Top Ten Tuesday: Prepping the House for Blissdom

If you’ve been reading the blog at all lately, you’ll know I’m heading to Blissdom. I AM SO EXCITED!!! I’m excited to meet all these amazing women whom I only know online. (Yes that includes @onceamonthmom who seems to think I’m avoiding her in real life. LOL!) I’m excited to LEARN LEARN LEARN how to make the blog better and serve you, my readers, more. I’m excited to spend four hours in the car with @oohamanda and pick her bloggy brain.

I’m REALLY EXCITED to be going, but I’m a bit nervous too. I’m NERVOUS because I’m rooming with three strangers amazing women that I’ve never met in real life. I’m nervous because this is SO OUTSIDE my “box” that I have no real expectations or understanding of what’s going to happen. I’m nervous because I still haven’t lost that extra thirty pounds, and I’m going to try and look “cute” for the evening activities. I hardly ever “dress” people. I’m a jeans girl. I’m just a wee bit nervous about the whole thing.

However, the one thing I’m not nervous about is leaving my family for four days. Will I miss them? Yes. Will they miss me? Yes. Will things run EXACTLY as if I were there? No. Is that okay? Yes. Do I think they can do it on their own? ABSOLUTELY!

That being said, there are a few things I’m doing before I leave to make it a bit easier on My Sweetie and The Princess to run the house without me.

1. I’m recording my Hallmark book tonight that came in my Blissdom pre-conference fun box. Hallmark has books that you can record yourself reading. That means that I can read a story to the Princess even when I’m not there. Pretty cool, huh!

2. There are plenty of leftovers in the fridge for dinner and the pantry is stocked. They won’t go hungry. Of course, they could go to the grocery store. They’re capable. I just didn’t want them to have to.

3. I’ve already prepped for the Princess’s lunches. There are stacks of baggies and little containers on the counter all ready to be put in her lunch box each morning.

4. I’ve typed out the morning routine. Neither of my loves are morning people. I’m the morning person that gets it all going. So, to have the routine all typed up and ready will help them both.

5. All the laundry is done. They won’t have to run a load. However, if My Sweetie did run a load, I would love him for it. He probably will. He’s awesome like that.

6. The Princess’s clothes are stacked on her dresser for each day with a reminder note for sneakers on PE days. Again, neither one is a morning person and this means no decisions have to be made.

7. I plan to hide a couple love notes for the hubby. He LOVES to find little notes when we’re apart. Shh…don’t tell him.

8. We planned on my Father-in-law and StepMother-in-law to come in for a weekend visit starting Friday. That will add some excitement to the week, and they typically take us out to dinner so that’s one less night the hubby has to cook dinner.

9. I’ll pull out the copy of medicine instructions that I’ve typed up for the Princess. It’s a list of “If she has a fever, give her this. If she has a cough, give her this.” Since I’m usually the one making those decisions, it’s easier for My Sweetie if it’s right there for him in the medicine basket.

10. I plan to pray over the house tomorrow before I leave (at 5:15 AM). This is probably the MOST IMPORTANT thing. My Heavenly Father can take much better care of them than I ever could.

Did I miss anything? What do you do to prepare your household for an absence?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Snow Images O1.10.11

It snowed Sunday night in the ATL. I mean it SNOWED. We usually get a dusting here in the South. I’ve done other posts about snow in the South. We’ve played in it before. We even made indoor snowmen while waiting for it.

However, this snow we had Sunday night. It was some SERIOUS SNOW. There is over half a foot on the porch. People, we don’t get that much snow down here. Well, not since 1993 anyway. Needless to say, Monday was a snow day. Tuesday will be too. I have a feeling we’ll have another one on Wednesday. I’m just hoping the sun comes out and does some thawing because the temperature at my house…it’s not supposed to be above freezing before Saturday. Ya, that’s some winter weather ya’ll.

I thought I’d show you ten images from yesterday, Monday, a GREAT SNOW DAY!

My girl after a GREAT morning in the snow.

Daddy sending her down the hill in front of the house.

Daddy pulling her back up the hill.
Such a NICE Daddy!

Daddy pulling the girl and her friend towards the golf course.

Getting ready to go down the hill on the golf course.

This is the ultimate sled.
We are so getting one for next time.

Going down the hill on the Snowboogie. Wahoo!

Snow Angel

Look how DEEP the snow is!

