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As per usual, I’ve been craving the cooler fall weather and comfort foods these last two weeks so I thought it would be fun to dedicate my top 10 on the 10th to food this month!  I mean, seriously, can you ever have too many great recipes?  Exactly.  I hope you enjoy this list of our favorite fall comfort foods as much as we do!

10. Fettuccine Alfredo – Supposedly this is “skinny” fettuccine alfredo.  I guess in comparison to regular alfredo it is skinny, but in reality it’s still over 700 yummy calories per serving.

9. Ham & Apple Butter Panini – A yummy, easy fall dinner (and a fun way to use some of those apples you picked)!

8. Roasted Cauliflower and Aged White Cheddar Soup – This one takes some time because you actually roast the cauliflower, but that roasted flavor is so worth it.  Yumm-y!

7. Grilled Sausage and Pimento Cheese Grits – It is rare that I will eat meat that isn’t chopped, diced or hidden into a casserole, so the fact that this is one of our favorite meals speaks volumes.  If you’re craving breakfast for dinner this one will be on the table in 15 minutes!

6. Broccoli Cheddar Pot Pies – According to the recipe this is supposed to make 4 pot pies, but we typically use it to make 2 and it’s a good-sized dinner.  Of course, if you wanted to switch up the veggies involved that would be super easy and you could also easily add in some meat.

5. Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs – We’ve made this one twice for ourselves and once for guests and it was a HUGE hit every time.  Annie never disappoints!

4. Chicken Biscuit Pie – I modify this recipe slightly – instead of the using the yucky processed sodium bombs called soup, mix 1 cup of 2% milk with about 1/2 a block of softened cream cheese and 8oz of sour cream.  We think it tastes creamier and cooks up better.

3. Baked Potato Soup – Tried and true – fall is not fall without baked potato soup.  Just like the cauliflower soup, this one takes some time because you actually bake the potatoes, but I can promise you the taste is worth it.

2. Sour Cream Noodle Bake – In our house we call this “Ree’s Hamburger Helper” and yummy doesn’t even begin to describe!

1. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins – These muffins are my new favorite breakfast addiction.  The recipe makes 24, and they freeze up beautifully.  I just pop one out of the freezer straight into the microwave for 25 seconds on 1/2 power and then savor every crumb.

Happy Fall Y’all!  And here’s a horrible instagram pic of my muffin from breakfast this morning – sorry for no great food photos, this stuff is too yummy to let it get cold waiting for photos!



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Last October I decided to read all murder mysteries and spooky books for the month and it was lots of fun, so I’m sticking with that theme for this October too! I actually finished up my September reading list a few days early so I’ve already gotten a head start on one of my murder books for the month and I’m excited to see what happens!  But first, a quick recap on what was on deck for September…

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
*The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
Syren by Angie Sage (Septimus Heap #5)
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle

*I ended up switching this one out for Let’s All be Brave by Annie F. Downs – saving The Best Yes for November.

Top pick of the month has to go to The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger.  The fact that this book has been in existence for over a decade and I’m just now reading it is an epic fail on my part.  I mean, hello, time travel, one of my favorite subjects.  I think the thing I liked the most about this take on time travel is that it was involuntary.  Unlike most of the books I’ve read on the subject, Henry has no control over when he travels, where he goes, or how long he stays there.  It’s exciting but sad at the same time and there were so many times I wanted to cry with Clare over the fact that Henry had randomly disappeared at an inopportune moment.  I realize I’m probably the last person in the world to have read this book, but if you’re like me and you’ve been under a rock for the last decade then add it to your reading list asap!

Moving on to my Month of Murder…. I’m already about 25% of the way into my first on the list and as soon as I can get my hands on Jasper Dent that one will be next.  Let’s get this spookiness started…bwah ha ha….

Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James
Blood of my Blood by Barry Lyga (#3 in the Jasper Dent Series)
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (#2 in the Cormoran Strike Series)
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter (#3 in the Grant County Series)
Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves

Here’s to a spooktacular October!

