Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

wildrumpusbirthday_For little J’s first birthday, I wanted to have a big party with all of our friends and family. Months ago, I decided on a “Where the Wild Things Are” theme, since that was my husband’s favorite book as a child. I scoured the web and Pinterest for planning and decor, since I’ve never thrown a party like this before. I began doing as much handmade decor as possible, to save a little money and to make it even more special for J. With the abundant help of my amazing family and a couple of my best girlfriends, the party went off without a hitch! Here are a few photos of the details of the party. I think it was an absolute hit!wildrumpusbirthday_i'lleatyouupwildrumpusbirthday_burlaptablerunnerwildrumpusbirthday_paperlanternsHandmade felt bunting and paper lanterns hung from tree to tree! The tables were covered in white linens with a burlap runner. I kept the table decor simple, elegant and earthy with baby’s breath and billy balls in mason jars painted gold. Pine cones and moss balls adorned the length of the table, leaving plenty of room for the guests to eat and socialize. wildrumpusbirthday_billyballswildrumpusbirthday_photobannerI created a photo banner of baby J’s first 12 months with baby clothespins and twine to hang from a small tree.wildrumpusbirthday_capreseskewerswildrumpusbirthday_foodThe main food table was home to lots of tasty and healthy food items including chicken, steak and shrimp skewers, a fresh mediterranean salad with kalamata olives, avocado and feta, mini caprese skewers with a balsamic reduction drizzle, hummus and cucumber cupcakes, pita chips and roasted red bell pepper hummus, fresh fruit skewers, and a delicious couscous tabbouleh.wildrumpusbirthday_paperstrawflagswildrumpusbirthday_paperstrawsRefreshing lemonade was the perfect beverage to accompany the adorable grey, yellow and white-striped paper straws. We also offered ice water and fruit juice boxes for the little ones.wildrumpusbirthday_cupcakewildrumpusbirthday_crowncaketopperI purchased die-cut crown confetti from this Etsy Shop, and decided to create my own cute little mini-cupcake toppers with them to top these delicious and adorable mini cupcakes! There were lemon, chocolate and carrot cake cupcakes to accommodate every taste bud.wildrumpusbirthday_cookiesThese “Wild Thing Paw Print” cookies were so adorable and delicious and were quite the hit! wildrumpusbirthday_birthdaycakewildrumpusbirthday_woodcakestandwildrumpusbirthday_buntingwildrumpusbirthday_birthdayboy2I made the birthday boy his own special cake. It was an organic apple spice cake I found here with a cream cheese frosting. He was able to enjoy it after the party, since he was quite obviously not a fan of the frosting all over his hands!wildrumpusbirthday_crownFamily and friends were given these adorable handmade crowns to wear. My Mom even made extras in all sizes so that the “Wild Thing” could come out in anyone and party!wildrumpusbirthday_birthdayboywildrumpusbirthday_photobooth2wildrumpusbirthday_photobooth3wildrumpusbirthday_photoboothWe had a fun little “photo booth” to capture some of the fun guests of the party. wildrumpusbirthday_guestbookInstead of the traditional guest sign-in book, we purchased a copy of the book “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak as a keepsake for baby J to have that he can actually appreciate.wildrumpusbirthday_favorsFor the party favors, we sent the little ones home with a crown, a little snack box filled with organic treats, and some bubbles as “A Magic Trick to Tame the Wild Things”.wildrumpusbirthday_s'moresThe older guests took home a s’mores kit to make a yummy treat at home!

Thanks to everyone who made it to J’s first birthday bash, especially to those that traveled long distance, it’s a not celebration without the people who love him most! Thank you to my husband for putting up me and with the months of planning and crafting.  Thanks to my best gal pals, Betsy of Snap Lovely Photography, for all the amazing photos, for handwriting the photo props, and for helping prep all the delicious food, to Kelli, Amy and Aly for last minute crafting and the delicious cupcakes and fruit skewers, and to Cassie who snapped a few of the  pictures above.

And of course, a special thanks to all of my amazing family who all traveled out from Arizona and helped SO much with all the party details and set up, and were here to celebrate the big one year! I love you all and couldn’t have done it without you!

“This is the Day which the Lord has made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24

 

Happy First Birthday, My Darling.

There’s something beautiful about celebrating the birth of my precious son on the same day as celebrating the resurrection of the Son of God. What a joyous day Easter is, and even more so this year for our family! Today, we will celebrate the beautiful gift God gave us of His Son and of ours. Last year on this day, the first breath taken by our baby boy literally took ours away. It’s a day I will never forget and will cherish for the rest of my life.0 months

I can’t begin to tell you how incredibly fast the last year has gone for us. Everyone has always said how quickly their children grew up, but I honestly wasn’t prepared for how true that really is. He has grown up so quickly into such a little man! Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally, he has grown leaps and bounds and I thank God every day for that.

