Thursday, May 31, 2012

One Last Plea.... for your photos!

Hola Friends! 

As some of you know, I just recently put together a wedding photo album with all of our professional photos (see the previous post).

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty excited, and I can’t wait for it to arrive. I think I may spend the first three days of possession just going through it again and again.

We also want to make a photobook of the candid photos taken on the wedding day (and including some of the other events, like karaoke, rehearsal and engagement party). But to do that, we need your help!

If you were at the wedding and you took photos, could you please contribute them to our online wedding album?

You can do this a couple different ways:
1    1)    You can email photos to us at: tiffandcurby DOT lovebirds AT picasaweb DOT com.. No subject line necessary, just email them to us as attachments and they will automatically go into our photo album drop box.
              2) You can upload photos directly if you would like – to do that, please email us: tiffandcurby AT gmail DOT com and let us know you’d like to do this option and I’ll send you a link to an album. (this way you can upload a bunch of pics at once)

You can VIEW some of the candid pictures that have been uploaded already at this link: The Story of Tiff and Curby 

Dear friends - seriously, help us out here, and get YOUR photos featured in our memories forever.

(and in return, I promise to blog about Tiff's life very soon!)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Our Awesome Wedding Album!

This weekend I had some free time, and I decided that one thing that would bring me great joy was to work on our wedding photo album. Shutterfly had a 20% off deal on photobooks, and Curby said it was OK if I had a million pages... So I did it!! I actually think we'll end up with a three book series - 1) the wedding album, 2) engagement photo album, and 3) prewedding and reception posed and candid photos.

I love this album. It's 12x12 and has a hard cover and so that feels really fancy, and I can't wait to see how it turns out in real life.  (I know I could have done an actual "scrapbooked" album, and I like doing that kind of thing sometimes, but I was so excited to make it look as professional as our photos look!"
*(removed - link broken)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fake Baking for the Summer

Nope. I'm not talking about going to a tanning booth all summer long. I'm talking about faking up some popular mixes to be more frugal and have some fun.

The summer is upon me... school will be out in less than a month! Now, my summer is not that different from the rest of my year these days - I mean, except for the fact that I don't have to TA a class this summer, I still have my two part-time jobs (10 hours per week each) and of course that giant paper that I've been working on. I'm hoping to have my data by the end of June, so I'll be back to working regularly on my dissertation with a goal of finishing by November/December of this year.

My favorite activity/craft to do is sewing, but in our current apartment situation, there is not really a place where I can leave a workstation out - and that means that if I want to sew, I have to get out all the equipment and get set up, and when I'm done, I have to get it all put away again. Its not that easy to do and it probably takes 15 minutes minimum on each end. So my sewing has really tapered off since Curby moved in, because when I only have an hour or so to do my hobby, and 30 minutes is taken up by getting set up and put away.... you can imagine that its sort of discouraging. Who wants the set up and take down to take as much time as the fun times themselves?

So until we get that solution solved, my solution is cooking and baking.  With a little planning in advance, I can figure out new fun meals to try and also create some mixes that I can then use as gifts or when company comes over, or just have around in case Curby and I want cookies. :)

On Pinterest yesterday, I found these G.R.E.A.T. recipes for "fake frugal mixes" - basically the author decided that she was going to make homemade versions of those cookie and corn bread mixes. Now, I often make extra cookie dough and keep it mixed up in my freezer, and then I just cut off slices to bake up when I have company or want a couple cookies. But I thought that this was a great way to have the dry ingredients ready to go at any time. I also like that this is a way to avoid a lot of the filler that you find in conventional packaged goods. (especially, since I would not normally make cornbread from scratch, for example) And I'm thinking about doing it for a bunch of different recipes, not limited to just those which are posted below.

So anyway, here's to trying to do things that bring me great joy over the summer - even if that means less sewing and more snacks.

Fake-it-Frugal Cookie Mixes:

Fake-it-Frugal Jiffy Corn Bread Mix:

Finally... I would use homemade vanilla ice cream with this, but.....
Fake-it-Frugal Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Book Review: Prize of My Heart (by Lisa Norato)

Captain Brogan Talvis has one goal: reclaim his young son, lost to him through the trickery of his (now-deceased) wife while he was at sea. This mission leads him to Duxboro, Massachusetts, where he has commissioned a ship from the man who adopted Brogan's son and is raising little Drew as his own, with an older daughter stands in for the boy as both sister and mother. Eventually, the daughter, Lorena, is tricked upon a vessel headed to England and it is Brogan's commission to save her. Romance and secrets are present throughout this exciting story of love and family in the early 19th century.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The presence of scripture and faith elements were authentically portrayed and appropriate for the moments in which they occurred. The story itself was fast-moving, and at times very sad and others very funny. The characters were well drawn and charming, while retaining some mystery. I found myself wanting to know more about them, and rooting for the romance that was budding.

The perspective of the author allowed for us to hear the thoughts of the two main characters, which made the book move faster. Additionally, although I normally hate how much characters just don't "talk to each other" about their real issues, in this story by and large there was much less passivity than is common in Christian fiction. In fact, the times when I felt like "just tell her!" were times when it was appropriate for the character to be worried about speaking (related to the mystery elements of the story). After reading this story, I will look out for more by Lisa Norato. I highly recommend this book - 5 out of 5 stars.

(full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House, in exchange for my unbiased review. I am not affiliated with Bethany House or the author in any way.)

Book Review: Blue Moon Bay (by Lisa Wingate)

Blue Moon Bay is the story of Heather Hampton, and her return to her (unhappy) childhood home of Moses Lake, Texas. Forced to return home to facilitate the sale of some family land, she is confronted with the memories, fears, and secrets that her family has kept hidden for the past 20 years. Unraveling these fears and secrets will lead through trouble to a reconciliation with God.

Friends, this book was trying to be too many things and as such, was none of them very well. I think the main problem that I had was that point of view of the reader was simply the first-person view of the main character, Heather. As such, it was exhausting - for almost 400 pages, we had to endure every thought and idea that she had. Even when, as the reader, you were 16 steps ahead of her. Perhaps if the author had told the story from a first-person omniscient, allowing the reader to hear the thoughts of other characters, the story would have moved faster. The other main problem that I had with the story was that it started out as a book about a girl returning home to confront her past demons, then it turned into a mystery, then a thriller, all the while still trying to be a romance. I kept saying to my husband, "This book does not know what it wants to be!" and "Why didn't someone edit this book better?"

The story did have exciting moments, and I was glad to hear the resolution of the story, but I thought that overall lit was about 100 pages too long and that the story was too ambitious. Lets not even talk about my main criticism of Christian fiction: why don't the people just talk to each other. This book was a classic example of that, and considering how strongly this pet peeve is for me, the fact that it wasn't one of my two main problems is saying something.

I'm a fan of romance, mysteries, and thrillers. But unfortunately, I just didn't really enjoy this book. Two stars out of five from me.

(full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House, in exchange for my unbiased review. I am not affiliated with Bethany House or the author in any way.)