Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving

I know, I know, I haven't been here in so long. I'm sorry. Life has caught up with me, and I just didn't take the time to sit down and blog. I've missed it though (I like to think that you do too).  Our life has been moving along at the steady pace of crazy. Which I guess is normal for a stay at home mom of two toddlers with a husband who travels.  This past I've been thinking back over the past several years, and I'm amazed at how blessed we are. Sunday, during church, I was teaching Ethan about Thanksgiving and how we should be thankful to God for what we have. We made a cute little turkey out of his handprint and I asked what he was thankful for. He answered, "Mommy, Daddy, Lydia. And me, I'm thankful God made me."  It was such sweet innocence, but so true. I am thankful that God made me, as well. Because if He hadn't, I wouldn't be a wife to my amazing husband, a mom to my precious children. I wouldn't have the wonderful siblings and godly parents that I was blessed with; and most important, I wouldn't be able to worship and thank my Creator. I am so blessed.
Even when life gets hectic, I try to remember to say thank you for blessing me with healthy children to love.
When I miss my husband while he travels, I say thank you for blessing him with a great job to provide for us.
As I watch my younger siblings continue to grow and mature, I say thank you for godly parents who raised us up in the way we should go.
As you gather with your families tomorrow and this weekend, what will you be thankful for? And will you continue to thank God for them throughout the year?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Masquerade-book review

I recently read Masquerade by Nancy Moser. This was the first book of hers that I've read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The plot concept is fairly obvious - a spoiled wealthy girl and her maid/companion swap places, see what happens next. But I really enjoyed the twists and turns her story took. Charlotte Gleason and Dora Connors, find themselves on their way to America. Charlotte is to marry a wealthy man in New York to help secure her future. Dora has come along as her ladies maid and companion. Along the way however, Charlotte decides that she wants to choose her own fate and begs her friend to take her place. When the women land in New York, Dora assumes Charlotte's identity and Lottie (Charlotte) sets off to find her own adventure. She is shocked when everything seems to go wrong though.  As a girl, she was given everything she wanted and never bothered with the world. Now, as a young woman, she is forced to face a reality she tried to avoid.
Dora, as Charlotte, is now entering a world she's only been part of from the outside. Can they both continue their charade? When they are faced with tough choices what will be the outcome? On the boat, neither one of them considered the other people involved in their plan, nor could they see the outcome of their decisions!

Per the back of the book:
They risk  it all for adventure and romance, but find that love only flourishes in truth...
1886, Charlotte Gleason embarks from England with conflicting emotions. She is headed for New York to marry one of America's wealthiest heirs-a man she has never even met. When her doubts gain the upper hand, she swaps identities with her maid, Dora. She wants a chance at "real life," even if it means giving up financial security. For Charlotte, it's a risk she's willing to take. But what begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl becomes a test of survival beyond her blackest nightmare. 


For Dora, it's the chance of a lifetime. She is thrust into a fairy tale amid ball gowns and lavish mansions, yet is tormented by the possibility of discovery-and humiliation. And what of the man who believes she is indeed his intended? Is this what her heart truly longs for?


*I received this book as part of the Bethany House Publisher's book review program in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.*

Monday, October 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I have a great new menu worked up for this week - we're trying some new recipes :)
Last year I tried the site E-Mealz. I liked the concept, but we didn't use enough of the recipes to justify the cost.
It's $15 for a three month subscription; once a week you log on and print off a menu and shopping list for the week. There are a lot more options now, than a year ago! There are family plans - 7 meals feeding 4-6 people and meal plans for 2 - 5 meals feeding 1-2 people. There are regular meal plans and specialty meal plans: low fat, low carb, gluten free, points system and vegetarian. You can also choose any store or store specific options.
This time we're trying the Low Carb family meal plan. I will see how it goes over the next 3 months and then decide if I want to renew. So, here's our plan for this week:
The only thing I changed is we're not having the fish meals planned for this week, because I didn't want to buy any fish and we really wanted Taco Soup, so I nixed those two.

-Pork Tenderloin
w/ Brussels Sprouts
-Crock Pot Chicken Chili
-Ground Beef  and Cabbage Casserole
w/ Roasted Carrots
-Dijon Skillet Chicken
w/ Broccoli
-Herbed Porkchops
w/ BLT salad
-Taco Soup

We'll be eating leftovers and sandwiches for lunches and waffles or breakfast sandwiches for breakfasts :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Telling-review

In The Telling, the conclusion to the Seasons of Grace series, Lettie's secret is finally revealed, Grace makes her choice and Heather starts her journey to healing and learns some unusual news along the way.
It was a beautiful wrap up of all our questions and a heartfelt ending for all involved. Beverly Lewis again delivered a touching story. When Grace and Heather set off to find Lettie in Ohio, they wonder whether she'll be pleased or refuse to come home. Lettie, is struggling with the choices she's made and ready to make things right with everyone involved. However, did she consider the consequences for everyone else if she chooses to reveal her search?
 I was quite pleased (and slightly surprised) with the ending of this series! I don't want to give away too much information, but if you made it through the first book, you'll definitely want to finish to the end!

