Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Appetizers, dips, and cheese balls, OH MY!

I love food - it's really not a secret. I really love good, country, SOUTHERN food, but since my move to Florida, I have broadened my horizons a bit and realized I can eat, AND ENJOY, some, ahem, what I call ... fru fru food.

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I thought I would post some recipes of some wonderful dips, appetizers, etc that I have come to enjoy! I hope you enjoy them too!

Endive Stuffed w/Goat Cheese* and Walnuts

My friend, Stacey - you know, the one that does all my flower arrangements and has no blog, she brought these to a wine tasting this past weekend and they were DELISH!

*I had this the other night and she used blue cheese instead of goat cheese - ALTHOUGH - I really like goat cheese. Blue cheese is just easier to find. You will find yourself chomping on these and going back for more. They are ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL! I think I stood over the plate and ate about 10 of them. Seriously. I will be making these for Thanksgiving Day appetizers.

Toffee Dip

I have no picture for this one, but trust me, it's SO good and perfect for fall! I make it and it doesn't last long at all. I normally serve with apple slices and graham cracker cinnamon sticks.

Cheese Ball

This one was introduced to me by Shawn. She makes it and it disappears ...like all the rest of these!

1 pkg Kraft Roka Blue

1 pkg Old English

1 block cream cheese

Garlic to taste

Mix together - put in fridge to harden - shape into ball and serve with crackers!

Baked Brie

This is my go-to now for just about anything I have to go to ... it always goes fast and is quite delicious! I have used many different types of preserves, and I'm thinking cranberry preserves would be really good (if I can find it).

What are your favorite recipes?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Family Christmas Pictures ~ 2009

Once again, the talented Torrie Fagan from Torrie Fagan Photography shot our Christmas pictures! We've been using Torrie since we moved here and she NEVER disappoints!

We had our outdoor location planned for WEEKS ~ and it was the most perfect day for pictures. Until we got to the location and I'm not even kidding, there was a Pioneer Days type fair set up on the grounds. I DIED. I started FREAKING out .... Torrie knows me all too well and said "Listen, let's head over to Hollis Gardens in Lakeland and we'll shoot quickly and get them done" ... sure enough, we pull up and they were actually prepping for a wedding. I'm telling you - it was the quickest 20 minutes and we got a TON of wonderful pictures!!

Me & my Princess

Isn't this gorgeous?

My favorite picture out of ALL of them

Another favorite

I've already designed our Christmas cards - just waiting on one final picture to insert and we're DONE! Once they are finished, I'll be sure to post it on here. I think they turned out GREAT!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Seriously ... sometimes I just want to raise my hands to the heavens and shout "WHY?!" .. actually, I'm lying, I did that .. today.

Although I don't understand, I will trust in Him and know it is all for a greater purpose.

I have a friend whom I met through a local charity I have done work with - a sweet friend, whom I have gotten to know over the past few years. We didn't hang out on a regular basis, but we did exchange emails, texts, and an occasional phone call.

She has a precious little girl that was fighting leukemia. This sweet girl just celebrated her first yr anniversary treatment free! She is thriving and growing up to be a beautiful little girl, alongside her older sister and brother.

Her mom, Anissa, fought with her and for her. She became an advocate for her daughter and made sure she received the best treatment possible, all the while trying to provide a normal life for her husband and other 2 children. She is hysterical. Really - I would comment on almost every post she wrote and tell her she needed to be a FREAKIN' SITCOM WRITER! She is FUNNY.

Anissa suffered a stroke before Peyton was diagnosed with leukemia. She said that stroke helped her better understand how to care for her daughter. She recovered 100%. Yesterday, she suffered another stroke - this time massive. She is currently in ICU in a hospital in Atlanta. I am shocked, saddened and really confused. There are times today when I was driving home today and I would just weep. Weep because I am just totally blown away by the events that have transpired and really, just how quickly things can change - in an instant.

