Monday, November 30, 2009

Little Froggie

Everyone I know is having babies these days. This is my friend Mandy's sweet baby. He was two weeks old when these were taken. I'm still hit or miss and lighting is everything.. This particular day, the lighting was just perfect in my upstairs room and I was really happy with how these came out.. Still, my consistency needs improving. I win a few, I lose a few.. But I'm only going to show you the winners of course.

Mandy is one of those smart mommies that came up with nicknames for her children and doesn't use their real names. Whoops, didn't think of that. I don't guess it matters much as both of my girls have names that half the little girls their ages have. For the record, Emma is my grandmother's name. I had it picked out long before the tv show "Friends" named their baby Emma.. Just for the record..

Anyway, you can check out little Froggie over at Life's about a Dream

Such a handsome little bundle of joy!!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Giveaway-- Hopper Dog

The other night, we went into Learning Express. Chloe immediately spotted this little bouncy dog, ran over and hopped on and went to town. She bounced all of the store chanting "this is fun, this is fun". I started looking around for the box they came in and found the price tag of 49.99. Now these things are the cutest things I've seen in a while but, me, being the cheap person that I am decided to wait until I got home to see if I could find them cheaper on the internet. So I began my search and found a seller on ebay selling them for 27.99. Then I had this thought.. Hey, I've been doing reviews on my blog. Maybe this lady would want me to review a hopper dog for her. So I emailed her and told her that I was going to buy one anyway but was wondering if she was interested in doing a review and sent her a link to my blog. Her reply, if I bought one, she'd send me an additional one to giveaway.. Fair enough.. But, since I wanted one for my neice Wynn and Chloe and still wanted to be able to give you a chance to win one, I ordered two, and got one free. What can I say? I love you guys!

So, now is your chance to see your kids bouncing and having a ball just like my kids are in this video:

But, if you know that you've just got to get every little person on your Christmas list one of these adorable puppies, and you don't want to wait to see if you won one, then you can e-mail Susan at and tell her what you want and she will send you an invoice for your order.

So how to win: Same as before, for one entry, leave me a comment telling me who you want to have the hopper dog and for five additional entries, post my giveaway on facebook, twitter or your blog. The winner will be chosen via and announced on Friday, Dec. 4th (wow, how crazy is that? We're almost in December!)..

Merry Christmas!!!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And the Winner Is....

The winner of the Crayola Color Explosion Glow Dome is KRISTEN!! Congratulations Kristen!!!

Check back soon for a chance to win a HOPPER DOG!! If you haven't seen one of these, they're the cutest thing ever!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Black Friday Shopper's Guide

Still trying to decide if I'm doing the Black Friday thing.. Guess it depends on what my Thanksgiving visitors want to do. But, since I know that so many of my blogger friends are doing Black Friday shopping and all my coupon resources are flooding my inbox with Black Friday information, I'm going to try to compose them all in one place. I will add to it as I receive them. If you know, of something not listed, by all means, share please!

So here is a list of links that you might find valuable in your Black Friday preparations. Some of these sites are so busy that they're timing out. If you have a hard time getting into them. Try checking back during a time that isn't primetime.

Black Friday Explanation and Tips

Black Friday Complete Store Flyers
-- Go here and you can see the Black Friday Ads.

Black Friday Buying Guide
-- Find out which store has the best deal on the item you want.

Walmart has a Canon Rebel deal online right now (1:40 p.m. 11/24) for $499. Don't know how long it last

Black Friday Store opening times-- Different stores have different opening times. Find those here

Black Friday Coupons:
Bath and Body Works Free item with a ten dollar purchase.

Gap-- 20% off. Now through 1/30/09

Old Navy
-- $10 off $50 or more (THURSDAY ONLY)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bitterness-- Wishing for Another's Harm while Drinking our own Poison

This is something I've had on my mind for a while. There are so many people that I know that are hurting.. Things from their past... things from now. And often forgiveness is hard to find. Bitterness is by far the most harmful of emotions. It leads to so many other things.. anger, hate, need for revenge. It grabs our own sense of reason and distorts it in way that justifies actions that we could never otherwise justify. It is a wedge between us and God. It is a roadblock on the path to us becoming what God wants us to be. It becomes our master, and us, it's slave..

