Thursday, June 29, 2017

Soothing my Soul

The Lord has brought several songs into my life in the last few weeks as I've need to be reminded of the truth of who God is even when life doesn't make sense.  They all happen to be by Travis Cottrell, one of my favorite worship leaders.  If you create a Spotify account, you can stream his music at work, home or on your phone.  All of these songs are from his Living Proof album.

Take a minute to sooth your soul:

Awesome (My God)



Never Once


Take Me to the King



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Livin' it up in Dixie {4th of July Edition}




What: Huntsville Madison Country Veterans Memorial
       
Where: 200 Monroe Street, Huntsville (located just past the Historic Depot)

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: free, park along the street or in the surrounding business lots

Website: click here

The Huntsville Madison County Veterans Memorial was finished in 2011 and honors all of our country's veterans.  There are beautiful statues and historic points of interest. My favorite part is the Legacy Brick Walkway.  Back when they were raising funds to build the memorial, I bought a brick for Daddy in memory of his father, our Popa, SF3C Harold Forester.   You can see his brick at Section 40-Row 15-Column 9.  You can read about our first visit here.

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What: U.S. Space & Rocket Center Fireworks

When: July 4, 9pm
   
Where: great views from Bridge Street or anywhere near the Space & Rocket Center

Entrance Fee: free

Weather: possible rain, low 90's

Website: click here

This is billed as Huntsville's largest fireworks display so I suggest finding your spot early!

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What: Stars & Stripes Forever July 4th Celebration

When: July 4, 2-9pm with fireworks at 9pm
   
Where: Dublin Park, 8324 Madison Pike, Madison, AL

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: park at Bob Jones High School and ride the shuttle

Weather: possible rain, low 90's


Through out the afternoon, enjoy music, inflatables and food trucks in the park as you wait for fireworks.  I'm wondering if there's a secret spot where the fireworks from Dublin AND the Space and Rocket Center are both visible....if you know of a great viewing area, let me know!

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What: Providence Park Fireworks

When: July 4, 7:30pm with fireworks at 9:30pm
   
Where: Village of Providence

Entrance Fee: free

Weather: possible rain, low 90's


The US Army Concert Band will be preforming before the fireworks begin.  They don't let you bring a picnic to this event, but I'm thinking Moe's BBQ from across the street sounds pretty good!




Recurring Weekly Events:

What: Concert in the Park

When: Mondays, 6:30-8:30pm
   
Where: Huntsville Museum of Art outdoor stage

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: free, park along the street or in the surrounding business lots

Website: click here

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What: Park It Like It's Hot Food Truck Lunches

When: Wednesdays, 11am- 2pm
     
Where: Lowe Mill, under the water tower

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: free

Website: click here

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What: The Greene Street Market

When: Thursdays, May-October, 4-8pm

Where: corner of Greene Street and Eustis Avenue in Downtown Huntsville

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: should be free on surrounding streets and lots, but take cash just in case

Website: click here

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What: Village of Providence Artisans & Farmers Market

When: Saturdays, April-November,  8am- noon
     
Where: Village of Providence Park on Town Center Drive, Huntsville

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: free

Website: click here

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What: Concerts on the Dock

When: Fridays, 6-9pm

Where: Lowe Mill under the water tower

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: $5 suggested donation

Website: click here


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Early 4th Celebration

We all spent Monday evening livin' it up at Big Spring Park listening to the Army Materiel Band and enjoying the beautiful weather.  Look at that sunset- cell phone cameras don't do it justice!



The evening ended with fireworks that were just beautiful over downtown Huntsville.




Monday, June 26, 2017

Huntsville Gift Basket

As a church staff, we're excited to welcome Mount Zion's new pastor to our team.  We ministry assistants decided a gift basket would be a nice way to welcome him.  I mentioned doing a "Huntsville" themed basket and we went CRAZY!  But it was so fun!


We've spent the last month, collecting local goods, treats and information.

So if you need some ideas for a Huntsville gift basket, here's some ideas:

  • Old Huntsville newspaper with classic stories
  • Flint River coffee
  • Huntsville coaster from Harrison Brothers
  • Cotton stalks
  • Handel's Ice Cream gift card
  • Camouflage cup with bright orange "pastor" (our nod to local rednecks)
  • Local honey
  • Gibson's white BBQ sauce
  • List of Huntsville attractions and hot spots




We gathered everything in a galvanized tub, tied up with burlap ribbon!

