Monday, November 30, 2009

Addictions

I haven't had a chance to tell you that I got a new toy this weekend. Steve got me a Palm Pixi which I guess is the Sprint version of an iPhone or a Blackberry??


Yes, I know I am way behind the rest of the world when it comes to technology. But I have been having so much fun with this over the past few days. It is addicting to play around with all the things it can do.

At school we can only check certain sites online. Just about everything is blocked (for obvious reasons.) But it is so frustrating not to be able to check my personal e-mail, etc! But now I can! I get excited over little things. haha

Another thing I am hooked on lately is listening to Pandora Radio. This afternoon I had so much to do in my classroom, so since I am actually able to listen now with my new Palm Pixi, I just put on some Christmas music and it made the afternoon much more fun! If you have never been to Pandora, you can just choose the type of music you like and it plays uninterrupted for hours! Love that! :)

And speaking of addictions, I am also officially addicted to these...


Have you ever tried them?? If you like spicy, these are the ticket. Once you get started on them, though, you can't stop. :) This is not a good thing since I feel like I gained about 10 pounds over Thanksgiving!

Mark and Ashley are still not doing good. Mark went to the doctor today and got sent home wearing one of those masks. He said he felt like he was wearing the scarlet letter when he was walking out of the hospital (that's where the doctor's office is.) Everyone was staring at him and shaking their head. haha

It was a very loooonnngg day at school today, just like I knew it would be. But it is so nice to come home to Christmas lights and my cozy house on this rainy night. Hope you did okay getting back to reality today!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Good Stuff

Well, swine flu is continuing to make its way through our house. Mark has it now! He has been running a fever all day and is achy, etc. He didn't go back to school today. I want him to go to the doctor tomorrow.

We only went to Sunday School this morning since my kids were all trying to get ready to leave. This afternoon was lazy. We watched the Panthers play. (It wasn't pretty.) And I did a little shopping.

I was thinking that I should share a few things with you that I have been loving lately!

First of all, I went to Bath and Bodyworks today to get some new candles. Somehow Pumpkin Spice doesn't fit anymore once Thanksgiving is over! I found one called "Winter".

Oh my goodness...it smells soooo good! They had them on sale, so I got two!

And while I was there I picked up some more Wallflowers. This time I got "Fresh Balsam". It smells just like a freshly cut Christmas tree.


I have them going right now and the house smells great!

I also got a new recipe over Thanksgiving that I wanted to share. My mom gave it to me and I think I have eaten about 25 of these over the past few days. haha They are called Pecan Pie Mini Muffins and they taste exactly like little pecan pies!


This is a great recipe to keep on hand during the holidays. My mom brought them to Sunday School this morning for snacks.

Here is the recipe:

Pecan Pie Mini Muffins

Ingredients:
Baker's Joy cooking spray
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. chopped pecans
2/3 c. butter (no substitutes)
2 eggs

Coat a mini-muffin pan with Baker's Joy. In a bowl combine brown sugar, flour and pecans. Set aside. Melt butter & combine with eggs. Mix well. Stir into flour mixture until the batter is just moistened. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned and tests done with a toothpick.

Remove from oven and turn out onto a cooling rack.

Makes 2 to 2 1/2 dozen depending on how thick you want the muffins.


And I forgot to mention yesterday that my new blog design was done by my sweet friend, Faith. She does such amazing work and is so talented. I love the new Christmas-y look she gave me! If you are ever thinking about re-doing your blog, you should definitely consider her. She is the BEST!

Well, as much as I was dreading it....Monday is almost here. We are watching the Amazing Race tonight, and then it is off to bed! 5:30 comes soooo early!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eventful

We have had an eventful few days here at our house. Ashley called us Thanksgiving night and told us she wasn't feeling good, but we thought maybe she just had a cold. Then yesterday morning she called and said she was running a fever. All day she seemed to be getting worse, so we ended up taking her to Urgent Care since John was working. Yep, you guessed it! She has Swine Flu. :(


She has felt AWFUL for the past two days. She is running about 102 fever and is achy all over. Today was the South Carolina vs. Clemson game (the biggest game of the year!) and she and John had tickets. It was an AWESOME game, but they had to miss it. I felt so bad for them. I made them some spicy chicken vegetable soup and cornbread and took it to them. And I sent along some Russian tea for her throat. She is going to have to miss all week next week at school,too! Please keep her in your prayers!

Anyway....we have also been busy getting the house all decorated for Christmas.




I got my Christmas tree up and all the Thanksgiving stuff put away. I am not totally done yet, but at least the main thing is done! I love all the pretty Christmas lights. It makes the house so fun and cozy! (BTW-It's hard taking a good picture of a lit Christmas tree!)




