Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Can't we all just get along?

Calling all moms of girls, listen up!

Last week, Atlanta hosted old school bubble gum pop, New Kids on the Block. Yes, I went and had a blast! The city also hosted new school bubble gum pop, One Direction. No, I did not go, would not if the tickets were free.

 photo NKOTB1D_zps7723ffe9.png
Yes, I know I cut off part of One Direction's name, whatever!

I don't recall NKOTB fans being as vicious as these One Direction followers. Case in point, I listen to a radio morning show that conducted an interview with One Direction months ago and again last week (seems like they have a concert here every 6 months). One member of this morning show is a 30-something, very attractive woman, who happened to catch the eye of one of the One Direction group members. To the point that they were messaging each other while he was on tour. This set One Direction followers ablaze! Their most recent interview prompted some very hateful and distasteful tweets. The morning show hosts could not even read them on air, as they were filled with f-bombs and the "c" word. These were all coming from tween and teenage girls. Many of the tweets talked about how they would love to kill these morning show hosts, the word "die" was thrown around so much. WTH? When did this happen? I don't ever recall being so filled with venom but then again there was no social media when I was their age.

This concerned me deeply because I have a 7 year old girl. I am sure you've all heard about cyber bullying. I have not experienced this and pray that we don't have to. However, it has caused me to want to prepare myself and my daughter.

 photo cyberbullying_zps5a615466.jpg
google images

Where do I start? How? I can say that I will keep her from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But that won't stop mean girls from posting things. Things that the entire world can see, an imprint that could potentially follow her.

My first instinct was to read up how to build her up and how she can build herself up. Here are 5 books I ran across on

  1. Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman
  2. Little Girls Can Be Mean by Michelle Anthony
  3. Stand up for yourself and your friends by Angela Martini
  4. A Smart Girl's Guide To Knowing What To Say by Patti Kelley Criswell
  5. The Feelings Book by Dr. Lynda Madison 

What has happened to make girls so vicious towards other girls? Most recently, I read a post over at mish mash mama, where she urged us, as women, to get rid of competition. Women, we know how we are. We stray off of our paths, glancing over at somebody else, saying why this, why that. I know, cause I am guilty. But is this where it starts with our girls? You know kids watch everything we do, we are their example. Hummingbird imitates me so much it's scary! But for real, is this why our girls have vicious tendencies?

Or does it stem from their fathers not being present in their lives? I said "present". Just because the parents are still married, living in the same house, doesn't mean that daddy is present. We all know the impact a dad can have on a daughter's life. Ask me. My parents are still married, have been for the past 40 years. My papa was/is a rolling stone, which means, among other things, he wasn't very "present" in my life growing up. I know that this has impacted my adult relationships. I am free from that now but it was a lot of hard work and acknowledging that I was bitter about it.

I'm not saying we raise a bunch of male bashing chicks but girls that hang out with each other, that help each other, that say nice things to each, that call out other girls when they are wrong, that are real with each other, that aren't afraid to stand up for what's right, to help define what's right, to cry when they need to, to laugh because they need to, to not be afraid of being smart, creative, beautiful, to not hide away because of their body shape, that talk about how they feel, that express themselves, that don't purposely hurt others, that live, laugh, love.

Still takes a village, ya'll. As that village, let's come to grips with our emotions. I know I need to stop whining about this, about that and get on with living. The world isn't perfect but I am not gonna let that stop me from living. Yes, life is full of disappointments but I gotta learn from somewhere. I have never proclaimed to be the perfect mom, neither am I striving to be. I am working to be the mom that God has called me to be to Hummingbird and Yogli. That may look different from the type of mom you've been called to be and that's ok. With our differences, we can learn from each other. I would love to sit here and say whatever hurdle life throws at me, that I dodge it, that I know exactly what to do. I don't always know what to do. Ask my husband. Ask my family. Ask my friends. That's why it still takes a village.

To get us started, I developed this Girl Inspired printable and make it available to you.
**my disclaimer: this is my first time offering a printable, so let me know if you are not able to access or print.

 photo girlinspire_zpse4d08275.png

I printed one for Hummingbird, framed it and put it on a shelf in her room. I want her to know that these are things she can do to feel good about herself, boosting up that self worth.

I know that many mamas will say "what about our boys?" I am right there with you, I have one, a teenage version. Boys are a whole other battle, which needs more attention as well.

