Monday, December 31, 2012

We’ve Made it to Virginia

We’re here, but not anywhere near settled in. The road to get to Virginia was NUTS!

Instead of leaving Friday after the boys got out of school, we left Saturday morning and headed to my sister-in-law’s in Chicago. Right as we were crossing the border and made it to the first toll booth, there were long lines to get through. Unfortunately, people were cutting in line. I had 26ish miles of gas left. By the time I got to the gate, I had 5-7 miles left. I asked the toll lady for the nearest gas station and she said the first exit would be gas.

Lies, all lies!

We got off and there was NO gas station in sight. All I saw was farms. We drove around for about 5 minutes on 0 in my gas tank. I found a “neighborhood” with a few homes and saw a car in a driveway with it’s lights on. I went to the driver to get directions. Santa was sitting in the front seat! He gave me directions, but he wasn’t clear either. I ended up driving into a State Park but only so far as seeing the sign. We turned around with me in tears afraid we were about to run out of gas.


My sister-in-law called and tried to console me. And after driving around for about 15 minutes I finally found a gas station. UGH, it was miserable!

The next day we headed toward OH where we were going to stay overnight and meet up with some blogging friends for dinner. About an hour away from dinner my phone stopped working and it was my only source for directions. My Google Maps was having issues and caused my phone to freeze. So, for about 15 minutes we were driving blind. My son called his sister for basic directions and then we took the wrong exit. OY!

My phone started working and I went to my Maps app again, not knowing at the time that’s what caused it to freeze. As soon as I started using the Navigation again, the phone froze, I couldn’t turn it off, I couldn’t swipe my screen…nothing! I finally remembered how to do a hard shut down and was able to get the phone up and running again! UGH! We had dinner and made it to the hotel.

In the morning we went down and had breakfast and I realized my youngest son had pink eye. We talked to the front desk at the hotel and I thought they said the hospital had an urgent care or clinic in it. Nope, it was only an ER. Good news, there was only one mom with two kids ahead of us!! Short trip, right? Try again.

An hour later we were ushered back into the ER rooms where every room was FILLED! I nearly died when I saw all of those people. My oldest son had been having issues with his stomach for about a week so I figured I’d have him seen as well. Two hours later we finally left with a prescription for eye drops and told to keep my other son hydrated. I went to fill the prescription at Rite Aid because I saw that place first and at the window was told it would be an hour. I just stared at her. Then I asked her where the CVS was. Thankfully it was only across the street. We waited about 15 minutes and were finally on the road after 4 hours.


When we hit PA, W. VA, MD we hit a major snowstorm and ended up going between 40-45 mph for about 2 hrs. There were accidents everywhere! We finally made it to my moms around 7pm Christmas Eve. I spent the rest of the night wrapping all of the Christmas presents that I’d had shipped here. Needless to say, it was a late night!

I’ve got the boys settled into their room. The bathroom is pretty much taken over by us and I’m just waiting for my room to become available. My mom has to totally clean out the room so I can move in. My family is definitely making a lot of changes for me so that I can get a new start. I’m very thankful that they’ve opened their house up to us! Big changes for everyone!

We’re not 100% settled in. The boys should be signed up for school this week (they’re so excited…not). I’ve gotten a new job! Excited and scared to death all at the same time with that one. Life is just a bunch of constant changing right now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

So Long, Farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

Yes, I love the Sound of Music.

No, I haven't watched it recently.

My boys and I are getting ready to head for the great unknown.

Friday, after school lets out for Christmas break, the boys will come home on the bus, we'll say goodbye to our cats and we'll load up in the van and head to Virginia.

To say that I'm scared out of my wits is not even close to how I feel. I question so many things, where several months ago I was excited for what the future held. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited for what the future holds, but there are so many unknown variables. I'm uncertain how things will go when we get where we're going.

What will it be like living with my family after being on my own since I was 18?
How will the boys handle the transition?
Will we find a Bible believing church to plant ourselves?
Will the school system be good enough for the boys?
How will I make friends when I'm not working?

