Monday, December 31, 2012

Farewell 2012

I can't believe it's already the end of 2012. It seems like this year has just flown by as I look over it. As with every year this year was filled with it's ups and downs. But I am thankful for all the good and here's my top 10 list for 2012 favorites:

  1. Levi turned 1 years old and Lucas turned 5 (yes, I'm rolling these into one as they are equally important)
  2. Lucas started preschool
  3. Me and Josh celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary and 7 years together.
  4. We got our puppy Gizmo.
  5. We moved
  6. Me and hubby each got Ford Taurus's which we have always wanted
  7. We moved
  8. We celebrated the births and birthdays of many loved ones and friends.
  9. I have made a lot of new bloggy friends, and gotten lots of blog opportunities which I am very thankful for.
  10. And most of all I am extremely happy and thankful for family and friends to have them not only in 2012 but in the years to come. :)
So that's just my top 10 faves. I always get nostalgic at the end of the year looking over the memories and seeing how the kids have grown. :) 

I missed Happy Homemaker Monday also, today I know, but due to hubby's crazy work schedule after the holidays we had to make up for grocery shopping and errands earlier. No way do we get out once it starts getting late on New Year's Eve or even New Years. We will be spending our time inside and together. Tomorrow will finally be doing some home re-arranging and playing games together before hubby goes back to work again to start a long work week on Tuesday.
I do urge you to go visit Sandra's Happy Homemaker Monday and visit all the other participants located on her Mister Linky: http://familycorner.blogspot.com/2012/12/happy-homemaker-monday-goodbye-2012.html

So now I will leave you with a Happy New Year. I hope you all have a fun, relaxing, and safe holiday!





Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! 2012

I can't get over the fact that it is already Christmas Eve! This year has just flown by so fast I can't believe it. But that's how years go. Just when you get ready to look back over the year it's done and gone.

We're spending a quiet evening at home. Luckily we finished our Christmas shopping early, and while I have a few gifts to still wrap there aren't many left.
The one downfall of this Christmas is both the boys have now gotten a cold. They woke up like that yesterday. One thing that's keeping them in good spirits is that yesterday we went and picked up the newest addition to our family.

Meet...
Gizmo 
our 8 week old Havanese puppy


He is a happy little puppy and has already bonded with all of us. He follows the boys around wherever they go, and we can tell they are just going to be the best of friends. He's doing pretty well for only being away from his litter for 24 hours and I'm hoping he continues doing so good. We are all attached to each other already, and the boys were just over the moon when they seen him. It was after all the main thing they asked for this year.

Tomorrow we are having a few family members over, but otherwise we are going to spend a quiet easy Christmas just relaxing, enjoying good food, each other's company, and just being all around happy to spend time together. I will be glad to have the hectic-ness of the holidays out of the way. Christmas is my favorite holiday, but oh my is it a busy time.

Anyway, I have some more food prepping to get done, and we're going to be playing a few more board games. We were going to go look at some Christmas light shows nearby, but it is going to be getting colder and with the boys being sick already I don't think it's a good idea.

I hope you are all having a very good Christmas. Feel free to comment below on how you are spending the holidays. I would love to hear what everyone is doing. :)


Sincerely,
Tori




Thursday, December 20, 2012

M.I.A.

I know I haven't blogged for a little while. We've had crazy schedules here lately with appointments just about everyday! Insane. I'm so glad that Lucas is finally on Christmas break so we can all just relax (aside from the normal daily chores that is)! Running too and fro school admist juggling appointments and running errands isn't always easy since there is a time constraint. LOL



Plus it's snowing outside right now and the temperatures all of a sudden dropped compared to yesterday. The wind is fierce and the temperatures frigid. I'm so glad to be in our cozy little place.



I'll be glad to get back into the groove of blogging. I've missed it but at the end of the day I've just been too tired to do anything. I pretty much fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.



In a few days we go pick up our pup. I will be coming back to post pictures as we are so excited about his arrival. I can't wait to see how much he has changed since we went to pick him out. He's going to be bigger and more furry. haha

Anyway I don't have much more time left on this post. I'm putting the kiddos to bed and we are going to crash early. It's been a long cold day, and tomorrow we have an early Christmas dinner with some family so it's already promising to be busy.

