Friday, June 28, 2013


As I tried to fight off two men, 
All I could think about was how I was going to escape...

My legs were numb, 
My breathing was heavy, 
My mind and body were about to give up.
Then that little voice inside of me said, 
"Get up! You're not done!"

It was the last day of the RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) program, and I was in the middle of physically proving that a petite, 5 foot tall woman could defend herself.  It was the most empowering, scariest, exhausting, emotionally draining situation I have ever encountered. 

Day 1:
Walking through the doors of the Police Academy gave me a sense of pure exhilaration.  The tune to the "Police Academy" movie kept playing in my head.

Sergeant Ray* and about 5 other instructors introduced themselves and went over a rundown of what situations we all need to be extra cautious about.  They went over how to keep yourself safe when in a public parking lot, going to parties that get out of hand, date rape, carjackings, kidnappings, home invasions, etc. There were a few things that I have been taught from a young age that they debunked.  For example, when it is dark outside and a woman is walking to her car, she might hold her key inbetween her forefinger/middle finger. That way if an intruder were to attack, she could jab him in the eye sockets or slash him across the face like Wolverine.  Sergeant Ray said that this is not the most effective way to fight an intruder because you most likely will break your hand in the process.  In any given situation though, you do what you gotta do!  Slashing your attacker with keys is better than doing nothing, in my opinion. Day one was also about learning punching techniques.  It was amazing to get all that aggression and frustration out in a safe environment.  It looked a lot like martial arts which is something I never had the interest to try before. 

Day 2: 
This day focused on combining punches and kicks.  There is not much to say about this day other than we had a lot of drills.  We learned in a whole group setting and then would break off into groups to practice what was taught.  

You have to practice a move 15,000 times before it is engrained in your mind, and your body will automatically do it without thinking about it?

Day 3:
This was the day that I don't think anybody could ever be fully
prepared for.  Throughout the first few days they kept saying that Day 3 would be "The Event". Sergeant Ray would not tell anybody what it was about or what we were going to be doing. It did leave a sense of curiosity and anticipation within each of us.  We learned a few more moves and used practice dummies (pictured to the right).

Then it was time for "The Event".  My group walked into another room that reeked of mustiness, was small, and you could sense the fear/nervousness. I had NO idea what I was getting myself into...

 I was #4 in line to be "attacked". While waiting for my turn, I geared up and rooted on the ladies that were fighting with all their might.  It was very emotional because some of the "victims" were crying during their fight and the physical exertion was very evident. You have no control over what emotions show up during this time.  Even when I walked in there with a great attitude, great frame of mind, there was a rude awakening in store.  Finally it was my turn.  The instructor and I were pretending to walk down "the alleyway" when two dudes started cat calling and saying very inappropriate things. The second one guy approached and got in my face, I beat the hell out of  him!  Punching, kicking, jabbing, and of course screaming was involved. This was the easy round.  Right after that we jumped into the next scenario which involved two attackers. This round took more strength out of me and seemed to last longer.  When I got to the safety zone, I was already breathless and was like, "was that my last round?" NOPE!  Exhaustion had already set in and my breathing was labored. Round 3 was pure fear--no better way to describe it.  The difference with this round was how they started it.

They told me to close my eyes, walk to the end of the room and stand there. Your mind starts to play crazy tricks on you in this kind of situation even though you know it's all fake. Before I knew what was happening, heavy breathing and a disgusting grunting sound was next to my ear.  The intruders started to whisper dirty things in my ears. I could feel the attacker's breath on the back of my neck.  This time it did not feel like a simulation...this felt like an authentic, horrifying experience.  With the breathing and grunting going on, I screamed "Get away! Back off!"  Then he grabbed me and I threw punches.  This went on for awhile and before I knew it the other attacker picked me up from behind. It was extremely frightening and unexpected so I screamed and kicked with all my might.  My feet were dangling in the air and by this time I was so exhausted that I could barely kick my way free. Somehow I got loose but tripped and fell. This was my worst nightmare because all the instructors said specifically all week that this is NOT the position you ever want to be in. If you are in it though there are still ways to fight, but they say if you can stay on your feet during a fight then that's what they truly recommend.  Before I knew it, my attacker turned me on my stomach and got on top of me.  This was the moment I started sobbing but no tears came through. My body was weak, worn out, and my legs turned to jello.  It felt like 10 whole seconds of me lying there...doing NOTHING except having an internal battle with myself. The thought that I couldn't make it, that if I was put in this situation in real life I would be dead, and then that tiny little voice inside my head said, "GET UP! YOU'RE NOT DONE!" I'd like to think it was God speaking to me. Either way, that was all that was needed to get one last ounce of strength. At that moment I rolled him off of me and ran to the safety zone, collapsing onto the floor. It took me 30 minutes to recover and get my heart beating back to normal and to not feel like passing out.  

