Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Party IS Over!

It's been quite an adventure going from wedding to reception and then to open house these past two weeks.  I feel like I just stepped off a crazy roller coaster with all of its twists and turns and I'm struggling to just stand up straight now that I'm back on the ground.  It's been quite a ride!  

As promised here are some of the photos from the reception, of the happy couple, and of Montana and the open house. 

Below is the photo of the sign in table.  This table area really didn't come together the way I wanted it to.  I wanted the carriage and the sign in book to be together, but there really wasn't much room on the other side of the table to place the carriage and I didn't want to rearrange the furniture too much in the foyer of the church building.  The carriage was really meant to go with the book to help promote that this is were the couple's story (their fairy tale) begins.  Then the photo of the couple was to be on the other side.  On the table in the middle we kept it super simple.  A bouquet of flowers, a handmade sign designed by one of Danielle's friends that said "Anderson" and the little banner that I made that said, "A kiss a day keeps love at play."  The book I shared a few posts ago was placed on the stand so guests could stop and look and then sign the back pages.  The book ended up being pretty full by the end of the night.  Everyone that saw the book thought it was pretty amazing!  Thanks Mom!

Here is a closer view of the sign-in area.
And a better view of the big photo.

  I think I mentioned this before.  We had this photo printed at OfficeMax.  It measured 24x36 and the initial cost was $18.50 but we also got a 30-40% discount as well.  I just can't remember if it was 30 or 40 anymore.  OfficeMax was amazing!  I still can't believe we got this amazing color print and it cost less than $20.00.  How awesome is that?!  Even our photographer was amazed by that.  In fact, I have to say Kacey Reed is an amazing photographer!  We referred her to a few people well before Danielle ever met Chance and she gave us a great discount because of those referrals.  Plus her work is wonderful!  We knew we had to have her take the photos for Danielle and Chance's wedding and we are so glad she was in town and available.  Thank you, Kacey!  I also want to mention that this photo was one of two photos I first saw of the couple's engagement photos.  It was this photo that stopped me in my tracks.  It was this photo that made me realize that we were planning a wedding and brought tears to my eyes.  I absolutely LOVE this photo!  I love the way the light shines through the couple and I love this moment it preserves of the couple as well.  It was as if angels were singing when I first saw this photo.  Thankfully I also had the chance to tell Kacey how much I liked this photo and the huge impact it had on me.  

Below are several photos of the reception.  I tried to share the photos in order of how you would walk into the room if your were a guest.  Then at the end I included overall photos and photos of the tables.  So, these first few photos are of the gift area.  We went with a flower bed since the bride wanted a garden/woodsy/shabby chic/industrial kind of feel.  I know it's a lot to include, but we feel it worked for us.  The industrial comes from the signs, sign letters, and the big industrial style lights hung over the entire room.  The shabby chic comes from the vintage table cloths, the lace and fabric banner, the lace and burlap runners, the old doors, old chairs, old fence pieces, and several other things in the room.  The woodsy feel comes from the birch trees all over the room, the birch structure over the cake area, the wood slices and wood sections on  each table as centerpieces, as well as all the moss, and the tree trunks scattered around the room.  The brides colors for this wedding was pink and green in various shades.  The bed below like I said, is the flower bed where guests left their gifts.  We had a mailbox for cards, and the gifts were left around the bed.  We painted an old bed frame white.  We put the frame of the bed together and then instead of a mattress on the bed, we filled that area with empty totes from the things we brought down to decorate the room with.  It really worked out as a great storage place believe it or not.  Then we picked up this huge screen or privacy screening fabric that came with ivy all over it.  We cut that in half and put it over the bed frame and totes so it looked kind of like a comforter just like we were making the bed almost.  Then we secured the ends of the screening fabric using green pipe cleaners.  Once that was done we used all the dollar store flowers the bride had picked up to fill the bed with flowers like she wanted.  Honestly, we probably could have used a few more to go down the sides of the bed a little.  Then I made a sign that we attached to the headboard that said, "Thyme to Turnip the Beet!"  to go with the garden theme and since we had a DJ it went along with everything too.  I added some plants from around our church building, a step, a watering can, but I forgot the little grass or straw slippers I had to found at DI to tuck nicely next to the bed.  Oh well.  



One thing the couple wanted at their reception was a candy table.  This was the looks of the table before we put it together and added candy.  The groom has a weakness for gummy bears and YES, we had them on the table along with all kinds of other candy mostly in the pink and green colors, but some things were not like the gummy bears and the gumballs.  We put the candy table between the gift area and the receiving line area because we just thought it needed to be in a separate area away from the food to kind of spread out the traffic areas a bit.  


