A Grace Full Life

9.29.2014

Fall Starts the END of September. Pass it on. Halloween Mantel 2014

DIY bloggers who start decorating for fall on September 1st are why people get angry at DIY bloggers.
This is the same mentality as getting mad at Hobby Lobby for putting their Christmas crap up in July.
Or Target putting out school supplies in June.
Two days after they get out of school for the summer.
STOP IT, DAMMIT.

OK.
I feel better.
Sorry. 
In all honesty, I did put up OUR Halloween/Fall stuff on September 18th.
A full five days before the official start of fall.
Ducking.
Yes.
But I listened to my "Summer Tunes" play list whilst throwing the fall all over the house.
So that makes it OK.
Ducking. 
BUT I WAS IN THE DOLLAR TREE AND THEY HAD THE REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUP PUMPKINS OUT.
THE REESE'S PUMPKINS, PEOPLE.

I don't respond to Pumpkin Lattes but a peanut butter cup shaped like a pumpkin does it for me.
It was like THE Seinfeld episode.
I threw my money on the counter and said I'M OUT.
And started dragging up my orange and black bins from the basement.
With peanut butter on my breath.
I know.
I am weak.
Forgive me.




I have been sharing all of my decorating with you here since 2010 but my favorite decorating season by far is Halloween/Fall.
You can see my fall decorating from each year here:

2010 

 Fall Mantel 2010

 

 

 

2011 and 2011

 Fall Mantel 2011

 

 

 

 

2012 and 2012

 Homemade Fall Mantel 2012

 

 

 

2013

Fall Mantel on the Cheap 2013 

 

 Wow, it is fun for me to look back at how my style has changed over the years!
I hope its fun for you.
Just lie to me. 

Something about the colors of fall work really well with my house.
Maybe it's all the yellow and green I have going on in here. 
All the other seasons seem to clash with my choice of color. 
Maybe I should just create yellow, green and orange decor for the other holidays.
Nothing says Christmas like an orange tree.
With green lights. 

Here is my interpretation of autumn. 
2014.
Said in my best decor/fashion/trendy blog voice.
Kind of a mix of Tim Gunn and Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly


pumpkins in a basket


A basket of pumpkins.
As you do.
Doesn't everyone have a basket of pumpkins in their home?
WHY NOT??
This is a flea market basket filled with pumpkins I have amassed over the years.
You totally want a basket of pumpkins now.
Don't you?

fabric pumpkin



A fat pumpkin sitting with the remotes like its no big thing.
I got this from a friend a few years ago.
I like to think it enjoys a little Naked and Afraid.
With a snifter of brandy. 
I need to get a life.
I know.



fall mantel on a budget


Every year I say, "I think I love this mantel best."
That's a lie.
THIS year's mantel is so much better.
By the way, I bought nothing this year to create this.
In fact, I haven't bought a fall item for my mantel in probably three years.



cool fall mantel


The candlesticks are from Goodwill four years ago.
Spray painted horribly but it's all good because it works with my freaky, creepy Halloween theme.
The banner was made for me by a friend of mine a few years ago, the flowers, pumpkins etc, I have had for years.
Oh wait! I did buy that mirror glass pumpkin last year.
So I lied.



fall leaves on a mantel


Those fake leaves have seen their share of, well, lots and lots of Halloween candy.
And bad costumes.
And a drunken bonfire here and there.
These bad boys have been around since Seinfeld was still on regular television. 


fall leaves and berries on a mantel


I have a thing for white pumpykins.
I have a thing for calling pumpkins, pumpykins when no one is around.


fall berries on a mantel


See those balls?
Those are from the Christmas aisle at Hobby Lobby.
Shhhhhhhh. 
Here is a tip: you can go outside of the fall aisle to look for fall decor.
And since Hobby Lobby has had Christmas up since Kim Kardashian was still single, there is lots to choose from. 
I worked "balls" into a fall post.
I can see the true DIY bloggers have left the room at this point.
They probably left after the first sentence.


fall mantel on a budget


 I love fall in this room.
Christmas decorations look like they are faking it in this room but Halloween makes this room its b&#%.
I lost a few more of you, didn't I?




fall mantel


Let's move on shall we.
To the other side of the room.


neat bookshelf

 The above are our Halloween books on the "bookshelf" I made out of Ellie's crib rail.
 Here is the tutorial.
All I did was spray paint it.
So I didn't really "make" anything.
But lets just say I did because the DIY bloggers left the room.



fall children's books

We love books in this house.
Scratch that.
I love books in this house.
Oh Ellie loves looking and reading books with me.
Annie used to but now says "I don't like to read outside of school". 
And Mike never reads.
Unless it is meme's on Facebook.
Then he reads. 

