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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

This Week

*It's been cloudy, gloomy, and wet the past few days and looks as though it will continue that way for the rest of the week. It's a good time to get things done inside but a bad time for hyper, restless children.

*Speaking of children, poor Amy is coming down with a cold and must feel miserable, judging by her whining and clingy attitude. This is sooooo unlike her so I hope that she gets to feeling better soon. 

*May looks to be a very busy month! My sister's graduation party, our 13th wedding anniversary, Joe's 6th birthday, Mother's Day, a bridal shower that I'm helping to put together for my soon to be sister-in-law (yes, a wedding in the near future! My older brother is getting married in June!). It should be a full but fun month! May has always been my favorite month with lots happening and everything in bloom.  
*I've had a lot more hard days recently. Maybe it was finalizing Jacob's headstone. Maybe it's remembering this time last year when we still had him, but knew we were going to lose him. Maybe it's just the way grief ebbs and flows. Regardless, I try to make an effort to choose happiness. Happiness is a choice. It's not always easy but it's better than the alternative. Jacob is with God, God is with me...I am comforted by that. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Chocolate rabbit. Check.

Coloring book. Check.

Bubbles. Check.

Colored eggs. Check. 
Jelly Beans and coins hidden in plastic eggs. Check.

Pictures of the Easter baskets. What Easter baskets? I piled their gifts on the couch.

I knew this Easter would be different. More low key. More empty.

We've always had a minimalistic Easter. We've stressed the religious part more than the bunny part.

But have I been living under a rock? I opened my Facebook feed on Sunday afternoon and was assaulted with photo after photo of huge baskets, stuffed full of toys and games and movies and candy. They looked professionally done. They looked like something belonging under the Christmas tree. They looked  expensive.

I wonder if this is a new Facebook mommy wars thing or if it's always been going on, just without the photographic evidence. Whatever happened to simple Easter baskets and egg hunts?

My children were thrilled with their meager offerings. They were thrilled to find that the "Easter Bunny" (aka Grandma) left a little red trunk outside filled with goodies. They loved coloring their eggs the night before and searching for them the next morning.

Am I the only one surprised with how overdone holidays seem to be getting? 

Sunday, April 20, 2014


May you rest assured this blessed Easter season that Jesus died and rose again for us, in order for us to be saved from our sins. How I await that Heavenly day when I can hold all my children in my arms once again.
Speaking of rest, little Amy fell on the floor after a busy morning of play and egg hunts. She didn't know what to think but she knew she was having fun. :)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Girl at the End of the World

I thought that Girl at the End of the World by Elizabeth Esther sounded fascinating and I was not disappointed.

Maybe because I grew up in the 90's in a homeschool circle that included several fundamentalists (though none as extreme as the group The Assembly featured in this book) I couldn't put this book down until I finished it.

The control, the methods of Michael & Debi Pearl's To Train Up a Child, courtship, submission, prophecies of the end of the world, fear arising from a religion that focuses solely on doomsday, etc. are all in this book.

Elizabeth's writing is clear and quick. She made me feel what she felt. It was quite interesting seeing inside a cult from a child's view and seeing how one is able to escape, though not without lasting effects. 

I was confused with Elizabeth's use of we throughout the book and didn't figure it out until she thanked people in the end that she grew up with a sister. 

When Elizabeth casually mentioned a childhood experience of her dad holding her down and tickling her and then giving her a "titty-twist" (in her words). This comes close to molestation in my book and it was just casually thrown in there and never spoke of again. I didn't see the point of this in the book?

Other than those two points I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will have to check out her blog.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


While Twirl by Patsy Clairmont is listed as Religion/Christian Life/ Woman's Issues I think of it more as a devotional as it made me stop. think. dwell. Patsy doesn't shove verses down our throat or tell us how to feel but rather asks us to discover our own feelings/thoughts with some fun questions at the end of each chapter. (Which I'm asking one each day on my Facebook page and am curious of your answers, so join in!)   

