November 30, 2011

The best feeling in the world...

Monday night I was laying in bed about to fall asleep when I felt this little tickle in my lower belly. I just passed it off as my pants were moving since they were big on me. Well, I looked up can you feel the baby move at 13 weeks last night, because reality hit. It couldn't have been my pants. Sure enough I found out that since this is my fourth pregnancy more than likely it was the baby. It felt like it had always felt with the other three just a little lighter. Last night I was laying in bed watching Eli play a game and there it was again only a little stronger. Still light though. I pulled the top of my pants down off the area just a bit to be sure! lol The feeling lasted a couple minutes. After all the craziness in this pregnancy I am thrilled!! It truly is the greatest feeling in the world!!

November 28, 2011

Decorations of Red on a Green Christmas Tree and "Happy"

Well, Thanksgiving is over and it is time to get prepped for my other favorite holiday! Christmas!!! Who doesn't love the Christmas season?! I love it all! Even the shopping. Trying to get ahead and make life less hectic we put our family tree up last week but didn't decorate it. I bought a tree stand for the fancy tree in the kitchen since our broke a few years ago but it would fit/work so I just fit it as best I could. It is wobbly and leans a little but still so pretty. On Saturday and all day Sunday we worked on getting this house decorated. I decided to go all out this year since we haven't for several years. We got most of the decorating done but still have a few things to go. I took today off though and will finish tomorrow. I can't wait till it is all finished and looks gorgeous!!!

Hanni with the tree before they decorated it!

Our fancy but crooked tree!

Hanni with her bedroom tree!

Eli with the bedroom tree!

We also received a visitor last night! Happy the elf came down from the North pole. I hid the elf and read the book. The then looked to see if he got here yet. The found him and named him Happy. I haven't seen Eli smile this much in a long time. He loves Happy!! Last night while we all slept he decided to toilet paper our Christmas tree!!

Our mischievous little elf!

I am so thankful for the kids for helping so much with the decorations since Randy was busy with schoolwork this weekend. The did all of the harder work that I can't do for me so it will be great this year!! Thank you kiddos!!!!

November 26, 2011

I love Thanksgiving week!

I am seriously in love with Thanksgiving and the whole week leading up to it and the days after! I love all the prep in the kitchen the days before. Our menu was big this year (it usually is). I made my sweet potato casserole and I usually just make plain sweet potato casserole but to me it is just there for tradition. That marshmallow topped dish is pretty and traditional but it usually is the last leftover in the fridge and we just eat it on Thanksgiving because we are supposed to. This year though I put cranberries in it!! I soaked the cranberries in brandy and apple juice for a few hours before so. They were incredible!!!! But this post isn't about the sweet potatoes, it is about my love for all things this time of year! I love the big grocery trip for all the Thanksgiving foods. I love the prep work in the kitchen for two days before Thanksgiving. We do the sides on Tuesday and the pies on Wednesday. I love having to order pizza on Wednesday night because nobody feels like doing much till Thursday morning and because there really isn't any room to do anything! I love all of that! I also love waking up Thursday morning and getting the turkey ready, kinda racing to get the turkey in before the parade starts!! This year was a success!
I love the smells of the turkey cooking!

This year we had 6 pies and a cheesecake!

Ridiculous but so good!!
I also love the movies on the day after Thanksgiving! This year I taught my son about all those wonderful movies and just to curl up and relax and watch movies. He loved it!! There is always something nice about the day of rest after all that fun work though. We skipped Black Friday this year so I can take it easy. Ha! I try, I really do. My goal is to always get my tree decorated on Friday but it usually gets done on Saturday.
This year wasn't much different. Yesterday, the kids and I worked our little tails off to get the trees up and all the decorations up. We still have one tree to decorate and the indoor decorations to finish. Maryjo did the outside lights which are awesome!! Thank you, Maryjo!!! Like I said this is one of my favorite weeks of the year! I love the time leading up to Christmas! I love the family time! I love the food! I just love it all!! I hope everyone is having a wonderful blessed Thanksgiving week and weekend!!!

