Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Feeling Fallish

Okay, so honestly, it doesn't feel like fall at all here.  It is actually 80-something degrees and humid as heck, but Brad, the kids, and I just got back from our church's retreat in the North Carolina mountains this past weekend.  That retreat always signals the beginning of fall to me.  It is cooler up there -- at least in the mornings and evenings -- and the air just feels crisper.

So, I am jumping into fall, which makes me want to:

1. Switch from iced coffee to nice, warm lattes or pumpkin spiced lattes.

2. Make this spiced cider bourbon drink I saw via Covet Living recently.  I don't usually drink bourbon as I am more of a vodka girl, but I had a spiced cider bourbon drink at this Maker's Mark dinner a couple of years ago, and it was really good.  I have been dreaming of it ever since.  This recipe calls for a 2:2:1 ratio of cider to ginger ale to bourbon and can be found here.

3. Make the cake from the September cover of Southern Living.  We got a ton of apples in the mountains, and the first thing I thought about when we got them was this cake...in fact, I had been thinking about the cake long before I got the apples.  I really want to pick all of the topping off that picture right now...

4. Decorate with some pumpkins.  Although, realistically, if I put any pumpkins outside, Duke would immediately haul them off and chew them to bits.  So any decorating I do will have to be inside.

Maybe I could just do some glitter pumpkins like these...

5. I have already switched my nail color to fall with my Essie Chinchilly.  I can only do my toes, though, because the minute I paint my fingernails, they get chipped.  The minute.

So that's my fall inspiration.  What's yours?

Images 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Recent Reads

My Reading Club is starting up on Tuesday, and that got me thinking about all of the books that I read over the summer.  I feel like I am leaving some out, but this is all I can think of right now:

I am a new member of Reading Club, and evidently we always choose a classic to read over the summer.  Cold Sassy Tree was the pick for this summer, even though it was only written in 1984.  I thought it was a great book, but it took me a while to get through it because of the way the characters talk.

Night Road is the third Kristin Hannah book that I have read, and I have enjoyed them all.  It isn't the lightest read, and if you read the jacket you know what terrible thing is going to happen, but it is a good book with a good ending.

Her Daugher's Dream was the sequel to Her Mother's Hope, and both books were good but very frustrating at times.  I wanted to reach through the book and shake these women so often!

Bossypants had a ton of hilarious, laugh-out-loud funny parts.  That being said, to say that I disagree with some things Tina Fey thinks would be an understatement.

I also read Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews, but my internet is now not cooperating for me to get a pic.  I love Mary Kay Andrews for a good beach read, and this was another great one.  A couple of her books have felt like they have been churned out quickly, but this was not one of those -- I thought it was great!

I would recommend any of the above books if you are looking for something to read!

I have also been listening to a ton of books on cd to try to make my commute seem a bit shorter -- and, boy, does it work!  Some I have listened to recently are Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin, The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks,  and Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich.

I am always looking for something to read (or listen to!), so if y'all have any good suggestions, please let me know!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

House Checklist

Things are really rolling along with our house!  I have no new pictures for you tonight, but here are some things that are happening:

- The columns are up on the front porch and the screened porch.

- Drywall is in.

- Robert, our contractor, has put up a couple of different options for trim (molding, baseboards, window trim), and Brad and I have begun discussing which ones we like.

- I gave Robert all of my paint colors for the inside, so painting should be starting ASAP!!!

- The v-groove is up in the ceilings of our porches, and the ceilings have one coat of paint on them.

- The girls' vanity, Gibson's vanity, the master bathroom vanities, and the kitchen cabinets are all finished and ready to be shipped to the house.  We have final drawings for the laundry room, butler's pantry, and my office, and those should be underway.

- Our tile is ordered.

- Our lighting should be ordered and on the way. And, just for kicks, a sneak peak at my foyer light:

And my dining room chandelier!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Boy Goes to Clemson & Menu Monday

Last weekend Brad and I took Gibson to Clemson for the Auburn game.  Gib doesn't get much boy time, so we decided that the football game would be the perfect opportunity.

And it was!

It ended up being a really fun game because we got some nice, cool fall temperatures in the morning -- and WE WON!!  Go Tigers!

**To those who I didn't get to see while tailgating -- noon games don't allow for much visiting!  By the time we got parked, we had to head down to watch Tiger Walk.  Gibson didn't get to "slap five" with the Tiger, so we then had to head back up to the breezeway to make sure that he got to do that when the band and cheerleaders went by.  Brad had decided that we were coming home after the game, so, sadly, we didn't stick around to long.  Hopefully our next trip back to Clemson will be a longer one.

Menu Monday:

I cooked a couple of things last week...

Chicken Parmesan (my version)

Bowtie Pasta Lasagna: I then put this in a baking dish and sprinkle parmesan cheese and seasoned panko crumbs on top and bake at 350 until bubbly.

Nothing was new except for the cupcakes, and those were really good.  They were a recipe from skinnytaste.com, so they aren't that bad calories- or fat-wise, and they are delicious.  I left a couple of the cupcakes un-iced and have eaten them for breakfast, and they are really good like that, too.  Hmmm...and my house smelled like fall while I was baking!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sanders at 6; Gibson at 4

Yesterday Brad and I took Sanders and Gibson to their six- and four-year-old check-ups at our pediatrician's office.  I don't usually enlist Brad's help when I take the kids for their check-ups, but I knew that Gibson was going to get a fair amount of shots and I wasn't going to be able to hold him down by myself.  Plus, misery loves company, as they say.

Anyway, I wanted to jot down a couple of things about each of the kids so that I can remember what they were up to at this point in their little lives...


:: Weight: 46.5 lbs (a little over 50th percentile)
   Height: 45.16 inches tall (again, 50th percentile)

:: Sanders is this close to riding a bike without training wheels.  She has been working on it when we have been at the beach as we don't really have a good place for her to ride here at home in all of our soft sand.

:: Knows almost every word to almost any song that comes on the radio -- especially country music.  She loves music and loves to listen to her iPod.

:: Stopped sucking her thumb right after turning six, and, got her ears pierced as a reward! (At Wal-Mart of all places...much more to that story...)

:: Is very loving and kind and wants to be touching or hugging someone at all times. 

:: Is our helpful child.  Sanders is always the first one out of the bed -- at 6 a.m.!! -- and helps Brad get breakfast on the table.  She is always asking "What else can I do?" and helping out around the house without being asked.  We have started to wonder if there has been an alien invasion in our house!  :)

:: Is doing very well with reading and school work.  She isn't reading fluently yet, but I don't think it is going to be too much longer.  She has been rocking all of her tests that she has had so far this year -- I can't believe we have two kids taking tests now!

:: Is very interested in all things science (I have no idea where she gets that...ick).  She is really interested in bugs, plants, animals, etc.

:: Is a shell collector extraordinaire.

:: Really became a good swimmer this summer


:: Weight: 43 lbs (50-85th percentile...kind of a big range, huh?)
   Height:  43.5 inches (95-97th percentile)

:: Gibson is a very sweet boy most of the time, but he is also a very energetic boy.  His teacher reminds us that he needs to work on listening.

:: For a little while at the end of the summer, Gibson talked about himself in the third person..."Gibson wants ice cream!"

:: Has a cute (or at least I think so now...) lisp.  

:: Also knows almost all of the words to almost all of the songs on the radio.  He also loves country -- and Adele.

:: Is working on riding his bike without training wheels.  

:: Talks about how he turns into Spiderman, or about dragons making the house fly somewhere, or other totally ridiculous things like they are honest to goodness truth.  Is that normal?  Sometimes I wonder if he believes it...

:: Has learned a love of fishing.  Gib has gone fishing with his O'Daddy (Brad's dad) a couple of times recently, and he loves it -- especially because he has caught some big fish!

