Monday, December 30, 2013

In 2013 We...

2013 has been a great year! There were lots of ups and some downs too, but overall, I can look back and say that I'm thankful for a sweet year and look forward to what 2014 will bring.

In 2014, I'll be taking one picture per day to document our daily memories- the fun, the exciting, and the oh-so-normal. I did this last summer with my #summerdays2013 posts and found that even when there were days that were less than sweet, finding one positive thing to focus on and capture made me thankful for the blessings I could count in my life.

Do I think our life is so interesting that it should be displayed on a daily basis for other people to see? Nope. Not for a second. Taking daily pics is for us, just like this blog is for us- to document our lives and keep track of the memories we make along the way- and anyone who wants to peek along is more than welcome. :)

So a new series- #nelsendays2014 - will be heading this way starting January 1st! You can keep up with us on instagram or see the weekly pics here each Friday. And thanks to Shay for the idea to do it for a whole year!

Also starting January 1st, I will be participating in a HUGE cash giveaway! I mean HUGE! How huge? SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS huge. $600! What would you do with $600?! Swing by January 1st to enter the giveaway for your chance to win!

See the recaps from 2012 and 2011 here and here.


Friday, December 27, 2013


When Matt and I went up to Charlotte for the ACC Championship game, I had the privilege of meeting Candi Fisher, "first lady" of Florida State's team.

I was so impressed by her. She was so thoughtful and genuine and spoke to me as if we were already friends. Knowing everything that she and her family have been through over the past couple of years and then seeing the joy with which she lived, I just knew it was evidence of the Lord's work in her life.

Today, I want to share a little bit about the Fisher family and the incredible foundation that Candi and Jimbo have started- Kidz1stFund- in an effort to raise awareness, increase support, and, ultimately, find a cure, for Fanconi anemia.

Fanconi anemia is a rare and genetic blood disorder that affects 1 in 131,00 people. Physical side effects vary from heart defects, to skin discoloration, to abnormalities of the arms and hands, to some patients having no physical side effects at all. Despite the variance in physical abnormalities, nearly all patients with FA will have a decline in their blood counts over time, increasing the likelihood of developing various cancers and, ultimately, leading to bone marrow failure- a tragic fact that leaves patients with an average life expectancy of 29 years.

Two years ago, the Fisher's youngest son, Ethan, was diagnosed with this rare blood disorder.

It was at that time that Jimbo and Candi Fisher decided they wanted to make a difference, not only for their son's life, but for the lives of everyone affected by this disease.

College Gameday feature on the Fisher family, talking about Ethan's diagnosis

So they created a foundation called Kidz1stFund to support families affected by FA, provide education and awareness about the disease (as they learned when their son was diagnosed that there was little information available on the blood disorder), and raise money for Fanconi anemia research with the goal of finding a cure.

Money raised goes to Fanconi anemia research at the Fanconi Anemia Comprehensive Care Program at the University of Minnesota, the single largest treatment center for patients with Fanconi anemia in the country.

To date, Kidz1stFund has donated over 1 million dollars to aid the University of Minnesota's research- research that has led to an increase in post bone marrow transplant survival rates from 30% to 80% in the last 15 years.

So what can you do to help?

  • Give money to Kidz1stFund
  • Text FA to 50555 and $10 will be sent to support FA research
  • Buy Kidz1stFund merchandise here, where ALL money goes to Kidz1stFund
  • Sign up to have a swab kit mailed to your hosue for FREE and become a bone marrow donor online by visiting Be the Match
  • Purchase a Red Lighting T-Shirt- FSU's newly famous ball boy has a t-shirt for sale and is giving all proceeds to K1F
  • Purchase a commemorative Nikco Football- proceeds support K1F
  • Purchase Killer Shine book- Candi Fisher wrote the foreword to this work of fiction by Shannon O'Neil- proceeds support K1F
  • Follow Kidz1stFund on Facebook and Twitter

Join the fight against FA

To learn more about FA and Kidz1stFund, visit

You can also visit the University of Minnesota’s FA website for details about their amazing work and how they are the leaders in FA research giving HOPE to all the FA families. 

