Weddingness: Part II

See part one here.

Friday, May 30th. The day on which I became a wife! I have to tell you, it was relaxed.com. The morning was beautiful – the family hung out by the pool, played some games (as is their way). The rest of the bridesmaids came over around 8:30am, and joined the gang. 

Katie and Kevin Wedding (62)

Everything felt very natural and peaceful, something I had prayed for. My dad and I took a few minutes to practice our father daughter dance (obviously it was Celine…), and then the hair/makeup ladies came over and got things started! Emily’s husband, Ted, showed up with Starbucks drinks for everyone, a generous touch to the day. And when our photographer, Meg Brock, arrived in the afternoon, we were all ready to get things started. I’ll admit, it was a bit surreal and kinda odd to change into a wedding dress in front of everyone, but Meg was great. All of the bridesmaids were beautiful, and Denise did a fabulous job with the bouquets. At 3pm, the shuttle came by and we were off to the Church! 

Katie and Kevin Wedding (50)

Waiting in the gorgeous bridal suite at St. Bede’s was probably the hardest part, since it involved just simply sitting there. But the bridesmaids prayed over me, which was beautiful, and then Meg called me out so that Kevin could give me a little gift. We didn’t see each other, but were standing around a corner from one another. Before he gave me the gift, we held hands and prayed together. Soon after, it was time to begin! Kevin pro-cessed in with the priests (followed by groomsmen & bridesmaids) to a beautiful song, written for the Bishop of the Duluth diocese. It is played at their ordinations, and it also played at Kevin’s father’s funeral 4 1/2 years ago. We were very grateful to the Bishop for granting us permission to use it for our wedding.

Katie and Kevin Wedding (177)

Katie and Kevin Wedding (225)_2

Walking down the aisle with my dad was an experience – mainly because my dress was FAR too long (alteration lady didn’t want to hem it cause of the detail at the bottom), so I essentially hopped down the aisle trying to avoid tripping on the fabric. There’s absolutely no way for me to put into words how incredible the Mass was. Being up on the altar with with my beloved, Kevin, those holy priests, our amazing wedding party. Everything was powerful. I could not stop laughing…I’m a huge weeper in life, yet when really big things are happening to me (and people are awaiting my reaction), I can’t seem to cry. At all. And that’s fine, Kevin cried for the both of us (and that man never cries). It was beautiful.

Katie and Kevin Wedding (256)Katie and Kevin Wedding (244)

I’m a huge fan of the readings we chose. Jeremiah (JER 31:31-32a, 33-34a), Revelation (REV 21:1-6), and John (JN 2:1-11). All of them carry the theme of new things. In Jeremiah, he is speaking of the new heaven and that “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” In Revelation, it’s very similar, and it has one of my favorite lines of “Behold, I make all things new.” And then the Wedding Feast at Cana…gosh, what a phenomenal passage. The new wine. We thought these readings worked very well for us. We look forward to heaven so much, and strive to do all we can to get there. Our marriage is a big part of that. It brings with it many new things; WE are new through it. Father Seth gave a great homily (I wish I could remember some specifics of what he said…alas, I could only retain so much from the day).

Katie and Kevin Wedding (350)

Katie and Kevin Wedding (396)

And there were a few particularly beautiful parts. During the preparation of the gifts, the song “10,000 Reasons (bless the Lord)” played, and it was so moving. It felt very heavenly. And I saw both of the parish priests peeking in from the sacristy (made me giggle). After communion, we were able to pray to Mary, and at the same time, Kevin’s brother took some flowers to the Saint Joseph statue in remembrance of their father. After Mass, it was quick photo time.

Katie and Kevin Wedding (421)

Katie and Kevin Wedding (428)

We took the [now party] shuttle with some champ to Tyler Park (in between church and reception venue), and this is where I was most impressed with Meg. We had very limited time (Friday weddings tend to be more of a cramped schedule), but she did it all. We got awesome photos of the wedding party, me and Kevin, just groomsmen & Kevin, just bridesmaids & Katie. And we hit up several places in the park. I have to say…you know those beautiful pinterest photos where the couples in the middle of a cornfield and you’re like “I WANT THAT PERFECT MOMENT”? What they do not tell you is the struggle that comes with it. The ride to the venue consisted of everyone searching through my dress removing the FLIES that somehow got stuck in EVERY layer (and there were a LOT of layers). We also found…a wood tick. UGH. Pictures are beautiful, but it came with a price. I had to strip down at the winery and my dear Emily searched me for ticks. That’s what bridesmaids are for, right? As they say, all’s well that ends well. 