When I pull these fall books out, Ellie goes nuts.
I won't see her for a good hour, she pages through all of them, some make noises so I can hear her from the other room.
It is exciting seeing things that are put away for most of the year. 
To clarify, we have books all over the house year round.
Just not ones that sound like coffins opening or doorbells ringing.
But that sounds like fun, so maybe I will leave them up year round. 


burlap wreath


The wreath my friend Rebecca made me a few years ago.
It moves around from year to year.
I love having it in the kitchen because I don't really decorate in here.



family sign

This isn't fall.
Its just fun.
And true. 



Here is where the DIY bloggers will be missin' out.
MISSIN' OUT, I SAY.
I am including a craft!
Woop woop!

So for the price of one blog post, you are getting not just ONE but TWO blog posts!!

I thought of this while in the fall extravaganza aisle at Michael's.
I was all drunk on orange faux leaves, cinnamon sticks and glass mason jars. 
I was so excited!
I thought of a craft, FINALLY.
Until I walked to the register.
And saw one of those craft idea sheets.
THERE WAS MY IDEA.
MICHAEL'S STOLE MY IDEA.
ROTTEN SARDINE SWINDLERS.
I had a better name but I already said b@#$, balls and dammit.
I want to keep it clean. 

Let's just say it was my idea.
That I was telepathically ROBBED by Michael's.
True story. 

You need the following supplies:


black pumpkin

Black pumpykin.



chalk pen

Cheap chalk pen .. $3.99.
Long story long.....
I made a craft here and here using a pen very similar.
Someone emailed me about it a few months ago saying was there anything other than the chalk pen to use.
Then a friend texted me at about the same time-ish frame.
I say time-ish frame because in my world things that happen to me inMarch runs into things that happen to me in August.
And I am all about full disclosure.
To a fault.
ANYHOO, back when I created the above crafts, chalk pens were relatively unheard of/hard to find/ no where to be found.
When I found a three pack of them at Michael's... (said in my best Jerry Seinfeld Newman disdain voice ....are you seeing a trend......) back then, I balked for a second at the $12.99 price.
But they were relatively unheard of/ hard to find/ no where to be found.
I think I used a coupon, shuddered visibly at the cash register and mumbled over and over......"It's worth it. It's worth it. It's worth it."
LONG STORY LONG, I found this one for $3.99.
THEY ARE CHEAP NOW.
That was the point I was trying to make. 



peanut m and m's



You will also need peanut M and M's.
Because.


black pumpkin craft


So take the pens and start drawing all willy nilly on your pumpykins.


black pumpkin craft

 Aren't those pretty?
Little @ signs.
I didn't mean them to be @ signs.
But I am not artistic in any way.
This is my best.


charlie brown pumpkin


Then I went and ruined it by trying to draw chevron on my pumpykins.



charlie brown pumpkin

It looks like Charlie Brown's sweater.
Doesn't it?
A really bad reject Charlie Brown sweater.



owl lamp



I don't do well with blank canvases.
That can be applied metaphorically as well.



BOO sign



Its OK, I have come to terms with my Charlie Brown pumpykin.
The whole point being that YOU can draw whatever YOU want on YOUR pumpykin!
Just like mine is all mine.
Charlie Brown or not.





black pumpkin


And it's a lot better than a bag of rocks.
Happy Halloween.

9.26.2014

Back to School Movie Night. Thanks to Netflix, I Don't Care if I Have Popcorn in My Couch Crevices.

School has been in session a good month here and to be honest, the weeks are long.
Long for the girls, short for me.
Heh heh.
No seriously, when my six year old wakes up on a Tuesday morning and says, "how many days until the weekend??"
Yeah, I need motivation to get to Friday night.



So I decided that we were going to have a family movie night.
Which would have to be on a Sunday night.
Because football games, friend sleepovers, Daddy working.
I landed on having a fun make your own pizza/eat in the family room/ movie night!


Those who read here with any regularity know I am a neat freak.
Like, PUT A COASTER UNDER THAT!!
Actually, I don't even own coasters.
For as much of a neat freak, I own crappy furniture.
On purpose.
So I don't ever say PUT A COASTER UNDER THAT!!

 I am a Monica in a world of Phoebe's.
My husband is Chandler.
My oldest daughter is definitely Rachel.
And my youngest is a mix of Phoebe/Chandler/ Mr. Heckles.
And quite possibly Marcel.

On Sunday evening, we made some pizza.




Sat some blankets on the family room floor.


And watched the Gabby Douglas Story on Netflix. 




And it was amazing.
Thank you Netflix for giving us back our Sunday night.
We plan on doing it again every single Sunday.
What a great way to start a new week.
And not a coaster was used.






