Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mommy's Helper

I was reading my sister-in-law's blog the other day and was reminded how alike kids can be. Look at her blog and then look at my little helper. They are such cute cousins!

Yes, kids are all different in their own special ways, but they are also very much alike. I have learned that more and more the more I hang out with my "mommy friends". I am so blessed to have friends who are in the same place as me as far as being a mom of a toddler. I don't know how many times we have helped each other out with questions or problems with our kids. And...our kids have so much fun playing together! Bonus! :)

Life Happens

If you didn't happen to notice...I didn't post yesterday. I could go into all the details of why I didn't get it done, but let's just leave it at I had other things to do that just took precedence over my blogging...Sorry! But now you get to read two in a row! :)

Day 7: Favorite Movies

My all time favorite movie is Gone With The Wind. I have no idea what first got me started on it, but I have watched the 4 hour movie many, many times, AND the 6 hour sequel just as much. I love the time period and the fact that it is historical fiction. I might as well learn something while I watch a movie, right? Here is a little known fact about me and Gone With The Wind...my mom made me a Southern Belle costume when I was in 8th grade so I could be Scarlett O'Hara.

My other favorites change quite often. At any given time I might say a different movie. At the moment, You've Got Mail comes to mind. This is one of those movies that I like to watch when I am sick. When I am sick I don't like to watch movies that I really have to pay attention to. With You've Got Mail I can watch it, sleep a little, wake up and know exactly what is going on. Meg Ryan stays home with a cold in the movie too, so maybe that's why I think of it when I am sick.

Father of the Bride, Part 2 makes me laugh every single time I watch it. Steve Martin is so funny, and even though I know what he is going to say, I laugh anyway. Frank is hilarious also, and the combo of the two of them puts that movie near the top of my favorites.

I am sure there are other movies that I have said are my favorites at different times, but these are the ones I can think of at the moment. Ask me another day.

Day 8: A Place I've Traveled To

Probably the most unusual place I've traveled to is Japan. I don't know many people that take trips there (other than all the people I met there on my trip). My Uncle and Aunt used to take yearly trips to Japan with groups that worked at a missions conference. I decided to go with them when I was a junior in college. I really enjoyed it and decided to go again the next year. The summer after I graduated I was asked to return to Japan to teach for a while. Through a long string of events, I ended up living in Japan for 6 months. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I loved my time there! Someday I would love to take Paul there to show him what a small part of my life was like.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Day 6: Something that makes me smile

Wouldn't you smile at that too?! This picture makes me smile for several reasons. First of all, it is of my sweet little boy who makes me smile every single day. I am so blessed to be Grant's mommy, and can't contain how happy he makes me feel. Second, he is actually smiling in this picture. It is almost impossible to get him to even look at the camera recently, much less smile. Auntie Lizzy took this great smiling picture a few weeks ago. I think she got him to say "cheese". Third, I love that he is wearing his Ducks jersey. He looks so stinkin' cute in it, not to mention that the Ducks are doing awesome this year! We have been watching as many games as we can, and Grant has started saying "touchdown!" while raising his arms in the air. Makes me smile every time :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Yum Yum

Day 5: My Favorite Recipe

One of my friends told me, after I wrote my first post on this 30 days of blogging, that I should post my favorite crockpot recipe. In my 15 interesting facts I said that I loved cooking with my crockpot. In fact, tonight we ate a meal from the crockpot. So I will post the recipe we had for dinner. I don't know for sure that it is my absolute favorite recipe, but it is really good (and fresh in my mind)!

White Chili

3 15-oz. cans Great Northern beans, drained
8 oz. cooked and shredded chicken breasts
1 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow, red, or green bell peppers
2 jalapeno chili peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese
tortilla chips

1. Combine all ingredients except sour cream, cheddar cheese, and chips in slow cooker.
2. Cover. Cook on Low 8-10 hours, or High 4-5 hours.
3. Ladle into bowls and top individual servings with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and chips.

