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I am a mother who works full-time but who is also a chauffer, chef, seamstress, fitness instructor, teacher, maid, gardener, runner, organization expert, salesperson, secretary and wife. I love my family and life is always busy but fun! Come along with me for the ride:-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE MONCRIEFS!









Monday, December 7, 2009

Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest & Most Successful Women Do Differently



This book, written by Marcus Buckingham, promises to answer questions regarding how we empower today’s women to be happy in today’s world. Women have better job prospects, greater acknowledgement for achievement, wider influence, more free time, and higher salaries – all more than in decades However studies reveal that women have gradually become less happy than they were 40 years ago and less happy than men. Does this mean women should return to a world of fewer choices and opportunities? What is the future for women in America? At work, at home, and in life, how can they find deeper fulfillment and joy? The author states that this book was born “out of a need to respond to questions such as these?

I was inspired by the title of this book but found it to be just another average rated self-help book for women who do too much. However, I found that the information in the book did nothing to inspire me. The book contains three main sections: (1) the paradox of modern life, (2) a guide to living your strongest life, and (3) a question / answer section.

I was very sorely disappointed in the book and that Thomas Nelson would even publish it. They are a Christian publisher but there are very few references to Christianity in the book---it seems written as an Oprah recommended New Age guide to happiness. For example, he talks about “receiving signals sent by life”, Transmitting signals out into the world” and “searching for strong moments because in them you will find your truth”. There is one (and only one) Christian example in the book but it is more of a sad story about a pastor’s wife who later finds out that her husband is a serial rapist.

All in all, this is not a book I would recommend and not one I would certainly expect from a Christian publisher. This book certainly does not share Christian wisdom for women and I would recommend that no one waste their money on this one.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Last night was the Brandon Christmas Parade - it was cold and it SNOWED while we were at the parade. The girls had a blast and as the parade progressed, it snowed even more heavily. We woke up to a beautiful white outside today. After getting wet and cold last night, we went out again and got wet and cold again! Last year it snowed on December 12th, this year on December 4th and it's the earliest snow Mississippi has had since the 1930's. I bet Al Gore is not liking the cold snow - kinda makes the Global Warming thing look stupid right now.

We made the girl's first true snowman - last year it was about 12" tall on the trampoline. This year, Jeff, the girls & our neighbor's kids made a 4 foot one. Last night, another neighbor's son was out making one at 11:30 in the snowfall. Snow is so rare here that the kids are over the moon with energy even though they should be dead tired from a late night last night.

Here are a few pictures - Merry Christmas !

The first one is across the street and you can see Chandler's Midnight Snowman.



Jeff and all the kids are rolling snow for our snowman in the picture below.



Our Snowman is below - complete with green pepper eyes, carrot nose and a handrawn mouth :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Living With Confidence in a Chaotic World

Living With Confidence in a Chaotic World by Dr. David Jeremiah



The Book
Confidence can be hard to come by these days. People are losing their jobs, their homes, and their life savings at an unprecedented rate. Violence, natural disasters, and moral depravity seem to be skyrocketing. In the midst of all this chaos, we need to know “What on earth should we do now?.” Dr. Jeremiah brings a message of hope and confidence from the priceless counsel of the Word of God. He answers the urgent questions that people have concerning the state of our world and what they should do in response to that state.

Review
After reading this insightfully written book, I realize that I need and desire to go back and read its predecessor, “What In The World Is Going On”? Dr. Jeremiah writes about today’s world with a higher knowledge regarding God’s instruction regarding how to live in such a immoral, ungodly world. The examples, scriptures and stories he relates to each topic in the book give the reader a greater understanding of what type of Christian life we need to be living. Each topic is covered in depth with scriptures for reference and with Christ’s words and instructions. He explains that we are to stay: calm, compassionate, constructive, challenged, connected, centered, confident, consistent, committed and convinced! Readers of this book will feel a renewed commitment to their beliefs and to learning more about God’s word.

I found it comforting yet a challenging book. Do I really love Jesus and believe that he loves me without boundaries? How strong is my Faith? Do I truly know how to turn things over to Jesus? It was a blessing to be reminded that we don’t need to worry and should NOT worry. God is always there and he is always in control.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A New Outlook on Life!

