Stuffing with Sausage, Apples, and Cranberries

November 29, 2012

Yup, I am still posting our Thanksgiving recipes...this is the last one though. 

We aren't that dedicated to a stuffing or dressing recipe. We as in my mother and I. My Nanny made the same cornbread stuffing forever, I never have liked cornbread and neither has my mother so...we just don't make it. I like more of a bread stuffing and this year Mom did not disappoint in her discovery of this recipe. Whole wheat anything is my friend. 

Then again I need more whole wheat in my life right now. I've been carb loading like I have a marathon to run, and the leftover pizza that came home with us last night after the youth event caused for some midnight snacking that I had to question if I dreamed it or if I did it this morning. 

Apparently I was on that crazy sleep eating sleep aid and didn't know it. 
adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Stuffing with Sausage, Apples, and Cranberries
1 loaf of whole wheat bread (Nature's Own) with crusts cut off
3 Italian sausage links (casing removed)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 celery stalks, diced
2 onions, diced
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1 Honey Crisp Apple, diced
1/2 c dried cranberries
3/4 to 1 cup low sodium chicken broth

Cube bread and toast at 350 for 15 minutes flipping once. At the same time brown sausage, onions, and celery. Season with salt and poultry seasoning. When sausage is cooked through and onions are softened add the diced apples and cranberries. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the sausage mixture, and 3/4 cup of broth to the bread in a large bowl and combine. Add more broth if the mixture seems too dry. Transfer stuffing to a greased casserole dish, cover with foil, and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and bake an additional 15 minutes.
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Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday!

November 28, 2012

This week I figured I would just share some of my favorite Pins, many of which I really want to make very soon:) These are definitely my top 10 favorite Pinterest finds from the last week. 

#1 I am in love with this hair cut, and have been loving similar ones for awhile. Friday I have a hair appointment to continue to work towards this hair!

#2 This is a great way to make sure you are exercising everyday. I know I am guilty of not doing much lately. Hopefully I can find some extra time and make one of these to motivate myself. 

#3 I really want to use this method to make a burlap table runner:)

#4 I made this at my parent's house over Thanksgiving break and I need to make some more!

#5 Is it overly crunchy to want to try oil pulling? Then again I always say Jeremy is what's stopping me from moving to that hippie farm in Summertown. (I can't wait to go visit his Dad again so I can go by there and the Amish grocery yet again!)

#6 One day we will be taking this Christmas card photo if I have to hand out Roofies to get it done. Expect it!

#7 Destroying a few of Jeremy's shirts and doing this while he is gone camping this weekend. 

#8 Cold Season: rub 4-6 drops of Eucalyptus oil on the soles of your/or your kids feet to stop coughing at night. 

#9 Beauty Tip for puffy eyes.

#10 I absolutely can't stop laughing at this! I'm not a cat person and I have felt like I needed a restraining order on that horrible cat that adopted my Dad after it's owner next door died. No joke the evil thing would only let him touch her without spazzing. She attacked me when I got home from school many a days:)

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Rosemary & Lemon Haricot Verts

November 27, 2012

It wasn't until my 20's that I discovered how much I liked certain vegetables. For the longest time there was a long list of veggies that I would only eat raw or in soup. Until I discovered that roasting vegetables caused them to taste amazing, I was under the impression that they would taste like the canned version the minute they were cooked. I blame that on 2 things: 1) school cafeterias have the worst food on the planet and 2) people over cook vegetables to death. I to this day will only eat canned veggies if they are in soup or another recipe, but standing on their own fresh and frozen is the way to go. 

After roasting everything in the produce isle of  a few years I finally ventured into sautéing. Lucky for me I still liked the taste. Lucky for my body I was able to eat much healthier sides and stray farther from the over processed isles. Don't get me wrong though, I eat my fair share of ice cream, I just try to make sure 90% or more of my diet is actually good for me. I think people get the wrong impression of me sometimes and act like I've lost it or "gone off some diet" when they see me eating brownies. You wouldn't want to live in a world with me that didn't involve sweets, trust me. 

