Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Sad I missed the What I'm Loving Wednesday! :( Yesterday I was a house cleaning machine... so when I look at my empty laundry basket and clean house, I get over it quick! 

This week has been a unique week for us! Thomas was a fussy little guy all weekend and I thought "Oh no- either the terrible twos have hit or he's sick." Either way is no fun and with us going to a camp this weekend, I wanted to make sure he was okay. Sure enough he has double ear infections. Poor thing! He never runs a fever, so sometimes it's just hard to know! I'm thankful we got it figured out and that he's feeling better already! 

I also made myself a doctor's appointment because I have not been able to hear for nearly 3 months now! I had a double ear infection back in September and I just could not get the fluid to clear up. I'm really sensitive and emotional about not being able to hear (it happens a lot) and I get tired of trying to explain to everyone why I'm constantly making them repeat what they're saying. Sometimes I act like I can hear what they say... even when I don't. I know that's bad to do but after three months like this, I'm just tired of it. Plus, I get really worried that I'm never going to be able to hear again! ha. Monday afternoon, I came home and I was worn out! I had spent the morning setting appointments and finishing up things on my to-do list and then I went to the store with Derek's grandmother to get things for this weekend. I had the worst headache and wound up going to bed early. Tuesday I felt okay but before lunch, my ear starting hurting really bad. I felt like the room was spinning. I spent the rest of the afternoon in bed! I was glad I made my appointment Monday before I felt sick at all! When I went to the doctor yesterday she said I have another ear infection! Hopefully I got something this time that will help with everything. I was able to push through yesterday and get everything on my list nearly done, so today I just have to make my cake pops and pack! I'm thankful for such a great doctor. I really enjoy going to see her and the fact that she always listens to me. And that she never makes me feel crazy- even though she probably thinks it! :) 

I know I mentioned this last week, but I'm so thankful for Derek! He's always willing to step in and help out. I really appreciate how hard he works for our family! He never complains- how awesome is that?! 


I'm thankful for all my little two year olds. I love seeing them on Tuesdays and Thursdays! They are so sweet and fun. Today we had a Thanksgiving feast and wore pilgrim hats and bonnets. Well that's what I planned... but they're two! :) I wished I would have gotten a picture of them while they had their hats on! So cute! 

I'm thankful for my sweet little girl too. She's been so good this week and excited about everything. Some weeks are a little stressful and for a while I've been complaining about how much harder 4 has been than I realized it would be. This week has seemed completely different. She has just been so helpful and funny! She's been excited about her hair appointment today and going to camp this weekend. She's been counting down the days! It's really neat to see how her concept of the days and the times is starting to form. 

Sorry for all my rambling! Like I said- I'm emotional from not being able to hear and this crazy week. ;) 

I'm so excited about this weekend! I've gotten most all of my cooking done and I'm ready to have a little down time. I'm so thankful for a weekend where we get to be with our family and relax! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Menu Monday- Thanksgiving Edition


Let me just say that it was SO nice getting in the kitchen last week and cooking more than I have been! I really love cooking, especially when I get to try new recipes and they turn out really good! All of the recipes I tried last week were wonderful!

This week I'm just doing some boring basics but I have several things cooking for our weekend Thanksgiving trip! We are staying in a lodge with some of Derek's extended family. I think there will be about 24 of us! It's going to be a lot of fun! Since I am doing a lot in preparation for that, I thought it would be fun to share my recipes!
via
Crock Pot Green Beans
(I am making these for our Thanksgiving Feast at Thomas' school! I know they'll taste good and you can't go wrong with a crock pot recipe!)

via Pioneer Woman
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
(I love making these and freezing them. You can freeze them at any point but I just do it before I bake them. This recipe makes a lot, so you can just pull out what you need. The extras make great gifts too!)

via Bakerella
Turkey Cake Pops
(These were the very first cake pops I made! (2 years ago) I'm looking forward to making them again now that I'm a little more experienced. They'll make the perfect quick snack this weekend!)

via Pioneer Woman
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
(If you have never tried to make your own cranberry sauce, you are going to be amazed at how easy this is make and how delicious it tastes!! And if you've never tasted cranberry sauce, now is the perfect chance! I am using the one on the back of the Ocean Spray bag but I've tried this one from Pioneer Woman too.)

via
Corn Pudding
(This is a must at Thanksgiving and Christmas in my family! It's so easy and simple and is sure to please everyone! I actually mix mine in the dish I bake it in for easy clean up. It's always a hit!)


