Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Helpful Blogger Award

I recently received the "Helpful Blogger Award" from Jill Kemerer.  I thought that today would be the perfect day to post about this honor.  In part, because I'm still playing catch up and my mind isn't yet properly functioning, so this is an easy way to choose a topic.  Before I begin, I want to thank Jill for bestowing me with this award.  Thanks Jill!  I feel special!  Now, on with the rules...

1. Post one thing no one knows about me.
2. Quote one sentence from a favorite book.
3. Pass it on to seven bloggers.

Let's begin!

1.  I'm almost certain that none of you, or at least very few of you, are aware that I have a condition known as scoliosis.  It is a word derived from Greek that means crooked or crooked condition.  Simply put, scoliosis is a curvature of the spine.  When I was in middle school, simple tests were done on all of the students in my grade.  Basically, you stood straight as they checked to see if your shoulders and hips were level before bending to touch your toes as they followed your spine with their hand.  I failed.  The result was a trip to our family doctor, and x-rays if I remember correctly, to determine the severity of my case.  Thankfully, it was diagnosed as mild and the progression (or lack there of)  was to be observed.  I am grateful that I was able to proceed through life without a brace or surgery, although I do have back pain from time to time. 

2.  This is the most difficult task!  How can I quote just one line from only one of my favorite books?  I have so many and my mind is bouncing here and there and everywhere (just like the gummy bears) as I try to determine what story, and a snippet of it's beautiful words, to choose.  In the abundance of reading I've done in my life, my childhood favorites always remind me of why I fell in love with the written word.  On display in my living room is one of those special books, so I have decided to share a piece of that one with you.  My mind and heart always cling to a moment in the beloved story when the young female character shows kindness and selflessness towards 3 mistreated boys.  The young heroine spends her entire "dollar's worth" on these heartbroken souls and brightens their world a tiny bit.  I give you a quote (although I must share more than just one sentence) from Chapter 14, A Dollar's Worth, of Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink. 

"Well, young lady," said Mr. Adams with an amused twinkle in his eye, "now your dollar's gone, and you didn't get a thing out of it for yourself."

"Oh, yes, I did, Mr. Adams!" she cried, and then she stopped.  It was no use trying to tell a grownup.  It was hard even to explain to herself.  And yet she'd had her dollar's worth. 

  It's stories like these that shape the character of our own hearts.  

3.  I shall be passing this award on to the following 7 helpful crafty blogs... please step forward and accept your award:


In the spirit of the award...  
What have you done to be helpful recently?  How has someone been helpful to you?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Playing Catch Up

I don't know about you, but I find that my life is a constant cycle of playing catch up.  For instance, this current school year has been interrupted by many sick days for my sons.  As most of you know, when your children aren't feeling well you put off the general household duties (and extra items on your "to do" list) as you tend to your ailing offspring.  When it comes to my boys, I've noticed that they are always a few days different in their illness cycle.  Which means an even longer period of time where progress on personal projects is placed on the back burner.  Should I even mention the extra work that comes with sick kids?  When everyone is finally healthy, the most pressing responsibilities come first.  Lately it seems as though I'm barely caught up with those chores before someone is once again in need or feverish.

Believe it or not, my sons have been sick for the past 2 weeks!  First O was hit with the sickies, then M.  My boys are now healthy, and I'm praying they stay that way!  It's hard to see your children not feeling well.  I put my kids needs first, even though I've avoided some of the personal projects I need to accomplish.  No matter what, my boys are more important than the never ending "to do" list.

For those of you who blog, you may have noticed my lack of comments in recent weeks.  I have yet to catch up on the every day responsibilities around my home and I'm already exhausted.  Over the next week, I'm hoping to find a few extra moments to comment on your blogs.  My own blogs may be simple, short, and sweet for a while.