Per the back of the book:
The anticipation of a homecoming, a chance to set things right...yet will "the Telling" cause further pain?
Accompanied by her new English friend, Grace Byler has left Bird-in-Hand to search for her mother in Ohio. But what if Lettie refuses to be found? Meanwhile, Lettie continues her private quest to find the missing piece of her life, though she is increasingly torn between the family she left behind and the yearning for her long-lost child. Will mother and daughter find the answers they seek?


*I received this book as a part of the Bethany House Review Program in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Missing review

Seasons of Grace series, book two, The Missing by Beverly Lewis was a great continuation of The Secret.
Lettie is still missing from her family and her daughter Grace is trying to decide what to do about it.  In her search to find her mom, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with a visiting English girl with a secret of her own. Heather has her own battles, but feels drawn to Grace Byler and her struggles.  Grace and her family are all dealing with her mother's disappearance in their own way. And did she make the right decision to remain single until she's figured out what's going on with her family?
This was much more the style of writing I'm used to with Beverly Lewis. I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel and cannot wait to read the final installment!


Per the back of the book:
A painful absence, a desperate heart...is it too late to find Lettie Byler?
Grace Byler longs to uncover the secret that drove her mother to leave the family weeks ago. When all hopes are dashed for such a search, an unlikely friendship leads to a surprising invitation. Meanwhile, the young Amishwoman Grace thought was courting her best friend takes a sudden interest in her, and Grace's decision to remain single is challenged even as her determination to find her mother grows. 






*I received this book in exchange for my review from Bethany House Review Program. All opinions are my own.*

Monday, October 4, 2010

the week of Purging...

I have been saying for a few weeks now that I wanted to get back on track with several things: housecleaning, school work with my son, exercise, and eating well again. Now that life has slowed back down to a "normal" pace (haha), I've decided it's time to change things up! So, this week I'm purging! Today is the kitchen. I'll be going through our food, dishes, everything.
Tomorrow it's going to be clothes. I'm pulling out our fall/winter stuff, so it's about time to sort through it all and see what needs to go and what can stay.
I'm not too worried about every day chores this week, it will all get done one way or another as I go through each room. 

Those are the two main areas that need changes right now - clothes and food/kitchen stuff. If anything comes up later in the week that needs to be done, I'll update!

Now, off to clean the kitchen!

Monday, September 27, 2010

And the winner is...

Chosen by Random.org :
#5
Jim said...
pick me! pick me! pick me!! ;) ... this is Michelle :D

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Walk for Midwives

This weekend, families from across Alabama will walk in seven cities to raise awareness and funds to support the Alabama Birth Coalition's campaign to legalize Certified Professional Midwives. Remember, Certified Professional Midwives are specifically trained to provide out-of-hospital maternity care. Studies prove that for women experiencing normal, low-risk pregnancies, giving birth out of a hospital attended by a Certified Professional Midwife is just as safe as giving birth in a hospital.  Alabama is one of only 9 states that specifically prohibit midwives, and the Alabama Birth Coalition is working diligently to remove our state from that list!

Walks are planned in multiple cities across the state, including Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Dothan, and Cullman.  Please plan to attend one close to you!  If, however, you are unable to attend, consider visiting our website and donating.  The Alabama Birth Coalition is an all-volunteer, grassroots organization. We rely on the generous donations of our supporters to maintain all of our local and statewide initiatives. Your contributions are vital to our work.

We would also like to take this time to thank our amazing sponsors, without whom none of these events would be possible.  Please take time to look over the list and then patronize these midwife-loving businesses.

 We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

*Wish I could take credit for this great message - but this post was taken from the Alabama Birth Coalition email, go to www.alabamabirthcoalition.org to sign up and get updates on what we're doing!*

Birmingham Walk for Midwives
Saturday, September 25th
Breakfast at 8 a.m. and Walk at 9:15 a.m.
ROJO (2921 Highland Avenue South)

Cullman Walk for Midwives
Saturday, September 25th
9 a.m.
Sportsman Lake Park (1544 Sportsman Lake Rd NW - Hwy 31 S)

Dothan Walk for Midwives
Saturday, September 25th
9 a.m.
Kiwanis Park (1715 Whatley Drive)

Huntsville Walk for Midwives
Saturday, September 25th
11:15 a.m.
NEWK'S Express Cafe (4925 University Drive Northwest)

