Wednesday, June 26, 2013

delightful | j & j get married!

It's been quiet while I've been up to my pearls in wedding prep. Not mine. But the beautiful happy day of a friend who got married last week. 
Back in January, Jessica asked me to coordinate the reception for her wedding in June. Being the wedding nut that I am, I jumped on it!  But still quite stunned because Jessica and her mom are total movers and shakers who organize huge events all the time. And they wanted me to do her wedding???  Talk about no pressure!

On Thursday morning, my mom and two of my sisters came with to help get the room decorated. We started draping tables, setting up the centerpieces and arranging and rearranging things. You know, checking things off the list!  It went swimmingly and I even ended up with some extra time before the rehearsal and dinner. It was such a great time catching up with friends who were also helping with or were in town for the wedding too!  

I was so excited for Friday to start! Brooke and I headed out early and picked up a few last minute things before going to the venue. Awesome friends showed up at noon to help and we had the best time in the kitchen putting the food together. They worked so hard while I ran around like a crazy woman. Then it was time to put things on hold and wait for the wedding to start!  It was such a lovely service, with a stunning bride and groom. They looked so happy!  

I found myself getting stressed the closer we got but just reminded myself that "In all labor there is profit" and to keep praying! Lots of prayers. And... It was great!  God was far better to me than I deserve. I fell into bed Friday night so tired and thankful to be able to do something that I love. 

Stay tuned for photos from the big day!

Thanks to Laura for snapping this one of me. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

delightful | graduation weekends

Just one quick photo from last weekend's graduation party for my sister Mim.  Our parents have now graduated 5 children from homeschool.  No small feat (especially if Bob Jones curriculum is involved)!  We had a small private ceremony at home followed by a full barbecue and 150 guests.  The sprinkles on my ice cream was the fact that 14 of our friends traveled in from out of state to spend the weekend and celebrate with us.  Talk about happiness!

Friday, June 14, 2013

finds | pacifica skin care

New favorite product alert!

The coconut water face cleansing wipes from Pacifica are amazing!  Brooke and I just started getting into the face wipes for traveling, they're seriously so great for trips and save a ton of space in your suitcase by not packing face wash, toner, etc.

This is my favorite yet because I've been a huge fan of Pacifica for years and because they are one of the more natural cosmetic companies and their scents are so perfect!

You can purchase them at Target or Pacifica.  You're welcome.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

quotable | heat stroke

|setting:  driving in the car on a moderately warm day|

Abbe:  "Wow!  What a beautiful day today!"
Elle:  "I know, it's the perfect day to get a suntan."
Lydia (dead serious):  "It's the perfect day to get heat stroke."

Ah, my little "glass half-empty" girl.  I'm always reminding her to lighten up, but her pessimism is hilarious. And I'm pretty sure she doesn't even know what heat stroke is, just that it "could" happen to you.  If you get out today, be sure to wear sunscreen and drink water.  Orders from Dr. Lydia.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

making | national doughnut day

Last Friday was National Doughnut Day, proving that nothing in this world is too humble to have an entire day devoted to it.  I was going to take the kiddos out for little doughnut run, and then quickly came to my senses realizing that Mom & Dad had just left for the night and I was going to have to watch said "kiddos" for the next six hours.  And I'm thinking, there has got to be a lower sugar option than frosting & sprinkle covered Dunkin.  Good news folks, there is!  Not by much...  But at least it's homemade!
I'd remembered seeing the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts in her Foolproof cookbook.  The pictures looked fabulous enough, how bad could they be.  Right?  And besides, sugar & cinnamon AND butter!

They were delicious.  I used Cup4Cup flour to keep it gluten free with no further recipe changes.  Apparently with the nine billion different styles of cake pans that we own, the "donut" variety is not one that is in our arsenal.  So I used tiny bunt cake pans (Oh, the variety! I'm telling you.) and a mini muffin pan for the holes.  The kiddo's totally loved the idea of "making our own doughnuts", Cal & Gracie even greased the pans for me.  We ate them with tea and watched "State Fair", at least until the doughnuts were gone...
 Here's to celebrating obscure holidays!

