Brag About It Monday!


Something about the holidays or just being THE MOST tired,  or that our ever perky go getter Mallory went on vacation, but #bragaboutit Mondays went on a short hiatus, but no worries, we're back! 



So I hope you join me,  Jess at Tooth N Nails, and Mallory at From California To Kansas  to #BragAboutIt! Today!
Please grab the button code below to insert into your post, and then link up your post where you brag about something great you did! 

Our only rules:
Please be followers of the hosts, Jen, Jess, and Mallory and please interact with 1 or more of the bloggers that link up! 
Not a blogger?
Not a problem! Comment on any of the hosts posts with your Brag so we can share for you!


From California To Kansas



Today, I am bragging about my clean house that I kept up for 3 days. 
3 days, people, is a long time! 
The floor was void of any toys, which were all in their homes in the toy room and the kitchen counters were uncluttered. You could even see the vaccuum tracks in the carpet. #winning. 

I wish I was born with that magical clean freak gene I have heard some people talk about, but I wasn't. But what is great about that is cleanliness is a treat that I get to enjoy and not just take for granted! LOL that's how I look at it, anyway. 

Alas, it was short lived because we just got home from my mom's Christmas and dumped all of the presents, overnight bags, etc by the door and now that I am snuggled up on the couch and the kids are in bed, I just can't move. I swear, my legs are like, nope, not gonna do it, not gonna move! 

So here I sit, with a messy living room, once again.

BUT I SWEAR it will be clean again but this this time Tuesday, because I have the day off work! 

Maybe next week I'll have something a little better to brag about, but like I said, the holidays kicked my bum and all I want to do is cuddle deep into the cushions of my couch :)

Happy New Year's Eve! 

Check back tomorrow, I have a plan to make a list of 
13 things to do in 2013!! 

Our Year in Review: 2012

Don't even get me started on the fact that next week is January, 2013. I can't frickin' believe it.  In celebration of the new year, I thought I would sit down and remind myself of all the fun things I must have been doing to make this past year just zoom past. (that's what I am telling myself, anyway.)  So here we go: 

January:  Rebel and I had a date night. GASP, I know, pretty crazy. It doesn't happen alot but this was a special occasion. Our favorite band, Randy Rogers Band, was playing in Kansas City and we couldn't not go. It was great. There's nothing like a great country concert, in our opinion. Here's their newest song:




February: I turned 26. I have no idea how this happened. I want a recount. R1 won a couple medals in youth wresting and looked like the cutest kid ever in a singlet.



March: Rebel turned 48. JK, he's only 32 but his birthday made me feel much better about her old age ish ness.

April: I had the honor of being matron of honor in my best friend Morgan's wedding and delivered the best speech ever, if I do say so myself, at least I tried really hard to make it great! Here's a cute photo of me and the beautiful bride and my other dearest, oldest friend, Steph.






May: Rebel finished up planting at a reasonable time, which freed up lots of time to be spent on the golf course. The weather was beautiful, which meant there were naked mini Herrons running around the front yard earlier in the year.

June: I've got nothing for June. We probably swam and played baseball alot.



July: Reese turned 2 and I cried because my last baby was grown up. Those 2 years were by far the FASTEST years ever! We also took a vacation weekend in Kansas City at Crown Center and visited Legoland and Sealife. The kids had a blast! This was also the month I started That's What She Read. It was such a great  decision and I am so happy I started this adventure! 






August:
One of my brothers got married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony. It was so wonderful. This picture gives you just an idea of how large my family is. This is my mom, step dad and their kids and grandkids. Needless to say, our get togethers are crazy! 



September: Nothing sticks out in my mind for September. With Big R in harvest, the kids and I just hung around the house, enjoying the beautiful leaves in the park across from the house.  We also took tons of family combine rides while Big R was in the field and I tackled taking lunch to the workers in the field! Just call me Suzy homemaker. 




October:
Halloween was a blast this year! Both kids outfits were "semi hand made." We got Ryder's Waldo shirt, glasses and hat at Target and then put together a hiking backpack and stick with things around the house and he won first prize at our town's local Halloween parade. I wish I could have snapped a photo of Ryder's face when he heard them call his name. It was pure happiness. I made Reese's Rapunzel wig out of a bundle of yellow yarn too and she loved it! (See my tutorial!)



I also went to a Wine Fest with my mom and had so much fun! It was nice to venture out beyond the confines of cheap Sutter Home and box wine and try local wines! 



