Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Ross and I have a problem. We can't wait until Christmas Day to exchange gifts. It's just impossible! Last year, we exchanged gifts on the 21st or 22nd -- I can't quite remember (I always lose track of days when I'm not on vacation). This year, we made it to the 23rd. So we are improving!

Last year was extravagant. I spent about $250 on Ross to buy him a hard drive for his music techie stuff. He bought me a Le Creuset French Oven AND an engagement ring. This year, we're newlyweds. Did you know the word "newlyweds" is from the Latin phrase "newlius weddius," which means "really broke"? It's true.

Anyway, this year, we took it easy. Ross got me a pair of Old Navy fat pants and a Side Swipe attachment for my KitchenAid mixer (which, by the way, are extremely cool; check them out). I got Ross a pair of gloves and a book. It was a far cry from last Christmas.

But you know what? I have a husband this year. I think that makes up for it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wedding Photo Post!

It occurred to me a few days ago, as I was scouring through Shutterfly trying to put together a Christmas gift that cannot be mentioned here because several of my readers will be receiving said gift, that I have wedding pictures that haven't even been posted on the blog!

Of course, most of you have already seen the pictures via Facebook or Shutterfly, but I thought I'd do a series of photo posts on the blog. That way I can tell the stories behind some of the pictures. No matter how hard I try, my eyes still well up every time I tell one of those stories.

Not today's story, though. I thought to kick things off, I'd tell you about the first time Ross and I saw each other all dressed up in our wedding duds. It was July. (Reader: Didn't you get married in August?) Yes, we did. But, in what I still consider a stroke of genius, I decided we should have a pre-wedding photo shoot with BOTH of us, not just me. We did our bridal and groomal shoot on July 3 in Siloam Springs, where our photographer was located.

**Side note!** If you live in the Northwest Arkansas area (or nearby), and you need a photographer for any life event, we highly recommend Jonathan Edward Photography! Jonathan & Becky are crazy talented photographers and incredibly nice people to boot. Go sign 'em up for your next event.

I got dressed in the tiny bathroom at our photographer's office/studio, with my mom's help, and told Ross to shoo. He waited down the sidewalk...

And then I snuck up on him.

And then, we looked at each other for the first time in our wedding clothes -- the clothes in which we would become husband and wife before God and our families and friends in just one short month -- and at that very moment, we both knew we had found our perfect soulmates. It was the most romantic moment of our relationship.


I have to say, Ross looked really good, but I just didn't find it all that moving. Maybe it's because we still had to wait another month to get married. But I think if we'd waited until the day to see each other, it still wouldn't have lived up to the hype. Really, it's just a suit and a dress. Sure, we looked pretty, but our romantic moments are not made from fine clothing and grand events. It's just not us.

So we said a simple, "Hey, you look good!" And we gave each other a hug.

And a kiss.

What? We were a month from getting married. Cut us a little slack. :-)

{p.s. I should mention that all of these photos were taken by Jonathan Seauve of Jonathan Edward Photography, and that only JE Photography can give you the rights to print or reproduce or repost these pictures in any way. So don't do it. Violating copyright law is really, really bad. Like, several years of your salary bad. Especially now that you've seen this disclaimer!}

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Left Behind

Every day at 7:35 a.m., the Tan bus on the Razorback Transit line comes to my apartment. Until last week, I always rode that bus to school.
The bus has a notoriously grouchy driver. I always take coffee or tea in my travel mug to school, and it's Razorback Transit policy to have a lid on all drinks on the bus. I know this policy, and I dutifully abide by it. After weeks of the same bus driver picking me up three days a week at 7:35 a.m., one day, he said rather sternly, "You got a lid on that cup? You can't have a cup on this bus without a lid!" I showed him the lid, and he grumbled.
Last Thursday, at 7:30 a.m., I kissed Ross goodbye and opened the door. Just as I did so, the bus whirred by. "You'd better hurry!" Ross said. And I did hurry. I hurried as fast as a slightly overweight, terribly out-of-shape 26-year-old carrying a 40-pound backpack and a hot mug of tea could hurry. The bus came to a quick halt at its designated stop, and I was only about 30 feet away. "Wait!" I yelled. The bus didn't move. I kept trucking it. As I crossed the street, I signaled to the bus driver, who I am almost positive was looking at me through the rear view mirror. I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief as I approached the rear of the bus.
Just as I got to the bus's tail light, the bus driver DROVE AWAY! I felt so defeated. Ross, who had run outside to see if I'd caught the bus, waved me back to the apartment. "I'll take you to school," he said.
My hero. :-)
Know what? Somebody remind me next week to complain about that cantankerous old bus driver.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Scream, You Scream

