To celebrate Gerard's Masters degree, we held a Bar-B-Q Open House and despite the amount of education Gerard has acquired, he used a different kind of expertise and flipped burgers for everyone!  I'm so thankful for several things that fell into place while preparing for this shin-dig. 1. It really made us get our act together on some home projects and cleaning. 2. Gerard's parents live in Iowa and were able to come and help out!  Gerard's dad, Dave, took over the grill so Gerard could visit with those who came and Cheryl took over the kitchen clean up so I could visit with guests too. It was awesome! 3. The weather our good Lord provided was perfect.

A few of the projects around the house and yard included (but were not limited to) weeding, mulching, planting, cleaning and *drum roll please* STAINING THE DECK! God blessed us with dry weather in the week leading up the party so Gerard could get a few coats on. It turned out a little darker and more orange-y than we expected, but it's done and we're not too hard to please. Here are some photos of the deck in use and complete!

The party morphed in themes and ideas since its inception, but the few things that stuck were the colors-teal and orange with the help of a few free printables online and some ideas from my cousin,


. (Please note, those are NON-alcoholic jello shots...:) )

My Pinterest-in-person-Person, Trayla, came to the rescue with some awesome cupcakes and orange frosting. While I merely went to my yard for some hydrangea blooms to plop in former Pepsi bottles....

Cheryl not only brought her cleaning skills, but she brought her own favorite-a Sam's Club cake! While I merely made spritz cookies in swirls (I wanted to emulate frisbees in some way, but this is one of those parts of the party that was never fully realized...) :)

One game that we had in the yard is a golf-ball-toss. The shorter the rope, the more points you get on each particular rung of the ladder. When prepping for the party, I don't think our house and yard have looked this good in awhile, so I had to bask in it and snap a few photos.

The brick walkway, patio, deck, landscaping, and now completing his Masters degree---they've all been labors of love for Gerard & I and it's so nice to be able to enjoy the fruits of that labor! God's blessings have been so abundant to us and we truly enjoyed celebrating with the 60ish people who were able to come. He didn't have to provide us with the house, the jobs to pay for the house and projects, nor the incredible friends with whom we get to share our lives. We are truly blessed!