Thursday, July 31, 2008
I'll post one myself sometime soon, I promise.
I meant to do it this week, but somehow as I set up the timing of the giveaway I failed to remember that I have a bachelorette party tonight (yup, #2), a rehearsal dinner tomorrow night, and a wedding on Saturday. So I'm a little short on time!
Be sure to check back tomorrow for the bloggy winners!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
CJ on Amazon (see Christopher)
Julie at One Sweet Life
Bill at Logozzo blog
Jaye P at Thoughts From Adulthood AND an Amazon Review (see pajama reader)
Lynn at Rohal Call
Erin VT on Amazon (see Erin)
Jamie at Life With A Jamie-Twist
Jenni at Swimming In Sugar And Spice
And my Grandma posted this little review in a blog comment recently: WHAT'S SO AMAZING ABOUT GRACE ON STEROIDS!!! I loved it.
I'll update this post as more come in. Please leave me a comment as soon as you post your review so that I can link it, too! The deadline to be eligible for the prizes is 11:59 PM (not 12 noon!) Eastern Time on Wednesday, July 30th.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Josh and I have been talking a lot lately about what types of things we're looking forward to getting back to when we move. Don't get me wrong, we've enjoyed our time here in Michigan. It has been an excellent (albiet busy) summer and a great work experience for Josh. In addition to seeing friends and family, we've enjoyed getting to know this small town. And the LAKE... oh the lake! I've really loved living so close to Lake Michigan. It is JUST beautiful.
But here are some things I'm especially looking forward to about our move back, in no particular order...
10. Our Own Apartment. We've lived in a furnished rental house for the last eleven+ weeks. While it has been mostly functional, it just isn't the nicest place by any stretch of the imagination. Our place in Bloomington has central air, normal paint jobs, and doesn't have a window in the shower. Not to mention it just seems more like "home." Last summer we did some decorating and painting to make it feel homey. And it does!
9. Our Own Stuff. Going along with #10, we're definitely looking forward to using the dishes we picked out, sitting on the new (to us) furniture we love, and watching a tv that a. doesn't require a bobby pin jammed into a hole to turn on, and b. is big enough to be able to see baseballs, numbers on player jerseys, and stuff like that. This one is quite high on Josh's list!
8. Our Own Bed. This one gets its own number! The bed here is fine, but it tends to roll us into the middle every night. All 3 of us - Riley included. Our bed in Bloomington is C-O-M-F-Y.
I do realize that #8-10 are a little superficial, but I'm telling you using other people's stuff for a summer gets a little old!
7. A Nearby Starbucks. Actually, there are like 8 in town. Here? Only one, but it is in a grocery store I never shop at, so it doesn't count. In Bloomington there is a drive-through 'bucks right around the corner.
6. Hobby Lobby. Not that I've had time for scrapbooking this summer! But I heart Hobby Lobby (especially when they have 1/2 off sales! And we happen to have one located just a mile away.
5. Kelley Partner's Club. Along with my friend Lora, I help lead this group. Basically, those of us who are along for the ride, B-School-wise, band together and plan activities, share tips on the area, and make friends! Since Josh can get pretty busy with school stuff, it is great to have things to do in the evenings. I made a number of amazing friends last year, and, as I've mentioned, I can't wait to see them again soon!
4. Our Church. We go to a great church in Bloomington! I appreciate that while they're passionate about the gospel and true life change, they also really encourage being active in the community we live in. We enjoyed going to young couples Sunday School and making friends through Sherwood Oaks. I participated in a Beth Moore Bible Study that I really enjoyed, too. We're looking forward to getting more involved this fall.
3. Fall Colors. I've lived in Michigan (well-known for color tours) all my life but I don't think you can beat the brilliant colors of fall in southern Indiana. We even live close to a little artist colony that is only somewhat tourist trappy. But it is marvelous in the fall. Plus that area is known for covered bridges... beautiful!
