Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Goals

With 2013 coming to a close and the year 2014 coming up very quickly, everyone seems to start thinking about how they will make this year better than last year.  I am no exception to this.  Each year I make goals or resolutions and they usually involve weight loss or a running goal or something huge!  So as the year comes to a close I thought I would share with you some of my goals & resolutions for the year 2014!

As I reflect on 2013 it was a pretty good year.  We sent our middle child to kindergarten this year, we sent our oldest to first grade, we got a cat this year (this is huge if you know my husband), I started a blog,  we took a vacation, and we were just generally blessed by another year together as a family.  

Things I want to accomplish in 2014:

1. Daily Devotions - this is something that I have been slacking on for awhile.  Or I will start a daily devotion or start out reading through the bible in a year and by Jan 10th it's over.  Or I get into a book of the bible that isn't so easy to read and I get bogged down so I quit.  So this year my goal is to read the bible each day.  It doesn't have to be anything major but a few verses out of a book that I choose is a goal I think I can do!

2. Hit my grocery budget 8 months this year - again not a huge goal but something that I want to do better at.  I meal plan each month and have a pretty strict grocery budget.  The last few months I have not done well with staying within my grocery budget each month. SO I want to make my budget work at least 8 months this year.  And if that means that at the end of the month we have to eat a box of mac'n'cheese then we do!

3. Run a sub 30 minute 5k - to some of you this won't mean anything but any of my running readers will understand.  I want to run a 5k (3.1 miles) in under 30 min.  I have done it once this year in Oct but the race was not chip timed at the start and so my "official" time did not reflect what my true time was.  So I want to run a sub 30min for an "official" time!  

4. Keep the house company ready - I'm not talking perfectly clean or organized.  But you know, clean enough that if someone stopped by unexpectedly you won't be scrambling or making excuses for the way the house looks.  If you are looking for some help check out the fly lady . She has some awesome tips and tricks and even daily challenges to get and keep your house clean.

5. Spend more time being conscience of life - I spend WAY too much time on my phone.  When I wake up in the morning I check my phone.  Email, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc I check it all while I drink my morning cup of coffee.  Then I check it again an hr later (I don't want to miss something!) Then the next hr and the next.  I spend half my day checking on what other people are doing with their days!  I'm WAY over that!  Checking my phone twice a day is plenty!  If someone needs me they know how to contact me! And my husband, kids, house & self will thank me in the long run! 

And although I may not hit all of these or my goals may shift over the course of the year.  I think it's good to set at least a few goals! And I especially think it's important to make obtainable goals! I was talking with a friend recently and we were talking about how important it is to set small obtainable goals and work your way up!  When you reach a goal (no matter what it is) it makes you feel good.  It makes you believe that you CAN do bigger things.  So then you set another goal and work towards that.  I didn't set out to run a half marathon!  I think I actually said to someone I would never do that! But you know what?  I have run two half marathons and have a third (a super special one) planned for late 2014.  My original running goal was to run a 5k.  That's it!  Just a 5k! I didn't care about the time or pace or anything but finishing a 5k.  Then I started setting farther distance goals, and then different speed goals, and pretty soon I was signing up for my first half marathon!  

I think life is a lot like setting goals.  You may not be able to imagine or plan on where you will be in a years time but you keep chipping away and doing your best to not just survive but thrive and pretty soon it's December 31st and you are reflecting on yet another year gone by.  I can't do any of these goals on my own. I am a weak weak person.  I'm weak spiritually, mentally, and physically.  I will be the first to admit that while running I have to combat a lot of negative thoughts.  I question my ability and my reasons for running.  And not just running, geez there are days I wonder why God gave me children!!  My parenting skills are anything but perfect.  Some days I worry that Dr. Phil will show up at the door! So how do I survive?  No not survive, I thrive!  How do I thrive?  By the amazing grace of God and HIS strength.  Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things through him who gives me strength".  It doesn't say I MAY be able to, I MIGHT, I sure hope I do, it says I CAN!!!! This verse is written on my road id bracelet I wear during every run.  It's one I repeat to myself A LOT!  So if there is a goal that you feel like you need to make, DO IT!  And then keep praying the God will give you his strength, and perseverance, and peace, and love ,and anything else you need to get through it.  

What are your goals for 2014? How do you plan to keep up with them?  

Love, Lacey

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Best Christmas Present is a Memory

There comes a time in your life, or maybe it's an age, where you realize what Christmas is truly about.  I mean for me it's truly about Christ's birth and the sacrifice that he and God made for us.  The whole Christmas story is truly amazing if you focus on it and really think about what it meant to all involved.  When you are a kid it's all about the presents and what Santa brought and the magic of the season.  And to be honest for a long time as an adult it was all about me and what I was going to get.  Even after we had kids I was a bit selfish and wanted specific items from my husband and bless him he always tried his best.  But a few years back my mindset shifted.  It wasn't about me anymore.  I still do love getting presents don't get me wrong but I don't go looking for them or shake them or really care to open them right away.  I want to give presents.  I absolutely LOVE making my Christmas list of who all we get to buy for and what we are going to get them.  I try to come up with special items that they will like.  I don't like giving gift cards unless it's something I know they will love.  And for the last few Christmases that has been my focus.  To find the most special and exciting or unique gifts for people.  Some people like clothing or jewelry, some like kitchen wear, and some like outdoorsy things!  And some people on our list want nothing for themselves and have instructed us to donate to a charity.  For the last 4 years we have given to a charity called World Vision (visit them here). Each year we pick something special that they might like to give.  This charity gives to people in Africa (I believe) different items that you gift.  So one year it was bibles, another ducks, this year it was a share of a donkey.  So many neat gifts that make you feel good, and the people that you are donating for feel good also.

