Back to Me II

Happy to report this week was pretty exciting with Thanksgiving and all. This morning it got more exciting when I realized that I
am Back to Me Minus 1 :) That's one more. And that is after having Chocolate Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving. We did do a lot of hiking. A little jogging. And a lot of no sweet tea. It was a splenda sweet tea Thanksgiving dinner and water. I'm a happy camper about this. And I feel super great with the changes.

The no eating late went well except for the nights we ate a little later dinner than usual and finished up about 7:30pm. Otherwise, I think I will continue to work on this on this week. So no eating after 7pm and no sweet tea. Then next week, expect me to add another baby step of change.

How about you? Did you make any big or little changes in this department? I want to support you and Thank You all for your very sweet and encouraging comments. We can do it! :)

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A Hearty "Thank You Mr. President" by Steven Curtis Chapman

Steven Curtis Chapman has been a favorite of mine for a very long time. Over the last year I have come to love the whole family through Mary Beth's blog. :) Yes, you heard she's a mommyblogger, too. :) She's funny, she's grounded and always has something great to say. Check their links above and get to know them and enjoy!

Really you have to hear this new song by SCC written to President Bush as he completes his eight years in office. What a kind and thoughtful gesture! Well done SCC. Here it is: Thank You Mr. President!

Hope your Thanksgiving was lovley.


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A Carolina Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from our table to yours... in honor of my Carolina Mama, the Cornicopia! Our table always had one and the tradition continues. Our hearts and table are full, we have much for which to be thankful this Thanksgiving '08!

Blessings to you and yours wherever you are from Carolina Mama and Friends.


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Thanksgiving is Here and Helpers

Let the cooking begin. Today we're starting a few things to help tomorrow go more smoothly. One things I am starting now is to fulfill Mountain Man's request for Martha Stewart's Chocolate Pecan Pie. Now, I grew up on traditional Pecan Pie. However, if you have not tried this one. You must. It has become a family tradition here and I like it. That's saying a lot because we usually do not mess with tradition here in the South.

Shhh - I have a little secret to share. Guess who is helping me? Great Harvest Bread is helping me this Thanksgiving. If you are fortunate enough to have one of these lovely bakeries in your neighborhood. Go quickly. Or note to self to call and order early for Christmas. I put in my order here on Monday for a pie and whole wheat bread rolls. Fresh baked with stone ground wheat. Nice. And less to do - say today!

Hope you have the opportunity to check one out. Let me know. Or call one of your favorite bakeries to help with a couple of things. And enjoy your Thanksgiving with your family and friends. For more fun stuff join us all at Works For Me Wednesday.


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Thanksgiving Week and a Cord of Wood

We're enjoying our Thanksgiving Week! Here's what our day looked like here. Slept late. Drank Verona Starbucks coffee - brewed at home - in pajamas while the Tigers decorated their "Dog Houses." The Tigers helping unload a cord of wood. Making Sugarplum Spice Hot Tea and unwinding with family.

I am thankful for these things.


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Back To Me Minus 1.2 :)

Hello World! Hope everyone had an awesome weekend. We're all set for a great Thanksgiving week. On the way to the airport to pick up family and start the celebration. Not sure why a flight from New Orleans has to go to Chicago when the destination is no where near Chi town! And yes, it's snowing in Chicago. Okay.

Our family is officially celebrating Thanksgiving before Christmas! :) Just so you know, Mountain Man and the Tigers have begun 'checking' all of the Christmas light bulbs. You know, these things are important. Especially because we decorate Thanksgiving weekend.

Look at the image above, that's what our kitchen table looks like right now! Until I upload a picture of ours that is adorable. Enjoy this image and think of my mother with me. Every Thanksgiving she had the Horn of Plenty on our table to remind us to be thankful for our Horn of Plenty. I love it and this year begins the tradition, not sure why it took so long, in our family that my Mommy started years ago.

Now to the good stuff, "Back to Me!" Guess what - the title fools you not - I am getting back to me minus 1.2 lbs. Yipeee! Can we say yaaaaay!! I am saying yahoo!!! Honestly, I didn't notice a thing except for salivating for sweet tea every afternoon, or a sweet Starbucks latte. Otherwise, after a water bottle like days of old, I was getting back to me - well, minus 1.2.

