I'm The Mama

a blog about it all

Blogging, Who Knew It Was So Involved?

Blogging is teaching me way more than I ever thought I would learn about the behind the scenes workings of a website. I have just learned that I need to verify my account within google search console so google can crawl. Huh? Welcome to my world. And the confusion I am currently experiencing. I’m about toe deep in learning about SEO, Meta-something-er-others and the previously mentioned google crawling thing and plug-in’s and so much more. When I think about the google crawl thing, I can’t help but think about a centipede or something along those lines creeping through my website. Kinda creepy.

 

Blogging is so much more than just slapping some words down on the page and hitting publish. There are some things you need to learn and use. I’m going to attempt to publish this post and leave you a little more knowledgeable than you were when you are finished reading this. Let me be clear: I am VERY new to blogging. What I am putting out here is very much intended for the novice blogger. As in, just got the idea to start a blog and have no idea where to begin, type of blogger. I needed someone to take me by the hand and help me figure this out. I didn’t have that but I’m hoping I can help you if you need it.

 

*this post contains affiliate links, that just means I receive a small commission if you click the link and purchase anything.

 

So, first thing’s first! You have a burning desire to start a blog and you have no idea where to begin. I did everything backwards, so I am going to tell you what I should have done first. First and foremost, begin to educate yourself. If you are so full of great ideas that you feel you should be writing, yes do that! But do that in Word or email yourself until we get you completely set up. Trust me, you will regret doing things backwards, as I did.

 

To start with, I stumbled upon a pin on Pinterest that said something about this awesome woman making $50,000 in one month of blogging. WHAT? Of course I clicked on it. There I learned a little about Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and how she paid off her staggering student loans in less than a year (7 months to be exact). She started her blog several years ago, Making Sense of Cents, and paid off around $40k in student loans in a snap. If you are interested in learning more about her, do a quick google search, you’ll be impressed. She is now making around $100,000 a month – my jaw hit the floor when I learned that. I don’t want to make that much (who am I kidding, of course I do!) but I would like to make a decent living off of my blog so I can continue to stay home with the kiddos.

 

 I took her amazing blogging class called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. You gotta spend a little to make a litte, so be aware of that but it’s totally worth it. As a bonus at the end there is a tutorial on Pinterest and you are then invited to join her facebook page. From there, you should educate yourself on hosting sites. What I have learned is, you need to get a hosting site first, through SiteGround (that’s who I have) or through Blue Host or any number of other hosting sites. I did this part backwards. I signed up with WordPress and started typing, but as I have recently learned that was backwards. I did get it straightened out but it was a bit of a hassle that made my blood pressure rise some.

 

Part of the good thing about wanting to start writing is that you will be building content before your site actually goes live. You want to have some content so when people visit your page, they can stay on your page and click around to see what’s going on in your world. I think everyone struggles a little with the internal feelings of doubt, but push those aside, we don’t have time for doubt! Full steam ahead and just know that there are people out there like you who want to hear more about what you are writing about. And the bottom line is, you are doing this for you, just like I am doing this for me. So, before you jump off and publish anything, AFTER you have your hosting site and THEN (seriously, follow the correct steps!) have your WordPress account. The WordPress account will be accessed through whichever hosting site you decide on.

 

Say whaaa? Yeah, I told you, educate yourself. I’m STILL educating myself and I feel like I will be for a long time to come. Be sure to save up for your hosting site, you really need to start with something that will get your blog info out there better than the free WordPress site. With that said, you should know that I started with just the free WP site. When you get into paid hosting, you can then look at the plug-ins, themes, and SEO / Meta information.

 

I’m confused on SEO and Meta info, but I’ll get there. I did say I was pretty new to blogging right? Anyway, once you get all of that up and going, you can upload all of those blog posts you’ve been emailing to yourself. You can edit and make it look purdy and put it out there for the world to see. I’ll be updating and giving additional info about what I learn along the way. I’m going to be working on organization of my posts and really just everything in general. I will be much more organized and will get this Pinterest thing figured out!

 

 

Our almost 5-year-old is the one who expressed his anger and frustration with screaming and temper tantrums. He still does it at home when I stand in front of his independent self and tell him no. I get it, he’s a lot like me, I hate being told no. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it, and so do both of my kids. My husband and I have a sit back and see what happens type of parenting style, except I’m a little more sit back and see and my husband is a little more of “don’t do that”. Of course, we offer the warnings, “watch your toes and fingers and every one elses” “watch out for the dogs, they’ll run you over”, “watch where you are stepping”. There is not much of the sprinting to the rescue when we see one of our kids about to eat the dirt. We let them eat it so they can see how crappy it is and then they won’t do it again.

Our now 2 1/2 year old has been SO mellow. Seriously chilled out, mostly relaxed. He was fussy as a baby, show me a baby who isn’t fussy from time to time. As he entered into toddlerhood, he got happier and happier and he likes it even more if we let him do what he wants. What kid doesn’t like that? While we are a sit back and see family, we do have limits as to what is allowed and what isn’t. In the very recent past, our little boy was okay with being redirected. He’d laugh and smile and go on to whatever we redirected him to without a care in the world. And then that changed. Just last week it changed as a matter of fact. I told him no and he looked at me with a new expression on his face. It was a look of frustration, maybe some anger and a look of uncertainty. He came toward me and grabbed my arm with his little bitty hands and squeezed my arm as hard as he could, clearly frustrated. I was shocked, I was surprised. My baby is….what is he doing? I don’t get this, does not compute, please try again. It dawned on me after the second or third time of him being a little “aggressive” in his response to one of my requests to not do something, he’s entering his “terrible two’s”. He’s not aggressive by a long shot, but for him, that’s aggressive-ish. When he was done squeezing my arm, he did this tap dance thing, stomping his feet on the ground in frustration but it looked more like he was dancing a jig than expressing his frustration. Big brother has been especially bossy with him, he feels like it’s his duty to correct little brother when he’s doing something BB (big brother) doesn’t approve of and by BB being bossy toward his LB, I think it allows him to feel like he’s in control. Is that what this is all about? The little ones are tired of being bossed around and want to be in control? I think that has a lot to with his recent attitude change but I’m not sure. LB has been retaliating against BB and I feel like I’ve lost all control sometimes. Of course I step in and tell him thank you but I can handle it, but I’m beginning to wonder if I can. “Don’t do that!” “Keep your hands to YOURSELF!!” “STOP IT!!”, it all seems to fall on deaf ears. I have no clue what to do. When did this happen? Where did my sweet, compliant babies go? It’s no wonder I have a skunk streak of grey hair right down the middle of my head, these kids are stressful! They’ve started hitting each other, poking, smacking, pestering, just being all around obnoxious. What in the world happened?!

