A {Happy} Harvest

Happy Harvest!

Our weekend involved music, friends, a race and far, far too much pumpkin fluff. In other words, it was great :)

We woke up on Saturday for a “Pumpkin Run” at a local park. Proceeds from the two-mile trail run went to benefit a Youth Leadership program. It was c-c-c-cold early in the morning, but our two miles through trees, puddles and over bike paths warmed us up in no time! We dressed up (keepin’ things festive) and had a fun time with a few friends that joined us. I placed second for women, and one of our friends took home the first place prize. It was for a good cause, but the race was also a great reason to go to a fun breakfast out :) We didn’t meet anyone famous this time, though…MMMMM… Oats!

We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out, watching movies, and getting ready for one of our FAVORITE seasonal traditions. Danny & Halley’s Annual Pumpkin Carving Party! Danny works with the Husband, and his lovely wife Halley is the queen of all hostesses, She always makes every party delightful with her attention to detail and fun, crafty decor. I could have taken pictures all night!

I brought Pumpkin Fluff that I made using this amazing recipe (I just switched out the whipped topping for marshmallow fluff, and used a little less sugar. It was good on everything…. including pancakes the next day!) and an old favorite, Spinach Artichoke dip (from Cooking Light! Try it…it is easy and so, so yummy. Just use the whole box of spinach instead of half : )

We actually had to leave the party a bit early to make it to our next event, but Halley and Danny had a special announcement for their guests that they shared with us before we left:

Congrats on the ‘lil punkin’ (to arrive May of 2012)! And thanks to good friend Heather for the beautiful photo. We can’t wait to meet him or her!

After the party, we made a quick change, and went to a brand new venue for a special throwback concert – The Contours. Their big hit was, “Do you love me? (Now that I can dance)” recorded in 1962. I adore music from that era (I have a stash of my parents’ records and have seen Paul McCartney (Beatles), Paul Simon (Simon & Garfunkel), Bill Medley (Righteous Brothers), Don McLean (American Pie), Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits) and Mickey Dolenz (The Monkees) in concert!) They sang a ton of great hits by other Motown artists, and Alexandria’s – a new tapas bar and event space downtown – was breathtaking.

Look at that lighting…and those sparkly suits! We danced the night away, enjoyed fun cocktails and got autographs… Loved every groovy minute of it.

Because we had to leave a little early from the pumpkin party, I didn’t get to finish my carving. But, I loved the design I had picked out so much (and my white pumpkin) that I rounded out my festive weekend by carving it on Sunday!

Loved the finished product! Super easy, too (yay for stencils!)

All of these activities put me into full-fledged harvest/crunchy leaves/thanksgiving/just-double-digits-until-christmas mode. So, for dinner I HAD to whip something up that matched my autumnal-hued mood…

I have something special for you coming soon!

Sorry -But this little post is a book already. Get the recipe next time!

{In the mean time, visit Halley’s blog – The Halley Daily!}

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{Almost} famous…

This weekend was the perfect mix of everything we love: Friends, kids, music, volunteering, exercise, fun errands, great food, Jesus and lots of restful down time.

{In fact, it was such a mix, I needed two posts to fit everything in AND make sense…welcome to “part one!”}

We got to see our good friends, Emily and Jeff, and their new baby (so, so cute!), went to a festive party with friends from work (with sweet costumes), built tables for a local educational greenhouse, AND even met someone famous…

Drum roll please…

Matthew West!

Here’s our fun story: A well-known Christian Musician, Matthew was in town for a concert on Saturday. We knew about it, and considered going, but hadn’t purchased tickets. After volunteering in the morning, we decided to head downtown to grab lunch at Scrambler Marie’s. We were chatting away over omelets, when I heard our waitress talking to the table behind a partition right next to us. She was saying, “No way!”

I turned around, and saw a two gentlemen with glasses as the table. It was Matthew and his father! He introduced himself to the waitress (She turned out to be a big fan of his!). We sat quietly and listened as they talked, and she snapped a photo, but knew that we wanted to say hello before we left. We were looking up his songs and bio on my phone, when we turned around and saw that they had slipped by us and walked out the door!

Oh, no!

We rushed out (paid our bill first) said bye to the waitress, and walked briskly toward Matthew and his dad down Main Street. We caught up to them, and got to say hello! They both were super gracious, and his father took a photo of the three of us. We chatted for a few moments, and he offered us free tickets to the show that night – We were so. excited.

We spent the rest of the afternoon running errands, and then ate a yummy homemade pizza dinner with Valerie, Destrey, Carlie and Lydia. After brownies and ice cream (Ghirardelli are the best), we headed over to the venue.

The concert that night was amazing. I am the first to admit that I am often turned off by many Christian artists. I don’t want a cheap knock-off of a talented pop singer (“oh, here is the Christian version of backstreet boys…you’ll love ’em”…gag) but this was nothing like that.

Matthew’s songs were relevant and beautiful in their own right. I really love, “The Motions” and “My Own Little World.” One half of the concert was dedicated to a new project of his, “The Story of Your Life“, where he wrote songs based on some of the more than 10,000 stories he received about people’s struggles and triumphs, and God’s grace. The songs and lyrics met me right where I was…

It was powerful, and we were even able to catch up with the waitress, Kayla (who had also been given tickets to the show) and her boyfriend, Dustin. We chatted with them, and even ended up exchanging numbers so we could set up a coffee date sometime (you never know where you are going to meet new friends!). And, we got to get Matthew’s autograph and let him know how much he had blessed us. We felt {almost} famous!

It really was the perfect weekend, filled with encounters orchestrated by God, and a lot of fun.

Can’t get better than that….

Unless you toss in a little Justin Bieber.

{Don’t hate… Hey – Never. Say. Never.}

Have you experienced any “Divine encounters” lately?