Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Spring-Themed Bridal Shower is Fun to Plan!

Pin It Now!

Wow. I haven't written here for almost a month. And a crazy month it's been! By far, the most exciting thing we did this past month is plan a bridal shower for my oldest daughter. She is getting married in June and we wanted to hold a surprise shower for her. My younger two daughters and my mom were my partners in crime ;) After some discussion, it was decided that we would hold a spring-themed shower in the restaurant owned by the couple my engaged daughter works for. With lots of help from this wonderful gal, we were actually able to surprise my daughter and pull off a fun, enjoyable afternoon. I thought I'd share some of our ideas here, as people seemed to thoroughly enjoy the day. Some of the ideas were from Pinterest and some were just from our own heads. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

One of my daughters found the fun idea of having four themed tables-- Old, New, Borrowed, Blue.

This is what we did with each one--

"Old" Table --we filled this table with pictures of the bride and groom. We hung most of them on a beautiful, live Magnolia bush which we gave to the couple as a gift.

 "New" Table-- this table was filled with gifts for the bride--lovely new things with which to fill her home. 

 "Borrowed" Table-this table was filled with advice and recipes, borrowed from those who love the bride (and groom, too).

We asked people to write their advice on flower cut-outs that we had attached to paper straws and placed in small vases, They looked like cheery, bright bouquets on the table. 
"Blue" Table--This one stumped us a bit. We didn't really like any of the ideas we saw on Pinterest. And so we decided to just ask people to bring a small blue household item. The table was filled with cleaning supplies, sponges, duct tape, etc.  All of that little stuff that costs so much money and no one usually buys for the bride.

After we decided on table themes, our next item to plan was games. What should we do? What we discovered was that Etsy was filled with great ideas for Bridal Shower games. I was all set to purchase some digital designs to print on my own, when I realized that with some clip art and digital scrapbook paper purchased from Etsy, I could easily design my own games. Here is what I was able to create, using Microsoft Publisher--

I absolutely love to do this kind of stuff but I realize that it would be very overwhelming for some of you. If that is the case, then use Etsy! They have amazing options for bridal showers and baby showers and birthday parties. Really, it is an absolute treasure trove of fun designs that can be purchased at a minimum price (if you print your own). 

Last, but certainly not least, was the food. We arranged with the restaurant owner to provide most of the main meal (wraps, fruit, salads, and chips) and then started planning our dessert table. My son's girlfriend loves to bake so we lined her up to make cupcakes that went with our theme colors. She made key lime, strawberry-filled, and vanilla cupcakes. My niece made matching cake balls in chocolate and vanilla. And my daughter rounded it out with adorable, heart-shaped rice krispies and white chocolate snack mix, using Easter colored M&Ms. Here are a few shots of the dessert table--

heart-shaped rice krispies

white chocolate snack mix with Easter m&ms

key lime, vanilla, and strawberry-filled cupcakes

And that's about it. My daughter tells me that she was truly surprised (which was an accomplishment in and of itself since she still lives with us!) We enjoyed an afternoon of fellowship and fun. It was the official beginning to a season of excitement and new experiences for my daughter, as she prepares to embark on the adventure of marriage. My husband and I see God's hand very clearly in bringing her and her fiancee together and we are so happy for them!

Thanks for taking the time to check out our bridal shower. Here is a final picture of some young people thoroughly enjoying themselves at the shower--

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Never Buy Expensive Granola Again!

Pin It Now!

After spending $5 on a {very} small bag of granola that promised to be made of all-natural ingredients, I started thinking. The granola was gone in a matter of days and the price for the amount in the bag hardly seemed a smart purchase. Surely this should be something I could make?

And, so, like usual, I started experimenting. I found a recipe, made a couple of changes, and came up with this recipe. It's delicious, I know exactly what's in it, and it is at a fraction of the cost. And, as an added bonus, it is SO easy to make and doesn't take very long. Here is the recipe--

5 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup quick oats
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup walnuts
1 Tbsn cinnamon
1/2 c water
1/2 c grapeseed oil
1 Tbsn vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix oats, coconut, sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Stir water, oil, and vanilla into mixture. Spread onto baking sheet and bake for 1 hour (or until golden brown and crunchy), stirring every 15 minutes.

Please note: You can add raisins, dried fruit pieces, or chocolate chips to the mix after it is finished baking and has cooled a bit.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Keeping Greens Green

Pin It Now!

Any time I make a concerted effort to eat healthy, I find myself confronted with the short life-span of the greens that are supposed to be so good for me. Do you know what I mean? Is it just me or do lettuce and spinach start wilting the moment I put them in my shopping cart? Seriously, after only a couple of days in my refrigerator they have most likely turned slimy and gross. There is not much grace in the greens department when it comes to storage. Especially if you go the pre-cut, prepared route.

At least there wasn't much grace before I found the Prepworks Lettuce Keeper. This thing is truly amazing! I do not promote anything that doesn't work on this blog. The picture above-- the spinach you see there? It is TWO weeks old today! I took that picture this morning. It is still crisp and fresh. I am truly amazed and have been since I've been using the lettuce keeper the past couple of months.