But yesterday I got one of the BEST gifts I've ever gotten.  I got a memory. To make a very long story short both of my grandparents are fighting cancer.  Praise the Lord my grandma's is very treatable and she is going to be just fine! But my grandpa's prognosis wasn't so good.  He was originally told with no treatment he would have 10 months.  Praise the Lord again that we have had about 15 months with him and he got some absolutely miraculous news at the Dr a few weeks ago.  We all pray that we get a little more time with him but know that God could take him at any time.  When talking about Christmas this year we all had an underlying knowledge that this could be our last with him.  So my grandparents did something amazing!  Instead of gifts, they gave us all a memory.  They rented out 4 horse drawn carriages and took everyone in the family on a ride. We had Christmas at their house and enjoyed lots of laughs like always and then we split up and headed downtown for our carriage ride.  It was absolutely freezing out but I wouldn't trade this night for anything.  I took a few pictures of Mr. J & the boys but Miss V decided she wanted to ride with her grandpa (my biological dad) and his girlfriend, my brother and his girlfriend.  I was a little upset at first but it sounds like she was the life of the carriage and I'm thankful for their willingness to have her with them.

I don't normally share pictures of our family but I feel it's important to share this one.  I want to always have this picture somewhere in our house (at least until next year when we take a trolley ride around a park to look at lights!). These two people are the most loving, funny, caring,  courageous, and just generally the most amazing people.  They have been married 50 years and I have learned so much about what marriage is like from them.  Thank you Grandma & Grandpa for the memory.  This is one I will NEVER forget!

Go hug someone you love EXTRA tight. Or call them and tell them how much you love them!  Life is WAY too short!

Love, Lacey

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Life Verse

Today I wanted to share a picture from a friend of mine.  She is an AMAZING graphic designer and posted this a couple days ago to her facebook page.  If you or someone you know needs a designer, check her out! She is awesome! Then I was trying to decide how to explain a life verse.  I mean in my mind I know what it means but I'm not good with describing things and I couldn't get the words to come out right.  Trust me I wrote & deleted a meaning about 20 different times.  So I did what I always do when I can't figure out a word, I googled it!  So here is how Willowcreek.org defines a life verse!

A “life verse” is a verse or short passage from the Bible you claim as a rallying cry to guide and 
focus the current season in your life. It’s a truth or a challenge straight from God’s Word that rings 
true for you at this time. 

Actually this website is really cool and gives you a bunch of different verses for different times in your life.  Check it out if you get a few minutes! 

So a life verse can change over the course of your life but for the most part I have picked a verse and stuck with it.  I have had different verses that have spoken to me at different times and I have claimed them as important verses at that time.   But this particular verse has really spoken to me for as long as I can remember .  I have used it in good times and bad.  I have used it when I felt let down, lost, and alone.  And I have used it when I felt like I was blessed beyond imagine.  It's a verse that I think a lot of people cling to because it's easy to remember but it is also profound.  In fact I posted this verse here when I was struggling with finding happiness and how that looked in my life. 

So what is your life verse?  What are you going through that you could use some encouragement from The Lord?  Or what have you been through that you have heard that voice of The Lord through a certain verse? 

Love, Lacey

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

"For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas! May you find the true meaning of Christmas not wrapped in paper and ribbons under the tree but wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in manger.

Love, Lacey

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Cookies

Let's be honest here, some times being gluten free (gf) SUCKS!  And not in a "well I shouldn't really eat that but I will anyways" type of way in a "If I eat that I'm going to feel like death and want to throw up for the next 6 hours" type of way.  So you can see how I would try to avoid gluten at all costs! I told Mr. J yesterday that I would rather have the stomach flu than eat gluten because at least with the stomach flu you throw up and feel better.   So the other day I wanted cookies in the worst way but had no gf flour.  Then I remembered a friend of mine had told me about making these flour less peanut butter cookies.  So I looked it up and found this link. It looked easy enough!  I mean 5 ingredient cookies can't be too hard.  So I whipped them up.  I took pictures cause I KNEW you all would be dying to see! 

The 5 ingredients are things almost everyone has in their house!  1 cup peanut butter, 1 egg,  1 cup sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla & 1/2 tsp baking soda.  You could use any peanut butter you have.  I have creamy Jiff!  YUM!

oh hello pink cell phone

You throw everything in a bowl and use a hand mixer to mix it up for a couple minutes till it all comes together.  

Now for the part that I lost the plot and got crazy!  You are supposed to take a teaspoon and scoop out little balls and put them on your baking sheet.  But I took a GIANT ice cream scoop and used that.  I literally only got THIS pan!  They were HUGE!!!  Next (and the part I forgot to take a picture of) you take a fork and kind of flatten the cookies out.  Press them down one way and then the other to create a sort of hatch pattern!  Then sprinkle the cookies with a little more sugar.  Nothing crazy just a little sprinkle will do!  Then throw them in the oven for 11-13 min (I did 11) at 350 degrees.  The cookies will NOT look done!  Don't worry they will finish cooking on the tray.  You want to leave them sit on the tray for about another 2-4 min. Then gently take them off the tray and let them finish cooling on some wax paper on your counter.  

This is one of the GIANT cookies I made.  My hands look tiny compared to this monster! I probably wouldn't make them this big again.  You don't feel so bad only eating one cookie but in reality you probably ate 3 or 4.  So for my waistline sake I will need to make them smaller next time.  But I will say these cookies are pretty good.  Mr. J & the kids like them too!   These cookies would be great to take to a party or cookie exchange.  Try them out!  If you like peanut butter you will like these!!  

Do you want more cooking or baking posts?  I'm thinking of trying more gf meals that way we all can eat them.  I thought it would be fun to find something on Pinterest and try to make it.  Of course I'll take pictures and show you.  It might turn out good, bad, or ugly!  Can't wait to share some yummy eats with you!  Let me know if you find something you want me to try!  

Love, Lacey

Friday, December 20, 2013

Stop the Fat Talk

I was sitting on the couch the other night having one of those days where you just feel blah.  I was cutting myself down, picking out all of my flaws.  And I was getting ready to text my friends about how FAT I was when I saw this video. 

