See Ya Later 2015

It's the last day of the year, how did that happen? I mean, I know how it happened but heavens it went by fast. 2015 was a pretty darn good year in the Colvin casa. I've mentioned before that 2013 and 2014 were really tough years for us, although getting married in 2013 was a pretty huge bright spot :) But I am happy to report, that while every year has it bumps and struggles, 2015 didn't disappoint and we had a fantastic year overall, thank you Lord! 

Some notable things from our year:

This year Josh took his first ride on a plane and we visited Las Vegas in June; jammed our hearts out to Brooks and Dunn & Reba, woke up at the crack of dawn to take a day trip to California, and swooned over our hotel (The Venetian) our entire stay.

Post: Our Trip to Vegas

We took another trip in early October for our anniversary, which also happened to be the weekend that Hurricane Joaquin was moving through and South Carolina had a 1,000 year flood, oh and did I mention this trip was also Murphy's first trip away from home? It was an adventurous weekend to say the least, and we are so thankful that we were safe throughout the storms and flooding and that our home was spared of any damage.

I started a new job in April and have been enjoying it since day one. It was a huge blessing that I needed this year and I am so thankful to the Lord for providing this opportunity for me. 

We served on staff at our church this year as Youth Directors, and made the difficult decision to resign from our position at the end of the year. This circumstance proved to be a big source of conversation and prayer throughout this year and we are so thankful to have been given the opportunity to serve our church and the youth. We know God has great things ahead of us and also know that He will put in place a great new leader for the youth group. 

I hosted a bridal shower for my dear friend Mackenzie, we celebrated her bachelorette party in March and her wedding in May. 

We went to The Masters this year and had a blast! You always know it's a good day at the Augusta National when you log over 20,000 steps on your fitbit and your wallet is empty from the golf store. This year we had tickets to the Par 3 day which was really fun to watch. Going to The Masters with Josh is probably one of my favorite things! 
We celebrated our second wedding anniversary and Jessi Nichols Photography blew me away with the photos from our anniversary shoot.

Mom and I took a girls weekend in Greenville and shopped 'till we dropped, and we returned several weeks after our girls weekend with my Granny in tow this time to shop some more. We love to shop :) 

Post: Greenville Weekend with Mom

We started a marriage study with some of our dear friends, and made some new friends too. We are so thankful for new and growing friendships that were made this year! Speaking of friendships, we hosted Friendsgiving and I made my first turkey! 

Mackenzie and I threw a baby shower for one of my best friends, Griffyn. Her little babe, named Brayden, should be making his debut any day now! I cannot wait to see her step into her role as a mom, she is going to make such a great one!

This year I spent a lot of time in my kitchen, and grew to love cooking and baking. We spent a lot of time with our friends this year, and that time was so special to me! We worked on our house a bit, and did some gardening in our yard. We took Murph for countless walks, and spent most of the year in stitches laughing at his booming personality. The Gamecocks broke our hearts over and over again this year; and Spurrier almost gave Josh a heart attack when he announced his retirement. We celebrated a year of my sweet Papa being with Jesus. My MIL experienced a tough year of surgeries and cancer, but she is through the woods now and I know this new year will bring her happiness and healing, for which we are all so thankful! 

2015, you were good to us and I give all the praise and glory to God. His faithfulness is never ending and His love is abounding. He has been so good to us this year, and we are grateful and thankful and count our blessings each day. 

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for following along with my and my little family this year. It has been such a joy to come to this space to share my heart and receive kind words and encouragement. This blog brings me a lot of joy and I'm excited to continue documenting our journey through 2016. I appreciate each of you that visits and sits through each day and each post with me, thank you for being a reader! It's a pleasure to walk through life alongside you, via the internet screen ;)

 I hope that 2015 was a great year for you and your family and pray that 2016 holds sweet memories, abundant blessings, and happiness throughout the entire year. And if 2015 was a hard for you for, I pray that you are able to close with chapter without too much sadness, and enter next year with a full heart. 

Happy New Year, friends!


