Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Three Years Ago Today

We were giddy newlyweds headed out of Auburn for Rosemary Beach, FL. The second picture was taken by one of my bridesmaids (can't remember which one) who was waiting for me back at the Gameday Center to help me quickly get ready and on the road after my wedding.
I love you, babe. God confirms to me on a daily basis that we are most certainly meant to spend our lives together. It just works, doesn't it?
I am so excited to once again be headed to Rosemary Beach to spend the weekend with you. Happy, happy anniversary!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Because we celebrate three years on Wednesday...

I have been reminiscing a lot about our first few months of marriage and how far we've come since then. You have often heard me talk about that tiny apartment we were living in back when we had two incomes and plenty of time to hang out. Let me give you a quick tour.Our front (and only) door. In the summer, we kept the real door open and just left the screen door shut to try to let in some air. With no central heat or air, things could get a bit stifling if I was trying to cook dinner. Obviously the above picture was taken in the fall.
So, that's it, ya'll. Three rooms (not counting the laundry, which was I was incredibly thankful to have, and the tiny bathroom off of the kitchen. Yes, it's true. You had to walk through the kitchen to get to the bathroom. Doesn't seem super sanitary to me, but we did it.) And the only room that could be closed off (again, other than the laundry and bathroom) was the bedroom, but when the door was closed, there was a huge gap between the floor and the beginning of the door, so, really, it was like you were still in the same room with the other person. When we first looked at the apartment, all engaged and smitten with each other and the idea of marriage, we were like, we don't need space. We will want to be together all of the time. Everyone laugh with me now. So that was the setting for our first year of marriage. And honestly, I mostly have wonderful memories of that little place. We were a five minute walk from Piedmont Park, and a five minute drive from everything else. In fact on nights when things seemed too closed in, we would get in the car and drive through down town just to let our brains "air out." It gets me a little teary eyed just looking at the pictures. It was a fun time. But, there were some not so fun times as we tried to adjust to marriage and living together. Let me give you an example.

Scott and I are so different in so many ways. And mostly this is a good thing. But one major difference we had when we first got married is that Scott liked to stay up late and sleep in, and I liked to go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up early. I felt like the weekend was wasted if I slept in, and he felt like it was wasted if he went to bed early. This was the start of many an argument in those first few months.

The other major sore spot in the marriage was Scott's love for X-box. This sore spot started on our honeymoon. We rented a house in Rosemary Beach that was equipped with a large, flat screen television and an X-Box, and I thought that Scott could play the X-box on that trip if there were times that I wanted to lie out in the sun, and he didn't want to. No problem, right? Wrong. That X-box took over, and it even created some arguments on the honeymoon. Ah, the memories. So, I had a bad taste in my mouth over the X-box from the very beginning.

Well, often on the weekends, Scott would "go to bed early" with me (not that early--11:00, midnight even), and then, I would wake up to find him sitting on the end of the bed playing a football game on X-box. The first few times this happened, I calmly asked him to turn it off and come to bed. Seriously, we had several conversations about this. Well, one night, I reached my breaking point. I woke up to find him once again sitting on the end of the bed, in the middle of the night, playing X-box, and I just snapped. I jumped out of bed, started yelling, throwing pillows at him--it was bad. I am pretty sure he didn't play X-box in the middle of the night after that. We laugh about it now, but it is such a picture of the adjustment that first year was.

So, babe, thanks for no longer playing X-box in the middle of the night, and I am thinking that yelling and throwing pillows was not the most Christ like way I could have handled the situation, so please, forgive me. I am thankful we survived the whole X-box catastrophe. It was a low point, wasn't it;)

These days, we stumble into bed around 10:00, exhausted as can be. We no longer feel the need to argue over that one. Thank you parenthood for solving that problem in our marriage.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Back to the Basics

CVS is where my couponing addiction began. I used to know the workers by name, and then, before I knew it was happening, Kroger and Publix and even Walgreens began to steal my attention. In fact, it's been several weeks since I have even done any CVS deals. I mostly shop at Publix these days. Well, I started thumbing through the CVS flier today after I got my Sunday paper, and I decided that it was time for CVS and me to reunite, so I am headed that way in just a few minutes.

