Tuesday, January 28, 2014

blog cheats for beginners// bcb

i have had quite a lot of questions concerning blogging lately, like a lot. and if you follow me on twitter you may know that even the hubs is considering getting into my game. so i've decided to start a mini series: blog cheats for beginners, or bcb. i wanted to call it how to not look like a beginning blogger even though you are, but even htnllabbetya was too long... wink...

so with that in mind, let me tell you some things i will cover with my not-so-very-vast-but-quite-a-bit-of knowledge starting next week.

disclaimer: i'm not a professional blogger, i bow down to those... i have just been doing this for a long time and i have learned a lot and i want to share it with you. 

platforms: the first thing i'm going to cover are platforms because that's where it all begins. i'm mostly going to look at wordpress and blogger because I have used them both. however, there are plenty of others out there to try out, i just haven't. 

design:  let's talk about this for just a minute. the visual part of a blog is super-dee-duper important; it's the first thing people notice. not your witty phrases, or hilarious tone of voice. not even the delicious recipe you posted or the excellent article you linked. it's the design; the colors, the style, the font, the photos. those grab attention or turn it away. so be prepared for a long post when we get to this! in this section i will also share some of my pet-peeves about designs and also my sneaky tools for all my handy work.

style and writing: i have a few tips here, as a writer and a reader, just to help you sound and feel more professional and not like you don't care about what you just posted on the internet for the world to see (though that doesn't mean I don't have typoes. ask my mother. more on this later).

networking: the number one rule about getting out there is this: if you want to get noticed, you have to notice other people. when we get to this section, i'll share some tips about getting involved in the blogging community, making bloggy friends, and working that social network. i'll be honest, this is probably my weak point, but maybe we can learn something together. 

tools and other helps: there are a lot of apps and site and books and fun things to help you as a blogger, like a whole whole lot. i will share with you some of my faves, some that haven't really fit me, and maybe we can find some more! i'll talk about phones, tablets, books, and other little helps that may or may not fit you and your style. this may turn into more of a miscellaneous tools section.

overall, i'm pretty excited about this little project i've created for myself because i think i have forgotten to use a lot of the knowledge i have about blogging and it will help me as i am rekickstarting my blog this year. i hope it's fun for you, too. and if you have ever thought about blogging, this may be a good chance to dip your toes in and see if you like it. 

if there are any blog questions you have that i didn't mention above that you would like some insight on, i'm open to more ideas! you can leave a comment or tweet me, too!

p.s. next on the baby list of updates: why we chose a midwife! stay tuned. 

when the posts are up, these will be links!
platforms | design | style and writing | networking | tools and other helps

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

how i told my husband i was pregnant

i've been wanting to post this for some time, but it's been a rough several days consisting of some debbie-downness, UTI's, and exhaustion. so it's finally here. and it's finally the way i want it. i'm doing much better!

the night of october 15th was pretty restless. i knew in the morning i would be taking the test. i snuck into my craft room and boxed up a tiny white pair of socks, just in case.

it was pretty hard to sleep. i was really reluctant to even take the test because the month before was really difficult for me. but on the other had i was really hopeful. i was already 3 days late. i just didn't want to get my hopes up again. a lot of mixed emotions means no sleep. 

when the alarm went off in the morning the butterflies set in. i groggily wished brock a happy birthday and went straight into the bathroom. i took the test right away and hid it in the cupboard without even looking. i couldn't make myself do it. brock got ready for work then went to the kitchen to study while I made him breakfast. once i had everything cooking, i faced my fears and went back to the bathroom.

two lines. clear as day! i grabbed the tiny box of socks and went back to the kitchen, hiding the box and test just around the corner. i finished up breakfast and we ate. i always finish before him. i'm a fast eater and I eat less than he does anyway. so i started cleaning up and then when there was nothing left for my hands to do, i went and got my secret stash. 

with the test behind my back, i pushed the box in front of brock and said happy birthday. he looked at me like you shouldn't have. he does that. then he opened the box. with his attention on the socks, i pulled the test out from behind my back. when realization hit him, he looked up at me and the test in a whole lot of shock! so i said the obvious,

we're gonna have a baby! 

still stunned for a moment, but stunned and smiling. then he hopped out of his chair and ran around in a circle in the middle of the kitchen. like a little boy. it was adorable. 

then the hugging and kissing and the silly grins you can't wipe off your face. i was finally allowing myself to be excited and i think i overdid it. i had known for at least 20 minutes, but it hadn't really hit me until that moment in the kitchen. in his arms. we were going to have a baby! and yes, i teared up. and shocker, i think brock did, too. i can't be sure because I have never actually seen him cry. but i'm pretty sure he did. we're just going to pretend that even if it was morning eye grogginess or allergies, for my own peace, he teared up. 

it all made the wait so worth it. all the stress i put myself through. hello, little holland. welcome to the family. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

tropical pineapple crisp

on sundays after church, brock and I go to his grampa's house for lunch and to play cards. we usually have delicious, fried, greasy, not very healthy food of the south accompanied by a cakes or pies or other desserts whipped up by brock's baker of an aunt. last sunday, however, we stayed at home, i crock-potted some pork, and we had a quiet afternoon to get our heads on straight before we went back to work and real life.

being the health nuttos that we are... i didn't have any treats! bah! we needed to have treats on sunday. so i thought i would whip up an apple crisp, one of my favorites that mama used to make... but we didn't have any apples. wer wer. but we did have some canned pineapple rings so i decided to invent a whole new recipe! whoop! it was delicious so i shall share it with you.

disclaimer: alcohol has never touched these lips, just not my thing. but rum extract has. and good gracious, i don't know who's brilliant//dangerous idea that was, but mercy, don't leave it out. 

