My brother and sister-in-law are great at bragging on one another, and they’re always encouraging others to do the same. So, consider this post a little brag on my boyfriend.
On Valentine’s Day morning, Matt work up extra early and whipped up waffles, served with a homemade caramel syrup, before work. Yum!
He also snuck these lovely tulips (my favorite) into the house!
While we tend to be pretty low-key around holidays, his sweet gestures kept me warm inside all day. : ) By the way, have I mentioned that he’s been planning the menu, buying groceries, and making meals since Liam was born? How many gold stars is that worth?!
Love you, hubbie!
It’s time for a short catch-all post, y’all.
First, this pumpkin chocolate chip bread. Ummmm-hum! It’s an easy recipe and can probably be made using what you already have on hand—although you may need to snag some canned pumpkin from the store (possibly still on sale from Thanksgiving?). Make two pans, while you’re at it, and don’t be surprised if you have to bake it slightly longer than the directions call for.
And now, an entourage of Liam.
Playing in the leaves with Dad…
Daddy’s hands…is anyone familiar with that song?!
His first solids. Oatmeal—oh boy!
My favorite—Liam’s first introduction to a Christmas tree and all the wonder that the season brings. By the way, this was taken at the Broadmoor Hotel, where we admired the gingerbread village (although it was slightly disappointing compared to previous years) and dazzling holiday décor.
These are the words I’m mulling over this Thanksgiving week. I hope you’ll take a few moments to let them settle on your heart as well.
ThanksLiving (Written by blogger Kate Conner)
Giving Thanks is the Only Response (Written by blogger Ann Voskamp)
On that note, I’m thankful that Liam enjoys reading with Matt!
We desire thankfulness to embed itself deep in our family roots.
It sounds easy, being grateful and all, but if we’re not intentional, we tend to take things—and people—for granted. Oh, you too? So we skipped right past No-Shave-November and instead kicked off the month by setting up a simple basket to be filled with notes of gratitude.
I took this photo early on, but our little basket is starting to fill up with words that bring a bit of flesh to the thoughts that flit through our minds between the busy and mundane and joyful hours.
Come Thanksgiving day next week, together we’ll read through the words expressing gratitude—a tiny tribute to all the blessings that God lavishes on us—yes, lavishes.
Who knows? Perhaps the basket will stick around past November, because the reality is that this crusty heart of mine needs more than one month to cultivate a habit of thankfulness.
I’d love to hear how you bring a bit of creativity to the season. Share, please!
P.S. Speaking of No-Shave-November AND blessings…
Fall festivities never fail to excite me—sipping hot apple cider, driving into the mountains to take in the changing leaves, decorating with warm tones, baking comfort foods, carving pumpkins…and what better way to enjoy all of our favorite fall traditions than to host an Oktoberfest party?
Last year we held our first Oktoberfest shindig, complete with soups, a cream cheese pumpkin roll, carving competitions, a fire pit—you name it, we had it. This year was no exception, and we followed much of the same format as last year, although for dessert we served up these mini pecan pies,
chocolate chip cookies, and pumpkin chocolate chip bread. For table décor (cannot believe I didn’t snap a picture!), I borrowed some Pinsperation from Layla by covering our dining table with butcher paper for people to decorate during dinner (it then doubled as a protective cover during carving). Guests also jotted their guesses on it, since we included a game of “guess how many Reese’s are in the jar” (Midwest blast from the past, anyone?). Of course, I couldn’t resist these $0.98 paper straws on clearance at Target, which added a bit of bling to everyone’s drinking glass.
Since Team Braham completely failed at last year’s carving competition…
we decided to actually think through carving ideas ahead of time. I fell for this sweet looking owl on Katie Bower’s blog (I believe the original idea is from Martha Stewart).
Matt did a great job on the carving, but alas, we still didn’t beat out our friends who carved a pumpkin complete with a moustache and cigar (plus ours didn’t light up very well). I’m thinking our pumpkin was a bit on the long side…
It was so fun having friends over for a cozy evening celebrating the best of autumn. We’re already brainstorming carving ideas for 2013!
What have you been up to this fall?
P.S. This is what happened to our pumpkin after the squirrels got to him…they literally stole his eyes and feet one at a time until he looked like a creepy voodoo pumpkin.
Today is my boyfriend’s 30th birthday! (Actually, he’s my hubbie, but he’s still my boyfriend—and I still like it when he dates me. Ya know? Just in case you were wondering…)
Since we basically celebrated his birthday one day early, I mentioned that yesterday was his last day to live it up in his twenties, which brought about some reminiscing about the best aspects of being in one’s twenties and the exciting—although somewhat daunting—move into one’s thirties. The twenties are full of adventure—college, career, new locations, marriage, possibly kiddos…LOTS of change in a short amount of time. The thirties feel a tad more serious—like you’re really an adult making more permanent decisions. For us, this season involves welcoming a baby into our family—although not for six more months—which is a huge change in itself. Clearly there was need for a celebration! Hence, Matt’s 30th birthday bash!
While we didn’t go too crazy, we did invite some close friends to join us for snacks, desserts, and games (Matt loves himself a good strategy game and I love myself a new recipe). We grazed on southwest veggie eggrolls, chips and salsa, fresh strawberries and pineapple, pretzel turtle bites, and a divine triple layer chocolate ganache cake (a huge thanks to my mom for the recipe!). And yes, this was my first time making a layer cake, which went surprising better than I originally envisioned—but I was still very thankful for the frosting, which covered a multitude of sins.
Did you notice the cake stands?! My heart still pitter patters when I think of them nestled away. I’ve been searching for this style of cake stand for over a year, and I finally found them at Homegoods, of course! I bought two different sizes so I can stack them. Since I didn’t have an official “cake stand” budget, I dipped into our grocery envelope…which means that I really love those stands, because we’ll likely be eating rice and beans at the end of this month. But occasionally it’s worth it, especially when you’ve been searching high and low for just the right piece. While I was at it, I snagged a bunch of silvery candle holders on super clearance at Target. Please tell me I’m not the only one who is overly fond of serving dishes and sales!
After praying blessings over Matt upon this new season of his life, the guys got serious about their games, and the girls chatted about…you know, whatever it is that girls chat about. e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. The hubs even received some fun gifts in multiples of thirty. Like 30 ounces of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, 30 Reese’s Cups, 30 Tootsie Pop suckers, and a frisbee to be used for 30 games of ultimate frisbee/frisbee golf—in which the giver hopes that he beats Matt at least 30 times. Haha! What fun.
There really is nothing better than being surrounded by close friends and family during those significant milestones in your life. We’re thankful that we have a home in which to share those memories. After all, what is the point of living in a special space if you keep it all to yourself?
What are your thoughts on turning 30? Favorite moments from your twenties? Bits of wisdom for the future? We’re listening!
While it feels a little strange to post about the holidays after Christmas, I wanted there to be some surprises, so I waited until after the big day to share these hand crafted cards. Still, this idea can be modified and used throughout the year and certainly can be filed away until next year rolls around, thanks to Pinterest!
We all know that Christmas cards are so fun to send and receive, but I had a hard time swallowing the dent they would leave in our budget if we went the route I originally desired (which involved custom made cards on the adorable Tiny Prints website), so I decided to come up with a Plan B. It basically involved searching for simple DIY ideas on the web and then raiding my supply of craft paper (which I bought at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby in high school and seems to be endless). These cards were a snap to make and I loved putting together various colors and patterns to fit with the personalities of those receiving them. *Just for the record, I mainly made these cards for family members, as time got away from me, leaving me unable to make and send them to all of our friends.*
You can see how simple these were to make. First, I basically cut a long triangle out of craft paper. Then I cut it into strips to make the body of the Christmas tree. Next, I used a different color and pattern to make a skinny tree trunk. Then I just used a glue stick to adhere them to some colorful paper. Even though they are all the same basic design, I love how they are each unique! Oh, and I clearly didn’t stick to just “Christmas colors.” Why limit yourself when there are so many fantastic possibilities?
*The yellow tags helped me keep track of who was to receive each card.* Did you make your own cards this year? With all the ideas on the web, there are endless ways to get creative!
Give me a ‘p’… ‘o’… ‘m’! Pom pom! Yes, dear readers, it’s true. During a short stint in high school, I was a cheerleader. Which means I know a bit about pom poms. Fortunately for you, these mini poms are way cuter than what I used back in the 90s and there are no splits involved—unless, of course, you have a hankering to break out the moves in your own living room. Anyone?
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let them speak for themselves. Don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of photos, as this is a really easy project that adds instant cheer (pun definitely intended) to any gift.
Be sure to give the pom a haircut to trim up loose ends!
Thanks again to my sis Hannah for sharing her creativity with us. Happy pomming!