Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pictures from the Meader Wedding

Introducing -

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Meader

~ KISS ~

We requested a kiss of Donny & Erika at the reception. (When Donny & Erika had their FIRST kiss during the ceremony, I couldn't see it from the piano bench. Ben said it was nice and long. Donny really went at it).

The Hamiltons and the Meaders

Ben & Andrea - all dressed up for the wedding!

Andrea & Erika. I played the piano for the ceremony and postlude.

The groom and his men - Donny, Scott DeVane (best man), Jeremiah Clark, Ben (yes - he was a groomsman), and Brian (from Donny's church in CT).

Erika - waiting patiently for the ceremony to begin. Isn't she a beautiful bride?

Donny & Erika make their exit from the reception hall. The weather was rainy. The groomsmen had stuffed the getaway car with balloons. Erika had to throw some balloons out the window before she could get into the car!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Free Photo Printing

One of the blogs that I read, Rocks in My Dryer , hosts "Works for Me Wednesday" where readers share tips with other readers. My tip is regarding online photo printing. I have discovered that most online photo printing sites, such as snapfish, winkflash, shutterfly, and many local photo developers offer anywhere from 20-100 free prints with your first order. I have a lot of pictures to be developed from our wedding rehearsal and dinner, honeymoon, and first year together thus far. To be more cost effective, I just googled "online photo printing" and wrote down which websites offer introductory free prints. Then I have been "trying" each website out by ordering a couple of prints and taking advantage of the free prints. Essentially, you only have to pay for shipping, which is very reasonable for photos. I have received over 200 prints for free, and paid only an average of $2 in shipping cost. It works for me! Check out the other WFMW tips here.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The All Nite Bread Adventure

It all started at Books A Million where I work. I am allowed to "check out" any book for up to two weeks. So on Tuesday I was stocking the cookbooks and I came across this huge book called "The Bread Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Ben has asked me to make bread, and my last two attempts didn't thrill me by any means, so I thought this book might help.

Well, it might have. Except the author is very scientific about her bread, and uses all of the "official" words that I have never even heard before. I had a hard time with the instructions. But it is supposed to be fabulous bread, so I persevered.

The recipe starts with making a sponge, in which you pre-ferment the yeast and some flour, in order to pull out better flavors. So I made the sponge and let it set for two hours as directed. But when I came back to do the next step, I discovered that I had read the instructions incorrectly. Or at least I thought I had. I decided at this point to put it off until tomorrow, when I had more time and it wouldn't be so late.

That's where Ben comes in. He thought it would be adventurous to make the bread together, even if we had to stay up until 1am to complete it. He probably used the word "romantic" which is probably why I agreed.

To make a long story short--we fixed the sponge, then we watched a movie. Then we kneaded it and left it to rise. And we watched another movie. Then we punched it down and left it to rise again. This time we went to bed and set the alarm for two hours. At 3am I groggily shaped the dough, placed it in the loaf pans, and left it to rise...again! We went back to bed and got up again at 5am to put it in the oven. After a half hour Ben got up to rotate the pans half-way through baking. And then we got up together to take the bread out of the oven.

Now I have to tell you--the smell of bread baking as you are sleeping makes the dreams just as wierd as eating pizza too close to bedtime. The bread smelled and looked wonderful. The crust was a medium golden brown, and the loaf was very light. I brushed the melted butter on the top and it soaked in to make the bread look even better. I was elated. Perhaps this time I--no, we--had succeeded.
When Ben got up to go to work we had bread and real butter for breakfast. It was wonderful. It was excellent. It was mouth-watering. Okay, it was probably just the fact that I was only half awake, and the bread had taken all night to make. Whatever it was, it is really good!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Great Words from a Great American Lady

When I was at the laundry mat this week the attendant was watching a TV news report on the 2008 presidential election. When I walked in, he jokingly asked me, “Who are you voting for?”

Just as jokingly, yet completely seriously, I replied, “Sarah Palin.”

I was choosing to vote for John McCain only as a means to avoid an Obama presidency. Now I am voting for John McCain because his running mate is Sarah Palin.

Here are some highlights form her Vice Presidential nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Wednesday, September 3, 2008.

On the purpose of government…
“The right reason is to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it. No one expects us to agree on everything. But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and ... a servant's heart.”

On government spending…
“I got rid of a few things in the governor's office that I didn't believe our citizens should have to pay for. That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay… I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending: nearly half a billion dollars in vetoes.

On the “Drill Here, Drill Now” issue and America’s necessity to reduce dependency on foreign oil…
“I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history… That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are opened, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart. The stakes for our nation could not be higher. …we cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers.”

On the energy crisis…
“Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America's energy problems - as if we all didn't know that already. But the fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.”

On Barack Obama…
“…Listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform.”

On Barack Obama’s plan as president…
“What exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger, take more of your money, give you more orders from Washington, and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. America needs more energy… our opponent is against producing it. Victory in Iraq is finally in sight... he wants to forfeit. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay... he wants to meet them without preconditions. Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America... he's worried that someone won't read them their rights? Government is too big... he wants to grow it. Congress spends too much... he promises more. Taxes are too high... he wants to raise them.”

On the Military and the war in Iraq…
“This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word "victory" except when he's talking about his own campaign”

On “Change”…
“In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.”

On “Our Cause”…
If character is the measure in this election... and hope the theme... and change the goal we share, then I ask you to join our cause. Join our cause and help America elect a great man as the next president of the United States.

The Palin Family: Track, Bristol, future son-in-law Levi Johnston, Willow, Piper, Todd, Sarah, and Trig.