Here is my plan

1 Fructis Shampoo @ 2.99
-2.00 cpn (Kroger mailer)
=.99 OOP, and I will receive 2.00 in ECBs
15.00 worth of Eucerin lotion (I plan to purchase the lotion containing SPF 15 for the upcoming beach trip and for the summer)=not sure of prices, but I have 4 1.00 off coupons, and I will receive 5.00 in ECBs
1 Schick Intuition Razor @ 8.99
-4.00 CPN (from today's paper)
=4.99 OOP, and I will receive 4.00 back in ECBs
I am then going to combine all of my ECBs and splurge on a 16 pack of Charmin toilet paper (I love Charmin toilet paper, but I rarely buy it b/c of the cost), and I will receive 2.00 in ECBs from that purchase. The toilet paper is on sale for 9.99, so I should walk out of CVS with 4.00 in ECBs. We'll see how it goes.
I am also headed to Publix for the penny item, which is bottled water, something I can definitely use more of!! And Kroger has a deal that if you buy 3 cases of diet coke, you receive 2 free bags of Kroger brand potato chips, so I am also stopping by there. Unfortunately we love both diet coke and potato chips around our house. What can I say, we are quite the health nuts;).

Okay, time to do some couponing. I will chat with ya'll later.

And to keep the fam interested, here's a picture (or three) of little missy playing at the park. She is all confidence and spunk these days, and she is keeping my hands full.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

While we're on the subject of hip

Have you heard? These days, couponing is the hippest of hip among the stay-at-home mom set;) So, I am here to share my couponing plan for this week.

Remember, I have spent time stockpiling, so that my list consists of 90% sale items and 10% need items. Also here you will find my go to source for all things couponing. That is where all of the information below came from. Check it out. I highly recommend it.

So here is this week's plan minus the few necessities I will add after figuring out the menu plan. I will be back with the details of that later.


Kellogg’s Pop Tarts, 8 ct, at $2.39
-$1/2 Pop Tarts RP 4/05 (makes it .69¢ ea)

Skippy Peanut Butter or Natural Peanut Butter at $2.49
-.40/1 Skippy Peanut Butter RP 4/05 or printable (makes it .44¢ ea)
-$1/2 Skippy Peanut Butter RP 4/05

Nabisco Teddy Grahams, Ritz Bits or Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Crackers, at $2.99
-$1/2 Teddy Grahams, Ritz Bits, or Mac & Cheese Crackers SS 3/01 (makes it .99¢ ea)
-$1 off any Nabisco snack printable (Target) (use both together makes it FREE)

Stouffer’s Family Size Entrees, 27 to 40 oz, $3.99 ea
-$1 off any Stouffer’s Family Size April All You or printable (must register)

Alavert Allergy & Sinus 12ct $6.99 ea
-$4 off any Alavert Green Advantage Buy Flyer (exp 4/24)
-$2 off any Alavert RP 4/19 (use both together makes it .99¢ ea)

Pine Sol Cleaner $2.49 ea
-.50/1 off any Pine Sol RP 4/05


Lawry’s 12oz Marinades $1 ea
-.50/1 Lawry’s Marinades RP 4/05 (makes it FREE)
-$1/2 Lawry’s Marinades RP 4/05

Huggies Baby Wipes 40ct $1 ea
-$1 off Huggies Bath and Body product printable or SS 4/19 (works! & makes it FREE)

McCormick Grill Mates $1 ea
-.50/1 off any McCormick Grill Mates or Rub
RP 4/19-$1 off any McCormick Spice RP 3/15 (either coupon makes it FREE)

Pillsbury Brownies $1 ea
-.35/1 Pillsbury Brownies RP 3/29

Barilla Pasta .75 cents ea
-.50/1 Barilla Whole Grain Pasta SS 3/29 (makes it FREE)
-.50/2 Barilla Whole Grain Pasta SS 3/29 (makes it .25 cents ea)

Carolina Pride Entire Line B1G1 Free
-$1.50/2 Carolina Pride Sausage or Smokies SS 4/19, 2/22

Friday, April 24, 2009

Just in case you were wondering

Because I am loving this "conversation" we are having about what is hip and un-hip, I am here to share a few more secrets with you.

In case you were wondering, I have a few inside sources. It's true, I have two college-age sisters who keep me "in the know," and I have two friends who are on staff at Auburn with college ministries. Unfortunately one will soon be moving overseas to Hong Kong, but I am thinking that Hong Kong is pretty cutting edge when it comes to fashion. We will soon find out, I suppose.

