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Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Decorations!

Finally! I have been meaning to post this for a while. Here are the pictures of our house decorated for Christmas. First picture is of our new dining room table. I must say I am so proud of the light fixture. Several years ago, I bought these beautiful red balls from SAMS CLUB. There are about 500,000 in the box and so they usually go all around the house. I tied them to our light fixtures in the dining room and kitchen with pretty gold ribbon.

See? This is the light fixture from the kitchen. The table cloth was purchased thanks to Matt allowing Midas to create a super long, deep scratch in the table. I don't mind so much. Now, I get to purchase all kinda of pretty table cloths.

I copied this wreath card holder from the one and only Ms. Kayla Seaman. I saw it on her blog and loved it and immediately purchased one to hang and it is now covered in cards! I LOVE Christmas cards! I love to see what people do with them.

Oh Christmas tree! Oh Christmas tree! The bow at the top is a new addition this year. And I am so excited about it! I think it looks super pretty. My favorite combination is red and gold. So, it's all over our house! I hope Matt likes it too!

This is the fireplace. It was so fun decorating our new house for the first time. I loved finding homes for everything. And it is so cozy in the hearth room when the fire is going and the lights are twinkling!

Anyhoo, that's the Summitt house all done up for Christmas. You should come over and see it in person! I will make you a cup of decaf Freshmarket Christmas Blend Coffee. It's simply divine.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Top 5 Favorite Christmas Songs

I absolutely love love love love love this time of year! It makes me incredibly happy. What really puts me in the mood you ask? CHRISTMAS SONGS, BABY! I wait all year long to listen to these songs and it is only for such a brief period of time! So, I start listening in November. Matt (who I like to refer to as Scrooge) does not like Christmas songs as much as I do. But, bless his heart, he tolerates it pretty well! Amazingly, I NEVER get sick of Christmas music. So, I thought it would be fun to post my top 5 Christmas songs. Side note: it was really hard to pick just 5.

5. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee
Love it!! It makes me literally want to pull my Christmas tree out away from the wall, grab my best man, and dance around it in circles. I love her version of it and I blast it every time it comes on in the car and sing my heart out along with ole Brenda.

4. Blue Christmas by Elvis
This is my mom's favorite Christmas song. She loves to sing with the ladies in the background (do do do do do) really high pitched and I sing Elvis. We get so tickled every time. I love to call her when it comes on the radio. She has always made Christmas so special. Dad took me to Graceland 5 years ago at Christmas time and we got to see the whole house decorated for Christmas. That made this song a little more special to me.

3. Little Saint Nick by The Beach Boys
My very first concert we went to see The Beach Boys at Mud Island. I remember it pretty well and I love this song because it makes me think of it. It's also really fun to sing!

2.Joseph's Lullaby by Mercy Me
It is such a cool perspective of the story of baby Jesus. It is Joseph singing to Jesus and I love it so much. Definitely one of my favorites.

