Saturday, November 19, 2011

Twilight Date Night

I've been working a lot lately (more on that later - that's why I've taken a little blog hiatus) and haven't had much quality time with the hubby. So, last night we, along with a couple hundred other people - mostly screaming teenage girls - went to see the latest Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part I.


We weren't crazy enough to go to the midnight showing, but we went on opening night.  I am no Twi-hard or whatever they call themselves, I just think the movies are really good. Though I think I need to read the books, but I was definitely not ready for the 'out there' aspect of Breaking Dawn Part I.  It was very different than the first three movies. Overall an ok flick though. Doesn't help that Edwards character looked pretty darn good in his tux during the wedding scenes.  I'm not into that whole Team Edward, Team Jacob thing, but if I had to choose, it would definitely be Edward. 

Anyone crazy enough to go to the midnight screening?  Thoughts on the movie? (I hear it followed the book very closely.)  Or could you care less about Twilight?

-M

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Morning BFF

I start each and every morning with a Pepsi.



(insert massive sigh of relief here)

There I said it. I feel much better now.

I hate to admit it, but I have become one of those people who can't get through my morning without my daily dose of caffeine. We're talking 8:30 and I am about to pass out from caffeine withdrawal. 

And while we are admitting things, I might as well admit that I sometimes have one in the evenings too.

Yes, I just said that.

I sometimes have two sodas in one day. 

I have to say, there's nothing better than sitting down after the kiddo goes to bed with an ice-cold glass of soda and your favorite TV show.

[Ok let's be honest here, I never just sit and watch TV; it's more like watch TV and pay bills, or watch TV and make Hannah's 2nd birthday invite (more to come later!!), or watch TV and edit a proposal for work. I am the QUEEN of multi-tasking, ask my husband!]

What? Soda is bad for me? I should really drink water instead?

You know what, I don't care. I am perfectly happy with my one (often two) sodas a day and the extra ten pounds I am carrying around because I drink them.  Why cut out something that gets me through my busy day and makes me happy?!

So, there ya go. A random admission on this Tuesday morning from a soda-loving gal.

What about you? What helps you get through the morning?



No, Pepsi did not compensate me for this post. All opinions are 100 percent mine. Though I wish they would, I could lifetime supply of free Pepsi! I would be a great spokesperson!! :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Celebrating A World With More Birthdays

This past Friday was the annual Marshall County Relay For Life.

For those who don't know what Relay is, it is one of the American Cancer Society's signature events that raises money for cancer research and to provide services for cancer patients.  The event is held from 6 pm to 6 am, and participants from different teams take turns walking around the track all night, symbolizing the fact that cancer never sleeps and we must keep fighting until we find a cure.

My mom is a survivor of Hodgkin's Disease, so I was introduced to Relay at a young age. I remember being so enthusiastic about raising money and staying up all night. I think I was really just excited about the prizes you were awarded based on the amount of money you raised. The thought was there, but at that time, I had NO idea how cancer would affect my life.

Fast forward at least 15 or so years, and my thoughts on the Relay are completely different. I am on the planning committee, helping to coordinate an event that brings in over $50,000 for the ACS (and supports local patients and families).  I was involved each year I was at K-State (and even chaired the ENTIRE event one year) and am now involved again here in Marshall County. I've been Relaying for more than a decade, and I just can't get over the love and support present at that event each and every year. I bawl at the Opening Ceremonies and the Luminiaria Ceremony every year. Yes, we are celebrating life, but we are also mourning the loss of our family and friends who have died from this horrible disease.



In 2004, I lost one of my very best friends to cancer. I truly believe the good Lord above brought Lucas Wetter into our lives for such a short time for a reason. He was such a vibrant and amazing young man and I learned so much from him in his short lifetime. He taught me to be present in the moment, have fun, love your friends and family, and most importantly, to not take anything for granted. My fondest memories are from climbing trees and playing outside with Lucas as a child, with not a care in the world.

I lost my Godfather Slim to cancer two years ago this December. Despite his gruf and tough exterior, Slim was a softie and loved his family very much. I still miss his tight hugs and the smell of his aftershave.

Most recently, my friend Courtney, has been battling breast cancer. She is the most positive, inspirational woman I have ever met, besides my own mother, and I have no doubt she'll beat this disease because of her faith and her positive attitude.

In addition to those mentioned above, both my Grandpas, two Aunts, one Uncle, three of Joe's grandparents, and countless of my friends have been touched by this horrible disease.

