I'm a full-time working mommy of two children, married to a wonderful man, and living outside of Houston. Life is a strange journey, and I spend most of my time just trying to find the "normal" in it all...
When I was a kid, I was super active in AWANA. And I memorized a huge number of verses, in order to get various awards for my uniform and be the one that “finished my book” or did extra work, or whatever. A lto fo times, I’m not sure what my motivation really was, other than it was just something I DID. Part of who I was, at the time, I suppose.
But then i went to college. And I was so busy stuffing my head with varying degrees of useless and useful knowledge, that I didn’t really have time for any kind of Bible memory. Plus, you know, there were no awards, no one to pat me on the back if I got it right. BUT. As I struggled to deal with the new culture I was in, as I dealt with friends going through hard times, and as I questioned my faith and tried to separate my faith from the faith of my parents… those verses, the ones I had memorized for stickers and patches and trophies, kept coming back to me. They had become part of me, and God spoke to me through them more times than I can count.
And now I’m an adult (don’t laugh). And I’ve plugged myself back into AWANA, I’ve been a Cubbie director for several years. I love the program, and I want other kids to have the same experiences I did with learning these verses…. but I haven’t been doing any of it myself. I guess I was just having trouble being motivated, and kept telling myself that I can’t find the time.
And then I saw this challenge. Memorize 1 Peter 1, in 13 weeks. It’s not a lot of work each week, just a couple of verses. I love the idea of getting back in the habit of memorization – and with Brianna starting Cubbies this year, it’ll be a good example for her as well. So wish me luck! I’ll be working on this through sometime in November – I’ll try to post progress updates to see how well I’m doing – even though there are no shiny awards at the end
So GoDaddy moved me to a new server. A move that should have been seamless for me, but somehow has resulted in super slllllloooooooooooooooow loading times for all my pages. To the point they time out. Hence, no blogging.
But! They must have rebalanced or something, because, hey hey, here I am again able to load pages. Real blogging will commence…. now. Or in a day or two. If the server is stable. Ha!
There are a ton of household chores and tasks that I just never seem to get to often enough – cleaning behind the fridge, vacuuming behind the couch, that weird spot behind the toilet… I could keep going all day. But – it really bothers me when the place I’m supposed to clean things is gross.
So I try and keep the kitchen sink pretty clean, the shower and bathtubs clean, and my washing machine clean. I mean, with two very small kids, the amount of yuck that I put through the washing machine on any given week is astounding. I was cleaning the machine out with a rag and bleach spray, whenever I managed to get around to it, but it was annoying, hard to reach everywhere, and was one of those tasks I hated.
Then I saw Tide washing machine cleaner – I love Tide detergent, so I figured I’d give it a try. It works, amazingly well, and leaves my washer smelling fresh and clean. I use it about once a month, and all I do is rinse out the fabric softener holder with hot water to remove the gunk, run a rag around the top of the washer where dust collects, empty a pouch of the cleaner into the washer, and run it with hot water. I usually do this right before bed, and the whole process takes about 5 minutes. Then I wake up to a clean washer!
I run an extra wash cycle if someone in the family has had a tummy bug or if I’ve washed something especially gross – it just makes me feel better. I know there are probably some homemade versions I could use, but this is easy, and I need easy right now.
And that’s what I love about Tide Washing Machine Cleaner.
I used to think the idea of a stockpile was wasteful, and kind of extreme. But I’m now a convert to some stockpiling – with caveats to keep it from getting out of hand.
So I tried my hand at couponing for a while, and I still do it from time to time. But my MIL became the couponing QUEEN. Seriously. When we went hoem for Christmas, she gifted us with a great deal of her stockpile- things she got super-cheap or free.
And let me tell you – I thought it was a little crazy, but it’s so nice. When we run out of laundry soap? I just hop into the garage and grab the next bottle. I caught a great sale on both paper towels and our preferred brand of toilet paper at the first of the year, and we’re still working through that stuff. We also have stockpiles of shampoo, body wash, deodorant, dishwasher soap, and toothpaste, among other things.
