May Happenings: Two Weddings & A Marathon… Relay

Ahh! Hello again. Remember me? I’d like to apologize for my brief hiatus from blogging. Life has been a whirlwind recently with my sister Lacie’s wedding and running in the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay.

It’s not going to stop, I’m lucky enough to be in my good friend Laura’s wedding this weekend! I don’t plan on disappearing again on you though.

Here’s a recap of what I’ve been doing.

Pittsburgh Marathon Relay May 5, 2013:

Lindsay Before RaceI was the last leg of the relay, I ran a 4.7 mile portion of the course. I was lucky enough to cross the finish line! It was an amazing energy with cheers and signs on the sidewalks all the way into the city of Pittsburgh.

Runner of Steel2

We handed our team members medals as they crossed the line. This one was for Laura. The photo below is of her running to me.DSCN0014Running Crew

Here’s our running team! We had one member who left before the end of the race. In all we had 5 runners. Brian, Dan, Maureen, Laura, and Me. Combined we ran 26.2 miles.Runner of SteelThough we didn’t win, I hit a personal best running less than a 10 minute mile for my portion. I was very pleased with my results.

Now on to the Wedding! My little sister married her best friend on May 11th, 2013. Lacie shared a how to post with us describing the lanterns she made for the reception, you can read that here. We all had a great time and thought the ceremony and reception were so beautiful.

Lacie and Zack’s Wedding May 11, 2013.

Lacie

LucasWagonLacieandDad

LacieandZack TheHappyCoupleBridalParty 3 girls

I’m happy to share these photos with you. I’m looking forward to sharing great photos after Laura’s Wedding! Laura and Brian are my running buddies in the group photo above. 🙂

I am back to regular posting this week! 🙂 What have you been up to? I’d love to hear your May adventures in the comments below.

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How to Create Wedding Lantern Decorations

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

Lacie, my sister, is getting married!!! She is in the midst of putting together decorations and favors. If you are planning a wedding you know that you want everything to be just right. Today she’s sharing how to create a cute and simple candle lantern for her outdoor wedding.

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

We want to have a pretty decoration to lead our guests into the ceremony and reception site. In a recent trip to Michael’s I found these cute candle lanterns and decided to decorate them to match our wedding colors.

What you’ll need:

  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Ribbon
  • Candle holder / Lantern – I found mine at Michaels.

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

Method:

Start with the glue gun on the side of the candle holder and put about the size of a small pea.

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

Place the ribbon onto the glue.

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

To secure the ribbon and not have it move around or loosen, I put another dot of glue before and after the handle.

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

I went around twice so I could do above and below the handle so it didn’t look incomplete.

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

After the ribbon is secured, its time to create the bow.

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

I found a great tutorial here. I’ve included the pictures of how I did it. I found it easier if at the beginning you have the ribbon close together, it keeps the knot tight.

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

Now you can attach the bow with a dot of hot glue.

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

The finished product!

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

What it will look like when hanging.

Image copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

I hope this helps you with your wedding decorations or gives you a springboard to  create your own lantern. We will be sure to share photos at the wedding! Happy Wedding Season!!!

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7 Bridal Registry Must Haves

When I was planning my wedding I was very overwhelmed by putting together a bridal registry. Are you engaged or planning your wedding? Or are you looking to fill your kitchen with useful appliances? Today I am sharing 7 kitchen tools that I consider must haves.

Kitchenaid Mixer – If you’re into baking and like to spend time in the kitchen, a nice Kitchenaid mixer is a luxury. I love mine, its an Artisan, not the larger professional, and it suits my uses well. I can use it to make cookie dough, egg noodles, cake and frosting. If you’re a zealous cook, Kitchenaid makes a plethora of attachments, like a slicer, ice cream maker, or a pasta maker.

Bread Machine – I LOVE my bread machine. I think this is one of the most useful and practical appliances in the kitchen. Have you looked at the ingredients list on the back of a loaf of bread lately? When you bake your own bread, you know the ingredients you and your family are eating are the ones you put into the pan. This is usually, flour, water, olive oil, salt and yeast. I use my bread machine to bake wheat, white, rosemary breads, and I make pizza dough. A bread machine saves lots of money on bread and pizza, its a win.

Slow Cooker – A slow cooker is a working girl’s best friend. What’s better than having a meal ready when you walk through the door? If you work long hours, I suggest finding a slow cooker with at timer. If you’re local, a crock pot with a “high” and “low” setting is perfect. A slow cooker is a great addition to any kitchen. Need inspiration for meals? Try lentil soup, mushroom stew, split pea soup, or Sunday football chili.

