Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sammy Can Bow

Sammy, my amazing and oh so talented dog, has learned to bow! I am so proud! For the past few days, every time that she has stretched (stretches her body downward, paws forward, bottom up), I have said, "Good bow!" ...hoping she would eventually catch on. I think this started on Friday or Saturday. So then today, only 4 days later, I asked her to bow and she did it!!! I did a little dance and sang a little song! I was so excited! My calm, assertive energy left me, and she started freaking out too, bouncing around the house and barking. Caesar would not have approved. But who cares! My dog can bow!

Since this morning, she has bowed correctly for me about 60% of the time. We're still in progress, but we're well on our way! It's difficult to get her to stay like that long enough for a picture, but I'll keep trying and hopefully get one posted.

Thanks, Rockin' Rory, for the inspiration! Check out this video of the Amazing Rockin' Rory. And then watch America's Got Talent tonight to see him. (Sammy and I are still working on the frisbee.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sad Day.

This weekend Brendon and I realized that "Bapple" (Baby Apple) is dying. I know it's only a matter of time before I am forced to retire her. She's held so many pictures, so many class notes, so many papers. She's stood strong despite multiple drops. And she's never gotten a virus.



Thanks, Bapple.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mommy Mixer

Last night I attended a Mommy Mixer, where moms can meet babysitters. I figure I could use something to do over the random weeks I don't have summer class, and extra money is always good!

We did have to sign some weird disclaimer that we wouldn't share information of Mommy Mixer (the company) with others. So I feel like I can't say a lot... seems kinda lame. But all in all, it was an interesting event. I don't know how many babysitting jobs I'll get out of it. It seemed like there were a lot of moms wanting sitters for evening or the school year, and I just need something for summer! I'm sure it's great for the moms though because they leave with a whole list of babysitters that they have actually met and know all about. (They get copies of our resumes.) That said, it was kind-of awkward. It was basically like Rush all over again. I hated Rush. But I mean if you want a babysitting job (regular or occasional), then it's totally worth going. Just brace yourself for awkwardness.

Frugal Friday

Frugal Friday has moved. Now you can get Frugal Friday tips everyday! Check out Thankfully Thrifty.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Frames



How cute are these antique-y frames all collaged in the entry?

Picture courtesy of Real Simple.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Marriage Ministry

As many of you know, I have a heart for healthy marriages. My dream would be to be involved with something that matters, that makes a difference in the marriages of this country.

Statistics show that fifty-percent of marriages in America end in divorce. Sadly, this statistic is just as true for Christians as it is for non-Christians. To be honest, knowing that there is absolutely no difference in the divorce rate between these two groups makes me cringe. Truly, this statistic is embarrassing. The fact of the matter is that, as Christians, our marriages should look different. Our marriages should be so God-centered that they act as a testimony to unbelievers. I recognize that this is easier said than done, but no one said following Christ would be easy.

Given all of this, I would love to be involved in marital enrichment. But unfortunately, my church, like many others, doesn't have any type of marital enrichment program. And you can only volunteer to help create such a program so many times. Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for God to open a door.

Given that I am fresh out of a course on marital enrichment, I have come to realize that for a church to not have a marital enrichment program doesn't cut it. People are hurting. Entire families are hurting. What an amazing ministry opportunity! Why miss out? These people are longing for more. Who are we to withhold God's truth for their marriages from them? Plus if God ordained marriage as a sacred institution at the very beginning, in Genesis 2, we should be just as quick to minister to couples' needs.

I would be kidding you all if I said I had some awesome plan for marital enrichment. But to tell you the truth, I think Watermark's ReEngage looks pretty good. I've been there several times to get a taste for what they are doing. The idea is: On a scale from 1-10, whether your marriage is a 2 and headed for divorce, or an 8 and you just want to be a 10, ReEngage is for you. God's truly at work through these team leaders. More churches need to step up to the plate and do something about this.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Funny

Good point...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sammy's Story



Once we got a house, Brendon and I knew we wanted to adopt a dog from a rescue. Both of Brendon's dogs growing up had (are - still alive) from rescues, and they are just the sweetest dogs. Both of my dogs growing up came from a free litter of puppies outside PetSmart... sorta rescues, I suppose. Rescues tend to make great dogs because they are so grateful to have a home... that's our philosophy anyway.

