Meet Gunner Hayes

Gunner Hayes

I have a SON!!!! And just like everyone warned me, he stole my heart!

Sweet baby Gunners arrival was a tough one. My hardest of them all and just like his pregnancy it has put me through the ringer and has left me with a few battle wounds! I had been in labor for days with consistent contractions and sleepless nights filled with timing and wondering if this was it! Because he was breech I had to rush up to the hospital when I went into labor in hopes that there was still time to flip him externally.

A week before he arrived I did end up in labor and delivery contracting 2 min. apart and needing a flip! I had to be given medication to stop my contractions in order to relax my uterus enough to flip him successfully. What sucked the most was that this medication gives you anxiety, a rapid heartbeat and a wicked case of the shakes. Three things that don’t help out when your doctor is about to turn your baby by manipulating him from the outside of your belly! And the answer is YES!!!  To flip your baby hurts like the dickens! Thankfully I had a ton of amniotic fluid so he flipped easily but holy cow! I’d do it again that’s for sure if it kept me far away from a c section but you won’t see me volunteering to do it for kicks and giggles!

They sent me home after the flip because I wasn’t dilating but man was I contraction! That pretty much set off my week long contraction party! Painful and consistent but by  my next appointment 4 days later both myself and my doctor were in shock that I was still pregnant! NO CERVICAL CHANGE! Talk about a disappointment! With all my contractions I was certain my doctor was going to tell me I was 6cm and 100% effaced! No such luck!

Finally, days later I had had enough! FINALLY I had contractions that stopped me in my tracts while on a walk ( you better believe I was walking as much as possible and doing everything under the sun to try to get things going!) so we kissed the kids goodby and headed up to the hospital! After getting hooked up to monitors and having strong contractions 2 min apart I was checked…. 2cm! AHHHHHH! Sooo frustrating! I knew I was about to be sent home but why on earth was my body not cooperating! My body had always known what to do and this time it didn’t!

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I had wanted to avoid pitocin and was ready for my hypno birthing love fest to begin but here I was in labor for a week and not progressing. I opted to get started on pitocin even though I had hoped to avoided it! I needed to get this going! 9 hours later. YES you read that right! 9 HOURS LATER I was checked again and I had only progressed to 3cm! Utter devastation! It was 6 a.m. and I had been awake for over 24 hours and on pit all night long! I was exhausted! At this point the fear of ending up needing a c section was hanging over me. Why was I not progressing?

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After about an hour of mental back and forth I decided my body needed to rest in hopes that the change might change me and I asked for an epidural. It was like a personal defeat for me. For one who has had beautiful natural deliveries in the past, having to ask for an epidural was crushing but I didn’t know what else to do.  30 minutes later I was in agony as the anesthesiologist was poking me. Three attempts later she finally had it in but not after poking my spinal fluid and having to warn me that I was most likely going to be getting a spinal headache the next day that could last weeks! This news sent me into such a dark place. Here I was, getting an epidural I never wanted and now I just put my health in jeopardy. Oh…and the cherry on top was that the epidural NEVER worked! Not a single moment of pain relief. Just absolute regret and pain and the daunting realization that headaches were on the horizon.

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Thank heavens for my amazing husband. I was in such despair and he was by my side the entire time! I’ll love him forever because of that! Makes me cry all over again when I picture him next to me!  At some point during all this hell I went from 3cm to 10cm in like 10 minutes and I was ready to push! That sensation when your kid is ready to sky rocket out of your crotch is undeniable so when I told my nurse he was coming NOW she seemed to not believe the urgency in my voice and the grimace on my face! Problem was my doctor wasn’t there! I had progressed so fast out of no where he had just gotten the call that he might want to make his way up to the hospital!

There I was with a watermelon ready to explode between my legs and I was told to “hold it in sweetheart!” After 15 minutes of begging, warning and asking for any qualified catcher in the hospital, even the janitor if need be, my doctor ran in. The moment I heard he was there I finally pushed him out. 2 pushes and a 2nd degree tear later my 9 lb. baby was placed on my chest! Umm yeah…he was 9 lbs HUGE and two weeks early!