Goals for the New Year

I feel like my mind is running a hundred miles a minute thinking about and mulling over the goals I want to set for myself this next year. I mentioned in my last post that I am working my way through my first set of Powersheets, and I'm excited to spend some more time on those this upcoming weekend. I also recently posted on instagram a little about how Josh and I set goals for ourselves and our family. We sat down about a week ago and looked at our goals from last year and talked about what we did really well, and what we did not do well. I think you should definitely give yourself grace on some goals, like some we truly did about half way, but others were big fat fails; and beside those fails we put big fat X's. We don't want to trick ourselves in to thinking we did better in an area than we actually did, instead we like to be honest and say "hey that really didn't work for us this year" and revise the goal and put it on our list for the next year. As for the goals we did really well on, we put big check marks beside them and count our wins.

Our goals list is broken up as follows: 
Bucket List 
Family Goals 
Financial Goals 
Personal Goals 
Goals to your spouse 

Obviously our bucket list has fun things we'd like to do throughout the year, family goals are things like doing a devotion every night, financial goals is pretty self explanatory, as is personal goals. Goals to your spouse is the category where I give Josh three things I'd like to see him work on in the new year and he gives me three things he'd like to see me work on in the new year.  We keep our sheet in our night stand, so we can pull it out at any time and look over it during the year. We also looked back the other night on our 2014 goals and it was fun to see how far we've come since then and what we've accomplished. 

We haven't written them down on paper yet, but we've got some pretty lofty financial goals we've discussed for the new year and I'm excited to dive head first into the year with intention and discipline. I know this is an area that I am going to have to work hard to control, because I do love a good shopping trip. But truly, we have more than enough and this year we really want to work on padding our savings and paying off some extra on our house. 

Goals get me so fired up and excited, I love a good challenge. But I also want to follow through, which is the hardest part for me. January can be great...but then comes February, March, April...and life gets busy, excuses start piling up, etc. That's one thing I'm really excited about regarding the Powersheets, that I'll be sitting down to revisit my goals each month to keep me focused and on track. 

Whenever I finish up the prep work for my Powersheets, I'm hoping to blog about my journey through them, share a few of my thoughts and my word for the year. 

How do you go about setting goals for the year? I'd love to hear! 


Christmas 2015

Hi dear friends and happy Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful and magical Christmas. We certainly did over here. We did a lot of traveling, ate a lot of good food, and spent a lot of good time with our family. We also received more gifts than we needed and were so excited to give our gifts to their recipients! We had a beautiful candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve. 

My parents gave Murphy a huge stuffed penguin and he carries it around everywhere, the cutest thing! I have this precious video of him taking the paper out of the bag, sticking his head in and pulling the penguin out. I've said it 100 times before and I'll say it again, I am convinced that Murphy is a human baby living in a dogs body. 

I love Christmas, but in all honesty I struggle with it a little too. We do a lot of running around between Christmas Eve and Christmas day and I often feel tired and rushed through everything and then the next thing you know, Christmas is over. I always struggle with that, Christmas being over. I always feel like it goes by in such a flash, then I worry myself with "was I excited enough over my gifts, did Josh and I spend enough time together at home, did we see our families long enough?" All very silly things, but thoughts that creep into my head as we take down the Christmas decorations throughout the house and it's all said and done. No matter how fast it goes each year, I'm so thankful for the days off of work and time spent with our families during Christmastime. I also got a kick out of Josh taking down the lights outside our house. There was a lot of grunting going on and a lot of giggling coming from my corner. 

Josh gave me my first set of Powersheets for Christmas and his parents gave me the book Make it Happen (both by Lara Casey) and I've started reading and working through my Powersheets. At first, I didn't really know what to do or where to start, even though there were clear directions haha! I honestly felt overwhelmed and like I couldn't search my heart enough to find the answers to the questions on the pages, so I decided to just start writing and see what came out. Then I decided to pray about it and let the Lord lay on my heart what I needed to write on the pages of my Powersheets. I'm excited and anxious to work through them and this process, and know that in the end I will be able to evaluate and dig deep into what matters for me. 

