Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [9 Truths & a Lie]

Melany and I decided to do something a tad different this time around. We're going to tell you a bit about ourselves, BUT there's one thing that isn't true. See if you can guess our lie (I've given some hints here and there...).
1. Growing up dreaming about a profession, I fantasized of being a professional singer. Haha, anyone who has ever heard me sing knows how unrealistic this dream really was.

2. My senior year of high school I debated on whether to become an interior designer or a teacher. Two very different professions, but I'm glad I chose the later.

3. When I began playing basketball in the 5th grade I was bound and determined to play for the Jayhawks, but that dream was never realistic either considering my clumsiness and the fact that I only grew to a whole 5'4" short. Plus I never had the work ethic during the off season, which plays a major role in any athletes success or failure.

4. Cooking or baking is one of my favorite pastimes. There's always a wholesome and yummy treat made by yours truly to enjoy at any moment of time. My house always smells so delightful as a result.

5. Up until the last 10 years my favorite book genre was historical fiction. In high school it was all I wanted to read. Now-a-days I love 'em all - science fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, classics, children's books, mystery &etc. I am not book biased. Check out my Reading & Writing page if you want to check the validity of this particular statement.

6. It wasn't until the first day of marriage counseling with my husband, where he became a believer and I reaffirmed my life for Christ, that I was even interested in anything "GOD". Before that day I was ashamed to discuss Jesus Christ and had no interest what-so-ever to live my life for Him. As a child I accepted Jesus as my Savior but when high school rolled around I rejected Him and anything to do with Him (that continued through college and a few years following graduation from Doane). Thank goodness for the change in me as a result of the work Jesus accomplished on the cross and the continued work in me as a result of discipleship and time in His Word! I am not who I once was - thank GOD.

7. The name BecKyle was a result of my sister-in-law's genius. Don't believe me? Check the truth behind that statement here.

8. I have lived in 5 different states, graduating from high school in Colorado, right in the middle of a thriving ski community. However, I've never been skiing.

9. Two years ago this month I nearly lost my life and am a different person as a result of that day. It wasn't until days later that I truly understood how close I was to death, but God used that day to transform my thinking and purpose in life. Now my question to any trials and tribulations that come my way is quite simply, How is God using this to draw me closer to Him

10. We are adding to our family come April 2015! Considering my previous birth story and the events following it, we were a tad nervous to take this leap of faith, but also very excited. I'll be writing about that more later (or will I?).

And one more just to add to the confusion... I've been playing the clarinet for 14 some odd years. I played in the pep and concert bands all throughout high school and college. It was a gift from my grandparents and it was well used. It's a smidge dusty these days, but I'll get it out occasionally. It's just like riding a bike, you don't really forget.

Stay tuned next week because I'll tell you which one isn't entirely true and don't forget to check out Melany's list as well!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Recent Children's Book Finds [That Are a MUST READ!]

Every week my daughter enjoys story time at the local library. If we're getting ready to go "bye-bye" there's only two places she cares to go: church or the library. She loves it. I'm sure it helps that we come home with a bag full of new books. (I try to add a few of the ones we enjoy to my Goodreads profile and also to my Reading and Writing page, but I'm a tad behind these days, hence this post.) Some of them I toss aside with an "eh, it was okay" kind of feedback but these, these are worth sharing and reading over and over again. Definitely check them out. 

 I grew up pretending to be Mother Goose (I went all out with a costume even!) and then I'd go around reading everyone nursery rhymes. Perhaps that's why I'm a big fan of any twist on an old favorite. Murray uses the rhyme Hickory Dickory Dock to present the story of the day a dog followed this boy to school. 

Jennifer Ward and Kenneth Spengler have done an excellent job introducing animals in the arctic with this book written as a song! There's so much to love about this book - music, counting, animals, the discovery of a new place - what's not to love? Apparently this isn't the first this team has written; I think it's time to check the others out as well. In fact, Jennifer Ward has a whole host of books that are now on my wish list. 

 This book is one was my 2 year old's absolute favorites! She laughed hysterically at this monkey's predicament and because of her enthusiasm, it also became a favorite of mine. Amazon has this lovely "Customers who bought this item also bought..." link showcasing other books by the author or similar books to the one purchased, well due to that particular link I added The Monkey and the Bee by C.P. Bloom to our wish list (which is becoming quite extensive).

 This is most definitely an all time favorite! Judy Sierra and Marc Brown worked together to create such an adorable rhyming story inspiring children of all ages to read and write. I recommend this book for teachers, mothers, and readers - no matter the age!

 The llustrations by Paul Ratz de Tagyos are absolutely hilarious and make this story come alive! Each time I read it I giggle as the animals "help" Farmer Ted with his chores.

 There are six books in this Bear and Friends collection, but so far Bear Snores On is my favorite. I still want the set, there's not a bad one in the bunch.  

 This book is a perfect illustration of my life right now with Bean and stands as a wonderful reminder that although my to-do list is important, it's not nearly as important as time with her. Such a sweet book filled with love and fun.