Honestly, this experience was the best thing I EVER did for myself.  Even when I gave birth to my son I was given an epidural and didn't feel much during my labor or during the c-section.  So being able to do this RAD program and "escaping with my life" was the most empowering thing ever. If you can get into a RAD program or self-defense class I highly recommend it. You will leave from there with confidence, information, and will know what to do in any given situation.

*By no means do I want to take this subject lightly.  Nor do I want to make it sound like I know what it is like to be a victim of an attack.  These are my own personal thoughts, and what was experienced in the RAD program. 

*Due to confidentiality, I renamed our Sergeant because every time I looked at him he reminded me of a bulky, Ray Ramone from "Every Loves Raymond"

*Most of you are probably wondering what techniques, punches, and kicks were learned. We were sworn to secrecy on that. Only RAD participants and instructors with that said: Go take a class and find out :)

*All photos taken via Google images

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Life is Beautiful

There are certain moments in life that cause me to pause, take a deep breath, and know that life is good.  Those are the rare moments--the moments when joy intercedes.  There are times when my mind sounds like buzzing bees, and there is practically nothing that makes it stop... Until, I hear a favorite song or something inspirational that stops me in my tracks. That's when a sense of calmness envelopes me...Those moments of peace...  Give yourself a break and enjoy the good things in life!

1.   My all-time favorite song by Leonard Cohen "Halleluiah". There are many variations, but today this version stood out to me:  Halleluiah

2.  About a year ago I came across Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience that was exceptionally written.  I completely forgot about it until a friend posted a link to it today and I was once-again swept away by her poetic, real, graceful writing.  Ann Voskamp is also the author of  One Thousand Gifts.

3.  Take a Seat, Make a Friend from Soul Pancake.  This makes me smile...especially the "teeth" part...

4.  Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst.  I have mentioned this book a million times on my blog.  This book has stopped me in my tracks to re-examine how I communicate with others and gives hilarious real-life examples.

5.  Because all moms need some grace....  So Wonderful So Marvelous blog

What are some things that put a smile on your face, that make you stop in your tracks?

Give yourself some grace today, and take time to slow down to enjoy the little joys in life. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

JULY Pinterest Exchange

If you want to participate email me at with your name, the state you live in, and if you have a blog then let me know the link. Sign up for the exchange by July 1st!

Oh my goodness! I was in the middle of coming up with ideas on how to get together with some girlfriends.  And I had the brilliant idea of a Pinterest Party.  But then came another, even more brilliant idea... a Pinterest Pal Exchange!

Whose ready to get crafty and creative? 
Whose ready to make some new friends?

I have come across some amazing women that live out of state and would love to start a penpal/Pinterest Exchange through snail mail!

Every month, you will get paired up with a new Pinterest Pal.  You can do this every month, one time, or every once in awhile--you decide! You will create a Pinterest-inspired craft or Pinterest-inspired recipe to send to her, etc.  The ideas for this are endless!

If you want to participate for the month of July:

1. This time around, I will send out a mass email to participants with info on who they are paired up with . You will be responsible in contacting your partner. If you do not hear from them by July 5th let me know. I will pair you up with a new partner if possible. We had an incident in April where one partner never responded, but thank goodness I had a back-up girl to take her place.

2.  Snail mail/email/fb your Pal during the month so you can get to know each other. The main purpose of this exchange is to make new friends and become familiar with one another.

3.  Items need to be around $15.

4. Facebook, Blogger, and myself, Elizabeth Hermesch, will not be held responsible for damaged items or disputes.  I'm sure there won't be any issues, but lets keep it friendly and drama-free.