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My babies

When the boys were infants, I read everything I could get my hands on about what to expect. I did NOT read the book “What to Expect When Expecting”, but maybe I should have. I did read about infant sleep and keeping them on a schedule. I read about introducing the newborn to the then toddler. I read about milestones, sleep regression, introduction to solid foods, I read and read every spare chance I had. Well I have stopped reading about them so much and have been winging it because at some point, it all seems to get a little easier. I forgot all about the dreaded “terrible two’s” because honestly, BB wasn’t all that bad and things have been going so well. Yes BB asserted his independence, but we just rolled with it and it wasn’t that big of a deal. He was still sweet and loving and seemed to take it a little easier because he didn’t have all of these orders being flung at him from every direction. I hear BB hollering at LB now and of course I step in, but it makes me wonder how much of the frustration LB is experiencing is from BB getting on to him. I have spoken softly to BB asking him to stop being so bossy with his LB, I have hollered at him to quit. I have gotten down on his level to talk to him about it and short of standing on my head and bribing him, I’m not sure what to do, except read about this too. I guess this is to be expected, I mean, I was bossy too. Although one might argue that I’m still bossy, and he might want to keep his pie hole shut if he wants me to make him dinner tonight. Is bickering siblings just an automatic or are there young siblings out there who actually get along? It shouldn’t be a surprise to me because when my sister and I were kids we used to beat the CRAP out of each other. I wish I was kidding, but it’s true. My sister would pester me until I’d get so mad until I somehow managed to get her on the floor and sit on her and pound my fists into her body, all while she was laughing at me. And we were country bumpkins so we had some muscles, even at a young age. She’s four years older by the way, so it’s not like I was the big sister beating on the little sister. Oh my JEEZ I’d get so mad at her. And we are extremely close now, so what does that tell you? That kids are unreasonable grumpy trolls? No. They just don’t know how to express themselves, and when they get to the point of being that angry, they need an outlet, so maybe that was my problem.

Any who, back to the boys and the bossy one and the pestering and the terrible two and a half’s conversation. This is a pretty one-sided conversation by the way. Anyway, I’m curious as to how I stop the pestering before someone gets REALLY mad and they start beating up on each other. We are close to that point because BB gets really frustrated with LB and gets in his face, and then LB grabs ahold of BB’s hair and I have to hear the screaming. My response is “well, stay out of his face”. I am NOT advocating my boys figure this out on their own, but I am trying to help them use some common sense. Don’t want your hair pulled? Stay out of your brothers face. I have had to send them to separate rooms. I have had to pack up some toys because they won’t listen to anything I say, I have had to paddle some butts. But I feel like those are not the right answers, and I’m just not sure what to do, so it’s time to educate myself. My sweet baby is learning how to stand up for himself and BB isn’t sure how to take that either since he’s been able to lead LB around like a lamb. I think I’ve got two lions in our house. Well actually we are dealing with a Libra and Scorpio. The Scorpio (LB) isn’t going to put up with the Libra’s crap for much longer. In looking up whether or not Libra and Scorpio are compatible, I’ve found that they can have “virtually a unbreakable bond”, which makes me feel better about where we are headed….and shouldn’t that say “an unbreakable”?  I feel that this calls for some patience on my part, and if you wonder how patient I am, see the beginning of this post, lol. I’m much, much more patient than I used to be, depending on the circumstances, but I think this little issue demands patience and understanding and I will remind myself that when I feel like I’m going to lose it, step out, get a breath of fresh hot, humid air alone and then come back in for another try. Another thing that probably isn’t helping is, it’s HOT HERE!! I don’t want to go outside in this stupid weather and the kids don’t either. When we do venture out they are both asking to go back inside within about 20 minutes, sometimes sooner. It’s been close to, if not over 100 degrees for the past week or so. No thank you very much. I need cooler weather so we can be out all the time and I bet that’d resolve a lot of issues.  In the mean time, I’m going to post this sucker and then step out for a breath of fresh, hot humid air and get started on finding some good reading about this stage we are in. If you have any helpful tips, I’m ALL ears and I’d love to hear from you, how did you survive the sibling squabble? Is that even a word?

Since I stopped working in an office and started staying home with the boys full-time, my uniform of choice is yoga pants and a t-shirt with flip-flops. The yoga pants are comfortable, stretchy, black and just perfect. I don’t normally wear them out in public because I am so not the yoga body type, if there is really a type, but I wear the heck out of them around the house. And when they are all in the dirty clothes, I get sad because I have to wear a less comfortable pair of yoga pants or shorts or something else. I had made the decision to be comfortable a while ago and I’ve never been more happy with a decision. Petty? No. I reject that assumption and replace it with: I am happier when I am comfortable, especially in this stupid hot heat that is South Central Texas. I’ve never been able to relate to those whose idea of comfort looks like something I’d go get my professional pictures taken in. I’m not knocking those beautifully put together gals, and I’m sometimes envious of their style, I just can’t relate. There’s no point in dressing like that out here, we live where there is lots of dirt which turns to mud when it rains (crazy how that works), and it’s hot, and we have nowhere to go to dress like that. My yoga pants are breathable, dry quickly after sweating while we are outside and are easy to wash. I. Love. Them. I even wore them to a wedding in May to avoid the dreaded chub rub, because I can assure you there is no thigh gap here, HA! They worked beautifully and I was able to pull them up high enough that you couldn’t see them poking out under my dress and I was comfortable. I felt like I was wearing pajamas to the wedding. I know. Classy right? Sigh, I don’t get out much. Here’s the affiliate link to the ones I have on now, just the wrong size.

*this post contains affiliate links, please see my disclosure for details.