Did anyone else have a little success this week? Now, on to Thanksgiving. And for this week, I might break the internets when I say this one. Nonetheless, here goes.... Will not eat after 7pm! Oh dear, no good-night toddy. No even pie and milk. You know, what used to be a lifestyle will be again. :) It is basic. It works for Oprah, it works period. So I am in this week. No sweet drinks, and no eating after 7pm.

Let me know what you decide. And see you soon. The Win It Wednesdays will be chosen this week. Look there are two. So enter in the side bar. Stay warm and healthy and remember, an attitude of gratitude - that's what I am striving to attain this week for sure.


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Am A Member of the Society of THAT Family :)

Thanks Kristen for the warm welcome. This was fun. If you haven't joined, it's enjoyable.

Tomorrow, I am getting excited to share my "Back to Me" Monday review. Of course, the first week - I am all charged up about it. Will let you know. Until then, this week's changes have been all good.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”- Psalm 100:4-5


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Six Days Without Sweet Tea, Sweet Latte...

Six days withOUT sweet tea, no McAlister's, Chick-Fil-A, McD's or Starbucks Lattes, etc. You get the idea. And according to this McAlister's photo, I am not figuring much out since I am sans the Sweet Tea.

All I am saying is it got pretty bad, until I had to say let's take a break and I'll see you maybe at dessert sometime because we all know you're sweet enough.

Until then, it's Hello Splenda, and Equal friends. Interesting, it is mind over matter.


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Sharing a Little Holiday Fun and What Are You Investing In Today

Hi Ya'll. Just wanted to share a little Holiday Fun here today.

Allison at Fussypants has a great take on keeping Christmas Relaxed and simple. Love it and the thought of keeping this in mind as I see all the 'things" we can make and buy and eat and do, etc. over the Holiday Season. Keeping it simple, Just thinkin'.

Here's a great and meaningful letter to write. Write your Mother Letter today. Learn about the Mother Letter Project and create your own. I just sent mine.

It's kind of like the our Economy, the Stock Market - Anderson Cooper said it best, "It's like we've just wiped away the past eleven years."

How about you? Does it only take our stock market dipping or the economy's disaster to 'wipe out your past eleven years?' if so, does it cause you to want to live the next eleven differently, for something more lasting than say the Nasdaq?

What are you investing in today?

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Colossians 3:2


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Welcome To Crafty Thursday - Yo-Yo Christmas Tree

Meet Monica of The Homespun Heart! I have been blessed by Monica's blog for quiet sometime and I thought it was time to share her skills with you. :) She has graciously agreed to be my first Guest Post on "Crafty Thursday." Enjoy and remember to pop over to her blog and get just as spoiled as I do.

Yo-Yo Christmas Tree

I first saw these adorable trees in a catalog and they were on the pricey side. I decided to figure out how to make them!! Here's what I came up with:

Using a compass, cut seven circles out of heavy paper. The circles should measure 1 1/4", 1 1/2", 1 3/4", 2", 2 1/4", 2 1/2", and 2 3/4". You need one pattern of each size. Next cut out one circle of each size from various green fabrics. (I only had three different patterns as pictured above.)

Sew each circle into a yo-yo. Here's how to make a yo-yo.

Use a wooden spool for the base - cover the part where the thread goes with Elmer's glue and wrap twine around. (If you don't have a wooden spool on hand, you can buy them in the Wal-Mart craft department, but this will slightly increase your cost per tree.)

Search your yard for a stick that will fit into the hole on top of the spool and is fairly straight. It doesn't matter if it is too tall, you can always shorten it.

Snip a small hole in the bottom of each yo-yo so that you can "thread" them onto the stick trunk. Stack them in size order.

Put some Elmer's glue around the hole in the top of the spool. Put stick trunk in and allow fabric from the bottom yo-yo to sit in the glue and stick.

Glue a tin star to the top of the stick and trim stick if necessary. If you can't find the tin stars, you can also make cinnamon applesauce stars with a small star cookie cutter for the top!

To make the cinnamon ornaments, use the following recipe:

Cinnamon Ornaments

1 1/2 c. powdered cinnamon
1 c. applesauce
1/4 c. school glue
plastic wrap or plate
wax paper
cookie cutters
drinking straw
rolling pin

Mix cinnamon, applesauce and glue in a bowl. (You can add water if it is too stiff - I did not need to do this though.) Knead dough until smooth, cover bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.

Knead dough again and flatten with rolling pin to about 1/4"-1/8" thickness. Cut out shapes and make hole with drinking straw.

Bake ornaments for an hour in a 150 degree oven (mine doesn't go any lower than 170 and this worked fine) on a cookie sheet. Turn over half way through. Allow to cool and harden before adding ribbon or twine.

Now, tuck in a stocking or use in your own home to add a cute little touch of Christmas anywhere!!

Monica enjoys blogging about the simple pleasures of faith, family and home over at The Homespun Heart!

Thank you so much Monica!


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Bible Resources and "Win It Wednesday!"

My friend, Jennifer, at Smelling Coffee asked us yesterday as a Believer, what is your challenge with Quiet Time. I participated. Mine is clearly, like most of the group, I struggle with "the first thing in the morning mentality" and when you're exhausted, early in the am can be a challenge.

It was an encouraging reminder that meeting with the Lord is our goal and He blesses that. I want to share one thing that works for me and that I learned recently from our Women's Ministry leader whom I admire. Currently, I am in a Bible study, today, go ind now and finishing us this week's study right now too! ;) The study is "The Life of Joseph: God Meant It For Good." (For the record, it is an awesome study.)

At any rate, my friend recommended I use my online Bible as I am doing my Bible study. Furthermore, she recommended (she's a mother of five children - four boys, one girl. can we say veteran!) So I took her advice and implemented my study using and old favorite, BibleGateway and a new one Mountain Man's people in Colorado and Texas introduced us to, Bible.CC.

Bible.CC is an awesome resource. Check it out, they have everything Bible imaginable related on this site and it's easy to navigate.

For the record, I love my physical, Bible. There is nothing like holding my own Bible and physically looking up a scripture. Hearing the pages russell. And reading the word in print. However, I do love this new means of study because I can do a little commentary research very easily and it is super simple so I do not get bogged down.

And when time is an issue, this is major. I love it too that on my macbook, I just click speech and we can hear it read to us. I can answer questions in my study, hear the Word and read the Word all at once. The Tigers love hearing it whether I read it off of the screen or click speech. So that's golden. This my friends, "Works For Me Wednesday!" and most days. Check out WFMW for more awesome ideas. :)

How about you? Is this to nuevo? Have you tried it? Will you? I will admit it took me a little getting used to and it does not replace my good old-fashioned Bible reading, it does help me with my longer Bible studies. What do you think? Either way, enjoy these awesome Bible resource sites.

***Enter the Win It Wednesday Giveaway! Tanea @ She's Got Papers has gorgeous Ladies papers. She is offering up a favorite. Check out her site and list your favorite in comments here and you're in! They are SOOO cute. One creative girl. And one lucky girl will win. Good Luck!

p.s. Last week's Win It Wednesday is still open until this afternoon... when I am back to draw a Winner!


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Twins Goodness With Love

The Cherubs' Choir Director (oops! Mountain Man said it is time to just go with "The Tigers!" They are seven and a half. But I regress to "The Cherubs" because they really are!) recently delivered Twin Girls! It was so fun to watch the Tigers get excited about Twins. Mama and Girls are doing great. In fact, since this is "baby" number three and number four all wrapped up in - well, Two, they are rolling with it and are quiet on the go with the other children.

It's taken a little bit of organizing to catch them at home to make our delivery. So guess what we're doing tomorrow!

It's funny because the whole thing has me nostalgic. I mean seven Thanksgivings ago, I was nursing our Twin Babes - they were eight months. It was a Thanksgiving I will not forget. We even entertained! My sweet brother and his family all came down, again, to be with us. My mother, one of my sisters.... we were all together. It was like growing up, our big, loud, active, family all together.

