A Visit With Friends!

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In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sometimes I forget how important it is to spend time with friends.  A recent visit from friends brought this fact to the top of my awareness bubble.  It was so sweet to just sit and relax and visit.  Even though the visit felt like it ended too soon, it was such a blessing!

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I am surrounded by people every day, all day, but what I don’t do enough is just embrace special moments with those people.  I get so wrapped up in what ‘needs’ to be done that I forget what really matters. Taking the time to absorb life rather than just doing life.  There is just something about an absolutely adorable, sleeping baby that makes these realizations surface.  Isn’t he cute!

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Think of how you feel when you see a beautiful smile on a friends face.  It’s like a little ray of sunshine piercing through the window, making the whole room brighter!

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My favorite part of having friends with kids is the atmosphere.  I remember my parents being distraught when we had friends over and wholly expected to feel that way as an adult as well, but I don’t. There is so much life and humor in these kids, that I can’t imagine a life without them.  I love their laughter, excitement over tiny things, corny jokes, and silly stories.  It’s a priceless addition to living!

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Life… Drink it all in…

Proverbs 27:9
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.

True Friends Strengthen and Help Each Other 
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (NLT)

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Here’s to visiting with friends!

~Angie~

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Meet My New Pal!

For those who are sick of hearing about diets and what to do and where to go and all that jazz, this is where you need to be.  I struggle so much with a lot of the weight loss programs out there and I just feel like they feed off of the fact that people just don’t think they can do it themselves. Well, guess what? You can and I have proof!

Here is a little tip for health hopefuls that is not only simple and informational, but FREE!  Yep! Free…

Meet My Fitness Pal. It’s a real simple way to go about informing your self, managing your own diet and exercise, PLUS… here’s the good part… All you have to do is put in your information and it tracks everything for you! You just enter foods as you eat them into your food diary and it fills in the rest.  The phone app is really cool because you can scan the bar codes with your cell and make it even easier!

It’s so simple that you will really feel like you are using minimal effort to keep on track.  I look forward to entering my foods and seeing how many calories I have left for the day.

Another feature I really love is the exercise help.  It actually allows you to enter in how many minutes you work out, from walking to intense workouts and in turn, it tells you how many calories you’ve burned.  At the end of the day, when you total out your days activities, it tells you approximately how much weight you will loose at the current rate.  It is WONDERFUL for keeping reasonable goals, no matter how high or low they are!

Something you need to know about me is that I am not a huge calorie counter kind of person.  I originally started this just to prove that I was already doing it right. We eat pretty healthy in our house and I just thought there was something sneaking in my room at night and causing me to eat all those extra calories! Nope, it was me!

Eating is not bad…

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. Genesis 1:29

Abusing our body is…

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27

I may be new at this and I may not be the best health guru to talk to but what I can tell you is that there are real results happening just in my being more conscious of what foods and how much foods I am sticking into my mouth every day.

Here’s a HUGE bonus! You can do it with your friends and family and you can even blog about your journey.  This is all on ONE website and right at your fingertips, so go check it out!  Here’s the address!

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

Now go have fun with this!

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

If you are already using My Fitness Pal, please let us know what your experience has been and offer some good tips!

Happy Days!

Angie

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A West Coast Must See!

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   As we near Spring, I know a lot of you are trying to decide where to go for Spring Break, so here is just one suggestion that I strongly recommend, great for adults and children alike!  The Tillamook Air Museum, is located just off the Oregon Coast Hwy, in Tillamook, Oregon.

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   The Museum was not at all what I was expecting.  When you first enter, you are greeted by the front desk which also serves as the gift shop check-out. We were greeted by a smiling face and all I had to say was, “We are new.” and we didn’t have to ask another question the entire time we were there.  He advised us to first go watch the video, telling the history of the museum and boy, was that great advice! It really highlighted the entire self-tour!