Danskin Now Womens Active Knit Capri (Black Soot size Small)

My love affair with yoga pants started YEARS ago, right after the sweat pant craze. You remember? The sweats that had the words written down the leg, or words across the butt, which I never owned by the way. I had one pair of dark blue sweat pants that had “American” down the leg, a nod to when I worked for the airline and that was my whole world. I started buying yoga pants when Danskins were not yet a popular name. I know, there are some super-duper awesome yoga brands out there, but I’m not here for those. I have no experience with those. I’m here to support and spread the love for MY most favorite, soft, easy to care for Danskin brand. I can’t help it, I just love them. I own a few pair and was sad to see the other day, one of them has a small pinhole in the butt. So sad, but that doesn’t stop me! I’ll just wear them around the house and hope I don’t snag them on something and bust the rear end out in front of anyone. It should be noted that I have had these things for YEARS. Literally, at least 5 years. They have worn wonderfully, washed easily and hidden so many stains. They have some stories to tell. These are my go to travel britches for long road trips, which is anything over 3 hours in my book. They rock my world. When it’s time to buy some new ones (which is quickly approaching), I’m always afraid I’m not going to find the same style and comfort level. I will say that while they are sometimes different, they are equally as relaxing and I am equally as pleased. Since I know which ones I buy, of course I will buy them online because I can and because that’s how I shop. I did buy the ones I’m wearing right now at the Wal-Mart. I always have to laugh when people say they need to go to “THE” Wal-Mart, so naturally I have to say it now and I chuckle inside my head every time I say it.

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Not at all how my yoga pants are used, but they could if they were on a yoga body!

Over the years I have tried various types of leggings, yoga pants and work out pants. I have never been as happy with other brands, just because these are soft, they aren’t binding and I don’t feel like a sausage trying to burst from its casing when I put them on. When I go out to do yard work and have to take a restroom break, I’m not pulling at these to get them back up like I would with other brands. They are just convenient and comfortable. I know I keep hounding on that, but it’s TRUE! I honestly meant to expand a little on the other not so awesome aspects of my wardrobe, such as the easy peasy 10 dollar flip-flops I got from the Wal-Mart not long ago. But since they are only a few months old at the most and already worn out, I’ll stop myself. Perhaps if I rotated my footwear from time to time they wouldn’t be so worn out. When I was growing up, we had barn shoes and going somewhere shoes. Now that I’m an adult, my flip flops are my barn shoes AND my going somewhere shoes. Unless it’s somewhere nice (no I didn’t wear them to that wedding but I SERIOUSLY considered it. It wasn’t until my bff told me that my husband was in a tux and I was absolutely not allowed to wear flip flops). Personally, I think people would be a lot happier and treat others a lot better if they’d stop wearing such stuffy clothes. I’m not here to promote the sloppy-ing down of America, I do appreciate seeing people dressed nicely when they are out and about on the town. BUT I also don’t get being so dressed at home. This blog post came about because after I got out of the shower and put on my Danskin yoga carpris, I decided they needed their own post. Because it’s my blog and I can do what I want!

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This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission if you order from one of my links. 

I do the vast majority of my shopping for shoes, clothes and toys online now-a-days. Before having kids, I enjoyed actually going to the store to go shopping, but since I have to travel in a pack now, I prefer to just do my grocery shopping at the store and my everything else shopping online. Being in a smallish town, our choices are limited unless I want to drive more than 50 miles one way to get to San Antonio, so online shopping opens up doors and allows me to get the boys some really cool gifts. A while back I found a website called Hearth Song. We get their sales magazine and the kids oooh and aaah over what is inside those perfectly photographed pages. The toys are so cool to them, heck even I think so! Two years ago we got some balance straps, they are basically big tie down straps that you put in between the trees, but there are two straps, and they are super long. One strap for their feet and one to hold onto with their hands. It helps teach them balance and is just plain fun.

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My little ones played on it and so did my 13-year-old nephew. It got a lot of play! We still have them but I did take them down a month or so ago and put them up so when we put them back out they will be played with a little more because my kids do lose interest after a while. We just got a new magazine from Hearth Song and there are these huge big ball looking things that the kids can get INSIDE of, with just their arms, legs and head out. I haven’t gotten these for my kids YET – but I am so going to when my little one is a little bigger. Another reason I haven’t gotten them yet is, it’s SO HOT here, it’s been over 100 for several days, and the feels like temp has been over 100 for a while. I think if I got that for the kids they would get too hot. AND one more reason, I’m afraid the mesquite thorns will pop them. I may be paranoid, but those stupid thorns go through our tires around here, so until we move to a less thorny location, we will have to put these bad boys on the back burner. I will own some soon though, they just look too fun to pass up. Check out my affiliate link here for this super cool big ball. When I clicked this link it didn’t take me to the page with the ball for some odd reason, but you can click around the website and see all the super cool toys!

My kids will enjoy the h-e-double hockey sticks out of this thing! I can’t wait to give it a try myself! Look at this affiliate link!

Seriously, this site is SO cool. There are SO many cool toys! Here’s one of the toys that I’m getting for someones birthday, I can’t wait to play with it! My oldest said “oh yeaaahhh, I want one of those!”

It’s the Flickin’ Chicken! I think we are going to get a kick out of this. I can just hear Roane when he opens this up on his birthday “what the HECK?!” this is going to be so great. If you aren’t familiar with Hearth Song and you have small kids, do yourself a favor and check this out! I have been extremely impressed with the things I have ordered from their site so far and I have a few friends who ordered from here and have really enjoyed their purchases. Their toys are just not something you will find in Wal-Mart most of the time. I love finding unique toys for the kids, it makes me feel good when they open it up and it’s something they get excited over. Let me know what website you have found that you love and can’t live without, I’m always looking for new places to buy stuff! Here’s one more affiliate link for HearthSong’s newest collection of toys, I’m excited about a lot of these!
Browse Our Newest Selection of Toys at HearthSong!

What’s the point? My kids won’t eat it anyway. Here we sit, half insulated in the roofline, temps at or over 100 degrees, I have zero interest in cooking! The kids are too interested in complaining about food instead of eating it. Why should I bother? Because it’s good for them. Well so is all the fruit they snack on. And the water they drink. I just don’t feel like cooking, it’s too dang hot! So I have decided to embark upon a journey that will make mid-day eating much easier and less stressful for everyone. I scoured Pinterest for some non-cook options and here’s what I’ve come up with for my little guys.

