Snow day

January 11, 2010 at 9:27 am (2010, family, snow, Snow Day)

My 2010 Snow Buddies ~ January 2010

It doesn’t take much snow in Atlanta to get everyone all excited. In fact I get excited just over seeing a few flurries.  So we can make a lot happen with just a half-inch!!!

And that’s what we got Thursday evening.  Schools closed  & Pepper was home from work.  We tried to stay warm, stay busy & have fun!!

We celebrated the Snow with an impromptu “SNOW DAY of Fun”.

We ate White SNOW Powdered Doughnuts for Breakfast.

Snow Powdered Doughnuts

Watched “SNOW” Themed Movies (Curious George Plays in the Snow, Snow Buddies, and Ice Age).

Movies & Popcorn

Ate Smores from the fire.

Yum! Yum!

And of course got some sledding fun in too!!  Poor Megan only lasted about five minutes but Evan was absolutely LOVING it!!

Sledding (on ice)

I really love the snow, but goodness gracious I get stir crazy fast!!!  I would love a big-time snow (you know, 3-4 inches – ha!), but I think now (as a parent of two little ones and not the excited teen/adult missing school or work) I’d want it all melted & gone in about two days!!  Times have definitely changed:)

IF this happens again, I’ll have to be a little more prepared!!!

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Blissfully blissdom links

January 9, 2010 at 10:07 am (Blissdom 10, blogging)

When I originally registered for Blissdom 10 I was pretty excited about going, but I was really excited about a girl’s trip with my Sisterchicks  Amanda, Staci & Becky.   Today, I’m still super excited about going with them but can I just tell you how incredibly excited I am about the Conference and meeting everyone!!! 

I really am! 

I’ve told a couple of bloggers & tweeting friends that they make me laugh or that I enjoy them so much online, I hope they don’t let me down when I meet them in person!

As a newbie, I’m trying to absorb all things Blissdom these last few weeks so I can feel ready but also so that I’ll continue to be excited.   Here’s just a couple really great posts that I’ve read this past week.  If you’re a newbie like me & you haven’t read these, be sure to take a minute and do.  I think you’ll find them helpful like me!!

          Do’s & Don’t for Surviving Blissdom 10 by Life in Grace:  This is a super practical & cute post about, well exactly what the name implies.  Great tips!!

          To Niche or Not to Niche (a guest post by Musings of a Housewife) at ohAmanda:  Amanda is  hosting a series called Bliss*tastic and she has a secret list of TOP guest bloggers lined up each week.  I know this is a series not to miss!!

          A Blissdom Packing List (a guest post by Mandi at Organizing Your Way) at Deal Seeking Mom:  This is actually from last year, but it will give me a head start on my packing list as I’m sure it’s still pretty similar.  Again, very practical information but super helpful to see it all in one place.

And then of course there’s the actual Blissdom Conference website.

          It’s fun to look through the Blissdom 10 Agenda, Session and Speaker Information.  I’ve started planning my schedule.  Have you??

Have you read (or written) any great articles to help a newbie out??  Be sure to leave them in the comments if you have, I’d love to read them if you have.

Are you going to Blissdom 10?  Let me know if you are.  I’d love to meet you!!

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Feeding the ducks

January 8, 2010 at 9:16 am (Christmas, family, Finer Things Friday)

On any special holiday and just random days throughout the year, we make it a point to go “feed the ducks“.   Unfortunately for our family there’s a back-story to that.  It means we’re visiting my brother-in-law’s grave site.  (It always stinks to summarize it like that … I won’t fill in all the details in this post, but you can click here or here to understand what that means us.)Anyhow, I managed to snap some really cute pictures.  The ducks were HUNGRY on this particular day!!  

Before The Bite

  

A little too hungry!! They snapped at Evan’s finger when he didn’t give them bread quick enough!!  

After The Bite

   

So Many Ducks

 Each Christmas, we take a new ornament to hang on Jeremy’s tree.  This year we went with something that both Megan & Evan love!

  

The Dinosaur Ornament

Because every little tree needs a dinosaur ornament!  Holidays are always tough when you’ve lost someone close. We’ve done this every year since Evan was a baby.   I really hope it’s a tradition they learn to respect and love.   We want Uncle Jeremy to be a part of there lives even though he’s not here with us.  I know Pepper hates having to celebrate Christmas with his brother like this, but at the same time I know he appreciates the tradition as well.

