December 30, 2016

2016 Year in Review

Raise your hand if you are as glad that 2016 is almost over. *raises hand*

Keep it raised if you really think 2017 will be any better with the new president (especially for women, LGBTQ, non-Christians, and people of color). *puts hand down*

Yep. That's all I'm going to say about that. (any rude or hateful comments will be deleted)

Moving on! Despite God deciding he needed better company in Heaven (Alan Rickman, Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, Prince, David Bowie, Nancy Regan, my Nanna, and my friend Justin Whitney to name just a few), 2016 had some good days too!



The biggest event for us was finding out and announcing our little JellyBean.
I got my second tattoo in honor of my Nanna.
In April we celebrated 2 years of marriage and we got to witness my cousin's nuptials.
I decided to share my Infertility Story (part 1, part 2, part 3) and that we were trying to make a baby.
We traded in our Mustang for an SUV to prepare for our (hopefully at that point) expanding family.
I turn 30 and Hubs turned 30.
I got to visit my mom and see my Llama over the summer.
Our most adorable nephew was born on 10-11-16, and he turned out to be our good luck charm and we conceived that cycle.
It also has to be noted that I discovered the amazingness that is LuLaRoe. If you don't know what that is, ask me and I'll point you in the right direction.
We (basically) have finished the bathroom remodel. It's not photo ready yet as there are some small details that need doing.
Some dear friends (blogging and otherwise) had their babies or finally got "the call" for their adopted child.
Other dear friends and family announced pregnancies as well (I'm getting another nephew in March!)
So many amazing things. So many prayers answered. So many goals reached.

Yes. In spite of all the craziness that has gone down this year, I'm calling it a good one.

How was your 2016?

December 25, 2016

Wonders of His Love

This has been the hardest secret to keep, but the scariest one to tell too soon. We waited and tried and prayed for so long to finally get here, and now we are ready to share our news with you all.




That's right! Our little miracle will be joining us in July of 2017. We couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift. I want to send a huge Thank You to everyone who prayed for us and supported us through all of the obstacles we faced getting here. And my heart goes out to those still on their journey to parenthood. You'll be in my prayers, always. 


Here's the story of the day we found out.

Even though I was experiencing some of the classic pregnancy symptoms, I was still very hesitant to take a test. I've been down this road so many times before to only get negative tests. But that day (11-11-16), I spontaneously decided to test. I had pushed the stick far away from me and slightly hidden behind the shower curtain for the duration of the wait time. I peaked only once and saw only one line from far away, and I steeled myself for the negative result. After 3 mins I tentatively slid the test closer. One dark line, and wait! Another lighter line!! Is this real?!?! 

So I pulled out the ClearBlue Digital test and dipped it in the cup. I watched the blinking symbol for what seemed like hours until the result popped up. PREGNANT! A few mins later the weeks estimator indicated 2-3 weeks from conception. I couldn't believe it and burst into tears just thanking God for this miracle. 

It was only 11 am and I knew Philip would be home for lunch soon, so I texted him to make sure, when he informed me he'd be done for the day at 11:45. I had a more put together way of telling him planned in my head, but I didn't have the time to get it arranged in time, plus I had my nephew that day. So I pulled out all the little things we had purchased for this miracle child over the past year or so, and laid them out on the kitchen table with the tests and very impatiently waited. 

Grayson woke from a nap to eat just before Philip walked in. He walked into the kitchen as we made small talk and didn't even glance at the table. So I sent him back and told him to look around again. Then he saw it, said awww and then looked closer. "Are these yours?" I nodded. "Really?" I said really and started crying. He walked over to me and I saw his eyes getting misty. He kissed me and just couldn't stop smiling.


Merry Christmas!

November 22, 2016

Thankful Heart


Thanksgiving is already here and we have so much to be thankful (and grateful) for, despite all the hurdles we've had to jump and storms we've had to endure. In some ways I'm glad the year is over, so we can take a break and enjoy our families over the holidays, then make a fresh start in the New Year. This year has gone by faster than any other year of my life, it feels like that anyway, so lets pause a moment and take stock in the good.

:: If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that we welcomed our nephew, Grayson, into the world in October. And we'll be welcoming our second nephew, Zane, in March. Our families are expanding, and all at once, it seems.



:: Little Grayson has opened up doors for a better relationship with my sister-in-law. Both for me, and for her and Hubs to repair some of the damage done in their childhoods and over the past several years.

:: We were able to purchase a more family sized vehicle. The first real thing we've bought for our future child.

:: After seven months, our bathroom is basically done! Just needs some small cosmetic things now.

:: School is going well, and I'm am very close to having enough credits to graduate!

:: My sweet cousin got married this year, and we were fortunate enough to be able to attend.

:: We got to visit the Biltmore estate on that trip to see my cousin get married. So I can cross that off my bucket list.

:: I got to visit my mom this summer, and while I was there, I got see my Llama for the first time in almost 2 years.



:: Hubs got transferred to day shift back in March and our schedule has been so much more "normal" since then.

:: So many of my blog friends got their prayers answered in the baby department (I'm looking at you Emily and Kathy!)

:: Hubs let me start putting up the Christmas decorations earlier than normal!


What are you thankful (and grateful) for this year?

November 15, 2016

Currently November

I feel like I should explain my absence from this space, but I can't. It doesn't boil down to just one or two reasons, it's a culmination of a lot of things that I have going on in my life. And when I start feeling overwhelmed I have to focus on the more important things and set aside things that can wait. I love my blog, but I will not sacrifice my mental and emotional wellbeing or my schoolwork to keep up a posting schedule. With that said, lets catch up!



Loving: My nephew! He's such a blessing to our family and I can't imagine our lives without him now.


Reading: Textbooks. UGH. I generally am not able to read recreationally when classes are going on, especially psychology classes.


Feeling: Joy. Anxiety. Excitement. Compassion. Fear. Confident. Sadness. Lots of conflicting feelings going on right now. I'm hoping I can get them sorted out within the next few weeks.


