Thursday, May 17, 2012

Family Time

We have really been enjoying this beautiful weather! That means lots of playing outside, family walks, and gardening!

 Oh yeah, and shooting crossbow.

 Although sometimes it's just too darn hot to play outside! That's when bracelet kits come in handy!

 It is such a hassle to model this bracelet, Mom.

 This is a "bridge" that Brianna was building for Stephen. It was supposed to stay up until he came home from work. Unfortunately she built it while he was in Charleston for several days... can you guess how long it stayed in place? Yeah, about 2 minutes.

 Several weeks ago Ms Nancy at Brianna's preschool gave us some plants. They have really shot up! I wish I had a picture of our garden too. We planted squash, zucchini, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, lima beans, green beans, corn, carrots, okra and green peppers so far. The green peppers haven't come up yet but I didn't expect them to because they haven't come up the last two years either. I think next year I will just buy a pepper plant!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Weekend Getaway

We've had a pretty eventful time these last few days!! We took a trip to Georgia to see our family down there and we had such a great time! I started packing Thursday because I had plans for that evening so I wanted to be able to enjoy my night out without worrying about packing.

I don't know why I was worried about it anyway, Brianna was done in all of 30 seconds:

Her suitcase contains: a pair of shoes and socks for Brianna, and a pair of shoes and socks for Hunter.

I texted Leila and told her we might be doing some clothes shopping when we arrived!! But by that night, Brianna had seriously finished packing. She did all this and then came to me and said, "Mom, can I put my suitcase in the car now?" I told her I had to check her suitcase first.

It contained: 9 pairs of underwear, 2 bathing suits, 8 pairs of socks, 5 pairs of shoes and 1 outfit. The outfit she picked out were the dirty clothes she wore the day before. Too funny!!

Also on Thursday we had some business we had to finish up. Stephen, within less than 48 hours, sold the Jeep and bought a Toyota Celica. And made money on the deal! I'm very proud of him!

 Thursday night a bunch of us went out for our friend Heather's birthday. We went to Olive Garden and rocked the restaurant! After dinner we weren't quite ready to go home yet so we hit up the new yogurt place next to Olive Garden - Di'lishi! If you haven't been there yet I highly recommend it. Frozen yogurt (TONS of flavors) and over 75 toppings?? Yes please!! I loaded down my cookies 'n' cream yogurt with everything from raspberry truffles to jelly beans to caramel sauce to crushed Heath bars... I got a bunch of toppings and I only paid 2 bucks for it! Lovely!

 The next morning we headed out on the road for Georgia! The kids shocked us once again with how well they traveled. My "bag of tricks" wasn't even used. It had snack bags of Whales (knock-off of Goldfish) and Tastee-Os (knock-off of Cheerios), magazines (Highlights), Bri's favorite books, some musical toys, etc. etc. I am so thankful our kids are so easily entertained by themselves!

We pulled into the neighborhood and rolled all the windows down. I snapped this picture - do you see the little foot behind me hanging out the window? That would be Brianna. (You will probably need to enlarge the picture)

 I was so mesmerized by this new yogurt craze (Di'lishi) that I asked Leila if they had any places like that around. Turns out they do - Menchies! So everyone took me, probably to get me to shut up about the yogurt!! It was delicious and Brianna loved choosing her toppings!

She even met the Menchies mascot! It was really funny because after she hugged the person in the costume she looked at us and said, "That's not an ice cream cone... that's a MAN!"

We were having a cookout Saturday night so Stephen bought some fresh corn to grill. Brianna is a big help when it comes to shucking, so she did it over the fire pit so we could do a bonfire later.

Later in the afternoon, everyone was napping so Brianna and I took the opportunity to make a big tower. Jenn had given Brianna some of her Barbies to play with so I decided to make the tower a little more interesting... I added a prisoner!

This picture is from the ride home. Hunter sure has a funny look on his face but he was laughing hysterically. He would put these two stuffed animals on his head, sit extremely still and just say, "Hat? Hat?" over and over again. Then he would "bop" them off and crack up laughing. It was too funny!

