is the BIG day!
In my family most of the "big" Christmas action actually occurs on Christmas Eve. It hasn't always been this way, but as our family and grown and changed it has become a tradition that fits this current chapter in our lives. So I thought I would share some of the goings on of the day with you... with lots of pictures!
First, a little introduction. Mom and Dad took in a dog named Toby...
This 2 1/2 year old dog that is already house trained and VERY well behaved is now a resident at my parents house. His previous owner has a new baby and decided it was time for the dog to go! He is especially partial to my mom and she to him... Tuffy (their Yorkie, is not so thrilled)!
So Christmas Eve started pretty early this morning as we got ready for Dad's side of the family to join us for our annual Christmas Eve brunch! The spread included quiche, scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, gravy, biscuits, pancakes, hot fruit, cold fruit, doughnuts, and I could keep going... so the cooking started pretty early!
Bentlee got in on the action... she placed all the biscuits on the pan and cracked all the eggs!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
is the BIG day!
Posted by Meagan at 7:16 PM
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I was reading Betsy's blog and she was talking about a Sunday school party she went to. She said they were discussing favorite Christmas traditions and telling Christmas stories. So, I decided to blog about my favorite Christmas tradition from my childhood and "tag" everyone else to write about their favorite Christmas tradition and/or story as well!
Stockings were my favorite Christmas tradition as a child. From the time I can remember until I moved out (and even the first couple of Christmases after that) our stockings were hung on December 1st. Each year mom would fill our stockings with a treat or goodie for each day of December leading up to Christmas. When our stockings were hung on December 1st there were 24 curling ribbons hanging from our stocking and each day we were allowed to draw one ribbon from the stocking... attached to the end of each ribbon was something special just for us. The treats varied from candy and chocolate to ornaments, pens, pencils, and all kinds of little things. One year I got a tiny nativity scene one piece at a time mixed with other treats. One year we each got candy and ornaments and things as well as zip lock bags of puzzle pieces... we would beg each other to draw so we could put our pieces together each night and try to finish our puzzle! In addition to getting a special treat each day it served as an advent calendar of sorts as we could count the ribbons to know how many days were left until Christmas! I thought this was a WONDERFUL tradition and one that I look forward to sharing with my children one day!!
So, what is your single, most favorite Christmas tradition? I can't wait to get some great ideas and some wonderful holiday stories!
Posted by Meagan at 3:15 PM
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Another super fast, super easy, and super yummy recipe! This one is GREAT on a cold drizzly day!
Spicy Vegetable Soup
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (30 oz) jar chunky, garden-style spaghetti sauce with mushrooms and peppers
1 can beef broth, undiluted
1 can Rotel tomatoes w. chilies
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups water
1 cup sliced celery
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1 (16oz) package of frozen vegetables
Cook the ground beef, garlic, and onion in a large pot over medium heat until meat is browned, stirring to crumble. Darin all fat and return meat mixture to pot. Add spaghetti sauce and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 or 30 min. Makes 12 cups of soup.
This is a recipe I got from my mom and I tried it for the first time about a week ago. It turned out SO great! It's spicy because of the Rotel, but not too spicy... if you make it for kids or someone who doesn't like spicy stuff at all, use "mild" Rotel instead. I served it with cornbread and it was sooooooooo yummy!
Posted by Meagan at 1:00 PM
Saturday, December 13, 2008
... a great way to start a weekend!
So Thursday night as I made my way through snow and ice to meet my cheerleaders at the basketball games that would be cancelled later that evening, the hope began to bloom! By 7:45 Thursday night, the word was out... our first official snow day would be Friday, December 12.
I got home from the games and settled in for a late night of tv and a morning sleeping in! The snow was SO beautiful... big, wet flakes perfect for snowballs! After watching the snow fall and the yard become white I had to go outside and make a snowman... who could resist! Don't be fooled... this is a little snow man on top of my car with chocolate chip eyes and nose and a scarf made for a wine bottle! lol!
