Captured Moments: New Year’s Eve

How is it a new year already?! Sentimental being that I am, I’ve been reflecting a lot on another year living in Colorado. And as I do, I cannot help but be thankful.

Thankful for family. Thankful for friends. Thankful for a loving God.

And certainly thankful for moments and memories like these:

Catching up with old friends!

Catching up with old friends!

The wonderful host, hostess, and sweet baby girl Lillian!

The wonderful host, hostess, and sweet baby girl Lillian!

Carsyn and I. Like another little sister to me! Also: classic photo bomb. ;)

Carsyn and I. Like another little sister to me! Also: classic photo bomb. 😉

Cheers to 2015!

Cheers to 2015!

Thankful for friends old and new.

Thankful for friends old and new.

Confetti and heels.

Confetti and heels.

Captured Moments: Christmas Party

A few things you’ll find out quick about me: I love Christmas. I have a major sweet tooth. And I am not ashamed to call Pinterest a past-time.

So when I got the idea of a Hot Chocolate Bar via Pinterest, I couldn’t wait to host one myself.

A couple weeks before Christmas I invited over a few friends for a “Hot Chocolate Bar and Christmas Movie Marathon Party.” (Which actually turned out to be only one movie, but that’s okay!) I had so much fun getting it all together, and it may just have to become a tradition now!

Here are The Captured Moments:

Kenzie (my niece) grabbing the camera and making silly faces. Also with temporary purple-dyed hair.

Kenzie (my niece) stealing the camera for some selfies. Never know what I’m going to find when I pick up my camera!

Kenzie capturing me frantically running around, trying to get last-minute details in place.

Kenzie capturing me frantically running around, trying to get last-minute details in place.

Kenzie being silly again.

Goofball!

Most of the island once I was finished putting it all together. Not exactly Pinterest perfect, but I was happy with it and had a lot of fun planning and getting it all set up. :)

Most of the island once I was finished putting it all together. Not exactly Pinterest perfect, but I was happy with it and had a lot of fun planning and getting it all set up. 🙂

On one side, I placed large marshmallows in a paper bowl, three tiny glass dishes filled with chocolate chips, mini-marshmallows, and crushed peppermint (Kenzie loved helping me smash all those candy canes), whipped cream, chocolate syrup, toffee almond creamer, and cute paper straws and candy canes each in their own mason jar.

In the middle I placed a cake stand with glass ornaments, several types of sprinkles, ground cinnamon, a wreath, and a cork Christmas tree I discovered how to make myself just a week or so before (find directions on how to make one yourself here) :

On the opposite side I placed several Christmas mugs, a chalkboard with homemade pennant banner (paper, jute string, and hot glue), and a mason jar full of hot cocoa mix.

Merry and Bright.

Close-up of the banner.

Close-up of the banner.

Then it was time to partake! My first creation was pretty simple and consisted of mini-marshmallows, whipped cream, and cinnamon. Mmm! I also made two bowls of popcorn, one regular and one ooey gooey (tasted kind of like Marshmallow/Rice Krispie Treats), which was a major hit! (Find the recipe here.)

My next creation included marshmallows, whipped cream, chocolate chips, and peppermint bits.

 My philosophy in hosting parties (yes, I actually do have a philosophy for hosting parties) is based on two principles: 1) As a guest in my home, you’ll be honored that way. My job is to be there to serve you. You shouldn’t have to make a drink; a drink will be brought to you. Before you ask, it should already be provided. It might be a weird concept to some people (you wouldn’t believe how many people have seemed  insulted or told me “I can do it myself, you know”), but I get joy out of doing it. To me, it’s hospitality, plain and simple. I was taught growing up that guests got first pick. That their wants and needs always came first. Kind of like the concept of chivalry, to me it’s not some passive aggressive accusation of your incompetence, but the honor of being able to serve you and to put you first.

The second principle is a simple one: 2) You should feel as though you’re right at home. My goal is to always make guests feel comfortable and just a little bit spoiled once they leave.

So after some hot cocoa, a warm fire, and cozy blankets, then, this was a pretty honoring sight:

Jakota, Carsyn, and Jordan. (Somehow accidentally missed Erin. Sorry, Erin!)

Jakota, Carsyn, and Jordan. (Accidentally cut out Erin though. Sorry, Erin!)

I think they felt at home!

Mission accomplished.

Captured Moments: Christmas

For the last five years or so, my family and I have made it a tradition to attend a local craft fair about a month before Christmas. It’s a pretty big event for our little area, and each year I am so impressed and inspired by the many beautiful creations. It’s become a really fun time spent with family, and it doesn’t feel like Christmas now without it.

