Monday Challenge…… #AndAChildShallLeadThem

It’s Monday and I’m weary and tired. And sad about the world we are living in. And I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to pour good back into this world that seems so broken and unfair.

So today I decided to share a book I just read.

And I encourage you to read it.

No matter where you fall on the debate about refugees.

No matter if you voted for Trump or Hillary or wrote in Jesus.

No matter your feelings towards Muslims.

Let’s all take a moment to breathe and reboot.

Here is a link to where you can find Malala’s book:Β https://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Education-Changed-Readers/dp/0316327913/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1485833975&sr=8-2&keywords=I+am+malala

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LAFF: Marriage: You’re Doing It Right…..

This spring will mark 9 years since Chad and I became “us.” We have been married 3.5 years out of the 9. Even still sometimes things get to the point where you forget some things. Like whose toothbrush belongs to whom.

Working long hours isn’t exactly helping the situation.

A couple weeks ago Chad accidentally used my toothbrush. After he confessed to me, I made him a kind of “cheat sheet” so it won’t happen again. πŸ˜›

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On Inauguration Day: A Snowflake’s Perspective…..

The following was begun on Inauguration day as I recorded my thoughts:

So here we are. Most if not all of us didn’t expect this day to ever come. But now that it’s here, what do we do? The first thing I did today after waking up at 8am, even before my feet hit the floor, is to open my devotional app on my phone. The lesson talked about God breathing life into all of us. And used the story of Genesis.

God breathes life. Such a powerful image. An image that transcends the events of today. And lately with each breath, the Lord has given me a spirit of hope. Hope that maybe things won’t be so grim after all.

But I realize that even though I feel a tiny glimmer of hope today, many are feeling despair. My words today are for you. One thing that comes to mind is a video I saw of Betty White this week. Katie Couric was interviewing her on her birthday and asked her what she thought we ought to do in these troubling times as our nation seems to be so divided.

Her response, “There is nothing I can do about that right now but I can do my best in my little circle. So if I do that maybe you’ll do your best and we’ll get through this…..You can’t change this, so just put one foot in front of the other and get through it.”

May I also suggest that when we put one foot in front of the other, if we see others stumbling along the way, that we bend down and pick them up?Β  Without thought of their background, creed or social status.

And when you are called a “liberal snowflake,” remember this: snowflakes begin their life miles above the earth’s surface. And as they fall they never lose their delicate shape. Even after falling to the ground. And in their singularity, they are one of the most beautiful elements of creation in their intricacy.

And a bunch of snowflakes together? Simply breathtaking.

In the dark of night under a moonlit sky all those snowflakes come together and sparkle.

So for the next 4 years, let’s focus on what we can do….sparkling in the darkness.

And remember dear snowflake, you are never alone. πŸ˜‰

Cheers!

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This is a sign I made to hang outside our house as a symbol of hope and peace…….

#WeWillStopMarching……

The following post is inspired by a conversation I had with a friend of mine regarding the Woman’s March and wondering why some women in the US feel like they are second class citizens even though they aren’t required to veil their faces, freely drive cars and speak their minds without fear. Here is my response:

Yes, while it’s true that in some countries women are required to veil their faces, are not allowed to drive cars, and are unable to speak their minds without fear. But women’s rights are not a 0 sum game. We are a great country, but what’s the matter with wanting to be better? Why can’t we fight for better maternity leave (and paternity leave) because “well, at least we don’t get burned with acid or shot in the face for trying to get an education.

In my opinion we can stop marching when we have equal maternity/paternity leave options at every job, when we are no longer shamed for breast-feeding in public, when we aren’t blamed for being raped because we were tipsy at the time or we had a tight skirt on. We can stop marching when it’s a given that if we are pregnant and get on a full bus, someone will give up their seat for us not because they have to, but because it’s the decent thing to do.

We will stop marching when the Brock Turner’s of the world are held responsible for their crimes. We will stop marching when we no longer have to walk in a group when we are out at night.

I, as a disabled American woman, am grateful that I live here and not in another place in the world where I would likely just be shut away because being disabled is considered a shameful thing. But what is wrong with wanting to be better? Just because our culture doesn’t shut away those with disabilities (in the same ways other countries do, but that’s another topic I could write reams about ), doesn’t mean that we are perfect or that we are above reproach.

