Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cute Paper & Unique Toppers

Merry Christmas!! 

How has your December been?  It's been a busy one for us but today was a FABULOUS Christmas-y day.  It started out with baking treats, a parade down the main street of Golden, and then wrapping creativity.  

Perfection!
 

I recently used personalized wrapping paper from Tiny Prints (gorgeous, yes???).  All I had to do was design with our favorite photos and hit checkout.  We just had fall family photos taken so I had lots of pictures and I couldn't wait to use them.

 Once it arrived, I could not wait to get started!  More than anything, as I was getting gifts all wrapped up, I wanted to avoid the cliche bow.  

It is so easy to make a gift pop with a more creative topper and honestly, for almost free!

Just a quick sweep through my house left me with a lot of choices and I am swooning over the final product...



First up, cinnamon sticks!  I wrapped up three cinnamon sticks from the grocery store with a small piece of ribbon.  Use that same colored ribbon to wrap around the box.  I love how festive this feels.


What to do with extra ornaments?  Present toppers!  

Our tree is tall and skinny and couldn't hold all of the ornaments so instead I threaded some ribbon through two.  Just attach with a small piece of tape or tie the ornament's ribbon to the ribbon on the package.




Do you have any people in your life that love natural gifts?  Top your present with an organic or natural chapstick (like Burt's Bees, my favorite!) and some greenery.



Two things everyone is likely to have in their house: Scrabble letters and candy canes!

Just spell out a seasonal word and lay over a piece of scotch tape to keep in alignment.  Attach to the gift with more tape to and add some accents like a candy cane or more greenery even!


Do you have bay leaves in your kitchen's spice cabinet?  

This idea is just bay leaves and a little paper flower with the Scrabble letters.  I LOVE how this one turned out, mostly because of that happy green pop.



For this one, I went back to the ornament idea.  Crate & Barrel had a great $2 ornament sale so attaching such a gorgeous addition was beyond simple.  Plus the gift receiver can add this extra goodie to their tree after they open it.



I mixed all of these ideas on a pile of gifts and really like how it all turned out. There are so many combinations and I cannot tell you how much fun this was!

 

What other ideas can you top your gifts with besides the usual bow?  Share in the comments, I would LOVE to hear!

 There are endless ideas out there for present toppers.  I can't wait to see those we love open up these presents and enjoy the little extra touch of creativity.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Fly By!

I don't think we have ever had a December quite this hustly and bustly.  It's busy, that is for sure.

It makes me a little sad to feel like Christmas is flying by me, but we have had fun too!  On Saturday we headed to the Christmas parade in Golden for an hour to see carolers, Santa, and enjoy this cute tradition.  

We picked up hot Starbucks on the way and enjoyed a fun morning downtown.



 My Mom and I also baked a few festive treats that turned out delicious!  Snowballs and Peanut Butter Balls. 

 I wrapped up a few treats for each neighbor and Ryan passed them out with Christmas cards to the people.  It's fun to gift even something small to the people we have gotten to know in our neighborhood over the year.


I am wrapping up Quarter 5 of 7 (crazy!!!) on Friday and it feels SO good!  Peds and OB are both fascinating, but they are their own crazy worlds of language, knowledge, and specialty. 

 Let's just say the challenge has been real! 

Between school, clinicals, commuting, lab, work, and regular life I am worn out!  But so thrilled and blessed to be gaining knowledge about something I love so much.

Before I forget I have to do a quick iPhone dump so I finally publish these photos...

The struggle also may have been more...intense...this quarter because of this place (below)!!  This is our rock climbing gym that we joined in November.  Since we cancelled internet at our house we invested into a family gym membership instead.  

We.  Are.  Addicted.  No joke!  They have yoga classes, a regular gym, thousand of routes to climb, and a whole gym to boulder.  It is so much fun.  We have met other couples and friends there so it's fun to get into conversations while we climb and intentionally pursue new relationships in this place. 


We had our favorite Bishop family over for dinner a few weeks ago.  I've known this amazing family since sophomore year of high school and it's so fun to have Ryan know and love them now too!  We feasted on stuffed acorn squash, macaroni and cheese, and played Crokinole until everyone's fingers were shot :)
 

Last but not least, we took Justin and Linny bowling for his birthday over Thanksgiving break.  We found a killer Groupon and got 2 hours of bowling and a pitcher of Dr. Pepper (Justin's fav!) and enjoyed the evening together.


Phew!  That's the fastest post I've ever written because I am about to get started in my all day OB lab.  Merry early Christmas--have a fabulous Monday!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

We host Thanksgiving every year for our families and it's a tradition that we LOVE! 

