Friday, April 29, 2011

{Invitations} Subway Art Inspired Grad Invites

Grad student NO MORE! I recently completed all the classes necessary to obtain my master's degree, which has been a goal of mine for a very long time. IT FEELS SO GOOD TO BE DONE!

My graduation is in a few weeks and after the ceremony, my parents, in-laws, hubby, son & I are heading out for a little celebration. My husband made reservations at the Iron Hill Brewery, so I created a little invitation with the details for our families.

I really like subway art and have been wanting to try a subway art inspired invite for a while -- this was the perfect opportunity.

I'm also thinking about making Bakerella's famous candy cup graduation caps as little favors for our families. Aren't they sweet?!

**I'm SUPER excited to be graduating...BUT...I do still have a few more classes to take that are required by the state in which I reside if I'd like to get a job one day. UGHH!!!! I'll just have to plug away slowly at those even though the thought of writing one more paper is nauseating ;-}
**I'm currently working on a cute baby shower invitation with some additional coordinating pieces. It's turning out adorable -- will be posting SOON!
**Did you see HER this morning? PRINCESS KATE?! OMG -- STUNNING! LOVED her dress -- so classic, formal, and fitting for a princess. AND...did you see her sister's dress -- MY FAV! Those girls are beauties! It was definitely tough to leave for work this morning as I really just wanted sit in front of that tv all morning and watch this historic event unfold.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

{Recipes} Pineapple Casserole

Great little side dish for you! This is another signature recipe a la my girlfriend Patty {actually her wonderful cook for a mother deserves the credit here ;-} Thank you, Mrs. Q!

I made this for Easter dinner at my mom's house, and then again the very next night for our dinner at home! I love this casserole paired with pork sandwiches -- so yummy!

~ 1 cup sugar
~ 1/2 cup butter {1 stick}, softened
~ 4 eggs
~ 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
~ 5 slices cinnamon raisin bread, cubed

~ Cream the sugar and butter
~ Beat in one egg at a time
~ Add pineapple and then fold in cubed bread
~ Spread in a greased casserole dish
~ Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour

**You can add in a little sprinkle of cinnamon & some extra raisins if desired.
**I doubled this recipe to fill a 9x13 sized casserole dish.
**It almost could pass for a dessert it's so TASTY!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

{Inspiration} Vegas GLAM

Here's the stunning Vegas wedding I've spoken of for the last few weeks. A little background information for you :: the bride and groom married very young and the bride's mother planned the entire wedding from start to finish. It was a lovely wedding, but not really their "own." So, once the bride became a hip wedding photographer {aka Kristin Spencer Photography -- HUGE fan over here -- amazing work!}, she and her husband decided to say their vows again -- this time Vegas Style. They planned a glamorous wedding at the Bellagio to coincide with their 5th anniversary. So fun! Check out some of the FAB details below...

Can we just stop for a moment please and feast our eyes on those SHOES! I picture Carrie Bradshaw here -- "Hello Lova!" Christian Louboutin -- need I say more?

And the table setting -- I've died and gone to heaven. The colors, the rectangular tablescape, the LAMPS {loving that}, the lush flowers, the buttons {yes, I said buttons. Can you see them? Better shot below}. TO-DIE-FOR!

And how about that antique convertible cady?! Bet that made for a great photo opt driving down The Strip!

Fun glasses! And again, those shoes! Check out her hubby's shoes too!

Can you imagine this scene as the backdrop for your wedding? Me neither. So amazing!

I love the "V" that the lacey straps of her dress make. Not to mention the birdcage she's wearing!

I think I'd like to hop in on this party scene -- I wouldn't mind rockin' a pair of those shades. And enjoying a glass of wine while dancing under a starry lit sky on a veranda overlooking the finest sites that Vegas has to offer. Ahhhh....

Details -- aren't these out-of-town bags {suitcases} adorable?

And I love the vintage rings she gave as favors -- so fitting!

**Hope you enjoyed!

**Did I mention that I have especially been enthrawed with this wedding b/c if I can bare to leave my baby boy for a few days, I may meet my husband in Vegas for a little mini getaway this fall? He'll be there already for a big sales meeting. Hmmmmm...decisions. The thought of leaving my little man is a lot overwhelming at this point. TBD...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

{Crafting} Easter Crafts & Sweets

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Sunday! Isn't it sooo nice to spend time with family? My mom hosted Easter at her home this year, so I made some simple Easter treats to bring for dinner/dessert. She always has hard boiled eggs on display, so I told her I would take care of that this year. I was all set to dye my eggs and try the wax decorating; however, I decided to go a more simple route.

