Monday, December 31, 2012

The Top Fifteen of 2012

This has been a HUGE year in the Hawley house.  So many wonderful things have happened to us where we have grown in our marriage, finances, occupations, and so many other things I could list.  We have had the awesome opportunity to share our lives with you and we are so grateful to our readers!  Thank you!!!  Come, join me, and take a stroll down memory lane while we revisit YOUR favorite top 15 posts of 2012.  If you’re new around these here parts (yikes sometimes my southern draw just slips out) this might help you catch up with LWTH. 
Be sure to check out my beautiful sisters Whitney, Selena, and StephanieDSC_0311-2[4]

Were any of these your favorites this year?

For more on the Hawley nest, check us out here.

Here are ways you can follow us and stay up to date with the Hawley happenings throughout the year.
For us, it seems like each year gets better than the last.  Of course we have our trials and storms but God always seems to bring us through them.  We are certainly looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us in 2013. 
Happy New Year!!!
xoxo Darby

Friday, December 28, 2012

Five Spectacular Years

It's hard to believe, but tomorrow, the Mr and I will have been married for 5 years.  5 years people!!!  I cannot believe it!  While it seems like this time has gone by so quickly, it also feels like I can’t remember life before him.  It has occurred to me, with this marital milestone, that I have never shared our engagement story (despite several requests from my sister- sorry Kel!) or about our wedding.  It’s probably about that time, don’t ya think?  Since it’s our anniversary I will start with the wedding and tackle our engagement story another time. 

For some background, the Mr and I had just moved to Houston from VA.  While I am from VA, the Mr is from the Pittsburgh area.  We were engaged in September of 2007 and started planning our wedding right away.  Because we wanted to get married over Christmas break (since we would be back home anyway and it was between graduate school semesters for us), we had the worry of the snow.  There would definitely be snow and my family wouldn’t be able to get to Pittsburgh area and vice versa.  So the inevitable idea of two weddings emerged.  We decided that the Mr’s father would marry us at his home church in WV followed by a reception, we would then go on our honeymoon, and then we would fly back into VA for a second wedding reception.  In theory, this sounded like a lot of fun (and don’t get me wrong it definitely was), but planning two weddings (one in WV and one in VA) from TX in 3 months, during my first semester of grad school…….what in the world was I thinking?!?!?!  I was clearly head over heels and blinded by love! lol With a quick engagement it allowed me to focus on the most important things, and I didn’t get lost in the buttons and bows of a wedding; I just didn’t have time to worry about details.  So this is how it turned out:

Attending: WV wedding and reception- 150 people, and VA reception- 150 people

Engagement: 3 months

Invitations: These were very inexpensive and the only picture I have of them is from my tutorial on making them into a Christmas ornament last year.  haha See hereDSC_0696[4]

Colors:  Our colors were silver and blackBridal Collage 4

Bridal Party: I chose my sister, Kellyn, and pledge sister, Katie, (actually we are all DZ’s), to stand up next to me at the alter; what a blessing these two were!  The Mr chose a childhood friend and his brother for groomsmen.

Parties: My bridesmaids threw me a great shower at our sorority house and it was such a great surprise.   I remember everything about that night.  For my bachelorette party, they planned another great surprise for me: it was a tacky tour with all our girl friends in a limo around Richmond.  It was so perfect for me and everything I could have ever wanted.
Check out that TX tan! lolBridal Collage 3

Rehearsal dinner:  Since the wedding was in WV so was the rehearsal dinner.  Everything was such a fast blur that I don’t remember much.  I know that everyone was sitting at large round tables, but that is about it.  I don’t even remember what was served.  Though I do remember the Mr getting me to try fried pickles for the first time.  They were pretty good but were not what was served at dinner.

