5.31.2016

Tipsy Tuesday (#361)

It's that time of year...when the lily whites of the world, like myself, have to be extra cautious when being exposed to the sun's rays.

Tip #361

This infographic offers some great reminders about the damages of sun exposure.

The risks of skin cancer are real, so be sure to protect yourself and those that you love.

5.27.2016

Elise: Three & A Half

Dear Elise,

You are 3 1/2 (actually 3 years and 7 months, but Mommy is running a little late with this post!) Every day we see a little more of who you are going to be. Here is what you are up to:


•Vitals: You are 41 inches tall and weigh 33.2lbs.


•Eating: Some days yes, some days no. You are still a nibbler and love to graze all day long. And you have definitely inherited a love of condiments from your Daddy, you would dip everything if we let you! Carrots with ranch is always your snack of choice.


•Sleeping: You still take an afternoon nap, but are getting ready to go to day camp for the summer, 3 days a week, and there is no nap time, so not sure what that might change. And you are still the world's best bedtime staller....you've added in a back scratch request that I cannot turn down. And when I try to leave, you lean in and whisper, "let's talk for 1 more minute..."


•Wearing: You are in mostly 3T with a few 4T items thrown in. Your legs are impossibly long and make finding summer clothes super hard. You can undress yourself with no problems, but are still getting the hang of the dressing part.


•Talking: ALL. DAY.LONG. You have a newfound love for making up your own words that make absolutely no sense, but it is pretty funny. You love to quote Beauty and the Beast and Big Hero 6 word for word.


•What You Love: Water play outside, swimming lessons (finally!), going to school and church, your friends, making sure your dresses twirl, lip gloss and hairspray, family adventures - no matter how small, parties, Tumbleleaf, superheroes, candy, painting with watercolors, flamingoes, and pretend play.
 
•What We Love: ALL OF YOU! Even the occasional threenager drama. Your hugs and kisses are the best! Your heart for others is beginning to emerge and I love it. You are our most favorite girl!

Mommy (and Daddy!)

5.24.2016

Tipsy Tuesday (#360)

So, this has never happened before, but I have worn out a pair of tennis shoes. Now I have to pick new ones and I just got used to these...

Tip #360

I think that I will use this water test to determine my foot's arch and exactly what kind of support I need in a shoe.

Sometimes I find the sales associates to be helpful, others not so much, so this will allow me to do my own research and shop informed.

Do you have a favorite workout shoe (notice I didn't say running, because that is not going to happen!)?

5.17.2016

Tipsy Tuesday (#359)

As Elise gets a little older, we have increased her responsibilities and are encouraging her to gain some independence. She is learning to do new things everyday and we are doing everything that we can to equip her for success.

Tip #359

While it seems small, teaching her to get herself water to drink on her own has given her a little boost of confidence. She is so proud of herself! And we are going to use this idea from Made Everyday with Dana to cut down on cups used per day and to keep her cup at the ready.

A cute cup, a magnet, some glue and there you have it! Her cup will stick to the fridge and she will always have one where she can reach it.

Maybe her Daddy can stick a cup to the fridge and cut down on the number that he uses, too...

5.10.2016

Tipsy Tuesday (#358)

Elise has been begging to go on a camping trip...I will pause and let those who truly know me stop laughing...

Tip #358

I'm using this list from Fix.com to learn all that I can about packing for a camping trip. I love a good planning/organizational challenge...but I don't like bugs, animal noises, sleeping on the ground, bath houses...

Do you have any camping tips?

5.04.2016

May the Fourth Be With You!

Daddy has been trying to raise a little Star Wars (Star Whores if you pronounce it like Elise!) fan...RD Tooty (R2D2) is her favorite. Happy Star Wars Day and may the fourth be with you!
 
 video

5.03.2016

Tipsy Tuesday (#357)

It is Teacher Appreciation Week this week. Hopefully, you have something special planned for the teachers in your life - Elise is giving brownies from our favorite bakery and Amazon gift cards to her teachers.

Tip #357

And if you are a teacher, here is a list of freebies and deals that are available to celebrate you this week!

