Monday, May 24, 2010

A Few "Engaging" Ideas for the Newly Engaged!

Love is in the air! The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, the blossoms are blooming, and love reigns supreme. Over the last few months, I have had more than a fistful of friends decide put a ring on it. At this time, please allow me to send special shout out to Lindsay,Colleen, and Chasady; three of my favorite friends and now fiance's to the men they love! Congratulations to you all and remember that the best is yet to come! For all those who are newly bethroved, think about taking these thought-out tips into consideration. Before you discover the dress, fret about the flowers, or find yourself in a cake conundrum, here are a few suggestions that may seal your sanity in the many months leading up to your nuptials.

*Start Spreading the News: Whether it's a Facebook status update, a text from your iPhone, or a formal hand-calligraphed announcement, share your news with the world! First and foremost on your list of informants should be your parents, followed by immediate family, then friends. Eager ears will enjoy your engaging news but will not enjoy being kept in the dark.

*Dress Up Your Closet: As your anticipation builds, so should your wardrobe! Over the next year, you will have a slew of soirees to attend including engagement parties, bridal showers, ladies luncheons, a wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, and maybe even a morning after brunch. You will be the belle of the ball at all of these pre-marital parties, so be sure to dress to impress. Start seeking out stylish sales now and stock your closet full of dresses and outfits appropriate for any of those matrimonious occasions. Your pre-planning will allow you to put your best fashion foot forward and will free your time up for more important items like SPA treatments and wedding cake tastings! :)

*Postage Please: Throughout the planning process, you will find yourself snail-mailing everything from engagement announcements, to save-the-dates, wedding invitations, and thank you notes for shower and wedding gifts! Begin to purchase postage in small increments; a booklet of stamps once every few weeks or so will help lighten your letter sending load. You may even consider adding postage to your wedding shower wants list. No, it's not that baby pink 5-speed Kitchen Aid Mixer with Pasta Maker attachment, but unlike the mixer, I will guarantee you will use the postage!

*Become a Designing Woman: Conceptualizing and designing a wedding can take as much time and effort as Michelangelo gave to painting the Sistine Chapel. Start a Design Board to map out the feel and theme of your wedding day. Start with a piece of heavy-duty foam board, fill it with fabrics, paint swatches, drawings, and magazine photos- anything that helps evoke the feeling of your dream wedding day. Be a Velcro visionary and adhere a piece of the scratchy stuff to the back of your iconic items in case your tastes change as the months fly by. Next time you find yourself strolling the aisles of your local hardware store, select a plethora of paper paint swatches to help you devise your color scheme. Whether it's Goldenrod or Grape, choose your colors wisely as they will play a vital part of the mood and ambiance of your extravagant event . Take your venue color scheme into consideration, but more importantly, stay true to your personality and to your true colors!

* The Write Stuff: A blank journal that you keep by your bedside is the best for documenting late night design concepts, tentative guest lists, or whacky-tacky wedding advice given to you by nutty Aunt Martha. (You don't really have to write it down, but at least humor her.) This journal should be petite and pint-sized as travel is required. Slip this tiny tablet in your beach tote, gym bag, or Pucci purse as inspiration never waits. Jot your ideas as they come to you and organize these impromptu thoughts later.

* Location, Location, Location: As you are floating on cloud nine, tip-toeing through the tulips, and busy being swept off your feet, at least start to think about the season and the venue you would like to host your ceremony and reception. With the wedding market booming, most high volume venues will begin booking brides anywhere from a year to a year and a half in advance. Even though the actual exchange of rings may be in the not so near future, keep in mind the early bird, or in this case the early bride, will get the worm!

*What About Your Friends?: Married friends will be your most reliable resource during your pre-marital planning process. Extend an invitation to lunch to the newlyweds and bring your best Barbara Walters! Prepare a list of questions for the lovebirds- ask them what the most important thing about their wedding was. Do they have things they wished they had done differently? What vendors would they recommend and why? Be sure to listen and learn; writing all these valuable vittles in your journal. Show your appreciation by picking up their lunch tab. A sandwich for sound advice is a decent trade to me!

Being engaged is such a precious time in every couple's courtship. Despite the pressures of planning for the wedding and a new life together, remember to enrich and enjoy this chapter of your fairytale. The wedding day will come and go but it's the love that you share for each other that will last forever more.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gettin' Dirty!

Whether you are 9 or 90 years old, the thought of making and eating a "dirt pie" may just bring a smile to your face and a twinkle to your eye! This dirty dish evokes so many fun summer memories for me that I just had to share it with y'all in hopes that it may lead to your own memory making process. Try out this precious and potted dessert at your next family reunion, birthday party, or any lazy Sunday afternoon. This "soiled" sweet is sure to please even the pickiest of palettes!

Dirt Pie


1 package gummy worms

2 packages chocolate pudding

2 lb. Oreo cookies

3 1/2 c. milk

8 oz. cream cheese

12 oz. Cool Whip

1 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar

3/4 c. butter

1 tsp. vanilla

3 qt. flower pot

1 dirt trowel

1 bunch plastic flowers


Mix the pudding and milk, then whip in the cream cheese, sugar, butter and vanilla. When mixed, gently fold in the Cool Whip. Crumble the Oreo cookies in a food processor using medium pulse. In the flower pot, put small piece of foil in bottom to block holes. Fill the bottom of the pot with a layer of cookies, then pudding, followed by a handful of worms. Repeat until all the ingredients are used. Be sure your top layer is your crumbled Oreo cookies. Artfully place your artificial flowers in the top layer of your dirt pie and sprinkle the top with a few gummy worms for show. Allow dirt pie to chill for several hours and when ready to serve, spoon out with the trowel.

A fun variation on this recipe is to substitute out the chocolate pudding for vanilla pudding and the Oreo cookies can be substituted for vanilla Oreo cookies. Instead of gummy worms, use gummy fish and other sea life confectionaries. Serve your sand pie out of a plastic sand pail and scoop out using a sand shovel!
Hope you "dig" this recipe, dahlin's!