All of these people are why I Relay.

I Relay in their honor, in the hopes that we will someday have a world with less cancer and more birthdays.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Hello. My Name is Mrs. Whitesell and I'll Be Your Teacher This Evening...



Yep, you read that right.  This past Wednesday night (as in two days ago), I taught a class. Well, two actually.

I taught two sessions on Couponing through our city's sports and recreation department. 

And let me tell you, it was a little nerve wracking!

Being up there in front of about 25 people (twice!), might not seem that hard to some people, but I was definitely a little shaky.

I am a PR gal.  I'm the girl behind the scenes carefully crafting statements and planning events. I am not usually the one that talks in front of people.

I did know some of the people there, so it wasn't too bad, but I am still proud of myself for going outside of my comfort zone and teaching the class to some wonderful ladies.

And it's definitely something I am passionate about. I started using coupons in 2007 and was hooked. When I was pregnant with Hannah and realized how expensive having a little one would be, I really got into planning my trips and stocking up when I got a great deal.  Now, I am a seasoned 'couponer' and love that I have cut my family's grocery bill by more than HALF.

Yes, you read that part right too. HALF.

So, when you see me out shopping with my big ol' binder, know that I am pretty proud of being a crazy coupon lady! ;)



Now for the most important part:  this Saturday is Stamp Out Hunger, a program through the United States Postal Service that collects food for your local food pantries.



So, when you are out scoring great deals at the grocery store today, grab some extras and set them by your mailbox. Or raid your pantry and set out a big box of food. You'll be helping those less fortunate.

Have a good weekend!
-M

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Whitesell Family Update

Haven't posted for a while. Life's been pretty crazy around the here. So, I thought I'd give ya an update on the happenings of the Whitesell household...

First off, we put our house on the market.

Isn't it cute?
If you're interested in a cozy 3BR, 2 Bath house, email me! ;)

So, we've been busy cleaning and making small updates so we could get it ready to sell.

I have been traveling for work a lot - as in almost. every. week.....which is fine, I love my job, but I have already been to KC more this year than I did in 2010 total!

Joe's been busy at work. They always seem to pick up this time of year. Maybe more people have athletic injuries as the weather starts to warm up?

Hannah keeps us the busiest. She is running, climbing, jumping, talking and testing us every moment of the day. And I LOVE it.  She just keeps us on our toes!

Easter 2011

Coloring Easter Eggs. She had a blast with the crayon.

Go Royals!

Reading - her favorite activity. Note the crown on her head...ha!

Plus, I am preparing to teach a class next week on Couponing and Price Matching. I am super excited to help 40 ladies learn to cut their families' budgets! I save 65 percent on average of my monthly grocery budget - and I want to help others do the same! :)

It's been a busy spring already - and it's just going to keep getting busier!

So...there's a little update on our family?
How is everything in your neck of the woods?

Monday, March 28, 2011

An Amazing 18 Months

Where in the world has the time gone?!

My little girl turned 18 months this past week.

18 mos
Hard to get an 18-month-old to pose...

18 months.
1.5 years

Wow.  Time sure does fly.
(Cue cheesy, sad remarks.)

Birth

I knew parenthood would be quiet the 'adventure', but no one could have explained to me how amazing it is to have a child.  I am so completely blessed to be the mother of such a smart, beautiful, joyful little girl. And blessed to have an amazing husband and partner on this journey.

Don't get me wrong, we have our days here at the Whitesell household.

Hannah is at that phase where the only way she knows how to express herself is to launch her cup across the room or throw her crayon at my face when I tell her she can only color ON the paper. And it is easy to get frustrated and mad, but then I remember that she doesn't know how else to tell me she is done eating and doesn't understand that you don't color on the carpet.  I love watching her learn knew things and express her personality.
(just waiting for a crayons on the wall incident....)

And the good days far outnumber the bad. I mean FAR outnumber.

She stacked those all herself!
Double-fisting the waters.

The time spent reading countless books, playing Tickle Time, having dance parties and talking rides in the wagon are so great. Amazing how your idea of fun changes after you have kids. Hannah is really getting into 'coloring' (aka scribbling) - what is more relaxing then coloring?! 


And you should see her dance the moment the music turns on! I need to figure out how to put my videos online. You are seriously missing out on some total cuteness!

Loving on Violet

Each day I spend with this kid, I learn something new. About her. About myself. About the world.

And life couldn't get any better.

Happy 1/2 Birthday Boo!
Love, Mom

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Facebook Withdrawal: I just want to tell the world what I'm thinking!

