Monday, December 29, 2008

Remodeling

We painted our kitchen this weekend. We have a few more things to purchase to complete the "transformation" of this area but here's the before and after pictures....




This is the primer....


And here is our new color....


Christmas in Pictures

We had a WONDERFUL Christmas around here...here's a recap of our week -
  • Greg took the week of Christmas off from work
  • My brother came in from Michigan - haven't seen him in over a year - when he drove down in his truck last Monday he brought a truckbed load of snow with him and it just happened to be freezing here in FL (on THAT day only!) so the snow lasted until Monday evening when we saw him...Bailee and I climbed in the bed of the truck and played in the snow while the guys made snowballs and threw them at each other.
  • Dakota spent 3 days with his grandparents (including Christmas Eve so he could hang out with my brother) which was strange to be alone with Greg all week but really, really nice and relaxing too!
Here's pictures of our Christmas festivities -
Our fun began the Saturday before Christmas when my daughter, Tina and her family came over for dinner and to exchange gifts. We also invited Tina's aunt & cousins (from her dad's side) over to eat dinner with us too.

I gave Bailee an outfit that had straps and she put it on like a backpack...


Bailee is helping me and Pops open our gifts...

The boys hanging out playing Xbox 360


Maddy was our fondue queen - it was delicious!


Bailee kept begging for more marshmallows dipped in chocolate (I gave her the mini ones - about 20 of them before her mommy made me quit! LOL)




Christmas Eve we went to my mom's house and exchanged gifts with my brother, mom & stepdad....

My goofy brother (on the left) kept making fun of my flash on my camera - it was hard to get a "normal" picture of him!


Pete and mom


Me and Dakota


Christmas Day Greg and I were alone until around 10:30 when my brother brought Dakota back home to us and then we went over to my inlaws house to celebrate with them for the day. That morning Greg and I went to Waffle House and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast together before the madness of the day began...


Greg and his kids...


Me and Justin and my mother-in-law in the background (she's a gem!)


A gift from my mother-in-law...she always puts such thought into what she buys for everybody. She won't give gift cards to anyone. She likes to handpick everyone's gifts. She amazes me how well she picks out sizes for people and other little details!


Brothers...


Later that afternoon when we got back home the three of us exchanged gifts with one another...


Dakota kept telling us he had the BEST Christmas ever! He's hugging his daddy and telling him thank you for his awesome gifts (xbox games)....


Dakota wanted this picture with Raven...our puppy is growing!


Tonight we went to my dad & stepmom's house to have dinner and exchange gifts with them. My camera batteries died right after I took this picture so unfortunately I only got one picture from the evening! Bummer! But we had a great time this evening and this wrapped up our Christmas festivities....

In case you are wondering...yes, Dakota is wearing shorts (as am I) because it has been in the high 70's here all week!! UGH! We are SO READY FOR COLD WEATHER!
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Praise God for His Blessings

A Christmas TreasureImage by mbgrigby via FlickrThe last couple of years for Christmas we have spent less and less. We have a large extended family and we have been trying to gradually quit exchanging presents all together - preferring to concentrate on creating memories and "doing things" rather than how much we can spend on one another.

I started back in November looking for deals and specials for the few gifts we were going to purchase. Greg asked me Monday morning what gifts I have for who and what do we have left to buy. I was so thrilled to be able to tell him I was pretty much done and I had spent very little money. I feel blessed beyond words by God's provisions this year.

Greg and I just finished our Christmas shopping this afternoon. We went out yesterday and today. We saved our hardest two people for last. Before I went out yesterday I prayed asking God to lead us in the right direction. I needed a couple of frames for pictures I had gotten (free from Walgreen's last week - thank you Jesus!) and I found a store that was going out of business and their frames were 90% off!!! Wow! Then I had heard about a sale at another store, but I wasn't sure if it was still going on or not. We went there and it was. I can't be more specific because that would give it away on here and I am not sure if certain family member reads this or not. But let's just say.....it was an amazing, awesome deal and we are done and I am feeling tremendously blessed and bottom line....we bought gifts for 25 people this year and spent right at $400.00!! Thank you Lord!
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Monday, December 22, 2008

A Baby is born!!


Felicia had her baby in Hawaii this morning!! I talked to Felicia a couple of times yesterday and after they got admitted to the hospital while she was in labor but I could not stay awake after midnight so I told them to call me once the baby was born.

Will (my son-in-law) called around 1:30 a.m. (my time) which is 9:30 Hawaii time to let me know that Shawn William was born and both momma and baby are doing great!! Unfortunately I was half-asleep so the details are fuzzy, but I do remember something about 7 lbs.....lol

Update: Talked to Felicia this morning and here's the details - 7 lbs 13 ozs, 20 inches long. Isn't he a beauty??!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Allan

My oldest grandson was born Dec 18th, 2003 - one month premature. He was almost born at home in his great-grandfather's bed. His mother, Felicia (my daughter) and her twin sister had just turned 16 years old and neither one of them had their license. They were home alone when Felicia went into labor. Her labor advanced rapidly. Long story short...911 was called and by the time the ambulance got there, they could see Allan's black hair. They rushed Felicia to the hospital where we all met her and he was born 10 minutes later.


After 2 days in the hospital our little bundle of joy came home with us. Felicia and Allan lived with us until she married her high school sweetheart in February and they moved into their own home.

For the next year, we were able to watch Allan grow and be a part of his life and he was so much fun to be around! His daddy went away to boot camp and after he came back they all moved to West Virginia on New Year's Day. They were stationed there in the mountains of West VA for a couple of years.

While there, Will & Felicia gave Allan a baby brother (Nathan). Allan is a most awesome big brother! He is very protective of Nathan and loves to play with him. When they lived in WV, I tried to drive up to visit them every couple of months and I would bring Allan back to stay with me for a week or two. I loved having him around!

Two years ago Will and Felicia got orders to move to Hawaii. We were all excited for them for the opportunity even though we knew we were not going to be able to see the boys much now. They have grown up so much the last two years. Allan has started school this year and can actually carry on an intelligent conversation on the telephone now. He is a joy to talk to on the phone. You can hear the love and admiration in his voice that he has for his mom and dad.

This picture above is of Allan and Nathan with my dad at his beach house. The picture below is Allan holding his new baby cousin Bailee when she was born two years ago.

When Will and Felicia first moved to Hawaii, Will had to go on his ship for a very long time and he didn't see his family for several months. Felicia and the boys had to adapt to a brand new city/surroundings far from home all on their own. They survived and in fact, they are thriving wonderfully. They love it over there and have many wonderful friends!
The boys were so happy to see their daddy after he had been gone for a long time!

Happy Birthday Allan!! Your YaYa & Pops & Uncle Dakota love and miss you so much!!


The Season of Gift Cards?

Gift cardsImage by robinsonsmay via FlickrDo you like to give Gift cards for Christmas presents? What about receiving them as gifts - are you happy when you get a gift card? I keep hearing that every year gift card sales continue to climb.

It's true that they are an easy gift...no thought needed to shell out a few bucks in exchange for the plastic "money" to the recipient's favorite store, restaurant, gas station, or entertainment complex. I am amazed at all the places you can get a Gift Card for!

I found this Gift Card site online where you can actually go and put in filters as to who you are buying for
There are HUNDREDS of gift cards to choose from! You can even design your own by adding a photo, art or logo to the gift card. What a neat idea!

I personally LIKE to give (and receive) gift cards because I am a cheapskate and there are some GREAT deals to be had AFTER Christmas. That way we can take advantage of the sales with our "plastic" money we received for Christmas.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

7 Things

Hand in HandImage by Garry' via FlickrI thought I would just post a "7 Things" post to catch you up to speed on what's happenin' around our house lately...

