Weekend Recap: Christmas Lights and Christmas Party!

We had our 2nd Annual Christmas Cookie Swap party this weekend, so we spent a good part of the weekend doing party prep. Friday night, I made breakfast pizza for dinner…and we cleaned and cooked.  It was great to get so much done!
Saturday, I met Brandy at the gym for some Cardio Dance Party in the morning, and then I helped Tyler at his shop.  I came home and took a GLORIOUS nap, and then woke up and finished party prepping.  Saturday evening, Tyler and I drove into town for our little town’s Christmas light drive through.  They line the park with some cute light displays! 
One of our favorite was the fishing Santa!
We also liked Santa and his reindeer!
Sunday, we had a GREAT time at church.  Lots of good conversations at Life Group, a GREAT sermon…but then right after church, we came home for our party!
For our cookie swap, I make lots of lunch foods and everyone brings cookies. I only took these three pictures.  I got so busy chatting and laughing that I never picked up the camera!
We had probably 20 or so friends…and about 15 kiddos…ranging from this sweet 3.5 week old Nora …to pre-teens.  It was SO fun.
My MIL got her baby fill!  She spent time holding and loving on every one!  She even took the bigger kids outside to play on the tractor and look at the pond!
We all just eat and talk and laugh.
The guys like to hole up in the dining room where they can have some more quiet conversation (when they aren’t taking turns watching their babies!).
But the real action is in the kitchen with all the food and goodies!  It made my heart so happy to have a home full of friends who we love so much.
It is hard to see with the backlighting…but there were like 15 people in our kitchen at this point! ha! I love a full bustling house!
When we moved here about 1.5 years ago, I just prayed to make some friends.  I knew Tyler knew lots of people (this is his hometown, after all), but I prayed for opportunities to be intentional about making friends. God was good and gave me lots of chances to make friends. And these people just welcomed me into their hearts and families.  Some are Tyler’s high school friends who quickly became MY friends too…some are friends from church…but either way, I am so blessed. 
The cutest time was when Tyler took his RC car outside and all the boys (big and small) went outside to watch. One of the little ones, Noah (age 4 or so) ran inside and yelled at his mom Kacee “You HAVE to see this!  It is so cool!” They were eating it up! 
Tyler is on the left driving the car…and then there are 5 little boys watching…plus a couple babies who were mesmerized…along with a few dads too! So fun!
The party prep was SO worth it.  I enjoy all the cooking, and the cleaning needs to be done anyway…so it is totally worth it to have a house full of blessings. 
I love all our friend’s babies. There were 4 new babies born this year….three who were in tummies last Christmas at the party! And there was one in a tummy today.  Our circle of friends is growing all the time and I couldn’t love it more! It is so fun to be a part of these babies’ lives as they grow.  So fun to play with them and love on them.  Life is so good. 
I feel like this party is what Christmas is about.  Loving one another and just being together.  There were no tacky sweaters, no gifts, no gimmicks…just food and fun and friends.  We are so blessed.
After the party, we got Mikey from my MIL’s (he doesn’t do great with crowds or kids, so he spent the afternoon over there) and then we came home and watched Gone with the Wind.  It was my first time watching it!  My mom has the VHS tapes, but we only watched it on days I was home sick (when else do you have 4 hours to watch a movie) so I would sleep through it….but we watched it all and I LOVED it.
I normally wouldn’t post a picture of the TV, but watching this movie was on my 30 Before 30 list…so I had to document it! ha!
I hope you had a good weekend, too! 

Grab a Paintbrush…

Last night was the most fun.
I got some girlfriends together and we had a paint party at a new place in town called Cross My Art.  It is so neat!  Cross My Art is different from some of the paint places I have seen friends visit in other towns (where you all paint the same picture). At Cross My Art, you can paint whatever you want…and the owner Angie helps you make it look AWESOME!
I co-hosted the paint party with my friend Shaina.  I brought 4 other friends….
Brandy (who painted an amazing Razorback!)
Alicia (who did a really neat abstract piece)
Christina (she painted an adorable Christmas subway art)
I did a leopard flower painting
And Lauren (LOVED her Fall “Give Thanks”)
Shaina brought 3 other friends…and we had a blast!
At the end of the evening….here were my girls and our creations!
And everyone all together!  I LOVE all our paintings!

My flower painting!
I hung it up as soon as I got home in the living room!
I can’t wait to go back there.  It was fun to hang out with my friends, paint, and be creative!

Weekend Recap: Date, Shopping, and Baby Shower!

Oh how I love the weekends!  Friday on my lunch break, I started the weekend early with a pedicure.  I hadn’t found a nail salon in town yet that I loved, but as long as my polish stays on…this place fits the bill!  Clean, friendly, good service…I liked it!

