12/17/13

Gift Giving is Great

I thought I would blog about some of the gifts I've given/got/bought over the years! 
I LOVE creating gifts because they are so much more special (in my opinion).

Here are a few things I've made! If you want detailed instructions,
 please just let me know and I'd be happy to give them! 

CARDS 

This is a birthday card I made for Curt last year :) 
I could've easily bought one, but I think handmade cards are unique and special. 

This is the card I made to go with the cake for Camille's birthday! 
It's a lot of card stock put together to make an accordion style book. 


I had each of her boys, and Curt, and I write a message on it.
 I think it turned out really well :) 


This is the card I made for Hunter last year for Valentine's day.  
I included some pictures of our previous Valentine's day together :)

 
This is what I sent Hunter for his birthday in July. 20 reasons why "I won't give up on us", and a card. That song ALWAYS played every time we got in the car together, and it just became OUR song.


EDIBLE TREATS

These are super easy sleighs I made last year for Christmas! 
It's just a few pieces of chocolate hot glued together with candy canes on the bottom:)


I saw a picture of a cake like this on Pinterest and I loved the look of it. 
I always remember Camille having raspberries in her fridge, so for her birthday last year, 
I made this cake! It actually turned out really good! :)


This is the most recent thing I made. It was for Curt's birthday this past November. 
He's CRAZY about Smarties, so I thought I'd make him a wreath of his favorite candy. :)


 DECORATION

I made this for Hunter for our 16 month anniversary!
It's a map of Brazil stretched over canvas with wooden letters that spell out where Hunter was called to serve! :)


This is something I absolutely LOVE! Hunter and I took a day trip to Payson to fish. There was this super cute store where everything was handmade. We placed an order for these wooden letters and they mailed them to us. I can't remember the name of the store, but man, I love this little thing.


 I gave this to Hunter's mom last year. It was difficult to make, and I wish I would've started it earlier so I could've made it better... but the idea is nice! They are wooden blocks with pictures of her boys on them.  


These are yarn letters I made for Camille for Valentine's day!  


This is what I got Camille last year for Mother's Day. It's a framed silhouette of Brazil.


OTHER 

Excuse the bad picture, but I ordered these missionary tags online, and Curt and Camille LOVED them. I love mine too! It's a sweet reminder of Elder Hoopes that I can always carry with me. 

 

Lastly, this is a tie I sent Hunter for our two year anniversary! :) 
I embroidered the heart on the back of the tie so he always 
has a reminder of my love for him.  


Well, that's it for now! If you have any questions, just comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Feel free to use any of these ideas too:)

Remember, gift giving is GREAT!
It's a way to show love, appreciation, and admiration.
It doesn't have to be a special occasion, it can be just because.
A handwritten note or a nice card can mean more than a fancy, expensive gift.

Happy gifting!

Ship to Brazil!

Here are some pictures I took for Hunter's Christmas card! 
Hope he likes them :)






11/30/13

Nine

Love is a funny thing.
It's full of excitement and happiness.
Pain and tears.
Smiles and laughs.

At the end of the day, how many things are more important than love?
Love for our friends.
Love for our family.
Love for our Savior.

Today I realized that in the movies, on TV and in real life, the people that end up together aren't the people who have the easiest journey, it's the people that put up the biggest fight.
It's the couple who goes through those tough trials.
It's the people who love selflessly, not selfishly.
It's the people who stick together, no matter what.

I'm not just talking about a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a husband or wife.
I'm referring to anyone and everyone.
The parents, the children, the cousins, the friends.

What makes a movie great, or a book inspiring isn't the happily ever after.
It's the journey there.
It's the tears, the heartache, and the fight.
It's the laughs, the memories, and smiles in between.
Loving someone isn't always about the happy times, it's about going through the hard times... together.

{It's about to get real mushy up in here, so be prepared...}

I miss Hunter every single day of my life.
Every single day I think about our memories, our happiness and our love.
I think about our many good times, but I also think about the not so good times too.
I think about the rough patches, the tears, and the emptiness that never seems to go away.
Every day I am reminded why I love that man so much.
Every day I am reminded that the path to happiness isn't easy, but it is worth it.
Heavenly Father knows us so well. 
He knows our struggles, our doubts, and our fears.
I feel so much comfort knowing there is a perfect plan for me, and for all of us.

I love Hunter.
I love him more and more with every sweet letter and with every single email.
I find myself wondering if everyone feels the same way I do.
And I think to myself, "I sure hope so", because love is the best thing I could ever imagine.