 I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team. Meaning, for the next year, once a month I will be writing posts about how my family is using our Netflix. They provided me with a Roku and a voucher for my Netflix account.

9.23.2014

50 Questions. Because I Love the BeJellybeans Out of These Kinds of Things.

Not gonna lie.
When I got tagged by Alison Lee  (one of my blogging heroes) to do this 50 Questions post, I did the Chandler Bing dance.
You know, the one I do when you comment .
Wink, wink.

I love these types of things more than what is probably socially acceptable.
I could spend HOURS running the answers in my head.
Which could mean one of many things.
I love me a list.
I love talking about myself ( HELLO BLOG).
I love reminiscing.
I love talking about myself.

In fact, I was innocently perusing Alison's latest post (the 50 Questions) and was answering aloud to all of them.
All 50 of them.
Like, OOOH I KNOW, I KNOW!!!
Then I got to the bottom and saw my name and literally said, "OHHHHHH SNAPPPPPPP".


So without further ado, let me talk about myself!!!

1- What are you wearing- 

Jeans, a pink top and undergarments.
WHY DIDN'T I WEAR SOMETHING COOLER TODAY, DAMMIT?!?!

2- Ever been in love?

Uhhh yeah. Duh.


3- Ever had a terrible break up?

Yes but everyone's definition of terrible break up is different.
I never ate a quart of ice cream but it did take me six months to get over.
Shoulda ate the ice cream.

4- How tall are you?

Five feet, six inches....and shrinking.


5- How much do you weigh?

I weigh 18 pounds less than I did in January.

6- Any tattoos?

Not a one.
I am borrrrinng.


7- Any piercings?

In my ear lobes.
But those are probably closed shut because I never wear earrings.
Unless I am going somewhere fancy.
So no, I never wear earrings.


8- OTP (one true pair, favorite fictional couple)

Is this anything like OPP?
No?
Moving on......
My favorite fictional couple without a doubt are Luke and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls.

9- Favorite show

Of all time?
Or now?
I NEED TO KNOW??!!

All time- Friends
Now- 19 Kids and Counting.
What?!?!? I am fascinated with a woman who doesn't lose her sh@# with all those kids. It's freakish.

10- Favorite band(s)?

Zac Brown Band,
Hands down.
Go see them live.
LIFE CHANGING.


11-Something you miss-

Sunday dinners with my extended family. 

12- Favorite song?

Highway 20 Ride by Zac Brown.
"It was the pleasure of my life, and I cherished every time"....makes me cry.
Every time.


13- How old are you?

I am the same age as Queen Latifah, Mariah Carey, Taraji P. Henson, Heather Graham, Gwen Stefani, P. Diddy ( I STILL CALL HIM THAT), Uma Thurman, Matthew McConaughey and Tina Fey. 
To name a few.

14- Zodiac sign?

Taurus

15- Quality you look for in a partner?

Sense of humor

16- Favorite quote?

" Don't confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other"-  Erma Bombeck

17- Favorite actor- 

John Cusack 

18- Favorite color - 

Green 


19- Loud music or soft?

Loud when I am working out. 
Soft when I am not.

20- Where do you go when you're sad?

My bed. 

21- How long does it take you to shower?

10 minutes 

22- How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?

20 minutes 

23- Ever been in a physical fight?

No 

24- Turn on?

Beer breath.
I realize.....

25- Turn off?

Bad breath.
Which beer breath is not. 

26- The reason I started blogging?

To release stress. 

27- Fears?

Losing people in my life.
Not having time with my parents.
Of my children wanting to live far away from me when they are grown. 
That you will look at me strangely after reading this post. 

28- Last thing that made you cry?

My teenager being a teenager.

29- Last time you said you loved someone?

To my children as they left for school. 

30- Meaning behind the name of your blog?

Both of my daughter's middle names are Grace.
Our lives are full.
Of them.
A Grace Full Life. 

31- Last book you read?

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner


32- Book you are currently reading?

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham 

33- Last show you watched?

Backstory of Dolly Parton 

34- Last person you talked to?

My six year old

35- The relationship between you and the person you just texted?

My dear friend of 20 years, Rebecca.

36- Favorite food?

Tacos or brownies.
It's a toss up. 

37- Place you want to visit?

The place in North Carolina where Dirty Dancing was filmed.

38- Last place you were?

I am confused by this.
Well, I was in the kitchen but now I am in the dining room.
If they are asking travel-wise?
Tennessee. 

39- Do you have a crush?

On tacos? Yes. 
On my husband? Always. 

40- Last time you kissed someone?

Eight hours ago.
The pool boy.
Aka- my husband. 


41- Last time you were insulted?

Two weeks ago.
The person probably had/has no clue.
They never do. 

