Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving week!!

Brock and I got home from Illinois yesterday.  We had a fun time but we were VERY tired yesterday!!  We had to get up at 4am yesterday to get to the airport on time to fly home. During our trip we did a lot of eating, and shopping.  We also watched two movies, The Christmas Carol (which was awful!!) and The Blind Side, which is one of the best movies that I have seen in a long time.

We joked that all of the pictures that we took were taken around a table because we were ALWAYS eating!  I probably gained at least 10 lbs from all of the eating that we did during our trip.  I also picked up a few little Christmas presents for Ava.  She LOVES opening presents so I got her a few things on our trip.  I also bought her Christmas dress which has a matching dress for her American Girl doll.  She will LOVE it!!  We are going to let her open it on Christmas Eve so she can wear it to church. 

Here are some pictures from our trip.  I forgot my camera so all of these are from my sister Shelby's facebook page (Thanks Shelby!!).  I am not sure why these pictures are so small, she also posted about our trip on her blog

Brock and I during one of our MANY meals out.  As you can see he is having a great time-ha ha!

My sister Shelby with her mother-in-law Linda.

Me feeding the animals carrots at an outdoor light display that we visited.  The light display is the largest in the country and has over 1 million lights!

My sister's husband Ryan and Brock at yet another meal out

Me at Hobby Lobby.  I LOVE that store and we don't have one were we live. 

My sister Shelby and me

We had a great time visiting with my family but we are glad to be home.  We spent the day today getting ready for the week ahead. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Copy Cat

I LOVE getting home decorating ideas from other blogs!  I was not blessed with a lot of creativity so blogs are a great way for me to get tons of decorating tips!  Last week Melissa from 320 Syacamore did a great post on how to make these adorable hurricane candle holders like the ones from Williams Sonoma using Dollar Tree supplies!! The post she wrote is here.   Since I live in a small town we don't have a lot of stores but we do have the Dollar Tree!  So as soon as I read this post I ran over there to see if they had the supplies to make these and they did!  I was SO happy!!

Here are the Williams Sonoma ones, they are really beautiful but they are $80!!  I can't imagine spending that much on candle holders! 

Photo from Williams Sonoma

Here are the ones that I made using the exact supplies that Melissa outlined in her post.  They were $3 each!  Here they are on our dining room table.  I LOVE the way they turned out and they took less than 5 minutes to make!  I love crafts like that :)

I am going to make a few more sets of these for Christmas gifts!  Thanks Melissa for the great idea!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekend update!

We had a busy weekend!  We are getting ready for our Thanksgiving trips and I got all of the inside decorating done for Christmas!  Here's a little wrap up of our weekend.

Friday-Brock had a basketball game and Ava and I went to craft club.  We had fun and ate tons of great food!!  The craft was Advent calendars but I didn't even make one!  I tried to make one but I really don't have any room for it so I make a garland instead.  My friend Sabrina made a really cute one and I will take a picture to show next time I go to her house.

Saturday-Was a really busy morning!!  Ava started off going to cheerleading, while she was there I went to watch Brock's basketball game, then I left at half time to pick Ava up and we went to her retreat for first penance at church, then she had ballet.  I spent the afternoon and evening decorating our house for Christmas.  Ava had 3 friends sleepover and Brock had 1 of his friends sleepover so we had a houseful!!

Sunday-Ava went to Sunday school, and I spent the whole day finishing up our Christmas decorations.  I still have to do Brock and Ava's little trees and Graig needs to do the outside lights but other than those few things we are ALL done with Christmas decorating!!  I also packed a little for our trip to Illinois!  We are also having our family Thanksgiving dinner tonight since we won't be home for Thanksgiving.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A light and the end of the tunnel!!

Work has been SO busy lately, today I had one of my last big events of the semester and I am SO happy!!   Today was our Faculty Reception where each of our Greek organizations get to choose 2 faculty members to honor.  I have been doing this event for 10 years and this year's event was the best!  The students did a great job honoring their faculty members and the faculty members were so thankful and happy to be recognized. 
Here is a picture of all of the faculty that were honored today with the Greek Council scholarship chair that coordinated the event.

I got a special surprise when my 4 interns from this semester gave me an award!  That was so sweet of them!  I have had a great time with them this semester and they have all done SO much work in my office.  I am so grateful to have had them this semester!
Here is a picture of us at the reception

They also gave me these beautiful flowers today!  I think they are so pretty :)

Tonight I went with some friends to a wine tasting event that was held at a resturant in town.  We sampled 5 different wines and had 5 different dishes to go along with them.  I had never been to an event like this but it was really fun, I learned a lot about different types of wine.  This was a really fun event!
Here is a picture of my friends and I  at the Wine Tasting

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend update!!

