5 Years

5 years ago today, we had been living in our home for only a few weeks and we were already giving the living room a completely new look.  We removed all the furniture and brought in 30 white chairs to prepare for our big day…our wedding day!

Wedding - Chairs in Living Room

We kept everything simple, decorating only with some fresh flowers and candles.

Wedding - View from Kitchen-Flowers-Chairs-Unity Candle

We used a side table that we had and placed our unity candle on display.  We didn’t follow the tradition of not seeing each other on our wedding day, but we did stick with some traditions.  My Dad walked me down the aisle.

Wedding - Here comes the bride-Leslie and Dad

Our Reverend wrote a beautiful ceremony incorporating words that Bob and I both used to describe each other, but she didn’t reveal to either of us what she was including in that portion of the ceremony in advance.  Our comments were a surprise to both of us during the ceremony, which was very special.

Wedding - Ceremony - Bob Leslie and Reverend

Amazingly, I didn’t cry!! 

Wedding - Bob Leslie lighting unity candle

It was a beautiful ceremony! 

Wedding-Mr and Mrs

Bob’s brother is a wedding photographer, so his gift to us was the beautiful photos you are seeing here, and a few hundred more!!

Wedding-Rings with bouquet

Since we had an intimate ceremony with our immediate family, we also had the opportunity to take many family photos to add to the memories of the day. 

We had our reception dinner at a local restaurant.  No wedding is complete without some cake!

Wedding-cutting the cake 

To my wonderful husband, Bob,

I love with you with all my heart, even more than I did 5 years ago when we stood in our home in front of our families and pledged our love and committment to each other.  It has been an amazing 5 years and I look forward to many, many more!!  Happy Anniversary!

Love,
Leslie

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Christmas and New Year’s

We celebrate Christmas with my family on the Sunday after Christmas, so this year it was the day before New Year’s Eve, which meant celebrating just continued from one holiday right into the next holiday.  Bob and I made it a nice extra long weekend to allow time for us to really enjoy our time with family and friends.  My family started the Christmas celebration with a wonderful meal.  Bob was able to capture a picture of all of us at the table.

Christmas - Family Table

Mom added a bit of Christmas decoration to her kitchen by hanging a small wreath, which I think is actually a candle ring, above the stove. 

Christmas - Wreath on tiled backsplash

I think she really wanted her wreath featured on the blog, because she made sure to point it out.  I guess after I posted her leaves in the crock, she realized she is at risk for me taking pictures and posting, so this time she chose what she wanted me to share. 🙂  I am gladly sharing, because I like how it looked.  And, it shows off the backsplash tile that Kristel and I installed for Mom last year. 

After our delicious meal, we all shared in some gift giving.  We added some fun to it, and made whoever was the first to find a present with their name on it, then got to find a present for the next person.  We did that until we all had a present in hand.

Christmas - Family with first present

Then, it was the big decision of who got to open first!!  The kids were very anxious, but everyone was patient and shared in the fun and spirit of the season of giving.

Christmas - Cake Pops

There were also some treats to enjoy throughout the day.  Aniyah had gotten a cake pop maker for Christmas, so we got to sample her delicious and adorable creations.  The kids then had some fun playing one of the new games, Hedbandz.

Christmas - nieces and nephews playing hedbandz

They all look so cute with their hedbandz on…and they are no dummies, they tried to cheat and ask to see the picture I took of them so that they would know what they were.  Each kid didn’t know what was on their head and had to ask questions to narrow down what they might be until they could guess what they were.  It was quite entertaining. 

Christmas with my family was a wonderful day!

The next day was New Year’s Eve.  I ventured out to Target to do some shopping…I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket!  I lucked out and all the Christmas decor was 70% off.  I was looking at the Christmas decor for two reasons – one to see if there would be anything I could use in my house for next year, and two for anything I could use for New Year’s decorations.  I’ve never actually decorated for New Year’s before, but we were having neighbors/friends to our house that evening.  I didn’t want to take all my Christmas decorations down, but I did want to add some New Year’s decor.  The evening was to be a progressive evening, so everyone was coming to our house for cocktails and appetizers before moving on to the next house for dinner.  So, I added a few touches of New Year’s to the basement bar and dining area.

New Years - Basement Bar buffet

I set up the bar with part of the appetizer buffet, more food was brought by our guests.  I took the pictures early, so I didn’t forget once everyone arrived.