Would love to grow this into a movement, a movement all over the blogsphere, blogverse. Ya'll with me? Talk to me about how you keep your girl(s) grounded, how do you encourage them, how do you set them straight, what mama wisdom do you share with them?

post signature

Monday, June 24, 2013

What a Monster Saturday

From time to time I get brave and embark on adventures with Hummingbird and her eight year old cousin J-Creek. Most of those times, Yogli and MonkeyMan find other things to do. When I was growing up, I had cousins to wreak havoc with, so I figured these two should have the same fun.

Case in point, Saturday was a trip to the movies to see Monsters University. As an added bonus, I got these two to do a blog review, Movie Ticket. It's best to get the feel of a kids movie from kids. So, here we go...

 photo movietix1_zps928c65da.png

This movie was awesome because it was good! (JC)

Mike and Sully were the main characters. Mike wanted to be a Scarer. They had to practice being Scarers. (H) Mike and Sully were not friends in the beginning but ended up becoming friends in the end. (JC)

The character Art did a good job because he was funny. (H) Sully did a good job cause he was a great Scarer. (JC)

My favorite part was when Mike and Sully met. (H) My favorite part was the fear games. (JC)

The movie taught us how to be good friends. (JC) You can be nice to people and smart when trying to be a monster. (H)

Yes, other kids should see this movie. (H & JC)

Ok, back to reality. From the roaring laughter down front, I'll say that parents enjoyed this movie as well. MonkeyMan enjoyed it, Yogli is still laughing from movie scenes. If you recall details from the first movie, this one ties things together nicely. Billy Crystal and John Goodman are excellent at their craft. The movie does a great job showing kids how to persevere even when obstacles are continuously hurled at them. We saw how to try a variety of things in order to reach our dreams. Mike and Sully worked hard to become Scarers and it took time. What a nice twist to the images t.v. and music videos where they make it seem as if riches happen overnight. 

Now, let's hope that neither Hummingbird or J-Creek don't want to grow up to be Scarers!

post signature

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why out of the wazoo

Why do we need rain? Are the trees gonna fall again? Why do we need trees? What is lightning?

We've had a rainy few months here in Georgia, which usually brews some pretty nasty thunderstorms. This also brews a barrage of questions from Hummingbird. Questions that I don't always know the answer to. Sometimes I know the answer but just don't have the energy to go into any of them because I know it will lead to another "why" question. I've read that the "why" questions reappear when kids turn 7. Didn't know they actually disappeared, huh?

So, this:
Atlanta Journal and Constitution

Lead to...


 photo why1_zps71e1cfef.png

On the ride home yesterday, it hit me (thanks Holy Spirit). Whenever hit with a "why" question, I decided to have Hummingbird jump on the computer and research the question. Once she has the information, she has to write down three things that she learned about the topic. Then she has to tell us about the three things at the dinner table.

I'll tell you, Yogli was not too impressed with my idea. And after she hopped on the computer and got frustrated after only 5 seconds, I started to rethink my idea. Her frustration led to whining. Her whining led me to tell her "never mind". But I am working on being more consistent with them. One thing that I've learned as parent, kids need consistency. They just sit back and wait on the opportunity when you don't do what you said you would do. There are many times when I am too tired to reinforce a law I laid down the day before. And at those moments, they love throwing my law up in my face! At that point, I have a choice: keep and reinforce the law or say "never mind", we'll start again tomorrow. Both speak volumes to them. "My mom keeps putting things off", "My mom is not serious" or "Man, my mom is on her A game", I prefer the latter. Procrastination is a comfortable, yet ugly beast. At times, I have to use every fiber of my being to fight it off.

So, we worked through the tears. I tickled her a bit, she likes to be tickled. This got her back in the mood to answering her "why" question. She found out why we need trees. Now, for the presentation, she likes to put on a good show.

At dinnertime, I explained to MonkeyMan what was about to happen, he chuckled. Yogli laughed. After we said grace, she sprung into action.

How long can I keep this up? As long as it is of value, she keeps learning something new. I might even pick up something new. Especially since it's summer break, keeping her mind primed and ready is a good thing.

Wait, what's that I see? Is that the sun?

Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me....and shine some light on all these questions Hummingbird keeps asking.

post signature

Monday, June 17, 2013

Do you...without the guilt

We are a blended family. Are we? What do they call it when one person has kids, the other doesn't, they get married. That's still blended, right? Labels make things so complicated. Anyway, as a result of all of this, I have to interact with the ex husband and exchange the children at times. Now, those exchange moments are far and in between (no need to dwell on that). But when those far and in between times come, I make the most of it.

MonkeyMan gave me a great revelation the other night. If you follow this blog, you have probably heard me talk about how we work different shifts. He comes home on Friday night at about 11:30 pm. He was astonished to find out that I was still awake! I wasn't tired at all. I mentioned to him that Hummingbird exhausts me. He said to remember that my personality type is that of an introvert. See Hummingbird didn't just get that name by chance. About 2 summers ago, she decided she didn't want to be called by her real name. She came up with Hummingbird and Flower. So, we went a whole summer calling her by either of those names. Hummingbirds are tiny and they flutter around constantly. That's her. She's an extrovert, not sure how because her dad is not an extrovert. MonkeyMan proceeds to tell me that, because she's an extrovert, she drains my introverted spirit. While I am being drained, she's being energized. On the flipside of that, I am energized when I am able to be alone. If she's left alone, she's being drained. Hence, the reason why I was still awake when he came home.

With my new found revelation, I woke up on Saturday morning and headed to the gym, while MonkeyMan headed into work for a few hours (I know, it sucks, right?). It's all good though, because we had a date night later,

Barely being able to walk after the gym, I fell into my car and went to a few of my favorite places: Hobby Lobby and Kohl's. It is a different experience when a mom can go shopping without being asked a gazillion questions. Or having to dance around a coordinated block technique. Yogli and Hummingbird do this to me whenever we're in stores they don't want to be in.

Shopping alone, how therapeutic! You get to take your time, nobody rushing you, you can go to how many ever stores you want to. Probably the most beautiful benefit to all of this is that I am price conscious shopper. I will never pay full price.

After my shopping was done, I strolled into the house. Not a sound. Went into my cloffice, cranked up Spotify and enjoyed working on this blog, internet surfing, whatever I wanted to do.

As moms, our "ON" button is always on. I enjoy motherhood, it has helped to shape me into the person  I am today. That's only one of my roles though. I am one person with multiple roles. In order for me to perform my roles effectively, I need to be fueled. Fueled without the guilt. There should be no guilt of indulging in things that make you feel good.

So, how do you "do you"? Is it by getting a massage? Staying in bed all day? Shopping? I know a mom whose "do you" time is with her 2 boys, both under the age of 5! Wow, but some moms cannot stand being away from their kids. However you "do you", just do it. Even if it's just for a few hours, do you. In order to be your best for the fam, you've got to be your best for you first. Everybody needs and deserves a mental break.

Well, my "do me" weekend has come to a close. They're baaaacckkkk! Bring it, I say, cause I am energized and back in mommy mode.

post signature

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Blogview with a Step Dad - Happy Father's Day!

Yogli and Hummingbird have the bonus of celebrating two fathers each year. Yogli's biological father died when Yogli was 3, my ex husband adopted Yogli short after that. Years after that, Hummingbird was born, which 2 years later, we were divorced. Both kids spend time with their dad from time to time.

I often fantasized about being married to a wonderful man that would accept my kids as his own. We hear it every day, about how kids and step parents don't get along. I must admit, I was a bit scared of finding love with the possibility of having to forfeit it if he didn't get along with my kids.

I remember it like it was yesterday, MonkeyMan meeting Yogli and Hummingbird for the first time. Hummingbird made it loud and clear of her rank in my life by saying "this is my mommy". Yes, those were her first words to MonkeyMan. Yogli seemed fine, I often caught him staring at us when he thought we weren't looking. Almost like saying "wow, is this for real?"

Look at them now!
 photo b0a56a27-fec4-4e4b-b0f3-05ce6b21559b_zps730a5f89.jpg

So, Father's Day is today. MonkeyMan has no biological children of his own (keep going back and forth about whether or not we're gonna do it or not). I wonder about how he feels being in Yogli and Hummingbird's lives. My wondering lead to a blogview (blog + interview). Here's what he had to say:

 photo pics_zps5d3e615f.png

Me: As we approach Father's Day, what is your definition of "father"? 
MM: Protector, provider, counselor, and the one who gives the good kick in the butt when you need it.

