Navigating life with kids and a herd of cats. Helpful blog tips, beauty reviews, photographs, and recipes are thrown in for good measure! Tue, 20 Jun 2017 05:55:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Car Drama – Accident and New Car Wed, 14 Jun 2017 05:21:33 +0000 Three weeks ago my husband was in a car accident, he’s fine however the car ended up being totaled.

The other person was at fault and he was given a rental for a week while we tried to find another vehicle. Basically my husband ended up with our Nissan Murano and the struggle to find a new car for me and the boys began. It’s actually harder than one would think because of how tall we all are, especially Daniel. You would think a SUV would be the best bet but a lot of these, especially the third row styles, had barely any leg room for him! And I passed over the minivans because for me, aside from safety features all I wanted as a good stereo system. I prefer Bose overall for all audio.

Very long story short, I actually ended up with a sedan! I haven’t had a sedan since Daniel was a teeny baby. It does have a Bose system (yayyyy!) and fits my super tall kids and I’m able to fully extend my legs while driving.

It’s a 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport Platinum. It’s super fancy (sadly so fancy it requires premium fuel, since it’s a twin turbo). Technology in cars, in general, BLOWS MY FREAKING MIND! I had no idea! Pretty much it has everything but built in DVD players.

And yes… I’ve already gotten a speeding ticket in it heh.

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Life Update Mon, 15 May 2017 03:48:33 +0000 I tend to get overwhelmed very easily. This means I tend to freeze up when it comes to writing, which is unfortunate. Another reason I tend to disappear is that I hesitate to share my life when I know some of my family tends to “stalk” me online. I haven’t had a relationship with my siblings in well over a year now and it feels weird getting really personal knowing how much they bad mouth me to relatives. It shouldn’t matter to me, but it does.

The past few months have absolutely been rough. Cinnabon had gotten very sick and almost died, she’s recovered beautifully since then but it was terrifying. She had to stay multiple days at the emergency vet (cost us a small fortune) and it was very touch and go but now she is almost 100% again. That same weekend both of my parents went into the hospital (my mother lives in Arizona and my father lives here in Illinois). My mother was in the hospital for 18 days and was severely ill, she’s back at home and is doing much better but it was very scary. My father… whew that is absolutely a SITUATION. He is absolutely fine but my siblings wanted him put into a home and well… I will probably have to write a whole post about that alone!

I’m gearing up for my summer garden, I had to delay it because we had multiple sudden frosts and aside from planting some radishes and lettuces, didn’t want to plant too early! My peonies are doing so awesome that I think I want to buy another one. We’re also expanding the garden with a lot more boxes which is exciting because I want to really experiment more this year with what we grow.

So how are you doing? I’m just going to try to dive back into how I used to write, stop focusing so much on making sure every post has a perfect photo or is a informational only type post. Maybe that will get me back into the swing of things!

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Five Blog Mistakes You Might Be Making Fri, 31 Mar 2017 19:09:21 +0000 Five Blog Mistakes

1. Pagination doesn’t work

Nothing is worse than finding a blog I think I will really like, only to click “older” or “page 2” and have it be the homepage all over again. Half the time I wonder, did I actually click the link? Then I realize it’s an issue with their theme.

Take a minute and check your site, if the pagination doesn’t work then it’s almost always a theme issue.

Generally it’s a quick fix if the theme is meant to have pagination by installing a plugin or the issue might be your theme isn’t set up to work with pagination for whatever reason (for example a widgetized homepage), and should have the pagination links removed.

If you have this issue, contact me and I will let you know if your theme is able to have pagination and if it does, I will point you in the right direction to get it working.

2. No contact form or a clickable email address

If I have to open my email program, go back to your contact page, copy the email address, go BACK to my email program, open a new email, paste your email address in the to field THEN type my message and subject line… well it’s not going to happen (unless I am really desperate).

I need a form to quickly get my message where it needs to go or a linked email address I can click to automatically open my email program with your information pre-filled out.

Also, test your contact page to make sure every field works, that it doesn’t give the reader any error messages, and to make sure you receive it correctly.