I nearly cried.  I do it all the time! I say things like, "I'm so FAT",  "I hate my big belly", "My thighs are huge". I would NEVER NEVER NEVER say that to another person.  So why do I think it's ok to say it to myself? I've even been known to call myself "fatty" in a conversation. "Fatty wants food!" "Fatty needs to workout!"  I cut myself down almost every day.  I will be watching a tv show or a movie or even a YouTube video and think "Why can't my legs be nice & thin like hers?"or "Look at thin & pretty she is".   I'll see a post on Facebook about someone wearing a certain size and I'll think "Why can't I be that size?"or "I'm so big".  

The truth of the matter is that I don't know a woman who is perfectly happy with their body! Its may not always be a weight issue but maybe it's a scar or a discoloration or something!  We all have something that we dislike about ourselves and we beat ourselves down for it.  Before the 6 pack went on girls weekend,  a couple of my friends and I got together to talk about what we were bringing to wear and the one friend was saying that she couldn't wear these certain pants because her legs were too fat.  First of all this girl is GORGEOUS!  Inside and out she is just amazing!  So we made her put on the outfit including the pants so we could see what she was talking about (we would be honest if it didn't look good). She put on the pants and was stunning! She does not have big thighs? She just looked amazing but she couldn't see it.  She said she felt like a sausage.  

But the more I think about it I do the same thing!  I will try something on or put something on and complain about how it looks or I feel and even if someone tells me it looks good.  Just this weekend at Mr. J's Christmas party I wore a new dress and it felt good!  I felt really pretty and comfortable until I saw one picture.  I had taken a straight on selfie in a huge bathroom mirror.  I looked very wide.  Now if you know anything about angles taking a straight on picture is not the most flattering.  I even had a picture taken earlier in the night where I'm turned to the side with Mr. J and I thought I looked great.  But that ONE picture is bugging me.  WHY!?  I felt good about myself before that stupid picture!  Why do I have to let one bad angled picture bug me?!  Because we are told by "they, them, society" that we should be perfect at all times.  We must not have an oz of fat on our bodies and we must have it all together. Well guess what world?!  NO ONE HAS THAT!! We are all a mess! I don't care who you are, you have something in your life that isn't perfect, something that is messy, and uncomfortable, or embarrassing. 

So I for one am going to do my best to not fat talk about myself!  I am also going to do my best to not think those thoughts.  Or when I do have those thoughts to replace them with positive thoughts.  Instead of thinking "I hate my thighs" why not think "I have really strong legs for running". I'm not saying I won't slip up.  I'm not saying my friends still won't get the occasional "Fatty" text.  But that will be one of my goals for 2014 (starting a little early)  NO MORE FAT TALK!   And I challenge you to do the same! Make 2014 the year you finally quit beating yourself up for what your body isn't and start loving your body for what it is! 

Love, Lacey

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Finding Happiness

Mountains make me happy

What is it about sunsets and mountains that make me so happy?  The kids and I went to Tennessee for spring break this year and I literally giggled with joy when I saw the mountains starts to come into view.  There is just something about the breath taking majesty and the quiet strength of the mountains.  Just amazing!!

Earlier this week I went to Miss V's school to drop off her teachers' Christmas present (see this post for info) and I started talking to one of her teachers.  I knew that someone in her family had recently passed away but I wasn't sure the relation.  So as I'm talking with her teacher she begins to tell me that it was her brother that passed and that it has been very hard. Then she said "As hard as it was, I know he is finally happy.  And that is all he ever wanted".  That stuck with me all day and has haunted me a bit since.  Finding happiness is something that eludes so many people. 

Even as Christians we aren't always happy.  God never promises us happiness but says he will give us joy.   Psalms 118:24 says "This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." That makes me think we have to CHOSE gladness.  But how do we chose gladness, or joy, or happiness when we don't feel it?   Romans 12:12 says "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer". Joyful in hope I can usually do but patient in affliction?  I am no good.  I don't want to go through pain or suffering of any kind.   But then I think of Romans 5:2b-4"And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."   Well I want hope because hope can give you happiness.  If we have a hope of what is to come we can't give up. So maybe we shouldn't strive for happiness but for hope.  Romans 8:24&25 says "For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Think back to a time that you were waiting for something.  Maybe it was your wedding day, or a baby, or a phone call to say you got the job or the house. It's hard to be patient when it's something big.  But if we have hope that it's coming it does make the wait a bit easier.

I'm not really sure if this has helped anyone.  For me it has reassured me that I have hope! Jeremiah 29:11 says ""For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." God plans to give you HOPE!  and a future!  And not just any future a really amazing one!  He wants to love and take care of you and be with you for all eternity! We serve an amazing God!  And if you don't know Him, ask me about Him.  I'll be happy to tell you what I know!

Love, Lacey

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Makeup Monday on a Wednesday Morning

Wow have I been failing a LOT lately!  I wanted to posted at least 3 times a week.  Monday, Wednesday, & Friday being the easiest days to post.  So I came up with a list of things to post about and then would add in every day life.  And here we are Wednesday morning and I still haven't posted my makeup Monday!  Well lucky for you I'm posting it now!  Not only that but I even braved the blizzard outside to take some really cool pics of the products in the snow!

I currently subscribed to a monthly makeup bag called Ipsy!  It is basically a monthly grab bag of make up and skin or hair care goodies.  When you sign up, you take a quiz about your coloring, what kind of make up you wear, what kind of skincare you like, all sorts of things.  Each month you receive a make up bag and 4 or 5 items. I thought it would be fun to share what I get each month.  Here is what was in my December Ipsy bag!

There is a picture of everything and the bag.  Sorry about the flash on the eye shadow but at least you can see the brands and how it all fits in there. 

So the first thing I pulled out of the bag was this eye shadow trio by POP. It's a great neutral color palette.  The shades are a bit shimmery but still really lovely together.  I had never really heard of this brand before, which is another fun thing that you get to try new brands.  But I think it seems like a pretty good quality product.  I would say it's similar to an Elf or NYX brand. 

Speaking of NYX!  I got this really nice lipstick.  It's from their extra creamy round lipstick line.  It is definitely creamy! I really like this color (which is always hit or miss for a grab bag) it's like a brownish red. There isn't a color name but a number B52.   I wish I would have been able to take a good picture of the color swatch. I will have to look up some tips and tricks to taking good swatch pictures! But the color is really nice and the staying power is pretty average.  But the moister is really great and seems to stay on your lips. 

