Category Archives: holidays

Prepping ahead – Share your recipes

ED9A5656Well, besides staying busy working :) – schooling. You know. The Norm.
We have been planning for our upcoming Holiday Season. Travis of course has to work on Thanksgiving this year. So, alas we are moving Thanksgiving to Tuesday instead of Thursday. Totally fine… its one of those holidays I believe can be flexible :) and having it early has its advantages too. Travis I thought would have off Christmas this year too… but turns out he more than likely wont. Booo. Moving Christmas for me is a hard one to move… but we probably will. That one is harder to move since our church has Christmas Eve Service… and its just always been nice to go to church on Christmas Eve, then do Christmas the next morning… it’ll be fine tho. I am hoping and praying this will be our last year as a “COP” family… and next year we wont have that worry about “off days” like we have the last few years.

This week we will spend prepping for next week though. My parents will come into town and hopefully my brother too… hes in school again tho, so that may not work out for him… but I am hoping it will.

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We also have begun some preparations for decluttering :) – fall and winter brings this on me like a wave. Not sure why. I guess because you are inside more? I have been selling stuff on facebook yard sale pages like crazy… and Travis today I hope will finally go through his closet and weed out what he no longer wears.

I am now off to burn 3 client disc :) – then plan for the rest of the rainy day… Hope everyone had a great weekend.

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Reed btw has nothing to do with the post :) – just thought these photos were cute.

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He was playing my iPhone one night late this week while I edited a portrait session. He is so good with the ABC came on it… I am in awe at his iPad skills every time :) – crazy how fast they learn!

For fun, if you want. Leave me a comment letting me know your “Thanksgiving Menu!” – I asked this on facebook yesterday and had a great response. Many of what you all said I plan to make for Thanksgiving now. So share your family favorites in the comments. Id love to hear.

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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Easter 2014

Hope everyone’s Easter went well. Ours did. Sunshine and so so pretty out. All the kids were well and we got to spend the day with friends. Not much more to say :) – below are a few photos from the day…

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Pre-Egg Hunt photo to keep with Tradition.

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Remember 2013’s? :) – our 1st year in GA.

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Reed caught on quick, he did so good. Was so cute to watch him.

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Reed running towards an egg. Cutest.Thing.Ever!!

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Does anyone else have little ones who point with their middle finger? :) Reed never uses the index finger. Its humorous.

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For some reason all my older boys looked so thin and tall to me this year! They grow to fast.

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Reed wasted no time breaking into the eggs.

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& to end a fun day, a bottle of milk is always a must :)

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Used

Most bloggers do their “christmas” rants before Christmas. I think I am the type to do it after… maybe because this season seemed oddly busy and I truly had no time to write. In this post ill throw in Christmas photos throughout, just to spread them out some ;-)

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*The boys stockings btw, small snippet on those. I purchased the two BLUE pottery barn stockings years ago on sale for like $7.99! They only had two designs though, so I opted to just get two that year, thinking the next year they’d have a new design. WELL, since then I have yet to be able to find the blue ones :( – so Caleb and Reed are using my old stocking and a stocking my mom made. Which works… but I did still want Caleb and Reed to have a stocking with their name on it to match… so this year I found the same design but in red. So I got those coming, got them after Christmas too marked down. I am not really into monogramming much, just not my thing… but stocking to me do look very cute with the child’s name on it… SO yea, thats just my lil spill on our stockings and why two have names and two don’t. Oh and yes, thats cash in the stockings. My dad gave me some dollars to put in there for them. So I listened and obeyed ;-) *

ok…. back to the post ;-)

ED9A6439So! Christmas has come and gone, to a degree – my parents arrive tomorrow… so the boys will get to experience the fun of grandparents coming with gifts – but for the most part, our Christmas is wrapping up… Ive actually taken down some decorations… I am the type who enjoys cleaning the Christmas stuff out fast… while I love it when it goes up… by the end of Dec. I am ready to see it go. That is exactly why you will never, EVER see me put up a tree before thanksgiving ;-) – id be so sick of it. I think this has something to do with my OCD side.

This Christmas we scaled down a bit…. For the last 2 years we were being poured into by our church family… the 1st Christmas in Georgia my husband had no job… our church basically paid for our Christmas. So amazing and such a surprise. We didnt ask or expect it. 2nd Christmas here, same thing… even though my husband now had a new job (although not a great paying one), the church blessed us beyond belief with an amazing offering of love, that we were able to use to bless our kids again… and honestly we had a lot left to help pay for groceries that entire month.

