Category Archives: family

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hard to believe its 2014. You know when I began writing this blog it was EARLY 2005 :) – so almost 10 years have passed! crazy. Time goes way to fast. Then again some days it seems to creep by. The “in the trenches” of motherhood days haha. Wont lie, I have been worn out lately. Come Reed’s nap I want nothing more than to veg and sit under my electric throw, warm and cozy in a dark room. It could be the seasonal gloom… or very well my brain in dire need of rejuvenation and peace.

My parents came up for Thanksgiving this year. Both of them are retired for the first time this season, so its fun to not have to worry about my parents work schedules… and be a bit more fluid with ours. Travis had to work thanksgiving (today)… so knowing this ahead of time, we moved Thanksgiving to Tuesday this week instead of thursday. Its what you do when married to a cop or someone with a weird not so typical holiday friendly schedule :)

Below are just some photos from the few days they spent with us. So a bit picture heavy :) – but for my memory sake well worth the blogging.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for 4 healthy little boys this Thanksgiving. No sickness at all (knock on wood) and a warm house to cozy up in. We have so much to be thankful for. I could spend pages and pages writing things I am thankful for. Im sure you all could as well :)


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With my mom, comes healthy foods :) – shes a vegetarian and always needs her fruits and veggies.

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Reed enjoys the prepping of pomegranates the most.

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On Thanksgiving morning we had Homemade Belgian waffles. Oh man, I love them. I will share the recipe soon.

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Toby was eyeing the bacon :)

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While the turkey cooked, we went out to get our Christmas Tree.
Typically we save this for “the day after” thanksgiving. Knowing Travis had to work, we planned ahead this year.

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I convinced Travis to get a “small” tree this year. He looks excited about that :)
He always wants the bigger tree… well, IMO less money, less tree = less mess, more money for later. ;-)

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My attempt for a group photo did not yield good results. Just funny ones

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Decorating went on while my mom and I cooked.

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Isnt the tree cute!

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With Thanksgiving of course comes messes….

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On the menu… Turkey (about 12lbs. My mom doesn’t eat meat, so we didn’t need a huge one). Honey Ham, Hash brown Casserole, Corn Casserole, Sweet Potatoe Casserole, homemade gravy, sparkling grape juice of course (kid friendly), mac and cheese and desserts. We lacked greens this year ill be honest :) and ate a whole lotta carbs!

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and of course evening coffee to help settle the food :)

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Cheers

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Reed loves time with his Nana.

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Halloween is not the devil.

Those who follow me on social media have seen most of these photos :) – btw you should follow me @dreawood on instagram & facebook for all that sorta stuff. Im a huge fan of instagram especially.

Before I get into the photos for this post. What most come here to see, more so than my ramblings… I want to chat a bit about Halloween.

Growing up I never really went trick or treating. My mom grew up catholic and was a new believer when I was around 3? Went to a Presbyterian church at one point, then a non denominational, then baptist, and so forth. Haha, lets just say, we did some church hopping. Although at one point, I believe around age 12 I stopped going to church all together and totally rebelled against anything church. Not a high point in my life, Lord brought me back thankfully. I have nothing bad to say about that though or her choices at all. She like any mom did what she felt was best at the time and no one can fault a mom for that. Im thankful for my mom and she taught me a lot growing up.

Once I became a mom myself though, I had lots of questions each time Halloween would roll around.

I remember my childhood and not being able to trick or treat much… but I do also remember my mom letting us hand out candy and watch scary movies. I remember fun fall festivals and so forth as well. It wasn’t something we were totally apart from, but we weren’t really that into it either.

Once my kids became old enough TO trick or treat, I was not really keen on it. I had this whole idea in my mind that if we participated, it would be as if we are worshipping satan or some sort of satanic cult… and that it would not let people see Christ in us… because we “didn’t look different” than those around us who were not in church and trick or treated.