My Reading Challenge Update:
Next Up:  Blackout BINGO (entire sheet)
9/16 Total Books Read
1 Book In Progress
7 Total Books Left to Read 
38 Read Days Left

Coming Wednesday:  A blog award from Jill Kemerer
THANKS JILL!  I <3 your blog!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

40 Days And 40 Nights

Do you observe Lent?  I'm not Catholic, or another Lent observing denomination, but I have observed a number of people declaring what they have chosen to abstain from during the next 40 days.  Many of my friends have decided to give up social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, for Lent this year.  As, "see you in 40 days Facebook friends," has been popping up amongst the status updates, I had a random thought.  Of course, I'm going to share it with you!

In 2002 Josh Hartnett and Shannyn Sossamon starred in a R rated romantic comedy called 40 Days and 40 Nights.  While this movie is not religious, you may have guessed that it is about giving something up for Lent.  That something just happens to be sex.  *Gasp!  Did she just say sex???*  Well, you know what they say...  Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.  Maybe that's not exactly what is said, but it certainly fits this movie.  No matter how exaggerated the film may be, it does give you a glimpse at how people struggle with their own vices and becoming a more "complete" person.

Do you observe Lent?  If you do, what are you giving up for the next 40 days?  If you don't observe Lent, what is one of you vices that you struggle with?  Have you considered giving it up?  Maybe now is the time to give it a shot.  Have you seen 40 Day and 40 Nights?  It's been a very long time since I've watch the Josh Hartnett flick, so I can't say if I would recommend it today or not.  I will however dig it out for another viewing and let you know if I laugh as much as I remember doing a few years ago.

Good luck to those observing Lent!

On another note...
I'm a bit behind on reading/commenting on other blogs!  Illness has struck our home once again, so I've been a bit distracted!  Hopefully I can catch up with some of your blogs before the week is over!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cupid Shot Me: Romantic Notions

Today I am participating in Diane Estrella's "Cupid Shot Me" stories.  Hop on over to Diane's blog to view the stories of many other bloggers.  Previously posted on July 20, 2009, this is my "Cupid Shot Me" story.  If you know the story, I hope you enjoy reflecting on it again again with me.  If you don't know the story already, enjoy reading it for the first time.


Meet Me On Monday
This Monday, and random Mondays here after, my blog will reveal something about me. All Meet Me on Monday blogs will be clearly labeled.

Overactive reader and writer with romantic notions...
proceed with caution at your own risk!

I sit here ready to take on a topic that almost everyone can identify with in some form or another. Love! We all love, okay so there may be a few exceptions to the rule but love is a part of life. In most cases, we are loved from the very moment we are born. Some, including myself, fall in love with their children before they are even born. Children themselves, love unconditionally. We love pets, nature, cars, careers, books (yes of course books!), & hobbies. As a Christian, I personally believe in a loving God! Love is all around us in many different forms.
I find that one of the biggest, scariest, and most important kinds of love is one that we all strive to find in our lives! Sometimes we look in the worst places, like reality tv because really how often do those things pan out? Sometimes we look in the best places, which is different for everyone because no two people are alike. Often times, we take a chance on love and walk away with a heartbreak the size of Texas and enough teardrops to fill Lake Michigan. Then there are the moments when the Heavens open up just to pour a radiant beam of sunlight down upon you and the true love of your dreams as birds sing a beautiful melodic love song. My mistake, you were the one who had fireworks shooting off in every direction as fireflies danced nearby you and your sweet beloved. Oh, well, it doesn't happen that way for everyone I guess. In my case, I heard the now ancient sounds of dial up Internet (okay so some people still use it) before logging in to a now extinct chat room through the blessed chat website, It was love at first click click click type type type. Yes, I met my one and only prince charming on the Internet, before it was normal, accepted, or cool!
Our love story involves an abundance of Internet chats, many many miles & states of distance, expensive phone cards that were used far too quickly, letters sent via snail mail, and a first meeting (in person) that can rarely be topped. Our first date was 5 months after we met online, in Walt Disney World, Florida. Don't worry, I'll skip right to the good part. Once inside the park, I paced at the entry to Main Street USA while waiting for my TransAmGuy, his Internet chat room name, to arrive and sweep me off of my feet. He approached his SingingSensation (yes my chat handle), with obvious butterflies, before catching my attention with the words, "nice shirt." Yes, we had planned to wear a certain shirt so there would be no mistaken identities. I turned around and stepped off the curb to hug him, which he always insists was me jumping on him. Really, I'm just incredibly short and I had to put some spring in my step to get my arms around his neck. The rest of our 4 days of Disney were spent getting to know each other better and spending half of our time with his parents (he also met my grandmother, an aunt, and an uncle). We discovered a lot of firsts in our relationship on Disney property. Beyond the first look into each other's eyes as we met face to face for the first time, we also held hands for the first time, shared our first kiss, said our first real goodbyes, and after we were married, we even came back to spend our honeymoon in Disney World (as there was no better place to be). We even have our own brick on the ticket and transportation center walkway. Yeah, I prefer to think of myself as a Disney princess or maybe a pixie.

Since the day I met my husband online, I somehow knew he was the one for me. I can't explain it, but it's true. This isn't how it happens for everyone, but it is how it happened for me. I had already fallen before our meeting in Disney world. The face to face in front of Cinderella's castle, well that was just the moment my fairytale dreams became reality. That's not to say that our relationship didn't have it's challenges, and it still does of course, but we love each other enough to work through life's speed bumps. Being married to my one and only true love and prince charming is worth it!

Met... March 23, 1997
Married... March 23, 1999
10 years... March 23, 2009
I love you C.
My soundtrack for today's blog:
Michael Buble, because to me romance & Buble go hand in hand

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Few Words For Wednesday: Valentine's Day Tips #2-5

Last Wednesday, I gave you Valentine's Day Tip #1.  Today, I give you tips two through five.  Enjoy!


Valentine Tip #2:  Who doesn't love a hug?  One of the simplest gifts in life involves wrapping your arms around those you love.  The best part is that you often get the hug right back!

Valentine Tip #3:  What goes hand in hand with a hug?  Why a kiss of course!  Every good love story involves a kiss, shouldn't yours?

Valentine Tip #4:  One of my favorite gifts to give and accept can be summed up in one word:  time.  It's a very precious commodity in life and those we love appreciate having moments and shared memories with us more than a pricey purchase.  Share a laugh, a story, or a board game.  It doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you are together.

Valentine Tip #5:  Give your whole heart and make sure you show it!  If you love someone, don't hesitate to let them know.  Remember to do this every day, not just on Valentine's Day.  


I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day on Sunday as you enjoy time with your Valentine!

How do you plan to spend Valentine's Day?  Will you be sharing time with your kids, your spouse/ significant other, or a good friend?  Do you buy gifts, a card, or nothing?  How do you celebrate?  


Check out Diane Estrella's blog and prepare to share your Cupid Shot Me story on Monday, February 15th!  Check back here on Monday to read my own special story.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Great Debate: PC vs Mac

Hello!  I'm a PC and I'm a Mac.  Yes, you read that correctly.  This past Friday, we officially became the proud owners of an iMac.  My handy dandy laptop is a PC, a HP to be exact, so I'm a officially classified as a PC and a Mac.

A long long time ago, okay it was January, our desktop computer became moody.  We went about our usual routine, pushing the buttons to turn on the brain and the monitor, and then something horrible happened.  Maybe I should say that not much of anything happened.  Our friendly monitor informed us that it did not have a connection.  Wait! What?  The blue button is lit on the computer tower, so what's going on?  Furthermore, why did this have to happen while my computer savvy husband is at work?!?  

When my husband returned home from work, he attempted  a number of "fix it" solutions.  After these failed to work, and the problem was researched endlessly, the hunt for a replacement began.  Throughout this time, our computer made it clear that it would turn on only when it was good and ready to turn on.  Oh you need me?  It would say.  Tough cookies!  Finally we decided that the next time our computer booted up, we would leave it on until a replacement could be made.  It only shut down on me once during that time.