This product is from a company that I have received before in the Ipsy bag.  The last time I got a lip crayon from the company "Be a Bombshell".  I really liked that lip crayon.  It was almost a stain in it's staying power and yet another great color.  So I was excited to see another product from them.  This one is called The One Stick.  As the name would suggest you can use this stick anywhere.  This color (girl crush) is a light pinky lavender color.  I think it would be pretty on the lips in the summer but for winter it's a bit cool.  But that didn't stop me from trying it out!  I just used it as a highlight!  The light, cool, and shimmery color was perfect for the top of my cheekbones!  

This is a roll on perfume oil from the company Demeter.  I have received a roll on perfume oil from them before in the scent "beach" but this one is called "snow".  I'm not sure how to describe the scent?  Wet soil comes to mind.  Or tree bark?  It's very earthy.  It's not my cup of tea but I'm sure someone likes it! The staying power of these oils isn't the best.  I feel like I have to reapply multiple times a day to keep the scent going.  But I guess with the small size and roll on feature I could just throw it in my purse.  

Hello beautiful nail polish! I have never heard of this brand before.  It's from a brand called Nicka K New York.  The color is called Ripe Apple and I think that is a great description! The color is a gorgeous apple red.  I put it on my toes for Mr. J's Christmas party and it looked great peaking out of my black shoes.  The coverage was good, there wasn't really a smell or anything bad about it.  And the rose gold handle is a great detail on the bottle! 

And last but not least the bag.  The bag is about the size of a small clutch, made of a plastic type material and has an almost quilted look.  It's all black on the outside and the inside is a gorgeous dark dark red.   These are great for traveling, an in your purse makeup bag, or even to use as a clutch for a night out. 

Now for the best thing about Ipsy, it's $10 a month!  Yep that's it!  To give you an idea of what kind of deal this is, the Be a Bombshell One stick? That is $16 on their website!  And each month you are getting to try some great items.  Each month they also give you promo codes so if you really love something or want to buy more you can save!  I really do love this subscription.  Sure I've gotten a couple duds but not many!  If you are interested you can Sign up Here!

Love, Lacey

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Traditions

Our tree topper
I was reading one of my favorite blogs the other day and she was talking about making family Christmas traditions. Her name is Janae and although we have never even spoken, I feel like we could be BFFs! She is a runner (although she is FAST with a capital F!), a mommy, and a food lover! We have so much in common!  If you want to check her out you can click right here .  She got me thinking back on some of the traditions I had growing up.  Two I can vividly remember.  I'm sure there are more cause my mom is awesome! But the kids sucked my brain cells dry and I just can't think!  

The first one that comes to mind is that every year when we put up our Christmas tree, we would watch the movie White Christmas.  If you haven't seen this movie go IMMEDIATELY to Netflix!  Do not walk, do not pass go, do not collect $200 (unless you are going to share with me) GO WATCH IT!  It is awesome.  It has music and dancing and a little drama and honors the military!  Just a side note about me, my family bleeds red, white, & blue.  I have countless family members currently serving and retired military.  My brother is currently a Staff Sargent in the United States Marines.  And on my paternal side of the family we have had a solider in every US war/conflict since WW2.  Thank God we have never lost a solider but when I tell you my heart breaks for them I'm not lying!  I'm tearing up thinking about how lucky we have been.  We sent my brother to Iraq & Afghanistan 3 times and thankfully he came home safe each time but I know he has lost friends and seen the unspeakable.  I am FOREVER grateful to anyone who serves or served in the armed forces!  Ok!  So I'm back from the tangent!  Sorry!  I'm passionate about the military so any movie that depicts military (Marines especially) I'm all over it!  White Christmas is just a feel good movie!  But what I remember most is after I got married and moved out of my parents house, my mom would call and sing me a song from the movie.  Or I would answer the phone and would only hear music playing (the tv playing the movie).  It's something special my mom & I did together.  This year I had the kids sit down and watch it.  I doubt they got how amazing the ending is but they like the singing and dancing! I think I will have to add this our family Christmas traditions!

The Second is that on Christmas Eve my parents and I would go to Pizza Hut for supper and then go drive around and look at lights.  I don't ever remember seeing any specific lights or anything too special but I always remember going out to eat and enjoying the evening together.  One year I had gotten a 1-800 number to call and check on Santa.  So I would go to the payphone (This is pre cell phones.  I know! I'm OLD!) and call to see where he was.  You could call once an hr and they would update you on what he was doing.  I thought that was so much fun!  What a cool memory of using a payphone to check on Santa!

I have been trying to come up with some Christmas traditions of my own for our family and our kids.  In years past my mom has come over and we have made Christmas cookies.  It is always a lot of fun but this year just got away from me.  Getting new clothes and getting dressed up for church is a must in our house.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE buying Miss V a new Christmas dress each year.  And the agony of trying to decide which one is always fun. Each year the kids also get a new pair of pjs!  They get to wear them while I take pics for the Christmas cards.  Last year Miss V was tying up the boys with a string of Christmas lights.  They are so funny.  So what are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?  What are some you hope to start?  I will post more of our Christmas tree for you next week!  Just wanted to give you a sneak peek of the topper!

