Monday, January 12, 2015

A Skill I Wish I Had

I’m doing a blogging prompt that was supposed to be for yesterday, but Sunday was a really busy day with church and then going for a long hike with a Fred and each of our kids. Today’s (for me) prompt is “something I wish I knew how to do.”

Now, there are a LOT of things I wish I could do. One skill I’ve always thought would be awesome would be to learn how to quilt. I remember my stepmom taught me how to do those latch hook kits as a kid. As I got a little bit older, she showed me how to cross stitch. I loved cross stitching. One thing I know she wished I had taken up was sewing. That just wasn’t my thing. I never had a desire to sew any of my own clothes and at the time thought that was pretty much all a sewing machine was good for.
I remember going over to my friend, Helen’s house for one of our book club meetings and she had all of these gorgeous quilts around her house. Her love for creating those quilts spilled over to me. The amount of time and care put into quilts was something that drew me in. I also remember going on a field trip with one of the kids to a heritage house and they had a quilting rack with a quilt on it. I think the kids were all able to stitch on it.

My only problem with wanting to learn how to quilt was finding the time. At the time I was introduced to it I was reading lots of books for my blog and scrapbooking like a crazy woman. I just couldn’t add one more thing. I mean, I still can’t. I want to, especially when I see a quilt that has been created for memories. The thought of being part of a quilting circle, bonding with ladies over the course of creating a quilt just sounds wonderful.

When I saw Shelley’s post featuring one of her readers, it once again touched my heart! Barbara’s story makes the quilt so meaningful. It reminds me once again why I’ve always wanted to learn how to quilt. Can you imagine all of the stories you could stitch into a single quilt?
blazing-star Quilt

I remember talking to my boss a month or so ago, and she showed me a quilt that was created using her sons’ sports jerseys, fabric from her wedding dress, and other meaningful pieces. It once again reignited my desire to learn how to quilt. That’s something I would love to do with fabric from items I’ve saved over the year from all 4 of my kids.

Maybe I won’t ever make a quilt, but I’d love to have a couple made for me, or even buy one here or there. I have blankets laying around the house for any of us to pick up if we’re chilly, but I’d prefer to wrap myself in a quilt made from love. I also love seeing them displayed around the home. Our friend Helen has them hanging along her wall, on her beds, and draped on her couch.

That being said, if you reupholstered your furniture, you wouldn’t need a quilt. You could just snuggle into your chair. Check out my blogging buddy’s picture! Her mommie-in-law redid this chair from old quilts she’d picked up at an estate sale. You’ll have to check out the blog post to see the whole transformation!
Quilted Chair Back
Photo courtesy of My Turn for Us

I figure one day, when I have lots of free time, this will be the first thing I learn how to do. It’d be wonderful to not only make quilts for myself, but treasures my kids would be able to have one day. Maybe even down the road when I have grandkids!

Do you have a skill of some sort you’ve always wanted to learn? What’s stopping you?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Choosing Healthier Meals & Giveaway #RealisticResolutions #ad

I realize that at the start of the year most people make a resolution to diet and lose weight. I have to admit that having gained 10 pounds since moving from Minnesota, losing weight sometimes crosses my mind. As with other years, I didn’t make a resolution to start the new year off. Like my kickboxing trainer said the last time to the class before the new year, “You’re ahead of the game. You don’t have to make a resolution to take care of yourself because you’re already doing it!”

Actually, I don’t mind my weight. I just really want to be fit and healthy. If I could weigh what I weigh now and be in better shape, I’d be a happy camper. That comes with two pieces: how I eat and how active I am. Working from home, sitting on the couch, doesn’t give me any activity so that’s where the kickboxing comes into play. Of course, that’s usually only two nights a week. I need to take care of myself more than two nights a week.

At the start of this week, I signed up for the 30-Day Realistic Resolution Challenge with SparkPeople. I’d never even heard of them before I was given the opportunity to work with Gorton’s in conjunction with them. We were sent some coupons to get Gorton’s seafood and a package that would help kick our year off great! The SparkPeople are realistic in that, they realize changing how you do things needs to be done in steps, steps that are attainable. Day 1 was simply signing up. Day 2 is focusing on drinking more water during your day. Simple, right? Let’s be honest, right now, I need “simple” with getting into a new routine.

Since I’ve gotten out of the habit of making nutritious meals at home, I’m using the SparkPeople Cookbook to find some healthy meals that we’d all enjoy. Now, having the boys around I know that I might have to tweak some of the recipes or they might not eat parts of it, but I need to be offering it! That’s where I fall short most with my cooking...not offering a lot of good food to the boys. I think starting with this Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken will make all of our tummies happy!