  1. Peanut butter sandwiches or crackers. My little one eats these like they are going out of style anyway, but it’s a good filler, full of good protein. We use wheat bread so it’s not that bad for them, aside from the sugar in the peanut butter. I’m going to invest in some cute cookie cutters and be one of the super Pinterest moms who takes 3 seconds to make their sandwiches cute.
  2. Apple slices. This one is a bit trickier than peanut butter sandwiches. The kids were all over apple slices not long ago. They decided they didn’t want them cut up anymore and wanted to eat them whole, which is awesome for me because I don’t have to do anything other than wash said apple. It sucks for the apple because the entire thing doesn’t get eaten unless we throw them out for the yard birds or horses. You can cut the apples into slabs, so your slice looks like a donut (minus the core, duh) and slather on peanut butter or nutella and sprinkle with nuts. Or no peanut butter or nutella and maybe some other nut butter with more fruit on top! The possibilities on this one are fantastic!
  3. Cucumber slices with spicy. My oldest LOVES cucumbers with spicy. Spicy is just a season that has a slight hint of spice to it, nothing crazy. I put the spicy on the side and they are good to go. A lot of times my oldest wants to peel the cucumber too and I’m all for that. The sooner he can learn to do stuff like that, the better for lazy ‘ol me! And really it’s good for him to learn how to get around in the kitchen anyway, learn about what’s sharp, what’s not and how to handle things so he doesn’t get hurt. Or if he sees his little brother getting something he’s not supposed to, he can get it from him without anyone getting hurt in the event I’m not inside or whatever.
  4. Blueberries, strawberries, oranges, watermelon and cantaloupe. My kids LOVE all of these, and if we were to put some or even all of these with a sandwich (peanut butter or turkey) they’d love it! They could eat their weight in these fruits.
  5. Smoothies with the above mentioned fruits. We haven’t done smoothies in a long time, but I think it’s time we revisit. I will get some fruit at the store and cut it up in preparation of smoothie day. I have bought the pre-packaged, pre-frozen fruit in the past, but it’s just too expensive. I’m thinking cheap meals here people!
  6. Back to sandwich style. There is a Pinterest pin out there about sandwich sliders, except you bake those. I can do the same with Hawaiian rolls which are a little sweet, ham and cheese. Heck half the time they boys disassemble their food anyway, so maybe I’ll give it to them all separate.
  7. Cereal – it’s summertime. Who cares. Cereal is all day long. I don’t normally buy the sugary stuff so I think cereal is completely acceptable as long as it’s not for a late lunch.
  8. Kid friendly pinwheels. Turkey, cheese, whatever you want to put in them. Easy finger foods that don’t even require a plate!

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That what I have for now. I will come back and edit this later to add some more awesome food as I come across it. I’m excited about the apple slices. The whole point is to feed my little hungry monsters decent food that will fill that belly UP and keep the oven OFF and require very few DISHES! Have I mentioned my dish situation is out of control? I’m rolling my eyes as I glance to my stupid sink filled to the brim with DIRTY dishes that need to be done. I’m glad I have them, don’t get me wrong, I just HATE doing them. What are your quick and easy NO COOK snacks and meals?

WHAT in the world do they want NOW?! “Mom, I ‘anna ‘atch Monsters. Mommy, I ‘anna ‘atch Bear”….and it continues on repeat for the next hour, which stretches into the next 10 hours and beyond. The never-ending “MOOooommm, I wanna” continues from the time they can talk, until you become a bleary eyed, balding, tubby mess of momness. Balding? Yes, from the little cuties yanking on your hair when they are crawling all over you. I’m a mom but also a jungle gym, especially when wrestling which is inevitable with boys. So glad I have boys, I couldn’t imagine them being girls.

My kids are demanding, and they say “mom” way too much for my liking. I want my kids to come to me, but I don’t want them to say “mom” as much as they do. I mean, who in the world taught these kids the art of getting on moms nerves? It must be in the genetic code. The problem is, they don’t just say “mom” and wait for me to respond. It really is a case of Stewie from Family Guy around here. They really DO say it over and over and over again until I start to pull my own hair out. I don’t realize I need a break from this madness until I take a trip to the laundry room and tell them I’ll be right back. They have decided they like to help with laundry and I don’t want to discourage that, but damn, I need a few minutes boys. I sometimes find myself standing in there when I can sneak out alone with the door locked (our laundry room is outside and has a lock on the door) for several minutes pretending I am doing something important. It’s quite impossible to sneak however, because the back door has settled and the weight of the house is sitting on it and it makes a horrible screeching sound when you open it. In writing this I am realizing that few minutes of peace and quite IS important for my sanity. Some days the relentless rapid release of “mommy” thrown at my skull is so fast, my body is thrown back into a Matrix style back bend.

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It NEVER fails, as soon as my butt hits the chair, I hear another machine gun speed repetition of “”mom, mom, mommy, I’m hungry!” It’s been literally two minutes since they said it last, and they take turns saying it! Sometimes it comes at the same time. I duck and cover in the laundry room and hope the fire passes quickly. As much as they say “mommy I’m hungry”, one might be lead to believe they never eat. On the contrary, they eat all day long, every day. I need a garden to sustain these boys! Speaking of, I was supposed to put a garden in this spring and that didn’t happen. I need to prepare for fall and winter fruits and veggies. That would save a ton of money for us. These kids eat so many fruits I’m surprised their natural odor isn’t sweet.

How do we teach our sweet little ones that less is more? How do we teach them that their relentless barrage is not necessary? I have no clue. I really wanted to put a cuss word in there but I’m trying to keep this family friendly. I have not a single solitary clue. None. Other than trying to teach them patience and trying (not really) to get them on more of an eating schedule. The reality is I’m ok with them grazing all day. It’s just the way they are and why fight their natural tendencies? Unless it causes bodily harm or is damaging something, I’m going to go with it. That’s kinda the way I feel about them “playing” with tools, wire, the hammer and other tools we have here. I let them. I let them explore and grow and in the meantime I am going to attempt to teach them that they don’t have to seek me out and scream “mom” or “mommy” at me when they need something. I’m trying to teach them that if they want something, they do need to be respectful in their asking and then they need to WAIT until I can get it for them or find an alternative. A lot of times their need to call my name is simply for them to say they need to go to the restroom – well go then! You don’t need my permission for THAT. The little one is still learning to go on the potty, he’s doing GREAT! I have his stool in there, he can get on and off the potty by himself. I’m trying to teach them it’s ok to go to the restroom alone here at home, be independent, just don’t put anything other than potty and a little toilet paper down the toilet. That leads me to another post I will put up another time about the clogged sewer line from hell that I think was stopped up by something other than what was supposed to be down there. I suspect the little one was the one who did it but I have no proof.

