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3.30.2013

<< my week in review: 3/22-26

InstaFriday InstaSaturday
The weekly post of the stories behind my Instagram photos.

My to do list for Friday.
I sure did have fun opening my random box and seeing all the fun
things Gayle sent me and reading the post she wrote about the box
that I sent to her.

Sarah's to do list for our slumber party.
I promised Sarah ever since we got our new couch last Monday that we could
have a slumber party in the family room on Friday night.

We started out watching Hairspray, but didn't get 10 minutes in when Sarah
decided she didn't want to watch it. I have to admit, I was surprised that
it was only PG and I was glad she wasn't interested in it.
Fortunately I also rented Akeela and the Bee.
Now that was a good movie.

Saturday morning the girls and I went over to my sister's place and 
surprised her for her birthday breakfast in bed.
She was expecting the breakfast in bed. It's a tradition.
She just wasn't expecting us to be there. That was fun.

Do you see the bow in our wall? We've lived with it and the awful wallpaper
for long enough. The new couch has me motivated to tackle that wall.

Not to mention my cute new headband and gloves from Gayle.
She's right. I put them on and I just want to get things done.

I was going along, scraping the old 70's wallpaper and sizing off the wall 
when I it occurred to me, hey, that's not wallpaper, that's paint. I'm scraping 
the primer off of the top of the sheet rock. No wonder it was taking so long.

I'm not sure that our wall can recover from this.
I'm pretty sure that wallpaper is a tool of the devil.

You know the movie The King's Speech? And the wall in the speech therapist's office?
I'm seriously considering that look to cover a multitude of sins.

On Monday night I did this. We were going on a road trip the next day so
I got some snacks for the trip. I thought it would be fun to ration them 
in Easter eggs instead of plastic bags. Trail mix, gold fish, fruit snacks, all in little 
plastic eggs. At the start of the trip I gave each of the kids their
bag of snacks and told them it had to last the entire trip. It worked great.

And Tuesday morning we were on our way!

We saw this bus while we were on the road. And we wondered, 
if the coaches are in that bus, where's the bus with the Badger players?
#roadtriphumor

Ah, yes. Chicago traffic.

 Here's a view out the balcony of the guesthouse we stayed in with some friends.
I'm going to save the rest of the week's insta pictures for their very own post about our trip.
We sure did have fun!

That's a peek into my week. How was your week?

 I'm @annebickle, linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.
(Except this week it's Saturday because on Friday we were on our way back from Chicago.)


3.23.2013

The Random Box Exchange

Look what I got in the mail the other day!

It's a random box!
For the Random Box Exchange.

"What is a Random Box Exchange?" you might ask.

Here's the back story to this Random Box Exchange:
I found Gayle's blog through a linky thingy. I don't remember which one.
She looked like a nice girl with a nice blog, so I added her to my reader.
I confess I don't always read all the blogs I add to my reader.
But one of her posts in my reader caught my eye. It was titled
I am sort of random, and I like exchanging gifts, so naturally it intrigued me.
I read the post and commented that it sounded like fun and I would have 
to find a gift exchange to join sometime.
It might have been the first time I commented on her blog, I don't remember.
The point is, I didn't know her, she didn't know me. Not in person. Not in the bloggy blog world.
She replied back "you, me, Random Box Exchange. Just sayin'."
I didn't realize that you can do that, you know,
exchange gifts with a complete stranger for no reason.

And that is what a Random Box Exchange is: exchanging boxes randomly.
Random boxes to random people for random reasons.
I think that's what it is, anyways.

My husband and son thought it was weird.
"So your sending this girl in Texas all this stuff and you don't even know her?"
"Yep."
"Why would you do that?" my son asked.
"What if she isn't really a woman from Texas?" my husband asked.

I found out that her birthday was in March, so I sent her a birthday themed box full of all the things she needs to celebrate her birthday including a piece of birthday cake.
I had so much fun putting it together and sending it. I really was very giddy putting it together.
I was pretty sure that was the best gift I could get, just a chance to try to bless someone else with gifts.

And then I got my box in the mail.

