Thursday, November 29, 2012

Our Sick Little

Where have I been?? We spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with our families. I have to admit that this was the most stress free holiday that I've ever had. I felt calm and like I had everything under control since I did so much prep work in advance. If you followed along through my Holiday Series, I hope you had success too!


My sweet Caleb really enjoyed the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade this year! I was so excited to share it with him. I think I may have teared up a bit watching his excitement over Santa's arrival. 

After a long weekend together, Caleb decided to get sick on us. On Monday he was diagnosed with bronchitis and he's had really high fevers with it. There's been tons of snuggling....

On Monday, Caleb spent the afternoon sleeping in my office while we waited for his doctor's appointment. His sleeping bag and pillow have gone everywhere with us this week. I was so very thankful for the Netflix app on my iPad. 


We stayed home most of Tuesday and Caleb spent the day in the laundry basket watching movies. He started feeling better and we had family picture night at church on Tuesday evening. 


Caleb was so proud to look like Daddy... It was the sweetest thing!


Nana had to put some make up on Caleb's flushed cheeks for the pictures...My husband had a fit when Caleb bragged about the "boy makeup". 


I just love this picture of my father-in-law, husband and son! So very sweet! 

Family picture night started out okay.....The photographer thought it would be a great idea to get Caleb laughing and it all went downhill from there. My poor child had three types of medicine in his system with red dye and it makes him extremely hyper. Before we were finished, Caleb was literally trying to climb the backdrop and knocked it over on all of us. Only my child.... Believe it or not, our pictures turned out wonderful and I cannot wait to get them!

Wednesday Caleb was still feeling puny.... he only made it half a day at daycare. Ryan and I picked him up at lunch and he had to spend the afternoon with me at work. We were a little short handed at work for just a bit and Caleb ended up napping in a Nitro boat. 


It was the most precious thing to me. I think it's great advertisement of how comfortable the Nitro boats are....Totally Caleb Approved!

My mother-in-law took off today to keep our sick little. So far we are fever free and we're praying Caleb stays that way. If he happens to run another fever today, we have to go back to the doctor and decide if things have progressed into pneumonia. It has been one wild week for us! 

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ready for the Holidays: Entrances and Floors

Your entrance is the first thing your guests see when they walk into your home. You want that to make a good impression, right?

You want your home to smell fresh and inviting. The first thing your guests need to see is a clean, nicely lit area.

Our home is a split foyer. We have a small landing right at the front door. This area gets more dirt and grime from everyone walking in and out. Coats and shoes are left lying in the floor. The stairs get absolutely filthy and the ceiling is high and is a bear to clean.

Let's get started...

  • Clean cobwebs from ceilings, walls, and all corners. 
  • Wipe your walls of dust and fingerprints. 
  • Wipe down any wall decor.
  • Scrub the baseboards.
  • Wash your door well. 
  • Clean any windows in the door or sidelights.
  • Hang all coats and put away shoes. 
  • Clean the floor.
  • Spot clean the steps and vacuum.

Now we will go through scenarios for cleaning our floors in our home properly. It's hard work....it's nasty.....but it's well worth the extra effort!

If you have carpet:
  • Vacuum well.
  • Spot clean if needed. I use a spray foam spot floor cleaning solution and a new tire scrubbing brush. I spray the cleaner and scrub until the spot is gone. I wait for it to dry completely and vacuum it again.
  • If that doesn't get the spot out, try scrubbing the spot with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. This removed oil spots and really tough stains.
  • If you're still struggling, you can wet a cleaning rag with clear ammonia and press it with an iron for a few seconds. Scrub the spot and it should come out. You may want to test an area of your carpet to make sure this doesn't hurt it first. 
  • After these methods dry and your spot is removed, remember to vacuum again!
It you have wood floors, linoleum or tile flooring:
  • Grab two buckets and plenty of cleaning rags.
  • Fill one bucket with hot water and Pine Sol. The other bucket will contain hot water to rinse off your dirty rags.
  • Start with the corner furthest from the room entrance. 
  • Throw all your cleaning rags into the Pine Sol bucket. 
  • Take your first rag and wring it out until it's barely damp and proceed to scrub your floor. 
  • Yes, you are scrubbing on your hands and knees like poor Cinderella before the ball. Trust me, you will survive.
  • When you scrub about a two foot by two foot area, put that dirty rag into the plain water bucket and rinse it out. 
  • Keep going with this method until you're finished. The Pine Sol solution should stay fairly clean as long as you're washing out your rags in the other bucket. What good is scrubbing the floor and putting forth all this effort if you're scrubbing with dirty cleaning solution and dirty rags??? You'd just be smearing dirt around! 
  • Do not put solution directly onto your hardwood floors. And don't leave puddles of water on them. 
Don't look at me like I've lost my mind! Seriously, until you get on your hands and knees and scrub a floor you've never truly had clean floors. It's a lot of effort, but I promise it makes a big difference. Once you get the hang of it, it doesn't take that long at all. Sure, you can mop floors the regular way but you're really just spreading most of the dirt around....