My thinking was very immature…

Now that I am older and my kids are older.. and we live in a neighborhood… and among lots of people… with different stories… different life styles… but all with children, who my kids become friends with and get to know… and each passing year I realize more and more, how we are called to “be different” and “set apart” – but I do not believe shutting our doors on a day like halloween is a great way to do that… I read THIS POST a week or so before Halloween and it summed up my thoughts perfectly.

Do read it.

Cause right now, I am not sure I am making much sense :)

So yes we are believers.

Yes my husband is a former Baptist Pastor, hopefully a Pastor again in the future :)

Yes we live and believe the Bible to be true and infallible…

We are to love our neighbors… and open our homes… be the church to the community and those around us. Locking our doors and turning off the porch light, because we think “halloween is some sort of evil-ness”, IMO is just going to rub people wrong and will never lead anyone to Christ.

ED9A4104Instead, put on some praise music and sit outside handing the cute kids and teens candy. Have some apple cider going welcoming your neighbors to have a sip and introduce yourselves. Let your children build relationships and community with the kids they see passing by… which in turn could very well open up a relationship between you and the parents, that could very well lead to their salvation down the road.

Don’t shut the doors.

Halloween for me, is fun now. While I am not a huge fan of all the “scary” costumes… and I swore years back my kid would never be “one of the scary ones” (hah. yea right, I have dudes…. its just bound to happen, they dont want to be cute cowboys forever). I don’t like haunted houses or creepy sounds and blood… but what I do love, is the look on my boys faces once I finish painting their face… or buy them a $1.99 thrifted transformer costume. Their smile and excitement is priceless. I love seeing each of my boys wear the same silly dragon costume from Old Navy, year after year… and the adorableness of a 2 year old hobbling up to a persons house attempting to say “trick or treat” in the most adorable babble/toddler talk.

Halloween is not the devil :)

I will end with this quote from the article I linked to above….

“Halloween gives you a great opportunity to show how Christians celebrate the day that death was defeated, and you can give them Gospel tracts and tell the story of how every ghost, goblin, witch and demon was trounced the day Jesus rose from the grave.”

and… of course, some photos :)


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Taite below (you can’t even tell its him, so funny)

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Caleb and I were vampires.

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Reed found a bee he liked :)

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Reed also found Cider he liked :)

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Strollers were a must for sure in our hilly subdivision :)

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Lack-o-post :) – Limbo

Anyone else have a busy week? I sure did. Well weekend/first of the week/week.
I had a few photo jobs over the weekend – so inbetween all of what life brings to my plate with my boys and household/mommy stuff. I have felt immersed in photo work. I also took on more Boba photos for this fall… so I have spent many hours model scouting…. We had a TON of applicants!

So blogging. Alas, is last on the list. I miss it though when I don’t get to blog.

Here are a few post you can look at though if you are bored :)

Wednesday’s session with this beautiful couple, friends of mine.
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Saturday’s session with this cutie….

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Monday’s session… more dude cuteness. oh the chub.

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ED9A3207We also had a dinner party to go to on Saturday to say farewell to my friend above in the couple’s shot. I met her in 2012 and have so enjoyed getting to know her. Her husband just got a job in TX as a Senior Pastor. It is to a rather large church. This will be her first church to be a Pastors wife. I am excited for her and look forward to hearing about her journey. She better start a blog :) ::hint hint mel::

While at the party I snagged a new head shot of Travis :) – its been a while, figured it was time. He btw cannot wait til he can grow his beard back. I think its so silly that his job as a cop right now, makes it so he cant have facial hair. That to me is just a silly rule. As long as he kept it well groomed, why would it matter? Travis has the fastest growing facial hair ever. He can grow a full beard within 2 weeks. Its crazy! So you can imagine having to shave every day is a pain.

I feel like I should do an update post here soon on what is going on with us.

Is Travis applying for church jobs still?

Has anyone called?

When will we have to move?

Will we move?

