Gatherings Archives

Celebrating! – A Homeschool Graduation Party

Apologies for the delay in posting this. We took the Castle Keeper girls on an outing – which you will hear all about at some point! ūüôā The evening of Serenity’s graduation was perfect. No rain, not too hot and not breezy – all things we’ve had to contend with this year. (We’re getting an amazing amount of rain this year – at least for Arizona – and it’s getting so green around here that it’s starting to look like Scotland!) My amazing sister was once again here to help me with everything. She did so much work the day before and with her and a few others in the kitchen the day of, I was able to totally relax and just enjoy the party….

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Preparing for My Daughter’s Homeschool Graduation

The day that we had been working so hard to prepare our back yard for arrived and most everything that was to be accomplished was completed. What a nice feeling to know that after hours upon hours of work, you are finished (almost). There’s still the kitchen area to be built and some landscaping projects to finish but the bulk of it has been completed! Of course, there was much preparation with over 200 guests coming. So many willing hands were there to assist. Vases had to be filled with water Flowers picked up (Thanks, dad!) and arranged. And that waterfall! More flowers had to be planted. The framework for the big screen had to be made and the screen, which measures 10×12, had to…

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Hand Lettering So Good You’ll Be Amazed

If you practice something long enough, you can become quite talented. I was so impressed with the hand lettering at a wedding I was at recently. It was so amazing, one would have thought decals or stencils were used. Before I show you all the beautiful hand lettering, let me tell you a little more about the wedding. (I’m really kind of embarrassed to share these pictures because they’re not that good. I always have my camera with me but not this time and so I was using the mother-of-the-bride’s camera to capture parts of the day for her. Let me tell you, it’s so worth investing in a good quality camera if you’re wanting decent looking pictures.) My good friend’s daughter got married. We’ve…

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A Beautiful Wedding and Outdoor Reception

We awoke to an overcast sky but that was nothing new. Since we had arrived in Ohio, we had not seen the sun, but this was the wedding day and the reception was to be outdoors. Things did not look good but we were excited anyways about the upcoming day, even if it did rain. And it did. The whole drive to Michigan there was a continuous but gentle rain. About 35 minutes from the church, my husband says, “The alternator is having issues.” Oh, no, this was not a good thing! We pulled off the next exit to get gas because we were on E completely and was fortunate that just about 1/2 mile up the road there was an Auto Zone where we…

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A Luncheon for 200 Campers

I have survived. There were a few several butterflies in the stomach and some short nights but I made it through! Yesterday we had over 200 people here for a luncheon. There is a youth camp in the area, hosted by a church in Phoenix and it’s been a tradition for several years now that they all come to our place for lunch the day camp is over. To get a big job done, it’s important to have good help. ūüôā And I was thankful for every one of them. My sidekick for events like this and friend for 38+ years. Excuse our disheveled appearance. Maybe we were feeling a little frazzled? ūüôā We had a Mexican themed dinner. And the kids were quite hungry…

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A Dinner Honoring Our Pastor and his Wife

True ministers of the Gospel of Christ don’t always have it easy and many times they are under appreciated. My son Zachary and his wife decided our church should have a Pastor Appreciation day for our pastor who has been our shepherd for so many years.   Zachary and Hannah – the planners Hannah did a beautiful job on the decorations. She bought some things, had some decor of her own and then used items of mine. With all of it, she was able to come up with 9 different centerpieces and they looked beautiful. We couldn’t have the event outdoors because it was too windy and the temperatures had dropped. So we had to move all of my living room furniture outside and set…

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A Garden Wedding and Reception

Saturday I had the privilege of catering a friend’s wedding. It was held at the Wright House, a very, very beautiful venue. We were planning for approximately 130 people. The mother of the bride did all the shopping, washing and cutting of the salad ingredients so that made it really nice… …the rest of the menu was Fettuccine Alfredo, which we made on location, and bread sticks. If you want to know what young people can do when they are dedicated to practicing music, listen to these kids.¬† They are excellent musicians and play beautifully together. I had two of my Castle Keeper girls as helpers – Serenity (my daughter) and Natalie. They were a fantastic help and really enjoyed their time. A win-win for…

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A Fall Themed Gathering

How do you feel about potlucks? I can’t say I’m really fond of them. The concept is nice – everyone bring a dish and we’ll share it together. But to me the reality of it is not so ideal many times. Enchiladas on the same plate as your broccoli salad with mashed potatoes and gravy beside that but the gravy somehow manages to spread to cover everything on your plate as well. I may be exaggerating a little but it’s pretty much the case. One of my favorite ways to organize a meal is where one person brings the main dish and everyone else brings sides that complement it. But if it’s for a very large group and you don’t want the burden of making…

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Baby Shower Activity That Brought a Smile

Castle Keepers begins today and we’re all looking forward to our 2nd year. It’s a group of girls from ages 13 and up (unless they have younger sibilings than they can also participate) that learn homemaking skills and other things for when they are managers of their own households. We meet once a month and each mom takes a turn teaching the class through the year.¬† Today we will be learning glass etching. I can’t wait to see what the girls come up with. I’ve written about the club in previous posts. You can just do a search for “Castle Keepers” and it will bring up our past activities. I also issue a monthly challenge each month to the girls. This allows us to have…

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A Brunch Baby Shower Themed “Showers of Love”

