Thursday, January 31, 2013

Grow Your Blog

Welcome to Pretty Living PDX, I am so happy to have you. Leave a comment so I know you stopped by :)
You may want to pop over to Pink On the Cheek and enter this awesome giveaway that I am a part of! Also I have updated my advertising options and rates, and I would LOVE to work with you. Check them out here.

Good morning and welcome to the Grow Your Blog (or GYB) blog hop! Paula and I are so happy to have you link up with us this week. And we happily welcome any new bloggers to the party! :) Super Bowl is this weekend. Do you have any plans? Any good appetizers or BBQ food that you will be making? If so, please share in a comment below! What is the Grow Your Blog Hop all about? NETWORKING! Meeting new bloggers, finding new content to follow, building your readership. Why is blog networking great for you? Simply put, it increases readership and traffic to your blog. How do you network? Visit. Comment. Invite. Communicate. These are key to growing your blog.
      • Follow your hosts and co-hosts
      • Visit and follow other bloggers
      • Comment to let them know that you stopped by and how you followed (Email, GFC, Facebook, Bloglovin, etc)
      • Invite them to visit your blog (be sure to leave your blog web address - too many times have i seen bloggers comment and request a visit to their blog without leaving their blog web address)
      • Communicate with them about what you like on their blog. Let them know you are interested in their blog. USE THEIR NAME! A simple "I'm so and so stopping by. I followed you please follow me." just isn't going to interest someone into visiting your blog. Sure, you can request a visit to your blog or a follow along but engage in some type of conversation first.
      • Grab a button and promote the party(you can get the button on This Gal Cooks right here.)GYBCOHOST

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


That sums up how I am feeling right now, Saturday night (after a month of battling) my uncle passed away. I will be back to posting regularly after the funeral and everything is taken care of. I apologize if I owe you an email, I will get back to you I promise :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Snuggle Saturday It's Embarrassing

Welcome to Snuggle Saturday, Week 2!
Today we are sharing our most embarrassing stories!

Follow the hosts. me and Natalie, and co-hosts, Myranda and Melissa
and share the button on your post!
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="LoveSarahK" width="200" height="200" /></a>

Be sure to check out a few other blogs who linked up and we can all be best friends together!
**If you're interested in co-hosting and/or have a theme in mind,
please email your hosts at or **

Next week's theme: THE SUPERBOWL
1. Do you watch the actual game or only watch for commercials and half time?
2. Which team did you want to make it to the Superbowl?
3. Which team will you root for? The Ravens or the 49ers?
So this week's topic is an embarrassing story...I have plenty of these but I will just go ahead and share one of my favorites. I still cringe just thinking about it...
My husband and I had just gotten engaged and we were out to dinner for Valentines day, it was so romantic because we were at the same restaurant where we had our first date, awww. This is how the conversation went
Milton- "I need to tell you something, because now I know we are getting married."

Me- "Um...what?"
Milton- " I am a prince from Morroco, and once I am married and 21 I will inherit the kingdom."
DEAD SILENCE and no laughing, now you need to understand that this man cannot keep a straight face like EVER. So I knew he was serious, and boy was I excited.
Me- "Are you serious?" My mouth dropped open and my eyes were huge
Milton- "Yes, we will most likely have to move there for a short time to get everything in order, but you will like the palace."
silence again
My mouth still wide open, I was in shock

Then he said "I am just kidding!" "I can't believe you thought that was real!"
I felt like the biggest idiot in the world, and feel free to laugh because I deserve it. But also remember this man cannot keep a straight face when he is joking with someone, yet he managed to keep one for almost 5 minutes.
Make sure you link up your embarrassing story, because I need to laugh at someone else besides myself...

