Wordless Wednesday

Somebody is happy in her brand new high chair!!!


Christmas with the Stuckeys....

Now that the business of work is winding down, I am all of a sudden very excited about our upcoming trip to visit with our families. We will leave in a couple of days and spend several days in GA with Mr.S' side of our family and then finish with a few days in FL with mine. I am blessed to have a job where I am given quite a bit of time off at Christmas and so, we will go and spend this Christmas with our families while we know we can get away for that long. Enjoy this pictorial walk down memory lane with all our past Christmases!!

2006- Our first Christmas together. We had been dating about 6 months.
so young. so on the way to being in love.

2007- The Newlyweds! We stayed home for Christmas since I had to work, but it was a nice start to all our "married Christmas memories."  Don't I look so giddy to be married to this guy? I still am.
(In other news, what's going on with my bangs?) 

Still 2007- For New Years, we were able to go and visit our families. Here we are at a Football game at His HS alma mater with cousin Blake.

2008- We began our "magical mystery tour" by taking a little trip to Savannah--
just He and I-- and little growing Baby!

2008 (still)-- Little Baby Bump meets Savannah

2008 (again)- Here we are in Eastman on Christmas Eve.
My brave husband let his 5 months pregnant wife sit on his lap.

2009- Enough Said.

(Actually, we promise to take a lot of pictures and share them with all of you. It's silly how excited I am about taking  pictures the three of us in front of the various Christmas Trees at our parent's houses. I'm even more excited about reading Little Lu the Christmas Story on Christmas Morning. As you all prepare for these last few days before our Lord's Birthday, be well and let us wish you a very,


"And the angel said to them, 'Fear Not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2: 10-11


Almost Wordless Wednesday

We had a little impromptu photo shoot with this little one tonight to try to get a couple of photos to give to her grandparents at Christmas...

This is mostly what we got:

And this...

 And of course, some of this...

But luckily, we did get a little of this:


Wordless Wednesday

(That's right, folks-- she did this on her own.)


It's beginning to look alot like Christmas...

Tonight I took a little time to notice some of our Christmas decorations. As I did, I was reminded of the past several Christmases Mr. S and I have shared together. I love when small details on the tree or in our home jog a certain sentimental memory. They remind me of the joy we have shared over the past few years and the many ways that God has been ever faithful to us. They remind me of various and sometimes humorous memories of the last few years that we have shared together. Last year, after Christmas, we were blessed to be able to purchase a large pre-lit tree at 60% off and so this year, we have enjoyed the way it swallows our cozy living room. We have added a few more ornaments but it's still pretty open in areas. I like that. It reminds me that our family still has much growth ahead of us. Hopefully year by year we will add a few more ornaments, and a few more memories and a few more remembrances of how God is ever beside us, guiding our steps and blessing us beyond measure. In the mean time, here are a few of my favorite memory producing ornaments.

This picture was taken the first Christmas we were dating. I remember we spent about 12 days visiting both of our families in Georgia and Florida. At the end of that trip, when we didn't hate the sight of each other-- we knew we might be in it for the long haul. I guess it's apparent what I wished for that Christmas!
This beautiful nativity ornament was given to me last Christmas by Linda, my co-worker and friend. This ornament is so special to me because it is a simple and poignant reminder of the reason behind all of our joy at Christmas. In addition, this ornament will always remind me of a special time in my life when God so richly blessed me with a workplace full of wise and God-fearing, God-honoring women. They continue to encourage me in my walk and as a wife and mom and I am so blessed by them.

This ornament was from our first Christmas together as Mr. and Mrs. S. It was a special and memorable Christmas and we still laugh about some of our "1st Christmas" memories.

This is my favorite Christmas decoration. My first full nativity which my sweet husband has helped me collect. I cannot wait to teach Lu all about the Meaning of Christmas with the help of this beautiful visual aid. Although, I might add that next year it will be a bit "higher" off the ground. Away from little hands. :)

My Littlest Christmas Decoration and Her amazing Daddy.

I LOVE that we now have 3 stockings to hang.

We may not have thought we would still live here. We definitely did not think we would still be living here by this time this year. We certainly did not expect to be in such a place of uncertainty. We are still praying every day that the Lord would continue to direct our paths and make His way clear to us. It took me a little longer to embrace "unpacking Christmas" this year as I was hoping we would have to turn right around and pack it up. I got over that as soon as I realized what I was missing by missing what was happening now. We still do not know the future--- Not even the immediate future. But I do not intend to ruin this wonderful, celebratory time of year with my deferred hope. I fully intend to embrace the JOY of my Savior's Birth with everything that is in me. I know without a doubt that I will never forget THIS Christmas as long as I live.


Cozy Dinner Times Two!


