Thursday, December 11, 2014

Shannon's 8 Favorite Things

Typically around this time of year I like to write a blog about different things I came across over the past year that I just loved.  There are several products that I have been super stoked about so I thought why not do it again?!  So here we go...

-I was a nail biter all of my childhood and off and on throughout adulthood.  I have been nail biting free for a few years but never had much in the way of growth until I went gluten free due to my health.  Now that I'm absorbing nutrients my nails grow beautifully and I want to paint them!  The problem was nothing stays on my nails.  Any kind of polish chips and peals away almost instantly.  My friend Jenny suggested I try Revlon Color Stay Gel Envy (no light required).  I bought one and tried it and had color last for two days.  Better but not awesome, so I tried wiping down my nail bed with rubbing alcohol first then painted and it stayed for 3-4 days before chipping.  Then I bought the top coat that goes with the polish and got 5 days and changed the polish because I wanted a new color not because it chipped off!  Success!!!!  Found at Wal-Mart and Target
There are so many colors, I must have them ALL
-While on the topic of all things girlie...Since getting my braces I have felt a new found confidence in my smile.  I never wore any kind of lipstick or lip gloss.   I didn't really want to draw attention to a source of insecurity.  Now I can't get enough and I love love love to wear lipstick.  My friend Jenny (the beauty source:)) introduced me to a new idea called lip stain.  There are several different brands but the one I have found that stays on literally for 24 hours is Covergirl Outlast All Day Lip Color.  This stuff does not come off unless you use makeup remover.  It comes with a moisture stick and when you need to freshen up just apply the moisture stick and you're good as new!  Ob-sessed...  Found at Wal-Mart and Target.

-I have teenage boys.  Teenage boys are gross.  Teenage boys have acne.  My teenage boys have painful acne on their backs.  No worries, I found the best product for just such an issue.  Acne Free Body Clearing Spray.  It's a little pricey (IMO) at $10 a bottle but it works and my boys were really thankful when I brought it home.  It works much like continuous spray sunscreen.  Just shower, spray on, let dry and viola! I purchased ours at Target.

-I have never been shy of my love for coffee.  This last year I have been enjoying KC Roasterie beans.  I absolutely love it and I can buys 2.5lbs of it at Sams for $16.  I buy a bag a month and I literally look forward to drinking it in my French Press every single morning.  I could go downtown and get it directly from the Roasterie but Sams is a mile away and a cheaper.  Deliciousness

-I love hair products.  Especially stuff that smells amazing and makes my hair soft.  I was wandering Home Goods with Alisa while she was looking at hand lotion.  I came across this brand I had never heard of, Theorie.  I have some Argan Oil that I use as a leave in conditioner and this has argan oil in it so I took off the lid to have a sniff.  OH MY WORD.  I am madly in love.  Every shower is like aromatherapy and my hair is so soft.  I use the orange which is the Ultimate Hair Reform.  I have been able to find this at T J Max and Home Goods. 

-My sister, Heather, came to visit in October.  She has red hair to her waist.  I had my hair uber long for a decade but cut it a couple years ago due to health issues.  Even though my hair has recovered and is super healthy, I hadn't let it grow back out.  After spending a week with her and her long red locks the desire to grow mine back out has returned.  I started doing some research on vitamins and found rave reviews for Ultra Hair Nourish from GNC.  I purchased a bottle and within two weeks I started noticing new hair growth.  After a month my hair had grown two inches and was significantly thicker due to all the new growth.  I told Jenny and she is having the same response.  If you want to add thickness or length to your hair (it also has a huge impact on my nails) I highly recommend.  I purchased at GNC at the Legends but is available online through Amazon. 