Turkey and Stuffing
(I don't want to share my family's recipe, but I did some research and found these recipes here and here that are very similar! The key is to over season the stuffing so that the flavors spread to the turkey and to butter the bad boy up. We use a LOT more than what this recipe calls for. If you are not a fan of actually stuffing the turkey, this might not be your thing. I can say that my family has been doing turkey this way for YEARS and it's the best turkey I've ever had! Hopefully ours will come close this year.)

I'm not going to be making these next few recipes, but I wanted to share a few more of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes!

via Paula Deen
Breakfast Casserole
(The onion sautéed in with the hash browns make this dish! I love to make this up and then freeze it for when I need it!)

via
Sweet Potato Casserole
(I add a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg to this and love the way it tastes! The orange juice makes this dish stand out from other sweet potato recipes too!)

Okay, I feel like I'm posting a ton of recipes! I think this is enough to keep you busy! ;) Feel free to ask any questions if I didn't make something clear enough.

As always, feel free to play along! Comment below and let me know if you do, I'd love to hear what's on your menu!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekend Happenings

We had such a great weekend! 

Friday was a lazy day for me and Thomas. It always seems like those days at home just put him in the best mood!

We actually had a great night Friday, just relaxing at home and then we went to spend a little time with Derek's family.

Saturday we had Derek's grandmother's surprise tea party. She knew that she was coming over to have a tea party with Anna-Kate and I but what she didn't know is that there would be 3 friends from her hometown there too! The look on her face when she walked in and saw her friends was absolutely priceless! I am still kicking myself for not getting a picture of it!


We had so much fun visiting and catching up with the ladies. I was so glad they got to come help make it a special day for his grandmother. It has been hard on her to move away from the town she lived in for over 50 years.

After lunch, we visited and then took the ladies to see her house. 


I tried a few new recipes for lunch that were so good!

Here's what we had on the menu:

via Taste Of Home
Chicken Club Ring
(This turned out really well! I knew I'd be in a hurry, so I used deli chicken. I just rolled several pieces together and cut it into chunks. It worked really well. I also added a little bit of parmesan and cheddar cheese and a small piece of bacon to each crescent roll. It was a big hit!)

via Food.com
Cucumber Sandwiches
(I realized that I forgot to get cream cheese so I substituted with sour cream. I also felt like it needed a little extra flavor, so I added maybe a tablespoon of vinegar. I liked the way it tasted and these were a hit too!)

Fresh Fruit
(I wasn't sure what everyone liked, so I just stuck to some favorites. I cut up fresh pineapple and tossed it with grapes and orange slices)

Veggie Tray

Sour Cream Pound Cake
(This is so unlike me- but I bought this cake! I knew I couldn't go wrong with Paula Deen. It was perfectly moist and a great combination with the lunch!)


We got to spend the rest of the day with Derek's grandmother and we watched the Hogs play the Vols. The one game where Derek and I are not friends. ;) Sadly our Volunteers lost. At least Anna-Kate told me that she wanted to be a Vol instead of a Hog. (She might have turned right around and called the hogs... but who's keeping track?)

We had the most perfect, relaxing Sunday after church! I love Sunday's when we can just spend time together. I don't worry about the housework or dishes because I know I'll be home Monday to tackle all of that!

We have a busy week getting ready for our first Thanksgiving this weekend! Look for a different Menu Monday this week! I'll be posting Thanksgiving recipes! :) 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Getting Scrappy!


