Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Carving & a FUN day

I don't carve pumpkins.  Never have.  (well, I did ONCE at a little fall party my friends Annie and Carrie had), but it was more like stand there while someone else actually did the carving.

Saturday when the family was at the Florida-Georgia football game, my boys had a babysitter for the day/night.  Not to worry--I'm thinking they had WAY more fun than we did!

They went to the movies, Moe's, shopping at the Mall and a shoe store, then to a pumpkin patch in a city nearby.  FUN FUN FUN!

Their babysitter, Patricia, really made sure they were out and about on Saturday so they didn't feel like they had to sit at home  She kept me updated throughout the day with cute pictures of the boys!

Apparently the pretzel guy at the mall was a hit.  Who knew?

At the pumpkin patch!
I'm glad they had a fun day while we were at the big game!

Monday, October 29, 2012

In All Kinds of Weather ...(literally)

You may not be familiar with one of Florida's traditions, but during each of the Gator games (home or away) at the beginning of the 4th quarter, every Gator fan stands up and links arms with the next fan and sings We Are The's a great song and an even better tradition.  One of the verses in the song says "in all kinds of weather, we'll all stick together...for F-L-O-R-I-D-A!"

No truer words were ever spoken after this past Saturday--for sure!  The weather in Florida is always unpredictable and the Florida-Georgia football game is just as unpredictable in both score and weather! HA!

Saturday was the annual "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" in Jacksonville, otherwise known as the Florida-Georgia football game.  Our family always makes the trek to Jacksonville for some tailgating, fun, and football!  Little did we know how poorly the Gators would play during the game! As he does each year, Cecil got up around 12:30 (midnight thirty) and headed to Jacksonville to get our tailgate spot.  It's an especially long day for Cecil, but in order to get our tailgate spot, he has to get there around 3 or 3:30 in the morning, even though the game doesn't start until 3:30 in the afternoon.

We had some friends with us this year and I (hope) they had a good time!   Neither had ever been to this particular event and I think they enjoyed seeing all the sights (and lawsie mercy there are some sights) and traditions.

 Edward's wife, Jenni, is a Georgia fan, but we love her anyway....HA!  We enjoy the tailgate too and even manage to sit next to each other during the game without killing one another over bad plays.  We tend to start laughing and rolling our eyes when the guys get so upset over bad playing.
 Max and I during the tailgate.  Bless his heart, he got there early that morning and was tired by this point!
 Our family always takes a picture during the you can see, the weather was quite windy and chilly!
 After about 4 or 5 hours of tailgating, we all headed into the stadium for some FOOTBALL!!!  I love football and I love football when it's cold outside.
Late in the 4th quarter, when it was clear we were going to need some sort of miracle to pull a win off, Cecil and his brother, Edward, put on their rally caps. They are well aware they look half-way silly but seriously did not care in light of needing the Gators to win.
Suffice it to say, their rally caps didn't work and the Gators did NOT win, but it was still a fun day.  A LONG day, but fun!

Still a faithful Gator though!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gearing Up....

Around our house we're gearing up for the BIG GAME.  The Florida-Georgia game, that is.  Hubby will be leaving the house around 1am Saturday morning to go grab our tailgate spot, and I'll be leaving around 8am (like normal people) with my in-laws to meet the rest of our gang in Jacksonville.

We've had LOTS of fun through the years at the Florida-Georgia games!  If you don't believe me, check out my past posts from 2011, 2010, and 2009 .

I've been super busy lately with the kids and their projects, costumes for character day at school, photography editing and bookings, homework, and general housework, but I do have some blog posts in the works and should be back to regularly blogging again within the next week.  Look for a post on "Saying No", "Kitchen Cabinet Cleanout", "Bringing Up Boys", and more !

As always, GO GATORS!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend & Menu

Our weekend was low key !  Can I just tell you how nice that was since we are usually on the go all the time??!!

On Saturday, I had a big photography gig in a nearby town, so the boys ended up with Grandparents.  Not the original plan, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  In farming, you have to pick peanuts when the pickin' is good. 

Saturday afternoon, one of my nieces ended up coming over to play with the boys and spent the night.  We had a wonderful Saturday and Sunday with her and they just played to their hearts content.  It was such a blessing.  Certainly I missed going to church but the kids were having such a good time and it was just a blessing to hear them all laughing and enjoying some downtime.

I was able to get the house cleaned up (some) and work on a few project for our cousin's upcoming wedding (that ALL my boys are in).

I even had time to make our menu and get the meat out for this week.

