Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Avery, The Gymnast

I took Avery to open gym the other day. There is a place that has open gym for an hour and a half for $5. Can't beat that at ALL!! Especially since Texas decided to have a cold front and it was too cold and windy to play outside.
They had a bounce house...
Lots of trampolines...

And a pit o' foam.

I love watching Avery experience new things! And I love that she just makes friends wherever she goes. I am so blessed I get to share these special days with her!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Date with my Daughter

I took Avery out to eat, just her and me. I took her to a place called Millar's Café. When my mom and aunt were kids, it was a soda fountain called Millar's and my mimi would take them there for breakfast. It's funny how life comes full circle.
I tried to get pictures of her and didn't even look at them until after we left.

That child just brings pure joy into my heart. I didn't even tell her to make a funny face until the last one.
Sometimes, I think she and I are SSOOOO alike and other times, she does things that truly surprise me. But I always think she is amazing. I have been really blessed in my life, with a daughter who is just easy to be around and silly, who loves life and is outgoing. Who loves other people and loves to make friends.
We had a party at our house on Saturday night and there were lots of other boys her age there. All of the sudden, my daughter comes out in her pink Superman Halloween costume with high heels and one of the boys comes out in a pink crown and sunglasses. They are holding hands and the walk around the house, announcing that they are married. I hear them talking in her room and he says, "Come on, queen!" Yeah. You know that's right. (Just kidding). She just cracks me up and her jovial, positive spirit and sense of humor is just a blessing straight from God. I hope she never, ever loses that, no matter how hard life gets and how easy it can be to dip into the pool of despair. I hope she never loses the urge to make a silly face and meet new friends, being nothing but exactly who she is. That's my prayer. That she will love God and love who God made her to be, no more, no less. Just exactly herself in every way.

Man, do I love that little munchkin.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ode to Cadbury Mini Eggs

Oh, Easter candy, with your pastel colors, why must you tempt me?
With your chocolate, chewy, sugary goodness, I simply can't resist.
But alas, the one above all others, oh mini egg, how you pull me in...
The delicious, milk chocolate center. The crunchy, chalky outer shell.
Oh, how I love you so!!!
What? Your only $1 for two bags? I'll take six.
And eat them all at once.
But today, today, I found something even better....

WHITE mini eggs.
White chocolate, white shell. Sweet. Crunchy, yet velvety.
Easter candy, you come but once a year. But when you are here, I love you.
And my hips say "Thank you" for being a limited edition treat.
But my taste buds say...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sophia's Birthday!

Happy birthday, Sophia!
Sophia turned 9 this year, and we got to have her birthday party with friends. What a better thing to do than roller skating, which Sophia loves!!
We invited 4 other friends, so there were 5 girls, rolling around, for 3 hours. And they still weren't ready to stop!

I guess there were 6 girls, if you could this little munchkin.

Avery did really well and really tried to skate! I was so proud! 

Sophia had a great time and I always love when we get to share in that experience.

Sophia is such a great kid. She is the best big sister known to mankind and loves to help, always. Occasionally, she wants her sister to leave her alone, but mostly, she loves it. Sophia is a very positive kid and is just so much fun. I always love taking her to try new things because she is always up for a new experience! I can't believe we are in the last year of single digits. Next year, she will be 10! It feels like just yesterday she was this little...
Now, she's this big kid!!

We love you, Soph!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Why I Love The Swiffer Vac

I have a very large house with a lot of square footage. Half of that square footage is marble floors. I knew what I was getting into when we moved in, as far as cleaning this house and the floors, so it hasn't been a surprise to me how much work it is to keep the floors clean. It has been challenging with marble, though. You have to be really careful what you use. As of this point, it's been a little bit of Dawn and water, which is what I found that was recommended. But, it's not so much "mopping" the floors, but keeping them swept that's been the challenge. With two large dogs that shed constantly, a 3 year old who loves to drop things all over, and just dirt and general, I was sweeping all the time and it still didn't really get that clean. Plus, I was only doing it about once a week because it took me forever and I hated it.
I had my eye on the Swiffer Sweeper Vac for a while now.
It was about $50, so I just couldn't seem to pull the trigger. Last weekend, I went to a going out of business sale. It was on clearance and marked down, to $16. It was too good a deal to pass up! It comes with only to of the sweeper pads, so I stopped at Family Dollar and got a pack of about 25 for $4 or so.
You have to make sure it is fully charged, otherwise it wouldn't even put a dent in my house. So, after about 1 day of charging it, it was ready. This vac doesn't pick up large pieces of trash like a regular vacuum, but I'll tell ya, it has some pretty good suction. What it doesn't get with the vac, the sweeper pad picks up. I can do my entire house in under 20 minutes. Do you understand how awesome that is for me? That means that I pretty much sweep my floors daily now.
I still would say $50 is worth it for this product. It makes me life so much easier! I guess it's worth it for a large house, for sure. If you only have a small kitchen or something, than a broom and dustpan would be sufficient. But I also have a large room with brick flooring, which means it has lots of grooves and indentions. Before, the broom would just brush the hair or dust into the grooves. This gets all of it.
I highly suggest this product! Especially if you have lots of wood floors or hard floors! It's not going to actually clean the floor (like, sanitize). But I am keeping my eye out for one of these bad boys...
But at a retail price of $240, I have to just wait until I see a good deal. It does carpets and hard floors!! Anyone have one??

