Monday, December 28, 2009

She's Engaged!

A week ago Sunday, my big sister Jenny got engaged to her wonderful boyfriend, Josh. Over the past year, Jenny has been blogging about her adventures over at A Single Southern, but she's not so single any more! Jenny and Josh have been together since March, and they've probably been talking about getting married since May, so this is definitely a long time coming. Our family loves Josh- he is really the perfect fit for Jenny. He understands her and knows how to reason with her, and not to mention he knows how to make her smile. There is no doubt he will love her all of her life. And from what I have heard, Josh's family adores Jenny, so with those things in tow, they are off to a pretty good start.

Being the younger sister, at times it was hard to get married first...I always wanted her to get married before me. But, He has a mighty plan and He knew what he was doing. Jenny is giving me the amazing honor of being her matron of honor, and I am going to use everything I learned to help her have an exciting and smooth wedding planning experience. Jenny has a tendency to get stressed and overwhelmed a little bit easier, so I am going to task myself with the job of keeping Jenny stress-free. Being engaged was such a fun time for Michael and I, and I pray Josh and Jenny can say the same thing in August. Oh, and they are planning an August wedding :).

Now, on to the thing you are waiting for...the ring! Jenny has loved and adored our grandmother Nanny's ring for many years, so unknowingly to Jenny, Josh had the ring designed to look like Nanny's. I got some help from my aunt, Margie, who has the ring and took some great pictures. Thanks Margie! Josh was able to use his grandmother's diamond for the center so both sides of the family are found in the ring- how special! Jenny loves it and Josh did a great job. He proposed with just the two of them, but then brought her to my parents' house where we all were waiting to celebrate with you will see below!

We joked with Jenny during our 2007 family Italy trip that she would come back to elope in Lake Como, Italy, so we were just leaving her a friendly reminder :) Drawing courtesy of Joe.Kerry and I rushed out to get bridal magazines so she could begin looking for ideas. This was lots of fun for us! We had some champagne to celebrate...and I loved playing with Kerry's camera! Here she is!
The happy couple! The jaw dropping ring...just stunning!
Congrats Jenny and Josh! We love you.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tis the Season

As most holiday seasons go, this one has been busy and full of activity. Two weeks ago I hosted a cookie exchange and contest at work for the first 10 people who signed up. We had a great response and the cookies were fantastic! The winning cookie, Chocolate Truffles, had only 3 ingredients! In a close second was my boss with her yummy deconstructed carrot cake cookies. Michael was happy I brought these home, too!

All 10 of the cookies
The winners!The Exchange
On Monday night Michael and I headed to James Island for the annual James Island Festival of Lights. This is definitely a Charleston experience during the holidays. We had a great time and Michael enjoyed his first time at the festival.Then on Tuesday and Wednesday nights we had playoff games for our co-ed soccer team, and at 10:30 pm on Wednesday we took home the championship! Here is a great shot of the winning team. Michael and I had such a blast playing together, and he was one of our leading scorers!
And this last picture is of the dinner Michael made last night...seriously, it was awesome! I had just come home from my first practice coaching and he had this ready to eat- I had no idea! It was awesome. What a husband I have!

On a really sad note, my sweet Uncle Jerry passed away at 2:30 am Thursday morning. He had been battling lung cancer for over a year and he took a turn for the worse this week. His wife, son and daughter were all with him during his last few days and hours. Michael and I are headed to Salisbury, NC for the funeral on Saturday to be with our family. Praying for the Sides family as they seek comfort and peace.

The Lord has blessed us this year with more than we need and deserve- we are so thankful. Happy holidays everyone.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Grandma's Tradition

It's hard to believe all of my grandparents have been gone now for over 5 years. I still miss each of them so much. Pop Pop, Nanny, Grandma and Grandpa.

Grandma Ruggieri passed away in October of 2002 but has left behind so many fond memories and traditions. One of the things I loved about Grandma was her passion and knack for cooking. She made the best of anything she touched: pasta, meatballs, stuffing, eggplant parmesan, cheesecake, pizza, bread, Italian cookies and much, much more. I think that is where I get it from, and my Mom, too. And oh, did Grandma adore her family. She lived for her family, something that was evident in every thing she did. I've tried so hard to implement those two things together, which Grandma was a perfectionist at.

For our wedding, my sweet Aunt Laura (Grandma's oldest) gave Michael and I a pizzelle maker. Pizzelles are a unique Italian cookie made with anise seeds- a very unique taste but familiar to any true Italian. I finally broke it out on Sunday and made my very first batch of pizzelles, Grandma's speciality. As soon as the batter was finished, I smelled Grandma and a rush of memories waved over me. Memories of our time in New Jersey, her taking care of us while Mom and Dad were out, our time playing with their antiques in their basement, cooking and baking with Grandma, and the many containers of cookies they would bring on their trips to see us in North Carolina.

So here is a look at my first shot at pizzelles, with a twist of me on them: drizzled chocolate.
Michael called this my "Mess-terpiece" :)

Oh how I miss you, Grandma. I wish you were here to do these with me.