We knew we wanted an Australian Shepherd because they are super smart (rated #1) and super cute. So we started checking Second Time Around Aussie Rescue's website to see available dogs. When Sammy came up, we knew she was a fit. She's only a year to year and a half, so still pretty much a puppy. She had not been abused (huge qualifier for us, seeing as we want the dog to be good with people and kids). She's good with kids and loves, loves, loves people. And the fact that she's calmer than most Aussies (who are known for having a ton of energy) sealed the deal for us!

Sammy and her sister were found at a kill shelter - how sad! Apparently a breeder in Kansas had bred a bunch of Australian Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, and then left them - pretty much neglected - in his backyard. Eventually he took them to the kill shelter (how cruel), where thankfully STAAR picked the Aussies up. Sammy actually has a rope burn scar on her back right paw. And she doesn't know how to play with her toys... I'm sure until she came to live with us she hadn't even seen a toy.

It's a sad story, but on a more cheerful note, this week marks Sammy's 4-month adoption anniversary! As you can see, we absolutely adore this pup! She's such a cuddle-bug, and when she's not cuddling with you, she's like velcro, sitting next to you waiting to cuddle. Even though she hasn't learned to play with her toys, she has gotten so much better at socializing with other dogs and now loves to play! Sometimes her herding instinct will come out too, and she'll try to herd dogs, which typically is not appreciated. But it's hilarious to watch!

I can see now why people with pets live longer. Life is just so much better with them! I pretty much treat her as my child. Sammy has been such a blessing to us. I am so thankful for her.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Need More Thrifty Tips?

I have actually received some requests for a blog solely devoted to frugality, so here it is... Thankfully Thrifty. Starting next week, Frugal Fridays and anything else "thrifty" will appear on that blog. But life updates and random topics will remain here. Let me know what you think!

A Double Dose of Frugal Friday

Two frugal tips for the day:

1. Use your public library. This concept may sound foreign or too frugal for you, but really, why buy books that you know you'll only read once? I actually borrowed the 2nd Twilight book from the library over the Christmas holiday. I've borrowed one recently by Caesar Milan on dog training also. Plus, it's helpful for school books, which I definitely won't read again.
And a bonus: Rent movies from the library! Yes, the library has an awesome collection of movies - new releases as well. I have found they are quick to get the new releases. You may have to wait a few weeks to get the movie, but I have found that most of the time when I request the movie I don't have time immediately to watch it anyway. And if I do, I can find other great movies from the library to entertain me in the meantime.
By the way, books and movies are FREE from the library. Just go get a library card!

2. Have you heard of Paper Source? They have one in our mall. Fairly new... maybe a year old? Anyways they have awesome crafting supplies. I actually intend to make a few gifts from the items they have available. Their specialty though is stationary. I went in there with a gift card intending to get stationary ordered with my name on it. But even with a gift card, I just felt like the price for even 10 cards was ridiculous. But as a browsed the store, I realized that they have everything available to you (intentionally) for you to make your own stationary. Stamps, ink, cute cards, envelopes, ribbons, etc. Super cute! Anyway, that's what I did. And I like it a lot better than stationary with my name on it.
The stamps allow me to make them fresh-looking, with a full coat of ink, or vintage-y, with a not-so-full layer of ink. And as you can see, I have both blue and red envelopes. And for the cards, I just used postcard sized white cardstock. Then I got the cute bird stamp, as well as both an "a" and a "b" (Ashleigh & Brendon). Sometimes I do the "a" alone too.
Needless to say, I love this idea and will definitely do it again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Houston, for a day

My sister turned 16 on Sunday. So my dad called a few days before to see if he could fly us in just for the day to surprise my sister (and everyone else) at her party! It was so fun to be there! And of course, being the baby of the family, she got a new car for her sweet 16! She was, of course, super excited! Oh to be the youngest!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Frugal Friday, a day late

I can't really seem to get timing down for this... I finished my one week class yesterday. Then my mother-in-law and sister-in-law came up for a quick visit. We all walked in, only to find that our AC broke AGAIN. They came to fix it immediately after my mother-in-law talked to them! Ha. Things are good for the moment!

