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Friday, October 25, 2013

Five On Friday

I’m linking up for Five on Friday today! Get excited! TGIF y’all!

{one} Halloween Costumes

I have had the idea for the boys’ Halloween costumes since early September. I was on the ball and ordered Sullivan’s costume right away; however, I dragged my feet on Cooper’s costume thinking the individual pieces would be readily available. Not so much. I ordered it online last week only to have them send me an email that they would be refunding my money because it was out of stock. So my mom and I have both been running around town the past week trying to track down all the pieces we need for the costume. I found the costume as a set and drove 45 minutes to pick up it only to find out – you guessed it – it is backordered. So Jason and I packed up the boys and drove around to every sports store in Aiken and Augusta last night trying to find the stuff for this dang costume. I finally found enough pieces to hobble together a costume at Kmart, of all places. I’m not thrilled about what I did find… I think it looks kind of cheap, but it is workable. I’m still hoping the original store will get them in stock this weekend. Fingers crossed.

DSC00420Halloween 2007

Jason and I are going to a Halloween costume tonight hosted by our small group. I went to Party City yesterday to look at costumes (again with the last minute shopping) and could not find anything that wasn’t slutty for myself. Why do costume makers think women want to look like prostitutes on Halloween? Ugh. I couldn’t stomach paying $50 for a costume for Jason, so you may be seeing Mr. Dynamite again this year.

{two} The Goldbergs

If you have not watched this show, you are missing out. It is HILARIOUS. And this is coming from a girl who rarely watches TV anymore. So you know if I spend my precious TV time watching a show, it is a good show.

{three} Chicken Gyros

This summer I had one of the best meals of my life while we were in Charleston for a day trip. No, it wasn’t shrimp and grits. It was greek chicken soft tacos. AH-mazing. I’ve been trying to replicate them every since. Try it – your taste buds will thank you.

This slow cooker recipe is so easy and uses ingredients you probably already have on hand. I used either pita bread, naan, or soft taco shells for the bread of the gyro.

For grilled chicken gyros I marinate chicken in a greek dressing (Kraft makes one) and then sprinkle with greek seasoning before grilling.

Top with lettuce, tzatziki, tomatoes, feta cheese, black olives, cucumbers, and red onion. Yum!

{four} White Chocolate Raspberry Creamer

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SO GOOD. Apparently you can freeze coffee creamer (thanks Holly and Mandy!) so I will be stocking up on this seasonal creamer!

{five} What Does The Fox Say?

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For the past couple of weeks I have been hearing people on Twitter reference this and had no idea what they were talking about. A few nights ago Jason and I were talking and I mentioned that people on Twitter were crazy about foxes and that I thought there must be a new children’s show or book out about foxes because it was all people were talking about. He looked at me like I was crazy and promptly pulled up YouTube to show me what the hype was all about.

What I can’t get over is not that someone recorded this song but that they paid good money for a professionally produced video.

Hilarious!

Happy weekend friends!

 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cleaning Schedules & Routines

Hey friends! Happy Monday! I hope your weekend was restful and that your Monday is going well. I've crossed quite a few things off my to-do list, so I'm feeling pretty good today!

Last night I posted the picture below on Instagram with the following comment and I was asked to elaborate in a blog post. I am ever the people pleaser, so here you go!

Spent a hour tonight updating my calendar, creating goals for the week, making a to-do list, and making a cleaning schedule. Hopefully this means I conquer Monday.

Before I had Sullivan I deep cleaned my house like a crazy person. I climbed counters and got on top of the fridge at 36 weeks pregnant just so I could apply Old English to the cabinets. I scrubbed grout at 31 weeks pregnant. I cleaned my bathrooms the night before I was induced.

Crazy, party of one. Something about being pregnant bring out the desire in me to get my house cleaner than it has been my entire life.

Needless to say, my house was spotless before I left for the hospital. I knew I wanted to keep it that way, so I sat down the week before I was induced and made what I thought was an achievable cleaning schedule that would allow me to do a little bit every day and still maintain a clean house.

I knew it would be awhile before I could implement the schedule and that in the interim my house would get messy and cluttered. Between breastfeeding, two bouts of mastitis, family visiting, and learning to adjust to life with 2 kids I haven't actually followed the schedule until this week.

