Ready, Set, GO!

Life around the Holidays is busy, that isn’t news to anyone. But after the Holidays my work took over my life. I attended conferences, spent some time away from home and had a few weeks where I was working 10 hour days, every day. I was writing a grant application to continue the program I currently am running. The grant gives our program $135,000 to run a quality program for our little ones. Towards the end of writing this competitive grant, my boss’ boss told us we couldn’t apply.

So… in saying all that.. because of work being so busy my life was put on hold. We didn’t see much of our friends and family, working on the nursery was put on hold, updating the blog was paused as well. I had a four day weekend last weekend where I made that time about me. I caught up with friends and work around the house. This weekend we are visiting my family. I feel refreshed. I’m ready to get back to preparing for our little one, sharing our life with our blog readers, spending quiet evenings with my husband and catching up with family and friends. So here is to surprise ending that resulted in a recharged me!

The last two months have been crazy but we did our best to squeeze in some fun as well! Here is a glimpse at what we did during January!

January started as January always starts. Celebrating the end of one year and beginning of another. Our good buddy, Lance, was able to join us for the second year in a row! We enjoyed a chill night at our place. We went out at midnight and popped poppers, hugged and did our yearly tradition of burning the things we want to start the new year without.
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After half a dozen pictures, not one turned out…
IMG_3628This one is my favorite!

For as long as I can remember my family has always taken a few minutes at the start of the New Year to write down things we want to start the New Year without, bad memories from the best year, etc. We then burn them to signify leaving the things behind.
IMG_3622 A week or so later, Lance was back! We had dinner with his parents and then Lance stayed the night again. We were able to drive him to the airport as he headed back to grad school in Florida.

While he was here, we tried out a new Kinnect game we got.

It got intense!
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I think I was doing the long jump here.. not sure..

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The boys racing and jumping hurdles!

IMG_3663I love these boys!

We didn’t get a chance to celebrate the holidays with our church pals so instead we got together for brunch after the holiday chaos had passed.

Ben and I made fruit kabobs to add to our brunch!

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They were quite yummy and cute too!

Ben acquired this from his parent’s house.

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His great-great grandpa made it in 1870!

A different post will show you what Ben did with it!

Ben spent an evening out with some buddies, I spent the evening in bed relaxing!

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These were my friends for the evening! Caramel cookie crunch gelato and hot chocolate!

We got together with some of Ben’s co-workers and their families one evening. Ben brewed with his buddy, Matt, and the rest of us spent some time socializing and playing with Matt’s two little girls.

Matt’s wife is due a month after I am so I made a chocolately dessert perfect for two pregos!

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I made a chocolate cake, poked holes in it using a straw, poured chocolate pudding over it and then crushed up Oreos on top. It sat in the fridge for a few hours before we dug into the gooey chocolately deliciousness!

IMG_3721I have spent some time deep cleaning different areas of our home. I had a to do list all written one morning but that to do list was thrown out the window when I opened the pantry one morning and saw this….
IMG_3725MOUSE POOP!
A mouse had somehow gotten into our pantry and chewed into two bags of flour and a handful of other items. I spent quite a bit of time inspecting everything and getting rid of anything the mouse had snacked on. EW! Thankfully we haven’t seen anything since this photo was taken and the trap we set is still empty!

The end of January was spent in Kalamazoo celebrating my future sister-in-law’s birthday! We “surprised” her by decorating the apartment. 
IMG_3738Justin didn’t know where the tape was so he used a stapler to attach streamers to the wall.
IMG_3740The party supplies!
IMG_3745We had a few moments to spare and we snapped a few pictures!

SURPRISE!
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Happy 22nd Birthday Tia!

IMG_3755Justin picked out this yummy Heath Ice Cream cake from Dairy Queen and we also went out to dinner to celebrate with the birthday girl!

Random Happenings

I had some images and stories I wanted to share but I didn’t have enough to dedicate a whole post so here we go! I combined a few photos! Enjoy!

Beautiful “Baby”
I snapped this photo of a beautiful little lady. Erin is growing more beautiful each month and I was thankful to catch this moment. 

Thank You
I complained about the intense heat we got this summer but I was aware that many people had it worse than I did. I left a little note for our Mail Carrier to thank him for all he does! 

Ben said he talked to the Mail Carrier the next day and he said the note was so nice and made his day. I really want to start doing more of these random acts of kindness to others! 

Bye Truck
We said goodbye to Ben’s truck. It was time for an upgrade! 

Craft Time
It had been a long time since I got crafty but I had a good excuse. Addison’s 3rd birthday! I made her a tutu! I used this piece of cardboard to cut the tulle in equal pieces. 

A work in progress!

The finished project!! I loved how it turned out but would have done more tulle and longer tulle if I did this again for this age group. 

The back. 

Added a cute little boa!

Farmer’s Market
A good haul from the Farmer’s Market: pickling cucumbers, bagels, peppers, tomatoes, flowers and sausage. 

A fridge full of delicious fruits and veggies!

Making: Camo Cupcakes

I wanted to make something fun for my brother’s birthday. What says Justin more than CAMO CUPCAKES!! I got the idea from here on Pinterest. 


They were super easy to make and I foresee myself going through the same process in the future with fun color combinations! (Please forgive me for the bad photos towards the end, my brother came early and I was RUSHING to get the cupcakes baked and put away before he noticed!)

Make the cupcake batter and divide it into thirds.
(Note: I only used half of the cake batter, the other half was used to make a separate cake)


Make three camo colors; I made dark green, bright green and brown. 
Add blue and yellow to make green. I added extra green dye to one cup to make a vibrant green. For the brown I mixed a ton of food colorings together. 

Starting with one color add in about a tablespoon into the cupcake liner. Then add the second color. Then the third. The batter separates as you add each color leaving the cupcakes looking like this. 

