Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Time Travel Reading Challenge

I came across this challenge, also hosted by Alyce and thought it would be really interesting. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is one of my favorite books and I would like to read more of the time travel books out there. I am aiming for three books for this challenge which are listed below. For more info on the challenge or to sign up, visit Time Travel Reading Challenge.
  1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  2. The Cross Time Engineer by Leo Frankowski
  3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 Awesome Author Challenge

This challenge is to read books from authors that have been recommended, but still haven't read. The challenge is hosted by Alyce and runs from January 1, 2010 until December 31, 2010. I've decided to do the Moderate level and read six books for the challenge. As for the authors, I took a mini poll on Facebook with my friends in order to get some recommendations on authors and came up with the following six:
  1. Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood
  2. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
  3. Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster
  4. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  5. Champagne for One by Rex Stout
  6. Good Grief by Lolly Winston
For more info on the challenge or to sign up, visit Awesome Author Challenge 2010.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

It seems quite fitting that I finished the challenge on the same day that we put away all of our Christmas decorations.  :)  The last two books I read were A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg and The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere. A Redbird Christmas is the story of Oswald, who learns that he only has a short time to live and must move south right before Christmas because of his health. As for The Christmas Shoes, I am really glad that I read this one last. While I thoroughly enjoyed the first four books I read, I enjoyed The Christmas Shoes most of all. It's a story of how two people's chance encounter can really make a difference in one's life.
I am really glad that I decided to do this reading challenge and enjoyed reading the books. I'm looking for a few reading challenges for 2010 and am looking forward to completing those as well.  :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

2010 What's In A Name Reading Challenge

I've decided to enter What's In A Name Reading Challenge for 2010, hosted by Beth Fish Reads. I'm looking forward to this challenge, it should be interesting choosing the books to read!
The contest starts January 1, 2010 and ends December 31, 2010. During that time, six books meeting the following criteria must be read:
  1. A book with a food in the title.
  2. A book with a body of water in the title.
  3. A book with a title (queen, president) in the title.
  4. A book with a plant in the title.
  5. A book with a place (city, country) in the title.
  6. A book with a music term in the title.
For more info regarding the reading challenge or to sign up, visit the What's In A Name? 3 blog.

Merry Christmas!




I can't believe Christmas has already come and gone! Actually this entire year has flown by as well. We had a very nice Christmas this year. Last week was pretty busy, even though I had the week off work. I left a little bit too much Christmas shopping to be done and ended up getting sick with a cold which made finishing up my Christmas shopping not that enjoyable. But everything was finished and Jim and I were able to have a really nice Christmas Eve dinner just the two of us (I cooked my first ham, which turned out really good). We also had a really nice Christmas, despite all the rain.  :(  Both of our families celebrate Christmas Day, so it does mean quite a bit of driving. We go to my sister's Christmas morning to open presents and have breakfast, then pick up Jim's sons and head over to his parents for Christmas dinner. Afterwards, we drive back home to open gifts with his sons. Unfortunately, we spend over three hours of Christmas Day in the car, but we obviously enjoy seeing all of our family. I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ornament Exchange

I participated in an ornament exchange with other brides that also had a destination wedding. I drew the name of someone that currently lives in the U.S. Virgin Islands and bought a personalized ornament that holds a photo for her. I told my husband I thought we really should hand-deliver her ornament though! ;) Nicole drew my name and got me this ornament with our names and wedding info on the ribbon. I love it!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Reading Challenge Update

I've finished reading three of the five books so far and am really enjoying this challenge! I have to admit none of these books are normally ones I would pick out for myself without the challenge, but I have really enjoyed the books so far. The first book, Matchless: A Christmas Story by Gregory Maguire, was not quite what I expected. Like his other books, the basis is from an old fairytale, in this case, Hans Christian Andersen's classic story "The Little Match Girl". I didn't realize it until I opened the book to read it but it is a very short, illustrated story. I did enjoy reading it though. The second book, The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans, is a short story of a family who becomes caretakers for an older, ailing woman just before the holidays. The main character, Rick, learns an important life lesson through it. And the third book I just finished reading was Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. It's the story of a couple that have decided to 'skip Christmas' for one year and go on vacation. Although a little predictable, it was a nice holiday read.