Now, on to Frugal Friday...

Sometime last year I joined a yahoo group called North Dallas Freecycle. Essentially it's a group where members give away free (and only free) items.

I have listed several things I no longer have had a use for on there. And it's great because a) the item gets a new life, and b) someone comes and picks it up from you - front porch pick up usually.

You can also request items on there. For example, you could request a bowling ball. Maybe someone just happens to have a bowling ball sitting around that they never use. They can respond and give it to you. It's really neat. I have only requested items a few times. And I've only had luck a couple of those times.

This last time I requested a food dehydrator. I have always thought it would be neat to try drying my own fruits, jerky, fruit roll-ups, etc. but not really sure if it was worth buying one. Anyway, someone responded! I picked it up earlier this week, and it is actually one of the dehydrators I had read great reviews about on Amazon - yea! I tested it earlier this week. Yummy!

The group is def worth checking out - even if you only end up giving things away.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Home ownership... There's always something.

People told us when we bought our house, "There's always something when it comes to home ownership." Always another home-improvement project or a repair project.

Anyway this past Monday our AC went out - in the hottest week Dallas has seen this year. Awesome. Actually it appears that our indoor AC unit is new, but the outdoor unit (not sure what it's called?) is what has been acting up. Luckily, our house is still under the home warranty, so we called them.

The pro about warranty is hopefully you don't have to pay for the fix. The con is they can take forever to come out, and they don't even guarantee they'll fix the problem. It depends on if the deem the issue fixable. And if they do fix it, it's a cheap fix. But it is a fix.

Anyway, the warranty company finally came out today, and now, after 48 hours of sweating, our AC is fixed! Yea! They didn't replace the outdoor unit, which would have been ideal, but they fixed it. Better than nothing, right? Regardless, I am feeling pleasantly cool now.

So that fix was maybe at 3 this afternoon. Then this evening, storms here have been insane. Brendon was actually out scouting out sites for filming, so Sammy and I were hanging out at home, just us, when the tornado sirens started blaring. They went off twice in a 20-minute time period. I felt silly, but I was panicking. What do you do in a tornado? We went and hung out in the hallway, where they aren't any windows ...just in case.

Fitting the title of this blog and the them of our week perfectly, the storm broke our neighbors' tree in half. It fell on our fence and garage. Luckily it doesn't appear to have done any damage. We'll deal with that tomorrow, once the storm is over.

Despite our double-hit this week, we've had good luck... AC fixed for the small price of the $60 warranty deductible, and no damage from the tree. Nonetheless, there's always something.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Swap Success!

Saturday was the day of the Swap. We divided my living room up into sections, according to items people brought: Beauty, purses, books/DVDs, kitchenware, hodgepodge, home decor, and clothing.

The set up:









I think we were surprised by how much people got, but having so much random stuff made it more fun! Everyone got rid of the things the no longer wanted and also took some goodies home! And everything left over in the end, Jessica and I took to the Salvation Army.

The logistics:

First of all, we assumed that if people brought it, they truly didn't want it, so we said regardless of how many items you brought, you could go home with as many items as your found. (The rest was going to be donated, so might as well.)

Then to get the swapping started, we drew numbers to come up with a picking order - like a gift exchange. On the first couple of rounds each person chose one thing, allowing for each person to have a shot at their favorite item. Then we had planned to keep going in order, gradually increasing the number of items people could choose, but really, it just seemed easier to make it a free for all, which is what we did.

Here are just a couple of treasures I came away with:





I also took pillows that match our bed, a food chopper, bread baskets, and some cute clothes! Overall, I would say I did exceedingly well! I hope everyone else feels the same! I know Jessica and I are definitely planning on making this an annual event - and the more, the merrier!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bill #4294

Many Americans don't realize it, but there are lies in the textbooks... more than the evolution debate. There are blatant lies that no one would debate. (i.e. That children everywhere now salute the planet, not America... really, when did that happen? Or that Reagan only helped the rich, not the poor. Hmmm... I smell an agenda here.) Despite the fact that these lies get published by liberal, wacko publishers, Texas is now approving a bill to give the publishers (not the tax payers) the final say as to what is printed in these textbooks, which are being used to teach children!!! Seeing as Texas is one of the largest purchasers of textbooks, what we allow does matter. (Seriously, Texas has a huge say in the textbook industry. We buy way more than other states.)

