Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Small House Progress

We are finally making a little progress on our house. Since my dad is the head contractor of our future home he is doing the work after his usual work hours and on the weekends. As of right now the base is lined out. My dad has been tweeking some of the inside space as he asks me various questions about what is important to me (having my own bathroom).

It is going to be a fairly small house at only 1200 square feet. There will be two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The main part of the house will be open with a bar separating the kitchen from the living space. I'm going to have a metal roof and I'm looking forward to hearing the rain fall on my roof.

I snapped a picture of my dad working on the paper details.

My mom was watching Antique Roadshow while he worked. If you can't tell we are the cool house. 

I'm so excited that at least the process has finally started. I know we are pretty far off from moving in but it is nice starting to see the ball get rolling.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

Two of my goals for 2017 is to find more friends in my community and to get more involved. This week I took the first step for both of these goals. I joined the Women's Service League for my town. I've paid the dues and filled out the forms. It is all official! 

I went to my first meeting this week. It was a committee meeting for the women who are helping with the Easter Egg Drop. This is going to be such a fun event and since Jack is at the perfect age for this I decided to help with this project. 

I'm excited to serve my community in such a positive way. Plus, I might meet some cool new people. I have friends who live in other towns but none in my hometown anymore. I want to change this. 

At the meeting this week I made a point to speak up and not just sit back. I'm a good planner naturally (and clearly very humble) so I wanted to make my ideas clear. I am also good at researching things quickly so I used those skills at the meeting also. 

I went back and forth several times trying to decide if I really wanted to commit to this. In the end I decided I needed to do this if I was really ready to commit to reaching my goals in 2017. Of course, I was nervous at first but after a few minutes it was perfectly fine. Now I'm excited about all the ways I can serve my community and also getting to meet new people. 

When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?

Friday, February 17, 2017

My Mom's (and Now Mine) Most Embarrassing Moment

Here is an overview picture of Jack's Valentine's party.

Yes, this is an embarrassing story that happens at a preschool Valentine's party.

So typically I would go to Jack's holiday party but after having my gallbladder removed I just don't have the days to miss. Our school got out early on the day of his Christmas party so that worked out.

Well as the time got closer until his party I messaged my mom and said "I'm really feeling guilty for not going. Most kids have at least one person there".

I'm so glad his teacher posted pictures of the party. Here is one of Jack.

Once I got home my mom ran to the door to tell me how she embarrassed our family at the preschool Valentine Party.

So here is a little backstory. My mom paints the interior of houses for a living. She tells me that at the last minute she decided to go. Since her house was far from where she was it would be closer for her to just run to Walmart and find something to wear. She changes there and heads to the party.

Once the party is over she heads to the other school to pick up my nephew Bennett. When he sees her he says "Nana, how did you get a sticker". She was like what sticker. He then points to it. Here is that sticker.

YES!!! It says FEEL ME on her boob!!!!

I can't believe no one told her but yet how do you tell a practically stranger you have "feel me" on your boob. There were several dads there. I did notice that in all the big shots of the party my mom isn't in them. Wonder why???

On a big positive note my mom and I both have a sense of humor so it isn't really bothering us and she is just happy that she was able to give others a big laugh. My mom is the coolest!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What is Your Passion?

I've really been thinking and praying about what my passion is in life. I'm not talking about my career. I love being an elementary librarian and I truly love my students. My mission behind searching for my passion or calling wasn't me looking for a different career. It was more than that. 

I see people in the world really feeling a passion for something important and I craved that feeling. My interests are so diverse that I felt like I loved it all but wasn't specifically all about one thing.

After lots of writing, prayer, reading, online quizzes, and just lots of thinking I finally feel like I have a passion/calling for this season of my life. I also have come to learn that a calling can change. What I'm passionate about now is something I feel great about but a time may come where I might want to become passionate about something else. That is okay.

However, for now I believe my calling is to love well the people right in front of me. I love to serve others. I enjoy sending mail to friends. It makes me feel wonderful inside when I get to give friends and family treats. When I can do a favor for someone else it makes me feel good. When I take the time to really talk to my students I can feel the impact.

There are ways where I can cultivate this calling more. When a co-worker is talking about something important with me I can focus more and then go back with a follow up. Sometimes at work I get so focused on the work that I don't get personally involved with my amazing co-workers. I want to work on loving the people I spend my weekdays with by talking/listening, asking questions, giving small treats, and sending out words of encouragement.

Although I feel like I do a great job at surprising my family with fun treats. I want to take it a step further and do the same for my friends. I want to send more cards letting them know how much I appreciate their friendships. I would also like to start sending small tokens that are specific to them so they know that I hear their wants and needs.

