Category Archives: Fun

Exciting News! We’re Homeowners.

Monday was a big day for our family. After almost 9 years of marriage, my husband and I finally made one of our dreams and goals a reality: we bought our first home.

We actually moved into our home on July 31st because we had put in our 30-day notice with our landlord after being told originally that our closing date would be July 15th. It was a crazy day of loading up the moving truck, cleaning the old place, signing the temporary lease, unloading the moving truck, eating pizza from the local restaurant down the road, unloading the moving truck some more, dropping the moving truck off at the overnight drop-off, and falling exhaustedly into bed to get a few hours of sleep. It was very much worth it though.

We LOVE our new place. We have 1/2 acre of land, some of which is wooded and rocky, so it is perfect for privacy on that side. The largest portion of the backyard is fenced in which gives the kids and dogs a great space to run around. my husband is planning a chicken coop for us to build this winter so that in February we can get some chicks.

Looks great so far!

Looks great so far!

The area we are living in now has a LOT of deer. Because of the deer and the rocky ground, I will be needing raised beds and an enclosed are for my garden that I am planning for next spring. Something a lot like this:

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Our new house has 5 bedrooms. Our oldest is probably the most excited to have his own room. He plans to eventually decorate it with a Florida Gators theme. something like this:

The little 2 haven’t exactly settled on any special theme for their bedrooms. Right now, they’re just happy to have their own rooms and nice, big house.

Our bedroom will have a purple and grayscale color theme. I am a HUGE elephant lover so last week I went to Pinot’s Palette¬†with a friend and painted a fantastic elephant.

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It kind of turned into a Mardi Gras elephant and I like it! Also, the camera angle is off, not the painting.

Our kitchen is amazing, as is our master bathroom. I love that I now have a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer! I also love that our whole family can be in the kitchen and it doesn’t feel like we are on top of each other. The master bathroom has 2 sinks, a built-in vanity, a garden tub, and a shower. I’m pretty sure it is bigger than any living room we have previously had.

I am so pleased with this home we have been able to buy. Mostly though, I am looking forward to all the memories we will be making in this home. ūüôā

 

Here are some pics of our home:

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Master Bath – taken while still unpacking, hence the garbage bags on the floor

New Orleans Souvenirs on my Bathroom Counter

New Orleans Souvenirs on my Bathroom Counter

I LOVE my kitchen!

I LOVE my kitchen!

And I love my fridge/freezer.

And I love my fridge/freezer.

 

in the wooded area of our property

in the wooded area of our property

Playing "Wise Old Grandpa and Wise Old Grandma"

Playing “Wise Old Grandpa and Wise Old Grandma”

A Man and His Dog on the Front Porch

A Man and His Dog on the Front Porch

As we work on some of our projects over the winter, I will be sure to blog about them. I will share as much information as possible in case anyone is interested in using our ideas for their own.

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End of School Year Business Part 2

Phew! So, are you ready to find out what else my family and I have been up to this past month? Well, here it is! [If you havent read part 2 from yesterday, check it out here!]

 

On Memorial Day, the LBJ Library and Museum¬†was free to the public. So, the hubs, kids, and I headed out to check it out. I didn’t really take many pictures because I was too busy reading and explaining to my younger 2 children about all that “old” stuff (from the 60s!) that they had no clue about. I know I wasn’t alive back then either, but it is crazy to me how much of that stuff was still around when I was a kid (in the 80s and 90s) but is almost unrecognizable to my children today. They were very excited to learn that my grandma still has a rotary telephone that works. They plan on calling their daddy on his cell phone next time we go up for a visit. We really have made some incredible advances in technology in recent years.

Here are a couple pictures that I did take though:

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The other thing that kept me busy for a few days was our Beagle, Katie. About 6 weeks ago she had a random seizure that freaked me out and I took her to the vet immediately (thankfully it happened at noon). I didn’t really think to take a video at the time that it happened, so I just had to try to explain what I saw to the vet. She agreed that it sounded like a seizure and they did a few tests. All tests came back normal and I was instructed to get it on video if it happened again. Well, it did happen again, 34 days later. I was able to get it on video this time. It happened at 9:30 pm and Katie was back to normal very shortly after it was over, so I took her to the vet the next day. They watched the video and reviewed her test results from the previous visit and diagnosed her with Epileptic Seizures. No medication is required at this time because the seizures are mild and more than a month apart. If that changes, medication will probably be necessary to prevent them from occurring. Other than the seizures though, Katie is a healthy, happy dog. She loves our family and is adequately spoiled.

