A Modern Day Fairy Tale: March 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: Train Edition!

As a lot of you probably know by now, at the end of this week, the little guy and I will be getting on a train to meet my husband back home for his R&R. This will be our 3rd time traveling by train, and we love it. Shaun is in heaven on the train, as you can imagine! So this week's 10 on Tuesday is my list of our 10 must haves for traveling by train. Some of these will be tips in general for anyone thinking of taking a train trip (as I've had several comments after our last trip saying just that!) and some are just for us personally.

1. Trains. Trains. Trains. Yes, that's right, taking trains on the train. I actually told Shaun a few days ago that his suitcase was for the train...and he started loading it up with trains! Ha! But seriously, he doesn't go anywhere without at least two in hand, and because he will not have access to all of them, we will have to bring along several of his favorites- or risk meltdown later!!

2. Entertainment for the ride. A book for myself (hopefully a new book for review...if it gets in on time!) and my laptop and several movies for Shaun. Our last trip we watched Hannah Montana The Movie nonstop for most of the trip! So obviously we will be bringing that one along, as well as a few Thomas movies, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 (which I'm sure I'll regret!) and the Last Song (Shaun really does enjoy this one too, and its at least one we can enjoy together). During our last trip, I brought crayons, books, etc as well for Shaun, but he had no interest in those at all.

3. Snacks! There is a snack car on the train, but it can really add up! For anyone thinking of taking a train trip, if you have the room and are able to, I saw a few people with coolers, etc. You are allowed 2 carry ons and I believe 3 checked bags per person, so it's really not a bad idea as far as money saving goes! Unfortunately, I am not able to carry that much myself, so I just bring a little bit to hold us over!

4. Comfy clothes and shoes. During our last trip, I heard someone who had gotten on at one of the last stops before our destination say that you knew people had been on the train for awhile when they're wearing slippers and pjs! Haha! It's true though, if you're going to be on the train for a few days, might as well be comfortable. Slip on shoes are a must. I'm not one that likes to wear shoes, so anytime we were at our seat I was barefoot.

5. Blanket and pillow! They do give you a pillow of course, but no blanket. And if you have the space, bringing your own pillow is not a bad idea- the ones they provide are not great but they do the job. Unfortunately, the pillow is one of those things I'm not sure we can personally fit with us, but the blanket is a must! (Shaun still nurses to sleep, so really is a must!)

6. Medication. During our last trip, Shaun and I were both sick! No fun! Thankfully I had a little bit of medication with me, just in case. I think I will pack tylenol for the both of us this time as well. After sleeping on a train seats for a few days, we might be sore anyway! (Hopefully there will be no sickness this trip, but we will be prepared!)

7. A Camera! That's probably a given, at least for me, but it's definitely a necessity. We saw some gorgeous views and I'm glad I was able to capture some of them!!

8. Weighted Vest for Shaun. It has been helping some with his sleep, though he's still had trouble staying asleep, but we will definitely be taking it along for this trip! It's very good for calming Shaun, not necessarily to sleep, but also when he's upset. For the most part, Shaun did great on the train itself during our last trips, however, the station was hard on him! So much going on, talk about a sensory overload!

9. The obvious 'must haves'...you know- phone and charger, tickets, ID, money, toothbrush, deodorant and plenty of diapers and wipes. They are definitely pretty obvious, but would be horrible things to forget! :)

10. Autism Shirts for Mommy and Shaun. This is just because of the days we are traveling! We will be on the train for World Autism Awareness Day- April 2, and instead of wearing blue for the Autism Speaks 'Light It Up Blue' campaign, Shaun will wear his special autism shirt and I'll wear either my TACA or AS shirt. As we found out during our last trip, this turned out to be a great way to get people talking about Autism. For more information on Light It Up Blue, click here.

Link up for Ten On Tuesday with It's A Crafty Life!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Scripture and a Snapshot- Psalm 19:1

Linking up for Scripture and a Snapshot again this week.

I snapped this photo one evening after a gloomy, rainy day (which we've been having a lot of lately!). Amazing how such an ugly day could bring something so beautiful. It's hard to see such beauty in the world and believe that it is all here by coincidence!

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."- Psalm 19:1

Friday, March 25, 2011

Guest Blog By My Shaun!

Shaun has recently become obsessed with typing. I'm sure I've mentioned briefly on here that he is able to sight word many words- including all of his train names. He has such a fascination with letters (and numbers too!). He has such a brilliant little mind and it never ceases to amaze me. So anyway, the following in bold was typed by Shaun for you. He studies his trains and letter by letter types each name.



splish splash splosh


Shaun in action:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ten on Tuesday!

