Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Mya's new toy

Troy and I are the world's worst dog trainers.  Mya is 3 years old and we are still trying to figure out how to stop the way too frequent "accidents".  We can say down, sit, and stay all we want but Mya acts like she doesn't hear us.  I keep a glass of water on my nightstand and Troy tells me that as soon as I get out of bed Mya gets herself a drink of water out of my glass. In fact she will help herself to any glass of water that is left unattended for very long.  This evening Mya helped herself to a tater tot right off of Troy's plate as he was eating dinner (she only does that to him because she knows he is a sucker and will let her).  Every single morning I have a silent argument with her because she doesn't want to go outside and I insist that she does...it's a stare down, a little begging (by me), some reverse psychology, and even a little bribing to get her out that door.  We do not have a future in dog training!  Our house is full of love...the rules we are still working on. 

This evening we discovered that Mya knows the word toy.  "Get your toy" actually sent her running across the room and she brought her toy to us for some playtime.  We tested this over and over just to make sure it wasn't a coincidence the first, second...or third time. 

Doggy accidents on the carpet suck and eating dinner off of Troy's plate is annoying, but discovering that we have one word we all understand is priceless!  We will work on convincing her that she is supposed to drink water out of her dog dish another day.  Today we are celebrating the word toy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

All in the name of love

Troy has bad feet.  I don't know what's wrong with them (depends on which doctor you ask) but they suck.  He especially has trouble with his heels and they are easily injured.  The man loves sports, but he can't even play a game of catch without regretting it the next day. 

Most of us would have sore feet after a couple hours of standing/walking.  Troy sometimes struggles to make it through a trip to the grocery store.  Maybe if we could take some of the fat out of my butt and put it on the bottom of his feet it would solve his problem!  Like anyone else he has good days and bad days and not every experience effects him in the same way, but he does have more than his fair share of foot pain.

I am telling you this so that you will understand how much today meant to me. 

I've wanted a laptop for quite a while, but since I've started blogging my desire for one has gotten even greater.  It would be so nice to be able to work on my blog in the living room and still be able to spend time with Troy, or to take it with me to Crown Center on those nights Troy has to pick me up late from work.  I am using the computer a lot more often now and a laptop would be so convenient.  While looking through the black Friday ad's Troy found a good deal on one and offered to get it for me.  I didn't ask for it, or even have to do any persuading, he just offered. 

Troy left the house around 3:30am.  Around 5:00 he got to the store and joined the long line, outside, in the below freezing temps.  The store didn't open until 7am.  Shortly after 8:00 he called me and said he wasn't able to get the laptop, but that they had another one available and he would try to get me one of those.  He had been standing in line for over an hour just to find out that he would not be able to get the item he went after.  Thank goodness that put him towards the front of the line for option #2. 

Another hour later he finally joined the very long, very slow checkout line.  It was going on 11:00 when he finally told me that he had successfully paid for the laptop!!!!!!! but now had to get in yet another line to actually pick it up. 

He was on his feet for almost 6 hours...for me.  He must really love me!  I owe him one heck of a foot massage! (especially since he is going back to the store with me tomorrow to get a couple more items)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving on weheartit

25 things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving
  1. My husband
  2. My family
  3. A job
  4. A house
  5. French Silk Pie
  6. Trying new recipes
  7. Playing games
  8. Heated car seats
  9. A big glass of ice water
  10. The invigorating first breath of cold air
  11. Turning on that station that only plays Christmas music
  12. A house full of people you love
  13. Laughter
  14. Vegetables topped with marshmallows (hello sweet potato's!)
  15. Looking through the Black Friday sale ads
  16. Watching kids circle everything in the sale ads
  17. Laughing at Troy as he attempts to keep all of our dishes safely held in his lap on the trip across town
  18. Using paper plates because let's face it...there are enough dirty dishes already
  19. Blogging
  20. Hugs and Kisses from little kids
  21. No questions asked when you take a nap after lunch
  22. Driving by a house with lots of extra cars parked in front of it.  They are celebrating!
  23. The smell of all that food
  24. Mya begging for us to go back to bed and sleep just a little longer
  25. Paid time off work for the holiday
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Give Thanks

Give Thanks on weheartit

November is the month of giving thanks.  I have many facebook friends that have been posting one thing they are thankful for each day from November 1st through the big turkey day tomorrow and I have greatly enjoyed reading what they have to say each day  As we have gotten closer to Thanksgiving it seems as though everyone is creating a list (and checking it twice) of joyful things.  At church on Sunday we were given the opportunity to stand up and share with everyone what we are thankful for and one guy stood up and said that he is thankful for the good and the bad things.  (yes, he is smart...that's what a  Graceland education will do for you!)  I instantly knew that I agreed with him and that I would blog about it, but why?  Why do I need to be thankful for the bad things?  I want to forget the bad things, not search for a reason to be thankful they happened. 

The obvious answer to me is because without bad moments there would be no good moments.  You wouldn't know what a good moment was if you didn't have those bad moments to compare them to.  How can I appreciate the days where everything seems to be going my way and I can't stop smiling if every single day was like that?  The reason those days are so good is because I am able to remember the days where nothing seemed to be going my way and I had to force myself to smile. 

