Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Exciting News!

I have some exciting news to share with everyone. It seems like that this time of year is a good one for my family! As most of you already know, my family moved over the past two weeks. It has been nice to have a place of our own. However, with moving comes stress.  I am trying to keep the excitement of it above the stress level. 

Speaking of stress, job hunting is still full time for my hubby! We have high hopes considering recent interviews and contacts. Perhaps we will be seeing a turnaround for the better before Christmas. We will be glad to take financial struggles off the stress table.
Anyway, on to the most exciting news of all! I was recently contacted by Food Lion to join their “Food Lion Frugal Cook-Off”! They take a select group of local bloggers, put them on teams and set them up on a challenge! This is a great opportunity to share my blog with others and meet new friends. Beyond that, if my team wins our dish will be featured at a local restaurant for a whole week and our team will be featured on our local news channel! 

The competition takes place next week on November 6th at 6pm. We will be given a $15 budget, 45 minutes cook time, a team of bloggers, and access to a restaurant kitchen! I have high hopes and I’m super excited.

So, if you are a local reader… please let me know if you would like to join the audience for this event.  I would love to have a few readers cheering me on. Please see my contact information. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Digging Deeper: Ideas

I apologize for my absence. I have been in the processing of moving and I have had little time or internet! Do not let yourself fret; I have made arrangements to keep you all fully involved! I realize I missed a Self Study Sunday. There is little I can do since I cannot rewind the days! So, let’s move forward from here. I have put together a small compilation of ideas to help you with your self study process. These can all be easily done on your own, most of them on a regular basis.

First, journaling and blogging both allow you to write out your thoughts and emotions. This is also beneficial for dealing with anger, stress, and grief.  Some people also enjoy “vlogging” (video blogging), sketch journals, or daily photo challenges. There is a way to keep record and cope with emotions that fits your personality.  I recommend doing one of these things on a weekly basis at least.

Another good option for self exploration is dream records. If you are a person who has any memory of their time in dreamland, write it down. In order to do this, it is best to keep a small notebook at your bedside. This way you can jot down your dreams quickly and easily in the middle of the night or when you awaken in the morning. If you have a dream that peaks interest or curiosity in you, there are plenty of resources on dreams available online and at your local library. You should easily be able to learn more.
Humans are naturally very spiritual beings. God intended us to be. Because of this, it is helpful to spend time in prayer or meditation on a regular basis. This allows God to open up doors for us. Being the creator, he knows every aspect about us. What better person to help us understand ourselves? God is a huge part of my life and I wouldn’t be what I am today without Jesus in my life. To learn more about my relationship with Christ, you can check out my devotions and testimony on Missionary Manda’s Musings.
Missionary Manda's Musings

Speaking of meditation, time alone is essential to understanding yourself. I once heard that your must comfortable alone in order to have a relationship with someone else. No person is truly an island, so even when we are in the process of self exploration, others are affected.  Take a few moments alone every day. Take a walk, sit and rest, pray… whatever it is that you enjoy.

I hope this gives you a few fun things to catch you up on my missed time! I have some really fun and exciting news to be sharing soon, so be on the look out!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Self Study Sunday: Life Time Line

Casseruola Dolce Della Vita
There is nothing quite as revealing as looking at the events in your life that make you who you are. The truth is, no one person's time-line looks the same as another's. So this is our project today, create yours! If you need a little more information, you can check out my inspiration here. The dates are not as important as the events. Write down only the events that matter to you, not what "should" be on it.

Here is a look at mine. Notice how few dates are included.