     It is during this time of the year that I find myself looking to make filling meals that are warm, comforting and full of good healthy ingredients. It also happens that during this time in our life, (enter one smallish income for 3 people) I find myself looking to stretch our grocery bill into as many meals as possible. It really makes my day when I can stretch one meal into two or more- (other than just eating leftovers, which is always nice.)

     Last night, I made this recipe for a slow-cooker beef stew. If you enjoy cozy meals such as this, I would certainly recommend giving it a try. A few things you should know, the recipe calls for 4 lbs. of bottom round. That is a lot of meat--- so for Mr. S and I, I used about 1.35 lbs. of cubed stew meat. It still made plenty and it was not too meat heavy as some stews can be. We prefer a lot of vegetables. Another observation, the recipe calls for baby carrots. Baby carrots are fine and definitely convenient. We have taken to buying a large bag of whole organic carrots because we get WAY more per pound, they last much longer in the fridge since they are unpeeled (we're talking weeks here) and we tend to think the taste is just sweeter and more "carrot-ey" (Yes, I have coined a new word.) One other disclaimer, the recipe calls for a cup of red wine. Obviously, the alcohol cooks out, but if you choose not to use the wine,  you could try beef broth.. however I would add at least a small amount of red wine or red cooking wine, because the flavor is really unmistakable.The resulting dish was really good and warmed us from the inside out on a chilly rainy night.

On to meal #2:
   Long ago, my mother taught me that beef stew or soup makes an excellent Meat Pie a couple days later. Just thicken or thin the sauce to your desired consistency, place in a casserole dish and cover with a piecrust. Seal the edges and bake until golden brown and bubbly. Tip: try adding a small sprinkling of fresh or dried Thyme or Rosemary to your crust before rolling it out. Beautiful and Savory! If you are short on time, you can certainly use a roll-out pie crust, or even top your beef stew with biscuit-dough. Either one would make excellent use of leftovers and give your family the feeling of an entirely different Supper. Especially if you wait a day in between! You could also accomplish this same concept by topping leftover chili with cornbread and baking. Yum!

This is just a simple technique that I use from time to time and I thought I would share.

What are some creative ways you get double or even triple duty out of your leftovers?



So much thanks to give.

SIX months old.

Isn't she adorable? So much to be thankful for.
I am one happy wife and mommy.


Exersauce-ing around...

Wow. I love this new toy of L's (sent by her loving Grammy and Grandaddy!) I have enjoyed just sitting there watching her play with it. I know every parent must think this-- but She is so smart! It's completely worth the extra space it takes up in our slightly "bursting at the seams" Townhouse. Although, we may have to put something in storage if we are going to put up a Christmas tree... hmmm. I will get to work on that.


Things we have been up to...

We went to the NC State Fair with the in-laws!

L's first Rice Cereal and Veggies

A few days later, she loved the sweet potatoes...

My dear sweet husband bought me a beautiful new pie plate and adorable little leaf pie crust cutters.

The finished product... which we shared with our dear-they-might-as-well-be-family friends, Mike and Courtney. Love em. We did not love, however the way the Dawgs were soundly beaten by the Gators, did not celebrate a victory.

I had my first opportunity to dress my child up like a vegetable. And oh, what fun it was.
THIS is why people become parents.


My Little Girl is 5 months old today!!!

Oh, wow. I cannot believe it. 




Then and Now....

What a difference 4 months makes! How much our little Lamb has grown.....

The Day we brought her home from the hospital... The night we got a full 45 minutes of uninterrupted sleep. I think I must have checked on her every 20 minutes that night.

And now....

This was a couple of weeks ago when she was 4 months old. Obviously, she no longer fits in the Moses Basket. She sleeps for 9 and 10 hours at night-- but I will admit I still check on her pretty frequently. Not every half hour though!

She is growing right before my very eyes-- yesterday Lu had her 4 month checkup (a little late-- since she is almost 5 months old!) and she did great! She even cried less with the shots than she did at 2 months. She did not run a fever and really was not all that fussy. Recently, she had a head cold and then she gave it to us. Honestly, she had a sweeter spirit when she felt bad then her Daddy and I. We were a bit convicted by our little daughter's sweet attitude for sure. Amazing what God uses, isn't it? 

She has grown to 14.3 lbs. and is a whopping 25 inches long!!! In the 80th percentile for her height and in the 50th for her weight. Let's just say, she has her Father's genes for sure. I'm not sure I was a long as she is until much later! All in all, she is very healthy and the Doctor was quite happy with how she is growing. We are enjoying her so much and she entertains us on a regular basis. 

Here's a little shot of her:



Family Photos!

We recently had a few family pictures taken here on campus and they turned out very well. Our little girl was an absolute doll the entire time (we-ll almost the entire time.) Special thanks to Scott Clevenger for a wonderful job!

Here are just a few of our favorites! We are trying to narrow down the "must haves" for the 'S' household-- but we must do it quickly because that L, she is ever-changing!!!