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It’s amazing how a 9 lb baby looks like a 9 lb. baby! There was nothing small about him! Huge hands, feet and a swollen face! But he was here and the misery was over…so I thought!

I hate to admit it but it wasn’t love at first sight. My trepidations to having a son were always there! I was nervous the moment we found out he was a he! Everyone told me that would change the moment I laid eyes on him. But there we were, meeting for the first time and all I could do was try to catch my breath and calm down after my horrific night. I’m sad over it, really. I wanted it to be a magical moment like all of you had told me it would be like.

A few hours later it was just me and my brand new ball of baby. Mike was out of the room for some reason and I was holding my son. I remember it so clearly (yes I’m crying right now!) but I looked down at him and he was starring at me. It was the first time I saw him with his  eyes open and the look on his face just whispered to me ” I am yours and you are mine!” And it was right then that my heart melted and he moved in for good.  He forgave me for my tardiness in loving him to my core. It was as if he knew we needed that quiet moment alone to officially fall in love.  My heart felt healed for the very first time in over two years.

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Thankfully the love fest for baby brother was instant with everyone else in the family! Bigger smiles then I’ve ever seen on three big sisters who loved him from the start.

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I know Mike loves every single fresh from heaven baby the same and maybe it’s just been forever since we’ve had a new born so I’ve forgotten, but he is IN LOVE big time!!! This little boy has Mike wrapped around his little finger! It’s my new favorite thing to see these two together.

Later that afternoon the headache started! It was the most intense pain I had ever experienced. The only relief I had was when I was flat on my back. The reality of this pain was overwhelming and the thought of having them for days or weeks on end was too much for me. The next morning I had a procedure called a ” blood patch” where they draw a large amount of blood from my arm and inject it into my back through an epidural where my spinal fluid was leaking. If it works the blood will clot around the leak and patch it up and relieve the pain. Thankfully I did get some relief and went home with fingers crossed that I was going to be on the mend. Sadly my pain relief was short lived. My blood patch came loose and my headaches were back twice as strong as before with much less relief when laying flat. I felt like I was going to die! Three days after delivering and on my birthday I was back in the hospital begging for another blood patch. It was the worst and best birthday ever! I had to get another epidural but the procedure worked and with fear of it dislodging again I was on strict warning to not bend, twist or pick up anything heavier then Gunner! I would hop on one foot naked for hours if it would promise me to not experience that pain ever again! The only side effect from the blood patch is a horrible back ache but believe you me, I’d endure that over the headaches any day. When we got back from the hospital that day I said to my husband ” I have never been so thankful to be in this much pain!” and I meant it!

Life with baby brother at home as been wonderful besides the pain I have been living with. Last week I stopped taking my pain medication and discovered a new throbbing pain in my lower back and butt. That’s right folks! I broke my tail bone during delivery! REALLY? REEEEALLY!!! Seems so. The combination of being petite, having a large baby and having to hold him in for so long resulted in a tail bone injury that will only get better with time. I die a small death when I stand up, sit and walk so basically all day and night! I swear… I have been living with pain for 3 months now and it’s starting to take it’s toll on me. Today I’ve been stewing in a pity party, party of 1! I am so tired of hurting. I feel robbed of a child birth I wanted so badly and my recovery has been far from smooth. Time will tell. Fingers crossed my body can bounce back sooner then later.

I’m trying to focus on the good and wonderful and that is our sweet little Gunner!

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He is darling and sweet and sleeps like a champs! He is the missing piece to my heart puzzle and we are all in love. I’d give almost anything for a “do over” when it comes to his birth but I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world. He is mine and I am his!

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Freeze ahead Green Smoothies

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My husband and I have recently jumped on the Green Smoothie band wagon! This all came about after I noticed the HUGE amounts of treats I’ve been consuming while on bed rest for the last 5 weeks! Nothing says “Hope you’re surviving the boring weeks ahead of you in bed!” than pie, cookies, breads, candy and everything else I couldn’t say no to! Friends, don’t get me wrong! I loved every last bite of your generous offering and I have my ever expanding rear end to prove it! But there I was, sitting in bed feeling sorry for my growing self when I stumbled upon a green smoothie recipe while searching pinterest for FOOD none the less!