:: Is working on quitting his thumb-sucking habit.  He is almost there....almost.

:: Started swimming on his own this summer!  

:: Learned to waterski this summer, but he also had a fall that scared him and he hasn't done it much since.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Menu Monday: We Love Coleslaw!

Our entire menu last week was based around coleslaw.  It didn't really start out that way, but it sure ended up that way...

Monday: Labor Day.  We were on our way home from a long weekend at the beach and had a little something before we left, so I didn't cook.

Tuesday: Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork and Simple Slaw.  I was a little hesitant to make this recipe because it calls for cooking a Boston Butt in root beer.  For one thing, I don't like root beer.  On top of that, I used to make a roast in the crock pot with a Coke, and Brad thought it was too sweet.  However, the picture looked good, so I made it.  And I am so glad I did because it was delicious, and I wasn't the only one who thought so -- Brad told me that I needed to "keep this recipe" and the kids loved it, too.  The simple slaw became the basis for the rest of our week's meals, too.

Wednesday: Shrimp Tacos.  Tyler always requests tacos, but I have gotten tired of the whole usual taco thing.  I decided we were going to try something different this time, so we boiled some shrimp (which took forever to peel) and added those to taco shells along with fresh tomatoes, simple slaw (for the adults -- the kids weren't quite so adventurous), avocado, tomatoes, and shredded cheese.  These were some of the best tacos I have had, and except for the peeling of the shrimp, they were very simple.

Thursday: Leftover night

Friday: We went out of town with Margaret, Ben, and all of our kids (6 in all) to Margaret's parents' beach house for the weekend, so we cooked a very beachy dinner of boiled shrimp and simple slaw -- are you seeing a theme here?

Saturday: Parents' night out

Sunday: Roasted broccoli and my version of Easy Mac (noodles with shredded Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar and a splash of milk and butter -- Sanders' request and delicious, but not the straight-up broccoli I was planning to eat!)

All in all, a pretty good eatin' week!  Have a good one!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The House! Exterior Paint Colors

In my last post, I told you that our house has mostly been painted -- at least on the outside.  I know you can't tell from my poor photography and from the poor evening lighting, so I wanted to show you our colors (although who knows how they will read on your computer screen!)...

The body of the house is a creamy white,  Sherwin Williams City Loft (SW7631):

The trim is a bright white, Charleston White DCR100:

The accent color is a chocolatey sort-of color, Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze (SW 7048):

(This will be on all the doors except the front door, the shutters, and anywhere else we think we need an accent color.  Also, we picked this before we picked the roof color, so now I am a little worried about how it will play out with the charcoal roof...)

And, finally, the front door.  Brad thinks I have lost my mind, but I am really excited.  Sherwin Williams Cloud Burst (SW 6487):

That's right -- it's turquoise.  I have been looking at all sorts of blogs and home decor magazines, and people are painting their front doors all sorts of colors -- navy, red, green, yellow, turquoise, even pink.  So my choice is really not that far out, and I love it.  Even if Brad thinks it will stop traffic.

So, what do you think?  

The House! Pictures of Progress

I am really excited about the progress we are making on the house.  Since these pictures were taken, the contractor has gotten most of the siding painted on the outside, so we are looking more complete (although the inside has a ways to go) and less multi-colored!

Here is how it was looking about a week ago...

Front view:

Hardwood floors (unfinished and bad, evening photos)...we decided to go with 5" boards and are keeping our fingers and toes crossed that no warping will occur:

Living room/kitchen side:

(You can almost make out the curved wall in the previous two pictures)

Courtyard/carport side:

Random gawkers in the next few photos (also known as my family):

That concludes our home tour for the evening!  I will be back soon with some more sneak peaks...

**I didn't do Menu Monday this week because we scavenged in the freezer for dinner all last week.  I just never had time to do to the grocery store.  It was boring but inexpensive -- Mr. Spreadsheet was so proud!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Praise the Lord, It's Friday! (And I'm Excited!)

