This past weekend I had so much fun traveling up to Louisburg, KS for the local Cider Fest. For many of us it was our first time, but we are already discussing making it a yearly tradition. I don’t care what stage of life you are in at the moment, the Cider Fest had something for everyone. To name just a few of the fun activities available: corn mazes, a pumpkin patch, orchard, craft fair, a darling general store packed with all the fall goodies, live music, and so much more! If you live in the Kansas/ Missouri area, you should definitely add this to your fall bucket list.
If you decide to go, be sure to try the apple cider donuts, they are so good and I cannot recommend them enough. Also, while the free portion is wonderful and so much fun and you could make a complete day there alone, you should still go to the pumpkin patch portion. This is where the corn maze, apple orchard, hay rack rides and so many other fun activities is located. I have even heard that at night they have fun family friendly movies playing! They are open all October long and it is the perfect fall activity. (And if you didn’t notice, it would also be the perfect place to take some family pictures!)
My family celebrated Mother’s Day a little early two weekends ago when my aunts were in town visiting and my parents invited everyone over to their house. I am blessed to live in the same city as all of my grandparents, so I was able to celebrate with my grandma and all of my aunts on my mom’s side of the family as well as my mom. I am the decorator in my family and decided that I wanted to go with a flower garden theme for the event, so I rounded up some help, aka my dad, and we went on a run to get all of the supplies after I got off work the night before the luncheon and made it back about one in the morning! I literally bought everything from Walmart or Target and it turned out so beautiful! I bought several flowers as well as planters and used them to decorate with as well as fun twinkling lights to add to the atmosphere. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I also bought some nice plates and a table cloth all in blush pink and light grey to nicely accent the flowers I had chosen. It made the day more special for everyone and then my mom was able to take the flowers afterwards and plant them in her garden to enjoy all summer long!
My aunt and cousin also own Magnolia Photographers and brought their equipment along to take some mother/daughter as well as cousin and sister pictures! We haven’t had some good pictures taken in awhile, so it was so great to be able to work with them and have some photos taken.
If you do not have your present for Mother’s Day yet, arranging to have family photos taken is a gift I can guarantee any mom will love. If you happen to live in the midwest area, you should definitely check out my aunt and cousins business, they do great work and were so much fun to work with. I linked to their Instagram account above.
Today’s post is a little shorter than my last post on my trip to California. Our second day we were supposed to go to Sequoia National Park, BUT there was a blizzard there that day and none of us were feeling the need to go freeze, lol. While we were sad we wouldn’t be able to go to Sequoia, we all decided to just roll with it and this day ended up being one of our most favorite ones from the trip!
We started the day hanging out at Megan’s house making breakfast, she made the BEST little egg muffins that we all enjoyed. Truthfully, I am still craving them several weeks later!
After breakfast we took our time at the house getting ready for the day and discussing different options. The weather was beautiful, so we decided to pack a picnic and just see where the wind took us. We spent the morning driving through many of the beautiful older neighborhoods that Fresno has to offer and enjoyed dreaming about those beautiful homes. When we finally decided we were hungry enough we headed to Woodard Park to enjoy our picnic.
Since at this point the weather was still cool for the most part back home, this was my first picnic of the year and I loved getting to enjoy it with such great friends!
After this we were off for the only big plan we made on this random, spur of the moment day: an escape room! Almost all of us had been to escape rooms before, and up to this point we had all managed to be undefeated, so to say the pressure was on is an understatement. Each of us are competitive, so the second we were “locked” in our room, we were all diving in trying to find our clues! This escape room was unique from ones I have done in the past due to the fact that instead of many clues being available to be searched out at once in no particular order much of the time, every clue had to be found in a particular order to unlock the next clue. It made for a very unique experience, but one that we all loved. If you have never done an escape room before, stop reading this post right now and call up some friends to go do one together, you will not regret it!
Also, needless to say, our winning streak is still intact, we made it out with 11 minutes and 43 seconds to spare.
After the escape room, we decided to drive around downtown Fresno and do some exploring. While down there we found some unique wall murals that we could not bear to say no too. The bright colours were so beautiful and really brightened the area up!
(L to R: Me, Megan and Lori)
Megan and her boyfriend Ben
Megan with a Fresno wall mural
Then we decided to finish the day in the most California way we could think of, a visit to In-N-Out, and of course, you can’t make a visit to this famous burger joint without getting a selfie with one of their famous burgers:
If you know me, then you know I am not normally a big fast food person, but not gonna lie, In-N-Out has gained a new fan. Now when can we get one here in the Mid-West???