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There is a lot of WWI, WWII and Vietnam memorabilia and so much detail about where these planes served and the heroes who flew them.  It was impressive how many photos they had and it made the experience seem so intimate. The story of a mascot receiving a formal burial because he was so loved was so moving that I had to take a picture of the story!

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(Please excuse the photography. I am just learning how to use my new camera.)

   While there is much to see outside of the aircraft, they truly are an amazing sight to see, and there is absolutely no way not to see them! There are small aircraft…Image

Large aircraft…

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Foreign Aircraft…

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And Aircraft that can ride the waters…

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It didn’t stop at aircraft either. There were rigs and motors and props and all sorts of things to look at! The list just goes on and on.

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Don’t forget to grab a bite to eat and visit the gift shop before you go!

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   Oh! I almost forgot! While you’re in the area, you may want to go visit the Pacific Ocean. The best path is the Scenic byway on the Netarts Highway due west out of Tillamook. Beautiful drive!

Happy Traveling!

Pinterest, anyone?

So, I am upside down, turn around hooked on Pinterest!!!

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I don’t know if you have heard of this website yet, but it is absolutely amazing!  I have learned how to make my own laundry soap, use burner covers to build a turn table masterpiece and to style my hair and clothes in hundreds of styles!  You can learn how to do vertical gardening, closet organizing and how to cook a 10 course meal.  There are so many tips and ideas for organizing, that I’m surprised that we even have clutter in our midst!

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The problem is that while I have more information pouring into my brain, I am so obsessed with the website that I keep reading and getting new ideas and planning that nothing is getting done around my house!  I get so busy clicking and tapping, posting and pinning that all I am seeing in my brain is this grand dining room with a glorious table runner, donning tall elegant candles circled with silver garland swirling all around into a glorious display of cleanliness and effortless beauty!  Then, I get off the computer and see on my table, a coffee mug, and unfinished puzzle with a small pile of pieces set aside for the flute of the girl who is playing magical tunes that turn into fairy tale images. I see school books that wait for my grading (I home school), and a friendship bracelet waiting to be mailed of to one of my daughters friends… ~Sigh

I look into the kitchen and instead of the organized and freshly mopped version that was in my head just moments ago, with all those mugs hanging in a row and the fruit stacked wonderfully in that old style colander, I see dishes in the sink, a bread bag left open on the counter and a black banana on a barren fruit stand.  Not exactly what I had in my head.

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Feeling the burden of what could be and probably should be, created a little bit of depression in my heart.  Why had I spent all that time searching for ways to make my home beautiful and yet it still looks like I ran out the door on Thanksgiving afternoon! Why, why, why?

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I drooped my head and moped into my living room which just moments ago had delightful hand sewn cushions, perfectly tossed onto fluffy and splendidly upholstered furniture with a steaming cup of cappuccino along with my favorite book by it’s side on the shiny solid wood coffee table that I made out of my very own log, and instead saw a crooked rug and slip covers that I despise with a smudge from my coffee cup that I forgot to put a napkin under along with laundry overflowing on my chase lounge. Why, why, why?

It’s not due to a lack of my ability to imagine these rooms wonderful and welcoming, but instead the lack of real time and money to get it that way.  See, when I look at my wish list of things to do around this house, I know it is going to take me weeks and money I don’t have to ‘Git R Done’ and that is just so darn frustrating!

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So, I’ve come up with a plan. I am going to take out a small private loan and go through my Pinterest boards and starting from beginning to end just do it all! Oh, sorry, I was in Pinterest land again.  That’s not the real plan…

Actually, I have a real plan!

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I am asking all you Pinterest Pals of mine to join me if you would like because we are going to have a Pinterest Party!!!  Are you ready for this???  Here we go!

