Black Friday

One of my favorite days of the year!! This year was especially nice, since it was the first time in 4 or 5 years that I haven't had to work, while the other shoppers were out there getting all the fabulous deals that I was missing out on!! The past two years, I was even motivated enough to get up early and go shop for a few hours before reporting to work. Let me just say that by closing time, I was really feeling it.

Here are a few of my personal secrets to success for a successful Black Friday shopping experience:

1. This morning we hit up the Walmart in Oakland at 5:05 a.m. and got almost every item that we were after! Last year, we went to the Walmart in Cordova at about the same time, and they were sold out of EVERY item we were after. So, all in all, it was worth the 20 minute drive!
2. We also went to Target, and it was CRAZY! Most of the day the line extended to the back of the store. We weren't really buying any big ticket items, so it wouldn't have been worth it to wait in line for 2 hours for what we had. However, I decided to go see if they would check us out in Jewelry. There were about 6 people in front of us, and we ended up waiting in line for about 2 minutes.... 3 tops. If you were one of the ones who stood in line for 2 hours... well, I'm sure you're not thinking kind thoughts of me right now, but I'll bet you'll try my trick next time!
3. If you go somewhere like Walmart, Target, or BestBuy where you have to pick up the "big ticket" items from behind the counter, ask for several. I asked for 3 of everything, and ended up finding out that friends needed some of those things.
4. Remember your phone! My mother-in-law accidentally left her phone at home, and this is definitely one of those days when you need it! It's crazy out there, and you're likely to get split up or have to split up out of necessity. She ended up resorting to asking strangers to use their phones. People were surprisingly nice.

All in all, if you're up for it, willing to push through crowds, and not afraid what people think of you as you're sprinting through the store (yes, if you saw someone doing this today, it may have been me), it is more than worth it! When else could you get a $100 digital picture frame for $30 or 13 black wooden frames for $1 each? No other day, my friends, than my beloved Black Friday.

As a side note, I saw an amazing camera today that is my DREAM camera, and I purchased it. The bad thing is, I already have a REALLY nice camera that I just got for Christmas last year. It's a 10 megapixel Kodak, with a lithium ion battery, and carrying case. I really can't justify buying a new camera, unless I can sell that one. So, I'm saving the receipt in case I have to return it, but I am REALLY hoping that one of you may be in the market for an ALMOST new 10 megapixel NICE camera for $60 OBO! It is in PERFECT working condition, and is normally sold for $139.99! For those of you who don't care to fight the madness on Black Friday, this would be an AMAZING deal! Please spread the word and let me know if anyone is interested. I would be more excited than you could even know!

Did you get out and go shopping this morning? What was your best deal?


What's Cookin'?

I'm at a loss this morning. I can't decide for the life of me what I want to cook for Thanksgiving! We have one event on Thursday and one on Friday, which means that this year, I'll actually have a minute to sit back and BREATHE and not feel like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off! So, I'd like to make something really fun and delicious for each event, but can't quite decide what to do! I LOVE desserts, so may go that route, but really am open to anything. Any fun ideas? For you Secrets gals, I may go with the yummy white choc brownie cheesecake! What do you think?



10:15 ~ Rendezvous at Starbucks for some caffeine and amazing New Moon cupcakes, thanks to Steph!
10:40 ~ Head to the theater... can you just feel the anticipation building?
10:50 ~ Get in line
10:55 ~ Much to our surprise, we're already allowed to go in the theater!
11:00 - 11:55 ~ Twilight Taboo, complete with 200+ custom made Twilight related Taboo cards and super cute prize bags for the winners.
12:00 - 2:25 ~ AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!
3:00 - 6:00 ~ 3 VERY short hours of sleep before miss Allie decided she was awake and not interested in going back to sleep! Ah!

Last night, we left the kids with their dads, loaded up all of our supplies, including games, awesome prize packages, Twilight candy for everyone, adorned in our matching handmade shirts, and faces covered in glitter (of course!) Do we sound like teenie boppers to you? Perhaps. Maybe we're worse. I did find it interesting that our group of 15 consisted of all age groups from 20's, 30's, 40's, to 50's!

Was it worth it, you may ask? Well, to quote my Papa, "Is the pope Catholic?"

Yes, my friends, it was worth it (and trust me, very few things are worth giving up my precious sleep for, so I don't say this lightly!) This is one movie that lived up to all the expectations plus MORE! In my opinion, it was 10 x's better than the first one, which is saying a lot, because I loved the first one! It is so true to the book, which is a huge plus. The special effects were amazing! AND, get this, when the vamps are supposed to sparkle, they ACTUALLY do (unlike in Twilight, where you can hardly tell anything is different!)

People of all ages and all levels of dedication to the story (meaning the one of our group who had never read any of the books or even seen a full preview for New Moon and the one of our group who went and re-read New Moon -the whole thing- yesterday) will LOVE this movie. Oh, yeah, and don't worry, I'm not the one who re-read New Moon yesterday.... that would be embarrassing! (I mean, yes, the first time I read it, I read the whole thing in one day, but that was just because I didn't know the story... the other two times I re-read it, I took at least 3 or 4 days to finish...) I sure am glad I'm not one of those fans... (please note: sarcasm galore) At any rate, trust me people, you will NOT be disappointed.

Here are a few pics from the night. Go buy your tickets. now. In fact, maybe we'll see you there tonight! After all, what kind of wife would I be if I didn't go see it again with my hubby? Two times in one day.. ah what a sacrifice! =)

We were told by someone that our shirts were the best ones of the night! Glad mine is still clean for tonight's show!

Twilight Taboo! (I'll be happy to email you the set, if you'd like your own for your movie-viewing experience or twilight party.. just leave a comment with your email)

The winners! Prize bags consisted of kisses from Edward, hugs from Jacob, toothbrushes for when you need "a minute to be human", dazzle dust, Tomato soup Type O Blood, and much more!

Awesome Red Velvet cupcakes by Steph!! All had different New Moon quotes on top with "forks".

The group (not pictured are our moms and mother-in-laws, but yes, they were there)


The Twilight Saga: New Moon Giveaway!!


And, the winner is: Jenn Randomly @ S Muse Designs

Yay! Happy movie-viewing, everyone!

As you can see from my sidebar, The premier of New Moon is just days away!! To celebrate, I am offering a


For the premier, we're going to the midnight showing, playing games, eating twilight cupcakes, and even wearing handmade new moon shirts (as seen above)! Then, I am a bit ashamed to admit, that I'll be going to the 7:00 showing on Friday night, so my hubby can see it, as well!

To help make your New Moon viewing experience a little more fun, I've put together a little prize pack (note: items are taken from ALL 4 books, not just New Moon). The winner will receive their very own "TABOO": Twilight Edition, including over 200 Twilight-related Taboo cards! (All you need to play is your own Taboo buzzer and timer (these are not included!) These were made by me and are not to be perceived as being associated with the actual Taboo game. The winner can choose whether they want their cards mailed along with their prize pack, or if they want the cards emailed to them, so they can have them in time to play while waiting in line for the midnight show! )

What else is included in the prize pack?

(Kisses from Edward & Hugs from Jacob)

And what Vampire-prize pack would be complete without some body glitter?

Want to win? You can do any or all of the following for a chance (Be sure to leave your email in your comment!):

1. Leave a comment telling me what your favorite New Moon quote is.

2. Leave a comment telling me what your plans are for seeing the movie.

3. Leave a comment telling me what you would put on a New Moon t-shirt.

4. Leave a comment telling me who your favorite character is and why.

Winner will be chosen on Wednesday night by Random.org



I know kids are starting out with cell phones earlier and earlier... but this is ridiculous!


Sneak Peak

Thanks to Smart Cents Mom, I found out about how to get free passes to a sneak peak for the movie, The Blind Side. Eric and I went last night and loved it!

It is the story of Michael Oher, who was essentially taken in off the streets by a Briarcrest couple (played by Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw), who saw a need and used what God had given them and did something about it. They took him in as one of their own children, and it turned his life around! He began playing football at Briarcrest (interestly enough, I just found out that he played while I attended high school at ECS, Briarcrest's biggest rival!), went on to play at Ole Miss, and is now playing for the Ravens in the NFL.

The movie is captivating, touching, and humorous! I highly recommend this! While the movie is rated PG13, I felt that it was MUCH cleaner than a lot of PG movies. This is a great family movie choice, coming out just in time for Thanksgiving! It releases on November 20, and since I realize MOST all of you will be seeing New Moon that day =), you can plan on seeing this one the following weekend over Thanksgiving!

I will note that while the movie does make it obvious that the family are Christians and the private school is a Christian school, there is no overt Christian message other than "doing this is the 'Christian' thing to do". Ah.. I guess that's Hollywood for you! Nevertheless, it was no disappointment!



I recently read the book Redeeming Love.... for the fourth time. Yes. You did read that correctly. Now to some, reading a book once is enough... if they REALLY like it, they may re-read it. I'll readily admit that 4 times is quite excessive, but I assure you that I walk away in tears and with a renewed appreciation of God's astounding Grace each time! It is a life-changing book. If you haven't read it - do! I happen to have several copies, if you need one! =)

The first time I read this book, it transformed the way I viewed myself. I had struggled with a time of rebellion in my early teen years, and by God's grace alone, escaped a lifestyle that was quickly spiralling out of control. I had re-commited my life to Christ and was set on serving Him, but still saw myself as "tainted". It's funny how the Enemy will encourage you to sin, while you're sinning, by telling you that what you're doing isn't so bad, and then when you decide to turn your life around, he'll change his tactics all together and try to make you feel like scum for the things you had done. This is where I was when I first read this book. Apart from the Bible itself, God hasn't used another piece of literature in such an astounding way to transform my thoughts. This book, apart from being a riveting story that you don't want to put down, pulls at your heart as you read the story of a girl, who was sold into prostitution at the age of 8 and grows up not knowing any other way of life. While most people can't relate to prostitution itself, many can relate to being caught in a sinful way of life, with no way out in sight. God used this to make me see myself in a whole different light. I knew my sins had been forgiven, but somehow I couldn't really see myself as completely forgiven and whole. How freeing that was in my life!

A friend recently told me that she had read this for the first time, and that it had been life-changing for her, too. This was a bit puzzling to me, at first, because she didn't have a "past". She went on to explain that it helped her see how she could practically live out and show God's grace and redemption to others, as the main character in the book had done. I decided to re-read it with this in mind. Who knew that after reading it 3 times before that God would show teach me new lessons this time? It was encouraging to see how living out God's grace can be life-changing to those around me, but it also reinforced the truth that God alone saves. There is nothing that I can do to save someone, but if I let Him, God can use me along the way.

Grace is often a misunderstood thing. Some use it as license to do what they will - after all, by God's grace, they'll be forgiven anyway. Others see their "upright" lifestyle and credit it to their strong morals and self control. I pray I'll never forget where God has brought me from and were it not for grace, where I'd be!