Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Road Trip Recreation

  Since I spent 40 plus hours in the vehicle this past week, I feel like I've become an expert on how to pass the time on road trips. Because you have to have something to do with yourself for eight hours at a time besides just mindlessly staring out at the passing road signs.
So, today I thought I would share with you a few tips and tricks for road trips. These are tips for how to, as an adult, pass the time on a road trip. I would give you tips for keeping kids occupied on road trips, but that's near impossible to do. Keeping a kid happy in the car is dependent on the day and their mood. It changes pretty much daily... maybe even hourly.

But that's beside the point. Here we go...

  • Reading - I've been told that a car ride is a great place to finish a good book. I get car sick though, so that doesn't really work for me, but I thought I would at least throw that one out there. 
  • Audio books or Podcasts - Since I can't read in the car, this is something I like to do on occasion. But only on occasion because the moment put my ear buds in, my kids decided that they need me every two seconds. 
  • App Games - I don't play anything that requires money or a lot of time. But there are several mindless games out there like Cityville or Farmville. This keeps my attention, for like, a whole five minutes at a time. It's great. 
  • Social Media - Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest... These are all great mind numbing activities. Facebook and Instagram can get old fast because you can only look at the same pictures so many times. Pinterest, however, is something you can get lost in if the kids are asleep in the back. I don't know why, but there's something about all those meals and diy projects that we will never do that keeps us so interested. 
  • Sleeping - I sleep a lot in the van. Maybe it has something to do with being 7 months pregnant, I don't know, but I find myself dozing quite a bit. That is until the kids start screaming again. Me falling asleep is like an alarm to them that they need to be awake and loud. 
  • Pictures - When the kids are actually happy, and in their own little world, they are actually quite funny. That's when it's fun to sneak some pictures and videos.  

  • Netflix - This works about like sleeping and audio books. It has it's short limits, and there's also the issue of having enough data. There is definitely no binge watching. Although, they have this new thing where you can download an episode or movie from Netflix to watch later, but then you have to remember to download the episodes and have the storage space in your device and all that jazz. 
  • Hair time - My daughter loves to play with my hair and I love my hair to be played with, so it's a win-win. So, in the van I'll lean my seat back and let her play with my hair. It's a little awkward of a position for me to be sitting, but it's still relaxing. That is, until she decides that she wants to use her toes to play with hair as well. Not only is that disgusting, but it usually hurts. Then hair time ends. 
  • Chatting - There's always chatting with your hubby or whoever is in the car with you. In my case, sometimes we chat, but most of the time it ends up being me chatting and hubby half listening.  He is the first to admit that he gets in his zone in the van and that he only half hears me when I talk at times. When we get to that point, I start chipping in for him on his side of the conversation. It goes a little something like this... (Me finishing up a story) ::chirp chirp:: Hubby's not listening. Me (in my best hubby voice): "Wow, Stephanie, that's so interesting. I'm glad you shared that with me".   Usually followed up by a chuckle from him and a "good talk, babe" from me. 
 Well, I'm going to stop there. I know that's only 9 and we're just one short of 10. Try not to let it bother all of you OCD people out there! Maybe, eventually I'll do a "road trip recreations part 2" or maybe I'll just leave it up to you..  What are some other road trip ideas? 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Let Them Eat Cake!

If we were to talk about things that scare us, a lot of people would mention bugs, snakes, the dark, clowns. I'm probably afraid of all most of those. But if you want to know what really scares me, here it is:

This would be the sauce for nine lasagnas. We just finished up our annual Growing Through Giving Campaign with a banquet. This banquet is cooked and served by the staff (re: Kylee and me). 

Anyone that knows me knows that I'm not all that comfortable in the kitchen. I can turn out decent meals for our family, but cooking for fifty people is something else again. 

We had lasagna and garlic bread and tossed salad.

And cake.

Lots and lots of cake.

The way I look at it, since dessert is the last thing they eat, you can get by with a mediocre meal if you have a great dessert. We opted for cake, but I followed a few tips I got online for making a box cake taste more like a bakery cake. 

I think it worked. 

I said that Kylee and I cooked the meal, and we did, but we did have help serving. Matt and the boys all helped with prepping, serving and cleaning up. 

We also had a lot of help from these three. They helped here and there, kept us laughing, and checked to make sure the cake was tasty.