Of course, that's just the tip of the iceberg. I doubt myself daily. I question the Lord. Is this really what He wants from me? What if I'm wrong and the plans I'm making don't pan out the way I hope and expect? I know I can always come back to MN. I know God won't leave me floundering and He will show me what to do by opening and shutting doors.

I know scripture tells us not to be anxious:

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God

But can I be completely honest with you? That doesn't always work for me. I like understanding what's going on in my life. I don't like hanging chads! I want to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that everything is going to be ok. Right now I have no assurances of that.

And on top of looking at an unknown future, I'm still trying to pack up my present. This house is huge! I mean, I knew it was big, we had been a family of 6, but for a couple of years it's only been me and the boys so it's definitely seemed extremely big. Now that I've been packing it for a couple of months I see how this house has been too big for us for a long time.

Don't get me wrong, I love this house and I probably never would've moved if we weren't heading for VA. With packing up everything and giving away probably half of what we owned or accumulated, I'm shocked at how much we still have left! I've packed my van of only clothing and I'm wondering how I'll get the rest of our stuff packed in it.

We aren't taking everything. We're only taking necessities for now. We're going from a 5 bedroom house into two bedrooms at my mom's house. No need for much more than necessities. At some point I'll come back for everything or else we'll move back.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

The plan is for me to go back to school and take some Marketing classes. If I can get on my own two feet and not rely on my ex, it's entirely possible the boys and I would move back here in a couple of years. You never know. I never expected to leave. Who knows if we'll be coming back. Never say "never", eh?

So, the boys and I head out on Friday and hope to be at my parents' by Monday night. Just in time to celebrate New Years Eve with my family before my brother and his girlfriend leave for her parent's in WI! It will be good to be with my family over the holidays. My boys and I (and even my girls) will need the reassurance of those who love us and care about us that everything is going to be ok.

I do have a request from you. Please pray for us. Pray that our drive will be safe. That the Lord will guide me and show me what he wants from me after we're settled. Pray that He will open doors so I can get some schooling started and maybe find a part time job. Pray for peace for my boys (and myself) that we won't feel completely lost once we get to VA. I appreciate and covet your prayers.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway Links

This linky will stay here for the duration of our Holiday Gift Guide Event! Be sure to enter all of them! 2012 Holiday Gift Guide, 2012 Holiday Gift Guide brought to you by Coping with Frugality, MI Savings Mama, Mom Mart, The More The Merrier, and Woven By Words.

Dearfoams Slipper Giveaway: Holiday Gift Guide


I’m ending my Holiday Gift Guide with a product that’s probably under every single Christmas tree every single year for at least one person in every family…Dearfoams! When I write that name, doesn’t it just make you think of cozy, warm slippers?


My mom always asks for slippers at Christmas. This year, I knew that my oldest could use some new ones. I don’t even know the last time she got new ones. Flipping through the Dearfoams website I was drooling over their selection. See, I don’t have a pair of my own slippers. =( I know, it’s a sad state of affairs!

So, these slippers show up and I have to admit to you (hello confession time) I actually considered keeping them! Ugh, I know, bad parent moment, but I’m still going to give them to her. Ahhhhh I’m redeemed! It wasn’t easy. I slipped my feet into these sweet slippers and oh my goodness, they were heaven. SO soft with the sweater knit and the inside Frosted Faux Fur Pile.

Dearfoam On

The cuff can be folded down so you see more of the Fur. I kept putting them up and down, not being able to decide which way I liked it the most. It’s super cute! Ok another confession, if I had these particular slippers, I’d probably pet them obsessively. lol They’re seriously SO soft!

