Sunday, December 8, 2013

Giving Thanks

This year for Thanksgiving we literally didn't have a set plan until the Monday before.  For months it was, we're going to Crystal River to Chris's grandmother like last year.  However, things changed and we decided to stay in Tallahassee.  We kinda didn't want to drive so we told Chris's sisters and mom that we're staying in town.  Chris's mom decided to stay too so she came over.  We decided to also invite over the Bell family. 

Monday I called Alisha and we planned what each of us were going to bring and make.  Neither of us had ever made a turkey so Chris and I thought we'd try this guy off Tharpe (Smoklin' Los; that little smoker trailer a little ways after Old Bainbridge) because Chris's mom usually would get a fried turkey from him.  Well, Chris called and they stopped taking orders on Saturday... dang it.  Well, Chris and felt confident we could do it (most of that confidence came from pinterest and reading different recipes).

Wednesday night came and Chris was the soul chef for the turkey.  He prepped it and we opted for the low and slow method.

We used two different recipes.  We used one recipe for all the things stuffed in the bird (which was a pear, a apple, onion, and rosemary.  We added a few baby carrots around the outside) and then one recipe for the cooking time. 

The MAIN thing I was not looking forward to was the giblets.  YUCK!  Thankfully they put them in a bag.  So Chris is trying to get all the giblets out and he pulled on the neck but then he could not for the life of him find the bag.  Seriously!  Had no idea where it was.  So he just didn't worry about it and continued to prep.

Thursday morning I went and ran the Turkey Trot with the fabulous Maggie Anderson while Chris went and played football.  Chris's mom came over early just to watch the turkey and make sure the house didn't burn down while it cooked.  The turkey finished while she was there so at least we had a finished turkey. 

Also in the morning I set the table.  Check it out, it's a little different from two years ago.

I even made little name tags for the four Bell children.  The kid's table was set right before dinner so unfortunately no picture, but they got to sit at our coffee table in the kitchen on pillows.  They were so excited that they barely ate anything but liked sitting on the pillows.

During the cooking I totally realized that this Thanksgiving was TOTALLY non-southern.  For reals, there was no collard greens, no mac & cheese, no chicken and rice.  I started to feel bad because those are things Chris really likes.  I then remember, "Oh yea, Alisha and I planned it all and we're not southern so of course we're going to revert back to what we had in our childhood."  Oh well, everything was still SOOO yummy.

I made mashed potatoes, cornbread muffins, green beans, gravy and this ABSOLUTELY delicious pumpkin trifle.  Alisha made this fabulous sweet potato casserole, rolls (actually made by Chance), stuffing, jello salad and three kinds of pies; pumpkin, rassleberry and pecan.  We ate and ate and ATE!  Then we took a little break and then ate dessert.  I had a little of all the desserts, so worth it!  Here's a picture of the finished bird!

It was so moist and really good.  Chris did a wonderful job.  For his first time making a turkey I was quite impressed.  Soooo.... guess what Chris found while carving the turkey?  Oh yeah, that pesky bag of giblets.  Chris's mom was like "oh yeah it's usually in the head region."  Crap.  Oh well, it was in plastic and I think they know this happens a lot so the bag must somehow be okay to cook and then eat the turkey.

 I think the Bells really enjoyed themselves as much as we did.  The kids LOVED playing the Wii.  It was so fun watching them.  We played a few games and watched The Rescuers Downunder.  We had some good Hudson snuggle time and like I said, ate A LOT and yet still had lots of left overs.

All in all a great Thanksgiving.  I'm happy we decided to stay here; it was so fun spending the day with Chris's mom and the Bell family.  I have a feeling next year is going to be just as exciting!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dessert and Sewing!

Chris and I don't go out very often.  I really don't know why but I think it's because by the time the end of the week comes, on Friday we just want to chill at home.  Now you say... ummm... well what about Saturdays.  Well, Saturdays from the end of August to December are dedicated to college football.  So, therefore, no date night than either.  (FYI in terms of watching football it goes both ways, we both love our football.)

