Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Obligatory Halloween post


It would have felt weird posting about anything but Halloween today and since I already shared with you our awesome costumes on Monday, I decided I would share some Halloween randoms...


  • When Picnik was around (that was the good ol' days) I bought the upgrade which gave you access to so many creepy editing tools. Would it surprise you to know that it took Jon probably 6 hours to make these photos...




  • Would it also surprise you that if he could choose any job in the world, he would direct horror films (that I would never watch)? It's funny because Jon is a such a gentle man, devoted to his faith so don't worry...no paganism over here. We have about 10 horror movies saved on our DVR right now that he will be watching alone. Just the sound of the Halloween opening music freaks me out. 

  • Growing up I had quite a few Halloween themed birthday parties since my birthday is just 2 weeks before...this holiday has always been fun for me. One of my favorite costumes was when I was 2...oink oink
  see more of my Halloween costumes through the years here
  • My favorite candy is Reese's peanut butter cups with peanut butter Snickers coming in a close second (I JUST tried them last weekend...wowwwwwzas) 

  • I love all things pumpkin flavored and have posted tons of pumpkin related recipes on my blog here 

  • Jon and I love dressing up and not just for Halloween. We always have coordinating costumes and yes...Jon has been a woman a few times
  •  I have about 6 skull shirts and have been wearing different ones all week...I decided not to wear my cheesy Halloween vest to work today :-)
  • Tonight we are so excited to pass out candy, see our neighbor kids, etc. And Ernie will be in costume. Look on instagram later today!
  • As much as we love this holiday, I can't stop thinking about Christmas and I am dying to decorate!! 
What are you doing for Halloween tonight? 
Be safe!
  

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This and that, mostly instagram

Some days I find myself posting multiple Instagram photos and other days aren't worthy of any photos. I spend the majority of my day sitting in a cubicle staring at my computer screen so I can tell you, it is not worth capturing on camera. Thanks to instagram, I feel comfortable leaving my big, nice camera at home and still getting fun shots with my iPhone. And as always, things just look better all vintage-y (and for some reason I look even whiter and paler than I already am in instagram!). Anywhoo....here is what we've been up to lately. 

Our Halloween hootenanny last weekend- Jon and I were cheesy party hosts and we had lots of fun decor!

Roy, one of our many freaky decorations (Ernie looks so big!! His head makes that illusion) and some yummy treats

Playing with Mr. Chunky who is an absolute party animal

Lots of cuddles, naps, and laziness

Pumpkin carving.....our "chunk-o-lantern"

A carshow at the Hillcountry Galleria. If you didn't notice, we love cars (and yes I said we...Jon's love of cars has slowly turned into one of my loves too). I have a thing for old, old, 40s-50s big cars (think Titanic) and Jon loves his Mustangs.

Cuddles with our niece, and god daughter, Embry (who will be one month old on the 1st!!)

Ernie is posing as one of Barker's Beauties and showcasing our new bench from World Market. I have been searching for 6 months for some kind of seating for that wall and I am thrilled with our purchase (and so is he, because he can fit under the bench when he rolls his ball under there)


We've been playing some tennis lately. Nothing competitive but recreationally and for a great workout! We aren't too good at rallying but Jon says I have an awesome, consistent serve. I think if I actually took lessons, I'd be good. If only I had the time. For now it is just for fun


Other things going on...
-Jon's cousin and her family are coming to stay with us next weekend from Indiana, I can't wait to have house guests!
-I start leading a women's group on the book of Esther next week, prayers are coveted
-I normally have the bulk of my Christmas shopping done by now and I've only bought an outfit for my niece...not worried about it though!
-We have a few house projects coming up...replacing door knobs/hinges, painting the upstairs, putting in a deck. Luckily these things aren't urgent, I am excited to do them slowly as we have the time
-I started Parenthood a few weeks ago and am really enjoying the show...it seems so real and relatable...I am almost done with season 1
-Praying hard for the East coast and that this cyclone of a storm will move as quickly as possible. News has been devastating and I pray for safety for those involved. Any of you up there??
 
 Have a great Wednesday, friends.
  
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween hootenanny

This weekend we hosted our first (of hopefully many more to come), Halloween party. I didn't really take many pictures because I was too busy being a cheesy party host...


...but it was a blast!

Seriously we have such a fun group of friends who know how to have a good time. If you know my husband in real life for more than 2.5 seconds, you'd know he loves everything horror- movies, music, decorations, Halloween, costumes. It sounds a little morbid but I promise he is normal :-). I left the decor up to him and he went all out which made the hootenanny that much more fun. 