Hope you like it! :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mommy and Daddy

Day 4: My Parents

My Parents: I have always been very proud to call Kathy and John my parents. They have both been wonderful examples to me in many different ways. The thing I admire most about my parents though is their commitment to God and each other. Even when times are tough, they stick it out and trust the Lord to bring them to the other side. I admire their determination to stay true to their vows even when the rest of the world acts as if divorce is just a part of life. Through their example, I know that Paul and I can make it through any difficult situation that comes along if we stay committed to the commitments we made to God and each other.

My Dad: My dad is someone that I have always been able to count on. He was always at my sport, academic, musical, etc. functions. My dad has been an example to me of hard work, loving God and his family. He grew up in Pennsylvania. I used to think it was so cool that my dad lived near the Amish people, and always thought it was so funny when people would ask me if he was Amish. Although he has always had his mustache (except for a couple times when he was talked into shaving it off) he is not Amish. He is a wonderful musician though! He plays the trumpet better than anyone I have ever known. I love when he plays the song "Sleigh Ride", so he plays it especially for me every year around Christmas. My dad can always make me laugh when someone leaves a light on in the house when they leave a room and he goes into that room and yells at the "people" to "Get out of here!" I don't know if anyone else thinks it's funny, but I do, and he knows it, so he does it for me. My dad loves to make his kids happy.

My Mom: My mom is known as "The President". Our family friend says that if you are ever in jail you should use your one phone call to call my mom...she will do whatever it takes to get things done. She is super efficient and always manages to get way more done than anyone would ever imagine possible. I can't even begin to list the things that make my mom an amazing woman. She would do anything for her kids! When I was a freshman in college I was having a hard time adjusting to being away from home. She would drive to my school (a 2 1/2 hour drive) on Friday afternoon to bring me home for the weekend. Then she would turn right around and take me back to school on Sunday. My mom has always been my best friend and an ever present listening ear. Whatever is going on in my life I always want to talk to my mom about it. Her best advice is always to trust the Lord in whatever situation I find myself. Her life has always been an example of doing just that.

I am so thankful that the Lord blessed me with the parents He did. I am honored to be called their daughter.
P.S. I forgot to mention that my parents are wonderful grandparents. Grant loves his Poppop and Gammy!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Love

Day 3: My First Love

I need to start off by saying...even though Paul was not my "first love", he is the love of my life. I had a hard time trying to decide what to write today. Because even though I may have felt like I was "in love" before, it was never like the love I feel for Paul. I wish I could say that I never fell in love with anyone but my husband. And I wish I could say that I saved all my love for Paul (like he says he did for me). But the truth is, I am a girl. And I was always quite the girly, girl who fell "in love" with every guy I liked. Like I mentioned yesterday, even in first grade I put my name in front of the last name of the guy I liked. So even though I don't like to think of him as a "love" I will tell you about my first real and longest dating relationship.

I was a sophomore, he was a senior. I liked watching football, he was a football star. I was a wrestling stat keeper, he was a wrestler. I had always known about him, but didn't really know him. We grew up in the same town just a few years apart. His name was Aaron. At first I was flattered that an older guy wanted to hang out with me. I wasn't ever really sure how much he liked me though, since he would want to hang out on the weekends, but when we were in school he acted like I didn't exsist. Sometimes I wouldn't hear from him for a few weekends, and then I would find out that he was dating his old girlfriend again. I don't know how many times that happened, and you think I would have been smart enough to rid myself of him. But being the GIRL that I am...I always let him come back.
He left for college without saying a word to me. He later called and apologized, but the damage had been done. I was finished with him. Plus, I started making real with the fact that he wasn't a Christian. Definitely not someone that I would want to marry. But he was persistant, he called me, emailed me, sent me letters and gifts. He also became a Christian. I don't claim any responsibility in his decision to do that, but the Lord can use anything to draw people to Himself I guess. I eventually gave in and started dating him with the promise that he was a different person...and he was!
The second part of our relationship was completely different than the first. I felt cherished and cared for. He was attentive, and I felt really cool being a freshman in college with a junior boyfriend on the football team. We had a wonderful year and a half together. We eventually went our separate ways, like many first loves do. I will always be thankful for the time we spent together and for the things I learned about myself and what I wanted in my future mate while we were together.
Unfortunately, I dated Aaron in the years before I had a digital camera, so I don't have any pictures to post. If I end up finding one, I will come back here and post it :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our Name

