Birthday Party In a Box

Let’s face it, no matter how old we get, we still love getting birthday cards in the mail. Well, I know I do at least. What if you didn’t just get a card this year? What if you received an entire birthday party in a box? Feelin’ like a kid again, huh?

My sister is one of the greatest people I know. She lives 9 hours from me, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be with her on her birthday this year. I decided to send her a party in a box, because I knew her three kids (ages 5, 3, and 2) would LOVE celebrating with her and it took a little less planning on her part and a little more enjoying! She deserves it!!

I tried to use all of the same theme of decorations. I found a wonderful colorful polka dot pattern so I used that as much as I could and then used other colorful patterns for everything else.

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Here’s what I included in her box:

-Brownie mix

-Candles

-Sprinkles

-A “Happy Birthday” Banner

-A table cloth

-Plates and napkins

-Party hats

-Noise makers

-A wrapped birthday gift and card

-A personal bottle of wine [her favorite part, I’m sure ;-)]

She loved it and had a fun party with her sweet little family! If you have a relative or friend you can’t be with on their birthday, maybe this is something you could do for them. Share your twists on this project, I’d love to see them!

diy tree stump side table.

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We are so close to being done with Isaiah’s forest-themed nursery. Now that I’m on bed rest, I have had time to work on many of the projects I wanted to do. It won’t be long before he is here so we don’t have much more time to get things ready. I’ll post pictures of the entire room once the curtains and crib skit (being made by a family friend) are complete.

I can’t take much credit for this project (other than the idea of it!), because my sweet, hard-working husband did most of the work…okay, all of the work. I am so thankful for his willingness to help! When we decided to make Isaiah’s nursery a forest theme, the first project I thought of was a tree stump side table to go next to the rocker for when we are in the nursery rocking him. My husband’s parents had a huge tree fall in their background during a storm in the fall so it worked out perfect to snatch a piece of the stump being cut up! We stored it away for a few months to let it dry out. This is really important, because it makes the process of removing the bark a bit easier. The longer it dries out, the easier the bark comes off.

The first step, as you can guess then, was removing the bark. My husband did a fine job at this by using a hammer and a pick. It took a bit of time  to do it this way, but it looks so great with the bark removed and I was very pleased it.

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Nerd alert with the glasses…but really kids, safety is no accident. Wear protection! 🙂

After all the bark was removed, we (sorry there I go again) he sanded it down to make a smoother looking finish. This is best done with an electric sander…doing it by hand would take much longer and just plain stink. So I suggest borrowing one if you don’t have one.

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The final step is optional, but something I feel really brings it all together…staining. Since all of the furniture in the nursery is a dark espresso color, I wanted the table to match. The stain is “English Cherry”, made by Minwax, a popular brand you can find almost anywhere. Whatever stain color you choose to use, it will look darker when you first put it on, but it will lighten up quite a bit as it dries. Don’t worry if it seems insanely darker than you wanted, it will look great!

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It took almost 3 days for the stain to really set in and dry completely. I waited almost a week to put it in the nursery, because I was afraid of stain getting on the carpet. Use your best judgement when deciding if it’s done or not. Every stump is different.

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Now I can’t wait for Isaiah to get here so I can rock him and use this adorable side table that cost practically nothing to make…except maybe some of my husband’s valuable time. 😉 But I absolutely love how it turned out! I’m obsessed and go into the nursery at least three times a day just to look at everything coming together finally!

Good luck if you decide to give tree-stump-side-table-making a try. It’s totally worth the effort!

DIY ‘operation game’ halloween costume.

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween, because I love how creative people get with their costumes. It’s the homemade ones that make people have to think a little bit and make you laugh. We saw a lot of good ones this year.

This year, my husband and I went as the “Operation” game from when we were kids. He went as the surgeon and I went as the game board. We made all of the pieces and even added a ‘special’ piece that isn’t in the original game. Instead of making the bread basket that goes on the tummy, I made a baby in the womb piece. It was a good way to incorporate our baby without making him the focal point, because I’m not showing a whole, whole lot yet.

Here’s how the costumes looked:

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I bought a (somewhat) skin color looking shirt for about $5 from Wal-Mart. I made the pieces by drawing them on white cardstock, cutting them out, and then taping them to red construction paper. After that, I used velcro to attach the pieces on to my shirt and jeans, because I didn’t want to ruin my clothes by sewing or gluing them. The one on my head I taped to a clip and put it in my hair and it stayed on the whole night. Lastly, I painted my noise with red face paint to resemble the light bulb the game has that goes off when you touch the sides.