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Wow, I can’t believe how fast these last 3 years have passed.  When I put this list together I was optimistically hoping that I’d complete about 75% of the items (realizing that some of them were fairly expensive and called for massive travel plans).  I ended up coming in at about 56%, but I’m thrilled with the outcome.  Some of the un-done items will still make it on my life bucket list, and some I’m no longer interested in (your idea of fun can change a lot in 3 years!)  But all-in-all, I couldn’t be happier with the ones I completed and I know at least half of them never would’ve happened if it weren’t for this challenge.  If you’ve ever considered doing something like this and you like to-do lists, I highly recommend it.  There are great sites that will help you develop your list, and it’s a lot of fun to track your progress over several years.

I’ve debated starting another 101 in 1,001 list, but I’ve decided to do something a little different this time around and make a book out of it (more on that to come later)!  But for now, I’ll bask in the glow of a completed project with 56 items checked off of a massive to-do list and think about all of the fun we’ve had.  Here’s a quick recap of a few of my favorite moments….

Top 3 FUN goals checked off the list:

#20 – Visit Paris:  I mean, seriously.  It’s Paris.  Still probably the best vacation we’ve ever had and one of the most amazing weeks we’ll never stop talking about.  J’adore Paris!

#7 – Host a Dinner Party:  This was A LOT of fun – once we decided to turn it into a murder mystery dinner party I really couldn’t get more excited.  We will definitely do this again!

#57 – Teach a class at a College/University:  I knew I’d enjoy this one but when I put it on the list it was a long shot.  How was I to know that one day I’d fall instantly in love with teaching college students about advertising?


Top 3 most meaningful goals checked off the list:

#84 – Attend a Spiritual Retreat at a Monastery: I’ll do this for the rest of my life as often as I can.  There is just nothing like visiting with the Monks at Mepkin Abbey for a long weekend.

#81 – Volunteer for a day at a Habitat House:  I actually enjoy painting, so I knew I’d have a good time at the Habitat House, but I had no idea how it would impact me personally.  Meeting and working alongside of the Habitat House owners to-be was amazing.  I loved hearing their story and seeing the joy and the plans that they have for their future home.

#91 – Volunteer somewhere regularly: Getting connected with Hands On Charlotte has been the biggest blessing for me personally this year.  I’ve been able to take my dog for visits at nursing homes, assemble goodie bags for a homeless child’s birthday party, help the Panthers Recycling efforts and be one of 1,000 volunteers at Festival in the Park.  Without Hands On I never would’ve been able to get connected to all of these great organizations by myself and I love seeing what opportunities pop up on their calendar each month.  It’s such a great way for one person to give back on their schedule to organizations that matter to them.


Top 3 goals I’ll never do again but man were they awesome…

#2 – Tae Kwon Do Black Belt: I still can’t believe I managed to accomplish this goal.  The girl that got Bs and Cs in PE and hates breaking a sweat managed to break multiple boards and kick things without tripping/falling.  Miracles do happen.  Unfortunately so do injuries, and by doctor’s orders I’ll never participate in impact sports again.:-(

#9 – Learn to Knit: Some of us just aren’t made to knit.  I’ll paint, draw and take pretty pictures, but please don’t make me knit.  Ever. Again.

#6 – Ride a Zipline: Well, technically, I will gladly ride another zipline.  I will never do a zipline course again – no more rope ladders, swinging bridges, repelling off of towers, etc.  Zipping is cool, high ropes courses are outside of my skill set.


Top 3 goals I can’t believe I didn’t check off the list

#46 – Take a Drawing Class:  I think I just had a few too many classes on my list and not enough semesters for completion!  I will definitely still get to this one!

#70 – Get our pics made in Charlotte:  Well you know what they say about the cobbler’s children??!!  Oh well, same goes for the cobbler herself and her spouse.  One day!

#12 – Join a Book Club:  You’d think I’d be all over this one, but the idea of having someone else tell me what to read makes me break out in hives.  I love suggestions, but I hate being told I have to read a book I’m not even a little bit interested in.  Live and learn, I don’t think I’m a book club girl.


Here’s to more awesome goals and a productive future for to-do lists everywhere!;-)


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