I feel like I'm really ready to cultivate this passion. It isn't a new passion but one that I've been doing and working on already this year. It's something that has always been in my heart. It comes natural to me. Since I've now realized what my passion is I can't wait to really dive into it.

My overall goal is to show the people around me that they matter and that they are important to me. My hope is that others will take my lead and will focus on loving the people around them more. Showing care and concern doesn't have to be expensive. A sweet text from a friend can mean so much.

I'm curious, do you feel like you have a passion or calling? If so, what is it?

Monday, February 13, 2017

We are TOO Old for Memphis/Garth Recap

My friends and I have a deep love for Garth Brooks. We went and saw him back in 2014 in St. Louis and we had a blast. We really loved St. Louis and the concert was amazing! When we heard he was going to be in Memphis we bought tickets right away. We've been counting down the days. Since Memphis is only less than 4 hours away we decided to just go for one night. We left a little before 8 am and it took us girls forever to get there. By the time we got there we had to hurry and get ready. The roadtrip part was so much fun but we never stopped for any actual food. The concert was during the day at 3 and we got to the hotel at 1:00. We gave ourselves 45 minutes to get dressed and down a few cocktails. We got ready and waited downstairs for the Uber. 

Our Uber driver was Abe. He was really cool and even let me use his phone to play the music we wanted to hear. Thankfully we didn't have to wait outside the Fedex Forum too long. We've never been there before and didn't realize our seats weren't as great as we thought. We had to walk up lots of steap stairs. 

The concert itself was AMAZING! We had a few cocktails at the concert but wanted to take it easy because no one wanted to have to run to the bathroom much. We had already decided before the concert that if after the concert we got separated we would meet in this one specific spot. I'm so glad we did that because there were so many people that our cellphones wouldn't work. When we got out of the forum it was pouring rain. I felt awful for the people waiting to get in for the next concert. You can't bring umbrellas in so no one had them. We met in our designated spot. 

At this point we were STARVING. We were super close to Beale street and the three of us have never been there. Well we turned the corner and there are people EVERYWHERE. The lines were so long and it was raining. The first restaurant we went into told us it would be an hour wait and we would have to wait outside. We quickly decided to call an Uber and just hit up a restaurant by our hotel. Our big night on Beale wasn't going to happen. 

Our next problem was our phones weren't working. There were just too many people in one area. We were starting to panic that we were going to be stuck. We walked around for a bit and finally was able to call an Uber. The drive to our hotel cost $64! They made a killing that night. We walked over to the restaurant and thankfully they had a table but they were very busy. It took forever just to get our appetizers. We decided to just leave after the appetizers. 

By the time we got back to the room we were just exhausted and we didn't want to leave the comfort of our room. We were seriously in the bed by 8:30. No one believed us because normally when us girls get together we make the most of it and stay out really late. 

The good part is that we were up super early and felt great. We made it back home before noon. We've decided that we just may be too old for Beale street. Our next trip will be this summer and we are thinking about going to either Dallas or Fort Worth. Any suggestions?

Here are the only few pictures I took. During the concert I wanted to completely focus. I'm so glad we got to see Garth again and although we didn't have our big night out, we still had a wonderful time. I got some great rest and we learned some great lessons on this trip-like make sure we eat. If we would have had an actual meal at some point we may would have been able to hang a little longer. If we even do Memphis again I want it to be a not busy time and no rain, please and thank you. 

What is the best concert you have ever been to? 

Friday, February 10, 2017


This has been a really long week. I never thought Friday would get here. I'm finally getting around to writing this and now it is almost Saturday. My Friday was pretty amazing! We ended the work week with a great day. The weather was gorgeous here in southeast Arkansas and although tomorrow should be warmer it is going to be another spring like day and I am pumped about getting back outside. Okay, maybe I'm most excited about not having to entertain Jack inside. He can run and play and hopefully crash tomorrow night. A mama has to have dreams, right? So let me get to it.

1// My Secret Pal is AMAZING! Inside this red bag is a bunch of toys like a slinky, playdoh, and a light up stick. She also gifted me this yummy mocha which was very much appreciated. I love having a secret pal to surprise Jack and I with fun things.

Also, inside the bag was this adorable Valentine shirt for Jack. His outfits are now planned for Monday and Tuesday. He'll be wearing this shirt on Monday and this newest shirt on Valentine's Day. 

