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Monthly Archive for November, 2011

The Giant Tree 2011

The Giant Tree 2011

Forget Black Friday!  Forget the shopping madness and idiotic drivers and retail crazed lunatics.  I’m not into that and thankfully neither is the hubby.  We go on a tree hunt on black Friday and turn it into Colorful, Sparkly, Beautiful Friday that is scented with freshly cut Christmas tree!  And we were successful on our adventure for “The Tree” today!  We call it “the tree” because we like the ones that start at 15 feet.  Yes, you read it right.  We like them tallllllll.

A brief history, or as I like to say, “the reader’s digest version” for you:

When we found and fell in love with our home, one of the many reasons was because it has an open two-story living room that we knew would host a ginormous single-tree forest for approximately 6 weeks out of the year.  The first year we ventured into the gorgeous Carolina mountains and came home with a big one, it took my husband plus three of our guy friends almost three hours to work that sucker through our front door and into a stable and upright position.  Since our “test run” we have it down to a 30 minutes or less science (and we learned to pick a more slender tree that would fit through the baler).  *History lessen over*

We awoke today a smidge late…mama’s alarm had been switched to pm (oops), but it was sunny and beautiful and after breakfast we loaded our boys and all of our cold weather gear into the pickup truck and hitched the trailer and off we went.  Our scenic drive took us to Joe Edward’s Tree Farm, in Sparta.  It’s our fourth year there and we are quite fond of the people and their selection.  And today – oh, y’all – today I would classify as the perfect tree hunting day.  We ditched our sweaters and toboggans and were quite comfy in just our long sleeves (sorry to any who had to witness my combo bedhead/hat hair!!  I wasn’t expecting to not need my hat!)  Our three year old was elated at this new environment and I tied little man to me in our moby wrap.  We got to ride in the hay trailer up and down the drive, and watch the tree guys cut down our tree and get it prepped.  Zeb and I picked out a beautiful fresh wreath and Matt let Evan “help” him secure the tree to the trailer.  After some quick diaper changes we were on our way back down the mountain and waiting for a cell phone signal to call our tree team with an installation time frame.

It’s a fuller tree this year so it takes up more of the room and hall, but I love it!  Lights are next on the agenda for this lovely long weekend and I’m having my second annual tree decorating party in a few days with all of my lady friends so we’ll get this thing totally blinged out before the big ‘ol Christmas party next weekend.

Our official measurement after installation:  16 feet 1.5 inches

Ready for our hay ride

Here comes a tractor-load of trees!  Tagged and ready to be tied & measured.

Here it is!  “The Tree” 2011

AMEN – it fit through the baler!

Helping daddy secure the tree to the trailer

Me with sweet Zeb

In its’ final position, ready for lights and ornaments.

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Happy Thanksgiving y’all.  It’s been a busy couple of days here and I’m full – both in my heart and in my tummy.  We had my father-in-law, sister-in-law and nephew over at lunch time today for our little feast and some play time for the boys.  The evening portion of the festivities usually takes place at one of my husband’s aunt’s house, however she has lots of feline friends and I have asthma and cannot attend.  It works out for everyone, though, and my husband is a dream.  He takes the little ones over and I have a few hours of mommy time at home.

Note: I have a standing invitation to my brother’s house to hang out with their crew, I’m not left hanging by myself on Thanksgiving.  I continually thank them for their gracious offer, but declined this year to run around like a mad woman while the kids were gone.

Last year my husband was all enthusiastic about me going out to do something – a movie, a manicure, some shopping….Um, honey?  It’s Thanksgiving.  Nothing’s open.  Tonight, I did the next best thing.  DISHES!  I tackled all of our holiday dishes – including a lot of pots and pans from this morning.  All is clean and dry and put away.  I laundered all of the linens, disposed of all the pumpkins we had left, packed away the Thanksgiving decor and brought down a half dozen boxes or so of Christmas goodies.  I wrapped colorful lights up and down our stair railing and bannister and hung some giant ornaments in one of our trees outside.  All this productivity and I still squeezed in a bubble bath and some dinner.  GO ME!

I ended the day helping wash the tots head to toe to de-cat-ify them and and singing Christmas songs to my three year old while we rocked.  Some snuggle time with the hubbs and we’re off to bed soon.  Tomorrow we road trip it to the mountains to pick up our big tree (hopefully I can get a post on here about this process – I’ll take the camera with me!)  Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope your day was happy and full-filling.  =)

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Kids say the darnedest things….

Kids say the darnedest things….

I will probably update this post from time to time, and I’ve started a written record of the random, wise, witty and/or hilarious things my little boys say.

This morning, November 7, 2011

Evan, my three-year-old says to me after we get out of the shower: You have booboobs, mama?

