Friday, February 28, 2020

Five on Friday - Scam, New Children’s Book, and a Recipe to Try

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Today I’m sharing some favorites from the week as usual, but before I get started on the favorites, I have to share a LEAST favorite from the week because…

O N E – We’ve Been Had

Two weeks ago I posted about some cute little dresses I had ordered for Olivia and I promised to update all of you.  Well, I’m back to update you and to tell you DO NOT EVER ORDER ANYTHING FROM HARPER + HENRY!!!!  Apparently they are scammers, and unfortunately, we were affected.  Let me just tell y’all, B and I are soooo cautious about everything we buy on the internet and we’ve never had a single problem, so you know that if these people were able to trick us then it could happen to anyone. 

Their website is gorgeous – it’s so professionally done, all of the pictures are beautiful, and there are no grammatical errors (a huge red flag when there are!) – and it looks completely legit.  The name is cute and it sounds like a sweet little boutique started by a stay-at-home mom who wanted to start making some money on the side while caring for her children.  The URL is a standard .com address so no red flags there.  There are loads of reviews for each of the items which all look legit.  And finally, Facebook is letting them run ads (that’s actually how we found them) and to that I say SHAME ON YOU, FACEBOOK!!!! 

After I placed my order I immediately received an email confirmation stating that they had received my order and that they would send a separate email with tracking information once the items shipped.  Again, legit.  Well, two weeks went by and I hadn’t yet received a shipping confirmation, so I emailed them to check the status and B started doing a little digging.  Unfortunately he came across a slew of comments on a Facebook post of people saying that they had been scammed by that company.  B then investigated the company on the BBB website and there were tons and tons of people reporting them saying that they had been scammed. 

Apparently they are allowing customers to place orders and then the company just isn’t shipping the product.  Then when the customers contact them to ask for the status, the people at the company keep giving them the run around on when their packages are going to ship.  A few customers mentioned that when they kept pressing the issue the company started ghosting them.  Several customers also said that they asked for a refund since they didn’t receive their product and the company is telling them that their refund policy states that they don’t give refunds on sale items… and yep, you guessed it… their entire website was “on sale” when I placed my order. 

Once we saw all of these comments about them being scammers, I immediately called our credit card company and, fortunately, they credited our account for the full amount, no questions asked.  They are also opening a claim against the company and they will deal with them from here on out.  B and I will be issued new credit cards with new numbers, too, just to protect us in case the scammers ever decide they want to expand their scamming to include credit card fraud.

All of this said, if you purchased anything from them after seeing my post two weeks ago, I apologize profusely.  I always only recommend things that we purchase for ourselves or would purchase for ourselves, and I hate that this stupid fake company took advantage of all of us.  I have already updated the original post stating not to purchase from them so no further people will be affected from the link on my blog.  And just for the record, those links were NOT affiliate links.  I just loved the dresses so much that I genuinely wanted to share them with all of you even though I wouldn’t make any money from them.  I try to be authentic and share the things that we are loving and purchasing and it’s truly not about making money.  I just like to find things that I know y’all will love and appreciate, too!

If you did purchase something from them I URGE YOU to call your credit card company immediately and ask them to dispute the charges and issue new credit cards for you.  Our company was fantastic dealing with this issue and I hope yours is, too.     

Sadly, this will probably be the last time I purchase from a small business (aside from Etsy) unless I know someone personally who has purchased from them.  It’s such a shame because I love to support entrepreneurs, but I refuse to compromise the safety of our family’s information to do so.  Sometimes you can be so careful and still get scammed and that’s just one of the many ways our world can be so scary these days. 

My next steps will be to report them to the BBB (just like everyone else has) and comment on every Facebook ad of theirs that I see from here on out to let everyone know they are scamming people.  I’m confident the website will be taken down soon.  I don’t know how this could possibly continue much longer with so many people reporting them.  I only wish we’d seen that before we purchased from them.