November 23, 2011

Pecan cream cheese pie

I am done! Well, until tomorrow morning at least. The sides are done, the pies are done, and the turkey is waiting to be prepared in the morning!! I will make the stuffing in the morning also! I love Thanksgiving and these pies sitting on the counter are a horrible temptation. Mom already asked if since we get one present on Christmas Eve couldn't we have one slice of pie on Thanksgiving Eve? Ha! Umm, that would be a big FAT NO!! I am so mean! lol

The pecan cream cheese pie I have been making for several years now. I got the original recipe from Paula Deen but have found a recipe that I like even better and started making that one a couple years ago. It is the funniest pie in the house. Everyone has always said it is not their favorite but I think that is because it is not the typical pecan, pumpkin, or apple pie. It is always the first one gone. Yeah right it isn't their favorite! They have been found out! For the past two years I have made two of these each Thanksgiving and they are both gone before the others are! Now everyone admits how great it is!! Maybe it was the recipe change though.

I got this recipe from my Some Like it South cookbook. The only change I make is I add a little more vanilla to both layers. I am obsessed with vanilla. Evidently Hanni is too because she helped make it today and poured alot more than I ever had! It will be great though!

If you like cheese cake and you like pecan pie this is the perfect pie!!

Pecan Cream Cheese Pie
1 9-inch deep-dish pastry shell
3 ounces finely chopped pecans
1 8-ounce package softened cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla (I put 2 1/2 to 3, like I said, I love vanilla!)

3 eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tbsp. sugar
1tsp vanilla (I use 2 tsp.)

Preheat oven 375. Bake pastry shell for 10 minutes and then cool.

In a food processor, using steel blade, chop pecans (I use and knife and cutting board). Set aside pecans. Process the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, and vanilla with steel blade until smooth (I use a mixer and mix it. It doesn't get as smooth but I don't have time to mess with the processor over Thanksgiving. The mixer works fine for me).
In another mixing bowl beat 3 eggs, corn syrup, 2 tbsp. sugar, and vanilla until well mixed (I use the wisk).

Pour cream cheese mixture into pastry shell, spread evenly. Sprinkle with pecans. Stir corn syrup mix again and carefully pour through a fork over pecans. This makes for a smoother pour and keeps it all from shifting, esp. the pecans. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes or until set. Serve chilled and enjoy!!!

November 19, 2011

What a face and more

Have you ever seen such a sweet face?! I love this little thing so much. He is usually up before the girls and this morning I decided to do some test shots in front of the fireplace so we can take Christmas pics soon as a family.

I love having him to myself in the mornings!

We also celebrated my birthday as a family this week. We got a snowman cookie cake for one evening and the next evening we had steak. We did it this way because the day of the cake mom and I went shopping and ate at Red Lobster. We were still full when dinner time came around so we postponed steak until the next night!

That cookie cake was so good and I am obsessed with all things snow and winter so I loved it!!!

It was so nice to just get out with mom! I miss those days so much. I am trying to do some things each day so I don't get lazy and then take a nap or lay in bed and watch tv. Mom and I were both tired though. So glad we decided to wait for a nice dinner the next night.

I also got all of our Thanksgiving shopping done this week!!! I am so excited for Thanksgiving!! Another thing accomplished this week was making the place for the Christmas tree. We are going to put it up this week and decorate it Friday night.
We have had a productive but relaxing week and I think we all needed it!! I am so excited for the week ahead with all the Thanksgiving and Christmas prep going on!!!

