Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween '12 ~ grandkids

Nathan & Jonah ~ Peter Pan & Captain Hook

Oh my gosh, TOO CUTE!

Emolyn ~ Nathan ~ Jonah ~ Elsie

Trick-or-treating is hard work ~ the Tinker Bells enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Prayer & Blessing Bridal Shower

Last night I hosted a Prayer & Blessing Bridal Shower for my daughter Miranda.
I invited all my friends that have watched her grow up over these past 28 years ~ that have invested in her life and helped shape her into the woman she is today. I asked them to come prepared to share stories, verses, words of encouragement, affirmation, prayers and blessings. And let me tell you, they delivered. Big-time. I was in tears most of the night. And my daughter was amazing ~ articulate and gracious and thoughtful and completely overwhelmed by all the love lavished on her. Such a powerful, meaningful, sacred night. I couldn't imagine anything being more perfect than to enter your wedding week in prayer.

We ended our time of sharing by praying for Miranda... for the wedding week to be filled with His peace and joy and love overflowing... that her & Aaron would see the glory of God in their union and the many years ahead. What a blessing to witness this moment.

I made Hollyhock seed packets for each of the woman to take home ~ harvested from this years Hollyhocks. And than forgot to tell everyone to take one. Needless to say, half of the 24 woman that attended left before I remembered.

Miranda didn't want the evening to be about opening gifts, so I asked the guests if they would like to go in on a group gift, so Miranda had something to remember the evening.
Well, I got enough from these very generous women to buy the Kitchen Aid Mixer (pistachio) she had registered for ~ that she never dreamed she'd receive. In fact she has extra money for additional attachments. She's thinking maybe the Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Maker attachment advertised this week at Target.

This was my Mom & Dad's wedding cake top from 62 years ago ~ and my wedding cake top 33 years ago ~ and was present at Miranda's Prayer shower last night. 
What a treasured heirloom!

And guess who flew in early for the wedding so she could be at Miranda's Prayer Shower? Miranda's dear friend Carla from England! Oh my gosh, I love that girl. They met while Miranda was studying in England for a semester, and became kindred spirits and best friends forever instantly!
Btw, that's my youngest son Tyler posing with those pretty ladies.

My dear friend Nancy took tons of pictures throughout the night, that I will later post.
But I did manage to take a picture of the dessert before everyone arrived.
Seriously you guys, the best dessert ever ~ APPLE PIE BARS.
I found the recipe on the Land O'Lakes facebook page. Omg, they post the best recipes!

So, when I woke up this morning, I realized I had not taken a photo of an actual serving.
Which meant I had to whip up some fresh whipped whipping cream. And I had to heat up the Apple Pie Bar so it would be warm for the photo shoot. And then I would have to eat it. I mean you can't have it getting soggy with whipping cream on top.

Needless to say, it was every bit as deliciously divine as last night's piece. 
Maybe even better.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

a date with our daughter

Last night we had a special date with a bride... our lovely daughter Miranda. 

 We went to dinner at Windsor and then we came back to the house and watched Father of the Bride. On VHS no less. Hey, it's tradition. When you've watched it a million times on VHS, why not again for the very last time, before our daughter becomes a bride herself in 12 days! 

Needless to say, lots of tears. I was a mess the whole night. But a good mess. My heart was bursting with love and pride for this amazing woman sitting across the table from us... that has faithfully waited on God for the right man. 

And all along it was the boy she fell in love with as a young girl... praying often throughout the years that if that man isn't Aaron, then someone just like him. And God's thinking "wait till she finds out it IS Aaron".
Gosh, I love a good story, and theirs is one of the best!

Ok, back to Windsor ~ great food, great ambiance and well, a great bathroom. Seriously, don't you just love fun, quirky, whimsical bathrooms? I do too. And I must say, Windsor is among my favorites. ha! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Autumn leaves

Although we'd like to think with temps below 100, that it's finally fall in Phoenix. When nothing can be further from the truth. But we will see scenes of this sort in December, when the leaves fall and the kids can frolic in the leaves as I did as a kid growing up in Wisconsin.

Oh how the memories came flooding back when I came upon this photo in my archive of scanned photos from the 60's. That's me wearing a hood jacket, with brothers Gary and Ronnie. We'd build houses with the leaves used as outlines designating each room. I think my love of floor plans began as a little kid designing homes out on the lawn each fall.

My granddaughter Emolyn can hardly wait to jump in the leaves in a few months, although it won't be in our back yard, as we got rid of the Mulberry tree this past year. And why? you ask ~ high maintenance, high pollen count and very messy. Although we missed the shade cover over the summer, we did not miss the berries that fall and stain the flooring when Koda tracks it in the house. Happy Fall everyone!

Friday, October 19, 2012

a walk to remember

I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. My parents bought a new car every four years, so needless to say, us kids learned to drive the farm truck. I have yet to pass an old truck without feeling that peaceful, easy, freedom of being a teenager driving down an old dirt road. 
I love old trucks. 
So when our Home Group retreated to a mountain cabin a few weeks ago, I was overcome with nostalgia when I spotted this old Ford truck on a walk. Oh the roads we would travel together. I imagined myself truckin' down a country road, stopping at every farm sale, auction, junk shop and thrift store.

Oh look, I spotted this aqua blue spigot too. 

And you know my love of barbed wire... 

... but check out the aqua blue cabin beyond the barbed wire. 

Oh for the love of apples, I have yet to bake an apple pie this fall!

I love rusty, old signs. My husband & I have been married 33 years. Does this mean we're vintage? That we're getting rusty and old? Mmm...

