Monday, January 26, 2015

Blogiversary Number Six and A Giveaway

My blogiversary is this week! On Thursday, it will be six years that I've been telling you stories and boring you to tears here at The Chronicles of Nat. Some times the posts aren't so bad, other times, they leave a lot to be desired, all the time I am thankful for the five of you who stop by to read what I have to say; especially those of you who take the time to leave a comment. When I started blogging I think I secretly thought I would become a famous writer like The Pioneer Woman. Instead, I'm just the same gal I was six years ago, only a little older and hopefully a little wiser. 

This week to celebrate yet another blogiversary, I'm having a giveaway. Some of you are probably familiar with The Boo Mama blog. Well, Sophie has written another book called "Home Is Where My People Are" and although I haven't yet read it, I have no doubt it is absolutely delightful. So, in honor of my blogiversary, I'm giving away of Sophie's new book. If you'd like to be entered to win, just leave a comment on this post. The giveaway will stay open until Friday, January 30 at 11:59 p.m. and the winner will be announced on Saturday, January 31 - provided I don't forget! 

As always, thanks for reading and good luck to those of you who enter!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review: Psalm 23

Psalm 23 is one of my most favorite passages from The Bible. It is also one of the very first passages I ever memorized. I learned in from Mrs. Phipps at Happy Hill Kindergarten and I always think of her whenever it is read. She no doubt taught hundreds, even thousands of children the 23rd Psalm and one child recited it at each of her Kindergarten graduations.

I have always found the passage comforting and feel it should be read more often than the occasional funeral. Recently when I was looking over the selection of books I could choose to review from Booklook Bloggers, I saw that one of the choices was a children's book of Psalm 23. I was anxious for the book to arrive so I could see the words of this beloved Psalm come to life on the pages of a book.

The book arrived today and it is absolutely wonderful. There are no embellishments of stories in the book, it is simply the 23rd Psalm and what's even better is it is the 23rd Psalm in the King James Version which is just how I learned it over 30 years ago.

Each page has the words of one sentence of the Psalm and then that sentence is illustrated on the page. The pictures are beautiful and almost every page includes a picture of a child such that the child to whom you are reading might be able to envision the Lord being their own shepherd and protector.

The book is a hardbound board book which is easily held in the hands of a child, and it retails for under $15 on Amazon. You may be able to find it at a lower price somewhere else as the list price on the actual book is $7.99.

If you are training a child to learn and love the Bible and you have Psalm 23 on your list, then definitely give this book a try. I think you and your child will love it.

More about this book from Booklook Bloggers:

Book Description
With illustrations that bring to life Psalm 23, the popular picture book is now available in board book format.
As a follow-up to his bestselling children’s book, The Lord’s Prayer, Richard Jesse Watson created Psalm 23. The soothing and familiar words of the iconic scripture are paired with the vibrant and child-friendly illustrations of Richard Jesse Watson, resulting in a board book edition of the acclaimed picture book that is pleasing to the eyes and soul. Using KJV text, this book helps familiarize children with real biblical text while also incorporating beautiful illustrations that help make the words of David come alive for even the youngest reader.
About the Author
Richard Jesse Watson has been making books for children since 1984. He collaborated with Ruth Bell Graham on One Wintry Night, and his version of The Night Before Christmas was a New York Times bestseller. Watson won the Golden Kite Award for his picture book, Tom Thumb, and his illustrations have also been selected for the Society of Illustrator’s Annual Exhibits. Richard and his wife, Susi, live in Port Townsend, Washington. Their children are following in his footsteps as writers and illustrators of children’s books.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Celebration at the Gym

It's been a long while since I've graced the doors of the gym considering the last time I worked out was before my knee surgery. I'd like to say I've missed it and really I guess I have, but I've also enjoyed sitting on my couch in the evenings and just generally being lazy. I'm enjoying it while I can because soon I'll be released from the doctor and won't have a good excuse to sit at home instead of breaking a sweat down at the YMCA. 