I have been thinking about this for four days now and I still feel like that is the weak answer.  There has to be something deeper that I am missing...right?  As I have struggled with this question in every quiet moment I've had I have started to think about my own personal bad moments and why I was thankful for them. 

Bad Moment:  Some wrong numbers hit on the calculator resulted in not being able to pay a very important bill.  Thankful for that moment because it provided me an opportunity to face a weakness and come out on top.  I am stronger because of it. 

Bad Moment: Having my feelings hurt.  Thankful for that moment because it started a new personal tradition that I now enjoy.  (more on that another time)

Bad Moment: Being sick.  Thankful for that moment because it forced me to listen to my body and get some much needed rest. 

Bad Moment: Tripping and falling in the middle of a restaurant.  Thankful for that because now whenever I trip over something I remember the time I fell on my face in front of a room full of strangers and know that this time can not be as embarrassing as that time.  Plus it helps when you do something embarrassing like that and can follow it up with an even more embarrassing story of yourself and have a good laugh with everyone. 

So, in the end, I have decided that while my first thought was true, it is more about what we learn in those bad moments that we need to be thankful for.  Look at the negative thing in front of you and decide what you will take away from it.  Be thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow.  (I know...easier said than done.) 

As I was driving home last night, talking to myself about the bad moments I realized that I was not struggling to find the positive spin.  Finding the positive spin is easy, believing it is whole other story.  Sometimes it's easy to spot and believe in the good that will come out of our bad moment.  Sometimes it takes days, weeks, months, or even years to be able to even find the positive and even longer to truly be thankful for it.  Take comfort in knowing that the positive spin is coming and keep your mind open to new possibilities.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crafty Blogs

Pinecone Garland from designvagabond

I always enjoy reading other peoples blogs and am constantly on the look-out for new (to me) blogs to save to my favorites.  The past couple of days I have spent quite a bit of time looking specifically at craft blogs.  I love to see the creative things people come up with and am envious of those who are so good at it that they have made it their full time job.  Here are some of my favorite crafty links from the past couple days...

  • Confetti does a variety of crafty projects, but parties in general seem to be her favorite.  I particularly love the party invitations she has created.  The mall scavenger hunt , amusement park, and football ticket are some of my favorite invitations.  I also love this candy themed birthday party (part 1 and part 2) for a little girl. 
  • Daily Dose of Spazz created this super cool Christmas Countdown book.  Perhaps I will someday get around to making one!
  • The Wired Angel makes the most beautiful cards!  I love that she adds some sort of embellishment to each one.  This Christmas card is stunning!  If you thought that was awesome, wait until you see this card
  • I just discovered Sprinkle Bakes (thank you Rachel), and while it's not a crafty blog in the traditional way, I still consider it to be crafty in a food/photography way.  These pears look super fancy, and super cute at the same time.  Baby Doughnuts...OK!  People always want to feed you soup when you have a cold.  Next time I'm sick would someone please make me some of this soup?  And for those of you with way too much time on your hands, how about edible spoons
I'm so glad other people like to blog about their crafty projects because I love to read about them and daydream that I too will someday have the time/resources/patience to put all that inspiration to good use and come up with my own creations.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A full moon

Framed Moon on imgfave

As we were driving home tonight I pointed out the moon to Troy.  It was a fiery orange ball, low in the sky.  Ten minutes later it was a bright white light, high over our heads. Both versions of the moon were beautiful and equally worth our time to stop and admire them, but I couldn't get over how fast the scenery changed. 

When I get in the hot tub in the mornings I always look for any constellations I can remember from elementary school.  At this time of year the big and little dippers are hanging out just over the roof of my neighbors house.  I can't see Orion's belt because it is only visible from our front yard.  In a few months the view will change and Orion's belt will be back in my viewing area and the dippers will be much higher in the sky. 

The stars and the moon do not go anywhere.  They are always there, but our view point is constantly changing.  We are on the move, and as active people in this world it is up to us to open our eyes and take in our surroundings.  There is beauty all around you just waiting to be seen. 

George Bailey: You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Mary.

Mary: I'll take it!  Then what?

George Bailey: Well, then you can swallow it, and it'll all dissolve, see... and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair...

Take in the beauty of your surroundings and maybe, just maybe, moonbeams will shoot out of your fingers and your toes.  I don't know about you, but I'll take all the help I can get in creating a natural glow!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's a heat wave

Seventy degrees in the middle of November calls for a walk.  Mya loved it, and so did we!  I hope you enjoyed your Sunday, no matter what the temperature was in your part of the world. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Good Luck Kate

Playing dress up!

Sometimes when I eat cupcakes I lick the extra frosting off the bag.  That would not be considered appropriate etiquette if I was a princess.

I have never had much interest in William or Harry, the Queen, or even Princess Diana.  It just wasn't my thing...until William proposed to Kate.  Now I read and watch everything I can about the newly engaged royal couple.  Kate Middleton is about to fulfill every little girls wish of becoming a princess and I'm all over the news stories like ducks on a June bug!

