Saturday, December 18, 2010

Book Reviews 6

I don't get much time for reading when school is in session. After teaching all day and taking care of my family, I am usually asleep within minutes of getting still somewhere;) It never fails that at the end of the semesters, I devour books! Here's what I've been reading (and currently reading):

I picked this up at a yard sale, and let me tell you- It is EYE-OPENING! I recommend this to anyone who has children at home. Dobson and Bauer are painfully honest about our children, our education system, and our government.

As I have said before, I LOVE Francine Rivers. She is able to make powerful statements through her novels, so that I am not only entertained, but challenged too. I enjoyed Her Mother's Hope, and couldn't put Her Daughter's Dream down. All daughters and mothers can learn from the four generations in Rivers' latest works.

I borrowed Maid to Match from a student (it was exam week, and I needed a tiny break from grading and paperwork;). This book really surprised me. I was hooked from the first chapter. I can't wait to read Gist's other five novels! I loved the way she included the history of Biltmore Estate and the traditional roles of servants during turn of the century America. I was interested enough that I googled it for a possible vacation! :)

I actually bought this on audio c.d. to listen to going and coming from work. I am only on Chapter 2, but I can say I've already learned some things about bringing up my little lady. I can't wait to hear more!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Weigh-in 5

OOPS! I haven't posted a weigh-in since September 1. Well, here's what has happened in the getting-healthier-arena of my life in the past 3 months:
  • Niki and I had been walking/jogging in the month of August at night, but it was hard to maintain with husbands, children, night classes, church, and softball games. SO we finally admitted to ourselves that it was time for EARLY morning workouts. It hurt my feelings that I would be waking up even earlier and missing my quiet blog-reading time...but little did I know-- it became one of my favorite times of the day. We are currently in our 13th consecutive week of morning workouts. We typically work out four days/week. It always starts with a cup of coffee and conversation at 5:15-ish. First we did p90x, and it's great, except the length of the workout was a bit much. Next, we did Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred which is great. Now, we are on our fourth week of running. I think I'm addicted! I have never in my 29 years been a runner, but with the Pandora radio on my phone and sheer determination, I am doing it!!! 
  • I was addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper, but I haven't had a carbonated beverage in almost 3 months! It really helps with bloating. 
  • For the past month, I've been eating according to a plan called Prism. It's a Christian-based healthy lifestyle that lots of men and women are doing at our church. In a nutshell: no white sugar, no white flour. What an adjustment! It works without a doubt though!
  • My weight had been fluctuating between 152-156; last Saturday's weigh-in: 145.2. Yay, finally some progress! 
  • A few things that make it easier are Laughing Cow Cheese, grapes, sugar-free coffee creamer, lots of water, Crystal Lite, grilled chicken, brown rice, and eggs. 
  • I got a new hair cut and highlights last week too. I think doing little nice things even when you're not completely happy with your weight definitely helps!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sweet Treats 5

My mom keeps little Langston in her home along with Ava. Langston's mom, Brianne, has a growing business; she was so sweet to make Ava and my nephew Reid matching Christmas outfits! They are absolutely adorable!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Vacation

For the past two years, the school district that I work for has given its teachers options for the two mandatory in-service days: June, July, or Monday/Tuesday of Thanksgiving Week. Of course, I opted for's just like going back to work a few days early after having the summer off work. By November, I'm in need of a break! It is wonderful to have NINE consecutive days off. Perfect for celebrating with family and Christmas shopping! Here are the highlights of this vacation:
  • lots of quality time with Ava!
  • seeing Jeanine & her new house
  • snuggling with my nephew Reid
  • family movie night (Tangled is sooooo cute!)
  • seeing my extended family and in-laws
  • black Friday shopping with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, & our kiddos! only 1 more person on the list!
  • manicure with Ava (if you haven't tried "gel polish" you should- it lasts for several weeks!!)
  • Goodwill shopping
  • getting my Christmas cards ordered (yay for the 50 free cards from!)
  • running 3.5 miles this week
  • church thanksgiving dinner and comedy show
  • visiting with friends
  • Sunday afternoon nap:)
Thanksgiving morning
    Supper Club at Amanda's

    two of my favorite girls from church (Evening with the Turkeys)

    I love Reid's turkey shirt:)

    Aunt Brooke with Reid:) he doesn't look too comfy...

