Friday, November 23, 2012

Give Thanks

Tal, Savannah, and I gave thanks for family, food, and fellowship as we celebrated Thanksgiving in Salter Path.  

After a yummy Thanksgiving dinner, Tal's family surprised me with cake to celebrate my recent National Board certification. I was so touched by their thoughtfulness!

Tal's mom baked red velvet cake inside mason jars, topped it with chocolate ganache, and then attached a spoon. Wasn't Barbara so creative?! 

Savannah loved the red velvet cake!

Savannah and Grandma Barbara

As always, Savannah loved swinging in HER swing
on Grandma Barbara's front porch:

On the day after Thanksgiving, 8 members of our immediate family gathered at Benny and EJ's house for dinner.
Grandaddy, Savannah, and Gran

Savannah and Uncle Benny

Our family can't wait for the arrival of Benny and EJ's baby girl (Harper Grace) who will be born in March.

Savannah and Aunt EJ
(saying hi to Baby Harper)


Benny and EJ live on Calico Creek.
Don't they have gorgeous views from their backyard?!

Benny and EJ's house was beautifully decorated for Christmas:

As an early Christmas present,
Aunt EJ gave Savannah a jumbo coloring book:

 Savannah colored by herself...

...and with Aunt EJ...

...and with Gran:

 Savannah loved playing Uncle Benny's guitar: 

Sausage Balls and Christmas Cookies

Caprese Salad

Tal fried shrimp on Benny and EJ's deck:

In keeping with Thanksgiving tradition, our family ate a low country boil...complete with corn on the cob, sausage, potatoes, and boiled shrimp:

We also ate boiled snow crab legs (a first for me and Savannah!). Thanks to Grandma Barbara who showed me and Savannah how to crack the legs and pull out the meat:

It was a wonderful evening filled with food, family, and fellowship!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

9 Things I'm Thankful For

As I look forward to Thanksgiving this week, I've been reflecting on 2012 and how God has been good to our family this year. He has blessed us in many ways and provided more than enough in every area of our lives.

Here are 9 things that I'm thankful for:

1. I'm thankful that the Lord continually provides beyond our family's basic needs. With our current economy and recent natural disasters, our family is very aware that many in our country and community lack food, shelter, and jobs. For that reason, I'm thankful for water, heat, and plumbing. I'm thankful that our pantry and fridge are full of food. I'm thankful that we have a warm house and working cars. I'm thankful that we have warm winter coats, shoes that fit, and clean clothes for tomorrow. I'm thankful that Savannah will have Christmas presents under the tree this year.

2. I'm thankful for our jobs. Tal and I both switched jobs this year. I'm thankful that my school is less than a mile from our house. I'm thankful for a shorter commute and that we're spending $300 less in gas each month. I'm thankful that Savannah will attend my school when she starts kindergarten in 1.5 years. Tal has had 3 different jobs this year. In every situation, Tal had multiple job offers and never missed a paycheck. I'm thankful that Tal loves his new career and current job.

3. I'm thankful that Tal and I have a happy, loving, and thriving marriage and that Savannah is growing up in a Christian home that is safe, supportive, and loving.

4. I am thankful for Savannah who brings us joy and laughter and makes our lives more interesting. I'm thankful that the Lord uses Savannah to help us become more patient, selfless, and dependent upon the Lord's wisdom. I'm thankful that Savannah can talk and run around and play.

5. I'm thankful that I passed National Boards. I'm thankful that the Lord gave me strength, wisdom, and perseverance to keep going when I felt tired and discouraged. I'm thankful that I became a better teacher/librarian during the National Boards experience. I'm thankful for my pay raise, which will enable our family to save more for college and retirement, go on vacations, make home improvements, and give more generously to our church and others.

6. I'm thankful that our family is healthy. I can't remember the last time Tal or Savannah had a cold, cough, fever, or flu. I'm thankful that none of us has any diseases or major health problems. I'm thankful that all three of us have health insurance.

