Thanksgiving Wrap Up

First of all, DID YOU SEE THE BIG GIVEAWAY that’s happening NOW?! A donation of $10 tiny dollars gets you entered to win over 25 items!!! I am super grateful for those folks who donated items for the giveaway and want to highlight them over the next few weeks. I’m starting with the “Love Never Fails” prints. There are THREE of these to giveaway and any of them would look just lovely framed in a bedroom, or a hallway, or anywhere to give you a sweet reminder that true love, never fails.

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I ordered the first one from Southern Weddings for our very own wedding, and ordered a second one for this giveaway! The black version pictured, is from Lovely Little Paper Co. and is STUNNING. This would stand out on just about any wall! The third one is classic with it’s black and white look and is from The Stationary Boutique. All three of these prints are $16-20 each, so by donating just $10 and having the chance to win one of these, you’re still coming out on top – and you get something pretty out of it!

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Now, for our Thanksgiving Tour wrap up. We started in the triangle area of NC with my in-laws and spent 2.5 days with them, eating ourselves silly

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….and playing tons of games.

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I made some special treats to take with us, including Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies, Mini Sweet Potato Pies and Apple Butter Cookies (with my Paw Paw’s apple butter). They were all delicious but the Nutella Cookies obviously took the cake, or cookie.

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On Friday, we hopped in the car (with the dogs!) and headed to Virginia for time with my family and to celebrate my cousin’s recent marriage with a Hokie themed reception!

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Our niece and nephew loved spending time with the doggies…

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On Saturday, we went to the Pete Dye River Course and celebrated my cousin and his wife, Katie.

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The Hokie themed reception was so much fun – especially the photo booth. All of the little ones loved putting on moustaches and crazy hair. It was so nice to catch up with everyone and see how happy Alex & Katie are together. And now that wedding season is over for us (whew!), it’s time for everyone to start having babies (except us!).

How was your Thanksgiving? What was your favorite part? For me, it was definitely the sweet potato casserole. I think I could live off of that!

 

Grateful times grateful!

Happy Thanksgiving! Such a wonderful day with my incredible husband and in-laws. Grateful to have two amazing families, our health, our pups, and an amazing meal!

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Looking forward to seeing my Virginia family tomorrow and celebrating my cousin’s wedding on Saturday! The Thanksgiving tour continues…

Weekend Wrap Up [Andi’s Dedication]

This past week was a doozy! I accepted an assignment to review 7 live music venues in 7 nights, which meant after working all day, working out and making a quick dinner, I had to get ready and go back out in the cold to all of these venues and listen to music that I wasn’t super pumped about. That being said, I actually enjoyed MOST of the venues and artists. My favorites were definitely open mic night at The Evening Muse and Visulite Theatre. I also enjoyed all the extra time with my husband and am super grateful that he was willing to tag along with me to all of these shows.

IMG_7182This was our millionth try for a picture and my husband was hating the flash. Fun fact: only one of us loves having our picture taken! On Saturday, I had to do my long training run, which wasn’t actually  all that long this week. I did 6.08 miles  and felt pretty good while doing it. Didn’t hurt that the weather was INCREDIBLE on Saturday.

IMG_7377After the run, we went to a local bar to watch the Hokies (I’m embarrassed to say that) and the Harvard/Yale game (Hooray, Harvard!). Saturday ended with our 6th show of the week and my mom was in town so she got to go with us. Mom came in to celebrate my niece’s baptism on Sunday. So glad we were able to be part of such a special day in Andi’s life and loved spending time with the family.

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I made some whoopie pies for dessert after the dedication. My sister-in-law served us a delicious lunch and we all got to watch my nephew Damon show off for his whole big family. Now, back to those whoopie pies. 5 ingredients and absolutely delicious!

IMG_7203Since it’s almost Thanksgiving, I’ve been baking a ton and trying out lots of Pinterest recipes. Today, I made three kinds of sweet potato pies. I love the bite-size pies because you can try all three kinds and still have less calories than you would with a normal slice of pie! I also made chocolate chip Nutella cookies and apple butter cookies with my Paw Paw’s apple butter. Excited to spend this week with both of our families and of course, our sweet pups!

IMG_7353Happy almost Thanksgiving! Hope you are enjoying taste-testing all of your creations – or at least getting ready to share in some special time with family and a big meal, too!

Fatsgiving

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, I figured it’s only appropriate to talk about favorite foods for Thanksgiving dinner. My personal favorite is anything sweet potato, and preferably with marshmallows. I also have become a huge fan of fried turkeys. My in-laws started doing this a few years back, and last year my husband and I (really only him) fried our own.

