Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Change is Good

Change is a good thing.  It's good for the soul and it promotes growth.  Pruning is difficult but it's what's best for the branch.  

This is the mantra I have had for myself for the last few weeks.  There has been lots of change going on within my life and at times it has been overwhelming.  I will just give you the "Cliff-Notes."

- Chris changed shifts at work.
- I'm still in my walking boot.
- I started a new job.
- I quit my old job.
- We are making some big changes at home!!

 Back before my foot surgery Chris switched shifts to be more convenient with my healing process and ensuring Alex was well taken care of.   Well that change has been incredibly difficult and finally he was able to go back to his previous shift and life is back to normal once more. 

I had a follow up appointment for my surgeon and there is improvement but not enough.  So he ordered a bone stimulator for the next 4 weeks and then come back for repeat x-rays and hoepfully kicking the boot once and for all!

I started a new job!! What the what?!?! I never thought I would say that!  When I started NICU nursing I thought I had found my forever job!  And this is definitely still the case!  So what the new job?  Well I have never been one to get "comfortable."  In fact there is nothing that makes me more anxious as a nurse.  It is often when you are comfortable that mistakes happen.  While I was off for recovering from surgery I was approached for this opportunity and to say the least it had me shaking in my boots but so excited.  It provides me with an opportunity to still care for babies but also help more people across a greater area.  I started last week and I don't have a single bad thing to say about it so far.  Let's just say it's so nice to feel wanted.

I quit my old job?!?!  What the what?!?!  My original plan was to stay on a optional basis with my old job but as things happen between life and trying to manage 2 jobs it got hectic.  So Chris and I prayed about it and spoke at great length about what to do and it was decided I would drop the optional job while I could still leave on good terms.  

We are also beginning the final stages of making some big changes at home.  Our kitchen has been "torn-up" for over a year.  I had a spur of the moment idea and my loving husband went straight to work.  So we began this project with one goal in mind, to make ourselves more counter space.  So we moved our fridge to the other side of the kitchen and took the counters that were there and placed them where the fridge once was.  In doing this we created over 10ft of consecutive counter space and an area for our trashcan to be hidden. Well we are in the homestretch.  We will be completing our project next month and I could not be more excited to share it with you!  I will be drafting several posts with my inspiration and our plans over the next few days.

I am so excited to be back to the blog, and I can't wait to share to you everything that is going on.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Favorite Sticker Shops & Most Recent Order

Let me just say, I have fallen hard for a few select sticker shops on Etsy lately.  I'm talking ride or die, stalk them on Instagram and Twitter and being crazy obsessive checking them for updated items.

I must say though there is nothing more that ticks me off than logging into Etsy to check out your favorite shops and seeing their shop is closed for vacation....

But back to the good stuff!

I have several favorite shops that I always fall to when I am shopping on Etsy at 330 in the morning...

First up PeanutButterTaco:

I truly think Monica, the shops owner, may just be my soul sister.  Her stickers are food for my soul in that they fit my planning style perfectly. Functional but pretty and I just DIE over her half boxes.  I have multiples of all of the ones she has listed!  And don't even get me started on how much I love her F*uck it List and absolutely love that she is taking certain things from that list and making them into whole sheets. 

Next MilaPrintShop:

I found MilaPrintShop through Kim @LivingTheWifeLife.  Her stuff is fantastic.  I think my favorites from her are her sampler sheets and her small event boxes.  But let me just tell you I have an almost $90 order on it's way to me now and could be here by the time you are reading this!  I plan to do a review/haul on that order for my next Wednesday post. 

Finally my new favorite LittleMissPaperie:

I can't think of any videos I watched that brought me to her shop so I had to have found her on Instagram in the middle of the night and started shopping then.  I really love her horizontal weekly kits and I am absolutely dying over the sneak peek of the weekly kit she is releasing at the end of the week.