This keeper saves me money and helps me to eat healthy! I am so excited about this that I just ordered the Berry Keeper, as well. I will let you know if that works as well as my lettuce keeper!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Two Black Truths About the Color Black

Pin It Now!

Have you ever seen those beautiful pictures of kitchens with black cabinets? Or rooms filled with eye-catching shiny black furniture? We saw them and when we re-did our kitchen we decided to go ahead with the color black for our brand new island (which I love!) However, if I had to go back I would probably change it now. Oh, it still looks lovely if you don't look at it too closely. But there is a truth about this type of furniture that you won't read in any magazine article--

1. It is forever dusty. You can dust it in the morning and by evening it will look like you never dusted it. It is like a magnet for dust. Actually, it is just showing the dust that naturally settles on any piece of furniture. But black furniture shows all dust rather spectacularly, without any forgiveness whatsoever. 

2. It mars very easily. Any chips, dents, and spills show themselves very clearly. We are a busy family with lots of activity going on. Our kitchen is a happening place. And that means that there are already lots of chips in the paint (see above) and areas that are imperfect. And, once they happen, they are very obvious. You cannot hide them. 

And so, this is my caution to anyone who wants to buy black furniture or paint their cabinets black. Beware of these two truths. If you are someone who thrives on cleaning and touching up paint, then these will not be big issues for you. But if you like something you dusted to look nice for at least a day or two and you aren't handy with a paintbrush, you may want to re-think it before you go with the color black. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Lemon Peppermint Lotion

Pin It Now!

I have tried a number of lotion recipes, all without much success. In fact, the last time I tried it, I put it on and it smelled AWFUL. And to show you just how bad it smelled, one of my daughters came in the room and asked if someone had been sick! Whatever combination of oils I had used did not work well together at all. It seems like all of my recipes have been either too oily or needed to be refrigerated or smelled awful, etc. 

But, I found this idea and thought I would give it a try. I adjusted a few things and changed a few ingredients until I came up with this concoction. AND...drumroll please...I absolutely love it! And it's so easy! And it works! Really, I am so proud of myself! ;) I hope you love it as much as I do.

2 Tbsn Bees Wax Pellets 
8 oz  Water
15 drops Peppermint Oil
15 drops Lemongrass Oil

Put the pellets in a microwaveable glass bowl or large measuring cup and place for a minute in the microwave. Take out and stir. Put in for another 30 seconds or a minute, until they are melted. Add the oil and the water. Next is the really cool part! Take a stick blender and blend until it turns into a creamy lotion. When it is a good consistency, mix in the essential oils. 

And there you are! Your own homemade lotion in a matter of minutes. Little work, little cost, and so much satisfaction!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Parenting with Purpose

Pin It Now!

Are you a Christian parent? Then be sure to check out my Christian Parenting series over at Growing4Life. I have spent the month of January discussing some of the most important things my husband and I have learned these last twenty-three years of parenting. Nothing teaches us life lessons more thoroughly than living life itself and it is my desire to share some of what I have learned with my readers. I know how much I appreciated talking to older mothers as I navigated my way through the parenting stages. (Did I actually just write older mother?? Yep-- I guess I am officially admitting that I am an "older mother"!)

Here is the schedule of the series--

The Basics A few basic principles of parenting, no matter what stage you are in
What does my marriage have to do with it?  The importance of keeping our marriages healthy
Who’s the Boss? Parenting toddlers
When They Grow Out of the Cute Stage! Parenting kids between six and ten.
I Need a Reason! Parenting ‘tweens and teens
What’s My Role? Parenting adult kids
Jan 24 - Being a “Great” Grand-parent Supporting my adult kids in their role as a parent
Jan 28 – Where’s God At In This Whole Process?  Weaving God and His Word into every stage of parenting
Jan 31 -- Raising Moral Kids in an Immoral World  The challenge of raising kids who says YES! to God and NO! to self.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Some Honest Thoughts About the Blogosphere

Pin It Now!

SO...I haven't written here for awhile. Life got a little crazy with two international trips and the holidays. But, in the midst of all that craziness, I did take the occasional few minutes to look over the posts of some of my favorite blog hops.

And I just have to tell you one of my biggest pet peeves of all: ADVERTISEMENTS in the middle of the written text!

And I have to think to myself -- is the writer SO desperate to make a little cash that he/she is willing to irritate and distract the reader??

Even worse are the animated and flashing ads that start their thing the moment you hit their page.

Most of these bloggers have great things to say, but it is hard for me to concentrate on it with all of that "stuff" going on on their page. In fact, so much so, that I generally click off of the page.

And here's why: because it says to me this author isn't writing a blog because she loves to write. She's writing it to make money. And while I believe you can do and desire both, it shows which takes priority on a blog page littered with advertisements all over it.

I don't know why I just wrote that. Perhaps it's to encourage anyone who lands here to consider carefully their own personal blogs. Keep the blog and your writing the number one thing. Don't get distracted by the money thing.

Just a few thoughts from a fellow blogger :)