Someday she will have a crown (or tiara?) to wear on her head and more diamonds, rubies, and sapphires than any girl really needs.  Designers will make clothes just for her and she will have a new fancy dress for every big (and not so big) occasion in her life.  She will pass out toys to the children at orphanages and smile with over sized scissors at ribbon cutting ceremonies.  Little girls will look up to her and think she is the most beautiful princess ever.

Kate will be spending the next several months planning her wedding with the very best wedding planner, florist, dress maker, and cake decorator vying for her attention. While she will have some say in the details of the wedding, she must plan a wedding that meets (or even exceeds) the expectations that so many have set for the royal family.  Any dreams she may have had for a small beach wedding disappeared 8 years ago when she fell in love with William.  From now on all her decisions must be made with the public view of her new family in mind.  That's a lot of pressure to appear perfect! 

Kate will never get to experience the frenzied shopping on Black Friday.  She will never know how exciting it can be to find designer clothes for less at TJ Max (and she looks like a person who loves to shop).  Never again will she be able to fade into the background at a party.  All eyes will be on her, even when she is having a bad hair day or even the flu.  She can not publicly show that she is upset, or heaven forbid, mad at her husband!  A princess must always seem to radiate kindness and beauty from the inside out. 

Why did it take 8 years for William to finally get down on bended knee?  Perhaps it was cold feet.  Maybe he wasn't sure he was ready.  He said he wouldn't get married until he was 28 and maybe he is just so stubborn that he was determined to stick by that.  I like to imagine that he did it for his princess, Kate.  You see, William has always been in the public eye and had the pressure of living up the image that society has for a handsome young prince.  Kate has had her share of paparazzi as Williams girlfriend, but nothing compared to what she will experience from now on.  The romantic in me chooses to believe that he loves her so much that he waited to put that ring on her finger because he was protecting her.  I hope those two live a very happy life filled with a crazy amount of love. 

Today I am thankful that not all wishes come true.  Now that I am an adult I realize that the life of a princess is not for me.  I wish Kate all the luck in the world and I hope she finds a quiet corner where she can lick the frosting off the bag. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Some days I'm just thankful for Ibuprofen to get me through my day.  Today is one of those days.  Thank you to the wonderful men and women who invented this amazing pain killer and thank you to the people who worked to make it available as an over the counter drug.  Today, you are all my hero's. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today is for sharing

I was recently contacted by Pam at Present Magazine and asked if she could repost my blog about 3GC on her website.  (Read it here)  Someone I don't even know thinks my blog is worth sharing?  The answer is, of course, YES!  Thank you to Pam and Michael at Present Magazine, and thank you to each one of you that has shared my blog with someone you know. 

In the spirit of sharing, here are some of my favorite websites to share with you.
  • We Heart It is a collection of photos from all over the web.  I could spend hours looking at all the pictures and saving my favorites.  Imgfave is a similar website I use as well. 
  • Makes Me Think is full of short (2-3 sentences) stories that "make me think" 
  • I recently read 70 Things to do Before Having Children and realized that if we lived by this list there would be very few children in the world
  • The Nest is a fun website by the same people as The Knot.  This one is aimed at married couples and has articles on just about everything you can imagine you would need to know when starting your life out together. 
  • 1000 Awesome Things always makes me smile :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Agree to Disagree

photo from imgfave

Be patient and have faith that the answers you are seeking will become known when the time is right. 

The other night we were slowly making our way through rush hour traffic when I spotted a pro-choice bumper sticker that I thought was very witty.  Troy disagreed.  How had we made it 4 plus years together and not known that we are on opposites of this issue? 

It wasn't long after we started dating that I noticed Troy was agreeing with every opinion I had.  It was amazing how we had the exact same taste in everything, until I realized he was reading my facial expressions so he could give me the "correct" response.  I remember the exact moment this all became very clear to me.  I was holding up a pair of earrings, asking for his opinion, and when I looked over at him to see why he was hesitating in his response I knew right away that he was trying to figure out if I loved the earrings, or if I was being sarcastic and really thought they were hideous.  I love that he wants to make me happy by finding things we agree on, but I knew I could not have a relationship with a man who would not voice his true opinion.

Troy has come a very long way (and me too).  He still politely agrees with me when the time is right (yes, that eyeshadow does make you look just like Jennifer Aniston), but also knows that it is important to voice his (and mine) own opinion.  It still catches me off guard when he disagrees with me, and at first I am often stunned and a little hurt, but overall I am thankful that he is voicing his real opinion, and not just giving me the answer he thinks I want.

Why did it take us 4 years to find out we would be holding up opposing signs at a pro-choice protest?  Our personal (just for us) views on the issue are the same, and when it comes down to it, we are neither one going to be the first to throw stones at someone who makes a decision that we disagree with.  While we both believe that abortion would never be an option for us, we disagree on whether or not others should be allowed to make that decision for themself.  I respect Troy's opinion and I do not judge him for it, just as I hope he respects mine and thinks no less of me for it.  When it comes down to what really matters (the two of us) we have the same opinion, and that is much more important than which bumper sticker we agree with.  We agreed to disagree and moved on to another topic. 