  

This post linked to Amy’s Finer Things Friday and Your Life Your Blog.

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Things i love thursday … 30 day shred

January 7, 2010 at 7:09 am (2010, diet, Things I Love Thursday)

I know everyone’s making New Year’s Resolutions these days.

The question is, is anyone actually keeping them???

I have several goals that I’m really trying hard to work on this year!!

And of course, one continues to be weight loss. I always recommend this DVD in person, so I thought I’d lay say it in print now!!  I don’t even remember when I started it exactly, I just know I like it a lot!!

You can read review after review if you just google it (I think I’m going to start saying ‘swagbucks‘ it instead!!).

But in a nutshell, here’s why I love the 30 Day Shred so much:

1.  All you need is the video & some weights ~  You can find the DVD for about $10 and you likely have some weights laying around.  All you need is about 5-10 lbs or so.

2.  It’s just a 20-minute work out ~ I can find 20-minutes in my day.  Whether it’s in the morning before everyone’s up or at night when everyone’s down.  I can even get a work out, a shower, a load of laundry & some tweets out during Megan’s nap!!

3.  It builds on itself ~ One DVD has three levels on it.  That’s three different work outs on one DVD.  So I can mix it up and not get too bored.

4.  The work out is in intervals ~ 3 minutes of Strength, 2 Minutes of Cardio and 1 Minute of Abs … then repeated 3 times during one work out.  When you get to the 2nd interval, you’re half-way done!!

5.  It works ~ That’s always good when you spend time working out, isn’t it?!?  I can definitely feel a difference in my tone and muscles (all over) when I use the Shred & when I don’t.

So, that’s just something I love on this fine Thursday.

For more Things I Love Thursday or to link up something you love, visit The Diaper Diaries.

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Works for me wednesday … backwards edition

January 6, 2010 at 12:28 am (Questions, Works for Me Wednesday)

Kristen, over at We are THAT family, is a hosting a “backwards edition” of her weekly Works for Me Wednesday link-up.

I’m excited about this!  I don’t have to be brilliant this week, whew!  (KIDDING!)

But you do!  (not kidding this time because I could really use the help … no pressure).

So my question is (and sorry that this is geared towards bloggers!), how do you prepare your posts?

For instance, do you start them with pen & paper?

Do you type them directly into your WordPress,  blogger, etc.?

Do you use just a Word Document or similar?

And what about pictures?

Do you edit them in something else?

If you “copyright – or fake copyright” them, what program do you do that in?

I’ve really enjoyed using Picnik and it’s super easy & cool, but I just hate the extra steps.  Sometimes I dread the process of adding pictures so much that by the time I actually finish writing the text, I’ll just skip the whole picture part … and that’s, well just boring!

I know the whole process of posting isn’t going to be quick & easy, nor should it. But I’m just curious if I’m not taking advantage of either a really awesome site, a super cool feature of WordPress or just a process that I haven’t thought of!

So thanks in advance (remember, no pressure!).

If you’d like to help others or link up your own question, visit We Are THAT Family!

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Top ten tuesday … posts of 2009

January 5, 2010 at 8:32 am (blogging, Top Ten Tuesday)

For the first Tuesday of 2010, I thought I’d look back one last time at 2009.

I love stats & analytics.  So interesting to me – and I’m not kidding!!  Or at times so depressing.  As in, these are my Top Ten Posts of 2009.

Hopefully I’ll improve on this (my blogging content) for 2010!!!

#1.  Big Boy Underwear ~ The one about potty training Evan.  I actually removed the picture from this post early in the year.  It’s my ‘forever Top Post’ and the words that people search to come to this post are about as disturbing as you would think!!

#2.  HANDmade Calendars ~ The one about a handmade calendar from Megan & Evan to their Grandparents.  I still love the way the gift turned out!!!  And I’m actually kind of sad that the year is over and it’s not hanging up at my parent’s house anymore!

#3.  Family Recipe Fridays (Broccoli Casserole) ~ The one about my family’s yummy Broccoli Casserole Dish!

#4.  Works For Me Wednesday (Once a Month Cooking) ~ The one where I highlight my Once A Month Cooking Day with ohAmanda & Simply Staci.

#5.  Top Ten Tuesday (Fashions I just Don’t Understand) ~ The one where I show how much of an UNfashionista I really am!