About two months ago, Bailee asked me spontaneously if she would have to get glasses if things were sometimes blurry. After a few "tests" with signs in the restaurant we were in and a few questions, I made her an eye appointment which we went to this week. Given that I'm quite blind (prescription is -13.75), I was rightfully worried. I also thought that maybe she wanted glasses because her good friend, Madison, had gotten them.

Well she was not kidding! She is by no means as near sighted as her mom, but she got glasses. Jeff and I had begun to notice her squinting and her teachers said they noticed that she squinted at the board (realized this after I asked them about it).

She got her new glasses today and is amazed at how much better she can see! And, if you will notice how smart and cute she looks in her glasses, you will ask yourself what I did...."who said redheads can't wear pink ??".

Friday, September 25, 2009

Beautiful Mess



Beautiful Mess, The Story of Diamond Rio, was a story of true success. While not necessarily written from the Christian perspective, this book teaches about endurance, sticking together and overcoming negative things that come across your path. It is a story of never giving up and never blaming the other members of the group – the group was one and is one – making decisions together for the better whole of the common good.

This country group who has been together for over 20 years has been through many ups and downs – several of which would have caused other groups to give it all up. I am a country music fan but never knew of the hardships and issues they have had. Each member comes from a different part of the US and they have very varied backgrounds – some childhood backgrounds affecting who they were and are today. The book talks about the group’s hardships but then each member’s story is told in detail so that the reader understands them as individuals – just not as a whole.

Fields of Grace



Introduction
With their eldest son about to be drafted into military service, Reinhardt and Lillian Vogt decide to immigrate to America with their three sons and Reinhardt's adopted brother, Eli. But when tragedy strikes during the voyage, their hopeful dreams turn to dust. Can they maintain the faith of their fathers in a new land?

Review
Kim Vogel Sawyer has written a wonderful story. Fields of Grace is a historical novel about a Mennonite family who comes to America from a Russian village called Gnadenfield. Along the way tragedy strikes and the remaining members of the family struggle to stay together and remain strong in their Faith. They learn real-life lessons about God's love, Grace, Faith and being thankful. This heartwarming story demonstrates to it's readers what having a true relationship with God is like. No one who reads this book will be disappointed and everyone who reads this book will be enriched by the lessons it teaches.

Monday, September 21, 2009

100 (95) Days To Christmas !!

Thanks to my friend, Deanna, I found the coolest website to help prepare for Christmas this year. Go to this site and sign up. You will receive a daily email with tips and reminders! Each email tells you how many days you have left until Santa comes.

You can also load your Gift Lists and your BUDGET as well as join a group for sharing ideas! They also have a cool giveaway - I hope you check it out - I know I'm glad that I did.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE !!

Wanda M

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Jesus Book



The statement on the front of The Jesus Book by Stephen Elkins is true. It is “the ultimate who, what, when, where and why book” about Jesus. It is broken down into chapters that cover those exact topics (who, what where, when and why) and the chapters are broken down into short stories that are easy to understand and fun to read. The book includes a CD of wonderful children’s hymns for your child to listen to and sing with.
I no longer have smaller children but I would have used this book when my children were younger. The pictures are beautiful and match each story. Not only is this a good book for daily devotional reading but it is a great tool to keep for those questions that children often ask unexpectedly. This book uses stories from both the Old Testament and New Testament so it also gives a very comprehensive and complete picture of Jesus’s entire life – including the prophecies leading up to his birth.
I would recommend this book for any new parents – and even for Grandparents to keep in their libraries for when grandchildren visit. You will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Well...You Should See the Other Guy !

School started this week. Both girls seem to have great teachers. Rankin County Schools have changed some of the learning curriculum this year - no Accelerated Reading! They read a lot in class and go to the library as well as learning many things. It makes it hard for the teachers to easily work in AR goals and then have 20 or so children vying for the computer in order to take the AR tests to earn points.

