Saturday, January 26, 2013

Making laughter my chocolate...

I love chocolate.  Don't most women?  I can live without it, but it's definitely something that I'm thankful I don't have to live without.  Lately I've been reading Ann Voskamp's book, "One Thousand Gifts".  I hesitated for a long time because I just didn't feel a strong desire to read it.  Plus I sometimes try to fight the trends for some reason.  But God knew when the timing was right because the first few chapters felt like she was opening up the pages of my life during 2012 and copying them down in her book.  I also subscribe to her blog and today's post was entitled: "A Lifeplan When You're Overwhelmed: A Sanity Manifesto Printable".  Ann has come up with a 25 for Sanity Manifesto..a few ways to keep your sanity when life gets crazy.  She describes them indepth on this post and she also offers a free printable of it.  I printed it out.  Ann's wording/way of expressing her thoughts are very creative so sometimes it's hard to absorb exactly what she means.  But when one of them was, "making laughter my chocolate" I could relate.  So I thought I'd share some things that make me laugh...oh, and I just ate some chocolate a little while ago.  But, in light of my efforts to eat right, I'm going to try harder to make laughter my chocolate instead ; ).

I can't help it...this is just hilarious...

I'm a sucker for the "Call Me Maybe" videos...

I've caught on to the fact that there's a growing following for the show "Duck Dynasty".  I had no clue what it was about since we don't get that channel on our cable.  While I was visiting my parents I noticed that they had some episodes taped on their DVR, so I started watching.  Now I know why it's so popular...I laughed so hard!  My favorite line of that episode, "I'd rather play patty-cake with a dead mouse than touch Si's tea cup."  LOL!  Here is a little clip I found that also brought a smile to my face:

Hope I brought you some laughter : D

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The movie "Abel's Field"...and a giveaway winner announced!

**Stacy are the winner!!  Thanks for your comment!**

Not too long ago, I signed up to do some reviews for family-friendly products.  When I saw that there was a chance to review Abel's Field, a family-friendly inspirational movie, I jumped on it!  I was not disappointed!  To give you an idea of what the movie is about, here is the trailer:

Abel's Field is the story of Seth, a high school student who carries the weight of caring for his young twin sisters and providing for them on his own.  His father has abandoned them, and he has no other family or close friends to help him.  Not only does he attend high school during the day, but works two jobs in his spare time.  If that weren't enough, several members of the football team have singled out Seth and continually taunt him and pick fights.  The football coach doesn't want his team to take the blame, so Seth is put to work with Abel, the new janitor/grounds keeper.  Abel is a man who quietly does his work and seems to have secrets he's not ready to share with anyone.  Abel and Seth form a friendship that helps them through a difficult time in both of their lives.

Abel's Field is a PG rated movie. Here is a brief breakdown of some of the elements in the film.
Spiritual: Several times in the movie the pastor of the church Seth attends tries to reach out and help him.  Seth and Abel have more than one spiritual conversation.  Seth looks to Abel to affirm that God and Jesus are real.  Abel is somewhat of a mentor to Seth, but there are many times that Seth helps Abel.

Alcohol: We see Abel go to a bar several times, but never drink alcohol.  We do, however, see other characters in the story drinking and it isn't really discouraged.  When Seth thinks that Abel is obviously a drinker, Abel doesn't promote drinking in any way.

Language/sexuality: There is no bad language whatsoever in the movie.  There are a few incidents with Abel as he goes into a convenience store in which the clerk flirts with him and at times in a suggestive way. 

Violence: Seth gets into more than one fight with the football players at school.  (slight spoiler) Abel loses his temper with Seth and begins to choke him.  One of the football players almost hits Seth and his sisters with his car and Seth grabs an apple and throws it at the truck, shattering the mirror.

