Thursday, June 24, 2010

She Works Hard for the Money!

Well, my recent absence is due to my adjusting to a new schedule -- I got a job!

This is a huge blessing considering the circumstances!  I was substitute teaching but schools out for the summer so I needed a new job.  Problem was, I had seven weeks before moving back to the "big city", but we really needed me to be working up until I left in order to #1 - pay for the large chunk of my school loans that just went into repayment and #2 - cover expenses for the multiple weddings I am participating in this summer.  =)

Well as of last week I had literally applied to any and every business in town that was hiring or "accepting applications."  But of course when I was honest about how long I would be here for, they pretty much concluded the interview and said they would "be in touch."  Hopeless.  Then the manager at our apartment complex called me one day and offered me a job!  Her assistant manager is out for pretty much the exact time that I have left and she needs a temp to help out until she returns!
Praise the Lord!
He really does take care of our every need!

The great part is, that it's really a pretty quiet job so I get to work on a lot of my own stuff during the day... like continuing my search for pink shoes!  =)

First of all, this is the dress the shoes will be going with...
The pink and green together is going to be so cute!!!  =D

Okay readers, help me out... these are the affordable options I have found after hours of meticulous internet searching... Give me your opinions!

I can't find good pictures for the rest of these links but here are the sites if you're really interested in helping me pick!  =)

On another note, the first of two personal showers that I'm coordinating takes place this weekend and I am so excited!!!  I'll put up some pictures of the decorations and the event when I get back.  =)

Seriously readers, I need some help deciding on these shoes, which ones would you pick?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Every Girl Needs a Pair of Pink Heels

The problem is, I can't find any for less than $40!

I am a budget shopper, I don't regularly spend more than $20 on any article of clothing or pair of shoes... maybe $30 if I want it that bad, but that's a true rarity.  My general shopping rule is if it's not less than $10, I wait.  haha

So back to the pink pumps.

I don't just want these, I actually need them for a wedding!  
My beautiful best friend is getting married this August and she requested that the bridesmaids all get pink shoes (no specification on shade or style) to go with our green dresses.  
First of all, can we say so cute?!  The green and pink is going to be adorable and I'm super excited.  But I have been searching everywhere for pink heels... pumps, straps, wedges, sandals... I don't care they just need to be pink, reasonably cute and somewhere in the $30 or less price range.

I thought this would be simple... it's not.

This is summer!  When brightly colored shoes are popping out all over the place and yet, nothing!  I finally found a pair for $27 on clearance at Beall's a few days ago... they're a half size too small but I bought them anyway because it's the first pair I've found in weeks of constant searching.  These are them...
I do really love them... and I figure I can suffer through for one day if I really have to, but I'm still searching.  I would really like to be spending my money on shoes that won't cause me to cringe at the thought of wearing them again.  lol

Side note: Laugh if you will, but I kind of have pudgy feet... I've started running in an effort to slim them down so that they might better fit into the shoes.  LOL  I've also been wearing them around the house (only on carpet) to try to stretch them a little... we'll see how this works.  

Wish me luck, and if you find any pink heels... send me a link!

Check out some of these fun, more expensive pretties I've found in my searching... 

A girl can dream, right?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Belated Birthday Post

First of all, I would like to mention a belated happy birthday wish to my incredible hubby and his twin sister.  =)  Their birthday was on Tuesday and I had intended to create an entire post dedicated to how amazing my hubs is in honor of such a historic day, but I got a little wrapped up in preparing his special birthday meal and several other things around the ol' apartment and the post slipped right past me!

So here's a happy, happy birthday to my incredible, handsome, hardworking husband who takes such wonderful care of our little family and loves me more than I deserve & to one of the best sister-in-laws I could have ever hoped to inherit!  =)  
I love you two!

Aaand a run-down of the hub's requested birthday dinner... everything from scratch, naturally, because that's what you get when it's your birthday!  =)

Extra Cheesy Lasagna... mine was much cheesier than this pic.  =)

Caesar Salad, a fav of both of ours...

Fresh Pineapple, another fav of ours...

...and Cherry Cheesecake (this was a first time experience for me)

It was quite the dinner!  We were both full and quite content when it was all said and done.  =)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gimme "S'more" Cake Recipe

Dear Readers, 
          Per your request...  Try this new twist on a summer bonfire classic.  =)
Gimme "S'more" Cake
Recipe From Taste of Home Magazine

Prep: 50 min          Preheat To: 350
BakeTime: 20 min + cooling          Yield: 12 servings

1/2c shortening
1/4c butter, softened
1c sugar
3 eggs
1t vanilla
2 3/4c graham cracker crumbs
3t baking powder
1 can (12oz) evaporated milk

Marshmallow Frosting
4 egg whites
1c sugar
1/2t cream of tartar
1 1/2t vanilla 
1 1/2c miniature semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Cake Directions
Line two 9in round baking pans with waxed paper and grease the paper; set aside.  In a large bowl, cream shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Combine cracker crumbs and baking powder; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.

Transfer to prepared pans.  Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Marshmallow Frosting Directions
In a large heavy saucepan, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar over low heat.  With a hand mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute.  Continue beating on low over low heat until frosting reaches 160, about 8-10 minutes.  Pour into a large bowl; add vanilla.  Beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes.

Place a cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 2/3c frosting and sprinkle with half of chips.  Top with remaining cake layer.  Frost top and sides of cake; sprinkle with remaining chips.

Whitney's Thoughts & Amendments
 Cake: Wouldn't change a thing. Quite possibly the most delicious cake recipe I have ever found!

Marshmallow Frosting: First, the beating part took a lot longer for me, as you read in my previous post.  Perhaps I was doing something wrong, but just FYI.  Second, I thought the frosting tasted more accurately like marshmallows before adding the vanilla and definitely think the recipe calls for too much.  When I make it again I will probably take it down to just 1t vanilla extract, if not only 1/2t.  Also, I got impatient after the incessant beating with my hand mixer and didn't finish all the way.  Definitely finish your beating or you marshmallow frosting will slowly creep down the sides of your cake.  =)  I knew this would be the consequence, but I my impatience won over my desire for the cake to be pretty.  lol

Chocolate Chips: I used way more than called for... let's face it, you can never have too much chocolate in a s'more!  =)

Other Twists: Being the chocolate lover I am, I also thought about icing the delicious graham cracker cake with chocolate frosting and dropping either mini marshmallows or dollops of marshmallow frosting/cream between the cake layers and on top .

Though I will make a few changes next time, all in all this cake was a big hit with this Young family!  =)

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Truth About Susan G. Komen for the Cure

I promised an explanation for my Susan G. Komen comment in my previous post.  Looks like it pricked some ears, so I'll go ahead and address it in this post. 

It's truly very upsetting.  Many supporters of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization have wonderful hearts and a desire to see breast cancer sufferers far and wide live full and happy lives.  But many do not realize what they are contributing to.  

In the past, Mark and I have happily supported the Komen foundation for breast cancer research whenever given the opportunity.  I'd been known to pay a few extra bucks for "Komen" items {like my tennis racket} because they were pretty, pink, and donated to a good cause; totally unaware of the information they attempted to hide for quite some time.  It wasn't until just about six months ago that my news savvy husband stumbled upon a story that peaked his curiosity about the Komen organization.

I do not remember the details now, but there are many such stories that have popped up since, as the awareness of this organization's truth has begun to spread.  The gist of the story Mark read was something to the effect of a Catholic based organization holding a fundraiser from which all proceeds would benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  In the middle of their fund raising efforts it was brought to their attention that the Komen organization donates large portions of their funds each year to Planned Parenthood.  The church was outraged {it is well known that anti-abortion is likely the strongest stance in the catholic church} and immediately made arrangements to adjust the recipient and purpose of their fundraising efforts.

 Once Mark and I were made aware of this little fact we began looking a bit deeper.  I've now found countless documents containing official account records from Susan G. Komen that make no attempt to hide their donations and distributions.  Check out one such informative piece by Life News, here.  The numbers here are staggering and those donations records are from the 2006-07 fiscal year, before buying "pink" really hit it big. 

Now the Komen foundation appears to at least be honest about where their money is going.  But where the scheming and covering seems to come in is with Planned Parenthood.  They attempt to cover and dance around the accusations toward them and S.G.K. by claiming that those "exact" monies given by the Komen foundation are not used to fund abortions, but rather distributed into the areas of their foundation that assist in breast cancer prevention like screening and mammograms.  

Readers, the truth is that no matter how they are proportioned, donations given to Planned Parenthood increase their budget thereby releasing more funds to be used toward abortions.  Ultimately, no matter how you spin it, the giving of any monies to Planned Parenthood shows a support for every practice performed therein, including abortions.  
You can read another, more detailed post on this topic from the Voices for Life page, here.

One other concept to consider.
Stem cell research is huge in the race toward many different cures right now, including breast cancer.  And where do stem cells come from?  I'm just saying... it's tied just a little too tightly together for me to believe that the Komen organization is only in support of Planned Parenthood's breast cancer prevention efforts.  Again, that is my opinion, not a fact {at least not any fact I've found proven in my research thus far}.

Okay readers.
I'm not asking you to believe me blindly.  And I'm not telling you to cease all support of any organizations working toward a cure.  What I am asking of you is to, please, do your research.  Look into the organizations you support, make sure they are morally and ethically sound before you put your dollars in their wallets.  

