Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April Photo-a-Day Challenge

In April I took on a new challenge. It was something I'd been thinking I needed to do for a little while and I really enjoyed it.  What challenge?  An Instagram challenge!  I had joined back at the end of last year, but didn't find myself actively using the platform very well or very often.  I found a photo-a-day challenge list at Fat Mum Slim and added it to my calendar. I figured having the prompts would make me more likely to focus on finding an appropriate photo for each day. 

When the prompt for the first day was "purple" I knew this would be a good challenge. JMU loves purple!!

I didn't get a picture for every single day of the challenge, but I did have picture-taking in the forefront of my mind more often.  Hopefully that means that when I think, "Oh darn, I wish I had a picture of...." there is a better chance that I would have that picture now.

I won't share all of my pictures. If you want to see them, you can find them here (and follow me on Instagram while you're there).

Here are my favorites:

My sweet boys fake-sleeping

Our Friday night=movie night tradition

Easter 2014

L's Princess Party


Do you use Instagram?  What motivates you to take pictures?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

#TuesdayTen: 10 Wishes I'd Love to Make

Today is World Wish Day. The day was created in honor of the Make-A-Wish foundation granting their first wish to a terminally ill child.  Since then almost 300,000 wishes have been granted!  If you'd like to donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, you can click here.  If you'd like to see 10 things I would wish for, keep reading! Wouldn't it be nice if you could find a magic lamp with a genie inside to grant you some wishes??

And just in case you need a little reading music, I thought I'd put this here for you:

1. A larger house-I'm going to keep wishing this until I get it. For the record, I'm also taking what ever realistic steps I can actually take towards this goal!

2. To be taller-Yes, I know this isn't actually possible at this point; but what's the point of wishes if you can't go all out!  I don't need to tower over people! I just want to be tall enough to buy pants, dresses, and skirts off the rack. Do you know how awful it is to buy things in the petite section and still trip over them?!

3. An end to pride-I am convinced most days that pride is at the root of many problems our world faces. It's one of the seven deadly sins for a reason, I guess!

4. An end to world hunger-We throw away so much food and yet there are still people in the world starving. Shouldn't there be a way to...even things out a bit?!

5. A weather machine--Wouldn't it be awesome to control your own weather?? No more rain on my parade!! Of course, there would have to be restrictions in place to take care of what happens when people want different kinds of weather in the same place. Of course, we're talking about genies in magic lamps granting people wishes, so reality has already been set aside, right?

6. A bottomless bank account-I don't think I'd go on too much of a spending spree!  I'd just like to not feel like I have to hold my breath at the end of every month.  I'd probably spend a lot of it on helping other people too.

7. A TARDIS closet-You know? One that's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside! Or maybe a Mary Poppins suitcase. Heck, why not both!!  I'd just like to have more storage space. LOL!

8. A mind reading dictograph-It would write down my thoughts so that no matter where I was, I could remember things! Of course, it would have to have an on/off switch because I don't want it writing down everything I think! ;)

9. Calorie-less food-Sometimes you just want to nosh on something without it buying up real estate in your mid-section or below!

10. Another wish, obviously-Don't want to run out and then find you should have saved one for later!!

Have a wish? Or ten?  Link up or comment below with what the genie could deliver to you!

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

The Teacher Wife
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We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!
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Come link up again next Tuesday, May 6, when the topic will be "National Tourist Appreciation Day - Ten Tourist Attractions you have seen or would like to see" !

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Benjamin!

Today is my littlest one's 4th birthday!  As Kelsey said this morning, "He's growing up so fast.  It seems like just yesterday he was three!"  (See what I have to put up with at work?!!?)  This is the first birthday that he has really anticipated. He's been asking me for the past week if this is day he gets to turn four.  We had a family celebration on Easter and he got to open presents then, but he knew that wasn't his real birthday As is tradition in our house, I sat down with Benjamin to interview him on the eve of his birthday. Here are his answers:
He went to bed a three year old and woke up a four year old!

