Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bring It On

I can't believe it already almost Thanksgiving!

It has gotten so cold here this weekend and it is starting to feel like the holidays.  Laura came home for Thanksgiving on Friday night and it is good to have her home.  

And Mark is coming home tomorrow.  
Then I will have all my kids back home and the party can begin.

I know I have already mentioned this, but I seriously can't get over the leaves in our city right now--especially in my neighborhood.   I was driving through our neighborhood yesterday morning and I just had to stop my car and get out and take some pictures.  It was sooo pretty!! 

I really don't think there is anything on Pinterest or in a magazine any prettier than this!

Do you do anything "Christmas-y" before Thanksgiving?  I used to be one of those die hard people who never wanted to listen to Christmas music or do anything at all related to Christmas before Thanksgiving.  But I think I am changing my stance on that.  I am kind of moving toward just letting Thanksgiving be a part of the whole "holiday season".  It doesn't take anything away from Thanksgiving, in my opinion, to listen to Christmas music or do a little shopping before you celebrate the day of giving thanks.  So that is what I have been doing these past few weeks.  We bought a new Christmas tree.  I have already gotten a few things for David and Caroline just because they are so fun to buy for.  And I am hoping to get a lot more done before December.  I would love to have as much done as I can before our calendar gets crazy.  

One thing I will never do, though, is shop on Thanksgiving.  I am sad that any employees have to work on that day and I hate the idea of taking a day meant to thank God for what we have and turning into a day to get more stuff.  No thank you.

Since it has gotten so cold here lately, it makes me want put on my warm socks and fleece sweatshirts, build a fire, fix a big pot of soup, watch cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies, and read lots of good books.  

Ashley has been telling me how good Paula Deen's Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup was, so I made it this weekend.  It was delicious!  Ashley always takes it to anyone who is sick or just had a baby, etc.  I am definitely adding it to my fall/winter recipes!

And I have been reading two really interesting books lately that I think I heard about on NPR or read about in a magazine somewhere.  They are both kind of similar because they are both about children around the world and they would both be good reads for parents or teachers.  One is called The Smartest Kids In The World.  

It is about the three countries that score the highest in the world on standardized tests and what America can learn from them.  (Great for teachers!)

And I am reading Bringing Up Bebe.  

I have blogged before (here) about how when Steve and I have visited Europe, I was amazed at how well-behaved the children were there!  When I heard that this book explained why, I was curious!  The book is about French parenting and what they are doing there to raise children who are independent and well-mannered.  

And speaking of that, this is one little boy who I think is very well-mannered.  I'm sure he has his moments when he is at home, but when he is with me, he is precious and we always have the best time together.  

I can't wait for the holidays so he can come over and we can do some fun Christmas stuff together!  Bring on the holidays!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November Days

I love this time of year so much.  School has gotten into a good routine since we are past the first quarter, the temperatures are falling, and it is starting to get a festive, holiday feel in the air!  Summer is still my favorite season, but there is something about the way the world starts to slow down and get quiet in fall that I love almost as much.  I'm so glad I live in a place where there are very distinct seasons.  I can't even tell you how beautiful the leaves have been this year.  Everywhere I look it is absolutely gorgeous!

Here are a few pictures I took just in my yard and in my neighborhood!  This is the view from my back porch.

I took this one day on a walk through my neighborhood.  The sky was a bright Carolina blue that made the leaves seem even prettier!

This is my driveway, y'all!  I mean seriously!!  Steve has had a lot of blowing to do, needless to say! :)

And, I took this one this morning on the way home from church.  I don't think there is a painter in the world who could capture the beauty and colors the way God created them!

Over the last few weeks we have had lots of fun things going on.  One of them was Halloween.

My neighborhood is FULL of kids.  Lots of them are my former students, so it is fun to see them out trick or treating. We usually sit out in the driveway with our next door neighbors and we all put our candy together and just eat pizza and visit together as the trick or treaters come by.  Ashley and John brought David and Caroline by for a little while before they went back to their neighborhood.  David was Jake this year...

and Caroline was Minnie Mouse.

That same night we watched the Boston Red Sox win the World Series!  I wasn't a huge fan of those crazy beards, but I was so excited that they won!!

We are turning into Red Sox fans since Laura is a Bostonian now!! :)  

This was from the summer Laura and Lindy lived in Boston when they were at a Red Sox game...

Do you like when it gets dark so early?  I know most people hate it and I definitely get tired of it by the time spring gets here, but right now I am not minding it.  Every night when I get home from school, I put on my pajamas and usually make a fire and something good for dinner and just get cozy.

I love to make soups and stews in the fall and any kind of hearty comfort food.  Lately I have been into roasting fall vegetables like brussel sprouts or butternut squash.  I just buy the butternut squash already cut into cubes.  Then I toss it with some olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt, ground black pepper, and thyme on it.  I roast it at 400 for about 10 minutes and it is realllly good!!

Our routine almost every single night is to eat dinner and watch the news (we watch NBC news with Bryan Williams).  Then we watch Jeopardy.

This is pretty typical of us on a weeknight!

But back to our November fun.  For Steve's birthday, I got us tickets to see Michael Buble.  Oh. my. goodness.  That concert was amazing!!  Lindy went with us and we loved it!!  If you ever get the chance to see him, you need to do it.  He is such a good performer and you definitely get your money's worth!

November 14th was Ashley and John's 4 year anniversary, so we went over to their house and kept David and Caroline for them.  We always have fun doing that!  Caroline is starting to LOVE books!  She wanted to read this book over and over that night!

She is a little butterball!

Steve is such a good Grandaddy.  He loves to get down on the floor and play cars with David.

They have been coming over to our house, too.  

David loves for me to play Jesus Loves Me on the piano for him, so I get out my old Baptist hymnal sometimes and we sing together or he will "help me" play.

And two crazy things happened last week.  First of all...Laura went to New York with some of her friends and guess who she met in Central Park?  Hugh Jackman!  He was walking his dog with his son and stopped to tie his shoe.  Laura decided to get brave and ask him to take her picture, so this is the picture he took of her!  :)

And, the second crazy thing is that it SNOWED in Charlotte on November 12th!  What on earth?  That is extremely rare!  Lindy and I were here by ourselves since Steve was out of town and we tried to take a good picture of it, but this is the best I could get since it was dark...

It was just a little dusting really, but the snowflakes were so pretty coming down!  I wonder if that means we will have a cold winter??