Friday, February 27, 2015

The "Saturday" 7

I'm leaving for girls' weekend tonight, so you're getting an advance edition of the Saturday 7!

1. We didn't do an iota of school this week. This is why I can't homeschool. I get bored and give up. Ha. We have been reading a ton, though. I found a few Christian chapter book series that are perfect for Lucy. (The Cul de Sac Kids by Beverly Lewis and The Three Cousins Detective Club by Elspeth Campbell Murphy) Reading is a perfect substitute for learning, right? Oy.

2. I've been reading a ton as well. This week I read the Ransome Trilogy. I actually read both books 2 and 3 on Wednesday. And I read another Becky Wade book (Undeniably Yours). I'm loving everything by her, but she's a new author and only has 3 books out. (The 4th is coming out in April!) I did read one other book, but it was such a cliche Christian romance I'm not even going to share the title because it's embarrassing. Lol. I got into the bad habit of reading until 1 or 2 in the morning multiple times this week. It's just the only time I get the chance to sit and read without interruptions!

3. I feel the need to record that we've been hit with another brutal winter this year. We actually haven't had that much snow, but the temperatures have been consistently hovering at or below zero. (The actual temperature as I'm typing this at 8:30 am is -2) And if the wind picks up at all, the wind chills get dangerously low. We rejoice when the temperature hits 20*! Not only is it an inopportune time to be a stay at home mom cooped up with bored, restless kids, it's also very bad for our wood usage. We have an outdoor wood burner that keeps our house toasty warm . . . as long as we keep it full of wood. My poor dad slaves away all spring, summer, and fall chopping, stacking, and hauling wood like the industrious ant. But on Tuesday this week, the wood burner was out of wood by 10 am. (Usually, my dad fills it at 6 am and it lasts until he gets home at 3:30). Like the wimp I am, I refused to refill the scary furnace and packed up my kids and went to Niki's nice warm apartment instead. But as of Tuesday, we only had about a week's worth of wood left. :-( Nobody panic. My dad will get us some more this weekend. (Which I feel terrible about - if we weren't living here, soaking up so much heat, my parents wouldn't go through half as much!) It's just another reason winter is the devil and we all need to pack up and move to Hawaii.

4. Lena has suddenly started speaking in long sentences and even putting little paragraphs together! One day this week, she counted the stairs as I carried her down them. When we got to the bottom she said, "Good counting, Eena! Getting so big! Growing up!" Haha. And she's even started to learn how to phrase things correctly. She used to say, "Hold you" every time she wanted someone to pick her up. Now she's started to say "Mommy hold Eena" or even "Mommy hold me." My brother was here on Sunday and he marveled at how much she's grown up since he saw her two weeks ago.

5. So remember how I was all excited about my budget? Well we've made it to the end of the month and I'm not so excited anymore. Haha. We went $249 over budget and the month's technically not even over! There are just too many unexpected expenses. We had to renew Justin's license plate tabs. We had to pay a fee for the financial aid application for Algoma Christian. Justin had to go to the chiropractor (because he fell down our stairs and dislodged a couple ribs! ouch!). And of course, I went $68 over the grocery budget. Ugh. Money.

6. Lucy got her hair cut this week. We've cut it at home before, but she really wanted to go to the salon this time. She loved it and did so great.
Lol. Dorky smile.
Before and after. Didn't cut much off. Just got rid of the dead stuff. It's looking so much nicer now!
7. Our biggest excitement of the week was winning tickets to Disney on Ice! I "like" our local library's branch on facebook and noticed they were running a contest last week. All you had to do was comment on their status with what book you were currently reading to be entered in a contest for a 4 pack of Disney on Ice tickets. I commented and forgot all about it. On Monday, I was scrolling through my facebook feed and saw that they had posted the winner: me! They didn't even tag me in it. I just happened to see it. Haha. I went back to see how many people had entered and discovered I was one of only 4, so my odds were pretty good. Haha. (Yay for small towns!)

I debated about bringing Lena, but knew she'd never sit still for two hours and I'd just be chasing her up and down the stairs. So we invited Lucy's best friend, Presley instead. They had so much fun together.

