Are You Ready to Make Some Life Changes?

Are You Ready to Make Some Life Changes?

I don’t know about you, but I am lagging behind lately.  It’s already March and my brain just shook out the holidays.  That also means that I generally think it’s Tuesday on Friday and even though today is Wednesday I am just getting to my normal Monday activities.

It could be partly because I have been traveling a lot, or it could be something that happens when you pass 50.  I remember my grandfather telling me every time I saw him that he couldn’t believe how quickly time was passing.  I wonder if he thought Thursdays were Tuesday.

But that’s not what I want to tell you about.  I want to share some of the lessons I learned at a seminar I attended last weekend.

I thought I was going to a marketing and business seminar, but it turned out to be so much more.  It was filled with so many great messages that I am going to have to spread it out a little.  It focused on personal growth and it was so, so convicting….in a good way!  Like when you rip off the Bandaid.  It hurts for a second then you feel better than you expected.

If I could I’d just pour out my thoughts on the whole thing, but that would turn into a book.  I’ll give you the Cliff Notes.

  1. You are responsible for your problems, not anyone else, no more excuses, you hold yourself back.


2.  We were divided into 4 personality types and shown ways to understand and communicate with those different from us.  I want to explore this part of the lesson more since, according to what was taught, my personality type is misunderstood a lot.  It’s on me to try to communicate in ways the other 3 styles understand.  I tend to be blunt and most people receive that as me rejecting them or judging them when that’s not what I am doing at all.

3.  We as a country are teaching our kids to live in a poverty mentality.  This is the one message that I brought home and am really exploring.  I want to stop wasting time and money, start being more faithful with what I have and teach my kids to live on less.  In other words, no more fro yo.

4. You can succeed!  Anyone can.  In life, in finances, in relationships, you have more control than you think.  But you have to be willing to really make some changes and most people don’t want to do that.  They kept mention the “2%”.  The idea is that 98% of people don’t want to make the changes necessary to really make a difference in their lives.  They want comfy, easy lives so they stay stuck.  Stuck in debt, stuck in addictions, stuck.  I want to be a part of the 2% who gets free from those bonds.

So I came home all pumped and ready to make some huge changes around here.  I sat down with the kids and we had a meeting, planning ways we can cut back and stop being wasteful.  I asked them to give some thought to ways they can take charge of their own lives.  One of the boys said he knows he wastes a lot of time and he wants to change that.  Another said she was excited to save on our grocery spending.  All in all…..we are on a road to success.

Of course, it’s not going to be easy and I was tempted the first day to go back to my lazy ways.  But I didn’t.  I’m fighting my sin nature and that’s a battle I’m ready to face.  Prayer and determination….here I come.

So how about you?  Do you have a problem you’re ready to really tackle?  Even if it means facing the person in the mirror?

I’d love to hear more and hear how God is working with you.  Hop over to Facebook and continue the conversation!

10 Questions for Your Kids When They Are Bored

10 Questions for Your Kids When They Are Bored

This post contains affiliate links.

Hello!  If you’re stopping by from Thomas Nelson…welcome!  I hope you’ll hang around and if you want to know more about me THIS is a good place to start!

10 great questions to have your kids ask themselves when they are bored. #parenting

With 9 kids, I have heard many versions of “Mom, I’m bored,” and, “I don’t have anything to do.”  I usually send them outside with orders to, “Run around and have FUN!”.  But the cold weather (or here in Texas, the summer heat) can keep us inside and not sure what to do with ourselves.

I keep a list posted in the house for the kids to reference when they have nothing to do: 10 things to ask yourself before you tell Mom you’re bored.

Before you tell Mom you’re bored, answer these questions:

  1. Is your room clean?  Picking up a few things and straightening is an important thing to do every day.
  2. Have you exercised?  Use your body and get your heart rate up every day.
  3. Can you help someone?  The best way to use your free time is to give it to someone else.
  4. Have you read a book today?  Keep your mind exercised by reading every day!
  5. Have you prayed?  When you’re bored, it’s a good time to spend a few minutes talking to God.
  6. Have you read the Bible?  Find a verse and read it 3 times then say it out loud.
  7. Have you done something creative?  Draw a picture, write a story, play some music, weave a potholder.
  8. Have you played a game with someone?  NOT a video game, but a game where you sit at a table facing each other and talking to each other.
  9. Are your chores done?  Is the dog bowl clean and your laundry put away?  You are an important part of your family and when you don’t do your chores you are making life harder for everyone else.
  10. Is there something you can find to do yourself?  Look around and see what you can do without interrupting Mom or Dad to ask.  You might be surprised at what’s available to you already.

Here are a few fun books to keep around for the kids to read while they’re looking for something to do:

Read and Share 5 Minute Bible Stories (quick, easy reference to find Bible stories, you might even find art projects to go along with them!), Henry Hodges Needs a Friend (a sweet little book about feeling left out), Under the Sea  (packed with hundreds of ideas for felt creations), MindWar (for the teens, one of those thrillers about a seemingly ordinary teenager who discovers a hidden gift)
The next time your child tell you they are bored, get out the questions and let them find productive things to do on their own.  Get their creative juices flowing and teach them to make wise choices for how to spend their time.
And then send them out to play.
Come on over to Facebook for more conversation!
Oldies but Goodies

Oldies but Goodies

This week I am locked away working on my next book.  It turns out that I write better when I don’t have to do 8 loads of laundry a day or have to grade a dozen math papers.  So I have gone into hiding for a few days to get the first draft finished.  I’ll be back next week, but while I am away I thought I’d remind you of a few older projects in case you’re in the mood for something fun to do.

  1. We just finished moving kids’ bedroom around and the boy’s Lego shelves are being overhauled.  I thought I’d show you these giant Legos I made a few years ago that we put on the shelves to add a bit of a break from the bright colors and plastic.

    How to make a fun extra for the kids room.  Lego decorating.

  2. Also last week I was adding some pumpkins to the front porch and I was enjoying the fun of my painted houndstooth rug and I thought I’d share it with you in case you want to paint one for yourself! 

    How to paint a houndstooth rug! -- The Pennington Point

  3. The last big thing we worked on last weekend was cleaning out the kids’ school lockers.  Several years ago I found these old lockers at a flea market and because they were bright yellow the price was low.  No one wanted yellow lockers!  But a few cans of white spray paint later and they were perfect in my living room.  My school kids actually keep their school books in there and the extra lockers hold Wii games and extra school books.

I am always up to a something around the house and I am hoping to do some new arranging over the next few weeks in the living areas.  But don’t tell James.  I like to surprise him.

Be sure to stop by your favorite bookseller and pick up my book “Mama Needs a Do-Over” if you haven’t already!
Have a great week!  Happy fall!
Somebody Bring Me Some Calgon!

Somebody Bring Me Some Calgon!

OK, it’s official.  I am so done with my husband being gone.  I already knew he was the solid one in the relationship, but after a week without him I am more sure than ever that he is the glue and I am all of the random pieces.  The mere sight of one more broken appliance will put me over the edge.

I don’t know how single parents do it.  Or military parents…seriously, you all have my mad respect.

It’s like the whole house goes into some kind of other dimension and the boys don’t get their chores done and as sweet as the girls are, they have been kind of out-of-it for the past several days. And after last week’s M-word situation, I was not sure I was the best person to be leading these troops.  I am fairly sure my 8 year old would have been a better option considering I walked around afraid of my own shadow all week.

Somebody get me the biggest box of Calgon you can find.

Despite being as jumpy as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs, I decided to do something bold and get up Saturday morning to take the whole crew down to the city to participate in a protest at the nearest Planned Parenthood.  These rallies were taking place all around the country and we all felt we should be there.

I say it was bold because….

1. I was husbandless so that meant I was completely responsible for this crew and I think we can all see how that is going.  James and I used to attend these allies fairly often when the kids were little and I remember a few of them getting pretty ugly.

2. The Van.

I was going to have to crank up the old 15-passenger van.  And when I say crank, that’s pretty close to what it’s like.  This old thing has so many miles on it that it could be in the Guinness Book of World Records.  I don’t know how it is still working.  None of us like to drive it, it putters along, the A/C doesn’t work, it smells bad, it rattles like an old roller coaster and worst of all it gets about 2.7 miles to the gallon.

We only use it for emergency family outings, and even then we look into the price of a rental car first.

But I had to use it because we outnumbered the seats in my car and James left the minivan at the airport.  So we found the crank and off we went.

The event was very well organized and besides being so hot you could fry an egg on our foreheads, it went well.  The 600+ people there were peaceful and very upbeat about raising awareness of what is really going on inside that facility.  We saw lots of friends there and were blessed to have been a part of it.

Family participation in a rally

Afterwards I decided to run a few errands.  It’s not often we all go to the city together, it being over an hour away and us having to drive what basically equates to the Beverly Hillbillies’ vehicle to get there.  So we ate lunch then picked up some clothes for the boys.  We are going to Orlando in a few weeks for an awesome blogging event at Universal Studios called Family Forward and the boys needed shorts.  I also decided to get myself a hat, which I am not sure about yet.  Hats don’t like me very much.

We were all worn out from standing in the heat for 2 hours then shopping afterwards, so we drove home in the old van and collapsed.  Later that night we all ate dinner in my bedroom and watched the Duck Dynasty wedding, which was adorable and I cried through almost the whole show.  I love their style (except for the scraggly beards and head bandanas) and the values were so sweet.  Lord, bless them.

After church on Sunday we came home and worked on a video trailer we are making for my book that comes out NEXT WEEK!!!

It’s so close y’all!  Have you ordered yours yet?!

My 12 year old is the director and we had a great afternoon together shooting it.  My daughter Hope did all of the artwork and it’s the cutest thing since Princess Charlotte.  We are wrapping it up this week and you’ll be the first to see it!

working on a book trailer as a family

I fell asleep on Sunday night before the kids even knew I was out. They were all still awake and I just had to trust that they wouldn’t have any loud parties or burn anything because I would have slept through it all.  Mama was DONE.

This week is full of more book promotions and trying to keep my sanity.  Which basically describes my life in a nutshell.

Have a good one!

What’s Your Irrational Fear?

What’s Your Irrational Fear?

James goes out of town each August and it seems like every time something happens.  Last year the A/C went out, the year before that we sprung a leak under the sink.  This year, however, takes the cake.


It happened yesterday morning.  Every day I get out of bed at 6:30, usually groggy and half asleep, and I shuffle into the bathroom, go potty, put on my oils and change clothes for my morning workout.  Well yesterday for some reason I don’t remember, I got undressed first THEN went to the potty.  That is important to the story….you’ll see in a sec.

I was sitting there paying no attention to anything, I don’t even think my eyes were open, when I heard a shuffle and opened my eyes to see a…..I can’t say the word…..starts with M and rhymes with house…..come running out of my shower, rustling the shower curtain, and into the sink area of the bathroom.  Yes.  It was about 8″ from my bare feet.

Scream is not a big enough word for what I did.

Let’s see, how can I describe it?  It was more like a shriek-screech-panic-freakout (“s-s-p-f” for short)

I jumped up from the potty and took off, through the bedroom and down the hallway yelling for a kid to come help me and flipping on lights as I ran.  Just as one of the kids called out from their bed to ask what was going on I realized that I was stark naked.  As a jaybird.

I kind of figured that having your mom screaming through the house when you’re sound asleep is damaging enough without having to see her naked body.  I mean, is it actually possible to scrub your eyeballs?

So while continuing the “s-s-p-f,” I grabbed a blanket to wrap around myself.  The kids started sleepily wandering out of their rooms to see what was happening.  My daughter, who isn’t the least bit scared of the you-know-what, offered to check my bathroom.  She looked all around with a flashlight then declared the room clear.  So using my daughter as a shield, I went back in my bathroom and quickly got dressed.  Then I doused myself in essential oils so I could calm down enough to tie my shoes.

“I’m going for my walk,” I told her in what was mostly a whiny, crying voice, “Do you think you and your brother could try to catch it while I’m gone?”

She agreed to try and actually (and this is where, if she hadn’t been born at home I might have wondered if she had been switched at birth) seemed kind of excited by the challenge.

I got in a good run, adrenaline will do that to you, I couldn’t have walked slowly if I’d wanted to.  Then when I got home I sat down on the front porch and texted inside the house.

“Well?  Is it safe to come in?  I’m scared.”

She let me know that it was completely safe and the you-know-what had been caught and disposed of.

Turns out she had seen it run into another bedroom and let one of our barn cats in there.  Voila!  Problem solved.  One of my girlfriends suggested offering the cat a can of salmon as a reward, but I felt like an hour in the air-conditioning and a you-know-what to play with was reward enough.

The rest of the day I was so jumpy I actually got spooked when a feather blew in front of my leg while I was standing in the backyard.  Every time our new puppy came into the room where I was I’d do a mini “s-s-p-f” again.  My nerves are shot.

I’m not sure how I will make it through the rest of the weekend knowing sometimes these things have friends and family and maybe this was just the frontman of the operation.  I did put every diffuser I own to work, including setting one on the floor of the hallway.  I read that you-know-whats hate peppermint and ravintsara, so I have them diffusing in every room.  I’d douse myself in them if I could.


I mentioned my extreme fear on Facebook and asked what other people’s irrational fears were and many of them said the same as mine, but there were also a lot of folks terrified of spiders, snakes and roaches.  Yep, these are my people.

Now that I have slept for an entire night after the trauma, I think I may actually survive.  But I will confess to standing on my potty this morning tossing empty vitamin bottles into the shower to spook any other little friends out.  After about 5 minutes of nothing happening except for my discovering that I keep way too many empty bottles, I went about my morning normally.  Still shaken, but normal.

And I am planning on an uneventful weekend.

Unless….of course…..a feather drifts past me again.


Puppies & Parades

Puppies & Parades

Well, we have a new family member and it will come as a surprise to many of you who know me to be not-so-much-of-a-dog-person.  I mean, I like dogs, I have one outside that I love to death, but I don’t feel a need to make googly eyes at them or think of them as people.

All that to say, yes, we got a puppy.  It just kind of happened (it was definitely a God-thing) and now we are all in love with him.  He is so little and fun and playful and happy and just what we needed around here.

I wub him.


He’s very wiggly and hard to photograph.  So the best I could do was press him against my face to keep him still for a flash of a second.  Immediately after we snapped that photo he dashed off to chase a piece of knotted rope.

We had a nice Fourth of July weekend.  It started early on Saturday morning as some of the kids and I went to a nearby town to be in a parade.  We rode in/walked with a float for the local pregnancy center and handed out candy and toys to the kids in the crowd.  I didn’t make it the whole time because I wore the wrong shoes and my feet were killing me.  But my kids stayed on the float ’til the end while I watched from the sidelines for the last half.


After the parade was over I was so tired, I guess from the heat of the day, that I went home and pretty much slept until it was time to watch fireworks.  It was just a plain old American Saturday.

The next day was just like every other Sunday.  1. Church 2. Lunch 3. Nap

That’s it.

Sunday at its best

James and I have been trying to squeeze out some alone time on Sunday evenings so we locked ourselves in the bedroom and ate dinner and talked.  It was nice, but too short.  With so much going on this summer we need to really make the time to stay connected.  I was so tired that I think I fell asleep once while he was talking.  I tried to hide it, but snorting myself awake probably gave me away.  There’s just no casual way to recover from that kind of faux pas.

This week I will be putting together some promos for my book that’s coming out in September and I am actually now writing my next book to release in 2016.  God has surely blessed me to allow me to be used for His glory in this way.  I give Him all the credit!

I want to close this Monday weekend update with a bit of the message from yesterday’s sermon on 1 Peter 5:6-9…

We can expect that the devil is prowling around just watching for an opportunity to devour us.  The only sure repellant of that hungry lion is a person who is FIRM in the FAITH!  Hang onto your faith, spend time in the Word, keep your weapon sharp and be watchful.  The victory belongs to the Lord!

Have a great week!

10 of My Favorite Summer Oils!

10 of My Favorite Summer Oils!

This past Tuesday I taught a local class about using essential oils for the summer.  Since we aren’t all geographically connected, I wanted to share here too.  I’d hate for you all to miss this great information!  It must be set free!

These are the oils and products that I focused on for the class….my favorite summer products.  There are a ton more.  OK, basically ALL of them on the product list are great.  I love my oils.

10 great ways to make your summer better with essential oils!

1. Lavender.  Lavender is great all seasons of the year, but is especially for summer because it promotes both healthy skin and relaxing.  So when my kids have been swimming all day I can kill 2 birds with one stone by putting some diluted lavender (or there’s a lavender lotion that’s wonderful!) on their skin which also settles them down from the excitement of the day.  Then they go to sleep.  Sweet sleep….you are our friend.

2. Citrus Oils….all of them!  Lemon, Orange, Tangerine, Grapefruit, Lime, Citrus Fresh….they are all so summery and refreshing!  I put one of these in my diffuser almost every morning to wake us all UP and get us going (sometimes I mix a few together!).  Even though we do have a slower pace in the summer, we prob’ly need to wake up at some point.  (Be careful putting citrus oils on your skin if you are going in the sun.  I like to keep them in the diffuser for a pick-me-up but I keep them off of my skin in the summer).

3. Peppermint.  Yep, this is my GO-TO travel oil.  I need to make a label for my bottle that says, “Don’t leave home without me!”  It’s great for digestive health and mental alertness.  With so much traveling all summer….get yourself an extra bottle of peppermint for the road!

4. Valor II.  Yes, I said it!  Young Living heard my cries and made a new Valor that will be more readily available.  I love Valor so much that I am chomping at the bit to get the new Valor II into my anxious little hands.  I ordered it on Monday and you can be sure I will be telling you all about it.  I’m pretty sure Valor is a gift of the angels. Go order Valor II NOW!  You’ll thank me later.

(Look all the way to the bottom of this post to see how you can WIN a bottle of this new oil!!!)

5. Bergamot + Fun.  These 2 oils have become my 2015 fave summer combo.  I always need to chill out and remember to enjoy my time with my family after a long, hard year.  Bergamot helps with lots of things, but I’ve used it to deal with grief (it can be any loss…we grieve lots of things) and Fun is from the new Infused 7 Kit (but you can also get it separately) and I put it on my wrist every morning to help remind me to have a little FUN amidst the work of life.  Try them….you’ll like them!

A great summer essential oil combination!  Diffuse, wear,'s fab!

6. Purification.  What Thieves is to winter, Purification is to summer.  If you learn anything from me today, let it be to get yourself a bottle of Purification!  Put it in the diffuser outside when you’re sitting around after the sun starts to set.  Put in in the diffuser inside when the kids get stinky.  Dab it on yourself and anyone else who is standing near you if you’re going outside.  I keep it in a spray bottle with some water and just s-p-r-i-t-z everyone.  The main ingredient: Citronella.

7. PanAway. I don’t know about you, but we tend to be extra active in the summer.  We run a lot and play outdoor games and even a game of ping pong played with passion can make your muscles wonder what’s going on.  I keep PanAway nearby so we can keep our active muscles happy.   (by the way, PanAway, along with 10 other oils comes with the Premium Starter Kit!)

3 great oils in the Premium Starter Kit that you NEED for summer!

8. K&B.  This is not an essential oil, but one of Young Living’s other A-MAZing support products.  I generally struggle to stay hydrated in the summer and my bladder and kidneys need support through the heat and it enhances your body’s efforts to maintain fluid balance.  So I keep this amazing little tincture on hand at all times.  Just add a dropperful to your water.  It’s not delicious, but isn’t so bad that it’s hard to get down.  I’m a weenie when it comes to bad tasting stuff and I don’t mind it.

A great way to keep your kidneys and bladder healthy! #summer #essentialoils

9. Melaleuca (aka Tea Tree).  Again….it’s multi-purpose.  Keep the counters clean, deodorize the bathroom and dab around areas on the skin that you need to keep extra clean.  If you’re not sure what oils to use, you can’t go wrong with Melaleuca.

10.  Finally, my gentle giant, Envision.  I discovered this oil when Valor went out of stock and it has turned out to be so helpful!  I often need a little nudge in the clear-head-be-inspired department and this baby has blessed me.  I like it so much that I got a second bottle to keep in my car or purse.  When I am out and about during the day I put a drop in my hand and rub it on my neck like a perfume.  It has a lighter scent than many oils and it is what I’ll be diffusing later in the summer while we make plans for the next school year.

If you're looking for a new oil to try....make it this one!

Well I hope this list gave you some new ideas for ways to use your Young Living oils for the summer!  If you have a favorite that I didn’t list, be sure to tell us all about it in the comments.  We can all learn from each other!

And if you’re ready to get started using Young Living oils I would LOVE to be your support!  I have a whole team that I work with and we will help you along so you’re not lost.  When you join with the purchase of a Premium Starter Kit I will send you a great reference book and some extra goodies to get you going.  You will LOVE your oils!!!


By the way, I am not a doctor or an expert in anything but raising my family and share these tips using only my personal experience.  If you have a medical need, please see your own medical professional for advice. 

Come win Young Living's newest fantastic product!  Valor II!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
All of the images in this post are there for you to Pin and share on social media!  I’d love for you to use them to help spread the word about these great products but please keep them intact, including my watermark!

I’m a Very, Very Good Driver

I’m a Very, Very Good Driver

I never, ever got smart enough to prepare for this phase of my parenting journey.  I have apparently moved into the “always-in-the-car” season of my life, and along with it I am noticing a widening of my backside and very pale skin.  I suppose it is because I sit and eat snacks all the livelong day without actually getting any sun as I drive my children all over Timbucktoo.


I have made 6 trips to the city in the past few days with 3 more trips before Friday, plus driving to the next small town 30 minutes away in the other direction every single day this week while I wait for 3 hours for my little guys to do a summer camp.  My car and I deserve a prize….perhaps in the form of a large cup of Sonic ice followed by a nap.

Over the past few months as these plans all came together, each child requesting to take this class or attend that camp, it seemed doable.  But I didn’t coordinate schedules while I was saying YES and before I knew it we were going so many different directions that we need a military strategist to organize it all.  The older kids and I have to have a meeting every night to figure out who will drive where in what car with which child the next day.

In the middle of all of that activity James and I had our 29th anniversary to celebrate.  We decided to kill two birds with one stone and go out to a nice dinner on Saturday night in the city since we had to pick up a couple of the kids there at 10:00pm anyway.  It’s been a long time since we went out on a Saturday night since I would rather have a root canal than stand in a crowded restaurant for an hour waiting for a table.

But we had a surprisingly good time despite our table being 8″ from the diners next to us and not being able to hear what each other was saying the whole time.


After dinner we still had a couple of hours to kill so we took a stroll down to the bookstore and wandered around in there for a while looking at books.  Our shopping adventures go something like this (after 29 years together we have this down):
Me: Hey!  This looks like a great book!  Let’s buy it!
Him: We don’t need any more books.
Me: But this would be so good for the kids and look….here’s another one we need! {I begin to collect a large pile of books in my arms as I walk through the store}
Him: Lisa, we really don’t need those books and we are watching our budget, remember?
Me: OK, I will sit here in this chair looking through every book and choose 2 to put back.  Will that make you feel better?  If we only buy 8 books instead of 10?
Him: No.
Me: OK, how about this….I will choose 2 to put back and then I will pick a few more that I can get cheaper on Amazon and….hey look!  There’s another one that we NEED!

On and on it goes.  Me finding things we “need” (you know…for the kids!) and him telling me what we really need is to stay on budget.  In the end we bought 2 books and a game.  The game was for him.

It was always what would happen in the end.  It never changes, but we MUST go through the motions.

One super-duper cool thing that happened while we were at the bookstore is James decided to see if my book was on their computer and it was!  Right there with a description and preorder info.  I took a picture, of course!  Who cares if it’s a dork move?  My book is for sale at Barnes & Noble for goodness sake!


But it doesn’t really change anything in my life.  I still have to drive my kids to their activities all week while figuring out when I will be able to get to the grocery store and if I don’t get some sun people will assume I have an illness.  Being a published author is cool, but I’m still just Mom.

Have a great week!

Which is Worse…Traffic Jams or Easter Egg Hunts?

Which is Worse…Traffic Jams or Easter Egg Hunts?

Am I the only one who is shocked that it is April?  And that Easter is behind us?  In fact, I’m still warming up to the idea that it’s 2015.  My mind says “2007” over and over.  Frozen in time.  I relate strongly to the song lyric, “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999,” not because I’m a partier, but because I refuse to accept that we have actually survived Y2K.

I also wrangle with the fact that it took me 2 hours last Friday to drive one mile.  My friend Sara and I got up at 5:30 in the am and drove the 3 hours to Round Top, TX where the world’s best junk was waiting for us.  It was a gorgeous drive with Texas wildflowers flanking the freeway and spiced nuts from Buc-ees.

In case you’ve never been to Texas, I urge you to add “stop at Buc-ees” to your list of must do items when you come here.  It may look like just a truck stop on the outside, but inside it’s a little slice o’ Texas heaven.

After almost three hours, we got a couple of miles from our destination when we hit a trail of cars on the rural highway.  It was dead stopped….occasionally inching forward.  Sure the bluebonnets are amazing, but we didn’t need to see them each individually.


I kid you not.  I know I tend to exaggerate, but this is 100% true….we took TWO HOURS to drive ONE MILE.  Several times we discussed turning around and leaving, but we had already driven 3 hours to get there so we stuck it out.

By the time we finally got to a parking space and started shopping the flea market we had a great time.  We didn’t consider that it would take us about hour and a half to get back out at the end of the day, so all in all we spent about three times as much time sitting in the car as we did shopping.  But I bought a beat up old shutter with some slats missing, so of course…it was all worth it.

We found out later through Instagram that the whole Duck Dynasty cast was there plus some HGTV people.  That plus it being a nice Friday probably caused the crowd.  I have been to Round Top many times and never hit traffic like that.  Cuh-razy!

On Saturday morning I was good and tired from flea marketing and several of my older kids were going to an all day photo-meet-up.  So I decided to skip the kitchen work I had planned (I am getting close to finishing!) and just rest.  It was just what I needed.  I literally slept, woke up and watched a mystery movie, went back to sleep, repeat steps one and two.

So I have nothing to report to you about Saturday except that a huge box of books came from my publisher and I am having trouble deciding which ones to read first.  So many of them look good!  So good, in fact, that I am thinking of just passing them along to y’all after I read them.  I want to share the goodness.  I’m thinking I’ll just read a few then do a simple giveaway.  I could never choose one of y’all over the rest, so a random draw is the way to go.


On Sunday, after church, we had a little egg hunt for the kids.  On Saturday night I filled some plastic eggs with candy and wrote the kids names on them so they would all get the same amount.  I used a sharpie to write the names and draw some little pictures on each egg.  The older/adult kids each got 2 eggs….one with candy and another with money.  The under 18 crowd got 10 eggs each filled with candy.  Like, lots of candy.


Since pretty much the only other time all year they get candy is for Christmas, it’s a treat and they love it.

Our Sunday afternoon egg hunt turned ugly when, after searching for nearly 2 hours we still couldn’t find 2 of the eggs.  I had been the one to hide them and I was super careful to make it pretty easy, except for my 23 year old son who I tried to make practically impossible because, well, it was fun for me.  But he found his after about 20 minutes and the other kids all found theirs until we were down to 2 eggs missing.  I wanted to give up and just call it done, but the boys whose eggs were missing were highly driven to find them.

Another half hour and we found one of them.  The other kids each kind of went in the house and it was down to me, James and two boys.

Finally I stopped looking and went inside.  As far as I know they are still out there looking.

This week ahead is full.  In addition to the last touches to the kitchen, I will be running errands for James (tax season….CPA….lots of errands) and I am taking the boys to some thrift stores to find new jackets.  On Easter we made the annual sad discovery that nothing fits them.  So off we go to look for clothes that other people don’t want anymore.  Then on Thursday I have 2 ortho appointments and that night I am speaking to a women’s group.  Then on Friday, maybe, if I play my cards right, I will get y’all some finished kitchen pictures.

Don’t hold your breath though.  I don’t want to be held responsible for anyone dying.

Have a good one!  And remember….it’s April 2015.  You’re welcome.

9 Things You MUST Have at Disney!

9 Things You MUST Have at Disney!

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Last November our family took a dream trip to Disneyworld.  It was just as magical as they say…except for the part where James and I had to keep up with 9 young people with varied levels of energy and interest.  He and I were like ships in the night….I knew he was in the vicinity but we rarely saw each other.

So we decided that since we never do anything for our anniversaries or take romantic trips, we would go back together…just the two of us.  And believe it or not, we have actually made plans and put down a deposit to go this spring!

I learned some things while we were there last time that will definitely help us have a great time this next trip and I thought I’d share some of my best tips with you!

Planning a Disney trip?  This is a must have list from a mom of 9!

1. Camelbak – I tend to get dehydrated very easily.  And I am a little bit (OK a lot) picky about my water.  I like bottled.  No tap water.  No drinking fountains.  And I am ultimately lazy and don’t want to carry a water bottle around with me.  So I got myself a Camelbak and I LOVED it!  I would fill it with a few water bottles and some ice, then I had cold water for hours.  PLUS it held my other needs…money, lip balm, tissues, etc.

2. Pockets! – Since I only wear skirts and dresses, I don’t often have pockets.  But I found some great tops that have big pockets and MAN did I use them!  It was so great to slip my sunglasses into my pocket when I needed to take them off and hold something for my kids.  I came home with pockets full of smashed pennies.

3. Comfy shoes – according to my UP band, I walked an average of 17,000 steps a day.  We were on.the.move!  So I wore my OTZ Shoes every day and seriously, my feet never hurt at all.  Whatever shoes you are comfortable in…WEAR THEM!

4. Smart Phone – well, I never go anywhere without it anyway, and of course we took all of our photos with it, but I was doubly glad to have it with me because the app, My Disney Experience, was a lifesaver!  It kept up with our fast passes, dinner reservations, maps, wait times on rides, everything we needed!

5. Ziploc bags – speaking of phones, I kept a Ziploc Snack Bags in my pack to stick my phone in when we went on water rides.  I never worried about it getting wet!  And I carried a few extra that came in handy many times.  Someone didn’t have their retainer case (although that probably won’t happen when it’s just James and I), leftover food from dinner, a kid wanted to keep something they found…over and over it was nifty to have a few small Ziplocs with me.

6. Dining Plan – no, seriously, I will never go there again without getting the dining plan!  We had a fancy dinner reservation each day and ate places we would never have gotten into, much less been wiling to spend the money while we were there.  We got a second, quick meal each day which was amazing and then one snack, which I mostly ate frozen lemonade and plan to eat lots more of it when we go back.  It was so great for the kids because they had their meals on their Magic Bands and could just get food when they wanted without asking permission.  Brilliant Disney.  Brilliant.

7. No jewelry – Yes, I love my jewelry.  But this is not the place to wear it; I only wore my UP Band (which I don’t think of as jewelry).  I didn’t even wear a wedding ring.  You really want to be as free of extras as possible, especially anything that would be upsetting to lose!  Sure, carry a Ziploc bag, but leave the earrings at home.

8. Free time – on our last trip it was go-go-go from sunup to sundown.  James and I, being old and all, plan to slow it down significantly.  Yes, we may miss a ride or two but the slower pace will undoubtedly help us enjoy it more.  You can’t see it all anyway, believe me.  We tried.

9. Thieves Mints – I kept these in my pack and handed them out often, to whoever I was with (we were split up a lot).  It not only kept our breath fresh, but the Thieves helped keep our immune systems strong.

That’s my simple list of how I plan to make my future trip to Disney as magical (and easy) as I possibly can!

Do you have any Disney tips to share?

By the way, all of our Disney arrangements were made by my friend Amy at Polka Dots & Wishes and she was incredible!  I didn’t hesitate to ask her to plan our next trip for James and I….if you reach out to her to plan your trip, be sure to tell her I sent you!