A Sprinkle for Mae.

This morning, I had the sweet joy of hosting a sprinkle for my sister-in-love, Meagan. We married brothers,  and we both share a deep love for all things southern and Target. She is undoubtedly more than a sister. She’s my dear friend. So today, we celebrated her and the sweet little boy she’s been carrying for almost nine months, Nehemiah.

Mae, I pray you felt special today. I can’t wait to meet Nehemiah. He is going to bring all of us so much joy, as he has already.

The first thing I did to get ready for the shower was come up with the menu and the theme. I knew it was going to be a late morning sprinkle, so I needed my menu to include a mix of breakfast and early lunch. As far as the theme, with Mae having a boy, I wanted it to of course have a masculine feel, but with sweet touches like baby succulents in mini terra cotta pots, cute hedgehog cupcake toppers, and pewter serve ware.

Below you’ll find the menu I came up with. I love food, and more importantly I love “shower” food. I think sausage cream cheese croissants and a cheese ring will be at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Menu:

Sausage Cream cheese crossiant

Cheese ring with strawberry jam, and ritz crackers

Homemade Chex mix

Cut up watermelon and blueberries

Cupckes

Coffee mocha punch

Orange juice

Water

Meagan’s latest obsession has been hedgehogs. Nehemiah has a hedgehog crib sheet in his nursery so for fun we decided to make the cheeseball look like a hedgehog. I knew the perfect person that could handle the task of shaping a cheeseball into an animal, my mother in law, Jan. I think he turned out so cute. Thank you, Jan!

I opted to try a new punch for the sprinkle, so I went with a coffee mocha punch. The secret ingredient that made this drink decadent was none other than chocolate ice cream. I made 24 cups of coffee the night before, let it chill overnight in the fridge, and right before the sprinkle I mixed all 24 cups of the cold coffee with a half gallon of whole milk, a cup of sugar, and 1 gallon of chocolate ice cream. It ended up being the perfect summer punch for a late morning sprinkle.

Before we ate, we had a sweet time of prayer over Mae. Our dear friend, Jessie was there, and so I asked her to bless the food and pray for Mae. If you think about it, whisper a prayer for Jessie as she and her family will be leaving in the coming weeks for Central Asia to live. We will miss them dearly, but I know Jesus goes before them. I’m just so happy she was able to there for this special time of celebration.

Shortly after we ate we heaeded into the worship center for more fellowship and gifts. I wanted Naomi (my niece and soon-to-be big sister to Nehemiah) to feel special too. She just turned 5 years old, but she’s really going on 15. She came to the sprinkle with her “Big Sister” sash and her high heels, and so many were so thoughtful to get her gifts too. She is going to be the best big sister, and I have no doubt she’ll be rocking him to sleep and making him play school in no time.

I wanted everyone to leave the shower with a little something special , so I consulted with my own personal plant lady, Kristen Hughson, to get her thoughts. She and her grandmother got together and graciously gave me around 40 tiny succulents (also know as hens and chickens). She came over the night before the sprinkle and we ordered pizza and planted succulents for 2-3 hours. I loved gifting these. I have so many leftover that I’ll probably be able to gift them for the next 10 years, all thanks to my dear friend and her kind granny. Thank you, Granny Hughson. Because of your kindness and green thumb, all the women at the sprinkle yesterday left with a little piece of Butler county.

I was so glad that Meagan’s nana, mom, and sister from South Carolina got to come in for the sprinkle, and if I’m being honest, it was just so nice having a “nana” around. There’s nothing quite like a nana’s love, especially nana’s named Judy (my nana’s name was Judy too). I love the way she’s looking at Meagan in this picture above. The love that flows from this picture is one that is a love like no other. I also love pictures like this one below. The sweetness of a mother and daughter, and the new life growing inside of Mae.

I couldn’t have pulled the sprinkle off without Jan. She was right there making trips to Hobby Lobby, Michaels, making homemade chex mix, cutting up watermelon, gluing cute little hedgehogs on sticks to top the cupcakes with. She is the most helpful person ever, and the sweetest Grana. I love you, Jan!

Most people that know Bobby and Meagan know that they met in the Phillipines. They were both serving as Summer missionaries, and the group they served with was called Nehemiah Teams. God sent them both there to be His hands and feet, and to comfort those in the Phillipines in the name of Jesus. The name Nehemiah means “God has comforted.” It is my prayer that our Nehemiah will find comfort in Jesus all the days of his life.