I loved watching them watch the show. At first, Lucy was scared of the loud music:

But she got used to it quickly and was in awe of the show. The first few acts included Mickey and Minnie, Lion King, and the Little Mermaid. She's familiar with all of those and loved it. She was especially impressed when the guys lifted the girls and did tricks. (I was too.)

It was a great show. The girls and I really enjoyed it! (Justin was a little more ambivalent to it. Haha.) And I smuggled candy and Capri Suns in my purse so I didn't have to pay concession prices for snacks. :-) Thanks, KDL!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Saturday 7

1. I got all ambitious with my cooking again this week. I made two new meals . . . and didn't like either of them. This is why I just stick with what I know and love. Haha.

First, was white cheese and chicken lasagna that was incredibly labor intensive and time consuming.
3 pots on the stove and the kitchen-aid! Way too much work!
I thought with the amount of  cheese that I added to it, it would have to taste amazing. No such luck. Bland and a little icky.

The other meal I tried was roasted chicken and veggies with a McCormick sauce packet. I think it was butter garlic herb or something like that. Again - bland and gross. I didn't even eat it. Fail.

2. The one good thing I made this week was homemade chocolate cake. Lucy's new youtube obsession is watching baking videos. For school this week, we're working on the long a sound so we did a little worksheet about "-ake" words. I decided to run with the cake theme and told Lucy we were going to bake a cake. I even set up the video camera so she could post her own baking video to youtube. (The video is here if you're incredibly bored and want to watch 15 minutes of bad video footage of Lucy and I making a cake. I set the camera a little too low so you can't see that I have my hair in a bun on top of my head and I definitely look like a cancer patient. Haha. Oh, and I'm chewing gum the whole time, which I never realized looked so obnoxious.)

Lucy was in her glories. We had a blast making a double layer chocolate cake. It was only my second layer cake ever. And I made my own "buttercream" frosting for the first time. It didn't firm up very well, but at least it tasted good! (How could it not with 2 sticks of butter and 4 cups of powdered sugar??) I let Lucy frost it herself . . .
Lol
It ended up being the exact same color as the sweater I was wearing that day. Haha.

It was deeeeeelicious:

Lena-approved
3. Ok, that was a couple of super long points about food. Moving on . . . I read two books this week: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) and Ransome's Honor by Kaye Dacus. I've given up trying to fight the inspirational fiction. I'm just not going to include it in my 30 Before 30. I wrote a review on The Cuckoo's Calling here. It wasn't my favorite. I loved Ransome's Honor though, and stayed up 'til 2 am Thursday night to finish it. It has two sequels that I've already requested from the library and can't wait to read. I've been thinking about giving myself some more parameters for the 30 Before 30. I have about 5 more Christian Living books I want to read. But other than that I'm kind of floundering. I've seen a few lists on Pinterest of "12 Books to Read this Year" that have interesting requirements. Like: a book you should've read in high school but didn't, a book your mom loves, a book you own but have never read, etc. We'll see what I can come up with . . .

4. I've been thinking about "donating" plasma. Justin and my sisters have been doing it for a while and raking in the dough. Originally, I flat out refused to try it. I tend to pass out when I get my blood drawn. I can't imagine sitting with a needle in my arm for an hour. But I've also been thinking it would be so nice to start saving for Christmas . . . and seriously, if I can give birth (with a much bigger needle in my back for hours on end) I can give plasma, right?

5. This week, Lena suddenly started identifying triangles. I've never taught her shapes. She just picked it up somewhere. A tractor drove by our house with an orange triangle sign on the back and she shouted "triangle!" Then later, I was sitting cross legged and she pointed at the shape my legs made and declared, "triangle!" She can't identify any other shapes, though. And she is just not getting colors. She has no concept despite my best efforts. Haha. Maybe she's color blind? (Or maybe I should just cut her some slack . . .)

