A Modern Day Fairy Tale: June 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blessings Unlimited (Plus A Sale!)

A few months ago, I mentioned briefly that I had become a Blessings Unlimited consultant, but I didn't really go into much detail about why I joined, or about the company itself, and since I'd had a few ask me about it, I thought I'd share a little bit with all of you!

First of all, Blessings Unlimited is Dayspring's direct sales company! As many of you already know, I am a huge Dayspring fan...and Blessings is such a wonderful extension of the company. I love having little reminders around my home, of inspiration and various scriptures, and Blessings provides just that!! And the products are the same high quality that I've come to expect and appreciate from Dayspring as well! From home decor, to greeting cards, to jewelry...there is a little bit of something for everyone!

I actually came across Blessings myself while looking for direct sales companies when making my Christmas list last year. I fell in love instantly, especially when I saw this amazing product:







These are the Blessings Blocks (being discontinued after August 31, or while supplies last- these are not the blocks featured in the sale flier below, those are an add on type set to this one!), and are so fun because you can change out the words to match your mood, or the season...whatever! I like changing things up so that was a big plus for me!!

I met my lovely sponsor Alice via FB. After seeing more of what this company had to offer (and realizing that much of my wishlist came in the kit!), I started considering the possibility of signing up myself, but I wasn't sure because I already sold and LOVE Thirty-One. Then they had an amazing sign up offer- an extra $100 worth of product in the kit during the month of May, and I decided to go for it. With minimal sales requirements, (just $1200 within a year to stay active, but no monthly sale requirements), and the wonderful 25% commission...I knew I had nothing to lose in signing up! If nothing else, I knew I had gotten my money's worth for the kit and the discount! But I have to say, I have fallen more in love with the company as I've gotten to 'meet' the other consultants and see how wonderful the company is behind the scenes! I could not be happier with my decision to sign up!

Here are a few more pictures of my personal collection:




Now, I know many of my readers appreciate a bargain, so I wanted to share with you the amazing sale going on in July! Starting tomorrow, you can purchase a selection of our discontinuing products for 50-65% off retail price...and these are some wonderful products!! Of course, these are only while supplies last, so if you see something you cannot live without, don't hesitate! The flier for the sale is below for anyone interested!

You can shop the sale tomorrow (July 1) at the site below:
http://www.myblessingsunlimited.net/randisampson/default.aspx 





If you have any questions about the sale, or about the company in general, I am happy to help in any way I can...I am still learning myself, but what I don't know, I'm happy to find the answers to!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Dance

Have you heard of 5 Minute Friday? It's this wonderful linkup from The Gypsy Mama- each week there is a new prompt and for 5 minutes, you just write whatever comes to mind. No over thinking, no going back and starting over, just writing. For someone like myself who over analyzes everything, this could prove to be a tough challenge, but one that I am going to join in with nonetheless!

Five Minute Friday

Dance

Go.

I am not a dancer. (My sisters- great dancers, me- not so much!) In public, you'll likely never see me dance. Perhaps it's my shy nature, but I'm not one to let loose for most part, and isn't that what dancing is all about, letting loose? Around the house, sure, I'll blare the music, sing into the broom (the hairbrush was so high school;)) and dance around like a crazy woman. Sometimes my son will join me...other times, he'll look at me like I'm a crazy person! But that's not a side of me that many get to see! Aside from my home, there is only one other place I can think of that I was truly able to let loose and dance, and that place was one of my favorite places on earth- Camp Illiana (a Christian camp in Southern Indiana). A place where I met one of my best friends, strengthened relationships with other friends and most importantly, strengthened and created a foundation for my faith. How I miss those days of letting loose, being surrounded by others who shared my beliefs and were there for the same reason- to worship wholeheartedly. It is a feeling and an environment that I cannot begin to describe in words, but a place where I truly felt the presence of God and felt the freedom to be me- crazy and silly and not afraid to raise my hands high and dance for the Lord.

Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! -Psalm 149:3

Stop.


(I will add, that is not at all what I intended to write when I sat down...but isn't that the beauty of 5 minute Friday!?)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wallet Friendly Wednesday:A Plato's Closet Trip!!