Katie and Kevin Wedding (463)

Katie and Kevin Wedding (551)

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Also, who can forget the time my dad gave a toast in Latin? He wanted to impress the priests and all the the BU/Minnesota Catholics in the room, so he had asked one of Kevin’s groomsmen the night before to translate something into Latin for him. It was super funny and awesome. And then he sat down…without telling the crowd what he actually said. Bob’s the best. 

One thing that was important to me was playing wedding songs of all the people that I had been in the wedding for. So we played songs for Kristen & Jamie, Keith and Jenan, Emily & Ted, Sarah & Javi, and Ashlie & Josh. It was beautiful seeing them dance to their songs again! And then…the moment I’ve been waiting for my entire life happened. The DJ played Celine Dion “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” – the greatest song of all time that I’ve forced all of my friends to get used to and love over the years. Whenever it’s just the ladies, we almost always have a Celine jam session and do some weird interpretive dance. And that’s what happened. All the ladies who know and love me put their best Celine forward. And it happened. It was true fulfillment of years worth of dreaming. (Also, the DJ told me he’d never seen anything like that before and asked if he could play it again later on haha.) 

We had such a blast. I can’t possibly describe the joy that was pulsating throughout the room. All those beautiful people. Me and Kevin – MARRIED. There were so many amazing moments, and when “Shipping up to Boston” came on later in the night, I literally thought the floor was going to shatter. No joke. And our final song was Coldplay’s “Charlie Brown”. If you’ve never heard it – listen to it. Maybe you’ll understand why Kevin and I listen to it at least 4x a week to remind us of the awesomeness of our wedding. 

That’s more than enough for a blog post, not nearly enough to capture it all. But the wedding was all we hoped for and more! God is good! Amen!

 

 

Weddingness: Part I

Alright. The time has come. I now have wedding photos in my possession (hoorah!), I’ve had time to reflect, and I’ve enjoyed 2 full months of married life! So how did it all go down?

The months leading up to the wedding were such an interesting time of life. It felt similar to my last semester of college – leaving something beautiful for something [hopefully] greater. There was my bachelorette party in Vegas (yup, that happened), my bridal shower in PA, a little bridal shower brunch in Boston, another bachelorette night of fun with my roommates, random nights of happy hour or taking advantage of time with friends before transitioning into marriage. It was a joyous time.

Vegas with my ladies :)
Vegas with my ladies 🙂

I took off work the entire week before the wedding, and the first big event was a family weekend in Hilton Head, SC. We’ve been going to Hilton Head for 20 years or so, and my parents bough a house there several years ago. It’s a beautiful place and we love it. It was the first time my entire immediate family (plus my older brother’s new wife) had been there together in YEARS. So it was the perfect opportunity to enjoy some quality time together like we used to. That meant of course the beach, ultra-competitive miniature golf, Giuseppe’s pizza, nighttime scene-it, and some more beach. A lovely time was had by all! As excited as my parents are for grandkids with three of us married now, I think they’ve been trying to soak up as much time with us as possible before that happens.

Family
Family

I flew back directly to PA Monday night, and the next morning things kicked off with my hair trial appointment (a super awkward time – I’m just no good in those situations). Then it was right to the Philly airport to pickup three of my bridesmaids – Sarah (Boston, MA), Elise (Detroit, MI), and Ashlie (Grand Forks, ND)! It meant so much that my friends would come a few days early to just be with me before the big day. Meanwhile, Kevin had arrived Tuesday morning, but went to the hotel with 2 of the 4 priests con-celebrating our wedding (all the way from Duluth, MN; all of them were seminarians with Kevin in college). They came over for dinner that evening to enjoy some fine delicacy (aka CHICK-FIL-A). I had only met these men once at a Duluth ordination right after Kevin and I had gotten engaged – so it was so beautiful to have them now in my home!

