Thursday, December 20

It's Christmas

The gifts are all wrapped, the suitcase is packed, and the goodies are ready to go.
We are off for a Christmas in North Carolina with Andrew's family.
May you have a very blessed Christmas and may Christ be the center of all of our gatherings.
"For unto us is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11

Christmas activities

We have had 2 of the busiest weeks of our year between last week and this week! On Saturday, a lot of my students played in 2 different Christmas recitals, I am so relieved to have that done! Then we went to a special Christmas production on Saturday night and then to Coldstone! (FYI, you can sign up for free birthday clubs at Coldstone, Baskin-Robbins, & Red Robin and get free stuff on your birthday!)

This week is finals week for Andrew and he needs a big prayer! He has a huge hebrew exam, a LOT of reading, and a couple of large papers that are all due this week! But yeahhhh - we're almost done with another semester!

This Sunday we have a special Christmas presentation that Andrew & I have helped put together. It involves our choir, orchestra, children's choir, various other musical groups and readers giving a special presentation of the Christmas story. We are hoping everything comes together well on Sunday morning and will be able to give a deep sigh of relief when it is over!
Then, we actually have a whole week to relax and breathe before Christmas!

My students who performed on Saturday

free Coldstone! Cooke Doughn't You Want Some?!

Monday, December 3


Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes, either through calls, cards, emails, or facebook! I had a very fun day - it was so great to have a Saturday birthday!

The day started with breakfast in bed!

At lunch, he revealed a cake that he had gotten up at 6:30 to make!

it was very good! (it was even a double-decker)For dinner, we went to one of my favorite restaurants ~ Macaroni Grill

Thank you to my wonderful husband, who always makes celebrations special!

Saturday, November 24

Oh the leftovers...

Mom Hughes sent us home with a million leftovers, which was great! So now I am trying to see how many ways I can disguise the turkey! A magazine I read had 22 ways to use the leftover turkey and they were very simple and look good. So I am going to share them now (though I have not tested them yet), while everyone still has turkey in the fridge, but if the recipes don't work, I will pass the blame :) They also did not have specific oven temps or cooking time, so you'll have to figure that out yourselves!

Day 1
toss small turkey chunks with BBQ sauce and layer on a pizza crust along with carmelized onions & small apple slices. Top with provolone cheese.
this looks like it could be very good, I hope it is! I couldn't find shredded provolone, so I am using mozzarella. will probably bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes.

Day 2
Turkey Tostadas
Heat turkey with cooked rice and black beans. Use to top tostada shells along with lettuce, tomato, salsa, and sour cream.

Day 3
Shepherd's Pie
I am not a big fan of shepherd's pie, but I have a lot of mashed potatoes left over over as well, so we're going to have to eat it just for the sake of being economical!
This is my own recipe because it wasn't in the list and I'm kind of making it up as I go.
I will mix turkey, 1 cup of turkey gravy, & bag of frozen vegatables together and combine in pie plate, then top with a layer of mashed potatoes, put in 400 oven for 30 minutes (roughly!).

So...hopefully my turkey will be gone by this time, but we won't feel like we've eaten turkey dinner for 5 straight days. Happy leftover eating and feel free to share any good leftover meals you have!

Friday, November 23

And We Eat...

We spent Thanksgiving at Andrew's parents in Whitakers, NC.
It was great to be able to get away even for a short time!

so much good food!
the weather was incredibly warm and it was fun to be able to hang outside
We were at Andrew's parents, 3 uncles, 2 aunts, and & 2 cousins
also shared the day with us
thankful for a fun day with family!

Tuesday, November 20

Giving Thanks

I was recently reading in a magazine something that reminded me that Thanksgiving was the one holiday that doesn't involve costumes or gifts or fireworks or candy hunts...
"we simply come together and give thanks."
I pray that this is what we will do as the holiday rush is upon us and we feel the compulsion to get our gift buying finished, arrange travel plans, put up the tree...
May we simply stop and Give Thanks.
I have many things to be thankful for this year...
1. My God and Savior Jesus Christ who has called me, redeemed me, and is continually working for my good and His glory in my life.
2. My husband, Andrew, who continually loves me when I am unloveable, sacrifices for my needs & wants, and continually encourages me to love Christ more.
3. Our families, who we have learned to cherish our time together more as time spent with them is very infrequent because of the miles between us.
4. Our health, though we have both had health struggles this year, God has provided to cover our medical expenses, and He is continually giving us grace to continue in our daily activities.
5. Our church family, who continually works as "iron sharpening iron" to grow us and give us continual encouragement.
6. Our jobs, we are so thankful to have jobs to meet our daily needs.
7. Cars that run! if you know us, enough said. :)
8. Andrew is more than halfway done with school and God has provided infinite grace to him and blessed him for the very long hours of study that he puts in.
9. God has provided for us in so many little ways for us, whether a financial need or a tangible want or a needed encouragement. We bless Him for the ways He continually shows His love to us.
I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
Psalm 138:2

Monday, November 19

The Holiday season begins

The Christmas season has now officially started with the Grand Illumination Parade in Norfolk. We had a great time on Saturday being downtown enjoying the festiveness. They outline most of the downtown buildings in lights and this past Saturday was when they officially lit the lights and then had the parade. Apparently our camera was struggling to take in focus pictures in the dark. So unfortunately we didn't get great pics, but we had a very fun night!

