Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fantastic

What a FANTASTIC 5 days this has been! I got home from work Tuesday afternoon and it's been non-stop fun and good times since then. Now it's Monday...back to work, reality and eating like a normal human being. I hated to see the extended holiday weekend come to an end, but it's been great and there is much more fun to come in the month of December.

Thanksgiving was simply wonderful. After coffee and coffee cake for breakfast, I finished cooking and baking while I watched the parade and John replaced the last of the burned out bulbs on the house. Once we stuffed ourselves completely at lunch, we cleaned up the kitchen, took naps and watch the Cowboys game. Hooray for victory!! The evening was spent eating leftovers, making a shopping list for Friday, playing games and watching the Texas vs A&M football game

Friday we ventured out to do some Christmas shopping...what a full day it was. We left our house at 7:30am and got back home about 4:30 - whew! We didn't want to fight the " early bird" crowds, but we did want to hit a few stores Friday morning. We went to Kohls and Target and then made a Starbucks stop on our way to the Galleria mall in Dallas. We shopped at the mall and also enjoyed the ice skating show and tree lighting. The Galleria tree sits in the center of the ice skating rink and stands 95 feet tall with over 400,000 lights. It is gorgeous and it was so neat to listen to the holiday music and watch the show. After the Galleria, we went to Firewheel for pizza (the best pizza in the world) at Brooklyn's and then more shopping. We got a lot of Christmas shopping done and had oh so much fun. We took a nap when we got home and then watched a Christmas movie and I worked on Christmas cards...while eating more food of course!

Saturday we tended to various "to dos" around the house in the morning then spent the rest of the day and evening decorating the inside of the house for Christmas and making snacks to enjoy. We watched football and listened to Christmas music. I love when the house is all decorated for Christmas - so cozy and nice! John loves getting up each morning and turning all the lights on inside on the trees, nativity scenes, etc - that's his thing.

Sunday was church and working on various things around the house, plus finishing Christmas cards and watching football. It rained all of Sunday, so it was a nice, relaxing day inside.

We took TONS of pictures of our weekend so once we get all of those uploaded, I'll put a little slide show on here for your viewing pleasure. We are getting back into our normal routines and have a full calendar for December, lots of exciting stuff going on this holiday season.

Hope your Thanksgiving was fantastic too!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

What a wonderful day this has been! After breakfast this morning, John and I went to Starbucks and then to pick up our last minute groceries. We also stopped in Target to buy "Four Christmases" and "Home Alone" to add to our Christmas DVD collection - can't wait to watch them this season. The rest of the day was spent here at home cooking, baking and cleaning. John so kindly cleaned a lot of the house while I worked in the kitchen for several hours doing all sorts of cooking and baking for tomorrow and the weekend. The house smelled so good all day. It was a great time and we are excited for tomorrow.

I made a coffee cake to have for breakfast so we are looking forward to that and a cup of coffee while we watch the parade and then work on lunch. John has a few burned bulbs to replace tomorrow sometime and then we will be ready to plug in the lights tomorrow night. Oh and GO COWBOYS!!

I'm now off to watch "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" with John and Calvin. It's a really funny movie that takes place at Thanksgiving, so it is very fitting. A good way to unwind for the night!

We wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Exterior Illumination

On Saturday, John worked on getting all of the lights on the house and the yard decorated for the Christmas season. Yes, it was the weekend before Thanksgiving, but we haven't actually turned them on yet. In fact, he's still got some work to do. He is off the rest of this week, so he's working on getting it all finished up today and tomorrow. We always do this the weekend before Thanksgiving so that as soon as all of the festivities are over, we can plug in the lights and let Christmas begin. If he had it his way and we had tons of money, we'd have a house like the Griswold's. He's already talking about changes he wants to make for next year. Here are a few pictures of my sweet husby in action...
It'll be so beautiful once it's all done - I cannot wait to see the house all lit up. This is hanging on our fridge right now. I am so excited to make and eat everything on it - hee hee! These are our menus for Thanksgiving breakfast and lunch plus our Tree Trimming menu for Saturday night and weekend desserts. There will also be lots of leftovers and we have some goodies that I recieved at work to enjoy as well. We'll get back to eating right and working out next week - too much to enjoy this week.

Have I mentioned how much I love the week of Thanksgiving?
Until we meet again...
Riley

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Week is Here - HOORAY!