Bringing in the snow for SNOW CREAM!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Twitter Friends I Want to Meet At Blissdom

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ January 26-28, 2010Have you heard I’m going to Blissdom in a few weeks? I am getting SO EXCITED about this AMAZING opportunity. I can’t wait to learn from some amazing bloggers. I can’t wait to absorb all I can to improve my blog. I CAN’T WAIT TO MEET MY TWITTER FRIENDS!

Saying I’m going to learn is true. However, what I’m most excited about is meeting people who I stalk read every day on Twitter and some who even interact with me. So, here are ten of my Twitter friends whom I’m looking forward to meeting at Blissdom.

1. @MaryCarver

2. @AliciasTweeting

3. @SimplifiedSaving

4. @TheOtherMama

5. @Onceamonthmom

6. @DiaperDiaries

7. @HoosierHomemade

8. @SweetSadieMarie

9. @sthrnfairytale

10. YOU… are you going to Blissdom and I’m not following you yet? Let me know! I can’t wait to meet you too!!

Those are not by ANY means the only people I’m looking forward to meeting. There are so many AWESOME bloggers heading to Blissdom. I’m actually starting to get a little nervous…..

Linked to Top Ten Tuesday.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Popular TTT of 2010

This is the last Top Ten Tuesday of 2010! Wow! Since Top Ten Tuesday is the bloggy fun in which I participate the most, I thought I would look back and see what your favorites were this year. Here they are in order of hits on the post.

10. Things I Miss… :: I wrote this a few months into my lifestyle change. I’ve lost 28 pounds and kept it off for several months. However, I want to lose at least another 30. Reading this list reminds me of what I need to do in order for that to happen.

9. Blissdom…To go or not to go :: You will be glad to know that I am going to Blissdom…in a month! Whoop! I will be rooming with the fabulous Mary of Giving Up on Perfect and Hillary of The Other Mama. I’ve never met either of them, but already LOVE them. Can’t wait to hang out together!

8. House Prep :: Oh, the list of things I had to do when the house was on the market. SO THANKFUL we are done with that!

7. Mommy’s Leaving? :: Not permanently! I see a list like this coming before I go to Blissdom. Did I tell you I was going to Blissdom? Whoop!

6. Me :: Um, this one is pretty self explanatory.

5. I Need A Baking Fix :: I love to bake. I REALLY love to bake. I still haven’t tried all those recipes… hmmm…

4. Blogs I Read :: And, of course you should read them too…

3. Things I’m Not Good At :: I laughed when I saw this one at the top. We all like to know each others’ weaknesses don’t we.

2. Moving Twice This Year :: Yes, we are insane, and apparently you wanted to read about that insanity.

1. Freezer Cooking 101 :: This one got stumbled, and people go to it DAILY. Obviously, there is a need. I’m thinking of ways to help people with this. I’ve got a few ideas… Be looking for something soon.


So, there you have it. The Top Ten Tuesday posts that you loved the most. Enjoy a walk down memory lane…. Or, maybe you discovered something new.

Happy New Year!

Linked to Top Ten Tuesday at Ohamanda.

Top Ten Tuesday: Christmas Letter 2010

Merry Christmas from the House of Hills!

I thought I’d do our Christmas letter Top Ten Tuesday style again this year.

Here’s a quick look at the year 2010 at the House of Hills


1. We SOLD our house in Woodstock! Yes, the House of Hills is no longer in Woodstock, GA. It is now in Cumming, GA. We’re actually in a temporary situation right now and are building a house that should be done some time in February. We are loving the short commutes. David is down to 20 minutes and I am down to 8 minutes. Whoop!

2. Maggie is in the 3rd grade. Yes, she’s in the third grade. I’m not sure how that happened. However, we’ve got a very grown up girl on our hands who continues to enjoy school and reading. She has joined the Science Olympiad team and always comes home from their meetings super excited about learning. She’s adjusting well to her new school and loves her teachers.

3. We finished our current Small Group. Just last night we had our last meeting with our small group. We had many AMAZING years with those couples and our Monday nights will never be the same without them. We are excited to meet some new couples and start a new group on our new side of town in January. So Cumming friends… we’re looking for some couples to hang out with us!

4. We had an AWESOME Operation Christmas Child party in November. We celebrated my birthday by packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child. It was SO MUCH FUN that we are already planning next year’s party.