This weekend went by soooo fast!!  I can't believe how fast weekends go.  I feel like all Graig and I do is drive Brock and Ava around to their activities, and try to run around and get stuff done that we don't get a chance to do during the week.

 Saturday Brock went to the Boys and Girls club all day to play basketball, he LOVES basketball!!  Saturday night he went to the skating rink and then he had 2 of his friends sleepover.  Ava went to a birthday party for her friend Maria.  I was able to do a little decorating for Christmas, I felt like it was a little early but since we are going away for Thanksgiving this year I wanted to get started working on it.  I still have a lot to do next weekend!

 I love these Christmas ornaments in our glass jars.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

Sunday-Ava had a birthday party for her friend Madelyn.  It was an American Girl theme and Ava said it was the BEST birthday party ever!  Sunday evening Ava went with me to work.  I was a judge for the Mr and Miss Oneonta pageant.  Ava LOVED all the attention that she got from the college students.  She had a great time and even took some pictures with the winners!

This picture was at the very end of the night and  Miss Oneonta had already changed out of her dress but she still took a picture with Ava, as you can tell Ava was thrilled!!

When we got home I had to make 8 dozen cookies for Ava's dance school.  Brock helped me because I was making his favorite cookies, no bakes!  I will post the recipe soon. It is so easy and the cookies are soooo good!!   He said for Christmas he wants me to make him a whole batch so he can eat them all by himself!

Have a good week!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sister Crafts

My sister Shelby and I are getting together for Thanksgiving and we want to do some cute craft projects together!  We are going to be together for 4 days during Thanksgiving and we want to do 4 craft projects.  The projects that we are going to make need to be small and light because I have to take them with me on the plane.  We will have easy access to a Hobby Lobby and Michaels so getting craft supplies together should be pretty easy and fun!!

We are each going to think of 2 crafts to make.  I am thinking of making tassels like the Nester makes and a swag garland like this.  But I want to make one using Christmas colors! 

I can't wait to see what crafts my sister picks out for us to do!!

Friday, November 13, 2009


I am SO happy that it's Friday!  This has been such a long week!  Graig was out of town for two days and work was CRAZY busy!  I am ready for a relaxing weekend.  Tonight after work I got my hair cut, I LOVE the way she cut it, I get it cut every 8 weeks and my next appointment isn't until 2010!

Tomorrow was suppose to be Brock's first 7th grade basketball game but the team his school was playing is closed due to illness so he doesn't have a game tomorrow.


Ava has cheerleading and ballet.  It's watch week so I get to watch her tomorrow during her ballet! 

This weekend Ava has two birthday parties to go to and I have to make 8 dozen cookies for Ava's dance school!  I also want to put away all of our fall stuff and start getting out our Christmas stuff!!  So we should have a fun weekend!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chicken and Rice Casserole

I made this delicious Chicken and Rice casserole last night for dinner, it is great!!  I got it from Paula Dean on the Food Network site.  You can go here to get more great recipes from Food Network.  I LOVE Paula Dean but her dishes can be so fattening, I did make a few changes to this recipe to keep the calories and fat content a little lower, but I think my version came out just as good! 

photo from


2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and diced (everyone in my family besides me HATES onion so I left this out)
3 cups diced, cooked chicken ( I used 3 chicken breasts that I cooked in the crock pot)
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans green beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup (I used cream of chicken soup)
1 cup mayonnaise ( I used 1/2 cup of light mayo and it worked fine)
1 (6-ounce) box long-grain wild rice, cooked according to package directions
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
Pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat butter or oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.
Add all remaining ingredients to bowl and mix together until thoroughly combined.
Pour into a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for a few minutes before serving

This was so good and a very easy weeknight meal, I will make this recipe again!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Watch Week!

This week is Watch Week at Ava's dance studio!  I got to watch 3 of her classes tonight, it was a lot of fun!  Her schedule for Mondays is Hip Hop, Tap and Lyrical.  Poor thing she goes from one class to the next she doesn't get a break in between her classes.  She is SO tired when she gets home on Monday nights! 
I did take some pictures of her tonight but they didn't turned out really dark so here are some pictures that I took of her last year during dance.

Ava with her dance teacher Jill right after the Christmas dance show

Ava with her friend Gracie before the end of year show in June

Beautiful Ballerinas!  Before the show last June

Ava with two friends at their dress rehersal in June!