Dresses: Because I was in Houston and didn’t have a lot of time.  I went one afternoon in October to one store and picked out my dress.  It was the first dress I tried on and I loved it.  It was nothing like I thought I wanted.  My favorite part was the crystal broach at the waist.  The store said that they would have to order it for me in my size. Since I didn’t have much time for a dress to be ordered and altered, because I was having my bridal portraits the next month, I asked what size the dress on the manikin was.  It was my size, and a perfect fit---no alterations needed and $200 off for being on the manikin.  Perfect!  Dress buying took me about 30 minutes. 
In the store trying on my dress and veil.  I loved the bustle on my dress.Bridal Collage 2

Here are some of my bridal portraits.  Sorry for the poor quality.Bridal Collage 1
When Kellyn and Katie, my bridesmaids, came to Houston to dress shop, I told them that I didn’t care what kind of dress they got as long as it was black.  I know so many women spend hundreds of dollars on dresses that just hang in their closets, and I wanted them to get something that they would wear again, and everyone wears black dresses.  They picked out their dresses before they saw mine, and it was the perfect dress because when they saw my dress the beading at the top was exactly the same.  My bridesmaids and I wore our dresses at both receptions.  What other time would you get to wear your wedding dress twice? ! lolWedding- 68

Old, New, Borrowed, Blue: My something new was my dress, my something blue was my garter, my something borrowed was the pence in my shoe, and my something old was my pearl earrings.Wedding- 50

Shoes: These were so precious to me. My sister spent three months making me shoes and socks for the wedding. I wanted to be comfortable but I’m also a foot and a half shorter than the Mr. So my sister helped me to find affordable platform white tennis shoes (this is much harder to find than you would expect) and she made them pretty for me. They were perfect for all the dancing!Wedding- 55

Flowers: This was something that I was a little disappointed with.  I wanted fake flowers to carry (seriously I might be the only bride who has said this) so that I could keep them forever.  I wanted tulips, and I got tulips, but they did not look great.  Wedding- 123Since it was right after Christmas, the church was still decorated with candles, poinsettias, and Christmas trees.  I still love this aspect of our wedding because I love that time of the year.  There is a joke with our families because I didn’t want bows on the pews to reserve family seating.  I told them that I didn’t want “pew bows” and they all thought I said I didn’t want “pewbs”  I’ll let you think on that for a second.  haha We still laugh about that.  Instead I had evergreen swags made with black and silver ribbon and Christmas ornaments instead of “pew bows”.  We still have these and want to use them as Christmas decorations in our new house next year.Wedding- 80b

Vows: Our vows were not traditional, but they also weren’t memorized.  We were so nervous that if we had to remember something else I am pretty sure one of us would have passed out.  I have written about our vows before, see here.  They are currently posted in our kitchen so that we can see them daily and be reminded of our covenant.DSC_0724[8]

Cakes: In WV we had the Mr’s favorite vanilla cake with whipped icing.  In VA we had my favorite cake baked by a great family friend with buttercream icing. We used the same cake toppers on both cakes: an old wooden bride and groom that has been used on every cake in my family for decades.
West Virginia cakeWedding- 156

Virginia cake- I loved the fountain in the bottomWedding- 110

Food:  We had a sit down dinner at the first reception with ribeyes, chicken cordon bleu, or salmon.  At the second reception it was a buffet styled dinner.

Photography: One thing I recommend to all brides-to-be is to invest in a photographer. I was cheap about this and I regret it ALL the time. I wish we had better photos of this day.  The best pictures I got were from family and friends, not our photographers.

First Dance: The Mr and I took several dance lessons because we didn’t want to dance like we did in college at our reception nor did we want to dance like we did in middle school.  We love Frank Sinatra so we chose to dance the Fox Trot to “World on a String”.  The first time we ever performed our dance perfectly was at the first reception; thank goodness! lolWedding- 147

Honeymoon: Since we had just moved to TX and were so over the heat, we wanted to go somewhere cold.  The first night after our wedding we stayed in Pittsburgh in a hotel over looking the Steelers stadium and the next day we left for Montreal, Canada.  It was –15 degrees and we definitely got what we wanted: COLD!  I think our favorite memory was swimming in the heated pool on the rooftop of the hotel at night in the snow.  It was gorgeous!honeymoon collage

So that is a little taste of our wedding.  Like all marriages we have had our highs and lows but through the Lord we have laughed at the peaks, and clung together in the lows.  Hubby you are more than I could have ever dreamed of and I praise the Lord for you daily.  Thank you for being such a spectacular husband.  I am truly looking forward to many more years with you!
Wedding- 254
xoxo Darby

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Special Hawley Greeting Card

Since the Christmas cards are now in the mail, I thought I’d share our Christmas pictures with you. 
Much love and blessings to you this Christmas season!
Merry Christmas!
Phil, Darby, Tomlin and RooneyChristmas Card for 2012DSC_0245-2
We hope you have a safe and happy Christmas!
xoxo Darby

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Wonders and Holiday Happenings {{FEATURES}}

It time for our Features!

