Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Quick Question? I Need Your Input

Yo, Peeps!

I have a question and I need your help for a future blog post!

I would like to list all the Christmas Link Ups on my blog as a reference for everyone. Do any of my readers know of any Christmas Link Ups?  For instance, who is featuring a "Tour of Homes" for Christmas this year?  In the meantime, I'm checking with my old blog friend, Faith, to see if she will be continuing to feature Christmas Card Carousel this year.  This may be a great time to link up with a blog friend {or two or three...} to come up with your own holiday link up party!

The only link up party that I know of right now is coming up on December 4th and it's a Cookie Exchange with Lady Lawyer and Bourbon, Lipstick, & Stilettos.

grab button for Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos

Leave me a comment or email me the link ups you know about already. Don't forget to include the blog link to the party! Let me know by Wednesday, Dec. 2nd.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Gobble till you wobble!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Favorites: Thanksgiving Day Sides

Happy Friday before Thanksgiving, Peeps! I hope you've had an awesome week and that you're looking forward to spending some time with family and friends this coming week! Our turkey day plans are pretty quiet and relaxed this year and I'm fine with that.  We'll have lunch at my mom's and then it's leftovers for the remainder of the weekend.

Maybe I should have titled this post, "Long Live the Casserole." Today I thought I would share some favorite casseroles and sides that are - without fail - on our Thanksgiving table every year and the memories that come with them. I hope you enjoy reading about them.

{one.} Green Bean Casserole. When I was a kid, we alternated the holidays every year with my two sets of grandparents, who lived about 65 miles away. My mom, being the Southern Girl she is, never went to a family get-together without bringing a dish.  In the late 80's, "Campbell Soup Casseroles" became popular and she was introduced to Green Bean Casserole from a friend at work and the rest is history.  GB casserole has been a staple of our TG feast for probably thirty years, and although tons of varieties of this dish have evolved over the years, mom and I still stick to the same version, which is the recipe off the back of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup! On a side note, Wayne absolutely detests GB casserole and it's a joke every year between him and my little brother. This one casserole has caused great memories and lots of laughter.

{two.} Cajun Corn Casserole. Every few years, we like to mix things up a bit when it comes to holiday meals!  To keep it interesting! Ha! So sometimes we have the "traditional" TG meal and some years, we grill steaks.  Sometimes we have gumbo.  One year, we had Crawfish Ettouffe. A few years ago, Wayne grilled a Boston Butt and I made this Cajun Corn Recipe that I found on Pinterest. All I can say is that it's the newest side dish to our repertoire of side dishes!!  We love it! It's perfect if you like a little kick with your corn! Ha!

The BEST Ever Cajun Corn Casserole - Unexpected Elegance:

{three.} Sweet Potato Casserole. My grandma C always made candied sweet potatoes with lots of butter and sugar, and mom likes to keep the tradition alive.  When I was a kid, they were my favorite side dish.  When I met Wayne and we began celebrating the holidays with his family, his mom was a fan of the Sweet Potato Casserole, but I'm not wild about the marshmallows. So a few years ago, I struck out to find my own recipe and once again, Pinterest obliged! If you're looking for an awesome SPC without the marshmallows, then Ruth Chris' Sweet Potato Casserole will not disappoint!

Ruths Chris Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe:

{four.} Simple Salad. Back to my grandma C. A lady after my own heart!  She believed in salads, nothing elaborate, or fancy.  Just lettuce with tomatoes and cheese would do. Despite the HUGE spread every TG, nothing mattered if there weren't small bowls beside everyone's plate for a side salad because she didn't believe in mixing lettuce with turkey and dressing!  Ha!  To this day, I always ask my mom, "Are we having a salad?"  It's just the way that I personally like to remember my grandma! I miss her but I treasure the memories.

{five.} Mashed Potatoes. This is a weird for me. I mean, why do we have mashed potatoes - with gravy, of course. We have stuffing. And sweet potatoes.  Why do we need mashed?  Again, all I can say is that it's just our southern tradition.  Enough said.

