Who is BunnyFabulous AKA MommysFavoriteThings?
Profile of a Squidoo Lensmaster: I'm Writing a Better Story
Ever read the inside of the book jacket to learn a bit more about the author who devised the tale you're about to read (or just read?) That's what this lens is -- the book jacket text. The 'book' I'm still in the middle of writing is a like a collection of short stories titled 'Helpful Stuff to Enrich Your Life' which is comprised of my Squidoo lenses as BunnyFabulous and a blog as MommysFavoriteThings. Each one is a window into something I've found that has made my family members' lives more enjoyable, more rewarding, easier, or just plain more interesting...so that you can benefit from it too.
Thanks for taking the time to learn a bit about the person behind it all. Hope you find something in my collection of stories that makes your life a better place, even in a small way.
Stay-at-Home-Mom, Product Reviewer, Couponer, Enjoyer of Good Food, Reader of Many Books
P.S. You'll also learn the story of why this photo of my daughter and I with the lighthouse is one of my favorites, even though the lighting isn't that great, and it's not the most flattering angle.....of me, that is. My daughter is cute at any angle, and the lighthouse looks pretty good too.
photo credit: BunnyFabulous
Fast Facts -- Inside the Book Jacket
A little snapshot of the basics
* Age - born in the early 1970's
* Gender - Female
* Familial Status - Married to Squidoo lensmaster SquidooMBA, with one cute little girl Squid Kid (I refer to her in my lenses as 'BJ') born in February of 2008.
* Occupation - Squidoo/Blog-at-home-mom
* Where I Grew Up - Northwest suburbs of Chicago
* Current Location - Central Florida
* Favorite Movies - The Sound of Music, Best in Show
* Favorite Books - The Harry Potter series, The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Lord of the Rings series. See a trend here?
* Favorite Foods - Cake, Sushi, Chocolate and Wheat-Free/Gluten-Free Pizza. I'm not kidding about the pizza. It's that good.
* Car - 1999 Acura TL
* Favorite Vacation Spots - Bora Bora (went there on my honeymoon); Seaside, FL; Asheville/Black Mountain, NC
* Education - BS in Secondary Education
* Interests/Hobbies - Reading, cooking (AKA messing around with recipes), Helping my husband homebrew beer and wine
photo credit: BunnyFabulous
My Favorite Things, Book Edition - Oprah can have her favorite things, why not me?
I *heart* good books. Here's a list of some of my all-time faves.
My Squidoo Story
My husband had been following Seth Godin's blog and learned about the Alternative MBA program that Seth opened up for applicants in late 2008. As we discussed it, we both felt like it would be an amazing opportunity for one (or both of us) to learn under one of the greatest marketing minds ever. We were up for the adventure, even with an 11-month old baby in tow, so we both applied via creating a Squidoo lens.
As I used Squidoo to create my application, I saw what a great vehicle it was to create great content and get found on the web. Plus, it was so darn fun. I was hooked. Neither of us made the cut for the Alternative MBA, but we loved the experience and it fueled our entrepreneurial spirits and desire to be lifelong learners. I made a handful of lenses, but then got sidetracked by life. Fast forward to fall 2010...I saw that one of my lenses was doing really well, and I made some tweaks. It did a bit better. I was hooked again, and I'm back to Squidooing for enjoyment and to supplement our family's income so that I can continue to stay home with our daughter.
Writing a Better Life Story
Especially after reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller, my husband SquidooMBA and I were inspired to look at our lives as stories. Were they compelling? When you read what was going on in them, could you see their message clearly? Were they about something bigger than just ourselves?
I want to live out who God has created me to be; a writer, a connector of people with great resources, an encourager and an enjoyer of life and His goodness. I'm so thankful that Squidoo is a place where I can express these parts of who I am and hopefully use them to bless others.
In turn, I also want to help my daughter tell a great story with her life through how she's uniquely made. To remind me of that, I often think about this photo of her sitting in a single engine plane with a flight instructor who saw how excited she got while visiting the local executive airport's pilot shop. She absolutely adores airplanes, and she was beside herself with delight (you can't really tell in the photo; she's kind of wincing since it was really cold outside) at the special treat of getting to be in an airplane and already wants to be a pilot. This li'l girlie's got big dreams, and I'm going to encourage her in them.
photo credit: BunnyFabulous
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life - My mini-synopsis
It's an extremely well-written book, ironically recounting Don's working through writer's block after his first several books, when two screenwriters swoop in to make a movie about his life. As they 'hollywood-ize' the plot of his life because it's a bit too boring, he takes action to redirect himself to be the person whose life you wouldn't have to rewrite for a movie. It's a journey of self-discovery for Donald Miller, but even more so for the reader as his writing draws you into reexamining your own life's trajectory.
