Monday, July 21, 2014

A Howdy from Beast'sbelle

Hey guys!  Wow, this day did not turn out quite the way I had planned, but I got a lot done.   Dishes, laundry, devotions, exercise, and coloring and a movie with the girls...all in one day!  Plus, my house is even clean.  Am I Superwoman, or what? ;)

Hubby is out of town training for work this week.  He's finally moving up to a part-time driving position at UPS (hooray!!), so he's taking a class from now through Thursday.  We're still not sure how many hours he'll have or how we're going to make ends meet, but it's encouraging that things are progressing. :)  I'll keep you guys posted on that front.

As you can imagine, getting Hubby packed up and holding down the fort this week has kept me on my toes.  I'm slowly working on answering comments and catching up on email responses.  Please be patient with me!  I apologize once again to anyone who has emailed me in the past several months...I got super behind and am still struggling to get a response off to everyone. :{

In other news, I was unable to do a "real" blog post today because Maggie spent most of the day on the computer, getting her long overdue blog post up.  Since I was keeping her on task most of the day, my creative energy is pretty much spent, so I'll have a review up for you later this week.  You can go read Maggie's post HERE to tide you over if you like. ;)

Finally, I'm super excited because this coming Friday will mark my FOUR YEAR BLOGOVERSARY for Never Grow Up!  Wow!  I can't believe it's already been four years!  I have a little giveaway planned, so stay tuned. :)

I guess that's about all for now.  My eyes are crossing and I'm paying too much attention to "The King and I" on Spotify instead of typing, so I think it's time to head to bed...without Hubby.  Maybe I'll sleep with the light on. ;)

I'll leave you with this amazing video my brother brought to my attention.  This is a project animated and headed up by Glen Keane, one of my all-time favorite Disney animators, called "Duet".  You can see it HERE.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :)

You can also see the behind the scenes video on Duet HERE.

Talk to you guys again soon!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our Art Gallery ;)

I thought you might enjoy seeing the results of last night's date:

I decided on a Princess Jasmine page.  I haven't colored or drawn a Jasmine picture for a long time, and I loved the unique pose they used for this particular picture.

It was really fun determining the right colors for her and playing around with shading and such. :)

I also enjoyed figuring out the right color scheme for the palace in the background. :)  (I used an online photo as a reference.) 

Hubby, meanwhile, selected a picture of a robin in a garden.

He did a great job capturing its coloring (He also referred to an online photo). 

I love the detail and shading he included: 

And here's our test paper and leftover colors we used. ;)

It was really nice to sit and chat as we colored away.  We haven't done that for a long time.  :)

I have some updates to share and some reviews to post, but for now it's time to go celebrate my brother's thirtieth birthday!  More to come later!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I'll talk to you again soon. :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Drawing Date

So, I was sitting here at the computer, all set to work on one of my draft posts, when Hubby came home with a surprise:

My sweet guy had planned a "drawing date" with me for this evening.  And hey, when I'm offered a selection of giant princess pages to color in plus a box of SIXTY FOUR crayons (I don't even remember when I last had so many colors), how can I resist?

A box of happiness! :)

This should keep me and my daughters occupied for a few weeks. ;)

The cover art on this booklet is really fun, featuring the princesses in their new styles.

Belle, looking adorable.

Check out Rapunzel's new do!  I've never seen her in a ponytail before.

This is an interesting variation on Jasmine's outfit.  Man, she needs to gain a few pounds.  Someone get that girl a hamburger! ;)

I don't think I've ever seen Cinderella in her blue dress with out her headband.  It makes her look really different.

All that to say, the other posts will have to wait.  I'm on a date with my very thoughtful guy (who, by the way, opted to find some printable pictures to color online rather than going for princesses). ;)

The only problem now is figuring out which princess to color in first! ;)

How will I ever decide? ;)

Monday, July 14, 2014

VBS, Photo Contests, and Other Randomness :)

Well, I'm back to the normal, slightly-less-hectic schedule. :)  Sorry I didn't pop in before this.  The weekend was spent recovering from last week. ;)

VBS was really wonderful.  As always, I learned a lot and felt blessed to be a part of things. I think my main lesson this year was humility.  

I'll admit it...I'm pretty much a spotlight type of person.  I rather enjoy being the center of attention (in some circumstances...unless you're asking me the answer to an algebraic equation or something). ;)  For several years, I was in charge of the opening and closing programs, as I've already mentioned.  When that got to be a bit too much with Hubby's busy summer schedule, I passed the responsibility on to another, but I still have been involved.

