Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Giveaway Time! Vertical Sports/Barbie Organizer!

A few weeks ago, I found a fun package at my back door waiting for my return. Inside, was this cool sports equipment organizational system made by Rawlings....

At the time, I was in the middle of my major summer project; Mission Re-organize the Upstairs (to make way for baby #3!) and started thinking. This organizational system was originally designed to hold sporting equipment in a garage or basement, but we don't own very many bats or softballs and our basement is next on the list of organizing. I didn't want to put this shiny new organizer down in the depths of despair. 

So I used it a different way. A much girly-er and pink way.... 

...on the back of my daughter's bedroom door! I bet Rawlings never imagined their sports organizer to ooze with so much pink. (excuse the undressed Barbies....) I've used the cinch ties to lower it to my daughter's level and to tie on a doll jeep, rather than the intended purpose of attaching a bike helmet or other such equipment. The little pockets at the bottom (that seem like the perfect size for golf balls) hold a good amount of barbie shoes and brushes! Who knew??

Once we get our scary basement to a place where we are organizing our bike helmets and other outdoor toys, I bet this will be relocated and repurposed to it's originally designed assignment. Until then, it is a barbie organizer! 

If this organizer looks fun to you and you'd like to try to figure out a way to use it in your home, office, dorm, homeschool space, garage, shed or other spot that needs a little vertical lift, leave a message below and you could win a free one! I will randomly pick a winner with help from my little girlies over the upcoming weekend. 

P.S.- Was given a free organizer as a swap for an honest review and opinion. 
P.P.S- Ignore the unpainted wall to the left of the door... I am mustering up the energy to remove the wallpaper goop from their room and repaint. I do hope my nesting energies kick sometime this fall to get this major task done before baby arrives. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Book Review: Love's Complete

This morning, my girls and I read this sweet e-book about adoption. It's a lovely poem written to document one family's story of adopting a baby from Russia.
My girls enjoyed it and seemed to find it's simplicity easy to understand. The illustrations that accompanied each page were nice. I especially loved the illustration when the husband and wife are dreaming about having their baby home with them one day- the husband has a silly looking five o'clock shadow!
Thanks booksneeze for a chance to read this sweet book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Book review: Everything- a keeper

DeMuth does it again. This is a book I’d put in the hands of students in my life group on campus, women I meet with one-on-one and a resource I will keep nearby for my personal refreshment. 

Everything, what you give and what you gain to become like Jesus (2012) is proof that there is nothing greater than the pursuit of Jesus. When we give up everything, He becomes everything. 

I love reading Mary DeMuth’s books, blog and facebook statuses. She is real. She is raw. And she bravely shares parts of her life that so many of us would keep hidden. Everything, one of her recent books, seems to sum up her ministry as a missionary overseas, writing career and personal life; although I doubt she is done with any of them! 

After reading her memoir, Thin Places, I wondered something (which I often wonder about speakers and writers when they share personal stories)....how does she tell facts about her childhood when those that “knew her when” are still living? What responses does she get? How does she handle the pressure of their (potential) scorn or support? This subject, among many, is addressed in this book. She answers real questions and cries out life-changing challenges for her readers. 

I can’t verbalize how thankful I am Mary (I feel like we are on first name basis, here) was brave enough to obey. She continues to write honestly. 

Get it. 
Read it. 
Buy another copy & give it away. Repeat. 

Booksneeze gave me a digital copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. I dislike digital books. Have a mentioned that before??The opinions are strictly mine. *happy face*

Friday, October 26, 2012

Warm and Toasty

Gil is the master researcher. You can give him a topic and he will look into from every angle possible. This skill came in handy when we needed to find a cheaper alternative to heating our house. Filling our oil tank multiple times over the course of a winter gets super expensive, so we knew wanted to go another route.

