Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wonderful Weekend...

Best Picture Ever!  Love my Mommy!
Family time has become one of the most cherished times for me. Time spent with your family and friends are priceless memories that you can carry in your heart and mind for the rest of your life. Life is constantly filled with highs and lows and you never know when those lows are going to hit, and sometimes they hit pretty hard so when you are in the midst of the good times you need to enjoy them to the fullest!
Justin and Jessy
Our family has had quite a year of extreme highs and extreme lows.  My daughter got married in November, and that was a joyful time, but then my Dad took a turn for the worse and past away a few months later in January.  John and I bought a new home, and love it... another high, but then we found out shortly after that my Mom was diagnosed with cancer.  Through all that, we have just tried to trust that God has a plan, and his plan is so much greater than ours.  It is so hard to remember that in the tough times but I have been pushing myself to trust Him with everything, the good times and the bad. This is one of my favorite bible verses...

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

John and Emily

This weekend happened to be a wonderful family weekend. All the chicks flew back to the nest, the sun was shining and for a short time, all was well with the world.  One of my favorite things is having my kids home and just hanging out with them.  With Johnny living in Chicago and Jessy and Justin busy with work, church and just living their own lives, times like this just don't happen very often so I really try to soak it all in when it does happen. 

Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Leja
We celebrated our nieces wedding on Saturday, so my Son John and his girlfriend Emily came into town for the wedding.  We had never met Emily before so we were really excited to spend time with her and get to know her.  John and Emily drove in on Friday evening after having dinner with her parents in Indiana so John could meet them... a regular "Meet the Parents" weekend, lol! They were expected to get here at 9 pm but unfortunately had a blow out on 94 and it took a little longer... I think they were here about 1 am, and we  are just thankful they were not hurt and made it here safely.  Emily is a very sweet, kind, and thoughtful young lady, and she also loves the Lord, she fit in very comfortably with our family and was super easy to have around, so I am going to check this one off as another answered prayer!  We can tell that she really likes John and we will continue to pray for their relationship to grow and mature. 

Big John, John and Emily
We spent Saturday afternoon before the wedding just relaxing and spending time together before the wedding.  Jessy and Justin came over for lunch and also my Mom, so she could meet Emily too (poor girl)!  The weather was lovely and we had lunch outside on the back deck.  After lunch we had fun showing everyone around and letting everyone take turns riding the ATV through the trails in the woods. By the big smiles on everyone's faces when they got back from their rides I think they had a lot of fun! My Mom is 85 years young and she even hopped on and let big John take her on a ride through the woods.  I think she had a blast too! 

Grandma Ginny takin' a ride
John's sister's daughter Jennifer, is the niece that got married, and the wedding and reception were at Crystal Gardens in Howell. The ceremony was held in a little chapel outside, right on site and the reception was in a banquet room.  It was a lovely day for the wedding, and they had perfect weather. Jennifer was an absolutely beautiful bride and looked just like a Disney Princess.  She looked very happy and I wish her and her new husband Phil a long and happy life together.

Here comes the bride!

I do!

John and Emily

Still Newlyweds!

Yep that's us!

Grandma Shaw looking lovely!

Dan and Alisha
The dinner was wonderful, but the best part was just spending time with my family.  My kids had fun and tore up the dance floor with their awesome dance moves, and it was so much fun to watch! 

Bustin' a Move on the dance floor!
Johnny and Emily had to leave last night and I got a text at 1am when they got home to Chicago.  I was sad to see them leave, but it is one of those times that I will remember forever.  I would rather have a day like Saturday spent with the ones I love than all the money or gifts in the world.  I am really glad that Jessy and Justin live fairly close and hope someday that John might be a little closer too so we can see him more!  On a happy note, they will be back in 3 weeks for Andy and Taylors wedding, can't wait!!!

Savoring the memories of a wonderful weekend,

A grateful Mom

Thursday, May 7, 2015

We Have To Move...

Hi Friends, long time... no see!  

My life has been super busy and I know it has been a long time since I have posted anything but I wanted to share a few things today.  Since last August, we moved my son to Chicago, my daughter got married, my Father passed away, and me and my husband decided to move!  It has been a year of highs and lows, but we got through it! We are just now getting settled into a home that I hope we will live in and enjoy for many years to come.  We bought a beautiful home on 4 acres, and just love it! Since we are empty nesters now we decided it was our turn, and time for us to do some things for ourselves that we have been putting on hold for a long time.  I will post more later about our big move but for now speaking of moving, I would like to share an awesome web series that my son John has been working on.  

John moved to Chicago last August to pursue his masters degree at DePaul University in Directing.  He has been working on many projects since he got there and one of them is this very funny comedy web series called "We Have To Move".  John Directed and Edited the series and I think it is great (I know I am his Mom, but it really is!)  The series follows Marlena and Daniel as they navigate the eccentricities of apartment hunting in Chicago.  I am very proud of him and hope you will give it a watch, and if you like it, share it with your friends!

