Sunday, February 18, 2018

Short Vacay at the Hotel Hospital


Fingers (and toes) crossed, I may be on my way back to "normal". 

I had mentioned a few days ago that I had an illness and it turned out to be Influenza B (aka, The Nasty Flu Bug).  I went to the walk-in clinic on Valentine's Day and was given a cough suppressant with codeine.  My body hated it as much as the flu.

My husband purchased a lovely card and Ghiradelli chocolates as a V-Day gift for me.  I got him...nothing.  It wasn't for lack of want; It was for lack of any energy.  But, hey, I did manage to whisk him away to a walk-in clinic for about two hours and let him sit with me while I was diagnosed.  Love at its finest!

Valentine's gifts from hubby

The next day was Jason's birthday.  Again, there was very little good about it on his part.  I was still sicker than a dog.  He went to church that night and, once home, his two oldest daughters brought over pizza and cookies.  Not one to let him have time in the limelight, I started profusely vomiting and peeing all over myself.  More than once.

I managed to lay down for a few hours before waking up to start the whole process all over again.  We headed into the ER at 2:45 am and it was shortly determined that I'd be admitted.  My body had taken on pneumonia, on top of the flu.  

Jake and the Neverland Pirates room....that's how I roll

Maybe it's because I act like a kid, but I was admitted to the pediatrics unit and that's where I spent Friday and Saturday night.  Ironically enough, I had booked a suite a week ago at a local Holiday Inn for me and Jason to stay in on Friday night as part of a staycay getaway.  As I'm sure you can deduce, that didn't happen.  Kicker:  Non-refundable!  

Sooo, a couple who are friends with my sister were able to enjoy a free night at the suite, courtesy of us.  Bright lining:  At least someone got to enjoy it.
Get-well bouquet from my sister and niece

My oxygen levels kept dropping dangerously low and it was a huge concern.  I also had spots on my chest that were of some concern.  Dr. ordered a CT scan to rule out a blood clot.  That's when I had a mini meltdown.  I'd done been stuck by so many needles and drugged with so many inhalers, steroids and antibiotics that I was getting downright drained.  My husband was a beast and became my super support system.  To the rescue, once again!

The doctor wanted to keep me admitted again tonight but wasn't absolutely against me going home.  After deciding I'd feel better in my own bed, I'm now back at my abode trying to get on the mend.  I've got a whole arsenal of meds and supplies.

I'm off work for the next few days and have orders not to overexert myself.  Now my concern is Jason.  He's been coming down with an illness and I fear it's similar to what I have.  If you're the praying kind, it'd be much appreciated.

Visit from my sisters
I can't claim to be one of those people who look cutesy when they're in a hospital.  It is what it is.

I've noticed that some of you, my readers, have been down with the flu bug this year as well.  Been keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.  #ItsNoJoke

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 109

Photo by Kyler Nixon on Unsplash


I believe in a God that hears prayers and answers them. I've witnessed the miraculous gift of answered prayer. And, I want to pray for you. I've started weekly Power of Prayer post every Thursday. We are now on week 109.  If you are needing prayer in an area of your life, please leave a comment and I'll commit to pray for your need or request. You can be as general or as specific as you like. Whether it be for healing, salvation, finances, emotions, or another area of life, I'd like to lift it up in prayer.

I would appreciate prayers for myself.  I've been down for the last four days with Influenza B (aka, the flu).  If you've had it, I'm sure I don't need to tell you how miserable it is.  I think I'm back on the upswing but I've had a reaction to the cough syrup with codeine and it's made me quite ill.  I just wanna feel normal again.  Thanks in advance.

1 Corinthians 9:23 
I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My Not-So-Expert Tips on How To Handle Your Mystery Illness

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Since I've had an illness for four days now, I'd consider myself somewhat of an expert.
Not sure exactly what's got me down but I assume this will work for influenza, scarlet fever, pneumonia, HerpaGonaSyphillAids.

1. Have lots of toilet paper on hand - For the obvious reason of course. But also for the millions of times you need to blow your nose. You'll be using so much that you don't want to go all hoity-toity with Kleenex.

