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cheesy potatoes

Farewell to our old house!

We closed on our old house yesterday! This is such a huge sigh of relief for us, although it is so very bittersweet. Buying another house before selling was a huge leap of faith for us (also read: risk). We found our new house last year, early Fall, when it was foreclosing. Our house was already on the market at the time and we had a few interested buyers, so we put an offer in on it, not fully understanding what we were getting ourselves into. By the grace of God, we actually lost the house to an investor. There wasn’t a ton of other houses on the market at the time, and definitely none that we loved, so we took our house off the market and decided to stay. Early this spring, the house came back on the market, with most of the major repairs done (electrical, hvac, refinishing the hardwoods, roof & master bathroom). We knew we had outgrown our current house & needed to make a move, so we jumped at the chance! We really loved the house, it was just one of those houses that gave us good vibes, we loved the back yard, we loved the schools for our kids & loved how much character it had. So we bought it & were hopeful that our home would sell. We sorta just missed the peak of home buying, and really put our house on the market just a little too late. Over the course of the last four months, we showed our house nearly thirty times. THIRTY. Thirty times I swept, mopped, shoved shit in drawers, made beds & rushed three kids out the door for someone to walk through and tell me that the back yard wasn’t what they were looking for. 
We had an offer in the first month, and the sellers ultimately backed out because another house they loved became available. We were devastated! We then had two offers contingent on the sale of the buyers houses (which we couldn’t accept). After that we had about a month of no movement, a few showings here and there but we felt defeated. We lowered our price, spent the weekend moving out, and had seven showings on the first day our house was vacant. Those showings resulted in three offers (holy what?!), one being almost 10k over asking price. Of course we jumped at that offer, accepted it and did a happy dance. And what do you know, those buyers got cold feet and backed out three days later. ALL THE TEARS.
 
Our realtor reached back out to the other two buyers, and one came back immediately with a full price offer that afternoon. Funniest story, Brandon kept warning me that with each offer, buyers would ask to keep mirrors, the trampoline, our patio furniture, etc. and he kept telling me that I would have to learn to part with something in order to sell our house. With this offer, the buyer asked to keep his garage speakers that he loved so dearly and spent hours and hours wiring all around the walls. Sometimes ya just gotta part with things you love in order to sell your house. We accepted, again, but this time totally hesitant to ever get excited about it. Inspection came and went, repairs, appraisal, prayers and more prayers. And finally, 45 days later, we closed on the house, holding our breath until the very last minute.
 
We loved our first house, and it was home to most of the very best memories of my entire life. I will never forget the home that we brought two of our three babies home from the hospital to. The home that we celebrated all three of their first birthdays in, and both of us turned thirty in. We celebrated each of our babies first Halloweens, their first Thanksgivings & their first Christmases. 

The breakfast nook will always be my favorite room in that house, I loved how the light poured in during breakfast & the brick walls will always hold a special place in my heart. I will also never forget the ice storm that caused a tree to almost come through this window. I will never forget how the cupboard in the kitchen where we put our glasses always smelled like pickles to me & how our oven never looked clean again after I dumped that whole tray of cheesy potatoes over in it our first month we lived there.Or the creaky floorboards that were right in front of the pantry door that always got me caught sneaking snacks when the kids were around. And although the backyard drove me crazy by the end, I will never forget the way the string lights looked among the pine trees or the way the rain sounded when it hit all of the ivy.

Farewell, old house. We will love you forever!

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Thanksgiving Plans + a Print

I wanted to give a free print for Thanksgiving next week, for anyone interested in some last minute Thanksgiving Day decor. You can save this file directly to your computer, then have it printed by a photo finisher as an 8×10 matte finish print or on card stock from a high quality inkjet printer. I always love framed prints set up next to a pretty drink bar or appetizer display! 😉 I am thankful for all of you, and all of the love, support & kindness that you bring to this little space.
We will be hosting Thanksgiving this year, my family will all be coming & we will have a few friends over. I’m especially excited to have my mom, the pie making extraordinaire, here to contribute lots of delicious desserts! One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is watching the Macy’s parade in the morning while eating breakfast, I know Harper especially is going to love it this year! We will be pulling our breakfast nook table into the dining room to accommodate everyone, it is a must that we all eat in the same room. I would love to do some kraft paper table runners on both tables, we’ll see if the girls let that happen! 😉

We will be frying our turkey, having all of our favorite sides like cheesy potatoes & green bean casserole, and trying a new appetizer inspired by the traditional cranberry sauce, these Cranberry Brie Bites. Do you serve appetizers for Thanksgiving, if so, what are your favorites? Bacon Wrapped Smokies are always a favorite for us but they can be pretty dangerous!

