Scraps of Life

Life As a Scrapbooking Newlywed

Happy Anniversary – To ME!

A whole year since we were married is just impossibly hard to believe. Wasn’t I just getting all of the final details together and making sure everything would run as smoothly as possible? Wasn’t I just get phone calls from the guys who had questions about where everything went despite the detailed instructions with pictures we gave them? (Read jokingly, it was funny. We were never mad)

Wasn’t I just waiting anxiously in the nursery at church watching my two flower girls play with each other, wanting nothing more than to get to Matt at the other end of that aisle?

Apparently not. We’ve been through the best summer, fall, winter and spring of my life and we did it together. We had ups and we had downs but we did it together and it flew by so quickly I can’t even find the words to describe it. It was filled with love, laughter, joy, tears, chance, silliness and many other things that this life has to offer.

To start the day off right, we each ate a small sliver of the top tier of of wedding cake that still smelled and tasted just as fresh as that day one year ago. Amazing, I tell you. Downright amazing.

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We decided to celebrate by treating ourselves to dinner at the Riverfront Club in the ballpark and nicer seats that usual at the game. Originally, the game was scheduled for the afternoon but with it being a Reds versus Cardinals game, ESPN decided to make it the Sunday Night Baseball game. Clearly, the logical thing to do is make a sign saying it’s our anniversary and try to get on ESPN. Sadly, this did not happen but we did, however, make it onto the jumbotron. Matt held the sign up above our heads for every break between innings and it only took until the 8th before we were shown.


Dinner was fantastic. The Riverfront Club is a buffet that offers some pretty fancy choices at atmosphere. Calamari, beef cut specifically for you, fresh cheeses, salads, fruit, etc. Matt decided to order us an entire bottle of champagne to celebrate and it was delicious.

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The only thing that would have been better was if the Reds had won. Thanks to our sign, we had all kinds of people wishing us happy anniversary and shooting smiles our way.

To rewind a little bit in the day, with our afternoon free, Matt’s brother Pat treated us to a free movie complete with popcorn and a drink. He works at this theater and when we got there, everyone behind the counter was clapping. The cutest part? It wasn’t even his idea. These coworkers of his just decided to do it on their own. Hangover 3, it’s hilarious. Stay after the credits. So worth it in every way.

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Reach for the Moon

Even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars.

Okay, enough corniness. šŸ˜‰ I crossed another thing off of my Day Zero Project list!

Wednesday I used my community service day from work to finally volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and I can tell you that it will for sure not be the last time I volunteer with that organization. Myself and two coworkers spent the morning putting insulation into the basement and cutting the blue insulation to go between the beams. We had to get a little creative with some of them when it came to pipes and wires getting in the way but it was a fun puzzle for us. Meanwhile, two other coworkers were building shelving in the various closets and another was all the way in the once useless top floor grouting shower tile.


When we broke for lunch we had to get creative yet again because no one, including the Subway delivery guy, remembered plates. We improvised though. Tops of plastic cookie containers make great plates.

After lunch we continued with the our previous duties and then did a lot of clean-up while learning more about the wonderful program that is Habitat. We also got to see the original plans of the house and the renovation floor plans. Very interesting stuff. We even got to meet the home owner! The site leaders of this house signed on to the project as their thesis and they even have their own blog!

I’ve also decided to add some pictures where possible to the items marked as done on my list to add some more flair to it.

In other news, I got a part-time job at a tutoring company (SO EXCITED), the third book in the Divergent series has finally been named and there’s only 164 more days until it is mine to read, I tried (and loved) yet another Pinterest recipe with edamame and in less than a month, I’ll be married for year.

Where does the time GO?

Tomorrow is my brother-in-law’s college graduation and next weekend we’re going to Columbus for an extended weekend trip. We’re seeing Les Mis and I am so excited!

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Christmas as a Married Couple: Take 1

Matt and I have our first Christmas living together and being married down and I must say it was very pleasant and not as rushed as I had originally thought it would be. We were able to wake up at a decent hour and open our gifts to each other before worrying about rushing to get ready and out the door with our gifts for others. I technically already had my Christmas present from him as he bought it for me in Gatlinburg but I bought him a PS Vita with the game he had been wanting for a long time. He was very excited!

This is my wonderful Christmas present. Beauty and the Beast canvas print by Thomas Kinkade!

