Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Willow House - Christmas Ideas!

Believe it or not . . . it is time to start thinking about Christmas gifts. And I've got some ideas for you that could help make your shopping a bit easier this season . . .
Keep reading below, then check out my Willow House store . . . http://www.mandystenberg.willowhouse.com/

With this plan you can choose $557 in gifts for only $161 out of your gift giving budget. That is a total of 20 Christmas gifts, and a savings of nearly 70% off. Better than extreme couponing!

The Plan:
1. Book a party between now and the first week of December
2. Take 5 outside orders or web orders
3. Have a minimum of 10 to 15 guests at your party

You will receive (Based on $1,000 party):
* 4 items at ½ Price
* Flat shipping & handling rate of $9.96
* ANY one item at 70% retail

Here is an example of one customer’s gift giving list after hosting a $1,000 party:

Bellemead Flatware Caddy (pg. 14)

Jamestown Tray (pg.18)

Decorative Card & Photo Display (pg. 20)

Annabelle Iron Bookstand (pg. 8)

4 Teachers
Yuletide votive Holders-set of 4 (pg. 51)

Scrollwork Oversized Throw (pg.17)

Hampton Rain Gauge (pg. 37)

Best Friend
Athena Crackle Vase (pg.7)

Snowflake Snapshot Holder (pg. 51)

3 Gift Exchanges
Holiday Hanging Trio-set of 3 (pg. 46)

Holiday Party Hostess
Must Have Markers (pg. 40)

3 Neighbors
Carrigan Wine Stoppers – set of 3 (pg. 31)

Person you drew from a hat
Lemon Berry Bread (pg. 35)

Gift for herself
Mediterranean Sage Bowl (pg. 68)

Total out of pocket expense for all of this - $161.05

Why not plan a Willow House party today? There are lots of reasons to invite the ladies over to shop: Girls Night Out, Open House, Sip and See, Cooking School, Coffee “Shop”. Give me a call, and we can find a time to set up your party. I will help you with the invite and the set up. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

STORIES: kids choir

I grew up in church. From the time I was five years old, my childhood days were filled with church activities:  camp at Wolf Creek, "training union" (then Discipleship Training), Sunday School, VBS, and Mission Friends/Girls in Action. But my most favorite church activity HAD to be Children's Choir. The first musical I performed in was "God's Kids." I was five. And I was hooked. We had the coolest shirts with our names on the back in Rainbow reflector letters. Amazingly awesome for the mid-1970s! We traveled all over LA (Lower Arkansas) singing at other churches. It was so much fun.

"Miss" Lucy was our director. She was dedicated heart and soul to children's choir. She was a great encourager to all kids and always found some part for each child who wanted it. I had lots of speaking parts - imagine that! There are SO many times throughout my life that songs from one of the MANY musicals will pop into my head - seemingly out of nowhere. The songs are all Biblically based and they are stored in my heart. What a HUGE blessing.

One song was called the "clock song" - "Don't let your face be 7:25 looking like a frown . . . let it shine like 10 after 10 - like a great big happy clown!"

To this day I sing these songs from time to time. "I Am a Promise" comes to mind when I am singing to my boys. I remind them God has a plan for their lives and "you are a promise, you are a possibility, you are a promise, with a capital P, you are a great big bundle of POTENTIALITY!" I can still remember - pretty much word for word my speaking part in that song in particular: " . . . you may have holes in your tennis shoes or freckles on your nose. But it doesn't matter one bit. God's got something very special in mind for you. It might be climbing high mountains or ?, helping sick people get well or singing a song! Whatever it is . . . you can do it!" The years have robbed me of a few words - but you get the idea!

There was also:
Music Machine - "Music Machine, Music Machine, like no other gadget that you've ever seen; whatever you want to sing about, just put something in it and a song comes out"

and a couple "Psalty, The Singing Song Book" musicals with songs like "Don't build your house on the sandy land, don't build it to near the shore . . . well it might look kind of nice, but you'll have to build it twice, oh you'll have to build house once more."

Too much fun.

Wonderful memories of great friends (Phyllis, Eric, Karen, Kristie, Bret, Molly and Valerie, Shawn), sweet songs, a very special church (Dermott Baptist), incredible Godly people . . . and I of course have lots of stories about those people! Another time . . .