Earlier this week, Fred and I had a nice date night at home (his home) with Gorton’s Grilled and Simply Bake Tilapia. When it comes to straight fish, he’s more of a fan than I am, but wow, the Simply Bake was really good. Enough that I’d buy it again to eat even if I were by myself. Adding fish to our menu on a regular basis will make date night much healthier. We usually go out to eat, and that’s never a healthy meal. He knows we have to make a change, and I’m hoping we can make it together. I also want to get him into kickboxing…have I mentioned that? )
Gorton's Seafood Dinner
Now, for some exciting news. Gorton’s is giving you the chance to win a Cash Grand Prize in the Gorton’s Eat Smarter Sweepstakes!!
Gorton's Blogger Giveaway
Not only are they having a sweepstakes, I’m going to be hosting a giveaway for them. You can win: 2 full-value product coupons, an insulated tote, the SparkPeople cookbook, the Spark book and the SparkPeople Boot Camp DVD!
Gorton's Seafood Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Introducing Peru To Our Kids

Before we got Peru, Fred and I decided how we’d surprise our kids. We were going to send a photo of her every day leading up to the Monday they were all going to be introduced to her. Of course, things don’t always go as planned. I sent one photo and that was it. Fred sent 3? I can’t remember. The day we introduced her to the kids, as they sat in the driveway we sent a photo of her face to all of the kids.

My two little girls. Peru and @kenzinoble_24

A photo posted by Fred noble (@boyradd) on

Actually, let me go back a few days before to when we were delivering bags of groceries to families in need. Fred, Doodle, and I were just leaving a house when Fred mentioned that the home owner’s dog probably smells the treats that he’d had in his coat pocket for his dog. Doodle looked at me and said, “Fred has a dog?” I had hoped he hadn’t heard, but yea, he had! He had to keep a secret for two days. I wasn’t worried about it. He’s good about those kinds of tings.

A boy and his dog. Peru meeting the entire family today.

A photo posted by Fred noble (@boyradd) on

I got to the house a few minutes before Fred and told my boys to wait in the car. Fred did the same with his kids. We got Peru on a leash and sitting at the top of the stairs. I ran down and unlocked the front door and we told the kids they could come in. I tried videotaping it, but it had a high pitch “scream” to it. So bummed, but thankfully Fred’s video came out just fine. I can’t share that because it’s on his phone. lol

Bulldoggin' with Ryan and Peru.

A photo posted by Fred noble (@boyradd) on

Peru was a little more than loved on by all of the kids. Fred’s oldest (his daughter), and my oldest son both kind of wanted the same kind of dog. I had really wanted to get Fred a greyhound because he’s always doing so much for everyone I had hoped he could have a dog of his choosing. His daughter had wanted a Boxer and mine had wanted a Bulldog. Thus, the mix in an American Bulldog was perfect!

The kids loved on her and took pictures of her. We took pictures of them with her. After a while we took her to the park so the kids could all run around with her. Let me tell you, that park is her happy place and she loves playing with the kids. She sleeps in Kgirl’s room a lot of the time. She came over to our house for the day, once so far, and she did rather well. Peru only wanted to eat the cats once or twice. We’re hoping to desensitize her to the cats.

As mischievous as Peru is, we love her to death.

Have you ever surprised your family with a pet?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Books For Tween Boys

When my girls were little, there were books galore for them. I never seemed to have a hard time finding something for them to read. For my boys, though, it’s been a different story (pun intended). It seems like for every 20 books for girls, I find 1 for boys that isn’t lame. C’mon, you know what I’m talking about. You know that there are just some lame books out there. They’re in the market because books are needed.

As you might imagine, I’m very careful about what my boys read. I’m not going to get into all of the reasons I am selective with the books, you no doubt can guess them yourself. Needless to say, most of the books they read are Christian.

If you’re looking for some good “boy” books (girls would totally love them, too), I’ve got a handful of books to get you started. Thankfully, all of these books are in their own series so they’re not just one hit wonders!

The first book is Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow by The Miller Brothers. We were introduced to these books by my good friend M.B. because her son’s name is Hunter Brown, so it was apropos we read it. I ordered the whole series and even got the first one autographed by the authors! Can’t beat that. This would be a great book for boys who enjoy fantasy books.
Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow
Next is Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione by Chuck Black. Definitely a look back into medieval times and a fun adventure. I actually read some of this series when my girls were younger. I grew up loving these kinds of books and thought my kids might, too. This first book is part of The Knights of Arrethtrae series. Black also has The Kingdom Series which we’ll probably move into this year. What I like about this book is that at the end of it there is a Q&A part that really gets kids thinking about what they read, and would make them great for a book club!

