Friday, November 27, 2009
1. Your wife/husband comes first. Always. Aside from God, once you get married, there is no one more important. NO ONE. Not your job, your friends, your parents, not even your kids. This may seem easy, but it's not. Life pulls in so many different directions, but your spouse always comes first.
2. When you fight (you will fight), you have two options. Talk to God, and talk to your spouse. Do not talk to your friends, your parents, or anyone else. Now this may seem harsh, but trust me, it does not help to talk to someone else, because they will take sides. Taking sides is not good.
3. You will probably lose some of your friends, and this is okay. My best friend told me when I would get married that I would lose my female friends. I told him that was ridiculous. But trust me, this is a good thing. You don't want the temptation to talk to a close friend of the opposite sex when you have problems. See #2 above. Keep close friends of the same sex, and make time for both of you to see your friends. It is vital to have best friends besides your spouse.
4. The wedding is about her. Completely. She will want everything to match, everything to be perfect and wonderful and like a fairy tale. You will not remember these details by the next day, but you will remember that she was happy. This is the most important thing.
5. Never talk about your wife/husband negatively in front of anyone. This may be the most important thing you can ever do. Not in front of your parents, not in front of your spouse's parents, and not in front of your friends. This will create trust issues for your entire marriage. Erin knows I will never talk about her negatively, and even though I have messed up many things, this is one thing I will never do.
I love you Erin.
Congrats Megan and Nick. Now listen to your brother-in-law.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Of course, PB & J is the good old stand by - but only for Jeremiah at this point.
So what do these guys like on toast these days?
For Joshua it's apple butter, something I just discovered last year and fell in love with. So did Little J...
And Jeremiah's toast repertoire has just expanded with the discovery of...
Nutella. Thank you Kimmy and MckMama (who happen to live in the same state...crazy) for introducing us to this new treat. Big J, the chocolate lover, is eternally grateful.
Posted by Erin at 12:48 PM
Friday, November 20, 2009
What is the Ultimate Cloth?
The Ultimate Cloth is eco-friendly solution for homes as well as a money and time saver. The Ultimate Cloth is a brand new technology – in fact, it is the only cloth to receive a new patent in the last 25 years. The Ultimate Cloth is a simple, green and effective one-step cleaning process. The Ultimate Cloth cleans any hard surface – glass, wood, granite, stainless steel and many more – with just water! No longer do you have to use harsh chemicals in your home, nor do you need spend hundreds of dollars per year buying them. The Ultimate Cloth has been lab tested to remove 96% of bacteria, without the use of chemicals. And, can cut 50% off your cleaning time. The Ultimate Cloth is truly the ultimate in green cleaning.
When you read that, what do you think?
I must say, I was very skeptical. But I figured if they were willing to send me one to try, it was worth a shot.
My Ultimate Cloth arrived in a padded envelope a few weeks ago - just a white piece of cloth - didn't look like anything special. I waited until my cleaning day to try it out.
On cleaning day, I followed the instructions - rinsed it with warm water, wrung it out really well and went to work. Not expecting much, to be honest.
I started with the bathroom sink. It tends to get a film on it from hairspray and kids splashing soap and water all over while washing hands. The cleaner I have right now is ok, but the sink never quites shines when I am done.
Until now! I think my jaw hit the floor when I saw how shiny my bathroom sink looked after wiping it down with the Ultimate Cloth! I wanted to call someone right away - why am I getting so excited over a cleaning product?!
Ok, the sink was one thing, but how about the bathroom mirror? You know the problem - streaks left on these or little pieces of lint from the rag or paper towel. When I first wiped the mirror, I was worried. I had rinsed the cloth out and squeezed out the water in between as recommended. Little beads of water formed everywhere on the mirror. Great. So I wrung it out a little more and wiped it down again. Similar effect. I was disappointed...until I looked back a few seconds later and the mirror looked gorgeous and clean! No streaks or spots!
By now, I wanted to try cleaning everything in the house with it.
