Monday, February 28, 2011

Personally...

From: "In Constant Prayer" by Robert Benson

We live in the age of the personal.

We have personal soundtracks on portable personal sound systems so we can sort of clear out our own personal space whenever we happen to be out there among the human race.

We have personal computers, and we can hire personal shoppers - though I have to confess that I am still personally up to the task of disposing of my personal income myself. We have personal identification numbers, and some of us have personalized license plates.

I heard on the radio an advertisement that says I have a personal banker, though we have never actually met. And if you met me, you could tell by looking at me that I clearly have personal style that fits comfortably around my persona.

Once a quarter, I get a personal invitation in the mail to have my car's oil changed and engine belts checked by my personal mechanic, the one who works for the dealership that services my ultimate personal driving machine.

I take personal responsibility whenever I should, or at least when I have to, and I am personally convinced that I am on the planet to be my own person.

So it is really not a surprise that my personal prayer to my personal Savior is all too often about one person.



Ouch.

True Sweethearts

Last weekend was our Sweetheart Banquet at church. Yes, for Valentine's Day. Better late than never! Mom and dad were willing to watch the kids so Stephen and I could dominate in the Newlywed Game we play every year at the Banquet! We were sure 2011 was our year because we'd been practicing since the 2010 banquet!!

Unfortunately, we came in second place, which we were still really happy about. That is the funniest game to play with a group of people! Some questions were "gimme" questions for us - What color are the sheets on your bed right now? (We only have white sheets.) Where would you travel if you could go anywhere? (Pre-decided answer just in case we had this question - Alaska.) Favorite meal your wife makes? (Chicken and dumplings of course!)

Some questions we thought they might ask so we planned answers for them. What is my pet peeve about Stephen? He spends money too frivolously. What is Stephen's pet peeve about me? I spend money too frugally. What's my favorite gift he's ever gotten me? Massages. Etc, etc. We got all of those questions right, by the way.

But then they threw in some tricky ones! Wives, what car would your husband get if it was given to him for free? (Silence on my end.) I now know that Stephen would get a Viper RT-10. Well, I'll remember that for 2012! Husbands, what kind of deodorant does your wife use? (As one of the ladies said, "That's hard for Stephen to answer - Amanda would use whatever deodorant has a coupon!" Haha, so true!) Unfortunately, Stephen (who doesn't even know what type of deodorant he uses) answered that I use Right Guard. So funny!! We have about 10+ sticks of Right Guard deodorant at home (thanks Rite Aid!) so I guess it was on his brain. They asked who steals the covers in the bed? I answered that I do, thinking Stephen would put that I steal them. He answered that he does, thinking that I would put that he does. D'oh!!

The one I'm proud of him for getting was, what is your wife's favorite animal? I'm not a big animal lover so at the last second I scribbled in Panda Bears, only because this is a childhood nickname of mine. He also put Panda Bears. :)

I guess we do know each other after all, even though we didn't win!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

#55 - Run a mile in less than 10 minutes

On Saturday, Jenn and I are running the Sham Rock 'N' Roll race, which is a 5K. It'll be my first 5K that I know of, and I'll be able to mark off #56 on my 101 list.

I ran today for the first time since Hunter was born. He's five months old and I didn't run a single time when I was pregnant with him, which was approximately 9 months. When I got pregnant with Hunter, Brianna was 9 months old and I had probably run with her two times. Add in the 9 months I was pregnant with her that I didn't run and it's been a long freakin' time since I ran!!!!

I thought I was going to die.

But I didn't. And I ran the first mile in 9:11. So I've already beat my 10:00 goal for running a mile. Now my goal is to run it in under 9:00 which should be extremely easy to knock eleven seconds off my time. Especially because I was running with Hunter in the jogging stroller.

You know it's bad when you walk in the door, your husband raises his eyebrows and says, "You sure you want to do a 5K this Saturday?"