Today I am thankful for those moments that Troy chooses to disagree with me because it reminds me of how much I prayed for him to do just that in the beginning of our relationship.  I could choose to see a disagreement as a bad sign in our relationship, or I can see it as an answer to a prayer.  Our relationship is secure enough that we can agree to disagree without holding it over each others heads.  It took me four years to see the answer to my prayer.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Perfume Lady

Perfume on WeHeartIt

Every day I get on the service elevator at 4:15 and ride it up to the 17th floor for my last rounds of the day.  Every day at 4:15 the normal scent of the cold dirty elevator metal has been replaced by the smell of someones perfume.  Every day I spend my elevator ride wondering what the mysterious perfume lady looks like.  Every day I wonder if she is going home to someone that she is in a fairly new relationship with, or if she still puts on perfume at the end of the day for the man she has been married to for 40 years. 

One of the great things about marriage is knowing that even on that day when you haven't brushed your teeth - or your hair, a warm shower is only a dream, and getting out of your pj's is just out of the question, you know that your spouse is still going to be there.  When I'm sick and my nose is red and my lips are beyond chapped and my eyes won't stop watering I know that Troy will still let me lay my head on his chest and he will wrap his arms around me and kiss my forehead like I am still the beautiful bride he saw on our wedding day.  He sees the beauty in me when the rest of the world would have a hard time finding it.

Every day at 4:15, when I spend my elevator ride thinking about the perfume lady and I imagine she is going to home to her husband of many years and that they are still crazy in love.  I imagine that although he has seen her at her worst, when he thinks back on their time together he remembers the smell of her perfume.  Every day at 4:15 I get on an elevator and wonder if someday, someone will smell my perfume and daydream about where I am going that requires me to smell so nice.  In my daydreams the perfume lady is going home to see her husband, and that alone is a big enough reason to pull out the perfume and make sure she smells nice.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A tale of 2 wish list's

Puppy in Pink on weheartit

Nika and Shawnie are twins....age 5?

Me: Shawnie, what do you want for Christmas?
Shawnie: EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!
Me: Everything???  Tell me one thing you want the most. 
Shawnie: I can't, because I want EVERYTHING!
Me: Do you want a Barbie?
Shawnie: NO! I want everything, but not a Barbie!

The conversation with Shawnie is a lead into the more important conversation with Nika, because I have drawn her name for Christmas and need to find out what she wants.

Me: Nika, what do you want for Christmas?
Nika: A puppy!!!!!!
Me: ...........................a puppy? ......................what else do you want? 
Nika:  Ummm, probably gum. 

Dad gave me some good advice as I retold this story to him.  It's probably better if I don't tell Nika's parents that she wants me to buy her a puppy.  They will be just as surprised as Nika when she opens up her gift.  I wonder if they will become suspicious when the box has air holes and wiggles around on the floor? 

Perhaps I better stick to the original plan and find her something pink (and not living)...with a side of gum. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Grey's Window Treatments

This afternoon we put plastic on all of our windows so that we will hopefully be a little more successful in keeping the cold air outside this year.  It felt like we were on Grey's Anatomy as we worked away.  Troy was like the intern (a smokin' hot intern) and I was like the master surgeon (I'm kind of like the Chief). 

Troy prepped the area for surgery.  He moved furniture out of the way, took down the curtains, and used an alcohol wipe to sterilize the surface.

I was the surgeon who came in and skillfully cut the appropriate amount of plastic and adhered it ever so carefully with the double sided tape. 

As I moved on to my next patient Troy would sweep back in and put the room back together again.

Surgery or plastic on a window, it's always easier when you work as a team.  I heard there is a chance that Mother Nature will bring us some snow flakes on Monday and to her I say "Bring It On!"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lights out at lunch

Yesterday my office was closed for Veterans Day.  A large percentage of employees took today off as well to make it a 4 day weekend.  The above picture is what the lunch room looked like today....lots of empty chairs.  It was just me and my book for 60 minutes of uninterrupted silence!  (It's amazing how I never noticed the oh so cool pattern on the floor until I took this picture)

When I first started here and was told I would be getting a 60 minute lunch break I panicked and wondered what I would do with a full hour.  Now I enjoy every last minute of it.  This is my quiet time where I read or write and block out the rest of the world.  I purposefully sit facing the windows so that no one can sit across from me and so that I have no distractions in front of me.  Unless it is window cleaning day the only thing I see is the Kansas City skyline.  For some people their lunch break is their social time, and I respect that.  I have become a master at blocking out the chatter in the background and focusing completely on my book.  

Walking into the lunch room and finding out that I had it completely to myself was a very sweet moment today! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You

Thank You Cards on imgfave

Thank you for reading my blog because it gives me motivation to keep writing.

Thank you for telling your friends about me.

Thank you for voting for me in the recent Good Mood Blog contest.