I've mulled this over in my head for months now. I have no eloquent words of inspiration. But, perhaps the words that broke my heart on this matter will do so for you too. The video clip that I'm posting is divided into two segments. Together, they are around 15 minutes. That's a long time to spend on a blog post.. I know that.. But it is my prayer that if you are struggling with bitterness towards someone, that you will find a quiet 15 minutes to watch and listen with an open heart.. It may change your life. It did mine.

May our hearts be open to give the forgiveness that Jesus so freely gives to us.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Crayola Giveaway!

You might imagine that when I opened an e-mail from Myblogspark and they were offering to send me these three crayola products review that I didn't have to think twice.

We are always looking for ways to explore our artistic creativity that doesn't involve my walls at the Ellis household. So I jumped on the deal just as fast as I could.

I was so excited to receive the box with our goodies inside complete with batteries taped to the boxes! These people know the way to a mom's heart! They couldn't have come at a better time as we were plotting through the stormy days we experienced when hurricane Ivan was coming through. It was just perfect that I was able to pull out the Crayola Color Explosion Glow Dome on a yucky day when Emma came in from school. We were definitely impressed. Though it comes with templates, my little artist decided to march to the beat of her own drum and draw hearts and stars.. It has a piece in the middle that she colored and then she colored the outside dome . Once the dome was put in place, we flipped this little switch and the light show was just what we needed to brighten up our gloomy afternoon.

And as for what my girls thought about the other two items, I'll just let you see that for yourself:

All of these items would make wonderful gifts for the artist in your life. And here is your chance to win one of them. Crayola and Myblogspark were so kind as to also share with my readers and are allowing me to also give away one of the Crayola Color Explosion Glow Domes.

To enter, simply leave me a comment telling me what little artist you have in mind as recipient of your gift. For five additional entries, share about my giveaway on your blog, or facebook page or twitter. Giveaway will end Wed. Nov. 25th.

You can also visit HERE and register to win all 6 of Crayola's new holiday products and a Caribbean cruise!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And The Winner Is....

Brianna at Castleberry Tales. Brianna, e-mail me at with your mailing info and I will send it on to Zondervan.

For those of you that wanted to purchase the book, you can do that HERE.

And check back soon for a chance to win the Explosion Glow Dome, courtesy of Crayola and Myblogspark.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Maybe it's the Hopeless Romantic in me...

Though it's been repressed, there is a part of me that still believes I can make a difference.

I'm still thinking about the Donald Miller clip that I posted a couple of weeks ago. If you didn't see it, You should. It's effected every action I make with my children.

I began to think about how Miller's thoughts applied to me and I recalled a time when I was a teenager. I was sixteen years old and was working as a waitress in a little small town diner (side note: waitresses have possibly the worst job in the world. Tip them well. You have no idea the kind of crap they've put up with that day. And no, dirty old man, I will not "stick my finger in your coffee and make it sweeter") Anyway, when I was working at this little diner, a man came in on a particularly slow day, allowing for more conversation than was usual. After talking to the man for a few minutes, I learned that he had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion and that he was working heavily on a campaign to raise money for a cure. It wasn't long before the impulsive passions that control teenage actions was evoked in me and I was working on a plan of my own to join him in his endeavors. I just knew that I could make a difference. I knew that I could take my little envelope to church and to my teachers and guidance counselors and that the world would be changed, starting in a small town of Springville Alabama.

I wish more than anything that I could tell you that I am one of those dynamic personalities that can sell ice to eskimoes. That I was a vibrant motivator that could just naturally pull out the goodness that, in my heart I know, lies within each and every individual and help them forget their inhibitions and the times that they were told that they couldn't make a difference, make them forget the moments in their own lives that made them cynical.. I wish I could tell you that that was the turning point in my life that made me realize that God put me here for something much bigger than myself. But in reality, it was a different defining point all together. As you might have already imagined, my efforts were not greeted enthusiastically. And, for a cause as taboo as AIDS was at that time, not only were these efforts not well supported, they were mocked with questions like, "well how did he get AIDS"? I remember knowing I was being seen as naive as I argued in defense of this man that I didn't even know, but was so actively playing a role in the shaping of my heart. And I know now that the question of whether or not this man had done something to deserve to contract AIDS was not a good one.. Was actually a horrible one. Quite contradictory to any question that Jesus would have asked.