Through his research, we learned about pellet stoves. For those that don't know about them, like us... pellet stoves are similar to wood stoves in that they burn wood, make a room so cozy and comfortable, and are hard to decorate around. But the difference comes in what they burn. Little pellets...that look similar to the food you get at petting zoos to feed the giraffes...are poured into the hopper, then auger fed into a flame. The fire is super hot. The pellets are cheaper than oil and made from recycled wood, making it a "green" source of heat.

So when you combine buying an old house with installing a pellet stove in your living room, the math adds up to needed some new fire and smoke detectors. Did you know that October is fire prevention month? I didn't either. How convenient!

Coincidentally (or not), someone from First Alert mailed me a First Alert Fire Alarm to try out and said they would send one of my blog readers one for free too! Anyone need a updated smoke alarm?

My new friend, Shannon, will happily mail one of my readers a new First Alert Fire Alarm too. All you need to do is leave a comment below.... tell me about your favorite time around a fire. Was it a camp fire? Did you spend a night without electricity, but bundled warm by the wood stove as a kid (I did!)? Do you have a gas fireplace you switch on?

After you share your stories, I'll put your names in a hat and let my researching husband pick out a reader to win the smoke alarm! Contest is open to anyone and you can enter multiple times -with different stories- until Sunday (10/28/12) at midnight.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

52 Weeks Ago

In case you didn't know I had another blog, I wanted to let you know that I just posted over there... all about our first anniversary of being residents of Connecticut, or Connecticutians, or my personal favorite, Connecticuties. ;-)

Check it out!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I was on the platform first. No signs. No train employees. Just a few benches and a smelly trashcan. 
I made my track choice based on the track I arrived on a week prior. Before, I went south and stepped off the train on the far side. So this time, in my limited knowledge of train timetables and track schedules, I assumed I needed to be on this side to return north. I had a 50/50 chance. Now it was time to wait. 
My backup plan: Worse case scenario, I grab my bags and make a mad dash down the ramp, under the tracks, back up the ramp on the other side and climb aboard. After all, I do have my “mom sneakers” on...you know the ones. They are drenched in super powers. 
The a second passenger arrived on the platform and asked if I was going north. I nodded and she sat on a nearby bench. A quick glimmer of worry flashed in my mind. 
Four or five minutes after that, a small family asked passenger #2 is she was heading towards Washington, DC. She nodded, scooted over to the side of her bench and the family sat to wait. 

Then an older lady and her walker made it to the platform. She’s proudly visiting her new grand baby. That quick glimmer of worry flashed again. I assumed passenger #2 could made the dash to the other track with me. And perhaps since the small family was  there, the conductor would wait a few more minutes for them to go down the ramp, through the tunnel, back up the stairs and board the train on other side....you know...in the 50/50 chance I could be wrong? I hope that mom has on her super-power soaked mom sneakers, too. 
I remembered the TED video about influence
Then reviewed the facts on which I based my original track choice. Going south, I stepped on over there; so, going north, I would step on from this side. I assured myself I had made the right choice.
I hope. 
Over the next 10 minutes, 26 more people arrived on the platform. Each asking the first person they see if they were heading north. A quick nod. Drop your bags on the platform and a glance at the watch. For each of those 26 passengers, my glimmer of worry began to grow into a large spotlight on concern. 
Isn’t there a Seinfeld episode about standing in a line for nothing?
5 minutes before the train is scheduled to arrive, a whistle blows and we all look to the right...the far side. It was chugging full-steam ahead and had no plans of stopping at the tiny platform I was leading. 
I prepped for my mad dash to the other side of the tracks. The train went by so fast I thought I might get sucked into Narnia. Passenger #2 looked at me with wide eyes. I gave her the little half-smile to assure her of my vast knowledge of train timetables and track schedules. Fake it ‘till you make it. 
Our train was supposed to be here already. Maybe we were supposed to grab the cargo train door and swing ourselves aboard like the old westerns. That would be quite the workout. But, I do have my mom sneakers on and the super powers might be strong enough to grab the older lady on my way into the cargo doors. As long as she grabbed my arm tight enough. I had a plan. The other 25 passengers would have to fend for themselves. 
I decided I needed to find some support to back-up my decision. So, I grabbed my phone and tried to go online to find a schedule. I mentally pleaded with the website to tell me the train was late and that I was on the correct side of the track. Zilch information about this station. Did Amtrak even know this little half platform existed? 
Suddenly, the hours I had spent with my husband watching survival shows came to use. I clicked open my compass app and waited for it to calibrate. More mental pleading to tell me I had picked the track. It wouldn’t calibrate. The app told me to turn my phone in a figure eight position to calibrate. I tried and tried. Maybe I did really get sucked into Narnia? Does AT&T reach there? 
Finally it surrendered it’s right to not calibrate, pointed north and confirmed my unexperienced choice. 
I was slightly more confident I made the right choice. I prayed I was leading this platform of people boldly. 
The tracks right in front of me began to squeal in a high pitched tone. Whistle coming from the left (which I now know is south because there’s an app for that) and passenger numbers 2 through 26 are now scrambling to grab their bags and toddler hands. 
My prayers turned towards the train staff; “God, please have that guy step down from the train and yell what we need him to yell!” 
“All aboard! Going north to Washington, DC! All aboard!”

