Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Amazing Lights - Amazing Grace

Kurt sent this to me today... so cool! I can't imagine living in this house, though, with the music and lights continually going outside. I think I would lose my mind!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Town at BG next year!

I got a "Christmas Card" from Busch Gardens this year, since we are season pass holders, and it mentioned "Christmas Town" arriving December 2009. So... I looked it up online, and sure enough, they are going to transform BG into a Winter Wonderland and open up in December! With Santa! And everything! I LOVE IT!

Here is some information.

and Here is the official site.

For My Sweet Hubby

This is one of his favorite movie clips, just in case he needs a giggle today... :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

In the true spirit of Over-Indulgence...

...we decided to make icing-m&m-redhot-sprinkle cookies, aka Gingerbread Men.

Surprisingly, this activity actually captured the kids attention throughout the entire process, and they even enjoyed decorating more than one cookie a piece! Usually, they make it through one, and they they are off wrestling and racing each other to see who will hold the "I can race fastest and knock the most things over the most" house award. Today, the winner is Seth. But that's another post.

We all enjoyed the cookie-making festivities tonight.





Brody and Seth used as many high calorie candy pieces accessories as they could on their cookies. In fact, just looking at a few of them makes my blood sugar levels rise.




Daddy was quite the proficient decorator, as displayed here with his "Ginger UniBrow Comb-Over Man".






And we parents got quite a laugh at comparing the kids cookies to our own. Can you guess whose is whose between the two below?



The boys are quite proud, as they should be.



:)

I KNOW! I know, I know, I know!

I know that I am SO in the doghouse with so many of you!!! I can't even remember how many people are actually upset with me because I haven't blogged. :o

So, here I am. And now that I am back, I have a quandary. I have been away so long, and so much has happened, that I am not sure even where to start!

I think I will just move forward from here, and if I go back every now and then to do a post on times gone by, you can just enjoy the flashback with me!

We are in the thick of the Christmas season. Lovin' it.

I have a new job, yay, which is only 20 hours a week, from home, doing web/graphic design, and I LOVE it! I missed the design work. I am starting up a design blog with some of my work, and I will let you know when I post to it so you can see what I have been up to.

The kids are great. We usually deal with some sort of sugar-shock daily, what with all the cookie gifts, candy canes attached to cards, and all the yummies that keep making their way into our house. But hey, at least we get a good nap out them when they crash!

I hope everyone is doing well, and I will be looking back through my photos from the past few weeks and be sure to update you on the Akers Antics!

Enjoy the holiday season!!!

J

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just Dancin'

I found this video so profound, that I began to tear up as I was watching, with the BIGGEST GRIN on my face! What an incredible world! It makes me want to get out of my chair, go somewhere I have never seen before, and just dance!


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Finally Four Eyes!

I did it. I *FINALLY* bought my glasses!

And... I realized that the ones I had tried on earlier that so many of my great friends voted on were just too expensive. *sigh* again, my apolgies!

So, I went to BJ's (great glasses deals, by the way!) and tried to get ones that are as close to the ones that you all voted on...

So, here they are!




I LOVE them. I got the same ones with black frames for my prescription sunglasses! Yipppeee!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

Maybe you have seen this video, maybe not. The message is wonderful! It is so easy to get caught up in *stuff* during the holidays, and we completely lose sight of how blessed we are.





If you want to donate clean water instead of buying that one extra present, here is the link...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I did it! Did you?


Get out there! Rain, or no rain! Vote, or you have no right to gloat or complain later! :)

I only had to wait in line for 1 1/2 hours. It wasn't too rainy, a couple of showers and just a little drizzle every now and then.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Chesapeake Sample Ballot

Just in case some of you in Chesapeake want to see a sample ballot before tomorrow, here it is.

Forget Debates... Lets have Presidential Dance-Offs!

Vote Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the day! Can you believe it? This has been the LONGEST presidential campaign EVER. Make sure you get out tomorrow and vote!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!



We had a great time tonight hoarding as much candy as two small boys can carry. Considering we have a "one treat a day" rule, it is going to take us half a year to make it through their loot!



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fort Akers


Look what a couple cheap shower curtain rods and a fabric shower curtain liner can make! The kids are ecstatic! How cool would it have been to have a fort like this to sleep in?!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ron, Andy, and Henry

Even if you don't agree with the message, it is neat to see the characters again:

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hair a la Ruth

Okay. I have a friend at church who is a wonderful, sweet, kind, gentle, and strong Christian woman. She has a beautiful voice and is always one of the most friendly people in any room.