My mom drove me to meet up with the man and I ashamedly handed him my envelope with a measly $50 in it (tip money and money given by my mom). And I began to buy into a lie that the best thing for me to do was to look out for myself because that is what human nature does, becomes a rat race to get to the top.. A dog eat dog world. One where everyone believes that the hand you're dealt is the one you deserve.. Until it's one's own hand that is and that, is where the story almost always changes.

By the time I graduated high school, I had diluted Christianity to a set of rules. A check list of rules that made me cringe at the thought.. A set of rules lived by people that I didn't much care for. A set of rules lived by people that looked miserable and looked bent on keeping everyone that they came into contact with miserable as well. A set of rules I could never check off of my list. And being convinced that I could never be good enough to be accepted by that God, I determined that I might as well make it good because I was going pay for it when I died. And maybe, if I was lucky, I could say that magical prayer on my way down that asked God for forgiveness for all my sins and then God would have take me. Thus, saving me from that burning fire that I had been so commonly threatened with.

I haven't said all of this to tell you how horrible the adults in my life were. I have wonderful parents that love me and support me. I had wonderful teachers that constantly demanded better from me. I had wonderful friends come into my life that I now know were praying for me continuously. I have in-laws that prayed for me even before I was born. And somewhere something stuck because God continued to knock and since knocking wasn't enough, he rang the door bell by having me fall in love with a youth minister. And if him being a youth minister wasn't ironic enough, he was/is a man that loves me more than I ever knew possible. So much more than I ever deserved. And slowly but surely, I've let those childish dreams back in.. And I do believe that God has chosen me.. He's chosen me as my husband so often says, "to partner with Him in his dream for the world". He's chosen me for an abundant life.. Not just later on but for now.. And I truly believe that if I follow Him, not in proving my point or that I'm more "spiritual" than others but by actually dreaming something better for this world and refusing to accept anything else. If I forgive others of their sins as Jesus does me.. If I love in a way that others don't understand. If I stand for the least and defend the defenseless. If I feed the poor. If I truly walk the direction that Jesus walked, then I'll experience what it was that God wanted for us when He put this whole thing in to play. It won't be money or fame or power.. But more likely a security of not needing money or fame or power. It will look so different than the way we've always pictured Joy to look. And that is why it will be more wonderful than anything we could possibly imagine.

Do you know that passion that is so difficult to deal with in children? Yeah, that passion.. The thing that leaves them crumbled in the floor in a fit? The thing that causes them to run and throw their arms around us and sob when we're leaving? The thing that makes them burst out in song as they're playing in the bathtub? The passion that we spend most of our adulthood wishing we could get back? Well it's there in our children.. It's there in the lemonade stand. It's there in the tower of blocks. It's there in the bouquet of weeds that they pick. It's there when they want to stop to pick up the trash that someone else threw down. It's there in the dollar store beads they give us for Mother's Day..

Lord please forgive me for the times when I've made small of their passions. And as they get older and become more passionate, please help me to help them keep that passion and to have it too.. And please teach me to guide them to use it in the way you want them to..I'm so gratefully yours.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Along Came You-- Review and Giveaway

Since it's nearing Christmas, I am receiving a lot of opportunities to review products. I've had some questions as to whether or not I would save the products for Christmas gifts for my girls. While it would be very nice to get my girls Christmas presents in this way, the whole point of the reviews is that companies can hopefully sell these products for Christmas.. So, we've gotten busy trying these things out..

