American Flag on the Moon

Every now and then we all need a little motivation. Some motivation to get us through the day, week, or even year. Country singer Brad Paisley’s “American Flag on the Moon” is the perfect inspiration and pick me up.

Just remember when you are going through a tough time, there is nothing you can’t do, because, after all, there’s an American flag on the moon.

Happy Thursday!

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2015 CMA Nominations

Sept 9

Congratulations to all nominated for the 2015 CMA Awards! The full list of nominees is posted below with of course, my predictions (in italics).

Entertainer of the Year
Garth Brooks
Luke Bryan
Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Miranda Lambert

Female Vocalist of the Year
Miranda Lambert
Kacey Musgraves
Carrie Underwood
Lee Ann Womack
Kelsea Ballerini

Male Vocalist of the Year
Dierks Bentley
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Chris Stapleton

Album of the Year
Jason Aldean, Old Boots, New Dirt
Kacey Musgraves, Pageant Material
Little Big Town, Pain Killer
Kenny Chesney, The Big Revival
Chris Stapleton, Traveller

New Artist of the Year
Sam Hunt
Maddie & Tae
Chris Stapleton
Kelsea Ballerini
Thomas Rhett

Song of the Year (Awarded to Songwriters)
“American Kids,” Kenny Chesney (Written by Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally)
“Girl Crush,” Little Big Town (Written by Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose)
“Like a Cowboy,” Randy Houser (Written by Randy Houser, Brice Long)
“Like a Wrecking Ball,” Eric Church (Written by Eric Church, Casey Beathard)
“Take Your Time,” Sam Hunt (Written by Sam Hunt, Josh Osborne, Shane McAnally)

Single of the Year
“American Kids,” Kenny Chesney
“Girl Crush,” Little Big Town
“I Don’t Dance,” Lee Brice
“Take Your Time,” Sam Hunt
“Talladega,” Eric Church

Vocal Group of the Year
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Rascal Flatts
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo of the Year
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae
Thompson Square

Musical Event of the Year
“Django and Jimmie,” Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
“Lonely Tonight,” Blake Shelton (Feat. Ashley Monroe)
“Raise ‘Em Up,” Keith Urban (Feat. Eric Church)
“Smokin’ and Drinkin’,” Miranda Lambert (Feat. Little Big Town)
“Wild Child,” Kenny Chesney (Feat. Grace Potter)

Music Video of the Year
“Biscuits,” Kacey Musgraves
“Girl Crush,” Little Big Town
“Girl in a Country Song,” Maddie & Tae
“Little Red Wagon,” Miranda Lambert
“Something in the Water,” Carrie Underwood

Musician of the Year
Sam Bush
Jerry Douglas
Paul Franklin
Dann Huff
Mac McAnally

The CMA Awards will take place on November 4 in Nashville and will be broadcast live on ABC.

A Southern State of Mind Roadtrip: Charleston, S.C.

Charleston 1 CBC

What better place to start our “A Southern State of Mind Roadtrip” than with Charleston, South Carolina? I gave you most of the inside scoop when the city was featured in a regular “A Southern State of Mind” post, back in June. (For a quick refresher, visit: http://bit.ly/1IYJbJD. Places to visit and restaurants are featured in the following posts.)

For today’s stop in the Holy City, here are five inside tips that are must-try:

  1. Weekday rates for hotels are often cheaper than weekends. If your schedule allows, come to Charleston during the week. My past trip was a Tuesday-Thursday and I loved it! For all of the places I visited, there was little to no wait.
  2. Look for special packages if you plan on doing a carriage ride, tours of plantations or museums, or the South Carolina Aquarium.
  3. You don’t have to stay in the heart of the city. Check out a hotel on the outskirts or North Charleston. Lower hotel rates are always a favorite.
  4. Walk the city! Save on gas and a get a little exercise. Trust me, you’ll see a TON more if you get out of the car.
  5. Go to the Charleston City Market (The Old City Market) FIRST thing in the morning, right after it opens. You’ll get first pick over all the vendors. Plus, the crowd’s still small, so there’s more room to shop.

Next stop, Savannah!

Man Crush Monday, Country Style

August 10

Who doesn’t love a little Chris Young on this Man Crush Monday? Here are my top 5 favorite songs by the “Neon” singer.

“Aw Naw”

“Tomorrow”

“Text Me Texas”

“Voices”

“I’m Comin’ Over”

S’mores Dip

S’mores Dip is a must try recipe, before the summer ends. Bring on the chocolate, marshmallow, and graham crackers!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 15 jumbo marshmallows, halved
  • Graham cracker squares

Directions:

  1. Adjust rack to center position of oven and place 8-inch cast iron skillet or regular frying pan on rack. Preheat oven to 450°F with skillet inside. Once preheated, use a pot holder to remove the hot skillet from the oven.
  2. Place pat of butter in the skillet and coat the bottom and sides. Pour chocolate chips in an even layer into the bottom.
  3. Arrange marshmallow halves over the chocolate chips, covering the chocolate completely.
  4. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until marshmallows are toasted to your liking.
  5. Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with graham cracker squares.

Enjoy!

