Friday, November 25, 2011


I love Thanksgiving... a day to get together with family and friends and just be thankful. No presents, no major agenda (except of course eating way too much food!), just being together with those that you love. Every year my mom has Thanksgiving dinner at her house, and like anywhere my family goes that we must bring food... there is always plenty of it!
A Veggie Turkey. Thank you Pinterest for all of the yummy & fun recipes this year!

                                    Yummy!                                                           The desserts- that chocolate cake was my most favorite thing this year!

We usually have around 50 people come to my parents house, but this year there wasn't quite as many people there, but the 37 of us that were able to make it had a great time. I love that there are getting to be too many kids that there isn't enough room at the kids table for them all:

Next year we'll have to get another "kid's" table for Carter, Elsie & Amelia to sit at! Elsie didn't mind at all though that she had to still sit in the high chair, she had food so she was happy!

That's the way to do it, Els!

Mom got out a huge box of Lincoln Logs which kept kids of all ages entertained! I'm sad that I didn't get a picture of all the kids working on their log cabin masterpieces, but here is a super cute one of Gramma Winkie and Jackson.

Then of course there was the Black Friday shopping trip planning going on... this is again a yearly tradition.

Later, when the turkey started taking effect, Uncle Marshall and Ansley decided to sit for a while and enjoy a movie:

There was a lot of laughing, story telling and remembering going on, and enjoying time spent with family.


Tiff &

                 Jennifer, Leslie & Jessica                                                                              Mamaw Di and 2 of her girls


                                                   Papaw Fred & Elsie

                          My wonderful sisters                                                                                          My love

Ansley snugglin' up with Grandpa
I am so glad that every Thanksgiving my in-laws are able to come and enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner, and I also love that they are always willing to spend the night at the house and be with the kids while I go do some Black Friday shopping! :) I know so many people say that they would never step foot in a store on Black Friday, but for me, mom, my sisters, my aunts and cousins it is more about just going and laughing at all the many hilarious things that you WILL see. (I am also thankful that when my mom's car breaks down and won't start, that my dad doesn't say one negative thing about having to come to Boone at 1:00am to try to get it working!) Don't worry, a broken down car didn't stop us. Jessica drove separately so mom and I just hopped in with her while mom's car sat waiting to be towed this morning. (What a bummer about the car though!)
I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful time celebrating Thanksgiving with those that you love, and I hope we all can remember to be thankful for the many, many blessings that we have. I am especially thankful for my salvation, my amazing husband, my three sweet blessings (that are all taking a nap while I write this, and I am thankful that my super sweet son just asked me to snuggle up with him while he was going to sleep), my parents that raised me in a loving, Christian home, and all of my many wonderful family and friends. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Real American Heroes

This past Friday (11/11/11... wouldn't that be so cool to have that as a birth date!) was the day that our country has set aside to honor our military veterans by having Veterans Day. On Saturday some people from our church, old and young, took a little trip to Johnson City to the VA hospital to let the children sing songs and hand out some hats to the Veterans that are living in the extended care portion of the hospital. A wonderful member of our church is now living there and we thought it would be something that he, and possibly some of the others there, would enjoy.  Little did we know that we, those of us that traveled from our little church in Zionville, would be the ones receiving such a huge blessing that day! When we first got there and walked into a large room where they had probably 30-45 Veterans gathered in there playing Bingo, the emotion of gratitude came over me. Every single man and woman in that room at some point in their life has sacrificed so much for our country... for me... and for you. The children then sang several songs, and of course were adorable and precious as always, and then they went around handing out hats that our church had printed up for each veteran living there. After we left there we walked through the hallways to see the remainder of those that were not in the gathering room to allow the children to talk to them and give them a hat. I know that I could never thank each one of them enough for the service that they gave to our country, but to see their faces and smiles when the kids were talking and singing to them gave me hope that they knew that we're grateful for them. After getting home and hearing the next day from one lady whose father is living there, she said that it was the first time she has ever seen some of those people smiling! Another lady that my mother went to school with, her father has just started living there last week. When I got home on Sunday and saw a picture on facebook of her dad with the hat on that the kids gave him, and a huge smile with this written with the picture:
"My friend Dianne Phipps and her little ones from her church visited Daddy and the other residents yesterday at the VA, in honor of Veterans Day..this is the cap he got from them...that he was So proud of and he said the kids "done a real good job singing, you could tell somebody's been working with them."
I couldn't help but smile! 
Some of the kids with Glenn, a faithful member of our church that is now living here.