 Hospitality is one of our favorite ways to bless people and we always hope that's how people feel-welcomed and loved.

19 people, both of our immediate families, filled up our 1400 square foot home and it was actually much roomier than you might think!  We pushed our living room set off to the side, took away our antique buffet and overstuffed armchair to make space.  Then my sister helped me set up three separate long tables so people could move freely but still be all together.

Linny made handmade place cards for everyone and helped set the tables while I cleaned and rearranged.  I didn't spend much time cooking the day before because we used crockpots for several dishes.  

Win!

Crockpot mac and cheese, crockpot green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, homemade cranberry sauce and the turkey is what we made this year.  Everyone else brought the rest of the goodies.

A plate of all the goodies!  Truly one of the best Thanksgivings yet!

All of Ryan's siblings, their spouses and their babies were there this year!

My parents and my sister and brother in law were all around our table!

Linny loved on baby Henry all day long.  We LOVE those round little cheeks-so yummy!

My favorite littlest humans!  These five steal my heart every time I am with them.  So sweet!

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day also! There is SO much to be thankful for :)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Operation Christmas Child 2014

It's Operation Christmas Child time again!  We put together boxes last year and knew we needed to again; the generosity it provokes, the fun it is to put together, and ministry to a child is unmatachable in meaning!

We do this with my mom and she really takes the lead to put a lot of effort and heart into these boxes.  She grabs great sales, cute toys, and perfect gifts throughout the year as she finds them.  You can tell how much she wants to bless these kiddos with her enthusiasm and effort alone!

Five boxes are going out this year: four girls and one boy.  Ryan put the one and only boy box (not pictured in this post) together and did a GREAT job!

 

What went in the girl boxes (ages 5-8):
A blouse, socks, small purse, squishy toy, stuffed animal, note pad, sewing kit, crayons, chap stick, pencils, pencil sharpeners, nail polish, hair ties, headbands, toothbrush, toothpaste, body soap, nail polish, lip gloss, Christmas card with picture and probably even more that I'm forgetting!

 

What went in the boy box (ages 10-14):
A light jacket, Velcro mit catch toy, whoopie cushion, marbles, jacks, water bottle, pens, a notebook, wallet, head light with extra batteries, body soap, tooth brush, toothpaste, socks, and a Christmas card with picture

Our brother and sister in law, Tyler & Anna, are having their kids do it too and Rilyn calls it "buying for her friends" which I just cannot get over how cute that is.  What four year old willingly and enthusiastically buys gifts to give them away?! 

Our niece and nephews, that's who!

Poppy stalked helped me write the cards and looked very sweet the whole time so she needed a feature in this post too :)

 
Did you get a chance to a box (or a few!) together this year?  Let us know--we can always use inspiration for next year!
 
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'
 
Matthew 25:40
 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Littles Came To Visit

We had two of our favorite little people up this weekend!

We started the weekend out with lunch at Tyler and Anna's and then packed up their minivan and headed off!  First stop was the rec center to go down the big kid slide, get dizzy in the lazy river, and jump off the side of the pool! 


I have to say these two were very adventurous and climbed several flights of stairs to go down the big slide.  It goes SUPER fast (I don't even like it that much) and they rocked it!  Especially Ms. Rilyn who you could tell made a very brave decision to try something new and out of her comfort zone. Ryder just did it because we carried him to the top haha!

After that we went to the grocery store to get ice cream, went home had a healthy dinner and then watched Frozen over air popped popcorn and chocolate ice cream.  

Sunday we woke up and had uncle-nephew aunt-niece surprises.  Rilyn and I got matching red manicures while Ryan and Ryder tried to find a play place at McDonald's (NONE to be found-ugh!) so they got cinnamon rolls and dollar store treats instead.


   



Finally to finish our wonderful weekend we stopped at Krispy Kreme Donuts for sprinkle donuts and then happily dropped off two sugared-up, exhausted kiddos to their parents :)

We LOVE these kids and are so grateful for our quality time with them at such a fun age. They bless us with their sweet little hearts, curiosity, wonder, and hilarious thoughts.  Looking forward to more weekends with them as they grow!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fall Family Photos!

Right now our little Decker family consists of two humans and two doodles.  And we wanted to capture that and remember this wonderful season of life.
 
Our talented and Jesus-loving friends, Kaylee & Patrick, from Chasen Grace took family pictures for us a few weeks ago on the last nice fall day of the year.  The leaves were perfect, it was SO warm outside and our two naughty doodles were on their best behavior.
 
We HIGHLY recommend using Chasen Grace if you need any kind of photography.  Their creativity, eye, and patience was unending.  We could not have pictured more wonderful final photos even if we tried.
 