Hope to see you next week for SNUGGLE SATURDAY!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My 5 Year Old Needs Deoderant and Baby Nasties

Today after school, we walked in the door and my 5 year old immediately changed into her "relaxing" clothes, which today consisted of a pair of skivvies and her robe. We were all sitting on the couch and I saw her with her face all up in her armpit, like seriously. Then she said to me "Mom it smells bad under here" I asked her where and she pointed to her armpit. Now when you become a mom you smell A LOT of things and almost always you wish you hadn't, so of course forgetting about this I stuck my head down and took a big whiff. I mean seriously 5 year old girl armpit, how bad could it be? 
 Let me tell you she has some genuine BO, I really didn't think my sweet little lady could smell like that. Is it normal for someone so little to have BO problems? You tell me. Later in the tub she said, "I only smell like this because we have never washed my armpits" for the record this is completely false.When she got out of the tub after a quick smell check she ran around saying "I smell so fresh and clean"

But back to my point above moms, noses, and smelly things. Before I was a mom there are certain things I would never do
-Clean up vomit
-Change a poopy 2 year old
-Change said poopy 2 year olds soiled underwear
-Eat a child's half-eaten sandwich
-Drink after a child who clearly backwashed- there is really no question when you see half their snack floatin' on down.
- Have children at all

I am the oldest of 8, so I spent many long hours in the hospital waiting for my mom to give birth.When I was the ripe old age of 11 waiting for my sweet sister Lacie to be born, I decided I had been waiting too long. I mean come on it had already been 2 hours, how long could it really take to have a baby? So I decided to go on down to the room and check it out, clearly they were all holding the baby and eating pizza without me, and then it happened, the moment that changed my life forever. I came to the door and the nurse was walking back inside to take supplies, this is how it went down
Me- "is she almost done?"
Nurse- "No, but come on in "
Me- "um, no that's okay"
Nurse- "It's fine, come on" as she proceeds to push me into the room
It was one of those times when you don't want to but you really can't do anything but look. It was the sickest thing I had ever seen, legs, stirrups, baby stuff, and the atmosphere was that of an upscale cocktail party. I screamed, covered my face and ran out. I was NEVER going to have kids from that point forward. For the record nurses and future nurses, never shove an 11 year old into their mother's birthing room, just don't.

This story was inspired by my tweet convo with Kelsey, Andrea and Chelsea regarding people putting too many baby nasties on Facebook, such as a cervix dilation play by play. 

TMI people, yes it is a miracle, and yes I still wish I could be pregnant, close my eyes and wake up with a beautiful clean soft bundle of baby in my arms. If I were in charge women would be able to have babies, but without all the baby nasties. 

Question of the day: What do you dislike people sharing on social media? 
You can still link up with me and Paige for What's Eating You?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What's Eating You?

The premise is simple. We all have pet peeves and we tend to like to talk about them, a lot. This is your place to do that. We like to keep our blogs friendly and nice and happy, at least most of us do. But sometimes, you just need to let your hair down and gripe for a bit!

For now, this link up will be every Monday and each week will be a different topic (listed above). If you have a topic idea, email it to me! This link up will keep on going until it's become something we all gripe about!

Today's Topic: Social Media and Blogging

So what are the rules?
1. Use this pretty button in your post. 
Why? Because I made it and it's the polite thing to do.

2. Follow Me and your Co-Host!
This week it's Myranda @ Pretty Living PDX. Next week it will be someone different. 
Want to cohost? Email me!
3. Keep it clean people.
NO NAMECALLING!!! If I see it, I will remove it and you will get a nice email from me telling you that you should probably edit your post before someone gets their feelings hurt. 
4. Go check out other posts and see what you have in common with people!
5. Tweet about it, share it on facebook, sing it from the rooftops!


So now that the rules have been cleared up, what's eating me? Social media and blogging...I have a few pet peeves

1- Constantly changing your Facebook relationship status from "single" to "it's complicated" to "in a relationship" then back and forth, seriously if your relationship is that tumultuous you may want to consider other options. 
2- Starting a fight on someone else's status, seriously what is this? If you want to have words with someone, take it to your own wall this is annoying. 
3- Airing  your dirty laundry- some things need to never be shared, please keep it to yourself.
4- In regards to blogging there are many things, like a LOT but one big one, never go onto someones blog and leave rude/racist/derogatory comments, it is really uncalled for!
That is about all I can come up with now, so what's eating you about social media and blogging? I know you have something you are dying to share, so write a post, post the button and link up.