If you want to learn about why people marched, I am humbly asking you to seek out a woman (or man) who marched and asked them why they did it. And keep an open mind.

Cheers!

PS: For the record I do think it unfortunate that women who were pro-life seemed to feel excluded from the event. At the same time I also know that abortion rights were not the only reason people marched.

The Adventures Of Riley The Wonder Cat…….

Blogger’s Note: I will be blogging about the inauguration of President Trump sometime soon but decided that emotions are so tense right now, we could all use some humor.

And believe me I have just the thing:

Here are a list, not necessarily in any specific order, of all the things that Riley Bean did JUST THIS WEEK…….

1. Attempted to drink from the same glass as me as I was using it. The result of this was hair up the nose and a sneezing fit from me.

2. Tried to drink from the toilet WHILE I WAS ON IT. It appears he has severe separation anxiety and wants to do everything I’m doing when I’m doing it.

3. Took out a feminine product from the trash, carrying it around in his mouth…..all around the house. When I finally wrestled it out of his mouth and put it back in the trash–making sure it was out of reach–Riley DOVE HEAD FIRST into the trash can to dig it out again. A new trash can (with lid) will be purchased at our earliest convenience.

4. A few days ago I was standing at the sink in the kitchen. All of the sudden, Riley jumped up in front of me, grabbed one of my um, “Golden Globes” with his teeth and LATCHED ON! I still have the marks to prove it.

5. Grabbed a quarter, stuck it in his mouth and brought it to me. Like a dog. I kinda now want to let him scavenge all the couch cushions to see how much we could make. #RedNeckGoFundMe?

And the piΓ¨ce de rΓ©sistance came on Saturday……

6. So I had just gotten up and slid my phone into the living room while I went to the bathroom. While standing at the sink, I suddenly heard our Veterinarian’s office voicemail message. I thought, “What in the world? How could…..HOLY CRAP RILEY JUST CALLED THE VET!!

The next problem was trying to figure out how to end the call as this was a new phone I hadn’t quite figured out which resulted in 10 minutes of dead air.

Cat parenting is fun! Happy Monday, Y’all!! πŸ˜€

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Thinking it over now, I’m more than 90% sure his behavior this last week was payback for the sweater incident. πŸ˜› Oops!

LAFF: Tag, You’re It!…….

I found it last week. A “weird anomaly” in an “awkward area.” And problem #1 was that Chad was not home when I found this so I couldn’t use his eyes to inspect it further.

So I had to MacGyver a solution……

Here I was, a 37-year old woman, sitting on my bed in the dark, one leg over my head and my old a** phone (seriously, they don’t even manufacture the Razr anymore πŸ˜› ) propped up against a bundle of sheets, shining the screen light onto my “awkward area,” trying to get a better look.

Yeah. This didn’t work. And I almost fell off the bed. Doing stretchy things after a certain age can be tricky business.

So I had to wait till Chad came home from work to get some reassurance that I wasn’t growing a third nipple a bit further south than it belonged. So again this found me laid on the bed, now BOTH legs above my head as Chad assessed “the growth” with a look of serious contemplation on his face. He couldn’t tell me exactly what it was either.

Great.

So we decided to make a Dr.’s appointment to get it checked out. We were able to get in later that day. Which never happens so I took that as a good sign. When we arrived at the Dr.’s office, we were called on right away–NO waiting room time.

This also has never happened. And I took that as a good sign.

As I wheeled into the room, I was asked to disrobe from the waist down and lie down on the table, with only a thin, papery drape covering my lower half.

#ThatsHot.

Now, since we were put into the exam room right away, I figured it wouldn’t take long to be seen. Which was great because as soon as I dropped trough and laid down on the table, I suddenly had to pee. But I figured by the time I sat up, dressed and left the room, the doctor would have arrived to examine “my growth” and I didn’t want to keep him waiting

So I just laid there…..And as the minutes ticked by without the doctor, I realized I had been overly cocky in thinking my bladder would hold.

It didn’t. And at that point there wasn’t anything I could do but just lie there. With a still unknown, weird anomoly on my uh,”area.” And now I was lyin’ in bladder juice under a paper drape.