10 months

I have experienced more joy and love in the last three hundred and sixty-five days than I have in all the days of my life combined. When I say joy, I mean happiness so far beyond measure. When I say love, I can’t even pretend to have the words to describe how in love with him I am. He brings so much laughter and excitement to our lives and brightens every single day. It is seriously impossible to be in a grumpy mood around him, even on our worst days, he manages to make them better. When I think back to what life was like before we had him, I can’t imagine ever not having his sweet laughter and kisses to wake up to every day.

6 months

J is everything I could have hoped for and more. He is such a bright light in this world. I am literally in awe of him every, single day. I have been blessed beyond measure to spend the last year watching him grow from a sweet, tiny little angel baby to an adorable, funny, and smart little boy. He has so many layers, I am so impressed with how deep his emotions lie. I have no doubt that he will be a man of passion and compassion, of wit and of wisdom. I truly feel sometimes like he is the mini-me of Brendan, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I can only hope and pray that J will someday become the kind of man his Dad is.

8 months

I am so looking forward to spending the coming year wondering how I could have thought that it couldn’t get any better than the last. I’m excited for  J to take his first steps, speak his first sentence, and continue exploring the world around him. I anticipate the pride and the heart ache as he gets older and becomes more independent. I dread the times he will hurt, whether physically or emotionally. I’m eager to watch his imagination grow and run wild.

9 months

I pray that we’re making the right choices for him and how we’re raising him. I pray for his heart and for his mind, and that he will grow to be a man who loves Jesus and shares Him with others. I pray for his future wife and that God will keep her heart pure and good.

5 months

I pray, and I pray, and I pray…and I thank God that last year, on this day, He blessed me with the most amazing gift I could ever have imagined.

Happy first birthday, my darling. You are now, and will always be, the absolute light of my life

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. – 1 Peter 1:3

Oh Christmas Tree!

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I’ve never been more excited to get a Christmas tree and get into holiday spirit as much as I am this year. There’s something about making memories and starting new traditions with our little family that adds so much magic and festivity to it all! I’m so excited to see baby J get more and more excited about Christmas as every year passes and hope to instill the anticipation and excitement that our parents did in us. I’m so blessed to have married a man who might even love Christmas more than I do, so holidays are so much fun around the Dekker house!

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We ran right out to a tree lot as soon as December hit and got a beautiful noble fir-tree. Not too small and not too big for our quaint little apartment, this tree is the perfect size for our perfect little family. We lit a couple of holiday candles, put on some Christmas tunes, poured some hot chocolate and got to decorating!

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As we added each ornament to the tree, it melted my heart to listen to Brendan tell the beautiful story of when Jesus was born to our precious little son. Although he may not understand yet, I know he can feel the love and joy as the story is told.

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I hope to stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas this and every year, even throughout the hustle and bustle and sometimes even stress of the holidays, I want to remember all that we have to be thankful for and to not forget that, although it’s so much fun to wrap gifts for our precious baby boy, the greatest gift of all is Jesus and his abundant mercy and grace.

 

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” – Luke 2:9-14

DIY Glitter Starbucks Cup

For my beautiful niece’s sweet sixteen, I wanted to make her something simple and fun! I saw this idea on Pinterest, so I decided to make it for her! It’s sparkly and fun to match her amazing personality!

What I used:

Starbuck’s Customizable Cold Cup 16oz

Hot Pink Glitter

Krylon Spray Adhesive

Super Glue

*I also purchased a separate dome lid for the cup, since Alyssa enjoys whipped cream on her Starbucks, but this is not necessary!

Ok, here’s the deal. After following this tutorial, I honestly wasn’t impressed with my results. Because the tutorial instructed me to spray the adhesive on the inside of the outer cup, my result was a bit cloudy. I don’t know if I sprayed too much or what, but after that, I decided to try to do it a little differently!

I had to purchase another cup, but I wanted it to be perfect for her, so this time I actually sprayed the adhesive on the outside of the inner cup instead, and applied the glitter that way! By applying the glitter that way, then inserting it back into the outer cup, the glitter was much more sparkly without the adhesive clouding it. Here’s a picture of the two different ways side-by-side so you can see what I mean!

The left cup is the original way and the right cup is my way.

I then applied Super Glue to the threading of the two layers, so if she wants to hand wash the cup, she can without getting any water between the two layers.

I was much happier with the results, and I can’t wait to give it to her!

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

Posted in DIY

Cowboy Caviar

I was craving something fresh and tasty for a snack, so I went hunting in the fridge and pantry. It’s one of our favorite things to do. When it’s just about time for a grocery trip, we like to make something delicious out of whatever is left over from the shopping trip before! It’s challenging and it’s also kind of fun to see what we come up with. Brendan was out-of-town and I didn’t feel like cooking, so I threw this together!

This is my version of a cowboy caviar. I believe the original recipe was black-eyed peas, but I’m a big fan of black beans, and honestly, that’s what I had in my pantry, so here’s how I made it!

What I used:

1 can of black beans, drained

1 can of sweet corn, drained

1 sweet onion, diced

3 ripe (but firm) avocados, cubed

3 fresh tomatoes, cubed

2 fresh garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (or red wine, but balsamic is all I had)

1 Tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients, toss and enjoy! Serve with tortilla chips or anything else that sounds good with it!

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“All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” – Proverbs 15:15

Say Mama!

Just when I think he couldn’t get any sweeter, baby J said what I’ve just been dying to hear. He ever so sweetly said, “Mama!” It was music to my ears. I’ve heard it said many times that our children make life worth living, but I never could have imagined how true that really is. He’s everything I ever could have hoped for and more. He is so incredible, it’s such an honor to be the one he now calls Mama.

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” – Psalm 127:3

Four Years Ago Today!

Four years ago today was one of the best days of my life. I was in one of my favorite places in the world, New York City. I was with one of my favorite people in the world, Brendan Dekker. I was about to be asked one of the most important questions ever asked of me..Let me start from the very beginning. Brendan was going on a business trip to NY, so he asked me if I wanted to come with him. We were going to stay the weekend to spend time in one of our favorite places, but this was no ordinary trip. After Brendan got off work that evening, we headed out to dinner, but Brendan said he had to stop on the way to pick something up from his co-worker’s apartment first. We got out of the cab and headed up the elevator of a beautiful apartment building in the middle of Manhattan. We stepped out of the elevator, but instead of an apartment, it was a beautiful rooftop garden overlooking one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to. We had a picturesque view of busy streets below, a skyline of buildings as far as the eye could see, and a stunning view of the Empire State Building.

I honestly thought Brendan got the floor number wrong, but we walked out to enjoy the view anyway. Little did I know, it was his plan all along. As we stood at the edge, just taking it all in, Brendan reached over and gently held my hand. He kept glancing over at me while I’m sure I chattered on about nothing important, until I realized he was acting very suspicious. Right when I was about to ask him what he was up to, he dropped to one knee. I can honestly say from this point on was a bit of a blur. All I know is I said “Yes!” to the most important question ever asked of me. I was going to be Mrs. Brendan Dekker. After he stood up, I kissed the man of my dreams and couldn’t stop staring at the most beautiful ring ever!

Brendan had been up to the rooftop earlier that day, and had stashed a bottle of champagne and a pair of flutes to celebrate! We stood, basking in the view, in each other, and in the celebration of our love. I pretty much immediately called my Mom and Dad and the rest of our families to tell them the good news! It was hands-down the most exciting moment in my life.

The rest of the weekend was such a fun celebration. We went to dinner that evening, though neither of us were able to eat much from all the nerves. The next day, Brendan had arranged a private airplane ride all over New York. It was a view not many are ever fortunate enough to see, and I felt like the luckiest girl in the world to  have enjoyed it with the most amazing guy in the world.

The next evening, Brendan had made reservations at this ridiculously awesome restaurant called River Cafe. It’s nestled under the Brooklyn Bridge with sweeping views of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty, and the food was delicious!! The next (and last) evening we had in the city was spent in the third row, center-stage of the Gershwin Theatre for the amazing performance of Wicked as our first engagement present, compliments of my awesome future in-laws.Not only did Brendan truly make me the happiest girl in the world by asking me to be his wife, he made it an absolutely unforgettable event in our lives. He put so much thought and effort into making it more perfect than I ever could have hoped for.I can honestly say it has only gotten better since then. He amazes me every single day by the way he loves me. The way he makes me feel so special and beautiful. The way he makes me smile and laugh. The way he accepts me for who I am and loves me even when I don’t deserve it. The way he fulfills my every need and want, and gave me the coolest son anyone could even hope for.

Four years ago today I said yes to more than a question, I said yes to a lifetime of happiness with the most incredible husband I could ever have imagined.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13

DIY Tiny Footprints Canvas

While my parents were visiting this weekend, I thought it would be a fun little project to make a canvas print with my Mom for baby J’s nursery! I’ve been wanting to do some footprints for him, so when I saw this idea on Pinterest, I decided to do something similar!

Since J just turned 6 months, it was the perfect opportunity to use his tiny little footprints to make a piece of art for his wall.

What I used:

12×24 canvas

grey and black acrylic paint

1″ Stencils

2 paint sponges

painter’s tape

tape measure

We started by sectioning off the canvas with tape into thirds, then stenciling the ages we chose in each section with the paint and sponges. After that, we put a light coat of paint on J’s foot and practiced on scrap paper first. After finding the best amount of paint and the quickest way to get his foot on and off the surface, we went for it on the canvas! I had considered doing a foot and hand print, but after practicing with the foot, I realized at his age, a hand print would probably get very messy, very quickly and not give the outcome I was hoping for.

There are so many variations you could do with this, from the ages to the paint colors and even the layout! This is what worked best in J’s nursery, and I couldn’t be happier with our simple color choices!

I think it turned out SO cute and it was so special to make it for him with my Mom! I find that the slight imperfections and blemishes add character and will remind me of the fun we had making it. I can’t wait in three months to add the next set of footprints  to see just how much he’s grown! 

 

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12

Posted in DIY

Watch Out World!

It’s amazing to me how quickly the last six months have gone by. Everyone always warned me, and I know it’s so true, but even still, it feels like just a fleeting moment has gone by since baby J entered our lives. Gosh, it feels like just yesterday we saw the “positive” sign on the little plastic stick. I literally cannot even begin to imagine what I could have possibly done to deserve this amazing little boy. I thank Jesus every single night when I put him to bed for choosing us to be his parents. I ask that He continues guiding us to raise him to be the godly man He intends him to be and to give him a love and passion for Jesus. He is just the most incredible little person I’ve ever met, it’s such an honor to be his Mommy. He has brought a joy and excitement to our lives that we never knew possible.

I like to think that I really am treasuring every moment. I remind myself daily to relish the small things, for they are just as important as the big milestones.

Half-Year in Review

Entered this world. Came home. Loves his teddy bear. Peed on Daddy. First Easter Sunday service. Lost his umbilical cord. Loves the sling. Visits from all his family. First smiles. Slept through the night. First time visiting Daddy at work. Rolled over. First wedding. Loves napping with Mommy. Road trip to Arizona. First Mother’s Day. Loves his own reflection. First time babysat by Grandma and Papa. Lost all his hair. First time at the beach. Loves splashing in bath time. Grabs Mommy’s nose. First Father’s Day. Began laughing. Over-night trip to San Diego. Loves when Mommy sings. First brewery tour. Loves his Sophie. No more swaddle. Plays Peek-a-boo. Loves story time. Circumcision. First time in an airplane. Loves evening walks. Gave first real kisses. First tantrum. Found his toes. Fireworks on Fourth of July. Baby/Daddy morning time. Started solids. Loves to Skype. Blows raspberries. Loves watching football. First word. Loves play dates. Two front teeth. Loves zucchini squash. Loves his walker. Sat up unassisted. Sleeps on his belly. Scoots and wiggles. Loves playing with Daddy’s moustache. Watched first Baby Einstein movie. Loves his puppy and kitty. Up on all fours.

I can’t wait to see what the next six months brings us. I’m so excited for the many ways baby J will amaze us and remind us just how beautiful this life can be.

“For in Him all things were created: things in Heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:16-17

Maple-Glazed Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

For Brendan’s birthday this year, I decided to make him something special. I searched for the best recipe for bacon chocolate chip cookies, and I found this one. I wasn’t sure about the combo of flavors, but I knew he’d love them! He truly believes anything is better with bacon. Surprisingly, they are delicious! I took them into his work to surprise him, and it didn’t take long for them to be gone!

I’ll share the recipe with you, it was fairly easy and the outcome was better than I’d hoped for!

What you’ll need:

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 lb package of bacon strips- cooked until very crispy and cut into small bits (I sprinkled the bacon with brown sugar before cooking

Maple Glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar and maple syrup

Preheat oven 325°.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.  With a hand mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined.  Beat in the egg, the yolk, and vanilla.  Add flour mix and beat at low-speed just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips and 1 cup of the bacon bits.

Roll about a half-cup sized ball of dough.  Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull apart into two equal halves.  Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball.

Bake approximately 11-14 minutes, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy.

Transfer to a wire rack  to cool cookies after they’re able to lift without breaking. Sprinkle with bacon bits and drizzle with maple glaze.

*To make glaze –  in a small bowl, add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to the powdered sugar and stir. Add more maple syrup as needed until the glaze is a good, thick drizzling consistency. Sprinkle with remaining bacon bits.

Happy baking!!

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:6-7