Me: Describe your feelings of the title "stepfather"? 
MM: I am fine with the title.

Me: Do you consider yourself a parent?  
MM: Absolutely, I couldn't imagine being any prouder or happier than being allowed to be part of this great family.

Me: Where do you draw your parenting insight/motivation from? 
MM: Get a lot from my parents, even though that is a little scary. Who knew they actually did know what they were doing as I as growing up. Maybe some from TV, who didn't want some of those TV parents from the 80s? And I am always seeking insight from inspirational and knowledgeable sources.  I have a lot to learn.

Me: What are the top 3 things you've learned since becoming a step dad to Yogli and Hummingbird? 
MM: 1.) Time is the most valuable thing I can give. 2.) That I will not always have the right answer for everything. 3.) That I wish I could have been part of their life sooner.

Me: Any frustrations? Are they directly linked to becoming their step dad? 
MM: No frustrations. The transition went a lot easier than I had anticipated. Both Hummingbird and Yogli were very welcoming and seemed genuinely happy that you were happy. I never felt at anytime they had reservations of me coming into their life.

Me: As they grow older, what would you like for Yogli and Hummingbird to learn from you? 
MM: Stay positive and have some fun on their journey through life. Blessings can come at the most unexpected of times, so be ready for them.

Me: Any advice for other step dads out there? 
MM: I really should be asking them for advice. The main thing is just be yourself, be sincere, give time, and let the relationship grow. 

I am truly blessed to have met my MonkeyMan and to have him present in Yogli and Hummingbird's lives. Happy Father's Day to all the awesome men who are present in a child's life. 

post signature

Friday, June 14, 2013

Other duties as assigned?!?!?

“Other duties as assigned.” Can anybody tell me exactly what that means? It’s on my job description at work and some interesting duties usually end up falling under that category. I won’t dwell too much on that but will tell you that by having “other duties as assigned”, I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to take on some new responsibilities.

 photo notebookpaper1_zps4e1e581b.png

My new duties did not come with a set of instructions. There was no reference guide or manual to guide me on getting things done correctly. My A type personality could not comprehend this! I struggle with following verbal instruction, but baby, if you write them down for me, I can run and go do. With my new duties, to which I had no prior knowledge, I began to keep a notebook of the most recurring issues. Let me tell you, this helped me tremendously! 

By writing these things down, I now had a guide that I could refer to when needed. Why didn’t anyone think of that before? Well, maybe I was the chosen one.
Writing things down led me to begin asking more questions. I know that I can be annoying with asking so many questions. In beginning, I was kinda embarrassed for asking so many questions. I really felt like my questions were stupid, like I should have already known the answer. Oh, that’s another side effect of having a type A personality. We think we need to know EVERYTHING. Even if we’ve never encountered something, seen it, smelled it, tasted it, you get the point. This has caused great stress in my life. I’ve worked hard to come to grips that I don’t know everything, will never know everything, don’t need to. Imagine if I knew everything. I would never feel the excitement of learning something new.

 photo notebookpaper2_zps9b0e32e2.png

So, I  started to ask questions. I know I must have come across as lil kid asking “why” all of the time. But asking questions showed that I was truly seeking understanding. The more understanding I got enabled me to teach others my new learnings. Not only that, but I could be confident in what I was talking about. That’s important. Know what you’re talking about. People can see right through you when you’re just blowing smoke up their, well, you know. 

For every question I asked, I jotted the answer down in my notebook. I would verify the answers by gathering screenshots, this helped with seeing it visually.

Hmm, this falls right into line with the biblical scripture of writing down the vision, making it plain, so that you can easily run with it/do it (Habakkuk 2:2).
Writing things down kinda seals the deal, causing you to own whatever you wrote. While performing my “other duties as assigned”, I learned how to stand behind my new learnings when questioned or eat crow when I misinterpreted what was told to me. Sure, whenever I ate the crow, my cheeks would get flushed from embarrassment. Or my sweat glands would go into overdrive, making my armpits a fountain that overfloweth, if you recall, I’ve got a somewhat problem with underarm perspiration.

 photo notebookpaper3_zps450f538a.png

Feeling this type of embarrassment helped me to work harder at asking the right questions from the beginning. I learned how to stop making excuses for not having the right system access or because my manager didn't supply me with the information. I began to seek out the people who could grant me the right system access or find other people than my manager to get answers from. Doing these things helped because I was forming new relationships and taking the initiative. 