So I ask you, storm heaven with prayers for Anissa. She did not have a good prognosis today, but after some visits from her children and the power of prayer {I am certain of this}, she is making improvements. You can follow her via her website, Free Anissa or Aiming Low.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu-Planning Monday

I got a little off-schedule last week because Big Daddy was out of town, so we kind of just ate what we had in the house! Now, Big Daddy is on a MASSIVE diet, and he can't really deviate from the diet (that's kind of the idea, right?) - but he REALLY can't on this one. He has his own menu (just think chicken, steak, or salad) and so we are free to eat whatever we want!! YAY!

Monday ~ Spaghetti tacos (it's exactly what it is), french fries

Tuesday ~ Polynesian chicken, white rice, peas

Wednesday ~ Macaroni & Cheese, salad

Thursday ~ cheeseburgers, tater tots, baked beas {I will be leaving to go see New Moon with Shawn}

Friday ~ Chicken Katherine, peas, salad

Saturday ~ wine tasting/dinner w/friends


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Inspiration Sunday

I decided I would share with you songs that mean something to me - every Sunday.

I'm hoping you'll watch the video - maybe it will reach out to you.

This song is special to me b/c our church actually recorded it ... and it turned out amazing!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"I Know The Plans I Have For You"

We have had .... literally .. an unbelievable week {all good}. Big Daddy and I are in awe of how God is working in our lives. We most certainly believe that we have been brought to a place that has humbled us and we give all the honor and glory to Him. It certainly was perfectly orchestrated ~ and I'll leave it at that.

While we were at church earlier today, we were speaking with our dear friend, and worship pastor, as well as a couple other pastors from the church. Our worship pastor left the room, but came back about 30 seconds later. He said 'I felt God tell me I need to come back and sing this song over you - really, I need to sing it, it's overwhelming'.

This is the song he sang {but imagine it coming from a guy, that sounds like Gary LeVox from Rascal Flatts, but more amazing}.

I snot-cried ... Big Daddy cried ... it was very, very moving.

So I want to take this time to let you know if you're struggling, hang in there. There is a light at the end of the tunnel {and it's NOT a train} - keep steadfast in your prayer and even when there doesn't seem to be ANYTHING to be thankful for - remember to thank God for SOMETHING, the littlest thing - FIND SOMETHING. Most of all - remember to give all the glory and praise to God - praise Him even in the bad times. God will provide the grace and mercy to bring you through.

Jer 29:11 ~ For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

27 Days of Thankful

I saw this post over at my in real life BFF's blog, Seriously and thought I'd like to join up!

I'm behind, so I'm just going to start today, on Day 3

Today I am thankful for my church.

A place where I can worship freely, bring all my 'issues' to the alter and LEAVE THEM THERE, unjudged.

I am thankful for a place where I have met some of my dearest friends - people I may never have met otherwise and they all live just minutes away.

I am thankful for a place that has changed my life dramatically - and the lives of my husband and children.

I am thankful for a place that accepts me for me - crazy past and all - realizes and understands that my past is just that - my past.

I am thankful for being loved unconditionally by complete strangers.

I am thankful to be given the privilege to worship without persecution and to use my talent and love for singing.

I am thankful for my church - a vessel in which I can be closer to my God and grow deeper in my relationship with Him.

What are you thankful for today?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Meal Planning Monday

I've gotten lots of compliments/comments regarding my meal planning - although I don't think I have the BEST recipes or the most 'balanced meals' - knowing I've got friends that look forward to seeing it, has really held me accountable to posting each week! ... so here we go!

Monday ~ pre-made meat loaf from our local grocery store (If you have Publix in your neck of the woods, go back to the meat department. They have a LOT of pre-made meals and their meat loaf is TO DIE FOR! It's so good and only costs about $5) mashed potatoes/gravy & peas

Tuesday ~ Fiesta Chicken Casserole, salad

Wednesday ~ Pork Chops, scalloped potatoes, green beans

Thursday ~ Chick-fil-A night (Princess has cheerleading until LATE, so we'll be eating out)

Friday ~ dinner plans with friends

Saturday ~ Crock Pot Lasagna, french bread, salad (yes, we eat A LOT of salad)