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I also just completed a 6 week Early Childhood Education class with my little guy, N. The class was 2 1/2 hours on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. It focused on teaching parents how to help their preschool aged children be successful in school. Here is the breakdown of all 12 classes:

Class 1

Introduction. What should I do before my child starts kindergarten? Ready for School Checklist

project: dream catchers

 

Class 2

Social and Emotional Preparation

project: feeling faces

 

Class 3

Phonological Awareness

projects: rhyming memory game and hearts

 

Classes 4 & 5

Letter Knowledge

projects: ABC visual, ABC visual (mixed up), name book, vowels book, name tree, ABC Bingo

 

Class 6

Narrative Skills

projects: 3 little piggies, sequences, story book dice

 

Classes 7 & 8

Math Skills – Numbers, Colors, and Shapes, Math in Our World

projects: math visual, counters, number book, shapes activity, bean numbers, number Bingo

 

Class 9

Pre-Kindergarten Science – Physical Science, Life Science, Earth & Space Science, Physical Safety & Health

projects: color wheel, popping pepper, weather chart, sink or float

 

Class 10

Vocabulary Skills

project: new words dictionary

 

Class 11

Print Motivation and Fine Motor Skills, Developing Writing Skills

projects: play-doh exercises, lace-up apple

 

Class 12

Review

projects:graduation picture frames and graduation caps

 

At the end of the class we had a little party/graduation to show off all the projects that we had completed over the 6 weeks. Each of the participating parents had to get up and talk about 2 projects, the child’s favorite and the parent’s favorite. It was a fun class to take and I really enjoyed making and playing with the projects with not only N, but his older siblings as well.

Here are some pictures of my spread of projects. It really was a lot of work over that 6 week period.

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My next post will be about awards ceremonies, my boys’ graduations as well as school year before and after pics.


End of the School Year Business Part 1

I wrote in my post the other day that I would share about how I have been so busy lately. Turns out that when you have kids in school, May can be as busy as November and December. Add the end of year school business to everyday life, and wow, it is a busy life for me!

So, what have I been up to?

For starters, I’ve been teaching my youngest child to read. I am using the same book I used with his older brother and sister, Tech Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann. I am so excited to be able to say that I have successfully taught all three of my children to read. My older children will sit and read for hours. My youngest doesn’t quite have the enthusiasm for reading as his older siblings (he’s like his daddy that way), but he is still very proud of his accomplishments.

Here he is reading a book for fun. I can’t even describe in the right words how happy this sight makes me!
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I also spent a day recently with my daughter doing a couple of activities that we both enjoy: running and shopping!

We started our day out going for a run with not one, but both of our dogs. We have a 62 pound Plott Hound named Roux-B (pronounced Ruby) and an 18 pound Beagle named Katie. Now I can’t hold both leashes at the same time while running (it is a skill I have yet to master), but O wanted to bring both dogs along. She was confident that she could run and hold Katie’s leash. So, I entrusted her with our smaller dog and off we went on our run. The first route we took was 1.83 miles. After that, we dropped the little dog off and took a water and potty break before heading out for our second run of the day. That route was 1.22 miles. O did an excellent job running! At one point when she had Katie’s leash, she tripped and fell, bumping her knee and chin on the cement. I asked if she wanted me to take the leash and head back home, but she just smiled and said, “No. I’m okay. Let’s keep going.” She is such an inspiration to keep going no matter what happens. Not just in fitness, but in all areas of life.

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Then, we went shopping. O had some money that she had saved from her birthday that she wanted to spend on new summer clothes for vacation. So, off we went to Old Navy and The Children’s Place to check out the sales. She ended up getting a total of 4 pair of shorts, 4 shirts, 2 dresses, and 1 pair of sandals.

