Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wedding Day Candy Bar!

So, I know everyone is anxiously awaiting wedding photos, but I need to clear it with the bride, as she hasn't posted any herself. Some things I just think you need permission for, and putting up pictures of someone's special day is one of them! However, I think I can safely share my favorite part of the wedding reception without spoiling anything.

I have done a "candy bar" on a smaller scale at the "Superhero Shower". I love, love the concept-all that candy is playful, it's cheerful, it looks great and it is just generally fun! I had pinned several different versions for ideas onto my Pinterest board for the wedding and I was delighted with the final product!
 I have to say, the first time I saw this display at Party City, it made my heart skip a beat. I really wasn't thinking, or I would have transported candy with me on our trip. However, my sweet, sweet husband, who deals so well with my "eccentricities" sent me several photos, including the one above, and bought candy and carefully transported it via airplane so that I would have perfectly matching aqua candy for my display! The candy came from all kinds of places:
I have to preface with this-the majority of the glass jars and the amazing wooden crates all belong to my mom (a few of the pieces belonged to the church) as well as the red lazy susan in the bottom left corner. She just has the best stuff! Other than those the items came from, by grouping:

1. Left Wooden Crate: ceramic dry erase easel, Hobby Lobby (HL)
Pixy Sticks (we sorted out the colors we needed) Dollar Tree (DT)
Blue candies in square jar-coconut candies from World Market (WM)
Bottom shelf: cherry chocolates-Costco
blue Jelly Bellies, local candy store
all the plastic tongs were purchased at HL

2. Red Lazy Susan: paper bags (hand stamped) HL
assorted red candies (gummy fish, Cherry Sours, etc.) Walmart
blue Sixlets-Party City
metal scoops are from World Market

3. Two-tiered Cake Stand from top down: red and blue gummy bears, PC
raspberry gummies, WM
gummy sharks-the bride's favorite-local candy store
Red Hots-Walmart

4. Sign-Hobby Lobby (stand is my mom's)
cake plate:suckers from PC

5. Wooden Crate right, from top down:
Bob's Peppermint sticks, DT
Laffy Taffy (box of each color) local restaurant supply store
sour cherries, local candy store
 aqua, white and red gumballs, Marshall's

on table:
licorice pinwheels-Walmart
aqua striped cookie sticks, DT

I had SO MUCH FUN putting this together. It was easy to find red candy, the challenge was finding blue. I didn't restrict myself to perfectly matching things, but I did try to stay more towards the aqua/turquoise side of things. Some of my fave finds: the cookie sticks, the gumballs (my sister bought those!) and the gummy sharks. I also loved the tiny paper bags-we stamped them with a simple heart but it added a perfect finishing touch.

The easel read:
"Help yourself, but please be nice,
of other guests, please think twice! Thank you."

I got precious few photos of any of the decor, I had to really work with the photos above to lighten them enough that you could see the details! I was so insanely busy putting things together the photos I did get were terrible. I staged everything inside the church, since I was part of the wedding photo, I relied on gracious volunteers to set everything up the morning of. I was glad I got to play around with it and get it just right, though. I snapped this quick photo in case I needed to adjust anything. My sister, Lisa Dawn, made the banners with papers from Hobby Lobby and the little red chalkboard tags were a delightful find at Micheal's.  

My sweet flower girl had a hard time deciding how to fill her bag! There were just too many choices. 

I think all the guests had fun. I am glad I got a few photos of it, I am just realizing that there are quite a few things that I missed.:( However, that wasn't the point, it was a celebration of the uniting of two lives, and it was wonderful-with or without photos!
I linked up at:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"Mustache Bash" Bachelorette Party!

I can't even begin to tell you how delighted I was to be in my sister's wedding. There is an age difference of 10 years between us, but I absolutely love her, and for her to let me be a part of her special day that way was truly an honor. It was a little daunting to be the only 30-something amid a bunch of 18-22 year olds, but I think I managed. 