For the surgeon, we just bought scrubs from GoodWill for $6 all together, borrowed a stethoscope from a friend, got a mask and gloves from my work, and he carried around a pair of our tongs to look like life-size tweezers.

At the end of the day, both costumes costed us about $15, we were comfortable in them, and got lots of compliments. Success.

Hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween! Baby Leachman got his first Reese cup….or two or three. Don’t judge..

Happy Halloween! Mine's the goofy looking one...if you couldn't tell.

Happy Halloween, from the Leachman’s! (Mine’s the goofy looking one…if you couldn’t tell.)

pumpkin patch.

Fall is by far my favorite season, so naturally I can’t wait for it to get here each year so that I can visit pumpkin patches, drink apple cidar slushies, and wear cute boots…all of which I got to do on Saturday. We took a trip to our local orchard for some fall fun. It was a beautiful day and we had a lot of fun getting our pumpkins that we will carve in a couple of weeks. Here are some pictures from the day:

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Of course my husband had to get the biggest pumpkin in the patch...

Of course he had to get the biggest pumpkin in the patch…

 

And we couldn't forget about baby Leachman!

And we couldn’t forget about baby Leachman!

 

Homemade Bubbles.

I’m still recovering from a weekend of too much food, lots of family and not enough sleep. I’ll get there eventually though.

The weather ended up being pretty nice over the weekend, so on Saturday we made homemade bubbles with the nieces and nephews. It turned out to be a lot of fun. I think the adults may have even had more fun with them then the kids. But how could you not have fun making bubbles the size of people?

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DSC_0307To Make Bubble Mixture:

  • 4 Tbsp dishwashing liquid (Dawn or Joy is best)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp glycerin

Mix all ingredients in a 9×13 pan.

To Make Bubble Making Wands: 

  • string
  • two plastic straws

Loop the string through the two straws and tie it together. Place the straws at opposite ends from each other. This is a great outdoor activity that will keep kids (and some adults) entertained for an afternoon.

Happy Easter!

From The Leachmans

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eight easy easter eats.

Whew, that title right there is alliteration at it’s finest…if I do say so myself.

First off, I just want to say HAPPY GOOD FRIDAY! Do we have an awesome Savior or what?! PTL!

Secondly, If  you know me at all, you know that I loooove (with a capital L) desserts. I can’t go many meals without one and in fact, I’ve been known on occasion to eat my dessert before the meal. Judge on, friends.

So, I’m here today to give you some hopefully helpful ideas for delicious desserts you can make this Easter weekend to impress your friends and family with (note: these are not my recipes – links will take you to them).

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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Carrots

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Rice Krispie Easter Egg Baskets

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Bunny Cake

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Carrot Cupcakes

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Tomb Stone ‘He is Risen’ Snack

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Bunnies and Carrots

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Easter Egg Cake Pops

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Jelly-Bean Bark

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I hope this gave you some inspiration and a tasty dessert to end your meal on. Have a happy Easter!

Enjoy!

‘Dinner & a Movie’ gift basket.

Every year our church has a St. Patrick’s Day dinner and raffle with a silent auction to raise money for the church. This year they asked the high school youth group to make a gift basket to put in the auction. One Wednesday at youth group the kids decided on the theme of their basket: Dinner and a Movie.

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Everyone was assigned one thing to bring for the basket the following week. This is what we came up with:

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I’m pretty impressed with how well it turned out. Everyone contributed and I’m proud of the kids for participating.

Here’s a list of what could be found in the basket:

  • A $25 gift card to the movie theatre in town
  • Spaghetti and Fetechini noodles
  • Marinara and Alfredo sauces
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • $5 to Kroger (for meat of choice)
  • 1 bottle of Merlot
  • 2 DVDs
  • 2 boxes of popcorn
  • Various kinds of movie theatre candy

This was a fun project and I’m glad it worked out for the youth to help. The basket ended up being a big success at the auction as well. 🙂

girls weekend + boys.

It’s always a good weekend when you get to spend it with your best friends from college. And how do you make it even better, you ask? Invite all of your husbands along, of course. I love weekends, but I feel like I blink and they’re over. Not cool, weekend, not cool. Here’s a recap for your enjoyment….

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1. Before rippin’ up the slopes (ok, maybe not, but we like to think so) at Perfect North. We actually didn’t ski or snowboard; we tubed. I had never done this before at a ski resort, but it was actually a lot of fun. There were lanes where groups of about 20 could go down at the same time, holding on to each others inner tube. It was a blast. Our husband’s had been skiing/snowboarding all day, but they met up with us when we got there to tube. I’m glad they joined us, because they are silly and make everything funnier. It was very much worth it, even if I couldn’t feel my toes for the rest of the night.