1. All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey
I know every word. I love to sing it at the top of my lungs. I love that Matt HATES IT! Haha. It has caused a number of fights in our 4 Christmas seasons being married. He tolerated it better when we were dating. :) So, I have started mouthing it instead. And mouthing it in his general direction, pointing at him and making sure that he knows that he truly is all I want for Christmas. (Him and perfume, a new jacket, rug, dining room table, pictures framed, comfortable PJ's, socks, time with family, lots of good food, face mask from Origins, new jeans, bag from L.L. Bean, the list goes on...)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had such a great thanksgiving! It was so fun to be with our families. We started out our thankful holiday (I was definitely thankful for the long weekend) in Paragould. We left Wednesday after work and had Joe and our two precious dogs with us. Thursday morning, I woke up and Joe and Karan had already begun cooking and had been running. I didn't really have to do anything (except show up and stuff my face) so I went running at the track on the high school campus down the street. Have I told you all that I am training for a half marathon? Well, I am. So there. Now you know. Anyhoo, we had a delicious supper. Turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, deviled eggs, green bean casserole, rolls, peanut butter fudge, peanut butter pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie... I can't think of anything else. Matt and the boys went outside and shot skeet (which is their new tradition). Then, we took pictures as a family. I thought the one I posted below this was really funny because Nathan is out to the side by himself he-he! Friday, we debated waking up early and hitting the sales, but we decided not to and slept in a little bit! We tooled around town with David and Karan and hit up Sears and Radio Shack- Matt bought 3 new Playstation 3 controllers woo hoo!
We left Paragould around 10 and went to Collierville to see my family. Mom, Lauren, Matt and I immediately went shopping. We found a fabulous rug at the Pottery Barn Outlet that we purchased as my Christmas present and it now lays on our living room floor. Also, Ashley Furniture was having a 10% off sale and we really need a dining room table. We looked around and low and behold Sunday, we purchased a dining room table! I am soooooooo excited! It will arrive next Saturday and we have to drive back to Memphis and bring it home ourselves and set it up. I can't wait. We got home Sunday night and I immediately forced Matt to help me bring down the Christmas decorations! I am so thrilled with how they have turned out and will post them this weekend.
I thought it would be a good time to list the things I am thankful for this year. This Thanksgiving, I was so thankful to be with family and not worry about being called out for work. I am thankful to have a good job and to be able to give back and hopefully share the blessings that we have. I am thankful for a husband who makes me laugh and helps me realize how silly I can be sometimes. I am thankful for my two sweet dogs. I am thankful for our health and that in general, we really don't have much to worry about. I am thankful for a warm house, especially on a cold day like today. I am thankful for the blessings of this Earth. Even though they are not eternal and our real home is still to come, I am thankful for the little things and I am excited for what the future holds! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Reunited and It Feels So Good!

Midas is home! I met dad in Augusta Saturday at noon to pick him up. I went back into the bedroom and let him out of the kennel and he was so excited to see me! I have to admit I was very worried he would not remember me because six weeks is an awfully long time to be away at his age. He jumped on me and licked me and it was so fun to see him. Dad took me out in a field and showed me what Midas had learned in his 6 weeks there. I must say, I was quite impressed. Midas didn't do everything exactly like he should have, and I could tell that frustrated my dad. However, I was so impressed with what he had learned that it didn't matter to me. He is a lot more obedient.

However... we went out to take pictures for our Christmas Card Sunday after church. We have been waiting for Midas to come home because we obviously wanted him in the pictures. We went out to Lake Willestein here in Maumelle because we thought there would be some very picturesque scenes to choose from at the park. Having both dogs in a park can be a challenge because they want to run around everywhere- and I had heels on for the picture! So, we get to a spot that we think will work. Matt decided he didn't want the leashes in the picture so he removes Midas' leash. Well, there were ducks in the pond. Matt let go for a tiny second and Midas took off, ran down the hill and BELLY FLOPPED into the lake! He swam around- clear across the lake- chasing the ducks. He did this for at least 5 minutes and finally decided he wouldn't be catching one that day. It was hilarious. People stopped jogging and fishing to watch us screaming at our dog to come back! Matt had to wade in and try to catch him. Luckily, Juli, Matt's sister, was there and thought to snap a photo for the Kodak moment. It was hilarious. However, we are going to have to attempt another picture because we didn't quite get what we wanted in the shoot. We may be enlisting Juli's help again!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Harding Homecoming

OH MY WORD!! Long overdue on this post. But it has been a crazy few weeks!

Harding Homecoming was October 31st! Several friends got together to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Ko Jo Kai Social Club at Harding. It was great to see a lot of girlfriends from my college years. It was so fun to see what all has happened in every one's lives and the different roads we have all taken since graduation. Jobs, marriages, kiddos, etc! I find it very hard to believe that I started out there 7 years ago. And little did I know that would be the most formative years of my life! I met my best friends there. I feel like I grew up emotionally there. I met Matt there. I began to truly appreciate my relationship with God there. I remember when I graduated thinking if I could do it all over again I wouldn't. Man was I wrong! I would love to go back and have my only responsibility be school and stay up late with girlfriends. (Oh to even be physically able to stay up late! ha-ha!) And hang out all afternoon with Matt doing nothing and maybe go fishing or maybe to Bulldog to get a Strawberry Shortcake or Thanks-a-latte for coffee- which isn't even open anymore. Or maybe to Cookie Basket for a delicious chicken salad and lemon-iced cookie. Shoot, I would even sit in chapel if I had to.