 Then take a butter knife and swirl around the colors. 

Done! 

I wanted the guests to see the camo so I didn’t frost the cupcakes. I dyed vanilla frosting bright green and let the guest frost their own. 

3 Birthdays, 3 Days, 1 Party

My family and Tia’s (my brother’s fiancee) family came to visit for Easter. While both families were together I thought it would be fun to celebrate my brother’s birthday. After talking to my mom about this plan she suggested we also celebrated my dad’s birthday (two days after my brother’s). When talking to Tia about this she mentioned her dad, Ricky, has a birthday in between my dad and my brother. 

Justin: April 14
Ricky: April 15
Randy: April 16


I wanted to celebrate all three birthdays with one party! I used a primary color scheme and added a personalized cake for each person. I made the decorations, cake, etc. in the 24 hours leading up to the party and for most of if both my dad and brother were around. I had to be super sneaky (and it helped the boys spent hours outside). 

Entering into the dining room. 

Happy Birthday Banner

Balloon Garland and Pinwheels

Our dining room was transformed quickly before the party began.
My mom and I had just over an hour to decorate, frost the cakes, etc.

Gift/Drink/Treat Table

A closer look.

I made this sign and hung it on the wall next to the gift table. 

I saw a similar idea online and came up with the Rocks one on my own. 

This was the cake table (I forgot to take a picture of the cakes!)
Over each cake was a sign for each birthday boy. On the sign was fun facts about the year they were born.

Here is Justin’s.

We all ran inside except for the birthday boys who sat outside talking about Justin’s new truck. When they came up we all sang to them but I think it took them each some time before they realized the party was for them. 

Ricky checking out his facts and “cake.” 

The boys blowing out their candles. 
Justin had camo cupcakes (tutorial to come) and guests frosted their own cupcakes.
My dad, Randy, had a gravestone cake (he turned 50).
Tia’s dad, Ricky, had a piece of Mackinac Fudge. 

The boys opening their gifts!

Ricky, Randy, Kelly (my mom), Tim (Tia’s brother, Tyler’s friend”

Tyler (Tia’s brother), Maria (Tia’s mom) and Tia

Spring Break

My Spring Break was FABULOUS!

To break it down…
Friday – leave at 5:30am, stop to get bagels then drive to Menominee, surprise cousins and pick them up from school, chill with family
Saturday – family time, wedding in Wisconsin
Sunday – family time then trip back home
Monday-Wednesday – hung out with Lauren and the girls, worked on super secret projects, cleaned the house
Wednesday – dinner with pals, Jordan and Lindsey, got tattoo, parents came to town
Thursday – visited Lauren and the girls and took them to the park, lots of hanging out, Ben’s parents came over and we made both sets of parents dinner
Friday – Justin came, bought a new truck, made the Pinterest recipe Salsa Chicken again and hung out
Saturday – Boye/Walk lunch, 3 in 1 surprise birthday party for my dad, brother and Tia’s dad, more family time
Sunday – parents left, Justin left, Easter service, Raena’s birthday party, major crash time when Ben and I sat around for hours…. 


There it is!! SUPER BUSY BUT WONDERFUL! Spent it with everyone we love dearly! Now here is the fun part.. pictures!




Overall, I did not take too many pictures. But I was too busy enjoying every second away from work and with my family to grab the camera! 🙂

Babies, Birthdays and Battles

BABIES


I have had the most wonderful opportunity to babysit for my best friend’s little girls throughout the summer. After missing so much of their lives I treasured every moment with them. Now as I start my new job I will not be able to spend as much time with them as I have been so the last few weeks have been especially special. 

Baby Erin playing her newest game, “Peek a Boo”

She makes the FUNNIEST faces!! I was excited to catch this one on camera!

Addison LOVES to color!
And this particular day she was nakey… 
There is nothing better than some cute girls in just their diapers!

Beautiful BIG girl!

BIRTHDAYS

We celebrated three special birthdays in the last two months, cousins Jeremiah and Lydia and Addison. 

I did not take any pictures of Jeremiah and Lydia’s joint birthday party (forgot my camera..) but I did take pictures of their birthday present!

I made splash balls out of sponges!

I put the splash balls in a big orange bucket to inspire them to create their own games to keep cool during the summer!
In their thank you cards they said they did just that! 
A joint gift perfect for summer fun!

Addison turned TWO!
I will never forget the first time I heard her cry shortly after she was born!
Tears filled my eyes as I listened to proud papa, Eric, sharing the grand news of her birth!
Now two years later we celebrated the gift God has given us, Addison!
Lauren planned a dog themed party, Addison’s favorite animal!
WOOF!
Lauren made these ADORABLE cupcakes! 

The birthday girl enjoying her special treat. 

Uncle Ben had some quiet time with Erin. She partied too hard so took a nap on Uncle Ben in a quiet room!

I took on a craft project for Addison’s first birthday so Uncle Ben got to do one for her second!
Uncle Ben sanded and repainted this little chair. He made a new seat for it and put tennis balls on the bottom so Addison didn’t scratch their hardwood floors. 

This picture may not show it, but Addison loves her chair and uses it all the time.
She does what I call “Talk Shows with Addison” where she sits in the chair and chats with whoever is closest to her or to her stuff animals. 
(Look for pictures of the chair project tomorrow!)

BATTLES

At 23 (almost 24) years old my childhood officially ended this summer with the final movie release of Harry Potter. For the last few movies it is tradition to see the movie in theaters with my in-laws. This movie was no different!


I donned my Voldemore shirt, wand, I love Hungarian Horntails pin and enjoyed the last movie and final battle scenes. The movie was incredible and the battle scenes were breathtaking!! Goodbye childhood and goodbye Harry Potter!