And, of course, I made mistakes along the way. There’s a difference between making mistakes and blaming others, I learned how to make mistakes, own up to them and learn from them.

As I type this, I realize that these three things, write it down, ask questions, and own it, could be used in every aspect of life. Cause as moms, we know that there are many things that fall under "other duties as assigned" in our homes. Come to think of it, that might be only sentence on the entire job description!

post signature

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I'll take my personal chef now...

 photo dinnercaptions_zps9ce3ab69.png

Tired of hearing that, huh? You and me both. After a long day at work, then an hour commute, those are the last words I want to hear.

It can be tough trying to feed your family healthy meals that you can whip up in 20 minutes. Sure there are websites, books, even shows dedicated to showing us how to make magnificent meals in 30 minutes or less. It sounds easy and can be easy, but requires some planning.

Our planning usually starts on Sunday mornings, on the drive to church (making the most of our time). Conversation goes something like this:
Me: "What meals would you like next week?"
MonkeyMan: "Ah, I really liked the chicken enchiladas you did a few weeks ago, let's add that."
Me: "Ok, that's one. What about spaghetti? Can you do that on Thursday?"

You get the point. MonkeyMan is an excellent cook and knows that I desire to one day have a personal chef. But until then, we split the cooking duties. A side effect of us working different shifts is that we can each take 2 days of cooking and wing it the other days.

Another tactic we use is our crock pot. The crock pot is awesome because it slow cooks food without you having to stand over it. You would be amazed at the types of foods that can be prepared in the crockpot. Would you believe that I made chicken parmesan in the crockpot? It makes meats so tender, yum, yum! Meats, usually, consume the most cooking time. The crockpot allows you to get that part out of the way so that you only have to get some vegetables together, maybe a starch (trying to cut down on those). For example, the chicken parm cooking in the crockpot, the starch will be the spaghetti tossed with spaghetti sauce and then broccoli florets. Get the steam in the bag broccoli florets, takes about 5 minutes zapped in the microwave. Not a fan of the microwave? You can use fresh broccoli, just steam it on the stove top.

Ok, so before you crank up the crock pot, you gotta head to the grocery store to pick up your items. DON'T GO TO THIS PLACE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH! Pick a day when you have time, would be great to not have to bring the kiddies. And you need a list. I use the app Cozi to make our shopping list. Our list has each meal listed along with the ingredients needed for each meal. Plenty of times I've made a list, to only struggle remembering what the heck I was gonna use rice wine vinegar for.

One more tactic, Pinterest. Yeah, I know, it can be exasperating to use at times. Before you know it, hours have passed and you've got a ton of ideas on how to organize your linen closet but no meal ideas, which was your original intent for logging on anyway. I've found some really delicious meals on Pinterest, here are a few that I remembered to pin.

So, yes, Mom, it is possible to feed your family some good food during the work week. It's just gonna take some planning and maybe some earplugs to block out the constant cries of "what's for dinner?" This will work in the meantime, until I get my personal chef. Bon appetit!

post signature

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mom Confession

My name is Tiffany and I have a confession to make. As a mom to a 16 year old boy and 7 year old girl, I confess to being disappointed in them at times. Let me give you some more detail, specifically about my disappointment in my son.

 photo momsprayer_zps06956cb0.png
Yogli is an intelligent, kind hearted kid. Even though he's 16, he still enjoys being around me. Most people thought that when he turned 13, he would change. He changed, of course, because puberty caused him to. But he still enjoyed being around me. Yogli entered the gifted program in elementary school, was accepted into the Duke TIP program for gifted kids during middle school, took the SAT in the 7th grade. He has always had the ability to engage adults in conversations. His teachers love him, other kids love him.

Now, remember, I said that he did change because puberty set in. LAZY. Starting in middle school, Yogli would complete homework assignments but would not turn them in. I could never understand that, I would watch him complete the assignments but would see on progress reports where they were never turned in. We visited psychologists to try and figure what was going on, only to be told that this was a recurring problem with many boys his age.

Even as a work outside the home mom, I stay as active as possible in their schools. I call, email, and send notes to their teachers to always have that open connection. Usually around October of every school year, I can expect notes and phone calls from Yogli's teachers.

