We crammed A LOT into our vacation to Marquette. We arrived in Marquette on Thursday, July 5th and left that Sunday, July 8th. We spent the beginning of the week relaxing and doing a whole lot of NOTHING so we felt refreshed and ready to be extra busy during the second part of our vacation! I took MANY pictures but tried to pick out a few to summarize our visit!

Classic Bridge Photo

We quickly found our way to Lake Superior to dip our toes in the cool water!

Alyssa (Ben’s old resident, now our downstairs neighbor) and I 

So happy to be HOME!

The sights of Marquette never get old!

Ben and I tried to visit all our favorite locations: Donckers, Border Grill, Marquette Food Co-Op, NMU, Lil’ Presque, Sugarloaf, Presque Isle, etc. 

We made multiple trips to Presque Isle!

We also visited the church we were married in and celebrated 2 years of wedded bliss!

Our pals, Elizabeth and Taylor got married! The boys had a pre-wedding huddle!

I thee wed!


There was a slight boat malfunction that was corrected with help from some wedding guests. (of course Ben helped too!)

The BEST guest “book.” I seriously love this idea!

My old resident, Parker! He was one of my feisty kids when I was a Resident Adviser. Gave me some trouble but turned out alright… 🙂

Congrats Elizabeth and Taylor!

Their first day as husband and wife was spent rock climbing, cliff jumping and hiking! 

Ben and I left the group for a bit and found “our tree.” The photographers took photos here on our wedding day. We have stopped at this tree twice since we left Marquette. 

Two days after the wedding we all got together at the newlywed’s home to eat reception leftovers and to play a game. Ben made salsa to contribute to the lunch. 

On our hikes Ben and I found some blueberries! YUM!

Ben and I went for one last hike before we left Marquette. Right before we left we hiked Sugarloaf Mountain. 

Honestly for how busy the trip was, it was PERFECT! We did just about everything we wanted to do and accomplished what we set out to do – celebrate with our dear friends. And we did just that!


Will you…

…Be My Bridesmaid?

I received this beautiful card in the mail last week.

Inside was a beautiful poem.

Will you be my bridesmaid?
Will you also be my wedding planner, cake tester, interior decorator, envelope sealer, and guest list creator for the next year? Will you listen to me obsessively talk about wedding things until it’s all over? Will you help me pick out the perfect dress, even if it means wasting several hours of your Saturday? Will you stay with me the night before the wedding and reassure me that everything will be perfect? Will you get in all those uncomfortable positions to make sure my dress fits exactly the way it should? Will you stay by my side and hold my dress when I have to pee? Will you check my hair 300 times to make sure every single piece is curled? Will you stand at the front of the church, smiling back at me, as I walk down the aisle to my best friend? Will you spend the entire day of 08.17.2013 getting ready with me; then spending the entire evening toasting, eating, drinking, and on the dance floor with me probably dancing to nontraditional music? Lastly, will you be my friend through all of this and after? 

With tears in my eyes I called my future-sister-in-law, Tia, and said “I DO!!” I am excited to stand next to Tia as she marries my brother! 

Happy Anniversary!

[Forgot to post this yesterday..]
One year ago we were living in Sioux Falls and packing up our life [again] to move back to Michigan. On April 29th, 2011 I woke up like any other day to prepare another day of student teaching. Except this day was different. I woke up in the middle of my living room because our bed had been moved there to make space for packed boxes in our bedroom. And instead of waking up at 6:00am I was up at 3:45am! I quietly made my way to the kitchen where I made a cup of tea, grabbed a cookie and then snuck past a sleeping husband to the couch. I snuggled under a blanket and grabbed the remote.

I turned on the TV which instantly brought up the Royal Wedding guests being ushered into the church. Nothing says excitement like seeing Elton John on your TV screen at 4:00am. For hours I watched history unfold! I had butterflies in my stomach, could barely sit still and had a huge smile on my face watching this beautiful couple become husband and wife! I was fascinated with Princess Di as a girl – watched her funeral, witnessed these two young boys at their mother’s funeral, have done speeches on Princess Diana, and watched movies and documentaries. All of this made this morning extra exciting to witness! 

Prince William and Prince Harry on their way to the church.

The Groom!

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

First glimpse of the beautiful bride!

The day Pippa (and her fabulous body!) became famous!

There she is! I believe at this point I clapped out loud and giggled which woke up Ben. 

Kate and her dad

The famous back-end

Entering the church!

The butterflies in my stomach got super intense here! So excited!

A photo likes takes me back to my own wedding day! 
The excitement in her eyes and the smile on her dad’s face is priceless!

 Here they go!

The groom finally meeting up with his bride. Love that goofy grin!

Love this one!

Exchanging rings.

The front of the church.

My mom and I were texting back and forth throughout the morning. 
I did miss the famous kiss (had to go into school). 
I wasn’t the only insane one up at 4am from JFK Elementary. I sat in the staff lounge and exchanged stories with the staff about their morning. Some talked about Princess Diana’s wedding and I got even more excited! Some of my kids were up in time to watch part of the wedding too. Overall the whole day was super exciting!

Happy First Anniversary William and Kate! 

Brief Date Night Jar Tutorial

The Date Night Jar I made in a previous post was quite simple and honestly I contemplated putting up this tutorial at all. But here it is! 

I looked at a few different places to get an idea that I liked. 

I liked this one because you could decide the price range for the date night. 

This was another fun one because you could use the couples wedding colors to decorate the jar. 