Yet again, I am so happy that it is Friday.  Here's why...

:: The kids have an extra long weekend!  Not only is it a Labor Day holiday on Monday, but they get out at 11:45 today, so it's a 12:15 pickup at the bus stop.

:: Sanders gets a big girl day tomorrow because (I am almost scared to actually say this out loud), we seem to have finally, finally remedied this problem:

This has been a really long time coming.  A really, really, really long time.  I thought we might not live through it, in fact.  Or maybe she'd still be sucking that thumb in college or on her wedding day.  As her reward, we are going to get manis and pedis, get her ears pierced (yes, yes we are), and go to lunch -- all big girls. 

:: Of course, we will be back in time for the next big thing I'm really excited about: 

 The super exciting kick-off of Clemson football!  We have to rig the computer up to the tv to be able to watch, but we will get it figured out...  GO TIGERS!!!!!!

:: Finally, my house is looking sooooooo great.  I have some pictures to show you in a post all its own soon, but here is a sneak peak:

Happy Weekend!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I don't know about y'all, but it seems like around here, bad things have just happened in spades recently. 

When Brad and I moved a little over a year ago, we didn't really leave our former community behind.  Instead, we became "dual citizens," if you will, as I still work in our old town, our family still attends church there, and the kids and I live there for the summer while I pack tomatoes.  So anything that happens there hits close to home, and our former little town has had some real doozies lately -- 4 deaths in the past week and a half.

While they all have been very sad, and we have known or known of all of the people who died, the one who has affected me the most was a little boy. He was at a birthday party, and he drowned, only to be resuscitated and then ultimately die at the hospital a couple of days later after never gaining back any brain activity.

We didn't know this little boy or his family -- he was one we knew of -- but he has been all I could think about for days.  I don't know if it was the fact that he attended the same school that Ty did before we moved.  I don't know if it is because we knew pretty much everyone else who was at the birthday party -- all those adults who are now wandering around, asking themselves what they could have done differently and all those children whose little lives will always be different because a friend died amongst them.  I don't know if it was because he was the same age as Sanders.  I don't know if it was because I let my kids go off with a sitter all summer to swim and always trusted that they would be fine.  Or maybe it is simply because a sweet, little life was lost too soon.

Whatever the case, my heart has been broken for his family and all involved, and I have held on to my children tighter since the accident.  And while I don't believe that God makes bad things happen to people -- I believe that that is part and parcel of living in this broken and fallen world -- I find myself with each new, bad thing asking him why?  Why so many bad things all at once?  Why children?  And, selfishly, I wonder how to protect my children, my family, myself from all of this hurt and tragedy.

And I am always amazed at how the Lord meets me where I am and shows me that He is always, always there, whether it has been with my verse of the day:

When I said, "My foot is slipping," your
unfailing love, LORD, supported me.  When
anxiety was great within me, your
consolation brought me joy.  Psalm 94: 18-19

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With 
Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Psalm 16:8

Great peace have those who love your law, 
and nothing can make them stumble.  Psalm 119:165

Or with my devotional, Jesus Calling:

From August 23: Entrust your loved ones to Me; release them into My protective care.  They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands.  If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart, you endanger that one -- as well as yourself.

From August 31: I am developing your ability to trust Me, to lean on Me, rather than on your understanding...My preference is for you to depend on Me continually, trusting Me to guide you and strengthen you as needed.  This is how you grow strong in your weakness.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5

The truth is, none of us knows how long we have on this earth, aside from the Lord, and all we can do while we are here is trust in the Lord and live.

I know I put a video on here last night, but I thought this one was fitting.  Margaret first introduced me to this song, but my mom sent me the video earlier today...

**Please pray for the family of the little boy and everyone else who was at the party that day.  Please also pray for the rest of the people in our little community who have been affected by all of the recent deaths.  Finally, please pray for a young boy at the kids' school who has learned that his cancer has spread throughout his body.
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