Wednesday morning, bright and early, I picked up another bridesmaid, Emily (Tempe, AZ), and a groomsmen from the airport. The ladies and I spent the morning at Pat’s Colonial Kitchen (my favorite breakfast place in Newtown), and they generously wandered in the rain as I gave them a tour of the land (of course I showed them the Newtown Theatre – oldest running theatre in America)! When we all left BU, we had high hopes of staying friends for life, but with everyone spreading out all over the country, we thought our best bet for all being together again would be a 5 year reunion. As God would let it happen, 4/5 of us have gotten together over 7-8 times (with 4 of those times being ALL of us) in 3 years! Such a gift.

Pat's Colonial Kitchen!
Pat’s Colonial Kitchen!

Tuesday and Wednesday were such odd days. They were truly beautiful, but it was odd in the sense that I didn’t feel like this big, heavy thing was approaching. It was just as if my best friends came to visit my hometown, and I was their happy little tour guide! Wednesday evening, Kevin’s family arrived from Duluth and came over for dinner – his brother, mom, and uncle. It was so wonderful to have our families meet for the first time in a relaxed environment.

Thursday is when things got REAL. Real in the sense that everyone else started arriving, we were dropping things off where they needed to go, checking people into the hotel, getting ready for the rehearsal…a whirlwind. But it was all SO GOOD. It was so surreal that it was happening, but it brought so much joy. The rehearsal went smoothly (except for that beginning part where the church was locked…), and being up on that alter was a crazy feeling. Immediately after the rehearsal, we went down into the lower church for our holy hour. Best.Idea.Ever. All four priests were available for confession, which many people took advantage of. And just being in front of the blessed sacrament the night before our wedding with all these people we loved from all parts of the world…there are no words.

At the Winery
At the Winery

After adoration, we went up to the main church for Mass (it was Ascension Thursday), and once again…I’m speechless for the love I experienced. The Minnesotan priests [unexpectedly] concelebrated, and the Monsignor at my parish welcomed Kevin and I in front of everyone, thanking us for our witness. It was a heavenly joy. I’m really big on heaven. Like, I’m super excited for it and think about it often. And there’s many moments in life where I’m just like, “yup – this is a taste of what’s to come.” It tends to be in community for me – all of us together experiencing great joy, with the focus being on our Lord. Love it!

Following mass was our open rehearsal dinner at my house. Kevin and I wanted this to be an open event, since so many people had traveled so far to be with us. So everyone came over, Father Drew blessed the bar, and the festivities began. What a night to remember. My friends have always meant the world to me, and to physically have them in my home, the place where I grew up, I just cannot fully communicate the beauty. Everyone had a blast (I mean, it was a Krouchick party, so people expected nothing less from Bob & Helene – my parents). My siblings each gave a toast, one including a hilarious slideshow. And the floor was opened up to anyone who wanted to say a few words. People were funny, touching, loving, emotional, everything and more. It was such a gift to Kevin and me. We gave our thanks as best we could, and everyone continued the fun.

Men of God. Our four wonderful priests from the Duluth Diocese!
Men of God. Our four wonderful priests from the Duluth Diocese!

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At the end of the evening, Kevin and I stole a moment upstairs just to be present in the fruits. Both of us just felt so loved, so grateful, so humbled, and so ready for what was to come. Neither of us could have imagined a better entrance into our wedding day. The Holy Spirit was truly present. From what I’ve heard, the days surrounding your wedding can sometimes seem like a blur looking back, or even while in the midst of it. I have to say, I felt completely present able to enjoy it. Such a grace. Even looking back, it’s so fresh in my mind. I’m give thanks to God for allowing me to live fully in those moments. And it only got better the next day…!

See part two here.

Entering the World of Essential Oils

I’ve recently gotten into essential oils, and I have to tell you…I think they’re great. I bought tea tree oil for the first time in April for a skin issue, and it worked WONDERS. I soon after purchased Eucalyptus and Peppermint. I use them for a variety of things, such as wiping down corners in the apartment to keep insects from coming in (as far as I can tell, it works great). AND I had a terrible headache recently and was feeling a head cold coming on with difficulty breathing. I rubbed a bit of coconut oil and peppermint on my forehead and I woke up feeling awesome. No joke. 

I am officially a fan. And as much as I’d love to get a wholesale account from a reputable company and buy all the essential oils ever, girl don’t got the funds for that. So I’ve purchased two DoTerra products on amazon for a bit cheaper than their retail price.

