Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Finds...Lemon-licious!

Friday Finds
(okay, so that's corny,
but my husband has a thing for adding licious to things he loves
& this, I love!)Buy 2 get 1 free at Bath & Body Works.
Anti-bac soap $3.
I know, I know, I hardly go to Bath & Body anymore either, but I got a coupon for $10 off!
This stuff is YUMMY! You've got to check it out.
Doesn't smell like any other vanilla and sort of smells like the CO Bigelow stuff, but sweeter.
It's super YUMMY! I think I already mentioned that.
I haven't worn body spray since college, but today I did the recommended layering of the shower gel, lotion & then finishing with the spray and felt an extra spring in my step. Pin It

Saturday, April 24, 2010

simply steps

Lilah's closet is also our playroom.
The closets in our house are quite possibly the best features.
The day pictured above was the last day we were stuck in the house because it was too cold outside to play, snowing even.
Now the flannel pjs are put away and most of our days are spent outdoors playing.
I needed this photo to remind me how nice it is not to have cabin fever anymore!
(because while here they are happily co-existing, that wasn't always the case. Carter could be heard asking "Mommy, when will Lilah be a real sister?" I'm pretty sure he'd define "real sister" as one who would play how he wanted her to play.) Pin It

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stuff like this doesn't just happen

I was a senior in high school, accepted into Central Bible College in Springfield, MO when a young couple in my church took me aside.
I'd seen their faces for years. Didn't know much about them.
Turns out they had wealth & they wanted to share it with me.
They asked me to make a list of all the things I needed to go away to college.
They said to think of it as a wish list.

Over the next couple of months they gave me just about everything on my list.
The car & computer I put on the list (& daily wished I could erase) were left.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, they took me to a few car dealerships to look at brand new Honda Civics, Toyota Corollas, Nissan Sentras, and a few more.
But they never really said why we were doing this.
My family had NEVER owned a new car, so I was sure my mom was not going to be getting me one!
I went along with this man's plan because he'd been so generous to me. I answered his "would you like this color interior or this one?" and "does a CD player matter more than cruise control?" questions. Still, he never told me why we were doing this.
One day my mom & I met him at the dealership & the dealer handed me the keys to my brand new car, loaded with all of the things I'd been telling him I preferred.
My. own. brand. new. shiny. black. car. with tan interior!

I was SHOCKED! This kind of thing doesn't just happen. Did this really just happen?

Shock after shock came when the car was paid for with a personal check.
Paid for
. No loan. No financing.

At that moment I added a life goal to my list: be a blessing like this one day.
I was thrilled that in one of my first conversations with my husband, I learned he shared this goal.

For the past few years we've been following Dave Ramsey's 6 step plan to Financial Peace. Dan has been helping to lead an FPU class on Wed nights here at our church.

While I could certainly make this post about how the first 6 steps have WOW-ed me, and I could share the blessings that have come as we are faithful to "live like no one else" as Dave says. Today, I want to focus on the 7th step: Giving
Of course the 6 previous steps get you to a place where you can do the kind of giving that knocks the socks off of a young, college-bound girl.
You've got to see this video. I saw it Wed night & haven't stopped thinking about this AMAZING story of giving! Just amazing!
You're going to love it. And want to share it. I just know it!
image source:
written for

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Monday, April 19, 2010

simply steps

daddy & lilah stop for a tea party at ikea.
she screamed & squirmed & attempted to get out of the cart from the moment we arrived. and like magic, we hit the children's section & she became a different child.
finally we got a break from getting dirty looks from fellow shoppers.
forgetting what preceded this moment, it is precious, isn't it?
thanks to the iPhone for capturing it.

simply steps?
last week i was the guest blogger at i was asked to write a post on "overcoming". my post titled, today, even a wet sock can't get me down got a few comments-one had me thinking all week & inspired this detailgalblog series called, "simply steps".
here's the comment from starr:

I heard a pastor preach once on the popular Isaiah 40:31 verse. He focused in on the “….walk and not grow weary….” portion.
His premise was that it’s exciting to run, adventurous to soar….but life also requires a lot of just plain ol’ walking.
God helps us walk through our sometimes repetitive days without growing weary! I don’t even think I had kids when I heard that sermon, but I always remembered it. After I had babies, I knew why God was gracious enough to make it stick.
I hope you enjoy the simple steps of your life-some of us are better at stopping to appreciate them. I'm working on it. Hoping this series will compell me toward that goal just a bit.
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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Another milestone

A couple of mornings ago, my kids had been playing in a bedroom for about 10 minutes without any screams or tattling so I headed outside figuring I'd have enough time to rake off any remaining mulch from the area where I'd be planting annuals.
Finished that.
Checked on them (without them knowing, of course so as not to disturb this phenomena).
They were still in that bedroom. Peacefully.
I went back out & chopped up the dirt with my shovel.
Checked again.
Still playing. Giggling, even.
Went back out & started adding the mix of compost, fertilizer, and whatever else that Miracle Grow gardening bag had in it.
I continued to plant all 24 of my petunia & coleus plants in the bed.
All of them!