Day 2: Meaning behind your blog name

(Disclaimer: [Is it okay to begin two posts in a row with a disclaimer?] I said yesterday how excited I was to do this 30 days of blogging, then we came right away to this really boring one, at least in my case. But don't worry, the rest are much better! Keep reading!)

Well...since I do not claim to be extremely creative, I also do not claim to have the most original blog name. Obviously, "The Caswells" was not too difficult to come up with. Although, for me, being able to put "Caswell" on the things I do is really special. From the time I was young, I would always put my name in front of the last name of a boy I liked to see how it would sound...just in case... :) Being married to Paul and taking on his last name has been the biggest blessing of my life. I am honored to share his name and to top it off, I like how it sounds with my name! I think I got pretty lucky in the name change department. So there you have it...Our Name :)

P.S. I can't stand doing a post without a picture, so here you go! Fun in the leaves! (Although I feel like I should have posted a snowy picture since we woke up to snow here this morning!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

30 Days of Blogging!

So...I am trying a new thing. My sister-in-law, Elizabeth, approached me about doing this 30 Day Blogging Challenge. We both like to blog, and she thought it would be fun if we did this together. Since she lives in Cincinnati, it gives us a way to connect even though we don't get to see each other all the time. There is a topic each day that we will both blog about. (We might skip holidays though.) I have been so excited to do it, and I could hardly wait for Grant to go down for a nap today so I could start! I did make a mistake though...I looked at Elizabeth's blog before I wrote mine. Now I am totally intimidated. I am worried that I am not going to be as cute, funny, profound, and original as she is. But...I am going to give it a try anyway. If you want to follow Elizabeth's blog along with mine, click here. But don't judge me! :)

Day 1: Introduction, Recent Picture, 15 Interesting Facts

(Disclaimer: If you already follow my blog, most of this probably won't be news to you.)
My name is Courtney. I was born in a small coastal town, went to college in a small town/city (?), and moved to a small city once I married my wonderful husband, Paul. We have an adorable son named Grant. He is 18 months old and a total crackup. I love Jesus, my family, Christmas, reading, shopping, going to coffee, and blogging. I used to be a full-time teacher, and am now just subbing once in a while. I couldn't be more blessed to be a full-time mommy. I love my life and where I am right now, but always look forward to the ways in which the Lord wants to stretch me and the places He wants to move me.

Here is my most recent picture. It was taken last night at our friends' (3 of them) birthday dinner. I am on the left, my friend Andrea is next to me, and two of the birthday people, Rachel and Kacey, are on the right.

1. I play the piano...I took lessons for 11 years, but don't feel like I can play as well as I should with all those lessons.
2. I always have to load the dishwasher in the same way and get it as full as possible before I can start it.
3. I love using my crock pot for dinner. There is just something about getting all the work done early in the day and doing little to no work right before dinner...I have dinner in the crock pot as I write
4. I decorate my house for almost every holiday...Valentines, Easter, Halloween/Thanksgiving, Christmas
5. I recently discovered my love for garage saling...I have found some great (cheap) stuff!
6. I love to entertain...dinner with dessert and a game is my favorite
7. I am content sitting down in a comfy chair and reading ALL day long.
8. I am getting really good at drawing the Sesame Street characters...at least Grant loves them!
9. I love burning candles, especially the ones that smell good
10. I get annoyed when people leave the shower curtain open at my house...I don't care how you leave your shower curtain by the way
11. I love hanging out with other mommies and picking their brain at every stage
12. I used to want to be an art major, but realized that I didn't know what I would do with it, so decided to go with my long time interest of teaching.
13. I was the Rhododendron Queen in 2000
14. I lived in Japan for 6 months
15. My favorite time of day is in the morning before Grant wakes up, Paul and I sit on the couch together and read our bibles.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Well this time I do have a good excuse as to why I haven't blogged in a while. Our camera broke (well it was about to break, so we had to send it in to get fixed)! And you know I couldn't possibly post without pictures! Sad though...because we didn't get any pictures from Daddy and Mommy's birthday :(