Not surprisingly, the best part of the day with his family was watching our niece open her presents, play with them and interact with everyone. The first thing she opened was this adorable little Mickey’s Clubhouse couch from Grandma and Grandpa that she kept opening and closing from a couch to a bed and vice versa. She even stayed on it to open a few of her gifts. We put the gift we got her, theĀ Fischer Price Little People Zoo Talkers Animal Sounds Zoo together for her (and her parents of course) and she loved playing with it. It was very simple to put together and only took Matt and I maybe 15 minutes once we had all the right tools. You really only need a phillips head screwdriver and three AA batteries. It comes with everything else you need but I digress. I see animal expansions for that in her future. She got a few books and some other toys, all of which was so much fun to watch her open.

All of the adults were treated well by Santa as well. I got a super warm and adorable scarf/hat set, a sweater, an adorably decorated candle, and the Broadway soundtrack to Les Mis just to name a few. It was great to spend time with Matt’s family.

We left his parents and headed back to my parents, stopping to feed Baxter and pick up round two of gifts to give out before making our final Christmas stop. Dinner at my parents was delicious and my plate was made up mostly of green bean casserole because it’s amazing and I could eat my weight in it. šŸ™‚

Gifts there are always fun because it’s so many people in one small room all opening them and grandma makes fun noises of excitement every time another gift is handed to her. Dad loved the beer glass I got him from ThinkGeek and made the same face I imagine he’d make when I stumbled across it and knew he had to have it.

Matt and I got this really awesome Reds mirror/poster from my aunt and uncle. It even came with a catcher’s mask – a perfect addition to our baseball themed living room. We also got some movies (including the best version of A Christmas Carol ever – The Muppet Christmas Carol), clothes, books and lots of gift cards. We’re already planning a day at the movies to use all of the AMC gift cards we received. New Years Day – Les Mis and This is 40! Now THAT is a way to ring in the new year if you ask me.

The best part of the evening there however, was playing Would You Rather?. Oh the answers and trains of thought that came from some of those crazy, gross, absurd questions. If you’ve never played that game, I highly recommend it. We played with cards but I just found this online if you’re interested.

I’m so glad to have the family and friends that we have in our lives and we are extremely blessed. More blessings are coming on Saturday when my mom’s extended family is celebrating Christmas together as one big happy bunch. My aunt with cancer is expected to come and it would be the best gift ever if you ask me. I won’t need anything else that day if she’s well enough to come out and spend time with our enormous and loving family.

I hope anyone reading this had a wonderful Christmas and will have a blessed New Year. Stay safe in all of your celebrating. šŸ™‚

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Some Old Favorites – Scrapbook Pages

A while back I had taken some pictures of some of a few of my favorite scrapbook pages to show some friends, so I figured it was a great place to begin. Speaking of beginnings, my love for scrapbooking began when my cousin, Randy, bought me a picture book for Christmas the year before we went to Europe together. It wasn’t actuallyĀ meant for scrapbooking, but I decided it would be fun and I’ve been hooked and improving ever since.

When I took these pictures, I tried my best to reduce glare but it was difficult. I think in the future, I will take the pages out of the protective sleeves and find the most well-lit place in our apartment. If you have any tips, feel free to share.

For starters, here’s a page from one of Matt and I’s trips to an adorable county in Indiana. I just love the simplicity of this page. Since I did this a while ago, I can’t really recall where everything came from but I do know that the heart punch came from Creative Memories.Ā PSA – It is on the “While Supplies Last” list if you like it.





This one, as you can tell from the picture in the top left of the page, is about our engagement on September 18, 2010. Matt was a sports writer at the time, but every few months he was to write a column about anything he wanted. The first one after he proposed, he wrote about everything leading up to that moment for that day. This page is very special to me and showcases how you can incorporate a newspaper article into your scrapbook pages.




I’ll admit it. We’re obsessed. One of my scrapbooks is completely made up from Reds related pictures. Games, Redsfest, etc. This is the title page for that album. For games pages, I always try to remember our tickets. At any given time, I have old tickets forĀ something in my wallet just waiting to be scrapbooked.





This was from RedsFest the first year we went. If you don’t know, the Nasty Boys were a trio of Reds relief pitchers in the 90’s, most importantly, 1990. I decided to take a play on that by putting pictures of my husband and his cousin on the page with the picture of their jerseys.