The bottom photo is Leonard, our fog machine. At first I was a little skeptical because of how much this piece of plastic goblin cost but I am so glad we bought it! It was awesome and creepy, I wish I could have gotten a picture of it in action. It made the party! Jon went crazy with black and orange lights, string lights, themed green and red punch, a kick ass Halloween playlist and more. Our friends had some great costumes too!



As the night wore on, we had wig changes, costume changes, and even an impromptu dance party...


So.much.fun.

Thanks to all our buddies who came out and made our first Halloween shin dig pretty awesome. I never got them in a picture, but my parents came by and my mom was a hit serving (and taking) jello shots with our guests! Classic. We had a couple people stay the night with us and stayed up past 3a which was incredibly fun at the time but man my body just can't do that anymore. And little Ernie, what a party animal. He is so funny during parties, walking around trying to get people to throw his ball. He was SO ready to hit the sack at almost 4am and was happy to be lazy all weekend. 

(fog machine)

The rest of the weekend was spent mostly in pj's and curled up in blankets but we did manage to get out and about for church, home group, lunch at Whole Foods and a car show at the Galleria. Pictures to come!

It feels like Halloween is over but it hasn't even begun! We are going to try to turn our garage into a haunted house for the kiddos in our neighborhood (I think we are probably 1 of 5 families in our neighborhood of 20k without kiddos). It will be awesome!

What did you do this weekend to celebrate Halloween? 

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

(scream) cheese brownies

Just in time for Halloween, you won't want to miss these brownies. They are almost too good...if that is even possible. Even though I made them festive to Halloween, you can serve up these little pieces of goodness year round.

Ingredients
1 box brownie mix with ingredients required
Cream cheese layer:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp flour
Orange food coloring (optional-I only had red and yellow so I mixed those to make a light orange)


1. Prepare the brownie as directed on the package and spread half of the mix in a full sized greased baking dih
2. Mix cream cheese, butter, and sugar until combined
3. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and flour and mix well
4. Add orange food coloring (or any other color, or none)
5. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter
6. Top the cream cheese mixture with the remaining brownie batter and use a knife if necessary to pull some of the orange cream cheese through to make it visible
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until brownies are set 






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Friday, October 26, 2012

I love us.

I have to say, I love my perfectly imperfect marriage. I think you can love your spouse, but not necessarily love your marriage or more commonly, love the thought of marriage, but not your spouse. I am lucky to love both. I say perfectly imperfect because we don't have it together. We argue, I cry, we pout (okay that is only me), we disagree, we don't see eye to eye...but MAN is it fun! More good/happy times than bad/mad times, and I hope most relationships are structured like that too.  

What do you think of when you think of the perfect marriage? Spending every single night together? Sorry that isn't realistic because Jon and I both travel for work. Sex everyday? Hate to burst your bubble non married friend, but that doesn't happen. Home cooked meal every single night served on a beautiful table scape with fresh flowers? Um no. There are times I feed my husband cereal, eggs, and canned beans for dinner. Wife of the year! We have heated discussions about money and we're not always good at speaking each others love language.

But we love it.

I love that we don't have a standard dinner time or after work schedule. Sometimes its 5:30, sometimes it's 9:30. I love that we have been playing tennis with our $5 Goodwill rackets next to insanely talented 10 year olds who could kick our butts. I love that Jon and I usually sing to each other, original pieces of course, and always use different accents. I love that we shower together every night in a non sexual manner, we just like to be close. I love our house can be a tornado of a mess and together, we can make it spotless and pristine, 10 minutes before someone shows up. I love that we don't watch TV during dinner.  I love that we can tell each other straight up if the other is rude, smells, has something between their teeth, a comment was out of line, etc. I love that neither of us is embarrassed around the other. 
  
New gallery wall in our bathroom
 prints via Olive & Birch and eighteen25

Each one of our relationships and marriages is unique and has its quirks. Things we love, things we don't love, things we are good at, things we need to work on. Something that you may take for granted like nightly foot rubs or your hubby so graciously allowing you to watch Real Housewives reunions during MNF, may be something that other people are yearning for in their relationship. The beauty of marriage is that there is no standard. Jon and I are making it up as we go and despite the bumps and curves, we are enjoying the ride.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wayward, uninterested, and religious


