All That We Behold

foggy mountains

Hoping that today you behold many blessings
(even if you have to look hard to find them!).
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Monday Morning Notes, vol. 2

Girls with Santa at Bass Pro

Crying baby on Santa’s lap milestone? CHECK.

In this year of firsts, we’ve got the first holiday first crossed off Adrienne’s list. (If you’re counting, that was four uses of the word “first” in one sentence. Um. The first sentence in this paragraph.) I’m not sure she’ll thank us later.

Her face up there? We’re seeing a lot more of that these days. My sweet, content, always-happy baby girl is ON THE MOVE. And that means she’s all over the place and into everything. And THAT means she’s hearing the word “no” a whole lot more than before.

Like the rest of us, she’s not a fan of being told no. She occasionally listens and obeys, but more often than not, she has very little regard for my insistence that she, “stop! no! don’t do that/go there/touch that!” And, reportedly, she even spoke the word herself on Friday. I’ve heard her mimic my “uh-uh” sound several times, but she dared to tell my friend and her babysitter NO last week.

Nervy baby.

That’s not to be confused with the nervy Bible. What’s that? You haven’t heard of that particular translation? Huh.

Last night Annalyn got out of bed to tell me that the page she was reading in her Bible had the same story she’d heard at church a couple weeks ago. She was so excited I couldn’t possibly reprimand her for getting out of bed! But then she told me that at first she was confused because her worksheet from church and her Bible weren’t the same. Oh, I said, because your Bible is a different translation?

Yes, she told me. I have that Nerve Bible.

Heh. She has the Adventure Bible for Early Readers – in the NiRV (New International Reader’s Version) translation, in case you weren’t following.


Saturday was a busy day.

Since this summer I’ve been inviting the middle school students I serve with at church to get together each month. This month, we had a pizza and packing party. Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing, that is. The kids have a great time when we hang out, but they’re busy with lots of activities – so some months we’ve only had a couple of them show up. This month, though, more than half of my team made it – and we had so much fun!

My friend (and our children’s ministry director) hosted us in her home, and she told me when I arrived that she was worried about entertaining the kids. I smiled as she said that because I knew: these kids would entertain themselves – and us! I’m happy to say I was right – and no shoeboxes were harmed in the complete mayhem that ensued once the students started trickling in.

After at least a dozen rounds of the kids stacking the boxes with care and knocking them down with gusto, we filled up 10 of them with the toys, school supplies and necessities we’d all brought. A short devotion on worship and a lot of pizza and cinnamon sticks, plus a few rounds of Catch Phrase, and we were partied out.

As I was leaving her house, my friend mentioned that she and her husband were taking their girls to see Santa at the Bass Pro Shop that evening. Because that sounded more fun than hanging around my [desperately needs a cleaning] house for the rest of the day, I invited myself – and my family – along. We met our friends in the redneck Santa village, made our kids cry by sitting them on Santa’s lap, and walked around the giant outdoor store.

Just to make sure my threshold for crowds and crowded places was completely crushed, we finished the night with dinner at Cracker Barrel. I love Cracker Barrel and enjoyed my dinner. Boring, pleasant report, right? Well, the rest of my crew was a little more exciting.

Annalyn was greatly, deeply saddened when she wasn’t allowed to get the ice cream sundae that came with her kids meal. (We have All The Feelings around here, you know.) Adrienne made me laugh hysterically (with just a tinge of embarrassment) when she literally grabbed a chicken strip out of my friend’s one-year-old daughter’s hand and shoved it in her mouth. (I’d already fed her a lot of food, I promise!) And, based on his unfortunate reaction that lasted a solid 24 hours, may never eat chicken fried steak again. (You’re welcome for leaving it at that.)

See why that photo up top sums up my weekend? Some big grins, some sad faces, and a little early holiday festivity. Check, check, check!

How was YOUR weekend?

Wait, There’s More! [Early Dayspring Sales]

More Early Sales from Dayspring

DaySpring just won’t quit with these early sales! They added eight more items to their deeply discounted Early Black Friday Sale. Several of these new sales are less than $10 – perfect for gifts!

Daily Grace Memo Board – $17.99 (60% off)
God’s Heart for You Sterling Silver Necklace – $19.99 (60% off)
Everything Beautiful Makeup Bag – $5.99 (76% off)
Prayer Teddy Bear – $7.99 (65% off)
The Lord Bless You Keepsake Box – $3.99 (69% off)
Everything Through Christ Scripture Bangle – $19.99 (56% off)
Give Thanks Large Wooden Cross – $6.99 (68% off)
In All Things Wooden Plaque – $4.99 (62% off)

Happy {early} shopping! (And shop now if you can. Some of the earlier sale items have already sold out!!)

This post includes affiliate links.

5 Sides Dishes Perfect for Your Holiday Dinner

Holiday Side Dishes with Bacon

Okay, look. I do not eat bacon at every meal. Or every day. I don’t. But my favorite side dish recipes – the ones that are perfect for your holiday dinner?


I don’t know. I don’t have an explanation for this, although my husband has a t-shirt that tries. (If you haven’t guessed, it says, “Bacon makes everything better.” Because, duh.)

So as you make your grocery lists and plan your menus for next week, don’t forget a pound (or two) of bacon. And, for the love of a clean stove top, remember to bake your bacon! (What? You don’t bake your bacon? TRY IT. You can thank me later. Or now. Because you KNOW this is going to be awesome, don’t you?)

I haven’t decided exactly which dishes I’m taking to our three Thanksgiving dinners next week, although Mark’s “famous” baked beans are on the list for my Grandma’s house (lunch) and he’s requested homemade cinnamon rolls for his family at our house (dinner). I haven’t made this loaded potato salad in a while, so that’s one option.

In case you’re still looking for side dishes to serve at your holiday meals, I’ve got five delicious, bacon-y recipes for you.

5 Side Dishes Perfect for Your Holiday Dinner

As I looked through my recipes, I noticed I also have a couple good pumpkin snacks that I haven’t made yet this year. If you need a pumpkin snack for your holiday dinner, try Pumpkin Pie Dip or Pumpkin Pie Crunch (chex mix). Mmmm…

Pumpkin Pie Dip

And if you need a veggie tray, why not make one that looks like a turkey?

Turkey Veggie Platter

What’s on your menu for Thanksgiving?

More Early Sales from DaySpring

Early Black Friday Sales from DaySpring

I have bought several DaySpring items multiple times. Like the mug and journal I mentioned yesterday, these are things I love giving as gifts – and every time I give one away, I have to replace it! I was excited to see several of those very items – a necklace, a stuffed animal, a block set – as part of the early Black Friday sales.

Eight more items have been added to the sale page, including my favorites and a vase I can’t wait to give away!

One more thing – don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a $50 coupon code to DaySpring’s Everlasting Light collection!

Happy {early} shopping!

This post includes affiliate links.