Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Etsy Spotlight: JustEVEDesigns & Giveaway

*** Giveaway Now Closed ***
Congrats to itsme!

JustEVEDesigns is a new, fabulous etsy shop that has necklace sets and jewelry for moms and little girls.  The owner of the shop, Justine, has been making jewelry off and on since she was 11.  Recently, she was reintroduced into the joy of crafting by her Mom.  Justine loves creating one-of-a-kind pieces that are sure to catch your eye!  I love that she is not only a crafter but a Mom as well.  Two of her biggest passions are her family and crafting jewelry.

The little girl sets are made with magnetic clasps to ensure safety and ease of use.  The adult pieces use special, decorative styled clasps so that regardless of whether your hair is worn up or down or styled short or long, the necklaces look beautiful from every angle.  Not only are there necklaces and bracelets but you will also find earrings, bookmarks, and head scarfs as well.

Grey pearl set for little girls

One of my favorite pieces is the grey pearl necklace set with bracelet for little girls, see photo above.  I love the grey and purple, so fun and elegant!

I also love the Carribean Blues set seen below.  I love, love, love the color - the aqua blue beads and pearls look so great together.

 Carribean Blues set

Another piece that really caught my eye is the Bird sunset layered necklace, photo below.

 Bird sunset

These are just a few examplies to show off Justine's creativity and diversity, there is something to please everyone!  When you browse her shop you will see that everything is also very reasonably priced.  Fun jewelry at a great price, can’t beat that!

Onto the giveaway!  JustEVEDesigns has graciously and generously agreed to offer an item of your choice up to $25.00 value!  How fabulous is that? 

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment letting me know what item you would pick if you won and what you love about it, that's it!  Please be sure and leave your email so I can contact you if you win!

Extra Entries
, leave a separate comment for each extra entry.

1.  Like JustEVEDesigns on facebook (2 entries)
2.  Add JustEVEDesigns to your favorite shops on etsy (2 entries)
3.  Place any order with JustEVEDesigns (5 extra entries)
 4. Follow me on google friend (2 extra entries)

Giveaway will end on September 15th at Midnight. Winner will be selected using a random number generator and will have 48 hours to respond. If there is no response, I will randomly select another winner.  Open to US residents only.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Baby E and Elephants

Saturday, I turned 34 weeks!  My friends gave me and baby "E" a beautiful, "e"lephant themed baby shower.  I was so overwhelmed and so blessed by everything!  Thank you Maura and Wendy for celebrating me and baby E and thank you so much to those of you who were able to make it or send well wishes, it really means a lot :)

 David was able to make my cake.  Here is the elephant cake in all its glory!

A picture from the front.  I love the peanut (nutter butter) in the trunk.

Here I am late that night - 34 weeks.

Unfortunately I did not get any pictures at the shower itself but I am hoping someone might have taken some and then I can get them and post them later, we shall see.

And I just had to post this picture of D working in her kitchen with fancy shoes!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Review: The Canary List

The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer is intense.  There are definitely some controversial topics tackled within this novel.  I like that Brouwer did not shy away from that.

There is definitely a dark presence of evil within this story and while there is a presence of goodness as well, I wish Brouwer had concentrated more on that aspect.  I would highly recommend reading the Prologue to see if you can handle the rest of the story.  Some of the dark things within this book are child abuse, occult practices, and demon possession.  It is not hard for me to believe or even be aware of many of the dark things in our own society but it can be hard to stomach at times, especially when children are involved.

This story is about a twelve-year old girl, Jaimie, who has bounced around in different foster homes.  Evil is hunting her and she can detect it.  You are thrown into her life - her present, her past and even future.  You are on her journey with her and all those around her.  The madness goes from her home all the way to the Vatican.  I loved that the story was suspenseful and not easily predictable but again it was darker than what I was anticipating.  This is not a flip though book.  They chapters are many and they are short, things happen quickly at a fast pace.

I also felt that there was a slight undertone of anti-Catholicism.  I grew up in the Catholic church as a small girl so this might be my own sensitivity but I wanted to mention it.

In short, Brouwer's novel is well written and suspenseful just not my cup of tea.

Want a sneak peek of this book?  Click here to read an excerpt of The Canary List.

Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

10 Years Today

Ten years ago today I made one of the best decisions of my life, I married my husband.  I think about all the things we have accomplished together and it amazes me.  We have had four beautiful children, and I have no doubt that this fifth one will be amazing as well!  We have been on a financial adventure together paying off ~ 60K in student loans and credit cards, thankfully we don't have credit cards anymore!  We have mourned family losses and celebrated many joys!  I look forward to what the next 10 years might bring for us - love you David - even more than I did 10 years ago!!

A photo shortly after we were married in 2001.  I think it is funny that we are both wearing watches, which we rarely do now.

Hopefully I will post a picture of us tonight, as I don't have any recent ones of us together.

 As promised.  I guess this also counts as an 8 month pregnancy shot.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Go Express!

Our family went to the Round Rock Express Homeschool night at the Dell Diamond a few nights ago and had so much fun!  We were able to get tickets 1/2 price since we are homeschoolers.  We had great tickets just to the side of home plate, between home and first.

 In the parking lot, headed to the game! A lost her 6th tooth the afternoon of the game and she has two more loose teeth - love her smile!

Our seats.

The kids had lots of opportunities to see Spike.

D meeting Spike (wish I had a better view of this).

 Want a dog?

Not only did we win, 4-2, they hit a home run!!  What more could we ask for?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


When I think about generosity it makes me smile!  It is a special word that makes my heart full.

Over the weekend I went to buy D some diapers and wipes because they were tax free and she was almost out!  I had so much trouble buying three packs of diapers and two packages of wipes, I am not really sure why.  The manager kept telling me that I shouldn't expect to come into the store on a Saturday and buy things from their ad (that were clearly advertised in the ad until Sunday).  "If you want to get these products, you need to come Monday through Thursday." he not so politely told me.  After an hour of politely listening I was finally able to leave with my diapers and wipes.  A gentleman in the store overheard my trouble and came up behind me.  He mumbled to me how he didn't think it should be so difficult for a Mom to buy her child diapers and wipes of all things and put a $20 bill into my basket and quickly scampered off.  I was stunned and so blessed!  This man clearly knows how to be generous and he extended it to me right then and it made me feel so good...

We try and teach our children generosity.  We often tell them that God loves a cheerful giver, giving with a happy heart.  It is so fun to be on both ends of this, the giver and the receiver!  A's favorite thing to do is buy the person's meal behind us if we go through a drive-thru - she loves doing this!  B loves saving up some of her allowance each week for the children and people of India.  C and D are not currently receiving allowances but there are still lots of opportunities for us to include them in giving to others as well.

Of course, generosity is not only limited to money and finances but goes so much beyond that.  So, as you go about your day today I hope that you will experience the blessing of generosity, whether you are the giver or the receiver!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cereal Treat Bars: Review & Giveaway

Giveaway Now Closed.
Congrats to Doodle741!

Have you heard of or tried cereal treat bars?  Flavor varieties include the ever popular Golden Grahams® (130 calories) and new Lucky Charms® Treats (100 calories), loaded with popular favorites like chocolate and marshmallows.  I don't know about your household but usually anything that includes chocolate and marshmallows are a huge hit around here!

Cereal Treats Bars contain less than 140 calories per bar and are made with wholesome cereal, making them a snack option that you can feel good about giving your kids.

And there are TWO Box Tops for Education seals on each box of Cereal Treat Bars, making earning cash for your school doubly cool!

Check out Cereal Treats Bars online for great information and coupons for new products. Also, be sure to visit the Betty Crocker Facebook page and let them know what you think!
 A and B about to dig in.  They chose to eat the Lucky Charms bars first (this was a major decision).

D determined not to miss out on the snacking.

So, what did my kiddos think?  Well, they loved them!  Usually anything that includes chocolate and marshmallows are a huge hit around here (as I said before) and these did not dissappoint them! 


Now, onto the giveaway!  Want to win a cereal bar treat prize pack, pictured above?  The prize pack contains
  • 1 box of Lucky Charms® Cereal Treats Bars
  • 1 box of  Golden Grahams® Cereal Treats Bars
  • 1 Lunch bag
  • 1 Locker whiteboard & a colored pencil set!
Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment letting me know what some of your favorite snacks are for your kids, that's it!  And if you don't have kids, then what are some of your favorite snacks?  Please be sure and leave your email so I can contact you if you win!

