Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fave: Podcasts

For Mother's Day last year, Lana (with Dan's help) surprised me with a shiny new iPod Nano. It's small, light-weight, and holds all the music I'm ever gonna need. While perusing the iTunes store for new music, I discovered free podcasts and quickly got hooked. Here are some of my favorites:

Manic Mommies
These gals crack me up. Based on the east coast, Erin and Kristen share stories of their lives as working moms. They're honest, even when it's not pretty or funny - but most of the time it is pretty dang funny. It took me a few episodes to keep these two ladies straight and remember who's married to who and has what children, so it can be a bit confusing at first. However, once I got that all figured out, I have been thoroughly enjoying the Manic Mommies. They usually post one hour-long episode per week. I like to listen when I'm weighing flour samples at work for hours on end.

Run Like a Mother
Admittedly, I am not a runner. I am a plodder and an ugly jogger, but most certainly not a runner. I listen to these ladies (Dimity and Sarah) and I feel like I could truly make a plan and train to complete a marathon. They offer encouragement for runners (or slow plodders) of every stage and you really feel like you're listening to two friends who just want you to get out there and be active. They post about one 30-minute episode per week. I really like to sandwich an episode in between two fast and upbeat songs to accompany me on my Sunday morning run.

The Dave Ramsey Show
Dave was my first podcast find and he's still a favorite. Straight forward and easy to understand financial talk. He takes callers' questions on-air and offers answers and advice to help solve whatever financial mess they're in. I always learn something when I listen to Dave Ramsey. When I need a little bit of extra motivation to tighten the budget or a kick in the pants to keep on saving for the large purchase, Dave is there for me. There is one new episode(about 35 minutes) available 5 days per week. I usually listen when I'm making dinner in the evenings.

So, those are my favorites, but I definitely need more. I guess I'm getting old and often times prefer podcasts to music. What podcasts do you like to listen to? Any you would recommend for me to try?

Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

That's Awesome!

On Sunday morning the Pastor preached on a fabulous prayer out of Romans. 33-36 reads:
Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible is it for us to understand his decisions and his methods! For whom can know what the Lord in thinking? Who knows enough to be his counselor? And who could ever give him so much that he would ever have to pay it back? For everything comes from him; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory. To him be the glory evermore. Amen.

First off, say it with me: Whoa.

Yeah, that's deep stuff and the sermon on that passage was most excellent and thought provoking and humbling.

However, before he got into the meat of the sermon, the Pastor asked us to think of the most awesome and amazing thing we'd ever seen. We broke off into small groups to discuss. The friend next to me talked about how awe struck she was by the beauty and clarity of Oregon's Crater Lake. Her doctor husband spoke about medical miracles he'd witnessed. In the few minutes we were allotted, there were lots of awesome things we'd seen that were discussed.

One natural wonder that would definitely be on my amazing list is the waterfall that cuts through the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. I've seen it at different times of the year and every single time is completely breathtaking.

However, despite it's grandeur, that picturesque scene is not the most amazing thing I've ever seen. Nope, that award goes to another picture. But I don't have a copy to share with you; it's permanently engraved in my mind to the point that I am certain when I am old and grey and have lost my faculties, I will be able to close my eyes and replay it at will.

The scene is one of a man, overwhelmed in thankfulness to a great and mighty God that he can't begin to fathom. Specifically, the scene is Dan, exhausted from not sleeping well and mentally drained from a day full of helping me with doctors and nurses and monitors and pushing and finally, finally, finally, of holding his new born daughter. I can only imagine his emotions were a mix of gratitude for a healthy wife, and a daughter who didn't need the assistance of the respiratory specialist brought in because signs were pointing to some potential problems, as well as overwhelmed that in an instant he gained the title of Father.

Somehow, in the midst of the slight frenzy involved in the process of bringing forth new life, Dan found a quiet moment to pause. With head bowed he offered up a prayer of worship and praise to his Savior, Redeemer, and Creator of all things, including the miracle he just witnessed. He was humble and honest and thankful as only he could be. And that vision - a silent man in a rocking chair - it the most awesome thing I have ever seen.

(This picture was taken mere minutes after Lana was born. It's not what's engraved in my head, but close.)
For everything comes from him; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory. To him be the glory evermore.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Flashback: Snow Day 2008

Thursday was another snow day here on the Lenssen Acres homestead. It wasn't nearly as fun as Wednesday because the snow was heavy and wet - not the fine fluffy stuff we played in before. Dan was stuck staying home too, but not in his pjs in the warm house. Nope, he spent 4 hours on the roof pushing heavy shovelfuls of snow down to the ground. Because of high winds and drifting, some areas of the roof had 20 or so inches of back-breakingly heavy snow to be removed.

