Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Best Blogging Friends!!

I have the BEST blogging friends!!



I was so humbled today to get a blogging award from one of the sweetest people in the whole world, Leigh Ann!


I wish I could meet her in person because I know we would have the best time together. She is so caring and loving and real. She has two precious children and is such a WONDERFUL mom, friend, and wife! Leigh Ann, thank you so much for thinking of me today!!

Since I got this award, I am supposed to pass it on. Here is what I am supposed to do:

1. Put the logo on your blog.

2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.

3. Nominate at least seven other blogs.

4. Add links to those blogs on your blog.

5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

It really is so hard for me to choose anyone to pass this award to since I love everyone on my blogroll so much (and some that aren't even on it)!! But since I was tagged, I will pass this along to five people who I haven't given an award to before (I know I'm supposed to do seven, but this is all I could do today!)...

Faith-


This is one sweet girl. She and her husband Chad are just the cutest couple. And Faith is ultra-talented. She does beautiful monograms!! Her blog title is Walk With Me By Faith and that is truly what she does each and every day. She is such an inspiration to me in her walk with the Lord!

Jacquie-


I love this girl! We are about the same age and all the things she talks about on her blog...from her fun family stories of growing up, to her being a mom to two grown boys...I can so relate to. She always makes me smile when I read her blog.

Meagan-


I love having this sweet girl as one of my blog friends. She is a teacher just like me and is so down-to-earth. She is funny and sincere and has such a caring heart. I always look forward to reading the latest from her!

Caroline-


Caroline is probably one of the most godly girls I know. She is truly "on fire" for Jesus! It oozes out of every inch of her! She is bubbly and fun and such a cutie. I just love reading all about her travels and her life as a teacher and seminary student and her new house in Waxahachie, Texas!!

Meredith-


I have so much in common with Meredith. She is the mother of three adorable children and just trying to be the best wife, mother, and friend she can be. She lives in such a beautiful part of the country...Colorado! She is such a down to earth and sweet person. I love catching up with her each day!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Few Ideas and Links

We've just had lots of regular summer days here lately. We've just been doing a lot of nothing really. Let's see...some of the ordinariness includes:

*Having dinner with my parents last night.


All the kids had their own things going, so Steve and I went over to my parents. My dad grilled steaks and we stayed over there till after 10:00 just sitting at the table talking!

*The kids playing games outside on the porch.



*Going to the farmer's market for some fresh corn and okra. I cut the corn off the cob and fried up the okra for dinner tonight. That was the hugest hit with my kids. They loved it! I ended up making a whole plate of food and giving it to Candy, too!


*Ashley has been working at our church's "Mother's Morning Out" and it is almost over. The teacher that she works with gave her these pretty flowers and they are now sitting on our kitchen table.


*Laura and Lindy got their senior pictures made yesterday...you know the ones where they wear the drape? I can't wait to see how they turned out!

Today I just thought I would share a couple of fun ideas and links that I have come across lately that really helped me and I thought maybe you might like, too!

1-First of all, I finally got hooked up to Google Reader and all I can say is....what took me so long?!


I had heard people talk about it and I was somewhat interested. But last week I finally did it and it is the hugest time saver!! I know many of you already have it or something like it, but if you don't, you might want to look into it. It is a list of all the blogs you read that pops up on Google so you can quickly see who has posted something new without having to click around to everyone's blog.

And it just so happens I have a really great link here that tells you all about it and how to do it!

2-Bible Memory Verses-I was talking with my little Bible Study/lunch group last week and we were thinking about how we all really wanted to commit more scripture to memory. That reminded me of how when my kids were little I wanted them to memorize scripture so they could hide God's word in their hearts. However, they weren't very motivated!


So, what's a mother to do? My solution: PAY THEM! And, yes, I realize it's bribery, but it worked! I paid them for each Bible verse they memorized!

