Friday, May 27, 2011

Bethany's 25th bday party

So basically the main things you need to know about my sister to understand this party are:

1. She loves horses.
2. She (and the rest of my family and basically all of her fun, goofy friends) love to do weird dancing.
3. The age range for my sister's close friends goes from like 9 to 59.
4. She loves horses.
5. She's one of the most fun people EVER.
6. She really loves horses.

I decided to have a surprise party for her and to invite all of her random friends to celebrate with us in the awesome loft above the barn where she keeps her horses. (This made it a little tricky to get in and decorate and make sure everything was ready without her knowing- but we pulled it off!) The Manns family were so gracious to let us celebrate on their property- and I couldn't have found a more perfect place since 90% of the guests were "horse people" anyway :)  And she definitely was surprised- she cried twice on the way over to the party because she couldn't understand what her husband, Craig, was doing and why he wouldn't take her to eat where he said he was going to haha :) But the tears were worth it once they got there!!

Pinterest was an almost overwhelming resource for some super cute party ideas. Here's a few pictures of my inspiration:

Fun stuff, right??? {To find the links for each of these party ideas, look here and you can see the website for each idea. I know- lazy.} My details definitely didn't all turn out exactly like these, but I'm still happy with how they came out.

So here was our party!!
Before the big party. Horse pinata and horse centerpieces in place- check!! 

Sprinkles make everything better.

With her two bffs from childhood :)

Birthday cake batter bark- you actually put a few tsps of yellow cake mix into the chocolate- so good!

Cupcake flags, and behind all the food was the fabric garland and the banner I made out of poster board saying "happy birthday"- but didn't get a good picture of. (But it was similar to the image above from pinterest that says "Kelly and Chris"- just a giant version.)

The one thing I didn't completely finish- her blue ribbon birthday girl pin :( I ran out of time and forgot to glue the pin on the back!! Wish it had been the one made out of silky ribbon from pinterest, but this worked :)

This picture cracks me up!! Bethany had SOOO many Breyer horses that she collected growing up- so I asked mom to bring some of them for centerpieces on the tables.

Made the #25 out of pictures and tried to make sure to have at least 1 picture of everyone coming to the party.

Soulja Boy "Superman" :)

I did not get a full group picture, but here's a lot of the girls at least

How cute are they?? :)

Dad had a dance-off with Jazzy :)

A close-up of the garland- maybe my favorite detail :)

Someone found naked Barbie in the loft... and she was a hit!

Love this one of them all wearing some of the props :)

And, of course, we had to get one with our momma :)

Happy birthday, B!!!! I couldn't ask for a better sister. So thankful for the awesome family God chose to put me in.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Am Second

I don't really feel like writing right now, and I haven't had time to do much crafting lately, so I thought I'd share this. I love the website "I am second", but this woman is definitely my favorite. She is precious, and I hope her story touches you as much as it does me. Seconds - I Am Second

Saturday, April 2, 2011

You're Beautiful

So Nick and I got back from Spain Sunday, and the trip was fantastic :) I know everyone is not dying to read about it or see pictures (plus most have you already have heard about it haha), but I probably will write a little on here eventually for my own memories- I just don't feel like putting it into words yet.

I don't really have much to write about today. *(Sorry- I thought this would just be about 4 sentences, but I just kept going.) I just feel like God has sort of overwhelmed me lately in so many random ways- the good kind of overwhelming. I love when I go through these periods of just feeling His presence and being aware of Him constantly (except that then I'm even more overly emotional than usual.) I realize that it's always on my end that the pulling away or getting distracted occurs, but how incredible these "mountaintops" are. It makes me long for the day when I'll finally be refined, when His work in me is completed- and my fellowship with Him will be unwavering & untouchable {no matter how hard my "fleshy" self may try- it will win no more! :) } I know that all day, everyday the Cross has triumphed over death and evil and ignorance and selfishness and hatred and indifference. (Oh for the day I don't struggle with any of these anymore!!) But Easter is always the time I feel it the strongest. As Steven Curtis wrote so beautifully, "Oh what a precious promise." I cannot fathom what I would do without the hope of my Savior conquering this world by suffering through it. I know that the people were so disappointed that He didn't make a grand appearance and flip the world upside down the way they wanted Him to, and the way He had the power to. But, from where I am, able to look back and read the Gospels and know what He endured for me, it makes it so much more beautiful the way He chose to do it.