I'm sure I've got a photo or two of the candy table with the big flower bouquet and the candy in the jars.  My SIL, KeriAnne did a great job of organizing and putting this together for us.  Thank you KeriAnne!

Next was the receiving line.  We used the doors from my home, a vintage couch from a dear friend in another ward in our stake.  (her husband just got called as Bishop too!  EEK!)  I had this chair I picked up about a year ago sitting around the house that I intended to redo the seat cushion of, but never got around to doing it.  So, I painted the chair parakeet green and put sheets of moss on the seat and made it look like flowers were growing out the seat to go with the garden them.  The chandelier lampshade really turned out nice, I think.  Take a look.





The next thing you saw was the wall on the other side of the doors.  On the wall we added one of those huge prints we picked up at OfficeMax that measured 36 by whatever size the photo would allow for less than $4.00 each.  We had six of these photos.  Underneath the photo was the mirror I picked up at DI for $15.00 turned chalkboard with the couples dates and story.  Lexi did a nice job writing things out, don't you think?  Then Danielle had these cute signs she added above the photo that said, welcome to our story and I'm her MR, or I'm his MRS.  Cute!!! 


On the other side of the large double doors and a few tables we had this cute screen we put photos of the couple on for everyone to look at.  


This was one of the boxes the groom's father made for us to help block off the dance floor area.  Danielle picked up these 8 foot and 4 foot tall birch trees that light up and we put them inside the boxes with a plant we borrowed from my other SIL, Kim.  Underneath all the tables we had floor length white tablecloths which were nice.  

This was the drink station.  We served water and lemonade.  We wanted to make homemade root beer, but the time just got away from us and it didn't happen.  Darn it!

On the stage is where we put the industrial letters I've been talking a lot about lately.  We borrowed the fence pieces from my SIL and put the letters down in front of them.  Then we added a few more plants from the building, a birch tree, wood pieces and called it done.  This was the backdrop for the food area.  


The cake area was a miracle in and of itself!  No joke!  I really didn't think this was going to happen and I was a little bummed about that.  Thanks to the groom's father who came to my rescue the day before the wedding and saved the day my vision became a reality....even though I failed to get the 8 foot long birch poles like I had intended.  Luckily I had two benches to use to help raise the structure up so the bride and groom could be under it to cut the cake without having to hunch over.  LOL!  We decorated this structure with greenery and lots of flowers.  Then we added these cool ferry berries that would fade in and out for some cool effects.  It made it look like there were fire flies all around the room.  On the canopy over the cake, on all of the tables, and in several other areas around the room.  They were a cool addition to our tea lights and I'm glad I found them.  As it turns out they lasted about 3 plus days each until they finally faded away.  

The cake stands were also made by the father of the groom.  Pretty cool, aren't they?

The bride developed a liking to garden gnomes as we kept working on this wedding, so I found this bride and groom set and thought they were perfect for the cake table.  In fact, the lady that made them lives in Canada and they were specially made to our specifications.  When I saw them for the first time before we specified colors I couldn't get over just how much they already looked just like Danielle and Chance.  HA HA!  Don't you think they look like the bride and groom?  LOL!  The only specifications I made were to have the brides flowers be pink.  I could have asked for a pink dress, but I liked her better in the white.  Besides it would have looked a little funny in pink I think.  Aren't they cute??!!  

The bride didn't want cake.  She wanted cupcakes.  We baked cupcakes at her house a couple of days before the reception and then our amazing Relief Society President iced all of them a couple of hours before the reception.  She is something.  The cake I baked for the bride and groom to cut ended up being iced and decorated by our Bishop's wife.  How amazing are these women?  I couldn't have done it without all of them.  Our Relief Society President enlisted the help of one of her counselors, (the other one just had a new baby and was going to be sealed to her sweet husband the next day...so she was busy herself.) my good friend Bev, and one of the bishopric counselor's wives as well.  These women were running the entire night and I really don't know what I would have done without them!  They were so awesome and I owe them so much for all that they did to help me make that day turn out so wonderful!  