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


So my sister has challenged me to be a better blogger - for professional 
as well as personal reasons.
One of her ideas has really struck a cord with me -
share some of my stories through a weekly blog post.

I am after all a Southern girl.  And the way Southerners really get to know each other is through story-telling. You can't sit too long at a Southern gathering before the stories start to fly . . . "Remember that time . . . " leads into "Oh, yeah, well once I  . . . " and on and on and on it goes. So, it only makes sense if I want people (and potential photography clients) to get to know me . . . I need to share my stories. 

Sweet sister was also the inspiration for my memory jar.  It is still a work in progress - but it is simply a place to keep things I can't seem to part with but do not necessarily need/want them sitting on shelves in my home.  So, as I continue to build my jar . . . I'll share the stories of the pieces inside.

First . . . a pic of the jar itself, only partially filled

Now on to the first item:
My Pappaw's Belt and Buckle
Thomas Mayo Bartholomew, Sr . . . My "Pappaw" was such a fun man. I was his first granddaughter, Rod and Bret beat me out of first grandchild status, but I came along as the first girl, securing my place as a favored one (sorry cousins, its just true!) Pappaw drove an 18 wheeler. He would come pick me up and take me to his house in Monticello, AR, for fun weekends with him and my Grandma. We had a common love for horses, especially Poco D Diamond, popcorn, ice cream, and laughing. Pappaw was a horseman - riding in cutting shows and just for fun. And he ALWAYS had on a cowboy belt, usually with one of his many AQHA Secretary buckles. When I was in college and graduate school, I would call Pappaw anytime I needed a pick me up. He ALWAYS made me laugh like no one else. We were true friends. I still miss him tons and can get really weepy wishing that he could have seen my two red heads. But I have my memories and will certainly pass those along to my kids.

I have so many stories about how much my Pappaw loved life. He loved to laugh and prank friends. He loved his family - especially us grandkids. He loved my Grandma - and well, who didn't? But, well,  that's another story . . . 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Wedding Sneak Peek

It was a beautiful(ly HOT) Iowa Saturday . . .

A really sweet couple . . .

And lots of fun!

Rachel Randall and Ben Noland

They laughed a LOT all day!

Sweet Daddy and Daughter moment caught by our second shooter, Courtney


Way too cute flower girlies

Mom and Daughter

a beautiful day

a beautiful couple

fun bridesmaids

AND . . . we did a SHOOTBOOTH at the reception!
So much fun!
We'd love to help you celebrate your next event:
birthdays, parties, receptions
To see the entire SHOOTBOOTH album, visit:
Click on "Proofing and Ordering" and look for the ShootBooth album.

Thanks for letting MandyBee Photography be a part of your big day Rachel and Ben!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I saw on someone else's blog that it has been SIX MONTHS since I updated my blog.


That hurts.

Its not that NOTHING has been going on. There's been plenty.
Its just that, well, I am a bad blogger.
I want to be better.
Blogging helps me clear my mind sometimes.
It helps me remember what has happened to us from day to day.

So, here goes.

Another attempt.

How about this time, I commit to blog once a week?

And while I'm at making commitments, I think I'll throw in a few more.

I commit to stick to my current diet (Weight Watchers)through the end of April as previous planned. Make the plan. Work the plan. That's the plan.

I commit to begin training for a 5K. I had to take a break from Surefire Fitness (as much as I loved it) because of some back issues. But now there is a void in my life that I need to replace. Exercise is a must I've learned for my sanity. Maybe I will do Midnight Madness this summer. I am also planning to move our Wii upstairs to the family room (or maybe my room) and start Wii Fit.

I commit to MAKE time (not find it or use kids as an excuse to not do it) to read my Bible each day. Really. If I cannot read for FIVE minutes, then I need to do a major re-prioritizing in my life. Who I am kidding? I NEED TO DO A MAJOR RE-PRIORITIZING in my life.

Please don't read this as me being all down on myself. I'm not. It is simply time to live out some things I've been half-way doing for quite some time.

And if I will put it out there for "everyone" to see, then all the better for me.

Now that that's all out there . . .

What have the Stenbergs been up to since October?
We settled into our new home. We moved in the last week of September and have enjoyed making it home. There is so much room here. Mark worked hard to make this house all that it could be for us. And it has been the perfect place to do what we love - host connection group and parties!
We've had a few game nights, many connection groups, two baby showers (and one more to come in April), a wedding "reception", and two birthday parties (mine and Mark's). We love it.