Don’t have any pictures? No problem. I cut the front page off the Playbill from Aronoff’s showing of Mary Poppins we went to, typed up a synopsis of the day on Word, put the tickets in andĀ embellishedĀ it a bit. I love the brightness of it. (Pay no attention to the “Relay for” bubbles as that is the opposite page)





This is one of my most fun scrapbook pages. It’s from the Merry-Go Round Museum in Sandusky, OH and if you’re ever up there, it is so worth the money. I loved setting this page up like a little scrapbook merry go round.









Last, for now, but not least is the page from New Years Eve 2010. Fun background pages can really make a scrapbook page design.

So there you have it, my first installment of scrapbook pages. Feel free to pin them and use them as inspiration if you so desire!

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Adventures in Baking

Today was a momentous occasion in the life of Jess. To understand this, you must know that I avoided all things cooking and baking growing up like the plague. I haven’t used most major kitchen appliances besides the oven, stove, microwave and the toaster. The only cookies I’ve baked up until today were the idiot-proof pre-cut cookies at Christmas and Valentines Day. Today, I took on this recipe for Jell-O cookies I found on Pinterest:

Jello cookies

jello cookies

  • Yield:Ā 2 dozen
  • Prep:Ā 20 mins
  • Cook:Ā 10 mins
  • Ready In:Ā 30 mins


  • 3.5 cupsĀ flour
  • 1 tspĀ baking powder
  • 1.5 cupsĀ salted butterĀ softened
  • 1 cupĀ sugar
  • 1Ā egg
  • 1 tspĀ vanilla
  • 4 (3 oz) pkgĀ jelloĀ You can use any flavors you want (I’ve been using 2 packets and still had some leftover)


  1. Beat butter in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla. Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  2. Divide dough into 4 sections. Sprinkle 2 Tb of jello onto each section. Knead together with dough. You may want to add a few drops of food coloring to make the dough more vibrant.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in the extra jello from the packets. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Flatten with bottom of bowl.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 min at 350 on lined baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets 2 min. Remove to wire racks and cool completely.

Credit toĀ

Once I got past being afraid of the mixer (have your laugh, go ahead), everything else went smoothly and it was super fun. Next time, I know I’m going to make them smaller and not put nearly as much Jell-O Ā on the 1-inch balls. These are super sugary – but delicious. I chose strawberry, berry blue and lemon to use. Strawberry is one of my favorites so I actually used that for 2 of the sections instead of one.

I’d consider them a success as Matt has already eaten one of each and I’ve had a strawberry. He declared the strawberry his favorite. Here are my beautiful cookies!

Other than that, we only left the house to get a few things from the store and go to Hot Heads. It was one of the best Saturdays ever. I also scrapbooked a little more of our honeymoon album. I’m in to the Hollywood Studios portion of our honeymoon and so glad to be back into scrappin’!!

Last night we went out to Larosa’s and a movie with Matt’s parents. I was never really into the Bourne series because it confused me but this one was really good. Matt even said that it answered some questions on how Jason is able to do all of the things he can do. Now I want to watch the others again. My brother would be proud. One thing that I did call them out immediately on was her fake passport photo. She was wearing her glasses. I have glasses and I can tell you for a fact they don’t allow you to wear them in the pictures for passports. Boom. Caught.

After the movie, we went to back to their house to see Max and Matt’s dad told me that besides the people who live there, Max has warmed up to me the most. šŸ™‚ He’s so adorable!! He looks like grandma’s old dog Pebbles and last night, as weird as this sounds, he even smelled like him.

Tomorrow we’re taking Matt’s sister, her husband and our niece to her first Reds game. It’s a Cardinals one and whoever wins this one *cough*us*cough* wins the series. She’ll get a first game certificate and a Gapper cup (that they only give to kids…jerks). We even got seats in the shade for her. Heres to hoping she’ll enjoy it!

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Surprise parties are by far some of the most fun parties, especially when you actually pull it off like we did today for my cousin’s birthday. Her kids are awesome and did such a wonderful job planning and conspiring with friends that she was completely shocked and had a wonderful time. She totally deserved it!