Friday, January 18, 2013

I LOVE my iPad Mini! {Giveaway Opp

 UPDATE: This giveaway is now full, if you would like to be put on a waiting list send me an e-mail and come back next month for the giveaway!

I LOVE my iPad Mini that I won so.....I want to give one away for Valentines Day!!! 
Want to join me????

Alrighty then, just fill out the form below and we can get started! E-mail me (mrsbarnes85 {at} gmail {dot} com) with any questions that you may have, oh and have fabulous weekend and enter the Target GC giveaway too, because someone has to win $40 and it might as well be YOU.

Ad Space Galore!!!!

Enter Paige's HUMONGOUS ad space giveaway!!
That is all
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Top 10 Lies You Tell Yourself When Moving

After "moving in" and packing up our entire house I can tell you that there are a LOT of things I will do differently for the next move, so today I have made a list of the:

Top 10 Lies You Tell Yourself When Moving
{source} This is simply a fact
1- "We don't need THAT many boxes"- FALSE! You will need way more boxes then you  think, it is better to have too many then not enough. Call the liquor stores, because their boxes are the perfect size, not too big and not too small, just make sure someone from church doesn't drive through the parking lot and see you loading up 20+ boxes of booze in your van...awkward.

2- "I don't need to mark the outside of the box with what's inside, I will open it and remember"- Not true, I am still looking for important things IE-statements for bills that need to be paid yesterday soon. I open box after box, with no clue of the contents or why I even packed half of it, and still no important papers found.

3- "I won't need that much silverware"- You could really fill in the blank with anything. If you have been living with someone IE-family or friends and your everyday household items have been in storage, don't get rid of them. Keep them until you unpack in the new house, then if you truly have 50 forks you can donate some. This is important so you are not left with just 1 lonely fork, not that it happened to me, I'm just sayin'.

4-"I will just buy another one"- You don't want to buy EVERYTHING especially when you just dropped off a perfectly good one at the Goodwill. My hubby and I were packing up and we had a nice wooden silverware tray, but aliens took over our minds and we gave it away. Do you know how much one of those things cost at Target? Um...way too much and speaking of Target, their stockholders now know me by name. I have spent WAY too much money there buying things that I could probably just go and pick back up from the Goodwill donation trailer. 

5-"If I just stick it in here I will find it later"- You won't find it, if it is something you need to find right away later, put it in a laundry basket for moving, or an untaped box. I had to buy $5 cream for my daughter because the tube I had just bought (literally a week before) is lost in boxtopia, and probably won't be unpacked for another month. It is not worth the hassle, keep it accessible folks easy breezy. 

6-"We don't have that much stuff"- Every single time I move I find things that have been missing for months, odds and ends in the couch cushions and under dressers, and I end up with 10 "extra" junk boxes. You DO have that much stuff and it will take a while to pack it up properly.

7- "I don't need help"- HA! This is the biggest crock of you know what. When it comes to moving the more the merrier, if 20 people show up it will take that much less time. I spent 4 nights carting boxes and furniture up 20 stairs with just myself, my hubby, 2 friends and my mom, it is just not worth it, and 2 of those mentioned have injuries which hinder them from lifting anything over about 10 pounds. Get the help, trust me!

8- "It should only take a couple days to unpack"- I wish, it takes more like a couple weeks/months to be fully moved in and unpacked. I am still trying to find the perfect place for everything and simply FIND everything.

9-"I am just going to pack these dirty clothes, I will wash them as soon as we move"- I still have 3 garbage bags of dirty clothes in the closet, I really regret not washing them before we packed up. Especially with my extreme hatred of laundry, they may not get washed until next winter. 

10- "We don't need a truck, let's just put the seats down in the van"- Hahahahaha, did it work? Technically yes it did, but 15 trips later and at least 2 more to make I am wishing we would have just gotten the truck, and the worst part of it is my friend offered to get it for us. Remember that help thing, yeah should have accepted. 