  • July 1987- Birth
  • Moved to VA. I also associate this time with my Dad becoming a part of our lives. (My dad is actually my step father, but he has never been that to me.)
  • Saved by Grace and called into missions. I have my parents' fabulous neighbor to thank for that.
  • 7th grade- pulled out of public schools and started homeschooling.  This really OPENED a lot of doors for me. See below.
  • 2 mission trips to the Philippines.
  • Teen Summer camp- I decided to go to the tiny Christian university in Oklahoma, Southwestern Christian University.
  • 2005- Mission trip to the place that has always had my heart, Japan.
  • Chris- All you need to know is he was abusive and I was naive.
  • Andrew- My true knight in shinning armor came along.
  • 2007 Left my life and love in VA and headed to OK for school.
  • Dustin- A good friend I met in school who followed my lead and moved back to VA after college.
  • South Africa- I spent my last semester at school interning overseas.
  • 2009- First real job as an Instructional assistant.
  • Jan.  2010 Married my prince.
  • Carlie- God's way of telling me I'm not alone and friends do exsist.
  • Dec. 2010- Benjamin was born!
  • Squash- I miscarried right before Ben's first birthday. It was early on, so the only name we had was "Squash".
  • 2012- The move. We moved in with the in-laws.
  • Nov. 2012- Henry was born!
  • Blogging
So, this is my life in a nutshell. Yes, there is a lot more, but this is what made me!
 Join me for the link up... Share what made you, or do any one of the other ideas I've posted!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Digging Deeper: Write This

Before you read anything else, get a pen (or pencil) and a piece of paper. Next, write these words "she sells sea shells oy the seashore".

Now, go here and get an idea of what your handwriting can tell you about yourself.

I got several interesting little tid bits from it. I'm not really sure if it true that I'm not following my heart, but its cool how much they can learn from such a simple thing!

At the end of this little article it asks you to write a little more if you want to learn to make your hand writing neater!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Digging Deeper: The Contents

I have always heard that you could tell a lot by the contents of a woman's purse. If this is true, I figure I should be able to learn a little about myself through it. I figured I would bring you for the ride. I have some fun pictures for you too!

This is a picture of my purse. (I change my purse every week to two weeks, depending on the season. It changes less in the Summer.) Although I change my purse regularly, I basically pour the contents from one to another, so that stays the same.The second picture is all the contents of my purse, prior to exploration.

First we will go through the things that were not in separate little bags. Some of these things should have been in those bags, but oh well!

The first photo is of educational flash cards. They were left overs from work that I brought home for Ben.

The second photo is of my handkerchief, nail file, lip balm, and pen. These three things actually say a lot about me. The handkerchief comes from tendency to be old-fashioned. In fact, I wrote about bring hankies back, here. As for my nail file... I will have to admit, I am a little OCD. As far as things on myself goes, I strive for perfections. I hate ragged nails, pimples, and stray hairs (I keep tweezers in the car, bathroom, and my room). I used to be ridiculous about my nails though. The lip balm comes from my college days. I love Soft Lips (I've done several giveaways!). I like to keep my lips soft, moisturized, and kissable. Last, who doesn't need a pen?! I got this one from work. It has a light on the end!

The third photo is of my son's "wallet". Basically I carry around his pennies for him.

The fourth photo brings us back to work again. Those scrap papers are work notes and fliers. You can also see my badge, marking me as official. I usually leave this in the car, but I forgot to take it off because I was excited that it is Friday.

The last photo is of my sunglasses. If you don't already know, I'm thrifty. I got these awesome specs from the Dollar Store. I mean, why pay more when your kids will likely break them?! I can't live without my glasses. I feel like the wicked witch in the sun.... MY EYES!!!

Now for the bags! On your left you will see my favorite ipsy bag. I filled it with all kinds of goodies. Most importantly you see my collection of cards and family photos. I mean, I need my money and my loves! Next you will see hand sanitizer, because lets face it, kids are nasty. You will also see my Soft Lips lip gloss. There is also some blister wax for my feet. I have a consistent problem of buying shoes I love that don't love me. Lastly, there is mints. I got those so I could use them before kissing my husband or give him one when he has what I call "breath tentacles". However they have been used for bribery for my eldest.