{six.} Consider this one a bonus. Oh, what I would give to have a picture of all the cousins surrounded around my grandma's coffee table! It was the '80's version of the "kids table" and they were happy times! Grandpa would move the coffee table from the formal living room into the dining room so that even though we weren't at the "big table" with our parents, we were still all in the same room as family. And that's what mattered most.

{seven.} Turkey Salad. Our Heavenly Ham recently closed in our area and I can't tell you how disappointed I am.  It was convenient for me to run over and pick up a box lunch when I didn't have a lot of time on my lunch break and I have my friend, Meredith, to thank for introducing me years ago to their turkey salad. I love it! Especially on a croissant with a lettuce leaf and a slice of tomato! Yummy! So now I'm on a mission to find a similar recipe for our turkey day leftovers. Anyone have a great turkey salad recipe to share?

Get your Christmas cookies ready, girlies! The Lady Lawyer and her friend, Bourbon & Lipstick are hosting a cookie exchange on December 4th!  

I'm taking a blog break over the TG holiday, but you can keep up with me on Instagram.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

This and That

I just want to say how much I'm loving basketball practice two nights a week! It gives me a chance to come home, unwind, turn on the Christmas music and enjoy a glass a wine. Pure bliss!  I can usually start supper around 7 pm and then my two players {Wayne is helping coach} come home around 7:30, famished and usually with smiles on their faces.  We eat and for the rest of the evening, all is right with the world.  I could get use to this!

Well, the TREE IS UP!! I posted this picture on IG Monday night. While my crew was at practice, I cranked up the music and finished the top.  I had put it off because Alise insisted that we have a red star on top and there is no red star to be found in our area! Each year, I add a little something else to it and I just love the way it turned out this year! I consider myself one of the fortunate ones that can still be thankful with a Christmas tree in her living room! But I can't seem to remember to fluff the pillows before I take a picture! Sunday night, Wayne built a small fire, the lights were twinkling, and we had homemade cheesy chicken spaghetti for supper. It was a wonderful evening to the new week!

Anyway, I plan on finishing up the rest of the house this weekend.  I've decided to cull a lot of my Christmas things, so Goodwill will be happy to see me!

A friend of mine posted a pic of these beautiful Louisiana - shaped ornaments in her store last week.  Of course, I had to stop by and check them out and I may or may not have bought a few.  I just love them!

I also picked up this awesome gift for my boss this week.  I had never seen these before and I'm always looking for unique gifts.  These are called Away In A Manger Bath Bombs and they come with figurines of the nativity scene.

Yesterday, I had my last elementary Thanksgiving Feast with Baby Girl at school! I was pretty emotional about it by the time I got back to my car. These elementary years have gone by so fast and just the other day, Alise told me, "I can't wait to get to middle school!" #whatthewhat My little turkey has changed so much since Pre-K4 and I wish I had treasured these earlier times more. I am so proud of Alise and the young lady she is becoming.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fifth Grade Field Trip

This is one for the scrap book!

So like I shared last week, I was in Jackson, Mississippi, for the second time in less than a week.  One with girlfriends for a night out and then the second time was as a chaperone for a 5th grade field trip. And why, oh why, was it that Kristy {the other mom} and I got stuck with the "wanderer"?  Just my luck! Oh, my God, we could not keep up with that kid!!

So if a 5th grade field trip will teach you anything, it's that you're not cut out for 5th grade field trips! I. was. exhausted. Wednesday night and could barely get out of the bed to go back to work on Thursday! I'm not complaining because I was SO glad to be there with Baby Girl, but let's face it! Every school in the state of Mississippi decided to go on a field trip last Wednesday!

Our first stop was the the Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Museum. Although I didn't care too much for the museum part, I did like the old, small town replica of like the 1800's.  It reminded me of Walnut Grove from Little House on the Praire.  There was an old General Store, a church, a school house, and the most exciting thing, an old timey cotton gin that ran on pulleys and not electricity. You could watch volunteers make cane syrup and ground corn into meal. There were antique carriages and biscuits with honey, and did I mention kids EVERYWHERE?! Apparently, volunteers come on certain days of the year to help with the gin, blow the train whistle, sing songs and play on the banjo, all that fun stuff to give you the feeling of stepping back into the past, and we hit it on that particular day! Who planned this field trip? Here are a few pics from our morning.