I wish the way I felt in this moment would weigh on my heart every second. It would make me approach life so drastically different. I heard an atheist once say something that makes me ache everytime I remember it (which is more often than I comfortably would like to.) It's one of the most profound things I've heard someone say on how Christians should be treating the message of Jesus. His name is Penn, and he said:
"If you believe that there's a heaven and hell and that people could be going to hell, and you think that it's not really worth telling someone this because it would make it socially awkward... How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible, and not tell them that? I mean if I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you, and you didn't believe it- there's a certain point where I tackle you. And this (everlasting life) is more important than that truck." (If you want to watch the whole clip, look on youtube for "Penn Gillette gets a gift of a Bible")

I don't really have any appropriate words to follow that with. What a great understanding Penn has of how we Christians (not everyone- but definitely me) are messing up our job to go out and spread this message!Why do I let my fear of socially awkwardness trump my fear of people not hearing about Jesus? Not just for the eternal life part, but for how He changes every waking moment of my life in just knowing Him and His promises. Heaven is going to be great- but I can't even imagine how difficult everyday here on earth is without knowing Christ- why am I hesitant to share that with others? If someone happens to read this and wants to talk about what the Savior means to me and how He can change your life, I would love the honor of talking with you. I'll be glad to call, meet, whatever- just write me (I don't want to put all my info on here) at

To conclude this random post that I didn't intend to be this long :), I just want to share this song that has meant so much to me. {Not to be morbid, but when I leave this world to go home, please make sure Nick has this at my funeral :)}

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spaghetti Squash

I've been a terrible blogger lately- especially since Maggie introduced me to the amazing site of pinterest. If you haven't looked at it before, be prepared... it's completely addictive.  There's so much eye candy on there I can barely handle it!! But it's so perfect for me to keep track of all my "someday I want to make this" crafts :) I can't tell you how many times I've emailed myself or sent facebook messages to myself (I'm such a loser) with web addresses for crafts I want to make. PLUS, I also have tons of random pictures on my phone and notes on scrap paper and pictures I've printed out of crafts that it's seriously overwhelming!!! So this is a great way to keep it more organized and all together :) OK, enough about that. {Sidenote: if you sign up to get a pinterest account, at first they'll send you this email that says "Sorry, we're too cool and don't have room for you". But then like a week or two later, they'll be like "Hey! You're the luckiest person ever! Come join the cool kids- you can get in now!"} {Sidenote part 2: In case any of B's friends see this and look at my pinterest, don't mention anything to Bethany about the category that's about her. And Bethany, if you read this, don't look at my pinterest. OK, I'm done.}

Onto what this post is actually about- spaghetti squash. Never did I know such a thing existed... until my sweet friend Ashley started eating that really weird paleo diet :) I still don't totally get it, and I definitely am not going to do the diet because I love sugar and carbs way too much, but she did share this amazing dinner with me. Had I not been there to see it and taste it for myself, I would never have tried it. But it was so delicious, that I went the next day to get the ingredients and made it this week. All you have to do is go get the squash (it's seriously labeled "spaghetti squash"), jab a knife in it like 20 times, stick it in the microwave for 11 minutes, let it cool, clean out the seeds, and it's ready!!!  Here's a picture to give you an idea:
I may just be way behind and maybe everyone else has already tried this, but I was blown away with how easy and yummy it was!!! I just cooked up my Morningstar veggie crumbles, added the spaghetti sauce, then cleaned out the squash and poured the sauce on top! Such a simple dinner :) And, in case you are on the paleo or a low-carb diet, it's a great alternative to pasta. Give it a try!! I promise that I was skeptical at first too :)

And since I know everyone is dying to hear about my kindle experience thus far (haha), I will say that I LOVE it!!! It was so convenient to take on the trip to Coronado. I already finished my first book on it- so if anyone has a kindle and wants to borrow "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet", you're welcome to it!! Just instruct me on how exactly to lend out books to other users and you're free to have it. I obviously still have a lot to learn about it, but I'm pretty sure I can share books back and forth with other kindle users- so cool! Have a great weekend!! This is my last weekend being in my 20's, and I'm freaking out just a little :( I'm not ready to be in a new decade! Waaahhh... Who knew 30 would come so fast??

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sooo I'm a little slow on trends...

I've been debating FOREVER about getting a kindle... and yesterday, I finally took the plunge and ordered one!! :) I cannot wait to get it next week!!! I realize I'm way behind on this "Kindles are cool!" trend, but I'm always that way with electronics. {I'm still trying to decide if I want to switch over from Sprint to AT&T so I can finally have an iphone hahaha}
Here are a few main reasons I'm pumped for my kindle:
1. Nick and I are going to California next weekend and then Spain in a few weeks, and I would much rather pack the tiny kindle than my big, bulky books I'm trying to finish right now.
2. I like to have about 3 books going at once, and I love that it'll be so easy to switch back and forth between books, all in the same little gadget! :)
3. Although I hate paying for books and prefer the library, at least there are a lot of books for free on kindle (most of the classics!), and books are usually cheaper if I buy the kindle version.
4. When I first got Copper, I had these wonderful visions of us going on brisk evening walks and enjoying nature together. But then I learned what it's like to have a beagle for a dog, and our walks consist more of walking 3 steps and stopping to sniff for 45 seconds, then walking 3 more steps and stopping to sniff, etc... So I've found that the perfect way for us to both enjoy our walks (and for me not to feel like yanking him down the street) is for me to read while we walk :) HOWEVER, I have had one too many embarrassing moments when I passed my neighbors and they saw this almost-30-year-old reading Harry Potter books. So I love that no one will know what I'm reading on the kindle :) And it'll be much easier to carry on my walks than big, awkward novels.
My other exciting purchase is the Ab Wheel hahaha :) I'm such a dork. One of my roommates had this back in college, and I loved it. Well, the other weekend, when we were visiting Steph at Elon, I noticed that she had one and so I thought I'd give it a try since I hadn't seen one in forever. Let's just say it was a great wake-up call to how little I've been doing for my abs lately!! I'm not expecting to get the perfect abs that I see on the front of Runner's World magazine. {Not that it would be a bad thing! It's just not very realistic :)} I just think I need to work more on strengthening my core, and I'd like to make my "softness" a little firmer. I usually try to do it when Nick's not around, because I'm still really awkward on it... but that probably won't change anyway.

