Friday, June 28, 2013

TODAY IS CAPS LOCK DAY!

I WENT ON TO PUNCHBOWL THIS MORNING TO SEND OUT THE [EMAIL] INVITES FOR MY SISTERS BABY SHOWER AND FOUND OUT THIS RANDOM FACT. EVERY DAY PUNCHBOWL HAS A "REASON TO CELEBRATE" AND THIS WAS TODAY'S.

THE REASONING BEHIND A DAY DEDICATED TO CAPS LOCK? WELL... IT'S SOMETHING THAT DRIVES PEOPLE CRAZY (LIKE ME). WHEN I SEE WORDS WRITTEN USING CAPS LOCK, I AUTOMATICALLY BELIEVE THEY'RE YELLING.

ARE YOU READING THIS POST LIKE I'M YELLING AT YOU? (HEHE)

CHECK THIS FACT OUT:
International Caps Lock Day was created in 2000 by Derek Arnold of Iowa. This holiday began as a parody. It was intended to poke fun at those individuals who unnecessarily capitalize letters, words, and phrases.The day became so popular with internet users that it is now celebrated twice a year—on June 28 and on October 22. (www.punchbowl.com)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nebraska Bloggers Connect: Your Vehicle

I'm sure that everyone who knows me did an eye roll or forehead slap when they saw the title for this week's Nebraska Bloggers Connect blog round-up: Your Vehicle.
If you know me, you should guess the vehicle of choice: a bug. Yes, you heard me a VW Beetle. The moment I saw the new Beetle/Bug come out in 1998 I knew it was the car for me. They're so cuuuuute! Don't you agree that it looks as though they smile at you when you greet them on the road? They just look like a friendly, compact, little bundle of fun. (Haha, one of my teacher friends used to tease me that it was the Hitler Mobile. Not so "friendly feeling" anymore, huh?)

When I was 16 I had pictures of them all over my room. To entertain me my dad took me to a Volkswagen dealership and I came home with a poster. I was thrilled. I went to college, got a job (with a steady income) and decided that on my meager teacher income I could afford to pay for a bug. I was 22 and giddy about this ginormous purchase. (I'm not sure the salesman felt the same way.) Funny story. I learned to drive on a stick when I was 13 years old, never really mastered the concept, and my first car was an automatic; so I never had to really put the skill to use. The only red bug on the lot was a stick.... Picture this: me, learning to drive a stick allllll over again, flying down a pass in the Fort Collins mountainous area, and yelling at my dad trying to get him to teach me what I should do to slow down the vehicle (besides hitting the brakes). Haha. I can still picture the ghostly appearance of the salesman as he clutched the ceiling for his dear life. I came home with it and refused to drive over 60 on the interstate.

I had the worst "luck" with that car. I hit black ice and slammed the rear end into a guard rail. I'll consider myself blessed because it was either that or fly into the Colorado River hundreds of feet below. It was involved in a hit and run at the Olive Garden's parking lot in Cheyenne. It doesn't have ground clearance and I ripped the plastic shield underneath it (to protect the engine) as I was going to work one morning (Ugh, all you Coloradoans would laugh to see how this town clears snow. They pile it up in the middle of the street making some intersections impossible to use! I've never seen anything like it, and I've suggested on many occasions that they need to take a few lessons from my mountain friends up in Grand County.) My poor bug couldn't handle the extreme conditions.

Fast forward six years: we have Brielle.

Unfortunately, bugs are not family friendly. Plus we were down to one budget and realized we'd save a lot of money just by reducing our insurance each month, tags, maintenance, etc. So we sold it.

And yes, I did cry as it left town.
When I bought it, my students named it Mr. Bug. How cute is that?