#EhThatsHot? :-O

After a few more minutes of waiting, Chad went to get the nurse to come back and help me clean up. After I was freshy fresh, I laid back down and waited.

Yep, you’re right, I should have gotten dressed and emptied my bladder, but I thought I had at least taken the pressure off and I could wait until after the exam.

And I was **almost ** right.

Midway through the exam, my bladder awoke from its nap and trickled forth like the last bits of juice found at the bottom of a juice box. I’m just glad our doctor is a seasoned pro and was able to continue the exam.

Oh and that “weird anomaly”? A simple, benign skin tag.

How it got on my bum I have no idea.

PS: Oh, and after we got home from the Dr.’s I was getting out of the car and slipped and fell in a puddle. In the rain. Yeah. It was a long day. πŸ˜›

Lulabelle Eats Asia Part 2: Watermelon Gummy Candy (Japan)……

You guys! I LOVE watermelon. It’s my favorite fruit and (I may have mentioned this in an earlier blog) when we go to a party where they have a fruit tray with watermelon, I have to police myself so I don’t eat it all. This approach has varying levels of success depending on how large the gathering is and if those there can keep me distracted enough.

Smell: Ok, I literally just tore off the pull tab on the bag (so technically it’s not even open yet), and set the bag about 6 inches away from my body and I STILL smell a pungent smell of watermelon.)

And now my mouth just filled with saliva. That was weird.

Oh crap. I just held the bag up to my nose (still not open yet) and took a whiff. I can still feel my nose hairs vibrating because THAT my friends was the smell of watermelon followed very quickly by the smell of nail polish remover. The aroma profile finishes off with just a tinge of that smell of those baby dolls that are made of cloth except for the bum which is made of rubber. You’re right, I could have just said, “It smells like rubber,” but then you wouldn’t have that mental image in your head.

You’re welcome. πŸ˜›

After opening the bag and taking a whiff, I am now coughing.

Things are about to get interesting. You may want to say a prayer.

Appearance: They look like a shorter version of gum drops, without the sugar-coating. Also they are bigger.

Taste: I’ve tasted watermelon, and I’m not sure this is it. The aftertaste is more watermelon-y, but a watered down version. And a little syrupy.

Texture: At first it feels like a tongue because it has tiny bumpy things like taste buds on it, but that quickly goes away and it just feels like soft goo that is chewy.

The bag is small and one serving is the whole bag (50 grams). A total serving is 160 calories with 3 grams of protein.

Bon-Appetit Y’all! πŸ˜€

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LAFF: Stewardship and Questionable Cat Parenting Decisions……#NotSponsored

Last week we attended our nieces 1st birthday party. On our way home at 9pm, we realized we needed to pick up TWO items at our local CVS. So we stopped into the store, meaning to only pick up the TWO items needed and then headed home.

We got home at 10pm. So WHY did it take an HOUR in the store when we only needed TWO items?

Two words that made our inner Mennonite extremely happy: Extra Bucks.

CVS Extra Bucks are printed out as coupons on your receipt when you check out and can be used right away. And we used the poo outta them. We just kept remembering things we “needed”. Our lives wouldn’t have been the same had we not brought home that lipstick, ELF face brush, a cartload of conditioner, and bag of chocolate.

And when we heard that the Christmas gift we had wanted to purchase for Riley was on clearance, we jumped at the chance to procure it. However, he was a little less enthused.

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Yes, I realize this isn’t the best photo, but it’s the only one we were able to get. Riley only had this sweater on for a minute and as soon as this picture was taken it was removed.

And we learned that some cats aren’t meant for sweaters. πŸ˜›

Happy Weekend!

FTC Disclosure: The brands mentioned in this blog were purchased with our own money. This post was not sponsored.

Lulabelle Eats Asia Part 1: Mixed Crackers (Thailand)…….

So the other day I asked Chad to go out and get the strangest food he could so I could do some reviews for my blog. And by strange I mean stuff that I’m not used to eating–stuff that you don’t typically get in America.

After basically clearing out the entire Asian section of our grocery store, Chad came home with a large bundle of Asian treats for me to review. So for the next few days, with the exception of LAFF’s, we’ll be exploring interesting snack items from all over Asia!

