Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Today, I am thankful for beautiful weather on this Thanksgiving day. I'm also thankful to have a home where I can host Thanksgiving for my family and others. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Until next time,
XOXO Amanda

Family Traditions

I didn't do a post yesterday. Shameful, I know. I've been prepping for Thanksgiving the past 2 days. And it's finally here! :) I wanted to make up my post for yesterday and then I will do my post for today (Thanksgiving).

I made all of the dishes for Thanksgiving (except for the turkey, stuffing, and gravy) ahead of time. I figured it would be easier and make today more relaxing. Boy, was I right! I'm so glad I did. I didn't even have to do much today. My hubby made the turkey and stuffing. :) He's so sweet and helpful. All I have left to do is heat the sides and make some gravy. Woo hoo!

Anyway, let's get to the giving of thanks. Yesterday, I was thankful for family traditions. One of the dishes I made is my Gran's famous asparagus casserole. This is the first time I've ever made it, so I called her last night to make sure I had all the details right. She was really excited I was going to make it and that made me happy. She has been making it for Thanksgiving, and sometimes Christmas, since the 1950s. :) It's a family favorite and I'm thankful to continue the tradition.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Get On Your Feet

Today, I am thankful for my GelPro Chef's Mat. It was a birthday gift from my Mom. I know I've mentioned it before, but I love to cook. This mat is a life saver. It relieves some of the pressure on my feet while I'm cooking/washing dishes. We have a smaller kitchen now, so one mat works fine, but in the future I plan on having a mat for every area in the kitchen where I stand for lengthy periods of time. Right now I just move it around to where I need it.

I spent all day cooking and preparing for Thanksgiving. Today I made: 1 pumpkin pie, 3 pecan pies, 1 batch (10) of Rueger treats, pizza rolls (for our dinner tonight - I will post about these later), mashed potatoes (from scratch), and 3 dozen pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I was in the kitchen and on my feet, pretty much all day. The mat was my friend. My feet are a little tender, but I know I would be in a lot more pain if I hadn't of had my cushiony mat to stand on. :) Seriously, I cannot go on enough about it or describe how truly beneficial it is.

This was my first time making pumpkin pie, Rueger treats, pizza rolls (a Pinterest recipe), mashed potatoes (5 lbs from scratch), and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I really enjoyed all of the cooking/baking I did today, and will post more about the recipes and how everything turned out later.

Again, thank you to my Mom for getting me a GelPro mat. It has been a wonderful gift.

Thanksgiving Is Near

I forgot to do my thankful post yesterday. I know, it's unacceptable. Here's the deal. I spent all day researching recipes for Thanksgiving. See, the hubby and I will not be traveling to our hometown for Thanksgiving this year. It just isn't possible with his work schedule. I think I mentioned this in a previous post. We thought it was just going to be us, but a friend from college lives in the area and his son will be here. So, they are going to join us. The more the merrier!

Needless to say, I was excited to be able to cook for more people. When it was just going to be me and the hubs, we were just going to do a simple, yet traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Now that we have some guests coming, I made a feast - okay, not quite a feast, but a slightly bigger dinner.

After researching recipes all day (yesterday), I wanted to go to the store to get all of the things I need for Thanksgiving dinner. I didn't want to wait any longer and:
1. fight crowds of people
2. not be able to get what I needed because it was all gone.

So, I made a list of every thing I needed and was going to head to the store. My sweet hubby told me he didn't want me to go until later because it was storming, and if I would wait, he would go with me. :) So I waited, and we went together. It's not the thing I am thankful for today, but I am thankful he is always thinking of me and willing to help me with chores.

I am thankful that the hubby and I will be spending Thanksgiving together ( we were apart last year). I'm also thankful for the friends who will be joining us. It will be nice to have a "traditional" Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Today, I am thankful for rain. I love rain. The sound of it, smell of it, look of it. I love every thing about rain! It's so peaceful and relaxing to sit and watch the rain falling down.

It rained (okay, sprinkled) here today. While I enjoy the rain, my little Rueger doesn't much care for it. He won't even go outside to potty when it's raining. We have to hold an umbrella for him, and even then it's not always a go. Today, however, he went all the way to the back of the yard, in the rain, and did his business. I was so proud. :)

Until next time,
XOXO Amanda

Saturday, November 19, 2011

HTC Incredible

I have the first HTC Incredible. Would I say it's incredible?! Not so much, but it's a functioning cell phone. I read an article today about cell phones and whether or not they are a modern convenience or a social surge. Most of the time, I think cell phones are annoying. I can see how they are beneficial in many situations. 90% of the time, however, I think they are a pain. But, these thoughts are for a later post because...