7. I'm thankful that I live in the USA, where women like me can get an education and have a career. I'm thankful that we can vote and help choose our leaders. I'm thankful that we can go to church and serve God openly without being persecuted or martyred.

8. I'm thankful for our church and church family. I'm thankful that our church is less than 10 minutes away, so we can easily serve and get involved. I'm thankful for the Spirit-filled teaching and awesome praise and worship. I'm thankful for the friendships. I'm thankful that Tal can use his talents to play the drums and sing in the choir at church.

9. I'm also thankful for some simple joys in life:
  • naps
  • chocolate
  • Chex Mix
  • snuggling with Savannah and Tal
  • libraries
  • parks
  • Chick-fil-a play area
  • a date-night with Tal
  • a clutter-free kitchen
  • a completed load of laundry
  • a clean house
  • a day off from work
  • an extra hour of sleep
  • an couple hours to watch HGTV or a Hallmark movie 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I am a National Board Certified Teacher!

I passed National Boards! After more than 2.5 years of writing, studying, and waiting to prove that I'm an excellent teacher/librarian, I'm so thankful that I received good news today...and that I'll be getting a 12% pay raise (my first raise in 5 years). :) Time to celebrate!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Venus Teal

Since Tal and I have added more color and personality throughout our house in recent months, our master bedroom has started to feel very "vanilla:"


On Monday, I began the makeover process by painting our bedroom in Behr's Venus Teal. It was tempting to paint the room in a lighter hue, but ultimately Tal and I decided to step outside our comfort zones and give our room a dark cozy feeling (especially since all of the other rooms in our house are light and bright):


The inspiration and color scheme for our bedroom makeover came from the ikat curtains that I purchased from Ballard's last month. The panels are a lovely combination of cream, greige, and teal.  

Last week I hung up the curtains with clothes pins to get an idea of how they would look in the room with a teal wall color:

Since the curtains and wall color provide a lot of color and pattern in the room, Tal and I are planning to keep our bedding and furniture neutral. In 2013, we're hoping to buy new white bedding, as well as update/buy a new bed, dresser, and nightstands. Stay tuned!  

Rosalie Bedding from Pottery Barn with Venus Teal wall color:

Thankgiving Luncheon

I took the day off from work today, so I could attend Savannah's Thanksgiving program and luncheon at her preschool. 

My cutie pie and her friends sang a fun song about a turkey that says "gobble gobble" while his head goes "wobble wobble." Savannah has been practicing her song all week!

Savannah and her teacher Ms. Tyesha

After Savannah's program, we ate a catered Thanksgiving lunch...complete with turkey, ham, stuffing, potatoes, corn, and green beans. I loved hanging out with my sweet Savannah!

Pretty Fall Day in NC

Savannah's Artwork

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Let There Be Light

 For several months, I've been searching for new table lamps for our living room that would coordinate with our teal and yellow color scheme, as well as provide additional lighting when I sit on the couch and read each night.

This week I hit the jackpot when I scored these oversized cream lamps with yellow trellis shades for $35 each at Target:

The lamp bases were originally $50 each, but I found them in the clearance section for $15! The lamp shades were $20 each in Target's lighting aisle. I paid a grand total of $35 for each lamp:

I love how the lamps add some pattern and color to the back wall in our living room. Most importantly, each lamp uses a 150-watt bulb, which provides some much-needed light in our living room. (I also picked up the teal picture frame below at Target for $5 and popped in one of Savannah's baby pictures.) 

 Our new lamps coordinate nicely with the yellow accessories in our living room bookcases... well as the yellow accents in the painting in our adjoining kitchen:

I also recently picked up the end table below at Homegoods for $40. In the background, you can get a sneak peek at our new ikat curtains. I originally bought the curtains for our living room but recently decided to hang them in our master bedroom. Stay tuned!