We had such a fun and wonderful Christmas this year! My girls being 5 and almost 3 were so much fun to watch. They were so grateful and so sweet! Notice the blue stocking on the far right. It's an extra one we already had monogrammed and hung in anticipation of having our little guy home with us next year! Santa even left him a few things in it:) We spent Christmas Eve and all day Christmas visiting family in 3 different places. We are so blessed with a large family and lots and lots of little ones all around the same age. SO MUCH FUN! Another cool thing that happened to us is that me and the girls were at the mall and Habitat for Humanity was there selling fundraiser raffle tickets for a playhouse. Me and Alyssa decided we would try our luck at winning and make a donation to support such an awesome organization. As we were getting ready to leave Alyssa says..."mom, I really want that playhouse." I told her let's pray that we will win, and just said the simple prayer..."Lord, it sure would be fun if we would win this. Amen" And we went on our merry way. Well, I was sitting home one night and went to check my phone and had a message from a lady saying..."I am calling on behalf of Habitat for Humnaity to let you know you won the little blue playhouse!" Oh my goodness...it was so exciting! I felt like God had given us a little Christmas present. We got it delivered to our house 2 days before Christmas and surprised our girls with it. When they saw it, Alyssa just froze her eyes big and smiled at me and asked..."did we win?" I was jumping up and down saying "yes, yes, we won!" And Aubrey ran to it right away yelling " my house, my house." It was such a nice blessing! I was thanking God to myself and I felt like He whispered to me...'Stace, if I can answer your prayers and provide for your girls a playhouse, I will surely answer your prayers and provide for this adoption and bring your son home.' So simple and so sweet! It was a great Christmas indeed! (We hung blinking lights on it after we finally got it in the backyard :)
Here is a recipe I got from my friend Jenn. I made it this past weekend and it was delicious so I thought I would share. This would be a good Christmas morning breakfast! We sprinkled the tops of ours with pecans (before baking) and powdered sugar ( before serving)...YUMMY! Also, I wanted to share that we got our fingerprint appointments in the mail!!!! I started crying when we got them...tears of joy of course! We are well on our way to the wait list!!!!
Ingredients 1 (1 pound) loaf French bread, cut diagonally in 1 inch slices 6 eggs 1 cup milk 1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3/4 cup butter 1 1/2 cups brown sugar 3 tablespoons light corn syrup Directions Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange the slices of bread in the bottom. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over bread slices, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup; heat until bubbling. Pour over bread and egg mixture. Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
Hey Everyone, We got more women's t shirts in (Brown)! We now have sizes S, M, L, and XL. The men's version(green) is still available as well. This is just in time for Christmas, so be sure and place your order quickly so it can make it to you on time!!!!!
Oh how I love Christmas! The cold crisp air, fuzzy warm socks, fireplace roaring,stockings hung, hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows with a peppermint stick dipped in it, snuggling with loved ones, elf on the shelf, Christmas movies 24/7 on the Hallmark channel, and driving around and looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights, while listening to Christmas songs! It makes my heart so happy! It makes me feel like a kid all over again! I could go on.... waking up Christmas morning and watching my children enjoy opening gifts, making a special breakfast afterwards and traveling here and there to spend time with all of our family and friends. All of this stuff is so great! But that's not what Christmas is all about, is it? Somewhere in the Santa shuffle, we tend to lose site of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. The signs that people hang up that says "Keep Christ in Christmas." I have to embarrassingly confess that it kind of got on my nerves, because I saw how people that weren't followers of Jesus reacted to it when they saw it. I thought, to an unbeliever, this could give them an excuse to roll their eyes at us religious folk because we were being too religious about it. Don't get me wrong, I totally understand the meaning of the saying. I just was concerned that to an unbeliever it would seem just "religious" and not really impactful to them. This was until something was said to me. I was at a Christmas parade, and someone said to me..."what does that mean...Keep Christ in Christmas?" I totally brushed it off, trying not to be too religious, and didn't really respond to it. The Lord brought immediate conviction. Oh my heart! I could feel that I had grieved God's heart. Christmas is about Him! It is our Lord and Savior's birthday. It is that moment in time that God came to earth in the form of a baby to live as we did. It is the absolute most miraculous thing that has ever happened on this earth! It's not just an inspiring story of something that happened long ago. It was the moment that changed our future. Without this moment we wouldn't have Easter and Jesus dying on the cross for our sins....the whole reason we will be able to spend eternity in Heaven. Because of this moment, I am able to be forgiven and live a changed life for His glory! Without this moment, Aaron and I wouldn't be adopting a baby from across the world. You see almost 11 years ago, God changed my life. He came into my heart and changed me. And in that moment, He gave me His heart! Thank goodness, because I can say that without Him, this heart of mine would not be a pretty one :) So towards the end of the parade, Santa drove past on his float, and as I was enjoying watching Santa and all the kids getting so excited, (which is fun to watch) with God's grace and gentle conviction, I became reminded of how glorious Jesus is and just how much He deserves being acknowledged on the day of his birth! I wanted to be excited about Him, like these children were excited about Santa. He, also in His very gentle way showed me His heart for Christmas and for those that don't have what we get to experience on Christmas day. Living in America we are beyond blessed. It is a blessing to be able to enjoy all these things. We are blessed so that we can bless others that aren't as fortunate. We have to be God's hands and feet. He is relying on us to be that helping hand to someone in need. He needs us to grasp His heart so that we can show others how great He is, and how much He loves them and cares about their needs. It's not about us doing something nice for someone else, it's about us having the heart of a great a glorious God and it hurting so much to see others in need, that we go and be Christ to them! I just want to inspire my readers to keep Christ in Christmas this year. Worship Him and celebrate His first coming to Earth, and ask Him what He wants you to do this year for someone in need...whether that be for a child all across the other side of the world, or for a family that lives right down the road from you, go and be Jesus to them. Go impact one life! And while being Santa is fun, don't let him upstage our King!