So it's been just over a week since I took the plunge and gave up Facebook for Lent.

I am not going to lie, I've been missing it. 

It hasn't really been that hard, but I definitely wish I could log in. I need my FB fix.

I actually had to log in twice - once to reply to someone about a Relay For Life question.  And another to respond to a message about a fundraiser for a friend with breast cancer. 

Both valid reasons. Both great temptations.

And I am not going to lie - I skimmed that screen shot of the news feed closely.
I didn't scroll, but I was tempted. ;)

This past week, when we've taken a great picture of Hannah or I had one of those this-is-the-greatest-thing-I've-ever-seen-moments, I've longed to type some words in that cute little 'status' bar.

So...one week down.  Five to go.
Bring it.

-M


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Life without Facebook?

Facebook. 


Seems like that little 'F' icon is everywhere these days.

I don't think I remember what life was like without Facebook.

I signed up back in college because I was headed to study abroad in Spain, and thought it would be a great way to keep in touch with friends back home and friends I was making overseas.

And I did exactly that. It's a great way to keep in touch with your friends and family. But I didnt' spend much time on it back then.

And then they introduced the News Feed.....

At first everyone hated it.  But then, people realized it was an easy way to stalk your friends and see what they are doing every day.

Admit it, you do the same thing. I admit it fully.
I LOVE the News Feed.
It's addicting. 
I can't get enough.

So why am I talking about Facebook? 

Well, my blogging friends, I am giving up Facebook for Lent this year.

Gasp! Did she just say she was giving up FB!

Yes, I am giving up the world of social networking for the next six weeks.

Might be an unusual thing to give up, but when I started thinking about what to give up this year, it just seemed logical.  I spend entirely way too much time on there - patroling the news feed and checking out my friends' latest statuse updates and photos. Time that could be spent keeping up my household (have you noticed I am totally slacking on Toni's weekly challenge?), spending time with my family, and dedicating time to God.

So, I have challenged myself to stay off of FB for the next six weeks and devote that time to something meaningful.

Who knows, I might have so much free time I won't know what to do with myself? :) 

Not likely.

I'll try and frequently update my blog with my progress! Wish me luck!

What about you - what are you giving up for Lent? 
Or if you don't practice that, what are your thoughts on giving up Facebook? Would it be difficult for you? I'd love to hear from you!

-M


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Home Management Binder

I'd like to think that I am a pretty organized person when it comes to paperwork. Problem is, I have papers and important information in several locations. So, when Toni over at A Bowl Full of Lemons challenged us to create a Home Management Binder I decided to give it a try!

The only thing that I had to buy for this project was some tabs. The rest I had on hand. I used a binder, some scrapbook paper and my awesome new labeler that I got for my birthday! (Thanks Mom!)


I found this cute paper in my scrapbook supplies. The picture isn't very good -but it is lime green and gray print. I kinda have a thing for green!


My sections are:
To Do
Cleaning
Schedules
Finances
Medical
Contacts
Gifts
Daycare
Blog

 I used a mix of free printables I found on the net and some that I made myself. I will try and add links where I found the printables.


To Do: 
I have a lot of To-Do Lists lying around. I wanted something I could customize for a certain day of the week or a certain task, but didn't see anything that worked for me online. So I decided to make my own. 

Cleaning:
I also made up my own cleaning schedule that I could change/edit as needed. I made weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly lists. 



Schedules:
No printables here. Just work and church schedules. These were previously hanging all over my fridge, so it's nice to get them off of there!

Finances:
I made a monthly checklist for each of my bills. My list has the bills typed in, but this is blank for my privacy.
Medical:
I found this printable at Tip Junkie. 

Gifts:
I start next year's Christmas shopping extremely early....like December 26th. So I like to keep tabs on the gifts I have picked up throughout the year (and not just for Christmas). So I typed up these sheets (of course mine are filled in with the names of my family members) to help me keep track of what gifts I have already purchased.

Daycare:
I keep H's daycare schedule and important papers.

Blog:
I am really just getting started with this blog, but eventually I'd like to do a scheduled daily post. I need to start writing down all my ideas on this handy sheet from I Heart Organizing.


I may do a Menu Plan section as well. After seeing everyone else's info, it has motivated me to create a weekly meal plan. I need to try it out for a couple weeks and see if it is beneficial to me.



Well, that's my Home Management Binder.
Hopefully it will prove to be helpful in keeping all of my important info in one place!

