Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sugar and Spice Pecans

I made these yummy pecans for Bunco when I hosted last week. They were absolutely delicious! Quite a few people didn't have much room for dessert because they ate so many.

I made 1.5 batches because of the amount of pecans I had already bought. I ended up using 2/3 Splenda and 1/3 sugar to try and reduce the calories. On another website I read, a lady said she used all Splenda. I think I will try it next time.

This is something that would definitely be good to make around the holidays. It's easy to make, and people really enjoy it!

Sugar and Spice Pecans

50 min 5 min prep SERVES 16 , 4 cups

1 lb pecan halves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

  1. Beat the egg white and water until frothy but not stiff.
  2. Stir in the sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Add the pecans and stir well until the pecans are completely coated.
  4. Spread the nuts on a large baking sheet and bake at 200 degree Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  5. Remove them from the oven when dry and toasted.
  6. When cool, store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


We had our first meeting with our new coordinator at WOW (Windows On Washington) on Saturday morning. We took a look around at the different floors set up for receptions that night to get some ideas for the set up of tables, dance floor, etc.

Luckily, one reception had some white lanterns up so I was able to see how that looks at WOW. I currently have 12 red round lanterns I plan on putting up. I also have 6 small battery powered white lanterns. I think these will go on the cocktail table or the edges of the bar in place of candles. I have 6 or so round white lanterns I can hang up, but I won't be able to light them up. I'm thinking of buying a few large white lanterns to hang up, so I have 3 different sizes hanging. I also plan to buy something to light some of them (maybe half). Right now, the best thing I've found is an LED that lasts 12+ hours for about $3 each. I need something that lasts fairly long, because the lanterns will be hung by the staff well before the reception starts. I don't want the light burning out before the reception even starts!

Originally, I was planning on using the metal WOW candelabras for our centerpieces. That was before I bought some beautiful table runners from a gal.

We decided the big candelabras are too much with the pattern on the table runner, so we decided to go with the 3 floating candles.

I'm thinking of putting some black river rocks at the bottom of the vases. I tried to find a picture, but all the ones I found had flowers in the cases as well.

We set up our tasting for July. We will set up the final arrangement of tables, etc. at that time.

I still would love to have something like this on the escort card table. I just don't want to spend a ton of money on it!

I also plan on having a menu of specialty drinks with cute names. Any suggestions? Any ideas of where to look?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Beautiful kitchen!

I LOVE the look of white kitchen cabinets. I wish I had them in my current home. Oh well - hopefully in the next house.

I found this beautiful picture on HGTV's Rate My Space.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Delicious cake!

This post is long overdue. I started this in mid April and totally forgot about it. Oops!

I made a delicious cake for a co-worker's birthday in April. I was a little worried about how the icing turned out, but it was fine. Everyone loved it. It was so moist and extremely chocolatey. (Is that a word? I think it should be.) I know we did not get 18 servings out of it. It's way too good for that small of a piece!

I bought some Betty Crocker white chocolate icing to decorate the top of the cake. It was really simple to use. You just snip the tip, put the package in the microwave, and voila - a gorgeous cake!

Best-Ever Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake

Prep Time:10 min
Total Time:1 hr 30 min

Makes:18 servings, one slice each

1 pkg. (8 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, divided
1 pkg. (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
4 eggs
1 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 tub (8 oz.) frozen COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
2 Tbsp. PLANTERS Sliced Almonds

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round baking pans. Chop 2 of the chocolate squares; set aside. Beat cake mix, dry pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, oil and water in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just until moistened. Beat on medium speed 2 min. Stir in chopped chocolate. Spoon into prepared pans.

BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 min. Loosen cakes from sides of pans. Invert onto racks; gently remove pans. Cool cakes completely.

PLACE frozen whipped topping and remaining 6 chocolate squares in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1-1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth, stirring after 1 min. Let stand 15 min. to thicken. Place one cake layer on serving plate; top with one-fourth of the chocolate mixture and second cake layer. Spread top and side with remaining chocolate mixture. Garnish with almonds. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Friday night, FI and I went over to have dinner with some friends of ours. Their first child, Noah, was born in January. He is a big boy for his age - about 17 pounds! He is so cute!