I really like to cook and I enjoy easy recipes, so I thought I would share another favorite with you. My kids really like this one too! I will bake this the night before and pop it in the microwave in the morning for breakfast, and we also have it for dinner often. It's great for anyone watching carbs or not...it's just plum good, and is chalk full of spinach :)
ingredients 1 dozen eggs beaten 1 8-oz package of shredded cheese (cracker barrel sharp cheddar is my favorite.) 1 pkg frozen chopped spinach ( thawed and drained) or fresh raw spinach 1 pkg of little smokies chopped salt and pepper to taste
* preheat oven at 350 degrees. Spray casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl and pour into dish. Cover with foil and bake for about an hour. I like to take my foil off the last 10 or so minutes and let it brown on top. (this can also be cooked in a muffin pan for portion control)
side note: I have used diced ham for this, or you can use any breakfast meat you prefer. If you don't like meat, don't use meat at all, but the little smokies gave it the best flavor in our opinion. They make lower fat turkey smokies, and you may also use egg beaters and low fat cheese. My family enjoys this with salsa and low fat sour cream. Give it a try and let me know what you think :) Hope you enjoy!
Did I ever mention that my girls like Taylor Swift? Well, they love her and pretend to sing like her all the time. My favorite is when they will do the famous hair flip and say ..."thank youuuuu." Cracks me up. The other day Aubrey was singing and she says to me..."momma..I Hannah Tanna, Swiff." (Hannah Montana Swift would be that translation in case you couldn't figure it out). So here are some pics of my girls playing in my boots and putting a kitchen concert on for me.
This first one just cracks me up..HA! Oh what a pose :) And the famous hair flip hahahaha!
I just wanted to let you know that we have more t shirts ordered in all sizes. We still have plenty of men's shirts on hand, and in the women's we only have 1 small left and 2 medium. Our t shirt company says our new order will be in no later than December 15th, so keep that in mind if you wanted to get one as a Christmas present for someone. Getting them to you before Christmas shouldn't be a problem.
For those who are curious, I am going to give you a little update on where we are on our adoption journey. We FINALLY finished our homestudy and were officially approved. Last week we mailed in our I600A, and we now wait for our fingerprinting appointments. After being fingerprinted we will have to wait on another approval form, then we will need to send in our dossier, and at last we can be on the wait list for a refferal for our son. In a more detailed update, I am just going to be real. I myself have struggled with fear a little bit lately. Fear of the unknown, or the uncontrollable. This journey thus far has been nothing but a roller coaster of emotions, some joyful and exciting, and some heartbreaking, and maddening. At first we dealt with a completely broken heart for the fatherless. God opened our eyes to what He cared about, and there was no turning back. Then came the excitement and an urgency to get started on this undeniable call God had spoken to us so loudly. Then came some heartache of rejection or lack of support, which was attributed to fear. We realized real quickly that not everyone was going to agree with or be supportive of this very Big thing God was asking us to do. With this we quickly learned a very valuable lesson to put our faith and trust in God and not in man. Then came the paperwork, and that brought discouragement and frustration, and apathy, but we pressed on. Then the fundraising brought stress and hard work, and humbling ourselves to an uncomfortable level of having to ask others to give. It also brought much joy and celebration to watch God provide through His precious people, and watching loved ones come together to help raise money to aid in bringing our son home to us. I can't wait to tell him one day of all the heroes he has in his life that helped in bringing him home. There have been MANY days when I have said to Aaron, "I cannot believe we are adopting a baby from Ethiopia." This is how I totally without a doubt know that it is for sure a God thing. This isn't something that we ourselves would've ever in a million years imagined ourselves doing, but we're doing it. This isn't something we decided to do on a whim. This was something placed in our hearts that will NEVER change or go away. So this is why we press through the fear of the unknown, and the discouraging arrows that the enemy throws at us. WE ARE CALLED! Our hearts were forever changed, and we know with all our might that there is a little boy all the way on the other side of the planet that God has hand picked for our family to call our own. He has a mom and dad who already love him, and two sweet big sisters that cannot wait to meet him and pray for him daily.
