Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Favorite things - 2010 edition

Last year I wrote a post and included some of my favorite things for the season. They are still some of my favorites. This year I have a new crop of favorite items and sellers and figured I'd share them with you, just in time for shopping. I'm not implying that you buy them for me, but if you feel so led...

I'm no Oprah although secretly, or maybe not so secretly, I think we all wish we'd be part of that audience that was surprised to find out they are on her famous "Favorite Things" episode. I checked out her list and while there are certainly some things on there that would be nice to bring home, not all of the items, to me, were favorite things-worthy.

So, here we go. This is no official list and it certainly isn't comprehensive but it is always fun to get together a little list. Too bad I'm not a certified advertiser for any of these guys...

The Swiffer. Chuckle all you like, but these days it IS one of my favorite things. I'm not necessarily advocating that you buy it for someone for Christmas but it isn't a bad add-on for the one in your life who despises mopping. Maybe it was my days working at Bread Co. (Panera, for those of you who are Floridians) and the scrubbing and mopping I had to do there, but along with emptying the dishwasher, I really do not like to mop. I justified my Swiffer purchase by buying the cheaper one, the one that does not need the bottle of solution and the cloths - this one just needs wet or dry cloths. And, interestingly enough, since I don't mind sweeping, I figure my only real consistent investment will be in the wet cloths. I like the ease of the system and the smell of the cloths and the not emptying the dirty mop water and figuring out where to hang the dirty mop so it can dry part of it all. Visit the Swiffer site for a great coupon.

Chalkboard placemats. I've admired these from afar for a while and recently bought one for my niece for her birthday. Since the seller was offering a deal, I also purchased one for Addie as a stocking stuffer. You can find them all over but I bought mine from adornwithaandm. They were very reasonably priced compared to other mats, the seller was easy to work with and the shipping was fast. They offer many fabric choices and they are the perfect size for stowing away in a diaper bag or purse and then unveiling just at that certain point in the restaurant when the straws, crackers and little do-dad wrappers holding the silverware together just aren't cutting it as toys anymore.

I love unique jewelry, especially handmade designs. I don't wear so much these days since Addie likes it, too. I was introduced to freshie and zero at my first visit to the Strange Folk Festival in O'Fallon, IL and have followed them since. I still have yet to own my own piece, but I really like their designs, their prices are good and right now they are offering FREE shipping!

One of my first etsy purchases was from John W. Golden. He is a great guy, creates some cool photography and art pieces and is quick to respond to questions and/or comments on his blog and etsy site. I have a couple of his prints and also a set of the smaller prints of the By Order of the Management series. If you've visited my bathroom lately, you've seen them! Visit him at his etsy site.

I love this Christmas ornament from Little Bit Funky. For those of us who aren't so crafty, you can buy it and other fun things at her etsy store.

Local Library is awesome handmade jewelry by Lauren Haupt. I have long admired this necklace:

It is just another item I have yet to purchase but remains in my etsy favorites. Visit her etsy store for this and other cool jewelry pieces.

Sigh. I just had to include Madsen. One of these bikes is on the same list as my new couch, kitchen table and chairs, camera, etc, etc. I'm not greedy, not dissatisfied...just, wistful!

Moop is another store I ran across when I first became an etsy addict. I have followed their blog and it has been cool to see how they continue to evolve their shop and their bags. Again, I have yet to own one but it is another on my etsy favorites. If I had my choice, I would choose...the Duffel, the Little Letter Bag, or this new beauty! They also have an etsy shop.

GaddyNipperCrayons is an etsy shop that sells, well, crayons. But, not any ordinary crayons, awesome crayons! All shapes, even your name and my personal favorite, the mustaches pictured above. Very reasonable and really cute!

I love, love this salt and pepper shaker set but Amazon is sold out. Bummer. They'd be so cute on my table! Or, on the counter out of a certain someone's reach. Koziol also has some other cool items, but these top my list for them. No matter that I can't translate their website...

Don't forget about Scabby Robot! Her craftsmanship is superb, she is great to deal with and her designs are eye catching. And yes, visit her Etsy shop.

Like I said, this is not an exhaustive list and I am sure I will tag other favorite things on to other posts as I come across new items. For now, I hope you enjoy these!

I am thankful for the cooler temps that are heading our way tonight! But, I'm glad they held off so that Addie and I could enjoy some time at the beach this morning.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


And for the rest of our Thanksgiving...