 What a fun story from the perspective of a little boy who wants to keep the mouse he found. Another story worth reading with your littles (that you might actually enjoy as well).

I realized after proofing this post that most of the books we pick revolve around animals. That's what my little girl is into right now so I immediately nab titles with anything bear, monkey, elephant, dog, or cock-a-doodle doo's (that's what she calls a rooster). It keeps her entertained and her love for books alive; not to mention the fact that I actually enjoy reading these books as well. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [Creative Costumes]

I'm a big fan of playing dress up. I love any excuse to wear a costume. Perhaps it's because of my college days where we had multiple themed parties throughout the year. Part of the fun was scouring local thrift stores to create the ideal costume. Now-a-days I thoroughly enjoy Halloween where I get to dress up along with my two year old. Last year my little Bean was an adorable little love bug. 
This year I'm debating between two of her favorite songs: an itsy-bitsy spider or a monkey (she LOVES the rhyme Monkey's Jumping on the Bed and Curious George). Even as I write this I'm debating between the two. 

For myself I'm debating between a couple's costume or a grammar police outfit. Kyle really likes the idea of being Flo and Mayhem...
 ... but this is so me...
... and if I showed up to our church's youth group (where my husband and I help out every Wednesday night) Halloween party dressed like that my kids would either get a kick out of it or roll their eyes at the truth behind it (or both). 

I've already mentioned three creative costumes! Love Bug, Flo and Mayhem, and Grammar Police so onto #4....

4. As a teacher I'd host Halloween dances for my junior highers, giving them something to do; of course, they weren't allowed entry without costumes, including myself. One year I dressed up as a book fairy, which I thought was fitting for a reading teacher.
Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of me in the costume, but this picture was my inspiration. 

5. I love this creative couple's costume idea!

6. And this one too, especially since my husband hunts deer every year... it's so fitting...
By the way, I wouldn't be caught dead in a t-shirt and see through tights (check out our top ten reasons why TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS) so I'd come up with something a tad less revealing. Halloween should NOT be an excuse for women to dress provocatively. You can be creative, sexy, and fully clothed.

7. Someday I'd like to pull of this witch skirt...
... with these shoes...

8. I don't know how this was done, but it.is.awesome. and grotesque. I like it.

9. I don't know if I could ever get my husband to do this with me, but how awesome is this?

10. And just for the sake of absolute adorableness: Raggedy Ann. I debated on this costume when Bean was one because she is now the owner of my Raggedy Ann doll from when I was her age, but I just couldn't make it happen.

If you want a few more creative costume ideas there's two more places you can check out: my Dress Up Fun! Pinterest board and Melany's top ten. Both will inspire you this Halloween season, I'm sure of it. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [Favorite Time Periods]

I absolutely love hats, lace, and fashion in general. That is what motivated my first five favorite era's and I could easily see myself dressed up and going to a ball or a jazz dance hall or a speak easy. But there's also specific events in history that fascinate me. Granted, there's things I love about each time period, but there's also something about each that holds unspeakable horror. Unfortunately, it's tragedy and an individuals ability to persevere that influences our interest as a human race, which is also, quite honestly, what inspired a few other of my favorite time periods.

After reading my top ten favorite time periods, be sure to check out Melany's...

1. 1950's There's a lot about this time period that irks me. Our horrific treatment of African Americans is one such example, but there are a few things that make this era a favorite: women weren't expected to uphold an unrealistic Barbie doll weight or height, in fact a little "meat on the bones" was considered attractive.

Also, drive in movies, Elvis, full service gas stations, and then there's the fashion:


2. Edwardian Era (1901-1910's) The time of the Titanic, WWI, the women's suffrage movement, and more fashion that I like.

There's just something about these women photographed that capture beauty and grace.

3. The Roaring Twenties This era screams mystery to me. Perhaps it's the speak easy's (and desperately wanting to jump back in time and have one night to go to one) or the mystifying flapper girl (and yes, I love the flapper dress). Not to mention the cloche hat...

I also love jazz music and this is the era for dance halls where dances like the Charleston took off. What's not to love? Well, except for the KKK that roared through the south in this time period. This "secret" organization may be mysterious but I find them infuriating.

4. Romantic (1810-1850) It's the clothes and the ball room dancing. Everything was BIG - the hats, feathers, poofy gowns with silk and lace - I think it's beautiful. Still, if anyone knows me they'd laugh at this because the one time I wore anything even minimally close to a corset was on my wedding day and I got such horrible heartburn that I'd never be caught dead in it again, also I have zero rhythm in my feet. I'd LOVE to be a graceful ballroom dancer, but I don't think those were the cards dealt to me. I'm a klutz.

