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Photo Club Week 15: Favorites

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
-John Muir

This past week was so rejuvenating, so revitalizing. It seems that the winter has finally gave way to Spring and warm weather days are on their way. We spent one warm Sunday doing one of my FAVORITE things. Hiking in the great outdoors. 

Thank You and Giveaway Winner!

I just really want to say thank you all for reading my little blog. It sure is fun to share my journey and stories with you. I love hearing from all of you and about your stories, and your view points.

So, the giveaway wasn’t a huge hit. I totally get it. I offered a book you haven’t even heard much about, no one really wanted, who really wants another parenting book to read anyway, yada yada yada. But I still think this winner is super lucky.

The randomly selected winner, using, of my really sorry giveaway, haha, the lucky person who will be getting a copy of a really great book and a gift card to their favorite ice cream shop (cold stone, maggie moo’s, basken robins, DQ) is…….

Christie Egbert!

Congrats Christie and thanks for entering!

Hope you had a great weekend, we sure did, and I will share more about that later. 


Fashion Friday

Part of coming to know myself has been trying to better define my “style.” What do I really like to wear? What do I really think looks best on me? As I set out find the clothes I really love, I would love to share my finds with you. Get ready to read too much that you never wanted to know about how I shop.

When it comes to buying clothes I am cheap. I know what you are probably thinking, Target, Walmart sort of cheap. No. Think,paying no more than $4 for a shirt and $8 for pants cheap. Think,  if my friends were giving out hand-me-downs I was first in line cheap. Not saying that I no longer want your hand-me-downs, but I have decided it is time to amp up my style, just a bit. And probably not every day, heaven knows I will still spend most days in old jeans and tees. 

But the biggest problem was that I was sick of spending a buck here or two there and at the end of the year having plenty of sub-par to moderate looking clothes in my closet, but nothing that I felt AMAZING wearing.

Too often a cheap shirt or pair pants have made their way into my closet just because they were a couple of bucks to only be worn once or twice before they sat in a box in my attic for two years before I finally gave them away.

After reading a great blog post by a woman who had decided to simplify her life and her wardrobe I began to determine what items I need in my wardrobe:

 Denim Skinnys (have)                                Black Skinnys (have)                          Colored Skinnys (have)
Black ankle book heels (need)                 Gladiator Sandals (need)                   Laced boots (need)

 White slouchy tee (need)                       Black Dress (need)                                  ONE PIECE! (need)
Black and beige blouses (have)

And a couple other items like a simple black pencil skirt and some flare comfy denims. Now I don’t think my wardrobe would succeed with only these items but I think they are great staples and what I have been trying to build my wardrobe into.

When I go shopping now, I don’t just hunt the sale racks for any old deal; I got with one or two things from my want list in mind and only look for those things. Even if I end up paying $12-$20 for one article I feel happy knowing that:

A. I am not just heaping more “stuff” into my life because Wal-Mart tells me it is on sale
B. My wardrobe will have nicer, longer lasting items that I will look terrific in every time I slip it on.

For someone who doesn’t think of themselves as particularly fashion savvy I find myself needing to cut this conversation short. Somehow I have more I want to tell you about my remarkably boring fashion beliefs. Don’t worry though, we have every Friday to look forward to these mind-numbing escapades. 

So without further ado, here are my latest fashion finds
Black blouse Sears ($5), denim skinnys Sears (prob $8 last year) Ankle boots KMart ($8)

Check out the beautiful lace detail on the button trim and shoulders.

And the flowy silky material is one of my favorites lately.

When I decided to start doing fashion posts I thought, “I am not just gonna do boring old I’m-trying-to-look-cute photos.” But I am not sure if everyone can handle my America’s Next Top Model wannabe’s.

So tell me what do ya like best? Crazy or cutie? And do you have any items you feel are wardrobe staples? Check out my fashion Pinterest board if you feel inclined.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway, I know no one really wants the book, so tomorrow I am adding an additional prize! 


