Sunday, July 31, 2016

Meet & Greet Monday

I don't typically post on Mondays...until now.  My favorite thing about blogging (and most unexpected) has been the friendships I have developed with other bloggers.  I have decided to restart a series I began in January (when I began blogging) called Meet & Greet to introduce you to a few of my favorite bloggers.  These girls are must reads for me, in fact a few of them, I even text and email throughout the day quite frequently.  If you're not already a loyal reader of these blogs, I hope you'll discover one you love!

First off, my friend, Jessica, from Live.Love.Reality.  I am so thankful for Jessica!  We have become friends in real life and actually had dinner together last week.  We laughed and bounced blog ideas off of each other, and even have plans for a link up in the near future.  If you aren't familiar with Jessica, you will love her!  She has a strong faith, an adorable family, and a love for life!

Meet my friend Jessica...

How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start blogging?

Almost 10 years, and it's hard to believe. I started my first blog in May 2007 so that our extended family could see pictures of their grand kids.  Blogging was also a social outlet at that time and a lot of my friends were blogging as well. It's a great way to share life with others.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

I recently changed from Blogger to Wordpress and at that time I wanted to go with something that reflected what mattered to me and what is a good representation of my style.  Life, Love and Reality… lets face it, we are not perfect moms and it's more fun, and easier, to just be yourself and enjoy life's reality.

Of all your posts, which one was your favorite to write and why?

I loved the Christmas Post I wrote in July.  I love doing posts about memories from our past and reflecting on fun family memories. It helps put things into perspective to look back at where you came from and understand where you are now.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Matthew 7:12  Very difficult sometimes, and I don't always succeed in that, but it's always a great guidepost.
I also really like this one... Put your big girl panties on and deal with it.

Let’s pretend a big TV executive called you up and wanted to feature you on a popular talk show each week.  Who’s talk show would you want to appear on and what would your segments be about?

Today Show - They would invite me because I did some kind of amazing service project that got national news. I'd talk each week about how to engage your community through simple ideas and turn service to others into part of your life.

What are your go to’s?  In other words, I’m going to give you a scenario when you might find yourself in a time crunch…tell me the first thing that pops in your head.

You need an outfit and you only have an hour to find it.  What store is your go to?

Old Navy

Friends are coming over for dinner tomorrow night?  What’s your go to entertaining meal?

Chicken and Pasta – crockpot meal

You are cleaning house on a Saturday afternoon.  What’s your go to CD or Pandora station?

I would probably go with my 90’s Pop Radio or Taylor Swift Station.  I am so all over the place with music – Christian, electronic, country, Disney Stars, and today hits – I listen to it all.

You need to stare mindlessly at the TV to unwind.  What’s your go to TV show?

Any show on Food Network…right now it is Next Food Network Star

You’re planning a date night (or girl’s night out).  What’s your go to restaurant for a fun time?

Mi Cocina – I love their Mambo Taxi!!!

You need some encouragement.  Who’s your go to person for a little pick me up?

My husband!  He is always honest with me and always know what to say to make me feel better.

Thank you so much, Jessica, for letting me give you the third degree!  If you want to follow along on her family's adventure check out Life.Love.Reality and follow her on Instagram.  

Be sure to check back next Monday to see who I am featuring then!  Have a great day!


Previous Meet & Greets:

Meet My Friend Jenny, From California

Meet My Friend Jill, From Pharr Out Creations

Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Favorites: Mission Trip Edition

Happy Friday, friends!  I am doing something a little different on the blog today, but am really excited about it!  My beautiful, sixteen year old daughter, Kendall, just returned from a nine day mission trip and has agreed to share a few of her favorite things from her experience.

Yes, I asked my teenager to write an essay on her summer break, but you know what?  She happily agreed because she is thrilled to share her passion with everyone!  Often times we worry about the future generation, but if our future is in the hands of the kids that went on this mission trip; we will be just fine.  They gave up part of their summer to help others.  They are selfless, loving and compassionate.

OK, take it away Kendall....

This was my second year to go on this mission trip. Last year was my first time to ever go on a mission trip and El Paso and Dell City stole my heart. Since the day I left I have been wanting to go back! I have such a indescribable love for it! The people are some of the most welcoming people ever, and it is truly my second home. The list could go on, but today I am sharing five of my favorite things about my experience in El Paso and Dell City this year....

Reuniting and New Faces 

When I went back on my mission trip I hoped I would see some familiar faces, but one of my favorite things was to see two little boys that I bonded with last year and thought I would never see again. My heart melted when they said they remembered me too! It was so neat to come back a year later and catch up with them again. I also loved bonding with people I just met this year, too. 

The Music

Our mission trip team leader, Griff, loves the band Needtobreathe. Last year the whole 12 hour ride there and back we listened to themand let me tell you I know a lot of Needtobreathe songs now!  Right before we left on the mission trip this year, Needtobreathe came out with a new album called Hard Love. By the end of the trip I had bought the whole album on my phone and was jamming to all the songs! The words are inspiring and meaningful! Don't get me wrong, I still love my country music, but nothing beats catchy songs worshiping God! One of the lyrics to their song Be Here Long says:

"Close my eyes and think of you 
Go to sleep and dream of you 
We don't get to be here long 
I gave you the best of me 
Love you more than anything 
But we don't get to be here long"

Someone in my youth group said that this reminds them of our time in El Paso and I agree, those words describe it perfectly. 