Tuesday night, I made a surprise appearance at the Women on Weights class. Monday was our trainer Josh's birthday and I thought it would be fun to surprise him with some goodies at the gym. I got in touch with two of the girls I work with who also take the class and asked if they wanted to pitch in. One made a cake, the other made some cookies and I made some Buffalo Chicken Dip and got a small tray of sandwiches from Jimmy John's. 

I gathered up the various goodies and arrived at the gym around 6:45 p.m. just as the girls were finishing up their last exercises. I do believe that Josh was super surprised. He had no idea I was coming, much less that I was coming with goodies in tow. After the girls finished up, Josh blew out a candle on his cake and we commenced to eating. Sadly, Josh had another client at 7:00 p.m. so he wasn't able to hang out with us for long.; but, we all had a good time stuffing our faces at the gym and celebrating Josh's birthday. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Photos from My Phone - January 2015 Edition

It's been a long while since I've done a "Photos from my Phone" post and since there's a whole lotta nothing going on right now, I figured this would be as good a time as any to post a few. 

I'm going to start with some photos from New Year's Eve. I set up a "photo booth" of sorts for the New Year's Eve party my parents and I hosted. The booth was basically just a large frame wrapped in Christmas lights and I had some props to go along with it. Truth be told, I think I should have gotten a larger frame, but hindsight is 20/20 they say. So, without further adieu, here are some photos from the New Year's Eve Photos Booth. 

Me and Brooke

 Me and my Grandmamma

My parents 

 Brooke and Bennett

 My Grandmamma and Naaman

My Grandmamma and my dad

This past year's New Year's Eve party was a return to the parties of my youth when my parents hosted their friends. We brought back all the old traditions which included a door prizes winner each hour. The midnight prize of a homemade sweatshirt made it's triumphant return. My mom used to make these each year and this year was my first shot. Sadly, I put an apostrophe where one need not be, but I suppose that just gives the shirt character. My friend Leah was the lucky winner of this shirt. I'm hoping she'll drag it for the next party and keep the tradition alive. 

Christmas to me just isn't the same without a Red Velvet Cake. When I was a kid, my Aunt Juanita made Red Velvet Cake at Christmas and I would often call her to be sure she was bringing it. It was probably one of my favorite things about the holidays. Now that I've taken over most of the cooking, I always make sure we have a Red Velvet Cake to enjoy - this is more for my benefit than any one else. This year, it had been raining and raining and raining and was still raining on Christmas Eve. If you're a baker, then you know that baking on a rainy day can sometimes be disastrous and that was certainly the case this past Christmas Eve when I tried to turn my cakes out of the pan. I ended up with a big ole pile of Red Velvet mess. Most of it was still eaten though and it did taste good which I suppose was the main point anyway. 

This next picture was taken on Christmas day as my dad was trying to pose for a picture with Pip. Clearly Pippa wasn't having it and the look on my dad' face cracks me up. Maybe we'll have better luck next time. 

The night of my knee surgery, I ended up with a house full of people, an impromptu party of sorts which was super nice and loads of fun. At one point, we put Pippa in the bedroom so we could all eat dinner. Up until this point, she had never bothered the Christmas tree and so it was a little surprising (and then again not) when she trampled under the tree and over presents to try and get back to us in the main room. I think my dad got a better picture than I did, but this is the one I have on my phone. Thankfully no presents were broken and all trees remained upright throughout the excitement. 

The last photo for today is of a Nothing Bundt Cake that some co-workers gave me a couple of days before my surgery. I'm really blessed to have such a great group of friends no matter where I go in life. 

That's it for this month's edition of "Photos from my Phone". I'm sure I have a lot more I can share, but I'll save those for another time. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hello, Vicky?

So, a while ago, as in some time in October or November, I received a comment from a lady named Vicky; at least, I'm assuming she's a lady. At any rate, Vicky commented on a post from 2011 about my trip to France. As it turns out, she is planning a trip with Custom Getaways and she wanted to ask me about my experience and asked me to contact her. However, she did not leave an email address or any other way in which I could reach out to her. So, Vicky, if you are stopping by here, please contact me via email and I will happily answer any questions you have about your upcoming trip to le Tour de France and I may I also add I'm crazy jealous. I think half of my heart will forever be in France and I get a little "homesick" for the motherland every July. 

Since there's nothing overly exciting going on in January, I thought I would update you on my knee because I'm sure you've been sitting there wondering to yourself how my knee is doing. The answer is great! Coming back to work after having two and a half weeks off was a little bit of an adjustment (in more than one way) and so it probably goes without saying that my knee has been a little sore in the evenings. I have walked a lot more since starting back to work and so there's been some swelling and soreness which is easily remedied with Aleve and a cold pack. There's still quite a bit of tenderness which feels like bruising which I'm sure will go away at some point. This tenderness is even worse when you hit your knee on a table, theoretically speaking of course. 

We finally got a dose of some decent weather over the weekend, but unfortunately, I didn't really get to enjoy it much. Saturday I spent the day inside waiting on the guys from Lowe's to deliver my washer. Plus, I was feeling really rotten and didn't want to do much other than lie around on the couch. I did let  in some fresh air along with lots of mud on Saturday afternoon when I left the back door open for a little while so Pip could go in and out freely. I also managed to finally take down the outside Christmas lights. Yes, that's right, I still had not taken them down. The weather has either been super cold or super rainy or a combination of the two and since I was trying not to get sick (funny how that didn't work out too well) I decided to wait until the weather warmed up to take down the lights. I have not turned them on since January 1 though, so that's my redeeming grace for leaving them up too long. I am glad to finally have them all put away. 

Downton Abbey started back about three weeks ago and it's about all I can do to not read message boards or episode recaps to find out what happens next. I have already pre-ordered the current season which will arrive next week and I'm afraid I will have no restraint when it comes to sitting down and just finishing up the season. So far, the season has been really good and the zingers from the Dowager Countess get better with each episode. It's certainly one of the highlights of my week. 

In other random and unrelated news, my dad and I are planning our next trip which will be this coming April. This time around we are heading to Washington, DC and plan to take in all the monuments, museums, etc. We went there when I was a kid, in 5th grade if I am remembering correctly, and it was one of the best vacations of my childhood. Since it's been almost 30 years since I've really visited and enjoyed the city, I thought we should go back and take it all in and I'm really looking forward to it. I think I will appreciate it all the more now that I am an adult and love history. 

Well, since I probably lost your attention a long time ago, I think I'll wrap things up here. I realize none of these things even remotely flow together, but I wanted to try and get something posted and try to get back in the habit of writing something lest this blog fall by the wayside and Erika has nothing to read on her lunch break. Hopefully more interesting days are ahead. Have a good evening, y'all! 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's The End of Washing As I Know It

The end of an era came this week. My washing machine, a loyal cleaner and friend, washed it's last load of dog hair covered clothes.

A little over 13 years ago, when I moved to North Carolina for my first big girl job, my parents bought me a washer and dryer. I remember what a surprise it was. My dad had helped me move and at some point while I was sleeping or who knows what, he snuck out to Lowe's and bought the set for me and the next thing I knew I was the owner of appliances that could actually wash and dry clothes. No more laundromats or apartment laundry rooms or bumming the use of the washers and dryer at the school. I had my very own!

The set has lasted me all these years. I've washed countless loads of clothes, comforters, quilts, dog blankets, etc. etc. No doubt thousands of loads have been in and out of that Maytag machine. In the past few years, I've had to call a repair man three times to fix something that had gone awry with the washer. The past few months, I couldn't use the largest load setting because the water wouldn't cut off and would come spilling out of the washer. This woke me up from a nap on more than one occasion.