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ready for the Holidays: Speed Cleaning

The night before your holiday meal or gathering is the perfect time to run around your house like a mad person cleaning and tidying. Lucky for us this year we've been deep cleaning along the way so this isn't going to be so bad, right?!?

If you have little ones running around, things may have gotten a little out of control with the toys after you deep cleaned. That's absolutely okay! That's just life, my friends. It happens to us on a daily basis too. Wanna see?


Caleb and Ryan can wreck a room faster than Island Cove can be destroyed by a tornado. Trust me....I've seen both! 

First, you want to pick up the main areas your guests will see:
Kitchen, living room, foyer, and bathrooms.

Clean the toilets and countertops. 

Wipe down the counters in your kitchen. 

Wash any dishes and put away. Empty the dishwasher if you need to. Keep your dishwasher clean so you can keep baking dishes and utensils cleaned up during your cooking process. Don't leave those dishes in the sink!

Make sure your laundry is done and put away properly. Now is not the time to shove it in a spare closet (not that I've ever done this....). 

Make sure all the beds are made. 

Vacuum or sweep!

Dust your furniture. 

Mop high traffic areas if needed.

And you're good to go! This whole process should only take an hour to complete as long as you've been deep cleaning with me this month. If you've missed a bit, it may take you a little longer. 


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Ready for the Holidays : Food Preparations

I've been under the weather this week, so please forgive me with the lack of posts! Let's keep going with our series, shall we?

On Thanksgiving day, I will literally be in marathon mode! My family is gathering for a Thanksgiving lunch and then I'm cooking dinner for my sweet husband's family. We will be on turkey overload.... Yay for that!

To pull this off successfully, I'm going to prep things ahead of time. Anything I can do to make life easier on Thursday will make life so much more manageable. We could all use a stress free holiday, am I right???

For my family's meal, I have been instructed to bring sweet potato casserole, deviled eggs, and a dessert. Luckily, I can make everything in advance and have it ready to go! I plan to bake my premade sweet potatoes right before showing up so they're nice and fresh! I'm going to prep all that this evening. I will use disposable baking tins for the sweet potatoes and dessert so that clean up is super easy for us too! In my fridge, the items going to my family's meal will be on one designated shelf and not mixed up with the second meal.

Ryan is going to free up my oven on Thanksgiving Day by smoking our turkey for his family's meal. This is a huge help to me! If you can fry or smoke your turkey, do so because you'll have room in the oven for other yummy things!

The night before Thanksgiving, I will make each of my side dishes in advance and stop just before the baking process. I will make my dressing, sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole, and corn casserole in advance. On Thanksgiving morning, I will cook my green beans in the crockpot all day. All of the items that need to be baked will fit in the oven together. It honestly cannot get any easier when it comes to cooking a big meal for the family.

I will also set my dinner table the night before. This gives me an opportunity to make sure I have dinner plates, glasses, and silverware set out neatly. I can also make sure every dish has a specific platter and space to set.

About an hour before your family and friends arrive, light candles throughout your home. Go ahead and make sure you and the rest of your family look presentable. Set out drinks and bake your bread.

You did it!!!!

A successful Thanksgiving meal is all in the planning and prep work! Take the time to focus on your family instead of stressing over the meal.