Oh Colorado....land of God's beauty and sweet people :) This past thanksgiving we had the priviledge of traveling to Colorado and staying with Aaron's mom's side of the family. This was the first time I had met most of this family, and I have to say they were honestly some of the sweetest people I have ever met. I have never in my life been treated with such hospitality. They loved on us and our girls and fed and served us the whole time we were there. Aaron kept saying it was like being at a bed and breakfast. We tried to go out one night so they wouldn't have to cook for us, but they INSISTED on us staying. This whole family was absolutely precious, so loving and sweet! They really had a grasp on what it looked like to live like Jesus. He shined through every one of them, truly! It was wonderful to share the common bond of Jesus with them. We were only there for a short time and by the time we left our girls were hanging all over them, giving hugs and kisses and acting as though they had known them their whole lives. Thank you Sullivan family for making us feel so at home and loved! We love you all, and our girls already miss you :)
Note...This is not a picture of the pie I made. I didn't have one, so I downloaded this one :)
Hey Friends, I thought since it was Thanksgiving time, I would share a favorite sweet potato pie recipe that you may want to make yourself! It's so easy and so good!
We will start with the oh so good and simple flakey crust:
1/2 cup cooking oil 1 tsp of salt 1 1/3 cups of flour 3 tbls of milk All you do is mix the first 3 ingredients together, then when totally blended quickly mix in the milk with a fork. Use your hand to pat the crust in the bottom of your pie plate. Pierce with a fork all over to prevent bubbling.
Next...the pie filling :) 3 sweet potatoes boiled and peeled. 3/4 cups of sugar 1/4 cup brown sugar 2 tbls of flour 2 eggs 1/2 cup evaporated milk 1 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp allspice 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp vanilla Mix all together with an electric mixer. ( I don't mash my potatoes too much....I like to leave them a little lumpy) pour into your pie crust and bake at 350 degrees until pie is set and crust is brown....I usually have to cover my crust half way through baking so it doesn't burn...It takes about 45 min to cook.
I like to serve with fresh cinnamon whip cream....I can't tell you the measurements, but I use heavy whipping cream, sugar to taste, cinnamon to taste, and tbls vanilla flavoring, and whip until peaks form. Try it out and let me know what you think. I guarantee you will impress someone with this pie! Have a happy thanksgiving everyone!
My cousin Kendra, who I am very close to, a year ago got married to Matt Caldwell, who whisked her away from us to Nashville where Matt has a publishing deal and writes and records music. He is amazingly talented I might add! Kendra and I grew up 2 months apart and were best buds, and still remain very close. I had never been up to visit Mrs. Caldwell, so my sister-in-law, Savita, and I decided to take a little trip to Nashville for a visit! We had such a great time! Since we had never been to Nashville, Kendra wanted us to experience everything, so she took us EVERYWHERE! We went out on the town, shopped til we dropped in Franklin, drove around and visited where all the "locals" hang out, saw where all the recording is done, toured inside Matt's workplace and recording studio, went to the Grand Ole Opry, and country music hall of fame, and ate our way through the entire weekend. Our first night there, we met Chris Young, and had hopes of running into Taylor Swift for our girls, but never did :) Here are some pics from our fun and busy filled weekend!
the mechanical bull from Urban Cowboy :) This one was for momma...Loretta's biggest fan :) Kendra pretending to play Elvis's piano This one is for my girls....Taylor Swift's dress and guitar....Their Taylor Swift Barbie has this very dress :) Oh my goodness...Savita's plate at the "Loveless Cafe" They are suppose to be the "best" biscuits ever. They were good, but they don't have a thing on my Mamaw's biscuits :) Grand Ole Opry night...Gretchen Wilson Ricky Scaggs Little Jimmy Dickens...so cute and witty :) Shopping in Franklin Checking out Matt in action at his studio(Matt is the one in the incredibly awesome t shirt) with some other guys that are amazingly talented that he writes with....the guy on the far right plays for Loretta Lynn :) Kendra, Savita, and me :)
I just wanted to do an updated post on how many t shirts we have left. As of today in the womens shirts, we are sold out of sizes Large and Extra Large. We have 6 small left and 7 medium. Keep in mind that these shirts DO NOT run small at all. They are true to size. In the men's green shirt we have 2 Medium, 5 Large, and 6 Extra Large left.