Sunday, January 29, 2012

Please pray...

For Julie Longstreet, a mother to a friend of mine.  Her body has had a rough couple weeks and had chemotherapy on Friday morning. The initial diagnosis was leptomeningeal metastasis, a cancer found in her brain and spinal fluid, related to the breast cancer she had before.

She will have another round of chemotherapy on Friday and Jenny, her daughter, is concerned she won't be well enough.  Julie is having a hard time recovering from this past Friday's therapy.

Julie is a woman who has a great faith in God. Please pray for strength for her body to endure through this time of intense treatment.  Also, please pray for family members to be able to get rest in this time of uncertainty.  Jenny told me she'd been sleeping at the hospital in a cot(sharing it with her dad), but tonight went to her parents home to sleep because she desperately needs rest.   She had a hard time leaving the hospital due to anxiety...

I believe in the power of prayer, please join me in praying for this family.

Guest Post: Tara's Corner

So I'd like to start by thanking my dear friend Angie for inviting me to be apart of her wonderful blog! I hope that I can do her proud and am able to come up with something that is interesting to read.
I figured I would start with and introduction..My name is Tara, I am 31 years old and I live in the same tiny town in Idaho where I grew up. I have been married to my first love for 12 years and we have had 6 children, 4 here with us to raise and nurture and twin baby boys that were born at 18 weeks, watching over us from heaven. I call myself a stay-at-home-working-mom and that is because my primary job is taking care of my kids, but I do have the random part time job to help make ends meet. My oldest son, Talon, is 10 followed by my twins, Hayden and Chloe who are almost 8, and my youngest, Tucker, who is 4 1/2.
I have been told I have experienced a lot of different things for my age. Not all have been pleasant, but I am grateful for every single challenge, good or bad that I have faced, for it has made me the person I am today. Mostly, I am just trying to do the best that I can to have a successful, loving marriage, raise my kids to be kind, responsible, respectful people and still try to enjoy the ride. I hope you will join me and have as good of a time as I am!

Stay tuned for more from my dear friend, Tara.  I'll leave you with this picture, as I'm sure there are days where all of us feel a bit frazzled.  Lately, it seems I've been frazzled more often than normal...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Review: The Skin Map

The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead is a story that deals with alternate time lines. A young British man, named Kit, during a trip to meet his girlfriend. meets a man claiming to be his great grandfather. He shows Kit it is possible to travel from 1 world to another, each world having a distinct history.  Along the way, Kit loses his girlfriend or accidentally leaves her behind in one of the worlds.   Kit is trying to find her, but along the way he needs to find the skin map.  It is a map made of human skin which contains a road map for traveling between the different worlds.

This audio book caught my eye because my Dad is a fan of this author.  I've probably had it for 3 months and waited until we were on our Christmas drive to listen to it because it is 11 hours long.  Honestly, it didn't really keep my interest but that could have had something to do with me being in the back seat keeping our toddler entertained.  Or, audio books just aren't my thing.

So, here's my husband's view of the book: plot unfolded very slowly and the story wasn't particularly compelling.  It was meant to be part of a series, but the book didn't wrap things up well enough to make us want to get the next book. Basically, it helped pass our time on the road during our Christmas travels.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Project Gillen: Birthdays

Leah's birthday was Saturday and Anna's birthday is today!  I signed up to send them a package this month.  Along with that, I also wrote the Carolina Panthers an email as soon as I heard Leah and Anna were football fans.  I knew they would be getting some goodies in the mail (thanks to my contact who got back to me quickly), I just didn't know when.  I was so excited to find out the package arrived on Leah's birthday:
Items included: jerseys, logo cups, notepads, car magnets, stuffed Sir Pur (the Panther mascot), team picture, key chain, etc 

And here's a couple pictures from opening their gifts from my family on their birthdays:

I also included yellow and pink nail polish, with the names of "excuse me" and "jamaica me crazy"

 Leah told me they like their gifts!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Review of our week in pictures...

Snow art
Finally took time to make a mini snowman!
Relaxing in her sled while I was pulling it down the street.
The only good thing about a steep driveway: great for sledding!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sweet innocence

Last night my daughter said this sweet prayer before bed: "Dear Jesus, Thank you for mommy and daddy, help daddy have a good interbew tomorrow, and thank you for God..."

And, today during a play date she stood in her windowsill and tore down her curtains and curtain rod (while her play buddy watched from her bed).  Now, this all happened while I was in the pantry removing my snowy clothes(and no I wasn't naked, I had dry clothing under the snow covered ones).   I quickly removed the curtain rod before it could be turned into a sword or weapon of some sort.  While getting my daughter ready for her nap I asked her what her reason was for taking her curtains down.  She quickly responded by saying, "I was trying to get in trouble." I did everything I could to keep from laughing!  I think I did chuckle a little and said this, "You were trying to get in trouble?"  "Yup!" Well, I'm glad she was being honest with me.

Her discipline will be helping Daddy fix it.  That's what her discipline was for the time her and the same play buddy were jumping on her bed which resulted in broken boards.  I informed them there was to be no jumping, and I walked past her room to hear them say, "did we break it? can we fix it? what should we do?"  Yup, they broke a board under the bed because they decided to jump after I said no. 

What I've learned with these 2 play buddies: don't leave them unattended in my daughter's bedroom...not even for 30 seconds!

I'm so blessed with the joy my daughter and her play mates bring into my life! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

4 seconds of proof...