Well, one of my "inside sources" is my dear friend, Amy, who I just spent a few hours with when I was unexpectedly stranded in Auburn. Well, one day we were driving and talking about the changing fads in the guy world, and she told me something very shocking. She said that the new trend among the artsy college guys is to buy and wear girl jeans!!!!! When she first told me this, I assumed she meant that guys wore jeans that look like girl jeans. No, what she meant was that a guy walks into Gap and buys a pair of jeans from the girl section. Is your jaw dropping to the floor in much the same way that mine did? I couldn't get over this for a while, and I kept going over it with her to make sure I understood. So, that is the most shocking of the college fads, and I am thankful that Scott is not that hip because I prefer his baggy boy jeans, thank you very much.

Okay, Katie B., being quite hip herself, is my other non-college student inside source, and she actually first introduced me to the concept of an emo. I am thinking that emos are the very ones who might wear the girl jeans. I had lots of questions for her about emos, and I still don't fully understand. I get emos and goths mixed up a bit. But it is my understanding that emos are less "dark" than goths. (Katie herself is not an emo, she just knows about them.)

What we have above, is a picture of an guy who is an Emo. And for all we know, he might actually be wearing girl jeans--two trends in one.

Update: Scott just informed me that Emos are old news. Sorry to imply that they are a new trend. How Scott knows this, I have no idea.

And of course, I have my younger sisters, who provide very valuable information when it comes to fashion and "hipness" in general. Just this past Easter weekend, Sarah informed me that short nails with chipped finger nail polish is a new trend. I am not sure if it has made it's way to Auburn yet, but it is apparently sweeping the celebrity circles. I will easily be able to accomplish that trend without even trying. It goes hand in hand with motherhood, I do believe.

So there you have it. If I think of more I will add them. You just thought I knew a lot about couponing, now I am also your number one source for fashion and all things cool. Again, I kid, I kid;)

And please, if you know some of the latest trends, enlighten me. I would be most grateful.

Final post of the crimping series

And there you have it folks. If you look really hard you can see the faintest of waves. The verdict? I could take it or leave it.
I asked Ada to share some of her hair secrets. She said it's simple, just go to bed with wet hair.

The other trend among the college gals, always put your hand on your hip when you are in a picture, so I decided in honor of my crimpy hair, I would stick my hand on my hip. There you go. It was a nice experiment.

Crimping Iron Update

One, it made me feel better to hear that others had never heard of such a thing. I envisioned the whole world crimping their hair every morning as I unknowingly straightened mine. Good to know that is not the case. I kid:)

Second, the crimper just arrived about 30 minutes ago. It was perfect timing, really, because Ada was down for a nap, so I was able to immediately tear into the package. I plugged it in, waited the appropriate amount of time, and I then attempted to "wave" my hair.

I am somewhat unimpressed. I am thinking I should have paid more than 13.00 for the crimper. I learned a long time ago that in order to straighten my hair, I have to pay the big bucks for a flat iron or my hair will laugh at the iron's attempt to tame it. I am not sure I am willing to pay much for a crimper.

My camera battery is currently charging, so I can hopefully post a picture soon. The wave is so slight that I am not even sure you will be able to see it. I am not giving up on it, though. I did flat iron my hair this morning (despite the advice of the young hair stylist), so maybe it will work better without being straightened first. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Attempting to maintain the cool factor in the face of stay-at-home motherhood

Do ya'll know about crimpers?
They are apparently the new thing. Feeling rather frumpy and out of touch with what is hip, I headed to the hair salon last week. (By the way, Scott said that he had never heard the word frumpy until I used it last week to convince him that I needed a hair cut. I feel like it is a common word. Do you agree?) The girl cutting my hair was much more "in" than me, and she cut my hair like I requested, and then she proceeded to take out a curling iron and put ringlets in my hair. I kid you not, Ada and I had matching hair styles. The thing is, she seemed to know what she was doing. I suspect that she didn't realize just how curly my hair is. Anyway, apparently the look she was going for can be achieved with the tool you see above. A three barrel crimper. I double checked on the name several times before I left the salon, and what you see above is on its way to my house as I write.
I sacrificed a few swagbucks to purchase it off Amazon, but it was all in the name of fashion and anti-mom frumpiness.
I have this theory that everyone is at their hippest during college. This is when you are on the cutting edge of everything--fashion, hair style, education, research, relationships, Christian culture--am I right?
Well, I left Auburn in 2005, and at that time, flat irons were still the way to go. Apparently I got stuck there, and it's not a good situation. So...because I trust the hairstylist who was younger and cooler than me, I am going to try my hand at crimping my hair, though I think the appropriate term might be "waving" my hair. I will let you know how it goes.
Please comment if you already knew about the crimper, and let me know if it is already on its way out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trying to get back to the routine

Finally, I am home.

