Month: November 2013

35 Christmas Date Ideas

Christmas Date Ideas

My husband and I love Christmas time. I was brainstorming some fun things we could do this holiday season and I thought I’d share some of them! Merry Christmas!

1. Hot chocolate and Christmas movie marathon.

2. Make Christmas ornaments.

3. Bake Christmas cookies for your friends and coworkers.

4. Go to your local Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting.

5. Decorate your Christmas tree together.

6. Memorize the Christmas story together.

7. Talk about your favorite Christmas memories.

8. Go Christmas shopping for your families.

9. Wrap presents together.

10. Go to a local church’s Christmas musical or play.

11. Drive around and look at Christmas lights. (Last year, Brad and I made an “award” for the best Christmas lights in Springfield. Once we decided on the house with our favorite lights, we left it at the house for the owners to find!)

12. Buy ugly Christmas sweaters from a thrift store.

13. Go on a nighttime walk in the park (ideally in the snow).

14. Drive through your local Christmas lights display.

15. Make home-made gifts instead of buying this year.

16. Volunteer at a local food pantry or soup kitchen. (The Springfield Salvation Army is looking for volunteers this season!)

17. Make paper snowflakes.

18. Go to your local symphony or ballet.

19. Learn to play and sing your favorite Christmas songs.

20. Make a list of Christmas traditions for your family.

21. Make a gingerbread house.

22. Watch the Christmas episodes of all your favorite shows.

23. Go ice skating.

24. Go to a local Christmas Parade of Homes. (Midtown Springfield is having a home tour the first weekend of December!)

25. Chop down your own Christmas tree at a local Christmas tree farm.

26. Write a Christmas card letter about the past year to send your extended family.

27. Decorate sugar cookies.

28. Visit a live nativity.

29. Make home-made Christmas cards.

30. Have a “summer in December” date and go swimming at an indoor pool.

31. Run a holiday 5K. (Like the Turkey Trot or Silver Dollar City’s Race to the Lights.)

32. Watch old Christmas movies like It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and White Christmas.

33. Go to a local Christmas pageant or play.

34. Go to a Christmas parade.

35. Go Christmas caroling at a nursing home.

Look for Christmas events going on in your town! Christmas only comes once a year, so enjoy it!

Pinterest Recipe Triumphs, Second Edition

A while back I did a post of my favorite recipes that I have come across on Pinterest. As I said before, Pinterest can be deceiving and I’ve had many recipe fails. I’m always looking for good recipes, so I thought I’d do another post since I’ve come across some more good ones since my last post! These four recipes are very much wintery, comfort food recipes. Enjoy!

potato soup

I just made this potato soup recipe last week in the crock pot. There are all kinds of potato soup, but this one is pureed and turned out really thick. It makes a lot and is definitely hardy. I think this is a good one if you have picky eaters since there aren’t any other vegetables in it. If I made it again I would definitely half the recipe! Brad and I are going to be eating soup for a while.

tortilla soup

Another crock pot soup recipe! I made this chicken tortilla soup about a month ago and it was really good! Three of us were able to finish it off in one evening.


These baked tacos were great! This recipe also makes a lot, so it is a good dish if you are having a lot of people to eat! I cut the recipe in half and it still made 10 tacos, which is too many for Brad and me for one meal and they weren’t as good as leftovers. Also, this blog has a recipe for homemade taco seasoning, which I didn’t use for this recipe, but I’d like to try it!


Comfort food at its finest. Cheesy bacon chicken casserole. I’ve made it without the bacon, but of course it’s better with the bacon, so I try to make this the day after we have breakfast food and I have some leftover bacon. I love this recipe because it’s super easy and I usually have cream of chicken, cheese, some sort of noodles, and chicken on hand.

I got my mom the Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook for her birthday, so I’m excited to look through it when we’re home for Thanksgiving and get some new recipes! I’m really looking forward to baking for the holidays. I’ve got several new recipes in mind, so I’ll be sure to share them here if they turn out well! Happy cooking!


It’s November, which means my Facebook newsfeed has been cluttered with thankful statuses. I haven’t joined this trend, but tonight I’ve been reflecting on some of the blessings the Lord has provided for me over the past year and a half.

A couple of hours ago I got an email from the Dean of Biology Graduate department informing me that I had been selected for this year’s Distinguished TA Award for the Biology department. I was hoping to win and to be honest I knew I had a pretty good chance, but I was still very surprised and honored to be recognized by the department.

This got me thinking about my time at MSU and honestly I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve learned a lot, gotten to travel to several conferences, experienced the joy of teaching, and I’ve made some wonderful friends. Tonight I am overwhelmed by the blessing that being a grad student at MSU has been in my life.

Furthermore, MSU brought us to Springfield, which brought us to Freshwater Springfield, which has been a whole other blessing in itself.

Two years ago I had no idea what I was going to do after I graduated from SBU. But the Lord is sovereign, and He led us here. Sometimes I succumb to my flesh and I fear the future and the fact that I do not know what it holds. But God constantly reminds me that He is in control, and He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love and power and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

God is good. Tonight I am thankful for His faithfulness.