The leaves were just beginning to change. So when I came across this visual, I pondered in my heart... did the leaves change in spite of the cobwebs? Will the cobwebs stunt the growth and beauty of this autumn transformation? Can we grow and mature in spite of our sin that so easily entangles us? Can we be transformed by the renewing of our minds in the midst of pain and suffering? Again...

"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us, we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." ~ C.S.Lewis

More barbed wire. But check out the Manzanita bush in the background...

I love the dark red bark on the Manzanita bush that grows throughout Arizona.
In nature, manzanita seeds germinate following a fire. So that got me thinking...
I know that we grow and mature when we trust God to do His work and will in our lives, when we are tested under fire, when we allow the testing of faith to produce perseverance. 
So why do I fight it? 

 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4

Oh that I may persevere in this season, keeping my eyes on Jesus, fully aware of His presence and unwavering love for me.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Family bridal shower

My daughter's soon-to-be Mother-in-law Laurie, hosted a beautiful family shower.
And yes, Miranda literally took my breath away when she picked me up for the shower.

Miranda was especially excited that her Mamaw was coming! She lives in Surprise and doesn't get out too much, but Randy went and got her and she was so glad she came to the shower. I am so blessed to have the most wonderful Mother-in-law and so thankful Miranda will have an equally awesome Mother-in-law too!

Miranda's Aunt Etna is the kindest, most thoughtful sister-in-law and friend. I am so blessed to have her in my life. 

 The two Emolyns ~ yes, the Emolyns were reunited! They sure love each other.

What a sweet moment ~ Emolyn hanging on to her Aunt Miranda's every word.

Love these beautiful, strong, capable young women. 

Nicole made a memory shadowbox for Aaron & Miranda to display their honeymoon travel tickets, brochures, movie ticket stubs, their first purchase receipts, etc. What a fun, creative way to preserve and remember their first year of marriage!

Miranda's Mamaw made an afghan for Aaron & Miranda. SO beautiful. SO heartfelt. 
A homemade treasured heirloom that will surely warm the newlyweds, friends, family and their future children. What a special gift.

Monday, October 08, 2012

picnics @ the park

When the weather starts cooling off, we beeline to the parks. So this past week we took our favorite E girls on picnics at parks in Tempe and Phoenix. 
Check out that yellow wicker insulated picnic basket I found at a yard sale for two bucks. 
I know, it is just the coolest ever!

Emolyn & I went for an early morning picnic at our neighborhood park. We played and played for two hours. Our mornings are beautiful this time of year in Tempe, Arizona.
We ended the day by taking her to Gelato Spot for ice cream, using a Groupon that was going to expire the next day. Love those Groupon deals. And OMG, love Pumpkin Pie Gelato!!! Seriously THE BEST!!!

Then on Friday Randy & I took Elsie, the Birthday Girl, on a picnic to Granada Park in Phoenix. That's right, just Elsie. We have never had Elsie all to ourselves. It was so much fun! She is such a delightful, entertaining, funny little girl.

The ducks and geese were in rare form, or maybe they're always crazy loud. But they honked and squawked and quacked as we were feeding them. We were afraid of what they'd do when we finally ran out of bread.

Thankfully we were up high on that picnic table. Cuz umm, they can get kinda mean.

We ended our time together by taking her to Sonic for ice cream. Always ice cream.

BREAKING NEWS ~ the temps this week are in the 80's ~ with a high on Friday in the mid 70's! I can hardly believe it! And neither can Elsie!

Friday, October 05, 2012

Elsie's 2 today!

Yesterday was her Mama's Birthday and today is Elsie's Birthday!

Love these two beautiful birthday girls!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

entryway transformation

Before ~

       After ~

My friend Laura ~ Decor to Adore ~ inspired me to transform my entryway for Fall. So yesterday I did just that. But you know how it goes, one thing leads to another ~ "hey honey, let's clear out the whole entryway!"... and "why not hose the heck out of it!"... and "hey, umm, can you lay bricks so my display shelf doesn't sit on rocks and dirt?".
But in the end, sooo worth it when I can finally start decorating for Fall!

One of the front porches that Laura posted HERE inspired me to gather my rake heads and create this little vignette. Yes, I happen to have 4 vintage rake heads and all are very different. Ok, I had five, but one is in my walk-in closet holding all my necklaces. 
So anyway, I decided to put tea lights in my Sandbakkel tins and set them on the rake head.

And for those of you that don't know what Sandbakkels are ~ click HERE. So yummy!

Pinterest has given me oodles of ideas for incorporating my rake heads both indoor and outdoors. I've pinned several ideas on my repurposed vintage board ~ wine glasses, garden tools, coffee cups, keys, sunglasses, jewelry, just to name a few.

Don't you just love my repurposed sandbakkle rake head lighting? I sure do.

I attached my favorite one, a vintage green rake head, above the mirror to the left of my entryway, so I could hang a string of black metal cat lights. Cute or what!

I could hardly wait to photograph my transformed entryway ~ or is it a front porch, or an alcove, or maybe an atrium? Who cares. So before the sun came up this morning I attempted a few shots...

... and then again two hours later.

 And then this one when I was finally done decorating. I am beyond pleased.
Love the simplicity. Love the cleanliness.
The three pumpkins on the display shelf and the black cat lights are all on a timer. I just need to remember to light the pumpkin scented tea lights on the rake head when company comes.
Hope this inspires you to decorate for Fall! Oh, and it didn't cost me one cent :)