5.  If you have a blog you will need to post about the exchange. Please share your blog link on Get Busy Living's FB page when you receive your package: Get Busy Living's FB Page

 It's a great way to see what goodies we all received.  This will also help this exchange be even bigger and better for next month.  If you do not have a blog but could kindly take a photo of your items and post it on the FB page, I would be more than happy to show it on the blog :) Please share about this on your Facebook wall too :)

6. All exchanges need to be mailed out by Wed. July 24th.

-Elizabeth Hermesch

Have Fun. Be creative. Make New Friends :)

My April Exchange partner gave me this box of goodies :)  I love the Terrarium Kit!  Read about it HERE

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Speech Therapy

The other day I had an appointment to see if my 2.5 year old is right where he needs to be developmentally.  The professional asked me questions pertaining to behavior, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, communication, and with socializing.  When she added up the points, my son fell in normal ranges and communication was in the concerned range.  As a former teacher, I am very proactive when it comes to these things. I want to make sure I am doing my best as a parent to find resources if my child needs them.  Tackling these things early is a good way to set them up for success, and to make sure we catch it before it becomes a larger issue/something that cannot be reverted.

This did not surprise me because we have been keeping an eye on his speech since he starting talking over a year ago.  There are certain words he cuts off, or cannot pronounce correctly. At this point, he is still not really talking with more than 1-2 words to ask for something.  There has been a lot of progress in the last few months.  Since he was one year old, our son would say "cu"(referring to "milk"...we think he was trying to say "cup"). Joshua has now resorted to asking for milk by saying "mmm" so it is progress in the right direction.  There are a lot of things he has learned over the last few months and are excited about.

I am not writing this to diagnose or put a label on my child.  I think that was my fear when I was thinking about asking my friends for help or putting this out there.  Initially, it seemed more comfortable to keep this between my husband and I.  In the end, I'm realizing my hesitant behavior is not because I am embarrassed.  It is all about protecting my son so he later does not feel embarrassed himself or feel like he has been put in a box.  My fears about this topic stem from my own childhood...

I was the speech child.  I even went to kindergarten twice.  I think the way I felt about myself growing up is what I do not want my son to experience.  I want Joshua to excel. I want him to have the best self-esteem.  This is just coming from a parent that wants the best for her child.  Just as I am sure you want the best for your child.

Joshua has another appointment coming up to be observed.  From there, they will determine if possible speech therapy is the route to take. Maybe they will say everything actually looks great, or maybe they will say he does need therapy.  Either way, educating myself on this topic is important and I am sure others would like to learn more too.

My main purpose for this post is to get over my own insecurities, but also to ask for advice and support.  The professionals will be giving me info but I would like to hear from those who have experience with this too.  Feel free to email me if commenting on here is not helpful:

Does anybody have experience with a 2-5 year old who has done speech therapy? 
What is some good advice or experiences you can share with me?  


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Imperfect Progress

Recently my friends had a discussion about how will they know when they have 100% accomplished what they set out for. For example, someone really wants to work on themselves and reach a place of peace.  Once they look back, they can see small accomplishments but are never satisfied with the current results.

This got me thinking... We are too hard on ourselves. In most big situations, you cannot get from Point A to Point B within a designated amount of time. If I am trying to come to peace with certain situations in my life, you cannot measure the distance and determine "I will be here on this day. I will have this peaceful feeling 2 months from now."  Not saying that you cannot make a goal and keep it--you can!  This is in reference to certain situations that cannot be measured.  Sometimes it is a slow process, and sometimes there is a reason for that.  Maybe you need all that time to reach your goal so you have plenty of time to process the situation and learn something from it.  A slow process can also make you appreciate it even more when you do finally accomplish what you set out for. Have you ever received something instantly, thought that was cool, and then you're off to the next thing you want?  Well, if we were always given everything on the spot and did not have to work hard to get it, we would not appreciate it as much.

Also, even if you work hard and made progress we are sooo hard on ourselves and think we have not made hardly any progress. We need to remind ourselves that little progress IS progress. Give yourself credit.  The fact that someone is working on themselves or trying to reach a specific goal is enough to show that they do care, and that they do want to make a difference.  

If I were to go further in detail with this topic, I would tell my friend that maybe it is a good thing she is never satisfied with where she is.  I know that sounds odd, but let me explain.... The day you are 100% whole as a person and have nothing else to learn, it better be the day you are in Heaven.  While we are on Earth, we will always be searching for more and hopefully wanting to be better than what we are. That is natural. That is how God created us--to constantly want to better ourselves and learn from experiences.  We will never be perfect but we can strive to live a happy lifestyle and improve our crappy situations. 

I am reading a book right now called "Unglued" by Lysa Terkeurst.  The author constantly repeats the phrase, "Imperfect Progress".  Throughout the last few weeks, I have had to remind myself of that phrase.   I will always have something to work on and will never be perfect.  Nobody is perfect.  That is not to get you down, but to be an uplifting reminder to give yourself some grace sometimes. Work towards your goals, but also remember to be realistic. 