There is a story in the book of Luke that really personifies Jesus' true, unfailing, character. To be short, Jesus goes to eat with a prostitute in the house of the Pharisees. Think about what you imagine a prostitute as now...subtract 2,000 years and place her at the feet of the King. She is weeping and washing His feet with her hair and precious, expensive ointments. No questions asked by Jesus. The self righteous Pharisees believe that because this women is a dirty outward sinner, they are clean. How many times do we fall victim to this? So and so cheats on their wife, steals from the mall, drinks his liver to death, views pornography...and I am doing a whole lot better than that. So I am good. Right? I know I do! I look at friends or family and compare their wrongdoings and put mine above them. My wicked, sinful, denying heart is just as evil as the woman who hits her children while smoking crack or the man who cheats the system to get ahead in the business world. But friends, Jesus takes what is shameful and dirty, removes it and replaces it with love and delight of our Father. You can't tell me you don't wince when you hear the word prostitute, am I right? The gospel is so powerful that she is made white as snow and clean in the eyes of the Lord. Think of the people that the general public looks down on, to be honest the image that comes to mind is the junkies from Breaking Bad. By choosing a life with Jesus, these people are told to go in peace, their sins are forgiven.


He saves the wayward. 

Saul, who ends up being Paul later on and writing 70% of the New Testament, has no interest in God and lives his life to tear down the people who made up the Christian faith. Murdering, burning down, destroying the new Jewish movement. God asks him "why are you persecuting me?" and guess what? Saul gives his life to the Lord. Paul was even enslaved for being a Christian (where he wrote the letter to the Phillipians) yet remains faithful to God. Have you ever known someone in life who has no regard for religion, the church, anything at all? They aren't necessarily killing Christians but in their mind, life is fine just the way it is and there isn't any room for something as big as God? Well, He saves them. God doesn't make us love Him. We are given free will. He shows us who He is, and how can we say no? I've seen God do a number on the disinterested people in my life. People who are just down in the pits, one thing after the other, losing jobs, losing marriages, fighting illness...and they want to do it on their own, without the help of our Savior. As much as I try to set an example for someone by clinging to faith through pain and suffering, it isn't enough for some people. And that's when God steps in. Boom! It's that phone call, conversation, beautiful scene that God shows up and they "get it". 

God saves the uninterested.

So you're probably thinking, okay God saves people who are messed up and don't want anything to do with Him, what about everyone else. You're crazy if you can't name someone who lives the life of a Christian for show. It's either to show goodwill, to celebrate Christmas, to prove that they have money, gain social status, etc. I don't know any statistics but it seems that there are more lukewarm Christians in this world than people who've given their lives to Christ completely and fevently. It's those people who show up to church, make their appearance, be seen by others and whoosh, they're gone. They feel good about the 30 minutes a week they spend in the House of the Lord, their tank is full. Or people who tithe to show they have money and gain admiration/status in their social circles. Attention! God calls us to tithe 10% of our income regardless of what we make. He doesn't say "those of you who make $100k a year or more will tithe to make up for the others". You make $20k a year, you give 10%. You make $2million a year, you give 10%. It's not a game, it's what God commands. Or even those people who sit in small group and bible study smiling and shaking their heads yes but deep down, are unsure, have questions and don't believe the gospel provides full redemption. God wants them too! Tax collectors, Pharisees, bible study leaders, missionaries, church ladies on SNL. He wants your hearts people!! Not your money and time (although He does delight in those things, yes), He wants your love and complete trust. 

God saves the religious. 

There are people in all of our lives that we love, who aren't deeply in love with Jesus. And that is fine. We can pace, and worry, and pray and wish but the decision is theirs. God saves what we can't. 

inspired by A New People by Matt Chandler, The Village Church 

 
 
I wrote this post yesterday and spent a lot of the night trying to come up with things to add or things to change because I didn't want to sound to harsh or abrupt. I prayed and toyed with the idea of saving this post for another day to give me more time. But then God swooped in and answered my prayers. I turned on the radio this morning on my pitch black drive to work before 7am to hear Hillsong's "Mighty To Save". The line 'now I surrender' did it for me. God giving me that pat on the back before subbing me into the game. Thanks coach.
 
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Best Give You've Ever Received

If I was being honest, the best gift I've ever received is grace, from our Heavenly Father. Nothing can top redemption, salvation, and unfailing love right? So today I am going to talk to you about the 2nd best gift I've ever received. Well, talking isn't as fun as seeing, right? So here it is...