  1. With Pinterest plans already decided, pick the room/area you want to do first!  (This should be a room or area (maybe even a closet) that you can do in a matter of hours and have a noticeable result)  The room I chose was my Laundry Room because I have great storage above my washer and dryer but everything just always gets shoved in there so it looks and functions terrible! TAKE A BEFORE PICTURE!!!
  2. Take everything out of the cupboards, off the shelves and out of the closets and put it in another room on the floor to be sorted, cleaned and organized.
  3. Wipe down all flat surfaces, clean the light fixture, wash the walls as best as possible, and sweep, mop or vacuum the floors.
  4. While all of that is drying, bring your rag with you to wipe down anything that can be, in your pile of items from your room. As you are wiping everything down, start organizing all your items into these four piles.
  • Belongs in this room
  • Does not belong in this room
  • Donate
  • Garbage

Now is for the fun part!

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  1. First, bag up any garbage and take it immediately out to the trash.  
  2. Then bag/box up all the donation items and immediately take them out to your car.  (Don’t try to save things or you will end up putting them back into your home.)
  3. Put everything that doesn’t belong in that room into a box to be organized or put away later.
  4. Envision, the clean, organized room/area the way you want it.  Don’t loose focus!  Pull up the Pinterest page that applies to this room if needed. 
  5. Organize one area at a time and remember that if you can’t make all your stuff fit as you had hoped, consider getting rid of more!
  6. When you are finished, SMILE and TAKE YOUR AFTER PICTURE and say this to yourself… “I am not just a dreamer but also a doer. I am one step closer to living in an organized and clean home that not only is welcoming to guests but that I am safe and comfortable in.” 

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  You may even want to pray this prayer.  “Thank You, God, for giving me a home and many things that so many others don’t even dream of having! I know that you will always provide my needs and I promise not to be consumed any longer by my wants. Thank You for granting them to me and please help me to remember to always be grateful for everything You give. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

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Repeat these steps every day until you have gone through your whole house.  Remember not to neglect your finished rooms while working on your new rooms.  I suggest giving your bigger projects 2 or more days so you have time to avoid neglecting your daily chores.

I hope this blog has been helpful for you!  I will post my before and after pictures in my next blog!

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Happy Pinning!

Angie

Memorable Yet Inexpensive Gifts!

   Do you ever sit back and watch all the commercials on t.v. around the holidays and think to yourself, “One day, I will buy gifts like that for Christmas.” or “I wish I had the money to buy that perfect gift!”  Well, know that you are NOT alone.  Many times I have sat and pondered the perfect gift to show just how much I love my family member and every time I imagine their fingers trembling as they open my gift (which is wrapped perfectly, of course), peeling their eyes away just long enough to shoot me a dashing smile because they know that I know that they know I have just given them the perfect gift!  They go back to anxiously  tearing the perfect wrapping paper off the perfect gift box and open it with a gasp! “Angie! It’s absolutely wonderful!” they shout as they clutch it to their chest!

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   Then… I look at the items in my cart that have absolutely no sentimental or emotional attachment and I know, once again, I have settled for gifts that people could just as easily buy while waiting in line to purchase their toilet paper.  Sigh…

   Guess what?… I have a solution for you!

   For all you aching souls out there, trying to find a way to creatively provide a unique gift that will bring smiles and sometimes even tears (of joy, silly) to your loved one’s faces this Christmas, I have made a little list for you that has been working beautifully over the last few years for me! 

   AND… You can still pay the power bill!