As I picked up the empty plant containers & my shovels to begin cleaning up, my 2 kids appeared in the front entry.
I couldn't have scripted it any better. I swear.
They only now (almost 2 hours later) realized I was outside! WHAAAT? A milestone.
They weren't even coming to tell me that one had hit the other.
Carter came out saying, "Mommy, we're hungry"
Are these my kids?
Sure I'd walk in & find the dogs water bowl dumped & all of the toilet paper draping the bathroom, but no, I only found this:
I'll take it. For 2 hours of silent, peaceful planting & a project completed, I'll take everything they could get their hands on scattered all over the bedroom floor. You betcha!

I guess you could say the downside came days later, when a massive rainstorm drenched this semi-arid zone.
I checked off any danger of a freeze, and figured the threats of rain that had been around all week with no actualization meant I was safe.
Did I mention I live in a semi-arid climate?
Our weather forecast is typically sun, sun & more sun with the occasional wind/dust storms. The craziest dust storms you've ever seen this side of the Sahara
(does the Sahara get dust storms? let's assume so.)

I'm tempted to go out today now that the pouring has stopped outside (and in-but that's another post) and blow-dry my petunias like Franc's assistant Hanc did in Father of the Bride! Pin It

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not even a wet sock can get me down today!

I'm the guest blogger today at!
Would love for you to click here & read why "not even a wet sock can get me down today"

Here's an excerpt:
"Somewhere between the coffee pot & the sink I step in who-knows-what was spilled on the floor the day before & now my sock is wet. What’s worse than wet socks?
This morning not even wet socks before the sun rises can get me down.
Because after my typical morning routine (and this is quite typical) there is something more; something extraordinary is on the horizon."

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Monday, April 5, 2010

No vacation after vacation necessary

I was so refreshed after our weekend away, the morning after we got home I did all the unpacking, 2 loads of laundry, & 1 load of dishes all BEFORE I'd had even a sip of coffee!
It seems spending 3 days roaming anonymously in Dallas was just what we needed.

Maybe it was all that time spent in the 2 door coupe, something about the trip bonded our party of 4.
It was our first vacation without any extended family or friends.
We planned it as soon as we found out that we wouldn't have visitors for Easter.

The fact is, we have to figure out this whole thing because it's likely we'll always live away from family.

10 hrs round-trip in a 2door coupe with 2 kids under 4 to spend 3 nights/2 days in the biggest city near home may not sound like a recipe for refreshment, but it was!
Here's what I think made it successful:

1. Trip total cost was under $500.
Hotel suite, Gas, Attractions, Food, the whole sha-bang!
Spending less money meant less pressure.
No stress on our budget and no need for a credit card, meant I wasn't concerned about making every last moment worth it!
I did some searching online to choose a hotel that could be as much a part of our vacation as the attractions in town, but for less. (Great Wolf Lodge @$400 a night wouldn't fit in this trip)
Enter: Sheraton Suites Market Center-
1 night free w/Starwood points. 1 night less than $99.
1 bdrm suite w/2 flat screen tvs, a small balcony, king bed & sleeper sofa.
We even got free breakfast buffet coupons both mornings.
2 best features: closing the door between the bedroom & living room, allowed the kids to go to sleep & the parents to stay up to watch a movie!
Secondly, the hotel has both an indoor & outdoor pool w/hot tub.It's not fancy, but it's modern & clean.
It was perfect for a family stay.
Bonus: it's right on the highway for easy access around the city.

2. I left "good mommy" at home.
I wasn't making sure the kids had vegetables or fruit at each meal or monitoring screen time. In the past, I took the advice of keeping the same schedules & rules on vacation as they are used to at home to prevent breakdowns.
But this was just 2 nights.
Guess what? 3 days without baths & more junk food than they've had all year didn't kill them! It gave me a mental vacation.
As soon as we woke up in our own beds, we embraced our home rules & so far no trouble adjusting.

3. We chose low-key, low-cost attractions
Enter: the Fort Worth Zoo
By the end of the day no one was exhausted.
But the kids had just enough time walking around in the sun to make them conk out as soon as we hit the freeway. ahhhhh....
Plus, the zoo lets you bring in your picnic lunch & drinks & has lots of tree-shaded nooks for eating. Well-hydrated, nutritionally-nourished kids are less likely to meltdown.
Carter was thrilled by an easy sell on getting one of those cheap, over-priced souveniers at the gift shop (he had no idea mommy & daddy spent less than $40 to have all that fun at the zoo!)

Use these keys to my current state of serenity & put them to use on our next "we have to get out of this town!" trip.
If you have natural attractions nearby-mountains for hiking & camping, l
akes for splashing & floating-even better! We'd have to drive too many miles.

If you go for exploring a new city, like we do, take pleasure in the new additions on your urbanspoon app & the way your kids look at the freeways & skyscrapers like they're on another planet.
It worked for us!
I may just need another trip for the State Fair! Pin It
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