A few friends of mine, plus a whole slew of people I only know from the resulting Facebook group, and I have banded together to read more and take on the 2015 Reading Challenge.
Put together by the website PopSugar, it challenges you to read books in specific categories — and not just romances, mysteries and graphic novels. Those categories are included, but you’re also asked to read a book your mom loves (Gone With the Wind is my mom’s fav); a Pulitzer Prize-winning book (working on The Age of Innocence); a play; a book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit; a book at the bottom of your to-read list; a book turned into a movie; a book with bad reviews (you’d be surprised at some of the classics that got horrible reviews back in their day!); and a book written by an author with your initials (this is the impossible category for me — I’m pretty sure I’ll have to turn to the middle initial since YC or even YF are coming up empty).
In all, there are 50 categories. It has been so much fun looking at the categories and trying to decide which book to tackle. I’ve also been trying to read books that aren’t necessarily in my comfort zone. For instance, I probably would have never tackled The Age of Innocence if it wasn’t for this challenge. Literature set in high society in the late 1800s has never exactly been my cup of tea. But Edith Wharton won the Pulitzer Prize for the book in 1921, making her the first woman to win that prize. So I’m giving it a shot!
The book worm in me is so very excited about how much this challenge will give me an excuse to read!
As part of this challenge, I will be writing about some of my favorite (and maybe some of my least favorite) books that I read this year. I hope that you’ll be inspired to pick up a book and join me. And if you’re intrigued by the whole challenge — well it isn’t too late to start!
If you haven’t already, you can see the full list of categories here– which one would you most like to tackle?
I celebrated my birthday on Saturday — Happy Birthday to me. Nope, there is no way I’m telling you how old I am. I will say that I had managed to subtract a year until my husband set me straight. *sigh*
As always, Matt and Alaina know just what to do to make me feel special. They sent me a beautiful flower arrangement at work on Friday and then baked me a very delicious carrot cake FROM SCRATCH! I’m a box mix kind of baker myself, so it blew my mind that they went to the extra effort for me. *sniff, sniff*
Wonderful women who are part of the Arkansas Women Bloggers community have been talking in recent weeks about choosing a word — one word — for 2015 that will help guide them for the year.
I believe I first heard about this one word concept a couple of years ago from Jacqueline Wolven, a fantastic woman and blogger from Eureka Springs who really lives deliberately. She talked about how powerful choosing one word and then incorporating it into your life could be. To be perfectly honest, I dismissed the idea at first. I couldn’t see how committing to a word, to a concept, for an entire year would benefit me. Life changes too much and too quickly for such a thing to be valuable, right?
But then the next year at AWBU, a yearly blogging conference, bloggers who had listened to Jacqueline and found their word were talking about the benefits they saw from their one word experiment.
I was intrigued. But I still wasn’t ready to commit.
Then last month, members of the group started talking again about choosing a word. I started mentally thinking about WHAT word I would choose IF I decided to choose one word.
One word kept coming to mind — priorities.
Like many people, I struggle with my priorities. Oh, I think I have a pretty good idea of what they are — my family, my faith, my friends, my job, my volunteer work with the National MS Society and my blog — but so often I get those priorities out of order. Or I let something that isn’t on the list at all eat up far too much valuable time or effort.
So this year I’m going to work on my priorities — or to be more accurate, I’m going to work on prioritizing my priorities. It will likely mean saying no to more things that just aren’t a priority for me. And I hope it will mean saying yes to the things that are.
So to kick things off, I’ve deleted a number of games off of my phone. I’m ashamed to admit how many times I’ve put off things that are important, like spending quality time with my husband and daughter, to play a stupid game. Oh I was just decompressing after a stressful day, I told myself. And maybe that was part of it. But ultimately, I was letting the trivial edge out the essential.
So Goodbye Farm Story 2, so long Treasure Run — my time is valuable and you simply don’t rate.
What about you? Are you choosing a word for 2015? If so, what did you pick?
Since as early as I can remember, music — especially singing — has been a part of my life. As a child, I remember sitting in the back seat of our ’77 Hornet station wagon singing songs with my mom and my sisters. My dad occasionally joined in, but usually it was just the female voices that could be heard as our car drove down the country roads of western Kentucky, particularly during the 30+ minute ride to church and back.
One favorite for us to sing, then and now, was John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Something about that song spoke to my family. To little 4-year-0ld me, that song was about my home in Kentucky. (Not really sure how I missed the line about West Virginia. I’m going to blame it on being 4.)
Even now, there is still something about that song that just resonates with me. I think that song is why I’ve long loved John Denver’s music — and probably what started me on the road to really preferring songs that tell a story and aren’t just a catchy hook.
The funny thing is I can’t actually remember when I first heard John Denver singing “Country Roads.” No, my memories are my mom and sisters singing the song. I’m pretty sure I learned the words during those singalongs and not from listening to one of his albums.
As my sisters and I grew up and started families of our own, somehow we still found time for a singalong at holiday gatherings. And it never took long before someone started “Country Roads.” Somehow it was just our song.
So when I saw that Brandi Carlile and Emmylou Harris had recorded “Country Roads” on a John Denver tribute album, The Music Is You, I asked Matt for the CD for Christmas. I just had a hunch it would be good.
I was right — it was good, really good. In fact it was so incredible that it took me back to my childhood. Listening to the song with tears running down my face was like being back in the ’77 Hornet singing with my mom and my sisters. It was like being home.
So I want to share it with you and I hope you enjoy it. While you’re listening to my childhood favorite, how about you? Are there any songs, from your childhood or even more recently, that speak to you?
So in Alaina’s first school performance, she rocked at spreading holiday cheer, Alaina style.
It was so adorable seeing all of the kids performing for the parents. Apparently, this was the first holiday performance that our school has done, at least in recent years. The principal seemed shocked at the turnout — we filled the sanctuary of an area church. And I don’t think you could have found a parking spot for a solid block and a half!
Lots of the children were grinning as they belted out the tunes. There were a few who were dancing. But no one was dancing like my child was dancing. If there was music, she was grooving. It was adorable!
Yup, Alaina definitely rocks at spreading holiday cheer. No, that isn’t mom bias. See for yourself — and then see if you’re smiling afterwards!
Congratulations to Katy (katytweety/Kathy)! You are the winner of the 4 tickets to the Women’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Sunday, Dec. 21.
Check your inbox so we can work out the best way to get your tickets to you!
Thanks to everyone who entered our contest. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!
Alaina reached a momentous occasion in her life this month — she had an eye exam and was found to need glasses. The poor kid really never stood a chance. Both Matt and I wear glasses and have since we were kids.
We weren’t expecting Alaina to need glasses for her vision when we took her to a pediatric ophthalmologist. We had noticed that her right eye seemed to wander sometimes and we were concerned that she had a lazy eye. Well it turned out that her eye doesn’t wander enough to worry about BUT she has a pretty serious astigmatism in that eye. She is also a little near-sighted, but not nearly as much as the doctor expected with that astigmatism.
The diagnosis: Alaina needs glasses AND she’ll have to wear them all of the time.
The doctor recommended we invest in a good set of frames but cheap lenses since kids tend to get a new eye prescription every few months when they are as young as Alaina is.
So we went glasses shopping. Or rather, Matt and Alaina went glasses shopping and Matt texted me pictures of the various frames. On the second day of shopping, they found a winner.
Aren’t her little frames just precious? She looks so grown-up!
We went with a wire frame so it would be more flexible. We didn’t want her glasses breaking at the hinges.
Ahh, the best laid plans.
Those cute little frames lasted about three days at school. Then on Monday, Matt calls me from the eye doctor to tell me that Alaina’s glasses were broken. She had taken them off and somehow they got “crunched.” One endpiece was completely gone, a lens had popped out and the rest of the glasses were mangled beyond repair. Luckily, they were still under warranty and could be replaced at no charge.
But what about the next time, I asked Matt. He responded that the no-replacement cost was a one-time deal.
So we asked if there were any glasses that are considered unbreakable. And what do you know, the woman came out with these rubber glasses, complete with a strap.
Luckily, Alaina thinks these glasses are super cute! Which is a good thing because these are the ones she is going to be wearing to school every day. Her other glasses, which I still think are too stinking adorable for words, are being saved for church and special occasions.
Maybe in a few years she can go back to grown-up looking glasses. But for now, the rubber glasses are a winner!
How about you guys? Have any of your kiddos needed glasses at a young age? How did you keep them from constantly being broken? Any tips would be much appreciated!
Calling all college basketball fans — Little Rock Mamas is giving away 4 tickets* to the Women’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge on December 21 at Verizon Arena.
In the first match up, Texas will face off against Texas A&M at 12:30 p.m.
Then at 3 p.m., the Lady Razorbacks will take on Oklahoma.
And you can be there for all of this great basketball! Just leave me a comment by midnight Monday (Dec. 15) telling me why you want to go to the Women’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge. I’ll randomly draw a winner on Tuesday.
* Many thanks to the Angela Rogers Group for providing us with tickets to give to our awesome readers.
I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! My little family celebrated twice — first with my parents, my sisters, my brothers-in-law and my nephews, my aunt and uncle, my cousin and her kiddos and second with Grandpa Glen and crew. Phew, what a day!
One of the things I love about the holidays is it gives me a chance to take lots of pictures of everyone. While we were celebrating with my extended family I snapped this little gem of Alaina and her cousins. I just love this picture!
Note: This is a compensated post; however, all opinions are mine. Heidi (Margarita Mama) and I picked out all of the items for this gift guide. — Yavonda, aka Lucky Mama
It is that most wonderful time of the year again — where we all rush to the stores and wonder what in the world to give our loved ones for Christmas. Well, the Little Rock Mamas and The Promenade at Chenal are here to help. Behold, our 2014 Christmas Gift Guide with items around $25, $50 and $100* from a few of the stores at The Promenade.
* All the prices listed are full price.
I love shopping at Crazy 8 for my daughter. The less expensive cousin of Gymboree, the clothes at Crazy 8 are good quality (key when it comes to lasting more than 5 seconds on my 5 year old), really cute and affordable!! It is this mama’s trifecta for kids’ clothes!
What about these adorable party dresses?
And I’m not forgetting the boys here! Crazy 8 also has great clothes for the boys on your shopping list. I just love that little spiky hat!
Does the little girl/tween in your life love all things sparkly? If so, Justice is the shop for you. Get ready for some glitter, sequins and all around awesomeness!
Justice also has great small gift items — some of these would be great stocking stuffers!
Looking for something for the technology lover on your shopping list? Check out these goodies at the Apple store.
Is there a outdoorsman (or woman!) on your Christmas list this year? If so, Gearhead Outfitters has got you covered, whether you’re looking to spend a little or a lot!
Mrs. Polka Dot
Mrs. Polka Dot is the newest store on our list — it only opened last month. And it is a great place to pick up monogrammed items! Ladies, you might want to direct your spouses to Mrs. Polka Dot to find your Christmas gift. Or maybe you should just pick something up for yourself — after all shopping is hard work!
If you’re wondering what makes the O key ring so great, check out what Oprah has to say about it — it is one of her favorite things!
Finally, what is a gift guide without a little jewelry?
I hope this gift guide gave you some ideas for your loved ones! Happy shopping!