Thank you all for linking up to the
 Winter Wonders & Holiday Happenings Link Party!

Today it is time for all of us to share our features from the the Winter Wonders & Holiday Happenings Link Party!

Claiming Our Space along with Black Fox Homestead, Life with the Hawleys, Lilacs and Longhorns, Practically Functional, The Thrifty Rebel and Yellow Spool are sharing our favorite link ups today! Since each of us will have selected our own two features you will need to make sure you stop by each blog to check out all of the features.

LWTH's Features:

Christmas Photography Tips from The Crafty WomanThe Crafty Woman

One Creative Mommy

Grab the button if you were featured!

<a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Photobucket" border="0" src="" /></a>
Thanks again for sharing all your great projects, recipes and posts!
Have a great last weekend before Christmas friends!!!
The Mr and I will be moving tomorrow so send us some good vibes and say a prayer for us :-)
Love y'all!
xoxo Darby

Thursday, December 20, 2012

{{Make Ahead}} Glazed Ham and Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches

From the Kitchen of Darby Hawley
I have had requests for this recipe for YEARS.  I wasn’t being greedy with the recipe, I just never got around to writing it out for you.  So here ya go, Saved 2 Serve Sunday School Class, this one is for YOU!

This is a great breakfast recipe for those mornings when you want something so savory and delicious but you don’t want to spend the morning in the kitchen.  I make this for Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings (and of course on days when it is our turn to bring snack to Sunday school class).  If you’re like me, you’re time is limited, so here is my MAKE AHEAD version so you don’t miss a second of Christmas morning!  I hope you get to try these next week for Christmas!

two 12-packs of Hawaiian King rolls
1lb shaved ham (don’t go skimpy, go to the deli and get a good brand)
12oz swiss cheese, sliced (this can be the cheap kind from the lunch meat section)

Glaze Ingredients:
½ cup butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tbs worcestershire sauce
2 tbs mustard
2 tbs poppy seeds

1. Before going to bed, measure out all of your glaze ingredients and put them in a sauce pan. Place the sauce pan in the fridge. Then in the morning all you will have to do is pull out the sauce pan and it will be ready to go.
2. Without separating into individual rolls, cut the tops off of the rolls. Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with the bottom half of the rolls, and top with the ham and then the swiss cheese. Lastly place the tops of the rolls on top of the cheese and pack & press the rolls deeply into the pan. Cover with foil and place the pan in the fridge.
3. Go to bed.
4. Wake up and start a pot of coffee. All is good with the world again :-)
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Take out the saucepan that is in the fridge and bring it to a boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
7. Bring out the ham sandwiches from the fridge and remove the foil. Evenly pour the hot glaze over the top of the rolls.
8. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Wrapping

This time of year, wrapping is in full swing. Some people dread it, and others love it. My sister is a fabulous wrapper. She always has the perfect paper with the most beautiful bow and coordinated ribbon. I love the way she wraps her packages; it’s often really hard to tear into them just because they’re so pretty. Me? I feel like I’m doing a good job if I don’t lock it down like Fort Knox with the Scotch tape. Typically my gear for Christmas gifts involves these essentials:
Christmas Wrap Collage 1
This year is waaaaaayyy different (see here). I sent my 5 packages I had to buy this year last week….and they look like a scotch tape factory exploded. Now I have moved on to my major wrapping project: Packing up our house in 3 days for the big move. This year my wrapping essentials include:
Christmas Wrap Collage 2
Not too much different, right? I still have tape, scissors and labels…..only slightly less fun and definitely not as colorful or pretty lol
I’ve got my eyes on the prize: Christmas in the new house.
I can do this!!!!
Any moving tips/advice for me?
xoxo Darby

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


xoxo Darby

Monday, December 17, 2012

Puppy Bloopers

I am continuously asked how in the world I get the dogs to sit still for pictures. (See this years Christmas pictures).  I guess because I’m snapping pictures all the time they get used to it and learn that the sooner they sit still the sooner it will be over????  That is entirely possible, buuuuuut really, this is what I think keeps them happy ;-)DSC_0213-2
Even with treats though, it still takes forever and a ton of patience to get a few good shots.  Today I thought I would share with you some of my favorite bloopers from this year lolDSC_0226DSC_0260
hahahahahaha these are funny after the fact, but certainly drive me crazy at the time lol
xoxo Darby
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