When I was little, I learned 26 verses called the Bible Verse Alphabet. Each letter of the alphabet had a verse that went with it. For example:

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favor rather than silver or gold." -Proverbs 22:1

"Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only." -James 1:22

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." -Psalm 51:10

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." -Psalm 37:4

You get the idea...So, I made one of these for my kids and that's how they learned 26 verses of their own! But adults can do it too! :)

3-Babysitting! If you have small children (or will soon) and leave them with a babysitter from time to time...you might be interested in this link.


I love the blog "chatting at the sky". And yesterday Emily had some great ideas about what your babysitter wished you knew. If you are a mom (or mom-to-be), this could be eye-opening. I knew all the things she mentions were true because I've heard my girls talk about them many times!

So that's about it for today. I hope you're having a great week!


Monday, July 28, 2008

Zumba and More...

Well, today was the day that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition let the family know who was chosen. Unfortunately, my friend Joy didn't get chosen! I was disappointed for her, but I am looking forward to hearing about the family that WAS chosen! And...I didn't get asked to help. There were over 4000 volunteers, so they had to narrow it down to people who had skills such as drywalling, electrical wiring, etc.--none of which I have! Oh well!

This morning I went to Zumba with Laura and Lindy and my neighbor Candy and her daughter Kelsey. Have you ever been? It's fast moving dancing (some Latin style and some kind of hip-hop/R&B).


We danced for an hour and 10 minutes! Needless to say, it was quite a workout! Really fun, though! It made me feel a little better about sitting in a chair all afternoon at the pool reading a book! It is so hot here. Just about all you want to do is be in a pool or the air conditioning somewhere.

Tonight Mark is life guarding and my girls all went to the Maroon 5/Sara Bareilles concert so Steve and I went out to dinner. We tried a restaurant that was new to us...Miro Spanish Grill.

You can eat outside...


It was delicious. Spanish food is very different than Mexican food. I had jumbo shrimp sauteed with tomatoes, peppers, and onions over rice. Steve had marinated chicken and mushrooms and mashed potatoes. It was all really fresh and yummy!

And we finally finished the entire HBO John Adams series. (I know--we're nerds!)


But it was so good! We've been watching a little bit each night for the past week or two. If you like history at all, you should rent it. We both commented after each DVD about how good it was and how it made history come alive!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

It is a quiet Saturday here. It's been a little rainy and overcast, so it was a good day to do pretty much nothing. I did go grocery shopping at Super Wal-Mart this morning where I always save so much money! I came home and made BLT's for lunch, then took a nap! :)

We are in one of those times right now when you can feel lots of changes coming on. Sometimes life just seems to flow along with the "same old, same old" for a long time, then all of a sudden it's like the wind changes direction and you start getting tossed around a little bit.

One of the changes we have coming soon is Mark will be leaving in about 3 weeks. He couldn't be more excited about it! I know he is going to LOVE college. But it will be different around here...one less chair at the dinner table, WAY less laundry, a bedroom just sitting there empty. I will miss his energy and his sense of humor. He is always so upbeat and fun! I will be sad when he's gone!

Today, Ashley is in Columbia moving out of the apartment she shared with her two best friends last year. She doesn't want to, but she was elected president of Chi-O, so she has to live in the sorority house this year. She was really sad because she had so much fun living with Robin and Rachel. Now it won't be the same!



I know when she's standing in that apartment after everything has been moved out, she is going to be so sad just remembering all the fun they had together. I hate closing the door for the last time and walking away from a place you loved!

I also got a call from my principal a few days ago. She has decided to move me to second grade! I have taught second grade before and I absolutely love it. It's probably my favorite grade to teach! But for the past two years, I have been teaching kindergarten. I had THE BEST team and we all got along so well and had the best time together. Plus I loved my assistant, Toni! We just had a chemistry together that worked. Not to mention, one of my best friends and neighbor, Candy, was right across the hall from me! My room was so big and open with big bright windows and it's own bathroom.



Now I'm going to be in a trailer! I know I will love it, but I will be sad to say goodbye to kindergarten!

Steve has had a lot of craziness going on at his office this week too. Lots of things are up in the air right now for him and he's not sure what will happen next. That's been on his mind alot this week.

And Laura and Lindy are about to start their very first jobs (other than babysitting). Laura has an interview this week at Chick-fil-A


and Lindy thinks she is getting a job at a little boutique for girls called Justice.


It is kind of like a Limited, Too. I think they will have fun working and making their own money!

So many changes ahead! I don't know about you, but I'm not a huge fan of change. :) I like things to stay the same. But I know that the only thing that never changes is change, right? You just have to adjust! And I'm thinking the next month or two is going to involve lots of adjustments for all of us!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Whitewater!

I told you yesterday that I would share with you something fun and different that my sister-in-law Debbie wanted to do for her birthday. We went whitewater rafting! On the Catawba River here in Charlotte, we have the new US National Whitewater Center.


It is the world's largest artificial whitewater river and an official U.S. Olympic Training Site! I have been whitewater rafting several times in the mountains before, but never at this center.

It was so much fun! Our guide was extremely energetic...seriously bouncing off the walls with energy. He made the whole experience even more fun and entertaining! Laura and Lindy were a little scared at first, but they ended up really liking it! We saw lots of people get thrown off their rafts and start heading down the currents, but none of us ever fell off and we had a great time!

I just wanted to share a couple of our pictures with you. I thought it was definitely a unique way to celebrate a 50th birthday!




Have you ever gone whitewater rafting?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thursday

Summer days are just flying by! I can't believe it's almost the end of July! I have been busy the past few days. Yesterday we had kind of a little "Girl's Day Out". Laura and Lindy and I met Steve for lunch then we went shopping at Swoozie's. I got this lunchbox for school.


Lindy said it looks like her bedspread. Haha

After shopping, we went to see Mama Mia.


I'm probably in the minority here, but I didn't really like it???!! I loved the music and the scenery. And I thought the girl that played the daughter was good. But, in my opinion, Pierce Brosnan can't sing very well and he just seemed a little weird in that role to me. He needs to stick to being James Bond! And I'm really not a huge fan of Meryl Streep. I don't know...it just wasn't one of my favorites.

Last night was my sister-in-law, Debbie's 50th birthday. So we all met at Carraba's to celebrate. Here's the birthday girl with my mother-in-law.


Laura, Ashley, and Mark. (Lindy was on the other side of the table!)


Afterwards, we went back to Steve's parents house for ice cream cake. Mark taught us how to play a new game called "Mafia". It's too hard to explain here, but we played till really late and had a lot of fun!

Debbie is doing something really different and fun tonight for her 50th. We are all going to do it with her, so I'll tell you all about it tomorrow!

Today I met my mom and my friend Nancy for lunch at McAlister's. She goes to my church and has a such a sweet family. I didn't know she had a blog until recently! We had a good time together talking. We always see people we know there...it is a hot spot for lunch. I think I saw literally about eight friends there today!

Since Mark never takes a camera anywhere, I found a few pictures of Mark from Jamaica that other friends had taken and posted on Facebook. These were of a visit to a nursing home in Jamaica. Mark really enjoyed visiting with this woman. Her name was Mary and Mark just loved her.


I was just noticing in this next picture what Mark's friend Philip has on his shirt! These were just old t-shirts that the kids had or that they got from Goodwill. But it just struck me as a funny shirt to wear to a rest home! :) Mark and I laughed about it when I showed him. He said Philip and no one else even noticed it!



These were the only two pictures I could find to share with you. I need to get that boy a camera!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Latest

Thank you so much to all of you who were praying for Mark! He made it home safely from Jamaica last night. I was so happy to see him and hear all his stories. He had a great trip! You can't help but come back from a trip like that and not have it impact your life. They built two houses and an addition to a home and they were able to minister to many of the people who live in Harmons.

He brought me back some Jamaican coffee and since they played lots of games at night with the people there, he also brought back dominoes. Other than the clothes he was wearing, that's about all he did come back with! They left everything, including all their clothes and shoes, there for the people who need it so badly!