Cassie is in fourth grade and seems to be looking forward to this year. I am amazed at what they teach in public school now at such a young age. They learn things in elementary school that my generation learned in 9th grade and up. Also, public schools seem to teach some things much earlier than in other curriculums taught in some of the local private schools. Her teacher, Mrs McCarty is young and seems to enjoy teaching.

Bailee is in a newly built school which is technologically advanced. The entire school has iMac Notebooks (wireless) for each room, the computer room and the library. Open house was wonderful and her teacher, Mrs Liberto is on-the-ball. She emailed me the first day of class - talk about communication ! I've never had a teacher just email me out of the blue.

THEN - she scared me today. She called me and said "Bailee had a little accident today". I envisioned having to take clothes up to the school because she forgot to go potty or because she dropped something on herself. However, she fell in the cafeteria and centered her eye on a table. No one pushed her - she tripped. She cried, got some TLC and ice and was okay but they wanted me to know what had happened. She was a trooper but tonight she cried and said it was hurting and stinging. From the time it happened until I picked her up at after school care around 5:30, it became blacker and puffier. I expect it to be darker tomorrow. See pictures below. It is officially our first black eye and no fight was involved....except you should see the other guy :-)



Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Book Review: Rick & Bubba's Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage



The “two sexiest fat men alive” have hit the marriage nail on the head! This book is entertaining from the get-go. If you listen to Rick and Bubba’s radio show, rest assured that they stayed true to form when writing this book. These gentlemen cover everything (with examples) from forgotten anniversaries and vacations to losing weight and who’s to blame during marital arguments. Advice in the book is good advice because they believe in marriage being for a lifetime and they show that you should stick with it because if you look at it from the humorous point of view they demonstrate, marriage really isn’t that bad. It’s about love, respect and commitment.

I laughed out loud at the true stories they tell about their own marriages and I found myself thinking about the similarities to my own marital tales. Rick and Bubba tell it from the husband’s point of view and somehow understand it from the wife’s point of view too. They have gained an understanding that every married man should strive to gain. To sum this marriage book up in two words – They “get it”! Now, if I can just get my husband to read this book….

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Birthday Pictures

Bailee is officially seven now (b'day was July 6th). Here are a few pictures from her party day.

I made her cake - a polka dot cake per the birthday girl's request.



Fun at the party.




Tuesday, June 30, 2009

No More Babies !

We had Bailee's 7th birthday party this past Saturday. Her actual birthday is not until July 6th but we had her party early. The 4th is this weekend and people will either be with family or on vacation. The next weekend they would be coming back from vacation so we opted for an early celebration.

She had a blast at Pump It Up with cousins and friends. I will post pictures later. When opening her presents, she received some 18" doll clothes from a classmate named Jack - he LOVES parties and his mom has told me he stresses that the birthday child will love his present the best. I think he got his wish this year. When she saw his present, Bailee said, "Jack, I just loooovvveee you!". He was embarrassed but I saw a smile, none-the-less. The first thing she did later when we got home was change Mia's clothes to her new outit. It did not matter that it was tights, skirt, long sleeved shirt and a fuzzy vest :-) It was a hit.

Her present from mom and dad was a new bike! It is a Hannah Montana bike and the handle bars are high and wide like a Harley.

Pictures coming soon - off for now.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Females or Felines ??

Some of you have daughters and will totally understand where I'm coming from. Some of you have babies / young toddlers and have a lot to look forward to in the future. Everyone says that my two daughters look exactly alike except for their hair. I know they favor but I just don't see the "exactly alike" part. However, if you are around them for long you will realize what very different personalities they have. It shows that God truly makes us each as one-of-a-kind, uniquely loved by Him.

My oldest is social, outgoing, very vocal, never meets a stranger, is very energetic, vivacious, emotional, opinionated (wonder where she gets that from;\), etc. She is close friends with four other girls and has been for about four years. They are all strong personalities so you can imagine that the after school director of the daycare literally wants to pull her hair out (or either she secretly covers the gray). Cassie will never let anyone run over her which I figure is a good trait but she wears her emotions on her sleeve and they hang on by one thread at all times. She tells me everything - and I literally mean EVERYTHING! She just tells me at inopportune times - like at 9:00 p.m. when she should be asleep.