2// I went with straight today and I kinda like it. I took this picture for the photo challenge I'm participating in. I've started MANY photo challenges and so far I've actually stayed on track with this one. What has helped is the Productive app. The free version lets you track five habits. I've been able to mark complete on each item since I've downloaded the app. Y'all, it's the Powersheets. By the end of 2017 y'all are gonna get sick of me talking about the Powersheets. Sorry in advance.

3// My dad got Jack and my nephew Bennett matching gators for Christmas and they LOVE them. Today was just so gorgeous that after school we let them ride. Trying to get these pictures was lots of work on my end. They don't want to stop. It is super cute when they ride together. What isn't super cute is when Jack runs into stuff on purpose. Y'all he is such a daredevil. He just goes full force into a tree and then laughs. Today I made him stop riding because he just wouldn't stop running into stuff. It is too new to break it just yet. Oh raising a boy!

Tomorrow should be a great day. The weather is going to be gorgeous so I want to spend a lot of time outside. We are going to make heart cookies also. Tomorrow afternoon I'm watching my sister's kids so her and her husband can do an early Valentine's supper. We are going to order pizza and decorate cookies. I'm also going to go ahead and give Jack his Valentine's gift so the boys can play with it outside. 

Happy Weekend!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What Happened to the Shoebox?

This week Jack's teacher sent home a note, a cardboard bag, and a big sheet of yellow paper. The note said it was time to make Valentine bags. When I was in school we decorated shoe boxes to put our valentines in. My mom said they made a heart pouch out of paper or paper plates. Well in 2017 they make bags. 

I blame Pinterest and moms like myself. We see cute stuff and we wanna make it for the world to see. Part of it is we love the praise but we also love having a creative outlet. 

When I saw the supplies I actually was really excited to do this project with Jack. They supplied each kid with a cardboard initial. I let him paint it red while I covered the bag in the yellow paper. By the time he finished painting it he had red paint all over himself. 

We used supplies on hand. We had a Dollar Tree wreath hung up that had cute felt hearts all around it. I tore the hearts off to use on his bag. I also cut out construction paper hearts. I let Jack place the hearts on the bag and hold them into place while the glue dried. We kept it fairly simple and we both enjoyed doing this project together. 

I've been making photo books so I've come across previous Valentine pictures. It is so fun looking back at how much he has grown. It is also fun to think about how much I've grown as a mother. 

Jack's first Valentine's Day

Jack looks just like me as a toddler in this picture. 

In 2015 I let Jack have a Valentine's bath and as you can tell he had a blast. I think we will do this again this year. The boy loves a bath and mama loves any time that he is contained. 

When you were in school what did y'all put Valentines in?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Valentine's Day Gifts

First let me say, sorry about these awful pictures. Total bad blogger move but life is so crazy busy right now and I still wanted to share the gifts I got for the special people in my life. 


I ordered him a personalized shirt. I picked the fire truck seen below. I love shirts with his name on it. He'll wear it this week and for his Valentine's party at school. 

On Valentine's Day he is getting this fun game that I got on clearance at Wal-Mart for $11. I also got him a sweet card but that is mostly for me to put in his memory box. He's not getting any sweets this year because he will get PLENTY at his party and from his friends.
This week I gave my Secret Pal this shirt from jane.com. Instead of the teal I got the sleeves in a pretty pink. I went ahead and gave it to her so she can wear it at least a few times. I also picked up a pair of Valentine socks that are super festive. 

My wonderful parents will also get a gift this year. They had these sheets on Amazon deals and since they just purchased a new mattress I thought some nice sheets would be a great gift. I also picked up my dad a box of sugar free chocolates since he is diabetic. 

Jack has the BEST teachers. A friend told me about this lady who makes these super cute cookies.  I'm having them shipped and they should arrive the day before Valentine's Day. I'm going to add a sweet note and I really hope they enjoy them. 

Valentine's Day is a holiday I really love. I enjoy giving gifts to my love ones. Do you have any special gifts you plan on giving this year? 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Easiest Valentine Cookies

This past week Jack and I whipped up some simple Valenine cookies. I can't tell you enough how easy they are and they are so yummy.

Here it is and I can guarantee that you will love them. Plus, I'm now thinking about other combinations I could use.

1 strawberry cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
chocolate chips (white or regular)
Valentine sprinkles for added festivity

You mix up the cake mix with the oil and eggs and then throw in as many chocolate chips as you want. You put the dough in the fridge for an hour. 

You then cook them at 350 for 10-12 minutes. 

Add sprinkles if you want to add some Valentine fun. We did  to most of them and left some without sprinkles since my mom isn't a huge fan of them. 

Next time I want to do a lemon cake mix with white chocolate chips. They will be super cute with pastel sprinkles. You could even do white cake mix and add green food coloring for St. Patty's day. 

