Cookin' Up A Kitchen and Recipe Shower...

Although the deadline for mailing the Save-the-Dates was looming over my head like a black cloud, guests were arriving for the weekend and I still had not found the time to box up all of my Christmas decorations, another shower was on the calendar for today...a recipe and kitchen shower!

When I made it home from a day of taking my mother to lunch and then shopping for our shower gifts, I saw Kevin heading upstairs!!  A look of panic swept across my face as I raced to find Caitlin.  "I thought I told you NOT to let him even GO upstairs!"  Waving me off with a relaxed smile on her face, she told me she had "picked up the room".  Hmmm...I asked her if she had boxed all of my decorations up.  "No, I just moved all the presents off of the bed and stacked them on the floor (GREAT...with all the other crap!).  I couldn't even make myself go up there.  If there WAS a small family living up there, Kevin would just have to make friends with them; there was nothing I could do about it now.  We went out for dinner and then I came home, got a bubble bath (bubble are a restorative remedy for whatever ails you...) and got into bed.  The next day would be another busy one; Caitlin would be having her Kitchen and Recipe Shower.



Robby and David got up before the sun did, heading to meet Justin at the lake for a day of fishing, while Catlin and I readied ourselves for her shower.  Luckily we would not have to travel far; the shower was being held right around the corner at my mother-in-law's house.  Caitlin's two sister-in-laws, Sarah and Codi, along with a cousin and good family friend were giving her this shower.  They all lived out of town, so Robby's mother was kind enough to allow them to use her home for the event.  Here are a few photographs of the event I wanted to share with y'all...

The table was not only beautifully set, the food was delicious as well.

Caitlin with her hostesses.

Gorgeous live flowers could be found all over the house.

Parker Ann even got to attend the shower!

Caitlin got LOTS of wonderful kitchen gifts, along with recipes to try out in her new home.

Both of Caitlin's grandmothers were also in attendance...





From Caitlin and me...THANKS, girls for a FABULOUS shower!









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Rose's Jungle

3

A Procrastinator Doth NOT A Good Wedding Planner Make!!

My procrastination and somewhat state of disorganization have finally caught up with me.  Admitting that I have these problems is supposed to be part of a recovery process.  It is not that I have trouble focusing on "all" things...just those that are monotonous and bore me.

Everything was clicking along pretty well until my attention was required for the more tedious matters involved with this wedding planning.  I decided to tackle the one task that I have dreaded for so long; compiling the wedding list.  It was necessary that I work on this, this week since the Save-the-Dates had to be in the mail by the last day of the month...yeah, I know, that's like NEXT TUESDAY! (ugh...)

I printed all of my various address lists off of the computer, placed them in a box with the Save-the-Dates and headed off to baby-sit Parker Ann.  I told myself that while she was napping, I would work furiously on them.  I actually got about half of the 150 envelopes addressed when she woke up.  I set my project aside...I would work on them again the next day.

As I was dragging that box of cards out to attempt to finish them, I noticed a bag laying on the floor of my car.  Looking inside, I noticed the thank-you notes that Caitlin had given me to finish addressing and put in the mail this week...CRAP!  I laid the Save-the Dates aside and hurriedly began addressing the thank-you notes, got them stamped and in the mailbox before she got home from school and discovered that I had procrastinated on that task too.  Technically, I DID get them in the mail this week, so I wasn't actually "behind".  Now, it was back to my address list and the remainder of the Save-the Dates...

Just as I was settling in and beginning to focus, I got a text message from Caitlin:  "Kevin finishes his rotation today and wants to come in for the weekend; will that be OK?"  I told her, "Sure" and then it hit me...the upstairs room where he generally stays was an absolute disaster area.  I still had Christmas decorations that needed to be boxed up and wedding gifts covering the entire surface of the bed.  In fact, it was so bad that there could have been a small family living up there and I would have never known.  I quickly sent a message back that said," He will have to sleep on the couch bed in the office...Oh, and do NOT let him even go upstairs!

OK, so David was coming in town this weekend, Caitlin had another shower on Saturday, Kevin was now also coming in, I had invitations to address, the buzzards were circling my house and...another text came through; it was Caitlin again:  "Hey, Mom...Do you think we could buy a King Cake this weekend?"  OH MY GOSH!!!  What is wrong with these people?!  OK...regroup, regroup, regroup.  Take a deep breath.  I realize that this problem with the addresses and Save-the-Dates is totally self-inflicted.  I look at the clock; it's time to go to the gym...and then take my mother to lunch...and then go buy presents for the shower Saturday.  Oh well, today is Friday and I've got until Tuesday to get those cards in the mail...no problem!  After all, I'm half way done.  Surely, I can find some time Sunday afternoon after everyone leaves...I HOPE!


This Save-the-Date was a DIY joint project.  Caitlin found the design, Kevin painted the props and I took the photographs!  The cards were made by Shutterfly.

0

A Soft Place To Land...

Have you ever fallen?  I have.  There is actually a scar on my knee that is there to always remind me of that fall.  I was returning some library books when the children were young, lost my footing and down I went.  Books tumbled as I reached for my bloody knee and then looked around quickly to see who also caught my misstep.  I slowly made it to my feet, returned the books and hobbled out to my vehicle.  That sidewalk definitly was not a "soft" place to land.  Even many years later, I can look at that scar and it reminds me of a rough fall I took and recovered from.  It also made me wish that I had fallen in a "softer" spot...

Thinking about things is what I do.  Sometimes one might notice that I have left their presence while still sitting amongst them, eyes glazed over.  My mind wanders off and ponders many things.  And while rubbing my hand across that old scar on my knee the other day, I traveled off on one of my "journeys of the mind".  Thinking about a "softer" spot to land made me also consider the creation of a "soft spot to land" within one's family.

When Robby and I decided to become parents, it became our job to nurture our children.  Oh, not just to provide a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs and put food in their little stomaches, but to nurture their spirits as well.  That task was not very difficult when they were still small and within the confines of our home every day, however, at some point, they had to make their entrance into the "real" world, where thing are often not as loving and friendly.

I can still remember dropping my children off at school in the mornings.  The trip was quite a distance from where we lived and I still had that precious,  magical morning time to visit with them on our daily ride; the time before anyone else was allowed into "our" little world.  Many mornings found them tucked into blankets with hot chocolate and bits of breakfast still clutched within their hands.  And then it would happened...the doors to the vehicle would quickly be jerked open by some overly anxious teacher, already moving at warp speed to get her day started, and there they went...out into the "real" world.

Obviously, we parents cannot always protect our children from the "real" world or the individuals who live there, who are not privvy to "our" world's standards.  And that is exactly when one realizes that creating a "soft place to land" is of the utmost importance.  What exactly is a "soft" place?  It is a "safe" place.  A place very much like a coccoon, where once inside, one finds a warms place to curl up, recharge, regroup and often times lick wombs.  It is a place where true feelings can be voiced without fear of rejection or being made fun of.  Once created, this "soft" spot becomes a fixture that cannot be destroyed by any force.  When the winds blow the members to and fro, there is always a safe, "soft" place to land.  This group of individuals is called "family";  they are there to catch you, tuck you safely within the confines of the coccoon and continue to cradle you there until you are able to resurface once again.

"Family"...that's "our" soft place to land.  I am so glad that Robby and I created this coccoon, this safe place, a "soft place to land" for our children.  Dorothy must have had a similar place in her world, for she was right..."There IS no place like HOME".

0

I'm Just Gonna Be A "Slug", Saturday...

I had already decided by Wednesday that on Saturday I was just going to be a slug.  You know, I was going to have one of those lazy Saturdays where nothing was expected of me and I might just stay in my pajamas all day long.

Robby had been out of town all week on a hunting trip and it had been just me and the doxies.  Since he would be getting back on Thursday, I had already decided to pack the doxies up and head to the lake house to meet him.  Caitlin would drive in on Friday after her last class and we would spend the entire weekend there.


As I thought about all the little projects I had on my plate, I decided that I would just take a day off and not plan on doing anything.  The weather had turned cooler, but rain was supposed to return by the weekend.  I would sleep in, sit by the fire, sip some hot chocolate and well, basically just be a slug.  I might not even get out of my pajamas, but definitely would not be getting out of my fuzzy slippers.  If indeed it did rain, I would just snuggle up with a blanket in my big overstuffed chair and alternately read my book and watch movies or marathons on television.





