Category Archives: Hospitality

Hannah’s Jamberry Birthday Party

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed my obsession with Jamberry Nail Wraps. I love them! And, I seem to have passed this little addiction on to my oldest girl. So, a Jamberry birthday party was the perfect way to celebrate her 11th birthday!

Her actual birthday was on April 4th, and we had a simple family celebration that evening. But, we had a Parenting Conference at church that weekend, so we planned to have her party the following week. But, it had to be postponed. More than once. Of course, my sweet birthday girl handled the delays graciously. And, we finally got to celebrate last weekend.


Hannah is my little party planner. Many of the details were her doing. She picked out the wraps that she and her friends got to put on, helped set up the table, and even made place cards for everyone.

And, she had very specific ideas about her cake…as usual. This year, she chose Angel Food Cake, with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream. (She made it very easy on me!)IMG_3960

And, instead of ice cream, we made strawberry Greek yogurt popsicles.


Rebekah wasn’t a fan of the cake, but she really liked her popsicle!

After a lot of rain, the weather was perfect for enjoying their treats outside on the patio!


She received some very thoughtful gifts…and had a very enthusiastic helper!


Hannah has some very sweet friends, and we were so thankful to have them, and Grammy & Grampy come celebrate with us! (And we missed the ones who were unable to make it!)


Happy 11th Birthday, Hannah!


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Filed under Birthdays, Hannah Elisabeth, Homemaking, Hospitality, Mommyhood, Traditions & Celebrations

Titus’ 4th Birthday Party

Our boy turned 4 years old!
So, we celebrated with a Monster Truck party!

Titus' Monster Truck Birthday

My children have very specific ideas about their birthday cakes. And, while my cake decorating ability is (very) limited, I try to comply whenever possible.
This year was no different. The birthday boy wanted chocolate cake and vanilla frosting…and monster trucks.

So, I did what any self-respecting, but artistically-challenged parent would do. I resorted to thievery. I used his “Monster Mater” trucks as part of the decoration.
IMG_4750wm(The one in the “ring” is I-Screamer. Get it? Cake and… Yeah, okay. He got it.)

We celebrated with Grammy & Grampy, and a few of his friends from church.
I can’t tell you how excited he was to have another boy at the party this year!


Because his birthday fell on a Sunday, we had his party on Saturday…

But, after church, we came home for more celebrating…and more presents!

Titus' 4th Birthday

Happy 4th Birthday, Titus!!

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Filed under Birthdays, Hospitality, Life, Mommyhood, Titus Ryle, Traditions & Celebrations

Rebekah’s 2nd Birthday

Happy 2nd Birthday Rebekah

Our sweet girl turned 2! So, of course, we celebrated with a Minnie Mouse-themed birthday party!

IMG_4111Grammy & Grampy and our friends from church helped us celebrate.


Lunch was, appropriately, hot dogs! Inspired Rebekah’s favorite show, The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and the Hot Dog Dance!

IMG_4102We played “Pin the Bow on Minnie,” or something like it, since I forgot a blindfold. But, considering it was a game for 2-year-olds, that was probably for the best.


The Birthday Girl had lots of help opening her gifts…

IMG_4134She loved her baby doll from Grandma & Boppy!

Then it was time for…CAKE!
IMG_4075-020wmI really think this was her favorite part.
Any time someone asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she replied, in a whisper, “Cake!”
IMG_4145Make a wish!

IMG_4149Happy 2nd Birthday, my sweet Rebekah Ann!!

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Filed under Birthdays, Hospitality, Life, Mommyhood, Traditions & Celebrations

Rebekah’s 1st Birthday Party!


We celebrated Rebekah’s 1st Birthday with a little party and few friends from church.


Jessie & Alejandra

Johanna & Sophia

Johanna & Sophia


Micah & Hannah

Grammy & Grampy came too!

Grammy & Grampy

Grammy & Grampy

Seeing as how it was October, a fallish-Pumpkin theme just seemed to fit.





Bethany & Hannah

Bethany & Hannah





Rebekah received some sweet gifts from her friends…although she was a bit overwhelmed by the unwrapping.


Opening a Gift…with help from Hannah & TItus

Then it was time for cupcakes!


Hannah lit the candle


In keeping with our theme, I decorated the cupcakes with little candy pumpkins…and that is the extent of my cake-decorating ability.

Rebekah’s first taste of sugar…

What is this?

What is this?

She was a little hesitant at first…


Licking the frosting off her fingers.

Just poked at the frosting…

Really? I'm allowed to eat this?

Really? I’m allowed to eat this?

But, then she got brave.

First Bite

First Bite

Yeah. I think she liked it.


Happy Little Frosting Face…She even had it in her eyelashes!

Happy 1st Birthday, Rebekah!! We love you!

With my Birthday Girl

With my Birthday Girl


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Filed under Birthdays, Hospitality, Life, Mommyhood, Rebekah Ann, Traditions & Celebrations

Of Tracts And Treats

Photo: Too funny

We don’t really do much in the way of “celebrating” Reformation Day…unless you consider a history lesson and coloring pages a “celebration.” (Crazy homeschoolers that we are.)

Though they fall on the same day, Halloween and Reformation Day are two distinct events…although more and more I see Christians – and churches – trying to combine the two, with “Halloween Alternatives” in honor of “Reformation Day.”