If your an author that has has/will have a book coming out feel free to send me an email. I am always looking for new books and authors to discover, and it would help boost some advertising (free). I will also be taking guest posts, and there have been a few whom has sent me an email wanting to do guests post. I'm very sorry but I have not been able to get back to you just yet, but your not forgotten. I will be answering those this weekend. Some got stuck in the Spam folder and I've been organizing my email so you'll be hearing from me soon.

I will also be back to visiting all your blogs as I've missed hearing what all you've been up to!


Happy Holidays!


Sincerely,
Tori

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Prayers...

I was going to write a blog post updated everyone on my week, but I just can't write it today.
My thoughts are still with the families and victims of the CT school tragedy.
My heart breaks, and because there's nothing else I can do, I can pray.
I am angry that such a thing happened, I'm angry with the monster that did this, I'm angry with the schools for  not having a better policy in place on letting people in, I'm angry at the whole situation, but the anger will do nothing but eat us up inside. The fear will ravage us and we can't live in fear for the rest of our lives.
How easy it would be to stay in our homes and keep our children inside where they are safe and only we are around them. How easy it would be to avoid the malls, stores, schools, movie theaters, etc. How easy it would be to avoid life in general. Problem is that we can't avoid life. Whether we choose to move along with it or not, it's going to carry us along with it whether we choose to go willingly or not.
We can't teach our children that avoiding public places that are such a part of everyday life is an okay way to live because it isn't.
I want to pull my kids out of school, I want to home school them, I want to avoid the malls, theaters, etc. I want to shield them from life, and keep them young forever so I can always take care of them. But life isn't as we want it to be, as much as we want it to be.
So my prayers are with the families that lost their children. In particular the parents and siblings who are the most devastated. Nothing anyone can say will make things better, nothing will make them feel better, and nothing will bring their children or loved ones back. All we can do is pray.
We can pray for the families, friends, all who were directly affected by this tragedy.
We can pray for the families and people around the world who, even though they didn't personally know anything about the victims, school, etc, are just as deeply affected and hurt by this tragedy.
I don't understand the cruelty in this world, I don't understand the monsters that walk amongst us or what makes them think that it's okay to take innocent lives, and it's something we'll never understand. But no matter what God will always be there holding our hand just waiting for us to reach out and take hold tight.
And we can pray...


So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
-Isaiah 41:10



Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
-Deuteronomy 31:6




Saturday, December 15, 2012

Heaven Changes Everything

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 084994841X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849948411


::My Thoughts::

Heaven Changes Everything is the perfect devotional to follow the book Heave Is For Real.
In the novel Todd and Sonia Burpo's 4 year old son Colton had a near death experience and actually took a trip to Heaven. He was able to report things that there was no way for him to know, and he described it all in perfect detail. In Heaven Changes Everything it builds on Colton's experiences.
Each chapter has an excerpt from Heaven is for Real which is then discussed in greater detail and discussing events that have since happened since the publication of Heaven is for Real.
Each chapter holds a thought to reflect on, and a bible verse relating to the chapter/excerpt.

If your a fan of Heaven is for Real then this is the perfect book to compliment that, and makes a wonderful devotional.
This book not only discusses the Burpo family but would be a great help for those going through grieving or simply those that want to live every day as if it is their last. This book as well as Heaven is for Real are each the type of books that make you stop and think, count your blessings, and realize what is truly important in life.
This devotional holds 42 inspirational uplifting readings based on excerpts from the novel we all fell in love with upon reading it. Todd and Sonja both have input in this devotional and get to explain their own personal perspectives on the events that unfolded when their son had his out of body experiences in heaven. This devotional coupled with Heaven is for Real offers trust, faith, hope, and proof of God's existence at all times even through our worst struggles. This is a perfect reminder that God is always with us and our loved ones, and just because we can't see Him doesn't mean He isn't real.


::Taken from the back of the book::

How would you live your life differently today if you knew that no matter what happened, everything would be okay, even wonderful, in the end?

Todd and Sonja Burpo's almost-four-year-old son Colton made an unforgettable trip to heaven and back during the darkest, most-stressed-out days of their lives. Times were tough, money was scarce, and the bills, frustrations, and fears were piled high.

The story of Colton's visit to heaven changed their lives--and the book they wrote about it, Heaven Is for Real, gave new hope to millions of readers.

