Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I have my candy all ready and I know my doorbell will be ringing non-stop starting about 5:00 this afternoon. We have TONS of kids in our neighborhood and lots of them are my former students, so I always have fun seeing them dressed up so cute. Ashley and John are coming over and we're just ordering pizza and hanging out.

Today I was looking back through our pictures and I found so many cute ones of my kids through the years. Awww...I miss those days. I have no idea how many costumes I have put together. Four costumes a year for at least 10-13 years! That's alot of costumes! They got their own costumes together once they got older.

Halloween has always been a fun holiday at our house. Sometimes we would go to a farm and sometimes we would just go a pumpkin patch and get our pumpkin. Laura and Lindy are usually my pumpkin carvers. (They weren't fans of all that pumpkin goo!)






But occasionally we can rope Mark into it...


And, of course, Rocky has to be in the middle of everything! :)


We always do a happy face pumpkin. I don't like scary!


We didn't really focus on the scary or evil aspects of Halloween. We just had fun dressing up and getting and giving candy!

Every year our kids would get together with friends in our neighborhood and they would trick or treat together. Steve's mom also hosted a few Halloween parties when the kids were little and they would go with their friends and cousins. On Halloween night, someone on our street would usually have us over for pizza or hot chocolate after trick or treating was over, so it was always such a good time! We had enough candy in our house to literally last almost a year! Anyway...here are a few pictures of Halloweens through the years at the Maddox house...
























I have to admit, I miss all the dressing up and excitement on Halloween night. But...next year I will have a grandbaby to show off! I can't wait for that!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Recipe For Rest

It is the weekend again and apparently I am just a weekend blogger now. I wish I could blog more, but it just isn't possible. Honestly, I know I am beginning to sound like a broken record, but I have been extremely busy and really just overworked for the past nine weeks. Some nights I fall into bed wondering how on earth I'm going to drag myself out of bed again and do it all over the next day. But then I do! I guess God is just giving me the strength to do it somehow.

I have really been thinking about what God wants for me lately. I'm not sure what I am going to do in the future. Right now we are just praying about it. I love teaching and I want to be a good teacher, but I need to have some balance in my life, too.

I have been gone for the past two weekends, so I was so glad that we didn't have anything on the agenda for this weekend. I have been telling God that I need some serious rest. You know the kind where your mind is at rest as well as your body? And God answered my prayers this weekend. It was absolutely perfect. I have been thinking about what it means to really rest and I came up with a few things that have worked for me.

So, here is my recipe for rest:

1.Time With Friends
Friday night we went to dinner with three other couples and we had the best time talking and laughing together and eating some yummy Italian food. Being with sweet friends always encourages me and makes me feel better.


2.Sleep!!!
I am one of those people who needs alot of sleep. I wish I didn't, but if I don't get at least 7 hours a night, I feel awful. So sleeping in on Saturday morning is probably up there with one of the best things in life!!


3.Nothing On The Agenda
Hmmmmm....how do I want to spend my day? It's wide open and I can do whatever I want. Piddle around the house, do some shopping, read, bake cookies, WHATEVER! No one is pulling at me or asking me to do anything. So great!!


4.Quality Time With My Husband And Family
Steve and I went out to dinner Saturday night and it has been a long time since just the two of us did that it seems like. We didn't even get dressed up or anything. It was totally comfortable and casual. Then we went to see Life As We Know It and it was so cute. It was a good night!


5.Time With The Lord

"Are you tired? Worn out?... Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

That's exactly what I'm looking for and I know I can only find it in Him. He is the only one that can really put my mind and heart at rest. I ask Him for that alot during the week! And on Sunday, I love going to church and hearing God's word for me. It does my soul good!



Throw in a little Michael Buble and maybe a bubble bath and voila! You are now rested and ready to face a new week!

What do you do when you are overwhelmed with life? What brings you rest?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

ECU Weekend

We had the best time this weekend. We went to East Carolina University to visit Lindy and go to the NC State vs. ECU game. I am definitely going to post about all the fun we had because it was a great weekend! But even before I do that, I just have to say that I am so thankful today. I am thankful for my sweet children and how much God has blessed us with kids that are not rebellious and who are loving and who make us proud. They aren't perfect by any means! But sometimes when I go to college campuses and see all the craziness there and all the things that go on, I just thank God that He has protected my children from getting involved in a lifestyle that is so destructive. I love how they know how to have a good time and not get out-of-control crazy. It is hard growing up right now--much harder in a lot of ways than when I was in college. I try to be faithful to pray for my own kids and for other kids who are trying to make their way and trying to figure out what is important in life! Lord, please continue to keep your hand on my kids and keep them on the right track.