Inspired to get my sweet tooth under control I pinned a few recipes that sounded good and sent my husband to the store! After much tweaking and developing a recipe that we love, we came up with a morning smoothie that fits our taste buds and needs!

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The recipe itself is only half the fun when it comes to making these green smoothies. I was totally inspired by this recipe I found on pinterest and her technique of preparing premade smoothie bags that she freezes and whips up every morning! GENIUS!  Because I can’t be on my feet much throughout the day this was the prefect solution.

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I plopped myself down at the kitchen table surrounded by all the fresh fruit, greens and add ins. I chopped everything up and separated them into freezer bags. Each bag contained the listed ingredients above minus the water and juice concentrate. In 30 minutes I prepared 7 bags of premade smoothies.

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When you are ready to enjoy a smoothie all you do is grab a bag from the freezer, add 2 1/2 cups water and your 1/4 cup juice concentrate. Because all of the other ingredients are frozen it mixes up into the perfect texture! No need to add ice!

This recipe is portioned to create two 20 oz smoothies. Perfect for me and my husband. If you only need one smoothie you can half the recipe and freeze smaller bags or make this recipe, pour half of the blended drink back into the freezer bag to refreeze and thaw out over night.

This technique and morning drink has been life changing! Each morning it takes only 5 minutes to create a healthy meal replacement and vitamin boosting drink AND that includes clean up! 30 minutes once a week and we have 14 smoothies coming our way!

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TIPS: Citrus fruit is easier to peel when it’s not been refrigerated. Be sure to separate the orange segments before you put them in the bags. Limes can be easily peeled once they have been cut. Flax Seed and Soy Protein powder is often sold in bulk for super cheap. I add these powder ingredients last on top of all the cup fruit. It coats the cut fruit int he bag, freezes to it and then all gets dumped into the blender when you are ready to blend. Besides the important greens that are power packed with vitamin C and A, feel free to substitute your fruits to your liking or what’s in season and on sale.

Calorie and protein totals were calculated using this website and are considered to be an approximate calculation.

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Sewing Tip: Use Alligator Clips instead of Straight Pins!

alligator clips

This discovery came out of desperation and boy am I glad I was desperate!

Yesterday I set out to sew some much needed blankets for my soon to arrive little fella! While gathering my thread, scissors and other supplies I COULD NOT for the life of me find my straight pins! AHHHH! I checked everywhere! Talk about a downer! As a last resort I grabbed a box of Alligator Hair clips I found in a drawer while frantically on the hunt! Little did I know these little babies would soon become my newest sewing companion favorite!

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These clips slide easily onto my freshly ironed edges and hold them in place and are perfect for corners!

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And talk about and easy off! These clips are so easy to pull off while you are still sewing! Much less stop and go to remove straight pins.

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I’m totally converted to using these over straight pins for edge work and here’s why…

-Easy to slide on my edges with one hand.

-Has a tight hold that won’t pop off when I move my fabric.

-Super simple to remove one handed while sewing without having to stop sewing to take off.

-Are large enough to see while sewing so I won’t accidentally NOT see it like I have in the past when I used straight pins. I have accidentally sewed a straight pin into my blanket and damaged my needle, mangled my straight pin making it hard to removed, or left a pin in my finished product and found it later while using the finished product! Ouch!

-If I drop a clip on the floor they are much easier to find then a dangerous straight pin! Comforting when kids are often near by while I sew.

-Alligator clips don’t draw blood!

Give it a try! I bet you too will love this new short cut! I only wish I had discovered it sooner!

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Kids in Training: Keeping a Room Clean and Orderly! Giveaway and Free Printable

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I know I’m not the only who has struggled with trying to help my kids keep their rooms clean! It was a constant battle and frustration in my home. I would often give up and clean it myself but the reality of them missing out on this important life lesson and skill finally won me over and I had to come up with a better plan!

In my e-book “Kids in Training” I drive head first into this very topic and share how we turned a corner when it came to conquering the bedroom clutter and keeping it clean! Can you believe after I put a few new daily responsibilities into action that my 9 and 7 year old daughters have been able to keep a spotless room for over 4 months in a row!!! CRAZY, I know!

