Weekend Recap and a WINNER!

First off, my eShakti.com giveaway has ended…and out of the 90 entries, we have our two winners!
Kim from The Made Thing and Michelle Pickett!  Woohoo!  I will be emailing you both today!
Next, on to the weekend recap!

I’m guest posting over at Everyday Atchley’s today!  Check it out

The weekend was pretty laid-back.  Friday we did a bit more Black Friday shopping. I got some STEALS at Lifeway!  Madisa’s Christmas cd and Ann Voskamp’s book!
Then we came home and decorated the Christmas tree.  I LOVE mom’s tree.  It is on a rotating base, so it spins.  So pretty!
While we decorated, Tyler watched the Greenwood football game.  They were in the semi-finals for the state title…and it was a close game.  But Greenwood won!  We are going to state next weekend! I love that our team broadcasts home games online.  Very convenient!
Saturday, we did a little more shopping, ate lunch, and then we went to the shooting range.  Dad didn’t shoot, but he tagged along! ha!
I am a bit out of practice with my revolver.  I mean, it’s been like 4 years since I shot it.  But I did hit the bullseye!  Mom did pretty good, too!
We went out to eat at the Wharf afterwards and had a great seafood dinner.
Sunday, I sang at church.  It was a bit of a disaster morning.  I overheated trying to get ready in my little bathroom and almost passed out, had a good cry (more on that later), and then I left early to sing at church.  My car was out of gas, so I stopped at the station. I realized that mom still had my wallet.  I called everyone, and no one answered.  I didn’t really have enough time to go home, get my wallet, come back, fill up, and make it to church (but would have been ok if mom met me…then I would have driven her car while she filled up and went home to get ready)….but NO ONE ANSWERED MY CALL.  I sat in my car crying and a stranger saw me and gave me $10.  So I made it to church.
Tyler filmed part of my song.  I’m not sharing this as a “look at me” thing.  I love this song and the message and want to share it.

A couple times, as I was looking around the room, I saw people from my “home” church and it moved me to tears. I saw a family who lost their daughter to brain cancer.  I saw a lady who was recently widowed.  I had to choke back tears a couple times while I was singing.  But man, it was good to be in my first church home.
We had lunch at home with the whole family, then I took a nap, and we came back home.
My Gram went back in the hospital last night.  She is having trouble walking, and they thought she had a stroke…but now they are thinking it might be circulatory issues.  Please pray.  I should have some updates in the next day or so.
Hope you all had a GREAT turkey day weekend!

Turkey Trot, Thanksgiving, and Black Friday

Thanksgiving was pretty low-key this year.  We usually eat a “lunch” around 2, and then entertain everyone until 7 when we are all too full to stay awake.  
Well, because of some other plans, we didn’t eat our Thanksgiving meal until 4, and none of our company showed up until about 2…so it was pretty chill.
Because of the late start, I was able to have my own little Turkey Trot 5k.  There wasn’t one in my parent’s hometown, so I just set out in my parent’s neighborhood and ran until I hit 3.1 miles.  Let me tell you, I am spoiled to to the nice, flat trails at home.  The hills killed me.  But I did it!  This gives me a baseline as well for the 5k I’m running in a couple weeks.  Hopefully I can beat this time.
I came home, helped mom cook, and got ready.  Then the snacking began.  Gram CRACKED me up.  We had all fixed little plates of snack food, and she said “I don’t want a plate…I don’t want anything.” but she kept reaching across and eating it all!  She LOVED my pumpkin dip and my bacon-wrapped little smokies.
Somehow I got too busy hanging with my family to take any photos of the food or the people.  But trust me, they are beautiful and the food was plentiful.  
At 6:30, mom basically sent everyone home so we could head to Walmart for Black Friday.  It was a MADHOUSE.  We had stuff to get at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m…..so we were there a while.  We split up since stuff was scattered all over the store.  At 8, Tyler was waiting by some toys for the kid cousins, and mom was waiting for the Nabi tablet.  It was a hot item.  They had a nice, organized line…but once the pallet came out, the line became a mob, but mom got one!  I waited in line for the iPad.
Funny story, I thought I was first in line.  I could not find a soul in the area marked for the iPad.  So I proudly started the line.  Well, about an hour into waiting, a Walmart associate came and took us to the other 15-20 people already in line.  Oops.
At 10, we got the rest of our stuff: an iPad 2 (for Tyler for Christmas), two printer/scanners, a BluRay player, a portable DVD player, and a sound bar (along with a couple toys).
I was at the BluRay players, and I thought a fight was going to break out.  There were a WHOLE pallet of them..there were plenty, but people were getting a little touchy waiting in line.  However, I met some FUN characters.
I stood in line with an older gentleman who was an Elvis impersonator.  He proceeded to tell me about performing at Graceland, showed me laminated photos in his wallet of him and Johnny Cash, and played me one of his songs on his phone.  Awesome.
We finally checked out about 11 and we headed to Dick’s Sporting Goods.
It was raining, but that didn’t stop us crazies.  We waiting about 40 minutes for the big ammo sale.  Tyler was so excited.  But (shame on Dick’s) they were not fully stocked.  They didn’t even have some of the caliber ammo he wanted, and most of what they had was crappy.  So we left without anything and came home.

