what are you fixin'??...

isn't this everyone's favorite time of year??
tomorrow we'll give gobs of thanks to our Maker and eachother, we'll soak up some good ole QT with a few of our favorite faces, and we'll stuff ourselves with deliciousness from every angle!
i can't think of a better way to kick off the Christmas season!
{for those of you annoyed by all the Christmas spirit before the Thanksgiving holiday, i've found a way to enjoy both to the full-full-fullest without leaving anyone out}
November marks the beginning of the festivities and January the end.
why not listen to She&Him's "Baby it's Cold Outside" while cooking up your Thanksgiving feast??  this time of year always passes just a bit too quickly for my liking, so i'm just tryin' to stretch it out a little. that's all.  
no harm in a little extra joy to go around!

moving on...
thought i'd share a sweet little recipe that's been a family tradition of ours since i was young... and i'll be fixing it tonight!  it's simple and scrumptious!

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

here's what you'll need :

layer 1
2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted butter
3 Tbsp sugar
mix ingredients in 9x13 in pan. press flat onto bottom of pan. bake at 400 for 5 min. let cool.

layer 2
8oz softened cream cheese
1 cup sugar
8oz cool whip
mix together until smooth. spoon over pretzel layer.

layer 3
2 {3oz} packages strawberry jello
2 cups boiling water
2 {10oz} packages frozen strawberries
mix strawberry jello and boiling water together. add sliced strawberries. refrigerate for about an hour, until slightly jelled. pour over cream cheese mixture. refrigerate.

you'll need to make this the night before, to give it time to set.
i know it's not much, but it hits the spot and with two babies to tend to in the mix... it leaves me feeling pretty accomplished.

what are you fixin'???



seventy times seven...

last month, my devotion came from 1 Kings 18.
after years of drought, God has promised rain to Elijah.
he and his servant climb to the top of Mount Carmel to search for even the tiniest glimmer of the hope of this promise... several times he sends his servant to look out towards the sea.
finally, on the seventh time, the servant returns with news of a tiny cloud "the size of a man's hand."
Spurgeon says it like this,
"Six times the servant returned, but on each occasion no word was spoken but 'Go again'.
We must not dream of unbelief, but  hold to our faith even to seventy times seven.  Faith sends expectant hope to look from Carmel's brow, and if nothing is beheld, she sends again and again."
i think all of us have felt hopeless at one time or another.
we each have a story.  you can read mine here.
you may not think your story is comparable to anothers, but God's hand is guiding each of our lives in the most perfect way and He challenges us to keep the faith no matter our circumstance.  keep praying. keep seeking. keep asking. keep thanking.
He promises us an answer.
this goes for times of sorrow and rejoicing!

lately, a couple {baby} stories in particular have been on my heart...

Libba's baby girl, Glory, was diagnosed with anencephaly at 19 weeks gestation. 
she is choosing to carry the pregnancy, giving God the glory every step of the way.
you can read about her inspiring journey here.

then there's Mindy.  7 weeks ago she gave birth to a precious little boy.  they named him Isaac.  she and her husband, Daniel, were made aware of some complications when they went for their ultrasound to determine the sex of their little miracle.  but it wasn't til a couple weeks after he made his debut that he was diagnosed with fanconi anemia.
I've known Daniel as one of my brother's close friends for years now, and Mindy couldn't be more perfect for him... and God couldn't have picked two more perfect parents for Isaac.
Mindy's got her own little blog spot here.  stop by and read her story.

and here's this little guy.  Corban Shepherd.  i'm not clear on all the details of his condition, but he's been in the hospital and up against some major challenges since his birth, almost 4 months ago.  God has seen this precious little family through so much over these past few months, with a couple recent victories! praise Him!  i try to stay updated through a very dear friend of mine and facebook :)

also, i have quite a few friends right now that are trying {and have been trying} to get pregnant for some time now.  their desire is SO great and despair sets in often.
waiting is the hardest part.
for some, everything lines up... reproductive system checks out {for both parties}, ovulation is right on time, and they've already been blessed with one or two other beautiful babes.  so, why the wait now??
others have found they can't have biological children, but the Lord has laid adoption on their heart and they're just waiting on Him to see it through.

please take time to lift these incredible ladies up in prayer.

these stories center around the journey and gift of motherhood.
but wherever God has you sitting right now, trust Him.
keep praying. seventy times seven.


thankful thursday...