On the right side you see another ipsy bag. This one is actually one of my least favorite. I fill it with stuff for Benjamin. Henry has a whole separate diaper bag devoted to him still. Crayons, Play-doh, and action figures are pretty common things to find in my purse. I figured giving them their own bag would reduce the mess. As you can see, I also have mini dinosaurs in there too!

So, what do you think the contents of my purse say about me? Im pretty sure that it gives away my life story! Mom, wife, educator... thats me.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Saving Money, Changing Lives

This is a sponsored post. Opinions are mine.

As you know I am always in the process of learning. Whether in school or personally, I think it is an important part of life. For my friends furthering their education via universities and colleges, I know how costly that can be! Believe me, I have plenty of school loans to show from it!

When asked me to partner with them and share a little bit about the benefits of renting text books, I was excited about the opportunity and a little jealous that I didn't get that option when I was in school!

There are so many great reasons to rent! Here is just a few:
-save 40-90% off of bookstore prices
-free shipping both ways
-can highlight in the textbooks
-flexible renting periods

Plus, if you rent with, they donate to Operation Smile with each textbook rental! How about that!? You can change lives and save money. Sounds like a good deal to me.

If you are wondering, "Operation Smile is an international children's medical charity that heals children's smiles, forever changing their lives.[... They are] a mobilized force of medical professionals and caring hearts who provide safe, effective reconstructive surgery and related medical care for children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate." If you would like to learn more about Operation Smiles, please check out their website.

Back to saving money! If your like me, you like earning money too! If your in college this is even more important! This is why they also created RentBack. RentBack is their new initiative that allows students to rent the textbooks they own to other students just like themselves! It could get you two to four times more money compared to what you might make through buyback options like, selling your books back to the campus bookstore at the end of the semester. You can find more information about this at

If your in college I hope this allows you to save a little! I know we are all pinching pennies right now!

This post was sponsored by I have never had the privilege of using their services, but the opinions about being able to rent books and help others are all mine. I have no further affiliation with the company.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Self Study Sunday 2

Casseruola Dolce Della Vita

Here we are again! Please join me for Self Study Sunday! I'd like to remind you that if you decide to link up, please share a link to your site below! I have several good options to choose from this week. I love the questions myself!

Digging Deeper: Quiz

Remember a few days ago when we did that quiz about "The Big Five"? I've got another one of those for you. It has a more detailed questionnaire. You can find this "Understand Yourself" quiz here.

Here are my results, just in case you were curious. These are based in 0-100 scale. Please take the quiz to understand my results!

Extraversion 78
Agreeableness 67
Conscientiousness 83
Neuroticism 59
Openness to Experience 82

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Digging Deeper: Question 2

Today I have another "thinker" for you to try. As you may have guessed, Ive done a lot of research in order to give give you good, creative ideas for self exploration. You can find this question on its original site, here.

"What would I do if I had three wishes?"

First off, I'd ask for a a job for my husband that he loves, has family friendly hours, and is paid well. I don't really want to have the easy track with "free" money for the rest of my life. Beyond that, Andrew needs to get out everyday! haha!

Second, I want a roomy house with a yard (thats paid for). I know I just said I don't want free money, I don't. That is not money.

Third, I want Henry and Ben to sleep through the night, every night. 8:30 to 7:30 would be acceptable.

I don't think any of these are unreasonable. So, if you wish to donate, let me know. Ha!!! What would be one of your three wishes? What do you think about mine?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Digging Deeper: Research Project 2

Today I did a little research on how I feel about weather and what it means about me. Below I have the whole quiz! However, if you would like to see the original you can find it here.

Take this quiz to find out what the weather says about your personality:

1. What type of storm do you prefer?
a) Thunderstorm
b) Snowstorm
c) Gentle rain (no thunder)
d) None: Bring on sunny days and blue skies every day

2. What is your favorite weather season?
a) Summer
b) Winter
c) Fall
d) Spring

3. When it snows you:
a) Jump up and down like a kid
b) Head outside immediately
c) Bundle up with a warm blanket
d) Book the first flight to a warm beach

4. How hot is too hot?
a) 75° F
b) 85° F
c) 95° F
d) 100° F

5. What is your ideal weather day?
a) Stormy with rain or snow
b) Sunny but cool to cold
c) Overcast but warm
d) Sunny and hot

6. Sunny warm days make you ….
a) Bored
b) Miserable
c) Full of energy
d) Happy

So what’s your weather personality?

