Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wedding favors: vanilla extract

For wedding favors, I made homemade vanilla extract! I am pretty in love with how they turned out. I bought a few economy size bottles of vodka from Sam's club, a pound Madagascar beans, then cut the beans in half, took a few shots of vodka to allow enough room in the bottle for the beans and let them sit for a few months, shaking once or twice a week.

And then the fun part began:

I bought a cheesecloth from Bed Bath and Beyond and strained out the bits of vanilla. The cheesecloth had bigger holes and some of the vanilla slipped through, so I folded it in half:

I bought seventy 2 oz bottles online and washed them one by one to make sure they were clean, poured the strained vanilla into a measuring cup and set up a little assembly line:

I had a few casualties along the way. I used a funnel to fill in each bottle, and it turns out the funnel can be deceiving and make them overflow very easily if you're not careful. It smelled really good though!

Then, I was introduced to embossing. And I fell in love and we had a love affair weekend of embossing everything possible. Really, everything. (I found myself making random cards for friends and embossing them just because it's so awesome). I went to Hobby Lobby, got a stamp cut out, a variety of stamps, a variety of color of ink pads, special textured paper, a hole puncher, embossing power and lots of other stuff (for hand made shower invitations, too) and walked out spending a good $100 $150. Oops. Instead of buying a heat gun and doing each tag individually, I googled to see if it was safe to bake a bunch of these in the oven. Turns out you can! Turn it on to about 250 degrees, and let them bake for 5 minutes or so. (I used foil on the cookie sheet, but that was a personal preference).

And since I love embossing so much, I wanted to emboss both sides (the front says 'thank you' and the back says 'homemade just for you by: Stacy and Seth'). But as every embosser knows, you can only emboss one side of a piece of paper. So I did what any normal girl who is crunched for time would do: I used my hand dandy stamper cutout thingy to cut twice as many circles as needed so I could then hand stamp each one, emboss each one, bake them all, let them cool and use a glue stick to glue them together one by one. Then I put them back on a cookie sheet, put DVD's over them, put some cans of vegetables on top to keep them from curling, and let them set over night to make sure they were good and stuck to each other. Then I signed our names on each one. I also stuck a label on each bottle, letting people know it is vanilla extract.

Then one Friday night, I put all the pieces together (after stopping by Joanne Fabric and getting a bunch of cream colored organza fabric). And ended up with these pretty little things:

After I got all the little parts done, and started actually piecing everything together, including cutting the fabric and ribbon and tying it all together, it took about 4 hours totals. We're giving one 2 oz bottle per party (instead of individual gifts for each person) so I only needed about 50. But I had a lot of vanilla left, plenty of extra bottles and other materials, so I made just over 60 total. There will be some lucky guests who get more than one bottle (and I know who they will be!!)

One day closer to the wedding! And to Seth being home :) And to my sister being home and to Patrick meeting his dad :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Whoadang and a belated birthday

# of days till July: 3 (holy crap!)
# of days till the wedding: in the teens (!!)
# of days till Seth is home: in the single digits (!!!)
# of days till my sister is home: one week!
# of days till I move: completely unknown. Thanks, Army!
# of days since I've been 27 (eek!): 2 weeks, where I got these lovely flowers delivered at work :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill In (#: unknown...I lost count)

Head on over to Wife of A Sailor to link up!!

  1. Are you a different person than you were five years ago? submitted by Sisterly Thoughts
    Pretty much yes. I had just turned 22, been at a grown up job for a few months (still at it now), living in ghetto student housing, just doing my thang. Now I'm 27 (eek!), getting ready for our wedding, thinking about babies, getting ready to move to the west coast. Oh, and I'm a puppy mom now!!!

  2. If you could go on Amazing Race, who would you take with you as your partner and why? submitted by Thoughts from a Poekitten
    I would say Seth, but that's just asking to fail. We'd be bad partners. Or should I say, I'd be a bad partner? That's what he'd say, lovingly, of course. He's wayyyyy more competitive than me. WAY MORE. We work very well together, just not on competitive things. Like in Cranium. One time, he was drawing and I had to guess what it was, and I was guessing "wrong" and he got mad at me because his drawing was SO perfect and I clearly wasn't getting it. He threw his pen down and said something like he quit. I then yelled...pretty front of our families, "DON'T GIVE UP ON ME! KEEP DRAWING!!!" I still never got it. I'm perfectly fine being the loser of a game. Sometimes, I prefer to lose just so I don't have to hear the other person whine about losing. It's just easier that way, I think. Some people are sore losers; I'm a happy loser. I never played sports in school. Shocking, huh?

    All this to say...I'd do it with my sister. She wouldn't give up on me!!!!