I keep reminding myself that they will grow out of this stage soon enough and become reclusive as teens. I know that, and you know what? I will enjoy the hell out of it, hahaha! I hope that we will always have a good relationship with our boys. I hope that they will come to me and say “mom” even as an adult. Maybe not “mom I want” so much as just telling mom about their day, or their new love or their new home or whatever they want to tell mom about. I look at families that are close and are still in tune with their adult kids and I wonder how they did it and maintained their sanity. How did they manage to stay close with their kids? My sister and I are close with our dad, and with mom when she was here and healthy. But we are girls. Are boys the same? I know there are men who are close to their parents without being the dreaded “momma’s boy”, but how did they do that? Is it magic? Are we on the right track? I’d like to think so but I just don’t know. We are raising these boys to the best of our ability, loving, guiding and sometimes getting frustrated with them. I think the key is the loving and guiding aspect but what do I know? I’ve only been doing this mom thing for almost 5 years and it changes every single day. If you have tips you’d like to share, I’d love to take your advice because I’m sometimes oh so lost. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some laundry to do.

Yes. You can create your own reality. I can too. Did you know we are really powerful wizards? I know, there will be scoffs, there will be people who will raise their eyebrow and think “this chick is off her rocker” and move on and that’s totally ok. My husband might be one of those people who moves on from this post, haha! Some people aren’t ready to hear that they are the reason they are in whatever position they are in. Whether it’s a good position or a bad position, it’s because of your thoughts and inner dialogue.

There is some pretty good scientific research out there, in addition to some pretty powerful creators who can back this stuff up.  Tony Robbins, he is pretty well-known, and pretty darn successful, and he uses his mind to create his reality. He uses the power of POSITIVE thinking to get what he wants. He uses visualization techniques to see what he wants and he’s very successful at it. He uses a grateful heart and mind, he thanks the universe for his blessings. It sounds like a bunch of made up bunk to those who have never taken the time to try to open their mind beyond what they have been taught their entire lives, and it did to me at first too. You aren’t born to become a negative being. You are born into this world full of love and you are meant to be a loving, positive shining light.  My sister was really the first person who introduced me to imagination creating reality. What in the world? How on earth would anyone believe this garbage? Well, I do believe it now and I don’t think it’s garbage. I do believe that when we are more positive, more positive things happen to us. I also believe that when we tend to be negative, more negative things happen to us. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of books written on the subject. Here is my affiliate link from Tony Robbins himself, 33 Life Mastery Lessons & Free Morning Routine. The man is successful, he is positive and he creates his reality. He uses techniques of visualization to see how he wants his day to go. He wakes in the morning and comes up with a handful of things he’s grateful for, he takes 10 minutes to reflect on those things and really feel the feeling of gratitude and he lives a much more positive life than most of us. If you know nothing about Tony Robbins, do some research.

We all have been given blinders – do you know what a blinder is? On a horses harness when they are hooked up to a buggy or wagon, look at the horse’s head. The things that stick off in front of their eyes is called blinders and it prevents them from seeing beside them or looking back behind them to keep them from getting spooked. From an early age, your parents said something to you or something you overheard that limited your thought patterns, much like blinders prevent carriage horses from seeing. This begins to form your thought patterns and if you are given negative thought patterns, guess where your life is headed? It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of negative patterns. You know one of the biggest contributors to the negativity? The news. I HATE the news. I will not watch the news because it is filled with vile, repulsive reports and I personally can’t handle getting stuck in the negativity of a news story. I can’t stand hearing about another murder or another case of road rage, or robbery or….. finishing this sentence. I can’t do it. It sucks the happy out of my soul, it causes me to get angry very quickly and act out with that anger. It takes me a while to get over being angry after being forced to even hear anything that happened on the news. The worst is when I’m in a doctor’s office and they have the news on and almost everyone in there is GLUED to the TV watching whatever horrid report that is currently on. Nope. I can’t do it, I won’t do it. When my dad comes to visit, he wants to watch the news. I’m sorry but I can’t. I will put it on for the weather very quickly and then off it goes. I don’t even watch the weather. I had no idea that there was a tropical disturbance a few weeks ago and you know what? I was just fine. I have my weather app that tells me when we can expect rain, and it tells me if there are any special weather statements I need to be aware of. My world will NOT end because I refuse to watch the news. Even typing about this I’m getting all worked up.

How hard would it be to drop one negative pattern in your day? Just one. What negative pattern can you live without for one day? complaining? Demanding perfection and then getting disappointed in yourself when its not perfect? Road rage? IMAGINE how awesome driving would be (this comment is for you, Houstonians) if EVERYONE would stop road raging! How hard would it be for you to quit tailgating and actually let that car in that has it’s blinker going? It’s REALLY not that hard to do. Take a deep breath, repeat a calming mantra and let people in. Traffic is negative, I wish we could all quit traffic. BUT it CAN be a great place to start meditating and shifting some of those thought patterns that can cause you to get all worked up and feeling icky. Obviously, pay attention to traffic, but work on being calmer in the traffic. Start with something easy. “This too shall pass. This too shall pass”. Is there some calming music you can listen to during your drive time? Classical? Jazz? Something with no words? Something with positive words? I personally have discovered the chants of…..are you ready?…..Buddhists. There is a buddhist chant for calm that I love. And it helps. And it’s so awesome to feel that first initial shift of a negative pattern from feeling gross and unbearable to a feeling of “that’s not so bad after all”. Once you start realizing how negative you are, you can start to shift from being upset and disappointed about something, to looking for the reason that happened in a more positive light. I have ALWAYS said, even before I truly started to work on being even more positive than I have ever been, that things happen for a reason. Some things are truly upsetting and send us directly into that negative thought process, I get it. But even in the most upsetting of times, I can work through and find a positive. It may take me a day or two, but it’s there for me to find. I do have a harder time finding those positive tidbits when I have negative banter going on around me, so it’s best if I can find some alone time to try to process those thoughts. For example, my mom passed away on Fathers Day. I thought that because she had been sick so long (YEARS) that I had processed all of those thoughts and feelings about my mom. I was going to be so happy and release so much energy wrapped up around her and her illness when she was gone – and then, suddenly, or really, not so suddenly, she was gone. The positives of that are, she is released from her physical body and mind and she is suddenly free. She now everywhere and anywhere. She is here and there. I can’t focus on the negative of her being sick for so long, being trapped in her mind and body and of the thought of losing my mom. I won’t allow myself to go there because to me, that’s negative and it’s not a productive process. I choose to remember the positives of her life and when I release the emotions now, it’s really more of joy that she was my mom and in remembrance of great times. I believe that we all go on to a better place, I have always and will always believe that. I do not believe in hell, I never have and never will. My beliefs serve me and only me. My kids will have their own beliefs but I will try to educate them to the best of my ability to pull those blinders off and think for themselves. To question everything and follow no one but themselves.