That being said, because she is always so "put together", I usually feel like a shlep when I see her. Or as Oprah calls it, a "shlumpadinka" :) She dresses, every day, as if she has a photo shoot that evening. She accessorizes. Her mascara is never working it's way down her face.

But the real kicker... her hair. Ruth has perfect hair.

Every Wednesday evening when she walks into church choir, her hair is in an up-do. And not just any up-do (because I too wear an up-do almost everyday, it's called a ponytail), she has the kind of hair that I would pay someone to do when I need to go to a formal event. She has this hair on choir night! Doesn't she realize that it is Wednesday?! And it is night? She has been taking care of her two young children all day and then she shows up looking like that?! It should be illegal.

So, one night, I cornered her to ask how she does her hair. She proceeds to tell me, and then demonstrate on my hair, that what she does takes her 5 minutes and she just uses bobby pins and hair spray. So, she does 1/4 of my hair in about 1.5 minutes and it looks beautiful.

So, I am all gung-ho and buy pins and spray. Then, when I had a few moments today to play around, I thought I would give it a go. After 2 hours of trying, much searching on the internet for instructions, time spent with hot rollers in my hair, much teasing and scrunching, and using about 1 whole bottle of hair spray, I have hair that is comparable to Ruth's. It is nowhere near as tidy, and my head looks like it is made of metal with bobby pins sticking out every which-a-way, but I can see how this could one day become somewhat *easy*.

Now, the only problem is, I usually wear jeans and casual shirts... not quite the look I was going for! Oh well, I will have to work on that, too!

Ruth, if you are reading this, I love you to death! Thanks for the inspiration to get out of shlumpadinka. And choir ladies, am I right? Or am I right? :)



Quality Time

Last night, after both kids were in bed, Kurt and I sat down in our family room... and played a game together, Scattergories. I love it! :) One day down with no TV, and we're still alive and kicking!

New Halloween Decoration

I hate spiders. I know that lots of people hate spiders, but I seriously have an affliction. I seem to be getting better as I get older, but as my great friend JoEllen can attest, I panic... which isn't good when there is one on your windshield... on the inside of your windshield... and you are driving 65 miles per hour on the highway... with a bunch of girls in your car... but that is another story, right Jo?

On the other hand, I DO HAVE an incredible fascination with spiders once they get to a certain size... small ones, just creepy and annoying, but big ones with lots of colors and huge webs, amazing!

So, this is in our bushes in front of our house. I tried to get a photo of it next to a cell phone to show you that, including his legs, he is about the size of a call phone. He truly is awesome. But I still wish he wasn't there.

Looks like this is what he is: Common Yellow and Black Writing Spider



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Center

So, take a look at this picture and tell me what is NOT the focus of the room?



Answer: THE TV!

The TV is no longer the center, focus, main attraction in our family room! The new focus... FAMILY! :)

I am actually REALLY excited about this!

Just Like the Wise Men

TOO MUCH STUFF!

Christmas is almost upon us. I know, I know, get through Halloween first... but I like to get things done early. My goal each year is to be decorated, shopped, wrapped, cards made and sent by Dec 1st. Then, all I have to do is enjoy the season!

Anywho, to cut back on costs, and to ensure that our children appreciate and respect the gifts that they receive, we have decided to give each child Three gifts for Christmas, symbolizing the Frankincense, Myrrh, and Gold that were given go the Christ Child. This will also keep our focus on our Lord.

Also, we would like to institute a "Gift for Jesus", where we all commit to giving a gift of our time to Christ sometime throughout the year... this could be something like working with Habitat for Humanity, at a soup kitchen, Toys for Tots, donating items to a homeless shelter, making cards and taking gifts to sick kids in the hospital, etc... If anyone would like to send suggestions of things to do with small children, I would greatly appreciate it!

So... this brings me to my exciting news... I am done shopping for the boys! We will need to buy one gift from SA**A, but have to wait and hear what our boys ask for from him.

I feel fantastic knowing that they will be receiving gifts that they will REALLY like, they won't be overwhelmed with *stuff*, and the focus will be on the nativity story as we open our gifts! AND, it is costing us a LOT LESS than in previous years! :)

Let me know your thoughts, your traditions, etc... I would love any ideas you can give me!

Just in the Nick of Time

Well, I have decided who to vote for. After much deliberation and praying, I am going Democratic this election. :)

I have always voted Democratic, so I am not sure why this election was not a "given" for me, but it truly wasn't. After all the debates, the campaigning, and the issues with the economy, I find myself more comfortable voting for Obama.

That being said, there are concerns that I have with our National Security and with Abortion. I will pray for our leaders and our citizens to make informed and wise choices in those respects.

