Friday, November 12, 2010

14 Days of Thanks - Day 2

I am sitting in a Starbucks this morning, enjoying a cup of yummy Peppermint Mocha. I am about to head off to work to complete a bid that I have been working on & to receive an order from a new customer. A few months ago, I made a very difficult decision to quit working at the restaurant. A decision that I probably made a few months too soon, financially speaking. I felt like having two jobs was killing me & I was never seeing my kids. So instead, I chose to live without any extras for a few months, but I am home by 4:30, with every weekend free. That to me, is worth more than a few hundred extra dollars.

This was a new concept for me because I always chose making money in the past. I didn't know how to be okay with less, by choice. I've certainly had my financial struggles & had to adjust to less....but to CHOOSE to make less for the better good of my family was a really cool lesson. There is one thing about being completely broke & not knowing where your next dollar is coming appreciate EVERYTHING! A cup of coffee is a reward, going out to eat is a major event, going out of town (if only for a night) seems like a world class vacation. You really find out what you can live without when you have nothing. While it has been a difficult journey, (that I sometimes thought would completely break me) the Lord used my circumstance to make me better. I am sure that he opened this door of change for me to walk through a 1000 times before I saw it, but He never gave up on me. I am grateful!

So today I am thankful that the Lord is sending me some new business to make things a little bit easier. I am thankful that He led me into the lives of the Blundell Family, who have not only hired me to work for them when I was completely down on my luck but have also become some of my closest friends. They have been amazing to me & to my children. I love them! Thank you Lord for these wonderful blessings! Thank you for never giving up on me!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

14 Days of Thanks

I am sitting here tonight thinking of all of the things that I am thankful for. I was about to post on my Facebook page & then I decided that in the spirit of trying to blog more, I would just do it here. :) So, for the next 14 days I am going to post about something that I am thankful for. I would like you to comment with something that you are thankful for in return. I love hearing about the joy in all of your lives. YOUR comments will touch other people & we will all be that more thankful. Some days it will be huge & some days it may be the slightest gesture that someone offered to you to make you smile.

Of course I am thankful for the Lord, my children, my friends, my job, my health, etc. etc. I want to find those little things that become big things & post about those. A little, off the wall comment that one of the kids might make, a sunny day, etc. Those types of things.

Tonight brought a smile to my face that had me & Brandon dancing in the kitchen. I won Bon Jovi tickets on 94.5 The Hawk with Dutch Hawk. (of course I have to give them a plug) The concert is on February 21st in Raleigh which is about two hours away. You might think, "Ugh. Two hours away." I am thinking, "Road trip & amazing experience!" I have no idea about the details, where I'll stay, when I'll go, where my seats are, etc. I just know that I am going! After loving them for what, 23 years or so? I have probably been to 30 concerts....never Bon Jovi! I am stoked & can't wait.

Tonight I am thankful for music. I absolutely love music & it can so often change a mood completely around. It makes you feel good when you don't, allows you to cry when you want to, gets deep into your soul if you let it, & causes you to sing a levels that might make those around you wish they would go deaf. I am also thankful for games like Guitar Hero & Rock Band because they have opened my children up to the music that I love without them thinking that I am "old" & "uncool". Ok, fine. Maybe they still think that. LOL

With that being is my favorite song for tonight from Bon Jovi (the one that I played at least 15 times & am going to play again as soon as I post this & do not have to concentrate any longer) & one of my favorites of all time. One of my best in the car, singing at the top of our lungs, singing experiences was to the this 2nd song. (also found on Rock Band)

I hope that you enjoy the music & I hope that you comment about what you are thankful for! I'd love to hear it.

PS - You bet I am going to take photos, videos, & Twitter while I am at the concert! I HAVE to share the experience with all of you!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

BlissDom'11 Conference

I am so excited! I want to go to BlissDom'11! I opened up an email this afternoon that read, "Want to go to BlissDom Conference for Free?" Yes, yes, yes! What is Blissdom'11, you ask? Check out the short video:

BlissDom Conference 2010 from Blissful Media Group on Vimeo.

If you are cheating & didn't watch the video, BlissDom is a conference for empowering women with the momentum & tools necessary to claim your passion & pursue your goals with fiery confidence. They have workshops that are designed around your specific needs & desires. It is the ultimate networking event for blogging mommas.

I actually first found out about this conference last year, but it was too late for me to make arrangements. This year, the only way that I will be going is by winning one of the prizes or by an act of God. But, I am not going to let that get me down.

