Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Buck Denver asks...Why do we call it Christmas?

I was given this product to provide a review, please go to to get more information.

This is a 45 minute video that presents lots of information about Christmas and the meaning behind it. It always brings the focus back to Jesus.  There's information about how Christmas got it's name, where Christmas trees began being used in decorating, Santa clause and much more.  Honestly, I learned a few things! 

My 3 year old daughter enjoyed it and sat through the entire video, but I think she'll get more out of it as she gets older.  She hasn't asked to watch it again, but  right now the Polar Express is magical for her.

I was impressed with all the information in the video from the creator of veggie tales, Phil Vischer. I'm always excited to have a product that brings the focus back to the reason our family celebrates Christmas.    Our society is so focused on Christmas, as in getting more stuff, that sometimes I feel the meaning can get lost. 

My parents made a point in my childhood years to bring the focus back to Jesus Christ and that has always left an impact on me.  I want to do the same for my daughter and this video will continue to be part of our Christmas tradition.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Good Cookie spatula anyone?

Cancer sucks. It can suck the life out of a loved one before the doctor has the chance to utter the diagnosis.

Cancer is a reminder about the fragility of life.  Chemo, radiation, limbs or body parts removed, and a life or lives that will never be the same...

That's where the Good Cookie Spatula comes in: This year OXO is donating up to $100,000 to support Cookies for Kids Cancer, an organization that was established by two OXO employees through their son's battle with pediatric cancer.

The reason why these funds are so important:
*25% of kids diagnosed with cancer do not survive because of lack of effective therapies
*lack of effective therapies is due to lack of funding.

Cookies for kids cancer was born to help fight pediatric cancer with the idea of local bake sales. Until December 31st, OXO will match all proceeds from registered bake sales up to $100,000.

How can you get involved to support this cause?

1. Send virtual cookies or register a bake sale for cookies for kids cancer: Cookies for kids bake sale

2. Purchase a Good cookie spatula on amazon or your nearest Bed, Bath and Beyond. 50% of the profits benefit pediatric awareness. 

Thanks to OXO, I was given a good cookie spatula to try and 1 for a giveaway. 

What's so great about this spatula is that it can be used to scrape out the last of the cookie dough to bake more cookies.  Then, after you've washed it, it is best used to take those cookies off your non-stick cookie sheet.

Ways to enter the giveaway:
1. Follow my blog and/or follow me on twitter.
2. Tell me what your favorite holiday cookie is or what you think you would like to do to support pediatric cancer

Each of these items is 1 entry. If you are having difficulty leaving a comment, please email me at:

BONUS entry: Help me get the word out about pediatric cancer. For those of you who have a blog or you're on facebook/twitter:  I'll give you a bonus entry if you post this giveaway.  My goal is to have 20 individuals entered in this giveaway. More would be even better!

Last day to enter giveaway is Wednesday, December 14th.  Random winner will be selected and notified Thursday, December 15th.  **only shipping item in the United States

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Coming soon...

Giveaway right around the corner.
It will be green and awesome for cookie making!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Ok, so I've been checking out a lot of websites and getting free samples.  I was able to get $50 worth of Christmas photo cards for free.

And while you're at it check out this site: My free product samples. This is where I've found so many great deals and freebies.  If you sign up, a newsletter is emailed daily to keep you updated on coupons, samples, and great deals.

And, pretty soon I'm going to have a giveaway.  Just waiting for the item to arrive. Hint:  this time it's not a book giveaway...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another DIY craft

I painted the frames and my daughter glued on the buttons.  Very easy and didn't take much time at all!  
We might be making more of these!

Friday, November 25, 2011

DIY Christmas decorations

An uncle of mine contacted me the other day needing office decorating ideas for Christmas.  So, I offered to help him out and came up with some easy and cheap decorations.These decorations needed to be light in order to ship and cheap for our budget. 

First my daughter and I made these snowmen for his desk: 

And, then I decided to make a wreath with cardboard and tissue paper. 
This is what it looked like when I first began working on it:

Finished product:
This wreath took some time!  I'm taking a break...
Any other DIY ideas for Christmas?

Book Review: Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

This is a book that focuses on the basics of Christianity.  Joshua Harris defines doctrine, orthodoxy and many other terms that can become a deep topic in many circles whether you believe in God or not.  The point of this book is to dig down deep and truly know what you believe in,  to truly connect with God.

I had a hard time getting into this book.  I'm not sure if it's because I've read a wide variety of books lately, but it didn't grab me and took me a long time to read. It's an easy read, just took me a long time to make it a priority to sit down and finish.  I like to read and enjoy books that challenge me spiritually, but felt this book was lacking something.

I'd love to write more about this book, but it isn't one I'd purchase myself.  And, if I did purchase it I would've been disappointed.

 I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Playing catch up once again....

Many of you reading know that I had surgery a couple weeks ago.  It was minor surgery removing a cyst from my big toe and shaving off some of the bone.  I say minor because it wasn't removing a limb(s) or open heart surgery, both of which are a reality for my family members.

Toward the end of my time recovering and wearing the oh most stylish surgical shoe, the weather decided it was time to snow.  My 3 year old loves sledding and I had to figure out a way to be outside without getting my incision wet.  Here's the pics of the bag over my foot:
I'm now on my way back to a normal life wearing normal shoes and getting back into my workouts.

During my recovery, we had fun cracking open a coconut:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I most likely won't have any new posts for a couple more days.  My computer is in the shop being fixed...

When I have my computer back I'll post about the coconut my daughter and I had fun splitting open.  And, I'll post pictures of wearing a bag over my foot to go play in the snow so I wouldn't get my incision wet. 