If you have been around for awhile, you may remember that last year I shared with you that I don’t enjoy doing the traditional resolutions, but rather enjoy picking a trait or two to work on for the year. Last year my words were to be gentle and kind, and while I was not perfect, I have definitely seen growth in this and am so thankful that I spent the past year focusing on this. There were several times where because I had this at the front of my mind I acted in a kinder and more gentle manner than I might have otherwise.
I have been looking forward to sharing my words for this year with all of you for sometime now. While spending some time with God last October, I felt him leading me to have my words for 2018 be faith and courage. This year I want to focus on having faith and trusting God at a new level, knowing that He will never lead me wrong. This is so much easier said than done, and that is where the courage comes into play. Sometimes it is scary to step out on faith, and this year I want to have the courage to go wherever God may lead me.
And while this isn’t part of my “words for the year”, I want to draw closer to God and own my identity in Him of a sinner saved by grace and a beloved daughter adopted into His family. What are your goals and resolutions for the new year? Does anyone else choose a word or words to try to define your year with? If so, I’d love to hear them!
Christmas began early this year for my family. My aunts, uncles and cousins all came in town on the 22nd and we celebrated on the 23rd. It was a little smaller gathering this year than in years past due to scheduling conflicts, but it was still so much fun to spend time with family! My cousin has been wanting me to make my hot chocolate for her ever since I posted about it, so I promised her that when she came in town for Christmas I would make it then. We got in the car and braved the grocery store to pickup the ingredients and had fun making hot chocolate. Afterwards we all gathered around and opened presents. All too soon the time came for family to head home, but thankfully Christmas weekend was still just beginning!
Christmas Eve I went to a candlelight service in the evening. I am an old soul at heart, so I loved being at church in a room filled with candlelight singing carols of old and remembering the true reason for Christmas. Christmas has always been my most favorite time of the year, everyone is a little nicer, the winter evenings are lit by twinkling lights, and there is this wonderful feeling of expectation, knowing that something is coming. It is the time that we celebrate when God set his biggest and most beautiful miracle of all time into motion, the coming of His son as a baby to grow up and die for our sins to save us all. The miracle that would be completed thirty three years later on a cross and then in an empty tomb. It truly does not get better than that!
After the candlelight service my dad read one of our favorite Christmas stories to the family. It is in this tiny old book called A Budget of Christmas Tales and is maybe three pages long, but it leaves us in stitches of laughter every time. It is called Billy’s Santa Claus Experience and tells the tale of a young boy named Billy who tries to be Santa Claus to his little brother Tommy, but things quickly get out of hand. My dad first read the book to my sisters and I when we were quite young, and it is one of my favorite stories to read at Christmas.
Before we knew it, Christmas morning was upon us! We all gathered around the tree where my dad read the Christmas story from Luke before we opened presents. This year all I asked for was money to buy books for school. I was sooooo excited when between my Christmas and birthday money I was able to buy a commentary set for the New Testament! I cannot wait until it arrives in the mail early next week! We spent the day with some of my grandparents and in the evening we decorated gingerbread houses together. When it came time for the judging I came in last place, but what can I say, it was my first time and my house kept falling apart while I was decorating it, lol. Lesson learned, NEVER decorate the house until the icing is dry!
How was your Christmas? Do you have any special traditions that you enjoy doing each year?
I LOVE a good holiday gift exchange. I have already been to one white elephant gift party and am going to another one this coming weekend. The only hard part for me is always coming up with a good present to bring. I always want to find something that will actually be enjoyed, not just fill someone’s junk drawer. Below, I have rounded up a list of ideas for what you can bring to your next gift exchange party.
Christmas Candle- I brought a Christmas candle to my party last weekend and it ended up getting stolen three times! You can’t go wrong with a good Christmas scent during this season, and who doesn’t love the warm glow of candles?
Fuzzy Socks- I LOVE fuzzy socks, and if I happen to see someone open a package with them, you better believe it that I am going to keep an eye on that package to steal if I get a chance.
Lotions and Body Wash- this one is a little bit more risky in my book, some people don’t like certain scents of body wash and lotion, but if you go with a good warm vanilla scent or some other neutral one, it is almost certain to be a winner!
Candy- seriously, who does not love a box or basket of candy? Especially if it is chocolate?
Gift Card- if you don’t have time to come up with a cute gift idea, a gift card to Starbucks or a local restaurant is a good backup idea that will still be appreciated.
Christmas Cookie Cutters- most people love to make Christmas cookies, so why not bring cute cookie cutters that they can use year after year?
Hot Chocolate Mix and Mug- This makes a cute little gift idea, and you could even add marshmallows and a big bow!
Snack Basket- you can buy a basket and tie a big bow around it and fill it with popular snacks and candies.
Christmas Movie- Everyone loves a good Christmas movie, so buy your favorite Christmas movie and add some popcorn and maybe a cute fuzzy blanket and socks for a fun movie basket!
Ugly Christmas Sweater- Go buy the ugliest oversized Christmas sweater you can find, the person who opens this will get a good laugh and be able to wear it to the rest of their parties during the season!
What are some of you favorite things to bring to a White Elephant Christmas party? Like I mentioned above, I have another one this coming weekend, so stay tuned to Instagram to see the special gift I have planned for that party!
In honor of the Christmas season, I decided to share my Christmas bucket list today. Christmas is my most favorite season of the year, so is basically goes without saying that I love all of the fun activities and traditions that come with this time of year. I would love to know what is on your bucket list for this season, so please comment below with what you want to make sure you do this year!
Read Maggie’s Miracle- Maggie’s is my all time favorite Christmas story. I discovered it when I was thirteen and have read it every Christmas since. It is the sweetest story and if you haven’t read it I can’t recommend it enough!
Go Look At Christmas Lights- Can you really have celebrated Christmas if you haven’t gone to look at lights?
Go On A Horse Drawn Carriage Ride- We don’t get enough snow where I live to be able to do a ride in a one horse open sleigh, but there is a nearby shopping center that does free carriage rides every Friday and Saturday leading up to Christmas, so I definitely plan on going on one.
Sip Homemade Hot Chocolate While Watching Christmas Movies- No need to explain this one, the title says it all. 😉
Watch White Christmas- This is my most favorite Christmas movie of all time, and if I am being totally honest, probably just my favorite movie period. It has everything, a sweet story line, hilarious moments that leave you laughing, gives you all the feels (I even sometimes cry during it, and I NEVER cry) and a beautiful love story. Definitely all the ingredients for a perfect movie.
Go To a Christmas Party- Christmas Parties are so much fun, so I definitely plan on going to as many as I can. I love the festive spirit and spending time with dear family and friends.
Read the Christmas Story With My Family- every year before we open our Christmas presents my dad gathers the family together and we all read the Christmas story. I love starting Christmas remembering what it is all truly about.
White Elephant Gift Exchange- I cannot WAIT to go to a white elephant Christmas party. I figured out the PERFECT gift last year and can’t wait to put the idea to use this year!!!!
Decorate Gingerbread Houses- I have never decorated a gingerbread house before, so I bought a kit this year and can’t wait to do it with my sisters. Expect a post on that!
Play Christmas Music On The Piano- I enjoy playing the piano, and Christmas music is always my favorite music to play
Make Cinnamon Rolls- I don’t know why, but I always love cinnamon rolls at Christmas. While they are good anytime during the year, they are always extra good at Christmas.
Hi everyone! I totally promised you a Thanksgiving day recap on Friday and am just now getting it out. I am so sorry about that! This holiday weekend has been filled with family, friends and preparing content for the Christmas season that I totally missed that! I hope it isn’t too late, because I am sharing with you a recap of my Thanksgiving day as well as the table I decorated for our family meal.
I was so excited because it actually really felt like Thanksgiving this year, which is not always the case. The whole family including my grandparents and one of my cousins met at my parents house this weekend. It was so wonderful to have us all together and we spent most of the afternoon in stitches of laughter. I think the icing on the cake for me was the fact that my cousin was able to make it and we have always been close since I was little and it was so good to spend the holiday with him.
A tradition we started several years ago and have continued in our family is that the table is my domain and I am fully in charge of decorating it. Every year I like to try to come up with a new tablescape and I was so happy with how this years turned out. I already had most of the decorations from years past, I only had to add a few more candles and picked up the gourds from Walmart after Halloween for a quarter a piece except for the big one which was fifty cents. Can we say win? I was so excited, I love decorating and being able to create something beautiful on a budget is truly something I love. How was your Thanksgiving? Do you enjoy decorating your table for the family gatherings? If so, I’d love to see pictures!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone has been having a wonderful day filled with family and friends and thinking through everything you are thankful for. Tomorrow I’m going to share a recap of my Thanksgiving as well as how I decorated our table, but for tonight I want to share some things I am thankful for. This past Sunday at church our pastor encouraged us to spend the last five minutes of the service writing down a list of things that we were thankful for. I quickly discovered I was not finished after I had filled a page and have continued with the list since. For Thanksgiving I thought I would share twenty things I am thankful for here on the blog.
