Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Choose Your Own Adventure DVD

As a kid, I devoured the choose-your-own adventure books. I would choose one adventure then go back and pick a different one, until I had exhausted all of the options. And if for some reason I missed a section, I would go back and read it, just for fun. I know, I was a weird kid!

And now, imagine how surprised I was when I found out they made DVDs in the choose-your-own adventure style! I had no idea it was even possible. I received a copy of TripFLIX as a member of Team Mom and finally had a chance to sit down and watch it.

It was pretty cool. The first menu lets you choose a region of the US to start a road trip. I picked the South, since I live there and figured I'd have an idea of how accurate it was. Then, you pick an ending destination. I picked the South again because I was short on time.

My journey started with a visit to the Orioles baseball stadium, hosted by teenagers Alex and Emily. Then, we had some SC trivia before moving onto visiting Rock City.

The hosts are friendly and I think they would definitely appeal to a pre-teen, but this concept might be a bit young for anyone 13 or older (at least if they went to public school). :)

I enjoyed watching the journey and seeing where we would go next. Per the Trip Flix website:

With twenty five exciting destinations, interactive trivia games, blooper reels, and even a lesson on how to do the “TripFLIX cha-cha-cha,” there’s something for everyone !

TripFLIX contains over two hours of fun, educational, family-friendly content to enjoy while traveling or crerate a vacation in your own home.
At $19.99 it might be a little expensive for one-time use, but since you can view it several times and pick a new itinerary each one, it would probably be worth it. My daughter is too young for this video now, so I'll be giving my copy to a certain young lady who is getting ready to start at a new school in a few weeks! (but you have to e-mail me so I know you really do read my blog!)

Favicon Courtesy of Blogger Buster

Quick!

Look of the top left portion of your screen?

See anything new up there?

Yep! That's right, I created and inserted my own favicon. I followed the easy-peasy instructions at Blogger Buster and now I have added to my brand recognition!

Thanks Blogger Buster!

So Busy!

As you probably know (unless you live under a rock), there are a whole heckuva lot of giveaways going on right now. And while I'm trying to be a good momma, I've been a little busy participating in this festival of free.

So... no original blog post for now. Get thee over to the Carnival and enter to win some freebies.

Oh, and we are going to our first play group this morning! I promise to post about it later... once I've entered all the giveaways!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Win Free Cereal

This giveaway is closed. Winners will be announced later this weekend.

I've definitely been on the giveaway wagon recently and am glad to be participating in the Fall Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. For this giveaway, I have FOUR (yes, you read that right - 4 winners!) full-price coupons for a new cereal from General Mills. Per their marketing, this cereal "combines great-tasting chocolatey puffs with vanilla puffs, a classic combination that kids love. Even better, Cocoa Puffs Combos is made with whole grain and is a good source of Calcium and Vitamin D."

I love cereal. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and as a snack in between all of those. I am particularly fond of Lucky Charms. The crunchy combined with the sweet marshmallows gets me every time.

All you have to do to enter is tell me what your favorite cereal is and leave some way for me to contact you, either through a blog or e-mail.

This giveaway is open to US residents only (because I don't think they sell this yet in China, and besides, would they accept the coupons there anyway??).

Check out the main Bloggy Giveaways site for more chances to win great stuff.

Giveaway provided courtesy of General Mills.
Photos courtesy of John Steele, via Flickr.

Monday Meditation - Week 2

For the past week, every time I found my brain slipping into my habit of thinking obsessing about the next meal, I remembered the verse I shared with you last week. It was such a blessing for me to have Jesus' words as an anchor when I began to get myself into mental trouble over food.

For this week's meditation, I wanted to think more about how God abundantly provides for the needs of those called by him. I remembered the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 and decided to read it again, with fresh eyes.  Here are verses 12-14, which is what I want to concentrate on for this meditation.
When they were full, He told His disciples, "Collect the leftovers so that nothing is wasted." So they collected them and filled 12 baskets with the pieces from the five barley loaves that were left over by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign He had done, they said, "This really is the Prophet who was to come into the world!" Therefore, when Jesus knew that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.
During the time of this event, Jesus was getting tired. He had withdrawn to spend time with his disciples before the end came near yet people still followed him. Jesus had important things he wanted to tell the disciples, but he first had to address the thousands of people who were waiting for a word of healing from him.

