Posted in life

Fall Bucket List

Even though it’s still about 9,000 degrees outside here, tomorrow marks the official start of Fall!! As I’ve gotten older, Fall has replaced Summer as my season of choice. There’s something about not sweating all of the time, shaving less often, and being encouraged to wear oversized (“cozy”) shirts that speaks to my inner self.

There are so many fun things to do in the Fall, so I’m joining a few bloggers for a Fall Bucket List linkup!

Simple ways to enjoy a

My graphic is a little tough to read, so let me break it down.

1. Go to a pumpkin patch/corn maze : Charlotte probably isn’t going to love this, but maybe if we start an annual tradition, she’ll be excited about it in the next couple of years.

2. Take a day trip to see the leaves changing : This one was Will’s idea. I don’t know if we’ll go to East Tennessee or stay around here, but I think this one will be fun!

3. Go to a football game : I’m planning to go to my work’s homecoming game in a couple of weeks, so this may be the first one I check off the list.

4. Learn to make my own pumpkin spice latte : I’ve been starting to eat healthier and save more money, so if I can learn to make one that I like as much as a certain coffee chain PSL, then I’ll be in Fall overdrive!

5. Decorate for Fall : I stole this one from Leslie! Now that we’re getting settled into our house, I want to bust out all of the Fall decorations!

6. Buy a mum!! : I have always loved mums. There’s something about them that just says Fall to me. I never bought one at our other house because there wasn’t a good place to put one on the front porch (it was pretty much just a landing and some steps), but now we have an actual front porch with chairs and a little trunk. That trunk needs a mum on it!

7. Find a family Halloween costume theme and take Charlotte to a couple of events : I don’t know if she’ll be interested in trick or treating this year, but we can go to a couple of the Halloween family fun festivals (phew, that’s a mouthful!) that pop up every year. And, as far as a theme, I’m open to suggestions. I’m sure I can convince Will to go along with whatever theme I choose! 😉

8. Cook a healthy Thanksgiving dinner : Since I have been eating better, I want to maintain momentum through the holiday season. Thanksgiving will be the first test for me, so I want to plan a healthy menu and stick to it.

9. Participate in a 5K : I had planned to do one this coming Saturday, but little girl has an ear infection, and I don’t think she’ll enjoy being out in the hot weather with tons of people while she doesn’t feel well. I may set my sights on a turkey trot. Then I may throw a splurge or two into my healthy Thanksgiving menu!

10. Plan/host Happy Holigames : Part deux…haha. We had a games/snacks party last year that was so much fun! We’ve got some ideas for this year’s event already, so we just need to pick a date and start planning. I know this sounds like a Winter event, but last year we had it the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so it’s totally Fall related!

Have any Fall plans of your own? Leave a comment or join the linkup! I’ll be back on October 21 with a progress report!

Posted in life

The Daily Dime : September 2017

Ack! I haven’t posted a Daily Dime since June! I took pictures last month and started a post, but it just didn’t quite come together.

Before I dive in, I have a couple of other things to mention. First, The Guys Behind The Blog linkup is next Thursday! We haven’t had a lot of participation for the last couple of months, so if you’re a blogger and want to participate, check out my link above for the questions.

Second, I posted this on my Instagram account earlier tonight, but I had to share with everyone here. The picture below is what happens when you don’t poke enough holes in your spaghetti squash when you’re heating it in the microwave. I even made a joke to Will about how I wasn’t sure if I had poked enough holes in it but I would find out if it exploded. Sigh. At least the microwave is clean now…

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Now, on to the Daily Dime! These pictures were from last Monday, which was a regular workday with nothing special going on.

One//Around 7 AMIMG_20170911_075942
Mom, Charlotte, and I went to Goodwill and Walmart the day before these pictures. I have a really bad habit of leaving shopping bags on the floor until I need/want something out of them, so Monday morning, Koopa decided to get things out of the bag on his own. He ended up finding the dog toys I had bought for him. Oops!

Two//Around 8 AMIMG_20170911_082413
Coffee station! It’s a work in progress since we haven’t unpacked all of our coffee mugs yet, but I like how it looks so far. Eventually I will do before and after pictures of our house…eventually…

Three//Around 8 AMIMG_20170911_082341
Had to get a mama/Charlotte selfie!

Four//Around 9:30 AMIMG_20170911_090057
Charlotte is relaxing in her chair at Grammy and Pop’s house, drinking her shake, and watching The Wiggles (Wiggles are life right now!). She looks like she doesn’t feel well here. 🙁

Five//Around 10 AMIMG_20170912_141907
I got my planner out of my bag, and this book was in my purse. I took a couple of pictures with the intention of using one for the blog post that I was working on about it, but I didn’t love how any of them turned out.