The first phase of the contest is over and I did not make it into the top 20, but I'm still amazed at how many times you voted for me.  I entered the contest kind of late and told myself that if I got over 100 votes I would be absolutely amazed.  We hit that number within a few days and I set my new goal at 200, then 250, and before I knew it I ended up with 578 votes!  I don't know how you did it, but thank you!  There were 740 contestants and I finished as number 85.  To be in the top 12% is pretty darn awesome in my opinion.  This is the 3rd time Sam-e has held this contest and if history repeats itself there will an identical contest again in 6 months.  You never know what the future holds, but I may be bombarding your email and facebook asking for votes once again.  For now I am going to enjoy watching the rest of the contest unfold and read the next 6 months worth of blogs from the winner. 

Today marks my 50th day of writing in this blog and I wanted to share some of the stats that make me smile.  Encouraging Sweetness has been viewed 1435 times.  People all over the world are reading; United States, South Korea, Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, Singapore, Russia, Brazil, Spain, and Netherlands.  Hello everyone!!!!!  Most people check for updates from their computers, but some of you have stepped outside the box and caught up on your reading from your phones (Blackberry, IPhone, Samsung), your Wii (I didn't even know that was possible), your IPad and your IPod.  Almost everyone arrives at this site via the link I post on Facebook, but there are some of you that email your favorite posts out to friends who in turn come back to check out the rest of the blog.  You have attempted to find me on search engines (use google for the best results) and linked to me from other blogs.  My top two most viewed posts are both about cupcakes, so I know that I am not the only one that has a love for the sweet treats!

Thank you for reading my daily posts from your computer or your even your Wii.  Thank you for continuing to check back for updates.  Thank you for leaving comments and know that I try to write back to most of you. 

Today I am thankful for YOU, because each one of you has given me more than one reason to smile in the past 50 days.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Playing Pretend

Brylly's Christmas Present (shhhh...don't tell)

Remember playing with plastic fruit when you were a kid?  I bought this basket full of groceries for Brylly's Christmas present today (one present done!) and I'm very excited about it.  Kids love to play pretend.  They will bring you same plastic banana over and over and giggle with glee each time you dramatically pretend to take a bite out of it and make "mmmm" sounds.  The tomato soup can even says "YUMMY" on it, so you will be sure to use the correct adjective when pretending to gulp it up.  Throw in a couple of tummy rubs with those lip smacking good sounds you are making and before you know it you will have been force fed everything in that basket at least twice!  It's important to have a good imagination no matter what age you are, and we all started off early in life when an adult pretended that the plastic chicken leg was the best tasting chicken leg they had ever eaten. 

How did I use my imagination today? 
  • I pretended it was summer and opened the sun roof on my car
  • I pretended I was a 7 year old girl and picked out all the best girly things at the store for a birthday present
  • I pretended that I enjoyed staring at the ceiling at the dentist office and used my waiting time to think of things I had be thankful for today
Have fun practicing your own pretending skills!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Outreach International Catalog

Sustainable Gifts Catalog from Outreach International

I received this catalog from Outreach International in the mail yesterday and I flipped through it during dinner last night.  Take a bite of food, share a new fact with Troy, and repeat.  Did you know that a $15 donation provides 5 pairs of shoes for orphaned children?  (Mmmm, this Kung Pao Chicken is really good.)  Chickens provide breakfast (or dinner at our house) for 3 years and your $25 donation gives a family 2 chickens.  (Wooo, I'm starting to feel the heat from those chili's!)  A donation of $55 provides a water bucket filter so they can have clean drinking water...something we take for granted.  (Need a drink now, my mouth is on fire!)

From the Outreach International website "Our mission is simple: we believe in long-term investments that bring about sustainable solutions and long-lasting change for the better. We call it Sustainable Good."  I love that they are not just providing food and shelter, but giving them a means to continue providing for those things for themselves for years to come.  They are educating them and giving them the resources so that they can continue to thrive even after the people providing assistance have left. 

There are a wide range of items so there is something in everyone's price range.  I think it's great that you get to choose to donate a goat, school supplies, toothbrushes, medical care, or even a toilet with your money.  This is a great way to get children involved in understanding the importance of making a donation.  Money is hard for younger kids to understand; $50 and $500 are essentially the same to them.  Start talking about chickens laying eggs and you will capture the child's attention. 

As I was glancing through the catalog one item that stood out to me was the most expensive item; Village Basics for $10,000.  I know, you probably can't make that large of a donation, and neither can I. (You can purchase shares of it for $175 each.)  This provides a VILLAGE (not one family...a whole village) with clean water, efficient sanitation systems, developed roads, and a community building where they can come together. 

I'm not arguing that $10,000 is a lot of money, because that is more than I can ever imagine actually having my hands on.  When I think about how much money I make in a year and how I am still struggling to pay my bills it makes me sad because our combined yearly salary could provide the Village Basics for several villages, yet we there are just 2 of us and we think we have it rough because we have to eat off the dollar menu when we go out to eat.  Did you hear that?  I said WHEN we go out to eat.  There are villages of people that need clean drinking water and I still manage to find a dollar for a McChicken...and another dollar for a large Coke. 

