To live by these promises for all eternity...

For JD's birthday this year (Feb 17th), I decided to finally paint him something special. It was unbearably difficult for me to keep it a secret. I ended up surprising him with the paintings the night before his birthday because I was about to burst!!

As we wrote our own vows for our wedding, I thought it would be cool to paint them in celebration of all that has come and will come! The tree is meant to be a replica of the tree growing elegantly beside the aisle in the garden where our wedding ceremony took place (at the Carl House). And the birds on my vows are a replica of the sign we have hanging on our armoire (Love Birds Nesting).

Work in Progress:



The finished product:



I, James Darwin Todd, take you, Whitney Taylor Adams, to be my wife. I am exponentially excited that I will be enjoying the rest of my life with the most beautiful woman that I know on both the inside and out. I cannot wait to show you love and adoration every second of every day. I promise to encourage you and support you in all of your goals and to strengthen you in your walk with Christ daily as we glorify Him in all that we do. I promise by God's Grace, as He enables me, to love you as Christ loved the church; to daily make sacrifices for you and to speak the Truth to you in Love; and to show you Love and Grace as He has shown me Love and Grace. I will trust Him with all of my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I will acknowledge Him in all things, for I know He will direct our paths. I will be peaceful, content and joyful in every situation, knowing that He is guiding our paths and that He will strengthen us at all times. Gosh, I love you, Whitney... I am so thankful for this moment, moments passed and moments that will be. Knowing that I will be spending every precious moment with you forever makes me the most joyful and jubilant man. It is an honor and a joy to live be these promises for all eternity.
You can imagine my heart was about to beat out of my chest when he said those words - yes, from memory. I am daily baffled and blown away by the man God has set in my life to be my sweet husband. A man of God's Word and desire to follow His will. What more could a woman ask for?
I, Whitney Taylor Adams, take you, James Darwin Todd, my man, as my husband. I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with my soulmate who I truly find is the most attractive man I know on both the inside and out. I promise to shower you with Love and Respect every step of this journey we are about to embark on together. I will try to speak beyond my sassy-ness and instead speak to you only in Truth and in Love. I promise to encourage you and support you in all of your goals and to strengthen you as you walk with Christ daily, and to honor Him together. With our Savior's Strength, I'm putting my full trust in you, knowing that you will guide me and our family in the way of the Lord and the directions that He gives us. I promise to honor you be being Faithful, Trustworthy, Serving and Submissive, while especially honoring you in my speech. It's my utmost goal that people see just how beautiful and incredible you are and how incredible our marriage is just by the words that come out of my mouth. I love you. I cherish you. And after that past ten years of praying and knowing that God would provide me with an amazing husband, I can't imagine standing up here with any other man but you... and I am so thankful it's you. It's an absolute honor to promise you all of these things and to live by them for all eternity.

Valentine's Day Pillow Talk

Happy Valentine's Day!!

What are you and your love doing to celebrate today?

Building forts with blankets, venturing onto a treasure hunt or dining in a remote corner of a candlelit restaurant...?

I'm thinking that we may finally purchase these pillowcases because they're too awesome to be sitting alone in a warehouse.



The pillows are entitled "Say I Love You". However, as I've had the image set as my desktop background for more than a year, I decided to change the name to "Pillow Talk". It suits, don't you think?

I also ran across these pillows...


No, we are not pregnant. BUT when that day comes to fruition, we will probably buy some sweet pillows such as these. Until then, we will just have to shower our baby-making friends with these instead. Actually, I will probably just start making them myself since they come only in blue and pink. Next project to embark on...

The Todd Health Campaign

Have you ever seen the Hanes commercial where the dad is dipping his kid in the "special paste" to replace socks? You know, this one...?



Don't you just love this commercial!?

Well, we're not exactly inventing anything new during our health campaign but we were moved to begin the campaign because "we're sick of it." We're sick of living a lifestyle where I have migraines and stomach problems several times a week because of what we eat. We're sick of living a lifestyle where we buy groceries that do not add substance to our health. Moreover, we're sick of not fighting for a lifestyle where we can honestly better ourselves daily by encouraging one another in our actions and habits.

Prior to sharing our campaign goals and happenings with you, we'd like to share certain steps we have already taken towards a healthy family and lifestyle (because we all know that a healthy lifestyle isn't simply eating healthy; rather, it's striving toward healthy living habits in all areas of our lives).

We are certainly not experts on marriage, finances or healthy eating but we at least hope that some of our habits will encourage your family through our future blog posts.

