comfort reading

I have blogged many times about my love for reading, and often share my book choices here.  Lately life has handed us some lemons, and I needed to just escape for a bit.  I wanted to read something that was an easy read and something that was a “feel good” read.   I decided to go back to a set of books that I have read at least 10 times each previously.  The set originally belonged to my grandmother, and I believe they are now at my mom’s house.   The books are the Canadian West series by Janette Oke.  She is a Christian writer from Canada, and writes several series of books that are amazing.   These are the “starter” books for what eventually became “What Calls the Heart” series on Hallmark Channel, but more about that later.

The set started with the book “What Calls the Heart“, which is when we meet Elizabeth Thatcher, who heads west to stay with her brother & his family (his wife & children) and teach.  The books progress to her living alone in the “wilderness” and the adventures of teaching.  She then meets Wynn Delaney, a Canadian Mountie.  That’s where I am going to end the descriptions, because I don’t want to ruin the surprise.   The series continues with When Comes the Spring, When Breaks the Down, and then When Hope Springs New.   Many years later 2 additional books were written called Beyond the Gathering Storm, and When Tomorrow Comes.   You can see the entire 6 book set here:   The Canadian West Series

The series on Hallmark Channel follows Elizabeth Thatcher, but this time it is the niece of the original Elizabeth Thatcher from the first set of books.   I have not yet watched any of this series, mainly because I just don’t have time to add another show.  But, I know that I can get the different seasons at the library if I ever choose to watch them.

I was able to get all the books on loan from my library, in the e-book versions.  I am so glad that our library has this option available.   The links above are to amazon, where you can also purchase the books.  The series was just what I needed, and a week after starting I am part way through the last book.  I was so glad to discover a few years ago that books 5 & 6 were written, because I had missed the characters and I wanted to see how things turned out.  Don’t you hate it when you become so emotional invested in a character only to have the books end and you have to sit there and wonder “what in the world happened?!?!”

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do.  Let me know if you choose to read them!


*posts may contain affiliate links, that when a purchase is made through those, we get a tiny bit of revenue from!*

baseball life.

It is spring time again, which means we have baseball games and practices on our schedule again.  Not only do we have that, we actually had a coaches meeting at our house yesterday.  It was neat to listen to Jake and the other 2 coaches talk strategy.  You can tell by listening they love these kids, and love coaching.   With baseball games and practices comes late night dinners, fried pickles at the canteen (just to hold me the few hours), freezing hands and sunburned noses (depending on the time of the day).  We no longer have weekend games (with the exception of opening day), all our games are on week nights.  It is nice because it frees up the Saturday for family stuff, but it also means lots of meal planning, and working out the logistics of whose getting which kids when and how we can all make it there on time.

The day of our first game I was able to test out the new lens on my camera that daddy had given me at Christmas.  The parents seemed to appreciate the photos a lot, and I am happy I got so many good shots.  Here are a few of my favorites (Jonathan on 1st, Jonathan in left and Jake talking to one of our pitchers).


the one about losing my sh**

You know the expression “I’m going to lose my shit?” – yep, that was me last week.  Do not read if you are not comfortable with lots of acronyms having to do with trying to get pregnant, or with a little too much TMI.


It all started 2 weeks ago when my period didn’t come.  We are trying to get pregnant anyway, so a missed period is like a giant party.  Then a week went by and still no positive test, so I called my doctor.  She said wait a week and then come in, so I did.  I waited a week, called them back and said “ok, I’m ready for that appointment now”, only to have them tell me they won’t see me unless I have a positive pregnancy test.  OK – what the hell people, you told me to call back in a week if nothing had changed.  So after 2 emails to my doctor, I finally get an appointment to see the “first available” for Thursday the 8th.  I’m nervous because I want answers, so I don’t sleep well the night before.

Get there on Thursday at 9:30, a full 30 minutes before my appointment at 10.  I have new insurance and a new last name, and I want to make sure to allow adequate time for paperwork.  At 10:15, they finally call me back in the room after nearly 35 minutes of not being able to get my new insurance information into their computer system.   Then a few more minutes in which I talk to a nurse to input all my medical information in again (because they have a “new” computer system), pee in a cup and wait.  Finally a midwife comes in to the room, as she is who I am seeing versus my well loved doctor Beverly.  I need some answers, why am I this late (14 days at this point), what’s going on.  She listens to me talk, glances at my chart a few times and then says in a voice that can only be described as condesending….

