama
-The Killing

Aching feet and body can't compare to what cancer sufferers go through daily.

Weekly food prep happens tonight, as does other normal weekend stuff. Have a great day!

Check back here tomorrow for a Shabby Apple giveaway!

Linking up with Join the Gossip for Monday Morning Gossip
Linking up with Sami's Shenanigans for Weekend Shenanigans
Linking up with Southern Sunflowers & Coffee Beans for Monday Mingle

Friday, June 21, 2013

Mawwiage is What Bwings us Togeva Today

Nothing says wedding like a good luck charm, Mister T stance and pug buttholes, am I right? Incidentally, the title of this post was my facebook status the morning of my wedding.

We have so many weddings coming up in the next year, it makes me think back on mine. That, the fact that I didn't have a blog when we got married, and linking up a day late and a dollar short with Holly and Mel for their wedding day shebang gives me an excuse to share a lot of wedding photos. Even though it's my blog and I don't need an excuse. I do what I want.

Location, Location, Location
We got married at the Deauville Inn in Strathmere, NJ. Because it was casual and beachy and because of this view, basically. This backdrop? This sunset on our wedding day? You can't beat it.
We kept it simple, 274 of our friends and family stood around and watched us get married with drinks in hand. The attire was casual and we urged people to dress comfortably and wear flip flops. And I arrived on a boat, bitches. Thanks to Captain Bill for getting me there, for stopping short on purpose and giving me and my maid of honor an oh shit we're going overboard moment that you and my dad shared a good laugh over, and for the sun breaking through so majestically on the way to the wedding site.
I was not the girl who grew up dreaming of her wedding day, so there was no blush and bashful for me. Navy I guess?  Here are some wedding things in lieu of colors. As you can see by the ketchup and mustard on the tables, we had a barbecue on the beach. We are not fancy people. We like to have a good time, no muss no fuss. Five dollar colored glass lanterns from The Christmas Tree Shoppe were plopped in the center of each table, surrounded by some shells and a photo of us. Tables were named after shore towns. I was obsessed with personalized wedding matches that I still use three years later.
First Dance Song
MFD picked this, and it was a surprise. It was Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel. It is very bizarre to be dancing in front of all of those people. I hate being the center of attention. I am the polar opposite of MFD.

It's not MFD's wedding without Mummers. We had friends play from six different bands I think? It was a lot of fun. Not sure what the Mummers are? Click here.
Bridal Party, AKA Framily
We were all at the shore on Friday and did most of our pics then. One of my favorite pics ever is on the right of MFD and I with our bridal party in the distance behind us walking to the beach.
Of course we had our dogs in the wedding. Do you know us? And of course we had people climb on stilts and do Mr. Miyagi Karate Kid poses. And of course we gave a bunch of drunks sparklers and told them to have at it at the rehearsal dinner. 
We really had the best time. There was no asshole ruiner in the bridal party that everyone wanted to junk punch.
We called the whole thing a wedcation. We came to the beach the Saturday before we got married and left the Saturday after. We lounged on the beach with the dogs, went out to eat, walked to bars, had dinner with friends who were down the week before, enjoyed the company of family and friends over our wedding weekend, hung out with friends who were down the week after, went to AC with friends, got some spa treatments and lobster in Cape May, did a bit of shopping, did a lot of resting and relaxing, frolicked on empty beaches and saw fabulous sunsets. I wouldn't trade it for anything. After going through the whole wedding prep and the long wedding day and utter exhaustion after, the last thing I can imagine doing is dragging my worn out ass on a plane with a set of freshly packed luggage. We saved the exotic destinations for years that followed. 
The only thing I'd do differently is to wear a short dress. That dress made it hard to maneuver in the sand. Otherwise, let's do it again! For free if possible. Anyone want to foot the bill this go round? Anyone? Bueller?

Something I Suggest You Do
Trash your dress the day after. 
Advice to You Fiance Knowleses out There
Everything we did reflected who we are as a couple, and I'm still really happy about that nearly three years later. I'm pretty sure I'll be pleased as punch about that for my entire life. I think it's really important to make sure your wedding day reflects the two of you, not what you're supposed to do or what someone else wants you to do. Also:
1. Don't worry about the small things. 
2. If something goes wrong, you're the only one who will notice. 
3. Whoever is there is who is supposed to be there. Whoever is not is not. If someone can't attend, it's not personal. 
4. You can't invite the entire world, and anyone who is offended that they weren't invited has no concept of per head costs. 
5. Think about the amount of money you are spending on one day, and make sure it's not going to make you cringe for years to come. 
6. It's your special day, sure. But it's also a special day for everyone who knows you. Let others share your joy. Don't say "IT'S MY DAY" in a borderline hysterical voice because everyone will talk shit about you if you do. 
7. Edited to add advice from a dear friend: "Make sure you don’t marry someone with a case of the Anthony Weiners." Which made me laugh and laugh but seriously, TRUTH. Sexters don't make good mates. 
What did you love about your wedding? What's your advice to those getting married soon?

Most photos courtesy of Photos by Lily. Local PA/NJ people, check her out.