Linking up again this week for 10 on Tuesday with It's a Crafty Life. This week, I'm just going to share 10 random tidbits:)


1. Big news (possibly) on the sleep front! If you've been following long, you probably know that my little guy has a lot of sleep troubles. We've tried just about everything and nothing had really worked, except the melatonin, sometimes, if I could get him to take it. Yesterday, we borrowed a weighted vest from his school. He was asleep by 11:30 (keeping in mind this was without melatonin and having taken a nap- which can often result in 2-5 am nights!). He woke a few times as normal, and the final time he woke, after 10 minutes of kicking and screaming, I put the vest back on him and within a few minutes he had calmed and fell back asleep! Before bed when he was wearing it, he was much more attentive as well and even followed directions when I told him to clean up his game! I hope this continues. We might have to invest in a weighted blanket as well, to help him stay asleep. If only these things weren't so pricey!!!

2. My craft project today: a book page picture frame for our little 'office nook' (upstairs landing). I'm still not sure how I feel about it. It needs a little work, but I feel like its missing something. But I have to admit, when I made this, I used an old murder mystery I didn't figure I would be reading...and as I was making the frame I kept seeing these words jump out at me: 'corpse', 'body', 'suicide', etc...maybe it wasn't my best choice!!

3. My Scentsy party ended Sunday and I placed my order yesterday! So excited to get all my new goodies. I ended up getting somewhere around $200 worth of stuff...and I only paid $60!! I love saving money! And just to show you how addicted I am to this stuff, here is a photo of my scent collection BEFORE the party!

4. The season finale of Pretty Little Liars was on last night...and I loved it. And hated it because now I have to wait for the new season. But seriously, it was a great episode and I was pleasantly surprised when they played a song by one of my favorite singers, Alexz Johnson.

5. We leave in less than 2 weeks for another cross country train trip. I'm looking forward to it, but I should really start packing. It seems forever away though...I swear time has stopped.

6. Next month is Autism Awareness Month! Not sure I will be able to post much about it then, as we will be traveling, but I really hope more will do something to bring awareness next month!

7. So, during the holidays, I started hoarding pumpkin because the year before, I had messed up my Grandpa's pumpkin pie (I was halving the recipe and accidentally forgot to half the sugar!) and when I sent Matt out to buy more pumpkin, they were out! Not wanting that to happen again, I'd buy a few cans at every shopping trip! Well, now I have several cans of pumpkin left over! So this weekend I made these delicious Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins! Check out the recipe here!

8. Another great recipe find: Pizza Cupcakes! Shaun was very excited about these- he loves his pizza! I thought they were great too, and so easy! Check out the recipe here!

9. As most of you probably realized, I have been redoing some things on my blog- new layout, new 'about me' page...I have a few more things I'm going to be changing around so if you stop by and it's a mess, I apologize! I am loving this new background though. So bright and fun, and it still has the birds, which I love! :)

10. I really don't have anything else interesting to say! I've been stretching for the last several tidbits actually. What can I say? I'm pretty boring:)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sunday Photos- On Saturday!

Once again, posting a bit early while I have time and will link up later. I'm happy to be joining in again with Scavenger Hunt Sunday. I had not had time for the last couple weeks, but I really enjoy trying to come up with new and fun interpretations of the weekly themes. The final photo in the scavenger hunt: imperfection, is also for Scripture and a Snapshot, another Sunday photo challenge that I really love! The links to both are at the bottom so be sure to check those out tomorrow for some great photos and verses! Now, onto the photos:

Camera Phone:

Probably not the most original interpretation but I liked how it turned out! Please disregard my horrible unpainted nails!!

Camera:Just me. Behind the Camera.

Shoes:I kept going back and forth on which shot I preferred of my husband's shoes, I think I'm leaning more towards the first but I thought I'd share both anyway!

My Shaun, enjoying a book in his rocking chair. (After I snapped this, I sat down with him and read the book to him. He sat patiently through the entire thing! Very rare for him, he's usually ready to be up and moving after one page!)

"How? you say. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God"- 2 Corinthians 5:21, The Message

As humans, we are flawed, imperfect. It is only through Christ that we are able to be forgiven our imperfections.

(A note for anyone reading this who does not know, The Message is a translation of the bible, paraphrased and written in modern language. While I do not recommend it for the only Bible you own, since it is NOT an exact translation, it is a great reference to help understand what the sometimes confusing words are really trying to say!)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Review: The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

From The Publisher:

“We understand what we want to understand.” Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with convention and her family’s expectations by choosing a state college over Stanford and earning her own income over accepting her ample monthly allowance. She takes a part-time job from 83-year-old librarian Abigail Boyles, who asks Lauren to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials. Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped in the worldview of the day, unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstition, and Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy’s story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail. The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find herself playing the helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is?