When we allow ourselves to drop the negative patterns and we naturally start thinking more positive thoughts, and imagine more positive scenes, things in our lives become more positive. Sometimes when we are on our positivity path, something gets thrown in that’s less than positive and that’s ok! If we can start to process those little hiccups in a more positive manner, they show up less and less. If you notice after a while of thinking more positive thoughts that “suddenly” more and more “negative” things happen, you need to evaluate your internal conversations. Those internal conversations have a huge impact on our day-to-day lives. You need to guard your thoughts and switch the negative thoughts “Why do I even bother, why me? Who cares anyway? I should have known this was going to happen”, to more positive thoughts. I try to process things in a less emotional way, more scientific, if I can. Ok, this happened, but why? Where are my thoughts taking me? And if they are taking me down a negative path, I do my best to get back on the green path of healthy thoughts. I really hope all of this makes sense. I feel like I was “called” to write this out and hope that it can help someone who may be struggling with negative patterns. If you have the mental clarity, you really need to work on visualization. Not just visualization but positive visualization. I found that when I first started trying to visualize, I couldn’t. I was so distracted, so grumpy from whatever the day had thrown at me, so pissed off, I couldn’t. My advice to you is, start small. Find a comfortable, quiet place and start by thinking about turning the lock on your door when you get home for the day. Feel the feeling of the lock turning and you opening the door. What color is your door knob? Is it hot or cold or somewhere in between? Is there chipped finish on it? Feel the lock and door knob in your hand. And then be done for the day. Every day it will get easier and easier. Your thoughts will wonder and banter will come up. Squash it down and force your mind back to the lock and the door knob. Eventually, start imagining other peaceful things that you’d like to see or have happen. Having a hard time at work with a co-worker? Imagine a scene in your mind of having a really pleasant conversation or interaction with that person. You won’t be able to do this straight away usually, it will probably take some practice, unless you are a rock star visualizer. You don’t need to tell anyone what you are doing, if anyone asks just tell them you need a few minutes of quiet time and go find your quiet spot. Eventually the positives will come to you without you seeking them. Including whatever reality you want.  Do you wan the raise and the promotion? Find the time to visualize the conversation with your boss, or whoever is in charge that you are the perfect employee and they appreciate your hard work and here is your promotion, or your raise, or BOTH! It can be done. You can do it!

This post contains affiliate links.

I am what you would call, impatient. I want what I want exactly when I want it. I don’t like to wait and I don’t like to read instructions. I want to try to figure it out for myself and show myself that I can figure stuff out. Why am I like that? I have no idea, I really am not sure. I am hard-headed and bossy and get out of my way because I know what I’m doing! 

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Well, I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to starting a blog. I enrolled in an awesome blogging course that has lots and lots of valuable information in it, which was created by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner who is a rock-star blogger. She is seriously awesome and she knows her stuff. My brain absorbed her easy to follow course like a dry sponge soaking up the milk my kids spilled on the table. It is great information, especially if, like me, you are clueless on where to begin with your blog. In her course, she says get a Bluehost account FIRST. Well I didn’t do that. I was broke, I had literally zero funds to put toward my blog and hosting site. What I did do was create a blog on WordPress using their free, and extremely limited platform. It was great for me because I had all these ideas and wanted to get started with SOMETHING so I felt like I was being productive. And it worked for me for the time being. NOW, however, I am ready to move on up and I’m now stuck at least for the next 60 days.

In my over-zealousness, I was able to upgrade my site with WordPress to their Premium package instead of the free Personal package. When I did that, the site is locked in place, for lack of a better description, for the next 60 days. I can then transfer it to the hosting site of my choosing. I can’t begin to describe how lost and confused I have been over this process and really sort of kicking myself for NOT taking the steps Michelle outlined in her blogging course! My advice is, if you can’t afford to pay for the hosting site FIRST, yes, start typing, get the ideas out of your head and onto paper or into your computer, but save your extra money to pay for your hosting site FIRST. Take the steps she has outlined in the course, they are listed they way they are listed for a reason. By doing it the way she has outlined in her excellent course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, you will gain more control over your site and it’ll make the entire process easier. So many people have paved this road, don’t try to pave it yourself. Don’t try to recreate the wheel. I’m great at GIVING advice….I am still learning how to take advice. Live and learn, as they say.

In addition to teaching you which platforms to use, she gives fantastic information regarding affiliate marketing, which is basically how to make money off of your site. This will open your brain to all kinds of possibilities and it’s really exciting shooting for the stars! There are worksheets to help you keep track of your ideas, your affiliate marketing companies and so much more. There is a guide on using Pinterest and photographs and just so much information, it’s fantastic! For me to get into all the details here, I would be tying for days, and honestly my kids are all up in my beeswax, and I am still learning and am somewhat clueless, so I will have to cut this short. Monsters, Inc. is nearing the end and so is their attention! The point is, don’t just jump in willy-nilly. If you feel like you HAVE to start typing, DO! But email the posts to yourself. This is also a great way to go back and edit what you aren’t completely thrilled with when it is time to upload those posts to your blog. Blogging is fun, it can be a great way to make some money and, for me, it helps me clear my head and be a grown up for a little while. It’s teaching me how to be a better story-teller, which I’m still working on. Writing is a great way for me to have an adult conversation with myself while the kids are occupied. I am finding it therapeutic. I’m learning how to spell again without auto correct helping me, ha ha ha! Seriously, when did my spelling become so awful?! I can honestly say I enjoyed Michelle’s course and was appreciative that it’s filled with so much good information. If you want to start blogging and don’t know where to begin, her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course is the where you should start, in my opinion. Good luck, you can do it!