There are so many different cake mix flavors now that the sky is the limit with this simple recipe. 

Have you ever made cookies with a cake mix? 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Simplify Pictures

Reading Grace Not Perfection has inspired me to simplify our lives. In order to build a strong foundation I don't want any baggage or disorganization to get in my way. I've decided that one of my tasks for March (yeah, I"m thinking ahead) is to make a yearly photo book of our family.  The main goal that is attached to this task is to create intentional memoires with my family. What better way than looking through organized photo albums? Currently by pictures are on Facebook, Instagram, my work computer, my blog, my personal computer, my phone, prints, Walgreens, and my google photos.

1. To organize all of my Facebook photos into albums. I'm deleting a lot of them and choosing just the ones I want to represent our family.

2. Get the Instagram photos that I want to be in the albums. This is gonna take some work.

3. Organize my work photos into one album and then make yearly folders to drop each picture in.

4. I'll check through my blog and see if anything stands out and I'll save those to the folder on my work computer.

5. I'll take the photos from my personal computer and will uplead them to facebook into the correct album.

6. The phone photos will also be downloaded to facebook into the correct album.

7. Ill go through my prints that were mostly printed via Groovebook and I'll put the year on the back.

8. The Walgreens photos will probably be deleted since I feel like they are in other places.

9. My google photos will be added to my work computer and put into the correct folder.

Now comes the hard part. Ideally I would be able to just upload all of them to Walgreens but I've done that in the past and some were very fuzzy. I plan on using picmonkey to edit my photos. I plan on taking one year photo book at a time.

Although I have this task to be completed by March, I'm really hoping to just get at least one complete by then. It really is going to take a lot of work to get it all organized.

From now on I'm going to be better about backing up and sorting them right away and even go as far as printing 2017 pictures as I get a bunch.

How do you deal with ALL THE PICTURES?

Friday, February 3, 2017

February's Tasks

Image result for february clipart black and white

I rocked my tasks in January as you saw in my previous post. Since I'm on such an amazing role I want to keep my progress going. Remember, my word for 2017 is FOUNDATION. For the first time in my life I truly feel like I'm building my life up from the very bottom. My Powersheets have been such a fundemental piece of my success. That prep work was the key. I also have to say the Powersheets Facebook group has been such a blessing. Well without further ado....

February's Tasks

1. Read the books of John and Matthew from the Bible. This task goes to my greater goal of getting in the Bible more so that I can build my relationship with God. My original task for this month was to read Romans but I finished it before January ended. 

2. Pay off 2 medical bills. This task goes to my 2017 goal of becoming more financially stable. Those bills may be two fifty dollar bills but hey that is something.

3. Write down a list of possible passions or callings. Another one of my goals for this year is to explore what my true passion or calling should be. I want to be more involved in something but I feel that I need to focus on one area. Not only will I be making this list but I'll be praying about it as well. Maybe in previous months I can dip my feet into different ones to find the right fit. One of my true passions is my job. I'm not looking for a new job but I'd like to have something that drives me outside of my work. Currently, that is parenting. Yes, I blog but I'd love a passion or hobby to add more substance to my life and to give me more to blog about. 

4. Write out a plan for my tax refurn. This is another task that goes with my goal fo becoming more financially stable. Should I start a savings? Should I pay off one big medical bill? Should I do half and half? I've got some major thinking to do. Last year I called around and asked what was the lowest they would take if I paid cash right then. I paid off two big bills that way and also did some shopping.

5. Post on blog twice a week. I love blogging but deciding to lean into Jack this year has taken away from my blogging. I'm okay with that but one of my goals for this year is to cultivate my relationships with friends, including you, my sweet blogger friends.

6. Write one piece of snail mail a week. This task also goes with my goal to cultivate my friendships. There is nothing like getting a sweet piece of paper mail. I enjoy picking out my stationary and taking out the time to write the words. It has been such a pleasant experience so I want to keep it going this month also. 

7. Bake heart shaped cookies with Jack. One of my goals is to create intentional memories with Jack. Jack LOVES to bake and we actually made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies this past weekend. I hope to make several of these heart cookies and share with others.

8. Write prayers down on paper. I heard about this idea and thought it was really cool. I want to see how my prayers become answered or how they change. I think it is also a great way to focus on gratitude because you can't pray without giving thanks. 

I also wanted to include my list of to dos. These aren't necessarily related to a goal but things that need to be done to move me forward and possibly towards a future task.

