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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Living Proof Live Simulcast Giveaway

Well... congratulations Jennifer. :)

~~~~~~

You may or may not have heard that Beth Moore is doing a simulcast Living Proof Live event on September 18, 2010. As it turns out, our church is a host site this time around.

Now, I don’t share a lot of personal information like this on the blog (for obvious reasons), so I’m not telling you what church it is. However, if you know me in real life, you know what church I go to. And if you don’t, suffice it to say that it is in the Mid-Cities area of the DFW Metroplex.

Here’s the deal. I purchased two tickets. One for me and one to bless one of you sweet darlin’ thangs (as Mama Beth would say). So if you live in the DFW Metroplex or Mid-Cities area, or can get here easily for the day, please enter this giveaway. I’d just love to go to this event with a friend.

How to enter:

Just leave a comment on this blog post telling me if you have ever been to a Living Proof Live event before (if so, where) and what is your favorite Bible study or book that Beth Moore has written (if you have done/read any) along with how you allowed it to change you/your life. If you’re like, “huh?” then tell me why you want to go to this Living Proof Live event.

Oh, and be sure to leave an email address where I can contact you.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

I will close comments on this post at noon on Friday. I will then randomly select a winner.

If you don’t win and are interesting in purchasing a ticket, they are $20 for the whole day event, including lunch/snacks. You can email me directly for more information. Or you can probably go out to the Lifeway website and look for a host church closer to your home.

PS – if you know me and know what church I go to, please don’t mention the name of it in your comments. Thanks.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Need a sound effect? Just ask a Kindergarten boy.

On Friday, Sarah went to a girl-friend’s slumber party where they were going to do their own version of Cupcake Wars instead of traditional birthday cake.  Totally cute idea, in my opinion. 

However, the thought of Sarah being at a party and spending the night without him was just almost more than Nathan could bear (bare?  oh I don’t know).  So we decided to invite a friend over to play for the evening and then we could go out for pizza. 

I have noticed in the last few years that one of the biggest differences between my son and daughter was the increased amount of sound effects that come from him.  With boys, it seems, everything has a sound effect. 

Nathan was making car sounds as he pushed his little toddler toys since before he was a year old.  In recent years, however, the volume of sounds that he has learned and practices on a consistent basis has grown exponentially.  And after seeing Star Wars for the first time this summer… oh my… everything sounds like a blaster these days.

Girls, in my experience, even girls that are “tom-boys” just don’t do this.

So picture the scene with me.  Friday evening, we have two Kindergarten boys in the back seat of the car as we are on the way to get pizza for dinner.  And this is what we heard the entire ride.

Mike and I just could not stop laughing. 

Moms of boys (or MOB Society as we call ourselves), have you experienced this?

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Major Award - Thanks Betty Crocker

My man called me at work yesterday afternoon and said that a box had arrived for me. I knew I was expecting a major award. Could this be it???



It was!!!



Betty Crocker picked 100 of their Twitter followers to receive a prize. I just didn't know it would be this big.





There are 5 cake mixes, 3 muffin mixes, 3 tubs of icing and one very cute red Betty Crocker spoon all inside a handy bag.



I know, I know... I usually don't use pre-packaged mixes any more. But they come in handy every once in a while. I do live in the real world after all. And when you're teaching your kids how to cook, the occasional cake mix works really well to teach them how to follow directions without a lot of ingredients to mix up.

So, thank you so much Betty Crocker. You blessed me so much today. (And you may have just solved my after school snack idea for the girls' Bible study I'm hoping to start with the girls in my daughter's grade.)

Y'all have a sweet weekend. It looks like I will!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Let the school year begin

Ok. It's official. I'm the mom of a 4th grader and a Kindergartener.




Where, oh WHERE did the time go?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Three thousand twenty-six

If you follow me on Twitter or on my Facebook page, you might have seen that I was on a bit of a road-trip last week.  Actually, “a bit of a road-trip” might actually be the understatement of the year.