Spare the Rod Spoil the Child

A hospital waiting room is sure to conjure up the most interesting of conversations. The other day as I waited for Kyle to have his throat dilated, (did you know that was even a thing?), I listened as an old man began talking loudly about why our kids are the way they are today. Why kids are violent, disrespectful and vulgar. He was sitting next to a middle-aged couple who politely nodded while he went off about lack of responsibility and parents being too easy on their kids.

The woman listening was a teacher and had adolescent children and began to chime in agreeing with the man and his rant. He went on with a story about, “back in my day, if a child disrespected an adult their parents didn’t let it stand. It only took one or two times of misbehaving and my daddy put me straight. He sure did. Use a belt or a hand whatever it may be but I was put straight. And I did the same for my children. You know what the bible says “Spare the rod, spoil the child?” And I believe in God and what the good book says.”


Setting down my magazine, clearing my throat and leaning in I said, “Excuse me Sir? I am Christian too, and I feel that if we are trying to be Christ-like, we must be like Christ, and I can never imagine Christ striking a child because they have misbehaved. And I can tell you the couple of times I have hit my children I felt far from Christ.” I think I sort of rudely ended their conversation.

Now let me be clear, spank your kids or don’t, I don’t really care. I hope we are all trying to do the best we can.  But please do not use the words of Solomon, a self-proclaimed  lyricists (Proverbs 13:24, 29:15), to claim religious justification for hitting a child. If you want to use the words of the “good book” in parenting then let’s look at the words of Christ himself as quoted by Mark in chapter 9 vs 42, “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believes in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.”  

And folks, let’s be real, I do not in any way claim to be the authority or supremely good at either child rearing or religion.

*Also don’t forget to enter my giveaway, entry ends Saturday! Click here to enter. And I get it, no one really wants my book haha, but enter anyway, because…. Saturday I am sweetening the pot :)


A Day in Philly

Friday we took my sister-in-law into Philly to catch a flight, and since we were down that way we decided to see some sights. As many sights as you can see after 2:00 p.m. with two kids in tow.

 Independence Hall
 Awkward family photo. Still working on the photographic eye and body placement. Got a lot to learn if I don’t want any more of these awkward gems hidden in our photo files.
 Independence Hall bell tower.
 The assembly room. The only original piece in Benjamin Franklin’s chair in the center at the raised table.
 Andie thought we were in a church and is folding her arms, haha.
 My fave photo of the day. Lighting!
“Kace hold Andie’s hand.”
 Obviously she did not want to do that and Kace took it as a personal hit. Poor guy. Stubborn girl.
 Our “yummy” stumbled upon find for “dunch.” I wish we would have gotten a picture of the old man pulling noodles by hand, the kids were fascinated with him. We all stuffed ourselves, Kacen and I ate peanut noodles and Andie downed most of the potstickers, Ky had a delicious bowl of soup with noodles, two meats and shrimp. The total was only $20 with a generous tip! Good find. The funniest part was a nice couple sitting next to us got up to leave and said, “You have a cute family, and your kids have such great appetites. We wish our children at like that.” Starvation is the key. Keep your kids hungry enough and they will eat the most eccentric of foods placed in front of them.
 The Liberty Bell
 And of course a creepy picture of me trying to look like George Washington, apparently my brief debut in Rumpelstiltskin when I was eight did nothing to hone my acting skills.
 I love visiting big cities. It is such a different pace of life than my rural living. And this city is rich with  history and diversity. We especially love the numerous people walking around the streets mumbling to themselves. We definitely did not see all there is to see in the great city of Philadelphia but it was a great time with our family. 

5,000 views Giveaway!

Ok folks this just in, my stats as of April 13, 2014, 8:50 p.m. read exactly 5,000 page views! You know what that means right? A giveaway!

I will be giving away one copy of one of my favorite parenting books, applicable to parents of all ages, and people who have no children at all. It is a great book about communication.

