Monday, March 29, 2010

Music Inspiration

Amy Grant has been one of my favorite artist since I was a young girl. Tom can attest to this. (I tend to listen to music I love, over and over, and it drives my loved ones a bit crazy!) I remember listening to her El Shaddai album and learning all of the words. Rocking out to "I Have Decided" and wishing I knew how to play guitar when listening to "Father's Eyes". Amy has always been a musical inspiration to me in my life. To ask me what my favorite song is, would be so difficult. I love it all! Her "Behind the Eyes" album has been special to me. It encouraged me to be the best woman I could be, when dealing with things during my high school years. I loved the album so much, that I burned through a CD and had to buy another! There is something about her voice that makes my heart smile. So you can see why I am so excited that Amy is coming out with a new album. "Somewhere Down the Road" releases tomorrow! I have had a chance to listen to it, and it's amazing. But coming from a die hard fan, that is no surprise. It has a few well known re released songs and a few new ones. Her 17 year old daughter Sarah sings a duet in the song "Overnight" which is personally my favorite new song on the record. So get ready for another amazing journey of Amy's music. I also encourage you to check out the book she wrote a few years ago called, "Mosaic, Pieces of My Life So Far." A wonderful in site to the stories behind the music and the amazing woman that Amy is.

This picture was one of the highlights of my life! In 2003 I had a chance to meet Amy. I was a bit star struck, but she was so sweet and let us have our picture taken with her.

Friday, March 26, 2010

5 Things Blog Along,....Traveler

So it's Friday! I don't know about you, but I am so glad it's the weekend! It's funny that the topic this week is about traveling. I told my mom last night that there are times when I wish I could just pack my bags and go somewhere, far away from all my adult responsibilities. Do you ever have those moments? Then after just saying you would like to run away, you snap back into reality and think,, I need to get a grip. You then take a deep breath, smile and move on. Just shows that even us moms need a break once and awhile to renew ourselves so that we can continue to give to our husband and children. But on a lighter note, I have always been a traveler and can't wait to plan my next big adventure. (still deciding where that will be this summer/fall) Here is one of my favorite pictures I have taken in my travels. This was the view while driving in the hills of Scotland.

My List:

1.) Layering -I am always cold. Airplanes are the worst! (Well except the one time I was flying back from Africa and was stuck on a plan for hours without AC and had a large sweaty man seated next to me!) I like to wear a tee, a button up cardigan sweater and then a jacket with a light weight scarf of some sort. That way I can peel off a lay or two if I am hot, and if I get chilled, put it back on. A cute pair of earrings and a hair band to keep the hair out of my face, and I am set!

2.) Camera & Journal - While traveling I have found that I loose track of time. I have so much fun living in the moment, that I forget what days I have done what. I try to write down a story or two in a little travel journal after each day spent somewhere fun. I also find that when I get home my camera organizes and keeps my time accounted for. It's a way to reflect back after my trip and look at pictures I took, to see what I did on what day and remember all the fun I had. A memory keeper per say! Plus I am also a big scrapbooker (although I haven't had much time for this hobby lately) and it helps me create a keepsake of my time somewhere. If you aren't much interested in scrap booking but want to keep your pictures organized from a trip, there are online sites that you can create a photo book for you. I have used and love their work. The layouts are easy and you can be as creative or simple as you like. It's perfect for a coffee table!! A fun way to show people where you went on vacation, without having the "family slide show" stigma.

3.) Online Research - The Internet is filled with all kinds of travel ideas, discounts and tips. Tom and I have a timeshare in FLA and so we are able to exchange our week to visit other places. RCI has an amazing site that we use to research our next big trip. Plus they have extra vacations you can buy that are super cheap (sometimes less than $200.00 a week for a 5 star resort accomidating a family of 6 or 8 if you're lucky). I am always excited to see what they come out with every month on their sale page. Unfortunately, you have to be a member to use their services. But they do offer a way for you to buy points to use on their site, if you don't own a time share.
Another fun thing to do is to research the city you are traveling to before hand. Get an idea about what you would like to see and do. Plan ahead! When we went to London England a few summers ago, they had an awesome tourist site that sold London Passes that you could purchase ahead of time, that saves loads of money when you visit attractions in the city. It saves you time from standing in line to buy tickets, plus VIP treatment to the front of the line for tours. (That alone is worth getting the card!) Other major cities have these passes, but you have to purchase them ahead of time, to get them.
If you plan on flying anywhere, I recommend checking out Tom and I have found some amazing deals on this site! It filters through all major airlines to find the best price.