I love the way Hunt's eyes light up when he's excited.
I love the way he sounds like a little girl when he's being tickled.
I love the comfort I feel when he holds me.
I love his selfless love for others.
I love his dedication to everything he does.

Most of all, I love the way he loves.

Love is a funny thing.
It doesn't always make sense, and people may call you crazy for it, but true love endures.
And that's something I know for a fact.

Happy nine months down to us.
Happy 2 1/2 year anniversary my sweet Hunter Curtis Hoopes.

"Love is sacrifice, love is patience, love is hope, love is what we have."
-Hunter Hoopes
November 18th, 2013
 

11/16/13

Christmas Gifts!

It's pretty difficult to come up with Christmas present ideas for a missionary.
You don't want to send anything too expensive (Brazil's postal system is terrible!)
You don't want to send anything he has to carry around for the rest of his mission.
The stuff they can actually use is REALLY limited...

So I just thought I'd share some of the things I sent Hunter, in case anyone is stumped!
(Lucky for me, I have to send everything months in advance so it gets there on time)

Well, here we go!

1. 25 Days of CHRISTmas Countdown

 Photo Album- Michael's

I'm ESPECIALLY proud of this one. 
It took a lot of hard work.
Hunter and I LOVE countdowns.
We've always loved counting the number of days until a holiday, an anniversary, or the next time I would see him.
He always appreciated the thoughtfulness and it gave him something to look forward to every day.
This Christmas isn't any different!
I made him a countdown until CHRISTmas.
Each day I chose a scripture that I felt was important, and the reason why I chose it.
Starting December 1st, he has 25 days of hand-picked scriptures to look forward to.

Here's what the inside looks like:
It took a lot of reading, searching, and time, but I think it turned out great, and I KNOW Hunter will love it. :)

2. Missionary Stocking

{This idea was borrowed from the LOVELY Aleigh Mellinger. Her missionary's name is also Hunter and he comes back in January! She is the cutest and sweetest girl EVER, and here is a link to her blog. Seriously, check it out.}

Stocking- $1.97 at Walmart
Kid's Tie- $6 at Target

I clipped the tie into a small hole I cut inside of the stocking. I hot glued it down, cut a small triangle to look like a shirt, and printed a name tag on photo paper. It's super easy to do, and looks good! It can also be thrown away after Christmas so Hunter doesn't have to carry it around.

For the next few gifts, I found scriptures to match!

3. Thank You Cards

{Hunter always talks about how great everyone is in Brazil, and how much he appreciates them, so I figured he could use a few thank you cards!}

Scripture: Ephesians 5:20
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

4. Lifesavers

 Scripture: Luke 9:50 
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.

5. Swedish Fish


 Scripture: Matthew 4:19
And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

6. Tissues

{In case of emergency sneezes, accidents, tears, or spills!}

Scripture: 2 Kings 20:5
I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee.
7. Peanut Butter 

{Apparently they don't have good peanut butter in Brazil!}

This scripture is also pretty far-fetched...
Scriptures don't refer to peanut butter! So I found the closest thing I could.

Scripture: Song of Solomon 6:11
I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley

8. Christmas Ties

 {I tried to choose ties that were somewhat Chrismas-y, but ones that he could wear year-round. The phrase was borrowed from Aleigh, once again! She is just too creative.}


9. Tie Clip 

 {Hunter mentioned that it gets pretty windy sometimes, so I bought this personalized tie clip for Etsy! The price wasn't bad and expedited shipping is available. Here is the link. Excellent customer service, and this shop is such a pleasure to work with. }


10. Star Wars Shirt 

{Hunter is a Star Wars nerd! He made me sit through all six of them once... It was a good 12+ hours of cuddling! :) I got this for him just to wear to sleep. It's super soft! It was the ONLY one left, and it was in his size. It was also half-off, so I felt like it was meant to be. I went to the register to check out and it was marked down another 25%, so 75% altogether! Definitely meant to be his.}


Hunter also has this odd obsession with Spongebob. So I wrapped all the presents in Spongebob wrapping paper, and then again in cute wrapping paper! The wrapping will be a surprise in itself:)

Here is the final product!


{I decided to put the scriptures outside of the wrapping paper, so he could guess what they were!}

I hope he likes all his gifts, and I hope it gets there on time.
For any other MG's reading this, please feel free to borrow any of these ideas:)

38 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

10/22/13

Apple of my Eye

So instead of doing homework like a good little student would do,
I decided to blog.
We all need breaks, right?

