Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blog Party News

*** Sticky post for the rest of November - scroll down for current posts! ***

I've got some fantastic news! I have giveaways from Etsy artisans lined up for all of you during the first week of December! Want to know how to win?

  • Go HERE and find my name. Vote for me to win a Wii (Brian really really wants one! ;)
  • Come back and leave a comment on THIS post. You will automatically get an entry in every giveaway by doing this! This is a "pre-entry" so comments on this post will be closed on November 30th!
  • Come by every day of the party and leave a comment about the specific prize!
  • Put this button up on your blog somewhere.


Blog Party




Much thanks to Kailani for helping me put the code on my blog! Feed readers please click through to get the code!

Let me know if you need help and good luck!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's Over!

Yay, posting every day... no more! (well, except for my blog party this coming week!)

I thought for sure when I started this that I would finish my pictorial essay of Yellowstone... not!
I thought I'd have a hard time coming up with something to write about every day... not too much!
I thought I would drop out... not!
I thought I would hate it by the end... not, but I'm glad it's over!

So, what did you think of my posting every day in November? It was an interesting experiment to be sure, but I probably won't do it again!

Don't forget... my feed is switching to www.welcometomarriedlife.com sometime Sunday afternoon! It will be complete by Monday, the 1st!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Diet

So, no Thanksgiving for me this year. I don't know if it was the fever that Cory has had or the sausage I ate for dinner last night or something else entirely, but I got sick in the night. Which meant that I missed Thanksgiving entirely. :(

Brian's parents picked Cory up and took them to my parents' house where they all had lots of fun. At least somebody got spoiled today!

I think from now on I'm not eating at the holidays. What with this and this last year... Hey, it's a good way to avoid that holiday weight gain right? And I really think I'd rather fast than have stomach cramps!

Hope your day was much better than mine! And for those of you shopping, have fun! I was going to brave it for the first time ever... now, I'll be lucky if I get out of bed and eat breakfast!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Book: Beloved Captive


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Beloved Captive

Barbour Publishing, Inc (November 1, 2008)

by

Kathleen Y’Barbo


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

There’s never a dull moment in the Y’Barbo household! From hockey and cheer mom to publicist to bestselling author, Kathleen Y’Barbo somehow manages to do it all - and well. While wearing her publicist’s hat, Kathleen has secured interviews with radio, television, and print media for clients at NavPress, Hatchette, Integrity, Barbour Publishing, and Broadman & Holman, to name a few. She also brings her own unique blend of Southern charm and witty prose to the more than 350,000 award-winning novels and novellas currently in print. Her novels have been nominated for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006; and 2007 will see the release of her 25th book.

Kathleen is a tenth-generation Texan and a mother of three grown sons and a teenage daughter. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University. Kathleen is a former treasurer for the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a member of the Author’s Guild, Inspirational Writers Alive, Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild, and the Fellowship of Christian Authors. In addition, she is a sought-after speaker, and her kids think she’s a pretty cool mom, too…most of the time, anyway.

The first book in this series is Beloved Castaway.


ABOUT THE BOOK

In this sequel to Beloved Castaway, Emilie Gayarre is learning to accept her mixed race heritage while finding fulfillment in teaching children of the key. There is no denying the attraction between Emilie and the handsome young naval commander, Caleb Spencer, who is shadowed by his own flock of secrets. But if her heritage is found out, even greater things than his career are at risk. Enjoy this historical romance full of risk and redemption.


***

Okay, I haven't read this book yet either! But, it's the second in a series and I seriously despise reading books out of order! And, my library didn't have the first one so I had to order it from Amazon. Excuses, excuses, I know! They both look really good though so I'm hoping to have some time to read this weekend.... yeah, like that's going to happen!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Beloved Captive, go HERE.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Par-tay Update

Hey, can you believe it's almost the end of November??? Thanksgiving is 2 days away and my blog party kicks off in one week!

Blog Party


Just a little update here. I've got some really fun prizes - all from Etsy - lined up so come back each day to enter! Take the code from my sidebar for the button and put it on your blog so you don't forget!

And since it's getting close to Christmas there are a TON of giveaways going on all over the blogosphere. Check my left side bar under "Current Events" for links to lots of other giveaways!

Monday, November 24, 2008

50,000 for Soles4Souls

Random post title, right?

Not quite. See, there's this organization called Soles4Souls whose mission is: to impact as many lives as possible with the gift of shoes.

Right now they've got a little challenge going on... 50,000 pairs in 50 days.

Fifty Thousand.

Seems like a huge number, right? But consider this.

Each pair of shoes only costs 2.50. That's two dollars and fifty cents.

So, for less than the price of your favorite coffee shop drink you could give someone a pair of shoes. Maybe someone who's never owned a pair of shoes in their life.