So, on to the two books remaining on my list. Depending on how quickly I get through them, I may add one or two more books to my list. :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Poor Garden

The gas company is in the process of replacing the gas lines on our block. In December, in Michigan, while it's close to freezing. :( The new line to our house was installed yesterday so we had the pleasure of coming home to quite a cold house since they had to shut off the gas. Well, the gas meter and hook-up to the house is in front of the house at the back of my garden. I took a closer look today when I got home and there are bulbs laying on top of the dirt, perennial flowers were dug up and replanted. And to add to it, there's more piping to the house than before resulting in it being a bit of eyesore. :( I'll either have to cover it with something or plant a something bigger in front of it. That will have to wait until next spring though. But, I'll be in the garden this weekend hoping to get it back in order. I just wish the weather wasn't going to be so cold though!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday Reading Challenge



I've been wanting to do a reading challenge and had planned on waiting until the first of the year, but came across this one (click on the picture for the link to the challenge) and thought it would be perfect - fun and festive! I went to the library yesterday and checked out the following five books for the challenge:

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
Matchless: A Christmas Story by Gregory Maguire
The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere

Monday, November 16, 2009

Girls Weekend!

Three of my girlfriends and I had a girls weekend this past weekend and had the best time. About five years ago, my friend, Nikki, moved to Chicago and we obviously couldn't all get together as often as we had in the past. There's been several trips to get together either here or in Chicago, but this past weekend, we decided to all go somewhere together. Since the plan was to drive, we met in Saugatuck, MI, which is roughly halfway. It's a popular summer destination with being on the water, so we were able to get a great deal on a cottage for the weekend. I drove out with Kelly and Colleen after work and we all met there late Friday evening. It was so much fun catching up on everything. Saturday, we went to a spa where we all got various treatments done. And on Saturday and Sunday, we went out for lunch and got some shopping in at the shops in Saugatuck and Holland. I'm so glad we planned it and we are all looking forward to our next girls weekend, tentatively planned for Atlantic City. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Starting To Workout Again

and hoping to keep it up! I haven't regularly worked out since before the wedding but with winter coming and not doing nearly as much because of the weather, both Jim and I renewed our memberships at the gym. I don't really have a weight loss goal, maybe a couple of pounds. I'm not at my wedding weight, just because I dropped a couple of pounds right before the wedding from pure stress, but other than that, I have maintained my weight for quite some time now. I'm hoping to keep it up just because it makes me feel better and I do feel quite a bit out of shape since I stopped playing soccer a couple of years ago. So, here's to us keeping up our routine of going to the gym!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Book Giveaways

Several weeks ago, I started checking out different blogs for book reviews. With all the wedding planning over, I have a lot more time for reading, especially with the weather getting colder too. So, I've just been looking for books that have received good reviews and keep a list for when I visit the library. In the process, I came across online book giveaways and entered a few of them. Lo and behold, I received an e-mail last week that I had won one of the contests, and I just received my copy of Crossing Washington Square by Joanne Rendell, which I'm looking forward to reading. :) So, I've added to my sidebar various book giveaways that I have entered.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lila Marie

My niece, Lila Marie, entered the world this past Wednesday! All through my sister's pregnancy, I was petitioning for an October 8 delivery, so we could share our birthday. It didn't quite work out, but she was a perfect, little, early birthday gift. :) My sister's water broke late Tuesday morning and they admitted her to the hospital. They had to give her medication to start the contractions, although it was a long stretch from there. Unfortunately, they did have to do an emergency c-section because Lila's heart rate dropped. But, at 3:55am on October 7th, Lila was born at 7lbs 10 oz. Such a cute little baby. :) Congrats Lisa and Danny!



Saturday, October 3, 2009

October Is Here!

Fall is my favorite season, October is my favorite month, and a busy month it is going to be! My sister's due date is in 10 days, and I'm hoping she comes a little early so my niece and I can share the same birthday! :) I know it's a long shot, but I keep hoping anyway. And we'll be spending quite a few weekends up north. Jim started bow hunting last year and now Nathan is beginning to hunt this year as well. Jim had two deer last year and I was just informed that we are down to our last pound of ground venison, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they do well this year too! It's been ages since I last bought ground beef and it is so convenient to have all the ground venison in the freezer (and a lot less fattening). And sometime this month, I'm hoping we can visit the cider mill for some cider, doughnuts, and pumpkin-picking. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More Lay-Offs At Work :(

Well, my work has announced 1000 more lay-offs that will be occurring this week and next. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'm not affected, but I still feel so bad for the people that are. I have projects assigned to me that will keep me busy through 2011, but you just never know! Even though I have eight years seniority, that's really nothing with people having spent their entire career at the company and there hasn't been much hiring the past several years. But, like the last round of lay-offs, you hope for the best but really plan for that anything can happen.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lisa's Baby Shower

We had my sister's baby shower last weekend and everything turned out so well. :) My sister had shown me a picture of diaper cakes while we were planning and I thought they were so cute. I went ahead and made one for her and was so pleased with how it turned out. Since I bought so many little gifts for it, it ended up being four tiers (~125 diapers).



