Somebody is happy in her brand new high chair!!!
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
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 of course, some of this...
But luckily, we did get a little of this:
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.
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?