Today is my mother-in-law's 70th birthday, but we had fun celebrating with her last night. We went out to Texas Roadhouse for dinner then had cake, ice-cream, and presents at her house afterwards. She is a sweet mother to five kids and a wonderful grandmother to 11 grandkids! Happy Birthday Granny!






I wanted say Happy Birthday to my brother Blake, too. His birthday was yesterday also. Love you Blake! (November is a big birthday month for our family!)


All day yesterday seemed like Saturday to me. I kept thinking the weekend was almost over, so it was so great to have an extra day today! We've done tons of football watching and nap taking. Here are Steve and Mark on opposite couches watching football...


All our teams won today...NC State beat Carolina, USC beat Clemson, ECU won, and so did App! This is how you watch two football games at once! Haha


I forgot to tell you that we went to see The Blindside the other night and it was sooo good!


If you haven't seen it, you should. Especially all my blogging friends here in the south. You would really be able to relate to it! We all loved it! :)

And this is what I love about having all my kids home...Laura and Lindy got together with all their friends tonight and it was just like old times at our house!


I am sad that tomorrow is that last day of this long weekend. I think reality is going to hit hard on Monday morning!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a wonderful day with family and friends! We had a full house here today. I loved having everyone over. I told Steve that the best thing about Thanksgiving is that it is like Christmas with all the family and fun, but minus the pressure of all the gifts. I love giving gifts, but it can be stressful trying to make sure you get everyone something they like, etc.

We pretty much ate like pigs today. Our menu looked like this:

*turkey with two kinds of dressing
*honey baked ham
*sweet potato casserole
*corn casserole
*broccoli casserole
*green bean bundles
*cranberry congealed salad
*copper penny carrots
*apple raising salad
*pink lady salad
*rolls
*asparagus casserole
*deviled eggs
*Andes mint cookies
*pecan pie
*chocolate pecan pie
*chocolate chip cookies

Can you BELIEVE??? Goodness, we are so spoiled.

Here are a few pictures from our day today...


















I am so blessed! (I posted about what I'm thankful for yesterday...) I hope you had a wonderful day, too! :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Blessed

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.
Psalm 100:4


Since it is Thanksgiving, I do not want to let the next few days go by without taking a minute to remember all the things God has given me to be thankful for.


Thanksgiving Comments


First of all, I just want to say that I really do try not to take all my blessings for granted. I don't know why God allowed me to live where I do and have the wonderful family that I have. But anything I have is only because He chose to give it to me and I am very humbled and grateful for His gifts.

So...with that in mind...I am thankful for:

1-Steve. Thank you, God, for choosing him for me! It was a perfect match. He works so hard for us and is a wonderful husband and dad. Even when all our kids are gone, we still have so much fun together. I am thankful for a great marriage.


2-Ashley-She is such a blessing to me. She is such a sweet daughter. She has always been obedient and respectful. She is smart and fun to be around. She has been awesome at her first teaching job. Her third graders love her! And now I have a son-in-law, too! And I am so thankful that he loves Ashley and already takes such good care of her. Seeing them so happy together makes me happy.


3-Mark-Thank you, God, for giving me this sweet boy. He is just a joy to be around. He has never given us a minute of trouble in his whole life. He cares about other people and is so kind and generous. I love his jokes and his wit. He is funny and so smart. He is the best son I could have ever asked for!


4-Laura-She is probably my most sensitive child. She is a great writer and poet. She loves music and is a great dancer. She writes the sweetest notes and gives awesome hugs. I love how she can't wait to come home and see me and how she is such a good sister and daughter!


5-Lindy-I am so happy for her this year. She is loving college and I am so thankful for that. She is my child that loves style and fashion. And she is so creative. I love how she is always happy to talk to me on the phone and I love her sweet heart. I am thankful for such a wonderful daughter.


6-My church-Where I go each week to hear God's word and get filled up and to see so many people that I have known for years and who I love like my own family!


7-My neighbors-Hands down, I have the BEST neighbors in the world!

8-My job-It is intense sometimes, but I'm thankful to have it. I love my sweet kids and their innocence and joy. The things they say and do just make me smile. And I love the people I work with. I'm thankful that I don't dread going to work each day.


9-My country. I am very patriotic and I just think we live in the most wonderful country in the world. I know we aren't perfect, but we are definitely blessed.


10-My extended family...my parents and Steve's parents and all our brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. Each one of them lifts us up and encourages us and makes our lives a little better.



Then there are thousands of little things like beauty and music and clean sheets and sunny days and hot showers and warm fires and ice cold coke and cookies out of the oven and a full house and soooo many more. I could be here all day!

