Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Verse For Today...

Lord, I pray that you would help me to open my mouth with wisdom, and have the teaching of kindness on my tongue each and every day.

Mama Bear

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hot Tamale!!!

Nope, I'm not talking about actual tamales (although it's what was for dinner last night!), and I'm not talking about the yummy cinnamon candies you get at the movies or from the little $0.25 machine at the dry cleaners. I'm talking about Hot Tamale Dinnerware. and 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven have teamed up to give away nearly $100 worth of Hot Tamale Dinnerware. What exactly will you win? Check out the photos below!

Hot Tamale Chip and Dip Set

Hot Tamale Pitcher

We eat a LOT of Mexican food in our house, and we have the occasional dinner party or birthday party, so I would LOVE to win these items!

The giveaway ends on April 6th, so hurry on over HERE to enter.

Have a blessed day in Christ!

Mama Bear

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bibs for Adoption

I am always looking for cute bibs for Baby Bear. She is growing, growing, growing, and OUT-growing her infant bibs! I typically like to look on for things for the kids and even for friends or family, because I want to support other stay at home moms, or small business entrepreneurs like myself. I was SO delighted when I found these adorable reversible bibs, AND they were on sale! YUM! I ordered the two bibs you see in the photos, from Amy Rose Designs on March 20th, and I received them in the mail yesterday, March 24th! I was VERY excited to get them so quickly and to see just how CUTE, CUTE, CUTE they are "in person". They are very well made; I know this because I have been sewing since I was 6 years old. The great thing about these bibs too, is that while they are a wee bit big around the neck right now, they will fit Baby Bear for a long time to come! YAY!

...BUT, there's a little more to this story. I didn't realize that the owner of this Etsy shop donates 10% of her proceeds to Antioch Adoptions, a Christian non-profit adoption ministry. Of course, this is something very close to my heart, because we adopted our 2nd child (Little Bear), and we are hoping to adopt our 3rd (Baby Bear, who has been with us since Nov. '09 and is now 6 months old). So, if you feel so inclined, PLEASE shop at Amy Rose Designs, and feel good about knowing that a portion of the sale will help families who are trying to adopt.

Have a blessed day in Christ!

Mama Bear

Friday, March 19, 2010

Seeds Equals Growth...Right?

Papa Bear called me this morning from work. He does this every morning...just to see how I'm doing. Typically he'll have some illustration that God has let him see. Today was no different. In fact, I think HE should be writing this post...not me.

Today, Papa Bear told me that he's been thinking about seeds. See, we have been working hard for the past two weeks to get our garden in. We have planted pumpkin seeds, corn seeds, green bean seeds, carrot seeds, cucumber seeds, and garlic, and we have transplanted strawberry plants, tomato plants, onion plants, and cilantro plants. We have turned the soil and prepped it with organic compost, and miracle grow soil, as well as regular potting soil. We have tended, watered, made sure the plants were in full sun.

Papa Bear said that he wonders if God looks at us sometimes, like we look at our garden. We look at it every day, and water it when it needs it, including with Miracle Grow. We lovingly tend to it, expecting, by faith, to get a wonderful harvest of delicious fruits and vegetables. We realize it will take time, but sometimes I get a little impatient and ask Papa Bear, "When did we plant those seeds? Shouldn't we be seeing SOMEthing?". Papa Bear gently reminds me, "It hasn't been very long. Just two weeks ago on some, and less than a week on others. It'll come.". I see little tiny green sprouts, but are they what I planted? Or are they weeds?

So, do you think that God looks at us, lovingly "watering" us with the Living Water, "feeding" us with the Bread of Life, making sure that we have plenty of Sonlight, pulling out the weeds that crop up. Do you think that He wonders "When is she going to grow? I've done everything possible to make sure she has what she needs to grow." What a thought! The Master Gardener has given me EVERYTHING that I need to grow! Why am I not growing?