After shopping, we went to Starbucks of some Frappuccinos (decaf for her). It was a fantastic day spent with my little girl who is growing into a fine little lady.

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Next up on our schedule was the school talent show. A, my oldest, did a comedy routine with his friend. The boys made the routine up themselves and it included green whipped cream “pies”. ¬†Here is the only picture I took as I spent the whole time trying to figure out all the 5th grade boy humor that all the other children thoroughly understood and enjoyed.

 

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My daughter also participated in the Talent show. She did a hula-hoop routine that was a big hit. She stood on 1 leg and jumped during parts of it. The song she used was ‘Let it Go’ from the movie ‘Frozen’.

Here she is during her routine:

 

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That is only part of what we’ve been up to lately. I don’t want this post to be too long, so I will be making this a 2 (maybe 3) parter. Stay tuned for more updates from the Payne family including a trip to an Austin museum, my classes I’ve been taking with N, our Beagle’s medical problems, and last but certainly not least: graduations.


Influenster #UniVoxBox Product Reviews

I am a part of an awesome program through Influenster where I get free products to test out and review. You can find more about it at the Influenster website.

Recently, I received the #UniVoxBox filled with fun products.
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Here’s what’s in the box:

NYC New York Color Expert Last Lipstick, Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation, Broadway Nails imPRESS Manicures, Pilot Acroball Pure White, Red Rose Real Tea Premium Water Enhancers, and Playtex Sport Fresh Balance.

 

Pretty much all of these products are going to get raving reviews from me. Here are my thoughts and experiences with each of these products:

 

 

NYC New York Color Expert Last Lipstick in Forever Fuchsia

Here was my thought process about this lipstick:

“Wow! That’s pink! It’s not just pink, it’s fuchsia. Forever Fuchsia! Who in their right mind would wear such a color in real life?”

“But, ya know, I’ve got to review it, so I guess I’ll give it a whirl.”

*after putting it on, along with the Rimmel foundation* “Wow! This actually looks pretty good on me! I feel really cute and girly. I may be a fuchsia lipstick kinda girl after all…”

*after receiving, not one, not two, but¬†three¬†compliments on my new lipstick* “I LOVE this color!”

The lipstick does smudge off a bit on contact (kids cheeks, water cup, husband’s lips, etc.), but it doesn’t really fade much. In fact, I could still see a bit of fuchsia on my lips when I woke up the next day after having washed my face the night before.

For the price of this lipstick, I will be hunting this down when I run out. I may even give a try to another color I would have previously blown off.

 

Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation in Light Ivory

I really liked this foundation. I’m not much of a foundation wearer because I don’t like the feeling of makeup on my face. This product didn’t give me that feeling ¬†at all. When it says “lightweight” on the tube, it means just that. The Light Ivory color was a bit too light for my skin tone. It was the color I picked because, if I remember correctly, it is the second lightest color they have available. I need to remember that I live in the south now, so I spend much more time outdoors in the winter and early spring months which leads to a slightly darker complexion than I’ve been used to for the large majority of my life. In hindsight, the Ivory alone or combined with the Light Ivory would probably be better suited for my new, darker skin tone. [Man, that last sentence really tells how¬†white¬†I am!]

The only downfall with this foundation is that it doesn’t have an SPF rating. I’m thinking it will remain in my cosmetic bag for date nights, but for times when I wear makeup during the day, I will stick with my Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-in-1 Beauty Balm¬†that has SPF 30.
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I am wearing both makeup products in the pictures above. I’m just loving that Forever Fuchsia still!

 

Broadway Nails imPRESS Manicures

Ok, so these are fancy press-on nails with fun, funky patterns. They also sell them in solid colors, if funky isn’t really your thing. I honestly didn’t like these at first. They were super easy to apply, but they felt way thicker than my natural nails and were thicker than the nail wraps that I have used (and liked) a few times. I did get used to the thickness though, and even with manually doing the dishes every day, they did last the week that they promised to. I received several compliments on these nails from middle school girls to grandmothers. They are about half the price of some of as the fancy nail wraps that I have seen sold online. I’d say when you factor in cost and value, these are a great deal to make you feel super fancy and girly even on a budget. With the variety of patterns available, there is something for everyone’s style.
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Here’s me, having fun with patterns for a Ladies Mingle at my church. The nails were a big hit!

