Posted by: Amanda | July 28, 2013

Random Sunday Thoughts

My take-away from the 7 for 7 Challenge is that I don’t write quality pieces when I’m writing every day. Then I begin to think how it would probably just be better if I wrote one or two quality posts per week. Except I already know that leads to me writing nothing for a month at a time AND still turning out ho-hum posts. So, perhaps I should just write a little something every day anyway.

Highlights from today:
– Today was JR’s Sunday to work. Which means that we take lunch to him and have a ‘picnic.’ It also means that nobody gets their day of rest because JR will have worked twelve days in a row before he gets his next day off.

- I feel like I should come clean on the no rest claim above, since we did nothing except eat dinner and watch a movie tonight. It was probably ill-planned because I’m going to have so much house work to catch up on tomorrow. We’ve found that sometimes we have to just take a break though.

- It’s so unseasonably cool (mid-70s), that it felt like autumn today. It also rained on and off all day, which is good for our garden and the crops, but not for actually getting outside.

- Gabriel, Joshua, and I have big plans for tomorrow. They have free cookie coupons they plan to redeem at the local bakery (it’s only open until lunch, so we don’t go often), visit the library, and go to the second-hand stores down town. It will be the most time we’ve spent on that side of town since Christmas. There’s also some groceries and household items/school supplies to purchase on the other side of town, but that’s not really news.

Posted by: Amanda | July 27, 2013

Favorite Finds: Week of July 21, 2013

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Target: Venus Breeze razor and Venus Breeze cartridges, 4ct. Saved 76%.

Rite Aid: Gillette Mach3 Sensitive razor, Venus Proskin razor, (2) Sally Hansen insta-gel manicure starter kits, (2) Sally Hansen insta-gel strips, Organic Sweet Leaf sweet tea, (2) Sally Hansen hair remover kits, (2) Tom’s of Maine toothpaste. Saved 95%.

Dollar General: Quilted Northern, 4ct. Saved 66%.

The Sally Hansen products ended up being The Deal of the week. I was also able to pick up some household staples at great prices, which is pleasing in a completely different way from gifts for others at great prices.

Gabriel’s and Joshua’s finds:
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Assorted Safari creatures that were marked 66%-75% off at Michael’s. These are still the boys’ favorite toys. So we picked up several as birthday and Christmas presents, and also let the boys each purchase one with their own money.

Posted by: Amanda | July 26, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: July 2013

1. Joshua has been in major destruction mode this week. He is always in destruction mode, but it has been so bad the past couple of days that I briefly considered using each quick take as a slot to list his transgressions from the past twenty-four hours. So it would be nice if more experienced mothers could pipe in with how their children eventually stopped ruining stuff, for the most part, once they moved away from home. Or, even better, how your most destructive child turned into the neatest and most responsible young adult.

2. After nearly fourteen years without a dedicated parish priest, our local parish was assigned its very own priest again this year. The change just took affect on July 1, and it’s so wonderful that there is a priest nearby.

3. My younger sister, Miriam, has a new puppy. She’s a ten week old Sheltie named Trinity. Below, Trinity is wearing a Sherlock Holmes costume, courtesy of the Wishbone stuffed animal from my youth.

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Just call me Sherlock Puppy

4. I am many months behind everyone else, but I finally read The Fault in Our Stars last week. I’ve found that YA books are usually hit or miss for me, and I did enjoy this one. It was a quick read (less than a day), which probably had more to do with me enjoying the book than its length. A couple of notes, but no actual spoilers:
a. It contains mature subject matter, so it’s definitely for older teens.
b. I really appreciated that the author (John Green) wrote in a way that expects more of his audience that the average YA novel.

5. Earlier this year, our cable and Internet provider upped their rates. This happens every year and we’ve always been able to talk our way back to a new customer promotional rate, until this year. So we parted ways. I haven’t missed it at all, and neither have the boys. JR says that he does occasionally, but would rather save his money and purchase/rent content on his own terms

6. Today is the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This has special significance to me because I chose St. Anne as my confirmation saint. I chose St. Anne because: a. As the mother of Our Lady, she must have been a very holy woman, and b. I knew that I would likely be a mother one day, and wanted one of the greatest mothers ever praying for me.

7. If you are so inclined, stop by and leave some kind words or add to the online spiritual bouquet for my brother, sister-in-law, and their family. They’re expecting their second child and may be facing some complicating health issues.

Have a great weekend, you can check out other Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

Posted by: Amanda | July 25, 2013

My First Pets: Mutt Cat & King Tulip

When I was about a year to year and a half old, my parents adopted our first pet. She was a tabby cat that my parents allowed me to name. So I chose to call her “Mutt,” or “Mutt Cat.” My understanding is that I plucked this name out from my father referring to mixed pedigree pets as mutts, but I suspect that it was also kind of entertaining to allow your young child to name a pet, and then have a pet named Mutt. Mutt went on to have kittens, but I was young enough that I cannot remember what became of her.

My first dog was a yellow lab mix. Going to choose him as a puppy is actually my earliest memory. I remember there being a man taking us to see all of his puppies running around. I excitedly shout pointed, “I want that one,” (King was the only yellow lab in the litter). I would have been somewhere between two and a half and three years old. But definitely not three, because we got the puppy before my brother, Chad, was born, in September of 1986. My parents also allowed me to name the puppy. I named him King Tulip (short for king of the tulip bed), because he liked to lay in the flower beds at my parents’ house. King was ostensibly the family dog, but since my parents had three young children, he was actually my father’s dog. He was a great watch dog and good with us as young children. He passed away in 1991.

Writing about my early pets makes me realize how much richer my relationship with animals became as I grew. I can remember these early pets, but I have very few actual memories of them. I’ll try to keep this up in installments, and write more about my other pets, especially the ones that were actually “mine.”

Posted by: Amanda | July 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Look-a-like Fun at the Park

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Posted by: Amanda | July 23, 2013

British Preoccupation

Growing up, my parents didn’t have any particular interest in the British Royal Family. I’m young enough that until more recently, landmark events happened during times that I was either 1. Not yet born, or 2. Too young to understand the full significance of such events.

Then I married JR. His maternal grandmother is actually British, though she moved to the United States when my mother-in-law was young. I remember the first conversation that I had with her. It went something like this:

Grandmother: “I hear that you have a horse, like JR.”

Me: “Yes, I have two horses. As well as a corgi.”

Grandmother: “Oooh. The Queen has corgis too.”

So, I married into a family that really enjoys tea and treasures their British heritage. I like weddings and new babies anyway, so even though I have only seen JR’s grandmother a few times (she lives in the southern United States), I feel like I’m sharing something with her on the occasion that I follow the happenings of the Royal Family.** Admittedly, I don’t follow closely. The world-wide excitement over the birth of one baby yesterday though? It was fantastic.

*I don’t actually know if I am sharing an experience with JR’s grandmother. I just know that I’ve heard her mention the Queen every time I’ve spoken with her.

Posted by: Amanda | July 22, 2013

Sometimes I Procrastinate. A Lot.

The title really says it all. I’d kind of like to be one of those people that posts every day, but when it comes down to it, I’m probably not one of those people. At least at this point in my life. My blog also has the issue of being deserted for long periods of time because I won’t have time to write about what I want to. Or to do a topic justice. Or I worry about actually finishing something if I promise to do so in the future. So I just don’t. I really do know that done is better than perfect. But teaching myself to live it out in my own life is challenging.

So, because Jen of Conversion Diary challenged us, and I thrive under deadlines/challenges, I’m going to attempt to get back at this.

Posted by: Amanda | June 24, 2013

Lily Days

Surely someone else remembers that episode of How I Met Your Mother when Marshall writes the birthday song for Lily? Essentially, Marshall just sings “Happy, happy Lily day,” on repeat. Anyway, the song is kind of catchy and Gabriel sings it whenever his cousin Lily comes to visit from North Carolina. This year she (and her older sister, Kailey) are here for about a month. The boys have been trying to make the most of their cousins’ visit.

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Posted by: Amanda | April 6, 2013

A Quick Joshua Story

Joshua, during dinner: Please give me Too Much juice.
Me: What?
Joshua: I want Much Juice.
Me: Okay. (Pours cup half full)
Joshua: Is this a Much Juice?
Me: Yes, that is much too much juice for you.
Joshua: (Happily drinks juice)

Life with a three year old is great. I can only surmise that he’s decided that “too much” juice is desirable because he long ago taught himself to help himself to items in the refrigerator and has heard “Joshua, that’s too much,” so many times that he now believes it means “just the right amount.” But still, these boys say or doing something every single day that makes me so grateful to be their mother.

Posted by: Amanda | March 4, 2013

Several Random Thoughts

1. This last week, not using Twitter or Facebook wasn’t even very challenging. My mind hasn’t been composing random tweets several times per day anymore. I didn’t even bother logging on to either of them yesterday. I seem to have broken the habit of mindlessly checking for updates. So that’s good. I haven’t noticed an increase in free time, however. Probably because I don’t actually have free time.

2. My Internet useage probably hasn’t gone down much lately either. I’m the type of person who researches, researches, researches to find the perfect item to meet a particular need. And then when I find that perfect-for-me item, I spend awhile looking for/waiting on the best possible price. I’ve been in the middle of this process for several items over the last few weeks.

3. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Doctor Who. This has been going on for awhile since I’m almost on season 4. I started watching the series with JR about a year ago, and googled just enough to know that the show has been so long-running because it swaps out Doctors and companions as necessary. JR devoured all but the first couple episodes of the first season (current BBC version, which began with the ninth Doctor) without me, and decided that he was finished when the Tenth Doctor arrived.

3b. Yesterday I watched Blink. It is considered one of, if not the, scariest episodes of Doctor Who. I’m not debating whether Blink was a good episode (it was excellent, and I keep thinking about watching it again right now to pick up on things I probably missed the first time). The Empty Child and Satan Pit episodes seemed just as scary to me in the moment. But then today I was at my parents’ home and saw this:

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