Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Time Has Come

It's time.
I'm starting small.
I've been thinking about this for a long time.
Going back and forth. And back. And forth.
Should I?
Shouldn't I?

I decided. Why not? What could it hurt?
I'm starting small.
I don't want to make oodles of stuff that will sit around my house.
I love crafting and giving my crafts away. 

Now I'm hoping to earn a little money and donate a little money to an organization that is dear to my heart.
Some of you know that a year ago, Marcus and I went to India on a mission trip.
For a year or two prior to that trip, we had been involved with an organization called Charasia that works in India doing orphan care, pastoral training, and microenterprise.

I told myself that if I went into crafting to make money, it would only stress me out.
I'm hoping that keeping the focus on giving will keep it fun.
So, 50% of my earnings will be donated to Charasia.
You can learn more about this organization at their website.

So, without further ado, here it is: open for business.
Check it out.
...and tell your friends.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What a Weekend!

Tomorrow is my mom's 49th birthday! Such a youngin'. :)
In honor of her birthday, my dad surprised her for the weekend.
On Friday, he put her on the Amtrak and sent her to Chicago. My sister picked her up and the rest was history! My sis, Dad, and I had planned the whole weekend and everything was a surprise.

Friday night, we went to On the Border for some yummy Mexican.
Then, we stayed at the Embassy Suites and enjoyed the made-to-order breakfast the next morning.
After we checked out, we took her to get our nails done.

Then, after a quick lunch at Potbelly's, we took the Metra downtown and surprised her with a show at the Cadillac Palace Theater.

It was FABULOUS!! I LOVE live musicals and this did not disappoint.

Then, we wandered around downtown a bit...

(We weren't at this theater- it was across the street from ours.)

We stopped at Anthropologie...LOVE that place, but way out of my price range...

Then, we ate dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. YUM!

(you can kind of see my nails in this pic, haha) - and yes, that is red velvet cake and cheesecake in layers. Delicious. I could only eat two bites.

Then we headed out to take the train back to Deerfield.

My mom stayed at our place and then we went to church in the morning. After church, we drove out to Lou Malnati's for lunch. She LOVES that place. But...the surprises didn't end yet!

We had it all arranged...and as we were being seated, we hear a little voice yell out, "SURPRISE!" She had no clue...the family had driven up from Moline to have lunch together and to bring her back.

Cutest little Miss Thang.

Happy Birthday, Mom! We love you!
We had such a fun weekend!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dance Moves

After the hubbub of the near year and all the festivities that went along with that, we had a wedding to go to on January 2nd.

Todd was a groomsman in our wedding and although we've lost touch a bit, we've managed to see and visit with Todd a couple times a year or so since our wedding. I didn't take many pics, but I do have a few showing off the mad dance moves that took place at this shindig and I feel they are worth sharing.

, it got a little rowdy at times. But, I must say, the best part was when the fog machine (yes, there was one of those) made the smoke alarm go off and the firemen came into the reception hall. Oh good times.

Congrats, Todd and Veronica! We're happy to have been there to celebrate your special day!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Just Gross....or Funny?

This year, I got a hilarious White Elephant gift.
Paper cups.
Not just any paper cups.
Paper cups that change your face.
They are hilarious.
Some are disgusting.

Haha! Disturbing, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Special Christmas/New Year's Date

This year for our Christmas gift to each other, Marcus and I had a special date. We stayed at the Hyatt in Deerfield, which was super snazzy, tried out a new restaurant, and more.

It started the morning of January 1st. We slept in until about noon, and I made us some pancakes.

After being lazy almost all day, we did a little shopping and then went out for a yummy dinner. Our all-time favorite restaurant, Bluegrass was closed for the holiday, so ventured out and tried something new. We went to RAM and were pleasantly surprised. The food was delicious and priced just right.

We reflected on 2009 and made some new goals for 2010, which include:
1. Get back on track with our "couples" devotions...we've been slacking these past few months.
2. Be more healthy in general (more veggies at dinner and more frequent trips to the gym).
3. Marcus wants to spend less time on the computer and more time reading.
4. I want to keep on keepin'-on with my grad school and earn straight A's.
5. (This one we added for fun because it is attainable with certainty): move to Moline.

Down the street from the restaurant was our snazzy 4-star hotel (which I of course got for $50 on :) We got some snacks and lounged around watching a Law and Order SVU marathon (which, ironically, is always on when we stay at a hotel!)

(Is it embarrassing to post pics of us in our pajamas? Hope not.) :)

The next (late) morning we went off to our favorite breakfast spot, Rhapsody Cafe, in Deerfield. It was delicious as usual.

Although 2010 has brought with it some anxiety (for me) because now it's not "next year" that we're moving, it's "this year"...I'm excited for the changes on the horizon and eager to see what God has planned for us.

I pray you all have a blessed year!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

This year we spent New Year's Eve with Brittney and Dan and Becca and Travis at B & T's place. It was definitely one of the best New Year's Eves we've had!

Games and food, the ball drop, the fun!

Wow, Travis. Very nice.

Dan was getting cold....and sleepy (?)

Marcus giving Travis the "awkward hug."

Girls picture! Brittney called this pose "Twin Towers."


I think this is the countdown and everyone is saying "One!"

Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas with the Carletons

Every year we spend Christmas day with my family. We go over early for breakfast, open presents, lounge around all day, and then have a big lunch/dinner.

My sister went all Martha Stewart-y and made these cool place settings.

Look at her pajamas!!! and all that eye shadow!!!!

Marcus got some coffee...and a new French Press (since ours got ruined in the kitchen flood)!!

We got my dad some hand-held games and I made a cover for a little basket to put them in.

I had to post a pic of my sis in real clothes... :)

Emily, my bro's girlfriend, and my brother, and me doing a crossword or two. Classic.

ZamZam got some shoes (and lots of other things) which she was quite excited about. :)

That'll do it for the Moline Christmases...
What is your favorite Christmas tradition?