And when the sun went down in the evening, I would amble out to my back porch, where I would throw a couple of logs in the new fireplace Robby and the boys had just built to surprise me a couple of weeks ago.  We would sit there and listen to the night sounds as we pulled a bag of marshmallows out and toasted them until they were golden brown and gooey.


Yes, I was going to give myself this gift on Saturday.  I was going to take the moments when I could; slow down, relax, enjoy a day off...


Here's to wishing EVERY ONE of you a "Slug Saturday" too!


0

A Day Mostly Spent Sitting In My Closet With Two Doxies...

It was the perfect day to sleep in and I did just that.  Rain was predicted since a cold front was moving through.  What I didn't expect was the torrent of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that pushed their way through the town I live in.

As much as I have always tried, I just cannot get over my fear of thunderstorms.  Oh, I don't mind the rain; it is the wind, thunder, lightening and often times tornadoes that accompany the rain that scares me.  Today was one of those days that I would have liked to just lay around and read, watch movies or knit.  There was one task, however, that I had to get accomplished for my husband who was out of town.  I had to make my way down to the post office and mail our taxes.  YEP!  Unfortunately, I don't think the IRS would consider a thunderstorm a good reason for receiving their payment late.  So, just as I was getting ready to leave for the post office, I got a phone call from my mother who told me I better "take cover" since a tornado was spotted out by me.  GREAT...(sigh).  I checked the weather and sure enough, there was a tornado spotted right by me and about that time, the wind kicked up and the rain began to pour.  The weather alert did say to "take cover", so playing is safe, I called my two doxies and we went to my closet and sat in there for a while.  When I thought the worst of the storm had passed, we exited the closet and I continued to prepared to leave for the post office.



As I was pulling my car out of the garage, there was a BOOM so loud that I actually pulled right back into the garage while I got my courage up to head to town.  As I hit the road, I noticed that not only were the ditches overflowing with water, but the poor neighbors' yards were flooded, leaving them looking like a lake.  I drove down the highway just a bit before the bottom fell out.  Rain was falling in sheets so intensely that I could barely see out of my windshield.  OK...so this was just one more reason to hate the IRS!



By the time I got to the post office, the rain had slacked up some and curiously enough there was that perpetual line one always finds at the post office.  The sky was still dark, however, indicating there would be more storms to come.  I quickly finished my business and got on the road back to my house.  Eventually, I settled in, turned the television on and took out my knitting.  I could tell the sky was getting darker as I sat there, but didn't think anything of it until a roll of thunder shook the house.  Not only did I almost drop the knitting, but I immediately jumped up, took a look outside and called the dogs as we headed back to the closet once again.  With me, I took my computer and telephone.  I had only been sitting there for a minute or two when the phone rang.  It was my sister this time telling me that a tornado had hit a little convenience store down the road from my house.  I told her that I was already in the closet.

The front apparently pushed through as the air turned cooler and the storms settled down.  I was happy not only because I'm not a fan of storms, but I was getting sort of tired of sitting in that closet...


0

Are You Kidding Me...All Over A Pair Of SHOES?!

I realize that I am a little late getting around to this, but I suppose I will embrace the saying, "Better late than never!"  When I saw an article in our local newspaper and others on the national news, I was astonished.  I didn't even know that Michael Jordan was coming out with a new pair of shoes, must less the incredible hoopla over them.  Since it was the week of Christmas and things were hectic around here, I decided to just keep a copy of that paper, set it aside and write about it later...Today is "later".

I guess I thought about the shoes again when I wore a new work-out jacket that Robby had given me to the gym last week.  It was a great jacket, with a light-weight flannel on the inside.  A lady in my yoga class commented on it and asked where he had purchased it.  I told her and then briefly glanced down to see what brand it even was.  That was when I noticed that it said, "Michael Jordan".  Although I really liked the jacket a lot, it briefly turned my stomach to think that I was wearing something with the guy's name on it that caused such chaos and havoc during the week of Christmas.