 

Pilot Acroball Pure White Pen

Oh, a pen. That’s cool. I love pens! Seriously, I used to collect pens from drug reps when I worked as a pharmacy tech. So, as an unofficial pen expert, you can trust my opinion on pens. This baby writes smooth, like butta! The colorful grippy part is comfy too, so it works great when you have to take notes or write a long grocery list. I got a yellow one, but I definitely will be using my $1.50 coupon to buy a pack that includes turquoise and purple.

 

Red Rose Real Tea Premium Water Enhancers in Blackcurrant Raspberry

I am a tea lover! This is a concentrated blend of tea that you squeeze into hot or cold water These are lightly sweetened with cane sugar, but there is very little. One serving is just 1 gram of sugar and 5 calories, so it’s not gonna blow your “diet” or mess with your diabetes. Unless you just squeeze in the whole bottle, which I do NOT recommend. I tried this tea both hot and cold. I prefer it hot, but I also prefer all types of tea hot. If you are struggling to get in your daily requirement of water because, like many people, you just don’t like plain water, this is a great product to try. One squeeze and a little stir and you’ve transformed your water into a yummy glass of tea. Now just 7 more glasses of water to go…

 

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance

These are tampons designed with active women in mind. If you’re like me, working out during a certain week of the month can be uncomfortable. But at the same time, I’ve read lots of research (that I’m too lazy to google and cite at the moment, so do your own searching if you want specifics) that shows many benefits of working out at that time, including a reduction in cramps. Ok, I’m in! These tampons have an Odor Absorber (that’s how it’s listed in the ingredients) and a light fragrance to combat that stanky feeling you get when working out while dealing with your period. I used them during yoga and while running and had no problems. The fragrance and unidentified “Odor Absorber” might freak out some of the more dogmatically health conscious (or just your random skeptics) out there though.

 

 

I am looking forward to reviewing more products from Influenster in the future. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these products or if you are wanting to. ¬†Happy Monday!

 

 

 

*“I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.*

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Workout Journal – April 11

This week I had a small family emergency Monday evening. Because of the work involved with dealing with the emergency,  I didn’t workout at all on Tuesday or Wednesday. Also, my GPS hasn’t been working correctly, so all that progress I thought I was making so quickly wasn’t quite accurate. I was a bit discouraged, but I’m not going to let it get me down. I’m back on track now, but my workout journal is a little light this week. Here is what I did:

Saturday, April 5 – P90X Back & Biceps

Sunday, April 6 – P90X Yoga-X

Monday, April 7 – 4 mile run / walk

Tuesday, April 8 – Rest Day

Wednesday, April 9 – Rest Day

Thursday, April 10 – 2 mile run / walk plus 3 20-second interval sets

Friday, April 11 – 5 mile run / walk

Even though my workout schedule was a bit light this week, I still lost 1.3 pounds, 1 1/2 inches off my hips, and 1/2 inch off each of my thighs since my last weigh-in and measurements. And I had a margarita with a burger and fries on Thursday night while watching a friend’s band play. I know there’s that meme out there that says, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.” But I say: A “good diet” can’t do for you what exercise and moderation together can do for you.

Here’s a couple pictures from our night at The Oasis on Lake Travis Thursday night.

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My friend Ashlee and I with our Margaritas (hers was mango, mine was sangria).

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The beautiful view we had.

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Such a gorgeous sunset!

Go ahead and share what you did to move your body in a healthy way this week in the comments.


Setting Goals

Goals are SUPER important!

At the begining of the year, my husband and I set a goal to have a larger vehicle by the end of March. He worked side jobs almost every weekend in January and February and a few in March. All of the money he made doing that work went into a savings account and on March 30, we bought a van. We paid for it outright and have no payment weighing down on us. There are a couple issues with the van, so now we have a new goal which is to save and pay for the repairs before we go on vacation.

