Happy Anniversary Cheese!

Wedding_6

Last weekend kicked my butt. I was so, so sick! I even had a fever. I can’t remember the last time I had a fever; I must have been a kid. I’m really lucky. I have my family 5 minutes away, and Matt took Jack to my mom’s to take care of him in case I was contagious. By Tuesday I was healthy enough to go to work, but I really miss my Mister Man! I only saw him in the morning and at night, and I made sure to nurse him to help protect him from getting sick too. I hope it worked. I’d rather be sick a thousand times than him being sick. It’s funny how easily that kind of preference happens.

Wedding_2

I actually wasn’t sick the whole weekend. Friday was our 5 year wedding anniversary. I loved getting married. I was so excited when the Deccan declared us husband and wife that I didn’t even go in for the kiss. I just started jumping up and down like an idiot. I had a plan this weekend to finally make a shadowbox of our invitations, my hair piece, Matt’s tie, our flowers, and a little tribute to our wedding song (“I Wanna Grow Old with You”) for the occasion. That obviously didn’t happen. So, instead, here are some adorable pictures of us on what was, up until that point, the happiest of days.

Wedding_3

We were together for nearly 10 years before our wedding. People are often surprised when they find out how long we’ve been together; someone even called us creepy. I could never really understand that surprise either. Matt’s my best friend. It was only natural for us to be together. You don’t leave your best friend; you grow with your best friend. I don’t have many friends, but I hold onto the good ones, so why would I let my best friend go?

Wedding_4

People would always say “you’ve been together so long, it’s like you’re married anyway. There isn’t much of a difference.” I didn’t feel that way at all. There was a big difference; being married is so much better than when we were just dating. Who you chose as your spouse is the reflection of the person you are as the person you want to be. That’s one reason I think our wedding day, while it’s now 2nd for happiest day, it is still probably the most important day of our lives.

Wedding_5

It’s the day we declared to our family, friends, the world, and God that we will always be a team.  We lean on each other so neither of us falls.

Wedding_1

And, of course, if I never married Matt I wouldn’t have my Giacomo.

Us

Oh I’m tired!

I am soooo sosososo sooo tired! I know, babies do that to you. But really I haven’t been this tired since Jack’s colic. The stupid thing about though is it’s my own fault. I’ve been trying to transition Jack into his own room. He’s too big for his co-sleeper. He’s been sleeping in bed with us, but he is starting to move around too much, and I’m afraid he’ll get caught under a pillow or blanket or something. So all week I’ve put Jack down in his crib. He always wakes up between 11-12 and that’s when I’d usually take him out of the co-sleeper and into my bed. In his crib, he’s been sleeping longer, not waking up until after 12:30 even.

Now here’s the “I’m-the-stupid-one” part. I sit up and wait for him to wake up. After worrying that he wouldn’t sleep in his crib, it turns out that I’m the one who can’t sleep without him! He cries for a few minutes and I jump up and bring him back into my room. It always feels like he’s crying forever, but I timed it, I last about 2 to 3 minutes but I think he’s been crying for 15. I’m also tired because my sleep training came after being super busy. This past weekend, we met Giacomo’s newest friend, saw an awesome concert, celebrated a bridal and baby shower, and explored the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC.

Jack and Quinn

Friday we went up to meet Quinn Daniel, my cousins newest addition. The little precious just turned one month this past weekend. He is so tiny and sweet. I’ve already forgotten when Jack was so small. Quinn’s brother Brodie is one year older than Jack, and he’s just starting to talk more and really showcase his personality. It was so cute watching the little ones interact. Jack was so curious about Quinn. He just wanted to touch and look at him. I’m so happy that they all have each other, built-in friends for years to come. My cousins were my closest friends growing up, and I’m so lucky that they are these constant rocks in my life, friends I know I will always have and count on.

Matt also finally got to use his birthday gift this weekend. He cashed in his tickets to see his favorite band, Rush. You may or may not have heard of Rush. They are very polarizing, and people either really love or really hate them. I usually explain them by referencing I Love You, Man. Rush is the band the guys are obsessed with in that movie. I used to be pretty indifferent to them, but after so many years of listening I actually like them quite a bit now. They are three of the most talented musicians, and their drummer is indisputably one of, if not the best drummer of all time. They’ve been around forever and this could supposedly be their farewell tour, so I’m happy we got to see their concert one more time. Rainy tailgating and classic rock made for a very late, but very fun night.