That is where I struggle--being realistic.  I am a list-maker, a goal-setter, and I set high expectations for myself.  Honestly, will I accomplish 20 items from my to-do list in one day?  Probably not, and I should not beat myself up when I don't accomplish them in that given day.  Instead, prioritize and set out realistic goals. Pick a few at a time...not 20. 

My son has a home educator that comes over every month and she wanted to help me with goal-setting.  She asked me what would one goal be for myself, for Joshua, and one for our family.  This is what we came up with:

The home educator told us to eat twice a week at our dinner table. I thought this was strange and I asked why she did not insist on doing 6-7 times a week.  Her response was that you have to set yourself up for success. If I started out with 6-7 days as our family goal, we would fail right away and never try again (most likely).  So set yourself up with baby steps, small goals that you know you can easily accomplish. That way you can see the progress and not beat yourself up.  These are small goals, but my personal goals are pretty outlandish... which is why I have to reel in my thoughts and force myself to be realistic again.

I just want to encourage others and root them on!  I have many goals and struggles in life and to know there is someone to stand by me makes a world of difference.  

Imperfect Progress!
Little Progress IS Progress!

What are some things you are working on or want to share?  We are in this together!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In the hands of Obama...

My blood has been boiling lately. 

My brain has been creating different scenarios to make something work.

Then I realize, I need to be REALISTIC...

I need to be realistic with my expectations & with life-altering choices. Sometimes it is really difficult to take a step back and know that waiting is sometimes better in the end.  But it's hard when you want something so bad!  You can either take a plunge and hope for the best, or wait until all your "ducks are lined up in a row". Either way-- it's scary and makes me question myself.

I do not want to be the type of person to lead you on and keep you wondering what this is pertaining to.  That would be the most annoying thing ever... For the last few months, I have stewed over the thought of having another baby.  Then I remember: Our insurance is poop. 

During the month, we have come to the conclusion to wait for ObamaCare and see what that entails.  That means I am going to wait and see if our work insurance changes or see what changes when ObamaCare comes into play.  I am just at an annoyed point right now and can't help but laugh because we may/may not have another baby right now based on what Obama does....

How crazy is that?   We are basing our decisions on what someone else does... Insurance can help a lot in some cases (or in our case right now really screw us over).  What's driving me nuts right now is thinking that ObamaCare or new insurance won't even provide maternity coverage anyways, so why the heck are we waiting for that?  Caught in a dilemma. That's all there is to it.

In the end, God has full control and knows what is best for our family.  I honestly do not know what is best right now. I just hate the fact that in this day and age, we have to base our baby thoughts on what the government is doing or not doing.  

It should be as simple as:  I want a baby, so we are having a baby (God-willing).    

Wish it was that easy!  We have to consider if Joshua is at an age to handle a sibling. If we are ready to be able to handle 2 kids. And about 50 other things to consider...

Going back to my original thought-- Be REALISTIC!  The problem is that I don't know if we are over-thinking this, making excuses, or if we are being smart to wait.  Maybe a mixture of both.

If we did not let fear control our thoughts and decisions, we would probably have another child by now.  We love our son sooo much, that I know another little one will have just as much love from us too.  But the logistics of it all is what is getting in the way...

Sorry for the back and forth rant. Like I said, I go back and forth and end up nowhere.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Busy Bag Exchange {Gilbert, AZ}

When:  Sat. July 13
Time:  11am
Where:  Chick-Fil-A (Power/202 san tan)  

Announcing a NEW exchange that I want to get started and spread the news around. As a former teacher and now a stay-at-home mom with an energetic toddler, I need to find some creative ways to keep my son busy. Plus with summer here, I am sure most mommies need something to keep their kids busy as well. A few months ago, I came across an idea on Pinterest called "Busy Bags". The concept completely intrigued me...

What are Busy Bags?

They are little activities you create to keep your child busy. These would be even great to use as a classroom teacher or a nanny. Most Busy Bags are kept in Ziploc bags. I like how organized and simple these activities can be. Also, any hands-on activities or manipulatives (teacher term) are wonderful for kids. I believe that kids learn better or have more fun when they can touch, feel, and pretend with items. Busy bags can be activities based on numbers, reading, shapes, colors, tying your shoes, Legos--the ideas are endless!