And, soon enough I'll be back into the swing of things wearing normal shoes and working out.  I'm pretty excited!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Free Christmas Cards

Everyone likes to get something for free, right?!!! I ordered a total of 25 free cards today, which included free shipping!

I stumbled upon this with all the hours I've been sitting and elevating my foot:


1. Head to My Publisher and create an account.
2. Select the “Holiday Cards”
in the left hand menu.
3. Go through the steps of creating your cards.
4. In the Order Screen, change the order # to 10!
5. Just use coupon code HAPPY10FREE at checkout and click VERIFY CODE. Do not select a payment method since your total will be $0.00.
6. Your order total will be $0.00!
7. Place your order.


TO GET 5 MORE CARDS (You can repeat these steps if you have multiple email addresses you can use. So you could really finish ordering as many as you need with this part.)
1.  Click here to enter your email address to get your exclusive coupon code.
2.  Copy your coupon code down then create your greeting cards.
3. Enter quantity of 5 and the code at checkout.
4. Do not select a payment method since your total will be $0.00.
5. Place your order.

 This info from: My free product samples

 **I'm not sure how long this deal will last, but I wanted to pass it on...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Creative T-shirt ideas

Since I've been on the couch this week, I've been  looking for new and creative ideas to change my wardrobe, but not spend too much money.  I shop clearance racks and hit some good bargains recently.  So, with a couple of those t-shirts, I'd like to add some accessories...

For those of you who want to join me in revamping a current wardrobe, here's a link to check out: DIY tshirts
I personally want to try this v-neck cardigan.  I'll soon be hunting for some fun buttons!
Which looks are your favorite?  If you make one of these, please email me your pictures.  I want to see how creative everyone can be.

Other things: Surgery went well.  I've been so thankful for all the meals I put in the freezer last week.  We are enjoying the chicken enchiladas for lunch that were leftover from last night.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Busy week....

I'm having minor foot surgery on Monday.  Since, I have no idea how much pain I'll be in I've been frantically cooking meals for our freezer. I LOVE having things in the freezer on days I don't want to cook, but I have extra for next week.

This is what I have so far: alfredo sauce (chicken is already cooked too), spaghetti sauce, beef barley soup, chicken enchiladas, and a beef casserole.

Since I'm a fan of these yogurt smoothies by yoplait, I decided to try making my own to save money.  I used Dannon light and fit vanilla yogurt and froze it in ice cube trays.  Once they were frozen I put 4 frozen cubes in a sandwich size zip lock bag, 1/2 cup blueberries, and 3/4 cup strawberries. I used 2 ice cube trays, so I was able to make 7 of these.  I'll let you know how they are once I blend one for myself.
All of this hard work to make sure I stay on track and eat healthy(especially since my activity level will be drastically lowered)!  It is cold here, so drinking a smoothie isn't the most pleasant idea.  However, I'll probably drink tea right after. 

On to other things:

If I lived in the Seattle area, I'd totally apply to volunteer as a brooks model to get free brooks stuff:

Active bands giveaway on:

Still using the Duggar family laundry detergent and still liking it.  I still have lots left and we are saving money by using it!

Have any of you tried these cheat foods? If you have, please let  me know which ones are your favorites.

If you want to read Heaven is for Real, email me.  You might just get a free book!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Having internet issues this week, and I'm preparing things for surgery next week. All that to say, not a lot of time to post anything!

I did try the tomato soup recipe with the changes I wrote about in this recipe post.  My parents liked it, but after having the soup with whipping cream we(me and the hubby) decided we'd splurge every now and then to be able to have it the way we like!

I'll try to post more after surgery because I'm supposed to be resting...we'll see how that goes as a stay at home mom!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review: Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent

I had heard of this book and was curious about it.  As soon as I saw it available for review I requested a copy.  Heaven is for Real is a "little boy's astounding story of his trip to heaven and back."  It is easy and entertaining to read.

This story is about Colton's emergency room visit, hospital stay and his trip to heaven during his operation.  Once he recovered, he knew details about what his parents were doing during his surgery; along with details about family members who died before he was born.  He's very adamant that "Jesus loves children."  And, for a child his age he remembers lots of details about heaven.

Now that I've given you the quick summary, here's my reflections:  First of all, I had to finish reading the part where they were in the ER and his surgery all in one sitting.  As a mother of a three year old, I can only imagine what I would be going through during something so serious!  However, I'm skeptical of this book.  Todd put scripture references along with the details about heaven.  All of this is great, but I will seek out those things for myself from the Bible to make sure it lines up theologically.  I also had a hard time with how much detail Colton remembered.  This is due to my 3 year old in the house; wondering what details she would say in a similar situation.  I'm not doubting that he had a spiritual experience, but I'm a true believer in the Bible being the true authority about heaven.  Truly, what this book did for me was bring up more questions about heaven and accepting the idea that I won't have all my answers until I see heaven myself. The true authenticity of this story is one thing I will ask God about when I get to heaven.  I'd also be interested to see what Colton does with his life to see if this experience as a toddler affects how he lives his adult life when that time comes.

Overall, I thought this was an entertaining book that brought about good table discussion.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 25

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ok, so have any of you ever wanted to avoid working out, but you chose to anyway?  That's how it was for me this evening!  This afternoon I did level 1 of 30 day shred, but didn't have time to get on my bike since my daughter wasn't napping.  As soon as she went to bed for the night, I got on my bike.  And, although I didn't want to workout I chose to.  I put on this free workout music(thanks to Jillian giving us the link) : Killer workout mix The beat in this mix carried me through this workout, I mean I moved my legs and I got a good workout in even though my heart wasn't in it... 

Now, I'm vegging and enjoying some non fat greek yogurt with berries and almonds on top. 

Stay posted for a book review and giveaway soon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tomato soup recipe

Tried a new tomato soup recipe I found online somewhere(didn't right down the link...I apologize).  It was yummy, so here it is:

2-28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1-14.5 oz can chicken broth
18 fresh basil leaves, minced
1 tsp sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup butter

Bring tomatoes and broth to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes
Add basil and sugar
Reduce heat to low, stir in cream and butter
Cook until butter is melted

*When I try a new recipe, I like to follow the exact recipe so I know what it is supposed to taste like. The next time I make it, I make changes to make it healthier or just change the taste to our liking.

**What I'd do next time to reduce calories:  replace whipping cream with milk and try 1/4 cup butter.  I may even try throwing this in the crockpot and add cornstarch to thicken the soup. I will soon be making this for my mom and will let you know how it turns out...

**Although making it for my mom was much healthier, I liked it with the original way.  So, I'll splurge every now and then to have it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Did anyone else watch the Biggest Loser last night?  And, did you notice Bob's tattoos?!!  I don't know if I noticed them because of our new tv or what, but those tats are colorful!  So, if you wanna learn more about Bob Harper, click here: 25 things you don't know about Bob. I think it's cool he workouts to his own workout videos and takes his own supplements.  A man who actively uses his product! Just a side note:  I also miss Jillian.  Bob and Jillian worked so well together, but I guess this season hasn't been on for too long so I'll give it more time!

I've been thinking a lot lately about my workouts and my eating habits.  I want to reach a certain level of fitness and know I need to step it up in order to reach my goals. When I worked full time outside the home, I had a hard time fitting in my workouts.  And, as soon as I became a stay at home mom, my life was turned upside down and fitting in workouts became more of a struggle(sleep was higher priority at that point).  It has taken me 3 years and I finally feel like I'm getting into a rhythm of working out.  Monday, I was able to get 2 workouts in, but honestly that was for my sanity!  I do, however, want to get a couple workouts in a day and I think that may be my ticket to reaching some fitness goals. 

And, I need to work on my eating habits too.  I have food allergies and need to take those foods out of my diet.  With a husband and daughter who don't have food allergies, it does make things a little more complicated.   That's what I'm focusing on right now, eating foods that don't make me sick...that's always good right?!!!

Next on my agenda: try Bob's workout dvds. 

Always something to learn about exercise and nutrition.  What do you do to stay fit?

And, here's another site to keep calories within reason.  It shows how easy it is to add calories without thinking about it, which could mess with your weight loss goals: How easy it is to gain one pound in a week

Friday, October 14, 2011

This song has been on in the car everywhere we go, I've even caught my hubby singing this song...
Also had a dance party to this song too!  My hubby will get in the car and our daughter will say, "I'm listening to the Good Morning Song!"
Her 2nd favorite is the following song, Free:
So, as soon as my daughter is dropped off at preschool, I jump to the rest of the cd  so maybe, just maybe I can listen to the rest of the music!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Since I'm not a morning person, I think I need to put this on my bathroom mirror! Actually, I think I need a rug made!

Beware of little fingers...

Ok, so my daughter has a cold.  To streamline this afternoon and make it more relaxing, I thought it would be best to skip swim lessons.

With the moods that were showing up, a nap seemed like the best option.  Once she got in bed, the typical stalling techniques were used:  needing to go potty(i don't say no to this because I like to avoid accidents), playing with toys and she got her hermie book stuck between the wall and her bed(this is a new one).  Since these were somewhat typical I thought she'd settle down and fall asleep.  She is sick after all.

At this very moment she's still playing in her room as I'm frantically writing this.  I attempted to snuggle with her in bed because some days that's just what she needs.  I got in her bed and snuggled, but as soon as I closed my eyes I felt a little finger touching my eyelashes.  Trying not to giggle and be the parent, I told her to close her eyes and go to sleep.  Once again I closed my eyes.  Next thing I know I feel little fingers on my chin moving down my neck.  Now, it's really getting hard to hold my laughter and be serious.  However, I held it together and told her, again, to close her eyes and go so sleep.  Well, as I was pretending to fall asleep I felt a little finger touching my eyelashes.  At this point I'm quite proud of myself for not laughing whatsoever.  I told her as I was getting out of her bed, to just go to sleep!

Then, as I was folding laundry in the living room, I called my mom so we could laugh together about this attempted nap! And, yes, I sent a text to Catrina..I mean, who doesn't like a good laugh toward the end of their workday!

Off to get my 3 year old out of bed, but now her room seems awfully quiet!  I'm thinking we'll have a dance party since her new favorite music is Mandisa's Good Morning song.."it's a good morning, wake up to a brand new day..."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thank you God for Loving Me by Max Lucado

Thank you God, for loving me is yet another cute Hermie book in which Hermie the caterpillar explores the ways God loves him.  This rhyming book is short and cute illustrating God's love.  It also makes it possible to communicate to your child that they are loved deeply by our creator.

My daughter loves this Hermie book along with the other one that I reviewed.  She likes to keep them together and just about had a heart attack this evening when we couldn't find the other book! This book also tagged along in her backpack at a recent doctor visit where she proudly said to the doctor, "Look at my Hermie book!"