-We have 5 kids, 2 cats, and a dog.  4 of those kids are stinky boys.  I found these Glade Automatic Air fresheners and I put several of them throughout the house.  We have one at the front door, one in our bedroom, one each of the boys' bedrooms and one in the living room downstairs.  They take a generic sized aerosol can that comes in a variety of scents.  I tend to grab refills at Sams because they're the most affordable.  Right now our fresheners are sporting Air Wick's Enchanted Holiday.  I typically have some sort of clean laundry scent.  They send a puff of goodness out into the air at timed intervals.  Ours can be set for every 9, 18, or 36 minutes.  This keeps our house smelling lovely and less like a herd of people and animals live here ;)

-My husband is a nerd.  He loves to research things.  When he got his truck a couple years ago he set out to find the perfect phone mount.  He wanted something to hold his phone that would stay put and didn't look like he made it in craft class.  After much research he decided on ProClip.  They are custom made to your make and model of vehicle.  They snap into place and match the dash board so it looks as though it is meant to be there.  He has had his for a couple years but this year insisted I get one for my suburban since I now have the massive iPhone 6+.  I was hesitant, just didn't see the necessity but now that I've had it a week or so I absolutely love it.  This makes navigation amazing and no phones slipping around the car during turns.  These have to be ordered online from Po-Clip USA.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's The Little Things

Growing up, one of my very favorite memories is sitting around a fire with my Dad.

I spent time with him in the summers but even in the July heat he would start a fire in his fire pit and we would sit a comfortable distance and gaze into it while eat Pizza Hut pizza on a Friday night.

We would always have a fire when we would camp.  In fact, he started a fire in order to cook my very first rainbow trout.  It was the only fish we caught but he cleaned it and prepared it just for me.

I have always desired a fireplace and when we moved into this house I was giddy to finally have one.  The problem is, it's a gas fireplace meant for aesthetics only.  Our utilities here are so high already, I couldn't justify running it just for looks.

My friend Katie R. suggested we install a blower because they had and really enjoy it.

So I set out to find more information.  I watched a YouTube video and read up on our specific fireplace.  It is compatible with a blower and even has a plug in for power.  YAY!

I shopped a little and found a great deal in an eBay store.  $60 delivered. 

It came today.
I wasn't expecting to have to wire it.  Fortunately it wasn't too terribly difficult and only took and extra 10-15 minutes. 
I took the front off the fireplace in order to clean the glass.  It needed it and looks so much better.  The blower actually installs underneath.  I had my coffee and my laptop, tools of the trade.
It's really surprising how dusty/dirty this whole process was.  That dark pile near on the carpet near the fireplace was insulation that had dropped onto the logs at some point.  It was burnt but not burned up.  Bizarre. 
Everything installed and put back together.  Now for the wait.  The blower has a heat sensor that doesn't allow the blower to start until the fireplace is 120 degrees.  That felt like an eternity!!  I was desperate to know if I had done it all right.  Within about 10 minutes there was a faint hum and warm air began flowing from the top vent.  I was so excited I welled up.  YAYAYAYAY!!!  A functional fireplace with purpose. 
The kids are as excited as I am.  Anneliese came and sat down to enjoy the warmth so Brennan decided to sit on her lap and tell her all he wanted for Christmas.  We were all cackling.  The only thing I heard on his list was a potato. 

I am so thankful.  Such a small thing, but so meaningful to me.  Makes my heart warm on this cool morning.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Aunt Heather!

My sister, Heather, came to visit us for the first time in our adult lives! It was epic! We spent an entire week together! Here is a photo montage of our week :)
Fresh from Kansas City Airport on Saturday

A little Ren Fest Action on Sunday

Some yummy Mexican food on Monday

Painted some serious fingers and toes on Tuesday

Ate Sushi on Thursday at Kona Grill!
Shopped in Weston on Friday

A little Red Barn Farm Weston, Mo

Liesey feeding goats

Weston, Mo

Family Pic Red Barn Farm

MOM! These feel like real stuffed animals!

Dinner with the Altics and a red head pic Friday night
We tried to fit in everything we could possibly think of.  We even had a list and checked things off as we went.  We did sisterly stuff like painting nails, braiding hair, and trading jeans.  The kids had so much fun getting to know and love Aunt Heather.  As an engaged professional woman I'm pretty sure our crazy brood was a bit of a culture shock but she was great and held her own. 