After lunch at a nearby park, we went to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and apparently word got out that there was a two-headed snake in this place.  That's all the kids wanted to find was the snake!  There was also a dog exhibit on display and I particularly liked all the hanging bones in the museum. We went on a black bear maze and a nature walk, too. It was interesting and fun, but I think the kids were beginning to get tired.  Lord knows I was!

This is a picture of our entire fifth grade class {minus two students that left early}.  And, if you think about it, the graduating class of 2023.  But let's not go there.  Yet! We have a GREAT class and I have loved getting to know all these kids over the years that we've been at RO. They are ALL friends and genuinely care about one another.

I was so thankful that we were able to make the 1.5 hour drive to Jackson safely.  Our small private school does not have a bus, so the parents had to car pool with the kids and God watched over all of us.  I'm also thankful for our awesome fifth grade teachers! We're having a great year and I appreciate everything they do for our kids and school!

I'll be linking up later this week with Shelly & Holly for their weekly "Attitude of Gratitude" link up party.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Christmas Card Debate {In My Mind}

Somebody, please, quick!

Knock some sense into me and tell me to get off my butt and do something about our Christmas cards this year!  Because, seriously. As of now, it ain't happening!

I just don't have it in me this year.  Last year, my cards went out on December 1st!  I was so happy and proud of myself!  I came up with the greeting all on my own and worked with an etsy seller that I had used in past years. I worked on addressing those suckers Thanksgiving night because I wanted to be able to say for ONCE in my life, I got my cards out on the first day of December!! I bet everyone that got a card from us on December 2nd thought, "Laura Horton has got it going on, y'all!!"

Do y'all take bets on who your first Christmas card of the season will be from? Wayne and I do.  And we're surprised every year!

So anyway. Now, it's like, "Ok. Done that." Game over. I win.

I seriously think my problem is that I can't think of a "new place" to have our picture made. 

We have a tripod, so we normally go to the bayou and set up there.  I've only had our pictures professionally made for Christmas once and I bought the proof so that I could design our own card that year {Alise was in kindergarten}.  I'm just simply not interested in going the professional route this year.  I have a great picture of us from last year on the bayou and when I suggested to Wayne that we just use that picture, he went NUTS!  He was like, "You can't use a picture from LAST year to go on THIS year's Christmas card!  That's crazy." Well, stick a fork in me, because I'm crazy! I mean, Alise hasn't changed that much from last year.  My hair color was a little darker back then.  Wayne still looks the same, so why not? WHO IS GOING TO KNOW??

I could go the regular, boxed card route, but HEAVEN FORBID anyone get a boxed card!! Especially from me! I'd rather not send them out at all.

For years, our local newspaper has taken donations around the holidays for Goodwill and posted the person's name along with the amount of their donation in the paper. For several of those years, we donated money in memory of Wayne's dad and I always use to see this phrase posted on the list as well: 'In lieu of Christmas cards this year..." It took a while {several years!} for the CPA in me to figure out that instead of people buying and mailing Christmas cards, they just donated the amount of money they would have spent. Genius! Sounds like a plan to me!

But then I thought, what if thirty years from now I'm trying to go back and collect all our Christmas cards through the years and I get to 2015 and I can't remember that we didn't have a card that year?! THAT will drive me insane because I'd be looking for it everywhere and I'd be ticked because I couldn't find it and I'd be too old to remember that we never had one in the first place!! 

And what about the people who don't live in our town and won't see that we made a donation instead of mailing Christmas cards? Will they think we died? Will they think we're mad at them?  Will they even care?!

So just call me, Bah-humbug!  I mean, I at least had my Christmas tree up six weeks before Christmas!  That should count for something, right?!

Thank you all for your prayers and kind words for Alise.  The MRI results came back on Thursday and everything is fine.  God is good!