The illustrations are a bit older, but for my 3 year old that doesn't matter whatsoever!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 25

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Adventures of "Rubber Doggie"

Rubber Doggie attended preschool last week.  He spit on her.  Then, she said something about him pooping?!!!These are two issues we've been working on: no spitting and no accidents.  Maybe she's trying to work all this out through rubber doggie?!!
Thankfully, rubber doggie hasn't started fake burping yet.  My 3 year old decided this was fun after hearing it from a friend.  Someone recommended to ignore this behavior.  Well, with my strong willed child that escalated her behavior to such a level that I COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!  When my child looks me straight in the eye and fake burps, that is something I can't ignore. We started discussing yesterday what big girls do and don't do, which included no fake burping.  She was in a time out last night for 1 fake burp.   
**Result: no fake burping at breakfast this morning. I'd say we have a victory at the moment! I realize we will still have to work on this behavior, but any progress is reason to celebrate for this optimist :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Speaker Spotlight: Patsy Clairmont

I know, it’s been a while since I attended the Women of Faith conference, but I feel like there was so much goodness wrapped into 2 days that I need to focus on as many speakers as I can in individual posts.  And, with all that goodness, I needed time to soak it all in!

Ok, so back to Patsy.  I LOVED this feisty woman.  I totally wanted to have lunch and coffee with spend one on one time with her and gain more wisdom from her life experiences.  I never had a Christian grandmother, so if I had the opportunity to choose one, yup, she'd be the winner!   God speaking through her touched my soul in a way that words cannot express.  She was a breath of fresh air in the land of mommy hood, where life can sometimes be taken too seriously.  The tools she presented I will continue to use for sanity in daily life.

Quotable quotes:
I’m not weird, I’m a limited edition
Pop your pills in Jesus name.
(for those who haven't heard her speak, I'll explain this later)
Life is messy
People are textured
God is mysterious
People come in and out of your life for a purpose.  Rejoice in what you learn from them.
Change can be good

Tools I took away from a weekend of hearing from Patsy:

*Since fear loves to show up when we least expect it: refuse, replace, repeat.  Refuse impure thoughts (aka anxiety, negative self talk, etc). Replace with a better thought and look to God.  Memorize scripture and internalize.
Say yes every morning
Patsy said she isn’t a morning person and doesn’t wake up with a cheery disposition like those who wake up ready for the day.  Learning to say yes to God even in those early mornings when you just wanna stay a grump can be difficult.  However, it will start the day off right. And, believe me, I’m no morning person! Definitely something I need to work on...

*   Learn to say no.  No is a complete sentence.
Setting boundaries is good for us, which in many cases, means saying no.  Many of us feel we need to say no with an explanation.  Sometimes less is more.  No one needs to know your life story when you are just saying no and setting boundaries for yourself.

Now, to explain: Pop your pills in Jesus name.  She is referring to getting help if you are dealing with depression, anxiety or any type of mental illness.  We should be thankful we live in a day and age in which we have medicine to help with chemical imbalances.  Basically get help if you are stuck!

Thanks Patsy, many of the things you shared confirmed what God has been teaching me since becoming a mom!  I'm forever grateful! 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Superpowers and Imagination

My daughter informed me yesterday that she has superpowers.  Naturally, I asked her what they were.  Her answer:  "Brown."  Ok, brown is my enemy since it is the color of poop.  There's been some regression in potty training this week and I've seen too much of her superpower.  This morning she informed me that her superpower is white.  I can handle white superpowers and I'm praying I don't see the brown one today!
This morning she also informed me she has a black puppy.  His name is "rubber doggie" and he follows her behind her "bum."  By the time we were getting ready to head out the door for preschool, "rubber doggie" had changed from black to brown.

Since rubber doggy has changed colors, I thought I'd find a pic of 2 different colored puppies!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Speaker Spotlight: Marilyn Meberg

Oh, Marilyn, you touched on a topic that God has made more than evident to me this past year.  Amazing how He does things like that isn't it!!??!

She discussed cravings and yearnings in our daily lives.  When we are children we are yearning for the next stage of life.  We are always craving something beyond what we have.  When we get to the stage we've been so excited about, most of the time we think:  "This is it?!"

We want more of something good.  We want to feel something.  People sky dive, drive fast cars, zip line, bungee jump, all for the adrenaline rush.  Those things make us feel something.

Are you ever truly satisfied? Most of us would say no.  Her point was that God can meet all our longings, yearnings and cravings.  God created us to want more, but none of those longings and cravings will be fulfilled until we are in heaven.  Everything long lasting will be in eternity.

I feel like this quick summary doesn't do this speaker justice.  She was funny and insightful all at the same time.  I truly would like to know what fast car she drove at 120 mph?????

My reflections:   Throughout this past year God has made it more than evident to me that He is my true fulfillment.  No relationship on this earth will be that fulfillment for me.  I may lose loved ones but I know I will be okay as long as I have my true focus on God.  It doesn't mean life is easy.  But, through the pain of life, my true joy comes from God.  The peace that He gives me amidst my trials is what I can cling to knowing that someday I will be with him in heaven.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Jillian Michaels Killer Buns and Thighs

Ok, so the title of this workout is just that, killer buns and thighs.  Tried it for the first time last week and thought my legs were going to die in the first 10 minutes. I did this workout without doing the modified version for beginners...BIG mistake!  I was so sore the next day and my back went out.  I think I was sore for 3 days!

Since I learned from that, this week I decided to do the modified version of level 1 for beginners.  My back didn't go out this week and I wasn't nearly as sore.