-1-
Is it really December (a week before Christmas)? You wouldn't know it where I live! I know some of you are dealing with major ice and snowstorms - we are dealing with record heat! Finally had to give in and turn the AC back on 2 nights ago. All week it's been in the mid to upper 70's here. This time last year we were in Gatlinburg, TN enjoying the cold air and sporadic snow we saw in the higher elevations. I have been longing to go back there...guess it will have to wait until February when we go on our Marriage Retreat.

-2-
My daughter in Hawaii is due to deliver her baby boy any day now. She delivered early for her first two pregnancies. She is now 39 weeks - this is the longest she has carried a baby. She's ready for him to come out! :-)
I have decided not to go out there right now for the birth. I praise God she has a strong network of friends who are going to be there for her to help take care of the boys while she is in the hospital. They have everything planned out as to who is going to pick up who and all the little details. Now it's just the waiting game.

-3-
Hubby is taking vacation this month (Yeah!!) - I probably won't be on here blogging while he is off work. We get so little time together the last place I want to be when he is around is on the computer! :-)

-4-
Tina, Bryant and Bailee are in town for the next week or so. They may travel back home on Christmas Eve. They came over to the house yesterday to hang out for awhile. I just love spending time with Bailee - she is 2 now and so precious! We had a good laugh when it was time for them to leave because she was kind of dragging her feet about leaving, so one of us said "Okay, Bailee well you are going to have to stay with YaYa (that's me) while mommy and daddy go bye-bye."

Of course we were thinking she would run to her momma's arms. Uh-unh...didn't happen. She ran to MY arms, blew her mom a kiss, pointed to the door and said "GOOOOOO!" Tina wasn't prepared for her to spend the night (no clothes or diapers) so I told Bailee I would walk her out to the car and she could spend the night another night. She looked at me hesitantly like she wasn't quite sure what I was doing but she wasn't crying so I kept talking to her as I carried her to the car and began to put her in the carseat. As soon as I was finished strapping her in, she patted the seat next to her and said "Sit Down YaYa!" She thought I was going WITH THEM.

When I told her no, the tears started and I had to close the door with her poochy-lipped face looking at me through the window and tears streaming down her cheeks. Talk about breaking my heart....

-5-
I helped friends of mine move on Saturday. We moved them from one house to another. Before I went over there I went on a walk...for an hour and a half. When I got home Saturday night I could barely move by body was screaming in pain. Not a smart move on my part!

My friends are my ex-husband's brother and his wife (Robert & Vickie). They have lived in CA for the last 10 years and just moved back here in August. They were living with Vickie's sister & her husband (who also moved here but from Colorado) but after sharing a house/expenses for the last 5 months they decided that wasn't working and they all needed their own houses.
Robert and Vickie were the ones to move out. They found a house about 3 miles from her sister. Robert has started truck-driving since they moved here. My ex-husband has been a truck driver for years and the two of them went on a trip together last week. They didn't get back until mid afternoon Saturday - so Robert was unable to help with the move. He was at my ex-husband's house and needed to be picked up. I told Vickie I would drive her over there to get him because I have a truck and he had a lot of gear (they have a very small car) and he could just throw it in the back.

It was so odd being over there with the four of us standing around the truck...we have all known each other for 26 years! I just can't believe it has been that long! As we drove back to their new house, Robert and I reminisced about high school and some of the crazy things/people from back then. It's great to have them back in town again!

-6-
I have not been posting on here too much lately because I've been working on another project. It's taking up a lot of my time lately. I hope to "reveal" it very soon!

-7-
This year has been one of the most laid back Christmases I can ever remember. We are really not exchanging gifts with anyone so there hasn't been much shopping to do. What shopping I have done has mostly been online (taking advantage of sales/free shipping events). I'm not singing in the choir this year so I haven't had to worry about preparing for that musical which is coming up this weekend. I didn't plan our Sunday School class party or a Women's Ministry party which I normally do...didn't have to worry about those events. It has really been a very nice, relaxing, stress-free Christmas season as far as all that usual hustling and bustling goes. I pray you all have a very Merry Christmas as well!!

