Five on Friday!! Preparing for March Madness

Divin right in today with a whole lotta random for today's Five on Friday {Created by: Darci, Natasha, Christina, and April} to share some love....

One: 100 Day Countdown
Yesterday was our 100 day wedding countdown!  Nuf' said.

Two: So Long February
This week flew by and I am so thankful for it! We have so many awesome things happening in March that I am more than ready to kiss February gooodbye. 
Three: Paradise FearsMy cousin Jordan is in an awesome band called Paradise Fears and they are playing at the Marquis tonight in Denver.  They are doing an entirely acoustic show and I am really excited to see it. I've seen them a million times and it never gets old...so proud of those boys!  Check them out here if you're interested!
Four: Angry Orchard Green Apple
I loove me some Angry Orchard and when I found out they came out with a new flavor last weekend, I was begging D to pick some up for me earlier this week when I was having a rough day {think PMS x work stress x wedding stress x financial stress}.  I indulged in one last night after work in honor of Friday eve and it is just the perfect thing to wind down with after a long day!
Five: Weekend weekend weekend
Tomorrow night my sister and I are going to my friend Kristen and Jeff's for dinner//to see their new house//to catch up after months of not seeing each other.  D unfortunately has Army and then work so he isn't able to join us.  Kristen and Jeff are awesome ... I unofficially officiated their wedding in Costa Rica last May so they hold a really special place in my heart! This is one of our only weekends that is semi-free in March so I'm looking forward to catching up on some wedding projects and preparing for my parents to be in town next weekend!  The guest room needs some serious attention and I'm actually motivated to get some stuff done so let's hope that lasts me through Sunday night!


Happy weekend all!
THE GOOD LIFE BLOG
-T-

Marriage Prep and a Fun Night Out!


There was never a question that D and I wanted to have a Catholic wedding in a church.  We quickly decided that we wanted that to be in Denver since we want to build our lives here so the choice of the church wasn’t even a choice, really, we just knew that we would get married in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church- where D’s family has been going for decades.  


Now, for any of you who don’t know, Catholic churches require a certain amount of prep prior to your wedding day.  I’ve learned this can vary from church to church but our requirements included completed a Focus with our priest {175 question survey/test}, taking marriage prep courses, and taking Natural Family Planning (NFP) courses.  I’ve been excited for all of these things because of the conversations I hoped these courses would spark between D and me.  D and I have always had great communication skills and we make it a point to talk to each other about pretty much everything, but I knew that there were topics that would be discussed through these classes that hadn’t come up in our relationship yet…but would come up in our marriage.  So, why not start these conversations now!? 

Last week we had our first NFP class and met with our priest.  I really enjoyed the NFP class once we got past the High School Sex Ed portion of it.  I think we all know the anatomy of the reproductive organs by this point, and if you don’t, read a book.  Anyway, the couple that runs the class was fantastic- they were incredibly open and honest and seemed 100% comfortable together.  They could take about these semi-awkward-TMI topics together without batting an eye, and they made everything feel very relatable instead of overwhelming.  D and I have not completely decided when we’d like to have our first baby {although I will say I don’t want to wait too long!!} but I am really excited to learn about NFP methods and how we might want to incorporate them into our lives.  I hate being on birth control and I haven’t for some time, so I think it will be really great to see how we can “postpone pregnancy” as they say, naturally. 

The night after our NFP class, we met with our priest to go over the results of our Focus.  He was very pleased with the results {we answered 87% of the questions the same} and we had a lot of great discussion about the questions that we answered differently.  D and I were completely on the same page and understood where each other was coming from on the questions we answered differently and I think we were both very pleased with the results.  Our percentage would actually be a little higher because we each had one question we read differently so our answers really would have been the same.  I have never had any doubt that D was meant to be and would be my husband one day, but starting these classes has solidified that for us even more, and I feel very content about everything. 

On Tuesday night, we started our marriage prep courses online and I definitely think we will enjoy those as well.  They are way more focused on the Bible {which I am super rusty on} and different questions/discussion topics from various passages that they assign us to read.  I think these will be a fun thing to work on together and I look forward to the quality time it will give us together as well. 