So, despite his weariness and his need for alone time, Jesus met the people where they were, which was with him. He set aside his own desires for a brief time so that the crowd may have some nourishment. Why did he do this? I don't really know for sure, because if it had been me, I'd have asked them why they didn't plan ahead and pack their own dang lunch. Fortunately for all the sinners in the world, I am not the Messiah - Jesus is.

First, Jesus let the people eat until full, not just a snack, but until FULL. His miracle created such an abundance that no one was leaving the least bit hungry. Jesus met their need fully. I don't want to over-spiritualize this, but it is important to me that he gave them the fullness of what their stomach needed, even though he knew they would also need him.

Second, he did not want to waste any of the leftover bread. Is this an environmental message? I don't know, but I think it does address being a good steward of what we are given, even if it is free. This week I will try to be more cautious about what I decide to throw away.

Third, this was one in a long string of miraculous signs given by Jesus. People had been following him because of these signs. Why is that only now, they are claiming he is the Prophet? Is it because they saw the miracle with their own eyes? I have the true and accurate testimony of the Bible to this and many more wonderful miracles, so I should know even more than they that Jesus is the Prophet.

Finally, what is that therefor there for? I think it is there to signal the end of the feeding story and to show us that Jesus has moved on from this interruption to finish his time preparing for the end. (My husband taught me to ask this question when reading biblical text, though I don't think I've mastered it yet.)

I'd love for you to share what you have been meditating on this week. Either leave a comment below, or write your own post and share the link with the rest of us. Or feel free to share your own thoughts on this passage. Did I miss something important, or do you have some other insight that you think I could benefit from?
Image courtesy of Allposters.com

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Her Birthday is Almost Here

We have less than 2 weeks left until I become the mom of a toddler. I can hardly believe that almost an entire year has passed since I labored to bring her into this world.

She has accomplished so much in this short amount of time and I have been thrilled to share all of her milestones with you.

While I continue to plan her birthday celebration, I'd like to ask all of my readers to share a piece of advice, a touching memory, or a funny story about her (or her parents), with Charlotte for her to enjoy when she is old enough to understand, and then again when she is really old enough to understand.

You can leave her a note in a comment to this post or write her a note by your own hand. But whatever you do, you have 12 days left to get it done. I'll be the mom of a toddler then and she will no longer be Baby Sabin!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Links for the Week

  1. It's Lovely, I'll Take It - If you are interested in how to sell a house, then this blog is for you. You can learn what NOT to do in choosing your listing's photographs.
  2. Keyword Rich Articles - If you are writing in order to have Google traffic come and find you, then this should be the next thing you read. I'm going to brush up on my SEO skills as well.
  3. July Write-Away Winners - I didn't enter Michelle's writing contest this month, but her winning entry sure made me feel like Wonder Woman!
  4. Activities for Baby - This list of things will be keeping us busy for the next 12 months!
  5. A Love for Missions Starts at Home - I am so far from the kind of mom I need to be to help Charlotte be part of a new generation of zealots, but I am working on it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Charlotte Needs - Another Google Exercise

Inspired by Esme's mommy, I did a google search for "Charlotte Needs" just to find out what she might be needing right now. Here are the top 13 results:
  1. Charlotte needs YOU. She needs you to love her and to comment on her mommy's blog. Really, go ahead, leave a comment. :)
  2. Charlotte needs volunteers. Maybe she is organizing a big birthday party for her daddy and needs to recruit some help?
  3. Charlotte needs repairs. Is she broken? You'd think I would know that! What does she need repaired?
  4. Charlotte needs to control fans. Well, she does like to stare at the fans and the lights in the ceiling. And I bet if she could reach them, she'd have fun turning the wall switches on and off.
  5. Charlotte needs mass transit, like, now. Yeah, totally dude. Let's ditch the cars and save the earth!
  6. Charlotte needs to look beyond banks. Of course, she is storing her treasures up in heaven.
  7. Charlotte needs to tell. "Go tell it on the mountain. Over the hills and everywhere. Go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is Lord." Done.
  8. Charlotte needs a special helmet. What for? Is Daddy planning on taking her on her first motorcycle trip for her birthday?
  9. Charlotte needs to go to the East Coast this fall. Done. We've already booked a place near Cocoa. It will be her first time at the beach.
  10. Charlotte needs more money. For her namesake's offering? $170 million sure is a lot of money!
  11. Charlotte needs psychiatric care. Huh? Must have been a different Charlotte. She hasn't been around quite long enough to require this yet. Let's give her a few more years, okay?
  12. Charlotte needs to learn how to be a mother. Of course, but let me figure it out first. She still has plenty of time.
  13. Charlotte needs more murals. I have been considering something like this for her bedroom... maybe she is reading my mind!
Find more Thursday 13 fun here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Note to Self

This giveaway is closed. Winners will be announced later this weekend.