Dearfoam flipped down

Here’s something I learned about Dearfoams, they’re not just slippers! Go figure! They have super cute pajamas, says the chick who is in serious need of pjs. And then I found the new scarf and hat set I’d really like! Can someone mention to my mom I’d like the Warp Zig Zag Scarf and the Sweetheart V PJs! TIA! =)

Dearfoam back

Now here’s the best part…Dearfoams is giving two winners their choice of slipper! I know, I could barely contain myself when I found out!! Great way to end the Holiday Gift Guide, wouldn’t you say?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 14, 2012

NetZero 4G HotSpot Giveaway #NetZero4G

NetZero MB Logo - color
I learned the hard way this past Fall that I need a way to connect to the internet when I’m out and about, especially when I’m traveling! I sat in several airports in Aug & Oct for hours waiting for plane rides without any connection to the internet! I had no desire to pay for the airports’ fees while I was waiting there!
Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t know about NetZero and since I hadn’t flown in 11 yrs I didn’t realize the airports wouldn’t just HAVE Wi-Fi available to it’s flyers. lol I was so na├»ve!
I’ll be doing a road trip next week with my boys and next August and September I’ll be flying again to two weddings and since I’ll have my new NetZero 4G HotSpot, I’ll totally be set to rock then internet while I wait. And our road trip will take 3+ days so I’ll want to have internet connection if possible!
So, have YOU heard about NetZero before? If not, let me give you some insight into them! NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband is a secure, mobile, super-fast 4G Internet service for laptops, iPads, tablets, netbooks, and anything else that uses Wi-Fi. My 9yo will love this for his iPod!
The NetZero 4G Hotspot is compact and perfect for traveling with you! It’s small enough to fit in your hand! You can use up to 8 simultaneous Wi-Fi enabled devices within 150’! With the 4G you have the option of LightSpeed (to conserve data) or WarpSpeed (to maximize speed). LightSpeed you would use with email and web browsing whereas WarpSpeed you can do those as well as video!
Can I mention the happy dance with no activation fees, no contracts, no commitments, no overage charges. Does anyone else hear angels singing? =)
The NetZero 4G HotSpot comes partially charged so you can start using it immediately, like I did. =) You can charge it via your computer or with the wall charger that it comes with! It also has a battery life of up to 6 hours! Score! The screen will show you the signal strength, your network (4G), the Wi-Fi, your local time, the MBs you’re using, the time you’ve been connected. All on a little nifty screen!
To keep up with everything NetZero, make sure you’re following them on Facebook and Twitter!
Ok, now that I have you “ooooing and ahhhhhing” over this sweet little device, are you ready to win one?
*I am part of the Mom It Forward blogger network. Mom It Forward and NetZero partnered in support of this campaign. NetZero compensated me for this campaign, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
<!--more--!> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Finding Nemo DVD/Blu-ray Combo Pack Giveaway

Alright, I want a show of hands of who loves Finding Nemo? I’m guessing everyone in the room has their hand raised. We love that movie! I actually haven’t watched it in ages, but we enjoy using different quotes from it!

NEMO Box Art

Can you believe this movie released in 2003? How has it been almost 10 yrs? “In 2008, the American Film Institute named ―Finding Nemo‖ among the top 10 greatest animated films ever made, and it is the second highest grossing Pixar film to date (behind ―Toy Story 3”).”

This is one of the movies we don’t have on DVD, but on VHS. lol I think it’s time to switch over to a new version!

Now you have the chance to win the DVD/Blu-ray combo pack!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Eli’s Cheesecake Holiday Sampler: Holiday Gift Guide


With the holidays upon us, you might be trying to figure out what you’re going to take with you to your potluck, family dinner, work party, etc. Let me suggest you forget the green bean casserole, dinner rolls or pumpkin pie. If you want to leave a lasting impression, my suggestion would Eli’s Cheesecake!

Eli's Cheesecake Logo

I received their Holiday Sampler and oh my goodness, it’s heaven in a box! It comes with three flavors: Hot Chocolate with Salted Caramel, Pumpkin and Chocolate Caramel Pecan. I love that they aren’t your traditional cheesecake flavors!

Eli's Cheesecake Box

So, I decided I would start with the Pumpkin piece. Let me forewarn you, I may use phrases such as “oh my gosh” and “YUM!” a lot with this review! First of all, the flavor was spot on if you were to compare it to a pumpkin pie taste. With the cheesecake, you get the creamy affect and a cheesecake crust! So much better than a boring pie.