Our second Thanksgiving meal, one that I was truly thankful for since I could simply show up and eat, was at our neighbor/church member/friend/surrogate family member's house, Connie. She lives on our same street and often has us over for meals and thoughtfully passes along little gifts and such our way throughout the year. We spent the day with her family and some of her friends and when Addie was more than ready for a nap, we made ourselves some to-go plates and all came home for a nap. 

This whole weekend has been nice - I'm almost sad to see it go. We ventured out on Friday for lunch, taking a break from our Thanksgiving leftovers (not counting the two actual Thanksgiving meals we had, leftovers gave us three other meals - not complaining!). We made a quick stop by a store to take advantage of a couple of Black Friday deals (I still found them at 3 p.m., not 3 a.m.) and came home for our annual day after Thanksgiving tree decorating. Saturday we swung by to say "hi" to the goats on our way to the beach, where Addie ran and played and dug and fed the birds and then fell asleep on the way home.

This was the first year that Addie has really been able to "help" with the tree. Last year she was still crawling so while she was able to find her way over to the tree and play with some of the safe ornaments strategically placed at the bottom of the tree, the rest of the tree made it through the season unscathed. This year, as a running, reaching toddler, she is much more able to, um, redecorate the tree on her own. I will say she has actually done pretty well and has stuck to the ornaments she is allowed to play with (for the most part) but I still have to keep an eye on her. My intention was to have a bigger, more grown up tree this year (we're still using the one from my single living days), which would mean she would be less likely to reach some of the higher ornaments but, given her crazy long reach and our small tree, she can snatch one of those every now and then. Day after Christmas, tree sales, here I come...actually, my sister-in-law  may be able to pass one along to me for free, which is even better.

I'd say the tree decorating was a success, and it really is fun to have a little one around during the holidays. It's cool to see Addie's interest in new things she hasn't seen before, or at least doesn't remember, and it will be even more fun to open gifts with her this year.

Our Thanksgiving walk to Ms. Connie's.
Helping Daddy with the tree.

Helping, but lost her pants somewhere along the way...

Smiling and knowing she really shouldn't be touching the lights...

Addie-proof ornaments. Or so we think.
Our attempt at a putting-on-the-star family portrait. Don't mind Sabian's hair. Even HE mentioned it!

Throwing crackers to the birds...after a few bites, of course.

I am thankful for the weekend we have had.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Shortly after I started this blog we had our first Thanksgiving in Wewa. I was pregnant with Addie and it was the first time we prepared a Thanksgiving meal as a couple. I think Sabian and I both felt somewhat accomplished - even though it was just the two of us we'd managed to cook a turkey and most of the fixin's. Since then, even if we've been invited to Thanksgiving dinner somewhere else, we still make room for making our own meal at some point. Part of the reason is because we like doing it and another reason is, well, leftovers.

Last night we started our Thanksgiving extravaganza. We've been invited to join a family from church this afternoon so we made last night our Chaney Thanksgiving. We invited a friend from church and his two daughters and we feasted and then worked it off with a little Wii.

 We forgot to take the obligatory photo of the turkey before it was carved, but trust me when I say Sabian did a great job. We have plenty of leftovers to make us feel like we've had enough Thanksgiving and we had a good time with Timbo, Brooke and Caroline. Addie especially liked having the company! I might need to hire Caroline to just chase Addie around from time to time...

I have a lot to be thankful for. I say it every year, but it is hard to be away from family. I've even let myself get a little down about it from time to time these last couple of weeks. But, I am thankful that we will get to see everyone next month. In the meantime, I'll enjoy the day and hopefully laid back weekend with Sabian and Addie. Given our warm temps, we may even give some thanks on the beach. ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


It seems I took an unintentional blogging break.

I suppose we've been wrapped up in the goings on of life - occupying Addie, various church and youth group activities, family outings. Now we're on the edge of preparing for Thanksgiving and then after that the busyness of Christmas and at the end of the month, a trip home. It's no secret that I am already looking forward to that.

In the meantime, a quick rundown of this past weekend. We spend Friday and Saturday in Sandestin for a youth leaders retreat. We stayed on the 15th floor of the Hilton, right on the beach, in one of the nicest hotel rooms I've stayed in - it was very comfortable, to say the least. There were even built-in bunk beds in the room. We didn't use them, but sure had fun playing on them. We did have Addie with us so I wasn't able to go to the sessions with Sabian, but it sounded like the speaker did a great job and Addie and I met up with everyone for meals. I'll admit, I was bummed that I wasn't able to join Sabian and the other leaders in the sessions. Sabian shared his notes and his take on things, but it would have been nice to have been in there and to have heard it all first hand. But, Addie and I enjoyed taking our time getting going Saturday morning (since she decided to get up at 6) and then exploring our surroundings.

