November 30, 2008

Finalizing the guest list

Oh boy. I sat down the other night and entered in all our guest addresses. It took almost 4 hours!! I couldn't believe it.

Drum roll please...

Grand total: 288

I have HUGE family. Just my side alone equals about 175. The rest is Mike's side and our friends.

Back when we first got engaged...My Dad offered to host my wedding. He told me to invite whoever I want. And I asked him "Are you sure?" a few times-knowing that each guest plate would equal around $50. He had no problem with it. But now I can't help but feel bad. He still says he doesn't care. And even if I wanted to downsize the guest list-it's almost impossible. We truly only picked the friends most dear to us. The majority of the list is family..and family friends.

Our family are really excited for our wedding because we haven't had one in quite some time. And my Dad is happy that we will all be together for a happy occasion rather than a sad one...we have had far too many funerals in the last few years. We will be happy to see a lot of family and friends we haven't seen in a while. And my Grandparents will see their 1st grandchild get married. I see the twinkle in my Grandpa's eye every time we talk about the wedding. And my Dad says that is worth every penny of the wedding..

5 more months!!!

November 29, 2008

Secured in a safe place

Dropped my dress off today in a safe smoke-free and pet free zone. My wonderful Aunt took it for safe keeping. She is so sweet and so generous. I am so lucky!

Today was another eventful day..another Turkey day on my Mom's side. I think I'm done with turkey for a LONG time.

Tomorrow is my last say of vacation. I'm hoping to put up some Christmas stuff and just relax. We both need some down time.

Here is a sneak peak at my dress! Isn't she lovely?!

November 28, 2008

I fell in love all over again

I picked up my dress today! And I swear I love it more than the day I ordered it. It's such a beautiful dress. I love it even more that it's ivory. And it's too big! Yay! I could have probably fit my arm down the corset. Thank God for alterations! I'm hoping that it will be even bigger by March for my 1st fitting. I have a few more pounds to loose...

I wish I could show you all pictures...but I can't. Mike reads this daily. And I don't want to ruin the surprise! If you want to see it-comment me and I will send you pix!

My MOH Bella and my other bestie Devon came with me... along with Devon's daughter (my flower girl), Mahala came with. She was a little hellion while we were there. But she was good once we put some flower girl dresses on her! I didn't like any that they I let her pick whatever she wanted.

Does anyone have ideas for flower girl dresses? Please send me some links!

Here is the little beauty!

Check out that runway pose!

Even though I didn't like the dress.. I really do like the vintage lace shown above.

November 27, 2008

Practicing to be a housewife

For the last few years, I've been in charge of bringing food to family holidays and get-togethers. It's fun for me because I love to cook. And I hear that once you are married-it's your obligation to make something for every party.. So, here is what I am making for Thanksgiving.


Taco dip
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
8 oz. taco sauce or salsa
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 can (15 oz.) refried beans
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 md. tomato, diced
1/4 cup ripe olives, chopped
1/4 cup canned green chilies, chopped
Tortilla chips or Pita chips

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Stir in taco sauce and cumin; set aside. Spread the refried beans over the bottom of a serving platter or 13x9x2-inch dish. Spread cream cheese mixture over the beans, leaving about 1 inch uncovered around the edges. Top with layers of lettuce, cheese, tomato, olives and chilies. Serve with tortilla chips or pita chips.


My wonder Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cinnamon
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups rolled oats (I used Quaker Oats-Old fashion oatmeal)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat butter w/ electric mixer on medium-high for 30 sec. Add brown sugar, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Beat until combined...scraping sides of bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat as much flour as you can...then stir in remaining flour. Stir in rolled oats and chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or till the edges are light brown.

And I will also be making a tossed salad and the mashed potatoes to serve with dinner.

Happy Turkey Day!!

November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for?

This year I am thankful of so many things. My family for supporting me through this engagement and planning process. My friends for always being there by listening to my vent (or freak out), giving support and helping so much with planning. Most of all I'm thankful to have Mike. We have been through so much in the last 4-1/2 years. Some bad...but so many good things. He is my best friend. And he is there for me unconditionally. (Even if he's laughing at me for crying at a animal adoption commercial..) I'm truly grateful to have him..and to be marring him in just 5 short months. And I know if I asked him what he was thankful for, I know he would say the same thing. He has had some rough times lately, and I have been by his side every step of the way. We are going to make such a great team.