I am recognizing that there is a lot of clutter in my life that I'm ready to sift through and get rid of. Like following too many people on Instagram and having too many Facebook friends. I always thought it was kind of silly when I heard  people say that the noise from social media was too much, but I am coming to see how true that is. If I've never spoken to someone in real life or barely know them and we're facebook friends, why is that? Sometimes I scroll through my feed and I don't even know who is in the pictures because I barely know some of these people. The first thing I did this morning was go through and unfriend a lot of folks. Not because I don't like them, but because we don't know each other, don't live in the same place, barely passed each other in the halls of high school. I need simplicity and clarity, not a bunch of noise filling my feeds. So that's a little bit of what's on my heart as I'm wrapping up 2015 and looking ahead into 2016. I'm excited to work through my personal goals this week, and our family goals for the next year. I'll be here to share some of those throughout this week and next! 

There's a little Christmas recap and a little bit of whats on my heart today. I hope you had a great Christmas and are preparing your heart for the new year ahead!


Christmas Around Our Home

It's 75 degrees outside today, like it has been for the last week, so although Christmas is right around the corner, the weather certainly doesn't feel like it! It's been a pretty mild December and I've been admittedly a little bummed that I haven't been able to run our fireplace in tandem with having the Christmas tree lit. But I think this weekend it's supposed to cool down a little bit, so maybe I'll get my chance ;) 

I truly adore decorating for Christmas and will be sad to see it all come down in a few weeks. It makes the house so cozy and festive, I love all the twinkling lights at night. We even decorated more on the outside of the house this year, and I hope everyone that has driven down our street has gotten a little Christmas joy from all of ours lights!

We get a live tree from the local Farmers Market down the street each year and this year we decorated the day after Thanksgiving. I like to stretch out my Christmas decor being up as long as possible to enjoy it!

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And a snap of the outside of our house. Next year we may try and be brave and do the big peak with icicle lights, but not this year :) The little peak over our bedroom window we did one night after work, and Josh was literally standing on the extension ladder...in the dark. Not our best moment, haha! And our crape myrtle tree I did one night by myself before Josh got home...also in the dark...standing on a dining room chair and climbing in to the tree...probably another moment that wasn't my best, but the tree looks good ;)


Our 2015 Christmas Cards

Christmas cards are always a highlight of the season for me. I absolutely love sending and receiving them. I put a lot of time, thought and effort into our cards each year. This year we went with Vista Print and I was extremely pleased.

I went back and forth with a couple designs but this one just stole the show. I loved that Josh and I were to the left of the card and all the verbiage was on the right, a bit different from what we've done in the past. I used a photo from our anniversary shoot, and while I was sad that Murphy wasn't on the front of the card with us, his bright and smiling face is on the back, not to be forgotten, that little kid :) This year we also decided to enclose a little "Colvin 2015 Newsletter" with our cards. I sawthis idea floating around and thought what a fantastic idea to recap the year.

Before I got the verse put on the back of the card, I sent it to Josh for him to look at and he said "We are not having a secular card. Where is the bible verse?!" He should have known better than to thank I was going to leave off a verse!

I purchased an address stamp a couple months ago from Etsy that I used on the back of the card and I got some washi tape to add a little flare. I hope that all of our friends and family receiving our cards as much as I loved making, addressing and sending them out!


Tried + True Recipes in the Colvin Casa

I never thought I'd be this girl, but y'all I love to cook. I could spend hours looking up recipes and trying my hand at them in my kitchen. I try to mix up dinner each week and rotate meals in and out so that we don't feel like we're always eating the same thing, and Pinterest is always my go-to for recipes. The recipes below are ones that are tried and true. I've made each of them numerous times and both Josh and I love them. Josh isn't a picky eater, but he's not quite adventurous either, so I think that these recipes are definitely pleasing to all taste buds! I truly get such a feeling of joy feeding my little family, and I love to put a well thought out, beautiful and delicious meal on the table each evening. 

Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti. A velvety, rich alfredo sauce that will send your senses into orbit:):

This dish is on rotation for us every week. At first I made it exactly by the recipe and baked it in the oven, but now a lot of times I'll stop after you make the chicken alfredo and we'll eat it like that. Either way is delicious. 