I've had hip and low back issues since high school, which is due to genetics. These problems were enhanced after having my 1 and only child.  When she was 2 years old, I went to a physical therapist who told me my pelvis was still tilted from pregnancy and for some women it takes years to recover(not exactly what I wanted to hear!). Last week I was so disappointed when my back went out because usually that means I'm out of the workout groove for a while.  However, this time was different.  Since I'm in better shape, I saw improvement quickly in my back.  I'm still  modifying certain exercises, but it didn't stop me dead in my tracks... CELEBRATION DANCE!

Some people aren't fans of Jillian.  The reason I am:  I  get results from her workouts and they are affordable.  As usual, consistency is key to seeing results along with eating healthy.
I'm no fitness trainer, but I'd recommend doing the modified version for beginners your first time trying the workout.  This way you can see how your body responds and step it up the next time around if you feel like your body can take it.  Oh, and avoiding injury is always a good thing!

Thanks Jillian for this workout, I've been wanting a focused workout like this for some time now :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hermie a common caterpillar by Max Lucado illustrated by Daniel Hawarth

This is an adorable children's book meant for a level 2 reader.  However, my 3 year old loves to have this book read to her. In this story Hermie continues to tell God that he feels like a common caterpillar.  God tells him and his caterpillar friend Wormie: "Don't worry. I love you both just the way you are, but I'm not finished with you yet."  

This book has bright illustrations and kept the attention of my daughter when I read it to her.  And, then she sat down in her reading corner and attempted to retell the story.  This book is a good reminder for everyone that God is continually shaping and molding us.  I also liked that Hermie talked to God as a friend.  Not only does the story illustrate that God isn't finished with Hermie yet, but also that there is a relationship between Hermie and God.  

And, many times as a parent I feel I fail to show my daughter that I have a relationship with God beyond praying for meals and bedtime.  Maybe I'm being too hard on myself, which I'm really good at, but I do feel that books like these help begin the discussion about having a relationship with God.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 25

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WOF: Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God...? Romans 11:33 (MSG)

The above scripture was the theme scripture for Women of Faith.

So thankful for this opportunity to blog about a GREAT event! This was my first time attending Women of Faith. WOW!!! How do I even begin to describe my experience at Women of Faith?!! I'll start by saying it confirmed and reinforced what God has been teaching me this past year about life in general as a woman seeking God and His plan for my life.

They had an amazing line up of speakers: Patsy Clairmont, Andy Andrews, Brenda Warner, Lisa Whelchel (Facts of Life), and Marylin Meberg. Then, also amazing music by Mandisa, Sandi Patty, Amy Grant,  and can't forget the worship team! Deborah Joy Winans isn't to be forgotten either with her wonderful dramatic performances about balancing motherhood.  And, yes, Cece Winans is her aunt.

What do I say about Patsy?  You can't help but fall in love with this 5 foot, petite, feisty woman who suffered from agoraphobia. She's quick to get you laughing, but quick to get you crying too.  I truly learned that God has been leading me on the right path this year in setting boundaries, focusing on good thoughts rather than impure thoughts, and accepting myself for the person God made me.  Patsy is sincere in sharing from her heart and life experiences.  She doesn't sugar coat anything and somehow finds humor in the toughest of circumstances. Patsy is Andy Andrews favorite "tiny" person and it was a blast watching their interactions on stage.

Now, on to Andy Andrews.  OK, so he is a high energy individual.  Can I say that again?!!  He is a high energy individual who I thought looked like a ping pong ball on and off the stage when he first began speaking.  His unpredictability made you wonder what he was going to do next and what audience member he was going to use as an example to get his point across.  He was pretty hilarious too, but he could quickly get down to business and share the heart of his story.  During Q and A time someone asked him if he'd ever considered drinking decaf...LOL!

Brenda Warner, Lisa Whelchel, and Marilyn Meberg were great women also. Brenda can do the splits being a 40 something mother of 7 and she has an amazing testimony. Lisa Welchel was Blair on the Facts of Life and gave us great wisdom about friendships.  Marilyn Meberg has a need for speed and has found herself going 120 mph! By the way, I'd love to know what fast car she has at the moment?  She is a shrink and discussed the cravings and desires in our lives.  I think she'd be a pretty cool grandmother too!

Mandisa, Sandi Patty and Amy Grant performed for us and it was AWESOME!  Sandy Patty and Amy Grants voices haven't changed since I was a kid.  And, ya know, this was the first time I've seen either of  them in concert.  A childhood dream of mine has been to see Amy grant in concert...dream accomplished :)

I still feel that words cannot express how thankful I am for the opportunity to blog about this Over the Top conference.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I'll leave you with some words of wisdom from the conference:
Change can be good
Prayer and people matter
Actively choose to be grateful
Look for God's grace no matter the circumstance
Imperfect people make real friends

In the days and weeks to come I will do some speaker spotlights to share what I learned at this conference because it was just THAT good! So, stay tuned for more!

Women of Faith can I be your traveling blogger?  ;)

And, don't forget to enter my book giveaway HERE The author, Nicole Johnson, is commonly an author on the agenda of the Women of Faith weekends.  Although, she didn't make a guest appearance at the event I attended.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This is one of my favorite pictures from women of faith!  More pictures to come with my recap of the weekend.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just watched Kurt and Brenda Warner on the View. So excited to hear from Brenda Warner at Women of Faith!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fresh Brewed Life Giveaway

I recently posted my review of Fresh Brewed Life by Nicole Johnson. And, because I loved this book I want to give away a copy.

Here's what you need to do to enter:
1. Become a follower of my blog (required)

2. Write a comment telling me why you'd like the book (if you're having trouble leaving a comment please email me)


 Winner will be picked at random on September 24th.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Are 2 better than 1?