For Men

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  • Gift Cards – Men love getting gift cards! If you know their favorite coffee spot, that is a good option, but otherwise, just purchase one for a store you know they frequent.  Parts store, Hardware Store, Convenience Store, etc.  
  • Coffee Mug filled with treats –  Masculine mugs are available at most stores and you can even get ones with sayings on/in them at most Christian Family and Specialty stores. Fill them with your guys favorite candy or baked goods.
  • FOOD –  The saying, “The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his belly.” Was not a joke.  Guys LOVE getting food. If your guy is watching his diet for health reasons, this would not be a good option, but for all others… this is a win win gift!  Don’t like to bake?  Go buy him some nuts or jerky or ask a friend to make up those cookies he loved at the bbq last Summer.  Think OUTSIDE of the box!
  • Deck of cards – If your guy likes to play games, he will appreciate a new set of cards.  Buy a couple and stack them up with a few printed out game rules so he can start playing right away.
  • I Owe You’s – Have fun with these by making them things he would see as a real gift such as… One day free from taking out the garbage, back massage, wear your favorite dress, go for a walk, run you a bath, wash the car, etc. Make them interesting but not things that are mood dependent so to speak.
  • Car cleaning kits – If your guy is a car guy, car cleaning kits are always a hit. You don’t have to buy the super expensive set up.  You can get a bucket and fill it with car cleaning tools for pretty cheap.  Throw in a couple air fresheners!
  • Make a blanket – The fleece tie blankets are a hit!  They are comfortable, SO simple, and there are hundreds of prints out there to choose from!  Guys AND girls can easily make these and guys AND girls both love getting them!  
  • Trees – Depending on where you live and where they live, trees have a real personal touch and are not only productive but they last.  Trees represent life and just make people happy.  Don’t forget to attach a paper offering to come help plant it!

 

For Women

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  • A photograph or painting in a nice frame –  A beautiful frame is easy to find even at places as inexpensive as the dollar stores. Especially if you have children, loved ones really enjoy getting pictures when they don’t have to find a frame!
  • Decorative Recipe Cards – For anyone who bakes or cooks even somewhat regularly, recipe cards are always handy!  Who doesn’t love jotting down recipes from their favorite magazine or show?  Don’t forget to include your favorite recipe for them to try!
  • Book Marks – Homemade or not, these are great gifts for the reader in your family!  No more ripping magazine corners or tissues to save your spot!  Besides, every time they pick up their book to read, they will think of you. 🙂
  • Plants – potted plants are a fun gift and doubling it up with a decorative pot is a great way to liven it up a bit.
  • Bird feeders – If your girl loves birds than give her something to feed them from.  You could even make one yourself.  Don’t forget to attach a paper saying you will hang it for her! And some birdseed!
  • Gift Card for a spa – Women love being pampered, even if they think it isn’t necessary and this is just the way to tell her you love her and want her around for real. If you want to get real creative, put enough on there that she can bring a friend with her.
  • Scrapbook with pictures of you together – This is great for every woman.  You don’t have to be talented or super creative, just write below each picture where you were together and a specific thing you enjoyed about that day.  Great for a spouse, mom, daughter, sister, niece, grandmother, etc.
  • Journal – In a high tech world, sometimes we forget to write down our thoughts.  Tell your loved one that their thoughts are important to keep track of.  Don’t forget to write a message of encouragement in the front!
  • Fun Water bottle or coffee mug filled with candy or sweet messages – You can even have photo mugs made super cheap at Wal-Mart!  Just upload your pics you want on the mug, chose your colors and they will mail it straight to you! Also, Christian family and Specialty stores carry them with super fun messages already printed on them.
  • Make a blanket – The fleece tie blankets are a hit!  They are comfortable, SO simple, and there are hundreds of prints out there to choose from!  Guys AND girls can easily make these and guys AND girls both love getting them!  

   It’s not about finding the perfect gift as it is, saying “I love you and I know you and I want to know that you know that I know you know, I’m thinking of you.” Something I have learned over the last few years is that making it clear to your friends and family that you can’t spend much on Christmas is totally okay! A lot of families are setting price limits on gifts to ensure there is no awkwardness.  Some families draw names which allows them to spend a little more on one gift rather than purchase several inexpensive gifts.  But the point is to have fun, be creative and be personal!  You are making memories here!!!

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   I hope this makes your gift giving experience a little more fun and a lot less stressful! Happy gift-giving!

 

Blessings!

Angie

 

What is YOUR favorite gift idea? 

 

 

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