My current disappointment comes in the form of Yogli approaching senior year. I am concerned because he has let his grades slip so much that he won't get into the colleges he had hoped for. Ok, so maybe I am jumping the gun. His junior year just ended 2 weeks ago. He earned the amount of credits required to move on to the next grade. So, he's a senior! I just thought that the road getting to this point would be decorated with more accolades that I know he is capable of achieving.

I find myself feeling envy when I hear of other kids doing these great things. My envy is fueled because I know what Yogli is capable of.

So, what do I do? For starters, I keep praying and being grateful. What am I grateful for? Yogli is independent, he is a leader not a follower, he does not party and is home every night, he talks to me, he likes to hang out with his family, he hangs out with his friends, he doesn't smoke or drink, he earned credits to become a senior (even though some of his classmates dropped out), he attends church every week and just auditioned to play drums with the teen ministry. He decided to do volunteer work this summer, I didn't persuade him to sign up, he decided this on his own. I could keep going. I have to stop looking at everybody else's kid and appreciate my kid.

I believe that MonkeyMan and I set a great example for Yogli and Hummingbird. Both kids love writing and debating (wonder where they get that from?). Hummingbird has so many journals at the age of 7 than most adults!

Disappointment is a funny thing. I set my own self up for that disappointment, Yogli's just being a kid. It's a part of mom-being that I feel a range of emotions. My job is to guide him; Yogli is my product, a product that I am about to make available to the world.

WARNING: as we approach senior year, you will probably be subjected to posts like these. I am already getting teary eyed even talking about graduation next year!

post signature

Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer, summer, summer time...time to sit back and unwind

Although it doesn't officially start until June 21st, I declare it's summertime! School's out, we just got back from a week on the beach, oh it's summer baby!

Thanks, Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff, couldn't have said it better myself!

For the past 4 years, I've always come up with things I want to do over the summer. My list usually combines fun things for me, things for me to do with the kids and then some things the kids want to do for themselves. It's very important to have those separated out like that because as moms, we tend to forget that we need to do things for ourselves in order to be our best for our families.

So, here's my 2013 Summer Bucket List for our family:
 photo 2013summerbucketlist_zps45ba34e6.png

Still finishing up my summer bucket list without the kiddies, stay tuned!

post signature

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Space (not the defunct social site) Part II

It has turned into a space that everybody likes to stop by and chat with me. Hummingbird likes it because of all the cutesy things and colors. Yogli, for some reason, thinks it's funny and doesn't take it seriously but still stops by to chat. MonkeyMan, I think, likes it and is amazed that I actually did it.

My cloffice (combining a closet and an office) is officially open! 

Now, just a few months ago, I was not wearing a big smile like the one above whenever I walked into this closet. Well, actually, you couldn't really walk into this closet (yikes, look at all of that stuff!):

That was the closet in MonkeyMan's ManCave. The closet became a spot to dump things that we don't use often. Things like MonkeyMan's Jacksonville Jaguars memorabilia, boxes of office supplies, books, my wedding dress (sad, I know, but I'm not one of those sentimental brides when it comes to preserving wedding gowns. I need to get it into somebody's consignment shop), Hummingbird's flower girl dress, crafting odds and ends, birthday party supplies, ok you get the point.

As I mentioned in Part I, everyone had a space in our house except for me. Until now.

Obviously, the first thing I did was clean out that closet, decided what I was keeping, what needed a new home. We are frequent givers to the goodwill, so that's where a few things went. Next, I decided to  buy a table desk instead of affixing a board to the closet walls. Many of the pics I viewed on google showed images of melamine boards attached to the closet walls. MonkeyMan mentioned that we needed to keep each room of the house in good shape because we are moving in 3 years. So, inserting a table desk meant no hammering into the closet wall.

I made a list of everything that I needed from Ikea:

Not sure if Ikea is in your area but you probably could find pieces like these at Target or places similar. Once I had my items, it was time to get it started:

Since we wanted to keep the room in tact, I didn't remove the shelving. The shelving would hold the filing boxes, magazine files and craft totes.

