Tuesday, 24 December 2013

On the 12th Day of Christmas

On the 12th Day of Christmas Nathan's true love gave to him....
a $12 Amazon gift card - to be used to purchase books for his Kindle to read on our upcoming cruise!

I accidentally ordered the French version - oops!

And that concludes the 12 Days of Christmas - just in time for the real deal tomorrow!
I had a great time, the kids had a great time, and Nathan secretly enjoyed it too :)

Monday, 23 December 2013

On the 11th day of Christmas

On the 11th Day of Christmas I gave my true love 11 dark chocolate covered almonds.
Of course, he asked if it was the 77th day of Christmas.  Hardy har har.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

On the 10th Day of Christmas

On the 10th Day of Christmas Nathan's true love gave to him....
a $10 iTunes gift card.
This took a little more creativity in order to actually have something for him to open.  For some reason, iTunes doesn't sell $10 gift cards in stores, unless you get a 3 pack.  Well, I didn't want a 3 pack. So, I "re-used" one of Olivia's old gift cards so he had something to open, and then ordered the $10 gift card online for actual use.  Tada!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

On the 9th Day of Christmas.....

On the 9th Day of Christmas I gave my true love 9 chocolate kisses.
Due to my first born personality, there are precisely 3 red, 3 white, and 3 silver wrapped kisses in this package.

Friday, 20 December 2013

On the 8th Day of Christmas....

On the 8th Day of Christmas Nathan's true love gave to him.....
an $8 Tim Horton's gift card.  Starbucks and Tim's can duke it out.
After the truck scratching incident I think Tim's might have a slight edge.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

On the 7th Day of Christmas....

On the 7th Day of Christmas I gave my true love.....
a $7 Starbucks gift card.
Unfortunately, when he decided to use it, he received a 5' long scratch on the side of his truck due to an unnoticed garbage can that stuck out really far in the drive thru lane.  That was one costly $7 gift card!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

On the 6th Day of Christmas

On the 6th Day of Christmas Nathan's true love gave to him......
a 6 pack of Diet Coke in glass bottles.
Ideally, I wanted Diet Pepsi - I found Coke, Pepsi, and Diet Coke, but not Diet Pepsi.  Oh well, I guess this will do. :)
The kids are loving this almost as much as we are!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

On the 5th Day of Christmas.....

On the 5th day of Christmas Nathan's true love gave to him.......

5 mint chocolates!

When we were at Olive Garden recently we asked if they knew of a place where we could purchase their mints.  The waitress said they're made by Andes Chocolates and that the Bulk Barn sells them.  So, I headed to the Bulk Barn to get some for the 12 Days of Christmas.  But they didn't have them.  I even asked - they knew what I was talking about, but said they didn't get any this Christmas.  These were the closest I could find - hopefully they taste ok!

Monday, 16 December 2013

On the 4th Day of Christmas....

 On the 4th day of Christmas, I gave my true love....
4 lottery tickets.
Disclaimer: We don't do lottery tickets.  Aside from fundraising type lottery tickets and silent auctions, I don't even remember the last time we bought a lottery ticket.  But I thought it would be a fun gift for this 12 Days of Christmas.
Total winnings?  Zilch.
And that's why you don't spend your hard earned money on gambling kids.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

On the 3rd day of Christmas...

On the 3rd day of Christmas Nathan's true love gave to him.... 

3 Lindor chocolates - his favourite!

There's actually a little story to go along with this one. I thought this day would be the easiest of all days.  Lindor chocolates are Nathan's favourite and they come in these cute packs of 3, so this was the first one I thought of.  Easy!  So I thought.

I could not find them anywhere!

I was sure I had seen them at Walmart, but Friday I looked everywhere - the seasonal chocolate section, the check out aisles, the express checkout aisle (whilst proclaiming "I'm not cutting in line, I'm just looking for something!").  Nada.

So, when we drove home I checked the local grocery...nothing.  I checked the gas station....nope.  I phoned the local flower/balloon/gift store....no.  She suggested a different grocery/gas station in town so I tried there....nothing.