Side note: I am a deep cleaner. I can't, for example, wipe down the kitchen counters and load the dishwasher and call it a day. I have to wipe the counters, clean the fridge, wipe down the cabinets, sweep, mop, etc. It drives my husband crazy but I've just never learned the art of picking up. Dust bunnies and sticky floors torment me. So if you are a picker upper like Jason, this schedule is not for you.


As you can see, I break down the rooms into my house into days of the week. Cooper has school on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and I visit friends and do my errands those days. Since I'm out of the house some those mornings, I assigned rooms to those days that take me less time to clean. We're typically home all day on Mondays so I assigned my hardest task - bathrooms - to those days.

In case you can't see the PDF file above, the schedule is below.
  • Monday: Master bathroom, kids bathroom, and laundry room. This includes wiping down counters, cleaning mirrors, scrubbing toilets, scrubbing tub/shower, sweeping, and mopping. In the laundry room I wipe down the washer and dryer, sweep, and mop. 
  • Tuesday: Master bedroom, Sullivan's room, Cooper's room, & hallway. This includes washing/changing sheets, dust & polish furniture, organize closets and drawers, & vacuum. In the hallway I vacuum, dust the bookcase, and wipe down the banister. 
  • Wednesday: Kitchen and downstairs bath. In the kitchen I wipe down counters and cabinets, organize/clean out pantry and fridge, sweep & mop. 
  • Thursday: Living room, dining room, playroom, and entry. This includes dusting and polishing furniture, cleaning mirrors, wiping down the leather couches, lint rolling the chair in the living room, vacuuming the carpet, and sweeping and mopping the hardwood floors. 
  • Friday: Office. In addition to cleaning the office, I do the following tasks -- balance checkbook and pay bills, file paperwork, update to-do list and calendar, make a meal plan and grocery list, and plan out homeschool activities for the coming week.
  • Saturday: Outside. Jason does the yard work and I sweep the porches and wipe down the furniture. 
  • Sunday: Day of rest. 
I also have a checklist of daily chores: make beds, wipe down counters in bathroom, wash & fold one load of laundry, wipe down kitchen counters, load/unload dishwasher, take out trash, put away toys and clutter, and a quick sweep/vacuum.

I'm working on a list of things that need to be done monthly/quarterly/annually - if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I know I'm forgetting things!

Obviously there are days I won't accomplish everything on my list. Some days I am sure I won't get anything done at all. But this keeps me from getting overwhelmed or from spending all my time cleaning instead of spending it with the boys. All the daily tasks can be accomplished during nap time and then I am able to have quality time with the boys when they are awake.

Do you use a cleaning schedule? What works for your family?

The printable above was purchased from Happy Organized Life.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

5 on Friday: Loving Now Edition

{one} Pumpkin Spice Lattes

I have long loved the Pumpkin Spice Lattes, PSL for those in the know. Not so much the drink itself (I mean, it is good, but it isn’t great) but the fact that for me PSL has become synonymous with fall. Fall = chance to cover my baby fat with more clothes! Yay!

Anyway, I just haven’t been able to get into the PSL this season. I felt like I was betraying my sisterhood by my indifference, so I have continued to soldier on and order the drink even though for some reason this year I don’t love it. Let’s face it, I’d drink my coffee black these days just to get a jolt of energy to make it through toddler tantrums, midnight feedings, and the dogs waking me up when the babies do not.

I’m getting off track, aren’t I? That is what happens when you have 6 weeks of interrupted sleep. I tried to pay at Target with my library card the other day and got quite irate when it didn’t work. The cashier had to gently remind the crazy lady with greasy hair and 3 day old sweatpants that library cards were not actually a form of currency.

Anyway – try your PSL with a pump of caramel. IT IS LIFE CHANGING. Oh my, it is good.

{two} Pumpkin Pecan Waffle Candle from Bath & Body Works

I think it smells like yummy sweet baking goodness and Jason swears it smells like Capt’n Crunch cereal. Run, run, run to BBW and stock up before they sell out of these. I got the candles and the wallflowers! My house smells like IHOP and the cereal isle!

{three} My Boys

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Oh, these two make me so happy. (Sullivan is apparently not a fan of selfies – he is his father’s child, while Cooper stops to primp in any mirror or reflective surface he sees. He is clearly my child.)