At the beginning of this week, I was feeling as though there was really no need for me to be there.  I wasn't in charge, I wasn't in the skits, I was basically just another singing voice.  Maybe they didn't need me anymore.  Throughout the course of the week, though, I realized that this insecurity was basically because I wasn't the center of attention.  "A" is a great leader and has a magnetic personality, especially when he's around children, so the kiddos flocked to him.  Our other helper up front was young and pretty and helping in the classroom. so she was adored.  I felt like an old, boring background voice that no one cared about.  Not that I would have admitted this highly unspiritual attitude to anyone!! :}  It was honestly how I felt, though.  And then, I was convicted of my selfish attitude.  I wanted more attention while still having less responsibility.  And good grief, VBS is never about the person up front anyway, or at least it shouldn't be!  It's always about God, about glorifying Him, sharing His message of salvation, and pointing others to His truth.  

I felt a bit sheepish about my inner attitude, especially when I thought about the theme of this year's VBS:  choosing "God's way" instead of "my way".  Hmm, which way was I choosing?  Apparently you're never too old to learn. ;)  I think that's one disadvantage of being involved in a ministry that is more visible (such as singing or public speaking).  It's very easy to make it all about you, even when you tell yourself you're doing things "for the Lord".  

Once I got over this silly and immature mindset, I was able to focus more on why I was there and Who it was all about.  And when I moved the focus away from myself, I was able to really enjoy the week.  

One of the major blessings from this year's VBS was being able to see so many of the young people I'd watched grow up taking part in VBS as helpers or leaders.  Many of them were children I'd taught in Sunday School or VBS when they were little.  One of them was a boy I used to babysit.  Now they are all young men and women, and it was so encouraging to me to see how they have grown and matured.  I saw their genuine love for the kids, their willing servant's hearts, and their eagerness to please the Lord with their lives. 

There were even a couple of times during the week when the Lord very graciously helped me through my insecurities, even though they were based on a selfish need to be noticed.  Once was when I was able to add an ad lib at the end of one of the skits to bring out the spiritual application of what the boys were saying a little more clearly.  And once was at the end of the week when another young man I've watched grow up specifically thanked me for singing up front.  

All of us have a part to play in serving the Lord.  We may not think what we're doing makes a difference, but  no matter where we serve, we can be used by Him.  And when we keep our focus in the right place (on Him and not ourselves), the "size" or "importance" of our job won't even matter to us.    

I know I probably seem really shallow, but I like to keep it real here on the blog.  I think as Christians we're often afraid to show our faults and failings.  But the truth is, we make the same mistakes everyone else does.  We're no better than anyone else, and the more we remind ourselves of that, the better.  Nothing we do has any merit in itself.  It's only by God's grace and through His power that we can accomplish anything worthwhile.

But I digress.  You probably didn't stop by for a sermon. ;)

I thought I'd share a few pics from the stage where I spent the last week.  Several of our church members did a fantastic job decorating it.  We were supposed to be on a tropical island this year.  (Next year, we'll be in outer space!)

As you can see,  Mermalade came along one day to capture a few photos. ;)  This was the "God's Way", "My Way" sign that we used to remind the kiddos of the theme of the week.

Cuddling with one of the many monkeys that graced the stage.

Here's the music stand I used all week.  (For those of you who are curious, the microwave in the background was used for one of our skits.) ;)

Mermalade testing out the music stand.

All of the workers were given this cute little card wrapped around some candy. :)

And in another complete bit of randomness, I present to you:  TARDIS bread!!  Mimi made this for me, and it made a great snack during VBS week when I was low on time. :)

In other news, I've joined the Miss AGPT photo contest on AGPT.  I've really missed being involved on the forums there.  Somehow, time keeps getting away from me and the forums I've been a part of have had to go by the wayside.  (I lurk more than anything.) :}  I thought that being involved in the photo contest would be a fun way to plunge back in.