Mobile Walk for Midwives
Saturday, September 25th
9:30 a.m.
Cathedral Square (Claiborne Street at Conti Street)

Montgomery Walk for Midwives
Saturday, September 25th
9 a.m.
Vaughn Road Park (3620 Vaughn Road)

Tuscaloosa Walk for Midwives
Saturday, September 25th
10 a.m.
First Christian Church (627 Paul W. Bryant Dr.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

the Secret book review

I just finished reading the Secret by Beverly Lewis! Now, while Deeanne Gist is my favorite author for romance and fun reads, Beverly Lewis is my favorite when I want a sweet and fulfilling story. She is a wonderful author, who was born in the Pennsylvania Dutch country and writes beautiful Amish fiction, usually drawing from real experiences and stories from her family. This is the first in one of her latest series, Seasons of Grace.
It was a heart wrenching tale of Grace Byler and her family. Grace's mother, Lettie, seems to have a secret, and is having a horrible time dealing with it. Grace herself, is praying that she's making the right decision with her beau, so that she doesn't end up a maidel (old maid). Beverly does a beautiful job (as always) of letting you enter the hearts and lives of her characters on the journey they travel.  This book is quite different from her other series, it's much darker, almost depressing at times. But still so very sweet and real. I am anxious to read the others, to see how this story plays out.  I would still recommend this book to fans of Beverly Lewis, but be forewarned, it is not like her others!


"The loving hand of God is at work in even the most unsettling circumstances...
In the seemingly ordinary Amish home of Grace Byler, secrets abound. Why does her mother weep and wander deep in the night? And why does her father refuse to admit something is dreadfully wrong? Then, in one startling moment, the quiet life Grace has known is irrevocably altered, leaving her to question all she has been taught about love, family, and commitment."




*I received this book from Bethany House Publisher's book review program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Sad Day

Well, today started off on a sad note. Our cat, Thumbelina died. We hadn't seen her in a couple of days, so I had a feeling that something might of happened, then my husband found her. It was quite traumatizing for all of us. Especially E, our three year old. He doesn't quite understand death yet, but he knows that she's not coming back. He cried every time he thought about her this morning. As the day went on, he got better, thankfully. And I know that it won't affect him for long, since he's so young. But it was still harder than I thought, having to tell him.
She was a great cat, really. I found her at a shelter when Leo and I first got married. I had always had an allergy to cats; but for some reason, when we moved, it went away. And he loved cats. So it was the perfect first Christmas present! I went to the shelter with a friend of mine, and I sat down in front of the cages with the kittens. She (Thumbelina) was the only one who came over to the side and tried to play with me. I knew right away that she was the one! I mean, if I'm getting a pet, I want to know I have a pet!  She was really pitiful - she was blind in one eye, had chronic respiratory problems and had thumbs on each front paw (hence the name!).  She was the only kitten who had survived her litter, and so had been put with a litter of puppies.
She really thought she was a dog. We brought her home and she learned to come when we called her name. She would sit at the door and wait when Leo came home from work. She was a great cat!
After Lydia was born, Thumbelina started getting restless, so we chose to let her live outside. She enjoyed the freedom and would still come to the door when she wanted attention. Ethan loved playing with her - she's always been "his" cat!
We knew when she went outside, that it was possible for something to happen, but it was still heartbreaking.
Sigh...

The first of many emotional issues we'll deal with as the children grow up, I know.  Ethan already decided he wants another cat. A baby kitten that he can hold. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tag Along Tuesday

Tuesday Tag-Along

It's Tag Along Tuesday! I'm trying a little something different to make new friends :) Follow along with Twee Poppets and find all kinds of new blogs to visit! See her site to find all the rules, but in short - follow the host, the featured blog and at least the 3 before you. Let's see how many new blogs you find to visit this week!
 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Beguiled Giveaway

Do you remember my review of Beguiled? You can find it here, if you need to refresh your memory :).
I really enjoyed this book! It was one of the best I've read in a while. So, I thought I needed to share with you as well!
I will be giving away a copy of Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand, courtesy of Bethany House Publishers!

All you need to do is leave me a comment on this post, telling me your latest favorite book. No real reason, I'm just curious. :) If you can't think of one, that's fine, just leave a comment saying hi!

For additional entries:
Follow my blog and leave a comment letting me know.
Facebook, Tweet or Blog about this give away and let me know.