Hooray, the week of Thanksgiving is here! This is probaby my favorite week of the year. This year, John and I are staying in town for Thanksgiving...just the two of us and we are looking forward to it very much. Two days of work and then a nice extended weekend. We have so many fun things planned over the next few days. I'm really excited about all the cooking and baking to do for Thanksgiving - we have quite a feast on the menu. We are anxious to celebrate on Thursday and then look forward to getting the house ready for Christmas over the weekend. Shopping to do, cards to prepare, gifts to wrap - fun times. John worked on getting lights on the house this weekend and we'll have pictures to share soon. Oh the excitement...

Have a wonderful week and truly take time to thank God from whom all blessings flow!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Show Us Your Life - Pets

Kelly at Kelly's Korner is hosting another installment of the "Show Us Your Life" series and this week we are showing off our pets! I've been so excited about this one...we simply adore our dog.
This is CALVIN - isn't he cute? We got Calvin two months after we got married. We were married in February of 2003 and we got Calvin in April. We had been talking about getting a dog once the wedding was over and we were all settled into married life - how domestic of us. John really wanted a beagle and he knew that he wanted to name him Calvin after the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes (one of his favorites). We would look in the newspaper from time to time and finally came upon a man selling several beagle puppies. We told him we wanted a male and arranged to meet up with him. When we went to get Calvin he was the only puppy left in the cage - all 5 pounds of him. So we've had him for almost 7 years - he'll be 7 in January and it's been such a delight to have him. Calvin is the laziest dog we have ever seen and we mean that so lovingly! The picture above pretty much sums up what Calvin does at all times - nothing but lay around. He's so laid back, bothered by nothing, rarely barks, watches toys being thrown (but doesn't go to fetch them), sleeps constantly - so carefree. His absolute favorite thing, besides eating, are his fleece blankets. He will curl up in them, snuggle with them, wrestle with them, chew on them, cuddle with them...you name it! We have several fleece blankets around the house that he enjoys. He even sleeps with a couple in our bed each night. He loves our bed and spends most of his time there during the day. We laugh because he's like a little child and likes to be under the covers, surrounded by stuffed animals. We don't give Calvin "people" food too often, but the three things he gets most excited about are bread, animal cookies and popcorn. He goes nuts when any of those things are out in the kitchen - too funny. Calvin's greatest fear is the vacuum cleaner. When it is pulled out of the closet, he freaks out and starts shaking. He will run and hide from it - poor dog. One day when John was vacuuming, I was getting some clothes out of the dryer and Calvin came and jumped in the dryer. I had to take a picture...
We love being able to take him on trips with us - he does so well. Calvin is the best cuddler - such a snuggly dog. He is so soft and warm ...the best napping partner. Except for the early puppy days (when he did a lot of chewing and digging), we've had no problems with Calvin. We have been lucky too because he has been very healthy, but we take good care of him. We just LOVE Calvin - he is the best dog ever and we are so blessed that he is a part of our lives.

In closing and with the holidays approaching, Calvin would like to wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!Thanks for stopping by - have a great weekend!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up X 2

Well, we have some catching up to do from these past two weekends...

The first weekend of November we spent in Mount Vernon, Arkansas with John's family. We had a great time! We played board games, played football outside, watched football, did a lot of cooking and eating, made homemade hot cocoa mix, camped out in the living room, talked and laughed, went to church - all sorts of good things. We also shared an early Thanksgiving meal Saturday night and did our annual gift exchange. Each Thanksgiving, we all draw a name and get that person a little gift to kick off the Christmas season - it's a fun tradition. We took lots of pictures, but here are a few highlights...




This past weekend, some of my family came up to visit and help celebrate our nephew Seth's 7th birthday. My Dad, Kristin, Andrew, Noah, Hillary and Bronte all came up LATE Friday night. My step brother, Neil, his wife Amy, Seth and Alyssa live about a half hour from us so some people stayed with them and some stayed with us over the course of the weekend. The birthday party was Saturday afternoon at the Lego Education Center, so that was lots of fun. It was a nice weekend getting to hang out with everyone and visit. We all went to dinner Saturday night and made a trip to Toys R Us afterwards for Seth to spend his birthday money. What a crazy place that was - everyone is already Christmas shopping for toys I suppose. They all headed back to Odessa when we left for church Sunday morning. Again, we took tons of pictures, but here are a few of them...



This weekend we are here, but we have a packed calendar with all sort of things. So much going on this weekend, but fun times indeed!! Have a wonderful week. Thanksgiving is getting closer ~ Hooray, we can hardly wait!

Until we meet again...
Riley

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!