You see, before all of this wedding planning got started and well before my sabbatical started I vowed to not enlist the help of anyone.  Partly because I wanted to do as much as I could myself, and partly because I didn't want us to become another burden for our friends and family.  Everyone had already done so much for us and I just didn't think I should ask for anything more than what everyone had already been doing.  Well, in some ways I was a fool and a crazy first time mother of a bride because everyone but me knew I would need some help eventually.  Yet, they let me do everything I could and then came running when I couldn't do absolutely everything myself.  I have to say, I was completely humbled by how many people came running to help me.  I honestly could not believe it!  From our Relief Society, neighbors and friends, family members upon family members on my side of our family, on Kevin's side of our family, on the Groom's side of the family, and everyone in between.  It brought me to tears by the time the reception was over because I just could not believe that all these people cared enough to help out so much.  I honestly thought some of them just wanted to see me fall flat on my face so they could point and laugh at me when I failed.  (not all of them, but a select few would do that, or so I thought.)  But that isn't what happened.  Not at all.  In fact, these people, our people...my people, had us running like a well oiled machine that night.  Then when it came time to clean up, they had us packed up, mopped up, cleaned up, and home by 10:30 p.m.!  It was absolutely amazing and I cannot thank them all enough!

These next couple of photos are of the walls with the big photos and the signs and flowers the bride had.  Some of the signs had batteries in them so they could light up.  It was pretty cool!



When we first planned out this reception we intended to do a video of the couple showing past photos of the bride and groom, but we never got around to setting that up.  In fact, we assigned the video to the bride's brother, but the brides Mom and Dad never got around to sorting through the giant pile of family photos, so we failed.  This little sitting area was really meant to be a place where people could come and watch the intended video.  It turned out to just be a sitting area.  No video.  Sorry Bride and Groom.
The next couple of photos are just a could of views of the overall room....and the DJ in one of them.  He was an awesome DJ, except for a swear word slip.  He is a high councilmen in Danielle's stake that has been doing this kind of thing for many years.  He kept the night on track and made sure everyone knew when things were happening and he got everyone up dancing and enjoying themselves.  I'm glad the groom insisted on a DJ because he made the night!  I would suggest a DJ to anyone planning a wedding.  In fact, there are two things I would tell a couple to invest in.  A great photographer, a DJ, and lots and lots of stamps for the invites and the thank yous.








These next 10 photos are of the tables.  We used about one and half square feet of moss in the center of the table, then added a 10-12 inch wood slice, followed by teapots, teacups and saucers, flowers, gems, flower peddles, gnomes, birdcages, and lots and lots of tea lights, ferry berries, love birds, candy dishes, and whatever else we could come up with.  We had so much stuff for the centerpieces that we probably could have decorated about 90 different tables if we tried. 











Lexi took this panorama picture of the reception.  It looks pretty cool!


And the photos of the happy couple







There are so many great photos of these two!  There are just a couple of the gazillion the photographer took even before the actual wedding.  In fact, Danielle said she just got the wedding day photos from the photographer.  I can't wait to see them!  

After our reception here in Arizona the groom's family had an Open House in Montana.  The Open House was at the home of a former Bishop in their beautiful home.  His wife, Deann made most of the food.  One of our favorites were these shredded beef sandwiches.  We didn't eat any of them at the Open House.  In fact, we ended up eating some of them the next day and we left off the provolone cheese and the chipotle sauce, but OH!  they were so good!  Now Lexi is craving those sandwiches.  So, I went on a search for a recipe close to the ones we had in Montana.  Here is what we found.  Can you say Yum?! 

Beer Braised Beef Sandwich Recipe (Minus the Beer, of course!)

beer braised beef sandwich
beer braised beef sandwiches with chipotle cream cheese sauce
Ingredients
    for the beef:
  • 4 lb beef chuck roast (approx)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (12 oz) bottle dark beer
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • for the chipotle cream cheese sauce:
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp chile en adobo, minced (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • salt, to taste
Directions
    to make the beef:
  1. If you're making it in the oven, preheat oven to 275 degrees F. If making it in a slow cooker, no preheating required.
  2. Season roast with salt and pepper, then sprinkle flour on both sides.
  3. In large cast iron dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  4. When hot, add roast and sear on both sides until a crisp brown crust forms.
  5. Remove roast from pot and set on a place.
  6. Add onion, carrots, and celery to pot, and toss with oil left in pan. Add another tablespoon of oil if you feel it's needed. Season with salt.
  7. Add garlic, toss around, and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Add beer, scraping the drippings from the bottom of the pot, then add beef broth and rosemary, stirring everything.
  9. At this point, if you're going to cook in a slow cooker, place roast in slow cooker and pour vegetable mixture and all liquid over roast. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours, until meat easily shreds.
  10. If you're going to continue cooking in dutch oven, return roast to pot. Cover, then place in 275 degree oven and cook for 4 hours, until meat easily shreds.
  11. Once meat is tender from either cooking method, remove meat from slow cooker or dutch oven and place in large bowl. Shred the meat with two forks.
  12. Add dijon mustard to broth and vegetable mixture.
  13. Using an immersion blender, puree vegetable and beer mixture.
  14. Return shredded meat to slow cooker or dutch oven and stir to mix.
  15. Pile beef and sauce on sandwich bun, on top of mashed potatoes, or noodles.
  16. Top with chipotle cream cheese
  17. Enjoy!
  18. to make the chipotle cream cheese sauce:
  19. In small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  20. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes.
  21. Add garlic, then cook one more minute.
  22. Add chile en adobo, cumin, oregano, tomato paste, white wine vinegar, and brown sugar. Stir well and cook 1 more minute.
  23. Add cream cheese, stirring until melted and smooth.
  24. Add milk and mix well.
  25. Season with salt, to taste
  26. Simmer over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
  27. Slather over beef sandwiches.
  28. Enjoy!
Letters from our missionary.  Time to catch up.  I have two letters to share.

Hey Everyone,
        How's it goin? This week was a great one.  We taught that youth Jxxxxx
a couple more times with some of the priests. It's fun to get them out
because I remember back when the elders were trying to get me out of
the house haha. Jxxxxx is still on date for May 7. He's super pumped
and so is the rest of his family, his mom especially.
        Today is trainer calls so that means transfers are next week. They
would be today except for that darn 7 week cycle. It's been a long
one. I think it's because I've been in this area for a long time. Over
a third of my mission will have been spent here. It's also probably
because I've been in the same apartment as Elder Holtom and Elder
Nutall for a really long time. If there is any place to be for a long
time it's here though.
        Yesterday we were teaching a member and after he asked if we wanted
to do lunch today. We of course said yes. He made us decide on the
place and at first we said a really good Mexican food place down the
street from us. He rejected that and said "guys you don't go out much
to eat do you?" Of course we don't!!! Haha so we are going to some
swanky place to get steak and lobster hahah.
        This week is going to be a service filled one. Tomorrow we're going
to wave you care center to first help out like we normally do, and
then we're going to help them set up for a party for us volunteers.
The next days after that were helping a lady in the ward move and get
her house ready to put on the market. It should be pretty fun.
        Well I gotta go get some of my shopping done before we trek over to
this place were meeting our member. I will talk to you all later.

Love,

Elder Schmidt
Sent from my iPad

Hey Everyone,

I'm in my new area. I got here yesterday. It is a very
small town with a very small branch. It's going to be exciting.  Elder
Matson is a cool guy. He's pretty quiet, but very smart and understands
a lot about missionary work already. I'm only his second companion.
It's kinda weird this is the first time I've been older then my
companion in the mission. The district that I'm over is all sisters
besides my companion and I so I'm pretty much a stl (sister training
leader). The new apartment I'm in is super nice it's just Elder Matson
and I which is good because that helps me focus a lot better. This
week is going to be a lot of finding people that the other elders
taught and figuring out the area.  Hopefully all goes well. I got a few
opportunities to move back to Darien when I get home. Mostly just
internships for investment companies, but I need to go to college first
hahah. Well I will let you know how this week goes, but as far as last
week went it was pretty boring haha. Bye

Love,

Elder Schmidt
Sent from my iPad

The other day I received a message from an old friend I've known since ninth grade seminary, but because I was knee deep, no more like neck deep in wedding stuff I couldn't stop to talk to her about a few things, so I sent her a message today.  I couldn't get over some of the things she said she appreciates about my blog and my example.  Honestly, I never thought that about being an example here on my blog.  To be honest, this blog has been therapeutic for me and has helped me work through a few things.  So, when she said those things about me and about the things I've shared I was floored and quite shocked...and humbled by her sweet words.  I had absolutely no idea and that means so much to me.  Wow!  Thank you dear friend.  I hope you know how much I appreciate your sweet words and am honored to help you in anyway I can. 

It's been an amazing couple of weeks!  Weeks filled with all kinds of emotions and things, but most of all, weeks filled with love and appreciation for all that we have and those we share it with.  It's been absolutely wonderful!  AND, it's been absolutely hard work too!  But, that being said, I would do it all again if I had to...and I'm sure I will with when it comes time for my other children to get married.  Take care my friends and we will talk again soon.  

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