2. Bloomington Restaurants. MMM... I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to some of our favorite places! College towns, at least in my experience, do a good job with offering a variety of great food options, from pizza to international fare. Plus there are quite a few places we didn't make it to last year that I'm looking forward to trying, like FARM and Little Zagreb's. HINT HINT, JOSH! :)
1. Welcoming New Families to Bloomington. Last year we were totally welcomed, suppored, and befriended almost immediately after setting foot in the area. I'm excited to turn around and do the same, now that I'm an "expert" at this Bloomington, B-School thing. I know the lingo, what to expect the first year, where to shop, and where to take my car in for repairs. The first year students (and families) will be arriving soon, and I'm totally excited to get to know them and help make their transition just a little easier.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I have been richly blessed with incredible friendships these past few years. As I've transitioned away from college in Ann Arbor, into married life in Michigan, and then back to pseudo-college life again in Bloomington. In a variety of locations and situations, God has continued to give me so many people to enjoy and spend time with. I'm extremely thankful.
I can't say that we've put down too many roots here in St. Joe, but at the moment we're within an hour and a half away from quite a few friends and family members. Just this past weekend we spent a full day with the Buurstra's, then most of the next day with the Van Tuinens. We loved it! And then tonight we met my parents and grandma in Saugatuck for dinner (and to give Chloe back to them) and enjoyed getting see them again, too.
It will be a little sad to move 5 hours down the road again.
And yet I'm totally excited to see my IU friends again. Ecstatic. I really miss those people and so enjoyed making a bunch of new friendships over the course of the last school year.
It just makes me sad that there are so many people quite dear to me that I don't get to see very often. There are so many people I know I'd continue to be close to if they only lived nearby. I'm not great at keeping in touch, either. Life gets busy and I tend to be a "here and now" type of girl. And yet it hurts to lose touch with people I was once close to. That has certainly happened with college friends, and even one of my bridesmaids. Is it just a part of life?
What do you think? How do you deal with change, when it comes in the form of friendships? How do you keep in touch with old friends? Am I alone in this struggle?
Hello goodbye hello goodbye
Sunday, July 27, 2008
After some bloggy encouragement, I went ahead and purchased them today when I was at the mall with my friend Erin.
... and I'm now the proud owner of 5 pairs of the same shoe.
*** And to those of you participating in the bloggy book giveaway, be sure to post your review by Wednesday, July 30 to be eligible for prizes! ***
Friday, July 25, 2008
I had a TON of fun last night celebrating with Rebecca, some other cousins, and some of her friends. Her sister Elizabeth, our cousin Christina, and I teamed up to host a combination bachelorette party/lingerie shower, and the mix was a bunch of fun.
I mean, it had all the ingredients for a great party:
1. A ridiculous headband for the bride-to-be
2. Dinner out at San Chez
4. Marriage advice
5. Fun and frilly gifts
6. A pink cake
7. Humiliating shower games (done in the comfort of an otherwise empty house!)
... and (8) an enthusiastic rendition of Goodbye Earl on the way back from dinner?
Nothing says best wishes for a long and happy life together like this song, does it? And yet somehow it was one of the more fun moments we had all evening. A great song to blast over a car stereo with the windows down...
Did you catch Liz - maid of honor - middle of the back seat - belting it out with gusto? Awesome.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I now have them (yes, the same exact shoe!) in four colors:
I was tempted by chocolate-colored ones at the mall today, but managed to pass them by. I thought 5 pairs might be a little much. However, I do wear them every single day in the summer, so the PPW (price per wear) would be pretty low.
Maybe I'll have to go back and get them after all...
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Rebecca's Official Family Shower
Once again, it was flash-back time for me, as my shower was held in the same room of the same house. It was so fun to celebrate Bec this time around.
Isn't it great how towels, and crock pots become really exciting at showers? Oooh, pretty colors! Wow.. you can tilt it to strain pasta!
A thoughtful family friend even gave Elizabeth, Rebecca's sister and maid of honor, a gift - new beach towels.
The newest Witte (right?), Kiersten, also got to be part of the fun! She is obviously way cute.
... And now on to the next party - the bachelorette type. Coming up on Thursday, courtesy of Elizabeth, Christina, and myself. Should be a fun time!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
We got married in June of 2005. That summer we also attended the weddings of:
Michelle (cousin) and Rowley
Bill and Paulina (friends from college)
Chris and DeeDee (friends from college)
Carmen (friends from high school/church growing up) and Phil
Throw in a couple of showers, including my own, and things got pretty crazy pretty quickly.
