Sunday, May 30, 2010

Party Preparations....

Last Friday, right at the end of the cupcake decorating session, our grandparents (who we call Bop and Nanny) arrived to help out with party preparations. They brought me a very special graduation very own hope chest! I absolutely love it and can hardly wait to fill it up!
Bop made this gorgeous chest in his basement wood shop, and Nanny woodburned a little plaque for the inside. I will cherish it always!
Later, we all ate supper and headed outside to begin setting up the garage. Bop helped set up the tables and chairs.
Mom and Nanny put on the centerpieces.
I hung some tissue paper flowers from the rafters. After a while, my dad's sister Beth, her husband Derrick, and their kids Logan, Carson, and Emilee arrived to help us get ready for the party.
Carson and Emilee had fun making a welcome sign on our chalkboard.
Funny story about our centerpieces: Mom thought it would be fun to have some potted flowers on the tables. We had some begonias on hand, but nothing to put them in. Then Mom remembered all of the empty frosting containers left over from the cupcakes. We dressed them up with some pink polka-dotted ribbons and lace flowers and put in the begonias. They looked pretty cute, if we do say so ourselves! After several hours of set-up, we all went to bed, eager to start the party the next day.
When we woke up, we had much more to do. But finally, the cupcakes were set out,
the tables were set,
the guestbook and card basket were ready to go,
and the pictures were on display.
We were ready for a party!
(Stay pictures coming up next!)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cupcakes Galore!

Hi everyone! Time sure flies this time of year! We've been falling behind on blog posts. Hopefully we can get back on track soon. This past weekend we had an open house to celebrate my (Amy's) high school graduation. I will post pictures of the party soon, but first I had to show you all the fun we had getting ready! Mom, Julie, and I baked cupcakes for days, and asked Eliza to come the day before the party to help frost them. I am so glad she was able to come! Julie and Eliza and I spent about six hours frosting and decorating 360 cupcakes! And boy were they good!

Just a fun pic of our cute aprons! (Excuse the fact that I didn't fix my hair that day--I was kind of busy with other things ;-)!)

Let the frosting begin! Julie and I pose for a photo opp. as we start the day. I love my big sister!
Eliza and I take time to smile while hard at work. The best part is that it hardly felt like work since we talked and giggled all day long! Love you, Eliza! Thanks again for all your help and for such a fun day!
Julie shows her decorating skills. I am very grateful for all the time and energy she put into making my grad party so wonderful! Thanks, Jules!
A close-up of the artist at work.
Here are a couple of pictures to give you a small idea of how many cupcakes we had. We filled up all of our containers, and then had to borrow some from family and friends!
The final product! Aren't they darling?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Prom 2010

Last weekend, Katie and I (Amy) attended our youth group's alternative prom event together. Approximately 80 high school students from across the area participated in the evening of dining and dancing in a Christ-honoring atmosphere. We all had so much fun!
Julie graciously agreed to do our hair for the occasion, and she did a wonderful job! I believe she spent about six hours that day combing, curling, pinning, and spraying our hair to make it stay "just so." My dear friend Roberta spent the afternoon with us so that Julie could do her hair. (I got to do everyone's makeup, which I thoroughly enjoyed!) I was really glad Roberta came. She has a way of calming my nerves and helping me to see the big picture. Thanks, Roberta!
Here we are, all dolled up and ready for the disco! (Our theme for the night was Disco Fever.) Now that you can see the gorgeous dress I got to wear, I should tell you the story behind it. When Julie and I were at Districts the weekend before prom, we had a few hours to shop at the mall in Rochester. I thought I would look in the department stores there to see if they had any good sales on prom dresses. (I was planning to wear one of Julie's old ones if I didn't find anything.) I tried on many dresses, and found several that I liked, but I didn't let myself get attached to any of them because they were way out of my price range. In the last store, we had about twenty minutes left to shop when I tried on this beautiful gown. Seeing my big grin, Julie asked, "Do you like this one the best?" "Yeah," I said, "but there's no way I can spend this much money on a dress! Besides, I love your green one and I won't mind wearing it one bit!" With a sheepish grin on her face, Julie asked, "Do you want your graduation present early?" My jaw dropped. I couldn't believe it! I kept asking, "Are you serious? Are you sure?" She assured me that she was, and the rest is history. It was so fun to wear my very own, brand new gown to my senior prom, and I felt like a princess in it! The whole story is so characteristic of Julie. She is so generous, and loves to give special gifts to the people she loves. Thank you, Julie, from the bottom of my heart!
All the kids in the above picture are children of the people in the Couple's Bible study my parents began attending when Julie was a baby. Katie and I have had the privilege of growing up with these fun kids, and it was so great to get a picture of us all together looking so fancy!
All in all, Prom 2010 was a blast and I am so thankful I got to be a part of it!

