Sunday, September 30, 2018

September Wrap-Up & Blog Ahead

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow will be October 1st.  It feels like it should be still be sometime in May, or at least still early summer. 

Thanks everyone for your concern when I posted about the hurricane.  I’m late in posting this, but we came through the storm unscathed.  I’m not complaining, but our area didn’t get anywhere near the wind or rain that was originally forecast.  We were very fortunate.

Thank you for all of the anniversary wishes.  We both took off on Thursday and Friday, so had a four day weekend together.  We kept it fairly low key, but we had some great Indian food, more pie than we should have, and participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s (I’ll post more about that later).  It probably doesn’t sound terribly exciting, but we enjoyed it.

It’s officially fall, but we’re forecast to have temperatures in the low to mid 80s for all of next week.  I’m happy with that.  The longer we can postpone the cold, the better.  It also means the flowers will last a little longer, which always makes me happy. 

I’ve signed up for the Blog Ahead Challenge hosted by Anna at Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  The idea is to increase your number of scheduled posts by thirty during the month of October.  I’ve only done one of the Christmas posts I want to do, so I’m hoping this will be the push I need to get more of them ready to go. 

So how was September for you?  Does it seem like this year is flying by?  Are you participating in any blogging challenges in October? 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Ten Years

Just to give you fair warning, you may want to skip this post if you don’t enjoy looking at wedding pictures.

Today is our tenth anniversary.  It seems a little weird.  I know ten years isn’t much, especially for people like our grandparents who had marriages that lasted over fifty years, but today we’re happily celebrating ten years.

A friend framed our invitation for us, which was nice, because I probably wouldn’t have thought to do that. 

We got married at the Table Rock State Park, which is beautiful this time of year. 

The building is very pretty, so we didn't need to do much decorating.

We had our wedding and reception inside, but the patio was available for anyone who wanted to spend time outside. 

There are some gorgeous views from the lodge.

Even a lake view.

We took most of our pictures outside.

Nick and the groomsmen did some formal pictures.

And some more fun pictures.

And some fun ones with the bridesmaids.

And I had some fun ones with the groomsmen.

I loved the bridesmaid dresses, and I think the green looked great on all of them.

Butterflies featured heavily.  I made these to mark the reserved rows.

There were butterflies in my bouquet.

I also made the centerpieces for the table, with butterflies, of course.

For our wedding favors, we made a family and friends cookbook.  We asked everyone for recipes, and then compiled them into a cookbook.  With a butterfly cover, of course.  Almost everyone gave us at least one recipe, so we had quite a collection.  It took a lot of time to make the cookbooks, but they were very well received, and we have a lot of great recipes.  Time well spent.

We had a very informal reception, with no assigned seating.  We wanted everyone to be free to mingle and have a good time. 

The food was buffet style, with no assigned order.  Again, we wanted things to be fairly informal.

Our cake flavors were strawberry, Italian Cream, and traditional white cake.  Of course it had butterflies.

We played a wide variety of music at the reception, so practically everyone danced.

We both love oldies, so our play list included quite a few oldies.  The advantage to that, is that all of the older people danced.  They taught the younger people a few dances.

Even our youngest guest had no trouble finding dance partners.

Shoes, jackets, and even tuxedos were abandoned as the day went on.

It's hard to believe it has been ten years.  Time flies! 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Music Monday: Alison Krauss - When You Say Nothing At All

In continuing this month’s theme of songs from our wedding, today’s song is the Alison Krauss version of When You Say Nothing At All.

This is the song my dad and I walked down the aisle to.  We both really like this one, and had seen her in concert together, so it felt like the right choice.  I hope you enjoy it. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Music Monday: Peter, Paul & Mary - Kisses Sweeter Than Wine

In continuing this month’s theme of songs from our wedding, today’s song is Peter, Paul & Mary’s Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.

This is the song that Nick’s side of the family walked down the aisle to.  I think it’s a really pretty song, so I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Our Hurricane Roommates

The local animal shelters have really stepped up to help out the shelters on the coast.  Lots of local rescues had multiple transports to the coast to then take animals to partner rescues up north.  Some of the shelters in areas with mandatory evacuation orders were able to send all of the animals in their care to other shelters.

This represents so much progress.  For years, many of the shelters on the coast had no choice but to euthanize a lot of animals ahead of catastrophic storms.  Now, thanks to rescues in multiple states reaching out to help, that’s not nearly as common.  There’s still a very long way to go, but there’s definite progress.

The shelter we adopted Duke, Tara, and Cookie from asked for temporary fosters for all of their animals until next Friday, due to the bad weather we’re expected to get from Florence.

Initial forecasts had the remnants of Florence arriving in our area tonight, and into tomorrow.  Now the forecasts have Florence, currently moving at two miles per hour, arriving tomorrow night into Monday, and basically stalling against the mountains.  They say we’ll start getting some wind and rain tonight, but our major impacts will be later.  We’re told our area will likely receive six to twelve inches of rain, with some areas getting up to fifteen inches of rain.

Malmo, a.k.a. Motimer
The shelter is in a flood prone area, so they wanted the animals out in case it floods there.  If it doesn’t flood, they can be a stopping off point for animals being transported up from the coast, or from the coast or midlands of South Carolina.

It has been quite some time since we’ve done any fostering, and while we’ve made the decision to never bring another dog into our home, we still want to foster cats as we’re able.  This seemed like a good time to make the leap, and get back into it.  Every animal out of our local shelters frees up space for an animal from the coast, and generally allows the rescues here to divert more resources to helping the shelters on the coast.  We signed up to temporarily foster two cats and were told we’d be matched with two cats based on our application information.