Linking up with

Mel at 4Kottez and Holly at Where We Can Live Like Jack and Sally for Wedding Details

Thursday, June 6, 2013

In a Pickle with Confessions of a Domestic Wanna-be

Este manana, I am en route to Ocean City, Maryland. My friend Lauren from Confessions of a Domestic Wanna-be was kind enough to help me out of the pickle of a post for today. Ba dum bum. I got the pickle dip recipe below from her, it is really outstanding even though it sounds weird. Put it on your summer party menu!
Hi everyone! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Lauren from Confessions of a Domestic Wanna-be. I’m so honored to be doing a guest post for Steph because she was my inspiration to start blogging! I thought a lot about what I wanted to share and I decided there are no better recipes than ones that involve my obsession. I’m talking about pickles. I can’t get enough of pickles. I like them spicy, tart, on a sandwich, by themselves, fried up with a dipping sauce, you name it-except bread and butter pickles. Seriously, it might as well not even be called a pickle, it’s sweet and just not right! I have two pickle recipes to share with you. The first is a classic that I started making about two years ago and is so simple but has become such a hit with my family and friends. It’s pickle dip!

Here’s what you need:
1 stick of cream cheese, softened (low fat is fine)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
 1-2 Tbsp pickle juice
About 1 cup diced kosher dill pickles

Let the cream cheese get pretty soft and add the Worcestershire sauce and pickle juice to help make it mixable. Mix in your diced pickles, and add a little more juice if needed to stir together. Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours to allow flavors to blend. Serve with potato chips or Triscuits. It sounds crazy but it is so good. Trust me!

The second recipe I wanted to share with you is a new one I recently found at - homemade dill pickles! This was the first time I made these and I will definitely be making them again, with a few minor adjustments. 

Here is the original ingredient list:
2 lb small garden cucumbers, scrubbed
6 cups water
Heaping 1/8 cup canning salt
4 Tbsp vinegar
4 Tbsp minced garlic
1 large onion, sliced
1 tsp mustard seed
1/3 cup fresh dill
8 whole peppercorns

Combine water and salt and bring to a boil and then cool to room temperature. Slice your cucumbers (I’ve been told that leaving them whole does not work as well). Place all your other ingredients and cucumber slices in an air tight container and pour salt liquid in making sure to completely cover the cucumbers (I had left over salt water). Refrigerate for 5-7 days. 

I found this convenient 2 lb bag of small cucumbers at Acme, they made perfectly sized slices for pickles. I also used this freeze dried dill that I got instead of fresh and it worked just as well. I jarred them in recycled pickle jars that I had saved.
Ok a few tips and observations: 
1. I used regular table salt because I couldn’t find canning salt. It worked just as well. I googled what the difference is and all I could find is that table salt may leave sediment in the bottom of your jar where as canning salt will dissolve completely. 
2. I only used half an onion and I diced it up instead of slices. This was more than enough onion I think.
3. I followed the recipe for garlic but I will not next time. I love garlic, but this was just too much. I think next time I’ll cut it in half. 
4. I doubled the vinegar. My favorite part of pickles is that tart, acidic vinegar taste and it was not enough for me. I didn’t add more vinegar until I taste tested on the second day and realized it just wouldn’t be enough for me. Doubling it worked out really well.
5. 1/3 cup of dill is way too much. Use your judgment. I put it all in and then I removed some after a day because it just looked like grass floating in the jar. 
6. I ate them way before day 5 and they tasted amazing!

Thanks to Steph for hosting me, and thanks to all of you for reading! 

Follow Lauren's blog at Confessions of a Domestic Wanna-be 
Follow Lauren on Pinterest 
Follow Lauren on Twitter 
Follow Lauren on Instagram at lschwarz14

Linking up with 

Toby's Tails

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Meal Plan/Food Prep Linkup Shebang

Hello neighbors! Before we get down to business, I want to wish my brother Stephen a very happy 30th birthday. Here's his blog from last year. You'll hear some pearls of wisdom from him tomorrow.

Every weekend I do my food prep for the week to ensure I have easily accessible healthy options, and then I do my food prep so that I don't have to come home from work and cook most nights.

Do I get up excited to do meal planning and food prep on Sundays? No, I do not. In fact this Sunday I wanted to sit my fat ass on the couch all day and watch 80s movies, but I finally got into the kitchen with a frown on my face and 40 minutes later I was back to the beloved couch. I knew if I didn't get in there and do it I'd be kicking myself all week while eating cookies and tortilla chips for dinner, and regretskies are not for me.

This week was a bit different since I'm only going to be here for three days, but I still did enough to get me through the shortened week.

Breakfasts: egg salad (lots of celery) made with avocado and plain greek yogurt instead of mayo on whole wheat sandwich rounds and strawberries. I need my eggs in the morning and have been doing egg bakes for a few weeks so it was time to switch it up.
Lunches: Quinoa with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and a bit of feta. I flavored it with some onion powder and a dijon/olive oil/white wine vinegar dressing.

Snacks: Sliced cucumbers, carrot sticks, grape tomatoes. I prep the cucumbers in the morning, I don't like for them to get gross. I have some hummus to take to work and leave there as well.

Sunday dinner: homemade pizza topped with pizza sauce (made on Monday), homemade dough (made Saturday), olives, baby bellas, and sliced mozzarella.
Monday dinner: Orzo caprese salad (just orzo, halved grape tomatoes, chunks of mozzarella and a balsamic vinegar dressing), steamed broccoli, rotisserie chicken
Tuesday dinner: black bean quesadillas from the freezer
Wednesday dinner: leftovers!
Quinoa and orzo going simultaneously to save time / caprese pasta salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing I whipped together / pizza toppings
All set for the week in 40 minutes of prep time on Sunday. What's on your menu?

Link up with me and Nichole from Casa de Crews!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips
Pin It button on image hover