Monday, November 6, 2017

Texas

Yesterday our church held its first potluck dinner. Everyone pitched in to make the church beautiful and the food was abundant. Just as it should be. A great time was had by all.

We left, our hearts full from the lovely fellowship, already planning our next event.

And then we checks our phones, and in an instant our happiness was replaced by a deep, profound grief.

More than 20 people were murdered in a mass church shooting in Texas at around 11:30am.

A shocked silence filled the car as my husband and I read article after article trying to figure out what had happened.

Why?!?

We talked and prayed about it for a long time. Those people had gathered to worship their Creator and ended up going through a terrible, terrifying ordeal. I honestly cannot imagine how they felt. Such a senseless act. Such cowardice.

Late last night as we were getting ready to go to sleep, it really began to sink in. How many churches were in the middle of worship service, just like them? It really hits close to home.

The Pastor lost his fourteen year old daughter in the massacre. Even closer to home.

Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends...they all lost something precious.

These are not just a part of humanity that is suffering. It needs to be closer. These are our brothers and sisters. Their pain is our pain.

I read comments from people saying that while it is tragic, they are not surprised. That it has become common and they are pretty much immune or numb to it. We can’t do that!!!

It is frustrating wondering what to do to help. Praying just doesn’t feel like enough, even though I know it is the best, most powerful thing we can do. But we cannot let this despair pull us down. We must stand together, put aside any petty differences and the childish drama. We are not children playing; this is a war, and we must stand strong.

I am not sure that this post really has a goal, per se. I think I just needed to get my thoughts out...that’s just how I work.

Actually, it does have a goal. It is to urge you, desperately, to pray for the people in Texas. Pray for their healing. Pray for their grief. Pray for their strength.

Pray for our poor broken world.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Product Battle: Android vs iPhone

As many of you know, I have been a staunch Android user since the beginning. I have always liked the ease of use and the amount of apps available (not to mention the open source stuff!). For the past several years I have used LG phones and have found them to be the absolute best. My last phone was the G3...yes, I know it is an older model, but it was so good that I didn’t feel the need to upgrade.  It had a 13 megapixel camera, plenty of space (with the ability to add an extra SD card), great sound, and a ton of other features. It was really awesome.

So...if it was so great, why am I not using it? Well, short story- it died. Sort of. It kept giving me an error message every two seconds- literally, not figuratively- and it got to the point that it was pretty much unusable. So, time to search for a new one. I was going to get either the LG G5 or the LG V20, but an ad caught my eye. It was for n iPhone 6s Plus, rose gold, with a case for an excellent price. After thinking about it for a bit, I decided to get it. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose...if I didn’t like it, I could sell it . If I liked it, great!

Well, so far everything has been good. It has been pretty easy to get used to (even though my husband keeps teasing me that I have become a traitor and given up my citizenship). So, on to my opinion...

Apps:
Android has a really nice app tray showing everything you have on your phone. This is especially helpful when using my hubby’s phone. I swear- I can’t find anything and I’ll never figure out his filing system! LOL!  There were so many apps in the store that it was honestly a struggle to decide which one to get, and I love the fact that a lot of things were open source and free.

The iPhone does not have an app tray, so everything is pretty much face value. They have gotten much better on their proprietary nature, and I was able to get most of the same apps on this phone (Musescore...get cracking on your app!).

Camera:
As I mentioned, my LG had an AMAZING camera. It was seriously awesome and is actually the reason I bought the phone in the first place.

The iPhone camera is nice, but I honestly didn’t buy it for the camera. Every time I see my pictures moving I feel like I’m in Harry Potter, and my kids think it is pretty cool. However, compared to Android, iPhone cameras don’t stack up (seriously...do a Google search; it has been proven that Android cameras are superior). But I really think this is splitting hairs. The camera takes great photos, and it isn’t like you are going to take professional pics with it. 😝

General Usage:
My one complaint with Android was that it did have a tendency to hitch up occasionally. Nothing terrible, but it was there.

 The iPhone, consistent with its reputation,, is super smooth. Moving from screen to screen, sending texts, scrolling through Facebook...seamless. It is really nice.

