28 November 2016

Meal Plan Week #11

Well, hello to new week!
I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving, made some new memories, and ate a lot of yummy food.

Let's back up a little, shall we? The week before Thanksgiving, I have to give an honorable mention to the stand out of the week. This Mexican Tortilla Casserole was the bomb!

It's basically all your favorite Mexican flavors baked in one dish. I used rotisserie chicken so it was a cinch to prepare and almost omitted the rice but decided to use brown rice instead and stick to the recipe. Morgan LOVED it so it will definitely be making an appearance in the rotation again... Soon!
Plus, it would be a great dish to bless someone with.
Pioneer Woman for the win!

OK, so this week, I'm keeping it pretty simple. All of a sudden it got COLD here so that just makes me want to stay home, cuddle up with a blanket on the couch, and watch some holiday movies.

Meal Plan Week #11
  • Chicken Bruschetta
  • Baked Pork Tacos
  • Teriyaki Salmon & Broccoli Bowls
  • Ham & Cheese Paninis w/Tomato Soup
  • Chicken Spaghetti

Bundle up and have a wonderful week!

27 November 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

 We got to Bakersfield on Wednesday night and celebrated Morgan's birthday with Ben, Lucy, Shawn, and Christina. Enjoyed a yummy dinner of Tahoe Joe's and this GIGANTIC chocolate cake!

Zach doesn't care for sweets but he loves singing Happy Birthday to his daddy.

Walking the dog with Uncle Ben was definitely one of Zach's highlights.

 This kid loves his dogs!

Walking to the mail box.

 The girls were up early the next morning and jumping on the trampoline.

Zach loved jumping, too.

He wore the dog cone and kept saying it was a cowboy hat. 😂

He also got plenty of open mouthed dog kisses. Ewww!

 And gave away lots of hugs.

When he wasn't busy trying to "ride" them like a horse.

 Love this kid!

And this guy keeps us all young!

Love them all so much! ❤❤❤

My 💝.

 The guys watching football with Grandpa.

Faith attempts to eat a chocolate truffle the size of her head.

 Ben did a great job with the turkey.

Shawn got the very important job of stirring the gravy.

Christina snacking on a turkey leg appetizer.

 Ben & Lucy, our gracious hosts.

 Jennifer & Bryan.

 Roy & Laura.

 The "kids" are all grown!

 Happy Thanksgiving!

Zach and Aunt Jen.

 My big and little men.

Another highlight was the Bakersfield Escape Room.
Have you heard of these? They seem to be popping up all over.

An escape room is an adventure game where participants are placed into a room and have to use teamwork along with elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit. Each room is themed and has a unique storyline that engages the players through their environment.

We had 60 minutes to solve the case of 8 year-old kidnapped victim, Judy Bates (creepy doll) and rescue her before the bombs went off. It was fun, INTENSE, and a unique experience. This particular room had only an 8% success rate so you know, the Goughs were up for the challenge!

Teamwork and communication were key as we solved each clue and managed to save her with 4 minutes to spare! Way to go, Team Gough! #crushedit 👊

Thanks, Ben for the cool experience! 😃

This was also the first year we celebrated Thanksgiving without Grandma.
She was dearly missed by all. We made her Thanksgiving dressing and toasted to her memory.
What a feast she must have enjoyed at her first Thanksgiving at the Lord's table!

21 November 2016

Easy Holiday Brunch Menu

Because it's Thanksgiving week and we'll be out of town for most of it, I'll be skipping meal planning this week. Tonight, I'm making a big pot of Red Bean & Rice and calling it good before we leave on Wednesday. Instead, I thought I'd share a couple of things I made for our FFP brunch over the weekend. These two dishes were the biggest hits so I wanted to share them because they'd make an excellent choice for a Thanksgiving Day weekend or even a Christmas morning brunch.

These are glazed with brown sugar, butter, Dijon, and Worchestershire.
My girlfriend said, "It's like a hot ham and cheese cinnamon roll." Exactly!