Eli's Cheesecake photo

Next I had the Hot Chocolate with Salted Caramel. Now this one, my first thought was, “how are they going to capture that taste”. HA! Never fear, they have it pegged. You go through the top layer which has the slight sensation of biting into a soft layer of marshmallow and then into the chocolate. I’m not sure how to explain the taste other than “hot chocolate”. It’s seriously hot chocolate in cheesecake form. Holy cow, that was probably my favorite!

Eli's Cheesecake Slices

As for the my last piece, can you go wrong with anything Chocolate Caramel Pecan? I loved the thick chocolate and caramel as you took a bite of the cheesecake. I tried the first three pieces above with a fork, but as I ate through the rest of the cheesecake, I didn’t bother with a fork. lol I just pulled out the flavor of choice and bit in!

Each piece was perfectly portioned. And as you can see from the other photo, there are 14 slices with this Sampler! It comes packed in dry ice, which is a necessity because mine was left on my front porch for who knows how long! Thankfully it’s late fall and was cold outside!

*I received this cheesecake for review. The opinions are my own.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nickelodeon Toys for the Holidays

My boys have loved Nickelodeon since they were little…let me take that back, since my girls were little! What I find interesting is how their gender rolls play out in the shows they watch and the toys they play with!

My boys are huge TMNT fans and don’t even get me started on Spongebob Square Pants! We’re all fans of the Sponge! I’d have to say, Nickelodeon is one of their favorite channels to watch!

Of course, what’s awesome about Nickelodeon is all of the products that go along with the shows! I was sent an awesome box full of products from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spongebob, and Avatar. These are perfect just in time for the holidays!

SpongeBob Lego Box

I find that shopping for my boys is waaaaay harder than it ever was for my girls and I’m so glad that they have toys that are geared to my boys and fit a wide range of ages. My oldest is 13 and let me tell you, finding gifts for him isn’t easy!

SpongeBob Fair

I wasn’t sure how they’d go for the Lego Spongebob sets because I thought they might think they were too old for them. lol Boy was I wrong. As soon as they saw those, my oldest snagged up the Pirate Ship as soon as he saw it which my 9 yr old wasn’t thrilled with. lol Apparently that was the “favored” one. Thank goodness I received two boxes of Lego sets!

SpongeBob Lego

SpongeBob finished

One gift my boys love getting every year is a calendar! Amuses me because they never use them, but every year they want one. Don’t get me wrong, they hang them up and flip them every month, but they don’t typically look at them other than to do that. Well, since they know it’s the end of the year, their calendars are ready to be recycled, they saw the TMNT calendar and BOTH wanted it. I may have to flip a coin!

Nickelodeon calendar

Back of Calendar

We also received a couple of Avatar books. The boys are really into Avatar so we’ll probably give these as a gift to one of their cousins. What I like about the Nickelodeon line is how versatile they are: Legos, calendars, books, figurines, etc. There’s literally something for everyone!


As for the figurines, we got Donatello from the Classic Collection so everything about the packaging is from the older show, which my boys love watching that also! The other action figure is the Battle Shell Leonardo from the new series. I haven’t pulled these out of their packaging yet because these will be wrapped and put under the tree for the boys. Donatello has 34 points of Articulation and Leonardo has a Shell that will store his weapons!


I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but you still have a LOT of shopping left to get done! And if you have a boy on your list and you’re as perplexed as I am/was in what to get them this holiday season, I hope these suggestions above come in handy! I know my box of goodies came at just the right time!

*I received these products for review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

$500 Cash Giveaway Event

Just in time for the holidays!! What each of us needs! And it's up for grabs with this awesome giveaway!

Christmas Cash Giveaway Event>

Hosted by Mom Powered Media

Please take a moment to visit our sponsor:!> was founded in summer 2012 in order to provide visitors with daily updated list of contests, giveaways, sweepstakes and deals. Enter your email here for a chance to win $500 in cash. If you host any kind of giveaway or contest feel free to submit your contest at Emperola for free.