I know it's sad, but I must admit that I often find out a lot of things from Facebook.  So, that is where I first noticed the picture with a link to our local newspaper.  As I scrolled down my news feed, I finally decided to click on the link and read the story.  It seems that Michael Jordan had just come out with a new pair of shoes that was causing a ripple of disorderly conduct across the country...and MY home town apparently was NOT exempt!

As I looked more closely at the photograph and read the entire article, I was in total disbelief that ANYONE would go to that extent to get a pair of those shoes.  Now, I was around during the Cabbage Patch Babies craze, when people were absolutely frantic to obtain one for their children at Christmastime, however, I do not remember people breaking down mall doors or abandoning their young children in cars on the street to do so.  People...it is just a PAIR OF SHOES!  And I'm sure there would probably be more available at a later date.  So, WHY OH WHY would one take the chance of being put in jail (or the hospital; there were stabbings too...) over a pair of  shoes?!



The truly confusing part of the article concerning MY hometown was the fact that there had been no arrests made at the time the article was written.  WHAT?!...ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  Now, I'm no law enforcement professional, but I DO believe that I could discern who needed to be arrested.  How about the people who were INSIDE the mall after the glass doors had been broken down as opposed to those who were still standing OUTSIDE on the sidewalk?  Hmmm...pretty elementary to me.

Putting everything else aside, I must wonder what would ever make someone want a pair of those shoes that much?  I just don't understand it.  But I also don't go shopping at all hours on Black Friday, either.  I suppose that is because people have become dangerous.  There are fights that break out and some that actually end in hospitalization or arrests.  I don't follow that line of thinking...it's just THINGS.  Aren't PEOPLE more important than THINGS?  They used to be and still are to many.  Does this say something about today's society or this generation?  I truly hope not.  Because at the end of the day, a pair of shoes cannot make you dinner...or read you a story...or tuck you into bed at night.  At the end of the day, you will merely put those shoes on your feet, wear them for a while and then throw them aside.  Think about it...aren't PEOPLE and RELATIONSHIPS more important than a pair of SHOES?!
0

Retro Bridal Shower...

The theme of Caitlin's wedding is "Vintage".  We have googled, Pinerested, shopped and planned for EVERYTHING VINTAGE.  I must admit that I LOVE the theme; there are so many unique ideas to embrace.  My sister, cousin and good friend gave Caitlin a wedding shower this past weekend and knowing that her theme was vintage, decided to carry that over into the shower theme; they decided on "Retro".  Here are the photos and perhaps some inspiration for those of you who may also be planning a vintage or retro event in the future...



The cake was fashioned after the cute Retro Invitation...


The live flower arrangements were BEAUTIFUL...



Two of Caitlin's four flower girl came too.  They were such a BIG help in delivering packages to the Bride-To Be!

And packages aplenty, did she open...

This is one of the FUN parts of having a wedding; getting to visit with friends and family!

This is my baby girl and it is difficult for me to believe that in about 4 1/2 months, she will no longer live under my roof.  She will be graduating from college, getting married and building her own home many miles away from me.  Although the thought of this makes me sad, I also realize that it is a very exciting adventure that my daughter is about to embark upon. 


Many THANKS go out to the women who hosted this BEAUTIFUL "Retro" Shower!











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The Feeling Of Accomplishment That Comes At The End Of A Project...

Don't you just LOVE the feeling that comes as you complete a lengthy (or any...) project at all?  First, there is the "vision".  Then, the "preparation".  And finally, you delve into the project and there may be bumps and snags along the way, but when it is completed and you stand back and admire what your hard work has rewarded you with, there is no other feeling like it!

As most of you may already know, knitting is one of my "Favorite Things".  I research, gather supplies and then jump into projects, some which can be very drawn out.  The project I just completed (at 11 p.m. last night...) was one of those very projects.  You see, I saw the pattern in the 2008 Holiday issue of Vogue Knitting Magazine.  I TOLD you I often times DRAAWW a project out.  Well, that is because of several reasons, that I am currently attempting to avoid.  I see other projects, get distracted, start on them...and THEN come back to the lengthy project that is still waiting for me.  Oh well...I suppose that is one of the things I love about knitting; it cannot be hurried and it is always there waiting for you when you have time for it.  However, since I decided to quit getting side-tracked by the attractiveness of other projects, I set my mind to finishing this project.