Watching: Christmas movies on Hallmark Channel. This year I am even more eager for the Christmas season and all that goes with it. I think it's because I know that we will not be able to make the trip down to Georgia to see my parents.


Writing: Notes and papers. So fun right?


Listening: Christmas Music. Don't judge me. But in my defense, Pentatonix has TWO amazing Christmas Albums. 


Wanting: The turkey I bought for Thanksgiving to magically cook itself. I've never done one from "scratch" before. We've always bought the pre-cooked and seasoned ones. Should I put it in the refrigerator now to thaw before next week? How long does that normally take?


Needing: To finish putting up the Christmas Decor. It's a big job and this year I have help from my sister-in-law!


Hoping: The weather stays cooler now. It's finally starting to feel like fall every day now and I really, really, really, really, want it to stay that way.


Avoiding: The dishes. And putting away laundry.


Wishing: I could decide where I want all my Christmas decorations to go already. Some things go in the same places each year, but other things can be moved around as things change and furniture moves. Like I said, it's big job.


Trying:
To make my mom a decent Christmas gift list for myself and Hubs. A lot of the things we want and need are out of our hands or really expensive haha!


Hating: That we are STILL having some plumbing issues that originate with the city lines even though they claim it's not them.


Missing: My mom. This time of year is our favorite and this year even more so with another nephew on the way (my brother's girlfriend is due in March).


Praying: For our country. The past few weeks have been so stressful and it saddens me that the election has inspired a lot of the hate being spread around from both sides.


Thinking: About how I can get away with wearing leggings all winter as well as the fall. Seriously. I don't think I've put on a real pair of pants in months, and I'm totally ok with that.


Considering: Doing something new with my hair, but I don't know what to do. Suggestions?


What have you been up to? Did you miss me? If I haven't answered your burning questions about my absence and what's been going on, feel free to ask!

September 21, 2016

Protect Your Eyes

Did you know that your eye doctor can detect chronic systems diseases before they get too out of hand? And if your vision problems are left untreated for too long, it can stunt your eye development resulting in permanent visual impairment. Per-ma-nent.

As a person who has particularly bad eyesight (Hubs' eyes are even worse than mine are, so our future kid is screwed), I've always made it a priority to keep my prescriptions current and follow all the "rules" of keeping your eyes healthy. I don't want my eyesight to deteriorate so quickly or badly that I am declared legally blind before I'm old enough to rely on the friendly (hopefully) nurses at the old folks home.



There are several things you can do to keep your eyes healthy in between eye doctor appointments.

1. Keep your glasses clean and the screws tightened. 

I mean with soap and hot water folks, not just the hem of your favorite shirt. By doing this you combating the germs that get on your frames from your hands throughout the day. Maintaining your eyewear can help you save money if your prescription doesn't change at your next check-up. A pair of glasses that are well taken care of can last two to three years or more!


2. Clean your contacts case regularly.

I never thought about this much until I started living with my husband. He gets very dirty at work and everything he touches proves it. One day I looked in his part of the drawer in the bathroom and was shocked to see how dirty is contacts case was! Now I clean his and my case every 2-3 weeks. Again, combating those pesky germs from getting into your eyes. I use regular soap and hot water with a spare toothbrush to get in the grooves.


3. Take vision supplements.

Not all of us can get every single recommended vitamin and mineral from the food we eat on a daily basis (hellooooo donuts!). Over the counter vitamins and supplements to the rescue! The most important vitamin that keep your eyes healthy is Vitamin A, but make sure you are getting it from plant based sources so it doesn't get stored in your body (too much stored Vitamin A is toxic). There are a number of options to choose from, eye drops with Vitamin A in them, the vitamins separately, and there are also multi-vitamins specifically for eye health. Check this list to see what might work best for you.
Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional. These are options that work for me, so please contact your doctor to make sure these options are safe for you.

4. Wear Sunglasses

Did you know that your eyes can get sunburnt? Yep. Plus those nasty UV rays aren't great for them either. So whether you get a cute, cheap pair from Target or buy a flashy, expensive name brands, WEAR THEM when outdoors and in the car.
"But what if I wear glasses? I can't see without them." - There is an option for you! Online glasses shops offer a much more affordable selection of prescription sunglasses (and regular glasses if you need those too!). I got mine from GlassesShop.com, and they have a "try-on" option where you can upload a photo of yourself to see what the frames will look like on your face. Cool right? All you do is choose from a wide selection of glasses frames and sunglasses, input your prescription & pupillary distance (you can get this by calling your eye doctor), and they ship them out to you in a neat case with a cleaning cloth. Easy peasy. Use the code GSHOT50 to get 50% off your first pair.

Disclaimer: I received a pair of prescription sunglasses in exchange for my honest recommendation and review of GlassesShop.com


5. Take breaks when working on a computer (or phone or tablet or video games).

If your eyes get used to focusing on one plane too long it can affect your vision, give your headaches, and tire your eyes out quickly. So get up for 5 mins each hour and exercise your eyes by focusing on different objects at different distances aways from you. You can remind yourself to do this by setting a timer or an alarm every hour or so. Plus we all need an excuse to take a break while at work, and now you have a legitimate reason to.


Do you wear contacts or glasses? If so, have you thought about any of these tips before?

September 19, 2016

DIY Fall Tree

My second favorite time of year for decorating is Fall, and for me, Fall starts on September 1st. That's when I break out all my pumpkins, sunflowers, marigolds, gourds, mums, scarecrows, and turkeys. My house goes from calming blues and grays to pops of orange, red, and yellow. 

If you've been around these parts long enough and you stalk my Instagram, you'll know that I make a lot of the decor for my home. Wreaths, flower arrangements, chalkboard signs, mailbox bows, picture frames, among other things. And every year brings something new to the mix. This year my mom was  telling me about her fall tree. Basically a Christmas tree with fall type decor on it. While I wasn't about to pull out one of my four trees, I thought about how I could still have a fall tree. Then I saw a craft post on either Pinterest or Facebook, I don't remember where, and BOOM. Fall tree idea. 