I didn’t want Mae to know anything about the theme of the sprinkle or the menu, I wanted it all to be a surprise. As one more surprise, a few weeks ago, I sent this picture of Meagan (below) that I had taken back in April to a local artist.

She did a silhouette painting of Mae for me, and I wanted it to include a scripture verse from the book of Nehemiah. It was hard keeping it a secret, but I’m glad I made it to the day of the sprinkle to give it to her.

I love you, Meagan. I’m so incredibly thankful for your friendship, and that Jesus makes us sisters for the rest of time.  I had so much fun sprinkling you, and I pray it was a special day you’ll remember always. I can hardly wait for Nehemiah to make his grand entrance!

Love, Erin

 

 

Daddy.

In honor of father’s day, I thought I would share a part of me that I don’t talk about a lot.  A part of my story that I think about when I need a reminder of God’s faithfulness in my life and His unwavering hand that’s held me since the time when I was first created.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” -Psalm 139:13

I never knew my dad. Although, according to pictures I am the spitting image of him. My eyes are his eyes; my smile is his smile. Yet, if you asked me to name one personality trait about him, I wouldn’t be able too. He left months before I was born, and the only thing I do know is he was good to my mom until I came into the picture.

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While momma’s pregnancy with me was totally unexpected, God had a plan. When she felt as if things couldn’t get worse (divorced and a single mom to two little girls and pregnant unexpectedly), God continually held her significantly placing people all around her to remind her who to trust in. God’s plan was much bigger.

It was through a Sunday School class at church that led my mom to meet Sam. A single and widowed dad of two little boys, who had recently walked some dark roads with the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Grace.

It was Sam who pursued my mom amidst her brokenness. It was Sam who bought her meals and brought her flowers. He was never embarrassed or afraid someone would ask questions, and he never let her circumstances keep him from pursuing her. He knew my mom’s heart. He knew that she had made a mistake, but that didn’t stop him from loving her during her darkest days. He was a gift of kindness to my mom…kindness she so desperately needed in a time where her sin was shown so outwardly and was so obvious to the world. She couldn’t hide it; she couldn’t deny it.  But, he…well he just loved her through it.

“Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.” -Proverbs 14:26

In February 1988, they were married. Then, I was adopted by Sam. Both my mom and I got a new last name, and I also got a daddy to love me forever.

“He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” -Ephesians 1:5

I’m writing all of this because maybe you need a reminder today of God’s faithfulness in your life. Maybe you need to know that Jesus loves you and cares for you. His light shines bright, and the darkness you may be facing, while it may seem big right now, it cannot overshadow His light.

Maybe you feel alone, ashamed, or broken because of your sin, and you need to hear that God can work things for your good. Let this be an encouragement to you to turn to Jesus. He knows what we need before we ask, and His plan and mercy is much bigger than any sin.  And, when we know Him, we are covered by His blood. Will you know Jesus today?

He knew that my momma would need Sam. She would need him to look past her mistake, and point her to purpose through her pain.

Sam willingly chose me. He stepped up to provide for me when he absolutely didn’t have too…much like God chooses and willingly adopts us as His own. Sam pursued and loved my mom in a way she had never been loved before…much like God offers to love us, only if we would let him, and even when we don’t, He still does. Sam pursued and loved not only my mom but a baby girl who wasn’t even his.

Daddy, thank you for the countless ways you have provided for me. I never had to worry growing up because I knew you worked hard for us. Thank you for showing me what a provider looks like, and lastly, thank you for seeing my mommas heart through the eyes of Jesus. Happy Father’s Day.

I love you.

Erin Katherine

 

 

 

new york city-country comes to town-part three

We began our final day in the city at the studio taping of Good Morning America. We woke up at the crack of dawn, got ready, and headed straight for Times Square.  I had put in a request for tickets 2-3 weeks prior to our trip, and a couple of days before we left they emailed them to me.  The fun thing is the tickets are free, but we didn’t really know until we got there to stand in line to get our wrist bands, that we still weren’t guaranteed to get in. Luckily, on this rainy Monday morning they scanned our tickets and we got to go in. I thought once we got our email confirmation, that we were good to go; however, it really just depends on the day.

