Sunday, February 26, 2012

Friends, Grizzlies, and Circus

The past few weekends have been pretty boring so I told Kevin I want to have some fun this weekend! The fun actually started last Wednesday when Carol and I went to get our nails done. We splurged a little and did our toes too since spring is just around the corner! I am the toenail Nazi after all and I will call anyone out who has on open toed shoes and no polish on their toenails! I went with a neon orange color for my toes!

Wednesday night was the girls' special night where they get to sleep in our bed. Ava loves to bring all her stuffed animals with her and arrange them all around her. It is cute but sure doesn't leave much room for anyone else in the bed.

Elia had a friend come home with her from school Friday afternoon. Elia and Anna Garris were in the same class in 1st grade and now in 3rd grade. We went to Yogurt Mountain after school along with everyone else from Arlington Elementary. Carol, Dalton, and Cami joined us. It was almost like a party in there! Then I took Anna Garris, Elia, Cami, and Ava back to my house to play. We ordered pizza and the girls had a great time!

Saturday brought even more fun! We started out at Elia's basketball game! Anna Garris and her mom came and so did Elia's 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Henrikson. That is going above and beyond for a teacher to take time away from her family to come to her student's weekend game. It was very sweet of her to come and it sure made Elia's day!

After Elia's game, the girls wanted to go to Ashely Furniture to meet Zach Randolph who plays for the Grizzlies. When we got there at 2:40, the line literally wound around the store. It seemed to be moving pretty fast in the beginning so Kevin went next door to Dick's to get the girls a basketball for Randolph to sign. By the time he got back, the line was creeping along. At this point, we had been waiting 45 minutes and we had basketballs so we were committed! We ended up waiting in line for over two hours!!

The girls enjoyed testing out the furniture at Ashley Furniture while Kevin and I waited in line.

When we finally got to meet Zach Randolph, the girls were so excited. Of course, it lasted about 3 seconds but it was fun while it lasted.

After our adventures at Ashley Furniture, we went to the Flea Market at the Agricenter. We left with a t-shirt for me and a power band for the girls.

Then we made a quick trip to Target before the circus got started. It has been almost 6 years since we took the girls to the circus. Ava was 18 months old and in a pink leg cast the last time we went. Elia was 3 and a half so neither one of them remembered anything about the circus. Of course, once we got there they both wanted a $15 light up sword. Then came the $5 cotton candy, the $6 funnel cake, etc. It was well worth every penny though.

While we were waiting for the show to start, a clown came into the audience and sat down to talk to the girls. Both girls decided they were scared of clowns and did not like anything about them. LOL!

I tried to take more pictures of the actual circus but the lighting didn't work out so well. I did get a couple of pictures of the elephants though.

We spent Sunday morning going to church, eating lunch, taking a nap, and playing in the cove. This has definitely not been another boring weekend!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February Theme Dinner: Washington and Pancakes

It is time for our February theme dinner! The obvious choice for February would be something related to Valentine's Day. However, we did that last year and I wanted to do all new ideas this year. I struggled with what to do for February but then I realized it is also President's Day during February. I googled George Washington and discovered his favorite meal is pancakes! How easy! The difficult part of this theme dinner was finding decor and plates related to Washington. We decided to keep decor out of it for this month and focus on our pancakes.

We started with easy microwaveable Ego pancakes. They come in a packs of three and you stick them in the microwave for a little over a minute.

Then we added several toppings to add on top of our pancakes. We had syrup, butter, whip cream, Nutella, sprinkles, chocolate chips, strawberries, and powdered sugar. YUM!

Of course, you can't forget the Yoohoo to drink with your pancakes.

Here is a picture of our plain, boring pancakes before we added the fun:

Here are the girls adding their toppings:

Here is Ava's final product:

And Elia's final product (with much better table manners than her sister):

I tried to add variety to each one of my pancakes.

I think Kevin wins the prize for the prettiest pancakes.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What's on Your Nook?

Kevin bought me a Nook about this time last year. I absolutely LOVE it! My favorite time to read is right before bed. It is my "me" time after the girls have gone to bed. Here are some of my favorites I have read this year:

1. Jesus Calling

This is a wonderful devotional book that I highly recommend. This may be terrible to say but I like it because the devotionals are short. I know that is not a good reason to like a devotional book but it is to the point and I always get a great message from it every night. It takes about 5 minutes to read it but I LOVE how it always speaks to me.

2. Fat Chance

This book is about a former Biggest Loser contestant who also happened to adopt a baby. She is very inspiring because she makes it seem like if she can exercise and lose weight, then anyone can. She just seems to be one of those normal "moms" who I can relate to. She mentions the spiritual side to her journey as well.

3. The Kind Diet

This book was written by Alicia Silverstone. She is a little far out in her "vegan thoughts" but she did have some good things to say about meat and the important of eating healthy.

