Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: National Portrait Gallery

Me and the kids hanging with their Uncle Chris at the National Portrait Gallery in the Atrium.

Make sure to check out these fabulous Wordless Wednesday participants: 5 Minutes for Mom, Mom Spotted, and A Beautiful Mess.

Enter your links to your Wordless Wednesday photos!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas To All

I'm so thankful that my kids and I are able to be with my parents and brothers for Christmas this year. It's been a few years since we spent Christmas with them so it's good to be here in VA.

My hope and prayer is that you are able to spend Christmas with those you love and those who love you. May what brings you joy not come from under a tree, but from your heart.

I know these times aren't easy; emotionally, spiritually, or financially, but take heart. You are loved by the ONE who was born to save the world. The ONE who was sent as a baby, to a carpenter and his wife. The ONE who would one day stretch out his baby hands to be nailed to a cross...for you and for me.

If you can, take the time to savor the birth of the newborn King, Emmanuel "God with us".

Happy Birthday Jesus. This day is the day to celebrate your birth.

Rejoice, again I say Rejoice.

Merry CHRISTmas to you all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Digital Story of the Nativity

I think whoever created this did a great job. My cheeks hurt from laughing and smiling through the whole thing! Imagine if the Nativity were to happen with today's technology. That's the premise of this YouTube video.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Touching the Clouds by Bonnie Leon

Touching the Clouds
by Bonnie Leon
ISBN-13: 9780800733599
Publisher: Revell

About the Book

Kate Evans is an adventurous and independent young woman with a pioneering spirit. She pilots a mail-delivery plane in the forbidding Alaskan wilderness, the lone woman in a male profession. But even that seems easy compared to finding true love. She likes a fellow pilot and would even consider marrying him--if it weren't for Paul, a mysterious man on her mail route with a gentle spirit and a past to hide. Can Kate break through the walls Paul has put up around his heart? And will her quest for adventure be her demise?

My Review

I have to admit, I have been so behind on getting my book reviews done. Trying to make my site more personal and keeping up with my Marvelous Mom Reviews site has left very little time to read. When I tell my friends this, they look at me with dropped mouths. They know me, and my passion for reading.

Well, reading Bonnie Leon's first book in her Alaskan Skies series has hopefully gotten me back on track. I have loved Touching the Clouds since page one. We are propelled into the wilds and harsh climate of Alaska. As a reader we are able to live through Kate Evans, a bush pilot who, as a woman has a lot to prove in this rugged land.

This book is set in the 1930's and I'm a lover of historical fiction. I felt like I was right there with Bonnie's writing! Even being in Alaska in this time period, you have a sense of being drawn back to the past.

I enjoyed reading the trials Kate goes through as she feels she has to constantly prove herself, mostly to herself, and as she's drawn into the lives of those she interacts with on her flights. So many of the people she sees rely on her for so much. I was really sucked into the story line and sometimes I felt like I was flying right along with her.

Being that we're just coming into our winter, I thought this would be a fantastic book to read and get a feel of the cold and darkness of the beautiful Alaska!

About the Author

Bonnie Leon is the bestselling author of more than ten historical fiction novels, including Touching the Clouds. She stays busy teaching women's Bible studies and speaking at writing seminars and conventions. She and her husband, Greg, live in Oregon.

*I received my book as a gift from the author and publisher. The review is my own and not influenced by anyone.

Holiday Depression/Suicide Resource

Many individuals will struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts during this Christmas Season. Some studies show that there is an increase in emotional/mental health struggles from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. Author and speaker, Linda Evans Shepherd, understands full-well the added pressures many face this time of year. She has compiled materials to help others find the hope they need to win over depression.

When Your Husband Wants To Date...Someone Else

Now, there's a back story to this and that is that my husband and I are separated. We've been separated for just over 4 yrs. Yep, a LONG time. We have barely spent any time together during that time, and I'm more than fine with that.

There's a lot I can't explain, wish I could, but can't. Sure I could've divorced him on the spot, when our marriage went down the tubes, but because I have a tendency to rush headlong into things, I decided this time I was going to take my time and see if God had something else in mind for our marriage.

My estranged husband and I are both Christians and hold by God's standards. So, in sticking with those standards, regardless of what happened to my marriage thanks to his choices, I was holding on to the vows and commitment we had entered into 12 yrs ago. Wasn't happy about it, but that was the choice I made.

A few months ago I felt we had come to the decision that a divorce was inevitable. I was really ok with that. I had done what I felt God had asked of me, and now it was time to go our separate ways. Thing pretty much fell into place. Then after our meeting with his counselor, where we discussed the impending divorce, he seemed to be questioning whether or not we had really come to a final decision.

How in the world does someone come away from discussing getting a divorce wondering if they're getting divorced? Then again, he always had this habit of hearing things his own way, as his counselor would attest.

We hadn't gotten together with his counselor again because life happened and the time never was available. You know how it is being a single-mom, you can only do so much as one person. Finally, after getting sick and tired of some of the messages he was leaving on my phone, just being snotty, I called his couselor and said we NEED another meeting.

