*saturday dinner & games

I’m getting excited that a few of our couple friends are coming over Saturday for some dinner and games! We have got together 2 other times since moving back to Indiana. I plan on serving baked brie, homemade chili, and apple cobbler!

I’ve known Jared since first grade and he married his high school sweetheart, Kirsten. Daniel has known Steven since junior high, they were best friends for the longest time. Steven is married to his high school sweetheart, Cyndi. I didn’t start hanging out with Cyndi until the end of our junior year, and she set behind me in 1st period the fall of our senior year. They are expecting their first child in June and it’s a boy! Then you have Fred and his wife Laura. Daniel and I knew Fred through band and the same friends in high school. He met Laura during college at Indiana University! She fits in so well the group!

In August we had everyone over for the first time. We played Cash n’ Guns, a game where you get to point fake guns at your friends and spouse. I think we had a little too much fun with that! (from the lower left- Steven, Kirsten, Daniel, Jared,  & Fred). And even with the lovely meal I prepared for them the killed me first! I call them my friends?!?



(Above Cyndi pointing a gun on her hubby)

We have also played the Resistance and One Night Werewolf. We tried playing the Newlywed game, but the questions were either confusing or way to personal. Don’t worry Daniel and I won that game!

I’m not sure what games we will play this weekend. Steven is the gamer of the group! I just bake the goodies!

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and share of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” ~Khalil Gibran


*merry christmas

I hope everyone’s holiday is off to a good start. I’m a little bummed that its raining instead of snowing, but at least it is not freezing and hopefully my plane won’t be delayed tomorrow!

Christmas has always been a big deal in my family. The night before Christmas we would attend church service. On Christmas morning my sister and I were always so excited to see the presents under the tree. Santa always delivered! Stockings are opened first, our stockings are stuffed with candy! After mom got her coffee we would sit under the living room tree to open gifts.

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We each took turn opening one gift at a time! I’m not sure what I received in the picture below on the right, but I was definitely excited! I remember asking for a boombox with CD and cassette player, one Christmas in the late 90s. But I loved getting Barbies, Laura Ingalls extras, and I went through a Titanic phase. A few years I asked Stanta for the internet, AOL dialup to be exact! Hours later we would have a huge meal prepared by my mom. When we were younger we would visit Grandparents in north east Indiana.

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Our Christmas traditions haven’t changed too much. We will be opening gifts this evening with my parents, sister, her boyfriend, and Daniel. I will still make everyone sit in their original spots. Dad is on a chair to the left of the tree, Ashley on the floor next to him, Mom on the couch, and me to the right of the tree on the floor. I’ll have Daniel sit on the couch above me, and Matt will be behind Ashley! I like traditions! Afterwards we are attending the 10:30pm Christmas Eve church service. My Christmas morning the past 5 years have been spent with Daniel’s family. We watch his nieces open presents from Santa. This year is going to be a little more crowded, we have 2 baby nieces. Christmas will probably start to change as the nieces get older or when me or my sister have kids.


For lunch Daniel and I will be hosting our parents over for a late lunch! My mom is preparing the ham and I am taking care of the sides and the dessert! Of course I made a cheesecake, Peppermint Oreo! I’m excited to host, it’s kind of my thing.

I am blessed for all the wonderful Christmases that I have been apart of. Although I’ve always wanted to take a trip with my family on Christmas, instead of buying one another presents. I feel next year we should partake in some volunteering at a local organization to help those who haven’t been as blessed. Luckily I have one of the greatest families in the world who is full of love!

Can’t wait to share my family photos with you!



Christmas is 26 days away! Christmas cards to family and friends went in the mail today!

I try to show the people I love, that I love them throughout the year. I see something in the store that reminds me of them and I buy it, no matter what time of year. I also have three pen pals that I send cards to through out the year to remind them that someone is thinking of them. My mom, Linda, and mother in law, Starla, were always sending me care packages during my years in California. It made living so far away from family a little easier! Now, I have a few friends in California that often send cards to. I have always enjoyed giving and receiving snail mail! My friend Chelsea posted online a card I had sent her, “Totally made my Monday! Thank you @amberks07 you are the most wonderful person! Snail Mail rocks my world!”



I always get a head start on Christmas. I like having it done before Thanksgiving, I hate dealing with all of the crowds. I also do not spend a lot of money and rarely pay full price. Making items is great too! The bottom line is- it’s important to give. I found some very pretty jewelry for $10 and under at Kohl’s for some family members! The jewelry were items I would have bought myself! Around Christmas time I also try very hard not to buy for myself. The other 11 months of the year can be about rewarding myself, December is a month for our loved ones. (pictured below is the collection of Christmas presents already bought and wrapped 6 weeks before Christmas 2014!)


I appreciate any kind of gift at Christmas and any time of year. Last year, Michael (Daniel’s brother) bought me a $10 Starbucks gift card and I was thrilled! We were told not to exchange gifts (I did anyway), so the gesture that he thought of me made my holiday! Pictured below is from Christmas 2010, it was a great Christmas!


My husband and I stopped giving each other Christmas gifts a few years ago. We try to buy each other small things through out the year. My favorite is when he brings me candy when he gets gas. Instead we use our “gift” money to use to do something together. I rather create a memory. Last year we were in Paris a month prior to Christmas. This year we leave for London the day after Christmas. Next Christmas will probably be paying for our flights to celebrate our 5th Wedding Anniversary in France on June 11, 2016. For Valentine’s Day 2014 he made me a custom picture that he framed with our spare key to our lock on a bridge in Paris! It was a great gift that I hang next to our front door!


As a child I hated writing thank you cards, but every birthday and holiday, if I received a gift my mom made my sister and I write a thank you card. Being 26, I still write a hand written thank you card. I know the value of money now and the thought of someone spending some of their hard earned money on me is wonderful, so they certainly deserve my thanks!


“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill