Saturday, April 30, 2011

a spring wreath

we are back -- safe & sound from nashville {or cashville as ben likes to say}.  saying it was amazing is a vast understatment.  i'll be back with more of that about that very soon!  for now i thought i'd just share a little something sweet that greeted us as pulled down our court.  i made this little spring/summer wreath with inspiration from the uber-creative emily from jones design company.  scraps from around the house turned out pretty darling if i do say so myself.  i know that it wouldn't fit everyone's taste but it is just right for us. 

{this wreath doesn't do anything to help my neutral-ness now does it?  what can i say?  i'm beige.}

Friday, April 29, 2011

you, me & a baby makes three {a ridd baby shower} part 2

part 2:  food, games & favors
i know when i'm planning a shower i love all the ideas i can get for a menu of goodies and snacks. i'm rarely ever cook / fix food {other than cereal} so creating a food plan is a little out of my comfort zone.  cory helped me.  she knows what she's doing.  so in case you are challenged like can steal this menu.  it was yummy.

little turkey & ham sandwiches on hawaiian sweet rolls
veggie platter with ranch dip
chips & dip
bagel dip & bagel cubes
fruit & sweet fruit dip
chocolate covered strawberries & pretzels

the fun games & activities we did you have likely seen at other showers so i won't go into detail, i'll just share pictures, they tell the story.

but first, these were ruffled notes cards that i made for people to be able to share some love, encouragement or pray for rach, r & e, baby parker or the whole fam.  i didn't read peek at what other people wrote but i hope that rach felt well loved reading them.
now for the games:

i was WAY off :(

jenna made these homemade peppermint patties, tinted blue and dipped in delicious chocolate.  i found little glassine bags from and finished them off in bakers twine & yarn.  i had hoped to make an individual tag for each bag with a thank you on it, but time got away from me.
baby parker...COME ON!  we want to meet you!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

quickly approaching :: the race

i am so excited right now.  all around me the culmination of long awaited events are on the brink.  this weekend we will be traveling to nashville to cheer on many of our dear friends who are running in honor of libby.  i can't wait to see them run.  what an awesome picture of their devotion to the fight.  not just a fight here on earth but a fight for eternity.  my friends are learning what it means to 'run the race' physically but not only that, learning so much about 'running the race' spiritually as well.  i see jesus in their lives.  and in libby's.  i'm so blessed to have friends like these.

this weekend will be a celebration.  the end of cancer for lib. a joyful cheer for community.  a weekend of rejoicing in God's sovereignty & perfect will. and extra bonus is that we'll get to be with some of our very favorite people from all over the place, va, pa, tn, il & home.  oh i just can't wait.

i need to get packed up and ready.  i won't be lacing up my running shoes, but i may have a megaphone - and a team libby tee.

{little sidenote:  it's not too late to support the ryder's and support the race, see the chip-in on the right side of the screen.  it will be there for one more day!
if you desire to give to them afterward, just contact them or us and we'll get you the info.}


another fantastic event is on its way.  one of my besties, rachel, is about to become a mom!  she and her husband will be excellent parents and i know that the Lord will continue to use that family for mighty things, kingdom work.  i simply cannot wait to meet the little guy!  i hope he likes me and doesn't cry when i hold him.  i also hope that he waits for all his aunts & uncles to come home from nashville before he makes his grand entrance!


ministry is so exciting right now.  God is moving in really big ways and friends that we love and pray and cry over are meeting Jesus.  for real.  isn't that crazy!?  we are so blessed to even get to hear about it, much less be used by the Lord for his purposes. i pray that God would grow these students to be strong, faithful, unwavering people of God.  i pray that his kingdom would advance at lafayette.  there are a lot of dying kids filling that school day in and day out - our team wants LIFE for them so badly.  

camp will be here before you know it.  a week long trip with students where they get to experience the gospel - see it & hear it.  just ministry as a whole right now seems heightened.  i don't know if that makes sense to anyone but me, it just feels like a peak.  not coming to completion, that's not the right word, but that so much of what we plead & hope for we are finally getting to see with our eyes.  and that is really amazing.


 i'll be back before long.  going to gather my things for a wonderful adventure.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

this woman is the anti-me

earlier this week jenny from little green notebook featured this room / closet because she loved the details of the chair. i couldn't even notice the chair because this room / closet is the exact opposite of me.  the colors - it is beautiful & vibrant & looks like spring.  it's so bright & girly & fun.

i don't mean to say that i'm not bright or girly or fun...i hope i'm those things {yikes} but as far as wardrobe is concerned i basically wear nothing but neutrals. and so does my house.  my house = j.crew shorts.  when i think of ben & i, i literally think of khaki & gray.  if you know us you're thinking - me too! and i love neutrals, don't get me wrong, or why would i gravitate toward those colors always?  but i see something like this and think hmm...what if i just had a pinch of that in me?  am i just intimidated by it?  for such a loud person, i have awfully quiet taste.


what about you? 
are you a neutral girl like me, plain jane to the core?  
are you this spunky closet? 
or fall somewhere in between the two {if this is you, i have to say...i'm a little envious}?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

i enjoy long walks on the beach... { & more }

i really have trouble following through when i want to do something. i think that pretty much encompasses all areas of my life and the blog is no exception. so as i *always* say...better late than never.

on our spring break beach adventure we did get to have a sweet evening on the beach together. it was the only time i was adamant about my camera. i kept saying "i'd really like to go on a photo adventure" but ben didn't understand that i really meant "i want to take a crapton of pictures on an adventure". on the beach with my handsome hubs, sunsetting...i need to practice taking pictures duh! well and uh, & relax & cuddle & things. here are some of my favorites to remember.

ben carrying all our flippie floppies and a blanket to sit on
i think that it is one of benny's life goals to not really smile at me in pictures.  i don't know if we can live this way forever.  he loves to close his eyes too.  well, i guess i like to do that in other people's pictures too so maybe i get it.  two picture-ruining peas in a pod.  <3
me saying "c'mon...just one smile?"  i got a little smirk.  i like that face.
ben wanted to play with the camera too.  i want to know how to take pictures way more than ben, and he always does better than me. 
{are you done yet?}
nope :)

on a cold, rainy day here in kentucky, i'd really love to be back on the warm, sunny beach.

and today is good friday.  i hope that you'll take some time and reflect on what Jesus was going through today {for you & me & for the glory of the King}.  i don't want you to miss out on the glorious news that this weekend brings. 

{& watch this}
sunday's comin'!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

you, me & a baby makes three {a ridd baby shower} part 1

 part 1:  invites, decor, presents & friends
if you're my real life friend, you likely know that this is rachel.  if you're my blog friend, this is rach.  she is one of my oldest and dearest friends.  not oldest in age but oldest in length friendship. rachel & her hubby very very very much wanted to start a family.  after much prayer, waiting, patience & pruning God have them baby parker.  so as the uber excited besties that we are, her friends had to shower her and baby before he makes his entrance.

i wanted to record all the little details for me & for rach & for little parker to look at someday.  i'll say "parker, look how excited we were for you to come!  we wanted to meet you so badly and wanted to make sure that your family had everything they needed for you.  see!"  {and then he'll think..."my aunts are maniacs"}.

so here goes it...

navy cardstock, graph paper, & white cardstock
{plus a little red thread}
perfectly imperfect homemade invitations
if you're anything like me you may not be the best seamstress around but you still like to make things.  well here you have it.  i asked ben what he thought and he said "well, i mean...the lines aren't exactly straight."  dang it!  he noticed.  but i think you have to just be ok with that if you're me.  i thought i would like wider stitches but after messing around i thought the shorter stitches were best!  {please don't spam or stalk us, i didn't want to have to edit my pics}.  i hope they got everybody pumped to party!
when you have a big ol' chalkboard in your kitchen it must celebrate too.  it's like the most perfect reusable banner.  sometimes i doodle all over it but this time i just wanted text & to add a little bunting instead.  an old map, thin cardboard & yarn were just right for the job.  i think it's really sweet. it may stay there forever.
i should start off by saying this was a community thrown shower.  i had so much help from all our friends who love rach & baby parker.  friends helped with food, cake, favors and decorating.  each person helped to make everything so special.  i just wanted to highlight a few of my favorite things!  the colors & ideas were all based off of parker's nursey, not identical but tied together.  you can look at his room & other inspirations for the room {HERE}.

cory & i punched out lots of these little guys:
we used maps, graph paper, old manila folders and different colored card stock for circle garland and to scatter around like oversized confetti.  i really love the way it turned out.  {sidenote:  i got a great deal on my large circle punch at hobby lobby when everything from that brand was half off!  score! and i had a gift card!  double score!  i planning on punching everything. :) }
happy flowers in pop bottles and vases around the house.  wrapped in fabric, surrounded in candles, seated on fringed newspaper table runners.  what's really good!?
striped straws.  lets just say that my friends & i have a mild obsession with striped straws.  when our other bestie shan shan got engaged we knew we had to have striped straws but the cheapest i could find were something like $12 for 30 straws from austrailia and that just seemed ridiculous.  immediately after that party i found it {isn't that the way it always happens?}.  i found the deal of the century.  vintage-inspired striped straws for 5 cents a piece.  so what's a girl to do?  well buy 250 of them and hope they last you for every small party that you throw for the rest of your life, of course!
i also wanted to share a few gifts.  sorry that the girl of honor is sitting in front of a tv.  that's the focal point of our living room.  isn't that sad?  but don't look at the tv, image it as dark art.  and instead look at this precious onesie.  it says "i still live with my parents" and i got another that said "hi, i'm new here".  i mean c'mon.  this baby is going to be a doll. {both from target if you need them.
i also made her a version of that daily calendar from a while back.  she thought it would be fun to record all the daily happenings as a new momma & growing babe & i agree!  i bet she'll have some very fun things to jot down in this final month of pregnancy too!  oh the excitement!
and i wasn't going to share other people's gifts because i'm sure that they want to but i couldn't resist.  my friend made this!  please everyone go tell cory to quit her job & craft for a living.  please.
i should have taken a shot of all the ladies together.

in reality i didn't take any of the picture from the big day.  i was blessed with a massive headache and was just doing my best to enjoy all the merriment.  cory & jenna took most of what is shown above.  and lets be honest, even if i had taken some, i'd probably still want to steal theirs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


rach said: "just saw this in street scene and thought of you!"
yep, my friends know.
 i need a big honkin' buffet/sideboard/credenza. 
and i need it real bad. 
sadly, this perfectly distressed pup is about $150 too much for the brzinski household.
if you or someone you know is just itching to ditch their large pieces of furniture, please let me know.
i'd happily take them off your hands.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

the life & times of jen jen

last weekend...

its more than half-way through this week and i'm desperately trying to recap before i get to friday all over again.  i feel like life is actually flying right past me.  my days and nights are filled, filled, filled.  and my mind is worse than that. God is teaching me so much & i am amazed by Him and his grace everyday.  diving into jesus' life, death & resurrection grips me everyday.  i wish i reflected on easter like this all year.  ministry is exciting & challening all in one.  i've been listening to {THIS SERIES} and the last of the seven talks especially rocked my world.  it's found {HERE}.  those coupled with {THIS SERIES} from our own church, the gospel of luke & challenges with girls have created such a neat season for me & the Lord.

so that's now...back to last weekend.

friday after a long day of work, all i wanted to do was go for a long walk {it was gorgeous all day long}, go grocery shopping and then celebrate my dear friend kaitlin's birthday.

as i drove home around 6p a giant black cloud followed me around new circle road.  it was just like a cartoon.  and the rain began as i pulled onto my street.  no walk for me.  instead, benny & i took a friday night nap.  who are we?  who does this?  after 2 hours {oh my gosh} we got up and went to the grocery.  friday night grocery shopping.  again, who are we?  ben bought about 100 kroger cookies.

then it was party time!  ben and i are now considered "old" compared to this group of friends but we couldn't stay away and not celebrate our sweet kaitlin who was turning 20!  yay. 

and we got to be with our team {minus ang}
yes, em is dressed really nice.  yes, dylan is in a tank top.  yes, ben is being awkward on purpose. yes, i am in a giant raglan tee at a party.  and yes, that is the birthday girl!  i love my team!

one of my favorite things from the night.  ben {not mine} just wanted to fit in.
saturday, i got to do all kinds of things i wanted.  i actually can't remember exactly what happened but i think i liked it.  i know i slept in a little, hung out with the hubs, my friend carly visited, i ran errands & crafted.  i also went to a three-way family birthday party to celebrate my nana, grandma & my little brother nick.  my mom made the yummy-est food and visiting was so nice.  there were little kids everywhere.  i really like that.  then ben & i went to see hanna.  it's a movie, it was strange but entertaining.  source code is next on our list and i've heard good things.

in my spare time i've been crafting and preparing for this upcoming weekend.  we're having a shower for my little rachel who is expecting their very first little man, parker.  i can't wait to celebrate with her & friends. yay! yay! yay! 
i'll be sure to share details with you post shower.  i don't want to spoil all the fun now....duh!