I decided to use Emma as a contestant this time around.  It's been a while since I've done photos with her. :)

The first round was "Patriotic".  I actually completely spaced the deadline and didn't realize it until about twenty minutes before I had to have the picture in!!  I grabbed Emma and a few things I had lying around, did a quick setup, took a few photos, added some edits, and sent it off...with three minutes to spare! ;)

This photo was for Round 2, due yesterday.  The theme was "Forever".  I couldn't help but think of the new "BeForever" title for the Historical line and the new "choose your own adventure" books where characters from our time will get to meet the AG historical characters.  I added some softness and faded the color a bit on Felicity to make it look like she was traveling through time...or something. ;)  Unfortunately, this may end up counting as too much image-alteration (which is mentioned in one of the rules), so I have a message in to the moderator of the contest to see if this one needs to be disqualified.  Moral of the story:  Reread the rules before each round of a photo contest. :}  Come to think of it, my first photo had a vignette around it, so maybe that one shouldn't have been used either.  All I know is that I'll be sure to cool it on the editing with my last two rounds. :}

I think that's about it on the updates.  I have quite a few comments to publish and respond to (on ALL the blogs), but I probably won't get to those until tomorrow.  We're meeting my sister-in-law and her daughters this afternoon for some swimming, and then I have my writers group meeting tonight.  Plus, it's supposed to be 110 degrees today, and it's already unbearably hot in our little swamp cooler-cooled house. :}

I have more to share and more to post (and yes, Maggie will be posting on her blog by the end of the week...I promise!), but I'll save that for another time.  My daughters are chomping at the bit to leave, and I still need to take my shower. :}

Until next time!!  Hope you all have a wonderful week. :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Quiet Week Plus a Few EBay Listings

Hey everyone!  Just wanted to let you know that this week I won't be around much on the blog.  I'm helping with the music for my church's Vacation Bible School program, so that's going to take all of my focus and energy. ;)

We got through the first day nicely, so that was a blessing.  There's a good-sized group of kids this year.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the Lord works in the lives of the kiddos (and the leaders, too, for that matter). ;)  I know VBS always stretches me in ways I wasn't expecting, but I always come away with another lesson for myself.  I think this year the lesson will be about flexibility.  For a few years, I was in charge of the music for the opening and closing programs, but being the head honcho was just a little too much for me.  Now I've stepped back to being a helper, which as some of you may know, can be a bit challenging.  It's hard to "let it go" and be there to offer the help that is needed without wanting to take over when things are not going the way I would necessarily plan them. ;)  That being said, my "boss" is doing a great job.  He's really wonderful at keeping the kiddos' attention and transitioning nicely between songs and activities.  A lot of it is "go with the flow" and basically planned as opposed to my over-planned methods of running things, so that's been a bit of a stretch for me.  In a good way, though. ;)

Speaking of "letting it go", a funny story from today.  "A" (my partner in crime aka "boss" from up front) was talking about our verse for the week (Psalm 119:105), and about how God's Word is there to guide us.  Then he asked the kids, "So what song do you think we are going to sing next to help us remember our verse?"  The answer was "Thy Word", but one little girl innocently chirped: "Let it Go?"  Needless to say, most of the leaders were cracking up. ;)

In other news, I have a few little things up on eBay right now (four listings, to be exact).  I'm trying to slowly ease myself back into the whole eBay thing, as I have lots to list in the coming weeks. :}  If you'd like to check things out, you can see my listings HERE.

Oh, and I apologize for the two listings that mention the My Little Pony and Vintage Barbie Pamphlet listings I'm "going to list this weekend".  I didn't get around to those, and I couldn't edit the two listings that already had bids.  I'm hoping to get the MLPs and pamphlets up with the next batch of stuff. ;)

I guess that's about all for now.  I hope you guys have a great week and are staying cooler than we are here (it's over 100 degrees outside and about 84 degrees in my hallway). :{

Talk to you when the whirlwind week is up! ;)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Toys R Us Trip and Haul (Shopkins, Zelfs, and More!)

Yesterday afternoon, after my weekly writing time with my writing friend at the library, my mom took the girls and I on a mini road trip to the closest Toys R Us. :)

Little Gal, Oldest Gal, and Middle Gal, ready to shop! :)
Okay, and I just have to say, this picture cracks me up.  This is in no way what they were feeling at the time, but Little Gal looks wistful and dreamy, Oldest Gal looks ready to begin an important quest, and Middle Gal looks like she's just ready for the picture to be over so she can go shopping. ;)  Do you guys see it too?

I really miss having a Toys R Us in our own town, but at least there's still one a couple of hours away.  It probably saves me a lot of money to not have a local Toys R Us, too. ;)

We had a lot of fun looking at all of the toys.  The girls had a bit of spending money from our recent garage sale (and some extra from Grandma, too), so they had fun deciding how to spend it. :)

When we were done shopping, we had dinner at In-N-Out. 