4.) Cross the Body Purse- Like this one from I couldn't live without mine. It's the perfect size to hold your passport, wallet, sunglasses, travelers checks etc. But the best part is, you can wear it cross your body, so you have your hands free, and it zips up! No need to worry about someone reaching into your bag while you are not looking to steal your things!

5.) Ask Locals- I have found that some of the best places to go and see were suggested by locals from that city/town. There have been many photo sessions and memories made due to a suggestion from someone that "lives" there. I remember having lunch in this hole in the wall restaurant that would never have been featured in a book, but had the most amazing food. Or the time we got a beautiful picturesque view of the city by going to visit a grave yard! (who would have thought?) I am convinced that you need to stay "with the people" to get the best experience. Tom and I rented a flat for a week in Edinburgh Scotland, right off the main street. We were able to interact with those "from Scotland" and not just a hotel staff member who pointed out the touristy spots. They have these "extended stay flat rentals" everywhere in Europe for very reasonable prices. People who live the summer in different parts of Europe rent their flats out to earn some extra cash. We got a large flat with two bathrooms, a kitchen,(we cooked locally grown/produced food instead of eating out every night) living room and dining area for less than we would staying at a hotel. (Just keep in mind that everything is smaller in Europe) Check it out! Here! We experienced Mexico by staying out in the dessert sleeping on mats. (maybe not something you would want to do for a luxury get away, but it was an adventure to us!) But the point is, experience the culture by immersing yourself in it! Eat what they eat, listen to their music, read about their history and visit with the locals! (If you can) These memories will last forever.

Don't forget to visit the other girl's Blog Along Posts!



Friday, March 19, 2010

5 Things Blog Along,...Mother

So it's Friday and once again it's time for me to share my 5 things that make my life easier as a momma. Seeing that I am a new at this (only 4 months) I am still learning the ropes. Although I was a nanny for years, does that count?

1.) Snap & Go Stroller - The best $25.00 I spent at a PTA sale. It has come in handy these past few months. It's small and compact and fits well in my little VW. I can just snap Liam's car seat on and not worry about him waking up. The basket is handy to carry groceries, shopping bags, a loose jacket. Plus I have been able to get out of the house for some fresh air once and awhile!

2.) PTA Sales - I have found 98% of Liam's clothes at these wonderful sales. I have saved big $$. I have blogged about it before. My dad commented the other day on how stylish Liam always looks. It's so much fun to dress him up. He's like my little doll.

3.) MOPS - I just joined a few months ago and it has been such a blessing! It's nice to get away for a few hours in the morning and share with other woman that have children as well. It's encouraging to know that I am not alone in this journey. I love the speakers, the friends I have made, the crafts, the prayers shared and the wonderful yummy breakfast we get at our meetings. What a blessing! I love it!!

4.) Big Hand Bags - So instead of carrying a huge diaper bag everywhere I go, I just use a stylish big bag! It's perfect for all the essentials. Cell phone, date book, diapers, wipes and of course an extra pacifier (soother). Which can I say is a God sent?! What what I do without one of those little Advent pacifiers? They come in so handy! Liam loves his.

5.) Hair ties & Bumble & Bumble products - I refuse to get a "mom hair cut." I am not saying names, but I know a few people who have had their hair cut right after having a baby and it just doesn't look right on them. I love having longer hair (Tom likes it too) and so I have been styling my hair in up dos! :) The pony and braid is back in,....haven't you've heard?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Things That Make Me Smile,.....

