Thursday, April 28, 2016

Baseball Season Has Begun

It's been an interesting few years of baseball where we live. When we lived in Minnesota my son was on a team with kids all in the same grade. They all pretty much knew each other. Two years ago, he played up an age bracket. So as a 5th grader, he was playing with 6th graders.

Last year he played down because there wasn't an age bracket above him or in his age range. This year is an interesting mix. He's finishing his 7th grade year, and he's playing with kids who are finishing 5th AND 6th grade. I have no idea what next year will look like, but I sure hope when he hits high school there are kids who are still playing and are in his age bracket.

That being said, we needed to do a LOT of updating of pretty much everything baseball related! Sakes alive, replacing his bad, cleats, sliding shorts and protective cup to start. They also changed the name of their club from Storm to Bulldogs so that required new uniforms. Thankfully I was contacted about working with Anthem Sports. Just in time because my kiddo's hands have grown over the last few years, and he needed a good outfielder glove. How could I say no to doing a review?

We went through some of the gloves, and I learned that outfielder gloves have longer fingers than infielders. I was always just randomly buying a glove that could fit on his hand. I didn't realize that there was a difference. I also didn't know that there were measurements with the gloves. Let's just say, he's been playing outfield with an infield glove for the past couple of years. Oops my bad.

Ok, if I can be totally honest, I don't know a lot about the technicalities of baseball gear. For example, I wanted my brother to get my son a baseball bat for Christmas. I had no clue what kind for him to get. He didn't either. lol We now have some random bat sitting in the garage. We ended up talking to one of the guys from church to find out what to look for in a good bat, and voila, we got him the one he needed.

Baseball season started a few weeks ago, and so far it's been a rough season. At this age, the kids are at different skill levels, and this is the time they're learning the sport. My son is still loving the outfield. I kept trying to get him to infield, and maybe into the shortstop position. He's not interested, so I'm totally fine with him being the center. He has a great arm, so outfield fits for him! He'll play professionally one day dontcha know? ;)

So far his Easton MKY 1200 Mako YOUTH Baseball Glove, 12" has served him well. My guy is really specific about how his glove fits, and because this has "hyperlite design" it's easier for him to manipulate! He's done a great job in the outfield. I love watching him play. I have a feeling it'll fit him for the next couple of years, thank goodness. he probably should've gone with an 11.5, but all they had was a 12. Turns out, it's pretty much just the right size!

What sport do your kids love to play?

Showing Love With Daily Bread

Two weekends ago, my boys and I participated in our church's yearly outreach to Annapolis. It's the 5th year they've done it. It's called Daily Bread. It's such a wonderful ministry. I think I've done it two years now. I missed last year for some reason, and Fred missed it this year because of his back surgery.

What is Daily Bread? SO glad you asked! Our church collects food and monetary donations to buy food so that volunteers can go out into the community and deliver boxes of food to families in need. The Housing Authority has partnered together with us, and introduced us to communities we could go into.

Starting a couple of months ago, our head pastor started telling the congregation what food donations they needed to have us bring for the event. On Friday night, all of the volunteers showed up and assembly lined 1400 boxes of food in under an hour! It was AMAZING! It was my first year packing. The pastor who put this whole shindig together spotted me walking around waiting for an assignment, and he said he had the perfect one for me. Insert a groan because his face told me I was going to "enjoy" my job. My youngest stocked the entire run of stations for his row. Each time someone was running whatever they were sticking in a box, he would give them a new supply.

My job turned out to be labeler. Apparently this is a job that's had mistakes before.  Well, my "issue" with doing the stickers was, well, I guess I have OCD! I pride myself on being good at laying stickers so that there aren't air bubbles or folds. For real, I was holding up our line trying to go fast, but put the stickers on nicely! I was making myself crazy. I definitely shook my fist at the pastor at one point when he walked by! =)

I met new people on Friday night. The first was a wonderful lady who happened to see an advertisement in the newspaper looking for volunteers. She attends a different church, but wanted to be part of an outreach. Elder Bill KNOWS I'm always desperate to meet new people, but I think I also have the gift of welcoming people! THEN the cool part, I met a new family, and Bill was thrilled with himself getting to introduce us. The gal's name is Mimi! Her son is the same name as one of my son's! How fun is that? I did take a photo with them at the end of the day. They haven't lived here long, and I really enjoyed them. In fact, I told her I wanted to deliver food with her family the next day. Guess what? We were on the same team! SO excited!