Food Processor – I have a Cuisinart food processor. It’s such a help in the kitchen. The reason why I’m sharing the brand is that this particular processor comes with two sized bowls that nest, and most others don’t. The food processor is extremely helpful in making hummus, chopping vegetables, shredding cabbage or lettuce.

Coffee Maker – I love to start off my Saturday morning with a hot mug of coffee. If you must have a cup’o joe first thing, find a coffee maker with a timer, It’s a wonder. As I said with the slow cooker, I like having things ready when I need them! It’s important to note that if you have limited counter space, be sure to find a coffee maker that fits. You may also want to find one that automatically shuts off after a certain amount of time, to avoid a fire hazard.

Large Chef’s Knife – Contrary to what one might think, a kitchen does not need a large set of knives, just a good chef’s knife. I love my large chef’s knife, the blade is 7 inches. A large chef’s knife can chop vegetables and mince garlic with ease. Be sure to keep it clean, never put it in the dishwasher, and always store it safely.  Save your counter space and avoid a large block. If possible, look for a knife whose blade and handle are one continuous piece.

Magic Bullet – I just added a magic bullet to my kitchen collection and it’s a handy appliance. So far, I’ve made smoothies, salad dressing, ground coffee beans and flax seeds. I can see it being helpful for mincing garlic and I’m excited to make salsa. I was able to put together a green smoothie in the large mug and add the travel attachment in no time.

What do you consider a kitchen must have? What are your favorites? Are you putting together a bridal registry or looking to fill your kitchen with helpful and time saving appliances?

Note: I am sharing these appliances, brands and ideas because I like the products. I am not associated or affiliated with any of these companies. Thanks!

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Wedding Cookies | A Pittsburgh Tradition

There’s a very special wedding tradition in Pittsburgh and it’s also a delicious one. Having a cookie table at a wedding reception is something that I have always known. I wanted to share this fun tradition with you and maybe you might want to consider if you’re planning your big day!

 

Although I have long enjoyed wedding cookies and had many at my own, I am not an expert. So to find more information about the tradition I contacted a cookie expert. Linda, from Linda’s Cookie Jar, bakes tens of thousands of cookies a year for weddings and the holidays. I asked her to share what she knows about the tradition. I hope you enjoy our little chat!

 

Lindsay: What is the Pittsburgh cookie table tradition?

Linda: Usually at weddings there is a wedding cake dessert and typical hors d’oeuvres served.  However, in Pittsburgh, receptions usually start out with cookies as the appetizer or main dessert, along with a cake, no matter what the venue is.  You won’t go to many Pittsburgh weddings without seeing a large cookie table as a standard in the reception hall.

 

Lindsay: How did the tradition originate?

Linda: I have no idea where the tradition originated, but southwestern Pennsylvania is full of Italian, Polish, and Slovak bakers, and I know my family was full of them.  It might have been because it was a cheaper option back then. I remember always seeing cookie tables at weddings when I was a little girl, and my parents also remember having cookie tables at their weddings. As far as I remember it has always been the tradition.

 

Lindsay: Are there any must have cookies at weddings?

Linda: The absolute must have cookies are lady-locks and nut rolls.  The other main cookie that is always requested from me are caramel cups.  But lady locks are the number one must-have.

Lindsay: What does Linda’s Cookie Jar focus on?  When did you start baking? 

Linda: My business focuses on cookies for all occasions.  I do everything from small company meetings, to large weddings, holiday gatherings, graduation parties, etc.  I’ve been baking since I was a little girl, but my business only started back in 1999.  It started out when I would just make small trays of cookies for family parties, but after the positive response and word of mouth I started to get requests and it just grew from there.  All cookies are made from scratch using only premium ingredients, and they are available for order at all times throughout the year.   It’s something I enjoy doing, and the best part is seeing the reactions on my customer’s faces.

 

Lindsay: How many cookies do you make during a wedding season?

Linda: Last Christmas season I baked 17,000 cookies, a little over 1400 dozen. And that was just for Christmas, done in 3 1/2 weeks.  Needless to say the holiday season is my busiest time of year!   For a typical wedding season I usually do around 700 dozen, but it varies every year.  The one thing about my baking, is that I never do just a typical chocolate chip or oatmeal cookie.  My cookies are very unique, and usually more complicated than that.  My big sellers include baklava, nut rolls, russian torte, which is a layered cookie of nut filling, apricot and egg whites, and caramel cups…which are flaky cups filled with caramel and topped with a home-made whipped cream icing.

If you live in Pittsburgh and are interested in ordering cookies from Linda, her contact information follows:

Linda’s Cookie Jar
P.O. Box 42
Bentleyville, PA 15314

 

 

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