What you need:

Tomato Cage
Floral Tape
Hot Glue Gun
Roll of Floral Wire
Lots of leaf garland
Ribbon (optional)
Orange lights (optional)


Directions:

You want your tomato cage to be upside down, with the big circle on the bottom and the loose ends on the top. Then hot glue the three ends together into a point. 
Take a long length of floral wire and make another vertical post in between each of the tomato cage "legs" between the bottom and middle circles. Then you'll have a total of 6 posts to wrap the leaf garland around. 
Wrap and wrap and wrap your leaf garland around the tomato cage, securing with floral tape where needed. You want to make sure you don't have any large gaps. 



Then you can add other stuff like ribbon or lights to make it your own! Cool right? After I made mine, I got an awesome idea for Christmas and had to run out and buy another tomato cage. So you've got that to look forward too!


Do you make any of your season home decor? 

September 9, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies


Pumpkin Spice Season has begun!!!!
While I'm not a fan of the lattes, I do enjoy the candles and I like to include pumpkin in my recipes. Ever since I discovered these easy oatmeal cookies, I've been experimenting with other flavors and combinations. It takes a little trial and error, but I finally perfected a Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie recipe.

Ingredients

1 can pumpkin
3 cups oatmeal
3 tbs Cinnamon
2 tbs vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
pinch of salt
1/4 cup Coconut Sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2-3/4 bag Diary Free Chocolate Chips (you can use regular chocolate chips)
1 cup dried cranberries (optional)


Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F
Mix together all dry ingredients, except chocolate chips and cranberries, in a large mixing bowl.
Add the vanilla and pumpkin. Mix until evenly blended.
Add Chocolate Chips and Cranberries if you choose, mix well.
Spoon the "dough" onto a foiled and lightly greased cookie sheet to form the cookies. These cookies do not spread or rise, so however you shape them is how they will come out.
Bake for 8 mins.
Let cool and Enjoy!

*store in the refrigerator



These cookies are perfect for a snack on the go or re-heat in the microwave for a sweet treat after dinner. I like to portion them out in baggies for easy access.

Are you excited for fall? Do you like all things Pumpkin Spice?

September 6, 2016

Hubs Joins Me in the 30 Club

Today is the best day. You wanna know why?
My wonderful husband was born 30 years ago today.



Hubs' birthday is better than our first date. Better than when I moved to Missouri. Better than our first cruise. Better than when we decided to expand our family with a tiny human. Better than when he proposed. And, yes, better than our wedding. I know you're thinking "What?!?! No way!" But, for me, it's true. None of those amazing things would have happened without today. So today is my favorite day.

Happy Birthday, Turtle.

August 30, 2016

August Favorites


The absolute BEST thing to cross my screen this month is that Emily and Christian now have their very own sweet baby boy. I am so completely happy for them and elated that their prayers (and mine for them) have finally been answered.



+ I completed three baby blankets for friends and family, and I even designed my own pattern for one of them.

+ I perfected the messy bun for my type and length of hair. Let me tell you that it was no easy feat. I have very silky hair (even when it's dirty) and it doesn't tease well either. Plus it's in an in-between medium to long length that's hard to style.

+ I made my very first DIY chalkboard sign for my fall decor set. I have to say that it turned out better than I expected. My handwriting sucks when I try to make it pretty haha! Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter to get a sneak peak of my fall decor DIYs. It goes out tomorrow (Wednesday, 8/31) around 5pm CST.

+ We made the first big step to preparing for our future child (don't get excited, still not preggo) and traded our Mustang in for a Nissan Rogue. Now we will have enough room for a car seat, baby essentials, AND Bear when we go places.

+ I finally got to see my Llama, who I haven't seen in two years. Plus I got to meet Hope in person! I really enjoyed our Blate while I was in Georgia, and I'm looking forward to doing it again.



+ We're All Waiting. (And sometimes the waiting just sucks) - Ember Grey
I am in the waiting boat, and sometimes it really sucks.

+ 10 Funny Signs for Race Spectators - The New Wifestyle
These are great! If I ever go to support someone in a race, I'm using some of these ideas.

+ The Healing Power of the Needle - Amanda Moments
Some people don't understand tattoos. Amanda tells her story about why she needed to get her new tattoo. Which reminds me, I need to post about my newest tattoo.

+ The Best of Maybelline - Jasmine Maria
This is one of my go-to brands of makeup, and this list is the holy grail.

+ 7 Thoughtful Ways to Include Dads in the Newborn Phase - The Nested Nomad
I thought this post was lovely. Dads do often get shafted during those first few months, and these are wonderful ways to make them feel like they are really apart of this special time.






Cassie has been going though some stuff. Some really, really hard stuff. And some of her thoughts and feelings I can so relate to as I am going though my own stuff right now.
+ Finding Hope in Our Miscarriage - Sage
Why Don't We Talk About Trying to Conceive? - Sage
+ Grief Sucks - Sage

+ Marriage is Teaching Me to Wash Feet (and Floors) - Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish

+ Answering the Call to Marriage: Jon's Perspective - Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish
A sweet and thoughtful response to Casey's post about Marriage from her husband Job. His humble honesty is inspiring.

+ Take Your Seat at the Table - Bourbon, Stilettos, and Lipstick



+ An Open Letter to My Friends Who Support Donald Trump
I totally agree with the author of this article. 100%

+ Looking for a baby shower or toddler birthday gift? Check out this sweet penguin. For each one purchased to company that makes them donates 10 meals to children in need.

+ 10 Things a Woman with PCOS Wants You to Know
All. The. Yes. And it's especially great to share this with you because September is PCOS Awareness Month. So wear teal with pride all throughout the month!

