Our First Christmas

Merry Christmas, friends! I hope you all had a fantastic day yesterday. TK and I definitely had a wonderful day full of friends, family, food and gifts (I really wanted to carry that alliteration out but oh well!)

As our first Christmas as a married couple we felt this one was pretty special. Like many newlyweds we didn’t have a ton of decorations (or a place big enough to decorate) but we did have a Charlie Brown tree.

In the past few weeks I’ve been telling people we had a Charlie Brown tree and I don’t think they always understood me. No, it wasn’t a sad tree from the Christmas tree farm. It was a legit Charlie Brown tree.

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Kora Spencer

The Spencer family is expanding! It’s my pleasure to introduce Kora Spencer.

Kora Spencer

Kora is a Miniature Australian Shepherd and she is simply precious. She’s six weeks old and TK’s parents brought her down with her when they came for Thanksgiving this week.

I’ve wanted a puppy for a long time and TK decided we could get one for Christmas this year. We got to pick her out last time we were in Arkansas – she was only about a week old and her eyes weren’t even open yet!

Already had her picture taken with Santa.

I apologize in advance for all the pictures I’ll be posting, but really, can you resist that face? She’s pretty well behaved already and I’m starting to house train her today.

By the way, does anyone have any good hints about training dogs? I’m reading Family Friendly Dog Training and it’s been really helpful so far.

I’m absolutely obsessed. She’s too cute and loves giving kisses! Continue reading

Festival of Holidays

‘Tis the season to be jolly! I know we’re still a few days from Thanksgiving and traditionally I don’t start celebrating Christmas until after I’ve watched Macy’s parade and eaten too much turkey, but the ladies at church had a fantastic holiday celebration this past week that thrust me into the holiday spirit!

Decorations at our table. Too cute!

My friends Megan and Tess decorated a beautiful table for the event. We got to relax, hang out with friends, sing some songs and get rejuvenated for the rest of the year.

My in-laws are coming down to celebrate Thanksgiving with my side of the family. That’s one thing I’m incredibly thankful for – family from both sides who get along. How cool is that?

As far as Thanksgiving is concerned, I’m looking forward to helping my mom and mother-in-law cook dinner. I think I may be making some kind of pie – I’ll let you know how it goes! Continue reading

Foliage and feasting

The leaves they were crisped and sere –
The leaves they were withering and sere;

-“Ulalume,” Edgar Allan Poe

We’re officially past October and I have decided to embrace the fact that I will be waking up to cool mornings and chilly weather for a few months. It is officially time for boots, sweaters, soups and festivities.

Our apartment complex has become a beautiful spattering of fall colors as the leaves turn from green to yellow to bright oranges and reds. I’ve enjoyed walking to my car while crunching the leaves, reminding myself of my 10th grade literature class where the Venerable Mr. Friedman littered the floor with leaves as we trounced around reciting Poe’s “Ulalume.” Continue reading

Happy [pumpkin-spice-cupcake] birthday to you!

As a 4th grader, I was not very high up on the list of popular kids at our local elementary school. I’m not sure why – my permed hair, braces and wire-rimmed glasses should have won the rest of the 4th graders over – but alas, I would have been left to sit alone with my Furby had it not been for this wonderful girl named Lauren.

Lauren and I met that year and we have been best friends ever since. Our one fight did stem from a discrepancy over a Furby dictionary (now those horrid little animatronic creatures are back, but we won’t let them get between us!), but we resolved the problem quickly and have maintained our friendship through thick and thin. She took my phone calls when we were miles apart and I went through my first heartbreak, I helped her talk through life decisions about school, work and family and most recently she stood beside me as my maid of honor as I married my other best friend, TK.

So what is one to do when one’s best friendĀ  – who is now the Starbucks goddess of north Georgia – has a birthday? Well, one bakes pumpkin spice cupcakes, of course!

Pumpkin Spice cupcakes with cream cheese cinnamon icing. Appropriately decorated for my BFF Lauren.

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Crock Pot: Baked Potato Soup

In my last post I said I had some goals for this month, and this post I’m going to give you an update and then a couple yummy recipes. I know, get excited.

So here are my goals:

1. Start running again – Well, I was going to start that this afternoon, but we had thunderstorms all around us and all the running websites I’ve visited said not to risk it if there’s lightning. And for some reason our apartment complex’s “fitness center” doesn’t have a treadmill. Hopefully the weather will clear up and I can start tomorrow.

2. Learn at least two healthy crock-pot recipes – TK and I just finished eating a delicious baked potato soup. Usually I’m leery of potato soups because they tend to be so creamy, but I eliminated the milk (which was kind of a mistake while reading the recipe but it still turned out great!), so it was better than I was expecting. Plus it was very tasty. Look below for the recipe (plus the recipe for the cheesy biscuits I made with it!).

3. Watch some football – I’m currently watching the UL- Monroe/Arkansas game. Did you know a pass interference gets 15 yards and a first down for the team the pass interference was performed against? I learned that tonight.

4. Continue learning more about HTML/CSS – Totally did that this week. I started writing code! I can now write a heading for my website. That’s a start, right?

5. Join my church in reading the New Testament – TK and I have been keeping up with this and I’ve already learned a lot. It’s interesting to read through the book of Matthew (for example) and keeping the author in mind. He had a much different perspective and audience than other writers such as Luke.

And now, the grand finale, the delicious recipes from tonight’s meal! I adapted the soup recipe from 365 Days of Slow Cooking and the cheesy biscuits came from Plain Chicken.

Baked Potato Soup

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September: new month, new goals

It’s September, a glorious month that starts out with a three-day weekend and will (hopefully) bring about cooler weather making it appropriate to wear long-sleeve T-shirts and eat soup all the time. Yes, I love warm weather, but I’m kind of sick of it right now. Bring on the brrr!!

The past few months have been up and down as far as goals I set for myself. At one point I was running (well, walking/jogging) three times a week, eating better and taking time to read and continue learning new things. Then I stopped. No reason, just got busy and went into a funk where I’d rather eat ice cream than go for a run/jog/walk. Then TK and I were working out together and he was encouraging me to read and learn new things. Then I would do well and before I knew it I was watching endless streams of random Netflix shows eating more ice cream (are we sensing a pattern here?)

But it’s a new month, new season and another chance to get back on track! To make it easier for myself I have set out some goals for September: Continue reading