Thunder Dog, by Michael Hingson{Book Review}

Where were you 9/11/2011?

I was outside feeding the horses when the first plane hit the Towers. I was watching the television when the second jet struck. The rest of the day was a blur of watching the news, praying for the rescue of the survivors, prayers for the families that lost loved ones, and wondering how this could happen in America.

I remember being thankful that as a family we didn’t have any one in New York or the Pentagon. No one at church had anyone missing either. That didn’t stop us from having a nightly prayer meeting the week following the attacks.

Being a little bit of a documentary junkie I have watched several shows on 9/11. This was the first book about that day I have read. It is a simple telling of a complicated day. Michael and Susy weave the happenings of that day (9/11) with times from Michael’s past that show you what it means to Michael to be blind. Relaying antics of his youth, learning to use the white cane, driving a car, and getting his first guide dog, you get an inside look into his inspiring life.

I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be well written and full of details. The stories were about so much more than Sept 11th. I highly recommend this book to you.  It would also make a fantastic gift this coming Holiday Season.

What book have you been reading lately?

Kimberlee, Thank you for visiting!

DISCLOSURE NOTICE:¬† I received a copy of this book to read from Mr. SD’s mom.¬† Though I do reviews for Thomas Nelson Publishers, this was not a book I received from them to review.¬† As always, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own opinionated opinions.

From the Publisher:

In Thunder Dog, follow Michael and his guide dog, Roselle, as their lives are changed forever by two explosions and 1,463 stairs. When the first plane struck Tower One, an enormous boom, frightening sounds, and muffled voices swept through Michael’s office while shards of glass and burning scraps of paper fell outside the windows.

But in this harrowing story of trust and courage, discover how blindness and a bond between dog and man saved lives and brought hope during one of America’s darkest days.

4 Patches 4 Hope ~ Quilt Block Drive

The concept is simple -

¬†Make a 4 Patch… Make a Donation

Make a difference.

The goal is 1,000 four-patch blocks and $4,000 in donations.

The Patches:¬† Make light-dark 4 patch block(s) using 2 1/2‚ÄĚ squares (blocks should finish at 4 1/2‚ÄĚ square).¬†¬†¬†Use any colors you like for your ‚Äúdark‚ÄĚ but please try to use white or ivory for your ‚Äúlight.‚ÄĚ

Regina {of The Queen Bee’s Buzz} started the blog: 4 Patches 4 Hope for this Quilt Block Drive.¬† You can read about Regina’s story and get more details there.¬† There are also tickers on the blog showing progress towards the goals for patches and money.

Please help spread the word about this block drive, and consider donating blocks and/or a cash donation {donations are being made directly to the American Cancer Society} .  Cancer is such an ugly disease.

 Kimberlee, Thank you for visiting!


Friday Fun {10/28/2011}


We have a cold front here in Central Texas.  For the first time since last winter I put a jacket on this morning to go outside and feed the horses.  Definitely nippy outside. 

Ms. E still did not see the need to put on a jacket to go over to Grandma’s.¬† Her answer to the question {even after being outside to help feed the dogs}was “noooooooooooooooo”.¬† It is so cute!¬† I know I shouldn’t laugh at her automatic no, but it truly is the cutest no ever.¬† PS ~ she did wear a jacket over to Grandma’s.

My fingers are crossed that this cold front brings some rain.  We are still in the middle of a very bad drought season, and could use any precipitation the good Lord blesses us with.

Goals for the Weekend:

Finish up Sugar Pop HSTs quilt ~ just need to make the binding, and add a label for Baby P.

Get some sleep in ~ Ms. V. has been teething like crazy, and was up all last night.  Nap for momma is a definite must this weekend.

Move Hay ~ with this cold front we need to move some fresh hay into the horse pastures.

Work in Garden ~ not sure this one is going to happen due to weather.

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Next week I will be teaming up with Amber at Stitching by Starlight as a co-host for…

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Five Questions with My Little Life

1) Silk, Cotton, or Flannel Sheets?  High count cotton all the way, baby.  If it were colder here I would prefer flannel, but it stays pretty warm so I prefer cotton at this point.  Costco has some very reasonalby priced 600 thread count sheets.  Now I am spoiled to anything less.  It just feels scratchy to me, yuck.

¬†2) What time zone are you in?¬† Central standard time.¬† I live outside of Austin, Texas… Live Music Capital of the World.

3) What is your favorite part of the holiday season?  I love decorating, time with family while decorating, making candies with family, family, family, family.  The family traditions are so much fun.

4) What is your favorite ‘wintery’ drink?¬† I love peppermint mochas!¬† The peppermint creamers is already being stocked at the grocery store.¬† I really need to find a good recipe so I can make it all year round.

My other fav is Egg Nog.  And a tradition I have on Black Friday is to get a peppermint mocha from Starbucks.  My once a year splurge on coffee, LOL!

5)¬†In your opinion, what is the worst job in the world?¬† Trash collecting.¬† I don’t like stinky stuff.¬† I don’t like cleaning stinky stuff.¬† But… Wouldn’t you know it… I clean up stinky stuff every single day, LOL!

 Kimberlee, Thank you for visiting!

Weigh~In Update {Oct. 26th}

Weigh-In Wednesday

Another week of good eating choices.  No Route 44s from Sonic.  Eating oatmeal for breakfast most mornings, and doing a fantastic job with my water intake. 

The water intake pat-on-the-back doesn’t really count since drinking water has always been a strong point of mine, LOL!


I got in all my ‘strenght’ work-outs for last week.¬† It is amazing how unfit I am.¬† I think I have mentioned that before, but man…..¬† Here is what I am doing as my toning/strength workout if I don’t do Jillian’s Shred with Weights video.

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15 second plank x 3

15 leg lifts x 3 {inner and outer}

15 arm circles x 3 {forward and backwards}

30 second ‘bridge’ x 3

10 squats x 3

10-15 second Supermans x3

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I try to get as far as possible through this list, but Ms. V normally starts crying about still being ‘trapped’ in her crib when she knows I am awake.¬† So how far I get depends.¬† Sometimes my bridges and supermans have an extra 20 pounds of baby added to them, LOL!¬†

I am doing the toning routine every other day.  Right now I am feeling more muscle fatigue than change.  However, I am endeavoring to preserver.  Found these quotes on Pinterest to help with motivation:

Sweat is Fat crying.


No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch.

I don’t have my totals for this week, I drank my breakfast coffee before I thought about the scale.¬† Oops.

Thanks for reading about my journey.  If you have any helpful tips or exercise ideas involving toddlers I would love hear them!

Kimberlee, Thank you for visiting!

Weekly Schedule Printable {freebie}

I have a scheduling problem.
Many of you can relate to this ‘problem’.¬† To many to-do’s, and not enough time in the day.¬† To get on top of my list, I decided to put a Family Schedule on our refrigerator to help keep track of what we are doing each week.
After doing a lot of ‘scientific’ blog research, I love the idea of¬†a weekly ‘docket’ {another great planner}.¬† The idea here is that this is a general idea of how the week is going to go.¬† Nothing set in stone.
Several ladies have their cleaning lists on the docket, but I since I already use the HomeRoutine app on my phone for my cleaning,¬† I just need something to make sure I don’t miss something.¬† And to help me stay on track throughout the day.
The Daily Plan: will be filled in to show what a normal day looks like {i.e. Everyone dressed by 8 a.m. Lunch at 11:30 a.m., snack times, etc.}.  I printed five copies of this weekly plan so I can write in pencil the Daily Plan before typing it up.   Times will be subject to change and daily activities.
Several ladies have their ‘daily/weekly dockets’ laminated and use wet erase markers to save on paper and space.¬† I am thinking of¬†putting¬†our¬†Family Schedule in¬†a page protector {instant dry erase page} and then¬†using wet erase markers.¬† Each Sunday I can scan the filled in week, and keep a digital copy forever.¬† I am a total geek like that, LOL.
The Weekly Items spot will be for items off the family calender, and things I don’t want to miss during the week if I don’t look at the Calender; like the library lap-sit or trips to the park.
Family Schedule ~ Download
There is a place to write 7 To-Do’s.¬† It was mentioned on several blogs to not put more than 3 to-do’s for a particular day and not more than 10 for the week.¬† I think 7 is a good, uneven number to work with.¬† Plus it fit nicely in the space left on the page.
As long as I get a couple done each week I will be making more progress than I am currently, LOL!
Letters to Write: jot down what birthday or anniversary cards need to be sent out during the week.  I also want to send encouragement cards via snail-mail.  It can be such a pick-me-up to get personal mail when you are feeling down.
There is even a place to mark off my cardio and strength training sessions.  My goal is to get cardio in 5 times a week, and strength training 3 times.
Feel free to download this for your family to use.  I am sure I will tweak it some more and repost in the future.
If you do use this and blog about it, I would love for your to leave a comment with the link of your post so I can visit.
Kimberlee, Thank you for visiting!
Linking up with:
Best Post of the Week
It’s Party Time at It’s So Very Cheri
Brag Monday at The Grahpics Fairy
A Marvelous Mess at Marvelously Messy
WFMW at We are THAT Family
Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T.
Motivate Me Monday at Keeping it Simple
Take A Look Tuesday at Sugar Bee Crafts
Get Your Craft on Tuesday at Today’s Creative Blog
Tuesday’s Time Out Party at Reasons to Skip the Housework

