4/16/2014

First (Dentist) Visit

Dylan recently had his third - third! - dental cleaning. I'm shaking my head wondering how he grew up so fast. He hasn't even needed us in the room with him since the first visit. He just kicks back, lays still and lets the hygienist work while Trent or I head to another room to get our teeth cleaned. Both the hygienist and dentist have told us he's better than some adults!

I like to think part of it is because his first visit was so successful. I did stay with him that entire visit and the hygienist carefully talked him through each part. Afterwards he got to "clean" the teeth on a toy alligator with a giant toothbrush. He loved it.

First (Dentist) Visit


Supplies: Destination: Adventure freebie by Shannon McNab; Blossom kit by Karen Funk; I Love Boys by Robyn Meierotto; Adobe Caslon Pro, Arial and Dancing Script OT fonts.

4/14/2014

Candy Tasting

I have a sweet tooth. And I appreciate supporting local businesses. That combination led me to joining the focus group for Butterfields Candy - a company whose product I personally like and recommend.


Butterfields Candy has been around since 1924 and is made in Nashville, NC, just northeast of Raleigh. Currently there are 4 flavors of their hard candy available - Lemon Buds (my personal favorite), Peach Buds, Honeybell Buds and Key Lime Buds. I can say firsthand that all 4 are delicious and, if you haven't tried them, you should. They are available at select local stores or online through their website.

If you are in the Triangle Area, Butterfields is still looking for taste testers (no previous experience with their candy required) as they test possible future flavors. Visit their Facebook page for more details.

Disclaimer: this is my personal opinion only. I did receive free candy as part of the Focus Group, but no posts or other social media were required.

4/09/2014

Kitchen Remodel Update: Granite Shopping

Real life remodels? They take time. I look forward to sharing a neat & tidy "before and after" post on our kitchen remodel (better yet - enjoying that kitchen!), but that will be in a few months. As it is, we've already been working on replacing our countertops for 2 months!

Ok, so it hasn't been a constant process. We started by attending a home show to get a quick idea of some of the installers available without driving all over the city. We met a few people we liked, made a list and are slowly working through the list.

Kitchen Remodel: Granite Shopping

Our first quote came from a major retailer. We thought we'd give it a shot to see where the numbers fell. Well, at nearly $6,000 for our 37 square foot of counters required and no colors/styles that really had us excited, we politely declined.

Our second stop led us to a smaller installer that has a sales office close to home. We found 2 options in their current sale section where we can get new granite counters for $1500. Huge savings over the previous quote and we actually found a couple colors/styles that we like. We were given a list of 4 distributors in the area that this installer uses so we can visit and select a slab.

Yesterday we visited the first of the distributors during lunch and found 3 possibilities. Unfortunately, none were an exact match to the samples. The first we saw is similar to one of the options we found in the installer's showroom. The other 2 were a bit different. Our favorite of these 3, of course, fell in the "mid-high" range. Waiting to see where the numbers fall and decide what our next step will be.

Our number one goal - find a color/style that we are completely sold on (almost) regardless of the cost. Neither of us are willing to settle on something we plan to have for many, many years.

Have you picked new counters before? How fast did you make a selection?

4/04/2014

Modern Manners

In the age of Facebook and social media, the need/want/desire for instantaneous contact and to be included seem to be further magnified. I'm not knocking that. I know at times all of it (this blog too) is fulfilling my own need for those things. But we've also forgotten some manners along the way.


In light of the past week, one in particular has struck me and led me to write this post. Please, please, please refrain from posting or commenting on someone's Facebook page (or really any social media account although Facebook is more lasting/obvious) until the family posts a message. Think of it along the lines of how in a news media report names aren't given until next of kin is notified. I don't know that any of the family learned through Facebook of our loss. I certainly hope not. But you don't want your post to be the one that tells someone this news.

After the family has posted, I think it's wonderful to leave a message, a favorite memory, a photo. These can be uplifting and healing to all who loved the person.

