July 6, 2013

4th of July

Our church had an early 4th of July celebration out at a retreat/summer camp. They asked people to bring sides or a dessert so you know I had to take something Pinterest inspired!

I love to bake and decided to make a patriotic cake. It was red velvet and cream cheese frosting, I mean we are in the south now! 

Just a quick note on the recipe I used: I always use box cake mix to make my cakes. It is just so much easier and I am all for simple. However, I always make my own frosting from scratch. Homemade frosting tastes so much better than the frosting from a can. I don't know what they do to that stuff to make it taste so terrible. Plus using homemade frosting somehow makes the cake taste more homemade. Don't ask me know, but it just does. Also I have had quite a few people not believe me when I tell them my cakes are from a box. Like I said, it is all about the homemade frosting. 

So, now that I have sold you on making your own frosting (I did right? If not go back and reread that last paragraph) I should probably give you a recipe! I tweaked this recipe from all recipes to make it stiffer in order to be able to decorate with it. Now I didn't write it down but it was something along these lines.

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8oz packages of cream cheese (room temp)
1/2 cup butter (room temp)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4+ cups of powdered sugar, (original recipe calls for 2)

1. Cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.
2. Add vanilla
3. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. If you want the frosting to crust (be able to hold its shape) you will need to add more powdered sugar. It should hold peaks and not fall off of your spoon. You may end up adding 6 cups of powdered sugar. That is fine! The frosting will be sweeter and more sugary the more powdered sugar you add (this seams obvious, but just thought I would throw it out there).
So if you want your frosting to really taste cream cheesy add less powdered sugar, but just know it might not hold its shape as well.
*Note sifted powdered sugar is ideal, but sometimes there isn't time for that and that is ok!

On to the decorating!

Fill your cake and stack it. I did a light crumb coating just in white. 

Take the remaining icing and divide it into three bowls. You will want the most blue, then white and then red. Tint your icing preferably using gel icing colors, but if you only have the grocery store liquid ones you can use those too. If you are using the liquid ones you might want to make your icing a little stiffer since you will be adding more liquid when coloring.

I used this tutorial from cake central to learn how to do the petal technique. I am not going to explain it here because she does a great job! Just go watch the video!

Are you back from the tutorial? Great! To create the flag effect I just did two dots of white, two red and then two white vertically and then went around the whole cake. Easy peasy, but a little time consuming. Just put on your favorite Netflix series and you will be good to go!

The stars on top are the sugar sheets from Wilton that you can find at the local craft stores. I used some star cookie cutters in different sizes to make the stars for the top of the cake. Done!

Also I just want to say that making the perfect cake does not matter! We are not perfect beings (only Jesus was perfect!) and thus we cannot make perfect things. So have fun with it!!

This fruit salad also easy peasy. Get a star cookie cutter and cut watermelon into slices that are slightly thinner than your cookie cutter. Then just cut out some stars and throw in some strawberries and blueberries. Festive and yummy!

This is Gavin and I with two of the women in the church. We are so thankful to have found a church where we can serve and grow! What a blessing!!

For the actual day of 4th of July we went up to Nashville for a Hot Chicken Festival and a free concert! Oh Nashville and your free concerts how I love thee!

Striking Matches started off the evening!

To finish the night The Band Perry played!!

They really are such a fun group to see live. So much energy in their performances!

The fireworks were set to a recording by the Nashville Symphony and were great!

The only thing that could have made the day any better was if it hadn't rained. I could not believe it rained on the 4th of July!! Even growing up in the Pacific Northwest I had never experienced a rainy 4th of July. Well there is always a first for everything! Here is hoping that next year is much sunnier and drier!!

July 2, 2013

What I'm Listening To Now

I thought it would be fun to post some music videos of the songs that I have been listening to lately. So here are some of my favorite songs currently:

Chris Young "Aw Naw"

Florida Georgia Line "Round Here"

Randy Houser "Runnin' Out Of Moonlight"

Charlie Worsham "Could It Be"

Darius Rucker "Wagon Wheel"
I love that the Duck Dynasty cast is in the video! So fun!

Craig Campbell "Outta My Head"
This is actually an older video, but I just found it. It was actually filmed in downtown Franklin and you can kind of get a feel for our little historic downtown.

I hope that was fun for you and maybe you found a new song or two to listen to! What are the new songs you can't stop playing?

June 12, 2013

CMA Fest 2013

CMA Fest was a great week and I was so glad that my parents, Lynn and Garret could come out for the week!

Lynn and me at the Fan Fair

The first night of the LP concerts

The second night of LP concerts

Right after getting my pass signed by Charles from Lady Antebellum

Lynn and me meeting Kip Moore!

We made the guys take a picture with the veggie tales characters.