FINAL VERDICT:
Honestly, when looking at everything together, there isn’t much difference between Apple and Android. I was actually quite surprised at the similarities between the two. I am not a fangirl (as my husband so teasingly puts it), so I really don’t care what phone I have, as long as it does its job. I definitely do not see what all the hype is about, but maybe a week isn’t long enough to see all it has to offer.

So, I will stick with it for a bit and see how it goes!  Oh, and my old phone? I did a factory reset on it and it fixed the problem. So now my daughter is the proud owner of a like-new G3. 😜

I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Are you and Android or Apple fan?

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Decorating Edition: Small Spaces

Fall is, hands down, my favorite season. The crisp, cool air; the wonderful scents of cinnamon, apples, and pumpkins; the beautiful foliage in brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow...it just fills me with so much joy!

Another thing that comes with the chillier temperatures is a desire to do some fall cleaning. Perhaps it is because of the impending holidays, or maybe it is just an unconscious desire to get my home ready for winter- whatever it is, it is there and it is STRONG! However, since we just moved, the house doesn't really need to get a good scrubbing. So...I did the next best thing: I decorated! :-) (Links to purchase are in the picture captions.)

The challenge when moving to a new home is finding the perfect spot for all of your lovely things. Different room sizes, shapes, and layouts can really create a snag in a design plan. Fortunately, I have not had too much difficulty in this; the house is laid out quite nicely, and our furniture works perfectly with it!

 (Aren't my copper tea kettles simply gorgeous? A random stranger 
bought the one on the right for me last year, and my sweet hubby 
bought the one on the left for me a couple of months ago!)

I have always wanted a sitting area in the master suite...nothing special- just a place to be able to sit and read in the evenings or in those rare quiet moments during the day. For one reason or another, however, it just never worked out. When we moved into our new home, however, I was determined to make it work. I had the perfect chairs and table...now I just needed the space! We have a lovely 1940s bedroom set with a full-size bed, but the room is only about 12 x 14, so with the bed, dresser, highboy, nightstand, my dress form, and his valet stand (an essential piece for a man!), there wasn't much space left. But, those who know me well know that I relish a challenge, so I set to work to get it done!


 I bought this cherry valet stand from
sweetie last Christmas, and he loves it!


Once I started setting things up, I was surprised at how quickly and perfectly things came together. I am so pleased with the end result- it turned out so much nicer than I had hoped!

The end result. So peaceful!

I purchased the prints from Target last year but packed them away because I knew we were going to move. A quick trip to A.C. Moore for frames (only $9 each and then half off!) and I knew exactly where they needed to be hung!

Just a few of the places I want to travel: 

I find that the small touches really make a huge difference in the dynamics of a room. We had a pair of lovely green striped chairs that went really well with our bedding and other decor, but they looked just a tad too masculine for the area. So, I added a doily to each and voila! Problem solved!

Not usually a fan of doilies as I prefer a more
modern, contemporary look, but these were
just too perfect to pass up!


My antique reading table was the perfect size for the area and had plenty of room for a lamp and pictures of our children. I will be purchasing a new, smaller lamp in the near future, but this works for now. :-) Another doily featured here...this one was purchased at the quaintest little Amish quilt shop a few minutes from our house. I am definitely going to be a regular customer there!



So what design challenges are you facing currently?

Have a great week and happy fall!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Product Review: SimplyToImpress Invitations

Wow. It's been over a year since I posted. I decided to take a little break because of how much I had going on, but I didn't realize just how long it has been! Our oldest is graduating high school next weekend (Yikes!) and I needed to get invitations. After a lot of searching online, I decided to go with Simply To Impress. They had a ton of designs and options to chose from and very reasonable prices. I ended up going with a standard invitation without reverse-side printing and ended up spending $32.50 for 25 invitations and silver-lined envelopes (that was an upgrade). I placed the order on May 18th and it arrived TWO DAYS LATER. Amazing. After opening the standard mail packaging, I found the CUTEST box inside:





















The invitations were carefully placed in the box with protective bubble wrap over it to keep them from moving around during shipping. They actually sent 26 invitations and 28 envelopes.





