Thursday, November 28, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving!
I've done the month of gratitude challenge on Facebook before
& I enjoyed remembering how many blessings I truly have.
This year I wanted to do things a little differently
by creating a somewhat vague alphabetized list on the blog.
My plan is to revisit each of these blessings at some point throughout this next year
& delve a little deeper as to why I am grateful for them in separate posts.
I will add to the list as I think of other broad topics of gratitude.
Things I'm grateful for...

- animals
- atonement
- bed
- books
- church
- clothes
- colors
- electricity
- entertainment
- extended family
- fall / autumn
- food
- friends
- health
- Heavenly Father
- Holy Ghost
- home
- Hubby
- hygiene
- imagination
- in-laws
- Jesus Christ
- knowledge 
- Little Princess
- military
- moving
- music
- nature
- parents
- service
- siblings
- sight
- smells
- sound
- spring
- summer
- taste
- technology
- thermostat
- touch
- traditions
- transportation
- travel
- water
- weather
- winter

What are YOU grateful for?
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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Coming soon...

Just a quick post to let you know I'm still here...
Yep, I haven't forgotten about this lovely little blog of mine!
The kidlets & I have been having plenty of fun running errands,
going on a family fieldtrip to Little Dudeman's eye appointment 2 hours away,
& going from one playgroup to another this week
so our home & my blog have been just a wee bit neglected.

There are some exciting things coming soon around here though (:
Remember when I was asking about sponsors & ad spaces?
Yep, that's gonna happen!
Email me pronto if you want info about pricing!

Remember when I did the review of chapter one for Maryn Hillman's novel,
& I briefly mentioned that I finished 
Yep, we're going to be having another book review & an Amazon giftcard giveaway!

Remember when I did Mommy School before the move
& we stopped on T is for Tiger?
Yep, I'm hoping to pick up where we left off really soon
with a U is for Unicorn week!
With holidays, travel, & whatnot
we may not start back up until January,
but we will definitely start back up!

Also, I'm planning on adding a music page to the blog
with links to my SoundCloud account
where I will soon be uploading the songs I recorded before our move.
I'm hoping to record more songs someday
& maybe even write a few,
but these 4 will be available for your listening pleasure for now (soon).

Last but not least,
to see a sneak peek of the very possible new look to the blog!
Little Princess is in a Tinker Bell phase right now,
so I thought it would be fitting to do a
'second star to the right' theme...
Whatcha think?

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Love.Loss.&Oh.My.Heck. - review of chapter 1

So, one of my favorite roommates from college,
Maryn Hillman
is doing something absolutely amazing with her life right now.
She is chasing her dreams to become an author!
Let me rephrase that...
She is acting on her dreams & becoming an author!
When you act on a dream it becomes a goal.
We all know the wonderful feeling we get by achieving our goals,
so to help her achieve this goal I am letting all of you readers know about it!

Here's a summary from my dear friend, the author:
The story of a teenage girl finding herself through the friendship of two country boys.

In my words,
& without giving too much away
here's a little bit about the first chapter of her novel,
Nicolette had to move across the country with her family
right before her senior year of high school
from California to a small town in Georgia.
This change is extremely difficult for her.
She doesn't like being the 'new girl' in town with no friends,
& she desperately wants to go back 'home' to California.
Chapter 1 follows Nicolette on her first day at her new school
where she meets a couple of Southern boys that just won't leave her alone.
I would love to tell you more,
but why give too much away when you can read it yourself? (:
I loved chapter one & can't wait to see how the rest of the story unfolds!

I was able to relate to Nicolette in a sense during this first chapter.
You see, I know how hard it is moving to a new area,
especially during the last year of high school.
I moved from Wisconsin to Arizona right before my senior year.
It wasn't easy by any means,
but I feel like I had a completely different attitude towards our move.
That may have been because I had moved before,
or possibly because I was raised differently.
Perhaps it was because my high school status was very different from Nicolette's.
No matter the reason,
it's hard to leave friends.
It's hard to readjust to a new area.
It's hard to be the 'new kid' when everyone has their cliques.
It's hard enough as an adult,
but when you're still in school I think it's more difficult.

