Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review

Two Thousand Ten has been a great year for us!  It was not quite as busy as 2009 (the year where we both graduated from college, we got engaged, Tad got a job, he moved to a different state, we got married, I moved too, and we got pregnant)!

We are so grateful to God for all of His many blessings to us this year.  In March, we were thrilled to be able to buy our first home and move in.  We enjoy this old house (crazy house projects and all) and love having space to have 20 youth over for a party.

Our biggest blessing this year was welcoming our sweet girlie Vera into our familyBorn in August (10 months and 2 days after our wedding day), Vera has brought so much joy into our lives.  She is a delight, and God is using her to draw Tad and me closer together and helping us to depend on Him more as we parent her.

We have continued to be thankful for our ministry at our church.  We are excited about some new ministry ventures in 2011, including a youth blog, a college/career Bible study, and a women's Bible study.

Though we live far from our families, we have enjoyed many visits back to see them.  We have also enjoying having them come see us and stay in our home!

Counting this post, I wrote 388 blog posts in 2010.  I am currently praying about new ways that God would have me to use this blog for His glory. 

I'm mulling over some resolutions for the new year, but mainly praying that God would continue to mold me and shape me into His image!

What's topping your list of blessings in 2010?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Vera's First Vintage Ball

Last year at the Vintage Ball, Tad and I were expecting, but we hadn't started telling people yet!  This year, it was a privilege to take my sweet Vera to the Ball, though unfortunately Tad was unable to attend.  This was the eleventh year in a row I attended the Vintage Ball (yep, I started going when I was thirteen)!

Vera enjoyed dancing a waltz with her Pops!
Our whole family except for Tad

Mimi, Pops, and Vera

Me & Vera (she was all tuckered out by 9:30!)
Such a sweet memory we'll always cherish!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vera Laughing

Recently Vera enjoyed watching her uncles fly remote-controlled helicopters around the room and into the Christmas tree.  It really tickled her and she started laughing!  We got a little bit of it on video.  (Pops got a longer video on his cell phone.)

She keeps us giggling!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I forgot to post these pictures in our Christmas Memories post, but I wanted to share them with you!  Andrea snapped them during the Christmas Eve service at church. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Memories 2010

We had a great Christmas together as a family!  It was so fun having a cute BABY this year!
Daddy and Vera with her presents this year: a wooden ABC puzzle, a ABC Bible storybook, and a blue onesie with red birds on it.
Our Christmas morning breakfast: cheese omelets, bacon, fresh pineapple, homemade cinnamon rolls, and orange juice.
Vera's cute Christmas jammies and fun bib (both gifts).
Our Christmas dinner: apricot white-wine glazed Cornish hens, cranberry pecan stuffing, twice stuffed baked potatoes, garlic butter green beans, fruit salad, and sweet potato casserole.
Vera, enjoying her puzzle.
Sweet baby feet!

Hope you all had a very merry Christmas with your families as well!  If you haven't yet, please read Kate's final Advent post here.  It's so good!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Merry Christmas to You and Yours!

May you enjoy this season as you celebrate with your family! But most of all, may you understand the true meaning of Christmas and allow the good news of the Gospel to bring you joy today and every day! 
(Our 2010 Christmas card photo)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Under the Tree

I mentioned how I was going to wrap a lot of my gifts in brown paper packaging this year, and here's how a few of those gifts ended up looking!


I love the simplicity and elegance!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Two Sweet Blogs

image source

I wanted to share two sweet blogs that I've been enjoying lately!  I had the privilege of getting to know both of these girls during my time at LU, and I consider them both to be kindred spirits!  They are both engaged to godly men who are headed into the ministry, and both of these girls have been using their time as single women to prepare to be excellent wives!

Faith. Home. Love.
Cortney's blog is so fun to read!  I love all the fabulous frugal finds she posts.  (These chairs are lovely!)  Cortney also shares recipes and inspirational images, and she blogs about healthy living and Scripture verses she's currently memorizing.

Sweet Love
Courtney's blog is adorable and is filled with creativity and inspiration.  In the midst of wedding planning, she finds time to share recipes like this amazing Chicken Gnocchi Soup and host fun giveaways like this one!

It warms my heart to read about both of these girls' journeys! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Youth Christmas Party 2010

We had twenty teens over at our house last night!  It was crazy and fun and wild... and we loved every minute of it.  Even Vera seemed to enjoy all the excitement.  (Who are we kidding - she was the life of the party!  She didn't cry once.  Maybe we should have this many kids over every night!)

To eat, we enjoyed: popcorn, tortilla chips, salsa, cheese dip, pretzels, ham biscuits, cheese cubes, crackers, pepperoni, veggies, ranch dip, fiesta ranch dip, party meatballs, mini pigs in a blanket, pizza bagel bites, gingerbread cookies, sugar cookies, peanut butter balls, Kisses, and candy canes!

We played the Little Piece of Paper Game and did a white elephant gift exchange.

We sent Double Decker Fudge home with everyone.
So glad we were able to host this fun event!!

Easy Update for Christmas

I'm all about easy Christmas decor that makes a big impact! (See one idea here.)  Here's another!

Remember my chalkboard menu?  I simply tied a big bow around it using wired ribbon from the Dollar Tree.