+ 29 '90s Movies You Forgot Were a Thing
Oh. My. Gosh. My whole cinematic childhood in one place.

+ Mayim Bialik: Why I Refuse to Give My Kids Smartphones
Wow. Really opens your eyes to the negative impact being connected on the internet can have on children and teenagers.




+ How to Finally Take Professional Photos with Your Phone - Helene In Between

+ How to Make a Snapchat Geofilter - Dream Big, and Buy the Shoes

+ Free Travel Stock Photos - Helene In Between



+ Currently August
+ Italian Style Baked Spaghetti
+ This is What MY Infertility Looks Like
+ Another Decade Down
+ 14 Things You're Supposed to Stop Doing After 30, But I'm Doing Them Anyway
+ Tiny Diamonds Baby Blanket Pattern
+ My Top 5 Guilty Pleasure Shows

Previous Favorites Posts
July  ++  June  ++   May  ++  April  ++  March


Were any of these on your favorites list this month?

August 26, 2016

My Top 5 Guilty Pleasure Shows

We all watch Television, right? We love to love The Bachelor/Bachelorette, The Walking Dead, How to Get Away With Murder, Big Bang Theory, and Game of Thrones. We're proud to discuss the ins and outs of each episode and are so excited and on the edge of our seats for the new season's premiere. But I'm not going to talk about those main-stream shows today. Let's get down and dirty and talk about our guilty pleasure shows that we don't tell anyone we watch. Ladies, let's bond over trashy reality TV!





1. RuPaul's Drag Race

Currently airing - Season premiere 8/25/16 - Thursdays at 8/7 central on Logo
Oh. My. Gosh. This one takes the cake. The ladies on this show are amazing. They can contour like whoa and they have some serious sewing talent. This show does not disappoint in the drama category, and you'll find your favs and be rooting for them after the very first episode.


2. Teen Mom OG

Currently airing - Season Premiere 8/22/16 - Mondays at 10/9 central on MTV (but the next episode is Sun, 8-28-16 at 7pm before the VMA's)
I honestly do not know why I started watching this show really, but now I just can't look away. I HAVE to find out if Amber wises up to whatever Matt is lying about, if Maci and Taylor really do get married, if Farrah can look any more fake, and if Catelynn makes it through her depression. 


3. Married at First Sight

Currently airing - Season Premiere 7/26/16 - Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30 central on FYI
LOVE this show. It's so interesting to see two people matched by "experts" meet for the first time at the alter. The past two seasons have been a bust, no one stayed married. But I have high hopes for the current season.


4. Arranged

Not currently airing - Season Premiere 5/10/16 - Tuesdays at 10/9 central on FYI
Kinda like Married at First sight, BUT these couples get to meet before they tie the knot. Sometimes they are arranged by family and sometimes by friends. They generally know who each other are and are generally allowed to hang out and "date" before they get married. 


5. Catfish the TV Show

Currently airing - Season Premiere 2/24/16 - Wednesdays at 10/9 central on MTV
You guys, people are STILL falling for catfish on the internet, and it's hilarious. I watched an episode the other day where a guy thought he had been talking to Katy Perry for the past 6 years. Whaaaaat? 


Bonus! Finding Prince Charming

A new series is starting Tuesday September 8th at 9/8 central on Logo after RuPaul's Drag Race. It's like the Bachelor for Gays, and the best part? It's hosted by Lance Bass. I'm excited to see how this plays out.


What are you guilty pleasure shows?

August 23, 2016

Tiny Diamonds Baby Blanket Pattern


Pregnancy is going around, in my blogging circles and my family. When contemplating what to get my preggo eggo buddies, it occurred to me that if it were me, I would want something handmade that I could potentially pass down to my children and grandchildren. The start of a family heirloom. Most everyone knows that I knit and crochet, and it only seemed fitting for me to make baby blankets rather than purchase them. So that's exactly what I did.

I started with a blanket for my sister-in-law, and i picked out this lacy diamond pattern. Once that was done, I had at least two other people I wanted to make one for. I didn't want them to all be the same, so I modified the pattern from my sister-in-law's blanket to make this sweet blanket for my dear blogging friend, Hope.

I don't know how many of you, dear readers, do any kind of yarn crafting, but I just had to share it.


U.S. Hook size- G /6 4.00mm

I used Bernat Baby Sport Yarn in white.

Loosely, chain 129.

Row 1: dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in each ch across to end, ch 2(or 3), turn

Row 2: dc in next 2 st, *ch 1, skip next st, dc in next 9 st* 12 times, ch 1 skip next st, dc in last 3 st, ch 2(or 3) and turn

Row 3: dc in next st, *ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 st, ch 1 skip next st, dc in next 7 st* 12 times, ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 st, ch 1 skip next st, dc in last 2 st, ch 2(or 3) turn

Row 4: dc in next st, dc in ch 1 st, *ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 st, dc in next 8 st, dc in ch 1 st* 12 times, ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 st, dc in last 2 st, ch 2(or3), turn

Row 5-7: dc in each st across (including ch 1 st from row 4 in row 5) ch 2(or 3), turn

Row 8: dc in first 7 st, *ch 1, skip next st, dc in next 9 st* repeat 11 times, ch 1, skip next st, dc in last 8 st, ch 2(or 3), turn

Row 9: dc in first 6 st, *ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 space, ch 1, skip next st, dc in next 7 st* 10 times, ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch  1 space, ch 1, skip next st, dc in last 7 st, ch 2(or 3), turn

Row 10: dc in first 6 st, *dc in ch 1 st, ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 st, dc in next 7 st* 10 times, dc in ch 1 st, ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 st, dc in last 7 st, ch 2(or 3), turn

Row 11-13: dc in each st across to end (including ch 1 st from row 10 in row 11)


Repeat the row pattern to desired length ending with Row 5. 



Add on the edging pattern of your choice, I chose a simple scalloped edging for this blanket. But I'm currently working on another blanket that I'm putting a Ruffled Edging on, and I really want to try out this pom-pom edging soon. So make it your own!