So I did!
Front glass door where little hands make it all sticky looking for Daddy to come home - beautiful!
Front of the stove where food drips down every time I cook - awesome!
Even the kitchen and bathroom floors! The people at Ultimate Cloth gave me the idea to use it like you would a Swiffer pad - only you can wash it and reuse it!
And all of this with only a small to medium amount of effort! Not too much scrubbing to be honest!
By this time I was looking at how much it would cost me to get more because I want some for the cars and to give as gifts!
Cleaning took me so much less time that Friday...and the next Friday...just like it will today! And the only cleaner I got out was for the toilet bowl, the shower and dusting!
My only complaint is that even after following directions and washing it with bleach to disinfect, it still looks a little dingy. But it still cleans like magic!
I highly suggest giving one a try and here is an easy way to do it!
You can receive a FREE Ultimate Cloth!
All you need to do is follow Ultimate Cloth America on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.
They will reveal how to get the free Ultimate Cloths via Twitter and Facebook.
But even without the free offer, I still think the Ultimate Cloth is a wise investment - only $6 a cloth and a five-year warranty! And they have bigger ones available for bigger jobs!
Check them out and let me know about your experience with them!
The Ultimate Cloth, $6
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Someone gave me the idea to post a Facebook status everyday in November telling what I am thankful for and I have loved that! Finding something to give thanks for everyday is like a little ray of sunshine.
It's all about gratitude and attitude.
So what am I thankful for today?
*I get to see my sister in three days! Other than Skype, we haven't seen her since July so it's about time! It will be 24 hours full of dress-shopping and wedding planning and girly fun! I also get to hang out with my whole fam from Sunday until Friday and see one of my best friends while I'm there! SO EXCITED!
*One week from today is Thanksgiving which means Stephen will be done with Cardiology and relaxing with us! This is a tough unit so the days leading up to his Wednesday test will be full of studying. He can do as much as he needs to without feeling like he is missing family time because the boys and I will be at my parents until he joins us! I know he will be even more thankful than I when Wednesday afternoon hits! And we're both counting down until the Huskers play their annual day-after-Thanksgiving game against Colorado, which we always watch with his parents! Huskers and Jerry's Pizza - doesn't get much better!
*I am in love with craft blogs. Fabulous, inexpensive, beautiful decoration and gift ideas galore. Some of my favorites at this moment are Mad in Crafts, Dollar Store Crafts, and One Pretty Thing. Let me know if you have a great craft blog you follow!
*Other things I am thankful for today...my hot glue gun, fabulous finds at Hobby Lobby yesterday, peanut M&Ms, sticking in a new movie for the kiddos and most importantly the unfailing love and forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ who keeps speaking this word to me this week as I stumble along my way...
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (New Living Translation)
Posted by Erin at 11:51 AM
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Being a member of a moms group means so much to me. That was the first thing that drew me to this book. I have seen the power of moms connecting with one another, praying with and for each other and supporting each other through everything. The title grabbed my attention.
I was not aware when I decided to read this book that this was from Moms in Touch. And as a disclaimer, all of the stories shared in this book are from real moms who were impacted by Moms in Touch. At first, this threw me off a little bit - like it was an advertisement for Moms in Touch - but as I continued to read, I found myself not caring about those mentions.
And even though I've never been a part of Moms in Touch, this book still had insight and inspiration for me. Because it doesn't matter what group you are or are not a part of - what matters is God's people coming together to lift one another up in prayer.
There are plenty of inspirational stories to pick from in this book, but the one that stuck out for me was one referring to a "calm in the storm." I really related to this mom's admission that even as a small child, her daughter was able to turn everyday life into a battle. Going through that battle right now. And it made me think about how often I take those battles to the Lord - not often enough. And often do I go to other moms seeking prayer for this? Again, not enough.
What this book did for me is over and over again emphasize the very real power of prayer and the importance of not going through motherhood alone. Of course, many of us have amazing husbands by our side while raising children, but other mothers are there to relate and pray on a level that only they can understand.