  3. Does Facebook or Twitter actually bring more stress or good in to your life? submitted by Just an Arizona Girl
    I don't do Twitter, and I wouldn't say Facebook brings more "stress" but I do wholeheartedly think that it eats up a good portion of my evening. (That's why they shouldn't block Facebook at work...I could easily get my Facebook stalking done during the day while I'm on phone calls. Duh).

  4. June is National Soul Food Month- what’s your soul food? submitted by NH Girl Displaced
    Can I just say food, like, in general? No? Well then I guess I would say potatoes? I love a good baked potato.

  5. If you could live in any other era than the current, which one would it be & why? submitted by Sugar in My Grits
    Instead of an era, can I say the Amish? I would be totally fascinated with being Amish. Of course, I would be totally fascinated with being non-Amish if I were Amish. I could NEVER EVER live without my cell phone (we share a heart), the internet, electricity, etc and work on a farm, but their life style fascinates me. (Funny, yet not is that an Amish teen was recently busted sort of in my area and he was sexting pictures to another Amish girl and decided to meet up with her. That part isn't funny. The funny part is that he drove/rode his horse and buggy down to meet the girl. ahaha horse and buggy. Maybe that's funnier in my head).

I'm going over to Molli's tonight. We're playing Jenga and Boggle and maybe other board games and drink lots of wine!

Just for fun, because I'm in love, here are two pictures of Patrick. He was helping my mom garden the other day:

and then promptly went inside and crashed! Gardening wears him out!!

Happy weekend :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Germany & Homecoming: Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

Amy and Sarah (our God-daughter!) picked me up at the train station and we walked back to their house. We played with Sarah a little bit before Amy put her to bed. We had dinner and we proceeded to talk until midnight. I loved our late night chats, talking about literally everything. I loved talking to her, to be able to have a conversation (in real life!) with someone who understands what the last year was like, and talk about our excitement of the guys coming home. I admit I was a little nervous to stay at their house since we'd only met once before, over a year ago. But it was awesome staying with her.

I went to bed past midnight, which was really late considering the time change and traveling. I
wanted so badly to take a shower, but I had no clean clothes and felt gross putting on dirty clothes after a nice hot shower. The airline had given me a consolation overnight kit, which consisted of a t-shirt, deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, shoe polish and some other random little things. Oh, and my feet stunk really bad. My feet never stink (except in high heels!) but they were hot and sweaty from running around in airports and train stations for the last 30 hours. I didn't have any clean socks or underwear and felt extremely nasty. (Note to self: pack a pair of clothes in my carry on luggage!) I slept until 9 AM the next day and it felt amazing. It was a super comfortable bed!!! I checked the status of my luggage and had no idea when it would be delivered so I decided to go to the PX and get some clean socks and underwear, so at least I could feel a little refreshed. We went to another wife's house for dinner that night and I wanted to look half decent, even if my clothes didn't appear so and I had no makeup. I also bought two shirts at the PX.

We spent our days talking, playing with Sarah and taking her to play groups, running around post to post, back and forth, talking and dreaming about what it would be like for the guys to actually be home, going to the commissary to get food for our baking extravaganza, getting on Facebook to see status updates from a particular soldier who was en route home and torturing ourselves with when they'd be home. (I know, he shouldn't have done that, but he did and I'm not one to ignore and not analyze what his posts meant!!) She showed me the ins and outs of Army life and what living on post is like. Most nights we stayed up until midnight talking. I remember one pa
rticular conversation we had while we were walking back from a German grocery store. We were talking about how much we had talked to the guys over the course of the year, how they told us they were deploying (she knew for a year beforehand...I found out about 4.5 months before). I told her how the conversation went for us and she said, "see, you were meant to be a military wife!" For some reason, it just was nice to hear. I never, ever pictured myself as a military wife, but somehow this is where I ended up and I like to think I'm doing well so far.

I was there 5 days with Amy before the guys returned. I'm so glad I was able to spend that time with her, get to know her, learn from her and share the excitement with her. She is a true friend and I'm excited to meet more women like her, who understand the lifestyle and will be a lifetime friend.

The next part will be the actual homecoming ceremony :)

March 27th, 2011

This is a post that I wrote on March 27th, a few days before I left for Germany for Seth's welcome home/end of deployment celebration.

March 27, 2011

I leave in less than a WEEK!! Four more days and one wake up and I'll be headed to Germany! This day next week, I'll BE IN GERMANY! It really is surreal that this deployment is coming to an end. I can't believe it. It doesn't seem real yet, really. I think it will hit me when I'm on the plane. Things are coming together: I got the paperwork I've been anxiously awaiting since January. (It's dated Jan. 28th, posted-marked Feb. 10th and finally arrived on March 25th. I feel like we're in the olden times here. JEEZ!!)

