How my surgery brought me closer to my husband!

Scott and Jen

My surgery recovery was harder than I expected but it brought me closer to my husband. Odd? Not at all. My husband is my best friend but being together 13 years, our communication skills were not the best. When your jaws are clamped shut, communication skills are needed. You have to get creative. Lots of note writing, sitting right beside each other, and listening were the three keys. The keys that have brought us so much closer.

We both sit and really listen what the other person is saying before we cut the person off and not let them finish the discussion. We hold hands way more which just makes you feel closer to your spouse. The last five weeks have been spent together pretty much 24/7. It could have either drove us crazy or it could have brought us closer. The latter is what has happened and we both couldn’t be happier. My husband made the comment, I hope this keeps up after your recovery is completed. I do too and I know it will because we will both ensure that we are trying our best to give each other the attention.

Lives are so busy that we can get wrapped up in our schedules but marriages will go so much farther is you make sure to give your spouse time, keep focused on God and your family.

I love you Scott!

Easter Warms the Heart

I truly wish every day could be Easter and Christmas. The love, faith and family that contributes to these holidays are just beautiful connections for every one.

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It warmed my heart to be able to go back to church since my surgery. The only downfall, I wanted to sing so bad during service. Praise songs just lift my spirits so much. Christian music just moves my soul and can bring me to happy tears quite frequently. I love praising our Lord so cannot wait until I can sing.

After church was joining family for Easter festivities. Of course, I had to be restricted with what I can and cannot do since the sun was shining in full force. It did not matter. Being surrounded by loving family, meeting new baby cousin and enjoying the laughter from the kids was all just simply amazing. My aunt had concocted me up some pureed food so I did not walk away hungry. I’m just ready to CHEW!

It has been nice to get back into routine and get outside the house. A week from today, I head to Chapel Hill to get my splint removed. The countdown is on for sure. The following day, I will return to work. I’m ready I believe. Hopefully, I will not get too tired. It will be so grand to get back into a normal routine.

Easter warms the heart. I hope your heart was warmed this past weekend. Remember, God is good!

Let’s Party in a Disney Magical Way! #DisneySide

Did someone say Disney?! We love us all things Disney and was so excited to be able to party with our friends and family with a Disney Side Celebration.

The girls and I had so much fun planning for this celebration. We created some special types of food that seemed fitting for a Disney party. Let’s take a journey through the fun!

First stop: Grab you a cup of lemonade!

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Then we will head over to our Disney “Minnie Photo Booth” and grab your picture.

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It was fun to see the guest get creative with our Disney props. Who new paper and sticks could be so much fun?!

It was time for a little Disney Bingo action. This game caused quite the conversations with all the Disney Characters. The kids would yell out who their favorite character was and the reasons why would at times be downright hilarious.

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All the laughter and conversations caused growing appetites with the guests. Let’s roll out our Disney food selections.

The rocket dogs were a huge hit. Some guests even said they wanted them for dinner at their house.

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As they filled their plates with rocket dogs, the guests made their own trail mix. Many different concoctions were mixed.

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We can’t forget about a healthy treat with our fruit sides.

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Then, we sealed the tastes with Mickey Mouse cupcakes!

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Since all the bellies were full with great Disney food, it was time to get our imagination on with decorating Hanes t-shirts with fun Disney designs.

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The imagination can go far with the right artistic tools. We capped off the wonderful magical time with printing our own photos with the new HP ENVY printer. Guests could print right from the printer which was super easy and cool!

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The kids went home and told their parents what a fun time that they had experienced. It truly was a “magical” time. Would you like to throw your own party? Check out how to get started at the Disney Side Celebrations party page. Have fun showing off your Disney Side!!

Disclosure: I was provided with a Disney Side celebration kit by our friends at Disney World and BSM Media to help throw this wonderful magical party. All thoughts and opinions are of my own.

Tweetsie Railroad Announces Season Passes for 2014

Calling all North Carolina Friends! The most economical way to enjoy Tweetsie is to invest in a Golden Rail Season Pass. Why? Read further to see the answer.

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Pass holders will enjoy a full season of adventure from Wild West train journeys, amusement rides, live entertainment and the animals in the Deer Park, as well as free admission to all special events throughout the season, free parking on July 4th and discounts at other North Carolina family attractions. Golden Rail Season Passes are now available at a special rate of $80 for adults and $55 for children ages 3 through 12. After April 27, rates increase to $90 for adults and $65 for children. Children 2 and under are admitted free.