You haven't lived until you've tried Paula Deen's Shrimp & Grits at her Savannah, GA restaurant, Lady & Sons.  Hands down best dish I've ever eaten at a restaurant ... ever in life.  Make sure you go to Paula's official site for the recipe.  My dish also had some sort of red pepper that isn't in the recipe.  And it was definitely some sort of ham vs. bacon as in the pic.  But so yummmmmm!:

There's a local place that Josh and I love to go to for shrimp and grits, as were big fans of the dish. I have always been really apprehensive of making shrimp at home, but now that I've done it I have no idea why. It's so easy! The only thing I change about this recipe is that I ramp up the seasoning...by like 100%. The first time I made it, everything was pretty bland. Now I salt the heck of the grits and season the shrimp to death...and it's perfect! 

Lemon Butter Chicken - Easy crisp-tender chicken with the creamiest lemon butter sauce ever - you'll want to forget the chicken and drink the sauce instead!

A new favorite of ours! I don't use heavy cream when I make it,  just sprinkle in some flour instead. This is delicious and we serve it over brown rice. One of our new favorites, the sauce is amazing! 

Chipotle's Chicken Burrito Bowl with Cilantro Lime Rice

Josh and I love Chipotle...love it, and this recipe is a copy cat of their chicken burrito bowls! I haven't made these in quite some time, but they are jumping back into the rotation very soon. These are spot on to Chipotle's and are so good! 

For me the hardest part about dinner is the planning. I never mind the actual cooking part...now the clean up is a different story ;) All of these recipes are really simple but pack a punch in the taste department, which is exactly how I like my dinners. I hope these recipes give you a little inspiration in the kitchen and I would love it if you'd leave your tried and true recipes in the comments!


Josh's Christmas List

On just about every blog I read, Gift Guides are popping up left and right. I threw around the idea of making one of my own, then figured there are probably enough floating in blog land right now. However, I thought it'd be fun to share Josh's Christmas list with you guys. I hear a lot of women say they never know what to get their husbands, that is not true in my case. Josh makes a detailed list every year, he always wants something, haha! Which I actually love, because he makes it easy on everyone. He also drops hints all throughout the year indicating things he'd like. Maybe by sharing his list, it will spark an idea for the guy in your life!

Here's a few things on his 2015 list:

Qalo Silicone Wedding Band
Bose Speakers 
Necessary on his list every year: dress socks and athletic socks

 I actually don't have his list in front of me right now, so this is just a portion of what he wants, that I can remember off the top of my head. Also to note, every year he puts an outrageous amount of money on his list, like a million dollars. I can't say I blame him though, gotta ask for what you really want ;)

We are giving each other the Qalo rings in our stockings. These will be perfect for the gym and when were outside doing yard work, walking at the park, or on hikes. Also in our stockings we are giving each other a couples massage gift card. Praise!

I certainly enjoy shopping for my man, and love to watch him open up his gifts on Christmas morning! What's your guy got on his list this year? 


Thanksgiving + It's December!

Happy December 1, y'all! Today is going to be a little bit of a mash up of a variety of things, so here we go :)

We had a great Thanksgiving last week. This year we visited with Josh's side of the family on Thanksgiving day and it was more than wonderful getting to catch up and spend time with everyone. We ate so.much.good.food. So much. I need to see the gym desperately ;) We spent some time with my family on Wednesday night and we recently purchased Catch Phrase, and ever since it makes an appearance every time we are with friends or family. We clearly love playing Catch Phrase!

On Friday mom and I headed out for some Black Friday shopping. We started our day at 9 a.m...which is exactly how I like it. None of that crazy early mess for us. Although we have had our fair share of early Black Friday morning shopping in the past. I successfully checked off quite a few gifts on my list, as did mom, and the crowds weren't all that bad...until we went to the mall. We were in and out of there fairly quickly, ha! We adopted a family at work through Families Helping Families and I signed up to purchase gifts for the mom of the family. Mom and I were able to get everything she had on her list, which I was tickled over, and I think we found some really great things that I hope she can use for years to come. We were able to pack two huge boxes worth of stuff, one with a comforter, pots and pans, and towels and another box of more personal things; several outfits, accessories, lotions and body wash, and a great pair of shoes. I prayed over the box as I was wrapping it, hoping that the Lord blesses this family of 5, mom and four kids, this holiday season and that His love would be shown to them through our gifts.

