Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Brother's Wedding

As I said in my last post, my brother got married this weekend!! The wedding was actually on Sunday, so it allowed for a lot of hanging out time after Matt & I arrived Friday. Unfortunately we had to leave first thing Monday morning to get back (Matt has a test today he had to study for) but we still had a good time. 

They had a beautiful wedding (and starred my adorable nieces as you'll see below) and we had a blast at dinner afterwards. It was a small gathering- about 20 people or so- and it was perfect. I think they were able to relax a bit at dinner, which as many of you know is next to impossible! 

But since you want to see the pictures, here is what I have from my camera. I took some with my brother's camera, but I don't have those quite yet, so unfortunately these won't show the portraits of the bride and groom I took. Hopefully I will get those soon!

My groom and me :)
Caroline, my new sister, putting the final touches on
her daughter's dress. PS- isn't Caroline beautiful?!? I loved
her dress!
Gotta love the ring shot
Love these two
Sweet Daddy/Daughter moment before
the ceremony started 
As you can see, the girls decided they
wanted to be with Mommy & Daddy.
During the entire service.
Gotta love this shot.
Our reception room at Buca de Beppo's
Yay wedding cake!
My aunt/Godmother (Hi Paula!) 
Some of our food-- bruschetta appetizer
One of the pasta dishes
My favorite- veal saltimbocca
Alice may have been a little tired...
I'm so happy we were able to celebrate with them!
Congratulations John & Caroline!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Five for Friday

I hope everyone had a great week! Ours was fine, nothing too exciting. We have been counting down to this weekend though!

  1. My brother is getting married in 2 days! I'm so excited to go and celebrate with him! Isn't is new family beautiful? 
  2. On Wednesday, I went to the mall to get some new shoes but that trip proved unsuccessful. I couldn't find good supportive, non-neon walking shoes. After my foot decided it hated me and 2 steroid shots later (ow!), I've been slowly replacing my shoe collection. I have some good athletic shoes & sandals, but wanted something more casual. Nope. Not this time. Any recommendations? 
  3. Instead of buying shoes, I came home with a new purse. Dang Fossil and their sale signs! But it was 30% off, so I'm happy with that
  4. A new toy came in that I've been playing with. I ordered a heart rate monitor I've been eyeing for a while so it's been interesting to see what my actual calorie burn is while working out. Wow those machines certainly overestimate! Anyway, I'll write more about it later when I get more used to it, but so far I'm a fan!
  5. When did we get halfway through July? I realized the other day that I'm 2 months away from being 25. Woah... it's crazy how fast life goes!
Do you have any weekend plans? Do you use a heart rate monitor while working out? Have you made these brownies I gushed about on Monday?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Do yourself a favor

And go make these. Now. Because you have to wait several hours to eat them. The wait will be worth it, my friends, I promise you.
Before the powdered sugar gets added
What are they, you ask? Pioneer Woman's Knock You Naked Brownies. They are probably the best thing I've ever made (which is saying something). They're most certainly my favorite dessert item I've ever made. Matt says his grandmother's apple pie is still his favorite dessert, but this is a close second. The brownies themselves have a layer of caramel in the middle, making them extra gooey, rich, and delicious. The powdered sugar doesn't overpower it at all either.
Post-powdered sugar, all ready to enjoy
As I said, you have to make them several hours before indulging serving. I baked them Saturday around 9:30 AM and we had to sit in our apartment all day smelling them before enjoying them for dessert at a friend's house. Painful-- yes. Worth it-- yes. You definitely want the caramel to set.
Layers from bottom: brownie, caramel, chocolate chips, brownie, powdered sugar. 
They are delicious served chilled with a glass of cold milk or vanilla ice cream (Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla if you know what's good for you). 

I hope your Monday is a good one with images of delicious brownies floating in your head ;)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Five Things for Friday

I am so happy it's Friday. This week has been exhausting, more so for Matt than me, but we'll get to that in a minute! Here is my list of weekly happenings...