Six//Around 1 PMIMG_20170911_125623
Lunch with Will! We had a free Pick Two from Panera. I don’t want to think about how much we’ve spent there lately to earn a free Pick Two…

Seven//Around 7 PMIMG_20170911_220143
Fall towel. Easing into my fall decorating since a lot of my fall things are still packed.

Eight//Around 8 PMIMG_20170910_193154
Charlotte hasn’t been feeling well for a couple of weeks, so she was super cuddly last week. But, cuddling doesn’t stop her from stretching across my legs and playing with her toy!

Nine//Around 9:30 PMIMG_20170911_215726
I went to the basement/garage to look for something,and Koopa followed me. This picture is a little blurry, but he looked so cute in it, I had to share!

Ten// Around 10:30 PMIMG_20170911_224021
Doing some blogging with a little assistance from a Raspberry Ale. It was pretty good, but not as good as the drinks my husband picked out.

And, that’s a wrap for my Monday!

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Linking up with Kristin, Kristy, Kerry, Chelsea, Sarah, Jennifer, Courtney, and September’s guest host, Jacqui

Posted in motherhood

Train Up a Child Tuesday : The Introduction

I’m so excited to introduce a new monthly feature – Train Up a Child Tuesday! Every month, Anna Bachelder from Train Up a Child will share an article related to motherhood, raising a child, or a related topic. I’ve known Anna for a few years (we used to attend the same church), but I’ve only recently gotten to know her better through her Facebook group and her business. We worked together earlier this month to sleep train Charlotte, which was a roller coaster experience that I will write about next month! I wanted to have Anna post here each month to give people a new perspective on parenting and to give everyone a monthly break from hearing me talk. 😉 Take it away, Anna!

After my daughter was born like any parent, my entire life was turned upside down. My heart was softened, my emotions were all over the place, and my hormones I don’t think will ever be the same. I could not believe how amazing this little baby was to me, and how different I was after having her. See I have worked with kids, mostly ages 6 weeks to 5 years old since I was old enough to baby sit. Every job I have had since I was 16 has been working with children, except a 2 year sales job where I was pretty much miserable. I worked as a nanny for several different families, worked in day cares, after school programs, I have a degree in elementary education and I taught kindergarten for a few years; anything you can imagine with kids, I’ve done. So I was as prepared as I could be for this mom thing, but being a mom was so different. Now I was the one setting the stage, setting the schedule, buying the clothes, and the one responsible for this sweet little life that I wanted to be perfect in every way. Of course I knew that wasn’t possible, but as close as I could get is what I wanted.

I went back to work after 3 months and after about 2 months I decided that I had to stay home with my daughter. Our families financial situation was changing to allow that to happen and I just couldn’t bear the thought of missing that much of her day every day. It was just not in me to spend all that time with other people’s children, while my own was getting taken care of by someone else. When I started to stay home I of course started hanging out with other stay at home moms and knew that God was stirring up something in me, I felt he had something for me, but I just wasn’t sure what it was yet. I decided to start a mom’s group on Facebook called “Mama’s Village” (which anyone is welcome to join) where mamas can give and get advice without judgement and where I would give little tips and advice of my own about once a week.

This started to unfold into a ministry for me and I was able to use all of my education and experience to help moms and children that needed and wanted my help. I started getting some serious testimonies and results, so I thought I should go ahead and dive into what I felt God had just unfolded before me and start “Train Up a Child”. “Train Up a Child” is such a ministry to me and so much fun and so rewarding for me. I get to help people with one of the most precious gifts and treasures God has given them and watch their children and parents blossom into all they can be! What a privilege and honor!

Train up a Child has unfolded into a full program of materials from prenatal to 5 years old. We start with day one of baby being born and take you all the way to kindergarten. This information is not just made up, but it is researched and if the program is followed, has always been successful. We give you coaching and material to get you through the newborn stage of schedules and routines and understanding what a newborn needs and then take you to the baby stage and the developmental changes that occur, and transitioning to solid foods, then to the dreaded toddler stage and how and when to deal with discipline, then go into ages 3-5 and the developmental hurdles that occur, along with academic prep and making sure they are ready for kindergarten. We also help get baby to sleep through the night at any stage they are in from about 4 months to 2 years old. God has just designed this from beginning to end and I stand amazed at what he has done and how he has allowed me to use my gifts and experience to help families with their most prized possession, their children.

If you are interested in the program or want more information, feel free to email me at annabachelder@trainupachild.care or check out my website – trainupachild.care – where you can check out testimonials and learn more about what I do.

Thanks, Anna! If anyone has parenting questions or topics they would like to see Anna write about, leave a comment or contact me!

Posted in Linkups

School Pictures : A TBB Talks Linkup

Hello everyone! I’m returning to the land of the living after spending most of last week with some kind of sinus funk sickness. I even took Thursday and Friday off work (aren’t you proud of me, Jen??) because I had just hit a wall…and I was crying a lot. Does anyone else cry a lot when they don’t feel well? As my dear husband put it, I had ugly cry face and sick face. Thanks, babe.