ClaryCalm

ClaryCalm for PMS, menstrual cramps, general hormonal balance. Boy do I need this.

PastTense

PastTense for headache relief. Staring at a computer all day (plus my iphone probably) has given me a perpetual headache right up front. So I’m working on easing that.

If they work well, I may get another. And if that works well, I’ll try some more. And if life seems to improve, maybe…just maybe…I’ll invest in a wholesale account. I shall let you know how it goes!

 

 

Much love for St. Martha

Today is the feast day of St. Martha, a woman who was a friend of Jesus (along with her sister Mary and brother Lazarus). I have a special place in my heart for her as she is patron saint for many things hospitality. I majored in hospitality, and since high school have made my way through working in restaurants and hotels, to making hospitality an ingrained part of my life. 

I strive to “be hospitable” as 1 Peter says, and I look to St. Martha for intercession. I ask for a good balance of serving our Lord and serving others, while also being at peace with simply sitting at the feet of Jesus.

 

St. Martha

This painting above by Henryk Siemiradzki is my favorite depiction of St. Martha, looking at Jesus and her sister Mary. I first encountered this image on my 22nd birthday (which also was Easter my senior year of college – a truly wonderful day in my life). Two friends of mine framed the novena to St. Martha with this image, and it has stuck with me ever since. 

I can’t quite explain why it moves me so much, but just Martha’s gaze on Jesus as she takes a brief pause from her work lifts my spirit. It reminds me that all we do must be rooted in our Lord. I can often forget this. But without being filled up from the one who is the source of all life, we cannot hope to achieve much good in this world. 

St. Martha, pray for us.

A Newlywed & NFP

In honor of NFP Awareness Week (which I didn’t realize was a thing until this week), I’d like to share a bit of my experience with Natural Family Planning. I just got married in May 2014, but I’ve been charting one method or another since April 2012.

For those who may not know, Natural Family Planning is a general term for various methods used to avoid or achieve pregnancy in cooperation with God’s plan sans artificial assistance. This is my informal Catholic definition, but I’ve heard of many non-Catholics using it as just a natural way to avoid or achieve pregnancy without putting all that extra hormonal blarb into your body. It’s beautiful for a number of reasons, the primary one for me being it works in harmony with truth. It is about being fully open to life, no matter your circumstance. It is about choosing life, even in those times you’re trying to avoid.

Kevin and I certainly don’t have to practice NFP – we could just leave it up to God, be intimate whenever we wanted, and see what happens. But given our personal circumstances right now and through prayer, we believe that it’s not the best time for us to have a child. Now if I somehow got pregnant, we’d be excited (gosh, Kevin would be ecstatic), but we’re doing our part to delay it at the moment. So in the spirit of this NFP Awareness Week, let me share a bit of both my personal joys and struggles with natural family planning.

🙂 It’s a team effort. My husband knows and [sort of] understands what’s going on with my body, and we actually develop a deeper level of intimacy through it. While we were engaged, I would text him my chart details at the end of each day, and he was responsible for the physical chart. Now that we’re married, it’s a bit more wonky since we’ve switched around so many times what NFP method we’re charting with, but it’s still a similar setup. He is aware of what is going on in my cycle, and how that affects me each day. A woman’s body is constantly changing throughout the month, so naturally a woman’s day-to-day can be so drastically different for no obvious reason. And it’s beyond helpful to have a husband who is aware and sensitive to what might be going on underneath the surface.

🙂 It requires sacrifice. I don’t know about you, but I for sure want my marriage to be made up of worthy sacrifices. It helps us demonstrate our love for one another, as well as our love for God. It unites us closer to each other and to Him. The sacrifices that NFP calls for help us to grow in prudence and temperance. And it builds up the respect that we have for one another.

🙂 It’s natural and healthy. This is an exciting one. I’ve been learning so much recently about my body, and I’ve been trying to incorporate natural things into all parts of my life (essential oils, attempted homegrown herbs, cooking from scratch, etc.). So of course it’s a joy that I’m able to have a healthy level of intimacy with my husband while not worrying about, or harming myself, with outside chemicals.