November 14, 2011

A fantabulous weekend

I had the best weekend. I wish all weekends could be this fun! On Saturday morning Maryjo and I headed out to go to the homeschool bookstore. Unfortunately, we drove all that way and the store that is usually open on Sat. was closed! We went to our next stop to see Randy. Then we went to the grocery store. On the way home I decided all the kiddos need haircuts. I was feeling pretty good on Sat. so we pulled into the salon to see if they could take us. They told us about and hour wait. I went home to get Gracie and Eli and made an early afternoon appt for the three of them. We ran to Sally's to get some color for my mom's hair and a new hair dryer so I am not always borrowing my mom's. Then off to the salon. Eli got his long hair cut short, Maryjo and Gracie both got shorter do's. They all look precious! I trimmed Hanni's hair on Sunday morning. We relaxed the rest of Sat. though. On Sunday, Randy and I decided to go on a date for my birthday. I was supposed to color the girls hair but I knew I would get to it. We went to Longhorns and I had the most fantastic meal! My favorite! Steak and lobster tail!! MMMMMMmmmmm
While we were eating I went to the bathroom and literally had to lean against the wall to get my pants to button! The next time I went I couldn't get them at all! I only had about 3 bites of food too. Our plan was to look for some bigger clothes for me. My mom is going shopping tomorrow for my birthday and wanted an idea of what I want or need. I ended up getting some pj pants at Old Navy and looked for some maternity pants that would work for me not really showing yet but getting there. We headed to Kohls and I found a pair of black slacks! I tried them on and I knew they were meant for me! So comfy and fit perfect, the legs are a little big but I wanted that because I don't know how much I will gain. I am hoping not alot though! The belly was perfect and will continue to support me as I get bigger!! Love them. I also got a couple shirts and some Christmas presents for the kiddos!
We got home and I just sat! I was so tired. I did manage to pull Gracie's hair through the cap and my mom highlighted it.
Today, Maryjo and I had success at the bookstore! She got what she needed and I got some activity books for the little ones. I took about a 2 hour nap this afternoon! I loved it! I pulled Maryjo's hair through the cap this afternoon and mom did it. Then all the girls wanted pink on their hair! I did Hanni's and Maryjo did hers and Gracie's. It is semi permanent so it will wash out! They are all so cute!!
All in all it was a successful weekend and so fun. When I think about it, it seems busy but it was all so relaxing. Just what we all needed!

November 12, 2011

Yes, I'm pregnant and here's the story. It is good but has a few rough patches!!

So the news is out! I'm pregnant!!!! With four kids in the house and with a father with Alzheimer's, no, this wasn't planned. It has been a huge blessing though!! We are soooo excited!!!! I am now 10 1/2 weeks but it has been a rough road for the past couple months. We know it is all worth it though in the end when we get to hold our little love!
So, Sept. 26 I took a pregnancy test because I just had that feeling. I had already skipped my monthly but that wasn't too uncommon for me to be early or late due to a medication I was on. Between that and other feelings I just decided to take a test though and was pretty shocked when it came out positive! I took another one just to be sure!! I didn't tell anyone all day. By that night I couldn't hold it in any longer but I wasn't prepared to tell the family so I confided in my neighbor. I had a ton of fears and was a little excited. That night laying in bed I knew I had to tell Randy. I waited till the morning and took one more test. I was still in disbelief! Ha ha!! Of course it came out positive! I made muffins that morning (I didn't have buns) and made one single in a pan. I had him open the oven and told him that way! A muffin in the oven!! He was surprised but said that he was figuring it out with how I'd been acting lately. I guess he knows me better than I know myself! lol
I took one of Hanni's shirts and put Big Sister on the back and had her model that morning for my parents. I didn't tell her what it said. My mom didn't get it at first. She was saying, "so, she is a big sister." I told her, no, Hanni is the little sister in the family! It finally dawned on her! Ha ha!
Well, the next day, Sept. 28, I started spotting. Oh, no! We had all gotten excited and then that. Randy took me to the hospital. They did an ultrasound and found the sac. They also put me on partial bedrest. They couldn't really say what was going on but set me up at the doctors the next week. I was still spotting by then but nothing huge. I have also had cramps and back pain. The doctor did another ultrasound and found the yolk, which they hadn't seen before!! They also ordered blood work to find out my HCG levels. I had to go every other day for those. They kept going up! I had another ultrasound soon after and they found the beginnings of the fetal pole! Then, I had an ultrasound where they finally saw a heartbeat!!!! The best sound in the world to me!! They put me at 6 weeks 3 days and my due date June 4th!
I have still been crampy and had some backaches. I went in for my appt. on Thursday. They tried to find the heartbeat on the doppler but as soon as they would hear something it would go away. Never even lasted a second. The doctor went to get the ultrasound machine while I waited nervously. They immediately found it and had to get it quick because, we have a squirmy baby!!!!! The heartbeat is 160 bpm. The baby is growing right on schedule! We are over the moon! This was Randy's first doctors appt. with me and he was so excited to see the baby.
It has been hard though. I am in a constant state of nervousness with all the cramping I get. I am also still on partial bedrest. Very frustrating!! This is the time of year for me to be baking and I can't do much.
The kids have been great though. This baby has truly brought the family together. Eli and Hanni do school in my room now. The girls are working with grandma. All have been so helpful! Especially the older girls! They have taken on alot but seem to really enjoy helping. I couldn't do it without my family and I praise God that he has blessed me with such wonderful help and love! I know they didn't sign up for this but they do it with a smile on their face! I couldn't ask for more!
The big girls are even taking over most of Thanksgiving!! I am proud of each of my kids and proud to be a part of this family!!