If you are as obsessed with planning as I am I highly encourage you to check out all of these ladies shops and let me know what you think of them also!  I have put links to their Etsy shops below.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Even Superheroes Love Story Time

One of my goals for this year was to get Alex out of the house more.  Before the whole mess with my foot started last July Alex and I were going to Story Time pretty consistently at the library, well as it does life got in the way and it fell by the wayside. 

When I made my goals for 2016 getting back into the swing of things was top notch!

Alex has recently discovered his love for books and has enjoyed spending time at the library so much that we spend a few days a week at the library for a couple hours.  One of Alex's favorite times at the library is story time and music class.  Every morning now the routine goes:

I wake Alex up.
He asks if we are going to church.
He asks if we can go to music class.
He asks if we can go to story time. 
Can I wear my cape?

I love spending time with this cutie but even more so I love watching his little brain grow!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Alex's 4th Birthday Brain Dump

So right around this time every year is when I start to mentally plan out Alex's birthday party for that year.  I usually take an account of all of the things he is loving at that point.  Well this year I am having such a rough time nailing down a theme.  He is loving so many different things.  SO I will share with you all of the things Alex is loving and the themes we are contemplating for his birthday party. 

Some of these themes I feel like I have already taken out of the running simply because they annoy me but they are still in the running.

PJ Masks has become a staple!  I searched high and low for these toys before Christmas only to find out Disney is not releasing these toys until sometime in 2016.  So I ordered him a character mask for each character and a cape to go with it.  But Alex knows every word to the theme song and all of the characters names and I know he would have an absolute ball with this theme.

Minions.  I am so over Minions.  But Alex loves them!  He has a nightlight in his room that is a minion that sings to him and he will not go to sleep until that thing get turned on.  There would be so many cute Pinteresty ideas to go along with this but yellow is just not my color lol.

Another theme that Alex has been obsessed with is Spiderman. I think Spiderman would be fun however I feel like every 4 year old boy has done this theme.  So maybe this will just be something be pass on.

 Alex also loves Miles From Tomorrowland.  Merk might just be his favorite pet.  This theme is definitely in our top 3! 

And finally Star Wars.  We took Alex to the drive-in with us the night we saw The Force Awakens and he fell in love.  Everywhere we go he asks to take his lightsabers and everytime we go to a new store he says, "Mommy can we get another lightsaber?"  Having Star Wars on Netflix has been a welcomed change to our nighttime routine and Alex loves it!  I do believe this will be our pick you won't find out until I make Alex's invites!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Favorite Apps (For Moms)

 Since Monday I covered some of our favorite funtime apps for Alex I thought it would only be fitting to cover some of my favorite apps other than the expected like Facebook and Instagram.

So let's dive right in.  Since you all know I am a photographer as my side job one of my absolute favorite apps on my phone is the Lightroom app.  If you don't know Lightroom is an app you can use to edit photos.  The thing I use them for mainly is cropping and adjusting the exposure.  I think most of the Instagram filters are too muddy so I like to go into Lightroom on my phone to edit my pictures there and then upload them to social media.  It is free to download the app I believe.

One of the other apps I have had on my phone a very long time is Groove Book.  I am in love with this app!  It allows you to select 50-100 pictures monthly to be printed into a booklet with perforated pages for $4.99.  Since I am ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE at printing my own pictures this is my saving grace! It may just be the only way my family members have gotten any pictures for the last 2 years.  

 The Etsy app is one of my other most visited apps.  As you all know I am obsessed with my planner and love to put stickers in there.  Well this is where I find all of them.  Why would I get out of bed to sit at my computer when I have the ability to shop in bed, in my pajamas and in the middle of the night.  I have a lot of late night purchases that have been made that turn out to be my favorites.  But I don't just use this app to shop for me but I also shop for Alex's birthday's here. 

This next one is Weatherbug.  You may or may not know that I am absolutely terrified of thunderstorms.  One of my irrational fears is being involved in or close to tornadoes.  I am talking like panic attack and a really upset stomach.  I have had a few news station apps to keep me up to date on weather but I wind up never checking them and they don't send me alerts when there are new alerts.  So I really love this app.  I am able to personalize it to my area and tell it what alerts I want it to send me and what I don't really care to know it won't tell me. 