Anyway...this weekend was really fun! We left Friday afternoon and drove to Greenville. It is about four hours away, so we didn't get there until almost 8:00. Lindy met us and we went out for Mexican food. It was delicious and we got guacamole made right at our table (which is one of my FAVORITE things!) We were so happy to see Lindy and have a fun dinner together.


Let me back up and tell you that all week long this week, my eyes have been really red and irritated. They have been matted together when I wake up and I pretty much knew I had pink eye. But I have been so busy, I was hoping it would just go away by itself. (Pink eye is one of those fun things you can get from working with kids. I have had it a few times before and it is yucky and painful.) So anyway...when I woke up Saturday morning, I could hardly see and my eyes were in pretty bad shape. I knew I was going to have to get some medicine or it would only get worse. So, we headed to a minute clinic and I got a prescription. Now I have to throw away all my eye makeup and make sure I wash my pillow case and wash all the towels and washcloths that I use because it is highly contagious. Needless to say, my eyes looked awful all weekend. I just kept my sunglasses on the whole time! haha

Saturday was absolutely gorgeous. It was just the right temperature and not a cloud in the sky! We met up with two other families in our neighborhood and tailgated before the game. Steve was decked out in his NC State attire and I had on my ECU stuff. We are truly a house divided between all these schools. The game started at 12, so we didn't have very long to tailgate, but we had a good time. I wish I would have taken more pictures!

I have to say that ECU fans are die hard and there are ALOT of them! Wow. That is a big stadium and it was packed!


Their mascot is the Pirates, so right before the football players come out, they get the crowd hyped by playing a clip from Pirates Of The Caribbean on the jumbo tron. These fans are VERY loud and there was so much energy in the stadium, which makes it fun.

Here are a few pictures from the game...

Steve and me...


Our neighbors, Kelsey, Catherine, and Melissa. Kelsey goes to NC State, so she had on her red, white, and black! Lindy sat with her friends...


ECU fans!!!


Lindy and Sean...


ECU ended up beating NC State in overtime and the crowd was so excited! After the game, everyone just stayed and they played music and we were all dancing and having a good time!


For dinner we went to one of Lindy's favorite restaurants, East Coast Wings. It was perfect because it was big enough to accommodate all of us (there were about 12 of us) and we could also watch the South Carolina v. Kentucky game.

Here are Lindy and her good friend and neighbor, Melissa. We had been out in the sun all afternoon and were a little sunburned!


When we left the restaurant, South Carolina was winning 28 to 10! But apparently that changed quickly. Ashley texted us and was so upset that Kentucky had ended up winning. Uuuuugggh. How did that happen after such a great game against Alabama last week???

We ended our night by going to Barnes and Noble with Lindy and getting some hot chocolate and a cookie at Starbucks. We sat for about an hour just hanging out and talking together. Then we hugged her goodbye and headed back to our hotel. I hate saying goodbye to my kids. I always miss them so much when they are gone.

Speaking of kids being gone, Mark is still having a great time in Spain. He just went on a trip to Barcelona last week and said it was amazing. He is now taking lots of classes and they are all in Spanish, so that is challenging! I can't wait to see him soon.

We are back home now, doing laundry and running errands and getting ready for the week. Hope you are having a great weekend!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Steve's Birthday and Our Mountain Weekend

This week has been a lot of fun here at our house. First of all, last Wednesday was Steve's birthday. All he wanted to do was to have family over, get some BBQ, and sit out on the porch together. So...that's exactly what we did!


I also made him his favorite-carrot cake.


I told you I would share the recipe with you, so here it is. (It's super easy and you will love it, I promise!)

Carrot Cake

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 jars junior baby food carrots

Blend oil and sugar. Add eggs, sift dry ingredients and mix. Add carrots and vanilla. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Frosting
1 stick margarine
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1 box confectioners sugar
1 t. milk
2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Melt butter, add cream cheese, and blend. Add sugar and vanilla. Ice cake and sprinkle with finely chopped pecans.


On Friday, right after school, Steve and I left to go up to the mountains to visit Laura for the weekend. It was Appalachian State's homecoming and we got tickets to the game. Since it is Lindy's fall break, she got to go, too!