STEP 1: FINANCES

It's a beautiful subject, right? Well, it is if you have similar beliefs about money and how it is handled. JD and I started seeking financial advice from Dave Ramsey. Whether your family is overflowing with what seems like endless debt or is at financial peace, we encourage all couples to seek out his wisdom on all things finances. The church we've been visiting here offers his Financial Peace University class. This is a fantastic class to take, especially when building the foundations of your marriage! However, I believe we could all learn a lot from it, even after 40 years of marriage.

Budget

During our engagement, we collectively decided to be financially sound and to never be in debt. We owe a lot of that to our parents. Both of our parents blessed us and also our marriage when they paid our ways through school. Because of them, we were able to lay a foundation of hope rather than struggling to pay off debt in our first years of marriage.

It hasn't been until we moved to Huntsville that we really needed to begin budgeting because of rent and all of the bills that normally come with becoming one. {And we owe that to our grandparents for blessing us with the opportunity to live in the bungalow for a year rent-free.} Oh, how the Lord continues to bless His children through others. We have such a gracious and merciful Savior, as well as family members!

Thus the time has come to figure out our budget. It truly has been quite tough to figure out. If you're in the beginning stages of allotting your budget, we highly recommend Dave Ramsey's suggestions:
  • Giving: 10-15%
  • Saving: 5-10%
  • Housing: 25-35%
  • Utilities: 5-10%
  • Food: 5-15%
  • Transportation: 10-15%
  • Clothing: 2-7%
  • Medical / Health: 5-10%
  • Personal: 5-10%
  • Recreational: 5-10%
  • Debt: Hopefully zero, otherwise 5-10%
Of course, these percentages are taken from your household monthly income. "Don't spend more than you earn" is our family motto. Dave suggests the envelope system which is an extremely wise choice (put only the allotted amount of cash in individual envelopes and don't spend more than what's in the envelope).

We follow his suggestions for the budget yet JD and I take a different route for the envelope system... mint.com. If you have not used this program, you are missing out!!! The website is free and 100% secure. Basically, you connect your bank account(s), debit card(s) and credit card(s) to this program and it categorizes all of your expenditures. You set up your budget for each category and it displays bar graphs and pie charts (sigh!) so that you can see where you are on your budget. Sometimes I look at it simply because the organization of the site is absolutely impeccable and it makes my heart happy. :)


The goal is to obviously stay in the green and to never let the bar go red! You can also set goals for yourself (i.e. buy a home or emergency fund). We're currently in the midst of building our Buy a Home fund. :)

That's the sum of our finances post. We hope that you receive inspiration and hope from the programs we suggested above.




The Todd Nest : Apartment Livin'



Wherever we are, we love making a place our own. This means lots of character, lots of distressed items but most of all, lots of objects with stories behind them. Enjoy the tour of our Nest!


--> Please note this is from our apartment. We have not updated the blog for our house...


If you walked up to our door, this would be the first thing you would see. :) I was inspired to make this wreath after seeing a similar one on Pinterest. You should check out the tutorial here. This would make a wonderful "welcome to your new home" gift for newlyweds or a neighbor!


Our Bedroom:


The bedroom. We just got this comforter from Macy's on sale! It is absolutely stunning and makes it nearly impossible to get up in the mornings because it is just so comfortable! One of my favorite parts of our bedroom is the banner going across the headboard. My mom and I made this together. I'm thinking about selling a few on Etsy... would you buy one?


We bought this cool lamp and the little grass jar from Pier 1. It adds a contemporary flair to our vintage nest. I made the "I Would Be Lost Without You" piece as a surprise to JD. It was super simple: a wooden canvas, paint, sandpaper and vinyl. The "TODD" letters were a gift to us from my brother and his wife - also one of those unique wedding gifts that you proudly set out for everyone to see. The seashell has an image of the Philippines sketched into it.



Our Bathroom:





The jewelry board: I have always hung my jewelry on large nails I nail into the wall. I figured we may need to find an alternative to that... so we went to Target, found a bulletin board and I painted / distressed the edges. The jewelry hangs on beautiful pushpins my mom gave me and I filled the rest of the board with my wedding hanky, art, vintage items and commemorative objects for JD and me.



My Office: 








{another sigh} The stationery held in a vintage suitcase my grandmother gave us. I remember the first time I saw this suitcase... I fell in love with it. When we moved from the bungalow, she gave it to me so I could bring it to Huntsville. Along with many other memories, this suitcase will always remind us of our grandparents and the times we shared with them at the lake.


Our Kitchen:


I absolutely LOVE old bottles and glass of any kind!! When we were packing up from college, I realized JD is a collector as well (his is more of the labeled kind from different countries). It's been fun combining our collections. Fortunately our apartment kitchen has an open area between the top of the shelves and the ceiling, thus making it the perfect little place for all of my collection. This plethora of bottles, glasses and vases come from various antique stores, friends and family.


