15 December 2010


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18 November 2010

Being intentional...

I am so thankful for a hubby who enjoys B&B's...and looking forward to our weekend at The House on Harmar Hill in Marietta, OH! When we got married, we wanted to start an 'us' tradition for Christmas. We thought and thought and what we landed on is this. No presents. 

'Where is the holiday fun in that?' you may ask. You have nothing to open on Christmas day! Well, technically, we do get to open whatever is in our stocking....that is the only formal gift-giving we do between each other. And we get to enjoy watching our 9-year-old excitedly tear through paper...as any child does on Christmas Day.

What do we do instead to make it special?  We try to get away for at least one night together! Sometime around the holiday season we plan a night away (or 2 if schedules permit) at a somewhat-local Bed & Breakfast. We have gone to a handful by now...to some we have been repeat visitors. Instead of purchasing random articles of clothing or electronic that aren't too meaningful, we prefer to take some time to invest in US. Away from distractions. 

Some years we have just gone without a plan. Other years we have had specific things to talk about or focus on. Always, it's just about reconnecting (something we learned well at a Weekend to Remember many years back.) Today, I stumbled upon the below video, which made me think...maybe we can brainstorm how to put our spouse first - together. Come up with ideas, ways to stay on the defense and keep that thought a constant prayer focus together.

Do you ever have 'intentional' times with your spouse? What do you do, talk about, plan, etc. for those times, I would love to hear!

03 November 2010

I Won!

Ok, you know how you always see blog contests where they use a Random Number Generator to pick a commenter to win a big prize? There always seems to be hundreds of comments, and I never, ever feel like my little number could ever be chosen.

Until now.

I won a Silhouette cutting machine! Just because I posted HERE, and followed something on Twitter. Thanks to BlogFrog for making it all possible...I can't wait to try out my new crafty machine!!!

If you have a Silhouette...I would LOVE to hear about your amazing projects.....

Ghost n' Goblin....

As a kickoff to the Fall holidays..I signed up to WALK my first 5K! My sister has been a huge influence in my long-distance walking, and she urged me to do this. I did. I loved it! 

Now...I think we may sign up for the Erie, PA Turkey Trot when we go home for Thanksgiving. 

We are slightly addicted =o)

Do YOU participate in 5K's? Run or walk? Surprisingly, there were quite a few walkers, so I didn't feel too much like a poser...

My family also dressed up as the Mystery Machine gang....Phil (Shaggy), Me (Velma), and then there is always the ghost the Scooby Doo gang is chasing around the neighborhood.....

And here we are giving candy to the beggars...

She is kind of a cuddly ghost ;)

20 October 2010

Spray Everything!

Soo...it seems to be coming into the time of year when co-workers are randomly absent due to illness. Today alone there are 3 people out of my office.

Instinct would be to carry around a bottle of this ....but that may be a bit extreme, don't you think?

My sister (who as of last night is also beginning to cough slightly) is a firm believer in Airborne.
She takes it at the slight tickle, sneeze, or ache. She also works in a school, which makes her more susceptible to the little germies that are contained in a building full of kiddos. I know when she is feeling a bit 'off' because I hear the plop-plop and the ensuing Fizzzzzzz.....

Me, I've taken the rout of a sort-of-daily cup of Yogi Immune Support (echinacea) tea. It's warm and cozy and hopefully supporting my immune function =o)

So...when the absences begin, when you feel the sniffles and sneezes and sore throats creeping in....what do YOU reach for? I'd love to hear about your preventatives, remedies,  and all!

29 September 2010

Why do we do birthday cakes????

Jessie of CakeSpy explores the history of something many of us love...birthday cake! Have you ever wondered about the traditions behind them? 

Read on...

16 September 2010

Time to get my Mums!

I love it when the air turns cooler and you  need to carry around a sweatshirt...just in case.  This weekend, I hope to clean up my yard of all the summer flowers that didn't make it through the heat, and replace them with some fall splendor. Mums!

Home Depot Garden Club

I got my email newsletter today from theHome Depot Garden Club!  It has a great Buy 2 Get One Free Mums coupon!! I love Fall and Mums. It's such a cozy and beautiful time of year.
Home Depot buy 2 get 1 free mums coupon
If you haven’t signed up to receive this great coupons, head over and do so here. You won't be sorry =o)

Let me know how you welcome Autumn
into your home.....

15 September 2010

Home is family....

Pennsylvania was a blast! I never go back without walking a ways down memory lane. ..