Tweetsie will open its gates for its 57th season on April 11; the season will run through November 2. A 2014 Golden Rail Season Pass is the best and most economical way to experience all Tweetsie has to offer. This year¹s lineup of special events will include the return of many family favorites, like the July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza, Day Out With Thomas, SpongeBob SquarePants, K-9s in Flight Frisbee® Dogs and Tweetsie¹s Ghost Train® Halloween Festival. North Carolina¹s first theme park is also proud to announce two new additions to its entertainment lineup: four-time Grammy Award winner David Holt will treat guests to a one-day only solo performance in May; and the Cartoon Network¹s Scooby-Doo and Shaggy will greet guests for one special weekend in July.

The entire family is in for a great time all season long aboard Tweetsie Railroad¹s historic steam-powered locomotives. Explore Tweetsie¹s own Western town, tap your toes to live entertainment at the Tweetsie Palace, or take a turn on one of the many exciting rides. Journey high above the park via the chair lift to Miner¹s Mountain where you can pan for gold and meet the animals at the Deer Park Zoo.

Don¹t miss out this limited-time only pricing: visit Tweetsie.com to purchase and print season passes at home. Guests looking to renew last year¹s season pass without waiting in line for a new card can easily do so by visiting Tweetsie¹s website or calling 1-877-TWEETSIE.

A 2014 Golden Rail Season Pass includes:

· A full season of adventure from Wild West train rides, amusement rides, live entertainment and the Deer Park Habitat

· Free admission to all special events including Day Out With Thomas, the Ghost Train® Halloween Festival, SpongeBob Squarepants, Cool Summer Nights evenings (July 5, 12, 19 and 26), Railroad Heritage weekendŠand more!

· Free parking for the July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza, the High Country¹s most popular Independence Day celebration

Season Pass holders also receive discounts at other North Carolina family attractions including:

Biltmore Estate
Chimney Rock Park
Grandfather Mountain
Mast General Store
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Tanger Outlets in Blowing Rock

Tweetsie Railroad will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting April 11, including Memorial Day Monday, and seven days a week from May 30 through August 17. The park returns to the weekend schedule from August 18 through November 2, including Labor Day Monday. The 2014 season ends Sunday, November 2. The park¹s regular hours are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., but will be open until 9:00 p.m. on July 4 for the Fireworks Extravaganza and July 5, 12, 19 and 26 for Cool Summer Nights. Daily admission to Tweetsie Railroad is $39 for adults and $26 for children ages 3 through 12. Children 2 and under are admitted free. The Ghost Train® Halloween Festival will take place Friday and Saturday nights September 26 through November 1 from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., with an admission price of $31 for adults and children. Tickets and Golden Rail Season Passes are available at Tweetsie.com.

Tweetsie Railroad is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains on U.S. Highway 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina. For more information about the 2014 season at Tweetsie Railroad, visit Tweetsie.com or call 877.TWEETSIE (877.893.3874). Find Tweetsie on Facebook or follow Tweetsie on Twitter @TweetsieRR.

Focusing on the Family in 2014

My heart has really been convicted over the past few months. Obviously, with myself working outside of the home now, my time with the family has been shortened. I am still trying to figure out how to manage this whole work outside of the home gig, but I have been making great strides. My girls will always be my top priority of course alongside my handsome hubby. This past weekend, it dawned on me that we needed a weekly planner. With our busy schedules, each day leaves for lots of guessing at times. I found this weekly printable planner on Pinterest from DigiMamas.com.

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Each day is marked with what time I will get off (since we are still working over-time at work), what is for dinner that day, the extracurricular activities for the girls and who is doing pick-up and drop-off. Also, one big thing that is written for every week day – NO Technology from 5:00pm – 8:00pm. This is going to be our first week really pushing the no technology all week but it needs to happen. We are going to allow technology for the family every week night from 8:00pm to 8:45pm. I am excited to see how this works for us. Be prepared to hear an update from me next week.

Then we will end each night at 8:45 with devotions and prayers. This month, we are working through a great devotion book called God’s promises for girls. We focus on two pages a night. Each promise listed on the page includes bible verses. The girls take turns reading the scripture from the bible and then pairing it with the promise in the book. God is already showing his provision with this book. One night last week, L was very worried about her tooth. We need to get it checked out by the dentist but she just was overcome by tears. Our devotion that night was God’s promises when you are worried. Divine intervention right? The wording is appropriate for M and L. The promises are great conversation starters as well. I definitely recommend this book to Moms of little girls!

Spending more time with my family and making that time mean something instead of our faces in front of technology really means so much to me. M and L are not getting any younger. I want to cherish every minute and also grow closer to my husband.