1. What is your favorite color? ALL DA COLORS!
2. What is your favorite toy? fire truck
Proud big brother

3. What is your favorite fruit? baby oranges (Mandarin oranges)
4. What is your favorite tv show? Team Umizoomi
Their first group shot

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? peanut butter sandwiches
6. What is your favorite outfit? tie die shirt and khaki pants (which, incidentally, is the outfit he was wearing when I asked him)
tummy time

7. What is your favorite game? the fish game (a game he got for his birthday)
 8. What is your favorite snack? peanut butter apples with chocolate
Baby's first Halloween

 9. What is your favorite animal? tiger
10. What is your favorite song? ABCD

11. What is your favorite book? cucumber!! (I have no idea what he was talking about, but this was the last question I asked him and he was being pretty silly at this point!)
12. Who is your best friend? Gabe, Jack, and Simon
The love of cereal began early

13. What is your favorite cereal? Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch (yes, he mixes them together)
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? play on the slide
He's always been pretty cool

15. What is your favorite drink? lemonade and tea (again, mixed together)
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
LOVE this picture

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? the frog that laughs and Baby Tiger, Lemurty, and Monkey
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? cereal in a bowl with milk inside and a spoon (apparently I teased him once about getting his breakfast, and since then he has been this specific with each breakfast request)

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? baby oranges and chicken nuggets
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A DADDY!
 Happy 4th birthday, turkey sweet boy! We love you!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

#AskAwayFriday with Tracie from From Tracie

Happy Friday friends! It's been a whirlwind week for me: I've spent a ton of money at work (not my money, obviously), there were two meetings, choir practice, soccer practice, and ballet for the kids. There was a night where we needed to be in three different places at the same time and I had to call in a friend to help out. But now it's the end of the week and I'm looking forward to the weekend. I'm back on board with the newly re-designed #Ask Away Friday and this week I'm excited to pair up with Tracie from From Tracie. Tracie is a wife and mom living in sunny Florida. She is an advocate against child abuse and has lots of great resources for parents and survivors. I love reading her blog because she's a really down to earth person and I can really relate to her way of doing things. Read on for answers to the questions she asked me and then hop over to her place to see how she responded to my questions.

1. You are a published author (which is amazing, by the way, congratulations!), so let's talk books. What is your favorite book now, and what was your favorite book or series when you were a kid?

I read a lot of young adult novels these days. I am surrounded by them at work and it seems that after the third time I check a book out, I'm intrigued enough to try it myself. I really enjoyed reading the Hunger Games series recently. I'm waiting to read the Divergent series until the semester is over and I've got some more space in my head.

As a kid, I devoured the Baby Sitters Club books. I spent all my babysitting money and allowance on them. I remember my mom getting mad about how many I owned, and now she's threatening to give them all to Frances since they're all in the closet of my old bedroom!

2. We both have ten year old tween girls. I love that because it doesn't feel like there are as many parents of tweens and teens in the blogosphere. What does your daughter think of your blog, and does she like it when you write about her?

Frances likes my blog. She's read it a few times and she seems fine that I write about her. She even guest posted for me once. She's asked me a few times to take pictures or videos and post them. There are a few topics that I have asked her about and she has declined making them public. I think that helps her to know that she has the final say on what is said about her.

3. Do you have a quote or message that sums up the way you live your life?
My life verse is Psalm 118:24. I try to always keep in mind that no matter what happens, this day was created for me by God and whatever happens is part of His plan. Obviously that's harder to do on difficult days, but I still say it to myself and carry on through the day. I put it on my license plate on my car too.

4. You have written about living in a small town before. Do you ever see yourself moving to a big city, or is this the place you plan to keep as your forever home?