We hope our new boss feels welcomed to the Rocket City!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Livin' it up in Dixie {movie & music}




What: Movies in the Park

When: Friday, June 23, 5pm with movie starting around 7pm
       
Where: Big Spring Park East

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: free, park along the street or in the surrounding business lots

Weather: stay weather aware...unfortunately this event might get rained out

Website: click here

This week's movie is "Secret Life of Pets" and is good for some laughs, especially if you have a pet.  I have seen this movie and it helped me realize what a full life Honey Bunch lives when we aren't watching!  If the event gets rained out, have your own movie night at home!

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What: 2017 Armed Forces Concert in the Park with Fireworks Show

When: Monday, June 26, 6:30-8:30pm
     
Where: Huntsville Museum of Art outdoor stage (if there's rain, the concert will be moved to the VBC South Hall)

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: free, park along the street or in the surrounding business lots

Weather: clear, low 80's

Website: click here

Nothing beats patriotic music and fireworks!  Be sure to bring your own chairs (even if the event is moved to the South Hall).  Picnics and pets are welcomed in the park.  Several food truck and vendors will be there so you can help support local businesses while celebrating Independence Day early!




Recurring Weekly Events:

What: Park It Like It's Hot Food Truck Lunches

When: Wednesdays, 11am- 2pm
     
Where: Lowe Mill, under the water tower

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: free

Website: click here

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What: The Greene Street Market

When: Thursdays, May-October, 4-8pm

Where: corner of Greene Street and Eustis Avenue in Downtown Huntsville

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: should be free on surrounding streets and lots, but take cash just in case

Website: click here

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What: Village of Providence Artisans & Farmers Market

When: Saturdays, April-November,  8am- noon
     
Where: Village of Providence Park on Town Center Drive, Huntsville

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: free

Website: click here

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What: Concerts on the Dock

When: Fridays, 6-9pm

Where: Lowe Mill under the water tower

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: $5 suggested donation

Website: click here


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Close to the brokenhearted


As many of you know, I work in the Student Ministry at Mount Zion Baptist Church.

It was our students who were involved in the fatal bus accident on June 8.

It was one of our students who lost her life that day.



The last 13 days have been a blur of grief, urgency, disbelief, shock and exhaustion.  For the privacy of all those involved, I won't share the details but I will say I've never seen the Body of Christ come together as I did in those first few hours and days.

I also experienced the strength of the Lord like never before as He sustained me through very difficult, long days on the administrative side of the tragedy.  When I didn't know how to pray, I felt the prayers of my loved ones interceding for me.

My heart remains broken and heavy for the students and families involved.  Join me in continuing to pray that they daily feel the Lord close to them.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Livin' It Up in Dixie {movies & history}




What: Movies in the Park

When: Friday, June 9, 5pm with movie starting around 7pm
       
Where: Big Spring Park East

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: free if parking on street of business lots, possible charge if in city garage

Weather: clear, mid 80's

Website: click here

Bring your lawn chair, picnics, babies and dogs for this fun Huntsville treat!  Big Spring Park East (next to the YMCA) is just beautiful and the people watching is at its prime at events like this.  This week's movie is Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which I know bunches of people love but I've never seen so view at your own risk!

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What: The Miracle Worker at Ivy Green

When: Friday & Saturday evenings, June 2-July 8 at 8pm; gates open at 6:30pm for free tour
     
Where: 300 North Commons Street, Tuscumbia, AL 35674

Entrance Fee: House Tour (no play): $6 for adults, $5 for Seniors/AAA members, $3 for kids
                         Miracle Worker Play with House Tour: $10-$15

Parking: free

Website: click here

Helen Keller is perhaps the best known blind and deaf person in history.  She was born and raised about less than 2 hours from Huntsville in Tuscumbia, AL.  Ivy Green is the name of her family home and is preserved with Keller family belongings including Helen's collection of Braille books and typewriter.  In the summers, you can see a live performance of the Miracle Worker, the story of Helen and her teacher, Anne Sullivan.  This is certainly a piece of Alabama history you don't want to miss!