Give yourself 5 points for each A, 4 for each B, 3 for each C, and 2 points for each D.

If your total score was between 24 and 30 points, you are the type of person who likes action. You don’t mind being in noisy areas, enjoy the outdoors and can be described as adventurous. You don’t mind rough conditions, and weather the storms in life with a good attitude. You enjoy changes and get bored if everything stays the same for too long.

If your total score was between 18 and 23, you are an all-around outdoor lover. Rain or shine, heat or snow, you are satisfied with whatever comes your way. You don’t go out of your way to seek adventure, but you don’t hide from it, either. No matter where you are, or what time of year, you’ll find a way to make the most of it and enjoy yourself.

If your total score was between 12 and 17, you are a sun worshiper. You love being outdoors, but only when the weather suits you. The very sight of snow or grey skies sends you running for cover. You would rather spend a quiet day in the garden or relaxing on the beach than roughing it in the wilderness. [source]

 My number was 27. If your interested in the breakdown:
A- 4
B- 1
C- 1

For the most part I feel like its accurate, except I do have a few things I like to stay the same. Things like "home" need not to change much. In that way I like things just how I set them and left that way.

I truly love and enjoy thunderstorms and snow. Actually, any form of unusual weather is of interest to me.

 In fact, this post lead me to a length Google search of unusual weather! Maybe I should have gone into the field!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Digging Deeper: Love Language

Today I have included to a link for finding your love language based on Gary Chapman's book "The Five Love Languages". Below are the five different languages he discusses.
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
If you would like to see what one fits you best you can find the quiz here. Below is the description for the Love language I scored highest on.

Physical Touch

This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship. [source]

Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service tied for second. While the other two languages tied for third. It appeared to me that I like most of them equally well. (There is little difference between the second and third place.)

What is your love language?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Digging Deeper: Self Study Sunday

Today I am introducing this month's weekly link up, "Self Study Sundays". Below is the icon if you wish to join me every week! Here is how you do it. On Each Sunday of October you write, explore, or create something that helps you learn a little more about yourself. You are free to use the ideas I have written about over the month or to come up with your own. Do please let me know you are joining me by commenting on my Sunday post that week! Although its late, feel free to join today!

Casseruola Dolce Della Vita

My apologies for the lack of post over the weekend. I had a fantastic (although late nights) time at the Extraordinary Womens' Conference! If you have never been to one, I highly recommend it. I saw Third Day and Tim Hawkins... it was a blast!

Self Study Sunday

Today's job is find a word that you think describes you. Pick the first one that comes to mind. Then, find the definition and other important information about the word. If your adventurous you can ask your spouse for one word they think describes you. You could also ask a pastor, friend, teacher, coworker, etc.

The word that automatically comes to mind for me is creative. A Webster online gave me this:

:  marked by the ability or power to create :  given to creating 
:  having the quality of something created rather than imitated  
:  imaginative 
:  managed so as to get around legal or conventional limits  
also :  deceptively arranged so as to conceal or defraud 
One of my dear friends gave me a list of words including, confident, intelligent, beautiful, and, driven, but I decided to take the first word she said which was "bad-ass". Yes it made me laugh. Here's what Webster has to say about about that:

often vulgar :  ready to cause or get into trouble
 :  mean 
often vulgar :  of formidable strength or skill 
Ok, interesting perspective. Haha!
Another friend gave me the word "confident". Let's see what Webster has to say about this one.
: having a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something : having confidence
: showing that you have confidence
: certain that something will happen or that something is true
: having a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something : having confidence
: showing that you have confidence
: certain that something will happen or that something is true
When I asked my husband for a word he gave "energetic".
: having or showing a lot of energy
: involving a lot of effort

Well there you have it! I am an odd mix!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Digging Deeper: Quiz Time

If you ever take a few moments to Google "personality quiz"  you will get a wide and varied selection of quizzes to enjoy. Although some of them are nothing more than gibberish, they are all fun and can get you thinking about yourself in a deeper way. Below I have provided a few of my favorite ones I found today, with my answers.

