Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Reflection: Part One

Hello friends!

Sorry about the delay again in posting.  Sometimes you just get so wrapped up in life that you forget to sit down and write it out!  Also, I have thoroughly enjoyed being lazy the last couple of days!  My Christmas celebration started on December 21, at my Maw Maw's house for some family time!  Then our annual Christmas Eve Lovefeast that I mentioned here on, you guessed it, Christmas Eve!  Then Christmas Day, and on December 26, my family decorated our annual Night Tree for all the animals! It has been a busy year, full of excitement and joy!  I have been trying to keep everything straight, but there have been a lot of big changes, so today I am posting a reflection!  Or at least the first part of 2014 (because it was a long year)!

In January, I started the year engaged to my best friend!!

You can read about our engagement here!  This meant a whole new assortment of things to do, such as bridal shows, venue shopping, vendor shopping, and engagement photos!  You can read about some of that here!

Also in January, Joshua and I got to play in a few big snowfalls in Raleigh!  You can read about some of them here!

I also pledged to read 25 books as part of my 2014 Goodreads Book Challenge!

In February, Joshua and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary!

Officially started dating February 18, 2012!  This year for our anniversary, we escaped the weekend before and went to Wilmington!  

February also saw a lot of snow!  

In March, I traveled to Sacramento, CA to visit with family!

Yep!  I flew out there and visited my family!  We had a blast, and I cannot wait to get a chance to visit them again!  This time, I swore up and down I will convince Joshua to go with me!

In March, I also traveled to Reno, NV for a concrete convention!

I did this last year, only last year's event was in Phoenix, AZ.  You can read about it here!  Reno was an interesting experience because I wasn't happy in the major I was studying, I didn't like the professor who led the trip, and I totally tore my MCL when I attempted to ski for the first time.  Not feeling Reno, but all in all, it was an adventure!

Also in March, St. Patrick's Day happened, and I got to decorate!  Y'all know how I love to decorate! You can see what I did here!

April totally just happened!  No pictures or details of anything exciting!

Haha!!  Whoops!

In May, I finished final exams!

This was exciting because this also marked the official changing of my major and my career path!  I switched out of Construction Engineering and Management, and I switched to Agricultural and Environmental Technology!  I switched from a life I hated to a life I absolutely love!  One of the highlights of 2014!

Also in May, one of my best friends and beautiful bridesmaids moved away from Raleigh with her boyfriend, and it completely changed my life in Raleigh!  Even though I miss her terribly, she is one of the main reasons I work so hard to keep this blog going!  She blogs about her life and I blog about mine!  It is almost like a coffee date!

That is why in June, I officially joined the Blogger community!

My very first post was about who I am and all the things I love!  You can read it here!  

Also in June, I found and booked mine and Joshua's wedding venue!  It is beautiful!  

Joshua and I ended June with a visit to the Brevard Zoo in Florida, and a week at Disney over July 4th!

This was an adventure and I was super thrilled to share it with Joshua!  I am pretty sure this is another 2014 highlight of ours!  You can read all about this adventure here!

Joshua and I did so much in 2014, it is hard to fit it all into one post!  So look back tomorrow, and I will have the rest of the year mapped out for you!!  Hopefully 2015 will be just as exciting as 2014, and hopefully you are enjoying looking back as much as Joshua and I are!

What are some of your favorite 2014 adventures???
Like I said, let me know!!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pinterest Faves: Holiday Baking Edition

Hello Friends!

As the holiday season is rolling around, I have decided that Pinterest is in fact a holiday obsession!  Seriously!  I have been spending hours on Pinterest looking up cute and yummy things to fix for my family, and I am super in love with so many things!  Here are some of my favorites!

1.  Crescent Roll Breakfast Popovers

When I found this recipe, I was looking for something easy and fast to fix for Saturday brunch for me and Joshua.  I also wanted something that I could make with very few ingredients.  I got this recipe from Yummy Mommy Club, and of course, I made a few tweaks!  Maija's is on the left and mine is featured on the right!  The idea behind this thing (I call it a pop-over because I like the sound of it), is scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon wrapped in a biscuit!  Maija used cheddar cheese, but Joshua and I like a little kick every now and then, so I used pepper jack.  I also used crescent rolls, because I didn't have any biscuits.  The results?  Joshua loved them!!  He was so shocked that he enjoyed them, and he went out Saturday night to by more crescent rolls so we could make more for Sunday!  Overall, this was a win!

2.  Homemade Peppermint Patties

I love peppermint patties!  That is a huge understatement, but I cannot express in words how much I love peppermint patties!!  Joshua sometimes brings me some home, and I know right then and there that I have picked the best man alive to marry!  I love everything about them, including putting them in the fridge, and breaking them in half by my ear so that I can hear the minty part separate with a crispy little "puh!"  I pinned this last year, and bought the ingredients, but I never got around to making them.  Not this year!!  This year I made it happen!  I got this recipe from Mom on Timeout, and once again, her's is on the left and mine is on the right!  I definitely did not get five dozen, but I did get just short of four dozen.  This was actually pretty messy, so I ended up wearing gloves while I was kneading the dough.  That helped a lot!  The result?  I followed this recipe to a tee, and mine came out great!  It is rare that I am 2 for 2, but Joshua loved these too!!  I had white ones too, but I did not get them in this picture.  Definitely went out, bought more ingredients, and I totally intend to make them again this holiday season!  Joshua is pretty happy about it!

3. Salt Dough Ornaments

I realize that I cannot eat these, but they do have to be baked, therefore, I included them!  Last year, Joshua and I bought our first Christmas tree together, and this year we wanted to continue that tradition.  Just like everything, the tree prices had gone up and our little 4' tree cost about $35, which is pretty high!  In order to stay within our decorating budget, and not spend a fortune on ornaments, I immediately Pinterested a way to make ornaments!  Ta-da!  The salt dough recipe!  I found this recipe on Mommypotomus, and her beautiful ones are on the left, and my interestingly brown one is on the right.  I liked the idea of this because they were pretty simple to make, didn't involve many ingredients, and if they broke, it is okay.  The result?  These are really fun!  I definitely enjoyed making them, and I like how they look on my tree!  I am not sure if I over baked mine, but mine turned out a little brown.  It is totally fine though because they look cute, and Phoenix has enjoyed chewing on them as well.  They fit our little tree perfectly!

Overall, I have really enjoyed our little baking projects, and they all turned out wonderful!  My favorite parts are the memories that I made with the people I love!  That is always important around this time of year!  I definitely feel like all of these little treats will become part of our family traditions!

Are you doing any cute Pinterest projects with your loved ones!  
Like I said, let me know!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Cards!

Hey Y'all!

I am super excited about this Christmas!  A few weeks ago, I told y'all I was signed up for the 2014 Great Christmas Exchange!  Well I am happy to report that I finally got my package in the mail!  I can't tell you what I got her, or who she is, but I cannot wait to hear if she likes it!  I hope she does!  I also still don't know who drew my name, or where my package is coming from.  I will have to keep you posted!

This year is the first year that Josh and I are sending Christmas cards.  My family has actually never done picture Christmas cards, but my aunt and uncle have almost always had one made.  I like the idea.  I have some family that has never met Joshua, and he is such a big part of my life that I want to share him with my family.  I also look forward to seeing how members of my family grow and change year to year! 

This year, I used Vistaprint, and I am really feeling them!  A few months ago, I got my Save-the-Dates from them, and they were awesome quality for an awesome price!  They came in and they were beautiful!  I felt amazing sending them out, and I am still sending them out!  For our Christmas cards, I only bough 20, but I also got 20 envelops for free.  I definitely need to get more for next year, but for our first year of Christmas cards, 20 is a perfect number!

I even got to put our fur-baby on the card as well.  This year is the last year Joshua and I will be "single."  Not single in the fact that we are not dating, but single in the fact that we are not married.  2015 is going to be a year of huge changes!  By this time next year, we will be married, and hopefully have our own house!  We have been engaged a year, and I still don't believe it!!  

This is the first year that we have done Christmas cards, but I totally feel like this is going to become a tradition!  I cannot wait to see what this holiday season brings us, or where we go from here!  

Are you sending holiday cards this year?
Like I said, let me know!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Best. Day. Ever. 2013 Recap.

Hello friends!

A while back, I talked about how Joshua and I have been engaged for a year now.  A year as of yesterday!  This is a day late, but it is okay.  Here is a little bit of information about the best day ever, so far!

It all started a few days before the 13th. Joshua asked me what my Friday night looked like, and I responded with, "I don't really have anything planned." Joshua then informed me that we were going to go to dinner on Friday. This was odd because we go to dinner almost every evening, and I am never told ahead of time. It just kind of happens that way. Like every good woman, I immediately knew that something was up! Being me though, I kind of forgot my suspicions, and almost completely forgot our dinner plans!!