November: Ryder turned 5. I got really emotional during his birthday week and couldn't fathom how fast the last 5 years had went. (Read his birth story I wrote for the occasion here) Big R and I had fun planning his Angry Birds birthday party for him. Big R did a great job of drawing the pigs on green balloons and the birds on some kick balls. The little boys had so much fun at the party! 



Big R and I also spent some time in the deer blind. I like the quietness, he likes the hunting. Okay, I'll admit, I do like the hunting too! This year though, I didn't get to shoot one, but I still enjoyed it! 



December: The holiday craziness begins! Together with Big R's family and mine, we had 5 Christmas celebrations to attend! I am exhausted just thinking about it. 

December was also the month I started working less hours at work and for that, I feel truly blessed. I really do feel more sane and calm after spending more time at home, with extra time to keep it clean! 




I end this year with a lot of great memories with my children to cherish forever. I also end it with a lot of new friends, thanks to this awesome blog world I have been blessed to be a part of. I can't wait to see what 2013 brings! 

Christmas Fun!

Here's a quick photo dump of our Christmas morning! 








Dad playing showing Ryder how to play his new Nintendo 3DS


Reese playing with all her new toys

And here are a couple of my gifts from Big R: 

to

He must have got the memo that I'm a wine-o-holic :) 
He also gave me Coach Poppy Blossom perfume, which is amazing and some pretty awesome snow boots. 

The kids played with their toys all Christmas Day, it was nice to see them so entertained!
Christmas isn't quite over yet though, believe it or not. This weekend we travel to my mom's house where my  6 brothers and sisters (steps and wholes) and their spouses and kids will all get together, plus some aunts and grandmothers too. It's craziness! 

In other news, there's nothing much going on. I managed to put all of my Christmas decorations away. I hadn't realized how much I had until they were all gone and there are bare spots on all the shelves! 

Thanks to some Christmas cash, last night I decided to buy some items for our living room that I have been wanting forever! 

Ta da! 
French Country Skeleton Key Pillow, Paris Inspired Shabby Chic Cushion with Vintage Keys, Antique Key, Neutral Home Decor

Designer Pillow Covers - Set of 3 - 18 X 18 Inch Chevron and Gotcha Pillow Covers - Decorator Pillows

And the perfect touch to our space right inside the back door: 
Entryway Bench with 3 Baskets/Cushions - Black
I am so excited! I am ready for a new look in our living room and I think these pieces are just the way to do that. I can't wait to show you pictures! 

Oh, let's see, what else is new? I am still reading the Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It's not moving along as smoothly as I like, but I am determined to stick with it! But as soon as I am done, I can't wait to start on 
This is How You Lose Her

Hope your holidays were bright! :)

Twitter Hop Fun!

Guess Who's Back? 

I am excited that my computer is finally back in working order! To celebrate, I am teaming up with Deandra at Chaos, Commotion and Emotion 

Welcome to Twittering Thursdays Twitter Hop!







Are you interesting in Co-Hosting next Thursdays Twitter Hop?  Email Deandra at phillipsdeandra@gmail.com
There is no charge to participate!

Please help spread the news about this TWITTER HOP!
Its only appropriate to TWEET about it!


RULES:

Please follow each hostess.






2. Leave a comment if you are new and want us to return the follow.
3. Grab the button and display it on your sidebar or link it to the post.
4. Have fun and meet new friends!

CHRISTMAS QUOTABLES


Source: etsy.com via Ann on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Julie on Pinterest

What She's Reading Now

Have you ever had that one book that seemed to haunt you, saying "read me, please!"
Well this is that book. It's been following me around for a couple of years now, and it started when my boss recommended it and kept telling me about it. And then, thanks to the Literary Junkies Book Club, I heard even more people recommend it. 

So this holiday, I've dove in.


From the back cover: 
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives

So far, it's "okay." I'm intrigued but it's not like some of the other books that I wasn't able to put down. 
Have you read it, is it one of your favorites? 
If so, let me know so I'll be encouraged to keep reading! 

