Thursday, November 29, 2012


Last week we had a wonderful Thanksgiving thanking God for all He has given us with three of our dearest friends. This year was different that most years. Most years, in fact ALL the years of my life, I have spent Thanksgiving in Florida with my extended family. Due to ministry commitments and trying to avoid additional travel for Allie, we weren't able to go. We missed seeing our family though and look forward to being there again hopefully in 2013!

Even though we weren't there, I still wanted us to have just as good of a Thanksgiving, with all our favorite holiday foods. Normally, I don't cook at all on Thanksgiving, or if I do it's a single dish to share. This year however, I dove head first into Thanksgiving dinner and ended up making about 11 different things.

Here was our Thanksgiving Day menu:

cinnamon rolls

little smokies
cheddar cheese nut ball, summer sausage, crackers

Main Course
fresh cranberry sauce
corn casserole
broccoli casserole
loaded mashed potatoes
sweet potato casserole
steamed french beans
cranberry sauce crumble

dinner rolls and crescent rolls
butters (regular, honey, and pumpkin spice)

brownie pie
apple crisp

Oh yeah. That's right, the good stuff. No healthy food in sight (except for the steamed beans). We were gonna live it up! Since we were at GWL on Wednesday, I woke up early on Thursday and got to work! (When mom was in town on Monday, she helped me polish all the silver so that was already done. Thanks mom!)

A lot of love went into all this food and also a lot of this:
Butter going into the apple crisp topping...

 Butter in the sweet potatoes
 Butter in the sweet potato topping...
You get the picture. It was a calorie-full day for sure, but boy did it taste yummy.

Breakfast cinnamon rolls
Light apps (every party needs little smokies)

Love this cheddar cheese ball.
And now for the main event...

To be honest, I was scared of the turkey. I had never cooked one before and wasn't exactly sure what type of expertise was required. Trader Joe's hooked me up though and this bird turned out to be one of the juiciest, most flavorful turkeys I've ever had.

Loaded mashed potatoes 
Stuffing (made by Bethany)
Cranberry sauce crumble (Made by Bethany and so amazing I am going to make it again for Christmas. Thanks for the recipe Dowd!)
Sweet potato casserole (Zach's fav)
Corn casserole. Yes please.
And of course, bread.

(Other food and desserts not pictured. Sorry.)

Allie ticklin' the ivories

This was also the first year I got to decorate my own table and I think it turned out pretty decent.

I used burlap as a tablecloth
And put fresh flowers in glass jars I have collected (previously containing pickles, jams, sauces, etc.) that are adorned with crochet trim, ribbon, and paper.

Diggin' in

My plate. O-mazing.
After a delicious lunch we all lounged around in our post-Thanksgiving stupor. :)
Beautiful Al
After AG's nap it was time to play outside!
And take a few pics with our friends

Thanks for spending Thanksgiving with us friends! We are so blessed to have you in our life!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Great Wolf Lodge

The Great Wolf Lodge just outside Charlotte is part of Great Wolf Resorts, a chain of resorts famous for their indoor water parks. In addition to the water park, each resort has a slew of other activities including an aracade, mini golf, spa, and other children's activities.

We had the incredible opportunity to go to the GWL last week with some of Allie's friends from Forest Hill and it was a ridiculous amount of fun.

Allie with Payton and Cooper, on our way to meet Emma, Annie, and Ms. Christy at GWL!

Wolves lodge here
Best wolf faces
 The whole gang! (minus adults)
I don't have a ton of pics from the water park because I was too busy having fun myself to take pictures. Ha! Zach and I seriously had a blast too. This place is not just for kids! :)

The Howlin' Tornado is an incredible water slide that dumps you into a 6 story funnel and you swish and swirl, back and forth, up to 30 feet high sometimes!, before you exit through the bottom of the funnel. It's amazing. And kinda scary. And at first, Allie did not want to go, even though all her friends had already gone and loved it. It took her a little longer, but she worked up to it doing other rides with us and then took on the tornado!

After 3.5 hrs at the water park, we are famished!

After all the water fun, we got cleaned up for dinner. The McDermott's guest room included an area called "Kids Camp" which looks like a tented cabin in the room. It has bunk beds, a separate tv, and is pretty neat.
Allie, Annie, and Payton on the top bunk
While the kids got changed, we looked like this. Ha! 3.5 hrs riding rides and walking flights of stairs really takes it out of you!
After dinner we headed to the aracade. I have never really been a gamer, but these kids love it and getting tickets to earn prizes.

Annie and Cooper on this pretty incredible flying simulation game.
Zach and Allie racing! These two love driving games.

Look who is in 1st! But someone else is creeping up on her title!

Allie ended up getting a bunch of tickets with her arcade money.
With it, she bought some really useful stuff- 3 whoopee cushions and 5 tootsie rolls. Lol. And SMH. This girl is hilarious. But let's leave the whoopee cushions at home. Ha!
All of us seriously had such a fun time at GWL! It is soo fun! I hope we can come back here at some point in the future and stay over so we can do more stuff!