Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Christmas Card

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with
hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rock the Night Away

To say that last night was amazing would be an understatement. It was Abi's first dance recital & she truly "rocked the night away." I was such a proud Mama. Pics & video are uploaded here. Abi was all smiles from start to finish, but I have to admit that it is still a little weird to see my 3-year-old wearing mascara ;)

Click here to view these pictures larger

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Tiny Dancer

I have dreamed about this day since I found out that my first child was going to be a little girl. It's Abi's first dance recital!!! I've always loved to dance even though I stopped taking classes in order to participate in school sports and private voice lessons. I started really dancing again once I declared my Theatre major in college and continued for several years after graduation "just for fun." It's no secret that I always wanted a little girl of my own, and it tickles me to death that she enjoys music and dance and "drama" as much as her Mama. Break a leg tonight my tiny dancer!

"I'm so glad it makes you happy see me dance." Abi, after her first stage rehearsal on Saturday.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mouthwatering Monday - Cowgirl Cookies

I decided to start on the "teacher gifts" from the kids this weekend - as if I didn't have enough going on - dance rehearsal, breakfast with Santa, 2-year-old birthday party, going to see Peyton in The Nutcracker, church, shopping, naps, etc.

Anyway, several weeks ago I came across this post at Bakerella, and knew that this was the perfect gift for us to do this year. I remember my mother getting "Cowboy Cookies" as a gift from one of her students back when I was still in high school or middle school, and I had pretty much forgotten about them - until now!

The post provides excellent, easy-to-follow instructions & the variation possibilities are endless. You could use regular or holiday M&M's. You could separate out the colors to offer a variety of selection or color combinations. I chose to stick with the pink for a number of reasons. 1) I love pink, in case you didn't know that already. 2) We had 2 bags of pink M&M's left over from Abi's ladybug party in October. 3) I was able to score another couple of bags for a seriously good deal last month at CVS (with a coupon & ECB's)...need I say more!

I'm glad now that I started on these early because they do require a bit of finesse when it comes to packing the ingredients into these jars. My first attempt did not permit room for the sugar which is kind of an important ingredient. SO I decided we should bake that batch & see how they tasted! As you can see, even the dough is pretty!

And the finished product - or what's left of it!

I now have 10 jars with flour packed in, and well - that's as far as I made it last night. Below is a photo of the finished product from the original post. I can't wait to finish these & get them to the teachers...I think they will love them as much as we do! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Here Comes Santa Claus

Last Thursday I had a regional mortgage meeting down in Statesboro. I always look forward to seeing my friends and having the opportunity to catch up with their lives in person. We only have these meetings once or twice a year, but it is inevitable that they will fall on important days in the lives of my kids. This was not any ordinary Thursday. You see, it was also the day that Santa came to visit Abi & Drew's school. I had planned to leave really early that morning so I could move some funds to a local bank down there that is paying FIVE PERCENT interest on a high-yield checking account. Anyway, I'm sure Terry could have handled the preparations for this big day without me; but I just couldn't bear to miss.

As you can see, Abi-girl is quite excited about her visit with Santa; and as for Drew - well, the jury is still out!

Photo creations by Picnik!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Our Jesus Tree

I can't begin to express just how excited I am about a new tradition we started this year. My Uncle Mike gave us a set of Proclamation Ornaments for Christmas 2 or 3 years ago; and to be honest, I really hadn't given them much thought before now. I found them as we were unpacking Christmas decorations & was amazed at what I found inside the box. You see, our church is celebrating Advent with A Calendar of Devotions for families to read throughout the month leading up to Christmas. Growing up in a Baptist church, this is the first time I've actually participated in Advent and really focused on preparing for the Christmas celebration daily. The Proclamation Ornaments (which are apparently no longer being produced) include 25 ornaments designed to help us remember that the Jesus who has come is the Jesus who is coming again. The Scripture on each ornament shows an Old Testament promise and how it is fulfilled in the New Testament in the life of Jesus. Each ornament's design represents what we have in Jesus. The heart speaks of His great love for us. The cross speaks of His death for us. And the star speaks of the hope we have in our ascended Christ. The culmination of the ornaments, the Jesus Banner, is royal blue and speaks of His heavenly origin.

Our "Jesus Tree" is located just inside the living room, and each night before bed Abi hangs that day's ornament on the tree, Terry reads the Scripture & I read the devotional followed by nightly prayers. Even though the kids are young, and don't really understand what's going on; it thrills me to know that we are laying a foundation for them to understand the real reason for the season while establishing a meaningful Christmas tradition our family can carry out for years to come.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The tree is up...
and the stockings are hung...

now we are waiting for Santa to come!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dear Kristi,

I don't quite know how to tell you this, so I'm just going to come out & say it. You call me - quite often actually - on your Blackberry - without meaning to. At first, I thought it was because I was "special" or there was something really important, funny or juicy you had to tell me. Then I realized it was probably your butt or your purse or who knows what else dialing my number. I can't believe I haven't remembered to tell you yet considering we talk at least once a day pretty much every weekday. It's usually on the way to or from picking Evan up from school. I must be the first number in your phone. Makes me feel important even if it is only because my names starts with the first letter of the alphabet!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanks & Giving

My friend Hollie wrote this post last week about Operation Christmas Child. I was so excited to see it because last Sunday when we were visiting the church I grew up in, they had a special presentation of the boxes the church had collected so far. During the last praise song of the morning service, children began to file in down the aisle carrying boxes that had been donated - as many as their little arms could hold. After the first dozen or so kids came in, there were several children pulling wagons filled and overflowing with boxes - boxes full of dolls, and toys, and crayons, and card games, and even more things we take for granted like tooth brushes & paste, wash cloths and underwear. As the children came in they all sat along the steps of the alter. And then as the line grew shorter, my little Abi was the last one to walk in carrying the 392nd shoe box. That was it for me. I guess it never occurred to me that she would be there because we were visiting and she was a year or two younger than any of the others. But nonetheless, there she sat, holding a single shoe box, in the center of the worship center, beaming.

They then handed the microphone to a sweet 8-year-old girl who said a prayer of dedication over the boxes & for the families that would receive them as well as the people who had donated...it was definitely the highlight of the morning's worship for me. I knew at that moment that this was a great opportunity to teach about about "Thanks & Giving." During the car ride home, we talked about the importance of being thankful and how God wants us to share what we have with others. We decided to make boxes for a "special boy" and "special girl" to receive this Christmas. Abi & I made a list of some fun items to include in the boxes along with some staples & toiletries.

I had a schedule work trip on Thursday evening, so we planned Friday was set aside to work on the boxes together. Abi had a such a great time packing the boxes together. I think her only real disappointment was from discovering that she didn't get to personally deliver the boxes to the "special boy" and "special girl."

On Saturday morning, we went to a birthday party for one of Abi's friends; and after that we drove out to the Washington Baptist Association for the OCC drop-off. We were greeted by 3 very friendly faces, and Abi cheerfully gave her boxes to David Self, Director of Missions. We were sent home with cute Operation Christmas Child stickers for Abi & Drew along with commemorative ornament for the event. I look forward to tracking our package to discover the destination of our boxes, and continuing this tradition of "Thanks & Giving" to kick-off the holiday season for many years to come.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mouthwatering Monday

Ok. So this isn't your typical "Mouthwatering Monday" post, but it sure has my mouth watering! Our dishwasher (circa 1986) finally bit the dust a few weeks ago, so we decided it would probably be more cost effective to get a new one than to try to repair the one we have. Considering Terry is a musician & I'm a "drama queen" - no, literally, I have the theatre degree to prove it; this was a wise move on our part. Anyway, the diswasher & range were the only built-in appliances that came with the house; but they were both black in a white kitchen. Call me crazy, but I never understood the logic there. SO! If we replace the dishwasher (may it rest in peace), then common sense dictates that we must also replace the range. Whoo! Hoo!