Monday - Crock Pot Cashew Chicken (a new recipe)
Tuesday - Little Cheddar Loaves
Weds - "Snacks for Dinner" (Carter's request)
Thursday - something with beef round steaks
Friday - Lasagna

I hope you had a great weekend!  What's on your menu this week?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Remembering the USS Cole

Twelve years ago today, the USS Cole was bombed in the port of Yemen, a senseless terrorist attack.  Twelve years ago today, my family received news that no family should ever endure.  My brother was on that ship and we had no idea for DAYS whether he was one of the soldiers killed or if he had been spared.

Thankfully, his life was spared, although he will forever have emotional scars from this attack.  Today, I'm remembering the lives of those lost on the USS Cole and the lives of those still with us, for both paid a price.

Freedom isn't free.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mid-Week Randoms

I've never done a mid-week randoms post before, but there's a first time for everything, right?
  • I can't seem to find the time to decorate my house for fall.  Does a scented candle count as decoration?
  • Busy doesn't begin to describe our lives right now.  I've had meetings at least twice a week for the past several weeks and more on the calendar!
  • Carter is raising chickens for the Fair.  Lord help.
  • Nolan is showing a steer.  Lord help again.
  • Spoke to a friend on the phone the other night for over an hour.  I had a significant amount of unrest in my soul about a few things and she encouraged me so much.  What a blessing it was.  Now, to make the leap of faith and do what we know we need to do.
  • I took photographs of my boys the other night at some of our freshly cut hay bales.  Oh my.  Serious cuteness.  Shirtless and jeans, wooden baseball bat, and an old ladder.  I melted.  In my heart and in the heat.  HA!
  • I'm taking Carter and a friend of his to Disney next weekend for Carter's birthday.  Pray for a cold front to hit Florida.
I hope you are having a most wonderful week!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Baked Potato Soup - it's good for what ails ya!

I posted yesterday about my menu for the week and a couple girls ask for the recipe for the baked potato soup.  I also had a few emails about it.

Y'all.  It's the BEST SOUP EVER.  No pictures, but here ya go....

4 medium baked potatoes (I use about 6 and I bake mine in the microwave)
2 slices bacon (2 is never enough.  I'll just let you know that right up front)
1/2 cup green onions with tops, thinly sliced (I don't use the whole green part, just a little)
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
1 garlic clove, pressed (I just use garlic powder most of the time)
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp pepper (or to taste)
1 cup sour cream (or more like 1 1/4 cups)
cheddar cheese, shredded

After you have baked the potatoes, remove the skins.  Coarsely mash the potatoes.

Here's where it gets tricky.....if you want to use bacon grease in your soup, then fry the bacon.  If not, please do yourself a favor and buy the bacon in the package near the salad dressings.  (Real bacon, NOT bacon bits).  I never fry my bacon because I don't feel  like this soup needs the grease, but to each his own.

Anyhow--If you fry your bacon, then you'll want to remove the bacon from the pan, then add your broth, milk, mashed potatoes, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, then simmer for 10 minutes.  If you DO NOT fry your bacon, just add the ingredients above to a pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Once the soup has simmered and you see it thickening just a bit, stir in the sour cream and reserved bacon.  I let it simmer a few more minutes after I add the sour cream and bacon.

Ladle the soup into nice, big bowls, and sprinkle the cheese on top!  (I always sprinkle, cheese, a few more onions, and some more bacon on top).


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up & Menu

We had a great weekend!  It always goes by too fast!  My yard sale went great and my house got cleaned!  Not to mention, the GATORS won ! WHOO HOO!

I made a big pot of baked potato soup tonight so I could have lunch this week at work, and Carter asked for chicken and yellow rice tomorrow night so I guess that's what we'll be having.

Here's what our menu looks like this week:

Sunday - baked potato soup & beef roast (for the boys)
Monday - chicken and yellow rice
Tuesday - crock pot pork spare ribs
Weds - meatloaf
Thursday - cashew chicken
Friday - leftovers? pizza?

What's on your menu this week?

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Weekend & Hunting Safety

We have a busy weekend ahead!  I've got a HUGE yard sale at the boys school tomorrow morning (about 17 booths have been rented and the rental fees support our PTO), all the guys in the family are heading to the Gator game (GO GATORS!), and I need to whip my house back in shape after having been gone to a meeting every night this week.  WHEW!

I'm seriously looking forward to lounging in pajamas all Saturday afternoon!

On another note (completely unrelated to pajamas or Gator games or yard sales) - I saw these books when the hubby and I were in Colorado a few months ago.

Sorry for the picture quality, it was taken from my phone in a quick hurry!  (We were on our way to a baseball game and had to go RIGHT THEN).

