It's beginning to look like Christmas!

So I didn't win the Power Ball yesterday BUT I came home today to an amazing surprise from my dad...CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS!!!  And not just any Christmas Decorations, the ones that I grew up with.  Isn't he the sweetest Dad and Grampy :)

Addison was so stoked!!  She climbed in the sleigh, hugged Santa and tried to ride Rudolph.  Just to see the look on her face made my day :) 

And the inside of my house was transformed this past weekend.  We put up our tree, hung the stockings and brought out the wreath.  There's just something about Christmas Decorations that makes me feel warm inside.  I love my tree and a friend of mine (Carrie) said it perfectly the other day - I could sit with a cup of hot cocoa (or eggnog), listen to Christmas tunes and stare and my tree for an hour and be happy.  It is just peaceful and somehow just puts the home into our house each year we bring it out.

Here's the hubs being a dork while putting the star on the top...


And for shopping...I'm about 40% done with my list...thank you Black Friday!  

So here's my Christmas To Do List...26 Days to Go!
  • Finish Shopping 
  • Wrapping (My Least Favorite Part)
  • Christmas Cards
  • Lights on the House (This weekend)
  • Elf on the Shelf - we are doing it just the last week before Christmas and I can't wait!!!
  • Start a Fun Tradition with Addison (any ideas for a 3 year old??)
  • Give back to someone in need...we have our Giving Jar and I would love to help out with Mama Laughlin, Holly & Aly's Holiday Pay it Forward

And because I'm in the Giving Mood...here's an awesome give away that will take one thing off your Christmas To Do List!

Cuddlebug Cards is giving away 50 (6" x 8") Printed Custom Cards and 50 Printed {Skinny} Labels ($45 value)!

Cuddlebug Cards brings a personal touch to each card, invite and {skinny} label!  All designs are totally customized with your colors, fonts, pictures or logo!  One of these beauties could be yours :)

There's Invites...

Custom Photo Cards...

And {Skinny} Wrap Around Labels (I can't do Skinny Jeans...but I can totally rock these!)  - Check out the Coupon Code Below!

Giveaway ends December 5...follow the directions to enter on Rafflecopter, it's super easy and there are several chances to win!

Ho Ho Ho!  And now until December 10...get 20% off {Skinny} labels with Coupon Code HOLIDAYSKINNY12!

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We are Blessed!

I think this has been the best Thanksgiving we have had as a family in awhile!  Our holiday was filled with food, laughs, family and SHOPPING!

And...for the first time ever I worked out on Thanksgiving...whoot whoot!  I got in a 3 miler instead of a 4 but that's because I had a Pumpkin Gooey Cake in the oven and I only had 40 minutes.  Addi wanted to get out of the house so I stuck her in the jogging stroller and we took off.  It's been awhile since I've pushed that thing and it kicked my butt.

We went to my parents house for lunch and here was the spread...yummo!

Here is the stuffed celery that got so much attention on Tuesdays Turkey Trot Link Up.  See those little red specs...its pimento, olives and cream cheese.  It is weird but my family has it every year.

And my family favorite, must have side dish - Sweet Potato Casserole (get the recipe here).

I totally piled up my plate and had a little bit of everything...and I only went back once to grab a little more turkey and cranberry sauce.  And then came dessert...I had to do the sampler plate.  I just can't pass on my mom's pecan pie and Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without something pumpkin.

The kiddos hit the sack after lunch and so did some of the adults :)  We all hung out and watched the (sucky) Cowboy Game and my sis and I checked out all the Black Friday Ads.

Kiddos after their naps with Grampy.
Then we hit up the leftovers....what makes these so great?  I think I love the leftovers more than the original meal.  My fav - a turkey, mayo, cranberry sauce, stuffing on white bread sandwich.  If you have never tried this...it is so good.

My sister and I are the crazy people that love Black Friday Shopping!  It is our tradition and I think part of it is that we get to go shopping without kids and spend some girl time together.  And the people watching is hilarious!  We went to Walmart at 8 pm but it was pure chaos so we ended up with nothing.  We hit the sack and were back up and shopping at 6 am the next morning.  We actually got most everything we wanted to...look at all those bags!

After a great holiday, I feel so blessed to have such an amazing family!  I hope everyone had a GREAT Thanksgiving!

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Gobble, Gobble - Turkey Trot Link Up

I love Turkey Day...I'm working out like crazy so I can totally stuff my face on Thursday :)  But today I'm linking up with Holly & Erin for their Turkey Trot Linkup!


1. What do you look forward to more: the food, football or parades?
Definitely the Food...I love a good turkey coma and I totally go back for seconds, thirds and leftovers for dinner.