Friday evening we got our Christmas tree and Josh and I went to town decorating that evening. There is just something about the twinkle of a Christmas tree that really gets me during the holiday season. We are fully decorated at our house and I love coming home to the outside of the house lit up and seeing the twinkle of the lights from inside the house shining through the windows. I have LOVED getting up each morning and turning the lights on to the tree and ending the day sitting by it's twinkle. Josh and I decorate our tree with lots of meaningful ornaments, gifted from friends and family, commemorating vacations we've been on, spiritual ones that carry so much meaning, and plenty celebrating our marriage.

Saturday we stayed home all day, PRAISE! We bagged leaves in the backyard before and after the Carolina game. My one note about the rivalry game against Clemson, for a little bit during the game I really thought we might pull it off, but lets face it, this season has been a wash for us BUT the good news? There's always next year. I'm really hoping we get a great head coach...hey Georgia, thanks for letting Richt go...NOT. Lessening our chances at Kirby Smart...can you tell we talk a lot about football in our house?! Ha! Anyway...Clemson, I hope North Carolina beats the tar (no pun intended ;) out of you this weekend and if not then...I'll have my Alabama shirt on come playoff time. Also to note, can you tell we don't like Clemson very much? ;) I have both a Tar Heel and Bama shirt sitting on go for these games. Saturday evening a dear friend came over and we ordered dinner from a local Mexican place and indugled in queso and guac...a perfect Saturday night if you ask me! I also worked on Christmas cards on Saturday and did some more again last night, we're close to having them all mailed out and then I'll debut them here on the blog!

Sunday we went to church and then came home and cleaned gutters...homeownership is so fun. Took Murph for a walk then headed back to church for Youth that night. We started God's Not Dead (so late to the game, I know) and so far it's awesome! We'll finish it next week and I'm pumped to see how it ends. Josh actually finished it when we got home from Youth on Sunday night and he was all pumped up after it.

Headed back to work after a long holiday weekend is so hard, but I started John Piper's Advent book this morning that mom gave Josh and I last Christmas, and I had an extremely peaceful and reflective time with the Lord this morning. I feel so full of joy today, and for this holiday season ahead, and I'm so excited to focus on my King, and bringing glory to His name this holiday season, and the days and months after.

I hope that you had a great Thanksgiving with your family and pray that the Lord would focus your heart and mind towards Him this holiday season. I am so grateful and thankful for each of you that come to this space to read my words and see my heart.  


Hosting Friendsgiving

We did it you guys! Josh and I successfully hosted friendsgiving this past weekend. We had such a great time with our friends, and praise the Lord, the turkey turned out wonderfully! 

Today I just want to share a few of my thoughts and tips on our friendsgiving and what we did to prepare, etc. 

For starters, I deep cleaned our house on Thursday, so that Friday I could concentrate on getting the table set and making sure I had everything to prepare food for the next day. This really worked out well and on Friday I just tidied up a bit but didn't have to get crazy with my cleaning because it was already done! We turned our living room into the dining room for the evening. I set the entire table on Friday night. I was able to really take my time while setting the table since I wasn't in a huge rush to get anything else done on Friday. Josh and I even went out to eat for date night that evening :) I also made sure to have my linens, napkins, glasses, plates, etc. purchased (or taken down from the cabinets) a few days before I set the table. 

I ran a full dishwasher load on Friday evening and unloaded it first thing on Saturday morning. This allowed my dishwasher to be completely free to catch the dishes we were going to use that evening. Probably one of the best tips I read while prepping! Also during the day on Saturday, anything that I used, cutting boards, pans, etc. I washed and put away right after I was done using it. This gave me tons of open counter space to work throughout the day and left my counters nice and clean when my guests arrived. I only ended up with a ladle, spatula and my small cutting board in the sink when our guests arrived, and that's all! I'd also suggest taking out the trash before you start the bulk of your cooking.

