Saturday, February 19, 2011

Days of Play: GAK!

If you want some adventurous, tactile fun, whip up a bowl of GAK! and have a gooey good time!
Source: Our Best Bites
Our Best Bites (<----Click that link) has the fun GAK recipe!

Want to play but don't have borax, click here to get my ooblich recipe (cornstarch + water = fun).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Date Night {OUT}--Around Town

Last weekend my daughter was at her grandparent's house.  Being down one kid, we decided to do a date night out.

Since it was a last minute date, we resorted to the movie idea.  But then we decided there was really nothing we wanted to see.  So Matt whipped up this fun date idea!

He wrote down six different silly challenges and put them in a hat.  We then took off driving and listening to fun music.  As he drove, I pulled out a challenge.  When we finished each activity, we pulled out another.  The challenges took us to six different locales, got us laughing, got us out of the house, and was relatively inexpensive.

So if you want a night out on the town, consider modifying these challenges (or making up your own).

Challenge #1--Go to Matt's office and play three rounds of pictionary.  Winner gets five minutes of back tickles.

Challenge #2--Go to a bookstore.  Take 10 minutes to find the following: a book your spouse would hate, a book your spouse would love BUT would never admit to loving, and the sexiest book you can find (that isn't from the "self-help" sex area).  After 10 minutes, sit down and share why you chose what you chose and why.

Challenge #3--Go to a place you've never been before and order a drink (this can be a restaurant, bar, coffee shop ... just go somewhere new)!

Challenge #4--Go to Target, Wal-Mart, etc.  Take 10 minutes to find something that your spouse would be SUPER embarrassed to buy (giant underwear, anyone?).  Don't buy it but have a good laugh!

Challenge #5--Drive to the park.  Find a song on the radio and turn it way up.  Open the car doors and share a dance together!

Challenge #6--Take $1.50 each and go into a convenience store.  Buy your spouse something for dessert.  Drive to a remote location, hold hands, and eat dessert in the car. Talking with your mouth full encourage.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Things I Love: Ballet Flats

Not so long ago I did a bit of a diatribe on why I can't stand it when people wear tennis shoes all day, with every outfit.  If you want to read my thoughts, click here.

Anyhow, one of the fastest and easiest ways to pull an outfit together is with your shoes (and accessories, but I digress).  

Ballet flats are my favorite type of shoes (and this makes my boots sad).  They are comfortable, versatile and fun!  And the best part, you can find them really cheap!  (Don't misconstrue what I'm saying, you can totally find ballet flats for $500 but why would you want to?!?!?).

If you want to a quick wardrobe fix, pick up a pair (or five) of ballet flats!

FYI--All of these flats are from Target and ALL of them are under $20!  Snap!

Yes, those are my black, bow Target ballet flats.  I love them.

Things I love--BALLET FLATS!

How about you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What I Think About--Birthdays (Please join me for a pity party)

While I was doing my LOVE IS challenge a monumental event came and went with little attention.

No, I'm not talking about Puxatony Phil (although the days are the same); I'm talking about my birthday.
When I was growing up my parents made our birthdays special.  Of course I mean "special" in the 1980s fashion (read: you pick dinner, open a present, and eat cake with family and 1-2 friends) and not the millennium fashion (read: $300 parties with 50 guests and a gazillion presents you don't have to write thank-yous for).  I always felt special and loved on my birthdays, no matter how "minimalist" they were.

When I became an adult everyone told me that birthdays were somehow less important--less hullabaloo, less cake, less attention.  I guess with all the distractions of work and kids and bills there just isn't time for grown-ups to feel special, even for just one day.

I understand busy.  I even understand aging not being a big deal (although the more I celebrate my 30th birthday the more I love it!).

But this year, my birthday went by without much attention at all.

I had to commute and work and go to school until 7; Matt had business obligations until 10:30. 

Before I left for my commute, there were no "birthday breakfasts" or silly "happy birthday" songs. 

Aside from Facebook well wishes and a text or two, there were no birthday cards (unless you count the one from an insurance agency that I don't use) and no birthday phone calls--not even from my family.  

Around 5:30 pm I briefly toyed with the idea that a surprise party was in the making. When I came home at 7:00 to a dirty house, I realized that there was no surprise party.

I had a Samantha Baker moment from Sixteen Candles.  No, my birthday wasn't forgotten; it was just unacknolwedged.  And somehow, that felt worse.