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What is Your Skin Care Regimen?

Since turning 34 this year, I've been really trying to make sure I am taking care of my skin. I have been using Cover Girl Liquid Powder for years, but it always seemed to break my neck out. And full disclosure, my face cleaning routine consisted of using Avery's baby wipes (which actually do remove eye makeup surprisingly well). So, needless to say, my skin didn't always look its best.
So, I received some gift cards for my birthday and I decided to go ahead and spring for some better products. First thing I did was get something designed to clean my face. I ordered the Olay ProX Microdermabrasion System.
This system came with the battery-operated scrubber with both a brush and foam pad, plus every day face wash and microdermabrasion wash to be used twice a week. I have really loved using this system. The beauty is that you can really use any face wash you'd like. I will probably buy a pore-reducing wash after the tube they sent me is empty. This system really exfoliates your face and leaves it feeling very clean without drying it out. If I do have a blemish that pops up, I wash my face at night and actually put on Neutrogena Clear Pore Astringent and by morning, it noticeably disappears.
For moisturizers, I decided to continue with the Oil of Olay line and got two - one for nighttime and one for the day. For the nighttime, I got the Olay Regenerist Micro-sculpting cream. I love this stuff - and it is a big pricey, at over $20 a jar. But a little really does go a long way.
For daytime moisturizer, I use Olay Total Effects 7-1 Moisturizer. I do like this moisturizer, and for about $12 a jar, the jar itself doesn't last nearly as long. The nighttime moisturizer I've used every night for over a month and still haven't put much of a dent in my supply. My daytime one, I've used just as long, and I am about to have to get another bottle.
Along with my new face care system, I decided to get some new makeup and makeup related supplies. The first thing I got was some face primer. I never would have thought this would have been necessary, but it really helps put on makeup evenly. I researched some affordable options online and found Elf brand to be the most highly recommended, surprisingly. But I really, really like it. It goes on light and it really helps. It's only about $5 a jar, I think?
I also did some research for some new concealer and found NYX brand to be a highly recommended brand, comparable to the higher priced brands. I like this concealer a lot and it blends with my makeup perfectly.
The next thing I was going to have to spend some money on was some good coverage for my face. Cover Girl Liquid Powder was not working for me anymore. The coloring in my skin has changed a lot in the recent past - I don't tan anymore, so the color that had worked for so long just wasn't working anymore, and neither was anything else. I was having to use a lot on my neck to make it blend correctly, and in the sunlight, it still looked like I was wearing a lot of makeup. So, after many recommendations on Facebook, I took the plunge and tried Bare Minerals. Sidenote - I LOVE this system. It has been amazing and it's totally worth the cost. I chose to go with a beginner system (Complexion starter kit), so I could get a brush, the foundation, the all over color (which is better than any bronzer I've ever used) and the finishing powder. This system also came with its' own primer, which I have used, and do like as well.
I am about to have to replace my foundation because I am almost out, but I will replace it with a much larger size. The all over color will last me a really long time. The finishing powder is amazing! I am so glad I invested in this. Not only do I love the way it looks when it's on, it absolutely makes my skin better. My skin has much fewer breakouts. Most of the time, I don't even feel like I am wearing makeup. I used to scratch my face and have a fingernail full of foundation - no more!!
 For the rest of my skin, I will probably always use lotion from Bath and Body Works. I love the way it smells and I feel like it is thick and doesn't ever make my skin feel dry, even by the end of the day. I try to buy a bunch when they are onsale.