The invitations themselves were absolutely beautiful. I didn't order the upgraded card stock or fancy extras, but I really don't think it was necessary- at least for this application. The quality was wonderful and the colors were brilliant.











Pretty nice, huh? :-) They are having a sale right now...25% off sitewide plus free shipping!

Have a great week, everyone!
Ann

Monday, March 2, 2015

Product Review: Body Merry Face Products



 I received three products from Body Merry in exchange for an honest product review- Pro-A Retinol serum, Age Defense Eye Cream, and Hyaluronic Acid Dew Serum. As I'm sure you mothers out there know, getting ready in the morning can be a bit rushed at times. And don't get me started on my facial routine at bedime! After a full day of homeschooling, giving music lessons, and working as an editor for a publishing company, I barely remember getting in my pj's! LOL!

 When I was contacted by Body Merry to review their products, I almost declined. Crazy, right? I thought that I wouldn't have the time to try them out and give an honest review. Well, I decided to go ahead and accept their offer and placed my order on Amazon.com.

 I decided to use all three products morning and night. After washing my face, I applied the Pro-A Retinol serum and let it dry. I could feel the effects immediately- my face felt smooth and taut. I could see results after the first use! The lines around my eyes, forehead, and mouth had smoothed a bit. Nothing drastic, mind you, but it was a definite difference. The serum goes on nicely, and it only takes a pump or two of the product to cover your face and neck.

 - MAXIMUM STRENGTH RETINOL: This 2.5% retinol serum will let your skin truly sink in all the goodness and power of Vitamin A. It effectively addresses wrinkles, fine lines and spots, while also improving the overall texture and tone of your skin.

 - NATURAL & ORGANIC: The addition of Plant Derived Hyaluronic Acid provides the much needed hydration so you can reap the benefits of Retinol, without having to suffer any dryness or irritation. Organic Green Tea works its charm as a powerful antioxidant.

- NO HARSH CHEMICALS: The formula does not contain any harsh chemicals such as Parabens, Sulphates or Phthalates. No fragrances or alcohol.

 - MADE IN USA + CRUELTY FREE: The serum is made in the USA in an FDA registered and GMP compliant facility. It is not tested on animals.

 Click here to purchase: Body Merry Pro-A Retinol Serum




Once the serum dried, I put the eye cream on. It was HEAVENLY. Not to thick or thin, it smoothed over my eyes gently and left my skin feeling silky.

 - EASY ON YOUR EYES: This lightweight formula is a gentle and effective solution for all your eye woes including Dark Circles, Wrinkles and Puffiness. You can now let your eyes express everything but your age!

 - 70+ POWER PACKED INGREDIENTS: The only eye cream on the market that has over 70 power packed ingredients including: Vitamins C + E + B5, Peptide Complex, Amino Acid Emulsification, Hyaluronic Acid, Retinol, Antioxidants, MSM and many many more!

 - NATURAL & ORGANIC COMPONENTS: It has potent natural and organic ingredients such as Aloe, Rose Hip Oil, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Cranberry, Licorice, Sunflower Oil, Borage Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Lavender, Calendula, Chamomile, Witch Hazel, Cocoa Butter, Cucumber, Green Tea - to name just a few! No harsh chemicals such as Parabens, Sulfates and Phthalates.

 - MADE IN USA + CRUELTY FREE: The cream is made in the USA in an FDA registered and GMP compliant facility. It is not tested on animals.

Click here to purchase:  Body Merry Eye Cream




Finally, I applied the Hyaluronic Acid Dew Serum. The retinol serum, because it is so effective, tends to make my skin feel a bit tight, so this feels simply wonderful! It seemed rather thin at first (it IS a serum, after all), but you wouldn't know it once it was on! I couldn't feel it on my skin (I absolutely HATE my face feeling oily or having heavy creams on it!), and it make my skin so soft and smooth!

 - DEWY RADIANCE: Nurture your skin with this superior hydrating serum and your skin will respond with an almost instant glow (minus the oily 'shine'). Made for those who are looking to rejuvenate their skin and give it a fresh start!