Blog Tip: Make it simple for a reader or client to contact you, have an easy to find contact page!Click To Tweet

Did you know you can customize a mailto link? Normally a mailto link looks like this:

<a href=""></a>

However you can actually customize the subject and body of the email!

<a href=" Love Kittens&body=Seriously kittens rule"></a>

This is a great tip if you want to have an “email this post” option for WordPress!

Notice how there is no email address in the mailto area, that’s because we want the reader to decide who to share the post with.

<a href="mailto:?subject=Sharing a post from YOUR BLOG&body=I thought you might enjoy this post: <?php the_title(); ?>, <?php the_permalink() ?>">email this post</a>

3. About Page is Never Updated

I get confused when I follow someone on social media and they are married with kids but their about page says they are single and hope to get married and have kids one day. Or maybe they are celebrating their 40th birthday but their about page says they are 32 years old.

Once every 6 months or so, go through and make sure your about page is up to date, especially if you use specifics like ages, family members, or location.

Blog Tip: Update your 'About Page' every few months to make sure the information is accurate!Click To Tweet

4. The Footer is Forgotten

So many times I’ll scroll all the way down to the footer to see a basic copyright (year and blog name) and… nothing else. No social media links or email subscribe box… nothing. It doesn’t need to be fancy but it’s always good to have a little bit of repetition. Prime real estate! Try to have in your footer your social media links, a search bar, email subscribe box, and of course your copyright information.

A lot of the time a reader will wait until the very end to check out your social or subscribe to your newsletter, make it as easy as possible for them to do so!

And make sure your copyright year or time-frame is up to date! An easy way to do it is via a simple PHP function you can place in your footer.php file. It automatically pulls in the current year.

<?php echo date("Y"); ?>

And you an easily turn it into a time-frame with any starting year that you need.

2010 - <?php echo date("Y"); ?>

5. Content is difficult to read

I’m of the design belief that your font size should be at least 16px in size so everyone can easily read your content. I’ve come across so many blogs that are 12px or even 10px… and on top of it in a medium or light grey font. I will leave that site never to return because it will give me a massive headache!

I am going to use the lyrics from one of my favorite songs, The Beatles – Revolution, in my examples below.


You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world


But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out
Don’t you know it’s gonna be
All right, all right, all right


You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re doing what we can


But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don’t you know it’s gonna be
All right, all right, all right


You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead

Which one would be the most comfortable to read?

Also remember that your overall content text color needs to be dark! It can be dark pink, dark purple… but it absolutely needs to be dark. On a light colored background as well. I also disagree that light text on a dark background is comfortable for larger amounts of content. A social media image? Sure! A blog post not so much.

Again, we want our readers to enjoy coming to our blogs right? So making things easy to read without someone squinting or straining is a priority!

This is also a really easy fix via CSS. You can contact me and I will increase your overall content font size at no cost.

Let me know in the comments some blog mistakes you come across!

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Why I Switched Hosting Companies to SiteGround Fri, 24 Feb 2017 20:03:45 +0000 Over the past week I not only redesigned my blog but I also, after many years, switched hosting companies from A Small Orange to SiteGround.

Why I left

I was with and recommended A Small Orange for a number of years. They used to be freaking amazing! Over the past year and a half… they’ve rapidly gone down the tubes. Now I will say, I didn’t encounter any issues with my personal site but my clients? Non stop issues and I was the one that not only had to fix the issue but a lot of the time deal with A Small Orange’s customer service… if you can even call it that anymore.

From their sites going down every other day (yes I am suggesting to certain clients that they move their sites to a stronger host) to having to fight tooth and nail to get them to unblock a range of IP’s that had blocked a client from their own site. It took more than seven “live chats” for someone to fix the issue, and this meant my client spent well over a week without access to their own site they were paying for. They also did away with their support ticket system and rely solely on “live chats” where you generally get no help at all, it’s almost always condescending, and usually they are unable to help even the smallest issues.

It’s extremely frustrating and I know what I’m doing! I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to try and communicate an issue with them if you’re not tech / WordPress / bloggy inclined.