    Ava with her great-grandfather (he loves her sooooo much!) So sweet.

    Ava LOVES to hold Reid!

    Ava with one of her favorite people in the world: Mimi

    my dad with his dad, brother, & sister


    I like this family pic (except for my hair- very windy day;)

    Our Family

    Ava loves this toy that I left her pick out at Goodwill right before we got our manicures. Can't beat a $1.99 for a new cash register!

    We all loved Tangled!

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Appliques for Ava

    Brittany gave me the idea of ordering some appliques from for Ava to inexpensively jazz up (that's something my grandmother would say;) some tees! I bought 6 appliques for around $16. Old Navy and Target have good solid t-shirts. I especially like the $6 shirts from Target. Last night I ironed on these two for Ava. She'll wear the cute acorn today to my parents for Thanksgiving. Cost of today's shirt: $10.50.

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010


    10 Things I'm Thankful for This Thanksgiving:
    1. my personal relationship with Jesus
    2. my husband of almost 8 years who knows what I am thinking before I say it
    3. our healthy, sweet, smart, beautiful daughter
    4. my parents who would do anything for me
    5. my amazing sister and the way we always have something to do together and talk about;)
    6. the safe delivery of my healthy nephew who is 10 days old today
    7. our super-cool church family
    8. my mother-in-law, brothers-in-law, sister-in-law, grandfather,  & aunt
    9. the perks of teaching;) enjoying this week of vacation with the ones I love
    10. joy and the ability to find the silver lining in adversity

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Jeanine's House

    Jeanine and I were introduced to one another about 12 years ago through a college recruiter who thought we'd be great roommates. I had no idea that day that I would meet a such a wonderful lifelong friend! God has been so faithful to send the perfect friend in each season of my life. We lived together for two years at community college-- we probably had the cutest on-campus apartment thanks to her mom, Jill, a very talented seamstress! Maybe that's when my love of all things decor began! Jeanine and I were often thought to be sisters while in college together. We thought it was hilarious! Now we live about two hours apart and get together several times a year to catch up, and we ALWAYS shop! That girl is the best shopper I know!! This past weekend Ava and I thoroughly enjoyed spending the night with Jeanine in her new home. I can't believe she and her husband, Eric, have only lived here for ONE month. It is so together! I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked because we were all getting ready for the housewarming party...
    at our dorm cookout about 10 years ago!

    So gorgeous!!

    Jeanine found some GREAT rugs at TJ Maxx! I love this one.

    I love the master bathroom. The chandelier is such a pretty touch!

    I really like this tile in the shower.
    Our friend Carly and her future sister-in-law did a wonderful job of throwing the Housewarming Party.

    I really like the separate office decorated in Mississippi State.

    Of course, I love this old rustic chair!

    very pretty half bathroom

    I want a Thanksgiving plate like this!

    We were last minute trying to make wreaths before the big party:)

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Maria's Home Classroom

    I've known Maria for many years now. I met her at community college and remember that she was she and her boyfriend (now husband) Tim went on the Biology class spider hunt that my room mates and I attended (strangely, it was really fun!) When Ron and I decided to search out a new church home that was closer to our house, I was excited to know at least one person: Maria! To know her, is to love her! She and Tim have been married almost nine years and have four gorgeous children: Elijah, Hannah, Graham, and Grisham. They have followed God's prompting to homeschool their family. Last night, we went over to hangout after church. I hadn't seen the finished classroom until then, so I was super-impressed! I am very interested in homeschooling Ava, and I enjoy listening to Maria's ideas, struggles, and triumphs! 

