Friday, September 30, 2011

What went well this week?

It's important to focus on the positives. Here's what went well for me this week!

  • a job!
  • dinner with new friends
  • flowers from my husband
  • an impromptu dinner at Paese Mio -- their bread sticks and garlic are AMAZING
  • a trip to Ice Cream world -- complete with milkshake that was almost as big as my head
  • teaching a Zumba fitness class in a new facility
  • e-mails from friends
  • waking up to this: 

I'd really love to hear from you -- what went well for you this week? 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I love you because...

Thank you so much for all of the congratulations and well-wishes. I feel very blessed. :)

I wanted to share with you a little DIY project that I made last week. I was inspired by something that I saw on Pinterest (you can follow me here). This was one of those projects that I previously may have laughed at and dismissed, but Brad and I have discussed the importance of continuing to fall in love with each other. What better way to do that than to be reminded every single day why your partner loves you?

I made the background using Microsoft Publisher, and printed it online through a photo-printing website. I put it in a frame and voila! I left a blank line after where it says "I love you because..." so we can change it all the time. We use a dry erase marker and write directly on the glass of the picture frame.

It's a great addition to our home and a great reminder of how loved we are every single day. I highly encourage you to give it a try!

Until next time,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


It's official--my job searching days are over. :)

I was offered --pending a successful completion of a background check--a position with the Red Cross of the Lehigh Valley. After months of job searching, I an excited and relieved to have found a position that I think I will really enjoy. My official title is Youth Service Specialist, but I pretty much get to work with the youth volunteers and with local middle school and high school Red Cross clubs. It sounds like it will be rewarding and entertaining!

My wonderful husband even brought home some beautiful congratulation flowers last night after hearing the good news.

Isn't he the best? :)

We already had plans to have dinner with our downstairs neighbors, so Brad made a delicious meal and we celebrated with our new friends.  

I'm thinking that some celebratory ice cream (and shoe shopping!) is in order. 

I start my new job on Monday--I'll be sure to keep you updated!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Outdoor Date Night

Brad and I have a pretty busy week planned, so we decided to keep our Monday night date night this week relatively simple. Brad let me plan the date, and since we had a sudden burst of summer-like weather over the past few days, I decided it would be nice to be outside. I picked up some ingredients at the grocery store that were perfect for an easy picnic dinner.

Brad makes these AMAZING shrimp, so I sweetly asked him to cook up the shrimp when he got home from work. We tossed those on top of a salad and were ready to go. We paired the salad with some fresh fruit, and it made for an excellent dinner and fabulous date at the park near our house.

Over dinner, we had a great conversation about defining our values and what we want our marriage to be like. Our values discussion came in handy when making a very important decision today. More on that to come! ;)

We finished off our date night with a trip to ice cream world (thanks Denyel and Erick!). Ice cream very well be my favorite food of all time. Are you starting to notice a common theme here? :)

Until next time,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend activities

Like I mentioned briefly in my Gooey Butter Cake post, Brad and I had a great weekend full of food, football, bowling, and spending quality time together. On Friday night we met up with some great folks from Fuse for dinner and bowling. While I love my husband very much, I certainly didn't marry him for his bowling ability. ;) We had a great time and are looking forward to more Fuse events.

On Saturday morning I had the chance to teach a Zumba class while Brad did his own thing. We had a nice lunch together and then watched the Penn State football game (when I say watched, I mean that I watched and Brad napped). We even caught a glimpse of my little brother on TV (hey Dyl!).

Brad played chef on Saturday night, grilling up some awesome bison meat that we got at the local farmer's market, along with some homemade sweet potato fries. YUM!

 My wonderful husband taking care of dinner.

 The finished product--don't you just love the Fiestaware?

And finally--the cupcakes that were iced in the fabulous cappuccino frosting that I shared with you on Friday.

I'm off on a wonderful date night with my hubby--more to come on that tomorrow. 

Until then,

Gooey Butter Cake

Hi again!

This weekend was spent eating, bowling, relaxing, and watching football. This was the star of the weekend: St. Louis Style Gooey Butter Cake. Brad and I were fortunate enough to travel to St. Louis last month for a gorgeous wedding. While we were there, we discovered gooey butter cake.