While watching the snow fall outside the window, I was reminded of the most perfect snow day ever. It was the first winter Dan and I were married. We lived in a tiny apartment atop one of the steepest hills in Pullman. Due to heavy snow and winds, my work was closed for the day. After Dan and I dug out the truck, we headed to Dwayne and Angela's to see if they needed any help. Fortunately, they were doing just fine, and instead of spending the afternoon clearing their driveway, we spent hours speeding down their neighbors' sidewalks.

The sidewalks had been worked with a snow blower a day or two earlier and the steep, tall sides created a luge track - perfect for a speeding snow tube. Nieces Sadie and Allison, and nephew Grant, were pleased as punch for the opportunity to ride with their Uncle Dan and fly faster than any kid really should.

A few wrecks, lots of laughs, and an afternoon of snow fun later, Angela let us warm up in their home with soup and hot chocolate - just the way a perfect snow day should end.

If you're snow covered, I hope your days home are more play and less work. When was your best snow day ever?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow Day!

Unlike yesterday, today we are not waiting on the snow plow. We're not really waiting on anything today. Lana and I are having a self-imposed snow day. The surrounding schools are all closed, we're in the middle of a 36-hour long winter storm warning and the snow just keeps on falling and falling.
Here's the view of the back deck. See that mound of snow? It's supposed to be Lana's picnic table. No outdoor picnics for us anytime soon.

I have a few things planned for this mid-week day off, including cleaning the floors and cooking, but this morning was dedicated to play. All the two-and-a-half year old has wanted to do since she woke up this morning was go play in the snow, and who am I to deny her this delight?

"Play" ended up being a lot of dang work! Pushing her down the hill of the driveway was easy enough, it was the pulling her back up to the top that was tough. And then Lana decided it wasn't enough just to be pulled up, she wanted me to pull her faster and faster. Oh well, I guess I need the work-out, right? In her eyes, right then, I was the Best Mommy Ever.

After about an hour, the snow was really coming down. I was getting cold and Lana's cheeks were bright red with cold, but of course she didn't want to come inside. This was the result:

Tears running down red cheeks and a loud, crying, screaming fit. Yeah, I didn't keep my Best Mommy Ever crown for long.

Blessedly, now it's nap time. I guess that means I should finally get to those floors.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Waiting on the plow

(Please note - this picture is NOT an accurate representation of what's going on outside my window. In truth, it's still much too dark to take a current outside photo, we have WAAAAAY more snow than what's shown here and in reality this tree is missing its right side. Alas, it was a winter-ish type picture stored on my hard drive and will have to serve as illustration enough for this post.)

It's quarter to 7 on a work day and all is quiet in the house. Lana's still sleeping and I am enjoying my second cuppa coffee and listening to nothing but the sound of the clock ticking and my own fingers typing. I'm waiting for the plow and don't want to miss the tell-tale rumbling of the machine as it whizzes down Clear Creek Road, chains clanking as it blessedly clears the way to the highway, and thus, to town.

The good husband called me about 30 minutes ago with instructions not to leave until the plow frees me. He took the big truck to work and relayed his adventurous drive to me. Three tricky, drifty spots nearly pulled him off the road, which is not-so-subtle code for, "Wifey, in 4-wheel drive the drifts nearly had their way with me. You and the child in the little car wouldn't have a chance." And so we wait.

This is one of the realities of living out in the country. Some days we are at the mercy of the snow plow. Some days we are late and some days we must return early in order to make it home safe and warm before dark falls or the winds pick up. And still some days we watch the weather and make the wise decision not to attempt the drive to town at all. It's not every day, or even very many days really. It is winter, after all, and delays and inconveniences are to be expected.

Stay safe out there, and if you need to, don't be afraid to wait for the plow.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Fave: Cheap Kids Clothes

Like most Moms I know, I like dressing my child up in cute and fashionable clothes. However, reality sets in when my champagne tastes meet up with my generic-no-name-brand soda budget. Fortunately, I've learned a few tricks from friends and family who've generously shared their wisdom with me.