My Thoughts:
Generally speaking, historical fiction is not a genre that interests me, but I have always been intrigued by the Salem witch trials and so I chose to review ‘The Shape of Mercy’ by Susan Meissner. I am so glad I did! Unlike other historical novels which can be quite hard to understand and well, for me personally- boring, this was neither. Weaving gracefully between modern day and 1692, we are drawn not just into the life of Mercy Hayworth- a young girl living in Salem accused of witchcraft; but also of Lauren- the college student who despite her wealth decided to try to make it on her own and took on a job transcribing the diary and of Abigail- the eccentric diary owner whose mysterious past was filled with loss. Through Mercy’s words and her newfound friend in Abigail, Lauren learns of love, loss and regret and finds out who she is in the process. Another unique quality in this story, despite its classification as a Christian fiction novel, it is not overtly religious as some tend to be. This does not usually bother me personally, but I know it can be a bit much for some. While the spirituality in these characters is obvious and important in some ways to the story, it is not overkill. I think that will allow a wider audience to enjoy this beautiful story and I hope they do, I found it a must read and could not put down once I found the time to get into it! Cannot wait to read some more writings by this wonderful author.

To read the first chapter or purchase the book, click here.

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St Patrick's Day!!

Okay, okay. I couldn't help myself, I love those Veggie Tales! (My son on the other hand, eh, they freak him out!!) Besides, it's a nice little history lesson- afterall, this isn't a day about drinking as some may think;)

Happy St Patrick's Day to all of you! Hope you all have a great day, any festive plans? (As for us, I will have to think if there is anything on my menu I can add green food coloring to- and of course we'll have to watch 'Luck of the Irish'!!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Linking up again with Jamie for WILW!

This week I have to start off by saying I love all my new followers! Who'd have thought my little blog would reach (and pass) 100 followers! Thank you so much to all of you! I'm so glad people are enjoying it! I also want to say I love all the encouraging words from my last post! I really appreciate all the thoughts and prayers! I received a call yesterday that my son should be able to ABA therapy again soon. This should help a lot with some of the negative behaviors we've been dealing with! Definitely an answer to these prayers!

I am loving that my Scentsy party ends on Sunday! Even though I cannot use my rewards to purchase the Autism Warmer, I have been putting off getting it until I order everything else when the party closes, so I cannot wait to get it! (And again, for anyone interested, link is on the left, under my about me.)

I am loving that I've made a bit of progress on my refinishing project! Here's a photo after my first day of sanding (by hand)! I will continue to post updates as I go!

I am loving the new Vera Bradley summer prints! So cute!!!

And most importantly, I am loving that in two weeks I will be on my way to see my husband for his R&R!!! I cannot wait!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Scripture and a Snapshot- Romans 5: 3-4

"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."- Romans 5: 3-4

When searching for a verse on patience, I came across this wonderful passage and knew I wanted to share today. It's a great reminder to me, that even when I'm having a rough time, to just keep pushing forward.

To be honest, I have been in a bit of a funk! I try to keep things very positive, but sometimes that's easier than others! The last few weeks have been tough. Shaun has been in a mood...oh my goodness! He has always had occasional meltdowns, been into everything and even had aggressive tendencies, but never so constantly as it has been. We've had many very public meltdowns lately (and gotten a lot of mean glares because of it), but honestly those are easiest to handle sometimes. He can scream and thrash around all he wants, but if he tries to hit me, I can simply turn his stroller so he can't. At home, it's a completely different story! When he gets in that mood, he likes to use mommy as his personal punching bag and it's very hard to stay patient and upbeat at times like these. I try my best but sometimes I just want to let the tears come. He has been having some other behavior issues as well, but that's the hardest to deal with. In the past when it has happened, I was advised to just walk away, but lately if I do this, he either follows or if it was a matter of telling him he couldn't have something, etc he goes back to trying to get it himself...which often means climbing on cabinets or other dangerous activities.

Most that know my son personally might have a hard time believing this. Usually he is such a happy kid, so full of energy and smiles, and he still is for the most part, but when he gets in these moods, he's a completely different kiddo! But in the end, I just have to keep standing my ground and do my best to stay optimistic and through this we will both be stronger.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

$4 Frame Makeover!

Last week, I posted my list of 10 projects I wanted to try, including redoing this wonderful frame I found at a yard sale for 50 cents! And so I give you the finished project (for now):

This was a very easy project and I'm very happy with how it turned out. I still am not sure exactly where or what I am going to do with this just yet. I've thought of using it as is, making it into a chalkboard or bulletin board, etc. Either way, I have this gorgeous frame for only $4! As I mentioned, the frame was 50 cents at a yard sale, plus $3.50 for a can of spray paint. The lace was a lucky freecycle find!!

About halfway through painting I realized I probably should have taped the part that was already white off before painting...it just needed some contrast! At first I just decided I would repaint that part later and then I remembered I had this and decided to give it a shot! I could not love it more!
And here are a few other quick projects:

Apparently I really like red and lace;)

Would you believe this started out as a wire clothes hanger and lots of fabric?!?

One of my first tries at making fabric rosettes!

Linking up here:

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