                                            Vogue Knitting Magazine/2008 Holiday Issue

Now, it wasn't as if I had the option NOT to finish the project; it was both a BEAUTIFUL and COSTLY one.  I had ordered the exact yarn that was shown in the magazine; a wonderful golden, beaded yarn and another skein that was not beaded for the fringe.  OH...I haven't told you what the project was yet; an over sized lacy stole. 

The "Lacy Stole"...

My "Inspiration"

Although the fall and winter found me very busy, with baby-sitting Parker Ann (she doesn't allow knitting on her clock...), planning holiday festivities and then the added tasks involved with Caitlin's wedding planning, I still tried to find time each night to sit down and add a few inches to my project.  Robby watched from his recliner and commented that I had been working on it for YEARS (which technically I had...on and off) and he doubted that I would ever complete it.  I continued to knit.

The stole pattern instructions said that it should measure 72 inches long, so every couple of days, I would get my tape measure out to see how many inches I had left.  Over the weekend, I did just that to find that it actually measured a little longer;  YIPPEE!!!  I had done it...the end was in sight!

As I sat down last night and began to bind the edge off of my knitting needles, I toyed with the idea of just setting it aside for the night and adding the fringe the next day...then I decided NOT to let my procrastination take over.  I knew it was getting late, but I really wasn't tired.  I got out the wrinkled instructions, cut my fringe and began to attach it to my stole.  The closer I got to the end, the more excited I became!  There was NO WAY I was going to bed before this thing was done and I could wrap it around my shoulders.

When I had put the last bit of fringe on, I picked my new stole up gently and walked to the mirror.  I wrapped it around my shoulders and neck and admired the way it fell across my back.  I LOVED this stole and thought about the many times in the beginning that I had torn stitches out and started over again.  It was SO worth finishing this project.  My mind raced at the possibilities it had; to be worn with jeans or dresses or the long, flirty skirt.  Even the realization that this is exactly how heirlooms are created.  One day this stole would hopefully be passed down to my daughter and grand daughters.  As I carefully took it from around my shoulders and folded it up for the night, I smiled.  I was happy with this new creation.  Then just before I headed off to bed, I opened a new knitting book I had just bought to a pattern I would start next...

My completed "Lacy Stole"

I can't wait to put this on and wear it out!

Here are a few of my "Favorite" knitting things..
1.  www.gotyarn.com  She has GREAT sales!
2.  Vogue Knitting Magazine  It has patterns for LOTS of beautiful projects
3.  Knit Simple Magazine  It also has lots of knitting projects
4.  www.knittinghelp.com  This is a wonderful site for knitters of all levels that even has
instructional videos.

***I just subscribed to the new Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine, but have not received it yet; it should be GREAT!***






3

The Baking Project...Eggplant Parmigiana

Robby told me that it was going to be MY evening to make dinner.  I attempted not to look exasperated or audibly sigh.  I just replied, "OK" (in a cheerful sort of voice...) as I also remembered at that point that I would have to make the dreaded trip to the grocery store...

Robby had not forgotten that I would have to make that trip to the grocery store and I could hear the smile in his voice over the telephone.  I'm sorry, but I just don't like to grocery shop; I consider it a necessary evil.  Robby LOVES to cook (and it shows, because his food is GOOD...), so grocery shopping doesn't bother him as much as it does me.  Well, I resigned myself to the fact that if I was going to put a meal on the table that evening, I was going to have to purchase the ingredients. 

Remember now, that I DO like cookbooks (I KNOW...crazy!), so I began to search through some of my cookbooks for a recipe that I thought I "might" be able to prepare.  The prerequisites for this task would include understanding all of the preparation and cooking instructions, as well being able to identify all of the ingredients in the recipe.  I would go to my "favorite" type of food for this...Italian!

Everybody KNOW how much I LOVE Italy and EVERYTHING Italian.  But, I didn't want to just make pasta (although I would be quite satisfied with that choice...); I needed to show a little more imagination and effort in my choice of recipes.  That is why I decided on Eggplant Parmigiana!