For now I am off to unpack boxes, because unfortunately the world didn't stop because we had to move, I am really not sure why because it would have made things a LOT easier! 

If you don't hear from me, it is because I have entered the boxing ring with these boxes, I need to KO this unpacking and get back to real life. 

I wish I could enter my January giveaway for a $40 Target gift card, that would buy at least 4 silverware trays. Since I can't enter, you should!  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Weekend Recap {Giveaway}

We are still getting things in order in our house, and I am getting used to going to school 3 nights a week for 4+ hours, so this post is a few pictures from our weekend and a giveaway from some lovely ladies!

As you know we moved and we are still getting settled in...
You don't keep toilets in your living room? Strange I thought everyone did...

My girls LOVE the Photo Booth app on my iPad

And making orange lips
 The worst part of our new place is...
But enough about dishes my January sponsors have teamed up to bring you a $40 Target Gift Card giveaway!! I don't know about you, but I have never gotten out of Target spending under $120 $20, it is my happy place. Make sure you check out these lovely ladies, because their blogs will rock your face off!

Liquid Gold {Giveaway}

It's winter, and in my house when winter comes, so does the dry itchy skin. Lotion can't always stop this itch, so you may need a little something more. I was so happy when I received TriCalm from Mom's Meet.
My arms get these itchy red bumps every winter, without fail. I thought I was going to go through this winter without them then they showed up, and I grabbed the TriCalm, this stuff is liquid gold for your skin!
Immediately after using TriCalm the itchiness was gone, which was awesome. It is a gel and not a cream, so that was soothing, but I would have preferred a cream form personally.Wihh TriCalm a little bit goes a LONG way, don't be fooled. A pea sized amount literally covered my entire arm, so this tube will last a long time.I tried to get some pictures but the before and after pictures of my arm all looked the same...

I would recommend TriCalm for use on kids and adults. It is steroid free, which is awesome so I would totally use it on my girls. I think TriCalm would be great to use during the summer for bug bites, especially if you cooled the tube, that cool gel would calm down any irritating itchy bug bite!

Some facts about TriCalm

TriCalm’s formula contains COSMEDERM-7, a compound of strontium, a naturally occurring element
found in leafy green vegetables.
• TriCalm is safe to use daily on kids and adults and is FDA-approved.
• TriCalm is non-numbing, and works on contact to provide rapid itch relief from bug bites, rashes,
sunburns, poison oak/ivy, and more. It may also help relief dry skin and eczema-related symptoms.
• TriCalm does not increase sensitivity to UV rays, so its safe to use while spending time in the sun.
• TriCalm retails for $9.49 for a 2-ounce tube.

You can find more information on TriCalm's Facebook and Twitter pages. 

 Today 2 readers can win their own tube of TriCalm!! Pretty exciting huh? Enter below
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received this product for free from the sponsor of
the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received
it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger,
agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My
opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media
Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Royal Friday

Hello there friends,
it has been AWHILE since you heard from me I know. So for a quick update, we are mostly moved in, and my uncle is being transferred out of the hospital to a long-term care facility. He was without oxygen for an undetermined amount of time, so his brain is severely damaged. He is in a coma, and if he wakes up he will be blind and probably unable to do anything for himself. I am still praying everyday that he wakes up and God grants us a miracle.

Moving right along, I have 1 last guest post for you this week from the awesome Amanda of Royal Daughter Designs, if you don't know her you need to, so scoot on over to her blog and leave her some comment love!

Next week on Pretty Living PDX
*January Group Giveaway- 1 word TARGET
*Top 10 lies you tell yourself when moving
and tons more fun stuff!

Oh hi there, have we met before?

In case we haven't met, here's the short version of who I am: I'm a country-living, ice tea drinking, good book reading, farming, ranching, Jesus-loving, curly-headed wife of a seminary professor.   He's a teacher, I'm a writer. He's a thinker, I'm a graphic designer. You can get to know me a little better here.

Myranda has so graciously allowed me to be here today, so I wanted to take a few minutes and share with you 3 tips for blogging successfully. I'm certainly  not an expert, but I've had a few small successes over the past few years of blogging. So I wanted to share them with you!