After staying an extra night in Auburn, I planned to leave at the crack of dawn yesterday morning. Well, my younger sister Kate woke up very sick, and my other younger sister, Sarah, had class all day long, so I helped Kate get to the University Medical Clinic and pharmacy and back to her house. Finally, around noon on Monday, I pulled on to the interstate headed for Atlanta.

I couldn't get here fast enough, and the whole drive all I could picture was little Ada running to me.

When I finally did get home, she acted embarrassed to see me, so I finally had to pick her up, and then she wrapped her arms around my neck and buried her head in my shoulder. It was Heaven.

It is so hard for me to quickly get back into the swing of things after being away. Do you agree?

I knew that there were no groceries for the week (other than stockpiled items) and no menu plan, and I even realized that I forgot to remind Scott to get papers on Sunday. So, for the first time in months, I did not get coupons on Sunday. I am feeling a little lost without them. To add to all of that, I still have several stacks of coupons that need to be organized.

Feeling a little frazzled last night and needing to quickly come up with a game plan for the week, I quickly scanned the fridge and pantry and then headed to Publix with no coupons!!!! Not a single one. I confess, it was painful for me to shop that way. I got there, with no list, grabbed a sales paper, and did the best that I could under the circumstances. I ended up spending 45.00 for not that many groceries. I tell you, couponing is worth it. I have learned to scan the items in my cart and estimate what I will pay, and with coupons, my grocery bill would have been half what it was. Don't get me wrong, I only shopped sale items, and I did save lots of money doing it that way, but still...I don't think I will try shopping without coupons again. However, we do have meals to eat now, and that will save us from overspending on eating out.

Life truly has been a bit crazy lately, and the budget is suffering as a result. I think the beach weekend (coming up very, very soon) is going to be the perfect get away where I can rest and regroup and come back ready to go.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

From Auburn

hey ya'll.

I am sitting on a couch in Auburn, AL. I travelled to Evergreen, AL for a family wedding this past Friday, and due to the threat of bad weather, I found myself spending this day in my old stomping ground.

Scott's parents were in McDonough with Scott helping care for Ada, and my car is rather unreliable, so Scott and I agreed that I should hang out for one more day.

I have taken full advantage.

I managed to fit in three chais over the course of the weekend. I spent all afternoon hanging out with my dear friend and kindred spirit, Amy Speakman, and I got to know her precious 6 month old baby girl. She has cheeks that are oh so squeezable.

I am about to die to wrap my arms around little Ada, though. I can't stand to be away from her this long. I feel a little empty.

And that's all for tonight. I felt the need to check in to my blog because I have been away for so long. What have you been up to these past few days?

Me, I'm playing college.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2009 Goals Revisited

Back in January, I made a list of goals for the year, and then I said I was going to evaluate my progress every Sunday. Ha. It's April, and I am just now bringing it up again.

But progress has been made. Just to refresh. Here I discussed wanting to get my house in order, walls painted, blinds hung, diet coke eliminated, new meals cooked, and more money saved. How am I doing?

The blinds are hung.
I have tried (once) to make homemade bread.
I have learned to love chicken on the bone, and I even made homemade donuts one Friday night (which tasted good, but left me feeling a bit sick).

The money saved was going better, but we have hit a bump in the road the past two months mainly because of those little things that just come up. However, God has provided more tutoring hours than ever, so we are still on track, but we do wish that more progress had been made.

And my house, oh my house. Flylady and I separated a long time ago, but I do feel like we have more of a routine around here. I think Ada's getting older has helped with the routine. Every morning I try to make a list of 5-10 things that are that day's priority. For example, tae bo and dinner are always on the list. I make the list as doable as possible, and then I tackle those tasks. It helps me to see this on paper, and with each item that I cross off, I gain momentum for the other items. It's working for me. Granted, this stomach virus got me a bit side tracked. I was playing single mom and nurse to two all at the same time, and the result was what you see below. I am now dealing with the aftermath. But praise God, I didn't get sick.