42- Favorite flavor of sweet?

Chocolate.
When it's not caramel.
Then definitely chocolate. 

43- What instruments do you play?

I played the clarinet for eight years.
Now?
I play this thing called the computer keyboard.
Like Ross from Friends but with better sound effects. 

44- Favorite piece of jewelry?

My nose and belly ring.
Just kidding.
Trying to see if you are still reading.
My wedding band. 


45- Last sport you played?

It's called walking on a treadmill without falling off. 

46- Last song you sang?

Buffalo Stance by Neneh Cherry.
THAT'S RIGHT 

47- Favorite chat up line?

What is a chat up line?

48- Have you ever used it?

WHAT IS A CHAT UP LINE?!?!

49- Last time you hung out with anyone?

At my oldest daughter's game, I hung out with my friend Vicki and our girls.

50- Who should answer these questions next?

YEAH BOYYYYYYY.
Here we go....

Shannon from Deepest Worth, Melisa from Suburban Scrawl (for the "last song you sang" alone) , Leigh Ann from Genie in a Blog and Jennifer from Me, Myself and Jen. 

9.22.2014

Am I Making 2014 My Boss?

Back in January, I created a bucket list of sorts.
A resolution to all those resolutions lists we make at the beginning of each year.
Only mine was gonna stick.
I was going to OWN my list.
Tell my list who was boss.
Did I do it??



bucket list



1- Put down the smart device

OK in fairness to me, NO ONE IS PUTTING DOWN THEIR SMART DEVICE.
There is therapy dedicated to putting away social media and the like.
I need an intervention.
I do.
I love being connected.
But at the same time, it is a chain around my ankle.
I saw a quote on Pinterest about putting away your phone, computer, tablet for a week and living in the moment and I pinned it.

I said aloud, " YES! OMG YES I AM IMPLEMENTING THE CRAP OUTTA THIS".
Then a week later, looked at it, sniffed and laughed in muffled tones...ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?? MUAH AH AH AH AH.


AH.
AH. 


I am making a small step this fall by taking the Facebook app off of my smart device. 
AM I CRAZY OR WHAT?!?! 
I am doing it.
Because I think that if I do it, I might really like it.
And that in turn could lead to some really good changes.
Or that could be the week that John Cusack gets married and I miss all the coverage on E Online.


2- Feedback from my readers

I have to say, my comment volume has gone up since writing that post.
Maybe because I am writing better than ever??
Nope.
I will say that all of you DID rally and I had like 14 comments on that single post because I guilt tripped you into doing so.

14 comments was a lot for me back then.
14 comments is still a lot for me now.
 
Which means I need to guilt trip all of you way more.
I do love the power of a good guilt trip.
Those nuns know what they are doing.
So I might have to either employ Sister Mary Anna Catherine Gallagher to put the rub on you.
Or hire Mike Knuckles Gallagher, Sister Mary Anna Catherine's brother, to put the RUB on you.
You pick.
Or just comment when you like something I have to say.
By the way, I dance a little when I get a comment from you.



That visual alone should make you want to write something like, "what shampoo do you use?"
Really.
I don't need positive reinforcement.
Heck, you could even write "don't forget to pick up toothpaste on your way home".
I just like to hear your "voice" in my inbox.
That didn't sound as Silence of the Lambs in my head as it did when I just wrote it.


3- Blog Dammit

OMG I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS ONE!
Because my friends Rebecca and Vikki did indeed start blogs this year!
I am so proud of them for doing it and I love reading what they have to say.
Head over and give them some blog juju for following through.
Because I am terrible at that.
Following through, that is.
Not the blog juju. 



4- Watch a popular television series while it is popular

Netflix has helped me out with this a lot.
I started Parenthood a few months back and I love it.
Then I decided to live on the edge a little and watch a little Orange is the New Black.
WHOA WHOA WHOA.
Holy crap, DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU PEOPLE ARE WATCHING????
I couldn't do more than two episodes and I was donzo.
I will stick with my Gilmore Girls.
This is proof that I am not cool enough to hang out with all y'all.


5- Try Nutella

 After I wrote this, my friend Vikki sent me a couple mini packages of Nutella to try.
THIS IS WHY I LOVE ALL OF YOU.
Even when you don't comment.
But I never got to try it.
Why, you ask?
Because the smaller people in my house have sonar radar built into their heads whenever a new or foreign food comes into our home.
BEEP is that BEEP some sort of BEEP chocolate treat BEEP??
The Nutella was gone within six hours of its arrival from Ohio.
Then in April, at the Erma conference in Ohio of all places, my friend Erin (who is from Chicago) gave me my first taste of Nutella.
On pretzels.
OMG.
If I buy a container of it, I am totally hiding it.
Or writing GREEN BEANS on the outside of the package.