But ultimately my most visited app is my bible app.  I have chosen the YouVersion Bible app and I love it for a few reasons.  It lets you take notes, highlight, and has reading plans you can follow.  One of my other favorite features in this app is that you can search for a key word and it will pull up all of the verses that contain that word in it.  I love my paper bible so much more but it is so nice to be able to sit down anywhere and spend time in God's word.  

Tell me your favorite apps!  I am always looking for new ones to explore and fall in love with.

Monday, January 25, 2016

My Favorite Apps (For Alex)

Today I thought I would spend a little time and detail some of my favorite fun apps for Alex.  We recently have been working in some new educational apps so I don't quite have favorite apps just yet.  But once I have some favorites I will share them with you.  

I just want to add a precursor that we strictly limit Alex's screen time and we closely monitor and often are sitting right next to him if he is on our phones. 

This might be my top favorite!  Especially for long car trips or doctor's appointments, which I have had so many of lately.  It sure eats up a lot of data but it is nice to have all of Alex's favorite movies on hand to avoid meltdowns, when you connect to wifi it's free and it doesn't take up a ton of space on your phone unless you actually download the movies to your phone.   We have approximately 15 movies and I still have plenty of free space on my phone.  One of the other best parts is since we have a Disney Movie Club membership when we get a new movie through the club we get a digital download and can add it to our collection.

 Alex absolutely loves this cars app.  It's extremely interactive and he loves to develop the little city and get to meet more characters from the movies. 

Minion Rush, oh Minion Rush.  Alex would literally spend all day playing this if I would let him.  We have strongly limited his phone time lately to spend more time with flashcards and "school time."  But I think what might make me more upset is that he is so much better at it than I am.

 This is another cool app that Alex is beginning to get into this one a little more.  He gets so excited when the app "talks back" to him and encourages him to interact. Sometimes if he has trouble figuring it out he will get frustrated, so it's not his favorite but he is getting more into it.

This has been a tried and true favorite for a long time.  Since we don't have cable right now this is the way Alex watches tv.  He is absolutely hooked to PJ masks and Miles of Tomorrowland.  So we let him watch 1-2 shows a day depending on if he cleans his room and if he has good behavior. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Baby on the Way (Not Mine)

My nephew is coming or here!  

Over the past few days I have watched my best friend exude strength and patience.  Childbirth is no easy feat and you have handled it with poise, although you may not think so.  I am so blown away by you as I sit and write this.  (You are currently sleeping in the bed next to me, resting up before the fun really starts.)  Even just in the 2 days you have been in the hospital thus far I have seen you turn into a mom.  Putting yourself last and that cute little baby first. 

It's amazing the transformation a woman makes when she goes from just a woman on the street to the mom of a perfect human being.  This is a transformation I would have never noticed until I had Alex and experienced it within myself.  I am beyond blessed to be able to recognize these changes within you and will gladly remind you of them each time you doubt yourself.  God placed that little baby in your care because He saw that you were the best mother for him and he is the best son for you.  

As I have told you the days to come will be gone in an instant, cherish them.  Each and every poop, spit up and booger will all have new meaning to you soon and I can't wait to share these memories with you.  Somedays will be really, really hard but I promise it will all be so worth it.  So so worth it.  

You are an amazing friend, sister, daughter, aunt, wife and now mother.  I am thankful you are such a great part in not only my life but also Alex's.  We absolutely cannot wait to watch that little stinker of your's grow but I am more excited to watch you grow in motherhood.

Now I am off to get in all the baby snuggles I can get!

Monday, January 18, 2016

A 3.5 year Update on Alex

Ugh, I love this cutie so much!  It's so hard to believe he is 3 1/2.  He is such an incredible boy and God has surely blessed me immeasurably placing this angel in my life.  So lets get to the nitty gritty update details!