Warning: Since I typically have a family-friendly blog, I want to let my readers know that this post is not safe for little eyes.

Have you ever sat down with a new friend and found you stayed up way too late talking about every subject under the sun? Discussing religion, careers, and yes, even sex, even though you've only known each other for a very short period of time?

That is what it was like for me to read Note to Self - On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits, by Samara O'Shea. Once I started it, I felt like Samara and I were just hanging out on my couch, sipping decaf lattes and having a conversation. (Okay, Samara might be sipping something harder, but I'm still nursing.) It was that easy to read.

The basic premise of her newest book is teaching people how to write in a journal, by sharing her own journal entries.

Personally, she wrote for therapy, sharing "A journal is an effective way to peel back the fleshy onion layers and get to the center of yourself - bear in mind that there can be tears involved when handling an onion." But she is quick to point out that there are several different ways to journal and shares ideas with you about how to find your journal niche. There is even a chapter on writing specialty journals, for recording your dreams or your travels.

I especially liked her ideas about using your journal to write letters that will never be sent. I don't keep a journal (other than this blog) but often write letters that I never send. Heck, I often write blog posts I never publish. It just makes me feel better to work my thoughts out on paper, er, I mean the keyboard.

My only real beef with this book is the amount of space the topic of sex takes up. It might just have been my imagination (I didn't take the time to go back and count), but Samara shares more juicy details than I thought was necessary for a book on how to keep a journal. In the end though, these salacious entries actually cause the book to read a bit like an auto-biography instead of a journaling how-to. That isn't necessarily a bad thing... but you probably won't be giving this book to a teenage girl who loves to write in her diary (unless you want her to read about blowing a line, going down on a boy, or masturbating)

Despite all of this, I really enjoyed the book. I hope you will too, so I am giving away my copy. If you want a chance to win my copy for free, then leave a comment below. (I know, 3 giveaways in 1 week!) I'll draw a winner sometime after 5 pm on Thursday, July 30th.

Head back over the the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival for more chances to win great stuff.

Disclaimer: I had the privilege to receive an advance copy of Note to Self - On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits, from Harper Collins Publishing. If you are interested in reviewing books for your own blog, let me know in the comments and I will send you the information.

Lesson Learned

I learned an important lesson this week... don't let someone else host the images that comprise your blog design!

I still haven't heard from Mia at The Blog Cafe despite contacting her through 3 different channels. I guess she is no longer in the blog design business.

So, while I hang out with the Minima Blogger template for now, any suggestions for where I can create my own blog design for free?

Practice Cake #2

Last week, I made my first practice cake for Charlotte's 1st birthday (it's less than 3 weeks away!). I am mainly focusing on the way the cake looks since I've never had any trouble making a boxed cake taste good. cake 2nd try 001

Tonight, I made my second attempt. This time we are using Carrot Cake with a buttercream frosting between the layers and as a crumb coat around the rest of the cake. I've seen the pros on the Food Network Challenges do this, so I did it too.

cake 2nd try 002Next, I added my cornflower blue dye to the fondant and put it on a cookie sheet to knead. I completely and totally underestimated how hard it would be to knead the fondant. I coated my hands and the sheet with confectioner's sugar, per the fondant box instructions.

I forgot to check my mom's cake 2nd try 003cabinets for a rolling pin before I began this experiment and then when I did (after I dyed the fondant), I found she didn't have one. So, I improvised. The can of cooking spray did a fine job of rolling out the fondant, even if it did leave some marks from the base and from the lid.

Like an amateur cake decorator, I wrapped my fondant around the can of spray and then artfully laid it over the top of my cake.


Preparing the Fondant from Jennifer S on Vimeo.