Thank you Tyndale House for providing this dose of mothering inspiration!
Disclosure: Mama Buzz- and reviewers -received a complimentary copy of this book for blog tour purposes.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Normally, that would drive me crazy - "Ah, I missed a Not Me! Monday!" or "I really need to get a Blog Hop post up!"
But I'm doing ok with it this time. We all need a break sometimes.
And by a break, I do NOT mean things have slowed down here at all!
I'm just enjoying my family and our activities around here and...
GETTING READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS!
I LOVE this time of year and it is even better now that I am home to decorate and bake and make gifts.
So here are just a few things I've been doing or plan on doing this holiday season...
DIY Jingle Bell Swag (I need cheap silver bells - anybody?!?!)
DIY Holiday Glass Hurricane
Quick and Easy Decal Art
Jingle Bell Vase Filler and Frames
Star or Flower Cardboard Roll Ornaments (we painted ours red to make poinsettias!)
How are you getting ready for the holidays? Any great cheap DIY projects?
Posted by Erin at 1:38 PM
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Not very many entries on this one, but I could tell each of you really wanted to win this. And rightfully so because this book is incredible! Hope you all get a chance to check out Jantsen's Gift very soon!
And the person who will be getting my extra copy, as chosen by random.org, is...
That would be Megan, otherwise know as my sister, who said...
Hey guess what ~ I'm already a follower of your blog!! ONE MORE CHANCE TO WIN!
And win you did, girlie! (Yes, she has to enter contests just like everyone else - no family favors here!) This will be some great reading material for your long trip back after coming home to do some dress shopping! So excited for that!
I'm working on a few more giveaways, including one over on the Cooking for the Boys blog, so keep an eye out for those!
Have a great weekend!
Posted by Erin at 10:18 PM
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Our church kicked off a three-week focus on missions this past Sunday. We heard an amazing Irish man speak of a model we should follow based on Nehemiah 2:1-5. Here's what Nehemiah did...
1. He saw a need.
2. He accepted responsibility for it.
3. He worked with all his might.
4. He guarded himself against the enemy.
5. And he rebuilt the walls.
Why do I mention this at the beginning of this book review?
Because the author of this book is a living example of this model.
Jantsen's Gift is Pam Cope's story of loss, extreme grief and ultimately fulfillment. She was a typical Midwestern mom searching for purpose in her busy kid-driven life when her 15-year-old son Jantsen unexpectedly passed away.
What follows his death is a heart-wrenching journey. Grief I cannot even comprehend. The deepest depths of depression. And then a chance to do something different. A glimpse at hope. A purpose.
Cope tells the amazing story of visiting an orphanage in Vietnam with friends and seeing the tortured lives of the street children. In only one year, Cope helped to rescue thirty children from lives of poverty, hunger, drugs, human trafficking and worse. And the story only gets more incredible from there.
Multiple trips to Southeast Asia and eventually to Africa continually show Cope seeing the need and taking responsibility for it. In five years, she is responsible for the rescue of over 200 children.
I could go on and on about the amazing things in this book, but let me tell you what reading it did to me.
It broke my heart. It opened my eyes. I even laughed a little. I couldn't put it down. And it's the story of her life. Not some work of fiction.
This book isn't a book about missions. But I know that God put this book in my hands in the weeks leading up to our missions focus at church for a reason. He is bringing those "far-off" places a lot closer to my mind and heart.
Pam Cope started the foundation Touch a Life to help children around the world. You can visit the website to learn more about the amazing work they continue to do.
Jantsen's Gift is a life-changing book written by a woman taking responsibility for the needs she sees and replacing her grief with hope and purpose. I feel blessed to have read this book and hope you get a chance to as well.
Thank you to Hachette Book Group for providing this book for me to review!
If you'd like to look through it, take a glance below!
And if you do read the book, which I obviously highly recommend, there is a reading guide available here.