I'm a mother to 1.  Multiple people have tried to convince me that now is the time to have a 2nd child.  And, yes, I hear them out, but my husband has health concerns in regard to another pregnancy.  I've learned to listen to my husband! And, I've also have many people make it more than clear to me that I have a much easier life than them because I only have 1 child.

I'd really prefer to be treated as a parent instead of being marginalized because I only have 1 child.  The fact is, parenting is HARD no matter how many kids you have.  Yes, my life is different with 1 child, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm a parent. And, I realize that having multiple children adds extra craziness to life.  I obviously haven't lived it, so I really don't understand, but I can only imagine.

Recently, at the park I had a refreshing conversation with a mom that has multiple children. She was quick to include me in her circle of friends.  This mother observed that I'm a mother of 1 and ya know what she said, "I feel sorry for you because you have 1 child.  I have multiple children and all of them play together.  You are your daughter's playmate, entertainer, and everything all in 1."  I don't think this lady realizes how much this conversation meant to me.

All the sudden I had a fellow parent validating my position as a parent.  So,  I felt encouraged and refreshed. It lifted my spirits in a week of letting go and dropping my child off at preschool.  It also allowed me to  reflect on the opportunities I have as a parent.

I have a friend with multiple kids down the road.  We had an accidental meeting at the library today and I offered to bring her toddler home with me.  She needed some rest and it is always fun having a playmate for my daughter at our house.  My friend was well composed, but she has a lot going on in her life and I'm pretty sure she felt like this:

When these kids are together I see the benefits of having multiple children because there's so much laughter and joy in playing together as children.  And, then, it frees me up to get some neglected housework done!

Someday I would love to have another child, whether biological or adopted, but it isn't the right timing. So, at the moment I'll enjoy lending a helping hand to those friends that God puts in my life and enjoy the time I have with my daughter.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Am I normal?

My baby started preschool this week.  Tuesday was her first day.  I came home and cried.  Letting go and letting her grow up is hard.  My mom told me I'm normal and that was so good to hear! So, I must be doing something right then??!!!

The 2nd and 3rd days of preschool drop off were easier.  Plus, my daughter is quite enthusiastic about school right now. Not sure if this will last, but it is fun to watch her excitement along with talking about the new friends she's made.

 Can I go back on vacation???!!!

I've been using the the Duggar family liquid laundry detergent for about 3 weeks now.  So far I like it, but would like it to be a little more fragrant.  So, I may add some essential oils like they suggest.  And, since my body likes to sweat (i know, maybe TMI?) I'll be interested to see how this detergent continues with long term use on my sweaty clothes.

Stay tuned for a book giveaway to vacuum the house before I pickup my sweet girl!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Journey to Women of Faith....

Friday was a day of excitement for me!  Went to the mailbox to find my Women of Faith tickets waiting for me.  I've always wanted to go to this conference, but either timing or finances just haven't worked.  Well, I've been given tickets to blog about the conference....

The road hasn't been easy to try to get there and I haven't made it yet!
*I had tickets to the Portland conference, but with my daughter in preschool and my hubby's work schedule it just wasn't going to happen.  
* Got Spokane Women of Faith tickets instead
* It just so happens that my hubby has a conference the middle of that week and will be coming home the day I'm heading to the conference. 
*Asked multiple people to attend with me, most couldn't make it.
*Thought I was going to attend by myself, which I was okay with.
*I found a dear friend to attend with me and be my ride(since my hubby will have our 1 and only vehicle). 
*Found a babysitter for the gap of time that I'll be leaving and my hubby will be on his way home.  
*Lastly, I have a place to stay Friday night.  

WHEW! Since all of this was so difficult, I'm wondering what obstacles will come up before I'm actually sitting in my seat at the conference. And, believe me, you'll hear about it!

The most familiar names to me that will be at the conference are: Amy Grant and Sandi Patti. Other than that I'm not familiar with the lineup of speakers.  I'm definitely a first timer and am so excited to hear what God has to teach me.

"God loves us more than we know. He gives us more than we can ask or dream. He's unrestrained... excessive... outrageous... Over the Top"

Fresh Brewed Life

Fresh Brewed Life, a stirring invitation to wake up your soul, by Nicole Johnson came at the right time in my life!  Honestly, as I'm reading some of these chapters, I was thinking: "Wow, was this book written for me?!!"  Obviously, it was written for women in general, but it really got me thinking about my life and helped me dig deep emotionally.  Since this book has become my favorite out of all the books I've read recently, I want to give you the topics for each chapter:

Chapter 1:Surrender to God
Chapter 2:Encounter your journal
Chapter 3.Listen to your longings
Chapter 4: Embrace your beauty
Chapter 5: Interview your anger
Chapter 6: Savor your sexuality
Chapter 7: Celebrate your friendships
Chapter 8: Change your world
Chapter 9: Enrich your relationships
Chapter 10: Enjoy your freedom

Nichole shares honestly and openly about her life and what God has done to give her a fresh brewed life.  How he's changed relationships and given her new opportunities for growth. She encourages journaling, which I love, as a way to get emotions out on paper.  She approaches subjects that sometimes aren't focused on in churches today, but are necessary to further understand the way God made us as women. 

I will be looking at more of her books in the future.  This one was therapeutic for me, giving me so much to think about and to be thankful for in my life.  I will most definitely be reading it again.

Here's one of my favorite quotes from Chapter 7, celebrate your friendships: "Women are sisters who speak the same language, like many of the same movies, often enjoy eating off the same plate, and laugh over the guilt we feel for all the same things."

