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Apr 27, 2015 Starting this Week with a Grateful Heart



It feels like forever since I've been in my normal blogging routine.  April has been the craziest of months, but I'm happy to report that I think we're out of the woods and life is getting back to some semblance of normal.  I spent the past week in Boston with AJ, and we had a week of absolutely no agenda, wandering around the city and just enjoying one another's company.  It could have been a little bit warmer for my taste, but at least there was no snow to be found anywhere!

It's also been forever since I linked up with Emily for Grateful Heart Monday, but I'm so ready to be back into the swing of things and linking up is just the thing my heart needs!  So here are a few things I'm particularly grateful for lately:

+ Obviously, a week spent with my love!
+ Good news for mom...we had a bit of a scare at the beginning of the week with some iffy scan results, but it turns out that everything is ok!
+ Spring is here!  Another week or two and we'll have leaves on trees here (and I can't wait!)
+ I'm getting married four months from tomorrow....eeek!
+ Ice cream.  I'm supposed to be getting in shape for the aforementioned wedding, but I maybe ate a lot of ice cream this week and I'm not sorry.
+ My puppy.  After a week away, I'm almost in tears over how cute this dog is.  He makes my heart happy!
+ A wonderful support system through our church
+ A great family to be marrying into

WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR TODAY?

Apr 24, 2015 Party Like a Superhero: Avengers Watch Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AvengersUnite #CollectiveBias



While I love chick flicks as much as the next girl, I've got to be honest with you...I love superhero movies.  I love the action and adventure and how superheroes are these dynamic characters, and of course, I also love the little bit of romance that's always thrown in.  Plus, you all know that I can geek out, and nothing's geekier (in the best way), than comic books turned into movies.  Ladies, you know you're with me....girls can totally love superheroes too!


My favorite superhero franchise out there, without a doubt, is the MARVEL universe.  I love the Avengers, and am so excited for the new movie, MARVEL's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, to hit theaters next week!  In order to properly prepare for the new installment's release, I invited a bunch of friends over to watch The Avengers movie as well as a few of our other MARVEL favorites.  Because of the way the MARVEL universe works and the schedule that they release new Avengers movies, it can be really easy to forget what happened the last time you saw your favorite superhero in action in theaters.  So we all got together to refresh our memories before we all head to the box office next week.


Since I was hosting this little shindig, I decided to go all-out and party like a superhero, with themed treats, games, and decor.  So, I give you a completely Avengers-themed party plan that you can replicate at home....and, for those of you who love puns, here are a few alternate titles for this post, courtesy of my fiancĂ©:

1:  A Loki (low key) Superhero Party Thor (for) You and Your Friends.
2:  Throwing a MARVELous Superhero (Hulk) Smash!
3:  Make an Ordinary Friday FANTASTIC FOUR All of Your Closest Non-radioactive Friends... Including Spider-Man. 
4:  Antman.



WHAT YOU NEED //
+ A few of your favorite Avengers movies (duh!)
+ Your best Avengers apparel (break out that Captain America t-shirt!)
+ Lots of snacks:  soda, ice cream, chips, popcorn, candy, cheesecake, cupcakes (no movie marathon is complete without snack food!)
+ Any food that you see with an Avenger on it:  specifically look for Cheeze-Its, Doritos, Cherry Dr. Pepper, and Kellogg's Fruit Snacks!
+ Strawberries & Blueberries
+ Salad Supplies
+ Baby Carrots & Dip
+ A few prizes (I picked up some gift cards!)
+ Avengers action figures and toys, like an awesome Hulk hand (hey...you need to satisfy the kid within)
+ Plates, Cups, & Napkins
+ Brown postal wrap
+ Sharpies



CAPTAIN AMERICA CHEESECAKE //
To make this easy cheesecake resembling Captain America's shield, I picked up a pre-made cheesecake from Wal-Mart and a few packs of raspberries and blueberries.  I formed the outline of a star in the middle of the cake with the blueberries and then filled it in to create a circle around the star, and then set two rows of raspberries to make the circles on the Captain's shield.  It was a hit, and no one had to know that I only spent about 10 minutes on it!



AVENGERS CUPCAKES // 
Ok, so I really wish I could tell you that I made these.  I totally intended to actually make homemade cupcakes, but my time was running short last week, and when I stumbled upon these beautiful desserts in Wal-Mart's bakery, it was a no-brainer.  To turn these cupcakes into "Avengers Cupcakes", I picked up a few packs of Avengers erasers from the party aisle and put them on toothpicks, then stuck the toothpicks into the cupcakes!  So easy, and it transformed these otherwise-plain desserts into ones perfect for my Avengers watch party.  (And they were a total hit, too!)