All in all, in spite of my fears and being out of my comfort zone, I think the evening turned out rather well.

Now what are we going to do with all these leftovers?

Friday, February 16, 2018

We have a winner!!

Last week we announced that we were having a contest and give away. Well, today's the day!

The contest was to share a funny valentines story. We have picked a winner, and here's her story.

Our first Valentine's together has been our funniest so far!  We had been dating/courting (long distance) for about 9 months. I went to spend the weekend in Don's (my husband's)  home town. I got settled into the house where I would be spending the night (a nice church family had opened up their home to me)! I headed over to Don's house because he was all excited to cook a homemade meal for me! He made baked chicken with rice!! We waited for it to bake for 2 hours!! When it was time to take it out, he realized he had never added any water or for that fact, any liquid of any sort to the dish! This is rice that was around the chicken and covering the chicken! To say the rice was crispy is an understatement... We tried with the chicken...but ended up ordering pizza!!!
It seemed far funnier 20 years ago...probably because we were both still in that awkward, not totally comfortable with each other state! Lol! ☺
-Jennie Howell

 Well, Jennie, 20 years later it's still funny! Congratulations  you are our winner! You have won our Lilla Rose giveaway! We will be contacting you with the details, but in the meantime make sure you are checking out Myra Limbaugh's website to choose your prize!

Thanks for sharing! Hope you all had a happy Valentine's Day! 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

What to Get My Valentine?

Stephanie:  So ... tomorrow's group post. Go!

Kylee:  What is our topic for our convo again?

Jill:  We had a topic? When did we get a topic? Was I sleeping?

Stephanie:  Appropriate Valentine's Day gifts for a mother.

Jill:  Refilling our secret chocolate stash ... and we're willing to wait until the 15th for discounted chocolate.

Kylee:  Should buying flowers be a requirement or are they cliche? What about cliché Valentine's gifts?

Jill:  flowers are always acceptable. Unless they're half dead already.

Stephanie:  That depends on the woman, but a man should know her enough to know if she'll like flowers or not. I think a great gift for a mom would removing and cleaning and re-installing the kids' car seats. I did that today, and can I say, I'd be thrilled if he did that. Yuck!

Sometime later ...

Our blog post is going really well ... 

Jill:  I've been driving.

Kylee:  I've been driving too!

Jill:  I just saw a cashier from Meijer shopping at Walmart. 

Kylee:  Meijer is super busy. Everyone is doing last minute valentine shopping, and while I was picking out a card an old woman told me that she and her husband were still hot, "if ya know what I mean ..."   

Stephanie:  Oh gag me!

Jill:  Ewww!

Stephanie:  Ahem! So what else are mom-approved gifts?

Kylee:  Massages. Also, not having to make dinner.

Stephanie:  Not having to hear the word "mom" five million times before breakfast.

Kylee:  Taking a shower without a small child knocking on the door after five minutes.

Stephanie:  Or to simply go to the bathroom alone.

Kylee:  Mom, where are you? Mom ... mom ... mom ... mom ... mom ... haha, see what I did there?

Jill:  I was cooking and packing up a bunch of bread for the freezer.  My problems aren't the same as y'alls anymore, but I could use the gift of everyone cleaning up after themselves for one day.

Kylee:  That's a really good one. My child just got Oreo stuck in her nose.

Stephanie:  How do you get oreos stuck in your nose? And now I want bagels.

Kylee:  Lol I have no idea, but she succeeded.

Jill:  A whole cookie?

Kylee:  No. A small wet piece.

Stephanie:  Ooo Ooo! How about hubby going grocery shopping and coming back with every item on the list and it's all the right brand. And the only extra he got was chocolate for me.

Jill:  That's not a gift. That's a miracle.

Kylee:  Yes! Or maybe make the entire grocery list himself so I don't have to think of everything by myself.

Stephanie:  Lol. that'd be nice. I think a good gift would be a date night. It can be to McDonald's for all I care, but he takes care of finding a babysitter and setting up all the details.

Jill:  But then you'd have to deal with his idea of an acceptable babysitter. And some all details about the evening will be left to chance.

Kylee:  Another good gift would be if one of your kids wakes up in the middle of the night with an issue, and your husband doesn't wake you up to take care of the issue. Instead he takes care of it because he is already awake.