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 25

Friday, September 2, 2011

Welcome... my innermost fitness geek! I haven't discussed fitness much on this blog and something new is coming out that I'm excited for!  First of all, I'm a fan of exercise and find it necessary in my daily life.  It is my quiet time where I pray and reflect on my day.  However, when I do a Jillian Michaels workout I'm definitely not praying...oh wait, maybe I'm praying I will survive the torture!  I have been doing her 30 day shred workouts for a while now and need to get back into a routine.  What I like about her workouts are the fact that they are short enough to fit into a busy schedule and they work every muscle, sometimes muscles you didn't know you had.

Anyway, she has a butt and thigh workout coming out on September 6th and I just found out about it!  Ok, I've decided I MUST have this dvd(insert excited voice)!!!  Since I've taken some time off working out(due to some shoulder issues), I've noticed that my body needs those Jillian Michaels workouts to stay firm...

Check it out:  Jillian Michaels Killer Buns and Thighs  I think I'm sore already

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Laundry detergent

Ok, so I'm always looking for ways to save money.  This time, I made Duggar family liquid laundry detergent. I plan on using it this weekend.  It smelled great while my daughter and I were making it, which I'm hoping is a good sign.  Makes a total of 10 gallons.  I'll keep you posted on what I think about it.
For those of you who like powdered laundry detergent, they also have a recipe for that too.  And, a recipe for fabric softener.

Any other money saving ideas out there?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

3 year old antics

My daughter was recently in a wedding.  The last wedding she was in, she was the sweetest girl  standing next to me with my bouquet(yup, role reversal, she held my bouquet and I threw the flower petals).  So, I expected a performance just like that...that's what I get for having expectations!

These are the things I should have considered:
1. The wedding was at 4pm, so figure in no nap and the attempt to stay awake.
2.  Warning sign: fell asleep on the short trip to get to the church for the ceremony
3.  My daughter is 3, she walks into a room and sometimes says:
"Everybody, I'm here!" 
4. At the last wedding I had marshmallows in my dress pockets.  I was literally giving all the kids on stage marshmallows as fast as possible to keep them occupied.  Seriously, I stuffed 1 in one of their mouths when they were in the process of saying something.  No pockets or marshmallows this time :(

Here's the recap of the adventure:
She had her own bouquet to hold in her hands, which was good and ideal.

However, she found flower petals on the stage and threw them off.

When she realized the photographer was taking pictures of her, she looked at me and said he was taking pictures of her, turned around and began posing for him.

Decided to lie down on stage and do snow angels on the carpet, so would they be considered carpet angels? 

I was doing all I could to keep from laughing at this point, because that would only encourage her behavior.

I also had this moment of fear wondering if she'd flash anyone showing off her undies.

At one point she told me I was captain hook (where did that come from?!)

Asked where daddy was(other side of stage), and I was tempted to send her there.

After carpet angles, she also decided it would be fun to bang her hands on the floor, which made a fair amount of noise.

She moved closer to where the bride was standing once she moved for communion, but refused to move when the bride returned.

All this while I was reminding her about the candy after the wedding if she would just BE QUIET!

The 1 thing that captured her attention: when the pianist played/sang Great is Thy Faithfulness.

 After the ceremony I asked her daddy if he noticed her during the ceremony.  He said he couldn't hear a word she said. And, people said she was absolutely adorable up there.  WHEW!

All done...

Ok, so I admit I finished reading the Help(thanks to my vacation).  Emily, I still plan to discuss it with you and review our chapters before discussing so I don't give anything away!  For those of you who want to join in on the discussion, we will read chapters 1 through 5 by Monday.  Then, I'll try to post a summary of our discussion sometime on Tuesday.  Stay posted...and at some point I'll post a review of my daughters antics in the wedding ceremony, but for now you'll have to wait!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Help

Has anyone out there seen The Help?  I have to say I saw the movie, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  In fact, I enjoyed it so much I HAD to get the book.  And, I'm having trouble putting the book down...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oh so Wonderful...

Vacation is a wonderful thing! 

And, another thing I keep forgetting to share: I get the opportunity to feature the Women of Faith conference. 
Blogging+ 2 complimentary tickets=1 excited mama.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Did I really say that?!

Yup, said this to my 3 year old today: "Just because you have holes in your nose doesn't mean you put things in it."

Strangely quiet...

Sitting down and enjoying a quiet house right now.  It actually is a strange feeling.  My hubby took our daughter with him to run some errands.  We've been doing housework all morning, and of course I could  find something to do.  However, I think I need just this short amount of time to myself.

I love being a stay at home mom.  There are rare moments like these and I just feel like I need to soak it in.  To be thankful for my time as a mom, but also to be thankful for the few minutes by myself to just sit and enjoy.

It is such a privilege and joy to be a parent.  I wouldn't want it any other way. 

And, I'm also looking forward to our upcoming vacation. Beautiful scenery and a quick getaway with my hubby is exactly what I need for rejuvenation.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life"

 Has anyone out there heard of Nick Vujicic?!!  He's not only the author of Life Without Limits, but also a man born without arms and legs.  God has done amazing work in this man's life and he's an inspiration to many people.  His book discusses the challenges he's dealt with throughout his entire life and how God continues to work in and through him.  If someone without limbs can swim, surf, and live life to the the fullest, then who can stop any of us from accomplishing our dreams?

He discusses his troubles as a child and an adolescent, living a frustrating life, to God showing him what his calling is.  This man is an amazing person who has a positive outlook on life when it would be real easy to have a "woe is me" attitude and become bitter.  However, he chooses the path God has laid out for him and truly wants to live a "ridiculously good life."