Friday night we ate dinner at one of our favorite little pizza places in Blowing Rock, Mellow Mushroom. For dessert we went to a candy store called Kilwin's and I got some hot apple cider.


Then we headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to do some star gazing. It is so amazing how many stars you can see when you are away from the city lights! It was absolutely gorgeous up there!

Saturday morning, Laura took us to one of her favorite little bakeries called Stick Boy's. Then we headed out to enjoy the beautiful day and do a little hiking. (Our version of hiking is walking around a pretty lake!) Here are a few pictures we took.










We also went back into Blowing Rock to shop for a while. Blowing Rock is the quaintest little town you've ever seen with adorable shops, a park, and cute little restaurants. One of my favorite stores in BR is called Poppy. They already had all their Christmas stuff out and it was like a wonderland in there!




See what I mean? And, believe me, this was just a TINY part of all the things they had! I got a really pretty fall wreath for my front door at another cute store.

The crowd was beginnning to pick up in Boone and all the restaurants were getting really crowded, so we ate at a little Thai place for lunch that wasn't crowded and was so good. Then it was time for the game!




There were so many people at the game and lots of tailgating and celebrating since it was Homecoming. Steve and I had lawn tickets on a "hill". I don't think there are really any hills in Boone. It was so steep! More like the side of a mountain! And the game was so exciting, but the whole first half, we were in the direct sunlight and it was HOT! Finally, at half time, the sun went down behind the trees and we cooled off. Laura and Lindy sat with friends in the student section.


Appalachian won and we had a great time. During the game, we kept texting Ashley because she was at the South Carolina vs. Alabama game and we were so excited that South Carolina was winning. We left the App game just a little early and went to a sports bar so we could watch the end of it. (We took Laura's roommate and her boyfriend out with us...)


Ashley said that was the best game she's ever been to in her whole life. So loud and exciting! I was glad we got to see the end of it. Go Gamecocks! Woo hoo!

We got home late last night and I was pretty much exhausted. I didn't even go to church this morning because I still had grocery shopping, laundry, and lesson plans to do. For dinner tonight I made Pioneer Woman's Chicken Pot Pie. I already tried it and it is so good. Real comfort food! Here is the recipe if you are interested. It has gotten hot again here, but this would be amazing on a chilly, fall night!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Finally Fall!

Fall is here! Yipee! This is one of my favorite seasons and I am loving this cooler weather. This weekend I put my pumpkins out on the front porch.


We also planted some pansies


and we put some chrysanthemums on our porch.


We even slept with our windows open on Saturday night. When we woke up Sunday morning, our room was freezing! But that kind of weather makes me sleep so good! I am so thankful for the seasons. It is refreshing to say goodbye to 100 degree days and tons of humidity. I think God knows we need something new and exciting and different every so often.

At this time of year, I always start getting excited about fall things like...

Fall clothes and boots!

Pumpkins!


The colors of the leaves


Apple cider


Football


Routine

Thanksgiving


Coziness

Fall seems homey to me. Doesn't it make you want to get a blanket and some slippers and curl up with a cup of something warm?

Now for just a few random things I wanted to share...

*Tomorrow is Steve's birthday and he always asks for carrot cake, so I made him one tonight. It made the house smell delicious! When I was making it, I was thinking about how the recipe I use has always turned out good through the years! You make it with baby food carrots. I know that sounds weird, but I will share it with you soon!

*We talked to Mark this weekend. He is having a GREAT time and he told me this was the best 25 days of his life! I was so glad to hear that. He doesn't take very many pictures of himself, but he takes pictures of the food! This is churros. Looks pretty good to me!


One month from today, we will be leaving to go see him!

*After school today I went birthday shopping at the mall, then I came home and cooked dinner and made a cake. Steve is always so sweet to clean everything up for me while I sit on the couch and watch TV and check e-mails and blogs and Twitter on my phone for a few minutes. This is normally where you can find me at the end of a long day...


*I have a big observation this Thursday at school. People from downtown are coming to our school and my room was chosen for them to visit. I will be so glad when that is over!

*Lindy is coming home Thursday and then this weekend, we are going to see Laura and go to an Appalachian football game! I can't wait to go up to the mountains. I'm sure it is beautiful right now.

*South Carolina is playing Alabama on Saturday. That is going to be a huge game and Ashley gets to go!

I hope the rest of this week goes by quickly!