Anyhoo. Here is a picture of several friends! We also all contributed to a cookbook. I am so excited to try out the recipes in it soon!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Boys Have Been Sick

Both the boys at our house have been sick. Well, evidently Midas ate something and threw up all night Saturday night. Poor buddy! We got to meet dad in Augusta- where his new hunting club is and it's called The Quack Shack. He brought Midas with him Friday night. He is much bigger and has grown this thick scruff under his neck. I loved being able to cuddle him! Dad said it will be another three weeks. I was so sad to hear that, but they said he is doing really well in training. Anyhoo, they called Sunday morning to tell me he was sick. Then, last night, Matt got sick! We think he must have eaten something too. Bear was soooo worried about him. He stayed home from work today and is starting to feel better now. We had a good weekend- minus the Razorback game! We have some deer that come up on the hills behind our house. They have been mysteriously absent recently so we bought some deer corn at Walmart. Here is a picture of them.

We have counted ten before. This was the buck. Hopefully, the corn will draw them back so we can look at them. They like to watch Bear and Midas run around from one end of the yard to the other. It's pretty funny. Matt also let me buy this 10 minute Pilates video! I used it today and loved it! There are 5 sessions and you can do all 5 or however many you want. I did the lower body and it went by so quickly that I did flexibility too. Can't wait to use it regularly! Beth Moore Bible study is at 6 am tomorrow, so I am off to bed!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Really Cool Happys

So, I got this coupon in the mail the other day from a printing company and they will allow you to design stationary, note pads, thank you notes, address labels, etc. with characters on it and you design them to look just like you and your family members. I was so excited! I am ordering a note pad and address labels- which will sure make my life easier come Christmas card mailing time! Enjoy! And Happy Friday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ode to Fall

Oh how I love fall. I love to see the leaves change in Arkansas. It is amazing to see the cycle of God's creation and experience it in such a beautiful way. Driving across the Arkansas river and seeing the hills is I beleive one of the prettiest views in the state. I am so lucky that I get to do it everyday. I also love the back to back holidays because it is time spent with family eating delicious, traditional foods that we have eaten for years. And then there are the desserts. One of my favorites this time of year is Paula Deen's pumpkin version of her Gooey Butter Cake. Here is the recipe.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

1 18.25-ounce box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup (1stick) butter, melted

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 16-ounce box confectioners' sugar
1 15-ounce can pumpkin pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x 9x 2-inch baking pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg and butter and mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside. Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie filling. Dump in confectioners' sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixture and slowly pour in butter. Mix well. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

This is from Paula Deen's The Lady and Sons Just Desserts. I bought this in college and it is my favorite cookbook. Anytime I make ANY dessert out of it for friends, they love it. She also says she has used spice cake mix and chocolate, but that vanilla is her favorite. And she knows her desserts, so I have ALWAYS used the yellow haha. She suggests to leave the filling a little gooey, but I always cook it a little longer. I do that because I like to serve them more like a bar or brownie and it makes it easier when it is cooked longer.

Today is recipe day. I have another that I want to share that my mommy gave me 2 years ago. I am not sure where she got it, but it is absolutely DELICIOUS.

Pumpkin Pie Cake
16-ounce can pumpkin
12-ounce can Carnation Milk
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter (1 stick), melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together pumpkin, Carnation milk, brown sugar, eggs and pumpkin pie spice. Pour into a 9x 13x 2 greased pan. Sprinkle cake mix over the top. Then sprinkle nuts on top, then melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes. Refrigerate after it cools. Top with whipped cream.

This makes a crunchy top and a delicious, gooey pumpkin cake. I absolutely love it and could eat the whole thing with a cup of coffee.