Join us for the Busy Bag Exchange! We will need a group of about 11 ladies. If we get 11 ladies to participate, we will be making 10 Busy Bags each (make an extra for yourself if you'd like). Then we will meet up and exchange and you will receive 10 NEW activities. Get ideas off Pinterest or make up your own idea. Each Busy Bag you make will need to be in a Ziploc bag when you exchange. Just to keep it organized and easy to pass out. 

Please RSVP by June 29th

For further info, contact:
Elizabeth Hermesch

*Coming in July/August: 
My NEW business, BAM-MA Creations!  I will be "opening" a website store that you can purchase Busy Bags, Literacy activities, or sign up for Busy Bag workshops.  Feel happy that you are the FIRST to know about my little secret ;)  More news to come...

Monday, June 10, 2013

When all you want is sleep... {Guest Post}

Today I want to introduce you to Lindsay from Two Bobbins Later.  She is a "mother by day; crafter by night" as she puts it.  Lindsay is going to touch upon a topic that I struggle with as a parent.  She has some witty humor to make you laugh, but also gives simple suggestions to help.  If you are a parent who wants to pull out your hair because your child does not stay in their bed at night, this post is for you....

For a while there I thought our transition to the toddler bed was going incredibly well. I would use words like “effortless” and “easy” to describe the process. I would hear horror stories of kids screaming for hours (HOURS!) before finally relenting to a nap and all I could think was thank goodness that’s not my kid!!!

Then there was Wednesday. A two hour nap cut in half and 90 minutes of re-directing my two year old back into her room to finish the nap she clearly needed. And tonight she started to freak out during bed time! Ahhhh!!! Where did my champion sleeper go!? This girl used to dance into bed and just go to sleep. The last two days she’s only had eight hours of sleep at night when she needs 10-11. 

It is SO hard to think clearly and objectively when you’re running on 5 hours of interrupted sleep (our infant isn’t sleeping through the night yet.) It is the most awful feeling hearing your toddler getting out of bed and padding down the hallway toward you at the break of dawn. I find myself chanting, “If I pretend to be asleep she’ll go away, if I pretend to be asleep she’ll go away.” No. She pokes me. She crawls on me. She pulls my eyelids open. 

We’ve read a lot on what we should do. The majority response is to just keep putting them back in bed. Put them back in bed even if it hurts because you need at least three more hours of sleep. Put them back in bed even if the resulting screams wake the baby. Put them back even though it would be easier to turn on the tv, or let them cuddle, or let them eat a bag of pretzels in the corner of the room so you can get 15 more minutes of rest.

Then I came across this article at Aha! Parenting (a site I adore), it gives 15 tips to help get your toddler to bed. I love it because it feels right, I hate it because it doesn’t say “do this tonight and your kid will be perfect and you’ll get all the sleep you need.”

One suggestion it makes is for the parent to stay in the room. This is something that has really been helping us. We tried leaving and putting her back in bed again and again and again. She would do that for hours; I’m not exaggerating. At one point I had my hand on her chest while putting her back in bed and her heart was racing. No one can go to sleep like that! So we either sit in the chair in her room or stand by the door until she falls asleep. We assure her that we’ll be right there and that everything is ok. It’s hard. It sucks. There are about 4,724 things I’d rather be doing, but it works, and it cuts the fight down to minutes instead of hours.  

Another tip is to do a pretend night routine with stuffed animals. Play it out and demonstrate how things are going to go down; model desirable behavior and non-desirable behavior.  Give your toddler an example to follow and let them know the expectations you have of them.

Another tip I’d recommend is be prepared before you put them down. Full sippy cup, fresh diaper, brushed teeth – have every excuse they’ll throw at you checked off your list in advance. Our daughter was so desperate not to go to bed the other night that she begged to be put into time out.

I know it’s hard, people - I am living it right now and the only thing that gets me up at 5am to put her back in bed is the knowledge that if we do it right the first time this phase should only last a couple weeks at most instead of dragging out for months on end. Addressing it right away also prevents residual difficulties like crazy tantrums from an over-tired toddler. (I really don’t need any more of those thankyouverymuch.) So google your closest Starbucks drive-thru and get prepared for some short-term work with long-term benefits.