Have I mentioned lately how much I love a bargain? No? Well...I LOVE a bargain. So when I discovered Wallet-Friendly Wednesday, I thought this was a great way to see how others are saving money, and to share my own money saving tips as well.

So today, I am going to share with you my recent trip to Plato's Closet! My husband does not understand my love of secondhand shopping...he doesn't understand why I just don't buy new...but this is why:



How much do you think all of this would have cost new? If I had to guess, I'd say over $100...afterall, the shorts and purple top are from American Eagle which is not cheap. And the floral button up on the right...still had tags on- $20! And how much did I pay for all of it? About $28!!! Wow! On top of Plato's Closet's already amazing prices, our local store also offers a 15% military discount on everything but clearance!  So, why would I pay over double the price!? That's why secondhand shopping is so wonderful. Yes, in some places you have to search a little harder for the better finds (Plato's Closet only accepts recent styles, good condition clothes so it's pretty easy there), but for the money saved, it's certainly worth it!

I am super excited about our local store's amazing upcoming deal- everything you can fit in a bag from their clearance section will be just $10...I will be there at opening ready to get the deals! My wardrobe is still in desperate need of an overhaul so what better (cheaper) way to do it...lucky me, I am small (small clothes means I can fit more in the bag!) and I am a master at packing...rolling clothes to fit excessive amounts in a smaller bag!! I hope to have a lot to show from that trip soon!!

So, do you love consignment shopping as much as I do? Any great recent deals? Any other great money saving tips to share!? Feel free to join in the fun:

Wallet-Friendly Wednesday

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Guest Room: The Reality

As bloggers, we tend to put our best self forward. We don't post the craft projects that just did not turn out...or the recipe that sounded delicious but was perhaps a bit out of our range of skill. We post only the pics where we look cute, tell only the stories that paint us in a positive light, and when we post photos of our homes, we make sure it's looking it's best. I wish I could say every project I attempted turned out, I looked super cute and put together every day and my house was always spotless...but that's simply not our reality! Particularly, the house! All I can say is...I have an almost 5 year old boy. That explains it all, right? For the most part, my house is tidy...but the laundry tends to find itself in baskets for days, dishes don't always get done that night and the playroom and Shaun's bedrooms...well, let's not get started on that.

Today, I am going to share with you a little bit of our reality- my guest bedroom. After a few months of living in this house...it still looks like this:




Boxes, boxes...everywhere!!
(It kinda looks like we're heading straight for an episode of Hoarders...but I promise this is no indication to what the rest of my house looks like!)

Our new house isn't much smaller than our old one, but the little bit of space that we did lose was all storage! We'd had a good sized pantry, a large storage closet upstairs, excessive storage space in my laundry room...and we took advantage of all that storage! Here, we don't have any of that...no pantry, no laundry room (just a 'closet', with just enough room for my cleaning supplies), and no storage closet! So now I have all these craft supplies, military gear, books, Thirty-One and Blessings stock and business supplies and random home decor and whatever else...all piled into this guest room, waiting to be sorted, but with no place to go!! I am working on getting all this organized and selling/donating what we do not need, but for now this is our reality...and that reality is nowhere near perfection!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

And the winner is...

First of all, I want to thank everyone who entered the Union28 giveaway! I wish I could give you ALL this wonderful prize! Unfortunately, I can only choose one, and that lucky winner is...

Natasha H.

Congrats again, Natasha! I hope you love your prize!!

My Husband Rocks Tees & more @ Union28.net!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Oh, how Pinteresting- I Actually Did It!!

If you're anything like me, you probably have a ton of pins on Pinterest that you know you will never actually do! (You might even have pins about how you'll never actually accomplish all these amazing pins!) Personally though, I do try to at least attempt SOME of my Pinterest finds- particularly when it comes to recipes. So today, I wanted to share with you a few pins that I've actually tried for myself!!

First up is these wonderful Mexican Stuffed Peppers:



And my version:



Oh my goodness...DELICIOUS!!  These were AMAZING!
Stuffed peppers have been one of my favorites for awhile now, but the recipe I usually used was a more Italian version...these were completely different, and I think better! In fact my son loved them so much that he decided to steal Daddy's that I'd saved for him for after work! So poor Matt never even got to try them...I will definitely be making these again in the future though!!


