Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Halloween, It's Halloween!

My October edition of Women's Day Magazine (yes, again, the mysterious magazine that I started receiving about a year ago and have no idea from whom) had several DIY tips for decorating at Halloween. Almost every one of them involved some sort of use of Candy Corn. I loved them all and wanted to try them! What a simple idea! I've only tried two so far but if I keep working at my hot glue gun skills (i.e. not burning myself several times while using it), I do foresee a candy corn wreath in my future (most likely at next year's Halloween).

This idea I thought was so cute and so easy! I had Pat cut down a branch from our tree out front and I bought a cheap vase at Pat Catan's and some styrofoam. Pat trimmed down the styrofoam to fit in the vase (isn't it funny how "my projects" always become "our projects?" Funny for me, anyway). I then stuck the branch into the styrofoam and filled the vase with candy corn. I glued some pieces of candy corn to the branch and then used some cheap garland I bought on clearance at TJ Maxx a few years ago for some added decoration. I really wanted to add some little ghosts made out of Kleenex but Pat and I decided that would be just too tempting for Grady to resist. Sticks and Kleenex...two of the staples to his diet. :)

This was another really cheap and easy centerpiece idea. I bought the glass containers at Pat Catans for dirt cheap and the candy corn was only $.79 a bag.  For both projects I think I used between 4-5 bags of candy corn. And lucky for me, Grady is not interested in eating candy corn at all. That would be a little too normal for his taste (literally) since it is FOOD. He'd rather stick to things like socks and underwear.

I got this big vase as a wedding gift and I want to try and change it with the seasons.

Grady wanted to get in on the festivities, too!

Iron chef in the making?

I did a lot of cooking last Sunday. I woke up in the mood to cook and that's what I spent my day doing! First, I made spinach artichoke dip for the husband and brother-in-law while they watched the Brown's game (maybe my dip is what got the team the big win?). Next I made beef stew in the crock pot and made my Grandma's Italian meatballs and spaghetti sauce on the stove. The beautiful thing about beef stew (and maybe most soups and sauces) is that they are just as good, if not better, when heated up so they are great things to make on Sunday and eat all week. 

Last night, I made my very first batch of homemade mashed potatoes, which were surprisingly very quick and easy! I used a very basic recipe only calling for potatoes, butter, milk and salt. I used less butter and a little more 1% milk and added some garlic powder. I don't have a masher and wasn't sure if I would need a blender or my mixer to mash the potatoes, but they were so moist after boiling that I just used a whisk and they fell apart! They only took about 40 minutes from start to finish and were well worth it! Plus, they made a TON of potatoes so there's enough for another full meal with them, which is great because they will go perfectly with tonight's menu. Tonight we are having chicken and dumplings; another first time recipe for me that is cooking in the crock pot as I type.

So for dinner last night, I heated up the beef stew from Sunday and poured it over the homemade mashed potatoes. How Irish of me, huh? :) I am not trying to toot my own horn here, but it was absolutely the most delicious meal we have had in a really long time (honk, honk).

I feel like after all of the times I have ridiculed myself for my failed recipe attempts, I have earned the right to pat myself on the back when I make something that is actually really good! So, yay me (patting self on back).

Friday, October 22, 2010

Here's to you, Mr. Mini Cooper Man

Listen, I understand it's a Friday morning, the weather is getting colder and getting out of bed is getting harder and harder. Believe me, we are suffering through the same thing in the Robinson household. I understand that you were running late to work today. I was too (today and most every day, I might add). But what I can't quite understand is why the fact that you were running late to work this morning became everyone else's problem.

Just because you are driving the same type of car that was used in the Italian Job, does not mean that you are actually in the movie or that you should be driving like you are. You may have gotten the car to feel like a race car driver, but you aren't and I-90 is not a racetrack. Just because your car is small, does not mean that you have the right to weave in and out of traffic like we are Go Kart racing. Last time I checked, turn signals are not optional and weaving from lane to lane too fast is not a good enough excuse not to use them.

I hope that you got wherever you were going in record time and that you got there safely. More importantly, I hope everyone else got where they were going safely, no thanks to you. If you were already running late, was knocking off an extra five minutes from your commute really worth risking your life and the life of others? Maybe it depends on your boss but my guess is no.