Ernesto Ebeneezer Hart was given to me as a gift on February 14th, 2011 and it is the one gift that just keeps giving. You may be thinking he was a Valentine's Day gift but nope. He was a wedding gift that Jon and I chose to give to each other. I scratched my head for ideas for my hubby-to-be and knew there wasn't a chance I was going to get him cuff links or a handkerchief...those just aren't practical for him. A couple of weeks before our wedding we decided on a French Bulldog, found a breeder near Dallas and Jon went to go pick out our puppy. Frenchies are very expensive and we thought what a great gift to seal our marriage with. Starting life as husband and wife with our first little fur baby. Mr. Chunky Man has brought so much joy to our lives, I honestly can't remember how I lived without him! There has been a handful of times where we've been at home and Ernie is gone, mostly right before or after a trip where he is still at my parents, and the house is so quiet and lonely. My little Bundle (one of his many nicknames is Mr. Bundles...Annie anyone?) will be 2 in less than a month! Where does time go?

I asked my sponsors this month what is the best gift that they've ever received too. Be sure to go say hi to these ladies (and give them lots of gifts!).









What is the best gift YOU'VE ever received?!

to sponsor this blog in November, please use the promo code NovemberLOVE for 50% off all ad sizes!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Thoughts on Monday

  • We went to the mall on Saturday in search of shorts for Jon and although we were unsuccessful, we found some deals. I am just gonna say a few things about the mall...I hate them. I never go to malls and when I do, it is not this one. I also hated how it was littered with tweens and teens giggling their way through Victoria's Secret. Very awkward when I am stocking up on my 5 for $25 cotton panties next to skater boy 15 year olds. I don't even like Jon to come in that store with me...
  •  We are 5 days away from our Halloween party and our costumes are complete. I can't wait!! This party has been something Jon has been talking about for years, that once we move into a big house, we are gonna have a big party.
  • You have 1 more day to enter the October group giveaway!  
  • Did y'all see the recipe Allison posted on my blog on Saturday? Caramel apple cheesecake bars...wowwww
  • Because no post is interesting without pictures...

Surprisingly his calves fit into these skinnies, but we didn't end up buying them


Team Jesse #breaking bad

Mr. Ernie may recycle his shark costume from last year but I think he likes this Boo bandana better

My chunky puppy son and sister doggie, Kelli

Embry is 3 weeks old!

There are 5 games going on right here...thank God for brother in laws!

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Sanctuary



Our bedroom is our sanctuary. It's where we sleep, talk in the dark, cuddle in the mornings, read the bible, play with Ernie, try on outfits for each other, share intimacy, watch football late on Sunday nights and much more. It was important for me to make our room cozy, comfortable, and us. It's hard to tell via photos but our room is a bright, yet soft, turquoise (Behr Windwood Spring). It feels like I'm at a spa and I love it so much. It is impossible to be mad when you are surrounded by that color. As much as I love being cuddled on our comfy couch or in the gameroom with 10 blankets making a pallet, there is nothing like your own bed. We recently put a TV in our room when we moved but promised it wouldn't become a regular thing...to watch TV in bed. Yes there are nights we watch TV in bed but I'd say 5-6 nights we go to sleep without it. It is important for a marriage that you can connect and be intimate without the distraction (and obsession) of a TV. The hours and minutes before bedtime I am usually clean and relaxed and there is nothing more I'd rather do than spend time with my husband. I am glad we have a TV in there now so I can watch when Jon travels (and Jon watches football on Sundays and Mondays when I pass out at 10 sometimes).



We moved from a queen to a king bed when we moved and still can't believe how big it is! Even with Ernie in bed with us, there are nights where I reach for Jon and he is zonked at the opposite end of the bed. And when Jon travels and I sleep alone, it swallows me up. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you'd know that Jon built me that beautiful headboard as a surprise for my birthday. He used recycled pieces of our old fence and it cost him less than $5. Talk about a bargain. I couldn't stop looking at the beautiful headboard but I knew something was missing...something above the bed. I didn't want to take away from the gorgeous headboard and wanted to keep it simple so I decided to make garland out of my favorite Instagram pictures. Honestly some of my favorite pictures ever are taken with Instagram but stay stuck in my phone and occasionally get their glory on my blog. I've heard of a few places where you can print your Instagram pictures but I did it on my own. I saved my top 35 or so and resized them to 3.72 inches and printed them on my laser printer with photo paper. I cut out each photo, yes this took a little work but I caught up on DVR while cutting. I measured the length of the headboard and added an inch or two (80 inches is what I went with) and cut twine to attach the pictures to. I used masking tape to attach the pictures to the twine, nothing fancy here folks! I used a small nail and looped and knotted the finished garland to hang it on the wall. I am so thrilled with how it looks!! I am excited that I can add another strand of pictures as I take more.












I wish the color of our room photographed better!




So tell me, what is your bedroom decorated like? Did you spent a lot of time planning and decorating? Or is it just another room in the house for you?

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