November is sort of a blur.
I started Surefire Fitness Bootcamp, but had to stop my month just short of 4 weeks because of a throat infection. It was no fun. Bootcamp was both the best and hardest thing I had ever done, especially since at that time I was still nursing Jack. Just craziness. But I did end up going back to bootcamp after Christmas and went through mid-March. I hope to go back in the fall.

Grandpa Stenberg's birthday
We were together with Mark's family towards the end of November for Mark's dad's birthday. It was fun having the grandkids all together

We got tenants in our basement "guest room." Emma and Jordan Bradley moved in around the first week of December. They got married in Ruston, LA, the weekend after Thanksgiving and moved right into our place after their honeymoon. I was Emma's children's minister when she was a little girl in Ruston AND was overseas with Jordan's brother Ben. Crazy how paths cross. I take more than a little credit for their relationship!

MandyBee Photography had some busy days in December with families and seniors getting in last minute shoots. It was fun. I'm planning to really push to get some business this spring/summer, starting with hosting a booth at a bridal show in Ames this coming weekend!

Christmas morning at Mimi and Poppa's
me, angie b, and dad

We spent the holidays in the south with my family. The week before Christmas we drove down to Arkansas where we met up with my sis and bro-in-law at my mom and Jerry's house. We had a great time with them. On the day after Christmas the Likens and the Stenbergs caravaned to Dallas. We spent the next day with my dad's extended family in Granbury and then a few more days in Lewisville with my dad, Gigi (my sis) and Uncle (Philip). There were lots of miles on that van when we got done!
Angie B, Bret, Me, Casey and Tracey, and Patric and Kelly
Bartholomew cousins
Missing David, Rod, and Matt

Birthday dinner
Joy, me, Jenna, and Eve

I turned 39 January 13. I had dinner with friends on my birthday and then a big shin dig with tons of friends the next night. Good times!

Birthday celebration!
All my girlfriends except Eve - wonder where she was?

We tried (and failed) at potty training with Callen and started cereal to this 4 month old Jack.

The boys and I road tripped to see Gigi in Minneapolis and took along Joy and her kiddos.

Callen with his Gigi in Minneapolis

Naomi and Callen in MN

And then we battled RSV with baby Jack for about two weeks. It was quite rough around here.
Just because that wasn't fun enough, we also took away Callen's pacifier that he was still napping and sleeping with at night. I am pretty sure it was a much bigger deal for me than it was for him!

We hadn't been on the road and crazy/busy enough, so we piled everyone in the van and headed to Oklahoma City for Mark to attend a concrete counter top seminar. Did I mention yet how I love my concrete counter tops in my kitchen????? My mom and aunt met up with us in OKC and spent the day tooling around while Mark attended his seminar. We went to the Nat'l Cowboy Museum for the morning and had a great time. We also stopped in Stillwater at the "famous" Eskimo Joes on our way home.

Mommy and Callen at Eskimo Joe's

I also got my feet a little wet again with Upward Basketball. The directors asked me to help out with their end of the year awards ceremony. It was fun working with those guys again. And I was a little overwhelmed when I thought back to when we first began Upward at Cornerstone. God is good and faithful!

Just some normal days around here . . . making baby food for growing Jack, celebrating life with friends, enjoying every other Friday morning off in a new swap with my pal Laura, and loving a few days of warmer weather. We are LOOKING FORWARD to spring!

Mark's Birthday
Mark turns 40 on April 2, but we celebrated a week early because his college ministry leader Larry was surprising him with a visit this past weekend. It was such a fun weekend to celebrate Mark. He felt quite loved!

Mark and Larry Thiel
(Larry was the Intervarsity campus leader at UNLV when
Mark was student there. Larry surprised Mark by coming
from California for the party. Way to go Larry!)

A few more pics, just for kicks:
When Jack started putting his foot in his mouth, I remembered a pic I had of Callen from about the same age. I finally found it and was able to put them together.

Callen                                                                             Jack

Callen loving life and Jack just watching his every move. Pretty much daily events here at our house.
Yep. Crawling. Moving.
Thinking about climbing!
One of my favorite pics of 2011 so far!
John Deere boy