I get to our arranged meeting ready to discuss these stinkin' messages and she lets him share first. I had no idea what he was going to say! Oh man, I was not ready.

"I asked someone out on a date." I think I laughed at the incredulity of it. I shouldn't have been shocked because, well, just because. Then I got pissed. Sure, it's been 4 years. It's been 4 yrs for BOTH of us. He's not the only one who hasn't been able to share their lives with someone else. I'm in the same boat.

So his counselor asked me how I felt and I said something like, "I'd like to tell him to eff off and that he's not trustworthy or honorable." We're still married. True, it didn't matter the rest of our marriage, but after the separation and all his commitments to church, men's group, purity, etc you'd think the guy would have it figured out by now. Guess not.

I wasn't hurt, like emotionally, because I disconnected from him years ago. It just pissed me off that he still can't think of anyone else but himself. Do you know anyone like this? I mean, we're all self-centered creatures, but some more than others can't see past themselves.

At some point early on in the meeting, I turned to him and he looked at me with a stupid this-is-uncomfortable smirk on his face and I said to him dead straight, "This marriage is over. We are getting a divorce." If he was unsure from our last meeting then he knows now there is no going back.

The beginning of 2011 will usher in a new chapter in my life. He and I will start divorce proceedings. I can't even imagine what possibilities life will hold for me. I'm giddy and curious and I'm sure a ton of other things that I just haven't had time to consider yet. Life will be good!! Woo Hoo

This information comes from Robyn at Robyn's World Online. She said we were able to copy and paste from her site and since I'm at my mom's (just got here a couple hours ago) I'm only going to add a quick piece of personal information:

My 17 yr old daughter has ADD-Inattentive (just like good ol' mom) and has depression. She has dealt with this pretty much all her life and it's been a real test of faith. Here's more about what Robyn wanted to share including her own family information:

I am putting a call for help out to all of my blogging friends for you to please make a quick blog post (copy and paste whatever you want from mine even). Many of you already know that my son has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and anxiety - we’ve had this diagnoses for over 10 years now (Taylor is now 16). Over the years the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation has been a wonderful resource for me in so many different ways for information and support. Honestly, the information I have gotten at bpkids.org over the years has been so incredibly helpful for me and my family and I know it’s that way for other families also.

Right now CABF is in the running for a $250,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Everything campaign. They have to come in 1st or 2nd in order to get the grant money (as of today they have slipped to 3rd). So, I am asking ALL MY BLOGGING BUDDIES - Please, please, please take a moment to post on your blog about CABF and how to vote for your readers and share on Facebook and share on Twitter and just share any way you can so they can get some more votes and win! Below is a sample post you can use - take any or all of it - whatever works for you and your blog.

There are over 5 million U.S. youth who live with depression or bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, a very small percentage receive treatment. The Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF) is hoping to win a $250,000 grant from The Pepsi Refresh Project during December to raise public awareness and help more youth and their families who suffer from depression or bipolar disorder.

Youth depression and bipolar is seldom discussed. It affects 7% of all children in the U.S., yet only a small fraction receive treatment. We plan to launch an outreach campaign to inform parents about the symptoms of mood disorders and how to find help. The outreach will be accomplished via:
-Detailed Communication Plan
-Online ads
-Bi-weekly webinars
-Weekly podcasts
-Daily social networking
-150,000 brochures & 3 mailings to psychiatrists
Experienced CABF staff members will coordinate the webinars, podcasts and volunteer training. Our trained volunteer corps of 100+ around the US are ready to assist new families and youth who reach out to us in crisis. CABF has the capacity to refresh the lives of so many more youth!
The Pepsi Refresh voting allows you to vote daily in EACH of these ways for CABF, plus you can vote for 9 other organizations each day also to spread the love!
  • Vote for CABF daily on the Refresh Everything site You will need to log in daily for this vote - but it is very quick
  • Vote daily on Facebook
    Please consider hitting the Share This button after you vote which will post it to your own Facebook wall and hopefully inspire others to vote
  • Text 104174 to PEPSI (73774) This is a super simply method! You will receive 1 response each time you vote, but I haven’t had any other texts related to this - no spam.
  • NEW! There is an iPhone app now to vote daily
    If you have an iPhone please download the app and vote daily too!
BONUS FOR YOU - WIN AN iPAD That’s right, CABF is going to give away THREE iPADs if they win! You just have to sign up for their daily email reminders about voting in order to be entered. Super simple!
Thank you all so much for your continued support and votes for this cause. It is very near and dear to my heart! xoxoxo

Do you have a cause that is also participating in this program trying to get a grant? Please share in the comments so we can vote for them as well!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Woven by Words: I'm Losing My Mind

Ok, so I accidentally posted my WW over at my Marvelous Mom Reviews! UGH, so I'm gone from my computer for 3 days and I don't know where to post my WW? Sorry to anyone who goes to my MMR site for my Wordless Wednesday. I'm a dork! So, I'm going to repost it here. Please bear with my addled brain!