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What: Breakfast Trolley Tour

When: Saturdays at 10am, June through September
       
Where: tours begin and end at Alabama Constitution Village, 109 Gates Ave

Entrance Fee: $18, reservations encouraged

Parking: free

Website: click here

This sounds like something that should be required for all Huntsville residents!  On the tour, you'll enjoy a light breakfast with coffee and hear stories from Huntsville's past as you drive through downtown Huntsville and the historic Twickenham district.  A friend of mine has been on the tour and really enjoyed it!  It's certainly on my list of things to do this summer!

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Recurring Weekly Events:


What: Concerts in the Park

When: Mondays, June-August 7, 6:30-8pm
     
Where: Huntsville Museum of Art outdoor stage

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: free, park along the street or in the surrounding business lots

Weather: mid 80's

Website: click here

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What: Park It Like It's Hot Food Truck Lunches

When: Wednesdays, 11am- 2pm
     
Where: Lowe Mill, under the water tower

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: free

Website: click here

_____________________________________
What: The Greene Street Market

When: Thursdays, May-October, 4-8pm

Where: corner of Greene Street and Eustis Avenue in Downtown Huntsville

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: should be free on surrounding streets and lots, but take cash just in case

Website: click here

_____________________________________

What: Village of Providence Artisans & Farmers Market

When: Saturdays, April-November,  8am- noon
     
Where: Village of Providence Park on Town Center Drive, Huntsville

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: free

Website: click here

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What: Concerts on the Dock

When: Fridays, 6-9pm (this week's event is combined with the Cigar Box Festival listed above)

Where: Lowe Mill under the water tower

Entrance Fee: free

Parking: $5 suggested donation

Website: click here


Monday, June 5, 2017

Six Thirty Six

So on Friday, I turned 36 at 6:36am and following strict family tradition, received a phone call right on time where Moma and Daddy sang Happy Birthday to me.  Of course they have to sing quickly since they have to call Abby at 6:37am!

Chris and I took the day as an opportunity to explore Birmingham's newly opened food hall, The Pizitz.  I had read about it a few months ago and wanted to experience it myself.  I'd describe it as a trendy food court and even though it wasn't exactly what I expected we had a good time exploring!





Our plan was to try several new things and split them so we could cover more ground.  First up was Alabama Biscuit Company where we got the Alabama biscuit that had a maple butter sauce topped with roasted pecans.

I think we discovered that we're biscuit snobs because after our Jacksonville/Chattanooga favorite, Maple Street Biscuit Company, our Alabama biscuit fell short.  Other items on their menu look good though so I would give it a second chance!

Next we tried the waffle dog from Waffle Works.  It is indeed a hotdog wrapped in a waffle and sad to say, my top pick from The Pizitz.  Apparently when choosing food, my 12-year-old self takes over!

After a stroll around the block, we ordered street tacos at Choza Taqueria, whose sister restaurant is in NYC.

We tried the pollo, carnitas and steak barbacoa tacos.  Chris really enjoyed these!

Our last selection was our favorite and most ethnic- Eli's Jerusalem Grill where we had shawarma (shaved roasted chicken) and couscous.  We see both on Food Network all the time, but had never tried either.

We really enjoyed trying this meal!  Plus their pita was the best ever- it was soft and fluffy, not the dried out kind you normally have.

On the way home I was thrilled to stop at JC Penney!  My life has been so empty since they demolished ours.  I didn't buy anything, but walked around feelin' the love and asking myself why Fultondale can have a JCP and we can't.  Life's not fair.

We stopped at Target for Chris's Starbucks fix and my Icee fix- that 12-year-old girl thing keeps popping up!  May I just say their banana flavor tastes just like a banana popsicle!


Friday night we all gathered at Moma and Daddy's for lasagna and peach cobbler...and of course gifts!


Moma and Daddy got me the Huntsville pillow I've been eyeing and a candle from a local company who makes Huntsville-themed candles.  I got one named "Tinsel Trail".

They also got me some beautiful necklaces...

Abby and Nick floored me with a mini-replica of our wedding cake!  I had seen them on Etsy for a while and it was on my long-term wish list but leave it to Abby to totally spoil me!