I like the idea of children (especially non-churched kids) having a safe, non-scary alternative to going door-to-door… But, at the same time, I do not like the mentality that says, we don’t want to participate in the “pagan” aspects of this day, but we don’t want our kids to miss out on the “fun” of it…

“We don’t TRICK-or-treat, but TRUNK-or-treat is okay.”
“We don’t dress up in the neighborhood, but it is okay if we are going to church.”
My least favorite might be, “we don’t celebrate Halloween, we celebrate Reformation Day…by dressing up like a superhero, and getting candy from the neighbors.” Um…okay. Because Batman has what to do with Martin Luther?

I know there are some who will argue that Christians are free to celebrate, or participate, in “Halloween” in whatever manner they choose. Okay, fine. There are others who will argue that a Christian should have nothing to do with this holiday. Again, fine.

But, let’s be honest – with ourselves, and with our children – about what we are doing. Call it what it is, and own what we do… And, maybe, redeem the day for the sake of the Gospel!

There is nothing inherently evil about eating candy or playing dress-up. Both happen in our home, regardless of the date on the calendar. Dress up, and the corresponding imaginative play, is pretty much an everyday occurrence. Throughout the course of a day, I might see a fairy, a princess, a chef, a mommy, a bunny, or a ballerina…I have a child with a very vivid imagination, who loves to make up and act out stories. And, that is something that I encourage. So long as the costume is modest, and honoring to the Lord, I am not opposed to dress-up, or imaginative play. Candy, though consumed in (extreme) moderation, could potentially be found in our home on any given day as well.

But, when it comes to this particular date on the calendar, we participate in a very limited way, and only in the aspects that we believe would not compromise our testimony as believers, or our witness to our neighbors.

While we do allow Hannah to have candy, we do try to limit the amount of refined sugar we consume.  And, if Hannah were to go trick-or-treating, she would probably collect far more candy than the three of us combined could consume before next Halloween!  So, it seems pointless to allow her to collect large amounts of candy, knowing that she will not be able, or allowed, to eat it all.  Plus, knowing that someone spent money on it, I would just feel wasteful throwing it out.

Second, safety is a major concern.  I fully, and willingly admit to being an over-protective mama, and sheltering my children. Frankly, it is hard enough to keep track of a child who is running around at the park in full daylight, with several other children all dressed in normal clothing. But, throw darkness, and 40 or so other children in similar costumes into the mix…and the difficulty grows exponentially. And, these days, even “safe” suburban neighborhoods are peppered with sex offenders (check it out online for yourself…it was quite the eye-opening experience for me when I first did!). And, you just can’t be too careful.

Lastly, while I do not see anything inherently evil in candy and costumes, there are aspects of Halloween that are dark, scary, and evil. Many homes utilize the spooky “decorations” (ghosts, witches, etc.), scary music, or stunts intended to frighten.  And, personally, I do not find it at all amusing, or enjoyable to scare children. And, exposure to that which is scary and evil, in the name of “fun,” making it appear innocent, desensitizes children, and adults alike, to the reality, and the seriousness of spiritual warfare.Witches and evil spirits are real.  And they are evil.  They are not a source of entertainment or a cause for celebration.We live in a world that glorifies sin, fear, and death.  And, as much as I would like to shield my daughter from all of the scary, evil aspects of this holiday (and in the world in general), I simply cannot.  She still sees the ghosts, and witches, and skeletons on the house down the street or at the grocery store.  (And, believe me, if I could avoid going to the store this time of year, I probably would…but, I can’t, my family still wants to eat!)  Even if I did attempt to go to that extreme, she still has friends (yes, even Christian friends!) who like to talk about the scary side of Halloween, or whose parents allow them to participate in aspects of this holiday that we do not.

But, short of barricading ourselves in the house, with no access to the outside world for the entire month of October, or longer (don’t think I haven’t considered it!), I have not found an effective way of avoiding “the world” at this time of year.

Honestly, most of me would prefer to just turn out the lights, close the door, and ignore Halloween altogether…


If the world is willingly coming to my door once a year, you had better believe that I am going to be ready to answer!

The simple act of opening the door, and passing out candy can be a great way to meet and interact with neighborhood children and families. And that alone may present opportunities for relationships and the gospel.

But, I don’t want to be just like all the other houses in the neighborhood. Everyone is giving out candy.

We could be that house, and just give out tracts. But, as a general rule, I’m not a big fan of “tract evangelism.” I just do not see how throwing a tract at someone, with no interaction, and no follow-up, does any good in the eternal scheme of things.

So, I picked up John Piper’s “10 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die,” at a local Christian bookstore, and stuck a label with our church’s website on the back. I realize that many, if not most, of the tracts probably ended up in the trash. But, I included our church’s website as a way for someone to get more information, or ask questions…just in case they did happen to read the tract. It may not be ideal as far as evangelistic efforts, but it is better than nothing! And, just so we don’t get mistaken for that house, I put together a bag with a few “treats” as well!

Are we compromising our Christian testimony by participting in this day…even a very limited way?

We live in this world, but we are not to be of it.

So, although we do not “celebrate” Halloween, we do “participate.” And, we do so in hopes that a literal open door might lead to spiritual open doors in the future.

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Filed under Hospitality, Life in Ministry, Thinking Biblically, Traditions & Celebrations