It rained a couple of the days and we didn't have rain coats so we just used free t-shirts we had been given.

The boys just got wet.

We could ring out the water from the shirts!

Brett Eldredge performing at the Riverfront Stage

Dierks Bentley played an acoustic set at the Martin Guitar tent.

Gavin and me meeting Dustin Lynch

Eric Church playing at LP Field

Craig Campbell made us drinks!

At the night concerts!

Gavin took this picture in the fan line during Lady Antebellum's performance at LP Field

I took this picture during Florida Gorgia Line's performance at LP Field.

There were a lot more pictures, but I figured I would just post some highlights! We can't wait for next year!!!

May 29, 2013

Visiting California: Round One

Gavin and I got back yesterday from a wonderful weekend in California with his family celebrating Andrew (Gavin's brother) and Kathleen's wedding.

One of the first things we did after we landed was grab some In-N-Out and it was possibly the best In-N-Out meal I have ever had! Then we drove up to Grass Valley where the wedding was going to take place. The rehearsal took place Friday night and we had a delicious tri-tip dinner that was prepared by Gavin's parents.

It only seemed right that we went shooting at a marine wedding.

I made some coordinating craft wrapping paper to make some cute packages. I used these stencils from the Martha Stewart collection.

Exchanging Rings

First Dance

A quick kiss after cutting the cake.


This is one of my favorite pictures of the two of us since we have been married.

On the drive down to Gavin's parents' house I had to take a picture of the golden California landscape since it is such a stark contrast to the green hill of Tennessee that we have become used to. We spent a relaxing couple of days at my in-laws house and enjoyed spending time with family.

Before we went to the airport we had to stop at In-N-Out one last time! Oh how I wish they had In-N-Outs here in the South!

We ended up having to sleep in the Chicago Midway airport on our way back to Nashville. The weather was so bad that we had to land in Milwaukee and were there for about 3 hours. By the time we got to Midway the last flight to Nashville had already left. So, we toughed it out and slept on the floor. I think we are going to try to avoid a stop in Midway from now on!

Next on the docket are my parents visiting and we are going to go up to Kentucky to do the Kentucky Bourbon Trail!

May 23, 2013

Busy Month Ahead

Gavin and I are so excited for the next month that we have coming up! We will be going out to California twice for weddings, seeing both of our parents and Gavin's siblings and going to some amazing concerts. I am going to try to blog soon after all of our activities rather than all at the end! Our busy month starts tomorrow when we fly to California for Gavin's older brother's wedding and we can hardly wait!!

May 19, 2013

Opportunities to Serve

Gavin and I are really excited about opportunities at church that have come up. We are serving at the welcome desk once a month and after Gavin brings back his bass from California he is going to play with the worship band once a month or so. Part of why we are excited and thankful for these opportunities to serve is because we feel like serving at our church is part of being a member of the church body. Even though we could barley distinguish between guests and members this morning we are looking forward to getting to know members of the church that we normally would not interact with.

Also I am volunteering for the first part of the church's VBS and have signed up to help in the Children's Ministry in the future as well. I am looking forward to helping out at the VBS since I enjoyed volunteering at Calvary's last year.

On the whole, we are so thankful and feel so blessed that we have found a church community that we are able to get plugged into and serve in.

May 11, 2013

Big City and Farm Living

This last week I have experienced some big city living and then country farm living.

We went to the Nashville Symphony a week ago. It was a thank you from a co-worker who really needed to change shifts. (What a generous thank you, right?!) We had very good seats and the concert hall was stunning. However, I have to admit that I nodded off a couple of times. I never was very good at staying awake through symphony performances - even when I was in band myself. Oh well!

We did get all dressed up to go and that is always fun! After the symphony we went to grab a drink. It felt like such a grown up date!

Yesterday I went with Kelsey (one of the wives from the young marrieds group) to visit a family from the church. They have a homestead and have a huge garden, bunnies, chickens and goats. All of the animals were so cute and we got to hold one of the rabbits and one of the kids (baby goats)! It was awesome to go out and see what they have done with their land. 

It has been such a fun week of new experiences!

May 9, 2013

2 Weeks!

I wanted to post a quick little blog to let you know I put my 2 weeks in at Hobby Lobby. It is really exciting, but also scary at the same time because I don't know what my next job will be. Gavin and I have a busy month coming up that would have impacted how much I could work. I didn't want to have to work while we have out of state visitors in and I was only able to work a few days here and there. Gavin and I talked it over and decided that rather than try to schedule work around our busy schedule it was just time to move on from Hobby Lobby. I never intended to have the job at Hobby Lobby be a long term situation, but I became very comfortable there.

So I am starting to look for a new job and towards the end of June will be in full job search mode. Any prayers for the job search and trusting God's plan for my employment would be greatly appreciated.