Saturday, November 30, 2013

Wrapping Up 30 Days Of Thanks

I always start out good and then it's a steady downfall after that.  I started doing 30 days of thanks at the beginning of the month on facebook and then fell off at day 14.  By the time I'd remember to post, it would be 11:00pm and the a new day about to start.  So on this last day of November, I decided to compile the 30 days of thanks in one place at one time.  This shouldn't be too bad.

Day 1: I'm thankful for this life I have. It's not perfect, but it's just right for us. I don't have everything I want but have everything I need. Oftentimes it's full of challenges but God gives me strength to overcome them. And when I want to complain about the mess in the floor, the too many bills, or how hard life is I try to remember that someone wishes they had someone to clean up after. Someone's praying for a job to pay their bills and there is someone, always someone, who has it harder than me.

Day 2: I'm thankful for my wonderful, hardworking husband who puts up with all my weirdness, nerdiness, and laugh attacks. I'm thankful for all he does for us on a daily basis and his ability and willingness to keep me in line. lol God knew what he was doing when he paired a hell-raiser and peacemaker together. We have a good system of checks and balances and in case you're wondering, I am not the peacemaker.

Day 3: I'm thankful for my kids. No matter how tired or crazy it may seem to get because of them, I wouldn't know what to do without them. (Yeah I would. I would sleep. ) I'm thankful to have the opportunity to nurture another human being (and try real hard not to mess them up too much) when so many people pray for the chance to be mothers and fathers and that chance doesn't always come. Each one of them is a special little blessing and I can't wait to see what the future holds for them.

Day 4:
I'm thankful for the Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. I'm thankful for His love for me when on so many times I didn't even love myself. I'm thankful for all the times when I felt unworthy, unloved, unsure, discouraged, hopeless, and like I was just no good and He said, I will make you the head and not the tail, the above and not beneath and then he said for I KNOW the plans I have for you...plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." I'm thankful for all the times I was stuck in a place whether it be emotional, physical, spiritual, or financial and I know couldn't anybody could have delivered me but God. I'm thankful for his everlasting grace and mercy that is supplied daily on my behalf, for my sake. And I'm thankful for the opportunity to learn, to know, and to build a relationship with such a One who has given so much for me.

Day 5:
I'm thankful for the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. It hasn't always been easy, it hasn't come without it's sacrifices and it is definitely not a laid back position. Sometimes I wonder how I managed an actual job with children beforehand, but I'm thankful. I'm thankful for that extra time I get to spend with the kids whether it's at school or at home. It's one of the most rewarding and confusing, satisfying and emotionally draining, happiest and "I want to burst into tears" (from joy and sorrow) jobs to have. Oh and the gray hairs I have because of it, I guess I'm thankful for those too.

Day 6:
I'm thankful for words. I have an ongoing affair with them, written, spoken, whatever. I love how manipulative they are. How you can string them together to make absolutely no sense and build them to make the most poignant statement. I'm thankful for the way words breathe life and how I inhale them.

Day 7:
I'm thankful for my father. I didn't really know him nor know of him but without him, there'd be no me. I've learned that I am here on purpose for a purpose and God has a plan for me. So I'm thankful to him for that.

Day 8:
I'm thankful for the gift of time. I've been to two funerals in two weeks, one was my great aunt's today, and likely a third in next couple of days. Death is sweeping through this world like a relentless wildfire. Time isn't promised to us, and each year, each day, each minute is a privilege. I'm thankful for the time I do have, I need to stop complaining about the time I don't have, and make the most of the time that we have left.

Day 9:
I'm thankful for memories. We can always revisit the good ones and reflect on the "good ole times" and look back at the not so good ones to see just how far we've come.

Day 10:
I'm thankful for my flaws. They make me distinct, unique, and imperfectly perfect. They make me me.

Day 11:
Let's thank God for all the veterans, past and present, for all the sacrifices they make for others to live freely. I have many friends and family that have or are serving, including my brother-n-law who's currently stationed in Hawaii. Those lucky ducks.