On the way to this party, we stopped by a liquor store to pick up some beer/wine for said party and happened to come across some specialty wine we just had to have. Barry Larkin Merlot and Homer Bailey Chardonnay, on sale, two for cheaper than on normally costs. Since Barry Larkin is my favorite, we’re taking a chance I’ll actually enjoy this Merlot. At least we know dad likes it so it won’t go to waste.

But….I’m keeping the bottle for our baseball wall. That’s mine. šŸ™‚

In completely other “news”, Baxter can be so funny. Our bedroom and dining room windows are set up to where if you are looking out one of the windows, youĀ can look into the other room. So a right angle outside. It was gorgeous today, so we had the windows open and allowed Baxter to sit on the windowsill. Then we proceeded to go into the other room and he was confused as to how we were over there, meowing his cute little face off. Later today he waits to lick my fingers from the chips I snack on, as if we never feed him.

Tomorrow is youth Sunday, so my brother is playing/singing again. I’m loving that he’s getting out of his shell and sharing his talent with the church. Love. After church, we’re going to the Reds game with a bunch of church members for Faith Day, a sell out, complete with after-game concert from Mercy Me.

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NKU is Division One Now!

Last night Matt and I went out to dinner with his parents at a little place in town called the Hayloft Tavern. We got our typical appetizer of fried pickles but I was somewhat disappointed because half of the pickles were falling out of the breading. They still tasted good so no big deal IĀ suppose. His parents were late because there was traffic pretty much everywhere and they were pretty worn out by the time they got there. Sadly, they were understandably unable to make it to the NKU exhibition game afterwards.

Matt and I still went and it was so much fun! Not only did we have a great time, but we found out Alumni get a discount! (Really great news since I can’t use my all-card anyone as they’ve changed the design and would know I’m not a current student…) We lost 2-1 but it was a pretty good game none the less, and almost more importantly, a good crowd. We’re looking forward to going back several times to watch them integrate into D1 competition.

My Reds have forgotten how to play baseball and I’m hoping they remember by tomorrow. That’s all I’m saying about that. :-p

Matt surprised me with Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games today and we are going to play it together!

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Water Balloon Fights, Scavenger Hunts & Baseball

So it’s been a few fun days, yet again!

Right now we’re relaxing from going out to breakfast with my mom and grandma, shopping with them and meeting my in-laws new dog, Max. He’s adorable, in case you were wondering and I love him already.

Wednesday, I don’t really remember anythingĀ particularity exciting beyond seeing a bunch of people in Reds gear walking around downtown with reusable bags I was jealous of. They were also apparently on some kind of scavenger hunt.

Thursday was one of those days that went from normal to awesome pretty quickly. It was one of my closest cousin’s 22nd birthday and she had just finished all of her college courses, so she decided to celebrate (and rightfully so). She invited Matt & I, my brother, her boyfriend, parents and her brother to a water balloon fight in pitch black darkness. It was some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time and I don’t care if that makes me a kid. I don’t really ever plan on “growing up”.

At one point, her mom had gone back in the house claiming it was so she wouldn’t get wet but filled up some more water balloons for us to play with. Her son was sneaky and kept one of those with him once we had finished the rest off and waited for her to come back out. This time, she had one balloon for each of us and on his way over, he popped the balloon right over her head and grabbed another. We decided to gang up on the birthday girl and were very successful. šŸ™‚

Friday was one of the longest days ever at work, especially the last half hour. It was almost torture. Probably because I was looking forward to going to Goettafest and the Reds game with two of our best friends.

While waiting for Matt to get off work, I went to Barnes and Noble to kill some time which apparently involved trying to read and falling asleep in a chair. I did see one of my favorite former coworkers from Home Depot and got to talk with him for a while about the wedding and his teaching. It was a wonderful surprise!

At Goettafest, I tried goetta macaroni and cheese while Matt got a goetta burrito and devoured it in about 2 seconds. Okay, maybe that’s anĀ over exaggerationĀ but it was pretty quick. I chose toĀ savorĀ mine…or I just eat slow. Your choice. Our friends enjoyed a goettaway (3-way with goetta) and some goetta conies. While in line for Matt’s burrito, we ran into even more friends of ours, one of which is the reigning champion for the goetta coney eating contest. We’re going to cheer him on from afar tomorrow as we’ll be at the Reds game…again.

Reds game was nothing short of amazing. It was a sell out crowd vastly made up of screaming Reds fans having an absolutely wonderful time cheering on their first place, best record in baseball, team. The environment was full of inexplicable excitement! We won, got to see Marty’s head shaved and saw the best fireworks show we’ll probably ever witness.