Love, Lacey

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Memories and Musings

Gotta love Netflix

Yesterday I had to get a haircut.  And yes I said HAD.  My hair was getting shaggy in the back and definitely did not look cute.  Plus Mr. J's company's Christmas party is this weekend so you know I wanted to look my best! So many things tried to keep me from getting my haircut that I felt like it was me against the world!  First I got asked to work, well I actually got asked if I could work, which of course I said yes.  But it wasn't a definite, she said she wasn't sure if she would need me so she would let me know.  Thankfully she didn't need me! First obstacle managed.  Then they started threatening snow. This in and of itself isn't too amazing. I mean it IS December and we live in the Midwest; we are used to snow.  But with snow comes school delays.  My haircut was at 9am and if we had a two hour delay that means I would have to cancel.  Enter me praying for no delay.  ANSWERED PRAYER!  Thankfully no delay! Second obstacle managed.  But then it decided to snow at the exact time I needed to leave to get my haircut.  I don't know if you have snow where you live or if you have ever driven when it's snowing but it basically means driving slower and more cautiously than you normally might.  I'm usually a pretty cautious driver but I am what Mr. J would call an "offensive" driver.  Meaning I have a destination and my goal is to get there.  He on the other hand is a "defensive" driver.  He has a destination but he is more concerned with the other 400 idiots on the road and making sure they are staying in their lane and where they are going.  So we have a bit of a difference in driving styles but we are both pretty good drivers.  And although I will admit I'm an offensive driver most of the time, when the snow comes I play defense! I slow down and put the car in neutral when I need to stop and I constantly look around to make sure the other 400 idiots on the road are driving like it's snowing, not like it's summertime.  So I leave early for my haircut and sure enough everyone is driving 25 mph because it's snowing.  Now like I said, I drive safe & slow in the snow but it was NOT 25 mph snowing! So obstacle number 3 was driving there!  But I went slow & safe and got there only 2 min late.  NOT BAD!! Third obstacle managed! 

It was Wednesday so that means Miss V didn't have school; so she got to go to the beauty shop with me.  This wasn't anything new.  She has gone with me a few times to get my haircut.  She even has a chair she sits in each time.  I just tell her to have a seat, give her the cell phone (or my sweet stylist gives her an ipad) and she literally won't move or complain.  She is such a well behaved and good girl.  But while she was sitting there I got to thinking about my own experience with the beauty shop when I was a kid.  My mom used to get her hair permed and she also kept her hair pretty short so we visited the beauty shop often.  The one my mom went to was very small.  It was in a small town in the next town over (what a very country/small town thing to say!).  It was just 2 chairs, 2 stylists, 2 wash chairs, and maybe 4 or 5 dryer chairs. They had a very small (just a couch and a coffee table) sitting area.  I remember sitting there often.  A few things I remember about the salon was the smell first.  If you have never smelt a perm then you haven't lived!  It's a very distinct smell and I can still smell it now if I think about it.  I can remember they used to have a coffee pot with cups.  But the cups were plastic on the outside and paper on the side.  So basically it was a paper cup with a plastic holder.  But the two holders were brown & orange.  I always liked to get the orange one if my mom would let me get a cup of tea. But the thing that I remember most was the coffee table.  It was filled with books and magazines.  I'm sure the magazines would have been interesting if I was an adult (people, Country Woman,  Woman's Day) but as a kid it was the books I loved.  All the books were about different haircuts.  Most of them had short haircuts but there were so many different styles.  I loved looking at the pictures and imagining myself with the different haircuts.  The same lady that cut my mom's hair also cut mine so she would always ask how school was going and what was new.  I remember getting my first perm there and some of my favorite haircuts.  I remember what the painting on the front window looked like and where we used to park to go in. The memories are so vivid I'm sure I could draw the whole place out if I needed to. 

It makes me wonder what memories will Miss. V have of being with me.  I was raised an only child so I spent a lot of time with my mom.  But my 3 share me.  Do I give them each enough alone time? Do I make memories with all of them or just her because she is with me the most?  Are they getting the experiences that, when they are older, they can say "I remember doing that with mom." As a mom, I realize how amazing my mom really was when I was little.  She still is amazing (especially as a grandma) but when you are a kid you don't realize how good you have it.  My mom was there all the time.  She volunteered in my classes, she helped with field day and she tried to make every day life special.  I used to get notes in my lunch, or a special snack (or balloons) for my birthday.  She always seemed to go out of her way to make my life special.  I hope that I'm doing that for my kids.  I want my kids to know how much they are loved.  How important they are, not only to me (and Mr. J) but to God.  I try to make sure I pray over them each night (after we pray as a family). I pray that they would always know, honor, & serve the Lord.  And then I wonder if I'm showing them those things in my life.  Having kids makes you very self reflective. Especially when you see your child do or say something that you do or say! 

Two verses come to mind in regards to being a parent. Proverbs 22:6 says "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."  And Joshua  24:15 (the end of the verse) says "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord".  The first talks about training your children in the ways of the Lord. That what they learn as a child will be important to them when they are old.   And the second talks about taking a stand and serving the Lord.  In Joshua he says "BUT as for me and my house" and I feel a bit like that.  In a world that seems to say "SERVE YOURSELF!  Do what is fun and feels good", I will serve the Lord.  It also says "me and my house."  My kids are watching.  They are watching me every min or listening to me or my radio.  What do all those things show them or say to them?  That I serve God and want to do His will?  Or that I serve myself and do what I want?  

Love, Lacey 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Date Day

My handsome hubby
Isn't my hubby handsome? We went to Dunham's yesterday and he had to try on this balaclava and then put on his sunglasses.  I laughed so hard and then said that needs to go on the blog.  

So that handsome guy (trust me!  He is handsome with a capital H) and I have been a bit off lately.  You know what I mean?  When your marriage isn't bad, you aren't fighting but you aren't exactly on the same page.  He has been stressed about work and working like a dog.  Bless his heart he tries really hard not to bring work home but his mind never turns off so he will constantly be thinking of a project or something said at work. It's just who he is.  He is passionate about what he does and he wants to be the best at it!  Well his long hours at work translate into long hours for me.  As a stay at home mommy, that means basically being alone a lot or on my own with the kids.  It's part of my job as a wife to support him and as a mom to take care of the kids, but man does my job get easier when he is here to help.  So anyways lots of stress from both our ends, busy schedules for both of us (and the kids), and just not taking time in the evening to spend together equals a funk in our marriage (and not the good kind!).   Well, we spend time together in the evening but it's in front of the tv completely vegging out.  Neither of us says anything and one of us is asleep by 9:30. It rough when your marriage isn't just quite right.  Like I said we weren't fighting but we weren't exactly loving towards each other.  What we NEEDED was time together.  Actual QUALITY time together.  Enter the day date!  We have a tradition of going Christmas shopping together each year.  We go out and buy almost everything in one shot.  The last couple of years we have gone at night and we make it a date.  But this year Mr. J happened to have some extra vacation time so he took yesterday off and we went on a day date to do our annual Christmas shopping trip. 