Things are going okay. Our schedule is so insane right now with all of the tutoring, that I am just trying to stay on track the best I can, and the list helps me to do that. What tricks do you have for keeping your life organized? I am always up for a little advice.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Best Couponing Sources

I feel like I haven't talked couponing in a while, but I am still trucking along, clipping, sorting, filing, saving money.

I collect the majority of my coupons from the Sunday paper, even buying multiple copies every weekend. In fact, the cashier at the gas station beside my house refers to me as the "coupon lady." So very cool, I know. Though the Sunday paper is my main source, I do look elsewhere for coupons--online, the Thursday edition of the paper, and tear pads in the grocery store.

Another great source for coupons that you may not know about it is the magazine All You. All the serious couponers swear by this magazine as a great source for money saved. Right now, my friend Jessica, is teaming up with Carrie at Money Saving Methods, to give everyone a great deal on an All You subscription. To take advantage, go here. I highly recommend subscribing. It will save you tons of money couponing.

Easter in Pictures

Here is Ada last year, just to compare.
And, Easter this year.
Here we are Friday night when we were supposed to leave, but the tornadoes stopped us.
Packed up and headed out. Ada was thrilled to have her picture taken;)
And...we've turned around and we're headed back to the house.
Easter morning, Ada is opening her basket. I removed all the candy first, though.
Playing with her Easter gifts.
Not our favorite Easter, but it will definitely be remembered.
p.s. The virus is not finished with us. Scott is currently quarantined in the bedroom after being sick all. night. long. Please join me in praying that I am spared the virus. I don't need to cancel tutoring sessions this week, and it is never convenient for a mom to be out of commission. Poor little Ada was sick again this morning (all over me and her. yuck.), but I think she is definitely on the mend this time.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Different Kind of Easter

Well, we are spending this Easter morning at home, dealing with the aftermath of a violent stomach virus. It was bad, folks.

We originally planned to head to Alabama on Friday as soon as Scott got home from work. We were going to spend Friday night with Scott's family, and then spend Saturday night with my family. Well, the tornadoes that decided to take over Alabama on Friday night, postponed our trip. So, we regrouped, moved our departure time to Saturday after Ada's nap, and headed out around 3:00 on Saturday afternoon.

Before we even got to down town Atlanta, Ada started vomiting. And I do mean vomiting. As in projectile. After this happened twice, she acted fine, so we chalked it up to car sickness, got her cleaned up, and headed on our merry way. And then, the vomiting got worse. And worse. And she wasn't so fine anymore. We finally pulled over in Kennesaw, an hour away from our house, where I bought a few extra shirts for Ada and for myself because the ones that we had on were soaked through. In fact, in the middle of Target, Ada once again threw up all over me and her. It wasn't pretty, ya'll. I tried to maintain as much dignity as possible as I walked through Target covered in vomit. We finally got her as comfortable as possible in her carseat. I placed a towel under her, let her go topless because I couldn't afford to buy a new shirt for everyone that she soaked through, and I kept a towel under her chin to catch as much as I could on the drive home. I was not doing so well at this point because I was dealing with a very sick little girl. I was calling Tutti, my mom, Ann, and the on-call nurse to get advice, and, finally, she fell asleep. At that point, worried that she was very dehydrated, I debated on waking her up to try to hydrate her, but Scott begged me to let her sleep. I did let her sleep, but I slept on the floor beside her crib, ready to wake up the second she needed me.

At 1:30 am, she woke up, and threw up once more all over me and her. However, she was holding her head up (earlier, she had been limp, lying on Scott or me at all times), and she was very adamantly demanding juice. I gave her an entire sippy cup of Pedialyte, and she gulped it down and promptly asked for more. And miracle of all miracles, the Pedialyte stayed down. And she let me give her a much-needed bath, at 1:30 am. I couldn't bear the thought of putting her back in the bed, still covered in the day's mess. So, I got her bathed and back to bed, and she slept until morning.

She bounced out of bed this morning as if nothing had ever happened, and Scott got up with her, so that I could catch a few extra hours of sleep. I have never been able to sleep in the same room with Ada, even from day one, because I wake up at the slightest sound or movement, and last night was no different. She seems to be just fine today, but I did put her back in bed at 10:30 am because instinct tells me that she needs rest, even if she acts like she doesn't.

I have to confess that I feel sad to spend Easter morning at home instead of in a Church and with family. It is a day for celebration, and I am having a hard time mustering up the emotion. Scott did just go out to pick up lunch from Cracker Barrel (I wanted something that resembled home cooking), and we are about to watch the Easter Service at Mars Hill, which is broadcasting live.