I know it's just a stupid car, and I know that in an eternal perspective bugs will burn up just like everything else, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate things on this earth or enjoy them while I'm here. I hope to own one again someday, but until then I'll trade a bug for the 4x4 Chevy truck we own any day of the week if that means I get to hang out with my Briella Bean every day. (Oh and did I mention the benefits of walking/biking everywhere? I'm down to my HIGH SCHOOL weight 9 months after having a baby! Never ever thought that would happen.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Healthy" No Bake Cookies

My favorite combination is Peanut Butter and Chocolate. Perhaps it's a trait passed down from my grandpa who eats PB with EVERYTHING (not kidding). My favorite candy bar is Reese's and my favorite cookie is the peanut butter, chocolate, oatmeal no bake goodness. However, the recipe that I own calls for 4 CUPS of sugar and loads of butter. Yummy and yucky all at once. So I decided to replace the sugar with honey and decrease the amount of butter. The first few attempts were a flop, but I FINALLY have a combination that... is... fantastic. Of course, I had to share it with you.

My "Healthy" No Bake Cookies
I'm going to call them "healthy" because it helps me justify 5 in one day. ;)

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Yields approximately 2 Dozen

Ingredients:
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 1 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 4 Cups Oats
Instructions:
  1. Melt Butter over Med-Low heat.
  2. Add PB and Honey till melted - stir continuously.
    This Pampered Chef "push-up" measuring thingy is by far the best kitchen measuring tool ever invented. Especially for sticky goodies like honey and peanut butter, just push it out and scrape it off.
  3. Add cocoa, vanilla, and milk - mix well.
  4. Stir in oats till well coated.
    Look at all that edible goodness in the pot! Yummmm.
  5. Scoop desired cookie size onto wax paper - place in fridge or freezer till solid. 
    Putting them in the freezer is a -wonderful- summer treat.

    Yum.
  6. Eat.
  7. Enjoy.

A Shout Out to Shutterfly

As of late, I've been working on baby proofing the house. You see, before I had Brielle I thought our house was "okay" in the proofing department. HA. Once she became mobile, and I mean a "If I want it, I'm going to get it!" mentality, I realized that I'd receive a big fat F-. As I was baby proofing our basement I found my $20 credit to any project I create on Shutterfly (woooohoooo!); a "gift" from Target for my baby registry being there. Well, it expired June 25 (ahem, today) so I buckled down and got to work. I swear I've only been at my computer for the last few days and I'm utterly sick of it.

Still, I'm so excited for the 0-6 month book I quite literally threw together and thought I'd share it with you. Once I ordered it, there was an option to share this photobook on a website or blog and I jumped on that (duh!). An extra bonus is that I get a $10 credit towards my next project! (Another big wooooohooo!)

I love shutterfly because it is easy to use, there's so many adorable options and I think it's reasonably priced. I have created a picture scrapbook for our wedding, honeymoon, and now one for Brielle. Each time I use Shutterfly it's better than before. Definitely sticking with Shutterfly for my 6 month - 1 year photobook! (I think I'll get started on that now....)

Here is the link to Brielle's 0-6 Month photobook.

If you want to view it directly from my blog click here.

Create your own photobook here.

Photo Book


You'll love Shutterflys award-winning photo books. Try it today.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Weekly Writes: RnR "And it was so."

I love lightbulb moments. It makes your job as a teacher worthwhile and it makes your job as a life time learner worthwhile as well. I had my own lightbulb moment and I couldn't wait to share it with you.

God repeats Himself a lot in the Bible. Perhaps it's for teeny brains like mine who have to hear something twenty times before it clicks! :) As a result, I've started to highlight what is repeated; it's obviously important if He said it over and over again! I'm glad I started doing that (a suggestion from our pastor) because last week I started over at Genesis. Our pastor also explained that the purpose of Genesis is to reveal that God is a Man of His Word. (Yes, Pastor Hod, I do listen on Sunday mornings, even if I'm trying to entertain my daughter, haha.)

Anyhooooooo...

It took nearly two years to read the Bible cover to cover and now I'm starting over. I've probably read the first few chapters of Genesis a thousand and one times (because I'd always start "in the beginning" and stop short when I'd get to descendants, duties and laws for _____. ). So it has helped me to stay focused when I highlight repetitions and every time God specifically said something. An extra bonus is that it makes my daily reading more "GOD focused" instead of "me focused."

I'm glad I did that because I realized something (even though I probably heard this in a sermon somewhere and God is just now opening my eyes). In chapter one of Genesis, when God created something it began with, "And God said," and immediately after saying it each chapter would have, "And it was so." (Ch.1, vs 7, 9, 11, 15, 24, 32)

Basically, if God said it, it happened.