This is what it looked like after the fondant was trimmed up and some minor smoothing took place.

cake 2nd try 005


Final Product from Jennifer S on Vimeo.

The cow and the moon are practice versions... I plan to do a much better job for the real cake.

After all that, Bruce and I both enjoyed a slice of cake with an ice cold glass of milk.

100_6463

Monday, July 21, 2008

Giggle Print

This giveaway is closed. Winners will be announced later this weekend.

EDIT: I've decided to extend this giveaway until July 30th in order to include it in the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival.

I found a new website for printing 250 free business cards. It is called Giggle Print and is a lot like Vista Print, only I thought the choices for the free cards were a little more fun.

This afternoon I ordered my free cards in a simple swirl design. I designed them to be my new Mommy Calling Cards. It took less than 10 minutes total and I only had to pay $5.25 for shipping and handling. Then, when my order was complete, I was given a Giggle Print coupon code for 25% off my next order (GPU001).

I liked it so much, that, in a completely random move, I've decided to pay the cost of US shipping for one lucky reader! All you have to do is leave a comment below saying you want into the drawing. I will randomly select 1 person by Friday night. All the winner will have to do is forward me their receipt and I will send them the $5.25 via Paypal. (Must have or be willing to open a Paypal account to win.)

No purchase necessary to win... but you will have to order your free cards in order to get the $5.25. (And I don't care if you wait to order them until after you found out if you won or not.)

Disclaimer: I discovered GigglePrint via the FrogPond at Buzz Agent. I am not compensated for this post, but I do earn credit for everyone that clicks through the links in this post.

Monday Meditation - Week #1

I've decided to begin a new series of posts in which I will share my meditations on certain passages of Scripture. Specifically, I want to start by looking at passages that deal with our bodies and how God tells us to care for them.

Since I as a teenager, I've had issues with controlling my weight, mostly because I have not been able to control my eating habits. I shared with my husband this morning that I am often planning when, what, and where the next meal will be. It is taking mental energy away from higher pursuits and I need to get this part of my thought life under control. That is why I have chosen this passage for Week #1:
"This is why I tell you: Don't worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: they don't sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you worth more than they? ...So don't worry , saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we wear?' For the idolaters eagerly seek these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6: 25-26, 31-34 (HCSB)
I know it is long, but there is so much good stuff in here! If you are already familiar with this passage, then stop, take a breathe, and try to read it for the first time.

Done? Me too.

First, is a command from Jesus to not worry! That is an awesome command that is incredibly difficult to follow. I am a programmed worrier, have been since I was a child and had to stay up until my parents came home, just so I knew they were safe.

As a homemaker, I do need to plan to the extent that I should ensure there is nutritious food in the house and that I purchased it at a good price (see Proverbs 31). However, I should follow the example of the birds and not spend an ounce more energy than necessary on the task of food prep.

Unfortunately, even in church yesterday, as I was reflecting on this very passage, I kept thinking about where we would go to lunch. Clearly this is a good passage for me to meditate on this week.


Second, Jesus reiterates how valuable we (humans) are to him (relative to birds). I must remember that my body is God's and is to be used in His service, not to serve my own gluttonous desires.


Third, if I seek God first, then he will provide all of my needs. RC Sproul pointed out in his sermon this week (we were visiting) that when Jesus says first here, he doesn't mean first as an order of activity, like first seek God, then seek shelter, then food and clothing. Instead, Sproul says that God means first as a matter of priority. That was a very powerful realization for me. I think unconsciously, I was putting God first among my activities, instead of my priorities. And even then, he wasn't always first on my to do list, if you know what I mean.

I'd love for you to share what you have been meditating on this week. Either leave a comment below, or write your own post and share the link with the rest of us.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New Haircut

I've wanted to get a slightly new style for a while now. Finally, last weekend, Bruce agreed to push Charlotte around the mall in a stroller while I gave my locks some TLC.

Misty, at JC Penney's, gave me this cut, and I think it is cute and fun. Plus, she showed me how to tame the new baby hair growing at the front of my hairline. My hair will always have a little frizz, and I am coming to terms with that, but it is nice to know how to smooth out the front parts so I can make a decent first impression.


Do you have any idea how hard it is to take a picture of the back of your head?!

Lottie Moon

While we were on vacation in June, our family visited the First Baptist Church of Charlottesville. This is the church in which Lottie Moon Diggs, our daughter's namesake, was baptized.

It was a special day trip for us for sentimental reasons. We took several pictures and I am glad to finally have a chance to share them with you.lottie 1

Inside the sanctuary, this church has plaques commemorating several past members of their congregation. After we stopped into the church office, they took us to see the plaque for Lottie Moon.

lottie 18

Next, we visited the Lottie Moon Prayer Garden. It was a peaceful place surrounded by tall trees.

lottie16

There is a commemorative stone across from the bench. The plaque on the bench reads:

Born Dec. 12, 1840 at Viewmont in Southern Albemarle County. Accepted Christ as Savior and was baptized at lottie 15First Baptist Church, Charlottesville, VA on December 22, 1858. Accepted God's call to missions in China. Departed for the mission field Sept. 1, 1873 and served faithfully for 39 years until her lottie12death on her way home, December 24, 1912. A quotation from the margin of her Bible -

"Words do fail to express my love for this book, my gratitude for its Author, for his love and goodness: how shall I thank him for it?"

It was incredibly moving for me to be there and feel the impact of our decision to name our daughter after this woman who gave her life to the service of the Chinese people.

Charlotte is too young to really know it now, but I am fully aware that our little girl is watching us. She is watching to see if our love for Jesus is real or if we just named her Charlotte Moon to show off for others. My daily prayer is that I remain passionate about the right things, not so my Charlotte can grow up to follow Lottie to China, but so she will follow Lottie to heaven.

lottie 14

I plan to follow John Piper's advice for 10 ways to help kids love missions.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sorry

Apparently, the Photobucket account that hosted my background images has exceeded its bandwidth. I've contacted the designer and hopefully we can get a solution in place soon.

Until then, Blogger Minima it is!

Pucker Up

We've been trying to catch Charlotte doing this on camera for a while now. No one taught her this skill (that we know of), she just figured it out on her own. Then, the smiles and laughter came, so she kept doing it!

In this clip, Bruce is feeding her strawberry yogurt.

video

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sleeping Baby

The other day Charlotte fell asleep in my lap. The moment was so precious that I didn't want to forget it, so in good blogger fashion, I am memorializing it right here, right now.

I know some day Charlotte won't want to climb up on my lap and take a nap. Some day she will beg me to have the car keys so she can go visit a friend. But for now, I am savoring the moments like this that we share together.

random 027

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More Links to Share

I found several things that I wanted to share with you this week, but managed to narrow it down to 5 for your blog-reading pleasure.

  1. Expatriates in Asia - Erica describes with words and video what it is like for her young daughters living in Asia.
  2. Why I Stay Home - Babychaser reminded me why I chose to be a stay-at-home-mother.
  3. How to Hear the Word of God - I can't link to everything John Piper writes, so I try to just pick the best. This one spoke to me personally so it is the one I decided to share.
  4. How Church Should Be - Since we are currently looking for a new church, this one really hit me. I wish we could find a place like this in our new town! Finding a new church is so hard.
  5. Blogger Tutorials - Everything you ever wanted to know about hacking your Blogger template can be found at this site. I could never take advantage of all the information it contains.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Practice Cake

I have less than a month until my little girl celebrates her 1st birthday. I know she won't remember it and will just have pictures and my blog to commemorate it, but I still want it to be special. To that end, I baked a cake recently so I could practice decorating it.

It is a chocolate cake with white frosting, which I dyed cornflower blue. I used some fondant writing thing to make my letters. Mostly, I just wanted to see if I could pull off my idea with regular frosting. Fondant is cool, but seems complicated and expensive.

Here is the cake I made:

1st try cake

Here is the cake I want to actually make for the big day. It was made and designed by Charm City Cakes in Baltimore.

image

I plan to make the stars, moon, and cow out of card stock or poster board and then stick them in with skewers.

Have any of you tried fondant? Do you have any tips? Can a beginner really pull it off? Or do you think the cake would be just fine with regular frosting?

Oh, and as for the actual cake Charlotte will be eating, I am still trying to decide between one of the recipes on this page. Any suggestions?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Toy Box

video

We are blessed to have so many toys that Charlotte can keep some at both our home and her grandparents. I just can't believe I didn't think of this sooner!