Next up, something for the sweet tooth- Apple Streusel Muffins!!


And my version:

First off, I have to start by saying I LOVE muffins...really anything slightly resembling a cupcake is excellent in my eyes...and muffins are just the healthier version of a cupcake, right? Well, that's what I'm going to tell myself anyway! And these muffins...heavenly!!! Yes, even better than stuffed peppers (though comparing the two is kinda silly!) Seriously, they were absolutely perfect...try these, you will not regret it!!
(By the way, don't you love my lovely Blessings Unlimited Cake Stand! Gorgeous!)

And finally, Pasta w/ Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce:


And mine:




If you like pastas with cream sauces, you'll like this...I wouldn't say there was anything that particularly set this recipe apart (because I've tried a TON of similar recipes myself!), but it was great regardless!


Of course, there were a few Pinterest recipes that did not go over as well with my family...but there's no sense in posting those! This week's menu includes a few Pinterest finds too...not only is it a great time waster, it's also a really great place to find recipes...how did we ever survive without it?




(Don't forget to enter my Union28 Giveaway, a few posts down! Ends Friday!!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

On Recruiting Duty: So Far

If you're at all familiar with Marine Corps recruiting duty...you've probably heard the horror stories. We certainly had!! As a few of you may know, this is something my husband has wanted to do for some time...after 4 deployments, he was ready for a break. So, he'd actually been trying to volunteer for awhile but it never went through...and then he was flagged! Go figure!! (Rumor has it, you have more say if you volunteer, rather this is true or not we'll never know...as it is, we got our #2 choice, which we had decided was a better choice after the fact anyway!)  But anyway, because it'd been in the works for awhile, we'd had a lot more time to get used to the idea of what was to come, but we also knew that the most important thing was to go in with a positive attitude and not let other people's negative experiences scare us or bring us down.



Now that we've been here a few months, I thought I'd share a bit about our personal experiences so far. To be entirely honest, parts of the stories are true. The hours are truly horrible, they weren't making that up. In fact, we're lucky to see my husband before 10 pm most nights...and he's not had a full weekend off in ages either! But, as I said before, we'd heard the horror stories and were prepared for this. Yes, in some ways it absolutely sucks, but considering the alternative...I'll take late nights over deployments any day! At least I know he'll be home safe every night, and that definitely counts for something. To be honest, one of the worst parts of the whole thing is trying to figure out meals!! It's extremely hard to cook family dinners when the hours are so crazy...I've been trying to use the crock pot a lot so it's ready whenever, but it's still definitely something we're trying to adapt to. If any of my lovely readers have tips about cooking for a super busy schedule (or any great crock pot recipes!), they would be greatly appreciated! For now we seem to alternate between waiting until he's home to cook (or eating out)...which is not a great option for me! Or cooking early, and reheating when he's home...the better alternative but still not ideal. I hope we will eventually figure out a system that works well for us, but for now, if this is my biggest complaint, I think we will survive recruiting duty just fine! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Celebrating Your Spouse {Union28 Review}

Today I am so excited to have been given the chance to share Union28 with all of my wonderful readers! I am sure many of you have seen this company mentioned around the blog world, or perhaps even noticed the button on my sidebar. For those who have not yet been introduced, Union28 is a wonderful clothing company celebrating marriage. Their mission statements says it best:
"It is our mission to encourage marriages and to honor the sacred covenant between a husband and his wife by communicating a positive image of marriage in a fun and stylish way."

