Monday, February 28, 2011

Green with Envy

All of the girls will be green with envy when they see you out and about with your new Neela bags. sells these fantastic bags. Now listen here to Mama Henley, you NEED a set. I know you're thinking that you don't need them because all you have to do is get a free one from a store or stock up on some reusable bags at Target or Harris Teeter or Publix for just $1 each. Yes, even TJ Maxx and Marshall's are producing cute reusable bags. The difference is that sells bags that are not only green, but they are CUTE, and they are sold in a precious bag with 5 folded bags inside it! What a deal!

And, if you use your cute bags at stores like Target, they will give you 5 cents credit for each reusable bag! Honey, it adds up quickly! Imagine the fun you will have saving money by using your stylish GREEN bags! If you do decide to buy some market bags, tell Ecodilly that Mama Henley sent you! Thanks, y'all!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Smells Heavenly

A few weeks ago my two BFFs from Dallas came to visit. To say we had a great time is a HUGE understatement! They brought me the most wonderful hostess gifts! One of the girls brought me a Niven Morgan candle. It is truly heavenly! She sells them at Preston Road Pharmacy, the best pharmacy in Dallas, Texas! You can also find these candles at Neiman's and other fine stores. My favorite scent is the gold! It makes your entire home smell heavenly! Niven Morgan is an interesting man who travels the world to capture exotic essences. His inspirations are drawn from his extensive travels and happy childhood memories on the family farm in Louisiana. You will love everything about this candle from its gorgeous packaging to its beautiful scent! They're expensive, but sometimes you have to pay more to receive more.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Can't You Just See Me Now?

Look at this adorable LILLY BIKE! How much fun would I have cruising the streets of Tampa on this beauty?!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Our sweet son turned to me after school yesterday and asked a good question. "Mama, were all parents that are alive now born in the 1900s?"
I had to think about it for a minute. Then I realized that he was right. "Yes, son, you are right. All parents who are alive today were born in the 1900s."
Then, I wanted to bow my head and cry. We are OLD!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

At Mama Henley's house, we love going to Disney. We have annual passes and Orlando is a whopping 73 miles away. We can go to the park for the day and sleep in our own beds! It is wonderful! As you can imagine, we are becoming real pros! One way that Disney sort of tricks you is with their kids' meals. When you visit a restaurant, it lists a child's meal with appetizer, entree, sides, and dessert. Most children under age 9 cannot eat all of that food. The cost is $8.59 and up per child, which really adds up when you have 5 children like Mama Henley does.
Well, guess what?! Even in special restaurants, they usually offer some "children's standard meals" such as chicken nuggets and fries, pasta with sauce, or a hamburger. These meals are around $5 and come with fries. Depending on the restaurant, drinks may not be included, but your little one needs lots of water to stay hydrated anyway. This allows you to feed your child more affordably when you want to splurge on better food for Mama and Daddy.
Of course Mama Henley always packs a huge bag full of snacks too, so often our children do not need a meal because they have been eating pb&j sandwiches, cheese sticks, frozen gogurts, fruit, pretzels, chips, apples, etc.. This is another way we save money at meal time. Our 4 year old eats so little that when I do order her a meal it is often wasted. So, I have resorted to feeding her from my bag of tricks.
Let us know if you'll be at Disney as we would LOVE to see you there!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How to REALLY Have a Life of Optimal Experience