NewBaby

I've been meaning to share a great new site with you for a week or so now and can't believe it has taken me this long! (Actually, I can... I am still unpacking boxes and assembling furniture.)

NewBaby.com was unveiled at the beginning of the month and is an excellent source of information for new mothers. And it isn't just for babies. It has information starting with pregnancy all the way through 4 years old, and a special section for moms. However, what sets this site apart from BabyCenter.com or any of the other parenting sites is it's focus on videos.

Maria Bailey, one of the founding moms, really wanted to create a place on the web for parents to share videos with those relatives too far away to experience our children in person. She wrote on her first blog post for NewBaby.com:

Just think, now you can record your baby's first word on your webcam, upload it to your Newbaby Video Gallery and share it with your partner, grandparents or distant family members. Can you imagine recording your 1st grader's thoughts on the first day of school and having them when he graduates from high school? It's now possible and you don't have to transfer tapes to disks or worry that the VCR is plugged in.

I think this site will be more than just parents sharing their babies' first steps though. I found an article about reducing sugar in our kids' diets, fitting in fitness, and planning a birthday party (hmmm, wonder why THAT is on my mind?!).

imageFor the month of July, they are giving away something new everyday. But you have to register to be entered.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or reimbursed in any way for talking about NewBaby.com. But, I am excited about the site and even more excited that my blog is being featured on their home page! Thanks Heidi!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I love reading Janel's blog. Recently, she shared her results on the 1930's Marital Scale. I took the test just now, with my husband beside me to keep me honest, and this is how it came up:

86

As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!


It might have been higher, but I wear red nail polish! Put it on my toes just before July 4th!

Then, I had Bruce take the husband's version of the test, and this is how he scored:

140

As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!


Apparently, he would have been a better spouse in 1930 than I! I'm glad I snagged him in 1998.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Free Food, Yeah!

Today is a great day for free food.

First, we stopped in this morning and I got a free 7.11 oz slurpee from 7-11.

(I didn't take this picture while driving!)

Then, we headed over to the local Chick-fil-a for a free entree. I had a silly cow hat and some cow stickers we had picked up there a few days ago. I put the hat on my head and some stickers on my shirt. Then, since Charlotte was just in a plain, white onesie, I stuck a few stickers on her.

When we got inside we did get some funny looks. There were no signs in the place and no one else was dressed like a cow, or in cow accessories like us. Oh well... I'm used to being the different one. The manager said that Charlotte could get a free kid's meal, which I wasn't expecting. She has never had Chick-fil-a and had already eaten breakfast, so I am saving her's for lunch. I was also surprised that the manager said I could have a free meal too. I really only expected to get an entree. I think he was so nice because they had not had much free traffic, just 6 teenagers earlier in the morning.


It was really hard to take a self-portrait and get Chick-fil-a in the background.

Of the several photos I took inside, this is the only one that came out decent. Probably because I was in the rest of them! :)

You can see how other people dressed up by visiting Crystal's Money Saving Mom post for today.

New Links I Love

I think I might just plan to share some great links on a regular, weekly basis. There is so much out there in blog land that I think is worthy, I just have to share it with you. I'll try to keep it to my top 5 though so you don't get overwhelmed.

Here are my links for this week"
  1. The Pleasure of Doing Dishes - Sometimes we get so caught up in the big things, we need friends like Rachel to remind us of the joy in the little things.
  2. The Payoff - Not everyone in my life understands attachment parenting. This post highlights one of the potential benefits that I am looking forward too.
  3. Interceding For Our Children - I have shared this site before, but it has been a really long time. Each week I am reminded of another way to pray scripture over Charlotte.
  4. Blog Do's and Don'ts - I pretty much agree with everything Esme's mommy says about keeping a blog on the must read list. Be sure to let me know if I am breaking any of these rules.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Free Chick-Fil-A

I don't know why I keep posting about all of this free stuff... but it just would be so exciting for me or someone I know to get it.

This one is easy too. All you have to do is go to Chick-Fil-A on July 11th dressed like a cow, or at least try. If you do, you get free food - an entree for trying and an entire meal if you are dressed head-to-toe! Click here for more info.

I'm planning on hanging out with my brother that day and getting him dressed up for some free food too! Heck, I'll even join Crystal and post pictures!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Charlotte Walked!

