Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Guess Who's Getting Married?

On Friday night, April 30th
Jeff asked Brooke to marry him!

How did he ask?

They have an inspirational quote chalk board in their house and Jeff is always teasing Brooke that he wants to change or write the quote on the board...and Brooke is very aware of Jeff's antics and sense of humor; so he is not allowed to write anything on the board.

But on April 30th, he decided he wanted to write something very special. With Kenny Chesney playing in the background, Brooke walked past her inspirational chalkboard on their way out to dinner and read...

"You are the only inspiration I need.
Will you marry me?"

Jeff was behind her, down on his knee, holding the ring. Nodding with her hand over her mouth in disbelief, she said "uh huh!".

Soon To Be ...
Mr. & Mrs. Andres!!!

Gracie's congratulations picture

Brooke -
Are you sure HE'S the ONE? Really?!?!

They are always laughing at Jeff's craziness.

Her beautiful ring!

Congratulations Kiss!

More kisses for Aunt Brooke

The Andres Family

Groom To Be

Future Daughter In-Law

We are beyond thrilled for Jeff and Brooke! I am so excited to "officially" have Brooke as a sister and for her to be Gracie and Pickle's aunt! Brooke is a sweetheart. I can't wait to hear (and help with) all the details as she plans their wedding day. I know she will be a gorgeous bride; they will have an beautiful, fun wedding; and an amazing marriage!

Best Wishes Jeff & Brooke!
Happy planning!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Oh how I love this little girl and her sweet voice. I'm still trying to get a really good video of her singing...until then, at least we have these clips that I recorded while we were staying at our friend Brian's house!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Strawberry Picking

I absolutely LOVE strawberries...they are by far my favorite fruit! I've wanted to go strawberry picking for years and I finally went a few weeks ago while we were in Beaufort and I had a blast picking them...Gracie liked it for about 10 minutes. We took home 5 lbs of strawberries and some cute pictures!

I hope to try this recipe very soon.

Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups

4 lbs of strawberries, cleaned, stemmed and chopped
2 cups of unsweetened applesauce
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup of sugar {optional but recommended}

  • Blend fruit ingredients in blender until smooth.
  • Add to a heavy saucepan and add sugar if needed or desired, bring to a boil while stirring constantly.
  • Reduce heat and skim foam from top with a spoon.
  • Simmer over low/medium heat for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring frequently; continue simmering/stirring until mixture has properly reduced to the consistency of thick applesauce {running a rubber spatula across the bottom of the pan the mixture should stay separated/pan should still be visible once you reach the other side}.
  • Pour mixture onto a parchment or heat‐safe plastic wrapped cookie sheet, spread evenly and bake at 145 for 8 to 10 hours {mine has always taken closer to 10 hours}.
  • Cut into strips and roll up... or roll up and cut into strips!

And here's the recipe for my favorite Summer Salad (from AllRecipes.com)

Strawberry Spinach Salad

2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I like to use less)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar (I like more, shocker!)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion (optional)
10 ounces fresh spinach - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
1 quart strawberries - cleaned, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
Goat cheese crumbles, walnuts or pecans, and mandarin oranges
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion.
  • Cover, and chill for one hour.
  • In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds.
  • Pour dressing over salad, and toss.
  • Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving
  • Top with goat cheese crumbles, walnuts or pecans and mandarin oranges


Yet another reason to love the summer so much...

S P R I N K L E R S!!!

Remember how much fun it was to play in the backyard pool, the sprinklers, and race down the slip 'n slide for hours on end until the grass was a muddy mess!

Here's a glimpse at what I hope will be the beginning of wonderfully fun summer childhood memories for Gracie...as well as a chance for Todd and I and the grandparents to be kids again!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bubbles in Beaufort

I HEART Summer!!! There's nothing better than being outside and playing! Gracie had a blast blowing and popping bubbles with BeBe and PaPa.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Greensboro & Winston

I'm still behind on my postings, but I do have a good excuse...after all the traveling and living like gypsies...we finally moved into our house on Tues, May 11th...and we absolutely love it! Now to just get these zillions of boxes unpacked and sorted - I'm tired of unpacking the same things that we never use...I'm bound and determined to downsize! Craigslist and Goodwill - here I come!

So going back to when we were here, there, and everywhere! We stopped off in Greensboro to spend some time with Grandmauther, as Gracie called Todd's Grandmama. We had a wonderful time visiting with her.

And we stayed in Winston-Salem for a few nights and I got to go to furniture market in High Point! Talk about an experience. WOW!!! It was truly overwhelming but so amazing to see it in person, I really can't put it into words...thanks Lynn for getting me a pass. I didn't buy anything...because I didn't know what I was doing! Maybe next time.

Gracie had a blast with Uncle Jimmy making "prints" with rain water on the concrete. So cute! Thanks to our NC family for hosting us for a few days. Can't wait to see y'all again soon!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

My Mom

I love my mom more than she will EVER know.

She has cared for me,
taught me,
guided me,
supported me,
comforted me,
laughed with me,
unconditionally loved me
and has made me...ME!

She is my best friend and is the mother I want to be!

I love you, Mom!


I love Todd's mom more than she will EVER know!

She has raised an amazing son,
is a wonderful mother-in-law,
and is an amazing grandmother!

Lee -
Thank you for Todd,
for accepting me into your family,
for loving, supporting, and helping us,
and for loving Gracie and Pickle as much as you do!

I love you, Lee!


Tucker is my 1st baby and my buddy.
I love Tucker more than he will EVER know!

He has always been there for me,
licks me,
comforts me,
snuggles with me,
walks with me,
goes for car rides with me,
eats ice cream with me,
and unconditionally loves me!

I love you, Tucker!

And on Sat, February 9th, 2008 at 4:46 a.m.
I became a Mom.
Gracyn McKenzie

"Until I was a mother, I never truly understood the miracle of life...like how a hand could be so tiny and how a cheek could feel so soft to my kisses...and how a little head could smell so good and feel so warm against my face. Until I was a mother, I never truly realized that a tiny baby could fill my heart with so much love." ~ quote by Lee Franklin


I love Gracie more than she will EVER know!

She has changed me,
needs me,
teaches me,
challenges me,
laughs with me,
inspires me,
loves me,
and makes me want to be the best me I can be!

I love you, Gracie!


I love Pickle more than he or she will EVER know!

Pickle makes me happy,
makes me big,
makes me tired,
makes me pee,
makes me anxious,
makes me wonder,
makes me wish,
makes me realize how fortunate I really am.

I love you, Pickle!

I love being a Mommy
and I love our Moms!!!

~ Happy Mother's Day ~