Weight - 38 lbs
Height - unsure, but has grown exponentially.
Paci - GONE! (I thought that would never happen, secretly I didn't want him to.)
Language - He is speaking in full sentences at this point.  90% of what he says is understandable, however when he is really excited or mad he goes back to speaking minion language.  There are few words he doesn't know.  But I think my favorite word he says is, disgusting.  He pronounces it, disgustating, and he knows the exactly appropriate times to say it.  
Favorite Movie - Despicable Me / Home
Favorite Toy - Pow Pows
Favorite Person - Aunt Hopey and Daw Daw
Favorite Food - Mac n Cheese or Skyline
Dislikes - Eating healthy foods, being told no, cleaning his room, helping with other chores.

Alex has developed an amazing sense of humor.  He is so funny and really tries to tell jokes, his favorite being the interrupting cow joke.  Spending days with this little boy are incredible and there are big things in store for him this year.  Looking ahead this year we have turning 4, starting preschool, maybe moving (probably not), and developing more intense bonds and friendships with all those who are in his life. 

Less than 6 months until our baby turns 4!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

When God Shows Off Part 2

So I left off with Chris' experience after our first service at our new church.  

For the first time in forever, break out into a Frozen medley, Chris actually wanted to go back to church the next weekend. Our week was obviously different.  There was a different emotion that fell over the house. We still fought like cats and dogs but it was different.  Looking back on it now I truly believe it was God stepping in and showing himself to both Chris and I on a more real level.  Of course we both know He had always been there, but you have to be willing to accept His grace to see it.

Sunday came and we found ourselves at church again, no longer strangers but still didn't really know anyone. It became a weekly date for Chris and I.  We were able to drop Alex off in the kids ministries area and spend one on one time together learning about the Lord and growing our relationship with Him and each other.  This time with each other would become very important as we faced difficult times together over the coming weeks and would ultimately play the biggest part in the healing of our relationship.  

We spent the next few months becoming more involved in the church and began serving in the kids ministries together.  We would serve for one service and then go to the sermon for the second service. Alex was loving every minute of being at church.  He was making friends and would ask starting on Wednesday, "Mommy can we go to church today?"

As we became more involved we began to feel connected to this church.  We felt like we didn't want to miss a Sunday ever, in fact I would often go after I worked all night and it was still the best part of my week. 

It was incredible to feel attached to our church and develop relationships with people in our church and want to be back every Sunday to catch up with them and be fed by God's word.

In the winter our church held a "class" of sorts that was a "get to know the church and each other" class. It was so much fun to get to know more about our church and the foundation on which it was started, and more about the people who surround me each Sunday. This is where it was learned by church leaders my love of photography.  And from that day forward I became a part of a team permanently, I began to take photos for the church.  It is an incredible way to express my love of photography but more importantly my love for Jesus Christ.

I think this is where I will leave off for this week and we can continue next Sunday with the first time Chris and I saw a miracle in our lives and our Baptisms. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Date Night Outfit

Oh my heck!  Chris and I are actually having a date night!  This is the first time in I don't know how long it has been since our last date so I thought I would commemorate the experience with a blog post.  So here is a picture tutorial!  
When I start getting ready I am usually always in my pj's.  Let's be honest, I am always in my pj's if I am at home.

And here is the winner, it has been a favorite of late.  It is a pair of Seven skinny jeans, an Ava & Viv sleeveless shirt and and Ava & Viv sweater.

Now time to start getting dressed! 

Putting on skinny jeans when you really can't put any weight on your left foot should be an olympic sport.  I have gotten enough practice over the last 6 months and would probably get first place!

Now time for hair and makeup!

Since we are going to a concert I wanted to do something with my hair off of my neck in case it is hot in the concert hall.  I love this style, it's super easy and looks put together but messy all at the same time.  This is definitely a go to style when headed into work.

I have permanent eye liner so that saves a ton of time when I am getting ready, but I choose to spend more of my time doing more mascara.  This is a favorite duo of mine, both are Covergirl, the left being Exact Eyelights and the other being Full Bloom.  I start with the left and follow up with the right.