As indecision is practically our last name, we took a lengthy amount of time to determine what would replace our malfunctioning computer.  My husband came up with our options and asked me to check them out.  I'll be honest with you.  I told him I would give my input and thoughts on the matter, but ultimately the decision was up to him.

A nearby store held the computers that my husband had his eyes on, so we set out to spend time playing with the technology on display.  When we entered, a large black backdrop featuring an illuminated white apple icon caught our eye.  Ooooh!!! Pretty!!!  Clearly the Mac section became our first destination.  After spending more time than absolutely necessary, we went into the aisle full of PCs.  We perused the mostly black and silver contraptions slowly and gradually.  Then my eyes caught sight of a lonely iMac and it sucked me in.

By the time we left the store, I only had eyes for Mac.  However, I felt I shouldn't fully disclose my true feelings to C.  When it came time to discuss our opinions, mine were shared in the most subtle manner.  Obviously, I wasn't the only one who was tumbling head over heels leaning towards becoming a Mac, as we are now the proud owners of one.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  Hello!  I'm a PC and I'm a Mac!

What kind of computer do you have?  If you have an iMac, would you consider switching to a PC?  If you have a PC, would you consider switching to the iMac?  Do you rely on a laptop, desktop, or both?  Are you a fan of the PC and/or the Mac?  Most importantly, do you love the slightly nerdy Mac rep from the commercials as much as I do?

Happy Monday!  


Library Challenge Progress Report
1 BINGO completed!
Books Read:  6 of 16 (& 1 in progress)
Days Left to Read:  52

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Few Words For Wednesday: Valentine's Day Tip #1

With Valentine's Day approaching, I thought I'd share a couple of ideas on what to do for the ones you love!

 Valentine Tip #1:  Nothing says I love you like a good foot rub!

Monday, February 1, 2010

'Twas A Crafty Christmas

I've been patiently waiting to tell you all about some of the crafty Christmas gifts that I made this past season!  One of the items that I am proud to showcase was not opened until sometime this past month of January, so I couldn't exactly post a picture previous to that moment.  Creations that I am about to share with you, in further detail and photographs, are done by me, a family member, or a man with expensive equipment.  You may click on the photos that you see throughout this blog to enlarge the image.  I know this is a lengthy blog, but I've been anxious to share since long before Christmas!!!

You will find that I don't often stick with one type of craft.  When I can't pull something off on my own, I can usually look to my Mom, my husband, or my brother for assistance. My family is a very creative bunch. A few of our combined talents are sewing, painting, drawing, paper crafting, carpentry, etc.

The first fantastic creation I'd like to share with you is one of the most important of the holiday season.  Above on the left, you will spy a black and white photograph with red accents.  Let me just tell you that Adobe Photoshop is a friend of mine.  After everyone got dressed for our annual Christmas photos, we set up our photo area (in the living room), and placed our camera on the tripod.  A number of pictures were snapped with our Canon PowerShot before we got the desired look.  Then, I worked hard to create the portrait that you see before placing it onto a 4x8 photo card design from Shutterfly.

Each year, I find that one of the best gifts created is in the memories.  Including my boys in crafting Christmas gifts is not only fun, but a chance to teach them to take time to do something for others.  Thoughtful gifts are more important than expensive presents.  Pictured to the right is a little glimpse into some of the activities that kept us busy this past holiday season, as well as some special gifts made for my sweet little guys. 

Ceramic frames were painted and sealed before a photograph of the elf like designers was placed inside.  A narrow window flanking our doorway has been decorated since October with colored drawings that feature peep holes to look outside.  Twenty-five yards of banner paper really goes a long way!  Teachers, school staff, and our favorite storytime librarian each received packets of cocoa & marshmallows in a mug or disposable hot drink cup (with the lid) as a Christmas gift.  O's classroom teacher received a couple of other items to go along with her cocoa.  After pulling out some fleece fabric, that was just waiting to be stitched, and purchasing 2 long sleeved green shirts, my boys had one of a kind matching pajamas this year.  We took the time to find Yoda online and turn him into an iron-on transfer so the outfits were complete.  A simple "O" and "M" stitched on the waistbands helps take care of any confusion and fighting.  Of course, this Christmas would not have been complete without Buzz Lightyear and Jeff Gordon blankets with sleeves (otherwise known as a Snuggie) made by Grandma.  As my boys are seriously into reading and Leapster games, these are well used and loved.

 One of the other fun items on our list this year was not a Christmas gift at all.  In fact, it was a baby gift for O's teacher from the previous year.  I created a set of burp clothes with cloth diapers, a little fabric, and an embroidery machine.  My Mom created a Strawberry Shortcake receiving blanket to complete the package. 

Another fabulous creation this past holiday season has a back story.  I know you are curious, so without further ado...  In the Winter of 2009, my youngest son began calling himself "Super M...."  I have no idea where he gets this love of super heroes --looking behind me to make sure my husband isn't calling me on my fib-- but he certainly feels as though he is one.  When Mother's Day 2009 approached, my oldest son decided that he wanted to "write a book for Grandma."  While he created a masterpiece, I asked my youngest child what he wanted to do for Mother's Day.  He insisted on making a "Super M" movie.  Before you ask... Yes, we certainly did!  He told me all of the heroic things that Super M would do and with a little help from Adobe Premiere Elements, we put it all together.  Now that you have the back story, you should know that for the past few years, we have also created a family Christmas dvd.  This year, my children decided that Super M should make another appearance.  Of course, we didn't stop there.  Super O joined the cast of characters as well as COAL Man.  Costumes were winterized and upgraded to include a new iron-on shirt and shiny blue cape (which Grandma took care of as my machine was in the shop).  Writing the family skit was fun for me, especially when I could throw in some double meanings and tongue in cheek moments.  I must say that my boys are getting very good at following a script and acting things out.  Everyone who saw our family movie this year enjoyed watching it almost as much as we did making it.

Creating something special for my father-in-law and his girlfriend was high on my priority list this Christmas.  With some help from my Mom, we purchased a glass pillar candle holder that would be etched with one of their most loved photographs.  This was completely out of my area of expertise, so we brought the item to a man who has very expensive equipment for this purpose.  When the gift was created, a wooden plaque was also included.  They turned out beautifully!

 Probably my absolute top of the list gift this year was a stationary set.  I enjoyed putting together these personalized gifts more than almost anything else.  When I was having a bad day, I sat down to create and came up with this Christmas item... as well as a way to relieve my stress.  By the time I was done with one, I was relaxed.  Four of the five note sets are pictured above.  I personalized each set with favorite colors and items, such as umbrellas and airplanes.  My new red Cricut Expression even helped complete the vision I had for my older brother's set. 

Before Christmas, I asked my older brother, M, to create a special gift for my boys. After telling him my basic idea, I said "it's all yours," and let him break out his carpentry skills.  The force was most certainly with him as he created a one-of-a-kind lightsaber holder for my young padawans!  -- Sorry.  The nerd in me forgets that not everyone is one with the Star Wars lingo.  Padawans are Jedi-in-training.-- I'm thrilled with the results and so are his nephews!

A few unphotographed items should also be mentioned to get the full effect of my personalized gift giving spirit.  Shutterfly was used to create fancy schmancy calendars for a few family members, as I have done in the past.  In all the hustle and bustle, I neglected to photograph hand stitched luggage tags (addresses were done with an embroidery machine) and a few variations of other previously mentioned items.  All in all, I enjoyed crafting for Christmas and hopefully created smiles for the recipients to go along with their gifts.

I know this was an incredibly long post, so thank you for reading!  Regardless of the length, did you enjoy hearing about my crafty creations?  Would you like to see more posts (shorter next time I promise) like this one?  What have you created lately (with or without your kids)? 

Congrats to Taylor Swift on her impossible dream!!!