Last night, we went to Dave and Busters to meet up with some friends of ours.  I haven’t been out with friends in months so I was really excited to start catching up with people again.  Our financial situation put us in a bit of bind for a while {frankly the timing of it happening during Winter could not have been better, because I love hibernating in the cold months anyway} but we’ve decided to set aside some money to get out of the house and enjoy ourselves every once in a while…it is sooo important for us and our relationships with our friends…and I’d bet money that the occasional beer is good for the soul as well :)  We had an absolute blast and I really hope we can make this a monthly occurrence!



-T-

Foot in Mouth: Thank goodness tomorrow is a new day

It’s really no secret to people close to me that I do not handle stress well {if at all}.  I either manifest physical symptoms {stomach ache, muscle aches, etc.} or emotional ones {irritability, crying, lashing out}…I know lovely, right?  I’ve come to recognize this in myself and sometimes I feel like I’m getting better and then WHAM- I turn into a big jerk and wish I could take my foot out of my mouth and start over. 

An incident like this happened today and it was with one of my absolute best friends.  I have been insanely stressed and overwhelmed about our financial situation since D lost his job and I think I thought {or pretended…} like we had it way more under control than we actually do.  He’s currently working two jobs and still making about half what he was before.  If we just had our regular bills to pay, it would be one thing, but with the wedding and honeymoon creeping closer and closer + all of the other miscellaneous gifts and things that go along with that that need to be purchased, the numbers just do not add up.  Anyway, I took out some of this stress on aforementioned friend and I deeply regret it.  I apologized of course and sent her a note to try to explain where I was coming from…I’m not about excuses but I think it helps when people explain where they are coming from and why they may have acted the way they did in situations like these.

I hope she can move past my jerk-moment and forgive me for lashing out.  We’ve been friends for almost 19 years and we rarely fight.  I’ve been sick to my stomach about it.  

I am bound and determined to find better ways to cope with stress and manage myself when I get overwhelmed.  This has been a life-long battle and it’s just not fair to me or the people in my war path.  I am praying for strength and patience during this time of uncertainty…I know that D and I will figure it out but sometimes it’s hard to see the silver lining.  Instead of continuously beating myself up about it, I am just going to vow to do better…again and again.  That’s all we can do, right?  Continue to improve and at least learn from our mistakes, because Lord knows they are bound to happen. 

I am thankful that tomorrow is a brand new day and I can start fresh and leave the worries of the day behind me. 

-T-

How time flies!

The past week has been so busy and gone by crazy fast. I was able to go home to South Dakota for an extra long weekend last weekend and get in loads of snuggles with my nieces.  It was great catching up with my oldest sis after she had baby #2 as well as spending quality time with my brother in law and parents.  I was also able to get my car loan finalized!!  I'm so excited about getting the car next month.


My flight back to Denver was canceled Tuesday morning so I had to miss a day of work and fly back late that night. I was so incredibly frustrated because I hate having to run by someone else`s schedule but luckily it gave me an extra day with my family and I will never say no to that!

I crammed in 33 hours of work into 3 days to make up for my lost day after the holiday weekend so I was exhausted most of the week, but we were still able to get a ton of important things checked off our list!  Thursday was spent at our first NFP class.  I have to say it was really informative and I love the couple that's teaching it.  We have 2 more classes, each a month apart, so I look forward to learning a lot from this series!  

On Friday we met with our priest to go over the results of our Focus.  We answered 87% of the questions the same way and all of the ones that were different, were pretty expected for both of us.  We really enjoyed going over the results and I felt awesome knowing that we are on the same page about so many key things, and most importantly, our communication is GREAT.  Between the meeting with the priest and the NFP class, we are really spending a lot of time talking to each other about what we want for our marriage and I'm loving every minute of it. 
 Someday :)

After the meeting with the priest, D went to work and I went over to my sisters to drink wine and catch up after weeks of not seeing each other.  We had an awesome night and it made me so thankful to have her so close! 

On Saturday I helped one of my best friends move into her first house and we had a really awesome and really busy day. I was so sooore  when I woke up this morning but it was worth it!  Today D and I went to breakfast and then over to our friends house to work on our wedding invites.  They are getting married in August so they were able to work on their Save the Dates while we assembled our invitations and then they helped us out when they finished. It was so amazing to get these put together and now all we have to do is work on getting them stamped and addressed.  I feel really good about our goal of getting them in the mail on 4.1.14.  

