Sunday, October 31

Costume (Tea) Party

This was not your traditional costume party. For starters, when my friend Southern Belle knocked at the door, I opened it to see one of these ladies in the flesh:
The green hat is eerily similar to the red one she was wearing! 
Southern Belle collects historic clothing, and she also sews her own.
Little Women-esque jacket

My favs, the 40's and 50's

These actually belonged to her grandma, who eloped in the cream one!

After admiring the costumes for quite sometime, we were starving. Time for tea!

More tea?

And then it was time for more dress up!
Look. At. This. Dress. 
Ok, I will. This fabric is so beautiful, the picture doesn't do it justice. the dress bodice has boning in it to make you look skinny, and one of the twirliest skirts ever.
Swing dancing? Nope, just twirling. 

What did you dress up as this year? 

Friday, October 29

Costumes, Costumes

The last time I dressed up for Halloween, on Halloween, was when I was probably around 5 years old. I tried to find a picture, but I think it's scanned onto my parent's computer, which is broken right now, and possibly in my older sister's scrapbook.

Anyway, I was Snow White, and the skirt was the most twirly skirt known to man. My mom actually made the costume, and my older sister's. She was Dorthy from the Wizard of Oz, with an adorable blue checkered jumper (also with a twirly skirt) and red glitter encrusted slippers. My younger sister was Ariel, and I actually wasn't jealous, because I remembered wearing that fake red hair when I was three and tripping over my feet in the tight green skirt.

I remember that Halloween because we went to Nana and Papa's house, and it SNOWED. On Halloween. Halloween in Iowa is always freezing, but this time really took the cake. We stayed warm and dry for the most part, since we were only trick-or-treating for our grandparents. For some reason, maybe as an alternative to going outside and ringing the doorbell, we performed a play for the adults. Papa was the narrator, and I think he made it up as we went along. I remember that it was something along the lines of  "Ariel decided to go visit Snow White. While they were chatting and drinking tea, they decided to call on Dorthy. So they went over to Dorthy's house, and drank more tea..." And at the end, Nana taught us to bow, holding each other's hands, standing in a line, and raising our arms and then bowing together, repeating at least twice.

But, since I don't have pictures of that story, I thought I'd share some others from costume parties past...actually just last year.
I don't know who took this...I got if off facebook. The date is obviously off...
My mom gave me that colonial ball gown for my 16th birthday, I believe. I never thought I'd have any use for it, until the Cyclone Bible Fellowship costume party.
Both of these dresses are actually mine...I was loaded with costumes. I didn't even wear either of these the year before...
 I just wanted to put this one in, since I think it's really cool. But you can see who I actually was in this picture: 
Yep, Princess Peach, with Mario and Luigi! FYI, Brian's mustache is real.

But back to the nearer past: 
This is seriously the most gorgeous fabric ever. 

I know what you're dying to ask. Did Brian dress up like a colonial man? French Revolutionist? Minuteman? Red coat? Did he wear breeches and tights?

Nope. I didn't think he was going to dress up at all: he shot down my idea of dressing up like an old man and an old lady, or a farmer (using the overalls from last year) and farmer's wife. But he didn't let me down. He was late to the party, and then showed up like this:
What is he? (clue: spiky hair, sweat band, blue underarmor shirt)

If you said "ping pong player," you're right! (Notice that although we were from different eras, we were still matching color-wise)

Brian made the comment: "You should wear that dress sometime after we get married."
"Why?" I asked.
"Because...it would be fun to kiss a Victorian."

Close enough, Brian.

What was your all-time favorite costume?

Thursday, October 28

And the Winner Is...

Many thanks to all who entered my first ever giveaway for a $35 gift card to CSN Stores! I'm so glad so many people entered! I've passed the 50 followers milestone! I'm working on finding all of you new followers and following you back.

So, you want to know who won? Drum roll please....

The random number generated by random.org was....
Congratulations Janelle!!!
Shoot me an email to confirm that you've seen this, and I'll email you your gift card code!

Thanks again to all who entered! This was really fun, we should definitely do it again ... maybe at 100 followers?!

While that's in the distant future, Halloween and Holidays are not. Coming up next, some fall themed posts, because it's FINALLY feeling like fall here! 

But while we're on the subject of giveaways, I won one! Out of the hundreds, literally, hundreds of giveaways I've probably entered, I've only won two, and they happened to both be ones I REALLY wanted! I won a custom blog design awhile ago, and this week through the Blog Guidebook I won two e-books from Ella Publishing!

I'm super stoked to be able to take more professional looking pictures for this blog, scrapbooking, and projects! Be sure to check out Ella for adorable e-books on design, scrapbooking, journaling, and photography if you're into any of those. 

Happy shopping Janelle!

