Iraq Journey

Young Ladies Christian Fellowship

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The Pleated Poppy Giveaway Winner

May 21, 2010

Quick post tonight.

I’m really going to just post the winner and scoot – not because I’m tired, but because I had two big ol’ strong cups of coffee after 9pm tonight and my hands are jittery from all the caffeine.

I do believe I’ll finish every half finished knitting or crocheting project in my basket and watch every episode of every show I have stored on my DVR.

And will be up till 4am.

And will be d.e.a.d. tomorrow when my children arise at 6am.

So. Anyway.

The giveaway winner of the $35 Pleated Poppy gift card




Jacky {The Sweetest Petunia}!

Congrats, Jacky! I’ll email you and you’ll have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.

Our last giveaway winner will be announced tomorrow – so if you haven’t entered the SheyB camera strap giveaway, head on over there and add your comments!

About Raindrops On Roses Giveaway Week

May 19, 2010

So, we’re in the middle of “follow up week” for the Giveaways.

It’s late, I have sickie kiddos and my own throat is feeling a bit scratchy, so I’m just going to post the winner of the Lisa Leonard giveaway and curl up on the couch.

But, wait, before I do that, I just want to say thank you to all of you who participated last week.

I’m not really a giveaway kind of girl and I know it’s not what most of you are used to seeing around here

(and, actually, I do know that some people were so annoyed that they decided to stop reading)

but I simply had a wild idea to introduce all of you a few of my favorite people and products.

And I thought it was a whole lotta fun.

I’m not going to have a giveaway every week around here and the face of Heart and Home isn’t changing. It was all just about some fun and making introductions.

But I have to tell you, it sure is hard doing the winner drawings, even though, technically, is doing it for me. I want everyone to win every prize.

I’m a crazy.

Now, without further ado, the winner of the Lisa Leonard giveaway – a $50 gift card,

determined using



Aimy Michelle!

Congrats, Aimy Michelle! You’ll have some beautiful jewelry headed your way!

I’ll email you and you will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be drawn.

So thanks, peeps, for making Raindrops On Roses Giveaway Week such a huge success and having fun along with me!

Tossing the Plan

April 13, 2010

Last night I wiped the kitchen counters, locked the doors, tucked blankets closer around little toddler bodies, and filled a few more lines on the next morning’s long to-do list.

I had a plan.

We would wake up, have devotions over breakfast, I’d exercise, shower, get dressed and we’d walk downtown to mail another box to our Marine and pick up some fresh bread from the coffee shop. Then we’d walk home, just in time for lunch and naps while I made phone calls and worked on a few settling-in-to-the-new-(tiny)-house projects. I would bake chicken for dinner and serve it with squash and salad.

It was a plan kinda plan.

But then morning came.

And with it, came this:


…along with food to fix, little voices and actions needing attention and a bit of correction, new dishes in the sink, ringing phones, a barking dog, and another day in our current potty-training adventure.

All encompassed by a general lack of motivation.

It was all the little things, setting us back another five minutes here, ten minutes there.

I started making my coffee at 8am…


…and only got as far as grinding the coffee beans.

At 11am I was still in my workout gear with hair a mixture of pulled back and falling out, sans makeup.


Sans workout, also.

(It was right about then that my four year old tilted his little blonde head and said, “Mama, you’re just making this day worser and worser.” Oh. Joy.)

About that time, I lost the last shred of patience I’d owned… with the day… with myself… with my children.

So I took a deep breath.

Sat on the couch.

Kissed my babies.

Prayed for our day… even though it was half over.

And started over.


We made egg burritos for lunch, with the scrumptious homemade tortillas from our “dairy guy.” Our tummies were happy.

(Hopefully that made the the day better-er?)


We opened the Bible and read a some verses. Soul balm.

(Yes, I’m reading my Bible again, just so ya know.)

Then it was book time.


And I fell in love with my children all over again.

They napped.

I folded a load of laundry. Read the mail. Checked my email, Twitter, read a few blogs.