Yesterday we got up early and went to the Extreme Makeover Pep Rally. Chick-Fil-A was there giving out free chicken biscuits. There was also free water and juice. The Charlotte Bobcats drum team was there along with the mascot from the Bobcats, Rufus, and the Carolina Panthers mascot, Sir Purr. The news was there and we even saw ourselves last night on the news! But the meeting itself was really more informational and motivational. It wasn't a true pep rally where you cheer and yell, etc. Here is a picture of Ashley and her cousin, Rebeccah with Rufus!


I'm not sure if I will be chosen as a volunteer, but I signed up! They will let us know when the time gets closer. I don't have any special skills like plumbing or drywall, etc. But I can paint!!

I got a new ice cream maker yesterday. I saw this in Paula Deen's magazine as one of her top picks. It's the Cuisinart ice cream maker. No rock salt or ice needed. And no churning.


Laura made some vanilla ice cream last night with lots of toppings. It was really good!

And since I've been so lazy lately, I thought I should get busy these past few days. I've done lots of cleaning and laundry. I vacuumed out my car and I even cleaned out and organized my closet! Have you ever used these?


They are so great at condensing your bulky sweaters and jackets down so they don't take up so much space!

Also, I saw the craziest thing today. Have you ever heard of fish giving you a pedicure??



This is what the article I read said:
Owners of Yvonne Hair and Nails in Alexandria, a suburb of Washington DC, estimate 5,000 customers have so far tried the unorthodox treatment, in which customers immerse their feet in warm water filled with tiny, voracious carp.

The toothless fish, termed garra rufa but known as “doctor fish”, nibble away at dead skin while leaving healthy flesh untouched, providing what advocates say is a natural alternative to potentially unsanitary razors, clippers or pumice stones.


Ok-no thank you!! I'm so ticklish I think I'd be laughing the whole time!

Anyway, I really wanted to go to the pool today, but it is SOOOO hot and humid. And I think today is a code red ozone warning. So, it looks like I'll be spending the afternoon near my air conditioner with maybe a popsicle in hand!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lazy Summer Days

So....the laziness just continued all weekend! Let's see if I can wrap it up for you:

*Steve and I went to the pool all afternoon on Saturday.

*I finished my book The Kite Runner. It was sooo good!! I highly recommend it if you are looking for a good summer read. I had a little bit of a hard time getting into it at first because of the Farsi language and the names. But after a couple of chapters, I was hooked! I liked it so much we rented the movie last night. I never think the movie is as good as the book, though! And I bought A Thousand Splendid Suns, the next book by the same author. I am really looking forward to reading it, too!



*We grilled out hamburgers last night. I made some yummy squash to go with it and Lindy made a big salad like the one you get at Maggiano's with blue cheese, red onion, and bacon in it.

*I played around with my Photo Shop Elements that I got for my birthday.



My goal is to learn how to use that well. I also want to take a photography class! I'm looking to see if there is one I can get into before school starts.

*I got caught up on my magazine reading. This is one I read.


I really wanted to read this article about Barack Obama's faith. I am interested in knowing what he really stands for! There are so many different opinions and ideas about whether he is a Christian or a Muslim. I just want to know the truth!

*Steve had a deacon's meeting after church today, so I went to the mall and used my Nordstrom gift certificate to buy me some new Clinique Happy perfume! I LOVE that perfume. I've been out for a while and I was so excited to get it today. I opened it and sprayed it on right when I got in the car! haha I also browsed around Anthropologie which I love! They have the cutest and funkiest clothes and all kinds of things for your house.


*Tonight Steve's parents asked us over for dinner. Steve's brother Mike is in town, so they love to get together alot while he is here. We grilled out steaks and his mom made a homemade blueberry pie that was to die for!


I have never made a pie from scratch, but she told me how she did it & I am definitely trying it soon!

*Steve's parents just got a Wii. This is Laura trying the Hula Hooping! That is really fun!


