A Modern Day Fairy Tale: February 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday!!!

This has been an extremely long week, so I'm really surprised I was actually able to get all these! Between my son being home from school most of the week for tummy troubles and his sleep being even worse than normal (which is never good)- well, let's just say I'm ready for this new week to begin. But in the end, I think I was able to come up with some fun shots, so I hope you enjoy! Posting this a bit early, I will link up when the linky is posted:)



Capture the Sky

Nothing too original or spectacular, but I like it! Those dark clouds were making me nervous, I do not like rain, but there was no rain on the day this photo was taken...whew!

Everyday


This is me thinking outside the box...or maybe this is me taking the topic very literally. Hmmm, either way, I *hope* this was an original thought! (And I love the colors of this magazine!)

FurryWhen I read this topic, since we don't have a pet I was thinking I might have to pull out an old zoo picture or something. Then I remembered my son had one of those little touch and feel animal books with a lion, so I thought I'd play around with that...and well, let's just say those results aren't pretty! But then I realized the koala page actually said furry so...here we go!

Life

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
This one was tough for me! Originally, I really wanted to do something fun with The Game of Life...the only trouble was...we don't actually have the game! There went that idea! So I searched my brain (and house) for creative ideas. It was only a few hours ago that I thought of this! I'm satisfied with how it turned out, though it did have me wishing for a different lens! This was shot with my 50, and it was TOUGH!! I ended up having to crop it a lot to get this how I wanted.

Blurred

I think this might be my favorite of the week, I love the colors! And I love bokeh, why did I not try this before!?

Mirror Redo: Before & After!

I am so excited to share my latest redecorating project! I had this great mirror in my guest room that was nice, but not GREAT. It had a bit of a gold tint in it, and well, I'm just not a huge gold fan, so I decided I would repaint it! I went back and forth on colors (even called my mom who was not very much help at all with the decision making- and I know she'll read this, so I'll add that I love her anyway;)) I didn't want to do black, because I wanted something brighter, but with our white walls, I didn't think the white would stick out like I wanted. So I kept going back to this green and just couldn't decide if it would be too out there. In the end, I decided to go for it, figuring I could always repaint if I didn't like it, and I'm so glad I took the chance because I LOVE it! It's amazing how much a couple coats of paint can change the look of something.



I've said this once, and I'll say it again, I'm really not a very crafty person, but I've been trying to force it out of me! Ha! This was my first time spray painting anything so I was a bit uncertain how it would go, but it was really easy! I have several other projects I would like to try now too!

I will be linking this post to Saturday Swagger, hosted by one of my very favorite blogs, It's A Crafty Life! For more decorating, craft, recipes, etc head on over there!



And also here:

Lovely Crafty Home

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Addiction! For a Cause!

I know I have said it before, but I have to say it again- I LOVE LOVE LOVE Scentsy. Truly, addicted is the better word for it. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I saw the new charity warmer:


Yes, that's right, an autism warmer, proceeds going to Autism Speaks!! This debuts next Tuesday, March 1st (along with some other great new warmers and scents) and I cannot wait. If you've read my blog long, you know that raising autism awareness is very important to me, so I think this is a wonderful way to raise money and awareness, as well as making your house smell great! So I just had to share this with everyone!!!

When I talked to my consultant about posting this, she asked if I'd like to host an online party, so I agreed! If you'd like to order from my party, click here! This link should take you directly to it, but if it doesn't just click on my name under open parties (Randi-Modern Day Fairy Tale). You can order until March 20th! While this warmer won't be available until the 1st, if you order this month (February), everything is 10%, so it's a great time to stock up! (Especially if you'd like a plugin, which will increase in price to $20 after Monday!) Several scents and warmers are being discontinued after that too including:

Central Park Pralines
Christmas Cottage
Christmas Tree
Cozy Fireside
Clarity
Cranberry Spice
Eskimo Kiss
Gingersnap
Guava Nectar
Just Peachy, Ginger!
Peligro
Pineapple Paradise
Poinsettia Pine
Pumpkin Roll
Rainforest
Rustic Lodge
Sentimental Cider
Snowberry
Spiced Grapefruit
Toasted Carmel Sugar
Tropical Twist
Twilight
Vanilla Suede
Vanilla Walnut
Winter Wonderland

Mid-Size Scentsy Warmers:
Canary
Sparrow

Full-Size Scentsy Warmers:
Blynken
Give Thanks
Love,Life,Hope (National Breast Cancer Foundation)
Merino
Plantation
Prancer
Sendal
Wild West
Wynken

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy (Sleepy) Wednesday!