I’d have loved to sleep in the next day, but weddings and babies were to be celebrated. For the baby shower, I was not able to make my baby wardrobe or book bird house, but I did make a diaper bouquet. The bouquet is very easy and a little different from the traditional diaper cake. I used a mason jar as a vase, mainly because I saw these beautiful purple hard and wanted a reason to buy a case, but the jars actually hold the diaper roses beautifully. This is so simple to make and looks beautiful, all you need is a jar or vase, wooden skewers, green and pink tissue paper, diapers, and rubber bands. I’ll post the super easy how-to later.

Follow all that up that with walking over through the Javits Center for the Summer Fancy Food Show. I go every year to see what’s new and to make new connections with people.  Most vendors at the show are looking to sell their product to retailers, but they’ve always been super nice and excited to showcase their products. Except this year. Not all, but a lot wanted nothing to do with me and my co-workers once they saw we were suppliers and not retailers. I’m not sure why. I get that I couldn’t buy cases of their products, but I can certainly buy them off the shelf as a consumer. Oh well. I’ll stick to buying nice people’s products.

So busy weekends and lots of sleepless nights means I am exhausted. I’m glad it’s a 3 day weekend. Maybe by Monday I’ll be able to let Jack sleep in his room without running to check on him every 10 minutes.

2015 Stanley Cup Finals: Ang vs. Matt

Okay, I lied. I said I would only root for Kane once every 4 years during the Olympics. But that was when I thought the Rangers were going to the finals with the Blackhawks. Now that I’m only half right, I can proudly wear my Kane shirt and cheer GO BLACKHAWKS, much to my husband’s dismay.  Matt is a Ryan Callahan fan.  For the first time me and Matt are really, truly rooting against each other’s teams, and it’s actually kind of fun.

Matt doesn’t care enough about baseball to actively hate my Yankees, and I favor a few different football teams (and who really cares about his Jets anyway), but we both are Rangers fans, so we have always been cheering them on together. We’d still watch the Cup and have interest like any other year, but this season my favorite non-Ranger is against Matt’s favorite non-Ranger. And now it’s on. We have 2 different wagers going. Whoever’s team wins, the other person will have to treat the other to a surprise. I’m not sure what that will be, considering I don’t think I’ll be losing. The other wager is player based. Whoever’s favorite player has the most points at the end of the series wins. When I win, Matt has to do (and put away) the laundry for a month. If I lose, I’ll be loading the dishwasher without complaint for a month. So far Lightning is up 2 games to 1, but I’m guessing that’ll change tonight!

I was Locked in a Room with a Zombie

Between mid March to the first week of May, there are several birthdays and celebrations on my husband’s side of the family. This year, we decided with my in-laws that we would celebrate all the spring time festivities at one big event.  I don’t know where he found it, but my father-in-law discovered Room Escape Adventures: Locked in a Room with a Zombie.

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

So what did this event entail?  We were locked in a room with a zombie and had to escape within an hour. That’s pretty much it. You are locked in a room and the key to get out is hidden among several riddles, clues, locks, and keys. Even if you were to find where the exit key is hidden, you would need to have solved the other riddles in the room to get to the key.

I don’t want to give too much detail away and ruin the challenge for anyone, so here is the blurb from the website: Prepare to be locked in a room with up to 11 other people and a Zombie that is chained to the wall! Hidden in the room is a key that will unlock the door to your freedom.  To find the key you must locate numerous clues and solve riddles.  Every five minutes the hungry Zombie’s chain will be released another foot.  Within an hour, the Zombie will be able to reach you.  You have 60 minutes to the find clues, solve the puzzles, unlock the door and escape the room without getting eaten!  Are you smarter than a Zombie?  Find out!

zombie

With such vague information, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. I thought he was crazy and the whole experience would be cheesy, but this turned out to be one of the best times I’ve had in a while.  The site describes the whole adventure as a “team building experience.” That sounds a bit corny, but it isn’t the normal type of team building experience. It isn’t like we were trust falling on each other, or having someone blindfolded and guide them. We were locked in a room with a zombie. We had to gather clues and solve riddles (word riddles, number riddles, puzzles, all kinds) all while dodging a zombie and/or distracting him from someone who is trying to gather a clue. Ok so the zombie was an actor, but in the moment you sure as hell don’t want to be tagged by the guy.

