Friday, April 29, 2016

Five on Friday - Jacob's Bedroom Refresh

So glad that I can finally say Happy Friday and it be an accurate statement.  I may have said that very same sentence yesterday to a coworker because all week my brain has been a day ahead.

As I’ve mentioned before, Jacob is still living in his original baby nursery. 

Don’t worry, we let do let him out every now and then, but only when he’s behaving.

Ahem.  Let me reword that. 

As I’ve mentioned before, Jacob’s room still contains all of his original baby nursery bedding and décor. 

That’s better.

Considering he’s going to be a whole hand’s worth of fingers old in a couple of months, it’s about time to give him the big boy bedroom that he so deserves.  And I’m also hoping that maybe a) it will help him magically mature overnight so we won’t have to deal with any more tantrums and b) that he will love his new big boy bed soooo much that he will stop creeping into our room every single night at 3 AM (even though some nights – the nights that he does NOT flail around and kick me in the head – I secretly love it).

We have chosen the color pallet – red, blue (somewhere between true blue and navy blue), and khaki OR red, blue, and grey depending on which bedding we go with – I like it because these are good all American boy colors, and they are colors that should grow with him as he gets older.   

O N E – Wall Color

Eeeeks, this one is the hardest.  Jacob wants the walls to be “dark blue” but I’m not sure that I like that idea because darker colors tend to make rooms look smaller.  You’ll see in a minute that we’ve narrowed the bedding down to two, and the wall color will also be dependent upon which bedding we choose.

T W O – Bedding

We picked up this comforter set and this one, too.  Both have been sitting at our house for about a month and I still haven’t decided which way to go.  Jacob prefers the blue and white stripes, but he also wants blue walls which would be overkill on the blue.  He doesn’t quite understand the whole concept of contrast colors quite yet. 

Anyway, if we go with that one, I would probably want to do either khaki or grey walls with one red wall for a pop of color, or just all khaki or grey walls and then accessorize with red. 

If we go with the plaid bedding, we could probably get away with doing all blue walls or we could just do khaki with a pop of blue… maybe one blue wall behind the bed?  I’m just so torn. 
Or we could just scrap all of that and do shiplap instead.  Brian would kill me, though (that is AFTER he researched to see what it is... he's Googling it right now, I bet).

T H R E E – Wall Décor

We picked up this marquee sign because a) I can’t get enough of marquee signs right now and b) what kid would not want to have some twinkle lights in their room??  I would have died to have this in my room when I was a teenager!  This will probably hang on a smaller wall and then we will still have two giant walls to decorate – one over his dresser and one over his bed.  

And now for a little poll – I think a mirror like this one would look great over his dresser, but Brian said that boys don’t need mirrors in their rooms.  What do y’all think?  A mirror would take up a lot of space, which would be nice, and it’s something that he can keep on his wall until he moves out.   

F O U R – Personalization

I made the mistake of taking Jacob to Hobby Lobby with me a few months back and I think that he loves it every bit as much as I do now!  While casually walking up and down the aisles we came across metal superhero letters and he just had to have them. 

Now, I’m not into the whole character room thing because kids tire of stuff so quickly and I don’t want to have to redecorate every two years.  However, I wanted to be able to incorporate his love for superheroes somehow, so I thought that this would be a good way to do it without going overboard.  I may attach them to a stained piece of wood or something like that to class them up a bit and then hang them over the bed.

F I V E – Accessories

I’m thinking a throw pillow or two for the bed (Brian’s rolling his eyes right now) and a new lamp since Jacob's is still covered in giraffes and monkeys.  I love this pillow to go with either bedding and this lamp.  

So ladies, suggestions?  Comments?  Opinions?  Help!!  I’m having anxiety over making the wall color/bedding decision!  Help a sister out!

*Linking up with A Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday, A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites, Living for Naptime for BFF Friday Link-up Party,  September Farm and The Farmer's Wife for Oh Hey, Friday, and Meet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

New Year’s Resolution Check-In – How I’m Doing So Far…

If you read my New Year's Resolution post back in December then you know that this is a big year for me.  I’m currently in the process of purging and simplifying my life so I can get rid of all of the clutter (mental and physical) that hinders me from enjoying the better things in life.  My word for 2016 is LESS. 