I encourage you to swing by her blog & read the first chapter when you have the time.
She is sharing it there first so that we can all have a sneak peek at the book before it's published!
Awesome, right?
Chapter two will be up on her blog this weekend for you to enjoy.
I'll post a full review of her novel once I finish it...
Meanwhile, give the first couple chapters a chance
& let Maryn or myself know how you liked it!
Thanks for helping her follow her dreams (:

By the way...
If you're curious about the Oh. My. Heck. in the title,
you can read a summary of why written by the author herself.

Here's the excerpt from the back cover:
Everyone was gone. Only Cordin's truck remained as I sat on it. The fire was huge, reaching towards the sky. The stars came closer to be within its reach. The orange color in front of me was absolutely brilliant. Even if I wanted to think about a care in the world, I couldn't. The fire danced around itself, captivating me into its world. I felt no gravity. I felt no weight. I felt free. I felt completely whole. The silence was the most wonderful sound I had ever heard. The fire reached to the stars and danced. The embers flew among the stars, teasing them, joining them. The sky opened to welcome the fire. I felt as if I could let go of the truck and I would fly into the heavens above. My mind had clarity. A clarity that human kind climb mountains for. A clarity that is searched for in books. A clarity that not many find because it is in the most simple of acts. I've felt it before in my surfing, but here, on a tailgate, in the middle of the woods, watching a fire, I found it again. I looked through the fire and saw Brocker, his kind, calming eyes looking back at me and suddenly I felt gravity; gravity that held me safely to where I was in Layton, safely to life, safely  to who I was meant to be. I was supposed to be here. I was solid. He was solid. My rock. I was safe because of him. He disappeared into the fire and it danced around me, keeping me safe and warm. Cordin. Cordin was on the other side with his intense, soulful eyes looking straight through me. No one could look through me like he did, not even Brocker. He knew who I was meant to be. He knew where I was supposed to be. Here. I was supposed  to be here with them. Without knowing Cordin knew everything about me. I quickly looked to the sky. The stars smiled and laughed. The fire grew. He knew everything because he was everything. Brocker and Cordin. My rock. My everything.

Don't forget to follow Maryn Hillman on:
& Facebook (coming soon)

While I'm on this whole book review subject...
I just finished reading my cousin's book,
"A Memory Apart"
& will have a review of that up soon!
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Braided Chicken Roll

I remember having this simple yet tasty meal while growing up.
This year we turned it into a mummy & had it as our Halloween dinner
just by adding a couple olive slices for eyes.
Pretty spooky, huh?
Alright, so it's not that spooky.
But it is delicious.

2 cans crescent rolls
2 cans cooked chicken (or 2 large chicken breasts, shredded)
1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup grated cheese
Sliced olives (optional - I usually leave them out since Hubby doesn't like olives, but I'll occasionally put them in my half)

Drain chicken, then shred it in a large mixing bowl. Mix mayo, dill weed, & salt with chicken until well combined. Add grated cheese & olives, and stir until completely coated. Unroll crescent roll dough & arrange flat on a cookie sheet. Pinch perforations together until it is one large, flat piece of dough. Cut inch-wide slits in the dough towards the center across the length of the sheet forming a fringe on 2 sides. Leave a solid 3-4" strip in the middle for the chicken mixture. Spread chicken mixture evenly onto the solid section. Fold the strips over the chicken mixture, alternating strips from each side and pinch to seal. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown & no longer doughy.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sponsors & Ad Spaces?

So I've been toying with this crazy idea for a while now...
I'm thinking about possibly adding a sponsors section to my sidebar.
My blog is only a little over a year old.
Am I crazy?

I've always wanted to actually make money blogging,
but income with AdSense is reeeally slow
& MyRecipeMagic has only paid me once
although I thought they would send it to my PayPal monthly.
I'm not trying to say that those options don't work,
I'm just saying that they haven't benefited me all that much.