Moms Who Inspire Me
Two ladies who make me want to be a great mom, and who tell great stories in their own right
My mom, Carol (shown here with me and my younger sister and brother circa 1980) was always encouraging my siblings and I in our creative outlets. She sewed about half of our wardrobes herself and taught me how to sew well enough that I was creating my own odd-looking stuffed animals by age 6. They were mostly spiders, which were really easy...make a round pillow and attach eight braided legs and googly eyes. Crayons, paper bags, glue, construction paper, boxes, tape, egg cartons and other small random household objects were there for the asking or taking, and she applauded all of our efforts. She read picture books to us with different voices for many of the characters, and helped us be part of the stories. Mom made learning and trying new artistic adventures fun. No wonder her son is an art teacher with a masters' in sculpture and her older daughter (me) loves to write as well as read and discuss novels. I hope I instill the joys of creativity in my daughter and help her express who she is in a way that matches well with who she's made to be. And, that I can get the voices of the Beatrix Potter characters down as well as my mom.
Carol's also an inspiration in how dedicated she is to staying fit and healthy for a lifetime. She's always loved sports and ever since I can remember, she's played in an adult volleyball league. She and my grandmother did RAGBRAI (a week-long bike ride/festival across the state of Iowa) for the first time together around 15 years ago, and she's since biked across at least 4 other states. About 5 years ago, she became a triathlete and has since gone to the Senior Olympics in both triathlon and volleyball. Does she do this to prove something? Who knows. Maybe to herself so that she knows she can do it, but if you talk to her for more than a moment, you can see that she's mostly motivated by fun. She loves to be outside and moving, so that's what she does. While I may not become a triathlete and I kind of stink at volleyball, I want to have even half of her passion for life and motivation to be a good steward of her body.
My mother-in-law Virginia (shown here on her birthday with a shot glass of cake) is a great cook who has shared so many of her tried and true recipes with me, including one forthe best peanut butter cake ever. I've learned so much about southern cooking from her and the well-loved Southern Living subscription she buys me for Christmas every year.
Being a good cook isn't all that Virginia's about though. She's invited me into her family with open arms from the first --even after only having met me briefly before my wedding --and not knowing that I was dating her son during that short meeting (long story). I feel so treasured by her, and I have no doubt that she's glad I married her youngest son. I know she had her hands full when my husband was young parenting his endearingly mischievous ways, and I know I'm going to need some of the same sense of humor and consistency in parenting her granddaughter.
After losing her husband and surviving breast cancer twice, Virginia still has a positive attitude and an abiding faith in the Lord. I admire her perseverance, tenacity and tender strength. Her life tells a story of hope.
The Mom and Kid Stuff Chapter
Why I Love the Lighthouse Photo at the Top of the Page
My daughter BJ's favorite book is Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, the true story of a lighthouse keeper's daughter. It's full of bravery, and adventure. It's also inspired my girl's love of lighthouses. Because of the book, our family explored this lighthouse an hour from our home. What fun!
Foods and Celebrations
The Art of the Deal
I *Heart* Couponing and Saving Money
My story of getting into the world of saving money by combining sales and coupons
In fall of 2009, one of my friends taught me how to save money on my grocery and household bills by matching up sales with coupons. I started saving a little, then saving a ton...an average of 50% per month. Getting over $44 worth of stuff that I need (or I make money by buying it) for $1 like I did today rocks. I admit, I'm addicted to the rush of getting awesome deals, AND we eat healthier, with a wider variety of food than before I started couponing.
In October, 2010 I was a runner-up in our area paper's 'Biggest Saver' contest for my essay on how I save money couponing. They ran an ad campaign featuring the 10 winners/runners-up, and so I'm somewhat-kinda not-so-famous. ;)
photo credit: BunnyFabulous
What's Your Coupon-Using Style?
Do you use coupons to save on groceries and/or household supplies?
My Favorite Couponing/Deal Blogs
These ladies post coupon matchups, freebies, great online deals and more. They're a wealth of information for saving money.
Not only does Crystal at moneysavingmom.com post about great deals, teach people how to start couponing, and share other frugal tips, she has an incredible perspective on how saving money can honor God and help other people. She's one of my heroes.
Her coupon matchups for stores in the Southeast United States, as well as some national drugstore/mass merchandiser chains are incredibly easy to use. She also teaches you how to start couponing and gives example deals to help you out.
Jacksonville, FL-based SwagGrabber Sheri is the queen of online deals. I've learned about dozens of deals through her which have allowed me to come in WAY under budget for Christmas and birthday gifts while giving better stuff.
Military wife and mom Collin posts about more deals than any other blog I've seen. She also has helpful videos about couponing, and runs tons of contests for cool free stuff.