Well I just wanted to share some super sweet/awesome things that happened this week.

I was at the grocery store with my little sister this week and I had this random craving for apples.
Now, I am not a big fan of apples.
I can't even remember the last time I had an apple previously.
But I bought a few apples and took them home and was excited to eat them.

Well on Monday, the title of Hunter's email was, "Hello from apple world!"
{Apparently it's something only Spongebob watchers would get.}
Anyways, he talked about how this past week he ate a ton of apples!


Say whaaaat?

The same week I decide to have an apple craving, Hunter decides to eat apples all week.
Strangely coincidental, don't you think?

I also emailed Hunter and told him something along the lines of:
"How do you expect me to survive two years without pictures of your handsome face?!"
{He hasn't sent pictures in a few weeks.}

His response?
"Wanna know something cool? I knew that you would be thinking that and so this week... I took lots of pictures:) We are so in sync:)" 
He sent 8 or so picture of his handsome tan face!

6,000 + miles apart and we still think the same.
I guess we really are on the same page!

I was so excited on Monday because of these events, so I decided to take a picture...
With an apple.
I normally don't take pictures with fruit, but this was a special occasion;)


Elder Hunter Curtis Hoopes,
"You're the apple of my eye, and I love you so and I want you to know that I'll always be right here."
<3

{Lyrics from the Cuppy Cake Song... Look it up, it's cute/dorky/adorable}

10/20/13

Avocado Chicken Salad Sandwiches

This chicken salad was SOOO dang good.
I always see yummy recipes on Pinterest, but rarely find the time to make anything!
 If you catch yourself saying the same thing, you just have to make this chicken salad.

 
Now normally, I'm not the biggest fan of chicken salad.
There is always a ton of mayonaise and lots of eggs.
Yuck. 

But this recipe is seriously just AMAZING.

Please try it.
Please :)
I'm not the biggest fan of crust...
  •  2-3 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 of an onion 
{The recipe called for 1/4, but I added extra!}
  • Juice of one small lime
 {Recipe called for 1/2, but a whole one added a lot more flavor}
  • 2 tbsp cilanto
  • Salt & Pepper
Cook the chicken, shred it, mix-in the other ingredients, and that's it!
Enjoy!  


Here is the original link from Pinterest: Avocado Chicken Salad





10/14/13

Lovely Weekend

This weekend was lovely! My sister and brother-in-law were in town! 
This is them!

Pretty cute, huh? 

I love when they come to visit.
Our family feels so much more complete with them here.
We watched movies, ate junk food, ate yummy food, and had a surprise birthday party for my brother who turns 26 on the 16th!
 We had a good time! 
And there was ice cream cake, what could be better than that?

I also got to babysit this sweet girl, and two adorable twin boys! {Hunter's cousins!}
I LOVE them so dang much.
They seriously melt my heart!


I also watched this cute pup while Hunter's family was out of town!
For those of you who don't know, I am not the biggest fan of animals...
They make me itchy, I might be allergic, but I'm not really sure.
But I let Taco in my bed and he cuddled with me all night:) 
Oh and I almost killed their poor fish...
By accident of course. But it's still alive! So yay!



Oh and it was cold enough to wear a scarf this weekend!
I was stoked, and I found a super cute scarf holder on clearance at Target.
I love that place.

 I also sent Hunt his Halloween card, so hopefully the Brazilian mail strike stops soon...

Anyways, 
Happy-halfway-through-October! :)



9/30/13

Now, not later

Wow!
Two updates in a week, how impressive of me ;)
I am really going to try to blog more!
It's nice to get my thoughts out of this crazy mind of mine.

Well today, I couldn't stop thinking about procrastination.
I am such a huge procrastinator when it comes to certain things.
I find myself saying, "I'm too busy right now, I'll do that later", about a hundred times a day.
When in reality, I am SURE I can find time to clean up the dishes, clean up my room, or finish that homework assignment that I've been dreading.

One thing I CONSTANTLY find myself pushing aside is time for the Lord!
{Only the MOST important thing in the entire world...} 
I catch myself thinking...
"I am too tired to read tonight."
"Too exhausted to say my prayers."
"Too busy to stop moving."

Last week, I decided that EVERY DAY I would set some time aside for reading, prayers, and thanking God for all of the great things I have in my life.
Even when it's almost midnight and I'm just itching to go to bed.
Even when I'm running late for school and haven't eaten breakfast.
Even when I am so stressed out I can barely breathe.