6. Yesterday, I woke up with a splitting headache and an intense pain that spread from my neck, down to my shoulder and back. I was in agony. Justin had the day off, so he took the girls out for lunch. I laid down for a short nap at 12:30 and didn't wake up until 4:30!!! There's seriously something wrong with me. On Saturdays, Justin gets up with the girls and I sleep 'til 10:30 or 11. I don't wake up a million times. I don't toss and turn. I just seriously sleep that long!

7. We got our taxes done on Tuesday. I don't know how we always end up bringing home so much money, but I'm not complaining. We'll be able to pay off the stupid transmission for my car and have a good chunk leftover. I'm dreaming about a family vacation to Disney World, but we should probably put it toward the student loans. Stupid responsibility . . .

Monday, February 16, 2015

Book #11: Cuckoo's Calling

Amazon Link
I found this book while scrolling aimlessly through the library's available e-books. It didn't really stand out to me except that it was a mystery (the genre I've been trying to get into) and it was written by J.K. Rowling - under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. 

Let me just start my review with my confusion about her pseudonym. First of all, how very un-feminist of her to choose a male name. My feminist friends must surely be all up in arms over this. Secondly, what's the point of a pen name if the description next to the book says, "By Robert Galbraith: pseudonym for J.K. Rowling"?? I'm wondering if her pen name wasn't revealed until later? This book was published in 2013, and the first few Amazon reviews say nothing about J.K. Rowling.

Regardless, I wasn't that impressed. Granted, I've never read Harry Potter, but with all the acclaim it received, I figured Rowling must be an incredible author. I had a really hard time getting into Cuckoo's Calling. It didn't immediately draw me in. And then, even once I had read a good portion of it, I didn't feel that invested. I wasn't attached to the characters or compelled by the mystery. Of course, I wanted to know who did it, but I wasn't desperate to keep reading.

Part of the problem was there are so many characters. I had a hard time remembering who went with who and what their connections were. And Rowling spent way too much time describing every little detail. I don't need to know that the stairs were cast from ornate marble, with a gleaming, curving banister made from Oriental teak, accented by wrought iron spindles reminiscent of a lion's sharpened teeth. Just tell me that the people walked up the stairs. Maybe that's just my stylistic preference. But I do think the book as a whole could have used some editing. It was unnecessarily long.

There was also way more swearing than I'm used to/comfortable with. The "f" word was peppered liberally throughout every chapter and every dialogue. Yes, I'm such a prude that I won't even type it out, but that's how much I dislike it. You can imagine how I loved reading it so many times.

All that said, it wasn't a horrible book. The storyline was well researched and interesting. She tied up the loose ends and carefully explained the details of who the murderer was and how he/she carried out his/her plan. There's a sequel that I'm vaguely interested in reading simply because I did grow a bit more attached to the characters by the end, but I doubt I ever actually will.

Oh, one more thing: this was another stinking British book! I should've expected that, coming from Rowling, but I'm really getting sick of deciphering the Britishisms. Don't we have any good American authors with books set in America?? Haha.

Next up: I'm going to make myself finish Prayer by Yancey. Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Saturday 7

1. Since selling our house, we've been trying to really stick to a budget. A long time ago, I started an account at budgetsimple.com, but I gave up quickly when we continually went over budget. Haha. Now that we've paid off a lot of our debt and don't have such huge bills looming over our heads, we're much more capable of staying within budget. It's much more fun this way! Although the most fun would be no budget at all . . .

2. I made a couple good meals this week. On Tuesday, I used some leftover ham in a quiche. I got a recipe from allrecipes that turned out so well!

And on Thursday I tried a new McCormick sauce packet. It was called "Sesame Chicken," but didn't actually taste much like the sesame chicken I get at the Chinese place. It was still pretty good! A little bland, but mostly delicious.

3. I read another inspirational fiction book this week. (My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade) I think I'm going to exclude all the inspirational fiction from my 30 Before 30, but I'll probably still keep reading them because I love them. Nothing I've read yet has convinced me to abandon them totally. I've loved all the Becky Wade books I've read because they're so modern and hilarious. She talks about googling, Pinterest, texting, etc.