🙁 It can be confusing and frustrating when you aren’t the poster child for NFP. Even though I’ve been charting for over 2 full years, I still don’t have a “normal” chart. We’ve switched methods three times since getting engaged, trying to find what works best for us. It can be hard when an NFP teacher looks at your chart and tells you that if you’re trying to avoid pregnancy, there only looks to be 2 “go” days in that entire month. With my chart being somewhat difficult to interpret, it’s tough when we just don’t know if it’s an okay day. And it leads me to sometimes feel guilty; like there’s something wrong with me (physically or psychologically), or I’m doing it wrong, or I’m making a cross for our marriage.

🙂 The frustrations are purifying. In a way, I’m grateful for not having one’s “ideal” chart, or a regular cycle. It means that I just have to trust in God, which is ultimately what I’m trying to do in all parts of my life. Even with a perfect cycle, we all have to trust in the Lord and in His plans for us.

Kevin and I are still just in the newlywed phase – we have years of learning and growing to do. But I can say with confidence that I’m grateful NFP is a part of our marriage, and I hope we can grow in faith each day as we leave our fertility and our family in God’s hands.

Now for some great NFP related links for the week!

Women Speak on NFP

NFP Awareness Week Contest

Dear Newlywed, You’re Probably Worried About the Wrong Thing

 

So many dresses!

Bridesmaids!

My dear friends Ashlie and Sarah both recently celebrated wedding anniversaries, and being as I was so involved in their weddings (and marriages, obviously), I wanted to share a bit on my life as a part of the wedding party. I also don’t have all our wedding photos back yet, so ours will be featured eventually, just not today.

I’ve been a bridesmaid 6 times to date (it’ll be 7 in a few months). That means 6 bridesmaid dresses, 5 pairs of shoes I’ve only worn once or twice, and a little less in my savings if we’re being honest . My viewpoint of a wedding has always been from up on the alter or in the first pew (including my own wedding just this past May). And none of this is to belittle those experiences – they were amazing. All of them. I’ve loved every bride I’ve stood by, each wedding has been unique and beautiful, and it’s all been worth it.

Being a part of something so beautiful on so many different occasions, I’ve learned a few things along the way; some things I feel I did well, others not so much. So to all those about to hit wedding season in life, here’s my slew of lessons:

1. Get over the bridesmaid dress issue. And we all know there’s always some sort of issue. It’s not your color, you have to get it altered,  it’s too expensive, one of the layers is inside out (this happened to a couple of my bridesmaids haha…not even sure how). Too often I (and others, this ain’t just me) make it about myself and get focused on my appearance on my friend or sister’s big day. And all I can say is get over it. The bride has a vision of how her wedding will look, and if she thinks these are the dresses to bring about her vision, then awesome. I have yet to be in a wedding where the photos aren’t stunning.

2. Be sympathetic to the huge life change the bride is going through. There were a few times I was very taken aback by friends going through these incredible emotional high’s and low’s. One day they’d be dreamy and excited, and the next her and her fiance are in a fight and she has more to-do’s than you’ve ever known a person to have. I’m not just talking about wedding planning, but life planning. For my friends, getting married meant moving out at the same time, committing to a new life in a new place, understanding your fertility and your cycle (which can be a challenge and a half for some) so you can begin family planning on your wedding night, and so much more.

3. Show your love along the way. Whether it’s a small gift, or an occasional card, or getting quality time with the bride throughout the engagement, be intentional about it. For my wedding, a few of my bridesmaids would send me a gift on the 30th of each month leading up to the wedding (because I was getting married on the 30th). It was incredibly generous. All the bride needs is your love and support. Try to show it in the way that she will best receive it (maybe learn her love language).

4. Offer to help. Even if your thousands of miles away, offer your time. It may turn out that you can’t really do much, but you never know. And all brides appreciate a bit of help.

5. Pray for the couple. Spiritual attack is real. Especially when you understand that this is your Vocation, and that this is how you will serve God in this life. The evil one does not want good and holy marriages. Knowing that marriage is an inseparable bond and a gift from God can put a lot of spiritual stress on the couple. And each couple has their cross. So pray for them.

6. The wedding week is a time to spoil the bride. It can be super easy to get caught up with your time with other bridesmaids or wedding guests in town, and to have the mentality that you’re on a vacation.  The truth is, the bride may have a bunch of last minute to-do’s, she may be under a lot of stress, or she may simply want to hang out with her friends! No matter what her situation is, be present to her. If she has an itinerary, follow it. If she has projects to do, help her. If she wants to sit and chat with you all, talk with her.