Zondervan Publishing is one of my favorite companies that I've worked with. Adam has been doing reviews for them for a while. He slipped his contact my blog address and I got an e-mail from her saying, "just go to our site and let me know what books you're interested in and when you read them, let me know if you'd like to do a giveaway". Um, AWESOME? I still find myself asking, what's the catch? Am I going to get a charge on my credit card if I don't return it within the 60 day trial period? But, no charge. It still blows my mind that companies give me things just for me to give them my opinions on them. It's like a marketers dream. Anyway, This allows me to pick out, up front, books that had topics that I was interested in and could be pretty sure I could give an enthusiastic review. So I picked out three books and got them just a couple of days later.

"Along Came You, did not disappoint". This truly may have become my favorite children's book of all time.. Except, I'm pretty sure that it's benefits are more for me than my children. It is definitely my favorite parenting book of all time. I don't know about you, but in a world where success is often measured by dollars, I sometimes need reminded of the value of the job I'm doing. While I do think that this book serves the purpose of helping children see the sacrifices a parent makes, more importantly, it was reminder to me of the priceless benefits that come from doing such a sacred job that pays in love. The book's only downfall is that I can't seem to read it with out becoming a big emotional mess.

It's beautifully illustrated pages along with the author's fresh perspective of being a mother left me with a reminder of the amazing joy that being a parent provides and a heart much bigger than, before children, I ever felt capable of having. In "Along Came You", The writing clearly illustrates that often, simple phrases carry such great meaning: "Before you, my home was decorated in style. After you, my home is decorated in love. Before you, the biggest thrill at the amusement park was riding the roller coaster. After you, the biggest thrill is seeing your face when you are finally tall enough to ride. Before you, I slept all night long. After you, I wake to watch you sleeping.

But, you really can't get the full impact that book presents without seeing the words along with the illustrations. So click below to see a sample.

Now, for your chance to win a copy of your own. To enter, simply comment, leaving a way to contact you in the case that you win. For an additional entry, blog about the giveaway or post it on facebook and come back and leave a link to your post. The giveaway will end on Wed. Nov. 18th. The winner will be chosen at random using


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Deals and Matchups

To inserts in today's paper (1) Red Plum (1) Smart Source

Rite Aid


Publix penny item: Publix Oatmeal.

Also, for you Black Friday shoppers (which I AM NOT), here is a link to all the ad scans that have been released as of now.

Black Friday Ad Scans

Listed so far, Kohl's, Kmart, Lowe's, Old Navy, Sears and Toy's R' US.

Thank you Lynn for this information. I'll send you my list and save myself a nervous breakdown. :).

Monday, November 02, 2009

October Family Photos

My computer cord had one too many pulls from my kids and now it won't come on. I will be limited for a few days to computer use in the mornings and evenings which really isn't that bad of an idea anyway.

We had a great Halloween. Chloe refused to wear her costume but you'll see from the photos that we came up with a pretty creative idea of how to deal with that and we now have a great picture to put in her senior ad when she graduates high school.

Emma had a different idea of a character that she wanted to be every day for about a month but she finally landed on Pippi Longstocking.

Since Adam needs to get off to work, I thought I'd quickly throw up a link to our October photos in my smugmug account. I think I need to start watermarking my photos anyway, considering there is a painting of my children being sold on ebay. You can see that here: weird...

Edit: The auction has been ended on ebay. You can still see the painting if you click on the link and scroll to the bottom. For those of you that wanted to know how I knew about it, Adam's mom had posted the picture on her facebook page. The lady messaged Lynn with the link to the auction and told her not to feel obligated to buy it but of course, Lynn did so she made bid on it. When I told Lynn that I thought it was unethical if not illegal, she messaged the girl and asked her to remove it and she was very kind and removed it, no questions asked. I don't think I would have minded so much if she had done a private auction but I didn't like it so much that Lynn was trying to buy a painting of my girls to keep someone else from buying it. But the lady is an artist and she's saw an opportunity and acted before she thought about it. People are hurting right now and sometimes, desperate times push people to desperate measures. All is well, no one was hurt.

Until we meet again, enjoy the pictures. Perhaps I'll get some extra things done around the house.

Click Here to see all of Octobers photos