Today’s item is called Mixed Crackers from Thailand:

Smell: Like fried chicken and there are even little round nugget-y things that straight up look like chicken nuggets….but the good kind you can get at a gourmet restaurant, not like the ones at McDonald’s.

Look: Among the nugget-y chicken things are wasabi pea bits, what appears to be rice sticks and these ADORABLE little cilindrical crackers that have TINY seaweed wrapped around it!! Like a tiny sushi roll.

Well done on presentation, Thailand! Now let’s eat it!

All the elements together make for a salty, slightly sweet and spicy with the chicken nugget thingys and the wasabi peas. Each serving is 120 calories and there are 3 servings in the tub. I ate the entire tub in one setting. #NewYearsResolutionDownTheDrain………

Mixed Crackers came in a metal can that had a pop top.Β  I was very impressed when I opened the tab to see a moisture packet thingy tucked on the top of the snack mix.

That’s definitely not a normal thing for snacks sold in the USA.

To sum up, this was a great snack that was not overly salty but filling. And I wouldn’t be opposed to purchasing it again. πŸ™‚

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PS: My sister-in-laws soap shop just added organic dog shampoo!! If you are a fur parent with a dog, check out her link: http://coloradomadesudz.com/store#!/Dog-Shampoo-Sudz/p/77992091/category=22069013

Also, she is considering making laundry soap available on her site. Here’s what I need from my Anxienistas–go to her shop and comment that you’d love to have laundry soap available for purchase from her.Β 

Thanks guys!! πŸ™‚ β™₯

FTC disclaimer: All products mentioned were purchased with our hard earned cash. This post was not sponsored.

*It should be noted that in my defense, my New Years Resolution wasn’t necessarily to eat healthier, but to exercise more. πŸ˜› #LoopHoles

DIY Aquarium/Calm Down Bottle….

So my mom retired a few years ago, but she used to work as a developmental therapist for infants and children up to three years of age. Because of this, she always had a plethora of toys to use in therapy with the kids. One of these toys she made herself. And today I’m going to teach you how to make one yourself. Now normally she used a smaller soda bottle, like a 20 oz’er, but I’m using a 2 liter bottle and it worked just as well. Although a smaller bottle would be better for smaller hands to hold.

This weekend Chad and I celebrated the first birthday of our niece. I still can’t believe it’s been a year since she was born. One of the gifts she received from us is an actual aquarium in a bottle that I made myself.

Here is what you are going to need:

Two liter bottle-Needs to be clear for best results (slowly peel off the label)
Water
20 Oz bottle of Baby Oil
Fine glitter
Larger glitter/sequins
Food Coloring in blue
Shiny silver ribbon
Scissors
Marker
Red Paper clips
Hot glue/Glue gun

After peeling off the bottle label, rinse out the bottle and wipe dry. Take 3/4 of the bottle of baby oil and pour it into the bottle. Then take the shiny ribbon and marker and draw fish shapes into the ribbon and cut them out. Take your red paper clips and twist them into sea-horse shapes (If you can’t do it by memory, no worries. I had to google the basic shape. πŸ˜‰ ).

Then fill up the remaining bottle space with water, leaving about 4 inches at the top. Drop in your fish shapes. Then drop in food coloring but start with one to two drops so it doesn’t get too dark. Keep adding color until it’s blue enough but you can still see the fish shapes (I put in 5-10 drops and that was too much to where it was harder to see the fish shapes).

Finally, plug-in your glue gun and put some hot glue into the cap of the bottle and also around the threads on the bottle top. Screw on the bottle cap and then run a line of glue around the bottom edge of the cap.

(As an optional last step, you can cut out a sign to put on the bottle with the child’s name and “Aquarium” to personalize it).

When your aquarium is finished, turn it on its side and shake it to make the fish swim.

Use this bottle in every day play with your baby or when they are fussy as a way to get them to relax.

Alternatively if you didn’t want to make an aquarium, use the same steps as above but fill the bottle with small bouncy balls, ribbon or other small objects. For older children, you can do this and create an “I Spy” game by making a list of objects the child has to find in the bottle when they look at it and turn it around.

Happy Crafting! πŸ™‚

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The contents are easily seen in person, but the lighting was just too bright here. If you look carefully you can sorta see the fish shapes floating around.