Carmen and I actually teamed up, along with our moms, to trade wedding work with each other. It was wonderful having someone else take care of the day-of details... from transporting the flower centerpieces to setting out table numbers. Then we helped them the next month with all of those kinds of things as well. Not only was it wonderful to have these things taken care of, we all had a blast doing it. We even had similar colors and shared things like church banners and tablecloth overlays.
This is my big tip to anyone who:
a. will someday plan a wedding (for yourself or your daughter), and
b. won't be using a wedding planner. (If you do go that route, I hear Aletha does a great job)
Find yourself a wedding buddy.
Since that summer we've had a few weddings here and there, but Summer 2008 is shaping up to be pretty crazy once again.
On Friday night I helped out, along with my parents, at the wedding of Carmen's sister, Stephanie. It was like old times again, and definitely brought us all back! Stephanie's wedding was quite a swanky affair. She included so many cute and classy details and planned everything really well. It was beautiful. Just in case you like wedding stuff as much as me I've included some pictures:
In addition to Steph's wedding, we have two more planned for this summer:
Rebecca (cousin) and Mike
Erin (cousin) and Pablo
Both of these girls are quite dear to me, and I'm so very excited for them!
But with three weddings and four showers within a span of two months, I think Wedding Mania is indeed the appropriate term.
Monday, July 21, 2008
So we're watching my parents' dog, Chloe this week, while they're in Oregon visiting my brother. Riley and Chloe see a lot of each other, and they get along pretty well overall.
That said, I just can't shake the idea that Chloe is actually very annoyed with him most of the time. She just manages to hold it in.
I mean, she is old and likes her space. He is young and wants to play. But the real kicker is that he always wants to be RIGHT next to her. Like this picture... the chair isn't very big and she was taking a nice nap on it this afternoon. Well he decided to try and snuggle up, resulting in a rather tight spot.
Her expression tells all: This kid is a pain in the butt.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Very big stuff. You can't tell from these shots, but there were all kinds of people crowded around to see the show. One little kid actually got to help, and it was obvious he took it VERY seriously. From what I read on Wikipedia (sorry, Lora) having the job of "Duckmaster" and "Duckmaster's assistant" is a pretty big deal.
When they're not in the fountain, the ducks live in the "Duck Palace" on the 4th floor. I believe that means they have a cage. I've heard it is near the tennis courts.
On that note, does anyone have any fun ideas for bachelorette shower games? I'm looking for some ideas. Something on the clean-ish side, please :).
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I'm guessing that for me it has been around seven years. Ever since I got my first cell phone.
That was until last night at the Orlando airport. I arrived at the airport overly early due to the shuttle schedule, then checked in. I planned on a nice long phone call with my beloved husband while I browsed the Sea World, Disney, and Universal gift shops. But then I realized that in the purse exchange that I'd done prior to the trip to the airport, my cell phone didn't make it in my carry-on. It was in my now-checked suitcase.
I need to at least check in with Josh to tell him I've made it this far. He'll worry if he doesn't hear from me until 10:30 tonight.
Should I go up to a stranger and ask to use their phone for a sec?
And then I realized that people did manage to operate without cell phones back in the day. They used pay phones. And calling cards. After a little wallet digging, I found, to my surprise, that I still carried a calling card. Good to go.
Believe me, there wasn't exactly a long line of folks waiting to use the pay phone. I think I got some strange looks as I stood there filling Josh in on my travel updates. And my calling card, for the record, still has 363 minutes remaining.
It totally reminded me of The Office where Michael is trying to get his employees to buy into a company that makes calling cards. And then Jim assures him that no one uses calling cards anymore and that it is actually a pyramid scheme.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Yes, it is true. Ducks get extra special treatment around here - they hang out in the lobby fountain, get to ride on the elevator twice a day, and even get a red carpet rolled out for them. The march of the ducks happens at 11 and 5 each day, so I hope I'll catch it sometime between now and Wednesday. From what I hear it is quite exciting.