4. We actually did school this week. We started two big subjects I've been putting off: long vowels and telling time. We just scratched the surface this week, but she seems to be catching on so far. My cousin Esther came over on Friday to reassure me that Lucy's prepared enough for Kindergarten. She's a preschool teacher and showed me her curriculum. I'm pretty sure Lucy's good. Whew! It's a good thing. Kindergarten screening is in March! Ahhhhh!!!!!!

5. For Valentine's Day this year, I decided to try something different. I found an idea on Pinterest for a "year of dates." Thanks to the facebook community, the dating divas website, and my own brilliance, I came up with 12 dates for the next 12 months. Some of them are simple and cheap, some are more expensive and detailed. Some are geared specifically toward Justin's interests, some will be more up my alley. But hopefully we'll enjoy them all together! I wrote each of the dates on a card and sealed them in an envelope. He doesn't get to open them until the corresponding month, so he didn't actually get to open much today. Haha. But it's going to be fun to be surprised throughout the year!

6. Part of the reason I pre-planned all those dates is because we are really bad at actually going out on a regular basis. We have live in babysitters, but I'm so paranoid about taking advantage of them. And I have major anxiety about leaving the girls. Don't get me. On Thursday afternoons I'm ready to be away from them. But when it comes down to actually kissing them goodbye and getting in the death-trap-called-a-car the anxiety comes crashing in. So let me just point out how much I must love my husband that I was willing to go out on a date with him today of all days. It was 10 degrees, windchills below zero, a winter storm warning, and a serious blowing and drifting problem. This was the view one minute from our house:
This is a view of the road. Not the sky.
It got much better once we got to the main roads, but we were still 10 minutes late to the movie. We finally saw the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. I don't think we actually missed much of the movie (just the previews) and we both really liked the movie. I might have to read the books so I don't have to wait til December to find out the conclusion! On our way home, we stopped at Qdoba for Buy One Get One Free smothered queso burritos. They were amaaaaaazing. New favorite thing.

7. So after all my big talk about how much I sacrificed to go on a date with my husband in the snow, and how awesome my Valentine's day present for him was, he totally blindsided me with the most amazing present ever. He secretly asked my closest friends/sisters/mom to write down what they love about me. He knows how much I struggle with my self-esteem and wanted to show me that people really do love me. My friends had such sweet things to say! Thank you so much to all of them who participated! And thank you so much to my sweet, sweet husband for arranging it!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Book #10: Unspoken

Amazon Link
After my string of books about arranged marriages, I decided to get away from the romance category and try out a mystery. I've read this author before, and it's categorized "inspirational fiction," so I knew there'd be some romance, but I figured it wouldn't be the central story. I was wrong. Haha.

I think this is the first of my 30 Before 30 books that I didn't like. It was wayyyy too long. Like 100 pages too long. And while I admire the author's incredible research, it was too much for me. The first few hundred pages were about Bryce and his coin collecting business. Henderson includes tons of details about rare coins and how they're minted, preserved, priced, sold, transported, etc. And then Charlotte comes into the story and it's all about her business and dividends, estates, lawyers, and trusts. I hate to admit it, but it was way over my head. Haha.

And then . . . they had an arranged marriage. Lol. I couldn't believe it. I honestly had no idea that would be a part of this book. Marriages of convenience are not usually a big topic in contemporary fiction, and I really thought this was just going to be a mystery.

It was so unrealistic after that point. I've said before that I'm all for "escape fiction," but there still has to be some element of reality. I have to be able to identify with it. I just didn't buy it in this book.

Throughout the whole story, I kept feeling like there was something I was missing. I didn't understand how certain characters fit together and why their back story wasn't being revealed. Eventually, I realized this is the second book in the series, and I haven't read the first! Argh! That makes me so mad! Why can't publishers label the books so I know they're part of a series?

There also seemed to be a lot of loose ends that weren't wrapped up. I was still confused when the book ended. That probably means the author intends to add another book to the series, but I don't know if I'll even read it as much as I disliked this book.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Saturday 7

1. I've been a reading fiend this week. When we were at the hotel last weekend, I spent like two hours browsing the library's ebook selection and picking out books I wanted to read. Unfortunately, instead of "branching out" as was my intent with doing my "30 Before 30," I've backslid into my old ways. I think I read 5 or 6 Christian romances in the past week. I'm starting to realize it's not healthy, though. They make me super emotional. I really need to stop.

