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HAPPY NEW YEAR!  (On This Day...12/31/2014)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (On This Day...12/31/2014)

Outside my window… It is cold and the wind slices through like a sharp knife.  It is gray outside and when the sun rises, it will be a new year. I am thinking… So much has happened in 2014. We went to Chicago and Disney World.  Spent much time as a family, having fun ...

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(Not) DEFEATED.

(Not) DEFEATED.

I can hear the children bickering in the kitchen, while another empties out the clothes in the dresser.  I'm slumped over our homeschool grade book, wondering if I have done enough.  If I can ever do enough. Old wisdom says not to cry over spilled milk.  But, the kitchen floor needs ...

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Chicken And Dressing Divine (So Easy Your Preschooler Could Do It - A Recipe)

Chicken And Dressing Divine (So Easy Your Preschooler Could Do It - A Recipe)

Like, seriously.  Your preschooler can make this.  I mean, besides the putting it in the oven part.  It's THAT easy.  AND, it doesn't make a mess of your kitchen.  HALLELUJAH.  I'm not kidding.  I don't joke about these things. What you'll need: - Foil sheets - Frozen chicken breasts or tenders, one per ...

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Fun With Water Beads

Fun With Water Beads

We've been enjoying the fun that is WATER BEADS!  These little guys are hidden gems that have been around quite a while in the floral department.  Right now, they are getting lots of attention for creative play. The ones I bought look like these (at Walmart--they were a little over $3 ...

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2013-2014 Homeschool Year: What Worked And What Didn't

2013-2014 Homeschool Year: What Worked And What Didn't

What Worked: I may be way behind everyone else, but we just discovered Ticonderoga Pencils this year.  And. They. Are. Awesome.  The cheap and cutesy pencils are NOTHING compared to these.  They are just awesome. My homeschool binder.  I've used binders/notebooks/planning that I've spent some good money for, but my favorite SO ...

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Week One, Days 1 and 2 – Goals, Workouts, Health

by bosssanders on February 22, 2015 with no comments

So, here we go.

I’m probably at one of the lowest points (barring first trimester pregnancy) of my health.  For MONTHS – I’ve suffered from weakness, tiredness, nausea, and hormones that shifted so much that for 1 1/2 months, I bled.  That came with it’s own side effects.  After MANY tests, we have an idea of what probably sparked the confusion and chaos in my body.  Turns out, it really does matter what we put into our bodies and how we treat them.

After getting a little of my strength back, I’m ready to move further down the journey to health.  I’m setting small goals.  As I reach each one of them, I will create a momentum and be able to reach larger ones.

My top 3 GOALS for WEEK 1:
1.  Drink 1 GALLON  (16 cups) of water each day.


(I drink 2 of these each day)

2.  Add CLEAN nutrition (soy-free, gmo-free, aspartame-free, whey-free) to my body.  This nutrition right now comes in the form of CLEAN smoothies loaded with healthy things my body needs (my nausea gets in the way of being able to handle much extra at this point.)



3.  Workout each day.  –I’m not worried about for how long at this point…5 or 15 minutes.  The point is that I’m doing it each day.  Each day, pushing myself a little further.  And, something more than a little walking. I need to build up my strength, but pushing too hard too fast will do me no favors if it sets me back on the couch for 2 weeks!

And… to get through the week.   It seems I’ve taken on a cold (the kiddos have it, as well, so I know it’s not just detoxing).
I’m also working on detoxing my brain… writing more and spending more time studying the Bible and meditating in prayer.  Creativity really releases so much for me.

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February Mash-Up

by bosssanders on February 19, 2015 with no comments

So, I’ve been reading…

My husband read this book in highschool for a class and insisted that I read it.  I’m not sure how I missed this in school, but I’m glad I was able to read it now!  It’s definitely a good book.  AND… Lois Lowry has books that go with this one…so, we are excited to read those together.  HOORAY!  We are nerds, this I know.

I’m still working on my dear husband to try to get him to read 1985.  By the way, if you’ve not read that one, you should add it to your list, too.  It’s a GREAT read…and a little eerie at how some of the things have gotten pretty close to what was written so long ago!

In Other News

We were part of this mess with 1800Flowers.com.