Day 12: 
I'm thankful for the basics- food, water and shelter. There are so many people who don't even have those.

Day 13:

I'm thankful for all the people I've met along this journey of life. You were either a blessin' or a lesson.

Day 14: 

I'm thankful for the ability to write. God knew he wanted life interesting when he blessed some with sarcasm and a pen. But seriously, I'd love to write a book about life, a book of poetry, and words that make people think, believe, question, aspire, or want to make a positive change in the world.

Day 15:
I'm thankful for laughter.  It's the best medicine to have to brighten up your day, keep you from crying and keep you out of prison.

Day 16: 
I'm thankful for my wonderful mom who has given up so much in order for us to have.  You never truly understand the sacrifices parents make until you are one.

Day 17:
I'm thankful for the art of music.  Music is such a powerful enchanting force.  It has the ability to calm, to uplift and to evoke so much emotion and I find it very liberating.

Day 18:
I'm thankful for my friends.  It's not easy finding people who you can share things with, confide in, and act a complete fool without being judged.

Day 19:
I'm thankful for naps and sleep.  I should do that now.

Day 20:
I'm thankful for my health. 

Day 21:
I'm thankful for my education.

Day 22:
I'm thankful for everyone that stops by, visits or finds something interesting or funny from my blog or facebook page.  I didn't start out knowing what I was doing and still not quite sure, but I'm thankful for everyone that supports me along the way.

Day 23:
I'm thankful for my cell phone, however worn out it may be. (I have the phone on the T-Mobile commercials)  I would be completely lost without it.  It's my phone book, calendar, portable Internet, alarm clock, photography studio and so much more.

Day 24:
I'm thankful for the beauty of nature.  Sometimes there's just nothing like being outside and taking it all in.

Day 25:
I'm thankful for creativity and individuality.  Life would be so boring without it.

Day 26:
I'm thankful for my mistakes.  They've made me smarter and stronger.

Day 27:
I'm thankful for second chances.  I can't count the times I've messed up and have been given the chance to do better or make it right.  For that, I'm grateful.

Day 28:
I'm thankful for the Internet.  Pinterest.  Facebook.  YouTube.  Web MD- Where else can I go at 3am to diagnose myself with some terrible disorder?

Day 29:
I'm thankful for food.  What can I say, I love to eat. 

Day 30:
I'm thankful for all the people that help to make this world go 'round.  The moms, the doctors, the teachers, officers, etc.  We all work together to make this world a better place.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Weekend And Our First 5k!

I woke up Saturday morning pumped! I was beyond excited. At 6:30, I was up cleaning and laying everybody's clothes out, probably making as much noise as possible.  They needed to wake up and get as excited as I was.

I got up and started getting ready.

I had re- twisted my hair in chunky twists trying to maintain a twist out.  I really didn't want to sweat it out during the run so I just kept the bonnet on under a baseball cap.

I was way too hyped up all morning.  I decided to go to Walmart and get something light for breakfast, because I figured we needed to eat just the right thing. (like we had been training or something)  We were out of fruit anyway and I knew the kids would need a snack.

I ended up just eating a pack of granola.
While I was at Walmart, I happened to pass the workout clothes. Uh-oh. I spotted one of those workout jackets.
I wanted that jacket.
I NEEDED that jacket.
That jacket was gone make me run like Sonya Richards-Ross.  Swoosh!

You know, I needed to look the part too.

After debating about it for 5 minutes, I said 'let me get out of this store.'

My husband laughed at me while I told him about the jacket and soon we were out the door. The kids were doing the 1 mile fun run. I figured Cate would breeze this and AJ would be dying.  Cate ran with me all the time.  AJ is usually dying from the mailbox to the front door.  I was so so wrong.

The kids were ready to race and when they said go, those kids shot out of there like firecrackers. I thought surely, they were about to burn their little bodies out.

This is Cate during the race and she was burnt out.