We gathered on Saturday morning for some donuts and coffee, worship, and prayer. Both boys were supposed to hang out with me, but the youngest wanted to be with the youth group. Go figure. Traitor. We met with our group leaders and then headed down to where our boxes were because we had to assembly line 150 boxes onto a rented truck.

Our group headed to a location in Annapolis, and we got to business knocking on doors to deliver boxes of food and to pray for the families that wanted it. A few people chose not to take boxes, and many people weren't home. The Housing Authority had sent out fliers, so they knew we were coming.

I can't begin to put into words how amazing it was doing this ministry. Being able to give back, especially to those in need was powerful! I love doing this kind of work. Having the opportunity to pray for people is really a gift. Praying out loud for people definitely isn't my gift, but I was absolutely willing to do it!

One of my experiences with my son, he and I were by ourselves, and went to a home to bring a box. A lady answered, and when we offered to pray with her, she declined. I asked her if there were anything she'd like for us to pray for after we left her. She said yes, and that God knew what it was. Ok, no problem. We moved on and went to other homes. As we were getting ready to go to a new street, she called me back. Oh dear, I wasn't sure what she wanted. God had moved her to invite me, and only me, into her home to pray with her. HOW neat is that? What a blessing! I'm going to go back and visit her this week to see if she's gotten any answer to our prayers.

Another home we went to in another neighborhood, this lady answered the door, and she was so fun to chat with. At the end, she was pretty much inviting me back. I told her I'd do it, and she said she was expecting to see me again. After I visit with the lady I mentioned above, I'm going to head over to this gal's home and chat with her for a while.

It was great watching my son getting involved. He just grabbed boxes to bring them to homes, knocked on doors, and held hands when we prayed. It's definitely out of his comfort zone, but he's growing so much as a young man and as a Christian. He's just such a great kid, and I was thankful he and I were able to do this together.

I'm already looking forward to next year, and being able to do this all over again. It's a huge undertaking, and I'm thankful for our administration and the volunteers who gave so much time to bring every piece of it together!

Have you ever given back to your community?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wordless Wednesday Cats In The Yard

We have two indoor cats. Simba used to be an outdoor cat, but he's gotten pretty old and feeble. He doesn't get around like he used to. Then there's Pearl. She's always been an indoor cat since she was declawed as a kitten. She loves to go outside, eat the grass, and then puke it up. Good times, right?

I do like letting them outside while supervised though. They love it, and I'm sure Simba is reliving his glory days. They finally made it outside last week, and loved it! Pearly girl was outside long enough to digest the grass and give it back to nature. So much better than having to clean it up off the carpet!

Simba has always been my shadow outside. He loves following me through the garden.

Do you have indoor or outdoor cats?

Date Day At Miss Shirley's Cafe

My husband is a restaurant recruiter. That means we get to visit restaurants where he'd like to find people jobs or ones where he's gotten someone a job. I know, rough, right? Not too bad, but we really need to cut back on all the eating out we do.

That being said, this past Saturday we visited Miss Shirley's Cafe. I had never been to the cafe before, but Fred had gone to a different location. We headed down to Annapolis for brunch. Now, for the record, I eat breakfast every single morning. It's the only routine that I know of in my life. I wake up, I eat.

This morning, I didn't eat. We ran to the bank, then drove down to Annapolis. There's parking behind the restaurant, and they validate the parking! Score!! We walked around to the front of the building, and proceeded into the restaurant. I almost circled back through the revolving door when we saw how many people were waiting.

I wish I would've taken a photo of the crowd. We were squished near the revolving door, after finding out it was a 40 minute wait. FORTY MINUTES people...for the gal who hasn't had breakfast, and it's a little after 11am! People who came in after us, would actually get hit by the revolving door because at some points, there just wasn't any where to go. The waiting area, was big and spacious. I just think half of Annapolis chose that morning to eat at Miss Shirley's Cafe!

Fred offered to go back on a different day, but I wasn't feeling well, and going somewhere else just meant having to wait there as well. So we waited, the 40 minutes. There were a handful of kids there, but none of them were screaming or being obnoxious because the servers give them Etch-a-Sketches to play with!

We had a nice spot for two, and our waitress was enthusiastic, in a good way mind you. She was bright and bubbly. She gave us a rundown of what was on the specials. I should've taken notes because what was offered were mostly things I'd never heard of before. They do a lot of specialty food at the Cafe.

We started off with an appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes. I'd never had them before, and actually wasn't a fan. I really liked the batter on the tomatoes. I just think the green tomatoes had...well, a green tomato taste. lol Go figure. I'm a traditional red tomato kind of gal I guess. =) Fred on the other hand enjoyed them. I think if you're a fried tomato kind of person, then you'd really enjoy these.

