Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were delighted that my parents could spend the Thanksgiving weekend with us! 

My favorite moment each Thanksgiving is going around the dining room table at the end of the meal, each person sharing three things they are thankful for...and depositing three corn kernels into a bowl that continues year after year to fill with gratitude.

This year, our family wrote things we were thankful for on these cards and hung them on a Thankful Tree...then I compiled the cards and tied them together...it will be special to look at these from year to year, seeing both the many blessings in our lives as well as seeing how our children's handwriting changes!

There were leaf crowns, gingerbread donuts, Packer football, Skype conversations from New York and South Korea, stories, amazing Pecan Pie, rocket launches, phone calls to family far away, and lots of yummy cooking!

What a precious gift to just be together on Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Simply Lovely, No. 7

The last, lovely leaves of autumn.

Look at the handiwork in the veins of those leaves.
Each, a tiny masterpiece.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

happy find!

I came across Mary Kate McDevitt's beautiful lettering and artwork today!

Isn't that November print just gorgeous?!?!? (Apparently, it's a free desktop wallpaper...you can click the via link for more info on that!)

And how adorable is this?  I love it.  (What did we do before etsy???)

And I'm thinking I should get this one and place it on my desk as a good reminder that email and text are great...but nothing like the feel and sentiment of a real letter in your hand.

She has such a great style...and much variety! Which pieces grab your attention?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When you have apples...

Make applesauce.

We did the week after returning from North Carolina and our apple-picking adventure.

I wanted a crock-pot recipe, so that we could enjoy the smell all day...and for the ease during that post-vacation return to normal.  I found several recipes online, combined a few of them, and this is what I came up with.

Hearty Spiced Applesauce

10 apples, I used a combination of Pink Lady and Granny Smith
1/4 tsp. vanilla
4 tsp. raw sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 cinnamon stick

1.  Wash all apples well.  Slice apples and cut into bite-size pieces.  I used an apple corer/divider and left the peel on, to create a chunkier applesauce, but if you prefer, you can peel the apple.  Place apples in the bowl of a crock-pot.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl and pour over the apples in the crock-pot. Stir to coat, making sure to cover the cinnamon stick with apples.

3. Cook in crock-pot over low heat for 6-7 hours.

4.  Remove cover from crock-pot and test apples; they should be soft and breaking apart.  You can serve as-is, or use a potato masher to break the apples down further.

5.  Delicious served warm or cold.  Keeps refrigerated for one week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm Thankful for these ideas...

With the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons quickly approaching, I thought I'd alternate on Tuesdays between "Simply Lovely" posts and Pinterest inspiration!

I love this mantle idea...and wondering if I can recreate it in the next couple of days!

I love the idea of a thankful tree...I'm planning on beginning this tomorrow at dinnertime, using these thankful tags (a free download!) from Jones Design Company:

I printed mine out on normal white card stock, and the linen detail and colors are SO beautiful.

I just think this take on pumpkins is adorable.  It's not too late either...I have a plain pumpkin sitting on my front porch that is dreaming of being dressed up for Thanksgiving!

If you have a tree that still has gorgeous leaves (like we do in Oklahoma right now), consider this easy garland tutorial. The kiddos could totally take on this project!

I'm thinking something like this would look lovely on the coffee table in our sunroom or as the dining room centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner.

A smaller version of these would make darling place cards...another great project idea for the children!

And I think these are adorable place cards as well...and the link has 25 more craft ideas too!

And these coloring pages would be fun for the younger children...on the school days leading up to Thanksgiving!

For more Thanksgiving and autumn ideas, you can check out my "Thanksgiving" Pinterest board! And please share any links to other Thanksgiving ideas in the comments...I'd love to find other creative ideas to pin!

Monday, November 14, 2011


I came upon these pictures a few months ago.

It had been a long time since I had seen them.

They were taken by one of my best friends, who happens to be an amazing photographer.

She has such an eye for truly seeing. And capturing.

She has a tremendous gift.

Hadleigh was about 18 months old.

I was about 2 months pregnant.

Still new to motherhood.

Still learning.

Wondering how life would change.

A bit afraid of how this unique mother-daughter relationship would alter with the addition of another.

Soaking in the little moments.

Little hugs.  Little kisses.  Little smiles. Little words.

Watching, wide-eyed as she grew in curiosity.  In ability.

In wonder at the world around her.

So thankful for that sweet and short time, when my days were full of her. And her world, full of me.

So thankful for the sweet relationship that began way back then and continues today.

Thankful for these photographs, these treasures.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Eleven on 11.11.11

1. Today is our oldest niece's 9th Birthday! Happy Birthday sweet Emily Joy!

2. Happy Veterans Day to my Brent...and to all those who have selflessly and faithfully served our country with honor and courage and sacrifice.  There are no sufficient words...so thank you. From the bottom of my heart.  