Big towns are fine for a visit, but I wouldn't want to live in one. I think I am very fortunate because even though the town I live in is fairly small, it's a college town so there are lots of cultural opportunities you probably wouldn't find in other towns of this size. Lots of people get annoyed with the noise and problems that college students bring to an area, but I really see the good side of them so much more often. There is a fraternity that sponsors my daughter classroom. They do fundraisers for the students, the college guys come on field trips and they volunteer in the classroom. The 4th graders adore their college buddies and those frat boys love hanging out with 10 year olds!

5. Easter just passed (I loved your family's Easter pictures, y'all were the perfect amount of matchy to be super cute), and I still haven't eaten all the day-after-Easter-sale-candy. What is your favorite holiday?

Easter is my favorite holiday. Not the bunny-Easter, but the Jesus-Easter. I don't dislike the bunny-Easter, but the Jesus-Easter just has so much history and meaning for me. I love going to all the services from Holy Thursday, to Good Friday, to the Easter Mass on Sunday morning. There is such joy there! The whole point of being a Christian is really summed up in those three days and I love participating in it every year.

6. What is something you look back on and think, "I can't believe I did that, but I wouldn't go back and change it!"

I usually have a plan. Nothing very formal, but usually at least an idea of what's going on. Except one time I made a rash decision to quit a job with no idea what was going to ahppen next. I really needed to quit because the position was becoming toxic and unhealthy for my peace of mind; but I was also terrified of what would happen when I suddenly caused our income to be cut almost in half. We had three kids and I had no prospects. Thankfully, I stumbled across a listing for the job I am currently in, and I couldn't be happier about where I work and the people I get to work with.

7. What is your favorite tv show (or shows, if you are like me and can't pick just one)?

Right now I am watching Castle, but horribly behind. We also watch Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, and Grimm. Don't tell Ken I said so, but I actually enjoy watching the British version of Top Gear with him. We haven't watched Bones in a while because we missed a few episodes, but I need to get back to those. I love Buffy the Vampire SLayer and I have watched the entire series straight through at least twice.

8. How do you approach social media, and what is your favorite platform?

I've been really bad with social media lately. It was the thing that really "went" when I got behind with blogging. I check Facebook most regularly, then Twitter, then Instagram. I like Facebook, but I haven't been interacting there very often; even on my personal page. I've been doing an Instagram Photo a Day challenge for April. I missed a few prompts, but I've posted a lot more than usual there. I use Pinterest in fits and spurts. I pin things for myself, but I don't often browse through other people's pins.

9. What is the most important thing you have learned through blogging?

I think the most important thing I've learned is that I'm not alone. I know now that we all have meltdowns, we all get ticked off at our kids and husbands, we all worry about money and stress about getting dinner ready. I think what I've really learned that across humanity we are really more alike than we are different.

10. What is your favorite blog post that you have written?

I really like the Bunny Chasing tutorial I wrote a long time ago because it brings backs such vivid memories from the past. I also like the post I wrote about friendships because it speaks of the many different people we each need in our lives. Lastly, I love the post I wrote for my mom on her birthday a few years ago. She's so special to me and she has taught me so much that I enjoyed being able to write it down and share it with her.



I've Been Tagged!

Becka from Probably Crafting tagged me in this random meme and since I've been overwhelmed at work, I thought know was a good time to answer. Here is the list of completely random questions I was given!

1. Are you named after someone? 
I am named after a nursing student my mom had in Afghanistan.  In addition, my middle name comes from my dad's favorite sister, Anne.  Please note that she is his only sister, but that has never made her any less his favorite.  For the record, my best friend Tara has always been known as my dad's favorite daughter. We're just weird that way.

2. When was the last time you cried? 
I'm not sure...I think I cried to let out some frustrations a few weeks ago.  I don't cry all that often.  Usually it's reading sweet stories online or something like that.

3. Do you have kiddos? 
I've got three of them.  They're kinda cute, dontcha think??

4. If you were another person, would you be a friend to yourself? 
I think I am generally a pretty nice person; easy to get along with.  I like me. I think I'd like to be friends with myself.