On Friday morning, while at a work meeting, I made a to-do list of things I need to accomplish for my trip. Including, but not limited to:

  • Return possible homecoming shirt to Macys
  • Best Buy - buy an iPod, load music
  • Gazelle Sports - get Seth's birthday present (Vibram five finger shoes... random note: it's funny that this this website is called birthday shoes, because he got them as birthday present! It was the first link that came up, I swear!)
  • Vacuum car
  • Clean windows, insides of car of car
  • Clear pictures from camera, fully charge
  • Download books and fully charge Kindle
  • Organize and print necessary paperwork for flight
  • Look at luggage
  • Iron clothes
  • Talk to Bekah about picking up mail/water plants while I'm gone
  • Pay bills
  • Balance checkbook

  • I'll finish up the rest of the stuff on my list today (which is Sunday). This is my last weekend in the US for at least 3 weeks!!! I also have to pack some clothes for Seth because all his clothes in Germany storage won't fit him. I'll wash that stuff today and put it in my new luggage and get his stuff done.

    I've loaded music onto my new iPod. I'm rocking out to old school music right now: music from the 90's and it's got me PUMPED to listen to on my long flight!! I got out a bunch of CD's and loaded them onto my computer and then iPod. It's going to be awesome. I also got a new cover for my Kindle because my other one broke.

    Yesterday was Seth's 28th birthday!! That seems really old. But I'll be 27, so I guess I'm not too far behind him :( We talked for a little while yesterday and had a good conversation, except when the phone disconnected a few times. Nothing new there, though! Just another week or so of that and then we'll have landlines! He called me this morning and I could hear a lot of excitement in his voice. I made a comment about how he's getting excited to come home (they were moving bases in preparation of coming home) and he said no, he's just really sleepy and all hyper. Yeah, not buying it, love. I know you're excited!!

    Soon, babe, SOON!!!!!

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Little tidbits

    I've been slacking in my blogging, mainly because I've been too busy to devote a whole post on one thing, but since I want to blog, and I just pained my nails and am waiting for them to dry, here's a random post.

    Patrick got his first bath this weekend! He looked completely ridiculous, all soaking wet and crying. He had a traumatic weekend. Event #1: I really hate/get disgusted by eye goop all up in the fur by the eyes, so I always dig it out. It was deeply stuck in his eye fur, so I got a warm rag to loosen it up and I started digging it out. He wasn't happy, so I enlisted my mom's help. He started snapping at her and she had to yell at him. He was upset when he got yelled at. Traumatic event #2: (this is gross and I'm sorry)...His little butthole is covered in fur. I can't even find it, to be honest. And when he poops, sometimes it gets stuck in his fur. And then he'll sit down...and smash poop into his butt fur. And then he gets mad because he KNOWS it's there but he can't get it off. So I got out a baby wipe and started cleaning him up. Apparently it was pulling his fur because he was snapping again and yelping. When it got warmer outside, I decided to start traumatic event #3, which was getting a bath. (I also thought that I could run warm water on the dried poop in the butt fur to like...melt it away. It worked eventually.).

    poor guy. so skinny and scrawny and nerdy looking here!

    crazy fur-do after his bath!

    pre-bath, all curled up with Harry, my parent's dog. They LOVE each other.


    Wedding is coming up. Like, SOON. Less than a month! I'm stressed to the max. I got all of the wedding favors (homemade vanilla extract) done this weekend! These deserve a post all on their own, so I'll try to do that this week. I'm very proud of how they turned out!


    I cannot wait for the 4th of July! My sister is coming home in the afternoon and staying for a few weeks (for the wedding and all that). We're having a sister date: going to a little beach on a big lake we grew up by and watching the fireworks while having wine and cheese!! In high school, right after I got my driver's license, we'd go to this little island during the summer, and we'd hang out there all day, pack a picnic, play in the water, read books, have photoshoots, etc. We'd borrow my mom's minivan and drive to the lake. (It's awesome being 16 years old and driving a minivan...) I'm SO excited to see my sister!!! And have a sister date. It's long over due.


    Seth comes home in just over two weeks! He doesn't even have to go back to Germany after that! For the first time in our relationship, he'll be in the US for an unknown length of time!! Of course, he'll be going to Washington shortly after the wedding...and I won't be going with right away...but at least we'll be in the same country, even if we're 3 hours apart. This will also be the first time that I'm in a time zone ahead of him. And this will be the first time we've seen each other in the month of July. Whoa.