I thought that I would do a couple of updates throughout the year to hold myself accountable, because as always, I was gung-ho at the beginning of the year, but things have sort of tapered off here lately.  So let’s see how I’m doing…

Purging and Simplifying

1. Living Spaces: Purge and simplify our entire house, my car, and my cube at work and donate everything that we don’t need or want, and also start putting things back where they belong immediately after use. 

Progress: So far I have cleaned out and simplified our master bedroom, master closet, master bath, Jacob’s room, Olivia’s room, linen closet, pantry, playroom, and I’ve just started working on my office.  I also cleaned out my entire cube at work top to bottom and I cleaned out my car as well.  Both are junk free and nice and tidy.

The thing that has made the biggest difference to me so far is my closet.  I got rid of a heap of old shoe boxes and five trash bags full of clothes from my closet.  Five.  I feel so much lighter!!  The purge included 26 dresses, 58 shirts, 17 pairs of pants, 13 scarves, 11 pairs of shoes, 13 purses/bags, and various other shorts, skirts, and jewelry.  

In addition to purging, I also arranged my clothes by category, and then I put everything in ROYGBIV order within the categories.  If you don’t know what ROYGBIV is, then we can’t be friends.  Anyway, all tops are now arranged by sleeve length – strapless, spaghetti straps, sleeveless, short sleeves, cardigans, sweaters, etc.  Then each category is arranged by color.  This is fantastic!  It makes it so easy to see what I can wear based on the weather any given day, and the color arrangement makes it easy to see what pairs with all of my different bottoms.

The second thing that made a huge difference was cleaning out our bathroom.  We have a cabinet that holds all of our toiletries and it was stuffed to the gills with old shampoos, medicine, and lotion.  Y’all, I still had an old bottle of Cool Water perfume from high school in there.  What?!  Needless to say it’s gone, along with a huge pile of other crap, and now I can finally find what I’m looking for in my cabinets.  I even got this nail polish organizer to organize my polishes and I am L-O-V-I-N-G being able to see all of my shades at a glance!


You will not be missed.
Nice and organized.  :o)

Aaaand my heart just skipped a beat!  ;o)
As far as putting stuff away after using it goes, I have been doing way better with this.  I’m happy to say that our kitchen island has had many junk free days since the beginning of the year. 

I still have some purging to do in the kitchen and a couple of closets downstairs, but I feel good about the progress I’ve made so far!  My biggest challenge is going to be my office because I have soooo much stuff in it, most of which is sentimental.

2. Computer: Delete programs that I no longer use and clean out old files.

Progress: Big fat nothing.  I haven’t even started this yet.  <Cringe>

3. Phone: Delete apps and contacts that I no longer need.

Progress: I deleted a handful of apps that I don’t use anymore and I put up a simpler wallpaper so the phone doesn’t look cluttered every time I look at it.  I still need to go through and clean out my contacts, though, because if I’ve ever had your phone number during the last 20 years, chances are, you’re still in my cell phone.  Ex boyfriends, friends I haven’t talked to in 15 years, a couple of people who are no longer with us… yeah, really weird.  Time to purge.

4. Photos: Take fewer pictures, delete the ones I don’t need, and implement a new way of organizing and backing them up. 

Progress: I am taking fewer pictures for sure, and I have implemented my new way of backing them up which is working out beautifully!  However, I have not been deleting the blurry big foot pictures that I don’t need… I need to work on this.  I hope to get a post up about backing up photos in the future.

5. Emails: Unsubscribe to all emails that are no longer relevant. 

Progress: This is done and, man, have I noticed a difference in the quantity of emails that I get every day.  I used to go to sleep at night with a completely cleaned out inbox, only to wake up to 40-50 new emails in the morning.  Now I wake up to less than 10 emails most mornings.  It’s glorious!

6. Social Media: Unfollow accounts that no longer pique my interest so I don’t waste time scrolling through photos that I’m not interested in. 

Progress: Done.  I unfollowed over 100 accounts on Instagram a couple of months ago.  However, I am constantly meeting new amazing ladies with whom I love networking, so I’ve probably followed 30-40 new accounts in recent weeks as well.   

