Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

A Parent First: The School Performance

Last week, we completed a parent first! We attended our first child’s first school performance!

Walking into that preschool it was almost as if we were finally granted this rite of passage  that was owed to us. We’d worked hard over these last (almost) 3 years and this is where it got it us.

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With grandparents present, we were sitting on the edge of our seats … starting at our child … watching him stare blankly at all the other kids around him..waiting patiently for him to do something that shows he’s been paying attention…and then cheer proudly!

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We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

The Hurst’s

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Help in the Kitchen

My long list of holiday parties starts this weekend, and for the first time, I actually feel less stressed about this season compared to others. 

One reason, I don’t have to figure out what I’m going to wear. When you’re 33 weeks pregnant, nothing really looks good, so you just accept it and put on whatever is in your closet. 

Another reason, I’ve given myself permission to not stress out in the kitchen! 

Normally, you’d find me the morning before an event flinging flour across the room, yelling at my husband, and (sometimes cursing) at how terrible my “easy to follow recipe” turned out and praying no one notices the imperfections when I arrive. 

But not this year. . . 

Similar to how my solution to a stress-free dinner are freezer meals, I’ve discovered some great standby’s for those occasions when cooking and baking will destroy your family isn’t an option. 
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Elke’s Market Cafe is a new favorite of mine except I have to drive a little to get there. I was first introduced to one of their Pecan Praline Pumpkin Pies at Book Club, and loved it so much that I made a trip up to Allen the day before Thanksgiving to buy a pie for our big family lunch

They’re a little on the higher end for pricing, but for a special occasion or if you want to cheat and try to pass it off as your own, it’s definitely worth it! :) Elke’s does an amazing job of having some party staples, but making it completely unique. For example, if you need a party dip, they offer flavors like Pecan Cheddar, Brisket Queso, Smokey Almond Jack, and Spicy Artichoke Dip. ($4.50-1/2 pint, $8-pint)

They also serve a large variety of sweets like their cakes, pies, cobblers, and cookies. A typical 7 inch round cake will cost $16, but how can you go wrong with Coca-Cola Cake, Texas Chocolate Pecan Cake, Creamy Coconut or Lemon Lime Pie

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Honeybaked Ham is one I’ve already shared with you, but it’s a definite on my list. And yes I know Thanksgiving has passed, but think more outside of the box than just a ham or turkey. If you’re expected to bring an appetizer or snack to a holiday party, try the Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Or if you need a quick dessert, I’ve had the Carrot Cake and it’s moist and delicious. A few of my DMB contributors tried the Cheesecake Sampler and vouched that it’s legit as well! All of these serve at least 6-8 people (but easily more!) You can find a full menu here
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Festive Kitchen is by far my local favorite! We were first introduced to Festive Kitchen 2 years ago when my son was born. A church member had brought over some of their dinner items as a “new mom” meal for my family. Although she brought a complete meal, for some reason, the mixed green salad in particular has stuck in my mind as one of the most delicious salads I’ve ever eaten. 

For whatever reason, I hadn’t been able to try any of their other foods until recently. You may recall that Festive Kitchen was amazing and provided the DMB contributors with a complete meal the week before Thanksgiving. 

Pork Tenderloin, Carrot Souffle, Pasta Salad, Au Gratin Potatoes, Garlic Rolls...my mouth is still watering. 

Since then, I’ve used them a few times for some other events where I’ve had to bring a food dish and was short on time. (For our Ornament Exchange I brought Cranberry Salsa with Blue Chips, and it was a hit!)

For our upcoming Christmas parties, I’m eager to try a few of their other menu items, and what I love about Festive Kitchen is their list of possibilities is endless! They have over 10 appetizers to choose from, and that doesn’t include their seasonal selections; Red Bell Pepper Hummus, Bacon DipBacon-Apricot Zingers, Parmesan Flans, and Bite Sized Crab Cakes


They also make desserts easy with choices like their Gourmet Cookie Dough (Voted the “Best in Big D” by D Magazine!) with flavors Chocolate Chip Pecan Coconut, Cranberry & White Chocolate, Red Velvet, Snickerdoodles, and more! Or their easy to serve bite-sized cheesecakes, Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies, Apple Cinnamon Dessert Bars, and Pecan Pie Dessert Muffins. 