Next I move onto my eye shadow, this is the only eye shadow combo I have.  An Almay palette for blue eyes.  And no I don't have brushes, so fingertips it is.

Check out that beautiful walking boot.  It has been my ultimate accessory over the last 6 months.  It will definitely by sold to the highest bidder ASAP.

Quite possibly my favorite brand of jeans,  but so stinkin' expensive.  Lane Bryant carries them and I am typically only able to afford one pair per year.  $70 for jeans is quite out of my price range.

These earrings were a Christmas gift from my aunt and I am so in love with them.  They are simple and dainty but so beautiful.  The hairband I have had for a long time, I got it at Sally Beauty Supply.

These ballet flats are from American Eagle, I bought them at Payless.  I love them.  They add a delicate touch to any outfit.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My Sister

Today my little sister has set off on a plane, well really a couple of planes, for the experience of a lifetime.  I am beyond proud of her and glad that I can pay witness to her bravery, wisdom and strength.  She is truly an amazing young woman and I know she will come back to us in a few weeks even more brave, intelligent and strong.

Hope I am beyond amazed with all you have done to prepare for this trip but even more astounded as I have watched you grow in preparation for this trip.  I know your host family will be tremendously blessed to have you and I believe they will impact you more than you think.  

I know leaving can be hard, not being there can be even harder.  However in our family sometimes the best memories are the ones you experience through someone's memories.  We will be missing out on so many of your experiences as well and we can't wait to have a day to sit and listen to you and look at all of the pictures, as you share all of the memories you will make over the next few weeks.

So we pray for your safe travels and amazing experiences you will surely have.  

-Life brings you to unexpected places, love brings you home.-

Monday, January 11, 2016

Our Mommy & Son Date to Barnes & Noble

The other night Alex and I had a super fun date night.  Alex has been loving reading books lately, wanting us to read 5-6 books a night before he goes to sleep.  Now if you know me I hate reading the same thing over and over again so I thought we would take a trip to the bookstore.

Now when I was growing up I was an avid reader, I would be up into all hours of the night reading just to read "one more chapter."  But something in me changed after I had Alex and now I can't keep my eyes open for more than 10 pages in a book.  But one thing I have noticed while looking for a bookstore is that there are less than half of the bookstores in our city than there used to be.  That was super depressing for me!  When we would go to the mall my mom would drop me off at the bookstore and come check on me between each store she needed to go to and I loved it.  There are even less libraries than there used to be. 

SOOO Alex and I set out to the bookstore which was about a 20 minute drive from our house and all the while Alex was so excited and talking about all the different kinds of books he wanted.  He wanted a "Star Wars book, a stinky face book, a truck book, a light saber book, a colors book and a Minions book."  I had no idea he would be so excited about books.  Until about 2 or 3 weeks ago Alex absolutely hated reading, Chris and I would sit down to read with him every night and and about 2 pages in Alex would shut the book and say, "All done."

I am loving this stage he is in and I hope it continues for a long time.  So many of my childhood memories revolve around books and playing outside.  I had a super avid imagination and I brought my characters to life, and I would play outside for hours.  So I have made a few resolutions for Alex this year.

1. Start going to story time at the library.

2.  Spend at least 30 minutes outside everyday, no matter the weather.  He can play on the porch or in the garage.

3.  Make one major outing a week, to the zoo, the museum center or the bounce house.
I am so excited for Mommy & Son dates!

When God Shows Off, Part 1

You may or may not know this but about a year and a half ago Chris and I began on a new journey with Christ.  We sought out to not find a religion but rather a new and renewed relationship with our Heavenly Father.  And along the way we have rebuilt our relationship with each other and as parents.  

When Chris and I found our new church we were at a terribly low place.  Divorce hung low over our heads and was a daily mention.  We were drowning in debt and couldn't find a way out.  Chris and I could not stand to be in the same room as the other and we never had a nice thing to say to each other.  We were fighting all the time and I am ashamed to say a lot of that fighting was in front of Alex.