Please remember to take this all with a grain of salt. Each family is unique, each kid individual. What works for one may not work for another. This is what has been working for us, be open to other avenues and good luck!!! I’m right there with a gallon of coffee, cheering you on! xoxo

Friday, June 7, 2013

{Link-Up} Photo-A-Day Challenge

~Family, Life, Love, Hope, Laughter~
There's a lot to be thankful for...
Here are some photos that capture what I am thankful for this week. Feel free to link-up on the bottom of this page with your challenge photos so far.  If you do not have a blog and would like to share your Photo-A-Day photos, you can do so on my Get Busy Living fb page.
 June 1-7:
 Thankful for sweet moments between father and son

 Very excited to get a box geared towards a date night

 Ah... Caramel Ribbon Frappachino. Yum!

 Thankful for little things that put a smile on my face. 
My toddler thought plastic fruit can be held by earphones.

 Feeling Blessed.

 Thankful for awesome neighbors that melted my heart.

Thankful for books that make you dig deep.


"I love photography. I love inspiration. I love finding beauty in every day things." 
-Elizabeth Hermesch ("Get Busy Living" blogger)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

5 Love Languages + a Challenge

Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Receiving Gifts
Quality Time
Physical Touch

About 5 years ago when Dale and I were newlyweds, we came across the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  Great book!  If you are about to get married, a newlywed, or been married for years and years, you have to read it!  The book focuses on the 5 love languages:  Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Many people have a #1 love language that speaks to them. If their spouse focused on doing things for their loved one that focuses in on that love language then it really fills up the "love bucket".  

Since it has been awhile since reading the book, I went to the website (5lovelanguages) to discover my love language by taking a quiz.  I suggest both you and your spouse take the quiz.  I found out that my top love language is Acts of Service and second place was Quality Time.  It surprised me because 5 years ago my top love language was Quality Time.  When different seasons in life come and go I believe that your love language can change sometimes.  Now that I am a mom and don't have time to clean the house, what speaks volumes to me is when my husband shows me Acts of Service.  Just helping around the house by doing a load of laundry or fixing dinner speaks wonders to my love language.  When my husband gets home tonight I will have him take the quiz too.

While taking my quiz today, the website also advertised a "Love Language Challenge". and challenges... I always have to accept any kind of challenge (I have about 5 going on right now).  This challenge is to spend the next 5 weeks showing love to your spouse by speaking to their specific love language.  My husband doesn't know it yet, but we are sooo doing this! I just signed up.  Not quite sure what it will entail but I think you just do one simple thing per week to prove your love.  

After our challenge is over in 5 weeks, I will be sharing all about it! Stay tuned....

I would love to hear if you join the challenge too. Feel free to share ideas on what you did to speak your spouse's love language, or how it's working out. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Busy Bag Exchange for Kids!

Announcing a NEW exchange that I want to get started and spread the news around.  As a stay-at-home mom with an energetic toddler, I need to find some creative ways to keep my son busy.  Plus with summer here, I am sure most mommies need something to keep their kids busy as well.  A few months ago, I came across an idea on Pinterest called "Busy Bags".  The concept completely intrigued me...

What are Busy Bags?

They are little activities you create to keep your child busy. These would be even great to use as a classroom teacher or a nanny.  Most Busy Bags are kept in gallon-size Ziploc bags but don't necessarily have to be kept in bags.   I like how organized and simple these activities can be.  Also, any hands-on activities or manipulatives (teacher term) are wonderful for kids.  I believe that kids learn better or have more fun when they can touch, feel, and pretend with items. Busy bags can be activities based on numbers, reading, shapes, colors, tying your shoes, Legos--the ideas are endless! 

My vision for this Busy Bag Exchange is to provide moms, teachers, and nannies with fun activities for the kids.  I will be honest and say that my son watches way too much TV during the day. If I had the option to pull out a Busy Bag instead of turning on the Tube then that would be a better solution.


Want to Join the Exchange?

You will have to come up with TWO Busy Bag ideas, make them, and send to your exchange partner.  This exchange is geared towards kids around the ages of 1-5.

*You will need to mail your two Busy Bags by Saturday, July 20, 2013. No later!

*Right after you sign up, please make sure to share about the Busy Bag Exchange on your FB wall. The more the merrier! 

*Feel free to get inspired by Pinterest Busy Bag ideas or feel free to completely create your own idea.  If you do decide to be inspired from Pinterest, make sure to credit the site you got the idea from.

I will be emailing all participants during the first week of July with information about your partner. Depending on who signs up, I hope to partner you up with someone around your child's age. 

