Tuesday, November 30, 2010


{please excuse the blurriness of our tree. I really just wanted to get across
this reflection in the window.}

I have just realized {as in, realized last night} that I love the reflection of Christmas lights in my window almost as much as I love looking them straight on. 
It is so cozy.
And inviting.
And festive.
And glowing.
Glowing? Anyway, I just love it!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Loving The Long Weekend

Well, what a wonderful weekend we have had. Actually, my weekend started on Wednesday which was an extra added bonus! A quick recap of Thanksgiving--success. Everything turned out wonderfully, the food was delicious and family-time was great.
Ready to go in the oven

The appetizer table {with a beautiful, snowy background!}

The table all set

Hub enjoying some Thanksgiving football games

Let the feast begin!

In poor blogger fashion, I did not get a picture of each individual dish. I really wanted a picture of the green bean casserole and the creamed leeks. The creamed leeks were a huge hit, I would highly recommend them and I will be making them again! My great-grandma made a walnut pie that was exactly like pecan just made with walnuts and it really does give it a different flavor and is delicious!

Let me tell you, Thursday night was an early night for me after being up early and in the kitchen all day! My husband is such a great help and we work so well together as a team on these days! Thanks, honey!

We decided Friday not to get up early and head to the stores because we weren't really looking for anything in particular. We had a lazy morning and then before I knew it, Hub was bringing in the Christmas decor and we transformed the casa into Christmas season! He even made sure we had Christmas music playing. We then got some online Christmas shopping done and then headed to the little town where my mom has a home decor store and walked around for a bit to see the lights and Christmas decorations. We picked up a few White Elephant gifts for some get-togethers we have coming up and then headed to a friend's house for some games.

Saturday, we got a another slow start in the morning after talking to the Texas Riemers and then headed to Lowe's to check out their After-Thanksgiving sales. We actually refrained from spending any money, got some ideas {as we always do there}, some hints for some future DIY projects and then headed to the grocery store and home. {I know, you're probably wondering what in the world we could have needed at the grocery store with a fridge full of leftovers. Barley. For my turkey soup!} Another game night, another lazy morning and this weekend has shaped up to be restful and recharging for our upcoming busy weekends! Hope you all got to do the same! What were your successful recipes? What was your favorite moment of the weekend?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

I know I posted a "Thankful Thursday" a couple of weeks ago but really, around this time of year {and all year 'round for that matter} can we ever really be too thankful? No! So I would like to make another list. During these past few days we have had a bit of a cold front in our area. Cold front for us=temperatures in the teens. Brrr! Yes it is cold, but I have a warm house to come home to, plenty of warms clothes to bundle up in and food to fill my belly. My mind couldn't help but wander to those less fortunate. Those that do not have the luxuries that I have and who have been freezing these past few nights.
I am thankful for...

...this man. He loves me unconditionally, without fail and in our good times and bad. He is my rock, my light and my happiness.

...my family. They love me and support me no matter what.

...this family. {what does the term "in-laws" mean?}

...this house I call home. It provides me with warmth, love and happiness.

...these two. My best and my godson. {love}

...this girl. Love her.

I am also so thankful for my grandparents and that I have a great-grandmother that I know. I have so many special friends to be thankful that are really like family. I am thankful to have two jobs that I enjoy. After a glimpse into my life, you can see I have so much to be thankful for. My heart goes out to those in need and I try to never take my life for granted {I am not without imperfection}. Tomorrow my husband and I will be preparing a meal for our family out of love and thankfulness and won't forget to count our many blessings.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Winter Wonderland...

...In November!

Happy Thanksgiving Week!
There is nothing like the first snow of the year!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Changin' it Up

I used to be afraid of paint. Can you believe it?! Acting like it was permanent, could never be changed, agonize over picking the perfect color, etc. Now I am convinced that there is no better answer to change the look of something than ... paint!

It's probably been about a year since we bought some furniture from a friend of mine. She wanted to get rid of it because she had moved into a new place and had no more room. She had had it since she was a teen so it was fairly dated. I convinced Hub since we had been making some progress in "finishing" our bedroom and making it look a little more cohesive that we should paint the furniture. We received a coupon in the mail form the local hardware store and I was sold! $10 off a gallon and an additional $5 off any item gets me hustlin' right into that store! We have a couple of night tables that we purchased new about a year ago and we were trying to match those. 