This trip, one of my steps was to make NEW memories. My parents sold our childhood house and moved to a different neighborhood. This is the place I drove to (had to set my GPS!) as I went home this time. The first time to let myself into a new door, first time to sleep in a new room, the first meals around the SAME table in a NEW dining room. But ya know what I found out? Home is family. Yes, I missed the familiarity of the streets and the doorways and the backyard....but it's all still just walls and windows and floors. What makes it home is the people. So here's to making many new memories with my same ole' group of loved ones <3

The occasion for this visit... a wedding! Another of my dear sisters married her beloved on September 11th. I got to take part in her 1950's bridal shower her creative high school friends threw for her....

I also got to bake more than 300 cupcakes at my Grandma's house. It was a treasured time of memory-making in the kitchen, sharing tips and words and icing. (Grandpa got his fair share of 'extra cake' as well.)

I DO have to take a moment to brag on my hubby. He made all the chocolate lovebird favors for the wedding....and everyone RAVED about them!

And finally, the honor of standing beside Leah as she recited her vows. The best moments, however, were those waiting back in the nursery as we attended to details and waited for THE moment. She was a stunning bride and I don't think she could have smiled any bigger =o)

My hubby was also in the wedding, standing alongside Jon....and the fun thing was, he got to escort his own daughter down the aisle. How precious!

For all of you curious about the baking I did...here are a few snapshots...

They had love birds on their chocolate fudge cake with ivory vanilla buttercream.

Here is a selection of Lemon cupcakes w/ raspberry buttercream, red velvet w/ cream cheese, and chocolate fudge w/ vanilla buttercream. Hard to choose?

And we even catered to our gluten conscious friends.....let everyone eat {cup}cake!

Congratulations to Leah and Jon!!!!!

07 September 2010

I-90, we meet again...

This weekend I packed up our Vibe and headed towards Erie, PA. It's the week of my younger sister's
(Leah) wedding and I was able to take the week off to be 'back home' to help her with all the details. Oh, and to work on her wedding cake!

My solo drive was just beautiful...blue sky, lovely clouds and perfect weather....only issue was the AC  cut out for a good 20 minutes after I went over a bump. Trying my best at hitting the console like 'the Fonze' warranted no good...so I waited to go over another good bump. That did it...AC back on (yes, must remember to have that looked at). I was carrying precious cargo that is very heat-sensitive, so that sent me into a minor panic. But all is well...the chocolates my hubby had worked so hard on (for wedding favors) arrived in prime condition. Whew!

It has been a great time getting acquainted with my parents new house, making memories, and visiting with my grandparents as I cook/bake in their kitchen. Running errands with Leah was a good time and def. included a Tim Horton's stop for a Mocha (mmmm). But I look forward to the rest of my family joining me on Thursday...then the festivities begin!

As for now, I'm hammering out the kinks of printing these cupcake picks and about to get ready for her 1950's themed shower. Bring on the red lipstick!

26 August 2010

Sneaky little someone....

I came back from lunch today...and found this on my desk:

Someone has been sneaky. And you are wonderful! Your little kindness def. lifted my spirits today and your words were perfect. It HAD to have been a reader of my blog...so this is the best way I know to say THANKS.

May you also be blessed in return <3

25 August 2010

It's back porch dinner time again...

Ahh....we have turned off the AC, flung open the windows and slept soundly.

Tonight, it was time to wipe down the patio table, crank up the umbrella, and eat outside. We love to do that, but the recent heat has kept us indoors. We love this kind of evening. Eating outside seems....slower. You talk more, relax more, and just enjoy. Enjoy each other, all the tastes, as well as the butterflies that are so prevalent in our backyard (they love the butterfly bush, but they don't love L's net).

Dinner last night included....
Peppercorn Pork Tenderloin
Chiabata bread and individual dipping oil
Tomato/Fresh Basil/ Mozzarella salad

Does your family enjoy eating outdoors? What are some your favorite memories?

24 August 2010

The Valley



In geology, a valley or dale is a depression with predominant extent in one direction. A very deep river valley may be called a canyon or gorge.

Webster defines a valley as: an elongate depression of the earth's surface usually between ranges of hills or mountains; a low point or condition.


Do you ever find yourself going through some sort of valley time...but don't feel the liberty to expound on it's makeup? That is where I find myself today. The road to this valley has SO many facet's, it's hard to pinpoint the start of the decline. But in here, it's jagged, dingy, random pebbles and rocks that will cause an even further stumble. I do see the daylight as I stare up to the crest of the next height. Not sure what it will take to begin the ascent, I look around. Pondering. Dreaming. Questioning. But most of all, praying.... seeking direction from the only ONE that can truly guide.

But today. Today I need the reminder to KEEP seeking...praying....resting.

While here, I have begun to see that I don't want this time to be for naught. So I dig. I am digging, like Isaac's servants....for some FRESH water in this valley. I pray that my perspective is well enough that I find it. (Genesis 26:19 Isaac's servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there.)