tropical pineapple crisp


1 can of pineapple rings,drained and juice set aside
8 tbsp brown sugar, divided
1 cup of rolled oats
4 tbsp flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts [we used pecans]
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp coconut extract
1/4 tsp rum extract
coconut milk if desired


spray an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with olive oil or spread with coconut oil. lay out drained pineapple rings to fill the bottom of the pan. it's ok if they overlap. sprinkle 4 tbsp of brown sugar on top and set aside.

in a medium bowl combine the remaining brown sugar with oats, flour, and nuts. combine extracts and coconut, then add to the other mixture [i wanted to make sure the extract flavors were in every bite, so i measured the coconut in a cup too big]. spread dry mixture over pineapple rings. pour 1/4-1/2 cups of pineapple juice over the mixture, enough to moisten it. 

bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the top begins to turn golden. drizzle coconut milk on top of desired and enjoy warm! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

not your average fresh start

i'm sure by now, you have all read about a dozen resolution, welcome 2014 blog posts, but i find it necessary to add mine because it's a huge huge part of my life like no year ever has been before.

last month, brock and i both graduated. yes. brock now has his master's in operations management and i have a bachelor's in organizational leadership. we have both sworn [and sealed it with our blood] that we are never going back. ...smile...

the day after graduation, we took off to georgia to visit my grandparents who hadn't met brock yet. after we got back, we had three full days of work and then his brother and our new sister-in-law flew in for the holidays. small blessings of brock working for the education system and my sweet boss, we had two weeks off to spend with the fam.

that being said, the full magnitude of the freedom didn't hit me until saturday.  

holy mother of pearl, freedom is sweet. 

no longer am I rushing from work to class to church, and squeezing study time in where ever there is room. my nights aren't filled with assignments and that paper isn't looming in the back of my mind every second of the day. it's amazing how much time school actually sucked out of our lives. 

when it finally hit us saturday, we decided it was time to evaluate our lives and decide how we want to use all that precious time. our biggest priorities are of course, little holland and figuring out the next phase of life. so i'll share with you the biggest part of our goals and plans. 

make room for little holland// because we are more project oriented than anything else, we've decided we're moving the study to the living room. we never go in the living room because there's not a table or desk to work at. the study only has one desk and so it separates us. and that makes my kitchen table always full of our projects and no room to eat. so the big plan, that is still in brainstorm mode, is to make some wall desks in the living room and bring our projects to the living space. the study is going to become the nursery, which solves another problem... I can keep my craft/storage room that i was going to have to clean out. win/win/win. 

improve ourselves// brock is working really hard at redeveloping those skills he neglected during school, like working on his chinese, honing his creativity, and just getting himself out there. i'm honestly really impressed with all he is doing to just be the best person he can!
i, on the other hand, am getting ready to leave my job. at least, i will when it gets closer to baby time, so my focus is on other things. like this blog. and my other blog project, mail it forward. i'm also working on some skills of my own, like learning html coding, and actually studying the scriptures daily (i gave that up last semester...what a fool). i'm also pulling out my mom hat and getting crafty, decorating the house, and cleaning up all the messes we ignored for a whole semester. over all, we are filling our time with productive things and sticking to my mantra ^^^

get healthy// yeah. yeah. every new year starts this way and everyone does it, but i have a good reason. i'm growing a little person! as of monday, we are back to working out [tough! i'm so stiff!] and we have sworn off of eating out except maaaaaybe twice a month. and being good when we do... that doesn't mean we won't enjoy some good unhealthy food! but we are going to be better because i'm tired of feeling like poop.  

give more to the lord// if you don't know already, we're pretty religious. we have been pretty dedicated all our lives, but it still doesn't feel like we're giving all we can. like me skipping out on reading my scripture. oh, I am so ashamed. we have put that at the top of our daily schedule! we have also decided we are going to have family home evening. i always wanted to, but what can you do with two people who are always together anyway? brock had the great idea of doing family history. so that is our monday nights. and along with that, we have a goal to make it to the temple three times before little holland comes. whoooo! it makes me happy. [if you are slightly, or even completely, lost on this one, click here to get a glimpse at our beliefs]

as you can see, we have a lot to do, but the good news is, we want to do it! it makes such a difference when desire and drive are pushing your forward.

i wish you all the best with your own new year's plans and endeavors. my other mantra is keep on keepin on. ...wink...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

introducing... baby holland!

oh my, oh my. let me just start by saying that it is very hard to have a blog and keep secrets. i didn't put up a blog post so many times because part of it was going to spoil the news. ah!

i'm going to have a baby! there. i said it! it's out. whew!

some of you may already know from facebook or just from me, but i felt that it was time to tell the rest of you. brock and i honestly couldn't be more happy! 

special thanks to my lovely cousin, emily for taking these photos!

i know you all want to know the deats, so let me get out the basics and you will have to wait for the stories in future posts.

baby is due june 22.
i won't make you do the math, i'm 16 weeks along.
yes, we will find out if it's a boy or girl. brock and i plan too much not to (and i have to know what to buy!).
we can find out in three weeks! eek! i might make you wait a few days, though...wink...
we have decided to go the midwife route and i promise an excellent post about this later.  
don't be a hater, i had morning sickness for about a week with no puking and have been feeling good about 92% of the time since then. 
brock has already been amazing. i am truly blessed to have such a wonderful husband and i can't wait to watch him become a father. 

so there you have it friends. get ready for lots of baby and pregnancy posts in the future because that's what you are going to get! with other stuff, of course. more on that thursday. xo

special thanks to my lovely cousin, emily for taking these photos!