And remember how I said you could cheat by claiming it to be your own? Well, the Festive Kitchen helps by selling pre-made pie crusts. . .in a pan. . .READY TO BAKE! 

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE to bake and cook, but when every small minor task is so physically demanding, at some point you just have to give in and let the professionals do it. 

It’s not worth my sanity! 

So this holiday season, go out, and enjoy those holiday parties without the stress by checking out a few of these local Dallas “ready-to-eat” options! 

Do you have any favorite places I need to try? 


****I was not paid for promoting any of the companies mentioned above…they are all just really delicious and felt I had to share my findings! 

Wrapping Up November

It’s been awhile since I’ve just talked about my family in a blog post, but since this is what I’m especially thankful for this month, I thought it might be fun to do a little update on where we are and what we’ve been doing in the month of November. 

There’s been a lot of growth (not just in my belly!) and I want to make sure to write about all the changes before they become a distant memory. 

I’ve already shared with you some of the extracurricular activities we’ve been doing such as Ice at the Gaylord Texan with Chevy and our Austin weekend away, but what I haven’t told you too much about is what we’ve been doing at home. 
Sleep Training . . . Again!
Over the last few weeks, we’ve had some major projects get underway. We’ve almost completed the Little Man’s “Big Boy Room” with the exception of the closet, but he’s officially moved out of the nursery and is now a full time resident in his toddler room. 

Last Tuesday, we went cold turkey and he hasn’t been back to his crib since except for one brief nap on Thanksgiving day. His first night wasn’t as horrible as I’d been imagining it would be. It took almost 2 hours to get him to fall asleep. No crying. No fussing. Just running around and exploring with lots of reinforcement to get back into bed. Then he slept until almost 7:30 the next morning; almost 30 minutes later than normal! 

I wish I could say the next few nights were just as amazing, but thanks to a terrible cold, we spent 2-3 nights with him waking up while we helped him back to sleep. Then he’d be awake the following morning anywhere from 5:30-6:15am. 

It hasn’t been until recently that he’s gotten some relief from the cold and is once again sleeping through the night. We’ve got bedtime down and we’re back to the old routine. Nap times are still work, but he’s at least now sleeping in his bed! 

If we could only get him to wake up after 6:30am on average, I’d be much happier. But I guess I’ll take what I’m given!
Sporting the ‘stach for Movember.
(Donate to Tim’s cause here!)
A Joint Thanksgiving
This year, we were technically with my family for Thanksgiving, but since my family and Tim’s family all live within a half mile of each other, we decided to plan a joint Thanksgiving for everyone who was available; which ended up being. . .everyone! 

We hosted all of Tim’s family (Dad, Mom, 2 Brothers, & a Sister-In-Law) plus my family (Dad, Mom, Brother, Sister-in-Law and my Grandma). 

It was a Thanksgiving feast if you ever saw one!

There were 3 types of turkeys; fried, smoked, and baked. Over 6 different sides. 3 types of desserts. Rolls, Pumpkin Muffins, you name it. . .we had it! 
And since Tim and I were the hosts, we had the privilege of assigning seats. So we came up with the perfect table combinations. . . 
The Kids’ Table
The Grandparents’ Table
(+ Grandchild/Great-Grandchild for entertainment!)
At the end of the day, we went outside to take some impromptu pictures, and were able to witness the Little Man’s first rainbowThis was sort of a neat time for us as parents since his current favorite book is a pop-up version of Noah’s Ark.  

He’s read all about rainbows for awhile, and was finally able to see his first one! 


I’ve mentioned this before, but my sister-in-law and I are exactly 4 weeks a part in our pregnancies (to the day), so we captured some shots of us for our baby books. I’m at 32 weeks, and she’s at 36 weeks. 

And if you can’t tell from the belly difference, she IS expecting twins. I am not! :) 
The Little Man’s Milestones
I also haven’t shared much about his growth lately, but over the last month, my baby boy no longer seems to be a baby. From about 17-20 months, it didn’t seem like he was having major changes in his personality or in his learning, but over the last few weeks, it seems like he’s just exploded with changes! 

