Monday, November 23, 2009

Sharing ice cream

As I frantically tried to finish up my bowl of ice cream this afternoon, a little girl in pink watched me with big eyes that began to fill with tears. Not only has she now learned that a bowl and a spoon equal food, it was time for her to nurse. She was both angry and jealous. I finished up, scooped her into my arms and she was happy for a moment. I gave her kisses and as we were snuggling, I realized that a tiny tongue was finding its way onto my lips and INTO my mouth!!! Gross! She wanted to try whatever Mom was eating! She knew where to find the remnants, too! And Greenhill girls DO love some ice cream!! I think we'll avoid the kisses next time!

Now the little girl in pink is chewing on Daddy's Christmas present that just came in the mail. Guess it's time to go wrap some presents!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stolen posts...

A stolen post from my friend Katie, who borrowed it from someone else. Thoughts for stay at home moms. I really appreciated this one!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Gift Ideas for Something Different

Today is the last day of Sheila's fun blog carnival... And we're compiling ideas for "Something Different."

1. XM radio: This is a great gift for the entire family because there's something for everyone on at least one channel! You can find channels to cover music from the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. And those are all different channels! You can find many different sports channels- which means you can find ANY game, especially if it's not showing on your TV! Radio Disney and XM Kids are also available, along with a handful of other kids' channels. And my favorite: MULTIPLE channels of only Christmas music, beginning on Thanksgiving Day! Listen in the car, or bring it inside to the docking station.

2. Bedroom makeover: Really, you could do this for any room in the house. I received a coupon for Christmas one year from Jon for a bedroom makeover. It meant new paint (if I wanted), window treatments, sheets, comforter, and wall hangings. One of the perks of this gift is that the money doesn't have to be spent just in December in time for Christmas- we could spread it out over several months. Much easier on the budget!

3. Timothy Botts prints: Botts is a talented calligrapher who takes scripture and hymns and expresses them in "word pictures," making the words on the page look like what they mean. You can purchase individual prints or a coffee table book full of them. Either way, they're a gorgeous expression of his faith and would make for a great gift (especially framed!). You can find them at, and they are a great price- even if you purchase a framed print instead of doing it yourself!

Check out Sheila's page one more time for some fresh ideas, and happy shopping!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Gift Ideas for the Book Lover

Today's gift ideas make me very excited. We LOVE books in our family! In fact, one day when we have to move out of our house, it will be because we've accumulated so many books- not because our family is growing in size! You can find a stash of books in almost every room of the house! As a former English teacher, I LOVE books. I don't necessarily love the books that an English teacher is supposed to love, though. But, I do love to read. And hubby might love to read even more than I. He is often reading 6 or 7 books at a time. I sure can't do that. Here are some authors (and specific books) that we've enjoyed in our family.

Clive Cussler- This has become a common element between my hubby and his father. They both really enjoy all of Cussler's books, and often trade them back and forth. Any of his books will do!

Ted Dekker- A Christian author out of Colorado; Definitely not my style (or content!), but my brother and Jon really enjoy him a lot. Again, any book you choose will be a good one!

David Baldacci- In particular, Wish You Well. This was a summer reading book for my students one year, so naturally I read it too. It's completely unlike his other books (courtroom setting) and I adored it.

Kristin Billerbeck- She's labeled as a Christian Chick Lit author. My sister and I really enjoyed the Spa Girls series (3 books) and also What a Girl Wants. Very light reading; they're what we call a "great beach book."

Ray Blackston- Also a Christian fiction novelist, and also a great "beach book" author. Flabbergasted and A Delirious Summer are our favorites.

Jane Austen- Pride and Prejudice. I love it. The. End.

David McCullough- He writes those books that are big enough to make Kate as tall as me. I haven't actually read any of them, but my dear husband has really gotten into them. As far as I can tell, he hasn't disliked one yet! I'd guess his favorites are 1776 and John Adams, though.

Larry Burkett- Money Matters; My parents gave this book to us for Christmas the year we were engaged. We have lent it to many people, and it's been really helpful in working our finances. It also has tons of practical questions and answers to almost anything money related.

Gary Chapman- The Four Seasons of Marriage; This book really nails it on the head. Everyone goes through different seasons in their marriage- over and over again. This book addresses those seasons and what to expect in each of them, and also how to work through the tough parts.

John Rosemond- Parenting by the Book; This book will challenge your thinking about how you parent. I'm studying it in my moms' group this year and it can be really hard to read sometimes! He takes a tough approach to parenting that goes against everything our culture tells us. He is a psychologist who no longer buys into the "crap" that psychologists tend to preach. Buckle up if you snag a copy! I love this book.

Louie Giglio- I am not but I know I AM; How's that for a title? The premise is simple. Remember your place in the universe, and recognize God for who He really is. Basic ideas, but beautifully written.

Linda Dillow- Calm My Anxious Heart; I love how books can bring people together. My precious friend Kristen lives a million miles away (not really, just Wisconsin... but it seems like it!) and we are reading this book together. We read a chapter at a time and chat about it, usually once a week. It's a book on finding contentment and being okay with who you are and where you are.

And because we love to laugh, I always buy a comic book for hubby for Christmas. Not like Superman or Spiderman comics, but books such as Calvin and Hobbes or The Far Side. Our top favorites are Pearls Before Swine and FoxTrot. Totally our senses of humor! Here's a sneak peek into the two, and then head over to Sheila's site to find more ideas!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A few random thoughts

1. When the love of my life calls me and says, "Meet me in the driveway in 10 minutes," I am one happy lady. Because I have learned what that means. It means, "I've been doing work all morning somewhere that you like a lot and I'm bringing you a treat." I've been curled up in the recliner during naptimes today because I've been feeling under the weather. And before I knew it, one handsome man was sitting in my driveway with a steaming hazelnut coffee from Panera. Oh, he still makes my heart beat in double time!!

2. I thought November was going to be a semi-laid back month. It turns out that I don't know how to read a calendar. We are headed to Atlanta in just 2 weeks for a conference. We will get back around midnight on a Monday evening or 1 am on a Tuesday morning. Then, we have dinner and a service at church that night, and we'll leave the next day for Thanksgiving. So much for a regular schedule for my lady bug. I hope she's not in a fowl foul mood for Turkey Day!

3. Here is the little lady who has stolen my heart. And my brain, for that matter. She has the sweetest personality and I am so in love with this girl. We have the BEST time together during the day, and her smile at night when she should be asleep still melts my heart. She has brought more joy to our lives than I will ever be able to express. Check out my little love on Halloween... More pictures on Facebook!

Gifts for KIDS

After having small kids in my life for the past 10 years or so, you'd think I would be well versed in gifts for kids. But, for some reason, I end up stumped! Part of the problem is that I insist on being sure that my gifts have special meaning. Little kids are excited about most anything! I really love that Sheila's little girl has started picking up "mommy traits" and that she wants to be just like her mama. This is not a bad thing in this case!!

1. Vitamin water- Actually, all you need is the bottle. And it can even be empty. This kind of gift is best for a 6 month old. Mine, in particular. Yes, this is one of Kate's favorite toys in the world. It feels funny, it looks neat, and the wrapper and the bottle can both make noises that are so much fun! Her "papa" thinks it would be a good idea to fill it with bb's. Only her father's father would have this idea. ;) As long as she's happy with just a bottle, I'm not creating it to make any more noise! Seriously, though. This might not actually be a good gift to give someone. :)

2. Baby Einstein Musical Jumper- This has been one of the most used gifts that we received before Kate was born. The seat swivels and she can focus on whatever "station" she wants to at the time. Now that her feet touch the ground, she can make use of the "jumper" part of it! It does make sounds, but you can turn them off! I am a big fan of that option on kids' toys! You will not see me endorse ANYTHING Baby Einstein or Little Einstein other than this product. You don't even want to get me started on that stuff. What a waste of money! It is a little pricey, so ask the grandparents to snag it for you!

3. If you are looking for a girl gift (I'm always searching for my 2nd grade niece), it really does depend on what she likes to do. My youngest niece was into princesses (of course!) for awhile, so we got her some dress up clothes one year. Another year we got her a princess art kit. Then, she "grew up," so I made her a "grownup" art stand last year. I bought this little tray, and I painted her name on the top and decorated it. Then, I filled the side pockets with paints and paintbrushes. If water based paints are used, it can be easily wiped down when paint gets on the tray. *Disclaimer: Her name is not Aubrey, and this is not the one I painted, although it looked alarmingly similar!**Disclaimer #2: If you use this idea, be sure that YOU don't use water based paint to decorate her name. Then it will ALLLLL come off. If you do, though, you can pretend that you meant for it to be that way. ;)

4. Year long membership- This is something that my friend's parents did for her, and I love this idea! Get a membership to the local children's museum, science museum, (any museum!), zoo, aquarium, etc. Heck, you could even get season tickets to your local baseball team's games. That is, if you have a team that's not very good and tickets are really cheap! This is a gift that kids can enjoy, but parents can enjoy as well. And it has appeal that lasts longer than Christmas Day!