I know times are tough. But would you consider giving up one or two drinks this week to give someone a pair of shoes? You never know how that might change their life!


The 50,000 Pairs in 50 Days Challenge


And... they'll be choosing one person who donates to go on a trip with them to Mexico to see just how these shoes can impact lives! Wouldn't that be an amazing trip?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Merry Christmas to Me!

Guess what I got for Christmas last year... and this year!

Work in progress...

Completed.

It's a plant stand!

Isn't it pretty!And one of my Christmas cacti is in full bloom!

My dad made me this (with help from Uncle Jim) and today it was delivered! I'm so happy to have a fancy plant stand (instead of my coolers :) to put my plants on! It just looks so nice in the corner of my kitchen!!!


Guess what I got for Christmas last year? A custom made plant stand!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Girls Night Out!

Yeah, that's where I've been tonight! So, no deep thoughts or pictures for you today...

We had fun though! It was a "craft" night at church and we all had different crafts. I sat next to a girl who had never done any scrapbooking and got to help her out on a little book she was making for her kids grandparents. Other ladies were sewing (various forms), doing more scrapbooking, making hair bows, painting... tons of fun!

Then we watched the sappiest Christmas movie ever! The Christmas Card, a Hallmark special. But I guess it was okay since we had just as much fun making fun of the movie as we did watching it!

Tomorrow is a big open house/holiday bazaar that I'm joining with my Discovery Toys. I don't really have high expectations since I really didn't do well at these last year. But hopefully I'll sell a few things and that will help me buy more Christmas presents and such!

Oh, and lastly, my friend Rolana stopped by this morning with her three kiddos. They don't live in the area so it was good to see them. It was fun, but I think Cory was a bit overwhelmed to have all these big kids in the house playing with his toys! He's not used to so many kids here!

Happy weekend everyone! (Can you believe only one week until December??? Yikes!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wish Lists - What's Your Take?

I have been pondering this for a while now - like a year or more - but two things yesterday brought it to my mind again. First I read this post by Jenn over at Full of Boys. And then I got the holiday list link from my sister-in-law of things she'd like.

Okay, so my husband will appreciate this... I'm "processing" my thoughts while I write. Note: I do NOT do this out loud, ever! ;)

I think I will start with saying that Christmas really feels like it has lost a lot of it's meaning for me. We spend half our Christmas break here and half in Oregon with the in-laws. There is NOTHING wrong with this, I LOVE it. But. It does make for more stress and busy-ness what with traveling and all.
Add to that the fact that there are already so many events in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas and most years I end up feeling like I'm so busy I don't have time to sit and ponder. I want to have the Christmas spirit, yet so often I feel like I'm just going through the motions.

The other thing I don't like about Christmas is the presents - and mainly the horrid consumerism that goes along with it. (This is one of the many reasons I'm so glad we don't have a TV. I don't have to know what the "it" thing to have this Christmas is and I'm just as happy without it!)

If it were up to me, Christmas would be about celebration. Gathering with friends and family to enjoy each other and to take time to think about what it is we're celebrating. That's what I miss the most. It feels so fake, like we've just left out the center of the holiday entirely.
Next side note: my friend Rachel will be posting something for Advent, which starts this Sunday, every day on her blog. I'm really liking this idea!

And now for the actual title of my post...

My family never did "wish lists". It was always just buy something for the person that you thought they would like, want, or need. You could ask them for suggestions of course, but it was generally up to you.
My husbands family on the other hand, has emailed each other a list of the specific items they would like, complete with links, every year we have been married.

Now, I'm not saying either way is right or wrong, but as you can see, they are just about polar opposites! This is where my dilemma comes in.

I was raised with the idea that you should buy something for the person because you think of it. Basically you should know the person well enough that you would know what they might like (or want or need). This has its pitfalls (random gifts you don't know what to do with anyone? :) I've always had a much harder time buying things for my dad and my brother than for my mom. I see stuff All.The.Time that I could buy for her and most often I have to resist knowing I already have something for the next 9 holidays for her!
So sometimes it might be nice to know if there was really something that my dad or brother (or husband - why are guys so hard to buy for?) would really like!

However, there's something about the "wish list" that just really bugs me. It feels so... impersonal, for lack of a better word. "Here's a list of stuff I want, please get me something off this list". It takes away the aspect of knowing the person and what they might like. At that point mightn't we all just go and buy ourselves the things we want and wish each other a Merry Christmas?

I don't know. I know I'm coming down pretty hard on "wish lists" and I just don't know what to do about it. I feel like suggesting a Secret Santa style Christmas where we each only buy a gift for one person. I think that would make it a lot less stressful and also you would be able to buy a nicer gift. (yes, people do collaborate on bigger gifts in our family at times) But it might be too late to suggest this for this year.

