Holy Redesign, Batman!

This post contains affiliate links. Click here for my full disclosure.

Notice that things look a little different around here? I’ll be honest with you-I’m in looooove! I spent years (for real) designing and redesigning my blog. I studied, I created buttons and menu bars and headers. I tried to make a sidebar that looked like it was supposed to be there. I coded, mapped images, made social media buttons and STILL never felt content with what my blog looked like. So, if you’ve been here a while, you’ve seen lots of designs come and go. And even a name change!

Multi Header
Lots of them.
Sorry about that.

youtube effort 1

Sometimes I would find a design I liked, but then I would struggle to get everything else to look like it went together.

Nine Ring Circus Header Default copy

Anyway, this year I finally decided to check into having someone ELSE design my blog. Go figure! The first thing I did was look at a couple of blogs that I really liked, and checked at the bottom of the page to see if anyone specific had designed them. I found several designers and sent out an email to find out what the cost would be to have my blog redesigned.

Um, gulp!

I was looking at anywhere from $500 to $1500!
There was no way I could justify spending that kind of money on what is, essentially, a journal.

Honestly, I felt pretty frustrated.
I’m a blog reader. I love blogs. I love the women out there who are creative, and kind, and are full of great ideas on being a better wife and mother, and are willing to put all that out there to benefit others. There is so much good that comes from these blogs. But, the fact is, if I only read the blogs that look professional and clean and matchy, then how could I expect anyone else to read mine if it wasn’t all of those things?

Then I found this eBook. Oh, yes, I did. I’ll get into the book later because it deserves its own post. I should say, though, if you’re a blogger who’s looking to “grow your blog”, you really should check it out, it’s fantastic! So a HUGE “thank you” to Abby at Just a Girl and Her Blog for the book!

Building a Framework

In the eBook, Abby talks about her blog’s design. It’s kind of like a “semi-custom” design. Basically, what that means, is that someone designs all of the elements, then sells the whole theme. So, while there are likely many others who have the same theme on their blog or website, each theme is customizable, so you can change your font, colors, etc.

Abby uses a theme from restored316designs.com, so I decided to check them out! Oh, my goodness, guess what? They offer several themes, all of which are so pretty and feminine, and each one only costs $50! I swear to you, the heavens opened, the angels sang and I took about .3 seconds to decide that this was my answer!

The website has great tutorials, and in just a few days (I do have a family) I was able to totally redesign my blog. Now I feel like it looks so much more professional, and it’s mobile friendly! My last theme wasn’t mobile responsive, so if you were reading on any mobile device, you had to zoom and scroll around. No more! The menus look great, the sidebar is cohesive with the site, the buttons all work, it’s fantastic! And there is so much more I can do with it, as my blog continues to grow. Yay!

Deep breath…

All that said, I do still have to really decide on a logo. For some reason, that is SO HARD for me! Ideally, you settle on a logo and then leave it alone. It becomes a symbol of the blog, and of the blog’s author. Imagine if Nike changed the swoosh, you know? You just don’t go around changing your logo! But I think that’s why I have such a hard time settling! I always find something I like better, I guess. Anyway, see that first “Seek the Green” header up at the top of the post? I do like it, so maybe it will make a comeback in some form.

Even though these themes are customizable, they do still limit some options, of course. And since they just sell the whole thing, there’s not a ton of support, beyond set up. They were fantastic to help me get everything looking like it should, according to the original theme settings, but there’s no guidance beyond that. Say, for instance, that I want to widen the header space. I’m on my own for that. But for the price? It’s amazing!

One thing I’m still working on is getting the colors just right. On my laptop, my header and buttons look a beautiful turquoise color, but on my husband’s Macbook it all looks green. So I’m going to have to go back and find a “web safe” turquoise that will look the same across all browsers and computers.

Why can’t they just all be friends, anyway?

Thank you, more than I can say, for sticking with me through the change. I haven’t been able to really post, since all of my time has been spent customizing my site. But I really am happy with it (for now, ha ha) so hopefully I can get back into the swing of things!

Have a super happy Monday!

Trunk or Treat 2014

Happy Tuesday to you! I’m still trying to get caught up on all of the family stuff I missed over the holidays, so bear with me. And thanks for being here!

Every year our church has a Trunk-or-Treat. Do you guys do that? I love it! It’s so fun to get together with amazing friends and eat good food, play games, and get candy!

Somehow, this is the only picture I got of Conner all night.

Makenna is Ms. Social Pants, and I love to watch her with her friends. This little friends has moved across town, so we don’t get to see her as much. Sad face! It was so great to have her family at our Trunk-or-Treat this year!