The best part about these, they come together so fast and there's nothing complicated at all about them.
You can even make it the day before and just pop them in the oven when you're ready. (Although I would wait and glaze them right before you bake them.)

And then there was this. Not a morsel was left in the pan.
That's because this is called, "Cracked Out Tater Tot Casserole."
This could not be any easier to make. In fact, the girls made this one for me. Basically, you just mix all the ingredients into a bowl and then bake it in a casserole dish.
You could also assemble this the night before and just bake it when you're ready.   

And since both of these recipes aren't exactly figure friendly...

You could lighten up the menu with this festive fruit tray.

Or a fun Christmas veggie platter.

I'm all about EASY recipes that don't take a lot of prep or time. Plus, I love having a fruit or veggie tray out to munch on while you visit or open presents.

Tip: Make the two dishes in aluminum tins and you'll make clean up a cinch, too!

It's time to sip on some hot spiced apple cider and cue the Christmas music!

Enjoy your holidays, friends! We have so much to be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

20 November 2016

Bobbing for apples!

We had Family Fellowship & Prayer this weekend and this was the game we played afterwards.

 A quick snap of my two men. They like to match. 😊😊

Kids enjoying brunch outside.

 Hailey dominating in tetherball.

Evie, helping Zach up the slide.

 Levi goes first!
(I love how Evie is smiling in the back).

Jacob discovers that it's harder than it looks.

 He's determined!


19 November 2016

Friday Favorites

So, I'm sharing some of my favorite things from this week! Although I've done this in the past, I didn't have the time to be consistent about it. Who does? :)
 In fact, I got a little behind on Friday so here are my Friday Favorites, on Saturday! 😜

I've mentioned this before but it's worth mentioning again. I love farro! It's my new go-to super grain. I use it as a substitute for brown rice because it's heartier and packed with more fiber and flavor. In terms of good for you, it's equivalent to quinoa but tastes so much better. Have you tried it?

There are few causes in life I get really excited about but this is definitely one of them. November is the perfect month to highlight adoption. In our family, we often talk about it. We celebrate it! And we are so GRATEFUL to God for it! Adoption is AMAZING and I feel it's my calling in life to share our story and encourage others. Adopting, fostering, or just doing something about the fatherless in this world.
It's ALL good.

This week, it also happened to be #worldprematurityday. Again, I don't get too riled up about things like National Donut Day or even National Sibling Day but when I think about how far our little fighter has come?? ONLY GOD.   

 Our 3 lb. miracle right here. Glory to God! I love Zachary's story because it's actually God's story. And I will continue to tell it all my days to anyone who wants to listen.  

Melissa and I wore our "Forever Grateful" tops to our CBS Fall Tea this week.
Since people ALWAYS confuse us for each other anyways, we decided to have a little fun with it.
Yes, we planned it! 👭 #twinning
This is also a two in one favorite because anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE HATS. This felt one is perfect for fall and I'm loving the chance to wear it as much as I can.
(Plus, I need a haircut and color so badly. A hat hides the bad hair days, too!)

This is my go-to fall breakfast right now. Quick oats (cuz again, who has the time?) made with almond milk, a teaspoon of almond butter, and a dash of cinnamon. It's so good and comforting.
Plus, it fills me up 'til lunch!

Jinger and Jeremy got married!
TLC's Counting On is the only show the girls and I watch together. It comes on Tuesday nights so we DVR it and watch it on Wednesday afternoons. It's our thing. We couldn't wait for the season's finally!
Sniff, sniff. I cried!!     

Last but not least, I'm loving my new updated blog design! It's been a couple of years since I've had a makeover. I normally like to change things up once we get some updated family pictures but since that doesn't look like it's happening any time soon, I went ahead anyway. I worked with Daphne at DutchLadyDigiDesign and let me tell you, she was the best! I was a bit nervous since she lives in the Netherlands but her communication was so fast and clear, it was almost as if she lived down the street. Her prices are amazing and she completed the new blog in just 2 days.

So that's it. Life is so often about the little things, right?
Whether it's food, style, a particular cause, or even a TV show that prompts great conversation,
I'm so grateful for it all.


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