Sunday, November 28, 2010

Linked Up

One of the things I love about the blogging world is all the great ideas you can get from others! So, since I have actually had time to read blogs over the holiday, I found several fun things I wanted to share.

Here are the links to four good ideas/thoughts for the holidays. I promise they will be worth your while to read.

Every Home Tells A Story (Sugarpie Farmhouse is one of very favorite blogs. I just love her!)



Stay Sane This Christmas By Making Wise Decisions (Staying sane is all of our goals right??)


How To Make Bread Bowls (I love to eat lots of soup in the winter and this sounded really yummy!)


Christmas Made Easy (Good ideas for how to keep track of all your gifts and the money you are spending. We always make fun of Steve because he is the "spreadsheet king", but it really can help if you need to make a list and keep track of numbers!


I also wanted to say a Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law! We went out to dinner last night for her birthday at Outback and had a fun night together. She is a wonderful mother-in-law, and she sure did raise a wonderful son! :)


Happy Birthday, Mrs. Maddox!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Holiday Season Is Here!

The holiday season is here! I love this time of year, don't you? It has been so nice having Laura and Lindy home and having a house full of family. Today we are watching football and maybe a Christmas movie or two. Nothing much is on our agenda. Today, I am just doing a random list...

1-I got my whole house decorated yesterday. I am not a Black Friday shopper, so Steve went shopping with my girls (he is a sweet dad!!), and I had several hours to myself. While they were gone, I turned into a Christmas decorating machine! I got the whole tree up by myself and even did the lights. I hung the wreaths on the windows and door, hung stockings, put out our nativity scenes, and all the little Christmas "knick-knacks". I also went to Hobby Lobby and got some red mesh for the tree. I really like how it turned out!


2-My sweet friend, Faith, gave me a blog makeover! She always does an awesome job. If you are looking for a re-do, definitely check her out.


3-About two or three weeks ago, we went over to my mother-in-law's house for dinner and she made a dessert that was so good--pumpkin crunch!


I liked it so much, I have made it several times since that night. I took it to school for a meeting and all my teacher friends loved it and wanted the recipe. I took it for dessert when I brought dinner to a friend and they loved it. And I made it for my family and they loved it, too. So, I thought I would share it with you today. We had it for Thanksgiving, but it would be good during the Christmas holidays, too!

Pumpkin Crunch

1 12 oz. can evaporated milk, unsweetened
3 eggs
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling--just plain pumpkin)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 box yellow cake mix
1 1/2 c. pecans, coarsely chopped
2 sticks margarine

Mix well the first 6 ingredients. Pour into a greased 9x13 in. baking pan. Pour the dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle pecans over cake mix. Melt the 2 sticks margarine and drizzle over cake mix and pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve warm with whipped cream.


4-I know it's not even December yet, but I wish we would have a snow day before our Christmas break. Wouldn't that be fun? I am jealous of my blog friends who are already getting snow!


5-Steve got us X-Box Kinect Dance yesterday while he was out shopping and we all tried it last night. It was really fun. We laughed alot! When I was doing it, Ashley started laughing so hard, she almost went into a full blown cry. Ever since she has been pregnant, she has started doing that and it is so funny. She starts out laughing really hard, but then she moves into crying. I think that was much funnier than my dance moves! ;)

6-Sing Off. Have you heard about this show? I saw some of the contestants on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and they were amazing. Everyone on the show sings acapella. To me, that shows real talent! I think it starts on December 6th. I will be putting that on my TiVo line up!

7-My Christmas cards arrived in the mail a few days ago. I wasn't able to take a family picture this year since everyone was so scattered. But I did a collage and I am excited about how they turned out. I have never had my Christmas cards this early before. I just need to sit down and address them now.

This break has been so great. I am sad that it is almost over!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope you had a wonderful day with your family. We had a really good day. We ate tons of good food, watched lots of football and the Thanksgiving Day parade, and we even played a little Rock Band. Right now we are all overly stuffed and wondering if we will ever eat again. But we will probably make a trip to the refrigerator later on tonight to go for round two!

I am so glad that Steve and I grew up together and our parents and brothers and sisters all know each other. We all go to the same church and spending holidays together is fun since we have been "family" for so many years.

Here are some pictures of our day...

I can't believe this time next year, I will have a 9 month old grandbaby!! Yay!! That is going to be so much fun. I can't wait. :)


My girls and me...







We got to skype with Mark while everyone was over. We wanted to try and make him feel a little bit like he was home with us. We took the computer around and everybody said hi and talked to him for a little while...




This is my sister in law Britney with my niece Brooklyn. She was adorable today and looked so cute in her little Ugg boots!




This is my brother Brent and my niece, Bailey...


Our sweet family. (I am sad because somehow we didn't get any pictures of Steve's parents or my aunts??? But, trust me, they were there!)