Toon-ful Tuesday (a day late!)

Today's Toon is dedicated to a sweet pregnant friend of mine....love ya girlfriend!!!

Photofiddle winner

And the winner is.............(according to Random.org) the #1 choice - SNIZ!!!

Congratulations Sniz!!

List Randomizer

There were 8 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

  1. 3. Sniz
  2. 6. Ashleigh
  3. 8. Rebekah
  4. 4. Jen
  5. 1. Tina
  6. 7. Joely
  7. 2. Monica
  8. 5. Michelle

Timestamp: 2008-12-17 12:42:47 UTC

Friday, December 12, 2008

I've Been PhotoFiddled! And YOU Can too! Giveaway

See this picture?? This is my son, Dakota and our newest puppy, Raven - the day before Thanksgiving we were raking leaves in our back yard....trying to rake leaves but puppy wasn't being very cooperative. As soon as we would get a pile of leaves she would come running and dive bomb them and scatter the pile everywhere.

Anyway the amazing artists at PhotoFiddle played with this picture (fiddled around with it) and sent me a wonderful piece of art for our living room.
I had planned on making the choice on my own and giving it to my husband for Christmas but there were way too many choices! It was too hard - they were all so good! I had to show him and get his opinion.

This is the stretched canvas artwork we chose and it's now proudly displayed on our living room wall!
Photofiddle would like to offer you, my readers a $50.00 gift certificate to have one of your pictures photofiddled! What I would like for you to do is go visit Photofiddle, see what they have to offer (it's in the section titled "Click to view Photofiddle Gallery") and come back here and leave me a comment as to which type of "fiddling" is your favorite.

This is open to anyone (non-bloggers included - you just need to leave me an email address so I have a way to reach you.) I will leave this open until Tuesday at midnight. I will pick a number on Wednesday morning and announce the winner at that time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Video Games - need help finding the BEST prices?

My 12-yr-old is a gaming fanatic. He absolutely loves playing games on his Xbox 360 and his Wii. He goes through the games so quickly though that the rule around here is he has to support his own habit - we don't buy his games. Except at Christmastime! That's when this wonderful searchable shopping site comes in real handy!
One of the games Dakota wants this year is Prince of Persia for his Xbox. I just typed it in to the Video Games Search Bar and I got hundreds of results telling me where I can purchase this game. I was amazed to see the varying prices from one store to the next. As I scrolled down the list when my cursor landed on one of the titles a little screen would pop up telling me how many stores this game was available at, list the stores and the prices.

I clicked on one of the Prince of Persia choices and it opened up the page showing me the video game I wanted, all the stores that are currently selling this game, the price they are selling it for and store reviews by consumers. There is a link where I can then click to go to the store to purchase the game if I so choose.

I searched for a few other items (non-video games) on this site and was very pleased with the results I received. This is a great website for finding the lowest prices on products!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Music

On my other blog I have been posting lots of links where you can download FREE Christmas music. Go here if you would like to see a list I posted today. If you click on the tag "free music" at the end of that post you will get a list of all my posts with the free music links in them.

Here's some, ummm Christmas music for your listening pleasure? LOL

Toonful Tuesday

Monday, December 8, 2008

Birthday Happenins'

BIRTHDAY Pictures, Images and Photos
Friday night Dakota had a campout he went to with his youth group from church so Greg took me to my favorite restaurant - The Melting Pot. I must admit this USED to be my favorite restaurant...not to sure anymore. The last time we were there was 3 years ago on my birthday and we went with my best friend CJ and her husband. Since then they have changed the menu and increased the prices tremendously! I was shocked at how much it cost the two of us to eat Friday night!