We finally made it to my parents in VA! We met my mom and dad at a pizzaria a couple towns over from their house. It was so nice to see them. We had a hysterical time! Baby and I pretty much laughed the entire time. Here are my boys with their grandpa!

Make sure to check out these other fabulous WW participants: Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House, 5 Minutes for Mom and My Organized Chaos!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I’ve Been Blessed By A Mystery Person

So, as most of you know, Minnesota was hit by a pretty big snow storm last Friday night and into Saturday. I was so thankful that we didn’t have to go anywhere and I didn’t have to work all weekend! YES!

Later in the afternoon I saw our neighbor riding around in his Bobcat. Buddy plays with his son. Doodle and I were sitting around the house doing pretty much nothing when I saw the Bobcat going by. I jumped up and said, “Please come to my drive way, please come to my driveway.” I wasn’t expecting him to. He’s never plowed our driveway before. When he turned into the driveway, Doodle and I both yelled, “YES!” And he was done in about 5 minutes. Man I wish I had a Bobcat!

I had gone out right away (10am in Mimi wake up on Saturday time) and shoveled the sidewalk and made a b-line for the path for the boys to take to get to the bus. We have a really big yard and they have to trudge thru a lot of snow to get to it in the mornings.

IMG_4640 Well, about 2 hours after I shoveled, the wind was so bad it had completely covered my path. Ugh, I could NOT believe it. My shoulders were killing me because it was deep and heavy and took about an hour to shovel!

Tuesday night I was letting Rugby out to do his business and all of a sudden I realize there’s a path in my yard. Like an intentional path.

I did a double take. Were those tire tracks in my yard? What the…

IMG_4648 At first I didn’t realize it went all the way through my yard. I thought maybe a snowmobile had gone thru, but realized it was a plowed path.

Someone came to my house, at some point, and plowed a path for my boys to walk to the school bus in the mornings and after school.

Isn’t that the craziest thing? I have no idea who would know that my path was filled up, that they didn’t have their usual path. I’m going to make a couple of calls tomorrow because this will drive me nuts.

I’ll check with the people I think it could be: KB (who blew all my leaves this Fall), LP (who knows of my neediness), the neighbor D who plowed my driveway, our neighbor down the street? I’m baffled.IMG_4652

If I run into road blocks I will just chalk it up to a God thing, which it is regardless of whether or not I find out who did it or not.

Whoever it is, thank you for blessing my boys with the bus path.

*An update, even tho you don’t know it’s an update. Wednesday morning my youngest told me a different neighbor 3 houses down came over and plowed the walkway! Rugby likes playing with his Border Collie, Lucy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Can Your Kid Beat Up My Honor Roll Student?

Sorry I haven’t been able to do a lot of visiting of Wordless Wednesday participants. I’ve had computer issues since Thanksgiving. You have NO idea how long it takes me to get anything done.

Thankfully a friend is going to work on the computer while we’re gone on Christmas vacation. Hopefully when I get back I’ll be able to get thru everyone who visits and links up!

IMG_4584 Make sure to visit these fantastic Wordless Wednesday participants also: Beautiful Mess, 5 Minutes for Mom, and My Organized Chaos.

Remember, Inlinkz.com no longer allows photo links for free so I will only be using text links for now. Thanks!

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Life Is Not A Hallmark Movie

Hallmark Logo I have no idea if it’s the season, my mood, or too many darn Hallmark movies, but I realized my life is NOT one.

Ok, I realized it a long time ago, but watching all these stupid sweet movies has really solidified it in my mind. A woman somehow meets this amazing man, they fall in love in ways we could only dream, run into conflict, and repair their relationship and live happily ever after. Oh and they’re both beautiful and have the perfect music softly playing in the background.

First of all, I have a crappy track record with men. And I mean years of crappy. Started with my dad leaving when I was 6 and ended with my 2nd marriage in the crapper. Crappy all around.

Yes, you read 2nd marriage. Obviously I can’t do this right.

So, after watching all these movies the last week or so I’ve been trying to figure out who I am and who I want to be…kinda. Follow me here, okay.

I want to be a woman who inspires those around her. I want to make people feel like they’re better because they know me. I want to add to people’s lives. I want to build people up, encourage them. I really want to be all the things I’m not.Me and Ryan

I have no ambition (to be addressed in a future post). I can be crabby ESPECIALLY when I’m PMSing (I’m really not a pleasant person). I have ADD so I tend to react immediately instead of thinking things through. I am very self centered and rarely think of the happiness of others. I’m pretty reliant on others and generally have little to give back.

So, the contrast between those two items doesn’t bode well for my life ever becoming a Hallmark movie. I have no idea how to bring who I’d like to be into the life of who I am. Sure it’s easy enough to say, “just do it” but putting it into action seems impossible. I live moment to moment and have never planned anything out. Even when I do plan something out I hardly ever follow through thanks to my ADD.

Detour…If you’ve never believed in ADD you should follow me around for a week. I’ll make you a believer. I’ve lived with it all my life and two of my kids have it. Thank goodness I’m not hyperactive (no commentary LP) or who knows what more of a mess I’d be.