THUNDER THOR POPCORN //
Salty meets sweet.  I popped two bags of all-natural, lightly salted microwave popcorn and then melted some milk-chocolate chips (use about 1/3 c. chocolate chips drizzled with olive or avocado oil, and melt in the microwave for about 45-seconds, stirring every 15-20 seconds, until smooth).  I tossed the popcorn into a bowl and sprinkled M&Ms over the popcorn, then drizzled my melted chocolate over the mixture.  Do this in a few layers, and you've got a salty-sweet treat perfect for snacking!



S.H.I.E.L.D. SNACKS //
No party is complete without every themed snack item that you can find!  Keep your eyes peeled for Avengers-marked boxes of Cheez-its, Doritos, Dr. Pepper, and Kellogg's fruit snacks.  I decided to label these snacky, finger food items (perfect for munching while movie-watching!) as "S.H.I.E.L.D. Snacks" to keep with the theme!



IRON MAN'S FIZZING FLOATS // 
So you've heard of a root beer float, but have your guests ever had a Dr. Pepper float?  My guess is no, which is why they'll be impressed with your Iron Man Fizzing Floats!  All these take are a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some Dr. Pepper.  But be careful....they really do fizz!  You don't need to fill the cup up with soda, and I highly recommend putting them together near a sink...or you might end up with Dr. Pepper all over your kitchen floor like I did!



THE HULK'S MEAN GREEN SALAD & COULSON'S CARROTS AND DIP //
While snack foods are great, you do need to satisfy the health-conscious, so I whipped up a salad and picked up some baby carrots & dip.  These are pretty much party staples, but they're favorites, so it was a good choice!




GAMES & PRIZES // 
Since I invited mostly adults over (with the exception of four kids), I decided to create a few games that the adults could enjoy!  I designed an Avengers Trivia game (download the printable for free here) and an Avengers Matching game (download the printable for free here), and then picked up some gift cards and a few of the Avengers movies to hand out as prizes!



SET IT ALL UP //
I picked up a blue table-cloth for the table and tried to keep to a red, blue, and green theme, since most of the Avengers wear one or more of those colors.  I rolled a piece of brown craft paper over the table and then laid out the food and used a Sharpie to label everything with my Avengers-themed names like "Thunder Thor Popcorn", "Incredible Hulk Mint Oreos", "Captain America Cheesecake", "The Hulk's Mean Green Salad", "Coulson's Carrots & Dips", etc.  I picked up this great tub for drinks and decided to go with bottled sodas, because they just make things more fun, right?



We enjoyed the beautiful weather by eating outside, and then I passed out Avengers Trivia and Matching games to everyone to see who knew the Avengers the best!




Once everyone had eaten and the sun started to go down, we headed inside to watch the movie!  We went over the answers to the games and handed out the prizes, and then popped in the movie, passed out some Iron Man Fizzing Floats, and settled in to watch The Avengers!



The party ended up being super fun and we had gorgeous weather, which meant we were able to get outside for the first time this year before watching the movie.  I can't wait to hit the movie theater on May 1st, when MARVEL's The Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out! In preparation, I'll be watching some of my favorite Avengers movies:  Iron Man 1, 2, & 3; Captain America 1 & 2, Thor 1 & 2, The Incredible Hulk, and The Avengers!  And while you're preparing for the MARVEL'S The Avengers:  Age of Ultron release, be sure to download the Superheroes Assemble app, which is available in the Apple App store & Google play, and can help you have even more Avengers fun!

The best part about this party was how easy it was to prepare for...I headed to my local Super Wal-Mart and I was able to pick up everything I need, including some of the Avengers movies and specially-marked packages of snacks!  





WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AVENGER?  WILL YOU BE HITTING THE THEATER ON MAY 1ST TO SEE AGE OF ULTRON?

Apr 23, 2015 The Guys Behind the Blog // April

I can't believe it's been over a week since I last posted.  Goodness, April has been a crazy month.  I have some fun stuff planned for the next few weeks here at Heavens to Betsy, and we're kicking off those things with today's Guys Behind the Blog link-up! 

 If this is your first time reading one of these posts, here's a little background:  each month, I ask my fiancĂ©, AJ, five questions and invite you to do the same with your guy!  The link-up typically happens the last Thursday of the month (we moved it back a week this month) and stays open for a week, and it's a ton of fun!

I'm currently in Boston visiting AJ for the week, so we sat down and I asked him this month's questions so you all can get to know him a bit better!  

1 // Has Starbucks ever spelled your name wrong on a cup? If yes, what's the craziest way that 
someone has spelled it?
Yep.  Somebody at a Starbucks here in Boston misunderstood me and wrote "Asia."

2 // Who would play your fiancee in a movie or TV show about your lives?
I want to say Zooey Deschanel because you kind of look like her and she has big eyes and stuff, but I also don't want to say her because she kind of annoys me.  Personality-wise, I want to say Tina Fey because you have a similar sense of humor I think.  So maybe a mix between the two.

3 // What is your proudest accomplishment?
Locking you down.  Definitely...making this official.