This past week, I put in some clothes to wash and the basket wouldn't spin the load, leaving the clothes soaking wet. The repairman came out and fixed what he thought was the problem, but when I went to do a load after his repair work, I was having the same problem and I think I knew in my heart of hearts that my machine had washed her last load of clothes. The repairman came out again and sure enough, the transmission was shot and it wasn't worth it to repair. Let me also take this moment to say how awesome my neighbor Jeff is - he came over both times to let the repairman in while I was at work. Seriously,  hit the jackpot with Jeff as a neighbor. He is the best.

So, Thursday, after my trip to the doctor, I ventured over to Lowe's to purchase a washing machine. Thankfully, they were offering 18 months interest free financing because otherwise I might be spending the next few months at the laundromat. I purchased anther Maytag, a top loader, basically the same kind I had before but obviously a model that's about 14 years newer than the one I had.

The guys from Lowe's came out on Saturday and took away the old one and installed the new one and I've been feverishly washing clothes ever since. Every waking moment has been spent washing clothes. That new washer is definitely getting a workout. The new one is quite a bit different than the old one. For one, there's no agitator which I guess is the norm these days. Also, the load is weighed when it's placed in the basket and that's how the machine knows how much water to use. It's all very new and fancy.

So, it's the end of a washing era and the beginning of a new one. I'm thankful that I was able to go ahead and buy a new one and very thankful that I once again have some clean clothes.

 The old

And the new

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thankfully, It's Not The Flu

I started a post earlier this week while I was on my lunch break and for two straight days I forgot to bring the contents of that post home with me to put on the blog and that is my excuse for not having anything posted since way earlier in the week. I'm not off to a good blogging start in 2015. Tuesday night I honestly didn't even think about opening my computer until it was time for me to go to bed and I realized I had not posted anything. Wednesday I had grand intentions of posting something but ended up with a fever and the worst chills I've had in ages and so I think it goes without saying I wasn't up for it. So, I'm finally managing to put something together for today so you won't wonder if I have fallen off the face of the earth. 

Last week I found out the circus is coming to town in late March. I knew it was coming to Birmingham this month so I got on the Ringling Brothers web site to see when the next trip to Huntsville would be. There was no date listed for when tickets were going on sale and so I checked back on Monday and discovered they had gone on sale last Thursday - the same day the Ticketmaster site said no on-sale ticket date had been set. I could seriously write a post about my hate of Ticketmaster because I've had a lot of frustrating encounters with that establishment the last few months. So, I'll put that in my pocket and perhaps bring it out on a rainy day. 

Anyway, I went to the VBC ticket office and got some tickets for me, my parents and Erika who I love to join me at the circus because we always have a big time. We are going the night of my mom's birthday and since she isn't as big of a circus fan as me and my dad, I had to make sure she would be okay with spending her birthday amongst the elephants and the Circle of Death and all the other grandeur of the circus. Thankfully she agreed.

We saw a bit of snow in North Alabama today and I kept waiting to see who would be the first person to leave work, but I think everyone stuck around. I did leave a little early so I could go to the doctor as I was concerned I may have the flu. I went to the Quick Care Clinic on Governor's which is the new extension of the one in Five Points. I saw the sweetest old doctor who liked to talk a lot. He apparently is forgetful as well because I waited in the room for 30 minuted before I finally got up and asked how much longer it would be. They thought the doc was just in the room talking to me, bless him, so they rounded him up and he gave me a diagnosis that wasn't the flu, thank goodness.  I got two shots, and some meds which they gave me for free since I had to wait for so long, unnecessary, but nice. 

After I left the clinic, I ran a final errand to Lowe's which will be detailed in a later post because it was the culmination of a separate and long story. I finally made it home where I am now typing up the post and will soon be shutting down the computer and sleeping the night away. 

Tomorrow (or today for you most likely) is Friday and the last day of the work week. I'm hoping the shots and meds will help me to feel better so I can at least enjoy some portion of the weekend. Plus, I've got a lot of things to get done this weekend and so I would like to feel well enough to get those things crossed off my to-do list.  Hope you all have a healthy and happy weekend as well.