After the retreat concluded that afternoon we took off for some shopping in the Destin area and then headed back to Wewa. All in all it was good to get out of town and Addie had fun.

We had some little friends visit us!

A girl and her goldfish crackers.

Up high!

'Twas very windy up there!

We caught a sunrise, courtesy of Addie's early rising.
I am thankful for our weekend and the upcoming festivities. Hope to be a better blogger this week!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Spotlight on Shutterfly & FREE Holiday Cards!

One thing I love about Christmas is sending Christmas cards. It's fun to choose a design and to pick the photos that are card-worthy. I think Christmas cards are even more important to me now that we live in another state and don't see those who receive our cards on such a regular basis.

I was already looking forward to picking out Shutterfly cards this year and had checked out some of the cards a week or so ago to get an idea of this year's designs. I first used Shutterfly earlier this year for family cards for Valentine's Day. I really like the quality of their cards and I found a design that suited just what I was looking for. I went back to Shutterfly for Father's Day to create a photo book for Sabian. As with their cards, there was a wide variety of designs and layouts to choose from so I was able to put together a book quickly and easily.

I have a few favorite Christmas card designs but I don't want to reveal my favorite just yet! I like the more modern cards and usually go for something simple. I really like some of the color combinations for this year, too. You can take a look at their cards and choose your own favorite: http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery.

What's even better is that Shutterfly is offering 50 FREE holiday cards for bloggers! Check out the link at the end of this post to learn more.

This year I will also be working on calendars: http://www.shutterfly.com/calendars/wall-calendars.

I can't wait to work with Shutterfly's new designs and the personalized dates. To me, calendars are great gifts and personalizing them makes them even better.

As I've already said, I like their photos books: http://www.shutterfly.com/photo-books.

Creating photo books are easy and the finished product looks great.

Rounding out my favorite Shutterfly products are the notepads: http://www.shutterfly.com/photo-gifts/notepads.

Who doesn't need a notepad and why not make it more unique with one of your favorite photos? Good to give, great to keep for yourself! ;)

I hope you have fun choosing your Shutterfly products this year, too. Don't forget, you can take advantage of their cards and products all year for other holidays and events.

Bloggers, listen up! Here's how you can get your 50 FREE cards.

Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… sign up: http://bit.ly/sfly2010.

Thanks to Shutterfly for offering this awesome deal!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wacky Wednesday

It started a week or so ago when Sabian and I were having a conversation with someone and uttered the words, "Yeah, we haven't really had to deal with any of the throwing up," in reference to kids being sick. We've had our fair share of runny noses and ear infections but Addie has spared us clean up duty when it comes to the other stuff.

Well, last night, the other stuff hit us. I should say it more so tapped us on the shoulder rather than full blown, all out paid a visit to our house. Around 1:30 this morning Addie woke up, restless, and about a half hour later threw up first in our bed, then all over herself and Sabian. It wasn't terrible and those two times were it, although we had the plastic bowl at the ready. She was still restless the rest of the night and burning up, but after a dose of Motrin around 7:30 this morning and sleeping until after 11, she woke up as if nothing had ever happened. Phew.

All in all I think it boiled down to some bad milk. Lest you think we are negligent parents, the date on the carton wasn't until next week but later when I smelled the contents, they spelled otherwise.

I woke up earlier than Addie but then went back to bed and woke up with her after 11, so our day was a little...weird. "Breakfast" consisted of goldfish crackers, lunch wasn't until two and then Addie took a short, one hour nap at three. The whole day felt so off to me. It wasn't a bad day but I am ready to start over tomorrow...as long as tonight is vomit-free.

Since, thankfully, I have no photos from last night, I will share what I consider a wacky picture for this wacky Wednesday:

I guess drive-thru could include bicycles?

Today I am thankful that Addie's episode last night was minimal, did not carry over into today and that she is sleeping soundly now...and hopefully for the rest of the night!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Whirlwind weekend wrap up & an anniversary

Phew. Catching my breath from the weekend. I'm sure glad this was the weekend that we picked up an extra hour of sleep.

