Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

December 4, 2012 GRADUATION! Christmas tree decorating!

Posted by: Frances

December 15th, 2012 >> Educational, Holidays

I am officially a Summa Cum Laude (4.0) Graduate of a Master’s Degree in Accounting from Kaplan University!!! I am finished and so incredibly excited!  Now, I am studying for the CPA exam and the CFE exam.  Not too much longer before I start my journey in a new career.

Today, we also took a great photo after decorating our Christmas tree:

June 3, 2012 JJ, my nephew was born

Posted by: Frances

August 9th, 2012 >> Holidays

Jerry Jens Mikus IV was born today!!!  Very exciting and wish I could have been there!


April 9, 2012 Off to the Honeymoon…

Posted by: Frances

August 9th, 2012 >> Holidays, Outdoor Activities, Travel

Matt surprised me with a honeymoon to Playa Mujeres in Mexico.  It was exquisite! We had to go through several gates just to get to the private 2 mile beach area with the Excellence Resort on it.  They have 9 restaurants and 7 bars and several pools and of course the private beach.  We were greeted with wet wash rags as we got out of the car to wipe our hands and face with.  Then as we walked up the stairs to two large doors without handles, they opened up (like open sesame) to another Bell Boy with champagne for us.  It was complete pampering!  I felt so spoiled and enjoyed every minute we were there.  The food was excellent as well as the service.  Our room was the coolest room I have ever been in.  (You will see when you look at the pictures)  We went on two excursions;  one to Jungle Maya and the other to Isla Mujeres.  We went repelling into an underground cave of water, zip lining, snorkeling in the largest underground cave of water in the world as well as one of the reefs, went out on a catamaran, drove golf carts around Isla Mujeres, and relaxed.  We met a lot of great people we will keep in touch with and made lots of memories.  We will be returning!



April 7, 2012 Wedding Day: The fine details

Posted by: Frances

April 26th, 2012 >> Holidays, Outdoor Activities

So… today is the day Matt Barker and I got married!  We had a 1920s classy glamor style wedding at The Lookout, a lavender farm over looking the valley in Austin, TX.  It was a Saturday and a full moon.  Our colors were that of a Peacock.  We had many details in the wedding that were very sentimental and things we noticed that were interesting.


For instance, we met 4 years and seven months ago on Sept 12, 2007 from today.

My engagement ring Matt gave me was his Grandfather’s Aunts engagement ring date around 1910 to 1920s.  Mine and his wedding bands were made and custom designed out of my Aunt Frances’ gold hook bracelet.  My wedding band also included diamonds that were my Grandmothers and the design was inspired by my Great Grandmother’s wedding band.


We also bought an authentic 1929 Websters Dictionary with the 1920s census in it as well as other important history from that decade.  Guests highlighted words in it to remind us of our day.  I also found an authentic jewelry charm of an April calender from 1920 with the 7th circled on it.

Wedding Decoration 1929 original Dictionary, Frances Tatted bookmark (9)


My bouquet was made of broaches I purchased on ebay as well as broaches given to me by family and friends.


We used postcards for people to sign in as guests on the table with a candy bar and wedding favors.  The wedding favors were homemade by my sister Jackie and were an assortment of jams.  The turquoise tatted ornament attached to the jars were all tatted by me.


We had a solid silver dinner bell made in the late 1920s with a tag on it that said “Ring for a Kiss.”  This is our “Truce Bell”.  It is meant to be kept out in our home and when times get tough, one of us is to ring the bell and remind of us what brought us together in the beginning.


Our appetizers were fruit (but no melon because I don’t like it), cheese, and sausage.  For our meal we had smoked pork tenderloin with a cranberry glaze, parmesan potatoes, green beans, caeser salad with La Madeline’s caesar dressing, stuffed quiche, and manicotti with shredded chicken and alfredo sauce.  We had a blonde, porter, and an IPA home brewed beer from Matt Barker and a buttery chardonnay and a bristol red wine made by my Uncle Bobby.  The cake was a wedding cake with almond creme filling for the top and bottom layers and a chocolate cake with a strawberry filling as the 2nd layer with butter cream icing.  The cake topper was a B for Barker and a South Carolina state groom and a Texas state bride topper.   Everything was made from scratch and was extra extra tasty!!!




My mother made Berit Raines dress, the flower girl.  My sister Jackie’s dress, the matron of honor.  And my new sister in law Laura Barker’s dress.  They are all in 1920 style dresses and beautiful!  I wore my mother’s wedding dress with very few alterations.  It turned out to be breath taking!


We also had a photo booth area with pearls, top hats, bow ties, camisole, headbands, and other props for people to make funny pictures.  This was so much fun and very entertaining.  We got a lot of fun laughs doing this.


To transport the out of town guests to and from the wedding venue, we had an original Austin Trolley.  That was a hit and a lot of fun with a hint of Austin.


Lastly, my mother, sister, Rachel, and many others dedicated a lot of time to make this day the most perfect day and it was more than we could have asked for with tons of details and thought put into each and every decision.

You can also find our story and more wedding pictures at:

Thanksgiving in Austin, TX & Filmore, CA Christmas Tree Train

Posted by: Frances

December 6th, 2011 >> Holidays, Outdoor Activities, Travel

Matt and I went to Austin, TX to spend Thanksgiving with my family.  We had a fantastic time with everyone and I must say, man can my sister cook!!!  I miss them dearly.