Incredible parents who love me and have supported me my whole life.
Sisters who are my best friends and that I know are always there for me.
An incredible group of friends who are seriously more like family to me than friends, community is an incredible gift that I do not take for granted and am so thankful for.
4. Food on the table
5. A job that I can actually enjoy going to throughout the week with incredible coworkers that I enjoy spending the day with.
6. The blessing of having the chance to go back to school and pursue a degree I love and being able to do so debt free.
7. Dance. When I had to quite dance at 9 I was devastated. I am so thankful that God gave me the opportunity to get to dance again later in my life and even pursue the dream of earning my pointe shoes.
8. A chance to travel. I have been blessed with the opportunity to go on many missions trips and as a result see the world and meet so many incredible people. One of the greatest gifts this has given me is actually finally being able to understand the bigger picture that the church truly is. It is so encouraging to know that there are people serving God all over this world even when I can’t see them.
9. An incredible church that I love where I learn every week more about God and have found an incredible community and grown so much in my faith.
10. A car that while it has had issues, gets me to where I need to be.
11. The baristas at my favorite coffee shop downtown that know my favorite drink and always have it already started for me before I even step foot inside.
12. Extended family that is always there and that I enjoy seeing when we get together.
13. Living close to work and being able to come home for lunch and spend time with my puppy and family.
14. My sweet puppy Checotah and cats Tiger and Oreo, they bring so much joy to my life with their sweet cuddles and personalities.
15. I am thankful that when I look over my life how I can see God’s fingerprints all over it and know that truly, I have never walked alone, He has always been there and always will be.
16. A bookshelf overflowing with books in my bedroom that I love sitting down to read.
17. Afternoons spent playing the piano and soaking up the music.
18. The holiday season and how it brings family and friends together, both ones you see all the time and ones that you don’t see often.
19. The gift of the Bible and living in a country where I am free to read it and study it without fear of being arrested.
20. And finally the most important thing I am thankful for, the gift of salvation. When I truly stop and think of this, my mind truly can’t comprehend the love that God must have for us that he would send his ONLY SON to die a horrific death to save ungrateful wretches who were living in rebellion against him. I will forever be thankful that he to give my a life filled with his grace.
How can Thanksgiving already be only a week away?! I feel like fall has only just started, but for fun, I thought I would revisit my fall bucket list from thispost and share what all I have had the chance to cross off from it before the Christmas season is upon us.
Corn Maze I went to the corn maze not once, but TWICE before it close two weeks ago. Once with my mom and again with friends and had so much fun both times.
Carve Pumpkins Once again I can mark this one off my fall bucket list. I carved my first pumpkin last year in a snoopy theme and decided to continue the theme this year basing it off of thispumpkin from Pinterest.
Camp Fire Unfortunately I didn’t get to do this one, the night we were supposed to have one when we carved pumpkins it ended up raining. That’s Midwest weather for you.
Hay Rack Ride They had hay rack rides to take you out to the corn maze, so I was able to mark two off in one night! Woot woot!
Eat S’mores I don’t know if this counts, but I make s’mores rice crispy treats and have made them twice this year and thoroughly enjoyed them both times.
Eat Apple Pie I’ll be crossing this one off my list over Thanksgiving and am counting down the days until I get to eat it!
Make Pumpkin Bread I’m crossing this one off my list because while I didn’t make it myself, my mom actually made it last night and I have eaten more than my fair share! lol
Go to a Haunted House I was getting worried I wouldn’t get to do this one since no one wanted to go this year, but last minute a group got together and I was able to go. We went to a new one this year, and not gonna lie, it was a little disappointing. Way too short and not scary at all. Oh well, it was still fun though and we made good memories.
Go to an Apple Orchard I was so disappointed that I was not able to do this one this year, I did some research and evidently all of the apple crops in my area failed this year and there were no apple orchards open.
Pumpkin Patch They have a pumpkin patch at the corn maze we went too, so check! Marked this one off the list.
Not gonna lie, seven and going to be eight out of ten is pretty good! Who wants me to do a Christmas bucket list? I think I might share one right after Thanksgiving!