7. Keepsakes: Be ruthless, clean out everything we don’t need, and organize everything that I do decide to keep.

Progress: Whew, this one is hard, but I’m very proud to announce that I cleaned out the kids’ artwork and I have gotten rid of most of it.  I photographed each piece before purging, and my file cabinet is looking great!  I have about 2 extra feet in the top drawer now.  However, I haven’t started on keepsake items like old clothes and toys yet so I still have a very long way to go!

Adios!  You will probably be missed.  :o(

8. Paperwork: Clean out file cabinet, unsubscribe to catalogs I’m no longer interested in, put a stop to junk mail, and file only the things that we need right when I get them so they don’t pile up.

Progress:  As I just mentioned above, I have cleaned out all of the kids’ old artwork, and I have also cleaned out a bunch of other old files as well – medical bills, old pager bills from 1998 (why for heaven’s sake do I still have those?!), old paystubs, etc.  I still have a couple more drawers to go, so this isn’t quite done yet either.  I also haven’t put a stop to the junk mail.

9. To Do List: I have a “Master To Do List” and I would like to accomplish as many of these things as I can this year so I can cross them right off!

Progress: Yes, several things have been crossed off, but let’s be realistic folks, the list is like 5 pages long, so this is going to take forever.

Personal Resolutions

1. Be the best wife and mommy that I can be. 

Progress: I’m definitely yelling less than I used to (at the kids, not Brian… I’ve never had to yell at him.  Hehe.)  I’ve been acutely aware of this since I set my goals for the year and I’ve been practicing some serious patience with the babies.  I still slip every now and then, but I’m only human and I have bad days just like everyone else once in a while.

2. Be positive.

Progress: Nope, still worrying a lot about things I can’t control and still seeing the negative in a lot of circumstances.  It’s a constant struggle.  Why can’t I just train myself to see the positive in things?!  Man, it’s hard!

3. Complain less.

Progress: I think I’m doing slightly better with this.  I do know that I am very aware when I’m doing it now, and the first step to correcting it is knowing when you’re doing it, right?

4. Be more spontaneous.

Progress: I honestly don’t think I’ve had many opportunities to be spontaneous, so I can’t really answer this one.

5. Make bed.

Progress: My goal was to just make the bed on the weekends and I’m so happy to say that this has happened almost every single day that we’ve been off!  Woo hoo! 


1. Improve water intake. 

Progress: During the winter months I was only drinking about 4-5 servings of water/day and since it has gotten warmer I have increased to about 6-7 most days.  I still want to get back up to the 8-10 that I used to do, though.

2. Tone up.

Progress: Yes!  I have been working out every single evening while watching TV… I still haven’t started my Jillian Michael’s DVDs but I can definitely tell a difference in muscle tone in my legs and butt.

3. Vitamins – find a good daily vitamin. 

Progress: Nope.  At the beginning of the year I was at least still taking prenatal vitamins, but I ran out and am now taking no vitamins.  #Fail.

For Fun

1. One date night sans kids each month.

Progress: We are going above and beyond with this one, friends!  Above and beyond!  In January we attended a ball, in March we went to see Elton John, and so far this month we have gone on a dinner date alone, a dinner date with our couple friends, and we are heading to a fundraiser this coming Saturday night.  So even though we missed February, we more than made up for it in April.  We also have some exciting dates coming up this summer as well – a Dave Matthews Band concert, a 311 concert, and hopefully a few more dinners out, just the two of us!

2. Find a white wine that I like.

Progress: Haven’t even started on this one.  I’ve been too busy drinking Moscow Mules, Vodka Strawberry Lemonade, and Best Damn Cherry Cola.

3. Try out new outfit combos and try to wear a different combo every day.

Progress: So far, so good.  I haven’t repeated an entire outfit all year.  Craziness!  It’s taking some serious creativity and a really good memory to pull it off, though!  You can see my recaps here, here, and here.

4. Try something new as often as possible.

Progress: We have tried a couple of new restaurants (and loved them) and we have taken a couple of day trips with the kiddos to see and do new things.  Check!