I finished out the day babysitting for a really great family and now I am finally catching up on some blogging and quality time with the pup!  I hope you all have had a really awesome weekend ... my goal this week is to post more ;)

-T- 


Five on Friday!: Team Teddy Shout Out and love love love

Hello All!  I am joining in on this lovely Valentine's Day Five on Friday {Created by: Darci, Natasha, Christina, and April} to share some love.

First up- I am so excited to give a shout out to #TeamTeddy today.  I read about Mary and Alex Fish's story of their seven-month old adorable little boy Teddy a month or so ago and instantly found myself reading every single journal entry on their Caring Bridge site while tears fell onto my keyboard.  Today marks 3 months since they found out their little boy Teddy had Menkes Syndrome. Their story is nothing short of heartbreaking, and if you haven't heard of Menkes {#FUmenkes} you can read more about their story here.  Their mission is to spread the word about this horrid syndrome so that other boys can be diagnosed early enough to have a fighting chance.  They are bound and determined to make sure that 'Super Teddy' is never forgotten so SPREAD THE WORD! And if you want to donate, head here!  Every little bit helps.
Second- Valentine's cupcakes!  I am treating some of my lovely coworkers to some Valentine's cupcakes today to celebrate a day dedicated to all things love.  I know some people are anti-Valentine's day and I just don't get it!  I'm not saying anyone should only do something special for their loved ones on Valentine's day {I also don't know anyone who would do that anyway!} but I don't see anything wrong with having a special day dedicated to sharing the love and making people feel special.  There is NOTHING wrong with it in my book folks!

Third- Early Bird Special :)  D and I are going to take advantage of a gift card we got for Christmas and head to Texas Roadhouse for an early dinner tonight before he takes me to the airport.  If you've never been, they have the best rolls and cinnamon butter that I have ever hard.  SOOOO good.  I can't wait to share some time with my man and fill up on delicious BBQ.



Fourth- Home sweeet home! Can't wait to hop on a plane tonight and head home to South Dakota!  I had a nice long chat with my oldest sis tonight and she is generously willing to let me take my sweet baby niece out of her crib and snuggle her up the second I get home.  I am beyond excited to have 3 full days home with the fam, lovin' on both of my beautiful nieces!!

Five- Car buying!!  I filled out some loan paperwork yesterday to apply for my very first car loan!  One of my very best friends needed to sell her car and it just so happens to be EXACTLY what I wanted.  The whole thing has been working out perfectly for both of us and I'm thrilled that the process is started!



I hope you all have a wonderful Friday/Valentine's Day!

-T-

All Things Valentine's!



This Valentine’s Day is a little different for D and I because we won’t see each other much on the actual day.  We are hoping to work in an early-bird dinner date before I hop on a plane to South Dakota to finally meet “A”! {a.k.a. My new baby niece}

I found these adorable headbands on Etsy {Laura Beth Creations} that I had to get for A and then D and I were at Target on Monday night {Ohh how I loathe the fact that we go in for one thing and come out with 20 things only to realize we forgot dog food} and I found some super adorable and super affordable Valentine’s goodies for everyone else.  I got this hot pink heart pillow for S along with this cute little heart bucket that I plan to fill with chocolatey treats AND this book that was only $3.99!

These little red cards + envelopes were in the dollar bin so no complaint there!  D and I got some candy for ourselves to put around the house and then I picked up some delicious snickers hearts for some special people. 
My work peeps will get a treat of Funfetti Valentine’s cupcakes in cute little heart cupcake wrappers.  And I think my mission to put everyone in the near vicinity of me into a sugar coma by end of day Friday is complete!


I cannot wait for my parents to pick me up at the airport on Friday night and drop me off at my sister’s place.  I am in DESPERATE need of some baby snuggles…this auntie does not like to wait to meet new baby nieces!
Tonight D and I are taking it easy.  He has to go to a class at our friend's church so that he can officially become a Godfather to his best friend's little boy and I am going to enjoy a glass of wine and cook up some yummy dinner!

Happy Wednesday All!

