Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New House!

We bought a new house this week! SO excited! After touring over 70 houses in person over the last 8 months, I walked into this one, called Shane and said I found our new home. I found it the day after it listed, and there were a few offers on it already, but in the end, we got it. {sinister laugh here} We picked up the keys last night and started moving in. I only got a few pics, but I'm sure there will be lots more in the coming months.

It isn't perfect. The kitchen needs to be upgraded, the backyard needs some attention and there is an extreme lack of crown molding and color - but all can be fixed. And Shane is chomping at the bit to get to all his new projects. The floor plan is great. Lots of closet space. Lots of light. Great neighborhood. And there is the most amazing playroom. A lot better than what we are using now :) Imagine, not having toys in the living room.

Of course there is the issue that Shane and I will be sharing a closet for the first time in 8 years. I'm worried about that. We're both clothes addicts. But Shane gets his shirts pressed and has them organized in color. His shoes are lined up military fashion. My closet looks like the hours after a Filene's Basement Wedding Dress sale. Only a lot more yellow.

But all those little things aside, we have a new house! Now, any suggestions on design blogs? Cause I need help.

These aren't the best, but I only had my camera phone at night.

YAY! I'm going to paint everything yellow!
(Just kidding)
Mom - Click on the photos to make them bigger.


Winner of the Minted Journal is Elle Sees.
NEW winner of the EA SPORTS Madden NFL 12 is Jennae.

Congrats! Leave a comment here, then email me and I will get you your prizes!

Don't forget to enter to win the Baby's Bundle Giveaway and the Shabby Apple giveaway!

(Petunia Blooms finally got some more of the yo-yo hair clips in stock! FYI)

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Very Simple Thanksgiving

I was supposed to have an Etsy giveaway today, but the store owner had to postpone when she suddenly sold out of her entire inventory. Don't you feel bad for her?  :) Anyway, it gives me a chance to post a Thanksgiving post. Man, the holidays are almost here!

By the way, if you're new to my blog I don't usually post this often. Only in November. And since Halo Anniversary came out this week, I'm a Halo Widow anyway.


So getting back to Thanksgiving. There is a time to really go all out on a Thanksgiving dish. That time is when you're invited to a big dinner and you've been asked to bring one or two items. Then there's the time when easy and simple is the rule, and that's when you are cooking everything yourself. Of the ten years Shane and I have been married, I've made the entire Thanksgiving feast entirely myself probably half the time. That's about 5 years we've had Thanksgiving with just the two of us, or with the kids when they came along. Shane would help if I asked him, but I never do. I just have him keep the kids out of the kitchen. I've learned that when you're cooking that many dishes in one day, you have to keep expectations in check and keep it simple.

We don't have plans to spend Thanksgiving with family this year, so when my Mother-in-law, Mary, decided to come visit last week, I decided we would celebrate a little early. We just picked a random Tuesday, she watched the kids and I cooked. Shane came home from work to a full Thanksgiving feast.

My first suggestion for keeping Thanksgiving easy is using a turkey breast instead of a whole bird. Saves time and room in the fridge. We prefer the white meat anyway. This year I went with a turkey breast roast from costco and it was delicious and moist. (It's bigger than this photo makes it seem. We had leftovers for several days.) I used this Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast recipe from Ina Garten and it was amazing. This won't make gravy, but remember, I'm keeping this easy. Buy the gravy in the jar and add some of the juice thats left in the pan.

Next, roast a veggie. Carrots are one of my favorites since they are always on hand and get sweet and caramelized. And it's so fast. I threw in some fennel in this dish too. You can use Ina's recipe here, but watch the time. I think she cooks them too long.

Yum. Mashed potatoes. No simplifying this dish, (i.e. no freeze dried potatoes).

I like Paula Dean's recipe for this. Though instead of sour cream, I replaced the milk with cream.

BEST Thanksgiving day investment? The Potato Ricer. You will never have lumps in your potatoes again. I got mine at Bed Bath and Beyond for $20.

Oh, and add lots of extra butter to the top of your hot potatoes.

I always make a Green Bean Casserole for Shane. It's tasty and takes like 2 minutes to prepare. This is the only time I actually prefer a canned veggie.