Overall, I really enjoyed this film.  This story deals with a lot of intense issues: abandonment, persecution, death, and more.  So it's not one of those happy-go-lucky movies, but it's definitely one that makes you feel for the situation of the characters.  It's about turning to God in the midst of a struggle and exposing yourself to Him.  It's not all hum-drum, though.  There are bits of humor in the story that aren't forced and I definitely smiled and laughed more than once.  One thing I really liked about this movie is that the actors were realistic.  I was thinking to myself, "I wonder if there's someone who's dealing with these same issues in my own town...and how could I help?" Their moments of sadness, torment, joy, and just being a kid in high school were very believeable...and in some movies like this those emotions seem forced.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend this for small children, but teenagers and adults would get a lot out of this movie.  Watching the "behind the scenes" part of the dvd also made me understand and appreciate the film even more. 

**SO....not only did I get to review the movie, but I also get to give away a FREE COPY!!  If you would like a chance to win your own dvd of Abel's Field, just comment on this blog post (not on facebook).  Be sure to leave a way that I can contact you if you're the winner (email address is probably a good way).  Here's an example of what I'm looking for:
Hey Stacey...I'd love a copy of the movie.  It sounds great!  Sally (sally(at)yahoo(dot)com). 
We'll draw names from those who comment on Saturday.  I love giveaways!**

Can't wait to see your comments.  You can be more creative than I was in my example ; ).
God bless,

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


We started back to school this week and in our curriculum we were studying the earth's layers, among other things.  I saw this little project and thought it would be fun.  I headed out to the dollar store to buy some modeling clay.  Then we got busy building our "earths".  : )
We made the inner core, outer core, mantle and crust, one layered on top of the other.  Then we cut our earth in half.  It's supposed to show each layer, nice, neat and awesome.  Well...our layers were a little, um, not so awesome.  But the kids got the message...and it was fun! : )  If you're doing the Classical Conversations curriculum, this blog has some great ideas and links for activities for week 13 and I believe she had some things for week 14 as well.  I love it when I can find great resources like this!
Another project I did yesterday was a little snack organization.  We've been having a problem with our son going into the fridge to pull out things when he's hungry....without asking and often making a mess.  Honestly, it's about to drive me nuts.  Both of my older kids come to me between meal times and say, "Mom, I'm SO hungry," or "Mom, I'm STARVING."  In a whiney voice.  This Momma was at her limit!  Especially after the boy got a giant pitcher of lemonade out of the fridge...without asking...and spilled it all over the floor.  One trip to the dollar store and hopefully I've remedied this issue.  I got two long plastic organizing trays and two packs of 4 snack bowls with lids.  I labeled each tray.
The bowls fit pretty well inside the trays.  I put three different snacks inside the bowls and told the kids: "These are your snacks for the day.  If you eat them all at the beginning of the day, that's it.  No more."  I'm going to try and vary the snacks and I even have room to include a juice box or capri sun or even a cup of water--whatever works at the time.  I always save those packs of ranch or ketchup if we have any left when we go out to eat.  That gives a good portion size so the kids won't overdo it.  I plan to include healthy stuff and some kind of cracker or something...depending on what we have.  I hope this works!  : )  This morning the first thing I did was fix snack cups..and it took about 5 minutes.  5 minutes for a little stress taken off my shoulders?  I'll take it! : )

Thursday, January 10, 2013

For Your Reading Pleasure

Lately life has been a little challenging.  I've had so many physical things going on since the beginning of last year, and I rounded out the year on December 28th with a colonoscopy.  Yay.  Actually, it really wasn't that bad.  I'm SO glad they put you to sleep for those things!  : )  Anyway, life continues whether or not Momma is feeling up for it or not.  My means of escape?  A good book.  In fact, lots of good books.  I've been devouring books lately, reading 2 or 3 a week.  Once I get into a story, it's hard to stop.  For me it's like watching a great movie--it's so hard to stop in the middle to see how it's going to end : ).  I probably need to put the brakes on a little so I can get more sleep...but like I said, sometimes an overwhelmed Momma needs a little getaway...even if it's just a mental getaway.  So I thought I'd recommend some of my favorites lately.  I'll start with...

Medievals!  I'm SO into this time period right now.  Especially when there are several good ones.  I'm going to include a few I read last year, too, because I honestly think I might go back and read a few of them again.

I'll start with Melanie Dickerson's Young Adult (YA) books:
The Healer's Apprentice--a Christian/medieval take on Sleeping Beauty.  I love Melanie's style and the way she interprets these classic fairy tales.  Come on...I think all of us still love a good fairy tale, right?!

The Merchant's Daughter--another fairy tale made over.  This time it's Beauty and the Beast and it is fabulous.  I think I read it in a day, so I really want to go back and read it again. 

I'm hoping to do a little feature on Melanie soon, and when I do you'll get to hear about her newest book, The Fairest Beauty, which is now available (I haven't gotten it yet, but hope to soon!).  It's her version of Snow White.  She's also coming out with a Cinderella book in October.  Love it!

Next I would LOVE to recommend Lisa Bergren's River of Time series.  Oh man.  These are also YA books, but I loved them.  The main characters are two teenage sisters who mysterious travel back in time to Italy...and encounter knights, war, danger, and love.  Oh yeah.  There are 3 novels in the series and I think there are 2 novellas so far.  All are good! 

Recently my sister and I discovered another time travel/medieval book that we both loved.  It's called Dreamspell by Tamera Leigh.  It was really good and so my sister went on to buy the first book in Tamera's Age of Faith series called The Unveiling and the next book is called The Yielding.  If you like knights, some sword action, and a little romance, you'll like these!  Couldn't put them down!

Historical Christian fiction....

I'm really enjoying author Elizabeth Camden's books lately.  In fact, I'm reading The Rose of Winslow Street right now and it's so good!  I reviewed Against the Tide not too long ago here.  The sort of prequel to Against the Tide is The Lady of Bolton Hill, which sort of gives you a glimpse into the main character in Against the Tide.  I like Camden's books because they are well written, but they also offer insight into things I've not read much about, such as the opium trade and how it has affected so many, young and old.  It is fictional, but like many books there are some truths presented even in a fictional novel.  There are elements of romance in her novels, but there's also a little suspense, danger at times, and a good level of tension that makes me want to keep turning the pages.

I mentioned Lisa Bergren in the medieval section, but last year I read her "Glamorous Illusions".  I LOVED it!  It has a great level of suspense as someone is following our main character, but we don't know who : ).  Amazon sums it up best: When Cora Kensington learns she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king, her life changes forever. Even as she explores Europe with her new family, she discovers that the most valuable journey is within. The first book in the Grand Tour series takes you from the farms of Montana through England and France on an adventure of forgiveness, spiritual awakening, and self-discovery.  Now to be able to read the sequel!  Hopefully it'll come out soon!

Tamera Alexander has long been one of my favorite authors!  Last November I actually got to meet her...AND have lunch with her!!  It was truly a treat and honor to be able to do that. Here is my blog post about our trip.  Her recent book, To Whisper Her Name, is set at Belle Meade plantation during the post-civil war era.  I love the rich history that Tamera incorporates into her novels.  It draws you into the world of the characters, which she includes those who really lived and worked at Belle Meade plantation.  My hubby and I were able to tour the home and grounds and it really made the book come to life.  The thing I love most about Tamera's book is the clear message of Christ and His love.  There is always a theme and nuggets of truth weaved into her stories that stick with me long after finishing the book.  I could recommend several of her books for that reason alone! 

I couldn't complete this post without mentioned Laura Frantz!!  I think I am one of her biggest fans ; ).  I absolutely love her books.  When I read them, the time period, the characters, everything about the story seems to come alive.  I feel like I'm watching a scene from a movie.  Her books are so detailed and filled with history--I wish the actual history books were written like this!  Maybe more people would enjoy learning it! : )  The Frontiersman's Daughter, The Colonel's Lady, and The Courting of Morrow Little all take place around the 1700s in the wilds of Kentucky.  My stomach is often in knots while reading her books...I can't hardly stand to put them down!  I loved the fact that, especially in The Colonel's Lady, that even when things seemed hopeless the main characters' devotion, dependence, and love for the Lord is what got them through impossible circumstances.  In thinking on our nation's founding, it seems impossible that our country could even be formed, if not for the dependence of our leaders on the Lord.  Love's Reckoning, her newest book, takes place in a later time in history, but still in America.  I enjoyed that book as well, but I think I'm still partial to her Kentucky books : ).
Honestly, I could recommend several more books but the hour is late and I need to finish up the book I'm reading : ).  If you have a Kindle, one benefit is that you can "share" some books with friends or family.  My sister and I have started taking turns buying favorite books and sharing them with each other ; ).  You have about 2 weeks to read a shared book once you put it on your Kindle.  It's a fun way to be able to read some of your favorite books! 

