I’ve been MIA since the end of 2017 and I’ve missed you all so much!
I’m blowing kisses, giving virtual hugs and fist bumps right now. Reach out and grab one!
I took a blogging, social media and TV break, sensing that I needed to quiet all the voices around me to better discern the Spirit’s leading for my life and this blog’s direction in 2018.
I can tell you that the time away from social media was quite refreshing.
One thing the Lord has shown me during this time of separation is that what I consider to be necessary for ministry (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) can actually ruin me spiritually if I don’t practice it in moderation, and with the right motivation.
It’s possible for a person to advance in ministry, but not be in tune with the Spirit.
The two don’t always equate.
Sometimes, a gal may have to take a step back in these areas, but doing so may catapult her forward in her walk with Christ.
It’s a very personal decision and we must let the Spirit lead us uniquely and individually.
I welcomed the blogging break as well; and truth be told, it couldn’t have come at a better time, as I was planning my daughter’s surprise baby shower with gusto, vigor and every ounce of creativity that I could muster.
My Ashley (aka Ash-Cat-Kitty-Kitty-Meow-Mix) has been married for four years and is anticipating the arrival of baby Skyler on April 9th, Lord willing.
And being the procrastinator that I sometimes am, I had a little better than five weeks to plan her surprise baby shower.
For me, much like planning my younger daughter’s wedding and bridal shower, the planning tends to be all consuming and A LOT OF WORK, but I wouldn’t trade it for a thing in the world because events such as these are truly one of the treasured joys of a mother’s life.
What precious milestones are marriage and the birth of a baby!
Ashley is the kind of gal who likes to put her best foot forward beauty-wise, and I knew that she had to show up for her SURPRISE bridal shower all dolled-up.
So to trick her, I told her that my website was nominated for Best Faith and Family Blog of the Year.
Then, I told her that I took a look at the blogs which have won that distinction in past years, and they all had ONE thing in common: AMAZING family photos. So a family photo shoot was in order!
And girlfriend, let me tell you: she was all in!
I sent a bunch of bogus family group texts to her and all my kids about the photo shoot – and she was none the wiser. T-h-a-n-k-f-u-l-l-y!
Here are some behind-the-scene highlights that I’d just love to share with you! (Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.)
eat wear cake!
Inspired by my Pastor’s wife, I made my very first diaper cake. I was super intimidated at first, but she kept encouraging me along; and can I tell you – it was SO MUCH FUN to make.
(The theme was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)
To overcome my doubts, I YouTube’d how to make it and found lots of inspiration on Pinterest. (See links below for details.) Here’s a few shots of my process . . .
Another way I challenged myself was by making “cupcakes” out of onseies.
Again, I drew inspiration from Pinterest and YouTube, then I just went for it!
In my opinion, the more colorful the t-shirts, the better the “cupcakes” look.
Here are the “ingredients” and the finished product . . .
Now, back-in-the-day when dinosaurs roamed the earth and the only smart phone known to man was on the TV show Get Smart, the guest of honor sat in a “normal” chair at their shower; but these days girls are renting chairs for hundreds of dollars!
I was determined to by-pass that extravagance and use a chair representative of the occasion, so I decided to pimp-out my own rocking chair.
I even found a Twinkle Twinkle Little Star accent pillow at Homegoods that matched the color scheme (blue, silver and white) perfectly.
I struggled to find just the right signage for the event, then I found this one via Etsy (see vendor credits for details) . . .
I loved this dress from the minute I saw it, so I sent the link to Ashley and told her to buy it for the photo shoot. In doing so, I ensured that she looked elegant and her dress matched the color scheme.
I fell in love with this rubber ducky punch I found on Pinterest; and I’ll be darned if we didn’t make our own! The ice cream and soda mixed together creates the bubbles (fizz) which makes the rubber ducks float.
Our event venue had a fire place with a flat screen TV hanging over it (a bit of an eyesore) – and then I found this picture on Pinterest which provided the perfect inspiration for how to dress it up.
I shopped for star themed onesies. Even the wood plaque (too small to see) is a DIY project which says twinkle twinkle little star. Then I embellished with some books for the new mom and dad . . .
I wanted the “Dad to Be” to have a special gift of his own to open. (Why should the moms have all of the fun?) So this New Daddy Survival Kit I spied on Pinterest was just perfect.
I dressed my version up a bit (pictured on the right) with a container I purchased from Michael’s. Each item in the bucket has significance, which is explained the the printable I linked to below.
We hired Signature Celebrations Events to create the organic balloon arches and the backdrop for the sweets table. In short, they slayed it!
And finally, I was beyond blessed to have my friend Diane of Canarsie’s Cupcakes bring our evening to a sweet end with her sweet treats. Diane made the cake, the succulent butter cookies, chocolate covered Oreos, and rattle cake pops for our sweet affair! (My Autumn made the cupcakes for her big sister.)
As you can imagine, it takes a village to pull off this kind of affair; and in the end, everyone’s hard work paid off.
Ashley was exceedingly happy with her shower. She continued to walk around and marvel at the decor and all the special touches that had gone into the preparations.
The next day, she called just to thank us once more, and exclaimed with excitement that her shower was the second best day of her life – only second to her wedding day. *Sigh.*
I am pleased and at peace as a mom, and my life has resumed back to “normal” – but please, no more weddings or births for a while, kids. 🙂
Thank you for allowing me the indulgence of sharing this very special day with you.
I hope it’s a reminder of the goodness of our God and the sweet treat He gives us in experiencing family-life.
“God sets the lonely in families.” Psalm 68:6
From my home to yours,
P.S. Follow the celebration of faith and family life on Welcome Home Ministry’s Pinterest page!
I’ve shared this post at these fabulous faith and family link-ups.
Sweets Table Backdrop/Organic Balloon Arch: Signature Celebrations Event Planning
Cake, Rattle Cake Pops, Chocolate Covered Oreos & Sugar Cookies: Canarsie Cupcakes
Diaper Cake Tutorial: Susiestampalot.com
Cupcake Onesies Tutorial: SillyChely via YouTube
Pregnancy Announcement Sign: Darling Sailor Designs via Etsy
Ivory Maternity Maxi Dress: PinkBlushMaternity.com
Rubber Ducky Punch: TidyMom.net
New Daddy Survival Kit: SimplyMadeWithLove.blogspot.com