The View from the Back

Let's just say it isn't a pleasant one...

Will and I had a wonderful weekend in Mountain Home. That is, until I had a run-in with the law.

I know my mother is probably quite puzzled/worried by this point, so I'll set the story straight. The "law" was actually a dear friend of Will's who volunteered to give me my first (and last) ride in the back of a police car. We had a great time--if you exclude the stench of the car and cramped conditions.

I look a little too happy to be a real criminal.

After I was bailed out of jail, we began the official pre-Fourth of July celebrations! The night began with a little baseball on the lawn.

Kate in action (patriotic style)

Brooks was ready for a fly ball!

After baseball, the fireworks began. It was a wonderful show!

Will and I after the fireworks. Please excuse my look--it was a long day...

In local news, Mel and I outdid ourselves in the kitchen tonight. We got busy and prepared a feast of chicken kabobs, twice-baked potatoes, and peach cobbler. Needless to say, it was gobbled up before any pictures were snapped. We also treated ourselves to an after-dinner movie. FYI-if you're going to see My Sister's Keeper bring the tissues...


Show Us Where You Live Fridays - The Bedroom

First and foremost-please forgive any piles you see in these pictures. I am a chronic pile-er (new word?), and it's just how I sort and organize things. I am in pre-school mode and have piles EVERYWHERE. Organization (in the non-piling way) is on my to-do asap list!

A view of the bed. It's pretty comfy.

Probably my favorite part of the room-I got these prints from a book and framed and matted them and hung them in a grid. I still can't choose my favorite one...

I've had this chair for quite a while now. It was a thrift store find, and I wish I had a before picture. It lived it's past life as a lovely old gold velvet number. I had it recover in a blue-green print and love it more than ever!

I painted this dresser last summer. I was "inspired" by a lovely piece with a hefty price tag at one of my favorite furniture stores. Since I'm only recently employed (and probably couldn't have justified the price tag anyways), I decided to give an old dresser a similar look. I couldn't be happier with the results.

I'm off to bake a 4th of July cake. I know it's a week early, but I'll be traveling to the beach for the 4th, so I have to bake while I can. Will and I are headed to Mountain Home for the weekend, so I'll probably bring my goodies with me. We can feast while watching the annual fireworks show tomorrow night!


Just Call Me Aunt Jen

That's right...the news is true. I'm going to be an aunt. The families and friends know, and now you do too! I've never been an aunt before, and I couldn't be happier!

Just how did Erin and Trent break the news? In several clever ways, I tell you.

Let's begin with the families. Soon-to-be grandmas and grandpas saw Tiny (via ultrasound) in cute picture frames.

Petit fours were the key during the the news-breaking announcements as well. Kristi was SO excited!

Oh my! It can't be true...

Yes! It really is true!

not me--but Erin sure is!

I can't wait to meet the little guy/gal!

In other news, girls' night was a huge success last night. We got together for some Mexican food and a trip to the cinema. The Proposal received rave reviews from all!

P.S. Watch our friends Matt and Ginny on the Today Show at 8:00 in the morning! They are telling the story of Baby Eliot. See the backstory here

Happy Tuesday!


Here Lately

Whew! TGIF because this week has been rather busy. I can't complain though-it was also filled with lots of laughter and celebration!

I attended a literacy symposium yesterday and today. I learned so much. I think my brain may explode, and I know my kiddos will benefit from my learning in the fall. Kristi Farmer, a teaching guru in her own write, had the opportunity to introduce her favorite literary expert at the meeting. She certainly wowed the audience with her introduction of Debbie Miller!

So many fun things happen in Fayetteville, and I never take advantage of them. Henceforth (I love that word), Will and I decided to sample the local culture and take in a free concert at Gulley Park last night. We had a blast and ran into dear Rachel and the babies. She obliged us with a quick picture!

The Jack Miller Band (not sure who they are) was a hit with the young and old alike! My camera was struggling in the near-dark light...

On to the exciting news-

Drum roll please.....

I officially got a job! Come fall, I'll be teaching third grade at Shaw Elementary. I'm so excited and know that I have a fun year ahead of me. Now, I just have to get the classroom looking homey (maybe made that word up?).

Just a quick peek inside the door...

A little fabric and color and this place will be lookin' good!

Happy Friday!


Lessons Learned and Yummy Treats

This morning Rachel and I woke up extra early. I have a hard time sleeping when something fun and special is happening in the morning. What was going on that made my little eyes keep peeping open? Our cell group was coming over! Now in case you're wondering what that means, it's just a Bible study of 12th grade girls we have led. We wanted to get everyone together over the summer before they head off to college in the fall. So Rachel sent some invites (via Facebook of course), and I started cooking. However, skies like this seemed to keep the girls away. Very sad...
Now, I had cooked up a storm, so I was a bit sad. It made me think of all the times when I let the Lord down. I promise to have daily quiet times, and somehow, I miss a day. Or I make a commitment, only to break it. He is excited and ready for me to show up, and I bail. I must strive to be faithful and a woman of my word.
Anywho, no worries on our part. We'll be back on track next week! (hopefully with sunny skies...) Since I've been baking for a while now, I'll show you what I've got. One success and one failure.

A cautionary tale--
The failure was doomed to happen. I'd had these little bite-sized wonders at a leaders' retreat for the previously mentioned cell group. They are little sausage, egg, and cheese-filled biscuit cups. I'm not the best food chef. I thought I could make up the recipe on my own, but I was wrong. They weren't terrible, so I'll share...
My mistake was due in large part to the overfilling of the mini muffin tins. Use only ONE layer of the flaky biscuits. I used two or so.

Mix the above together and pour into your cups.

However, don't fill your cups this full. Your oven will thank you. Mine is currently smoking a bit due to the overflow.