Here's a video of some of us jamming to the new Needtobreathe song Happiness in the van.

Kendall from Emily on Vimeo.

Loving and Serving

Early on in the mission trip I wasn't feeling too well, and it was amazing to see how the people who lived in El Paso were so helpful to me. They gave me food, prayed for me, and just loved on me. My job, and my youth groups job, was to help them and to share The Word, but that role switched and they were taking care of me! I want to thank all the people in the youth group who helped me, and give a special thanks to the people who took care me from El Paso.

Lifetime Friends 

One of the coolest things about the mission trip is going on this journey with other people who share the same love for God and El Paso as me. While I am bonding with kids and other teens, so are my friends! I think this week brought me closer to my youth group. Here's a picture of us looking at the stars, and looking at the lights from Mexico.


God works in mysterious ways! God put me, a 16 year old, who lives in a small town, who knows a tiny bit of Spanish with some kids who only speak Spanish! It's crazy how you can bond with someone who doesn't even speak the same language as you! We had some people translate, but we didn't have to talk to bond. I think the neatest thing is that we don't speak the same language, we live different places, we are raised totally different, but the main thing we have in common is that we love God!

Thank you so much to my sweet Kendall for being my Guest Blogger today.  That girl is going to do great things!  She is such a blessing to me!  If you want to get caught up on my other posts from this week:

On Monday, we celebrated Christmas in July...

On Tuesday, I did a little experiment between the pricey Yeti tumber and the WalMart version, Ozark Trail.  Check out my results!

 On Wednesday, I shared what we've been up to this month with my What's Up Wednesday post.  .  

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!  I'll see you back here on Monday for a little something new I'm trying out.  


I'm linking up with my Friday regulars...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

It's the last Wednesday of the month and I am linking up with Mel and Sheaffer for What's Up Wednesday to share a little about what's going on in our world...

What We're Eating...

Sunday:   Homemade Burgers on the Grill

Monday:  After a nine day mission trip, Kendall is finally home, and I made her favorite; My Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken.

Tuesday:  Dad's Night to Cook because I had dinner with my pal Jessica!

Wednesday:  Lemon Pepper Tilapia with Roasted Veggies and Quinoa.

Thursday:  Grilled Chicken, Mushrooms and Zucchini Marinated in Italian Dressing (Thanks, Johannah for the idea).

Friday:  Kitchen is Closed!

What I'm Reminiscing About...

Mark and I celebrated eleven years of marriage last weekend!  

It's really hard to believe it's been eleven years.  Marriage is a journey.  There have been tough times.  There have been joyous times.  They have been "What did I get myself into?" times (probably more of those times for Mark).  But, I would absolutely do it all over again.  

I am so blessed to have Mark as my partner in life!  I pray we have many more together. 

What I'm Loving...

Kendall just returned from a nine day Mission Trip.  I love hearing all about how she was able to minister to the kids she met.  She has such a huge heart and a compassion for kids.

Sometimes it's a little surreal to see my "little girl" growing up.  She makes me proud in so many ways, but her heart for the Lord makes me beam.  I pray that she continues to have a heart to share God's word, and that He is able to use her in big ways!  Make sure you check my blog out on Friday; Kendall will be taking over for Friday Favorites are sharing some of her favorite moments from the mission trip.  

What We've Been Up To...

My mom took off a few days last week to spend with us and we lived it up!

We went to the Rain Forest Cafe.  Jess loved it, but the "thunderstorms" and fake animals were just a little too much for Jentry.  She now says, "I'm scared of restaurants!"

We went to the aquarium.  

We took Jentry to her first movie.

Did I mention we won't be taking Jentry back to the movies for five years or so?  

And, we dropped off treats for our local police and fire department.  Jess was full of questions, and Jentry was entertained by the officer's flashlight. 

We are so thankful for the men and women that put their lives on the line daily to protect our community!

What's I'm Dreading...

Remember all that stuff I said about Kendall growing up?  Well, yes, I love watching her transform into a beautiful young lady, BUT I am dreading her getting her driver's license.  I know I have mentioned this before, but it's almost time for her to take the test and she'll be an official licensed driver!  Eeek!  We've been practicing, and I have faith in her abilities, but it is hard for me to let go and know that I won't be there to control this situation.

What I'm Working On...

I'm working on my fitness!  After a few years of NOT working out.  I have joined Texas Fit Chicks, and have been working out in a group setting, with a trainer a few times a week.  It is super challenging, but feels so rewarding!  The first week, I couldn't move from my collar bone down, but every day it get's a little better.  I am excited about this new journey and can't wait to see results.

What I'm Excited About...