Thanks to everyone for sharing all of your opinions with me, and Praise God that we live in a country where we can talk feely about these issues. I can't imagine not having a "say" about who runs my country, and not being able to express my beliefs and opinions.

And, may the best man win! :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saving Big Bucks

So, I have started something called The Grocery Game. It is a website where you sign up to receive lists from the grocery stores that you shop at most. This list tells you what will be on sale that week, where you can find coupons for those sale items, and then you can print out the list with just the items you plan on purchasing.

I went to Walgreens and Food Lion today. I bought mostly body/hair/home care stuff at Walgreens, and then bought groceries at Food Lion.

My total amount saved today by using The Grocery Game...

Drum Roll Please...

$53.35!!!

FANTASTIC! It only took a little planning last night and this morning, then driving to both places to buy the stuff I wanted. I even gotjavascript:void(0) 3 items for FREE! INCREDIBLE! I am loving it!

We figure if we can do just that each week, we will save almost 250 a month in groceries, and it will only get better as I start to accumulate more coupon circulars and stockpiling goods when they are super cheap/free!

Woo Hoo!

We Are TV FREE!

Well, we did it. The little black box no longer receives a feed from DirecTV. We are WITHOUT TY! I will keep you posted as to how I make it through. Everyone tells me that we will all get used to it and will LOVE all the free time that it will allow us!

Wish us luck!

Financial Peace... Here We Come!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sitting on the Porch just Watching All The World Go By

Brody and I had a nice moment today on the front porch, just eating Popsicles and watching the sun slowly move it's way down in the sky. Very nice memory that was made today.

Note to self: I don't take enough time to just sit and enjoy my kids. Do it more often.



Getting Down with my Crafty Self

Every now and then, I fantasize myself as a seamstress and make a little something with my sewing machine. Today, it was little pillow cases for Seth's *pillow*. His pillow does not have a removable cover and he takes it everywhere, sleeps with it, etc... so it is extremely filthy and not very washable. So, I made removable covers. It will take him a little while to get used to them, but hopefully this will help prevent a little disease spreading this season!

Oh, and not to leave Poochie out, with the remnants, Poochie is now SOOPER POOCHIE!


Backways, Sideways, and Every Which-a-ways

As adults, there are very few sleep positions. Left Side, Right Side, Back, Stomach. Kids blow all of those rules out the window...

Head on pillow, Head under pillow, feet on pillow, Lengthways across 2 pillows, Spread Eagle in Center of Bed, Feet Hanging Off Bed, etc...

This is a photo taken this morning after Seth crawled into bed with me while Kurt was at the gym. The sad thing, he is on MY PILLOW (as is the cat, who sleeps there every night). There is just nothing like waking up in the morning with 4 square inches of pillow and bed space!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Finally ! What We Have All Been Waiting For!

We got this fee sample in the mail today. Finally! Someone is looking out for those of use who have noticed that BETWEEN our teeth is just not as bright and shiny as we would like.



Crest has created Whitening Dental Floss. We can all rest easy now, knowing that hidden down in the depths between our pearly whites is a glimmering, glowing shade of white! *Huge Sigh of Relief*

Just for the Record, I am a Jenny Craig Supporter

Okay. I have lost almost 25 pounds doing Jenny Craig. I support the program. I am all for it.

But I do have to say, that the Marketing Department at Jenny Craig is really getting the job done. I mean, looking at the picture on the front of the box below, who wouldn't want to sample their Sweet & Sour Chicken with Rice?

I opened the package to make my lunch and this is what I got. It wasn't my favorite meal so far, but really, it didn't taste half as bad as it looked!

Is this a case of false advertising? Do you think they'd sell as many products if they actually took a picture of what the food actually looked like? I'm not even going to repeat what Kurt said it looked like. :)

Just Like Old Times

Kurt got free tickets to go to the Norfolk Virginia Wine Festival this weekend. In fact, he got valet parking, tickets, and access to a VIP tent (that we never found). We were feeling rather important.

As we walked around, we had this feeling like we had "been there before". And I mean, by that, that we used to go out as a couple and do "adult" things (like tasting wine) on a regular basis before we had our kids. I miss it. I wouldn't change any of it, but it was nice to get back to "Jen & Kurt basics".

It was a rainy, cold, and windy day, but we still enjoyed tasting wine from our favorite vineyard (Cardinal Point) and buying a few bottles to enjoy later!



Friday, October 17, 2008

TWO years longer!

According to www.DeathClock.com, by shaving off 23.6 pounds (GO ME!), I have added exactly 2 years onto my lifespan!!!