It all came down to making them responsible, minimal daily pick up and seeing the potential that their personal space had hidden under all the piles and mess!

My girls do a few thing EVERY single day. By keeping on top of it they are never left with the daunting task of cleaning a disaster zone. I share our tips and tricks in Chapter 1 of “Kids in Training: Life lessons that will help lead to productive, responsible and grateful kids!” Keeping a room clean and orderly becomes totally manageable for little ones with a little direction, motivation and organization.

I’ve created a few fun chore charts that you can use to help your kids stay on top of their bedroom responsibilities! Help them identify a few daily tasks that will help them keep a clean room. By seeing what they need to do and marking it off when it’s done, they will feel the pride that comes with being responsible. I also talk about fun incentives and rewards for their continual hard work.

Chore chart 1

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These weekly chore charts are great for helping your kids keep track of their progress! Insert daily bedroom chores on the blank lines and have them mark them off as they accomplish their chore! Things to consider putting on the charts…

Make Bed

Clean Desk

Clean Dresser

Clean floor

Clean closet

Toys put away

Customize it to your kids room needs or areas that have been a struggle. If they have had a hard time keeping books in order add that chore to the daily list! Doing 5-10 minutes of daily work will totally help keep a space in order!

Read more about what’s been working in my home by reading “Kids in Training!” Along with helping my kids keep a clean room, I touch on 9 other helpful life skills that are helping me teach my kids how to be productive and responsible!

If you purchase a copy of “Kids in Training” Now through March 19th, you will be entered into our “Clean Room Giveaway!”

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These fun items are the perfect tools to help any kids room become organized and ready to KEEP clean! Items are being ordered and shipped from Amazon so they are subject to availability once a winner is chosen! Winner will be chosen from my e-book sales log and announced on the Blue Cricket Design Facebook Page March 20th! If you have already purchased a copy you are automatically entered to win!

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Click below to purchase “Kids In Training!” Check out is via paypal and the pdf version will be emailed to you after you check out!

Add to Cart

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How to take better home videos

Better home videos

Over the past few months my family and I have been rediscovering our old home videos! Even my three year old LOVES to see herself as a tiny toddler getting into trouble or caught doing something adorable.  It’s become our favorite Sunday afternoon activity. We pile on our bed and take in a walk down memory lane. It’s a guaranteed good time!

It’s been while viewing these family memories that I’ve come to realize how much I wish we would have been doing differently behind the lens to produce better videos. I think it’s hard enough to even pull out the video camera and capturing a moment let alone have to think about making it the best video ever! Ok, ok…so we arn’t looking for Oscar worthy footage but with a few mindful tips we can all improve our family videos by leaps and bounds!

tips for betterBack up a little! After watching hour after hour of home footage I noticed one very obvious thing. We were way too close to our subject! If we were at the park we’d be zoomed in on our 2 year old. We follow her around like a shadow, watching her pick up a leaf, throw a rock and find a bug. The frame was all about her. In our mind we were thinking ” Holy smokes! Is she not the cutest thing on earth or what!” That admiration for our explorer clouded our goal. The goal was to capture her, at this sweet age, in an environment that she loved.

Because we were so tightly focused in on her we lacked the ability to take in her surroundings and put her on a stage that would emphasize her size, age and ability. A tiny 2 year old up close looks like a cute kid but a tiny 2 year on a play ground highlights her height and comparison to her surroundings. If this is a favorite place of hers to visit a wider shot of her enjoying the park will better be compared to later visits as she grows.

And our kids aren’t the only things that change! Surrounding change too. If we are focused in too much on just them we will fail to capture the environments they will some day love to see again when they watch themselves on these videos.

Our back yard trees have doubled in size and so have our kids while we have lived here! The kids get a kick out of seeing how their childhood surroundings have changed just as much as they have.