New Years - Basement Bar Vignette

For the bar decorations, I used glass containers that I had.  I bought some silver and gold bead garland and the tinsel at Target.  I used gold ornaments that I had and put them in the one glass with the beads.  The other glass just has the tinsel layered in it.  And, the apothecary jar in the back has silver and gold painted pine cones that I had, and was using in my Christmas decor.  I found the New Year’s printable on Pinterest (although I can’t seem to find my original pin of it now).  I just printed it on plain paper and slipped it in a frame I had – it’s actually a frame that normally has our wedding picture in it, but it matched the colors so I borrowed it for the evening.

New Years - Tablescape - mercury glass candles tinsel ornaments

This was the table in the basement. We didn’t actually ever sit at it, but it provided nice ambiance.  I had the mercury glass candle holders – they are from Target too, I just bought them before Christmas. 

New Years - Centerpiece - candles tinsel ornaments mercury glass

For the centerpiece, I used a rectangular white serving dish.  It was in the Christmas clearance at Target, so I got it cheap, and I know I will use it over and over.  The center candle holder was another one of my Target purchases that day.  I had the two little candleholders; they are normally on the shelves in the basement.  I just added the tinsel and some silver and gold ornaments and called it done.  I’m glad I decorated, because both of the other houses we went to that evening had very festive New Year’s decorations.  Here is all of us enjoying our cocktails and appetizers – Bob was the photographer again, so he’s the only one missing from the picture.

New Years - Friends celebrating at basement bar

A good time was had by all!  Happy New Year!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope you are enjoying the holiday with family and friends.  Our day is full of family time.  We are blessed to be able to get to share the day with both of our families.  As in year’s past, we will start the day at lunchtime with Bob’s family.  It is a serious event, and we always have Thanksgiving Trivia first.

My brother-in-law creates the trivia each year, and it is very competitive because of the prizes!  The prizes are treasured items like wine or lottery tickets.  Nonetheless, it is always fun!  As you can see, Amy and I were very serious about our trivia quiz last year.

After trivia, we gather around the table and share in the delicious Thanksgiving meal.  And, before we can depart for the day, we play a game of hoops.  Again, it is a serious game like H-O-R-S-E, or sometimes S-H-I-T because of a lack of time.

I’m pretty terrible at basketball, which you maybe able to tell from my poor form shown above.  It is still fun though.  Some shots are crazy ones like one eye closed, tongue sticking out, and standing on one leg.  But, at least it burns off a little bit of the turkey dinner.  Before we end the celebrating with Bob’s family, we have made a tradition of our post-basketball line-up picture.

Looks like it must have been a nice day last year, as we are not all bundled up and freezing.  Today is predicted to be another beautiful day for our Thanksgiving basketball!

After just a few hours with Bob’s family, we return to our house, pick up Puddy and start the drive to my parent’s home.  Crazy as it is, we take two cars. So, Puddy gets to ride with me on the way, because he ends up returning home with Bob at the end of the evening.  I stay with my family so that we can continue our tradition of  Black Friday shopping.

The tables at my family are full of people and food!  My Mom thought ahead when she designed her floor plan in this house.  Her kitchen and dining room are connected with a large open doorway.  This design specifically helps to accommodate our family on holidays.  We connect the kitchen table to the dining room table for one long table so that we can all sit and share the day together.  This year should look very much the same, my parents, siblings and their spouses, nieces and nephews, and my grandmother and her husband.  My younger sister got married this year, but her husband is currently in Georgia for his National Guard training.  We will miss having him here with us to share his first Thanksgiving as a member of our family, but he will definitely be in our thoughts and prayers, and fortunately he will be returning home to my sister next week.

What are your Thanksgiving Day traditions?  Anyone else have trivia or basketball?  Or, what about some serious Black Friday shopping planning?  Whatever your Thanksgiving traditions, I hope that are able to enjoy the day and remember all the reasons we have to be thankful.

Annual Tractor Ride

Each year on the first Sunday in October, our family has a day of tradition.  It is the annual tractor ride in my parent’s town.  Last year, it was so cold the organizers canceled the ride.  But, that didn’t stop us…we made our own ride!  This year, my Dad organized the whole ride.  We started from a new location and followed the route that he mapped out.  The forecast was to be chilly and rainy, but we lucked out and while it was brisk it wasn’t nearly as cold as last year and the rain didn’t start until later in the day.  We think the forecast put a bit of a damper on the attendance, but there were still 10 tractors in the ride.  Some had wagons, some didn’t.  Some were green, some were red – We definitely have a preference, but we don’t discriminate.   But, everyone was there for the same reason – to take the tractors out for a ride, spend time together, and enjoy the beauty of the Fall season in the country.

Puddy waiting for us to get the ride started.

Puddy’s John Deere Shirt – One of my latest crafty creations

The parade of tractors starting to head out of town.

Dad was our driver and the leader of the parade of tractors.