Our church has a partnership with a church in North Dakota and ministers to their community alongside them.  A group from our church makes the two day drive every June to do a VBS and in August to do an Operation Back to School carnival for the kids on the Standing Rock Reservation. 

Earlier this summer, I decided that it was time for us to begin introducing Sarah to such mission endeavors, so she and I went with our church group to North Dakota to do Operation Back to School then decided to take a little side trip afterwards.

We drove for two days to get up there.  And saw a lot of this.

100_9173 We did an appreciation brunch for the teachers and staff of the elementary school on Wednesday morning.  Sarah and I had been asked to sing a song.  She was dealing with a little bit of nerves, so we asked a friend to sing along with us.  We did the song “For Good” from the musical Wicked and she just did wonderfully.  I was so proud of her for overcoming her nerves to minister in that way.

Sarah and a couple of other girls around her age did face painting for the carnival that we did for the kids at the elementary school as they came to meet their teachers.  Clearly she needed to practice and since both my cheeks and arms and hands were full, our pastor donated his forehead to the cause.

100_9208She and I left on Wednesday afternoon and headed back toward South Dakota for our couple of days of vacation.  Just a few highlights and things you ought to consider doing if you head that way:

We enjoyed the fields of sunflowers as we drove through South Dakota.  I know that Kansas is supposed to be the sunflower state, but we saw WAY more in SD.  Sometimes the fields of yellow went as far as the eye could see.

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We made it to Mount Rushmore on Wednesday night in time to see the lighting ceremony.  It was so moving as they played a movie that was very "Rah! Rah! America!"  I cried as the faces lit up at the end of the movie while “America, the Beautiful” was playing.  Then they had the former and current military personnel go up on stage to take down the flag, fold it and pass it among each one of them.  As the woman who was directing the program thanked them for their service, she got choked up which just added to the poignancy of the moment.

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We went back to Rushmore the next day and did the audio walking tour that was really good and very interesting.   I took WAY too many pictures.

100_9303(As a side note, you only pay for parking and your parking pass is good for the entire calendar year.  So we only paid for parking once.  Therefore I highly suggest going to the lighting ceremony the night before then doing the walking tour the next morning before it gets too hot.) 

It was the week of the Sturgis Motorcycle rally and people tried hard to talk us out of our trip to Rushmore, but I am glad they did not.  The presence of the bikers was not a big deal at all.  It was comical, even, as we just heard this low rumble of Harley Davidsons echoing among the Black Hills almost the whole time we were there. 

100_9342  100_9329This red light found us behind an entire line of bikes.

We stayed in Hot Springs, SD which is due south of Rapid City on the south end of the Black Hills.  In town, there is a mammoth excavation site that was really interesting.  This is Sarah holding a cast model of a mammoth jawbone.

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We also toured the Wind Cave, which was really interesting.  It was about 1 1/2 hour long tour and we went about 200 feet below the ground by the end of it.  The Ranger that was our guide turned out the lights for just a few minutes at one point just to demonstrate how dark it really is down there which can be a little scary for little ones.  But overall, it was really neat.

I also took her swimming at Evans Plunge in Hot Springs one afternoon.  It’s an indoor/outdoor pool with about 3 water slides.  It was the perfect break in our day after touring Mount Rushmore.

There was so much more even still we could have done in the Black Hills.  But alas, our time was up and it was time to head home.

On our drive up, I saw a sign for a Wizard of Oz museum.  My one thought was, “We can’t be here and NOT do that.”  And after seeing a Wizard of Oz alarm clock in a truck stop in Salina, Sarah was dead-set on having one.  I put her off and told her they would have one at the museum.  However, they did not.  So we went back out of our way again to go back through Salina and find that truck stop.  Ahhh, the things we do, right?

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I will say that the one thing I was not prepared for on this trip was the spotty cell phone coverage.  I had been warned that I would not have any service while we were in North Dakota, but I was not prepared for the same situation the rest of the trip.  Just a word of advice… if you decide to take a road trip up through the mid-section of the country, please take a pre-paid long distance phone card with you.  You will be glad you did.

The two things I wanted for this trip to accomplish was to a) introduce Sarah to missions with something tangible that she could get her mind around; and 2) have some good quality mom/daughter time with her for an extended length of time before the dreaded pre-teen stuff really hits over the next year or two. 

In my opinion, both objectives were accomplished.  And I would highly recommend doing something similar with your daughter if you have the opportunity. 

So you may be thinking, “That sounds like an awful lot of driving just to do those two things.”  Well, you ain’t kiddin.  Just to prove the point I took two pictures of the odometer.  The first at the beginning of the trip  on Monday morning and the second after we pulled into the driveway Saturday night. 

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The Monday morning picture was taken after we were on the road for about 15-20 minutes, so for the sake of argument, I’m going to take about 15 miles off the odometer at that point.  So we would have started the trip at about 108,400 miles.  We ended the trip at 111,426 miles. 

All told, I drove 3,026 miles.

And each was totally worth it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kitchen face-lift {part one} – The Before

We have decided that home improvement stores ought to just go ahead and sell cans of worms at the check-out stands where you find the candy, drinks and other impulse buys.  Because you get something in mind that you need to do… oh, like paint a hallway for instance.  Then when you go to the store you begin to think of something else to do while you’re at it… like scrape the popcorn texture off the ceiling. 

And before you know it, you’ve opened up a can of worms and the kitchen is getting a face-lift. 

Our story could really be another in Laura Numeroff’s series of children’s books.  It could be called, “If you give a man a paintbrush…”

If you give a man a paintbrush, he’ll want to paint the hallway where you had to repair that hole in the wall.  So you’ll have to buy him some paint.  While looking at paint colors, he’ll look at the old popcorn texture on the ceiling and decide that he might as well scrape that off and re-texture and paint the ceiling while he’s at it.  And while he’s looking at the ceiling, he’ll remember that it joins in with the wood paneled ceiling in the kitchen and he’ll decide he ought to go ahead and replace that also.  Along with the lights…..

You get the idea.

So I decided I’d take you along on this face-lift journey with us.

This is my kitchen:

100_9023Our house was built in 1980, complete with wall to wall (and ceiling) wood paneling.  We have only lived here since 2006 so we don’t know the exact history, but by the looks of it we believe a kitchen face-lift may have been done by some previous owners back in the early 90’s.  We talked with the woman that we purchased the house from and we know that she did not do anything to the kitchen, so it would have been at least two owners ago.

It’s by no means my “dream kitchen.”  I sometimes complain about it a little and my dad gave me some good perspective a little while back by saying, “If it turns out food this good, it can’t be all bad.”

100_9026It’s not all that bad, really.  I mean it works and totally gets the job done.  All the appliances work fine.  But it is far from perfect or visually appealing to us.  We replaced the dishwasher not long after moving in out of necessity and really just have not had the time or money to do anything else to it.

We dream of doing a major remodel to it some day that could include knocking out walls and dropping in a professional grade stainless steel dual fuel Viking range.  But that day is not today. 

100_9020What we’re able to do right now is going to cost us WAY more in sweat equity than actual dollars.  In fact, we’re hoping to get everything done that we want to do with our birthday money this year. 

Our list includes new lights, back splash, and paint on the cabinets, walls and ceiling.

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Things that will go:

The wood panel ceiling and fluorescent lights.  The number one project and thing that has to go is these fluorescent lights and the accompanying wood paneling on the ceiling.  Nothing says 1980 like a wood paneled ceiling and fluorescent tube lights.  Taking out the paneling will lighten up the room quite a bit I think and in the process of taking out the lights, the ceiling will be raised just a little to open the space up just a little.

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The backsplash.  It doesn’t bother me as much visually as it does my husband.  I think the hand painted herbs are kind of cute.  But he is dead-set against this tile.  So new backsplash will be going in.

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The knobs on the cabinet doors.  I hate these brass ones.  They’re being replaced for sure with some kind of brushed stainless steel looking ones.

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Things that have to stay:

The red granite counter top.  This counter top is not what I would pick if I were doing a kitchen from scratch, but it is just not feasible for us to drop the money on new granite right now.  Because it’s staying, many of our design and color choices have to be made with this red granite in mine. 