When we got married, my friend Angie gave us an $80 gift card to Bed Bath & Beyond. Know what we bought with it?
It's a KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment for our stand mixer. And in a word, it ROCKS! All you do is freeze the bowl for a day or so, then you're ready to make a homemade batch of heaven. No rock salt required. For ease, we store ours in the freezer so we can make ice cream whenever the craving hits us. (I say us. Usually, it's just me.)
Here's our favorite recipe for homemade vanilla ice cream, which has been adapted from
Ross & Leah's Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups half & half
1 cup sugar (duh! sorry I forgot this!)
1/8 t. salt
2 t. vanilla extract
1) **IMPORTANT** Do not for one second think about how many calories and/or fat grams this ice cream contains. It's detrimental to your happiness.
2) Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk together to incorporate sugar.
3) Attach freezer bowl to bottom of KitchenAid mixer. Pour cream mixture into bowl.
4) Attach dasher to the head of the mixer & turn to "stir." Mix for 25 to 30 minutes.
5) Transfer to a 2 qt. container and freeze at least six hours before serving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent: Liquid

Earlier today, I posted about my homemade powdered laundry detergent. While I do love it, we're switching to liquid for two reasons: (1) the powdered detergent doesn't dissolve all that well, especially in cold-water loads, and (2) I am personally a little uncomfortable with the idea of whirling Borax around in my food processor, then later using the same food processor to chop vegetables for dinner.

We've only used our liquid detergent for one load of sheets, but I think it'll do okay. Here's the recipe!

Leah's Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
1 cup liquid castile soap -- I like Dr. Bronner's lavender, which I bought from my local hippie store out of the bulk soap container
1/3 cup washing soda
1/3 cup baking soda
1/3 cup Borax
warm/hot water

1) Fill a one-gallon container with 1 cup of liquid castile soap
2) Add about 4 cups warm water
3) Add all powdered ingredients slowly. If possible, stir while adding. Alternatively, shake frequently.
4) Fill container with warm water until full.

Use 1/4 cup per load of laundry.

I should mention that this recipe is adapted from several I found on the interwebs. If you wanna see my sources, see this recipe and this recipe.

Good luck, and let me know if you try it!

Homemade Laundry Detergent: Powder

Yep, that's right. I make my own laundry detergent!

And you know what? I don't care if you think it's nerdy or weird. I'm ok with it! Know why? Because I crunched the numbers.

All Powder: 19¢ per load
Arm & Hammer Powder: 9¢ per load
Cheer Powder: 13¢ per load
Homemade Powder: 4¢ per load

We do about 5 loads of laundry per week, so by using our homemade powder, we're only spending $11.44 on laundry detergent every year. I know my mom will say we're too concerned with money, and deep down I do have some anxiety that I'm going to turn into my Grannie. (Don't worry, though; my hot water heater isn't on "vacation," and I do use my oven regularly - I haven't taken to microwaving everything just to save on the power bill.)

Anyway, I digress. If the cost isn't enough for you to consider making your own detergent, consider the environment! I'll be the first to tell you that I don't know a whole lot about this topic. Apparently, though, phosphates are bad. And also, I guess a lot of laundry detergents contain phosphates. I don't have a clue. My mantra is why not do things that are environmentally friendly, especially when they're cheaper, too? Anyway, consider making your own detergent!

Here's my recipe:
1 bar ivory soap
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda (baking soda is an OK substitute if you can't find washing soda)
optional: 15 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil (I like orange -- smells good & is one of the cheapest essential oils at our local hippie health food store)

Using a food processor or a grater, pulverize the bar of soap.
Add borax and washing/baking soda. Food process or stir until it resembles powdered detergent that you'd buy from the store.
Add essential oil, if using. Food process or stir until incorporated.

Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load.

For a visual, go here. If you try it, let me know!

Next up: LIQUID laundry detergent!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

*tap, tap* Is this thing on?

Okay, okay. We'll post more.

Ross and I have been quite busy as of late. We've been doing laundry. And cleaning the house. And cooking dinner. We've also been reading, watching TV, and renting movies from Redbox, which brings me to tonight's topic of discussion...