And to make it easier for one of you to read it, the publisher provided me with an extra copy to give to one of you!
And here's all you have to do to enter...
1. Comment on this post letting me know you'd like to win! That's easy!
2. Become a follower of this blog (look in the right column) and leave a comment letting me know - or if you're already a follower, let me know that instead!
3. Post about this giveaway on Facebook - another comment to inform me!
4. Tweet about this and get one more chance to enter by telling me in the comments!
That's right, up to four entries! Make sure to leave a separate comment for each entry - don't want you to miss out on those extra chances to win!
This giveaway will only be open until 8:00 pm CDT this Thursday (November 12th) so don't miss out!
Jantsen's Gift by Pam Cope is published by Hachette Book Group and the hardcover retails at $24.99.
Monday, November 9, 2009
What are your favorite Sesame Street moments?
I will share a few of my favorites and I would love to read all of yours in the comments!
Some of my favorites...
HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY SESAME STREET!
Posted by Erin at 11:15 PM
After a long period of silence from MckMama on Twitter and Facebook and a little bit of worry on the part of many, this message came across our screens...
Sorry I've been gone. I've been busy. Busy celebrating a HOME RUN!!!! Still in awe. That's right, peeps. Read on...
To read the fabulous news about Stellan, you'll have to go here.
Praise the Lord!
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1
Posted by Erin at 7:34 PM
It is about this little guy.
He just turned one. He is now far from home awaiting an ablation to fix his heart.
It is about his mother, who is with him, and his father, who is trying to get there.
It is about our God who is holding them all tightly right now.
It is about praying for Stellan, MckMama, Prince Charming, and the doctors and nurses working on Stellan right now.
It is about lifting them up and carrying them to the Lord.
It is about God being glorified through the outcome.
Today, please join me in letting it be about them. Please pray for them in whatever way you are led.
If you are interested, MckMama is posting updates on her blog through this whole process. Stellan is currently in surgery. You can read his whole story on her blog as well.
Posted by Erin at 3:52 PM
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The woman hosting the party is a good friend from MOPS and church and it was her hubby's birthday.
Let me tell you, she went ALL out! And we got to enjoy it!
First of all, there was the location. A nearby city has a fantastic zoo. And that zoo has an amazing aquarium. And in the aquarium is the coolest tunnel where sharks and sting rays and sea turtles and schools of fish swim all around you.
That is where we ate dinner. With sharks and sting rays and sea turtles and schools if fish swimming all around us.
Then there was the food. I'll just say that I will do whatever it takes to duplicate the amazing sliced roast beef in a brandied peppercorn sauce ( or something like that!) that was served. Wow. And the cutest cupcakes for dessert. I love a good cupcake.
So all of that would have been more than enough for me, but following dinner, we moved out to the area with the jellyfish and the fish that swim in circles 24/7 for our entertainment.
No, the fish were not our entertainment. Seriously, people.
Our entertainment was this comedian. I laughed...and laughed...and cried a little, but only from laughter...and then laughed a little more.
It feels really good to laugh a lot. I should hire a comedian every weekend.
On top of all of this, we were with good friends. That makes any night a great night.
Oh, and we got to see the penguins on the way in and out so Stephen was a happy camper.
The couple who hosted the party is the most welcoming, giving, caring Christian couple and we were blessed to be a part of this special night!
(We listened to the Husker game driving home and watched the last 3:32 when we got home. I almost had a heart attack watching the end. We won 10-3. Our defense rocks. It was the perfect night.)
Posted by Erin at 4:19 PM
Saturday, November 7, 2009
We had a lovely Saturday morning - everyone home, all cuddling in bed for a while, Stephen singing and playing piano while we finished breakfast - it was wonderful!
The rest of the day is a busy one - lunch with Stephen's parents, game day for the Huskers, and a birthday party - adults only, at an amazing location. But I'll share more on that tomorrow!
