Tuesday, March 29, 2011

And the self tanner of the year award goes to...


Congratulations! Your grand prize is a trip to allovermybody. Because you are truly wonderful and you have exceeded all my expectations. I am sporting a healthy glow, I'm feeling skinnier (even though I'm not), and I'm shouting your praises to all corners of the earth.

This product really is great if you are pale and feeling low and in need of a good pre-summer tan. An instant pick-me-up. It's a foaming moisturizer, so it goes on like shaving cream and it dries in literally 30 seconds. So you don't feel like you've put on anything. (I hate feeling all gunkified like I do when I put lotion all over.)

Now, I must say... the smell is... not so great. At all. BUT when it dries, the smell goes away, so if you can stand it for 30 seconds, you're GOLDEN. Golden BROWN, that is! Because you'll be looking tan and delicious in no time! Go get you some!

Thank you for letting me be superficial and ridiculous for one post.

(And Mr. Jergen, I will gladly accept compensation for this amazing review.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blessed indeed.

Thank you all for your sweet comments on my last post. I am just now getting to update, although most of you I'm sure have heard the stories by now and have seen and been a part of the overwhelming support! You are all so generous and giving and my family is forever grateful.

Thursday is a day that lives were changed forever; my aunt Amanda lost her home and everything she owned, minus a laptop, a Disney World photo album, and a picture of her kids' hands that was given to her on Mother's Day about 7 years ago; these were the 3 things she managed to grab while leaving the house. Only 45 minutes later, everyone watched as her beautiful home came crashing to the ground. Everything in it. Gone. In an instant.

I am glad I was not at home (as in Florence) during the actual fire. I just don't think I could take seeing something like that. I can't imagine how it felt for Amanda, her husband, and their 3 children (Annsley, 13; Ann Marie, 10; and sweet Charlie, 7). Amanda and Chad, thankfully, were the only ones home at the time. Charlie was riding the tractor with my Grandaddy and the girls were being picked up at school by my other aunt, Kristi, who also lives on the Compound. I am so, so thankful that the fire did not start during the night; the fireman said it happened so quickly that it is likely that no one would have made it out of the house. That is unbearable to even think about, so I just praise God that it happened during the day.

I was able to go up the next morning (Friday) and spend time with the family all day Friday and Saturday, and there was an overwhelming sense of peace and gratitude amidst the obvious devastation. There were so many people who came to support Amanda; friends from church who immediately showed up just to be there; friends who brought food; people immediately showed up with clothing and donations, and within a few hours Charlie man had new work boots, a new tractor & excavator collection, and even a pair of Crocs! The girls were able to go to Target with some sweet angel friends and buy necessities. All day Friday we saw people giving, giving, giving, and it was truly amazing to see such love for my family.

Here are some of the things that I don't want to forget:

-There were 2 young men who showed up at the beginning of the fire and they asked if the cars were in the garage; my grandaddy told them yes, but that they couldn't go in, but they ran into the smoke-filled garage anyway and backed my aunt and uncle's 2 vehicles out. They asked if there was anything else they could do, and then they left a short time later. We don't know who they were.
-When the house was ablaze, there were about 6 fire departments called in to help. During all of this, a lady showed up with a bag of hamburgers from McDonald's for the firemen. A little act of kindness that will be forever remembered. Another man showed up with a box of frozen corn dogs and a bag of frozen french fries. Said his wife didn't have time to cook. He just did what he could do; no one asked him to do anything at all. He just showed up. Blows my mind!
-There was a man who came to my grandparents' house afterwards and handed my aunt $100 cash. No one knew who he was, and he said he didn't know anyone involved. He told my aunt that his house has burned a year ago and that he "knew how she felt." He handed her the money. And then he was gone.
-Charlie, on Friday morning, made a list on his yellow legal pad of things they "needed" to build a new house. The first things on his list were windows and doors. Bless him.
-Charlie was also convinced that the house-building crew was going to come first thing Friday morning and build them a new house. Mom said it was so sweet listening to him talking about it. They told him they'd have to wait until it quit smoking. Saturday morning he woke up and said, "I think it quit smoking, now. I guess we can build our house today." I love him! It'll happen before you know it, Charlie man!
-A lady from down the street that knows our family showed up with a Target bag full of new excavators, bull dozers, tractors, etc. for Charlie.
-The photographer who took all of Amanda's children's portraits happened to still have all the negatives and is going to replace all of her photos and framed prints. :)
-The 8th grade class (Annsley's class) took up a collection of over $700 on Friday alone and used some of it to buy the entire family new Bibles.
-The Crosspoint family took care of some of the family's upcoming expenses, including Annsley's mission trip and cheerleader camp, and Ann Marie's church camp fees.
-A friend has given them the gift of hotel nights at the Marriott Hotel in Florence.
-A friend bought the family a new Canon DSLR camera, memory cards, a camera bag.
-The manager at Best Buy in Florence, Brandon, DONATED an iPad (which is what my uncle used constantly to do his work, stuff for church, fun stuff for the kids, etc.) as well as $100 in iTunes gift cards. We do not even know Brandon. (He was told about the fire by the same friend that bought the family the new camera.)
-There were, like I mentioned before, COUNTLESS people who brought food, who sent gift cards, who brought clothing, shoes, toys, toiletries, who called to ask what they could do, etc. We are FOREVER grateful for these people and you will never know how much you are appreciated and how much this helped my aunt and uncle get through this. You know who you are!