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The floor.  As much as I’d love to chip up all that red-ish tile, it’s just not going to happen right now.  The tile covers not only the kitchen, but the eating area and the entire way down the hall to the garage.  That’s a lot of tile.  And a lot of expense in both money and time that we just cannot afford at this point.  We’ll have to save that project for another day.

100_9025The cabinets.  They are in pretty sad shape in places.  The drawers don’t slide well any more, there is this AWESOME decorative edge straight out of 1980 around some of the lower cabinets and there are some places where they are coming apart as evidenced in the picture.

We obviously can’t afford all new cabinetry.  So for now we will give them a new coat of paint (because boy are they chipped up pretty bad right now) and hopefully try to spruce them up and fix some of the major problems that they currently have.

 

So please forgive me if I’m not around very much over the next month or two.  If I’m not at work, I’m probably helping my hubby or keeping the kids out of his way.  And the kitchen will be fairly closed as far as cooking goes over the next several weeks.  I won’t be baking any bread for my Bread Baker’s Apprentice challenge and this is also the reason that I mentioned I would not be officially doing my Cook’s Illustrated challenge this month.  I don’t know about you, but I prefer my food without sheetrock dust in it. 

I just realized that I didn’t show you any pictures of the hallway that started this whole mess.

*sigh*

Tell me that we’re not the only ones who get sucked in to this whole “can of worms” thing at the home improvement store.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Zing Zang Zoom!

What a fun show. 

If you have the opportunity to see the Ringling Bros. Zing Zang Zoom show for this year, I highly recommend it.  We went on the opening night here in Dallas this past Wednesday.

There was plenty of clowning around…

IMG_0013 IMG_0012

And speaking of clowns, I felt like the clowns had a more prominent presence in the show this year over last year.  Somehow I just felt like I didn’t get to see enough of the clowns last year.  But I LOVED their acts this year. 

There were, as there always are, elephants …

IMG_0052 And these elephants are just amazing.  Several of them balanced up on their trunk at one point.

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A nice addition to this year’s show was the illusions performed by the main host guy (the guy you would consider the “ringmaster” but since there weren’t technically rings this year, I can’t remember what they called him).  Several animals disappeared, and as you can see below, a tiger appeared in this box at the beginning of the tiger portion of the show.

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The incorporation of the illusions inspired a lot of wonder and amazement from kids and adults alike.  At one point he had three kids and their parents come out of the crowd.  Everyone in the audience helped out with their arms stretched forward and using their “mysterious fingers” causing the parents to levitate.  It was precious to see my own kids getting in on the act.

There were some amazing acrobats…

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After this trick I said to Nathan, “That was awesome!”  He paused and said, “No. That was dangerous.”  No kidding.  My husband and I have decided that we’ve got nothing on these adrenaline junkies. 

I have no pictures of what we felt like was one of the best acts… the dogs.  There were some seriously awesome canines, including some insane Jack Russell Terriers, performing.

And, well, being the softies that we are, there were wicked awesome swords and toys to be had.

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I’ll be honest, we were pretty disappointed that there were no motorcycles this year.  We’ve been to the circus a lot of times and I can’t remember ever going to a show that didn’t involve motorcycles.  And I assumed with the word “Zoom” in the title of the show this year that motorcycles or some kind of vehicle would be there. 

But thankfully, I think the boy was distracted enough with his wicked awesome sword that he didn’t really notice too much.

If you’re interested in some discount tickets, go to this previous blog post to get a code to use when ordering tickets. 

But hurry.  Zing Zang Zoom is only in Dallas until August 8th and then will be in Fort Worth for the week following that.  And speaking of Fort Worth, there will be a Parade of Pachyderms in downtown Fort Worth in the evening on August 10th as they gear up for opening night.  Don’t miss it.

Note: Please forgive the poor picture quality.  My real camera was rendered useless when my batteries died before we ever got into the show.  All these pictures were taken with my phone.

Disclaimer:  I received tickets from Ringling Bros. for my family and myself for opening night.