I am loving that despite my little sleep, I am at least able to function! (Or so I think, if this post sounds a little loopy, I stand corrected.) I'm sure I have mentioned it before, but for those who don't know, my little guy is not a sleeper...up nearly every hour during the night. Crazy! We had to start giving him melatonin to help him out; it helps a lot of kids on the spectrum that have sleeping trouble, so I figured it was worth a shot. It usually works for him (he only wakes 2-4 times), but last night, not so much. He was out at 8 for what was apparently just a short power nap, then up till 5 am. Whew, is it any wonder I'm sleepy? But I love him anyway...

I am loving how Shaun has been calling me 'mama'. I cannot really explain it, but the way he says it is just absolutely adorable and melts my heart every time! ♥

I am loving that Shaun seems to be feeling better. Honestly, he never SEEMED to be feelin bad to begin with but I will just say he was having some tummy troubles and leave it at that. I'd had to take him to the ER Monday, where they did some tests which we will find out about tomorrow! And then he can return to school...which I know he will love!

I am loving my weekend craft project (and Shaun's too!). I am unable to drive off base, so I hadn't been able to get to a craft store in awhile, but I found a few old frames and decided to play around with them, I'm really not a crafty person at all, but I'm satisfied with how it turned out. I am also loving my upcoming DIY project that I hope turns out well- a mirror for my guest room. Pictures to come as soon as I'm able to start.



I am loving that the Easter candy/decor is out in stores...for a few reasons. First of all, I love Easter! What's not to love? But this year, that also means that April is drawing near and with April comes my husband's R&R...two weeks with my wonderful husband after 8 months apart! (Nevermind that we'll have to say goodbye all over again...) I love him so much and can't wait to see him again... and because we will be spending this time back home in Indiana/Illinois there is a good chance that we will spend the holiday there too! So excited for Shaun to get to experience one of Papaw's Easter Egg Hunts...which I'm sure I will write more on later. April is going to bring good things all around and I cannot wait!!




{one} do you always wear your seatbelt in the car?
Yes, and our truck beeps at me on the very rare occasion that I've forgotten!

{two} do you crack your knuckles?
No, I hate that.
{three} what is your favorite flavor of gum?
I really don't chew gum, but if I were going to, I'd choose Big Red. (And now that has me wanting to watch Get Over It- if you've seen that movie, you'll understand why! Ha!)

{four} what is your favorite piece of jewelry that you own?
I have a few that I love- though I don't wear jewelry often. Of course my engagement ring is very important to me. As well as my Tiffany's necklace I got for Valentine's day, my (real) pearls, my autism awareness bracelet and the beautiful puzzle piece necklace my best friend bought me for Christmas this year...but I would have to say that though I love all of those, my favorite is my Great Great Uncle Theodore's college class ring. Now more than ever, I am happy to have that piece of him to keep with me always.

{five} who is your best friend?
I have been blessed with many great friends, but through it all, two in particular (besides my husband, of course) have been there for me when I needed them most, and I am happy to call them my best friends.





{six} what is your favorite smell?
lol. I could go on a long while about my Scentsy addiction here...really, but I'll save that for another time. For now, I'll just say that I love cinnamony things and my current favorite is Baked Apple Butter...Oh. My. Goodness. Heaven.

{seven} what is your favorite lunch meat?
Yuck! I'm a veggie!!

{eight} do you still have your tonsils?
Yes.

{nine} do you untie your shoes before you take them off?
On the rare occasion I wear shoes that tie...no!

{ten} what color is your car?
It's a gold/beige color! So boring! One day when I have my bug, it will be something more exciting- red, green or yellow I hope...but we'll see:)

Review: 'The Pirate Queen' by Patricia Hickman

For this review, I chose 'The Pirate Queen', a novel by Patricia Hickman.



From the Publisher:
The envy of all her friends, wife and mother Saphora Warren is the model of southern gentility and accomplishment. She lives in a beautiful Lake Norman home, and has raised three capable adult children. Her husband is a successful plastic surgeon--and a philanderer. It is for that reason that, after hosting a garden party for Southern Living magazine, Saphora packs her bags to escape the trappings of the picturesque-but-vacant life.
Saphora’s departure is interrupted by her husband Bender’s early arrival home, and his words that change her life forever: I’m dying.
Against her desires, Saphora agrees to take care of Bender as he fights his illness. They relocate, at his insistance, to their coastal home in Oriental—the same house she had chosen for her private getaway. When her idyllic retreat is overrun by her grown children, grandchildren, townspeople, relatives, and a precocious neighbor child, Saphora’s escape to paradise is anything but the life she had imagined. As she gropes for evidence of God's presence amid the turmoil, can she discover that the richest treasures come in surprising packages?