Goals for the Kids

1. Get the kids to clean up after themselves daily.

Progress: Nope.  Not happening daily.  More like once a week, if that.  Something to work on…

2. Help Jacob become more independent.

Progress: Yes!  He’s doing much better about getting dressed on his own for school and after his bath, he’s bathing himself pretty well (although he still struggles with his hair washing), he's carrying his own book bag and lunch box into school (he used to always want me to carry them for him), and he’s learning how to help me cook some, even though it will be a long time before he can do it on his own.

3. Get Jacob to poop on the toilet.

Progress:  Cue the music – can I get a hallelujah, can I get an amen!  Yessss, he’s finally doing it all the time now.  Thank the good Lord above.

4. Give Jacob a “big boy” room.

Progress: Haven’t started on the actual room itself yet, but we have made the first steps to getting there… we purchased a new comforter for his bed as well as some décor for the walls.  Now I’m just trying to decide what color to paint the walls so we can put it altogether, get a new mattress, and convert the bed!

Overall not too shabby if I do say so myself.  There's still a lot of work to be done, but I'm getting there!

Whew, this was wordy.  Are you still here?  

*Linking up with Home of Malones for Thoughts for Thursday.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

No Bake Three Ingredients Hershey Pie

Well, spring is officially here to stay in the good ol’ south, and that means that everything is finally starting to come back to life after a cold, dreary winter.  Amen to the sound of children’s laughter out in the back yard, breezy evenings under the stars, lots of sunshine, and warmer temperatures! 

I don’t know about you, but I tend to eat lighter during the summer months – mostly because the heat can get miserable ‘round these parts, and if you eat too much it just makes you feel even more miserable.  Therefore, during the summer I tend to stick with lighter, cooler desserts like frozen yogurt and ice cream, or I don’t eat dessert at all.  #ThatLastPartIsALie

Anywho, that’s exactly why I love this dessert.  It’s light, it’s fluffy, and it’s served cold.  It’s basically the perfect dessert for the summer months.  Not to mention it’s only three ingredients, you don’t have to bake it, and it only takes about 15 minutes to make.  Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

Brian’s mom introduced this recipe to me when he and I first started dating and I’ve been making it ever since!

Use It

Double boiler (or you can just use the microwave if you don’t have one)

Buy It

6.8 oz. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds Bar (this is the giant size bar)
12 oz. tub Cool Whip (I use reduced fat… summer is bikini season after all)
Graham cracker pie crust

Make It

1. Break up the Hershey bar and melt the pieces in your double boiler.  (You can melt them in the microwave if you don’t have a double boiler.)

2. Once chocolate is completely melted, remove the top pot from your double boiler and quickly stir cool whip in with the melted chocolate until well mixed.  The chocolate hardens pretty quickly, so make sure you have your cool whip ready to go as soon as you remove the melted chocolate from the heat.

3. Pour the melted chocolate/cool whip mixture into pie crust and freeze for at least four hours before serving.  I usually try to freeze mine overnight. 

Optional – turn on the outdoor twinkle lights (y’all know I’m all about those!), crank up the summer play list, and enjoy on the back porch.  It’s so good, y’all.

*Linking up with Our Pretty Little Girls for Tuesday Talk, and Stang & Co. and Crown Me in Glitter for Talk About It Tuesday and Jessi's Design and Going the Distance for What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednesday.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Perfect Weekend

Happy Monday, everybody!

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure whether or not I was even going to do a post today because I’m still reeling over what happened to a fellow blogger last week, and I’m still on the fence about what to do…

Our weekend was pretty great despite the turmoil in my head over this whole blogging thing.  Friday evening was picture perfect – Carrabba’s takeout, a glass of wine, incredible weather, and our favorite tunes playing on the back porch.  Aside from the full moon induced excessive whining from two littles at the start of the evening, it was nothing short of heaven.  We stuffed our faces, we drank, we relaxed, the babies played out in the yard.  I so love these evenings on the back porch with my favorite people.  Such a great way to end a long and stressful week.