My daughter has decided she wants to help use the camera.  And, the new activity we've been doing is hula hooping.   My little missy caught a whole 4 seconds of it!  To give her credit, she thought she was taking a picture.  Just a little bit of my life with a toddler!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Playing catch up...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I know it is so late, but better late than never right??!!!  We were traveling during the Christmas season and were so busy spending time with family that I didn't have time to stop and blog.

I still feel that I'm still playing catch up from Christmas.  Just got our Christmas decorations put away on Monday, along with the neverending housework, and have 1 more book review to do. Honestly, I think that will be my last review.  I'm tired of getting books and being disappointed, and it seems my time is being filled up with other projects like this one:Project Gillen I have been blessed with the amount of response I've gotten from family, friends, and new friends that want to encourage Leah and Anna. I just mailed out their birthday package and am hoping Leah will email some pictures to post after they have celebrated their birthdays!

I've also been squeezing in some workouts.  It has been a challenge getting workouts in with my 3 1/2 year old avoiding napping like the plague, but somehow I'm getting them in! 
Here's what my workout week looks like:
Day 1: Jillian Michaels 30 day shred level 3 with 3 pound weights, after that I do level 1 with 1 pound weights
Day 2: 30 to 45 minutes of interval training on my bike (if I'm rushed for time I'll do 20 minutes)
Day 3: Jillian Michaels 30 day shred level 2
Day 4: 30 to 45 minutes of interval training on my bike
Day 5: bonus day if I have time:  Jillian Michaels killer buns and thighs

And, in the middle of writing this I took a break for my daughter to have a tea party while I put together dinner.  She loves tea parties!  In fact, on vacation, she was having a conversation with her Papo (name she gave one of her grandfathers) and he asked her what she thinks "happy" means.  She said, "having tea parties." So, this time, I took the tray off her tea cart and put it all together: 
As you can tell most everything in our house is princess pink and Disney princess!

*And, 1 more thing:  stay tuned for a guest post from my childhood friend Tara!
  She is a lifelong friend of mine. I wanted to diversify my blog with a family that has multiple children (she has 4 here on earth and 2 in heaven).  Along with that, I really think she'd like to blog but doesn't feel she has the time to manage one.  So, this is her opportunity to put her story out there and let me feature it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Some pictures...

Not really sure what to write at the moment, so here's some pictures:
Lalaloopsy dolls are quite popular in our house.  My daughter only had 1 small doll before Christmas. 
Before going to the store to purchase a bike helmet, our girl came out wearing this.  

And, this came int the mail today!  I'm now an official Make a Wish volunteer!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Paying it forward

I want this year to be the year of "paying it forward" for myself and my family.  After taking financial peace university, it really stuck with me that as a Christian it is part of my responsibility to care for widows and orphans. God has put this on my heart with specifics in mind.  The specific I want to talk about is a new blog buddy that has come into my life.  Reading her story really touched me and since then I have been praying for her and her daughter.  I don't really know this woman.  The only contact we've had is through following each others' blogs, twitter and email.  We haven't met in person.  She lives in North Carolina and I live in the state of Washington.

I've always wanted to help others in any way I can.  I don't have money at this point to give to non-profits or other organizations.  However, I do have this blog and I know a few people read it.

My new blog buddy is Leah Gillen and she's a widow with a teenage daughter.  Her husband committed suicide this past May.  Through her blog she's been writing about her journey of grief.  I was thinking recently: "Well, how can I come alongside her in this journey and maybe encourage or bring a little joy in this hard time?"

I have this idea, not everyone will join in on it and that is ok.  It is called Project Gillen and I'm hoping friends, family and strangers will join in on the project.  I would like people to sign up for a specific month to encourage Leah and her daughter in whatever way they want.  It could be encouraging words, a package filled with goodies of some sort, or a note saying I'm praying for you.  I'd love for people to be creative and send me pictures of their creativity! 

If this is something you're interested in, please go to this page: Project Gillen

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Samples, samples and more samples...

 This is what I received in the mail today:

Items: splenda essentials, emergen-c dietary supplement, seattle's best coffee, nescafe taster's choice instant coffee, and a dove haircare product.

I embarked on this journey to get free samples during my 2 weeks of rest after my foot surgery.  I stumbled upon this website: my free product samples.It is great!  I've received many more items beyond these ones.  It was just exciting to get so many items at 1 time in my mailbox(of course, I'd been gone for 1 week, but still very exciting).  I'm most excited about the Seattle's best coffee!

Here's some recommendations that's also shared on
*Set up a separate email address just for requesting free items.  You'll get lots of junk mail!
*Don't give your real birth date (my viewpoint on this is to avoid identity theft).  Most sites want to make sure you're over 18.
*Don't give your real phone number unless you want solicitor's calling you!
*For myself personally: if it is going to take too much time outside of giving a name and address, then it's not worth it for me.
*Good samples go quickly, so check in the morning as soon as you get up.  Many times you have to like them on facebook before you can enter your name and address.

Items I've received in my first 2 months of requesting samples/free items:
*photo Christmas cards
*shampoo samples
*fragrance samples
*peterthomasroth laser free skin re-surfacer
*costco samples(I've been impressed with the size of their samples, not full size, but enough for multiple uses to really see if you want to purchase the product)
*disney princess postcard sent to my daughter after writing the disney fan department
*disney movie rewards without purchasing movies
*free redbox movie rentals
 *free calendars

I'm sure I'm forgetting some items and I'm waiting for more stuff in the mail. 

Who doesn't like getting free stuff without strings attached? I'd be interested to know what free items you've received...