I also have been seeing the successes of spray paint so I also convinced Hub that we should try to spray paint the fixtures and "just see what happens." He was skeptical to say the least. I did not document the whole experience but I do have a "before" and after. 
{This piece is not in our room but currently lives in our spare bedroom however it did not get repainted (yet) and, in bad blogger form,  I did not take a before picture of either dresser before we painted but this night table does the trick for an idea of what the dressers looked like.}

Although the furniture is now a tad feminine, it goes with the decor of the room and really brightens the room. {I will post some pics of the whole room pretty soon.} At the last minute I panicked and thought maybe we should have been doing black paint but figured that may be a little dark. We are both pretty happy with the result. Hub also refinished the tops of the dressers which turned out really great.

Spray-painted fixture in a hammered metal black. 
We think we have come across a new interest in refinishing furniture. We are now on the hunt for older, inexpensive furniture that we can get our little paws on!. Oh, and now that I'm not afraid of paint anymore, I'm ready to tackle the kitchen cabinets....stay tuned! What have you re-done lately, repainted, or spray-painted?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gettin' Creative with Turkey Day Decor

On top of perusing the Thanksgiving day recipes {and I've always wondered why there are certain recipes I only make on Thanksgiving...} I also love looking at different decor ideas. I posted some of my fall decor here but as with everyone, I'm sure, I am always looking for new ideas! I adore a beautifully set table and this one is right up my alley with traditional fall colors and the oh, so adorable gourds that I just can never seem to get away from! What says fall more than a bunch of gourds?! Very simple yet tasteful, however, I can usually do without gold flatware.
Gilded china setting
I really love this personal touch that can be added to a gathering as a favor. This adorable tree stands for being thankful with personalized messages for your guests telling them why you are thankful for them. Talk about reminding us of the true meaning of the holiday! Better Homes and Gardens sure always knows how to get my creative juices flowing!
Tree of Thanks
This project looks like it's right up my alley with the level of difficulty. Quick, easy and super attractive! How quaint are these mum-covered pumpkins?!
Centerpiece of pumpkins covered with mums
If you are going for a semi-rustic look, take a look at this mum-covered pumpkin:
Decorative orange plant in white vase
One small touch I definitely want to try this year is making more attractive place-settings. I feel like napkins are always a good place to start. How cute and simple is this personalized setting:
two-for-one punch
Whether you go all out on decorating or just have cute little touches here and there, it is always fun to try new things, but most of all, fun to be surrounded by loving friends and family, thankful for food and a warm home to relax in. What are some of your decorating tips for fall, your place settings or centerpieces?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Favorite Time of Year...

...Aside from the absolute pouring rain and 46 degree weather outside, I LOVE the holiday season. Starting from, oh, say Hub's birthday which is in mid-September, I have Halloween decor up. Come Halloween, get those decorations down and it is ALL about Thanksgiving just a few short weeks away which I had the pleasure of hosting my first Turkey-day last year and felt it went pretty well so I volunteered again this year! Day after Thanksgiving, we are up at 5{ish} to head to the stores and see what deals Black Friday has in store for us! Last year we scored on what was supposed to be the TV for our bedroom but it ended up staying in the family room so this year we may be in search of a TV for the family room to get this TV into it's rightful home. Ok, I've digressed. Coming home from a shopping trip we.... pull out the Christmas decor! My favorite of all the holidays. There is just something about lights, cinnamon scents, fake snow, glitter, my cute snowmen, red and green and anything else Christmas-y I can manage to get my little paws on. Our house is always cozy with candles and the fireplace going, we love getting together with friends and family during the holiday season and just spending time together. LOVE.