    I love this scrapbook/decoupaged table!

    Her mom painted the tree.

    Maria is the person that inspired me to start yard sale shopping. Every time I complimented her clothes or her children's clothes, she always told me that she found them at yard sales. She has also found lots of her school supplies at yard sales.

    This room is the bonus room upstairs: the perfect place for a classroom.

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    It's That Time of Year

    I just love this time of year.  One of the best perks of being a teacher is Christmas break, I love getting to enjoy the holidays and not think about work for a couple of weeks.  One of my favorite parts of the holidays is going to the mailbox and getting photo Christmas cards.  We put them on the fridge and look at them throughout the year.  We always send out a photo card so I was thrilled to see Shutterfly was offering a special promotion for bloggers.  I used Shutterfly last year for our photo cards and loved the way they turned out.  

    Here are some of my favorite designs for this year:

    If you interested check out Shutterfly here.

    I'm even thinking about getting my daughter some of the photo stickers.  I know she would love them.

    Can't wait to take our pictures and send out our card!!

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Tara's Master Bedroom

    I got a phone call one day from a sweet husband named Matt who wanted to do something special for his wife, Tara, and mother of three young boys. He saw things I'd done at my friend Niki's house and wanted to know if I could makeover their master bedroom. Yes! They were great to work with. Tara was so surprised when I came to her door with my paint samples and notebook. She expressed that she wanted something romantic and calming (a no kid and no dog zone;). First we picked out this paint color: a Sherwin-Williams gray-brown. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures before they painted the walls, but it was painted a "builder's tannish-beige". Then we decided that the oak furniture should be painted black. Isn't it crazy how just painting the walls and furniture make the room look totally different?! 

    Then the fun began: shopping for bedding and accessories for their room. My first stop was at my "old-faithful-I-know-I'll-find-good-stuff": Marshall's! It didn't let me down. I found three curtain panels with silver grommets on clearance and a great pair of lamps. I threw in a wicker basket, a beautiful chocolate brown pillow, and huge glass candle holder too.

    Next stop: Target. Tara told me that she really liked the romantic look of the kissing pleats bedding from there. There were three color choices, and I decided on the white since the walls, furniture, and curtains were on the darker side. I knew white would keep it light and fresh. I don't normally love a bed-in-a-bag but this one looked great and when you're on a budget it's really cost effective! I also found a sheet set in a beautiful shade of blue that blended nicely with the curtains and the softest silvery gray blanket you've ever felt to add to the luxurious feel I wanted for Tara. I picked up silver, chunky curtain rods, a white pillar candle, and small glass lamp.

    I really needed something to make a big impact over the bed. They didn't have a headboard. I remembered that Gordman's often has unique decor items that are very reasonably priced. I was thrilled to find a 'sunburst' mirror there! I love it! It added just the right touch to the room plus it looks great against the wall color. While in Gordman's I found the little Eiffel tower statue (romantic, right?) and "It's a Wonderful Life" plaque. 
    Last stop is a local discount decor store called House to Home: the perfect place for grasses and things. I found the antique-looking dress form and grass for vases there. 
    Here's a breakdown of what I spent:

    Marshall’s: 2 lamps, brown pillow, 3 curtain panels, glass vase, wicker basket
    Target: sheets, blanket, bed-in-bag, 3 curtain rods, glass lamp and shade, white candle, cherries
    Gordman’s: mirror, Eiffel tower, “It’s a Wonderful Life” decor
    House to Home: dress form, greenery
    Total: $526.25

    Then, I "shopped" her house for extra things I could use. She had a pretty red vase from Southern Living at Home and the gorgeous wedding picture! Niki came over to Tara's and helped me put it all together. We kept Tara out of the room until the "big reveal" (I felt like we were on HGTV for a minute;).

     BEFORE: Try to envision beige walls...You can see her comforter on the floor- not bad, but she was tired of it.