What do you guys think of my first pattern? 

August 19, 2016

14 Things You're Supposed to Stop Doing After 30, But I'm Doing Them Anyway



Ok. So now that I'm thirty there are lists upon lists out there of things people, more specifically women, are supposed to stop doing once they turn the big three-oh. Yeah, some of those things are a great big basket of "DUH", somethings I've already stopped doing even before this dreaded birthday, but some of the things on these lists... yeah, no. I don't agree, and I'm going to do them anyway.


1. Stop Eating Fast Food (#16 on this list AND #11 on this list)

Seriously? I know it's not the best choice of foods, but sometimes you just NEED a good burger from Burger King or a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a, amiright?


2. Stop Wearing "Ugly" Underwear (#5 on this list)

Ok. Their definition of "ugly" in this particular list was "granny panties" and the like. Well, sorry folks. They. Are. Comfy. Plus you just need more coverage during shark week. 


3. Don't Have a full on Birthday Week (#31 on this list)

Ok. So maybe I don't do this myself, but who am I to tell someone how to celebrate the day/week they entered the world? Do you, girl. Do. You.


4. Stop Letting Your Laundry Pile up (#34 on this list)

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha


5. Don't Have a Stuffed Animal on the Bed (#5 on this list AND #16 on this list)

Confession time. I still sleep with a stuffed bear named Scott. I've tried sleeping without him, and it's HARD. But honestly, no one goes in our bedroom to see him sitting there on the bed. Keep that stuffed llama that your granny gave you when you were six, or that giraffe your best friend gave your for your twenty-first birthday as a joke. Stuffed animals hold memories.


6. Stop Crushing on Justin Bieber (#13 on this list)

Nope. Nope. Nope. He may be a bit of a A-hole sometimes, but that boy has talent and a ripped body. 


7. Stop Calling your Father "Daddy"(or Mother "Mommy") (#15 on this list)

I'm sorry. WHAT? My mom will always be Mommy and my dad will always be Daddy. 


8. Stop Wearing Oversized Sunglasses (#18 on this list AND #1 on this list)

These are the only kind that look good on my face, and they provide great coverage and protection from the harmful UV rays. 


9. Stop adding tattoos to your body (#15 on this list)

Dude. No. I love my tattoos and I want more. I am on board with the whole not getting them in dumb places like on your face, but it's MY body and I'll do what I want with it.


10. Stop Wearing Leggings (#17 on this list)

Leggings and Yoga Pants are too damn comfortable to erase them from my wardrobe. I think that as long as they are not too tight and you wear a shirt or cardigan long enough to cover your bum, you're good to go!


11. Don't Own CDs From Your Teenage Years (#26 on this list) 

Really? I still have a CD book full of Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, Hanson, Britney Spears, and Mariah Carey. Here's the kicker, I keep it in my car to listen to when I'm feeling nostalgic. 


12. Stop Wearing Screen Printed Tees (#24 on this list AND #7 on this list)

Ok. Most of the time screen printed tees are not appropriate for anyone over 25 anyways, but there are some that you just can't pass up. And, if worn creatively, they can be a great addition to your casual wardrobe. 


13. Stop Wearing Glitter Nail Polish (#31 on this list)

Glitter can be done in a very classy way now, I'm just saying.


14. Don't Own Personal Gaming Systems (#21 on this list)

Ok. Ok. I get not playing them for days at a time, we all have way better things to do, but gaming is how my husband and I met. It's still something we like to do together sometimes, and I'm not giving it up.


What are some things you're not "supposed" to do at your age, but you do anyway?

August 15, 2016

Another Decade Down, Seven More to Go (Hopefully)


I don't feel thirty. Not even close. But that doesn't negate the fact that I turned the big three-oh yesterday. To be honest, the day didn't start out like I had pictured in my head, and I was so disappointed and angry about it too. Until Hubs' lunch time rolled around and he walked through our front door with flowers and cheesecake (I'm not a huge regular cake eater). Then he topped that off with his announcement that we were going to the Ford Dealership sometime this week to trade his baby, our red Mustang, for a more child friendly piece of transport. We ended up making an appointment to see the vehicle in question this afternoon when he gets home from work. Be prepared for tons of new car snaps and Instagrams!

A while back, I was reading Mar's 30th birthday post and I liked that she reviewed an entire decade of her life to bid farewell to her twenties in a positive way. It's a lovely idea and I thought I might do the same.

20: I moved out on my own for the first time and was learning what it's like to take care of myself. I didn't do very well at first, but I managed to figure it out after a month or two. Not long before this birthday I had met my Llama and we became bestest friends.

21: Yeah. I was sick on this birthday, but it was still made very special by someone who is now one of my very best friends even though we haven't seen each other in nearly three years. Nothing very significant happened this year, but I was still making ends meet.

22: This is the year when I got out of the service and retail industries and began to look after the sweetest little boy in the whole wide world. Being a Nanny was so fulfilling and fun, plus I got a lot of training for my own little one in the future. I taught him to walk, we painted, we played, we sleep trained, and I grew to love him so much. I also left the country for the first time and went to England for two weeks. It was amazing and I want to go back so badly!

23: My life got flipped upside down. Everything changed. I was a wreck. I had to move back in with my parents, find a new car, find a new job, re-home my dog, and figure out what my next move would be. This when you figure out who your real friends are, and I had some good ones.

24: My new job was going well, and was able to move back out on my own again. I lost my Llama this year though, and that was a kick in the gut. This is the year that I began playing the online game that led me to my husband, so that's fun!

25: I managed to land my very first big-girl job. You know, one where flip flops are definitely NOT appropriate for the office and you get paid a salary rather than clocking in hours. I moved twice, and my car breathed it's last breath.