6- Break up with Wal-Mart

I did.
For four months.
Then it came back to me with flowers.
And 99 cent cans of refried beans.
OMG PEOPLE, GROCERIES ARE EXPENSIVE.
I actually didn't miss Wal-Mart.
But I did miss my money.
I did, however, switch Wal-Mart locations and am driving 10 minutes to one a little farther away because it is nicer.
The one close to my house is, I am sure of, the scene of the entire People Of Wal-Mart website.
This one?
Clean, nice employees, friendly customers and it has the good selection of EVERYTHING.
So I am unfortunately back to Wal-Mart.
Until I get a Meijer next year.
Then SAYONARA Wal- Mart.





7- Break up with brownies

I did do this.
Kind of.
Back in December when I wrote this, I was 25 pounds heavier and eating brownies every single Friday night.
After going on my diet, I switched out Friday night brownies for black bean brownies.
I was on the black bean brownie Friday night kick for a solid two months.
Then I got tired of it.
And I was gassy.
And no one wanted to be around me any more. 
Too many beans.
Not enough oil.
So I have swapped out brownies for low fat versions of desserts that won't break my diet bank.
And won't make me smelly.



8- Work out more

 I DID THIS!
I joined the scary gym and worked out three days a week from the beginning of February until mid May and now that the kids are back in school, I am working out four days a week!
We are lucky that we have a gym near us that you can pay monthly and quit any time without a fee.
It is a great release for me, I feel better when I do it and there aren't any mirrors.
Or sleazy guys.
Because I go during the day.
With the Grannies.



9- Make time for Bruce

 Here is the back story on the whole Bruce Hornsby thing I alluded to in January.
I like him.
A lot.
I have been a huge fan since the 80's.
I have all of his CD's, I have visited his birthplace of Williamsburg, VA.
Twice.
OK, in full disclosure, I didn't plan both trips around Bruce.
In fact, the first trip I was like 10 so he didn't even exist on my radar then because HELLO HE DIDN'T MAKE IT BIG UNTIL 1986.
In 1995, I was there for my honeymoon to my first husband.
And spent most of the time looking for/asking anyone for any Bruce insider tips.
Yes, it was THAT much fun.

Most people were like, "Uh Bruce Hornsby? Who the fresh hell is he?"
OR "I had no idea he lived here. Are you on something?" 
OMG I sound like someone who would sneak in his home and smell his socks.
And end up on Inside Edition.
I AM NOT A STALKER AND THIS HAS A POINT.

Anyhoo, I love his music and feel he is underrated.
There.
That is it.
His music is my happy place music.
That's it.
I swear. 


Wanna know something funny?
As I started working on this paragraph, a little diddy titled "Fields of Gray" by one Bruce Hornsby came on the iPod.
Why?
Because I have a playlist of all Bruce Hornsby all the time songs.
IN ADDITION TO a playlist of  "relaxing 90s" in which one Bruce Hornsby does indeed fall into such category.
I am a music nerd.
HEY! EVERYONE HAS THEIR " THING ".
I am shocked I even had to make a place in a bucket list for Bruce.
A day without Bruce is like a day without air.
And he is one sexy beast.

I AM NOT A STALKER.
I love you Bruce.





10- Less Ronald

Somehow, I still lost 25 pounds this year AND went to McDonald's almost every single Saturday for lunch with my girls.
That's right.
HATE AWAY.
But I did order differently.
Small fries.
Small sammich.
Water.

Its the treat that the girls pick when we go out to lunch once a week.
Unless its Subway.
But mostly this.
It's a tradition thing that has nothing to do with the golden arches and everything to do with the conversation that we have WHILE eating it.
And I don't care how much pink foam or rubber tires are in my friggin' hamburger.
My grandma loved her a hamburger and filet of fish from Mickey D's and lived to be 102.


So I did pretty well with my list, don't you think?
Not at all like my bucket list for my 25th high school reunion.
I think it has to do with Bruce.
Bruce brings good Karma.
And a little Mandolin rain.




9.15.2014

Everything You Wanted to Know About Blogging but Were Afraid to Ask.








Since starting a blog in 2010, I have learned so much.
When I first began, I knew absolutely nothing about blogging except just enough to go to Blogger and begin writing.
I literally Googled, "how to start a blog", picked the first entry THIS IS WHY SEO IS IMPORTANT and followed the directions.
That was it.
But my blog was basic.
I mean that in the best possible way.
A blog, by definition, is:

1- a personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis.

Personal.
Yes, blogs were meant to be a personal log, journal, entry.
Like an online diary.
So who cares what your blog looks like to others.
It most matters what it looks like to YOU.
If you love it, the others will learn to love it as well.