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Halloween Party 2014

What do you mean “It’s the end of January”?

Since I totally slacked off for a while, I really have to jump back and get all caught up on my family stuff. So here we go.

Every year we host a family Halloween party. See here for last year’s party. It’s always so much fun, and the one time a year that we get together with some of the extended family.

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Incredible Pizza, Incredible Deal

This is a sponsored post from US Family Guide and America’s Incredible Pizza Company, but the opinions here are 100% mine. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Hey there, friends!

Is it cold where you live? It’s January, you know, and that means winter. I try not to complain because this winter has been so much warmer than last winter! Oh, my goodness, last winter was crazy cold. This year we haven’t even had a good snow!

That said, it’s still cold. It’s too cold to hang out outside, for sure. Lucky for us, I know the perfect place to spend our cold winter days!

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Scrapbook Candles

OK, friends. This is seriously the cheapest, easiest décor idea ever! If you’re like me, you’ll read this post and be like “Duh! How did I never think of that?!”

Ready for this easiness?

Just get some scrapbook paper, cut it to size, and tape it onto your candles! Ta da!

These candles are 6 inches tall, so I cut the paper to five inches. You can also layer the paper, like I did Christmas of 2013. I totally forgot to snap a picture of the candles that year, but you can see them in the background in this picture.

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I’ve Missed You

It’s been too long. Far too long.

When you blog, if you miss a week or two it starts to feel impossible to catch back up. Things start piling up. Events go on, kids keep growing, holidays come and go, projects get finished (or not). Before you know it, there’s no way you could possibly post about it all. At least that’s what happened with me.

But, guess what? I missed my blog. I missed you guys!

So I’m back.

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Labels That Stick!

This is a sponsored post, and I received products from Kidcals for free, but the opinions here are 100% mine.

Ok, folks, I’m not joking around.

I can’t even remember all of the times that I have put a label on something belonging to my kids, just to have it peel off again a few days (or hours) later. So frustrating!

Naturally, when I was contacted by KidCals, a company promising labels that actually STICK, I was all for it! Yes, please. And guess what? They really do stick!

I was able to try out two different decals, or labels. I chose to try one of the chalkboard labels and an address label. (Click on the pictures to go see the awesomeness)

address label

Obviously, that’s not me, because I’m not a “Smith”. But, let me tell you, I put address labels like that one on my kids’ instrument cases and they’re still there! No peeling around the edges or anything! It’s pretty awesome, really.

In hindsight, I wish I had put my phone number on them instead of our address, so I’ll probable order more. Just a tip.

But it was one of those “Hmm, let’s stick one label on this and test it out.”
“LABEL ALL THE THINGS!”

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Halloween Décor 2014

Halloween is coming, folks! As I sit here the window three feet away is open, letting in the perfect 71° air. There’s a slight breeze rustling the leaves of the trees outside, and the tops of those trees are tinged with fall color. Another week or two and they’ll be top to bottom glorious!

This is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. The cooler air, the fall colors, the first hints that the holiday season is coming, and Halloween!

I seriously love Halloween. I love haunted houses, and it’s the one yearly chance to decorate my house in a way that would normally be very…wrong.

Right? Perfect for October, not so much for the rest of the year.

Probably my favorite addition to this year’s décor are these “crystal balls”.

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Ch ch ch ch Changes…

Well, hi there! I’m still here, still plugging along, and still working on the house and being Mom. Right now I’m in the process of painting the trim all over the upstairs. Well, except my bedroom. I haven’t even begun to think about that.

I got the entry way painted, the back door, the window over the sink, and the front door. I still have one coat to put on the fireplace, one big window, and the baseboards in that whole area. Then I’ll get to the small hallway up here.

Can I tell you a little secret?
I HATE painting.
I wish I could say that I love it, and I DO love the pay off, but I seem to find all kinds of excuses to not get it done. I just don’t love doing it, that’s all.

Here’s the deal, though.

I just don’t think there’s any way for me to keep up with this bloggy thing on a regular basis. Until you’ve done it, you have no idea how much TIME it takes. For real, I had no clue.
Hours. Every post takes hours.

And there’s a side effect that I don’t love.

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Coastal Bathroom Cabinet Redo

Our home is currently loaded with orangey-oak woodwork, and slowly I’m getting it all painted. Very slowly. I had never painted any sort of woodwork until I got started on this house, and it’s daunting, but totally addictive! I’ve done the trim in several places, but painting the cabinets in the basement bathroom was definitely the most fun.

Titled Cabinet Redo

I had never painted cabinets before, and I admit to being a little scared, but it was so worth it! And you know what? It wasn’t even hard!

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