Now, in more than forty unique inspirational readings based on excerpts from their story, Todd, and for the first time ever Sonja, from her perspective as a mom, share what happened next--in their lives and in millions of others. Through their own experiences, and based on the stories hundreds of readers have shared, they show you how believing heaven is for real helps us survive hardships here on earth, including the death of a loved one or the loss of a child through tragedy, miscarriage, and even abortion.

The daily readings provide a powerful reminder that, beyond the hardships we may face in this life, God's incredible gift of heaven awaits us. Imagine being completely fearless on earth because you know that after this life you're going to heaven, and you know, really know, your're going to love it there. That's the promise heaven holds for us.

"Heaven is God's last word--and believing it's real changes everything."







Disclaimer: I received this book for free through Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday #25

It has been a really busy last couple of weeks. Phew...
I feel like I'm still catching my breath! Good news is we at least got up on time today. The last few days our schedules have been so out of whack we've been getting to bed late and waking up late. I do love to sleep in, but when there's things to be done it makes me feel like my WHOLE day is off kilter and I find myself struggling with simple day to day things. Plus being out of schedule does not do well for kiddos. I'm glad they'll be able to resume their normal schedules starting today. Maybe it will help calm them? We've been dealing with some serious sibling rivalry. It doesn't even matter if they have the same thing it's still something to squabble over. Last night we were eating popcorn and they had the exact same amount in the same bowls and they still said one bowl was nicer, or one had more than the other, etc.

My computer crashed last week also which explains why I haven't been on much lately. I tried going to the library to do my posts, but I have to take the kids with me and it didn't go well. I didn't even get one word typed before it was time to zoom out of there before we got kicked out! hah! I did get a new one which I love, but it is taking me some time to get used to it. It's a Toshiba and so far I'm really loving it much better than my Dell.
Anyway, I'll go ahead and get to the Happy Homemaker Post. I'm joining up with Sandra this week as it's Monday again. If you want to join in also just go on over and visit: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom, read her post, and add your name/url to Mister Linky if your doing a HHM post.

CREDIT: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom


::The weather in my part of the world::
It's 37 degrees and so far we had rain in the morning and snow flurries just a bit ago.



::Right now I am::
Sitting on the couch typing this post. Sitting near our beautiful tree. It's so gloomy outside the tree is lit up and it feels so cozy in here. I'm getting ready to get dinner on and get the boys fed, bathed, and settled.
Cartoons are playing on TV for the boys as they play blocks on the floor in front of me.



::Thinking::
How much fun this December has been so far. We have been doing the whole Advent calendar with a special activity, treat, story, or surprise for each day leading up until Christmas. Not only that but we've had the elf on the shelf with us this year. Our elf is Jingle. He's actually a type of heirloom. He is mostly stuffed with wire in his arms so they can move and hold stuff. He has jingles on his shoes and hat. My grandmother had him when I was young and he would always sit on her shelf or mantle. He didn't do the mischievous things he does these days back then, but it's nice to have him around. While the boys still have their tantrums they have been behaving better through the day. I only have to remind them that the elf is watching. LOL
Both are going to be a yearly tradition for us from now on.



::On my reading pile::
Description from the back of the book::  From the author of the number one Canadian bestseller The Birth House comes the story of a young girl abandoned to the streets of post-Civil War New York City.
"I am Moth, a girl from the lowest part of Chrystie Street, born to a slum-house mystic and the man who broke her heart."
Set on the streets of Lower Manhattan in 1871, The Virgin Cure is the story of Moth, a girl abandoned by her father and raised by a mother telling fortunes to the city's desperate women. One summer night, twelve-year-old Moth is pulled from her bed and sold as a servant to a finely dressed woman. It is this betrayal suffered at the hands of her own mother that changes her life forever.
Knowing that her mother is so close while she is locked away in servitude, Moth bides her time until she can escape, only to find her old home deserted and her mother gone without a trace. Moth must struggle to survive alone in the murky world of the Bowery, a wild and lawless enclave filled with thieves, beggars, sideshow freaks, and prostitutes. She eventually meets Miss Everett, the proprietress of an "Infant School," a brothel that caters to gentlemen who pay dearly for "willing and clean" companions—desirable young virgins like Moth.
Moth also finds friendship with Dr. Sadie, a female physician struggling against the powerful forces of injustice, who teaches Moth to question and observe the world around her. The doctor hopes to protect Moth from falling prey to a terrible myth known as the "virgin cure"—the tragic belief that deflowering a "fresh maid" can cleanse the blood and heal men afflicted with syphilis—that has destroyed the lives of other Bowery girls.
Ignored by society, unprotected by the law, Moth dreams of independence. But there's a high price to pay for freedom, and no one knows that better than a girl from Chrystie Street.