Pictured above are two very exhausted people, who had ran from their hotel on 42nd avenue to Times Square, and who also stood in line (in the rain) with no guarantee of getting to meet Robin Roberts or Michael Strahan, but who happily did so for the possibility.

Once in the studio, I was completely enamored with the set, the cameras, and that being a camera man on the set of Good Morning America was actually someone’s job. The cast was so nice. They walked around during commercials, took pictures with everyone, and asked us where we were from.

This was my second time meeting Michael Strahan, the first time was at the Kelley and Michael Show a few years ago, and the one thing I can say about both times of meeting him is he is SO nice. He takes selfies with everyone, and he thanked us for getting up so early to come to the show. I got pictures with them all except for Laura and George. Laura was taking care of business on her cell phone it appeared, and George stayed on one side of the room, and waived.

That day on the show, the bachelorette Rachel Lindsay made an appearance as well as Priyanka Chopra, the girl who plays Victoria Leeds on the new Baywatch movie. Here’s the link below to the episode we were there for if you’d like to watch.

http://abc.go.com/shows/good-morning-america/episode-guide/2017-05/22-052217-trump-visits-israel-1st-foreign-trip-president

After we left GMA, we headed straight for the closest Starbucks to get some caffeine, and then back to the hotel to take a little nap before heading out to check off the last few things we wanted to see, do, and eat before heading home.

After a long nap, our first stop was for pizza in Little Italy at the cutest restaurant named Sofia’s.

We split a small pizza, and each had a coke to drink. It was delicious. The thin crust was flaky and golden with butter. They also gave us fresh bread with a dipping sauce of herbs and olive oil. It was the perfect amount.

After lunch, we stopped by the cutest Christmas shop a few doors down to buy an ornament. Every time Gregg and I go somewhere for vacation we always buy an ornament. It’s a sweet little tradition we’ve kept for almost 4 years, and every year I look so forward to putting our ornaments on our tree. I can’t wait to hang our NYC ornament next to our beautiful glass pineapple ornament from Charleston, South Carolina. Ornaments are just fun, and I love the stories they tell and the memories they bring back while hanging on our Christmas tree.

After we made our ornament purchase, we headed to the infamous https://www.cookiedonyc.com/ for a cup of edible cookie dough, only to be greeted with a sign that read “closed on Mondays.” I didn’t think anything was closed in New York City. That just means we’ll have to go back and visit.

From there we got a cab to the Financial District, to see Wall Street, and the cute little park named Bowling Green. Gregg and I call Bowling Green home, but in Kentucky not in New York City. By this point, it was pouring, but we didn’t mind.

 

After checking off these two things, we hopped on the subway and headed to Grand Central Station. The Subway is by far the cheapest way of transportation aside from walking. We got off, I snapped a quick picture of Gregg and I people watched for a good little while. There is every kind of person walking through that place. It was neat to see it in person, rather than through a tv screen, as there are so many movies that include this beautiful place in them. After people watching, and thanking the Lord I don’t have to ride a subway to work or home,  we headed straight for https://www.magnoliabakery.com/ to check off another dessert I’ve been wanting to try. I’ve read so many wonderful reviews of their banana pudding, but I found it to be almost identical to my mom’s recipe. I still loved it, and thought about my sweet mama while eating it. She’s the best cook.

 

By this time, we needed to head back to the hotel, change, and make our way to the theatre to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. We needed just a little snack to tie us over so we headed to https://www.juniorscheesecake.com/  for a small meal, cheesecake to share, and a cup of coffee. Only in New York can you consume so many desserts and treats in one day, and justify them by how much walking you did to earn them, and on this day we even ran (to Good Morning America) so I think that deserves a few extra calories. I don’t run for anything.

We saw our last show. All I can say is what a way to cap off a trip to New York City, it was incredible. Also a little fun fact the guy that played Passerino that night was a guy that Gregg went to high school with right here in Bowling Green. Even though we don’t really know him, it was still a little piece of home in such a large place.

We ended our night with none other than another dessert. I’ve always wanted to go to the restaurant Serendipity, and even though it was late, Gregg made my dreams come true and we caught a cab to Serendipity, and had a frozen hot chocolate. The restaurant was absolutely adorable,  so whimsical and fun.

 

When we consumed our final dessert of the evening, we caught our last yellow cab back to our hotel, packed our bags (so we wouldn’t have to early the next morning), and drifted off to sleep. We had an early flight to catch, and by this point, this southern girl had about all the concrete views she could take… I was ready to be home. I love to go, see and do, but I was ready to be back in the land where people say “bless you” when you sneeze and to see some green grass.

The older I get, the more of a homebody I become. I missed my spot on the couch where I always sit, I missed my coffee here at home that I drink every morning, and lastly I missed the slow pace life we live. One thing I noticed so much this time, is the rush New Yorkers are always in. Talking a mile a minute on their iPhones, while walking their dogs, while crossing the busy streets and intersections. They would be bored to tears sitting on my front porch listening to the birds chirp here in Kentucky.

I’ve tried to describe how truly dreamy this trip was to New York City, but I don’t know if my words and pictures do it justice. What can I say? It was a trip of a lifetime, all thanks to the one who knows me better than anyone, my kind husband. I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts, and I hope more than anything that if you haven’t been there that you’ll go, eat every dessert you desire,  and you’ll have a ball!

Thank you for reading!

new york city-country comes to town-part two

Sunday

We started off the day by going to the 9-11 Memorial. This is definitely something to add to your itinerary if you’re planning a trip to New York City any time soon. We spent the majority of the morning there. We read, walked and listened for hours.

I was in the eighth grade when the catastrophic day known as September 11, 2001 happened. I was in Mrs. Bollenbeckers class, and I remember precisely where in the room I was sitting. Little did I know years later I would be at the exact location where it all took place, viewing only what was left behind from that day. It was definitely a day I won’t ever forget, and the sadness I felt as I touched the glass boxes where the remains from that day were displayed, a woman’s shoes, a mans wallet, someone’s briefcase. Those images will forever stay in my mind, much like the case of shoes has from the holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. They were real people, just going to work that day, unbeknownst to them they kissed their spouse for the last time, and ate their last meal the night before with their family, they had no idea what the next day would hold for them. Probably one of the most touching things I saw were a man’s glasses. I thought about him a lot, the man who wore those glasses.

For me, it was really hard to just leave the museum and carry on with our vacation, knowing so many are still affected from that day, mothers lost their sons, daughters lost their mothers, but I found great comfort in knowing that while that day was as an absolute unforgettable day, and while how big that day seems now as history, Jesus is bigger. Each one that lost their life that day was His creation, His handprint was on each one.

After we left the museum, we headed to the Gershwin Theatre to see the Broadway show Wicked. It was everything I thought it would be and more. Before leaving for New York City, I was so excited to see Lion King again, but after seeing Wicked, it rates right up there with Lion King. The talent absolutely blew my mind. I could have listened to the girl who played Elpheba all day long. Not to mention, we sat by the sweetest couple. They were in New York to see their granddaughter be sworn in as an attorney, so they made a little vacation of it, and we had the pleasure of sharing the same row, and this wonderful show with them. They were from North Carolina, Methodist, and had been married 45 years. All of this information is thanks to my social husband, who is not shy, and has the gift of getting people to tell details of their lives, and to feel immediately comfortable with doing so. No wonder he’s an insurance agent.

After Wicked, we headed back to the room to get dressed for a date night Gregg had completely planned on his own, and I had no idea any of the details, just that we had a reservation at 6:30pm, and he told me to purchase a “Fancy” dress for the occasion earlier this year, in March.

The Uber driver picked us up at our hotel at 5:50pm sharp, and took us to Broadway to the Marriott Hotel, upon arriving I still had no idea why were at the Marriott, and where we were eating. I was starving, and I didn’t have my “buffett britches” on so I knew whatever I ate, better not be a ton, because this sparkle dress didn’t have a ton of room.

We arrived at “The View,” New York’s only revolving restaurant. It was on the 43rd floor of the Marriott Hotel.

We started out with crab cakes, and a teeny tiny salad. It was devine.

We then each chose New York Strip, baked potatoes stuffed with macaroni and cheese topped with bacon for our main entrée. Can we just say a big ol’ hallelujah amen to that? Oh and I can’t forget the basket of bread on the table, with a side of the most creamy butter ever.

While waiting for our food, we decided to take a few pictures of one another looking out at the view, and boy was it beautiful. I felt so fancy, and so incredibly spoiled by my husband who knows that delicious food is the way to my heart. Thankful for the time he took to plan this night for us, and the thought he put into it.

It. was. divine. Every single delicious bite. For dessert, I got a chocolate lava cake, and Gregg got the raspberry sorbet.

While eating dessert, Gregg said the driver was waiting for us, so I quickly ate every last bite of my dessert thinking at this point it didn’t matter how much my sparkle dress had expanded because of how much I had eaten, because we were going to just head back to the hotel to change and head out to do some sightseeing. I was wrong.

Gregg paid and we headed toward the elevator, and stepped outside to only be greeted by not an uber Toyota Camry (that’s pretty much what every Uber driver drives in New York) but, a LIMO.

Gregg rented a limo to drive us around New York City.  I was mad. Well, only for 3.5 seconds.  I couldn’t believe he had done such a thing. My sparkle dress self hopped right in, and Gregg turned it to the rap station, I mean what else do you do when you’re riding in a limo, in New York City?  and we rode to Central Park like famous people, just the two of us in that ginormous limo, with me shaking my head at him in disbelief the entire time.

The limo driver dropped us off at Central Park, by a horse and carriage, and we rode via horse and carriage around the park under a blanket, and under the stars. It was a dream, and so much fun.

After our dreamy horse and carriage ride, we got back in the limo, and asked the driver to take us to the Rockefeller Center to take a quick stroll, and a couple of pictures. I love all the lights in the trees. It gave me a little glimpse of what it must be like to be here at Christmas.

So we said our goodnights to this gorgeous side of the city, and then hopped in the limo to head back to the hotel. We had tickets to the Good Morning America taping the next morning, and that required a very early wake up time.

Stay tuned for the third and final part of our trip to New York City! Thank you, for reading and following along!

 

 

 

 

 

 

new york city-country comes to town-part one

Earlier this year, on a very cold, wintery Friday night in February, Gregg was sneaky and completely shocked me for the nine hundredth time in our marriage. This time it was with plane tickets and a booked hotel in NEW YORK CITY. He wrapped up a gala apple (from our fruit bowl) in a cute little bag, and attached a note to it that said “Pack your bags; we’re heading to the Big Apple.” I literally jumped off the couch in my owl pajama pants and oversized t-shirt, screaming and jumping with excitement. He had done it again, he surprised me.

Now listen, I love a good beach trip to Alabama or Florida probably more than anyone, when you don’t wear make-up for a week, and you literally spend the entire day on the beach people watching, reading a good book, napping and eating snacks you would never buy at home. But there’s something about venturing to a big city where there are coffee shops on literally every corner, and there’s an absolute possibility of seeing someone famous. A place where the buildings are taller than anything you’ve ever seen before, the restaurants are more authentic, the lights are so bright and beautiful, and the sights and sounds are so different than any place you’ve ever been. I couldn’t wait to be there.

Fast forward 3 months…..

It was finally the week we were going to New York, and it was the busiest week we had had in a while. We celebrated Mother’s day, 3 birthdays, and had 2 church softball games, not to mention going to work every day. It was a jammed packed week, but the anticipation of New York City and the fact we had so much to celebrate made the week fly by, which left me packing until 1:00 am Friday morning, the morning we left, but I didn’t mind.

Below you’ll find some of my favorite moments from the first few hours we were there.  Oh and THANK YOU, to my gracious in-laws for taking us to the airport early, and picking us up when we returned.

We had a direct flight from Nashville to LaGuardia Airport, which put us in New York a little after 12pm their time. When we first got to the airport we learned that the company Gregg had booked our transportation through to the hotel had had some hiccups and we were going to have to wait an additional hour to leave the airport. So we cancelled our reservation with them, and hopped in a yellow cab, and headed to our hotel.

We stayed at a Yotel. ( Yotel-Manhattan)

When first walking in I thought I was in the future., There was no front desk with a person behind it to greet us and check us in, we had to check in at a computer, and guess what? That same computer made our hotel room key right there, it was just like an ATM, but for hotel room keys. My country mind was blown. We got in the elevator, headed for our room, but first made a quick stop on the fourth floor to look around. That’s where the hotel restaurant was, complete with comfy places to sit, and a lawn with chairs and a huge TV screen on it, apparently on certain nights they play movies up there. It was better than any movie theatre I had seen in all my life.