This afternoon I spent a nice bit of time in the waiting room of our pediatric dentist's office while each of our five children had their teeth cleaned. Actually, the office is so proficient that I did not have time to some of the things I brought to entertain myself! :) Thankfully I did get to flip through some magazines and analyze the other parents in the waiting room. I kid. However, I did notice that this really cute mama was reading an interesting book. I paid attention to what she was reading because she was very concerned about one of her boys who was in pain from some sort of illness and she had 3 stair step boys and I think I heard she has 2 daughters. She seemed like a great mama and a neat lady.
Anyway, the book she was reading was called, "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience" by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly. I came home and researched the book on Amazon to find out what in the world it is discussing. She had her highlighter out and was really reading the book in depth. I am sure it's a great book. Dr. Csikszentmihaly is a leading psychologist and I am sure he is a very smart man. Now I'm going to step on some of your toes. It greatly saddened me that this book is where this beautiful woman was looking to find a life of optimal experience. It literally broke my heart. She is never going to find what she is looking for in that book.
You will most likely disagree with me and some of you will write hateful things on my blog, but I can't help but share the REAL truth with you. There is only one way, ONE way, to have a life of 'optimal experience' or whatever else you may want to call it. There is one book that holds all of the answers. That book is the Bible and it teaches the truth. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." John 14:6 says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me." If you are reading "Flow" or another book like it, I invite you to read the Bible and see what you learn. It's what keeps me going every single day!!! :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Billy Ray Cyrus

Dh told me about an interview he heard with Billy Ray Cyrus. Billy Ray says his biggest regret in life is letting Miley star in "Hannah Montana". She has turned into a different girl than she was when she began and has lost her innocence (my words not his) and his marriage is in tatters as well. It's very sad to hear that. I am sure he thought he was making a wonderful decision at the time, but it was a decision that has cost them almost everything. What are your thoughts on the matter? Unfortunately the life of actors and actresses and singers is often one that is fast paced and leads to destruction. Is there a child actor/actress or performer who has truly stayed on the straight and narrow path?

Dear Loved One,

I had no idea I was so popular until I just read over my spam folder!! Honey, DH and I are going on a trip because there were at least 25 different people with huge sums of money on their hands that have chosen little ole ME! I am so excited!!! All I have to do to get the money is give them every bit of my personal information and then they will deposit huge sums in my bank account! So, if Mama Henley is seen in the Caymans, you'll know why! (wink wink)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

I have some very wise friends who also happen to be great cooks! As our little ones were playing recently, we began discussing recipes. Specifically we talked about the value of the roasted chicken that you can buy at Sam's Costco, Publix, Harris Teeter, or the Fresh Market. Here in South Tampa, our Sam's Club has great chickens. They are juicy, big, and affordable. Never mind that our youngest will not eat it because it says, "bock" and lives on a farm. Oh well. I have started copying my friends and use the meat for tortilla soup, casseroles, salads, and as our entree. It makes life cheap and easy. Just don't call me that!

Anyway, one of my friends explained that she debones her chickens the minute she brings them in the house. The meat is much easier to pull off the bone when it is warm than when it is cold. Lesson learned. I removed cold chicken last night and I think she may have a point. So, try it next time you buy a roasted chicken!

You should not try what I did tonight for dinner. Between filling out tedious forms online, calling out spelling words, giving our youngest some "homework", assisting with piano, and cooking dinner simultaneously, I foolishly put the chicken in its STORE container in the oven to warm it. Folks, plastic + heat = melting. You know I would never be that foolish and distracted. Oh no. Not me. Never. Learn from my mistakes!

Monday, February 14, 2011


A million little blog posts have come to mind and faded into the bright Florida sunshine. The ability to sit down and gather my thoughts has not happened easily this week. My mind has raced in a million directions... do you ever feel this way? I feel this way most of the time!
We've had a fabulous winter thus far with great weather and even better guests. I love spending time with friends and family. It warms my heart. Our little ones are growing up faster that I can say, "Stop!" and we are cherishing the stages they are all in right now. Well, with the exception of our 4 year old's "let's get out every toy in the house, put playdough in it, grab all of the pieces from every game and add water" stage. That one's a tough one. It has lasted 3 years for her! And counting....

Our older children are enjoying ballet for the girls and lacrosse for the boy. Our oldest four are taking piano. I love hearing our home filled with beautiful music. It really does warm your heart.

Life is full and wonderful. The Lord has really been teaching me and challenging me through Bible Study and Sunday School and church. I am more aware of my sinfulness and need for Him than ever. I am thankful for a husband who loves me well and loves the Lord even more. He is a great example to me as he diligently has a Quiet Time every morning and starts his day off right.

We have lived here in Tampa for 2 years now. We have best friends and friends we are enjoying getting to know better and better. We love people. We are thankful for the ways we've been stretched, challenged, and loved.

So, that's a little update. I imagine it's a bit boring for you, and I'll try to return to a more entertaining post soon. I just couldn't sit here any longer and say nothing!

Happy Valentine's Day! I realized today that this is the TWENTIETH Valentine's Day I have spent with the most wonderful man in the world. We will not count the one or 2 where we were broken up during college. Ahem. I still have the teddy bear he gave me on our first Valentine's Day. I may or may not sleep with it every night. I hope you have a special evening with those you love!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Missing an Encouraging Blog... Everyday Adventures in Faith

I miss the blog, "Everyday Adventures in Faith". If you are still blogging and are open to one more reader, I'd love to be invited! My email address is I thought you just hadn't updated lately, but now I see you have gone private. I hope all is well for you all!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How do YOU Share the Love?

I am blessed to be married to a wonderful man. At this point in our lives, we're very content in our 15 year old marriage. In fact, I love DH more today and am more attracted to him than I was when we were married on the hottest day EVER in July 1995. Nonetheless, our feelings of contentment have not come without a lot of work and a big commitment. When we took our vows on that hot July day, we were serious. We promised to stand beside one another in the presence of God no matter what. Some days you may not "feel" in love, but yet you do still love your spouse. We have learned that we must put the Lord first, but that we must also invest a lot of time in our marriage and one another. We are far from perfect, but we try to look after our marriage.

So often I hear others say that they don't have time for one another because they have a new baby or a tough job, or their teenagers need them, or they must travel for work. I get it. We have our challenges too. Again, we are NOT PERFECT. All of us fall short of the glory of God. All of us hurt our spouses and feel like we fail. However, it's important to make each other a PRIORITY. Study your spouse. Get to know him. Know what he loves, why he loves it, and what sort of adventures he would like to pursue. When is the last time you asked your spouse about work? Did you really listen? Did you really delve into his current projects or clients or patients? Is he enjoying his work or drowning in it? Take the time whenever possible to have an untimed pleasant conversation with your spouse. If your children go to bed late, then tell them they have room time from 9pm on. I remember being a newlywed and my Bible Study leader said she had "couch time" with her husband EVERY day when he walked in the door. Her three little munchkins knew that Daddy came first when he walked in the door and that Mama and Daddy were going to sit on the sofa uninterrupted for about 15 minutes. Do you see what they were teaching the three boys by example? Of course you need to tweak it for what works in your home. The marriage relationship comes FIRST even when little ones are tired, cranky, and hungry. We MUST nurture our relationship with our spouses so that there is something to hold onto long after the children are grown.

It is important to spend time every day with your spouse if at all possible. Find even 5 minutes if your day is overly full. It's also important to show him how much you care by doing little things. When is the last time you cooked his breakfast or wrote him a love note on a post-it note? When he travels, do you put notes in his bag or call him each evening? How do you show your love in the little ways? I have been trying to be more purposeful about having DH's coffee ready for him in the morning. I don't drink coffee, so he usually brews his own. Lately I have been trying to brew it for him as it saves him a few minutes in getting out the door to work and it's such a simple way to say, "I love you".

I know you're tired. But your man needs affection and so do YOU, even if you don't think you do. Kiss him. Love him. Show him why he should love being married. Break the cycle and make the first move. Be tender with him, and most likely he will show you tenderness in return.