We had 2 extra tickets, so my friend Meg and her boyfriend Dave joined us, and thank goodness they did! They were responsible for solving some of the riddles. In fact, everyone was responsible and helped in some way. The riddles were varied enough that each of us had our own strengths, and pretty much everyone was solved at least one riddle to help out the team. At the end of the hour, the game host gives an analysis of the team as a whole and points out each person’s strengths and how he/she helped the team. My favorite analysis was of my mother-in-law, who offered to sacrifice herself to the zombie even though we still had a good 25 minutes to finid the challenge.  Only 30% of teams actually come out of the challenge “alive,” and we were one of them! with less than 30 seconds left, we tumbled out of the room and escaped the zombie.

We Won!!

I’ve seen coupons for it on Living Social, but even without them it’s not an expensive night. It’s also a really fun family night. Even though it is a zombie theme, it really isn’t scary at all. Players can be as young as 8 years old, and according to the host kids are better at riddles than adults. The only negative part is that you aren’t allowed to take the challenge again until a new sequel story comes out. Every few month there are new clues, riddles, and stories. I really hope we can do it again. Try it out here! http://roomescapeadventures.com/

My Goonies Pirate Paaaaaarty

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and my niece turned 10 two days before my birthday, so I decided that I was going to revolt against being an “adult” and have a joint themed party with her. My favorite movie also happens to be 30 this year. When I say it’s my favorite movie, I mean I’m a little obsessed:

My Car

I went pirate crazy. I got hats, eye patches, paper goods, and toys for the kids to play with.  We served The Kraken’s Special (spaghetti and meatballs) with Sloth’s Salad (antipasto salad).

 The Kraken's Special

For dessert, there were Canon Balls (Oreo balls), Mermaid Pearls (White Sixlets), Fratelli Pops, Swashbuckler Cookies, The Flying Dutchman’s Delight (cheesecake), and One Eye-d Willie’s Rich Stuff (Devils Food Cake).

Rich Stuff Canon Balls and Mermaid Pearls Swashbuckler Cookies

I’m not sure why I bought so many table cloths (2 red, one black, and several Jolly Rogers), but I quickly realized I did not need them all.

I decorated the tables with “treasure” and used the red for our dinner table, black for the dessert table, and I hung the Jolly Rogers from my mom’s deck and we used it as a backdrop. The pictures were great!

Pirate Party Pirate's Life for Me IMG_8178

I like to think this was a practice run for when Jack get’s older and asks for a pirate party. Because of course he’s going to want a pirate party. I already decided that this will be his toddler bed.

Little Tikes Pirate Ship Toddler Bed - Little Tikes - Babies"R"Us

After diner, there were sword battles, face painting, treasure hunts, and presents.

Everybody's a Pirate

IMG_8269 Face Painting

Sword Fighting

Sword Fighting

Birthday Ladies

Olivia loved her vanity set and I was treated to a Patrick Kane Team USA shirt. We all know I love the New York Rangers, but my favorite hockey player isn’t actually on the Rangers. Why? This is why. I happen to really wish that Patrick Kane would decide that he loves New York and would get traded to my team. I don’t see that happening (the Blackhawks would be fools) so instead I root for Kane only once every 4 years, during the Olympics.

The “grown up” portion of my birthday was celebrated with surprise tickets to see one of my favorite writers, David Sedaris. It was the first time since we had Jack that we went on a real date. It was a very strange feeling. I kept wondering what he was doing (as if a baby does much), but it was nice to spend time with Matt and share with him something I enjoy so much. David Sedaris can have a whole audience in stitches, on the brink of tears, and back to laughter in under a minute. It’s a talent that I’m so happy he didn’t just save for his own inner circle. I know that I’ve looked like a schizophrenic person reading his books in public. So if you haven’t yet, read yourself some Me Talk Pretty One Day or my favorite, When You Are Engulfed in Flames.