To be fair, when I got home (after I cleaned up the house and did the dishes) I found a Glee DVD set and my friend Sarah (who I did go to lunch with that day) brought me cheesecake so I at least got to spend the evening with Mr. Shue and 4 homemade, different versions of cheesecake.

When Matt came home I could tell he was dripping with guilt.  He tried to "make up" for it with gifts but I'm not a gift person and I balked at feeling "bought off."  I understand he had to work; I understand people are busy; I don't understand not taking a bit of planning to make even 10 minutes of someone's birthday special.

And I really felt this "birthdays aren't a big deal when you're an adult" mentality is just an excuse to not have to exert time and attention anywhere besides work/finances/hobbies.  When really, shouldn't we go the extra mile for those people ... not matter how old they are?

I'm generally quick to get angry but this time, I just cried--because it felt bad to not to celebrated.

Out of that pity party came a super-strong resolution: birthdays do matter and the people we love are worth celebrating (at least once a year).  So no matter how busy we get or how far he travels or how early the day starts or how sick the kids get or how tight money is, I will always acknowledge and celebrate the people I love.

What I think about birthdays is that they matter.

No one should be Samatha Bakered (or worse).

Even if you've had seventy-five birthdays, they still matter.
Even if you stopped counting how old you are at 27, they still matter.
Even if you hate being celebrated, they still matter (we'll send you a card).

As long as people matter, their birthdays matter.

*DISCLAIMER* On Feb. 10th I saw that is was a friend's birthday on Facebook.  I decided to tell her happy birthday in person ... and then I forgot.  Dear friend, I apologize :)*

DISCLAIMER #2--My husband is amazing.  He loves and cherishes me.  This is just one of those "oh crap" moments in his life that I'll let him forget in 30 years (see, if he did stuff like this more often it'd roll off my back). ILY, Matt!

Thanks to SHELL at THINGS I CAN'T SAY for always hosting my random Wednesday thoughts!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When the Valentine's Day hoopla is done ...

I still love my husband.

Not for what he did or didn't give me (and we focus on the didn't gives at our house); not for dates we've gone on (or may go on soon).

I still love my husband for who he is--my perfect provision.

This journey of learning what Love is and how I can better give and receive love has been exhausting.

Don't get me wrong, it's been totally beneficial.  Reflecting, journaling, reading The Word, and praying have done wonders for me. 

But it's come at a cost--namely that I realized how far I have to go. 

When it comes to love, I'm not good at giving it unconditionally.  I'm quick to hold grudges, slow to forgive, and quick to distrust.

I'm not good at receiving love without cynicism. I distrust the motives of people; I'm waiting to be let down.

Examining my heart and letting it affect my actions for 15 days has altered the way I look at myself and my family. 

Most importantly, it's altered--possibly forever--what Love is.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Never--Day 15 {Valentine's Day Finale!}

Where is the ME in Mommy

Love never fails.

Get out your journal.  Now watch this video and reflect on it.

Do you believe what it says?  Do you believe that love never fails?  Do you feel like love has failed you before?  If so, reflect on that--was it love?

Ask God to heal your heart and to show you that love, His love, never fails.

Plan a special evening for your spouse.

Invite him to spend the evening with you by using a Candy-Gram
Spend some time with a quiet, date night in.  If you want a date all planned out for you, may I suggest:
(Yes, you can click those links for some ready-for-your touch date ideas!)

Make your kids a Candy-Gram so they know how much you love them!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Love Always--Day 14

Where is the ME in Mommy

Love always perseveres.
In your journal, define what "perseveres" means to you.  Are you good a persevering?  Do you have a hard time finishing what you start?  Why?

Of all of the Biblical "love" qualities, persevering is perhaps the hardest.  I mean, it's just so easy to give up, throw in the towel and walk away.  It takes considerable more strength, discipline, and patience to fight the good fight, walk uphill, and endure.  

Pray that God would give you a spirit that is willing to love continuously--to love when it's good and to love when it's bad, to love when it is deserved and to love when it is undeserved. Pray that God gives you the heart to persevere in your love.

Have you ever felt like giving up on your spouse? Your marriage? Your sex life? Your "dating" life?  With your spouse, write "married" vows.  In these vows, promise to persevere in your marriage.  Share your vows.

If you want to really "walk the walk" make a date book and promise that you will, at least 10 times this year, pursue, woo, and date your spouse.

Let's be honest, sometimes I'd rather be deep-fried than play another game of tag or Candy Land.  But today, I'm going to persevere in playing with my children.  I'm going to show them I'm steadfastly interested in spending time with them.