Don't forget to set up your camera and tripod to take a pictures!
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ready for the Holidays: Kids Rooms

My son had a birthday this week, so we're buried under a whole new pile of toys. Things have gotten way out of hand and it's time to reign it all in!

We have decided to change Caleb's room up a bit to accommodate how he used his room. He desperately needs a place to play with his toys and his bunk bed has taken up a large area of his room. He loves sleeping on the top bunk, so we're going to move his lower part into storage until he starts having buddies spend the night. For now he can have the extra space to play!

So, here's how we started out.....

That bunk bed was taking up quite a bit of room....

Ryan took it out and put it in storage for me. 
Then I started cleaning!

I threw the curtains and bedding into the washing machine.
I cleaned the ceiling, fan, walls, and all decor on the walls. 
I also scrubbed the chair rail and baseboards. Now's a great time to clean the windows and window seals. 
I weeded through his toys and made a donate pile. 
Then I scrubbed his furniture with wood soap. 
I cleaned the vent and outlet covers in his room. 
Wiped down the door and frame.
Made sure his closet was tidy.
I spot cleaned areas on the carpet. 
Finally I vacuumed!








Much better, right?!? And he's got so much more room!


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Friday, November 16, 2012

Ready for the Holidays: Master Bath

Friends, we are less than a week away from Thanksgiving! Are you as excited as I am?!?

This year is really busy for us, so I have to stay super organized to pull everything off. Here's how our next several days will be laid out:


  • We're going to deep clean our master bath.
  • We're going to deep clean the kids' rooms. 
  • I'm going to show you how I scrub the floors in the kitchen and bath areas.
  • We're going to clean our foyers and front porches.
  • We're going to tackle yard work.
  • And we're going to prep our meals for Turkey Day!
  • Finally, I'm going to show you how to speed clean a recently deep cleaned house. 

So let's get going....

To deep clean the master bathroom, I follow my same plan from cleaning the guest baths posted HERE
  • Clean dust and cobwebs from ceilings, walls, and corners.
  • Clean exhaust vent cover and any light fixture covers.
  • Spray the tub and/or shower area with your favorite soap scum removing chemicals. 
  • Wipe down the walls if needed. I make sure to hit the wall areas closest to the toilet....
  • Clean any wall decorations or shelves.
  • Squirt a toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet. 
  • Go back and scrub your tub and/or shower. 
  • Replace plastic curtain liner, if needed. I've read somewhere that you may try washing these in the washing machine too... Definitely worth a shot if yours is in good condition. 
  • Throw fabric shower curtain, rugs, and decorative towels in the washer. 
  • Clean your toilet. Don't forget to wipe down the entire exterior too. Go ahead and scrub the toilet bowl now too. 
  • Clean all baseboards, doors, and light switch covers.
  • Spray your countertops and faucets and wipe clean.
  • Clean mirrors.
  • Wipe clean all toothbrush holders, soap dishes, and other counter items.
  • Wipe all drawers out in bathroom. 
  • Stock extra toilet paper. 
  • Use baskets to organize bath and beauty supplies.
  • Stock extra towels. 
  • Clean your floors. 

Now is a great time to touch up your guest bathrooms too! 

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Defining Moments

I have shared my biggest struggle with you. I have slowly allowed you to see the things I've suffered because of the way I abused my body. That's honestly the only way to explain the overeating and binging on unhealthy foods. There are some feelings about that time in my life I never could verbalize because it's just too difficult. When I've tried to share pieces with my husband over the past couple of weeks, I immediately get tears in my eyes. What I've been through, he will never fully be able to understand.

A year ago, I had a life altering experience. 

My sweet little boy turned two and I was beyond excited to take him on his very first train ride. Our families got together for this special day and I took tons of pictures so we could always remember it. When I got home and uploaded those pictures, I was completely devastated.
As I flipped through the pictures, I grew more and more disgusted with the way I looked. I just knew I ruined those pictures of our happy memories....



I tried to crop parts of me out of the pictures so I could at least show them to my friends on Facebook and share them on the blog. I silently cried as I truly realized how out of control I had let my weight get. We're not talking 10 or 15 pounds of extra weight....We're talking almost four whole years of denial, poor eating, and just plain lack of concern piling onto my body. The realization came crashing down on me like a ton of bricks. How did I let things get so out of hand???