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Bit of Thanks

As Kansas prepares for the 'Blizzard of 2011' that is supposed to bring us anywhere from 3-12 inches of snow (seriously...can't all you weather people get on the same page?) on top of the layer of ice that is already on the ground, I was thinking today about how thankful I am that I have the opportunity to work from home. 

When we moved back to Marysville in 2008, my boss was also getting ready for maternity leave, so Turner gave me the chance to continuing working for them remotely while she was out on leave. Those three months went well, and they decided to make it permanent.

Three years later, I am still working remotely, traveling to KC on an 'as needed' basis. All I need is my computer and an internet connection and I am good to go.

Seriously, I love my job.

Love the people I work with.
Love what I do.
Love that I don't have to leave my warm house for the snow, wind and freezing rain happening right outside my window.
And love that I get to sit at home in my comfy sweatpants and sweatshirt in front of my computer with Sirius XM the Blend blaring in the background.
that's my current music fix...changes on a weekly basis ;) 


In today's economic and employment situation, I am EXTREMELY fortunate that I even have a job, let alone an employer that allows me work from home nearly three hours away.


 That's all. Just a little random note of thanks on a Monday afternoon.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Here We Go Again! Challenge Accepted!

In case you missed it, I participated in the 21-Day Organization Challenge over at A Bowl Full of Lemons.  Toni hosted an amazing challenge, and as a result, my house is on it's way to total organization!

ok, well, maybe not totally organized... ;)

Missed out? That's ok, because Toni is getting ready to host a new weekly challenge over at ABFL.  I'm excited for this one, because it will involve bigger projects, but we'll have a week to finish them. 

Ready to jump in and get organized? Click here or visit a A Bowl Full of Lemons to get started!  But, hurry, it starts on Sunday!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 21: Your Choice.....Coupons

WOW!  Today is the last day of the 21-Day Organization Challenge over at A Bowl Full of Lemons!

Hard to be believe just a few weeks ago, my house was in complete disarray and totally un-organized.

And now it is...um....semi-organized?!?  It is - but there is still MUCH more to do!

No, truthfully, the organization in this house has greatly improved. The 21 tasks, whether small or large, have made my daily routine more efficient and just down-right easier. 

Thank you Toni for hosting such an awesome challenge! Can't wait to get started on your weekly challenge! There's always something more to do to keep/get this household organized!

Thanks also to all the other bloggers for their supportive comments! And for giving me such great ideas!


Now...on to Day 21.

Toni told us to pick our own challenge for today - to highlight something that we have organized at our house.

So, I chose kind of a weird thing...my Coupon Binder. I keep it very organized - it really never gets to out of shape.

I started using coupons in 2008 when my husband and I moved into our first home. Money was tight as we purchased needed items for our new place.  I say that I truly started 'couponing' in late 2009 when I found out I was pregnant with our first child. 

(Isn't there some statistic that says it takes $250,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18? If that doesn't make you want to save money, I don't know what will!)

When I first started using coupons, I used one of these small photo albums. I just grouped like items together. It was small and easy to throw in my purse.


I qiuckly outgrew that binder as I started using more coupons, so I grabbed an old binder from college, picked up some cheap tabs at a back-to-school sale, bought some baseball card holders, and made up this binder.


I have 16 different tabs, such as snacks, soup/bread, baby items, pet items, etc. This is the best way for me to easily find the coupons I need as I am creating my shopping lists.


I am not an 'extreme' couponer by any means, but I estimate that I have cut my grocery bill in half by using coupons and pairing them with store sales.  I also price match other grocery stores' ads at Walmart (since Walmart and our small, local grocer are my only choices for shopping).

Couponing does take time and patience, but has definitely proved to be worthwhile for my family.


And that's a WRAP! We're done!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 20: Photo Organization

Day 20 of the 21-Day Challenge is organizing your photos.

I love digital photography, but it makes it WAY. TOO. EASY. to just put your pictures on your computer and not do anything with them.

I'm just a little behind in printing photos...the last time I printed pictures to put in Hannah's album was LAST Christmas...yikes! I've got a lot of work to do.

I know Toni's organized her physical photos, but before I do that, I need to organize my photos digitally.

I don't have any before and after pictures since I did it all on my computer

In my Photos folder, I made individual folders for each year. Then underneath that, I made folders for each month. Then within the individual months, I made folders for events

For example, September had  Hannah's Birthday, K-State Football Games, etc.)



I think this is the best way for me to organize my photos so that they are easily accessible.

