Being appropriate

Everyone else seems to be summing up their 2010 and making goals for next year, and for the record, I feel utterly uninspired to do the same.
Probably because I’ve spent most of the year already living in 2011. May, specifically.
Regardless, some really awesome things did happen this year. My sister got pregnant, my brother married, my step sister engaged. Three of my step siblings had babies. My sister also got a house, and a dog. My brother got a second dog. And even as I type, Brandon is hammering on the trim in our living room… the VERY LAST step in a remodel that has been dragged out over a very busy year.
For me personally, it seems to all be about the wedding. I did spend a lot of time hanging out with my friends and family too. I went to New York, Chicago, Detroit and took a motorcycle ride up to Traverse City. Oh yeah, and Brandon bought another motorcycle.
I didn’t really have any ‘resolutions’ last year, but I was pretty hardcore trying to lose weight to fit into my new wedding gown. I was around a size 18 when I bought it and the dress is a 10. I did manage to lose 25lbs last year from February to August, but after being completely burnt out, I gained almost 10 back over the past five months. Which is really disgusting to me, but it’s not that unrealistic in terms of what most people experience. I am going to focus on taking those 10 off again, and maybe another 5-10 more, but I refuse to get stressed or obsessed about it. I really just need to concentrate on time management.
And speaking of time management, I’ve been really struggling with how I’m going to manage getting to the gym, working with Brandon on puppy training, and wedding stuff into my life next year. It seems really overwhelming and daunting as a long term situation. I know five months isn’t really something I should be considering ‘long term’ but they’re pretty critical weeks, at least to me. Just twenty more weekends to juggle spending time with friends & family and getting all the lose ends tied up. Only five more without the puppy.
So yes, there will be changes and improvements I’ll be working on making over the upcoming year, but I’m still in denial that they qualify as New Years Resolutions. The time frame is irrelevant, and coincidental to the new year. I’ve put off trying to change my sleep schedule until after the holidays when all the time off throws me off even more. I have already been working on getting my eating habits back in check, but not all that worried about it with the all the festivities going on. I’m not going to make too many excuses for not going to the gym, other than being really tired, worn out, and even sick the past couple weeks. I probably won’t be headed to the gym until at least mid-January anyway, since hundreds more people seem to be there after January 1st. But I’ll get up and do my work outs at home regardless.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m not really all that enthusiastic about a whole lot of stuff right this minute. I’m so ready for this wedding to be over. I’m tired of being baby crazy and feeling like there’s so much to do before we get on with our lives. At least I’m confident that the excitement will come back around and one way or another our lives will return to something resembling normal.
Until then, have a very happy new year!

BAM

Not gonna lie: Brandon and I are totally awesome at wedding planning. Yes, both of us. I say, “Hey we need to take care of this, this, and this,” and we can sit down and knock those things out in a couple of hours. We’re totally rocking the teamwork and relying on each others’ strengths to handle some of the more tedious aspects of this wedding.
And: Brandon and mom are actually working together to handle some of the creative paper details that he cares about way more than me. *Ah-May-Zing*
All of this has made me feel way more at ease with how the rest of the wedding is going to go. My only real responsibilities are balancing keeping myself on track to look great in my dress and helping with the puppy. Okay, I guess there are a couple things left to do, like help supervise the tuxedo selection and put together the rest of our song list. But still, winding down for now feels pretty dang good!

The Crunch

Two weeks ago I made a revised To Do list, and have thus far accomplished nothing on it. At all.
The one thing we have decided this week, is that we’re getting a puppy! A sweet little female rottweiler that was born just last week, so we have 7 weeks until we pick her up. We also decided a name: Magdalena, & probably try to insist that people call her Magda for short because “Maggie” bugs me.
So since this little bundle of sweetness & energy is going to take up a lot of our time, my time line for my wedding crunch list just got that much more crunched.
*Whoa*
Must do this weekend:
~Update guest list & budget
~Send Mom engagement announcement info
~Schedule meeting with Goegleins
~Decide on favors

Must work on every weekend until complete/February:
~Ceremony decorations
~Bouquets
~Address wedding invitations

There’s a few other not critical stuff that I (we?) should take care of sooner than later, but priorities are getting shuffled around a bit. Ug. Somebody get me a glass of wine.