This past weekend we celebrated the birth of my 1st grandchild with a baby shower in her honor. xoxoxo The Sweetheart… When the guests arrived they were given a clothespin and directed to the magnetic chalkboard that had pictures of Zachary, Hannah and Shalom.¬† The side that say’s “Don’t Say” is for the clothespin game. ¬†“Showers of Love” was the theme for this special event and Shalom Adriel was certainly showered. The clouds were cut out of white material and stuffed with stiff paper. The raindrops were cut using the Silhouette Cameo on card stock. Clouds that were raining love. A close-up of the rain drops… And the food…¬† It was a brunch so breakfast it was… Homemade Pop-Tarts Drinks and seating were outdoors. It…

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A Western Style Farewell Dinner

This past Saturday we had a different kind of dinner here at the ranch. It was a farewell dinner for friends that our kids have almost all grown up together with. They’ve been with us through all our homeschooling activities, the Castle Keeper club, and the list goes on. So it wasn’t really a celebration but a dinner in honor of, since it’s kind of a sad time for all of us here. We’re happy for them but also sad that they’ll be moving 2,000 miles away. Because we were doing hamburgers/hotdogs, I decided a cowboy theme would be fitting.   The chalkboard sign is written in Spanish and says, “Until Later, my friends.” Remember when I rescued that furniture from the burn pile my…

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Graduation Favors

My sister is flying in today with her Abigail her daughter.¬† She’s my big help every time I have a graduate.¬† (3 so far. woohoo!)¬† Well since I’m always preaching to her about organization I really should have my own act together don’t you think? So why am I on Pinterest this morning looking for graduation favors? I’ll tell you why.¬† I was going to make Cajeta which is a Mexican caramel made with goat milk.¬† After all we do have goats and we’re serving Mexican food at the graduation, so it sounded like a plan.¬† A good one. But in the last two weeks we’ve had a change in dairy hands. Wesley, our dairy man and soon to be highschool graduate has entered into…

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Final Preparations for the Wedding Meal

My son is now married as of May 18. I was so pleased with how the preparations went. I was making the food for the reception, so my sister flew in from Pennsylvania to help me with any last-minute preparations that needed to be done and although we were busy it went very smoothly. We made pie crusts… And pies… Apple pies, peach pies, blueberry (actually the blueberry had already been made before she got there) and lemonade pies   Then my niece arrived and helped with various things including table displays for the rehearsal… My friend Tina arrived at the same time as Grace.¬† Tina was in charge of all the chicken for the wedding as well as running the food part of the…

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The love bug has surely struck those around us this year and March seems to be a popular month for each of them to make their vows.¬† First it was Lydia’s, then this past weekend was Ashlynn’s.¬† I’ve known Ashlynn’s parents since before Ashlynn was born and so when I saw the duress my friend was under trying to figure all the details out of the reception, I volunteered to do the main part of the meal for her. She wanted an Italian dinner of lasagna and since that was the meal I had made back in 2011 for Heather’s reception, I felt comfortable doing it.¬† I learned so much this time around and am very grateful for the learning experience.¬† Everything came out very…

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An Unusual Place for an Engagement Party

Did you know it is possible to throw an engagement party in an airport? My dear husband decided we¬†should welcome back the happily engaged couple who had went, along¬†with my son,¬†to a youth retreat in¬†Tennessee and¬†then up to visit friends in¬†Michigan, as well. It was a red-eye flight, the airport was quietening down after a day of thousands bustling through its corridors.¬† Restaurants had closed but not before we had received permission to set up in one of them. Justus and Audrey were so happy to see their brother Zachary.¬† Since he became engaged they have really latched on to him.   Pretty nice, Russell.¬† Pretty nice.¬† (I think he did a¬†beautiful job, don’t you.)   Hey, we look pretty good for it being past…

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How to Throw a Party in a Hotel Suite

Have you ever thrown a party in a hotel? I have given one about once every 2 years. You see, our homeschool convention is held in Phoenix and they also do a jr. high graduation ceremony on Friday night… usually.¬† This year, the graduation was on a Saturday, so we had to throw our party on Friday night… in honor of Serenity. We rented a suite and then got bumped up (courtesy of the hotel) to a hospitality suite. It was lovely and nice and perfect for the occasion. But let me show you pictures, since that’s the best way to “tell” you.   At home you¬†do as much as possible. It’s not fun trying to do it in a hotel! About 2 hours before…

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Serenity’s 14th Golf Par-Tee

Yes, Serenity’s birthday was clear back in November but we just had her birthday celebration the end of December. We decided to go with a mini-golf theme since Serenity wanted to go somewhere that had go-karts, etc. I made these invitations using Printmaster for the letters the green and then I used skewers and foam for the flag and balls. My mom and I¬†laughed so hard watching¬†the kids ride the bumper boats.¬† They were soaked! ¬† After an afternoon at the Funtasticks¬†Park, we went back to my sister’s house¬†for a golf themed supper I had prepared. Then the ultimate golf¬†cake was presented by none other than Martha – our own cake decorator.¬† What’s with the name Martha and creativity? The water and rocks were fantastic…

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Well the big event is over. What a special evening we had celebrating Zachary’s high school graduation!¬†We had¬†about 145-150 people¬†and plenty of food for all. With all the activity of family being around for Zachary’s graduation, I got too busy to be posting and then after the graduation dinner, we took off on a little get-away. More on¬†our get-away¬†in another post. The weather was beautiful, the night of the dinner¬†with no wind or¬†rain and the temperature about 70¬į. Of course there was lots of preplanning. Tables and chairs had to be brought up from the garage to the lawn, table coverings put on and chairs wiped down. You can see Russell in the background stringing up lights that he wired. Russ¬†also built a platform for…

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