What do you do when you struggle with who you are and who you want to be? I’m middle age…an old fogey by my own standards. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Yada yada yada

If I’m stuck in my hard and fastened ways how am I supposed to turn my life into a Hallmark movie? I realize that Hallmark movies aren’t real, but don’t we all want some part of the fairy tale? Well I do at least.

Anyone have a violin to play a sad song for me? Boo hoo woe is me. I know. I need to get over myself. I love my blog because it’s so cathartic!

Hey, if Hallmark were to name a movie after your life, what would it be?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dear Boys ~ Your Hats & Gloves

Hello sweet and cold boys of mine. Winter hasn’t officially arrived, but the snow and cold has. I do have a number of requests as we come into the next 6 months of our lives.

Couldja do me a few favors?IMG_4639

○Keep your mittens/gloves together. When you take one off, put the other one with it. Look around you at school and make sure they BOTH go into your locker.

○Hats, they’re meant to be worn on your head. To keep you warm. To cover your ears. Not wearing your hat means your extremities are being exposed.IMG_4637

○When you come in from playing outside wouldja take your snow pants OUT of your boots and hang them up to dry? Keeping them in a pile means they stay wet and you can’t wear them at school. That means no outside playing but standing against a wall and freezing your butt off. Doesn’t sound like fun to me!

We can do this boys! We can get thru the next 5-6 months and only go thru a couple pairs of hats and gloves, right? Come on, don’t make a liar out of me! And if you come across the matching gloves/mittens would you mind bringing them home to their mate?


Your dry and warm Mama

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Not Our Christmas Photo


Be sure to visit all these other great WW participants: A Beautiful Mess, 5 Minutes for Mom, and Mama to 4 Blessings.

Inlinkz.com is changing how they do their links so from now on my WW links will only be text starting next week. Sorry. I just can’t pay for the photo links. =)

UPDATE: As of tonight, the above photo HAS become the cover to our Christmas card! Thanks for your comments!

Lactose Intolerant? What the Heck?

Ok, so we are milk drinkers. And when I say “milk drinkers” I mean buy me a cow so I can attach a straw. That’s how all of us are. Sure, my boys would prefer pop, but give them time.

My girls and I could easily go thru a gallon of milk in a day. We have a crazy addiction to milk. Always have.

So, my oldest, Baby, is away at college for her 2nd year. For the past couple of months she’s had…belly issues. She hasn’t been feeling well. Finally went to the campus doctor and he thought she might have irritable bowl syndrome (IBS). She’s been on some medication to see if it has an effect.

Then I thought she might be dealing with a lactose intolerance or have allergies to gluten. Those are two things I can’t possibly imagine living without!IMG_4602

We love our Skim Milk…yes SKIM

I was shopping for her yesterday, wanting to send her a little care package for finals. Guess what she can’t have:

Milk Chocolate
Cheese String
Zucchini Bread (butter in mix)

And those are just things off the top of my head that I couldn’t get her!! She tried Silk as a milk alternative, but it wasn’t going over well. I know there’s Lactaid and some form of medicine that is supposed to help the system be able to digest milk better.

Well, she has been dairy free for about 4 days and is feeling better! I’m am so thrilled to hear she’s feeling better, but you don’t understand the bitter disappointment that she could be lactose intolerant.

Our love of milk…think of the one thing you absolutely adore to either eat or drink and you will understand our passion for milk. If we had a keg, it’d be filled with milk!

Do you have any food allergies? How do you deal with it? Going Organic is extremely expensive, but what choice does she have? How do you supplement when it comes to baking alternatives?

Do you have any recipes I could share with my girl? Thanks so much!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: 4 Wheeling


I know, my boys don’t have their hats on. Ugh, they were such stinkers & wanted to prove to one of the teen boys they dig how cool they were!

Make sure you check out these other Wordless Wednesday participants: 5 Minutes for Mom, Beautiful Mess, and Two of a Kind.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Loss, There’s Never A Good Time

My 2nd daughter and 2nd son have friends who are siblings in the same grades as them. We have known them since Doodle was a baby.

“MW” has always been this amazingly responsible girl. She’s 17 now, but watching her grow up was a treat. Smooch and MW played basketball for about 4 yrs together. MW never ceased to amaze me in her outlook on life and her sensibilities.

When Smooch went through an extremely emotional time last winter/spring, MW was the one to inform us of the depths Smooch was at.

“LW” has been in the same classes as Doodle for the last 3 yrs. It came in handy once or twice when LW’s mom needed someone to pick her up.

See, L & M’s mom had various forms of cancer over the last 4+ yrs. JW, even being in Stage 4 cancer, completely believed God could heal her and refused to acknowledge anyone who said anything towards the negative.

I hadn’t seen JW for a long time. Summer came and went and then school was back in session. Last Tues I passed her in the elementary school hall during conferences. She had a cough, but said she’s always coughing. I didn’t remember that, but who was I to say anything? She looked good, just didn’t sound so great.

Sunday I got a call telling me she’d been rushed to the hospital. The call had come while I was at church and I didn’t listen to it until around 2pm. An hour later I received the call saying JW had passed away. They couldn’t start her heart again.