I was ashamed to share those pictures that were supposed to document my child's happy day. My husband was so handsome and my son was gorgeous. That day I just knew I didn't fit in with my own family. There were times that I secretly wondered if strangers looked at the three of us and thought, "How in the world did she ever attract that man???" There were honestly times I wondered how I hung onto such a great husband when I let myself go. My husband deserved better....I had turned into a moody, unhappy person.

At the time I had a hand full of clothes that actually fit because I refused to see the truth and buy clothes that actually fit. Friends and family gave me clothes because I was so far in denial about how big I was. I just could not bring myself to buy a pair of pants that said 18 once my 16's got too tight. That day was my absolute rock bottom....

I honestly believe you cannot make a drastic change without reaching some degree of despair.

I have fought, struggled, and slipped up multiple times over the past year but I have stuck with it. I have never fought so hard for anything in my entire life.

I swear getting a college degree with honors was easier than the battle I have waged against my weight.

I've not reached my overall goal yet, but that's okay because I have made noticeable progress. I've earned every second of it. I'm not afraid to take a picture with my child and share it with the world.


So, the things that have changed in a year's time?

Last year I wore XL clothing that was fairly tight...Right now I can wear some Mediums.... Yay!
This year I participated in not only my first 5K, but it was also a mud run with obstacles. 
I don't feel nearly as sluggish anymore. When I eat a greasy meal, I feel so run down now. 
I can actually lay in a bathtub and my hips fit! I can also swing on a swing set now that my hips fit!
I can ride amusement park rides much more comfortably now. 
The biggest thing is I realized that at any weight, my husband and son have always loved me. They never stopped. It was me who just couldn't seem to love myself. I've gained some of my self esteem back. 

Every day brings new things that I notice and that is the motivation to keep going. It is absolutely worth every single effort I put forth. I know so many people give up after a week or a month, but if you just hang in there you will see results.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ready for the Holidays : Meal Planning Made Easy



I'm going to make your life easier today... I saw an awesome idea on Pinterest for a similar meal plan, but there were only four little boxes. I plan my grocery trips for the whole week, so I've made a printable for us to use to plan out our meals a little easier each week. In the seven boxes, you can put each night's meal. Below you can list the items you need to pick up at the store to make that meal. I normally write in the weekdays or dates in each little box to help keep my mind straight!

You can right click on the image and open it in a new window. All you have to do is print it!
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Ready for the Holidays : An Inviting Guest Room

Let's talk about ways to make your home more inviting for the guests who visit. Today we will focus on the area of your home where guests will stay overnight. We want our friends and family who spend time in our home to feel welcome and comfortable.


  • Provide an alarm clock for your guests to use. 
  • Clear out some closet space and dresser drawers. Provide a few hangers as well. 
  • Provide extra pillows and blankets in the closet. 
  • Set out a couple of bottles of water. 
  • Check your lamps and make sure they are plugged in and work properly. 
  • Check the batteries in your TV remotes.
  • Set out a few of your favorite magazines or favorite books. 

Right before your guests arrive, light a candle and set out a couple of snacks next to your bottles of water. Peanuts and chocolate would be a nice touch. Set out some fresh flowers to welcome guests into your home!


You may also want to keep the following new toiletry items on hand:

  • A couple of toothbrushes
  • Bar of Soap
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Contact Case and Solution
  • Toothpaste
  • Razors
  • Deodorant
If you buy the small travel samples, you can be ready for things that your guests may have forgotten to pack. If you get free product samples of any of these items from companies promoting their stuff, you can save money this way. You can keep these items in a basket in your guest bathroom just in case!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

10:28 pm

Right this moment exactly three years ago, I met the little boy who would completely change me as a person.  

I was never a patient person....always independent.....strongly opinionated and stubborn. This moment three years ago, that stopped. I've found patience to withstand the ugliest fits a certain boy can throw my way. I learned that there's no way I can get through raising this strong willed child without God! I learned that I'd eat my words every single time I judged another parent's tactics with their unruly children! 


Every year of his life, he teaches me so many new things! 

 

I love every moment God has given me with this special child. 


He has changed my whole life and brought me so much happiness! 