A few years ago, I started a board on Pinterest dedicated to all things blogging.
I have said before that if my fellow bloggers went to this board and saw what exactly I was pinning, they would be shaking their heads.
There is a lot I still don't know but that is honestly what I love most about blogging.
There is always something new to learn.
A new way to edit HTML, that is the language your blog's alter ego speaks.
A new way to add a button to your blog, the pretty little blog jewelry on the side of the blog.
A new way to change up your header, that is the top part of the blog that has the name.

Here is my board if you want to head there now and learn something new.
Or learn something old.
Its up to you.



Follow Kari @ A Grace Full Life's board Everyday I'm Blogging on Pinterest.


I have found some really helpful tutorials for people like me.
People who in all honesty have no business running a public website yet here we are!
Tutorials that read at a second grade level so as not to confuse us.
That is an insult to second graders everywhere because I am pretty sure they probably know more about adjusting the width on a blog than I do.


So I have gathered my most helpful blogging tips from amazing bloggers all over the web in one place.
Because I want to create a world where there are more bloggers than there are non-bloggers.
And these tutorials will help you create a supafly blog.




How to Get Started 



 Let me start by saying, when I Googled "how to start a blog" four years ago, a lot less people were blogging back then.
Now when I Google it, a lot of HOW TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING WHICH DOMAIN YOU NEED TO BUY blah blah blah comes up.

Here is my personal opinion: I like Blogger.
I hear all the doomsday bloggers out there letting out a collective sigh.
Because on Blogger, I don't "own" my content.
Blogger does.
Which is owned by Google.
Now, I don't see Google going away any time soon and I have backed up my blog (tutorial will be included in this post) so I am not worried.
Wordpress is fine.
So is Tumblr.
But because I have written my blog with Blogger for the past four years, it is Blogger where my alliance lies.


Here is my five minute tutorial on starting a blog:

Google BLOGGER.
The first entry will be Google-Blogger.
Click on that.
If you already have a Google account, half the battle is mounted.
If not, you will need to create one.
Easy peasy.




 The hardest part for me was coming up with a blog name.
In fact, before you even Google "how to create a blog", figure out your blog name.
I originally wanted to call my blog Ducks in a Row.
But I Googled Ducks In A Row and found two blogs and four small businesses with that name.
That's a heck of a lot of ducks.
So I gave it some thought and after a few days, I had this brain storm.

A Grace Full Life.

My girls middle names are Grace.
Our life is very FULL.
Yes.
OMG YES.
I ran to the computer and Googled it.
Not a one.
I immediately named it and boom, my blog was live.
Now you will want to learn how to write a blog post, add pages (those tabs at the top up there that says things like About Me or Contact), go here to learn how to do all of those things and more. 


So now you have a blog!
Congratulations! 
All you need to do is add the words.
But if you are looking to make your blog a little prettier on the eyes, follow these amazing tutorials below.




How to Create a Cool About Me Page

Whether you are creating a public blog or a private one, an About Me page is nice to have so that your readers get a sense of who you are before even reading your words. 
If you want to make money, this is a key player on your blog.
It should reflect who you are so that businesses will know what you represent.
Otherwise you will be getting emails from Nigeria asking for a million dollars.
Or from companies asking for free publicity. 
Or maybe that is just me. 

How to Create a Header on Pic Monkey 

 You don't need a degree in web design to create a cool header.
A header is where your blog name will be and it doesn't just have to be words and a tan background.
Unless that is your thing, then you have one less tutorial to read! 
It is free, easy, and can be done in the same amount of time you do a small load of laundry. 


Another Amazing Header Tutorial 

This is the header tutorial that helped me create mine.
If it can help me, it can help anyone.


How to Make a Blogger Blog Look Supafly 

Blogger is a great platform but when you start, your space can look a little sad.
This tutorial is geared toward Blogger exclusively and is the tutorial that helped me get rid of my old About Me paragraph on the side bar. 
That is the space to the right of the posts on my blog.
Side bars, by the way, can be on the left, right or on both sides depending on your taste. 
But you will find that out if you follow the tutorial all the way at the top when you start your blog. 


How to Embed a Tweet in Your Blog Post

I didn't know how to do this for the longest time.
That is the only reason I am including it.
Because everyone was able to do it but no one was willing to share how.
Here you go.


How to Back Up Your Blogger Blog 

According to the doomsday bloggers, Blogger is going to run away in the night with your blog.
GASP.
No.
Its not.
But if it did?
I got a back up plan.
Click above to get yours. 