Bake them in the oven for about 20 minutes, and this is what you get. Now, they don't nearly as bad as they look. Less biscuit, and I would have been golden.

Now, on to the success. This time I let Darby do the investigations. She is a skilled food chef, so I gave her ciniminis a whirl--and boy am I glad I did! They were super easy and mighty delicious.
I'll let you check out the recipe in her words, but you basically just cover the crescent roll dough in butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Then, roll, cut, and bake. How could I mess these up?
They are WONDERFUL! Eat up!!!


The Weekend in Pictures

After a long, fun, and crazy weekend, I figure I'd let the pictures do the talking. I hear that a picture speaks a thousand words...We'll see about that!

Friday night, Will and I took Lauren to "The Zone." Will had to focus in order to beat Lauren. She is a fierce driving competitor. All in all, the lucky little girl walked away with lots of loot - 5 rulers, disappearing ink, three rings, and a bouncy ball.

We made it out to the lake Saturday morning. Even after all these years, Will's dad still has it on the skis!

As the official boat captain, Will focused intently in order to insure maximum safety on the lake.

Brooke and I worked up the courage to get on the tube not once but twice! Big steps as far as I'm concerned.

Will and I braved the lake water for a short swim.

Saturday night, we loaded up and headed to Mountain Home High School for a little dance performance. Lauren and Muh thoroughly enjoyed the show!

Leah was a dancing queen and looked so fancy in her "stage makeup".

Leah posing with her dad and Uncle Will

This is my friend Libby. After many play times together, she finally likes me! She is loads of fun!

Pretty in pink! Looking good and acting sweet!

Their true sides come out!

Bekah brought back fun Hawaiian souvenirs, including flowers for the girls...

...and a bracelet for Brooks.

Will and I had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. It's good to be home too though! Tonight, we caught a Naturals game. Sadly, we didn't catch any fly balls. We left before the game ended, but I think we won :)


Show Us Where You Live Fridays - The Bathroom

Welcome to my bathroom. I spend approximately 43 minutes here every morning and about 3.4 minutes every night. We get pretty close during this time, and I kinda love her.

Now for the logistics...5 girls and 2.5 baths. What are we to do? This room is host to 2.5 girls every day. Mel switches between bathrooms, hence the 0.5.

It's a combination of our stuff. Rachel brought the shower curtain, and I'm thinking of trying to claim it as my own one day. It's has the perfect amount of ruffles. The pictures are from a book of vintage floral and animal plates. These are butterflies.

I wouldn't want to get ready anywhere else.

I'm off for a weekend of softball, dance recitals, lazy lake days, kids, friends, and lots of laughs in Mountain Home. See you Monday!

Oh to be in Nantucket

I'd wake up and take in the view from my room in this beauty...
and wear this little number out to dinner.
I think I need a vacation.


Just Call Me Martha...

Well, maybe I don't deserve that title just yet, but I have been BUSY in the kitchen lately.  Man, I may have a calling in catering--I need to reign myself in here...but I do have fun recipes to share.  Admittedly, the credit is not due to me--it all goes to this little lady (whom I've never met but consider a friend in cyberland).  While I lack the ability to be creative, I can copy ideas with the best of them.  After reading about some of her fun recipes, I decided to give them a try.  After much toiling in the kitchen, I've declared my day of baking a success (according to my own standards, of course).

While Darby's instructions were explicit and perfect, mine looked like this.
1.  Print recipes from Darby's blog.
2.  Get ingredients at Wal-Mart.
3.  Do exactly what is done in the pictures.
4.  Taste your treats-I would hate to give something yucky to a friend...
5.  Share with friends!

You know your mouth is watering and wanting to know all about these little goodies.  How about going in for a closer look?

Banana Bars

These, my friend, are to die for!  I had never tasted a banana bar, but they sounded delicious. Boy am I glad I found the recipe

A shower favorite where I come from - petit fours!
[recipe found here]

Ok, now as far as the decorating goes, my skills are lacking.  The crazy ones are supposed to be flowers.  The others are houses.  Pretty sad that I have to tell you what they are, but my skills are on the rise.  Hopefully, the Hoppers will enjoy a little welcome home treat when they return from their Hawaiian getaway.

I'm off to my next project (I have to stay busy somehow).  It involves a little bit of this
...and a little bit of this.  More to come soon!

(And many thanks to Darby for the recipes and instructions!)


Flowers, Tomatoes, and Herbs--Oh My!

While Bekah is sunning herself on a much-deserved beach getaway in Hawaii, Will and I have been left in charge of the garden.  This may seem like an easy task, but my oh my, the pressure is on.  Even armed with our explicit instructions, it's been a challenge.  The garden is very important-and very impressive!  Much hard work and manual labor (on Bekah and Dallas's part) has been lovingly put into the garden.  We have had fun, but I must say I'd rather be in Hawaii myself...

The garden-I now have an itch to start one, but I won't really follow through with this one.  Mine would be dead in no time.

Will has a green thumb (and came dressed to match).

While watching the Today Show this morning, I learned that it was National Best Friend Day.  In honor of this special, and often overlooked, holiday, I must give a shout out to my best girlfriends.  We have too much fun together, and I can't even begin to tell you the funny stories we share.  We met in college and have been friends ever since.  While we've been friends for years, I find that our times become sweeter each year.  I love these girls so much and tried to find pictures with everyone, but my picture organization skills (slightly lacking) hindered the success of my search.

At the Kappa house for our last Mom's Day

For my 22nd birthday, they surprised me with a party bus (who wouldn't want to dance on their way to dinner?) and dinner at my favorite restaurant. I've never had a surprise party before, and this was absolutely perfect.  Thanks so much!