Thankfully the hotel is nice to human guests as well. There is a second T.V. in the bathroom and they gave me two "complimentary" bottles of water. No red carpet, however.
Friday, July 11, 2008
I'm really not sure if I like this one or not.
I've had a few requests (via facebook) to show it off, so here you go Lora, CJ, and Sarah. Decide for yourselves. A good look? Or not?
My original plan was to get it cut in an angled bob, with some stacking in the back. From certain angles, this was achieved.
But from others, there's really no angle to be found. And the stacking? Not so much.
I'm tempted to head back to the salon to get a little more cut back there. Is that okay to do? My stylist said I could (I feel like they always do) but in reality, is that acceptable?
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
My first thought was to start "Friday Favorites" but that is too organized for me and I'd like the freedom to share some whenever I want to (read: whenever I don't know what else to blog about).
I'd love to hear what your favorites are too, so feel free to comment or post on your own blog!
Today I'm going with websites (not blogs - I'm saving that one for a later date). On a daily basis I like to check:
1. Google Reader - a must-have one-stop-shop for anyone who likes to read blogs!
2. Facebook - Not only has it become an email substitute with some friends, I love finding out what people are up to this summer via pictures, comments, and the like. Besides, how else would I find out that so-and-so from high school is pregnant or that so-and-so from college is moving to California? Facebook "stalking" is the best.
3. Amazon - This one is half work-related, but the book worm within me smiles when I head there. Reviews? Suggestions? Pictures? Ahh... :)
4. Wikipedia - I find myself heading here to find the difference between an ox and a cow (ox is a type of a cow, for the record), movie plots, and information about everything from trashy celebs to John Adams to WW2.
5. Yahoo Mail - Personal email, of course! I need to find out who is coming to the various bachelorette parties I'm hosting in the next month, as well as what my friends were up to this past weekend. There is always Kelley Partners' Club stuff running through there, as well as a few surprises. And then I spend significant time deleting offers from Banana Republic, Golf Galaxy, and someone I don't know selling ED pills.
6. Weight Watchers - No surprise there. I have to check and log in my points several times throughout the day. Unfortunately I've reached a little plateau, weight-wise, but I'm going to power through. And maybe start running again :).
7. HGTV.com - Rate My Space? Spice Up My Kitchen? How about entering to win the dream home? I watch a fair amount of this T.V. station, and that naturally leads to checking out stuff online. Do I even own a home? No. But a girl can dream.
No, there's nothing earth-shattering or unusual about this list. And that is part of the reason I'm super curious where other people head online - I need to spice up this list!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
The Shack: I wanted to see what all the hoopla was all about with this one, and brought it along for a plane flight. I didn't really want to like it, but did. I cried (on the plane, no less) as Mack, the main character, works through the horror of his daughter's kidnapping and murder, his rocky relationship with his father, and ultimately his own relationship with God. By use of a fictional story, the author does an excellent job of unpacking profound truths about pain (and why God allows it), the Trinity, and God's incredible love for His people. The way the forward and epilogue are written are misleading/gimmicky, in that the author alludes to the book being a true story. Further internet research (on theshackbook.com) revealed that it was, in fact, fiction. That side of things was a little disappointing to me, but overall I'd highly recommend this book.
The Almost True Story Of Ryan Fisher: This was a quick and enjoyable read, but was still able to pack a punch. It tells the story of an average nonreligious realtor who stumbles into Christian subculture and starts to enjoy some of the benefits. This starts to snowball and ends up with "Ryan Fisher" pastoring a large church, although he really has no use for God or Christianity. This is a satirical, sobering, and yet hilarious look at American Christian subculture, and it is written well. I thought the story dragged a bit in the middle, but overall it was an enjoyable, somewhat though-provoking read.