It's not the day that we planned. My family is at home listening to my brother-in-law teach, and then they will eat lunch at a local B & B, followed by an Easter Egg Hunt. In fact, Ada's Strasburg Easter dress, which matches Ellie's, is sitting in a closet at my mom's house, but none of that really matters, of course.

Here is what we celebrate today, no matter our circumstances (quoting from the Jesus Storybook Bible),

"Jesus turned to them and said, 'Go everywhere and tell everyone the happy news! 'Tell them I love them so much that I died for them. It's the truth that overcomes the terrible lie. God loves his children. Yes, he really does!' Suddenly the whole sky was filled with a dazzling light. 'Now everyone can come home to God,' Jesus said. 'Death is not the end of you. You can live forever with your Father in heaven because I have rescued the whole world!'

"For anyone who says yes to Jesus. For anyone who believes what Jesus said. For anyone who will just reach out to take it. Then God will give them this wonderful gift:

To be born into a whole new life. To be who they really are. Who God always made them to be--Their own true selves--God's dear child. (paraphrase of John 1:12-13)"

It's time to celebrate, ya'll!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

One step closer to Ada's toy kitchen

I have now earned 30.00 towards a kitchen for Ada's birthday. How? Through swagbucks. And remember, you can help me earn even more by signing up here.

All you have to do is make swagbucks your home page, and then use it as you would use Google. You will earn swagbucks just for searching the internet. Once you have earned enough swagbucks, you can trade them in for fun things like Amazon or Starbucks gift cards. Why not earn prizes for something you are already doing?

How does this help me? If you sign up under me, then I will win points when you win points. See how great this is? It works out for everyone.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The first pony tail

I originally started this blog in order to record the milestones of Ada and of motherhood. While this blog has evolved into a bit more than that, don't you think that a little girl's first pony tail is by all means a milestone worth recording. I say that indeed it is, so I record away. Where did my baby go? Obviously my baby is still hanging around as Ada is still quite attached to that pacie. My life is just too crazy at the moment to fight the pacie battle, so she hangs on.

Give me truth, Oh Lord

The other day I was driving in the car listening to some praise music on the radio, and I heard these words from a familiar praise song,

"Who can grasp your infinite wisdom, who can fathom the depths of your love"

and in these words, which I have heard a million or more times, I found such comfort. Because isn't this, as believers, what we stand on. We can't stand on circumstances. I see that everyday. I hear story after story of believers who are suffering in incomprehensible ways, and even in the minor trials that make up my days, were I to stand on emotions, I would quickly begin to doubt who God is, and most likely, I would even begin to doubt his goodness.

Of course there are times when my emotions tell me that God is good--when Ada is cuddled up close to me, or when I crawl into bed at night beside Scott, or even when I eat a really good meal or I enjoy a beautiful day spent outside--there are circumstances that point to God's goodness. Of course, there are.

But, praise the Lord, God is in no way defined by our circumstances. Whether our circumstances are good or bad, there are these truths that we can cling to. He is infinitely wise; He is deeply loving. And that is all I need to know. That is where peace comes from. It is in resting in the one who is so much wiser and more loving than I can even comprehend. I rest in the fact that whatever he allows to happen to me is for my good. And I am thankful that His perception of what is good is so far above mine.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose," Romans 8:28

And what do I mean by good? Knowing Him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to His death. Why? That I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

"But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead," Philippians 3:7-11

What peace I find in filling my mind with truth. I spend so much time listening to lies, and my prayer is that each day the Lord would grant me the ability to cling to truth in the place of those lies, that I might experience that peace that passes all understanding.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The most beautiful sound in the world

Scott and I put Ada to bed over an hour ago, and she has spent that entire hour talking and laughing and crying and whatever else she could think of to get us to come up to her room and rescue her from having to go to sleep.

Well, just a few minutes ago, we were sitting here, and we heard her say something over the monitor. She kept getting louder and louder, I suppose to make sure we heard her, and this is what she said, "Mommy (in a sing-song voice), I love you." Well, by the time she had repeated that several times, I couldn't help but fly up those stairs to say, "I love you too, my precious girl."

We hugged and snuggled and said I love you a few more times, and now she is sleeping soundly. What an undeserving gift it is to be someone's mother.