I still can't believe my baby sister is going to be a mommy though! Lila Marie is due in just under six weeks, although I'm hoping she comes a couple days early, on October 8, so she can share a birthday with her aunt! :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back To Some Normalcy

As I mentioned in my last post, I was working at a plant 90 miles away from my house and staying with my in-laws. After three and a half weeks, we've finally finished up there, at least for the time being. While we didn't stay with my in-laws the entire time, we probably split it about 50/50, we were staying with them less and less towards the end which meant a long daily commute for me. But, everything went really smoothly with the start-up although we have to wait for the rest of the line to finish before we can finish our testing, but hopefully, it will go smoothly as well. It is nice to be back to our normal schedule (and me not coming home smelling like a plant rat), although I was rewarded with getting sick. :( A cold that has been bothering me for the past couple of days and hopefully not many more!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Staying At My In-Laws

For the next couple weeks, I'm working at a plant which is considered local, but because of where I live, it's a 90-mile drive for me. It wouldn't be so bad, but when working at a plant, an early start is expected. However, the plant happens to be ~15 minutes from my in-laws so we're staying with them this week. I was able to manage to talk Jim into staying with me too, even though with traffic, it's a little further drive to his work. While we're here, he's been helping build a deck at his sister's house as well. Which is where we've been spending our evenings. Even though it's a little weird staying with my in-laws while working and everything, his parents have been so nice and accommodating with us staying with them. I'm hoping the trips won't go on much more than another couple weeks, and hope to split some of my time between the office and the plant, if possible. Therefore, reducing the amount I'd be imposing on my in-laws!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Attack of the Caterpillars

We went up north for a couple of days to our property in northern Michigan. Unfortunately, there was a huge outbreak of tent caterpillars and it got to our property as well. Friends of ours had been up a couple weeks ago while the caterpillars were still there so we knew it was a possibility (their property is about 5 miles away). But, it was a little more than I expected - it looks like early spring before the leaves bud. At this time of year, you shouldn't even be able to see through any of the woods.



Reading about them though, it sounds like in the next couple weeks, new leaves should grow, so that will be good. It might make for a not as pretty fall though. :(

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Finally

Our wedding is paid in full! And it's such a relief! We had been saving specifically for the wedding and the plan all along was once it was over, it would all be paid for. If it didn't fit into the original budget, it wasn't going to get added last minute. Well, with the economy taking a hit and my work have a huge number of lay-offs right after our wedding, we decided to hold off on paying the travel portion of our trip in full (the only wedding expense we had after the wedding) and keep that money in our savings just in case. Luckily, I wasn't effected by the lay-offs and with an announcement of still more lay-offs coming yet, we decided to pay chunks of it off and now, almost four months later, it's all done. Such a relief. So, now on to saving specifically for our one-year anniversary trip! :)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy Birthday To My Husband!

Happy Birthday to Jim! We don't have too much planned today, but I hope the weather stays nice! And the Red Wings win for him tonight! :) I might make dinner, but we've also been talking about taking the boat and going somewhere on the river for dinner. Although, they're calling for storms this afternoon so that may make our mind up for us unless we put the whole camper top up. Either way, here's to wishing him a very happy birthday!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

So Cute

We were on our way home from up north this past weekend and we had gotten on the subject of when the boys would be visiting us again. They are obviously with their mom on Mother’s Day, but we let them know it would be the following weekend they would be coming over again. Then my youngest step-son asked when he gets to spend Mother’s Day with me, since I’m one of his moms now. :) I thought it was so cute. I am his ‘mom’ on a limited basis and know that there’s not likely to be a Mother’s Day that he’ll spend with us, but it really made my day though!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Loving This Warm Weather

Even with the storms we had yesterday afternoon and last night, this warm weather has been so nice. Friday night, we took the fishing boat out for a short boat ride. There may have been a 15 or 20 degree difference from our seawall to out in the open river, but it was still nice to be out on the water. Yesterday morning, I was able to get out in the garden and finish so that all of the gardens are ready to plant annuals. It will be a couple weeks before that can happen, but at least they're ready! It looks like the really warm weather will end tomorrow, but I'll take the 60s that they're forecasting for after that too. :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Change In Weekend Plans

Well, looks like a last minute change in our Easter weekend plans. We had been planning on heading up north to our property this weekend for some time now. All the while, keeping our eye on online web cams, trying to determine if the snow had melted enough so we could actually drive all the way to the property. It appeared that enough had melted in nearby areas, but that was not the case where our property is located. Our friends went up Thursday night and they couldn't drive to their property, had to hike it the last quarter mile or so. So, we still were going to attempt it, hoping that even though our property is a couple miles away, it would be better. Well, got the truck all loaded up, went grocery shopping, met Jim after work, and we then decided not to go. Our friend had tried driving to our property and was worried he would get stuck in the snow.
So, we nixed the up north plan and decided to spend a relaxing weekend at home. It does work out better, since both of our families are getting together for Easter tomorrow, we'll be able to spend more time with both of them. Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Things Seeming To Settle Down!