How to Install a Scroll to Top Button 

 I just did this last week!
I love it so much and it took me five minutes. 
When your readers get to the bottom of the page, or the middle for that matter, they can press this floating button and BOOM.
Back at the top.
Look at you creating a supafly blog!!!



Tips to Make Your Blog Look Better

This is my all time favorite post.
PIN THIS NOW.
I learned so much from this blogger and I have her to thank for getting my blog FINALLY to where I absolutely adore it. 


Blogging Checklist

I like this one a lot.
A little less than the one above but it is very helpful.
Not all the tips will work for you so pick and choose. 
Trust me, I know from experience.
It is a way for your blog to show up first in search engine, well, searches.
And that is good for pageviews.
Now, if you are wanting to create a personal or family blog, you can skip this.
Want to make money?
Read this.


Blogging Tips

I wrote this tutorial last year in hopes of helping others.
These tips are usually not talked about on blogs or tutorial blogs.
Like a mod podge of information packed into a single post.
And there was some controversy as well.
So now you HAVE to read it.


What To Write About

You have a blog, now what?
There are millions of writing prompts out there but this one looks pretty cool to me.
Especially if the blog you are starting is a personal blog or one you want to leave as a legacy to your children. 



I hope this helped you a little and if any of you decide to start a blog, please leave a comment!
I would love to go visit your new supafly blogs! 

9.08.2014

Kari's Terrible No Good Very Bad Day = Why I Won't Be Starting a Resume Writing Service

 It started with a bad day.
It always does, doesn't it?
I woke up a little late, greeted a friend at the front door in a white tee shirt with no bra, visible nipple and bed head.
Not sure which was more mortifying.
It was humid.
Like HU mid.
I got my period after breakfast.
Fruit loops.
That I told myself I shouldn't really eat.
But it was in those little multi-pack boxes so you reason, well it is diet sized.


mini cereal is diet sized

I almost got hit by a car as it was speeding out of a parking space.
There was no good music on the radio.
Then I tried to place a 13 dollar order for Scholastic books online.
And my credit card wouldn't go through.
Because, as I would soon find out, TWO of our credit/debit cards were hacked.
Because TARGET.
Then Adele came on the iPod, singing about how life is so unfair.

Adele



You know, a typical Adele song.
And I lost it.
I put my head down on the keyboard of my computer and sobbed.
After ten minutes, I pulled myself together and Googled PART TIME JOBS BLOGGING.
Apparently, I felt I needed to get a job because of all of the above. 
Including my period.


After some investigative searching, I found two jobs and applied to them without a second thought. 
One was for a freelance writing position.
The pay sucked but the job sounded amazing because I love to write and feel like it is the only thing I am qualified to do any more.
The other was a retail stocking position for a major department store.
The hours are very early morning, weekdays.
The pay is good, it is perfect in every way except that it isn't what my heart would want.
But it would bring money in and I do have 14 years of retail experience.
That ended in 2002. 

I hit the submit button for the writing job at 12:25.
I got the rejection email at 2:15.

Unfortunately, we are unable to bring you aboard at this time. We base our criteria for acceptance on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, quality of writing and knowledge of topic.

Yes it says quality of writing.

For the application, I submitted some of my "work".
From my blog.
So they were responding to my writing.
The writing I was so proud of, that I even told a friend " I think I will get the job".
I was cocky.
I got this.
I didn't "got this". 
I wanted to leave the world's most public break up letter to the company on every form of social media known to man.
I didn't.


Twitter

So it started with a bad day, the grumbling, the rumbles.
Of my insecurities.
Why am I still doing this?
 I have said for years, I am paying my dues, earning the right to become a decent, respected writer or blogger.
Someone who will get paid for this gig.
Because as much as I love what I do, I wish I were getting paid.

I have people (outside of the blogging world) ask me all the time about how much money I make blogging.
None.
Oh, occasionally I would get paid ops here and there.
VERY here and there.
But nothing to make me say, I get "paid".
I have tried, believe me, without trying to sell out.
I don't want to sell you all out here.
I believe what you have to look at on this page, besides my words, is important and I just don't want my blog to start looking like the blog equivalent of Times Square.

Times Square


And it is by now that I naively thought I would be making some money, when I started in 2010.
Nothing big.
Nothing to keep me in jewels or furs.
I don't wear jewels or furs, by the way.
It's an expression.
Just enough to pay for all the cheer leading fees and the OT visits.
Or so that we could finally save for college.
Or go on a vacation that involves a plane.
Or get the good mac and cheese.


Money


By the way, 86 bucks for a weekly co pay to an OT.
Yep.
Because it falls under mental health.
WHY IS THIS COUNTRY SO MESSED UP?!?!
Because of stupid high deductibles.
That is why. 