Matt, Steve Pearson’s family, and I drove out to Filmore, CA to ride the Train and cut down our Christmas tree.  This train had a Steam Engine from 1913 and train cars from the 1920s and 1930s.  I loved it!  The water fountains on the train were really neat too.  We had a 45 minute train ride to the Christmas tree farm.  Then we roamed the farm and found our perfect tree to cut down.  I felt like Clark Griswald in Christmas vacation.  All of us had such a great time.  Here are some pictures below:


The train!



Our Christmas tree being cut down…


And off to load onto the train!


And the final result!!!

Wedding stuff

Posted by: Frances

August 21st, 2011 >> Holidays

I have been so busy since my last post with school and work and making decisions about the the wedding with Matt.  We have almost everything done for the wedding, just need to figure out what we are going to eat at the reception.  I am really excited about wearing my mothers dress.  We are having it altered to fit me and a few minor changes.  It is going to be perfect.  I have picked out my shoes and my wedding bands have been made and I am working on getting my bouquet finished.  We are not doing flowers at all at the wedding, we have some other ideas in mind for a surprise.

School has been busy.  Every week they give us more problems for our assignment and increase the work load.  It is frustrating at times.  The class I am in now is over in a week and a half.  Glad this one is almost over, I do not like this auditing class very much.  It is not fun.

Work is the same, I am enjoying my job, I just wish I lived closer to it so the commute wasn’t so far in the afternoons.

I have not worked out much in the last two months because of my school work, but I plan on getting back into it very soon. is the best workout I have yet to find.  You should check it out.  It is very accommodating to a busy schedule.

December 2010

Posted by: Frances

January 8th, 2011 >> Concerts, Holidays, Movie Mania, Travel

Since Thanksgiving I have done a ton of things.

First, Matt and I attended the Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) The Wall performance at the Staple Center in Los Angeles. We had dinner at the Wolfgang Puck, which was DELICIOUS! The Wall performance was really interesting and parts of it were kind of disturbing. Overall, I enjoyed it though.


Second, Matt and I went hiking at the Chino Hills State Park for hours one afternoon. That was our first time to explore the park near us. It had views of rolling mountains and valleys… gorgeous!


Third, I finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Allied Health from Widener University. I am done!!! I am going back to school at Western Governors University for a Forensic Accounting Degree beginning in February. I am very excited and can’t wait to start the program.

Fourth, Matt and I had two weeks off for the holidays. We drove to Austin, and then flew to Asheville, NC. We were very fortunate and were able to see all of our friends and family, exception of one or two people. We had a fantastic time, but it was really cold! Christmas at his mother’s house was quiet and relaxing.  We went to the Gingerbread Competition at Grove Park Inn for an evening that ended us up in a dual piano bar.  The Gingerbread houses were amazing.  (My favorite is below)  They had all kinds of Christmas trees decorated and displayed that were beautiful.


Next, we flew back to Austin on the 23rd for Christmas with my family and friends. Christmas was crazy, but lots of good food and fun. We went to see Tron at the Texas State Museum Imax in 3D. It was OUTSTANDING!!! I really enjoyed the movie and was very excited to see Disney do such a great job. We also went to the Alamo Drafthouse on 6th St for the Christmas Carol Sing-A-Long. That was full of fun and laughs!

New Years was quiet at home in California and I played with all my new gadgets from Christmas. As always, I watched the New York Ball Drop too.

Here is to a new year full of new experiences and lots of fun and adventure….


Posted by: Frances

December 3rd, 2010 >> Holidays

It was just Matt and I for Thanksgiving.  This year we were both without family and decided to cook a feast for ourselves.  We did some traditional dishes from both sides of the family and had a great Thanksgiving dinner.  Some of the food didn’t turn out very good, but some of it turned out delicious!

Our Menu:

Smoked Turkey

Sweet Potato Souffle

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Green beans with Ham

Corn Bread Stuffing

Baked Pears with Blue Cheese on Arugula leaves


Gharardelli Triple Chocolate Truffle Cake

Gingerbread cookies

Red Wine


The dogs enjoyed the day as Matt smoked the turkey.




Home for my Birthday

Posted by: Frances

December 3rd, 2010 >> Holidays

Well Matt and I went home for my birthday and as always had a blast!!!  My whole family and many of my friends all went out to the Oasis for dinner and a live music performance from LC Rocks.  I loved it there.  It was open and spacious and very family friendly.  The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing and enjoying my time off.


Dad and I doing the Pirate Face


Having a TON of fun


DJ, me, Jay


Dad wanted us to do funny poses


Mom and me!

Great Smoky Mtns Nat’l Park & Blue Ridge Pwy / My NEW HARNESS & 9m Pulse

Posted by: Frances

May 30th, 2010 >> Hang Gliding, Holidays, Outdoor Activities

This has been a very eventful weekend!  The weather was awful, raining and dark so flying was not really looking good for the weekend at Lookout Mountain or Hensons with the Tennessee Tree Toppers.  Matt and I drove to Lookout Mountain Flight Park to pick up my new harness.  I bought a GT cross country harness from them.  It fits perfect!  It is snug and very comfortable.  I also finally had the opportunity to set up my Airwave 9m Pulse hang glider!



my-harness-pm-pulse-7 my-harness-pm-pulse-9

We also went to Maryville, TN to visit one of Matt’s College friends.  We went to Aubreys for dinner and hung out.  On Sunday we took the long route to Asheville, NC to see Matt’s mother.  We drove thru the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and made some fun stops along the way.

We also drove down part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The weather was cool and slightly sunny with lots of clouds.  The views were amazing.