I think the out pouring of their love, made us want to just love on our kids heavily those two years, and I think we went a bit overboard ;-) – which had its season I suppose? haha.. I’m justifying our big Christmas’ those two years. None the less, we knew we had to stop doing that much.. we knew our kids were getting to the age where showering them with a mass amount of gifts would in our view, send the wrong message, as to what Christmas truly was about.

As a believer, you all know where I stand. As cheesy as the saying can get, Jesus is the reason for the season… and we want our boys to know and understand that fully.

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Which is why we choose not to do Santa…. not because we think he is evil… I grew up with Santa :) and obviously turned out just fine. We just came to the decision that it was a distraction for our children and neither of us felt right telling our children he was real, when he really wasn’t.

SO our boys know WHO Santa is. They know all about St. Nic :) – we have our own fun Christmas Traditions. We do still do stockings (can’t help it, I love how they look hanging up.) We also chose This year we also made the decision to only do THREE Gifts per kid… kinda goes in line with “Baby Jesus only got 3 gifts, then again he wasn’t a BABY by the time the wise men got to him ;-) – an more than likely it wasn’t CHRISTMAS then, but you get the point…that in itself is a blog post…” We also did stocking stuffers… but they are small gifts, so I don’t include those in the “3 gift rule…”

I thought Id list out the gifts our boys got, for those curious :)
[this may give other moms ideas for future gifts? It is in no way meant to show off, brag, etc… although I don’t find this as being showy at all… but it never fails, someone reading this will ultimately think something negative, it is what it is :)]

Caleb (who is 9)

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1. A Bearded Dragon (we had the tank, so thankfully did not have to purchase that. I got his bearded dragon on sale for $29.99 – typically these range from $75-150.00!) – His name is August and so far he is doing beautifully. Caleb ended up getting this gift early btw… after a week or more keeping him hidden in my closet, I gave up. I was scared Id kill the poor thing. He btw is so cool! With his dragon we did include the gear he would need to care for him…. heat lamp, bulbs, basking spot, that sorta thing. I think the total cost was around $85.00 once we added it all up… which I think is a great deal on an awesome pet he will have for a long time. Comment below btw if you want me to do a “how we care for his dragon” post ;-) – I will admit, I really like him, he’s very cool.

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2. A book about weapons – He is into the history of them, loves reading about how they are made, etc… this book has amazing illustrations!

3. A Wooden Sword/Shield – From THIS ETSY Shop (cannot praise this guy enough, he did a great job! He painted and custom made the swords for the boys)

(We also threw in a Lord of the Ring small Lego set for Caleb (It was one of the 20 dollar sets) Since he didn’t have the Dragon to Open on Christmas Day, I wanted him to have that “3rd” gift experience… so I guess he got 4 gifts… but it was partly my fault he couldn’t get the bearded dude on Christmas Day… soooo yea, he got the lego set too.

Taite (who is 7)


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1. A Walkie Talkie Set (which can be used with all the boys, its a very nice one, we didnt want something cheap that only last a year and we’d waste batteries on. This one has a charging station, so no need to buy batteries, ever. Also came with a head set, very cool and they have used it great so far. Oh! and its water proof. We didn’t want them dropping it in the creek by accident playing and breaking them. I think the mile range is like 29 miles!)

2. A Small Drill with screws and a hammer – I got this at Harbor Frate down the road, was $9.99 for the drill, 2 bucks for the hammer and like a $1.50 for the screws. Its the perfect size for him! He loves drilling things into piece of wood. Its cordless too and has a charging battery included.

3. Sword/Shield - Matches Caleb’s – from same shop.

Owen (who is 3 1/2)

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1. His 1st big boy Bike - It was just a $50.00 one from Walmart, he picked it out – we kept it hidden at a neighbors.

2. Helmet

3. Sword/Shield Set

(Owen got a couple extra stocking stuffers, since the Helmet wasn’t the coolest gift to get, more of a “must” for a new bike rider. If you can’t tell from the photos though he was super stoked to have the new helmet. Wore it half the time he opened gifts.)

Baby Reed


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He was SO SO SO CUTE, when he realized inside the paper was a toy. Priceless smile.

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He only got 2 gifts ;-) – he didn’t even know what was going on… so why lavish him with all 3 just yet ;-D

1. A toy phone, he loves phones. – was one from walmart? I think 5-10 dollars? I honestly can’t remember what I paid.

2. A toy Police truck that makes sounds (he’s into buttons) – Tonka I think?

and, thats it ;)

Joint Gifts

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A $5.00 BIG WHEEL (Its a HUGE Big wheel, I can’t remember the name right off… its SOLID metal. I found it on amazon after finding it at a thrift shop. It was $250.00 new on amazon!!) – Our neighbors kept this hidden for us and even cleaned it up and blew up the front tire. SO nice of them. It works great. Has been a huge hit. Not to shabby for 5 bucks.