5. Victorian (1837-1901) Which is caught right in the middle of the "Romantic Era" I listed above. I think the only reason these two era's sound at all appealing is because of the wealthy class and their balls, fancy dresses (minus the corsets), and lax lifestyle consisting of games and books; which I would not have been part of. I would be that girl with many dirty kids and stuck doing their laundry by hand and/or working for the wealthy class and doing their laundry. According to a PlayBuzz Quiz called Would you survive the Victorian Era? I may or may not survive because, "... you probably won't be able to sacrifice all of your modern luxuries." And if I was ever transported back in time they told me I'd have to "work hard to survive." Quite frankly, I believe they hit the nail on the head. I'm spoiled.

6. Speaking of modern luxuries another favorite time period is today's. Each era owns their own problems but I love the modern amenities like indoor plumbing, washers, dryers, dishwashers, laptops, iPads, and wifi.

7. The Little House on the Prairie sentimentalized the late 1800's for me. I loved the idea of living in a cozy log cabin, going to a one roomed school house, and traveling by horse and buggy. Although that lifestyle had to be difficult, I grew up playing "old timey" with my sisters where we'd dress up in long skirts and bonnets. As a child that era was so appealing to me. I guess that interest never waned... perhaps the rugged cowboy ideal that comes from this era is also mixed in a tad with my fascination? ;)

8. The Civil War era is a favorite not because of the tragic loss of American life or the war itself, but because I find the history itself so incredibly interesting. I took an interim class in college on the Civil War and it only peaked my existing interest. There's so many, many stories of individual loss and gain during this time that I can't get enough of it.

9. I can't get enough of the history behind the Dust Bowl either. I think it's because I lived in the panhandle of Oklahoma for many years where I met and heard the stories of individuals who had lived through it. I simply cannot imagine what this must have been like...

10. 1960's and it's not really about the fashion believe it or not. It's because of our history. It was during this era that the Civil Rights movement dominated news feeds as well as space exploration and the Vietnam War. All significant events that I find absolutely fascinating.

I considered becoming a history major in college but settled with English/Language Arts where history still dominated studies. It was impossible to read Shakespeare or  Chaucer or Toni Morrison or Willa Cather poetry without historical knowledge.

Now it's time to get back to my to-do list, this topic has dominated my day. Historical pictures really suck ya in and leave you reading the story behind it and wondering the who's, what's, when's and where's. Not that this has been wasted time, it's just time to move on... until next Tuesday then where we'll be writing about creative costumes! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [Fall Fashion Favorites]

Oh Fall! How I love thee! 
Picturesque trees, a cool breeze, and pumpkin lattes fill my heart with gleeeeeeee! 
The boots and scarves pulled out of a dusty bin is one more thing to give me a large grin.
This vibrant season rallies thanksgiving. 
And a grateful heart reminds me why life is worth living. 

Boots and scarves are what makes this season my fashion favorite. Call me silly, but I'm thankful for those two items. My logic is this: I must wear clothes and I like to be warm so I may as well be fashionable while accomplishing those two things. Otherwise, who cares, it's just clothes, right? God has blessed me with a full closet and after reading stories like what I published yesterday where a man was grateful to have escaped Islamic extremist with the clothes on his back and his Bible, this post seems so trivial. God has chosen to give me a blessed life so I choose to be extremely grateful that that He has given me boots and scarves and pumpkin lattes and the colorful leaves. To not have to worry about fleeing for my life or live in fear of screaming from the rooftops that I LOVE JESUS CHRIST allows me to truly thank Him for this season, including my fall fashion favorites.
And while you're at it, check out Melany's.

1. If I love an outfit I typically lay it out and snap a picture of it to pin to my Lookin' Lovely board. That way I remember combinations I adore and want to repeat. I started this last fall with a few of my favorites, and now that fall is here again I've already pulled out this particular favorite:

2. Here's another from last fall that I can't wait to repeat. Purple is an excellent pop of color amidst the oranges, yellows, reds and browns. 

3. I saw this outfit and immediately wanted to pull of something similar. How cute is that?!

4. Here's another I thought was too cute to pass up. I have all the items to pull this off one cool Sunday morning. 

5. Lately I've been all about button ups and skinny jeans, so adding boots and a long necklace is a must do this fall season.

6. What's not to love about this color combo? 
This is my version of this outfit...

7. So simple and yet, so perfect.

8. I wear this very same outfit often. It's comfy, cozy and cute. (Except I add a black or white scarf in lieu of the necklace and sometimes I wear my black boots instead of brown.)
The stripes also inspired me to create this outfit...
Ooooo I could also do the red stripes with the yellow cardigan, or wear a black scarf with the red and yellow and my black boots... the options here are endless!

9. I have so many favorite outfit possibilities that I pull off daily with these beauts that we'd be here forever. My 3 favorite fall scarves:
Gold, blue, green, coral, pink, brown, orange, light brown... these colors scream FALL.
10. And there's also this one from last year that I also loved. There's just something about a comfy outfit that can make you feel confident and classy.

I could add 100 more outfits to this list. With all the colors on each scarf and all the possibilities to mix and match or add a pop of teal or purple here and there... like I said... endless possibilities. I have so much fun with those possibilities. It's like my closet is the paint for my canvas.