Yesterday was date night and, as is our custom, we went for dinner, then to the book store, and then to a movie.  While we were at the bookstore I snuck out and went to go look for these chocolates at Target.  Nothing.  So, finally I decided to just buy a bigger package and that I would take 3 out and package them as the gift.  Course, now I had another dilemma - I only had my small purse along, so how would I hide this purchase for the rest of our date?  So, I opened up the bag and crammed all the chocolate into my purse and tossed the packaging.  Walking back to the bookstore I passed a Shopper's Drug Mart.  Decided I may as well look.  Sure enough - there they were, and they were even on sale!  Argh!  

So, I bought them.

And the extra Lindor's are just bonus. :)

Fa la la la la, la la la laaaaaaaa.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

On the 2nd day of Christmas.....

On the 2nd day of Christmas, Nathan's true love gave to him.....


two Lindt Intense Mint Dark Chocolate bars (his favourite!)

Friday, 13 December 2013

On the 1st Day of Christmas....

Inspired by my sister doing this for her husband last year, and reminded by my friend Pamela doing it for her husband this year, I've decided to bless my husband with gifts throughout the twelve days of Christmas - or at least, the twelve days leading up to Christmas.  I know they technically start on Christmas Day, but I think it's more fun to give them out before Christmas - both as a fun anticipation of Christmas Day, and as a reminder during this busy season to prioritize the relationships closest to me.

The general idea is that I will give Nathan a gift every day for the next twelve days, and the gift will correspond somehow with the number of the day in the countdown.

Today's gift was one Starbucks Christmas tree ornament - Nathan was recently introduced to their frappuccino and it's his new favourite drink.  Emma hung it up next to one of the two Tim's ornaments already in our tree.

Nathan acted like the idea was a bit silly, but I can tell he really likes it.  I'm looking forward to the next twelve days!

Friday, 1 November 2013

October Dress Project Week 5

And here's Week 5!  Which one is your favourite this week?

#4 is my favourite.

Guess what I am NOT wearing today!! :)

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Book Review: Glittering Promises by Lisa T Bergren

About the book: Lisa T. Bergren's popular Grand Tour series concludes as Cora Kensington journeys farther into Italy, wrestles with a terrible ultimatum from her father, and comes to terms with the Father who will never fail her.

America's newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are tracking the news story of the decade---"Copper Cora," the rags-to-riches girl---and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn't going to claim Will's heart, she might just
try . . .

My Thoughts:  Once again, I was blown away by the quality of Bergren's writing, and by my intense longing to visit Europe, and in particular, Italy.  This was the 3rd and final book in the Grand Tour series (I previously reviewed Glamorous Illusions and Grave Consquences).

It was wonderful to have Cora's story wrapped up in such fitting style.  Occasionally the books do seem to bog down - when you write 3 books that cover only one summer, it would be difficult not to - but, overall, I really enjoyed all the different twists to this storyline.  I did suspect the ending before I read it, but wasn't sure.  It was interesting watching the love triangle change slightly, and thought it was good medicine for Cora to get a taste of what Will had been going through with the Pierre situation.

I think I'm going to have to check out our church library to see if they have any other works by Bergren!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Friday, 25 October 2013

October Dress Project Week 4

Which one is your favourite?

#4 is my favourite

Only one more week to go!

5 Minute Friday - Together

Five Minute Friday5 Minute Friday is somewhat of a "writing flash mob" hosted weekly by blogger Lisa-Jo Baker. Each Friday she selects a subject and your job is to write about it for 5 minutes and link to her post. Whatever comes to mind, even if you aren't sure what the subject is about, don't know anything about it, or haven't ever really thought about it. Just write. For 5 minutes. Doesn't that sound fun?? There's only one rule: After you've linked your post, you MUST visit the person who linked up before you and leave a comment.

Today's topic: Together


I think one of the biggest social problems in society today is that, no matter how many people are around, people feel alone.  Social media has certainly not helped.  We can "friends" and yet not actually talk to or visit anyone for who knows how long, and no wonder we feel lonely!