My final message to you, Mr. Mini Cooper Man is "get over yourself." Regardless of what you may think about yourself, you are not the single most important driver on the road. Regardless of how many times you get honked at each commute (and how wimpy my little Mazda's horn is), you could still acknowledge me when I beep at you and recognize the fact that you completely cut me off and almost hit me.

Thanks for making my already wonderful Friday morning just a little bit sweeter.

**Please note** while this incident really did take place this morning and even though I feel my anger at Mr. Mini Cooper Man is justified, this blog served as an overall outlet of my frustration for all of the maniac drivers I encounter on a daily basis during my 50 mile (round trip) commutes. Thank you for your ear (or eyes, rather).

Friday, October 15, 2010

I love this time of year!

Have I mentioned lately how much I love fall? Even my 50 minute commute feels better in the fall when I can watch the orange, brown and red leaves falling from the trees while I'm sipping my warm apple cider, keeping the other hand on the wheel, of course! 

One of the reasons I love fall so much is because of Halloween. It's ironic that I love Halloween as much as I do because I hate horror movies and don't like to be scared, yet I end up going to Halloweekends almost every single year and walk through the haunted houses (which are suitable for children and yet still make me feel as though I could faint). We are going tonight and I absolutely cannot wait! It's currently pouring down rain where I'm sitting and the trees look like they're about to blow over. Not ideal weather for an amusement park but I'm hoping the Cleveland weather isn't indicative of the weather in Sandusky.

In addition to Halloweekends tonight, this weekend is also the 6th Annual Tigue Halloween Party hosted by my brother and sister-in-law, Traci & Russ. Pat and I have attended 5 of the 6 parties (we had just started dating when they had their first one five years ago).

I am getting really excited for the party! I love getting dressed up and it's so much fun to go to a party where everyone else is dressed up too! The party has a theme every year and everyone goes all out for their costumes. People who don't attend the party are always surprised by how much thought and work Pat and I put into our costumes for this party. We have never just gone and bought a costume in a bag. We love putting them together ourselves, piece by piece. One of us usually puts ours together much sooner than the other but I won't mention any names.

Before the party tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to do a little recap of the costumes we have had so far. Looking through these old pictures literally made me laugh out loud so I hope you enjoy them too! Looking forward to posting the pictures from tomorrow night!

Hollywood theme
Garth & Wayne from the movie "Wayne's World"

Rock Stars theme
Sonny & Cher

Heroes and Villains theme
Guitar "Hero" - Axel Steel
Sloth from the Goonies (Award Winning Costume!)

Brands theme
iPod (Award Winning Costume)
Big Boy


Sports theme

You will have to wait and see!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

27 Dresses (well, actually 9)

Today, 10-10-10 marks the official close of the wedding season (and is also my dear friend Aubrey's 27th birthday). Wedding season officially started for me on Saturday, March 6 with Kari's wedding shower and ended on Saturday, October 9, 2010, with Jen and Sean's wedding.

We were invited to 11 weddings this year and attended 9 of those 11. I attended 5 bridal showers and 4 bachelorette parties. Pat attended 3 bachelor parties and together we attended 3 rehearsal dinners. What is even more crazy than our stats is that many of my friends can top it with even higher numbers! It was a crazy year of weddings for almost everyone I know! Weddings are fun and it's great to be there to celebrate with people on one of the happiest days of their lives! As much fun as we had attending them and being a part of them, we are very much looking forward to having some relaxing weekends at home and saving some money!

It was a personal goal of mine to not repeat any dresses this weddings season and I'm happy to report that I achieved this goal! Here is a recap of our wedding season and my nine different dresses.

May 15, 2010
Kari & John Nettle
Mansfield, Ohio

June 5, 2010
Julie & Jon Detwiler
Elyria, Ohio

June 26, 2010
Sarah & Gabe Palino
North Roylaton, Ohio

July 16, 2010
Jana & Eric Stitle
Youngstown, Ohio

August 21, 2010
Marleen & Chris Gordon
South Euclid, Ohio

September 4, 2010
Bethany & Rob Trautman
North Olmsted, Ohio

September 11, 2010
Laura & Matt Polachek
Lorain, Ohio

September 25, 2010
Kristen & Mark Mitchell
Cleveland, Ohio

October 9, 2010
Jennifer & Sean Duffy
Cleveland, Ohio

Congratulations to all the happy couples and thanks for including us on your special day!