Praise the good Lord I discovered that fresh green beans didn't taste or have the texture of the awful mushy canned version. I don't think I could live without this side these days. However, next to roasted green bean "fries," this recipe is my favorite way to eat them. 

32 oz fresh green beans (or the haricot verts French version)
1 lemon (squeezed and zested)
2 minced cloves of garlic
2 tbsp rosemary
2-3 tbsp olive oil, enough to coat the pan lightly
2 tbsp butter (the real stuff)
salt & fresh cracked pepper

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet at med-high heat. Add lemon zest, juice and garlic, saute until lemon juice is reduced by a 1/3. Add green beans, rosemary, salt, & fresh cracked pepper. Reduce heat to medium and saute for 15 minutes until softened but still crunchy (basically to your liking). 

Fresh pepper is a big one for this recipe, it has a much better pepper flavor than regular pepper. You can substitute the lemon for bottled lemon juice, just keep adding and reducing the lemon until you get the right flavor. I often add more lemon juice (bottled) while making these if it evaporates before the green beans are done. 
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Meal Pinning Monday

November 26, 2012

[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking. To see the recipes I've chosen just click the pictures. 

Monday- Clean Eating Enchilidas with PW's Mexican Rice (with brown rice)

Tuesday- Leftovers

Wednesday- Leftovers

Thursday- Caramelized Onion & BBQ Grilled Cheese (whole wheat bread) with Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday- Freezer Meal

Sunday- Open for discussion:)

Lunch for work-Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Chicken

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Perfect Yeast Rolls

November 25, 2012

This super easy recipe for yeast rolls is a family favorite of ours. I love to make them in my cast-iron skillet so they get crisp on the edges and bottom! Be amazed at the awesomeness and let people think you made them from scratch. We make two huge pans of this every holiday and they never last the entire day. 

Perfect Every-time Yeast Rolls
1 package Bridgeford Easy to Bake Parkerhouse Style Rolls Dough
melted butter
fresh or dried rosemary

Place desired number or rolls on a lightly greased pan and allow to thaw in a warm draft free place. Allow dough to rise for 2-3 hours. When thawed out and risen brush tops of rolls with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with salt and chopped rosemary. Bake at 375 for 10-14 minutes. 

I like to get these out before church on Sunday and leave them on my stove top, by the time we get home they are ready to go and are the perfect bread for any meal. 
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Pumpkin Better Than ... Cake

November 24, 2012

While Black Friday shopping didn't go 100% as planned, Old Navy was a massive disappointment.  This cake made up for our late Thursday shopping. 

A little note on Black Friday, I hit up Target, Old Navy, and Belk. I got everything I wanted plus some from Target with no problem at all. The target in Monroe was so organized and had tons of staff to help out, as well as enough security to keep crazy people under control. We waited forever to get in at Old Navy and were lucky enough to be the first crowd through the door, right after us they stopped letting people in. I grabbed everything I wanted, particularly the Rock Star Skinny Jeans, and headed to check out. My number one issue should have been that the jeans ran two sizes larger than what I wear in the Diva. They advertised that jeans started at $15, but had no prices marked in the women's jeans in store. When I got to check out they told me they were $25 and I asked for a price check, at that point the manager popped off at me, so I happily told them to put it all back and walked out. Had she not ticked me off I would have probably paid more than I thought I was going to pay for the jeans...but the super large size # and the horrible staff attitude made me run for the door after sitting in line for an hour to get in and an hour to check out. It was pathetic. Today around lunch I headed back out to Belk and managed to get some black boots and a really cute lace top with a velvet peter pan collar for really cheap. With no problems! 

Lesson learned: Don't shop Old Navy in store for events, they are unorganized & don't buy their jeans. They are inconsistent with sizing and not worth the fuss. 

Now back to the cake...

I started to name this thing Diabetic Pumpkin Cake, because I am sure that is what I will have if this thing doesn't get eaten by people other than me soon. It could also be called "You are going to need a larger pant size cake," but that isn't very appealing. Let's just stick with what Pinterest called it: Better than Sex Cake. Let's face it, it almost is. It is definitely Better than Black Friday at Old Navy Cake. 