Other things I love about fall. I love when it gets dark earlier. We like to come home and eat something hot and relax and go to bed early. I love the sound, smell and feel of a hot fire in the fireplace. I love the colors and the beautiful pumpkins and gourds that serve as decorations. I love Halloween and seeing little kids enter other worlds as for one night they wear costumes and all of their neighbors hand out candy for free. Bags and bags of it if you trick-or-treat hard enough! Matt says he likes cool weather and duck hunting.

Anyhoo, Happy Fall, y'all!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Dyson Vacuum

So, we have 2 inside dogs that shed and we vacuum a lot. 2 or 3 times a week. Well, I think that's a lot. Other people may not. Anyhoo, we have had a Eureka for 2 years. We have been pretty happy with it for the most part, but have recently thought that it may be slacking in its performance. It is also really heavy and hard to push around the house. It has been bothering Matt more than me though. So, he began the research. Now, whenever Matt is going to purchase something big (big being more than $100) he will do some serious research before the purchase. He started the research process and realized that in the junk drawer I keep 20% off coupons to Bed Bath and Beyond. So, he had the day off yesterday since he just finished his fall busy season and he went to BB and B and he bought me the Dyson Roller Ball Vacuum!!! We were absolutely amazed at the difference! See for yourself.

He dumped out the canister 7 times! I could not believe what this vacuum picked up. Also, in the recent wet weather we've been enjoying, we have begun to smell a faint cigarette smoke smell. We think it is coming from the closet carpet because the previous owner of our home smoked. I think this vacuum has helped with the smell. it is also way lighter than our other vacuum. Anyhoo, I just had to share this.

I love Saturdays. I did Race for the Cure this morning. It was so amazing. They estimated 45,000 participants. I always love to see the survivors in their pink shirts and hats. But the signs that say "In Memory of" make me so sad. It's such an awful disease, and I can't wait for God to send us the cure. It also REALLY made me miss Rach and Kelli and our little group of girls we always did the race with in school. This was my first time to do the Arkansas Race for the Cure with out them. I did see Rach's mom though from a distance! Matt is alseep in his recliner, Bear is asleep on the ottoman, and I am about to wrap all up in my pink snuggie and watch the hogs. All we need is Midas, but I bet he is having a blast running around with those other puppies though. Here is a picture of him training! Mom and dad say he is doing really well! doesn't he look funny! Haha.

Go Hogs! Woooo pig soooiee!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Arkansas Lottery

I think it's hilarious to kid with Matt and say that I think we are going to win the lottery. I say funny things like, "It's ok if we were to buy (fill in the blank). I will win the lottery and that will pay for it). I can just see him cringe each time I say it and I can hear his little CPA mind thinking, "Does she REALLY think that? She's going to break us buying lottery tickets!!!" But in all seriousness, Arkansas just implemented a new lottery in September. I had been wanting to buy some tickets so I finally did. I bought 2 of the $2 scratch off cards and realized very quickly that I can not do that on a regular basis.

On one card I won back $2. So, I went back a few days later and I thought to myself, "Self, why not buy another ticket with these winnings?" So I bought my gas and turned in said ticket for another lottery ticket. (This new ticket would no doubt win me some major cash). I had to write my name and contact information on the back so now I know I will be receiving lottery "junk mail". Anyhoo, I won $4! Now, that would have made me even had I just turned in the new ticket and taken the cash. But oh no that wouldn't do. I could win up to $20,000! So, I turned in that ticket and got two more! I very eagerly scratched off my numbers and what do you know... those had nothing on them! No money. So, let that be a lesson to you (and by you I mean me, Lana Summitt) that the lottery is quite addicting and I can not be allowed to play it. I voted for the lottery and I signed the petition to bring it here. However, I now understand a little bit better the argument against it saying that people spend their whole pay check on it. I can see how.

So, what would I do with $20,000 you ask? I know exactly what I would do. After taxes it would be significantly smaller which is depressing. So, I would take out the tax amount and then we would go out for a nice dinner and a movie. Then I would pay off some debt. Isn't that exciting and grown up of me?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Blog!

Well, I am so excited to blog for the first time! I am still trying to figure it all out. It has taken me several hours to pick out a back ground! I have been reading my friend Kelli's blog and it really made me want to create my own. I just loved reading about what was going on with her and her husband Matt and thought it would be a great way to share what is going on with me and my husband Matt!