(I'm sure at this point you're thinking, Duh! Okay, hear me out...)

Theeeeeen Adam and Eve sinned by eating the fruit from the tree that God said, "... in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Ch.2, vs.17)

Welp, read on to chapter 5 of Genesis where the descendants are listed from Adam to Noah (the part I usually skimmed over... :-/). Do you know how many times I've wondered why on earth it was important?! Okay, I may be wrong in my reasoning here but we obviously know that what God says will happen, right? (Purpose of Genesis!)

God said they would die if they ate the fruit.

Welp, the repetition in Chapter 5 is this: and he died... and he died... and he died. So-and-So lived such-and-such years and fathered So-and-So, AND HE DIED. God told them, if you do this, you will die. And it was so.

Isn't it amazing that after all these years of thinking the listing of the descendants was boring and pointless, that I finally understand? I truly think it's because knowing the purpose and trying to understand God rather than "how does this apply to me?" changes everything.

God is a man of His word.

I find amazing peace in that statement because if He's a man of His word then I have so much hope in what Jesus says in John Chapter 6 verses 22-63, that Jesus is the Word. The Word brings life. If you believe in Jesus alone you will be saved. "Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life." (John 6:47-48)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Brielle is 9 months old!

We call her our little inch worm. She has decided that she doesn't really care about crawling, she enjoys sitting and playing, but if she eyes something she wants (and I mean, right now) she will inch her way over to it rather quickly. At first her inch worming looked absolutely hilarious with her arms back, chest down, butt up, feet planted and inching forwards, but now she uses her arms "army crawl" style.

She is an innovative little booger. She is learning to use her thumb and pointer finger to pick up little pieces of cheerio I put on her tray, but it wasn't working out in her favor so she decided to use her mouth instead. OH MY GOODNESS! Kyle and I belly laughed as we watched her pick up cheerio's with her tongue! I was too late in grabbing my camera, but I giggle just thinking about it.
Trying so hard to pick up the little pieces of cheerio's!
She becomes obsessed with the oddest items (it used to be an egg separator) but we've moved on to a comb. With a deep burrowed frown on (like the above picture), she holds items in her hands and studies them.

She's grown into aaaaaaa (drum roll) size ONE shoe! Do you know how hard it is to find a size 1? I went online and I literally looked everywhere: Target, Wal-Mart, The Children's Place, Babies-R-Us, &etc. etc. I finally found a pair and when it came in the mail I oooooo'd and awwwwwww'd over the little sandles for a long time. They are so stinkin' adorable, especially on her tiny little chubby feet. She likes them because that sparkly flower on the top looks yummy.


When she laughs she nearly tips over backwards!

She's pulling herself up.

She bounces along to music.

She has always been a daddy's girl, and when he comes home from work it's more than evident she's excited to see him with her giggling, bouncing, and what we've referred to as grunting. If he doesn't pick her up, it breaks her heart and she will let him know. I keep saying I need to get it on video.
Look at her look at him. :)
Any time Poppy comes to visit she has a good time, especially because he likes to show her off.

She loves her Marley and Quigley (Quigley just licks her to death. Gah! How do you break a dog of that?!) and Marley is always wanting to share his toy with her, Just throw it Brielle, just throw it! She's just interested in eating it. Marley also has this weird obsession with her yellow rubber duckies. She has a plethora, so we finally gave him one so he'd leave her alone when she had one in her hands. LOL.



My mom found a hiking carrier for $20 at a garage sale (what a steal)! We put it to use when we walked around Kyle's family farm. She fell asleep. It doesn't look comfy, but she... was... out.

When we take her to her bath we're always commenting on our "NAKED BABY!" and all her side and back rolls.

She found the dog dish and this was the result...

When we went to Sears we checked out the 3-D TV's and it was hilarious to watch her study them. She'd lift her hand and reach out for what seemed to be coming out of the screen or dodge what she thought was coming at her. Plus, those glasses alone just cracked me up.

This picture cracks me up too. Oh, hahahaha, the hat.
So much for spreading out the blanket for her to sit on, haha. Notice the comb to her right? ;)
When she sits in the stroller, she leans forward as far as she can to look around as she talks and squeals. It's so cute. She loves it outside.