Today, I am thankful for (the modern convenience of) my cell phone. Anytime I am missing or thinking about my Mom, which is pretty often, I can pick up my cell phone and call her. If I have a random question, want to tell her about something I just saw before I forget, or just say hi, I am able to at any given moment. With this being said, I do think there are appropriate and inappropriate places for cell phone use. I try to be mindful of others around me. But, I do enjoy that I can connect with my Mom often and easily.

A cell phone definitely helps with home sickness and missing those you care for!

Until next time,
XOXO Amanda

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Nanad

I was getting ready for bed and I almost forgot to do my thankful post. I did forget yesterday. :( So I'm going to do 2 tonight to catch up. This one will be for yesterday.

I am thankful for my Nanad. Although he is no longer with us, I have wonderful memories of him that I will always cherish. I was very close to both my grandparents and great grandparents growing up. All of my family lived in the same town, and we were always together. For that, I am also thankful.

Anyway, back to my Nanad. When I was younger, my Nanad worked for SPS (now Excel). He used to take me to work with him. I had my own little lunch pale and hard hat. I would color while he did his work. I loved being out there with him.

He was always willing to play with me. He helped me practice for softball -- playing catch with me, teaching me how to bat, etc. He even drilled a hole through a baseball and attached it to a rope. (He probably could have bought one, but I thought it was so neat he made it instead.) That was one of my favorite ways to practice batting. We'd also go fishing together.

In case you didn't know, I'm a Denver Broncos fan. I don't always keep up with the team, but I like watching them from time to time and I've got my Broncos memorabilia. (As I've mentioned before, I don't really enjoy watching any sport on TV no matter how much I like a team.) I grew up watching the Broncos with my Nanad and will always be a fan.

I miss him every day, but I am so thankful for all of the times we had together and the memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.

New Recipe Results

Before I did my thankful post today, I just wanted to give you a little update about the recipes I tried out last night. The crock pot buffalo chicken was yummy! The hubby and I both liked it. Success! We decided to add it to our rotation of favorites. To find the recipe refer to the link in my previous post.

The sweet potato fries weren't much of a success. :( They were decent in flavor, but definitely were not crispy. I'm going to have to keep working on that one. With a little practice, I'm sure I can get crispy sweet taters one day!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What's For Dinner?

Today, I am thankful for the ability to cook. I like to cook (and bake) a lot! Just ask the hubby! :) I'm also thankful that the hubby is willing to try new things and is NOT a picky eater, unlike me. As a matter of fact, I'm trying a new recipe tonight. It's buffalo chicken sandwiches cooked in the slow cooker (Crock Pot). I got the recipe from My Kitchen Apron. She has some great recipes on her blog. I can't wait to see how it turns out!

I'm also making sweet potato fries with dilly dip. I've made sweet potato fries before, but they didn't get as crispy as I would have liked. So I've found a new recipe I'm going to try and if it turns out, I'll share it later. The dilly dip is a mix I bought from a small antique/craft store in my hometown.

Until next time,
XOXO Amanda

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dirty Dishes

Today, I am thankful to have a dishwasher and a husband who helps with the dishes (when I cook) that can't be washed in the dishwasher. When he cooks I help with the dishes. We've perfected a routine of helping each other and doing daily chores and tasks together! :) It makes it much more enjoyable and seems to help it get done more quickly.

I know some people don't have a dishwasher and it is a luxury that I am thankful for often.

Until next time,
XOXO Amanda

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Care Packages

Today, I am thankful for care packages. I just love getting them in the mail. Yes, I still get care packages from my Mom, Nana, and Gran. It started when I went away for college and they haven't stopped yet! :) I got a package today that had things from each of them. It's so nice to know that they are thinking about me and the hubby (they send him stuff too) when we aren't around.

There were some awesome Christmas decorations that I will post pictures of once I decorate (which won't be until after Thanksgiving). I really enjoy decorating for each and every holiday, but I firmly believe in celebrating one holiday at a time. I think it's just like the seasons of our life--we should focus on the one we are currently in and be content. There was also some things for baking Christmas goodies. I LOVE to bake and cook! So treats like this are always appreciated.

There was also a catalog from my Gran. She gets the neatest catalogs in the mail and forwards them to me. The last one she sent had some really neat college gift ideas. Yes, I know I'm an old soul. I still like shopping from random catalogues (the kinds that only your grandparents and great-grandparents receive) and I say things like "neat".