Another goal I have in my life is to be able to run (without a walking break) for a full 10K (6.2 miles). I’ve gotten up to 2 miles non-stop a couple of times recently. The progress is slow, especially as the Texas temperatures rise, but I am working hard to achieve that 10K goal.

I just finished a group study of Beth Moore’s So Long Insecurity. In the Group Experience companion book, she writes about Paul’s ultimate goal in Philippians 3:7-14:

The apostle Paul is both the ultimate idealist and the ultimate realist. He sees so clearly the fundamental goal of all who believe in Christ: to be found in Christ, to know Him, to become like Him. In other words, to be transformed! But Paul is honest enough to note that he’s not there yet. He doesn’t dwell on what is past, but he strains with all his energy to move forward. May we share his passion and his forward vision as we seek to leave a strong legacy for those behind us.

So now, like Paul, I’ll be honest: during the time of saving for a car, we were not always diligent.¬† There were times that we went out to eat when we should have put that extra money in the savings account. There were times when I bought a new lipstick or nail polish or shoes when I could have put that extra money in the savings account. There have been days that I didn’t get out to do my run first thing in the morning and I didn’t fuel my body properly so my run was not as successful as I’d have liked. But I can’t dwell on those things, I have to move forward toward the goals that I have set.

There are some goals, like Paul’s goal “to be found in Christ, to know Him, to become like Him” that are life-long,¬† ever changing, ever evolving goals. These are goals that, while alike in theory, they are very unique to each individual and situation as they are carried out in real life.¬† One such goal of mine, as a mother, is to see my children grow up knowing and loving and serving the Lord Jesus. It will not forever be my role to discipline and direct them, but I will forever be responsible for setting an example as a more mature believer and as their parent.

I’ve made so many mistakes already as a mother. I will make countless more as my children grow and mature. However, I won’t let those mistakes define my years as a mother. I will continue to grow in Christ, and therefore continue to grow as a mother. I will “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

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Workout Journal – April 4, 2014

Happy Friday!

It’s time for my weekly workout journal, so I’m just going to get right to it.

Saturday, March 29 –¬† I was planning on having today be a rest day because my legs were a little sore on Friday. However, after playing at the park and flying kites with the kiddos, I felt really good. So I decided to go ahead and do P90X Legs & Back.

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Fun flying kites!

Sunday, March 30 – 2.01 miles at a pace of 10:35 minutes/mile. I had planned on doing Kenpo-X later in the day, but my husband found a van online and we went to check it out. It took longer than expected, but we bought it. Yay!

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New van!

Afterward, my husband and I played some Frisbee Golf for 9 holes, so that was some active entertainment. The Frisbee MAY have gotten stuck in a tree for a moment or two, but we had a lot of fun together.

Monday, March 31 – P90X Kenpo-X

Tuesday, April 1 – Rest Day. I was planning on my 5 miles today, but then I found out about Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Whole Foods. I just had to take my youngest, so that left no time for an a.m. run. My scheduled P90X workput was X-Stretch and I knew I’d want to do that one after my 5 miles, so I took the rest day that my body needed anyway. Plus, how cute is this kid?!
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Wednesday, April 2 – I ran/walked 5.03 miles at a 10:26 min/mile pace. I ran all but the last two big uphill sections. My goal was to get it in under an 11 min/mile pace, so I am very pleased! I also did P90X X-Stretch and it felt REALLY good after that run.

Thursday, April 3 – I did 3 miles, plus 3 20-second interval sets. My total distance was 3.38 miles at an average 11:03 min/mile pace. It wasn’t my best, but I got it done. I also did P90X Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps. It’s still pretty hard for me. I’m working on increasing my wrist strength and flexibility so all those pushup variations will be a little bit easier.

Friday, April 4 – I didn’t get a run in this morning because my husband is away working so I couldn’t leave my little guy alone in the morning. I did do P90X Plyometrics though. That’s a rough one for me sometimes. I have to modify many of the moves so I don’t wreck my fragile knees, especially with all the running I’m doing now. Even with the modifications though, it’s still an intense workout!

I’d love to read what you’ve been doing this week to exercise your body. Feel free to leave a comment about it.

Have a fun and healthy weekend, friends!