7. Connect with the right people. Throw a line to the mother of the bride. Offer her your help in any way you can. Keep in communication with all the bridesmaids. And when the wedding festivities arrive, show your gratitude to the families, show everyone that the bride has good taste and judgement in regards to those ladies closest to her.

8. Remember the little things. On the day of, the bride will not be holding anything. So make sure that all her belongings, if any, are accounted for. Make sure her and the groom have plates of food. Make sure they get some cake (other than what is smashed in their faces). Collect trinkets from all over the reception for them to remember. A friend did this for me and Kevin, and we have a box full of fun memories, including the favors I made and put work into!

9. Take advantage of all the moments with the bride leading up to the big day. If any issues arise with your friend, talk it out. Because once your girl is married, things will be different! Soak up all the girl time you can get. Enjoy the sleepovers, the late night talks, making plans on a whim. If you both value your friendship, it will only get better with time, and marriage will be good for it (as it’s good for the person). But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy her while you have her to yourself. 🙂

10. Be excited that one of your closest friends is becoming a wife! That’s it. Just be excited.

Now that I’ve given you all my wisdom (well…not all of it, that’d be silly), time for the fun showcase of Katie’s life as a bridesmaid.

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Now off to a bridal shower in PA for my dear friend Krista’s wedding that I’ll be in this November! Peace.

Home Alone

I love the movie Home Alone. I love its sequel even more. What I do NOT enjoy is actually being home alone. I can’t recall a single night of my life that I’ve spent entirely alone. Until this week.

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Growing up in a household of seven, there wasn’t much opportunity to experience alone time. And college was college. And post-college, it seems like I had 10 roommates at all times. That’s a bit of an exaggeration…but also kind of true. And if it ever got to be past 9pm and nobody was home yet, the unease would start to set in.

People have exposed me to too many (meaning less than 5) scary movies in my time for me to simply enjoy a night on my own. When I was 12, my cousins and I watched The Ring. None of us could pee alone for a week. Years later as a senior in college, my roommates had a night where we watched Saw. WORST.IDEA.EVER. Especially since that week just coincidentally happened to be some weird convention where people dressed up like the tricycle freak from that film. I refused to go anywhere alone after that. And then last year, my roommate began watching this creepy film with Daniel Radcliffe one evening (something with a lady in black), and not knowing it would be a horror film, I sat down to join. Regret to the max.

Now my husband is out of town for 2 nights, and I have to put on my brave face and learn how to sleep while home alone. So what exactly have I done to keep myself busy in the evenings?

Everything. I put on a Matt Maher playlist and got to work. I deep cleaned our bathroom, tub included. I reorganized the linen closet, under our bed, and the shelves over our toilet. I spent 25 minutes chasing a fly around the apartment with a bottle of febreze. I did the dishes. I took out the trash and recycling. I watered the plants. I consolidated some boxes still laying around. I watched some of Catching Fire (I couldn’t resist – Kevin’s not here). Skyped with a friend. Read my journal from Summer 2011. Watched and episode of Charmed (once again…husband out of town). And I read some of Harry Potter to put me in a happy place.

Did it all work? Well, Kevin comes home tonight and I’m still alive, so I’d say it’s a win.

One day I’ll be able to cope. Or just have 10 kids to keep me company.

In my own little corner…

While we are still very much in the process of putting our apartment together, I have to say…our kitchen is kind of my happy place. And despite the small space, we have found a way to display my our kitchenaid stand mixer (which, I must say, is my new favorite toy) while still keeping the whole area functional. My former roommates (all 5 of them) plus a few other ladies generously pitched in to get me us this gift. It is greatly appreciated and will get some dang good use!

Kitchenaid

Things I’ve done with my kitchenaid to date:

1. Shred chicken each week to have a stash full for sandwiches, wraps, salads, pizza varieties, lasagna, etc. (it works like a charm,and has been a time saver, as well as added meat to our meals).

2. Make homemade cool whip as a healthier, cheaper, and more delicious dessert option.

3. Bake my favorite chocolate chip oatmeal cookies (can be found here).

4. Make waffle batter (weekends are always better with waffles).

Kevin has grown to love our kitchenaid as well. =)