Is it rude to say I'm ready for my kids to go back to school?  Summer break has been fun, but I am ready for routine!  Jentry will be going to preschool for the first time, so I am looking forward to having two days a week to get caught up on laundry, grocery shopping, house know, all the glamorous tasks of being a mom.

I'm also excited about back to school clothes, jeans, boots, sweatshirts, Friday Night Football (and the halftime show...duh!), and a hint of cooler weather...although that's a little further away considering we're still in the 100 degree heat here in Texas!

What I'm Watching...

We're still watching Big Brother!  I really like this season's cast.  There's really not someone that I don't like (although Frank is close to being on that list).  I go back and forth with who I like the most, but I am always Team James.  

I am the kind of person, that always thinks someone looks familiar.  After watching for a few weeks, a few of the house guests have celebrity twins, in my opinion.  

From Day 1, Bridgette has reminded me of Allison from The Breakfast Club.  Obviously, not her personality, just in looks.  

Michelle reminds of of Jennifer Lawrence.  

And, Bronte reminds me of Tori Spelling, in her younger years.

What do you think fellow Big Brother fans?

What I'm Listening To...

My loyal readers know I am not a big country music fan, but Prophets and Outlaws have a little country soul sound, and they are lots of fun to watch.  I saw them recently with a few of my favorite girls (oh, yeah, our husbands were there, too)!

If you haven't heard of Prophets and Outlaws, definitely check them out.  I love their sound!  

In fact, here's a video of my favorite song of theirs...

Then, last week, when Mark and I were away on a little anniversary getaway, we got to see Wade Bowen.  Honestly, I had heard his name, but didn't know what he sang.  He was fun to watch, and I'm definitely a fan now.

Who knows, maybe Mark will make a country music fan out of me after all.  

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month...

We have lots of fun things coming up in August.  My Dad is coming in town for a few days, we have VBS at church, Mark and I are going to a Guns N' Roses concert (because who doesn't go to a Guns N' Roses right in the middle of VBS week), one of my friends is having a Pinterest Party...oh, and that's just the first week of August!  We'll also be getting ready for back to school and stocking up on school supplies, and clothes.  We'll also be soaking in our last few weeks at the pool.

That's all that's going on in my world this Wednesday.  What's up with you?


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Yeti vs. Ozark Trail Tumbler

Yeti's are all the rage right now, right?  It's 100 degrees here in Texas in the summertime, we need something to keep our drinks ice cold, but who wants to shell out the big bucks for a cup, when you can get one at your local WalMart, that would do the exact same thing...for a fraction of the cost?

Today, I am putting my husband's Yeti up against my humble Ozark Trail...or as my husband calls it, my Feti (fake Yeti) for a head to head comparison.

The Yeti brand is available at most major sporting good stores.  The 20 ounce tumble, as pictured averages $29.99.  Not a bad price for something to keep your drink cold all day, right?  Well, our friend Ozark Trail retails for $7.74 at WalMart.  But just how similar are they?

First off, I should tell you, the tumblers are sold in stainless steel.  My husband had his tumbler powder coated blue, and I bought a vinyl sticker for mine.  

Here's the Ozark Trail logo on my tumbler.  

And, here's the Yeti on my husband's...just for you skeptical readers.  

I filled each tumbler with the exact same amount of ice cubes (sixteen, if you're curious).

And, put the lid on each.  

We're kicking this experiment off at 5:02 with each tumbler, sealed and ready to go!

Three hours later, both cups are holding steady with approximately the same amount of ice.  

Seven hours later, they are both half full (or half empty for you Negative Nancy's).

I tried to keep the experiment going for almost a full 24 hours, but I was a few minutes short because we were headed to the pool, and you don't go to the pool without your Feti!

It's pretty much the same, friends!

So, there you have it.  If you're into name brands, go buy the Yeti, BUT if you're looking to save a buck (or $22 bucks), lose things often, or have three children that all have a strong desire for ice cold beverages; head to your local WalMart and buy an Ozark Trail tumbler!

The Ozark Trail tumbler is also available in 30 ounce tumbler for $9.74.  A similar version of the Yeti is available for $39.99.  I haven't put those to a head to head "ice off" but I would imagine the results would be similar.  

If you're a coffee drinker, I put my coffee in my 20 ounce tumbler and it keeps it H-O-T, almost ridiculously hot for hours with the lid on.  I've often wondered if I could fill it with queso and tote around my own chips and dip this tailgate season.  That may be an experiment for a different day!

Do you have a Yeti or an Ozark Trail?  Which do you prefer?

I couldn't let you go without bragging on WalMart, just a bit more.  If you're still doing your shopping the old fashioned way, you have to check out WalMart's grocery pickup.  Heck, add the Ozark Trail to your grocery list and kill two birds with one stone!  You can read my full review, the goods and the bads, by clicking here.  If you are sold and want to start today, click here to save $10 on your first pickup order.  

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you have a terrific Tuesday!


P.S.  I am linking up with my pal, Beth, and the other lovely ladies for Tuesday Talk!  Check them out!

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