Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Favorites

Here come the favorites, and then I'm off to bed early...I STILL haven't shaken being a little sick. Yuck. Anyway, here goes:

1. NEW PILLOWS -- I got mine from Linens n Things, where I don't usually shop, but Kristen D. let me know about this FANTASTIC sale they were having a couple of weeks ago and I got four fabulously plump pillows for $16...for the math flunkies out there, that's an amazing $4 a pillow. These pillows are so great, I'm actually sleeping better at night. My last pillows were so flat and sad, I had to stuff old blankets in the decorative pillow shams to fill them out, and I was down to one or two positions that would suffice to prevent a serious back or neck ache in the morning. Pathetic. So my friends, the moral of the story is that if you are in dire need of new pillows, don't wait! Go to the store and pamper yourself. It's totally worth the money (even more so if they're on sale, but even still if they're not). You deserve a fresh, thick, fluffy pillow upon which to lay your head at night! Even my dreams have improved :) (not really - HA! But maybe I should call up these people and offer to do an info-mercial for them cause I'm really on a roll).

2. FRESCO'S -- here's the food for this week's Friday Favorites. Michael worked here last summer to see what waitering would be like (neither of us had ever served in this capacity before) and to make some extra cash. Let me tell you guys - their fajita meat (especially the steak) is out of this world. If you like Mexican food, you've gotta try this place. It's on 377 by Harvest Church. I've known about it for a long time, but me and my mom had plans to eat there tonight that fell through, and so now the craving is fresh on my mind. I'm not a huge Mexican food fan - I like it fine, but I like other stuff better (um, hello? Chinese and Italian!) - but this place is great. It's noisy and colorful and on Friday nights it's super crowded, so keep all that in mind if you plan on going. But the food is amazing. And if you like guacamole, they prepare it for you table side when you order it, and you get to choose the ingredients to make it as mild or spicy as you want. Very cool. Specific items I suggest: their fajita steak quesadillas or cheese enchiladas with fajita meat on top, and definitely the table side guac I mentioned before. Oh goodness, it's a good thing their doors close in like 10 minutes...

3. PARKS -- totally random, yes. But I took Benito to the park today (because the weather was unbelievably wonderful) and met some other people there with their kiddos, and I thought, what a cool idea someone had when the asphault began taking over. You can enjoy a little nature and pleasing scenery, as well as wear your kid out on the slides, stairs and swings so he'll be ready to take an amazingly long afternoon nap. You can also get some exercise so you feel healthy, plus feel like a super mom because you did something healthy and fun with your kiddo other than watching Sesame Street and eating goldfish crackers (which we pretty much do once a day everyday no matter what anyway). And how cool that social boundaries are so easily broken down and trust is so easily formed among moms and their children, so they can talk, compare notes, and roll around in the wood chips together (the kids, not the moms). Only at a park (or the mall playscape, or sometimes church...). And finally, I feel a little less like we've totally paved the earth and doomed it to self-destruct through all its environmental problems when I'm surrounded by trees, green grass, and massive plastic playgrounds. Some great parks I recommend: Chisolm Park, the park off of Glenview by the string of apartments close to the Rufe Snow exit, and the park/walking trail that's a full mile around off of Starnes behind 377 and Harvest Church called Capp Smith Park (always forget the specific name of the middle one). All great for different reasons and all hold great promise to entertain, enrich and engage our munchkins :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Okay, I'm not usually in the practice of requesting prayers for health - my family is typically pretty healthy, and prayers for health have always seemed a bit repetitive and pointless to me (aside from serious diseases or illnesses). I mean, we'll all get better within a week or so anyway, right? But in this particular case, I'm asking all of you who read this blog to say a quick prayer for me and Bennett, but especially for Bennett. He's presently getting over his fourth ear infection, three of which have occurred in the past two months. The doc is beginning to whisper ideas of tubes (and he has a reputation of not doing the procedure lightly or on a whim), which freaks me out a little, even though I've heard they're really not a big deal. And also, they cost money :( . So please pray that the weather will warm quickly and that Bennett won't catch anymore colds (because his colds turn into ear infections every time). And for me, I'm feeling discouraged because I've been majorly sick/weak/yucky since last Thursday, and it's getting old. Me and the munchkin have been holed up in the house for almost a week...NOT fun. So that's my plea/prayer request. Thanks for offering up on behalf of me and my family!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Favorites

This week's favorites have a theme (and it's not food!): BOOKS....I LOVE to read. I read all the time when my little Benito is sleeping or down for the night (although lately I've read a bit less due to a ridiculous addiction with a game on facebook that will remain nameless, because it's embarrassing :)). So here they are, beginning with my least to most favoritest books :)

5. The Old English Series (actually don't think that's the exact name of the series, but that's the setting) by Lori Wick. Lori Wick is a Christian romance author and I pretty much read every single one of her books (quite a feat) during the six months I nursed Bennett. Her fiction can be pretty monotonous after a while, but this particular series is a good one (the best, in my opinion) and I believe there are three (possibly four) books in it all together. One is called The Hawk and the Jewel...can't remember the titles of the others. If you're looking for some light reading that's entertaining and clean, and kinda sweet and totally sappy, this is right up your alley.

4. The Hero Series by Gilbert Morris. Another Christian romance author that I exhausted during Bennett's early months. Again, this dude has written a million books, and most of them center around a specific lineage of family, the Winslows (fictional). His writing is also fairly monotonous, but more historical, with factual information. The Hero Series in particular is a bit unrealistic, but again entertaining and clean. There are six books (I think) in this series, and the titles are ones like The Guardian, The Interviewer, etc. They're all about this one family of six siblings and how they take care of each other and all eventually find love and get married and blah blah blah (and they all have dangerous public service jobs like a firefighter, an FBI undercover agent, a forensic specialist, a paramedic, etc.). Not the most believable series, but again, light and entertaining.

3. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. This book actually has the potential to be my #2, but I haven't actually finished it yet...I'm about halfway through, and I'm loving it (thanks to Amanda for inspiring me to read it). It's so encouraging, and just jam-packed with truths about God and good reminders for the purpose of my life and what I'm truly here for. The biblical principles in it are really helping me reorder my priorities and think differently about how I use my time, who I'm doing things for, and what true worship is. If you haven't read it, please do. If you have, you could always read it again. It's one of those books that is so full of things you want to remember, I'm pretty sure it's going to take several read-throughs to milk it all.

2. This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti. He's kind of a Christian mystery/sci-fi author (also wrote The Oath), but this particular book is different. It focuses on the spiritual realm and spiritual warfare over a small town. I'm usually all about books with at least a hint of a romantic theme, which is absent from this book, but I loved it and have read it several times because it really opened my eyes to the possibilities around us, and how very real and dangerous our enemy the devil really is. There is another realm, the spiritual realm, that is even more real and lasting than where we live right now, and though I don't give serious credence to this book or claim it is written in truth or such (simply because my small mind can't comprehend it all and there's no way for us to really know how all of those things actually work), it is a good reminder of how we are affected by things around us without even knowing it, and a good reminder to pray, to be serious about our relationship with the Lord, and to stay engaged in this spiritual battle we as Christians are involved in. If you've never read it, I HIGHLY recommend it.

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I could seriously read this book a million and one times and NEVER get tired of it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! It's a classic, they've made many movies about it of varying setting and plotline (I'm pretty sure I've watched all of them, even the one set in India, called Bride and Prejudice - HA!). If you want romance, and drama, and beating the odds, and SUPER DUPER happy endings, but in a non-cheesy, breath-taking way, or if you've never read this book (unthinkable!), you HAVE to. It's my all time favorite. I'm pretty confident it always will be.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cleaning S.O.S.

Okay, people. I need some help. I'm trying to get super organized in my cleaning. So this blog will require actual feedback - NO lurking! I'd really like to know what products other people use to clean their homes. I'll list a couple of my favorites first, but then I need your recommendations. I'm tired of having that big ole' bucket full of useless cleaning supplies, and the sprays and bottles and sponges that make worse messes than they clean up. I'll tell you my favorites, then make a short list of specific jobs I need to do, hopefully with a new and improved, and utterly fabulous cleaning product suggested by your own brilliance of mind. Here goes:

Products I swear by:
1. Clorox disinfecting wipes - I use these in the kitchen, the bathroom, and DEFINITELY on Bennett's high chair. They're fabulous - like an upgraded, extra oomph wet paper towel that actually gets rid of germs and messes instead of spreading them around.

2. Clorox toilet bowl wand - I loathe cleaning the toilet and it makes me shiver/gag to stick my hand in toilet bowl water, so this is the perfect solution. The little wand hangs on the side of the toilet, and you click on one of the disposable sponge cleaning thingys when you're ready to use it. The great thing is, it turns the water blue, so you and everybody else think it's super clean just from the color alone, and the BEST thing is, you don't have to touch the toilet with your hands at ALL!! The wand reaches around and scrubs everything. You do have to buy refills of the sponges, but they're not expensive and I think it's TOTALLY worth the lack of shivers/gags.

Okay, now here are the things I'd really appreciate feedback on:

--a good cleaner/routine for cleaning faux wood floors
--a good cleaner/routine/mop for mopping floors
--a good cleaner for the shower and tub
--a good cleaner/routine for dusting

**Disclaimer: Yes, I DO already clean all of these things and have products for each of these areas of the house, but I don't really like them, or they don't seem to work very well, or they take forever. So if you can suggest something that isn't horribly expensive, that doesn't take too horribly long to do, and doesn't require a horribly large amount of elbow grease, we're in business, and I'd be forever in your debt! (slight exaggeration)

Thanks ahead of time for the cleaning help and wisdom!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Favorites (plus some Bennett viewing pleasure)

Here are some recent pictures of my little Benito that make me quite a fan...

This RARELY happens, so I had to get a picture!

He loves playing in his "fortress."

Cuddling with Horton the Elephant.

And without further ado...the second edition of FRIDAY FAVORITES!! (I know you've been waiting all week with bated breath!)

1. TARGET $1 AISLE -- Typically the knick-knacks and "treasures" here are nothing short of junk and fall apart within a few days of buying them, but I've had some fabulous finds here as well, such as the ROCKIN' felt penguin bags I used to hold party favors for Bennett's first birthday, and my cute hot pink water bottle for the gym. I also found a slightly scary but fun Christmas tree board book for Bennett's stocking this year that he LOVES. And if you're a theme kind of person, this is the section for you. They have stuff for every occasion and season, and everything's a buck. Oh, Target! Could you possibly be more fabulous?

2. BECOMING JANE -- It's a movie with Anne Hathaway and James McAvey, and it is fantastic. I watched it for the first time this week. Be forewarned because it has a somewhat sad ending, which usually deters and infuriates me, but in this case it was so well done and so poetic, I STILL walked away loving it. I'm a HUGE Jane Austen fan (Pride and Prejudice is my favorite everything: book, movie, love story, whatever) so this movie was right up my alley. And may I just say, James McAvey (is that how you spell his name?) is not an exceptionally attractive man, but his acting in this movie was beyond phenomenal. I was seriously impressed. Beautiful, beautiful story, and fairly accurate for the most part from what I saw and what I know about Jane Austen's life.

3. CHINESE FOOD -- Don't be surprised, people, if some type of food makes my Friday Favorites list every week. I love food, I won't lie, and I'm convinced there will be a Chinese buffet in heaven. In particular, I'm a huge fan of Pei Wei, thanks to Miss Molly's introduction. You can't beat their lomein and wontons, and when you order take out, you get a free drink while you wait (who doesn't love free stuff?). If I hadn't just eaten two strawberry Valentine's cupcakes 15 minutes ago (and hadn't already eaten Pei Wei just last night), I'm pretty sure my mouth would be watering right now.

Until next week,

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Favorites

Okay, I am totally stealing this idea from about a dozen others that I know of, but isn't stealing also the highest form of flattery? (???) Friday is my favorite day of the week - has been since I was little - there's an excitement and anticipation about knowing the weekend is coming and will stretch out before you with endless possibilities and combos of R&R, with a few fun activities thrown in. Friday means the week is closing up and there are good things to come. So in lieu of this, I have decided to do a Favorites post on Fridays, to celebrate my favorite day and my favorite things. But I think sometimes it won't just be things - it'll also be people, or places, or quotes...just favorites in general. So here goes my first edition!....

1. CRAB SALAD -- yes, it smells and has a very distinctive taste, but I LOVE it. The super Wal-mart has a decent brand (though I MUCH prefer it homemade or the version from Ryan's Steakhouse with little peas in it) called Santa Barbara Bay Krab Salad. I eat it with Ritz crackers and I've got myself a fantastic lunch or afternoon snack. If you've never given crab salad a chance, do it. You only live once.
P.S. I just remembered my beloved crab salad last night and got some, and enjoyed it immensely for lunch today - hence my excitement and it making my favorites list.

2. DIET CHERRY COKE -- besides the fact that it goes fabulously with crab salad (see above), it is the best diet soda I've had, and I'm picky. I thumb my nose up at diet Coke, diet Sprite, and even diet Dr.Pepper, but I love me some diet cherry coke. It doesn't have any weird after tastes and it's not yucky syrupy or flat like some sodas. And the all time best thing about it: zero calories. Sometimes (sometimes everyday) I tell myself that I can have two (or five) of them in a day because it doesn't add any fattage...not sure that's entirely accurate, but it sounds good.

3. RICK ATCHLEY -- okay, he's the preacher at our church, and I know he's a totally random thing (person) to put on a favorites blog, but he has been kicking some SERIOUS spiritual tail lately, and I've been totally blown away by it. It's tough to get in front of thousands of people and tell it like it is, not hesitating over the possible repercussions, but plowing through, doing the will of God. It takes courage and guts and oomph, all of which Rick has in abundance. I don't know what the Lord has been saying to this man lately, but he's been on a mission over the last several weeks and I think it's fantastic. Last week he talked about Jesus - Jesus is THE way, not A way. That's crucial. It's life or death. And from that, he talked about how tolerant our society and the upcoming generation is - how there is no absolutism and everyone does "what is right for them." And here's my favorite part: he told it straight up about my dear friend, Oprah. Those of you who have talked to me at length at any point probably know my feelings on the woman. Months ago I swore off watching her show or supporting her in any way. If she's not the anti-Christ, she's a good indicator of what he'll be like in the beginning (I'm kind of kidding, but not really), if you ask me. I could totally get on my soap box, but instead I'll give you the quote Rick gave at church, which I think sums up a whole lot: She said (paraphrase) "Is it more important to God that you have a heart full of love, or that you call His Son Jesus?" (and her answer is the heart full of love). This is just one example of her watered down, catering to the masses, luke-warm filth that pollutes the minds of millions of women who consider her a paramount example for what's right, what's in, and what's acceptable in our world today.
And now, coming down off the soapbox that I originally intended not to perch atop, GO RICK!, because someone needs to tell it like it is in this day and age, to be honest, to be a voice and a true representative for the Lord, and he's doing it.

So there's the first edition of Favorites Friday. See you again next week :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Rockin' blog page

Okay, for all of you who are wondering how in the world my blog page got to looking so rockin' friend Amanda did it! She's starting up a side business where she makes blog headers and fun stuff like that for other people. She's unbelievably talented, and you can find her by clicking on "Amanda" under my friends link. I told her what I wanted and she delivered :)
Kudos, my friend!