Here are some examples of things you can buy for $10,000 in my part of the world.
  • a used car
  • a very fancy vacation
  • 10,000 McChicken's at McDonalds
  • 6667 bottles of water
  • 156 feet of paved road
  • 2 of the Toto Neorest 600 Toilet (it has a remote control)
  • a college education
$10,000 is out of my reach as far as a donation goes, but $15 to put shoes on 5 children is definitely possible.  That's one large pizza with delivery!  Skip a meal at a sit down restaurant and instead spend $25 providing chickens (and 3 years worth of breakfast...or dinner) to a family.  Rent a movie from Redbox instead of heading to the theater and you could provide toothbrushes or (if you have a larger family) school supplies with the money you saved. 

My sweet moment was looking through a catalog of items that other people need and realizing what a difference even a small amount makes.  A $10,000 donation is amazing and helps many people, but those $15 donations are just as important, and much easier to achieve. 

Monday, November 8, 2010


I buy the cheaper version of Vaseline

I have a crazy fondness for Vaseline.  It is my all time favorite beauty product.  It’s cheap and a large jar of it will last at least a year.  Each one of my other must have beauty products cost significantly more and don’t last anywhere near as long.  A cheap product that works!

I love the simplicity of a jar of Vaseline.  There is no long list of fancy ingredients I can’t pronounce.  You don’t have to wait for the annual sale at the big department store before you can splurge and buy it.  This is not the latest must have product that all the Hollywood stars are using.  It was discovered in the mid 1800's which means that it wasn't even a fancy new product to my grandparents.  This is a tried and true mix of waxy oil that will always have a place in my home. 

The season of dry itchy skin has hit us here in the midwest and to top it off I have been taking cold medicine for the past week, which has dried up my skin even more.  My love for the gooey mixture has been at the front and center of my mind recently (as well as a new love for the hydrating powers of Gatorade). 

This website has a great list of 50 ways to use Vaseline.  There are some new ways to use the product that I had not thought of before, like chocolate flavored lip gloss, or to give a quick shine to your shoes!  I mostly use it on my lips, giving them an extra heavy application right before bed time.  It soothes chapped lips better than anything else I've tried.  I slather it on my feet, sleep in socks, and wake up to remarkably softer feet.  My cuticles get a Vaseline massage every so often.  I've used it to keep my skin from peeling after a sunburn, and to revitalize the dry patches I sometimes get on my face. 

  • Vaseline will not freeze
  • Vaseline went on the market in 1870 and by 1880 practically every home in America had a jar of it
  • Vaseline was used during the first World War to prevent sunburn
  • Vaseline is a mixture of oil and wax
Vaseline doesn't come in fun scents.  There is no glitter mixed in to give your skin a little sparkle.  It's simple, yet does so much.  It moisturizes dry skin, helps burns and cuts heal faster, keeps your jack-o-lantern lasting a little longer, and supposedly helps you grow longer, stronger eye lashes.  There are a lot of Vaseline products in the store.  You can find Vaseline lotions, deodorants, and lip balms, but for me I like the good old fashioned jar you find in the first aid section.  Sometimes simpler really is better.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Laundry Day

I don't know how two people can produce this much laundry in a week.  Neither one of us enjoy doing laundry, and the worst part is folding it and putting it away.  It is usually a battle to see who will draw the short straw and have to do the dirty deed of folding laundry.  I washed everything today and threw into a huge pile in the media room.  I am ashamed to admit that we hate folding clothes so much that it is way too common for us to still be digging through this massive pile of cotton and poly blend throughout the week because we haven't been up the battle of folding the perfectly clean clothes. 

Today's sweet moment was walking by the media room and seeing that Troy was attacking the mound of clothes as he watched the football game.  He has is own method of folding clothes that is unlike anyone else's I have seen.  Perhaps it was the years of working retail that trained me to fold a shirt into perfect thirds with my eyes clothes, but Troy does not have this skill.  I couldn't care less!

Thank you for taking care of the massive pile of quickly wrinkling clothes!  Tonight I will make taco's just for you!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mike & Molly - A Fairy Tale in the Making

I am feeling better, much better, but still recovering.  Today I have watched a lot of tv and taken a couple of naps.  We DVR way too many shows during the week.  For the most part we agree on what to watch, but there are some shows that are more for me and some shows that are more for Troy.  Mike and Molly is a favorite for both of us.  It's like a romantic comedy sitcom and we can't get enough of it.  When the show comes to an end I am left craving more and can't believe I have to wait a whole week for another episode.  I know it is not a deep thought provoking kind of show, but it sure makes me happy!  Mike and Molly put a big smile on my face today and made me laugh many times (even though it was a whispered laugh since I have no voice at the moment). 

Nothing like a good laugh and little dose of romance to make you feel better.  Maybe I can talk Troy into watching a romantic comedy with me tonight and making it an all around chick flick kind of day!  I'm thinking Sex and the City...