So, for those of you who haven't seen me in a while, and we keep putting off getting together again, make sure we make plans to do so before

October 14, 2049!

It's Grammy Day!

video

Happy Birthday, Grammy! In honor of your birthday, my kids have decided to be over-the-top crazy. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Keith Hinton Group website redesign

The new website is live! I have been working on it for a few months now. When you get the chance, check it out and see what you think. Send along any constructive criticism! I would love to hear opinions!

www.KeithHintonGroup.com

Oh, and if you know of anyone who needs to sell or buy a home in Hampton Roads (Suffolk, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Smithfield, Franklin, etc...) send them my way! We do a GREAT JOB, if I do say so myself!

:)

My Advice for Parents of 4 and 2 year olds...

In through the nose... Out through the mouth.

Yay Yay Yay! And another yay!

Schools pictures came back today!!!

These are photos of the prints since my scanner isn't working, but you can see just how incredibly great these photos are! HUGE sigh of relief!



80!

This is for you, Pa Chuck!!!

video

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Glasses

I have let everyone down, but nobody more than myself.

*sigh* Please forgive me.

I thank all of you for voting on which glasses I should buy. I was SO EXCITED, as were many of you!

Well, on further inspection, I realized that my new prescription for glasses was nothing but new. It was for the exact same prescription. Nothing had changed in over 7 years.

Well, most of you who read my blog regularly know that we are trying to live as frugally as possible right now. So... as of right now... I am stuck with old, boring, lifeless, out of date, not so cute glasses.



Now, if any of you wanted to take up a collection for me to buy one of the pairs that you all voted on, feel free! :)

AND... I haven't given up! I am still trying to figure out a way to get those cutie patootie glasses. Anybody know a cheap way to get some cute frames? I thought of buying them online from a cheaper source, but I just can't get past the fact that you can't try them on and see them before hand!

Who knows, maybe my fantastic hubby and I can come to some sort of agreement and I can get new ones.

Stupid economy.

New Poll

So, I am just curious... I have a new poll on the right side of my blog. Be honest. If you had to trim your budget, would you cut back on groceries before cutting out TV from your life?

Monday, October 13, 2008

To TV or not to TV, that is the BIG question



"American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV."
-- The Kaiser Family Foundation



Kurt and I have been slashing our budget since March. We have made HUGE changes in the way we live. We have sacrificed quite a bit to work on getting rid of our debt and save comfortably.

With the economy being absolutely loopy, we decided to look at the budget AGAIN and make more changes.

We are getting rid of our gym membership (Kurt will still get a free one because he is an instructor). We got rid of the DirecTV upstairs in the kids playroom. We are changing our Life Insurance to Term instead of Whole Life. We are pondering getting rid of the home phone land line. We aren't using the air conditioner or heating AT ALL and are just opening windows, using fans, etc... as needed.

So, there are lots of things that have been *relatively easy* for us to decide to cut out.

THAT BEING SAID... we are having a REAL HARD TIME deciding to get rid of television all together. We've been here before, in fact I think I even made a post about it. Yep, I did... on March 24th, here is the link if you want to read it but it says the exact same thing. So, here we are 7 months later still trying to decide!

We would still be able to watch DVDs, but would get rid of all feed coming into the house. That would save us $39.35 a month (we already have the lowest level with DirecTV, plus the TIVO). That would save us $472.20/year!

Kurt and I just aren't in agreement about it yet. On one hand, it would definitely force us to get things done around the house, get out and go DO STUFF instead of sitting around watching TV, give us time to read more books, do crafts and things with the kids to improve their imaginations. Oh, and I could rearrange the furniture so it isn't all focused on the big black box!

But, on the other hand, there are things that we enjoy together (like The Office and Heroes) that we would really miss (and I KNOW you can watch them online, it just isn't the same.)

So, here we are. Trying to figure this all out.

Let me know what you think... is it just Un-American to not have television? Will we feel cut off from the rest of the world? Would we be outcasts at social functions? Would we be seen as *weird* (not that we aren't already?!)

SO MUCH TO CONSIDER!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Melted Witch Treats



I found these treats online and thought I would make them for Halloween Bunco at my house. They turned out really cute! They are little witch hats in a "puddle of melted witch" with a broom. Too fun.

Here is the link where you can find the recipe and instructions.

Halloween Bunco!

Bunco was at my house last night, and we did a Halloween themed evening. I had a prize for the person that made the "most creative/spookiest/coolest" food item. Our Bunco group is so important to me, as having time with friends seems to be a last priority once you have a husband and kids. Love you Betties!