So here are my guideliens for how i keep stockpiles in my house:
It has to have a home. I have a big pantry, a couple shelves in the garage, and a closet in my bathroom where this stuff lives.
If it overflows its home, I have too much. (We currently have too much shampoo, but that should resolve itself soon)
Only keep as much as we can use before it goes bad. Toothpaste has an expiration date, and I don’t stockpile a ton of food. Things like laundry soap and paper products don’t generally go bad, though.
Rotate to use the oldest stuff first.
Keep track of what we are running low on – because nothing is worse than going out to the stockpile for toilet paper and discovering you are completely out. Start looking for the next good deal before you run completely out.
So – as long as I generally stick to these guidelines, having stockpiles of certain products works for me.
So my cousin loaned me the kindle copies of Catching Fire and Mockingjay – the rest of the Hunger Games trilogy. First, I have to say, these are the most consuming books I have read in a long time – I read Hunger Games and Catching Fire in one sitting each, and Mockingjay in two – only because I had to sleep. They are very action-packed, and I had trouble finding a place to put the books down (obviously). I loved them – really, just about every part of them. You should totally read them, too.
I’m going to try and do this as spoiler free as possible, but be warned it may not make much sense if you haven’t read the books.
These books touch on an amazing number of current issues. Reality shows. War. Celebrity. Rich people out of touch with reality. Ethics, morals, and family. I thought all were well-done, and made points without being preachy or obvious. But the issue that I thought was the most well-done, and had the most impact on the story, for me, was the story’s treatment of PTSD and depression. I mean, with everything that happens to these kids, how could they not go through those types of things? There were times in the story where a character would describe how they felt, and I was like YES. That is how it feels. I never had the words to describe it before. I would be amazed if Suzanne Collins hasn’t dealt with these issues in her own life, or had family that has.
I was trying to explain it to Chad, and I said that’s the main difference between the Hunger Games series and something like Harry Potter. I mean, in the last book, Harry goes through war. He, Ron, and Hermione, and their friends and family KILL PEOPLE. They watch people, sometimes people they love, die. And yet, other than grieving their loved ones, they all appear normal 20 years later. No therapy needed, no mentions of any mental troubles after the fact. In the Hunger Games books, the kids are faced with the same type of kill or be killed situations – and come out damaged, broken, confused. Which makes them more realistic to me, as people – and more interesting in a lot of ways.
So yeah, after reading all three books borrowed, I’m probably going to buy them. They seem to be the kind of books I’d like to have in paper, on my shelves, to loan to people or reread on a whim.
So our schedule is so volatile on a weekly basis, that I’m actually thinking of using post-its for meal planning again. I mean, it’s not like we’re eating out every night by any means, just what I cook may not look like what I planned to cook. Sometimes because, hey, I didn’t defrost meat or whatever, or sometimes because Chad had to work late and I postponed a meal he liked for a day when he could actually eat it, or sometimes because life just happens.
So this week, I’m still going to list days by the meals, but I’m not going to necessarily follow the schedule. Hopefully, I’ll at least follow the outline of it, and cook most of these meals, haha:
Monday: Road trip food!
Tuesday: BBQ Chicken legs, au gratin potatoes, green beans
Wednesday: Dinner out. Or Shepherd’s pie.
Thursday: Pork chops, rice, veggies
Friday: Turkey pot pie
Saturday: Ham & Cheese casserole
Sunday: Probably dinner out – Chad will be at church with us for awards, not home cooking pizza, haha.
For more Menu Plan Monday posts, head over to OrgJunkie!
The Look Bag is a beauty box subscription marketed by The Look Store. It’s $10/month, and boxes are delivered around the second week of the month. I was initially interesting in this one because, like Birchbox, they are not as expensive per box.
