Lately

There has been a lot going on of late. I would like to expound on each thing, but for now, I’ll just give you a quick overview.

I have started going to a chiropractor. I would venture that probably half of my church back home is going to this chiropractor. I went when I was a kid and Mom worked for one, but it has been a very long time. I had some discomfort in my left shoulder that gradually got more intense and into regular pain. So, I decided to hop on the bandwagon and check them out. I’m committed for a year (call me crazy!) and hopefully will see the good results my friends and church-family have been seeing. I’ll share more on this later, definitely. For now, you can just go check out their website.

Last Thursday (two Thursdays ago, I guess, since Sunday starts a new week), friends of mine gave offered us tickets to the Cincinnati Tennis event, ATP/WTA Western and Southern Open. I loooove professional tennis. It’s a lot of fun. Matt had never been to a game so that makes it even more fun for me. We were able to get tickets for Thursday night and watched Rafael Nadal play and then Serena Williams. They both won their matches. We even had box seats since the tickets were from someone who works with Rookwood Pottery – that’s an iconic Cincinnati pottery business and they make the trophies given out at the tournament. Very fun. This was our view for the evening:

tennis01 tennis02

Nadal had a wedgie the entire tournament and Matt commented on it every time he picked at it…well, maybe not every time. It felt like every time because he picked out his wedgie just about every play. I’m not a huge Nadal fan anyway, so it was annoying. But he’s one of the best in tennis history, so it’s still a good watch…unless he’s picking his wedgie. Dude, get some different undies.

Last Sunday, a man at Matt’s church was giving away from homegrown veggies. I grabbed up a zucchini and then sat around trying to figure out what to do with it. I also have some apples sitting around. Nice, plump, juicy apples. I got the big idea to add some apple to a zucchini bread. Sounds yummy, huh? Oh it was! But a word of warning – it might be a better idea to dry out the apple bits before adding them to your zucchini bread recipe. As it was, my recipe made either 24 muffins or 2 loaves of bread. I just have one pan for each, so I made 12 muffins and 1 loaf. Everything took probably twice as long to bake. I was up very late. I am wondering if the muffin recipe I have just makes really dense breads. I have yet to figure out how to make nice, fluffy breads. I’m guessing it is just something to learn. Regardless, they WERE very yummy! It’s almost all gone between Matt and I. Very dense. I would share the recipe with you, but I’m not really sure it worked the way it was supposed to. So, you can go to http://allrecipes.com and look up “apple zucchini” recipes. There are a bunch of things on there. I’m so glad.

muffins

Lastly, We were getting kind of low on our laundry detergent. I pinned more than a year ago this recipe for making your own. Claims to get 9 months of use out of $22+ of ingredients. That sounds fabulous! We haven’t had to buy detergent yet, so I thought it might be time to go ahead and make our own.

Here is the website with the original recipe:

It smelled so good while I was mixing it all together, and all the ingredients are supposed to be gentle for sensitive skin. I used it for my laundry last night and everything smells great! Only 1-2 tablespoons for each load. It’s just the two of us (as opposed to the blogger’s 5-member family) so I’m hoping it lasts us way longer than 9 months.

laundrysoap

Oh and all of our ingredients cost $22.10. Woot! Matt’s mother saw my pin and made this over a year ago. She has awful water to work with at their house and this is the only stuff that seems to work and actually get their clothes looking, feeling, smelling clean. When I posted pictures of the finished product, people came out of the woodwork on Facebook commenting about how they have been making their own and love it or asking questions about how to go about doing it themselves. As you can see, we have an HE washer, but it doesn’t seem to have any problem with the detergent. I put the date on some freezer tape and stuck it to the side of the box so I can see how long this batch lasts. I’m pretty pumped.

Have a great week everyone! Hopefully, I can check in with you before another week and a half rolls by.

Oh, and our sunflowers are kickin’ it!

sunflowers

 

Getting Married: 21 Weeks – Happy New Year!

It’s a new year! 2013 has arrived and I can’t even begin to express how excited I am for it. Last year, I will admit, that I had a bit of hope that Matt and I would be together and would be together forever. I don’t know how I knew; everything just seemed to be going that way. We weren’t an official couple yet, but I started a daily calendar, a tweet-like journal if you will, to keep track of all the wonderful happenings of 2012 and to add to it throughout the following years.