All I did was cut little strips of fabric that I had leftover from one of Dean's homemade month onesies and tied it around some of the eggs. I left some of them plain because I loved the way the plain white eggs looked against the bright green grass.

I LOVE the look of carrots for Easter {think Peter Cottontail ;-}, so I made a few of my own to stick in with the eggs. So simple -- it literally took me less than 10 minutes to make all three of them! Here's what I did:
1. Cut a small rectangle of fabric {I wasn't very technical here and have no idea of the exact dimensions -- this was a QUICK project!}
2. Roll to form a little cone
3. Glue the last little bit of fabric to keep the cone together
4. Fill the inside with green Easter grass {allow some to stick out the top}
5. Done!

These would be really cute as part of an Easter table centerpiece or dessert buffet.

Then I made these quick, simple and festive nests with eggs. Again, a cute addition to an Easter/spring dessert table.

I used thin pretzel sticks, which I broke up a little. Then I added them to melted chocolate {I like using chocolate almond bark and chocolate chips}. When I scooped the chocolate/pretzel mixture onto wax paper, I just made sure to create circular looking nests with hollowed out middles. Once dry, I added candy coated chocolate speckled eggs to the center. Simple! Can you tell I'm all about simple...but cute. Cute is a must ;-}

**My mom is an awesome cook, and we had a delicious Easter dinner....Mmmmm. I made a pineapple bread casserole to compliment the ham she made -- I used my friend's family recipe. If she gives me permission, I will share it because it's my very FAVORITE! And extremely quick and easy to make. I love it so much that I actually made another small one to pair with our pork paninis last night!

**Back to work -- HOME STRETCH!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

{Invitations} Mother's Day

I am in the process of planning a Mother's Day Brunch for my mom and MIL. The invites have been delivered to the guests of honor, and I finally had the chance to sit down and sketch out my ideas for the brunch. The sketch looks cute -- let's hope the "real thing" turns out the same!

I created 4x9 invites with a simple yellow stripe, pale pink ticking and added the verbage in dark pink. Then I cut a big, dark pink flower with a pale pink center from textured scrapbook paper and used thick double sided tape to give it a "raised" look.

I'm keeping it simple and springy by using pinks and yellows.

Oh -- I almost forgot -- where did the inspiration for this invite and colors come from?

It came from these fondant flower toppers I ordered from Two Sugar Babies. Stay tuned to see how I incorporate them into my dessert spread!

**I'm officially on Spring Break this afternoon at 2:40pm until Tuesday morning when I head back to work -- 5 whole days -- WOOOHOOO! This girl NEEDS some R&R in her life and is taking FULL ADVANTAGE of this time off. Have a wonderful Easter with your loved ones! See you on Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

{Random} SPRING!

This might sound crazy to some, but I honestly don't mind rain showers in the spring because it makes the grass looks amazingly green and the gives the flowers a nice drink, so that they look beautiful and vibrant when they bloom.

Last fall, my hubby planted all kinds of bulbs in our flower beds in the front and side of our home. I LOVE how I am greeted by these cheery colors everytime I walk out my front door. Lots of red and yellow tulips and...

...even a combo of the two...

And then there's our daffodils....they remind me of the sun, which immediately puts a smile on my face :-]

I decided I needed to "springify" my front porch too, so I added some brightly colored striped pillows for the spring and summer.


Speaking of spring, my boys and I took a mini-trip to Baltimore this past weekend and boy did I need it. Thankfully we were able to push our trip back one day since it rained cats & dogs on Saturday {and most likely we'd have been stuck inside our hotel room}. I've been feeling especially crabby lately and needed a refresher, a chance to not think about anything except my family, and just ENJOY myself. And that is just what I did :-]

My family taking in a beautiful spring afternoon in the Inner Harbor. Can you see the ship in the background? It's called the U.S.S Constellation.

Rewind almost four years... hubby and I had just gotten engaged on that ship -- I think we were both still in shock in this picture!

Still reminiscing...we also took a stroll around the Power Plant and stopped by Howl at the Moon to snap a quick photo of the writing on the door since the restaurant was closed.

May 2007 -- Bo and I celebrated at Howl at the Moon the night we got engaged. We look so....young. And tan. And thin. And well rested. GEEZ -- what a difference a few years {and a baby!} makes!

All in all, it was a GREAT weekend. And I'm feeling ready to tackle the next two days at work with a positive attitude and then relax and enjoy spring break and Easter. Here's to a short week!

Friday, April 15, 2011

{LOVE} A Walk Down Memory Lane...

Picture it :: April 2008. St. Michael's, Maryland. A quaint, charming town on the water. A rainy, spring afternoon. A girl. A boy. A soon-to-be wedding. A photographer. Anticipation. Excitement. Nervousness. LOVE.