Friday proved to be everything that a snow day is cracked up to be! I slept really late - which is just as well, because the roads were a mess! I met some fellow teachers and Moo at Toot's for lunch and then did a little shopping! My reward... I went to a new place in town and go Photo Shop Elements for $10. It was one of those "junk" stores that has everything from industrial fans to screwdrivers to shampoo and toys... items that have been returned, removed from the package, etc. My item had a ripped box! ha! I loaded it on the computer and although I haven't played with it too much, it seems to work great!
Friday night I was off to La's for our annual galz Christmas gathering! This year was a pajama party with breakfast food! We had yummy fruit salad, breakfast casserole, sausage balls, and my caramel pecan Cinnamon rolls - YUMMY!!!
Posted by Meagan at 7:03 PM
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Posted by Meagan at 3:40 PM
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Here's one that's quick and easy and GREAT for a night when you don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen!
No Peek Chicken
4 Chicken Breasts
1 Cup Rice
1 Can Cream of mushroom
2 Cups Water or Chicken Broth
1 Package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Preheat to 350 degrees. Butter or Pam a casserole dish. Put uncooked rice in the bottom of the dish in an even layer. Lay chicken breasts on top of the rice. In a bowl, whisk water or broth with cream of mushroom soup. Pour soup mixture over chicken and rice. Sprinkle top with Onion Soup Mix. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Don't peek!
This recipe turns out perfect every time and it's so easy that ANYONE could do it! No skill involved and a hearty meal at the end? Who can beat that! Serve up with some salad or broccoli for something green and you have a complete meal with practically no work involved!
Posted by Meagan at 1:05 PM
Monday, December 8, 2008
This was on Amanda's blog a while back and I have been meaning to do it!
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping Paper (only gift bags for the awkward gifts that won't fit a box!)
2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial, it's just easier!
3. When do you put up the tree? Usually the weekend after Thanksgiving
4. When do you take the tree down? Day after New Years
5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, but only in small doses and it depends who makes it
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I remember Pam Jilly (Cabbage Patch Kid) who I called Plum Jelly because I couldn't say her name! lol.
7. Hardest person to buy for? Usually my Dad.... what do you get the Man who has everything?8. Easiest person to buy for? Mom and my girlz
9. Do you have a nativity scene? yes! I have a regular size, really pretty one and then I have a tiny and I mean **tiny** one that I put in my kitchen windowsill! I would like a Willowtree one eventually!
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I have to confess... I don't send out Christmas Cards! Every year I say I will and it never gets done!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Can't think of a bad one!
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Christmas Vacation
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually early September... I try to be done or close to done by Thanksgiving! It makes December a lot less stressful and financially straining!
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I confess... I have regifted... but only for a dirty Santa type thing!
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cornbread Dressing! Mmmm!
16. Lights on the tree? Of course!, clear ones
17. Favorite Christmas song? Grown Up Christmas List, Santa Baby, and Let it Snow!
18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? A little of both!
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixon, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? This year a bow for the first time... last year it was a star and as a child it was an angel
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Christmas Eve with Dad's side of the Family, Christmas day with my immediate family, later Christmas day with Mom's side of the Family.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Crowds! Everywhere you go!
23. What theme or color are you using? Red, Green, and Gold
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Dad's side of the family family does breakfast/brunch on Christmas Eve morning... I think that's fun!
25.What do you want for Christmas this year? There are a few little things that I think would be fun, but mostly I just want to spend time with the ones I love!
Posted by Meagan at 1:16 PM
Sunday, December 7, 2008
The Panini Press! My mom is the Panini champion! She does the best combos.... turkey and olive tappinade, Ham and caramelized onion, tomato-basil-mozzarella! SOOOO good! I have been keeping my eyes peeled for a good and affordable one!!! Any suggestions?
Posted by Meagan at 3:03 PM
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Well it all started with a jar of capers! I had a jar of capers in the pantry that I needed to use so I decided to search for a recipe that would use them up!
I landed on a recipe for Grilled Tilapia with Lemon Butter, Capers, and Orzo! Mmmm. Tonight was the night I finally tried it and I was very excited about how it turned out! It was wonderful. I thought, "With a meal like this at home, who needs to go out?"