I think you have your dates mixed up on when you are supposed to start your period.

What. The. Actual. Hell.   I have been tracking my period for years, I know when I should start.  I have been regular as a swiss watch since last fall when my IUD was taken out.  How dare you tell a woman who knows her body pretty well that “i think you have your dates mixed up”.   I literally can show you on an app on my phone every period I have had for the last 7 months (and the one I still haven’t had!).  and then came some frustrating comments from her along the lines of:

It took me two years to get pregnant, I just had to relax and then it happened when we went on a beach vacation.

I had to ask twice for an HCG blood test, and she finally said “would an HCG test make you feel better?” (again in that semi-condescending voice).   At this point, I was so frustrated over her lack of empathy or what seemed like a brush-off that I started to cry.  I ended up having to come to this appointment alone, so there was no one there to continue to advocate for me as I essentially shut down to the outside world.  I silently nodded yes and she hands me some tissues, as the tears can no longer contain themselves.  She again repeats that I need to wait a week and come back again in a week, and at that point they will do a referral to a fertility specialist.   She then dismissed me from the room with instructions to pick up my lab orders and go have a blood draw.

I get to the lab (still tearing up), and have to sit in a very crowded waiting room with 5 people who are at least 90 years old each, who all smell like Vicks and garlic.  I hand my order to the nurse, who pats my arm as she talks to me cheerfully.  She tries to make me smile as she quickly takes a vial of blood to send off for testing.  She reminds me what the doctor said, that the results will come in 24 hours or so.

Fast forward to Friday, I get a call from the midwife.  I answer the phone excitedly, praying she is going to say “I was wrong, your HCG levels are so high, come back in for an ultrasound so we can find out what’s happening” – instead I get a “your HCG level is a 2, do you have any questions”, in a smirking tone of voice that seemingly screams “I was right and you were wrong”.   I still don’t know why I’m late.  You would think that after looking at my chart, my history of ovarian cysts and one extremely painful ovarian torsion that she would have said “let’s do a quick U/S to find out if something is blocking”, or anything.  She did no physical exam at my appointment, nothing.

So here we are – still waiting on answers.

FBF – when there were only 2

This photo is from the last camping trip we went on as a family before I had Natalee in 2009.  I was like 30 months pregnant (really, I was 8.5).  I love how sweet they look.  We were in Columbus, GA at a local park before heading into the space museum.

my daily song

Our family is so busy right now, with two full time jobs, a small business, 3 kids – it seems like we are always on the move.  Especially with Jake coaching Jonathan’s baseball team.   But with all that busyness comes a feeling sometimes that things are out of control, a feeling I do not like.  The first song (Spirit Move) is one that I cling to, and always have.  It was a song that we originally heard when we were attending Shandon Baptist, and oh how I miss their worship band (we are still getting used to the worship band at our new church).  I have posted about this song before, because it is so powerful.    The second song (It is well) is one that I find myself singing to myself during the day, and is another that I cling to when things make me weary.

for now, these my daily songs.



The digital rewards site Swagbucks is offering big payouts during their “Swago: Spring Edition” promotion, which runs from now through Monday, March 12th at 9am PT! Swago is just like bingo, but in this case you’re filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. If you’re thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it, meaning you can get more gift cards faster. Here are a few tips:

  • Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, completing a survey, or just visiting one of our popular stores!
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have until 12pm PT/3pm ET on Monday, March 12th to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value. Once you’ve achieved a pattern, the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • Each activity you successfully complete on your Swago Board will give you anywhere from 1-20 spins on the Spin & Win Wheel. PLUS, when you submit your board for a bonus you’ll get additional spins. The number of spins will depend on the pattern you complete. The wheel has all sorts of great prizes that you can win, and each spin is a winner!

The Spin & Win Wheel will be available all throughout Swago and you have until 11:59pm PT on Monday, March 12th to use all your spins.

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points – if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 500 SB bonus, which is enough for a $5 gift card from the retailer of your choice.