My youngest is loud (not from being outgoing - she literally has a loud voice), energetic in her own way, emotional in her own way, opinionated in her own way, but she is more laid back, very logical, and very introverted in her thought process. Bailee tells me nothing, absolutely nothing - not that her teeth are loose, not that she had to punch someone's lights out because they attacked her first, not that her feelings were hurt by a friend, not who her friends are, not what they fought about, not what she's thinking, etc. You get where I'm going with this ?

Which is better - to tell everything....or to keep it all inside? In one way, my youngest is more mature than the oldest - she gets it, she knows when to not worry about it, she gets mad...gets even....says her piece....and it's over. My oldest keeps it on her shoulders....bears the burden, feels the emotions to the fullest, cries (whines too), for days....days......days.....etc.

Me - I have the personality of my youngest. I have never been overly emotional. I just think it through - find a logical explanation or solution - and I just either take care of it or I just get over it. I can ask myself "Will this matter two weeks from now?" and I'm okay with the answer I give myself. Needless to say I do not understand or get my oldest daughter's personality. I almost think that one of two things will happens as she gets closer to puberty. She will be on mood-altering drugs or her MAMA will !!

I pray every day for patience, guidance, wisdom and the ability to think like a female. I am VERY MUCH a female except in the all encompassing emotional areas. Turning forty did not move me any closer to that PMS, bitchy, emotional right side of my brain either. I am so left-sided that I don't think anything will ever move me towards that either - not even menopause when it finally gets here.

Females are sort of like cats (felines). They are very protective of their friends, family, children, self, etc. Cross them and you'll bear the burden of their wrath. However, the least little thing can make them explode and attack and you won't have a clue why sometimes. Put your hand out in friendship or goodwill and you'll come back with a nub :-) You never know what we're thinking either (some of us even have a poker face, although that is very rare).

How easily we snub each other, gossip about each other, compare ourselves to each other? How can we expect our little girls to stop the bickering and learn to get along and love, respect & support each other if we certainly do not give them an example to learn from? Next time your friend, co-worker, family member or acquaintenance pushes your buttons - remember that someone is watching you - and they are learning from your words (even those you mumble), your facial expressions, your reactions and your deeds.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mother's Day and Anniversary Gifts

If you asked me years ago if I wanted an appliance for a present from my husband, I would give you the typical new wife answer - NO!! As you get older (and maybe wiser), you begin to ask for things you need but never buy for yourself - especially if you have children and buy for them all the time. You just put yourself last.

I asked for a new vacuum cleaner for Christmas - got diamond earrings. Love my earrings but really wanted that vacuum cleaner. I have owned a Rainbow vacuum cleaner for over 13 years. It works great and is in good shape considering how long it's been used and has had not repairs. However, I am so very tired of putting it together, filling it with water, vacuuming while dragging it throughout the house, emptying the canister, taking it apart, storing it, etc. You get my drift. It's not that I'm too old.....I just don't have the time or patience. As a result, my floors usually get swept instead.

Well - I didn't get a vacuum for Valentines or Mother's Day either - got a present for each but again, NO VACUUM. So - yesterday I bought myself a Memorial Day present. Here it is! The Dyson DC 25.



It works great and I love the ball's swivel action. I vacuumed tonight and you won't believe what it picked up. Hopefully that is not any indication of my sweeping abilities. I am now a true convert. Not to mention that when I need Cassie or Bailee to vacuum, they can easily plug it in and go:-) Talk about a bit help.

I could have left my Rainbow out all the time to make it easier to use, but I absolutely dispise clutter and would never dream of leaving it out. The OCD part of me would go absolute insane.

Now, I can just roll my Dyson into the closet and then roll it out when I want to use it. I know that you're thinking what a ridiculous post this is but I'm the happiest woman on earth right now.

I am donating the Rainbow this weekend and some other woman will be the happiest woman on earth as a result because she'll have always wanted one, couldn't afford it and she'll get it for a steal from Goodwill.

Life is ggguuuuuudddd.