Whats the plan? So many things to write about but so little of me to give right now. I know those who read my ramblings get that. I have been battling within a lot these days… with the state of limbo we live in currently. I am finding it hard to pour into friendships… out of dread of leaving… yet again… I am finding it hard to “be content” with the circumstance of life, knowing it very well may change again soon. I long for something constant… and find myself very heavy some days with the thought of uprooting my family again… but know that the Lord has called my husband to Pastor… and to not go, is not a choice I feel we can take. My prayer though… is for a place to put roots… and plant our lives for many many MANY years. Not 2… not 3… not even 4 years. I want a place for at least 10 :) – and I am praying and trusting the Lord with that part of our story… Will it happen? I like to think so… but time shall tell… and I know regardless, Christ has me. He will give me grace to deal with the moves… and the change… and throughout it continue to refine and grow me, as life goes.

Hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween weekend. We will enjoy trick or treating around our lovely neighborhood… fellow-shipping with neighbors, having a camp fire… and spending time together.

Maybe by next week ill be caught up and can blog more :) g’night.

Blue Ribbon Food’s – what is it?

blueribbonfoodSome of you who follow me on my personal facebook would have seen me post the photo to the right last week…. A photo that seemed to be great at catching peoples attention haha, because I got a TON of comments on that post. Kinda blew me away. Loved the conversation it created and was cool to pass on information about this company to all those who may find it to be a fit for their family.

To go ahead and get some disclaimers out there
, since I tend to feel the need to do so. I was 1) Not paid to write this post for Blue Ribbon. 2) My family signed up with Blue Ribbon Food’s just like anyone else would, through a friend. 3) I am no expert and I am brand new to this company, so what I am about to talk about is from a newbie’s experience. However, I plan to follow up in 6 mo. from now and share with my readers my thoughts as the time goes. I may even do a 3 mo. check in too, if yall want.

I saw a friend of ours on facebook post a similar image to the right, of their freezer. Packed full of foods. They also mentioned how the food was from a good source of local farms, free range and so forth. I am big on this but will be totally honest. We could not afford to buy all our foods organic… from whole foods, trader joes and other organic food stores in the area. I tried to find ways to make it work… but with our budget, we just couldn’t. We literally live pay check to pay check right now… and as much as I value quality food for my family, it was not worth buying it and then not having enough money to pay our mortgage or utilities. I have learned throughout my years of trying to live well, healthy, feeding my family real food, that living in fear is no way to live… and while everything we eat may not be 100% organic, I try my very best to make do with the resources we have and feed my family well.

So, when I saw these friends post about Blue Ribbon Food’s… I was immediately intrigued. I knew they didn’t live the high life and didn’t live lavishly with lots of money… I knew they had lots of little mouths to feed and shared similar values… and so I decided, why not… why not call the guy they referred me to, and check things out for myself.

So I made an apt. with Blue Ribbon Food’s. The rep who’s name is Matt Albert, came out to our house and cooked our family a meal. Yes, all 6 of us. He asked us prior to coming, what kind of meat we like and would prefer to try… and once he came, he began to cook it up, while talking to us about the company, the farms, the food and so forth. They btw have a list of all their farms. All of them local to the states they service.

Throughout the entire apt. my husband told me, he was just holding his breathe. Waiting for the big price tag to flash across our faces and bid the man goodbye, as he just knew we could not afford something that seemed so nice.

After Matt explained everything to us though, we ate the food, kids enjoyed it… he asked us a lot of questions, like what meats we eat, how often we eat at home, what veggies we eat and so forth… he then was able to quote us a price.

If you go to the Blue Ribbon website you will not see individual pricing. The way their service works isn’t based off a set price on a chicken breast, or a pound of turkey. The price varies depending on your family size… what meats you eat. Do you eat fish, lobster, beef, pork, chicken… or are you a vegetarian and only need their organic veggies. All of these things come into account and that ultimately determines the final price.