Silence the wind! Sadly in too many videos we took outside there is a wicked wind swirling into the mic. It makes it next to impossible to hear anything else but it’s annoying tone. It totally takes away from the moment you wanted to capture and makes you actually want to fast forward to the next scene. If you are outdoors and the wind is working it’s best to tick you off just be sure to position yourself with your back against the wind. This might mean that you need to move the kids or go on the opposite side of the soccer field but trust me, if you can avoid get a microphone full of wind you’ll thank me later. Wind doesn’t sound very load in person but when played back on a home video it sounds like rustling paper.

Capture the crowd! We have years of collected birthday gatherings on video. Fun parties with one year olds digging into a cake for the first time and birthday girls unwrapping piles of gifts! I noticed that for the majority of the footage the camera was only on the guest of honor. I heard voices all around that I could make out as grandparents, aunts and uncles but I totally failed to pan the camera around the room to capture the crowd! I missed the chance to capture a moment. What I wouldn’t give to see how adorable my little one was AND see my grandmother, in her signature purple color, enjoying her party as well.

It’s not only fun to go back and see what you got for your 5th birthday but it’s also great to see how Uncle Doug looked too way back then.

Step out from behind the lens! This is our biggest home video FAIL! All too often me or my husband were behind the lens or avoiding being in front of it as much as possible. What a shame! 20 years from now we’d give anything to look as young, thin, or vibrant as we do today even if while the camera rolls we think we are not as camera ready as we’d like! I  regret not being captured on film, as dorky as it might feel I wish I had more video of myself and my husband as new parents.

Moments with our kids are what it’s all about. Put yourself in the shots. Make family videos about being a family! Years from now you will have endless footage to admire and laugh about! Your style, trends and self will be captured as they change. You won’t regret it!

Think short and sweet! Oy, I watched one video where I followed my little one outside for 8 min. Talk about a snooze feast! 8 minutes of the same old, same old. I was ready to poke my eye out by minute 4 on the play back! As cute as something might be in the moment just remember that to watch it back years from now it might loose some of it’s sparkle! Just food for thought.

Ask a few questions! This is sort of a family joke. When we watch my husbands old home videos we laugh because at the start of every video my father in law asks the same few questions ” What’s the date? Where are we?” How old are you?” It sounds pretty funny but I can’t tell you how handy it is to hear the answers back! It’s a great way to document the date and avoid that ugly annoying date that used to fill the corner of home videos.

fun questionsOne thing we have done well over the years it to sit our kids down and interview them! Interviews are a fun way to see your kids at different stages of life. We sit our kids down at least once a year and ask them fun questions. These have become some of our favorite videos to watch back and we all too often nearly die of laughter as we see their innocence, smarts and whit on display. Create a fun list of questions and start recording! These are a few fun questions we always seem to love hearing the answers too…

  • How old are you?
  • What grade are you in?
  • Who’s your best friend?
  • What’s your favorite food?
  • What is your favorite show to watch?
  • Do you have a crush?
  • What do you want your husband to look like or be? ( Funniest answers ever! Apparently my oldest at one point wanted her husband to like soccer, have big muscles and wear a bow tie!)
  • What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
  • If you could go on vacation tomorrow where would you go?

The list could go on and on! Take the time to create a list of questions that focus in on who they are right now! These videos will be treasures and don’t be afraid to get interviewed yourself! Turn the tables and have your kids ask you a few questions!

We’ve already started to take better home videos. Every time I pull out the camera I am thinking of the videos we have recently been watching and what I wish I would have done differently!  I hope these tips help you to be more mindful of how to capture family moments even better! Happy filming!

 

 

 

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“Green Eggs and Ham” Dinner

Dr Seuss Collage

To celebrate the birthday of one of our favorite childhood authors, why not sit down  for an iconic meal!  Dr. Seuss has moved into all our hearts, young and old and to celebrate his birthday on March 2nd I’ve come up with a night the whole family will enjoy! “Would you eat them with a fox? Could you eat them in a box?”

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Our Green Eggs and Ham dinner is taken right out of the pages of a classic childhood favorite! The table is set with fun festive colors and of course…Green Eggs!

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Make “The Cat in the Hat’s” red and white hat the center of attention and create a table setting that is filled with color and fun! Use Dr. Seuss classroom decorations as place cards. And just as Dr. Seuss himself would say, let your imagine run wild!