My Thoughts:
I was very excited at the chance to read and review 'The Pirate Queen' by Patricia Hickman, and I can honestly say that it did not disappoint my expectations. After staying 30 years with her cheating husband, Saphora finally decided it was time to leave, but before she has the chance, her husband announces that he has been diagnosed with cancer. What was meant to be a beach side getaway for one, is now being shared with her dying husband. It is here in the small town of Oriental that we are introduced to some other fascinating characters whose stories drew me in and had me wanting to know more and genuinely concerned about what would happen to them, including an inspiring pastor, a grieving widow with a mysterious interest in digging holes in his yard and most touching, a young boy born with HIV. This book definitely covers some tough issues; keep those tissues handy! We follow Saphora in her journey as she deals with her husband's illness, learns how to forgive and love again and ultimately becomes closer to God through it all. I thought it was a great story the power of love, the power of prayer and most importantly an example of how through all the negative, God truly can send great treasures in the most unlikely places. I highly recommend this book to all.

You can find the first chapter here and purchase here. Enjoy!

*This book was provided to me for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Miscellany Monday!

Oh what a crazy week it's been! So glad it's finally Monday, which means time for:

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters


1. My little guy was out of school all last week for President's Week! And he was not a happy camper! He likes his routine, which of course, means going to school during the week so he had a rough time! His sleep went downhill, he was cranky and well, it just wasn't a good time. He was thrilled to be going back this morning. The house seems so quiet now and I miss him being here, but I know it will help improve his mood.

2. The weather...oh the weather. It's sunny now, for a few days at least, but we had some bad rain and even storms! Yikes! Storms are my biggest fear so needless to say I was hating every minute of it! But through a little prayer (okay, a LOT of prayer) I made it through!

3. I got my tire fixed! You might remember that I posted a little bit ago about discovering a screw and nail in my tire and the tire place I am able to drive to myself not having the tire I needed...well, after my husband pointed out that we'd gotten the old one there, I gave it another shot, and the manager was awesome enough to bring one in from another store! Talk about God answering prayers! (Unfortunately, when I got that one changed, they told me that I needed 2 more changed as well, so I get to go back and do that today, I think!)

4. And my last thought for the day before I go do some much needed cleaning-I want to say thanks to all my new followers and all the commented on my photos yesterday! I am so happy that they were appreciated:)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday!!

Joining in again this week for Scavenger Hunt Sunday, click on the picture at the end of the post to join in and/or check out some more shots!



Chocolate:


I wasn't entirely sure what to do with this one. Normally I don't keep too much chocolate in the house because Shaun likes to eat it and well, I can't eat much myself. As I'm posting this I remember that I actually have quite a bit of baking chocolate and perhaps could have worked with that, but oh well. I happened to bake brownies for my husband this week so I snapped this then!!


Numbers:


I love this little Paula Deen kitchen scale, so cute. When I read this topic, I knew I would have to try and photograph it! Normally, when I edit my photos, I keep it minimal and simple, but I thought for these photos it would be fun to play around with some different styles:)

Canned Food:


Well, I wish I could have come up with something more creative here. (I contemplated taking my camera to the grocery store, but its usually pretty crowded so I didn't think it would be appreciated!!) But in the end, I think it turned out ok!


Music:



My favorite for this week by far. Probably my favorite hymn. I've been wanting to do something like this for awhile (since I'd found two old hymnals free at a yard sale), so this was the perfect chance.

Stack:
Again, not the most creative, but I really liked the colors of his blocks...and he thought it was pretty cool that mommy wrote his name in blocks:)


Friday, February 18, 2011

Review: The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy

For my second book review, I chose a work of Christian fiction, 'The Promise She Keeps' by Erin Healy.


From The Publisher:

It's her destiny to die young. The man who loves her can't live with that.

Promise, a talented young vocalist with a terminal illness, is counting on fame to keep her memory alive after she dies. Porta is an aging witch and art collector in search of the goddess who will grant her immortality.

When Promise inexplicably survives a series of freak accidents, Porta believes that Promise is the one she seeks. But Chase, an autistic artist who falls in love with Promise and opposes Porta, comes between the women with his mysterious visions and drawings, and plunges everyone into a flesh-and-blood confrontation over the true meaning of eternal life.