People need to be together.  God created us for fellowship.

And that is never more true than in the family unit.  We need to spend time together.  Study after study has shown how important a family dinner time, or, if that's just not possible, other types of family time.  The phrase "quality over quantity" is, quick frankly, hogwash.  You can't plan or force quality time to happen just because it's convenient in your day planner.  Spending time together, in as large amounts as possible, is the key to quality time.  Quality time can only happen when you're together.  And it's so often spontaneous, not planned.  Especially when it comes to kids, particularly teenagers.  You need to talk when they're ready to talk, and in order to do that, you have to be available.   If you're not, they'll talk to someone else.

So, take the time to just be.  To be together.

It will never be time misspent!


Friday, 18 October 2013

October Dress Project Week 3

Which one is your favourite?

I think mine is #7

 18 days down, 13 more to go!

Check out Weeks 1 and 2 if you missed it.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Book Review: The Courier of Caswell Hall by Melanie Dobson

About the book: An unlikely spy discovers freedom and love in the midst of the American Revolution.

As the British and Continental armies wage war in 1781, the daughter of a wealthy Virginia plantation owner feels conflict raging in her own heart. Lydia Caswell comes from a family of staunch Loyalists, but she cares only about peace. Her friend Sarah Hammond, however, longs to join the fight. Both women's families have already been divided by a costly war that sets father against son and neighbor against neighbor; a war that makes it impossible to guess who can be trusted.

One snowy night Lydia discovers a wounded man on the riverbank near Caswell Hall, and her decision to save him will change her life. Nathan introduces her to a secret network of spies, couriers, disguises, and coded messages---a network that may be the Patriots' only hope for winning the war. When British officers take over Caswell Hall and wreak havoc on neighboring plantations, Lydia will have to choose between loyalty and freedom; between her family's protection and her own heart's desires.

As both armies gather near Williamsburg for a pivotal battle, both Lydia and Sarah must decide how high a price they are willing to pay to help the men they love.

Part of the American Tapestries™ series: Each standalone novel in this line sets a heart-stirring love story against the backdrop of an epic moment in American history. This is the fifth book in the series.

My Thoughts:  Though the fifth in the American Tapestries series, the books are definitely standalone novels - which is, personally, my favourite type of series.  And historical fiction ranks right up there for me anyway, so this looked like a win/win.  And I was right, I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

I loved watching Lydia's character transform throughout the course of this novel.  I can, thankfully, only imagine what it would be like to watch your country at war with itself - brother against brother, father against son, friend against friend.  Dobson does an incredible job of piecing the history together while weaving a fascinating tale of love, betrayal, loyalty, protection, freedom, and hope.

I'm definitely going to be looking for the other 4 books in this series!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Friday, 11 October 2013

October Dress Project Week 2

Which one is your favourite?

Mine is either 2 or 3, I think.

Friday, 4 October 2013

October Dress Project - Week 1

Every Friday I'm going to post a weekly roundup of the previous week's outfits for the October Dress Project.

I think Week 1 - though short - was a success.

Keep in mind, I do not guarantee there will be no repeats throughout the 31 days!

Here's Week 1 arranged left to right, from Tuesday (Oct 1) to Friday (Oct 4)- which was your favourite outfit?

My favourite was #2!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

From Pinned to Practice - belt

And the October Dress Project is underway!  Feel free to follow me here to monitor my progress throughout the month.

In today's outfit I tied my belt using the "Classic Knot" from 12 Awesome Ways to Knot a Belt I had pinned a long time ago.  The lighting is bad so you can't really see it here though.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Book Review: Eventide by Shelley Shepard Gray

About the Book: A young Amish woman harbors a difficult secret. Does she dare share the truth with the man she hopes to marry?

Elsie Keim doesn't want to be left behind. Her twin sister, Viola, and her older brother, Roman, have both found love and are building lives of their own. But Elsie? She's still stuck at home, being treated like a child. No one seems to consider her a capable woman-all they see are the thick lenses of her glasses, constant reminders that Elsie suffers from keratoconus and is slowly going blind.