This is the view I see every morning from my bed. Liam's little room, with gleaming sunlight streaming in his windows. This room makes me happy, because it is something I designed and decorated myself! Tom is working on hanging my pictures up, so until then, here is a sneek peek. (I will be posting pictures once it is finished)

Spring Finds

I was just swooning over the new Liberty of London collection at Target. You can see I even blogged about it. I have taken not one, but two trips to Target this week to get a good look. I've been searching for a store that has the cute teapot that they show in all of their adds. Either it's been sold out, or they haven't had the shipment come in yet. But I am hoping to get my hands on one. ::evil grin:: While I was there, I spotted this really nice bed set. I stood there in the store debating if I should get it or not. For one reason or another I have such a hard time buying something for myself. (It's something that drives Tom crazy. He is the first to say "If you like it that much, get it!") My father in law convinced me to get it, because it was the last King size they had and if I went home and thought about it and decided to get it, it may not be there Does he know me or what?! I could "always bring it back". I guess my concern was that it had a girly pink trim. But lucky for me, Tom liked it! So now I am loving my new room! (Still has a long way to go. Wall paper down, new curtains, a head board, etc.) I am thinking I may make some cute pink throw pillows this next weekend if I get a chance. This sunshine is really making me happy and in the spring cleaning state of mind!

I also picked up a new Liberty of London blouse that I just had to have! The colors are just beautiful.

Friday, March 12, 2010

5 Things Blog Along - Wife

My dear Friend Amanda started this blog along of 5 things that makes life easier. This week it's about being a wife! Why not join our blog along! Check it out!

What can make my life easier as a wife you ask? Well after thinking about this for a few days I tried to be conscious of what exactly works for us. Being a new momma has sorta distracted me lately of my relationship with my dear husband. He has the patience of a saint some days. It's funny that I am reflecting on this subject as tomorrow will be our 6 year wedding anniversary. Wow has time flown by!

But without further adieu, here is my list!

1.) Humor - We always try to find something funny in every situation. We have had many arguments over the years (we are both first born which I think makes us butt heads. We both want things our way) but at some point we stop and just start laughing. This helps us see that most of our arguments are just "silly". We also have these "inside jokes" that just make me smile when no one else knows why I am smiling except Tom!

2.) Traveling - We are big adventure seekers. We have been to many new and exciting places together. Our first big trip was when we were engaged! Our church sponsored us to go on a mission trip to Mexico, where we slept on church pews (basically park benches), and hiked up small mountains in the dessert,... the time he saved me from getting bitten by a scorpion! Or our adventure to England/Scotland to visit the castles of the Shuttleworth's ancestors. The picture above is us in from of one of his family's castles. Who would of thought I would have married a relative of Princess Diana? Seriously, the REAL royal family! No matter where we go we love to go together.

3.) Food- They say through a man's heart is through his stomach. So true!!! I wooed him with my pie baking skills ;) We love trying new restaurants and try to get out at least once a month just the two of us. Because I am a new stay at home momma I have been really working on my cooking skills, so that when he arrives home we can have a meal and just reflect on our day.

4.) Music - He has told me that the first moment he heard me sing, was when he fell in love with me. Singing a solo in church one Sunday is all it took! He even bought a copy of that service to bring home ::blush:: Our first date was spent talking about music! We sing along while we are driving up to Canada to visit family. Of course I know most of the words ;) He enjoys the instrumental part of the song and I am a lyric person! But over all, we have gone to many concerts together and just enjoy rocking it out whenever possible!

5.) Little Things - It might not be some grand affair, and we may not have all that much time alone anymore since our little guy was born, but we try and show each other love in the small moments of the day. I will slip a note in with his lunch before he goes off to work, and he will text me during his busy day just to tell me he loves me. Those are the special moments that remind me that he's my best friend, that over all woman I was the one he chose to be with. This feeling makes me want to continue to work on "showing" him how much I love him.

Blog Along

My dear friend Amanda is having a 5 Things Blog Along! Come and join us!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I am itching for Spring! It was 60 degrees out today and I was able to enjoy a leisurely walk with Liam and the pup, it was glorious! Does this mean the end of snow? ::crossing fingers::
Target will be launching a new collection soon and I am so excited about it!
It's Liberty of London! This just screams SPRING!

I was also excited to find out that the official Liberty of London website sells Fabric! I may have to order some! Here are a few of my favs.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Blood Runs Green

St. Patrick's Day is coming!! It has always been one of my favorite holidays during the year. Since I was a child, I have had this fascination with all things Irish. From the music, the art, the people and the tradition. Ireland is in my blood. Seeing that I am more than half Irish, I have this itch to visit the homeland someday. It will be awhile until we can travel across the world again, but I do plan on taking a trip there someday. I thought it would be fun to share some of Ireland's traditions, music and culture this week in honor of my heritage. So let's take a quick virtual trip to the green hills of Ireland together. Slainte!