I never loved omelets until I tried my dad's one day in my late teens. I don't ever make them, and should, but since we were out for brunch, I was going for it. I ordered the "An Omelet To Call My Own" I ordered 3 ingredients that are part of the basic price: asparagus, tomato, and ham. I paid the extra .99¢ for cheese. The side I chose to come with my omelet was potato & onion hash browns.

Fred ordered the "Grandpa's BBQ On A That's How We Roll." It's pulled barbecue chicken topped with coleslaw & fried pickles. He had the same side dish as me. Copycat!

My omelet turned out delicious! Very good flavor, the cheese was melted inside like I love it! Asparagus is one of those things that I think can be tricky to add to a recipe. I'm thinking that people like theirs cooked differently. I like mine somewhat soft. This was kind of hard and crunchy. For me, it tastes more bitter when they're still hard. Plus, it's hard to compare other asparagus to my husband's because he does it best in my book. Oh, and I had an interesting biscuit.

Like I said, they make  It was a normal biscuit, but it was a peach and goat cheese biscuit. I guess they're always trying new recipes, and make everything from scratch. I was curious as to what it was because when I went to eat it, there was this chunk of peach that fell off the bottom, and I thought it wasn't supposed to be there. Our waitress had to double check what the biscuit was that day. =) It was pretty delicious to say the least.

Fred's food looked good. It was a pretty tall sandwich. At one point he took the top bun off and was going to eat the sandwich open face. He finally just put that too the side, and ate the meat.

All in all, the food was good, and the atmosphere was really nice. Next time we go, I know to eat something a couple hours earlier in case there's a long wait, and we won't go on a Saturday morning. lol By the time we were leaving, there really wasn't anyone in the waiting area.

I think the next time we go back, I want to try their dinner menu. I like trying new foods at restaurants where they're always coming up with something new!

What is your favorite brunch food?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Pampered By Massage Envy

Hi! My name is Mimi, and it's been a year since my last pampering. I like to be pampered, and I'd do it a lot more if I could, but it's not always on my schedule. Get this, almost 2 yrs ago, my mom got me a spa package for my birthday. I was able to get a manicure, pedicure, and facial. Not a bad deal, right? I mean, I was so crazy excited. The only problem? It was at a salon by her. Two hours away from me. It took me nearly a year to use the manicure and pedicure. Still haven't used the facial. We just haven't spent time over there long enough for me to do it. I'll probably never get it done at this rate. Such is life.

That being said, I just got a facial done at Massage Envy, and it was fantastic. Another blogging friend, Keonte, gave them my name to see if they would work with me for a review, and sure enough, they reached out and I whole heartedly agreed! I mean, honestly, who wouldn't? I was given the option of a massage or a facial. You have Massage Envy, don't you? Eh, eh, see how that works?

No brainer for me. I went with the facial. Now, you might think I'm out of my mind for doing something like that, but wellllll let me tell you a thing or two if you haven't had a facial, you're TOTALLY missing out. here's the secret about facials...they also massage your neck, shoulders, and occasionally your hands. So, you don't miss out on a massage at all. You get a facial and the bonus of a mini massage.

So, I headed to the Annapolis Massage Envy looking forward to an hour of being pampered! They were super warm and friendly when I walked in. Kendall who called me to set up my appointment was absolutely delightful.

They get you started in the waiting room, which is dark and tranquil. It gets you into a relaxed state of mind. I was completely prepared to be relaxed. Ericka walked me back to the room she was working in, and asked me some questions about what I was hoping to achieve while I was there. I told her I just wanted to have my face feel soft & hydrated, and to walk away feeling relaxed. I didn't actually have any skin care goals.

Ericka gave me the option of 4 facials: Anti-aging, Clarifying (acne related), sensitive skin, and environmental. It took me a nanosecond to choose anti-aging, although at this point, it's probably a moot subject. lol There's not turning this train around.

Once we got that figured out, Ericka left the room while I slipped under the covers. I have to preface this experience by saying, this probably wasn't the most relaxing facial I've ever had. Not because of anything at Massage Envy, but because I talk to so few people during the day, that I talked the poor girl's ear off! hahahaha

I kept telling myself to relax, and she kept pressing my shoulders down gently, but she let me talk away. At one point I thought, it was like going to my hair dresser because I was talking so much while someone was working on me. When we both stopped talking, it was so amazingly quiet in the room, and tranquil.

