1.31.2012

Have you heard?

We've almost been married for ONE WHOLE YEAR!

As of this past Wednesday, we're 11 months married. Where has the time gone?!?!

Anywho, I've slowly been building up the tab up top dedicated to our wedding and I'd like to "officially" reveal it to you.

If you'd like to get caught up on where we were this time last year, just click on the "Our Wedding"  tab at the top of the page. The highlighted titles are posts that I've already published and the black titles are posts that I'll be sharing with you in the next month leading up to our precious one year anniversary. :)

Thank you all for supporting me this past year. It's been crazy, but I'm so glad that I get to include you in all of these exciting life events.

Stay tuned this month for the rest of my wedding recaps. :)

1.30.2012

Holidays in Chicago, Pt. 1 {Uber Belated}

*Sigh* You know what? Working 6 days a week is killing my blog mojo and I apologize for that. Unfortunately, we'll all have to sit tight until this madness passes...and it might be a while. I know that inconsistent posting is a little annoying and hard to keep up with, but right now, my boss is throwing me curve balls left and right and I'm trying to keep up with her. Thank you all for still being supportive and understanding.

Now onto the good stuff (although, quite late)!

After celebrating an early Christmas together in Alexandria,  we packed up and headed home for the holidays. It was a grueling 11 hour drive through the night (normally 13 hours, but we've both got lead feet) to get to Champaign, Illinois. Here, we stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast before heading into 4 hours worth of apartment hunting. Our search started off pretty bumpy with an appointment with a terribly unprofessional real estate company (who shall remain nameless) and dumpy properties. Blech!

Thankfully, the second appointment went rather well. We were scheduled to see 3 properties with our "agent", but 2 of them had already resigned the lease for 2012, so those were out. I was a little bummed at first, but God always has his reasons, and Property #3 was definitely a good reason. ;) The second we walked in, we each felt an overwhelming sense that this was our new home. So, just like with our first home in Alexandria, we signed the papers the very same day and walked away with great peace of mind.

Welcome to our new home!
After a very long drive and a very long afternoon of apartment hunting, we continued home to Naperville, the homey suburb of Chicago that everyone should visit. :)

It was so great to see our families! The last time we'd seen anyone was in April, right before I moved to Virginia, so hugs were shared (and my mother even cried - love her) for what seemed like hours. We settled down for the night and laid out our plans for the next two weeks of our "vacation."

On Christmas Eve, we did exactly what we did last year - attended the Candlelight Service at our church, looked at lights in downtown Naperville, and stopped at our favorite spot, West & Jefferson to recreate the proposal scene from exactly one year before (down to the minute, I might add). This time, my parents joined us since they'd never seen "our corner." It was magical...magically awkward, but magical nonetheless.

Kisses.
Awwwwkwaaaard!
"Proposing" again. This time, without 3 feet of snow under his knees. :)
The rest of our first week was spent with both sets of parents, enjoying Christmas and each others company, shopping for a couch, making lots of yummy desserts, and chopping my hair off (*gasp!*).

My mom's lovely Christmas tree.
Dad loved that we brought the Kinect. ;)
Josh and I stuffed my dad's shoes (his gift) with bows. Haha!
My mommy and I. :)
Josh's favorite present!
Christmas with the in laws! Meet my FIL.
My MIL.
Swinging!
Josh and his best friend, Matt trying out "The Man Chair."
Rolo bites and a hair cut. :)


1.18.2012

Replies

Hello, lovelies!

I've been receiving wonderful comments from you in my email and have been doing my best to respond. However, if you don't click "Subscribe by Email" when leaving a comment, I can't reply!

I know that I have the "Reply" button at the end of each of your awesome comments, but for some reason Blogger has disabled it and it no longer works. Boohoohoo! :(

So, in other words, PLEASE click "Subscribe by Email" when commenting if you'd like to hear back from me regarding your message.

Thanks so much! I hope you're all having a lovely Hump Day! :)

1.17.2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

A few months back, after running low on my favorite Shaklee laundry soap and softener, I was just about to post an order for more, when I decided that it just wasn't worth the money (sorry, Shaklee-lovers).

Don't get me wrong, I'm obsessed with Shaklee products, but the price just kills me. So I did some research, looked up recipes on Pinterest, and came up with more budget-friendly solutions that I could make at home. The recipes are still natural and completely safe to use in your home. Check out my Green Living board for more natural homemade solutions.

This recipe for laundry soap is my favorite, and probably the most common (check out the cute label, too!). I love that I can change out different soaps for different scents and cleaning powers. My favorite bar soaps to use are Fels-Naptha and Zote. They add fun color and fresh scent to your laundry experience. :)

Ingredients
1 bar soap of your choice (I prefer Fels-Naptha and Zote, since they contain fewer harmful chemicals than brands like Dove or Olay, although you might need to order these online)
1 cup borax (you can find 20 Mule Team borax in the laundry aisle at your local grocery store)
1 cup washing soda (also found in the laundry aisle, but totally different than baking soda)
1/4 cup baking soda (this is kind of optional, as it's mostly just a freshener)

Directions
1. Finely grate the the bar of soap. I use a hand grater and leave it at that, but some people like to throw theirs in a food processor to make a finer grain.


2. Add 1 cup of borax, 1 cup of washing soda, and 1/4 cup of baking soda. Mix thoroughly.

3. Store in an airtight container and use 2 tablespoons per load. I just keep mine in a Parmesan cheese shaker that I cleaned out and recycled. :)


There you have it! Simple, quick, natural, budget-friendly laundry solution. Josh suggested the Seventh Generation brand to me at the commissary last week, but after doing this I don't think I could ever justify spending $6.00 on 48 loads of laundry detergent when I could do it myself at home for about $2.00 for the same number of loads. You just can't beat it!

Do you make any natural cleaning solutions yourself? What are your favorite recipes?

1.16.2012

Christmas At Our Place {Belated}

Well, hello there!
After a 2 week vacation for Christmas and New Years, Josh and I have been busy working our booties off, so I haven't had a good chunk of time to sit down and recap our holidays! I understand that this is very late and that I'm very behind, but I don't care. I feel like sharing anyway! :)

Josh and I both worked half days on December 21st so that we could pack up the car and tie up loose ends before heading to Chicago. That night, before we left, we decided to have breakfast for dinner and open our stockings. But before I show you that, I need to show you our Christmas decorations!

Adorable bucket from Target.
Fruity candy canes!
Charlie Brown nativity from Josh's parents.
Our stockings hung on the entertainment center. Red is mine, green is hubby's.
Our adorable tabletop Christmas tree.
Closer up.
Our cute little personalized ornament.
More candy canes!
The Christmas card display. Thanks for the idea, Pinterest!
Josh's light up Snoopy.
He changes color!
Now on to the good stuff. I'm so glad we had the chance to open stockings together before all of the holiday hype back home. :) It was such a hectic trip and sitting back, relaxing with my hubby beforehand was such a fun time.

Where we hung our stockings this year.
Josh with his stocking. :)
My stocking (excuse the pj's).
We both got a Pez dispenser!
He got me a Starbucks giftcard!
Josh's Pez dispenser.
I got him a tiny pack of Kahlua coffee.
And Santa's Coal bubble gum...because he's naughty. ;) Keepin' it real, yo!
 And there you go! Christmas at our place before the craziness of our trip home. :) Later this week I'll be posting a few more holiday recaps, and since we're about a month and a half from our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY, I'll be posting more wedding recaps as well. :) Stay tuned!