Cooking for Love

Not beating myself up again for being a terrible blogger…
It was a super busy weekend, with my parents birthdays and my friend’s “Tree Trimming Party” (aka drink festive drinks). I’ve been flexing my cooking muscles a lot more lately, as well as my entertaining charm. So here’s a quick wrap up of all the tasty things on the menu last weekend, as well as my tweaks & how I tried to ruin them. (Forgot to take a single picture, but I was BUSY!)
Friday was the tree party, and I had a hankering for angel food cake. I used Alton Brown’s recipe, which was exceptionally simple, even for a first-time-from-scratch-er. My mistake: with the flour sifting/folding technique, I assumed that I didn’t have to check the bottom of my glass mixing bowl for sneaky unmixed flour bits. I couldn’t have been more wrong. After pouring out about 2/3 of the batter into the pan, I noticed the un-incorporated bits & quickly folded them in. It definitely didn’t ruin the cake, but I think it turned out at least an inch shorter than expected. My tweak: I skipped the orange extract in favor of vanilla because I knew I would be making a super citrus-y glaze. Orange marmalade glaze: 1.5c Smucker’s Orange Marmalade, 1c powdered sugar, whipped until runny. The entire cake disappeared in 18 hours. My taste rating: 4/5 stars. Next time I’ll probably add a splash of lemon juice to the glaze to bring back some of the citrus vibes.
Saturday was my dad’s surprise birthday dinner. His wife asked me to make a dish I made for them back in July that was a huge hit. That day I was cooking for the 3 of us, and Saturday, I was presuming 8. The recipe I used was easy enough to double, but I was also trying to account for vegetarians and non-shrimp eaters. My mistake: when I was shopping for shrimp, I forgot to get the peeled & deveined. I owe my brother in law Jon a debt of gratitude for stepping in and helping me accomplish the task in a somewhat reasonable amount of time. It did make Brandon’s chicken a little cold, but all things considered, I’d say it turned out pretty tasty. My tweaks: canned artichoke hearts instead of frozen (way easier to grab & quarter); smaller, bite sized shrimp, store bought pesto. One of these days I’ll take the time to make my own pesto, but there’s a brand I can grab off the shelf that’s pretty good, and a huge time-saver for me. My taste rating: (first time was 4/5 stars), this time 3/5. Cooking this recipe en mass really killed the charm. At least for me. I think everyone enjoyed it still, but I will keep comparing it to the first time.
Sunday was birthday brunch for my mom. This was an exceptionally fun event because I wasn’t the only cook. My brother who works at a small farm near Dayton brought a medley of root vegetables, with peppers, onions, eggs, etc. for a zesty skillet that was pretty dang spectacular. I knew Brandon wouldn’t be able to eat the eggs (aside from the fact that he didn’t like most of the vegetables, either) so I decided to show off my new favorite pancake recipe. Bridget isn’t kidding when she says that this recipe is highly customizable. My tweaks: 2 parts wheat flour/1 part all purpose, 1tsp cinnamon (I think it enhances the wheat flavor), I used skim milk & lemon juice rather than buttermilk. Last time I didn’t even have baking soda, so I added extra baking powder & butter, and egg beaters since I didn’t have any real eggs. Both times this recipe turned out amazing. My previous experience with the recipe also included home made strawberry jam, but since that’s a shortage this time of year, I made a strawberry syrup from this recipe. I had frozen strawberries, but no orange to zest, so I just added 3Tbsp orange juice (‘fresh’, ha! Try Tropicana from the grocery). How I almost ruined it: this was totally not my fault. Cooking in a strange kitchen is always a test, and apparently when you turn the range to ‘medium’ heat, it means ‘high’. First couple pancakes got a smidge burnt, but were eaten anyway. They were that good! My taste rating 5/5 stars. Obsessed with these recipes, for sure!
Other highlights of this weekend: Helping Jon pick out his ‘tree’ for the party, hanging out with Christie getting her school supplies/gifts & coercing her into getting a haircut (another funny story for another time), Dad’s reaction to getting a Kindle, finally giving mom the chicken I got for her in Chicago (also back in July) & hanging out with my brother and sister!

Pregnant

Tiff said she was upset that I haven’t blogged about her pregnancy (now that I can). I take a small measure of satisfaction that I’m being that un-dramatic.
I’m really delighted for her, even though it does potentially throw a small wrench in the works. I imagine her glowing with huge giant belly under her dress. Or grinning with sheer exhaustion holding her new little baby in her arms. Or wallowing in pain in the hospital in labor. Did that sound a little bit evil? Well I guess my sister does rub off on me sometimes.
Oh yeah, did I mention she’s due 6 days before the wedding?
Should be interesting!

Holy Crap

It’s officially December, and we have less than six months to go!
I’ve been in total ‘la-dee-da’ mode for months now, other than a couple weeks where we really got some major stuff taken care of.
I did decide that I’m not going to do any real flowers at all. The bouquets were the only thing I was planning on going to a florist for, but I’ve come up with another idea that will be way more special. I’m actually going to keep the details a surprise, so that’s all on that subject!!
I’ve also decided I really need to crank back up on the diet/workout routine. I will admit I gained back some of the weight over the past four months of slacking off. For a while I thought I’d just keep hitting it hard the gym and not worry about counting every single calorie again, but this deadline is looming large in the horizon, so I think I’m just going to suck it up.
I still have probably 3 months before I need to start worrying about dress fittings, but lately that sounds like no time at all. We already have plans for every weekend in December, which includes lots of food events (birthdays, sushi outings, and of course Christmas dinner) so keeping track this month is going to be critical.
Other major To-Do’s include:
Get info to mom for engagement announcements
Making an appointment with the caterer to hash out some details.
Getting my dress cleaned & prepped for fittings
Picking out tuxes
Finish floral designs with mom, especially for ceremony.
Lots of paperwork: make a payment schedule, update the guest list with save-the-date recipients, etc.
Get accessories gathered & set aside.
Schedule makeup & hair trials, and decide on other long term beauty routines.
Maybe start addressing invitations.

I don’t know when we’re going to find time to sit down to do the paperwork, meet with the caterer & get the announcement info gathered, but there will probably have to be some very crafty multitasking involved.
That’s it for now, I guess. Definitely gaining some momentum & feeling more frenzied!