Again, am I crazy for wanting to add sponsors on this lil' blog?
Where should I start if I decide to take that route?
Has anyone had any luck with Passionfruit?
What ad space sizes would you like to see?
How many ad spaces should I offer?
What should pricing be for each size since I'm just starting out with it?
How many of you wonderful readers out there would actually want to be a sponsor?
Any experienced bloggers out there have any input for me?

Email me at
lifeisfantasmic {at} hotmail {dot} com
if you're interested in becoming a sponsor
or if you have any advice...
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Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween Dinner 2013

So remember that Halloween post
where I explained that Halloween didn't feel like Halloween this year?

On Friday we had our Halloween dinner.
A day late.
Trying to keep that tradition alive.
It was tasty, but even this dinner didn't seem very Halloween-like.
We didn't get out the Halloween tablecloth.
We didn't use our Halloween plates.
We didn't even clear off the table.
We just enjoyed our slightly Halloween themed dinner.
But hey, the tradition happened, right?
Here's what we ate:

Mummy Braided Chicken Roll

It's a favorite around here.

Bloody Jello Jigglers

I was going to do my usual orange & grape Halloween jigglers.
However, I had no grape & only had one 3 oz package of orange.
What we did have was an abundance of red jello flavors.
So I went with cranberry & made 'bloody' jigglers.
The bloody spatter/streaks on the plate were made from the thin layer of jello
that spilled over in the jello mold while transferring it to the fridge.

Goblin Eyes

Green grapes.

That's it.
That's all we had.
Again, nothing super fancy.
No decorations or whatnot.
It was an enjoyable family dinner tradition
& I didn't have to put a whole lot of extra thought into it.

If you haven't seen our Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween dinner from last year,
you should definitely check it out!
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Sunday, November 3, 2013

MOPS: Children & Discipline

This past Thursday {Halloween} at MOPS we had an amazing speaker!
Her topic was 'Children & Discipline'.

Now just bear with me for a second.
I know that discipline is one of those topics that people would much rather avoid.
Our speaker knew that as well.
I think she phrased it something like this...
"Discipline is one of those taboo topics like finances or intimacy.
People want to discreetly talk about them & get tips or suggestions,
but they tend to reject or ignore any help that is offered to them on those topics.
We as a society often have a hard time seeing & accepting other people's point of view on things
when those views differ so greatly from our own."

She didn't talk about what's right or what's wrong when it comes to discipline.
Whether spanking is okay or not.
Whether the cry-it-out method is right or wrong.
Whether or not it's acceptable to raise your voice.
If or how long you should put your children in time out.
What should happen if they don't try their food.
Which things to enforce, which things to let slide.
She didn't touch any of that.

I'm an overall passive person.
I'm working on being a little more assertive,
but I tend to not discipline as much as I probably should.
I'm not saying I want to be a Nazi mom or abusive by any means.
What typically happens is that I attempt to correct the misbehavior by asking politely,
then when they don't listen time & time again I get frustrated & upset,
& in my frustration I sometimes give up & let things slide.
I'm human.
We try that time out thing.
I raise my voice from time to time.
There are moments when I cry from exhaustion & frustration.
Parenting can sometimes be tough,
I hear that's normal.
However, I love my kids dearly.
I want them to grow up & to be happy.
I want them to be kind & to love others.
I want them to be great parents someday.
I want them to walk in the light.
So it is my duty as a parent to teach them.
To teach them right from wrong.
To help them learn & grow.
To support them in their righteous endeavors.
To love them unconditionally, no matter what.

Anywho, back to MOPS...
I laughed.
I cried.
It brought me clarity.
It brought me comfort.
It was just the reminder I needed.
I got so much out of what she had to say,
& hope that you'll get something good out of the notes I took.

Here are my notes:
If your children don't seem to be listening to what you are telling them,
chances are that they understand you but are misbehaving for some unknown reason.
Dig beneath the surface to figure out why your children may be acting out.
There is always an underlying reason that you may or may not be aware of.
(ex: attention, trauma, illness, etc...)