You can do this with any large frame or mirror for a festive (and frugal!) touch.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Then and Now

Then: Christmas 2009 (just the two of us!)

Now: Christmas 2010 (not pictured: Vera!)
Thanks, Andrea!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vera's Four Months Old!

Can you believe our sweet Vera is 1/3 of a year?  She's our darling and we love her to pieces!

Some milestones:
- will lock her knees and "stand" on our laps when we're holding her
- smiles and giggles at us!
- makes funny faces
- loves it when we sing Christmas carols to her!
- is teething
- slept a record 9.5 hours last night (not normal...haha...just the record)
- is experiencing her first cold
- sucks on her hands and plays with her fingers
- likes it when we toss her in the air
- likes our Christmas tree
- takes 2 or 3 naps a day
- goes to bed at 9pm
- weighs around 13.5 pounds

We adore our sweet girly!

P.S. There has been some confusion over the pronunciation of Vera's name (since there are multiple ways of pronouncing both names).  Thought we'd set it straight: it's VAIR-uh ee-VAN-juh-leen.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Still Wrapping Presents?

Jones Design Company gift tags

If you're (like I am) still busy wrapping Christmas gifts, here are some printable gift tags you might enjoy using:

-green, black and grey tags
-red, green, and blue tags
-tiny colorful tags from Martha
-holly jolly Christmas tags
-lovely red and green tags
-simple and sweet tags 
-snowflake and holly tags

If you're all finished with your wrapping, bookmark these for next year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Double Decker Fudge

After a recent failed attempt to make peanut butter fudge, I decided to make this (much simpler) recipe.  I think I found it in a magazine, but I'm not totally sure which one (maybe Simple & Delicious?).  It's fast and easy to whip up, and it's the perfect thing to round out your cookie platter!  It's very rich, so you don't need to cut it into very large pieces.

Double Decker Fudge

1 tsp. butter
1 cup peanut butter chips (I used Reese's - find them in the baking aisle)
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk, divided
1 tsp. vanilla, divided
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Line an 8x8 pan with foil; butter.  In a bowl, combine peanut butter chips and 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk.  Microwave for 1 minute.  Stir.  Microwave for 15 second intervals, stirring until smooth.  Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  Pour into pan and refrigerate for 10 minutes.  In a bowl, combine semisweet chocolate chips and remaining sweetened condensed milk.  Microwave 1 minute.  Stir.  Microwave for 15 second intervals, stirring until smooth.  Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  Spread over peanut butter layer.  Refrigerate 1 hour until firm.  Use foil to remove fudge from pan.  Cut into 1-inch (or smaller) squares.  Store in the fridge until serving.

*Tip: Cut off the edges from around the sides (especially with a pan that has slightly rounded corners) so that you have nice, clean edges to work with on all sides before cutting into neat squares.


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Linked to:
Tasty Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Tasty Tuesdays
Tatertots & Jello

Another Kitty

So as I mentioned earlier this week, it has been very cold here!  For a while now, we have been feeding an outdoor cat that adopted us this past spring.  We named her Penny.  Yesterday, Tad decided to bring her inside, since for the past week she has been begging to be let inside (literally - tapping at the door and making sad, "have pity on me" faces, while meowing pitifully).  Tad has such a soft heart!

Penny is as happy as can be!  We gave her a flea bath, and now she is all clean, dry, warm, and well-fed.  Abominable Snow Kitty does not like her yet, so we've had to split up a couple of cat fights (instigated by Kitty). 

We're hoping they soon grow to like (or at least tolerate) one another!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Girls' Night!

Andrea, Carrie, Kelly, Kelly, and I all went out last night on a girls' night shopping trip!  We had a great time together.  I know I really needed that fellowship!

Vera and Nate came too, and as you can see in this picture, Vera can't shop quite as long as her Mommy can before "dropping"!

Hope we can do it again sometime soon.

Lovely pictures taken by Andrea. Is it bad that I don't take my camera anymore since I know Andrea is bringing hers?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Unrelated picture.  Just doing some test shots for Christmas tree bokeh portraits I'd like to do!
It sure is cold outside here!  It's funny how we live in an area with such extreme temperatures.  As in, this summer we experienced 103 degree heat (PLUS 99% humidity), and last night it got down to 20 degrees with a windchill of 6 degrees!  How is this even possible?  I think it'd be nice to live somewhere where it's in the low 70's and autumn all year 'round.  :)

Anyway, our house is really big and expensive to heat (the old windows don't help keep it any warmer), so, to stay warm, we're spending most of our time in just one room of our house right now and using electric space heaters.  We are pretty cozy with our warm blankets and fuzzy socks.  I love sitting on our couch looking at our pretty Christmas tree while cuddling with Vera and/or Tad.

We went shopping yesterday and enjoyed being out in the hustle and bustle!  I didn't have anything big to buy, so it was a fun, stress-free trip.  We also got our grocery shopping done while we were out.

All three of us have colds right now, and it's so hard for me to see my little girl have a cold!  We're praying that all three of us get better really quickly.

How about you all... is it cold where you are?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Caldwell Family Christmas

We had a wonderful time with the Caldwell family!  It was so memorable having them all here (except for Nate).  Wish we lived closer to them, but enjoyed this special time together!
The kids all dressed in their new Christmas jammies

The sisters!
 We feel so blessed that they were all able to come visit us!
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