The day started a little rocky as he & his dad went hunting in the morning.  Not something I had planned but it wasn't a big deal.  So I dropped Miss V off at school at 9, dropped some teachers gifts off to the boys' school, dropped a letter in the mail and came home to wait for Mr J.  My mom was kind enough to pick Miss V up at school and get the boys off the bus so we basically had ALL day to spend together.  Mr. J got home frozen to the core (it was a freezing -9 wind chill) and got ready for us to go. 

Our first stop was Target!  One of my all time favorite stores.  I could (and have) spent hours in Target.  I get good ideas for outfits and decorating ideas for our home.  They have great Christmas decor and ours even has some groceries.  But yesterday we were on a mission for toys! We hit up the toy aisles and got quite a bit for the kids.  Then we headed to the Christmas section to pick out wrapping paper.  Now this may seem like an easy task.  Pick out a few rolls and go.  NOPE!  Not us!  We like our paper to match or go together.  So it was a 20 min conversation about colors and which paper we liked and how he wanted the kind with the grid lines on the back and I liked the ones with gold pine cones on the front.  So after we bought a few more things at Target we headed to Dunham's to waste time shop before lunch.  While at Dunham's this happened . . . 

Fake Fur hat
Don't I look so cute?! We had a great lunch and a great rest of the day shopping.  Just in case you want to know after lunch we hit up Best Buy & Walmart!  But the best part was getting to spend some actual time with Mr. J.  We didn't talk about anything major.  We didn't have anything particular to talk about other than what to get a few people for Christmas.  But what we did was even more important.  We invested in our marriage & made each other feel like we were important.  I think some times in the hustle and bustle of not only this season but our day to day lives we lose sight of what is important.  We get so caught up trying to be everything to everyone or be someone we aren't, that we forget to make sure those around us know how important they are.  I'm very guilty of this.  Mr. J works hard and when he comes home I want to complain about the kids, the family, or really anything and everything.  I forget to tell him I love him.  I forget to tell him THANK YOU for working so hard so that I don't have to.  I forget to show him that I love him. It seems like marriages all around us are suffering right now.  I know of so many divorces or infidelity issues.  It just hurts my heart.  I can't help but think that if we took more time for our spouses that this may be different.  The list of importance should go God first, then husband/wife, then kids, job, etc.  So many times we put self first and we rob ourselves (and those around us) of time & love because we are selfish.  Marriage isn't about being happy, it's about loving the other person FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE.  We all have days we aren't happy in our marriage.  But I think if we look, we will find that we aren't focusing on what is important.  I challenge everyone reading to schedule a date day/night with your spouse right now.  Call, text, email, or facebook them.  Tell them to check their calendar that you need a date ASAP!  One without the kids, one without playing on your phone (turn it on silent and stay off of fb and email), and one that you can really talk to each other and remember why you love that person.  Talk about your first date, or your wedding, or what you love about that person.  But try to really enjoy your time together. Your marriage IS important and should be a priority.  Let's all strive to keep our marriages strong through the month of December and all through 2014! 

Love, Lacey

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Fun with The Calamity Janes

My Breakfast

What an awesome day! A couple of my besties and I (also known as The Calamity Janes) decided we would get together and do teacher gifts as a group.  It helps that one of us is crafty, one of us is an amazing baker, and I was just there for entertainment I'm pretty sure.  So I started my day with this delicious (and filling) breakfast!  If you buy the Naked juice just make sure you watch the calories.  That big bottle had around 600 calories!!  Not bad if you break it up, but if you are downing it all at once you may go over your daily caloric intake pretty quickly.

2 of my besties

Hey look at those gorgeous girls!  L's husband was kind enough to take this picture for us.  Notice J's awesome Christmas sweater?  Wish I would have gotten the memo I have a pretty sweet Christmas sweater myself.  But I did bring my Christmas apron! And J's Christmas apron was actually her grandmothers! I LOVE these girls!

Chalkboard cookie sheets
This was where J really shined!  She is an awesome crafty person, so she came up with this part of the gift.  That's a cookie sheet that she painted with chalkboard paint.  Then decorated with some stickers (that she hot glued on) and a letter for the teacher's name. She also added a little bow at the top at the end.  I told you she is awesome.  These are so cute & a great gift for anyone!  I can see giving these to family or friends. I would use one in our house!  It would make a great prayer request board or scripture memorization or even your grocery list!

Time to get baking!

Here is where L shines!   She came up with so many cookie and bar recipes that my head was spinning!  I tried to help as much as I could but I mostly just burnt the chex mix. Speaking of chex mix, I decided this is the best gf snack.  It's salty & buttery and I can burn it like anything I cook but it tasted SO good!  But L had so many cookies premade or the dough ready for us!  Just amazed at her creativity!

Time to put it together

This is L's dinning room table.  It was full up with goodies!  We made bags of cookies, bark & chex mix! It all looked SO good!

That is a FULL table

And when I say FULL I mean FULL!  This is not a small table!  And we filled it! This side is the bags that we made for the kids' Sunday school teachers!  Those monster cookies almost didn't make it into the bags.  I wanted to smash a couple and run! But it felt so good to make all this up knowing we would make someone (or their family) very happy!

Finished Product!

And there is the finished product!  These are definitely not "bus safe" so I will be hand delivering these to the schools.  There is also a bird seed ornament that goes on top.  It's really adorable!  I'm sure the birds will be flocking to our teacher's houses to get their little beaks on these yummy treats.

All in all it was such a fun day! Not only did a great gift get done but I got to spend some time with my besties!  I love these girls.  I have never had friends that I knew would love me no matter what. The six pack is the kind of group that we may be closer to a certain person at different times in our lives but as a group we love each other and have each others backs no matter what.   I love these girls like sisters and can't imagine myself without them!  Thank you for all the love & support.  And Calamity Janes?! Thanks for making me look good to the teachers!