A while ago, a very crafty friend mentioned that she was thinking about working a scrapbooking weekend (called Scrapbook Extravaganza) and wanted to see if I would like to join her. We could scrap the night before and then get all of the kits that they pass out on Saturday if we just helped out with the classes they teach. Of course I was on board for that! It was a major savings and a great way to get started in scrapbooking! 

I have a scrapbook that I have had since Anna-Kate was a baby. It was supposed to be her first year scrapbook. I got it thinking that it was a pre-made one so it would be really simple to make. Then I realized that was just a little harder than I originally though... and so I was going to have a friend make it for me. I kept putting it off and eventually the scrapbook and all of the pictures I had printed off wound up in my attic! Horrible- I know! 

So, last weekend, I rescued my forgotten scrapbook and pictures out of the attic and took it with me to the scrapbooking extravaganza! I really had no clue what I was getting myself into! :) 

When I got there with my one bag of supplies I was in shock and I felt a little overwhelmed with all of the "stuff" everyone brought!

There were over 400 women and most of them had brought their own chairs and little lights and even drink holders that attach to a table and have a trash bag holder on them. Most everyone owned a cricut, which they had lining the walls and most everyone had huge rolling bags full of scrapbook tools and supplies. If I ever had any question about how expensive this little hobby could get... it was gone after last weekend! 

I didn't get much time to scrapbook Friday because I had to pick Derek up from the airport, but I did manage to spend just enough time there to realize that my scrapbook was horribly outdated! Saturday we got there at 7:30 and worked the show until 4:30. It was so much fun seeing all of the creativity that these women had! I loved getting ideas and seeing techniques. It was the perfect way to introduce myself to the whole world of scrapbooking! 

Around 4:30 we started in on our scrapbooks! The store in town that sponsors the show had set up their store that you could browse and shop. They would just scan your badge and you could pay when you left. (Pretty smart, since it's super easy to rack up a bill that way!) But probably one of my favorite parts of the weekend happened towards the end of the night. 

The yard sale. I cannot fully share how crazy of an experience this is! Basically the sponsoring store auctions off their scrapbooking supplies at a very discounted rate. If you've ever gotten out on black friday and fought the chaos, you have a slight idea of what I'm talking about! Only try it with a bunch of hobby-passionate women looking for a great deal! Don't worry, I snapped a little video just so you can see what I'm talking about! :) Just to warn you, it's about a minute long. 

video

I am just so grateful that I got to go to this! I had such a great time, got some wonderfully uplifting advice, and grew a friendship! Plus I now have the first 4 pages of Anna-Kate's scrapbook finished and tons of scrapbooking supplies to keep going! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

I thought it would be fun to do thankful Thursdays this month too!

Making a build a bear for Anna-Kate
I'm thankful for a loving and supportive husband and the wonderful father that he is! He was out of town Tuesday afternoon through Friday last week and I missed him so much! I realized that things that happen during the day are just not funny unless you have someone there to make you laugh about them. I'm thankful for a husband who makes me laugh daily.


I'm thankful for a beautiful brown eyed little girl who is so much fun! She is such a blessing in my life. I'm constantly laughing at something she has said or done. Yesterday I called her my cowgirl and then she called me her cow momma. Although I know where she was headed there, I am pretty sure that she doesn't quite understand that's not a compliment. haha :) She is always wanting to help with cooking and I am so excited that she is going to help me throw a surprise tea party for Derek's grandmother Saturday! I know that Anna-Kate is going to love helping cook and serving her great grandmother and Lepanto friends.


I'm thankful for a funny little two year old too. Thomas is hitting that stage where personality really comes out... the good and the bad! I love to hear all the things he is taking in and all the new words he is learning. Last night he was pulling out toys and saying "OH LOOK!" and each toy was just so exciting. Did I mention that he was right in the middle of Bible Study and Thomas chose to play right in the middle of the room everyone was in?

I'm thankful for the beautiful weather this fall has given us. I do get tired of the extreme heat but I don't like the cold unless it snows! (I know, picky much?) Thankfully we have had a good mixture of the two and the weather has been just beautiful!

