Monday, August 31, 2015

Country livin'

Last spring, my husband and I decided we wanted to get out of the city and have a bit more space for us, the pooches, a garden... anything! We decided to set out in search of a home, but after months of this process and finding nothing that really matched our search parameters, we decided to look into building a home. 

Fast forward about a year and a half and here we are, our 2 1/2 acre lot paid off and finalizing the estimate for our new home! We won't actually start building until next spring, but I have to admit how happy I am it has taken a little longer than planned. It has really given us time to save up a bit more and truly identify our needs vs. wants. We have ended up with a plan we love, which means a plan built around the idea of hosting family events and gatherings. 

Even though the commute to work will be a bit longer, I'm excited to carpool with my husband and who can beat a view like this on your way to and from work? 



So as we make the final touches on our plan and approach the design aspect of it all, I'm curious what your dream home would have in it, without breaking the bank. My hill to die on, for instance, is a wood-burning fireplace. I absolutely am ecstatic about this part! I would give up a dishwasher for this! 

I'll be posting a list of a few of our must-haves as we finalize what we can realistically build, but I'd love any input! 

So if you were building your dream home, or already have, what would you include? 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Under Pressure! (Pressure Washing, that is...)

What a week! 

As I briefly mentioned previously, my awesome husband has been gone for the last three weeks at Annual Training in Fort Polk, Louisiana. I did not envy him his time there in the 112 heat index with humidity that rusted his pocketknife! 

I have been so excited to have him home (three weeks is a long time!) and have been booking it to get everything done in his love language, which means hedge trimming, mowing and pressure washing our fence. 

Seriously proud of that one: Check out this image from when it was almost complete! Who knew we had such a good-looking fence!  


My love language is definitely not action oriented like this. I am big on gift giving and words, so he always gets some punny little goofy cards when he goes on longer trips like this. I get some inspiration online (DatingDivas.com is amazing for sweet hubby stuff like this!) or just come up with our own inside joke ideas. I include a Bible verse that I feel will encourage him that day and pack them all up for his trip!

He loved his cards AND the yard being all done, so he could actually relax when he got home... or so I thought! We had a lovely evening at home... and then out of nowhere, I get sick. Horrible stomach pains for days. So there went our plans to spend a romantic weekend together and make homemade meals for him, but it was pretty nice having him there to take care of me. :) 

I just had my first day back a work today- which completely wiped me out- but I can't complain! I have no idea how all of you moms can go through this stuff and still be taking care of everyone else! I have a hard enough time letting the dogs outside when I'm sick! 

So enough about me and my lazy sick days, I will leave you with two things this oddly chilly Wednesday in Iowa: 

First, a suggestion: if you can find a good deal, get a pressure washer! It's so amazing to watch things transform when you clean them! We use it on siding, sidewalks, fences, etc. Awesome machine that really saves money in the long run! 

Second, a video of the pups seeing their "dog-dad" for the first time when he got home. :)


video



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Welcome, Little Pumpkin Baby Shower

Since I don't get to host baby showers every day (only two, ever, in fact), I thought I might give a little glimpse into one I planned last fall. It seems especially appropriate since fall is right around the corner! 

Since I am a sucker for themes and wordplay, pumpkins seemed perfect. Plus, it's super easy to decorate with pumpkins when they are outside every grocery store! 

I also ended up spending a lot of time at Hobby Lobby, where I found these adorable little straws and flags. I combined mason jars from my own collection, my mom's and my sis-in-luv's, so that was pretty easy! A warning on those paper straws, though- they get a little mushy the longer you use them! 


We also ordered cupcakes from a local bakery, Creme Cupcake- and provided little candy pumpkins for decor. Amazing flavors there! We went with Mocha Fudge, Salted Cinnamon Caramel and Red Velvet. We hosted it in the early afternoon as a dessert reception. We also had coffee, tea and apple cider! 


And centerpieces/decor was a breeze...


I also baked apple and pumpkin pies, added a little wheat to a pitcher, and voila! The pie stand below is actually from my wedding. My hubby, the officer, made it from wood in our backyard!! 


And to sub as a welcome sign, I painted a larger pumpkin  and included some fresh fall leaves, mini pumpkins, and an old milk crate I actually used in my wedding as well. 


And while it seems most people hate baby shower games (or any shower games), we had to throw in a few that weren't too bad: First up was only selecting volunteers to guess the baby-food. (and we only picked ones that didn't sound nasty!)


There was also a pumpkin painting contest, which the mom-to-be got to judge so the winner received a prize. We had everything from little colorful brads (to act as safer push-pins), paints and glitter. The results were pretty awesome! 



Gifts followed of course, and even the new big-sister reaped the benefits of the shower with her own personalized shirt. 


Before everyone left, we made sure to have a small gift for them on the way out! This cute little pumpkin bear guarded our basket of Apple Valley soaps with different fall scents. If you haven't heard of them, check out their website: http://www.applevalleynaturalsoap.com - I have never met a soap or lip product I would recommend, but my husband, parents and I all love these! 

Okay.. I'll get off my "soapbox." :) 


The party was a great success and we had a blast putting it together! I can't wait to host another shower- there are so many great ideas out there! 



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Cocktail Class Client Event!

One of my past jobs was to plan events for clients. I got to do everything from designing the invitations to crafting up unique client gifts to send home. I strove to come up with unique events to give our clients an experience unlike that of any other.

Plus, while my husband was gone to annual training in Louisiana for three weeks, I was happy to take on any work events that take up my evenings! Three pooches are great company, but they don't exactly compare to my hubby. 

I was able to host a cocktail class at Vom Fass, a liqueur, oil and vinegar shop. My purpose was to make this a referral event and encourage a small group of our clients to bring guests. We sent out this invitation about a month prior to give people time to plan. 


I also designed a small information card for guests to fill out so we can send them photos from the evening as well as some information about our office. 


I don't miss the environment, but I really miss this part of my job: I got to snoop Pinterest and find fun ideas that are affordable, but personalized for clients! I wanted to be unique and offer a personal touch, so I found these little mason jar cocktails and knew they would be perfect!


Each jar has an 8 oz can of Coke inside, and I used bakers twine to tie on a mini-bottle of Captain Morgan so they can make their own Captain and Coke at home- just add ice! 


I also made my own template for a jar label on the top to match the invitations and information cards, as well as a little name label for each jar to make it more personal. 



Inside each gift, I had included a handwritten note to thank them for attending and either invite them to call our office or thank them for bringing a guest. 





The class itself was a blast! We had different pairings to go with each drink, which included anything from different vinegars, to candied ginger, to pears and blue cheese on bread. 


Our teacher for the evening, Kevin, would start out by explaining the ingredients of the drink as he made it- including any history behind certain wines and liqueurs- he was a wealth of information I will never remember! 


The Vom Fass Champagne Cocktail: Quite strong, actually! 







Their shop is incredible- I'm not a big drinker, but it looks pretty amazing, don't you think? 


Vom Fass means "Of the Cask," and they will sample any product for you in the store! 




I loved to give clients this kind of experience- especially when I could have a great time as well!