2. Several pair of underwear - You're gonna pee 'em, so you're gonna need 'em.

3. Supportive family - Even though they treat you like you've got the plague, have a couple people around who will empathize and be there for ya. Even with his campy comments, Jason has been a beast in getting me through this. Logan has helped as well.

4. Your own special blanket - You're going to be coughing into it eight trillion million times, so make it your own.

5. More blankets - For those times when you need a ton of them to alleviate the chills.

6. A fan - For the hot flashes. (It's almost like a cycle of menopause).

7. A bed and a couch - Use the bed when you first fall asleep, then migrate to the couch when you're coughing and hallucinating so much that you don't want to wake your SO.

I won't even charge you for the advice.  Keep in mind, though, that I'm not a doctor and don't play one on TV.  Seek professional help if you're sick.

Monday, February 12, 2018

First Winners For February

A few of my giveaways have ended and the winners have been randomly drawn.

The winner of the 365 Bible Answers for Curious Kids giveaway is #3, Nancy Bowers.

The winners of The Armoire paperback book giveaway are #22, Janice Crespo and #8, Ken Ohl.

The winner of The Star DVD giveaway is #17, Kelly.

The winner of the Woody Woodpecker DVD giveaway is #2, Peggy.

The winner of the String of the Art giveaway is #69, mogrill.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who entered.  I have a few giveaways going on now and several more coming up.  Be sure to enter.  There's no limit on how many you can enter or how many you can win.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Crossing: 2018 Night to Shine

king's crowns
king's boutonnieres 

Have you ever heard of Night to Shine?  It's an amazing event put on by the Tim Tebow Foundation (yes, the one of NFL fame!) .  During the annual event, people with special needs are treated like royalty.  The church I belong to was one of many to transform the place into a prom-like experience.  

one of the honored guests with Miss Quincy and Miss Quincy Teen

On February 9th, 2018, 537 churches nationwide and in 16 countries celebrated 90,000 kings and queens during Night to Shine.  

Our church alone had almost 300 guests and approximately 700 volunteers.  People from our church made up a big portion of the volunteers but, this year, we had tremendous help from the university's football team, softball team, and volleyball team.  We also had help from Kohl's, a boy scout troop, and a nearby school.  It was more amazing than the Loch Ness Monster taking on a modelling career with Bigfoot as the manager.  (Yep, even better than that!)

Becky worked a Coat Check station with me.

Two years ago I was a buddy to one of the special guests.  Last year I worked a Coat Check station, and did the same this year.  I was set up in one of the lobbies, giving me opportunity to watch what was going down.

People with special needs, ages 14 and up, were invited to attend and be treated like royalty.  

Once guests arrived, they were paired up with a Buddy who would be their escort for the night.  Next they were presented with crowns and boutonnieres for the kings, and tiaras and corsages for the queens.  Once that took place, they walked down a red carpet for a photo shoot and autographs.  It came complete with screaming "paparazzi" and fans.

posing with Anya, another gal pal I talked into volunteering for coat check


The dance floor rarely had empty space.  Most of the time, it was packed elbows to armholes.

Once they walked down the red carpet, it was time for the festivities.  The church auditorium and lobby was cleared out for a dance floor with DJ, shoe shine, hair and makeup station, photo booth, basketball hoop, miniature golf, and sit-down supper.  There was also a limo ride service and a station set up for wheelchairs to get some bling.

Supper was grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, rice, dinner rolls, and brownies. The end of the night concluded with the release of over 1000 balloons.

blinged out wheelchair

nail station


  It takes a small community to work before, during and after Night to Shine.  But it is absolutely well worth it.  The guests are treated like royalty and are shown they that are worth celebrating.  The volunteers may leave exhausted but they go away with wonderful memories and can't wait to do it all over again next year.


Go Organically Fruit Snacks: Unique Expressions of Love for V-Day - Giveaway


As Valentine's Day is quickly approaching, Go Organically Fruit Snacks wants to get you and your family in the spirit with some ideas for creative and unexpected expressions of love.