Monday, April 6, 2009

More Diet Talk

So...there is more I want to say about dieting.
One is that I have fallen off the wagon over the past week. I think I was just so stinkin' exhausted from all of the tutoring, that I didn't have time to think about it, and it was hard for me to get my tale off the couch during Ada's nap time to do Tae Bo. I am three weeks away from the beach (I can't believe that we are actually going. It's going to be amazing.), and I have to get it together fast, so I am gathering my thoughts and getting my game plan together.

Earlier I mentioned different overall dieting strategies or philosophies, if you will, but now I want to talk about little tricks that I have for surviving the diet game.

I love that Jello commercial that talks about how, "every diet needs a little wiggle room." I totally get that commercial. It speaks my language. So, here are the ways I find a little wiggle room in my diet.

Night time is my worst dieting time of all. Whether I am tutoring online late at night or sitting and watching television with Scott, I love to have something to munch on. There is the feeling that I deserve a treat at the end of the day, and I have realized that I need to plan for that treat in order to prevent blowing my calorie count at the end of the day. Some of my favorite treats are a cup of hot green or white tea with a little bit of cream and splenda, a snack size pack of M & M's, a 100 calorie pack of popcorn with diet coke, one cookie or brownie or whatever else we might have in the house (remember that portion size is key). My point is that you need to figure out when during the day you are your "weakest," and come up with a game plan for getting through that time. Mine happens to be night time, and morning is my best time. The more tired I am, the less will power I have, and by 8 or 9 at night, my will power level is in the negative range.

I also like to keep healthy snacks in sight at all time. Let me give you an example. Right now I have pretty orange tangelos sitting in my fruit bowl on the counter. So today I walked into the kitchen fully intending to get a handful of chex mix from the pantry, and then I spotted the tangelos, looking much more "attractive" than chex mix, and I changed my mind. If that fruit had been out of sight, I would have ended up eating many more calories and putting a lot more junk in my body. Keep the healthier stuff in sight, and you will more likely grab it instead of the junk. Even better, if there is some sort of "junk" that you just can't resist, don't keep it in the house. For example, I have a huge weakness for chips and french fries. Obviously I can't keep McDonald's french fries in the house, but I can buy chips. If I don't buy chips, and instead tell myself that I can get fries the next time I am at a fast food restaurant, I end up eating a lot fewer calories. I don't like to cut foods out entirely, but I do like to be smart about what I eat.

Finally, because this is once again getting long, I want to close with a work out tip that I read in Runner's World a few years back. If you don't feel like exercising, tell yourself that you only have to do it for ten minutes. I mean, what is ten minutes of exercise? Nothing, right? But once you get started, you most likely aren't going to stop after only 10 minutes. However, ten minutes of exercise is a lot easier to deal with than 45 minutes. It's the same thing I tell my students--tell yourself you are going to study hard for 10 minutes and then take a break. It's the overwhelming feeling that you have to study an entire chapter or four pages of notes that keeps you from studying, and it's the same with exercise. Most days 45 minutes of Tae Bo doesn't seem doable, but ten minutes is always possible. I have never actually stopped after ten minutes. Try it. It gets the exercise done, I promise.

I still much more to write about this subject, but for now I will close. As always, if you have any tips to pass along, please do.

A Few More Questions

If you haven't already, read the post below before you read this one.

Let's look at the picture of the couch again. Wait, maybe we need a better picture. By the way, I have zero photography skills. I apologize.

So, here's what I am thinking. I want a single curtain panel on each window--something in the brown family, maybe. I plan to hang the rods high to draw the eye up because our downstairs ceilings are rather low. I also would like to have matching floor lamps on either side of the couch. Does that sound good to ya'll? If so, what color shades am I going for? Would it be better to have a table on either end of the couch with a table lamp on each? Thoughts, anyone? I am looking at the couch as I type, and I am really leaning towards a floor lamp on each end of the couch. Hmmm...what should those look like, I wonder?

Oh, and finally, what do you picture above the couch? I have the painting that I mentioned below, the one that Sarah did. I originally planned for it to go above the couch, but I am wondering if it should go over the fire place. Hmmm... It is currently hanging in the guest room. Hold on, I will take a picture.

Okay, never mind. Picasa is giving me all sorts of trouble, so it's looking like no more pictures today. Hopefully, I can come back later with more pictures.

Final questions--where can I find affordable, but nice looking, lamps? And curtains for the windows? I want something basic. Maybe I can find some example pictures online.