2. I've been feeling incredibly guilty about the amount of screen time my girls get, lately. So I decided one day this week that we were going to have a basically screen-free day. Lucy and I each got half an hour in the morning to check facebook and watch YouTube videos, but then the plan was to be done for the day. The morning went fine. We usually don't do much screen time between 10 and noon anyway. We did a little bit of school, played, and did chores. But the girls always have an hour of TV while they eat lunch. I knew Lucy wasn't going to be thrilled about giving that up. So I told her that I'd read to her while she ate. I found one of my old chapter books on a bookshelf in Lucy's closet and read half of it in the half an hour it took her to finish her macaroni. She loved it, Lena did surprisingly well with it, and I felt so much better about their brains not turning to mush. The afternoon was the real problem. Lucy "rests" in her room for exactly one hour, then comes bounding down the stairs bored and demanding to play. I, however, spend at least half of her rest time cleaning and eating my lunch, and am usually just getting settled with my book/computer/TV show by the time she comes downstairs. I caved on our "screen free" day and let her watch and hour of YouTube videos while Lena was napping, so I could have my "me time." Maybe that's selfish of me, but honestly, I've decided that an hour in the morning and an hour after rest time is not that bad. It's a huge improvement on what we used to do. So I'm trying to stick with that from now on. I've continued to read to her at lunch time and I'm trying to just let her be bored occasionally. I get so irritated with the constant pleas of, "Mommy, I'm bored! Mommy, play with me!" that I inevitably respond, "Just go watch TV." But I've really been trying to say, "Why don't you go play upstairs? Do puzzles? Color?" and just ignore her whining when she doesn't like my suggestions. Haha. 

3. Potty training has not been going well. Haha. I truly think Lena's physically ready and has a full grasp of what's going on. But she's terrified of the potty chair. And I haven't been super consistent in making her use it. I try to have her sit on it before baths, when she wakes up dry after a nap, etc. But she really hates it. For the first time this week, she managed to squeak out a teaspoon worth of pee. I made a big deal about it, gave her candy, the whole nine yards. But she still refuses to try. I think we're just gonna take it slow for a while. Although I ran out of my AmazonMom stash of diapers that I bought months ago and actually had to buy some from the grocery store this week. That hurt.

4. We had a WIC appointment on Wednesday. Lena weighed 23 lbs (around the 20th percentile) and measured 32" (I think. I can't exactly remember.) which puts her just above the 10th percentile. Haha. Such a little shrimp. She has a doctor's appointment on Monday. We'll see how their numbers compare. I wonder if she's due for any immunizations. I think I'm going to decline the measles vaccine. That seems to be the trendy thing to do these days. (Totally kidding. She's already had it. After I did hours of research, of course. Kidding again. Annoyed with all the drama lately.)

5. I did start one non-romance book this week: Prayer by Philip Yancey. I majorly identify with what I've read so far. It's my dad's book so I don't want to mark it up. At first, I started writing down all the parts that stood out to me, but my hand kept cramping up, so I finally just started taking pictures with my phone. Haha. Digital age.

Yes. Precisely.
Something I really struggle with is how to cultivate a relationship with Jesus through prayer. It just doesn't make sense to me. As you'll see echoed in these next few passages:



The last one is a bad picture. Start reading at "Whenever."
This has been the most encouraging part so far. This is where I am. I'm aware of my lack of spiritual progress. I'm beginning to understand that most of my "relationship" with God is merely head knowledge. And logically, I know the way to repair that is through prayer. I'm hoping as I continue to read this book, I'll get more answers.