There ya go, three ways to enter!
I will close the giveaway at 6pm on September 27th.
A winner will be chosen by Random.org and will have 24 hours to get back to me or I'll select another winner.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Widow of Larkspur Inn

The Widow of Larkspur Inn is the first book in the Gresham Chronicles, a series of books by Lawana Blackwell.  Set in Gresham, England in the mid-late 1800s, it's a sweet and charming story of Julia Hollis and her family. Three weeks after her husband passes away, Julia learns that he gambled away their fortune. As the bankers arrive to foreclose on her home, they leave her with one bleak hope. The Larkspur Inn, a property that belonged to her late husband's family, is still available. At the suggestion of her butler, Julia moves her family out to the country to start a lodging house. Learning to start her life over and begin anew brings many changes to Julia and her three children.
 Per the back of the book:
When life seemed it's worst, Gresham awaited.
Julia Hollis's opulent life in Victorian London crashes to pieces when her husband passes away. Worse, she is told by his bankers that he gambled away their fortune. Now the family's hope rests on The Larkspur, an old abandoned coaching inn in the quaint village of Gresham. 
Driven by dread and her desire to provide for her children, Julia  decides to turn the dilapidated inn into a lodging house. But can she-who was accustomed to servants attending to every need-do what needs to be done and cope when boarders begin arriving? And then an eligible new vicar moves into town...

It was such a sweet story, flowing quite smoothly as you get to know the Hollis' and the six lodgers that soon become family. I look forward to reading the other books in this series!

*I received this book courtesy of Bethany House Publisher's book review program. All opinions are my own.*

The Boy Who Changed the World

I'm a little late in this review, but here it is!

I recently received The Boy Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews. It's a delightful children's story about how every little thing we do makes a difference. Every choice we make, good or bad, has a consequence. Andy addresses the Butterfly Effect in a charming and effective way for all ages to understand. My three year old and one year old loved it! Lydia really enjoyed finding the butterflies throughout the story and Ethan found the stories quite engaging.

Andy starts with the story of a young boy, Norman Borlaug, who grew up with a desire to feed people who were hungry. But was he the one who changed the world?
Maybe it was a boy named Henry Wallace, who grew up wanting to use his knowledge of plants to make a difference. Did he changed the world?
It could have been a boy named George Washington Carver. He grew up with a love for helping others, and became a wise teacher and inventor. Was he the one who changed the world?
The final story is of Moses Carver, who grew up caring for his friends and family. And one decision he made set off the ripple leading up to each of the other stories.
Along with Philip Hurst's lovely illustrations, Andy Andrews does a great job of showing children that every choice we make will affect someone else's life.

*I received this book courtesy of Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze book review program. All opinions are my own.*

Monday, August 30, 2010

Beguiled

I love Deeanne Gist. She is without a doubt, one of my favorite fiction writers. And, I have to admit, I was a little nervous when I heard that she was doing a crime/romance novel with another writer (J. Mark Bertrand). I shouldn't have been! Beguiled was a great book! It was a quick read, and so very entertaining!

Per the back of the book:
"Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston's wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her.
Reporter Logan Woods is following the break-ins with the hope of publishing his coverage as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dogwalker seems to be at the center of everything.
As danger draws ever closer, Logan must choose; Chase the girl, the story, or plunge into the shadows after the villain who threatens everything?"

From the very first page, I was wrapped up in this story! It was fast paced and full of adventure and intrigue. But also had Deeanne's touch of romance and faith.  It was beautifully pieced together. 

Rylee has a fun job that she loves. She's working in her favorite part of Charleston, her hometown, caring for pets that she loves as her own family. To her, they are her only family, except for her aging grandmother who lives in a Senior Care Facility. While she doesn't have much money or time, she enjoys her solo life. Or so she thinks.
Logan is an up and coming journalist working on a true-crime novel on the side. He loves his home in Charleston and is seeking to find his way in the world of publishing while not forgetting his roots in church and family.
When the two of them are unexpectedly thrown together one night, it sparks the beginning of an adventure neither one was looking for!
You will definitely get wrapped up on their journey to seek the truth of the burglaries, their relationship, and their pasts. I look forward to future collaborations from these authors!

*I received a copy of Beguiled from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own!*

Look for a giveaway coming soon!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Freebie Friday!

Sign up here to get free Post-It Durable Tabs and Labels.
These looked pretty cool! You can also opt-in for other freebies and special offers at the bottom of the form.

This site looked interesting; it's Tomorrow's Harvest, a food storage site. They freeze dry/dehydrate food supplies for you stockpile. This is a neat concept, especially for those of us on the Gulf Coast, in the middle of hurricane season! I had a little trouble with the verification code, but when it finally goes through- the form should come up blank, with a "thank you!" at the top.  You do have to enter your phone number for this one.

Thanks to Hey, It's Free! for those two freebies.

Swagbucks is one of my favorite things online! I simply downloaded the toolbar and now my search engine is connected to the site. So, whenever I search online, I have the chance to win "swagbucks". These can be redeemed for many things-posters, gift cards, contest entries, and more...
I, personally, don't save them up alot for big items, I use mine to get amazon.com gift cards for downloading music, or purchasing gifts. A $5 e-gift card is only 450 points, and it doesn't take much time at all to get that!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mobile Area Fall Consignment Sales

I love these kids consignment sales! I enjoy selling our outgrown clothes and toys and finding new items for my children! If you're in the Mobile/Baldwin county areas, here are a couple of the upcoming fall sales.