My apologies for a lack of blogging these past few days. We left last Friday afternoon and returned on Monday afternoon from a trip to Mount Vernon, Arkansas to visit John's family. We had a really nice weekend with them and we will share our pictures once we get them all uploaded. Stay tuned!

Life is staying busy for us in all sorts of ways, but life is good! Don't you just love this time of year? So much going on, but so great.

Speaking of "this time of year", a few turkeys have made their way into the living room. The turkeys on the DVD shelf were Grandma Stone's and I was able to take them when she passed away - so special. The cute little "Give Thanks" piece was given to me by Carianne as part of a hostess gift for helping with her baby shower. I just love it. We have a turkey on our "Welcome" wreath, a turkey towel hanging on the stove and a Fall flag in our front flower bed, but I haven't snapped pictures of those yet. Hopefully in time...If your interested in a yummy fall treat, I highly recommend a Starbucks "Caramel Apple Spice". Oh my, is this a tasty drink with all the flavors of fall...apple, caramel, cinnamon - DELICIOUS!

We have a full rest of the week and weekend ahead - we'll keep you up to date as best we can. Take good care - until we meet again...
Riley

Friday, November 6, 2009

Celebrate Good Times ~ Halloween 2009

This post is way late, but it's been a week of sickness and busyness. All is well now!!

We had a really fun Halloween. It started off with orange cinnamon rolls for breakfast with milk and coffee. After breakfast, I opened all of our candy and got it ready on the entry way bench and also made some cupcakes for us to have Saturday night. We then spent the day being productive around the house and working on all sorts of things. For dinner, John went and picked us up a pizza and breadsticks. Being the darling that he is, when he came back in with the pizza he was holding a bouquet of beautiful flowers and said "Happy Fall" as he walked in the house. I'm so lucky!! I put them in a vase and set them by the sink. After our pizza, we spent the next two hours passing out candy. We bought more candy this year and STILL ran out. When we turned out the light and blew out the candle in the jack-o-lantern, we had "treated" 161 kids (we had 148 last year). We easily could have gone over 200! That was about 8:30 Saturday night. We ate cupcakes and watched a movie after trick-or-treating was over, but that's when I started to feel pretty ick!

Below are various pictures from our Halloween. Be sure and notice the jack-0-lantern...John carved it and I love it! It's not the typical shapes for eyes, nose and mouth, but they are awesome. Also one of the pictures is kind of blurry, but it shows people in our neighbor's yard - just shows how many people are out for candy in our neighborhood... they're everywhere!

Now it's time to move onto Thanksgiving - HOORAY!! This is such a wonderful time of year...Thanksgiving is just 3 weeks away. We have fun things planned for that time as well. Today we are headed to Arkansas for the weekend to visit John's family. It should be a great time and of course, we will have pictures to share. Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Until we meet again...
Riley

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cuddly Calvin

I've been sick this week and Calvin has been quite the snuggle buddy. On Sunday, he laid on the foot stool of my chair and kept me company. He loves the Cowboys too...

Until we meet again...
Riley

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Recipe & Love

About a week ago, I made some homemade applesauce. I don't make it too often, but I usually try to at least make it once or twice in the fall because it's such a good fall treat with the apples, cinnamon, nutmeg....mmmm! Plus it makes the house smell devine while you are making it! You will need 4 apples (I used Macintosh), 2 cups of apple juice, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.
Peel, core and cut the 4 apples into chunk pieces.


Place the apples with ALL of the other ingredients into a medium sauce pan. Stir to mix all ingredients and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, turn heat down to medium and let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. As you stir and all the ingredients cook together, the apples will begin to break up and absorb the juice. Once everything looks fairly mushy, remove from heat and stir until all is well mixed together. I even used my potato masher to really break everything up and stir together. You can serve it right away and enjoy it really warm...or put it in the fridge and have nice, cold applesauce! It's really tasty and flavorful - healthy too!

So now for the "Love" part of this post...

John and I tell each other we love each other every single day...and not just once a day, but several times a day. We also say it in all sorts of ways with different wording. From time to time, one of the ways I say I love you to John is "I love you to the moon and back". On our recent trip to Fredericksburg, we found a little wooden sign that said just this phrase and we knew we had to have it! Plus the colors were black and cream, which match our bedroom so well. We were anxious to get home and find a place for it in our room...It's PERFECT!

We have a few Halloween pictures to share...we will post those pictures soon. It was quite a fun weekend, until I got sick - UGH!

Until we meet again...
Riley