Part of proving my worth was helping to plan the bachelorette party. I did not have one, my own wedding was very small, and basically, my dearest friends went out to dinner before we went back to my apartment to throw together last-minute wedding details. I was very happy with that. But kids these days! They expect a little more. 

The maid of honor (another of my younger sisters) and I managed to put together a really fun day, though. We started it off with a breakfast and because the bride is a teensy bit obsessed with the current mustache trend (even though the groom has no facial hair!) it made for the perfect starting point. 

 I have never done a breakfast party, and just let me say-I would definitely do another! My mom has the most perfect porch at her house and also tons of fun furniture that made putting together this little party a snap. We set the food up in one of her vintage crates on a low table. We did easy breakfast foods-no extensive prep. Costco muffins, mini quiches, fruit salad, ham and cheese and of course, cookies and chocolate!
 The "Wet Your Whiskers!" sign was Lisa Dawn's idea (the MOH). We used a lot of supplies that I picked up for a $0.50 each that Walmart was clearing out last year! We used mustache shaped sticky notes under clear packing tape to gussy up the water bottles. We also served mini bottles of sparking peach cider-the bride's favorite flavor! The neon green plates and napkins (I should have gotten better photos of those, they had cute sayings on them."I "mustache" for another piece" is what the plates said.) are from Walmart this current year.

 We served iced coffee in a cute carafe (my mom has some of the best party things!) alongside plastic champagne glasses-since we were outside. The cute stickers on the bottom of the glasses are from Hobby Lobby and the adorable confetti 'staches are from Walmart this year.
 We even arranged the muffins in a semblance of a mustache!

 We used more sticky notes to label the food. And we used mustache scrapbook paper to set the serving dishes on.
 The cute magnetic board is my mom's, and another one of my talented sisters whipped up the little "Keep Calm and Stache On" sign. The mini dry erase board and all the magnets are from Walmart last year.
 The 'staches on sticks made for cute and functional decor. They were fuzzy! They are from the Dollar Tree and I simply stuck them to wooden skewers. The finger tattoo mustaches (behind the stickers) are also from there. The stickers are from Hobby Lobby. The bins were Walmart finds!
 I used a magnetic frame set in a photo stand and some more favors to add a little color-all this stuff was part of my Walmart haul!

 Lisa Dawn made the banner-scrapbook paper and ribbon from Hobby Lobby. She printed the letter "I" and then heart and mustache symbols on colored cardstock and then cut them into pennant shapes. It looked really professional!

 The bride! If you look closely, you can see the cute 'stache drink identifier that my mom bought for all the drinks. They were each a different shape!
 My two cutie co-planners! It was early, so please forgive everyone's sleepy eyes and bad hair!

Everyone loved the fuzzy 'staches! It was definitely a fun, easy to put together party. It made for a great start to our day, which included canoeing/kayaking, lunch at the bride's favorite restaurant, and ended with mani/pedis. The bride was very happy and isn't that all that matters?

Linking up to "Thrifty Thursday" at Living Well, Spending Less! 
"The Weekly Creative Thursday"  at Reasons to Skip Housework

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cute Coaster World Carnival Favors!

I finally ordered a new camera cord, and realized I hadn't uploaded any photos since May! So, after wading through 400+ photos, I realized that I hadn't posted a lot of things that I had been planning on. We did VBS the first full week in June-I don't think that anyone has it earlier than that-not a traditional, meet-every-morning-for-a-week one, anyway! 
VBS this year was amazing-the theme was "Colossal Coaster World" a combination of amusement park/fair/carnival concepts. I loved the motto: "Facing Fear, Trusting God". Anyway, the theme would be irrelevant if it wasn't for the outstanding volunteers that make all the fun and learning possible! I won't even re-state how firm a believer I am in thank-you gifts, and my uber-creative sister, Robyn, was here to help me make the VBS ones extra special!
We decided to do a combo of old-fashioned carnival prizes and throw in some theme park elements for fun. I found most of it at the Dollar Tree, but I am really loving World Market for fun, unexpected gift elements!