Saturday morning we awoke to full on party prep.  For what, I’m not going to disclose at this time as I have an entire post dedicated to it sometime in the near future.  It was a lot of fun, and the kids got to spend the morning with all of their favorite people.

After the party, Jacob spent some time playing with his new loot and I got to lay out in the back yard and read for the second weekend in a row!  Heaven!  Then, in the evening we went to church and then out for Mex with my paretns, and we splurged and stopped by Dairy Queen on the way home so the kids could have a Blizzard.  We turned on the twinkle lights just for the Blizzard eating and ate them on the back porch.

Sunday was spent with our families – lunch with B’s fam and dinner with my fam.  The weather was amazing all weekend so we spent a good deal of time outside.  The kids’ new favorite thing to do is dig in the dirt with shovels and find rocks in Nana’s garden, so they did just that.

I honestly didn’t even take that many pictures this weekend, probably subconsciously because of everything that’s been going on, but I thought that I would share the few that I did take.  I hope that you all have a wonderful week!

*Linking up with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Five Ways to Protect Your Blog Content

If you read my last post, then you know that one of my favorite bloggers recently had her content compromised, and it has really turned me off of blogging for the last couple of days.  I decided to take the day off yesterday, and I used the time to ponder the future of my blog, to chat with Brian and several of my other lovely blogging friends about the situation, and to do a little bit of research on online content security.

I have really found my passion in blogging, and I really don't want to give it up, so I have decided to take several steps to help prevent – or at least deter – someone from disrupting my little space on the web, and most importantly, to give me a tiny sliver of peace of mind.  And don’t get me wrong, I know that bad people are going to do bad things no matter what, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to at least try to prevent them from doing it in the first place. 

O N E – Know which of your Photos are being Pinned

As most of you know, my blog is very personal – I blog about my life and the things I love, a lot of which centers around my family.  I don’t run a blog that I’m looking to sell one day, and I don’t run a blog where I use lots of stock photos or photos that would be acceptable to me if they were “stolen.”  I post many photos of my husband, myself, and our babies, and it is not ever acceptable for anyone to be pinning those or saving them for any reason. 

Enter my new favorite website: 

Just plug your blog URL in place of “YOURWEBSITEHERE” and you will then be directed to a webpage where you can see every single photo that has ever been pinned to Pinterest directly from your website and the users who have pinned them and the boards on which they have been pinned. 

To my horror, when I did it yesterday, there were 25 photos of Olivia that had been pinned by a variety of different people across a variety of different boards.  I’m sure they were all completely innocent as they were all pictures of her from her first birthday party (this post that’s still going viral) and they were all pinned to boards for birthday ideas and such, but still.  Do not pin pictures of my kids.  Just don’t.

So what’s a girl to do?  I tried removing one of the pictures from the original blog post to see if it also disappeared from Pinterest, but it didn’t.  And I knew that contacting each user individually and asking them to take them down was completely out of the question.  So I did a little bit of research and…

Enter my other new favorite website:

This URL takes you directly to Pinterest’s Copyright Infringement Notification page where you can request that Pinterest take any unwanted pins down.  All you have to do is fill out your basic information including your blog URL and then you just add the URLs for each of the pins that you want taken down (you can do up to 100 in one request) and submit it. 

Well, I thought for sure that it would be days, maybe even weeks before I heard back from them, but nope, it was just three hours.  Three hours, people!  Within three hours the wonderful people at Pinterest had taken down every single pin that I had requested.  Believe me, I checked!  They were all gone.  Every single one.  Bravo, Pinterest, bravo.  Keep up the good work! 

Needless to say, I will be checking on my pins once a week from now on, and you should, too. 

T W O – Protect Your Photos

While you may be able to patrol people pinning your pictures, you can’t prevent them from saving them straight to their own computers and using them elsewhere on the web.  However, you can try to deter them by doing a couple of things:

1) Add watermarks to all of your photos.  Sigh.  This is not something that I ever wanted to have to do because a) it’s a lot of extra work, and b) it just doesn’t look pretty.  But when it boils down to the safety of my kids or the photos looking pretty, I think you know that I’ll probably go with the safety one. 

2) Disable right-click on your blog.  Yes, super annoying for the blog reader and from what I read, also somewhat unprofessional, but again, the safety of my kids trumps all of those other things. 