On Friday, November 15th we decided we needed to do a little something.  It was sorta a celebration.  Chris just recently was promoted at The Florida Bar.  He is a program coordinator for the center of professionalism and he's loving it!  This promotion and new job is a wonderful and huge blessing that we have been praying and fasting for pretty much this entire year.  We feel so blessed!  Chris is doing something along the lines of hospitality and really enjoying it.

Anyway, back to November 15th.  So November 12th was his first day of work and as a little celebration I told him I was going to surprise him with a yummy dessert date.  We arrived home after work and had homemade pizza and then headed out.  I took him to Food Glorious Food.  After going there on a girl's night out for dessert I had been thinking about the hummingbird cake ever since then.  Chris was surprised and really liked it and his first time going to FGF.  I wanted to choose somewhere that wasn't froyo, because, let's be real, we're always going for froyo so it was between going to FGF and Cypress.  Since Chris had never been to FGF I decided on that, plus they have WAY more options.

It was a fabulous night and it was nice to get out with one another.  It is important to still date each other even once you're married.  It's just tough when your couch and pjs look so comfy!

 Chris had red velvet cake, one of his favorites.
 I HAD to have the hummingbird cake again.  It was just a delicious as the first time.

The day following this date, Saturday, was pretty much one of the best Saturdays ever.  We did nothing.  Well, Chris did a ton of laundry for us and I started on this sewing project.

Our good friend Andrea (Candrian) Reeve is having a baby girl any day now.  I made a baby blanket, three burp cloths and a bib.  I LOVE the bird fabric for the blanket.  The package went out over a week ago so hopefully she got it, so this post won't be a spoiler.  They're not the greatest looking things, I really tried.  I was proud of myself because I free hand drew the three birds embroidery.  I really hope she likes them, like I said, not the best looking but I think the fabric is cute at least. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013


I finished the book I was telling you about in my last post.  It is a definite good read to all who wish to know more about President Thomas S. Monson.  My testimony of him as our prophet today has increased for sure.

This post is a little recap of all that has happened in the best few months.  Yes, we are starting all the way back to August.

August 1st: Chris's 30th Birthday Western/ Magnificent Seven birthday party,

Complete with yummy taco bar.

 August 3rd:  Attended my brother Parker's masters graduation
 and had quality Eliana and Ben time too.

 August 30th-31st: Mia Maid sleepover.  Complete with crazy make overs with tons of strange looks,
a trip to Wal-mart because Chris had to AC filters; after
of course a stop at Nuberri for Fro-yo.

September 5th-6th: Had new windows and sliding back door installed.  Definitely worth it!

 September 21st:  Cultured trip to Pebble Hill Plantation outside of Thomasville, GA.

 September 27th- 28th:  Went to the Temple on a Friday together and worked our normal 4th Saturday shift the next day.   

October:  Mini apple!

 Similar to August's mini green pepper!

October 4th:  Attended FSU Mens basketball madness.  Which was free and we got free t-shirts,

sat two rows behind their bench and was right in front of the dunk contest.

There's a little recap of the past few months for us.  We have been very blessed and have been on the go for awhile now.  November's calender is lookin' mighty fine with not a lot of things going on and we like that.  

Many people have asked how I'm doing and all I can say for now is I'm coping and moving along and trying to be optimistic for 2014.  Things are looking up and even though this has probably been the toughest year of our marriage with lots of ups and downs, I'm thinking 2014 might have some things in store.  Even though I want to laugh at that thought because I said the same thing this past January.  

If you've made it this far on the recap, congratulations!  I can't promise I'll be a better blogger but I'll keep it up as much as I can.  I'm also wanting to revamp the blog but have no idea how to do so.  Any help would be appreciated.  =)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Truly Inspired

These past few months or should I say this ENTIRE year I have been such a blog moocher. What is a blog moocher you ask? It’s someone who impatiently waits for their devoted blog writers to post a new post to then read and comment on and then sit and wait for the next one. ALL WHILE, totally not contributing to the blogging world by not regularly posting about my thoughts, happenings and so forth. I really can’t give the excuse that I have been busy. I have things I could blog about and plenty of pictures to entertain you with from the past two months. However, sometimes I think, “okay, this weekend I’ve got to post something.” But then come back to reality that my life’s boring. I mean, I don’t have any cute babies to post about their growing stats and learnings and it’s not like I have an interesting job where I’m constantly traveling or working on projects. However, today I am not letting those debbie downer thoughts come to my mind. I am a person, woman, daughter of great worth. So what, I don’t have exciting new things happening in my life but I do have a place in this world and I am constantly realizing my worth. Of course, that's after I have a downer kinda day BUT nonetheless, those inspiring thoughts come.