Chris and I each grew up practicing the same religion(different than the one we define ourselves with now) but neither one of us went to church each week and religion was not something that was ever mentioned outside of the 4 walls of the church.  We got married in the church I grew up in and never went to church together after that day, except maybe Christmas and the day Alex was baptized.  When I would go to church I would beg Chris to go with Alex and I, but Chris' response was always, "I don't find God in a church." So eventually I stopped asking and stopped going altogether. 

Fast forward to fall 2014 and I was looking for a safe trick-or-treating environment for Alex's first real trick-or-treating experience.  I was browsing Facebook and came across a "Top things to do in the fall in Cincinnati."  On the list was a trunk or treat event hosted at a school not far from our home, it was being put on by a church that I had never heard of.  The event was that night so Alex and I packed up, got his costume on and recruited my sister to go with us.  

We headed over and the experience we had there was fantastic.  It was organized and fun, but also full of people.  And being who I am, I was people watching and listening in on conversations.  It was so awesome to hear people talking about Jesus and how much they loved their church.  This was something I wanted to look into more.  Well the next day I received a text message from an amazing lady, who I am beyond blessed entered my life, and she told me that we had won a basket from their raffle and I could pick it up on the following Sunday at church.  

My next hurdle would be to see if I could get Chris to go with me.  So I told him a little white lie.  (Yes I lied to my husband to get him to go to church.)  Amazingly he agreed.  I remember back to that morning and it was a really tense morning and I know there was fighting involved.  That was until we got out the car, that's the way it always was.

As we we pulled into the lot of the church there were people directing us as to where to park, and as we were getting out of our car they welcomed us and asked us how we were doing.  Then as we walked up to the doors, there were greeters there as well.  They were incredible, one in particular, who Alex now looks for every Sunday, recognized us as new people and walked us inside and sent us to the raffle basket for us to redeem but also spoke with us a few minutes and encouraged us to stay for service and also encouraged us to take Alex to the church nursery.  

We did just that.  From the time we walked in the doors Chris and I both felt welcome and wanted.  Neither of us had ever felt that way in a church before.  Then we entered the auditorium for the service to begin.  This was such a different experience than what we were used to.  Our church we were from sang hymns, this church sang songs about God but they were up-tempo and people were outwardly showing their affection for God.  It was an amazing sight to see and I was hooked!

This was the relationship I had always wanted with God.  

The pastor gave an awesome sermon and it was one that kept not only myself intrigued but also Chris.  After the sermon was over Chris looked at me and said, "For the first time in I think forever, I felt God's presence today." 

I feel like that will be a great place to end this post.  I would like to make this a weekly bit until we come current with our life story.  God is moving in big ways in our lives.  Chris and I have made a promise to do all things for His glory and we would be wrong not to share the amazing ways He is moving in us.  We hope you enjoyed this and come back next Sunday to hear the next part of our journey with God.

Do you have questions about God or do you long for a relationship with him instead of just a religion?  Please leave your questions in the comment section below and we would be happy to answer them for you or get you in touch with someone else who can answer them.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Movie Review: War Room (No Spoilers)

I went to my church group this past Sunday and this movie was brought up and highly recommended Chris and I watch.  They also told us that we should buy it and not rent it because it is that great.  So when I left that night I stopped at Target and picked it up along with some snacks.  I told Chris to get Alex to sleep and we would have a makeshift date night.  

This movie did not disappoint!! I laughed, I cried and I got goosebumps all multiple times throughout the movie.  

I felt as though the plot line was fluid and not predictable.  I found myself trying to guess at what was going to happen and each time I was wrong.  But the message and theme were incredible.  I feel as though it was a good family movie and it was a very relate-able movie and hits home with many families.   I know at least in our family Chris & I have had times in our lives when our careers have become more important than each other and our relationship fell by the wayside.  

But I also love that it reiterates the power of prayer and it encourages developing an intimate relationship with Christ.  My life and the life of my family has drastically changed since we developed our new and renewed relationship with Jesus Christ.  