My review: I was drawn to this book initially because one of the main characters, the artist Chase, was an autistic character. As a mother to a child with autism, I am always excited to see characters with the same diagnosis. To be honest though, it took me awhile to really get into the story, and throughout the book I went back and forth on whether or not I really liked it or not. The story was great, the characters were unique and well written and I really wanted to love it, but it did not draw me in as I'd hoped. The book tells the intriguing story of life, death and immortality. Between several near death experiences for Promise, the mysterious and prophetic drawings from Chase and the witch Porta's quest for immortality, it certainly kept me guessing with every page and even until the very end I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I do appreciate that, as it was unlike anything I'd expected or read before. While I usually enjoy supernatural themes, I think in the end, this one was just a bit too different for my likings. Overall, it was a good book and I'm happy I read it, even if it wasn't my favorite. If you like supernatural Christian novels, then this book might be better suited for you than me.

You can find more information and purchase the book here.


*This book was provided to me free from the booksneeze.com in exchange for my HONEST review.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shrimp Po Boys- A Recipe!

When my husband is home, we go out to eat...a lot. It actually drives me crazy at times, because well, I can do nearly a full weeks worth of groceries for about as much as one meal would cost out! Crazy! But anyway, I usually tend to order one of the cheaper things on the menu...partially to balance out the costs, but also because I've honestly tended to prefer those choices! One of my favorite things to order- shrimp po boys! Surprisingly, until recently I had never attempted to make them on my own. But after browsing a few different recipes , I finally gave it a shot. You can find the recipe I based it off of at Annie Eats. But I did make a few variations. The recipe as posted:

Spicy Shrimp Po' Boys
Yield:
4 sandwiches
Ingredients:
For the remoulade sauce:

½ cup plus 2 tbsp. light mayonnaise
2 tbsp. stone ground mustard

1 clove garlic, minced
1½ tbsp. pickle juice

½ tsp. prepared horseradish

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. hot paprika
Dash of hot sauce


For the sandwiches:
1 lb. medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. cajun seasoning blend
1 baguette (or 4 sandwich rolls)

Shredded lettuce

Sliced tomato

Directions:

To make the remoulade sauce, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor a
nd process until smooth. (If you don't have a blender or food processor, you can just mix it in a small bowl with a spoon.) Adjust seasonings to taste. Chill until ready to use.

To prepare the sandwiches, combine the shrimp with the olive oil and cajun seasoning in a medium bowl. Toss well to coat the shrimp. Heat a grill pan to medium-high and grill the shrimp just until opaque, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.

Slice the baguette into 4 servings, and cut horizontally to open the bread. Spread some of the remoulade sauce onto both pieces of the bread. Layer the bottom slice of bread with shrimp, then top with lettuce and tomato as desired. Top with the remaining piece of bread and serve immediately.


My changes:
First of all, I bought a store bought remoulade sauce (Boar's Head) to save time. I like keeping it on hand anyway, so delicious! And I also added smoked paprika to the shrimp. I love smoked paprika, and I use it on just about anything...it really adds a little something extra to any dish and I LOVED the way it tasted with the shrimp for this. A very small change, but it really does change the taste a lot.
I can definitely see this becoming a regular around here. Enjoy!

*This recipe will be linked at What's Cooking Thursday at Feeding Four. For more great recipes, click on the picture below and see what everyone else is cooking!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Love! And more!

It's time once again to link up with Jamie for WILW.

This week, of course, I am loving how my wonderful husband spoiled me for Valentine's Day despite being on the other side of the globe. I am so very lucky. These arrived on my doorstep Monday, so pretty! The bear was for Shaun. This was on top of the Tiffany's necklace that came a bit early. (It was actually supposed to come LATE so the card on the flowers actually says, 'And you thought it was going to come in a blue box?' or something like that. Such a goofball. I love him.)


I am loving Vera Bradley. Anyone else a fan? If you caught my Scavenger Hunt post Sunday, you might remember that I said I bought 4 gently used bags and a wallet for $40, and I am addicted. I have been wanting one for a little while, but I don't like spending money on myself. It's been a long time that I've had a purse that I was really in love with, but I am in love with ALL of these. I'll repost this picture again, its definitely my favorite.


I am loving these pictures, taken on Valentine's Day. The first were from an attempt to take a picture for daddy holding a heart that says we love you. The last one was from making brownies for daddy! He was such a big help. With a little assistance from mommy, he helped pour in all the ingredients. How fun!!

I am loving this giveaway for $50 to Willow House over at one of my very favorite blogs, The Undomestic Momma. I have already found several items I would love to buy. Check these out:


Head on over to win!!