We rented Duplicity from Redbox a few weeks ago, and for total lack of a better topic, I've decided to review it for you. Here's what we liked about it:
  1. It was $1.
  2. We both stayed awake through the whole thing.
  3. The end is hilarious.
If you're looking for a date-night movie that both of you will enjoy, rent Duplicity. It's suspenseful enough for guys, romantic enough for girls, and...well, it's $1 at any Redbox.

More to come soon!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Honeymoon in Arizona: Come on, Hertz!

When planning our honeymoon, we decided to rent our car from Hertz. My bank has an agreement with Hertz that gave us 25% off and waived the young driver fee, which was important considering my pup of a husband is only 23. (What can I say? I'm a cradle robber.)

I made the rental car reservation, and I chose a midsize car. The description said "Mazda 6 or similar." I was excited, mostly because I wanted to see if the Mazda 6 really did "zoom zoom" like the commercial promised it would. And also, while not the hottest car on the block, it's pretty stylish. Here's a Mazda 6:

Not bad, right?


It's a Mazda 5, which I referred to all week as a "mini mini-van." I think that's a pretty liberal interpretation of "or similar."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Married Life

Angie left a comment and demanded an update on married life, so...I'll tell you! Married life is great. Ross thinks so, too. We both made lists: the top five things about being married. (Don't worry; it's rated PG. And it's in no particular order.)

Ross's Top Five Things About Married Life
1) Yummy dinner all the time.
2) I get to see Leah all the time.
3) More time for Wii.
4) More time for reading.
5) She's willing to let me buy gear. Hooray!

Leah's Top Five Things About Married Life
1) The "husband taxi," which frequently drops me off at and picks me up from school. It's way better than the bus. (Ross calls himself "Ross the Butler." He calls me "Master Bruce.")
2) Making a "honey do" list in the morning and coming home to find that it's been completed. (Also part of Ross the Butler's duties.)
3) Not having to go to separate houses when it's time to go to bed.
4) Not eating dinner by myself.
5) Being told I'm pretty even though I wear yoga pants 65% of the time.

And topping both of our lists of challenging things about marriage: learning first-hand how different boys and girls really are!

More posts to come. We have wedding pictures. Photo stories will be told.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Honeymoon in Arizona: Lemonade, Lemonade Like Grandma Made!!

After we decided to go to Arizona, one of the first things we did was check to see whether the Diamondbacks would be in town that week. We were excited when we found out they would be, and we bought tickets for a Friday night game against the Dodgers.

The Diamondbacks play at Chase Field, which is a large dome with a retractable roof. Ross and I took bets as to whether it would be air-conditioned. I voted yes; he voted no. Nobody's keeping score, but the temperature outside was 108, and the temperature inside was a crisp 72. :-)

The game was great! The D-backs won, and afterwards, they opened the roof and had a fireworks show. But the thing we'll remember most is this guy:

I know the picture is terrible, but it gives you a good idea. He was a lemonade salesman. We sat in section 316, I think, and the sections were really large. We could hear this guy screaming, at the top of his lungs, from section 312 or so:


We learned quickly that you had to avoid eye contact; if he caught your eye, he'd start yelling at you directly. "YOU WANT SOME LEMONADE?" (Points directly at you.) "YOU KNOW YOU WANT SOME LEMONADE! LIKE YOUR GRANDMA MADE! COTTON CANDY? BOTTLED WATER? YOUR FAVORITE! I KNOW YOU WANT SOME!"

The game was fun. But this guy...he made it memorable.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Honeymoon in Arizona: The Grand Canyon

We booked our condo in Arizona for our honeymoon back in January, just a few weeks after Ross and I got engaged. Since then, we'd been planning to trek north to the Grand Canyon just to see what all the hubbub was about.

Well, friends, all I have to say is this: Put the Grand Canyon on your bucket list. It is without a doubt a must-see location before you leave this world.

Pictures don't do it justice, but what's a Grand Canyon post without a picture or two?

We asked an older woman to take this picture of us. When she accepted, her husband chimed in: "Sure! That's how we get all of our cameras!"

This was one of the first views we saw. Ross said, "Oh, wow." Or maybe it was, "Oh, holy crap." Whichever it was, it's understandable that a view like this could evoke such an awestruck response.