5. I got seriously bloggy in the year 2010. If you’ve been hanging around the blog, you’ve noticed that I really stepped it up this year. In fact, I’m in the process of buying my own domain and doing this blog thing FOR REAL. I’m attending my first blogging conference in January. I’ll be heading Nashville for Blissdom with several of my local bloggy friends. It’s going to be AMAZING fun! I plan to learn LOTS!

6. Mags and I went to our first G Day Game. We had tons of fun with the Burson family and got to cheer for the Dawgs no matter who had the ball. It was a great time. We then were able to catch an actual game in the fall. GO DAWGS!

7. We went kayaking as a family for the first time! While in Edisto with Grandpa and Grandma Dot, the House of Hills ventured out on the water in kayaks. It was a true adventure! We had lots of fun even though the Mags didn’t make it in the water long. She got a little sea sick and asked to go back in pretty quickly. David and I shared a kayak and our marriage survived. We thought this was a true accomplishment!

8. We continue to be blessed as a family by where we work. David and I continue to be honored and humbled to do the work we do at our perspective jobs. We both work for amazing organizations who do so much to impact the world for Christ. We have lots of fun at work too. If you don’t believe me, check out this video of the North Point iBand. Then, check out this video of “Santa Went Down to Georgia” featuring one of my coworkers. Ya, we laugh a lot at our jobs.

9. We went on the Disney Cruise this year! We had an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING TIME on the Disney Cruise in September. We went to celebrate David’s 40th birthday (and Maggie’s 8th). We sailed out on a Sunday evening and returned on Thursday morning with perfect weather the entire time. We’ve already decided to go on another cruise and plan to take a 7 -day one this time for sure!

10. We made it to Magic Kingdom in November this year. We had planned to go to the parks after the cruise in September, but Maggie was hit by the flu while on the boat so we rescheduled for November. This year we went before Thanksgiving instead of after and LOVED it. The parks were empty (well, as empty as they get), and the Christmas decorations were already up! I highly recommend that week for enjoying the magic of Disney without the insanity of the crowds.

We wish you and yours a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and pray that the new year brings peace, love, and joy.


Top Ten Tuesday: Baking Day Recap

This Saturday was Baking Day! I had the entire day free, and I spent the whole thing in the kitchen. It was heavenly. **sigh** Now, all of that goodness is gone. Well, almost gone. I have one more delivery to make tomorrow. Here’s what I accomplished:

1. I filled 30 bags with muffins and treats for my volunteers and the Princess’ leaders at church.

2. I brought a tin of Cranberry Bread to share with my fellow “workers” on Sunday.

3. I took four tins of goodness to the office on Monday

4. I gave one big tin of goodness to our Church’s Family Ministry team to share at their meetings this week.

5. I sent one tin of goodness to work with My Sweetie

6. I have some muffins and bread to take to my friend Katie tomorrow.

7. I marinated two pork tenderloins for the freezer.

8. I cooked seven chicken breasts in the crock pot to shred and freeze.

9. I cooked two pork tenderloins for dinner using a favorite Paula Deen recipe.

10. I made a HUGE mess and ran the dishwasher three times.

I made a wide variety of baked goods this year. Some family favorites and some new to me recipes. I already plan on making more Pretzel treats for the Princess’ teachers since I ran out already. We’ll do those together this afternoon.

Have you done your Christmas Baking Day? What is your favorite treat to share with family and friends?

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Top Ten Tuesday: What has God done for me lately?

This Sunday during service I was compelled to make a list. Now, I will admit that sometimes I’m thinking of making a grocery list while listening to announcements, but this was different. I wanted to make a list so that I’d remember. I want to remember the times when God’s presence has been amazingly obvious in my life. You know those times? Those times when you have to take a quick breath and just say “WOW.” Those times when things line up so perfectly that it’s like someone is playing dominoes and has just flicked the first one.  Now you’re just watching them all fall in a beautiful line. That’s what God’s presences looks like to me – a perfect row of dominoes. Or, sometimes the last piece that completes a puzzle.

Sunday’s sermon was on Zechariah and Elizabeth. Ever heard of them? I think I’d read their story once or twice before, but I’d never really dwelled on them. Their story is at the beginning of Luke. That’s right, the beginning of Luke. Luke doesn’t start with the birth of Jesus. It starts before. It starts when God was setting up the dominoes.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous and faithful people. They did all they were supposed to do. They followed all the rules and participated in all the Jewish customs. However, they remained childless. Now, this was a BIG deal back then – being childless. They could have gotten frustrated. They could have acted out of that frustration and not followed the rules and not remained faithful to God. But they didn’t. They remained faithful to the promise given to Abraham over 2,000 years previously. 2,000 years people. They were holding on to a promise made not in their lifetime, but in their ancestors’ lifetime.