Tomorrow is Turkey day! Yippee! But it's also what I am calling the "Meet the Parents" day. Mike's parents are going to join my family for Thanksgiving. I'm really excited for everyone to meet. They are such great people. I think my Grams is a little stressed out though.. She has cleaned the whole house-top to bottom. I'm serious..she dry cleaned the chairs in the dining room and took down our chandelier and cleaned it to perfection. I think she went a little overboard! She even asked if I think they will like her-she is so funny!!

My uncle (Fr. Bart-our officiant) will also be interviewing Mike's parents under oath. And that will be the final factor in all our wedding paperwork! When it's completed he will take downtown and get the stamp of approval! Woo hoo!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2008

I'm a Wishpot Wedding Expert!

I was recently notified by Wishpot to be a featured Wedding Expert. How exciting is that?! I am a huge fan of Wishpot. Wishpot is a free social shopping service that makes it easy to save and share interesting things you find iun stores or online. In all of a touch of a button- You can create wishlists and catagozing them, saving you the hassle of bookmarking everything. I don't know about you but I have several different bookmark folders. And they are a mess. I can never find what I have saved. And when I do I'm too tired to browse. Wishpot definintely makes it easy for you to bookmark and save things easily. You can also send lists to friends and family. I recommend everyone should try it. Once you start you can't stop.


I'll wait.

Amazing, right?!

I'll be guest blogging at Wishpot soon so make sure to check it out!

Isn't she lovely?!

Katie (another bridesmaid) and I had the honor of making Bella's rehearsal bouquet. Isn't it cute! And isn't Bella glowing!?? She is gonna make a gorgeous bride.

There was a great crowd at her shower. Such lovely people from both sides of their family.

Her Grandma is so cute!

Bella is so lucky to have such wonderful family and friends. I'm glad she had a great shower...and I'm glad I was able to help plan it!

November 24, 2008

My dress is ready for pick up!!!


It is so early!!

But yes that's right. My dress is IN! It was the best phone call EVER!!!

I am so darn excited. I think I might have texted everyone I know... (sorry about that peeps!)

I have 2 weeks to pick it up. And I can't pick it up on weekends because they tend to get busy-and they don't want anyone stepping on it. (ME NEITHER!)

I didn't think about where I'm going to store it... hmm.. I can't keep it here. And I don't want it anywhere that has animals... No shredding of the dress please. I might have to ask my aunt. But it will be hard not to visit the dress weekly!

How should I store it? Should I get a special breathable garment bag? And then air it out frequently?

Any suggestions?

PS. If any of you would like to see my dress-comment me and I will send you the link. I can't post it because Mikey reads this daily!

Happy Birthday Mama B!

Friday, November 21st was Mama B's birthday! We decided to do something special for her on Sunday for her birthday.

We made her our famous yummy spaghetti..

Bought her a cake and I decorated it..

Got her some purty flowers..

And a gift card from Dunkin Donuts!

Happy Birthday Mama B!

We love you!

November 23, 2008

Change of plans..

We originally decided that we were going to go to New Orleans for our honeymoon. But after thinking about it...I wasn't really excited about going there. I have never really been out of the midwest. (yes I was sheltered..) So, I was envisioning something a little more exciting. And we knew we wanted to stay in the states to make our trip a little less expensive since we are trying to save for a house. But our decision was hard since Mike has been to every state in the US. He was a Military it was kinda hard compromising on which state we were going to honeymoon at..

Well last night we decided to go to California for our honeymoon! I've always wanted to go to Cali...ever since I was little. I want to see palm trees, and mountains, and the ocean, and Hollywood! Ha!

I was thinking of renting a car while we are there and driving some where different each day...and soak up everything I possibly can. But also having some romantic alone time...

I need your help! Where should we center our stay around? What city? And what other cities do you suggest us driving to?

November 22, 2008

Happy Shower Day, Bella!

Today is my friend's (and MOH) Bridal shower. I am so excited for her! I hope her day is everything she dreamed it would be!