This glaring reject letter/email is the first of many, I am afraid.
I knew they would come, I have delved myself into motherhood for too long I fear.
I am not relevant anymore.
I get it.
I tried not to let the rejection email get me down but it did.

I make a good impression in person.
NOT on paper.
Which is pretty hilarious considering that I write a blog.
If you read my resume, you would laugh.
Or giggle.
Titter for sure.
I know people who bulk up their resume and have not had a job in years.
Yet their resumes look amazing.
I need someone to do that for me.
Because mine is a who's who of useless information.

For example, I wanted to apply for a job at my daughter's elementary school.
It is a temporary position filling in for maternity leave.
Perfect.
Just a few months to get my feet in the pool, make some money and be close to my child so I don't have to worry about transportation etc.
The computer application process wants to know the supervisor of my latest job.

My latest job was in 2007.
Do you think she is still there?
In fact, I have no idea what her name even was!
Kim!
Yes!
Kim!
Maybe I could just put THAT on the application.

Yes, her name was Kim something or other.
She was really nice, liked me a lot but she could stand to smile more.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.
I am screwed.
Royally screwed.
I have an Associates Degree in quasi Education/Pre-Nursing/ Kickball.
I haven't worked full time since 2000.
I haven't worked part time since 2007.
I have no skills worth writing on a resume.
Yet I have been toiling at this blogging realm for four solid years.

I can help you design a blog.
Edit HTML in a pinch.
I am kick ass at editing a picture on Pic Monkey.
And I FINALLY learned how to take a screenshot. 
Can I put that under certifications??




I can write a piece about your business, corporation, doggy day care in less than a half hour and it will be funny without selling you or myself out.
I could write a mission statement that would make Jerry Maguire pick up the goldfish and come work for ME.
SCREW YOU BOB SUGAR.

I can also keep a house clean, get all the laundry for the week done in three days and have a casserole in the oven at the same time.
I can menu plan and coordinate meals, snacks and lunches for our entire family for two solid weeks in a matter of 15 minutes.
I schedule our families lives down to the minute with a calendar system that would make SOMEONE HIGHLY ORGANIZED piss their pants.
My kids are happy, well adjusted, smell good, and have clean clothes every day.
Can I write all THAT somewhere on a resume? 

Yet I am irrelevant when you look at my life's work on a piece of paper.
Such is the story for a lot of you out there, I am sure.
So I am at this crossroads.
I might look good in person, but on paper?
I am a hot, steaming mess.

So if you know of someone who is looking for a humor writing blogger who can wipe butts while checking on her smartphone how to defrost chicken in a crock pot?
Let them know I am their girl.
Just don't give them my resume first. 







9.05.2014

Flat Kari at College, Doing the Irish Jig and PHOTO SHOOT!!


When the editor at Chicago Parent wanted to take Flat Kari for the week, I was excited!
And a little nervous that I wouldn't do this post justice.
BECAUSE HELLO EDITOR.
I love Tamara, she is such a cool person and her son just left for college, so can we give her a virtual hug?
HUG.

Here is my visit with Tamara in her words......

Kari headed back to college on college move-in day and got a little caught
up in all the goodbyes. And yes, cried big flat tears, yes she did.



I did cry. But I give really good hugs too. And tell him to go to the candy store in nearby Washington. He won't regret it.








Kari didn't get enough crying at college so the next day, Sunday, she sobbed
more flat tears at the tween hit "If I Stay." The girls sobbing next to her
were a little embarrassed and puzzled seeing Flat Kari crying, too.








I TOLD YOU I HAD SOMETHING IN MY EYE!!


Kari had cuteness overload when she headed to a photo shoot at TK
Photography where Photographer Thomas Kubik shot the cover of the new baby
magazine, Hey Baby. She tried to get in on the fun but the babies made a
grab for her so she took refuge by the giraffe.









NORMALLY I LOVE BABIES! UNLESS THEY PUT ME IN THEIR MOUTH. THEN I AM OUTTA THERE....





 Flat Kari had her first lesson on a Celtic harp but got a little tangled up. No no Flat Kari, you only use your fingers!





Harp is HARD. Maybe I will just listen to it.




Kari gets her Irish on styling a head full of curls. Doesn't she look pretty? She is planning to woo Chicago's own, Michael Flatley







Ooh LORD OF THE DANCE?? Where is my lipstick......




 Flat Kari discovered that Irish dance is harder than it looks. She landed in the ER with a possible broken ankle.





There goes my chance at Riverdance......



Thank you so much for hosting me for a very big week, Tamara!
I actually can't keep track of me anymore.
I think I am in three places in Illinois as I write this.
One is in Ohio and another is being made by my friend Kari.
I need to get a paper secretary.




Want to see where else I have been?
Check out these former posts!










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