The facial was wonderful! My face was so relaxed. All of the massaging, and products made it feel like it was like butter. As Ericka went through the entire process, she told me at each step what product she was using, and what its purpose was. Now, all of the product is Murad, and all of the franchises are Murad franchises. After you get done with your facial, you're shown which products were used so that you have the option of buying any or all of them.

After the facial, Kendall told me a bit about the membership option! Yep, you heard me right, they have a membership option! An example of the membership saving is a 1 hour massage for members (as of today) is $69.99 and for non-members it's $119.00! Totally worth the savings. You can even do little add-ons like a foot scrub, aroma therapy, and deep muscle therapy for a nominal charge.

Copyright 1st image in collage: samotrebizan / 123RF Stock Photo

Once you finish your facial, be sure to follow these 4 tips:

1. Keep your makeup and skincare to a minimum for the next 24 hours.

2. Be sure to use sunscreen.

3. Consider not using products that are perfumed.

4. Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.

What's your favorite way to pamper yourself?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

5 Steps To Having A Fence Built

When we decided to build our fence, there was a lot of excitement, and having never built one, I was pretty much ready to just dive in! Turns out there was more that needed to be done!

While our house was being built, we got the name of a guy who had built 2 of the fences for the houses on our street. We hadn't looked to closely at them, not knowing when we'd even begin building the fence.

It finally got to the point where we (mostly I) was tired of chasing the dog in the dark when we let her out to go potty. Our sweet, little Peru would go to the bathroom, off leash, and once she was done, would take off like hades was on her heels. She'd run through the muddy construction towards the neighbors. We'd stand outside yelling for her like idiots, and then finally give up, go inside, grab her leash, and go after her.

The time for a fence had come.

Before you get started, here are the steps we took for having a fence built.

1. Decide how tall you want your fence

Because we have Peru, we knew we'd need to have a fence at least 4' tall. When we had friends over a few weeks ago, she jumped over the back of the couch to land on the cushion. That told us she needed a fence that was a minimum of 5' tall. I didn't want 6' because that was just too much for me. What will be the purpose for your fence? That will help determine the height. If we didn't have a knucklehead for a dog, I probably still would have an open yard.

2. What material do you want to use

Fred and I went back and forth between a vinyl fence and a wood fence. Vinyl was definitely appealing. There's so little upkeep with it. Of course, that comes with a hefty price. Wood, while cheaper, would have to be maintained by being cleaned and stained. We went with wood.

3. How big will your fence be

We walked the yard a couple times debating on where we wanted the fence to start and end. We also had to figure out how far out we wanted to go to the sides and out to the back. Everyone has their own reasons for how their fence is shaped. I didn't want the propane tank to be inside the fence because the propane guy would either have to heft the hose over the fence every time or go in and out to fill the tank. I just wanted it to be easier all around, especially in the winter. Let's just say that DIDN'T happen. The hubster wanted it inside the fence, so it's inside the fence. HA! We have a weird line in our backyard because of the trees. They're not in a straight line. We also have the sewer line that goes across the length of the backyard for our whole neighborhood. Yay us (not so much).

No, the fence isn't finished here. When I first saw it, I thought the gaps were SO terrible. lol All they'd done was nail it at the top for spacing, and then went back to finish them.

4. Get a handful of quotes

I couldn't believe how far apart all of our quotes were. I think we had 4 or 5. We also had them bid on a deck because we definitely want to have one of those sooner than later. The name the neighbor gave us for who did their fence was the last guy we called. Turned out he was the least expensive. We went with him, especially since we could see the work he'd already done. It was nice to walk by their fences and see what we wanted or didn't want. I wanted rounded gates, and a wider slat in full fence. I may actually regret this as Peru can see everyone and everything that walks by, and barks like a wild beast.

5. Call before you dig & know the laws

You hear it all the time, especially when the weather starts to get better. Call the electric company before you dig. The last thing you need is to is cause your house to blow up by hitting a gas line or shut the entire neighborhood down by cutting the electrical lines. Check with your HOA to see what their rules say, as well as the city/county to make sure they don't have something in place where you have to pay a fee for building a fence.

We went with a double gate on one side of the house in case we ever needed to get something big through to the backyard. The opposite side only has one gate. I absolutely love the rounded gate tops. The foreman did it by hand! He also notched out the A frame on the inside of the gates by hand. It was so cool to watch him do it!

The finished product is spectacular! I've already asked him to give us a quote for a deck, but we won't be able to do that until some time this summer. We also have to wait 2 months before we can stain it! The wood is still wet/new, and needs time to dry out. If you're looking to have a fence, deck, or landscaping, and you're in the Annapolis, MD area, give T.K. Parker a call at 410-533-5363. You'll be as impressed as we were!