Friday, November 5, 2010

11-05-10 List

Happiness on imgfave

5:01pm Friday...quitting time
Shared emails
Homemade pizza burgers
Holding hands
Fruity chapstick
Lotion on dry winter hands
Sharing the peaches
Feeling better every day
Knowing that tomorrow I can sleep in as late as I want

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Call in sick

Cool Yellow Phone on imgfave

Troy and I are not fighters.  We are not perfect and we do get frustrated with each other but we deal with it in our own ways...not through fights.  We are neither one confrontational people and that is part of what makes us work so well together.  The only time Troy has ever raised his voice at me has been when I'm sick.  Before you get mad at him, let me explain...

In high school I had an obsessive need to have perfect attendance.  I had a crazy allergic reaction (lips the size of Donald Ducks) to strep throat in the middle of the school day that forced me to leave and visit a doctor.  I insisted on going to back to school as soon as the doctor gave me a shot that brought my lips back to normal.  I missed my 3rd period class that day and as a result did not get a certificate of perfect attendance at graduation time.  I know there is no way I could have avoided going to the doctor that day, but even to this day I am sad that I did not get that perfect attendance. 

In college (at my very first job) I was well into my 2nd year before I called in sick.  The guilt I felt for calling in to work sick was overwhelming.  I ended up in the hospital that day (and for the next several days) with kidney stones.  There was no reason for me to feel guilty for missing work...I was in the hospital!

When I was a store manager at Dress Barn I felt even more pressure to never take time off.  I can't remember ever taking a whole day off, but I do remember calling in to work a shorter day.  I later found out that the girls I worked with spent a lot of time gossiping that first time I was sick, trying to figure out what was wrong with me, because I had never called in sick before.  They were convinced I was pregnant. 

I still have a huge feeling of guilt anytime I need to take off work for an illness.  I never call in sick on Thursday (supply ordering day, and I order the supplies) and I try not to call in sick on Wednesday (supply counting day).  I never call in sick if I think someone else isn't feeling well and there is a chance they might call in sick too.  I try not to call in sick if someone is on vacation.  Sick on a Monday or a Friday...people might think I'm faking it.  When I do call in sick I always try to think about whether or not I might be even more sick the following day, because calling in sick 2 days in a row has never been an option for me, so I need to plan accordingly. 

I am stubborn and completely unreasonable when I am sick.  I need someone to knock some sense into me and tell me I am acting foolish. 

I am much better now about actually using my sick days and that is because of  Troy.  I still get sick to my stomach before I make the call and often spend the day curled up in a ball wondering if I should have gone to work anyway, but at least I am home getting rest.

Troy doesn't fight with me, he fights for me.  The only time Troy doesn't hesitate to tell me that I'm a fool is when I refuse to call in sick to work.  He got mad at me this morning because I wouldn't call my boss and admit I needed time off (it's Thursday and I already called in sick once this week).  I shut the bathroom door and cried because I had disappointed my husband, but I went to work anyway. 

Even though I am stubborn and don't always take his advice, I do appreciate it.  Troy is great at taking care of me when I sick.  He will cook and keep my glass of water fresh.  He always makes a trip to Walgreens to get me medicine.  He keeps the volume on the tv turned down and doesn't complain when I want to go to bed at 7:30.  When I think I need to go to work no matter what, Troy tells me I am an idiot and need to stay home and sleep. 

Thank you, honey, for caring enough to tell me that you disagree with my decision.  My sweet moment today was each time you got frustrated with me this morning and told me to stay home.  It is only because you care so much that you are willing to step outside your normal comfort zone and give me a dose of reality.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Talent for cupcakes

A "spotted cow" cupcake from 3GC.
Chocolate cupcake filled with white chocolate cream cheese buttercream
and topped with spotted (chocolate chip) buttercream!

There was a bake sale at work today to raise money for a charity.  I spent $6 and got a lot of sugary treats!  Everything I bought (and tried so far) is delicious.  This got me thinking; does food taste better when it's for a good cause? 

My favorite cupcake place is 3 Girls Cupcakes.  Simonie, the owner and chief "cupcake engineer"  is a constant reminder to do my part to make the world a little sweeter.  I am a loyal 3GC fan because the cupcakes are amazing and because a weekly dose of Simonie does the soul good.  I could write a whole blog post about the endless times I have received exceptional customer service at her cupcake van and I could give you a personal review of each of her cupcake flavors (read my Yelp! review of 3GC).  What I really love about Simonie is that she is constantly giving back.

On the front page of the 3GC website you will see that 10% of sales go to local Children's Charities.  This is a big deal!  How many of us actually give 10% of our income to anything so great?  (Pat on the back for those of you that actually do)  In addition to that Simonie is constantly donating cupcakes to local organizations as her way of supporting their cause.  She has found something she is good at and is doing more with it than just making money for herself.  We would all love to be making a living doing something that brings us joy, and to share in that joy with so many others is like the icing on the cake!

I recently read a post on Facebook that Simonie passes out cupcakes to the homeless when stopped at red lights around town.  These people are not going to track her down to buy another cupcake from her in the future.  She is not gaining future clients by doing this.  There is no money to be made from giving your cupcakes (your source of income) to someone who can not repay you.  She is using her own resources to give back to the city.   