With the sweetest note that made my heart smile.
She did her homework.
Here's what Gayle sent me in the random box:
---
Fun gloves and a fun headband for cleaning fun.
She'd read my blog enough to know that I am not good at deep cleaning.
Hopefully these will help make it more bearable.
At least they'll help me look super cute while cleaning.
I feel like Rosie the Riveter with the hairband.
"We Can Do It!"
---
Coffee.
Gayle's a coffee drinker too. Since she knows I like mine black, she also knows I like mine good.
---
Coffee Cozy.
I've admired those knitted coffee cozies, they're so cute. 
But I've always talked myself out of buying one because I thought to myself that I could make one.
Then of course I never do, so I've never had one. 
Now I have one.
---
Werther's Apple Pie Candy.
I couldn't even get a picture of the candy, it was gone before I started taking pictures.
It was good with coffee though. And without coffee, too.
---
Relaxing mints.
She knows that with three kids, a job, a hubby and all the other things I've got going on, I need a little bit of relaxation.
And truth be told, as a coffee drinker, I need the mints.
---
Candle.
This little candle smells won.der.ful. Like lemon grass. Like spring.
Which is something I'm really longing to smell these days.
---
Post-Its.
I don't know if she knew this, but I have post-its all over to remind me of things.
If I don't write it down, I don't remember it.
I probably could use my notes app on my phone, but I'm old school like that. I like paper products.
I love these cute little post-its. They will soon be plastered all over my steering wheel.
---
Jesus Today devotional.
The subtitle for the book is Experiencing Hope Through His Presence
Hope is a big one for me. I needed hope. I have hope.
I've heard a lot about Jesus Calling, and I am looking forward to diving into this devotional by the same author. 
---
Water bottle.

I need to drink more water. This is going to help me.
I love the verse that she wrote with it:
"They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. 
It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green. 
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. 
Jeremiah 17:8"
I'm pretty sure she doesn't know details of the particular drought that we are 
going through right now as I haven't posted about it, but that verse was just right.
--- 
Now, wasn't that fun?!
And random.
And such a blessing. 
For both of us, I think.
I'm so glad I got a chance to get to know Gayle.
She is a super sweetie.
I can check that off my to do list now.
---
It's cool how this little bloggy blog has connected me with complete strangers that God has used to remind
me of His faithfulness during times of drought.
And of His lovingkindness through Random Box Exchanges.

---

Go on over to her blog and take a look at what I sent her.

3.22.2013

<< my week in review: 3/15-21

InstaFriday
The weekly post of my Instagram photos and the stories behind them.

Sometimes McDonald's makes everything better.
Like last Friday morning. Sarah had a hard, sad morning.
She was running late, the walking friends left without her, 
and she didn't have time to have breakfast.
Everything was just going horribly wrong for her.
I drove her to school, and on the way, I decided that it would 
be okay if she was tardy. I took her to McDonald's.
We had Egg McMuffins.
And the world was right again.

More Mexican Train over the weekend.
I dominated.
For real this time.

I found out that this place delivers.
So happy.
It's pricey though, so we ordered this one for JD and me, then went
to the grocery store and picked up a cheap take and bake
pepperoni for the kids. 
Is that so wrong?

Sunday was another volleyball tourney.
The girls came from behind to win their semi-final game, in a tie-breaker 
match with Kaitlin serving 10 points in a row. 
Then, in the championship game, the girls came back again, forcing
another tie-breaker match. Again Kaitlin had a great series of serves.
But they came up short.
They did great to place second, but it's still hard to smile for cameras
right after an emotional loss.

Dear Back Porch,
I miss you. 
I can't wait to spend time with you again.

It snowed so heavy on Monday that I decided not to make the 24 mile drive to work.
Fortunately I had brought some things home that I could work on.

Also fortunately, I got to be at home when this truck came to our door.

My before and after pictures.

Before: 
Furnished with all the stray pieces of furniture that we have accumulated over the years from various 
places, I was not very inspired to decorate.

After:
Now I'm super pumped up to decorate.
I wish I could do it all at once, but I'll need some patience as we have a little thing called a budget.
Still, I ran out to Target in a snow storm and picked up shoe racks to make into an end table and a lamp as well as some fun stuff for the mantel.
And for the first time ever, we have a sleeper couch! Now we can help out friends of friends 
who need a place to stay when they go to Mayo Clinic.

Here's a close up of the new ottoman. It's faux furry.
Our feet love it.