Tuesday, October 26

For My Sister on Her Birthday

Dear Evi,
This is a letter I wrote to you during my senior year of high school. I've added some to it since then, and so I'm giving it to you now for your 18th birthday. 
Four score and eighteen years ago...
 Our relationship has evolved so much over the years! Almost from the time mom and dad brought you home from the hospital, I was jealous of you. I felt robbed of my position, and all the love and attention that was due me. I allowed that bitterness to grow and shape my whole perspective of you. I thought everyone babied you, and gave you special treatment because you were younger and cuter. As a result, I was over-bearing and insensitive; although... you did provoke me frequently and sometimes deserved it a little, maybe? For six or seven years, our relationship consisted of constant bickering, sometimes resulting in fist-fights, and making each other’s lives as miserable as possible.
Sisters and our Snowman
As the years passed, I started to enjoy playing with you. I'll never forget our doll adventures! Those were good times. But as I got too old for dolls, I mostly ignored you, unless you bothered me. Then I informed you that you were an immature annoying copy-cat, a huge show-off, whose jokes were dumb and whose stories drier than the Sahara.  This stage of relative indifference lasted three or four years, about to my sophomore year of high school.
 Then one day, you began wearing make-up, mascara and foundation, and lip gloss. I couldn’t believe my eyes; the immature little tag-a-long had morphed into a tall, slender, attractive teenager. Not only had you gone through metamorphosis physically, but you developed talents for drawing, singing, and dancing, with a sparkling wit and keen sense of humor.

 But you are also beautiful where it counts; you are compassionate, loyal, and selfless. (What teenager do you know has a ministry of visiting the older ladies without nearby family on a regular basis?!) How did you grow up so fast without me knowing? I must have been far too focused on myself to appreciate the beautiful person that was emerging in you.

I loved taking you to high school and back, jamming out in the car, dancing to our Toby Mac song. I loved making you laugh, because you always brightened my day. I could always go to you for fashion advice, and I still do! I'll never forget the time I told that boy I'd kick his butt if he ever bothered you again!

 You became my companion, my comic relief, my ally, and my fellow schemer. Most importantly, Evi, you became my friend. 
Model posing with our sort of matching hats

Caught in the rain soon before I left for college
And of course, this post wouldn't be complete without the song!

I love you Evi! :) Have a wonderful 18th birthday!!!

Monday, October 25

To Do List:1- Stop making Lists!

I love lists. I love being organized. But it's gotten to the point where I feel smothered under a pile of scraps of paper with all the things I'm supposed to do...and never get done.

Let me tell you just how many lists we're talking about.
Kitchen: one shopping list, one menu list, one recipes-to-try list= 3 lists

Dining room/living room: one list of meal plans for Brian, one list of house hold projects for Brian, one list of wedding gifts, one list of addresses for thank you cards for the wedding gifts = 4 lists

Bedroom: two camping packing lists, 4 lists in the nightstand drawer = 6 lists

Guest bedroom: six sticky note lists, one weekly cleaning list, one to do list, one calender, 5 sticky note lists in the desk drawer, one notebook with probably a hundred daily to do lists = 114 lists, approx.

Pretty much, the only place in our apartment where I'm safe from the barrage of Things-I-Should-Do is in the bathroom.

Each line on each list is one pang of guilt. I didn't sweep the kitchen yesterday, I'm not going to dust today, we didn't hang the valance last weekend, I haven't written that blog post yet, I meant to have half of my thank you cards mailed by October, and now I'll probably be lucky if it's done by Christmas.

Not everything is time consuming, not everything is important. I know that, but I still feel like everything should be a priority. I feel like I should have more crossed off at the end of each day. I feel like I should have made progress by now.

It got to the point where I felt so overwhelmed and guilty that everyday around 4 p.m, I curled into a ball on my bed and cried. I cried because I can't do it all, and I really want to. I cried because everyone wants something from me, and I don't have anything to give. I cried because I'll probably never accomplish half of the things I want to, and people will be let down, and it will be my fault. I cried because the more time I take to recharge and relax, means the more hurried and stressed I'll be when I come back.

Jesus admonished a stressed-out and overwhelmed Martha:
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41, 42)
I thought and prayed over this verse, and I finally told Brian that I feeling overwhelmed, and a little depressed. He asked me lots of questions, all beginning with, "Do you feel like...How does it make you feel when..." in true psychiatrist style. But actually it really helped me to pin-point my problem: prioritizing and delegating. After we'd established that, Brian had me gather all my lists from throughout the house and combine them into one big list, not including the 100 daily to-do lists. It took up three pages of notebook paper! Seeing all the tasks together in one place was at once overwhelming and soothing, since I didn't have to try to remember where they were written down anymore.

 Like the engineer he is, Brian had me put them into an excel document and number each according to priority, 1 being past due. This was hard. It took me a while, but I realized how much weight I'd been giving to less important things, and re-evaluate things I'd been neglecting. Brian also encouraged to delegate to him anything that he was capable of doing. When I only assigned him installing the valance, he was actually offended, and insisted he could do the laundry, vacuuming, taking out the trash and newspapers, and washing dishes. And he did!

Am I a blessed wife or what?! I'm so grateful that God used my husband to help me get my priorities straightened out. I know it will be a struggle still to stay focused, but with practice and His help, I can stop worrying about many things, and choose the one thing that is needed. 

Have you struggled with being overwhelmed? How do you prioritize?