Multiple Blessings: Any Jon & Kate Plus 8 fans out there? I sure am! I'm a sucker for those cute kids and their frazzled parents. Unbeknownst to many fans of the popular TLC show, the Gosselin family are strong Christians - and they have a story to tell about God's work in their lives. This book tells the story of their family - the marriage, the infertility, the twins, and then the sextuplets. It is mostly told from the perspective of Kate (the mom) and how much God has taught her along the way. She talks frankly about the agony of bedrest, their original fears about the health and well-being of the babies, and the difficulty of living with very little privacy. She goes beyond this to point to God's provision and blessing at every turn, for for money (especially when her husband lost his job a couple of months before the sextuplets came around), volunteer help, and just grace to get through the day. This is a quick read, but not overly light. The book does a great job going beyond just the Gosselin's story but reveals a lot about God's faithfulness.
*Update: I forgot to mention this before, but this book won't release until October-ish. Save it for a fall reading list!
Summer At Tiffany: A light, fun, true story about two WW2-era girls who landed summer jobs at the glamorous Tiffany's store in New York City. The first women ever employed there, these two fearless girls from Iowa find themselves living on a tight budget and yet having the time of their lives. This book chronicles their summer adventures, from glimpses of the Judy Garland buying jewelry to meeting handsome soldiers to almost losing priceless pearls. Fun and funny! Thanks for letting me borrow it, Lora!
The Gospel Of Ruth: I saved the best for last! This is my favorite in this bunch. It is a serious, scholarly dig into the Bible's book of Ruth, but reads so easily it was almost novel-like. I've read Ruth, studied Ruth, and even read other books on the topic, but this book brought my understanding of it to a new level altogether. Carolyn Custis James does an amazing job of setting the cultural backdrop, which really puts the story into a different light than I've ever heard before. She challenges "traditional" views regarding submission, the role of women in God's story, and even what the book of Ruth has to offer.
This book tells the tale of Ruth - her pain, her courage, and her dedication to her mother-in-law Naomi - while still demonstrating that God is at the center of the story. Instead of focusing on the love story between Ruth and Boaz, James shows the relationships between them, as well as Naomi, in a completely different light. She reveals how their actions were risky, courageous, and deeply self-sacrificing, done out of love for and trust in God.
James, through examining the well-known story, seeks to answer the question, "Is God good for women?" Even poor, barren, widowed women in a patriarchal society? Can God still have a purpose, and see it through, for women in painful circumstances? Instead of trivializing pain and giving trite answers, the author delves into the sorrows of infertility and losing a husband, and even shares about her own pain. In a very seamless and authentic way, she then leads the reader to examine Ruth's story, where God's purposes prevail against all odds. This book met me at many levels and profoundly affected my trust in and understanding of God's purposes in my life.
Monday, July 7, 2008
We spent the 4th at my grandparents' cottage on Big Whitefish Lake. Riley took his first speedboat ride and decided he liked the feeling of wind in his face. From then on he begged to go along on the boat when anyone took off. We enjoyed beautiful weather, relaxing time to read and play tennis, and some boating fun.
2. I love, love, love Rose's on Reed's Lake. Especially the deck.
We spent Saturday evening with my parents and Oma (dutch for grandma) enjoying the perfect summer evening and a delicious dinner.
3. I miss giong to Ada Bible Church.
Josh and I started to attend Ada right before we left for Bloomington last summer. We went there again on Sunday. We really like it there. Who knows? Maybe God will bring us back to GR someday. Until then we'll just have to listen online.
4. Bloggy Book Giveaway
Copies of Messy Spirituality have been sent! I'm looking forward to hearing what you all think! Short Stop, I have given out all ten copies, but I just might be able to get you one anyway. I'll work on it!
5. Girl's Night Out
Jamie (friend from college) is here and we're hittin' the town with Jessica (another friend from college) tonight! We did a spa/wine tasting weekend together last summer, which was of course excellent, but that was the last time we were together. We'll be missing a crucial puzzle piece, DeeDee, tonight. I'm sure we'll still manage to have a good time, however.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
I got this recipe from (where else?) Kraft Food & Family and it is my summer favorite
-It is easy (we're talking like ten minutes)
-It doesn't require a hot oven (yay - especially because we don't have central air here)
-It is relatively low calorie (one piece only costs me 3 points)
-It doesn't require lots of pots/pans/dishes to make (which is great for us because our furnished rental house is lacking a bit in that area)
-It is delicious - light, cold, and sweet.
-It even looks pretty!