In the end I wish it was less about the stuff and more about the people and the Reason. I'm not sure entirely how to do this... but here's hoping we can talk about it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A List of Random

I stole this list off Jacki's blog Moving at the Speed of Life. Go say "hi" if you have a minute! Her husband also writes a couple blogs, mainly about photography... the reason I found them to begin with!

We have some things in common and some things we're opposite on!

1. Started your own blog - ya think?
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity - how do you determine this, really?
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning - three times thankyouverymuch!
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables - woo hoo, just this summer!
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight - or a hundred!
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb - I think so, we had sheep when I was little.
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - at least I'd like to think so!
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt - see yesterday's post!
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater - have lived in 2 different places that had one!
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt - once, and it was really small!
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle - I'm not sure if it was speeding...
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible - I wish, still working on it.
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous - saw them?
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake - technically, no, my family was there, but I sat in the car since I felt sick. :(
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

46... not quite half. Not bad considering some of these things I hope never to do!

There's no tagging involved, but if you do this, let me know, I'd like to read it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yellowstone Part 5: A REALLY Long Day

This was the day that we moved from our cabins in Mammoth to the Old Faithful Inn... with lots of sightseeing along the way.

(If you're really confused as to why this is Part 5... Here are Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4)

I apologize in advance for the copious amounts of pictures in this post. But if a picture's worth a thousand words then you're spared that many of of mine, right?

Let's get started then...

Cutest boy ever, sitting on Daddy's suitcase while we get ready to leave Mammoth.

Letting Grandma feed him his morning banana.
Doing his part to help load the cars...
Carrying Mommy's water bottles!
He's a good little helper!
Driving south through the Hayden Valley is where you usually see the herds of bison.
There are a lot of them.
They like to roll in the dirt, which is kind of cool to watch. Picture a horse rolling, only bigger.

Much, much bigger. Look, that's a minivan next to the bison!
This creates "animal jams" since you kind of let them go where they want to.
Which many times is right down the middle of the road!
Mamas and babies... cute, but don't get too close!

Then we have the sulfur pits, yes, they smell LOVELY.
Mr. Bison was just standing there, as if for a photo op!Grandma, Brian and Cory

This one is called Dragon's Mouth. Bet you can't tell why!
(the water was gushing out of the hole like waves making the accompanying roaring noise)
Lunch stop at Lake Hotel. The oldest still standing structure in the Park.
This is the opposing view to the above picture.
The flat mountain in the middle is Avalanche Peak.
An amazing view and a vertical hike to get there!
The whole crazy crew!
We finally made it to Old Faithful just before the geyser was "scheduled" to go off.
This is the view from the Observation Deck on the front of the Inn.
You may not know this, but Old Faithful is not the most spectacular geyser in the Park, it's just the most predictable.
It erupts about once every 90 minutes, give or take 20 minutes.
And yes, MANY people want to know "when are you going to turn the geyser on?" asked of various Park employees!

After watching the geyser we unloaded.
This was Cory's mode of transportation!

Then we all hurriedly got ready for dinner. You MUST have reservations to eat in the dining room at the Inn. It's worth it though!Grandma and Grandpa H.

Joel and Allison

Grandma and Grandpa B. - Grandpa is silly!

Our family.

The reason for the fancy dinner... it was almost the twin's birthday!
Happy 30th birthday!
Thanks for staying to the end... hopefully it won't take me 2 more months to finish up with our trip!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tech Support

Dragging the bottom of the barrel here for NaBloPoMo topics...

I was saved last night by my book review. Tonight I had planned to give you another installment of our Yellowstone trip from this summer (holy cow, that was 3 months ago already!), but instead I think I'm going to bed!

See I went to get my hair cut today and left Cory with my dad. They just got a new computer so after I got back I sat down to download some stuff for them (like AVG protection and Firefox). Cory got up from his nap and I was getting ready to go when I realized that their email would receive mail, but not send. Joy.

I had followed the directions from the online support, but it wasn't working. So I got on chat and the guy's solution was to remotely take over my computer so he could try to figure out what was wrong. Seriously, the guy didn't have a clue what he was doing. It took him over 45 minutes and in the end the only problem was that one little box was checked that said the server needed to be authenticated when getting mail when it really didn't.

And the guy looked at that pop up window with those option no less than 20 times and still didn't get it. Seriously! I probably could have figured it out myself just checking and unchecking boxes in half the time it took him to do that!

Anyways, it was rather weird watching the mouse move around and stuff happen when I wasn't touching the computer!