5. Jogger stroller- I never thought I would own one of these. Trust me... I am NOT a jogger. Nor do I ever anticipate becoming one (although I wish I could be a runner!)! I also had been given several strollers as hand-me-downs before Kate was born. So, why spend money on a new one when those are just fine?? Because this is fabulous. It handles so much better than any other stroller, and is amazing for walks in the park or walks in the neighborhood. It's easier on your back (I think), and is great for a really comfortable stroll (or jog, if you must!). The front wheel locks into place if you'd like, so you don't have to worry about direction control while you're jogging walking.

Enough from me. Find some other great ideas from Momfessions or the other links over there!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Gift Ideas for HIM

If I'm really honest (and I do tend to try to be!), this one makes me cringe. I am forever at a loss of what to get my dear husband for pretty much any occasion. Anniversary, Christmas, birthday, you name it. Part of the problem is that their "toys" are so expensive! Sheila mentions a certain Apple product in her post today, and that's just one of many examples of pricey gifts (although a guaranteed success). Here goes, though. And they aren't necessarily easy on the wallet.

1. Subscription to Sports Illustrated- often has deals on subscriptions, and this has been an awesome one for my hubby. Girls love to flip through magazines, and guys do too, sometimes! One of my favorite parts of ordering online is that we can opt out of the swimsuit issue and get extra issues in its place. This saves me from having to dig it out of the mailbox and discard it (that's my job because he won't touch it) before he gets home. He would much rather read about more sports, anyway!

2. Leatherman pocket knife- This is where I am mostly clueless. But, he has mentioned it for the past several years (since I am clueless, he has yet to receive one!), so it must be something exciting. A Leatherman is "like a Swiss army knife, only more heavy duty," according to my man. It contains pliers and sometimes a saw, and other manly things (my words, not his). It's kind of like buying a car. There are many different accessories that you can get- and that will alter the price. And since I don't know what things are "good" to have on there, I haven't ventured out to purchase one! My description is fairly unhelpful, I realize, but it's an idea nevertheless! I chose this picture because it looked the most scary- 18 tools in one!

3. Starbucks gift card- I was thinking really hard this morning about what gifts would be good for this post. I asked HIM for some ideas and didn't really get too much of a response. But, my phone rang just now with some affirmation for me! The Starbucks gift card that I put in his stocking each year is one of the most anticipated gifts, apparently!! From the mouth of the gift card receiver, "It's a really good excuse to be able to go relax and enjoy yourself. Especially when money is tight, you can still get a great drink, take it easy, and not feel guilty." There you have it!

Head over Momfessions to see what other ideas people have for this winter! Happy shopping!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Christmas for the Ladies

Well, it's November 2nd, so you know what that means! Time for the blog carnival of Christmas ideas! Sheila (from Momfessions) had a great idea for a gift idea exchange, and today is Day 1: Gifts for HER (women in general, not just my sweet friend Sheila!).

1. Immersion Blender: This is one of my all time favorite kitchen gadgets. The immersion blender has several attachments, depending on what you're making. I especially love it for when I need to mix something, but don't want to use my enormous mixer. I don't have a hand held mixer, so this works really well! A mini food processor/chopper also comes as an attachment... Make smoothies, quick purees, or even brownies! The best part is that you don't have to dirty any other dishes- use the immersion blender right in the bowl you're already using!

2. James Avery jewelry: I love James Avery jewelry. I'm pretty sure one of the first volunteers in my youth group got me hooked on Avery's designs. (Thanks, Karey Garrison!) My favorite is the crosslet ring. It's so simple, yet makes a profound statement about what I believe. I wore this ring on my left ring finger until the day I received something more beautiful and sparkly to take its place! ;) It comes in silver or gold, so you can take your pick for your favorite lady! James Avery makes all sorts of gorgeous pieces- and not all are religious. I just happen to prefer the ones that are! Check out his website:

3. Massage: Be sure that your gift receiving girl even LIKES massages- I know of several who don't want to be touched at all! You can really find some great deals on massages (and still receive quality treatment)! For example, the YMCA where we belong offers a deal to members: $60 for an hour. That is a DEAL compared to going to a spa! They have a room set up that is very cozy- candles, music, dim lighting- with a very comfy massage bed! Of course, the masseuses are all certified, so rest easy! Another option is booking an appointment at a massage school. My sister did this with some friends, and even determined the best time to go. Training at the school lasts for a certain number of months. If you can figure out when their training is coming to a close, go then! They will have learned a lot and had lots of practice by this point. It's not quite as glamorous as a spa or anywhere else, but I've heard the quality is still good!

Head over to Sheila's blog to see what suggestions she has. I can't disagree with any of them! And, if you feel so inclined, link up on her blog to your own page and share some more ideas with us!