Isn't just amazing!

After all the gifts had been opened, Daddy announced that he had something special for his birthday girls.  When it was my turn, he walked into the dining room carrying a giant "S".  My first thought is "our last name starts with a 'B'" but in the next split second I knew immediately what he was holding!

I ran over to him yelling something like "No, you didn't!!!"  "Oh my word- I can't believe it!"

Do you know what we're holding? (keep scrolling down...)




































Yes, folks, Daddy gave me the "S" from one of the Madison Square Mall signs!  I have the best Daddy EVER!

Before you start screaming "citizens arrest" let me ease your minds by saying he came by it sort-of-honest!  Moma had been watching the sign disappear and had mentioned to Daddy we should get part of it.  So, Daddy drove by one day and laying there in the grass, in two pieces, was the "S" someone else had already pried off the sign.

It's like God wanted me to have it!

But wait...there's more!

After finding the "S' a few weeks ago, Moma mentioned how neat it would be to have another letter.

We're a complicated bunch.

So on Friday, at 4am, Daddy drove back to the mall with a little hacksaw, ready to get another letter.  He said he drove up to the sign...but kept on driving...all the way back home...with no letter.

Moma said he walked in the house carrying that little hacksaw and said "I just couldn't do it."

{insert huge roar of laughter from all of us as they were telling us this story at dinner!}

I so love that my law-abiding Daddy just couldn't vandalize a sign that's gonna be torn down anyway.  Finding the "S" is one thing, but actually prying one off is another!  He'd do anything for me...except go to jail for stealing a "Q"!

This birthday story will certainly go down in Forester family lore!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Adoption Fundraiser

A friend of Abby's is hosting a Norwex party with 20% of proceeds going toward the Baby Hayes Adoption Fund.

Norwex is a company focused on natural cleaning products for your home and bath. I actually have a similar product to their felted wool Fluff and Tumble Dryer Balls and just love them!  You toss them in your dryer instead of dryer sheets and keep reusing them.




Norwex also offers bath and body care products and some cute things for kids.  I think their Pet to Dry product is so cute!  You just hang on a stroller, cabinet...wherever to encourage kids to wash and their hands.


If you're interested in shopping and supporting Abby and Nick's adoption, visit http://mariatyner.norwex.biz/ and select "Abby Adoption Fundraiser" at checkout.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Fiesta Rehearsal Dinner

I was so honored and excited when our friend, Meg, asked me to help her decorate for her son's rehearsal dinner!  She had already decided on dinner at Rosie's Mexican Cantina so my job was to jazz up their party room.

Before meeting with Meg for the first time, I collected ideas from Etsy, Pinterest and other sites and made inspiration boards to share with her.  We made a plan and between the two of us started shopping to buy all the supplies.

The weekend before the wedding, Meg brought all the supplies she had gathered to add to what I had gathered so that on the day of the event she could just show up and celebrate!  On the day of the Rehearsal Dinner my design assistants (Moma & Daddy!) and I spent a couple of hours at Rosie's getting the room all ready.

The result was better than we expected...even the staff at Rosie's loved the end result!  Most importantly, Meg and the happy couple loved it too!

Greeting guests was this chalkboard outside the room...



Meg rented lime green tablecloths that helped punch up the decorations.







I knew I wanted to create a backdrop behind the bride and groom and fell in love with large Mexican paper flowers and a 3 foot tall "S" piñata from Etsy.




The flowers came flat so I just had to fluff and tape up!










For the head table, one of Meg's friends made us 3 flower arrangements...





The vases were lined with limes!  Don't you just love that!?!?









For the centerpieces I used mini Mexican blanket runners, multi-colored bottles, mini cacti in cans with raffia ribbon, candles, flowers and personalized Mexican flags.



These are real mini cacti!  We found red, pink and yellow topped-cactus at Home Depot a few months before the rehearsal dinner and Meg was able to keep them alive until the party.



These personalized Mexican flags from Etsy were my favorite part of the decor!








I also totally loved the custom menus we had designed on Etsy.  For party favors, Meg made homemade salsa and I topped that off with a custom sticker!







It was so fun to create a festive and beautiful space for the wedding party!  I hope all those little, personal touches helped make their evening all the more memorable!