1 lemon, zested
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 shallot, diced
1 stick unsalted butter (melted)
3 Tbs olive oil
4 (8 oz) tilapia fillets
1/2 pound orzo (cooked according to package directions)
1/4 cup drained capers
First you combine the lemon zest and juice, wine, and shallot in a small saucepan over high heat and cook until it reduces by half...
Remove from the heat and combine with the butter - whisk - and add capers. Set aside. (This can be made a day ahead, but must come to room temp before serving)
Heat the grill to high. Meanwhile, start cooking the Orzo...
Throw the tilapia on and grill about 3 or 4 minutes on each side until lightly golden brown and slightly charred.
Drain the orzo and toss with some of the butter mixture. Transfer the orzo to a platter or individual plates. Remove the fish from the grill and place it on top of the orzo. Top with the butter mixture and freesh parsley if you have it.
Posted by Meagan at 4:07 PM
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I was so thankful for my Thanksgiving break! Now, at the close of my blissful break, I reflect and am still filled with thankfulness.
I am thankful that I have a family that is so loving, supportive, and fun to be with! I am thankful for the huge spread of Thanksgiving goodies that we stuffed ourselves with on Thanksgiving day! I am thankful for 5 days filled with nothing but family and friends and fun... all play and no work. I am thankful that I returned home rested and restored. I have so much to be thankful for and I have been so blessed! Thank you Lord for the blessings you have showered my life with and thank you for your continued blessings... I do not deserve.
I did it all over the break. Wal-mart runs, dinners in and dinners out, Wii playing, movie watching, golfing, napping, football viewing, fun! Every moment was filled, but every moment was relaxing and fulfilling! It was a wonderful break!
I didn't take too many pictures... I was enjoying life in the moment and not through my lens. I did manage to snag this family photo on Thanksgiving Day...
My sister and her husband were unable to attend, so this is only Mom, Dad, Me, Ken, Sarah M, and Bentlee.
And of course I snapped a few shots of my favorite (albeit, only) niece! Isn't she BEAUTIFUL?!?
Posted by Meagan at 4:45 PM
Monday, November 24, 2008
I feel like I have hit the jackpot! My own personal jackpot!
Allow me to explain. Many of you already know that I am an excellent house keeper... very organized, everything in it's place, you get the idea. I am not, however, a great house-cleaner! I despise mopping, scrubbing tubs, and cleaning toilets! Dusting and vacuuming aren't my favorite either. In short, I keep everything neat and tidy, but when it comes to keeping things clean I struggle... and I mean struggle!
So, here's the story. I was getting my hair cut the other day. I love my stylist... she is great at cutting, great at coloring, and great a waxing... what more could you want? She also cleans houses. I don't feel like it's a wise use of my funds at this point in life to have my home cleaned when I am perfectly capable of doing it myself, but it was very tempting. When I go get my hair cut, Gerri and I always talk shop because she home schools her daughter. This time we were talking about teaching and school and home school and she mentioned that she was thinking of getting a tutor for her daughter! She said (get this) she was getting everything covered except for social studies! (That's right - my subject!) I asked if she would be interested in trading services and wham, bam, (a little talking and working out details), thank-you-ma'am, I now am having my house cleaned... and tutoring a 6th grader in social studies!
Today was the first cleaning. Honestly, not kidding, couldn't be more serious... my house is cleaner than it was the day I moved in! It's AMAZING! I have no idea how she did it... it's phenomenal.
Now, onto the rest of my weekend.....
Saturday was spent, for the most part, recovering from Bunko/Poker night... not that I needed to recover (don't read too much into that)... just that I was up late and so I slept in and had the do-nothing, relaxing day I had been craving!
Sunday I headed to Chris' for a grill and chill and to watch the Titan's game! It was great!
I would have LOVED to have gone to the game, but couldn't get tickets... which turned out because the Titan's lost. So, Chris' was the perfect way to spend Sunday afternoon!! We had this yummy grillin' food, football, and lots of laughs! It was such a great time!
Here I am with some of my favorite guys enjoying the football fun! Nothing beats a Sunday that includes football, friends, and a grill... I'm just sayin'!
Posted by Meagan at 7:11 PM
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday night was Bunko night AND poker night, so I had to pull double duty! I had the absolute best time at Bunko (Kathy and Jenn hosted at Kathy's house and it was great)! I had such a good time that I even one with the most Bunkos! First time ever for me to get more than one Bunko... I got two!!!
Posted by Meagan at 7:29 AM
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I thought I would participate in Lindsay's Tasty Tuesday today! I don't link up because my blog is private, but you can link to hers by clicking the button above and check out all the other Tasty Tuesday recipes!
This is probably my all time favorite soup for cold weather. The recipe is easy, fast, and fool proof and you can keep the ingredients on hand easily! Mmmm!!
Potato Cheese Soup
5 Lbs. potatoes (cut into small bite-size cubes)
3 cans chicken broth
2 cans cream of celery
1 pt half and half (I always just use milk since I don't have half and half on hand)
8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese (cubed or shredded)
8 oz. Pepper Jack (or cheddar, which I use, because I don't like spicy stuff)
Simmer potatoes until fully cooked and fork tender. Drain. Add soups and broth. Simmer 5 min. Add half and half or milk and cheeses and simmer until cheese melts.
That's it folks! SOOOOO fast and easy and tastes SOOOOO good! It's a crowd pleaser! I always top it with cheese and some crumbled bacon! Mmm!
Posted by Meagan at 5:47 PM
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Okay, so it's a little early for the Christmas look for the blog, but I couldn't resist! We had actual snow flurries this morning and I've been Christmas shopping... it's in the air people! I am pretty particular about the "rules" of Christmas decorations (up the day after Thanksgiving and down the day after New Years) but this year, I am breaking the rules (at least in blog world) and "decorating" early!
Posted by Meagan at 9:07 AM
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I saw this on Amanda's blog and I thought I would do it too!! So here are 35 things about me...
1. Do you like blue cheese salad dressing? yes
2. Do you own a gun? No
3. What's your favorite drink at Starbucks? Caramel Machiato
4.What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Caramel Machiato
5. Do you do pushups? Ha! I don't think so!!
6.What's your favorite piece of jewelry? My "M" necklace
7.Favorite hobby? Photography
8. Do you have A.D.D? nope
9. What's one trait that you hate about yourself? I'm a pleaser... sometimes its a good thing, sometimes not so much.
10. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: I am ready to get up my Christmas decorations (the earliest I have ever even thought of it), I shouldn't put them up until the day after Thanksgiving, I might do it anyway! lol
11. Name 4 drinks you regularly drink. Water and Wine.... sweet tea and Cherry coke
12. Current worry right now? What time will I get to sleep since I took a 2 hour nap after my shop-a-thon with mom! lol
13. Current hate right now? Money... I wish it didn't exist... or that I was independently wealthy! lol. I hate worrying and planning and money matters in general.
14. Favorite place to be? Home... or Tybee Island.
15. Do you like to travel? Yes!!
16. What color shirt are you wearing? Navy
17.Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Egyptian Cotton
18. Can you whistle? yes... but I wish I could do the REALLY loud, two finger, whistle!
19. Favorite color? Pink
20. If you could, would you be a pirate? I think not
21. What song do you sing in the shower? I don't sing in the shower.
22. Favorite girl's name? Can't pick just one...
23. Favorite boy's name? Can't pick just one...
24. What's in your pocket right now? Don't have pockets right now... in my PJs
25. Favorite bedsheets as a child? flannel with sheep on them!
26. Worst injury? badly broken arm when I was in the 2nd grade... ick!
27. Do you love where you live? I do... it's home!
28. How many TVs do you have in your house? two
29. Who is your loudest friend? Rob, lol.
30. How many pets do you have? None... and I like it that way
31. Does someone have a crush on you? Ya never know...
32. What is your Favorite Book? The Time Traveler's Wife
33. What's your favorite candy? Peanut Butter Cups
34. Favorite Sports Team? Titans
35. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? I wondered if Mom was up because it was day two of our shop-a-thon!!!!!!
Posted by Meagan at 7:16 PM
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Well, it's no secret that I like to eat! I love food, I enjoy cooking, and delight in eating a wonderful meal! That being the case, I decided I better do something to compensate and I started back at the gym! I gotta be honest and say, it kicked my butt, but I felt SO good about myself and had SO much energy right from visit one! I just hope I can make it a part of my routine and stick with it!
Being that I am working out, I don't feel so bad cooking what I REALLY want to eat! Today was a cold, rainy day and my cabinets were bare, so I headed to the store to stock up. I was really wanting something warm and delicious for dinner and I got it in my head that broccoli and rice would be good.... and chicken... and something cheesy! From that, I landed on a combination of recipes and ended up with a darn good casserole that I can call my own!
1 pat of butter
1/2 onion chopped
1 can cream of celery
1/4 - 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 package frozen broccoli florets (thawed)
1/2 (ish) cup sour cream
2 cups cooked rice
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
salt to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheddar
Preheat to 325.
Melt butter and saute onions until tender. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 30 min. until brown and bubbly!
Mmmmm... so good!
And for a not new recipe that I didn't make tonight, but that was on my mind because I was organizing my recipes and because I have some potatoes I need to use...
Fried Potato Patties (Had these at Yatzi's and they were SO good!!!!)
2 cups cooked, mashed potatoes (really handy if you have leftovers!)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup soft breadcrumbs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Combine first 7 ingredients; shape into 6, 3/4 inch thick patties. Dip each in egg and coat lightly with bread crumbs. Fry in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat for 12 min. or until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
So... as Paula Dean would say, "Best Dishes!"
Posted by Meagan at 4:26 PM
Monday, November 10, 2008
...not the movie, the girls weekend!
This weekend me and 9 other fabulous women from my school (and one who used to be at my school) headed out of town for a weekend at "the lake house" in Alabama! It was SO MUCH FUN! There is nothing like getting out of town to help you unwind and relax!
This was the beautiful view we enjoyed each day! The 10 of us had so much time! A homemade chili dinner Friday night served up with lots of drinks, lots of laughter, and lots of fun!
We had a lot of laughing and a lot of lounging! Here you see Marsha, Beth, and Lisa all on the biggest bean bag I have ever seen in my life! Seriously... the thing was the size of a twin bed!!!!
Here we are around the fire! It's a little fuzzy because it was so dark, but you can still tell that we were having a big time!!!
Posted by Meagan at 1:56 PM
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Sunday was a WONDERFUL day!!!!!
Me, Moo, Web, and Chris loaded up bright and early and headed to see the Titans take on the Greenbay Packers!!!! We met Chris and Web's friend Stephen to tailgate with some friends of his! Let me just say, these people do it up right! Under two large tents they cooked a spread on the spot... bacon, eggs, ham, biscuits, gravy, sausage balls, pancakes... (you get the idea, and this doesn't even TOUCH the amount of food they had)! There was corn hole and a football to toss and drinks, of course! It was THE BEST TIME!!!!
Here's Chris, Web, and Stephen - they are so funny... all three of them crack me up!
Here are Chris and I at the tailgate! It was so bright and sunny - a beautiful day and perfect weather for the game!!
Posted by Meagan at 11:16 AM
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
This past Saturday Lauren and I hosted a Junior League Cookbook Party at La's house! It was a lot of fun! Lauren made a delicious baked ham with mustard glaze, broccoli salad, cornbread, and a blueberry cobbler and I made sweet potato casserole and the best squash casserole recipe I have ever had (which I will share at the end of this post)
This is what the table looked like! It was so much fun visiting with friends and eating good food! We even sold a lot of cookbooks (which was the goal) and had a great time doing it!! :-)
Posted by Meagan at 10:46 AM
Monday, November 3, 2008
I have decided to blog about my weekend in stages instead of covering it all at once and I am starting with Friday... Halloween! Not my favorite holiday, but still cuteness with the little ones dressing up and all!
I live on a very quiet, very short street and so I rarely have any trick-or-treaters... this year was different though! I had two VERY SPECIAL trick-or-treaters ring my doorbell and come in for a visit!
First, Vance came to see me...
He was SOOO cute! He got some candy and a little pack of Teddy Grams! Megan and Web were with him (of course!)...
Is this not the cutest baby costume you have ever seen! He was a sweetest little puppy dog and he even had down in "woof, woof!!!!" TOOOO cute!
Posted by Meagan at 10:55 AM