An after naptime snack: fresh yogurt with a few sprinkled blueberries and a splash of vanilla.

(Ignore his shirt… please. Ahem.)

I could have taken the afternoon to work on one of the projects from my to-do list.

But instead…


…we made cookies.

They came out flat… because I still don’t know how to bake at 10,200 ft. elevation… but we laughed and giggled and tasted bits of dough for half an hour straight while we mixed flour and butter and eggs.

And then, being the oven was occupied, I tossed out my plan for chicken and made an incredibly gourmet meal.



My plan went out the window this morning.

And it was okay.

In fact,


It was better than okay.

Some days–most days–a plan is good, necessary.

But sometimes plans are better when they’re tossed.

It was better than okay.

Digging Out and Moving In

February 14, 2010

Welp, we’re starting to dig our way out of the mountain of boxes we’ve lived under this past month or two.

If you could call a garage, storage shed, and back room full of still-taped-up boxes digging out.

We’re loving our new (tiny) house in this mountain village. We love the comfy cozy of it. We love the paned windows. We (I) love the colored walls (because chalky white got old REAL quick in all of our previous rentals and base housing).

Mostly, we love the fluffy white stuff falling gently just outside our front door.

We’ve lived in SoCal for the past… well, seven years for John, and whole entire life for me. The novelty of snow? Huge. We’re taking bets (not) on how long it’ll be before it wears off.

The only (slight) difficulty presented is in the relative itty-bitty-ness of this new house compared to our last house.

For example:

This is a (very bad) picture of the kitchen in our old house:


See the island? See the extra-tall cupboards? There are actually even more cupboards hidden on the left that this (very bad) picture doesn’t show.

The point? The kitchen was purty much gargantuan.

And wonderful.

Now this is the new kitchen in our (tiny) mountain home:


There are not any hidden cupboards in this picture. Whatcha see is whatcha get.


See? Angle Two.

Adorable. But teensy.

(And messy. But unless you want me to come searching through your junk drawers–don’t lie, you know you got ‘em–we’re not talking about that.)


This weekend my mom, my mother in law and I have been getting the kitchen unpacked. And organized. And set up. All of which is great, except for the part where the new kitchen is less than a third the size of the old one.

The decisions? Headache-inducing.

To pack away? To take to the thrift store? To keep? To stash in the garage?

I’m happy to say that, as of last night and minus the pizza boxes currently sprawled across the counter top, the kitchen is done. I feel moved in, despite the eleventy billion book boxes stacked in that back catch-all room.

(The books are another story altogether. But unless you want me to raid the books you’ve bought but never had time to read–don’t lie, you know you got ‘em–we’re not talking about that one, either.)

So, here’s my question:

If you were downsizing to a kitchen almost a quarter the size of your old one, what five kitchen items (beside plates, cups, silverware and such) could you just not live (cook, bake, eat) without?

Mine are my glass Pampered Chef mixing bowl, Kitchen Aid mixer, my fruit basket, a sharp knife, and a little dish washing pan scraper plastic thingie.

(I know, so technical. But unless you want me to rifle through your brain for better vocabulary words, we won’t discuss the technical words, either.)

Valetines, Schmalentines

February 12, 2010

Okay, I admit it. I’m a bit of a humbugger when it comes to the good ol’ Lovey Dovey Day. Actually, both John and I are, so, hey, it works well.

We were talking this morning about all of our Valentine’s Days together and realized that, lo and behold, we’ve only really and truly made V-Day plans ONCE in the six years we’ve been together.

Year numero uno, we were engaged. John gave me some red roses, some chocolate and an uber-soft little brown stuffed dog holding a red heart in his mouth. The dog actually smelled like chocolate. I still have him, only the red heart is gone thanks to my oldest son swinging it around for hours at a time and the uber-soft fur lost its appeal after my nieces decided to give the dog a bath in the toilet. Which may or may not have been filled with clean water. We will never know.

(I had to retype the word dog five times just now before I got it right. My fingers want to type “god” instead of “dog.” Guess you can tell what word I type often around here, huh? Helpful hint: it’s not dog.)