We had cookie cake to celebrate Mother's Day and of course the kids loved it. Hunter was taking a bite, and then he'd shake his head and say, "Mmmmm!" Oh yeah, and that is NOT his Mountain Dew beside him!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Unashamed to Bear His Name Review

I received a pretty good devotional book from Bethany House to review. It is called "Unashamed to Bear His Name" and is by R.T. Kendall. I knew nothing about the author before reading this book but I am always interested in new study books. The subtitle for this book is "Embracing the stigma of being a Christian" and that is definitely the main idea throughout this book. Kendall goes through many stigmas you may face when you are outspoken about your faith. These range from talking about repentance to telling people their works aren't good enough to get them into heaven to speaking in tongues.

There are many things in this book that I disagree with Kendall on (for example, I'm not quite sure I fully agree with him on the section about speaking in tongues), but the best thing about this book is that Kendall doesn't try to convince all readers to agree with him on every point. He is realistic enough to understand that there are just some things we won't agree with him on, but he makes sure to point out things which he believes but would not die for, but there are some positions he would die for. It's nice to read an author who is very firm in the things he stands for, but also understands that some people may not agree with his views.

The book was well-written and certainly required some hard thinking to read it. I like books like that because it makes you see things from a different viewpoint and really consider things in your faith. I think most people would enjoy reading this book even if they don't agree with every single point Kendall makes. I would recommend this book to people who are strong in their faith, and who can discern which things they really do agree with spiritually.

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

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Life Update

Back when we had Brianna's big birthday party, my grandparents weren't able to make the party because my grandmother was really sick. So Brianna had another birthday party at my parents' house the next week! Granny brought her a huge bag of goodies for her birthday!

 This book has become a staple in our house. It has a ton of songs which have lyrics set to familiar tunes. When you press the buttons in the correct order, it plays the songs for you. This is princess-themed, so totally a big deal.

Brianna loves this headpiece. And she looks beautiful in it!

Brianna loved this kitchen basket full of things for her new kitchen! Everything from a muffin tin to a loaf pan to utensils to a kitchen timer. All the essentials! She plays with all of this stuff constantly at home.

 And as you can see, she didn't waste any time making all of us muffins!!

The next morning, she remembered bright and early about a pair of new sandals that Granny had gotten for her. These things are worn all the time now. I mean, you can't go wrong with glitter and butterflies, right!?

A new favorite thing to do at Grandma and Grandpa's house is ride around in their old station wagon! Mom and Dad will get in with the kids and drive the old car around their yard. The kids think it is such an adventure! They love it!!

This is a very short video of them driving around the yard a bit. Brianna keeps yelling out the window, "This is so cool!!"  Haha, I love this idea!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dinner With Friends

We rarely get to go out with friends, mainly because we never know how the kids are going to behave, so when our friends Scotty and Peggy had a fish fry a few weeks ago we jumped at the chance to go! They have three kids, and their youngest, Adrianna, is only a little older than Brianna so we knew they'd have a great time!

Well, Brianna had a great time playing dress-up with all of Adrianna's clothes/shoes/jewelry/makeup which was all new to her! But I bet you can only guess how thrilled she was to walk around the back of their house and find... animals! Everything from goats to chickens to dogs, and she had a ball! She fell in love with the dogs, and Peggy decided at one point just to get one of them out for Bri to play with. This is Tinkerbell and Brianna is officially in love.

Tinkerbell is used to being carried around like a baby doll, which worked out great for Brianna. She didn't put that dog down for hours!

Adrianna has all kinds of cool outdoor toys that we don't have! So Brianna and Hunter got to test drive a lot of new stuff!!

 The two sweet girls!!

Hunter fell in love with this car. He played in it for almost an entire hour even though he couldn't figure out how to move it. After some chatting with Peggy and Scotty, we threw the thing in the back of our truck and brought it home for just $5!!

That car was the best investment ever. Both the kids love it and it works perfectly on our driveway!

We had a great time just lounging outside, not having to worry about the kids, having good conversation, delicious fish (and other dishes!) and yummy oysters! It was such an awesome afternoon and it made me so happy that our kids are getting to the ages that we can do more and more stuff like this without having to worry about them so much (full diaper bags, extra food, extra changes of clothes, etc etc.)