Unlike plants, which have no free will, I choose to not be in the Word daily. I choose to not spend very much time in prayer. I choose to not use the tools that He has given me in order to blossom. I need to be like the plants and seeds that we have planted. I need to just take in all that I can, all that He has blessed me with...His Living Water, His Bread of Life, His Word, His Son! I have made His Son my Lord and Savior, but I need to spend time with Him! How can I possibly expect to grow if I'm allowing the weeds to crop up and choke the good plant? Weeds of laziness, bitterness, unforgiveness, strife, envy, selfishness. Those could even be like the insects and worms and birds and other critters that want to feast on my precious garden.

Lord, I pray that you would uproot the weeds in my life, and teach me to grow more in you each day. Help me to blossom and reproduce the way that you want me to. Help me to spread the Gospel through my actions and my words. Thank you for being my Master Gardener, and for so patiently and lovingly tending to me, to help me grow in you.

1Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

3He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. 4The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Psalm 1:1-4 (ESV)

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

Mama Bear

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Tropical Weekend

This past weekend was Papa Bear and I's engagement anniversary. Yesterday was Papa Bear's birthday. To celebrate, Papa Bear booked an ocean-view room for us at the Best Western Monterey Beach Resort...a hotel RIGHT ON THE BEACH! We have stayed at this hotel 3 times now, and we really like it. It's not a fancy schmancy place, but it's simple and suits our needs perfectly. The rooms are comfortable, and the price is fairly reasonable during the off-season. Looking out of our window and seeing the ocean is amazing! Walking down the steps from our room to the beach is fantastic! We even took the boys there last May, so that we could all have fun and play on the beach. The hotel has a gorgeous lobby with windows that stretch across the ocean side of the hotel, making it the perfect place to sit and sip wine and watch the sun set. They also have a full-service restaurant, and a swimming pool. It's almost easy to believe you're in a tropical paradise here.

While we were overnighting in Monterey, we visited our MOST favorite place to eat in all of the Monterey Bay Area...Hula's Tiki Room. Hula's is kind of a hidden treasure. It's not on Cannery Row, where most tourists spend their time. Instead, it's right on Lighthouse Avenue, nestled in between a pharmacy and a bookstore. The ambience of Hula's almost makes you feel like you're sitting in a little grass shack in Hawaii. The waitstaff at Hula's is always very friendly and they take great care of you.

There's a couple of different ways to approach Hula's. The first time we went, we went for dinner, and ordered off of the dinner menu. I had Duke's Luau Pork Plate, which was simply divine. Papa Bear had one of their specials, which was a Scallop dish. We also ordered an appetizer: Samurai Sticks -- grilled Mongolian beef skewers, with lime-curry dipping sauce. YUM!!! I highly recommend that you try these if you stop in at Hula's. They are SO delicious! Also, be sure to order the sweet potato die for!!!

The second time we went to Hula's, we took the boys and we were there at lunch time, which has a different menu. This time, I had the Crispy Coconut Shrimp Rolls and Salad. I can't say enough about these little tasty friends! You can order these Shrimp Rolls as an appetizer (or PuPu) at dinner, without the salad. They are incredibly delicious, with a pineapple horseradish dipping sauce.

This third visit to Hula's, Papa Bear and I decided to simply order off of the PuPu (appetizer) menu. We had the Samurai Sticks (A+), Sweet Potato Fries (A+), Crispy Coconut Shrimp Rolls (A+), Seared Ahi Wontons (C+ in my book...just not my taste I guess, but at least I tried them), Surfrider Sticks (B+), and Abalone Style Calamari (A+). We definitely got full, even off of the apps!

For lunch the next day, we headed over to Bahama Billy's Island Steakhouse in Carmel, at the Barnyard shopping center. We had a $25 Gift Certificate from that we had only paid $2 for, so we knew we wanted to visit Bahama Billy's for sure. They have an outdoor patio, which is a great place for a little lunch. We had for our appetizers, the Crab Mango Bisque (B+), and the Coconut Prawns (A+). For lunch, Papa Bear had the Bahama Mama Fish Tacos (He says they were about a b+ or A-), and I had the Fish 'n' Chips (A-). Pretty tasty little lunch, after which we visited Pieces of Heaven...our FAVORITE little chocolate shop in all the world, and the Carmel Valley Roasting Company...a coffee shop where Papa Bear bought a pound of Carmel Foglifter Coffee to bring home.