I am completely heart broken for JW and her family. JW won’t get to see her daughter graduate this year. She won’t get to watch her youngest daughter grow up into womanhood. She won’t get to watch her grandchildren grow up.

She has 2 grown children as well. Her oldest has 2 little ones. Her son lives with them and is the one who called the ambulance. LW wasn’t home at the time, and I can’t tell if that was a blessing or something she’ll regret. She is only 7 so it’s not as though she had a choice.

As soon as we found out, the boys and I prayed for the family. I have been crying off and on thinking about how it could easily been any of us who is gone in the blink of an eye. None of us knows the day or the hour in which our Savior will call us home.

My hope is that today, you know where your salvation lies. If you died tomorrow and left your loved ones behind, would they have a hope in seeing you again in eternity. If you have an illness that could take you from this world do you know that one day your body will be healed and there will be no more pain?

If not, my prayer is that you will seek Jesus. That you will realize He died for you, on a cross, for such a time as this. He loved you enough to give his life for you. God did not spare even His own Child because of His great love for you.

Dear one, I hope this day you will accept the free gift of salvation that is offered to each one of us before it’s too late. And guaranteed, one day it will be too late. Do not leave this life without knowing where you will spend eternity.

As the saying goes, “Even if you don’t believe in God, He believes in you.”

Thanksgiving With My Kids & Aunt

I wasn’t sure if my girls were going to make it to Thanksgiving dinner this year. With both girls working we had no idea if they’d be making it.

I was ecstatic to find out both girls were heading down to spend the day and night with my Aunt. I’m so thankful we have a family member who makes it back to her MN home for the holidays so we can spend the day with her.

Smooch headed down separately because she was going to spend the night with Baby at her dorm room. Unfortunately, Baby hasn’t been feeling well lately and got there just in time for dinner.

IMG_4522 After the feast Aunt B’s prepared for us (thank you very much), we settled in for a movie, Prince of Persia, and searching through the Day After Thanksgiving (DAT) ads.

Baby didn’t care for the movie (too much gore) and decided to head back to her dorm room. She had to work the next morning. I was sad she was leaving and not going shopping with us in the morning.

Smooch and I finished watch the movie with the boys and then we got some shut eye. Our plan was to wake up at 5:30am to get some shopping done. The two places I wanted to head were Staples and Kohl’s. I needed a new printer (which I still haven’t gotten installed completely) and a new pillow.Smooch at KohlsWe were up and on our way before 6am and visited Caribou, my daughter’s favorite place for coffee. We strolled into a packed Staples, found my printer immediately and got in line. While in line I remembered I need a new computer chair because mine is about 12 yrs old and my hip hurts when I sit in it now.

Because of how far we were in line I decided to forgo the chair because there was NO way I was going to the back of the line! LOL

From there we headed to Brueggers for some breakfast of yummy bagels. I haven’t had a Brueggers bagel in ages. Oh, it was so good!

Then we went to Kohl’s where I have been longing to get a memory foam pillow. I almost got one last year, but they still seemed so hard. Not this year. Smooch was very helpful in testing them out.

Unfortunately, while at Kohl’s I ran into a VERY RUDE employee and she ticked me off so much I nearly left my full cart right at her feet. I did go talk to one of the ladies managing the lines to tell her the situation I had run into.

They had boys clothing on 3 different rows on one rack. The sign on the far right bar didn’t match up with the brand OR price in front of it. I asked the gal if I was reading it wrong. She said, “No, that’s for the middle brand. The other two brands are different.” I told her that it might confuse people because the sign is above a different brand and that maybe the sign should be over the right pants.

She “informed” me that, “The signs can ONLY go on the outside NOT in the middle.” She was such a snot when she told me I stared at her totally shocked and told her she didn’t need to be rude, and that I was just asking her a question because I was confused. She said she wasn’t being rude and, “Have a nice day, goodbye.”

To say I was stunned is BEYOND how I was feeling. I was all about attitude and said, “Are you kidding me? I have a question and this is how you’re going to treat people?” I then walked away before I said anything else.

For the record, even though the sign was with the wrong brand, the price didn’t match the “correct” brand either. It was for $32 Urban Pipeline Jeans and the ones on the MIDDLE row were $36!

Well, with that out of my system, we headed over to Target. The only thing that kept me from walking away from my Kohl’s purchase and spending my money somewhere else was the nice line lady.

My Smooch totally scored with movies at Target. I was happy to have picked out my Christmas present from her: P.S. I Love You for $4! Now I can stop begging Baby to bring her copy home from college.Drive HomeWhere I work everyone has to work the DAT so after I dropped the boys off at home, I headed to work to do the clean up from the morning shopping. When I got there it was slowing down and we were able to get the department pretty well cleaned up.

It was a pretty good day altogether. I had much to be thankful for! How about you? How was your Thanksgiving? Did you go shopping in the wee hours of the morning? Any amazing deals you’re proud of? Run into any crabby people like I did?