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This also means more pictures in 2014 with ME in them. I know you can relate right? Moms are usually the ones behind the camera. Also, we can’t forget about spending time with our sweet Kingston. He is the sweetest and most cuddly dog.

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Here’s to focusing on the family more in 2014!

Hello 2014! What will you bring?

Happy New Year from the Spink Family. We were blessed to all be together over the holiday season.

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Hence the reason it has been quiet here. Family time couple with busy season at work has not left much time. I do have a schedule set forth for this blog and my local blog, so this brings excitement for 2014. Thank you all so much for your sweet comments over the years. It has been quite the ride since I started this little space on the web in 2005.

Here is a shout-out to one sweet and faithful reader, Sharon! This picture is just for you. The girls and I preparing Christmas goodies around the table.

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We were without a table for too long and we are cherishing this table so much. 2014 will bring more dinners with with the family. I am pledging to create and/or find more recipes the family will eat. We are going to stick with eating out one time a month unless we do a fast food night such as pizza. We want to make sure we are all eating healthy and saving as much money as we can this year.

Another big pledge is taking time for my best friends. Since I started working out of the house, it has been extremely hard to keep up with my precious friends. I never want to take them for granted and I already have one BFF date on the calendar for January. A manicure and dinner out is just what a mom needs to start the New Year. Also, this month I start my pre-op appointments (more on that coming soon) in Raleigh so I am looking forward to getting together with my bestie in Raleigh. It has been way too long. My bestie in Texas who is always there day after day to brighten my day, I want to make sure we get in our skype sessions in with our families. Are you planning to take time with your best friends this year? I highly recommend it. It is good for the soul.

Game nights with the family is another big pledge for 2014. The girls received several new games for Christmas and we always just have so many wonderful laughs. It is good for the entire family to just take time and concentrate on the family. I want to make sure this is a weekly night for us. It will be fun to see how we mix up these nights as well.

Bible time is my biggest pledge for 2014. God has blessed us so much and I was so tied up in my new job that my bible reading was placed on the back burner. Don’t get me wrong, I still read my bible but it was not a fixed time everyday. This year, I am planning on making it a fixed time every single day. I yearn to grow more in my Christian life and understand his word even more.

Those are my pledges for 2014. It’s going to be a fantastic year and a year that I am very much looking forward too!

Simple Christmas Goodie Bags and Ornaments – WIN! #Crayola

Oh the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful, And since we’ve no place to go, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!……

It was a cold and blustery day, so we enjoyed some great Christmas crafting. This is always a special time with the girls and I. Obviously with work being so busy right now, I want to spend every moment I can with my girls. Time is not slowing down anytime soon.

Crayola ask to partner with the girls and I to come up with some fun Christmas crafts.

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The Christmas goodie bags will be passed out to my family members on Christmas morning. I plan to put in treats that they will enjoy. M and I took the Crayola Slick Sticks and made Christmas trees on the brown bags and then took the Crayola Glitter Glue to make yellow stars. So easy but yet so cute!

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The slick sticks from Crayola are awesome at doing crafts such as these. It glides on so smooth as your are drawing.

Next we wanted to decorate our tree with some more ornaments. Half of our ornaments are packed up in storage so the tree was looking a bit bare. This is not the case anymore. I found Christmas scrapbook paper at the WalMart for only $5 for 50 sheets. SCORE. Then I grabbed Scotch self-laminating sheets for $5.88 and laminated the scrapbook paper. You do not need a machine to use these laminating sheets.

Once the sheets were laminated, I cut-out circles and made candy canes. The girls made their own designs on the ornaments with the glitter glue.

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Once the ornaments were dried, I punched a hole in the top of each ornament and put a piece of ribbon through the hole. The ornaments turned out so cute and are hanging with care on our Christmas tree.

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The ornaments will hang with care for many years to come. How would you like to do Holiday crafts with your children?

WIN!

Crayola Holiday Crafting Essentials Gift Pack including:

§  Crayola Washable Markers

§  Crayola Colored Pencils

§  Crayola Glitter Glue

§  Crayola Model Magic

§  Crayola Slick Sticks

- A few crafty ideas from Crayola to serve as Pinspiration for your original creations

- $25 gift card to purchase additional Crayola items for your project

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Disclosure: I was provided a Crayola gift pack. All thoughts and opinions are of my own.

Did you know Santa can send your child a video?

Disclosure: I received complementary Portable North Pole products in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Christmas is just around the corner. Obviously, my main thing during Christmas season is ensuring the girls know the real reason of the Season – Jesus!