Click here right now and click “Join” to get started! If you don’t already have a Swagbucks account, you’ll be able to quickly sign up; PLUS, if you earn 300 SB before the first of April, you’ll get a bonus 300 SB!

thinking lately…

Jake and I own a small business, we help people with health and wellness through Young Living Essential oils.   We love what we do, we love educating people.  We also know that we operate under a network marketing, and we do rely on social media in addition to word of mouth to grow our business.

We would not have a team of over 1000 men and women if we and our team wasn’t doing some things right.   We follow a lot of the network marketing “rules” that some of our Diamond leaders within Young Living put out.  They are so simple to follow, and in reality most networking businesses should follow the same rules.   There is the 1-4 rule.  That is for every 1 thing you post on facebook (twitter or instagram) about your business, you need to post 4 times about something unrelated.  Your kids, your pets, silly stuff, life in general.  And on those posts – do NOT tag your business or anything.   I have in the last 2 months “muted” people on facebook because of this (side note, the mute feature on facebook is amazing).   I want to see your kids, your pets, your yard and house, your trips and hell, I would even love to see what you cooked for dinner last night – I (and most people I know) do not want to see your business 24/7 shoved in our faces.

Other things not to do, that we experienced recently – facebook friend people you do not know!   Now, I am friends on facebook with friends of my husbands, that I have never met in real life.  We are simply friends because we have my husband in common (and he has made friends with my people too).   We recently had someone who is a connection of ours (and also runs a small business), go in and facebook friend request all sorts of people – from my former coworkers in athletics, to our daughter, to friends of Jake’s from Michigan.  Umm, nope.  We later found out about it, and it was handled (mostly because people hit that deny button).  Grow your business organically, not by these tactics.

Ok, off my soapbox!

Ham & Cheese Sliders!

You know on Facebook, there are those sped up video of someone making a recipe?  Jake and I both love those, and even Katie has sent us one a time or two.   Sometimes we make them, sometimes we forget about it (whoops!).

One of the videos we watched was for ham & cheese sliders, and they are so, so yummy, in addition to being a super quick meal.


Pack of Kings Hawaiian Rolls (we use a 18 pack or 2 9 packs).
Ham (we get this from the deli, because what isn’t used in this recipe is used for lunches).
Sliced Cheese (we always use some variation of cheddar, but have also used mozzarella & provolone)
Butter (real butter, NOT margarine)
Italian seasoning
Garlic salt
Mustard (we use stone ground spicy)

Start by carefully cutting the rolls in half, leaving them all connected (see photo of left).   Place the bottom half into a baking dish or foil lined pan.   Top with your cheese (see pic).  Then top with ham.  Top with more cheese & place the top portion of the rolls on top.

Melt the butter in a microwave safe container.  Add italian seasoning, garlic salt & mustard and stir.  This does require some experimenting to get the measurements right.  I don’t measure them at all, but usually use at least 3/4 of a stick of butter (but more often a whole stick).   Brush the mixture on top of the rolls until you have used it up.  I also will brush it on the sides.

Bake for 15-25 minutes at 375.  We like them a little crisp, so we often go longer than 15 minutes.  It also takes some trial & error depending on the pan and how much meat/cheese you actually use.

I wish I had an after photo, but I have hungry kids and a hungry husband.  We typically serve this with steamed broccoli and maybe a starch (couscous, mashed potatoes).


Swag IQ

Want to earn money while answering fun trivia questions? SwagIQ (available for iPhone and. Android) is a live, multiplayer trivia game show you play from your phone! 

Each weekday, Swag IQ broadcasts a live game. Simply tune-in at the appointed time by launching the SwagIQ app and log-in with your Swagbucks account credentials. If you don’t have a Swagbucks account, you can sign up for one here and then download the app!

Our game show host will then ask a series of multiple-choice trivia questions. You’ll have 10 seconds to answer each one. Get it right; you get SB and move on. Answer them all correctly and you can win a grand prize! If more than one player wins, the winners split the grand prize.

Get it wrong; still play along. Some questions have an SB award attached to them. If you answer those questions correctly, you get those SB, even if you’re out of the running for the big money. And, if you’re in a groove but miss a question, you’ll have the option to rejoin a game by redeeming a few SB.

The first public game is today at 4PM Eastern Time/1PM Pacific Time. So, tune-in then win up to $1000 playing SwagIQ. The host will review how to play before the game starts!