We seem to often associate the valley with something hard or negative. But as I was searching through scripture, I cam upon some positive references to valleys:Psalm 65:13, Psalm 84:6, Psalm 104:8, Isaiah 28:4. That is just the surface. This may be a wonderful topic for further study at some point.


But for now, I leave you with lyrics to this song by Jard of Clay, which has been resonating with me of late...

And if you've stuck with me this far...a question.
What does a valley look like/mean to you?

Valley Song Lyrics (click to play)

You have led me to the sadness
I have carried this pain
On a back bruised, nearly broken
I'm crying out to you

I will sing of Your mercy
That leads me through valleys of sorrow
To rivers of joy

When death like a Gypsy
Comes to steal what I love
I will still look to the heavens
I will still seek your face

But I fear you aren't listening
Because there are no words
Just the stillness and the hunger
For a faith that assures

Alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, alleluia

While we wait for rescue
With our eyes tightly shut
Face to the ground using our hands
To cover the fatal cut

And though the pain is an ocean
Tossing us around, around, around
You have calmed greater waters
Higher mountains have come down


Alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, alleluia
Mercy. Your mercy

20 August 2010

Get your SWAG on!

It is Mega Swagbucks day! Happy Friday!

So what does that mean? It means that they will be awarding Swagbucks in larger increments today! So make sure you use Swagbucks today to get the biggest bang for your “search”! (If you are not using Swagbucks, check out below to find out how it works and why you should use it!)

Try using Swagbucks when you search for everyday things – even when you are checking email!

Be Rewarded With Swag Bucks!

I have talked often about Swagbucks and the benefits. I want to highly suggest that you start using Swagbucks now to help pay for Christmas 2010.
A blogger friend told me she was able to use $125.00 in gift cards from Swagbucks towards her Christmas. Combine the $125 in gift cards with great deals, she paid for most of her Christmas gifts using Swagbucks. So if you start now, you can save up for Christmas.
Recommendation: Make Swagbucks your home page and use it to find websites that your frequently visit. I earned 1 Swagbuck for searching for my an image for you just now.

If you add the Toolbar you can earn 1-2 swagbucks just for opening your browser. On Fridays, you can earn doubleSwagbucks. So realistically without doing anything other than searching, you can earn from 40-60 Swagbucks by just searching a month.  If you do the minimum of 40swagbucks per month, you will earn 480 in a year, which will contribute up to $120.00 to your Christmas (depending on what giftcards you choose to redeem). If you earn 60 a month, you can earn even more!
There are other ways to earn to. You can turn in your old cell phones [lilke we did] or gaming systems for up to 300Swagbucks, you can recommend your friends or you can do some online shopping thruSwagbucks to earn. Even a daily poll gets you 1Swagbuck!
Have you had success with Swagbucks?

19 August 2010

Lisa Leonard Giveaway

I love the chance to win. Anything.

Do I often actually win? Sadly, no. But here's to trying!

Today's Giveaway...it's jewelry AND a $100 Target gift card! I love Lisa's pewter and pearl look....and would love to WIN one. Wouldn't you?

If you buy one....let me know what you get =o)

18 August 2010


It's back to school time! And yes...that means clothes shopping. But have you been OUT there and seen the fall fashion? I didn't think it was as bad as it is, but it's a total Throwback to my junior high days....wow.

Our 9 year old is enthralled with skinny jeans. LOVES them. In colors. Here is a pic from Justice:
She is now awaiting a pair in pink. I hope she doesn't ask for feathered bangs next....help us. We have had enough with all the Justin Bieber talk ;)

What are YOUR thoughts on this years' back-to-school look? I would LOVE to hear what your kids are obsessing over. Don't get me started on the constant request for hi-tops.....

17 August 2010

a new beginning...

Kristi here. Seems this spring and summer I have been making the drive to Pa quite a bit....with 2 sisters getting married within months of each other, bridal showers to be thrown, much merrymaking to be made. And in all my drives up I-90, I have come to realize something. Pa was a great place and offered much.

I moved to Ohio for college...and stayed in Ohio for my job....met my husband in Ohio....and here I remain. I'm finding many great things here. But there will always remain a soft-spot in my heart for good ol' Pennsylvania.

So begins a new blogging endeavor. One I think will tend to more posting with more consistency and better direction. I hope to have various 'topics', if you will. Ranging from Baking (obviously!), Foodie (my hubs and I love to cook), Outdoors (somewhere I hope to spend more time), Family (as I journey through what it means to be a wife and step-mom), and others, I'm sure.

Thanks for stopping by as a Pa girl types out her ponderings....I hope you enjoy and stay awhile...