Have you ever had a fence or deck built? Any suggestions for someone else who is planning on building one?

Monday, April 18, 2016

It's A Father's Day Giveaway Hop Sign Up

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The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island are hosting the “Super Dad!” Giveaway Hop from June 1st at 12:01 am EST thru June 15th at 11:59 pm EST! All bloggers are invited to join us as this is a FREE event with a Father’s Day theme and a $15 prize minimum! Scroll down and add your BLOG NAME to the linky below!
Theme Details: We are pretty open when it comes to the prize. As long as a father or dad-to-be would love it then you can give it away! Books and e-books are great however if your prize is an e-book include a $10 Paypal or Amazon gift card as well. (Authors and book bloggers encouraged to sign up!) Ideas: Books, DVDs (portable DVD players), wallets, car care, grilling/outdoors, grooming products, clothes, peace and quiet, beer..?
Other Details:
  • Each blogger is responsible for securing their own prize and running a giveaway EXCLUSIVELY FOR THIS HOP! NO GROUP GIVEAWAY ALLOWED – THIS MEANS YOU JOIN ANOTHER BLOGGER’S GIVEAWAY TO PROMOTE IN EXCHANGE FOR A LINK AND YOU LIST IT ON OUR HOP AS YOUR OWN. You will be removed from the link if this isn’t followed.  
  • Participating bloggers can host multiple prize packs. Prizes can be sponsored or self-sponsored. There is a $15 PRIZE MINIMUM for this event. We recommendhaving no mandatory entry.
  • The Linky list must be VISIBLE in your post, as well as any required information sent via the Google Doc. before the start of the hop. COMPLETE Giveaway Post must be live and reported by 9 PM EST on 05/31 or you will be removed from the Linky. Not posting required information will result in you being removed from the event.
  • You are required to report your Direct Link to your giveaway before the event begins via a Google Doc. If your link is not reported in the Google Doc. you will be removed. We are not able to hunt down your link.
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  • DEADLINE : Sign ups close on May 30, 2016. Details emailed by May 25, 2016 or grab in our Facebook Group anytime!  It is YOUR responsibility to obtain the hop information.
  • Cost – As of now our events are free to join but may change in the future.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Our Backyard Before The Fence

I've never had a fenced in backyard. Is that common? Neither of my other houses needed them. I'm a fan of wide open spaces. Well, I was until we had the beast aka Peru. She has this lovely habit of running off and ignoring us after she goes potty if she isn't leashed. So...a fence.

We went through about 4-5 bids, and ended up going with the guy who has done two other houses in the neighborhood. We liked his work, and it was a good deal. Unfortunately, it's been raining (and one day of snowing) for the past week. The fence that was supposed to start going up yesterday won't be started until tomorrow, hopefully.

I have big plans for our little backyard. Fred and I haven't decided if we're going to do a deck or a patio. That's still up in the air. We'll be putting in a shed and my vegetable garden, which I've already staked out. I'd love a spot for a fire pit, and that's where a patio would be nice to have. We're going to have a new hammock, which I'll be reviewing next month! Now THAT I'm excited about.

Oh, and we'll be able to finally get grass in. The builder only put down sod in the front of the house, and seeded the rest. Well, the seed wasn't having any part of that, so we're going to have to take a different approach. Fred has seeded the far side of the house, so that's a start. We didn't do anything to the opposite side because the builder had to build the other two houses, and when he started the one next to us, it was just a mess. It still is, so once everything over there is complete, we'll figure that side out.

Of course, I'll get to do some gardening back here with plants, and maybe a bush or two, but that won't happen until we have the backyard mostly set up the way we want it. I'm not a fan of replanting because it can be a pain in my rear end. Don't get me wrong, I love being out there, getting my hands, dirty, but I'd rather plant whatever it is once, and be done.

And as you can see, the sewer line (I think is what it is) lines the back of our yard.  So no grass is growing there at all. Not sure if it will, but we'll give it a good ol' try. Something else I've never dealt with is sump pump runoff. Because we're so close to the Bay, it's constantly pushing water out, and it's eroding a small section by the house. Not only that, where it comes out is constantly wet.

At the corner of the house (in the shadow) is where the sump pump shoots out the water, and the erosion is happening. Where the grass ends, and it looks like it becomes dirt, is soggy ground. It hasn't dried up since we moved in. So, Fred and his dad are planning on diverting the water so that the ground dries up, and we can fill in where the water is shooting out.

I'm looking forward to making these improvements over the next couple of weeks! I can't wait to give an update, too!

What's your favorite thing about your backyard?

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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.