Can you feel cupid getting ready to draw back his bow? Valentine's Day is almost here! And while we love flowers and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate as much as the next person, we think there are so many other fun ways to celebrate the season of affection—especially with little kids around. So gather up the family and get ready to be creative this Valentine's Day with these unexpected expressions of love.


Serve Heart-Shaped Foods

Themed foods are always a big hit with kids...and let's face it, parents too! Start off the day with heart-shaped pancakes. You can either eyeball the shape yourself or place a heart-shaped cookie cutter on your griddle for a more perfectly-formed heart. Add some mini chocolate chips for a dash of indulgence, then dust with powdered sugar. For lunch, use that same cookie cutter to surprise kids with a heart-shaped sandwich in their lunchbox. And for dinner? We can't think of anything more perfect than heart-shaped pizza. Some local pizza parlors make heart-shaped pies just for Valentine's Day, so it never hurts to call! Or buy the dough yourself and shape it into a heart on your pizza pan before adding sauce, shredded cheese and your favorite toppings.

Make Semi-Homemade Valentine's Cards

Need Valentine's Day cards or treats for your child's class? We love finding that perfect middle ground between creating projects from scratch and going the store-bought route. Enter our semi-homemade Valentines! Start by picking up some standard perforated classroom cards and fill in the "to" and "from" fields. Next, staple each card to pouch of Go Organically Organic Fruit Snacks. Our yummy, kid-friendly treats are the perfect size to attach to your cards! You can even write a cheeky message to tie in with our flavors, such as:

Mixed Berry: "Have a Berry Good Valentine's Day!"
Fruit Medley: "Orange You Glad We're Friends?"
Tropical: "You're the Pineapple of My Eye!"

Put Together a Thoughtful Gift

Personalized presents are the best—especially when they come from the heart. Here are a few of our favorite tailor-made V-Day gift ideas that you can work on with the kids:

Daddy Caddy: Buy a small carrying case and fill it with a bunch of handy items for dad to take on the go—like tissues, hand sanitizer, lens wipes and a mini notebook. Add Go Organically Organic Fruit Snacks for a yummy snack dad will love.

Mama Mixtape: Put together a custom CD or digital playlist with mom's favorite songs. Bonus points if they're love-themed.

Kid Koupons: Create currency for your kiddos that can be traded in for special privileges—like breakfast in bed or a chore-free night.

Teacher Treasure Box: Decorate a desktop trinket box for your child's teacher using colorful paint and stick-on gems. Fill it with useful teacher "treasures" like sticky notes, binder clips, rubber stamps and more.

Be sure to follow Go Organically on Facebook for more kid-friendly ideas!  Made with real fruit, the gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free kids snacks are a great choice for your on-the-go life.
Win It!

One person will win three boxes of Go Organically Organic Fruit Snacks (one of each flavor).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

I received no product or compensation for this post.  This post is in partnership with PR firm.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

TROLLS THE BEAT GOES ON: Printable Valentine's Day Cards



Does anyone spread love better than a Troll from DreamWorks Animation and Netflix’s new series TROLLS THE BEAT GOES ON? Probably not! And so here’s some absolutely adorable Valentine’s Cards you can print and share with people you love.  The glitter is implied but not included! ;-) 

Click on the TROLLS picture above for access to the printable cards.  Have a MAGICAL Valentine’s Day!

I received no compensation or product for this post.  This post is in partnership with PR firm.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 108

Photo by Bruno Martins on Unsplash


I believe in a God that hears prayers and answers them. I've witnessed the miraculous gift of answered prayer. And, I want to pray for you. I've started weekly Power of Prayer post every Thursday. We are now on week 108.  If you are needing prayer in an area of your life, please leave a comment and I'll commit to pray for your need or request. You can be as general or as specific as you like. Whether it be for healing, salvation, finances, emotions, or another area of life, I'd like to lift it up in prayer.

Deuteronomy 7:9 
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wordful Wednesday - Drury Inn

light fixture hanging from the middle of the hotel

Back in December, fifteen people in our family got together and traveled to Eureka, MO to visit Santa's Magical Kingdom.  We decided to invade a Drury Inn that was about fifteen minutes away and spend the night.  

swimming outside

We are from the Midwest so cold weather in December is to be expected.  Surprisingly enough, it was warm enough that day to go swimming outside.  Who woulda thunk!  The kids took full advantage of that.  

