High Five for Friday

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I’m linking up with Lauren from thelaurenelizabeth.com for High Five for Friday! 

TGIF! TGIF! TGIF!

Can you tell that I am excited it’s Friday?! Having a normal week after having a very short week thanks to Thanksgiving (no pun intended haha) was rough!  However, there are only 2 more weeks until Christmas break so I can’t complain too much.

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My beautiful sister!

1. Thanksgiving definitely spoiled me.  It was so much fun to have a few days off and spend time with my family, especially my sister.  It seems in recent months that our schedules have been very opposite, so we have gotten to see much of each other.  However, I think we spent more time together in just a couple of days last week than we have in nearly 3 months.  It was awesome.  I texted her Tuesday and told her I was having withdrawals.

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He really does love me…

2. I also have been getting to see my brother more regularly.  However, he refuses to take a picture with me, so I had my hubby help me snap this beauty…

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Target. At 1 a.m. Post “Black Thursday” craziness. And still tons of deals. And no lines.

3. My hubby and I ventured out for Black Friday shopping (Note: Black FRIDAY… that means we went shopping on FRIDAY, not Thursday.  I refuse to go out on Thursday.  Maybe I’ll post my rant about that sometime soon lol).  Anyway, we headed out about 1am after 3 Dr. Peppers and 2 cups of coffee.  It was totally worth waiting until that late/early/however you want to look at it! There was NO ONE out.  We went to Target, Kohl’s, Best Buy, and LOFT, and all 4 places still had everything in stock that I was looking for and there were no lines.  I actually felt bad for the workers because they were just standing around, clearly bored and tired.  Having worked in retail and on Black Friday for several years, I personally would rather it be busy so the time went by faster.  It was great for us though!

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Don’t let this picture fool you. The glasses are actually navy, not black.

4. My new glasses came in this week.  I normally wear contacts, but have really been wanting a good pair of glasses so I could give my eyes a break (if you wear contacts, you understand this).  The pair I had were about 5 years old though and the prescription was off, so I only wore them at night.  I picked these Kate Spade glasses out a couple of weeks ago at my annual exam and they finally came in! I absolutely love them!

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I’m a turkey!

5. I got 3 strikes in a row last night at bowling.  My husband’s last day at his current job is today, so his coworkers and boss took him out for a “going away” party of sorts, and they let me tag along.  I am normally a horrible bowler, so I had to take a picture!  It was a fun way to send goodbye.  I know my husband is going to miss them.  He’s worked with them for almost 5 years, but we are both very excited about his new opportunity!

How has your week been?

Pumpkin Muffins and Thanksgiving Blessings

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all are getting to enjoy some time with family and friends, though I know there are a lot of people who have to work or have family members abroad. If you are in the later category, my thoughts are with you. Military families especially are on my heart right now. Can I just say how incredibly thankful I am for your sacrifice and service? Because I truly am. You are the reason we get to enjoy this holiday and all of the upcoming holidays in peace and freedom. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now, on to the Pumpkin Muffins. I am obsessed with pumpkin-flavored anything and I won’t apologize.

I discovered this recipe a few years ago and it is one of my favorites to make during the Fall. It’s really easy, yet delicious. I would really like to try modifying it to make it gluten-free, but I struggle with how to do that on recipes I already have, so if you have any suggestions on what GF ingredients to substitute in, please share in the comments!

The recipe I use is Paula Dean’s Pumpkin Bars but I make them into muffins using a muffin pan.

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Muffin Ingredients:

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4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Muffin Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

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Combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin and mix with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

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Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until batter is smooth.

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Pour the batter into a greased muffin pan (usually makes about 20 regular-sized muffins).

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Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

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Icing Ingredients:

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8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing Directions:

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Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.

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Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined.

Stir in the vanilla and mix again.

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Spread on cooled pumpkin muffins and enjoy!

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What is one of your favorite pumpkin recipes?

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Thankful

If you are on Facebook, you’ve probably seen some daily posts from friends about what they are thankful for.  I didn’t participate myself, but it has served as a reminder to me about how blessed I am.  I mean, just the fact that I am sitting with my house, which is has heat and running water, means I am richer than half of the world.  Hard to comprehend sometimes, isn’t it?!

So with that said, here is what I am thankful for:

1. My husband.  He is the most patient, caring, self-less man I know.  I truly cannot imagine going through this journey of life without him.

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2. My family.  My family is weird and loud, and we love to eat (I mean c’mon, my dad is full-blooded Greek, what do you expect?!?).  We can also get on each others’ nerves and fuss and fret, but at the end of the day, you will be hard-pressed to find a family as loving and loyal as we are.

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The Varnams

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The Chopelas side

3. My dog.  If you are a dog person, you just understand this one…

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4. My friends.  I have some really amazing friends who I can be completely myself with.

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5.  My job.  There are days where I honestly dread going to work, but I have to remind myself that at least I have one.  There are so many people that have spent months, even years, trying to find jobs, and I am blessed to say I have one.

6. My house.  Sometimes I wish for something bigger, with more closet space and a yard.  But I have to remember that I have a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in, and so many wonderful memories have been made here.

7. The holidays.  I just love this time of year, the reminders of the things that are important, and the time with loved ones.

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Pretty much sums up our family

What are you thankful for?

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