If at all possible, get out of the house with your man. Plan a surprise date night and find a babysitter. If you can't afford a sitter, then trade with friends. You keep their children one night and then they keep you in return. You can also do this by having the wife come to your house & then you go to their house one evening. Date nights do not have to be expensive. You can pack a picnic and go parking! You can spend an evening at the library or a favorite book store. You can spend a Saturday afternoon going to Open Houses. If there are things you enjoy doing together, then cultivate them! I also cannot recommend enough having at least one weekend a year away with your spouse. I am the first to dread and fear leaving my children. I've even spent a weekend in Martha's Vineyard with high anxiety over our five little ones. I have learned that they WILL survive. They actually will flourish knowing that Mama and Daddy love one another that they WANT to be alone together for a weekend date. It ultimately gives the children more security when they know their parents are still in love. So, how will you celebrate this Valentine's Day? How will you show your spouse love on the ordinary days?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

A few months ago I discussed problems we were having with our dishwasher. My dear friend, Karlyn, and sweet husband both came to the rescue. Karlyn knocked on our door one night and brought us some Lemishine! You put some in your dishwasher and it literally removes the white scum. DH bought Finish and it cleans like our old detergents used to do! We are so happy at Mama Henley's house! Hurry out and buy some Lemishine, honey! You need some Finish too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Scent of Spring!

Here in Florida, we are blessed to have beautiful blooms in our yards year round. Our landscapes are often bursting with little dots of color here and there. In my native North Carolina, February and March begin the jonquil, daffodil, hyacinth, crocus, and lilly,and tulip season. I love these delightful flowers and loved planting lots of bulbs each fall to increase our beauty each spring! I hope the new owners of our former home will delight in spring this year as they are greeted by the flowers I planted.
This time of year, I love the fragrant hyacinth. With the impending arrival of my precious friends, I delighted in purchasing a pale pink hyacinth for the living room. When I bought it on Friday, its buds were tightly closed. Today the buds are open and the beautiful floral fragrance fills our living room and beyond. As I sit and type, the beautiful smell delights me. What floral scents do you love?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Things are pretty exciting at Mama Henley's house today! My two BFFs from Dallas are on their way to visit Tampa! I can't wait to show them our beautiful town! They are leaving behind a blizzard to be welcomed by sun and 79*F!! Can you believe it?!

As I have been cleaning the house and getting ready for them, I've had time to think. Our house is very full. That must be quite obvious to you since we have been blessed with 5 little ones. Perhaps I should say our home is overflowing. It is overflowing with love and laughter and joy and tears and squeals and screams and stuff. A lot of the stuff is mine...paper paper paper. I purge and purge but my piles are still here. Some of the stuff is the constant laundry that must be folded and put away.

I had a little discussion in my head about what is most important. Yes, by all means, I want our house to be welcoming, uncluttered, and pleasing to the eye. Unfortunately, I have found it difficult to keep our home complete uncluttered. I do try. I fight the clutter bugs every day. But, with no playroom and young children, our house seems to be full of toys and creations.

Some days I respond to the toys and stuff in the wrong way. I scream and beg for it to be removed. Other days I see it as a welcome blessing. There were years where we thought we'd never have even one baby. What a miracle that we now parent 5! It is true that we have many boxes in our garage, that sometimes backpacks overpower the world, and that I can't keep our house perfect no matter how hard I try.

But the Lord is teaching me an important lesson. The things of this world are fine, but my focus should not be on having House Beautiful. My focus should be on the Lord first in ALL things, then my precious husband, and finally on loving and molding our children and teaching them about Him. The hours that my hands toil are worth nothing if I have no eternal value. My love for orderliness and longing for pats on the back about my perfect house can often be idols for me. The Bible tells us that we should have no other idols before HIM. What idols have a stronghold in your life? How can you pray for the Lord to loosen their stronghold in your life and to turn your heart to Him?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday's Tip!

Happy Tuesday! I have a nightly tradition that I rarely miss. When we were first married, I read lots of books about marriage. One of the books suggested a hot bath every night before bed. Therefore, I started taking baths when we were first married. Now I just love to have a hot bath every single night! Sweet DH knows how I love Molton Brown heavenly gingerlilly. I am so excited because he just gave me a new bottle after he returned from his recent business trip.
This week's tip is that if you don't take baths, you should try! It is amazing how it relaxes you and you fall into bed tired, warm, and ready to sleep.... I'm off to take a bath!