Thursday, July 31, 2014

A New Chapter: Our First Home!


Last Friday was a monumental day for Carl and me. We are now proud homeowners! For me, I always figured someday I would own something but I would probably have to rent first. Carl on the other hand had a dream of owning a home by the time he was 25. That dream came true just a few months after turning 25.

Our new home is still in New Jersey but closer to both of our jobs in a lovely little community with lots of paths to walk, a tennis court and a community pool. I am excited because I will now be within 10 minutes of both a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe’s, which happen to be my two favorite food stores. Garlicky Kale salad here I come! Woohoo. (;

Before we move we have a lot of work to do. The place is in really great condition to live in now, but we want to paint the walls and tile the bathroom and kitchen floors. We want to make it our own. That means you will be seeing some home improvement/décor posts in the next two months. Look out!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I'll Be Missing You, Cookie


Somewhere between those little paws pouncing on your toes and those last cozy moments in your arms your furry friend becomes your family. I think one of the things that make losing a pet so difficult is that she was always there for you. Whether you had the worst day of your life or the best, when you walked through your front door she was always there to greet you with her cute grin, waggling tail and complete adoration of you.

Last week, I lost my cat, Cookie. Truly my cat was family to me. We picked her out of a litter of mostly boys and two girls. She was the runt of the litter and when my brother and I saw her we knew she was the one. That was in 1996 when I was only six years old. I don’t remember much of my life before her, but I remember almost everything after. The times she scratched me when I would bother her, the times she would walk up to me and sit next to me when I cried, the Christmas mornings where she would quickly hop into every empty box that was tossed to the floor, when she would sniff out and investigate every grocery bag, every person, every "new" thing that came in the door, always exploring and bathing in the sunlight.


From making puddle soup in the sidewalk holes, to teenage drama and to my engagement, my cat has been my best friend, my sister, my kid. I love her and always will. She will always have a piece of my heart.

See you again someday my cute little fluffy black kitty cat!








Last time holding her in my arms <3


How I'll always remember you... bathing in the sunlight.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Beginnings

Hello. My name is Carl, Natalie's husband to be. This is my first post on Something Jersey. Just to give you a little insight about me, I am a very outgoing, fun, positive, slightly goofy but caring guy. I have an interest in almost everything. My life has been blessed and I am forever grateful to have found the love of my life, Natalie. We are in the process of so many exciting things including planning our wedding and buying our first home. I just want to acknowledge how creative, smart, and hardworking she is. Without her, all of these things couldn't be possible. This week has been a bit challenging and overwhelming. I try to always cheer Natalie up with some of my corny humor. Laughter is always the best remedy. As our wedding date approaches and when we get settled in our home, so many decisions have to be made and new responsibilities will be taken on. I am confident and believe that as long as we stick together, remain positive and have fun, everything will always work out. Once we get settled in our new home, we have a ton of home improvement projects in mind. First, we are going to paint everything, do some tile work, and put in a new vanity in the bathroom. Eventually, we are going to upgrade our kitchen appliances hopefully toward the end of the year. I am going to attempt the DIY method with a strong emphasis on "attempt" hoping that I can add some character and modernize some rooms without totally obliterating the place. I have not yet ventured into handyman work but I am very eager to learn and develop. It goes back to having confidence in yourself. Enjoy your day!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Recipe: Mini Hamburger Dessert

Let me tell you a little story about these yummy hamburger look-a-likes. When I was little, every summer our neighborhood would have Court picnic, complete with a big tent, chairs, stories, games and delicious food. Each year my neighbor, Debbie, would make this bite-sized dessert that looked like a bunch of mini hamburgers. When you are a kid, everything miniature is exciting, from golf, to animals, you get the idea, the fact that this dessert had my favorite candy (York Peppermint Patties) in it made it that much more exciting. I would eat a couple, then when it got dark I would sneak under the table and pop my hand up to grab a few more. I can't eat as many now as I did then (they're pretty sweet!), but I still love to indulge in these little burgers when I do make them.

There really is no set measurements, the more ingredients you buy the more you can make. I'd say one package of everything makes about 30 or little more. 


What you need:

1 box of Vanilla Wafers
1 jar of Vanilla Frosting
1 small package of coconut flakes
1 large bag of mini York Peppermint Patties (or two smaller bags)
Honey
Sesame Seeds
Green Food Dye (Red is Optional)

Prep:

1. Prepare a bowl of coconut flakes with a few drops of green food dye, mix well.
2. Unwrap all the individual peppermint patties.
3. Optional to separate a little bit of the vanilla frosting and dye it red. I say optional because it takes a whole lot of red food dye to even get a red color. You can just leave all frosting white, as it looks like "mayonnaise".