T H R E E – Know who is Following You

You should always always monitor your blog followers as well as your social media followers very closely.  I watch mine like a hawk. 


Ever notice how I have my blog followers from all channels (Google Friend Connect, Google+, and Bloglovin’) displayed in my sidebar?  Well, that’s so I can easily see when I get new followers.  Every time I see a new one, I immediately check out their profiles/blogs to make sure that they seem legit, and if anyone looks suspicious or gives me a bad feeling, I block them. 

As far as subscribers go, there’s really no way to know anything about them because all you can see is their email address.  This is the one thing that has always driven me crazy.

-Social Media-

Same goes for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever other social media channels you use to promote your blog – I look at each and every person who follows me on every social media account and then decide if I want them following me or not.  If I get a bad vibe, I block them.  I can’t even tell you how many people I have blocked on Instagram.  There are definitely some weirdos out there.

Simply checking up on your visible followers doesn’t ensure that there are no creepers out there watching you, though.  If your accounts are public, anyone can look at your info and pictures at any time and you would never even know that they were watching.  The only way to guarantee that weirdos aren’t seeing your information is to make your social media accounts private.  However, the downside to making your accounts private is that it makes it a whole lot harder to get new followers, which is a bad thing if you’re trying to gain exposure. 

F O U R – Display a Copyright Notice


From what I’ve read, you technically don’t really have to do this as your blog content is protected already anyway, but it doesn’t hurt to remind everyone.  In light of recent events, I revamped my copyright notice this week and displayed it prominently in my sidebar so no one can miss it.  I’ve always had a copyright notice in my footer and I left that one there as well. 

From what I’ve read, a good copyright notice should have four elements:

1) The word “Copyright” or the copyright symbol.  You can create your own copyright symbol by typing the following in the html – &copy;

2) The years that your blog has been in existence

3) The name of the blog or blog author

4) And the phrase “all rights reserved”


I also decided to take mine a step further and let people know that I do not want them pinning pictures of my children.  I welcome party décor, projects, and house tour pinning, but nobody has any business pinning pictures of my kids.  Just don’t. 

And finally, I added that legal action will be taken if any of this is breeched, because, by golly, it will.  Don’t be afraid to let people know exactly what’s going to happen if your content is compromised.

In addition to the copyright notice in my sidebar, I also added one to the top of that blog post that is still viral on Pinterest.  It’s the post that I spoke about above that has been viewed over 35,000 times.  You know, the one where people were pinning pictures of Olivia?  So I added a copyright notice to the top of the actual body of the post.  That’s right, right in the post itself.  Now, nobody has any excuses.

-Social Media-

As far as Instagram goes, I’m currently working on adding a copyright notice to my bio, but you only have a certain number of characters that you can use, so I’m trying to decide how to word it.

F I V E – Have Someone Monitor Your Content

In all of my research yesterday, I came across the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that was put in place and serves to protect online content.  If you register at they will:

1) Monitor your content
2) Let you know if your content is plagiarized
3) Take down the plagiarized content (one free/year)

All of those services are free, but you can also pay $10/month for additional services and unlimited takedowns.

Once you register, they provide a protection badge that you can place on your website to let others know that you are protected, and when people click on the badge, it shows your DMCA certificate.  If you don’t pay, your certificate shows as “unverified” but that doesn’t really mean anything as they are still monitoring your content and alerting you of plagiarism and theft.

In Conclusion   

This may all seem a little overboard, and it may not be necessary for those of you out there who don't blog about your personal lives, but being the mommy blogger that I am, and in light of the recent events, these are the right moves for me at this time.  I just believe that you can never be too careful… especially when the smiling faces of your babies are out there for all to see. 

And I also know that creepers gon’ creep no matter what, but at least I have some peace of mind knowing that I’m doing everything that I can to deter them. 

Do you have any other ideas on how to protect your content?  If so, please share!  I would love to hear them!

*Linking up with A Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday, A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites, Living for Naptime for BFF Friday Link-up Party,  September Farm and The Farmer's Wife for Oh Hey, Friday, and Meet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites!