Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day #6 of Summer Vacation

We needed to get to work on their school memories books.  I had been a tad behind on them.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day #5 of Sumner Vacation

Last weekend Reagan was helping me organize one of our closets that I keep gifts in.  She spotted a few packages of Polly Pockets that I keep on hand for those last minute birthday invites.  That reminded her that she has Polly Pockets too.  So, I then helped her reorganize her Polly Pocket accessories into these fun Caboodles that I found at an ANTIQUE STORE.  Antique Store???? I know.  I had these when I was a kid and I am definitely NOT an antique.  Anyway, ever since then, the Polly Pockets have had a permanent spot in our living room.  She is picking out Pollys that match certain members of our family and acting out things.  I love that she is playing with them!




So, that is why I decided to post our Day 5 photo of the Pollys.  I bet they are happy to be played with.  It has been months!




Have You Checked out zulily?

I LOVE it when I get a good deal on something.  I am a coupon user and watch fliers for discounts and sales.  I also watch online sales when I get the chance.  So, trust me, when I tell you about this site.  They offer daily deals and you can really get a bargain.

Every once in awhile I click through the zulily website and find just what I am looking for....and when I do.....the best part is that it is so stinkin cheap.  By clicking this link HERE you can be connected to daily deals for moms, babies and kids.  I have gotten household items and clothing for dirt cheap.  You just might want to check it out.  Pocketbook....beware!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Day #4 of Summer Vacation

Putting flowers on Grandma and Grandpa's grave.  Grandpa served in WW II and passed in 1999.  Grandma died in 2006.  Oh how we miss them.

Day #3 of Summer Vacation

Our friends came over and we enjoyed our first bonfire of the season last night.  Lots of laughs, yummy smores, and good memories.


O

Flag Essay


Our son, Bennett won 1st Prize for the following essay and I thought today was an appropriate day to share it with you.  The following essay was written by Bennett and I have copied it just as he wrote it.  He won $30 from the American Legion for this essay.

THE FLAG
By Bennett - 5th Grade


You get to the game at the high school and you buy your popcorn at the concession stand.  Then take your seat by your buddies.  The home team comes out to do their warm-ups.  Next, after awhile, they announce the starting lineup.  Then finally everyone puts their hand over their heart and the men take off their caps.  Everyone stares at the flag while the National Anthem is being sung.  At that moment is when I feel proud about my country.


To me, the American flag means freedom. Brave heroes fought in wars and other things to keep our country safe and strong.  That we kept our independence after certain events affected our country.  These are some examples: 9/11, also the Pearl Harbor attack and even the Civil War (other wars also).  But all of these times we never gave up.  That makes me very proud to be an American citizen.


There are many symbols that I see each day that remind me about how proud I feel about my country.


In my perspective, I think that red stripes on the flag stand for the blood and the fighting in all the wars that we have had, and that the white stands for heaven and liberty.  The stars stand for the fifty states and to me the blue means freedom.


I'm very proud of my country, my freedom, and especially my flag. That is what the American flag means to me

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My First Try at Making a Wreath - My Patriotic Wreath

I saw an idea for making a spring wreath on PINTEREST.  But, then spring came and went and I still really wanted to make it.  So, I made a trip to Michael's thinking I could find something to make some sort of wreath with.  I wasn't able to find the exact stuff I wanted, but while there, I had the idea to make a patriotic wreath.


Supplies:

  • Foam wreath form - white or green
  • Red, white, and blue flowers
  • Patriotic ball sprays
  • Sparkly yarn
  • Patriotic ribbon
  • Hot glue
  • Wire cutter
I wish I had gotten a white wreath instead of green, but they were out of the white.  It just took more yarn to cover it.  I purchased three skeins of yarn but only used two.  You just start wrapping the yarn around the wreath...adding hot glue as you need it.  Continue wrapping until you have reached the desired fullness.  Then you can just start adding the embellishments and flowers as you want.   Make it yours!



I am truly not a crafty person, but I was happy with my wreath.  It took me only an hour to make it. All the supplies I bought cost about $30.   I plan to keep it out for Memorial Day through July 4th.

Have you made something that you saw on Pinterest?  How did it turn out?

Scenes From Our Week - Week 34


This week was full of memory making.  We closed out the last week of school with a talent show, a spelling bee, a trip to Orange Leaf (a first for the kids).  

Patrick and Bennett performing with the band for the talent show.

Patrick sang a solo at the talent show, "Please. Please. Please" by Shout Out Louds

Patrick had his Pony League Pre-Season Tournament this week.  

Patrick won the 5/6 Grade Spelling Bee with the winning words being "dynamite" and "evidence"

The last day of 6th, 1st, and 5th grades

A surprise trip to Orange Leaf after the last day of school. The kids LOVED it!
Birthday girl and cousin Ali along with her friend Brittney joined us


Ali's biggest fans waiting for her graduation to start.

Godfather Pat and the High School Graduate, Ali

Proud parents with Ali

Our family is so proud of her!

After getting home on Saturday, the kids begged and pleaded for a water fight and got one.  They were so excited and as you can see below....had a great time!








Summer has officially started for our family.  Stay tuned for all our adventures!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Vacation Day #2

There seems to be a food theme here.  After our niece's graduation, we went to one of our favorite places, Carlos O'Kelly's for lunch/dinner.  Bennett LOVES their cheesecake empanada!

Summer Vacation Day #1

We had a make-your-own-subway lunch today.  We got all the fixings and everybody made their own.  Lots of fun and delicious!  We'll be doing this again soon!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Review: Making Life Matter by Shane Stanford

MAKING LIFE MATTER


By:  Shane Stanford


Published:  April 1, 2012


*****


In a world of fast-paced schedules and priorities, conversations about what makes for a life well lived are a rarity and a luxury. But what if the daily pace of life held in itself the way to make choices more significant? What if the daily to-do lists gave a glimpse into how people might change their future? What if the daily grind, as arduous as it might seem, held the key to a life full of meaning and potential? What if everyday, simple steps, instead of some complex list of seemingly unattainable principles, showed how to make life matter? Making Life Matter answers these questions and shows that the steps for making life matter are found in rather ordinary decisions, attitudes, and patterns found in normal routines. This book is about our story and our journey, and what we do and feel along the way.


The author of this book has had to overcome some amazing life-changing challenges that were pretty early on in his life.  But, he chose to choose life and happiness.  This book chronicles his life-choices along with other famous people who have had struggles and chose to rise above rather than give up.  People like Felix Mendelssohn, Gilda Radner, Zacchaeus,  and Don Sutton (baseball pitcher) are featured throughout the book and give you a glimpse into a life you didn't realize happened before the "good stuff" arrived in their lives. Each chapter focuses on a different mind-set and challenges you through Scripture and deep, thought-provoking questions, to think differently.

When I saw the premise of the book, I thought, that is my life.  Is all this that I am doing...the craziness, the volunteering, the unending to-do lists.....does it all matter?  Is it really getting me anywhere? Is there JOY in my everyday living?  Well, this book will bring it all together for you.  And, as this book will explain to you, if you are going to take this trip through life and make it matter, Jesus needs to be along side of you.  


Some excellent quotes from the book:


"We are not measured by the events that surround us.  No, we are measured by what we do with those events, circumstances, and situations and by whether we allow them to get the best of our journeys or whether we make each moment of each day mean something more."  Pg 6


"We do have a choice.....in making that choice each day, we give ourselves a chance to make life matter."  Pg 12


This quote was one of those "AHA" statements for me, and maybe it will be for you too....


"God's goal is to bring us closer, not to send us on some game of theological hide-and-seek.  He wants us to find Him, and then find each other through Him."  Pg 53


Finally, another of my favorite parts of the book was Stanford's focus on THE LORD'S PRAYER.  For so many of us, it is basically a prayer from memory, but when was the last time you actually thought about the words you were saying.....not just speaking them from memory.  Stanford breaks the sentences down for us and gives us a beautiful reflection on the prayer.

This book isn't added work, it is bite-size and manageable in your everyday schedule to ponder, reflect, and really think about what matters.  If you are looking for direction or focus, check out MAKING LIFE MATTER by Shane Stanford today.  You can purchase the book HERE.


Shane Stanford is a teacher, speaker and author committed to connecting people in significant relationships with Christ and each other. Shane is committed ot helping people make life matter.  He is the Senior Pastor of Christ UMC in Memphis, TN and the former Senior pastor of Gulf Breeze UMC in Gulf Breeze, FL.  Shane travels extensively sharing his journey as a HIV+ Hemophiliac and Christian minister.  He is the author of eight other books.


"One way or another, by your action or inaction, you define your journey.  Wouldn't you rather it be for the better, making a difference that can change your little piece of the world?"  Pg 16


This book was provided to me free for the purpose of this review.  I was not compensated in any other way.  This review is my honest opinion and I only review products that will benefit myself and my family. Thanks to Abingdon Press and pumpupyourbooks.com for providing the review copy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Energizer Ultimate Lithium Battery Review and Giveaway

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. THANKS FOR ENTERING!


Summer is coming and if your house is like mine, the cameras and video games will be getting a lot of use.  A lot of use, means a lot of batteries will need to be changed as well.

The ONLY battery I use in my camera is the ENERGIZER ULTIMATE LITHIUM.  It lasts forever.  I take a LOT (thousands) of pictures with one set of AA batteries.  Even when the battery icon is showing the battery is low....which it has been for 2 weeks now....I'm still taking pictures.  I get every last drop out of those batteries.

If you have devices in your house that are constantly going through batteries, I urge you to give the ENERGIZER ULTIMATE LITHIUM batteries a try.  Less battery changes mean less waste and less frustration.


The ENERGIZER ULTIMATE LITHIUM batteries are improved to last 9X longer.  They are the world's longest lasting AA battery in high-tech devices.  If you are going to have those devices, shouldn't you have the best battery in them? Even though these batteries may cost a bit more than regular batteries, the money is definitely worth it.  These batteries will last so much longer, so you are probably saving money in the long-run!

To find out more about ENERGIZER BATTERIES, check out their website at www.Energizer.com.
Like their Facebook page, HERE.
Follow them on Twitter, HERE.

Would you like to win your own set of ENERGIZER ULTIMATE LITHIUM AA BATTERIES?  You could win two 4-Packs of ENERGIZER ULTIMATE LITHIUM BATTERIES.  If you are already a user of ENERGIZER BATTERIES, go to www.Energizer.com and write a review for one of their products.  Let me know which product(s) you wrote the review for and I will give you an extra entry for each product you review.  This contest will run through Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 11:59 PM.  I will choose a winner on Monday, June 4th, 2012 using Random.org.  I will notify the winner by email and they will have 48 hours to contact me or I will choose another winner.




I was provided two, 4-Packs of ENERGIZER ULTIMATE LITHIUM batteries for this review.  I was not compensated in any other way.  This review is my honest opinion and I only review items that will benefit my family or myself. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fun Summer Days Ahead with List Plan It's 100 Days of Summertime

If you are still looking for more ways to keep your sanity this summer, I have yet another great resource for you.  Jennifer Tankersley, creator of List Plan It, has created 100 Days of Summertime eBook.  This book is chock full of links, ideas, lists, tips, and plain old fun!  You can breathe a huge sigh of relief because your summer just got better!

This book starts on May 15th, and gives you daily doses of inspiration for family, food, and fun throughout the whole summer.  If you are a fan of Tankersley's 100 Days to Christmas eBook, you won't be disappointed with her summer book either!


The book easily downloads to your computer.  I saved mine right to my desktop so it is quick to access and easy to find.  You can also choose to print it off so it is readily available at your fingertips.

Some of my favorite things so far from the eBook has been

  • List of ways to children to earn summer privileges
  • Numerous delicious recipes
  • List of ways to celebrate chocolate day (who knew?)
  • List of car/airplane activities for kids
  • Ways to celebrate the summer olympics
  • and SO MUCH MORE!
What do you think all this is going to cost???  Less than my breakfast at Panera this morning!  $5, yep just $5 is all it is going to cost to get your summer in order.


So, don't delay, check out 100 Days to Summertime eBook NOW and get your summer off on the right foot.  Click HERE to order it today!


I was supplied with a free copy of this eBook.  I am also an affiliate of List Plan It and I may receive a commission from purchases through this site.  This review is my honest opinion and I was not compensated in any other way.  I only review items that will benefit myself or my family.  Thanks to Jennifer Tankersley for this review opportunity.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Scenes From Our Week - Week 33

The week started off relaxing with Mother's Day on Sunday.  I was able to find time to take my new Kindle Fire onto the porch and do some reading.  While reading on the porch, we found out we had a new little family living underneath us.


Unfortunately, one of them was found on the ground later in the week and didn't make it, but the others have left their nest.

The ice cream truck came to town on Sunday night.  I came in the house and told the kids I heard a certain song playing around town.....they knew what it meant.  Is there anything better than hearing that ice cream truck song?


The Pre-Season Little League Tournament started this last week and we had games every night because we kept winning.  But, finally, after 2 losses, we finished on Thursday night with 4th place.  Pretty proud of Bennett and his teammates.


Bennett and the other piano students played at the nursing home on Thursday afternoon.  Unfortunately, Patrick was sick and wasn't able to perform.  Bennett did a great job!


Yesterday, we went to town to begin the process of picking out bushes and shrubs for our lower patio area.  We found two French Lace Wiegelas that I think will be perfect, so we loaded them into the van.  Then we picked up flowers for Sunday School and School Teachers and Tomato Plants for ourself and two School Teachers.  After lunch at Red Robin, the ride home was a little crowded with all the plants in the van.  It looked pretty funny driving home with the kids surrounded with all the plants.



After we got home yesterday, I spotted Bennett in my usual spot on the porch reading.  *LOVE*


Finally, to update you on my mom, there was no cancer found in the mass in her lung. The doctors will check her again in 2 months to see if there were any changes or growth.  So, we are relieved and can relax and focus on her gaining her strength back.  Thanks for all your prayers.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Book Review: The Baby Cheapskate - Guide to Bargains by Angela Wynne

THE BABY CHEAPSKATE: Guide to Bargains
How to Save on Blankets, Bottles, and Everything Baby


By: Angela Wynne


Published:  May 1, 2012


*****



Having a baby?
How to get everything you need—without breaking the bank.
When Angela Wynne started preparing for her baby’s arrival, she was overwhelmed by all the must-haves she supposedly needed. She quickly discovered that the average American family can expect to shell out more than $23,000 for the first two years of the baby’s life.
 
Daunted by the cost of having a baby, Angela soon realized she had a gift for ferreting out the best bargains—and decided to share her findings with other parents online, with her uber-successful blog BabyCheapskate.com. And now, in The Babycheapskate Guide to Bargains, she gives you must-have advice on buying the best for your baby for less.

No I am NOT having a baby, but I almost wish I was.  Ok, maybe not, but I DO wish I had this book when I was having babies.  This book would have been a life-saver to me and I am sure it will be to many, many pregnant and new moms out there.  Even though I am not expecting a baby, I learned something about searching on Google for products from this book.  

The book is not only full of advice from Wynne, but also full of reader tips from moms.  The best advice I ever got since I became a mom came from real moms and learning from their successes and failures.  This book is full of them.

One of the best tips in the book was what are the "Needs", the "Extras", the "Later-Ons" and the "Really Cool Things" to register for.  It can be so overwhelming going to Target or Babies R Us and deciding to what to register for.  If you are a first time parent-to-be it can be hard to know for sure what and how much you are going to need.  BABY CHEAPSKATE lays it all our for you.  

The book also includes a wealth of information about signing up for coupons, baby clubs, and getting those all important discounts.  With social media, you can also "follow" or "like" numerous baby related companies for discount opportunities.

One tip that I was thinking of when I read the book was related to the high chair.  Wynne also addresses the high chair debate: to get one or not.  If I was having another child I would NOT get a high chair.  I found the clamp chair (a chair that clamps to a table/counter) and booster chairs to work just fine when the baby had outgrown a bouncy seat.  The high chair takes up so much space and isn't easy to clean or move around.  So, if you take anything at all from this review....save your money and skip the high chair!

Another great tip is to NEVER buy diapers without a coupon.  I still get coupons in the mail for diapers and my baby is 7 so I always pass them on to my friends and family who need them.  There are always diaper coupons out there and if they are close to expiring, stock up on the size you are using or the next size you will be moving into.  Don't let those coupons go to waste.  There is no reason to ever pay full-price for diapers.  You have to buy them anyway and those $1 and $2 savings really do add up.

I think Wynne has thought of everything when it comes to baby shopping.  If you are a first-time parent, buying this book will save you hundreds of dollars!  I will be passing my copy on to my friend who is about to be a new mommy this summer.  