Guide to Teacher Appreciation Discounts 2016

5.02.2016

Weekend Recap in Photos


{Volunteering at MerleFest - anybody want a turkey leg the size of your head?}


{Strawberry Picking!}



{ A sports themed Prom Photo Shoot}


{Lots of rain!}

4.29.2016

MeeMaw, Mimi, and MaMaw

 
I had a "MeeMaw," and Elise has a "Mimi" and a "MaMaw." My "Mom" called her mother "Mama," and my aunt did too, but she spelled it "Momma." Do you know what they all have in common (besides being family)? You cannot find a greeting card with any of those names on them in the store. As a gal who has a name that is never spelled correctly on the cutesy stuff in the store, this irks me.

When I received an email from Cardstore and realized that you can personalize many of their Mother's Day cards with any of those, I was so excited! I always felt so weird buying a card that said "Grandmother" or "Mother," they just didn't fit.

You can even add your own photos to many cards and their prices are often lower than cards that you have to settle for in the store. And as always with Cardstore, you have the option of having them mail the card directly to your Mom or Mimi for you!

Hurry, you have to place your order by May 2nd to get it to your special lady in time!

P.S. What do you call your mother and grandmother?

4.28.2016

Overwhelmed...

Where to start? I have been so overwhelmed with life lately that blogging has been the last thing on my mind.

Work - coming into the busy time of year (end of school year) and our deadline for scheduling next year's courses is 3 weeks earlier than normal. Not so much of a problem if I didn't need others to make decisions before I can do my part. Is it bad to want a job where you just work alone and don't have to rely on people to get stuff done?

Home - Elise is going through a bit of a testing phase. I think that she had more time outs last weekend than in the first 3 years of her life combined. Threenagers are tough! I wouldn't trade her for the world, but I wouldn't mind if this phase just passed us right on by!

Health - Coming off of a 4 day smoke smelling, massive headache spree. That combined with the fact that I can't seem to sleep and my body just hurts (some chronic pain, some from exercise) and I am just feeling blah.

Weight Loss - Stalled. Working as hard as I can at exercise, but having more struggles than usual with my eating.

My co-worker across the hall is always playing this song when she feels overwhelmed...words to live by and a much needed reminder of Who is in control of all of my circumstance (the good and the not so good).

I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

I know the power of Your Cross
Forgiven and free forever You’ll be my God

All that You’ve done is so overwhelming
I delight myself in You
In the Glory of Your Presence
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You


4.26.2016

Tipsy Tuesday (#356)

Someone at our house, an adult who is not me (cough, the Rev, cough), has a habit of misplacing his wallet...

Tip #356

and if he is like most of us, he probably has no idea what exactly is in there. Home Storage Solutions 101 has a great list to help you create a wallet inventory so that you are prepared in the event that you lose your wallet.

Here's ideas of the types of information to add to this inventory:

Name of debit and credit cards, plus 800 number to contact in case of loss. (You need to consider whether you'll keep the credit card number on this list as well as the name of the card and contact info. It can come in handy in case of loss or theft, but if the list itself is lost or stolen it can come back to bite you, so just consider what you want to do, considering where you'll keep it.)

ATM cards

Driver's license or other forms of government ID

Checkbooks and bank deposit slips

Health insurance (or other insurance) cards

Frequent flier programs

Library card

Gift and loyalty cards

Membership cards, such as for gym, warehouse type stores, etc.

**Quick Hack If You Don't Want To Write It Out**
If the thought of filling out this inventory keeps you from doing it another quick way to do something similar is to use a photocopier and lay your various cards face down and make a photocopy of them. Then, flip the cards over and do it again.

With this method you'll have a copy of what exactly is on all your cards, front and back, that are in your wallet. You can reference these photocopies as well. Just make sure you make some notes on the copies so you can readily match the right front with the right back so you don't get confused.


And obviously, don't store the list in your wallet...

4.19.2016

Tipsy Tuesday (#355)

Ah, Spring Break week, how I have been waiting for you. Now what to do with our free time?

Tip #355

We took an impromptu trip to the zoo yesterday and even last minute we saved 15% by ordering tickets online. Most businesses and attractions will offer you a discount if you order and print your tickets online. Of course, the added bonus is that you walk right in and get straight to the fun, no pesky lines!

Do you order tickets online?

4.15.2016

Cool Whip - Elise's Imaginary Friend

So, last May the Rev took Elise to visit his parents for a few days, while I was still stuck at work, waiting on my summer break to begin. Because it is his favorite food group, her PaPaw let her have Cool Whip to eat every day - on pancakes, with berries, probably just straight from the spoon, too...and that was the beginning.


Not long after, she began talking about her friend, Cool Whip. She told us that she was her sister but that she lived at another house...here...in the retirement village where she had gone trick or treating with her friend, Piper, the year before. The village is on the way to the Y and we go there several times each week, so she waves to her and tells her "Hello" every time we pass.


The Rev and I have been taken to task if we forget to put Cool Whip in the bed with her each night. One evening last August, we had a particularly long trip home from church because Cool Whip kept getting out of the car and we needed to stop and let her back in...


I keep waiting for her to move on, but she'll be playing on the playground and turn to yell for Cool Whip to come with her. She'll wait for Cool Whip to climb up the slide with her and then tell her that she did a good job when she slides down.

I was a little worried at first and then I read this:

"studies had shown that kids with imaginary pals use more complex sentence structure, have richer vocabularies, and get along better with classmates. Kids who create a playmate get a chance to practice taking both sides of the conversation. They try on different roles, think abstractly, and conjure up original ideas. An elaborate fantasy world is like a test lab for some of the most important childhood skills."


I guess we won't worry if Cool Whip sticks around a little longer then... besides Cool Whip is a way better name than Bing Bong.


4.12.2016

Tipsy Tuesday (#354)

We just finished our taxes this past Sunday evening, so we know a few things about last minute...

Tip #354

If you are just starting to file your taxes, know that you are not alone. According to the IRS, 20 to 25 percent of people wait to file until two weeks before the deadline.
Tax day is April 18 instead of April 15 this year, because Emancipation Day falls on April 15. So take a deep breath, slow down and follow these tips before April 18 from Lisa Greene-Lewis, CPA and tax expert at TurboTax.
  • Gather your documents in one place
When you sit down to file your taxes, make sure you have all the necessary documents like W-2s, 1099s, receipts for expenses, mortgage interest, and your kids’ social security numbers in front of you, Greene-Lewis suggested.

  • E-file with direct deposit

If you are expecting a tax refund, e-file with direct deposit is easy, secure and the fastest way to get your federal tax refund, Greene-Lewis said. Nine out of 10 tax refunds are issued within 21 days or less, compared to six to eight weeks for paper-filed tax returns, according to the IRS.

  • Double-check important information

According to the IRS, one of the top mistakes taxpayers make when rushing to meet the tax deadline is gathering incorrect Social Security numbers for their children and spouses. "Correct Social Security numbers are required to get valuable tax deductions, credits and exemptions," Greene-Lewis said.

  • Don’t forget what you did last year

The IRS reports that the majority of taxpayers – about 75 percent – take the standard deduction. But including a few additional receipts may push you over the standard deduction and lower your tax liability, Greene-Lewis said.

  • Don’t forget about the money you shelled out for expenses

Possible expenses include previous state tax liability paid, job search expenses and summer day camp.
"Even the cost of moving a pet may save you money on taxes," Greene-Lewis said.
Remember to include charitable contributions made throughout the year. For example, donated clothing, household goods and even mileage to and from charitable events may be eligible.

  • Don’t wait for Form 1095-B or 1095-C

If you have employer provided insurance, private insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare, you may be waiting for Form 1095-B or C, but there is no need to wait. Per the IRS, you do not need to file these forms with your taxes.
"They are for information only so go ahead and file," Greene-Lewis said.

  • File even if you owe

"Remember going on extension only extends the time to file your taxes, but if you owe you are still required to pay what you owe," Greene-Lewis said. Even if you owe money, you can ask the IRS for an installment agreement when you file your taxes. The installment agreement will allow you to pay your tax debt over six years.

4.05.2016

Tipsy Tuesday (#353)

Does anybody else's keychain or wallet look like it is drowning in rewards cards for every store known to man?

Tip #353

So, the Rev has been raving about this new app that he is using. It is called Stocard and it basically lets you scan all of your cards into the app and then scan your phone at stores. It keeps everything in one neat location for you. I'm planning to scan all of mine in soon, since it is getting a little embarrassing to hunt through a sea of cards at every store.

Stocard on Apple

Stocard on Android

Do you use rewards cards? How do you manage yours?