Decorating Ideas, please

We are in full fledge spring cleaning mode around our house.

All but one of my students cancelled tutoring this week because of Spring Break, and I couldn't be more excited about it. Yes we need the money, but I have to say that I think I needed the break more. I plan to clean, clean, clean until this house is as spotless and organized as it can possibly be with a toddler running around.

We spent all of this past weekend on the downstairs because my parents are spending the night with us tonight. We are a good stopping place on their way to my cousin's wedding in Tampa, and it made for a great excuse to whip the downstairs into shape. I wish I had a before picture of the downstairs guest bedroom, but instead use your imaginations to picture coupons and scissors and newspapers covering every square inch of the room. Here is the after picture.
We also finally hung wooden blinds on our front door. The "temporary" paper blinds that were on the front door were one of the most depressing things I have ever seen, so Scott spent all of Saturday morning on that project. (We had to make two trips to Home Depot before we got the correct size). Here is the after, and I am so relieved to have it done. It puts in a good mood just thinking about it.Okay, so then I started snapping pictures of the rest of the house, and there are so many things that still need to be done. Here's the dilemma, we don't have any money to spend on anything. Our house is filled with hand-me-downs and Ikea, craigslist, and garage sale purchases, and there is not much that I can do to change that. But I am wondering if I can "re-vamp" things a bit just by rearranging. Here is what we are working with.

Obviously, we need to finish painting--when that will happen, I don't know. Probably not until summer because for now there is just not time. This week would be the week, but I really need to focus on cleaning before I can focus on painting.

Okay, so other obvious things--some sort of window treatments and a bigger coffee table. Here is the question about the coffee table. Until we can purchase a bigger one, should I do away with a coffee table all together, and find another use for the table we are currently using? Or should I just make the smaller one work?

Next question. I would love to do some sort of buffet or longer table underneath the window to the kitchen. You know, the area beside the love seat. Again, however, I cannot purchase that right now, but I am not sure if I am liking the small square table beside the love seat. What do you think? And finally about that area, should I take down the black frames and replace them with a big picture? I have an antique map of England that I could hang there instead. What do you think?

Okay, I have more questions, but Ada is losing it, and I need to get ready to go to the library, so I will be back later to discuss this some more. Any and all thoughts are welcome.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Morning Mischief

This morning, I was in the dining room (aka play room. We definitely don't have any dining room furniture), and I noticed that Ada had been quiet for a while, so I went to check things out, and this is what I found.So after snapping a few quick pictures, I turned on my "stern face" and gave her a reminder that climbing up on the table to eat breakfast is not the way we do things around here.

I put her on the floor, and she went on her merry way. I started to do things around the kitchen--clean up the breakfast dishes, wipe down the counters, sweep the floors, etc. etc., and I turned around to find this.
What you see above is a picture of Ada drawing on the walls in green crayon. The crayon marks really add to the decor of the house, I think. It especially accents the pen marks on the ottoman. I'm telling you, I turn my back for one second, and this girl is into something. So this time after another little "conversation" about the dos and don'ts of crayons, I put her to work.
I really needed the oven door wiped down, and she was happy to oblige. Just another Friday morning with Ada.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Free Magazine

I love the free magazine subscriptions that are always floating around, though magazines are currently taking over my house, and I hardly have time to read everything that shows up in my mailbox.

However, I do think this free offer is worth mentioning, if you, like me, love to peruse the pages of People magazine.

Here is where you can get an absolutely free copy of People Magazine's 2008 Yearbook, which I am thinking will include lots of great photos of Oscar dresses and such.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thank you, E-bay

Below is what greeted me in the mail today. Well, yesterday and today. And Ada is modeling (and singing "If you're happy and you know it")."If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands."
"...then your face will surely show it..."
"If you're happy and you know it, give a smile..."
I think we might have moved into freestyle dancing, here.
I love the ruffles on the rear.

By the way, Scott picked those shoes for this outfit. I am picturing white sandals and a big red bow. In fact, you will see the bow in the following pictures, along with E-bay outfit #2.
what television show is she so interested in--Tae Bo!! I tried to switch it to a cartoon, but she requested that we stay there.
and then she decided to join in. Got to keep those arms looking good for these sleeveless summer outfits!
Just a reminder--each of these outfits was less than 10.00, including shipping, and I received 9 more of those bows for 10.00 including shipping. Let me repeat, I am loving E-bay!