Praise God for giving me this beautiful blessing! I thank God for allowing me to become his mother and trusting me to raise this child. I never had a deep, aching need to become a mother, but praise God for knowing that I'd love every part of being his mama. God is so very good!!!
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Special Day

Dear Caleb,

     How are you three today??? I swear it was just yesterday that Daddy and I were headed to the hospital to have you. This year your personality has shown through and you have been the biggest joy in our family! I have watched you grow into a silly, brilliant, strong willed child. I am so very blessed to just know you.

    There are days that I wonder how in the world God trusted me enough to give me you. I'm supposed to teach you everything and help you grow into an amazing man. You simply overwhelm me! You are so very smart....too smart sometimes. You have such a big heart....it's just the sweetest thing. You seem to get into everything....and always run to me when you need me to get out. You pitch the nastiest fits....but it shows that you are a passionate person. You're so stubborn.....but you're just like me.

    I love all the hugs and kisses. I love when you put your little hand on the side of my face and say, "Mama, you're my bestest." I love how you ask to snuggle before bed. I love that you pray. I love that you sing about God. I love that we talk about everything God has made. I love that you have friends at school. I love that you know more people at church than I do! I love all of the sweet compliments I get about you. I love that we can have conversations now. Every single thing you do just amazes me. You are this unbelievably special person that has come into our lives and flipped everything upside down.

    Our lives are so much fun with you at this age! We love listening to your long, drawn out crazy stories about everything. We love playing with you and going new places together. You keep us laughing at all the silly things you say! You follow Daddy everywhere and imitate all that he does. Daddy doesn't care for your whining so much right now, but secretly he loves his mini-me. You remind me of him every day....must be why you butt heads so much!

    I am so excited to start this third year with you! I cannot wait to see how much you grow and change. I am so very proud of you, sweetie. I love everything about you! You are truly my bestest!

Love Always (especially on your birthday),
Mommy

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Caleb's 3rd Birthday Party

I took a short break from my holiday series to plan a birthday party for Caleb. My sweet little boy is turning three tomorrow and we celebrated his birthday with all of our friends and family on Saturday.


I actually made Caleb's dinosaur cake... It was super easy! 


He was so excited to have a party! He loves being the center of attention. He woke up Saturday wanting me to sing "Happy Birthday" to him! We have this ongoing thing of telling each other "You're my bestest!"


We had his party at church this year. Our church built a large indoor play area for the members' kiddos. It was perfect for us! We pretty much turned those wild kids loose and let them have fun.





We sang "Happy Birthday" and this year Caleb blew out his own candle! 


I figured he'd be pretty shy about it, but I think he loved the extra attention. 



We sat down to open presents and he got really excited about it! I swear that child opens presents soooo slowly. I don't remember being that calm about it as a child. 


Ryan and I got him a doctor kit and we caught him later on playing doctor with all the little girls. I swear we're gonna have to watch that child....


Granny and Granddaddy got Caleb his first Tennessee football uniform. Ryan was too excited about it!

We'll be celebrating Zoey's birthday next! I love this picture because I finally caught Brian smiling!

Of course when we got home, we had to open some of our new toys!


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Friday, November 9, 2012

What's In A Name?

This week our boat got her new stripes and name! Ryan and I are terribly excited!

Being in the marine industry for almost 18 years combined, we wanted our boat to reflect us. Early on when we began working on the boat, random people would approach us for advice and assistance on their own boats. We politely have to decline because, hey, it's how we actually make a living! Ryan and I began this ongoing joke of how we needed to somehow include that whole idea in our boat name....

That's how "Knot Working" was born!

Our boat made it through the Island Cove tornado, so it's only fitting that Island Cove be listed as her home. 


Joe, a friend of the marina and our family, made the letters and put them on for us. He also put the stripes on the boat. Joe is the only person Ryan and I would trust this job to. 


If I had attempted to do this myself, it would have been such a mess. We are so very thankful for Joe!




It's simply amazing to see him do this. Joe has striped for so long that he basically just eyeballs it. I really enjoyed watching him. 



Ryan and I are some really proud boat owners!!!



Joe added a beautiful silver leaf above the black striping on the top of the boat. 


I absolutely love it! 





We are so happy with our little boat!

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