You can find some of our Thanksgiving posts from last year for some decor & recipe ideas, here & here. Hope you all are enjoying your Thanksgiving planning & daydreaming about all of the delicious food that is on the horizon! XO

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Thanksgiving Planning & Prep

With Thanksgiving just a little over a week away, it’s time to get into planning mode! I’ve mentioned before, we will be hosting lots of family & a big dinner at our house this year. I couldn’t be more excited!! The thought of all the food, fun & commotion of a house full of guests is the only thing keeping me from rockin’ around the Christmas tree at this point. 
I plan to bring all of our Thanksgiving decor from around the house all into the dining room & front room where we will have dinner. Not only will this make that room more festive for the occasion, but then it will be easy to transition right into Christmas the next day! 😉
I am going to use all of our white & gold craft pumpkins, along with the blue/green pumpkin that survived as our centerpiece. I picked up a bunch of gold chargers from the new holiday section at Target (for only $2 each!) to add a little more flair to the table. I plan to make some placecards using small kraft paper bags, that I will also put the silverware & napkins in. I also just ordered this pitcher on clearance (love how the handle matches the green pumpkin!) & will add a cake stand (with one of my mama’s pretty homemade pies) to complete the table scape.

Since we will eat dinner around 12:30-1, so Harper can join us before her nap, I want to make a lighter breakfast. I am thinking possibly pumpkin cinnamon rolls & fruit, may have to try my hand at the fruit turkey! We will serve breakfast buffet style, so everyone can take their paper plates & go picnic style on blankets in the living room in front of the fire to watch the Macy’s parade!
For dinner, our menu will look a little something like this:
Cheesy Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Green Bean Casserole
Turkey
Stuffing
Rolls & Cinnamon Butter
Apple Pie & Pumpkin Pie
The recipe for cheesy potatoes & cinnamon butter can be found here. They are a holiday staple for us, so delicious. My husband will fry the turkey outside in his beloved turkey fryer, which not only tastes amazing but is also great because it frees up oven space. Harper can vouch, best turkey legs of all time! 😉
 
For stuffing, I have made it both homemade (recipe here) & from a box. And to be honest? I like the box best. I use the StoveTop brand turkey stuffing, mix according to directions, but then I bake them in muffin tins. They taste so good baked this way & make the perfect little portions.
The day after Thanksgiving, after some mad Black Friday shopping, we host a little gathering we like to call Turkey & Touchdowns. Along with our family that will be in town, some of our friends will be coming over as well for leftovers, beer & football. This is also when we do our annual pumpkin smash (or as my husband calls it, the Drunken Pumpkin) where we take all of our pumpkins from Halloween that we’ve kept & destroy them in the backyard. 
It’s a mess, but a TON of fun. Kinda like a toddler.
We will make turkey sandwiches from leftovers, sweet potato fries (made in the turkey fryer) with marshmallow dip & an assortment of desserts that everyone was too full to eat the day before.
In terms of having tons of guests at your house & lots of meals to prepare, something we do often is mix homemade & store bought. It’s totally okay not to make everything homemade, I hit up our local bakery for fresh bread/rolls, Publix bakery has the best almost homemade buttercream frosting to add to any desserts that I make & even our favorite donut shop is taking preorders for cinnamon rolls during the holidays. An easy way to still have great food without all the hassle & dirty dishes! 😉
Hope this was helpful to all of you hosting Thanksgiving this year! Please share any tips/tricks you have along with any must-have recipes! You can also find more recipes & Thanksgiving ideas on my Pinterest board here.
Happy planning!!
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