Until recently, I haven't had much experience holding babies. Several ladies at school have had babies recently, and three more are due within the next 6 months. I can't get enough of them right now. They're just so adorable! Luckily, the ladies bring their babies up to school every so often so everyone gets to see them.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Some Bunco details

I can't remember if I mentioned this in an earlier post or not. I'm hosting Bunco at my house this Thursday. Saturday, I found some really cute paper plates and cheap plastic trays to use. I would have loved to buy some nicer/sturdier trays, but I don't want to spend too much. {Speaking of serving trays - I do need to add some to our registry.}

I tried to find them on Target's website, but it was being a bit difficult. So, I took a picture of my purchases. The yellow napkins were from one of the dollar stores. The platters, bowls, and plates are from Target.

We have snacks and dessert during Bunco. I'm going to put out the crackers and cheeses, tortilla roll-ups, and the Chex mix for people to much on while others arrive. People tend to start arriving around 7:00, but we don't start playing until about 7:30. The grapes (frozen), M&Ms, and spice pecans will be in bowls on the 3 tables to munch on while we play. After we've finished the game, we'll have dessert - red velvet cupcakes and mocha cheesecake.

On the menu:

  • tortilla roll-ups (with sour cream, chiles, cream cheese - salsa on the side)

  • grapes (a healthy snack)

  • caramel Chex mix

  • cheese spread and crackers

  • cream cheese and red pepper jelly with crackers

  • spiced pecans

  • M&Ms

  • mocha cheesecake (a frozen dessert)

  • red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

I will try to remember to take photos, especially of the pecans (Cooking Light recipe), mocha cheesecake, and cupcakes.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

St. Louis

My sister sent me an email with this link. St. Louis made it onto an interesting blog. The article (from the Post Dispatch) talks about people wanting to move to the city, but then having trouble when they have children. Since they don't want to send their children to the St. Louis City schools, they either have to pay for private school or move back to the suburbs.

I can see how it could be a dilemma. The city is not exactly known for having great schools. What would you do in this situation?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

End of the school year

The school year is finally winding down to an end. We only have a few weeks left! The end of the school year is always crazy - lots going on.

This upcoming week is fairly eventful. On Tuesday, someone is coming to talk to 2nd grade about recycling. On Wednesday, I'm playing my harp for the 2nd grade classes. Friday is a half day for the students, but we have to attend meetings in the afternoon.

The next week is even crazier. We're off Monday, of course, for Memorial Day. We have our End of the Year Assembly to give students awards (art, music, PE, reading circle, attendance, etc.). The best part of the week will be Field Day. We get to go outside for 2 hours, and the kids get to go to different stations and play games and have popsicles. It's a lot of fun, but also very tiring!

The students' last day is June 2. Teachers have a Work Day the next day, though. It's hard to believe my students are almost ready for 3rd grade! Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday that I met them for the first time. They have come so far, though, and made a lot of progress. I'm very proud of them!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


My sister introduced me to Lolcats. I now have the page on my Google Reader. Some of them are just ok, but some are quite funny. Seeing as how my FI and I are going to Weight Watchers, I thought this one was pretty funny.

You can view more lolcats here.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Recent accomplishments - part 2

We decided to go with Best Transportation for the limo. Since we're having a small bridal party, we ended up going with the 10 passenger limo, which I think looks pretty classy. We will also have a car to take us to our hotel at the end of the night. Now we just have to plan to have someone drop off a car for us at the hotel so we can get home Sunday! :-)

We have selected the music for the ceremony, too. We are having a full Catholic mass. The prelude will be played by harp and violin. The organist is playing some parts during the ceremony (a few times accompanied by a trumpet), as well as the harp and violin playing a few times throughout. I am really looking forward to the music! I'm going to make sure my videographer starts recording early. I know I won't be around to hear the prelude music, so I would like it to be recorded.