Friday, June 7, 2013

thoughts | normandy
I was in Normandy, France on D-Day two years ago. 

It was one of the most amazing experiences I've had in my life to date.  My family was on a European history tour with a group of our closest friends and we stopped in Normandy for several days.  I'll never forget the scent of that place.  We drove through the French countryside for hours that first day and when everyone was exhausted, our buses finally pulled into the tiny hamlet on Juno Beach.  The air was so thick, it was cold and windy and the rain started to fall.  It smelled like salty seaweed.  Our group unloaded into the small waterfront hotel/restaurant and sat down to a warm meal.  It was dusky outside and I watched the beach during dinner.  It literally looked like the famous D-Day beach photos, vast, and grey with long shallow waves. 

Our tour had been going strong for a good week and by now we were all completely worn out from the travel, having lost track of cities, towns and even countries.  After dinner, dad picked up the keys to our beach house, since the hotel was at capacity, and we started off down the street.  It felt like a ghost town, just a few street lights and not a person around, the wheels on our suitcases squeaked as they rolled along the sandy sidewalk. The beach house was nothing special, just a two story, undecorated rental, but the view was incredible. There was a jasmine bush next to the front door that produced the most wonderful, sweet floral scent, I took to taking deep breaths every time I went past. 

The next few days were a flurry of activity, with day trips to other tiny French towns, all of them celebrating freedom.  We were shocked at the kindness shown to us Americans and had a grand time meeting all kinds of people.  My brothers were a part of a reenactment for 101 Airborne and my sisters and I even got into the costumes thing as well.  A group of American veterans met up with our group. They told us story after story of the times they'd had and the things they'd seen, often stopping mid-sentence because the words wouldn't come out.  They were so brave.  Some of the men cried openly, remembering the friends they had lost and the ones who never came home.  They often told us that they weren't the real heroes "the men who died were the heroes, I was just lucky" they'd say  "We just did what we had to do."

The evening of June 6, 2011 our group hosted an old fashioned party to honor the vets and thank them as best we could.  It was held in this ancient french chateau and there was live USO Show style music and several special speeches throughout.  It was like traveling back in time. 

I sat in my chair and watched as my brothers stood on stage with the other men and veterans and I suddenly realized that it must have felt like just yesterday that these dear old men were young and strong, standing in uniform.  They once had sweethearts and family back at home and were full of hope (and a little bit of youthful stubbornness).  Not unlike my brothers at all. They had no idea what they were in for, nor, what they were capable of then.  And now, here they were, 60-something years later, looking back over a lifetime and remembering.  That changed me forever, I saw them in a completely different light.  So very human and mortal.

I was given a whole new appreciation for my Great Grandfather who was in Normandy at D-Day +10.  He was a wonderful man who was very close with my mother, but died when I was in my mid-teens.  He did some incredible things during his time in WWII, but rarely shared any of it.  We could only imagine what he had seen ten days after the invasion.  His war experiences were too traumatic to even speak of.  He was a real hero, but he would stick with the other vets and tell you everyday of the week that it wasn't him, it was the other guys who didn't come home who were the real heroes.  I'm so thankful for the brave men and women who have served our country.  And to God for letting me grow up in a country surrounded by freedom.

God bless America!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

quoteable | wild turtles

Daniel:  "Hey Gracie, I saw a turtle by the road on my way to work."
Gracie:  "Was it a wild turtle?"
Daniel:  "I'm not sure."
Gracie:  "Well, did it have a leash?"
Daniel:  "No."
Gracie:  "Then it was probably wild."

This week be sure to keep an eye out for those crazy wild turtles, the ones not on a leash.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

delightful | the wintons

When these guys emailed several weeks ago and said they'd be close by and wanted to know if we wanted a house concert, we were a little excited.  What a silly question to ask. 

The Wintons are a father/sons bluegrass group from California (they're CA state champions in banjo & mandolin).  They really put on a great, casual concert and share the gospel wherever they go.  We opened up our home had somewhere between 50-100 people show up.  It was a great night!  We're so blessed to have them as friends, and to be a stop on their spring farewell tour.  

Besides being great musicians, their family also has been working hard on several film projects.  Check it out here