Anyway, I’m back now and ready for this week’s TBB Talks post – all about school pictures. I was pretty excited about this one for reasons you will see in this post. I had planned to go down to our basement over the weekend and look through yearbooks until I remembered something glorious that used to hang in my parents’ hallway.

Framed picture of my first grade through senior year school pictures.

Awww yeah. A nearly complete picture of Amber through the years. I don’t know why this frame doesn’t include Kindergarten, but rest assured that I was adorable in Kindergarten. Adorable.

Let’s take a closer look at these beauts.

First grade! I pretty much looked identical to this in Kindergarten, so you’re not missing too much. I can see Charlotte in my face a little bit. I don’t know if it’s the cheeks or what, but I’m glad that there’s actually a little bit of proof that she’s my child too…

Second grade! I feel like we missed a memo that it was picture day and forgot to brush my hair. That’s how my hair looks pretty often these days, so I guess I’m just throwing it back a few years.

Third grade! This has a little bit of a glamour shots vibe to it. I’m digging the outfit and the hair over one shoulder. I think I was leaning on a pillow too. I guess the photographer took it up a notch that year.

Fourth grade! You can see my tie here, but what you may not be able to see is the sweet vest that was also attached to the shirt. Fourth grade me evidently meant business.

Fifth grade! Why yes, I am wearing the same dress that I had on in the picture from last week’s TBB Talks Linkup, thank you for noticing.

Sixth grade! This is the stuff dreams are made of. I had a bowl cut, was trying to keep from blinking, and let’s just be honest – that dress is a little low cut. I believe this is my pinnacle in life…

Seventh grade! My hair grew a lot from sixth grade. I really have nothing else to say after that last picture…

Eighth grade! I guess picture day was on St. Patrick’s Day that year (199?…such a mystery…unless I do some math). Current me is ashamed of eighth grade me and her lame attempt at wearing green.

Freshman year! This seems like a pretty generic picture. Carry on.


Sophomore year! Look at the tilted head and attitude. Give a girl a bob and a silk dress and she thinks she’s unstoppable…

Junior year! Sweater vests are for winners. Could I BE any more preppy? (Points to whoever gets that reference…)


And finally we have Senior year! I remember going to Sears or JC Penney to do my senior pictures because it was cheaper and you had more of a selection of backdrops and outfits than the school associated ones. I also really liked my hair here. It’s the little things in life!

Hope you enjoyed this journey down memory lane! I would love to see school pictures from any of you who follow me here or on Facebook!

 

Posted in Linkups

Amber Can Read : September 2017

Amber Can Read

Books read this month : 4

Book 1 : The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod

I’ve heard a few people talk about The Miracle Morning, so I finally decided to read it and see what the hype was about. It was interesting, and I can see this being something that I’ll get into when Charlotte is a little older and we have better routines.

Book 2 : The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian P. Moran

This is another book that I’ve heard mentioned pretty frequently. I liked some of the concepts in this one, but I was a little confused by the rest of it. It may be one to reread and see if I understand it better the second time around.

Book 3 : Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff

I wrote an entire post about this one, so I don’t think I need to recap it yet again!

Book 4 : The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae

I heard an NPR interview with her and thought she was hilarious, so when I saw this book at work and realized that it could count for my  book with a mostly yellow cover Erin 7.0 book, I had to check it out! This was one of those books that I stopped and started a few times, so I don’t think I liked it as much as I would have if I had read the whole thing over a couple of days.

I read all nonfiction this month! I need to throw some more fiction in there!

Read anything good lately?

I’ve used affiliate links in this post. Want to know what means? Check out my disclosure policy.
Linking up with Steph and Jana

Posted in life

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything

I am worn out.

I wanted to start this post with a fun story about to-do lists or all of the things that women have to do in a day, but everything I wrote kept falling flat. I would reach a certain point and try to transition into talking about my main points, and the words just would stop.

So, I took that as a sign that I need to be real with everyone.

I have been struggling lately. This is a really busy time for me, and I feel a little bit overwhelmed and like I am starting not to be able to handle everything. I feel off-kilter and frazzled. And when I’m frazzled, do you know who suffers? It’s not the relative strangers and acquaintances I encounter daily.

It’s my husband.

It’s my daughter.

It’s my family.

It’s me.

I have determined one big reason why I am burnt out : I want to “do it all.”

I want to be a great wife, a fabulous mother (to the human and non-human children), a hard-working employee, a successful writer, in fantastic shape, have a spotless house, read often, cook real meals for my family, have a daily quiet time, volunteer more, clean up my blog and website, and sleep more, among other things.

Just reading that makes me tired.

So, it’s time to embrace a new life motto : I can do anything, but I can’t do everything. I have to have balance.

I recently had the chance to part of a book launch team for Finding Your Balance: An 11-Lesson Bible Study“>Finding Your Balance: An 11-Lesson Bible Study by Sandy Cooper.

(Yes, I was on two book launch teams at the same time – this one and Finish. Add that to the list above…)

I started reading the digital copy I received, and I didn’t get too far into it before I jumped online and ordered it. If you know me, then you know I don’t really buy books, but I just needed to own this one.

I haven’t read much of the book yet, and I haven’t started using it as a Bible study yet, but I’ve already gotten so much out of the content. There is a section where Sandy talks about how if we look at our daily lives, things look out of balance, but if we look at a weekly picture, we’ll realize that things aren’t so bad.

There’s also a section where she discusses how she accepts the busy seasons in her life but plans around them. For example, when she has had a few days in a row of dealing with a lot of people, she will plan a bit of an introvert day to make sure that area of herself remains balanced.

I can’t wait to dig into this and start realigning myself for the good of everyone around me!

Sandy has created great resources for her new book, including this book trailer :

She also offers a sample chapter so anyone who isn’t sure if this is the study for them can read a little more before committing to buying it. Check out the sample chapter here.

Sandy is starting a virtual group on Facebook on September 25. It does cost $10 to join it, but I think it will be a good investment when it’s tied into the book and led by the author!

Is achieving balance a myth? It sure is, and I can’t wait to drop the balancing act and regain some sanity!

I’ve used affiliate links in this post. Want to know what that means? Check out my disclosure policy.

Let me know if you’re joining the Facebook group on the 25th, or if you would like to meet locally to discuss the possibilities of a study, just let me know!

Posted in Linkups

Favorite Teachers, Classes, and Memories : A TBB Talks Linkup

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When I was in elementary school, there were a few teachers that you did not want to have. Their reputations as strict and mean teachers made them feared, and some teachers even had nicknames that everyone knew (Freeman the Demon is the one that stands out to me). I don’t remember a lot about my early elementary years and those teachers, but I do remember fifth grade when I was assigned to one of these teachers : the dreaded Mrs. Henry.

Fifth grade was many, many years ago, and I don’t remember why other students said she was so mean. I think she supposedly yelled a lot, but I probably would yell a lot too if I taught fifth grade! I remember being nervous about being in her class and probably a little anxious about it. But, as most elementary school rumors, it turned out that Mrs. Henry was not the dragon that people made her out to be. I’m sure that the rumors were started by some of the students that always got in trouble, but for me, young, brown nosing Amber, I had a great experience with her. So much so that I even helped her at her yard sale, which now seems really weird to help your teacher with, but at the time, it was really exciting!

Compare that to sixth grade when I was put in Mrs. Reese’s class. I was so excited to have Mrs. Reese! She was really nice and if I remember correctly, everyone really liked her. She moved up in ranks to become the assistant principal at my elementary school, and we have kept in touch throughout the years. She even came to our wedding reception! I was so fortunate to have two great teachers to finish out my elementary school years because junior high wasn’t my favorite!

While junior high and high school weren’t the best years for me (nothing in particular…just the awkwardness of being that age and not having a ton of friends), I did have classes that I enjoyed. I always liked English class. I guess considering my current career (librarian) and my favorite hobby (writing), that shouldn’t be a surprise! I really liked Creative Writing class, which I got to take during my senior year of high school.

What may surprise people is that I really like Criminal Justice classes also. I was in the Criminal Justice club and even thought I was going to major in Criminal Justice in college (the journey of all of my majors is a story for another day…). I had a Criminal Justice teacher in high school – Mr. B. – who was fun and engaging, and he was consistently one of the favorite teachers at my school! I follow his blog now and read about the adventures he and his wife are on. It’s so funny to think of my teachers as actual “people.” I know that might sound weird or ignorant, but I think that people have an image of teachers not having any kind of family, hobbies, or anything beyond the classroom. I used to have that perception!

It’s harder for me to think of my favorite memories. I always felt a little awkward and out of place throughout school. I do remember taking a field trip to a local them park (RIP, Opryland) for a science class in junior high. Even though we had to fill out a workbook, it was so much fun to get to escape school for the day! I also enjoyed performing in plays in high school. That was the main extracurricular activity that I participated in, so I’m sure my memories have been swayed by that fact!

Getting ready for an elementary school dance. Check out that sweet built-in choker…

I hope that when Charlotte starts school, I can help her keep up with these things. I have bits and pieces of memories, but I think it would be fun for her to be able to explore these things a lot more when she’s an adult. That’s a really nerdy type of fun, but I’m going to own it!

How about you? Who were your favorite teachers? Any classes or memories stand out for you? Leave me a comment and let me know!

P.S. Finish comes out tomorrow! Want to know more about it? Read my review of it!