Recently, I have been reading "To The Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson."  I started reading it sometime last year and then stopped.  About two weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon, Chris was away and I sat down on the couch and started to read it again.  Needless to say, I have been hooked.  This man truly is a prophet of God.  He emulates the Savior in every action.  His life has constantly been dedicated to service and love.  Reading this book has inspired me to be a better person.  I have been inspired to serve more, share the gospel with others more often, and to strive to pattern my life after The Savior.  I highly recommend reading it.  The writer Heidi S. Swinton writes in a way that keeps you interested and intrigued by his life.  A lot of the stories he has shared in General Conference are in the book along with hundreds of other aw-inspiring stories from his life. 

Following Youth Conference this past July, Chris and I have really thought about the music we listen to and the movies we watch.  So, I have really tried hard to listen to only uplifting things.  Thankfully at work I have pretty much full access to the internet so I normally go on YouTube and listen to past EFY music.  It really helps me to get through the day.  A couple days I have listen to General Conference talks.  We have thrown away movies in our collection that aren't appropriate and try to be careful about what we watch on TV.  I have noticed a difference.  I have been experiencing better days and have felt uplifted. 

Our Relief Society in 1st Ward challenged us to read the The Book of Mormon in 90 days.  The challenge ends this Friday and my testimony has grown tremendously over the past 90 days.  I am so happy I made the decision to take on the challenge.  I remember when President Gordon B. Hinkley gave a similar challenge when I was a youth and I did not do it.  I made excuses and have regretted it ever since.  So when this opportunity came I didn't want to pass it up.  This book is the key stone of the Latter-Day Saint religion.  I know that by reading the Book of Mormon every day, one can come closer to our Heavenly Father and be inspired to be better, to serve more, to have true charity and endure to the end.

So, I guess this is what really has been going on lately.  True growth.  To all my blogger friends out there who read my blog I want you to know that I love you and think about you constantly and pray for your well being.     

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Oh, hello again world!

WOW... it's been awhile.  After our trip to Nashville back at the end of May, the business kicked in a time has flown on by.

This post is going to consist of just a bunch of pictures with a little background to what was going on.

Let's see... this was, okay, honestly don't remember exactly it was sometime beginning of June.  I found this little vegetarian vegan cafe right close to Railroad Square called Wild Greens Community Cafe.  It was so so good!  It was a little pricey HOWEVER, for the amount of food you got it was totally worth it.  It made us (well at least me) feel really hipster.  Considering we're an "old" married couple and immediately after this went home and feel asleep watching TV, it still made me feel cool.  haha.

For the summer we have been taking care of our good friend Melissa's two cats.  She is up here for the summer just working before going back down to Naples for her 3rd and final year of Law School.  She was going to pay someone down in Naples to come see them and check in on them but we felt bad and told her we'd watch them.  She is still close by and buys all the supplies.  We just get to have two furry greeters when we get home each day.  It's be fun.  This Eli (on the left) and Darcy (right) looking out the window at a squirrel.  They have been earning their keep, two weeks ago they found a frog in the house!  Eli and Darcy are with us until mid August.

Prior to going to Girls Camp, we headed down to Orlando to the Temple from Friday, June 21st to Saturday, June 22nd.  We were invited to a sealing on Friday so we woke up early and headed out and down to the sealing at 10a.m.  We then spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon doing some much needed family temple files.  Chris was able to get the work totally finished for his grandfather; from baptism to sealing to his wife and parents.  It was such a sweet and peaceful day.  It was wonderful to feel the spirit while sealing Chris's grandparents together for all eternity.  His grandmother passed away on his mission in 2005 and it was great to have them back together again.