If I do indeed die on Saturday after running the 5K, I want my tombstone to say, "Exercise kills."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Voyage With the Vikings


I recently received my first Imagination Station book from Tyndale House Publishers. Growing up I distinctly remember listening to the radio program called "Adventures in Odyssey" which is a Focus on the Family program. Imagination Station is part of that program, so I was really interested to review this book even though it is a children's book! This is the first book of the series, and you are introduced to Mr. Whittaker - the caretaker of the Imagination Station - Patrick, and Beth. Imagination Station is a time traveling device, and in this book Patrick and Beth are taken to meet the Vikings and complete a mission for Mr. Whittaker.

This book was really great! The book is almost a second grade reading level, and it is definitely a series I would enjoy reading with my children. It explained things throughout the book in a way that I believe would be really easy for kids to understand. This specific book was about Vikings; particularly Erik the Red and Leif Eriksson. There was a lot of history in the book, but it was intertwined with the story and it was quite interesting. I believe children would find this book easy to read and intriguing. It had fantastic pictures that would entertain them as well. I would certainly get my children all the books in the series if they are all this good!
The authors, Marianne Hering and Paul McCusker both work for Focus on the Family. Hering is a former editor of the Clubhouse magazine (I used to love that magazine!) and McCusker is a writer for Adventures in Odyssey.
I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers for this review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spirit in the Sky Massage

For Christmas, "Hunter" got me three massages from a local place called Spirit in the Sky. Today was the first chance I've had to go there and it was awesome. I mean, obviously I was going to love it. Massage? Hour away from the house? Peace and quiet? What could possibly be bad about that scenario??'

In the spirit of promoting local places (haha, no pun intended - "Spirit in the Sky"??) I just want to tell you about this great massage I had! I had a Swedish full body and it was sooo nice. I love being massaged and for some reason when I mention it to Stephen I always get a big eye roll. Just kidding!

By the time I got undressed and laid down on the (heated) bed, listened to the calm music and smelled the incredible scents for a couple of minutes and practically fell asleep before the lady even walked in to start the massage.

Like I said, I had the Swedish, so it was a full body "tension reducing" massage. She started on my back/shoulders/arms and then did my legs, then flipped me on my back and started at the bottom and worked her way up again. Then she focused on my neck. Any part of my body that was exposed but not being worked on was draped in a warm towel. The lotion she used smelled awesome. When I was lying on my back she gave me an eye mask that I believe was also scented.

When it was over she told me that my upper back is really tense and that I need to drink more water. I drink a ton of water, especially since I breastfeed, but I guess everyone could use a little more water in their diet... She asked if I ever do any stretching and of course I said no. She said I might want to do some type of upper body stretching every day to help with my muscles.

I highly recommend this location. Stephen got a great package deal which was 3 60-minute massages for $120. Trust me... well worth it. And I still have two more left! Hooray!

The girl that massaged me is Korinda but I know there are a couple of other ladies that do it as well. The location of this place is behind Applebee's, along the road where Sears and Big Lots are located. You should be able to map it out.

So... here is the information if you're looking for a gift or if you want a gift from someone. :)

Spirit in the Sky
100 Magnolia Square Ct
Aberdeen NC 28315
910-944-1213

Rates:
Swedish massage - Tension reducing massage for complete relaxation to relieve the stresses of everyday life.
  • Full body 60 minute - $60
  • Full body 90 minute - $90
  • Neck, back and soulders 30 minutes - $30

Deep Tissue massage - Therapeutic massage that relieves chronic muscle tension.

  • 60 minutes - $70
  • 90 minutes - $110

Sports massage - Releases muscle tension and restores balance to the musculoskeletal system. Helps athletes prevent injuries.

  • 60 minutes - $65
  • 90 minutes - $95

Aromatherapy massage - Oils pressed from flowers and herbs that are infused in a gentle massage technique that relaxes and allows detoxification of daily stresses.

  • 60 minutes - $65
  • 90 minutes - $95

Thai massage - Involves deep stretching and deep massage. Increases flexibility and range of movement.

  • 60 minutes - $70

Couples massage

  • 60 minutes - $120

Prenatal massage

  • 60 minutes - $60
  • 70 minutes - $70

Reflexology - reduces stress, induces relaxation, improves circulation, cleanses the body of toxins and brings the whole body back to a state of balance.