I got the idea off of Pinterest, of course. The idea is to use vintage postcards and index cards as dividers and calendar pages.ย  I tweaked mine from the website and didn’t use a fruit box. Instead, I found a pretty box at Michael’s and used that.

week21 box calendar 03

I started mine mid-January, after, I think, Matt and I became an official couple. We went to the nearby Antique Mall and I found the postcards I was looking for – there are a ton there! The postcards represent a month of the year and serve to keep the index cards organized.

week21 box calendar 02

Some of them matched the month I planned to used them, and others were just sites that I really enjoyed, like mountains and elephants and beautiful homes or farmsteads. The ones pictured above are (left to right) for February, May and June. So, with my months sorted out, it was time to put together the index cards.

The tutorial has the index cards being cut down a lot more than I wanted to, mostly because I didn’t want to cut down my post cards too much to “match.” So, I decided to get the index cards without lines to keep track of the days. This rule applies to most of my journaling; I prefer not to have lines because I like to have freedom to move all over the page. ๐Ÿ™‚ I bought a date stamp and began stamping the cards with each day of the year, even throwing in February 29th – hey, it’s a day too!

week21 box calendar 01

And then, you just write. Try to keep the details short and sweet – just enough to jog the memory of the event. I had a lot of fun putting it together last year. The headings can be super big and important or just something trivial. Last January, I was pretty sick for about 3 days in a row…and each day I said so. In August, Matt and I sat down and looked through the ones i had for the year so far, he was really glad that I included that he was my very first kiss ever. I’m really glad for that too. I may post about it in the future.

In other news, I’m pretty sure we finished our wedding registry at Menard’s. We hadn’t even started it yet, but it was a lot of fun running around that huge place adding things to our list. Word of advice, don’t freak out, but when they give you the scanner gun, they will take and keep one of your driver’s licenses until you return it. Matt was all excited that he beat me in getting his out to show the guy and then he had to fork it over for the 2+ hours we were in there.

week21 yardsport

Matt really wanted to register for this $5,000 cart, but we couldn’t find a SKU for it anywhere. (ahem…totally as a gag)

I told Matt that we should probably plan a groom’s shower for him so that he can get all the tools and stuff and then I can get the other homey girlie stuff. Note that it was I who registered for the hammer, though, and plan to use it. Matt says it’s too big for me, but I’m sure I can handle it! Hope you have a great week!

Menard’s registry!

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on WeddingWire.com

 

Getting Married: 22 Weeks – Festivities

Wow! So, I think I made it through my first “couples” holiday season! Quite a ride though. Let’s see, there were 4 official family events going on. Saturday afternoon was at my sister’s house with my mom and sisters and family. Sunday afternoon was at my dad’s home with the sisters and family. Monday prevening/evening was with Matt’s father’s extended family. Tuesday started off at my house with my mom and then I headed out to Matt’s parents’ house for some more Christmas and is mother’s sister’s family came over.

We had a lot of fun and it was so nice to have Matt there for all of it. He works such a goofy schedule, but he finished his last day on 1st shift on Friday and then had 5 days off! It was perfect. ๐Ÿ™‚ And the weather was real cooperative until the day after Christmas. The news called for a blizzard and boy was that fun, but that’s another story.

snowflake lights

For Christmas with Mom, we have started exchanging names between the adults, but then all getting something for the kids. It’s been fun and Mom usually finds something goofy for all of us to have and enjoy. This year were glasses that changed the shape of lights when you wore them. I tried to capture the sight as much as possible through my camera. Above is the best I could do, but I think you can get the idea.

Sunday, we had a really sweet service at my church. We were scheduled to have communion and Pastor Tim came up with a creative way to tie all of the life of Christ together in one service. It was a blessing for the morning.

week 22 church

After church, we headed over to Dad’s house for the next Christmas party. They just got a new puppy named Casper. He’s a Maltese, which means he doesn’t shed so there are no allergies. He was teeny tiny and a frisky little ball of fluff. I love dogs, bigger dogs though, but Casper is a cutie.

week 22 casper

I had to work half a day on Monday, but after work, I drove up to The House and hung out there until it was time to go to his grandpa’s house. Matt’s dad’s family is all over this area, and so there are frequent get-togethers with his aunts’ families and cousins and such. Most of them are married and there are some young kids that run around. They’re pretty cute (the kids, anyway) and I’m enjoying getting to know all of them.

On Christmas Day, I woke up at my house with Mom and we opened gifts – I got a slew of kitchen utensils and sewing supplies. Just what I was wanting! Plus, the kitchen utensils are yellow ๐Ÿ˜€ After a while, I drove up to Matt’s parents’ house and spent the rest of the day there. Oh my word, I had a haul there! Here are some things I got for Christmas:

week 22 elephant

I’ve been eyeing this jewelry bowl for a while now. I pinned it to my Elephant board on Pinterest a while ago. It is so sweet, I just love it!

week 22 darth

Yep, the Boy got this for me. When you press Vader’s head, the screen lights up red. So cool. ๐Ÿ™‚

week22 sewing machine

I.AM.SO.EXCITED.FOR.THIS!!! I have been worried about how I’m going to get all my sewing stuff done once I’m married without a machine, and I hate the idea of borrowing someone else’s. This Kenmore and I are going to spend lots of time together. Don’t worry Matt, not as much as you and me. ๐Ÿ˜€

On Christmas Day, I got a message from a dear friend on Facebook that another of our friends, Chris Rushing, had not shown up to his family Christmas party. They tried to contact him and when he didn’t respond, they went to his place and found him. He had died suddenly and left such an ache in the hearts of all our friends. I head over to his profile every so often and read the messages to and about him from loved ones. He was one of the sweetest and most encouraging guys I’ve known. And hilarious! I can remember all the great convos we’ve had over the years and how much laughter there was in them. He will be so missed, but I take such comfort in knowing that he is now with Jesus – probably singing karaoke, or getting a road trip coordinated. I bet there are road trips in heaven, yeah? ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t know what he’s up to, but I know that he’s with our Saviour now. Please pray for his family and friends as they start the new year without this man.

Chris01

Chris Rushing
September 25, 1982 – December 25, 2012
“War Eagle”

On a happier note, I also got a message from my step-brother that my newest niece was born on Christmas Eve! She is gorgeous and I’m in love with her already. I can’t wait to meet her. Her name is Evangeline Grace. I don’t get to see my step-bro and his family nearly enough, but I love being an aunt. It’s one of my favorite things ever. Matt and I were talking about how, when we’re married, he’ll be an instant uncle – 14 times! That’s right! I’ve got 7 nephews and 7 nieces! Seems wild to think about, but it’s a blast!

EvieGrace

Evangeline “Evie” Grace
December 24th, 2012; 5:17 pm CST
7 lbs 9 oz; 20.25 in

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on WeddingWire.com

Getting Married: 23 Weeks – End of the World…Psh, I Got This

Lots of things coming up in the next week. Busy busy busy! We have three separate family gatherings between today and Christmas to go to, and then the Christmas Day festivities. I am happy to report that we made it through the first day of Winter, also known as the Mayan D-Day. We had our first real snow on the ground yesterday, but it didn’t stick around much. So much for Winter Storm Draco (The Weather Channel has decided to name winter storms, much to the chagrin of the meteorological community) although I know that this particular storm dropped a lot more snow in other parts of the country. We just got a lot of high winds, ice and cold temps.

Have I mentioned how much I love my church? We have mailboxes set up in the hallway at church for each family and people use it all year long, but the original intent was for Christmas cards! How handy? I love getting Christmas cards and I love giving them, but I haven’t done so in the last few years. Bad Sarah. I hope to make up for this in the future. Anyway, this year has been sweet because there have been quite a few well-wishes for the wedding included with the notes and some were even labeled to “Sarah and Matt.” ๐Ÿ™‚ So many dear friends who have been praying for me and my future husband for so many years. It is a blessing.

This Wednesday we had a church-wide potluck dinner and then the kids acted out the Nativity. My flower girl was one of the sheep and they were so adorable! She’s got quite the personality and would pop up around different sides of the manger. Her big cousin was playing the part of Mary who tried desperately to quiet down the sheep for the pantomime. Joseph sat there looking a bit stunned (he was played by another friend’s son; he and I rag on each other about the Bengals and the Steelers and yes, he’s only about 5.) When that part of the Nativity had to come off the stage, Camille let us know that she wasn’t ready to come down yet and her momma had to carry her off.

kidsnativity

Our ring bearer was also in the play with his parents. They were Mary, Joseph and Jesus when he was about 2 years old and the wise men arrived with their gifts. As they walked up to him and put down their packages, his eyes would get wide and he’d point, exclaiming and “oo-ing” about what might be inside. It was so cute. That reminds me that I need to get a pic up of him on the wedding page.