 On Saturday we woke up early and got to the Temple to do a session in which Chris did the work for his father.  Another great day!  We just have to seal him to his parents now.  The rest of the day we served our shift and even got to leave earlier than usually which was nice.

On Friday afternoon we went to the movies, just at that little movie theater close to the turnpike.  We saw Man of Steel.  The theater was quaint and PACKED.  So many people had the same idea.  Also, a storm was going through and the power went out in the theater about three times and so this picture was during the break while they were getting it to start up again.

 From June 24th-27th I was able to attend Girls Camp.  So. Much. Fun.  I loved it.  I enjoyed it as a young woman but LOVED it even more as a leader.  I went as the assistant stake certification leader and helped out Sister Atchley.  It was so great getting to work with her and get to know her better.  Plus I got to hang out with my young women from 1st ward.  Lots of things went down but let's just say there was dancing on the tables.  ANYWAY... about 5 minutes after I pulled in to the house Chris drove up and had these beautiful flowers for me.  I guess he missed me =)

 To celebrate me being home and Chris no longer being lonely, we went to see Monsters University on the Saturday after I got back.  It was a fun movie and really thought it was funny and entertaining.  Plus we had been collecting cereal box codes for a few months and got the tickets for free so it was totally worth it!
Back to work I went... except thankfully had TWO three day work weeks in a row.  But still not looking forward to getting back into the five day work week...

 However, I did get this awesome cup at Girls Camp!  This should definitely help we drink more water... I'm really bad at that.

July 3rd-6th we drove down to Naples for Fourth of July with my family.  We left Wednesday right after work.  We saw this super sweet Iron Man paint job SUV outside of Tampa.  I think it's cooler than the Skittles Dodge Charger goin' around Tally.

 We spent the Fourth laying out chilling by the pool in my Sister's and Brother in Law's neighborhood.  The clubhouse and pool is RIGHT across the street from them so it was nice to just relax and do nothing and catch up.  On Friday morning we headed over to the house my dad owns down there and I picked up some of my things.  They were all just keep sake memory things but I knew I would have to get them eventually.  PLUS I took home TONS of mason jars.  They were all my moms and I can't wait to start some canning.  There are still 20 plus more there but I couldn't (or Chris wouldn't let me) take them all.  Next time though.

We arrived back at my sisters and my brother and his family came by to visit awhile.  Elianna showed us her new bike and peddled on down the sidewalk for us.
 We went swimming with baby Ben too.
 That afternoon after Parker and the family left, Chris and I went up to this outdoor mall and parked right in front of this little BIG guy.  Don't see them this big too often.
We headed home on Saturday.  Chris even left me DRIVE!  Doesn't happen too often but I was happy he got a little snooze...

This past week was Youth Conference in Troy, AL at Troy University.  Chris and I headed there with a little under 30 of our Ward's youth and some hard working pretty amazing chaperones.  From Thursday to Saturday it was no stop fun and spiritual uplifting.  I had a great time getting to know my girls better and hanging out with them.  Each one is so unique and beautiful.  We had a blast!  Two dances, great speakers and workshops, providing service to a local food bank, and forming lasting memories.

I absolutely LOVE my calling.  I never thought I would serve in Young Women because my testimony of it is so strong already for going through it myself but man oh man, my testimony is even stronger for it as an adviser.  I love these girls and pray for them so often and each one astonishes me with their faith, courage, love for the Lord, and their righteousness.  At girls camp I was able to meet girls from the stake too so it was great to see some at youth conference too.  These girls are truly daughters of God and have worth beyond rubies. 

I really enjoy how much I am learning each day as a result of this calling.  I feel so much more happy and really feel like I have a purpose right now in my life.  All the activities and events help me to just focus on the hear and now and not worry so much about the future but to just know that I need to take one day at a time and if I prove faithful and do what's right the Lord will bless me with the desires of my heart.

This really has been life for me lately!  It's be busy and a rollercoaster of fun.  I'm excited and looking forward though to some slowing down time.  I have a lot of things to work on around the house and new little projects I need to get done.  Sorry for the long period of time between posts but I have enjoyed keeping up with all of your posts and seeing how your lives have been.