  • 60 minutes - $50

Hot stone massage

  • 60 minutes - $70
  • 90 minutes - $110

European facial - 60 minutes - $65

Deep purifying facial - 75 minutes - $75

Anti-aging facial - 75 minutes - $85

Mens sports facial - 50 minutes - $60

Express facial - 30 minutes - $50

Back facial - 60 minutes - $70

Eyebrow waxing - $12

Lip/chin waxing - $12

Underarm waxing - $22

Mud wrap - 70 minutes - $95

Salt Glow Scrub - 60 minutes - $80

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sleep Habits

Last weekend we had family from Georgia come in town for a couple of days. Right before they got here, Hunter slept one night from 11pm to 7am which was his longest stretch ever. Then, the very next night, he was up every three(ish) hours again.

Whaaaaa??

I guess that one night was a fluke because he's not had another night like that since. But last night was pretty good! He slept from 11pm to 4:15am, ate for about 20 minutes, and went back to bed. Imagine my surprise when I was woken up by Brianna this morning at 8:30 and Hunter was still sleeping soundly in his room right next to her. He ended up sleeping until 9:00. Nice!

Basically everyone told me that when we had Hunter, it would screw with Brianna's sleep schedule. I thank God that wasn't the case. Even when we put Hunter upstairs to sleep in the room next to Bri's, they have never once woken each other up. This is awesome because I am not good with just a little sleep. So even when Hunter has had crazy nights, he tends to sleep really late in the mornings and so does Bri, so it gives me an opportunity to catch up.

Oh yeah... we also figured out what might have been the cause for Hunter waking up so much those nights after his 8-hour night. Leila was playing with his this weekend and noticed a tooth. I blew it off, saying that he and Brianna always have gotten those white spots on their gums. She was pretty certain of what she was seeing though.

It's hard to see but after checking it out, it looks like Hunter has his first tooth about to break through. Oh my Lordy! I know Bri was several months older than this when she got her first tooth. That is just crazy to me.

Hopefully he will get plenty of rest and his teeth won't bother him much. They never seemed to bother Brianna when hers were coming in.

That's all for now.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Life Without a Computer

For a while my computer has been running really slowly, getting stuck for no reason, and just being all around irritating. I'm fortunate that Jenn gave me her old laptop a few months back because my other desktop is in the attic (was in Hunter's room) and Stephen lets me use his laptop whenever possible but there are times we both need a computer.

After I complained about my computer enough, Stephen talked to a guy he works with who said the problem is my RAM on that computer is low. That's supposedly an easy fix. Long story short, we purchased some more RAM for my computer.

I went to do a coupon seminar in Candor Friday morning. It went really well. We had about 20-25 men and women show up and I had a lot of fun. Only three people fell asleep. Just kidding!

Side note: On the way home I stopped at the West End dump to do dumpster diving and got about 15 coupon inserts. :)

When I got home, Stephen looked at me with a very guilty look on his face and said, "I may have messed up your computer."

Longer story short... after talking to Geek Squad we're not really positive what happened but my computer is down for the count. They were able to back up my hard drive but at the moment we have laptops only (unless I choose to sit in the attic and use the computer) and neither of these have my camera software on them. So I can't upload pictures, I can't update my documents (which include my grocery budget, 101 list, etc.).

I like to think I don't rely on technology that much but it seems technology has called my bluff.

Until I get a new computer (thanks to the company I mystery shop for I get the employee discount at Dell and thanks to Ebates I get 4% cash back when I shop at Dell!) I will have to blog about our life... without pictures. Post recipes... without pictures. Save my receipts. Hope I don't go over budget. Not update my Itunes. And probably lots of other stuff I will come up with in the next few days.

So that's what's been going on the past few days. We had family in town and went to see Stephen's family in Eden but I can't upload my cute pictures. I will get them up as soon as I have a new computer on hand!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Life, In Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson

I wanted to read this book because I was interested in the story of a young girl who came so close to death through suicide. I wanted to see the decisions she made which led up to that attempt on her life, and what kept her going after the attempt.