Hard boil your eggs and color them green. Do this by creating a green bath – combining 4 cups of water, 1 cup of vinegar and several drops of green food coloring. Remove the eggs when they reach your desired hue of green.

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And what’s on the menu for a “Green Eggs and Ham” dinner you might ask!?!

Menu:
Oven Roasted Honey Ham
Ranch Scalloped Potatoes
Green Beans
Dinner Rolls
Green Hard Boiled Eggs

Recipe: Cheesy Ranch Scalloped Potatoes

Ingredients
1 tub  (8 oz.) of cream cheese spread
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
10 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled and divided
4 1/2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes (about 12), cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 onion, diced
1 cup Shredded Colby or Monterey Jack Cheeses

Directions
Heat oven to 400ºF.
Cook cream cheese, chicken broth and milk in saucepan on medium heat until cream cheese spread is melted and mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk.
Set aside 2 Tbsp. of bacon. Layer in half of each of the potatoes, onions and remaining bacon in a 13×9-inch baking dish; repeat layers. Add cream cheese sauce and cover with foil.
Bake 1-1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown. Add shredded cheese and the reserved bacon, then cook uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.

 

With full bellies it’s now time to sit and enjoy your favorite Dr. Seuss books as a family! I’ve created a fun quiz that also doubles as a bookmark to round out the night! Enjoy your free printable!

Dr seuss printable

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Heading to a blog conference? Let’s talk business cards and media kits!

attending a conference

Tis the season for blog conferences and there are a few fun tips I’d love to share with you as you are planning ahead for the fun event! If you are a first time attendee I bet you’re already overwhelmed with excitement and anxiety! Trust me…blog conferences are the best places to meet new friend, network and meet with companies! You want to be prepared to make an impression with all of them and business cards and media kits can help you do just that!

Business cards at a blog conference are like baseball cards for girls! Ladies will be passing them out and trading them at every turn! Cute ones catch your eye, unique ones stand out! Some of the cutest and most creative cards I’ve ever seen were collected at a great conference and if the conference you are attending is catering to a creative crowd get ready to be blown away!

Now don’t freak out! It’s not a requirement to have an over the top business card! In fact for the past three years I’ve handed out my simple two sided card with no bells and whistles attached and felt pretty darn good about them. As long as you have the basics covered on a business card you are set!

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 As long as you have the basics on your business card you are ready! Making sure you have all the important contact info clearly listed is key! Optional things you can also add to a business card are more  for personal preference. If your inbox is your arch enemy and you prefer to communicate over the phone then by all means add your phone number! If you are super smart phone savvy and want to add a QR code then go for it!

If the design of a business card is freaking you out don’t be afraid to hire a pro. Simple Business card design can be more affordable then you think. $20 or more will get you a great design that you can then upload to a site for printing. Ask around and see who does great design work. This is also a great service to trade for. If you sell ad space on your blog approach a designer and ask if they would be willing to trade design work for a month of ad space!

Check out the following designers who offer business card design work at a great price…

Creative Kristi Designs $15 or $20 for two sided cards

Sparkle and Crafts $15 or $20 for two sided cards till April 30th, mention this post for discount.

Bella Creative $25 card design

(If you design business cards and can offer your skills for a good rate, add your link to the comments section and list your price!)

I love www.vistaprint.com for business card printing! Easy to upload to, great quality and fast delivery! I do upgrade to a heavier paper and get a two sided print. And always order more then you think you’ll need!

Now you can totally stop here when it comes to business cards! Like I said, I passed out simple cards for years but if your personality or blog sites would lend it’s creative juices to every other department in your life, why not let it leak into your business cards as well! You will quickly learn that there are so many fun ways to spice up even a basic business card once you have them printed. It’s all how you present them!

If you are a seamstress why not run your card through your sewing machine and add a simple stitch effect! If you blog about kids crafts why not tie on a crayon and really stand out from the crowd. Customizing your cards is a fun way to show off your personality and make an impression. And don’t think you have to jazz up every card you pass out! If you know great companies will be there that you might have an interest in working with, why not create a handful of “special” cards just for them. This takes away the overwhelming task of creating 300 cards that drip with personality!