Kyle and I don't remember life without her, she's changed it so much in the last 9 months, but we wouldn't trade it for the world. We love her so very, very much.

Nebraska Bloggers Connect: My Go-To Outfit

I don't have a "Go-To" outfit necessarily. In fact, I try hard not to wear the same thing every time. (I like variety!) However, I do have "Go-To" accessories that would be the first things I grab if I were in a hurry.

Like these cheap earrings that match the style of my wedding ring (I also have a black and gray pair.):
And a scarf. It's by far my favorite accessory. I have all kinds of styles and colors and will arrange an outfit entirely around what scarf I feel like wearing. (I even have a scarf board on Pinterest!) When I'd dress up as a teacher it almost always included a scarf and I think I was asked, "Mrs. Lowery, why do you wear so many scarf's?" on a daily basis. Well, their warm. Versatile. Cute. Stylish. You can dress it up or dress it down. And then I'd ask, "Why not wear a scarf?"
The scarf that started it all, although it's old, it's a still a fav because I can wear it any time of year and it's colorful.
Spring and Fall are my favorite seasons. I think it's because Spring means relief from freezing cold and Fall is relief from scorching hot. Plus the temperature during those seasons (around here in Nebraska land) is usually good scarf weather (but if you've ever lived in this area know that it could be snowing one day and a whole 90 degrees the next, yeah, I'm not kidding). With that in mind I always make sure I have a jacket. Not to mention the fact that I hate air conditioning. I quite literally freeze to death mid-summer if I put a toe indoors; especially in restaurants, grocery stores, and the movies. When I was getting my masters at Doane-Lincoln everyone knew to bring a jacket or risk frost bite, so when I pack for any trip, I always include jackets.
My jacket closet...

Since Spring and Fall are my favorite seasons I'll show you a few outfits I "captured" and pinned so that I wouldn't forget them. It's amazing how an outfit can make you feel confident and beautiful. I understand that an outfit isn't what makes a person pretty, but in our sinful human nature we tend to judge the outward appearance first. So if I have an outfit that I like on me, right or wrong, I tend to be more outgoing and confident. And that's the way I felt when I wore these...


Everyone has such unique styles that match their unique selves. I've really enjoyed reading everyone's post on this topic. I think you will too. Check out other bloggers and their "Go-To" outfit: (I think you'll be inspired with a few ideas of your own!)

http://kelseyhomolka-keepingupwithkelsey.blogspot.com/p/nebraska-bloggers-connect.html

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Shout Out to My Dad

With this last weekend being Father's Day I want to give a SHOUT OUT to my dad. He's a pretty incredible individual and let me tell you a few reasons why...
  1. He loves the Lord and will tell us about the saving grace of Christ daily, and you too if you met him!
  2. Not a day has passed in all my years of life that my dad hasn't told me he loves me. The moment I'd walk out the door growing up I'd hear my dad yell across the room, "I love you Becky!" He'd whisper it in my ear or give long hugs that let me know how much he loved me. He'd always tell his kids that he understood the love God must have for His children because of the love he has for us, and that love, he'd say, is immeasurable.
  3. My dad taught us the value of hard work. He modeled it in his own life and expected it from us.
  4. He also taught us the value of the simple things in life, like a meal around the table (with lots of laughter, of course) and time around a campfire gorging ourselves in smores.
  5. He is smart! He was a pastor, the chief firefighter in Arkansas, a first responder, a computer/technology guru (he owns his own business repairing computers and installing wireless internet service), and I think I'd run out of room if I listed everything he has done or can do. (Seriously.)
  6. I've watched him endure some of the hardest things a person can go through and he came out of each event a better man concreted in his faith and hope in Jesus Christ.
  7. Whenever there was a tragedy my dad was the first one I went to because he knew just what to say and how to inspire those around him. The funerals he lead were some of the most God glorifying, hopeful events I've ever attended. I was so proud to know him when I saw him handle the death of my friend Brian Pancau with gentleness, respect, and compassion, not only to Brian's family, but to his friends as well. He briefly spoke at the Middle Park 2002 graduation encouraging Brian's fellow graduates to celebrate their accomplishments, and that there is hope in the salvation of Jesus Christ. (Brian passed away in a car accident on his way to his graduation practice the day before he graduated from Middle Park High School in 2002.) When I found out the news that Brian had passed, my dad was the first person I called.
  8. He loves his grandchildren. Lots. He is their Poppy. The way I see him with them, makes me love him that much more. "Beware" if you see him at a restaurant with his grandbabies, he will walk right up to your table just to show them off. I love it.
  9. He is generous. Even if he had nothing, he'd do whatever he could to give us everything we needed and then some.
  10. He is encouraging. I don't remember being ridiculed for my grades or my performance in sports (for example). He would always say something like, "Why don't you try this next time?" or "Have you thought of doing this?" or "I'm so proud of you!" or "Don't give up! Keep working hard!" and especially, "No matter what, I will always love you."
And that love he shows day in and day out, well, I can't think of a better place to end.