First up; Hand-me-downs. We've gotten a ton of cute clothes from others with girls. Especially when Lana was a tiny baby, most of her wardrobe consisted of hand-me-down singlets and sleepers.

Next in line is the Awesome Sale. Because we live out in the boonies, I can't make every single kids clothing sale. However, sometimes I just luck out, like I did with these pajamas.
I was in Bellevue with friends a few months ago and we walked past a Gymboree. I had always just assumed that Gymboree was the kind of store that had super cute clothes for fashion plate children, but that everything was just way too expensive. My friend assured me that yes, most things would be outrageously expensive, but she also assured me they would have some awesome markdowns. She was right and I scored these adorable 'Oh Deer' jammies for $12.

Consignment shops have a become a favorite of mine too. In Pullman we have Sugar Britches Boutique. They're right on Main Street and I've found some great deals there, including a sparkly red Christmas dress. They also periodically have 25 cent sales where I've found some great play clothes.
When we're in Lynden, we never pass up an opportunity to hit up The Little Red Wagon. The last time we were there, we picked up a top, overalls and pants.
Other Mothers has two locations in Spokane and both are amazing. I don't get up there very often, but when I've been, I found some awesome items. I've timed it right and caught a couple of their 25 cent sales, but the gem was definitely this red coat (which served as the inspiration for our family pictures) I found in October for $4.00. Yup, FOUR BUCKS! It's totally adorable and at $75 new, there's no way we'd own it if it weren't a consignment store steal.

My most recent thrifty find is a local group on facebook called My Girlfriends Closet. If you are local to the Palouse area, search for the group and submit a request to join. On Tuesday I spotted this new-with-tags outfit (coincidentally, from Gymboree) and on Wednesday I picked it up. Easy-peasy and it cost a whopping $15.

I am still learning how to find deals and steals on kids clothing and always excited to learn more.
Has anyone gotten any good deals from those daily deal sites? It looks like Totsy and Zulily have some super cute clothes, but I've yet to buy anything from either of them. If you have, let me know what your opinion is. I'm curious to know more.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lana Explains it All: Jumping


I'm Lana. Today I want to show you one of my favorite things to do - JUMPING! I love jumping! Jumping is my favorite! Just ask Mommy, I jump all the time.

First, make sure you're standing up all nice and tall. Having a super cute and chic
outfit like this one from Aunt Lyndsey always helps me jump super high!

Then, bend your knees and lean down to get ready to jump.

Keep bending.

Then smile big and LEAP! into the air! (This is the really fun part.)

And don't forget to land with a smile!

Thanks everyone for watching this episode of Lana Explains it All. I'll be back with more info later and don't forget to keep jumping!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Fave: Family Festivities

FAMILY was definitely the theme of this year's holiday celebrations. Before Christmas, we had Dan's brother's family over for a little dinner party, my parents and brother and sister-in-law came here for a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and then we headed west for a get-together with more of Dan's family.

Time spent in Lynden is always fun and it was really neat to see Lana play more with her cousins. There's quite a group of Lenssen kiddos, and this picture doesn't even show them all.
Yeah, getting them all to hold still and look in the same general direction is not nearly as easy as you'd guess.

Lana loved playing with the other little girls, but probably enjoyed her time with big-girl Holly the most. Lana was fascinated by Holly's piano-playing talents. Holly was so patient and sweet and would sit with Lana at Sue's small organ whenever Lana would ask.
I love this picture because you can see Lana's sheer delight and Holly's sweetness as well as Lana trying to have light and delicate hands like her cousin. Perhaps piano lessons are in our future?

Thanks Family! Our time spent with all of you was wonderful!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On Resolutions and Blogging

A lot of the blogs I regularly read have posted a neat list of resolutions or goals for 2012. I agree with taking a hard look at the previous year and planning out how to improve the next, so that's what we're doing here.
(photo credit:

Take a look over to the right. See where it shows previous blog entries? See how it has 55 total posts for the last 3 (yup, that's right, THREE!) years? Well, that's got to change. So right here, in black and white, I'm resolving to DOUBLE that number. Yup, that means 110 posts!

So, how am I going to do this, you ask? (You did ask, didn't you?)
Well, I'm not totally sure, but I'll definitely be blogging more consistently. To reach my goal I'll have to post 2-3 times per week. That probably means more short posts of the odd things that happen in our family, along with some of my random ramblings.

So, a question for you bloggers out there. How do you do it? Do you keep to a schedule or post whenever? What works for you?