I also get to watch her do Jazz on Friday night and Ballet on Saturday morning.  This should be a fun week!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday sneak peak

Today was a VERY productive day!  I LOVE days like that.  Brock was at a friends house, Ava spent the day with Grandma Jan and Graig was watching football at his friends house so I had the WHOLE house to myself!  I spent the day cleaning and organizing, it was fabulous!  I finally got to clean Ava's playroom in the attic, it has been a wreck for such a long time!  I also organized my craft area in the basement and took 2 naps!  I am still not 100% better from when I was sick and I get tired SO easily.  I took a nap this afternoon and another little one earlier this evening.  I am happy to finally be going back to work tomorrow!

Here's a sneak peak of a project that I started today, I hope to finish this project this week!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Christmas Swap!!!

Clemsongirl is hosting a Christmas swap!!  I participated last year and it was SO much fun!!  I am participating again this year and I can't wait to shop for presents for my swap partner!!  You can go to her site to get all the details about the swap, the deadline to sign up is next weekend.  Here are my gifts from last year's swap,  I love all the sweet gifts I got!

Have a good weekend!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Show us your life-Thanksgiving Traditions!!!

Today Kelly's Korner is doing a "show us your life-thanksgiving traditions!  So I thought I would share our traditions.  I LOVE Thanksgiving!  It seems like each year we do something a little different.  Two years in a row we went to NYC to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, last year we spent Thanksgiving Day at home,  and this year Brock and I are going to Illinois to visit my family and Ava and Grandma Jan are going to Colorado to see Uncle Garth while Graig stays home to work.

We will have Thanksgiving Dinner together as a family this year the weekend before we leave and these are two dishes that I am going to make

Rice, broccoli, cheese casserole ( I LOVE this!)
1 onion dices
3 tbsp. butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 (10oz) pkg frozen broccoli
1/2 lb. velvetta cheese, cut up into squares
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
Saute onion in butter.  Combine with remaining ingredients in a greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Makes 8 servings

Double layer pumpkin pie (my Dad's recipe) sooooo good!!
4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 8 oz. tub of cool whip
1 prepared graham cracker crust
1 can (16 oz.) pumpkin
2 pkg (4 serving size) instant vanilla pudding and pie mix
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp, ground ginger

In a large bowl mix cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk, and sugar with wire whisk until smooth.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups whipped topping spead on bottom of crust.
In a second bowl stir pumpkin, pudding mix and spices unto remaining milk, beat with wire whisk until well blended (mixture will be thick) spead over cream cheese layer
Refigerate 5 hours serve with remaining whipped topping. 

I just found this thankfulness jar on etsy so I ordered it today, I think it will make a nice addition to our Thanksgiving table this year!  I want us each to write down some things we are thankful for and then we can put them in the jar and talk about them during our Thanksgiving meal.  

Some of Ava's turkey artwork from last year

Our Thanksgiving Table last year.

Have a good weekend!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Here we go again...

I am back to feeling bad again, YUCK!!  Last night I kept coughing and coughing and I couldn't get to sleep.  I think I got about 3 hours of sleep last night total, I am the kind of person that needs a solid 8 hours to function so that lack of sleep + lots of coughing = another day home from work.  I called my doctor's office to get an appointment today because I think I have bronchitis but they were all booked up today so I made an appointment for tomorrow morning.  I hope I can get medicine so I can get better for the weekend!  I don't want to waste another weekend being sick! 

To cheer myself up today I went up to the attic and got out our Thanksgiving decorations.  We don't have too much stuff but I do like to add a little thanksgiving cheer!

Turkey hotpad in our kitchen!  I love this little turkey!

Thanksgiving Platter I got last fall.  I love the golden yellow color of this platter!

Give Thanks sign, this is my favorite Thanksgiving decoration, I got it SO many years ago but I still love getting it out every year.  I put it in our living room. 

Tonight I am watching my Thursday night shows and going through my work email...exciting I know!!

Today I am thankful for my supportive students and co-workers!  Everyone has been SO nice during my sickness, I have gotten a ton of "get well soon" emails and they really make me feel SO good!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Uncle Garth!!

Graig's brother Garth just got into town today!  He lives in Colorado and is here visiting for a week!  Brock and Ava are so excited because they haven't seen him since he came to visit last fall.  Ava and Grandma Jan will be spending Thanksgiving in Colorado this year with Uncle Garth and Jill, while Brock and I are in Illinois visiting my family.  So Ava gets to see Uncle Garth twice this month!