We're in the process of trying to figure out our honeymoon. A generous family member has given us some money to use for the honeymoon. Originally, I was hoping to go to Australia. This was before I realized how expensive it was! Right now, we're aiming for Europe, although flights are expensive. We're thinking of taking a reasonably priced cruise and adding on 4 nights in Paris before or after the cruise. We probably will be waiting until June/July 2009 to go on the honeymoon. There isn't enough time to go to Europe in October, since I go back to school a little over a week after the wedding. There are very few cruises to Europe in March, but quite a few in the summer months.

Although I have a lot accomplished, my list of "To Do's" for the wedding seems to never end! I have a list of about 10 appointments that I need to make and take care of (hopefully over the summer). I'd like to get as much accomplished before I head back to school in mid-July as possible.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Recent accomplishments - part 1

Amanda requested some pictures of recent wedding accomplishments. One (Save the Dates) is included in here. I will post tomorrow about some other recent accomplishments.

We registered at 2 stores this weekend. Boy - I didn't realize how long it would take! I'm not the best at making decisions, though, which is probably why it took as long as it did. I'm glad we're done with it! We were thinking about registering at 3 stores, but think 2 will be enough. We can always add on items if we need to after showers. Part of the reason we don't think we'll need to register at another store is due to some of our guests. The Chinese tradition is to give "lucky money" (in a red envelope) to the couple as a gift.

We also purchased a bedroom set this weekend. I'm really excited about it! We will have a king bed, 2 nightstands, a dresser, a mirror, and an armoire. It was VERY hard to find a set. I didn't want something too modern (not me) or too frilly with lots of curves/decorations. I wanted fairly clean lines, though. This is what we bought. Luckily, Macy's was having a pretty good furniture sale this weekend.

We're still working on bedding. I'm thinking this would look nice since it is fairly light colored. I would love to have all white, but it's not the most practical. The color is a blue/green color. Very pretty. I'm not quite sure what color we will paint the walls. That is a project for Labor Day weekend. We plan on painting the bedroom then and getting the furniture set up, since it's about a month before the wedding.

My talented sister and MOH designed our Save the Date postcards. We printed them through VistaPrint. The pattern is from our table runners. My sister scanned it, and then she traced it in some program. (No clue which one!) I borrowed the verse on the back from a girl on my bridal boards. I don't remember who it was from - sorry!
We originally were planning on making the invitations, too, but we're not sure right now. I've been looking into prices for purchasing the invites to see if it's that much cheaper to make them. We're thinking it will be $265 for the paper supplies for the invites. The nice thing about making them (with my sister's design help) would be that we could make them however we want. We would probably try to include some of the same flower pattern from the Save the Dates.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I saw this post on Sharon's blog and thought it was interesting. I'm especially curious to see what comes up with my first name!

The rules are simple:

1. Go to

2. Type your answer to each question in the “search” box.

3. Using only the first page, pick an image.

4. Copy and paste the picture into your blog.


1. What is your first name?

2. What is your favorite food?

3. What high school did you attend?

4. What is your favorite color?

5. Who is your celebrity crush?

6. What is your favorite drink?

7. What is your dream vacation?

8. What is your favorite dessert?

9. What do you want to be when you grow up?

(Not quite that many kids, though!) :-)

10. What do you love most in life?

11. What is one word to describe you?


I realized it has been a month since I last posted. There are a few reasons for this. The first one is that I have been really busy! We've registered, ordered/addressed/sent Save the Dates, and worked on other aspects of the wedding. The music for the ceremony has been selected, and we met with our priest for the last time until August! I have been playing at weddings most weekends, as well as meeting with brides on Sundays to select their music.

The other reason I've been gone is a bit harder to explain. I've become a bit disenchanted with the whole blogging/message board thing. I thought I knew a few ladies fairly well and considered them friends. I guess my judgement is not the best, because it turns out this is not the case. I haven't been posting on the boards lately because of this and lack of time. There has also been some other drama on the boards lately. I'm not quite sure where I stand with things.

I do know that not everyone on the boards is like this. I'm not sure how many events I will go to with ladies from the wedding board. It's kind of like being around an ex-boyfriend - kind of awkward! I'm hoping, though, I can just suck it up and be the bigger person. I won't let a few people ruin things for me. I will just talk with other people!