I choose to do a date night jar similar to the second one but still used the first one as inspiration. I grabbed a Mason jar from our kitchen (they are everywhere!)
Cut strips of colorful paper and added date ideas. I also googled “cheap date night ideas” and got some inspiration from there. Some date ideas included Iron Chef Challenge, geocaching, indoor picnic, lay under the stars and I also wrote, “Ben cooks” and “Carrie cooks” as a date night option! 
Then make a cover for the lid to explain the jars contents. Tape it on top!
Fold the strips of paper and toss them in the jar!
 I also made an instruction manual to better explain the Date Night jar. I encouraged the couple to pick one, two or three ideas if they so choose and to also include other couples on their date nights. Making this date night jar gave me some ideas and I am anxious to have some date nights with my hubby!

I also put this together.
Bought the frame and got the pictures from this flicker site.
Have fun!

I Do!

I love weddings! I love seeing the bride’s hard work come together. I get emotional watching the bride walking down the aisle to her groom. I enjoy meeting their family and friends and partying the night away with them. I love the colors, food, dresses, dessert, and sounds of the day. This past Saturday was a special day. My dear friend got married and Ben and I were there to watch the union of two terrific people! 

Before their wedding day I got crafty.

Date Night Jar
A mason jar filled with ideas for a date night.

Some goodies for date night. 

Everything was individually wrapped with an explanation included. 
Inside was candy, popcorn, cookie dough mix, and candles. 

I also got the images online and made this picture frame for the couple. 
Easy, fun, and unique gifts!

And of course a wedding post would not be complete without a few pictures from the big day. 

Ben and I before the wedding. 
(I was laughing.. whoops)

The head table

Each table was labeled with a place and an explanation about the importance of the location. 

The BEAUTIFUL bride and a few elementary education pals. 

Wedding Presents

I had a ton of fun gathering up gifts to give to Alyssa (and Bill too!).

The Bachelorette Gift will not be shown… but it was a fun game, Blow Pops and other “soon-to-be-married” goodies that your mind can probably come up with!

For the Bridal Shower I choose a Decorate Your Kitchen theme.

With the gift came, two yellow place mats and two green napkins. 

A frame that I spray painted to match the rest of the gift and created a wordle using kitchen terms. I added a border around the words. To find out more about wordles click here

I created a cookbook for Alyssa (again with the same color scheme). I included recipes that I have received or found. I added little phrases at the top of each page and included tips and variations of the recipes. 

For their wedding gift we choose a Date Night theme. Bill and Alyssa are not going on their honeymoon until October so we wanted to give them a mini-honeymoon for one evening. We added the fixings for spaghetti and chocolate chip cookies. Added a candle and movie! 

I made instructions for the Date Night!


In addition to the gifts and making the mini-cheese cakes for Alyssa’s bridal shower, I made thank you cards in her wedding colors. 

I had so much fun planning and preparing all the gifts! 


It has been almost one month since Bill and Alyssa got married!

The days leading up to their wedding were filled with wedding festivities. I don’t have many pictures from their big day but I do from the days before.

The weekend truly started on Thursday. The sisters (Eryn, Raena and I) threw a bachelorette party for Alyssa at Applebee’s before we all headed to Alyssa’s Bridal Shower!

The decoration I made for the table. 

The car packed and read to go!

The beautiful sisters ready for the crazy weekend!

The beautiful bride getting geared up for her big night!

Alyssa opened up LOTS of gifts (not many internet appropriate…)

Then we played fun games that Eryn led. 
For this one we had to tie objects in knots.. in our mouths!
Twizzlers, cherry stems and unwrap starbursts. 

 Raena giggled.. alot! 🙂

Alyssa’s gift from the sisters. 

Another gift from the sisters… this one a joke gift from the Salvation Army! haha

Then we headed off to the Bridal Shower at Aunty Ju’s house.
Lydia made a beautiful sign to welcome guests. 

Leis were given to the Bride and Bridal Party.

The bride’s chair!

Lydia helped to decorate!

The beautiful cake Aunty Ju made. It looks very similar to Alyssa’s dress!

The hostesses!

The mini cheesecakes I made for the shower. Strawberry and white chocolate are Alyssa’s favorite!

Here comes the bride!

We played a wedding version of pictionary. 

The game was so much fun and everyone was laughing so much!

Aunt Esther had some of the best interpretations!

Alyssa with her beautiful cake!

The delicious food!! And decor matching Alyssa’s wedding colors!

Lydia made a new friend with Alyssa’s friend’s little girl. 

Look at all the gifts Alyssa got! So blessed!

Then came the day BEFORE the wedding.
Raena and I got to church super early to help Mom get the flowers ready.

Super stoked!

Raena and I made the bottom portion of the centerpiece.

All the flowers!!

The church morning before the wedding.

Getting there!

The wreath in memory of the grandparents who passed away. 


Working so hard!

Bill even got in on the flower action!

We had an assembly line!

Bill, Alyssa and Bill’s sister, Jaz

Aunt Addi and Lydia

The boys entertained themselves!

Favorite picture of the groomsmen!
My buddy Ian is really paying attention!

Apparently I am not good at paying attention either! haha

Me and Ian!

Jet’s Pizza was eaten at the rehearsal dinner! Their Jet bread was delicious!

The groomsmen!

Uncle Lionel, Aunt Bev and Eryn catching up. They came from Texas!

I have a few pictures from the wedding.
We started off the day by getting our hair done!
Beautiful bride!

Beautiful Maid of Honor

Beautiful sisters, Bill’s sisters

Beautiful Raena

Raena fixing up Eryn’s hair before the ceremony.

And there ends my wedding pictures… except for these last few
The wedding favors that Raena and I made!

The centerpieces!

Dad and his friend, well he tried to make friends.

We snuck out during the reception to decorate the bride and groom’s car.

A funny picture to end a crazy weekend!
To see more pictures from the actual wedding check out the photos I am tagged on Facebook.