This super easy recipe calls for minimal ingredients and doesn't taste at all like pumpkin pie for those nutmeg haters like my mother. She even liked it and she refuses to eat pumpkin. The lack of eggs lowers the calories, but the high sugar content really makes up for it. I shopped quick for the ingredients for this in my little home town so making it less calorie heavy was not quite so easy. I would really like to redo it one day and healthy it up a bit more. 
Better than ... Pumpkin Cake
adapted from Something Swanky
1 box of golden butter cake mix
1 small can of pumpkin puree (not the pie filling)
1 - 14oz can of fat free sweetened condensed milk
1- 8oz tub of light cool whip
1 bag of Heath Bits
Caramel Ice Cream Topping

Preheat oven to 350. Combine cake mix and punpkin puree, do not add other ingredients listed on the cake mix box. Pour batter into a greased glass baking dish. Bake according to the directions on the cake mix box. When cake is done, allow to cool for a few minutes and poke holes all over using the back of a wooden spoon. Poor over sweetened condensed milk, filling holes, and refrigerate overnight. The next day (no less than 3 hours later if you are in a hurry) spread on cool whip, top with Heath Bits and caramel topping to your preference. 

You could easily use only half of the bag of Heath Bits and leave out the caramel sauce. With the sweetened condensed milk the caramel doesn't seem totally necessary. If y'all know of a good swap for sweetened condensed milk let me know!
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Nutella Hot Chocolate & Tree Decorating with a 2 Year Old

November 23, 2012

Tonight my mom and nephew started decorating the tree at my parent's house. It's only been, oh, 20 years since there was a 2 year old around the Christmas tree. Let's just say boy's aren't nearly as gentle as girls. This little dude had me cracking up at the things he was saying and doing. I also noticed just how many ornaments from the early 90's and elementary school decked my Mother's tree. We weren't the craftiest children, and I had a habit of cutting off my bangs before a teacher decided to paste my picture to an ornament made in class. 
His decorating skills were also questionable, notice that every ornament he hung is on the same branch! He also chunked a few breakable ornaments across the living room. I can almost bet that he will be seeing a lot of the Time Out corner this holiday season. 

He also decided at some point that he would turn tree decorating into a basketball game. Joshua proudly proclaimed "It's tree basketball!" I now totally understand why people don't have breakable ornaments. Granted I don't have but maybe two at my own house, and we are totally childless, but the amount of glass a tiny broken ornament creates is unreal. 
After lots of decorating, and trying to get Josh to put the star on the tree...which ended terribly, Jeremy decided he wanted hot chocolate. With the amount and variety of chocolate in this house right now we checked out our favorite website on earth and came up with what we were doing, and Nutella Hot Chocolate was born in the Cater house. 
Nutella Hot Chocolate
serves 3
3 cups of fat free milk or almond milk
6 tbsp of Nutella
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan over medium to med-high heat. Whisk constantly until Nutella and chocolate chips are melted and the liquid is warm. Serve with Cool Whip or whip cream. 

How do you decorate your tree? Fancy or with homemade ornaments made? 
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Black Friday Deals from Shabby Apple

Dresses from Shabby Apple

 The Shabby Apple Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are underway today!

You can get 20% off sitewide with the code JOYFULSEASON at checkout. Sale ends 11/30/12 

If you are looking for a great party dress this season I highly suggest you check out the Joyful collection. Our little group talked about dressing up in a 50's theme and they so hit the nail on the head, I am in vintage happiness overload. The collection even has shoes and jewelry  I could go broke if I bought everything I wanted to buy. 

Here are a few of my favorites:
[Joyful][Jump and Jive Skirt][Hully Gully Skirt]
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The post in which I am seasonally thankful, but really am everyday too.

November 22, 2012

First off has this super cute freebie on their blog for this lovely season. Head on over and use it, I have to admit it totally cemented wanting to do today's post. 

Being thankful is something we are called to do everyday, but especially focus on it during the holidays. I am guilty of not thinking thankful thoughts, or actually thanking God everyday for what I have. Not that I really like admitting that, but it is the truth. I easily get wrapped up in the daily negative and forget about just how easy we have it compared to some. God has provided for us in a time when I couldn't see how we would survive, but somehow we have thrived. 