Kidz1stFund featured on ESPN during FSU vs. Pitt game


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from us to you!

"For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given."
Isaiah 6:9

More pictures from these trip here, here, and here.

Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cookies for Santa: Cream Cheese Cookie Recipe!

Today I'm writing over at Raising Memories, sharing a family recipe that we made every single year at Christmas. Santa loved them so much that there were always quite a few eaten, and usually a bite taken out of another one. ;) 

They are super easy to make and require only four ingredients! You can check out the recipe here.

Merry Christmas Eve!


Monday, December 23, 2013


After spending the last four weekends in Dahlonega, Orlando, Charlotte, and NYC, we are so ready to be HOME for Christmas!

We celebrated Christmas at my mom's this past weekend and will celebrate with Matt's family and again with my family on Christmas day.

And, speaking of celebrations, today marks the first day of our Winter Break! Sleeping in until 7:45 was a dream come true. Ahhh, I feel so refreshed! I don't head back to the classroom for another two weeks. Glory, glory, hallelujah.

And the winner of the Pen, Meet Paper giveaway is:

Congratulations, Manda!

If you didn't get a chance to check out Kristen's awesome Etsy shop, you can find it here. And don't forget, Kristen is offering 10% off to Notes from the Nelsens readers! Just enter code HAPPY10 at checkout.


Friday, December 20, 2013

NYC part 2

If you missed part 1, you can find it here.

Sunday morning, we all took a walk to Central Park. 

Jackson was just as cute as he could be all dressed up in his winter gear.

Attempt one at a picture with the little guy... the minute he realizes there's a camera facing his way, he starts saying, "No... no, no." Ha!

So I snuck in a couple ;)

This is mid-"NO!" ;)

The whole gang! Except Jackson got cut off :/ Darn!

After we left Central Park, Dan and Mary took Jackson back for a nap, and the four of us headed to Chelsea Market. Let me say- I would request that every date night end up here if we lived in the city. Which is why I'm super excited that they're building something similar near us!

There are a bagillion shops with specialty foods- it is a foodie's heaven. 

Fresh herbs and cheeses?! Yes please!

I kept thinking my mom would be in heaven. Every type of fresh food you could imagine- a chef's dream as well!

So we ate our way through the entire place: lobster roll, crab cake, brisket sandwich, gourmet grilled cheese, and my own personal picks:

doughnuts and gelato. Oh my. SO good.

This is the best picture I could get to capture how cute the inside was...

Unfortunately, Jay and Karen had to fly back home that night, so Matt and I decided to head to Times Square for 1/2 price tickets to a show. We ended up getting orchestra seats to Mamma Mia, 10 rows back in the center! I felt fancy... and giddy since we got them for 50% off.

The next morning, Mary came with us to see the 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. The last two we saw through a water taxi, which was pretty cool! Especially since (so totally random for so many reasons) Sally Jessy Raphael and Rachel Dratch from SNL came onto our boat with a film crew at one of the stops. Apparently they were filming an interview/documentary?! 

We grew up going to Balducci's on Mulberry St when we would come into the city with my aunt and uncle. Back then it was a butcher, cheese, and wine shop. Now they only have these little sandwich shops around town, but I thought my mom and sister would appreciate the pic. :)

Starbucks- Matt got a muffin, not a coffee (guess I can't push my luck on the hot drink thing) ;)

The three of us ate at a delish pizza spot right near Ground Zero.

The one of the right is a pizza with vodka sauce and prosciutto. Vodka sauce on pizza?! Genius.

This is the new "twin tower" building they are almost finished with. The exact height is 1776 feet. Pretty awesome.

This memorial was at a fire station adjacent to the 9/11 memorial.

Water taxi ride

And there she is coming on the boat. She looked pretty good for almost 80!

There they are filming the interview. Seriously, how random is that?!

Pictures of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges from inside the taxi because I was too cold to walk out when the boat was moving.

Dan and Mary were just the sweetest hosts. We are so thankful to them for opening up their home and show us such a great time in NYC!

You have through Sunday to enter the Pen, Meet Paper $40 Etsy Shop giveaway!

Enjoy the weekend! At the end of the school day today, our Christmas break officially starts. Woo-hoo!