I will be honest I am not totally sure how all the numbers work in that regard.

What I do know is once he priced our family cost, my husband was shocked.

It was such a good deal… and even with the freezer we got through the company (commercial grade, frost free), the cost is still within our budget and LESS than what we had been spending at normal grocery stores, buying things on our own. (The freezer btw is something you will want to discuss with Blue Ribbon. It is amazing and so worth getting. It is not “required tho” to use their services. Still, ask about it.)

As soon as my husband heard the price, he was sold.

So, on Wednesday last week, a sweet man in a Blue Ribbon uniform, showed up. My kids were behaving as if this man was Santa :) – so excited about the huge freezer he was about to lug down our drive way and the boxes of food he was going to fill it with.

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The man who delivered our food was very patient with my kids 1,000 questions and remarks.

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ED9A8802As he loaded the freezer into our garage (where we felt it would best fit). I began chatting with him some about the company… and asked him about the largest family he delivers to. He said he has a family with 15 children he delivers to. Many foster kids… What a blessing this service has got to be for families that large… families who may have special needs children… who may not be easily taken to a grocery store. Families who’s husbands may work really late hours, leaving their wife to do all the housework, grocery shopping and tending to the children. I for one, do not enjoy grocery shopping with my kids. While some trips are kinda fun, if its just to pick up a few things here and there… If I had to choose, I would much rather do my grocery shopping alone :) – so that my brain can function properly haha… and I can think while I pick things out.

This guy took care of moving everything into place. He took care of unloading all the boxes himself. I felt like I needed to do something, but nope, he did it all. He didn’t even make that a possibility. He even took the time to properly organize and place all my meats/veggies and other items in the freezer. He explained to me how to use the freezer… its features and so forth. Oh and get this. IF YOU HAVE TO MOVE... as long as you move WITHIN the states that Blue Ribbon Service, they will come to your home on move day, pack up your food and freezer. They will then relocated it for you to your new home, even if that means taking it to a new state! Re-install and re-fill it for you, at no cost. I was blown away at that. They believe in taking care of their customers without a doubt.

Once we checked off the check list, he was on his way and that was it. Could not have been any easier.

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To those curious, all their food is vacuum sealed… it is good in the freezer for up to 12 mo. It wont get all gross and freezer burnt. The way they package their meats is amazing, as well as their organic veggies. I really don’t think Id do it justice to talk about all that here though, you def. need to contact my rep Matt and have him answer all those questions for you.

blue ribbon foodsA few questions I can answer… that some may have.

1. How much food is it? how often do you order?

– You order a 6 mo. supply of food… but you can order as often as you like.
– If you do not use the food within the 6 mo. You do not have to order again after 6 mo. You order when you are ready.

2. Do you have to pay for it all at once?

– Heck no haha. You pay for it weekly. Also, be sure to ask them about what happens if you loose your job… and can’t pay for the food. Their costumer care is UNREAL. It is no wonder most of their clients stay with them for 10+ years.

3. Do you have to order the same stuff all the time?
– No, you can change what you order at any time. So if you end up using more turkey than you thought, but not much of the beef… you can switch it up next order.

There are TONS of questions to ask about the services Blue Ribbon Food’s provides… I don’t really feel I am qualified to answer them all…. However, what I will say is, book an apt. Talk to a rep. Ask a lots of questions and go from there. It cost NOTHING to have a rep come into your home, cook you free food… and tell you about the company. Its free and it is def. no pressure. If they quote the price for your family and you cannot afford it, they understand and its okay. They will work with you and make it work though if it is something you want.

To end, let me say this…

I feel incredibly blessed to live in a country that has the resources it has. You all, we are blessed! I mean look at that freezer! God has blessed this country and I am thankful for everything we have. I do not post any of this to boast… to brag… My family lives frugally…. and while we live very lavishly compared to many in third world countries or even in our own state, where many are homeless and don’t have anything… we have learned to live within our means and with a tight budget. God teaches us to be good stewards of our money… and we truly believe this is going to help us stay within our budget even better.