For Valentine’s Day, my sweet husband ordered THIS beautiful bouquet:

Isn’t it pretty?  He spent so much time picking it out.
On Valentine’s day, he paced back and forth to the front door.  They promised to deliver by 7pm and everything seemed well and good.  There had been no communication to say otherwise from 1800flowers.com OR from a local florist and the money had been taken from his account and the order confirmation said it was due for delivery on time.

Here is what we received:

….

That’s right.  Nothing.  We figured there MUST have been a mix-up.  Maybe someone wrote down the wrong address or maybe they were lost.  So, we called the company.  After waiting on hold for over an hour, we finally connected with a man named Harold.  (I have good reason to believe that was NOT his actual name, but whatevs.)

“Harold” said that there would be no flowers…ever.  That the local florist had been swamped and refused the order.  He said that they did all they could and the system had notes saying they contacted us and left messages.  We confirmed the number and email they had on file was correct… because there was no such call (missed or otherwise) in our call logs or any missed voice mails or emails.  It was a cop-out on their part.  And, instead of not taking the money for goods they couldn’t deliver… they took the money and didn’t bother to ACTUALLY contact us OR immediately refund the money.  They just kept it.

After about 15 minutes of “Harold” being VERY repetitive and telling me that 1) It wasn’t their fault and 2) there was nothing he could do and 3) repeating my name 5,000 times… I asked for a supervisor.  Multiple times.  I was put on hold for a total of 2 hours and 40-something minutes.  The line was disconnected 3 times.

While on hold, we used twitter and facebook, and while 1800flowers.com SAID they would get back with us to help us via social media…they did nothing but make it LOOK like they were handling the situation.

We chose to file a report with the Better Business Bureau.

After 2 hours and 40–something minutes, we finally reached  a woman who had blaring noise in the background and could not speak or understand English very well.  We were then forwarded to a manager.  This manager did promise to give us our money back.  She did not offer anything else.  We told her that we were very disappointed in the dismal customer service and quite frankly, it didn’t seem they wanted our future business.  Or, anyone that we knew.  She seemed to think giving our money back was a favor to us, and so we explained that technically, she didn’t have to process a refund, that the credit card company would side with us and that accepting payment and not delivering goods was considered theft.  Fraud.  We explained that we expected more from customer service from a brand we had spent money with in the past, and that as small business owners, we would NEVER treat customers the way they treated us.  We told her what would be expected as the LEAST to gain back trust after such an incidence.

Finally, after what seemed like a LONG conversation (keep in mind I’d been on the phone for almost 3 hours)…she told us that our money would be refunded, we’d get a “make up” bouquet similar to what we ordered, AND a $20 gift certificate.

I wasn’t thrilled, but it was better than nothing, so I said okay and we disconnected.

Several days later, a woman from the “VIP team” called regarding our BBB complaint.  For the first time, I spoke to someone who actually apologized for THEIR mistake.  She also listened and did NOT interrupt…not even once.  I repeatedly let her know that I know this wasn’t HER fault, but that we were very disappointed in 1800flowers.  I explained that the customer service we had encountered thus far had been horrible and that we weren’t sure we’d ever be ordering again…because the truth is this…

We have ordered flowers through them for Birthdays and Congratulatory events.  But, we’ve also ordered flowers to comfort others who have lost children and family members.  It’s one thing to mess up a Valentine’s order… but, it’s another to mess up something so special as a bouquet of flowers that says what words can’t, “I’m so sorry for your loss.  We are here with you.  We remember.  We will walk this with you.”  If you think I’m disappointed and annoyed by this mess up, then wait until you mess THAT up.  There are no re-dos.  We can’t always be where our family and friends are.  So, we send something that we hope can convey the message for us.

We explained that we weren’t sure we could trust them, now.  While we believe in extending GRACE…because EVERYONE messes up at some point.  WE also believe in being able to admit when you are wrong, apologizing, and making things RIGHT…especially when you own a business.   And, their customer support team had a hard time doing that.  WE don’t have 3 hours and several days to “fix” things every time we need flowers or a gift sent.  I’m not being PAID for that time spent.

For the first time, someone from the 1800flowers team agreed with me and seemed genuinely apologetic.  She wasn’t just trying to get me off the phone with a check by my name…she was actually listening.

She agreed that from what I described and what she saw in the system, it had gotten ridiculous.  But, it makes me a little sad because I’ve heard from so many people who experienced what we had and they never got up to “upper level” customer service.  Their money was refunded and there was no real apology or anything else.

