Thursday, July 28, 2011

The kids are back with a little spoiling :)

The kids came back Sunday evening. It was so good to see them again.
It was also good to enjoy my home ENTIRELY clean for all of an hour before they ransacked it again ;)

What? haha

Mid week MiMi's Gymboree order came. I am pretty pleased with the book bag & lunch box :) As was she:
In addition to the book bag & lunchbox arriving, I used what little money I had saved up from doing a couple photo sessions while the kids were away to purchase some other school clothes.

I went to Ross' & found some adorable tops with necklace's attached to them. They were only $6.99 a pop! Too cute to pass up. We also found some of those glittery sketchers that run for 47 bucks at the shoe store for only 22 bucks. So we snagged those also.

It's always a good idea to get school stuff out of the way a little at a time while you have the money if you're on a tight budget like we are. It has been so hot here that you sweat just by walking outside, so I've kept the kids inside until the heat index dies down some.

I am probably one of the only girls I know who DESPISES summer.
Correction, NC summers. They are HUMID and STICKY and absolutely not something I am fond of.

I will be one happy girl when fall hits. I crave 70 degrees with a breeze. Actually I'd love the 60's to be perfectly honest. Just so long as we aren't robbed of a fall like last year.

Last year the summer stayed till near December. :( No fair! haha.

It could always be worse and for that I count my blessings <3

Friday, July 22, 2011

i LOVE Wally World right now!!

The other day I was on facebook browsing status updates & seen Wal Mart's, mentioning they had Hello Kitty shirts now. I thought this was great because I used to shop Target for it, and surely, Wally would be cheaper, right?

I needed a new mop anyway, since I left my metal mop in diluted bleach for two days and it corroded the bottom bar right off (oops).

I also needed my critter (mice) snap traps (see post below).

Why not check out the new Hello Kitty. I mean, while I was there anyway, right? ;)

So I get my mop, I get my critter traps.
I am looking crazy and anti social because I am not used to being out of the house with out my kids. I mean seriously, I never realized how shy I can be when no one I know is around me. It's almost sad.

Nevermind, I speed walk to the kids isle and find the Hello Kitty shirts. WAY cuter than Target's! I see they are 8-10 bucks a pop. I go ahead and grab two I like.

As I am fixing to leave I see a lone clearance isle with my daughter's boyfriend (haha), Justin Bieber. (Well, shirts anyway). ooooh, clearance! I do like!

I liked even more the price tags were only $3!!


Gosh, just what a broke mama loves to see!
An affordable Justin Bieber merchandise rack!

I find the two cutest long sleeve shirts I can find and a hoodie.

Then I hurry to checkout so I can hurry up and get home, because God forbid anyone try to socialize with me I will be entirely awkward and embarass myself ;)

She rings me up and my total is only 26 bucks. I don't think anything of it because the cashier & I are busy talking about her boyfriend's er MALE friends love of Justin. And she has me in stitches and I am thinking, well, maybe I am not so socially awkward after all.

Minus the part, I am totally laughing like I am 12 with an 18 year old girl and I am 28. :) Bless her heart!

I get home and look over my receipt to notice the $3 shirts rang up for only $1.50 each! :) and the hello kitty shirts only rang up for $3 each!

My lucky day!! :)

So now my daughter has a couple things I can add to her school clothing pile and I can bargain hunt the rest before school starts in late August.

What do you do when you are kid free?

I would like to imagine, that most people who never get a kid free moment, like myself, would do a wide variety of interesting things.


Well, I have done the following in the last 7 days:





(a couple mice came in one night and I had to turn to youtube to learn how to set a snap trap. Apparantley I am too stupid to understand the instructions when reading).

SUCCESS! I did catch all 3, I set more traps just incase, but 2 days later I have no more catchs.  My dad, who thinks he is Billy the Exterminator, tells me "Oh, Jenny, they just come in because it's know, it's so damn hot".

Thanks Dad. Yes, YES it is hot. BUT, I can not live with critters. They have no bladder so they pee as they critter along, they poop and their poop carries bacteria and virus'. They are cute, but not cute enough to let me let them infest. They populate way too fast. And the worst thing? The critters often carry fleas. So be sure you mop A LOT if you happen to live in an area with fields and you get the occasional critter mouse, because BELIEVE ME, they WILL leave you with fleas if you are not on it! Everytime I have caught them they have left me with a flea problem. BUT, I started to use murphy's oil soap after I catch them and it seems to kill them off. I haven't seen any (knock on wood) in years. I hope it stay sthat way. I mop every other day and it keeps the bugs out. I loooove murphy's oil soap. BUT I love Pine Sol more.