God kept that promise, and He used Zechariah and Elizabeth to set up the dominoes. They finally had a son. His name was John, John the Baptist, the man who prepared the way for the Messiah.

The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth got me to thinking. How far back to I have to go to see God keeping His promises? Have I actually seen the hand of God work in my life? The answer to that – an overwhelming YES! I have seen Him! So, why then do I ever question Him? Why do I ever doubt? Why do I ever wonder?

That’s why I’m making a list. So, when I starting asking myself, “What has God done for me lately?” I’ll have an answer. Right here on the blog. I’ll have ten of them in fact. Ten (of the many) reasons to trust Him, my heavenly Father to always, always be there. Ten reasons to trust and hope in Him.

1. My God pursued me for years. YEARS! He placed person after person in my life, slowly and steadily leading me to Him.

2. God sent me to teach in south Georgia. I thought I was going to serve Him. He really sent me to learn to lean entirely on Him and to learn to forgive. If I hadn’t learned to forgive my past, I couldn’t have fallen in love in my future.

3. God sent my Sweetie to me when I was so very busy with life (that would be an accelerated graduate school program) that I couldn’t over-analyze what was happening and was madly in love in the blink of an eye.

4. God placed people whom are now my dearest friends in my life through small groups. I never would have met them otherwise.

5. God found a buyer for our first home just as our second was about to be lost to us. HIS perfect timing.

6. God blessed us with our Princess in HIS perfect timing.

7. God orchestrated my Sweetie’s current job with such amazing perfection that we all just took a deep breath and said, “WOW!”

8. God brought me to my dream job at the perfect time and with the perfect people.

9. God has placed AMAZING teachers/leaders in the Princess’ life that have helped her to grow in so many ways.

10. God is currently manipulating our living situation in a way that has blessed us many times over already. We sit comfortably knowing that this is His plan. It may not be the average circumstance, but He has designed this circumstance.

Friends, that wasn’t a hard list to make. I could add more, so many more. God has done MUCH for me lately.

I challenge you to make your own list. Jot it on a piece of paper and put it in your Bible. Then, when we begin to question, when we begin to wonder, we can look at our lists and remember. God is there ALWAYS. There is hope in Him.

If you would like to hear/listen to the sermon, it can be found here. It is the first sermon of the Thrill of Hope series.

Linked to Top Ten Tuesday at OhAmanda.

Top Ten Tuesday: I Love Thanksgiving Week

Well, it’s Thanksgiving week, which means I’m at the beach with my family. Every year, my family goes to the beach together. Every year, it is a blast.

I absolutely love Thanksgiving week. Here’s why.

1. Family – I’m with all my siblings. I love my siblings. I love their spouses. I love their kids. It’s fabulous.

2. The Cousin Time – I have an only child. Her cousins are the closest thing to siblings she has. I love when she gets LOTS of quality time with them.

3. The Food – we eat – all week long – like really eat. It’s wonderful.

4. My Sisters in Law – I don’t get to spend much time with them without the kids usually. During Thanksgiving week, we always find time to sit and chat after the kids are in bed or while they’re in the pool. It’s the best quality time we get for the entire year.

5. Relaxing – This is the one week of the year I can actually relax. We’re not rushing off to do or see something. We’re sitting for long periods of time. Lovely.

6. The Beach – God’s most glorious creation.

7. Extended Family – We get together with all my step-dad’s siblings and their kids. It’s a big party all week long.

8. The Sun – I love the warmth of the sun…and, yes I do wear sunscreen and re-apply regularly.

9. The Pool – Love the fun at the pool.

10. Family – did I mention Family? That’s the best part.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Getting Ready to Party

We are getting ready for a HUGE BIRTHDAY PARTY here at the House of Hills. That’s right. I’m turning 39. Not a big deal really. However, the way we are celebrating is A BIG DEAL. We are having an Operation Christmas Child birthday party on Saturday so that I can do a big give on my birthday. That’s what I wanted for my birthday this year. To give to children all over the world.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s happening. I’ve opened my house from 10am to 3pm for people to stop by and pack Operation Christmas Child boxes. Several people have already bought me gifts to go in all the boxes (you can see the list here), and whomever comes over is bringing stuff to finish out the boxes. Then, my family will take them all to a drop off location next week.