Me: Yes I do.

Evan observes for a moment and states quite clearly: You have loooooong booboobs.

Niiiiiiiice, kiddo.

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30 Days of Thanksgiving.

30 Days of Thanksgiving

I’m a few days behind, but I thought this was a lovely idea and wanted to share.

November 1 ~ I am thankful for my improving health.  Weight loss is a journey I’ve put off for a long time, but the benefits are already noticeable.  I want to be around for a long time to annoy love on my husband and kiddos.

November 2 ~ I am thankful for my husband.  He is beyond awesome and I am a lucky gal to have him beside me.  We met in 1998, started dating in 2002, I asked him to marry me in 2003 and we were married in 2004.  The years with him have been the happiest of my life.

November 3 ~ I am thankful for the perfection of the weather today and the autumn walk I took with my little boys.  We jumped in leaves, looked at bugs, counted pumpkins on porches and said hello to the goats on the farm near us.

November 4 ~ I am thankful for coffee.  Yes, it may not be a “deep thought”, but man, I love my java in the morning.

November 5 ~ I am thankful for such amazing friends who love us enough to drive 6 hours (each way) to see us just for a quick weekend.

November 6 ~ I am thankful 1) for this glorious sunny Sunday with all of my handsome men 2) for our farewell breakfast with friends 3) for our time outside and 4) for an easy morning transition from daylight savings time.

November 7 ~ I am thankful for my two precious little boys, they are the delights of my heart.

November 8 ~ I am thankful for the awesome folks at our local Ace Hardware.  Seeing them first thing on a Monday morning just starts the day off right, and the little ones love going there!  (So does mama, they always have super cute seasonal decor).

November 9 ~ I am thankful for the people who have the training to make my little one feel better.  Boo for ear infections.  And I am thankful for my youngest son’s ability to make his big brother smile and laugh when no one else can.

November 10 ~ I am thankful for days like this that test me as a wife and mother…patience, energy, nurturing, patience….and hope I come out a better person because of the hard days.

November 11 ~ I am thankful for this unexpected extra day with my hubby at home (we are in quarantine for two days while our antibiotics kick in – both of us tested positive for strep yesterday afternoon).  We have some art projects with the kids lined up and are looking forward to some lazy time together and making grilled cheese & tomato soup for dinner!

November 12 ~ I am thankful for the opportunity to walk for “Make a Wish” foundation tonight with a good friend.  What a perfect night for it and what a great charity to donate to.  the kids I saw tonight who benefit from this organization made my heart smile.

November 13 ~ I am thankful for the small miracle of sleeping toddlers.  The boys’ wonderful habits allow my husband and I to have some nightly grown-up time for movies, snuggling, household puttering, etc.  Without my kiddos’ sleep patterns so smoothly set and maintained, I would not be nearly as functional on a daily basis.  And I think I’d have less hair…

November 14 ~ I am thankful for the opportunity to be out & about again today.  I sometimes need a mandatory break at home to remember how much I take for granted the gift of good health & ability to hop in the car and run here and there whenever I want to.

November 15 ~ I am thankful for quiet evenings at home with my husband…after the kids go to sleep, I mean.  The snuggle time and quiet talks or catching up on a favorite show.  It’s a much treasured part of my day.

November 16 ~ I am thankful for my mama.  I love the childhood she helped provide for me by being a stay-at-home mom.  I love that I inherited her artistic capabilities.  I love that she has become my friend as the years have passed.  I love that my boys adore their “Ting”!  I, myself, am turning into her now – and I’m ok with that!

November 17 ~ I am thankful for a morning of mommy-time and all the little things I can accomplish in the few hours I have to myself, though I am always elated to pick my little men up at noon!

November 18 ~ I am thankful for the brisk chill outside, the frosty grass this morning and the cozy house around us that keeps us snug and warm.

November 19 ~ I am thankful for our first official Christmas light drive/hunt last night with the boys.  The noises and exclamations from the backseat were precious and priceless!

November 20 ~ I am thankful for the opportunity to have had dinner with some of my closest girlfriends last night.  Laughter, wine and some fondue – sharing, reminiscing and making fresh memories.  Thankful for the amazing women in my life, some of whom are far away right now…but I couldn’t make it without them all and they all enrich my life greatly.

November 21 ~ I am thankful for the lovely temperature today – it gives me the chance to play outside with the boys and bask in the sunshine, enjoying their curiosity and abundant enthusiasm for the giant leaf pile!

November 22 ~ I am thankful for my mommy time while the boys are at preschool.  It’s only a few hours a week ~ and whether I spend them puttering at home, going to a personal appointment of some kind, running errands, or having girl time with my mom or sisters ~ it is time well spent, well deserved and well treasured!