Brad enjoyed it so much that he asked if I could try to figure out how to make it. I've made it several times now and every time it has been hit. Here's the recipe for ya!

  • 1 box yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix (Pillsbury works best) 
  • 4 extra large eggs 
  • 1 stick melted butter 
  • Pure vanilla extract 
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese 
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Crisco or pam for greasing pan
  • 9 X 13 Pan 
  • Mixer 

  1. Get 9 x13 pan and grease with Crisco on the bottom and all sides. 
  2. Put yellow cake mix in mixing bowl. Do not follow the directions on the cake box. Add 2 extra large eggs, 1 stick of melted butter  (melt in the microwave about 35 seconds), and 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract. Mix together in mixer. Batter will have a very moist feel to it. Take cake batter and spread evenly through 9 x 13 pan so it evenly covers the bottom of the pan. 
  3. Clean off mixers and mixing bowl. 

  1. Melt cream cheese in microwave about 45-50 seconds. 
  2. Put 3/4 (about three cups) of the powdered sugar in mixing bowl; set aside about 1/2 cup for topping to sprinkle on after the cake is baked and cooled. In mixer add powdered sugar, melted cream cheese, and 2 extra large eggs. Mix together in mixer. This will have a very GOOEY consistency as this is the gooey part of the cake. Take the Gooey mixture and layer on top of the cake batter mixture in pan. 
  1. Bake it at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the top of the cake is browned. You want to make sure the gooey mixture on top of the cake is not too gooey otherwise it will be like a liquid. It is okay if the edges are brown and the top of the cake is lightly browned as well. 
  2. Once cooked remove from oven and let cool about two hours before cutting and adding remaining powdered sugar. Add remaining powdered sugar to coat/cover top of cake, cut like brownies and serve.
I even started to get creative and add different treats in between the two layers. So far I've experimented with chocolate chips and toffee pieces. Give it a shot--Enjoy!


Friday, September 23, 2011

In the Kitchen

I've spent the past few afternoons doing some baking and decorating, because I'm hoping that I won't have quite as much free time in the near future. As soon as I know for sure, I'll definitely let you know what is going on.

Here was yesterday's project:

 Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies--YUM!

Here's the recipe for you to enjoy!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1-1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Mix together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and set aside.
  2. Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in Nutella and vanilla extract. Add in egg and mix until combined.
  3. Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. *Optional step: Chill dough for 1/2-1 hour. (It can make a big difference in the cookies)
  5. Drop tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until the edges look set. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully remove to cooling racks.
I didn't think that the cookies looked done after 10 minutes, so I left them in a little bit longer. They definitely got a little bit crispier than I prefer, but Brad didn't seem to mind. :)

This afternoon I started prepping goodies for this weekend's activities. I made this homemade icing, which will go on top of dark chocolate cupcakes.

Cappuccino Icing


  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3-4 Tbs. strong brewed coffee, cooled
  1.  With an electric mixer, beat the butter till smooth. 
  2. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and 2 Tbs. coffee.  
  3. Mix again until well blended.  
  4. Gradually add more coffee, by the teaspoon until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.
So easy! Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A low-key date night

I may have mentioned that Brad and I have been very luck to have spent the past few weekends traveling and spending time with family and friends. Since we've been doing so much running around, we decided to keep our date night this week pretty low-key.

I was fortunate to be able to spend the afternoon out and about (hopefully more on that to come!), but got home in time to get dinner started.  I also tried my hand at making some homemade Baba Ghanoush (think hummus, but made with eggplant). We haven't tried it yet, and depending on how it turns out I may or may not share the recipe with you . :)

We both pitched in making dinner--grilled salmon and broccoli. Then we headed to the Creamery on Main  in Emmaus for an after dinner treat.

                                    Birthday Cake                          Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

And here you can see my sad face...

...because my head looked big in all of the pictures that we took. No worries--we still had a great time enjoying our treats and exploring downtown Emmaus.