First of all, the weather was perfect all weekend. Maybe a little chilly, but there was a healthy dose of sunshine all around. Friday we set out to see my sister and brother-in-law who were in the panhandle for the weekend. We took a walk, saw some people, lounged around, had some food, lounged some more and then hit the road back to Wewa to prepare for Saturday. I just realized we took NO photos of our hanging out with them!

Saturday brought the Harvest Market to our church. Basically, we had a large yard sale at church complete with giveaways, food and a bounce house for the kiddos. All of the proceeds from our youth group's tables will go to Speed the Light, which helps our missionaries purchase vehicles and other equipment. I'm not sure yet how much we made but anytime you can get rid of some stuff and make a little money, that's a good thing.

Hey, we sold it for $10.

A quick couple hours of rest Saturday afternoon and then we were off to take some of our youth kids to go bowling and skating. I debated whether or not Addie and I would go since the weekend had been so busy already but we went and she loved it. She did pretty well at the bowling alley, not running out onto the lanes and such. She clapped when the balls hit the pins and had fun hanging out with the kids.

Snackin' on some chicken fingers, watchin' the kids skate.

A sneak peek into the future.

Sunday was church but after church we were invited out to the Parker Farm. The Parkers are a large, extended family that comes to our church. Many of the families live near one another on an area of land that they call the Parker Farm. They'd invited us out to hang out with their family, eat lunch and bounce around on some inflatables they had rented for an event earlier in the weekend. I lost count of how many times Addie and I went up and down the slides. She cried when we had to get off just so we could climb back up to go down again. Even with all of that she loved hanging out on the trampoline.

Trampoline hair!

More trampoline hair!

The afternoon was complete with chili, hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy (my favorite!), sno cones and oysters. Yes, oysters. Sabian had never had an oyster and I'd only had a raw one once. That was enough for me. Apparently Sabian had a few raw oysters yesterday (I was busy going up and down slides) and then one of the girls made baked oysters with cheese and other flavorings. I tried one and then had another and another. I surprised myself, but made that way they were really good. I had to eat one for her to prove I'd eaten the few before that one when she wasn't around. They also sent us home with a bag of corn on the cob and a bag of shrimp and new potatoes they'd had for a boil the night before. I could get used to hanging out with them!

Addie crashed when we got home. She's done pretty well with this time change, not getting up too early and going to bed just fine and dandy. She'll wonder why today is so boring when we're just hanging out at home trying to get some things done.

I am thankful for members of our church family who think of us, include us in their family gatherings and treat us just like one of them.

P.S. November 1st was my second year blogging anniversary. Not tooting my horn, just can't believe it has been two years!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The ghouls have gone and November is here

November? Really? How is it possible?

Here we are, down to the last two months of the year and on the brink of beginning yet another twelve months. Lest I get all thoughtful I'll go ahead and recap Halloween.

Last year I was so proud of myself for making Addie's costume. I found the idea in a magazine, altered it due to my last minute-ness and she came out looking like this:

No sewing required! That's my kind of costume. As a result, I thought it would be fun to try my hand at it again this year. I am a little limited because Addie isn't big on wearing things on her head or in her hair, so my initial sheep costume idea was nixed. A friend offered another idea using the same type of materials and requiring no head wear. So, here she is:

Pointing to her fellow clouds up in the sky

I'm sure you can guess how we all fit together...

Saturday night our church held a fall festival and Addie took part in just about every aspect of it. I was working the registration table so I wasn't out there the whole time, but she spent the evening with Sabian and then her buddy Ivory, bouncing, painting (and eating paint) pumpkins, munching on junk food and participating in all sorts of other activities. You'd think after all of that she would have been exhausted and while she was tired, she didn't go to sleep nearly as fast as I thought she would.

The horn startled her, but just a bit!

I contributed some ghostly cake pops to the night, which turned out to be more ghastly than ghostly. My last two batches of cake pops have tasted fine but haven't looked so hot. Guess I had beginner's luck with my very first batch. I'll have to keep working on them.

One of the better of the bunch

Oh and we finally got around to carving Addie's little pumpkin - good thing kids don't have much of a concept for days considering we just carved this yesterday. I think of it as a Thanksgiving pumpkin.

My design - original, eh?

So, there it is, Halloween in the books. Oh, and I knew when I was making Addie's costume that it would look worse for wear in a short while. After all of the Cheeto eating, bounce house jumping and other fun she had, this is what we ended up with:

I'm glad our girl had fun.

I am thankful for cooler weather and even cooler temps later this week. I'm also thankful for considerate friends and the absence of Addie's runny nose and no ear infections!