Friday, September 30, 2011

baking cookies

baking cookies
baking cookies
baking cookies
baking cookies

Sometimes all you need is a good batch of cookies. Recipe from Donna Hay's "Off The Shelf: Cooking From the Pantry."

This weekend my mom and sister are coming up to celebrate their birthdays! I cannot wait for them to get here! Think I'll go bake an apple pie. Hope everyone has a wonderful fall weekend!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

saying goodbye to south amana

goodbye south amana.
goodbye south amana.
goodbye south amana.
goodbye south amana.
goodbye south amana.
Summer went by in a breeze it seems. I feel like I crammed a whole year in three months! Autumn is already upon us and we are busy getting settled in our new home. Saying goodbye to South Amana was bittersweet. I was ready to move on, but it was hard leaving the few friends I made there. I used to walk to the post office almost every day and there I met the post "mistress" Jan who would chat with me about wedding prep (her daughter was getting married too) and all sorts of things. She was the best! I also later met Dorothy, who is in her nineties. She and Jan went on walks together every day on Jan's break. I would see them pass by my church while they were on their walks. I didn't get to know Dorothy until a few months before moving, but she is the sweetest lady I've ever met! She said she would cry every time she walked by our empty house. Dorothy is one of those people I wish I could be around all the time. I bet she has a lot of wonderful stories to tell. When I told her about our moving to Chicago she looked a bit worried and said, "Oh be careful! That's a dangerous place!" I think she lived and grew up in Amana her whole life so I can understand her feeling that way. And she gave me good marriage advice as well. She said "Never fight! There are times when I was about ready to hit him, but thank goodness he left the room before I could!" When she said goodbye for the last time she had tears in her eyes, as if she had known me for a long time. It made me feel special and I wished I had gotten to know her better. Those are memories I will keep with me throughout my life.


california wedding.

california!
california!
california!
california!
James+Christine
california!
california!
california!
california!
california!
california!
california!
california!
california!
california!

I know this one is past overdue, but better late than never right? Back in August Jed and I took a flight out to L.A. for my brother's wedding. At first I was a little hesitant about California, never have been there myself before. But it turned out to be beautiful and really a lovely place! Jed and I really liked it. And as cliché as this sounds, the weather was fantastic!! If you live in the Midwest, you know what a big difference there is, especially where humidity is concerned!

The actual wedding took place at Pepperdine University in Malibu. Wow. What a gorgeous place! The wedding ceremony was small, really sweet and lovely. And after the wedding we all went down the the reception area in the park. Beautiful view! The sun was shining and the weather was just right. Only one problem... I forgot to put on sunscreen and it didn't even occur to me how detrimental that would be! Little did I know I'd get fried that afternoon and come down with a mild fever that evening. Oh, well. You live and learn! I'm hoping I've learned my lesson.

The next day Jed and I decided to drive out to Santa Barbara. I was still feeling a little under the weather, but I was determined to enjoy the rest of the trip! We loved it there! Everything was more peaceful and beautiful. We spent the day walking around and sitting under palm trees in the park. On our way back we stopped by a small, almost deserted beach. I really wanted to swim, but with that sunburn it was not happening! The water was a bit too cold anyway, so we just splashed around. The sea air is so different from what I'm used to! I loved it!

Since visiting California, I've changed my mind and decided I really do like it there. Only I think our next trip will have to include some redwoods.

The fifth picture from the top (my brother and the bride) by John Allen. Take a look at more of his photos here.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

our honeymoon.

honeymooning in pei
honeymooning in pei
honeymooning in pei
honeymooning in pei
honeymooning in pei
honeymooning in pei
honeymooning in pei
honeymooning in pei
honeymooning in pei
honeymooning in pei
honeymooning in pei
honeymooning in pei
honeymooning in pei

Everything got so busy this summer that I barely had time to write about our honeymoon in PEI! It was absolutely a dream! We both adored Prince Edward Island. It was not your typical beach honeymoon. The weather was a bit chilly, like the first of spring when we arrived, so no cute little summer dresses or swimsuits. But that turned out to be just fine. Except that I always pack the wrong things because silly me never checks the weather before packing. That's alright! We found a department store with cute clothes called Joe Fresh, similar to Target and cheap. I was able to buy a few things to keep me a little warmer and it's always fun to have an excuse to buy more clothes!

We stayed in two lovely little cottages while we were there. The first one was in Chelton on the south side of the island. We could see the ocean from our backyard! It was so cozy and perfect there. The first couple of days were rainy and cold, but it didn't last long and the sun came out soon enough. The next week we moved to North Rustico, which was closer to Green Gables. We found a great little coffee shop in Charlottetown with internet access! We didn't realize most places wouldn't have internet (duh!) but that was OK by us! It's nice to take a break from the internet, especially on your honeymoon! We loved driving around the coast and stopping at interesting places. We found the most gorgeous church at one stop. The doors were open so we walked right in. Breathtakingly beautiful. You could walk down by the water and sit on the rocks. It was so peaceful. An ideal spot for a church!