hope your week is good, so good.

and to make your week this:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

a lamp

i love that scripture has the ability to be fresh to you even if you've read it a million times.  there's always something that you missed, something new that the Lord can show you through his inspired words.  the very words of God.  who are we to be able to read, say, know, hear & pray God's word?!  what a blessing that He lets us know Him, his heart, mind & character through scripture.

recently i read through the gospel of john and i literally felt like i was reading it with new eyes.  so much jumped out at me that i never noticed before.  maybe its this stage of life that i'm in or what my relationship with God is like right now or maybe the Lord just revealed things to me this time that he hadn't before.  it was so full & rich.  jesus' life spoken by one of his best friends who was around him all the time.  a guy who had experienced the power & grace & love of christ in full.  i enjoyed the last verse of the book so much that i thought i'd share.  at the end of this account he says:

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."
john 21:25
 my thoughts:
1.  i think that c.s. lewis writes like john.  i read that and felt like i was reading narnia.
2.  hahaha...'jesus did many other things as well' - its so funny to me that he wrote that. just kind of a disclaimer that john's account doesn't encompass everything that jesus did.  he did some other things too.
3.  um, how awesome!  the whole world couldn't contain all the stories that could be written of HIM.  isn't that one of the coolest things ever?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

spring break 2k11

i've mentioned the whirlwind that was spring break and all the fun we had cheering on the cats but i haven't shared many other fun details. 
the weather was literally perfect, all day, everyday.  sunny, warm, a tiny breeze right when you needed it.  the place that we stayed...uh-maz-ing.  so stinking nice.  it was situated on this marina-ish place where boats went by all day.  and you could see dolphins swimming by as you laid at the pool or sat in the hot tub.  yes, i did lots of laying and sitting outside.  the pool was heated too so swimming was extra nice.  the condo was beautiful, complete with 2 bedrooms & 2 baths {for 2 people :) }, ginormous windows & a balcony that looked over the water.  we were about a 5 minute walk to the beach over a fun drawbridge.  we were super close to all the fun things that we know about in the area.  i think i've been to the st. petersburg / tampa / clearwater area about 8 or 10 times so i feel like i'm getting my barrings a little.  {ben is likely laughing because he knows that that's not true and that i'm always lost} but i mean it!  it's getting to be a known, comfortable spot for many weeks of bliss & memories past!

{view from our balcony at day & night}
speaking of laying and sitting outside i thought i would share one small evidence of my spotted burn.  how is this my gift?  i had splotches all over the place and i was so careful.  maybe more careful with sunscreen than i have been in my whole life.  when i came home they didn't just disappear.  nope they came to stay as darker tan spots than the rest of my skin.  but have no fear!  my tan fades in about three days {no exaggeration} so i'm just as pale and unspotted as ever.
we slept well.  not really slept 'in' per say; ben woke up everyday around 8, but we were super well rested.  we had a king size bed which is ben's dream so he can stretch out and i don't take up all his space.  which is sad for me because i really like to take up space.  additionally, it was also the softest, most wonderful bed ever, and nothing usually compares to ours at home.  it was a perfect home away from home.  and an upside to waking up at 8 is that you don't waste your day away and  you get to watch two episodes of saved by the bell {treat}!

that's not a pretend sleepy face, that's ben's actual teddy bear sleepy face.  aww, how cute.
we ate a lot of meals together, one of my favorite things and even ate ice cream some evenings.  i have a bit of a sweet tooth. i really love being together without other distractions.  most of our distractions are removed when we leave the house because then we can't 'work' on anything that we could 'work' on but when we go stay in someone else's home some dangers still stand.  i really think that all electronics are bad {as i type into my computer}.  i really do think that tv, computers, phones, ipods, etc. push us away from really experiencing real life together.  its like this numbing, lazy thing that seems ok while you're in it and once you've come out of your couch potato stuppor you see that you all never talked about anything real together, you didn't grow closer together or to the Lord.  i don't want that for ben & i or for our future family.  dinner is one of those grounding things for me, a great reminder of fun and depth.  i want our whole life to look like dinner {does that make sense?}

one evening we brought our blanket and watched the sunset over the water on the beach.  it was so pretty.  i just kept thinking, God is even bigger than this!  how crazy.  i'll share that next. 

until then...i'm dreaming of sitting out on a warm balcony.