November 11, 2011

Pizza Fridays!

As a child I ALWAYS got excited about pizza for dinner. We didn't have it all the time and we never ordered it. It was always homemade and I would get to help with the toppings. For a kiddo that is the coolest (as an adult I really get a kick out of putting my own toppings on too)! The only two places closest enough to order from when I was a kid, well one always made us sick the next day and the other we just didn't like. We are now living back in the same area and it is so easy to order pizza. So many options. Crazy how the area has grown. As an older kiddo, we moved to Florida and there were a ton of options there. We usually get Hungry Howies on Wednesday nights so we could hurry and eat and get to church. It was always so good! But, we didn't have pizza Friday like some families. I always wanted that growing up. My mom and I were talking the other morning and she told me she kinda wanted something like that too.
Randy and I used to do something like it off and on but it got expensive! I decided to start it this week and got some yummy pizza stuff to make it on our own. Saves money but not time. In fact it took forever but each bite was so worth it. Why order out when what we ate was soooo much better? Well, it is easier to order, but we will probably make our own most of the time. We can choose the toppings we like that you can't get out and really make what you want! I love that option!! We are only one week into pizza Fridays but we all loved it and will continue the tradition!! Except the day after Thanksgiving when we will be eating up turkey (hmm, turkey pizza?).

On another note, I would like to thank all the veterans! You have given so much and thank you so much for you sacrifice! Especially to my husband and my father!!!

November 9, 2011


We had a great Halloween! I usually cringe about Halloween, getting the kids all dressed up, trying to get out to trick or treat on time, and following them around while they want to push the limit on how long they want to stay out and get candy. The candy! That is another story!! I can't stand all that candy in the house! I have a rule that they get only 3 pieces on Halloween night and then three each day after till it's gone (or they finally forget about it and I can throw it away). Usually each day they ask for some they tend to push how much they get to about 5 pieces but that isn't too bad.
This year was great though. Maryjo went as a nerd, Gracie went as a vampire, Eli was Spiderman, and Hanni was Tinkerbell. They all looked great and getting them ready was a piece of cake! Thanks to my mom who did Gracie's awesome makeup job!!! We also had Maryjo's boyfriend, Blake, who went with us, but he didn't dress up.

Aren't they all adorable!!!
I started off with all 5 of them in the little car. Randy usually takes the van and was still working so we all jammed into the little car and headed out! I was starting to get stressed with how crowded it was and following them in the car. Some kids took forever to get back from the houses while others were already at the car waiting for instructions on whether to walk or ride to the next house! Fortunately, about 20 minutes or so after starting I got a call from Randy!! He met us in the neighborhood we were in and was willing to take all the kiddos!! I told him to take the teens and I would take the two littles. I was so fortunate and they were so much FUN!!