Baldwin County:
http://easternshorekidsmarket.com/
Fairhope Civic Center
open to the public August 26th-28th, 2010

Mobile County:
http://wee-exchange.com/home
Abba Shrine
August 23rd-28th, 2010

Unfortunately, I will be out of town for the fall sales this year, so I'll be selling my items on my own.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Try It Tuesday...

Have you tried House Party yet? This is one of my favorite sites! It's so easy, and there's no catch.
You create a free account, search the upcoming parties, find one you like and then apply to host. The application only takes a few minutes and is very simple. They send you a confirmation email, you click to verify your submission, and then you wait!  In a few weeks, the site will notify you if you have been selected to host a party or not.  If selected, you will receive a box of goodies for your party, invite your friends, have fun and fill out a brief survey after the party.
I have hosted several parties in the past and had so much fun! I had a Juicy Juice party at a Bible study group - I brought the juice for everyone to taste and brought the goodie bags for all the "guests", it included a reusable bag, a water bottle, deck of cards, coloring book, growth chart and of course, coupons!

There are alot of great parties available right now-so go check it out!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Meal Time Monday

Our meals have been haphazard and unplanned lately.  My husband's been traveling again, so I don't cook many big meals for just me and the kids :). However, we're all home this week and I actually have meals planned!

Tonight we'll be having Mexican Chicken - a favorite here! This version will be slightly different, because I'm having to use tortilla chips instead of Doritos.

The rest of the week looks like this:
Steaks with baked potatoes and steamed broccoli
Dinner out for Leo's birthday
Tacos
Spaghetti with green beans and garlic bread

Lunches will be a mix of leftovers, sandwiches, chicken salad and pizza
I don't really have a plan for breakfast, cause we usually have the same things

What are you having this week?

Friday, August 6, 2010

BlogFrog

Well, I finally got my BlogFrog Community set up! This is a great site, that I've been enjoying for a few months now.  I just now figured out how to host my community though - I'm a little slow sometimes :). Anyway, it's a one stop shop for your blogging wants and needs - and it is addictive! So, click on the tab to the right and join me there!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

book review for Maid to Match

Deeanne Gist is one of my favorite authors. Her books are always so easy to read and very enjoyable! Her latest book didn't disappoint. Maid to Match is the story of Tillie Reese, a head parlor maid for the newly married Vanderbilts in 1898. She has been preparing her entire life to be a lady's maid and is so close to her goal. Until she meets Mack Danver. Tillie has been put in charge of training Mack for service before a large party comes to visit, and everything she has been preparing for suddenly seems to be in jeopardy. She's trying hard to stay on top of her responsibilities, follow God's call for ministering to those less fortunate, and not fall in love. It was a fun adventure from beginning to end, as always! Full of rich history, romance and wonderful writing. There did seem to be less of a faith theme in this book than some of her others, yet it was still a very clean and tasteful story. This will be on my bookshelf for awhile!


I received this book as part of the Bethany House blogger book review program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Homeschooler's Book of Lists

The Homeschooler's Book of Lists by Sonya Haskins is my new favorite book! There is literally a list for everything.  I will recommend this book to anyone, not just homeschool families. If you want to know the Presidential Election results for all past elections, there's a list for that.  If you want to know the names and descriptions of the Roman gods, there's a list for that. There are suggested reading lists for all age groups, lists for all school subjects, religion, etc. Seriously, if you want to know about it - it's in this book! She even includes a cd with all of the lists for you to print.
While it did surprise me that there wasn't a list (index) for all the included lists, the contents page does have the different categories. In turn, each category does have a list of lists. :-) 

I received this book as part of the Bethany House blogger review program, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Birth...

My baby girl's birthday is tomorrow. She'll be one. I'm still amazed...wasn't it just yesterday that I was waiting for her to arrive?! Time has flown by-and we've had highs (milestones and new memories) and lows (big brother adjustments and long, sleepless nights). However, as I reflect over this past year, I really wanted to take the time and tell my birth story again. Most of you who read this have probably heard it all before, but I'm going to tell you again-because it's important to me!