Jill:  And he takes care  of it properly. In other words, he cleans up the poop/puke mess as well as comforting the crying child.

Kylee:  Bingo!

Stephanie:  I'd love to be able to watch a show alone and in silence.

Kylee:  Finishing a show in silence!

Stephanie:  You are?

Kylee:  No, I'm saying to watch a show and finish it in silence.

Stephanie:  Oh gotcha. I haven't fully watched anything in ages.

So if you're looking for an outside-the-box Valentine's Day gift, here you go. Also, don't forget about our contest! Send us a funny love story or valentine's story (it doesn't have to be long; just something funny!) Send your story to lolinministry(at)yahoo(dot)com by noon tomorrow. If we chose your story, we'll post it on Friday, and you'll also win the Lila Rose giveaway.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Kylee!

P.P.S. Happy Birthday, Luke!

Monday, February 12, 2018

My Funny Valentine

When my husband and I were dating we would talk every night on the phone. I believe I’ve mentioned before that we had a long distance relationship, so in addition to the phone calls we would also write each other letters. It’s always fun getting mail but especially fun when it’s from someone special. They also make good keep sakes. After I got each letter, I would scrapbook to save it for later.

Last night I found my scrapbook of letters from my love and was reading through them. Great memories flooded my mind: times I will never forget. A lot of them made me smile because I can remember the exact moments that I received these letters and other letters made me laugh out loud. 

So with permission from my husband I’m sharing a few things from some of the letters. Don’t worry I’m not going to share all of our mush with you. 

He wrote: You are interesting and captivating. You have my attention 100% of the time. 

HAH! That lasted a whole six months.

He wrote: I can’t wait until we’re married and I don’t have to match my own clothes. You know how much of a relief that will be?

Romantic young men may be well-meaning but they are totally clueless. 

I’d have to say my favorite letter that I got from him was on Valentine’s Day in 2011, it was the sweetest. It was like I had hit the jackpot of all letters, because I actually got two. Since Valentine’s Day is also my birthday, there was a gift in addition to the letters. He sent me a jersey of my favorite sports team and favorite player. 

Although, we may laugh now at some of the letters we had sent each other, they really were precious moments that we can remember forever. 

Do you still have any letters that you and your spouse wrote to each other?

Don’t forget about our Contest. You have until noon on Thursday to send us your Valentine’s story to lolinministry(at)yahoo(dot)com. We will pick the winner and that story will be featured on the blog Friday, February 16th. In addition to your story being featured, you also get the Lila Rose Giveaway. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Contest Time!!!

  Allright, readers, we said we were doing a contest. No, we didn't forget. With Valentine's Day coming up, we all have those romantic expectations and plans; hoping that our man will spoil us and show us just how special we are.  And we don't just feel that way on Valentine's Day, either. Sometimes these dreams come true. Sometimes they don't.

  This contest is your chance to share. We want to hear your funniest Valentine's Day story. Now, not everyone may have a funny Valentine's story. Don't count yourself out. If you have a funny date night story, or love story in general go ahead and join in. What we want you to do is write your story, and make it a good one, then send it to our email.  lolinministry(at)yahoo(dot)com. You have until noon on Thursday, February 15th. Make sure to get it in by then because we have to have time to go through them. We are your judges. We are going to go through and pick the funniest and best one, and you will be featured on the blog on Friday, February 16th. Your story will be our post of the day!

  What do you get out of this contest you ask? Well, isn't being an internet sensation for a day a good prize?? No?  That's okay, because we do have a prize for you. We had our  giveaway prize donated by Myra Limbaugh, Lila Rose Independent Stylist.

  Lilla Rose has many different products for hair. Here are a few examples.

This is the flexi clip. This particular one is the February flexi of the month and is available thru the month of February or while supplies last. The heart centerpiece can also be personalized by inserting a picture of a loved one. Flexi clips come sizes from XXS to XXL. There are also other styles of flexi clips and sizing  videos on her website to assure you are getting the right fit for you.

 This item is the u-pin. These two pins alone can secure your bun or twist and give you an elegant look for any day, no rubber bands or bobby pins necessary. There are also other styles and styling videos on her website.

This last item is the hair band. This can be worn as a hair band or even would look great as a necklace! It comes with an adjustable elastic band in two sizes that helps you to get just the right fit for you. There are also many more styles on her website to choose from.

The winner of this giveaway may choose one of these items or another product from her website up to a value of $25!    Make sure to check out the website and browse your options!!

  And don't forget to actually send in your story to our email to be entered in for this giveaway! Keep in mind, that these bloggers come from a family with a lot of males. So, when we say "funniest story", remember that the romantic comedy that we're used to is where no cries, and we really only call it a chick flick because there's a girl in it. So the mushy, gushy stuff isn't quite what we find funny. Just a hint to help you out! If you have any questions, feel free to email them to us or just post them below! The only dumb questions are the ones you never asked. Well, that's not necessarily true, but we'll try not to make fun of you for asking the dumb questions. 😁

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Maid to Order

When I was growing up, staying at a motel was a real treat. Although I have to admit, most of the time when we stayed at a motel, Tom Bodett left the light on for us. Still, even though Motel 6 didn't have that much in amenities, it was a thrill to stay at a motel, and occasionally my parents would even spring for the extra dollar or two in order to have color TV in the room.

As I grew older, my tastes in motels changed. No longer am I satisfied simply with the fact that I'm staying in a room with a television. Now I have a few more requirements.

1. I want a comfortable bed. We have a sleep number bed at home, and if I'm not going to be in it, then I want to be in a bed that is just as comfortable. I want a soft bed rather than a marble slab.

2. Along with the soft bed, I want plenty of pillows. I usually bring two from home, but I also usually use at least four pillows when I am home. So I want some nice fluffy ones in my motel room. And not the kind that are as flat as pancakes by morning either.

3. Speaking of pancakes, I want a complimentary hot breakfast. Don't just throw out some small cereal boxes and a couple of rock hard bagels. We need a waffle maker and the option to have an egg breakfast sandwich, even if the eggs don't look anything like what a chicken would naturally produce.

4. I also like a microwave and refrigerator in the room. You never know when you're going to need an emergency bag of popcorn or a can of soda that's colder than room temperature.

All of these items are important, but the thing I enjoy most when I have to stay at a motel is maid service. Like any wife and mother, it's hard to simply sit down and relax in the evening when you have dinner to cook and clean up, laundry to do, dishes to wash, etc. Nothing thrills me so much as leaving my motel room and coming back an hour later to beds made with crisp clean sheets and a stack of clean, nicely folded towels waiting for my use in the bathroom. Now THAT is relaxation!

My husband and I spent several days in a motel recently when we traveled back home to Alabama for him to preach in a conference. The first morning at the hotel I came back from the fitness room to find the maids working on the room across the hall from ours. I really wanted a shower and I really wanted a clean room, so I asked the maids if they'd be willing to come back to our room in about an hour. They agreed so I took a shower and then hubby and I left to meet some friends for lunch.

When we returned, the bed was made, the bathroom gleamed, and a nice fresh stack of towels were neatly folded at the sink. Since I had made a special request of the maid service, I made sure to leave a nice tip in the room. They did their job, they worked around our schedule and we got a clean room. Everyone was happy.

The following evening was when my husband was supposed to preach in the conference. I knew he would want to have peace and quiet most of the day to do some studying, so I made plans to go out with Stephanie and the grandkids in the morning, meet hubby and some friends for lunch, and then spend the afternoon with another friend.

Before I left that morning, I left some money on the desk and asked hubby to leave it for the maids when he came to lunch. When I returned that afternoon, there was a strange smell in the room. Actually, it wasn't that strange a smell because that odor shows up at my house all the time. Hubby had just returned from a good solid workout, so it smelled like a locker room.

It also looked like a locker room. Used towels from that morning were piled in the floor of the bathroom. The bed wasn't made and an open suitcase was sitting on top of it. Things were strewn around the room and the tip was still on the desk.

"Didn't the maids come?" I asked.

Hubby assured me that they had, but he hadn't wanted to be bothered at the time so he told them to just give him a couple of clean towels and don't worry about the rest of the room.

I was as disappointed as if I'd gotten no presents under the tree at Christmas. We were leaving the following morning, so this was my last opportunity to enjoy a maid cleaning up after us. Instead I ended up cleaning up the room and making the bed while he was in the shower, then cleaning up the bathroom while he got dressed. Once again I felt like Tom Bodett left the light on, but everything else was up to me.

So what do you like in a motel room? Where do you set your standard of service?