Check out how I spiced up my simple printed card with minimal effort and supplies…

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Cute mini velum envelopes found at Micheal’s Craft store and washi tape from Target ($4 for a 4 roll pack!) takes a simple card and turns them into a cute package! These are the cards I created to pass out to business and companies. The velum Chevron envelopes mimic my Facebook page header and are in my signature color!

Don’t get stressed out about making super adorable cards. The truth of the matter is only 10% of attendees will be going all out!

media kit

Media kits?!? What the heck! This might be the first time you’ve ever heard of a Media Kit so let me hold your hand and walk you through it. Not everyone will need a media kit but eventually you might so here’s the 411 on what it is, when you’d need one and what to include in a media kit…

A Media Kit is gathered information that talks about your site, yourself, your accomplishments and your stats. It’s a fancy resume of sorts but of course all cute and full of info!

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Here’s what mine looks like. I have 4 main points of interest.

“About BCD”: I talk about what my blog is all about. I touch on the topics I write about, companies I have worked with and what a first time visitor would find on Blue Cricket Design. I also include how long the site has been running.

“About Me”: This is where you gush about yourself! HA! No really. This is where you talk about all your accomplishment that have to do with your blog and your interests. If you are known for a specific skill then mention it here. If you have been involved in a huge campaign mention it.

“Press”: This is where you list all the fun you’ve been involved in. If you have been featured, published in print, appeared on tv, been on the radio or gotten other media attention, list it here.

“Stats”: List your current stats for monthly page views, facebook fans, pinterest and twitter followers etc. This gives a realistic view of what your reach is. This section of your media kit will need to be updated regularly.

And lastly be sure to have contact info listed. Mine is on the very bottom and I included my web address and email address.

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So now that you know what a Media Kit is and what it includes the next question you might be asking is why would I need one? Lots of companies who work with bloggers are looking for this information! If you had all of it in one place then it shows that you are ready and mean business. A printed media kit at a blog conference is the perfect tool to hand a company you want to work with! You can also use this as a digital copy and email it to companies. Some companies will even ask for a media kit. Just be ready!

I attached my business card and was ready to rub elbows!

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The last conference I attended I researched who was going to be there and found out a rep from a book publishing company was going to be in attendance. Because I did my homework I was prepared! I printed off my latest e-book “Kids in Training” and made a package that included my media kit, business card and book. It was presented nicely and ready to be handed off!

Take advantage of a conferences website. Check out the sponsors, which companies will be in attendance and who you might want to make time to visit with. Some per-conference homework will go a long, long way! Take the time and get prepared. You are spending a lot of time and money to attend these gathering so take advantage of all they have to offer and be prepared!

SNAP! is just around the corner! So sad I might not be able to come this year, I’ll either have a brand new baby or be ready to pop any minute! Be sure to get business cards ready and have enough fun for the both of us! What conferences are you attending this year?

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Valentines Mailboxes

This year for Valentines Day my oldest daughter needs to take in a homemade mailbox. So far this is the first year any of my girls have had to create something. For years I have thought that the “Fiesta Pack” carriers from Del Taco would make a darling mailbox for collecting love notes and FINALLY we got to turn them into a charming little “Love Shack!” Our good friends own a local Del Taco so she was nice enough to give us these three carriers.

Even though only one of my littles needed a mailbox I couldn’t leave the others out of all the fun. The girls helped out by cutting fun foam for the roof shingles, glue sticking scrapbook paper onto the box and applying shingles after I applies the hot glue. They picked out the paper and foam colors and designed how their houses would look! 3 hours, and 4 blisters later (I burned myself multiple times and this is why I handle the hot glue still!) we have these adorable little cottages!

And after all the Valentines festivities are over these cute little cottages make perfect doll houses for the collection of clothespins dolls I made for the girls! A sweet little neighborhood just for them!

So the next time you get a fun food carrier be sure to think of it’s next job! Might just become something fun!