Alec and Alex in their Christmas PJs

We spent part of the evening hanging out in the suite my sister reserved.  Since it was the largest room, it's where we gathered most of the time.   We stuffed our bellies with the finest of foods - - chips and cookies.  It was topped off with hot chocolate.

me and my niece, Ashley

One thing I love about the Drury Inn properties is that it's perfect for big families.  If you're going to pay for a hotel, you may as well get one that offers great amenities (especially free food).

Up until 10 pm, free popcorn, soda and coffee is offered in the lobby.

salad, pasta, and baked potato

The 5:30 Kickback is my favorite part.  From 5:30 to 7 pm every evening, guests get to enjoy free hot food and beverages.  Some food stays as staples but most of the menu rotates every evening.  We had a full-on supper and it was much cheaper than if we would've picked a different hotel then dined out.  

During the night we stayed, there was an abundance of food.  Nachos, hot dogs, pasta with fettuccine sauce, salad, baked potato and chili was our fare.

Jamie and James

Adults are also given three free alcoholic beverages during Kickback.  A selection of wines, Bud Light (only beer available) and several mixed drinks were on the menu.

A full breakfast is also available for free.  Again, there was plenty to go around. Sausage, biscuits and gravy, breakfast fajitas, waffles, and so much more.  The eggs were horrible and I wasn't the only one with that consensus but, hey, I can't complain when everything else was so good.

Christmas tree we took an umpteen amount of pictures in front of

To finish off the night, we all gathered in the lobby at the front of the tree in our Christmas pajamas and posed for an eternity of pictures.

Being together with such a large group of strong personalities definitely had its eye-rolling moments but being with family during Christmas time, in a hotel chain that works to make its guests happy, created a holiday memory that I'll always remember.

Have you ever stayed at a Drury Inn?
What amenities do you look forward to when you stay at a hotel?  Can you tell I'm all about the food!

General Mills Empowers Young Minds to Feed Better Futures


The global population is rising, and our current food system simply isn't equipped to handle it. General Mills is solving the food accessibility problems of today and tomorrow with help and ideas from amazing young people — like you.

The Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program is a brand-new initiative launched by General Mills. Feeding Better Futures empowers today’s youth to seek solutions in hunger relief and sustainable agriculture.

Young innovators are invited to pitch their in-action solutions for the opportunity to present at the Aspen Ideas Festival, be partnered with industry mentors, and earn up to $50,000 to further their program and education. Young actress, activist and star of The Carrie Diaries, AnnaSophia Robb even teamed up with General Mills to help encourage young people to enter the National contest.
Creative  young adults and their families are encouraged to enter this program.


I will receive products in exchange for this post.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Cincinnatti Children's Hospital: Send A Free Valentine Online


Valentine’s Day is a time to feel special – a time to feel loved. But nearly 500 patients at Cincinnati Children's will be spending it away from their friends and fun classroom festivities.

Spread some love at Cincinnati Children’s this Valentine’s Day by crafting an online valentine, and the hospital will deliver your card to a patient. You can choose from one of three designs.  It’s fast, free and sure to brighten a child’s day.

I've already created a card.  Have you?

I received no compensation or product for this post.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

SERIOUSLY GOOD FREEZER MEALS: 150 Easy & Tasty Meals You Really Want to Eat - Giveaway


Don’t freeze up when your family asks what’s for dinner — reach into the freezer instead. Seriously Good Freezer Meals provides home cooks with the tools they need to make delectable, healthy meals using fresh and flavorful ingredients, with information on shopping, cooking, freezing, thawing and everything in between.

This unique compilation of 150+ family- and freezer-friendly recipes, made without processed foods, will help busy families save time and money while still enjoying home-cooked meals. The book provides a comprehensive overview of cooking freezer meals: getting organized, making lists, shopping strategies, making a lot of freezer meals in one day, freezer organization, freezer meal swaps, thawing and more.