Also linking up for:



{one} what is your favorite breakfast food?
I actually love breakfast food...but I cannot usually eat it for breakfast or I feel sick for the rest of the day..no fun! But for lunch or dinner, I could eat IHOP daily! Mmmmm...

{two} how many pairs of shoes do you currently own?
Hmmm...that's a very good question. I just counted 25, not sure if I got them all though. lol. What can I say, I like shoes!!

{three} city or country?
Having lived in both...I'm still uncertain. I am not an outdoorsy person and I am afraid of animals. Most people who didn't know are a bit surprised to find that I grew up in the boondocks. Haha. We lived back on an old gravel, dead end road, nothing around (our town didn't even have a post office). But I liked the peacefulness of it! I hated the traffic noises when we lived out in town, and I didn't feel as safe there either. We live on base now, in a very quiet neighborhood and I love it. And we're still close to everything, which is very nice.
That being said, we already know exactly where we are building our future home once Matt gets out of the military (12-13 years from now) and it is in the country, but I love the spot we have chosen and I cannot wait to make this dream happen:)

{four} what is your favorite part of your job?
As a mommy? Seeing Shaun learn and grow. :)

{five} what is your favorite junk food to snack on?
Chips. Seriously.

{six} have you ever been mentioned in the newspaper?
Yes. I had my picture in the local paper when I was little, and in high school I was quoted when our English academic team made it to state!

{seven} do you use post-it notes?
Haha, yes. My husband actually took a picture of my Blackberry with a post it sticking to it. To be fair, my phone was broke and we were on our way to fix it...but even still I prefer good old fashioned post its to the memo feature on my phone.

{eight} do you have freckles?
Yes.

{nine} is it okay for men to wear pink?
Hmm, not my cup of tea, but if they can pull it off, why not!

{ten} when was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
Do cards count? Then yesterday. Otherwise, I'm not sure.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Verse of the Week- Psalm 139:14

Photobucket



What a wonderful verse, I just love it!
(Though I think I've said that about every one!)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday!



I saw this on one of my favorite blogs this morning and thought it was a really fun idea! I get so busy with Shaun and cleaning and everything else, that I feel like I haven't gotten to practice with the camera in a VERY long time, and this is a great way to remind myself to get creative. And since I loved the themes this week, I did a quick scan of my house to come up with some pictures to join in today...maybe not the most original or the best, but fairly decent for how long it took and hopefully in future weeks I can devote a bit more thought and be creative. Either way, I hope you enjoy.

Shadows:

I actually took this yesterday, not the greatest picture, but fitting...he was watching his own shadow as he rode his bike!!


Patterns/Repetitions:

When I first read this one, I immediately thought of this picture:

Or the one in my header...or one of the many I have like them. Living with an autistic toddler, we know a little something about repitition and patterns in this household and I am always finding something lined up- from trains to cars, signs to chicken nuggets. But while I love both pictures, I wanted to share something new and so I give you:

My favorite of my four new (okay, gently used) Vera Bradley bags. So many great patterns, I am now in love with them. (And I got a great deal, 4 bags and 1 wallet, rarely used for $40 total!)

Bright White:
This one was a tough one, but I finally decided to try for a photo of my son's Valentine balloon (from his best buddy). Festive! (Though I suppose it could be a lot brighter...and whiter!)


Strong
This one was a bit tough as well. When I thought of strength, I thought of one of my favorite bible verses, Philippians 4:13. This photo kind of represents part of why that verse means a lot to me. If you're interested, you can read my thoughts on that here!


Warmth
I have a lot of warm colors in my house, so I had a lot of options here. But after going back and forth several times, I knew that this quilt was the best choice. This was made for my husband by his great grandma, so it has a lot of sentimental value for him. I love all the colors in it. It truly does have a lot of warmth to it!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Put On a Happy Face!

*I do apologize if that title has you singing show tunes the rest of the day...I just couldn't resist.*

Anyway, for those who don't know a lot about autism, something important to know is that a lot of people on the spectrum have trouble reading emotions. Shaun doesn't always know when I'm upset or mad...he's really bad about laughing when other people cry too. This is something they have been working on in school recently, and I think he's starting to get it...

"Show me your happy face!"




"Show me your sad face!"



He also does a great mad face (teeth clenched, hands in fist...grunts and all!) and a surprise face. It cracks me up everytime. And it also makes me very proud. What a long way he has come!

(And seriously, how can I not share THAT face? My handsome fella!)