Monday, May 10, 2010

We Made It!

Yes, we all came back alive! As you could see from Amy's post on Friday, the weather was not cooperating with us at all. It continued to rain all Friday evening. Oh, Minnesota!
The fire was a lifesaver Friday night.
Our firewood was scraps from lath, so it was very easy to break, and the boys took their job of preparing the wood very seriously.
By Saturday morning, it had stopped raining, though it was still chilly.
We went through three pallets of those lath scraps (helped in great part by the dads who liked to see how big they could get the fire going. At one point, I was about 30 feet away and had to move back because my face was burning.)
The fire pit was about 12 inches deep when we got there, but the lath left so much ash in there that it soon built up level with and then over the fire ring.
One of our many traditions on this camping trip is a dads-against-kids capture the flag game on Saturday.
The dads always complaining that they are way outnumbered (which they usually are with about 30-40 kids and 8-10 dads), but they do just fine on their own, as you can see by the number of kids in jail.
On Saturday afternoon, some of us hiked out on the peninsula. It is a little less than a mile to get to the point. I think it is one of the prettiest places on this earth, and so I got a little carried away taking pictures. Above is the path you take to get to the peninsula.
On that path, there is a section of boardwalk that goes through a bog.
Ok, now we are on the peninsula. At first, it is flatter, but soon, you are walking on a ridge the slopes steeply down to the lake on either side.
Dad spotted this adorable little nest. I should have held my hand up to it to give a little perspective - it was only about 3 inches in diameter!
There are lots of cedar trees on the peninsula, and every once and a while you can catch the aroma in the air.
I took this picture to show how much it slopes off on the side.
I love Minnesota! The end of the peninsula is called Chase point. There are steps leading down to a little landing, then you can walk down to the edge of the water.
The view from the point. After our walk down the peninsula, I got a little lazy taking pictures. Saturday night was our traditional meal that we eat altogether. This year, we did it bigger than ever. As an "appetizer," Uncle Dave made his special pheasant recipe. Then we deep-fried 5 chickens, and we had a porchetta in a crock pot. After the chickens were done, into the deep fryer went tater tots followed by french fries. When we were all sitting around stuffed with all that yummy food, one of the guys suggested we have some ice cream for dessert. So in they went to town and came back with ice cream for everyone. That night the kids ran around playing games and the guys kept piling the fire bigger and bigger, and having contests to see who could break the most lath over their heads at one time. Sunday when we were all packed up, we kept another tradition by stopping in Big Fork on our way out for ice cream. After that, we say our good byes, and head home. Dad and I drove the three kids we brought and our cousin Carson home, and it wasn't ten minutes after we left Big Fork they were all either sleeping or going to sleep. Even though Friday started out not so great, it was still a really fun weekend.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nothing like a little snow to put us in the mood for.....

That's right! Dad, Julie, Katie, and I (Amy) are leaving in just a few short hours to head for a campground a couple hours north of here. We are taking with three young children, who are friends of ours, and planning to meet up with several other families for our annual Mother's Day weekend No Mom's Allowed camping trip. Are we nuts? Probably! Trust me, I played every card I had to try and postpone the trip (except for tears, which I save for dire emergencies ;-), but our resident die-hard camper is standing firm. So, my plan is to dress warm, move a lot, and drink several gallons of Russian tea. Thankfully, we older girls get to sleep in a camper overnight, while our Dad braves the cold with the younger kids in a tent. You can be praying for us all to keep positive attitudes and to try and make this trip as much fun as possible. If nothing else, we should all gain some valuable hypothermia survival tips from the weekend! We'll let you know how it went when we get back on Sunday (or should I say "if we get back"....;-). For the record, I LOVE camping, but I love it a whole lot more when the temperature is above freezing and there are no puddles inside the tent. Wish us luck!
Here are some pictures of the scenes outside our windows this afternoon! Enjoy!