That's what Holidays are to me, a time for Thankfulness and Togetherness!

It's also a joy this year to help celebrate another little set of Twin Joy. Otherwise, we're so ready for Thanksgiving Break next week. We'll be entertaining again! Are you traveling or entertaining?! What is a favorite Thanksgiving of yours?!

Remember to Enter the "Win It Wednesday Giveaway!"


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Back To Me

Well, I debated keeping this post separate and then I realized we girls like to 'say what we need to say' and I thought the better of it. Let's face it, honestly, I'm posting it so I'm going to be accountable to it. So I'm in for Health and Wellness on Mondays.

Here are a few 'resources' I am going to be utilizing in the next year. Oh no, I just said year. I'm getting on my own bandwagon for health and wellness after a long hiatus. And we all know a hiatus in this department is not a good thing. Nonetheless, I can't help that I am revved up to get going right here in the midst of Holiday Season 2008!

And you know what - that is okay - more than okay, I am excited about it.

Here's a little background. For my lifetime, I have been active and love sports, jogging, swimming, tennis. Two years ago, I ran my first marathon. A year and a half ago I ran my first Half- Marathon. Four years ago I was teaching "Body Sculpting" in my gym. So I did weight training three days a week and ran two or three.

Somewhere in there after accomplishing my marathon goal something odd occurred, I slowly stopped lacing up the tennis shoes so much. Life got busier, a move back to my Southern roots, a slurp back into Sweet Tea of my youth, another new Starbucks Latte to sample, etc.

Though I still am active with the Tigers and Mountain Man - I miss "my active." My jogs, my workout classes, myself. So Hello Internets, this year is about getting back to me! :) There's the short version. We'll see where this leads. I think I'll post on my own Health and Wellness on Mondays. If other posts are more pressing, I will at least plan to check in on it. Not a health blog, consider it getting to know Carolina Mama a little better. ;)

Anyone else struggle with little changes that lead to bigger changes and now you want to turn it back around? I would love it if anyone wants to join me. My girlfriend here in town is joining in. Now, to get her to Blog with us! Ya think a new health routine and blogging are too much for her to commence at once?! :) (I'll do what I can and stay tuned if she joins in the mommyblogging!")

So without much ado and without a lot of rules and regs I am getting going. This Week's Change: I am choosing one thing to change this week. Drum roll right from the South,

Giving up Sweet Tea, Starbucks Lattes!

This was my lifestyle prior to our soiree back to Dixie. So what worked well before will work well again. The translated version is no more 'drinking my calories.' :) I have really indulged in this area and loved all manner of Southern Sweet Tea and Starbucks Lattes.

Now, I am back to "Hello Sweet Tea with Splenda" "Hello Sugar-Free Hazelnut Latte!" "Hello Sugar-Free Peppermint Mocha!" etc.

Here are a couple of links to bolster us up:

Hungry Girl! I love this site. Check it out. You'll surely find something helpful there.

Here are Hungry Girl's Top 'Ate" as we head into Thanksgiving - I plan to take note and I share so enjoy :) :

TOP ATE Calorie-Saving Cooking Swaps!
1. Nonstick cooking spray instead of oil (for stovetop cooking)
2. Canned pumpkin instead of eggs & oil (for baking)
3. Light vanilla soymilk instead of milk or cream
4. Fat-free liquid egg substitute instead of eggs
5. No-sugar-added applesauce instead of butter
6. Ground-beef-style soy crumbles instead of ground beef
7. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granular) instead of sugar
8. Butternut squash instead of potatoes


Nutrition Data is a new resource I just discovered and it was pretty timely and all. Lots of data in one place, sounds good to me.

May the Lord bless this endeavor and may His hand be upon it.


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Sunday Scripture - Happy Sunday!

1 "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.

2 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.

3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

4 Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.