1. Know Your Audience.
It is UBER important to know your audience. I like to tell newbie bloggers that knowing their audience (or target audience) is the number one key for developing your brand. For example, if your audience is fashion-driven women between the ages of 18 and 24, you don't need owls, birds, babies, diapers, or hand-crafted hoop art in your logo and name. Knowing your audience not only helps you create content that your readers will want to read (and for which they'll keep coming back!), it also helps you determine where to advertise your blog, what link-ups will fit your brand, and what (if any) blog conference to attend. All of this leads to saving money when it comes to investing in your brand.

2. Be true to your brand.
As a blogger, you are your brand. Once you've invested time, money, and energy into your brand, discrepancies across social media actually slowly chip away at your brand's integrity. This means, don't say things on facebook or twitter that don't match who you are on your blog. It also means that spending valuable advertising funds on a blog that is completely opposite of your brand could not only be a waste of your resources, but actually harm your brand's identity.

3. Answer questions - publicly.
Whether you're a lifestyle, fashion, food, or DIY blogger, you want your readers to ask you questions. If one person asks where you got your leopard printed flats, chances are someone else wants to know. So go ahead and write about it. Basically, start paying attention to the questions that your readers ask you. Those are the questions you want to answer, the "hole" you want to fill in the blogging community. It makes you, your brand, an asset, and a worthy read.


There's a lot more to being a successful blogger than just these three aspects, of course. But if you build your brand, your writing, and your goals around these three, you'll be off to a great start!

Y'all have a great New Year! And please come say hi some time. You'll find more blogging tips + tricks in my Tutes on Tuesday series
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pharr Away- Moving With A Baby

I am so excited to have Nicole sharing her tips on moving with a baby today, where was this 3 years ago? If you are moving with a little one, you want to read these! Don't forget to come back tomorrow for a giveaway!
Hello, friends! My name is Nicole and I became a new mom to Madison, wife to Mario and homeowner all in one year (2012)! On my blog, Pharr Away, I share my thoughts as an engineer turned stay at home mom, who's learning to submit / honor the hubby, raise the kiddo, cook from scratch, etc., know, "Susie homemaker" type stuff!

I've enjoyed getting to know Myranda through blogging and I am so thankful that she's allowing me to share my thoughts in the space she calls her own while she and her family are in the process of moving!

Not only did I move from my apartment into Mario's place while I was pregnant, we turned around and moved into our first home when the baby was just 3 months about crazy!  Let's just say I won't be doing either of those ever again but here are just a few tips to help someone who may have to move with a newborn in tow (most of these tips will apply to moving, in general)...

ONE - Pack gradually...
Let's face it, you usually know way ahead of time that you're about to move.  If you're a procrastinator like me you start packing about 2-3 days before.  With a baby in the mix you should definitely spend at least two weeks packing bit by bit.  Two weeks may sound like a lot but it's barely enough time when there is a little baby taking up so much of your time in the first place, not to mention how tired you probably are on top of it!

TWO - Seek helper(s) <--yes, multiple...
The ultimate thing to do would be to hire movers and I highly recommend it, but they're costly (optional).  If hiring help isn't possible then seek help from family / friends.  You'll need plenty of extra hands to speed up the process and potentially help relieve you (and / or your partner) of the baby.

THREE - One of you will do more work (way more)...
Either you or your partner will spend a large amount of time catering to the baby.  There is no way around this so go ahead and anticipate that one of you will be doing more work than the other (make sure the helpers understand this too).

FOUR - Invest in a baby carrier...
It didn't occur to me to use a baby carrier until weeks later, so Maddie was in my arms the majority of the time (i.e. I basically did nothing)!  Having a carrier is such a must if moving with a little one.  This would free up your hands so that you can help a bit more in the actual moving process.

FIVE - Hire someone to clean...
There is no way you can do it all so hire someone to clean the home you're moving into and the one you're leaving (if renting).  I believe this is totally worth the cost!