Happy reading!

Friday, January 4, 2013

On the move!

Well, my little cutie has been in this position for a month or so...just rocking back and forth.  When he wants something, he goes back to his tummy and tries to roll or scoot to what he wants.  But the other day he did something new.
He figured out how to coordinate those little hands and feet...and started to move!  He's not very fast, but he's getting it.  Soon there will be a lot of changes going on.  Little toy pieces will need to be put up high, paper will have to be kept off the floor (he's already tried to start eating it), and I'm sure he will not be confined much longer.  Our earliest baby (he came 3 weeks early), the earliest teether (first teeth at 5 1/2 mos), and now earliest crawler.  This boy is special : ).  But I already knew that!  In fact, all three of my kiddos are special in their own way.  Learning their strengths and helping them grow in them is one of my joys.  Way to go, Sethy.
Love you!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

According to the Manual...

 I was so disappointed when I thought that we wouldn't be able to use our tickets to Callaway Gardens' "Fantasy in Lights".  You see, I had to have a colonoscopy the next day and it was scheduled at the last I couldn't go out of town while I was trying to prep for that.  Ugh.  So I called up there to see anything could be done about our tickets.  I was surprised to see how flexible they were about changing them for us...and relieved!  I was so thankful God provided this for us!  The only catch was that the only available time left was at 10pm on Sunday night, December 30th!  I talked to the hubby and we said, "let's do it!" : )  So we loaded up and headed out for some Christmasy fun!
 On our way to the Callaway Christmas village, Sophie and I were talking about trying to see the Gingerbread Man and the Nutcracker characters that they have there.  We missed them last year, and Sophie really wanted to see them this year.  "According to the manual," she started telling me, "the Gingerbread Man and the Nutcracker Man live there.  They live in that place." "Oh really," I say, interested in where this conversation is going and quite amused.  "Yes, according to the manual." She wanted to make sure I knew the "manual" said so. "And the manual is behind my eyes.  When I want to read it, all I have to do is close my eyes and I can see it." Barely able to control my laughter, I turn to Joe and say, "Joe, did you hear that?  Sophie just said if she blinked her eyes she could see the manual." Then I was corrected. "No, Mom, not blink my eyes, CLOSE my eyes.  Then I can see the manual." "Oh, I see.  That's interesting." She continued to tell me a couple more times about the manual.  That was the beginning of a night filled with fun and laughter...just what our family needed! : )
 I was glad the "manual" was correct ; ).  I was a little worried that our "friends" weren't going to show this year, but finally they did.  Apparently the Gingerbread Man really liked Isaac's 
 We didn't get to see The Nutcracker this year, but a penguin made its appearance and all was good.  After some pictures we headed off to get ready for the lights.
After we finished up and started for home, we decided to play a game where we would each tell a few lines of a story and keep going until everyone in the family at least had a few turns.  I wasn't sure how well Sophie, or Isaac for that matter, would do.  They did great!  And we laughed and laughed.  Sophie came up with a few titles, one being "Sophie, Isaac, and Seth Go To the Ball".  The story included a mean Uncle Joe Cartwright who lived at the Ponderosa (Joe is a big fan of Bonanza : )) and how he made Seth and Isaac wash the stinky, dirty clothes.  Isaac's lines really made sense until he started getting sleepy.  Then all his turns were about Abraham and his son, Isaac.  So cute.  This wrapped up the Christmas season for us and made it really feel like our Christmas was complete.  Hope yours was just as wonderful!
God bless~Stacey