Cooking my first turkey was really not as intimidating as I thought it was going to be. Was I a bit freaked out taking out the giblet bag and neck? You bet I was. But after that, it was pretty smooth sailing . Although, the turkey was 11 lbs and I had it in the fridge for over 2 1/2 days to thaw, it still had ice inside the cavity when I put it out on Saturday. It wasn't a ton and I just chiseled my way through. I told Josh I felt like a pioneer woman with all this turkey wrangling and ice chiseling haha! I used this recipe and instructions to cook the bird and it turned out beautifully. My total cooking time was only around 2 hours, a few minutes over maybe. Josh had the honor of carving our first turkey. I just left the oven on once the turkey came out and put the dressing in after the turkey had sat for about 30 minutes and Josh started to carve. 

I made the Pioneer Woman's Thanksgiving dressing and thought it turned out well. Something I'd do different the next time I make it is to not use as much bread as the recipe calls for. I ended up with two dishes of bread, but only enough broth to cover one dish. I think I'll half the amount of each loaf of bread I use the next time I make it. Other than that, the dressing was delicious. 

We used our actual dining room table to put all the food on, and on our bar I put out a little tray with cheese, pepperonis and crackers for people to munch on before and after dinner.

I mentioned before that we had napkin ribbons with questions of thankfulness on them, and we had so much fun going around the table as each person answered the question on their ribbon. For name cards I picked up little gift tags from WalMart and wrote each persons name on it and tied it to their napkin ribbon. I also put a little note on the back of each persons place card letting them know how thankful Josh and I were for them.

After dinner, we loaded up the dishwasher, broke out the dessert plates and played a few rounds of Catch Phrase. We are really coming to love that game! I'm so thankful for our community of friends and am glad we carved out time from each of other busy schedules to celebrate with each other!

I took pictures on my "big" camera and had all intentions of getting them on my computer and edited before I published this post, but it has been one crazy week and that just didn't happen. BUT, I'll edit this post with those pictures just as soon as I get the time!


Friendsgiving Inspiration

Hello, friends! Can you believe we're well into the second week on November? My head has been spinning a bit lately as I look at our calendar each day and realize just how much we have going on this month. Busy, busy, busy. As I mentioned in my last post, I am bound and determined to host Friendsgiving this year. I realized that the last weekend we had open was this one, so I knew I had to act fast. Thankfully my girlfriends were available and we're going to make it happen! Do I have tons of time to plan? Nope. I have I ever cooked a turkey before? Nope. Have I ever cooked ANYTHING for 6 people before? Nope. Is our dining room big enough to hold 6 people? Nope.

I know that sounds like quite a lot "nopes", but all of those things are true. However, I'm not letting that hold me down. Our living room will be transformed into the dining room for the evening, and I'll be sitting around a table with friends I cherish. For me, that is a perfect friendsgiving.

Yesterday I picked up the rest of the plates and chargers I needed. Last night I spent the evening wrapping our napkins in these beautiful napkin ribbons a co-worker gave me. Each ribbon has a question about thankfulness on it, and during dinner we'll go around the table and each answer the question off of our ribbon. I absolutely love this idea and am thankful to my co-worker who gifted me this very thoughtful present. Today I'm going hunting for a table cloth, runner, bed risers (I'll explain :) and a turkey pan. I suppose I should also go ahead and buy my turkey since everything I'm reading says I should have been thawing it out...since yesterday...here goes nothing with this turkey friends!

So, about the bed risers. We have a pub height table in our kitchen, therefore our chairs are a little taller. The table we're going to set up in the living room to act as the dining room table is not pub height, insert bed risers. I'm hoping this ingenious idea is the perfect solution so that we can use our dining room chairs...and not have to haul all of my parents chairs from their house!

I'll be making turkey, bread, dressing and possibly a pie, while my friends will be bringing sides and another dessert. The only thing I'm still not set on is our tablescape. I'm hoping once I'm in the store I'll gather some inspiration and will come up with something beautiful. I love the photo above and may try to recreate it.

Victoria at Victoria Strader has a fantastic series that started this week called A Young Wife's Guide to Thanksgiving. I've loved reading her tips, tricks, and advice so far this week and will definitely be implementing a few in my kitchen as we prepare for Saturday.