And just in case I couldn't get into it and then would be left without a book over the holidays, 
I went to the library and checked out this book: 

The Orchardist 
Book Description: 
 At the turn of the twentieth century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, a solitary orchardist named Talmadge carefully tends the grove of fruit trees he has cultivated for nearly half a century. A gentle, solitary man, he finds solace and purpose in the sweetness of the apples, apricots, and plums he grows, and in the quiet, beating heart of the land-the valley of yellow grass bordering a deep canyon that has been his home since he was nine years old. Everything he is and has known is tied to this patch of earth. It is where his widowed mother is buried, taken by illness when he was just thirteen, and where his only companion, his beloved teenaged sister Elsbeth, mysteriously disappeared. It is where the horse wranglers-native men, mostly Nez Perce-pass through each spring with their wild herds, setting up camp in the flowering meadows between the trees.

One day, while in town to sell his fruit at the market, two girls, barefoot and dirty, steal some apples. Later, they appear on his homestead, cautious yet curious about the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant, Jane and her sister Della take up on Talmadage's land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion. Yet just as the girls begin to trust him, brutal men with guns arrive in the orchard, and the shattering tragedy that follows sets Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect them, putting himself between the girls and the world, but to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.

I thought it sounded intriguing! I have a ton of books on my To Read List on Goodreads.com but couldn't find any at the library, unfortunately.
 They didn't even have a copy of 
One Hundred Years of Solitude

 One Hundred Years of Solitude 

 Which I have been wanting to start too. It's on my list of 2013 must reads.

Speaking of those, I made a couple lists of my 2012 favorites and must reads for the coming year for a guest post for Lanaya at Raising Reagan (go say hi, she's pretty amazing) 
so I thought I would share my lists.

 Clockwise from the right; Wife 22, Gone Girl, The Light Between Oceans, Tiny Beautiful Things The Fault in Our Stars and Unbroken. These aren't in any specific order, but if they were, Gone Girl would be number one for sure. (Click on the titles to read my reviews!)

Click on each title to read more about the book on Goodreads.com! 

Happy Reading Friends!

A Very Youtube Christmas

and for your listening pleasure:
 and the kids' favorite (we've listened to it at least 50 times so far)










Hey Friends! Going on 2.5 weeks without our laptop has really taken it's toll. I am having some major creativity withdraws!  This loaner mini laptop is great, but limited. I just wanted to at least give you all some Christmas cheer with these videos. I hope you enjoy. May your Christmas be merry and bright!!

6 Word Memoirs & Dirty Lil Secrets

You may have heard that I love to read. 
I love to read so much that I'll read just about anything. It doesn't even have to be a story. A couple sentences will do.

I am a sucker for those little miniature books filled with sayings. They're quick reading and always inspire me to do a little writing of my own.

And another bonus? They are usually in the form of miniature books and this time of year, you know what that means: Stocking stuffers!

And one of my favorites is Six Word Memoirs. 

This one in particular: 



It truly is amazing what you can say in just six words.

"She knows what my kryptonite is."
 
"Hearts never look both ways first."

"Loved, lost. Loved again, worth it."

"Love plus laughter, happily ever after"

And it's amazing how six little words can make you laugh...

"Don't trust a man who waxes"

"Want to return mail order bride."

"Tried men. Tried women. Like cats."

See what I mean? Who knew entire stories could be told in less than ten words. 
The Smith website offers other books based on the six  word memoirs, including topics like kids and work. Another great feature about their website is that you can create a profile and submit your own memoirs!


Here's another miniature book I love:   

 Moms, you know we have dirty little secrets and the ones in this book are priceless. I think this book would be a great stocking stuffer for your fellow mom because it blows the lid off the stigma that us moms have to go with the flow and always have perfect cupcakes for our kids and always think our kids drawings on our walls are "cute."

Here are some of my favorite "dirty little secrets" by Otherwise Perfect Moms: 

"I had to use my toddler's potty chair on the side of the road when I was stuck in traffic. I just couldn't hold it."

"Before my husband gets home, I spray Lysol by the door."

"My one regret in motherhood is that I can't slap people."

"We were in the grocery store and when we hit the wine isle, she screamed, "That's mommy's juice!"

"I get annoyed when my kids pick their noses. But I do it too."

"We forgot to buckle our two-year-old up in the car and when we went around a corner, he flew to the next seat and yelled "f**kers!"

You're laughing, right? Told ya!

Anyway, that's really all I have for you, I just wanted to share these two little books that I love having around. Now I write six word memoirs in my head all the time, just for fun or secretly admitting obscene thoughts about motherhood in my head... it's therapeutic! 

What's your six word memoir?