It was so much fun finding cute spots around Golden (our favorite town ever!) and getting to capture our lives at this stage.  We'll frame these pictures, give them away, and load our Christmas cards up with black goldendoodle love...but mostly be thankful for photography that can make a season stand still and we will be SO grateful for later!
 


 
I just actually placed a big Christmas card order over at Shutterfly and paid a ridiculously low price for all of them.  Also recommend that company for cards if you need them soon!
 
As for us, we are just plugging away at life these last few weeks.  I've been working with the kiddos over at Children's every week and still LOVING that gig.  Ryan was at a three day conference retreat last week and gained so much knowledge and information from speakers like the President of Compassion International and the CEO of Life Water.
 
We have still been loving no internet at our house.  We went on a late night snowy walk two nights ago, I beat my husband at Ticket To Ride last night, and tonight I bet we will watch an episode of Lost on DVD and build a big fire. 
 
Winter perfection.
 
FYI it has been less than 2 degrees the last day or so in Golden.  It HURTS to go outside-ha!  And it looks like another snow storm is moving in overhead this afternoon so I am headed home after this library trip to make vegetarian chili, sweet cornbread, healthy crustless pumpkin pie and cozy up our house for a night in.
 
We are also putting together our Operation Christmas Child boxes with my mom next week so ideas and photos to come soon on that.  Boxes are due Nov 17-24 so start up that if you are joining us this year in such a beautiful ministry
 
Happy beginning of the holiday joy, coziness, and excitement!
 
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus ever knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth...
 
Philippians 2:8-10
 
 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Unplugged

So this post (and the last) come to you from our local library. 
 
Why?
 
Because we cancelled internet at our house.
 
Ryan brought up the idea about 3 weeks ago...could we go a winter (or a lifetime?) without home internet?
 
And we wholeheartedly believe the answer to be yes!
 
It turns out that in each of our own processing, we were beginning to feel too plugged in and weighted by the intrusion of technology in our everyday lives.  To be honest, we aren't really even that "tech-y" of people but still, we felt the Lord tugging at our hearts and wanted to obey.
 
So Ryan proposed it and caught me TOTALLY by surprise because I had been thinking identically to him.  We felt real excitement to be on the same page about this and anticipation for why the Lord would be asking us to let go of this particular luxury.
 
Computer, and internet, Wi-Fi and impressive advancements aren't bad; we happen to utilize everything technological at both of our jobs!  But we felt this ongoing heart burden that our home should be a haven of rest and less busy with the hum of internet, TV, and other distractions.

(For the record, we DO still watch an episode of a TV series on DVD at night or have a movie night on the weekends.  Balance!)
 
What's funny is anytime we share this with people the reaction is somewhat...defensive.
 
We don't share in a "we-did-this-hopefully-you-do-to" way.  If asked what's new, this is what we share--it's new!  We are finding many people are very protective of their technological habits and to be honest, we don't really care what you do!
 
But we do care about what the Lord is leading us to do!  This is right for us right now.
 
Honestly, we have felt such relief, and sometimes inconvenience, at this new lifestyle choice.

But we added it up...

2 hours a day X 5 days a week X 52 weeks in a year is 520 hours.  That's more than 21 days per year in front of a computer screen!

Over an average, that could be 1,260 days  (3.5 years solid) in a lifetime if someone was a 60 year internet user. 

Phew!

The balance is that not all internet is bad.  The gospel is making it's way worldwide because of connections, political ideas are spread like wildfire, amazing causes are optimized and publicized. 

But for us, in this time, we are not home internet users.  We are choosing to connect with each other instead of technology once at home; start a legacy of less screens and more human interaction.  It is our hope that our kids would be SHOCKED to see us choose our phones or a computer over play time or heart sharing.  It's the cry of our heart right now to be present, and I believe we are making the best choice for us.

So the million dollar question we get: What do we do instead?

Read
Craft
Organize
Clean
Draw
Cook
Bake
Walk
Exercise
Rock climb
Talk
Board games
Build a fire
Have people over
Study
Nap
Bible Study
Bike
House projects
Pray
Host
Go to the library
Get outside
Play basketball
Garden
Yardwork
Re-decorate
Head to the rec center
Read a newspaper
Take a drive
Call someone

And the list goes on...

We are thrilled about cancelled internet.  I'm typing at lightning speed because my computer booking at the library is only 60 minutes long.  And you know what?  I'm glad this is the fastest paced thing I'll do all day. 

 I have a husband and a home, community and a neighborhood, friends and family, church and school, ministries and callings, two doodles and a million creative things to pursue.  And those are intentional pursuits I can't wait to look back on when I'm 80 and say, "Thank goodness I unplugged!"

 

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