6. Now on to something much more trivial: hair. This was one of my timehop pictures this week:
This picture was taken the day I got 10 inches chopped off my hair.
This is almost a year to the day after my haircut.
My hair grows super fast. Thinking about chopping it all off again. I wear it in a topknot pretty much every day, but it's getting so long that it takes three hair ties to keep it all in place. I'm also playing around with the idea of getting a perm. Is there such a thing as a modern perm? I don't want the 90s spiral perm. I just want permanent waves/curls. Gonna have to do some more research on that . . .

7. So, do you want to hear about my newest medical problem? Haha. Last night as I lay in bed trying to sleep, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of a huge lump in my throat and pain radiating from my throat to my sternum. It didn't hurt to swallow, my breathing wasn't obstructed, I just felt like there was a massive lump in my throat. The longer I lay there, the more it hurt. Because the pain seemed to be following the path of my esophagus, I started wondering if it could be heartburn. I've never had heartburn - even when I was pregnant with my very hairy babies. I took some Tums and they helped the pain subside enough that I could sleep. This morning, I still feel the lump, although the pain in my sternum is pretty much gone. So I googled "lump in throat." There were actually a ton of results. One of the first articles I read was about how anxiety patients often exhibit this symptom. The article was written to doctors and said, "The best treatment is sympathy as there is not actually a physical remedy." Ha. Sounds about right. Just another thing that is all in my head. I read a few more articles though that refuted the claim it was anxiety-induced, rather calling it an effect of swollen vocal cords as a result of acid reflux. What do you know? How did I go from never having heartburn in my life to having it so severely it swelled my vocal cords? Ouch. I still haven't found a remedy. Guess I'll just keep popping Tums. Although WebMD also told me I probably have throat cancer, so maybe the Tums won't be all that helpful . . .

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Saturday 7

1. I've been watching a ton of Property Brothers on Netflix lately. In case you're unaware, the premise of the show is that Drew and Jonathan (twin brothers) sell couples a nasty/rundown house and then completely renovate it. But at the beginning, they always show the couple their dream home that's way way over their budget. I hate that part. The couple always gets excited about the beautiful dream house and then the brothers say "but this is $500,000 over your budget!" The poor couple is always heartbroken. So I've started fast forwarding through that part. Haha. Here are my observations from watching that show:

a. Each couple is given a choice between two houses. One is almost always well below their max budget, while the other maxes it out. Without fail the couple always chooses the house that maxes out their budget! It drives me crazy!

b. When the husband wants one house and the wife wants the other, the wife always wins. Stinkin' feminism.

c. Every couple wants an "open concept" and the property brothers always promise that they'll knock out all the walls and make the house open concept. Pretty much every episode they discover that one of the walls is "load bearing" and will cost an extra $5000 to put in a new beam. Every time.

d. Everyone wants a gourmet kitchen so they can entertain. Who are these people? How do they have so many friends? Doesn't anyone hate cooking as much as I do? Haha.

2. The stupid car update: on Monday we gave them the go-ahead to rebuild the transmission. They called me later that day and said once they got it torn apart they found another problem. I'm not even going to attempt to explain it. Suffice it to say there's no easy fix. My car has a special kind of transmission that Ford only made for a few years before deciding it was causing too many problems. So the parts are hard to find and very expensive. We've gotten opinions from lots of different mechanics and transmission shops and they all say the same thing. Kent City Ford rebuilt the transmission and we picked it up on Friday. We decided to drive it to Auburn Hills since it has cruise control and Justin's car doesn't. We made it ten minutes down the road when the transmission jerked and the check engine light came back on. Sigh. We ended up taking Justin's car just so we wouldn't risk getting stranded.

3. I really struggled with the car news for a couple days. The depression came roaring back with a vengeance. I wrote this entry about some of my depression journey. But I wanted to add that I'm not always moping around in the depths of despair. Most of the time things are good, I enjoy my life staying home with my girls, we laugh and dance and sing and tickle. And even when the depression starts creeping in, I'm good at faking it and putting on a happy face for my girls. It's only on rare occasions that it really knocks me down like it did this week. Thanks for all your words of encouragement and compassion.