Santa brings up the rear. The best part is that they were blowing snow from his float, so it did almost feel like Christmas for a minute!

Afterward we went to the MacArthur Mall for a nice Caramel Apple Cidar from Starbucks!
This was the traffic leaving the parking ramp and why it took us 25 minutes to get down from the 4th deck!

Thursday, November 15

Thankfully Sweet

I thought these sounded yummy and a little different from traditional pumpkin bread. I like the idea of setting them at people's table spots with their initial on them in icing or sending them home as favors!

*Found at Home Made Simple...see link*

Cookies are always an easy way to bring a smile to someone’s face, and a great way to thank someone. Here’s a delicious Pumpkin Cookie recipe to try. Personalize each place setting by writing your guests' first initial on a cookie with icing. You can serve these as part of dessert, or wrap them in tissue for a take-home treat.

Pumpkin Cookies


1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup canned pumpkin
White cookie icing


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, mix sugar, egg, shortening, and vanilla.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir into the creamed mixture, then stir in the pumpkin.
Spoon dough onto the cookie sheets.
Bake for 12 minutes then let the cookies cool on cooling racks.

When cool, write your guests' first initial onto each cookie with white icing.

Monday, November 12

This past Saturday we got to babysit little Owen Thomas. He was so good for us all night!
He ate, slept, and hung out with us while we watched a movie.
He definitely liked the movie, because he didn't want to fall asleep again!
We're so glad his mommy & daddy got to go out for the night,
because who needs a night out out more than new parents?!
Owen, come play with us anytime!

fuzzy, unfortunately. doesn't adequately portray his cuteness!

it doesn't get any sweeter than this!

Tuesday, November 6

Fall Festival

This past Sunday night our church had its annual Fall Festival. It was held at Hunt Club Farm, which also included a petting zoo and a great space for an intense football game! It was a lot of fun and the weather was perfect. Just chilly enough for a sweater, but not freezing. The only downside was that we weren't able to have a bonfire because of fire restrictions. We love our church family so much!

Can you tell the "big kids" loved it too?!

There was a LOT of good food!

Our new Pastor - Stacy, his wife Jamie, and Nathaniel & Hannah

Friday, November 2

Fall Fun!

3 of my favorite things are my nieces and nephew! Here they are having some fun in the leaves and also as Fairies for Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30

A change of plans...

My plans this past weekend included attending a music workshop, a Costume recital with my students, and various church-related activites on Sunday. But, God had something different in mind call STREP THROAT! So I missed out on some things that I wanted to be at this weekend, but as I look back, I am thankful for a lot of things that happened.
#1) I got to stay in the house for 2 full days and do nothing but rest. that's bliss for me!
#2) I was only out of commision on Saturday & Sunday, so I did not have to miss any work.
#3) I had the best nurse! Andrew made me grilled cheese and tomato soup and on Sunday surprised me with a caramel apple cider from Starbucks!
So I am all healed now and ready for the rest of the week. Full speed ahead!

Tuesday, October 23

Some good news...

Some of you know that about a week after we purchased our new car, some serious problems showed up. I have now dubbed it our "demon-child"! It has been quite a battle with it and especially for Andrew who abosolutely has no time for car battles (which is the reason we go it in the first place, ironic :). But here is the good news, though it ended up needing several major things replaced, it never left us stranded on the road side. Also, as of Saturday, Andrew replaced the last part (catalytic converter) and the check engine light is finally off! Also, though we ended up putting a lot of money into it, we saved over a $1000 because of all the work Andrew did himself! So we are thankful for these blessings!

Our computer (our 2nd demon-child) decided to completely erase almost all of Andrew's 9 page paper the day before it was due. He had been saving it regularly and everything, but our computer has a mind of its own apparently and we could not recover it. His professor decided not to extend him grace at this time, so, it was a long night, without much sleep, but we praise God that he got it redone in time.

Here are a couple of new fun things. I love word art and have found this newest arrangement at...The Dollar Tree! Yes, I got the whole thing for $1.

These were my favorite flower when I went to Hawaii one summer. You never see them here and they are expensive to get. We were at the Williamsburg outlets and I found these and I was excited to find these unique flowers!

Monday, October 1

A visit from Grandma & Grandpa

My grandparents from MN came for a visit this past weekend and we were so excited to be able to spend some time with them! We had a great time including going to the annual sand-sculpting contest in Va Beach and taking a boat tour through the harbor. They are "RVing" their way up the East Coast and we hope they have a great rest of their trip.

These are not your average bucket & a shovel castles!

dinner on the Pier

Kelly & Grandma

boat tour through the Norfolk Harbor