::On my TV::
cartoons at the moment
Later I'll probably watch the newest episode of Restaurant Stakeout once the kiddos are in bed.
I also have some movies I want to catch up on this week with one being: The Lucky One.



::On the menu for this week::
Monday- Baked potato soup, salad
Tuesday- Marinated baked pork chops, mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese
Wednesday- Fettuccine chicken Alfredo, garlic bread
Thursday- Tuna casserole
Friday- Grilled steaks, loaded baked potatoes, corn on the cob
Saturday- Irish Stew
Sunday- Mexican Lasagna



::On my to-do list::
I've mostly covered it all besides dinner, and I still have some laundry to put away. Luckily I got it all folded.
I also need to write a letter to one of my best friends. We still try to stay in contact via handwritten letters.



::What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting, or creating::
Nothing really at the moment, although today we made handmade Christmas cards which was really fun for the boys and me. I really need to get to Walmart and pick up some yarn though. I have been yearning to make something. It's been almost a month with no crocheting and I'm going crazy! LOL



::Homemaking tips::
Peroxide has so many uses. Did you know that many doctors use peroxide to clean their offices? You can use peroxide to clean your counters or tables to kill bacteria and leave a fresh scent. You can just pour a little on a dishcloth and wipe.
You can also soak your toothbrushes in peroxide to help kill germs and keep your toothbrushes fresh.
And last but not least is if you have stained coffee mugs or teacups you can add a cap or so of peroxide to your dish load and it will help lift tea and coffee stains away.



::Looking around the house::
The boys are playing blocks on the floor while the Christmas tree glows brightly behind them. I have the blinds open in here, but it's still gloomy despite. It's so frigid outside and at only 37 degrees I'm not sure if I'm ready yet to see how much colder it will get!



::From the camera::
The Christmas Tree at Lucas's preschool. All the kids handmade everything on it (aside from the lights of course)
It's very adorable! Lucas made the gingerbread with the pink hat, he gets to come home right before Christmas break where he'll have a home on our tree next! LOL



::On my Prayer list::
Praying for all those in need this time of year.



::Bible verse/devotional::
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A special guest post from Mark Victor Hansen

Helping kids break their learning barriers

I know of many kids who have certain learning disabilities that hold them back from the rest of their age group.  But I believe that their inability to cope is not a problem born out of being less smart, it's one that is born out of the problem of miscommunication.  Kids with learning disabilities are simply unable to share their genius with the world.  This is where computers come in.

There are many instances where computers have proved that kids with learning disabilities are silent intellects.  An inarticulate child featured on 60 minutes was able to display his emotions and feelings by using the palm top that he'd been given.  With the single press of a button, he could say things like "I'm hungry", "I'm sad" and "I want to see my brother".

The earliest instance I can remember is of one that happened almost ten years ago.  My kids used to go to Kaiser Elementary School.  The principal then, Mrs. Chris Jurenka, paid someone $150,000 to install a bunch of computers so that every child with a learning disability had a computer to work with.  The change was instantaneous.  Every child, who'd been silent for so long, was suddenly communicating with the computer with complete ease, and through the computer, the kids could communicate with other people too.  The school was one with kids coming from many cultures, so many different languages were spoken.  English was a common subject though and Mrs. Jurenka expanded the computer learning program to teach English.  It was as much a success as the first.  The parents were thrilled that their kids were speaking English perfectly and came down to see the computers and tapes.

Computers can help a child unleash his genius, and today, computers are accessible to everyone, whether you can afford to own one or not.  Almost every public library has a computer section.  U.S.A, Canada and most of Europe have public libraries that provide free access.  This ensures that nothing comes in the way of unleashing the genius of each child.



Friday, December 7, 2012

Pink Taffy Designs WINNER!



I just want to take a quick minute to announce the Pink Taffy Designs winner! And now...without further ado...the winner of the customized hanging Wall letters is...

Missy Marie!