2. What is your favorite non-traditional Thanksgiving Day dish?
My family has this really weird tradition of having stuffed celery (with a cream cheese/pimento filling)...I've never understood it and it's not a favorite of mine.  But I think it's one of those things that my great grandmother did, so my grandmother did it, so my mom does it.  But it will probably end there cause I'm not a big fan. 

3. After dinner, is it football or a nap?
Football and a Nap...I curl up with all intentions of keeping my eyes open but it never fails that I end up asleep.

4. Do you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Which is your favorite float?
I remember as a kiddo always watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and loving to see all the ginormous characters - especially Charlie Brown.  But now...I'm typically cooking in the morning but it is on in the background.  This year though I am RUNNING - I've got 4 miles to get in before I stuff my face.  

5. Where do you go to celebrate and eat your big meal? Who is there (family, friends)?
My parents always host Thanksgiving and we invite the whole crazy fam...mom, dad, hubby, Addi, sister, brother in law, nephew, grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles.  I love my family and being able to spend the holiday with them.

6. What is your favorite turkey day dessert?
I always go for the sampler plate...my mom is an AMAZING baker so I can't pass up anything she makes.  But if I had to choose just one I would do the pumpkin pie with homemade whip cream!


And since I'm doing a Turkey Day link up I have to share my family's absolute must have dish at Thanksgiving...Sweet Potato Casserole.  Even the family members that don't like sweet potatoes (my picky Dad) love these.  Sorry there are no pics today but I promise you will get to see my first and second helpings later in the week :)  I eat these for a side dish and dessert.

Sweet Potato Casserole

4 ½ cups sweet potatoes, about 4 good sized ones 
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup butter
3 eggs beaten
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup milk

1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
Boil and mash potatoes.  Mix in sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and milk.  Put in 13 x 9 inch baking dish.  Topping: Melt butter and mix in remaining ingredients.  Sprinkle on top of potato mixture.  Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serves 10 to 12.


And thank you to Holly for Cuddlebug Cards shout out today!  I promise these cards won't disappoint!
Check out my Etsy Shop and make sure you like my Facebook Page!

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Is a big race in my future?

That is the question I am asking my body this month?  I joined in the Pile on the Miles and I'm loving the accountability factor.  So far...I've done 21 of the 50 miles I committed myself to...whoo hoo :)


But...my ultimate goal for this month is pushing my body to run longer and farther.  I have always had a half marathon on my bucket list but never believed that I could actually accomplish this.  I've been running since the spring of 2011 (Check out how I started here) but I've started and stopped and never been totally committed.  But the last 6 months there has not been a single week that I did not run...so now I actually consider myself a runner.

This month is my test...I have a half marathon in mind...the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth.  And I have looked up a 16 week training program which I'm two weeks into.  If I can make the 7 mile run on December 1 then I'm signing up and committing to the Cowtown (anyone want to join me?).

This means I will run my longest distances ever, push my body to it's limit and be so stinkin proud of myself.  The other thing I'm hoping for is that this will push my weight loss to the next level.  I think my hardest challenge right now is finding safe trails and daylight to actually get the miles in.

Anyone have any advice I would love to hear it!
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Win these! Happy Birthday Cuddlebug Cards!

Cuddlebug Cards is my little side business that I started one year ago!  And I'm super excited to share it with my blog readers too :)

In celebration, I am doing a Facebook give away for these super cute {Skinny} return labels.  Here's how to enter:

Hit up my facebook page - www.facebook.com/cuddlebugcards (Make sure you hit Like).  Comment on the Happy One Year Birthday Cuddlebug Cards post and you are entered to win 24 printed Skinny Labels.  The winner will be chosen on November 14 at 7:00 pm.

Also, I'm doing a special offer - get 20% off all your orders on my Etsy Shop (www.etsy.com/shop/cuddlebugcard) through November 18 - use Coupon Code ONE12.   

I'm working on getting my Holiday Cards up this week and will have a great give away this weekend for my blog followers so stay tuned!  I'm also thinking about sponsoring a give away on another blog - send me an email (meredowdy@gmail.com) if this is something that interests you (I'm only doing one or two) so give me a great reason to pick you.  

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Mommy Daughter Dates...October & November

I love, love, love girl time with my daughter!  And if anyone else is like me, sometimes it's hard fitting in one on one time with my precious girl.  Life gets hectic and I swear there is never enough time in a day to get everything done.

So I have scheduled some fun "Mommy/Daughter Dates" where Addison and I can have fun just me and her.