Charlotte just took her first steps... 3 of them... in a row... from Mommy to Daddy... all on her own!

No video of course... but I'll try to get some in the next few days to share!

5 Teeth

Today, Charlotte's 5th tooth broke through. If you've ever had a baby then you know the idea of me sharing a picture with you is hilarious!

Charlotte's Wishlist

When I woke up today, my first thought was, "oh my, I only have 1 month left until my baby is a year old!"

How can it be that almost an entire year has gone by since Charlotte arrived? I vaguely remember last summer and now can't imagine life without diapers and baby toys strewn about the living room.

As I sat nursing Charlotte last night I was amazed at how much she has grown and changed... and that is just in the month that I have been at home with her. Last night she toyed with the idea of taking a step unassisted and I could see the glee in her face as she contemplated it. Everything is new to her and she makes me see everything in a new light too.

I suppose I need to start planning her first birthday party. I have no idea what it will consist of, but I have been doing some searching to find things that I think Charlotte would enjoy.

If you were thinking of buying her a gift... here are some options:




Or how about a tutu?



Note: This list is my personal list and for any of the grandparents that happen to read my blog. If you are a grandparent and want to get something for Charlotte, buy whatever you think she will love. I do ask though, if it is a large item, please check with Bruce or I first... space is limited in our new place!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Win Free Groceries

I love Publix. My favorite paid job in the whole world, was working as a cashier at Publix. My husband worked there too, but I didn't care for him much back then.

Anyway, they have a game going on right now to win free groceries for a year (awarded in $2500 worth of gift cards)! I could really use that right about now. If you live in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, or Tennessee, you should click over and try to win yourself. They are also giving away a limited number of $8 gift cards.

I'd be happy with that too. Oh, and if you win the year's worth of groceries, I expect you to invite me over for dinner at least once! You can enter once a day. Good luck!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Top 100 Books of All Time

Noah, who writes at The Life of a SAHM, shared this list and her results recently and I thought it would be fun to do the same. Let's see how I stack up.

According to The Big Read, the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books on their list.

The instructions:
Look at the list and bold those you have read.
Italicize those you intend to read
Underline the books you LOVE

Reprint this list in your own Blog.
1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. 1984 - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (isn't this part of #33?)
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

24 out of 100 isn't bad! How would you do?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Breastfeeding humor

Even though I deleted most of my breastfeeding blogs from my reader, I might still write about it every now and again. Charlotte is 10 1/2 months now and isn't really showing much sign of slowing down either. Though, I would be happy to give up some daytime feedings. Hopefully, we can work towards some daytime weaning now that I am going to be home with her full time and can more closely monitor her food intake.

In the mean time... these comics are funny. Click for a larger image to read.image

image

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Crayons Do Not Go In the Mouth

Thanks to my friend's Tess suggestion, I decided to let Charlotte have a try at the good ol' crayons and coloring book. $2 at the dollar store should provide us lots of entertainment in the weeks to come.


1st time with crayons from Jennifer S on Vimeo.

crayons 001 crayons 002

crayons 003 crayons 004

Our Daily Walk

Now that I am home with Charlotte all day, I am striving to find the best routine possible for both of us. So far, that has included a walk each morning after she has had a dirty diaper. (TMI? That's okay, you don't have to change the diapers!)

Charlotte has been very verbose this week and wanted you to come along with us... so, here is our walk, in pictures.

"Mommy has me all strapped into my stroller with a supply of Cheerios, set to go. Want one?"

walk 002

"Here is the obligatory self-portrait. Isn't my mommy cute?"

walk 005

"Once we turn the corner, this is the first long sidewalk. I really like looking at the different kinds of trees."

walk 006

"My mommy is obsessed with keeping my fair skin fair. So she always blocks my view when we turn the corner."

walk 008

"Yesterday we met Della, and her dogs - Choo-Choo and Peekabo. She is a sweet grandmother from the Philippines."

walk 010

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

SYTYCD

This is my favorite show (which you would know if you read my life in pictures) and I just gotta say that Twitch and Kherrington oughtta win! I just wish Charlotte would go to bed a little bit earlier so I wouldn't have to miss so much of my show. Oh well, I guess that is one of the sacrifices of being a mom with out a dvr.

Go Twitch-ington!