So I will use Murphy's oil soap to kill off bugs and I will use Pine Sol later because it smells so good for a good 3 days :)

But back to critter mice, I do not want them..

FOR ONE, when they go crittering at night they are so loud I think that someone is either:
a.) breaking in
b.) I have ghosts

Eventually I learned that my home mostly remains ghost free, and the dog wards off anyone who comes a few feet near the gate. Critters be damned! ;P

Today, I sanded and painted Ethan's baseboards bright white (for the sock monkey room). Now that I have painted all that, I will need new doors when we have spare change. And his room shall be set up within the next few days :) (still need to stain his dresser).

and I replaced all the old off white outlet covers with bright white.
Which reminds me, if you ever find yourself unable to find a flat head screwdriver (I must of found 10 Phillip's screwdrivers but not a flathead to be found)..just use a tweezer's flat edge.
(I know my hands are ugly, please do not remind me, I have old folk hands) :))

It's hot. It is so hot here. It could always be worse.

Now excuse me while I go finish my sons room and attempt to sing along to "ALONE", by HEART. It is my favorite.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 Review

As a blogger, I often look for new ways to make my blog stand out a little. I have to admit, I like the simple approach as a woman who will be 29 this year.

I was recently contacted by a representative at who offered me a chance to use the website for free for a month. After checking the website out, I happily agreed to do so.

If you are unfamiliar with, let me tell you about it! is a stock photography site. Unlike other stock photography sites, this site offers more than photographs. In addition to high resolution photographs, offers, Illustrations, Vectors, and Video.

My favorite would have to be the illustrations & vectors. As I do my own photography, I am really LOVING the variety of illustrations and vectors, has to offer its users! For instance, if you go to the site and type in the search bar, "cupcake" and click on "illustration and vectors", you will see THOUSANDS of beautiful high resolution images for download!

Do you like my new blog logo? (The girl)? I downloaded her as part of my free trial courtesy of! :)

Fotolia offers images at rates ranging from .75 for a small image, up to $8 for an XXL (up to 15 MP image) for a single download.

I know, some people may think $8 is a lot of money, but let me remind you that, a photographer would charge WAY more for you to have a full resolution downloadable image royalty free. (I have seen photographers charge in excess of $150 for one single image).

If you are some one who needs access to multiple images, you would benefit from a subscription plan to Fotolia. You will pay a subscription fee, and pay as low as .14 cents per download. Amazing - right?

Who would a subscription plan benefit?

I can give you a really good example. When I worked in a realty office for many years, our office could have really used a site like for our business. We would hire photographers all the time for use of their images on our marketing tools and campaigns. We also would order clip art that wasn't always a high resolution from online dealers for a lot more money than what charges.

I sure wish this site was around when I was still working in real estate marketing - it would have saved me TIME by not having to find people for their photography services, TIME not having to scour the internet for the latest clip art Cd's, that were almost always disappointing and LOTS OF MONEY! would be an asset to ANY business (big or small) in marketing, for the use of images in flyers, websites, brochures, company letters, thank you cards, etc. The limitations are ENDLESS!

As per someone like me; the common blogger, and photographer, this website will benefit me when it comes time for doing holiday specific blogs, or fun creative blogging. The subscription services for me would not work, as I would not use as many images, but I would gladly pay $8 for a high resolution image when needed from this site!

Still not convinced on stock photography? Head on over to and take a peak for yourself!

Need a little more push? HOW ABOUT A FREE 2 WEEK SUBSCRIPTION?!

Jenna over at has GENEROUSLY provided me with THREE access codes for THREE of my lucky readers to check the site out for yourselves **FREE**!

Your free two week subscription includes up to THREE image downloads per day! Send me an email to with the subject titled "I want a free subscription". I will email the codes out to the first 3 readers who respond.

I PROMISE, you will be just as pleased with the site as I am.

Over all, I would have to say of the 2 other stock photo companies I have used in the past, has a much wider selection to chose from, way better quality, pricing and a user friendly website. Check them out today, whether you are a fellow blogger, small or large business owner, or someone who would just love a nice image for your own personal use, it's WORTH the look!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mother & Children Photo Session: NC

I figured, while my chidren are away for a week, I will keep myself super busy to buy off my anxiety.

Today I photographed this beautiful lady & her two children. Here are just a few from today's session:

I love great days with great people that help me pass the time <3

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Sometime last month (or perhaps the month before, my memory is shoddy). I splurged the sale items on Gymboree's website. I had received a $25 gymbuck when my order arrived. EXCITING! :)

To redeem the $25 credit, I must also spend $25. No biggie - that won't be hard. The gymbuck redemption period starts tomorrow, and so I have been semi stalking Gymboree to figure out what I can get with out going over my limit. SERIOUSLY, so strict budgeting at the moment.
My daughter starts school in August, on Friday they leave with their father for a week to see his family (which I am heart broken over, because I will miss them), but I also know they need time with their grandparents and they will have a blast at the beach. I can deal with my own semi controlling parent issues later.