Extra Entries, leave a separate comment for each extra entry.

 1. Follow me on google friend (2 extra entries)
 2. Tell me if you have ever tried cereal treat bars before (1 entry)
 3. Click here to follow Betty Crocker on facebook (1 entry)

Giveaway will end on September 3rd at Midnight. Winner will be selected using a random number generator and will have 48 hours to respond. If there is no response, I will randomly select another winner.  Open to US residents only.

Disclosure: Cereal Treat Bars, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.  I was blessed to receive a prize pack of my own.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We are back from our vacation.  We ended up staying an extra day we were having so much fun!

Can you guess where we went?  Don't worry, we got A, B & C out of the shark just in time :)  Actually, this is the entrance into a gift shop.

We went to the beach!  Corpus Christi to be precise.  We had so much fun.  We stayed at a condo right off the beach, which was awesome.  The kids loved being able to just walk to the beach and back.  

The kids inside our condo.

The view from our condo balcony.  See how close we were to the beach?

The kids in the water with David.

We were also able to visit The Texas State Aquarium, which I have been wanting to do as a homeschool field trip with the kids for awhile.

 And yes, we are all wearing matching blue shirts.  Thanks Hobby Lobby!

I love that they had several areas that were hands on.  The kids were able to pick up crabs and pencil urchins.

 We were able to watch the dolphin show which was a lot of fun.  They have 3 dolphins there and they are all male.  They are part of a breeding program and all they will ever have at this aquarium will be male dolphins.

This is the dolphin tank from below.

C loved following the dolphins and twirling with them.  I think they liked it too!

 They also have a huge splash zone for the kids to cool off.  D loved sticking her head in the sprinklers on the ground and A loved getting soaked by the buckets overhead.

Another super hands on activity was petting the stingrays.  Everyone loved this and we spent a lot of time with these fun creatures.

 D what did you think of the Aquarium??

More beach time.  We pretty much went multiple times a day.

 David caught a jellyfish in a one of our buckets for the kids.  It is kind of hard to see but if you look closely you might be able to tell it's in there.

We were even able to meet up with some family for yummy lunch and a fabulous time at the Hooks baseball game!
 Ever heard of fried macaroni and cheese wedges?  Well here they are...served from a 50s ice cream and burger joint named Yummies.

And I will end this post with some more beach fun!!  We all cannot wait to go back.

C having a turn on the surfboard.

A having a go.

 And of course, D making a splash!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dearest Vacation

Dear Vacation,

Please let my family travely safely to and from you.  May we have tons of fun and yet at the same time get lots and lots of rest.  Please amaze and wow my kiddos.  Show them lots of fun things they haven't seen before.  Oh, and please when we come home may we not need another...well, you! 


Beach...here we come!!

I Have a Confession...

Have I ever told you that I am funny when it comes to...packing.  I love Ziplocs!  I really, really love to use them for packing, especially my kiddos.  We leave for vacation tomorrow and I am proud to say that I have packed all four of my kiddos in one suitcase!  That may not seem like a big deal but it includes clothes for all of them for 5 days, 2 pairs of jammies, 2-3 swimsuits per child, flip-flops, hats, goggles, diapers/wipes, our first-aid kits, all of our sunscreen/aloe, the two entertainment books I bought to save us some money...and you get the idea!  If you have never tried using ziplocs for packing for a trip I highly recommend it.  I love the 2 1/2 gallon size for this.


 Voilà - done!

The bags I used.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Favors: Meet H & K

Do you know something that is funny?  I have a wonderful cousin who happens to now live down the street from me with two adorable puppies.  And sometimes, just sometimes she or her hubbie calls me up to see if the kiddos and I can watch the puppies during the day.  And you know what, they think I am doing them a favor (maybe I am) but really they are doing me such a favor!  The kiddos have so much fun with H & K and can hardly contain themselves when they are here.  It has been a little over 1 1/2 years since my beloved Schnitzel passed away and it is fun to have canines around the place again.  It just made me think how often times helping people out really ends up blessing you too - I love the way that works!

 A & H

 A, B & K