OUR GOAL IS 100 BOXES!!! Whoop! Whoop!

In preparation for this party, there is still A LOT to do. Let me share my list with you Top Ten Tuesday Style.

1. Figure out what I’m going to make for folks to eat. Why is this a priority? I don’t know, but when people come to the House of Hills, they expect to be fed… and well. Here’s some ideas I have.

2. Unpack all the stuff that came in the mail. We’ve got lots of boxes. Those need to be unpacked. This part is going to be FUN!

3. Set up stations. The Princess already has a plan for this – I love her planning mind. We’re thinking put up tables and line all the stuff that we have for people to put in boxes on one side of the room and space for actually packing the boxes on the other.

4. Set up a note writing area. I think one of the most amazing things about Operation Christmas Child is that we get to put a note in the box. We get to tell these children that God loves them and that we are praying for them. AWESOME! I want to make sure I have enough stationary so that everyone can write a note for their shoebox.

5. Explain to my daughter that all she thinks is going to fit in a shoebox is not. We went shopping on Sunday. We had a blast and bought TOO MUCH STUFF! Well, not really because it will all be used. She thinks she’s filling three boxes. I think she’s filling eight. Which, is pretty cool.

6. Get some rubber bands. We’re supposed to rubber band the boxes together to drop them off. Ya, I don’t have 100 rubber bands.

7. Print labels for the boxes. Operation Christmas Child provides an awesome directions sheet with labels, I’ve got make sure I have enough of each age group so people can tape them to the boxes. Maybe My Sweetie can do this part. Oh Sweetie!!!!!

8. Clean up the house – people are coming over – enough said.

9. Set up play areas in the basement and in the playroom. We’ve got kids coming over. Their parents are going to want to sit and visit after they pack their boxes. The kids need someplace to go play. I’m thinking of setting up all the Little People in the basement for the littler guys and making the playroom girl central.

10. Pray!! Pray for those that are coming. Pray that we get 100 boxes filled. Pray for the children who will be receiving the boxes. Pray that the Lord blesses this venture. Just pray.

That’s all I can think of right now. Those of you that have packed your boxes already – do you have any ideas? Any helpful tips?

You can be sure that I will be taking lots of pictures and maybe even some video. I’ll share it all with you next week!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Tweets in my head

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m spoiled – rotten. SPOILED. ROTTEN. Well, when it comes to house cleaning anyway. I had a single-mom growing up. She worked one of those amazing, break-the-glass ceiling type of jobs. She didn’t have time to clean. So, we had a cleaning lady or a cleaning couple or a cleaning service. I, um, don’t remember there not being a cleaning day. Ya, spoiled. Also, sadly lacking. Sadly lacking in really learning how to clean a house. Mom says she taught me. She may have. It obviously didn’t stick. I am NOT a good housekeeper. I can cook. I can’t clean.

I’ve even had the luxury of having a cleaning day for a good part of the last eight years. Told you – SPOILED ROTTEN. However, with circumstances the way they are, we currently don’t have a scheduled cleaning day. As in, we don’t have a day somebody else who is going to come in and clean my house. I have to schedule cleaning day, and then I (along with the family) have to do the cleaning. We had one on Saturday.

While cleaning the ENTIRE HOUSE (and why do I not do it in stages for goodness sakes), I composed MANY TWEETS in my head, but didn’t want to sweat all over my phone while typing them during the actual cleaning process. So, I saved them, and then typed them, and thought I’d share them with you Top Ten Tuesday Style! So, here you go. What I was thinking while I was cleaning…

1. “Whenever I clean, I think about shaving my head. Good thing I don’t do it very often.”

2. “Whomever thought of clear Legos did not vacuum on a regular basis.”

3. Princess: Why is it cleaning day? Me: You see that nasty in your tub? That’s why!”

4. “There is nothing like vacuum lines in the carpet to give you a sense of accomplishment.”

5. “I just logged cleaning in as exercise in My Fitness Pal. I figure if I break a sweat, I’m exercising.”

6. “The Princess completed her list of chores without complaint. Why don’t I give her a list more often?”

7. “My Princess is sadly lacking in the knowledge of how to clean a house. Training starts today.”

8. “There is nothing better than clean sheets. Too bad you have to wrestle them on in order to enjoy them.”

9. “I have GOT to find a good cleaning timeline. What is your favorite?”

10. “Hardwood Floors – How do you clean yours?”

And friends, I really would LOVE answers to #9 and #10!

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