{four} Mustard

No, not the condiment (which I loathe, expect on hot pretzels. Then it is delicious.) I’m talking about the color.

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Completely obsessed. I’m not an orange fan (any Carolina fan will understand why) so I gravitate towards mustard for fall.

{five} Duck Dynasty

I’m so late to the Duck Dynasty party! I watched it for the first time after I had Sullivan and was hooked. It makes me happy, happy, happy!

Happy weekend lovlies!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Introducing…

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Sullivan Willard James House

September 4th, 2013 at 1:02 p.m.

7 pounds 4 ounces

20 inches

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We are over the moon excited to share the arrival of our sweet boy with you. He is such a blessing, and I honestly can’t believe we are now a family of four.

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:27

Monday, October 14, 2013

State of the Union

Last night I had just finished checking out at Target and was idly waiting by the exit for Jason, who had gone to the bathroom. A very sweet girl, Tory, approached me and asked “do you write that blog My Chihuahua Bites?”

Why, yes. Yes, I do.

Or at least I used to.

That was my first “fan” encounter – the first person to approach me and tell me that they read my blog. It’s happened once before, but not in such a personal way. My fellow Navy wife, Jenn, emailed me to tell me that she had been at a hospital in CT and had heard some girls in the waiting room talking about a blog called My Chihuahua Bites.

Y’all. There are no words for how excited I get when I hear someone reads or enjoys my blog. Last night I floated around my house on a sea of excitement, just tickled pink because she likes me, she really really likes me! I know a lot of people write for themselves – for various reasons – but I write for you. There’s absolutely no purpose for me writing a blog post other than to reach my intended audience. And you, my friends, are my audience.

I started blogging in 2008. The blog world was so different back then! In the good old days (ha!) blogging was all about community. I was a mad woman back in those days – spending hours browsing the internet, visiting all my friends’ sidebars to visit blogs they liked and read. I left comment after comment. I returned every single email or comment that was sent to or left for me.

I don’t regret a second of the time I spent building my blog. I found so many great blogs (sadly, many of which do not write anymore). I learned what I liked and did not like, what I wanted to blog about, the etiquette of blogging, and built a community here on my blog.

Then I got pregnant with Cooper, and my daily blogging habit turned into sporadic once a month blogging. I lost some readership, which was to be expected. By the time I had Cooper and got back into blogging regularly, blogging had changed.

Twitter really changed the way we all interact online, I think. I can’t speak for others but it sure changed things for me. In a way, I blame Twitter for the slow decline of my blog. Things I previously would have dedicated an entire blog post to suddenly became a 140 character tweet. I started to get my interaction through Twitter and not through my blog community.

Blogging has changed, and in my opinion, not for the better. I miss the days of comments and emails. I know that people still do read my blog because I check my stats, but I get very few comments these days. And that’s ok – I’m not whining or begging for comments by any means. I just miss the days when commenting was the norm because (in my opinion) that’s how you build friendship and relationships.

Again, I can’t speak for everyone, only myself. I know the reason I don’t comment on blogs is that sometimes it is so dang hard! I hate, no LOATHE, captchas. I will X right out of a blog that requires it. I also do most of my reading on my iPhone or iPad and it is far too complicated to comment through those devices.

Blogging is a lost art. I now see two different kinds of bloggers (and neither are bad – this isn’t a criticism). I see the blogger who blogs for the purpose of documenting their life. This blogger doesn’t necessarily care about establishing relationships or readership of their blog. They are simply documenting their memories. Then there is the paid blogger – the blogger that actively curates and creates content for their blog, and they get paid for doing so.

Side note: how many time can I use the word blog in this post?!

What is my point (I know you were thinking it, right?)? Well, I miss blogging. Truly. I miss the relationships, the creative outlet, having a voice and sometimes striking a chord in people. I miss making people laugh, cry, think, or scoff at me through my blog posts. I miss the friendships and the support that I’ve gotten over the years from this community.

My life has changed drastically since I had Sullivan. I have a new normal, and I’m hoping to carve out some time to make blogging part of that normal. I’m committed to take the time to sit down daily and write, because I think it makes me a better person. I’m opening myself up and asking God to possibly open doors for me as a result of blogging. I have no idea what that might mean or what it might look like, but I want to be open to change as a result of doing something I am good at and that I love to do.