After explaining that we would probably never use a $20 gift certificate with a company that so grossly disappointed us…because nothing on their site is $20 and there is NO WAY we’d be spending our own money so soon, she bumped the $20 to $60 so that we could try them again…on their dime.  You see, THAT is how you earn back trust.

She let me know that their “make up” bouquet was on the way.  My husband ordered this (with a balloon) originally

They were unable to replace it because they needed to ship from their facilities…
So, they said they’d send something similar in value and color.
They chose this…

I’m not a fan of all-mauve, BUT it was a nice gesture, nonetheless.  And, they were trying, right?  That matters.  So, I was pretty pleased and was interested in seeing how they handled this order and the next order.

Wednesday, I received this arrangement:

YESTERDAY… and the flowers were half dead.  They went immediately to water, didn’t set on my doorstep (got them right from the UPS drivers’ hands).  See the front flower…totally wilted.  The roses were drooping with petals falling off and brown already on the edges.  Not only were they half-dead, they were not anywhere CLOSE to being the same value.  My husband spent over $80 for flowers and a balloon.  There was no balloon.  He ordered a large bouquet… the one consistent in value is the exact one you see above this photograph.

I called the new VIP number, and again, this lady was VERY nice.  She apologized and wanted to try again.  She said this sometimes happens, but they want to replace it.  Instead of flowers this time, I chose a plant, hoping it would be able to fare a little better.

I should receive it Friday.

I’ll be updating.

Here’s where I’m at so far…

- 1800flowers.com’s main customer service line is worthless.
- I will only call the VIP desk from now on.
- If they can outdo themselves on the next 2 arrangements, I’d be willing to give them another shot… but probably never again on a major holiday.

- I would really like to see a grand gesture on 1800 flowers.com’s part to make right where they failed for the hundreds of other customers the way they finally have tried with me.  I’d like to see them initiate this and reach out to those people and not offer them the bare minimum.  They shouldn’t have to BEG to be treated well.  I’d also love to see better customer service, over all.  Nobody should have to wait almost 3 hours on the phone or DAYS for a response on a missing order.  I’d love to see their customer service staffed with people who speaks WELL and LISTENS even better.  –People who are interested in taking care of their customers.  As business owners, we need to understand that our customers MAKE US.  If we fail them, we fail our business.  Without customers, we can have the best products or services…and still have to close our doors.

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As Of Today, January 23, 2015

by bosssanders on January 23, 2015 with 1 comment


*I think this photo is equal parts “creepy” and “funny.”  :)   I think it’s the glasses.

Outside my window…
It’s COLD – Golden grass and the sky, a blanket of overcast white.  Chilling breeze that cuts through, shifting leaves and branches as it goes.  There is no trace of the fluffy cotton-ball snow that fell earlier today.

I am thinking…

About creating a recipe/menu-planning ebook.  Every time I cook a dish my girls love (which is daily), they ask, “Mama, when I’m big, can I have this recipe, too?”  They’ve already decided that when they grow up and move away, they want a book filled with my recipes.  It makes my heart smile.

But, as many friends, family, and acquaintances have asked for recipe after recipe and menu ideas… I was wondering how much interest there would be in a menu-plan book complete with our favorite, tried-and-true recipes.  It would be under $5 and a fabulous help.  My system and these recipes have taken me a long time to compile and come up with, so I’ll be sharing YEARS of trial and error and hard work for just a few bucks.

I am thankful…

63.  for a local Church who believes in us and supports us and encourages us both.
64.  for an extra little smiling face who lights up our lives
65.  for artwork on the fridge by my darlings
66.  for friends who sit at the feet of Jesus with me
67.  for the opportunity to walk along someone else on the discovery to who Jesus is
68.  for a sound mind
69.  for giant floating snowflakes
70.  for warm, sunshine-y days

In the kitchen

I made my first loaf of braided Challah Bread:

And, for Home Ec, the kids helped me make some caramelized banana topping for our *fancy* cinnamon- raisin bread.  Yummy.

I am reading…

I just finished reading Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  It’s super good.  The kind that you don’t want to put down, good.


We/I am learning…

We are taking a break from countries and cultures for a bit and switching over to studying Creation to the Greeks.  We’ve been having lots of fun.