    So the wedding. We're not having a military wedding. But I sorta wanted a little bit of something military in it, so I looked online for a military chaplain in our area to perform the ceremony. I found a lady and emailed her a while ago, and she took FOREVER to reply. Literally, forever. I was getting anxious, so I emailed her again and again. Over a span of about 4 weeks, she replied to my email twice. I'm still waiting on her to contact me to set up a time to meet to go over the ceremony (per her request). The wedding is less than a month and I've given up on her. But rest assured: my friend Molli referred me to a Reverend that has married numerous people in her family, and she said he's a really nice guy, lives in our town and is in high demand for performing weddings. I emailed him just last week...about a month before the wedding, and asked if by any chance if he's available on our date. Turns out he IS! It is TOTALLY fate and I am SO excited for him. I meet with him this Thursday to go over how we'd like the ceremony. I'm not contacting the Chaplain lady to let her know we're going with someone else. She penciled me in on her calendar, so she said, but she hasn't made any further contact. And honestly, I don't think she will. I want to see how long, if ever, she waits to contact me before the wedding. She knows the date, and the location, and I'm hoping she doesn't just show up and want to perform the ceremony. That'd be awkward.

    Isn't Patrick the cutest?! I'm completely in love with him!

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011


    Can I please be done planning this wedding? I'm SO over it. I'm done working with so many different people and having to figure things out on my own. Clearly this is why they invented wedding planners. I thought I'd enjoy it. (When I was a little girl, I used to want to be a wedding planner. F that. No way, no how). I want to be done with doing all the little details by myself.

    Has anyone felt this way while planning their wedding? I feel bad, because it's supposed to be exciting and fun, but I'm just overwhelmed having to do everything myself.

    Can I please be done? I even said PLEASE.

    Also, if I could please start my period soon, that'd be great. I'd be much less bitchy. Please can I?

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    I am SUPER impressed with the customer service at!!!

    I bought these pretttttty little things:

    a few weeks ago and thought they fit. They were tight, but I thought they would stretch out (by walking around the house) the perfect amount to fit me just fine for my wedding day. Well, after I passed out during my dress fitting, I thought maybe they were too tight and cut off circulation to my feet/legs, and, in addition to my knees being locked, I wanted to be an attention whore and pass out.

    Anyways, I contacted customer service today since I threw out my original return label and they were SO helpful! They added me to their VIP shoe club (umm, hello, THANK YOU!!), and will be sending me out my new pair of shoes tomorrow!!! Before they even receive the pair I need to return! And these are Stuart Weitzman shoes...not cheap. I'm hoping the new size works just perfectly. Also, shipping is free for both receiving and returns. Can't get much better than that!

    ** did not pay me or do anything special for me to give this review. I just am very impressed with their customer service and willingness to send me a new pair of shoes before they receive the wrong size ones. **
    P.S. Wedding is NEXT month! holycrapsomuchtodo. andinsolittletime. holycrapagain.

    March 22, 2011

    As this deployment was ending and I was getting ready to go to Germany, I wrote a few blog posts, but didn't post them for security reasons. Here is one I wrote in March.

    March 22, 2011

    It's a week and a half before I leave for Germany and I'm getting anxious. I still haven't gotten the paperwork that was sent at the end of January though. That's adding to my anxiousness. I got one letter that he sent, but not the rest of the paperwork. I told my boss the dates I'll be gone today. I was kind of nervous to do that because we have a big on going project and I'm a big part of it, but oh well, they're going to have to deal with out me. I have 10 vacation days and I'm taking 11 off and I told him I didn't care if I had to take a no pay day and I suggested maybe I could take a sick day? My heart will be broken after all. He said I can use a comp day, which I am a-okay with!

    I meant to get my luggage from my parent's house the other day but forgot. I have to pack clothes for Seth too. He has lost at least 10 lbs since he's been deployed and he's gone down a size and when he was home for R&R, we bought him new clothes. All his clothes in Germany will be too big, so I have to bring him clothes that fit. I'm excited for this, but this also means less room for me in my suitcase! I need all the room I can get! I'll be there for two weeks and I want to pack 10 pairs of shoes, but I know that's not the smartest idea. I ordered a few tops from and I'm waiting for those to get here. One of them will hopefully be what I wear to the homecoming ceremony. Assuming I get it in time.

    In other news, I lost (hid?) my iPod from myself back in December. I hid it when I was going to my parent's house for a few days because after I was robbed in September, I was...still am...paranoid that the robbers will come in and steal my small electronics, which they were looking for. So I hide things like my camera, Kindle, iPod, etc while I'm gone. Well I hid the hell out of my iPod and have yet to find it. I've searched high and low in my bedroom and my car and can't find it. I'm beginning to think I really did lose it because I can't find it at all. I really would like it to use on the 9 hour plane ride to Germany, but I really don't want to spend the money on that. I thought about buying an iPod shuffle for $49.99 (I have $35 in coupons), but I want a touch screen. But for $15 out of my pocket, it would probably really be a good thing to buy. I probably will do it.

    Ahhhh Germany, I can't wait to be reunited with you and my lovemuffin!!!!