This book was written so well. I read it in about a 36-hour timeframe, and I don't have a lot of free time to be reading! It was fairly short, but the main thing was I just didn't want to put it down. The girl who wrote this book had a way of telling her story that got straight to the point and wanted me to find out what happened next in her life. I cannot believe the struggles she was able to overcome, and I loved her honesty about the issues she had not only with physically having to heal, but having to heal from anxiety and depression.

As I read this book I could think of more than a few people I want to borrow it and read. Kristen's story is really inspiring. It is really a miracle that she lived through this tragedy and is now able to use her story to help others. I would absolutely recommend it to any teenagers or adults who are struggling with depression or simply are interested in hearing Kristen's story.


I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

#92 - Purge Closet & #96 - Go through Jeans

I posted a plea to Jennifer on her Facebook page - basically, PLEASE, PLEASE come show me the error of my ways when it comes to clothes! I had probably 15-20 items of clothes that I just wasn't ready to get rid of yet but I just needed a push one way or the other. And I owned probably 13 pairs of jeans and wore three consistently. Oh, and P.S. one of those is getting altered because the zipper broke, so that means down to two pairs of jeans. Yeah.

She was super excited because she is awesome like that and that is why she is my BFF.

Even more exciting - we had two extremely awesome offers of clothes come to us just a few days apart. Stephen K.'s girlfriend offered us her throwaways and then Cindy's friend Megan offered us her throwaways! Hallelujah! A new wardrobe for free!!

So she lugged her bags and boxes of clothes over here today. She sat and watched me try on every pair of jeans I own. Every shirt I was unsure if it was too short. Some dresses I pulled off the hanger and she said "No." before I could even blink. She assured me I could pull off some of the clothes. She was amazed that I don't own more shoes. She helped me piece outfits together.

And almost three hours, one pizza, and four tired children later?

Closet purged.

Jeans purged.

New clothes in piles around the house, waiting to be sorted for laundry or giveaway.

I took pictures of the piles and then decided there is such a thing as too much information.

I now have ONLY jeans that fit me. I have shirts and skirts I'm not ashamed to wear. Clothes that make me feel GOOD! And thanks to two lovely ladies giving their clothes and one lovely lady helping me sort through them, I got a whole new wardrobe for absolutely NO COST!!

I went through Megan's clothes as soon as I got home from church on Sunday. As soon as I went through them I put them in the laundry so I could begin wearing them to church Sunday night. After I got dressed for church in my new clothes, Stephen took one look at me and playfully smacked me on the butt. Brianna grinned, walked over, and followed suit. I laughed so hard as I told Cindy that story, and she said, "Now that's the response we were looking for!"

Thank you so much to generous people. Now what am I going to use my TJ Maxx gift cards for.... oh the possibilities!

Adventures in Booga Booga Land (DVD) Review

Adventures in Booga Booga Land is a DVD that is designed for children to not only learn about Bible stories, but have them broken down in a way that is easy for them to pay attention to and understand. This particular DVD is designed to explain three parables of Jesus - the workers in the vineyard, the wise and foolish builders, and the lamp under the bowl. I believe this DVD is appropriate for a wide range of children, from two years old to older kids.

I almost thought the 45-minute DVD was never going to get watched - 45 minutes can be a long time for a child to sit still. But the stories were actually cut into three segments that were less than 15 minutes each. They featured silly animals that made the story really easy to understand. I don't believe that younger children will understand the message but they will love the cartoons and actions of the cartoons. These stories made the parables so easy to understand, but the stories were not dumbed down at all. I would recommend this series to other parents. I do think the illustrations were a little bit lacking - maybe not as refined as some other cartoons I have seen - but it did not take away from the DVD at all.

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 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Just Stuff

After a long, hard afternoon at Kindermusik, it's only fair that you get to come home and put your feet up.


What a beautiful hat!



Making sure Baby is strapped in safely:


Looks like Baby is just relaxing with her water at the computer...


Daddy's shoes are a tad big:


I do not condone this picture.


Love this!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

#90 - A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life is a photo project where, basically, you try to take a picture during each hour of the day. I thought this would be so much fun because I love taking pictures, and I can never remember what we do all day because it's so "normal" seeming. I decided yesterday to go on and mark this off my 101 list. It was kind of cool finding something each hour to take a picture of... I think I am going to do it again soon!