I managed to catch AJ about to cross the finish line.  He said, "That was a long way!"

I kept watching for Cate to come and she never did. I saw people that she was in front of cross the line and I was like 'where is Cate.'   So right after I marched off to go find my baby and before my panic attack set in good, AJ called me back and said there she is.
I looked and there was my baby, dead last, looking defeated. I walked the rest of the way with her and cheered her on. She burst into tears. One of her friends ran up and gave her a hug. I think she was upset she was last. She is such a go-getter.  I told her she did a great job and that I was proud of her.

She is still not happy but later got over it.  They walked across the street to the Farmer's Market with my niece and stuffed their faces full of kettle corn..

Soon it was our turn to go.  I was excited, nervous, everything!

When we got there, I was thrown off by everyone being in shorts and tanks. It was kind of cool outside.  Later, though, I understood.  About a mile in, I was stripping out those long sleeves and looking for a water station. 

We had some good bonding time during the race as well.  My husband and I are pretty much jokers so we laughed and cut up almost the whole race.  Someone with gray hair or a little kid would pass us, and he'd look at me crazy, talking about "Uh-uh, we got to beat them."

I was in such a good mood during the race and just so happy to be doing one, that I didn't even know where the finish line was.  I had stopped to talk, high five the kids and still have about 10 feet to go.  I heard my husband say, " Woman (what he calls me when I'm clearlynot paying attention or acting crazy), what you doing?  The finish line down here." 


"Just adding to my time!", he says.  LOL!  Finished at 45:50.  I'm shooting for 43 minutes next time.

We finally made it through the race. 
Somehow I forgot that we might actually want to eat afterwards.  I decided to go to the store vs. going to eat out.  My husband wanted a salad and the kids wanted me to make kale chips.
Am I the only one wanting a cheeseburger?

Kale chips and a Salad

I was feeling so good after the race and full of energy.  The kids went outside to feed the ducks, went fishing with friends, and we made a pit stop by the playground.
We even decided to leave the kids at grandma's later and headed to the movies.

The Best Man Holiday

It was a great movie.  It made you laugh and cry.  I love movies in general, but it's nice to watch movies with black cast members. ( not just the ones networks like to grace us with the limited presence during Black History Month.)  I actually find that pretty insulting, but whatever.
Hopefully, we can see the Hunger Games this weekend.  The line for it was ridiculous!

However, despite how good I felt on Saturday, by Sunday I felt all of those 3.1 miles.  Every bit of them.  I just laid in the bed like a log.  The hubs asked if I was going to church.  I'm like yeah yeah, not moving.  My legs were sore.  My back was sore.  I was dog tired.  I didn't want to do anything but we managed to make it.

After church on Sunday- This is what leaves were really meant for.

2 year olds are just hilarious

I really thought I was making the peace sign here and then I remembered I'm not left handed.  My natural hair, although I love it, is looking like someone's grandmother's wig.  lol. 
We're already planning to sign up for our next 5K next month.  A friend told me they were pretty addictive.  I think she was right.  Cate's thoughts, "No way!"
Any tips for the next 5K?  Let me know!

Paper Plate Streamer Turkey

Isn't that just the cutest little turkey?
We've been crafting away on this cold, rainy day.

Take a paper plate and cut it in two.  I cut it a little more than halfway.

Cut pieces of streamers.  I chose green, yellow and orange.

Glue them onto the bigger half of the paper plate.

Cut out the pieces for the face and glue on the front of the turkey.

Cut out two rectangles and cut out slanted triangles on the ends for the feet.  Turn the place over and tape them on the back.

Caleb's turkey

Cate's turkey
The originality and creativity of kids.  Love it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

DIY Turkey Shirt

Well, I have said I was going to make the kids a turkey shirt for a while and have never gotten around to doing it.  My pinterest board is full of  "I think I can" projects and I've only done maybe five of them. lol  So I finally decided that I was going to make one and this is how it turned out.

Brown, red, and orange felt,
Sewing machine or needle and thread,
Heat n bond,

First I free handed a turkey body on brown felt.

I cut out two but put the other one to the side.  You won't need it now.

I cut 7 inch pieces of ribbon.  I folded them in half and started playing with the colors and settled for this combination.

This had to be the trickiest part - pinning the ribbon in place without moving them around too much. It took me a while to do this because I kept accidentally moving the ribbon.   I decided to pin it from the front.  It was easier.

I began to sew around the turkey to hold the ribbon into place.  I hand sew it, not because my stitch is perfect, but because I was home alone and just had the time.

Next, I took the second turkey body and ironed a pieces of heat and bond on the back.

I put the second turkey body on top of the one with ribbon attached and ironed it together.

Next, on the same side, I just cut a piece of heat and bond and ironed it on the back.  You can just cut the shape of the turkey body but I found that kind of hard being that it was already attached.  So I just cut a bigger piece.

Then I flipped it over, positioned it on the shirt and ironed it down.

I drew and cut out the shapes for the face on felt.  I ironed them on to the heat and bond and cut them out.

I ironed them on to the turkey and was done.  I didn't stitch around the parts.  I just left it as it was.

And here's Miss Caitlyn in her turkey shirt!  She loved it!
Now I've got to make Caleb one.  He is going to have a handprint turkey shirt.  Hopefully, I'll make it before Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What Almost $50 Bought Me On Clearance At Walmart!

I think I've mentioned that I'm pretty frugal.  I like shopping but I don't like to spend a lot of money. 

The other day I went into Walmart to buy some stuff for my hair that is past due for washing and deep conditioning.  And I just haven't had the time or energy to do it.

I was also looking for some inexpensive items to put in our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, and to see what they had on sale for Christmas. 

I've always known about Walmart's clearance section and always stop by to check it out.  However, this day I saw my cousin in law in there and she was telling me about some baskets she had gotten.  So we ended up back in the clearance section looking for deals when the guy working back there mentioned that the items were 75% off their clearance price.

What!  That was music to my ears!

I spent so much time in Walmart, when I left I didn't remember where the car was parked or if I had even driven one. lol

So these are some pics of all the things I've managed to get in the trips because I went right back the next day and they had added more items.  I spent a total of $81.81 on everything pictured on this post.  The clearance items totaled at 53.30.

The hot pots -1.50 each are for the grandmas,
the paints - .62 each
toothbrushes -. 22 each
mini shampoos/conditioners -. 25/ .37 each
Leapfrog dry erase printing packs -.72 each
Box of neon glue sticks - .38
Triple tip markers - 1.00 each
glitter glues - .75 each
sticker album- .63
art box - 2.50
LED flex lights -.75 each
Pumpkin salt and pepper shakers - .57
And the candle holders (1.00 each),
 tablecloth I bought for myself costing .75

Most of these things will be for our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child that we will pack and drop off tomorrow.  A few will be stocking stuffers and the art box is for Caleb.


This was a part of the first shopping trip. None of this was on the clearance but this was stuff I came in to get.  I used a few coupons on these except for Cantu and deep conditioning packs. So this is extra, but I used 10.01 in coupons.


  I went back the next day to see if they had added anything else to the clearance section.  They did!

  • Vanilla hand soaps - .87 a piece. These will be teacher gifts this week. I usually go to bath and body works and get soaps/lotions for teachers but .87 times 6 sounds so much better than $3-5 times 6.

  • The 3 piece comforter set (5.25) and quilt (8.75) will also be Christmas gifts. I really wanted that quilt for myself, it was just too pretty.  Of course, I had absolutely no use for it and didn't need it, so I only got one.