#6.  Disney Questions ~ The one where I ask a bunch of Disney Questions before our family trip and got a bunch of good responses!  (someone Stumbled this one for me & that’s why it’s so high!)

#7.  Finer Things Friday (Local Non-Profits) ~ The one where I talk about Square Peg Ministries.

#8.  Welcome to the Party ~ The one where I link up to the Ultimate Blog Party.

#9.  Top Ten Tuesday (Things To Do When You Mess Up Your Back) ~ The one where I complain about my back hurting.  The search terms on this one always crack me up!!  Poor people are looking for real help & Google directs them to me – Ha!!

#10.  Works For Me Wednesday (Gift Wrapping) ~ The one where I tell you how brilliant I am – kidding!!

For more Top Ten Tuesday or to link up to your own, visit ohAmanda.com.

This post also included in Real Life’s Your Life, Your Blog.

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Blogging goals for 2010

January 4, 2010 at 9:21 am (Blissdom 10, blogging, Savvy Blogging)

Yesterday I posted some personal goals that I have for myself & our family in 2010.  Today, I’m participating in a link-up with SavvyBlogging where I spell out all my blogging goals for 2010.

And truth be told, I’m writing these out because these are my goals right now.  But I’m really excited to be attending the Savvy Blogging Event (if you’re going please leave me a comment – I’d love to read your blog & get to know you better before we meet!!) and the Blissdom Conference in February.  I know I’ll learn lots of wonderful things while I’m there and my goals will either change or I’ll hopefully come away with some clear direction on how best to meet these goals!!  Or at least that’s my goal anyways!!

The majority of my goals can fall into four categories – The A, B, C’s and D’s for It’s come to this:

Aesthetics – The overall look & feel of my blog, specific goals:

  • Purchase a Domain ~ I mean obviously I was NOT planning on anyone reading this when I chose “mlbh” as my domain name with WordPress!!  The specific domain I wanted is of course already taken, so I’m just stalling on making a decision for 2nd best!
  • Get a Re-Design ~ or rather have it redesigned!  I really enjoy WordPress, but I hate the limitations of design.  I can’t wait to have a more fun & updated look!

Build A Bond – Aka Community, specific goals:

  • Read and Comment More on Other’s Blogs ~ I read a lot of blogs, but I don’t comment near enough.  I know how nice it is to get a really nice comment from a stranger and I want to give that in return.  I also know how “unsure” it can make you feel if you have a lot of readers but hardly any comments!!
  • Update my Google Reader ~ ohAmanda left a great tutorial on how to comment directly through Google Reader.  I still need to follow these steps.  I think it will help me a lot!!
  • Comment more on Comments ~ Alot of times I email readers that leave me comments, but I also love how other bloggers leave comments within the comments on a feed.  I want to do better at that in 2010.

Content – It’s King!  Specific goals:

  • Create a Blogging Schedule ~ Sure I might deviate from it time to time, but I want to get in a good rhythm and flow for this coming year.
  • Find my Niche ~ I think when people say this they automatically assume a niche to make money with.  But honestly I didn’t start this blog with that intention so I’m totally fine without going that route.  I just want to get in a groove that I really enjoy.  I have a lot of opinions and a lot of interests but I’ve struggled with writing about those consistently.  I have a few things I’m going to focus on the first of this year and see how that treats me (and you!).

Delivery – My Style, specific goals:

  • Brush up on my Writing ~ and brush up is probably weak at best.  I love writing (and take pride in the fact that I was a published author in Elementary School through our local paper – ha!!) but too often I through throw (updated after this was published and someone kindly pointed it out … see – it’s a good thing this is a goal for 2010!!)  a post together and hit publish.  You can always tell the difference in a quick post and a though out post.   I just want to make sure I deliver my best!

So, those are my goals for 2010 … now I’m off to work on them!!

And again, if you’re coming from the Savvy Blogging link-up, please leave me a comment! I’ll be at the event & I’d love to get to know you & your blog before we meet in person!! (YAY ~ meeting in person … so exciting!!)

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Happy new year!

January 3, 2010 at 12:46 am (2010, blogging, diet, family)

I’m not really a big resolution kind of gal, but this year I’m actually feeling “it” (resolutions that is)!  I think it’s because I feel a little out of balance and out of sorts in several areas of my life.  So more than just resolutions to make & break, I have a few goals to hopefully improve my life and the life of my family.

So my apologies in advance that the last post of 2009 and the first post of 2010 are more for myself than you, but really – isn’t that all I do on this blog anyways?!

