Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turkey Two-a-Days

Dustin and I were in Aiken this past weekend for Thanksgiving where we got to spend some time with both of our families. It was full of food, football, games, shopping... did I mention the food? Since our parents live five minutes apart, we have two meals on Thanksgiving... or turkey two-a-days as Dustin calls it. We are blessed to spend Thanksgiving with two loving families while some people may not even have one. I try to focus more on that fact instead of the five extra pounds I gain this day every year. Here are some pictures from our long weekend.

Haley and I

Brooke and I

Reese (4), Sawyer (7 mo.), Brooke (2 1/2), Haley (6)

Dustin and Brooke

Dustin and I with Seth and Brittany

Reese and I

Grandmother, Pop, Dad and Uncle Alan

Mom and Sawyer

Dustin's Dad and Uncle Don (seeing double?)

Miss Debbie with Brooke

My Aunt Dodie, Dustin's Aunt Jackie and My Mom

Haley showing off her mad hula-hooping skills

Sweet Reese trying it for herself

The big girls- Me, Brittany and Amber

Now one with the little girls

Mom and I

Seth and Dustin

Brothers squared

Mom, Dad, Uncle Alan and Aunt Dodie


Sawyer James and Dustin James... this might be the sweetest picture ever.

We were treated to a yummy dinner for Mom and Dad's anniversary and Mom's birthday.

Happy Birthday and Anniversary!

Last but not least, Bentley and I

This time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is my most favorite time of year. Our halls are already decked and I am smelling our freshly cut tree as I type this. Be on the lookout for that post next!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I love Christmas. I really do; however, I'm not sure that I love how Christmas is tip toeing closer and closer to Halloween every year and somehow sweet Thanksgiving is slowly getting pushed to the side. While commercialism is taking over Christmas and Thanksgiving this year with door-buster black Friday deals beginning as early as 10PM Thanksgiving night, I love the approach that Nordstrom is taking. "We won't be decking our halls until Friday, November 25. Why? Well, we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving."

Thanksgiving is the one time of year when we are called to count our blessings and think about what we're thankful for. A lot of women in my shoes might look back on their year and find it hard to use the word "thankful" when describing it, but I look back and think how can I not? This year brought Dustin and me a lot of heartbreak, but we are stronger because of it. I am very thankful for my best friend and husband.

I am thankful that we both have loving families that care about us and even enjoy spending time together.

I am thankful that we get to be the fun aunt and uncle to three beautiful princesses...

And one handsome prince.

I am thankful for sweet friends who have been there for me through ups and downs and sometimes understand me better than I do. (Even though we clearly need to take some updated pictures)

Lastly, I am thankful that we serve a big God. If this year has taught me anything it's that He is in control. He is near even when you don't feel it and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has great things planned. I took this picture in our driveway a few days ago and it serves as a great reminder that our God is the ultimate Creator and makes all things beautiful in His timing.

Finally, I will leave you with a yummy Thanksgiving recipe. My grandmother has been making this cranberry side dish for years and it is one of my Thanksgiving staples. It's a great alternative to the cranberry sauce in the shape of a can.

Grandmother's Cranberries
- 4 cups of fresh cranberries
- 2 3 oz. packages of strawberry jello
- 2 8 oz. cans of crushed pineapple (do not drain)
- 1.5 cups of sugar
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of chopped walnuts

1. Place the cranberries, sugar and water in a pot.

2. Bring to a boil and keep boiling until most of the cranberries "pop". It's alright if not all of them do.

3. Remove the pot from the heat and mix in the jello, walnuts and pineapple.

4. Pour into a serving dish and refridgerate for at least 24 hours.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

This yummy dish is easy to make in the slow cooker and then freeze the enchiladas. It also makes enough for a crowd so it's great if you're cooking for company or want to make a meal for someone.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 10oz cans green chile enchilada sauce 
10 oz. container of Philadelphia Cooking Creme
1 can of black beans (drained)
4 cups of cooked brown rice
1 lime
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
10 8" flour tortillas 

1. Place the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker

2. Pour the black beans over the chicken.

3. Pour a can and a half of the green chile sauce over the chicken and beans. (Save half a can of sauce to pour on top of the enchiladas.)

4. Squeeze the lime over the chicken and beans.

5. Cook on low for 5 hours.

6. Shred the chicken and stir in the Philadelphia Cooking Creme until well blended.

7. Cook the rice according to directions and set aside.

8. Grease the bottom of your casserole dish slightly so they don't stick.

9. Fill the tortillas with the creamy chicken and bean mixture along with a couple spoonfuls of rice. Place seam side down on the baking dish.

10. Top with the remaining green chile sauce and shredded cheese. In the picture below, I also topped the enchiladas with the remaining bean/chicken mixture before I added the cheese. 

Now you can either bake at 350 for 30 minutes (covered) or this is the point where it freezes well. This will fill a 13 x 9 baking dish or two 8 x 8 dishes. This picture is before it went in the oven. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Table Ideas

I would love for my table to look like any of these next week...

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Regardless what your table looks like, here are some helpful guides to setting a proper table.

Both of these guides are from here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ten years ago

Ten years ago, the iPod was invented, A Beautiful Mind topped the box office and the world was on high alert for Anthrax. That's not all that happened in 2001. On November 14, 2001, Dustin asked me to be his girlfriend. In the days before cell phones were commonplace, he would call me on my own phone number in my bedroom. It was during this particular conversation that we officially had the D.T.R. (that would be "determine the relationship" for you hipsters out there). It's hard to believe it's been ten years, but there's nobody else I would've rather spent it with. Here is a little photo trip down memory lane...

This is the first picture we ever took together on October 27, 2001. It was taken at Ruby Tuesdays in Aiken after watching the Clemson game at a friend's house. We played Wake Forest and won 21-14
(ok, so I cheated and had to look up the score).

The past 10 years have taken us from South Aiken to Clemson to Missouri to Atlanta. I can't wait to see where the next 10 years take us. This last picture is from Saturday when Clemson played Wake Forest 
... and won 31-28.