Our hotel was located right in Manhattan, to me it was the ideal location, close enough to Times Square, yet a far enough walk away to feel like you had walked off at least 1 out of the 3 desserts you consumed that day.

After arriving at the hotel, we unpacked, and headed out to Shake Shack for a burger and a milk shake, then off to our scheduled bus tour. The Bus Tour through City Sightseeing was probably one of my favorite parts of our trip. This was the third time I had been to New York, and the first time I had ever done a bus tour there.

The timing of the tour was perfect, just before sunset, and the latter part of the tour was dark enough so we could see all the gorgeous lit up buildings. The weather couldn’t have been better. The traffic throughout the tour wasn’t the greatest, but it worked out in our favor, giving us a longer tour, and more time to take in all the sights and sounds of New York City.

side note: Before leaving for New York, we found tickets for this tour on Groupon, making it only $22.00 for the both of us, not bad for an almost 3 hour tour, getting to cross both the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, a perfect view of the statue of liberty, riding through China Town, Little Italy, Greenwich Village, Soho, Times Square, Brooklyn,  seeing the Chrysler Building, and so much more.

Our bus tour ended about 10pm, and boy were we exhausted. We headed back to our hotel, and called it a night. We had lots of plans for Saturday (the next day). First on the list Brunch at SaraBeth’s in Central Park where we had the most fluffy pancakes, with a side of fresh strawberries, and coffee. It was one of my most favorite meals while we were there.

After Brunch, we took a stroll through Central Park, made a visit to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Art Museum (for Gregg) and then onto 90 Bedford Street to find the apartment they filmed our all time favorite show after “Friends.”

Pictured below is Monica’s Apartment from Friends, and the little shop below that is supposed to be the coffee shop they always hang out at, called Central Perk. Now for a little confession, I did pray that we would see someone from Friends while we were in New York City, my eyes stayed peeled the whole entire time hopeful that David Schwimmer (Ross) would be eating at SaraBeth’s the same time we were, or Courtney Cox (Monica) would be casually running through Central Park as we were strolling through. Sadly, we didn’t see either one of them, but I’m just tickled that we got to see what we did, and that my best friend got to see it with me.

P.S. If you haven’t watched Friends, treat yourself on this dreary Saturday morning, and start at season one on Netflix, and watch all 10 seasons. You will laugh, cry, laugh until you cry, and quickly become the best of friends with Monica, Chandler, Ross, Joey, Rachel, and Phoebe. You will also find yourself quoting scenes from this show on a regular basis, and humming “I’ll be there for you” for the rest of time. I’ve inserted that song right below so you can the full effect.

I’ll Be There For You

After a full day of sightseeing, we went back to our hotel and got dressed for a fun night out eating dinner in Little Italy, and seeing the Lion King on Broadway. I couldn’t wait for Gregg to see Lion King. There’s nothing like a broadway show, and there’s absolutely nothing like a Broadway show in New York City. Back in 2012, my best friend and I saw it, and I absolutely fell in love with the music, the costumes, and the animals. I knew Gregg would love it too.

We had dinner right on Mulberry Street, at the cutest little Italian restaurant named Grotta Azzura in Little Italy. Gregg had the Gnocchi Petso Roso, and I had the Fettuccini Alfredo. We took our time and enjoyed each and every bite of our meal, and being amongst the busyness of Mulberry street.

Once we were done with dinner, we called an Uber and headed straight to Minskoff theatre to see the Lion King.

Once again, Lion King did not disappoint, not to mention I just love being at the Minskoff Theatre that overlooks Time Square, I love seeing all the hustle and bustle, and lights from up there. As soon as the show was over, we headed to 5th avenue to cap off the night seeing the Empire State Building.

Again, Gregg ordered our tickets through Groupon a while ago, so upon entering the Empire State Building, they quickly moved us from the “Buy your tickets here” line, to the express line, and we were able to go up 83 floors, make a complete circle up top, and see the lights from every angle, stroll through the gift shop, and come back down all within 30 minutes. If you’re planning a trip to New York City any time soon, you must plan to see the Empire State Building. If you purchase your tickets in advance off Groupon, the prices are way cheaper, plus you get to fill like a big deal getting to bypass all the long lines.

The Empire State Building was just like I remembered. The lights were beautiful, and the view will absolutely blow you away.

That concluded our first day and a half in New York City. I couldn’t wait to go to sleep that night, so we could wake up and do it all over again.  Stayed tuned for part two (days 3 and 4), sweet readers! Thank you so much for following along!

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Kristen.

In a world full of busy, I’ve decided that when life lends me an opportunity to celebrate, that’s what I want to do-celebrate.

When all seven places come back at the dermatologist benign-celebrate. When you make it through a tough week at work-celebrate. When you hit your step goal every day-celebrate, and lastly, when you have a dear friend who turns another year older-celebrate. Let them know how much they mean to you, make their favorite foods, and celebrate their life, and most importantly the one who gives them life.

Last week, one of my very best friends turned 26. Let me tell you a little about her….

This is Kristen.

She is the type of friend who brings you warm brownies out of the oven when you’re working late trying to get moved into your new home, and she also brings you a beautiful mum to put on your front porch. She’s the type of friend that keeps you on schedule. You know, people like me need friends like Kristen. I’m usually running a little behind or arriving right on time, and not a minute before and usually putting my mascara on when pulling into the parking lot. My 29-years-old self has prayed about this too many times to count, and I’m just convinced that the Lord just doesn’t want me to change, but I know my husband does. 🙂

She’s always aware of the time, has a plan, and is consistently early to things. I admire her in more ways than one. She’s the type of friend that gives you the freedom to ask her for help, offers to show up early to things, and lends a helping hand in any way she can. She knows my anxious ways, and our God was gracious when he gave me Kristen as a friend. So in honor of her turning 26 on April 26, we waited until the following Saturday, and threw her a little surprise party, and we celebrated.

I thought I would show you some of my favorite pictures from the party. I couldn’t have done it without her little sister, Kelsey (who I secretly wish was my little sister) and my beyond helpful husband Gregg.

You should know that Kristen loves all things plants, and gardening. So since this party was for her, I decided to go with a theme that included a few succulents, some cactus’, and the colors pink and green, then I paired that with a nacho bar!

I found the super cute wrapping paper (pictured above) in Louisville a few weeks ago at Home Goods. I saw it, and knew I had to wrap Kristen’s birthday present in it.

The first thing I like to do in preparation for any party or gathering is plan the menu, and since Kristen thought we were really going to Chuy’s, I decided Mexican food it was.

Here’s the full menu:

Nacho Bar (ground beef, queso, chopped tomatoes, black beans, shredded cheese, cream jalapeno, Gregg’s homemade Guacamole, salsa, sour cream, jalepeno’s)

Cinnamon Tortilla chips-It was timely, but very easy, and so delicious. This was the recipe I used: recipe

Chuy’s Creamy Jalepeno dip and chips

Paula Dean’s Strawberry cake: I used this recipe: recipe

Breyers Natural Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Lemonade Punch: This is the recipe I used: 1 cup of Country Time Lemonade, 1 46oz can of Pineapple Juice, 2 cans of chilled sprite. For this occasion I doubled it.

Water

 

 

 

Waiting on Kristen to arrive……

SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!


Kristen, I thank Jesus for you over and over. I had SO much fun celebrating you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

count your blessings.

Earlier I decided to jot down a list of things I am grateful for today. One of my devotionals that I read last week talked about how the Lord’s grace is sufficient, but it is only sufficient for one day at a time. How comforting is that? For 28 years my momma has told me,”Erin, one day at a time.” Bless her for knowing my weary heart, and how I tend to look ahead a little too much, when I really just need to focus on today. So right now, I’m focusing on today, and all the many sweet things both big and small that I’m thankful for. Also I believe that showing gratefulness drives out darkness, and lately there seems to be an abundance of it.

1). my salvation.

2). a husband, who fills my car up with gas weekly. This is something he’s done for me since before we got married. He takes my car and fills it up for me without me even having to tell him that I need it.

3). financial stability.

4). the beauty of Covington street here in Bowling Green, and that I get to drive down it every single morning on my way to work.

5). our church family. I’m thankful to actually do life with our church family. After VBS on Sunday night, a group of us went out for pizza, nothing fancy, just pizza, and it blessed my heart immensely. I couldn’t help but realize this was just another way God has been faithful, through the gift of having others to walk beside during each season of our lives. God is the author of each of our stories, and he included these people in mine. He is so good.

6). the watermelon I bought at Aldi. Nothing says summer like watermelon that’s been chilling in the fridge. I pack it for lunch on the daily.

7). the sunflowers from Meijer on my desk. This might seem silly but sunflowers are my God flower. Well… all the flowers are the Lord’s, but sunflowers represent the promises of God to me personally. Do yourself a favor and buy some sunflowers, put them in a mason jar, and gaze at them all day. They are sure to brighten up any room, as well as every corner of your mind and heart.

8). my “Every Day In His Presence” devotional book by Charles Stanley. I read it every morning when I get to work. It starts each day off with a scripture, and a promise. There’s no better way to start your day.

9). being able to roll our windows down when we drove home from VBS tonight. It’s been scorching hot, so it was nice to feel a little breeze tonight as the sun was coming down, and I remembered we do in fact still live in Bowling Green and not the desert.

10). that we have no plans this weekend. This probably sounds terribly boring to most people, but this sister is tired, and I’m in need of a break from the daily’s. Do you feel me?

What are you thankful for? How has the Lord been faithful to you today? I would LOVE to hear.

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rain + chicken noodle soup

Well it’s Monday. It’s been pouring rain all day. Days like today make me dream about a cozy day at home with a big bowl of homemade soup. Today I will be sharing my favorite chicken noodle soup of all time. It’s creamy, it’s comforting, and it’s not Campbell’s. 🙂

Her name was Sandy. She was the kind cafeteria worker at my high school that listened to me go on and on in her check out line about this soup for four years. Before I graduated, she gifted me with this recipe. She even broke it down for me, so I wouldn’t make 800 servings of it like she did on chicken noodle soup day. Because of her and her kindness, I have been able to bless others with this little soup from heaven. Be gracious. Be kind. Be like Sandy.

Chicken Noodle Soup:

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can water

1/3 cup of grated Velveeta cheese

1/3 stick of Margerine

1/3 teaspoon of salt

1/3 teaspoon of pepper

1/3 garlic powder

1/3 teaspoon onion powder

1 lb diced cooked chicken (I use rotisserie chicken every time)

1/3 bag of egg noodles

Directions:

Cook egg noodles in chicken broth until almost done (if you need more broth, add water)

Add all the other ingredients

Simmer until thick and bubbly

This recipe is especially good with a grilled cheese, and it’s even better the next day for lunch. Enjoy!

CNS

Welcome!

I’m not sure how we got here, but here we are.  And, I’m so happy you stopped by. I’ve been feeling the Lord pull at my heart strings for quite some time to write. So here I am, ready to share my heart, and I’m excited to have you here with me.

I’m Erin. Kentucky born and raised. I’m a lover of all things southern, sweet, and sentimental. I fell in love with Jesus at the young of seven. Even as a child, I understood the great amount of love He has for us, and I knew I had to know Him more. I have a huge family. I got my love of cooking and keeping house from my momma and my 2 aunts. We are a big southern family, where Macaroni and Cheese is a staple at every occasion, and butter is the secret ingredient in almost everything on the table.

Fast forward a few years. In 2010, I graduated from Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor’s Degree.  I didn’t know until after I had already graduated and moved to TN that I had actually met my husband while I was a student at WKU. It was in Theatre Appreciation, room number 207 in the Fine Arts Center on the hill at WKU. He needed an outlet for his laptop, and the Lord knew I needed him. We were first friends for five years, and now he’s been my husband for a little over two – Now, I must say friends make great husbands.

We currently reside in Bowling Green, Kentucky where Gregg was born and raised. He is an Insurance Agent, and I work at a church. We live in a little bungalow, and I spend most of my extra time decorating every corner. I love my home, and I love spending time making it a home. So follow along with me. This blog will be a compilation of everything from dealing with anxiety, to organizing, to what I’ve learned so far about being a wife, and how to decorate your mantle for each holiday on a budget.

I believe we all have a story. I believe that on the other side of pain is purpose. I’m just an ordinary girl who loves Jesus, loves a good cup of coffee, and a weekly trip to Target. I have a passion for the worriers, because I am one. I so desperately want to encourage others to press into Jesus-no matter the season or situation. So grab a cup of coffee or a glass or sweet tea, and read along.