The "Big Five" Personality Quiz

 Here are my results for each part of the five part quiz.

Part One:

Your Score: Moderately High on Extroversion

According to your answers on the quiz, you rate moderately high on the "big five" scale for extroversion. Your score indicates that you have more extraverted traits than introverted traits. Extroverts are typically very sociable, expressive, and dominant. Introverts tend to be quiet, shy, reclusive, and private. 

 Part Two:

Your Score: High on Agreeableness

According to your answers on the quiz, you rate high on the "big five" scale for the agreeableness. Research has found that those who rate high on agreeableness are often described as warm, friendly, kind, polite, generous, and helpful.

Part Three:

Your Score: High on Conscientiousness

According to your answers on the quiz, you rate at a high amount on the "big five" scale for conscientiousness. Researchers have found that this dimension of personality encompasses qualities such as planning, perseverance, responsibility, and cautiousness. Those high in conscientiousness are often described as serious, responsible, thorough, and hardworking.

Part Four:

Your Score: Average on Emotionality

According to your answers on the quiz, you rate average on the "big five" scale for emotionality. This dimension of personality is largely concerned with the amount of emotional stability versus emotional disorganization. Those high in emotionality are often described as anxious, nervous, excitable, and fearful. Those low on emotionality are described as calm, poised, and composed

Part Five:

Your Score: High on Intellect/Openness

According to your answers on the quiz, you rate high on the "big five" scale for intellect. Sometimes referred to as openness to experience, this dimension of personality is concerned with different aspects of intelligence, including both imagination and logic. There is considerable disagreement among different researchers about what to label this dimension as well as which traits are being measured. Those who rate high on intellect are often described as imaginative, intellectual, perceptive, and witty.

You can find this quiz here.  


I also found a whole site dedicated to personality quizes. On the site I found a cool little quiz about how other people see me. Otherwise known as "impressions". Here's what this little quiz says about me:

"Others see you as sensible, practical and modest. You are known to reciprocate the loyalty bestowed upon you, and those who know you well, realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends. Equally, if that trust is ever broken, you are deeply affected." [source]

If you like little quizzes like the ones above, you can find more here.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Digging Deeper: Research Project

It occurred to me today that my "favorites" in life may give me a better look into who I am. So I started to form a list of things that I like to research a little bit. The list went something like this: (its not yet complete)
  • My favorite color
  • My favorite number
  • My favorite day of the week
  • My favorite season
  • My favorite form of weather
  • My favorite holiday
  • etc.
So that began a whole new idea to add to this month. So, today we will cover one of the above topics. I'd be honored if you "stole" the idea and linked up on Friday. Which reminds me, I'm working on that button for you!

My Love Affair with the Color Purple

What does purple mean about me, a definition in quotes.

"Violet encourages creative pursuits and seeks inspiration and originality through its creative endeavors. It likes to be unique, individual and independent, not one of the crowd. Artists, musicians, writers, poets and psychics are all inspired by violet and its magic and mystery." [source]

Effects of the Color Purple/Violet:
Empathy: Compassion, kindness and a love of humanity are positive qualities of Violet.
Controlled emotion: Violet is passionate, like red, but inclined to display it in private only.
Respectable & distinguished: The darker shades of violet particularly are linked to the origins of purple where it was only available to royalty and the wealthy.
Impractical: Violet can be impractical, with its head in the clouds rather than having its feet on the ground. It tends to see life as it imagines it, rather than how it is.
Immature: Violet can be immature, encouraging fantasy and an idealism that is often difficult to achieve in real life.
Dignity: Violet exudes a quiet modest form of dignity which is often appealing to others.
Cynical: This is a negative side of violet. [source]

Ok, I like the empathy, dignity, and respectable stuff, but I'm not liking the impractical and immature things at all!