I like to be just a little bit different. Eclectic. Rebellious. Whatever.
I didn't want to choose a pattern that I like today but that I would
tire of in less time than the furniture lasted. 
I didn't want to go with a solid color and limit myself to a scheme.
So I went with monochromatic furry.

"I love it," I said as we sat there with our feet up. "It's unique."
"The nice thing about this is that it won't go out of style," my husband
said, "because it was never really in style."
I'm totally okay with that.

I was in Trader Joe's when I got tagged with #widn on Instagram.
(That's What I'm Doing Now, for those who don't speak #hashtag.)
Right at that very moment I was looking for orzo. I couldn't find it 
anywhere. I recruited a nice lady to help me find it. She couldn't find 
it either. Then I found a kind worker man and asked him if they 
had any orzo. As soon as he came, I saw it. Right there 
in front of me.

The very last bag in the store. 

When I got home I looked closer at the instagram picture of the person who tagged me. 
Her #widn picture involved lots of piles of laundry. 
And it really made me feel good, you know, to see someone else's piles of laundry.
Like, I'm not the only one who has piles of laundry. 
I think it has something to do with how misery loves company.
So I thought I'd do a #reallifelaundry hashtag, you know, for anyone who needs company. 
Go ahead and post your own #reallifelaundry pictures. 
Think of it as a ministry opportunity.
And if you think laundry is misery, find some company at #reallifelaundry.

Piles of laundry on my family room floor. Pretty much every day.
Clean laundry gets brought into the family room, and the rule is [supposed to be] that if you are watching
TV, you need to be working on laundry if there's any to be worked on.
It gets sorted according to who's it is. It gets folded. But it only sometimes gets upstairs.

Kaitlin's friend came over to help her make an atom model.
That's what friends are for.

 I'm getting my Easter on for the Spring Party at work.
I strung these eggs into a garland. Such an easy decoration. I promised Sarah that after the party, we'd
use them for an Easter egg hunt. She couldn't wait until then, so I hid three eggs in the living room for
her to find. She was appeased.

Food coloring + vinegar + boiling water = beautiful colors.
But I thought that they looked a little chalky.
For eggs that don't look chalky, rub some oil on them.

That reminds me of a song that my son has just introduced me to:
Rub Some Bacon On It.


I even made some Resurrection Rolls for my old people.
Wow. The lengths I go to.

I'd never made them before and I can tell you this:
I won't make them with crescent rolls if I ever
make them again. Almost all the rolls split open.
I drizzled them with frosting to cover up the holes,
but "Ugh!" Still, the old people loved them.

Resurrection Rolls are empty in the middle, just like the empty tomb. 
They're made by rolling dough around a marshmallow dipped in butter and cinnamon & sugar. 
It's important to get a really, really, really good seal on the dough.
They're still edible, but not as pretty, if you don't.

Look at them. They're party animals. Literally.
We celebrated the first day of spring with a Spring Party. 
I brought my print from the 2006 Easter Egg Roll at the White House to show them. (It's hanging in the
background of this picture.) I told them all about our time there, and the history of the Easter Egg Roll. Then I had them roll their eggs along the tables. It was pretty funny. They didn't know they were playing
for bunny ears. Maybe they wouldn't have tried so hard if they did. 

We were celebrating spring, but this was the weather on the first day/week of spring.
(Please pray for me, that I could experience some warm temps in the near future.)

Those drinks are smoking.

Wednesday I went out with a good friend for some girl time.
I need to do that more often.

Did you know Siri spells with a Minnesota accent?

I laughed when I saw her spelling for "bag."
When I lived in New York, I asked my friend if my
gym clothes made me look like a bag.

"A what?" she asked, completely confused.

"A bag," I said.

Still she looked like she couldn't understand a word I was saying.

"A grocery bag," I said.

"Oh, you mean a baaaaaag. I thought you were saying beg."

Bag / beg / baig.
Same thing.

Working on InstaFriday during my lunch break.
That's how I get it done.

I got my random box exchange package in the mail from Gayle!
JD sent me a text at work telling me it came. 
I couldn't wait to get home to open it.
Stay tuned for a post with all the details.

How was your week?

I'm @annebickle, linking up with @jeanettg for InstaFriday.


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