We first stop by Starbucks for a frothy holiday treat, then take our time browsing the booths and admiring the unique handiwork. Mom always leaves with a handmade snowman for her collection, and I always leave with a small trinket or two like a necklace or journal. (This year it was a pendant with a vintage telephone on it.) Alicia (my older sister) is the most unpredictable as to what she’ll buy, but it usually involves something that Mackenzie wants.

I grab a bag of kettle corn on the way out, and Mom grabs a bag of caramel.

So much fun! I’ll miss this once we move, but I’m confident we’ll find something similar to continue the tradition.

Here are a few of the captured moments–moments I treasure and am so thankful for.

Gold fingernails and an Eggnog Latte to be festive. New favorite--Chestnut Praline Lattes. Mmm! They were out, but there's nothing like Eggnog for Christmas!

Gold fingernails and an Eggnog Latte to be festive. New favorite–Chestnut Praline Lattes. Mmm! Starbucks was out of them that particular day, but there’s nothing like Eggnog for Christmas!

Just one of the many fun creations when you first walk in.

Just one of the many fun creations when you first walk in.

A sleigh. A wreath. Lights. A cute little wooden Christmas tree. I love Christmas.

A sleigh. A wreath. Lights. A cute little wooden Christmas tree. I love Christmas!

One of my favorite booths that uses aged frames and windows to create fun displays.

One of my favorite booths that uses aged frames and windows to create fun displays.

Gettin' the window treatment.

Gettin’ the window treatment.

Captured Moments: Pumpkin Carving

Last October was my nephew’s very first Halloween, and we were blessed enough one day last fall to be able to spend it with him and my little sister to carve a pumpkin. It was a really special day, and I’ll treasure every wonder-filled grin, every laugh, and that precious softness of one very sweet little boy in my arms. Here are some captured moments:

Boe was very excited about the pumpkin, and loved thumping on it.

Boe was very excited about the pumpkin, and loved thumping on it.

Auntie Lizzie, are you seein' how cool this is?!

Auntie Lizzie, are you seein’ how cool this is?! Love his childlike wonder and joy with something as simple as a pumpkin.

Checking out what's inside.

Checking out what’s inside with Mama.

Dude. There is something seriously wrong with this thing.

Dude. There is something seriously wrong with this thing.

Putting Boe inside the pumpkin... which he did *not* enjoy. Apparently not all boys like messes! Or maybe he thought it was trying to eat him...

Putting Boe inside the pumpkin… which he did *not* enjoy. Apparently not all boys like messes! Or maybe he thought it was trying to eat him…

From there on out, Boe was pretty traumatized by the pumpkin and would only experience it from afar and in the safety of someone's arms. :)

From there on out, Boe was pretty traumatized by the pumpkin and would only experience it from afar and in the safety of someone’s arms. 🙂

Look, Boe, it's not scary!

Look, Boe, it’s not scary!

Still trying to convince him, but also treasuring this moment. How much I love this little guy and how much joy and laughter he brings.

The finished product!

The finished product!

Captured Moments: Summer Fun

Since I want to remember and cherish all the beautiful moments that come my way while I’m still living in Colorado, I’ve come up with something called “Captured Moments”-a photojournalistic way of capturing and remembering moments, people, and places. I’m by no means a professional photographer and often forget to take photos in the first place, but since I’m doing this blog I thought it would be a perfect place to store them. (Be prepared–I have a lot to catch up on!) These are moments I breathe thanks for–moments I will treasure forever.

Here’s one such captured moment from summer of 2014:

Shaving cream and Puff Cheetos fight! Not really sure who won…

Found this idea via Pinterest, of course! The original goal was to get as many puff Cheetos onto the mountain of shaving cream on the shower caps. And, as you can tell, it then escalated into an all-out war.

I found the idea and planned to do it with my niece, but I couldn’t believe it when we suddenly had my mom interested, too!

I also took this idea on a babysitting job, and let me tell you… you just don’t know what kind of fun you’re missing or how satisfyingly hilarious it is to land a Cheeto onto a pile of shaving cream until you try.

Life is just too crazy sometimes not to be a little crazy yourself!

So ridiculously fun, and generally enjoyed by all.

  • A few tips: Things escalate pretty quickly, and really, when you break out puff Cheetos and shaving cream… rules are pretty much thrown out the window. So be ready. 😉
  • For little kids, watch so the shaving cream doesn’t get in their eyes.
  • From head to toe, obviously don’t wear anything you’d mind getting messy. (Even with the shower caps it got a little bit into our hair.)
  • Have more puff Cheetos and shaving cream on hand than you think you’ll need. They get used up quick!
  • A lawn generally works best. For the babysitting job we played on their driveway, and it was a while before I could wash away the ground Cheetos and clumps of shaving cream.
  • Not for the faint of heart.

I have to say, though… a guaranteed way to have fun on a summer day, loosen up, and get lots of belly-aching laughs! We definitely had a blast and had a race afterwards, too, to see who could get to the shower first. 😉