I was in charge of baking the cupcakes and the cookies. And I have to apologize. They didn't turn out the way I wanted them to. I know..I know...minor details. But I wanted it to be perfect. And it drove me crazy that I have to make 2 double batches of cupcakes until they were ok-but they still weren't ok because I ran out of cupcake cups. And then I couldn't get my fancy cake decorating tips to look pretty. So, I am serving cupcakes that I put in the cups after I made them. With not so fancy frosting. But I assure you they are yummy! I was also going to make wedding bell sugar cookies. Except I couldn't get the damn cookies to stop sticking onto the counter top. I'm sorry but I said fuck it. And I made regular round cookies. I've been baking for over 12 hours straight. I'm hoping it's not a big deal. I really tried! I swear!

OK I'm done..

Thanks for listening to me ramble.

Now I have to attend my best friend's shower...

Recaps soon!

November 21, 2008

Tuna Dip

I have a healthy low-carb recipe to share! As you have noticed, I have been loosing weight in the last few weeks. And it’s due from following the South Beach diet. I warn you: this diet is not for everyone. But it surely works for me. I’m down 22lbs in just 10 weeks!

Tuna Dip

1 large can tuna, drained

2 (8oz) Philly cream cheese, softened

6 tbs mayo

1 tsp lemon juice

½ tsp hot sauce (or to taste)

In a bowl, combine tuna, cream cheese and mayo.

Add lemon juice.

Add hot sauce.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Serve with whole grain pita crackers, triscuits, or any whole wheat cracker.

(You may also use low fat cream cheese and mayo-but do not use fat-free! It tends to be higher in sugar.)


November 20, 2008


Tonight we had our tasting at The Country Squire. All I have to say is YUM-O!

They did NOT disappoint! I have to admit, everything we tried was phenomenal. But silly me forgot to take pictures...

I give you our menu..

Minestrone soup

Mixed Greens Salad

Choice of:
Filet Mignon
Chicken Imperial

Twice Baked potato

California vegetables

And the cake choices were endless!

We will have a 5 tiered cake. And have the option for 5 different types of cakes.

Mike isn't a minestone kinda guy-but he loved theirs. It was so yummy. And it definitely hit the spot with this cold Chicago weather!

The filet mignon melted in your mouth. And the chicken imperial (chicken stuffed with wild rice with a creamy wine sauce topped over it) kept you wanting more. And the potatoes were to die for... I am so STUFFED!

My Dad and us had such a fun time sharing our food..and joking around. It's one of those memories I will remember forever.

Every day brings us 1 day closer to being husband and wife..

We can't wait!

November 19, 2008

Father-daughter Dance

I've been having some issues picking my father-daughter dance. And I need your help..

My Dad is the worlds greatest Dad. He raised me and has always been there for me. He is my #1 man in my life. And always will be. I'm truly a Daddy's little girl. However, we've never had a lovey dovey kind of relationship. Which has worked for us. We know where we stand and our actions speak louder than words. So, I want our song to be perfect and most of all meaningful.

My first thought was "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac. I remember hearing Fleetwood Mac in the car when I was little. And it's such a pretty song.

But when I was listening to one of my Beatles albums..I also thought "In my Life" would also be perfect. I just love the words to this song. And I LOVE The Beatles. My Dad and I use to listen to the oldies station a lot while I was growing up.

Which one do you think I should choose? Or do you have other suggestions?

November 18, 2008

Week 10: weigh in

When we got back from vacation I thought for sure I had put on a few pounds. I was eating crappy and I stopped my exercise regimen (except for the dancing at the wedding..) And on top of it, I was PMSing.

But I got on my scale anyway. It didn't move! I stayed the same! I was ecstatic! Then for the rest of the week I was bad and didn't excerise...but I followed a healthy diet. And guess what?! I'm down 3 more pounds! Equally a full 20lb loss! WOO HOO!!!!!!!

I reached Goal 1. Which was to loose 20lbs. Now I want to loose another 20lbs by April. A month before our wedding. Just in time for dress fittings, etc. As I said before, I just want to be healthy for when I get pregnant after the wedding. But looking good in my dress is an added bonus!

One of my favorite foods to eat is chili. And in the diet I follow it's allowed. Thank god. Mike always says my chili is the best he's ever had (even after the chili cook-off they had at his work!) So, I'm going to share this special recipe with you!