I am thankful for my family. They have loved me and supported me for as long as I have been alive. Plus they are pretty funny and that counts for something. 

I'm thankful for my husband. We have a differences like everyone else, but we love each other. I would do anything for him, and I know he would do the same for me. He is a great Godly guy and I'm lucky to have him. 

I'm thankful for a job, even when it is often a thankless place to be. Teaching can either be the most fun you've ever had, or the most miserable day of your life. 

I am oh so thankful for the church family I have. Being around them is the same feeling as finding an oasis in the desert. We were plugged in immediately and are actually "officially" launching the Wednesday night youth service next week. It took me awhile to grown and find my place, but now that I have I can't imagine serving alongside any other group of people. 

I am also so thankful for our friends. Very few of us are at the same place in life, but we all have so much in common. I love these people to death and they make me feel like I am home when I am so far away from family. Our two besties make life a exciting when it could be so mundane. A year ago I was so sad and felt like I had no one in this town, now I wish I could freeze frame where we are right now. I know we have made the kind of friends you keep for life, and I love these people to death. 

I am also thankful for this blog. It has provided community when I felt alien in a new town, I still had my blog friends. (as creepy as that sounds) It has also provided a small fun money income at a time when fun money doesn't exactly exist. (don't you just love the broke-ness that comes with graduate school)

Oh give thanks to the  Lord , for he is good; 
for his steadfast love endures forever!
1 Chronicles 16:34 ESV

What are you thankful for? 
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Wedding Wednesday Link Up // My Top Wedding Planning Tips

November 21, 2012

This week I am co-hosting Wedding Wednesday with Mary from the Happy Wife in New Orleans. Since this is my first time linking up, and since I haven't blogged about my own wedding in a long time I thought I would share some pictures from the wedding as well as my favorite things and tips. 

Early on in wedding planning I realized that I had to prioritize what I really wanted and what I could make cuts on. I highly suggest reading many blogs and magazines and figuring out exactly what you want and making a wedding binder with all the photos you collect. It makes it much easier to actually show vendors what you want. I took mine with me to every meeting I had and made sure my vision was clear. 

Flowers were one of those issues I couldn't decide on. My bouquet was easy, I knew what I wanted years before I was engaged. The problem came with boutonnieres and bridesmaids/centerpieces. The majority of my flower budget went to my bouquet alone, and Jeremy's personality just doesn't scream "man who wears flowers." I came across a boutonniere on Etsy that consisted of feathers and other trinkets that just seemed much more our style, only of them was $15 dollars. I needed more than one and didn't have the money to buy as many as I needed. So I made them. All for $15. I should really go back and make a DIY of it. 

We were having more of a cocktail hour type reception, no formal seating and a combo of passed  foods and stations. Because of this we only had 4 actual tables around the dance floor (hardly anyone really sat anyway) so using the bridesmaids bouquets as centerpieces too made $$ sense. I just made sure they were the first to walk through and place their flowers in the right spot. To save money I stayed with my ruffle theme (like my dress) and picked white ruffly carnations with greenery for the girls. They were much cheaper than other flowers and looked great. My one request for their bouquets though was that the flowers were packed so tight that it just looked like ruffles and no one flower would be identifiable. 

The cake was another one of those interesting things, it turned out very pretty, but was a debate between fondant or not. I actually found a stencil of what I wanted exactly, the only problem was that I had a very creative cake decorator who didn't want to use a stencil. She made her own and it turned out great. Lucky for me I win the fondant debate with Mom and got the cake look I wanted . 

The bouquet on the table was money added, but I felt it was necessary. It just so happened to be my throw away bouquet, and it was totally fake. I just couldn't bare the idea of throwing a peony bouquet into the air and letting someone take it home. We dried my real one by the way. 

Photography was another thing that I thought was very important. If you want a good photographer you will need to book them 8 months to a year in advance. Of the 3 I wanted most 2 were already booked in October and our wedding was in May. I am glad I had the two photographers I had though because I will cherish these photos forever. 
We used Two Suez for our engagements and Jennifer Lizenby for bridals and wedding. 