Yes, I am probably going to be that parent that my kids will hate later. Although, I surprise myself daily with the fact I am becoming less of a control freak who is scared of everything when it involves me kids.
I am ashamed to admit it, but since I had my daughter at 22, I have never had time away from my kids (less the one trip to see my niece born).

I do intend to use the time to fix up the den (see pottery barn den side link). And declutter my house that is over populated with various children's toys. At this point I am seriously considering a Craigslist curb alert. No lie.

But, back to the topic at hand. Gymboree. The clothes are so adorable, but way out of the price range of what I would like to spend. I am really loving their book bags and lunch boxes and contemplated buying those. I like this set best for MiMi:
Doodle Bow Lunch Box $14.95 @

Doodle Bow Back Pack $26.95 @

There is just something absolutely adorable about the little innocent doodle sketches & the big pink bow.

Then I thought, well I could always get her a book bag & lunch box from target and spend the money getting clothing. I know all of this will be on sale at some point or another, but I am leaning heavily towards the book bag & lunch box and a small accessory or shirt as the filler item.

These are some items I am loving so far:

For well over $100 to complete this look, I will NEVER buy it at retail value.

I did see this jacket and thought with my gymbucks I could justify it's retail price:

You know what really tugs my heartstrings? This adorable Panda Academy Rain Coat/Boot/Umbrella. OMYFREAKINGGOSH!!!!

Ooooh, it is times like this I wish I were loaded :) I have a weakness for adorable children's clothing. Even if I can't afford it at the moment, I still can dream or pray it goes on sale sooner than later :)

I am sure I'll figure out a way to spend those gymbucks and get the most bang for 'em :) Dear Readers, Please share some of your guilty obsessions with me?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

1 Year Smash Cake Photo Session - My niece!

I was ecstatic that my sister came down to visit on the 7th. Though it was only a few short days, it is always so much fun to see my best friend. I have only seen my niece twice prior. Once when I traveled to California for her birth and again in September of last year when she came down.

I of course had to coax my sister into visiting with the old guilt trip of "but I reaaaally want to be able to photograph her first birthday".

Smash cake sessions are my absolute favorite to do. I do them in my home, I charge $40 and I give the parents EVERY SINGLE edited photo on CD for them to print at their discretion. I even clean up the mess:)

So being I was broke anyway, I figured since I was only able to buy my niece a small present, this would be a great add to this gift.

It always tickles my heart to capture ANYONE'S special moments. These of course will always be my favorite to do.

Enough blab, here are a few from the session:

Of course, there are so many more but I just wanted to share a handful. You will have to excuse the variation in color (I wanted to use the old and new camera, and I have got to say my old camera is still my favorite).

I must also say, the $30 cupcake cake pan has paid for itself as many times as I have used them to do these photos.

Now that my sister is back in California, I am sad, but it was such a great time seeing her and my little niece, who is absolutely adorable.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Painting the 60's wood trim

I have seriously been painting trim and baseboards for 3 or more days. My tail bone is killing me. You figure with the extra cushion it wouldn't be, but it is. Oi!

Anyway, here is a before & after shot of my daughter's bedroom during my paint process:

Oh, don't judge, he's adorable! :)

& pretty please, if you can, disregard my clutter. I was doing this at 2 am and working around a sleeping 6 year old and having to move stuff while painting.

In other words. I am so exhausted and full of multi tasking, that while unloading and folding laundry, reloading the dryer and loading the bath mats in to be washed, I was also filling the sink to wash dishes and the tv grabbed my attention. I left the room, thought to myself "what was I doing"? Shrugged and sat down to re fabric my daughter's doll bed when I hear, "JEEEEEEN"!!

Yep, I, the girl who loses her keys while holding them in her OWN hand, forgot to turn off the sink. OOPS.

If this is not a clear indication that I am one overworked mama, I don't know what is. hehe. I don't even want to think about how bad my memory will be when I am in my 50's (God willing). At 28, I constantly question myself...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Foyer - FINISHED :)

Tonight we hung the new paneled door for the foyer. It sure looks a lot more appealing than the old wood slab one from the 60's :)

This is what the door looked like before

See this blog to see what the entire area looked like during the process.

Cost breakdown:

* Paneled bifold door = $32 @ Lowes
* Paint = Free (already had it)
* Painter's tape = Free (already had it)

So, just a little bit of paint on the old baseboards and trim and a new $32 door made a nice difference in our 60's rancher :)