You can tell Nick is a motivational speaker through his writing, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but his personality and love for Christ shines through.  He also has a non-profit organization called: Life Without Limbs

No one dreams of a child being born without limbs, and it is very rare.  This man has taken this huge obstacle(one that many people said was impossible) and turned it into a way to inspire everyone around him.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Time With God for Mothers

Time with God for Mothers is a short devotional book for all busy moms.  It is an encouraging book with scripture and a positive focus for each devotional.  This is meant to encourage mom's to keep their focus on God.  Maybe a good coffee table book for a friend to look through when they are at your house? That is, if you have a coffee table, I don't.  However, I really like to dig deep in my devotional books and was left wondering what could be added. It is a small book in size and length, with each page being 1 devotional.  This may be the perfect book for a mom who doesn't feel there's enough time in each day to have devotional time.  All of us struggle with balancing life and this may just give the right perspective for one of those busy moms out there.  The only problem for me is, the book is lost somewhere in my house.  My daughter put it somewhere amongst her books and I'm not sure when I'm going to find it. 

I received this book free from the publisher through the> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Playing catch up...

Excuse me as I play catch up with my blogging for books reviews.  I have 2 more to finish and then I'll be done for a while!

Another Cute Children's Book

Ok, I have to admit that my daughter recognizes these book packages when we get them in the mail.  She knows for the most part that these books are for her.  So, when we open them she hugs the book before we read it. On to the book review...

Another cute book on the uniqueness of God's creation!  This book is about a polar bear cub and mama polar bear discussing that God created different bears that live in different parts of the world.  The polar bear asked questions many children may ask.  Questioning why God doesn't make all bears the same and attempting to understand that even other bears eat different food. The mama bear was in awe about all things different in the world, even how snow is different when it falls and when it melts.

As an adult, I read this book and the message I gathered was the uniqueness in all of us.  It also hit me that as a parent, I have a responsibility to teach my child about God's creativity in making all of us different.  Not that I didn't know this already, but it was a good reminder.

The artwork was cute, and even though it is a cute book it's not my daughters favorite.  At this point in our lives it's a bit wordy for a 2 1/2 year old attention span.  She's into Dr Sues rhyming books right now, but someday down the road she may like reading this more often.  Right now, if it rhymes and it's funny it will keep her attention no matter how long it is!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Review: God Loves Me More Than That

This is a children's book that rhymes and talks about how much God loves us.  Really expressing the expanse of God's love.

How much love does God have for me?
More than the letters between A and Z
More than the bumbles in a bumble bee.
God loves me more than that! 

My 2 1/2 year old daughter has had me read this multiple times to her.  The last time I read it to her, she was hugging herself and smiling.  It was as if she was soaking in God's love through the words of the book.  

I think this book is great to start the discussion with children about how much God loves them.  And, as a parent reading this, it's also a good reminder for myself!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Review: This is your brain in love

This is your brain in love by Dr Earl Henslin discusses bringing your best brain to your marriage.  The author discusses 5 different types of lovers:
* Scattered Lover
* Over-focused Lover
* Blue Mood Lover
* Agitated Lover
* Anxious Lover

He presents what part of the brain is affected for each of these lovers and what steps to take to move on in marriage.  If needed, he recommends brain scans to make accurate decisions about the right type of medication in case that’s needed to help brain function.  

In his intro he discusses Jewish marriage and their traditions. He compared Christian marriage to Jewish marriage.  He did recommend taking a deeper look at Jewish marriage and traditions.  Those of us that grew up in the Christian culture could learn some good things about marriage from the Jewish culture. It may actually improve your marriage.

As someone with a social service background I really enjoyed this book.  I actually think some of this information may have helped me when I was working as a case manager.  I haven't read much about brain scan/imaging, but am now curious to read more about it and how it shows brain functioning and processing.  The author mentions that in some people, an injury to a certain part of the brain can bring forth certain behavior and sometimes can be controlled by medication and lifestyle changes.

I received this book free from the publisher through the> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Book Review: The Hole in our Gospel

 The main question asked in this book is: "What does God expect of us?"  The book is about CEO of world vision and his journey of giving up a high paying corporate job to doing his work with World Vision.

I truly liked how the book was a call to action for each of us as Christians, but would've liked not just focusing on overseas, but also focusing on what can be done in our own country.  I realize Richard Stearns is the President of World Vision and his job is seeing what is going on outside our country, so his focus of World Vision makes sense.

I was involved in a video study of this book at church and there was one particular story that hit close to home for me. That week was about a child who had both his legs amputated, but didn't have money for prosthetics(my brother has a prosthetic leg and they are expensive!).  When Richard Stearns came home he talked with his family and they were able to pay for that child to get prosthetics.  It wasn't World vision that payed for it.  That is an example of what the book is about...calling people to take action.  To see a need and do what Christ would the need that is staring you in the face.

This book really helped me refocus my life.  I may not be able to help anyone overseas at this point and that is ok.  My calling may be to take action in the current town I'm living in.  I can be a missionary in my own town and I'll do my best to follow the action God wants me to take.

I received this book free from the publisher through the> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Currently under construction...

Working on creating this blog, but it may take some time to get it where I want. 

I'm the proud mother of 1 child.  An amazing 3 year old who pushes me to become a better mom and keep my focus on God.

My goal with this blog is to focus on physical and spiritual well being along with this journey of parenthood. Parenthood is the hardest job I've ever had, but it's one that I love.