5 Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

6 O descendants of Abraham his servant,
O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones." Psalm 105:1-6


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What I Learned From the Our Trip To The Zoo

Here's a little run down on my thoughts after a glorious day at the NC Zoo earlier this week. It seems lately I am having 'reflections' or you'll notice it as "What I Learned...." I suppose anytime I can 'learn' something from anything is a good thing. Then to pen it is another.

What I Learned From the NC Zoo:

1) Beautiful fall weather is a gift from above not to be taken for granted. A plethora of gorgeous fall leaf colors included made for a flawless Zoo day
2) It's fun to be the first one in the parking lot - before the gates open - all Kudos go to Mountain Man :)
3) The sound of silence at the Zoo is a miracle of peace. The NC Zoo is a large property so the winding trails and trees were like being in the forest with the animals.
4) We'll never forget hearing the Elk bugle! (Even in Elk season, I had not heard this in Colorado.)
5) One Elk can send a herd of Buffalo stampeding in the opposite direction
6) The love my "Cherubs" have for all of the animals is something heavenly, I aspire to mimic it :)
7) There is nothing like a homemade picnic by Carolina Mama - awesome ;) for lunchtime at the Zoo - yes I turned my nose up at the Zoo food; :)
8) The Giraffe still take my breath away....
9) Watching the Sea Lions swim was mesmerizing; and
10) Family is everything and it was a joy to do the Zoo together!

*Runner Up: Dinner at Cracker Barrel on the way home was warm and delicious and perfect after a full day with the animals.


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Making A Homemade Haven

Antebellum Stanton Hall, Natchez

Maybe it's the Holidays, maybe it's the fun, maybe it's the many blogs, but I'm thinking a lot about craftiness lately. :) More than the craftiness, I am thinking about the results from the crafting.

When I show my crafty girl, I am happy and pleased and surprised all in one feeling. My home is happy and pleased and surprised, too.

Since I love a 'crafty,'Home and Haven focus. They seem to fall hand-in-hand. I decided to add a little more here at Carolina Mama. So on Thursday's, through the New Year, I will be featuring a guest blogger who will introduce all manner of "Crafty Goodness" to us. Home, hearth, Holiday, - Welcome!

To get the party started, this week, I thought we could look at Mary DeMuth's essay "10 Ways To Make Your Home A Haven." It's an awesome list. And it keeps me centered on the real haven and hearth matters and they are not tangible.

Then we can proceed with the more tangible things that cheer us up, we enjoy, and that spruce up our homes.

Be back next Thursday, the first featured blogger is a real pro at this so basically, we'll be learning a lot. :)

Tell me, are you crafty? If you're like me and yes, you are crafty can be and enjoy it, just need more time for it, how do you find the time? What are your favorite craft topics? Looking forward to this.

P.S. By the way, just so you know, it's "41 days" until Christmas!


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Brotherly Love - Twins Style

The Tigers and all their make believe....

Here they're playing, wrestling, looks like a big game of Twister to me. They love it. Guess what, I do too!

It seems like daily I stop in wonder in awe at the blessing of these two boys. Not only in my life but the blessing that they are to each other. There is a bond and love between them that is remarkable.

I grew up with four other siblings. It was wonderful. The Tigers have each other. We're thankful and I am amazed at their love and care for each other like no other. Oh, they battle too. They have their moments. Moments that make me wonder if we'll live through this parenting twin sons.

And yet, they feel for each other and care for one another in a way that is somewhat incomprehensible except that I love them that much. When one weeps, the other one is sad. Or weeps as well.

And God forbid, one gets timeout the other would rather be in timeout as well than be without his brother. With that said, they can be as different as day and night.

Tiger B explained it to a family friend last night, "He (Tiger A) is taller and I am heavier. He is more active and I am calmer." Now that's stretching it. Calmer. I never would describe either of the boys as 'calm.' Yet, he is 'calmER' than his brother. Their are a lot of other differences, blonde and blonder. Fast and faster. Happy and happier.

At the end of the day, they're brothers. "Brothers rule" as they said today. I smile. So you know, there's never a dull moment in the Carolina Mama household. There are many moments of gratitude.

As mamas, may we always stop and appreciate the joy and laughter these little lives bring among the exhaustion and mounds of laundry!


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