Literary Junkies Link up

Goings on in Texas

I am so excited that it's time for another Literary Junkies Link Up!  Let's just jump right in, shall we? P.S. Thanks so much Taylor and Lesley for starting up this fantastic group of bookworms ! I had so much fun during our first book club twitter party! 

1. What are you currently reading? Tell us about it.
Right now, I am reading Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. I hate to say it but it's really boring so far. It started out with the main character hiking into the wooden mountains behind her house to meet her lover. She's been a housewife on a farm for years and has fallen out of love with her husband. She seems lonely, still young though she's getting old and something about her just caught my attention right away. And then...well then she sees an ocean of butterflies that have taken over the woods, like millions of them and at first she thinks it was a fire so she turns around and runs back home. And then you never hear about the lover she was going to meet again and the rest of the book is about these migrating butterflies. whomp whomp, haha. I am a little bored. But with my Kindle broken, I haven't had a chance to start anything new!

2. If you could choose any author in the world to write a story based on your life, who would you choose to be the author? Why? Jennifer Weiner, hands down. I would pick her because she has an unbelievable way of writing humorous, lighthearted stories about realistic women with realistic vulnerabilities. I think she would do a great job describing all the crazy things inside my head while still representing me as a fun loving gal :) She also writes about love in that desperate way it has of taking over your heart and never letting go. I always fall in love right along side whatever character I am reading about.

3. Tell us about your favorite place to read. My favorite place to read is in my living room , at night, when the kids are in bed and I have the house to myself. I keep the lights low and have no other noise around me. It's pretty much bliss.







4. What books would you buy for lovers of:

a) Suspense/Mystery
  • Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn
  • Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

 b) Chicklit
  • In Her Shoes by Jennifer Wiener 
  • Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie
c) Comedy
  • Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me and anything else by her! SO funny. (raunchy but funny)
d)Fiction:
  • The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
  •  The Doctor and The Diva by Adrienne McDonnell
  • Roses by Leila Mecham

 e)Nonfiction
  • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Wells
  • Black Heels and Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • Unbroken by  Lauren Hillenbrand


Man I have to stop or I could go on forever! What are your answers to these questions, I would love to hear your recommendations!

In Silence

Weekend Update


What a weekend, folks! 
It was a whirl wind for sure! 

We had two of my family's Christmases. 


Here's my Brag About It for Monday! 

One featured a dessert contest and your's truly took home 2nd prize for her pecan pie! 
Whoop!!! 
I can't take too much credit, it all must got to my domestic goddess, 
The Pioneer Woman.
I swear, she's made of pure goodness, sugar and probably some crack too, because every recipe she has turns to gold! 



Click on the picture to see the recipe. You can thank me later.

Honorary mention goes to Big R, who didn't win the contest but made up his own dessert, which was pretty awesome! It was a yellow cake mix poke cake, with sweet condensed milk and creme de coconut and then layers of whipped cream, topped with heath bars, chocolate and caramel!! 
I voted for him! :)

We also have a "As Seen On TV" Gift Exchange, where we both scored some pretty awesome gifts.
Product Image
AS SEEN ON TV! Olde Brooklyn Lantern

Don't be too jealous :)

On Sunday, we headed over to a riverboat hotel for lunch with my mom's dad's side of the family.
30 adults and 10 kids.
No big thing.
But really, that's a lot of people! 

After lunch we headed to my grandpa's house for dessert and gifts.
I pulled out another Pioneer Woman Recipe here too: 
I die. 

SOOOO GOOOD.

We had another Chinese gift exchange there and I got lucky and took home this cute cookie jar from Pier One. I knew it was my sis's gift so I picked it. Her taste is pretty good so I knew I would get something great! 

We were all SO TIRED from the weekend, but it actually was nice to be welcomed by the quiet of my office this morning. 

This was a weird weekend for me because my Kindle Fire broke and I didn't make it to the library and had NOTHING to read all weekend. It was wierd, I felt like I was missing an arm, I kept reaching for my book! Hopefully my replacement Kindle arrives shortly or I may go through withdraws.




**********************************************************
On another note, 
Tomorrow will be silent over here in recognition of 
those who lost their lives in the horrible events at Sandy Hook Elementary last week.



There are no words, pictures, news articles or blog link ups that could do any justice to those children and teachers who died and I won't even attempt it. 
Just know that every bit of good you do, every tiny hug you give your children  and every act of kindness 
 effects someone.
And bringing love into a heart that doesn't have love there already 
is the only priceless gift worth giving.