Okay, so it’s not a box, per say, but actually a bag. Sure, I like the little fancy boxes, but can deal with that. Here’s what my May shipment looked like:
The pink bag is kind of… useless. I mean, it’s nice, but i have no idea what to put in it. It doesn’t really close very well, and it’s too flimsy for anything of substance. But – since this is mostly about the samples, not the packaging – here’s what was actually in the package:
Total of four face products, and two nail polishes. So, here’s what all was in there:
This eyeshadow is a great neutral color, and is something this is affordable and widely available. I hadn’t tried the specific brand, but I found it was fairly easy to put on, and went on smoothly. I used a brush, and it helped even out the color – which made a great base for other colors.
Verdict? Totally something I would buy.
Erno Laszlo – The Collection 5 Piece Cream Gift Set (sample)
The products in the set (a night cream, an eye cream, a day moisturizer, and two other moisturizers) were all really good – I especially liked the night cream – but all of the products left my face feeling smooth and moisturized. But – the price on these is really high, in my opinion, and I know I’ve gotten similar results for less expensive (still department store) brands. I think you’re really paying for the name here.
Verdict? I liked it, but not willing to pay the price ($100 for a set of 0.5oz products).
I loved these. Loved. Them. The lip glosses are nice, shiny, and not sticky or greasy. I liked how they felt on my lips, how they left my lips feeling afterwards, and even how they smelled – a little like vanilla. The colors were all sheer and neutral, and even the warmer colors (peach, etc) looked great on me.
Verdict? I will probably be buying this product- I love it!
KTO “Intense” Tightening Serum (sample)
I’m really not sure what the purpose of tightening serums is – maybe I’m too young? But while this product left my skin feeling soft enough, it made me feel like I was stretched really tight – not a great feeling for me. it also was really watery, so a little difficult to apply. But it smelled nice, and I think it did what it’s supposed to – it’s just not for me.
Verdict? Nope, not for me. But probably a decent enough product, if that’s what you’re looking for.
The New Black – Runway – Color Baromoter 8-Piece Nail Polish Set
Okay, so they sent me two colors from this set. A blue, and a coral (what is with the coral, people?). The polish itself was nice – it went on smoothly, dried fairly quickly, and seemed a little more durable than some of the others I’ve tried. The blue looked great on my toes, and the coral doesn’t really match my skin tone at all (you can’t win them all, I suppose). My biggest complaint is that they didn’t include the color names, which would make it harder for me to buy the blue I liked separately from the set.
Verdict? I would buy this brand again, if i could find it in a store so I can see the colors. And at $32/set of 8, it’s fairly reasonably priced.
So what did I think of the Look Bag overall? Meh. It was good, but not as good as some of the others I’ve tried (New Beauty Test Tube, Birchbox, myglam). I probably won’t be continuing my subscription to this one, just because I liked some of the others better (particularly the Test Tube). But it was certainly fun to try!
Now and then I think of when we were together Like when you said you felt so happy you could die Told myself that you were right for me But felt so lonely in your company But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember
You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness Like resignation to the end, always the end So when we found that we could not make sense Well you said that we would still be friends But I’ll admit that I was glad it was over
But you didn’t have to cut me off Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing And I don’t even need your love But you treat me like a stranger and I feel so rough No you didn’t have to stoop so low Have your friends collect your records and then change your number I guess that I don’t need that though Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know Now you’re just somebody that I used to know Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over Part of me believing it was always something that I’d done But I don’t wanna live that way Reading into every word you say You said that you could let it go And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know But you didn’t have to cut me off Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing And I don’t even need your love But you treat me like a stranger and I feel so rough And you didn’t have to stoop so low Have your friends collect your records and then change your number I guess that I don’t need that though Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
On Fridays, Gypsy Mama holds a blog carnival where we all stop and write for five minutes – no editing, no over-thinking, just write. Care to join us?
This week’s topic is: Opportunity.
I fell like I miss so many opportunities. An opportunity to tell a friend I’m sorry for their loss, missed because I can’t quite find the right words. An opportunity to teach my kids some new truth or skill, missed because I’m too caught up in the everyday chores and the business of it all. An opportunity to connect with my husband missed because we’re both buried in our technology. An opportunity to see friends or family missed because I don’t think I can handle the travel with the kids, or because I think it might cost too much or be too stressful. An opportunity to call and chat with a friend because I think too much time has past, or they might be mad at me for some unknown slight.