By the way, these photos were edited in iPhoto using only the "enhance" feature. Not shabby, I say.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ross, The Stay-At-Home Husband

Leah started school yesterday, and in a lot of ways I feel kind of like a loser. I have no job, so I've pretty much been a stay-at-home husband for the past couple of days. That's not to say that I'm bumming around; there's definitely a lot to do around here. Every day I get a nice list of stuff to do from the wife, and we have so much stuff between the two of us that finding room for it all is quite the challenge.

Some things that I've realized about staying at home:

  1. I don't get to sleep in. I still get up when Leah does, which is way too early for any normal person
  2. I don't talk nearly as much - there's no one to talk to! I bet I didn't say 5 words yesterday between 7:30 and 4
  3. I still am not productive enough to do everything that I would like to do, like practice, read, and listen to sermons
  4. There's nothing on TV during the day, especially if you only have basic cable (we're poor)
  5. Spouses who actually do stay at home deserve way more respect than they get - this is hard!!
As much fun as staying home sounds, I'd much rather have a job. I never thought I'd say that, but I actually like working. Next week will probably be the beginning of the job search, so pray that I find something that is a good fit. We've got enough money saved up to probably ride out a few months if need be, so in some ways I can be slightly picky on the job front. On the other hand, with the economy being like it is, I may be lucky to find anything at all. If you hear of anything good, drop me a line. The comment section would be a perfect place to do that :-)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ross ate a TOMATO!

We're on day six of our honeymoon, and things are going great here in Arizona. Of course, there are many highlights from our trip, and many of those will get their own blog posts in the coming days. Of interest are our trip to the Grand Canyon, the sights of Sedona, and a hilarious food vendor at a baseball game. But the topic of today's post is how much my husband loves me and what he does to show it.

Ross has never been a fan of tomatoes. We went to the local Carrabba's a few nights ago, and atop his salad were, of course, sliced tomatoes. He said something about having to pick the tomatoes off, and I said, "Or you could just eat them."

To my surprise, HE DID IT! And I have photographic evidence!

I can't figure out how to draw arrows and add text in iPhoto (help, anyone?), but if you look closely, you'll see a tomato on that fork! The crazy thing was what Ross said after he ate the tomato: "Oh, that's not so bad. It's kinda good, actually."

And then my heart melted. Two loves of my life are no longer enemies. I'm pretty sure I even did a little happy dance in the booth.

We hope everything's going well for everyone in Arkansas! See you soon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wedding Prep & Fig Newtons

Wedding week is finally here, and things are trucking right along. Yesterday, we went to Wal-Mart (the first of many trips, I'm sure), and we loaded up on snacks and supplies to go in the dressing rooms for the wedding party. We bought some cheese & crackers, cookies, 100 calorie packs, and Fig Newtons. You know, these:
Have you ever looked at the nutrition facts on Fig Newtons? Overall, they're not too terrible for you. Only 110 calories & 2.5 grams of fat. Kind of high on the carbs at 22 grams, but a food can't be perfect.

Then I looked at the serving size. The serving size is two fig newtons. Two. Fig. Newtons. TWO fig newtons! Come on, Nabisco! Have you seen a fig newton? They're teeny! They look like...well, they look like this:

Nabisco should amend the Fig Newton nutrition facts to reflect what an average consumer usually eats in one sitting.

Serving size: 1/2 sleeve.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Comments Fixed

Hi everyone,

First, our sincerest apologies! We know some of you have been having trouble with the comment box. Since I know you've all been so eager to leave comments (ahem!), I wanted to let you know that the comment box should be working now!

Stay tuned for Ross's next post. I'm told it has something to do with the fact that he was called Brother Ross in church this morning...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy Ten Year Anniversary!

No, not Leah and I...we haven't even made the zero mark yet!

I was looking through some pictures today, and I came to the realization that I've now been playing guitar for ten years!

It all started many years ago in the summer of 1999, when I was but a wee lad...

I still remember my first guitar. It was a Bentley, which I think was some cheap knock-off brand. After I realized that I was going to stick with it, I moved up to the Takamine in the photo above. It was also cheap, but I thought it was the coolest guitar in the world.

Now, ten years have gone by. It doesn't really seem like it's been that long. For one thing, I would have hoped to be a better player than I am after ten years, but there simply aren't enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to get done and practice.

Anyway, feel free to wish me and my guitars a happy anniversary in the comment box. This really is a momentous occasion!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Packing sucks. Although I have to admit, I'm very good at it. Somehow, I've developed a keen sense of knowing how to maximize the space in a box. Sounds weird, I know. I'm probably bordering on OCD. However, it is somewhat fascinating to see how little of a space my belongings really take up. Obviously furniture and gear are exceptions, but all of my books, CDs, office supplies, etc, actually take up a relatively small space. Things that seemed to take up so much space in my office and bedroom are now in small, neatly packed boxes in my garage that will probably all fit in my car.

