Friday, November 21, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Days 11-20

If you missed days 1-10 of our Thanksgiving tradition and are curious, you can find them right over here. We're continuing on with our thankful leaf for each day.... I think the boys are starting to run out of things to say, and so many days I feel like they just look around the room and just say whatever they see.  We will continue on though!

Day 11-

Day 12-

Day 13-

Day 14- (their cousin)

Day 15-

Day 16-

Day 17-

Day 18-

Day 19-

Day 20-


.... To be continued :)












Friday, November 14, 2014

Soup Season

Well, if there was anyone in denial that the cold is coming.... you can't deny any longer!  In typical North Carolina fashion, the weather couldn't make up it's mind for a few weeks there, and we all suffered runny noses and congestion from it, but the chill is in the air now!  In fact, I've heard a few folks say that they saw snow flakes last night.  

Something about the cold that makes me crave comfort foods like soup-- I'm sure a lot of it is because it's hot and keeps me warm, but it's just comforting.  And added bonus, is that many soup recipes have minimal or cheap ingredients, so they are fabulous for stretching the grocery budget!!  

So in celebration of soup season, I wanted to share some of our favorite soup recipes!  (And since Daniel is a chili guy, maybe I'll share some chili recipes soon too.)

First up, chicken noodle soup!  A classic, and it's one of the soup recipes that the boys have no qualms about eating.  At least this week-- in typical preschooler fashion, they could hate it next week, but for now, they don't mind chicken noodle soup.  And the super awesome thing about this particular chicken noodle soup recipe is that it's a crock pot one! That means that I can chop up veggies in the morning, hibernate all day, and have warm delicious soup by evening.  Easy peasy! Here is the recipe link at "Inspired Dreamer".  It says the wine is optional, I have had it both ways and I say DO IT!  Add the wine, it adds really good flavor.  Also, on the occasion that I don't have rosemary, I sub with just a little bit of thyme and it's just as good.  Try this one, I dare you!

Next is a recent discovery, and I mean by recent that I made it for the first time a couple of weeks ago and we loved it so much that we made it again the next week.  Potato soup!  Now, when most think of potato soup, they think of Outback Steakhouse and think potato chunks with cheese and bacon.... now while that version of potato soup is also super yummy, this one is different.  This potato soup is blended and creamy and has bold onion and garlic flavors.  It is ridiculously easy to make, and a bag of potatoes is cheap, cheap, cheap!  You might want to make this garlic potato soup tonight.  And check out other recipes from the Pistachio Project too!  So far we have not been disappointed by recipes found there.  (In fact, another favorite that I don't have a picture of is the french onion soup by Pistachio Project!)

Last up is another crock pot recipe (although it actually has a stovetop version as well), it's this Tomato Basil Parmesean Soup from 365 Days of Slow Cooking.  It's a lovely twist on the classic tomato soup-- so creamy!!  And a perfect balance of tomatoes and parmesan cheese.  So pair this one with a grilled cheese or some garlic bread and dip away my friends. 

Hope you try one or all of these and hope that you enjoy them as much as we do.  Stay warm and cozy friends!

P.S.  My crazy Christmas self couldn't let this post go without "just putting it out there".... 40 days until Christmas!!  



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

20 Years....

20 years.... it just doesn't seem possible that 20 years ago I lost my Mother.  How does the time fly by so fast?  And on top of that, how have 20 years gone by and it still feel so fresh, and there's so much my mind has yet to sort out.



Losing a parent is NEVER, never, NEVER ever easy, so don't misinterpret what I'm saying here, but losing a parent as a young child is incredibly difficult.  A young child (I was just a couple months shy of my 8th birthday) doesn't comprehend that death is long term.  When I think back to that morning that I was told that she had passed, while I don't remember a lot, I DO remember a lot of people crying, a lot of people hugging on me, and just simply standing there trying to figure it all out and thinking that I should be crying.  I don't know that I understood what death was-- how could I?  Did I even have any experience to compare it to?  But I think about people who are older, people who lose a parent in their teens for example, they know the years that lay ahead.  They know that person won't be there for high school graduation, or wedding, or babies being born... etc.