Last, my bff Alli asked me to make a birthday hat for her baby boy Owen's 1st birthday party (Happy birthday, O!!!) This doesn't really have much to do with the rest of this post- except maybe that Nick and I are also really behind on the trend of having kids??? Whatev- we'll get there eventually :) Anyway, I had bought her little girl, Eliza, a fun birthday hat for her 1st birthday and Alli saw the boy version, but wanted to see if I could make it (which made me sooo excited!!!) So here's what the girl hat looked like:
Seriously, how cute is she??????

{There's a puff ball on top that matches the fluff around the rim}

And here's what I came up with for O (not-so-girly):

I would say that I hope he likes it- but I think at 1, he's probably not gonna care about anything except the cake. And then when he's old enough to have an opinion on it, I'm positive he's not gonna be OK with all the sparkly-ness happening here haha :) But it'll make for fun embarrassing pictures for his future wife to see! (Sorry, Alli if you're reading this- I know you're not ready to think about that yet!)

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Yummy Valentine

OK, so apparently I have a thing for cupcakes right now. (And my expanding hips can testify to that. Dang.) I've seen a lot of "cupcakes in a jar" lately, and wanted to give it a try. So I figured Valentine's Day was the perfect excuse to whip up some of these and have the chance to remind my friends and family how much I love them and am grateful for them.

I didn't make any special recipe for the cupcakes- just a couple of boxes of strawberry cake mix :) And then I made some buttercream vanilla frosting and finally got to use my fun decorator squeezy-thing :) And, of course, no cupcake would be complete without tons of sprinkles!!!!
Here's my first batch :)

I love sprinkles!!!!

Since the jar was so tall, I stacked 2 cupcakes in it with icing in between. And then that way they can share with their Valentine... if they want to :)

Maggie's jar offered to be the model. She has a special thing for keys :)

I'm a little obsessed with burlap right now, so I used that to decorate the jar and then added some fun colorful accents. I put little gift tags on each one.
One said:
"2*14*11 Happy Day of Love!!"

The other said one of two Bible verses. Either:
"Let us not love with words or tongue, but with action and in truth."
1 John 3:18
"If we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us."
1 John 4:12
{I clearly am partial to that book of the Bible}
I think both of these verses are so amazing- I couldn't choose between them, so I used both! I love how the Word of God is always so refreshing and can breathe new life into me when I need it.

Then I just wrote a personal message to each person on the back of the red tag. Valentine's Day makes me so thankful and reminds me of how blessed I am to have so many amazing people who are so good at truly showing me love. Cupcakes may be a weird way of showing it, but I just had to let it out  somehow!! :)

Ready to make some deliveries!

Here was another batch, before putting the cupcakes inside {the 3 on the left side were for men, so I tried to make them more "manly" by not adding the hearts on top :)}

***4 of these are in the mail right now- I can't wait to see what they look like when they arrive to their owners haha :) I'm going to have to send them a "before" picture, since I'm sure they will be a mess!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's Day! I'm not too big on the "cheesy-ness" associated with Valentine's Day or how commercialized it is, but I love any excuse to tell people how much they mean to me :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

World's Best Cupcake.

I realize that this is a pretty big claim... but let me defend it by saying it's not my recipe :) AND, this cupcake is so amazing, that it even converted this non-lover of chocolate cake. That's right- I usually just pass on cake if chocolate is the only option- but this is seriously delicious!!!

I made these with my residents at the retirement home (so thankfully I didn't gobble down all 2 dozen by myself.) They're called chocolate and strawberry cupcakes, and here's the link.

I wish I could take credit for this picture, but I really can't :) This was from her website. My pictures never turn out this cute.

The strawberry filling is where it's at. I could have eaten it til I puked... and then I would've started eating it again, and been thankful that I had more room in my stomach.  I mean heavy whipping cream, real strawberries, and sugar? REALLY? Doesn't get much better. It might change your life. (That might be going a bit far.)

MAKE THESE TODAY.  I'm not kidding.