Facebook has put together a Top 20 recap of the year this time around. I thought it fitting given that we were facing the end of the world. Here were my top moments, according to Facebook:

1. Jan 13 – In a relationship with Matt Martin.ย  2. Jan 28-29 – Visit Latrobe, PA.ย  3. Feb 11 – Added 81 photos to my Winter ’11/’12 album. 4. Feb 18-20 – Pappy’s Visitation and Funeral in Latrobe, PA. 5. Feb 24 – Tagged in 4 photos by Matt. 6. Mar 19 – Flubs with Matt! 7. Apr 11 – Last day with Community Development Professionals 8. Apr 16 – First day back with Union Savings Bank. 9. Apr 28-29 – Mehring Wedding in Virginia Beach! 10. Apr 30 – Added 130 photos to Spring ’12 album. 11. Jun 14 – 28th Birthday!!!!! 12. Jun 26 – Engaged to Matt Martin in Gulf Shores, AL! 13. Jun 26 – I guess it was a big enough deal that they listed the engagement twice. lol 14. Jun 24-29 – Gulf Shores, AL trip with the Martin family. 15. Aug 28 – Got the Davis’s a Tetris pillow. 16. Sept 7 – Painted Van Gogh’s Starry Night at Paint By the Glass. 17. Added 82 friends. 18. Liked 132 pages.

Well, I only counted 18 items, even with the double listing of the engagement. False advertisement, Facebook. You sit on a throne of lies…but we all know this and have just come to accept it as the norm of our life. So, I am going to come up with my own 19 and 20. Number 19 would have to be getting to see a sundog! They’re so cool and I’ve been wanting to see one for the last 5-7 years. And then a couple of weeks later, I saw another one! Yeah! And Number 20 is getting to see The Hobbit! ๐Ÿ˜€ I know it’s dorky, but I’ve been waiting for a while for this movie and I was even more excited to know that Thorin, the dwarf prince, was played by Richard Armitage, one of my favorite actors! He was so good in the BBC mini-series “North and South.”

I hope you all have an absolutely wonderful Christmas! I will be back to join you and catch up next weekend. Much love to you all!

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on WeddingWire.com

Getting Married: 24 Weeks – Christmas Baking

My family loves to bake. We traditionally have had a family-wide baking day soon after Thanksgiving to make goodies for friends and others. Without getting into the dietary spiel, there’s something about putting a sweet, warm cookie in your mouth that makes you feel good. C’mon, you know exactly what I’m talking about. We go all out too.

This year, my sisters and their kids were unable to join us, and with my work schedule and tutoring, I wasn’t much help either. Mom, however, started early, working on the chocolates and such. The chocolate Mom gets is so yummy and doesn’t have any of the wax fillers that is common in most store-bought chocolates. We do everything from chocolate molds to chocolate covered pretzels to turtles to buckeyes to chocolate mice. Yes, these:

mice

They are a blast to make and always make an impression. I was telling the girls at work that we usually hear one of two things:

Oh, these are way too cute to eat!

and

I want two! One to eat and one to show [insert name].

The buckeyes are my babies. I love making them. I found the recipe on AllRecipes.com and they are delectable. You can find them, too, here.

And then we get into the cookies. Mom really goes all out with the cookies. She made several kinds of bar cookies this year and they were yummy. I’m really only good for our standard World-Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies. Yes, they are world-famous because I made them in Japan and shared them with the international students at Shidai, the city university. The word has gone out to the world that these chocolate chip cookies are the best. I can say that and it’s not bragging because everyone else will agree with me. No joke. Just ask them. If they don’t, then they haven’t had them. ๐Ÿ˜€ (I may or may not be kidding. Ha!)

One of my favorite parts is the delivery. We were able to deliver a couple of boxes of goodies to friends and neighbors Saturday night. We even got some yummy, supa-hot, salsa in exchange.

On a funny note, my mom and I love to sing. My whole family does, but when we deliver goodies to people’s’ homes, we especially like to sing. We chose We Wish You a Merry Christmas this year.

This reminds me of a great story from when I was in junior high. We drove over to my friend Rebecca’s house to deliver some Christmas goodies. It had been snowing and so all the houses were blanketed in a lovely white fluff and mom and I were bundled up in our coats with hoods. We went up to the door, knocked, and started singing our song. It took a while for them to get to the door and open it, but once they did, we saw a man blocking his wife and kids with his arm looking out at us like we were serial killers. We quickly realized our mistake and tried to gracefully bow out and head next door, but we have this problem where our gut reaction is to start laughing. So, here we are giggling and trying to make good with this freaked out man and family. They wouldn’t even take any treats as an apology. It was really quite funny. We walked over to the next house and began the routine all over again, pleased to find that it was indeed Rebecca’s house. We all had a great laugh that night.

What are your favorite treats to make at Christmas? Have anything that you cannot wait to bake, or something that you love to get from a friend or relative?

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on WeddingWire.com