T W O – Disney Dresses, Take 2

Sadly, since the dresses never arrived, we were short on gifts for Olivia’s birthday and I felt terrible.  I was going to go out and find something at a local store to have something on hand for her, but I decided to jump onto my favorite tried and true first – Amazon – and lo and behold those EXACT SAME DRESSES are right there on Amazon.  With free two-day shipping for Prime members.  And free returns.  And they’re only $17.99 each.  Sigh.  This is why I love my Amazon so much!  They have great stuff and I don’t have to worry about getting ripped off!!  If only I’d checked before we could have avoided this whole mess.

So Olivia now has the exact same dresses (better late than never!) and I can rest assured that our credit card information hasn’t been compromised.  The dresses are a little bit thinner than I had imagined, but they're not so thin that she'll have to wear something under them or anything.  She'll probably be thankful for the thinner material in the Florida heat anyway!  Other than that, they're perfect!

T H R E E – New Children’s Book with a Good Message

My friend Katie wrote a children’s book and I am thrilled to share it with Olivia.  The book is all about promoting body positivity no matter what your size or shape.  Unfortunately, we live in a world where so many people are judged by the way that they look, and it’s our job to teach our children to love themselves (and others) as they are.  

From Amazon:

“Her body is beautiful—strong, kind and wise. All bodies are lovely no matter their size.” Her Body Can is a poetic declaration of self-love and body positivity for all young girls. Its aim is to encourage our girls to grow in a world that teaches them to love themselves and their bodies for exactly who and what they are, instead of allowing them to grow up learning to judge themselves and hate their bodies for what they are not. Our girls should know that their bodies are absolutely amazing and CAN DO incredible things—and that their worth is not measured by anything except how big they love themselves. The very first book of its kind, written for girls ages newborn to 8, this book intends to start a message of body positivity very young. Instead of reversing self-judgment as our girls get older, let’s start them on a path of self-love from the start. The authors’ rhyming, sing-song voices deliver captivating messages that are easy for young readers to understand and absorb, while the illustrator’s whimsical, modern drawings and vibrant colors bring characters to life on and off the page.

You can purchase the paperback version here or Kindle version here.  Congratulations again, Katie and Ady!  I just know it’s going to be a hit!

F O U R – Lenten Promises

Last year I gave up worry and negativity for Lent and then I proceeded to have a couple of the most trying months of my whole life.  This year, I’m doing something similar again (hopefully this time without added burdens like we had last year), but instead of “giving up worry and negativity” I’m just going to focus on all of these things…

I have also decided to carve out extra time each day for my quiet time and I signed up for a BEST LENT EVER journey that several friends have recommended highly.  It’s free and I’m really excited to see where it takes me. 

F I V E – New Recipe to Try

My friend Emily posted this recipe for Baked Mostaccioli earlier this week and it sounds delicious.  Funnily enough, I’ve never even heard of this pasta and I think that makes it even more intriguing.  The recipe sounds delicious and easy and it feeds a lot of people, so I’ll have to try it for Sunday dinner one week. 

Friday Funnies Inspiration

Since Lent started Wednesday, and Lent is a more somber time, I decided to forgo the Friday funnies this week and do a little bit of Friday inspiration instead (even though I had plenty of Baby Yoda memes on deck).  Haha. 

On the Blog This Week

Happy Friday, y’all! 

*Linking up with A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favoriteand Della Devoted for High Five for Friday.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Our Week - The One with Brian’s and Olivia’s Birthday Celebrations

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Last week was full of rain, car troubles, nursing Brian back to health after pulling out his back, and cake for two of our favorites.  It was very busy and a little bit crazy, but it was still great!  Here’s the recap.

Monday, February 17

You may remember from my last recap that Brian had thrown his back out on Sunday, and Monday he was in no shape to go to work.  He could barely get out of the bed so he ended up taking the day off and staying home on the couch all day. 

I got up first thing and rushed around like a madwoman since B wasn’t able to assist with getting the kids ready for school.  We still managed to make it out of the house on time, though, so that was a big win in my book! 