And since In-N-Out just HAPPENED to be in the same parking lot as Krispy Kreme, and the Hot Light happened to be on, we had to stop by Krispy Kreme, too! ;)  Do you see Mermalade?

She decided to sit in the "O"' for a while. ;)

It's always fun when the Hot Light is on at Krispy Kreme because you can watch the doughnuts being made.  The girls (and Mermalade) really enjoyed seeing the whole process. :) 

We got two dozen doughnuts (one for each of us and some to take back home and share with family).


We all enjoyed our tasty treats. ;)

So here's my haul from the trip. :)

Toys R Us had a major clearance going (an extra 70% off the marked price), so I got Rahel and Dell's outfit sets for just around $3 each.  I'm not going to be reviewing either one, since I've already done reviews in the past.  However, I've always loved the outfits and especially the accessories from these sets, and the ones we purchased earlier were for my daughters.  I'm looking forward to using these for my own Hearts For Hearts Girls dolls. :)  

Rahel's School Time Play Set (you can see my earlier review HERE).

Dell's Come A-Callin' Play Set (you can see my earlier review HERE).

I was thrilled to find a medium Dorothy-Doe Zelf at Toys R Us.  I wasn't sure if I'd like her at first, but after seeing Middle Gal's Dorothy Doe in person, I decided she would be a fun addition to my collection. :)

Mine had a few shiny marks on her face that didn't come off even after cleaning, but I didn't mind too much.  She's still super cute. :)

I love her white spots and her little deer tail. :)

Sadly, they were completely out of Lil' Zelf eggs (I'm still trying to find a Lil' Kitsu).  But they did have...


My mom was really sweet and paid for a  twelve pack Shopkins set for me (as my trip souvenir). :)  Some of these are the ones that were in my pack originally, and the others were the result of the huge Shopkins swap the girls and I held after we got back home last night. ;)

Here are Gran Jam, Ghurty, Wishes (Ultra Rare!!), and Pa' Pizza (Special Edition Frozen, and the reason I chose the specific pack I got).

Here we have Crispy Chip, Mini Muffin, Flutter Cake, and Chee Zee.

Miss Mushy-Moo, Yo-Chi (Special Edition Frozen), and Suds. :)

Here are Sally Shakes and Silky.

So these are the special ones I've found so far.  All of these aside from Pa' Pizza were blind bag ones (D'lish Donut was in one of the two pack blind bags, and Wishes and Yo-Chi were my blind bag Shopkins that came in my twelve pack.)

While we're on the subject of Shopkins (and before I forget to mention it), I added a few new pics to my earlier Shopkins review.  I had a reader ask me whether or not the 18" dolls could use the shopping baskets, so I thought it would be a good idea to include pictures of several different doll lines with the Shopkins accessories.  I hope you find it helpful! :)

Here's what the girls ended up with.  Each of them had $10 to spend for this trip. :)

This is Oldest Gal's stuff.

She already had a Snips Blind Bag figure and asked me if I could find a Snails for her (I've become quite an expert at the art of feeling who the characters are through the bag). ;)  Snails was there, so she decided to add him to her collection.  She thought it was kind of silly that all they really said about Snails on the card was that he was the best friend of Snips.

She also bought a five pack of Shopkins.  After the trades were completed, she ended up with Flutter Cake, Strawberry Kiss, Bubbles...

...Jelly B, and Rainbow Bite.  

Oldest Gal still had around two dollars left, but decided she'd rather save them than spend them. :)

Little Gal opted for getting one more expensive item rather than several less expensive items, and bought a mini Mooshka at the Target next to Toys R Us.  She's had her eye on these for a while, and she loves small things to take along with her, so this was a good choice.  She had a little over a dollar left to put in her piggy bank. :)

Here's Middle Gal's loot.

She decided to get a Lalaloopsy pony at Target since they were on sale for around $3.  This one is called Waffles.

She also got into the Shopkins craze, buying a five pack and a two pack.  Somehow, she ended up with an extra for the pictures, but things got a little confusing with the trading last night (and she already had some). :}

Here we have Scrubs, Lippy Lips, Toofs, Posh Pear, Ghurty...

...Bubbles, Sally Shakes, and Curly.  Middle Gal had no money left (she spends on trips like her mother). :}

We had a great time on our trip and made lots of fun memories to share.  My mom ended up with a few Shopkins of her own (I think her collection is the biggest so far!).  It's so much fun sharing these fun hobbies and interests through three generations. :)  

Hope you guys have a great 4th of July weekend!