Sir Kendrick
Is your son into funny and quirky books? Then The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle by Bill Myers would probably be a big hit. With book names like My Life As a Smashed Burrito with Extra Hot Sauce, My Life As Alien Monster Bait, and My Life As a Broken Bungee Cord, where could you go wrong? I honestly don’t know how many books are in this series, but I do know it’s over 20! We have a handful of them, and they’ve been fun books to read. These are easy to read and not very long. I’d say they’re probably fun for the boys who struggle to “want” to read.
My Life As A
Another book we had signed by an author is Ryann Watters and the King’s Sword by Eric Reinhold. My dog at the time ate our first copy. That was such a bummer. Eric Reinhold was a new author at the time and I was thrilled we were able to receive a second copy! For some reason, it seems that many boy focused books are fantasy world type books. I’m sure it’s the adventure they have. So far there are only two books in this series, but it sounds like book 3 is in the works.
Ryann Watters
Dragons in our Midst is a series by Bryan Davis. I got this book for my oldest son, but he just couldn’t read them. He’s not the reader of our family. He reads his school work and that’s about it. I try to emphasize how important it is for him to read, it’s just not something he wants to do in his free time. This is the kind of book my youngest would read and it’s even better that it’s almost 400 pages. That boy can read through a book in no time! With school back in session, I’ll start him off with book 1 Raising Dragons. Yes, another fantasy book.
Raising Dragons
The last book is one that my youngest has read more than once. Actually the book we have is a compilation of 4 different books: On the Run, The Enemy Closes In, Trapped by Shadows, and The Chamber of Lies by Bill Myers. Yes, the same Myers as the one above. This series is called The Elijah Project. This is yet again another fantasy world about good verses darkness. Being that it’s a collection of 4 books, it’s less than 400 pages so altogether, not a very long set of books in one.
The Elijah Project
We’re always looking for books to add to the “boy” list. Do you have any suggestions for us?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Getting Fit With Kickboxing

This fall, one of our pastor’s wives shared on Facebook a Groupon for kickboxing at an academy she’d been going to. I gave it a cursory glance and didn’t think too much about. As a couple of days passed and feeling gross sitting on my hind end day after day I looked into it a little bit more. There were two options of 10 classes or 20 classes. Mmmmm maybe

At church that next Wednesday, I went up to the pastor’s wife and asked her about the class. Well, a gal from one of my Bible studies came up behind me and said, “If you do it, I’ll do it.” UGH, for real? So, if I didn’t do it, then it would be on me if she didn’t join. A couple more days passed and I caved. I checked to make sure the Groupon was still available and it was. I got the 10 classes. Who knew if I’d like it or not.

I texted the other gal and told her I’d succumbed and signed up. She followed suit a couple of days later. We were committed. Turned out, the academy is 50 minutes from my house! UGH! That means when we go to kickboxing, I’m gone 3 hrs each night. The class doesn’t start until 7:30 so it’s a late night for me and I don’t like being gone so much at night when the boys have been gone at school all day. Add 2 nights a week to kickboxing, date night, and Wed nights at church, and that’s 4 nights out of every week that I don’t get to spend with the boys. That’s something I’m really struggling with. I might have to find something closer. *cringe*

The guy who owns the academy goes to our church. He really creates an air of acceptance. He was a marine so I kind of expected someone who had the desire to watch all of us come within an inch of killing ourselves before he let us get some water. I also was a bit concerned about what it would be like to exercise in a group of strangers. The LAST thing I wanted was to show up with all of these women (and probably men) who would had perfect form, were in gorgeous shape, and looked like they belonged on the front of Shape magazine.

A photo posted by Mimi B (@mimibakermn) on

Such a relief to walk in and see women of every different size and skill level. It was also a small class. He let us sort of take it easy the first night because we hadn’t exercised in years. He didn’t want us to push ourselves so far we injured ourselves. Not only was he encouraging, so were the other ladies there. I was really surprised! Their encouragement causes you to be encouraging. It was such a cool atmosphere.

We were definitely dying by the end, but a good kind of dying. It wasn’t easy, but it pushed me enough that I knew I’d want to go back. I have a lot to learn with punching and kicking. I ask questions because I want to be doing it right. Unfortunately, on my 3rd day, I hurt myself. It was RIGHT away in the class. We’d warmed up and when I tried to do a push up where you frog hop your legs back to your hands, I really injured myself so much I could barely stand. I knew I had done the exercise wrong. I was out of class for over a month.
A photo posted by Mimi B (@mimibakermn) on

I decided to go back, but man, it was hard. I had no motivation. The long drive, the time gone from home, apprehension about hurting myself again…all of that made it hard to get back on the horse. Going back was good. It was needed. I tried to keep it down to a low roar, but I don’t know how to do that. Good news is, I didn’t hurt myself, but I DID hurt the next day. lol I was hobbling around like an old woman, but it was a good kind of hurt. I’m definitely glad I’m back at it. Still don’t like that it’s so far away. I can’t wait to get back into the routine of it though!
If you workout, what’s your favorite thing to do?

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