SIX - Setup bedrooms first (especially the nursery)...
First and foremost, get the nursery and your room setup first in the new home. The last thing you want is to throw off any sleeping habits / patterns you've formed. It will already be hard enough to get the baby adjusted to the new environment, so go ahead and make it as comfortable as possible (for all) right away!

SEVEN - Hire a sitter...
If you're willing, you can hire someone to keep the baby for that day (optional). This wasn't an option for me because my daughter was still so young and apparently I had attachment issues (admit it, you did too with the first one)! However, it would be ideal to simply hire a sitter so that you can just focus on getting it all done.

As we all know, moving is hard and tiring enough without a baby.  It's twice as hard, if not harder, with one, so make as many preparations as you can in advance to make the process easier.  I hope these tips will help a bit!

Do you have any moving tips (with or without a baby)?!?  Do tell!

me on Facebook
me on Twitter
Let's "pin" it up on Pinterest!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Not In Jersey!

Today is day 2 of guest posts while I am busy starting class, and unpacking boxes. Enjoy, and come back on Friday for a giveaway!
Hi, I’m Dara from Not In Jersey! When Myranda put out a request for guest posts having to do with moving, I knew I could contribute. Three years ago my family and I made a cross country move to Kansas from New Jersey. Yes, it was stressful and no I never want to move again! We love our new home and one awesome thing about Kansas versus New Jersey is that the housing prices are much lower, so we were able to get a house with 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms while previously we lived in a house with 3.5 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Today I’m sharing some pictures of our house when we first moved in, as well as some pictures of the same rooms now!

Picture 159
This is the outside of our house. It mostly looks the same but we finally replaced the rocky front with mulch. It’s still a work in progress! We also don’t have that red car anymore and the other side of the garage isn’t filled with boxes!

Living Room

Picture 161
This is the living room. It pretty much looks the same now with a bit more mess and clutter! That empty book shelf is totally full now! I sometimes consider painting the brick and the dark paneling but haven’t decided for sure yet.


This picture was taken before we moved in, but I can’t seem to find a before picture that includes our things! We replaced the counters, backsplash, stove, fan, and cabinet hardware.


Dining Room

When we moved in our dining room was carpeted. I was completely not a fan of carpet in a dining room! I also didn’t like the chandelier. Some before pictures:

  Picture 164 Picture 031


DSCN1717 IMG_6914
At Gabbie’s birthday party

Gabbie’s Room (age 7)
Picture 170
Gabbie’s room when we first moved in. It looks a lot different now, especially since she is 3 years older!

Read about the decor above her bed here, her gallery wall here, the mirror I painted for her room here, and more decor I made using her old clothing here.

Zachary’s Room (age 5) 

When we first moved in, Zachary was sleeping in the nursery, which is now Simon’s room. He later moved upstairs. We just this year finally got furniture for him!


More about his furniture can be found here and his gallery wall can be found here.

Simon’s Room (Age 2)

Like I mentioned, Simon’s room was originally Zachary’s room when we first moved in. It is mostly still the same – the cool thing was that the color it was painted matched our crib set perfectly!

Picture 167
Above his crib on the blank wall you see above, is now this.

More about making room decor from clothes here!

Guest Room

The guest room was completely empty but now it has two beds in it. One of the beds was moved from the master bedroom when we upgraded to a king size. We also got a bedroom set. But I never took before or after pictures! The plan now is to move Gabbie into the guest room, make Simon’s room the guest room, and move Simon into Gabbie’s current room. Confusing enough?

Picture 168


We wanted a finished basement and we got one! Our basement is huge. Which allows toys to take it over.
When we first moved in:

Read more about organizing the basement mess here.

I didn’t share the master bedroom because like I said above, I don’t have any before or after pictures. I also didn’t share the bathrooms, but if you want to check out our Wizard of Oz themed bathroom you can see it here!

I’m excited for Myranda to move to her new place – an empty house is like a blank slate! Hopefully she will share her house with us! I also hope you will visit me over at Not In Jersey, where you can read about my long haired boy, running a half marathon in Disney World, 35 things I want to do before I turn 35, the books I’ve been reading, and our family adventures!

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