I absolutely LOVE blogging & to have the opportunity to be away, away from distractions, with other people that love doing the same thing that I do, that "get" why I do it, to learn, to grow, to share, to make new friends, etc. etc. would be incredibly A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I would be so blessed to attend this conference. Hopefully I will see you all there! :)

Now I know that many of you are bloggers as well so:

1. Have you been to BlissDom in the past?
2. Have you attended another blogging conference? (If so, which one?)
3. Will I meet you at BlissDom'11?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Celebrating my Children and.......

I have been reading a book that is hands down, the best "self-help" book that I have ever read. It is called, "My Single Mom Life", & it is by Angela Thomas....a Christian author.

I was at the Christian bookstore nearly two months ago to buy a gift for someone else. I found my gift right away but did some browsing. (Even though I couldn't afford to buy anything.) Funny how we do that. I came across this book, opened to a random page, & knew that I NEEDED to read it. I also knew that one of my closest friends would need to read this as well. So, I called up the library while still outside the store to see if I could check it out for free, instead of dropping the cash. They didn't carry it, but they borrowed it from another library.

I got the book the day before I went out of town for my girl's weekend in NYC. I took the book on the plane & I think I cried 3 times in the first 10 minutes. I figured that the lady sitting next to me would think that I am nuts so I put the book away. It felt like Angela Thomas was writing my story, thoughts, & worries. I wanted to read more but I think that I was worried that I would learn something, if that makes sense.

Bascially, Angela is a single mom. Her husband left & she is raising 4 children. She talks about being a Christian mom, the challenges, the joys, etc. I am pretty sure that this book is going to become like a Bible to me. I have learned many things that I am sure I will cover in future posts, but there was one thing that stuck out to me this week that I could implement immediately & see instant reward & joy from my children. Angela is helping me to become the best mom that I can be & I am so blessed to have found this book.

In life in general, I do not feel as though we "celebrate" enough. Birthdays are once a year, there are few holidays that we make a big production of & we spend so much more of our days filled with stress, worry, financial problems, health issues, etc. We need to celebrate more, & we need to celebrate more with our children. We need to make sure that they know (in THEIR daily life struggles), that we love them unconditionally, home is their safe place, & we will always pay attention to them & "celebrate" them.

Just as Angela mentions in her book, we often give our kids our leftovers, the worst part of us. We work all day, go to functions for the kids, work, or ourselves, we run errands, pay bills, do chores, travel, etc. etc. By the time we sit down with our kids (single parent or not), we are spent. They do not get the best of us. I too many times have told them that I can't play, listen, or spend quality time with them....because I am too tired. Well I am TIRED of saying that! My kids need the best of me. They deserve it & so do I.

So, I happened to notice the date yesterday & it was the 22nd. It was Allyson's half birthday! Brandon's would have been the 15th, but better late than never. I decided that we would celebrate our half birthdays as a new tradition. Why not? No presents, just a special day for just them, that day, & nobody else. Since it was last minute & we already missed Brandon's, we had one celebration this weekend & I will let them both choose their favorite meals this week.

We made cupcakes & they are YUMMY! Coconut cake, vanilla cool whip frosting, & coconut on top. My mouth is watering. Here are a few photos.....


I hope that you enjoyed our party. We dropped a few cupcakes off already & will be taking a few to church tomorrow. I mean, the three of us don't need 18 cupcakes. LOL

This is where I need your help. How do you celebrate your children? What makes them feel special? What is your mommy tip for making life easier?

Have a great rest of the weekend & I can't wait to hear all of your advice & suggestions! :)

Monday, October 4, 2010


I am not sure what brings it on sometimes. I will be having what seems like a "normal" day & then emotions just HIT me. Last night, I was getting ready for bed & somehow started watching Kayleigh's videos. 

I hope that you don't mind taking a trip with me this week as I upload Kayleigh's videos to our family blog & on Facebook. It is sure to be emotional, but that's okay. I love her, I miss her, & I never want to stop feeling & remembering our lives with her. We love you Kayleigh!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Our Beach Adventures

Just like my last post, this one should have been done months ago. Sadly, the kids do not love the beach as much as I do. So, there are many days that I had to beg, threaten, or bribe them to go down with me. Most of them time, I don't mind going alone, taking a nap, & enjoying the peace of the crashing waves....but sometimes, I really want them with me more. This particular day was a day that I had to really argue & beg Allyson to go with us. Brandon was excited & he was up for anything. 