On a scale of 0 to 5, with 5 being great and 0 being terrible, I would definitely give this movie a 5.  It is for sure a movie I will watch multiple times and I will definitely beginning to put into practice a few of the techniques mentioned in the movie.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Our Cleaning Routine

Quite frankly I have no idea why I decided to write on this topic because we have no routine, however, Chris and I have come up with a division of chores that works for us and I thought I would share that with you.  

Chris and I have been together for 10 years this year!!  Of those 10 years we have only been married and living together for 5 years.  It has taken us a long time to come to a point with chores where we both feel as though each person does their fair share and saves us from the endless fighting.  Chris and I have never worked the same shift and probably 6 out of 7 days of the week are so tired we would rather have a lazy day than spend any time cleaning. 

What we have found that works for us is:

I do the cleaning of each room in the house.
Chris does the laundry, dishes (cleaning & putting away) and takes out the garbage.

There are still days where the other person feels like they got the raw end of the deal, namely Chris when it is time to clean out the fridge, but sometimes me when it is time to clean the big bathroom.  However this division of chores has been the best thing for us and has made it super easy to make sure things get done.  I love for things to not look cluttered and Chris likes to make sure all of his clothes are clean so each of are happy.

But let's not bring up, I hate folding laundry and absolutely detest doing the dishes!  Our garbage can is relatively far away from our home so for safety sake, this has always been Chris' job.  

But we are interested in how you and your spouse or significant other divy up the chores.  And when do you start having your children have their own daily chores?  Let us know in the comments!


Monday, January 4, 2016

What I'm Loving Right Now

I would classify myself as one of those people who likes a lot of things but doesn't love as many things.  So today I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the things I use on a daily basis that I absolutely love.

1.  My iPhone

I switched to Android for about 9 months this past year, and it was a mistake!  I hated it! I quickly went back to an iPhone and I don't think I will ever make that mistake again.

2.  Hulu

Prior to my surgery Chris and I made the decision to get rid of cable and just keep our wifi and use Hulu and Netflix to keep up on shows, but whatever is not on those 2 things we can buy through the iTunes store.  But I have found that it is amazing, I like Hulu so much more than Netflix because it doesn't judge with the stupid, "Are you still watching?"  I binge watched Scandal on it and I am in the middle of Brothers and Sisters.

3.  Cherry Coke Zero
I am a soda lover!  There is no question about it, and I love that there are no extra's in it but also no harmful things that diet soda carries.  

4.  Canon 70D

This is my DSLR that I purchased last year when I upgraded from my Canon Rebel T3i.  I love this camera and all of the features that come along with it, my ultimate favorite being the wifi capabilities.  I love it so much so that when I added my sister onto my "team" I purchased another one for her to use. It's awesome!

5.  Target

OMG OMG OMG where to begin?!?! If Target was open 24/7 and served wine you would probably never get out of there. I used to favor Walmart thinking Target was so much more expensive, but it's not terribly more expensive and the customer service is generally 100% better and they have more checkout lanes open on a consistent base.  In fact when I went to Walmart a few weeks ago with my Grandma, I couldn't remember the last time I had been there and was appalled that it looked dark, dingy and dirty.  And lets not even talk about how long I was waiting in line.
Now I don't go to Target on a daily basis, but I would say I am there at least weekly...

6.  Kroger's Click and Pick Up Shopping

Praise God Hallelujah!  Can I say how much I hate grocery shopping!  This has made my life!  It's incredible, when you load your shoppers reward card it will populate all of your most recent and frequent purchases so that you don't have to go searching for anything. But it also saves an incredible amount of time & money.  I can place my order at 12am one night and pick it up in the afternoon the next day.  I can be as hungry as a wild tiger and not spend the superfluous money on crap food, I can make a list and stick to it, and I find it so much easier to make sure I use my coupons and budget wisely because I can see the total adding up on the bottom right hand of the screen.   It takes less than 10 minutes from the time you pull in the parking spot until the time you back out.  It was amazing!  I find it hard to not justify the $5 charge when you add in the time and money saved.