The 9:00 Hour: We usually wake up around 9:00 each morning. I know, this sounds so late to me, but at this point, still getting up with Hunter every few hours, I don't feel lazy! This is a very typical morning... when Brianna wakes up I get up and either keep quiet so I don't wake up Hunter or I put him down to play, depending on if he's awake or not. I get Brianna whatever she wants for breakfast, and then I get my coffee. While I sip my coffee I stand next to Brianna and usually try to clip a handful of coupons.



The 10:00 Hour: I have a ton of bread in my freezer and it's basically just taking up room because I can't find anyone to take it off my hands but I'm not going to use it all either. So every couple of days I make a batch of breadcrumbs. We use breadcrumbs in a lot of recipes - primarily pork chops and chicken tenders - so these will get used fairly quickly!


The 11:00 Hour - At this point in the day I was putting away the kids' laundry. While I do that I always rifle through their closets and drawers and I try to find things to sell or give away. I found a few more things to throw in my "to sell" box!


The 12:00 Hour - Lunch time! This is what Brianna asked for for lunch.


Lunch: The Aftermath.


The 1:00 Hour - If we don't have any errands to run I like to find something fun to do together during the day. On this day, Brianna and I made Rice Krispies treat houses. She decorated them with gumdrops, candy balls, and frosting. Okay, I did the windows and door for frosting. But she did everything else. Turns out she would only eat the gumdrops. That's okay because I would rather eat the house!




The 2:00 Hour - At this point I was cleaning out the refrigerator. SO. MUCH. FUN.

The 3:00 Hour - Brianna had just laid down for a nap... time for some Hunter and Mommy play time!!

The 4:00 Hour - Making the bed. See how exciting my life is??

The 5:00 Hour - On our way home from Kindermusik! Still shaking our jingle bells!

The 6:00 Hour - On my way to Ladies Group at church.


The 7:00 Hour - I was in Bible study at church... didn't get to snap a picture.

The 8:00 Hour - See "The 7:00 Hour".

The 9:00 Hour - I was driving home from "The 7:00 Hour".

The 10:00 Hour - Hunter looks how I feel!


This was such a fun project. You can see I get to do such fun stuff during the day (things with the kids) and also such yucky but necessary things (laundry, cleaning fridge). This was a very typical day around our house. I guess that's why I love every day I have here!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

God Gave Us the World by Lisa Bergren and Laura Bryant

I picked this book to review because I felt like my kids don't have enough books. Kidding!! Seriously, though, most of our books are Dr. Seuss or nursery rhymes or we've just read them a thousand times.

I loved this book. I loved that the characters said realistic things, like, "I've never seen 'em!" and slang terms. It showcased different types of bears, where they live, and things that are specific to them, such as sloth bears who like to hang from trees. It was a fun way to learn about different animals. The book also did a great job of explaining why we are all different, and praising God for being our Creator without being cheesy or difficult to understand.

I loved the pictures, and so did Brianna (21 months old). I loved that they changed the font based on words, such as making the word "quiet" very small and making the word "loud" very big and bold. That will be useful to children who can read this book on their own, helping to show the difference between these words. Brianna sat still through this entire book, which is fairly long, and that in itself is a rave review for this book because she rarely sits still through a whole book!

All in all, I thought this was a fantastic book and I would highly recommend it for anyone with children. It is actually recommended for ages three to eight, but trust me, you can start them young on this one!


I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Playdate at Granny's

These pictures are from a play date that Brianna and Claire had at Granny's almost a month ago. Yes, the boys were there too, but they didn't do much playing.

The girls spent most of their time eating Granddaddy's crackers and putting on makeup as you will see in the following pictures:
























Bri didn't quite get the whole lip gloss thing. She just smeared it all over her face! Granddaddy was a great sport by participating in Ring Around the Rosie with the girls. Granny was incredible for letting us invade her house for an entire morning! It was so much fun and we can't wait to do it again!