I have been reading some excellent books lately and I can't wait to share more about them with you as I finish them. I even have a giveaway related to one of them! Stay tuned!
I have to brag on my hubby a little as he got his highest score ever on his last big exam! So proud of you honey! You work so hard and are going to be an amazing doctor!
The Berry Patch Etsy Shop is now open for business!
Remember that amazing giveaway last week? Well, now you can get your very own creations! Renee does fabulous work and only a fraction of it is up on the site, so be patient as she adds more! I talked to Renee today and she was working on new items for the shop as we spoke! Great Christmas present ideas!
If you know of something you would like, but you don't see it in the shop, just convo her on Etsy and let her know! You may also contact her by e-mail - especially if you live in our area, e-mail is the way to go.
And I think you should go the shop just to check out the GORGEOUS butterfly wings she made for her daughter's costume this year! So fun!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Posted by Erin at 2:45 PM
Friday, November 6, 2009
Big Thoughts for Little People by Kenneth N. Taylor
Hardcover retails for $14.99
I would first like to talk to all of my regular readers. I'm not sure how all of you feel about these reviews but I want to promise you one thing: I will always be completely and totally honest about how I felt about a product or book. If I dislike something, I will most certainly tell you because I do not want you to waste your money on something.
And if you don't like these reviews, well, you can skip them. But I warn you: you might miss out on some great stuff!
Like this book.
Big Thoughts for Little People is not a new book. Kenneth N. Taylor's original book came out in 1983 - when I was two years old! - so many of you may have experienced the text already. I had not. But there were several things that struck me right off the bat:
1. The full title is actually Big Thoughts for Little People: ABC's to help you grow. I love anything that I can use as an ABC resource for our preschool work at home.
2. The illustrations by Andrea Petrlik Huseinovic accompany the text beautifully. from what I understand, these are a new addition and I think they are fabulous. My son will sit and look at one picture forever, asking what each child is doing and telling me what he sees. I love to see the wheels in his head turn as examines each page.
3. And this is the most important one for me...It is Bible-based.
Here is how the book is set up:
Each letter of the alphabet starts with a poem. For instance, the "A" page starts like this...
A is for asking,
We ask when we pray.
God is happy to answer
And help us each day.
What follow is a mini-devotional to read to your child, explaining more about the poem. On the facing page is an illustration, which is referred to in the devotional. I love the visual reference, and as I mentioned before, my son does as well.
Next are some wonderful questions to ask your child as follow-up. Built-in conversation starters are such a bonus! Jeremiah and I have had some pretty deep (for a 3 1/2 year old!) discussions off of these questions. We have covered prayer, behavior, forgiveness, helping others, God's love and more - and we're only on letter H!
Lastly, for each letter, there is a Bible verse to tie it all together. Children are never too young to benefit from hearing Bible verses.
So, is this book worth $14.99?
It is a nice hardbound book that you are sure to read over and over again with your children. It is a great reference to use when a topic, such as lying or illness, comes up and you want a simple but Biblical way to present it.
I would highly recommend adding Big Thoughts for Little People to your library!
Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for providing this book for us to review!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I got all vulnerable and shared that I feel somewhat awkward telling God just how wonderful and holy He is.
I know, I'm getting all deep on you today.
Basically, I'd be great with singing my praises to Him until the cows come home, but actually saying it to Him in prayer felt strange.
True confession: It's probably because I am out of practice. And whatever I say feels so small compared to how truly great and amazing He is.
Anyway, a very good friend made this suggestion and it really stuck with me. So it became my challenge, and now I share it with you. Maybe you will want to take this challenge as well.
The challenge: Use the ABCs to tell God what He means to you.
And here is my version. Some came easy, some required a thesaurus, but they all apply to our God.
God, you are..
My Comforter and
Enough for me
In the Quiet Moments
Zealous in your love for me
For this and so much more, I thank you God and give You all the praise. Amen.
Who is God to you?
If you decide to write a post on this, please contact me and I will set up a MckLinky list for it!