What are some things you are loving right now?  Share them with me in the comments below!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Inside my Devotional

Can you say personal?  I truly believe a person's journal or devotional are one of the most personal things they own.  However it was not until I saw someone else's that I began to have one of my own.  Through my journey in this devotional I have not only found out more about myself but also found out many, many things about God.  So I thought I would use my little space on the interwebs to show you my devotional and encourage you to start one of your own.

I have a pink journal that was my very first devotional.  This notebook is falling apart and the pages have bends and show lots of signs of love.  I love this book, as it signifies to me the start of my new walk with Christ and also was there with me the day I was baptized. It will forever hold a special place in my heart and I am sure I will frequently look back to it to remember that special time in my life.

I use my devotionals in many ways.  My most common use being my church service notes. Every Sunday I take this book with me and write notes from the sermon in it and also write down the verses read during service.  Then once I get home I will go through the notes again and then write the verses read in my devotional.  I myself am a visual learner and have found that if I write these verses I understand the lesson more. This is my favorite use by far.

One other use I have for my devotional is to use the S.O.A.P. method. 


Often our Pastor will use a book & chapter in the bible but not give a specific verse.  I take these opportunities and use these instances to use this method.  I have found out so much about myself through doing these and find that they are generally so easy to do once I get going. 

And finally I use my devotional as a journal.  There are plenty of times when I have a hard time formulating my feelings into words and find it easier to just word vomit all over the page.  These entries are some of the most emotional and cathartic posts I have and find that I have grown so much when I reflect back on these posts.

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into my devotional and would love to answer questions if you have any!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!! My Resolutions

Happy New Year!

I hope each of you had a fantastic New Year's Eve and most importantly were safe!

New Year's Eve falls within my top 10 favorite days of the year! I absolutely love everything about it, not only are you celebrating the year that has past but you are also celebrating the year to come.  A new year means a new slate, it means 365 more days of fresh starts and countless possibilities.

Every year I make myself a list of resolutions for the coming year and generally speaking fall flat on my face with them in the middle of February.  This year I have made myself a list of 5 resolutions that I will plan to do my best with throughout the year.

1.  Monthly Budget

Now you all know that I have my budget book and have my entire year planned out, but this resolution more so means for me to stick to that budget all year.

2.  Make a Weekly Vlog

Writing memories down is great, but there are a lot memories that will never be the same unless you can see them again.  Now for awhile I was really good with taking video and posting them to YouTube but fell off the bandwagon for one reason or another.  I look back at those videos now and think, "Why did I stop?"  Those memories that I captured with Chris & Alex are irreplaceable.  I have even made into the budget a vlogging camera fund.

3.  Do More with Photography

I have kind of reached a place with my photography business where I feel like if I put a little bit more effort into publicizing my business will increase.  So my plan is to network more and shoot to average at least one session every two weeks.

4.  Lose 40 - 50 pounds

Now this one will be my hardest this year.  I am doing my best to not let me foot and restrictions become an excuse.   I have 3 other working limbs darn it!  I have my next appointment with my surgeon on the 7th and I am really hoping he will give me the all clear to start walking and maybe doing some light biking on a stationary bike.  When Chris and I are completely caught up on bills we plan to join a gym and begin exercising regularly again (I really miss spin classes :().   But also we are doing our best to begin to meal plan and eat more at home.  We are so bad at getting fast food and take out and both know that if we would make more meals at home we will begin to lose more weight.

5.  Become a better cook

There are a few places within Cincinnati that do cooking classes but are all so expensive.  I think perhaps the most adventurous I will be with cooking classes is going to a place like Dream Dinners.  Chris and I have talked about doing this as a date night once a month or once every other month, this would help to provide meals in the freezer that just need to be heated up.  I have also began to find recipes on pinterest for our slow cooker and meals that claim to take 30 minutes or less to prepare.

Generally speaking I believe that all of my resolutions are obtainable but will be challenging, they will all require for me to make changes in my lifestyle but also will be beneficial to me.  I pray that throughout the next year I can stick with these goals and in December of this year can look back and say I gave it my all.