Sunday, May 13, 2012

Scenes From Our Week - Week 32

While Mom was in surgery on Thursday, I kept her rings safe.  We are waiting to hear the results of the biopsy tomorrow afternoon.  We are continuing to pray for good news and smooth transition towards healing.


The last soccer games of the season were Saturday morning.  It was a beautiful morning and both boys played well.  Their Aunt Julie and cousin, Zach came out to cheer them on.

On Saturday morning, I learned that a restaurant up at home had burned.  This restaurant was the Town House in West Union and held lots of memories for my family growing up.  Anytime we went to town, my Grandpa J could be found at the Town House sitting on his favorite stool.  We had lots of Sunday breakfasts at the Town House and many, many other meals.  I remember going there for lunch with my dad as well.  It was one of those quaint cafe's with good, home-cooked food and where everyone that comes in knows each other.  It really, at least when I was growing up, was the hub of the community.  Even though I hadn't been there in years, I am sad, knowing I won't be going back.  My Grandpa J even lived in the apartments above the restaurant for years before he bought his house. Since we were actually in West Union for my great-nephew's graduation party, I was able to snap this photo.



 We spent Saturday afternoon and evening up at my parents.  It was so nice to just be there, relaxing without needing to run somewhere else or be home by a certain time.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day and I took advantage of it by taking LOTS of pictures of the kids.

Where I grew up



The kids enjoyed climbing around the sand pit on my parents property.
My parents live just outside of a state park and I spent a lot of time in that park when I was growing up.  I loved going up to the lake and feeding the fish and just sitting on the dock.  It is still a beautiful place to be.

I spent many days playing in this snowball bush as a child.  I had to snap this photo of Reagan....memories!

Friday, May 11, 2012

More Summer Planning

If you haven't noticed, I'm a big CONFIDENT MOM fan.  I told you about her 2012 calendar to keep you organized and on track.  Now I am going to tell you about her 2012 Summer Calendar.  If you are a mom, looking for something to help you plan your summer with your kids, this is your perfect Mother's Day gift to yourself!  For just $9, you can take all the stress out of planning your summer!

The Confident Mom Summer Survival Calendar


The 2012 Summer Survival Calendar is NOW AVAILABLE HERE.  This is a 3 1/2 month calendar with over 100 activities to blast boredom and increase family time. It features at least one low-budget or free activity, craft project, or recipe every day starting May 15 and ending August 31. This really could be your life-saver to those "I'm bored" blues.

Here is just some of what you will get:

  • Summer Goals worksheet
  • Ideas for Summer Fun checklist
  • 10 Strategies for your Best Summer Ever Action Guide
  • Your Best Summer Ever Audio Workshop
  • Quiet Time Activities Worksheet
  • Important Summer Dates checklist
  • Weekly Menu Planner/Grocery List
  • Summer Weekly Planner
For just $9 you can have a fun, stress-free summer and peace of mind knowing that you won't hear "I'm Bored" all summer long!



As a Confident Mom affiliate, I will be compensated for all sales made from the links on my blog.  Even though I am compensated for those sales, I still highly recommend Confident Mom's products and this is my honest opinion.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Summer Planning Has Begun


After today, there are only 11 days of school left!  I decided I had better get busy on some of my summer planning.  One thing we have always done is count how many days of summer we have.  This summer we have 87 days, which is a lot.  We didn't have very many snow days this year, so that helps!  With 87 days to fill, I decided I better get started on some summer planning.  


I already know that we will be going to ORANGE LEAF as soon as school gets out.  The kids have never been there and I have been holding off taking them until there was a special reason.  It will be a great way to kick off the summer!

Something new I decided to try was a Summer Fun $ Jar.



 After selling some items at the garage sale last week, I thought I would put the money together and save it for something.  This way, if we decide to go bowling or mini golf, we can take the money from the pot.  I also am going to add $5 every time I get a $5 bill in my wallet.  That will also help to grow the pot.  I have also considered using it as a way for the kids do special chores and then money will get added to it.

The next part of summer planning I have yet to get figured out is the Kid's Chores.  I plan to work on that in the coming week.  If I don't incorporate chores into their routine right away, the days will melt into video games and TV watching.  So, stay tuned for a post on Kid's Summer Chores!

How many days of school do you have left?  What are some of your summer plans?