To sign up:
Include-  Your name, Your State, Child(ren)'s Age, Child(ren)'s Gender

 When You Receive Your Package:  

If you are a blogger: Please post on your blog about what your partner sent you.  We will have a link-up party....I will email details later in July about linking up.  This is mandatory if you join the exchange.  The more we can share this through social media/the blogging world, the better this Busy Bag Exchange will become!

If you are NOT a blogger: I ask that you post a photo of what you received on "Get Busy Living's" FB page with a description (or email it to me This is mandatory if you join the exchange. The more we can share this through social media/the blogging world, the better this Busy Bag Exchange will become!  

Hope to see lots of people who are interested!  Send me any questions you have :)


Funny Married Moments

Our little family of three had a photo shoot that included many moments of tantrums.  Our 2 year old was not going to have it. It was warm outside and he would rather play with the ducks at the park than to stand still for photos.  We wrestled and tried to get a few decent shots.  When we got sneak peeks of our photos later I could not stop the tears and laughter... This picture says it all.  It captures our family to a "T"! I'm the one who usually sweetly says things like "It's okay, Joshua, calm down." While Dale is usually the one who is like, "Can we just go? This is ridiculous." This is not even posed...My friend (our photographer) caught a real-life moment.  And as I type this up, my son comes up to me, points to this photo on the screen and says, "Uh-oh!" I asked him if that's him throwing a fit and he nods his head telling me "uh-oh...bad!"And I can't help but notice that the bench we are sitting on in the pictures says "Happiness"...  
Prom Night: This story takes place when Dale and I were dating.  Even though it's not a married story I still have to share it...  So it was prom night and Dale took me to a restaurant called "Beef Eaters". The name of the restaurant is questionable. When I think of a place called Beef Eaters, I imagine a BBQ steakhouse. Well, this place was actually quite the opposite.  It was a steakhouse but had black, leather booths and a Baby Grand piano in the middle of the place. The place had some old, classy charm.  After having some delicious steak, potatoes, and a salad, we were on our way to Prom.  Lets just say there was not much dancing that went on that evening...  Every few minutes, Dale was running to the bathroom with food poisoning.  Poor guy.  We can laugh about it now because it was such a long time ago. I joke around saying that with a name like "Beef Eaters" it's gotta tell you something... I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, just like you should not judge a restaurant by its name... but in this case, DO! 

Dale and I were supposed to go on a date to The Vintage Market--a cute Italian-themed cafe where some weddings take place. I had Dale deal with the reservations. We were on our way to The Vintage Market and Dale says, "Honey, the lady on the phone was so confused about me making reservations so I couldn't make one. She said that you don't need reservations for this place."  I just thought that they must not be very busy then.  So we ended up driving a little when I asked Dale where the heck he was going.... "To the Vintage Market!" He really was not headed in the right direction. After much confusion, Dale said that he thought it was really weird that I wanted to go on a date to a marketplace/grocery store. Apparently, when Dale had called The Vintage Market it was another place that was an actual grocery store, and that's where we were headed! lol.  I busted up laughing finding out he had called a grocery store (that had the same name as the restaurant) to make reservations! Poor lady on the phone was probably thinking what a weirdo Dale was. Needless to say, I think we just ended up at Olive Garden that night instead....

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Staying on a Budget

As most of you already know, I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey. He is a money guru who helps people through the steps of tackling debt.  Whether it is small debt or an astronomical amount, there have been success stories of those that have followed Dave's program.

Before we came across the program, my husband and I were able to pay off about $20,000 in medical debt from giving birth to our son (wahoo!).  Fast forward 2 years later, and we still have about $40,000 in debt to tackle.  In January of this year I read Total Money Makeover which empowered me to do something about the mound of debt we are in.  After reading the book, I felt encouraged to change my frame of mind in how I deal with money.  And from that my hubby and I decided to take action.

The Envelope System:  

The biggest budgeting help has been the Envelope System.  We started this in January.  Right now we have individual envelopes for Groceries, Entertainment, and for Dale's Lunch Money.  On pay day, I head to the bank to pull out the exact increment we have set for each envelope. Once the cash is gone, it's gone.  You can not pull out anymore money for these expenses until the following week.  If you find that there is left-over money in the envelope at the end of the week, you can combine that next time or eventually put the "extra" towards debt. 

Also, I still use Auto-Pay for major bills, and only use the debit card for gas (since I hate going inside to pay). I also have to mention credit cards are a no-no. Continuing to use credit cards is not going to get you out of debt...if anything, it can rack up more interest/cost.  Envelope System is ALL about CASH! We are reverting back to the days when plastic was not invented.