4 // What is your favorite holiday and why?
Fourth of July, because I like the summer and we always play volleyball, which I love.  Ooh, but then also Thanksgiving because the Eagles play and it's nice to have everybody around.  Both of those.

5 // What is your favorite breed of dog?  If you don't have a favorite breed, describe the characteristics of your ideal dog (or cat)! I like bloodhounds.  Betsy does not.  There will be a war over this.  

And there you have it, folks!  I hope you'll consider joining in with us this month for The Guys Behind the Blog!  You can see past posts here, and you can hop on board this month by interviewing your guy and posting anytime in the next week!

May's Guys Behind the Blog is scheduled for Thursday, May 28 and will stay open through Friday, June 5.  If you want to get a head start, here are the questions:

1 // What is your favorite family tradition?
2 // Who's your male celebrity crush?
3 // What song best sums you up?
4 // What three things do you think of the most each day?
5 // What is your most embarrassing memory?

Do you have a question that you'd like to see featured in an upcoming Guys Behind the Blog?  Submit it here!
(P.S. There will not be a war over the bloodhound thing...unless we live on a farm someday, we're not getting a bloodhound.  End. of. story.)


Apr 15, 2015 Fiesta Floral Bridal Shower Games

With wedding season on the horizon, I've been getting more and more orders for my bridal shower games.  These are some of my favorite things to design, because I love everything wedding-oriented!

I designed these particular bridal shower games for a client about a year ago, and I filed the design away in my records with the intention of one day breaking out out again and publishing it.  I think it's super cute, and has a little bit of a southwestern, fiesta feel to it, but also fits a rustic-themed bridal shower.  We used some of these games for my best friend's shower about a year and a half ago, and they were a hit!




And now for an exciting announcement....while I love accepting custom bridal shower game orders via email (and will continue to take them!), I've also decided to offer more generic games in my etsy shop moving forward, available for instant download.

There are two ways to purchase them:  you can purchase each game individually, or save $5 by purchasing the entire suite (4 games)!  I'll slowly be building the catalogue of designs I offer in the shop, but some of my most popular templates are already available for download...click here to check them out!  And if you or someone you know is getting married or throwing a bridal shower in the near future, keep these fun games in mind!

Apr 14, 2015 Peace in Chaos // Finding Peace in Scripture


This post is part of The Peony Project's monthly link-up.

If you read my post last week, then you know that life has been a little bit hectic lately.  It's been the kind of hectic that's draining.  Worry hides around every turn and I'll be honest...it's hard to beat it down and to find peace.

I'm honestly not sure how anyone can face a cancer diagnosis (let alone two), or really, any kind of personal crisis, without Jesus.  Our faith and church community has sustained our family over the past two years, and I can't imagine going through all of this without knowing Him.

It can be really hard to find any sort of peace when your mind is plagued with concern or it's just elsewhere in general.  But if there's anything I've found to be tried-and-true in installing peace in my day-to-day over these past two years, it's memorizing Scripture.  

If you grew up in church, you were probably given countless memory verses over the years to study and remember.  I've never been terribly with memorizing Scripture, but I've also never been so compelled to as I have the past few years.  In 2012, I led a missions trip to the Dominican Republic for our youth ministry.  We gave our students a list of verses to memorize and encouraged them that while they were praying with people in the DR, if they were at a loss for words, they could always pray Scripture.

Since my dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, we've attended our church's healing ministry for prayer nearly every Wednesday night.  Time and time again, as we've sat in a small room with a team of prayer warriors surrounding my dad, I've listened to people pray Scripture over him.  These experiences have only further confirmed the importance and power in praying through Scripture.

Chances are that if you've every been through anything difficult or have struggled with anything in your life (who hasn't?), then you've gone looking for verses that will bring you peace.  If I've learned anything in the past two years, it's that memorizing verses and repeating them over and over again to myself can bring the biggest sense of peace.

One of my favorites is Isaiah 26:3:  "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on  you, because he trusts in You." (ESV)



I think this verse encompasses the heart and power of memorizing Scripture:  keeping God's Word in your heart and mind helps you stay in His peace.  Even in the most turbulent of waters, there is a peace in knowing that Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that this world is not our home.  

Here are a few other verses that I have found comfort and peace in memorizing and calling on in the moments where I feel lost, sad, or helpless:

2 Corinthians 10:5:  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up agains the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. (NIV)

John 14:27:  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (NIV)

Philippians 4:6:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (NIV)

Isaiah 54:10:  "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (NIV)

Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (NIV)

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If you're a blogger reading this, and you've been searching for a community to call home; searching for people who will understand this part of your life, who will get the blogging world and who will be real friends for you in it, then I hope you'll consider joining us in The Peony Project.  that's our heart, after all...to be friends for the journey.

And if you just stopped by today to do a little reading, then I'm so happy you're here.  And I hope you'll either consider what peace means to you and join in on our link-up, or that you'll stop by a few of the other posts below and check out what it means to some other awesome ladies. 


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