Why I Chose SiteGround

I finally decided to go with SiteGround, after so many of my clients jumped the A Small Orange ship and had me do their transfers to SiteGround. I noticed how fast the account set up was, how insanely fast and good the support was, just… how smooth the transfers were. No issues, no hassle… they actually include a free transfer when you purchase a new hosting account so if you don’t want to hire someone and don’t want to do it yourself, they will do it for you!

Doing it for my own site made me realize (first impressions as a customer not as a developer) what an amazing difference it is compared to purchasing and setting up a new hosting account with A Small Orange.

For example, after you purchase your A Small Orange account, you have to wait a few hours to a day to have the account itself set up. You’re then emailed some basic instructions about your new nameservers, username, and password. You will have to remember multiple passwords for different areas of the site. At the bare minimum that’s two passwords, for the customer area and then your cPanel.

At SiteGround my account was created immediately. Not only that but I have ONE password for everything. I was then forwarded to my new customer area where it listed so much information, down to where the server I’m on is located. And after I purchased my new account? After about fifteen minutes I had gotten a phone call (it had gone to voicemail) from a live person welcoming me to SiteGround and letting me know if I needed anything that they were always available.

So here’s a list of what I’m loving so far!

  1. They support Let’s Encrypt
  2. They have an active blog, I for one LOVE seeing a company with an active blog and social media
  3. SUPPORT! I can’t stress this enough! They have three methods to reach them, phone support (so rare these days), support ticket system, and of course live chat. Even better? It’s a real person. Not a system where a name is generated when the chat starts with a person who knows only the barest of knowledge when it comes to online support. It absolutely blows my mind in the best possible way!
  4. They support PHP 7, HTTP/2, use SSD (solid state harddrives), free Cloudflare CDN, Secure Account Isolation (no single account can affect the others)
  5. Site backups! Granted I do my own because… paranoia. However, you’d be surprised at how many companies do not provide any backup at all, or if they do it’s for one or two days at most. SiteGround does daily backups and keeps them for thirty days! That is practically unheard of!
  6. The little things like clicking a button to set up your MX entries to work with Google Apps for email and the ability to change which version of PHP your site uses
  7. In your account details area, you can put in your Twitter and Facebook usernames, so when you contact them on those sites, it’s almost like a mini-verification system and you can get support even faster. You can also enable SMS (text message) alerts in case of issues with your account usage or billing
  8. One of the few non-EIG hosting companies out there
  9. WordPress themselves recommend them!

Overall I am really pleased and only wish I had made the switch sooner!

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OSN has a new design Thu, 16 Feb 2017 21:07:51 +0000

Where has the time gone? It’s been a year and a half since I last redesigned! If you’re using a RSS reader or are an email subscriber, I’d love it if you stopped by!

I went with a more modern, ever so slightly minimalist, type of design this time around. I wanted to think more about speed overall and responsiveness for mobile devices.

The sidebar will only display on the main homepage and single posts, otherwise it will be full-width content. I also have it so all archive pages will show only the featured image, post title, and date.

I also decided to use Google’s reCAPTCHA on my Contact page and Question & Answer page. I figured it might be a bit easier to use than answering a math question for SPAM prevention.

On the backend I’ve made some decent use of the Advanced Custom Fields plugin. For example if I need to display an affiliate disclaimer? Only takes checking a box.

I also went through and updated all pages. I removed some as well.

Hopefully there’s no errors or issues but if you happen to find one, please let me know so I can fix it.

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Playing Catch Up Fri, 19 Aug 2016 04:19:50 +0000 The past few months have been so very stressful.

I got injured (I would say more but it happened at a store and it hasn’t been resolved). My husband got hit by a drunk driver (thankfully he’s fine), and we’re currently dealing with car repairs on that car. Our storm door randomly shattered as did one of the shelves in our old backup fridge. And lastly my computer up and died (well the processor overheated).

At least when it comes to the computer situation, it meant I got to build a new one that is far more awesome. I also splurged and got a new monitor (Samsung 32″) which I’m still getting used to as my previous monitor was 24″.