This system has worked great for us.  It really drives in the fact to be intentional with our money. In the past, it was so easy to just pull out the debit/credit card and swipe whenever we wanted.  This helps us stay within our budget, and to work on our Snowball at the same time (another Ramsey term which I will share in a future post).

I do have to say that this month has been tough on me in the envelope department. I fell off the bandwagon and had the thoughts of "I don't care"...not a good frame of mind to be in.  That's when I started using my debit card for purchases again and was not necessarily staying within budget. This week I am going to sit down and re-evaluate and get back to the envelope system.  We may need to create another envelope dedicated to date nights and car maintenance.  That's where we have found a lot of money seeping from our budget lately so I want to get on top of that.

*The Envelope System only helps if you are willing to put the effort into it and STICK to it!*


*Additional Info: What Dave Ramsey says about it 

Now I know My ABC's {Toddler Tuesday series}

I don't know about you, but my 2 year old is OBSESSED with anything related to the alphabet, and has been for months. I cannot tell you how many times he recites the ABC song in a given day. I love the fact that my toddler is learning and I fully encourage it...but I need to teach him some new songs...soon (for this mama's sake)! haha.

Today I want to share with you some awesome alphabet activities you can incorporate in your own home.  Here are a few:
I am finding tons of cookie sheet activities from Pinterest!  I found this really neat Alphabet Road Letter Sorting Game from  No Time For Flashcards.  It looks like it would take a little bit of preparation, but should be a fun activity that will keep kids busy for awhile. 

This is another fun Cookie Sheet activity. The source I got it from used plastic alphabet shaped letters.  I was fortunate enough to come across some Letter Titles, and they work perfect for this activity. You can find Letter Titles online or through your local teaching store.  

My son showing off his canvas letters

I didn't have a lot of time this week to make a bunch of activities that I wanted to. Hopefully next week I will have a TON to share :)  Have a Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Quote the Walls {Review}

 When it comes to being organized and being able to find pantry items in a quick manner, I love the labels I received from Quote the Walls.  

I was very impressed when they arrived in the mail.  There were about 3 huge sheets of labels that even included items such as quinoa, gluten free, flax seed, and of course the every day pantry items. With many people focusing on clean eating nowadays, I think these pantry labels will appeal to them too.   

This was the first time using vinyl and I can attest that they are the easiest to apply. They also look professionally-done and clean.

Quote the Walls is offering a $5 deal on these labels through the week!  Like their Quote the Walls FB page to take advantage of this awesome deal.  Every Tuesday they update their $5 deals.  The best part about this is that the pantry labels can come in almost any color you choose!  I chose black because it is simple and classic.  Not only does the company make these labels, but they also have everything else related to vinyl. You can purchase vinyl to decorate your bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, wherever! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Vivid Memory

European Memories
by Elizabeth Hermesch

I remember an elderly man with a pin striped shirt,
who whistled as he rowed along.
Sitting on the smooth, mahogany bench
my four friends, boyfriend, and I watched the coral green water
swish the side of the gondola.
We had a grand, old time
singing love songs and waving to those on land.

I remember walking down a rocky dirt road,
with old city ruins echoing the deaths of the town.
The houses were missing walls, furnishings gone.
The town had once been destroyed by a volcanic eruption.
During the night, the black and red, flaming lava
seeped through the small city.
I walked through the ruins in utter dismay,
and thought of all the families that once had been.
Petrified bodies were out on display.
And that was my venture in Pompei.

I remember walking down a dark and narrow alleyway in Venice,
and hearing a woman's glass-shattering voice.
I've never been fond of opera
But I felt stuck in quicksand,
with nowhere to go.
I was memorized by the enchanting melody
that drifted my way.
The group I was with sluggishly walked around,
listening to this woman's chorus.
I saw a girl with a tear streaming down her face.
We walked away,
with the music lulling in the background.

But most of all, I remember a gloomy, rainy day,
where the sun was hidden by clouds,
and people ran for shelter.
As I approached a tan colored building,
I couldn't help but feel the tightening of my heart.

Decades ago, a young girl had once lived here,
with a heart as big as a giant
and dreams that would soon vanish.
As I ventured inside, I could smell the dust-ridden atmosphere.
It was warm inside, but I felt a chill run up my spine.
Standing before me was the ancient bookcase and hidden door,
that I had come to see....

::My trip to Europe in 2004::