Weigh~In Wed {10/19/2011}


Weigh-In Wednesday

This was a week of gigantic leaps… I would say for mankind, but most of mankind knows about everything I started doing this week, LOL!

Step 1} Start eating real oatmeal for breakfast. 

I learned that quick oats are ‘stripped’ of some of their nutritional value.¬† So you loose a lot of the benefits of eating oats for breakfast.¬† Instant oatmeal packets have sugar added making them even less of a healthy choice.¬† Who ‘da thunk that?!?

To keep the mornings fast I fixed up a week’s worth of oatmeal baggies; 1/2 cup of oats with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.¬† Just cook in microwave with 1 cup of water for four minutes.¬† Then add fruit and a swig of milk, and your breakfast is ready.

Technically, you don’t need the milk, but I found that the oatmeal was a sticky mess and that adding a small swig of milk cut the stickiness a lot.

Another side note ~ Regular oats only take a couple of minutes in the microwave.¬† Quick Oats take just 30 seconds less!¬† This according to the packages {I have both ‘kinds’ of oats in my pantry right now}.¬† Now I wonder who came up with ‘Quick Oats’.¬†¬† Those are a definite marketing success.

According to an article in Oxygen fitness magazine, eating oats is supposed to help with losing the belly fat.  Definitely my trouble spot currently.  So oats are my new best friend.  I even got a healthier bread that has whole oats as the first ingredient.  An important step in my weight loss journey to get completed.

Step 2}¬†Drink some nasty ‘healthy’ drink.

I opted for Jillian Michaels detox mix:

60 ounces water

1 tablespoon sugar-free, non-concentrate Cranberry Juice

1 dandelion root tea bag

2 tablespoons lemon

Dandelion Root is supposed to help your liver, fresh lemon juice is supposed to be really helpful with everything/anything, and the cranberry is good for your urinary parts.  Drink this mix for 7 days and lose up to 5 pounds.

I didn’t lose any weight drinking this, but it did help motivate me to not make those bad eating choices.¬† I mean… who wants to drink something that tastes like a healthy drink, and then undue everything it is¬†supposed to be helping your body with by eating junk?¬†

Not me.

So… for the past week my eating habits have been pretty darn stellar.¬† I did, however, drink the cranberry juice separate from the detox tea.¬† Cranberry is as¬†bitter as I had heard it was, but after the first couple days I didn’t really notice it.¬† Kinda like using Listerine mouth wash.¬† That first time will send you over the moon, but it gets better after that.¬† I also drank half a cup of the cranberry juice instead of only a tablespoon.¬† And by drink I mean that I slammed that 1/2 cup down like it was a shot and I wanted to win the drinking contest.¬† Yuck.

Step 3} Learn what plyometrics are.