Jenny's Chili

1lb ground lean ground beef
1 medium or large onion (diced or minced)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbs of olive oil
3 cups of water
1 can kidney beans
1 can Zesty Chili style diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 heaping palm full of chili seasoning
1/2 palm full of cumin
1/2 tsp of oregano
a dash of red pepper flakes
a few sprinkles of sage
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large pot. Saute onions and garlic. Add ground beef and the dash of red pepper flakes (or more if you like it really spicy). Brown meat and drain. Then add tomatoes, tomato sauce and kidney beans, all your spices, including salt and pepper. Mix all together and add 3 cups of water. Bring to boil. Then set to simmer. Simmer for 1 hour (uncovered). Then you're ready to eat! We like to sprinkle cheddar cheese on the top before eating.

Serves 4-6 people


What is your favorite healthy recipe??

November 17, 2008

Dance lessons {worth every penny!}

Mike and I have been taking dance lessons for the past couple months..and we've grown a liking to swing dancing! Scratch that. We freaking LOVE swing dancing!

We decided to show off a little and throw down some swing at Jeff and Kelly's wedding...

Here are some pictures..(Imagine "Zoot Suit Riot" by Cherry Poppin' Daddies playing in the backround..)


November 16, 2008

Paperwork {check!}

Yesterday morning Mike and I drove downtown to our meeting with Uncle Fr. Bart. We needed to complete our paperwork. And there is a LOT when you get married in the Catholic church. It took an hour just to fill it all out! Fr. Bart also interviewed us separately under oath. I got a little nervous at first...but the questions were simple "Do you promise not to withhold children from Michael?" "Do you promise never to get a divorce?", etc...We obviously passed with flying colors! Now the only thing missing from the paperwork is the affidavit from Mike's parents. Fr. Bart will ask Mike's parents a list of questions under oath and as long as things go well...He will then take the paperwork downtown to get approved. And then we can finally say we are DEFINITELY getting married! I'm not sure what kinds of questions he will be asking Mike's parents..but they will pertain to Mike. For example: Has he ever been married before? Do they approve of this marriage? Under their knowledge are we following the rule of not sleeping together?, etc. I'm not nervous about this because Mike's parents cannot wait for us to get married! And it's really excited to know that everything will be 'legal' in just a few weeks!

We thought we were going to have to take a FOCCUS test. However, Fr. Bart explained to us that is not necessary and his church doesn't do it. He also mentioned he thinks it is silly. From the numerous meetings we have held with him and the Pre-Cana we have already done-he has no doubt that we should be married. This made me so happy! But in a way I was a little bummed not to take it. I wanted to see our answers..just for fun. That's ok though...knowing that he has our full blessing is enough for me!

Fr. Bart also gave us a packet of readings to look though. We have to choose 4 different readings.
A. Readings from the Hebrew Scriptures
B. Responsorial Psalms
C. Readings from the New Testament
D. Readings from the Gospel

I had fun last night reading all the readings. And I think I might have them all chosen already! But I will save that for another post!

Going to meet with Fr. Bart is so exciting for me. We get to drive downtown Chicago..which is always a fun experience for us. And we get to talk about our wedding. Going to see him makes everything so much more real, for this is the most important part of our wedding. Not the centerpieces, my dress, or the flowers. It is our ceremony and our exchange of vows is what is the most important. And meeting with Fr. Bart brings us closer and closer to our wedding day!

November 15, 2008

Jeff's and Kelly {Part 2: The Reception}

They had a fabulous buffet dinner. Home cookin' kinda meal...Hickory smokey ham, turkey and beef. Accompanied with mashed potatoes, corn, salad, rolls..etc. The Best Man and the Maid of Honor gave wonderful speeches...then the newlyweds cut the cake and fed each other so sweetly..

Their 1st dance (I'm sorry ladies but I didn't know the song..)
Then there was the bouquet toss and the garter toss...
That is the best man showin' off his guns..and Mikey is right behind him laughing at him!

Father-daughter dance. ( You can really see the detail of her dress!)
Mother-Son Dance..(I LOVE this picture!)

Now it's time to party!! (I didn't eat much. Empty stomach + alcohol=trouble!)

Looks like they had a fun night!!

Next up...Mike and I swing dance!


November 14, 2008

Jeff and Kelly 11-8-08

On the morning of the wedding everyone was invited to a luncheon at the church basement. It was a nice intimate lunch. Ham sandwiches, soup and cookies. Lunch of champions!

Here is everyone waiting for the photographer to arrive.