The ride took us along some beautiful scenes.  It was very peaceful.

Puddy wasn’t the only dog along for the ride.  Smokey was enjoying it too.  He was all decked out in John Deere gear as well.   I wasn’t sure he’d like a t-shirt, so he got a John Deere bandana.  Then he got cold, so he got to use the John Deere blanket too!

Bob spotted this scarecrow hiding in the field along the way.

Overall, it was a nice hour and half ride through the country, in the area I grew up.  Its always a nice reminder of the beauty and peacefulness of the country.  And, best of all it is a great day spent with family.  We were missing some family Sunday.  My brother was busy running his first half marathon, so he couldn’t make it to the ride.  We missed him and his family, but it just meant we got to eat more of the candy ourselves! 🙂  Oh yeah, we take candy along to throw to any kids along the way.  This year I think we only saw one group of kids, so we kept up tradition and ate most of the candy as we rode!

Anyone else have a special family tradition to share?  Any other tractor rides out there?

Labor Day Weekend Picnic

Bob and I decided to host our family for a Labor Day Weekend Picnic on Sunday, September 2nd.  And, we also thought it would be a great time to recognize my Mom’s recent accomplishment of completing her Associate’s Degree.  So, we invited everyone like a normal family picnic, but then I sent out a supplemental evite to everyone except Mom informing them that it would also be a suprise graduation party for Mom.  We were very excited that Mom’s siblings (she is one of eight!) and spouses could all make it, and of course my siblings and their families too.  So, we were expecting about 35 people.  Fortunately, we lucked out and the weather cooperated and we had a nice day….it rained before the picnic, but cleared up in time to set everything up and enjoy.

I thought everything was going well, and then my sister and I were finalizing our cake and cupcake decorating and Mom just walks right in the kitchen before the picnic was supposed to start.  I just looked at her and laughed, when she walked right up to us and asked what we were doing!  So, obviously not a very good surprise.  Mom just said that now that she was college educated, she was smart enough to sort of figure out something was up!! 

My sister made the cake.

I made the cupcakes and then we coordinated the decorating. 

The little graduation caps on the cake and cupcakes were my first pinterest inspired creation!  Yes, its terrible that I have not implemented anything else I’ve seen on pinterest, but I finally had a reason. 

This was my inspiration:

source

I modified slightly by using the Reese’s, a fudge covered cookie, M&M, and then twizzlers.  They aren’t nearly perfect, but I think they made a cute addition to the food and decor.  I also added the Class of 2012 ribbon to the cupcake stand.  Even though we had planned the surprise for a few months, I failed in shopping for graduation decor in June when most stores had a good supply.  So, many of the items we were just working with what was available in August and also what I had on hand.

I made the Congrats Grad banner with some Congrats ribbon from the Dollar Tree, pre-cut stars from the craft store, and then I used my Cricut to cut out the letters. 

Even though she wasn’t too surprised, Mom still enjoyed the celebration. 

We had quite a crowd filling our patio.

We also took the opportunity to get some family photos.  These are my seven nieces and nephews.  There is an eighth one on the way thanks to my younger sister and her husband! 

Mom also enjoyed some cards and gifts from our generous family.  This card was made by my sister and her children.  Her son cross-stitched the cap for the card.  I will be putting my Cricut to work and creating a scrapbook of the pictures from the event as my gift to Mom.

We are all very proud of Mom.  She obtained her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education, and maintained a 4.0 GPA!  Congratulations Mom! (I hope you at least read this 🙂 )

Summer Life

I know I probably have only a few readers out there since my blog is so new, but I also didn’t want anyone that has been reading to think I started this blog and abandoned it already!  The truth is, I’ve just been busy enjoying what is left of summer life.  Fall is approaching all too quickly for my liking.  I do enjoy Fall, but I am not ready to start thinking about it too much yet.  I would rather cling on to what is left of summer. 

So, this is a glimpse of how I have been spending my time lately.

Puddy enjoying the ride to the beach.

Sitting on the beach at Assategue Island watching the horses just wander by.

My Mom and Dad after my Dad’s 3rd place finish at a local tractor pull.

My niece and nephews in the corn at the tractor pull.  These are the poses I got when I told them the picture would be on the internet. 🙂

My niece and nephews at the Lancaster Science Factory.  I enjoyed a day off work and we all had fun at the science factory. 

Puddy on a recent trip to Lowe’s with me. 

I have been working on some small projects around the house, so I hope to have something home related to share soon.  But, in the meantime I am preparing for a Labor Day Weekend family picnic at our house tomorrow.  Puddy was just helping me get flowers to replace the ones I have neglected as summer fades away.