My garden is coming to its summer end, still have some tomatoes and peppers going. Herbs are good. A few more pumpkins are starting to grow and I believe we have a few more melons as well. Next year, once we have built more boxes (and by “we” I mean my husband), I will be able to experiment more with different vegetables or just different varieties of what we already grow in general. Curious to see if our peach trees will produce next year, I didn’t really expect much this year from them. Trying to figure out what to plant for an autumn garden, I think it’s fairly close to a spring one? Radishes, lettuces, herbs, peas maybe? Any advice would be appreciated!

What else… my son Dan and I are really excited about the new World of Warcraft expansion in a couple weeks! Hopefully it’s better than Draenor.

I want to update my FAQ area, so if you have any questions, now is a good time to ask them.

Let me know how you all have been doing lately, trying to get back into the swing of things!

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2016 Fruit and Vegetable Garden Sat, 11 Jun 2016 00:38:38 +0000 Although my husband still has a few more boxes to build, I thought I would show our fruit and vegetable garden in its current state.

We had a variety of lettuces and some cilantro but with the crazy high heat (today it got up to 95!) they bolted. Everything else seems to be doing pretty well.

Also, forgive our backyard, we have a landscaper that lives behind us so things always look messy (someday I shall have a huge fence).






lavender – also have a large planter with lavender on the side of the house




basil – we probably have around 12-14 plants – can never have too much basil!










roma tomatoes – just one of the many varieties we’re growing


bell pepper




pumpkin flower (so exciting!)


from left to right – blackberries / rosemary / green beans / cucumbers


in no order – watermelon / cantaloupe / baby pumpkin / full pumpkin / zucchini / butternut squash


The overview

The shorter box to the left is Tristan’s box, he is super proud of it!

Not shown in detail are the green cabbage, all the different kinds of tomatoes, pepper plants, all the basil plants, and the strawberry bed is in the front of the house (until my husband builds the new strawberry box).

Are you gardening this year? What did you plant? How’s it going so far?

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Random Photos Mon, 25 Apr 2016 03:04:37 +0000 Some random photos I shot a few days ago.






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Meet Summer and Winter Tue, 27 Oct 2015 22:37:24 +0000


Summer & Winter


Salem & Summer

Both kittens are boys, both are around 3 months old, they are not related.

Long story short, the shelter gave both kittens to us at no cost due to the situation that happened with Wind (who passed away very suddenly last November).

They are absolutely adorable and we all love them so much!

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Early Autumn Photos Tue, 20 Oct 2015 05:50:51 +0000 Finally getting back into shooting photos again. Feeling like a beginner!

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It’s My Birthday! Sat, 17 Oct 2015 05:35:38 +0000

I am now 34 years old. Where has the time gone?! Seems like yesterday I was turning 20 while 7 months pregnant with my now teenage son. Whew.

The past year has been super difficult both health wise and just general life wise. Here’s hoping 34 is super awesome fantastic and #flawless!

On the plus side, my husband is going to make me gluten free lemon bars from scratch. With double filling (which… let’s be honest… it’s the best part of a lemon bar).

Since I’m posting this so early… I hope I have a good day. My goal is to get out and shoot some autumn photos finally as I’ve been super sick all week. I know… super duper exciting stuff!

So there ya go, I started blogging at 19 and now I’m 34! *mind blown*

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Wordless Wednesday Wed, 07 Oct 2015 14:18:03 +0000


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A Sentence Fri, 25 Sep 2015 07:15:33 +0000 Depression sucks and it’s only been recently that I feel like I’m slowly climbing out of it bit by bit.

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Feather Design Sat, 14 Mar 2015 23:27:38 +0000

The past six months have just been oddly tough for me.

Trying to get back into the swing of things!

So here’s yet another newer design from me, spruce the blog up a bit (going on 14 years on March 21st, geez!).

Let me know if you see any errors / weirdness / suggestions for changes.

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Happy 13th Birthday to Daniel! Sat, 10 Jan 2015 00:53:03 +0000 bdaydan13

I can’t believe it! I am now the mother of a teenager!

Today Daniel is 13 years old and it absolutely blows my mind. I am so lucky to have him in my life. He’s so awesome!

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