4. Kisses From Katie

This book is a MUST READ!! Katie is an 18 year old girl who decides to move to Uganda rather than attend college. She is the most remarkable person I have ever read about! She ends up adopting 13 Ugandan girls and her faith is simply amazing! She will make you feel like you should drop what you are doing and sell everything you own to serve in another country. She is simply amazing and I highly recommend this book to everyone!

5. Escape

This book is about the group of Mormons who arranged marriages, had multiple wives, and many children. The woman in this book is very courageous as she tries to escape this life she is living. Very good and interesting book.

6. Skinny Bitch

This is another book like the Kind Diet. It gives advice about how to eat healthy. It also gives details about how animals go from the farm to the grocery. It is very graphic and could turn anyone into a vegetarian. My favorite chapter is called Meat is Nasty. I love it because it is so true. LOL! This is a good book because it is straight to the point and does not beat around the bush as you can tell from the title.

7. Stolen Innocence

This is another memoir about the Mormon religion. The poor girl in this book had to marry her first cousin when she was only 13. She does escape this lifestyle in the end but it was heartbreaking to hear all she went through during her childhood.

8. Secrets in the Cellar

This memoir is about a crazy father who locks his daughter in a cellar for many years. She ends up having several kids by him. The girl and her children do eventually come out of the cellar but it is after many, many years down there. This is a very good book that will definitely bring tears to your eyes.

9. Left to Tell

This is one of those books you stay up half the night reading and cannot put down. I think I read it in about 2 days. It is about a young girl who is in the middle of the Rwanda Holocaust. She and 7 other women spend over 90 days hiding in a pastor's bathroom just to survive. I highly recommend this book! Her faith in God becomes so strong as she realizes the power of prayer during those terrifying days.

10. Jesus Land

I am not sure how I felt about this book. It is also a memoir where a white family adopts a couple of black children. The children end up getting sent to a reform school in the Dominican Republic. The book is more about the bond between the siblings and how they don't let color keep them apart from being family. It was a good book, just really sad.

11. The Color of Rain

This is another memoir about a husband who loses his wife to cancer and a different wife losing her husband to cancer. The surviving spouses find and support one another through it all. This book was a little slow at parts but a very good book.

12. My Life Deleted

This book is about a man who slips and falls at work hitting his head. He ends up losing his entire memory. He doesn't even know his wife, parents, or his kids. It is a great story to read. My favorite thing about it is that this man had so many material things such as a boat, many cars, a big house, expensive watches, etc. Since he has no memory of any of those things, he realizes that material things are not important.

13. Forever Lily

This book is about a woman adopting a baby from China. Her husband cannot make the trip with her to China so her friend goes along with her. The woman ends up not bonding with the baby but the friend feels an immediate connection to her and ends up adopting her. I cannot imagine being on either side of this story.

14. Water for Elephants

I am sure most people are familiar with this book. I read the book before I went to see the movie which actually made the movie a little boring. I knew everything that was going to happen. It is a good book that I do recommend.

15. Not Afraid of Life: Bristol Palin

This book was an easy read since it was written by a young Bristol Palin. It was a good book but not wonderful.

16. Thin Places

This book is about a girl who has a terrible childhood. However, she calls these horrible experiences that she goes through "thin places". These thin places are the times when she felt closest to God.

17. A Stolen Life: Jaycee Duggard

This is the story about Jaycee Duggard who was kidnapped as a young girl and kept in a sick man's backyard for years and years. She even birthed 2 children in a tent in the backyard. This is another one of those books you cannot put down. However, it was very detailed and graphic in some places which made it difficult to imagine all that happened to her.

18. Daddy, Come and Get Me!

This book is about an adoption from Guatemala so you know it had my attention. The interesting thing is it was written by the dad so it was all from his point of view. The dad had a dream that his daughter was calling him from a mountain top to come and get him. This is what inspired him to pursue the adoption of his daughter from Guatemala.

19. Secret Daughter

When I first started reading this book, I thought it was a true story. However, it was not true but still a very good story about adoption. It is about a girl adopted from India. Her parents let her travel back to India to discover her roots. It was a great book with a great story line.

20. Food, Inc.

So this is the book that started it all with my switch to being a vegetarian. It was actually the movie that did me in, but the book helped as well. If you don't want to know the details about how that chicken got on your plate, I suggest you do not read this book.

21. Mamlita

This was one of the most powerful and difficult books to read. It is about a girl who travels back to Guatemala with her mom to meet her birthfamily. It left me with very mixed emotions about the whole adoption process from Guatemala. It also left me feeling like Guatemala did the right thing when they closed their doors to adoption. I just wish they could straighten things out so babies will not continue to be stolen or continue to grow up without a mom and dad.

Wow, I have read a lot of books in the past year. I think it is interesting how you can tell so much about a person based on the books on their Nook. I think it is obvious that my passion is God and adoption. I also have a new passion about not eating meat. So, what is on your Nook?