This stressful narrative was brought to you today by the super powers in my mom sneakers, my dearly beloved iphone and it’s compass app, and the hours of survival television I have suffered through. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review: Every Body Matters, by Gary Thomas- a keeper, get your own copy!

I could make this a quick book review and tell you I just finished reading a great book. However, that would be a simple response for something that needs a more complex commentary. 
It re-calibrated my thinking. 
Every Body Matters, by Gary Thomas, is a keeper. He addresses an issue that my husband and I have spent many hours talking about already...the health our bodies, especially as Christians. 
You see, we hear sermons on having a strong faith, sinful behavior like dishonesty and adultery, and how to be great givers; all of which are important topics. But how many times have you heard the sermon about maintaining a healthy body in regards to gluttony? Or what about food as a idol? 
Here’s what I have taken from the book:
-Food is supposed to be a tool, a source of nutrition, fuel for our bodies.... not something we crave, obey, or think about constantly. 
-Hunger pangs before lunch or dinner aren’t life threatening. Duh, right?
-I need to have a solid, strong, and steady body (rather than a soft one) in order to complete the tasks God created me for.
Every Body Matters is not a diet book, health or nutrition manual or condemning for any reason. Thomas clarifies his understanding that we can not and must not judge the outward appearance of anyone for any reason and that fitness is not a measuring stick for faithfulness. 
About his own struggle, Thomas shares, “I sensed a stronger resistance to impatience, lust, and other sins. Confronting excessive, indulgent eating was almost like taking spiritual penicillin or antibiotics in that it seemed to cut the feet out from under other demands.” (61) “With my nutritional needs for the day met, I can focus on other things.” (85) 
He says, “One blessing of sin...is that it can usher us into a new honesty. Our frailty is exposed...[we can] be completely honest with ourselves. (181) Did opening the bag of chips, even though your conscience was telling you not to, really help you feel better thirty minutes later, or did you feel worse? Did blowing off the exercise session- even though, many times before, exercising when you didn’t feel like it made you feel renewed and invigorated- serve your long term goal of better health? Or was it simply a matter of coddling a soft spirit? There a times when it’s wise or even necessary to skip working out, but was this one of them?”(180)
One point Thomas makes that I agree and disagree with at the same time (is that possible?) is that “a soft body cannot carry a hard message; a fragile personality cannot endure a harsh response.” (200) I have met a handful of people who have weak, failing bodies; yet have strong-as-a-lion wills, capable of capturing the heart and soul of individuals many times their sizes or strengths. And on the other end of the spectrum, I know people whom are the perfect picture of health; yet are cowards inside. But I get what he is saying and I agree... I don’t want to intentionally do something to cause my physical body to weaken, hindering my ability to accomplish the tasks I have been made to do. 
Perhaps I should read this book a couple times a year... like right before the holidays! 
Zondervan gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for a thoughtful, honest review...and I am very grateful for that!