I hope your day was full of family and love and blessings, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My "Thankful List"

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I have just about everything ready. The table is set, the turkey is thawed and waiting to be put in the oven, and I have everything set to make some appetizers in the morning. I am excited about waking up and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and drinking some hot cider and hanging out in my pajamas for a while. Then around noon, our house will start to fill up with lots of family (I think we will have about 23 people here)--and the fun will begin! We will have lots of hugs and conversation and more food than we know what to do with.

The only sad part is that we will miss Mark this year. It just won't be the same without him. But...it is less than two weeks until he comes home and I can't wait!

Last year I wrote about all the things that I was thankful for and I thought about doing it again, but I am still thankful for all the same things!

So...(I have never done this before),I am going to repost my thoughts from last year since it all still applies.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.

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.


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?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Santander

So....on Wednesday of our trip, we finally got to fly to Santander to see Mark! That is what the trip was really for, but since Mark had class the first part of the week, we weren't able to get together until Wednesday.


We took a bus from the airport to the bus station and Mark met us there. I was so excited to see him! I'm sure it seemed strange for him to see us there. I bet we seemed a little "out of context".


Anyway...we checked into our hotel and then Mark showed us all around Santander.


Santander is very unique because it is on the water, but there are mountains all around.


It has parts of it that are little small houses and neighborhoods and parts that have lots of shopping and plazas. They are all ready for Christmas there, too!




Here are a few pictures of what we saw and did in Santander...

This is where Mark lives.


He basically lives at the top of a mountain and we probably climbed a hundred stairs to get there. I am NOT kidding. I don't know if you can see it in this picture, but look closely and you can see the stairs. They just about killed me. No need for thigh master here! haha


Here is the view from our hotel window. There was a church right next door and every hour we could hear the church bells ring. It was so pretty.



Right across the street was a little playground with this beautiful merry-go-round. After school, lots of mom and kids would come out and play here.


I have to show you something funny. This is the hairdryer they had in the hotel!



That thing was so hard to use and it made my hair CRAZY! But, I didn't bring my own so I had to work with what I had.


The food in Santander was definitely different. There wasn't a whole lot of variety...at least at the places that we went to. One of the things you can find everywhere is bocadillos. They are a little sandwich and Mark loves them. He gets them all the time!


We had so much fun talking with Mark and seeing where he has been living. We even got to meet a few of his friends. Here are just a few pictures of us...












I was sad to say goodbye. I am so glad we got to see Mark for a little while, though. I have missed my boy! The last night we were there, we took him and his girlfriend to dinner at a really nice restaurant. It had some very unusual things on the menu like squid cooked in it's own ink! Huh?? Mark actually had baby kid. He really liked it, too! haha We just wanted to do something special before we had to leave. It was a fun night. It is only three weeks until he is back home and I am so happy about that. I hope the time goes by quickly!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Barcelona

Spain-Part 2: Barcelona

After we left Madrid, we flew to Barcelona. I think I would compare Barcelona to Los Angeles and Madrid was more like an NYC. Barcelona was on the water and had a more tropical feel with palm trees and boats and a beach.

We stayed at the Palace Hotel. It used to be the Ritz and it was so nice!! I felt so pampered staying there.




Barcelona is where Christopher Columbus returned to Spain after his first trip to America. There is a really tall statue near the water commemorating this. He is pointing to the New World.


We saw so many interesting things in Barcelona.


Have you ever heard the term "gaudy"? Did you know that it comes from the fantastical architecture of a man from Barcelona named Antoni Gaudi? This is the cathedral that he created.


It is called the Sagrada Familia and, believe me, it IS gaudy! But it is also amazing. Steve and I spent almost a whole morning touring it.

The day before we were there, the Pope was visiting. I wish we could have seen that!





One of the best things about Barcelona was the market. Oh my goodness...that was amazing. I have never been to a market with such beautiful fruit and seafood and meats of all kinds. I wish we could have spent more time there.


Two things that really struck me about Spain were...
1-How sweet and loving all the couples were. So many couples were out walking and holding hands and being very affectionate. They would sit for hours talking in restaurants and cafes and they seemed like they didn't have a care in the world other than just spending time together. The stress level there seems very low to me!

2-The children are BEAUTIFUL. I don't think they can have an ugly baby there! And I was obsessed with their clothes. Every single child I saw was dressed soooo cute! I started taking pictures of all the clothes I saw in the windows because they were so adorable. I loved their little pea coats and leather shoes. And do you know that of all the hundreds of babies that people had out strolling around in their strollers, I think I only heard one or two crying! What is in the water there that makes the babies and dogs so calm??? We need some of that here!



We tried churros for the first time while we were there. They are kind of like long donuts that you dip in chocolate. Steve really liked them! I thought the chocolate was delicious!


Barcelona was lots of fun, but the whole time we were there, we were getting excited about going to Santander to see Mark. I will tell you about that part of our trip tomorrow!