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Brandon’s Surprise Birthday Party Photos

18 Dec
Brandon was so surprised when he walked in and realized the party was for him!

Brandon was so surprised when he walked in and realized the party was for him!

A couple of weeks ago I did what I thought might prove to be impossible-surprise my husband with a birthday party!  🙂  He had hinted for months that he wanted a party but I kept telling him there was no way we could do a party in December since December is CRAZY.  )  We actually had the party Nov. 30.  😉

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I chose to serve an actual dinner buffet style which included: Turkey BBQ Sandwiches, Coleslaw, Potato Salad, Deviled Eggs, Baked Beans, Green Beans, Scalloped Potatoes, Corn Pudding, and a Veggie Tray.  For Dessert we had: brownies, white cake, chocolate cake, chocolate pie, banana pudding, and ice cream.  For drinks I served: water, soda, and punch. 

What a face!

What a face!

All of the decorations were fairly simple.  We used the typical streamers, banners, plastic tablecloths, and a couple of fun “30” centerpieces.  Thanks so much to my sisters and friend for helping to decorate.

November 2012 Ebay & More 154I still can’t believe he didn’t find out about it!  I had a little trouble actually getting him to the party since my brothers took him out to eat when they were suppose to just take him to the local sports store.  Once he got there he was in shock that the party was for him.  We had an absolute blast celebrating with family and friends.  Thanks to everyone who came and made Brandon’s birthday such a success.  I am so thankful to be married to such a wonderful man and so glad that I could bless him with a surprise party. 

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I think even the youngest guests had a blast!

I think even the youngest guests had a blast!

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November 2012 Ebay & More 160

Dessert Table.  I made the centerpiece with 30 suckers.  :)

Dessert Table. I made the centerpiece with 30 suckers. 🙂

Dessert Table Part 2

Dessert Table Part 2

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It's hard to believe my sweetheart is 30!

It’s hard to believe my sweetheart is 30!

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The Get-A-Way

20 Aug

Brandon & I had the nicest time on our getaway.

Last weekend my super sweet hubby did something so kind.  He whisked me away on an overnight to Adams County, Ohio.  I knew we were going away together but I had no idea where we were going.  He tried to throw me off for about a week and it worked.  I had no idea where we were headed.  I did guess we would probably go north since we have explored pretty much everywhere south within a couple of hours of us.  Last August we went on a trip together to Natural Bridge which was wonderful.   

As we were driving I was absolutely convinced Brandon was lost.  We had no GPS and he kept glancing at the directions but wouldn’t let me help navigate at all.  🙂  He told me we were pulling over for gas and we ended up in the middle of nowhere which was really quite nice.  I’ll never forget when Brandon looked at me and said, “Amanda you can’t laugh but I need you to look for a road called Coon Hill.”

Of course I laughed my head off but I was thrilled!  We pulled up to the Rooster’s Nest Bed & Breakfast and butterflies started to form in my stomach.  I had never stayed in a bed & breakfast even though I have always wanted to.  All of a sudden I started to think of the Gilmore Girls episode when Rory and her mother go to a bed & breakfast.  Thankfully our stay wasn’t anything like that at all.  It was great!

The owners were wonderful and we just happened to be the only couple staying there so it was even better.  Everything was so relaxing.  There was a nice lake and plenty of hiking trails right on the property.  Perfect for Brandon and I.  The next morning we were served a fancy 4 course breakfast overlooking the lake.  Pure bliss?  I think so.  🙂

Our bed & breakfast was also situated in the middle of an Amish community much to my surprise.  Around 100 Amish families live in Adams County.  I had been to Amish Country up in Ohio as a young girl but in many ways Adams County seemed so different.  It wasn’t near as touristy as the other community I visited 15 years before.  I felt like we were able to interact more with the Amish community and even visited 3 businesses: a bakery, a furniture store, and my favorite a fabric store.

That’s right.  My sweet hubby took me to an Amish fabric store.  If that doesn’t say I love you I don’t know what does.  The majority of the fabric was high quality solids but I did find a cute red print to take home with me.  Now what should I do with it?  I picked it up as kind of souvenir of our trip.  It was also interesting to see a bunch of ready-made baby & toddler clothes.  One of the biggest differences between the Amish fabric store and the stores that I usually shop at is the fact that they sold no patterns.  Not a single one in the entire store.  I forgot to ask the owner about it but I imagine that they just sew the same patterns that they have sewn for generations.