What a great mission, right? It seems all too often that we forget about the positives our spouses do and tend to focus on the negative- he didn't take the trash out, he left the toilet seat up, he didn't notice the new dress you were wearing...okay, perhaps those are silly examples, but you get the idea. Even in the media, it seems everyone loves when a relationship is in turmoil. But let's face it, no marriage is 100% perfect, 100% of the time. While I could never claim to be a marriage expert (after all, I've only been married for 5.5 years!), there is one rule that I always try to stick to that I feel is very important: never talk negatively about your spouse. Ever. I know this is is easier said than done, and being human we'll all slip up, but it's something I feel very strongly about and try to stick with. It is not in an effort to make my marriage seem perfect, though I suppose it could seem that way, but I think oftentimes our friends and family have a better memory about our spouse's shortcomings than we do. Events that have long since been worked out, are still on the minds of those that care about you and being built up over time. Make sense? And with social media these days, it's so easy to log on and vent to your entire friends list and I think that sometimes blows the situation into a bigger deal than what it was to begin with and once it's out there it cannot be taken back. I'm sure each of us have a few of those friends on our newsfeed who continuously post negatively on their spouse. I can't help but wonder each time they make these posts, how their spouse feels about it. To me, it seems like a lack of respect for your husband, and your relationship when airing all your dirty laundry for the world to see.

And this is why I instantly fell in love the moment I first heard of Union28. I love the idea of, rather than focusing on the negatives, focusing on the positive and sharing those positives with the world. Chances are even when you have a husband who does a ton of annoying things, he also does some pretty great things too- that's why you married him after all! We just don't feel the need to shout to the world about those moments as much. So Union28 is a fun way to do just that- shout to the world just how amazing your spouse truly is! Shine a positive light on marriage and show your spouse they mean the world to you.







The picture above is the shirt that Union28 sent me to review: the My Husband Rocks 'The Original' Crew Neck Tee. They have two style and color options to choose from, I personally chose the junior fitted in black. I LOVE it! It fits longer (which I love!), and is wonderful quality. And at $17.99, quite affordable as well!! Of course, they have some other wonderful styles as well. These are a few of my favorites:


And of course, there are some great options for husbands...and even for the little ones:






And here's some more great news: from now until June 22nd, you can also receive 15% off your Union28.net order!!! Just use this code at checkout: U28MFT15


Good luck to all! I hope you all love this wonderful company as much as I do!!

(Disclaimer: I received the above product from Union28 in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I received no monetary compensation for this post. The winner will receive their gift certificate via e-mail directly from the company, I am not responsible for delivery of prize!! Post contains affiliate links.)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Currently

Current Book

None. I am waiting on a new review book to come in before starting anything else..though there are a few Nicholas Sparks books calling my name!!

Current Playlist

Well, my playlist is a bit too long to list the whole thing, a few recently played:
Need You Now- Lady Antebellum
Call Me Maybe- Carly Rae Jepsen
Suggestions- Orelia
Don't Forget- Demi Lovato
We Used To Be Friends- The Dandy Warhols
I'm Gonna Love You Through It- Martina McBride
If I Die Young-The Band Perry
Live Like Music- Alexz Johnson
Who Says- Selena Gomez


Current Color


Avon Blue Flare

Current Food/Drink

Well, we had McDonald's for lunch since we were out.
Not sure what we'll do for supper yet!!
As far as drinks go, it's always the Diet Coke...I'm addicted!

Current Favorite Show(s)



Pretty Little Liars
(You might have gotten that from my playlist with Suggestions!)

Current Needs

A Nap.
And new clothes!!

Current Banes of my Existence



My finger!!
(Picture was a few days after it happened!)
Typing is still difficult...I won't tell you how many words I'm mistyping today!
But it's slowly getting better at least.
Though I've still not figured out how I was able to smash it!

Current Celebrity Crush



Zac Efron
Don't judge, he's my age! Haha.
(And yes, my hubby is aware!)

Current #1 Blessing




My Little Man, always!

Current Indulgence

Hmm, nothing comes to mind!

Current Outfit




Adorable blue dress (Target maybe? Yard Sale?)
Belt from Shabby Apple

Current Excitement

Tomorrow's giveaway!! 
Make sure to come back to check it out!!!

Current Mood

Good, for the most part!

Current Favorite Quote or Verse

'From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.'
John 1:16

Current Wishlist Item


Origami Owl Necklace


Current Favorite Product



I'm really loving my Scentsy Body Spray!
I have Love Story, but there are a few more I'd love too!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

{31} Why I Blog



The last day of the 31 Day Blog Challenge! Today's Topic: Why do you blog? I have answered this question a few times on my blog, so I apologize for the repeat for those who have been following for awhile!!

