Merry ChristSMITH! {December Shenanigans}


December has been a quick and busy month. We kicked it off with some Christmas decorating and tree trimming. Our tree this year was less than stellar, but it got the job done. While we didn’t put out all of our ornaments or decorations because of our impending move, we did just enough to make it feel festive. Plus, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without a tree filling the house with that awesome smell and glowing lights!


We had a 9 day trip to Savannah and then Daytona (Chris went to Clearwater for a work trip) in the beginning of December. It seemed like a good idea (before we got our December 26 closing date). Even though it was right in the middle of Christmas season and our big move, we had some nice visiting time with my dad and step-mom and then my mom and Grandma in Daytona. The kids loved all the time with their grandparents.

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One of my favorite memories from last December was our advent calendar. Each day was filled with a fun activity or treat to experience with Brady. This year we did something similar, but we wanted the focus to be more on the act of giving and doing for others (with some fun stuff for the boys mixed in.) Here’s some of our activities we did…


Making cards and giving candy to the kids in Brady’s class.


Surprising the boys with their train track around the tree one morning.


Donating a gift for Toys 4 Tots.


Eating treats and watching a Christmas movie.

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Visiting with our elderly neighbors and bringing them a Christmas present.

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Picking out Christmas presents for Albert and Gato.


Getting Peppermint Chocolate Chip milkshakes from Chick-fil-A (mommy’s favorite tradition!)


Making Candy Cane Brownies for our neighbors.

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Christmas presents for the trash collectors (Brady’s most favorite activity!!)


Breakfast for Dinner!

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Baking cookies for Santa (frosting/sprinkles for Brady and Nolan!)

Some of our other activities included cleaning out our old toys and giving them away, putting a surprise present in the mailbox for the mailman, looking at Christmas lights, and surprising Brady’s teacher with her favorite coffee one day. I hope these are traditions we continue as it was such a joy watching the boys experience the act of giving and getting to spoil them a little along the way.

While much of the month was consumed with thoughts of our new house and tons of to-do lists, we appreciated any small moments where we got to slow down and enjoy Christmas, our boys, and our new hometown. I loved getting an afternoon to myself to do some exploring and shopping downtown.


Nothing like walking around downtown on a chilly day! (especially if you have hot coffee in hand, like I did!)

I also loved baking cupcakes and getting to go to Brady’s class celebration for Jesus’s birthday.


How cute are these kiddos?!

But, admittedly, lots of adult beverages were consumed after bedtime this month to help keep our sanity.


Even though adding a big trip and a big move to an already busy month at times made us a little, cray cray…

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We are abundantly aware of the many, many blessings God has bestowed upon us. We are constantly in awe of all that He has provided for us and give thanks for the good, the bad, and the crazy every day!


We spent our Christmas with Grandpa and Nana, opening gifts, eating, and getting ready for our big move.

We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a blessed 2015!





Building Our Forever Home…Almost Done!

In true Smith fashion, things are nice and crazy right now (and exciting!) We’ve been traveling for the holidays- Atlanta last week and Savannah and Daytona next week. We’ve also been putting up our Christmas decorations. Oh, and we are moving into our new house the day after Christmas! Our original closing date was scheduled for February. That got bumped up to January, and while it was a little sooner than we had planned on, we went with it. THEN, our builder came to us and said they’d like to close before the New Year. Whoa! We quickly had to make arrangements with our current rental house, look for movers, and wrap our heads around moving over Christmas break. (We also negotiated a few concessions with our builder to compensate us for accommodating their expedited schedule!) Despite the stress that comes along with yet another move (our 3rd in the last 2 years) we are pretty giddy about the idea that we’ll be starting out the new year in our forever home.

The boys look forward to our weekly trips to the house on Sundays to check out the progress. It’s always a fun game of chasing Nolan around and trying to keep him from picking up rusty nails, touching wet paint, grabbing insulation, etc… Brady has the house memorized and has been able to give a tour since it was just framing and floorboards. He loves to show us where “his” playroom is going to be and always likes to remind us that we need to remember to bring the T.V. from the old house.

Here’s some pictures of the recent progress…

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Nolan checking out the new bathtub in the boys’ future bathroom.

It was really exciting when the siding started going up!

