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Happy Sunday, friends! I hope that you have all enjoyed the weekend! Shall we get right to it with our Weekend Recap?!

Even though we had an early party before Thanksgiving, Gibbs’s actual birthday was on Monday. We celebrated with the family by making homemade pizza for dinner (Gibbs’s request),

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and having yet another chocolate cake!

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After the kids went to bed, Keith and I spent a lot of time doing some Cyber Monday online shopping. We found some fun stuff for the boys, so Santa’s work is almost DONE. This is what my house looks like on a daily basis now…

{It still beats standing in line at real stores!}

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Tuesday was another cold and rainy day, so we stayed close to home other than a quick trip to Yoder’s for some baking supplies and deli meat. Our friends Mary and John come for a visit in the afternoon when Gibbs got home from school, and we were having so much fun catching up and opening birthday presents that I forgot to snap a photo! BUT…I found this pic from a few months ago when we visited them at their house for a tractor ride and some playtime in the creek (warm, sunny summer days seem like a distant memory)…

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By the third day in a row of cold rain on Wednesday, we were getting a little bit stir-crazy indoors.

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Casey found this giant plastic candy cane at The Dollar Store when I was shopping for storage bins on Wednesday morning and he HAD.TO.HAVE.IT. It only cost $1, so I gave in — in the spirit of the holiday!

{That’s the “Mom, your picture-taking is so embarrassing!” look…}

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And just as I thought that we were having an especially quiet week around here, I found out on Wednesday evening that a film crew would be coming to my house on Thursday to shoot some video for an upcoming sponsored post!! Nice prep time, right?! Over the last couple of years, I have learned that I never know what to expect next when it comes to blogging. Needless to say, there was no chance to get a manicure, fancy myself up, or even clean up the house too much. At least I had my hair cut last weekend?!

On Thursday morning I dropped off Gibbs at school, and then headed to a dentist appointment while my mom watched the younger two boys.

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After lunch we started the video shoot, which was our focus for the rest of the day. Who knew that it could take 5+ hours of shooting to get one or two short clips? My, oh my…I was definitely WAY out of my comfort zone. It was a very fun (and challenging) experience!

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Here are a few behind-the-scenes shots (my house was taken over by lights and cameras!), but I’ll share more details when the videos are ready!

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By the time we finished, I had about 20 minutes to feed the boys a snack, help Gibbs with his homework, and change their clothes so that I could get everyone in the car to take my babysitter Emily home and then get the older two boys to 6:00 p.m. Tae Kwon Do class.

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By the time the boys crashed in bed later that night we were all EXHAUSTED.

Friday morning I dropped the older two boys off at their schools and then Spence and I headed to Charlottesville for a regular check up with the dermatologist. It went quicker than usual (in-and-out in about 30 minutes…does that EVER happen at a doctor’s office?!), so we made a stop at Costco before picking Casey up at noon.

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Mollie and Henry came over after school for a lunch/play date! The boys raced through their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so that they could get to the toys,

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while Mollie and I enjoyed some minestrone soup that I picked up at Yoder’s earlier in the week, along with an AWESOME salad that Mollie brought. She combined greens, dried cherries, walnuts, and Parmesan and topped it all with a homemade lemon vinaigrette (lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper). Simple, fresh, and delicious. I need to remember the recipe!

{Mollie’s the best…she always tolerates my selfies for the sake of the blog!?}

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Oh! Before I forget: we’ve been having fun with our own twist on the advent calendar this year! Our Elf on the Shelf (named “Scout” by Gibbs), pays us a visit each night and brings a fun little treat for the boys each day. The kids run down the stairs in the morning to find Scout (he hides in a new location each day), and they can’t wait to see what he delivers from Santa. The daily “gifts” are very basic and affordable — anything from bubbles to stickers, holiday chocolates to miniature Christmas-themed Legos — just enough to keep the kids excited, interested, and engaged. So far, it’s been a BIG hit.

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This weekend has been pretty quiet, which has given me a chance to catch up a little bit on housework and blog work, cooking, etc.

Yesterday morning Spence and I made a quick trip to the grocery store before coming home to feed everyone lunch. While Spence napped in the afternoon, my little elves helped me in the kitchen. We made a batch of these Sugar Cookies, which the kids requested. If you like a thick, soft sugar cookie then this is the recipe that you need! Love the short list of simple ingredients, too.

Casey was in charge of the dry ingredients,

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Gibbs handled the wet ingredients,

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and they both cut out the holiday shapes.

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The only downside? The clean-up (i.e., my job!). BUT, it all balanced out because I got the night off from cooking! We went out to dinner at our favorite local Mexican restaurant, where we consumed copious amounts of warm chips and salsa, plus almost every bite of food that was delivered to our table. I guess all of that cookie dough didn’t spoil their appetites…

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After we put the kids to bed last night, I did some online shopping (requesting THESE ankle boots for Christmas — it’s time to get with the trends!), put together part of an upcoming New Year’s Healthy Living Challenge (stay tuned!!), and hit the sack.

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This morning I’m busy testing a new soup recipe, another dump-and-bake casserole recipe, and throwing a batch of these Lightened-Up Gingerbread Muffins in the oven for breakfasts this week. Have a good one!

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

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    1. Thanks SO much, Patsy! I’m so glad that you enjoy our updates and I love that you stopped by to comment. Thank you, and have a great week!!