We went to pick up our cats after work on Thursday, and were sent home with Malmo and Copenhagen.  They’re about 10 months old, and full of energy.  They also seem to be very bonded.

Neither one of us are very fond of their names, so we’re calling them Mortimer and Charlie while they’re here.  Cats don’t exactly come when they’re called most of the time, so we don’t think it’s doing any harm.

Copenhagen, a.k.a. Charlie
We’re currently keeping them separated from the rest of the pets, so they’re in our bedroom.  Thursday evening they only really came out to eat, and spent the rest of the time under the bed.  We heard them wrestling, and playing with some of the toys.  They just didn’t seem very sure of us. 

By Friday evening they were starting to warm up to us, and started to come out and let us pet them.  They’ve also decided that sleeping in the bed and cuddling with us some is kind of nice.  They definitely like the food here, and they seem to love the toys we’ve given them.   

We have no plans to go anywhere this weekend since the weather is supposed to be so bad, so we’ll be able to spend a lot of time playing and cuddling with them.   It’s not a bad way to weather the storm.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Cheap Steak Fajitas

I tried to be clever with the name and play on the word cheapskate, but I’m not entirely sure it works.  These fajitas, however, definitely work.  They’re delicious!  They’re also ridiculously easy to make.

I’ll just go ahead and be honest with you.  The idea for these came from failure.  Lots and lots of failure.  I cannot make beef stew.  I’m not sure what my issue is, but it just doesn’t work for me.  I’ve tried various recipes, and various combinations of recipes.  The best result I’ve had is mostly edible, which is not the description you really want for your meal. 

I have finally decided to give up on making beef stew.  We’ve suffered enough.  Nick was elated when I informed him that I was officially giving up on making beef stew.  He was kind enough to say that I make plenty of other things extremely well, and we’d be fine without beef stew, but his initial reaction was definitely relief.  I can’t blame him. 

Unfortunately, I had purchased a gigantic package of stew beef at Sam’s Club before I decided that making delicious (or even good) beef stew is not something I am capable of.  I froze it in one pound packages, and decided I’d come up with other ways to use it.  This is one of my alternatives, and I’m happy to say that it’s as good as my beef stew is bad. 

Here’s what you need:

1 pound stew beef, cut into bite sized pieces
1 -2 bell peppers, chopped
1 -2 onions, chopped
1 package (1.2 oz) fajita seasoning mix
1.5 tsp lime juice
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp tequila

The tequila isn’t in the picture because I didn’t think about adding it until I started thinking about having a margarita with my fajitas, and had already taken the picture.  I think you can probably leave it out if you don’t happen to have tequila on hand, but I do think it probably does help to tenderize the meat a little bit.  It’s so good with the tequila, too, so I highly recommend using it.

Combine all of the ingredients in a small slow cooker, and cook on Low for 5 -7 hours, until meat is cooked through, and the vegetables are tender.

It’s going to look a little dry when you mix everything, but resist the temptation to add more liquid. 

There’s a fair amount of sauce with these, so they’re really good served with rice to soak up some of the sauce. 

Serve with any combination of rice, beans, tortillas, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, etc.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Music Monday: Louis Armstrong -A Kiss To Build A Dream On

In continuing this month’s theme of songs from our wedding, today’s song is Louis Armstrong’s A Kiss To Build A Dream On

One of the dances our wedding D.J. suggested was a longest married dance; all of the married couples are encouraged to get out on the dance floor, and then the D.J. starts telling people to sit down if they’ve been married less than a day, less than a year, and on from there.  We loved the idea, and chose this song for it.  Obviously, Nick and I were the first couple out.

My paternal grandparents were the longest married couple there, coming in at 58 years. 

Nick’s maternal grandparents came in a fairly close second, having just celebrated their 49th anniversary nine days before.

Some honorable mentions included:

My parents, less than two months shy of their 34th anniversary.

Nick’s mom and step-dad, Susan and Alan, two days shy of their second anniversary.

And my aunt Diana and uncle Lane, having just celebrated their first anniversary three weeks earlier.

You’re probably wondering how Susan and Alan get an honorable mention at two years, and Diana and Lane get one at just a year.  Well, if it hadn’t been for the four of them, Nick and I likely wouldn’t have ever met.  As I’ve mentioned before, Nick and I met on E-Harmony; we were actually matched the week Lane and Aunt Diana got married.  Nick only tried online dating after seeing how it well worked for his mom, and I only tried it after seeing how well it worked for my aunt.  So, in a way, we owe it all to them. 

Just in case you’re wondering, Aunt Diana and Lane just celebrated their 11th anniversary on the 8th, and Susan and Alan will be celebrating their 12 anniversary on the 30th.  I promise this really isn’t an E-Harmony sponsored post!  I have no idea what the statistics are on marriages lasting if the couples meet online versus in a more traditional setting.  In our two families, the odds seem pretty good. 

So what about you?  Are you a Louis Armstrong fan?  How did you meet your significant other?

Monday, September 3, 2018

Music Monday: Savage Garden - I Knew I Loved You

Nick and I will be celebrating our tenth anniversary later this month, so my theme for Music Monday during September is going to be songs from our wedding. 

Our first dance song was Savage Garden’s I Knew I Loved You.  It’s a great song.  I hope you enjoy it.