The Happiest Weekend

The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

Eden Ahbez

On the Thursday before Easter, I boarded a plane in early-morning twilight and sneakily arrived in Maryland. I crept around downtown Frederick and covertly visited my in-laws and best friend, terrified that my presence would be discovered. And on Friday, on a sunny mountain by the railroad tracks, Jordan David Starin proposed to the love of his life, my sweet, beautiful, not-so-little sister Christene Marie. He knocked her socks off. She was floored. She said yes, and he swept her off to his sister-in-law's house where I showered her with confetti and her socks came off again (she thought I was in Texas, camping). I dressed her up in a starry lavender outfit and her soon-to-be husband whisked her off to a gourmet celebration dinner. It was a Good Friday, indeed.

There are just too many things to say about this dazzling, wonderful girl. She is bright and an extremely gifted actress, yet after she graduated from high school she chose to spend her time working with youth in local public schools. She ministers to hundreds of kids and has made an incredible impact on their lives. She is a godly and mature servant who I look up to in so many ways. And, at the ripe young age of 19 she finds herself engaged to a man she loves with all of her heart. I don't know Jordan very well yet, but my sister chose him which makes him pretty dang amazing. 

These two. I can't even.

pcs: Bethany Starin

Jordan and Christene have modeled such an admirable relationship. He first noticed her on the front lines of serving - pouring herself out for others without even a thought of "catching a man." He was hooked; here was a Proverbs 31 woman if he'd ever seen one! (not to mention the fact that she's drop-dead gorgeous.) Jordan was several hours away at school, so he and Christene wrote letters for months while seeking God to see if they were supposed to be together. In November Jordan asked Christene to be his girlfriend. In March he asked her to be his wife. Some would call it a whirlwind romance, but no couple has sought God and His will more than they have. What a joy to be home and see Him lavish them with blessing. They embody Psalm 37:4 - "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." I could not be happier for them!!

Saturday was our girls' day. Mom, the littles and I took Stene dress shopping (she killed every one of them) and to high tea. It was such a lovely time.

Saturday evening the Starin and Hoffman clans all got together for feasting and much rejoicing. I was in charge of decorations and desserts, and there was such a general flurry that I forgot to get any pictures. Thankfully Leah snapped a few shots of the desserts - they were quite a hit and I highly recommend these recipes!

Strawberry Colada Cupcakes

Moccachino Cupcakes* (Recipe is below from my mother-in-law. They are divine!)

Jordan has quite a thing for donuts. I bought the sweetest milk bottles and striped straws from Shop Sweet Lulu. It was my first time attempting Baked Donuts, but they turned out wonderfully! (Note: these were made in a mini donut pan. I piped the batter with an icing tip and there was no mess. Follow the pastry chef's adaptions in the reviews! Chocolate glaze recipe is here.)

pcs: Leah Starin

I got to spend Easter with my family for the first time in three years. We had a lovely, relaxing day at home, and Jared only got a little crazy. 

I have the most amazing family in the world. Welcome, Jordan! :)

*Mochaccino Cupcakes

(adapted by Beth Farlow)

1 box of Duncan Hines Devil’s food cake mix, baked with the following two substitutions.

Β½ c. unsweetened applesauce instead of the oil

1c. strong brewed hazelnut coffee instead of water 

Bake the cupcakes as directed on the box and use muffin tin liners of your choice.  Let them cool while you are making the icing.

Buttercream Icing  

1 stick of butter

3 c. powdered sugar

1 Β½ t. vanilla

~4 T. strong brewed hazelnut coffee, cooled

Pirouette cookies

Allow butter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add 1 c. powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in the brewed coffee and the vanilla. Gradually beat in the remaining powdered sugar. If necessary, beat in additional brewed coffee until buttercream reaches spreading consistency.  Right before serving, insert 1/3 of a Pepperidge Farm Pirouette cookie. The cookies will get soft if placed sooner.