Back to my original reason for this post as I let myself get carried away with my love affair with the holidays...Thanksgiving recipes!! I always have such a hard time deciding whether to stick with traditional types of recipes (i.e. cream of mushroom, green beans, fried onions...sliced yams, brown, sugar and marshmallows, etc. you get the idea) or venture out and try some new ones because let's face it, I love to try a new recipe! Let me start with Hub's most favorite side dish : green bean casserole {side note: once when we had been dating only a short time, he had a craving for green bean casserole and I really wanted BLTs for lunch. Solution=both. We knew right then and there that we were meant for each other!}
I like to not mess too much with this recipe but I came across this recipe on Food Network that looks like it just uses mostly fresh ingredients instead of using the ol' canned stand-bys. In all his glory, Alton presents us with this gem:
Picture of Best Ever Green Bean Casserole Recipe
Add some bacon to that and I think I have a winner! The only downfall I see with it is questionable day-before-prep. I will see about that.
Next up, the cranberry sauce. As a kid I was never a fan of cranberry sauce but growing up, I have come to realize the integral part a good cranberry sauce can play in the Turkey-Day meal. Mixing cranberry sauce with just about anything on your plate is going to bring instant pleasure and then to think about it with the leftovers, well...I'm just going to stop there. Another simple yet effective recipe courtesy of Food Network:
Picture of Perfect Cranberry Sauce Recipe
I am definitely partial to orange zest in my cranberry sauce and I will even throw in some walnuts from time to time. This year I may get super adventurous and add a little ginger. Yum!
This last recipe I am interested in comes from one of my staple magazines Woman's Day. It is a new recipe that I am excited to try mostly because I have never even cooked with leeks before!
Creamed Leeks with Parmesan Crumbs Recipe
Like I said, just like to add a lil' somethin' somethin' new to the mix! I could pretty much go on and on with all the recipes I find and try or want to try for Thanksgiving but I won't keep going today. Maybe tomorrow. 
What bout y'all? What are your favorites that just have to make it onto the table year after year? What are some new bites that you're dying to try this year?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Recap

Nothing too exciting happened this weekend, but I have to say, it was a great weekend. I started off my Friday with a good ol' grocery shoppin' trip with my parents to a store I have never been to which boasts amazing savings and prices. They aren't kidding. My favorite area was the bulk items. Flour, sugar, baking soda, blueberry muffin mix, 10 grain pancake mix, all for well-under $1.00/lb. !!! Also, dog treats in bulk. Yes, Holly was happy with the pig's ears and the huge rawhide bone she doesn't even know about is sure to please her as well. Anyway, back to the shopping--I could wander around that store for hours! I did pick up a few things for Thanksgiving but will be doing my bigger trips this week and next to fully prepare for my 2nd Thanksgiving in our casa.

Friday afternoon I got to visit with my friend and we also ventured to beauty supply store which I had never been in. Yet another store I could have spent some good time in, however she had an appointment--probably best for my wallet. Friday night we had some friends over for some homemade pizza and a low-key evening.

Saturday, we actually got some stuff moved out of our spare bedrooms which was such a relief! We had stored up a broken TV, an old computer and a treadmill. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have a treadmill, however, it doesn't really belong right, smack-dab in the middle of a spare bedroom where we are expecting to host company in a few weeks. {now today I need to just get into those rooms and straighten up a bit.} After all this loading and unloading was done {thanks to help from my brother} we hurried home to make an appetizer for the get-together we were headed to, showered, dressed, grabbed a snack and were off. We first went to a birthday party of one of Hub's co-workers at a trampoline place. I know this sounds a little weird, but there are trampolines everywhere and this was a private party so it was trampoline dodgeball. I wasn't able to participate thanks to my recent back issues, however it looked like everyone had a great time! Onto the next activity: dinner and charades at a friend's condo in the city. This is the group we went on vacation with to San Diego and it was only at the end of the trip that we discovered how much fun we have playing charades! We visited, ate some food, played the game and had a great time. This couple has also just recently announced they are having a baby so they had some adorable baby clothes out for us to peek at!

Sunday morning we got going pretty leisurely, watched football, I made a big pot of spaghetti and a dessert {I will post the recipe}, caught up on some more Dexter, relaxed, napped, laundry, read--it turned out to be a great Sunday at home. Hope you all had fantastic weekends as well and are resting up for the busy weeks ahead!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Night in the City

A few weeks ago, Hub asked me if I wanted to see Stomp. Of course I responded with an enthusiastic yes! I love percussion. I love drum-lines, beats, dance sequences so I figured Stomp had to be right up my alley. The ironic thing about my love for the aforementioned things--I have NO, I repeat NO, rhythm. I can barely stomp my feet and clap at the same time, let alone create a beat with my hands and feet. So you can imagine my amazement with people who are talented in these areas.

I headed into the City to meet Hub after he got off work. We hit up a happy hour near his office at a "trendy" place which was a little underwhelming. The food was delicious, however, prices left a little to be desired in the area of pleasing happy hour prices. Let me say, I love a good happy hour but to me, a happy hour has to have two components: good food/drinks and good prices. While this restaurant pleased in one area, it did not in the other. It was surprising for Hub to suggest this type of place so I appreciated his enthusiasm and any place that serves lamb on a happy hour is great in my book!