  • The turtle stuffee with blankee were 2.50 and is for Caleb. (Christmas)

  • Those big notebooks (2) were 1.75 each. Decided to get those ahead of time for school. This was one of the one things AJ wanted for school this year and it costs me 10.00 - that was the lowest price I found

  •   toothbrushes - .24 (stocking up)

  •  sticker sets. -.63/ .75 (OCC)

  •   3 piece flexi cutting board - .75 (me) - Funny thing here, I was just in the store looking for cutting boards.  I don't have any and the kids always help in the kitchen.  I looked in two stores and was like, "I don't want to pay for that."

  •  kitchen utensils ( half of my measuring cups are gone) - .75 (me)

  • bead kit - .75 (stocking stuffer)

    The tablecloth is on the table.
    I'm on a high. 
    Fabulously Frugal

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Breaking The Chains

I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 10:10

Chains are strong and tough.  When chains are wrapped around something, it is almost impossible to get out of them without some extra means of help.  The job of a chain is to hold something, restrain something, detain, secure something into place, and/or to keep something from becoming loose or free.  Often times we have chains on us.  We have things in our lives that are trying to restrain us, hold us, and keep us from becoming free.  There are things in our life that are just hard to break away from.  It's hard to move forward and/or move at all with all theses chains on us.  Chains of anger, chains of defeat, chains of unworthiness, chains of poverty, chains of generational curses, chains of hurt and pain, chains over our relationships, marriages, finances, health...  Chains that need to be broken so they we can simply be free.  Free to move, free to live, free to rejoice and enjoy life.  How can we live an abundant life if we are always chained down? Jesus has given us life, now what are we going to do with it? 

Sometimes we allow people to put chains on us.  Somebody might say, "Oh you ain't gone ever be anything just like your mama or daddy."  "Oh, you can't do that."  We have to rise above these types of statements.  I was told I would never go to college because I had a baby when I was 18.  Not only did I go to college when most thought I wouldn't, I was sent personal letters to honors classes, invited to the University Honors Programs, made Dean's List and National Dean's List.  ( .15 points kept me from graduating Cum Laude)  It wasn't easy at all, but I did what everyone had stopped expecting of me.  I wasn't going to let the negativity of others imprison my mind and place chains of defeat on my life.  I had to rise above all that was surrounding me.  Jesus didn't die for me to live defeated and I wasn't going to be defeated.  The Bible says, we are more than a conqueror and to conqueror it, we shall.  It might take some time, some tears, some praying,  a lot of praying, but in due season...

We just have to realize that we need to be break all these chains over our lives.  I used to hold on to hurt and pain.  It literally crippled me.  For a long time, it was hard to even function.  I held back a lot.  I was always defensive and ready to put up a barricade against anybody and anything.  I had allowed myself to become so entangled in those chains that I thought I was going to stay there.  We have a tendency to hold our own selves in bondage.  Our actions are enslaved by our minds and our minds are enslaved by our hearts. 

We will talk our own selves into bondage.  "I ain't gone ever get out this mess."  I won't ever go anywhere in life."

If you don't see yourself FREE, then you surely not going to get there.  You have to be able to see yourself out of your situation.  There's a song that says.  "I hear the sounds of victory.  I know that things are going to change for me."  Notice that the song says I KNOW that things are going to change for me not I think they are.  You have to believe it to receive it, otherwise you gone end up stuck in that mess.  Cast your burdens on the lord.  Shoot.  I need to be delivered.  I need to be healed.  Release these chains, in the name of Jesus!  We don't have time for that!

So start breaking those chains in your life and instead of letting them hold you down, use them to pull up on and lift you higher. 


Monday, November 18, 2013

My Husband - The Competition, We've Registered For Our First 5k

One of my goals for this year was to do a 5k.  I say "do" because I cannot run one, not yet anyway.  There will likely be some running, walking and dying involved.  Ambulance on stand by please.

I just need to cross that finish line, no matter how many days it takes.

So I coaxed my hubby into doing the race with me.  My husband and I both ran track in high school.  He was a star, but I just needed something to do.  He even went to college on track scholarship.  hmph.  Let's say he's just turning this thing into a little competition.
 I picked that photo just so you can see the slyness of deception.  (Okay so maybe this was also one of the first ones on the computer without me having to dig for one.) 