National Geographic Kids Atlas of My World

NatGeo Are you looking for a gift for a child that’s personalized and not like the gifts all the other kids are receiving? Check out the National Geographic Kids Atlas of My World!
These are so cool! It was fun to go play with the sample book that allows you to get an idea of what the book will be like. You can go check it out and see for yourself. Here’s what you can get in this book:

  • 48 pages, hardcover
  • Over 200 full-color photographs and maps
  • Custom printed with your child's photo and details NatGeo2 There you can upload your child's/children's photos, see & choose from several different personalization options (ranging from where the child/children go to school, information about their pet, things they love/enjoy & more), write your dedication and then see what the final product would look like!
    I’ve been given discount codes to pass on to you from NatGeo:
  • 50% Discount plus free shipping on Nov 29 & 30 & Dec 1 with "personalized" Woven By Words blog discount code:  wbw50gift
  • 25% Discount plus free shipping on Dec 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 with "personalized" Woven By Words discount code: gift25wbw
    You can also find NatGeo on
    *By sharing this information with you I am eligible to win a Savings Bonds and my own personalized atlas. I have not received any compensation or product for sharing this information.
  • Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Hallmark Recordable Storybooks 2 Giveaways

    Hallmark Logo Last year when I was visiting our local Hallmark for Christmas gifts, I saw the Recordable Storybooks for the first time. I thought they were such a spectacular idea. Having all of my family out-of-state having my parents record a Storybook for my kids is simply priceless.

    Recordable Storybooks feature voice-capture technology that records the reader’s voice, which is then captured within the Recordable Storybook. When a page is turned, the book automatically plays the text on that page in the reader’s voice. It’s a great way to capture a special moment that can be shared with a child over and over again. And since the recording lasts for the life of the book, it can also serve as a teaching tool to help a child overcome obstacles many kids face when learning to read.

    I received All The Ways I Love You for review. I haven’t actually recorded on it because I’m saving it to give to my step-daughter who is due with my 2nd “step”-grandchild. (I only call them “step” in this situation because I’m just not old enough to be a grandma! LOL My step-daughter knows I consider her more than a step-child) If she wants me to record on it, I will be honored, but I let her choose.

    There’s so much I love about the book:

    • The ability for our voice to be captured for a lifetime

    • That my kids, had they been younger, could learn to read by listening to my voice and eventually their own

    • They make wonderful, personal gifts

    • Children can stay connected to family that lives far away

    · On Thanksgiving weekend, Hallmark’s “The Night Before Christmas” Recordable Storybook will be $10 off with ANY purchase. No coupon required. Simply visit any Hallmark Gold Crown store between Nov. 26 and Nov. 28 and receive an instant $10 savings on this title with the purchase of any in-store item!Hallmark2

    · Between now and Dec. 31, enter the code Blogger25 at checkout to receive 25% off of your order of personalized holiday greetings on hallmark.com! Hallmark.com’s personalized holiday greetings collection includes customizable holiday cards, party invitations, plates and thank you cards – all photo-ready and featuring contemporary new designs. And perhaps the best part? No need to visit the post office to send out anything. Just visit Hallmark.com, pick your favorite design, customize it with a favorite photo and a personal message. Hallmark will do the rest! From printing the addresses and adding postage to mailing the cards on any date you choose, Hallmark’s got it all under control.

    What a great gift Hallmark Recordable Storybooks would make for the holidays or any occasion. 2 lucky people will be able to win their choice of Storybook.

    Required: Visit Hallmark and tell me which Recordable Storybook would mean the most to someone in your family and why?

    Giveaway open WORLDWIDE to everyone 18 yrs or older. Please leave your email in the required entry or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Giveaway ends 12/4 11:59 PST. Winner has 48 hours to respond.

    Extra Entries:

    Follow Woven by Words (1 entry)

    Follow me on Twitter (1 entry)

    Follow Hallmark on Twitter (1 entry)

    Tweet this giveaway (1 entry daily) “RT #Win 1 of 2 Hallmark Recordable Storybooks and share the holidays with loved ones @hallmarkpr #giveaway @bigguysmama “

    Like Hallmark on Facebook (1 entry)

    Enter any of my other current giveaways (1 entry each)

    I’d like to thank Fleishman-Hillard for connecting me with Hallmark and providing both the review and giveaway Storybooks. The opinions expressed are my own.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday: Simba N Sammy


    Simba N Sammy

    IMG_8210They don’t usually sit next to each other. Can you tell?

    Please visit these other awesome Wordless Wednesday Participants: 5 Minutes for Mom, Beautiful Mess, and Look What Mom Found…

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    “Flipped” Released on DVD 11/23 & Holiday UPDATE

    Hey there gang! I just wanted to remind you that Flipped comes out on DVD tomorrow! If you’re getting together with family for Thanksgiving and have a movie night, this would be great for the whole family.

    You can also enter to win the DVD by clicking here or here. Yes, that’s 2 opportunities to win this from my sites!
    Now, if you take a look at my holiday gift guide you’ll see that my Christmas Gathering & Gift Guide WAS supposed to end on the 20th. Yah, that was before I was connected with so many great companies! So, we’re still on a roll. Keep your eyes open because they’re still comin’ atcha!
    Have a fun and safe Thanksgiving!
    By posting the information about Flipped I am eligible to win a signed Poster or a DVD! This information was originally posted at Marvelous Mom Reviews.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Harry Potter: Daughter & Friends 1st in Line!

    deathlyhallows_bigposter My daughter and her friends headed out Thursday night to get in line for the newest Harry Potter movie.

    Harry Potter opening Now, the movie wasn’t opening until Midnight and from what I understand all of Smooch’s friends along with herself were at the theater around 6:30-7pm. There was no one in line for the movie.

    We live in the boonies, but the theater they were going to was in a pretty popular town, but waaay outside of the cities which I’m sure was a zoo.

    Inside the theater They went to Culver’s to grab a bite to eat and then I think someone did a Caraboo Coffee run. You have to understand that it’s November in Minne”snow”ta. It’s stinkin’ cold outside! These kids were determined to be in first and get the choice seats.They are 1stWell, they did what they wanted to accomplish and were first inside. Sounds like they all loved the movie and it was worth the wait.Ready 4 the movie

    Back in ‘89-‘90 when Michael Jackson was touring the States I was a late teen/ early 20’s and waited overnight to get some sweet 4th row tickets to his concert. I bought like 4 of them. A month or so later he cancelled. Not sure if it was the entire tour, but he wasn’t visiting Seattle. I was so ticked. I mean, I waited overnight for these tickets and getting so close? Oh well, that’s how it goes sometimes. At least I got my money back!

    Have you ever done something like this?

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    “Flipped” DVD Giveaway

    flipped poster Flipped, by Warner Brothers Studio and DBA West, will be hitting shelves November 23rd, just in time for the holidays.

    “Flipped is a movie that everyone can relate to as it explores the innocence and simplicity of first love. Flipped is a PG movie brought to life by the director of such uplifting films as Stand by Me and The Princess Bride, features a fun-loving story adapted from Wendelin Van Draanen’s bestselling novel Flipped, and stars the up and coming young actress Madeline Carroll (Swing Vote).”

    Not only did I see a commercial about this movie last week, when I was helping out at my son’s Scholastic Book Fair last week, there was the book Flipped on one of the shelves!

    The movie looks like it would be really good to watch with my girls. I have tried to make sure my girls know that dating is for a reason and that it should be a special thing to share with another young man.

    So far, they have taken this to heart and have reserved their emotions and bodies for one man. I think Flipped will be a sweet movie about falling in love at a young age and how precious that can be.

    Here’s your chance to win this DVD!

    Required: Click the link in the widget above and tell me what 1 Date Night Idea sounds fun.

    Giveaway open to US Residents 18 yrs or older. Please leave your email in the required entry or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Giveaway ends 12/4 11:59 PST. Winner has 48 hours to respond.

    Extra Entries:

    Follow my Networked Blogs sidebar (1 entry)

    Follow me on Twitter (1 entry)

    Tweet this giveaway (1 entry daily) “RT #WIN the “Flipped” DVD to watch as a Mother/Daughter date night! @bigguysmama #giveaway http://bit.ly/9NqnYu“

    Like “Flipped” on Facebook (1 entry)

    Enter any of my other DVD Giveaway at Marvelous Mom Reviews (1 entry each)

    I was not compensated in any way for this giveaway. This post was originally posted at Marvelous Mom Reviews.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday: Smiling Rugby

    Smiling Rugby

    This really isn’t his smile, but part of it. Can you see in the small upper right photo that his nose always goes to HIS right when he starts to smile? This makes me giggle all the time.

    Be sure to check out these other Wordless Wednesday participants: A Beautiful Mess, Mom Spotted, and 5 Minutes for Mom

    Have You Seen My Marvelous Mom Reviews Giveaways?

    As many of you know, back in March I decided to separate out my product reviews from this site as much as possible. That’s when Marvelous Mom Reviews was started.
    This year is my first Christmas Gathering & Gift Guide. I would love to have you check out the giveaways I’m having and enter if you’d like.
    Marvelous Mom Reviews
    I also have 3 giveaways that had started before these holiday giveaways. So check ‘em all out!
    MMR ~ RandomLine Squggle Doodle Pad 11/18
    MMR ~ Dropps Laundry Pacs 11/20
    MMR ~ ...Featuring CD by Norah Jones 11/22

    Christmas Gathering & Gift Guide:
    MMR ~ Crest Pro-Health FOR ME Kit 11/30
    MMR ~ Bridgewater Holiday Diffuser 11/30
    MMR ~ Hasbro Games & Bonus Gifts 11/30
    MMR ~ Wilton Gingerbread Kits 11/30
    MMR ~ TamaTown Tama-Go & Gotchi Figure 11/30
    MMR ~ Ornaments With Love 11/30
    I would love to have you drop by and enter to win any or all of these great giveaways! I have more every day for AT LEAST the next week! Woo Hoo

    Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest

    Christmas is a time for traditions, food, merriment, family, and...horrific seasonal sweaters. It's the only time of year where you can sport apparel with a Rudolph nose that blinks red lights without being teased (too much).