Anyway...I hope you take some time to think about your "thankful list" this week, too! That's what it's all about, right?

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Sweet Start

Whew! It was a long day today at school. I usually leave my house at 6:30 and tonight we had an event at school, so I didn't get home until around 8:30! That is a 14 hour day! I'm exhausted.

But...I wanted to share a few recipes with you since you asked. I will try to share more later. :)

Here are two of the dips I make for appetizers at Thanksgiving. We always start the fun with these and my family loves them. Plus they are really easy.

Pepper Jelly Spread

(You can't get any easier than this one!)


Take a block of cream cheese and pour green pepper jelly over it. Serve with Wheat Thins and other fancy crackers.

Haha...that is it!!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Heath Bar Dip


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
mini Heath bars, crushed (about 10)

Pour granulated sugar over softened cream cheese andn let sit for about 30 minutes. Add the brown sugar and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Stir in Heath bar pieces. Serve with sliced apples.


I know I love getting new recipes and ideas...especially easy ones. Hopefully these will help you out if you're looking for something good for Thanksgiving appetizers. I also have a really good dip recipe that I just tried about two weeks ago and I will share it with you before Thanksgiving!

Hope you are having a great week!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Finally Friday!

Thank goodness it's Friday. For some reason, this has been a loooonnngg week! Steve has been out of town for the past three days so I have just been hanging out here by myself. This is completely out of the ordinary for me! In fact, I can't remember when I've had the house to myself for this long in the past 22 years! haha

Ashley and John got back from their honeymoon today so Ashley and I sat and looked at all her pictures this afternoon and she caught me up on everything. They had a great time and are already planning on a trip back.

Here are a few of their pictures that I stole off of her memory stick. :)











Then tonight we sat and opened all the gifts that have been waiting for them. They were hoping to wait to open them with Steve here and maybe some grandparents, but they had a few things they still needed in order to even cook basic things...so they decided to go ahead and see what they had gotten/still needed. They opened everything and then made a quick run to Bed Bath and Beyond to fill in with a few neccessities. They were so blessed and everyone was very generous. What a lucky couple!

I am so glad the weekend is here. I ordered a pizza just for myself tonight. It came to the door in this little tiny box. haha And I am thinking some pajamas and a movie sound great right about now! I am looking forward to hanging out with Steve tomorrow and helping John and Ashley do whatever they need us to!

Have a great weekend! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Traditions

Well, life is getting back to normal now. Ashley and John are returning from St. Thomas tonight and I can't wait to see all their honeymoon pictures.


I haven't talked to them much this week, but Ashley did call today to tell me they were at the airport about to leave. I asked her how the week was and she said it was amazing!! Yay! I'm so glad they had fun.

It was so hard getting back to work this week. Every day I have had such a hard time getting up so early. I guess I got spoiled from being off for a few days last week. Plus I am still just recovering from all the wedding festivities and business.

Anyway...Thanksgiving is one week from today! Wow...how did it get here so fast?? I have to admit that I really love this time of year. My family is very into tradition. If we do something one year, it all of a sudden becomes a "tradition" to my kids and we have to do it every year! :) And the tradition for the past 7-8 years has been to have Thanksgiving dinner at our house with all the friends and family that can come.

Thanksgiving morning we start by putting Mr. Turkey in the oven and getting that yummy smell going.


Then we turn on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I LOVE watching that!! It is going all morning while we are getting the house ready for everyone to come over.


I usually make mulled apple cider and lots of different dips to snack on until lunch is ready. Some of our favorites are my Heath Bar dip, spinach dip, "That Now Famous Cheese Ring", pepper jelly spread, and cranberry cream cheese dip. I am a huge fan of appetizers so this is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving day! :)


Most of the time we eat lunch around one o'clock and everybody brings something yummy. I always seem to have around 20-25 people in the house and everything is bustling. It's so much fun to have family all together. And several years we have had friends come over, too.


Thanksgiving afternoon is full of watching football...


and taking pictures and playing ping pong in the garage and basketball in the driveway and throwing the football in the yard. There are people sitting around everywhere just chatting together.

Then around six or seven o'clock that night, it is time to pull everything back out of the refridgerator and start on round two!!! Of course we always have some friendly games of Monopoly or Guitar Hero going.


And sometimes we watch a movie together, too! It's fun to get out the Christmas movies and kick off the season with Elf or Christmas Vacation or something funny and festive.


The day after Thanksgiving is officially our "Put Up The Tree" day. That's another tradition that my kids don't want to change. But I love it. Once that tree is up, the house seems so warm and cozy. Lights are strung on the bannister and wreaths are put up on the windows and doors and the fun can begin!!


What are your family's holiday traditions??