And... I feel like I'm really not a tech person when I'm having to ask my friends Amy, Jason, and Bonnie a million questions just to try to forward my blog through Blogger! Ay yi yi! I'll be glad when this is all behind me!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Book: White Christmas Pie


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

White Christmas Pie

Barbour Publishing, Inc (September 1, 2008)

by

Wanda E. Brunstetter


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Fascinated by the Amish people during the years of visiting her husband's family in Pennsylvania, WANDA E. BRUNSTETTER combined her interest with her writing and now has eleven novels about the Amish in print, along with numerous other stories and ministry booklets. She lives in Washington State, where her husband is a pastor, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish settlements throughout the states.

This year Wanda also published A Sister's Hope


ABOUT THE BOOK

Step into Amish country for this bittersweet holiday romance. Here you'll meet Will Henderson, a young man tortured by his past, and Karen Yoder, a young woman looking for answers. Add a desperate father searching for his son, and you have all the ingredients for a first-class romance that will inspire and enthrall.

Abandoned by his father, Will Henderson was raised by an Amish couple. Now he's about to marry Karen Yoder but is having second thoughts. Can Will overcome the bitterness of his past in order to secure his future? Karen cannot break through the barrier her fiance has suddenly constructed around his heart. When she seeks the advice of an old boyfriend, Will begins to see green. Has he already lost his chance for happiness?

When an accident threatens Will's life, the strength of blood ties is tested. Will a recipe for White Christmas Pie contain the ingredients for a happily-ever-after?

***

I'm about halfway through this book. I have read a few of Brunstetter's other novels. This one follows the same path. An Amish family, a conflict, a happy resolution.
I guess I was a little biased going in because I found her other novels to be a bit over the top. Kind of cheesy if you will. This one is better, but still, it's definitely a light read.


If you would like to read the first chapter of White Christmas Pie, go HERE.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Moving!

Here's your notice...

I'm moving...

My blog!

Consider this your 2 weeks notice!

As of December 1st the new address will be: www.welcometomarriedlife.com

I've bought the domain and will still be writing through Blogger so things will look the same. But I just wanted you to know so you can change your links (and your feeds!)

In the mean time I'm going to have to change some back code so that all my statistics will be current and my blog will still show up other places.

And if I can wing it I might even have a grand blog launch with some giveaways! Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bits of This 'n That

I just renewed my driver's license online. Yeah, it's my birthday soon. I'll be 29 (literally :) It used to be that my license came up for renewal on those years that were multiples of 4. Funny how getting married and getting a new license on an odd year can change all that...
But I'm quite happy that this time I don't have to take my wiggly toddler down to the DOL and wait for hours to get a new picture! Our pictures can last through two license cycles! I'm also quite happy that I had a good picture last time so I don't feel the need to get a new one (with baby weight still included).

***

This past Sunday was a lazy day for us.

When Cory finally got up (from a 4 hour nap!) we were just hanging out and talking in the kitchen. He came around the end of the couch and was wobbling everywhere...

The reason being that he has figured out how to spin around in circles and make himself dizzy. He thought it was hilarious!

And incidentally so did we!

***

Cory pretty much knows who all the Winnie the Pooh characters are. But they each have their own name...

Pooh Bear is Poo Poo (not to be confused with Poop)

Eeyore is Oh-ee

Tigger is Ta-ya

Piglet is Pay-ya

As you can see he's starting to get the hang of multiple syllable words. But if he can't figure out how to say it he either repeats the first syllable or kind of makes up the ending!

He's also started naming people a LOT. He'll point to me and say "mama" and to Brian and say "day-ee" and then we point to him and ask him who he is... he thinks about it for a bit and then he says "cor-EE"! Yay!

One of his favorite things to do is build towers with the blocks and cups that we have. Well, I build the tower with a little help from him. Then he says "uh oh" and knocks it all down. Notice that the "uh oh" preceeds the knocking down... he knows exactly what he's doing!

***

In other news... we have a new little friend at our house! No, no new babies (or pets), but I am watching a little boy from the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays. His mom is a trainer, but is teaching classes at another place and needs child care. It actually happens to be right around the corner from us so that worked out well for her. I forgot to ask what her stance is on the blog, either talking or pictures, so for now he'll just be Little Buddy (LB for short!). He's 9 months old and getting around quite well! We'll see how much my house is still baby-proofed...


Now that you got your Cory update... thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bubbles

My little son has been begging me for the past week to do "bubbles". And it has been raining like crazy and cold outside. (Once you see the bubbles you'll know why I was reluctant to let him do them inside...)

But this morning when we got up it was sunny! So right after breakfast we bundled up and went outside. The wind was whipping so the bubbles went everywhere. And of course he loved it!

I know how to dip for bubbles myself, Mom!

This is such a fun bubble wand that Dahlia gave us for his birthday. It's battery operated, but the fan is foam so it can't hurt him. He can obviously operate it all by himself...

I love how this one turned out with my slower shutter speed!

He was waving the wand all around and just surrounded by bubbles!



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