Assemble:

Now the fun part, and this is fun for kids to help out with.
1. Put a little white icing on the bottom of each wafer.
2. Stick on a peppermint pattie.
3. Add a little more icing (red if you have it)
4. Press on or flip over and press the pattie/wafer combo into the coconut.
5. Ice the bottom of another wafer and press on top gently.
6. Add a tiny drop of honey to the top of the "burger" and spread it a little.
7. Sprinkle a pinch of sesame seeds on the honey to stick.

Eat up!

Hope you can enjoy this recipe at one of your picnics this summer. It is a lot of fun, everyone loves them and raves over how cute they are. The recipe is really simple and I'm positive that kids will fly at the chance to help out with this one!

Bonus!
A couple years ago I put together a slideshow of how to make these on my old YouTube channel. Watch the video below.



Saturday, July 19, 2014

Invitation Assembly Done Right

One of the wedding to-do items that I am most excited about is the invitations. Once those babies go out, the countdown is really winding down! What I did not realize about the invitations is that with them comes a lot of other to-dos, including assembly. I don't know what I was thinking when I ordered these, but everything came in a giant box all in separate pieces and somebody has to put them together. I thought it would be easy. Ha, ha, joke's on me!

The task was pretty daunting, so I enlisted the help of three of my closest friends two of which are bridesmaids! Let me tell you, when someone offers help, take it! If my mom and I were to assemble those things by ourselves, we would have been sitting at our dining room table for two days. Of course, when you have helpers don't forget to repay them with hospitality, it is the least you can do!

Since everyone came over in the late afternoon, pre-dinner snacks were the way to go. Some of the goodies I set out included:

Three different types of cheeses, sliced.
Apple slices.
Fresh baked Multi-Grain Beer Bread.
Spinach & Herb dip.
Feisty Fajita dip.
Baked Tortilla Chips.
Baked Potato Chips.
Baby Carrots.
Celery.
Chopped Strawberries.
Gourmet Dark & Milk Chocolate.

Oh, and can't forget the red wine! There is winery right outside of New Jersey in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that's called Sand Castle Winery, they make a delicious sweet red that tastes just like sangria, without the hassle of making sangria! The wine is called Claret and if you're ever in the area do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle. You'll thank me later. Doesn't hurt that the winery is in a gorgeous location overlooking the Delaware River.

Anyway, we set up everything on the table, claimed our assembly duties and then got to snacking. After that it was straight to work. No one left until around 7:30pm, so it took a good three hours to do the job. In the end, the invitations look beautiful and I can't wait to send them out in a few weeks! You'll have to see what they look like in a later post, but for now here are a few photos from last Saturday.

Oh and by the way... Praise God for great friends and an amazing mom! 
(These girls and I go way back, 2nd, 4th & 5th grade!)





Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Journey Begins

It was just last week that my fiancé, Carl, and I were talking about starting a blog. There are so many exciting events happening in our lives and also many people that ask us about them daily. So we decided to open up our journey to you! What does this mean? Everything is on the table. Wedding, house, future babes, life & love. You may read a recipe one day and the next an inspiring post on special quote or bible verse. You may see a before and after of a room in our house, and maybe a few snapshots from a football game we went to that weekend. Travel memories, book and movie reflections, product reviews, funny stories, the list goes on.

From engaged couple, to husband and wife, to mom and dad. I hope this blog can become a testament to living a real, faith-based, healthy, happy life, with the occasional bad day of course! You'll see posts from both Carl and I depending on who has something say that day, so be prepared for some posts with a male point-of-view! Someday I want to be able to look back through these pages and smile.

So where did the name "Something Jersey" come from you ask? Well, last weekend Carl and I went out to eat at a little Mexican restaurant (one of our favorite cuisines). While we were savoring the fresh guacamole and baked tortilla chips we were throwing out name ideas.

Me: "It has to be something Jersey, since we live here and most of the things we do will be here in Jersey." 
Carl: "How about that? Something Jersey?"
Me: "Hmm, okay, I like that!"

Simple as that. Most of our discussions are not that easy, but this one seemed effortless. Maybe it was meant to be? We'll find out in years to come, but FIRST, we have a wedding to finish planning, and my is it coming up fast! 87 days left, and lots to do. 

Check out some of our engagement photos from our shoot last Summer with our amazing photographer, Matt!






Have Faith in the Journey