For the stuffing (which is the best part of Thanksgiving in my opinion), I never use a recipe anymore. 
Last year I showed you how I put mine together. This year, I had the foresight to double a cornbread recipe a month before so I had the cornbread in the freezer ready to go. And I also changed it up by adding two eggs to the dish. It made it much more "dressing" like. It was actually delicious that way, and much more Southern. 

Easy sweet potato casserole.

Boil 7 or 8 unpeeled sweet potatos until soft. Let cool until able to handle, and take off peels. Mash together and add a cube of butter. Add about a 1/2 cup brown sugar and a handful of chopped walnuts. You may want more sugar depending on your taste. Maybe a bit of cinnamon. Stir until butter melts. Spread in a pan and cover with marshmallows. Cook at whatever temp the turkey is cooking on until the marshmallows are brown.

Collin gets a nice dairy free version of everything in case you were wondering.
Nothing about food allergies is simple. :( 

There we go. Instead of cranberry compote, we use the canned stuff. No homemade rolls, we got the pull apart ones in the freezer. Homemade pumpkin pie? Why, when you can get a great one at Costco for $6!

Lydia took care of place cards.

She and grammy set the table.

Collin keep singing the happy birthday song and trying to blow out the candles.


An entire Thanksgiving dinner in about three hours and we had leftovers for days.

Thanks Grammy for making our early Thanksgiving wonderful.


The winner of the La Vie Celeste Giveaway is Jenny
The EA SPORTS Madden NFL 12 Giveaway winner is Heather
The Autumn Ray Threads Giveaway winner is Erin
The Lullabies for Getty CD giveaway winner is Mel

Congrats ladies! Leave a comment here, and then email me!

Don't forget to enter to win the Petunia Blooms Giveaway and the Sound + Sleep Sound Therapy System Giveaway. More giveaways next week too!

And then I'm taking some time off....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Couch to 5K - first three weeks

Well, I've completed weeks 1-3 in the Couch to 5K program. I'm so excited that some of you are doing it with me! When I'm running, sometimes I imagine we're all running together and talking about our hopes and dreams. I mean, no I don't. That would be weird.

Week one was pretty good. It is a very gradual program and the first week is pretty easy. My regular Zumba classes have helped with my endurance. It wasn't fun though. Running feels jolting and I was gasping by the end of each minute long jog. I did it though.

Week two was really hard. On the first run of the week, I was only 1 minute into my warmup walk and I developed the most intense side cramp I've ever felt. When I actually started to run, it was excruciating. It felt like a vic was crushing my rib cage. It lasted the entire run. The next run it happened again. I thought maybe it was the cold weather, but I developed the same cramp when rushing in the grocery store. Oo, not great. Shane said he thought it was just my body getting used to running. It happened again on my last run of the week, but not quite as intense.

When I started week three I was nervous. I had to run for 3 minute blocks and that seemed a big jump. I was happy to discover that I was able to do it and the pain was gone. In fact, to my surprise, I actually found myself wanting to get to the running part. I mean, don't get me wrong, by the end of the three minutes I was panting, but it's something.

This last week I decided to repeat week three. That's allowed if you feel like it. Mostly I'm just a little nervous for week four. There's a couple segments of 5 minutes of straight running. I don't think I've done that since I was 17. Oh wait, maybe not even then. I was supposed to run the mile in high school, but I got out of it by claiming "jet lag". And I'd been back from my international trip for well over a week. I honestly don't think my P.E. teacher knew what jet lag was....

Anyway. I'm running! Who would have thought? It kind of sucks, but I'm getting stronger and that's exciting.

Any words of wisdom to keep me going?

photo via pinterest

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Tonight I'm sitting by the fire with the smell of pumpkin muffins and mulling cider. It's perfect and chill outside. Still, when I saw this photo that my friend in Chattanooga took of the mountains where I used to live, I teared up a bit. I hear the South has had some of the most gorgeous leaves ever this season. Oh, I miss it. More than I thought possible.

Don't forget to enter last weeks giveaways!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dear Santa.

I want this purse so much. I've been really really good. Please please please...

(if the elves can't make it, just make it easy on yourself and pick it at Anthropologie.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Get Excited

I have space for one more giveaway. Possibly an Etsy shop. Interested? Email me.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...