So, that's it! What do you do for your skin?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Resurrection, A Review

I have certainly been looking forward to catching Resurrection on ABC since I started seeing the commercials for it. I was able to catch both the first and second episodes on DVR tonight and for those who are interested in watching it also, but skeptical, I thought I would give it a review.
The premise behind Resurrection is not a secret - people have been inexplicably returned to loved ones after having been dead for years. After doing a bit of research, I realized that this was first a book called "The Returned," then it was a French mini-series with the same premise. (Apparently, all shows in American television have to be based on another European version first, but I digress). In the first two episodes, we see two people who are "returned," a boy named Jacob and a father named Caleb. Caleb, from what I gather, is seen throughout the first episode in a hoodie and red hat with a very menacing presence (very Satan-eque), but he is introduced to us as the father of a normal woman and her "not right" brother (show's description, not mine). The boy drowned 32 years before, with his aunt attempting to save him, or so the story goes. Omar Epps plays an FBI agent Bellamy working for immigration, assigned to bring the boy back across American soil after he is found wondering in China. The boy's cousin Maggie, his aunt's daughter, is the doctor working with Bellamy to figure out the mystery of why these people are returning from the dead.
It's quite an interesting premise and so far, the show has kept me intrigued. However, I don't see the interest continuing much longer. This premise is one that would make an excellent book, obviously, or a mini-series. It works in an environment with a definite end, and a small amount of time to keep the watcher interested. Shows like this, Lost, Once Upon A Time,  even The Walking Dead (at times), are ones that remind us that even though we are always a little intrigued by the mystery in the beginning, sooner or later, we all want a little closure to the story. And for me, five or six seasons of mystery is too much, and in the case of Lost, for example, the end of the story, or the beginning of the story, is never as interesting as it should have been or as it was when we began watching. Networks still have not figured out how to have a hit show that does not have to last season after season after season, so they make these shows that have slow arcs and unnecessary character plot lines, when the show could be a much-watched show, but for a short period of time.
Case in point - the first episode was incredibly interesting. This boy appears in a field out of nowhere, and is reintroduced to his parents after 32 years. We have indications that he is perhaps, possessed or other-worldly (staring out the window into the sun, opening his eyes after people leave rooms). I watched the show to figure out where he came from and why he is here. We are drawn into his character's death story by him telling a different version of how he died than has previously been told. Yes, his aunt drowned, but he was trying to save her, not the other way around. And behold, there was a man there that no one knew about before who might have pushed his aunt in. Ah, now there's a plotline. People coming back from the dead to help living people solve old mysteries. Wait, I have a sixth sense I've seen that in a movie sometime ago...
But instead of continuing down this path, in the second episode, we are given the plotline of how we will be reintroducing this boy into a normal life. He goes to play soccer with other kids, and lo and behold, other parents make their kids leave, because no one wants to play with "the dead one." And his mother is still clinging to the notion that at some point, people will just accept him for who he is and things will just be normal again. All the while, we have this other returned character, Caleb, who is digging up what looks to be a dead body and visiting a friend to beat him with a hammer, after screaming, "It's all gone?!?"
Either this is a show that has used a very intriguing premise to pull us in, in the hopes that we will gain interest in this small town of uninteresting characters, or its a show about this very intriguing premise of why people are coming back from the dead. In this case, I am guessing it's not the latter, which is unfortunate, because I think ABC is going to lose its viewership momentum very quickly. We've seen this show before, just with a different beginning. We've seen the small town cast of characters with lots of secrets to hide. We've seen the dopey, yet stubborn sheriff who refers to the stranger (Epps) as the one "coming to my town, asking a bunch of questions." We've seen the out-of-town federal agent (or lawyer, or cop, or investigator) who, for whatever reason, is drawn into the lives of these people and wants to know the truth (in this case, I think it could be for a good reason, if the writers did a good job with it). And honestly, I don't want to watch that show again and again. I want to watch a show I haven't seen, one where the writers have thought the idea out from the beginning to the end, and have a good story to tell me.
I will watch the third episode, but if it gets me no closer to the mystery of where all of these "returned" are coming from and why, then I won't watch after that. Epps is doing a great job with the material he has, other than that, I am not completely impressed with anyone else in the cast. For one thing, there are too many people I am having to keep up with at this point. For another, none of them seem slightly interesting. I really hope they can change that - it would be a good show if they could.