I headed straight to the gym after dropping the kids and then I ran a couple of errands on the way back home.  I spent the rest of the afternoon working and waiting on B hand and foot.  Haha.  It was nice having the companionship all day and it was nice to have someone to eat lunch with, too.  I even convinced him to try avocado toast for lunch and he obliged!  He wasn’t impressed but he didn’t hate it either, so there’s that.  Haha.

Despite the rain, Jacob’s baseball practice wasn’t canceled since he was in the batting cages, and I was on my own to get him there.  I usually drive him over and stay until B gets off of work, and then once B arrives, Olivia and I go home so she can shower and I can cook dinner to have ready by the time the boys get home.  Well, since B was down, I stayed with J for his whole practice and then he and I picked up Chick-Fil-A for dinner on the way home since I had no time to prepare anything else.  Good ol’ CFA always saves the day!  ;o)

Tuesday, February 18

Tuesday B wasn’t doing much better so he took the day off of work again.  I got the kids off to school on time again and then I headed straight to the mechanic in the pouring rain for an oil change.  My car wouldn’t crank a couple of weeks ago so I had it serviced, but a couple of days after it was serviced, the engine light came back on.  B checked my oil and coolant levels and he said that they were both low, so I thought that could be the reason why the engine light kept coming on.

The oil change ended up taking FOREVER (not even sure why since I was the only person there) and the check engine light was off when I got back in.  Woo hoo!  The rest of the day was spent working and hanging out with B.

Tuesday evening I attended my first book club meeting and we had so much fun!  We had some wine and snacks and then we discussed our book, which was City of Girls.  I’d had that one in my wish list since last summer so I was excited that the ladies had chosen that one.  With regard to the book, I thought it was a little slow in the beginning, but about halfway through it picked up and then I couldn’t put it down.  I do recommend it, but just keep in mind that it takes a little while to nail down the actual plot. 

Wednesday, February 19

Wednesday morning I met with some of the other Home & School Association ladies to start pulling stuff out of the school’s storage unit for the spring event.  The event is in April so we’re trying to get our ducks in a row now.

Brian stayed home yet again but he was feeling a little better, so he was able to work from the couch a bit.  He and I had lunch together again and then I worked for the rest of the day. 

It rained all the live long day for the 87,456th day in a row so baseball ended up being canceled and we were able to have a nice, quiet evening at home… the only good thing that is coming from all of this rain.  Ha!

Thursday, February 20

Thursday morning the kids made a quick stop at the mailbox before school because Olivia wanted to mail something to her bestie who moved away back in December.  We have their new address so the girls can be pen pals.  :o)

Thursday was Brian’s birthday and he was finally feeling well enough to go back to work.  I had loads of errands to run so I was gone most of the day – at the gym, ordering Olivia’s birthday cake for the weekend, and picking up cupcakes and beer for Brian later in the day.  It poured down rain ALL DAY LONG which made running errands interesting to say the least, but I got everything done that I needed to with time to spare.

Olivia had ballet immediately following school, and then we drove straight to our favorite Mexican restaurant by the kids’ school to have dinner with B for his birthday.  Cheese dip and margaritas are always the way to go for your birthday!! 

The kids’ annual art show at school was at 6 so we headed straight there after dinner and the kids found their creations among the sea of paintings (Olivia’s is on the bottom in her picture and Jacob’s is on the top in his picture).  We bought them and then headed back home to finish celebrating our birthday guy.

Once we were home, B opened his gift.  He had casually (and kind of jokingly) mentioned back before Christmas that he wanted a Nintendo Switch.  By the time he said that I had already bought his Christmas gifts, so I decided to grab one for him for his birthday instead.  I was a little worried because I wasn’t 100% sure that he really wanted one, but based on the look on his face when he opened his gift, I’d say it was a good choice.  ;o)  He’s incredibly hard to buy for, so it’s always rewarding when I’m able to surprise him with something that truly excites him.

He opened his cupcakes and let the kids dig in and then he and I ate ours after they went to bed.  There were so many good flavors this time that I had a hard time narrowing it down to just four, so I bought six instead – funfetti, blueberry lemon, strawberry, orange dream (by recommendation of the employee who assisted me), hummingbird, and key lime.  All were amazing, but strawberry and blueberry lemon were my favorites. 

Friday, February 21

Friday morning started out great.  It was Friday, the sun was supposed to come out later that day, and I was feeling particularly good.  I had to stop for gas on the way home and when I went to crank my car after I filled up, it cranked and then promptly died.  Sigh.  Luckily, I was able to get it to crank again, but it shuddered a bit, so I was nervous about getting back on the highway to get the rest of the way home.  Fortunately, I made it home, and I immediately called the Honda dealership because the engine light was back on AGAIN.  Sigh.

They scheduled me for first thing Saturday morning and I spent the rest of the day holed up at home because I didn’t want to drive it more than I needed to.  I took the city roads (AKA the loooong way) to get the kids from school rather than the highway, and I made it there and back home without incident.  Whew. 

The sun managed to peek out for the first time all week on Friday afternoon, and even though it was only for a minute, it was just so wonderful!!!!  Y’all, I love a good cloudy, moody day, but after weeks and weeks of it, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all OVER IT!  Our local weather people said that we’ve had almost 10 inches of rain in February alone and we’ve had over TWO FEET since December.  I mean, if anyone so much as mentions a drought this summer I’m going to smack them.  Hahahaha. 

The kids and I met B at the Honda dealership when he got off of work and then we all met my father-in-law at our favorite pub near the kids’ school to celebrate Brian and Olivia for their birthdays. 

We went back over to my FIL’s house afterward and my sister-in-law and my two nephews (the ones who live out of town) arrived in town and met us over there for the evening.  Brian and Olivia opened their gifts, we had cookie cake, and it was a great evening celebrating two of our favorites!

Saturday, February 22

Saturday morning was GORGEOUS – so cold, but perfectly sunny with the bluest skies!  Finally!  Jacob had baseball practice early and I hadn’t originally intended to go, but ultimately decided to just so I could spend some time out in that gorgeous sunshine.  I was so glad I did.  It was nice to get out and get some fresh air and feel the warmth of the sun on my face and legs.  I also got to spend some time with my little lady and do a little bit of reading, too.  Aaaahhhh. 

The four of us had lunch at Chick-Fil-A after practice and then we stopped to get Jacob some new cleats and pick up Olivia’s birthday cake on the way home.  The rest of the afternoon was spent doing laundry and getting some things done around the house and then we had to pick up my car from the Honda dealership.  Unfortunately they couldn't figure out what the problem is, so they manually turned off the engine light and told me to bring it back in again if the light comes back on or I have anymore trouble.  Sigh.  If Honda can't figure out the problem, then who can??

We headed to mass at 5:30 and I helped out with Children’s Liturgy again.  It was my second time so it’s all still a little new, but I feel like I’m catching on pretty quickly and I’m enjoying it.

My whole extended family (mom, dad, bro, grandmother, several aunts and uncles and cousins) all went out for dinner at the newish pizza place that we’ve been loving, and then it was back home to get the kids in the bed and watch Better Call Saul.

Sunday, February 23

Sunday morning was lazy.  We caught up on Lego Masters and I meal prepped and made a grocery list for the two weeks ahead.  I finished Olivia’s birthday chalkboard and then we had a little photo shoot for her before heading to my MIL and step-FIL’s for lunch.

They cooked a delicious spread as always and then Brian and Olivia opened their gifts and we had more cookie cake.  So. Much. Cake.  Haha.

The sun had already disappeared, but the rain hadn’t settled in again just yet, so the kids got some good time outside playing kickball.  It was such a hoot to watch Olivia run around in her frilly pink dress with all of those boy cousins of hers.  Haha. 

Sunday afternoon Jacob had baseball practice again but Olivia and I opted out since the weather was yucky again.  I needed to prep for the week ahead and she wanted to play with her new arts and crafts that she’d just received for her birthday, so she and I stayed home while B took J. 

We ended the weekend with one last birthday celebration at my Momma and Daddy’s.  My momma made spaghetti per Olivia’s request, and then Brian and Olivia both opened gifts from my family.  We had birthday cake from our favorite bakery for dessert, and everyone oohed and aahed over it.  It was just precious.  She requested a “ballerina cake with a pink tutu, brown hair and blue eyes just like me, rosy cheeks, and lipstick.”  Done and done.  Haha. 

And now, since it’s the last week of the month, I’m adding in my currently section that I love so much…

Currently Reading

I’m still working on Christmas Shopaholic, but it was put to the side this past month so I could read City of Girls for my book club meeting.  As I said earlier in the post, I enjoyed it, but it did take some time to get into it.  Last week I borrowed Jessica Simpson’s new memoir Open Book, and it’s fantastic.  I haven’t been able to put it down so I already finished it last night.  Maybe now I can finally finish Christmas Shopaholic??  Haha.

Currently Watching

Still working on Shark Tank, The Bachelor, This is Us, Modern Family, and A Million Little Things, and we also started watching Lego Masters.  It’s such a fun show and it’s family friendly for all ages!  B and I also started Better Call Saul season 4 since it was finally added to Netflix last week.  We finished Gossip Girl this past month and I LOVED IT SO MUCH.  I’m sad it’s over and I’m probably about to start watching it all over again in my office while I work.  Haha.

Currently Listening To

As I type this I’m listening to my favorite Pandora station, Jazz for Studying.  My dad and I discovered it a year or so ago and it is my absolute favorite Pandora station.  If I could only listen to one genre for the rest of time, it would be jazz.  It’s cozy, it’s happy, and it just makes me feel good.

I’ve also downloaded a random assortment of songs this past week and the kids have been requesting them on repeat – Better Place by Rachel Platten (makes me cry every single time), You Say by Lauren Daigle (also makes me cry), If We Never Met by John K (love him!), Yummy by Justin Bieber, Good Vibes by Chris Janson (such a feel good song!), 10,000 Hours by Dan + Shay, Roxanne by Arizona Zervas, and Beer Never Broke My Heart by Luke Combs.  Hahahaha.  So random!  Got a little bit of worship, pop, country, and hip hop all in one place!  Eclectic just like the rest of my music collection!

Happy Thursday, y’all!  It’s almost the weekend!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

This is Six… Olivia’s Birthday Interview

One of my New Year’s Goals was to start combining the kids’ birthday letter and interview into one post, but I didn’t like the way it looked when I got it all put together so I just decided to continue doing the birthday posts the same way I’ve been doing them all these years.  If you missed her birthday letter you can see it here and today it’s all about her birthday interview!      

I interviewed her this past weekend and this is what she came up with for her sixth!  As always, my commentary is in parentheses.

1.      What is your favorite toy?  “Um, Frozen 2 dolls… and Hatchimals.”
2.      What is your favorite stuffed animal?  “SHEEEEPIE!  You know that, right?”  (Yes, yes I do.)
3.      What is your favorite game?  “Um, this is a hard one.  Hmmmm.  That game where you play with those pretend cupcakes.”  Me: “Your cupcake princess game?”  Olivia: “Mmhmmmm.”
4.      What is your favorite sport?  “Hmm this is a hard one, OH, BALLET!”
5.      What is your favorite book?  “Oh, this one is a hard one. Hmmmm… Little Acorn, NO, I am a Bunny!!”  (She has been obsessed with I am a Bunny lately.)
6.      What is your favorite TV show?  “Um, Masha and the Bear.  I mean Frozen.  Frozen 2.  Sorry about that.”  (Why does she always sound like such an adult?  LOL.)  Me: “Frozen 2 is a movie.”  Olivia: “I guess Masha and the Bear.”
7.      What is your favorite movie?  “Ohhhh, Frozen 2.  Haaaa haaaa.”
8.      What is your favorite song?  “Frozen 2 soundtrack.”  (I’m sensing a theme here.) 
9.      What is your favorite band or singer?  “Oh my gosh.  The person who sings Where the North Winds Meet the Seas.  Do you know her?”  Me: *googles*  “That is Evan Rachel Wood.” 
10. What is your favorite holiday?  “Chriiiistmaaaassss.  Because I get toys.  And because Jesus was born.  That’s the most goodest holiday ever.  Yeah, it is!  Because Jesus was born.  And Lent is probably the second most holiday because that’s when Jesus rose from the dead.”  (Oh my gosh, this girl.  Lol.)
11. What is your favorite season?  “Uhhhh winter?”
12. What is your favorite color?  “Pink.  Ha.  That’s easy.”
13. What is your favorite animal?  “Unicorn!”
14. What is your favorite shirt?  “Ummmm.  When I was little, the Belle one for when I was turning three.”  (Wouldn’t have guessed that.  She never seemed attached to it and honestly didn’t even wear it that much aside from her birthday that year.)
15. What is your favorite fruit?  “Um, raspberries.”  (Truth.  Literally the only fruit she will eat now for two years running.)
16. What is your favorite vegetable?  “Uh, ooooh, broccoli.”  (Truth.  She eats bigger servings of it than I do now!  And it’s pretty much the only vegetable she’ll eat.  She does love okra, too, though.)
17. What is your favorite snack?  “Fruit snacks… which I just ate some.”  (So true.  Our kids would turn into a fruit snack if they could.)
18. What is your favorite treat?  “Bubblegum!”  (This is actually true for the second year running.  Girlfriend loves her some gum.)
19. What is your favorite drink?  “Waterrrr!”  (Just so y’all know she is answering all of these questions like she thinks I’m an idiot for even asking.  Haha.)
20. What is your favorite thing to eat for dinner?  “Ughhhh.”  *makes a face like she’s appalled by the thought of dinner food* (Which is probably true… she and Jacob rarely get excited about anything that anybody cooks, myself included.)  “PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY!!  Sometimes I do have that for dinner…”
21. What is your favorite restaurant?  “Ummmm nothing.”  Me: “Nothing?!”  Olivia: “Are you going to type nothing??”  Me: *keeps typing*  Olivia: “WHAT ARE YOU TYPING?!”  Me: *keeps typing*  Olivia: “A restaurant that has peanut butter and jelly.”  Me: “What about Mexican??”  Olivia: *nods head in agreement*
22. Who is your best friend?  “Rebecca, Aubrey, and Becca.”  (I was wondering what she would say for this one.  Her best friend, Becca, moved away a few months ago so I wasn’t sure if she’d remember to include her.  I’m so glad she did!)
23. What makes you feel happy?  “Hmmmm… I don’t know.  Are you typing I don’t know?”  Me: “Yes!”  Olivia: “AAAAHHHH.”  Me: “So what makes you happy?”  Olivia: “Maui and Daddy and Jacob and you.” 
24. What makes you feel sad?  “When Jesus died on the cross.”  (Y’all!)
25. What are you afraid of?  “Um, being by myself… and monsters… and dreams about bad things.”  Me: “I never knew that you were afraid of being by yourself.”  Olivia: “Well I am.”  *matter-of-factly*  (She’s always been super independent when it comes to doing things for herself, but she is definitely a people person and loves to be with someone at all times… like, all up on at least one of us at all times when we’re at home.  I never knew she was afraid to be alone, though.)
26. What are you thankful for?  “Uh, you, Daddy, Jacob, Maui, and all my grandparents.  And God, too.  And Jesus.” 
27. What are you really good at?  “Running.”  Me: “Anything else?”  Olivia: “Doing gifts for my family.”  (That could not be more true!  She is constantly making things for us and for all of her friends!)
28. What is your best memory?  “When I was a baby that Jacob holded me.  Cuz he really did hold me.  See in that picture?”  *points to the picture of Jacob holding her on my bulletin board*  Me: “What’s your best memory that you remember on your own without looking at a picture?”  Olivia: “Going to Disney World for 8 days!”  (We didn’t go for 8 days the last time, but you get the point.  Haha.)
29. What do you want to be when you grow up?  “Uhhhh, Elsa and a ballerina.”  (For two years running!)
30. If you could have one wish, what would it be?  “To be a fairy and fly!”  (Sounds about right!!)

Happy birthday week to our favorite gal!

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