Grab a bag of popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show!

Your Welcome,
Proud Mama

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tea Party Surprise Shower!

Well wedding season is right around the corner and we have several weddings this year to celebrate. This past weekend my friend Diane and myself threw a small surprise tea party bridal shower for our good friend Wanda's youngest daughter.  It was just a small gathering of some of Wanda's close friends, just so we could shower Dana with some love.

Dana and Michal are getting married in March at the courthouse and then celebrating at party with friends and family in April. Dana wasn't going to have a lot of showers and parties to celebrate so we decide that we would have a small surprise shower for her to celebrate this special time in her life.

My friend Diane was a perfect partner to throw this party with because we both love china tea cups, tea pots, and serving dishes and making things look pretty. We both are also detail oriented which was great because we divided the list of things to do and it made it super simple to pull together.  For lunch we served some basic tea party finger foods and a cute display of sweet treats...

Dana's Tea Party Menu...

Mini Quiches
Chicken Salad on Mini Croissants
Mini Cucumber Dill Sandwiches
Mini Tomato Pesto Sandwiches
Strawberry Almonds Salad w/Poppy Seed Dressing

Mini Cupcakes
Mini Fruit Pizzas
Mini Lemon Tarts
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Mini Frosted Sugar Cookies
Dark Chocolate Hearts

Pink Lemonade
Assorted Teas

A few of the ladies that attended the shower asked if we would share a few of the recipes we used so at the end of this blog post you will find the recipes for my Strawberry Almond Salad w/ Poppy Seed Dressing, Cucumber Dill, and Tomato Pesto Sandwiches, and Mini Fruit Pizzas, and also directions to the games we played! 


We used pink/rose table cloths with lots of lace overlays and doilies and pink cloth napkins that Diane had from a shower she had for her daughter. We set the table with lovely china cups and pots and it gave it a real tea house feel. We also used my mixed matched china dishes for a vintage shabby chic feel.  We made cute little pink gift bags for each guests filled with one of my favorite loose teas (Almond Sugar Cookie Dessert Tea) that I bought in bulk and divided into small plastic bags before placing in a cute pink bag that we decorated with roses and shabby chic tags.  We also gave each guest a heart shape tea infuser as consolation prize after the games so they could make their loose tea at home!



We played 3 games after lunch was served.  Diane is a retired Kindergarten teacher so she was awesome at planning our games for the party.  She found most of the games on Pinterest and tweaked them a bit to fit our needs.  We decided on some games that were a little different from the usual ones that are played at showers.  We played a candy match game, a wedding match movie game, and a left/right passing game that everyone seemed to enjoy. (See below for instructions for games!)

Candy for game

Heart shaped tea infusers

I had fun putting together Dana's gift (sorry no picture!).  I made her a "Basket of Love" which was filled with a pretty pink satin robe, candle, some pretty smelling lotion, some champagne flutes with some pink champagne, a cd with love songs, and a jar filled with 52 weeks of date ideas that I made specifically for them.



We had a lovely afternoon and I think the bride was really surprised, and felt very loved. We wish them many blessings for a long and happy marriage.

The marriage of 2 people is a wonderful thing to celebrate and I am so glad we will have so many to celebrate this spring and summer!  Let the wedding season begin!



Strawberry Almond Salad w/Poppy Seed Dressing

Spring salad mix
Chopped strawberries
Red onion sliced thin
Sliced sugared almonds
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Poppy Seed Dressing:

1/3 cup white vinegar
1 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. grated onion (or 1/4 tsp. of dried minced onion is what I use)
dash of salt and pepper
1 tsp. poppy seeds

Process ingredients in food processor or blender until well incorporated.  Best made several hours or  day before serving for flavors to blend.

**This dressing is also wonderful served with a "village salad":  Romaine lettuce chopped, red onions sliced thin, sliced almonds, blue cheese, crumbled bacon, and Roma tomatoes sliced thin.

Mini Tea Sandwiches

Cucumber Dill Sandwiches
Thin white bread
Fresh dill chopped fine
Whipped cream cheese
English cucumber sliced thin

Mix whipped cream cheese (about 1/4 cup) with finely chopped fresh or dried dill. Spread both sides of bread with mixture and place thinly sliced cucumber between. Cut into cute rectangles or squares and sprinkle with extra chopped dill for pretty presentation.

Tomato Pesto Sandwiches
Thin white bread
Basil pesto (from jar)
Whipped cream cheese
Campari Tomatoes sliced thin

Mix 1/4 cup or so of whipped cream cheese with a spoonful of basil pesto and spread on a slice of bread.  Cut into fun flower or circle shape (you can get about 2 from 1 slice of bread) place a thinly sliced tomato on top.  Garnish with fresh parsley for a pretty presentation.