Onto the Stomp experience. The theater is a really small, old theater in downtown and is SO charming and fun. We were pretty high up in the seats, however it didn't feel like it at all. It felt like we were pretty close. These performers are just amazing. The probs and tools that they use to perform are just your everyday items, but they make it seem like they are fine, tuned musical instruments.
I was so into the whole performance and could't believe when it was over! If Stomp is still performing in a few years, if I have a child, I cannot wait to take them! What an amazing lesson for kids: it doesn't have to be an instrument to make music. Get creative and release your creativity. If y'all have a chance to go to see Stomp, I would highly recommend it. Has anyone seen Stomp and if so, what did you think? What are some other live performances you have seen?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On Pins and Needles

Ok, not really on them but they are in me. And, no pins involved, just needles. What in the heck am I talked about you ask? I have delved into the realm of acupuncture.

I have had some lingering back issues for about 5 years. On and off my back gets "tweaked" or "goes out" and I deal with it for about a week with heat, lying flat on my back and then it usually heals up. Well this time it had been going on for about 3-4 weeks. It just won't get back to normal. So for the past three weeks I have been going to physical therapy, which I have always enjoyed no matter what body part I am focusing on--knee, ankle, back, etc. I was pretty much at my breaking point about a week an a half ago when my back "tweaked" for the third-ish time in a couple of weeks. I don't know what made me think of it but I thought of acupuncture. This thought of acupuncture took me back to a soccer camping trip when I was in middle school and staring into my friend's ears when I asked her, "Do you have burnt marshmallows in your ears?"
She laughed and replied, "No, it was acupuncture for my allergies." She had white-clear-ish tape in her ears over some black seeds where the needles had been. That was the first time I have ever heard of acupuncture.
Flash forward about 12 or so years later and I am thinking about it again. I have heard different things about it but most things have been positive. Instant relief, relaxing, amazing, helps pain, etc. I think, why not, what have I got to lose?

Now, let's review. I am the kid/girl/woman who freaks over shots. However, I know the needles aren't that big at acupuncture, and I think why would so many people partake if it's torture? So about a week ago, I had my first treatment. I go in and visit with the Dr. and she questions me about my problem and let's me know that she thinks she can help. I lay down face-up on the table and she starts with my arm and says that your forearm mimics your body with your hand being your head. Ok, sure, I think. She sticks me with the first needle. My hands and feet immediately break out in sweat and turn to ice. She asks if I'm ok. I nod. She sticks me with another. More clamminess on the hands and feet and a feeling of heat that rushes up my body. I let her know and she says, "Okay, I'm going to take these needles out and give you a break. It's no problem, this is a normal reaction to the needles. It's more the thought of having them in than anything that is getting to you." I stepped out of her office, got some water, calmed down and about 10 minutes later she came out to talk to me.
"Do you want to continue?"
"I do," I said.
She said, "I think you will be okay now after these first couple." So we continued. That day I only had 4 total but it was completely fine when I went back in. The needles didn't hurt at all and when I sat up from the table I had no pain which was a change from when I walked into the office because sitting up had caused pain before.

I had my second treatment yesterday and it was a full treatment with no weird reactions. The only thing I am not really liking is that it isn't really very relaxing. She doesn't play any music, she sits in the room with the lights on the whole time and types on her computer while I'm laying there. I may have to talk to her about this.

It is interesting to me that Western Medicine is not able to explain acupuncture only to say that it does help some people. Obviously with a problem that has been going on this long for me, I was willing to brave the dreaded needles to get some relief and I got it. I guess my point is, that even though a different way of looking at things might be a little scary or off-putting, don't rule it out. Has anyone out there had experience with acupuncture? What experience have you had with trying something new and being pleasantly surprised?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Holiday Spirit

To me eggnog is a beverage that brings about thoughts and feelings of the "Christmastime" of year. So, even though we have had eggnog for drinks at the coffee stand for a few weeks now, I have been holding off on buying some. Didn't want to get burnt out on it too early. However, today at the grocery store I almost walked by this little gem:
I decided that I was allowed to buy it because it is pumpkin spice eggnog which makes it relevant to "Thanksgivingtime." Talk about flavor country. Go. Get. Some. Now.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Customer Service