Monday, February 7, 2011

He Speaks

Here is some of Hunter's babbling for your viewing pleasure!

video

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pictures

What a busy, busy week! I think I say that every week to myself, but seriously.

Monday we had Hunter's 4-month doctor's appointment. He weighed in at 13 lbs, 4 ounces and was 24 1/2 inches long. That's about a pound and an inch more than Bri was at that age, I believe. We had Kindermusik that evening but Mom and Dad couldn't watch Hunter for me since Mom had a mild case of shingles. Jenn bravely offered to watch Hunter - "I can handle anything for an hour!" - so Brianna and I traipsed off to class. We did a lot of dancing, a lot of singing, and a lot of pretending to be animals. Bri is still timid at the beginning of class but then she sings the whole way home. Backwards girl! Jenn says Hunter was fine but I think she wouldn't tell me otherwise. It was definitely a relief to not have him at class though, she was right about that!

Tuesday mom and dad offered to keep Brianna so I could work on packing up boxes for our Fed By Faith delivery. Fortunately, Hunter slept practically the whole time I was at church so I actually got a lot done!

Wednesday we had normal lunch with mom and dad. I left early from there with Hunter to do a mystery shop before work. Then I dropped stuff off at the coalition and went to work. After about an hour or a little more, Hunter just wasn't having it. He wasn't hungry, he was just tired, and no way was he going to sleep there. I put him in the car and drove to the church, and sure enough he passed out on the way. Again, he slept the whole time I was there working on FBF stuff. He never even knew we went to church! I went to pick up Brianna and we got home just in time for everyone to get fed and napped before leaving for church. I was able to make it through church because both kids are staying in the nursery now, which is really nice particularly because Stephen hasn't really been at church lately due to being on 12-hour shifts. When we got home from church Stephen was asleep on the couch, so obviously I sent Bri to go wake him up! It wasn't long before the three of them were fast asleep for real!

Thursday I had another mystery shop for lunch, and then I took Brianna to mom and dad's again so I could make the FBF delivery. The delivery was all the way in Troy so it was really far away. We pulled up to the apartment complex and there were some teenagers out on the playground. Cindy's son Thomas sniffed the air and said, "Mom, what's that smell?" I just started laughing and Cindy said, "Is that reefer!?!?" Sure enough, they were out there smoking pot! We just shook our heads and I said, "Nobody breathe!!" That is so classic Troy I guess. We got home a little after 8:00 and Stephen was on Skype with the GA family. I made dinner while he and Brianna talked to them. One thing he didn't think about was the fact that it was bath night for Bri, so by the time we ate dinner and he bathed her it was really late. He wasn't very happy about that but you live and you learn!

Yesterday was a busy day too. We went to Melissa's for a play date with Noah, Claire and Evan. It was so nice to be around other adults and kids. I love watching the kids play together. I'm always amazed by how calm Bri is when we're at other people's houses but she really warmed up to them after a while. After Melissa's I stopped by work because everyone's always asking to see the kids. Of course after I stopped there I wanted to stop by Granny's house so Granny could see them too! We didn't get home until about 4:00 or so and Brianna ended up napping until like 6:45! I was worried she was just going to sleep through the night or something!

I've been working many many late hours (early morning hours) on FBF stuff. We just had bags and bags and bags of clothes donated and someone's got to go through them. (Me.) (Kudos to Cindy for offering her assistance but it's not her responsibility.) Last night I finally finished around 2:30am. I am learning to live on small amounts of sleep, but I was doing that anyway thanks to Hunter's every 2 hour eating schedule!!

Okay, here are some pictures since I actually have a day off today and had time to upload pictures. Videos coming too!


Brianna the hairdresser: "Let's try this pink hair clip."


"Oh, but the white matches your outfit."


Brianna the maid:


Brianna the chef:


Daddy's clothes are much better than her own:


One of Brianna's Christmas presents, the Aquadoodle. SUCH a great toy!


She's the poster child for this toy:







Brianna, that's a baseball, not a snowball! Don't throw it!


Classic Brianna look:


I must comb my hair before church!


Poor Hunter has to use Bri's pink hand-me-downs!