As we desperately seek to better the lives of those suffering around us, let's not sacrifice the lives of those who could be the ones to find the cure.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Covet a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer

Last night I made this cake...

S'mores cake.
 Yes, it's pretty much as delicious as it looks.  Of course mine didn't turn out that pretty {never does, lol}, but it is still delicious.  My favorite part?  The cake.  Made from scratch with almost 3c of graham cracker crumbs.
The marshmallow icing, however, scheduled an unplanned 45 minute date for me and my hand mixer... are you kidding me?  I have this Kitchenaid hand mixer...
 I love it.
But it's supposed to be for small jobs... 45 minutes together is a long time.
So anyway... According to the directions it was only supposed to be 10 minutes of mixing on the stove, then 7 more minutes in a bowl... this was not so.  It took my marshmallow icing much longer to form it's "stiff peaks" than the instructions said it would; even though {I think} I executed each ingredient, measurement and instruction to a tee.

Well those lovely, arm aching 45 minutes left me coveting a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer.
This one was on our wedding registry...
  ...but let's face it, who on earth was going to purchase me a $300-$500 stand mixer?  I put it on there just in case cause, you know... you never know.  =)  But yea, it was a no go for me.  Turns out I'm actually glad no one got that mixer because I don't want red anymore... just like me to be indecisive, right?  =)

For a while I wanted this one instead cause, well, what girl doesn't love pink?! 
The only problem is that this one donates part of the proceeds to the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation which we do not support.
{It's all about the distribution of money and a portion that goes to procedures we don't agree with.  I may make another post about that in the near future since many people are unaware...}

But theeen I found these pretties!!!
So much indecision... thus is my life.  There are just too many pretty colors to pick from!  Then there's always the sensible route of a stainless steal so that it matches my kitchen no matter how many times I remodel it. 
Though... that bronze one is definitely versatile...=)


I suppose I don't have to worry about picking my color until I have the $$$ to get one!

So tell me readers... if you could have your pick of Kitchenaid mixers, which color would you choose?  
Feel free to link it up!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More Wedding Projects!

Well I've been working on lots of wedding "stuff" lately with two of my girlfriends tying the knot this summer...

This last weekend I picked up this cutting pail from Lowe's for one of my many projects... can you guess what I'm going to do with it?  =)

I'm actually super excited to have the opportunity to use it for two different purposes/events.  I'll give you a tiny hint: I'm spray painting it white today... =)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Today I search for a job...

Well, school is out and thus, substitute teaching has ended.

Today, I will scour this town for any remaining jobs that my students haven't already claimed.  lol

I'm open to just about anything except working in fast food... after all, whatever job I get I'll only have for about seven weeks, and that's if I start this week.  I'm really just trying to work enough in these few short weeks to pay back the money I'm spending on weddings this summer.  =)

I feel like I need to be honest with whoever hires me about the fact that I'm moving soon... I'm hoping that the Lord will provide the right job... maybe someone who's specifically looking for extra help just for a few weeks?  =)  That would be nice.

Okay, I'm going to go get ready and head out to see what I can find!  =)

Wish me luck!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow!

I believe that phrase pretty much sums up what my summer is going to look like.

To give you an idea... we have eight trips planned for this summer.

Between weddings, showers, bachelorette parties and family vacations... this is going to be one cah-raaazy summer!
Today we head to KC for Mark's cousin's wedding, yay!
I'm a girl so let's face it, I've always loved going to weddings.  But not until this last year since I've been married have I loved them so much!  Being married now and knowing the incredible blessings of marriage and how much fun it has been to do life, everyday, with my best friend... it's amazing.

I love being a witness to couples making commitment to love and serve each other for life.

Best wishes Kevin and Jessie!  We love you both dearly and will be praying for you as you take your first steps of this new journey in marriage together!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Padre Island Anniversary Trip

An overview of our wonderful trip to Padre Island National Seashore to celebrate the first of many happy anniversaries to come!  =)

I'm just not up for writing a lot tonight, so I'll let the pics sum it up.  =)
It was a wonderful trip.  We loved spending time together, relaxing on the beach... a great way to celebrate our first year of a wonderful marriage... =)

What an amazing trip!

We had a blast!!!  

Camping on the beach is something I've never done, but we had so much fun with it and loved celebrating our first anniversary on such an easy going trip!  =)

Now we're "back in the real world" and I'm kicking back into wedding/shower/bachelorette party planning high gear!  =)  This summer is going to be so crazy busy and SO fun!

I'm so excited to see my friends make this amazing commitment to marriage -- it's wonderful!

Okay, gotta run to the store.  We literally have NO food in this apartment!