26: Armed with my brand new-to-me car, I moved two more times this year. Let's just say people are fickle and they aren't always prepared to have a roommate. I ended up in a place that I really loved, and then I lost my job. The only highlight was that Philip came down to Georgia for the Easter weekend, and this was the very first time we met in person. Then went my rent went up that spring, I had to move again.

27: Still unemployed, but I fell in love with my new house and my sweet roommates. I'm telling you, boys are so much easier to live with than girls. Philip came down again to help me celebrate my birthday, and finally my new job. Only a month later I decided that I needed a fresh start. And off to Missouri I went. In January of 2014 I started this blog, on April 9th he proposed, and on April 21st we eloped. In other big news, I started school again in June.

28: We just enjoyed being married and making our house and home. I was doing well in school, we adopted Bear in the Fall of 2014, and in July of 2015 decided to start trying for a baby.

29: Most of this year has been consumed with school and battling my infertility. Then we went on our very first cruise! It was so much fun and I can't wait to go on another. I received my Associates degree, then we celebrated two years of marriage as we watched my cousin get married.


So here's to the hardest decade of my life so far, and all the things it taught me. Let's hope my thirties will bring nothing but happiness and love.

August 9, 2016

This is What MY Infertility Looks Like



It's taking a small handful of pills at least twice a day or more.
It's taking your temperature each morning and trying to figure out what each rise and fall means.
It's analyzing every single pinch and twinge you think you feel in your pelvic region.
It's peeing on test strips several times a day to determine a possible ovulation date.
It's trying to control your mood swings and emotions that are thrown out of sorts due to medication that is helping you ovulate because you can't on your own.
It's having to take that medication in the first place because you have PCOS.
It's blood tests once a month to make sure the medication is working correctly.
It's worrying about the chance of multiples with the medication you take that makes you ovulate, because you only want (and can truly handle) one child.
It's charting all these symptoms and tests and medications in three different fertility tracking apps and comparing them to each other.
It's timing sex around your fertile window.
It's trying make sex not seem like a chore for yourself or your husband.
It's blaming yourself for all the medical bills that are piling up and stressing out your husband.
It's stressing about the fact that those bills are only going to get bigger even when you do finally get pregnant.
It's knowing that if you do fall pregnant, you'll be considered 'high risk.'
It's having your heart broken over and over again with each negative pregnancy test.
It's explaining PCOS to every person you end up talking to about your infertility.
It's crying to your mom on the phone because your body can't do what it was built to do.
It's dealing with all of the symptoms of PCOS.
It's planning your schedule around what phase of your cycle you are in.
It's making baby blankets for family and friends when you'd rather be making them for yourself.
It's having to pass up really good deals and sales on baby stuff because you don't know if you'll ever get pregnant.
It's wondering if the bubble bath is too hot.
It's obsessing over everything that goes into yours and your husband's mouth.
It's having your nursery planned out in your head already, but you still have an empty room.
It's having an entire list of baby names picked out (and your mom hates almost all of them), and you wonder if you even need the list at all anymore.
It's joining several groups on Facebook to find support and to not feel alone in the process, only to debate leaving these groups when you see so many women posting their positive tests and yours are all negative.
It's feeling guilty for being upset that other women are finally getting their big fat positive test after years of trying, and you've only been trying for 14 months.
It's being happy for others who are pregnant, but sad for yourself because you're womb is still empty.
It's wondering if your husband is getting frustrated with your mood swings, but not saying anything.
It's having to crush the hopes of your mom and mother-in-law each unsuccessful cycle.
It's wondering if God is punishing you for some past transgression.



It's not all negative. There are some good things too. 
Having a prolonged "trying" stage has allowed me time for lots of research on everything involved with pregnancy, my health, and delivery.
It's given us more time to get some of our debt paid off.
It's given us more time to be able to be more comfortable financially when it comes time to trade in the Mustang for an SUV. 
It's brought my husband and I closer together as we work through all the emotions and "what ifs" that we're facing right now.
Going through all of this will make it all the more sweet when it finally does happen. Our child will know for damn sure that it is loved and very much wanted. I've tried to keep a log of sorts of everything we've done so far so that I can share it with our child someday. 

Infertility is different for each woman, each man, each couple. This is mine. This is ours.

August 5, 2016

Italian Style Baked Spaghetti Recipe


Oh hey! I showed up twice this week! Granted, that is my current posting schedule, so I'm doing good. Bonus, this is a food post. Not just any food, like, really really good food. Hubs has been begging me to make this again every day since I made it the first time. It makes A LOT, so it's perfect for large families, a pot luck, or to have leftovers for two days after. It's also a great freezer meal you can put together ahead of time. This is not a low fat or low calorie dish... but it's not terrible if you choose lighter versions of the ingredients.


Ingredients:

+ 1 box of pasta - Spaghetti, rotini, penne, bow tie, whatever floats your boat.
+ 1 lb of Ground Italian Spiced Turkey - You can also use regular turkey/beef and add your own Italian spices.
+ 1 Jar of Spaghetti sauce - I use traditional, but other flavors would work too.
+ 2 tbs olive oil
+ 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese - the shaker stuff works well for this
+ 1 cup Shredded Italian Blend Cheese
+ Seasonings to taste


What you need:

+ Large glass baking/casserole dish - preferably with a lid to store for later
+ Aluminum Foil
+ Non-stick cooking spray
+ Large mixing bowl
+ Skillet
+ Medium/Large Pot
+ Cooking utensils


What you do:

Preheat the oven to 350. 

Spray your baking dish with some nonstick spray and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on the bottom. This makes a nice little crust and keeps the pasta from sticking to the pan so bad.  

Cook your pasta. While that's going, brown your meat with you chosen seasonings and add about 1/3 of the jar of sauce to the pan to simmer for a few minutes. Once the pasta is done, drain it and pour into a large bowl. Put 2 tbs of olive oil, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup shredded cheese and mix well. Then spread the coated pasta on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle a light layer of shredded cheese then add the meat sauce you just made. Pour the rest of the tomato sauce evenly on top of that. And, of course, another lovely thick layer of cheese. 