We enjoyed one of the best pretzels ever at Miller’s Bakery.  They put even my Auntie Anne knock off pretzels to shame.  😉  One of my favorite parts of our trip was just hanging out with Brandon and getting lost on the back roads.  I”m really glad we did since we got to see an Amish schoolhouse and an Amish baseball game.

Our get-a-way was wonderful and made me even more thankful to have such a wonderful man in my life to call my husband.  Brandon planned every bit of our overnight and I couldn’t have been more thrilled with how it turned out.  It was just wonderful to spend some time together and focus on one another.  I would encourage any of my married friends to make an overnight/getaways a part of your budget.  Even if you feel like you are barely making it just put aside $10 or $20 a month and before long you will have enough to get away.  It is so important for your marriage and for your children!

Spoil Your Husband with Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

4 Jan

Looking for a new way to spoil your husband? Try your hand at making homemade cinnamon rolls. He will love them! Mine sure did.

My husband absolutely loves cinnamon rolls!  Last week he asked me if we had any.  We didn’t and he got such a sad look on his face that I decided to make him some from scratch.  They weren’t very hard and I think they’ve got Pillsbury beat hands down.  I’m sure your husband or friends will agree too!  It was quicker to whip these up real quick than to run to Kroger and buy some.

In a bowl combine 2 cups flour, 3 t. baking powder, 1 t. salt. Then cut in 6 T shortening, and stir in 2/3 cup milk.

Roll dough out into a rectangle about 8X15. If you don't have a rolling-pin you could use a smooth plastic cup (I did this in college). Brush with 2 T. softened butter.

Mix together 1/4 cup sugar and 1 t. cinnamon (and raisins if you wish). Sprinkle the mixture onto the dough.

Roll up like a jelly roll. That means start at the long edge and roll up tightly. Pinch each end to seal the dough. Cut into about 1" slices (this should make around 16-18).

Place them cut-side down on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.

To make a quick and easy icing combine 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 t. vanilla, and a couple of tablespoons of milk. I think a cream cheese icing would also be great but I didn't have any on hand. Enjoy!

Bless Your Husband: Learn Massage Techniques

15 Oct

Great Book!

Would you like to really bless (and surprise) your husband this upcoming weekend?  Plan to give him a massage.  Trust me he will absolutely love it.  🙂  I was introduced to massage therapy following a car accident and fell in love with it.  I decided a while back that I wanted to master the art of massage for the purpose of blessing my husband.  It’s really not that hard at all.  If you have ever had a professional massage make a list of some of the things that they did that you really enjoyed and just copy them.  If you have not then ask a friend who has to tell you all about the experience. 

Here are some tips:

  • A massage can either be given on the floor or on a bed.  (A massage table would work even better but they are still a little pricy for us.)  Place pillows or a folded towel under your husband’s head to support the neck.  Have on hand plenty of towels/sheets so that you can keep your husband covered up or he will get cold.  You might even want to place them in the dryer right before hand so they are nice and toasty.  🙂
  • Start burning one of your favorite candles before you begin the massage. 
  • Have relaxing music playing in the background-nature sounds are great.  I like to use Elijah’s Dex Baby Sound Sleeper.  You could also borrow a cd from the library or visit http://naturesoundsfor.me/ where you can customize your own blend of nature sounds. 
  • Use a thick quality massage lotion-I like cocoa butter.  You could also use massage oil but if you just have lotion (like us) it will work great. 
  • Once you are ready to begin your massage I recommend just starting on the back and then working your way down all of the extremities.  Then have your husband turn over to the other side.  Ask your husband what is preference is as you massage.
  • As you are massaging pray for your husband.  If you can’t think of what to pray for him about you could even keep a list that might include the following: faith, priorities, peace, temptation, affection, work, joy, finances, past, attitude, obedience, relationships, compassion, walk, fatherhood, being a good husband, trials, emotions, future, etc. 
  • For a great resource on becoming more proficient in massage techniques check out Nitya Lacroix’s book Learn Massage in a Weekend.   I picked this book up randomly at my local library and found it to be amazing.  It offers step by step instructions on how to massage and photographs which are very helpful.  I really enjoyed how the book had different sections telling step by step how to massage a particular area of the body rather than just saying massage the legs.  (Note: The woman in the book is wearing only a bathing suit and there are photographs of a man not wearing his shirt.)