  • This post has been updated

Bella, the deaf pit bull, got skunked. That smell is not one you are likely to forget anytime soon. Luckily she did not get into the house or my entire house would be smelling like that little brave critter that sprayed it’s noxious fumes into my dogs face. My sister called me, which is a rarity. Normally we text and answer each other when we can. Not this time. She called and said she thought there was a skunk right outside, she thought Bella was also right outside and her dogs were going nuts. I was already on the move, hoping to stop the disaster before it began. I was too late. I smelled the retched odor before I rounded the house and caught a glimpse of my white dog with a dark-colored smudge on her chest. For a brief moment I thought that perhaps she just got dirty crawling under the gate. And then I got a good look at her. It was obvious she had been trying to either roll in something or trying to get something off of her. I grabbed her by her collar and led her around the house, where my sister was and the smell hit me again. Whoa, that’s a strooong smell. I thought perhaps the skunk sprayed again because it was so strong. My sister took a handful of steps back from us. “She STINKS!” she said, “she got sprayed.” “Did she? I can’t smell her” I said – by then my nose had shut down as I bent down to get a whiff. My head is congested and I couldn’t really smell, or so I thought. My senses were deceiving me because she had in fact been sprayed. All of the cats were patrolling the perimeter of my sister’s house, looking at the strange smelly that was intruding on their stomping grounds.

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Not the actual skunk

I left the dog with my sister as I ran to my house, okay, it was really more of a slow jog, I don’t really run, to get my flashlight. I have a super-duper flashlight that can see for miles. I love that thing. I slow jogged, or fast walked, depending on how you look at it, back to my sister and the super smelly dog, flashing the light under the house to see if the little critter was still under the house. Yep. He was looking for something. It looked to be a young skunk so maybe it was confused? What if it had rabies? What if it was trying to get into the house? Who do we call? What do we do? What a smell!! We watched the little guy meander around under the house for a bit, stopping to quickly evaluate and then it continued its trek to find the unknown. I left the super duper flashlight with my sister and took the super smelly dog to lock in the yard. Upon returning, we contemplated what to do and decided to just leave it for a bit, maybe it would meander on and take it’s stench with it. As it turns out, it moved from under the house, to under the feed room. When it came back out, the mocking-bird chased it to the pasture and then the peacocks took over and chased it on out into the pasture. This was a small, young skunk, probably hasn’t been away from mom for too long. We are okay with the wild things as long as they scoot away from the houses.

As I made my way to the house, the kids came out curious as to what was happening. I quickly explained that the skunk sprayed the dog and she was not allowed in the house. At which point my oldest told me I too smelled like skunk. Great. I kicked my shoes off and made a mad dash inside to get the dawn dish soap and two cans of tomato sauce. I did a quick google as to what to do and quickly abandoned that. I didn’t want to stink up the house! I gave SSD (super smelly dog) a bath with the dish soap first, getting her face as best I could, while trying to avoid her eyes. After I hosed her off and repeated the process, I opened the smallest can of tomato sauce and started dumping it on her, specifically on her face and her chest and her collar which all seem to have gotten the worst of it. It should be noted that I had some blue painters gloves that I was able to put on before I started this process. I didn’t want stinky hands! She is currently still outside in the first dose of tomato sauce. I have another can that will be put on her and then she will get a vinegar bath. I will have to be very careful with the vinegar around her face because it will make her eyes burn. I speak from experience.

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Bella with tomato sauce

After I got the dog taken care of, I walked to the back of the house and stripped down to my undies – TMI I am sure, but I didn’t want the skunky clothes in the house. The laundry room is at the back of the house and isn’t attached, so I can get to it from outside. The good thing about living in the sorta country is that there aren’t neighbors that can see from the back of the property, unless they are at the fence line and have binoculars. I wouldn’t put it past some of them but I didn’t care at that point. I made my way inside and to the shower where I doused myself in white vinegar. I dumped it on my arms and legs and then over the top of my head. People – CLOSE YOUR EYES if you ever have to do this, which I did. I cracked them open for a split second as I was groping to turn the water on. The vinegar fumes are no joke either. Do not do what I did if you have ANY respiratory issues, it will make them worse very quickly. After I rinsed, shampooed and soaped up and repeated, I got dressed and thought that this would make a wonderful blog post, HAA!! So here I am. The dog keeps looking in through the window at me. I am afraid she will be spending the day outside. I will go back out and rinse her off from her first tomato bath and let that soak for another 30 minutes or so and will hose her off again and follow with vinegar. I think I will just spray the vinegar on her with a spray bottle, I can soak her skin with it effectively that way I think, she has short hair.

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Not my actual soap or hands, cool picture though

So, what do you do when your dog or cat gets sprayed? It can happen in the city too, you know.

  1. Find a safe place to put your dog outside, with water for them to drink – especially if it’s hot outside. If they are sprayed in the face, they will gag and possibly vomit because the smell is so strong.
  2. Gather everything you will need. You will not want to be running back inside if you forgot something, here’s a quick list:
    1. Find some rubber gloves and shampoo, any shampoo should do.
    2. Can opener and tomato sauce, a few cans if you have it. If your dog is long-haired, you want to have enough to saturate their hair and get to their skin.
    3. White vinegar as the final rinse. They won’t smell like vinegar for long, I promise.
  3. Start scrubbing. Give them a bath with the shampoo first, immediately followed by a soak in the tomato sauce. Let them sit for about 20 – 30 minutes, especially if they have long hair.
  4. Hose off the smelly beast and repeat the tomato sauce soak.
  5. Wash again with soap.
  6. Vinegar rinse or spray.