– Lord of the Rings Wii Game

Some Bible DVD’s (we collect the NEST series for them, they love them – got them 3 combined to add to the collection they have already).

… and thats it.

All of the gifts I was able to pay for this year with my photography business. Our budget is tight… so so so thankful the Lord has provided a very busy season for me in my photography. I have been blessed with an amazing flow of steady clients. In fact I’m booked through January already and the inquires keep coming.

For my Christmas my husband blessed me with a fun pocked camera called a Canon G9. I linked him to some listings on Ebay for them… I wanted a pocket camera that was NICE and fulfilled my “professional side” without being to much gear to carry. While I love my professional Camera… what I do not like is lugging it around with 4 kids alone… it is worth more than my 1st car… the last thing I want to do is have a kid kick my diaper bag or step on it and break it… so I try to never use it for “personal use” outside of the home… unless its a “special event” or something. SO this G9 will do a little better than my iPhone ;-) – so far I love it. Here is a photo taken today actually while on a bike ride with the boys…


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& He got me a Zyliss Garlic Press. Sounds lame, but its awesome!! can press the garlic with the peel on it. Used it tonight for the 1st time and can’t imagine pressing garlic without it :) – a great price for one that does such a good job too btw…

So to wrap this post up…

What I guess I’m trying to say is….

IMG_5707Despite no Santa.

Despite no Elf on the Shelf.

Despite some of our gifts being thrifted :)

Our boys had an amazing Christmas and I think got PLENTY of gifts.

They do not lack in anything they need… and I think our society we live in makes you feel guilty almost if you do not lavish your kids in gifts at Christmas time…. while there are seasons for this, I think to continually overload our children with so much they can’t even remember what they got… the whole idea of Christmas becomes a big distraction onto materialism…. and the whole purpose for it is forgotten…

I just want to encourage everyone to pray about Christmas when it rolls around… each families “gift amount” may not be the same as ours… and that is ok! Some may give much less… some may give much more. Some gifts may cost a lot – some may cost a little. We each have to decide what is right and the Holy Spirit I do believe will guide us and give us direction in that area…

Thankful for this Christmas… Thankful we had well kids, no fevers, no throwing up… and a husband who was able to get off from work for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. SUCH A BLESSING!! Last year he did not have that luxury …

Hope everyone else had an amazing Christmas!!


Oh and we do get the boys Jammies. One pair of these was thrifted btw ;-) – no shame.
The boys specifically asked me for FOOTIE Jammies… and have worn them every night since.

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Blessings…

~Drea

Thanksgiving 2013

ED9A8086Im kinda behind on posting these photos :)

We celebrated thanksgiving this year on wednesday instead of thur. Travis had off tues/wed so we had no choice :) – it worked out. With his crazy job schedule and its often 3 week changes in days off, you do what you got to do.

Our thanksgiving was SO COLD. It actually snowed some! For georgia that is so rare this time a year. I think it got down into the 20’s that night… brrr!

We enjoyed a sweet morning where Travis cooked up breakfast. Southern style. Bacon, sausage, eggs, biscuits. That sorta thing. Whats crazy though is I am not a breakfast person… at least not that type of food. I would much rather have some french toast or a bowl of honey almond cereal ;-) – not really a sausage and egg kinda person… but the boys love it, so thats what we did. I had a biscuit ;-) _ and moved on.

After breakfast we trekked on over to a local tree lot and grabbed a christmas tree. It was SO incredibly cold out though that I was unable to stay out long with Reed to help choose… so Travis did the picking and he came home with a gigantic 8 foot tree! Its huge but beautiful. If I had my choice though I would have chosen a 5 foot one or invest in an artificial one… but having a “real” tree for him is a tradition he loves… so we will continue to do so until something prevents us from doing so.

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We decorated the tree. Enjoyed a 2pm meal with turkey, ham, mash potatoes, green beans, stuffing and of course some gravy. I purchased Travis a made pecan pie… JUST for him – I HATE PIES! gag … (yes I’m so weird), so instead of wasting time and money I went the easy route and bought his already made ;-) – and for the rest of us I made up home made donuts.

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We finished our evening just spending time together and staying warm. SOME of us even got a nap in (not me!)


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Hope everyone had a safe and sweet thanksgiving!

*I have since added a bow to the top of our tree (the star wouldn’t fit), also my mom brought her quilted tree skirt! so thats new and also added some candy canes and few other small touches to the tree. Will post an updated photo soon enough ;-) *