My dress was an interesting beast. I knew I wanted something different, but budget an unique don't go hand in hand usually. For some reason I had saved a Glamour magazine from years earlier that had a wedding dress from Thread that was beautiful and very inexpensive. They specialize as a boutique wedding dress shop in California and carry very different dresses. They had really expanded what they carry these days and can accommodate any type of wedding. I was in the process of ordering and while corresponding with a consultant at Thread she told me to hold off until October because they gave a 10% discount for breast cancer. My Nanny had overcome breast cancer while I was in high school and to buy my dress from a company that supported cancer research made my dress all the more special. 

My photographer suggested we take first look pictures, while it was just becoming popular at the time and I didn't have a opinion on the matter, I happily agreed. I am ever so glad I did, we were married in late May in Mississippi. The South is hot ya'll! (I so hope you can hear my accent reading that) Since we took 98% of our posed pics before hand we were able to not make out guests wait and kick back and enjoy the reception just as much as everyone else. Some brides have major preferences on this topic, this is definitely a to each their own issue, but I was very happy we did a first look. It saved a ton of time, and my hair and makeup were fresh in the posed pics.

I could go on for days, but we will stop at this. Discover your style and own it. Don't let other's tell you something is ridiculous when you know you really want it. Go with the flow. Your first venue may not be available, I wanted to be married in the chapel at the church I grew up in. It was demolished a month after we were engaged and the church was being remodeled until the week of our wedding. I couldn't risk the venue so we booked a plantation in Natchez that was solid ont he date. Play music that is true to your personality. We ranged from heavy rock, to swing, to oldies, to classical. It was us and I loved how it turned out. In the end you will only have pictures and memories from that day, you have to be sure to do the best with what you have and enjoy yourself. Yes, I have regrets and wish I could have controlled things out of my control, but in the end it looked great and I was very happy with the outcome. Heck I married a great guy! 

What was your favorite thing about your wedding or a wedding you attended? 


Welcome to the Wedding Wednesday Link Up Party with A Happy Wife in New Orleans!!! 
The last WW Link Up Party (the first one ever) had 25 link ups!!!! Let's try to get more this time! A reminder that this link up party will occur every two weeks, so start creating your wedding posts!!

What is this link up party all about?
Link up any wedding-related post on your blog. This can be a favorite post of yours previously written or a new post. Anything wedding related! Wedding planning, your own wedding recaps, a wedding you were in, a wedding you attended, bridal showers, engagement stories, honeymoons, etc... You get the picture! Be sure to link up a different post for every new link up party. 

Now let's meet this week's co-hosts who have helped make this party a reality!

Here are your "vows" to linking up:
1. Link up your favorite "wedding" related post on your blog. It could be a new post or one previously written. ** Be sure to include the link directly to that post.**
2. Please link back to me within your post (text link or party button). I will feature my favorite posts and will only feature those posts that include a direct link back to me.
3. It is mandatory to follow your Host and Co-hosts {#1 - 4} via GFC.
4. Visit other blogs that have linked up and let them you know stopped bye.
5. Help spread the word about this fun link up party!

A Happy Wife in New Orleans

Interested in co-hosting a future Wedding Wednesday Link Up Party? 

I am so excited to see everyone's wedding post! 
Thank you for saying "I DO" to the Wedding Wednesday Link Up Party!

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Weekend Recap IG Style #twinkies #andhohos

November 20, 2012

To preface this post I am sitting here eating PW salsa and listening to a 90's station on Pandora. If I could musically relive the late 90's in real time I'd be in heaven. Yes, it was questionable in quality...but the music was awesome. 

Please tell me someone else remembers Eagle-Eye Cherry? 

Let it be known I want Save Tonight played at my funeral. 

For no particular reason, I just like it. 