UPDATE!! I was informed of using hyrdrogen peroxide, baking soda and dawn dish soap, it worked!! She has a slight hint o skunk smell around her lips, but the rest of her is skunk smell free!!

There are a ton of de-skunking products on Amazon. I think it’s handy to have an arsenal to use in case you live in skunk country. Here are a few affiliate links to products I have used before and worked pretty good for me. Natures Miracle Skunk Odor Remover and De Skunk Odor Destroyer for Dogs and Cats.  I didn’t use them this time because I didn’t have them here, it’s been so long since we’ve had a skunk and run! These work okay, but there’s still a hint o’skunk with just about anything you use I think.

One of my moms little dogs got sprayed YEARS ago, in the morning before my sister was heading to work. She had to put that little stinker in the stock trailer while she went to work because the process to de-skunk takes so long. Don’t be in a hurry if you can help it. DO try to get the smell off of them as quick as you can though, it makes it that much harder to get it off later. I have to go finish de-skunking my dog now. Have you tried any de-skunking techniques other than those above, and how did it work?

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I know, I know. There are so many grunts in disgust that Christmas is just SIX months away. “It’s only June!! How DARE you remind me time is ticking away again!!” Well, sorry, but I LOVE Christmas! I love the fall and winter, I love snow – although we never have it. I love the feeling of the fall holidays and I don’t say “Happy Holidays”, I say “Merry Christmas Y’all!” and I say it proudly. I want to be prepared and have everything that these little smoochie poo’s could possibly want under the tree. That means getting ready NOW. This may seem completely absurd to some, but starting in early August, which is now just a month away, we have birthdays galore and I want everyone to have a wonderful birthday and Christmas. It might be a little difficult to get into the spirit of Christmas when the temps are in the high ninety’s, and we just came off of over 100+ degree temperatures, but I will give it my best. The fact is, buying in the off season is less expensive.

To start, we will weed out the toys the boys don’t play with now. We have giant tubs of trains that were gifted to us and there are so many toys in their room they have no idea where to begin with play time, and we have even more in storage.  Before yesterday they hadn’t touched their toys in weeks and they only did yesterday because I threatened to bag up all of the toys and donate them. “MOMMY NOOOOOOOOOO!!” they both squealed as they ran into their room to protect their precious. Mission accomplished I thought. Except they came right back out and the cycle of me threatening and them squealing began. Eventually they stayed in their room a little longer and played a little longer, but goal #1 will be weeding through what they have, what they play with and what they don’t care about and get rid of a lot of it. There will be some unhappiness when this happens but I think it’s a good lesson to learn at a young age – let the clutter go and donate to the less fortunate. I’m going to give myself a week for this task. Yikes!

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Once we have weeded and cleared and cleaned up all the toys, I will start listening to the “I WANT ONE OF THOOOOOSEE!” shrieks as they see a toy they just can’t live without on commercials or in the stores and I will make a mental note. Actually I should probably make a real note in my phone. Of course I am going to do the majority of my shopping online at Amazon, it is just easier and I don’t normally have anyone to watch the boys during the day so that makes it difficult to buy in the store and hide it. Especially since Reaux watches everything I touch in the store. I’ve been able to get away with telling him “this isn’t yours, it’s for someone else” but I don’t think that will work anymore. He’s too inquisitve. I’m not sure at this point what our gift limit will be, but I am thinking they will be getting a lot of duplicates. If one boy gets a super hero action figure, the other one will too. I never considered getting them super hero action figures but we were in Wal-Mart a few days ago and Reaux was extremely interested in them and they’ve been watching a lot of Lego Batman on Netflix, so we will give it a go. In addition to planning for the boys, I need to plan for everyone else. I always think underwear and socks are a good gift, but it probably won’t fly for birthdays AND Christmas. Around here we never realize how awesome new socks are until we have them, they get pretty worn out pretty quickly here. I’ll use this time to really start listening to my family, not just my boys and husband, but my sister, nephew and my dad, to get an idea of what I can get them for Christmas. Someone will say something in passing and that will make my planning that much easier. I need to make it a point to take a note when one of them says they want something. The last few years I have been somewhat of a putz when it comes to gift buying. I love to give good gifts and be prepared. I am going to do everything in my power this year to make sure I don’t drop the ball. I want to start buying for Christmas early next month.

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In addition to the gift buying and planning, we need some outdoor decor! We don’t really have any and I want this place turned into a magical winter wonderland! I want Christmas to barf upon this property and I want the kids to remember just how AWESOME Christmas was at their house when they were kids. I want a magical Christmas, I want it to be special, I want Clark Griswold to come put lights on my house and in my yard! Ridiculous? No. Don’t be a party pooper, be a party doer! Not that I want a party at my house necessarily, but I do want everyone to drive by and slow down and appreciate the love of Christmas we have. Maybe put a little joy in everyone’s heart for the season. There will always be the ba-humbug type and that’s ok. Those types will avoid this street for a month come December. I don’t think I’m asking too much.

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AND in addition to planning what to buy for everyone and how to decorate, I want to plan a for real and for true menu. My first thought is a smoked brisket done on the bbq pit. I’m getting pretty good at smoking a huge slab of meat and lets face it, we are in Texas, what’s more Texas than barbecue? Cactus perhaps? Snakes? I don’t know. But the fact is, we all love brisket and I know it will get devoured and enjoyed for about a day. That’s about how long that hunk of meat will survive in this house. Before I make the final decision, we will have to have a family discussion about what we are having so we can plan on when to purchase everything we need. That probably won’t happen until after Thanksgiving, which is another big one we need to plan for, but Christmas is more important to me, even though I LOVE Thanksgiving too. I’d like to go back to my Grandmother’s for Thanksgiving, which is WHY we are planning all of this NOW. Time and money people. Time and money. My goal is to make Thanksgiving and Christmas less stressful than it has been in the past. I do like the hustle and bustle of the season, but I don’t like the crowded stores filled with desperate people, especially when I am one of those people. I get tunnel vision and mow down anyone in my path as I throw a bunch of crap in my shopping cart. I don’t want to buy a bunch of crap this year. I want meaningful, appreciated gifts for everyone, which is why I am going to start so early this year. Just a little planning should make this completely possible, much more relaxed and so appreciated. How early do you start Christmas planning? What are your goals this year? I’d love to hear from you!