After work, I went to the gym and swam for 30 minutes.  I wasn’t power swimming with all my might, but it was a nice easy workout.  Then I got some time in the hot tub and sauna and got ready.  I don’t love getting ready at the gym (because it’s SO hot with the sauna, hot tub, showers, and lights), but I got ready and went on a date with Tyler!

We had dinner at Joe’s Cantina (my fave Mexican in town!) and then we had froyo.  After that, we played around Academy.  It’s a fun date spot.  We played on the workout equipment, played on the putting green, and I got to shoe shop!  🙂  Tyler bought some new ping pongs, and I got a Razorback tank top.

Saturday morning, I picked up my coworker friend Christina and we went to A-Z to shop.  Christina found this creepy bear statue. 🙂

We shopped for like 4 hours in the HUGE A-Z complex.  Gifts, clothing, furniture, antiques, accessories….we got some good deals.  Then we had pizza buffet and I drove her around town showing her some cool stuff.  Then I came home to clean.  I also hung up my new finds.

New little floating shelves to go in the bedroom…

And some zebra art for over the tub.

Sunday after church, I hosted a surprise baby shower at our house for a Zumba instructor friend, Maureen! 
I made a little diaper cake!  And I made some coffee punch that was super yummy!
We all brought yummy food!  Fruit salad, cake, quiches, grape salad, cheeseball, garlic dip, hot and spicy chicken…so much yummy food!

All the ladies!  I am so thankful to have made such good friends with other local instructors.  We are all so different!  But it works.  It was fun to shower Maureen (in the green tank) and her sweet baby boy with blessings! 

After I cleaned up the party, I went to the park.  I had it all to myself!  I walked 3.1 easy miles. It was pretty hot, but I enjoyed the walk.

I love our little local park.  It’s just 10 minutes from my house.  You can watch the sunset there.  It was really pretty.

A fun weekend for sure!  How was your weekend?  What is your favorite party recipe?  Mine (at the moment) is some sweet and spicy chicken bites.  I usually make them wrapped in bacon…but another instructor today was allergic to pork…so I just made chicken.  They are yummy!  What about you?

Birthday Celebrations

Monday night after work, Tyler and I headed to one of my favorite local spots, Rolando’s, for my birthday dinner with him.  I wore a cute new dress that I got several weeks ago in Hot Springs.
Rolando’s is downtown.  It is a tiny little place, but its soooo good.  We had a bowl of yummy guacamole and I had my favorite- shrimp quesadillas.  They top their food with all kinds of yummy sauces.  They also have these pickled red onions that I love (which is why I get an extra bowl of them!)
We had a great time eating and talking and laughing.
Fat and happy after eating our delicious dinner.
Tuesday, I had a GREAT birthday!  As soon as I got to work, my sweet coworker Christina gave me these earrings in a sweet card!
Then another coworker, Leanna, made these two DELICIOUS cheesecakes for me!  Mocha and strawberry.  I may or may not have had three delicious pieces. I’ll never tell. 😉  Good thing calories don’t count!
This was the surprise of the century.  In 4.5 years of being together, I have NEVER gotten flowers from Tyler.  He claims they are impractical and stupid and expensive.  Well, when these showed up at work, I thought they were from my MIL (who has sent flowers a couple times), but they were from TYLER!  They are so beautiful and make my cubicle smell of sweet roses.  I am one lucky lady!
Also, at work, they send out mass emails to the 100+ people in our company about your birthday…so all day I got happy birthday messages (along with countless Facebook and Twitter posts!
My birthday happened to fall on a Zumba night.  So we turned regular Zumba into an 80s Zumba party!  It was so fun!  And my sweet, sweet students decorated the room for me! 🙂
Some folks got in on the 80s action!
Let’s get physical! ha!
After Zumba, we showered and got ready then went to dinner.  We tried Bravo, an Italian place in town.  The food was soooo good!  The atmosphere was a little funny because its an old Pizza Inn, so while the food felt like a fancy place, you would look around and expect to see a pizza buffet! ha!
Me and cousin Caitlyn who came to town to Zumba with me!
A Zumba student, Alicia, got me this adorable cookie cake!
Momma.  She came to Zumba and celebrate with me.
My MIL Nancy.  She went all out like it was Christmas and got me several gifts.  I got a really neat Emeril 8-in-1 cooker that does rice, sautees, steams, slow cooks and more!  I can’t wait to play with it!
My sweet little family. 🙂
When we got home, a great song was on the radio so Tyler and I danced in the driveway.

It was a great day.  I felt so loved from work, to Zumba to the outpouring of love and well wishes from friends and family.  I am so blessed.  If the rest of the year is any indication of how yesterday went, I am in for a great 25.

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