I am vegetarian and Robby is not, so I wanted to prepare something that both of us would enjoy.  I pulled my "Sopranos Cookbook" out and thumbed to the index of recipes.  I knew what all of the ingredients were and the dish didn't look too difficult for me to prepare.  I drove down to the grocery store and purchased all the ingredients and got to work.



I could have chosen to just buy a jar of marinara sauce, but instead I used the recipe that was provided for a fresh marina:     "Marinara Sauce"
                                                    (Makes 3 cups)

                             2 large garlic cloves, lightly smashed
                             1/4 cup olive oil
                             2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped,
                                or one 28-ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped.
                             Salt
                             8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces


.....................................................................................................................................................................
In a large skillet  cook the garlic in the olive oil over medium heat, pressing it occasionally with the back of a spoon, until golden, about 4 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and salt to taste.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thick, 15-20 minutes, depending on the tomatoes.  Stir in the basil leaves.


The marinara sauce was very easy to prepare and WOW!  It was absolutely DELISH!
....................................................................................................................................................................
Next, it was time to prepare the eggplant.  I LOVE eggplant prepared just about any way.  My grandmother and mother always sliced it and tossed it in lightly salted cornmeal, then popped it into some hot oil and fried it.  Such yummy comfort food!  The eggplant for this dish, however, was prepared a little differently, but it not only tasted wonderful, I learned a little more about the actual preparation of the eggplant, itself.

INGREDIENTS:     2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound)
                                 Salt
                                 Olive oil or vegetable oil for pan frying

After peeling the eggplants, slice them about 1/4 inch thick, lay the slices in colanders, sprinkling each layer with salt.  Let them sit there and drain for 30 minutes.  Afterwards, rinse the sliced eggplants off and pat dry.  Pour about 1/2 inch of oil into a large, deep skillet.  You will fry the slices of eggplants in single layers, turning once, until browned on both sides.  Drain on paper towels.

Next, you will begin to layer your ingredients for this DELICIOUS Italian dish:

Spread a thin layer of the marinara into a baking dish.  Next, make a layer of eggplant slices, overlapping them slightly.  Top with a layer of mozzarella, another layer of sauce, and a sprinkle of freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigano-Reggiano cheese.  Repeat the layering, ending with eggplant, sauce and grated cheese.  Bake for 45-60 minutes in a preheated 350 degrees oven, or until the sauce is bubbling and the mozzarella is melted.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

I LOVE Italian food and this dish in particular.  Remember, I'm not much of a cook, but I was able to easily follow the recipe and my husband thought it was GREAT! (And he IS the cook around here...).  So, go ahead and give it a try yourself; you won't be disappointed!

BUON APPETITO!


0

You Wanna Do WHAT To MY Wedding Dress?!

My mother was the first person to make the suggestion.  She sheepishly said, "I had an idea of what Caitlin could do for her wedding, but I'm sure that neither you nor her will agree to it."  Hmmm..."What would that be, Mom?"  She replied by telling me that perhaps Caitlin could use MY wedding dress for her wedding.  I knew that Caitlin wanted her own dress, so I told her that would most likely not happen.  Little did I know that my daughter had plans of her own.

Apparently Caitlin had already discussed the possibility of using my wedding dress in her wedding.  Oh, not as the dress she would walk down the aisle in, but she definitely wanted to use it in some capacity.  When I walked into the room, she had taken my dress out of the attic and the box was sitting before me.  I thought she just wanted to try it on; see if it fit.  She had done this once during her senior year of high school and was surprised how well it fit her (Yea...amazing what four kids did to my body...).  I always knew that there would be no way she would ever want to wear MY dress, since it was made during the "Princess Diana Era" of the 80's.  Full of layers of lace, with a long train and long lace sleeves and lace up to the neck, it was quite outdated.  But I loved that dress.  I remember when and where I picked it out and still liked looking at the wedding pictures of me wearing it.  So, when she dropped the bomb shell that she would like to wear it during part of her reception, I was floored.  Because along with that bomb shell, she also dropped the one that she wanted to have it "redesigned"!