November 23 ~ I am thankful for the gift of hearing.  The sounds and exclamations my boys make when hunting for all of the Christmas lights now being displayed, the oohs and ahhs while we are baking and unpacking the decor.  The songs my three year old comes home from school singing…they are all precious sounds to me and I am thankful for each noise and looking forward to their enchanting chorus over the years to come.

November 24 ~ I am thankful for the new-ish Thanksgiving gathering we have begun.  Definitely different than the out of town gigantic gatherings at my grandparents’ house that I cherished in childhood, and definitely different without my dad or my mother-in-law in our earthly presence anymore.  But we’re adjusting and moving forward and we’re loving who we have even more.  It’s a more intimate day now, but it suits us fine.  We just want to spend time together and let the kiddos play.

November 25 ~ I am thankful for a lovely day with my boys and our road trip to Sparta, NC (Joe Edwards Tree Farm to be specific) to get our giant tree and big fluffy front door wreath.  The choose & cut tree experience is something I never did until my husband and I started dating, and it’s an essential part of our holiday shin-diggery now.  I love that we’re doing it with our kiddos and hope it’s something they develop fond memories of.

November 26 ~ I am thankful for day three of continual family time!  More Christmas decorating is being done and special treats here and there for the boys – a splash of chocolate in their milk, a drive in daddy’s big truck…love my handsome men.

November 27 ~ I am thankful for the stunning weather we have had all weekend, allowing us to accomplish a lot of household/outdoor & decorative puttering.

November 28 ~ I am thankful for this fabulous evening with so many of the wonderful women in my life.  I appreciate all of your laughter, friendship and skill with decorating the giant tree!  Thank you for your time!  And also, thank you to my husband for taking the little boys out tonight to give mommy some child-free girl time!

November 29 ~ I am thankful for all my friends.  From childhood, adulthood or somewhere in-between, I adore you one and all.  Whether we see one another once a day, once a month, once a year or if it has been longer than that.  I appreciate your unique talents and delightful spirits that meld so well with mine.  If I am lucky enough to call you friend, then I am lucky enough.

November 30 ~ I am thankful for healthy, happy little boys who are able to run amok at gymnastics this morning.  I am following several blogs of women and families who have had such sadness and tragedy, whose little ones are suffering greatly or have lost their fights…I have more than a dozen girlfriends and/or relatives who have lost pregnancies…and I just weep.  It is so easy to take my boys for granted when they throw a fit or have an “off day”, when I need to strive to remember the gift I have of healthy children and constantly maintain a grateful heart.

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Be envious…

Be envious…

October 21st I had a child-free evening with my mom, sister and some friends.  We went to an Edwin McCain concert (long story – I have been to many, beginning in 1995), but I got to meet him this time (I’ve waited around after shows in various cities and said hello and got autographs before, but it’s been a looooong time).  So, here’s my iPhone camera pic!

I’m on the left of Mr. Edwin & my sis-in-law/bestie is on the right =)

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Ah-MAZING pumpkin pie!

Ah-MAZING pumpkin pie!  And it’s easy, too!

Last Friday during naptime I was flipping through a new magazine I had picked up at the grocery store and I came across a short and sweet recipe for pumpkin pie.  I’ve never really been a fan of this type of pie, but my husband loves it and I love him so I thought it would be a nice “happy weekend” surprise for him.  I went through the pantry really quickly before waking the kids up and found that I was only missing two ingredients (ground ginger and crunchy granola bars, if you care for the specifics).  After a diaper change for the littles and a quick snack we ran back to the store for my missing pieces and came home to pumpkin pie central.  Here is the recipe I used (thanks, Rachel Ray!!!).  After I made my husband tell me if it was dee-licious I tried it, too, and most definitely agreed with him!  Double score!  We deemed it worthy of our Thanksgiving Day feast, so I’m totally pumped to share it with you and let you see for yourself.

Granola-Crusted Pumpkin Pie

Serves 10       Prep 35 minutes      Bake 45 minutes


1 box (8.9 ounces) crunchy granola bars, broken into chunks

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg white

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.  Using a food processor, grind the granola bars with 2 teaspoons brown sugar.  Add the butter and egg white and pulse until the crumbs are moistened.  Pat the mixture evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.  Bake until the edge is crisp and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.

*side note: I do not have a food processor, so I used our blender to grind the crumbs and make the pie crust.  It worked just fine!*

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, the pumpkin puree, eggs, cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger and salt.  Pour into piecrust.  Bake until the pie center is almost set, about 45 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Yum yum, y’all! Enjoy!

Our pie station

the crust after baking

and VOILA!

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