We were in bed by about 1:30!  A successful day for sure!

Thankful and a Weight Loss Update

I’m so blessed beyond measure.  The Lord has been so good to us.  I could start a list of everything I’m thankful for and never stop.  There is so much to be thankful for.  I know some people do that “30 Days of Thankfulness” on Facebook…and I didn’t participate.  But I wanted to take a minute and just thank the Lord for some of my biggest blessings.
My husband.

Tyler is a daily blessing to me.  He isn’t perfect, but he is perfect for me.  
My family.

I have been blessed with great parents, great in-laws, and wonderful extended family.  They are always there to cheer me on and love me.
My church.
I had a great church where I grew up and I wasn’t sure I would ever find that again. But I have.  I’m so thankful for the people at FBC Greenwood.  I am so thankful for my life group, our pastor, and the wonderful people.  I am thankful that they live out God’s word.
My home.

I’m so thankful that we were able to build our dream home, but more than that…I’m so grateful for a warm, comfortable, cozy home.  I know many are in danger of losing their homes, or they don’t have a place of their own…so I am thankful for ours.
My job.
Not only do I have a good job, but I enjoy what I do.  I have wonderful coworkers whom I consider to be friends. I am so thankful for this job.

It might sound silly, but I’m so thankful to have found a way to stay healthy and make a little bit of money that I enjoy.  I’m also thankful for the encouraging people I’ve met through Zumba.  From my students (many who have become friends), to other instructors, I’m just thankful for the joy it brings in my life.
My friends.
I have always had pretty wonderful friends.  From high school to college to now, I’m thankful for those who have become friends of mine.  They are great listeners, make me laugh, and are quick to love and slow to judge.  I’m grateful.
I’m so glad I found an outlet for my thoughts, and that I’ve made some friends along the way.  Thank you to those of you who have prayed with me, rejoiced with me, and who have taken interest in my mundane life.  It is fun to have people to walk alongside of you on your journey.

I’m also thankful that these boys are from my alma mater, Ouachita Baptist University.  A great mix of the talent at OBU and the love of the Razorbacks. 🙂

And for a quick weigh loss update.
Back in September, I set out to lose 20 pounds by Thanksgiving.  Now, that was a big goal…but I decided to try.  And I didn’t quite make it.

But I DID lose 6 pounds, so it isn’t a bust by any means.  It is just slow going, dadgumit. I still have 14  to lose to make it to that 20 pound goal I set back in September (which will put me just past my 150 goal)…but I’m still working towards it.  The ladies in my online group (who were all working toward 20 by Thanksgiving) are joking that maybe we will get to 20 by Christmas.  If not Christmas, then we will keep trucking.  I’m not giving up. I have set the goal to be at 155 by New Year’s….so hopefully I can get there.

But here is the cool part: I am 21 pounds less this Thanksgiving than I was last Thanksgiving.  So I’ll celebrate that! 

What are you thankful for?

Best Thanksgiving Recipes

We do Thanksgiving at my mom’s….but I do a lot of the cooking.  Mom does the turkey, but I will always do some sides and desserts.
In case you are wanting to find some new recipes for your Thanksgiving gathering, these are ones we have tried and loved.  These are the best Thanksgiving recipes (in my opinion!)
Let’s start with side dishes. For an easy, yummy side dish, my creamed corn is always a hit! It is super easy but yummy (I mean, who doesn’t love cream cheese?)
We used to make sweet potatoes with maple syrup and marshmallows…and then we discovered Paula Deen’s sweet potato casserole.  To die for, y’all.
For desserts, I make a signature dessert at the holidays: German apple cake.  Mine is 99% identical to this one (but I add 1/2 cup chopped nuts to the batter).  But top it with homemade cream cheese icing…it’s a must. 
For the main dish, we always make turkey. But sometimes when we are expecting a bunch of people, I will make a ham to go along with the turkey.  And I’m telling you, Alton Brown’s City Ham recipe is THE BEST.  Everyone loves it.  It is covered in brown mustard, bourbon, gingersnaps, and brown sugar.  And now my mouth is watering. If you are making a turkey, my mom only ever makes hers in an oven bag and she bastes with orange juice.
And we always serve some snacks.  Nothing fancy…just dips and such.  We usually have a Wind Willow cheese ball there.  We have had the S’mores, Tiramisu, and their Bacon Ranch dip, and they are all good.
Another favorite dip is the Knorr Spinach dip. We love it with crackers before the big meal.  I mean, when all that yummy food is cooking and you are smelling it, you get hungry.  You gots to have snacks.
So those are some of our family’s faves.  What are “must haves” at your house for Thanksgiving?  Let me know if any of these sound yummy!  I have tried all of these recipes before, and they are hits at our house!