WHOA!...Now, WAIT A MINUTE!  "You wanna cut my wedding dress up?!", I asked with eyes bulged wide.  I looked at her and then I looked at her dad, as though they had concocted this whole thing without my knowledge.  "She wants to cut up my wedding dress!"  All I could think of at that point was the movie, "27 Dresses" and how one sister brought out a piece of lace the size of a handkerchief after she had "redesigned" their mother's wedding dress.  It was at this very moment that I realized that I was more attached to my wedding dress that I had thought.  I didn't want her to cut up my wedding dress; she had her own...and when exactly did she think she was going to wear it anyway?  That is when Robby looked at me and said, "Just let her cut it up; it's not like you are ever going to wear it again."  I had to admit that he had a point, but I was still reluctant to let go of my dress.  We re- boxed my dress and put it away.  I thought the idea of cutting my wedding dress up had also been put away; that is until Caitlin drug the box out again as we were about to head to Dallas for her dress fitting.

When I saw my wedding dress box being drug out again, I asked what she was planning on doing with it.  It seems that she had NOT given up the idea of "redesigning" my wedding dress and had already spoken to the alterations lady about doing just that.  I swallowed my reluctance and agreed to "discuss" the possibility.  We were taking my veil to the veil maker to see if she could redesign it for Caitlin to wear during the ceremony, so I thought...WHAT THE HECK!

We spoke to the veil maker first, who loved the simplicity of my veil with Caitlin's dress and they decided to do a few unique changes that would tie it into the design of her own dress.  I suppose it was during this meeting that I actually became less resistant to the idea of my daughter wearing my wedding attire and more flattered.  How many girls actually not only want to do this, but are also able to fit into their mother's gown?  I was now looking forward to the meeting with the alterations lady.

Since Priscilla's of Boston had gone out of business, we were put in contact with an alterations lady beforehand, who was to meet us in our hotel room.  When she arrived, we talked for a moment, with Caitlin explaining how she would like to have my wedding dress redesigned.  When she slipped it on, it was as beautiful as I had remembered...and fit her absolutely perfectly!  They decided to take the high, lace neckline and sleeves off and make it strapless...and that was it.  I could not have been more pleased!  She was leaving the long train and all of the layers of lace in tact.  The dress was going to be beautiful and I could not wait to see the end product.

It is a dream of most mothers that their daughter will wear their wedding dress.  For various reasons, most girls do not.  I will admit that I kept my dress sealed and protected for 30 years in hope of that possibility.  However, as time passed, I also realized that although my gown was beautiful, its style was outdated.  Caitlin's persistence and ultimate decision to have it redesigned is the ultimate flattery to me.  I love the fact that she not only loves my dress as much as I do, but that she loves and wants to incorporate a bit of the past into her wedding festivities.  I said, "YES...TO CUTTING UP MY DRESS!"  And I must admit that I am happy with that decision.







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Having One Of MANY, "Mini" Wedding Planning Break Downs!

The day after Christmas, I felt the pressure of the wedding planning creeping back upon me.  With the exception of one shower during the week of Christmas, I had pretty much put my "Wedding To-Do List" out of my head during the weeks preceding the holiday.  However, when all of the presents had been unwrapped and the goodies eaten, there it was...just sitting there waiting for my attention.

I needed to feel like I had accomplished SOMETHING, so I googled a web-site my sister-in-law told me about.  It was called "Smart Wedding".  She told me to download the program and there would be a list of things that I needed to do for the wedding; checking off the things I had already done, she was sure would make me feel better.  I did just that and was quite pleasantly surprised by the fact that I was not behind on one single thing!  How could that be when I FELT so behind?  Hmmm...there was only one thing to do now; put it in HIGH GEAR and steam full throttle ahead into the new year with some MAJOR WEDDING PLANNING!

I made a list for Caitlin and told her to have the things on it done by the end of the day...Yes, you heard me right, A DAY!  Well, the things really weren't that difficult:  Go with Kevin and look at Tuxedos, make an appointment with the bakery to discuss cakes, write her thank-you notes from her shower, print out copies of reception ideas for us to take to the wedding coordinator and make appointments with her veil maker and alterations lady.  OH...and did I mention that we would also be heading to Dallas the following weekend to meet with the the coordinator, veil maker and alterations lady?!  Yep!  There's nothing like a "Traveling Wedding Planning Trip" to get things jump started!