For October - we went to the Library for Monster Mayhem and had lunch at the "shoppin" (Chick Fil A) afterward.  We had a really good time and got a library card...I have never taken advantage of the Library check outs before but Addi was in HEAVEN!  And who knew you could check out 25 books at one time :)
Opening her Mommy Daughter Date Card

Doing the Monster Mash!

Reading her new library books...by the time we had to return them she had them memorized

Gotta love Chick Fil A...and her favorite part was the slide :)

And for November (technically end of October) we hit up the Pumpkin Patch!  It was FREEZING...but we had a blast.  Addison loves and I mean loves bounce houses...she thinks that's what festivals are all about.

We froze during the hayride...but it was fun!

She LOVES the bounce houses!

Picking out some pumpkins

And what kiddo doesn't love a hay maze...and what mom doesn't get super scared when they can't see their kiddos little head.  She had fun but this scared me to death.

I have totally enjoyed our dates...can't wait for next month.

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MIA Blogger...2 week recap!

I'm alive (and blogging)!!!  Yikes...I can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since I've posted anything!  Life has been loco, crazy, nuts this last two weeks.  I have SOOO much to catch up on...but here's a short recap of what I have been doing:
  • Halloween!!!  I love this holiday and packed the last week and a half with tons of fun...parties, festivals, pumpkin patch, trick or treating.  You name it...we did it!  I will do a whole post about this later in the week.  And I've totally fallen off the wagon and eaten WAY too much Halloween candy.  

  • Working, working, working - gotta holla for a dolla - I wrapped up a really awesome Bluegrass Festival and Chili Cook Off and I have a Veterans Day Celebration this Friday.  Plus I'm speaking at a conference on Friday.  I've been working late, working from home and trying to multitask my way through the last two weeks.

  • Family Time - My grandparents came into town for Halloween and stayed with us for 3 days!  We had a blast and they got some good quality time with Addison.  And we had a baby shower for one of my cousins and I got to see some of my aunts and cousins that I haven't seen in awhile.  I can't believe I didn't get one pic of my grandparents with Addison while they were here but we did get a few of my nephew and Addison before trick or treating (aren't' they the CUTEST!)

  • Cooking - I love when fall finally rolls around in Texas...this means soups, pumpkins, chili, Mexican food and family :)  I made a few of my favs...buffalo chicken dip and chili...yummy!

  • Pile on the Miles - Thank you to Melanie for the info on Pile on the Miles!  I'm excited to participate and have so many people holding me accountable.   I actually have found some time to run :)  Like I've said before, this is my stress relief so I try my best to not cut this out when I do stress.  But I'm not liking this darn time change.  It was dark when I got home from work today and I'm a big ole scardy cat and don't like running in the dark so I'm going to try and get a few runs in during work.
  • PileOnTheMiles

I've missed everyone!  And...better late than never...I got nominated for a Liebster award - thank you Sonya at Healthy Sew.   You are super sweet and now I'm finally answering your questions:

1.  What's your middle name?  Michelle...I love my middle name and even passed it down to my daughter.  
2.  Last book you read?  The Very Hungry Caterpillar...no joke :)  I used to love to read every night before I went to bed, but by the time my head hits the pillow now I'm out.  I don't know if I could even get through a page without passing out.  Before I had Addison, I loved to read Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult and Stephanie Myers (yes I was a HUGE Twilight fan).  
3.  Favorite "healthy" food - Grilled Chicken - I marinate mine in Roasted Red Pepper dressing and grill it.  I love it because it's so versatile - I can make a few breasts and can put them into a ton of different recipes or just eat them with some steamed veggies. 
4.  Favorite "non-healthy" food - Chips and Queso - I'm a tex mex junkie and could eat chips and queso for a meal (and no joke in moments of weakness I totally do this).
5.  Favorite drink, other than water - Ummm...this is not a tough one at at all...wine!!!
6.  Where were you born?  Born and raised in Dallas!  I have never lived anywhere else and don't think I ever will.
7.  Favorite form of exercise - Runnin, runnin and runnin, runnin.  
8.  Favorite sport to watch - I am not a huge sports fan but I do love watching the Cowboys play.  Even though they are a major disappointment and joke right now.  I will always be a lifelong fan and watch them even when they are totally sucking.
9.  Favorite quote - "Seriously?" - From Grey's Anatomy
10.  How would your friends & family describe you?  Hopefully they would say I'm a great mom, wife and friend.  
11.  Favorite TV Show - Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice.  But if you ask my daughter, she would totally say Dora!

Thank you again Sonya and sorry I'm just now posting this!  

And thank you Holly and Darci for checking in on me :)
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