Sign the petition for Governor Perry to veto this awful bill. Want to do more? You can also call Governor Perry and ask him to veto this AWFUL bill that the House ignorantly passed. The number is 512-463-2000, and the fax is 512-463-1849. It is bill #4294. Basically, all you need to say is that we don't want the publishers to be the ones in charge of the content in textbooks being used to teach our children. The tax payers need to have a role in this as well. Representation!

Frugal Friday


Tomorrow, my friend Jessica and I are hosting a swap! We have friends that are really into garage sale shopping, so we though this might be a fun idea. Everyone has things lying around that they don't use and that seem boring to them, and of course, their friends love these same items that they have deemed unlovable. So why not swap, right? You get rid of your stuff and get new stuff. And free is always good! Anyways so we had this thought, and then a couple weeks later, Real Simple printed an article on how to host a swap! So we took their ideas and sent out an evite (By the way, Evite has a really cute Real Simple swap invitation.) to all of our friends! As of now, I don't have a lot to report because the swap is tomorrow, but hopefully it will be a success! I'll def report back later!
For details on how to host one, check out Real Simple's article.

Also fitting for this Frugal Friday post... Super Target has organic (and conventional) strawberries on sale this week! $3/lb, which is awesome! Plus they have $1 off coupon on their website. So $2 each is unbelievable! I was a little excited... I may have bought a few too many packages of strawberries, but they're just so good! Yum!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Movie Review: Up


Picture courtesy of the Up movie poster.

Last night the hubby and I had a last minute, low key date night to the food court and the mall AMC to see Up. Anything Pixar is great, so I expected nothing less. Plus, I had read a couple of interviews with the producers, discussing the Christian undertones of the movie - creations, relationships, marriage, etc. The movie definitely lived up to its expectations. The plot threw me off a bit. I guess I wasn't sure what the plot would be like. But the sweet messages in the movie almost made me a little teary.

Up
is a really sweet movie that touches the heart of humanity. We were made to be in relationships. The writers and producers definitely understand this, and I think that is precisely the point they tried to get across. Furthermore, the relationships woven throughout this movie are great examples; they are God-honoring and admirable. Up gets an A in my book.

Here's one of the articles about Up. The other was in the magazine, World, so sorry I don't have that one.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Book Review

Now that I am in summer school, which is way more laid back, and the semester is through, I actually have time to read for pleasure! My latest read: The Art of Racing in the Rain.

The Art of Racing in the Rain
is basically Marley and Me from the dog's perspective. It has a different story line though. Instead of being about a couple and their dog, it's about a man and his dog. The dog is with him as a bachelor, through his marriage, and throughout a lot of difficult time he faces in life. It's fun to see the dog's loyalty to his master/companion. The reader sees everything that happens from the dog's perspective. Sometimes you just laugh too at the dog's perception of the human world around him.

My uncle passed this book along to me, thinking I would like it. He was right. It's a great book. I read it in 3 days and would definitely recommend it!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Trip to Houston

This weekend we went to Houston for Brendon's sister (Meredith)'s high school graduation! Brendon's grandparents and aunt were all in town for the occasion, so it was fun to get to see everyone.

Going to Houston is always eventful because we have so much family, but we managed to see everyone! We even got to see my Tita, who was bit on Thursday by a copperhead snake! Crazy! We brought her dinner Friday night though, which was great. We also were able to make it by a friend's couples wedding shower, which was awesome, because we miss being able to see friends when we go in town!

And sweet Sammy actually played with Meredith's dog, Oliver. I was such a proud puppy mommy! Sammy hasn't been the most social around other dogs, but every time we went to Brendon's mom's house this past weekend, she initiated playtime with Oliver! And I think she's worn out because when I got up this morning for class at 6 am, I fed Sammy, but she didn't eat her food! She went back to bed with Brendon. Haha. Sweet girl!

Here are some pics from the weekend...