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Drywall really made it start to feel like a home!

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The original deck. They ended up re-building it because it was just all wrong.


The new and improved deck with the stairs moved to the side.


My favorite part of the process…seeing the kitchen cabinets installed. Not gonna lie, I almost teared up when I saw my kitchen. {The site of future Kids Cook Monday posts!}


Another exciting day was when the stonework started going up!

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Paint and trim- getting closer!


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The driveway was poured this week and our fireplace has a mantel. I can’t wait to see the flooring and countertops go in next. It’s hard to believe that in less than a month we can unpack our boxes for good!

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes {Kids Cook Monday} *Farmer’s Market*


One of our favorite things to do is to take a trip to the weekly Farmer’s Market in Downtown Raleigh. Besides the abundance of farm fresh produce, there’s always fun free samples, live music, and lots to look at. My boys always get a kick out of checking out what’s in season and sampling different vendor’s goodies. For this week’s Kids Cook Monday recipe, we headed downtown to see what was in season this time of year. We were inspired by all of the apples and sweet potatoes for sale. Not only did we get to sample some yummy granola and peanut butter, but we also got the ingredients for this week’s Kids Cook meal.


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I should note that not only is the Downtown Raleigh Farmer’s Market entertaining, but the produce is SO cheap! This slow cooker apple/sweet potato dish cost about $2 for the whole batch. Even if you doubled the batch, it would still be a super affordable Thanksgiving side dish!


Sweet, tart, and slow cooked goodness!


3-4 apples, peeled and chopped
2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup water
3 Tbs. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
2 Tbs. Butter


I used a combo of sweet and tart apple varieties. You could also mix up the spices you use- nutmeg would be delicious!


Mine and Brady’s favorite part of cooking- chopping!


As you can see, we gave the apples a very rough, not perfect, peel and chop.


Dump the apples and sweet potatoes into the slow cooker. Pour the water over them and toss your butter on top.


Sprinkle on the brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Give the pot a big stir and then put the lid on. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours. The apples cook faster than the potatoes, so check your potatoes to make sure they are nice and soft.


Patiently wait for your sweet potatoes to finish cooking…


Once the sweet potatoes are cooked through, remove from the crock pot. We ate ours just like this, but you could also top with more brown sugar and pecans. Or, even add a little cream and mash them up a bit for a apple sweet potato mash. Yum!


Not only do these sweet potatoes end up tasting like apple pie filling, but your whole house will smell delish!

This would be the easiest Thanksgiving side dish ever. Plus, it won’t take up that precious oven space! Our kiddos enjoyed this farm to table treat, and hopefully yours will too!






Building Our Forever Home

After almost 6 months in Raleigh, us Smiths are smitten with North Carolina. We’ve fallen in love with the mild weather that still boasts a distinct change of seasons. We can’t get enough of all the parks, lakes, and biking trails that the area offers. We are addicted to trying new restaurants and exploring downtown Raleigh. It’s a perfect mix of big city, Southern charm, with a little bit of Crunchy Granola thrown in. Our kids are always active and learning as there is so much to experience- Farmer’s Markets, Kids Museum, Science Museum, libraries, parks, and activities with the “Mom’s Group” we’ve joined. We’re also loving being a little closer to family and having easy access to the beach and mountains. To sum it up, we’ve decided to stay put here in North Carolina.

We decided to build a home in a neighborhood that we absolutely LOVE that is about 5 minutes from our current rental. We’re hoping to be in the new house early next year. Brady is loving watching his new house go up and keeps asking to get his tools to help. He’s especially excited because of the golf course that is visible from our front porch! This past weekend, the framing was completed and we were able to walk into our new house for the first time. As Chris and Nolan crossed the threshold, Nolan sweetly said, “Home.” How completely perfect.

We do daily drive-by’s of our new home and have become it’s official stalker. I take pictures of it every time we pass by to document the progress, so we can always look back and show our boys how their childhood home came to be.

Here’s the journey so far…


Empty lot on the corner…ready for the Smiths!



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Here’s how the house currently looks!



Checking out Brady’s new room!


Let’s get my tools and get to work!

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We’re so grateful for this opportunity to build our forever home and can’t wait to start this new chapter of our lives!