I wanted to feel inspired whenever sitting in my cloffice, so I made sure to have colorful and positive art in my area:

I consider myself a very smart and thrifty shopper. I buy most things when the price has been reduced. This translates into me having cutesy lil knick knack types of things. I took old spaghetti jars, filled them with black and clear stones to have as bookends. Did you know that when the label is taken off of Classico spaghetti jars, there are really mason jars under there! Hummingbird and I made the cutesy mini corkboards. The chair was a cinch to put together. For extra storage, I placed our wireless printer underneath my desk table. A few months back, I found this white mirror at the goodwill for $6. I placed the mirror strategically in a spot so that the light from MonkeyMan's ManCave would hit it and give me extra light in my cloffice. There is an electrical outlet right outside my cloffice, so I have a power strip in order to connect my laptop and printer.

I say all of this to say, use what you have. If you have to buy anything, go to the thrift stores/goodwill. If you go to regular stores, avoid paying full price. I paid full price for one of my cutesy art pieces at Hobby Lobby, went back a couple of weeks later, they were all marked down by 66%.

Now, if you are interested in creating your own cloffice, consider this:

Won't work if you are claustrophobic, most closets in normal sized houses are small. I've seen some google pics of closet transformations that are teeny tiny but sooooo cute! My space worked perfectly because it's a space that you can actually walk into, not like a coat closet. Again, that works for me.

Take a look at what others did with the space they had? Awesome, right?

Google images
Google images

So, welcome to my cloffice. 

Looking forward to some great blog posts coming outta here! 

post signature

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Happy Anniversary - the Living Social way

Remember this song from the Flintstones? Well, some of you young'uns may not, I'll be 40 this year, so of course I remember it! It's a catchy tune and is the perfect opening for me to outline how you can have an awesome anniversary weekend using the deal of the day site, Living Social. 

Man, can't believe it's been a year already! MonkeyMan and I got married last year, April 28.

Knew I wouldn't make it through this post without posting a wedding pic.

Ok, on to what you came to find out about how to save some mula, change, cheddar, paper, ok, money on an anniversary weekend or simply a weekend getaway for you and the hubs (geez, what's with all these urban dictionary words I'm using). 

MonkeyMan found this deal a few months prior to our anniversary. We knew we wanted to stay kinda close to home, so that helped narrow things down a bit. That's important because, as parents, we have to manage our time carefully. Trips should be planned out, except for those last minute road trips. If you work outside the home, have you scheduled the time off from work? Once that's established, plan out the trip details with your spouse. Determine how far you want to travel. Will you be traveling on a day when the kids are in school? Who's gonna pick them up? When you guys return after a blissful weekend,   have you allowed enough time to prepare for the next day if you are heading back to work? 

Alright, so you've figured all of that out and ready to hit the road. For this trip, Helen is only 1 hour away. Remember all that planning I just told you about? Well, add in travel time during rush hour traffic. We hit the road at 5 pm, which is a huge NO NO in Atlanta. Neither of us had work on this particular Friday but were exhausted from the work week that we neglected small details that would have a huge impact. It nearly took us 3 hours to get to our destination, check in closed at 8 pm. Most places will have some type of system that allows you to check in after hours. Be sure to contact the hotel/resort if you are running late. 

This was our hangout for the weekend! This cabin is nestled deep into the woods, the driveway was so steep. Total seclusion, total peace, total serenity, total anniversary weekend. 

Before booking, does your spot have amenities that make the trip worthwhile? This spot had a hot tub, a  balcony that led from the bedroom, bbq grill and an awesome living room area with bar and fireplace. We had more space than we knew what to do with. And nature added it's own twist, it rained most of the time we were there, made it more romantic. 

Saturday the rain stopped long enough for us to venture out and see the sites. 

Helen is this quaint little town in the northern Georgia mountains. According to Wikipedia, the town adopted a Bavarian look, all of the buildings there are replicas of an Alpine village.

With every deal of the day site, there is fine print. Be sure to read it. Most of the getaway deals have black out dates (dates when the deal cannot be used). The fine print will also list any additional fees, like resort fees or taxes. Read this, if you aren't clear contact the vendor directly for clarification. Don't show up and be surprised when there's a balance due and you know you already paid through Living Social. 

It proved to be an awesome weekend. It's a great feeling when you make no plans, other than the trip, and get to lounge around with your best friend. 

Need a spot for your anniversary? Or just looking to get away, check out any of the deal of the day sites and get to booking!