Grant and Mommy spent this past week in Florence. Auntie Lizzy and Cousin Henry were there visiting from Cincinnati. I will be getting pictures from Gammy soon, so you'll be able to see how cute Grant and Henry were together.

Grant's new obsession is Elmo. We have one Elmo video, and he watches it over and over! I can't count how many times a day I hear the word "Elmo!" I was talking about it with Elizabeth and her friend Kim, and they told me about these wonderful cake pops.

I am so excited to make these for Grant's birthday (yes, it's not until May!)...if he still likes Elmo. I had fun searching around Bakerella's website. She has so many cute ideas! Here are the rest of the Sesame Street characters.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Parts 1, 2, and 3

Because I know that you are all just dying to see Grant in his costume, I will spare you the agony of scrolling through tons of pictures to find it. Here is our cute little tiger!

It was once again a packed weekend! (Would you expect less though?) We celebrated Halloween in as many ways as we could...

Part 1
On Friday night we went with Grandma Caswell to the Harvest party at our church. They had games and prizes for all the kids. Grant was really good at the throwing games. The cutest was when he was trying to knock down the milk cans with a ball. He just walked up to the cans with the ball in his hand and knocked them over without letting go of the ball. We left with some great prizes and some yummy candy!

Part 2
On Friday night, after the Harvest Party, we drove to California to our friend's cabin on the Scott River just like we did last year. We spent the weekend with our friends and did many fun fall activities including, pumpkin carving, cookie decorating, and the candy hunt. In lue of trick-or-treating, the dads all hid candy along the road for the kids to find. It led them to an old bus where the dads were waiting to surprize them. Maybe next year will be the year for Grant to really get into it.
The whole crew on a nature walk around the cabin
Grant was not at all excited to keep on his costume. We found out that candy is a wonderful bribery tool :)

I guess Grant didn't want to be a part of the girls picture

Part 3
On Sunday we made it back home in time to go to another Harvest Party in Jacksonville with cousins Hailey and Blake. It was another fun evening of games and prizes. I think we are done with Halloween for the year!
Not excited about another night of costumes

Grant had his first actual trick-or-treating experience at the neighbor's next door to Grandpa and Grandma. They had a scary witch that talked and made faces...Grant loved it! :)

We met up with our friends, Meara and Lenneth

He decided he would rather sit down and eat popcorn instead of play the games

He did discover that he liked golfing though
We hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween!! Thanks for putting up with my picture craziness!

More Pumpkins

It was another Fallarific weekend for the Caswells. We met Mommy's family in Eugene and stayed the night with some family friends at their beautiful new house. On Saturday we took our third and final trip (for this year at least) to the pumpkin patch. This was the pumpkin patch that Mommy's family has gone to for as many years as she can remember. The Stone family loves Detering Orchards for their FREE apple cobbler, FREE apple cider, FREE little pumpkins, the BEST caramel apples, adorable lab puppies, wonderful pumpkin picking, and fun fall atmosphere.

Our annual family pic in the pumpkin

Of course Grant's favorite part was the puppies...I wanted to get him one!

Fun in the hay maze

See last year's trip to Detering's

While we were there, Mommy got inspired by the fun letters around the farm...she is going to make something cute out of them.

The second part of our busy weekend was to go to Poppop and Gammy's house to carve pumpkins. We had the traditional apple cider and roasted pumpkin seeds. Yum!

Another one of Mommy's inspirations from a fall magazine...

We also got to celebrate Poppop's 60th birthday. Happy Birthday Poppop!!