I make time now, not later.

I can't even tell you the difference this has made.
Every night I spend some time reading and learning more.
Each day I make sure I thank Heavenly Father for all of the special blessings in my life.
 I pray about the things that worry me. The things that scare me. The things that make me happy.

I seriously can tell the difference that just this week has made.
I can't wait to continue this lovely pattern I'm in:)

When you make time for the Lord, I promise you, he will make time for YOU.
I can see all the blessings I've overlooked before.
I am starting to see the every day miracles I've failed to see before.
I feel a peace that is SO happy and SO freeing!

Moral of the story is: make time now, not later.

Don't forget to say those prayers.
Don't forget to account for those blessings.
Don't forget to grow closer to the Lord, who gave us all things.

Happy Monday everyone!

9/29/13

Seven down!

I am really terrible at blogging consistently.
I just find that there are no spare moments in the day!
I've been crazy busy with school, work, eating, sleeping, and the occasional breathing I force myself to do...
BUT, I finally found some time after watching the San Diego Chargers beat the Dallas Cowgirls:)

So here's a few updates:
School is DIFFICULT.
Work is stressful.
Hunter is lovely.
The weather is wonderful.

It's finally Fall. Hello crazy people obsessed with pumpkin everything- pumpkin drinks, pumpkin scents, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice cream... and the list just goes on.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy pumpkin, but pumpkin cream cheese? I think I'll pass.

I love the not-hot but not-cold weather that Fall brings!
I'm very much a middle-ground kind of person.
I don't like the hot, but I hate being cold.
Fall is perfect for that!
 {Although, Arizona tends to lean towards the warmer side...}
Lately, the weather has just been great though.

I found some time do experimenting with cooking.
I made some easy chili, and some lasagna.
I'll be sure to post the recipes a little later.

Hmm, I finally filled the fourth letter on my countdown for Hunt!

Friday also marked 7 months down! 
Only 17 to go.
We can do this.

Sorry for the crazy-foggy picture. My iPhone camera isn't the best.
Thank goodness I got a new one!

Well, that's about it now. 
Time to finish up some homework and watch Sunday night football.

8/27/13

6 months down!

Wow! I can't believe how fast time has gone by. 
6 months done and over with! :)

I had an idea a few weeks after Hunter left for the MTC...
How awesome would it be to SEE our changes and growth over the next two years?
So I came up with the idea for us to take a picture with a sign depicting how many months we've completed.

And this is what the result was:


It's so crazy to see how much we've grown and changed in the past  half of a year!
Shorter hair, longer hair, and man, did that boy get TAN.
From Utah, to Texas, to Brazil. I went to California in March.

Each month is a new challenge and a new adventure.
I can look at each picture and remember how I felt in that exact moment.
From doing okay, to good, to great, back to okay again.
There were months that were more difficult and months that seemed to fly by.

Lots of letters, emails, packages and pictures were sent over the past 6 months.


I got to see his handsome face on Mother's Day over Skype and heard his voice on the phone twice (Once when he was flying from Utah to Texas, the other when he was at a layover going to Brazil!)


There have been many tears, many smiles, and MANY, MANY miracles.

I owe so much to his sweet parents.
They've done so much for me, not only in the past 6 months, but in the past few years. {Has it really been that long?!}
I love being in that familiar house with those familiar faces of people I love so dearly.
I enjoy all the nights we've watched movies and had family dinners.
I love that Taco cuddles with me everytime I go over there!
I love how comforted I feel when I'm around Hunter's sweet family.
I am more than grateful for the sweet texts from Curt and Camille.
They seem to KNOW when I'm having those rough days and are always there for me!

**The most important thing I've learned is to make each day count, instead of counting each day**

I smile more, laugh more, and enjoy life A LOT more when I live in the moment, instead of living in the past or the future.  Yes, I can't wait for my best friend to get home in 18 months, but it's important for both of us to grow, learn, and enjoy these two years :)

Anyways, enough with the sappiness...

 Happy 6 months down to Elder Hunter Hoopes! <3

7/15/13

Fake Prom 2011

JULY 15TH.
 This day is very special to me.
Two years ago Hunter surprised me with "fake" Prom! 
It's a pretty long story though so bear with me!