Monday, April 13, 2009

No Title for This One!

You know how you hear women always saying that brain cells died when they became pregnant and that they never came back? You have heard the term "blonde moment"? You ever worry if you're losing your mind? (that would be if you're female - men never feel that way) :-) Well tonight I covered all three questions and then some.
If you are a woman, you will slightly get this one. If you are a mother, you will so totally get it! Feel free to laugh at me, with me and for me - I have gotten a great laugh out of it.

My original plans were to serve leftover ham tonight with potatoes, a veggie and leftover rolls. However, when I got home, dear hubbie suggested we go eat. I really didn't want to but conceded since my kitchen was full of SUGAR ANTS. We get them this time of year - I guess due to warmer rain and weather. We've been here seven years and have yet to find where they come into the house. There is never a definite trail and I NEVER leave food open or out so we have given up finding the cause. We just treat the area and move on.

Any way back to my story...... I hurriedly changed clothes because dear hubbie wanted to get there and get back so he could work on some cabinets he's building for a customer. We get into the van and head out. Everyone wants Chinese....everyone but me that is......so I go along because it's just not worth the whining from a six year old and a nine year old who are tired and just want their way.

We get there and the hostess who knows us well smiles. She always talks to the girls but I noticed in passing that she looked at me funny from the head to the feet and smiled again. We ate - I'm sure that I got up at least three times between my plate and helping Bailee get her food and ice cream.

We pay and get ready to leave and I had a passing thought that something sounded odd or felt "off". We get home, Jeff begins working on the cabinets and I help the girls wash their hair so they can finish their bath. After we were through, they got ready to read and I took clothes to the laundry room. On my way back I kept thinking something was not right.

Well............low and behold, I look down and yes............I had been wearing two different flip flops all night. That explains the funny feeling I kept having and the hostess checking me out from top to bottom. I laughed so hard I cried. I am not a fashion diva but I am particular about how I look when I go somewhere so this is very out of character for me. Needless to say, I will now be a little obsessive compulsive about my shoes when we go somewhere.

Oh well..............at least I didn't forget my bra or have a huge hole in my pants or something. Now - don't you feel better about your Monday ?!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Nine Years Old - or is it 18 or 21? I'm Not Sure !!

Below are new pictures of the girls. Bailee, my baby, just lost her first top tooth. It looks like she’s lost two because she has always had a gap between the top two teeth. She refused to let me pull it, so it just basically fell out last week at school on the playground. The tooth fairy dutifully came, took the tooth and left money in its place. There is something about those top teeth coming out that just makes them look more grown up and, as a mother, I just don’t like it because it means they really are growing up. I remember when she was a baby – with big ears and red curly hair on the top. Her ponytail looked like Pebbles from the Flintstones (including that picture too).

Cassie turned nine yesterday and I think she has the record for the longest running birthday celebration! At after school care on Friday, she got goodies and they sang to her. Friday night, she had a few friends spend the night. On Saturday morning, cousins joined us for a SPA-rty celebration complete with pedicures, manicures, facials, brunch and cupcakes. It was very fun. Then on Sunday, grandparents visited and brought presents. Then, last night she announced that we had to get cupcakes for school today for her birthday! I’m partied out folks

I can’t believe that she is nine. She doesn’t believe she is nine either – she thinks she is 18 or 21. Girls today are so different than when I was young. They skip from baby stage to wanting to be grown and it makes me sad. Not to mention that they develop earlier and earlier. Thankfully my girls are not doing so but I can tell that some girls Cassie’s age are already in the early stages of puberty.

I recently added a “Notes” survey on FaceBook about “My First Born” and it brought back such memories. Nine years ago yesterday I was in Woman’s Hospital awaiting the arrival of a baby with absolutely no idea how my life was about to change. And change it has……….all for the better. The sleepless nights, the stress, the worry, the tiredness, the aggravation……it’s all worth it. Especially when a little girl looks at you and says she has had the best birthday ever I don’t want anybody to begin telling me to “just wait until they’re teenagers if you think you’re stressed now”…….it’ll get here when it gets here and I’ll deal with it then!







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