Well, HIM has signed up for a gym membership and is at the gym every day or every other day on the treadmill. 

Now I haven't been to the track in a long time.  I've been trying to stick to my eating a whole lot better, lifting weights and a little bit of Zumba.  HIM walks in the door from the gym talking about "I shaved another minute off my mile today."

Shut. Yo.  Face!
He's even tried to get me to build a support team to walk/run with because he is going to leave me, honey.  Just laughing. 
There's even half eaten snicker bars in fridge.  Temptation.
Well, two can play that game. 
He had the nerve to tell me he's on diet.  So I've been tempting him with all KINDS of food.
Tonight I made him some smoked neck bones, rice and gravy, broccoli and cheese, green beans with bacon and biscuits.  So when he gets back from the gym ( yes he is at the gym right now), he'll have a good ole Sunday meal waiting for him.
The kids are even going to try the 1 mile fun run.  The race is this weekend.
LOL!  I'll let you know what happens this weekend!

International Festival, Fall Festival and A Baby!

I hope everyone had a good weekend.   We had a very busy one so I decided to bore entertain you with ours. 

For the past two weeks, we have been working on a project for the University International Festival.  Trying to help a 6th grader that "knows everything" is a challenge.  lol  It has been a bit of a pain, but we finally finished and it was ready to go.


Saturday was the International festival.  There were people and schools there representing many different countries.  I've always been fascinated by other cultures and the kids were very interested as well.
Our school 6th grade students represented Canada.


AJ educating "tourists" on Canadian trade.

The kids were panning for gold.

England- We were greeted by guards


AJ did not want to leave at all, but I was taking them to the school fall festival.  Of course, he's pretty much grown out of that, so he really didn't want to come.  So I left him and his dad and took the other two to the fall festival.

Cate ditched me when we got there to hang with her best friend.  So I spent my time running behind Caleb.  He had a blast and a meltdown when it was over.  We had missed nap.
Miss Caitlyn and her bestie

We had to do this like 20 times.

We stayed after it was over to help clean up.  I had volunteered to man a game booth but it took us too long to get there from the International Festival so I decided to be part of the clean up committee. 

Because we were so full of exhaustion energy we headed back over to the International Festival for more fun and to meet back up with the other halves. 

AJ resting in Saudi Arabia

Because I wasn't paying attention, I let Cate get out of the car with a trash bag half filled with kettle corn. Sinfully delicious.  I had to stay away.

Hawaiian dancers

Thanks to ackeeandmangu for suggesting the leggings with this dress!  I never wear leggings and I honestly was just going to give the dress away because it was too short.

We also helped to clean up here when it was over.  I should count this as a workout.  I was so tired I went to sleep sitting straight up on the sofa, computer in lap. lol

I had really wanted to go and see The Best Man Holiday that night but we were completely exhausted and the hubs had to get a tire fixed on his truck.  Hopefully, we can go and see it next weekend.  Everyone keeps talking about how good it is.  It's driving me crazy!


Sunday our church traveled to South Carolina to sing.  I still haven't rejoined the choir yet, although I sometimes practice with the praise and worship team.  Pastor preached on how we as Christians sometimes try to make things fit with us (in our lives) that just don't go.  She always delivers a great message.

Previously taken pic of my wonderful Pastor.  I take pictures all day long of everybody.  It's part of the reason my phone is going haywire.
Babies!  Babies!  Babies!
 After we made it back home, we went straight to the hospital to visit the newest member of the family.

Our little cousin Jada arrived yesterday. She is precious!
I bet you thought I was making an announcement, didn't you!
However, I have been in contact with way too many bittie babies all week.  I literally have baby on the brain. 
 Especially since this one is all "I already know how to do it, mommy!"  with his hand all put up like a stop sign every time I try to help with anything.


It's was a busy fun weekend as usual.  How was yours?  Did you see the Best Man Holiday?