Our Maple Tree

Keeping up with The Maples


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Saying Goodbye to 2014

For the past year, I have kept a memory jar of our 2014 year. A new tradition I would love to keep for years to come. Basically, every time we received good news or did something fun or wanted to remember a good day, I would write it down on a piece of paper and place it in the jar.

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On New Year’s Eve, we sat by the fire and read all the notes.

It was so much fun to sit and reminisce about all our experiences in 2014. And to think about the ones who helped us make these memories as well.

Some highlights of our year:

  • Celebrated our 28th birthdays
  • Cruise to the Bahamas
  • Summer Concert
  • San Francisco
  • 10 Year High School Reunion
  • Wags to Riches Gala
  • Wine and Dine Party
  • Sharing life with our small group
  • Family dinners and get-togethers

And many more great memories! This really helped us slow down and think about each memory. It was wonderful to see how God has truly blessed us – with joy, health, friends and family.

The word I picked for 2014 was change. I believe we have done just that. We have explored new places, experienced new things and have made wonderful new friends. We have changed and grown so much this year. We have learned to view the world and our lives in new ways. We have leaned on each other more, appreciated each other more and supported each other more this year; helping us to become even closer together and with God.

I look forward to see what God has in store for us in 2015! Happy New Year!


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Wine & Dine Party

This past weekend was an absolute blast! We held an wine & dine party at our house – great food, great wine, amazing company and good laughs!

I have been wanting to do a wine tasting party for months now and this weekend was our first available weekend to do it. As you all know, we love wine and good food in this house, so this party was perfect!

The idea was to have everyone bring two bottles of their favorite wine; one bottle was to be used for a blind tasting and the other bottle went towards the grand prize. After sampling all the wines, you would vote on your favorite one and who ever brought the preferred wine wins the second set of wine!

We had a spread of food – an antipasti tray, creamy peppercorn dip with bread, pappardelle pasta with hearty beef and mushroom sauce, caesar salad and brownies!

The antipasti tray had an assortment of cheeses, meats and mushrooms.

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This creamy peppercorn dip is our favorite. It is creamy peppercorn seasoning, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. We order the creamy peppercorn from Penzey’s and it is our most favorite seasoning. We put it on everything!

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This was the first time we have used pappardelle pasta – it is a long, thick, flat noodle. With a meaty sauce and the huge noodles, this dish is very hearty, but delicious!

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I found these small, plastic wine cups at our local grocery store. Are they not the cutest?!

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Each guest received a “notes” card, so they could take notes of each wine they sampled. And they received a voting card, to vote for their favorite wine of the night.

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These are our wines for the blind tasting. I used brown paper bags and painted white numbers on them using a white paint pen. Simple and cute! 🙂

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Randy pouring our wines.

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After filling our bellies, sampling all the wines and telling funny stories, we all voted for our favorite! Kathy reading out the results…

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And Rachel won! She got to take home the grand prize! Congrats Rachel!

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We forgot to take a group shot with everyone, but at least we got one with my brother and sister-in-law. 🙂

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We had a blast at this party and want to throw another one soon! I love this style of party, you can do so much with it. You could have a beer and cheese party or cocktails and hors d’oeuvres or wine and chocolate – really whatever you want to do! So who is in for the next one? 😉