So that was Hearts and Flowers Day #1. Oh, and, unbeknownst to me, John had planned to take me to the one and only fancy (yet still family-owned) restaurant in our little town. But we ended up being invited over to the home of our very first “couple friends” for dinner, which of course we did instead because, hello? Being considered a real live couple by a real live MARRIED couple? Big deal when you’re only wearing the engagement ring.

I’m thinking it was a good thing, too, being that only a few months later, that nice little fancy restaurant was rumored to be closing its doors due to failure to meet the health code. Nothing says “Happy Valentine’s Day, future spouse!” like salmonella, right?

Red, Pink and White Day #2 found us married and realizing how seriously RIDICULOUS we thought the whole cards, dinner, date, etc. thing, so I did my best to make new-wife-spaghetti into something fancy by adding Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese and serving it in a heart-shaped Le Creuset dish. Fan-SAY. After dinner we made a split second decision to go see a movie, but ended up stuck in dead-standstill-the-highway’s-closed-ahead-but-there’s-nowhere-to-turn-around-for-miles TRAFFIC and missed the show. We made it in time for the 10:30pm show… but basically fell asleep. What amour.

Valentine’s Day #3 was the one and only time we actually made–and kept–our plans. We were out of town for a work trip of John’s and I was about a month away from having our first baby. I did my best to dress up and make myself pretty despite the burgeoning belly and we took advantage of being someplace other than the podunk Marine base on which we lived by livin’ it up that night. Nice dinner, gifts, cards, lots of chocolate and we even managed to make it to a movie. What we saw clearly made a lasting impression on my heart and life being that I can’t remember a single thing about it other than that it was animated (who said our taste had to be mature??) and had something to do with people (animals?) and Little Red Riding Hood (or was it the three little pigs?).

For the very life of me, I can’t remember a single, solitary thing about year #4. I know we were in the middle of moving, had just found out we were expecting Merritt, Troy was about to turn one, John got orders to a new duty station and was told he was going to Iraq in coming months. Can anyone say, um, maybe a bit stressed? We might have done something Valentine related that year, but I doubt it. I’m guessing it was more along the lines of, “Wait, what’s today again? Something about hearts and love and flowers? I dunno. Okay now where’s another moving box….?”

And then there was last year. But you all know about last year. It was the best. Which is actually quite surprising, being that it was also the year my very own Valentine was, you know, HALFWAY ACROSS THE GLOBE. Anyway. Moving right along.

Which, my dear sweet enduring people, brings us to this year. This year, which finds us back together again. (Cue sappy music.) This year, in which we just opted out of the whole gift and card thing altogether because (le tear) we don’t need a DAY to tell each other how much we love each other. This year, in which we have two rambunctious boys who crack us up all day and whom we really just prefer to have near us. This year, when we don’t feel like paying a babysitter to watch them while we brave the crowds just because we’re supposed to get out and DO something. This year, in which we are closer than ever to each other and to the true definition of love. This year, in which we simply have a normal, nice day as a family. This year, which found us standing in the kitchen together making a nice little meal and then drinking milk from our “fancy” goblets with dinner. This year, when romance in our relationship is more alive every day than it’s ever been on past Card and Chocolate Days.

This year, when our version of a romantic night is sitting on the couch side by side, eating homemade blueberry pie (see? I did SOMETHING sweet for my Valentine.) and… you know… being the total geeks we are and hanging out on our respective laptops.

(Sappy music recording screeches to a halt.)

I know, the mushiness of it is astounding.

I think I may well be the Scrooge of Valentine’s Day (or maybe not. What do you do? Love it or hate it?) but I’m here to tell you that real life romance is alive and well, my friends. Whether or not you made big plans or gave red and white gifts.

Alive and well.

Obviously reposted from Valentine’s Day 2009. Because once again, our uber-exciting Lovey Dovey plans include unpacking boxes. We are clearly still as humbuggish as ever.

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