Tonight Graig got Brooks takeout and we ate and caught up with Garth.  After dinner they watched the Yankee game!!  I really really hope the Yankees win the World Series tonight!  Brock and Graig would be SO happy!!

Here is a picture of Brock, Ava and Uncle Garth from last year.  I love this picture of them, it's on our fridge!

Ava wasn't feeling well today so I stayed home AGAIN!  She slept for 5 hours this afternoon, poor thing!  She is going back to school tonorrow and I am going back to work!  I bet I have aboout 100 emails and phone messages, it will be crazy but I HAPPY to be feeling better finally!!

Today I am thankful for our siblings-Graig has two brothers, Gary and Garth, and I have one sister, Shelby.!!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Well I have been sick since Friday.  I still feel awful!  The doctor said I have an acute viral infection which means antibiotics don't work and I just have to rest and  drink lots of water to recover.  I am SO over sleeping and watching TV so today I looked a a few new blogs.  I feel like I never have enough time to visit all the great blogs out there and it was nice to spend some time looking through them.  I found one post that I LOVED and I that I am going to try to do this month. Katie said that her pastor's wife posted on her facebook page to write about one thing you are thankful for every day for the rest of the month.
 Isn't this a GREAT idea??  I don't think I'll post it on facebook but I do want to post it on my blog.  I have SO much to be thankful for and SO much of the time I focus on what I don't have or  what I hope to have someday that I forget all of the things I have now to be thankful for.  I have many, many blessings in my life. 
This past summer, one of my former students posted this as her status on facebook.  I liked the quote so much that I printed it out and put it in our kitchen so I can always see it.  I love Oprah and I think this is such a great quote, it's so true!
It says
"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don't have you will never, ever have enough."-Oprah

  I put it in my kitchen for two reasons 1) We are ALWAYS in there and 2) my kitchen is my LEAST favorite room in my whole house so this reminds me to concentrate on all the things in my life I am thankful for, like the fact that we own a home and I have a kitchen to hate-ha ha!
So I am going to do this challenge until Thanksgiving!  I am going to try to put this on the side of my blog so I can look back at all the things I am thankful for.

The biggest blessings and the two people that I am MOST  thankful for are Brock and Ava.  Being their Mom and watching them grow up has been the BIGGEST blessing of my life.  I am so thankful they are happy and healthy.  They are amazing and I am so happy that Graig and I are their parents!!  The time goes by SO fast I can't believe they are already 12 and 7,  I keep reminding myself to SLOW down and take everything in because in  just few years Brock will be going off to College! 

Have a great (and thankful!) Tuesday!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Paper Boy!

For the past few months Graig and I  have been talking about Brock getting his first job.  I know he's only 12 but Graig thinks it's important and I think it's a good idea too.   Graig grew up on a Dairy Farm and he got up early every morning to help with chores in the barns before school.  Since we don't live on a farm Graig wanted Brock to have an opportunity to earn money, and feel a sense of accomplishment from his work.  Graig is the HARDEST worker that I have ever met he LOVES working and has such a great work ethic that I agreed that it would be good for Brock to learn those skills now.  Today was his first day as a Paper Boy!  His route isn't in our neigborhood so Graig is going to drive him to the houses that he delivers to.   They dropped the papers off really early this morning. Graig and Brock got up at 5:30 to wrap the papers and get ready for their first day.  I am still sick as a dog but I got up to take a few pictures because I wanted to document this important day, the pictures aren't the best I hope to get some better ones when I am feeling better and Brock and Graig aren't so crabby-ha ha!

Of course Ava wanted to get up early too!  She actually went with them this morning, she loves her sleep so I don't think she will want to go evey morning.  Poor thing she hardly looks awake in this picture.  See the pictures in the background?  She helped fold them up. 

Graig and Brock on the move!  They put the papers in the green bin and away they went!   

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Weekend

I had big plans for a fun and productive weekend.  I took Friday off because Brock and Ava had a day off of school.  I started feeling sick right before lunch on Friday and I just kept feeling worse and worse.  By the time Graig got home at 4 I felt miserable.  I slept all night Friday night and ALL day Saturday.  I didn't even go trick or treating with Brock and Ava last night :( Thank God for Grandma Jan she came over and helped Ava get ready and took her trick or treating last night.  After Trick or Treating Brock and Ava went to her house to spend the night.  This afternoon I finally went to the doctor,  he said it was just a bad viral infection and he said that I should feel better in a few days.  I HATE being sick, this has not been a good weekend!