Check out this video by Jamie Eason if you have never heard of this form of torture.¬† I kinda wish I was still in the dark on this one.¬† My thigh muscles still haven’t forgiven me for unearthing this ‘new’ take on excercise.¬†

I did two circuits on Saturday morning while watching Fresh Beat Band.¬† Both kiddos ‘helped’, and now my thighs aren’t very interested in speaking with me, LOL!¬† Monday, I ran through the Jillian Michael’s workout, Shred-it with Kettlebells.¬† I used a water bottle and definitely still felt the burn.¬† Ouch.¬†¬†When did I get so unfit?¬† Then this morning, Wednesday, I did some more plyometrics.¬† Didn’t get very far, but I gave it¬†a go.¬†

My goal for this next week is to get that outdoor cardio in, and to continue making good eating choices.

Totals for this week are:

Started 170 lbs ~ Ended 170 lbs

Three workouts completed

I am feeling very energized about the steps I took this week, and I am looking forward to seeing what progress I make over the coming week.

Kimberlee, Thank you for visiting!

Friday Fun ~ Oct. 14th 2011

We are prepping for Ms. E’s 2nd b-day that is happening on Sunday.¬† She is getting just a ‘few’ good things, LOL!¬† Here is to hoping that she doesn’t get to bent out of shape when Ms. V wants to play with some of them to.

I can’t wait!!!!¬† I think I am worse than her.¬† Which isn’t hard at this point, because she has no idea what a b-day is or that Sunday is going to be a big, happy day for her.

Last Sunday she received her gift from Mr. SD’s mom since she is headed up to Nebraska to visit the newest addition, Ms. P.¬† The ‘spiralin’ water park’ was a hit… and we haven’t even added the water yet, LOL.¬† Ms. E and Ms. V have been playing with it at Grandma’s during the week in the kitchen.¬† Ms. E is obsessed with the spiral that the balls ride down.¬† She is also very sure there are five balls, and keeps track of them at all times.¬† Ms. V may play with a red ball, but never a blue one, LOL!

On a mommy note ~¬†This is a fantastic toy if your little one likes any kind of ball toy.¬† You can see the balls as they go down the spiral which adds to the fun.¬† It is a good size for both the 9-month-old and the 2-year-old.¬† Of course both of my kiddos are on the tall size for their age so keep that in mind.¬† It has turned out to be a great indoor toy since the balls stay in the ‘moat’ that the water would be in.¬† Putting it together was easy and quick for the most part.¬† However, the spiral has eight screws that hold the two halves together {we only used five screws}.¬†

Next week I will share the scoop on the party and the rest of the gifts Ms. E receives.  Plus, I will share how we created her thank you cards.  She will wear her new bandanna top for her party.

Onto Five Question Friday with My Little Life:

1. Do you prefer your ice cream in a boal or on a cone?  I am a bowl kinda gal.  You probably eat less if it is in a cone, but what is the fun in that?

2. What are three things you love the smell of?¬† Freshly bathed babies, fresh baked cookies, and fresh laundry dried outside.¬†¬† Guess the theme here is ‘fresh’ smells, LOL.

3. Giftcards, yes/no {In regards to gift giving…}¬† Definite yes in my book.¬† I love getting that perfect gift for someone, but if I don’t find it or am not sure what to get I would much rather get them a gift card than a ‘bad’ gift.¬† No sweaters from me.

4. What sports did you play in highschool if any, and do you still play them?¬† I didn’t play any highschool sports.¬† I did compete in three day eventing, which I don’t currently do.¬† But, I still have horses, but no time to ride with both girls being so small.¬† Hoping that will change as this year goes by.

5. Were you in band in highschool?¬† What instrument did you play?¬† I was in the orchestra… actually I made the cut to be in the ‘philharmonic’ {strings and band instruments}.¬† I played the violin, and still do at church.

Kimberlee, Thank you for visiting!


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~ About Me ~

I'm Kimberlee, the owner/creater of 'The Spunky Diva'. Here is a little about me... In addition to my love of blogging I adore all crafts, sewing, quilting, improving my non-existent cooking skills, and playing with my two girls. We have a 'collection' of animals around the place to keep us busy; two 'huge' dogs, a cat, kittens, several horses, and assorted wildlife. We live east of Austin, Texas, in the middle of farm country. Here at 'The Spunky Diva' blog I get to share daily life moments, fun crafts, sewing and quilting progress/finishes, and brag about my 'Babies'. Thank you for visiting and sharing some of your day with me!


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