Back when I was a junior in high school and Hunter was a senior, we had a few problems...
The first being, I had a HUGE crush on Hunter.
The second problem was that I had no idea how he felt about me.
He'd flirt and joke with me, but he did with that with other girls too.
He kissed me on my 17th birthday and then shortly after, told me he just wanted to be friends. 
{That was December 2011}

Flash forward to May 2011.
I still didn't really know how he felt about me.
We were still best friends despite all the confusion and mixed signals.
Well, May came around.
And for any girl that ever went to high school... you know what that means. Yup.
PROM SEASON.

Now, being a teenager girl, Prom seemed to be the most important part of the year.
Getting asked in a cute way, beautiful dresses, hair, makeup, pictures...
It's all fabulous!
Unless you don't get asked.

I was just hoping that Hunter would ask me.
I mean, it's his senior prom. He didn't have a girlfriend. We were best friends.
Makes sense, right?
Wrong.
Apparently "best friend" means you don't really exist and aren't a candidate for Prom...
So he complained about not having someone to ask. Over and over and OVER again.
{Uhm, hello, do I NOT exist?!}
Anyways, he didn't end up going to his SENIOR PROM.
I ended up not getting asked by anyone else. 
{Not that I would want to go with anyone else...}
And you could say I was upset FURIOUS.

But, despite how hurt I was,
we continued to be best friends.
We spent a lot more time together towards the end of May.
The last day of school came and I got him an awesome graduation present.
I don't know what got into him, but it suddenly dawned on him that I was a real person.
And on May 30th, 2011, he asked me to be his girlfriend.
{I'll save that story for another time!}

Well, anyways, happy happy Erica, I finally got what I wanted after a whole entire school year. We were extremely happy and loved being around each other.
But, there was a tiny part of me that was still upset about Prom.
I mean, he graduated.
We would never be able to go to his senior prom together.
You could say my dreams were a little crushed.

On Hunter's 18th birthday, 
my friends wanted to go shopping for dresses for our girls night the next day.
We were going to get dressed up, and go out to eat.
I remember my friends wanting to go to DEB, a prom dress store.
All I could think was, really guys?
They made me try on dress after dress.
It was just a reminder that I didn't go to prom.
Well, I found one that I really liked, and it was purple, my favorite color.
Guess how much it was?
$ TWENTY DOLLARS $
So I bought it.

The next day, Friday, July 15th, I woke up and everything felt wrong.
I didn't want to do anything.
I complained all morning.
I slept over at Megan's house and she randomly wanted to do my hair.
So I let her.
She curled it and made it look nice.
I put my dress on, and she put one on too and we took a few pictures together.

We met up with Dominique and went to a fancy restaurant right next to Falcon Field.

Deep down, I was hoping this was some crazy set up and Hunter would be there!
Well, he wasn't.
I scanned the parking lot to find his car, and it wasn't there.
I was devastated and my heart sank.
At that point, I was pretty much done with the whole thing.
I got my hopes up, and they were crushed.

Well, we sit down and the waitress comes over and hands me an envelope.
Inside the envelope was this note:


I looked around the room, and there he was near the entrance.
Dressed in a suit and tie, looking handsome as ever!
I couldn't even believe what was going on.

This was my shocked/happiest girl alive face:)


My AMAZING friends even had a corsage made for me and a boutonniere for him:)
It was so special.

But it got EVEN better.
Dinner was just part one.


Prom isn't just dinner.
Prom should involve a day activity...

So for part two, he blindfolded me and we drove somewhere.
Our day activity, was watching the sun set together.
He brought chairs and found this absolutely beautiful spot.
He even carried me up a hill to get there.


But the night wasn't over yet.
He blindfolded me again and drove me to part three; the dance.

When we got there, he had me sit in the car and wait for him to set up.
When he took off my blindfold, this is what I saw...

The dance portion of the night!

We were at Falcon Field, in the exact spot where he had asked me to be his girlfriend just a few short months before!

We drank Dr. Pepper, and danced the night away.
It was a magical night filled with so much love and happiness.
It definitely made up for him not taking me to his senior prom! :)

But do you want to know the best part of it all?
When it was time for MY senior prom, an entire year later, it was held at... 
{drum roll please}
FALCON FIELD.
The place where he had asked me to be his girlfriend.
The place where he took me to "fake" Prom in 2011.
And the place where we danced, once again, at REAL prom 2012.

What a crazy/wonderful/magical coincidence<3

The moral of the story, is that I love this day.
I love this boy.
And I love my wonderful friends that made it all happen.

Happy July 15th everyone! :)