Finally a special thank you to our lovely co-hosts whom without them great things would not be possible: Penny Auctions Canada, Bay Area Mommy, My Charming Life, Counting To Ten, Mommy's Fabulous Finds,, Frugal Mom Eh!, The Crazy Nuts Mom, The Deal Fanatic, Frantic Mommy, Giveaway Bandit and My Vegan Gluten-Free Life!

One lucky reader will receive $500 {winner’s choice of Visa Gift Card, Paypal Cash or Amazon Gift Card}!

Giveaway ends December 26th at 11:59pm, open to worldwide, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck.

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Woven by Words is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mrs. Smith's Pies & Operation Homefront For the Holidays

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Mrs. Smith's for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
What's the best part of the holidays? I'd have to say the end of the big holiday meal when the dessert is brought out. Now, if you ask my oldest son what he wants in a dessert, he would hands down say Mrs. Smith’s pies! And to top that off, he'd be more specific with their pumpkin pie! The boys and I happened to be shopping the other day...together (which is a rarity) and he b-lined it for the pies and chose the Signature Deep Dish Pumpkin Pie with Cream Cheese Icing!

One of the great things Mrs. Smith's Pies is doing is supporting those in need and donating $1 to Operation Homefront for every pie purchased during the months of November and December (up to $35,000)! They even provided pies to Operation Homefront this past Thanksgiving! Now that's something to be thankful for!
Mrs. Smith's has created a Holiday microsite so you can send a holiday e-card to friends and family this holiday season! You can either send them individually or you can include upwards of 50 people with one card! You get the option of two card and you can send a personalized message along with it!

Now here's the awesome part! I will be sending one person a coupon for a free Mrs. Smith's pie! You can follow the directions below on how to enter!

Required: Leave a comment letting me know which pie you'd take to your holiday dinner! Leave your email address like this (mnjesusfreak at gmail dot com) or similar in your first REQUIRED entry.

Extra Entries:

Follow Mrs. Smith's on Facebook and leave your FB name (+1)
Follow Mrs. Smiths's on Pinterest and leave your Pinterest name (+1)
Follow me on Facebook http://facebook/wovenbywordsblog and leave your FB name (+1)
Follow me on Pinterest and leave your Pinterest name (+1)
Tweet Daily "Win a Mrs. Smith's pie from @MimiBakerMN in time for the holidays! $1 donated to Operation Homefront for purchased pies" (+1 daily)
Giveaway will end 12/17/12 at 11:59pm CT. Open to US Residents 18 yrs or older. Void where prohibited.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wordless Wednesday: Gabby Puppy

My mom bought a puppy from my oldest daughter’s friend’s mom. Seven years ago she did the same thing and loved her Cappy dog so much, she wanted a second one. So, when we move out there in 3 weeks, we’ll be taking this new Gabby puppy with us.

Gabby Be sure to stop by Full Time Mama as well!

The Odd Life of Timothy Green DVD/Blu-Ray Prize Pack Giveaway


When the Odd Life of Timothy Green came out this past summer, I just didn’t understand the premise of the movie. I saw a couple of trailers, but still wasn’t sure. Then I received the movie for review.


What an amazing movie! My boys and I took a Saturday night and watched it not knowing what to expect, but knowing it was family friendly. It was extremely family friendly! I was SO thrilled about that part. Not one thing in this movie had me concerned that my boys were watching it.

There’s no way for me to describe it without giving it all away in case you haven’t seen it yet either. Now I understand why I didn’t get it while it was in theaters.

Let me make it somewhat vague myself. lol

There’s a couple who can’t have children. They start writing down all of the things about the child they’d have if they could. Then they put all of these notes into a box and bury it. From there, the story really begins! Watch a video to get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

There is one point where my boys and I were laughing hysterically because it reminded us so much of something my sister-in-law, Liz would do! We love her because she’s such a nut! And at the end, I was sobbing as anyone, especially a parent would!

SUCH a good movie!