  1. Why has this week been exhausting? Matt's taking 2 summer courses online and for over a week the videos he was supposed to watch were unavailable. The server was down for that long! Anyway, they came back on Monday so he watched 1 lecture Monday, 3 on Tuesday, 2 Wednesday, and finally finished getting caught up last night. Oh, and he works full time, so this involved him going to bed waaay past our normal bed time. In an attempt to be a good wife, I tried to stay up. But after 10 PM, I was out :( We're just happy he's caught up now!
  2. We're going with my family to Disney World next January and I got to make our dining reservations this past week (yup, gotta make them 180 days in advance)! Let's just say we'll be eating at awesome places, like 
    Be Our Guest (as in from Beauty & the Beast)! Source
  3. Matt & I will be running a 5K at Disney, but I decided to push myself even more. I want to run a 10K sometime this fall. Yikes, it's scary actually typing that out- makes it more real! I'm yet to sign up for one because they're not as popular as 5Ks and half marathons. If you know of any in the DFW area, let me know!
  4. We will be making these brownies this weekend for a dinner party. Can you say yum?
    Just minus the nuts; source
  5. It's date night tonight and I have no clue what we're doing. I'm sure whatever Matt has planned will be great, as long as it involves a good bed time! :P
What about you? Any fun plans this weekend?

Monday, July 8, 2013

4th of July Weekend Recap

I hope all of you had a great time celebrating our independence! We had a fun time in Houston with my family and even got to relax a bit-- very welcome during this crazy summer.

Over the long weekend, we:

-Embraced our inner child and played with bubbles. Later Matt may have been shooting the bubbles with a water gun. Oh the joy of having nieces! 

We had to 'prime' the wands for the girls. Best idea ever.

-We helped my brother move into his new house. It involved moving a very heavy aquarium and getting it set up, but he and his soon-to-be wife found an amazing house!

-We ate well. Are you surprised? It involved eating burgers at a delicious restaurant called the Counter as well as making dinner on 2 separate nights for my family. 
My custom-made salad. So delicious
Matt's burger, complete with BBQ sauce, pineapple, bacon,
pickles, lettuce, and jalapeno jack. He declared it the best ever.
Pioneer Woman's Peach-Whiskey Chicken complete with
mashed potatoes and fresh corn on the cob
-We bought a car.
If only...
Anyway, what did you do this weekend?

Precious puppy picture to make you smile :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Home Improvement

So now that it is hot in Texas again, I remembered why I told Matt we should do our best to not have a huge western-facing window in our next residence. It lets in so much heat and makes the poor, apartment-grade AC work so hard. We had seen several neighboring units put up sun shades on their patios so we thought that looked like a good solution. 

Off to Lowe's we went and came back home with a 120" box that just barely fit in my car. Seriously, we know now the length from the front of my car to the end of the trunk-- 120". About 90 minutes, one dropped bracket and one dropped screw later (from the 2nd story), we had an amazing sun shade!

As we just put it up last night, we'll have to wait to see how good it does in actually blocking the heat and keeping our apartment a tad bit cooler, but I'm optimistic! 

PS, the packaging said it would take 20 minutes and maybe 2 people to install. Ha. Ha. Ha. 

PPS, anyone else get my title's reference of the 90's show staring Tim Allen? I'm feeling nostalgic today apparently.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Wait, what?

And now it's July. I really don't understand how that could be. Over halfway through 2013... wow! I know the rest of this summer will fly by so I wanted to take a second and write a quick re-cap of June and what we have on the forecast for July!


  • I wrote. A lot. I've been lucky enough to get to work with several faculty members at my school so I've been busy writing articles and book chapters. If you want to know about crime during emerging adulthood (ages 18-25), I'm your girl. :P
  • I've graded. A lot. I'm TA'ing for 2 online summer courses and so I get the honor of grading stats homework problems and violent crime discussion posts. Sounds like fun, no?
  • We made a lot of fun recipes, including pizza, whole wheat bread, and cookies. Proof: here and here.  
  • I met Darth Vader and we got to enjoy an amazing concert and laser light show! Perfect relaxing evening after a hectic week.
  • Matt started summer school and has completed his first round of exams. Only 2 more to go!
  • I survived a slumber party with my lifegroup girls. I lead a group of now-8th-grade girls in a small group and we decided to have a sleepover last week. Not much sleep was had (me & my co-leader- 4 hours, them- 2), but we had a lot of fun!
  • 4th of July! We will be hanging out with family and helping out after my dad has (somewhat minor) surgery
  • My brother gets married! I can't believe that it's already happening but I'm excited to celebrate with them!
  • We get to go see this guy in concert. We have seen him once or twice before and he always puts on a great show! 
  • I'm looking forward to cooking some more recipes, including this BBQ chicken as well as some homemade burgers from this cookbook
What about you? Any cool happenings for the month of July?