LETS EXPLORE DIABETES WITH OWLS

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Unfortunately my hands have been so swollen and my carpel tunnel  has gotten worse, so I haven’t been as crafty as I’d like to be. But even still, in these past few weeks I’ve certainly have had a lot to be thankful for. Two weeks ago, my family threw me a beautiful baby shower. They really surprised me, too. I thought my shower would be the next day, so when I walked into a room filled with my friends and family I was truly surprised. Based on a bunch of owl ceramics I’ve made for the baby’s nursery, my sisters and mom planned an owl theme shower, complete with a cake and even an owl basket.

Owl ThemeOwl Theme

The amount of loved ones and the generous gifts they brought for my baby was so overwhelming.

My Wonderful Guests My Awesome Family

I still haven’t disassembled my diaper cakes, owl, or carriage because they’re so pretty!

Diaper Creations

My favorite gesture was all the books everyone brought to start baby’s library.  My friends at my weekly ceramics class also threw me a small shower. Even though I haven’t been able to paint, they still made sure I had opening gifts and eating some adorable cupcakes.

Ceramics Shower

Since the showers I’ve been spending my spare time putting together baby furniture and toys (which takes a lot longer with swollen hands)and trying to get everything in order.  I could go any day now! I actually really enjoy being pregnant. I’ve been very lucky. I didn’t get any morning sickness, and my biggest complaint is some back pain which mostly comes at night.  It’s so amazing feeling a little person dance around inside me. I think feeling the baby’s movements is what I’ll miss the most.  Of everything I’ve ever been blessed with, this baby is the greatest gift I’ve ever received.

Owls!

Last night I designed a Thanksgiving shirt to show my gratitude. I designed the shirt on my computer and printed it on iron on paper I had left over from a few other shirts I’ve made. You can buy iron on paper and print your own designs to custom make anything. The shirt may only be good for one time use,  but I love it!

Thankful

Thankful Me and Mom

Halloween Week

Happy Halloween everyone! This is a favorite holiday of mine. I love Halloween week, especially!

I’m trying not to watch scary things while I’m so pregnant (I don’t want my heart racing too much), so we’ve been watching more fun Halloween movies. Nightmare Before Christmas, Hocus Pocus,  and all the fun Halloween TV show specials. Matt did try to sneak in one of the Friday the 13th movies, because I’ve never seen them, but I couldn’t stand how cheesy it was. I’m more into psychological thrillers like The Shinning or Psycho, or ghost/possession stories. Not so much the gory slasher stuff. They are always too corny. Last night we watched Adams Family Values and put together our crib, and I was thrown a work shower, complete with crafty decorations from my buddy Meg. This baby is starting to feel more and more real!

Work Shower

I worked from home on Halloween, so I was able to see all the trick-or treaters. I was surprised how many little kids loved my address pumpkin!

Address Pumpkin

Obviously I didn’t go out this year, but it didn’t stop me from dressing up. I used a Styrofoam sheet we got from the packaging from a crate to make my costume. I just cut a hole in the middle, measured out my belly, and then cut the edges in a sloppy circle shape to be an egg! I used Lilu’s costume from last year, a piggy, so we could be ham and eggs together :). If Matt didn’t have work, I’d have made him be a slice of cheese (aka himself). I made my nieces and nephew special little cauldrons of candy, complete with ghost pops. All you have to do is wrap some tissue paper around a lollipop, tie with some curling ribbon, and draw a ghost face. Aren’t we a cute bunch?

Halloween_2014

Tuesday was the season finally of my favorite (and very Halloween-esque) show, Face-Off. If you don’t watch it, you should! It’s a movie makeup competition show but with no drama or negativity, and based solely on the talent of the contestants. They even help each other even though they’re competing against each other. For the occasion, I made dinner with our baby wine.

So what’s baby wine? For my bridal shower, my bridesmaids gifted me a basket of wine. Each bottle had a special label designating the bottle for all out “first” occasions, including Christmas, new year, dinner party, anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and our last bottle, our first baby.