I look forward to not having to run to a grocery store to buy meat that may be bad… Have you ever purchased an organic chicken (that you paid a lot for) only to get it home and realize its rancid? what a pain… I look forward to trying new recipes with the many choices of food we have here… I also look forward to cutting our bills down even more, by eating at home, real, healthy foods…. rather than running out to eat because we didn’t have a chance to go buy meat, or veggies at the store that week. We have eaten out way to much the last few months and I know that is the culprit. Not being prepared… and not having the time in between home schooling, shooting for my business and keeping a home. Grocery shopping, is last on my list some weeks…

Having Blue Ribbon become a part of our normal, is fine by me :)

To wrap this up….

If you are interested in Blue Ribbon Food’s and live in, GA, NC, SC and parts of VA… contact my rep Matthew Albert on facebook HERE. Or you can email him at: malbert[at]blueribbonfoods.com. I have his phone number too if you want that… but because my blog is a bit to public, if you would like his phone number, just email me drea[at]dreawood.com and I will pass that onto you. One cool thing that Blue Ribbon does do, is offer some great rewards… so any time someone signs up with Blue Ribbon Foods, our family has the opt. to earn money towards paying for our food. So you can help our family out, and others can help you out, etc..etc… The way they have it laid out is great. So if you are interested, be sure to tell Matthew that “Andrea Wood” or “The Wood Family” sent you :) – and we would appreciate it.

With that said, even if Blue Ribbon Food’s had no reward program. We’d still use them. You really cannot beat the convenience and quality for the price.

Hopefully this post made SOME sense. I know it was really long :)

I leave you with baby Reed, enjoying some of his Blue Ribbon food, the first day we cooked it up last week. We’ve enjoyed many meals since then using their food and loved every single one.

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8 years in the making…

We had our family photos taken recently… by my sweet friend Laurie who lives in NC. She was traveling through GA and made a pit stop nearby our home, just for me! I felt so blessed. The pictures came out so so so SO good… I hope to share more of those next week some time. For today though. A little flash back. I had told her I wanted to do this one particular pose… that was honestly a bit OLD SCHOOL… and a bit “not my style” … but it was a photo we had taken when we had first moved to NC back in 2007… I have always loved the photo and wanted to recreate it. So! we did.

Here is the old photo. Taken Nov 2007 – so like 8 years ago? if I am doing my math right.


Its been 5 years?

and… taken last week…

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In 8 years we sure have grown :)

When I look at the above photo of our sweet family of 6… I first off begin to look at my flaws. Not sure I am loving the bangs… Wondering if I look a lot older… and you know, just finding things you find wrong with yourself.

I hate that my flesh goes straight to the flaws I see with my eyes… instead of naturally going to what does matter.

Look at how faithful God has been!

We are all healthy.

We are all safe…. growing and each passing year, blessed beyond measure.

Christ has seen us through 8 moves over the course of our marriage. Within those moves the Lord has blessed us with babies. All of them born in different cities and 3 different states.

God has radically done a work in our marriage.

He has seen us through so much… and in those moments when I begin to doubt His love for us, He lavishes us and blesses us, again and again.

We may not have a bank account with a nest egg… or savings.

We may not have the best clothing or shoes :) – in fact our entire wardrobe above was stuff we already had and made do with… I did go to a thrift store to buy Caleb a shirt and Reed some pants. Spent $4.00.

We don’t drive the most fancy cars… and the cars we do have may very well have over 100,000 miles right now :) – but they work and get us where we need, with AC, no complaints.

So despite my hair not being perfection (oh the woes of bang issues haha). Or my shoe falling off… or whatever small thing I may see that the flesh in me wants to fix. The above photo, is perfection to me, in that we are together… and I am so very thankful for this memory.