4. I recently signed up for daily devotional emails from Skye Jethani. Every week, he highlights a prayer. This was from last week:
from Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)
Lord, I sometimes wander away from you.
But this is not because I am deliberately turning my back on you.
It is because of the inconstancy of my mind.
I weaken in my intention to give my whole soul to you
I fall back into thinking of myself as my own master.
But when I wander from you, my life becomes a burden,
and within me I find nothing but darkness...
So I come back to you, and confess that I have sinned against you.
And I know you will forgive me.
Amen.
I love the part I italicized. Struggling with depression points to the darkness inside me. I don't have the power to cheer myself up. I can't summon the joy. It has to come from the Holy Spirit.

5. Enough about depression! I made a new meal this week. It was so easy and quick and delicious I figured I'd share.

Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice
Put 4 chicken breasts in the crock pot (I threw them in frozen)
Sprinkle one chopped onion over the chicken.
Cover with a can of cream of mushroom soup.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
Make a box of Uncle Ben's wild rice with seasoning.
Add prepared rice to slow cooker. Mix it all up.

Delicioso! (Recipe from Southern Plate via Pinterest)

6. Justin and I went on our second annual getaway to Auburn Hills this weekend. In the past couple of years he's become obsessed with interested in fishing and has asked for Bass Pro Shops gift cards for his birthday/Christmas. The closest Bass Pro Shops in our area is Auburn Hills. So we make a weekend trip of it and stay at a hotel and do some shopping at the huge Great Lakes Crossing mall. Last year, he spent three solid hours browsing Bass Pro and I was bored out of my gourd. I eventually found some Pioneer Woman cookbooks and a camo recliner to sit in. But this year, I came better prepared with my fancy schmancy Kindle. I read an entire book in a nice camo recliner. (It was just a novella. Justin shopped faster this year and was done in less then 2 hours. Haha.)

We used Christmas gift cards and ate well all weekend at Red Robin, Applebee's, and Olive Garden. And I got to do some shopping too! When we sold our house, Justin told me to take a certain sum of money and buy myself some new clothes. I only buy myself clothes when I can't fit in my jeans anymore or I find some kind of clearance deal that allows me to buy a shirt for less than $5. I didn't realize how fun it is to shop when you have money to spend!! I shopped until I dropped - aka started limping and whining about my bunion like an 80 year old woman. Haha. It was fabulous! And I read 3 books (including the novella which doesn't really count as a whole book) over the course of two days! A pretty great getaway!

7. About a month ago, we were at our WIC appointment waiting forever in a little back office. For some reason, Lucy started asking questions about Heaven and how we get there. I said, "Do you believe that Jesus came to earth to die for our sins?" She said yes. I asked her if she's ever sinned. She said yes. I asked her if she wanted Jesus to make her heart clean and take away her sins and she said yes. So I told her that meant she gets to go to Heaven. I didn't make a big deal about it. Mostly because at this age, I could tell Lucy the way to get to Heaven is by clicking your heels together saying "There's no place like Heaven" and she'd believe me. But she started asking again yesterday. I reminded her that because she believes Jesus came to forgive her sins she gets to go to heaven. It's exciting to see her getting interested and asking questions! Even if I'm not sure her dialogue with me counts as a salvation decision, I think she's starting to have an age-appropriate understanding of it!

A Bride for Keeps

Amazon Link
How am I doing with "branching out" from the inspirational fiction genre? Haha. Justin and I went on a one night getaway to Auburn Hills this weekend and I took the opportunity away from my distractions to read to my heart's content. I read "3" books in 2 days. I say "3" because one of the books was a novella and I didn't realize it 'til I reached the abrupt ending (the downfall of reading on a Kindle). There was an "arranged marriage" theme in all three books. I told you that's my favorite. Haha.

This book doesn't really need reviewing. I told Justin exactly what would happen before I even started. They'll get married in name only because they both need each other for something. It'll be awkward for a while. Then there will be a tragedy that draws them together. They'll be close to consummating their marriage when some secret will come out or something will happen that drives them apart. Hope will seem lost for a while, but eventually they'll come to their senses and admit to each other how much they love the other. I was right. That's pretty much precisely what happened. Haha. But I still love reading it. :-) 
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