A Fresh Spin At Life on the cover is what drew me in. I kept this book on my bedside table and read a few chapters each day while nursing Amy to sleep. I love Patsy's humor, her easy writing style, and the topic of each chapter (such as "Bloom", "Sparrow", "Read", and so forth).

I think the paragraph on page 146-147 sums up this book nicely, "Our enemy is defined in Scripture as a thief and a liar who comes to steal and destroy. And no, he is not always obvious. He doesn't show up dressed in a red suit poking at us with a pitchfork. Instead, he comes as a foreboding thought, and accusation, a painful memory...as discontent, as fear, as heaviness. He strews cans in out path and taunts us to kick them. He realizes if we stay weighted down long enough, out brain and emotions will fog up on us and we'll forget that "up" is a directional choice."

Basically this book shows us how to choose joy, in every little thing each and every day.

The quotes throughout the book fit nicely and round it out to make it one of my new favorite books. It takes a lot for me to actually keep a book and add it to my shelf to read again, so if it's a keeper you know it's good!

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.  

April Ipsy Bag Review

My April 2014 Ipsy bag arrived and I was so excited to open it. While I knew what was in it (on the 10th of each month your "glam room" updates and shows your items in the bag) it's always fun to see what colors and scents will be yours. 
This month the theme was "Beauty Rocks". Each month there is a wide variety of items that *could* be in your bag. They pick your 4-5 items based on what your style profile and your reviews of the previous months bags were (you can review your bag on your profile to earn points to redeem for extras).
Included in my bag was:

*Demeter Jasmine Perfume Oil ($10). I was so excited to see this in the spoilers and hoped, hoped, hoped that this would be in my bag. I love Demeter perfume and was thrilled to see it in my bag! It smells wonderful.

*Dr. Brant Microdermabrasion ($9) I've good things about this and am excited to try it.

*MaryKay at Play Jelly lip gloss in Teddy Bare ($10) I'm not sure if I will try it because the color isn't really me.
*Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil - travel sixe ($10) Eye Pencils and I don't mix well so am not sure I will keep this, though I love Urban Decay products. :(

*Rainbow Honey nail polish in Midnight Garden ($10) This is such a pretty color. Now that sandal season is near I'm loving all this nail polish!

*The bag itself isn't my favorite. I like the square shape but may be handing this to Becca.

What a fun bag - well worth the $10 price! There is a wait list for Ipsy so sign up now to hopefully get the summer bags.

Disclaimer: Referral links are included in this post. Thank you for going through them to help fund my subscription addiction!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jacob's Ladder

I've found another, and better, use for the $1 garage sale ladder.
My husband and I have been working on little memorial projects for Jacob and have started this collage wall. It turned out exactly as I hoped and will be added to and changed throughout the year.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I've Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has

While I've never read Mandy Hale's blog, The Single Woman, nor even heard of her before reading I've Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has I thought that it sounded like a fun read.

Her bio states that she has a heart to inspire single women to live their best lives and to never ever settle. Apparently, she writes a lot about how it's okay to be single.

I did not get that from this book at all.

While it was well written and interesting (I finished it the same day I started) the whole point of it was confusing. By page 10 I was already annoyed by Mandy when she wrote "Most people's stories resemble those of a popular "chick lit" book: Girl meets boy, girl marries boy. Girl has 2.5 kids, buys a minivan, and lives happily ever after. My journey, however, has plot twists and dozens of rewrites that have left the ending more than a little uncertain."

What world does she live in where everyone but her has a perfect life? That left a bad taste in my mouth to start off the book.

She goes on to profile a few dates and a serious relationship. Then she reads the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris and decides to forego typical dating, which lasts five years for her. Her feelings after that are profiled on page 47 where she states "I feel as though I missed out on very vital and formative dating years in the five-year gap when I kissed dating goodbye. The period from ages twenty to twenty-five is when most people really come into their own and figure out what they're looking for in love - and get their hearts broken enough times to learn a few lessons along the way. I have none of that knowledge or experience to fall back on."