Until next time,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Three Months of Wedded Bliss :)

Yesterday marked three happy months of marriage for Brad and me. We've really enjoyed our time together, and are excited about the months (and years) to come. We spent most of Sunday with friends--relaxing, eating, and laughing.

We started going to a church near our home called Faith Church and have been lucky to connect with some really great people. We joined a group for newly married couples called Fuse and have really enjoying getting to know everyone. During our normal group meeting time on Sunday mornings, this week there was an open house with lots of good food and great conversation. After church we headed to the Emmaus Farmers' Market. We stocked up on some veggies, and got some Bison meat to try out later this week.  We also found this sign:

My two favorite things--ice cream and Nelson!!

After heading home and packing up some snacks, we headed to a local park with some of the folks from Fuse. We had a picnic lunch, went for a short hike, and time to fellowship. It was a great way to celebrate our three month anniversary!

What are your secrets to a long and happy marriage?


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Something Silly

Brad and I have been very fortunate to have spent the last few weekends traveling to see family and friends. Two weekends ago we went to visit my mom and dad, and then headed to State College for the PSU vs. Indiana State game. My little (perhaps I should say younger, he's not very "little") brother is a drummer in the Blue Band, so we got to spend some time with him.

Last weekend we were at the beach with some friends (which you can read about here). This weekend we're not doing any traveling, and enjoyed a pretty low-key Saturday morning. We headed out to a nearby park to see Brad's little sister Lauren play field hockey (she's 5 years old--it was pretty entertaining). We made a stop on the way home at a local bakery to get donuts for an open house at the church we've been attending (more about that later), and on the way back home saw this sign:

I thought it was hilarious! Now we're about to head out to a picnic with Brad's co-workers. How are you spending this wonderful fall-like weekend?


Thursday, September 15, 2011

What went well today?

It's important to focus on the positives in life. Here's what went well for me today!

  • lunch (and girl talk!) with a new friend
  • the chance to visit with old friends
  • the possibility of job opportunities -- interviews!! (keep your fingers crossed!)
  • plans for a fun filled weekend
  • helpful e-mails from friends

What went well for you today? 


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Date Night

Before we got married, Brad shared with me an article he found in GQ called "How to Date Your Wife." The article talks about the importance of spending quality time with your spouse and getting in the habit of a weekly date night. These date nights are something that we have done every week since our wedding, and it really gives us something to look forward to in the middle of the week. We don't have any "rules" about date night, except that cell phones are off limits. We usually take turns deciding where to go and what to do, and have (tried) to do something different every week.

Last night we went to see "The Help," which has been on our date night list for about a month now. I read the book while we were in Milwaukee in July, and was anxious to see how the book compared to the movie. We both thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and I highly encourage you to check out both the movie and the book.  

A special thanks to my wonderful husband who left in the middle of the movie to get a staff member's help when the movie skipped and subsequently left the video and audio playing inconsistently. How distracting!

BEFORE the movie, we had a chance to check out our projects from last week's date night.  Last Wednesday we painted pottery at a studio that just happened to be across the street from the movie theater. Here is Brad in action... 

And below are our finished products! Brad made the snowman, and I painted the mug. N for Nelson (or Nikki). :)

Do you have a date night? What are some of your date night suggestions? 

Thanks for reading,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beach Weekend!

Brad and I were lucky enough to spend the weekend at the beach with some great friends. We laughed, ate, relaxed, and enjoyed spending time together. We had a great dinner on Friday night at the Backstreet in Cape May, NJ.

On Saturday, we hit the beach, where Matt and Megan enjoyed some time in the kayak. The rest of us spent the day relaxing on the beach. 

On Saturday night we enjoyed a seafood feast! Matt and Shannon did an amazing job steaming blue crabs and grilling up some cod and fresh vegetables. We ended the night with some St. Louis Style Gooey Butter Cake. 

We celebrated the end of a great weekend with a pancake breakfast at Uncle Bill's Pancake House. From left to right, it's me, Brad, Shannon, Matt, Megan, and Keith. 

Thanks for an awesome weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Here goes nothing!

Today marks my official venture into the world of blogging. Here goes nothing!

I have lots of stories to tell, and lots of information to share. Stay tuned!!