His growing family. This was when we added Hunter. (Haha, I say "we" but Mel did all the work.)

Dad, Kyle, Matt (the men in my life)

Kyle & Me, Matt & Sam (Matthew & Alexi), Justin and Mel (Gary & Hunter)

Celebrating Dad's 50th at a Rockies Game!

Poppy with Briella Bean

When he gave me away, he had the sweetest speech, it made me bawl like a baby.

Poppy with his Alexi, probably telling her how pretty she is!

Hiking up Adams Falls in 2012. Poppy, me (prego with Brielle), Justin (with Hunter), Mel, Kyle (Gary is hidden behind him), Mandy & David

I could not find a recent picture with him and all four of his kids (spouses and grandchildren included). We are getting together this summer, so that will have to change! (Especially with all the new additions!)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fathers Day 2013

Last year on Father's Day I gave Kyle this little onsie I made:
"Daddy & Me Cheering the Huskers to Victory!"
My family will forever tease Kyle about being a loyal Husker fan, so I couldn't resist adding fuel to his fire by giving him something to show off his daughter wearing Husker pride! I can't believe that was a year ago already! It was a 0-3 month onsie so it's long ceased to fit Brielle, but I had to share these pictures.


This year's Father's Day was a flop. Kyle's gift didn't get here in time (I ordered it online) and he was sick. Not to mention, Brielle was coming down with something and was not in a good mood. At first I was super sad about it, but I realized that we can celebrate Kyle being a wonderful father any day of the week and multiple times if we want too! So when I get his gift in the mail and they get over whatevers bothering them we will celebrate Kyle.

We have so much to celebrate!

He is a wonderful father who works hard to provide for his family. Every day he tells us how much he loves us. Brielle's favorite time of the day is when Daddy walks through the door. She gets so excited! (I seriously need to get it on video.) I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Brielle loves her daddy. I can't wait to see their relationship grow and develop. He is kind, compassionate, and the ultimate leader who understands the importance of putting Christ first not only in his own life, but in every relationship. He is an inspiration to me. God has blessed us with an amazing man.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Weekly Writes: RnR "God's Mercy"

I started the idea of doing "weekly writes" last week and have already failed in keeping up with it and this is only my second week into it! This week was crazy with Kyle home and tackling projects that needed to get done around the house. I barely had time to show you what we were doing much less read in my Bible or write in my thankful journal.

I did read a little bit in my "Glimpses of Grace" book by Gloria Furman and have been reflecting on it every since. Chapter 9 was titled, "God's Abiding Presence in Our Pain" and of course it was wonderful. There's two quotes I'm going to focus on today because I need to remember these truths AT ALL TIMES:

"When we grieve over our difficult circumstances here on earth, the gospel comforts us by reminding us that Jesus has gone before us to prepare a place for us in his Father's house. When we're tempted to revel in our favorable circumstances, or modern medicine, or people who make promises they can't keep, or money that promises us security, the gospel humbles us through the reminder that the steadfast love of the Lord is better than life." (p.134)

"We need faith to trust that God doesn't merely "know what's best for us," but that HE is what's best for us no matter what our circumstances are." (p.136)

Gloria gave us a glimpse into her life and I have to say I was blown away. I can't imagine going through what her family endures on a daily basis. I've noticed that anytime I pray the prayer, "Lord, I want to be like her!" it always involves quite a story

In short, I've realized that God will put us through refining fires!