These canisters are from Bed, Bath & Beyond. They were originally plain and white but mom and I spiced them up with customized vinyl lettering.


Due to lack of storage space, we place all of our kitchen accessories - tools, mitts, towels and recipe box - in a basket so we can easily move everything if we need access to the plug.


{sigh} Ahh. The coffee basket. Our friend Shannon gave us this basket as a wedding gift and I couldn't think of anything more fantastic to place in it than our morning / dessert coffee supplies. As JD and I had our first conversation in a coffee shop, we all know that the Todd Home would not be complete without an overflow of delicious coffee in an elegant display.


 

Oh, what's this? More glasses, eh? Yes, more glasses. Seriously though - don't you just love them!!?? The colors, the tints, the shapes. So perfect. This fantastic vintage pie safe was a gift given to us from my mom and dad. Mom made sure it was refinished before they gave it to us though. It was a little rugged prior to the refinishing but now it's amazing! The lamp on top is an old Mason jar filled with marbles. 

Coffee-Mate Baking Bistro Party

Many of you knew that I hosted a "Coffee-Mate Party" on Friday but you were probably really confused as to what that meant. Well, Coffee-Mate is awesome at marketing and asked their customers to spread the good word about their products. What did those special customers receive? Since I wanted to host a Baking Bistro party, they sent me all of these wonderful little gifts:

[free samples of Taster's Choice Instant Coffee, free samples of Original Coffee-Mate creamer, a muffin pan, cups, napkins, coupons for FREE Coffee-Mate, recipe cards (my favorite was the Biscotti), a cookbook and my absolute favorite... a STELLAR red Coffee-Mate apron.]

In the official terms of Coffee-Mate, Free Flavor Friday is:

On Friday, February 4th, 2011, COFFEE-MATE® is saluting its entire roster of flavors, and the people who love them with FREE FLAVOR FRIDAY! A special celebration filled with free product giveaways on Coffee-mate.com and on Facebook, FREE FLAVOR FRIDAY is an opportunity to savor your favorite flavor or try a new one for FREE!

I chose to host the party for the wonderful volunteers, board, and staff at the First Call Pregnancy Center in Greensboro. The women (and man) involved in this organization are solid individuals who have a strong compassion on other women in need. They pour so much love on the women who come through the doors, I just don't know how they have any love left... well, it does make sense that they would because that love comes from Christ... but hopefully you get what I'm saying.

Margaret, a director at the Center, helped me set everything up Friday morning. She had some awesome ideas to carry out the theme of "Life Is Sweet" beyond playing Baby Bingo and the Ultrasound game... we used a clean baby changing table to set the fruit and utensils on and then set the Coffee-Mate station on a high chair. :) Thanks Margaret! She also made a delicious mushroom, ham and cheese casserole. A few of the volunteers brought in cinnamon rolls, hot tea, muffins, fruit and an apple and cheese dish. Thank you everyone!!

Also a huge thanks to Coffee-Mate and to all of my precious friends at the Pregnancy Center for attending the party! Here's a video from the day:

Music by Copeland (Coffee)


THIS is what a Todd Family Christmas looks like...

On this last day of January... we are posting Part 1 of the Todd Family Christmas. We know. That's terrible. It's like leaving your Christmas decorations up after midnight on December 31st (for all you superstitious men and women out there). Well, hopefully us posting these videos will not bring bad luck but rather tickle your hypothalamus and maybe inspire your thoughts in decorating for next Christmas.

We hope you enjoy seeing our first Christmas tree (that almost didn't fit because of the holly
adornment on top), a few of our family traditions, gifts we received (i.e. this book), and finally a delicious and beautiful Christmas recipe that I listed below.






Prep Time: 45 Minutes Start to Finish: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

Servings: 40 appetizers


2 cups finely shredded Swiss cheese (8 oz)

11/2 cups chopped cooked ham (8 oz)

1/4 cup sliced green onions

2 tablespoons honey mustard

2 cans (12 oz each) Pillsbury® Golden Layers® refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon sesame seed or poppy seed

2 tablespoons diced red and green bell pepper, if desired

1 green onion fan, if desired


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix cheese, ham, onions and mustard.

2. Separate 1 can of dough into 10 biscuits; leave second can in refrigerator. Separate each biscuit into 2 layers. Press each biscuit layer to form 31/2-inch round.

3. Place 1 rounded tablespoon cheese mixture on each dough round. Wrap dough around cheese mixture, pinching edges to seal. Repeat with

remaining can of dough and cheese mixture.