Here’s the poem written on our baby bottle if you want to recreate it:

“The news that a baby will soon share your life
will make you a mother, not only a wife.
You’ll see it through good times and sometimes through bad,
Angela the loving mother and Matt the dearest Dad.
Sadly Matt must drink this one alone and Angela with an empty glass.
Sit back and relax; nine months will quickly pass!”

Baby Wine

Since I can’t drink the wine, and Matt didn’t want to drink the whole bottle alone and on a work night, I finally busted open our baby bottle to use in my FaceOff dinner.

I don’t really measure, but I don’t think you could mess this up.
I first sautéed spinach with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and a few cloves of diced garlic. When the spinach is nice and wilted, remove from the pan and add some more oil and a few pats of butter. When the butter us melted and hot, add a diced onion and LOTS of diced garlic. I probably used 9 maybe 10 cloves. After the onions and garlic are sautéed, add in frozen shrimp and cook until they are almost done, then remove from pan. Add about half the bottle of wine, a ladle of pasta water, and some some oregano, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, and bay leaves.

Baby Wine Dinner

Simmer away until the alcohol is burned off. Put in the pasta, shrimp, and spinach back into the pan and toss it all together with a handful of breadcrumbs and another handful of Parmesan cheese. The shrimp should finish cooking in the sauce, and you’re ready to chow down! We had some fresh mozzarella with balsamic on the side, and I pretended to be fancy with my water in a wine glass. It was great food, a great finale (my favorite contestant, Dina, won!), and a great Halloween week.
Baby Wine Dinner 2

MmMmMm Stuffed Bread

So I’ve had this post written for a while and never posted. I guess I’ve been busy (with slight baby brain). My niece Jenna’s Birthday was several weeks ago when I originally wrote this. She’s twelve. TWELVE! Her last year as a tween, and she’s still as sweet as ever. She loves typical tween things (1 Direction and soccer), and I was both sad and excited to get to buy her birthday clothes in the juniors (instead of the kids) section. Now two of my nieces are middle schoolers, and I feel old.We celebrated Gi’s birthday at her house, complete with a soccer and 1D themed cake.

Happy Birthday Gi!

I brought some stuffed pepperoni and cheese bread for a side dish to the birthday dinner. It’s a pretty simple recipe, but before I give it I should warn you that an ingredient may be a bit of a surprise. Therefore I think I need to give some background on my stuffed bread expertise. I worked at a bakery all throughout high school and college. Every weekend, the bakery sold stuffed breads, and pepperoni and cheese always sold out quickly.
In spite of the fact that we always called it “pepperoni and cheese bread,” customers always asked for “pepperoni and mozzarella.” We never corrected them, but really the bread was NOT made with mozzarella. Think about melted mozzarella’s texture: it’s stringy, not gooey. What made our pepperoni and cheese bread so good was that the cheese was gooey. So here’s the big secret; we used White American Cheese.

Don’t get scared or grossed out! I promise white American and pepperoni is delicious. I’m sure yellow American is just as good, but I think people are freaked out by the fact that yellow cheese is so clearly not mozzarella.

So, stuffed bread is pretty simple. If you have a recipe for bread use it, but I make things even easier by using pre-made dough.

Steps to Make Stuffed Bread

Split the dough with a knife and spread it out. Put down a layer of cheese, a layer of pepperoni, and another layer of cheese. Is this a lot of cheese? Yes. Will cheese ooze out when you bake it? Some of it will, so it’s better to be safe with extra cheese ;). Roll up the bread and cut a few venting slits on the dough. Bake the bread until it’s golden brown, let it cool enough to touch, and slice it up. People kept sneaking a slice, so my bread didn’t even make it to the dinner table. Take a chance and try it!

Finished Product

DIY Necklace: Wearing the Beach all Year

Beach Necklaces

I grew up here, ten minutes from the beach. I can’t imagine having to plan on going to the beach. It’s something I do so casually that I still forget what a special place it is. I usually go to the beach during the week, after work, and alone. We love Island Beach State Park. If you drive past their first two bathing beaches, there is some amazing scenery. I don’t think people realize there is so much beauty right in NJ. Pictures of the walk to the ocean rival some you can find on a tropical island. I love the walk to the ocean. As you walk through the trees and sand, at first all you hear are birds. Then the smell of the ocean comes and you start to hear the sound of waves, and finally you get to the view. When I head to the beach most people are leaving it, so it’s like my own private oasis. I always keep a blanket or chair in my trunk, and if I know Matt will be late coming home from work I just head to the beach and read for an hour or two.

Walk to the Beach

But I didn’t really get to do that this summer. I was afraid of going to the beach alone. I’ve never had fainting spells or anything, but I didn’t want to risk overheating by myself while pregnant. I only went to the beach a few times, and I did have to plan around it. It made me appreciate my proximity more. I don’t think I’ll ever want to live far enough away where I have to plan a beach trip. I know that with a baby I’ll have to be more structured with my beach time next year, but I’m glad that if I ever am bored and we have nothing to do we can always walk to beach to pass the time.

Beach

September is a great time to go to the beach. There aren’t many people and the water is super warm. Matt and I went recently for no reason other than we were bored.  We collected seashells, put our feet in the water, and watched as the tiny clams and sand crabs burrowed into the sand. It made me sad that summer is pretty much over. I can still walk the beach in the fall and winter, but it’s not really the same.

SeaShells

So I’m going to wear the beach all year long. I made these simple beach bottle necklaces to keep the sand close to my heart. I found a set of tiny bottles at Michael’s. Attach the ring to the cork (You might have t trim the metal with some wire cutters. put some sand in the bottle. It’s easier to scoop the sand rather than pour it. Then I used needle nose tweezers to put in a tiny sea shell, apiece of sea glass, and a piece of faux moss (to look like seaweed). Use some leather cord as the necklace, and you viola!

beach necklace

I made a second charm as a message in  a bottle. With less sand, I added some small shells, and I wrote a note on a piece of scrap paper (I ripped the paper so the edges weren’t so straight). I realize I could have just scribbled or not have written anything at all, but I like an ocean quote for my ocean necklace. I know it’s there, after all.  My message is from Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.” I rolled up the scrap and put it in my bottle. How sweet!

message in a bottle

If you don’t live near the beach, you could make your necklace with sand and shells from your favorite vacation destination and keep it close to your heart too.

Cape May and Fairy Gardens

I’m kind of sad that summer is unofficial lye over, but I can’t complain. I’ve spent the last few weekends of summer happily. A few weeks ago, Matt and I decided to go on a mini road trip down memory lane to our old Stockton stomping grounds. Normally our trips to our old college town would take us to the winery, but since only one of us can enjoy the wine, we ventured down to a Chinese take-out place we often went to through college. They have the best sweet and sour chicken ever. We continued south to Cape May where we explored the shops (where i found a lot less antiques than I expected, but some great craft ideas), walked the boardwalk, and enjoyed an indirect flashback to our alma mater again. Despite a few holes in one, I fell apart and panicked at the end of our game, and Matt beat me by 5 points.

a lovely time

Even though I lost, Matt still treated me to a beautiful had beaded bracelet in my favorite color. I can’t even tell you the shop he bought it from because there was no sign on the building.  We had dinner at an Irish pub where I, of course, ordered the butter lobster rolls, and stopped for smoothie desserts.

 Making the cake!

We also celebrated my niece Laila’s birthday. The night before the party, the kids all came over to watch the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (which they loved) and help bake Laila’s tie-dyed  cake and cookies. Everyone was in charge of mixing and poring a color.

Laila's Frozen Cake

 

They turned out great!I decorated the cake for a Frozen theme party with blue frosting and white snowflakes.

Happy Birthday Laila! Laila & Olivia, or Ana & Elsa

To add to the birthday festivities, we made a fairy garden in a hollowed out tree stump.

Fairy Veggie Garden Fairy table

We used a fairy garden kid along with a few mini items I found at Michael’s.

Adding to the fairy garden All the kids helped

I glued floral pins to the bottoms of everything to stake them into the ground.

Welcome Fairies!

The only thing left to do is plant some pretty fall flowers. with a hideaway like this, fairies are bound to make this their new home!

Fairy Garden!

 

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