Once he arrived...all we did was wait. And wait. It took 3 hours before the photographer was finished..
Here I am patiently waiting for the wedding to start...Don't I look bored?!

I don't have any pictures of the actual ceremony because we weren't allowed to take pictures. But I have plenty from the reception!

First up..Details!

November 13, 2008

I was touched..

I have something sweet to share with you really touched me.

But first, let me tell you I'm SO sick! I'm home sick with a tummy ache and a horrible back ache! I hurt my back when I was 16 and ever since it will go out without warning. It really stinks! But it gives me time alone on my computer (or what Mike calls it "the devil machine"..)

Ok, so while we were in Iowa we stopped at Mama B's good life long friend, Bette's. Bette has been like a mother to her and like a grandmother to her boys. I couldn't wait to meet her. She was the sweetest lady ever. She showed me around her house, and it was so cute. And talk about so many vintage things in her house. w.o.w. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!

But then she showed me this..

Mike drew this for Bette in high school. Mike is now 31. She kept this picture, had it matted and is sitting in her living room..for her to look at everyday. How sweet is that? I was so touched that she held on to this for so long. I'm telling you..she is the nicest lady I have ever met.

Just another reminder of how lucky I am to be joining this wonderful family!

November 12, 2008

I'm in a rut

So I'm back from vacation. And the wedding made me even more excited for our wedding. BUT I'm in a planning rut. I just haven't wanted to do anything. Here are some of the things on my To-Do list..

  • Finalize invitation wording
  • Order invitations/place cards
  • Book hotels for our New Orleans honeymoon
  • Look for flights for our honeymoon (we decided to fly since I've never flown before)
  • Browse/Purchase my veil (I'm still contemplating asking my Mom to make it)
  • Browse/Purchase wedding shoes
  • Find taper candles to accompany our Unity Candle
  • Make throwaway bouquet
  • Finish my Table # project
  • Find ribbon for my bouquet
  • Find bridal lingerie
  • Decide if we will have toasting flutes/cake servers
  • Crinoline slip
  • Alter Grandma's ring bearer pillow
  • Programs
  • Cake topper
  • Look for Girls/Guys and parent gifts
  • Book Rehearsal dinner venue
  • Garter
  • Frames for Grandparent pictures

To me this looks overwhelming. And I know I don't need to do it all at once. But just seeing all those things I have to do-make me want to stop..and possibly scream.

Trust me..I am thrilled to go find all these things. Actually I'm so excited I could do a little dance! But at the same time with the Holiday season coming up it seems like so much to handle at the moment...

Any suggestions??

Rehearsal Dinner

Friday night Mama B and Papa B hosted Jeff and Kelly's rehearsal dinner at Olde Maine Brewing Co. It was such a yummy dinner!

There were lots of items to choose from..

Most of our table chose the Rib eye steak. It was delicious. Everyone was having a great time. Our table was the routiness! People from other tables kept staring at us...the Best Man and one of the ushers were just hilarious! We had such a fun time!

Here are some pictures from that night..
Mama B, Jeff, Kelly and Papa B

Mikey, Anthony and Jeff

Me and Mama B

November 11, 2008

First Day of Vacation

On the 1st day of our vacation...we went on a road trip to Lohrville, IA. Lohrville is my FMIL's hometown. It is such a cute little town.

Here is the start of our trip. In Mama B's van...

It was a long drive...We got to see lots of farm land and lots of cows...

Did I mention farmland??

I also got to meet Bette. She is like a mother to Mama B and a grandmother to the boys. She was the nicest lady of all time! Her house had so many beautiful vintage things in it..I wish I could have taken a picture of all of it. (But I really didn't want her thinking I was crazy..)

Here we are in front of Bette's house. Silly me forgot to get a picture of Bette...

Here is a Cancer Memorial plaque in Honor of Grandma...

We then ventured out to the cemetery to say Hello to Grandma and Grandpa..

This 1st day was my most favorite. I had so much fun meeting and learning about my future hubby's family. His Mom and I definitely bonded while on this trip...and I'm so thankful. We were close before..but now I am proud to say we are even closer. Mike is part of a great family and I can't wait to join them!

Later that night me and the boys joined the groom in his weekly dart league. It was a great night.....the groom was so cute..and umm drunk!

Next up..the rehearsal dinner!

Stay tuned!