What are you thankful for? 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

October edition... 

Since we had so many fun things happen last month, I thought this would be the best way to update! :)

I'm loving the fun Saturday we had in Lepanto! It was so wonderful to visit and see our friends! Not to mention, it was a beautiful day for Terapin Derby!  



I'm loving the homecoming pep rally that we got to watch! Anna-Kate was so excited we came along and she loved getting to high-five the football team! Plus they won the game! :)


I'm loving that I got to go with Anna-Kate on her field trip to a farm! We had so much fun at cowboy day!






I'm loving that Thomas had such a wonderful birthday!! We took monkey cake pops to his school and then we had a small party the night of his birthday with family. We made mickey mouse pizzas and then had cupcakes. He had a cute mickey-themed party on Saturday with some friends!




I'm loving the cute going away party we threw! Anna-Kate's student teacher had her last day in October, so we gave her a little surprise party! Complete with a "Thanks for making us wiser" tote bag with all of the kids fingerprints turned into little owls! We also had ice cream sundaes and owl cake pops! 






I'm loving the wonderful time we had at Grandparent's day this year! Anna-Kate was so proud to perform and to show off her class to Nini and Granddaddy! 




I'm loving how adorable my little monkey and owl were this year!! Thomas got to wear his costume to school and he was so excited! 


I'm loving that we went to Anna-Kate's fall fest at school and got to play games with her! She was so excited to see us! 


I'm loving that we had a wonderful trip to Franklin! We went to Pumpkin fest and got to spend lots of time with family! 



I'm loving that we still had time to go Trick-or-Treating at several houses on Halloween! 




I'm loving my precious little family and all of the special memories we got to make this October! I know I say it all the time, but I feel so blessed that I was able to be home through all of it! :)

Sorry for the mega post- but that almost catches you up! What are you loving today? Link up here and play along!! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Menu Monday and Giveaway Winner


I've been slacking lately- on the blog, in the kitchen, with the giveaway (whoops)... just seems like there's a lot going on! I'm back and ready to get things on track again! 

So, for starters I guess I should share the giveaway winner! Congrats to Amanda for winning the Shaklee cleaners!! You get a special award since you were the only one to enter! ha! 

I'm ready to get back in the kitchen- I've got to warm up my cooking skills again since Derek and I are making the Turkey this year for his family!!! I am beyond excited and extremely nervous because it's going to be huge! I will be using my Nani's special recipe, it's always wonderfully moist and juicy and extremely flavorful! She is German but married an American and moved to the United States. When she moved here, she wanted to cook like his family so she tried a Better Homes and Garden recipe for her Thanksgiving Turkey. She tweaked it through the years and once my dad and his sister started doing the the turkey, they used the same recipe. Everyone tweaks it to their taste, but it's still that same basic recipe that my Nani found so many years ago!

Ready for an exciting menu?!! 

via
(I bought some pre-seasoned meat as part of a special and added my favorite spices- southwestern chipotle seasoning and cumin and sauteed it with some onion and bell peppers! It was really good!)

via
(This is a new recipe from Pioneer Woman! I had several apples laying around that were just a little too soft for me, so this is the perfect use for them!)

via
(Thanks to pinterest, I found this little gem. I've been wanting to try it for a while now!)

via
(I love this type of pasta sauce so I'm just going to whip up something based off a few different recipes)

via
via
(Usually I don't do pork and even when I do it's never twice in one week but this sounded really different from the other! Click here for the recipe)

Saturday we are having a very special Tea Party for Derek's grandmother (more on that later). I'm going to be doing some special things for that. I've still not hammered out my menu since I'm trying to be health conscious! 

I'm also going to be working on some appetizers and snacks to freeze for next weekend! We are celebrating Thanksgiving a week early with Derek's dad's side of the family! (That's when we will be doing our Turkey!!) 

I will try to post some special Thanksgiving themed recipes soon!!

What's on your menu this week?
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