We didn't have the greatest weather for our engagement pics, but you know what? I LOVED that it was rainy. I loved that I was able to use my umbrella as a prop. It was different, and I love different. {I DIDN'T love that my curly hair started to do what curly hair does best when it rains. Frizzzzzz!}

We started off at a little cafe called Characters.

Then we strolled around the town with our photographer, Laura of In His Grace Photography.

We did all sorts of fun things like feeding the ducks...

And sticking our faces through holes with funny pictures on the other side...

And being daring and leaping over water...

And taking a little break to hold hands as we strolled along...

And climbing on dangerous things like cranes to get some cool shots...

And playing silly games just to steal a kiss from the other...

And fighting such a strong wind that it blew my umbrella inside out...

And peeking in store windows with all kinds of beautiful treasures inside...

And being goofy in front of a very inappropriately placed sign...{so NOT cool ;-}

And holding on tight huddled under our umbrella back where we started, dreaming of our big day and the life we would soon share together forever and ever and ever...

**I was going to do a post on an outrageously beautiful Vegas Glam wedding today but I ditched it to take you on a walk down memory lane with me...
**I CHERISH these memories and hold them very close...
**Heading to our favorite city with our favorite boy this weekend to do a little more reminiscing...
**Details and pics next week {taking Monday off from EVERYTHING, including blogging, so I'll see you Tuesday ;-}

Thursday, April 14, 2011

{Recipes & Royals} How's This For a Combo -- Tater Tot Casserole & The Royal Wedding

I made this Tater Tot Casserole last night for my family {recipe compliments of Hungry Girl}. I get a daily e-mail newsletter from Hungry Girl with recipes, tips and tricks for healthy eating, and great substitutes for some of your "unhealthy" favorites {you can sign up for this on their website}. In addition, all of the caloric stats are listed with each recipe, which is nice to know if you're watching the ole' waistline.

~ 2 cups sliced mushrooms
~ 1 cup chopped onion
~ 3 cups frozen chopped spinach
~ 2 cups frozen bite-sized mixed veggies
~ 2 cups frozen ground-beef-style soy crumbles {like the kind by Boca or Morningstar Farms}
**I subbed lean ground beef for the soy crumbles**
~ 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
~ 1 tsp. chopped garlic
~ One 10.75-oz. can 98% fat-free cream of mushroom condensed soup
~ 36 frozen Ore-Ida Tater Tots (about 3 cups)
~ S&P

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat on the stove. Add mushrooms and onion. Stirring occasionally, cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, place frozen spinach, mixed veggies, soy crumbles, and edamame in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave for 5 minutes. Uncover and stir. Cover and microwave for 3 more minutes, or until thawed.
**If subbing ground beef for soy crumbles, just brown the beef, drain the fat and add to the veggies once done.
4. Once cool enough to handle, drain any excess water from the bowl. Add mushroom-onion mixture and garlic, and mix well. Add condensed soup, and toss until ingredients are thoroughly coated.
5. Spray an 8" X 8" baking pan with nonstick spray, and evenly spoon mixture into the pan, smoothing the surface with the back of a spoon. Evenly lay Tater Tots on top in a single layer.
6. Bake in the oven until entire casserole is hot and the top is crispy {about 35 minutes}. Serve it up and, if you like, season to taste with salt and pepper.

**I served this casserole with applesauce. It's really good, but I would say you must be a fan of veggies to like this -- definitely a vegetabley taste!



I'll admit it -- I'm excited beyond belief to see Prince William marry Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey this month.

There is something about this couple that just fascinates me. Maybe it's the fact that the future King of England is marrying a "commoner." Maybe it's the oh-so-proper and distinguished British accent {exhausting by the way - I have long ago childhood memories of pretending to be British -- ha!}. Maybe it's the fact that my own mother set her alarm clock for 2am on the morning Prince Charles wed Diana. Or perhaps it's that I can't wait to see Kate's gown, the flowers, and all the wedding day details!

I guess I can't put my finger on exactly what I love so much about this couple, but I know I'll be watching that tv at some ungodly hour on April 29, 2011! Are you joining me?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

{Inspiration} Pretty Easter Eggs

Some cute Easter egg inspiration for you from Better Homes and Gardens. I'm going to attempt to make some of these to take to my mom's house for Easter dinner. We'll see how they turn out!

LOVE these -- made using wax -- I might attempt. Ahhh -- what am I getting myself into?!

Plan B -- these look a little easier, so if the wax is a fail, I'll go the toothpick and stencil paint route.

Plan C -- stickers.

Plan D -- tape.

Maybe a little sampling of each of the above? If time was my friend maybe...

Would be really adorable as a centerpiece or dessert buffet / food station decor.