Who is your favorite couple on SYTYCD? (And if you don't know what that stands for, then I can't help you.)

My Day, by Charlotte Moon

(For an almost 11-month old, Charlotte is very verbose. Below, she describes her day. I'll share some pictures too. Charlotte wrote this last night, but since I already had 2 posts yesterday I waited until today to share this.)

This morning, I woke up a little late. Normally I am by by 7 am, but I slept all the way until 7:11! Mommy was happy for the extra 11 minutes of sleep.

Once Mommy and I went downstairs, she served me a yummy breakfast of yogurt mixed with oatmeal and banana chunks. I really like that breakfast but hope she gives me some blueberries again soon.

Mommy and I played on the floor for a little while. She said something about waiting for me to get a dirty diaper before we left. I looked all over, but couldn't find one to get for her.

Eventually though, we went for a walk. Well, Mommy walked and I sat in the stroller. It is too hot for her to wear me right now. We visited our friend Nancy at CVS (she's the cashier) and got some good deals on stuff Mommy said she "needed." Oh, and then we visited the consignment shop next door.

I forgot to mention that we met some other people that live in our complex. First, we met Momo and her dog Coco. Momo is a mechanical engineering student at USF and she lives with her boyfriend Michael. Then, we met Hector and his wife Lydia. They are both from Puerto Rico and are now retired. Hector invited us in for a minute because we were comparing the layout of our units. I hope we get to see them again. They were nice people.

I was so worn out by all the visiting and shopping, I fell asleep in my stroller on the way back. When I woke up, Mommy gave me a yummy lunch of shells and cheese with carrots. No fruit this time. The carrots were only okay, but I pretty much ignored them once the cheesy shells came along.

Then, we played some more. Mommy sings songs to me and we roll the ball around too. I did have some free play time in which I climbed into her cabinets. Of course, I had to empty them first. :)

fun 004

fun 007

fun 006

Finally, I got kind of grumpy and tired, so Mommy gave me some of her special milk and then I fell asleep again. Mommy was so nice and let me stay in her arms the entire time, even though I am sure her leg fell asleep. Afterwards, we watched The Big Comfy Couch. I think that is my new favorite show!

Dinner was the same as lunch. Then we did some more playing in the living room. I wanted to take another walk, but the weather didn't look so good for being outside.

Now though, it is time to go to bed. I love bath time and hope Mommy gives me a bath first. Good night!

**Mommy here... Charlotte was mesmerized by the Big Comfy Couch show. I've rarely seen her sit THIS still! She stayed there without moving for about 2-3 minutes, at least a couple of times!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Moving

I  hate moving! I hate having to box everything up and constantly make decisions about what to keep, giveaway, or trash. It is draining. Mentally and physically.

AND

I love moving! I love going through everything I own and constantly remembering the good memories that it all represents. It is draining. Emotionally and physically.

BUT

It is always easier when one doesn't have to actually move the boxes from one place to another. I remember the 2 times Bruce and I loaded and unloaded the moving trucks ourselves and was grateful every time I see a mover carry a box into our new place just 2 weeks ago. Several years ago, I found a one-panel comic strip that showed a moving truck decorated as if the couple had just been married. But instead of "just married" on the back, it said, "Marriage survived the move!"

I can totally relate to that.

Charlotte is a Scientist

Bruce is a Biology teacher. That means that we talk about science in our house sometimes. Apparently, Charlotte has been paying attention and now I have taken to calling her my little scientist.

I was inspired really though, by this post at API Speaks. She shared this quote from Jan Hunt:

A two-year-old is a very curious person, always experimenting, always exploring. He is in fact, a scientist! And if you look at his activities in that way, it can change your perspective and allow creative ideas to emerge, making life easier for you and for him. I’d like to suggest an exercise to try. For one day, picture him not as a small child, but rather as a visiting scientist. Pretend this scientist is staying at your home for a day. This person needs materials to use, needs time to do his research, and will need your assistance from time to time. If we had a visiting scientist at our house, wouldn’t we feel curious ourselves as to what he is doing, and wouldn’t we feel honored to be helping when we can? That’s exactly the right attitude to take with a busy toddler.

And you know what... it has made all of the difference in how patient I am with her. I can tolerate her repeating mundane tasks over and over again knowing that she is really just repeating her experiments - like any good scientist would!