As much as I labor over ,and quite frankly freak out, about having everything just so when I host anyone over for dinner, I hope and pray that starting this tradition of friendsgiving will carry through the years and that on Saturday we are able to enjoy good food and even better company. While I know myself, and know I will go to great lengths to make sure everything is as perfect as possible, I don't want that to get in the way of the joy of opening my home to others.

Have you ever hosted Friendsgiving? Any last minute advice you can give this newbie? I hope that you are enjoying this holiday season thus far and pray that in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving you have many things and people to give thanks for!


Hello, November.

Welcome November! I think I'm still a bit in shock that there are only two months left in this year, but I love November and December so I'm happy to have November arrive! Although, the start to this month here in SC is far too mild for me. Weather man, bring me the cold temps please. There's not much more that I love than running my fireplace on a cold fall day. 

Josh and I didn't dress up for Halloween this year, but we did have a free weekend so we scooted up to the foothills and went hiking at Table Rock. We took Murphy and had a great time. I loved all the foliage and to me, there is something so magical about fall and all of the leaves changing colors. Murphy was an angel on this trip and I was so proud of him and his listening. We hiked a 2 mile loop around the lake at Table Rock, stopped for our peanut butter sandwich lunch at a picnic table right on the water and watched Murphy be memorized by the ducks that were quaking SO loud at him. He gave them a little bark and just stared at them. After our hike at Table Rock, we wanted to stop in  downtown Greenville on our way back to go to a puppy store mom and I had been in on our trip back in September. We found a parking spot and headed to the  store to pick up a few treats for Murphy. We weren't going to take him in the store, Josh was going to stand outside with him, but the owner insisted he come in. So, Josh nervously walked Murphy into the store, the store is pretty small with a lot of displays, so I was just waiting for something to go flying. And as I've mentioned before, Murphy is a rescue and is pretty afraid of anyone he doesn't know, and goes into a bit of attack mode if he feels the least bit uncomfortable. We've been working really hard on this by trying to get him out in social settings more. Wouldn't you know he walked right up to the lady at the counter, took a treat from her AND let her pet him! I was in shock and awe, and was certainly having a proud dog owner moment. That little guy really has come so far since we adopted him, and I'm so proud of him. 

We decided since we were already in Greenville that we wanted to take Murph to Falls Park and let him run around a bit. Josh and I love downtown Greenville and don't get to make our way up there near as often as we'd like. It holds a special place in our heart, as it was one of our stops our engagement weekend (which is almost 3 years ago now, crazy!) It was so much fun taking Murphy to Falls Park and he did such a good job handling the large crowds and a ton of other dogs walking around. He stopped at all of the crosswalks and didn't seem a bit bothered by all the people walking around, which he would normally cower at. Also, he got a lot of looks, smiles, and points because he had on his Halloween bandanna :) We really had a great day trip to the mountains, and I'm glad we were able to squeeze it in this weekend.

Looking forward to this month, I'm thinking it's going to be a busy one.
Here's a few things we have going on: 

-Vista Lights in downtown Columbia 
-Black Friday shopping 
-Day trip to Greenville with my mom and Granny for, you guessed it, shopping :) 
-Fall Retreat with our Youth group to Asbury Hills
-Put up our Christmas tree and decorations

I'm really on top of my game and our Christmas cards are sitting on the desk in our office, waiting for me to address and mail them. I went with Vistaprint this year and am really impressed with the quality of our cards, not to mention we got an awesome deal of them. I'd like to send those out at the very beginning of December. I'm also determined to buy an address book and as I'm addressing our cards, write the address in the book so that I've got them all in one place...rather than me spending too much time chasing down everyone's addresses that are in about 6 different notebooks in our office. We've also got to sit down and really work on a Christmas gift list for everyone so that we can get most of our gifts purchased this month. I really wanted to get a few gifts purchased in October, but that just didn't happen. I need to start thinking about what I want to ask for this year too, because I'm really not sure!