we're gonna have a master bath! eee!
our house actually already has two baths, but the second one is downstairs while all the bedrooms are upstairs... and it doesn't have a shower installment.  it's just a tub, so it doesn't get used for much more than the toilet and sink.
i really haven't minded the one bath situation... sharing with babies and guests.
when we got our house, we thought we probably wouldn't be in it any more than 6 or 7 years (we're going on 5 now) with just 3 bedrooms.  but, lately the more we think on it... we just love this place.  it's been such a labor of love and we really have made it our own cozy little nest... we can't imagine leaving anytime soon.  we've always wanted our kids to share bedrooms anyway, so there's no harm in growing our family under this roof for a while longer.  the guest bedroom was already eliminated with Bellamy's arrival, so they get the pleasure of shackin' up in our family room on a super comfy air mattress!  no one's complained yet!  and the downstairs bathroom will soon be for them.
Justin and i have only day dreamed about a master bath until a couple weeks ago.  but with talk of a third baby already a-brewin' (i said TALK, not action) and the decision to stay in this house indefinitely, we decided a master bath was in order.
i've never been able to enjoy the luxury of true privacy in the bathroom and i've realized this is a serious momma NEED!  a long, hot, evening bath in a clawfoot tub accompanied by a little smooth 40's jazz.  {door locked}.  yes please.
i LOVE decor, but really haven't had much experience in the architectural and design departments... but with a little insight from dear friends and a picture in my mind, i'm learning as i go.  and did i mention how wonderful it is to have a husband that doesn't mind getting his hands dirty and doing some REAL work!  if he doesn't know how to do something, he learns.. and fast!  he and a couple other really great guys have been workin' hard since last week and we're shooting for a finish by the new year!  we'll see...
so, here's to our new addition!  
SO thankful for the means to pamper ourselves in this big way!


cheeseburger soup...

okay so, switchin' it up a bit today and doing a little food post... not many of those around these parts.  don't get me wrong, i LOVE food.  looove food.
i wouldn't say i'm not a good cook. i think that's something learned {although some have more of a knack for it than others}. maybe i just lacked passion... and time. 
but, over the past year or so, as our family grows and i've learned how to gauge my time as a stay-at-home momma, i've felt a little spark where food and cooking is concerned.
it's true that one way to a man's heart is through his belly... especially for my man.
i've always wanted him to come home to delicious meals, but was always intimidated by anything more difficult than, say... spaghetti.
it took babies to change my perspective.  not only do i care about keeping them full and healthy, but i want them to grow up lovin' their momma's cookin!  and i want all their little friends along the way to love it too.  is that wrong? do you know what i mean??
anyway, i'm taking baby steps toward chef town, and it's a looong road.

i feel like this is a safe place to start...
cheeseburger soup!

i've made it a few times now and it never disappoints!
it's great for this time of year and the leftovers are just as good the second time around!
the prep takes about 20 min and total cook time is around 30.
seriously, if i can make this without screwing it up, anyone can.
you'll love it!
here it is...

1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups cubed potatoes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cubed Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sour cream

>>in a large pot, melt 1 tablespoon butter or margarine over medium heat: cook and stir vegetables and beef, until beef is brown.
  • >>stir in basil and parsley. 
  • >>add broth and potatoes. 
  • >>bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  • >>melt the remainder of butter and stir in flour. add the milk, stirring until smooth.
  • >>gradually add milk mixture to the soup, stirring constantly. bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. 
  • >>stir in cheese. when cheese is melted, add sour cream and heat through. do not boil.

nighty night!


what's in a weekend...

is it just me or are the weekends coming and going before i can blink?!
i would hope for there to be more posts between these 'what's in a weekend' segments, but the days have been running together a bit lately and by the time i have a moment for myself, i'd really rather just talk to hubs about our days and read or watch a movie.
but, i've got a lot to talk about this week, so we'll see ;)

first things first... Antiques Fall Classic!  the Metrolina Expo holds an Antique show the first weekend of every month (click the link to look at their calendar), but only twice a year do vendors come from all over the country to showcase their treasures and sell them to antique junkies like myself!  i try to make it every time, even if just to look around (although i'm not sure i've ever left empty handed).  
this time, i was in the market for his&her nightstands and a buffet to house his&her sinks in our new master bath.  i got to help my little sis with some fabulous finds for her new home too!  so fun!
here are the nightstands...

complete with new lamps!  both antique with dove tail detailing on the drawers, original hardware, and keyhole locks!  they're in fantastic condition and are just what i was looking for! love them!

Saturday we went to the Renaissance Festival with my family, swung home to lay the babies down for a nap (and sneak one in ourselves), met back up with my fam at Texas Land & Cattle for dinner to celebrate my little sis, Kathleen's bday, and then back to our place for cake and icecream!  FULL day! 
{it actually ended up being just me and Ace at the restaurant for dinner... Justin stayed home with Belle who hadn't been in the best of spirits.  poor girl.}
anyway, this is what the day looked like...

if you live anywhere near Charlotte and have never been to the Renaissance Festival... GO!
every weekend through the months of October and November, they transform a wooded area off of Poplar Tent Road {near 73} into a beautiful Renaissance village called Fairhaven.  everyone you meet there plays a part, from the jousters and the acrobats to the woodland fairies and magical musicians.  there's something there for everyone in the fam! oh, and the food is so delish!

Justin's mom and stepdad Allen arrived late Saturday night and we enjoyed a big breakfast with them the next morning before all heading off to church.
we dedicated our baby girl to the Lord on Sunday morning.  there's a post on that comin' your way, but in the meantime, i'm SO thankful and happy to be raising our children in the love of the Father!  what a gift!

hope you guys got to soak up just as much of this weekend's GORGEOUS autumn weather as we did!
Happy Monday!