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 mins. Remove the foil, and bake for another 5-8 mins until cheese it browned and melted to taste.



Slice and sprinkle with some parmesan cheese, add a slice of garlic bread, and a glass of wine. BOOM! Gourmet dinner! What's great about this dish, is that it's still just as good re-heated the next day.

A nice step up from plain old spaghetti right?

August 2, 2016

Currently August


I'm taking it easy today. I am in the middle of writing a very emotional post, and I thought I'd take a break to write something a bit lighter for today's post. So let's catch up, shall we?


Loving: That Llama is back to blogging! Go see her latest post on The Rambling Llama.


Reading: I'm currently re-reading Fifty Shades Freed, but I'm getting the new Harry Potter book on Thursday. I AM SO EXCITED.


Feeling: Everything. Literally. It's really hard to talk about what I'm feeling these days as there is so much happening for us personally as well as it being an election year, on top of all the bombings and shootings. 


Watching: Dexter. It's on Netflix and I was hooked two episodes in. Also watching How I Met Your Mother with Hubs. On real TV I'm watching The Bachelorette, Married at First Sight, and America's Got Talent.


Writing: Blog posts for later this month. I've got a few lined up already, and I'm hoping to eventually increase my posting schedule back to three days a week instead of two.


Listening: My new playlist on Spotify. It's a kind of sexy one, which helps with the baby making, haha!


Wanting: It to be Friday. I'm making a solo trip to Georgia to visit my Mom and my Llama for about a week. It will be the only time I'll get to see Mom this year, and I haven't seen Llama in a couple years now. I cannot wait!!


Needing: Something to occupy my time until classes start up again at the end of the month. And I mean the literal freaking end. I've just added Media Kits to my list of services offered at Knock on Wood Designs, so if you're needing one or an update on the one you have, fill out the information form on the Media Kit page.


Hoping: This is our cycle. As a rule, though, I try very hard not to get my hope up. 


Avoiding: Eating things with too many carbs or high in sugar. The struggle is real. With PCOS I really should cut them out altogether, but that's not realistic for me, so I'm just cutting them down. Having small individually wrapped chocolate, like a Kiss, helps me curb my sweet tooth with just one or two pieces instead of an entire pint of ice cream.


Wishing: It was Fall already. I just can't with summer. I sound like a broken record about this, but it's so very true.


Trying: Not to think about turning thirty in thirteen days. 


Hating: The feeling that I don't have much, if any, control over my future right now. That I have even less control of the future of the next generations because of stupid decisions the people that hold power in our country, and the world, are making. 


Missing: Caffeine. It's been over a year now. 


Praying: That the next four to eight years will be better than anticipated. That we'll be kept safe from hate and violence as a result of the outcome in November. That we are making the right decisions for our family in spite of everything that is going on.

Making: Baby blankets. Several close friends, as well as my sister-in-law, are pregnant and you can never have too many blankets. I am sharing a pattern with you guys later in the month, so be on the lookout for that.


Thinking: About all the things I have to get done before I leave on Friday. There's a list, and it's long.



What are up to currently?

July 29, 2016

July Favorites


I am so ready for summer to be O.V.E.R. I may get some crazy looks for that statement, but I don't do well in the heat, and the heat this year is off the effing charts. UGH. Fall can't get here fast enough, so lets just hope we don't have nasty extended summer weather.

I've sorta stepped back from the blog this month, for several reasons. Some personal, and others that are reasons for a lot of people's anxiety and stress these days. I am so over all of the violence and hate that is permeating our society right now. It worries me when I think about our future and the future our potential child will have. Gives you a lot to think about. And this whole presidential election BS that's flooding the news stations and our Facebook Newsfeeds is getting out of hand. But that is for a post on another day.

While I haven't been showing up for my own blog, I have been reading others, so lets get to the part you really came here for, my Favs.



+ Progress, sweet progress, is being made in the bathroom. Like, tangible and usable progress. I'll give more details in the Newsletter (it goes out Sunday, so you still have time to get on the list for that! Click the button on my sidebar to add yourself to the roster).

+ I finished a project for my sister-in-law in about a week. And it's a-freaking-dorable (She's pregnant, btw). I also found a pattern for another project for another dear friend who just found out she's expecting too. 

+ Confession time: my eating has been utter shit lately. I'm so not joking. Two words: Cookie. Cake. However, I have not gained any weight! So this new supplement I'm taking (doctor approved, don't worry) is working to help keep my insulin levels under control (an update on the baby journey will be in the Newsletter too!).





+ Goal Setting Tip of the Month: Try 'Tiny Habits' - Not Entirely Perfect
Maybe this is what I need to do to get myself motivated to do the things I like and want to do, and to keep the depression at bay.

+ 3 Ingredient Cake Pops - Eat, Drink, & Be Mary
Um, Yes please!!

+ Highly Recommended - Frankly, My Dear
The most epic book lists of book lists. Have you read any of these?

+ Low Fat Lemon Pancakes - Dash of Herbs
These look so good AND they are low fat. Win, win!





+ 4 Reasons You Should Not Be Modest - Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish
This post is so insightful about the concept of a woman's modesty. It makes me questions my own choices when I leave the house, and now I will be much more aware of my clothes and how they effect others.

+ I'll Remember Tomorrow - The "Florkens"
This post. I relate so much.

+ IVF: What I did & Didn't Do - Becca Dorr
I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Reading Becca's infertility story and following her pregnancy has helped me so much in my own battle with infertility. As much as I don't want it to get that far, IVF may be in our future, so any information I can get my hands on is great.

+ How Are You Prioritizing Your Marriage? - The New Wifestyle
I 100% believe that in a family (no matter how big or small) your own marriage and spouse should come before anything else. Yes, even before your kids. Your spouse is the one that is supposed to be your partner in everything, including parenting, and they are the ones that will be there when your retired and the kids are all grown. It will be just you and him/her again, so keeping that relationship a priority is so excruciatingly important.




+ This video. I laughed for 10 minutes. 

+ This article showed up on my newsfeed and at first sight of the title, 'Why I'm Racist,' I thought "um, what?" But then I read the article and I relate. Because it's the truth about many white people. This quote sums it up: 
"But even with the upbringing and exposure I was blessed with, I’m probably still a racist. I don’t mean racist like a hate-filled bigot who dehumanizes and devalues the lives of others based on skin color. I mean that I am uncomfortable with, ignorant of and distant from racial inequalities that exist in my country."

+ This article resonates with me on a personal level as it voices many of my own concerns, even though I'm not yet a parent.







+ Free Stock Photos - Helene In Between
Another lovely set of photos to use for blog posts.

+ Common Blogging Myths - Love the Here and Now
All the yes.

+ A Beginners Guid to Blog Photography Styling
I found this on Pinterest the other day and I'm so glad I saved it.

+ 5 Alternatives to Email Marketing that Bring in Results - Elle ay Esse
Another Pinterest find. Good stuff here guys.

+ 6 Newsletter Ideas Your Customers will Love - Lot808 Marketing
Pinterest was a gold mine this month.




+ DIY Red, White, & Blue Wreath
+ Surprise Gift For Hubs
+ Design Reveal - Frankly My Dear

June Favorites
May Favorites
April Favorites
March Favorites

Were any of these on your favorites list this month?

July 12, 2016

Design Reveal - Frankly My Dear


Happy clients make a happy designer. And this design was so much fun to do. Once M and I got started talking about the direction of her blog during our text session, I immediately knew I wanted to work with her. Her inspiration for the design... wait for it... Gone With The Wind!! YES! We totally bonded over having it as a fav movie. Vintage and classy and simple. Yes. Yes. Yes. 

I had to finish up Mar's design before I could start working on it fully, but I just HAD to play with fonts and colors for M just a little to make sure we were on the same page for the feel of the design.


That dress. I so wanted my mom to make me a dress like that when I was little. It never happened, but I still dream about it. Back to the design. I pulled the colors from the dress and some gold foil texture. M said she wanted to incorporate wind somehow and I think I captured it elegantly without making it appear kitschy, with the swirly elements in the Header. Then I accented the script font with a clean sans serif and a cute handwritten font. 

M wanted the Deluxe Package, so then I got to work on her pages and extra customization for the sidebar elements. I loved the gold foil paired with the kelley green, so we ran with that for the feature images. Then we worked on the content and layouts. For the sidebar I coded the email subscription and search bar to match the color scheme, and customized the popular post section to flow with the design better with the round images rather than square. 

Go check out the live design at Frankly, My Dear. Keep up to date by following FMD on Bloglovin', and you can get other awesome updates on M's social media accounts.

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest



What do you think? Did I capture the film in the design?


Knock on Wood Designs now has pre-made templates! Go check those out here.
To get your own custom Blogger design visit the Knock on Wood Designs website.

July 6, 2016

Surprise Gift for Hubs

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by JORD Wood Watches. I was compensated with a free watch for this unbiased presentation and review of the watch. All opinions are 100% my own.



I'm amazing at putting together cool and creative gifts for people as a surprise, but I am terrible at keeping them a surprise. I just get so darn excited about them that I can't keep the secret. This time, though, I did it! I planned a surprise for Hubs and I KEPT it a surprise. Go me!

Earlier in the spring we purchased a new grill. Well, I made Hubs splurge on himself by purchasing our snazzy new grill. He's not one to buy himself nice things. We went on a grilling spree! Burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and steak. YUM. Then the weather got weird and it rained a lot, nipping our grilling spree in the bud. But it's summer now, and while it's crazy hot outside, it's the best time of year for grilling. (how many times can a person type grill/grilling in one post? Let's keep count! There are 5 so far.)



Why did I want to give this surprise gift to Hubs? Well, he's be amazing during this stressful baby journey on top of our bathroom renovation. My emotions and hormones have been living up to the roller coaster cliche and I can be a bit demanding when it comes to how I want our bathroom done. We may have had a couple of little tiffs, but considering everything that's been going on for us, it could have been a lot worse. We've recently hit the one year mark on our baby journey, and thought I'd do something special for him to thank him for how great he's been in putting up with me.

So when JORD reached out to me to see if we could work together, I jumped at the opportunity. You see, Hubs has started a small collection of different and unique styles of watches for men (he loves watches), and this Delmar Red Sandalwood and White Carbon watch made a lovely addition to it. When I received the watch, (after oohing and ahing) I started planning. I went out and got the ingredients for a little cook out and pulled out his shiny new grilling tools I got him for our Anniversary in April. I made sure his favorite shirt was clean and double checked that we had a bottle of his favorite whiskey on hand.



When Hubs came home I sent him straight to the bathroom to shower and laid out his clothes. He was puzzled as why I wanted him to put on "real" clothes and not "hang around the house" clothes, but I told him to just do what I say and he'll understand. Luckily he does mind me pretty well (...most of the time). Once he was dressed, I presented him with the watch. He loves it! Then I told him what I got for us for dinner and to go fire up the grill.

He's not big on having his photo taken, but he was good and played model for me. I think he did fantastic! He wears this beautiful watch like a pro. What do you think?



We had a wonderful evening. He was excited about showing off his new watch to his parents over the weekend when he got to grill again for our 4th of July cook out. And he's looking forward to wearing it again for our next holiday gathering. I think I did well with this surprise gift.

You can give someone the gift of a JORD watch or just get one of these beauties for yourself! Just click HERE and enter your info to win a $75 e-voucher from JORD. Giveaway ends July 24th. You'll get a small prize even if you don't win, so what's to lose?

When was the last time you gave a surprise gift to someone? Are you good at keeping surprises a surprise? Did you keep count of the number of times I said grill/grilling?


Unique Watch