Parent Effectiveness Training by Dr. Thomas Gordon

To enter leave a comment on this post then enter your name into field on the rafflecopter entry form below. You can comment about anything (your day, your kids, your parenting fails, or how much you just love my blog, haha) One entry per person. The winner will be announced next Monday, April 20, 2014, and a copy of one of my favorite books will be shipped to your home.

Thank you all so much for reading! This has been really fun writing for ya’ll and I hope it continues for a long time to come. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


A Bridal Shower to Wrap Things Up

The last event of all the craziness in our home was a bridal shower for my to-be SIL Kendal. Seriously, we are so grateful to be adding Kendal and Adam to our family! They are both great people. I mean look at these adorable couples!

Jess and Adam
Kendall and Ian

My MIL, Valarie, and other SIL, Amy, and I hosted a bridal shower for Kendal while she and Ian were visiting good ole PA. Amy and I did the decor, here is what we came up with.

We made tissue paper tassles and tissue paper pom poms. I also made a simple name garland by printing out the letters in a circle template then I went around the edge of each circle with chalk and used a paper towel to smear it a bit.

The tassels are so easy and something new and fun! You can find hundreds of tutorials with a simple google search. Also you can bust out hundreds of these tassels in a couple of hours. I used this pom pom tutorial because I loved the shape of theirs.

It took me about four or five bad pom poms to get the knack of it. The trick is in how you pull the layers apart.

I didn’t get a picture of it but I did make a simple table runner from brown packaging paper. I then sponge stamped it with a flower design. It was cute but I just forgot to get a picture of it.

We had a great night with lots of food, a Disney love song match up, a rousing game of Do Ian and Kendall Know Jack About Each Other and Wedding Charades because Kendal is a theater major.

This was a super fun and busy week and I loved learning new things and feeling like I added some skills to my repertoire. The chance to create and be creative, to use my hands and see a final product and to plan and execute are all things that really get me going!

If the crafty thing isn’t really your cup-o-tea, stay tuned I have some interesting parenting and emotional topics next week, well that is if my hectic crazy life allows for some decent writing time. Have a great weekend.


Drinking Coke Has its Benifits

My husband drinks Coke, so that means I get magazines!

 We use the redemption codes and order me good reads. If you aren’t using your soda codes you are totally missing out man. I love magazines but hate clutter so they come in and go out no lingering here, that is why I have this little baby.

This was actually only “invented” a couple of months ago when I decided to see what my real taste was in all aspects of life. So I save up clippings of pictures that have home decor design I like and recipes that look good then put them in here.

 With the recipes they stay in the front pocket til I try them, then if they are good enough I put them in a sheet protector. Don’t tell anyone but sometimes I rip the recipes out of public magazines in the doctors office and at other appointments. Like that yummy lemon blueberry tart one, I had to fold it up and slip in my pocket to conceal it. Wow that is totally stealing, but it didn’t quite feel like stealing at the time.


Yes I know there is a thing called “Pinterest” for things like this, however, I don’t want to go hunting all over the internet to find pictures of the same thing that just showed up on my door step, ugh that seems arduous. So instead I opt for the old school three-ring binder method. 


I Will Become a Mountain

In high school I volunteered as a class aide in a special needs church course, called seminary. Our teacher was an elderly man who, though sometimes a little dated on his teaching style, sure did love all of us kids. He taught me the word mantra, a phrase that empowers you or that you can say over and over again to again focus and clarity. Through the years I have had various mantras some I used for one day, some for weeks and some for months. Things like, “You can do this,” “Just breath,” “Love one another.” In addition to having little phrases to help myself out I feel there is great power in having an artillery of powerful quotes in your back pocket to pull out in times of need. My goal is to memorize six quotes this year. The first one:

Og Mandino was a salesman who became an alcoholic and then sought out help through books about how to take command and control over his life. Along his path to recovery he wrote dozens of books about religion and self help. What a great story that no matter where we have been we can still choose to take control of our lives and to fight for ourselves against whatever internal foes we have.

Any other amazing quotes out there I should memorize?