By far our favorite place was Green Gables. It was quaint and everything I had imagined. Jed especially loved the little haunted forest. We can see why L.M. Montgomery would go into the forest often. The house was perfect and we went around picking out our favorite rooms. My favorite was a little bedroom with pretty flowered wallpaper. It was bright and cozy. I think I would have loved to have this room growing up. We also loved the little garden. Someday I'm planting one just like the one at Green Gables. It was the perfect day. I could live that day over and over.

Someday I hope we can return to our little honeymoon spot in Prince Edward Island. Perhaps even stay in the same little cottages. If you ever get the opportunity, do go and visit! And don't forget to see Anne's Green Gables!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

our wedding day.

my wedding day.
my wedding day.
my wedding day.
my wedding day.
my wedding day.
my wedding day.
my wedding day.
my wedding day.
my wedding day.
my wedding day.
my wedding day.
my wedding day.

I realize I have not written much about my wedding day! The summer was hectic and I'm finally sitting down to write write write! I'll have updates about all my other adventures, including our honeymoon throughout the next few days as well.

The wedding really started several days before when my friend Elizabeth Barlow and her sister Hanna arrived by bus all the way from Ontario, Canada! It's a funny story, our friendship. It consists mostly of writing letters back and forth for years. Elizabeth and I met about 9 years ago at an 1860's girl's school/camp in Tennessee. Yes, you read that correctly! We were both obsessed with the 19th century and we had met each other on an online forum before going to the girl's school. So once we met each other in person we knew we were kindred spirits! I remember thinking the best thing about going to that school was meeting Elizabeth. We kept up writing (or rather, she kept writing me, despite my lack of letters!) and continued our friendship. When I got engaged, I wanted Elizabeth to come, but I did not count on her traveling all the way for my little wedding! But she came! And she brought her lovely sister Hanna with her! They helped me so much. They made all of the tissue flowers, which I left off until the last minute. That was a huge help!! And they were there for wonderful conversation after conversation. What a perfect week it was. I think they helped me keep wonderfully calm. The easiest house guests I've ever had! We vowed never to let another 9 years pass before seeing each other again!

Elizabeth also was our music for the ceremony! We thought about having instruments, but when it came down to it, we decided we just wanted a simple no fuss wedding. Elizabeth sang solo and it was gorgeous. She sang a very old song called "Matrimony" as the bridesmaids and finally the bride (me!) walked down the isle. It was a very small wedding, which is just how Jed and I wanted it. We had it in the same church in South Amana, Iowa where I was living at the time, which made decorating quite easy!

The night before the wedding we had a lovely rehearsal dinner with all of Jed's family and my family and a few friends. It was relaxing and fun to see everyone sitting around the table laughing and having a good time. As we were about to head home, we had the idea last minute to have a shape note sing at my house in the church! It really was a lovely way to spend the last day of my single life; gathered around in a square with a small group of friends singing old hymns. Hanna and Elizabeth are excellent shape note singers, but the rest of us were not quite as good I'm afraid! It still was such fun, though! And reminded me that I must try to get back into singing again.

The wedding day went so smoothly, I could hardly believe how smoothly it went! My friend Alanna spent the day before baking cupcakes and her dad built wooden boxes to carry them in. I definitely could not have done all of this without the help of my friends and family! Especially my mom! She did a lot of running around finding wine glasses at thrift stores or calling people to tell them the venue had changed last minute (we were going to have it at the park). Both my family and Jed's family were a great help. We're really fortunate to have such great people in our lives!

I was pretty nervous about the ceremony. I hate getting up in front of people, let alone being the center of attention!! But we did it! And we loved every second of it. We keep saying how we want to spend the day over again and that's how I want to live my life. Spending every day like it was my wedding day. I'm so glad my mom talked me into having a wedding instead of eloping. The day was more special than I can describe. I'll never forget that day.

Photographs by John Allen

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

outfit: day at the apple orchard



Last weekend Jed and I made a surprise visit back home to Iowa for my mom's birthday and a trip to my favorite apple orchard! It was the perfect day to pick apples. The place was packed and the crisp air was delicious. The staff at Wilson's were busy making fresh apple cider doughnuts and apple turnovers. I had to try both, of course! I came home with a handmade basket and a bag of windfall apples.

Last night I baked a few apples for an after dinner snack. They are simple to make: Core the apple and fill with a small pat of butter, a drizzle of honey (or brown sugar if you prefer), a few shakes of cinnamon, nutmeg and a tiny pinch of salt. Wrap in foil and bake for 1 hour at 350°F. Place in a pretty bowl and eat it as is or you can add a dollop of whipped cream if you like. We had ours plain and it was perfect.

Outfit:
Lands' End StormRaker Rain Jacket | Lands' End Petite No Iron Twill Tartan Shirt | Mossimo Ankle Pant | G.H.Bass & Co. leather satchel (thrift store) | Bensimon sneakers | Rimmel nail enamel in Sunset Orange