4. Arrange 8 balls, seam side down and sides almost touching, to form ring on cookie sheet, leaving 3-inch hole in center. Arrange 14 balls, sides almost touching, around outside of first ring. Arrange remaining 18 balls around outside of second ring. Brush wreath with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame seed.

5. Bake at 18 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully slide wreath from cookie sheet onto 14-inch serving platter. Sprinkle with bell pepper.

Place onion fan in center of wreath. Serve warm.

Brains? Hearts? MAD SCIENTISTS??

This post is incredibly belated but it is well worth the wait! We would like to introduce you to the infamous Adams Halloween House. If there were neighborhood awards for the most loved and most feared house, my parents would take the prize. Christmas, of course, beats out all of the holidays; but Halloween follows in a close second.

This year's theme screamed Mad Scientist!! I dressed up as a scary nurse, JD dressed up as "Docter Docter" (disregard the misspelling) and dad dressed up as "Doctor Trust Me". I made the lab coats from a Queen bed sheet and staples. :) We actually got a lot of the decorations from WalMart and dad came up with the idea of the bubbling cauldron.

Enjoy the Mad Lab! We have two other video posts following this one with some more Halloween clips this week... and then we're off to our Thanksgiving and Christmas posts. Hopefully we'll have those posted by the end of December!


This Week in the Todd Family... Oh yea, and our Finished Bedroom

It's finally here. Our bedroom transition #35... or something like that.

Finished Room from Whitney Todd on Vimeo.

This Week in the Todd Family:

Papa is BACK! He came home yesterday and we welcomed him home with a nice crockpot full of beef stew and cornbread. Thanks to a friend in my core group at Community Bible Study (and Julia Child), the beef was deliciously tender... not to mention all of the other secret tips my mom has taught me about cooking an awesome meal and beautiful presentation. Papa looks good - he has color in his face but still seems to be a little weak. Overall, he's 99% back to our Papa. :)

JD's dad, Mr. Jim, went to the hospital Sunday night after they got back from Theresa's wedding with a painful and terribly swollen knee. The doctors drew out the fluid and he should be going home today.

My parents (Mama E and Mr. Reid) are doing well... just getting ready for a spooky weekend at the Adams Family Home. Hopefully, dad and I will get to carve our annual Halloween pumpkin.

Theresa and Brandon will be coming home today from their honeymoon so we're expecting some exciting stories from them later this evening.

Chase is doing some awesome blogging so check out The Chase Scene if you have yet to do so. Jackie visited her sister in Virginia last weekend and is back safely, working on a pretty cool event which you may have heard of... The American Cancer Society joining up with Dancing with the Stars. Yeah. It's super awesome.

Finally, JD and I are celebrating our FIVE MONTH anniversary - BOY! Has it flown by! We woke up this morning and had bacon, biscuits and coffee. I'm not quite sure what the plans are for tonight... maybe some beef stew leftovers and The Last Samurai (latest Netflix movie that has come in) all by candlelight. :) Moments are what you make of it. When you're newlyweds on a small budget, you definitely have to learn to make moments like that super special. We wouldn't have it any other way though.

Above is a photo that our friend

Robyn Sutton

took and edited. I love this vintage/antique look. :)

The Fall Wreath.

Last Wednesday, my Gingin needed to drive to Milledgeville to go to Belk. And who doesn't love/want a shopping partner!? I didn't have any money to spend of course, but she really wanted to get JD and me a fake autumn bouquet at Wal-Mart so that we could revamp the wreath hanging beside our door. I thought this would be a great project for us to do together. However, she took my Papa to the hospital Thursday and they are still there highly anticipating on figuring out what in the heck is going on with his body, but we're hoping they will be pleasantly surprised with the wreath and all of the un-read newspapers sitting in Papa's comfy leather chair when they arrive back home.

WAY more than a side note: Please continue praying for our Papa. Pray that the doctors will be able to find out what the problems are and that the procedures to take care of them will be painless and will have very very few side effects, if any! Also, as wives know, please be praying for our Gingin. She lost her grandmother in July and now she's having to see her husband in pain. She is the strongest woman I know and she's determined that the Lord will be faithful during this time. In this circumstance, once again, we belittle God if we don't believe that His healing grace will prevail; and she, thus far, has never experienced a time when that Truth did not ring true. :)

So here is the video of JD and me putting together our new Fall Wreath! We hope it inspires you to add some autumn-loveliness to your front porch too.

Fall Wreath from Whitney Todd on Vimeo.



Music in this video: This Side by Nickel Creek