Oh! And how could I forget to mention the Boston Terrier Christmas cards in honor of our Rueger! My family knows me so well. It makes my heart happy. :)

Until next time,
XOXO Amanda

Monday, November 14, 2011

Working 9 to 5...

It's a way to make a living. It's a Dolly Parton song, just in case you didn't know! And I'm not exactly working 9 to 5. I'm currently not working, but that's about to change.

When the hubby and I first got married, we decided I wouldn't work right away. I had just moved and he had already been here for about a year. We thought it would be good for me to take some time to get adjusted to the big city life! I had never lived in a place with a population of more than 260,000ish people, and now I'm in a place of 1,000,000+ people.

Anyway, I've had ample time to get familiar with the area and I've learned my way around. So I began looking for a job. I did the whole job search grind--applying, interviewing, applying, waiting, and more applying. Finally, I found a job that is somewhat related to my degree. I received an offer today! Praise the Lord!

Today, I am thankful to have found a job.

Until next time,
XOXO Amanda

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rock & Roll Car

Do you name your car(s)? I don't know what it is about my family, but we name our cars. Yep, each person's car has a name and it's usually a girl's name. But my car, well, my car is a dude! That's right! My car is named Mr. Berry, after Chuck Berry to be exact. See the factory color of my Saturn is Berry Red, so it only seemed appropriate to name the car Mr. Chuck Berry. :)

Ol' Chuck has been good to me since 2004 and is still truckin'! Today, I am thankful for my car (that my wonderful Mom bought for me). It has been a great, dependable mode of transportation that always gets me where I need to go, and it's still going strong. Hopefully it lasts us for a couple of more years because the hubby and I like not having a car payment. That is definitely another thing we are thankful for.

Well, look at that--two things I am thankful for today. See, we can always find things to be thankful for. Blessings are all around us!

Until next time,
XOXO Amanda

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Books, Books, and More Books

Today, I am thankful for books. They provide us with knowledge, fantasy, and so much more.  The Bible, biographies, non-fiction, fiction, history, politics, the classics. Well, truth be told my least favorite to read is probably fiction, but there are a few that I like (mostly what are considered classics). Books are a great way to have some "me time" and escape. I especially love reading about old Hollywood actors and actresses. I just finished reading Cary Grant: A Touch Of Elegance written by Warren G. Harris. It was interesting, to say the least.

I have my Mom to thank for my love of reading. One of my favorite memories is of my Mom reading to me. When I was little we would read The Busy World of Richard Scarry, Little Critter, Little Golden Books, Disney Books, etc. I didn't always enjoy reading for "fun" while I was in college. I think it was because of the amount of required reading assigned for class, but now I find myself wanting to read often.

Here are some of my favorites:
The Bible
Wuthering Heights
To Kill A Mockingbird
The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
A Very Hungry Caterpillar
Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes
Dr. Seuss

What are some of your favorite books?

Until next time,
XOXO Amanda

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day--Land of the Free Because of the Brave

Today is Veterans Day and today I am thankful for all of the veterans (past, present and future) who have served this great country we live in. The freedoms we have are because of their selfless efforts. Our debt to them can never truly be repaid, but we can show our gratitude to them each and every day. Thank a veteran today (and every day) to show them thanks for all they have done for this country and all they have done for you. God Bless America and our troops who defend her!

Land of the Free Because of the Brave

Until next time,
XOXO Amanda

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankfulness For My Grandad

Today, I am thankful for the beauty in life and nature all around us. I often find myself appreciating the simple things in life--the magnificence of a sunset (or sunrise), the birds chirping outside my window in the morning, the changing colors of the fall leaves, etc. We live in such a fast-paced society and I try to keep myself from falling into the habit of taking these things for granted. Thanks to my Grandad (great grandfather) and my Mom, I don't think I will ever forget to appreciate life and the things around us.

My Grandad was always stopping to look at humming birds or a tree or to explore some museum or abandoned farm. This trait definitely rubbed off on my Mom and me, and the rest of our family too! He loved to examine things, to appreciate things, and to figure out how things worked (I'll blog more about this later).

One of my favorite memories is of a family trip to Ruidoso for my Grandad's birthday. One of the mornings there, my Grandad, Mom and I got up to watch the sunrise. Well, you couldn't really see the sunrise because of the mountain, but it was still beautiful. As the sun started to rise, the light filled the valley and we saw a humming bird and some deer. It was just the three of us and it was a wonderful morning that I will cherish forever.

Here is a reminder to stop and appreciate the simple and beautiful things in life!

There isn't anything more beautiful than a Southeast NM/West TX sunset!
Until next time,
XOXO Amanda

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

24 Things I'm Thankful For

It's the month of November, and what does that mean?! Thanksgiving is near! Anyone who is on facebook should be familiar with the annual "I am thankful for..." status updates. It seems like everybody does them around this time of year. So, I thought to myself last night, "I should do a blog post each day of the month until Thanksgiving of something I am thankful for." Now, I know it's the 9th day of the month already. Eek! (Where does the time go?) But, it's better late than never, right?!

Catching up on things I am thankful for: 1-9

1. I am thankful for My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Because of the price He paid, we have redemption. --"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace..." Ephesians 1:7 --We've been given a pardon; the free gift of His forgiveness. "For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:28 --Amen!

2. I am thankful for my Mom. She has always been my #1 fan. I can't recall all the times I have needed her and could call anytime (and still do). We have so much fun when we are together and talk at least once a day. She has and continues to do so much for me--through supporting me, to sending me a card or a just because treat, to helping me become the woman I am today. She is my best friend and I love her bunches. :)

3. I am thankful for my husband, Adam. He is a wonderful, loving man of God. I appreciate all he does for us. He works hard, but he never complains. One thing I really love about my husband is his personality. He has helped me to relax and just go with the flow.

4. I am thankful for my Nana (grandmother). My Nana always thinks of me and remembers things that I like or hobbies that I'm interested in. She's constantly fueling my creativity. For this, and more, I love her.

5. I am thankful for my Gran (great grandmother). I am grateful to still have (especially at my age) a living, great-grandparent. She has been a prominent part of my life and I love her.

6. I am thankful for my cousins: Justin, Christopher, and Brayden. These three boys, all brothers, are more like my brothers than cousins. We grew up together and are always together for holidays and important events. I love each of them very much and cannot imagine my life without them.

7. I am thankful for my friends. They are always there for the random phone conversations, the spontaneous outings, and so on. Life would not be as fun without them.

8. I am thankful for my Boston Terrier, Rueger. We rescued him in May of this year. I've wanted a Boston Terrier since I was in high school. We took one in when I was in HS, and I fell in love with this adorable breed. Rueger has been a blessing in our lives and a great little companion for both me and Adam. He is a part of our family and we love him.

9. I am thankful for this blog, that I started at the suggestion of a friend. It began as a way to document our engagement and the wedding planning process. It has developed into a place for me to share what is going on with family and friends, both near and far.

All done for now! These thankful posts will require a post a day, which also means I will be stepping up my blogging. I look forward to sharing the rest of my "thankfuls" with you!

Until next time,
XOXO Amanda


Have you ever wanted to go to a NASCAR race?! Well, I've always wanted to go. At least once. Thanks to my hubby and his awesome job, we got the chance this past weekend. I'm thankful for the opportunities we get to partake in because of the company he works for. (It seems like I've mentioned this a time or two before!) The company rented a condo in the Lone Star Tower. Now, that's the way to watch NASCAR!

When I was in high school, my family and I would go to the dirt track races in a town near by where we lived. It was one of my favorite things to do on the weekends. It was exciting to be out there watching the racers and sensing the competition! This experience always made me think I would like NASCAR if I could go watch it in person. I just can't get into sports on TV...not even watching my alma mater in college football (which my hubby can't understand). I would much rather be there, experiencing it person. Even then, I think I do more people watching than game watching. But still, I enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of a live sporting event, especially college football!

Back to NASCAR. It's pretty much an all day weekend event. It's at Texas Motor Speedway, which is the 2nd largest sports facility in the nation. Who knew?! I have heard about NASCAR fans (one of my besties is one), but didn't realize how serious they are. There were RVs everywhere, both inside and outside of the speedway. It seemed that many of them don't leave the speedway the entire weekend. There were some elaborate set ups with campers, bbq pits, porta-pottys, etc. One thing the hubby and I noticed were the amount of converted school buses on the inside of the speedway. People created decks on the tops of the busses and RVs to sit and watch the races from lawn chairs.

The condo we were in was really nice. What made it even better was all the free food and drinks! But seriously, it was great getting to watch the race from THE PENTHOUSE with minimal noise, no wind, and a view of everything around the speedway. We also had access to a roof top terrace. We went up there about 10 minutes before the races started and stayed about 15 or so minutes in. I was NOT prepared for how loud it was going to be. I mean, every person there warned us but, I really didn't think it would be so loud up on the roof. I was wrong. Also, you could feel the rumble as the cars came around the turn closest to the condo. It was awesome!

Another perk was our access to pit passes and golf carts to go down there. We weren't able to go into the actual pit because the races had started, but we could go into the area near the pit where all of the RVs and busses were. We were told it was like New Orleans/Mardi Gras in there. A few hundred laps into the race (they went for 300 and some odd laps), the hubby and I decided to go down there. Someone had already taken the golf cart, so we walked. It was just as loud inside the speedway, but it was neat getting to see the cars zooming by up close.

Here are some of the pictures I took during the day.

And they're off! 
Coming around the curve.
A view of inside the speedway from the roof.
It looked so close sometimes, but there weren't any wrecks.
The position tower showed how many laps were remaining, how many they had gone, and the position of each driver.
A view of Lone Star Tower from inside the speedway.
The track.

A penthouse view!
The hubby and me.
The winner doing some victory spins!
Texas Tech Race Car! Wreck 'Em Tech!
Get Your Guns Up!
We found some fellow Texas Techsans to take our picture by the car!
Before we went to the speedway, the hubby told me he didn't want to stay for the whole thing. He didn't really think he enjoyed NASCAR because he's never enjoyed watching it on TV. It was a lot more interesting and fun (in person) than he thought it was going to be. We ended up staying until the race was over! :)

Click here if you want to know a little more about Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR, or who won the race.

Until next time,
XOXO Amanda

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Huey Lewis and The News

I love music; all music of all genres (minus techno and [hard-core] rap)! My musical taste is eclectic and ranges from Big Band (the 20's) to present day. I like a little of this and a little of that! What goes along great with music?! Concerts!

My love of both can be attributed to my Mom. She took me to my first concert when I was about 15. It was either Clay Walker, Toby Keith, or Tracy Lawrence. We saw all three of them around the same time, and I can't remember in what order. It's been too long! :) Over the years, we've attended many more together: Neil Diamond, Aerosmith, The All-American Rejects, Alan Jackson, Josh Turner, Eddie Money, and the list goes on...

One of my favorite decades for music is the 80's! I seriously believe some of the best music ever made comes from this decade (no sarcasm intended). There are so many artists/bands I could go on about from the 80's, but I'll save that for a later post. Right now I'm going to tell you about the concert my hubby and I attended at the end of October, Halloween weekend to be exact.

We went to Billy Bob's Texas:The World's Largest Honky Tonk! It's a fun place to attend a concert and the tickets are reasonably priced when compared to a larger venue. If you've never been and you like good music and dancing, you should check it out.  It wasn't our first time there. We saw Dierks Bentley in concert earlier this summer.

Anyway, I'm digressing. On Halloween weekend we saw Huey Lewis and The News! I was so excited and they put on a great show! They didn't play as many of their hits as I would have liked, but the ones they did play were good. They have a new soul CD coming out and played a lot of material from it. (Note to self: check to see if artist/band has a new CD coming out before deciding to go to a concert.) I'm just kidding on that note to self...kind of. But seriously, the concert was great and their hearts of rock n' roll are still beating! ;)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Family Visits and Baseball

I'm still catching up on the blog. Surprise, surprise. One day I'll blog in real-time.

At the end of August, my Mom, cousin, and his girlfriend came to visit. My cousin is a huge Boston Red Sox fan and when he found out they were playing the Texas Rangers, we had to get tickets.

They came on a Thursday and we went to the game that evening. My hubby couldn't get off work so, we had to go without him. It was both my Mom and cousin's first professional sporting event. I'm glad I got to experience it with them! We all had a great time together.

We sat next to an interesting group of people from Boston. They were an entertaining bunch! One guy kept dozing off during the game. My cousin would yelp and startle the poor guy.

We were walking back to the car after the game, when a bike cab came by offering us a ride. Our car wasn't very far away, but he insisted. So, after a few minutes of "are you sure," "yeah, we're sure," and "oh, come on,"... we finally gave in and piled in the bike cab. Let me tell you, that guy earned his money/tip with us! :) It was fun and I think we are glad we hopped in after all. Our driver was a hoot and we chatted the whole way to the car.

When he dropped us off, I told him I blogged and asked if we could take a picture with him. Of course, he said yes. So, we took a picture. I just wish my Mom could have been in it.

We had a fun night and weekend. I love it when family comes to visit. It's a wonderful treat!

Me, Mom, K, and J
K, the cab biker, J, and me

Until next time,
XOXO Amanda