This seemed like a simple-enough task, but definitely proved to be one for the books. The diswasher was easy-peasy. They all come in one standard size that hasn't changed since 1986, so we were good on that front. The range however was a different story. See - our range was a drop-in range...didn't go all the way to the base of the cabinets or the full depth of the countertop. And guess what? "That size is no longer available...hasn't been for almost a decade." Really?!? Who knew? Ok, I thought. We'll cut out the counter & cabinet around it, and get a slide-in or free-standing range with no problem. We measure (3 different people on 3 different occasions), and agree on the dimensions that will work.
Lowe's provided a great selection to choose from & I found my favorite.

We get one of God's greatest craftsmen (OE) to cut out the cabinet & countertop and scheduled the delivery. I guess at the point in the story, it would have been smart for us to "re-measure" the opening. You guessed it...when the delivery guys brought the range in, the opening was 1 1/2 inches too small! Gasp! See - the "cooktop" part of the existing range was 30", but apparently it was only 28 1/2" down the main part of the oven. Once again, "OE to the rescue" came to cut out an additional inch-and-a-half of cabinet & countertop; so we could get the range in over the weekend. Needless to say, I had to stay home from church on Sunday to clean all of the sawdust out of the kitchen; but I think the results speak for themself.

Here's to many more Mouthwatering Mondays with the help of my shiny, new friend!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Count Your Blessings

MY TRIBUTE by Andrea Crouch
How can I say thanks For the things you have done for me
Things so undeserved Yet You gave to prove your love for me
The voices of a million angels Could not express my gratitude
All that I am and ever hope to be I owe it all to thee

To God be the glory, to God be the glory
To God be the glory, For the things He has done
With His blood He has saved me
With His power He has raised me
To God be the glory, For the things He has done

Just let me live my life And let it be pleasing Lord to thee
And should I gain any praise Let it go to Calvary
With His blood He has saved me
With His power He has raised me
To God be the glory For the things He has done


Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Abi-girl

I still can't believe your third birthday is already here. You have been talking about turning three since June, and the day has finally arrived! You have been so excited all week. In your words, "I'm gone be free & taller!" And who could ask for more than that?!? When I looked back at your birthday posts from last year, I was amazed at how much you've grown since then. And even though I still call you "my baby," you are a big (little) girl now. What a difference a year makes!

10/16/08 - 2 years old

10/16/2009 - 3 years old

You never cease to amaze me with your wit & charm and all of the wonderful things you have learned to do over this past year. I hope you will always enjoy learning the way you do right now. I love the way you play with Drew even when he tries to take all of your markers. And even though it is often the cause for meltdowns & drama, I love that you know exactly what you want. Now we just need to work on dealing with disappointment when you can't have exactly what you want when you want it. You bring so much joy, wonder & excitement to our lives; and you have so many wonderful people who love you very much. Happy birthday Abi-girl!

All my love,


Cupcake Cake

My friend Courtney did this adorable cupcake cake for Abi's school party today. They were made to match the "Oh so sweet ladybug" theme we are using for her party next weekend. I can't wait for Abi to see them this afternoon. Thanks Courtney! These are just perfect for the occasion.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mouthwatering Monday: Bacon Cheeseburger Mini Meatloaves

I have to admit, I "hate" meatloaf. I never enjoyed it growing up & have basically shunned any variety of meatloaf...until now. I have been living la vida low carb since mid-July & have found some wonderful recipes online. I ran across this Paula Deen recipe for Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf, and decided that meatloaf couldn't be all that bad with these yummy ingredients. I modified the recipe quite a bit to lower the carb count & adjust to my family's personal tastes. I also wanted to speed up the bake time for this, so I opted for the mini version using a muffin pan. I was thrilled with how this turned out & will definitely be making it again...soon!

1 pound ground chuck
1 pkg. Oscar Myer pre-cooked crumbled bacon
1 (8-ounce) package sharp Cheddar, grated
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup French fried onions
2 tablespoons Ranch seasoning
1 tablespoon steak/burger seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck and next 8 ingredients, mixing well.
In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and mustard. Stir 1/4 cup ketchup mixture into meat mixture, reserving remaining ketchup/mustard mixture.
Press meat mixture into muffin pan. Spread remaining ketchup mixture over loaf. Bake 20 minutes. Pat with paper towel to absorb some of the grease from the top & sprinkle with French fried onions; bake another 5 to 10 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink. Enjoy!