You could actually get a lot of excercise doing it!

Tomorrow morning is the Pep Rally for Extreme Makeover. It is at our church! My girls and I are going to Starbucks bright and early and then heading over there. Also, Mark is coming home from Jamaica tomorrow. I can't wait to see him. I haven't talked to him in a week. I can't wait to hear about everything! Please pray for him to be safe on his flight home tomorrow afternoon!

Hope you have a great week! :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Just Hanging Out And Having Fun

Aaahhhh, summer! Isn't it the best???!!! These past few days have been ultra laid back. Not much going on except chilling out and having fun.

Steve and I DID go to the Melting Pot for our fun date night last night.


It was soooo good! We had so much food, I can't even tell you. But I do want to show you our dessert.


We got the Flaming Turtle chocolate fondue with all these yummy things to dip into it. I was about to pop by that time, though, so Steve had to do most of the damage (which he gladly did!)

Other than that, it's been pretty much just sleeping in, walking in the neighborhood, reading, watching Netflix, and hanging out on my porch. Today I met some ladies in my Sunday School class for lunch and a little Bible study which was fun.

Tonight after dinner Steve and I went to an outdoor mall area nearby that has restaurants, fountains, ice cream shops, etc. and listened to some music and just enjoyed being outside. We saw some friends up there and had fun catching up with them, too.



So, it's been pretty lazy around here and I am trying to soak up every minute. My mental clock is already starting that end of summer countdown. Only four weeks till it's back to school! But I'm not going to think about that right now! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

God Of This City

Yesterday my girls and I went to lunch with my mom. As we were sitting there talking, she showed me a newspaper article that she had brought with her. It said that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was going to be surprising a Charlotte family next week with a total home makeover!


I love that show and I just wanted to spread to the word to anyone in the Charlotte area, that if you're interested, they are surprising the family on the morning of July 28th and the makeover will be completed by August 5th. You can check this website if you'd like to participate as a volunteer:
www.extrememakeovercharlotte.com

They haven't announced who the family is because that is, of course, a big secret right now. But I have a friend named Joy McGuire who I would LOVE to see be chosen for this exciting opportunity. Let me just tell you why!

Joy runs a ministry here in Charlotte called With Love From Jesus out of her home. I want to promise you that she is probably the most giving person I think I've ever met. Her home is VERY small and needs ALOT of work, which she is not able to do because she really struggles financially. In addition to caring for a son with special needs and a husband who is very sick (all of which result in astronomical medical bills), this woman gives literally every ounce of her strength, time, and money to helping others in need.

She is just about to begin her yearly fall project where she donates school supplies, clothes, backpacks, etc. to needy families in our area. This project is HUGE. And she runs it all out of her house!! She spreads everything out in her yard and people just are able to come get what they need! Here is a link where you can read a little about what she does and donate if you are interested! Believe me, this is just a tiny part of what she does each and every day!!

So, anyway...I would love to see Joy chosen, but I know whatever family is chosen will have great needs and be so deserving of this blessing!

There is another fun thing going on in Charlotte this week called The Queen's Feast.


If you're not from Charlotte, our city was named after Queen Charlotte, so we're called the Queen City. This week, lots of the top restaurants here are offering an appetizer, entre, and dessert for only $30!! So...I'm thinking date night tonight at the Melting Pot!!

This morning on my walk, I was thinking about Charlotte and how much I love it and what a fun place it is to live. I know most people feel alot of pride and happiness when they think about their hometown...especially if you grew up there like I did!

But it also made me think about a song by Chris Tomlin called "God of this City". I don't know if you've heard it or not, but I really like it because it speaks to how I feel. I love my city and all it has to offer and just like anything or anybody you love, you want the best for it! I know there is so much work to be done here still for Christ and lots of heart that are hurting here (as in ALL cities...I was also thinking of the work Mark and his team are doing in Harmons, Jamaica right now!) So, I just wanted to share the song with you today!