 -T-

Five on Friday: Frozen Solid, $$$, Coffee is happiness

Get ready for a whole lot of random…I’ve been MIA for a few days and I’ve got random things I’d like to fill you in on and there is just no better place to do it then here for FIVE ON FRIDAY!  Some of my favorite blogger ladies started this gem of a linkup so you should go check them out. {Natasha, Darci, Christina}
THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

-Uno- I know that it’s cold all over the country and I know that it’s quickly becoming old news but it is seriously so freezing it’s making me want to move away! Nearly every night D and I fantasize about moving to the South…now I know that even the South is experiencing some of this bitter cold winter business, but at least it’s not the norm for them. For now, we are hunkered down under blankets wearing multiple pairs of socks and praying that the temperature can just rise above freezing, if only for a day or two…or thousand.

-Dos- Moving on to warmer things…my friend Vic at work treated me yesterday with a Caramel Flan Latte made with soy milk from Starbucks and holy crap was it a life changer! I am sort of a creature of habit when it comes to my coffee. I have a few staple drink options that I stick to because I know I like them and I’m not really willing to fork over $4 for something I may hate. I recently moved offices and now Vic and I are on the same floor so we decided that she’d treat to coffee yesterday, and I would treat today. Best choice we’ve made this week. I don’t really need an excuse to go to Starbucks but having one made me feel a little less guilty.  :)

-Tres//Quatro- Throughout my life I’ve faced various degrees of financial stress. I am a stress ball on a regular day, but get me talking about budgets, and saving, and planning for the future, and buying a house, etc. etc. etc. and I get myself all worked up in a tizzy. Not one of my finer qualities here people. However, no matter how much I’ve stressed over the years, things have always worked out. {We plan, God laughs} I’ve either been able to get more hours at work, or I’ve received money in the mail from a family member out of the blue, etc. I’m telling you, my grandmother has an amazing sense of when people are struggling. She sent me a letter and check in college one time that basically said she just had a feeling I could use some help. At the time I was in a panic about how I was going to make rent without having to suck up my pride and call my parents so her check meant WAY more to me than its monetary value. And it renewed my faith that things really will work out, not always how we plan, but work out nonetheless.


Anyway, this week a small favor-turned-business-opportunity fell into our laps from my old boss. He asked me if D would have time to fly to Rapid City, SD, pick up a car of his, and drive it back to Boulder. Easy peasy and can be done in one day. They will pay for flight, gas, food, etc. and then pay him a generous fee for the day’s work. This was probably the third thing in the course of three months that has happened exactly when we needed it to. When D got laid off in November, I knew we could make it through January before money would be extremely tight and we’d have to risk going into more debt. He got a job the third week into January. We also had some other things work out that are helping us to build up our emergency savings and help pay for our honeymoon that we have to have paid off by April. Then my Dad surprised me with a gift that is solely to be used for my bachelorette party events in May.

-Cinco-I am so beyond thankful and blessed and I never take things like this for granted!  This week has been an exhausting one but a really really good one for me and D.  We celebrated our 2 year anniversary on Tuesday!  And today marks our 4 month countdown to the wedding!!!! IT IS COMING SO FAST!  I seriously cannot wait.  And our week long honeymoon in Jamaica is sounding really really good right now. :)

I hope you all are having a lovely Friday!


-T-

Pasta Jambalaya {Recipe}

On Thursday night D and I cooked together and made a delicious Pasta Jambalaya feast!  D lived in Louisiana for a few years when he was in the Army and he loves all things cajun.  He has to compromise a little bit with me on the spicy front because I am a huge baby when it comes to spicy foods.  Either way, we came up with a delicious dish that was packed full of flavor.

We roughly followed this recipe here but we tweaked it a bit.  My favorite part about this dish is that it can all be cooked up in one pot so clean up is a breeze!

Ingredients:




2 teaspoons olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut
into bite-size pieces
8 ounces canadian bacon, diced
8 ounces Italian Sausage
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
               
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cups orzo pasta


4 cups chicken stock
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

 



 Directions:

1.  Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Saute chicken and sausage until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. 
2.  Stir in onion, bell pepper, Canadian bacon and garlic. Season with cayenne, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, or until onion is tender and translucent. 
3.  Add pasta, then stir in chicken stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. 
4.  Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce.  Top with Parmesan to make it extra indulgent!
 

 

I may have forgotten to take a picture of the final final inthebowl product because I was too busy eating it up. :) This made at least 6 servings and heats up great the next day.  We didn't even add any sides to it and we were completely satisfied!

Happy Saturday!

-T-


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