We also still “believe” though and enjoy Santa showing up Christmas Eve when everyone is all snuggled and sleeping in their beds. Santa can send your child a video all the way from the North Pole. You can get a FREE personalized video message from Santa Claus filled with magic and exciting discoveries for your loved ones.

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My girls love receiving a video from Santa each year. They wait eagerly to see what Santa has to tell them each Christmas season. He always makes sure to include their awesome accomplishments of the year such as no fighting with each other!

You can also have Santa call your family one evening while you all are just hanging out around your house. Do you have one evening the kids are acting strangely? No worries, have Santa give them a call and remind them he is on his way. They better be good! Portable North Pole’s Santa’s Phone Call is $3.99 for one call or $6.99 for three calls. Santa has a very important message for your loved one! He will pick up the phone and call directly to deliver his personalized message. Santa’s call will last approximately two minutes and you can choose between 14 message options.

Would you like a longer video from Santa? Portable North Pole has a premium selection. Premium videos includes almost 6 minutes of personalized video message from Santa Claus, features 3 additional photos and more personal details, a clip of Santa’s riding on his sleigh and even a personalized Christmas carol!

So many great options for you to spread some Christmas magic with your family this wonderful season. What are you waiting for? There is plenty of Christmas cheer to be heard!

Visit the Portable North Pole today and enjoy all the creative communications with Santa.

PNP donates 5% of all online sales to a Children’s Hospital close to the buyer’s location. PNP currently collaborates with over 40 regional Children’s Hospitals in the U.S.

You are Invited: Christmas at the Billy Graham Library

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From now until December 23, 2013,  you and your family can enjoy a wonderful Christmas tradition.

Beginning at 5:00 pm each day, you will see the beautiful Billy Graham Library all decorated for Christmas. Your family can enjoy the live nativity scene that offers a glimpse into the first Christmas. The children adore the live animals and it is an opportunity to share how life was at the inn. You can arrive early between noon and 2:00pm to pet the animals.

Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides ($7 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under) through beautiful light displays. (Begins at 5 p.m.) Listen to heartwarming sounds of joyful carolers and festive Christmas music and a delightful story time with the kids.

Christmas shopping at Ruth’s Attic with unique and meaningful gifts including exclusive Library ornaments. Holiday goodies, including Mother Graham’s pound cake, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin rolls hot apple cider and more on sale in the Dairy Bar.

Did you know that the Christmas at the Library was named one of the Top 100 Events in the U.S. by the American Bus Association (ABA) and a Top 20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society? It really is a complete Christmas joy and a must-visit during the Christmas season.

Parking is $10 per car after 3:00 pm. That is a small price to pay for a wonderful family Christmas-filled evening. For more information and directions, visit their website.

Christmas Traditions Includes Hickory Farms – You?

November and December and my favorite months. I absolutely love the holiday season and wish that these months could be spread out for a longer time period. The hustle and bustle of the season just warms my heart.

Some of my favorite Christmas traditions are the Christmas movies paired with hot chocolate with the girls. Cuddling up with the girls and watching movies such as Polar Express are priceless times. I hope the girls will remember this tradition when they grow up and are adults. Our red cups from Starbucks as a family is another sweet tradition. We treat Starbucks as a very special date. We do not go often but when we do, there is something magical and especially at Christmas time.

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Packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child is another special tradition. The girls absolutely love doing this since they know it will go to a special child that would otherwise receive nothing at all. It is also an opportunity to help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

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All of these are traditions that I have created with my girls since becoming a mom. One tradition that I am passing down to my girls is delicious treats from Hickory Farms.

Hickory Farms Party Planner

For more than 60 years Hickory Farms gifts have been a classic holiday tradition that brings family and friends together. I remember as a young child my Grandma would have Hickory Farms on her  Christmas table, then my mom would have the same on her table and now I am passing the tradition on down to my girls as well. When the above party platter was delivered, my girls’ eyes both lit up and we were very happy to partake in the tradition early.

As with my recollection, many Americans have a distinct memory of Hickory Farms at their holiday gatherings; Hickory Farms is very proud to be a part of those nostalgic moments and continues to focus on and celebrate its long heritage of tradition and authentic holiday memories.

Hickory Farms not only embraces passing down traditions through generations of families, but also creating new traditions and sharing them with loved ones.

You are able to purchase Hickory Farms both online and in stores. You are able to grab your favorite Hickory Farm treats this year in 700+ Holiday Market stores and kiosks across North America, as well as in select retailers.

WIN!

One lucky reader is going to win the above party platter so you can create memories with your family.

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Disclaimer: Compensation and products for review were provided by Hickory Farms via MomTrends. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review and to facilitate a giveaway. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hickory Farms.
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