3. Hadleigh and I were at Hobby Lobby at 11:11 am today...on the Christmas stockings aisle. :)

4. There is a massive Lego project currently underway in our living room.  The train table is completely covered in legos and the surrounding floor holds boxes of legos.  (Which is where the rest of my family was at 11:11 am today.)

5. I have unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher twice already today. (Dinner party with friends last night=lots of dishes!  But we had a wonderful evening...with an amazing dessert I'll be featuring here soon!)

6. Looking forward to watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, parts 1 & 2 this weekend. (I was excited to find a place that would rent it in town.  I don't like the buy before you can rent policy!)

7 . I'm getting excited about the approaching holidays...I need to make a gameplan for Thanksgiving...and start making some lists for Christmas!

8. We are taking a Christmas picture tomorrow...and I'm hoping we can get a good one! (I'm thinking ice cream will be a good motivator!)

9. Next week is our last week of Classical Conversations until 2012!  I have a cute gift in the works for my little class of eight 5 & 6 year old boys!

10. I have so many scrapbooking projects underway right now,  I'm not sure where to start (or finish)! Two mini albums are awaiting finishing details, one mini from our trip to Asheville is awaiting pictures, and my December Daily album is in the beginning stages.  But at least they are projects that make me smile!

11. I finally pulled out our autumn decorations last night (nothing like company to motivate decorating!)  and our living/dining room looks so cozy, especially with a fire in the hearth. I'll share pictures next week!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Simply Lovely, No. 6


Beaverdam Lake, Asheville, NC

And the calm stillness that allows for glass-like reflections.

Monday, November 07, 2011


enjoying...the full day of thunder, rain, and lack of sunshine. :) my kind of monday.

wearing...last year's version of this sweater (which I really like too!) and cozy pants.

watching...the storm clouds continue to gather.

listening...to three little voices playing together.

eating...a bite or two of cookie dough.

drinking...an earl grey latte.

thinking...that "quiet time" guidelines need to be reevaluated, as Madeleine's nap length has changed drastically this past week--much much shorter.

wanting...to curl up with a good book and another cup of tea.

needing...to go to the grocery store.

contemplating...adding Journal Your Christmas to my December Daily project this year.

loving...the precious different ways my three kiddos show affection!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Sky Top Orchard

It's a beautiful (and chilly) day in Oklahoma...and the sky reminds me of our beautiful day in North Carolina a few weeks ago, when we went apple picking at Sky Top Orchard.  

There's something thrilling about picking your own apples...something so sweet about taking a few bites while picking...and something like fear as you watch your six year old son try to climb to the top of apple trees like his (much older and agile) second cousins, because that's the "best" way to get them.

The afternoon was perfect, though the hike to the still-fruit-bearing trees was much longer than our last trip there. (You can see a glimpse of the stretch we hiked above.) After baskets full of apples were collected and paid for and apple cider doughnuts and cider slushies were enjoyed, we called it a day. It was a wonderful afternoon with much of my Dad's extended family.

I can't help but think about our previous trip there...

And in case you have your own stock of hand-picked apples, there are some apple recipes coming your way these next few weeks!  ( and I'd love to hear your favorite apple recipes...as we still have some apples left!)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

My Winter Cuppa Tea

Earl Grey Lattes.

Perfect for crisp afternoons.

Dreamy, smooth, and sweet.

A good drink to have in your repertoire.

Earl Grey Latte
serves one

1/2 cup water
1 Earl Grey teabag (I use Tazo for these...though I love Twinings too.)
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla syrup (to suit taste)

1. Bring water to boil in a tea kettle.  Place teabag in a large mug.  When water boils, pour over teabag to fill the mug halfway.

2. Meanwhile, pour milk into the glass of a frother.  I use this one with great success.  Immediately AFTER pouring water over teabag, microwave milk for 1 minute 5 seconds. Milk should begin to bubble around edges and be hot. (Your microwave may heat differently, so experiment to get hot milk using the least time possible.)

3.  Place frother lid in the frother and pump until milk has doubled in amount, about 45 seconds to one minute.
4. Immediately pour frothed milk over tea and steep for two more minutes.  I like to steep for a total of 4 to 4.5 minutes, so it's important to work quickly.  Remove teabag carefully with a spoon, to preserve foam on top.

5.  Add about 1 tablespoon of vanilla syrup (more or less to suit your taste) and stir.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Simply Lovely, No. 5

Hello, November.

Trees aflame.
as pictured above in Asheville, NC mid-October.
Autumn has descended on Oklahoma as well now...lots of yellows in the trees.

I think it's simply lovely that I get to enjoy the changing colors twice this year!

Is it still autumn where you are?


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