We got down to the beach & after about 30-45 minutes we were all getting ants in our suits so I suggested a walk. This is where the real begging (arguing) came into play. Ally, bless her heart, doesn't like any form of exercise very much. Love you Ally! I promised that we would have fun & we DID! Here are a few photos.

Our first interesting find. Dead, but all in one piece. 

Jellyfish - There actually aren't that many around here. 

He was chasing us. This is the biggest live crab I've ever seen on the beach. The picture doesn't do him justice. 

Now, this is when the REAL fun began. When you get to the North end of Wrightsville Beach, the water is very calm, & is much like a little lake. The kids had a wonderfully fun time jumping in, getting out, jumping in again, swimming around, splashing, laughing, & having a blast. This has become a favorite spot for us. I had no idea that my iPhone would take such great action shots. 


I'm not sure if you can tell, but both of the kids are in the first photo. Brandon is in the second & then Allyson is in the third. What fun!

I hope that you enjoyed our field trip. We did.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Yogurt Search - The Results.....

Hello Everyone! I has been SOOO long since I have been able to post. I love doing it & have plenty to write about, I just can't seem to find the time to sit still long enough to get it done. I started this blog so that we could look back as a family & be reminded of all of the fun things that we did together. Plus, it is a great way to stay in touch with all of you at the same time. So, I at least try to post on my Facebook page several times a day.

A few months ago (we won't say how many), I asked you all for some yogurt recommendations. The response was overwhelming & we appreciated it so very much. I think I expected that the same brand & flavor would keep coming up, but that is not what happened at all. I am not sure if the exact same flavor AND brand came up twice. LOL So we went out to the grocery store & picked up 10 different selections based on what you all had to say.

I knew going into this that the thought of yogurt makes my throat close up & I feel like I am going to lose my cookies so getting a few toppings was going to be key as well. Why would I put myself through this? Well, I am not a protein lover. I eat meat, but I don't look forward to it. If I ever say, "Let's go out for steak." I REALLY want a steak. I like seafood & can only eat chicken so many times. I need a protein that is fast & I can eat on the go, take to work for lunch, etc. etc. Yogurt seems like a good choice so I really wanted to like it. Did I?

Let's start of with the toppings. I LOVE fruit! I thought that some yummy, sweet fruit would be a good option & even if I hated the yogurt....I still had the fruit. :) We also picked up some granola. Looks yummy, smells yummy, sounds yummy, so it has to be yummy. Years ago I did enjoy eating the parfait from McDonalds & theirs had fruit & granola so this is what I was going for without having to go to their drive through everyday & pick up fries while I was there too. LOL Here were our selections....

If you can't tell from the photo, it is strawberries & blueberries. Yum! So now we need our yogurt. Here are our selections....

Yoplait Whips Chocolate Mousse Style
Chobani Greek Yogurt Vanilla Non-fat
Yoplait Light Fat Free Banana Cream Pie
Yoplait Light Fat Free Blueberry Patch
Yoplait Light Fat Free Strawberry
Yoplait Light Fat Free Key Lime Pie
Yoplait Delights Parfait Chocolate Raspberry
Light & Fit Vanilla
Light & Fit Pineapple Coconut
Stonyfield Low Fat French Vanilla

We weren't sure what to expect & we didn't want to go into dairy over load so we broke this down into two nights. Besides, it gave us an activity for two nights as a family so it worked out.

We sampled each one - plain, with fruit, with granola, & then with both. Here are our top five results, in order. 

1. Chobani                                                    
2. Whips Mousse                               
3. Stonyfield                                        
    Banana Cream Pie

1. Stonyfield                                                                                     
2. Whips Mousse                                                                        
3. Chobani                                          
4. Banana Cream Pie                            
5. Pineapple/Coconut                            

2. Banana Cream Pie
3. Chobani
4. Stonyfield
5. Whips Mousse        

Here is the short version....

Aimee - I really could only bear the Chobani. I MIGHT in the future be willing to try other Chobani flavors. (loaded with fruit & some granola) Plus, it has the most protein so this is the brand that I wanted to like the most. I haven't eaten yogurt since. 

Allyson - She hasn't eaten yogurt since either. 

Brandon - Actually liked a few yogurt flavors before this test. However, because we did this, he found a new flavor that he picks up nearly every time we are at the grocery store. The Pineapple/Coconut with a little bit of granola. 

We had a ton of fun with this, tried new things, laughed a lot, & really enjoyed the fruit! Thank you all for your suggestions.