I’m excited to give you the opportunity to win this just released combo pack that includes: socks, DVD/Blu-ray combo pack, notepad, wild flower seed packets, and poster!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cleava Snap to Bra Camisole Giveaway: Holiday Gift Guide


So, earlier this month I introduced you to Cleava, a great way to add coverage to the shirts you’re wearing that might reveal more than you care for. Now I get to show you the 2nd one I received and how cute it is!

Cleave Logo

I have several tops that are button up and sometimes I like to wear tank tops under them, but then I’m always adjusting the tank and am fidgeting with my shirts to make sure they’re both laying right. I’m not the only one who does this, right? I feel like when I layer I’m always pulling down the bottom shirt.

Cleava Pair Packaging

This time, instead of a tank, I grabbed my Cleava and snapped it on. It fit perfectly under the shirt and I was able to leave it unbuttoned enough so that the Cleava was visible underneath. And guess what, not fiddling around with a second shirt. I put this on and didn’t give it another thought throughout the rest of the night!

Just in case you didn’t read my first review, let me explain how the Cleava works. You put your bra on and then the Cleava, which looks a heck of a lot like a g-string, snaps onto the straps of the bra and up through the middle between the breasts.


Each part that can be snapped has 3 spots by the bra straps for adjustability and 4 spots between the chest as well. That means this will fit most women. The Cleava also comes in a variety of styles and colors.

I think I’d like to get the Rhinestone one next. I mean, these really enhance any plain shirt you have while giving you the coverage you need and I like the extra “pop” of the lace or the rhinestones. The one I’m wearing is the Lady Lace Black on Aqua Blue.

It changes what I’m wearing from a boring black, plain shirt, to something fun, but keeps me covered at the same time. Definitely modest and I appreciate that!

And starting today until December 30, 2012 get Free Shipping using code FSWB There’s no minimum purchase either! Cleavas are on sale now at $10.00 off each right now! Cleava makes a great gift for any reason or season.

Now you have the opportunity to win one yourself!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 3, 2012

Best Buy Geek Squad To The Rescue

Geek Squad

Back in July I purchased my first laptop. Thanks to my friend, Mark, who is always quick on the draw to help me or anyone one knows, I was the proud new owner of an HP Pavilion g series laptop from Best Buy. I was SO excited to move into the 21st Century. My girls have both had laptops for 4 and 2 yrs respectively! lol What I didn’t do at the time was purchase any Geek Squad coverage!

Best Buy Box

Now, my new laptop has been doing some really quirky things lately and I’m not sure if it’s something I’ve done or if there’s a glitch somewhere. Sometimes I’ll be using the mouse pad and all of a sudden the arrow goes zooming off to another part of the screen. Very strange.

Then, other times when I’m clicking on the different tabs, if one is being too slow to load or the tabs aren’t switching very quickly, the tab I’ve clicked will pull out into a new window all on it’s own. Oh my gosh, it’s doing that SO much lately it’s making me crazy!

Best Buy Laptop

I figured the first place to start was with my new Geek Squad Support! Honestly, I felt like a dork. lol It was like when you go to the doctor and you tell them your symptoms and they look at you like you’ve got nothing wrong with you. =)

I was able to immediately connect with a Geek Squad Tech Support person and she jumped right on in trying to help me out. The issue with the tabs she wanted to remotely log in to my laptop and see what I was talking about. The only issue with that is the issue happens sporadically and I can’t just reproduce it. I actually switched through the tabs really quick to see if I could, but all of the tabs open just fine. (see what I mean. I have symptoms, but they’re not obvious)

As for the mouse, she thought I just wasn’t used to the sensitivity of it. I guess that’s a possibility, but I’m not so sure. I could simply touch the mouse with one finger and it flings the cursor over to the other side of the screen. lol Maybe I’m accidentally swiping it. I do seem to have quite a few mouse pad issues so I think she’s right in regards to the sensitivity. I wonder if there’s a way to change that. I’ll save that question for next time.

What do you do when you have computer issues? Have you ever used the Geek Squad from Best Buy?

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