Anger & frustration are the easy alternatives to patience & understanding.
If we can be patient in figuring out what is causing the misbehavior,
we may be able to help our children overcome whatever is troubling them.

You have to be a student of your child.

"There is no correlation between a well-behaved child and a good parent."
- Heather Forbes

To discipline your child, is to disciple your child.
In other words, we discipline so that we can make disciples.

We're not raising children, we're raising adults.

If we're only disciplining them so that we can get what we want,
we aren't disciplining for the right reasons
& perhaps aren't loving them the way we should.

Stay curious about your kids.

One of the greatest gifts we can give our children
is to teach them to ask for forgiveness
rather than just say 'sorry'.
I'll have to work on that.
Little Dudeman has a scripted sorry.
He says this EVERY time I ask him to apologize to someone:
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. I was just playing."
He changes the words 'hurt' & 'playing' depending on what he did.
I have no idea where he picked it up.
It's completely adorable the first few times you hear it,
but it sounds so scripted that I never know if he is actually sorry.

Kids don't listen with their eyes, they listen with their ears.
Ask if they can make eye contact with you,
but don't force them if they say no.
They will still hear you.

When we discipline our children we're teaching them two things:
1. They are not the center of the universe.
2. They are deeply loved & there's a spot for them in your home, but they aren't running the show.

It's hard to find love for God in kid-centered homes,
but it's easy to find love for children in God-centered homes.

Anger is often about shame.
When you are angry with your child,
you're likely ashamed of their behavior.

We reflect on our own lives & try to protect our children from making the same mistakes;
but we are the people we are, because of the trials we've overcome.
We come closer to God by overcoming trials.

4 steps to teaching children:
1. I do it, you watch me.
2. I do it, you help me.
3. You do it, I'll help you.
4. You do it, I'll watch you.
Don't skip steps.

Hebrews 12:5-11
Those scriptures talk about how the Lord chastens those whom He loves.
He does this with love because He does in fact love us, & He wants us to succeed.

In summary, what I learned:
It's okay to discipline your children.
Just make sure you are manifesting God's love when doing so.
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Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

How was your Halloween?
Ours was windy & rainy all day long...

Because we've had such a crazy month:
I didn't get out any decorations,
we didn't carve/paint pumpkins,
we hadn't had our traditional Halloween dinner,
we hadn't watched The Nightmare Before Christmas,
(or any Halloween movies for that matter)
we hadn't enjoyed caramel apples,
(even though we picked 1/2 bushel at a local orchard)
& I didn't have candy until the day before.
It just didn't feel like Halloween.

So when it came time to make lunch for the kidlets,
I decided to pull off an impromptu Halloween muffin tin meal.
This is what happens when I don't plan ahead of time...

We watched The Nightmare Before Christmas while eating pumpkin shaped cheese, ghost shaped pb&j, apple slices, a banana ghost, a pumpkin orange with an apple stem, & of course caramel sauce to dip the apples in.

Simple, cute, & mostly fruit.
Not quite as 'themey' as my usual,
but I like how it turned out.

After the first couple handfuls of trick-or-treaters came by,
I finally pulled out our Halloween bin to decide on costumes.
I wasn't sure how well the paint on the Calvin & Hobbes costumes would handle the rain
(it might have been fine, but we didn't want to take the chance that it might run)
so we decided to take the simple route
& go as student witches & wizards.

Yes, I understand that our school uniforms are not up to Hogwarts standards.
We're working on adding to them little by little,
& eventually will have our complete uniforms.
We received plenty of compliments on them "as-is" last night,
but that was probably because of those adorable red-heads that were wearing them.

We lost a wand while we were out & about,
so today we're going to retrace our steps to try & find it.
If we can't find it while we're on our walk,
We may have to make a trip to Ollivanders in the near future for another one.

Tonight we're going to have our {belated} Halloween dinner,
then make caramel apples.
We're going to nix decorating pumpkins this year,
but I think that will be okay.
Don't you?

Oh, & if you missed my Harry Potter party posts last month:
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3
Check 'em out!
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