I have two BOYS who like to hunt and enjoy hunting and going to the woods,  but I'm ALL ABOUT safety.  To this day, I still say "Be careful" when they leave for the woods or even go outside to play.  If you recall Nolan's eye incident, you know why I say BE CAREFUL.

I really want to get my boys a few of these Little Sportsman books because I loved the way they were written - very simple and to the point.  Things like "we never point our gun at someone" or "we always keep the safety on until we're ready to shoot".  I'm very strict when it comes to gun safety (or bow safety or water safety, etc.) and I want my kids to enjoy it SAFELY.

You can find the books directly through Little Sportsman's website, Amazon, or I'm sure hunting warehouses like Cabelas or Gander Mountain.  They're a little pricey ($19.99 and up) but I'm sure all of us Momma's would agree.  No price to high for our babies' safety.  It looks like Little Sportsman is running a sale on their website for about 15.99 right now and they have some other deals too.  I'm also LOVING their website!  They have wonderful words of wisdom like "building a better generation of sportsman" and "recruiting tomorrow's sportsman today".  (I sound like I work for them huh?  HA) p.s.  Little Sportsman has NO IDEA who I am, I just saw the books and fell in love.  I'm not being paid to say this stuff, trust me!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Who says farm livin' ain't fun?

Oh livin' is ALL fun!  Want to see why?

Yep--that's a rattler.  Found behind the barn.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In 8 weeks.....

In only 8 weeks, I'll be joining my family at the most magical place on earth for our annual Disney Christmas trip!

Every year my family, my in-laws, and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law all pile up and head to Disney for some pre-Christmas fun!  We attend Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and LOVE IT!

Last year, we did 3 days worth of Disney and it was amazing!

This year, we have a new baby to help us celebrate and my sweet little nephew will be joining us!  We are all beside ourselves to enjoy the celebration with him!  We know it will be a blast!

Carter will turn 7 years old while we're there so we have a special treat planned for him!  You'll have to wait for the surprise though!  If you know me at all, you'll know it has to do with food! HA!

I can't wait for Disney!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Disney Trips, Part II

If you missed Part I of our Disney trip, check it out here.

We took a second quick trip to Disney the beginning of September.  (Just the boys and I again).  It was more of a celebration that we had started school and were adjusting well.

I got a fabulous passholder rate on a room at the All Star Sports resort (again). We had a magical time.  We really slowed down and enjoyed ourselves.  We went into the parks in the early morning and then came back to the hotel and swam the rest of the afternoon, then ate dinner at our resort.  The trip definitely served its purpose of relaxation!

The boys enjoying the bus ride one afternoon.....

 Seeing a soldier from Toy Story at Hollywood Studios one day.

 And y'all.  This cupcake was just sinful.  SINFUL I tell ya.  It was HUGE and worth.every.penny.
 We had a great time and can't wait to head back in December!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Disney Trips, Part I

In keeping with tradition, the boys and I took a short back-to-school Disney trip in August (yes I know it's October, but bear with me okay....).  We've done this the past few years and the kids just love it!

This year, we took two mini trips rather than one extended trip.  Cecil was really, really busy with soybeans and peanuts, so he was unable to go on either trip, but I do Disney very well right by myself.  I've done it many, many times and the boys and I do great!

Our first trip was in August (just before school started) and we stayed at the All Star Sports Resort.  It's not my favorite hotel on Disney property, but the boys love it and it was just us 3, so that settled that.  HA!

We left as soon as we got up one Saturday morning then stayed all day Saturday and that night and all day Sunday, coming home late Sunday evening.

We really just took our time and enjoyed ourselves even though it was HOT.  We rode what we could ride and just piddled around.  It was honestly quite enjoyable!

Usually we just go for "quick meals" but the boys and I were hungry for some real food, so I accessed my Disney mobile app and booked a reservation at Fort Wilderness.  It was DELICIOUS!  The boys were in hog heaven.  Literally.  They love ham, and wouldn't ya know it--ham was on the buffet!  HA!

 And because my boys LOVE salad, they got a HUGE one.  Trust me--that bowl is DEEP.  Yes, it has a lot of ranch dressing on it, but the bowl went on forever.

 Eating off tin plates is definitely my style!
 And there's just nothing on earth like drinking sweet tea from a Mason jar.
 Not only is the dinner a buffet, but they have  dessert buffet too.  I was in heaven.  Everyone talks about how good the red velvet cake is there, and I definitely see why!  It was moist, light, and delicious!

After dinner, we called it a night and went back to our hotel!  The heat and going all day long really hit us  hard!

We had such a fun trip and I'm loving that we carve out time to do this every year together!  I didn't realize this post would be extra long if I added our second trip in, so I'll do the second trip post tomorrow!