Friday, September 11, 2009


I guess Mickey D's won't take my $75 or $200 bills anymore - geez! Give a girl a break already.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fruit Snack Stain Remover?

Yesterday I posed this question to several of my friends: Any idea how to get a melted red fruit snack stain out of the passenger seat of my grandmother's van we borrowed to go on vacation? Terry sat on said fruit snacks for apparently most of the trip to the beach (approximately 6 hours), so the bulk of the mess was absorbed by his khaki shorts. The rest is hard, dried & did I mention red specks in the seat of the car. I honestly have so much advice now, I don't know whether to heat or freeze or blot or scrape. Please weigh in on the poll to the right!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mod Monkey Party

I fell in love with the Mod Monkey party theme the moment I laid eyes on it back in May. Little did I know just how appropriate the theme would be for Drew's first birthday. I captured these priceless moments on video back in June, and knew that I indeed had a mod monkey on my hands.

During my time working at the local newspaper, I learned a little bit about design layout & have since created my own party invitations & Christmas cards for our family. I had seen a photo that my friend Shana took of her little boy in a monkey suit & immediately knew that was exactly what we needed for our invitation.

For the decorations, I pulled the blue and yellow polka dots from the invitation; and (of course) we had monkeys! Somehow I didn't really get many pictures of the decorations with the exception of the giant gorilla in the background of our family photo. The kids’ shirts were such a great find to really make things festive. I ordered them here from a shop on Etsy. They were very well made, and were shipped in no time flat. Now Abi doesn’t typically wear t-shirts that aren’t “girl cut,” so this one seemed a little boxy to me. SO I had the idea to frill it up with ribbon and a cute ruffle around her jeans topped off with a hair bow to match! Thanks to Chassity at Lina Bina’s for getting this done so quickly. I was also quite surprised at how easy it was to find coordinating shirts for us grown-ups to wear to complete the look.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I tend to go a little overboard when it comes to party planning. I can’t help it. I would love to do this kind of thing professionally, but just don’t live in the right market for it – especially in today’s economy. Anyway, in keeping with the monkey theme, I wanted the food to be fun, colorful & oh so mod! My sister Ashleigh always does our fabulous cakes & comes the night before to help me with the other food preparation.

Mod Monkey Party Menu:
- Deli sandwich platter
- Veggies, chips & dips
- Fruit kabobs with chocolate & cream cheese dips
- Twisty Cheetos
- Caesar pasta salad

I think the presentation of the food turned out really great. It didn't hurt that Ashleigh just happened to have that gorgeous watermelon in her fridge. We served the fruit dips in the hollowed-out canteloupe shell. We debated about how to serve the pasta salad so that everyone could get some of the romaine lettuce with their serving. I think the individual pasta cups worked out very well for the informal party setting.

In my opinion, the best part of any 1-year-old’s birthday party is the smash cake. I really wanted to stick with the yellow, blue & white theme on the main cake, so naturally the smash cake had to be the monkey! Ashleigh’s cake decorating only continues to get more & more amazing, and I think she truly captured the theme beautifully. Notice how the writing matches the font from Drew’s invitation – yep…pretty impressive! And (believe it or not) the cakes actually taste better than the look. Instead of ice cream, we served banana pudding trifle (Paula Deen's "Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding" recipe) that was out of this world.

Drew had a fantastic time smashing his cake, opening his presents and playing with family & friends. Each guest was sent home with a clear plastic cone of “monkey munch” which consisted of Sweet-n-Salty Chex Mix, blue M&M’s and banana chips tied up with blue & yellow curling ribbon. It appears that we didn’t get a photo of those either, but they were very cute.

Thanks for hangin’ around!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Drews first year

It's so hard to believe that my baby is one year old! Words cannot express the joy this little boy has brought to our family. He has stretched our hearts to love greater than I ever thought possible, and he has given Abi the chance to grow into a great big sister. I love you "Baby Drew"...with all my heart!


Click here to view this photo book larger

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just moved here...

from www.thebraggbook.com

Apparently Wordpress is more than I can handle, so I'm parking in a new lot. We'll see how it goes!

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