Friday arrived and it was freezing!! Literally! Josh and I went to one of our favorite burger places downtown, Mo Joe's Burger Joint, and we had a really great dinner. We talked to some really cool people while we were there, and overall Joshua seemed to be in a great mood.  After we left Mo Joe's, I was ready for some heat and we ran back to the car.  Bundled up inside the car, I thought we were going back to my apartment. Joshua turned down Boylan Ave, which is one of our favorite spots in Raleigh. From the Boylan Bridge, you can see all of downtown Raleigh, and it is a really picturesque place. Joshua pulled the Honda over to the side of the road, and said, "Let's go look at Raleigh from the bridge." I was cold, so I said, "No!" and laughed. "C'mon!" Joshua responded. That is when I was reminded of my earlier suspicions. I have never seen Joshua stop in the cold, and beg me - whiny me - to get of a warm car and stand on a cold bridge. So, I finally relented and we ran across the street to the bridge. Squealing in the cold, I quickly grabbed Joshua's hands, and he looked at me with a big smile! He said some of the most beautiful things I have ever heard him say, and finally asked, "Will you marry me?"  Only problem? He was still on his feet!! Instead of answering 'yes,' I asked Joshua, "Are you serious?" He laughed, said yes, and FINALLY got down on one knee! He pulled the ring out of his pocket, and excitedly jumping up and down, I yelled, "YES!" It was the best!!

Last night, we went to a restaurant next to the Boylan Bridge, and while the food was terrible, it was great to reminisce about the year before.  We even took our picture this time, and it was still cold!  The past year has brought about a lot of changes, but I have never been happier with our lives.  With 2015 just around the corner, it is important to remember all the exciting times of 2014 and in our case, 2013.  I am definitely eager to see what the next year will bring us!!

What are you excited about for 2015?  
Like I said, let me know!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmastime is Here!

Hello Friends!

Sorry it has been so long since we spoke last!  I have been super busy, and, while I have wanted to blog, I just haven't really had time to say what I wanted to.  Let's see, since we spoke last, my little sister turned 17, Thanksgiving happened, Josh and I went with family and friends to see "Scrooge" in Roanoke, and I have studied like a mad man for finals.  I just finished my final exams yesterday, and I am just waiting to here back if I passed or not.  Normally, people in college are like, "Yea, I passed that exam, no problem!" but I have a distorted perception of how well I did on an exam, so I am just waiting to hear before I start singing praises of joy!

Now, I love Christmas!  It is one of my favorite holidays!!  Being a Moravian, one of my favorite Christmas traditions is our Christmas Eve Lovefeast at our church.  You got your buns, your coffee, and most importantly, your beeswax candle.  What more can a Moravian ask for?  For the past few years, I have had trouble getting into the season spirit, seeing as how most years I have exams until the 15th of December, and I work until the 22nd.  The highlight of my season is always the Christmas Eve Lovefeast, but that means that until 6:00 on Christmas Eve, I am not really in the Christmas spirit.  This year, I am trying a different approach to Christmas.

Christmas for me is the season of giving.  God gave us his son, three wise men gave precious gifts to Jesus' family, and families give love and joy to one another.  You give of yourself, and ask for nothing in return.  Most people who know me know that I don't make a lot of money.  I live on $81 a week, and some weeks it sucks.  Christmas is always a difficult season, because I always have to reign myself in from spending all my money.  This year is different.  I still make the same amount of money, but I am trying to give people my love and my heart instead.  

I signed up to do Operation Christmas Child, and I filled my shoe-box with gifts of love.  I picked out a black and white stuffed cat to send, because I was giving the love of my cat to a little girl somewhere.  I put soap, and a washcloth in the box, and a coloring book with crayons.  I put flash cards in the box, and for the first time in a long time, I noticed how much stuff was in the toy isle that I couldn't send.  Electronic Barbies, and mini iPad things.  Computer games, and Littlest Pet Shop toys.  Somewhere, this child just needed the basics, and it took me about an hour to try to find the basics.

I also picked an Angel off our Angel Tree at church.  My little girl, Nataly, had two other Angels on the tree that my mom and dad took.  Between the three angels, this 13 month old little girl needed a car seat, clothes and shoes, diapers, and a baby doll.  This broke my heart.  Do you know how many baby dolls I had growing up?  A lot.  I got my little girl two baby dolls, and as I shopped for other toy items, I carried around the softest teddy bear I could find.  One of the Kmart employees asked me what I was doing with the bear, and I told her, "I am filling it with love."

That is what this season is about.  Filling the gifts you give with love.  I spent my paycheck on a little girl I will never meet, but I gave her the most love I could give, and I truly love this little girl, wherever she is.  God gave us Jesus, because He loves us, and when Easter rolls around we will celebrate how He loves us again when He allows Jesus to be crucified for our sins.  It is important to note that God did not give us His gift in the form of a prince or a man of any power, but in the son of a carpenter.  When you give gifts to your loved ones this year, remember that.  My homemade gifts are not things that are good enough to be sold, but they are made with the love I have in my heart.

I have done a lot of things this year to try and get myself into the Christmas spirit, and I am thinking they worked.  Most importantly, I have given of myself as God intended us to do, and I did it knowing that I will never meeting these people.  But they know someone out there loves them, and believe me, I do love them.  So this Christmas, give the love in your heart to people who need it most!

What have you done special this year to get you ready for Christmas?  
Like I said, let me know! 

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