 - NOT JUST HYDRATION: This professional grade VEGAN hyaluronic acid serum not only moisturizes and nourishes your skin, but also provides superior anti-aging benefits by tackling wrinkles and fine lines head on. Body Merry's Hyaluronic Dew Serum is the perfect anti-aging moisture rich product - formulated for all skin types, free of any potential irritants.

 - NATURAL & ORGANIC: Plant derived Hyaluronic Acid is cushioned and supported by powerful antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Green Tea and Organic Jojoba Oil, to give your skin a youthful, bright and even complexion. Free from harsh chemicals such as Parabens, Sulfates and Phthalates. No fragrances or alcohol.

 - MADE IN USA + CRUELTY FREE: The serum is made in the USA in an FDA registered and GMP compliant facility. It is not tested on animals.

 Click here to purchase: Body Merry Hyaluronic Acid Dew Serum


I really can't say enough about Body Merry's products- they have a customer for life in me!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Product Review: Garcinia Cambogia Supplements

I was given a free bottle of Garcinia Cambogia Supplements in return for an honest review. When my package arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find a Raspberry Ketone supplement had been included (this was not listed on the product page, so I'm not sure if it is always added to the order).

Click here to order from Amazon!


The directions say to take one Garcinia tablet morning and night, and two raspberry tablets before breakfast and lunch. Pretty easy. The premise is that the tablets will not only block fat absorption, it increases energy and mood and suppresses your appetite. And it's done NATURALLY. This really sounded too good to be true.

I do want to state here that I didn't change my eating habits or exercise while taking this, as I wanted to see just how well it really worked.

I am a natural skeptic, so when I began taking these supplements, I really didn't expect much to happen. The first thing I noticed was that I didn't feel any different after taking them...no jitters or anything. The raspberry tablets DID cause a little bit of belching (with a raspberry undertone- it was very unusual at first!), but it wasn't anything uncomfortable and was only for a bit- nothing out of the ordinary.

I normally do not eat breakfast- I just have a cup of coffee. By lunch time (11:30-12:00 or so), I am usually STARVING. After about a week, I noticed that lunch would come and go, and I wouldn't even notice! One day I happened to look at the clock and realized it was 2:30 and I hadn't eaten anything all day and STILL wasn't a bit hungry. I actually ate just because I knew I should! This was very encouraging.

Now that I've taken it for a month, I can honestly say that Garcinia Cambogia (and Raspberry Ketones) actually WORK. I've lost a total of 12 pounds without changing a thing- I just added the supplements. I can only image the results if I were to eat a little healthier and exercise more!

As far as this specific brand, they have several points that I really appreciate:
- There are NO unnatural chemicals.
- The HCA formula is 85%- I checked my local drugstore, and the highest I saw there was 50%.
- They are GMO free.
- Made in the USA in a 100% FDA APPROVED FACILITY!

I do believe that to achieve good health, a person needs to have a proper diet and exercise regimen. However, for those of us who already do that and still have a bit of stubborn weight (or just want to jump start the process), I really recommend these supplements. There is no such thing as a magic pill, but this almost is!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Product Review: Easy Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from Smiley360 in return for my opinion and sharing.

I tried Easy Off Heavy Duty oven cleaner before Thanksgiving, and I am sold on it! I had used the self-clean function on my oven twice trying to get it clean, but it never seemed to do a good enough job.  

I let the oven get good and grimy inside by cooking all sorts of melty, runny foods like lasagna, pies, and casseroles. I figured if I was going to Do a good review, I should really put it to work!

When I sprayed the Easy Off on, the fumes were pretty strong. I didn't have gloves on at first, so it did sting my skin a bit (stupidity on my part- they advise you to wear them). I let it sit for the required amount of time and used the soft side of a sponge to wipe it out. It was a breeze! I only had to scrub a few stubborn spots, but not many! This is a great product! No more self-clean for this girl!

About Me

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I'm a stay at home mom to three beautiful children: Stephen, Samuel, and Elizabeth. I simply ADORE cooking and love trying out new recipes. My goal is to master several different world cuisines. I enjoy sewing, especially for my daughter! Lastly, I am a woman on a mission: to prove, once and for all, that blondes ARE smart. ;-)

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