Well, it seems like things are settling down a bit! Since before the wedding, I feel like I haven't been able to catch my breath. My mom was married this past weekend, just three weeks after my wedding. So, as soon as we got back from the Dominican, I was helping my mom get the details finalized, going to dress fittings, etc. And on top of all that, my work had lay-offs this week in my division. There had been talk of the layoffs for some time now, and unfortunately, the number seemed to get larger and larger. Then, last week, we were all told to be in the office on Tuesday and so everyone knew that was the day. So, like they say - plan for the worst and hope for the best! Fortunately, I made it through the cuts and there should be no more affecting my area for some time, but I still feel really bad for the people that were let go. :(

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pro Pictures Preview!

I'm so excited to see the pro pics! Our photographer has posted several on his blog:

Joseph Kohn's Blog

And he recently sent us an online preview of all the photos. The high-resolution images should be arriving in the mailbox soon. :) I am so pleased with how they turned out. Jim and I were already talking about which ones we'd like to print. And we had several shooting sessions so there's so many to choose from!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

We're Back and Married!

I think the past week has been the quickest of my life but definitely the most memorable! I had the best time and I am so glad we decided to do a destination wedding. I could not have asked for a better wedding; it was everything I dreamed of. From the resort to the restaurant where we had the reception, everything was perfect. Friends have started sending their pics and I am so excited to see the pro pics! We also did a trash the dress session and I can't wait to see those too. :)



Sunday, February 15, 2009

Getting Close!

I've been stressing slightly with trying to get everything done on my to-do list. With work, my commute to/from work, and other stuff we have going on, there's not a whole lot of time left. So, Jim had me print my to-do list so he could 'crack the whip' a bit more. ;) But he has been really good about it and as long it doesn't involve any craftwork, he's trying to complete as many as he can. My goal is to have everything complete by this Friday, so that next weekend can just be for primping and packing! Yesterday, I finished the cake topper and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out:

Friday, February 6, 2009

Three Weeks To Go and Sick With A Cold

We're down to three weeks, and unfortunately, I'm getting over a cold right now. I guess the bright side is that I'm sick now, not two or three weeks from now. I feel much better today though, which is good because I do have some wedding checks still to complete and my bachelorette party is tomorrow night! We'll be going to dinner and then to a dance club, which plays a bunch of 80s music. As for the wedding checks, I'm getting close! I'm about halfway done with the cake topper, getting all the rhinestones on it. I have a bunch of paper items to print, but otherwise, it's a lot of getting everything organized/assembled and packed which we'll be working on next weekend. It's getting to be so close!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bridal Shower

My bridal shower was last weekend and it turned out perfect. My mom and sisters held it at the restaurant my mom is a manager at (and where I worked many years ago!). It was on the smaller side, just family and close friends, which I loved. Everyone was very generous to us and I had a really good time spending the afternoon with everyone. In addition, one of my best friends came in from Chicago, so my friends and I spent Saturday having lunch and coffee and to catch up on a lot. Now, I just need to get through the thank-you notes!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cigar Bar

Well, Jim finally gets something at the wedding that's entirely his. :) A while back he had mentioned that he'd like a cigar bar at the reception. The best cigars he's ever had was while we were on vacation in the Dominican. So, I contacted the restaurant where we're having the reception and asked about having a cigar bar. Apparently, it's very common, but we'll be having someone doing a demonstration and hand rolling cigars for each of the guests. It would have been nice to surprise Jim with this, but I have problems keeping surprises from him anyway!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Can't Believe

the wedding is in 50 days! Typing that actually causes me a little anxiety! I didn't get quite as much done over Christmas break as I was hoping. But for whatever reason, my work is requiring everyone to use one week of vacation during the first two weeks of the year. As much as I don't like the idea, I'll look at it as a blessing in disguise and try to get as much done for the wedding as possible with the days I have off this week and next. So, off to the gym and then some shopping later on today!