    Share with us a photo of your sorely Christmas sweater and win!
    Email or post on our Facebook page a photo of your tackiest holiday getup.

    One winner will receive a Harry & Davids Christmas basket (ARV$50) and a copy of the new book Everything Christmas.
    What are you waiting for? Spread some holiday cheer today!

    Click here for a complete list of rules.

    Contest ends December 10, 2010.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Eli the Stable Boy by Keith Ogorek Review

    Eli the Stable Boyby Keith Ogorek
    Illustrated by Eric Walton
    Eli the Stable Boy OverviewEli the Stable Boy tells the story of a young man who longed to be a shepherd like his father, but was given the task of getting the stable ready for the sheep to come down from the hills. Little did he know, all his hard work was actually preparing the place where the Promised Messiah would be born.
    My ReviewThis is a sweet story about a boy wanting to help his father out. By doing so, and being obedient when he has the opportunity to skip out, he makes the right choices and creates a beautiful place for the Savior’s birth.

    You can “Like” Eli the Stable Boy on Facebook. The book is available at all online retailers including Amazon. You can also order online at Author House. And it is available to order at any book store and currently stocked in select Borders locations.

    Keith will be doing book signings. The first is Friday night December 3 at Borders in the Hamilton Town Center in Noblesville, Indiana from 6:00 to 7:30. Also, the Borders at Castleton Mall in Indianapolis, IN on Sat Dec 11 from 1 to 2:30. Others are in the works.

    Keith Ogorek About the AuthorKeith Ogorek is the marketing director for Author Solutions and a huge fan of self-published books. This book was inspired by a story he would tell his daughters at bedtime when they were children. It was their encouragement that prompted him to publish this story.

    About the Illustrator
    Eric Walton is a student at Taylor University majoring in art. He has been painting since high school and wanted to illustrate this book to be challenged in a different way as an artist.
    I was able to view a galley of this book, and received nothing in return for my review.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    A Path Less Traveled Giveaway From Author Cathy Bryant

    A path Less Traveled ABOUT THE BOOK:
    Trish James is tired of being rescued. When a spooked horse claims her husband's life, she’s determined to blaze a path for herself and her traumatized son without outside help. But will that mean leaving the place etched on her heart?
    Andy Tyler has had to struggle for everything, and starting a new law practice in Miller's Creek, Texas is no different. Though prepared for business challenges, he's not prepared for falling in love--especially with yet another woman who will probably abandon him for her career.
    Will Andy and Trish be able to see past their limited human understanding to take . . . A Path Less Traveled?
    To read the first chapter: http://wordvessel.blogspot.com/2010/10/enjoy-first-chapter-of-path-less.html

    "This book was totally and completely enjoyable to read.  I received the book on Friday and finished reading it on Sunday.  I could hardly put it down.  The storyline is very well written and grabbed my attention in the first chapter and never let me go....One of my favorite lines in the book is this:  'God doesn't waste any hurt you endure, Trish.  What he allows into your life--even something as painful as Doc's death--He'll use for the days ahead...'  I believe this is so true and have seen it played out in my life.  I love it when I can read a really good fiction book and learn more about my relationship with Christ.  I recommend this book to anyone looking for a good story to read.  I can't wait until Book 3 in the series comes out next year." ~Cathy at Tales of the TCKK Family
    "...Cathy Bryant weaves an amazing story. She has a maturity in her writing skill that astounds me for only having two published novels. A Path Less Traveled is a must read. Cathy realistically captures the struggle of the heart." ~ Linnette at Linnette's Writing Corner 
    Cathy Bryant is a former public school teacher who handed in her chalk for a private music studio and writing career. Her passion is to write heart-stirring stories that show God’s life-changing grace. Cathy is the owner of the popular blog, WordVessel, and has written devotions for The Upper Room magazine, two devotional books, and online devotional sites. She’s the wife of a music minister, the mother of two grown sons and a beautiful daughter-in-love, and the Nana of Harrisen. A Texas gal since birth, she lives in a century-old Texas farmhouse with her husband and a phobia-ridden cat.
    Texas Roads (her debut novel and a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist) released in March 2010. The second Miller’s Creek novel, A Path Less Traveled, was launched in November 2010. The Way of Grace will be available in 2011. 
    Visit her website at www.CatBryant.com
    Print Edition 
    Print Edition ~ Amazon
    Kindle Edition ~ Amazon
    Other eBook Editions (including online reading, iPad, Nook, Sony reader, & PDF)
    CHECK OUT THE SPECIAL BOOK GIVEAWAY DRAWINGS OF A PATH LESS TRAVELED (a Miller's Creek novel) AT WordVessel (only through November 30, 2010)
    These drawings are for US/Canada only, and will last until November 30, 2010. She will announce the winners here at WordVessel on Friday, December 3, 2010.
    By sharing this information, I will be entered into a blogger giveaway at Cathy’s site for a $25 gift card.

    Creative Commons License
    Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.