I started this blog for a few reasons. First of all, when I was younger I loved to write. You could always find me on the computer, or with a pen and paper in hand-writing away. I always saw myself making a career of writing, be it journalism, writing novels or even editing would have been okay with me. That all changed when I ended up with the worst case of writer's block ever. I had a story I'd been working of since I was about 13, and after 5 years, my computer crashed and I lost everything. Since then, I had not been able to write any fiction, my real love. My mom had always been supportive of my writing, and continuously told me to just keep writing, so the first reason for starting this blog was to be an outlet just to write.

At the time I started, and up until a few months ago, we were also living across the country from all of our friends and family. This is especially hard when you have a child and you want the people you love to share in his growing up as well. I was constantly writing cute Shaun stories as FB statuses, but there was only so much you could put in that little space and I wanted to share more in depth stories, as well as share recipes, etc with everyone back home, and this blog served as a great way to do that. When Shaun was diagnosed with Autism, I knew that I needed to do more with this blog, and use it as a way to share our stories with others in an effort to gain understanding and knowledge on the topic, and I hope I have continued to do that.

As time has gone on, my blog has grown and evolved, but it still serves as that primary purpose of having an outlet to write. I love being able to share my experiences as a Marine Corps family, the mom of a child with Autism, my somewhat successful attempts of being crafty and in the kitchen, my thoughts on faith...and everything in between. Through blogging, I have come in contact with many amazing individuals whose stories have inspired and taught me, and likewise I've received e-mails from readers who've said my story has touched and taught them. When I started this blog, I never could have imagined how much I would come to love it, and I hope to continue for a long time to come!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

{30} In My Makeup Bag


First of all, isn't my makeup bag absolutely adorable? It's a Thirty-One bag, of course and I had it embroidered with Eccl 3:11 (Ecclesiastes 3:11): He has made everything beautiful in it's time. I absolutely love it!

Now onto the makeup! Generally, I keep my makeup pretty simple...most days it's either powder and/or foundation, mascara and lip gloss/lip balm. As you can see, I have a nice little collection of lip products! If I'm wanting to dress it up a little more, I'll add in some eyeliner, etc. Nothing too exciting here, but that's my makeup bag!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

{27.28.29}

Time to play catch up again! To say this weekend was super busy would be an understatement, and the blog challenge got away from me...I'll be keeping this post short though...over the weekend, I managed to smash my finger in our trunk! While it's not as bad as it was (it's went from a constant throbbing to a numb but no pain so long as I don't put pressure on it!!), I'm still not able to type with it, and since I only type with one hand anyway, it makes it difficult!

Day 27: Post Your Favorite Recipe

Just one recipe? Hmm, I'll keep this simple and just say go to Pioneer Woman's website...I've not tried anything from there that I have not loved!!!

Day 28: What Are You Looking Forward To?

Well to be honest, there's really nothing in particular I'm looking forward to at the moment. I'd say maybe having a birthday party for my little guy, but that means he's getting older, and I don't look forward to that!! Ha! I do hope that this summer brings more visit with family and friends!!

Day 29: Where have you traveled?

While I haven't been out of the US, I have had the chance to travel cross country, multiple times!! From California to Indiana, both going through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri...and Nevada, Kansas, Utah...well, you get the idea! I have made this trip by plane, car and train, all such unique experiences. By far the best experience is by train! I would love to make that trip again!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Review: She's Got Issues by Nicole Unice

From the Publisher:

We’ve all got our issues! Maybe you feel like life just isn’t going your way, or you’re afraid that you don’t measure up to other people’s expectations. Perhaps you have a hard time managing your temper or have someone in your life you just can’t forgive. We deal with our “issues” every day in one form or another; the problem is, after a while, they start to feel . . . normal. Unchanging. Just part of who we are. And we forget that we have access to the power of Christ—a power that can transform our everyday weaknesses into our greatest strengths and gifts.

In She’s Got Issues, Christian counselor, ministry leader, and regular mom Nicole Unice explores the ordinary issues that are keeping you from the full and free life you were meant to have. Applying years of counseling with practical scriptural teaching and a fresh and authentic voice, Nicole shows you how to let God freely shape your character—and transform your life from ordinary to abundant.