Mini Fruit Pizzas
Sugar cookie dough (store bought or homemade)
8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Assorted cut up fruit (tiny strawberry slices, pineapple, kiwi, chopped blackberries)

Make cut out sugar cookies in small round or square shapes according to recipe directions and let cool.  These can be made and frozen until needed for event. Mix softened cream cheese with sugar and vanilla until well blended.  Spread "frosting" on cookie and place small cut up fruit on each cookie in a fun pattern.  Press fruit down lightly into cream cheese so it stays in place.  Enjoy!

*This can also be made into 1 large round non-stick pizza pan and cut into triangles for a fun dessert too!

Let the Games Begin...

Candy Match Game

Directions:  Put Clues for game in a small bag and pass around the circle where each guest takes a clue and has to guess the piece of candy that is described from the clue.  When they guess correctly they get to keep that piece of candy! This game is fun, with lots of laughs and everyone gets a piece of candy to take home!

Cost of the reception
Warm embraces
Bee-utiful Bride
Married Life
Bill for Wedding
When glasses clink
Wedding ring
9 Month surprise!
Love Bird

Cost of the reception
100 Grand

Warm embraces

Bee-utiful Bride
Bit o’ Honey


Married Life

Bill for Wedding

When glasses clink

Wedding ring
Ring Pop

Mr. Goodbar

Good and Plenty

9 Month surprise!
Baby Ruth

Love Bird

Marrying Mr. Right Game

Directions:  Pass out at least 3 (for 12 guests) wrapped prizes to random guests in the circle and read the story.  As the narrator reads the story, every time she reads the words left or right the guest pass their prize in that direction around the circle.  At the end of the story, the guest left holding the with the prize wins!


Dana knew right away that she had found Mr. RIGHT and the RIGHT date
was set. Now seemed to be the RIGHT time to start so she LEFT RIGHT after
lunch and went RIGHT to her mother's house. She knew she needed to get
started RIGHT away to make sure nothing was LEFT undone.

There was little time LEFT to spare and so much LEFT to do. She asked her
mother to write down an address list and she LEFT to find the RIGHT
invitations. On her way, she LEFT a message at the florist and then RIGHT
to the bridal shop she ran.

RIGHT in the window was the perfect dress. Oh no, I LEFT my checkbook
RIGHT in the car. Hold that dress, I'll be RIGHT back. With that done, she
called Mr. RIGHT and LEFT him a message to call her RIGHT back. She LEFT
to meet the florist who had LEFT her a message that they had the RIGHT
flowers for her.

Mr. RIGHT called her RIGHT back and said he LEFT a message for the preacher
to call him RIGHT back and that he had just LEFT work and would be RIGHT

She LEFT the florist and ran RIGHT over to meet Mr RIGHT. RIGHT away they
discussed what was LEFT to do. Who would be the RIGHT best man? She
LEFT that up to Mr RIGHT. I'll get the RIGHT maid of Honor.

RIGHT away they started shopping for the RIGHT rings. With that done, the
next stop was to order the RIGHT cake. Mr. RIGHT could clearly see his
future, Mrs. RIGHT, was on the right track.

After a long day, all that was LEFT to do was get RIGHT home to see if any
messages were LEFT while they were out. "Lets call it a day". "Whatever is
LEFT to do, can be LEFT until tomorrow. With a kiss, he LEFT and she went

RIGHT to bed.

Wedding Movie Match Game

Directions:  Give each guest a Wedding Match Game recording sheet to keep track of their answers.  Print out pictures of these famous movie/tv weddings and pass them around the room or hold up for each guest to look at. We had each picture with an assigned letter or number and give guests time to figure out what pictures matches what movie.  The guest with the most correct answers wins!  We gave two prizes for this game, one for the highest number of correct answers and one for the second highest!

Wedding Movie Match Game Recording Sheet: 

___Steel Magnolias

___27 Dresses

___My Best Friends Wedding

___Bride Wars


___Father of the Bride


___Funny Face

___Grey’s Anatomy

___The Simpsons

___Lord of the Rings

___Made of Honor

___Mamma Mia

___Marley and Me

___My Big Fat Greek Wedding

___Monster InLaw

___Runaway Bride

___Sex and the City


___The Little Mermaid

___The Palm Beach Story

___The Wedding Planner

___Wedding Crashers

___The Wedding Singer

___What Happens In Vegas

___Pride & Prejudice (Bonus question worth 5 points!)

Pictures for Wedding Movie Match Game:  

 27 Dresses

Best Friends

Bride Wars


Father of the Bride


 Marley and Me

Monster In-Law

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Palm Beach

Runaway Bride

Sex in the City


Steel Magnolias 

The Wedding Planner

The Simpsons


Wedding Singer

Wedding Crashers

Bonus Picture (Because it is my favorite!)
 Pride and Prejudice

52 Weeks of Date Ideas:

In the shower gift basket I made up for the Bride I included a pretty glass jar with 52 weeks of date ideas cards.  An important part of a happy marriage is spending time together and having fun so this is a fun way to not forget to make plans together!  As soon as I can figure out how to convert these files I will insert them here for anyone that would like to use this idea too!