2. Extreme makeover: Katy perry make-up edition. We had fun giving ourselves makeovers at Sephora in the mall. It doesn’t get much better than a free, overdone makeover in a town where you know zero people. You can be as silly as you want. Other than being mistaken for professional ice skaters, I think we did pretty good.

3. Besides the fact that my husband looks like he’s about to rob someone in his ski mask, I like this picture from our first tubing experience together. We had so much fun, even if he did get in trouble for jumping over to my tube halfway down the slope. We’re married, lady…it’s not inappropriate. Oh well…

4. I have very attractive friends. I wish that my glasses had been a uni-brow. Those are my favorite. I just can’t avoid laughing when I look at this picture…it gets me every time.

After such a great weekend, it made it incredibly hard to come back to work this morning. Not that I don’t love my job (because I do), but let’s be honest, every working person despises Monday morning whether you enjoy your job or not. At least the high for Wednesday is 70 degrees (say whaaat?). Oh yeah, I forgot we’re in Kentucky though, so it’s back to a high of 36 on Friday. Cool.

Have a great week!

A Blast from the Past (Year)

I honestly thought at the beginning of 2012 that the year 2011 could not be topped. Think about it, I graduated from college, married my best friend, went on our honeymoon to California, got to explore the mountains of Montana, and welcomed a new niece into the world. How could it get any better than that? Well, I’ll tell you…

2012 was an incredible year! I learned a lot about myself, about my husband, and about what the Lord is teaching me. I learned what true patience is and how amazing God’s grace really is. I learned perserverence and teamwork. I have had many good moments, but also some bad. This past year has been so wonderful and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

In April I ran my first half marathon. That’s 13.1 miles of running. Am I crazy or what? It is something I’ve wanted to accomplish my entire life. It was time-consuming, hard and intense training, but it paid off in the end. Now I get to look back and say, “I did that!” And feel good about it. Can a girl get an “Amen”?!

In June and August I got to be a part of two of my best friend’s weddings. I was so honored to get to stand by their sides and watch such beautiful representations of Christ and his Church. They were both such wonderful ceremonies and so much fun to be a part of. In addition to that, getting to be a part of the showers and bachelorette parties made for a fun year as well. Great memories to look back on.

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I have pretty friends.

In June, my husband and I took a vacation to New York to see Niagara Falls and NYC. We had an incredible time and loved every minute of it. We got to see our first broadway musical (Wicked!) and sat in the (front row!) audience of David Letterman. We were blessed to get the opportunity to travel and explore a new place.

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niagara, times square, lady lib

In August, we brought home our adorable kitten, Pepe le Pew. She has been such a joy to have. It sounds silly, but she has really been entertaining and we love her.

the cutest kitten ever.

I wish she was still that little.

This year we found out my older sister is having her third child. In October we found out it’s their first BOY! We are all so excited. I love being an aunt and spoiling my nieces, so I just know it won’t be any different with this little guy. He is due in March, so we are in much anticipation for that.

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my brother-in-law is just a little excited that it’s a boy.

In August, my husband turned 26 and I got him two tickets to a Notre Dame Football game. The game was in November and it was the first one we had ever been to. The campus is gorgeous and it turned out to be an amazing game and nice weather (a little chilly!). Notre Dame is currently number 1 in the nation in football and is playing in the Championship bowl game in January. They had an undefeated, awesome season this year. I’m so glad this was the year we went to see them play! He has wanted to go to a game since he was a kid.

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game time, golden dome.

After the game, we spent the next day in Chicago, IL. He had never been so it was neat to explore another big city with him. We’re real city slickers now.

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el beano, skyline

Lord willing I would like to accomplish these things in the next 365 days:

Spiritual:

  1. Read the Bible entirely through
  2. Spend more time in quite time with the Lord

Physical:

  1. Complete my first triathlon
  2. Run a 5k race in every state that touches Kentucky (where I live) -which would include SEVEN states…Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee (whew, that’s a lot of races in a year! This girl ain’t messin’ around)
  3. Play in a local tennis tournament with my husband

Adventure:

  1. Travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a retreat with some of the students from the youth group we help with
  2. Sky Dive (I asked for it for my birthday)

Well 2012, it’s been real, but it’s time to move on. Hello, 2013!! What do you have in store?

Happy Blogiversary!

It has officially been a YEAR since I started this blog. I really didn’t think I’d keep it going this long. I thought it’d be like anything else in my life where I start it, get bored with it, and forget about it. But not this time! Happy 1 year, blog world! It’s been real.

celebrate!

Thanks to my followers and those who stop by my blog and leave sweet comments! You all are great and encouraging. Have a very, merry Christmas!