Really? What were all the dating references she wrote about in the previous chapters then?

The following chapters again deal with job changes and relationships. Throughout here Mandy gives her life over to God again and prays that He directs her path to the right guy. Yet she falls into such detrimental relationships and excuses the reasoning, such as on page 105 when she talks about a relationship that doesn't feel as though it's progressing. "A lot of people might argue, 'If the relationship wasn't moving forward, why did you stay in it?' And the reason was simple. I was only in my late twenties, and I wasn't looking to get married anytime soon anyway. Since I missed out on so many dating experiences between the ages of twenty to twenty-five, why shouldn't I have a good time now, since I felt absolutely no pressure to be married?" So was she or was she not letting God lead her to the right man?

On page 155 she writes how she came about writing about single life "If I knew anything, I knew single life. I had spent five very formative single years in my twenties learning to stand alone." Wait, so in previous chapters that was a bad thing. Now her time being single was a good thing? Sense a pattern here?

When she went back to the same dysfunctional relationship, on page 228 she writes how she prayed about it and asked God to take away her feelings for this man, but how he kept coming back. She feels that "if God, in His infinite wisdom, gives you another shot at love, you should take it." Who says it was God that kept bringing this man back - the devil also plays at this game. All Christians need to be discerning and if it is a man that shows no commitment, no responsibility, and no sense of the Biblical type of love, you can be fairly certain that it's not God who is bringing him back to you.

This pattern goes on, and on, and on in this book. I continued reading, assuming that the end is where Mandy would have this big revelation and the point of the book would be revealed. Though she ends the book where she is single and she acts like that is okay, I never got that feeling from her. Throughout the whole book she would tout that it's freeing to be single during the moments she was single but when the men in her life came back around she seemed to jump back in head first without little or any regards to what God wanted for her.

That, too, was a recurring theme in the book. This is a Christian book. She writes a lot about God and what He wants for her. It's hard not to judge, and we really can't judge someone else's walk with God, but this book was so confusing because almost every single thing she did seemed to be what she wanted to do and then she would stick God in there later.

She also gets new-age, very "The Secret"-like in parts of the book. If you think it, it will happen. On page 170 she writes "As crazy as it might sound, I firmly believe we spoke our CMT after-party adventure into existence that night. " She jumps between saying God brought it into her life and thinking it will make it. It seemed out of place in a Christian book.

All-in-all my review is that it's confusing as a Christian book. She contradicts herself in different areas of the book. If it had not been from a Christian publisher, nor listed as a Christian book I think it would have been more interesting than confusing.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

April PopSugar Must Have Box Review & Code

I was so looking forward to my April PopSugar Must Have Box after seeing the spoilers earlier this month. 
This month the theme is "time to think about getting outside, cleaning house, and going green." It was such a fun and colorful sight when I opened it.
Included was:

*Fresh Pastry Stand Totally Awesome Tea Towel set ($18). While it's not the design I would have chosen (there are some adorable sets on their site!) as a child of the 80's I can appreciate these. Plus, they are huge (they are folded into thirds in the photo!) and completely lint-free.

*Too Faced Natural Eyes palette ($36) This is such a fancy palette in a pretty metal tin with a mirror. It also comes with a glamour guide which I will be sure to study and use!

*BlueAvocado (Eco) Shopper reusable bag ($25). This is such a pretty print by Lauren Conrad. I didn't realize that the pouch actually turns into the bag! This is such a great size to throw into my purse and will be handy to pull out and use when I've forgotten my reusable bags (which is often!)  
*Graphic Image Pocket Notes ($20) This is a bit more fancy than I'm used to - with silver edges, acid-free paper, and a flexible cover. But I'll either throw it in my purse for notes or save it for a gift as it's adorable.