So, if you're looking to get away to a tropical vacation, that's not quite as costly as Hawaii, I highly recommend our little Monterey Bay mini-vacation spots. All in all, Monterey is one of our favorite little getaways, especially if Papa Bear and I get a chance to get away by ourselves. But, if you're taking the kids, it's a great place too. Be sure to check out all of the wonderful family friendly things you can do in Monterey, including a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Dennis the Menace Park!

Have a great day!

Mama Bear

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Sexy Little Secret For Papa Bear

This weekend marks our 6th anniversary of our engagement. Papa Bear has booked a hotel room with a gorgeous ocean view. We have someone coming to stay with all three kids so that we can get away. It's only for one night, but it will feel like an eternity, since it's been awhile since we've gotten away by ourselves. I can't wait!

So, in honor of this getaway, I went shopping at an online store called Hips and Curves. It is a lingerie shop for plus size women, of which I am one. I'm not normally one to show much skin, except to Papa Bear. Of course. I went looking for some lingerie that I would be comfortable in, was a reasonable price, was sexy, and would get here before we left for our getaway (I shopped this past Saturday night.). I typed in "plus size lingerie" and Hips and Curves was one of the first shops to pop up. There's nothing sleazy about this site at all. Yes, it's got some hot lingerie, and LOTS of it, but it's still very tasteful and elegant.

I got my package in the mail today, and the packaging was VERY discreet. I showed Papa Bear 3 of the items I got, but I'm saving the last item for our little getaway. And that excites him. I get a little "shy" when talking about lingerie and all, even though we've been married for nearly 6 years. But I'm excited that he's excited about the one item I'm keeping a secret until Sunday night. Kinda adds a little spice to the marriage, don't you think?

By the way, have you ever REALLY read Song of Solomon????
God has an amazing design for intimacy within marriage.
I plan on enjoying my little getaway with Papa Bear!

Take care!

Mama Bear

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pampers Easy-Ups...Not So Easy

Our little man is three. He's in school 1/2 days, four days a week. He's a bundle of energy. He's such a joy to have in our family. And.....he's potty-training. For the most part, he's doing well. We have learned to reserve his Wiggles coloring books for when he goes #1 and a DVR'd Wiggles show (we record quite a few, just to give him variety) for when he goes #2, or stays dry all day at school, or stays dry overnight or through naptime.

Another thing we've learned, is that Pampers Easy-Ups are not so easy. What I mean is, I don't really care for them. Why? Well, they have this soft and comfortable inside that leaves a cottony kind of "fluff" on the little man's hiney and his "pee-pee". I don't like that. I also don't like that the sides tear so easily. When you're trying to train your child to pull up their own pants, sides that tear easily force you to put on a new pair, even when the "old" pair is still perfectly good, except for the torn side. URG! I like Huggies Pull-Ups, because they have that "velcro-ish" sort of side closure, so if it comes undone, you can typically put it back together easily. And there's no cottony "fluff" in the Pull-Ups.

So why do we buy the Easy-Ups if I don't like them? Well, when we got the first pack, there were more in a pack than in the pack of Huggies, and the price was the same. Why did we buy a second pack, even though we don't like them? Because we DO like the baby diapers by Pampers, and that's what our little Princess is wearing. AND because Target had a deal where, if you bought two packages of Pampers, you could get a $5 Target gift card.

Next time, if they're not offering a gift card, we're going for the Huggies! But we're kind of hoping that Little Man will graduate to underwear REALLY soon!

Take care,

Mama Bear

Monday, March 1, 2010

Such a Cute Idea for Party Favors!

I found this CUTE idea through Facebook, where I am a fan of (and also a fan of!). Craftgawker showed of this cute, cute, cute idea from Design Mom for Valentine's Day "cards", but I'm thinking these would be AWESOME party favor cards too! What do you think?

Mama Bear