They would hold hands going up to the houses and got along the whole time! They didn't even get scared when monsters (people) would jump out from the woods and from behind trees! Very brave little ones! We even stayed out later than I have ever kept them out for Halloween. They were ready whenever I was to head home but I was having so much fun watching them that we kept going. Not that they complained.
I say I won on Halloween night because I got the cuties and Randy had to follow a bunch of teenagers around! lol

Now Randy and the big kids said they had fun too but seriously Eli, Hanni, and I had the most fun. We are not a competitive family, but I think I am just happy I finally had fun on Halloween.
A funny story though, Randy was dropping Blake off for the night and child locks were on. Maryjo couldn't get out of the car to walk him to the door!! Ha! I have to wonder if Randy did that on purpose!!
I hope everyone had a great Halloween night like we all did. Now it is on to one of my favorites!! Thanksgiving!! Christmas is my other fave!!

November 8, 2011

A glowing 16

I am a little late on this. Ok, I am alot late! Maryjo turned 16 on Sept 15! She chose a glow in the dark party and it was so much fun!

We had to keep Maryjo outside for about an hour while we finished up decorating and getting adults together. It wasn't a surprise party but we wanted to keep some of the cool decorations a surprise!!
I am so thankful to my dear friend and neighbor who was able to pull the whole party off so great!

This is Cyndie, Kevin, and Corbin. One of the sweetest families you will ever meet! Our whole family absolutely loves them all! Cyndie is the one who opened her home and hosted it all!

We started the party off with a little dancing and then we all got caught up in the Gamecock game for a little while. We ate BBQ and mac and cheese! Then all the kiddos were ready to decorate some shirts!

After shirt decorating we all headed down to the bonfire.

I was so excited my dear friend Amber was able to come to Maryjo's party! I have known Amber for years. We were dear friends in middle school in FL and found each other on facebook. I am living in Spartanburg now and she was in Columbia about to move to Spartanburg. Now we are back together and it is like we never were apart!! How cool is that!!
After the bonfire and the kids were all wired on marshmallows we headed in for some cake!

We all had so much fun! Adults, teens, and kiddos! It was a wonderful evening with all the people closest to us. Maryjo really loved it too and for that I am so happy! Happy Birthday, Maryjo!!
I have to add this pic because I just love it so much!! I put a copy on my bedroom wall. It is Gracie, Randy and me!!

November 5, 2011

A date and the mountains in the fall!

Randy and I don't go out on dates too often, but I was really craving alone time with him and a date so he took me out a couple weeks ago. I really wanted to go to the mountains and see the leaves. Our leaves here are gorgeous but there is something about being in the mountains and seeing the beautiful fall colors. We started out at our favorite apple picking place to get some pumpkins. And get some pumpkins we did!! SEVEN!! He wanted to get a couple to cook with and we ended up carving five.

We had so much fun at the farm! The views were perfect there!

I was kinda disappointed with the pictures because you can't really see the colors the we saw that day! I mean red, orange and yellow with a little green still in there. It was so beautiful! Only God can make such beautiful colors with nature!!

After we went to the farm we headed to Cracker Barrel because we were both starving. We had to wait 30 minutes for a table but that was ok because I love their store! By the time we sat and got our food we actually ate our whole meal. Neither of us ever do that at Cracker Barrel. It is so much but all that mountain air had us starved!!
After Cracker Barrel we stopped at one of our favorite stands in the mountains to get some honey. Yummmm! I actually got some tomato preserves too since I haven't tried them and want to before I make a batch next summer. I haven't tried them yet but am looking forward to it.
We drove home the back way and just enjoyed the ride and each other company. On the way home we stopped at Game Stop and picked up one of Hanni's birthday presents. Another Wii so she and Eli could have one in their room! They both love having it and I love being able to watch what I want or play what I want on the other one! It is a win win situation!
Our date was the best and I can't wait for our next one. We really need to go out just the two of us more!