We're taking it to the Fourth of July festivities up at my grandparents' cottage tomorrow. Gram, reserve me some room in the fridge!
Here is the recipe:
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Fat Free Sugar Free Instant Reduced Calorie Pudding & Pie Filling
1 cup thawed COOL WHIP LITE or COOL WHIP Sugar Free Whipped Topping
1 pkg. (10 oz.) round angel food cake
10 fresh strawberries
MIX pineapple and dry pudding mix in medium bowl. Gently stir in whipped topping.
CUT cake horizontally into three layers. Place bottom cake layer, cut-side up, on serving plate; top with one-third of the pudding mixture. Repeat layers two times.
REFRIGERATE at least 1 hour. Top with berries just before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.
And with that, have an excellent holiday weekend, everyone!
Oh where is my hairbrush?
Oh where is my hairbursh?
Oh where oh where oh where oh where oh where oh where oh where oh where oh wheeeeere -
Is my hairbrush?
This, sadly, has been my theme song all week.
I'd wake up, eventually head for the shower, and realize once I got out that my hairbrush was nowhere to be found. Let me just tell you - it is a frustrating and painful process to "brush" your hair with your fingers. Then try and blow it dry? Ha - it wasn't pretty. This happened every morning for four days straight. I figure I must have left it in Chicago.
Most normal people, after day one, would head out and purchase a new brush.
Me? I'd promptly forget and go about my merry way throughout the day. But the next morning -
Oh where is my hairbrush?
All over again, with increasing frustration.
But thankfully I have a shiny new (and pretty blue) brush sitting next to me. Tomorrow I just might try something other than a ponytail.
I must say I am thankful that I don't have to give my hairbrush to the Peach (cuz he's got hair). And with that I realize that I need to get out more. How do I know all the lyrics to this song?
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Age: Approx. 2
Personality: Sweet and snuggly, with some fiesty and energetic thrown in. Quite happy-go-lucky with always a waggly tail.
Foods: Nature's Recipe Training Treats, Chicken Jerky Strips, Chloe (my parents' dog's) food, ice cream (especially Dairy Queen)
Toys: Balls of all sorts, the occasional stuffed toy (that immediately gets torn apart)
Activities: Chasing other dogs at the dog park, sleeping, wading in Lake Michigan, walks of all shapes and sizes
Newest Tricks (learned in obedience school!): "Look at Me," "Sit," "Down" (as in lay down)
Still Working On: "Leave It", nice-boy walking (as in not pulling and straining on the leash), barking
Leg Update: Doing great! No problems walking or running, although you still hold it up sometimes out of habit. See picture above.
Favorite Activity With "Mom": Running off-leash along the beach
Favorite Activity With "Dad": Trips to the doggy park in our neighborhood
We're so thankful for you! You are so snuggly and love to be with us, and you always make us smile. You are such good company, especially when one of us is away. You are laid back and low-key 95% of the time, which fits us perfectly. You're usually the first to go to bed (unless you're afraid of the fans running upstairs) and you're by far the last to leave it (10:30 am is pretty normal for you). Even though you shed like crazy and sometimes tear up stuff at "Grandma's," we love our "brownie boy."
Yup, totally stole that one from Short Stop. :)
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
We spent an excellent weekend in the Windy City - courtesy of Josh's internship. They put us up in the Hilton Towers on Michigan and gave us tickets to Taste Of Chicago. Saturday morning we hopped on a communter train in Michigan City (a SLICK and CHEAP way to get into the city, in my opinion!) and met up with some friends.
I'd never been to "the Taste" and have to admit it was pretty fun. I don't know that we'd go again, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless.
My favorite part was clearly digging into a big fat turkey leg. Luis and Lily did the same.
After grabbing some random food in Grant Park, we hiked down to Navy Pier to catch a boat cruise down the river. We were pretty exhausted by the time we got there and found a shady spot to rest.
I've never done a boat tour in Chicago before and really enjoyed it! You get great views of the city while listening to information about the history and architecture of the area. Plus, it felt great to cool off after our walk.
** REMINDER **
Sign up for the bloggy book giveaway below, before it is too late!