After leaving the VA hospital the kids from church were very excited about a fun trip to Chuck E. Cheese's. It was so fun watching all the kids playing those games (many which they didn't have a clue what they were doing) and having a great time! By the time we got home that night we were all pretty exhausted. I laid in bed that night though and thought about the wonderful and blessed day we had. Blessed to have people that are brave enough and love our country enough to serve in the military. Blessed to be living in a country where we have the means to travel to do special activities such as this. Blessed to have places such as the VA hospital to give medical care. Blessed to have our freedom that we can go in a public place and allow our children to sing songs giving glory and honor to God. Blessed that my children are so lucky to have so many grandparents still alive and that I can look over and see my Papaw Nulan, my children's great papaw, with a huge smile and tears in his eyes while watching them sing. Blessed to be a part of a great church. Blessed to be able to go to fun to places like Chuck E. Cheese's and watch my kids have the time of their lives! Blessed that I and my kids get to watch my Mamaw Ollie, the kids great granny, playing skee ball at Chuck E. Cheese's! :) Blessed that I have my wonderful mother that will go with me and help me out while my great husband stays behind so he can get a full day in of cutting wood and doing some side projects. So many things to be thankful for.
Here are a few pics of the kids having fun at Chuck E. Cheese's!

                                                                                                          Look how big they look here!

*A special thank you to Sandra for planning such a fun & wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I'm not sure how it happened, but somehow I became that mom that has a "theme" for Halloween costumes. I didn't even realize that really I've been doing it since Jackson was born until I was looking at past Halloween pictures. His first Halloween he was a horse, so Eric and I wore some overalls because I guess we were farmers:

                                                    Jackson Lee's first Halloween, 2007. Isn't he the cutest little horse!

Then the next year (2008) we had some animals.... a ladybug and a monkey:

In 2009 we again had animals. We must have really liked the animal costumes for some reason. This time, we had some farm animals, the cutest little lamb and rooster that you ever have seen!
Then in 2010 we decided to dress up as The Wizard of Oz characters. We had so much fun and even won some money at the mall in their costume contest. The best part of our costumes... we got them all together for less than $20. 2010 was a very challenging year for our family financial wise, and somehow all these costumes just seemed to show up. My wonderful and talented friend, Lisa, had made the Glenda the Good Witch costume for herself several years ago, and let me borrow that dress. Jackson's was a scarecrow costume that my cousin Cindy had made for her son, Caleb, 12 years or so ago, paired with a hat that we found from Goodwill and hot glued some patches onto it. I went and spent a couple of bucks on some fabric and my Mamaw Ollie helped me make Ansley's Dorthoy costume, and then Ebay is a great and cheap place to find some Ruby Red Slippers!  We found Elsie's lion costume on sale, and then when I asked Eric if he could figure out some way to dress up as the Tin Man, he said he could figure something out. The night that we were going out Trick or Treating Eric showed me his costume that he put together super quick by using some cardboard and a can of spray paint. I was impressed.
So this year when trying to think of a way to have a themed Halloween and again not to spend a lot of money, I had several ideas I suggested to the kids. The Flintstones, Scooby Doo characters, etc., but they didn't like any of those. Jackson was dead set on being one thing.... The Very Hungry Caterpillar. How in the world do you come up with a Hungry Caterpillar costume?!?! He then goes on to tell me that he is going to be the caterpillar, Ansley is going to be the butterfly that he turns into, and Elsie could be some of the food that he eats. When he said that all I could think of was the watermelon and how am I going to get Elsie to wear a big piece of cardboard cut out and painted in the shape of a watermelon??? I don't know why this was my first thought, but it was. I knew at this point that he had thought about this idea and was not going to change his mind (even though I did try to get him to more than once). ;) Ansley kept saying she wanted Elsie to be the cocoon that Jackson turns into, but I knew that even the horrible watermelon idea would work better than that. If she was a newborn, perfect... just swaddle her up, but a very active 15 month old... no way. When I googled "Very Hungry Caterpillar Costume," I was excited when I had results actually show up. Who knew someone else would want to be a caterpillar! Than I realized that the costumes were from Pottery Barn and no way was I paying $90 for a costume. I don't spend more than $10 on a costume, much less $90! So, I printed the picture off, went to my best trusted help me make a costume source (my Mamaw Ollie), bought some fabric, and voila! The Very Hungry Caterpillar costume was done! Ansley's dress up trunk provided her costume and if you wait to the last minute you can get some cute Halloween costumes 50% off at Old Navy, which thankfully this year included an adorable strawberry one. (Praise the Lord Elsie didn't have to wear the watermelon I had visioned in my mind afterall!) Great job on the themed Halloween costumes, Jackson, let's hope you are as creative next year! :)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Butterfly

The Strawberry