Another event I'd really like to accomplish this month is a friendsgiving dinner. I'm honestly not sure when we can/will fit it in, but I'm going to look over our calendar very closely and see if there's a night we can make it happen. 

Josh and I have been talking for a while now about putting a subway tile backsplash in our kitchen this winter. We're thinking sometime in January probably. This month I'd like to go look at some tile options and price it out in preparation for this project. It's one I'm really excited about and know it will enhance the look of our kitchen tremendously. 

A lot of great things coming down the pipe this month and I'm excited for all of them!


Up, Up & Away: Griffyn's Baby Shower

Mackenzie and I threw one of our best friends, Griffyn, an airplane themed baby shower a few weeks ago, and it could not have turned out any cuter! We had a wonderful turn out for the shower and Griffyn and baby Brayden got some really awesome things. 

Griffyn and her husband are expecting a baby boy in January and they are decorating his room in airplanes. I threw out the idea to Mackenzie to do an airplane themed shower, so that Griffyn could potentially use some of the decorations as decor in Brayden's room. Everything turned out so cute and I was pleased with all of the little touches! I also loved packing up and sending home the decor with Griffyn, I think a few of the pieces will look great in Brayden's room. 

For the invitations we did an airline ticket of sorts, and we had so many people tell us how much they loved them!  We also asked that each guest bring a book signed with their best wishes, rather than a card, to stock Brayden's library. That little man is going to have some fantastic books for mom and dad to read to him before bed. (The card looks a little sparse because I took out some information that doesn't need to be all over the internet ;)

We kept decorations a bit minimal. Josh found these awesome airplane prints at our church garage sale and picked them up and said "couldn't you use these for Griffyn's airplane shower?" I'm impressed with his level of listening to my constant chatter about the theme of the shower :) They worked perfect on the buffet! Mackenzie made two banners, one that said "Up, up & away" and one that had Brayden's name on it. I picked up a "b" stamp at Hobby Lobby and stamped the napkins, loved the way they turned out! I did this same thing for Mackenzie's bridal shower I threw back in March. I used the stamp she used for her invitation envelopes to stamp napkins. Such a great way to add a personalized touch, without breaking the bank on custom napkins that will be thrown away. We had guests fill out "wishes for baby" which I just think is the sweetest. 

Since it was a brunch we went light on the food, knowing a lot of people would be going to get lunch afterwards. Our spread including a fruit tray with Mackenzie's cheesecake fruit dip, pigs in a blanket or "baby in a blanket" as we called them, apple cinnamon muffins, asparagus and bacon quiche (which were SO good!), and petite fours adorned with little "B"s and baby rattles. We also had a coffee bar set up and "jet fuel" which was Hawaiian punch, 7 up and pineapple juice (also delicious!) It really was the perfect amount of food, I hate when I over make and have tons of leftovers. 

Griffyn (& Brayden) got inundated with gifts! She received a beautiful vintage airplane mobile to go above his crib, tons of really helpful bath time items, pack n play, play mats, bibs, blankets, you name it, she got it! A fun game we played was one that Mackenzie found on Pinterest. You spell out the baby's name on gift bags and put a gift inside the bag that starts with the letter. Before mama-to-be opens the gift, the guests get to guess what is inside. Everyone had a fit over this game, and I am so pleased with how well it went over. Here's the list of what we gave (we got everything off of her registry except for two items): 

B- bib
R- rattle
A- ABC book (Dr. Seuss)  
Y- Yearly Scrapbook 
D- diapers
E- elephant toy 
N- nail clippers

I liked that we were able to incorporate practical gifts, along with a few fun ones too! Griffyn loved everything she got and I know one thing for sure, baby Brayden is going to be one loved little boy. He already is!

I was so thankful and grateful for all those that came to shower Griffyn and Brayden with love, and I am so immensely thankful and blessed by my relationship with Griffyn. She is going to make a fantastic mom and I can't wait to watch her grow in her role as mother, knowing that she will always lean on the Lord for support and raise a wonderful, Godly man. 

And a huge thank you to Mackenzie for letting us host at her house. We live right around the corner from each other, so it was so easy to coordinate and get everything from my house to hers!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Halloween this weekend!