Personal Goals (for me):

  • Lose 18 lbs. – I got a good start on my weight loss goal last year.  In 2009, I wanted to lose 42 lbs.  I had hoped to come in on the last day of 2009 with a 29 lb loss, but the holidays got to me and I totally slacked so I gained a few lbs back and came in with a total loss of 24 lbs.  I’ll continue with Joy’s LIFE Diet (more on that later) and kick up my exercise!
  • Run – This is totally NOT me.  I actually can’t even believe I’m saying this.  I don’t like running.  In school I enjoyed relay races (you know the one where you pass the Paton to the next runner?), but long distance was totally NOT in my vocabulary.  I’m not even ready to say my goal is to run a 5k yet, I just want to be able to run in the neighborhood without stopping after 2 mins.  I want to be able to run for exercise.
  • Find a Balance – I spend too much time online.  But it’s my hobby.  It’s also my source of information, the way I pay my bills, communicate with friends, get some awesome deals (totally scored through Twitter & FB Fan Sites this year!!) & work on outside commitments.  But it’s also a trap for me!!  I get online with the intention of paying the bills and then three hours later I’m still paying.  And it’s not because Bank of America is that slow!!  It’s because I get that distracted.  I need to find a balance.
  • Bible Reading – I’ve neglected this pretty badly the last several years.  I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve re-learned a second “story” from the Jesus Storybook Bible that I’m reading with Evan.  I need to spend daily devotion with Him again!!

Personal Goals (for my family):

  • Get Organized – I used to be organized and pretty much on top of things.  But that’s when I was taking care of only myself and Pepper.  Now I lose someone’s shoes EVERY day, can’t find checks that people give me, and still haven’t filled in page one of Megan’s baby book!!  I’m horribly UNorganized right now & I absolutely HATE that feeling!!  I need systems and I need to de-clutter!
  • Better Eating – Yes, I followed a plan and a diet to lose the weight I did last year, but the basics of it is eating clean, unprocessed, real food.  Fresh fruits, veggies, lean chicken/meats and fish.  Nothing really came from a box except the occasional whole wheat pasta.  I want to continue that & improve upon it for the whole family.
  • Activities for Kids – Evan is in school a half-day for three days out of the week.  I need to be better at planning activities though when he’s home.  It’s better for all of us … too much free time drives everyone a little crazy!!!  I want a planned schedule (within reason) of crafts, snacks, play time, and fun stuff.
  • Lower Expenses, Increases Savings – I’m trying to master (ok, that’s probably strong … how about “understand”) couponing more than I do now.  I did alot better this year, but my goal this year is to consistently save 30%+ at each trip to the grocery store.  Sites like MommmySnacks, Keeping The Kingdom First, Money Saving Mom and Coupon Mom have all been my go-to sites this past year.   I’m also starting to get really excited about Swagbucks and Ebates Accounts.  If you don’t use either of them … you should definitely look into it!!!  I didn’t have enough points to bother cashing them in this Christmas, but my goal is to “buy” gifts throughout the year and next Christmas with these accounts!!

Blogging:

  • I actually have several goals for my blog this year.  One of those will be happening next month, when I go to Blissdom 10.  I’m really excited to meet a lot of “real” bloggers and Twitter friends there.  I’m also excited to be going with my IRL friends ohAmanda, TheVioletFig and Simply Staci.  But more on my Blogging Goals later.  I’ll be linking up to Savvy Blogging Carnival on Monday.

So, those are my goals. Now the real question … how am I going to get there?? Honestly, I’m still working on that.   If I knew exactly how to eat better, stay organized, run, and plan activities I’d probably be doing all that already!!  So the truth is I’m not sure.  I’m working on some things and I’ll post more as I go.

Do you have any awesome suggestions for me?

What are your goals for 2010?

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The closing of a decade

December 30, 2009 at 9:55 pm (blogging, memories, random)

I was reading over at The Vanderbilt Wife today and she did a great re-cap of her life this past decade.  I thought it was a great way to think about the last 10 years and highlight some of the major events in my life.  Also a way to remember it for many years to come.  So I apologize in advance if this is super boring,  just know I’m filing this one away for my personal memory bank!

In 1999 I was celebrating New Year’s Eve with my brand new husband on the beach in Destin FL.  We were with some friends & it was a great way to ring in the new decade because we got to celebrate the countdown twice – once for “Georgia Time” and once for “Florida Time”!  That way if the world came to an end when Y2K hit in Georgia, we had at least an hour to prepare – ha!!