By Jan. 2nd, everyone had either returned to work or school and our first appointment was upon us; the bakery.  Caitlin and I headed out with photos in hand to discuss the wedding cakes.  As I sat there waiting, I began to wonder just exactly how much a wedding cake could cost.  I had only been the mother-of-the groom twice before, so this was all new to me.  As the head baker sat down and looked at what we wanted, he let his computer figure the prices accordingly and as numbers began to appear upon the screen, I had to rub my eye more than once; surely there had to be a mistake.  This was CAKE...You EAT cake.  OH MY GOSH!  My eyes then began to glaze over as he explained why the gum paste flowers ON the cake were going to cost MORE than the cake, itself.  I was also wondering how I could EVER take these numbers to "George Banks" (Robby...) for approval.  I sat there throughout the consultation, just nodding every now and then at this point.  When Caitlin and I got up, we got into the car, looked at each other and frantically began to attempt to think of some other bakery we could visit!  We had heard of another newer place in a neighboring town and Caitlin found it on her gps and we immediately headed out there.  When we drove up, there was a large sign that said, "By Appointment Only".  As I opened my door to get out, Caitlin nodded toward the sign and I said, "I'm just going in there and ASK if I have to make an appointment"; she followed me.  The lady told me to come on in (THAT'S why you go ahead in...without an appointment) and she would give us an estimate on our cakes.  After finishing our consultation with Bakery # 2 and getting a quote of 1/3 of the price from Bakery #1...SHE WAS HIRED!

I was feeling pretty good about getting the cakes out of the way...I could go back and check that off of my list!  Now, we just had to get our things packed and ready to head to Dallas the next day.  Pack the wedding dress...and the shoes...and my veil that Caitin was going to have redesigned to go with her dress...and the photos of flowers...and WAIT! WHAT IS THAT?!  Is that MY wedding dress box?!  What are you doing with that?!

                                    *****TO BE CONTINUED...*****
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Books I Am Reading Or Have Read..."Catching Fire (Book 2 of "The Hunger Games")"

Every chance I got during the busy Christmas season, I had my Kindle in hand continuing "The Hunger Games" trilogy.  I just completed Book 2: "Catching Fire" and it was as much of a compelling read as the first book.

In "Catching Fire", The Hunger Games are over and this time something unusual has occurred.  Instead of only having one winner, two victors have emerged from District 12; Katniss and Peeta.  Their victory, however, is not a sweet one.  It is complicated, rather by the fact that Katniss pulled one over on the Game Makers when they changed the rules at the very end of the games.  The fact that she thumbed her nose at the establishment was enough to seal her death.  The Capitol and President Snow, in particular would not have that death come easily for her;there would be another contest.

Just when Katniss had done the unthinkable by surviving the The Hunger Games, she barely had time to savor that accomplishment and all the comforts that came along with it, for when President Snow suddenly showed up on her doorstep, she knew that trouble would surely follow.  And follow, it did; in the form of the Quarter Quell.  These were games set up every 25 years to also remind the people of each district not to mess with the Capitol; a reminder that no one was ever safe from the far-reaching hand of the government.

You see, the Capitol has a distinct unfair advantage; they make the rules as they go along.  Therefore, two victors (who were supposed to be safe from the games for life) from each district were chosen to re-enter the arena and once again fight for their lives in another round of deathly games.  Of course, Katniss and Peeta are thrust back into the arena, with Haymitch as their mentor once again.  New characters are introduced, but the theme of this book is revolution; thus, the title, "Catching Fire".

In Book 1, Katniss was dressed as the "girl on fire" and that theme continues through Book 2, however, with deeper meaning.  Her nose thumbing at the establishment has ignited people throughout every district into revolting against the Capitol.  The Quarter Quell games becomes the Capitol's answer to controlling this revolution.  But, it is enough?  Can the people overthrow the government?  And who will come out as victors of these new games? 

If you have read the first book of The Hunger Games trilogy, you cannot resist immediately picking up "Catching Fire".  And once the final page has been turned in this book, you had better have the final book ("Mockingjay") in hand. These books are so fast-paced, with surprising turns at every corner, one can barely put them down.  If you haven't delved into Suzanne Collins', "Hunger Game Trilogy", then consider doing so today...you won't be disappointed!


                                                               HAPPY READING!
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