I made this video late Friday night and I want everyone to watch it. There are several pictures of the aftermath, the ashes, the intensity of the flames and what the fire was able to destroy in such a short amount of time. But even more importantly is the message of hope that is clearly portrayed, even amidst the devastation and despair. The message that CHRIST IS OUR HOPE. That we have such an incredible gift in HIM. The gift of CHRIST is the ultimate gift, and I pray that we can all say, like the song says, "Take my very life away as long as I get Him." Because He is truly all we need. He calls us His own and He rescues us. He offers us life. Heaven. Himself. And in the words of a friend, "protection from the fires that threaten our very souls." What a gift we have in Jesus. His word gives us promise after promise of God's goodness, of His sovereignty, and of His divine protection; and I have seen it so clearly in the last few days.

[Music is "In Your Arms" by The Church at Brook Hills, and vocals are by the sweet and talented Mandi Mapes.)

This I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:23)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Please pray.


This is my aunt's home. I just so happened to take this picture this past weekend while I was home, and now I am glad that I did.

Their house is burning to the ground as I type this, and I beg your prayers for their family. Everyone is safe, but the days, weeks, months ahead will be difficult, to say the least.

So thankful that this earth is only our temporary home. May we never lose sight of that simple truth.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

I just have to post this while the recipe is still fresh on my mind!

I made this last night and it was FAN-TASTIC! I am not a huge fish person but if you've ever made tilapia, you know it is not incredibly fishy-tasting and it is also really healthy! And I love recipes that require me to buy almost nothing - I had everything on hand for this one, except for the fish. This recipe is from AllRecipes.com and if you are not familiar with this site, go there now! They have great recipes, a recipe box where you can save your favorites, and each day they e-mail you something new to try!

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

1/2 cup Parmesan
1/4 cup softened butter
3 Tbsp mayo
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp celery salt
1/8 tsp onion powder
Tilapia fillets

Preheat your oven to BROIL (high).
Mix the first 8 ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. This is your "topping" for the fish.
Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray (I used aluminum foil and sprayed the foil.)
Season both sides of your fillets with salt and pepper (I actually used paprika and garlic salt for this step, instead of salt and pepper, and I loved the result!)
Place the fillets on the baking sheet and broil for 2 minutes, then flip them over, and broil for another 2 minutes.
Take them out of the oven, and cover each fillet with a generous amount of your Parmesan sauce.
Put back under the broiler and broil for another 2-3 minutes or until the cheese sauce is turning brown and getting bubbly.
Serve immediately!

This was soooo YUMMY! Hope you all enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sam at 9 Months

Sam was 9 months old a week ago and I am behind on posting, so here's the skinny on my chubster at this age...

He weighs around 21 pounds I believe, although I still haven't even scheduled his checkup.
He is ROLLING from his stomach to his back. That's right! I said it! At 9 months he has finally ROLLED OVER. Yay for Sam! Haha...

The rolling has caused some difficulty in the tummy time/learning to crawl department, because now I have to constantly sit with him during his tummy time, otherwise he just rolls to his back. The only time he'll really stay on his tummy for a while is if he can watch Baby Einstein on my phone or on Chad's laptop. He does draw his legs up and push with his feet like he wants to army crawl, but is still pretty weak in the upper body department (arms, neck) and top heavy so he's not actually moving himself yet. And as much as I want him to move and catch up on his motor skills, I am still thankful that I can lay him on my bed to take a shower and be confident that he will not go anywhere! There is always something to be thankful for!
He is putting lots more weight on his legs and will stand for several seconds in my lap; he loves the exersaucer now and will play and bounce in it for as long as 30 minutes! This is a great improvement for Sam. He is sitting up without support and can sit for several minutes (15-20) and play. He'll usually fall to one side or the other and get stuck in a horribly uncomfortable-looking position and still not make a peep; he won't cry or fuss or anything; he'll just sit there until someone sees him and can help him up. That's my laid back little Sambo. Never wants to disturb the peace.

He is on Prevacid for his reflux which is finally proving to work. He takes 4 bottles a day, 6 ounces each, and usually eats baby food 3 times a day. He loves the Gerber spaghetti and any fruit and HATES chicken noodle and anything with beef. He also HATES table food. Puffs, cheerios, biter biscuits, we've tried everything and he is just not interested at ALL. He actually gags if he has anything remotely solid in his mouth. He'll even close his mouth and purse his lips really tightly if he sees we're trying to put something in his mouth that he doesn't want. Ha!

He is wearing size 4 diapers and mostly 12-18m clothes. He is riding in his rear facing convertible car seat and seems to love it; he just looks out the window the entire time unless he is sleeping. His favorite toys are anything on a linky rings chain that he can chew, his Fisher Price baby basketball goal and his colorful spinning gears toy. Anything he can bang on that makes noise in return is good enough for him.

He says "Da-Da" all the time and has pushed out a "Mmmmaa" during some tired crying fits, but I'm working on his "Ma-Ma" every day and he better have it down soon! There's nothing like hearing that first intentional "Mama" from your baby!
He can "clap his feet" on command (usually) and is attempting to clap his hands when we do "pat-a-cake." It's so cute to watch him try. He will also shake his head "no" and nod "yes," not on purpose of course, but he'll get in a mood where he'll want to shake or nod and we'll ask him questions and let him do one or the other; it is hilarious. I need to post a video. He can buzz his lips and make a clicking noise with his tongue to "call Lucy."

He is super laid back and sweet and snuggly. He has an undying affection for his Mama-dearest and he knows when I am not in the room, that is for sure! He also still has an undying affection for hair - anyone's hair, including his sister's, which he finds oh so fascinating. The other day they were both sitting on my bed and he grabbed her by the hair and literally PULLED her head into his lap. And when he wants something, he'll get it, and he'll put a death grip on it; Mary Ella could not get up and was screaming "Nooooo SAMMM! NOOOO" and Chad came running into the room because I was laughing too hard to help her. He just likes hair, that's all! Funny Sam.

Well, that's all I can think of for our 9 month update. I'll have to post the pictures later! I'm out of time for today!

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