Posted by Erin at 2:00 PM
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
The boys had two chances to dress up this year. Tuesday night, we went to a trick-or-treating event held at our family doctor's office.
Jeremiah had been counting the hours until he could put on his pirate costume. Joshua had no idea what was happening, but he looked cute!
By the end of that night, Joshua was excited about the whole candy thing so he was ready to go for our church's Trunk 'n' Treat event Saturday evening. And of course, Jeremiah was pumped to wear his brand new Buddy the T-Rex costume (from PBS's Dinosaur Train). You can read more about that costume craziness here!
Here are my guys arriving...
Joshua was just a bundle of adorable, from these ears...
...to this tail...
...and that face. Ahh, that squishable face.
The weather was gorgeous and everyone enjoyed themselves greatly.
Isn't that right Buddy?!
Posted by Erin at 9:23 PM
Renee and I were both blown away by all of the entries for this giveaway! You are amazing!
Unfortunately, there can only be one winner, and according to random.org, that winner is...
And that would be Tara who said...
You have a new follower! :)
Thank you :)
Congratulations Tara! I will be contacting you shortly about getting your very own creation form the Berry Patch! And good choice on the cupcake - it is so cute!
Now, some good news for the rest of you!
Some of you had asked about ordering some adorable clothing from Renee and soon that will be very easy! As we speak, Renee is setting up her very own Berry Patch Etsy Shop! Isn't that fabulous?!
As soon as it is up and running, I will let you know right here!
Another huge thank you to Renee for doing this wonderful giveaway! You are such a blessing!
Posted by Erin at 8:41 PM
Recently, I have been trying to make more time to sit down and play with the boys. Of course, finding something that both of them like to play - other than trains - can be difficult.
At the MOPS convention I went to a month ago, one of the sessions challenged us to carve out one-on-one play time with each child at least once during the week. Doesn't sound that difficult, but the week fills up fast!
The first time I did this with Jeremiah, his response was amazing - he was so thrilled and couldn't wait for more time with just Mommy. I was really touched and definitely wanted to do more.
So I was very excited when this product showed up on our door step...
Rapelli (by Timberdoodle) is a game that teaches color-matching, counting and even a little early strategy - although I think that last one was lost on my three-year-old!
Here are the game instructions:
The 18 colorful caterpillars are blissfully munching their way through the bamboo tube. Roll the first die to determine the color of the caterpillar you need to move. Then roll the direction die and count the number of segments the caterpillar moves in or out of the bamboo.
Jeremiah was immediately captivated by the bright colors when I pulled it out of the box. Add to that the cute little caterpillars and he was ready to play!
At first, he just wanted to play with the caterpillars so I had to keep us on track with rolling the dice, taking turns, etc. But even after one game, he was really starting to get the concept.
The game is listed for ages 4 and up and I would have to agree with that age range. while Jeremiah enjoys it and gets most of the concepts, the strategy part is lost on him for the most part and he needs lots of help with addition and subtraction aspects.
But even with these limitations, he LOVES this game. He asks to play it often. He even wanted to play it when his friend of the same age was over last week. And he was "teaching" the friend how to play! It was so cute!
Now for what I love about Rapelli...
It is made out of quality materials. It is solid, natural and nice to look at it. And it doesn't make any noise :)
It is actually fun to play even as an adult because of the strategy involved. My husband and I have both played it with Jeremiah now and enjoyed ourselves. Maybe we'll pull it out one of these days and take on each other!
And most importantly, it is giving me another way to have quality learning time with Jeremiah disguised as fun! I love being sneaky like that!
Rapelli comes with one large bamboo tube, 18 caterpillars in six colors, one action die and one color die, is made for 2 to 6 players, and is available here for $21.50.
With Christmas right around the corner - that's right, I said it - I think Rapelli would make an excellent present for children preschool age and up!
Thank you so much to Timberdoodle for allowing us to review this product!
Posted by Erin at 8:37 AM