We may never know the reason, but perhaps one of the reasons is to draw us closer to Him. Having the eternal perspective on life that Gloria Furman or Betsie Ten Boom or Horatio Spafford (the author of It Is Well With My Soul) requires heartache and difficulties.

I'm always wanting to question God's purpose, "WHY? Why did YOU let this happen?" And when I do that I'm angry (aka sinning). Instead of being thankful in all circumstances like Betsie Ten Boom who was imprisoned by the Nazi's for harboring Jews during WWII, or worshiping Christ despite extreme heartache like Horatio Spafford, or dwelling and meditating on the joy, and hope, and peace of what Christ did on the cross in every aspect of my life, I question God's purpose, lose faith in His sovereign hand, and forget what He did on the cross.

Gloria Furman offered this truth to dwell on: when God strips us of the things that we hold onto so very dearly in this life, He's being merciful!

Yeah, that's a difficult concept. Wait. Let's role play here: If I treasure my home and the things in it above God and it's burned by fire, that's God's mercy?!

Yes. There is no greater gift than the gift of Himself.

We can find no greater joy than in what we find in Christ.

We can take nothing, absolutely nothing with us when we die, except for Christ - we will dwell with Him in eternity.

If anything (family, friends, children, homes, etc.) come before Christ those things are becoming idols and in God's mercy He could take them away to draw you closer to Him so that HE is #1 in your heart.

Ahhhh! That's sooooo hard!

So no matter what happens in this life. No matter what trials and tribulations I go through, I need faith. Faith in God and HIS purpose and value the peace I have with God because of what Christ did on the cross.

"We need faith to trust that God doesn't merely "know what's best for us," but that HE is what's best for us no matter what our circumstances are." (p.136)

Amen and Amen!

A Week of Projects: Day 5

Day 5 was not a good day. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

First, Kyle came down with something. He does not feel well and so I talked him into resting today (it didn't take much convincing).

Secondly, Kyle's projects did not go as he hoped. His frustration level was at an all time high. I felt so bad for him and there was absolutely no way I could help. I did get a picture of the vent he installed... otherwise I tried to stay out of his way and avoided pictures and any talk of "how are things going?"

Thirdly, the one way I could help him (food) flopped. I tried pizza in a crockpot (Pinterest) and it... was... terrible!

The day was so bad that Kyle reminded me, "If I ever get the urge to remodel again, remind me of this day!"

Okey dokey.

On the other hand, I did get a lot accomplished in painting the trim. The only part I could not accomplish was the parts I couldn't reach (Kyle was using the ladder).
Porch progress...

Finished back porch!
Progress...

...at the end of the day...
Why it needed to be done, yesterday!

Right now our week of projects were semi successful. I'll finish the trim next week. Kyle gutted the bathroom, installed a new microwave, completed the electrical work for the vent in the bathroom and other misc. outlets, completed the necessary framing in the bathroom, dug out sticker plants and created a lovely flower garden in the front and back yards. When I list those things it doesn't sound like much, but each project was a lot of work and took a lot of time. This week flew by without being able to check "bathroom complete" off our looooooong TO DO list, which looks like this:
  • Office shelves above desk
  • Office trim
  • Downstairs bathroom trim
  • Downstairs bathroom shelves
  • Install door in downstairs bathroom
  • Rip out "closet" in downstairs hallway
  • Lay carpet on the stairs & hall way to bathroom (basement)
  • Install new ceiling fan in Living Room
  • Install new ceiling fan in our bedroom
  • Vent covers in our bedroom
  • Upstairs Bathroom (plaster, mud, paint, new floor, install vanity, mirrors/cabinet, toilet, &etc.)
I'm going to stop there... yes, the list is longer... (sigh)...

Today Kyle is down for the count. I wish he could take another week off for a much needed VACATION vacation. We can't afford to go anywhere, but he seriously needs something, even if it's disappearing in the woods with our tent and a cooler full of beer. Pray for him that he gets better and keeps his sanity, especially when he goes back to work on Monday.