I have no idea what my blog will look like in the coming months. I still love home decorating, cooking, makeup, and fashion. You’ll still read lots about my family. I’d love to get back to doing YouTube videos at some point!

What would you like to see from me? Are there any posts I’ve done in the past that you would like to see more of? Leave me a comment (that I promise to return!) and let me know!

Good to see you again, readers. I’ve missed you.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My #OneBigTruth

On Thursday morning I was sitting in the café at Target feeding Sullivan and browsing blogs when I saw this post from Erin pop into my reader. I was so touched by her honestly and truth, and I knew I wanted to join in. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already read my #onebigtruth but I wanted to elaborate further on the blog.

What is #onebigtruth?

I’ve always struggled with finding my calling. When I was a teenager, I was on fire for God. My youth pastor used to talk so much about going out into the world and doing big things for God, and somehow in my mind I started to believe that meant being called to ministry or missions. A lot of my friends from my youth group went off to a bible college to study for just that, but I never felt any strong calling in that area.

I entered college with no clue what I wanted to do. As a senior in high school, I took part in a teacher’s preparation course where I was given the opportunity to volunteer in an elementary school classroom. I liked it well enough, so when I never heard God speak to me regarding my future I put words in his mouth and decided education should be my major. I slogged through 2 years worth of classes, never feeling the “click” that I felt I should feel if this was indeed what I was meant to do.

When I was a second semester sophomore, I pledged a sorority. My “grandmother” (my sorority big sister’s big sister) was a social work major and she was ON FIRE for her future career. She was so passionate about the work she was going to do. She was going to change the world! I saw her and became convinced this should be my calling, too. I changed my major and obtained a degree in social work from my alma mater.

I’ve held many jobs in the 12 years I’ve been in this field. A school social worker, a mediator, a caseworker… I’ve worked with kids, adults, and for the past five years I’ve worked with developmentally disabled adults. I’ve loved all my jobs and I truly feel as if God has directed my steps to lead me to those jobs. However, I’ve never once felt that being a social worker was God’s calling for my life.

Then I had Cooper, and my life changed. I remember sitting in his nursery just a few days after he was born, rocking and feeding my sweet newborn. I looked into his little face and cradled him in my arms and I thought to myself “this is where I’m meant to be.” I found contentment and purpose in being a mother, more so than I’d ever had before in my life.

I returned to work when he was 10 weeks old. Jason and I never even discussed me staying home. Honestly, at that point we could not have afforded for me to stay home. I went to work and I missed my baby desperately, but I found joy in the work I did and I eventually found balance between being a mother and having a job.

See, I’ve always felt like I had to work. My mother worked. My grandmother worked. All the female role models in my life worked and their children were cared for by loving caregivers or family members. That was my normal. My parents sent me to college with the expectation that I’d repay their sacrifice and hard work with a job. So working was my norm, and when I married Jason it was discussed and expected that I would continue to work and contribute financially to our family.

Did I make a lot of money? Heck, no. After taxes my income would hit just a little above poverty level. But I still felt as if I contributed – and in my mind, contribution was monetary.

So I placed my value in the job I did, and not as a mother. Whenever I had to describe myself I labeled myself first as a social worker and then as a mother.

Oh, how I’ve been humbled.

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God has been hard at work on me in the past year. I’ve come to realize that the most important thing I will ever do is to be a mother. There is nothing more important or of value that raising my children. God has given me two precious gifts, and I don’t take that lightly. They are on loan to me for the sole purpose of raising them in the image of our Lord. The single biggest goal I have is to raise my children to be Godly young men, men of courage and character.

I’ve come to realize my paycheck isn’t the biggest contribution I’ll make to my family. It’s the time I spend with my children, the example I set forth for them, and the lessons I teach them. It’s the home I make and the feeling they have when they are with me. It’s the way they act when the go out into the world without me.

Thank you, God, for revealing my calling in the birth of these two precious boys.



My Chihuahua Bites
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Southern belle, mom of 1, cooker, decorator, crafter, and lover of all things beauty related. Check my About Me tab for more information!

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