My Thoughts:

When I read the subtitle of this book, 'Seriously Good News for Stressed Out Control Freaks Like Us'...I knew this book was for me! While I wouldn't use the term 'control freak' to describe myself, I have in the past talked about my issues with perfectionism...and in many ways, that's just a nicer way to say it, right!? So, I was excited to start reading! As I got further into the book, I definitely felt as though this book was written just for me, covering topics of control, insecurity, comparisons, fear and anger- issues that probably affect all women to some degree and most certainly affect me personally with my perfectionism and anxiety!
One of the first things that struck me about the book when I began reading was the humor, and realness. At the beginning of each chapter, beneath the chapter title, is a quote. This is not uncommon in a lot of self-help or nonfiction books I've read but what I found interesting were the source of these quotes. For instance, there was one quote from Pink and then another from the Aqua song 'Barbie Girl'...not your typical inspirational quote sources, and yet they fit wonderfully and really set the mood of the book. Each chapter includes both personal stories from either the author herself or friends/clients of hers, as well as biblical references. Nicole uses great analogies that really make even the biblical stories relate-able to our life today. She is honest, even when her honesty doesn't place her in the best light. Who wants to read a book about overcoming issues from someone who cannot be related to? Not me, and this book is certainly not one of those books. Each chapter also concludes with a short prayer, questions to ask yourself/journal, as well as questions designed for a study group. There are also QR codes at the end of the chapters to further the discussion online (I myself did not personally look into this, but I thought it was a very cool, unique feature!) This is really just a wonderfully written book, and one that I would certainly recommend to anyone who like me, suffers with any of the above issues. There are certainly a lot of great verses and perspective that can be taken from each story, all the while staying entertaining as well!

You can purchase your own copy here!

**I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, June 8, 2012

{26} An Old Photo of Me!

Why just one- here's a couple!!
(And a big thank you to my mom for having these on her Facebook page for me to steal!!)

Not sure how old I was here- two maybe? 
People never believe me when I say I was a chubby child...here is your proof!!




That's me in the pink with my sisters, Hope and Heather at Holiday World!


Another Holiday World pic...no idea how old I was here, but aren't the pigtails adorable?

 



A newer old picture, and one of my favorite favorites with my sister Heather.
This was from a high school production of Bye Bye Birdie!!

Again with my sisters- 8-ish years ago? Another of my favorites!!
(And yes, we all naturally have different hair colors!)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

{24.25} Books & Blogs

Day 24: Your Favorite Childhood Book

I have always been a bookworm! In the second grade, my parents bought me a set of the classics and I remember thinking that was the best gift ever (until the next year when they bought me a kit to have my OWN book published!!) So needless to say, I have several childhood favorites, but those who know me well (or rather, have known me long) would probably remember that I was obsessed with anything by Ann M. Martin!!




Inside Out
At a time when you didn't hear nearly as much about Autism as you do now, this book helped me gain an understanding of what my brother may have been like, had I had the chance to meet him. (He passed away before I was born.) Of course now I realize that no two children with Autism are alike, not to mention the book is horribly outdated now! But it was a great book at the time, and one I still own! It actually is what (initially) inspired me to consider the idea of working with children with Autism...ironic, huh?



The Baby-Sitter's Club Series
If you were a girl in the 90s, you probably read at least one, right? I read them all. Every. Single. One. (Even the BSC Forever series, and California Diaries too!) I personally owned well over 100! Plus the movie, a few episodes of the TV show (on VHS, geez!)...bookends, posters, the board game...yep, I had it all!! And Dawn was my favorite, of course!! I'm not sure I could really pick one favorite- there were so many and it's been ages since I read them- but I definitely enjoyed the mysteries!! 


Day 25: Your 5 Favorite Blogs

Yikes, must I really only choose 5!? I'm sure I have many more than just 5...but these are among the many:
  1. (in)courage
  2. Pioneer Woman
  3. Gitzen Girl
  4. Don't Waste Your Homemaking
  5. We Are THAT Family