Here are just a few of the differences I’ve noticed:
  • He randomly came home one day from Mother’s Day Out and started going in circles. It took me a minute to realize what was going on, but he was shouting “Posey” as he ran. Since then, “Ring Around the Rosy” has been his favorite activity. 
  • Just this week, he asked for a tissue and actually blew his nose! We’ve come a long way since using the nose bulb! 
  • Every object has become attached to a person. It can’t just be a “mixer,” but “Mommy’s”. 
  • Then, literally overnight a few weeks ago, he began putting the words together. “Mommy and Daddy’s,” “Mommy’s Car,” “Daddy’s bed,” “red truck,” “hot air balloon,” etc.
  • THEN the next week came broken sentences. Me: “What are you doing?” LM: “Standing on a box.” And it’s been chatter ever since! 
  • He’s currently in love with all of his stuffed animals. I think it’s just a comfort as he transitions rooms, but he currently sleeps with a penguin, Lucy the pug, Brobie, Elmo, Clifford, Cookie Monster (the side of a pillow!), and a lovey. He’ll go looking if one is missing! 
As I said, we’ve got several project underway. From making the nursery transition from toddler to infant again to converting our office into a functioning playroom, you’ll start to see several home improvement posts pop up during the month of December as “nesting” turns into panic. 

With less than 7 weeks to go until we become a family of 4, 
I’m trying to cherish every moment! 

How’s your family doing this November? 

A Peek Into A Dopps Reunion

This past weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, The Dopps. Each year, either at Christmas or Thanksgiving, the entire family gets together to celebrate the holidays, but this isn’t your typical reunion. 

My husband, Tim, has 1 living grandmother, 6 uncles, 2 aunts, and countless first and second cousins (plus all their spouses!) All in all, there’s about 100 family members, and each year they find a way to bring everyone together from across the United States for a weekend of bonding, fellowship, entertaining, and eating.

We call it Dopps Camp. 

During the last seven years that I’ve been an official member of the family, we’ve held Camp at places across the midwest; retreat centers in Kansas and Oklahoma, skiing in Colorado, and a few in the big city (Dallas). But we’d yet to have one in our neighboring city to the north – OKC. So, this year, that’s exactly what we did!

Now, if you’re not a member of the family, it can be a little hard to imagine what it might be like to have 100 family members strolling through the streets of Oklahoma City, so I thought I’d give you a little picture play-by-play. 
Welcome to Dopps Camp 2011!

Day 1: We Feast
Thanksgiving lunch was held at the Rose Briar Place;
a beautiful wedding chapel owned by Tim’s Aunt Sharon.
Where else could you have such beautiful place settings besides at a wedding chapel?
And of course, it wouldn’t be Dopps Camp without a souvenir!
A lot of prep time goes into cooking for 100 people (plus leftovers).
Each family is in charge of a meat or side dish, and this year, we were asked to fry a turkey. 
After fully stuffing ourselves, we’re ready for the entertainment. 

While the men are away, the ladies will play!
I was in charge of the ladies’ craft table. 

This year brought the return of the Talent Show.
And boy was there some amazing talent!
With that, we ended Day 1 and my Little Man’s first Thanksgiving! 
Day 2: A Tour of Bricktown
Brunch to get the day started. 
Ice Skating at the Myriad Gardens.
Bowling at Red Pin.
And of course, a Water Taxi ride to drop us off at the door of Zio’s. . .
 We took up 2 boats!
Day 3: So Long
One final breakfast with the whole family before heading our separate ways.

Can’t wait until Winter 2012!
Who’s hosting? 

Giving Thanks




From our family to yours, we wish you a day of love and kindness,
thanks and praise,
full hearts . . .
and full bellies!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Starting Traditions

This season marks a time of “firsts” for us as a new family. We’ll be attending our first Dopps Camp (husband’s family reunion) for our first Thanksgiving. Followed quickly behind our first Christmas and all the fan fair that goes along with it. 


For the last 7 years, a lot of the December activities haven’t seemed as important with just Tim and I, but when I start thinking about this being the Little Man’s first Christmas, I immediately began to think about all of the fun events there are to do in the DFW area. 





I really want to start some family traditions, but with all these opportunities, it’s hard to pick and choose! And I know we can’t do them all. 

What are some of your favorite holiday activities to do with your family?