Congratulations and Thank You for entering the giveaway!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Marriage of the Heart by Kelly Long ~ Book Review

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; November 6, 2012
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401687563
ISBN-13: 978-1401687564

I don't typically get into novellas. But on the rare chance I will find one that catches my eye. I have nothing personal against them, but I get so invested in the characters, story, etc., and then before I know it the whole thing is over leaving me wanting more.
But because I LOVE all things Amish I decided to give this one a try.
This book is filled with romance, forgiveness, appreciation, deceit, secret adventures, etc.
The first story, A Perfect Secret, follows two lifelong friends and intended's as Rose discovers a secret about Luke that makes her question whether she ever knew him in the first place. Faith is placed in God to come to a conclusion and we are taken on some adventures along the way.
The second story, Christmas Cradles, follows Anna Stolis who goes to help her Aunt by taking over her midwife duties. One baby is even born in a stable just like a very special Christmas past. This story is very uplifting as the characters not only find self-discovery but happiness.
The third story, A Marriage of the Heart, follows two very different Amish characters. When Abigail felt ignored by Joseph she lied about him making inappropriate moves on her. Her lie resulted in a marriage that neither of them wanted. Just as Abigail is looking for a way out Joseph wants in the community so he moves into her home, with her father. Sparks fly between them, and the passion is undeniable although at times they both try to fight it.

I enjoyed all the stories, although I must admit, A Marriage of the Heart was my favorite. It was perhaps due to the fact I felt it was a bit edgier and more exciting than the others. At the end of the book I was wanting more of each story as is typical when I get into a good novella. I would recommend it on the fact that the stories are uplifting, romantic, and faith discovering. Each character grows rapidly in a short amount of time and all for the better. Even though I didn't like a couple of the endings I was pleased with the book all around. Kelly Long does a great job at keeping the reader excited and letting you almost feel the characters emotions.


Available in:   Print   Kindle   Audible Audio Edition   Nook   Audio CD



Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for review purposes. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

December Launch

Oh my what a crazy week last week was! I'm hoping this week is a bit more tame.



It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. I hung up some Christmas lights today around the windows. Just because you live in an apartment doesn't mean you can't decorate right?
I also hung/set up some other Christmas decorations here and there. I have much more to do, but it's feeling really nice. This is my favorite month, and Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I love the snow, the music, the movies, the family time, the joy, I am thankful for the birth of Jesus who saved us all, it's just a wonderful time of year. While we don't have snow yet in Indiana everyone around already have the decorations up and everyone just seems more cheerful all around.

Yesterday we launched our Advent calendar. The kids are really loving the activities for each day, and I think it's going to become a yearly tradition. I did a hand-made calendar this year and for each day I have fun activities planned. Yesterday we wrote letters to Santa, today we're making Christmas Cards, tomorrow we are making snowflakes to hang around the house, then we are reading the story of the birth of Jesus, etc. There are many good ideas for making your own advent calendar on Pinterest, and to be honest it's a lot better to make one (I think anyway) than buy one. Mine only cost me $2. I'll try to post pictures of it for tomorrow's Happy Homemaker Monday post. I'll be joining Sandra again from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom. :)
BUT...if I don't happen to get the pic of it posted tomorrow I will get it posted this week so you guys can see what it looks like. Tomorrow is just promising to be a VERY busy day for us around here. I'm struggling to make it through my to-do list today so I'll have less to do tomorrow and it's a bit overwhelming. Still once it's all done and completed the feeling of accomplishment will be worth it. I would rather be overwhelmed today with chores than tomorrow when we have school, doctor's appointments, etc on top of it all. Just thinking about it is exhausting me. haha

I did have a recent scare the other night and suddenly started having chest pains. It was unlike anything I'd ever felt. I'd been having sharp stabbing pains off and on for the last week, but pegged it down to stress. I mean let's face it, as much as we love the holidays they do come with their fair share of stress. My right arm went numb, chest felt like daggers were repeatedly offending me, I couldn't breathe, couldn't move, etc. Considering I was alone with the boys it was even more terrifying. Even when sitting I couldn't shake it. As soon as hubby got home we had my mom sit with the boys while I went to get checked. I have pleurisy. They doctors could give me no reason why I would have such a thing so I have to follow up with my family doctor. They prescribed some hospital strength ibuprofen to help with the inflammation and thankfully it's non-drowsy.

ANYWAY, I have some reviews coming up. One I'm hoping to get posted at least later on today, given I can get through my to-do list. Anyway guess I better get back to it. Sorry for the such short post.

Sincerely,
Tori
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