The 2nd from the bottom, the one of just Mr.S and I was taken on "our bench" where He first confessed his love for me. There. How's that for pure romance? I love this guy.


Two things I adore and One thing I abhor....

This sweet little angelic face

Who wouldn't enjoy cooking when they live with their own personal Soux Chef? I came downstairs one morning last week, preparing to fix muffins for breakfast. My loving husband had prepared all of my ingredients. I felt like I had my very own cooking show!

And now, for the thing I ABHOR:

Finding this disgusting arachnid in my daughter's blanket, just before laying her down on it. EWW. Why, yes as a matter of fact, that IS an egg-sac. Double-EWW.


Wordless Wednesday

My mom came to visit!!!


An Exciting Announcement!!!

Little one has slept through the night every night for an entire week!!!!! 
(And her parents feel like brand new people.)


A childhood favorite revisited

    When I was five years old, my family was invited to pick blueberries at a private farm belonging to a friend of my dad. Apparently, it was a banner year for their blueberries and so we were told to pick as many as we could eat or freeze. They provided us with 10 and 15 gallon buckets and we went to picking. As you can imagine, this was a huge treat as we were a family of 7 and fresh blueberries just were not in the weekly budget. We picked, and picked and picked until we were blue in the face, and fingers I might add. Then the entire family entourage schlepped home to properly deal with this great unexpected blessing. Many of the berries went into the freezer— so many in fact that we had blueberry cobbler, blueberry pie, blueberry pancakes and blueberry muffins for several years. I am not exaggerating. We lived on blueberries. Oh, and deer meat. So in truth, we lived on blueberries and bambi burgers. But that’s a blog post for another day.
       Ten years later, when my parents moved to the house they currently live in a bit farther out of town, my Dad took up gardening. From then on, he was lovingly referred to by my Mother as “Mr. Green Jeans” because everything he planted grew and grew very well. He decided to try his hand at blueberry bushes and they grew very well. Thus, we were reunited with the sweet little antioxidant. Of course, back then no one mentioned how full of antioxidants and nutrients blueberries were—they just stuck them in muffins and called it a day. My mom, not wanting to let a good berry go to waste, furthered her talent of berry-goodness and often made the most divine blueberry muffins ever. Seriously good, I’m tellin’ ya. I have recently tried my hand at her recipe, (complete with melted butter. Sigh.) and they just aren’t the same. Maybe because my feet now touch the ground when I eat them. Who knows? Never the less, I still love them whenever I go home -- provided my “mommy” makes them. There are times when I want desperately to re-create my Mom’s recipes… see: the apple pie incident. And then there are others when I feel the need to branch out. Last night was one such occasion.
   Lance and I decided to have brinner (Breakfast for Dinner) and I got to work making a frittata. Crustless Quiche-type thing filled with veggies. (Recipe to follow.) Try it with your own combination of fillings. You’ll like it. I also wanted to make a healthier version of the famed blueberry muffin. I was thinking somewhere along the lines of…oatmeal… whole wheat flour… juicy berries. I consulted Joy the Baker, whose blog I thoroughly enjoy reading. She had an Oatmeal Applesauce Blueberry muffin recipe. And can I just say that she has yet to let me down? Oh, my. They were amazing.  So amazing that I plan to make them for the Queen of Blueberry Muffins this weekend when she comes to visit us! I’m that confident in them! I cannot take credit for Joy’s recipe as it is hers and her alone—but I would like to direct your attention to her pretty little blog and encourage you to try the recipe. You’ll be glad you did. Even better, you won’t be mentally kicking yourself all day for indulging as they are full of healthy ingredients and not full of butter. What are your favorite “breakfast for dinner” ideas? Do tell!
You will need a non-stick 12 inch skillet with Tbsp. of Olive oil. Heat until oil is smoking. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
Sautee 8 oz. Mushrooms and 3 tbsp. of minced shallots until fragrant and browning. Add one diced tomato, and 8 julienned basil leaves and cook until tender and water has nearly evaporated. Remove from heat.  (You can use any combination of sautéed vegetables that you like, only be careful that they are not giving off too much liquid.) Crumbled bacon; cubed or sliced ham; or thinly  sliced leftover steak would also be great. Experiment!
In a bowl beat 7 eggs, add 2 tbsp. of half and half or milk and fresh ground salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over the veggies and top with 2oz. crumbled feta or other cheese (cheddar and swiss are also great.)  Gently shake skillet so eggs incorporate to the bottom of the veggies evenly.
Place skillet in 350’ oven for 15 minutes or until puffy and cooked throughout. Garnish with fresh herbs or scallions and serve in wedges.


Our vacation...

I never got around to posting about our little vacation before I went back to work... Lance calls it "The Magical Mystery Tour" and was it ever! We had a great time with family and friends before our "new normal" began!