Source: http://www.fivehearthome.com/2014/08/10/smores-dip-baked-in-skillet-oven/

Musical Monday

Country singer’s Dierks Bentley’s “Riser” has quickly become one of my favorite songs.

The song was an emotional one for Bentley. As for me, the chorus of “Riser” gives me strength and reminds me that anything is possible, with a little hard work.

I’m a riser.
I’m a get up off the ground, don’t run and hider.
Pushing comes a-shovin’.
Hey I’m a fighter.
When darkness comes to town, I’m a lighter.
A get out aliver, out of the fire.
Survivor. 

Happy Monday!

Christmas in July, Final Day

Today is the last day of our Christmas in July extravaganza! Grab your family together and create a new tradition, all while enjoying some festive holiday tunes.

A Book A Day

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Place 24 wrapped books under the Christmas tree. These books can relate to the meaning of the holiday, favorites of your children, or any type of book you would like. Starting December 1 and going through the 24th, unwrap one of the books each night. Have fun and be creative with this exciting tradition!

Favorite Holiday Songs

Add some Christmas music to your holiday with some of my favorites.

1. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

2. “O Holy Night”

3. “The Christmas Song”

4. “White Christmas”

5. “Christmas in Dixie”

Until next time, have a fantastic Christmas in July! Seems the perfect time to say “Mele Kalikimaka!”

I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Part I

Enjoy part 1 of our two part story about a family and their life at Christmastime during World War II.

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I’ll Be Home for Christmas 

It was December 1944 and the United States was immersed in World War II. My family, the Dillards, included my father Bill, my mother Samantha, my brother Russell, and me, Lizzy, a freckled-faced, red, curly-haired 13-year old. Russell, a 20-year old, private in the US Army, was stationed in Europe, fighting behind enemy lines. As for the rest of us, we fought the war at home.

It was two weeks till Christmas and the town of Smithfield, Illinois, was full of holiday spirit. Along with preparing for December 25th, my town was preparing gift packages to send to soldiers overseas. Many of my friends had siblings in the Army, just like I did.

My mother was the president of Operation Victory, a committee that sent gift packages to soldiers throughout the year. This was just one of the ways my mother helped fight the war.

As the sibling of a soldier, I constantly wrote letters to Russell, telling him about home and the latest news. I also sent cards to him and his friends. Quickly, I became a professional at drawing Christmas trees.

This was the second Christmas Russell was going to miss. He entered the US Army shortly after Pearl Harbor. In February 1942, he was sent to Europe and has only been home twice since then.

My father was always reassuring my mother that Russell was safe. “Samantha,” he would say, “Russell is doing his patriotic duty, fighting for his country, and he will come home soon.” As for me, Christmas was the hardest part of the year.

Russell and I had always been close, despite our age difference. Throughout the years, we had created our own traditions, in addition to our family’s. Together, these traditions made Christmas just a little bit more special.

One of my favorite traditions that Russell and I shared was two days before Christmas Eve. We would ride through town in his jeep and deliver cookies to all of our neighbors and friends. At each house, we sang “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” At the end of the second song, Russell would always hold out the very last note until everyone started laughing.

In all of the letters we wrote to each other, during the holiday season, we always talked about our traditions. In one of his letters from November, he mentioned there was a slight chance he might receive leave and be able to come home for Christmas. Since then, I hung onto this statement, hoping it would eventually come true.

“Lizzy! Lizzy! Are you coming sledding with us or not?” asked my friend Jill. Her voice snapped me back into reality. Looking around, I realized my friends, Jill and Jane, were waiting on me to go sledding. “Sure, I’m ready. Let’s go!” I replied. We spent the rest of the day sledding at Black’s Hill.

By the time I got home, my father was already home from work. As I entered the house, I expected on hearing the usual “Do you realize how late you are on a school night and you haven’t started your homework yet” speech, but instead I received different news.

My mother was sitting in the living room, crying. I noticed her eyes were fixed on an opened letter on the coffee table. “Lizzy, your mother and I need to talk to you,” my father said as he met me at the living room door. Little did I know, the news my parents were about to tell me would change my world. “We just received a letter, saying Russell’s plane was shot down over Italy. We don’t know where exactly he is and the Army has declared him missing in action.” my father told me as tears started running down my face.

After talking with my parents for a while, I went upstairs to my bedroom. Not knowing what to think or do, I looked outside my window and glanced towards the driveway. There I saw Russell’s jeep and I wished, more than anything, for him to be home.

“Where is Russell?” I thought to myself. Quickly, I began to write him a letter, which I planned on mailing to his base. Something inside of me told me he was in a safe place and would be home soon. I hoped this feeling was right, but as scared as I was, I doubted it.

Over the next couple of days, my family lived precariously, waiting to hear any news about Russell. As it got closer and closer to Christmas, my family still hadn’t heard anything about him and our patience started to wear thin.

To be continued…

Christmas in July

July 20

Today is the first day of our week-long celebration of Christmas in July! There’s going to be ideas for food, decorations, and more. Below is a quick rundown for the week:

Tuesday- “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” Part I Story

Wednesday- Decoration and Food Ideas

Thursday- “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” Part II Story

Friday- Gift and Music Ideas

Trust me, you don’t want to miss the fun! To get us started, enjoy one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams.