Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It does a body good...

And I'm not talking about milk (although we did learn a lot about milk on our vacation this week)! What I'm referring to mostly is just vacation in and of itself. Time off, time to just do whatever or nothing at all. Time to recharge our batteries & reset ourselves before moving on with "real" life. 

Earlier this week we drove to Lafayette, IN and spent the night. We visited Tippecanoe Battlefield & Museum. 

We found a familiar name on one of the plaques which we'll have to be investigated further to see if there is a true familial connection.

I saw some medical tools I'm glad I'll NEVER have to use :) 

And we walked on ground where a battle was waged that changed many lives

It was a very interesting place...

The next day we headed to Fair Oaks Dairy Farm. 

What a beautiful place!
We watched them make cheese & bottle milk. We watched the birth of a calf and we toured the barns & grounds.  We also got to witness an interesting method for cow milking.

We played some games that taught us about milk & calcium :) 

Most of all we enjoyed being together! 

One of the things we noticed was all of the windmills in the northwestern part of Indiana!  I'd only seen windmills like these on TV & I was amazed at the gigantic size of the windmills.  What a neat sight to see hundreds of these throughout the fields working to provide a renewable, environmentally friendly form of energy!!

We came home through Edinburgh & stopped to do a little shopping.  Then today we went to Falls of the Ohio.  Liv had went with her class & wanted us to see it.  It was a really neat place full of LOTS of information.

We've had such a great time just hanging out together with no real agenda we had to adhere to.  This weekend we are celebrating Toby's birthday (which was actually last Sun) with family & friends during a BBQ.  Then on Sunday, you'll find us parked in front of the TV watching the Indy 500 (our favorite race of the year!). Monday we'll be BBQing with the King's to celebrate Memorial Day :) 

What a busy week & weekend, but I love all the family & friends time!!! And, even better, we found out this past week that Liv & I are going with a cousin on a "gal trip" to see some family later in July which I am absolutely ecstatic about!!!!  It's turning out to be a great start to the summer!!!! 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Oh My!  I see the sun!  FINALLY!! After what seems like weeks of rain, the sun is shining bright this morning!  I have so much I need to get done today & yet, here I sit. :)

Tomorrow is my hubby's 38th birthday! He is always saying his birthday is no big deal, but it sure is to me!  It's the day when he was put here on earth & the journey to where our lives could intersect began.

I'm glad he was able to take off work for several days so that we can spend some much needed family time together (that doesn't involve moving! haha!).

This morning I am mulling something over.  Is a person untrustworthy or bad if they don't share your every opinion or if they disagree with you once in a while &/or believe that you were in the wrong?  I have/had what I considered to be a fairly good friend who has apparently decided that she can't be my friend because I disagreed with her and now she believes me to be untrustworthy because I spoke my opinion.  Interestingly, I think she only knew what I said at all because she (or someone she knew) sneaked/hacked & went through another person's private account.  Which, since my words were not intended for her, makes it very easy to take things out of context.  And, rather than come to me about it she just blocked me from her FaceBook account.  Really?  Are we adults or are we back in high school?  I have a small group of friends that I consider extremely important to me & I can assure you if any of you (& I hope you know who you are! :) did or said something to upset me I would either A) take some time & get over it on my own or B) talk to you about it but I wouldn't just assume that I knew all there was to know & write you out of my life. 

In fact, even though I was in disagreement with her actions & didn't see things the way she did, it never crossed my mind to not be her friend.  I just figured we'd have to agree to disagree on this matter & move on. That's probably the tolerance in me (Toby says sometimes I have too much of that). But I just can't imagine having friends that ALWAYS agreed with me.  That not only seems boring, but it truly stunts my growth as a person, I think.  I like being challenged once in a while to rethink how I view things. 

Regardless, I'm not one to talk behind other's backs. I never write or say anything I wouldn't say to your face.  Although, sometimes I use more tact when talking directly to the person - ha! I am admittedly opinionated and when asked what I think (& sometimes I don't even have to be asked - ha!) I tend to say what I think. Still, I don't think that disagreeing with a person or thinking they reacted poorly is the same as being untrustworthy.  

Well, enough about that.  I just needed to air out some feelings on the matter.  I try to be an easy to talk to person & life would be easier if when someone had a problem with me they'd let ME know about it. But that's just not how some people roll & I can accept that. 

Sure, makes me glad I still have the "Poohs" in my life :)

Did I mention the sun was shining & my hubby is off work & home withe me?!?!?  It's gonna take a WHOLE lot more than a little girl drama to wipe this smile off my face :)  

Hope everyone has a GREAT weekend!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh!" he whispered. "Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you." ~A.A. Milne

This has to be one of my very favorite quotes.  And, yes, I'm aware that it's from a children's book, but I still love it.

When I was a child, I would often go into my parent's bedroom in the night & say "Mom" or "Dad" and, when they answered, simply say "Goodnight." or "Love you" and go back to bed.  I was comforted just knowing they were still there.

Now I'm married, but I still wake up sometimes & reach over to reassure myself Toby's there. Sometimes I will even go down the hall & put a kiss on Liv's forehead, just checking she's still there & OK.  Sometimes we'll be out & about &  I'll feel Toby reach for my hand & I'm comforted to be "sure" of him. 

Life is like that, isn't it?  Although we have many friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and family members, there are always those few that we need to be "sure" of.  

In a world full of uncertainty, I'm grateful for the "Pooh's" in my life that I am "sure" of. So if I say/write your name and have really nothing to say, rest assured, you're just one of my "sures" that I'm checking up on :) 

Friday, May 14, 2010

"When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses." ~Joyce Brothers

As many of you already know we'd planned on going to Gulf Shores this summer, but the move pretty much took care of our vacation fund so those plans got changed. (Although if you've got the money there are some GREAT deals on hotels & condos down there since the oil spill!)  Then we thought we'd try to get to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville for a few days, but decided to wait & go in the fall because I've always wanted to see that area in full fall color.  So as Toby's vacation time has been approaching we've talked more & more about what we should do.  We've even considered just cancelling his scheduled time off.  But after we realized we were going to be moved & settled by the time his vacation rolled around we decided that we wanted to get away & do something. But what?  Our savings account has been deeply impacted by the moving expenses.  We're all worn out & a long trip just sounded exhausting.

That's when I remembered about a place that Toby's aunt Vicki emailed us about a couple years ago.  Fair Oaks Dairy Farm in northern Indiana.  You can watch a video about this farm on YouTube at .  Anyway, I remembered Liv talking about how cool it would be to see it & an idea was born. 

As I was searching for a place to stay in the area up there, I began to find other places in the area that I thought would be interesting too like Tippacanoe Battlefield Museum and Prophetstown State Park and our vacation plans emerged.  

Perhaps, the thing that surprised me even more was that I found myself (& Toby & Liv) growing more & more excited to get away.  It seemed irrational to me at first.  How could be excited about a short trip just a few hours from home?  Heck, it may rain & all our plans go down the drain (no pun intended:)   Then I got to thinking about some things that Cris mentioned in her Tice Talk Thursdays blog. And I realized there are several reasons why a small, close-to-home vacation is still exciting to us. 

First of all, we've chosen to be excited about getting away & being together.  Happiness IS a choice.  Second, we realize that time together is important and valuable in and of itself. Third, we will still be seeing things we've never seen & we'll still be making memories together.  Distance is not a deciding factor in whether or not memories can be made. And lastly, we have come to realize how very fortunate we are.  So many other people either don't have the time off from work, don't have the money, or are not in good enough health to travel, or sadly, in some cases, just don't want to spend time with their family. 

I would encourage everyone to think of taking some time away with their family.  It can be just a day (if that's all your work schedule or pocketbook allows).  It doesn't have to be expensive.  It can be a trip to a park you've never visited, a backyard beach excursion , a night camping out in the backyard, or a drive through a part of the state you've never traveled. We live within a day's drive of tons of parks, museums, zoos, science centers & other kid-friendly fun things to do. The Indiana tourism site also has lots of discounts & coupons.  Many hotels offer discounted rates if you live in Indiana & are staying in an Indiana hotel.  And always remember, our kids don't care how much the hotel costs or if we eat at a fancy restaurant.  Time together as a family is what is really priceless! 

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Product Worth Sharing!

You know how sometimes you find a product that you just have to share?  Well, this week I had my first experience with a product called NokOut.  

Let me start by saying that as great as our new house is it came with one very BIG issue.  The people before us had dogs in the house who apparently did ALL their business inside.  Our landlord was kind enough to replace the carpet in Liv's room and have the rest of the carpets professionally cleaned, but the dog pee smell just kept on lingering. 

My favorite Cheapskate Lady, Mary Hunt, is ALWAYS recommending this odor eliminating stuff called NokOut.  Every time someone writes her about some awful odor she always says "Get some NokOut".  So I thought, what the heck, it's worth a try.  I bought a 32 oz bottle just to try it.  I also used the WHOLE bottle on half the hallway (our biggest trouble area) & the kitchen doorway & baseboards (our 2nd worst area).  Even though the product instructions say that it may take more than one application, within a matter of an hour or two the house was smelling better.  I can still detect a little of the odor, but I also didn't  have enough to really saturate the carpet & all the areas. Undoubtedly, I'm ordering more! 

The best part (if it can get any better than not living with a dog pee smell) is that the product has NO odor itself, is safe for pets, children, carpets, clothes, walls, floors (wood, tile, & linoleum), car interiors, etc.  You can actually use the product on your pet's fur to take out skunk smell if your pet tries to make friends with the stinky little fellows! You can mop with it, put it in your carpet cleaner, add it to your wash...I guess you can see why I am so impressed with the stuff.

NokOut supposedly works on pets smells, tobacco smells, as well as everyday household odors (like burnt cooking smells).  It's also commonly used in hospitals, vet clinics, etc. 

NokOut also makes a disinfectant that will get rid of mold, mildew, bacteria, & viruses.  My next order is going to include a much larger jug of the odor eliminator & a spray bottle of the disinfectant. 

Anyway, I know I sound like a commercial for the stuff & I swear I'm not getting any kind of commission - haha!  I am just absolutely AMAZED at how well this stuff has worked.  I'm a little fanatical about cleaning with stuff that is homemade, has no odor, and/or is 100% safe for my family (including my furry kid!).  NokOut fits my strict criteria AND works great!!

Check out their website & read some of the testimonials. Even though they're obviously going to post the good ones, these testimonials sound a lot like other ones I've found on the internet AND they'll give you some great ideas on what you can use the product for.  Let me know if you try it (or already have), what you use it for & what you think of it! 

Here's to a great smelling & clean house (& car, & clothes, &....) !!! 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sunshine Awards :)

Back in April, in the middle of all the chaos that was our move, my blogger (& real life) friend, Cris gave me a Sunshine Award.  I promised Cris that once we were settled in our new place I would adhere to the rules of the Sunshine Award so here goes.

The rules are as follows:

1. Put the logo on your blog within your post.
2. Pass the award onto 12 bloggers. - I had to chose 10 because I don't follow lots of blogs yet & many that I do follow don't update their blogs very regular - hint hint if this is you :)
3. Link the nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they have received the award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and the link to the person from whom you have received this award.

I am happy to pass the Sunshine Award along to the following blogs (in no particular order):

1. Erica Lewis' Life was created & is maintained by my cousin (in-law on Toby's side of the family), Erica.  Erica's blog is fresh, fun, and genuine - which is why I love it!  Erica always keeps it real. From the days she's struggling to the days that it all clicks, her blog reminds me that we all ride the roller coaster of life and our friends & family play an important role in maintaining our sanity on that ride! :) 

2. A 1000 Dirty Faces is one of the newest blogs I follow.  Created by another one of my cousin (in-laws - although this one is from my side of the family), Chad.  This blog is pictures of mostly his boys in their natural state of being boys & being messy :)  Chad is a PHENOMENAL photographer anyway & his blog is fun, fresh and real.  3 things I totally LOVE in a blog.  

3. Courtney's Letters Home is written by a woman I knew from school. Courtney up & changed everything about her life by moving around the world from Indiana to Australia.  I am greatly inspired by her decision to take such a huge risk for the chance to find true happiness.  Courtney is proof that we can only change what we are getting out of life by being willing to change what we are doing with our life.  Very, very inspiring & interesting gal! 

4. Don't Sniff My Finger, Look Where I'm Pointing written by a lady I greatly admire, Vonda.  Vonda has been through more trials and tribulations in the past couple of years than most people will go through in a lifetime, but she faces life with humor, resilience, determination, and a "one-day-at-a-time" approach that we all would be wise to learn from. Vonda is unique, funny, and an overall wonderful person.  She keeps it real (which by now you all know I appreciate) and meeting her has truly enriched my life.

5. Mindful McKenna.  A great blog about real life, being a mom & wife, and living the simple life. Written by Allison, I enjoy her honest approach to life.  Allison is a caring person who is an extremely talented cake baker & decorator.  I'm happy to call her friend (both in the blogger world & real life :) 

6. The Killer B's is not a blog about a fatal swarms of bees :) but instead a blog by another cousin (in-law - on Toby's side again) who is raising 3 boys all with names that begin with B (get it now? haha!).  Written by Sara, the blog has great recipes, hilarious stories (although many are probably not so funny to Sara at the time they are happening), and lots of crafty ideas.  

7. Living A Full, Happy, and Healthy Life is written by the same Erica who writes Erica Lewis' Life. Erica graduated last May with her masters in psychology.  She is full of insight & real advice. This newest blog of hers is designed to touch on topics that many people face in their lives & provides real help for navigating our way through these issues. Both positive & inspiring, this blog a great resource for pretty much everyone.

8. The Phoetry Project by Mary is a recently started, but very neat, poetry & photo blog.  I can't wait to see what all Mary does with the blog.  So far, the pics she's posted are very simple, yet very beautiful.  

9. Cooking with the Domestic Engineer is a fairly new blog written by another cousin (in law - on Toby's side), Molly. Molly is a SAHM to 2 little ones & a lover of the simple joys in life.  In her newest blog she shares great recipes that are tried & true family favorites. 

10. Lastly, but certainly not least, GOODEness Gracious. Can you return a Sunshine Award?  I'm not sure, but Cris's blog is one of my absolute favorites so I couldn't just leave her out.  Chocked full of funny stories, helpful tidbits, great recipes, and authentic thoughts on life, Cris never fails to write something that truly reaches out to me.  Although her blog is what bit me & gave me the blogging bug, I finally gave up any hope of being as creative & interesting as she is.  Still, she was right, blogging is too much fun & truly therapeutic so I'm glad she drug in me into the world of blogging :) 

Well, that's all for my list.  I greatly enjoy all the blogs on my blog list.  If I didn't, I wouldn't be a follower of them.  Blogging has been everything & more than I expected it to be.  I'm always looking for a good blog to follow so feel free to comment me suggestions :)