 5. Do you have a guilty pleasure? 
Hmmmm....Does sneaking candy out of my kids' Easter baskets count?  Because I don't do that, I was just checking...for a friend.

6. Do you like your handwriting? 
I don't think my handwriting is anything terrible special, but it's legible.  I like it well enough. I even hand wrote a whole post and posted it for national Handwriting Day. Check it out here.

7. What’s your favorite cereal? 
I like Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I used to really like Froot Loops, but either I got old, or they changed the recipe, because it just doesn't taste as good anymore.

8. What’s the first thing you notice about people? 
This probably sounds dumb, but being a short person myself, I think the first thing I notice about people is how tall they are.   

9. What is your eye color? 
My eyes are a very dark brown.  I remember in science class back in middle school we used to play with the lights and look at each other's pupils. People always complained they couldn't see mine because my eyes are so dark.

10. Scary movie or happy endings? 
Both. I like scary movies when I'm in the mood for them, but I also like sappy, happy movies too.  The only think I'll say is that I'm horrible at picking out movies to watch.  Ken is in charge of that at our house.

11. Favorite TV show? 
I think I'll answer this with a lovely piece of artwork that Frances created for me. :)
I'd have to add Castle at this point, but I wasn't as obsessed when she drew this.

12. Summer or Winter? 
 Really? Do I even need to answer this question??  SUMMER!!!

13. Hugs or Kisses? 
The chocolates? I prefer kisses. I'm not really a white chocolate fan.

14. What’s the furthest you've ever been from home? 
I've been to Alaska a few times to visit my mom's family. I love it there and I hope to go back some day.

15. Do you have any special talents? 
I can touch my nose with my tongue. Does that count??

16. Where were you born? 
In a hospital.  In Austin, Texas. Surrounded by my mother's friends and boss.  (She was an OB nurse.)

17. What are your hobbies? 
Blogging, reading, sleeping. I knit and sew occasionally when I have the time.

18. Do you have any pets? 
I have a very annoying cat named Oscar.

19. Favorite movie? 
Princess Bride

20. What color is your car? 
Burgundy.  Just like my mom's.  No really...just like my mom's.

21. What do you want to be when you grow up? 

And now I get to tag five friends...
How about:
Amber from Airing My Dirty Laundry
Erin at Homemade Happenings
Karmen at Chairs From the Curb
Jodi at The Noise of Boys
and Deserae, who will likely kill me for tagging her!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

#TuesdayTen: My Favorite Candies

I gave up sweets and snacks for Lent. It wasn't as hard as I had originally thought, but there were a few days that I cheated.  The main one was my birthday week.  It would have been rude to turn down goodies made especially for me on my birthday, right?! It was especially hard during Student Worker Appreciation week here, because we brought in lots of goodies for the student workers, and I stayed away from them all. I even had a little help since my co-worker put coconut on the brownies she brought in so as not to tempt me.

Now that Lent is over, I don't have to stay away from snack and sweets completely, but I'd like to keep my consumption lower than it was before. I could probably listen to my advice to the kids and have just one piece a day.

With the recent Easter holiday and in honor of National Jelly Bean Day, Lisa and I thought it would be a good time to list our 10 favorite candies.

My Favorite Candies:
  1. Smarties
  2. Turtles
  3. Nerds
  4. Rolos
  5. Gummy bears/worms
  6. Reece's Peanut Butter Cups
  7. York Peppermint Patties
  8. Strawberry Candies
  9. Starburst Jelly Beans
  10. Lemon Heads
What's your favorite sweet treat?  Let me know below, or make a whole list on your own blog and link it up here:

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

The Teacher Wife
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We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!
1) Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the TuesdayTen topic for this week and add our TuesdayTen button to your post or sidebar.
2) Please do not link up contests, product reviews, or sponsored posts. Links not pertaining to the topic will be removed at the hosts' discretion.
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Come link up again next Tuesday, April 29 for World Wish Day, when the topic will be 10 Wishes You'd Love to Wish!

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