I couldnt decide between the next two so I included them both.

Lavender: This is often chosen by a person who lives “on a higher plane,” who never notices anything sordid and who is always impeccably and beautifully dressed. Lavender people may be on a continual quest for culture and the refined things of life, high and noble causes but without the necessity of getting their hands dirty. A Lavender person is usually creative, charming, witty and civilized.
Purple: Purples are highly individual, fastidious, witty and sensitive, with a strong desire to be unique and different. Temperamental, expansive and artistic, a Purple person may become aloof and sarcastic when misunderstood. If you chose Purple, you tend to be unconventional, tolerant and dignified, likely to achieve positions of authority. [source]

After reading those descriptions I had to look up and define fastidious. Thanks to a Google search I got "very attentive to and concerned about accuracy and detail". That sounds a lot like me. 

On one site I found a fun little game for a group of people about colors and a very basic personality profile related to purple.

"You are artistic and unique.  You have a great respect for people but at times can be arrogant." [source]

Point taken. I think the last statement sums it up... Actually, let me go ahead and give the definition Google gives for arrogant too. Basically it means, "having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities." Great, I'm creative and I know it... maybe I should write s song about that. Wait, thats already been done.

Feel free to check out my sources. They had information on every color. I have loved purple my entire life. I only have small affairs with colors like hot pink and turquoise. 

So tell me, what is your color?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Digging Deeper: Question 1

I'm really excited about our new theme this month! As I mentioned a few times last month, we will be making a point to do a little self discovery over the next 31 days. I plan to have projects, questions, and the like to share almost daily. I also intend to have more guests as we cover this complicated subject!

Today I have a little thought provoking question for you. I was listening to "Straight Talk" with Robert Day this morning on the radio, when he asked a powerful question.

Because I can't find the exact wording, I'll paraphrase. He asked,"If money was no object and you were guaranteed to succeed, what would you attempt?" If that wasn't a hard enough thing to think about, he also said that whatever the answer is to that question should be what we are doing with our life!

Think about this for a minute. Those would be our true passions, goals, and desires. It would be the things that bring us the most joy. I think he is right! Although money is a big part of whether we can do some things, it shouldn't block us from what we should be doing!

That means its my turn to answer his question and consider his thoughts on the matter.

What would I do?

First, I'd probably go get my doctorate. Likely in Asian studies and sociology. I'd make a point to learn Japanese. This would open doors into the mission field I want to enter.

I'd also probably make a point to get to a healthier state with a slightly slimmer waist line in order to be able to travel and live more comfortably overseas.

While I'm at it, I'd love to learn Italian for the sheer fact that it is a part of my herritage.

 I'd definitely write and publish a few books. On subjects ranging from children's stories to self help and beyond. I'd also apply to write for a magazine on a regular basis.

With the money I'd make writing, I wouldn't need to do anything more than missions and family. This would be perfect! Right now I have this unrealistic dream to be super mom and wife. I want to keep the house up, cook dinner, and enjoy my kids.

On a fun note, Id plant a vegetable and flower garden and learn to do all basic house and car repair skills. This includes (but is not limited to) wood working, plumbing, changing tires and oil, basic electrical work.

Too bad he didn't say we had all the time in the world too... I'd probably add more!

What would you choose to do?

Looking Forward

I have several other good ideas for the week. I think I really want to make a link up for this month. Please give me your feedback.

 Here's my idea...

Every Friday you can pick one idea mentioned on my blog over the week and post what you thought about it or how you accomplished it on yours. I will provide the link button in advance so anyone who wishes to join in, can. Then, if you link up you can comment on my link post and share a link to your blog! I want to get my readers involved and help them learn about themselves as I get to know me a little better!