I'm not completely finished (this is a lot more than a one day project!), but I have a great start! When I am done, then I can move on to ordering actual printed photos!!  Now that will be quite the task!


ONE MORE DAY!!

Day 18: Keepsakes

Today's challenge is to organize your keepsakes.

I'm embarrassed to show the picture of where I was storing Hannah's keepsakes.

Before...

Yes, that is a Hallmark bag full of stuff.

It's embarrassing.

As I am sure all you mothers out there know, the weeks (and even months) after your delivery is exhausting, hectic, exciting and stressful - and maybe even more so when it is your first. You don't have a lot of time to organize.

So, when Hannah was born, I threw all of her greeting cards, ID bracelet, baptismal items and all other keepsakes in this bag.

And then I just kept throwing more and more in there until it looked like this:



So, needless to say, I was glad that Toni over at A Bowl Full of Lemons included keepsakes in her 21-Day Challenge.  This stuff was in desperate need of organizing.

I went simple - with stuff I already had - since I'm not sure if it will stay this way as she gets older and begins school. (I love how Toni did her binders!)

I labeled each hanging folder with an individual year and put in manila folders for significant events within each year (i.e. birth and baptism in Year 1). I also included pregnancy to have a place for my Belly Book and my sono pictures.

I don't love it, but it is a lot better than it was before!


Check out the other posts at A Bowl Full of Lemons!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 19: The Master Closet

I'm going a little out of order, but this is what I had time for today.  Hope to complete the keepsake organization tomorrow.


Day 19 of the 21-Day Challenge over at A Bowl Full of Lemons is to clean and organize the master closet.

Thankfully, since my back is feeling better, Joe and I were able to complete this task today while Ms. Hannah was sleeping.

Joe and I share a big closet.

My side before...

Joe's side before...

Joe's books from PT school were in there - we moved them downstairs to a bookshelf.


My side after...
(you can't tell from the picture, but my clothes are now coordinated by like colors - great idea from the other posts!)

Joe's side after...he organized his clothes his own way.

Joe and I both filled a garbage bag full of clothes to go to the Habitat Thrift Store.

Got these bins for my clutches/purses. The work great - now I can see everything.


Whew! Glad that task is complete!

Day 17: The Mail

My back is feeling much better today. After three days of twice-a-day physical therapy and very little time out of the recliner, I am moving around better and without a lot of pain. My unofficial diagnosis was most likely a pinched nerve in a muscle in my lower back.  All I know is that I was in a lot of pain and I am feeling much better!!!



So.....on to Day 17....better late than never!

The Mail Station.

Simply put, I don't have one.

Remember my messy desk from Day 2? That's my mail station. Stuff just gets thrown into piles there and I feel like I sort through things about ten times before I do something with it.

So....I have placed an order for one of these (well a couple parts of it).....and it should be here in a week or so...


Gotta love Pottery Barn!

I'll try and post pics after I get it set up.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Taking an Unwanted Break....

So today is Day 18 of Toni's 21 Day Challenge....yet the last task I've completed is from Day 16....hmm.

I really want to complete this challenge.

And I do believe I still will.

But it might be a few days late, because I can't get out of my chair.

Really....I can barely move without excruciating pain shooting from my lower back down my legs.

I worked out on Wednesday night to Jilian's 30 Day Shred (like I've done before) and when I woke up on Thursday, I could barely get out of bed.

And it has now been two days of horrendous back pain.

Every time I bend or twist, it about sends me to the floor.

So I have been confined to my recliner per my Physical Therapist's (aka the hubby) orders. 


I have been following everyone else's progress (and getting some great ideas!) and will cheer along from the sidelines. I'm just hoping that I feel better by Monday so I can jump back in and finish what I started!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 16: The Fridge

Hannah was sick today and had to go to the doc for a horrible ear infection. And our office closed early due to the snow....though I work from home, so how does that affect me? ;) 

It was just one of those days where you just want to curl up at the end of the day with a glass of wine and snuggle  with your hubby.  So.....I was lucky that I had completed today's challenge about two weeks ago and I could do just that!

I don't have any before pictures, but picture too many condiments, food crumbs everywhere, and a big puddle of red wine sitting at the bottom of the fridge.  Gross.

So Joe and I took everything out. We cleaned all of the shelves/drawers and went through all of the food.

Much better now.


I don't have any fancy containers or anything, but to be honest, with just three of us, it doesn't get too messy and unreasonable.


Happy Hump Day!