Love, Lacey

Monday, December 9, 2013

Oops! I did it again!

Yeah I totally grew up with Britney Spears!  She and I are actually only a few months apart so I always felt a bit connected to her.  We even had kids around the same time and 2 boys close in age.  Hmm maybe there is a connection after all.  Britney Spears and I are soul sistas!

ANYWAYS!!!  I guess I really didn't do it AGAIN since I don't usually splurge on myself.  My last big splurge on myself was my riding boots 2 years ago and they were $60.  Well I guess that's not completely true because my running shoes are more than that BUT as a runner we don't count that as a splurge because you actually NEED good running shoes.  Now whether or not you need 5 pairs?  That is a different blog post!

So about a week or so ago Urban Decay came out with their newest Naked Palette.  The Naked 3 palette is more of a cool pinky, purple, romantic palette.  Now I have been drooling over the Naked & Naked 2 palette for years!  But the $50 price tag kept me away.  I mean really?  $50 for a neutral palette? Well it was more like $50 for anything that isn't necessary??  Ouch! So I held out and kept dreaming that my husband would come home one day with one of them as a special surprise.  Well fast forward (or is that rewind?) to last Friday, I got an email from Ulta that the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette was now available on their website.  OH EM GEE!!!  It was 7:42 in the morning (yes I remember the exact time) and so I jumped online fully expecting it to be sold out. That had happened to me before on the Urban Decay website. BUT!!!!   Guess what?  It wasn't sold out!!  Guess who bought it?  THIS GIRL!  Guess when it's going to be delivered?  TOMORROW!!!!  And I will have a full review (just like the other 5,000 beauty bloggers) later this week or early next.  Maybe next weeks Makeup Monday will be a review!  Would you like that?

The Sing Off is on & it's elimination time so I'd better pay attention!!  Talk to you tomorrow!!

Love, Lacey

Friday, December 6, 2013

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

Gorgeous Tennessee 

Some times doing something that isn't in your norm is scary.  Some times?  Why did I say some times?  I should say ALL the time.  I am not a go out of my comfort zone type of person.  I have a lot of anxiety issues and for me some times just the thought of doing something (hello roller coasters?) will set off a panic attack! I want to share two stories with you about a couple of times I stepped out of my comfort zone.  One changed my life and the other, well . . . I felt like a failure but I did my best!

The first story goes along with the above picture. This past spring I took the kids and went south for spring break.  We have family that lives in Tennessee and they were kind enough to put us up for a few nights and show us around town.  The one day was cool and rainy and my Aunt said we should go explore her Uncle's cave.  You read that right!  On her Uncle's land is a cave! A real live, bats, water, DARKNESS filled cave.  The kids were beyond excited.  I will give you one guess as to how I was feeling.  Terrified isn't quite the word but it's somewhere around there.  But being the mediocre good mom that I am, I said LETS GO!  So we all get flashlights and head off down the road to the cave.  The picture is from the front yard of my Aunt's parent's house.  It's all nothing but country and mountains and amazingness all around. Very beautiful and peaceful.  So we get to the cave and panic absolutely sets in.  I start envisioning my 3 year old not making out of the cave or me breaking my leg or who knows! But my mind is running wild.  I stopped just inside the cave and took some deep breathes.  Thankfully my Aunt's Dad took Miss V's hand and never let go!  I felt better that he had her and would keep her safe (he is such a sweet man!). The boys I made sure stayed close and once we were in the cave there was only 1 other part (a very steep climb down some rocks that ended in an underground river) that scared me.  The coolest part? I did it!  I got to see an underground river!  I got to see a bat (even though he scared me at first!)  I saw little holes in the walls that if you were a spelunker you could climb in and look around.  I generally enjoyed myself.  And can I tell you two things?  One I was SO proud of myself (and still am!) that I made my Aunt swear to tell my husband how brave I was.  And Two?  I totally hiked that cave in my silver sparkly Toms!  YES I DID! Diva alert.   But if I would have let MY fear take over me, not only would I have missed out but my kids would have too.  They enjoyed it SO much and ask all the time when we can go back.  Miss V loved my Aunt's Dad so much she wants to stay with them the next time we visit!  I'm still proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone.  Normally dark (anywhere) and small spaces (which thankfully most of this cave was pretty open) would have sent me into a tail spin.  But I tried and found I was really happy.  

The second story comes from a little more resent.  A few weeks back someone asked me to speak at a meeting.  I'm not sure if you have heard of MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) but it's a great organization to help mom's get through the preschool years and give them a break.  So this person asked if I would like to speak to the women about meal planning & money saving grocery tips.  Now, I meal plan & I grocery shop but I am NOT an expert!  I am in no way a pro at it and did NOT feel like I could speak to a group of women about it.  So I asked her if I could pray about it and let her know.  I started praying, "Dear God give me a reason not to do this!"  Well He never gave me a reason not to but gave me a few of why I should.  What if you help someone through a hard time? What if your knowledge helps another person with their shopping or preparation? What if seeing your plan gives someone hope? FINE!  So I let this person know that yes in fact I would speak.  As the days got closer for me to share I got more and more nervous.  I made notes of the general things I wanted to talk about and even talked to myself in the mirror several times about a certain topic.  Then the evening before and the morning of I was a wreck.  I'm surprised I slept at all.  My nerves just got the better of me (hello anxiety!) But I got up, started praying and didn't stop until way after I was done sharing.  I felt like I talked 90 mph.  I used my hands all the time and I swear at one point I think I started to levitate I was flapping around so much.  BUT I got through it!  I shared most everything I wanted to share and answered a few questions (including how to milk a corn cob!).  I got to spend a little time with some friends I haven't seen in ages & suck back enough coffee to fuel a small car.