This is in contrast to my lovely fiancé, who is just awful at packing. First, she's the world's greatest pack-rat - even better than my 77-year-old grandmother who still has drawings I drew when I was five (and some my mom drew at that age too!). I would imagine that 80 percent of the stuff we will need (or have) in our apartment is already there. She's also pretty terrible at unpacking - most of her stuff is still in boxes a month after she moved. I take part of the blame for that though - I told her to wait until I move in so we don't have to rearrange five times.

I think the goal in all of this process is to minimize the amount of stuff we have for maximum benefit. We'd love to live well on less stuff, especially since we're going to be poor. Since newlywed poverty seems to be a common phenomenon, do any of our six subscribers have any tips on how to live well on a small budget with less stuff? If so, leave them in the comments. You know you want to.

Monday, July 27, 2009

my name is ross

I am now a blogger. I tried this once before, without much success and without much to say. Hopefully this time around will be different. But I don't have much to say right now, so things aren't looking too great.

I'm hoping to have a few things to say so that this doesn't simply become another one of Leah's blogs. She already has a few of them, and never writes on any of them. I'm hoping that I can encourage her to persevere. After all, John Calvin says that perseverance of the saints is one of the characteristics of a Calvinist and a true Christian. We'll start with perseverance of the blog, and hopefully we can work our way up to saints.

And in a rather crude adaptation of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians..."If anyone has no love for this blog, let him be accursed." Well, maybe not quite that strong. But at least read it and comment.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

it's a family affair

So, I've successfully convinced Ross that (a) blogging is cool, and (b) he needs to start doing it. In the spirit of becoming a family (two more weeks!!), we decided to make a team effort of it. Thus, the Ward Family Blog was born! Until further notice, the family blog will be located at

We do have some RULES around here. If you're gonna read the blog, you must follow the rules!

Rule #1: Always Leave Comments. Otherwise, we'll feel pretty alone in the blogosphere. It's a lot like going all the way out to your mailbox every day only to find that there's nothing in it. We need affirmation! A phone call to tell us you liked it is not an acceptable substitute!

Rule #2: Tell friends and family about this blog. A blog is only worth it if people we don't talk to regularly will read it.

Rule #3: Encourage us to post entries whenever you see us. We like to procrastinate. And also, we like affirmation (see Rule #1).

Rule #4: If you're a blogger or you use a reader, follow this blog or add our feed to your reader. We're vain; we like you to be notified about whatever we say.

I'm excited about this blog! Hopefully it can help family and friends keep up with us, get to know each other better, share ideas & advice, etc.

Regular posting will begin after the wedding on August 8. We may do a few posts from our honeymoon, but we're not making any promises. In the mean time, bookmark us, follow us, add us to your reader, and get ready to post those comments! Thanks for reading. Much love & God bless!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

check out

I found a way to post a comment box on my own website, so our wedding blog has moved back to!  I'm going to keep this blog active, though, as I will most likely move the blog back here and quit paying for the domain name after the wedding.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cake Toppers

Until I started shopping for cake toppers, I never knew how many options were available! It is ridiculous! Just for reference, check out this website: And this is just ONE of the many internet vendors out there. It’s crazy!

I did finally find what I want: A single black “W” in some kind of block lettering to go on top of my cake. I don’t want anything too curvy or scripty; it’s just not us. (In fact, that’s why neither Ross nor I like weddings very much; see the Details page!) But I do want it to be black so it will go with our black & white theme. It was so hard to find, but I finally located it! The only costs $100! Geez!!

I’ve been looking for alternatives, and I think I might go with a wooden painted block letter from another online vendor I found: At less than $20, that’s a major savings over the $100 legit cake topper. And I think we can make it work...but I’m not sure! Any thoughts from readers out there? If so, email me:

Wedding planning...what an adventure.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Save the Date Postcards

Earlier this week, we received our save the date postcards from our graphic designer, and I am so thrilled with the results! Danielle did a great job on the design, and I am so impressed that she put up with my pickiness and still wants to design the rest of my wedding paper as well. Ross and I addressed and stamped about 220 of those bad boys today, and I will be mailing them in the early part of next week. Watch your mail!