Thank you so much for taking a week to come share in our life.  We love you.

Few More Pics Fall 2014

Those eyes, so handsome

best friends

A rose between two weird thorns

Photo bomb expert

This Dog...



Love them

She kept giggling

I love everything about this pic

Fall Photos 2014


Brennan Conner 14
Tanner Riley 12

Elijah Jude 10
Graham Ryker 8
Anneliese Keegan 5
Team Altic

Monday, October 6, 2014


Saturday was Jared's 38th birthday.

He has been in such a season of stress and exhaustion that he mentioned to me a couple months ago that he would really like to have a "retreat" of sorts on his birthday.

It was all super hush hush.  I had no idea what he had planned,  I just knew how much money needed to be set aside for our adventure.  As the weeks passed it became very clear that our retreat was very much a gift for me, not for him.

I often say, "where did he come from?"  Such a special gift of selflessness to plan a getaway for your spouse on your own birthday.

On Wednesday night Grandma and Grandpa took the 5 kids to their place after church.  Jared and I headed to Casa Agave (I lurve that place) for a late dinner.

Thursday morning we headed to a super cool place down by UMKC called Succotash.  Jared is a creature of habit and once he finds something he likes he tends to stick to what is safe.  I think the biggest part of this surprise is that every experience was something brand new.  I was so touched by his willingness to not only plan this for me, but to go outside his comfort zone to find something new and special for me.  He picked Succotash because they have gluten free blueberry pancakes.  They were delicious!  Such an awesome little place.
Breakfast selfie after getting down poured on :)
Literally the best breakfast I've had in years

After breakfast we went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  Neither of us had ever been and it is really very neat.  We spent hours wandering the halls and looking at priceless art.  It was fascinating to us that all of it was original works.  Nothing was a reproduction.  There was a painting of Jesus with the crown of thorns and He was crying.  It was haunting, so life like.  Just amazing.  I highly recommend going, it's free other than $8 for parking. 
Rodin statue propped against a wall waiting to be installed

Rained all day but what a view!

Courtyard inside the museum

Random coke, made us giggle

After we left the Art Museum we wandered The Plaza for a little while since there was a break in the rain.  We went to the Apple Store to visit our future phones...  I still had no idea where we were staying for the night.  Jared made a quick call to see if we could get an early check in and off we went, destination unknown.

We pulled into this tiny driveway of a beautiful house down by The Plaza.  There was a beautiful sign in the yard that read "Southmoreland An Urban Inn."  He started to tell me the history of the beautiful home while we walked around to the entrance.  We were greeted by a super friendly young lady who gave us run of the place since we were the only ones there.  I immediately teared up.  It was so beautiful and just not anything we had ever done before.  Our room had no TV and no wifi (there is wifi in the house, it just didn't reach our room).  It was truly a place of rest. 
A quick pic out in the courtyard during a break in the rain
I LOVE coffee mugs.  I LOVE special unique coffee mugs.  I LOVE special unique coffee mugs that hold a lot of coffee.  I REALLY LOVE special unique coffee mugs that hold a lot of coffee that are red...  You can imagine my delight when I saw this :)
Such a special keepsake from our special trip
Thursday night we went to New Theatre with tickets we've held onto for months.  It was so nice and dinner was amazing.  We sat with total strangers that were the sweetest couple.

Friday morning we just lounged around the Bed and Breakfast checking out at the very last minute.  The last stop he had planned was lunch at Minsky's pizza.  They have a certified gluten free kitchen so I ordered an amazing pizza and cried as I tried to express my love and gratitude for such a special 24 hours.

Ministry is hard.  It can be very exhausting.  Parenting is hard.  It can be very exhausting.  Life in general is hard.  It can be very exhausting.  But God is good regardless of our circumstances and taking a "time out" to focus on each other and our relationship/friendship was exactly what we needed.  I am so blessed.  Happy Birthday to a very special man.  I love you Jared Richard and I thank God for you every single day.