Saturday morning CJ took me to breakfast (for my birthday which was yesterday) and then we went to a mom & kid's event sponsored by our local newspaper and the forum I help moderate. It was lots of fun to reconnect with some moms I hadn't seen in about a year and to put some faces with names I only knew from chatting with women on this forum.
Photobucket
I spent Saturday afternoon and evening shopping by myself while Greg went to watch football and Dakota just rested from his campout. I enjoyed going wherever I wanted to go and visited several stores I had never been in before. On my way home I called Dakota and told him I was going to run by Publix and pick up some sushi to eat for myself and asked if he had eaten any dinner yet. He asked me to grab him something from KFC. On my way to Publix I passed Capt D's and I remembered I had gotten a coupon in my email for a FREE meal for my birthday so I decided to go there instead. When I handed the young lady behind the register my coupon she smiled brightly and waved her hand up to the menu board behind her and said "Well, Happy Birthday! What would you like to order? Whatever meal you want is yours!" I ordered a fish and chicken meal with vegetables and a drink and she said "okay, it's all taken care of...isn't it great to get something for nothing?!" She was a very friendly young lady! LOL
Photobucket

Sunday morning I woke up around 6:00 and Greg was already awake. He asked me if I wanted to go to breakfast. Sure! I'm always up for going out on a breakfast date with hubby! We went to Waffle House right down the road from our house and I enjoyed a pecan waffle. Yummy - love those pecan waffles. After church we came home and made pizzas and chocolate chip cookies, cleaned up a little bit and then went to the mall where Greg told me to pick out some clothes I wanted. I've been needing some casual type shirts so that was my birthday gift from him. We got back home around 7:00 Sunday night. We like watching Brothers & Sisters together on Sunday evenings at 9:00 but as soon as my head hit the pillow around 7:30 I knew there was no way I was going to make it. I set it to record on the DVR, told him goodnight and I was out like a light - I was exhausted!

Today my dad and stepmom called to invite me to lunch. They took me to CiCi's Pizza. We had a very nice lunch. It was a wonderful way to end my "birthday weekend"!

LOL - I probably gained 10 lbs this weekend from all the eating out I did - oh well it was WELL WORTH IT
!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cool Meme (for my birthday)

I saw this meme on Claire's blog and I thought it was interesting. In light of my birthday today I thought I would participate in this meme and take a look-back on my life...if you want to participate, make sure you leave me a comment letting me know you have done it so I can check it out on your blog.

Bold the things you’ve done and will admit to:

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo (does a trio count? LOL)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (4)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Don't forget about the Troops this season


Support our troops in the best possible way - by helping them call their loved ones back home.

Lonely... tired... half a world away from home and family... the troops defending
our freedom around the world ache for the sound of a loved one's voice.
Pre-paid phone cards are the #1 requested item from soldiers.

Click on the image or link above to send a pre-paid phone card to a soldier overseas this holiday season

Talking About Sex

We are so blessed to have a young youth pastor at church who isn't afraid to speak to the kids about sex. He never shies away from the subject and he teaches lessons on it quite frequently. He not only works at the church but he is also the drum instructor for our local high school marching band. Because of his constant interaction with the kids he KNOWS what they are faced with, what they are talking about, and what they are dealing with on a daily basis. He wants them to be equipped to handle these issues from a Christian standpoint.

When Dakota first got into the youth group last year, we went to a parent meeting where Jesse (our youth pastor) let us all know what we could expect from him and what he would be discussing with the kids throughout the year. I had always thought Dakota and I had a pretty good line of communication going as far as sex was concerned. He asked me questions and I answered them - no problem. I would also take advantage of opportunities (in movies for instance) where something was not in align with God's word and discuss why it was wrong or why I believed the way I did. I must say though when Jesse said NOTHING was off limits, he meant NOTHING was off limits...I was a little nervous at first.

That was last year. It has been a wonderful year for Dakota. He has an accountability group he meets and prays with and he has matured so much this last year. He and I went to dinner recently and he was asking me some questions about sex. We were casually talking about it and he told me he was so glad that we could just have a normal conversation about sex. He said he gets frustrated when Jesse is preaching a lesson and some of the younger kids start giggling and making wisecracks and he doesn't understand why they do that. I must admit I was having a hard time containing my own giggles listening to the serious tone in the voice of my 12-yr-old when talking about sex!