2000

  • Working at my church as an Assistant to the Children’s Ministry Pastor and the Pre-School Pastor.
  • Attending school Full-Time.
  • Celebrated my Grandparents 50th Wedding Anniversary!
  • Graduated from school with a Business Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.

2001

  • Took my first post-degree job for a company that I can’t even remember the name of (I didn’t stay very long because they were scum-bags … literally!!).
  • Accepted a job with a now-defunct division of LandAmerica OneStop.  This had nothing to do with my degree, but only to do with a paycheck!  I will however, always remember that job as the place I was when I heard of 9/11.
  • Visited the Bahamas for a summer vacation.
  • Purchased our first car as a married couple – a Toyota 4Runner … which I still drive today!

2002

  • Began my career with Alucid Solution – a user interface company in Atlanta, finally getting to put my degree back to use!
  • Visited some dear friends in California & got to see parts of LA, San Diego & Beverly Hills for the first time.
  • Pepper and I both lost a grandparent this year.

2003 – this year is marked heavily with good & bad.

  • Closed on the house that we still live in today.
  • We lost Pepper’s 18-year old brother to a car accident.
  • Pepper quit his job in the Life Insurance Business because life was short and he didn’t want to sell something he didn’t believe in anymore!  (side note:  He believes in life insurance – it’s important & we have it!!  But he didn’t believe in how the company sold it … not looking out for the customer but only selling what gave the biggest commission!!).
  • Vacationed with my family on an Hawaiian Cruise!!
  • Became an Aunt when Pepper’s sister had her first child.

2004

  • Purchased our first of four “flipper houses”.
  • Began traveling for work a fair bit … DC, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Los Angeles several more times.
  • Vacationed at El Dorado Royale in Mexico for our 5-year Anniversary
  • Visited the lovely state of North Dakota with some dear friends ~ a real life ranch experience that I never dreamed I’d ever have!!!
  • Found out I was pregnant with Evan in November of 2004 …

2005

  • Finally announced to friends & family that we were expecting in February of 2005 (yes – we waited for 2.5 months … it was our little secret only!!)  I waited an entire month before even telling Pepper!!
  • Water broke just as Pepper was dealing out the poker chips of his last ‘free-man’ weekend party!!
  • Delivered a healthy baby boy 8 days early weighing in at 8lbs 6 oz.
  • Visited the Neurosurgeon with Evan for the most scared moments of my short life as a mommy … all was well though!!
Evan ~ 2005

Evan ~ 2005

Oh my gosh, we’re only half way there!!!

2006

  • Stopped working at Alucid Solution to stay at home full-time with Evan.
  • Vacationed in Orlando with my family.
  • Celebrated Evan’s 1st Birthday with a Luau-Themed Party for our families.
  • Helped my sister-in-law open an All Natural Skincare Clinic.

2007

  • Celebrated Pepper’s 30th birthday in Las Vegas ~ a first time trip for both of us!
  • Wrote my very first blog post!
  • Began working part-time with my sister-in-law  & went back to work part-time for Alucid Solution.
  • Started Evan in a Mother’s Morning Out Program two days a week.
  • Found out I was pregnant with Megan in November of 2007 …

2008

  • Finally announced to friends in family that we were expecting again in January of 2008 (yes – we still waited … but we told everyone a whole month sooner this time!!!).
  • Finished my part-time work with Alucid Solution.
  • Delivered a healthy baby girl 2 weeks early after having to stop & get gas (while having serious contractions) and having to wait in the waiting room for a room to open!!!
  • Celebrated our 9th Wedding Anniversary over hospital food since Megan chose to come into this world on our Anniversary!!
  • Celebrated my 30th Birthday!!

Megan ~ 2008

2009

WoW – if you made it to the end of this you should entered in a giveaway or something!!!  But sorry, I don’t have anything!  Thanks for letting me remember though!! Did you do a decade recap post?  If you did be sure to leave your link … I owe you the courtesy of reading it all:)

Happy New Year!!!

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Cookie anticipation

December 30, 2009 at 9:09 am (Christmas, Megan, Wordless Wednesday)

Over the holidays we’ve baked our fair share of cookies (and certainly eaten more than our fair share!). 
Megan waiting for a batch of cookies.

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