Just don't be the first. Talk to those close to you. Share your grief. But please, wait and be respectful of the family before making a public comment online.

3/31/2014

life

I'm not sure the right words. The last 3 days have been, well, challenging. On Friday morning I learned news of the sudden, unexpected passing of my stepbrother. Only a few years older than me. Far too soon. My heart just breaks for his wife and daughters. I've personally rotated between grief and calm shock. It hasn't fully sunk in and probably won't until the service tomorrow.

Yesterday was an under the weather day in our house. I wasn't feeling 100% and then late in the day Dylan got sick. It was a rough night to say the least. Nothing worse than seeing your child struggling and hurting, and you can't fix it.

But, I was grateful. I was grateful in that it's either something he ate or another round of the nasty stomach bug going around. Nothing more. Either way, it's real. It's life. And he has two parents running to care for him and ease him back to sleep.


Life is the good and the bad. Don't forget to embrace all the moments no matter what because they pass so quickly.

3/28/2014

How to Make a Cookbook

Have a few favorite recipes? How about family recipes? There are plenty of ways to save them from index cards in a box to jotted in a notebook. But what about a way to save them and share them? That's where Blurb comes in. With Blurb's help, you can create a cookbook in minutes and print as many copies as you want. Print one for yourself, one for your best friend, one for your mom (hint: Mother's day isn't that far off), one for your child as a new home or wedding gift. Really, the options are limitless.

Now, wondering how to do it? It's easy and requires no fancy design skills. Start with Blurb's free BookSmart software and, just like your recipes, put together your book one step at a time:

1. Organize:Gather your recipes and do a process of elimination. Once you’ve narrowed your favorites down, you can gather accompanying images—just make sure you’re giving the recipe and image files the same name to make it easier when it’s time to upload. Keep everything in one folder on your computer.

2. Flow it: Next, determine how you want your cookbook story to flow. Do you want to sort your recipes by age, popularity, or even something else? Once you’ve determined the order, you’ll have done the bulk of your creative decision-making.

3. Get the tool: Download our free book-making tool, BookSmart, choose your book size (Standard Portrait and Standard Landscape are the most popular for cookbooks) and input your title and author name. Then choose “Cookbook” as your starting point — this will give you the best layouts for the job. Then pick a source for your images — from iPhoto, your computer, even Flickr or Picasa. Lastly, choose a theme. Now you’re ready to put together your cookbook.


4. Lay it out: This is where the real book-making comes in. BookSmart will provide you with 20 pages in our standard recipe layout, but you’ll find plenty of alternate layouts in the “Choose page layout” panel on the upper left. You can also add additional pages ­­— including photo pages — by clicking “Add Pages” in the top toolbar.

5. Just add copy: Our layouts provide space for stories, introductions, and those all-important ingredients and directions. Paste in your copy and you’re golden. Then garnish with photos. Don't forget to run BookSmart’s spell check feature.

6. Preview and review: Click “Review book” and go through page by page. If you’re not a natural-born proofreader, ask a friend to take a second look.

7. Order: Make any last minute edits, click “Order,” and follow the prompts to checkout. Remember to order extra copies for friends and family—or sell it in the Bookstore. Order now and save 15% on all print book orders through April 30th with code TAKE15%.

That's it! Your cookbook is complete. Just sit back and wait for your package to arrive.

FTC Disclosure Statement: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

3/24/2014

DIY Tiling Class

Quiet for a week or close to it (I had a post on MiCH last Wednesday). It wasn't intentional. Just a LOT going on. Good stuff. All to come soon.

One great part of the week I can share - a friend and I took a "Do-It-Herself" class at Home Depot to learn about tiling. As part of our kitchen remodel, I want a tile backsplash and have been debating whether or not we should do it ourselves. Neither Trent nor I have ever done tile work before and I'll admit I can be a little OCD at times. My biggest worry is crooked tiles and always knowing.


In the quest to save a little money and because I honestly enjoy doing most of the home projects ourselves, I'm leaning toward giving the tiling a try. The class timing was perfect and made for a fun girls night out with a friend who is considering doing her own too.

I've never taken one of these classes before. It was more a demonstration and Q&A, but I did feel like I had a good bit of information when I left and am leaning toward giving the backsplash a go. I'll be sure to share how the project turns out. In the meantime, we still have to decide on what style/color countertop and get installation arranged.

Have you ever taken a class at Home Depot or another home improvement store? What did you think?

My full review on the Do-It-Herself Workshop will be on Mom in Chapel Hill next week.

3/17/2014

Lego KidsFest 2014: the layout

Two years ago, we had the opportunity to attend our first Lego KidsFest. When we heard it was returning to Raleigh and knowing we had a Lego obsessed son, Trent bought tickets for the 3 of us to attend again. To say Dylan had a blast was an understatement. Just yesterday morning he was once again studying the event pamphlet and talking about the different areas and what he wants to do next. Still trying to help him understand it was a one time event. Unless, of course, he can convince his aunt to take him when it's in Richmond in October...


We didn't take that many photos this time, but it still took some effort to slim down to a few that I thought helped give a good overview of the fun. And, I'm sure if KidsFest comes again in a couple of years, we'll be some of the first to scoop up tickets.

Have you ever attended Lego KidsFest or another kid focused special event? What was your favorite?

Supplies: Leathers: Sugar Frames by Gennifer Bursett; Courier, Legothick and Stencil Std fonts.

3/14/2014

Friday Freebie: DIY Disney Stroller Tag Template

Last fall I shared details on the Stroller Tag I made for our last trip to Walt Disney World. I was asked about a template and had been meaning to create one.


This month's Friday Freebie is the DIY Disney Stroller Tag. It's free for personal use only and your download will include two .psd files. One features the name side and is ready to edit with your family name and, if you choose, add the resort/hotel name and trip month/year at the bottom. (Note: if you don't have Waltograph font, download it for free at dafont here for use with the Stroller Tag template.)

The second file contains a red, black & white Mickey background with a single white text letter to edit with your family's last initial.

After you've download the template, edit the files, print, trim and seal with a wallet size Scotch Self-Sealing Laminate Pouch. Punch a hole and use a ziptie or ribbon to attach to your stroller.

Click here to download Stroller Tag Template

Don't have Photoshop? No worries. I have a simple free printable available as well. Just print and handwrite your family's name. Then seal like the template option.

Click here to download Stroller Tag Printable

Enjoy!

Have you missed one of my previous digital freebies? Click HERE to find them. And, don't forget to subscribe to my feeds so you won't miss future freebies!

Not sure how to edit one of my free templates? See my Digital Template Tutorial for quick, step-by-step instructions.

FTC Disclosure Statement: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

3/11/2014

3 Simple Steps to Block Users on Pinterest

Did you know you can block other users on Pinterest now? I found out by chance when Pinterest started rolling out "Related Pins" amidst the regular feed. You know - the pins that are from people you don't follow at all. Simply suggestions based on other things you typically pin or like.


I get the need to slip in an ad and make a little money for a service that is totally free to me, but I also don't want to see all of them. Specifically, there is a big box store where I don't shop and I don't want to see their pins, ads or otherwise which led me to finding out how to block them.

Whether it's a store, other business or perhaps a stranger that rubs you the wrong way - here are the quick steps to blocking on Pinterest:

1) Go to the profile for the user you want to block. Click the flag icon. At bottom of drop down menu, click "block."


2) A pop-up window will double check that you want to block this user. Click "Block Pinner" to continue. A second pop-up window will confirm you have now blocked the user. Click "ok" to finish.


3) Any profile of a user you have blocked will show "Unblock" instead of the "Follow All" button. An easy way to double check you have blocked them and, if you made a mistake or change your mind, just click it to unblock.


Really, it was that easy and you no longer have any interaction from the blocked user. Happy pinning!