These things weigh heavy on me once I feel like I’ve missed them. But I still do. How can I be better at grabbing these opportunities when I see them, at not giving into my excuses and insecurities?
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Otherwise know as Pride and Prejudice told via vlogs. Amazingly funny modern take on the classic. Has some language, fyi.
— 2 —
So I was browsing around the internet, and happened upon these. I was on the phone with Chad at the time, and I was all like – These are a thing? Like, people actually think it’s a good idea to put a lid with a straw on a Mason jar? Only two things should be drunk out of a Mason jar – sweet tea or moonshine. Now, I’ve had a drink in a Mason jar – I’m not going to tell you which one, either. I am from Alabama/Mississippi. But. I didn’t drink out of a fancy straw when I did. Just sayin’, is all.
So, what are these for? Taking your Mason jar drink on the road with you? (Better be tea…) Giving it to you kids, so they don’t spill? (Might want to rethink – it’s a glass jar, if they drop it, it’s spilling). I can totally see Mason jar soap dispensers and other country-esque decorations, but the Mason jar drinking straws baffle me. Really. I laughed when i saw the shear number of these things on Etsy – apparently, it is indeed, a Thing. Who knew, right?
So my constant battle against laundry is just that – a battle. I feel like I’m winning the war, over all, but it’s crazy and tiring, and I hate folding the kid’s laundry. So I end up like this sometimes:
I’m still following the load-a-day system, more or less, and it’s helping a lot. Like, when Brianna was sick last week, the extra laundry was just annoying, not catastrophic. But I still get behind when we’re busy (or when I try to read all three Hunger Games books in less than a week), and then Brianna runs out of socks and life is unbearable (for her. In sandals).
I’m guessing this is just something I’m going to struggle with forever. Maybe accepting that fact will make me feel less behind?
— 4 —
Here’s something I can get behind: a new unit of measure, the Kardashian – used to measure attention. The article pretty much sums up how I feel about celebrities in general, but specifically the ones that are famous just for being famous. The charts and scientific analysis, however tongue-in-cheek they may be, only make me happier with the whole thing.
Brianna had her dance recital this week – she had a great time, loved the attention, and did well. In fact, for the second performance in a row, we caught people filming her instead of their own kids, haha. After hearing about so many of my friend’s recital experiences in the last few weeks, I’m glad we have Brianna in the program we do – besides being low cost, it’s really more about playing around and having fun, the recitals are no more than 30 minutes, and they certainly don’t stress performance. I mean, dance is not really a world I want to push Brianna into – if she was really interested in it, I might put her in a more rigorous school at a later point, but I don’t think a three year old should have to sit through a 3 or 4 hours recital or a full day workshop. And honestly, I’d rather spend the money/time on music lessons or something like it.
Of course, if Brianna gets really interested in it in the next couple of years, I’ll let her try it more… cautiously. While I’m a great fan of dancing in general, I think the culture of most dancing programs, and the scene in general – specifically the competition scene – can be really hard on a little girl’s self image. And honestly, there’s enough self-image crap out there to deal without without seeking out more problems.
— 7 —
These eagles live right by my house. Like, you can stand in my yard and see the nest. And that is awesome.
What is not awesome, is the stupid photographers that follow these birds around. The baby eagle can hardly stretch his wings without a dozen people snapping pictures of it – and they are all right next to our house. And I hate that. What I hate more, if when they turn their super-powered zoom lenses toward my house, for unknown reasons, and snap pictures. Or when they chase the eagles down, going inside the “protected” zone where no one is supposed to go. Or when they are rude to my family and my neighbors. They are there, all the time. Saturdays, people just camp out in the field. All day. Sundays, too. We’ve called the cops, they escort people off every now and again, talk to them sometimes and ask them to be nicer, but they can’t really do much.
So I’ll be sad when the eagles leave. But happy to have my privacy back. Thankfully, no celebrities are moving into my neighborhood anytime soon, because that might actually be worse.