So, Hub and I are in the market for some new carpet for our spare bedrooms. Well, maybe our master bedroom as well, however, I am fine with the flooring we have in their (laminate, wood-looking floor) but he thinks carpet would be "cozier." Another argument for another day, I suppose. Ok, back to looking for carpet for the spare bedrooms. We want something that looks nice, will last until we move out of the house, fairly durable and isn't going to break up the bank. Sounds pretty standard.
A couple of weeks ago, we visited Lowe's just to get an idea of what we are looking for and about what it would cost. We wondered around aimlessly for a bit and then kind of honed in on some samples we liked. We walked over to the flooring desk where a Lowe's associate was sitting and asked if he would come help us. Now, let me just say, when I go out shopping for something: I. Can't. Stand. Sales People. I know they have a job to do and in some most cases, they are making a commission. I understand that. I just don't like pushy people. So it was completely fine by me that he had given us our space and time to wonder around without him right in our ear babbling about prices and pile (which I still don't really know what this is) and whatnot. We got our information, wrote down some numbers and walked out.
Image (not our living room, just something to allude to carpet shopping)
Hub tells me the other day that he heard a radio ad for Carpet Liquidators. Ok, sure, let's go peek and compare some prices. We walk into Carpet Liquidators and are overwhelmed a bit by the warehouse-feel, rolls and rolls of carpet, hardwood and tile floor samples, etc. Well immediately we wonder over to what appears to be the "clearance" wall with many hideous  interesting colors and patterns and an associate comes over to ask what we are looking for. He had this "hum-drum" tone, I asked how he was and he replied, "Living the dream." Obviously I enjoy my fair share of sarcasm even if it is from people I don't know but then his attitude the whole time was pretty lackadaisical and unenthusiastic. We looked at some different carpet, got a feel for the prices in what we were looking for and he cut off a couple of pieces for us to take home.
Which do you like? Left or right?
We got back to his desk so he could write some information on them and I said, "Why would we buy our carpet here and not at Lowe's?"

"Well, price difference," he replied, "And customer service." 
I made sure I heard him right and kind of laughed to myself. He also went on to say how quick they are at getting out to your house, etc. We finished getting a quote, thanked him and left.
Hub looked at me and said,"Was he serious? Customer service?"
I started laughing and said, "Yeah, that was pretty funny to me too."

I guess customer service, similar to beauty, is "in the eye of the beholder." I could see things I liked at both venues, it was just interesting to have put into perspective what one looks for in sales and customer service. Obviously the guy at Carpet Liquidators thought his style was superior to, say, a Lowe's sales person however, I'm sure there are plenty out there who appreciate the semi-professional and mainstream atmosphere for Lowe's. What do you look for in a sales-person? What bothers you about sales-people? Do you prefer carpet or not in your master-bedroom? (Humor me so I can pass it on to Hubs!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Thursday

In the spirit of the month of November, I decided to link up to The Glamorous Life of  a Housewife and join in the fun of publicly expressing what I am thankful for!
I am thankful for...
My husband who is my best friend, the love of my life and the person whom I can't wait to see every day.
My loving family (near and far) who always support me no matter what I do.
My girlfriends whom I can call at a moment's notice and chat with for as long as we need to.
My funny, adorable lab.
My beautiful, cozy home as well as the love inside the walls.
My husband and I both having jobs.
Mine and my family's health.
So fun to remind ourselves now (and all year 'round) what we are thankful for and to not take life for granted. Thanks for the post, Glamorous! Head over to her blog if you would like to link up!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

So What Wednesday


Mama Dew has a "So What Wednesday" and I think they are pretty cute, so I decided to join!
  • If it's the beginning of November and I haven't even thought about Christmas presents.
  • If I sometimes leave flowers in vases a little too long until they are a little too brown and droopy.
  • If my spare bedrooms are chalk full of crap! (I'll get around to it.)
  • If I decorate my house in phases...like, one wall, one piece of furniture at a time.
  • If I don't meal plan like every other "super"wife around!
  • When Hub and I get home from a long day all we want to do is sit on the couch and veg out.
  • If I have a horrible addiction to bad, bad reality TV. (New season of 16 and Pregnant just started)
  • If my coffee table isn't always perfectly decorated and not cluttered like no one ever uses it. (Yeah right, we use the heck out of our coffee table!)

This was my first try at the "So What's" so my list is a little short, but I'm sure I'll have some more next time! Thanks, Shannon!