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Decorating with one of a kind pieces: Consignment shopping

If you are anything like me you are always on the hunt for one of kind pieces that will help add a unique touch to a space! I love that my home is filled with vintage charm and fun bright pieces I have picked up over the years. My Vintage Bowling pins, a painted shoe cabinet in my entry, my old teal bank drawers…each piece always seems to find a place in my home and into my heart! My entire home is an eclectic mix of pieces I’ve either refinished myself or found at favorite consignment shops.

A new darling shop recently opened up near my house! It pretty much makes living where I live perfect! I’m right by my favorite dessert cafe, my favorite fabric store and now Forget Me Not Boutique! This adorable new store is  filled with beautiful painted furniture, antique charmers and fun accessories! I picked up this antique tablecloth last week…

Isn’t it beautiful! There was a stack of table clothes to sift through but this blue beauty grabbed me and I had to bring her home!

Check out the other fun finds waiting to be adopted…

 

Check out that China set! Tea Party anyone?

Loved this blue cabinet! It’s a bold punch of color that would add a fun feel to any space! Those vintage school chairs are perfect for any playroom!

 

Consignment shopping can be intimidating! It can be a little overwhelming to walk into a shop brimming with possibilities. I’ve discovered a few tricks when it comes to shopping at places like Forget Me Not and other consignment home stores.

- Go with something in mind. It’s hard to see through all the beautiful colors and displays but if I go in looking for a DRESSER it helps me narrow in on looking for a dresser! Everything is a bonus! If I find the perfect dresser AND a cool new lamp them I win big time that trip!

- Take two walk throughs. I always walk a store twice! The first walk through is where I take it all in, get a good idea of what’s there and see if anything jumps out at me. On my second walk through I always look a little deeper. I look high and low and revisit an item that might have caught my attention. If I still love it and linger then I know it’s worth considering.

- Chances are if you fall in love with something at a consignment store you better get it! These are one of kind finds. If you pass up that vintage table cloth you’ve always wanted thinking you’ll find it again, the reality is you might not! This is good and bad! The good news is because it is so rare not everyone will have it but you! Bad news…if you pas it up you might not find it again!

- Get to know the owners! Strike up a conversation! Tell them what you’re looking for! Often times stores like this have a wish list. They too are on the hunt for things they know their customers will love and if they know you are looking for a vintage globe or wing back chair they too will put it on their radar and hopefully help you find it.

- Visit often. Inventory at consignment stores are changing all the time, daily even in some cases. Take advantage of an ever changing selection of finds. You might even find something you didn’t even know you were looking for!

 

Consignment shopping is my absolute favorite kind of shopping! I have found some of my favorite home decor items in shops just like Forget Me Not! These pieces add personality and charm to a room that no big box store could replicate! Jump into the consignment world and see what your local shops have to offer and if you live in the Salt Lake Valley area be sure to check out Forget me Not Boutique located at 9200 S Redwood Road, West Jordan, UT 84088 They are open Thursday, Friday 11-7pm and Saturday 11-6pm.

 

 

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Cupids night in

This year I am all about creating more family memories and planning fun meals together is a big part of that goal! For Valentines dinner this year I’m creating a beautiful night in with my husband and girls! This table setting sets the scene for a night of amazing food, fun activities and together time! This is just a sneak peek at what I’ll be doing but I wanted to share a little preview…

Apothecary jars make great center pieces and can be filled with anything to fit a season or theme. I filled my two jars with affordable treats, pink marshmallows and red hots!

The dinner table isn’t the only thing that gets dressed up! I hung hearts, tissue paper balls and pin wheels on the walls to make the entire dining room ready for the night!

My everyday simple white dishware looks almost fancy set up on top of layered paper place mats and white doilies both found at a local party supply store. No plastic kid plates or cups here! Make the night special and set the table with “fancy” glass ware and grown up place settings!

I created these easy love letter hanging mailboxes to hang on the back of each chair! Our activity for the night will be to write each other “love notes” and deliver them to each family member.

This night is one of many fun filled theme dinners I’ll be experiencing with my family this year! Stay tuned for more! Steph for Somewhat Simple and I have an ebook coming your way that is filled with themed dinner ideas for you and your family! Menus, activities, decor and more! Each night planned out with memory making in mind! More to come!

 

 

 

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