Around the house…

I’ve been implementing some of my goals for the New Year (you can see them HERE).  Scripture on some walls…


Bought this fun little chalkboard and will post some of my favorite verses.  This one has more color that I added to it after the photo was taken.

We’ve been working for a while now, with the kids, teaching them the fruit of the spirit.  When we saw this, we both new it belonged in our home.

We’re still SLOWLY working on de-cluttering and organizing.  SLOWLY.  :)

Favorite Things…

My Erin Condren planner FINALLY came in (I was counting down the days!).   I chose my cover and turns out, it couldn’t have been a better fit.  A friend of mine suggested skipping E.C.’s pens and going a cheaper version and buying Paper Mate Flair Pens…


You can buy them HERE.  You can also buy at Walmart for the same price.

They are PRETTY and don’t bleed through the pages…always a PLUS!  (Sharpies DO bleed…even the ones that say they won’t.)

So, I have those and some washi tape in my pink pencil pouch from Thirty-One (already had it).  The little notepad that you see is my prayer list.  I flip through it over and over and it helps remind me what’s on my prayer list.

“Pray without ceasing” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

The only other “extra” I bought was the silver band you see above to keep my planner shut.  Had they not been sold out of coil clips, I would’ve bought those as well.  I like the idea of being able to clip in invitations, etc to my calendar week.



As a mom to littles who is constantly moving, I really appreciate the thick coil binding.  Planners come to my house to die…but this one is NICE!  It also came with this little zip pocket (right) and the perpetual calendar…and a folder pocket (dual-sided).  The perpetual calendar is a great way to list birthdays so EVERY year, you just grab it and put those dates in your calendars.


As you can see, all of the months are tabbed.  Here’s a month-view.  I chose a page I hadn’t filled much in yet just because, you know, this is the internet!



Here are my weekly pages.  I go back and forth between one verse for the whole week and a daily tidbit from Proverbs (corresponding the chapter to the day of the month.)  For next week, I really want to focus on Philippians 4:8.

You can also see the “headings” right under the numbered days at the top.  I have my week split up into categories that help us stay on track.

There are 8 blue droplets at the top of each day, as well, to help me keep track of water consumption.

I also use these pages as a homeschool planner.  And, family planner.

I used to use paper-planners all the time until hubs convinced me to try Google Calendar so we could all keep synced.  It seemed like the easiest way to keep track of our goings-on.  Until it began to delete and change times of events *insert horrified gasp!*  I have to say, even before that, I missed being able to see the whole month and week at one glance.  I like the way paper feels in my hands.  (I also prefer the REAL books to kindle books.)

I’ve been super-pleased with this planner.  It’s a little pricier than what I normally spend on myself, but considering that it’s now taking the place of both personal/family planner AND homeschool planner… it’s a great deal!  (Hubby bought an ugly black planner from the Office store that’s beyond simple and it still cost $23 or so. )

Want your own Erin Condren Planner?
Use my referral link and we will BOTH receive $10 off future purchases!!  Here’s my LINK.  In order for it to work, you will need to open a new account after you go to this link (it looks like the regular link but it knows you came from here).  Open your account and then, wait for an email.  You will get a welcome email, and then a bit later, you will get a coupon code!  Apply it to your order.  To get what I got, select LIFE PLANNER.  Then, customize to your liking!  Change the cover up, add font, pictures…whatever suits you.

Oh yes…another plus?  The cover is laminated…so sippy cup spills or babies who spit up?  No worries, mama!

Another Favorite Thing…

My new swimsuit.  Photo is CLEARLY not me.  :)  It’s advertised as both a cover-up and swim-dress, depending on where you look.  It’s swim-suit material and has great coverage in the right places.  I’ve been looking for a much more modest swimsuit for my after-babies body and I REALLY like this one!  (If you like it, you can find it at Macy’s by Kenneth Cole)

Moments I Want To Remember…


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HAPPY NEW YEAR! (On This Day…12/31/2014)

by bosssanders on December 31, 2014

Outside my window… It is cold and the wind slices through like a sharp knife.  It is gray outside and…

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Thoughts on Ferguson

by bosssanders on November 26, 2014

I’ve not said much at all regarding what’s going on in Ferguson.  I don’t want to hurt or dishonor my…

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Raising Kingdom Kids by Tony Evans – A Review

by bosssanders on October 2, 2014

When we have children, it’s easy to get caught up in the checklist of all of the things we “ought”…

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