Wildflowers from Winter Review

I just finished reading the book "Wildflowers from Winter" by Katie Ganshert. This is Ganshert's first published novel as far as I can tell, and I absolutely loved it! It was a faith-based romance/drama book but it was modern and not cheesy like most books in that category. This book has tragedies, laughter, and a lot of real-life grief situations.

The book mainly deals with a woman named Bethany, who walked away from her faith when she was a child due to a preacher who was a "you're going to hell!" type of preacher. When she is brought back to her old town in support of her best friend, she has to relive a lot of really tough childhood memories, and come to grips with the fact that perhaps not everyone claiming to be a Christian really has that faith, or really has all the right answers. Of course she ends up falling in love while she's in that town, to a man with whom she has constant disagreements!

It's a cute story with a happy ending. I just read that Ganshert is writing more books to go along with this one, in order to have a series. I would happily read another of her books and I recommend reading this one.

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

Monday, May 7, 2012

Little Moments

I've often wished I kept a better journal - this blog is better than nothing, but I'm not usually near it, and when I am I'm usually doing something purposeful or trying to make a few bucks. So I've started making memos on my phone when I think of things I want to write about later. This is one from Saturday and I don't want to forget this moment.

"Moment of the day: Driving down the road, it's 80 degrees outside, we have the windows rolled down, we're blasting Barlowgirl, and I look in my rearview mirror to see Brianna singing along to the music. Perfection."

Lord, please let my memory remember that moment, and not the one 30 minutes later where a huge temper tantrum occurred in Walmart...  Hahaha!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Momaholic Review

Honestly, I could not tell you the reason I picked "Momaholic: Crazy Confessions of a Helicopter Parent" to review. My children aren't old enough yet to turn me into a "Momaholic" but I guess I thought I would get some insight into the future by reading this book. The author, Dena Higley, begins by talking about the lowest point of her life - almost overdosing on alcohol - but by the time she describes the events leading up to this low point, you almost can't blame her for it! Enter the events: an autistic son, a daughter with a birth defect who has just gone through foot surgery, a son who causing a bit of a stir at school, and then her daughter who is a sophomore in college finds out she is pregnant and therefore getting married immediately. Oh, and did I mention Higley is a head writer for Days of Our Lives?

Wow. Higley spends the book recounting all these events and going into a lot of detail about her children. She explains how she got to the low point, but then she is gracious enough to show the recovery side. She tells the whole story, which I think a lot of parents can probably relate to.

The book was easy to read. Higley is a good writer (I would hope so, considering that's her day job!), she's funny, and the stories are interesting. But honestly her story almost felt like the things you might find on a blog, not an entire book. I appreciate her honesty in writing this book to help other women and laying out everything.

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.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Free Things

One of the best things in life is this:

Deciding at 5:30pm that you want to spontaneously switch up your meal plan for the evening and realize you are craving your mom's meatloaf.

Calling said mother in the hopes that she can get to her recipe quickly enough to figure out if you have all the ingredients.

Mother answers phone and has recipe memorized. WINNING!

You have all the ingredients on hand. Fifteen minutes later it's in the oven.

Made. My. Night.

Picture Update

I've got to get these pictures off my phone! I'm terrified something will happen to my phone and all my pictures/videos will be lost forever.

We went to dinner with one of our favorite families, the Akridges, the other night.

Of course Hunter was hitting the courts as usual:

Kaleb just chilling:

 Brianna hard at work:

Oma takes all three grandchildren for a walk! (Well, Hunter is helping push the stroller so it's not like she's really working that hard!)

 Brianna - 35 months, Hunter - 17 months, Kaleb - 8 months!

My sweet children!!

 Cindy thought her makeup would distract Brianna while we were in our ladies group meeting. Let's just say she was correct. And also she probably needs to purchase new makeup now.

 The tower that Brianna built me while I was at above ladies group meeting:

 I was a bad influence and we skipped Kindermusik to play on the playground instead...

Bri is a girl after my own heart - singing at the top of her lungs with her feet hanging out the window!!

Kassie is a BFF of Brianna's!!