Wednesday, October 20

Giveaway Gift Card to CSN Stores!

Yes siree, I'm having my first ever giveaway! CSN Stores contacted me and offered to giveaway a $35 gift card to their stores. If you're familiar with the blogosphere, you may have heard of their network of 200+ stores, where you can buy pretty much anything, from furniture,
Hillsdale Milan Barstool from Allbarstools.com

To cookware,

Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles Pink Christmas Collection: Cookware.com

To shoes.

The holiday's are coming up! A $35 gift card could definitely help with the shopping. Is using a free gift card to buy someone a gift considered re-gifting?!

I'll let you decide for yourself. Regardless, there are two simple steps to enter this giveaway:

1. Check out CSN stores, come back and tell me what you'd like to use the gift card on. I know it's hard to choose!
2. Follow my blog, or subscribe via RSS, or to emails. Or all three. Leave another comment telling me which of the three you're doing. If you're already following, that counts.

You can get extra entries by:
1. Following Scribbles From Emily on Twitter. Leave a comment telling me you did. Or are already.
2. Liking Scribbles From Emily on Facebook. Ditto.

Entries are limited to the US and Canada. The winning comment will be chosen using Random.org, so the more comments with entries you leave, the better your chances. The giveaway will be open for one week, starting Wednesday, October 20, until Wednesday, October 27th.

There you have it! Have fun!

Thursday, October 14

All By Myself

Monday after we've just started back to normal life after our camping trip, Brian had the opportunity to go on a business trip. He called me and asked if I was ok with him going, and I encouraged him to go.

I was all by myself for two days and two nights. It was kind of like being single. Almost. But not really.

I could have called someone to hang out, but I decided I wanted to see how I did alone. I did get a little freaked out at night, after dinner, when it was really, really quiet. But overall, I enjoyed it. I took advantage of the time to get a lot of things done, and watch movies I knew Brian would never want to see with me. Each day besides working on school, writing, and the mountain of laundry, I had some fun time! Popcorn, chocolate, and chick flicks, oh my!
I may or may not have:
  • stayed up until 3 a.m. Monday night
  • watched "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and laughed out loud, although it felt funny not having someone to laugh with.
  • fixed actual meals. 
  • sung loud and proud whatever tune came into my head to break the silence.
  • kept the doors all locked at every second.
  • called Brian after 1 a.m. Monday night. Don't worry, they were still driving, so he was awake and didn't mind.
  • promised myself to go to sleep at a decent time, and stayed up until 4 a.m Tuesday night.
  • watched "The Proposal," and laughed out loud, alone.
  • got a funny feeling in my mouth and on my lips, like the skin has been eaten away by all the salt from the chips and cheesy popcorn I ate.
  • slept with the light on.
Yes, all of the above are completely true.

And while it was fun being alone, it was.... lonely. I didn't like having the whole bed to myself. I missed Bri's smile and hugs. A lot. I'm glad it wasn't for very long. 

I'm glad he's back. And I'm glad I'm not single. 

I think I'll see if I can talk Brian into watching "Confessions of  Shopaholic"...it's just so much more fun to laugh with someone else!

Wednesday, October 13

Cave Springs Camping Trip, Last Day

The last day of our trip, written after we arrived home. 

We slept in until 9 a.m. again, and while laying in bed, we realized that we would need a new pass to park at the trail where I wanted to hike, so I contented myself with exploring the trails around our camp ground.

Campfire picture that was supposed to be in the last post

Exploring the trail by our campsite

Raspberries! I ate one, but it didn't taste very good because I'd just brushed my teeth

The cave for which our campground was named. It was blocked up and fenced off. 

"1915 Fred Barrows" was here

By this time, I'm feeling very itchy and greasy, despite the babywipe spot cleanings. But I'd also perfected my squatting pee over the toilets; a very useful skill. 
After our little hike, we packed up and said farewell to our campsite
We drove down to Sedona, found some free parking, and just walked up and down mainstreet, looked at a few western ware shops, listened to a native American performance, admired the mobiles and sculpture, and got some Starbucks! Normally, I'm not a fan of Starbucks. I'm a Caribou Coffee fan myself, but after roughing it with coffee we'd made ahead and kept in a bottle in the cooler, I was ready for something civilized. I'd never tried the Pumpkin Spice Latte before, but having tried it, Starbucks has finally recruited me as a fan.


Brian stopped to use the restroom, and after an uncharacteristically long time, he reappeared. "They have real toilets! And sinks!" Ahhhh. It's the little things in life that we don't appreciate until we don't have them, like being able to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, and looking at yourself in a mirror, and sitting on a toilet seat that looks clean, and not gagging from the stench when opening the bathroom door! 

After Sedona, we came home. I slept in the car, and we were both so exhausted when we got home, that we left all our stuff in a big pile on the floor. (Brian took care of it the next day and cleaned up for me!) Brian fixed hot dogs while I finished that school work, and then we just chilled. It was so nice to sleep in our own bed again!

I hope you enjoyed our camping chronicles. Let me know in the comments which day's pictures you liked the best and why!