*Caldrea Rosewater Driftwood Hand Soap ($10.50) Who can't use more hand soap, especially one that is free of harmful chemicals and smells delicious!

*Naturebox PopSugar Must Have Mix ($5) A medley of almonds, soybeans, corn, and cranberries. Yum!!

What a fun, fun box! Use code MAY10 for $10 off your first PopSugar Must Have box!

Disclaimer: My referral links are included in this post (and I thank all those who have clicked through my links to purchase - it's how I can afford my subscription addiction!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

This Week

*We are finally enjoying some sunshine and warmer temperatures. We better enjoy it now as it looks chilly again next week.

*The winner of The Handy Box giveaway is Ronelle. Congratulations!

*Instead of picking up the eco-friendly laundry detergent that I've been using, today I have gone back to making my own powdered detergent. It is saving us money and is probably more eco-friendly anyway. My recipe is here. I was actually able to find the ZOTE bar soap at our local Walmart now and they also carry the Fels-Naptha, both just 99 cents each. One thing I tried differently, that I do not recommend, is trying to shred the pieces of soap smaller in the blender. I've seen this listed in so many soap recipes so decided to try it this time around - it didn't work but rather made a huge chunk of soap in the bottom of the blender and made a much bigger mess to clean up. Just say no to the blender or food processor!

*With the warmer weather it's back to mainly cloth diapers for Amy. It does wonders for the diaper rash we have been dealing with, saves money, is earth friendly, and the prints are just too cute!

*I'm also back to making homemade yogurt in the crockpot. We go through crazy amount of yogurt in this house.

*I found a CSA (Community Supported Agricultural) that is fairly local and am excited for boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables this summer!    

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Moment Maker

"Every day we have an opportunity to make our lives meaningful, to make them matter. Yet, for so many of us, we let too much of life happen without taking notice." ~Moment Maker by Carlos Whitaker

I feel a pattern in my reading this year - how to make the most of the life we are given. Having read several books on this topic this year written by women, I was interested in reading something written by a man.

I loved the comedic real life stories. I loved the premise of the book.

Unfortunately, I felt like the first several chapters missed the mark. The story of his meet-up with a transgender female was just odd (not the transgender part, but rather the part where a married father is going out at night to a club to hang with these complete strangers). The moral of the story was lost in the strangeness of this decision.

The second chapter had me lost as well, especially the part where Carlos and his wife are quite obviously talking sexually in front of a child. I don't find it appropriate to say "I can't wait till tonight. I need you right now!" and "Okay kids, go pick out a movie. Mommy and Daddy are gonna go have special time."  in front of or to a child. This just made the chapter seem creepy and awkward.

In many of the stories Carlos just comes across as annoying and too self-assured. Too up in everyone's business. 

But. But. But. This was an overused word in the book. So much so that it started to grate on my nerves.

It was a quick read and there were many things that hit home for me. So even with all the faults I found it is worth reading.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April PopSugar Must Have Spoilers & 50% Off Code

If you've been wanting to sign up for PopSugar Must Have but have been unsure it looks like a great month to try it out!

The April spoilers have already been released and one of the items will be a Two Faced Natural Eyes Palette ($36 value!)
The rest of the spoilers are:

*Blueavocado Shopper Reusable Bag ($20)

*Fresh Pastry Stand Tea Towel Set ($18)

*Caldrea Rosewater Driftwood Hand Soap ($10.50)

*Graphic Image Pocket Notes ($34)

Use the code CHANNEL7 for 50% off your first PopSugar box (I think this code expires at the end of the day on 4/4)! What a fun box this will be! I may be weird but I'm most excited for the tea towel set (just a few days ago I noticed I needed new ones!) and seeing what design they will be. But everything will be very useful this month.

Disclaimer: Referral links included in post!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Kentucky Means...

Rolling hills...
Time with cousins...
Family Togetherness...
Visits to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill...
And lots of new scenery, new fun, and new memories.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My April Fool

Happy 1st Birthday to my little angel puff!


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