I'm saying all of this to maybe encourage someone to step out and do something you wouldn't normally do. If you have been wanting to do something or feel like you should do something, GO DO IT!  This is your sign, your encouraging word, your hit on the head.  YOU need to go do that thing you have been scared of and putting off.  It will change your life or someone else's life!  You never know what your courage can mean to someone close (or far) from you. 

Phil 4:6&7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Love, Lacey

Thursday, December 5, 2013

DIY Candle Sticks

Happy Thursday!  I have been busy putting up Christmas decorations like everyone else across the world! And like most Americans I have WAY too many decorations and a lot of them I don't use.  I wanted to do something different with my mantle this year but didn't want to spend a bunch of money so I started to look at my usual decorations.  I found these candle holders.  I bought these about 4 years ago the day after Christmas for $5 at Walmart!  The red is pretty and for the last few years they have been fine.  But I wanted something different so DIY make over here we go!

Plain candle holders

First I took the candle holders out of the box and washed them up.  They were disgustingly dusty dirty as I'm sure I didn't clean them before I put them away last year!

Painter's Tape
I then put some painter's tape on the base.  I wanted the red part painted but I wanted the clear stem to stay clear.  Looking back I should have taped some newspaper around the stem to make SURE no over spray got on the stem (like it MIGHT have!) 

Microfiber cloth
Next I wiped them all down with a microfiber cloth to make sure I got all the dust and lint off.  If you leave lint or dust on the surface the paint won't adhere and will flake later or go on patchy.

Next I put on two coats of this Krylon paint.  I chose a nice gold color to match my decor idea.  You could honestly use ANY color you wanted.  This said it was metallic but it didn't turn out quite as shiny as I was hoping.  It still is a nice gold color but not shiny. 

Finished product!
There is the finished product!  I am really excited how these came out.  I haven't put everything on the mantle that I wanted but I did at least set these up there to see how they looked.  Please excuse those blue screws.  I'm not even sure where those came from?!?  

ANYWAYS!!  There is my super easy Christmas DIY redo! Hope you will take a look around and find something to redo or re-purpose.  

Love, Lacey

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide FAIL


Happy  Holidays!! In the spirit of the gift giving season, I was looking for ideas for blogs to make for you.  One of my besties said I should do an affordable gift giving guide.  You know what I mean, we have all seen them!  "2013's amazing gifts for him!" So you click on the link and there is NOTHING on the list under $100!  Now, don't get me wrong if you have the money to spend that is FINE!  I'm not putting down anyone that spends some serious cash around the holidays.  But what I am saying is not everyone HAS serious cash to spend or wants to!  So I decided to put together 3 different holiday gift guides, one for men, one for women, and one for kids.  I thought I could keep everything under a certain $ amount and try to find some really cute and fun things that your loved ones might enjoy.  

So today I sit down, in the 10 min I actually have quiet time, and I decide to look through the newest Ulta catalog.  Now if you don't know what Ulta is, it's like beauty heaven.  If it's make up, hair, skin care, or any other beauty related item, they probably sell it.  I LOVE this place!  I could do some serious damage here.  So I sit down and start flipping through the pages.  I found the cologne I want to get Mr. J (not cheap but smells AAAHHH-MAZING!) I see a few other things I really love too.  The catalog also has broken down into different price points for gifts.  Gifts under $10, Gifts under $20 . .  etc.  Then I see it!  A lipstick for $50!  YEP!  That's what I said, $50!  Now, I've seen lipsticks in every price range. From $1, $8, $20, and even $35 (thank you Chanel for making something I can never afford!) BUT, $50 seems a BIT crazy.  Now don't get me wrong.  I'm sure it's an AMAZING lipstick and if the Lipstick Queen company wants to send me a free tube, I would gladly try it out and review on a makeup Monday.  But I just can't see this being a practical gift.  I guess if that's what your wife,girlfriend,sister,mom, aunt, or whoever REALLY wants and they have been dreaming of it FOREVER (Hello Naked 3 palette!)  And you can afford it.  GO FOR IT!  But just to let you know, this will NOT be making my holiday gift guide in 2013!

I'm off to keep searching the net for great gifts for my guides.  If there is anything or anyone you are looking for let me know.  I will try to put it in!  

Love, Lacey

PS I noticed I have a couple readers in Germany!  Leave me a comment & let me know where you are from!  I visited there MANY years ago and had a GREAT friend who was an exchange student from there.  Would love to say hello!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Face Masque

Oh another make up Monday! I wanted to share with you one of my favorite masques. It's the Queen Helene, The Original Mint Julep Masque.  It says it helps dry up acne pimples, rinse away blackheads & shrink enlarged pores.

I bought this masque quite some time ago and it seems be lasting a long time.  I use it about once a week or every other week depending on how my skin is looking & feeling.  If I have a spot or an area on my face that is giving me troubles I will apply it just to that area.  For instance, I have combo skin.  My T-zone gets really oily sometimes and so occasionally I will rub this on just my t-zone.   It has a really refreshing cooling feeling.  Almost like a nice tingle effect and I really feel like it's working. 

This mask is super easy to apply & rinse off.  I simply cleanse my skin with my normal skin care routine and then before I put on my moisturizer I apply a nice thin layer of the gorgeous green clay.  Then I simply carry on about my business until it dries up.  I wouldn't recommend leaving the house as it is a GREEN mask but hey! I guess if you feel comfortable then do it! Once it has completely dried and you can't move your face anymore, go ahead and run a sink full of nice warm or hot water.  Grab a washcloth, wet it down and start rubbing.  It will take awhile to get all the clay off and you will have to rinse your washcloth clean several times.  When I have it all rinsed off my face, I tend to do a few splashes of warm water just to really give a good clean rinse.  I pat my face dry and then apply a good amount of moisturizer.  I feel like if I'm taking out a bunch of bad junk from my skin I want to make sure I replenish the good with my moisturizer. 

I bought my mask at Walgreens for $7. You can also find it online (http://amzn.com/B00008CMOQ) and really in any retail store. I've seen it in Ulta, Walmart, CVS, just look around!  I hope you try it out!  It's a really nice relaxing thing to do to pamper yourself after a LONG day! Give it a try! 

Love, Lacey!