Marty also managed to make me cry because as soon as all of his hair was gone, he unbuttoned his Reds jersey to reveal a blue shirt with yellow lettering that said “I’m still me”. Then he started talking about this organization and the children with cancer and blood disease that it supports while walking up to two of those children and giving them a hug and kiss on the forehead. I was gone. He told the story of how those children reacted when they heard Marty was going to shave his head. One of them said something along the lines of “He’ll be just like us.” Lost it again.

Oh, and the fans alone raised the $20,000 for the Reds community fund for him to get this done on the field. With corporate donations, the total soared to $50,000. I love this team and everyone involved with it.

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10 Game Winning Streak

So the Reds were on fire for the last 10 games prior to last night’s game. Then they decided to come home and completely fall apart. We were there and we left when it was 10-4, which is something we never ever do. Neither one of us felt like being exhausted because we stayed to watch our team get their butts kicked into the ground. WeĀ did get to walk down to the new park with the colorful waterfalls and fountains, so that was nice. I really enjoyed it. Matt says we’ll take a picnic down there sometime soon. šŸ™‚

Another good thing about the 10 game winning streak? Marty is going to shave his head. I’ve heard Saturday since he has to shoot some commercials this week. Can hardly wait to see it.

We’ve been recording and watching as many Olympics as possible and it’s been wonderful. I’m pretty sad that we missed the opening ceremonies though. Stupid DVR ate it all up. We’ve been able to catch little bits and pieces of it with the other Olympic events but I need to look it up online to see if I can find more.

Sunday, we got our photobook from our photographer and I am in love with it. He did such a fantastic job that I will never get sick of looking at it. I took it to work yesterday and spent probably an hour and a half showing it off around the office. Then the bus. It was so fun to share with others and I can’t wait to continue to do so with as many friends and family as possible.

My best friend found this picture and said it would be Matt & I except in Reds uniforms. I think it’s adorable and totally plan on doing this when we’re old enough.

In other news, I’m reading Tale As Old As Time – The Making of Beauty and the Beast right now as well as the Resolution for Women and I love it. It’s my absolute favorite Disney movie and I will love it for all eternity. It you enjoy that kind of thing, it has a lot of background information, drawings of characters and scenes the did and didn’t make the movie, etc. I’m not even finished and two parts have already made me cry.

1) They were talking about the ending when Beast is dying and how they knew they had struck gold with it because even the guys working on it had tears in their eyes. Not that I needed any more reasons to cry at that part.

2) They were talking about how Angela Landsbury was the perfect choice for Tale As Old As Time and how her softness and imperfection made the song perfect. I’ll admit I have an extra-soft spot for this song now because Matt surprised me at the reception by requesting it to be played and dancing with me. I love that man.

Tomorrow I have work and dinner with mom and several of our female friends/family for two of their birthdays. Going to Chucks (better known as O’Charleys)!

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Sweep Up Those Cards!

By Cards, I mean Cardinals.

Yesterday’s game was by far the most exciting game Matt and I have ever attended together, so much so that we’re watching it again, while keeping tabs on the current game as well. It was a sell-out game where most of the people stayed for the entire nail-biting experience. I’ve never been to a playoff game (yet) but the atmosphere of that game had to be akin to one. You could feel the energy, excitement and tension in the air just waiting to be released once it finally happened – the Reds swept the Cardinals in the first series after the All-Star break. Amazing.

Too bad that Votto has to have surgery to fix his torn meniscus and will be out for 3-4 weeks. At least it’s not close to playoff time. I just hope he heals well.

The bad news about being at one of the best games ever was that we didn’t get home until around 11:30pm and both of us had work early this morning. Thankfully I wasn’t exhausted all day but it would have been worth it even if I was. The day did drag but at least it wasn’t because I was tired. Just a case of the Mondays.

After work, however, I finally got to go out to my favorite scrapbooking store, Scraps Etc. and gather supplies to start our honeymoon album. I found so many Disney goodies and even made a stop at Hobby Lobby to get more including a 100 pack of multi-colored 12×12 scrapbooking pages on sale. That’ll last me a while. In theory, I will start working on it on Friday while Matt goes out with some of his guy friends. I can hardly wait!

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