Elsie knows there's much more to her than her disease. That's why when a new neighbor, Landon Troyer, shows some interest in her, she doesn't want anything to scare him away . . . even if it means keeping her condition a secret.

Landon is ready to start a new life and feels like Elsie may just be the right woman to start it with. But when Roman steps in and shares the truth about Elsie's illness, Landon is floored. His job is demanding and takes him away from home, sometimes for days at a time. How could he keep up with his responsibilities and take care of Elsie?

My Thoughts: I admit that I had grown tired of Amish fiction, but I've been really enjoying this series by Shelley Shepard Gray (I reviewed the 2nd book in the series here).  It's different than the typical work of Amish fiction, and it's definitely been holding my interest.

Once again, this third installment was no exception.

This story wraps up all the storylines from the previous books.  All of the books can be read as stand alones, but you see the depth to the characters much more if you've them all (that being said, I haven't read Book 1!).

Peter had finally agreed to get the help he needed to overcome his problem with alcohol, but now his wife Marie is seriously ill.

Their daughter Viola will be marrying soon and moving to Brazil as a missionary's wife.

Their son Roman has married Amanda and they've begun a new life together with Amanda's daughter from a previous marriage.

Grandparents Lovina and Aaron finally face their past head on.

And what about Elsie?  Will she find love and the normal she's always wanted to feel, despite her impending blindness?

All these characters live out real life situations, circumstances, and hardships.  They do so as flawed human beings, just like us. They make mistakes, they have wrong motives, they are selfish - but they are pursuing God and growing in maturity along life's journey - through the good times and bad.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Challenge Accepted - ODP in 2 weeks

I first heard of the October Dress Project from my friend Pam, who heard about it last year, but didn't commit to doing it until this year - check out her ODP blog here.  And she's managed to talk me into joining her.

What is the October Dress Project and why would anyone do it?

Here's a snippet from the October Dress Project blog....
Here is the basic idea: for thirty-one days, from October 1st to October 31st, you will build all your outfits around one single dress. You will put this dress on in some way, shape, or form, every time you get dressed.

Why? There are a lot of a different women participating, and each participates for different reasons, but the motto sums it up as 'anti-consumerism, pro-simplicity, anti-conformity, pro-imagination.' This can translate into a lot of different motivations, from an out-of-control wardrobe to a concern for environmental sustainability, from an intellectual exercise to a deep rethinking of what you do with your clothes and why. It encourages thinking of your clothing more creatively as you use one dress as a canvas for the other clothes you have in your wardrobe. It prompts dressing more responsibly as you begin to reevaluate the versatility of a single garment. It helps you to cut away the clutter surrounding personal worth, body image, and consumer culture (one of the first thing many people notice is that no one else notices them wearing the same dang thing every day!) It gives you a starting point to begin challenging cultural norms of buying habits and our perception of needs.

I'm a little nervous about this project because, although I have quite a few clothes, I don't have many accessories, nor do I have a tremendous eye for fashion, particularly when it comes to layering and accesories. I'm a more than a little concerned that I'm not going to be able to make the dress look that different from day to day.

But that's also exactly the reason why I'm doing it.  I want to get more creative in my clothing choices, and putting outfits together, and utilizing the items that I already have in new ways.

I am, however, giving myself two exception clauses.....
1) Nathan and I have a trip planned to Minneapolis to watch the Jets play.  I must wear my Jets jersey to this event.  I will try to make it work with my dress, but if I can't make it work, I won't wear it to the game - but then I will wear the dress one extra day at the end of the challenge to make up for it.
2) Due to this trip, I am allowing myself to shop at the Albertville outlets and the Mall of America.

So, with those two caveats in place, here is the dress I'm going to use for the challenge.

Unfortunately, it's navy instead of black, but I'm hoping it will work out well anyway.  I believe I got it from Kohl's.

I admit, I may be picking up a couple of accessories with this dress in mind on our church's ladies retreat in Fargo this weekend. :)

Well, here goes nothin'!

Starting October 1st, you can check out my outfits for the October Dress Project here.


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