Ethan's delivery, three and a half years ago, was an amazing experience! He is my firstborn, my precious son. And while I am so happy to have him here with us, I wish I knew then (before his birth) what I know now.
We delivered him in a local hospital; I was induced and had your typical interventions. It wasn't terrible, but it certainly wasn't exactly what I wanted. I am so thankful that we had the assistance we did, when we needed it. But Leo and I both knew that next time around, we wanted the experience to be different.
Unfortunately, in Alabama, we are limited to what our birthing options are. We have a hospital birth or an unassisted home birth.  We, as parents, are not permitted to legally choose to have a midwife attend a homebirth and assist with our deliveries. So, we chose to drive to Mississippi.
I labored at home, all day, on August 2nd, 2009. It was so relaxing - I sat on our couch, took a shower in my bathroom, played games with Leo, ate whatever I wanted to, watched tv, took naps, and anticipated the arrival of our precious daughter!  When we realized it was time to go, we loaded up the car and started the drive to Mississippi. Thankfully, we live near the state line, so it was less than an hour's drive to our destination, but that was still a long time in a car with contractions every two minutes! We were at the cottage less than an hour before Lydia Jane made her grand entrance! I didn't even have time to enjoy all the things I had planned - like a nice warm lavender scented bath :). But even still, it was great! Just me, Leo and our midwife. Nothing we didn't want, and pretty much whatever we did want.  It was so amazing, such a different experience for us! The next morning, we were back at home with Ethan.

Now, there is most definitely a time and place for hospital births; and whether it's by an emergency or simply your preference to be there, you'll get no condemnation from me.  I've had both experiences.
What I've become so passionate about though, is our ability to choose that location. Personally, I would have much rather have been at home, than had to drive an hour simply to have my baby the way I desired.
Which brings me to my point - I have become very involved in raising awareness for midwives in Alabama. I want to be able to decide whether to go to a hospital or stay at home and legally have the assistance that I want and need, but we're not there yet.  I will be giving updates as we get closer, but mark your calendars for September 25th.  That will be the day for the Walk for Midwives! Groups all over the state of Alabama will be walking to raise support and awareness for midwives.  Here in Mobile, it will be at Cathedral Square, downtown, at 9:30am. The fee is $15 and will include a shirt, as well as some goodies! Feel free to send me a message for more info, and I will be posting updates as they come available.

Also, if you have any questions about midwives or homebirths in Alabama, please send me a message or visit the Alabama Birth Coalition for more info!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

BookSneeze book review

I recently read Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James, as part of the Book Sneeze review program.


It's the turn of the century and Lilly Westbrook is spending her summer in Rhode Island with her family and soon to be fiancee. She's trying to keep her private life as a dime novelist a secret from her family and friends while New York's top gossip writer threatens to reveal her identity to high society. She's also attempting to move on in her personal life from a former beau leaving her, with practically no explanation.  Of course, about the time she thinks she's over him and ready to wed her current suitor, Jackson waltzes back into her life.  He's also invading her secret world, since he's acquired the publishing house for her novels. Can Lilly sort out her problems and find the answers needed to give her peace without embarrassing herself and everyone she loves?

While the premise of this book seemed exciting and full of promise, I was slightly disappointed with the actual story.  The book seemed to drag on a bit and then the ending felt rushed. I did enjoy reading it, but it's not at the top of my list.  This was Cara Lynn's first novel and I do see room to grow and look forward to reading any more books she writes!

*This review is my honest opinon given in exchange for the book by Thomas Nelson Publishing*

been a while...

Well, it has been a while since I last posted.  We've been slightly busy lately :)
Things are going well around the house, staying somewhat on track with my new schedule. Our church is in the middle of VBS right now, so we are all out of our normal routine! It's been going great though, we are having such a good time!

I am still reading the Bible in 90 days! I ended up starting late (honestly, I forgot to start on the 5th), but when I mentioned it at church, several people were interested. So, we made it a church project and we're all reading together! It's been great for the accountability and encouragement! I'm a little behind, but slowly catching up - finishing Nehemiah tonight.
It has been quite an experience already, I've noticed so many passages that I've forgotten, or didn't pay attention to before.

I have also started a bit of "school" work with E, we're working on letters and tracing. So far, it's been about 20 minutes a day, and he's loving it!

That's a little update on what we've been up to around here! More to come :-)

Friday, July 2, 2010

July Already?!

Wow, June was a whirlwind month! I haven't been home at all to do the things I had planned, so I'm getting started now! July will mark the restart of my sugar free diet, I will not be giving up fruits this time-just refined sugars.  It will also be the month we begin our new menu plan! I'm very excited about this, I don't have all the meals planned for the month yet, but I'm getting close.
A few new things have been added to the mix, I will be starting a plan to read the Bible in 90 days. Now, I've read all of the Bible at some point or another in my life, but I've never just sat down and read through it all at once. I know this is a daunting task, but I've been praying about it and I really feel that it's something I need to do. There is a blog community that will be starting this journey together, reading the same passages and holding each other accountable. We will begin on July 5th, and have weekly check in times to see our progress! If you'd like to do this as well, go here and register. I would love to know of my friends reading the Bible at the same time! If you do sign up, please let me know here and we'll continue to encourage and uplift each other through these next three months.  She will be using the Bible in 90 Days which is an NIV translation, but you don't have to go purchase a new Bible just for this project. I will be using my personal Bible and following along with the reading plan.
I've also found out about a Christian Blog Conference that will be held in October. I think it would be so much fun to attend and learn new ways I can use my blog, as well as meet other Christian moms doing the same thing! It's alot of money though, so I'm still praying about how/if God will open the doors for me to attend.
I have so much more to talk about, but will share later! Have a blessed day!

Monday, June 28, 2010

and take a breath...

Wow! I've been away for a long time, not exactly by choice the whole time...
You know my husband travels a lot for work, and thankfully, his last site was close enough for us to join him. So three weeks ago, we went along on a work trip and took a little vacation for ourselves. We came home late Friday night, June 11th and found an infestation of fleas! And no water...so we piled back in to the car to head to the in laws for the night - and it wouldn't start. :-/. It was the beginning of a long weekend.  Saturday, the 12th, I spent the day working with some wonderful women on a project I'm newly involved in (more info to come!) while Leo and Ethan played with grandparents and attempted to figure out what to do with our house/water/car.
Then, on Sunday, after church, Leo left town again. I stayed here to take care of some things. The fleas still wouldn't die, and the car was going to the shop, the water got fixed! We stayed with my in laws and then grandparents while I got a few things from our house and tied up a few loose ends, then the kids and I packed up (well, stayed packed) and went back to Florida to spend a few more days with Leo. We came back home on Friday the 18th.  and the fleas were still around, car was fixed though! So, we spent the weekend with the in laws again! Leo and I spent Saturday at our house, cleaning and trying more flea remedies. Then on Sunday, after church, we started out on our real vacation! It was our first family vacation and the first trip Leo and I have taken in about four years that didn't involve work or other family meetings and such - purely a pleasure trip!  I will write more about it later-it deserves a blog post to itself!
We came home Friday, the 25th from our trip and have been in our house since then! It's been nice to be back, and my mother in law was a huge help in coming and cleaning and helping to get rid of the fleas! Ethan was very ready to be back in his own bed and see his toys; and while we were ready to be back - it's been hard going back to a queen size bed after sleeping in a king for three weeks!
So, that's a little bit about why I haven't posted in so long - things were crazy and I just didn't have the time and energy for being on the computer alot. I will get back to normal postings soon!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Free/Cheap Summer events

Here are some free local (Mobile/Baldwin County) events going on this summer for you and the kids:
Check the Rave and Carmike sites for other participating locations

Carmike Cinemas in Mobile will be hosting the Summer Kid;s Series every Tuesday from June 8th-August 10th at 10:00am. All movies, popcorn and a drink are $1.00 each.
http://www.carmike.com/promotions.aspx?id=80

Rave Motion Pictures Theater in Daphne, AL will have the Free Family Film Festival every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10:00am for the next 8 weeks. The movies will be G or PG rated and are free admission!
http://www.ravemotionpictures.com/kidtoons.aspx


Wet N’ Wild Wednesdays are for families to come and beat the heat during the month of June, free of charge.  The kids will enjoy large water slides, slip n’ slides, as well as a variety of wading pools for the little ones.  The event is for kids age 2-12.  Wet N’ Wild Wednesdays will be held at Lott Park on June 9, 16 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The City of Daphne and Miller’s Grand Events make this event possible.


Kid's Day in Bienville Square in Downtown Mobile, every Thursday from 10:00am-1:00pm through July 8th. 
http://www.ncsmobile.org/news.php?detail=1&news_id=109
 
Market in the Park
May 27th, 2010-Jul 29th, 2010

Market in the Park: There is a great place to be on Thursdays beginning May 27: The Mobile Museum of Art in Langan Park is a beautiful backdrop for West Mobile’s Farmers’ Market from 3 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Shop for fresh produce, seafood, honey, baked goods, wine, handcrafted goods and more. Then stay for live music and free admission courtesy of the Mobile Museum of Art during Market hours. For more information please call Main Street Mobile at (251)208-7443 or visit the website below.
Market on the Square
Apr 23rd, 2010-Jul 24th, 2010

Join us each Saturday on Cathedral Square for farm fresh flavor! Shop for the freshest crop in town! This time of year is our favorite because you can get locally grown: tomatoes, potatoes, sweet corn, cantaloupe, watermelon, seafood, flowers, plants, baked breads, casseroles, pies, handcrafted goods and so much more. Stay for live music on the green! Each Saturday through July 24th. Open 7:30am - 11am. For more information, call (251)208-7443 or visit the website listed below.
www.ncsmobile.org/

So there ya go - events for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday all summer! And don't forget about the parks and local fountains/splash pads! Have a great summer!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Meal Time Monday

Well, I am currently out of town with my family - so meals this week are a little different. :)
However, on the drive over, my husband and I planned out some new meal ideas to try and see if we can stick to a menu and budget. So, I'll show you our plan and when we're home to actually shop and eat them, I will be more specific!


This is what we came up with: have a certain meal type each night (ie: mexican, seafood, etc.) and find meals all month for those categories - 4 chicken dishes, 4 mexican dishes, etc. I will shop for and prepare meals for each night, although we are usually out two nights a week - either a date or with family. And two lunches out - shopping day and my work day. 
Right now, the plan looks like this:

Monday: Lunch out for shopping/errands
               Supper: Meatless/Veggie Meal
Tuesday: Lunch at home
               Supper: Chicken/Turkey Meal
Wednesday: Lunch at home
                Supper: Mexcian Meal
Thursday: Lunch out
                Supper: Crock pot/Quick Meal    
Friday:     Lunch at home
                Supper: Italian Meal
Saturday: Lunch at home
                Supper: Beef/Steak Meal
Sunday: we drive an hour for church - so most meals are out or leftovers when we get home

We'll see how it goes - right now I'm planning a month long menu for July!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Freebie Friday!

Just a quick post to let you know about a couple of local (Mobile/Baldwin County) events going on tomorrow!

The Mobile area libraries are kicking off their summer reading program from 10:00am-Noon at all local branches. Set a goal of books for your child to read (or read to them) and receive prizes including a BayBears ticket voucher.  There will be events going on all summer with a big Grand Finale party on July 16th at the Mobile Museum of Art. Go to www.mplonline.org for more information!

The Eastern Shore Center is hosting a Safe Kid's Day event in the afternoon, followed by a movie at 7:30. Get the info here.

Also be sure and check Frugal Fairhope for a great list of free events and goodies!

Looks like a pretty full day of free family events! Have a great weekend!

Thrifty Thursday

I'm going to start making Thursdays my "thrifty" day. This is usually when I plan my shopping trips because sales start on Wednesday and my husband gets paid on Friday. So I'll share coupon links and sales and anything else I feel pertains to being thrifty!


Southern Savers is one of my favorite places for the Publix weekly ad, because of her layout to select the items you want for your shopping list and see the coupons. She does list prices, however they are different here at the Fairhope store, so if you want specific prices for Fairhope, check out Frugal Fairhope. It's a slightly different style, but will give you the local prices and changes.

Coupons.com is great for searching printable coupons.

That's all I have for tonight, I'm getting ready for my husband to come home! And I won't be shopping much the next couple of weeks, so there's not much to share now. :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Try It Tuesday...

Hello, My name is Ariel and I'm addicted to blogs... :)
I love, love, love finding new blogs that are fun and creative! I discovered Tatertots and Jello during the Mother's Day Extravaganza last month.  This has got to be one of the most creative blogs I've seen yet. She is always doing a giveaway and has great unique crafts to make! So, go try something new - see what you can do! (ha, that rhymed)  I loved the idea for menu magnets from her guest author - here .
What do you like? And don't forget to enter one of her awesome prizes - happen all the time!

Not the best start to the month...

So, yeah...it's June 1st...
I was supposed to start being healthy again today - but it was a really rough day. Certainly not the worst I've had, but it's always harder when my hubby's out of town. I was doing pretty good with my eating - until this evening...then I had a little milkshake. It was really good and did make me feel better. But now I feel bad for having it. Oh well, tomorrow is another day! And should be a much better day!
Because, you see, my birthday is June 30th - and I want to lose 20 lbs. I won't be devastated if it doesn't happen by then - but I do want to be on my way to that goal. And drinking a milkshake (no matter how good it was) is not the way to get there :) 
How was your start to the month? Was it better than mine? I hope so!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Welcome to my new home!

Welcome to my new blog home :)
Well, June is almost here - it will be a busy month for my family. My husband will be traveling with work several weeks and we're going on a mini vacation with him one week! Then we get to take another trip - to Bloomington, Indiana. Karen Kingsbury is one of my favorite authors. Her books are wonderfully moving and inspiring. It feels as if you are a part of her story as you read.  One of her most popular series is the Baxter Family series - their stories actually span several book collections. (You can find a complete list of her books on her website).  Anyway, she decided to start an annual Baxter Family Reunion for fans of the books! And I won tickets! Whoohoo! And since Leo grew up in Indiana, we're going to take some time and visit a few places from his childhood as well as meet my favorite author. I'm so excited - it's going to be a wonderful time!

And then - my birthday! It will be a crazy month - I think we'll be gone as much as we'll be home, but I am looking forward to it!