I used to have a love for corn pudding and now I have a hard time thinking about it. I try to watch what I eat most of the time (with the exception of my cravings for wings and chocolate) and I work out to combat those calories. Thanksgiving is rough, not just with butter and sugar filled foods, but that overwhelming desire to sleep after gobbling up a plate of turkey. Did you know on average, people gain 7 lbs. over the holidays? Doesn’t that number just sound crazy? I can tell when I gain a single pound, and seven sounds like a devastating number.

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Don’t worry, I’m not going to be passing up Thanksgiving dinner, but I am going to try to make healthy decisions leading up to it – and especially the day of, starting with my Shakeology for breakfast! No need to let it all go for one meal. And maybe I’ll only have two slices of pie… (PS – that pie above was baked with love by my chef of a husband!)

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And since this will be my first year not running an organized 5 or 8k in honor of turkey day, I think I might have to do my own. I’m getting towards the middle of my half marathon training at this point, and should be able to do 7.5 by Thanksgiving day. So, at my weight and pace, I’ll burn around 800 calories and carve out room for that pie.

What are your favorite foods to feast on at Thanksgiving (always looking for new recipes!!)? My father-in-law said he wants a sweet potato pie, so I’m going to try those out this week and see if I can make one that’s delicious enough to share!

Full to the brim!

This year, we hosted our very first Thanksgiving at our home as a married couple. We celebrated the day with my grandparents, mother, brother, sister-in-law and nephew (and two scavenger dogs).

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Our menu consisted of:

  • Fried Turkey
  • Ham
  • Salad with honey goat cheese, cranberries and walnuts
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Green bean casserole
  • Mac N’ Cheese
  • Cornbread stuffing
  • Deviled eggs
  • Gravy
  • Brownies
  • Pumpkin Pie squares
  • Chocolate Chess Pie

Is your mouth watering? Wait until you see the pictures!

My husband fried the turkey. It was not only his first turkey cooking adventure, but first time frying. We started with the marinade the night before all of which he mixed up. On Thursday, he put together the rub and covered the turkey with it and let it set for a few more hours before entering the fryer. At first he thought he had burnt the turkey when it came out but we quickly found out that it was DELICIOUS – and the marinade made it super juicy. Everyone devoured the turkey (almost wish we had bought a little bigger one!).

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My Maw Maw brought the ham (and brownies), which she had put a glaze on and of course this country mouse loved the ham. Who doesn’t love ham? I know Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, but I was thankful for ham.

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My sister-in-law (above) brought the Mac N’ Cheese and cornbread stuffing. Both were delicious and were much needed starches to the semi-healthy sides I tried to make.

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I had apple cider warming when everyone arrived. A simple recipe but was delicious and kept us warm on such a chilly day! Just add cider from a jug in the crockpot, 2 cups of water, 2 cups of rum, 5 cinnamon sticks, 18 whole cloves, zest of an orange and a lemon and cut up an apple in chunks. Bring to a boil and then keep warm while serving. All of our guests (even Maw Maw) enjoyed this warm drink!

My sweet potato casserole was a favorite of everyone. It’s such an easy recipe and is semi-healthy. It calls for 5 medium sweet potatoes (chopped and boiled to soften), mix 1/4 cup brown sugar, sweet potatoes, 3 tbs orange juice, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup low fat margarine together and layer in baking dish. Use marshmallows or pecans to top. Put in oven on 350 for 10-15 minutes or until top is browned.

unnamed-9While the main dishes were amazing, dessert was still (and always is) my favorite part. My husband made Chocolate Chess Pie at 8 A.M. to accompany my pumpkin pie bars (literally pumpkin pie cut into squares) and my grandma’s brownies.

unnamed-10I could not be more thankful for the family that we were surrounded with and the opportunity to spend that time with them. My heart is overflowing with love and gratitude for each and every one of them – including my husband. Not only did he cook, but he did most of the cleaning up post-apocalypse, I mean, post-Thanksgiving dinner. Feeling lucky & thankful to have him by my side, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.

unnamed-11Happy December!

Gee, I really love you…

I didn’t do a Thanksgiving post because I was passed out after eating a plate full of southern deliciousness (turkey, sweet potato pie, mashed potatoes, green been casserole, stuffing… and of course, pumpkin and chocolate chess pie).

But, while we were celebrating Thanksgiving with my fiance’s sweet, sweet family (that I am SO lucky to be able to call MY family now), we had a little engagement shoot at Fearrington Village.



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And our shoot wouldn’t have been complete without a few “fun” photos…

YAY! We’re getting married!

 

“Make sure you marry someone who laughs at the same things you do.” – J.D. Sallinger

Hope y’all had a nice Thanksgiving. I’m very thankful for both of my families, my supportive and oh-so-sweet fiance, my best friends – who are also my bridesmaids, my sweet pups that can brighten any day, and being so blessed in life. I’m one lucky gal!