So, do her cupcakes taste better because with each purchase I am, in a way, donating to local children's charities?  Thankfully her cupcake are superb and she has never given me a chance to find out if I like them any less without supporting a good cause and I hope she never will. 

Simonie is using her talent as a "cupcake engineer" to bring a little more sweetness to the world.   You don't have to spend money to create a sweet moment for someone else.  What is something you are good at and how can you put that talent to use brightening someone else's day? 

I am not an expert "cupcake engineer", but I'm pretty darn good at finding moments that make other people shine.  Tomorrow I will put my talent to use and give someone else a reason to feel good about themselves. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wedding Rings

My wedding ring set is from Wal-Mart and cost around $500 total for the 2 rings.  If you look closely you can see that last diamond on the wedding band is missing.  It has been missing for over a year now, but since it is the the very last diamond I am not worried about it.  No one has ever noticed it is missing unless I tell them and it doesn't bother me enough to get it replaced right now.  There are more important things I need to spend my money on. Someday we may be able to afford a bigger, shinier ring and I would like to say that I don't want one, but I like big shiny rings and would probably take one if it was offered to me.  I would just wear the new ring on my right hand!

November is National Blog Posting Month and although I am fairly new to blogging I have accepted the NaBloPoMo challenge to write one new blog post every day for the whole month.  There are suggested topics (although not required) to get my mind thinking.  I do not plan on sticking to the suggested topic every day, but I am intrigued by the challenge of finding a sweet moment to match the topic of the day whenever I can.  In case you haven't already guessed, today's daily suggestion was to write about a piece of jewelry you own. 

No amount of money can buy a ring that would be able to replace my wedding rings.  Troy and I (yes, together) saved every $1 bill that entered our lives for several months in order to buy an engagement ring.  We agreed that neither one of us would spend any $1 bills and they would automatically be put into our savings jar.  When I look at my wedding rings (with the missing diamond) I smile thinking about how dedicated we were to saving up enough money to buy a ring so that Troy could propose and we could start planning our wedding and we would finally be husband and wife.

I cleaned my rings today and smiled like it was my wedding day as I thought about Troy paying for my engagement ring in $1 bills.  I wonder what the cashier was thinking?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sparkle without stress

Sparkly Believe on We Heart It

Find the SPARKLE without the STRESS!

Christmas is not my favorite time of year.  It stresses me out!  Now that Halloween is over the Christmas music has begun (whose idea is that?), and whether you are ready or not your mind is going to start wandering to the biggest holiday of the year.

I used to love this holiday and I still love Christmas as a whole, but when I start to break it down into smaller parts I feel my heart start to race and little beads of sweat forming on my forehead.  I wrote a whole blog post about the things that stress me out during the holidays and then I deleted it.  As my friend, Holly, reminded me today - I am on a mission to find the sweet moments in life.  As she put it, I will "find the SPARKLE without the stress!" 

There is something we all dislike about the holidays.  Feel pressure to eat the special cookies that everyone raves about even though you don't really like them?  Want to hide in the bathroom when you know who shows up at the Christmas party and starts kissing everyone with that bright pink lipstick she wears?  Do you look for an alternate entrance to Walmart so you won't have to walk by that guy ringing the bell for the Salvataion Army because you already gave at Target and HyVee?  Constantly on the lookout for mistletoe because you don't want to get stuck kissing your cousin?  Are you impatient when it comes to hanging delicate ornaments on the prickly pine needles of the Christmas tree?  I don't care how cheerful you are I'm willing to bet there is something you hope to avoid every year at Christmas. 

Now that the radio stations have started playing songs about reindeer with glowing noses, and the stores have already begun stocking the shelves with wreathes and tree skirts we will constantly be reminded of what lies ahead of us.  Here are some of the things I am looking forward to this holiday season...

* people spending money on others * adopt a family programs * an extra day off work * using the fireplace * home baked goodies * the first snow fall * putting bows on presents to make them look pretty * french silk pie * pretending my mom's sweet potato's are still healthy enough to be called a vegetable (lots of sugar in them)* scarves * finally not looking like a fool when I walk around singing Christmas songs * kids standing in line to see Santa * putting the tree up * sharing a blanket * Miracle on 39th Street *

My list could go on and on with all the things I am looking forward to, and so I am choosing to focus on the many happy things rather than the few stressful things.  I was actually getting a little jittery stressing myself out about the upcoming holiday season, but when I started creating a list of all the great moments that are still to come I realized that those less than great moments are just that...moments.  Moments that are surrounded by many more great things. 

Seems like we could use that same idea any time we have an upcoming stressful moment in life.  Make a list of the great things that surround that bad moment and focus on those.  Find the SPARKLE without the stress. 

Halloween treats

Special treat boxes for the kids in our family.

We put Halloween decorations up and took them back down.  We put the Halloween decorations back up.  We spent a couple hours hanging spider webs and then rehanging them right before the trick or treaters showed up.  We passed out candy for several hours, oohing and aahing or acting scared (depends on the outfit) for each child's costume.   

Sweet moment: turning off that porch light, locking the door, and eating the last snickers bar in the quiet darkness of my house!  That's right kiddo's, the last candy bar was all mine!!