To Dos:
  • Clean out my car
  • Buy Valentine gifts for my mom and Jack (done since I've written this). I've already gotten Jack's classmates and teachers taken care of. I also got my dad something. My co-workers gift came in today and my Secret Pal gift will be delivered soon.
  • Cancel Netflix
  • Drop off clothes and shoes that were weeded from our wardrobes (using Give Box Back)
  • Research waterbottles that measure water intake
  • Move treadmill into a more usuable location
  • Research or talk to a lawyer regarding changing Jack's last name (Met with a lawyer 1/31)
  • Read another motivational book (Reading Grace Not Perfection was so uplifting and I'd like to read another book that was helpful in achieving my goals). I'm thinking about The Fringe Hours. Any suggestions?
  • Sign up for a 5K my friends and I are doing in April to support our friend whose son lives with Sickle Cell
Well guys, that is what I have so far. I hope to have another successful month where progress is made. I believe that each of my tasks will help me continue to build that strong foundation I'm wanting. 

Do you have one major task that you want to accomplish this month?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

How I Built a Stronger Foundation in January

My 2017 word foundation was in the forefront throughout the month of January. I built my goals and to do lists around asking myself "is this helping me build a strong foundation for us?". There were so many things that I added to our lives and some things I stopped doing. I want to share those with you today. I want to document this foundation and all of my accomplishments. I truly believe 2017 will be the year of great change for us.

What I've accomplished in January:

Relationship with God:

  • I read the book of Psalms. I actually finished it on the 24th so I've decided to move onto the book of Romans. I figure February is a short month anyways so I'll need these extra few days. 
  • I've been praying more often and being intentional in my prayers. My biggest prayer is "I want God's will to be done". 
  • I haven't been going to church. I'm full of excuses, mainly weather. We did good for awhile but got off track. Going to church and belonging to a church community is important to me so I need to make it a priority. 
  • I check my bank balance every single day and write it down.
  • I paid off two medical bills.
  • I did my taxes and now have to start thinking about how to use my refund.
  • I deleted some of my favorite shopping apps from my phone.
  • I unsubscribed from the shopping emails I get.
Relationship with Jack:
  • I got on the floor and built many of train tracks.
  • I played puzzles, Pop the Pig, Trouble, Candyland (even when I didn't want to).
  • I jumped on the trampoline and we had a leaf fight.
  • Jack and I baked cookies several times. The kid loves to be in the kitchen!
  • When Jack gets frustrated I would not yell but talk to him in a very soft voice. 
  • We snuggle often and especially when he starts to get super active. Today he said, "Mama wanna watch Dinosaur Train and snuggle?" Oh yeah sweet child.
  • I've read Pete the Cat too many times to count.
  • I've let Jack help me with chores.
  • I need to put my phone down more. I'm bad about checking and responding to a text message even in the middle of playing with Jack. The other day we went outside to play and I decided to just leave the phone in the house.
  • I've taken less pictures which has been bittersweet. I love having pictures but I know how good it is to be in the moment. 
Health and Wellness:
  • I went to the doctor and got on Paxil. The best thing I could have ever done!
  • I've been drinking more water but I still struggle with this one and am looking to buy something to measure my water intake that isn't too bulky.
  • Walking more. For some reason I stopped using my Fitbit. I think I just stopped wanting to wear it. Regardless, I have been making a point of walking more. 
  • I've been sending snail mail to friends to help cultivate those important blogger and in real person friendships. 
  • I've been checking in with two important Facebook groups. I want to build these relationships with my blogger friends and my Powersheets group. Both groups are so encouraging! 
  • I've asked a new Powersheets friend to be my accountability partner. She is so encouraging and I love being able to just text and say "I'm not feeling it today". 
January went so well that I'm excited for what February will bring. I have some great goals planned and some habits that I want to continue. I can feel our stronger foundation coming together. I can't wait to see all the amazing things that will happen for us in the following months. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Give Back Box

If you are anything like me I find it difficult to know where to take items I no longer need. I live in a small town and we have zero donation areas. Even if I did live in a town where they take donations it would still take more work than Give Back Box.

This is how it works:

1. You fill an empty box with items you want to donate.

2. Go to the website to print a prepaid shipping label.

3. Attach the label to the box and take it to the post office.

When you fill out the information it picks the nearest donation center. If you include an email they will send you a tax receipt for your items.

I just wanted to share this cool thing that I found and I hope it helps with all of your donation needs. It is also reusing old boxes. I order a lot from Amazon. As soon as I empty my Amazon box I go around and fill it up with unwanted items. I print off the ticket right away and box it up. I keep all my boxing up materials in one area. Within a few days I always need to go to the post office so I drop my box off then. Super easy!

Have you ever used Give Back Box