Midweek Randoms (aka Hello Wednesday)

Hello Friends.  So, last week was quite the doozy.  We had fastball after fastball thrown at us, and by the end of the week, I wasn’t leaning in to take the big swings.  I was just turning my back to the ball and covering my head, and taking the pelts, over and over.  But we’re halfway through the week before Thanksgiving, which means my to-do list is five miles long, and my brain has to be locked and engaged if I want to get anything done at all!  And so far so good, but there’s nothing left for any kind of decent blog post, except a whole bunch of randoms.  So here’s a bit of a brain-dump for a midweek post.  You’re welcome. Haha 🙂

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Scott was gone over the weekend, and by Sunday afternoon, I needed a break.  Nothing better for me than getting in the kitchen and making something special.  I am not typically a baker, but when it comes to family recipes, I’m all in.  My mom had sent me this recipe a while back, for my grandmother’s Fresh Apple Cake, and I had just enough apples to make it.  And it was just perfect.  A dense cake- perfect with coffee or tea, sweet but overly sweet.  The Caramel Pecan Sauce that tops and fills this cake is better then just about any frosting I have tried.  Doesn’t it just take a tried and true recipe to get you back on track sometimes?  I’ll be sharing this recipe here on the blog later this week (hopefully, ha!), so check back in for the recipe.

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Brantley, First Grade

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Grayson, Pre-K

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Bennett, 2 Year Old Preschool

Can I just say that I totally love school pictures?!!  I love the way the kids’ pictures came out this year!

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WHEW…after taking a break over the summer and having an intentionally slow fall, I am up to my shoulders in Christmas orders!  I am trying to get as much done and out by Saturday so I can have a bit of a Thanksgiving break, so I have had and still have yet to have some super late nights this week.  And trying to squeeze in a few cute outfits for the kids too…

…Which is also why I have had to take a short break from my handmade fall sewing!  But I already have a few things cut out and tons of fabric in the queue, ready for me to sew up a couple of cute things for myself again when I get a moment.  Plus, I have already started a spring sewing list, and plan on doing this for every season!  But, there’s still plenty of time for longsleeves after Christmas, so I can continue my “fall sewing” well through the winter.  Thanks, mild Georgia winters!

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My Dad is so awesome, and such a talented woodworker!!  He had made several pieces of furniture for us in our house (most recently our kitchen table for my birthday), and so when he made my mom the cutest “ornament advent calendar” for Christmas last year, I knew I had to have one too!  He gave it to me a while back, and I just couldn’t resist putting it up last weekend.  I have had family photo ornaments made each year since 2011, and plan on hanging them all on display!  I had considered putting them all on their own tree this year, since I am accumulating such a collection of them, but I am in love with how they look on the board.  The sneak peek is shown above, and I can’t wait to show you how it will look once ALL the ornaments are up!

I have the ornament advent calendar on one side of the doorway into my dining room, and really wanted something very similar that I could put on the other side of the doorway, so my awesome dad made me a board, the same dimensions as my advent calendar, to hang on the other side.  I wanted to use it for Christmas cards, but since they are both so large and heavy, I wanted to be able to use them for dual purposes, for hanging Christmas cards during the holidays, and pictures the rest of the year.  So here’s what I made, using the board Dad made for me:

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I made a giant photo board and I am OBSESSED.  I had some of my Instagram pictures printed off (Snapfish does them for 20 cents each and I received them in only about 3 days from order date!), and hammered some nails onto the board and hung bulldog clips from them.  Then I just clipped my favorite pics up onto the board, and voila!  DONE!  I LOVE that when my Christmas cards start arriving in the mail, I can take the pictures down, and will have an easy and stylish way to display all the beautiful pictures of our friends and family.  And once Christmas is over, I’ll take the cards down, and put our family photos back up!  I can have more printed off and switch them out as often as I like, or leave the same ones up all the time.  It will also be great for birthdays, when I want to fill it up with the special birthday girl/boy for their big day!

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It was SUPER easy, very inexpensive, and it is perfection on my wall.  I used to have shutters that flanked the doorway to the opening of my dining room, but when I decided to take them down several months ago, those walls have just been an eyesore.  But now with my ornament advent calendar (which also might stay up all year round!) and my photo board, the walls look SO much better.  I will be posting a tutorial for the photo board really soon too, so stay tuned!

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(Horrible lighting, thanks to the night-time phone pics, but I will post better pictures soon when my Christmas decor goes up!)

I am newly obsessed with Aldi.  Did you know that Aldi Grocery Stores were founded by the brother of the Trader Joe’s founder??  And knowing that, I can definitely see the similarities (though TJ’s IS a whole lot more fun).  But for meal planning and shopping for a family, Aldi is AMAZING.  It is TOTALLY no frills, and don’t expect Publix-esque customer service (though the employees are still very nice!), but I don’t need a flashy, shiny, waiting on me hand and foot kind of store.  I know what I’m shopping for on my weekly grocery trips.  It doesn’t have a deli, or a butcher’s counter, or a bakery, and everything is shipped into the store, including produce, which is all pre-priced since they don’t have any scales (and I LOOOVE this- there’s no guessing!).  The prices, just bottom line, cannot be beat.  I went on Sunday and bought groceries for 6 dinners, very basic breakfasts and lunches for the kids (cereal, eggs and bacon, and sandwiches with chips and fruit for lunch) for $87 total.  $87!!!!  Six dinners, all with meat, to feed my family of five, with at least a meal’s worth of leftovers.  The fun part about Aldi too, is that they get special buys in the store that are there til they sell-out, and aren’t restocked.  I got one-pound packages of potato gnocchi for 50 cents a piece last week.  They are usually about $2.50 at my local Kroger (though I do still love you, Kroger, and your new sushi bar,  olive and cheese bar, and build your own pizza stations.  I will never give you up completely).  I love finding awesome buys like that that I can build a meal or and entire week’s worth of meals around.  Which, speaking of, I have been thinking about writing a post about how to start meal planning.  I do love to cook, and I do love grocery shopping, and I do love meal planning, and I know some of you (a lot of you??) HATE it.  And I understand!!  But I think a lot of people also want to meal plan, and just don’t know how or where to start.  So is anyone interested??  The way I do it is simple and I KNOW it saves us a lot of money!

Anyone so sick of their kids screaming out how much they want EVERY.SINGLE.TOY. after seeing ALLTHECOMMERCIALS on during afternoon cartoons??  My kids watch cartoons for a bit when they get home from school in the afternoons, and they want ALL THE THINGS that are on during the commercials.  They even fight about which item they are going to get (By the way, Brantley has claimed the Kitty ZippySack, and Grayson has called the Pony, and Ben wants the Robot.  They have determined that these are the ones they are going to have.  But nope.  Nobody is getting a ZippySack for Christmas.  Sorry, kiddos.)  I just hope the kids DO like what they are getting for Christmas, since I’m pretty sure none of their presents have been advertised on Nick Junior!

I think that’s about all I can muster today.  Have a great WEdnesday!

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