Friday - 
Oh Friday. How I could live without them. While it is the end of the week there is something about Friday's that I do not like, maybe it is the utter chaos. However, I nearly fell out laughing when my sister sent me this photo:
And yes, that was the actual newspaper for November 16, 2012. Nice date right? No need to fret over this ridiculous 2012 Mayan Calendar ending...we still have a few years yet!

This little girl right here had a serious attitude Friday afternoon. She followed me everywhere and barked when I wasn't looking at her.  I finally sat in the floor and asked Ellie what she wanted and she decided I should be squeaking her toy. Yup, Queen Ellie can't even squeak her own toys. Straight drama. 

Spice Girls just came on the radio and I totally lost my train of thought. 

While we are on a random train of thought. I don't know if y'all have heard of the website 
Binguez, but it has a lot of cool games like online bingo. So check it out, it's really fun. 

Anyway. We ended up at Camelot - because guys name random places and things - and basically watched Jeremy and Gerard sleep on the couch for a few hours. Sara and I chatted for who knows how long and when it was far too late we woke Jeremy up and tucked little ole Gerard in and headed out. Saturday morning was hilarious, he was a little freaked that we had escaped without him knowing. 
Notice that Jeremy has one eye open. The man has a 6th sense when I have Instagram open on my phone. I can't even take pics of Gerard sleeping without getting caught, I am starting to think he is the most paranoid sleeper ever. Poor thing doesn't enjoy seeing his sleeping self on the inter-webs. 

Michael Jackson's Black or White just came on...if it stops making even less sense here just look and pictures and laugh. 
Saturday consisted of the men folk playing tennis, Sara and I rollerblading, and realizing we were all wearing matching outfits. Which happened to be totally fitting considering the Twinkie makers closed shop on us. 

Sidenote: We knew we were both wearing leggings as pants...but we were unaware that we owned the same skates:)

That night we headed back to Camelot, Gerard was making Taco Ring and we celebrated who knows what we sparkling grape juice. Because we are balling like that. I'd like to point out that we were probably the only people (2 way over age) on our college dominated street drinking sprakling juice out of wine glasses on a Saturday night...or any night for that matter. 
Can I just state that I was totally flipping out this day. Jeremy had asked me to teach a lesson to the youth one Sunday back in the summer and it just so happened to fall on the day he got to preach in church. Craziness! I literally taught all of John 12 and it was quite the drive by shooting of a lesson. Jeremy did amazing though. He preached regularly long before we met and I had never personally heard him preach. Youth and big church are just two totally different fellows. It was really so cool. I am so thankful that Tim (out pastor) gave Jeremy the chance to do that while they were out of town. I wanted to take a picture...but I didn't want to look like the crazy blogger than I tend to be. 
After church our little Gloria St. family went to Olive Garden (we also allowed non Gloria livers to attend...they were encouraged to move to our street though). Funny enough we unknowingly twinkied out a 2nd time for the weekend, and we were photo bombed by a man wearing a shirt that fits me perfect and that I am stealing out of his closet. 
Can you tell how excited we were to be at the OG? Yes, we I was excited. I really do love these people. It is great comic relief to be in this crowd. Seriously I don't know why A&E hasn't started filming a Gloris St. reality show. It would be the best show ever. Maybe we should film out own episode. 

I always say there are 2 couples in this 4-some, Jeremy and Gerard, and me and Sara. No one can ever accuse us of making someone feel like a 3rd wheel. 
Monday- because it was supposed to be part of the weekend #dangisaac

So to cheer myself up yesterday morning, because we had to go to school when other people are on Thanksgiving break, I somehow stumbled upon a Woodstock '99 station on Spotify. Um, 90's heaven! It was the fun upbeat stuff, I went searching again tonight and only got the dark grunge rock Marlyn Manson Beautiful People stuff. The fun was short lived. 

This also properly displays my feelings about working 2 days this week. 
It ended well. I stumbled upon the Christmas scent section at Wally-World and nearly died of happiness. Let's not tell Jeremy how many I bought...he won't even notice the ever changing smell if we don't. 

By the way I am thinking of having a "favorite seasonal things" giveaway if my bloggy Facebook page likes goes past 100 by the weekend. So go like it:)

What was your favorite part of the weekend?
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