Where to start... Matt and I met our sophomore year of college at Harding University. Actually we met our freshman year, but I don't remember. I wish I did! We have been best friends ever since. We graduated and got married in June of 2006 and moved to Little Rock. He thinks I am a total nerd for doing this blog I'm sure, but I don't care. He is a CPA for JPMS Cox an accounting firm here in Little Rock. He has been there for three years now. I sell orthopedic implants for a company called Synthes and I have also been doing that for three years. Until recently I was on call with my job 24/7. I had 1 weekend off every four weeks. I am really thankful and fortunate to not be taking anymore and now I have much more free time at home and with Matt. We like to run, fish, watch movies, work on our house, eat, read, travel, watch movies and most importantly go to bed early. It is 8:40 right now and he is in bed waiting on me and Bear. She likes to stay up until the last person goes to sleep. She doesn't want to miss any of the fun stuff going on out here!

We have two dogs, Bear and Midas. They are both labs. We love to spend time with them. They love to retrieve bumpers in the water or on land. Bear came to live with us three years ago this month. We bought her from a family in Judsonia and she has been our little baby girl ever since. Bear has her basic obedience training that Matt and I taught her. Midas is currently at my parents in Collierville, TN learning more advanced training in order for him to hunt one day with Matt. People think we are crazy, I know. They both sleep with us in our bed. In fact, when we moved, we bought a bigger bed to make room for Midas who just came to live with us in May. He loves for you to hold a toy and drop it so that he can catch it. We call it "Drop and Catch". Creative, huh? This picture is on the way back from Paragould. The love to try to sneak up to the front with me.

We moved in to our house in Maumelle in May of this year. We absolutely love it and plan to stay here for a VERY long time. We really weren't looking to move from our old house for a few more years, but with the market going the way it was and interest rates being so low, we thought it was the right time to make the move. Matt still loves to look at the Homes section in the paper on Sunday... that makes me a little uneasy, but I think he just likes looking at the houses. I hope.

We go to Pleasant Valley Church in Little Rock. We are involved in the "Young Couples" class. We also host a Lifegroup at our house every Wednesday. We love this time and I love that it is in a home and very welcoming to visitors. We are also involved in Platoons. It is a program which breaks up students by gender and grade and we study scripture. I have the new seventh grade girls and will follow them through until they graduate in six years. Sounds like a long time, doesn't it? I am thrilled about it though. I love getting to know them better. It is so fun to see them each week and hear about the things they go through every day. Matt has the senior boys. It is funny to see how differently we approach this activity :).
Our families. Matt's family is in Paragould, AR. His mom, Karan, works for St. Bernard's in Jonesboro as a Weight Loss Counselor and his dad, David, sells insurance for State Farm. He is our insurance man! :) They have lived there since before Matt was born. Matt's brother, Joe, works for Windstream and is in a band, Exit Strategy. His sister, Juli, is a hair stylist and she now lives here in Maumelle too. His youngest brother, Nathan plays football for Greene County Tech and is a sophomore.
My family lives in Collierville, TN- where Midas is :( right now. My dad sells paper board for Georgia Pacific and my mommy works at Talbots. But her full time job is taking care of the four- yes that's right four- labs that live at their house. Jett, Boo, Liza Boo Little, and Fib. My sister is an OB/ Gyn resident at UT Memphis and her husband, Zac, is the Youth Minister at Grace Crossing Church. They also have two labs, Jo Jo and Cooper. Jett and Boo are parents to Liza Boo, Fib, Jo Jo and Midas. (And 7 other doggies who roam around here somewhere). They had a litter of 11 puppies last March. That means when we "Gilberts" get together, there are 8 dogs and 6 of us. Pretty funny. You will get lots of licks (kisses) and tail thuds if you come over. And if you don't like dogs, you probably wouldn't like the Gilbert house.
I think that's the basic background for now. I am excited to share daily, weekly, monthly updates. Sweet Dreams for now!

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This is the story of our family living life one day at a time!