It wasn't until my later years that I felt like I could truly grieve because I finally understood what death meant.  And by then, no one else was talking about it.  I SO craved for someone to just sit with me and talk about her-- tell me all they remembered, tell me what she was like, explain to me more about her diagnosis, how she handled being sick for so long... I was so little, my memories of her are so few, and no one was talking.  Don't get me wrong, everyone carries those memories, and everyone who knew her, misses her dearly, but when I needed to talk, it felt like everyone was done talking.


So, 20 years.... 20 years gone by and still so many emotions well up inside.

It wasn't until Leeland was born that I first understood a Mother's love for her children.  It wasn't until I knew that deep love that I have for both of my children, that I broke for my Mom even more.  To think about how she felt facing death and leaving the children that she loved so much.  To think about how my little boys would feel losing me.  It broke me.


Sometimes I question what healing is.  As the years have gone by and more milestones pass-- I graduated high school, got married, graduated college, birthed two children.... as these major life events come and go, I still feel that pit that she isn't here.  I don't know that the pit ever goes away? And now as a Mom myself, I have that fear that one day my kids will have that pit too.  I'm not afraid of death-- I have a strong confidence of what will happen to me once I die, and I know that I will be ok, BUT, having carried a pit with me now for 20 years, a longing for my Mom, I am afraid of my children carrying it one day too.

So 20 years.... 20 years have gone by without her.


Mommy
July 13, 1960 - November 5, 1994

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” -Revelation 21:4

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Halloween Festivities

A little late to post about our Halloween-- of course you already know from our post about our orchard tradition that the boys chose to dress up as Charlie Brown and Snoopy this year.

Aside from the orchard, we keep Halloween pretty simple.  We carved pumpkins a couple days before Halloween, which of course is always fun considering our boys are still too young to wield sharp knives.  So the boys decided what they wanted on the pumpkin, helped clean out the pumpkin a little bit, and then Daniel and I sat carving away.  Leeland decided this year that he wanted a Lego man pumpkin, and Hayden followed suit, so Daniel and I made a friendly competition out of who could carve the pumpkin best.... of course that was up until, mine looked pretty terrible and I no longer wanted my name attached to it.  Point 1 for Daniel!  He is much better with a knife than I.


The ladies LOVED the pumpkin seeds and insides.
Then for Halloween night in years past, we have done church trunk or treats and gone to friends houses, but this year, our schedule was packed with work for both of us, getting dinner and getting Daniel to work that night, so we opted for low key and trick or treated around our neighborhood.  This was the boys first time doing door to door trick or treating and they really liked it.  We kept it small, and just did a small portion of our neighborhood and that worked perfect for their age-- they were getting cold and they were ready to head home to actually eat some candy.

Then, I was totally shocked and incredibly thrilled to discover that the boys enjoy GIVING out candy more than they liked the trick or treating.  Like I said, in years past we've done the trunk or treat thing so I haven't bought candy to even give out-- I just usually turn off our porch light because we aren't there... BUT this year, we went around the block and came back, the boys ate a few pieces of candy and I told them that now it was our turn to look for trick or treaters.

They were thrilled!  When those first trick or treaters came to the door, the boys were bouncing around, welcoming them, telling them all happy halloween and thank you for trick or treating.  It was adorable!  And they were SO generous with the candy that we almost ran out.  Leeland was even offering to give trick or treaters HIS candy.  It really warmed this Momma's heart to see!

Hope you all had a safe and Happy Halloween!  It's really hard to believe that it's November!  Even this self proclaimed crazy Christmas lady is in shock that we are only 50 days away from Christmas now!

Monday, November 3, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Days 1-10


I feel like I blinked and it was November!  Anyone else feel the same way??  Continuing with our thankfulness tradition again this year-- writing one thing a day that we are thankful for onto a cut out leaf and hanging it up for the 30 days of November.  It's so fun to see the things that Leeland (and Hayden) come up with!  Here are days 1-10.  (And I know my leaves look rough! Ha!)

Day 1-

Day 2-

Day 3-

Day 4-

Day 5-

Day 6-

Day 7-

Day 8-

Day 9-

Day 10- 

..... 20 more days to come!