We put in (from the top down, left to right):
-A giant Pixy stick (World Market) $0.75
-"Polaroid" Magnetic photo frames, for all those souvenir photos! (Dollar Tree) $1
-Glow sticks, for riding the Ferris Wheel after dark (Dollar Tree) $1
-Fun "vintage" soda (World Market) $1
-Cheap stuffed animal, a monkey, for winning a carnival game (Dollar Tree) $1
-Cracker Jacks (Dollar Tree, pack of 3) $0.33
-Crazy Straw (Dollar Tree, pack of 6) $0.17
-"Popcorn" Bag, not shown (Dollar Tree, pack of 10) $0.10

Total for a cute themed thank-you gift: $5.35
We packaged them up in red and white striped popcorn bags, and I thought having the monkey hug the soda was a cute final touch! Of course, since I was coordinating with my sister, everything had to match! These would make adorable birthday party favors, too. I know the recipients (both teens and adults) got a kick out of them!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Why in the World Am I Doing This?

So, I have a whole series of posts on the wedding and other trip things planned, and then I realized last night that I can't find my camera cord. Posting those posts without photos would be like having a s'more without a marshmallow-kind of icky. I had already planned to start blogging more frequently (even since the beginning of the year, my goal has been to blog at least once a week) and since I came home I was planning on blogging every night, even if I didn't hit publish.

But when I realized my camera cord was MIA, I started to feel sorry for myself. Why do I post anyway? Basically, the only people reading this are my aunt, my sisters and sometimes my mom. And they pretty much lived through all the wedding craziness with me. So they probably don't need an extended play-by-play.

As a matter of fact, why do I blog at all? I have been at this for almost *five* years (Next month is my anniversary, just in case you wanted to send a gift!) and I have precious little to show for it. Yes, I have a record of many of our little family's memories, which is wonderful. But I could have put together photo books for that and not displayed it like I thought it was so important that the whole world wanted to see it.

And my little spiritual musings, well, let's be honest. I'm no Beth Moore, or Ann Voskamp! And then I bizarrely mix that up with craft projects, and bizarre ramblings of other kinds and you kind of have a mess. That, I suppose, is why I named this "Clare's Contemplations"-it's basically your view into the utter disaster that is my mind.

Which leads me back to where I started. Why in the world am I wasting my time on this at all? I have looked at way too many blogs that have only been around for a year (or less!) that have literally thousands of more readers than I do. I know I don't follow the "rules"-I don't post often enough, I don't comment enough, I haven't submitted any guest posts, I don't link to enough parties. So, I really don't have anyone to blame but myself.

But, you see, I keep praying about this whole blogging thing. I think, "I will plunge in wholeheartedly and do a million linky parties, and pin faithfully, and write up a guest post and post more often and comment on at least "X" number of blogs." And I feel the Spirit say, "Wait". And then I think, that's okay, I will just close up shop and put all this childish foolishness behind me. And again, I feel the Spirit say, "Wait".

And I don't understand why. I'm not doing any good am I? Not that I can see.

 "Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction;
whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
 Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Therefore, as we have opportunity,
let us do good to all people,
especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
Galatians 6:8-10
See, I read this blog this morning. And I also read this:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
 let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
 Hebrews 12:1-3 
I'm doing this because I can't *not* do it. Because even though it embarasses me, and frustrates me, confuses me and confounds me, I'm just called to do it. And I don't get to see where the seeds I have sown have fallen. Because it keeps me humble and refines my faith, and causes me to focus on Who I am really doing this for.
Like being a wife.
Like being a mother.
Like being a homeschooler.
Like being a friend.
Like giving my widow's mite.
Like being a believer.
And so, on those days when I am feeling especially low, I go to the One who never wearies of me, no matter how pitiful I am. The One who sees past the bad grammar, and run-on sentences, the menial grasping at words to try to explain how the Word and the Spirit are at work in my life into what is truly going on: a continual perfecting of the good work He started in me. And I will keep planting seeds, even if I never see the fruit. I will keep chugging along, until I am given the freedom to stop. And that may be tomorrow, next year, or at the end of my life. Until then, I will continue to consider Him and not lost heart.


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