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Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Faves!

This week just FLEW by, which is great news, because it means that Thanksgiving will be here before we know it.  I never used to be a huge fan of really anything about the holiday, but now that I am older, I really enjoy coming together with the people I love for a special meal.

And now on to the 5 best moments of the week.

1 // Walker and I have been making more of a conscious effort to spend the majority of our evenings in the living room, where we can just sit and talk after work, or engage in our individual activities.  The paraprofessional in my classroom is always telling me about the cocktail hour she and her husband have after he gets home at night, so we took a leaf out of her book and just enjoyed a glass of wine together last week.

2 // Speaking of wine, did you see the DIY bridal shower gift I made?  It's the perfect present for any bride-to-be.

3 // There's a nutty little child in my class who is extremely endearing, yet manages to drive me nuts half the time.  Yesterday was our Thanksgiving Feast at school (they serve a Thanksgiving meal to the kids and the teachers sit with them while they eat) and he was practically glued to my side as we walked in.  I asked him what he was doing, and he replied, "Waiting to sit with you, of course!"  Heart. Melted.

4 // BOGO Starbucks holiday beverages + a trip to Costco = perfect married Saturday.

5 // Walker and I watched Friends all summer and just finished the other day.  The finale was really sad, but we started up with Scrubs (for the second time) and all is well!  If you haven't yet watched it, look it up on Netflix - such a good show!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In Honor of Maggie

After Thursday's post, it's impossible to truly move on with this blog without acknowledging the sweet little puppy that is now gone from our lives.  I was really thinking about how best to honor her, when I saw a post that my dad wrote on Facebook last week.  He says it all better than I ever could.
As some of you know, last week we lost Maggie, our sweet and precious little doggie. I am so thankful for the 12 ½ years we had with her; years where we were blessed with her love and companionship. While my heart is breaking from her loss, it is joyful with the memories of how she enriched our family. I am amazed at not only how much I miss her, but also some things I learned from her time with us; lessons I pray I will never forget.


1. Maggie’s heart was pure and completely good. She never had a mean or unkind thought or action, never held a grudge and always thought the best of us without any expectation. As the result, she was always happy and wagged her tail every time she saw us.

2. Maggie’s love was unconditional. She loved us with all of her heart for every moment she was with us. It is as if the Apostle Paul had her heart in mind when he wrote 1 Corinthians 13. Her love was patient, kind, always trusted, always protected, always hoped, and forever persevered. Her love, like God’s love, never failed.

3. The time we had with Maggie was precious, but short. I wish more than anything I could have had more time with her, but I cannot. I did not know, for example, that when I walked her on Tuesday night it would be the last time. I know now to treasure every moment with the people I love. I want to enjoy every moment so richly that there would be no room to long for more.
4. Maggie lived in the moment for every day of her life. She ate when she was hungry, drank when she was thirsty, and neither worried about her future nor regretted her past. She never wanted anything more than what she had or the love that we gave her. Her heart’s delight was simply to be with us during the day or when we were sleeping. Her life, I believe, was a perfect example for how God wants us to live each day and to love those around us.

My greatest prayer is that someday I can be the person Maggie thought I was.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bridal Shower Gift: Wine Basket

Ahhh, bridal showers.  They're full of excellent food, silly games, and lots and LOTS of present-opening.  But here's the thing...picking the gift is actually hard work.

As someone who recently went through this myself, I understand the different categories of gifts.  Some people give items off of your registry, which is awesome.  Others give money/gift cards which allows you to choose what you want to purchase.  And occasionally, someone goes a little rogue and gets you something that you didn't actually request.  I have to tell you, one of my favorite shower gifts was in that latter category.  My aunt was looking at my registry and saw the dishes I had registered for.  She found the most gorgeous pasta bowls from Williams-Sonoma that matched perfectly and I was instantly obsessed.

So if you're the type who wants to be a little rebellious...or doesn't want to buy the same 'ol food processor...or maybe just honestly can't afford that expensive item that the bride registered for...this is the gift for you.

**HINT: The couple should like wine!

I originally saw this idea on Pinterest when I was planning my own wedding and put it in the mental "save for later" category of my brain.  The overall concept is that you buy 5 bottles of wine, each for a special occasion.

There's champagne for the wedding night.
A nice red for their first fight.
White wine for their first New Year's.
Rose for their first anniversary.
And sparkling cider for the night they find out they're expecting.

It's sweet, it's creative, it's sentimental, and it can be as expensive/cheap as you want it to be.

Here's what you need:

- Bottles of Wine (listed above)
- Basket
- Newspaper
- Labels

Optional: Wine glasses or champagne flutes

Obviously the first thing you need to do is go to the liquor store and pick up your five bottles.  I tried to pick ones that weren't crazy expensive.  The best way to do this is to look at the points for each wine.  The closer you can get to 100, the better the wine is, so find the best deal for your price point.  I think the most I spent on any one particular bottle was $10, but the couple I had in mind isn't crazy snobby about wine.

I also tried to find bottles with cute labels that corresponded to their event.  For example, I chose "Turning Leaf" red wine, because I thought it could symbolize the idea of turning over a new leaf during a fight.  Cheesy?  Yes.  But still cute!  I also picked a white called "Eve" for New Year's and a rose called "Sweet Bliss" for their first anniversary.

You're going to need a nice deep basket for this.  I got mine for $6 at Home Goods.  In order to make the wines stick up, stuff the bottom with newspaper.  You can then cover the newspaper with shredded paper or tissue to make it prettier at the end.

There should be a poem attached to each bottle of wine, detailing how the couple should enjoy it.  You can either go the fancy printed route from Etsy, print your own, or hand write them.  I opted to do them by hand.  It was cheaper and quicker.

Wedding Night:

The night you have dreamed of is finally here
The future surrounds you with hope and yet fear
You've wanted so long to find your perfect mate
Sip this wine and toast to a perfect date
The night is meant for you to share
Enjoy each other -- a perfect pair.

First Fight:

When arguments occur and tempers get hot
Pour a nice glass of wine and be thankful for what you've got
If you always agreed, life would certainly be a bore
And by marrying each other, you're definitely in for more!

First New Year's Eve:

Excitement's in the air
The countdown to a midnight kiss
Toast to friends, good health, success
Toast to more moments like this
Toast to your future, your present, and your past...
A resolution of love that is meant to last!

First Anniversary:

You've been married a year now
Where did the time go?
You're no longer newlyweds
But you've still got your glow
Hope the days find you in good health and good spirits
Keep saying "I love you", one always needs to hear it
Now toast this first year, it won't be the last
As you build your future, never forget about the past.

First Baby:

The news that a baby will soon share your life
Will make you a mother, not only a wife
You'll see it through good times and sometimes through bad
Courtney the loving mother and Brandon dearest dad
No wine tonight, but with cider fill your glass
Sit back and relax -- these 9 months will soon pass!

The final step is to place your wine (and optional glasses or champagne flutes) on top of the newspaper and tie the labels around each bottle.  Make sure everything is stable so that the whole thing doesn't come apart.

If you have cellophane, go ahead and wrap it up.  Make sure you tie a nice big bow onto the front to look extra festive.

The very last finishing touch I added was the little poem on the front of the basket.  It says:

A basket of wine for a special pair wrapped up for both to share!
I hope that you are both always as happy as today
Please share this wine just the way that I say!

Ta-dah!  The perfect bridal shower gift, for anyone who wants to do a little something different for the bride-to-be.  Let me know if you decide to try it!