And lest you think these are just ho-hum basic meals, you’re in for a pleasant surprise! Within the beautifully photographed full-color pages, you’ll discover recipes for every meal of the day.

------------------------

 KARRIE TRUMAN is an urban homesteader wannabe who is the proud owner of the blog Happy Money Saver. The site is currently ranked #1 on Google search engines for the term “freezer meals” and, on average, garners 1 million unique monthly page views, has over 600,000 unique visitors and reaches 215,000+ through social media.

Karrie has worked with brands including Frigidaire, Quaker, Albertsons and Kimberly-Clark. She has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and The Huffington Post, and featured in All You magazine and her local news.
Win It!

One person will win SERIOUSLY GOOD FREEZER MEALS: 150 Easy & Tasty Meals You Really Want to Eat.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA and Canada.*

I received no compensation for this post.  This post is in partnership with PR firm.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A "Life Group" Wedding


As much as I am all for the fluff and frills of a big wedding, I also think that small-scaled weddings can be just as marvelous.

Two dear friends of mine were married last Friday and it was a simple, yet fun, affair.  They were engaged three weeks before the wedding.  I loved the couple's nonchalant, worry-free attitude about it all.  They wanted the day to be as stress-free as possible.
me and Jason at the wedding

Brian and Felicia were married at his church, with about 30 people in attendance.  The bride didn't even plan on carrying a bouquet, but someone stepped in and purchased her one.

Felicia has been in our Life Group for two years.  She's become a very, very close friend of mine.  I suppose you could say I'm boasting but we often hear from other people how they want to be in a Life Group like ours.  We get together every week to study the word and go over the sermon but we also "do life" together.  We've been through the good, bad, and ugly.  I think God decided to put all the "misfit toys" in our group.

the happy couple

During the ceremony, the couple participated in a 'Unity of the Cords' with a cross that was made by the groom's father.  Once the wedding was over we all went to a secluded restaurant area in a local hotel and dined.  There was the choice of steak burger, grilled chicken, and sirloin steak with sides.

I'm excited to continue to do life with these newlyweds.

completed tying of the cords

dessert table

Are you involved in a Small Group or Life Group?
Do you have a preference of attending large or small weddings?

Positive Vibes and Encouragement with The Hope Deck - Giveaway


If you read social media, watch the news, or view the paper you can become entrenched in negativity.  Although that's inevitable, we can find ways to spread encouragement and hopefulness.  Even the smallest warm-hearted gestures make a big impact.  One company that focuses on positive vibes and godliness is The Hope Deck.  


The Hope Deck is a simple tool to that connects you with God, His promises and truth each day.  It includes 30 uniquely designed cards, a wood stand for display and is packaged in a cute cotton bag.  Each card has lines on the back for writing notes, and the size of each card is 4"x 6".



The Hope Deck can be used for several moments and events:

birthday gifts
stocking stuffers
sweet notes for family
countdown for advent
morning inspiration
daily dose of wisdom
Bible journaling
scripture memory
"thinking of you" notes



Win It!

One person will win The Hope Deck.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

I received no product or compensation for this post.  This post is in partnership with company.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Zak Designs: Free Colander with Orders Over $20

Zak Designs makes everyday meals a little more special by creating safe, innovative and fashionable products that add a touch of color and an element of fun to tables around the world.

Receive a FREE 24oz Rose Shaped Colander (a $7.99 Value) with orders over $20 at Zak.com. Promo Code ZAKVM. Valid 2/1/18 Through 2/28/18 - SAVE NOW!

This post contains an affiliate link.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 107

Photo by Ruben Hutabarat on Unsplash

I believe in a God that hears prayers and answers them. I've witnessed the miraculous gift of answered prayer. And, I want to pray for you. I've started weekly Power of Prayer post every Thursday. We are now on week 107.  If you are needing prayer in an area of your life, please leave a comment and I'll commit to pray for your need or request. You can be as general or as specific as you like. Whether it be for healing, salvation, finances, emotions, or another area of life, I'd like to lift it up in prayer.

The Lord your God is in your midst, a Warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with joy; He will be quiet in His love [making no mention of your past sins], He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. Zephaniah 3:17