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July 27, 2016

Blogiversary - Lessons Learned & Future Plans


Today is a special day my friends. As you may have guessed from the title and graphic, it's my two year blogiversary! I am so surprised and delighted that I've kept this thing up for two years. I've learned some things along the way and I have some ideas that have evolved into plans. I'll be sharing all about it today.

For the past 2 years, I've blogged sporadically. Basically whenever I felt like it. This has really been a fun hobby. As I go through life I can't help but think about how I should share this or that on the blog. But then I never got around to it. I'd even take photos sometimes, all with the best of intentions. But, life. Life is busy. As a wife and mother and employee working 40 hours a week outside the home I really don't have time to blog. I may be crazy for taking this on or it could be just what I need to achieve my dreams.

I've committed to things in my head before and you know what? I fail. Every time. So I'm going to share my blog plans with you in hopes that this will give me the accountability I so clearly need.

Lesson 1: Consistency is important in blogging. As I mentioned above, I've failed at the is in the past.
Plan: You can now expect at least 2 new posts per week. I'm hopeful that I can add to that as time allows but for now I can maintain 2. As much as I want to commit to certain days, I know better. I will tell you my goal is to have a new post up in the morning on Tuesday and Thursday but that is my goal, it my fluctuate.

Lesson 2: Blogging cannot replace real priorities in my life. When I've posted consistently in the past, I've neglected other important things like my household chores or my husband. I can tell you this did not go well and I had to step back from blogging for a bit as I regained control over our home and spent quality time with the hubby.
Plan: I've searched my daily life for "fringe hours" where I've been wasting time. I'm currently using my hour lunch break from work 3-4 of the 5 days of the work week. The other 1 or 2, I go to the gym and talk with friends like a normal social person. I'm fortunate that Starbucks is just a 5 minute drive from work and they have tasty treats and free WiFi. What more could a part time blogger want? The plan is also to do blogging at night after my people are in bed. This does not happen on Sunday-Thursday because momma needs sleep. But I can drain a Redbull Friday and Saturday late afternoon and make some great things happen.


Lesson 3: Appearance matters. Just like how I look at work matters, how my blog looks matters. As a blog reader, I gravitate to blogs that are neat and clean looking with a white background and minimal "decorations" or ads. My free Blogger template did not make Coffee Before Crayons look like a blog I would want to follow.
Plan: If you've been here before then you probably noticed I've got a new look around these parts. I finally realized I could buy a much better template on Etsy without spending a fortune. I'm sure one day it'll change again and eventually I plan to switch to a self-hosted Wordpress blog which will entail another redesign. For now, I'm really happy with the new look.

Lesson 4: About Me page. Y'all I have wanted to put together an About Me page for the last TWO YEARS. Yes, I did just yell that. Because how ridiculous.
Plan: I did it. I finally created an About Me page. And you know what? It wasn't scary or painful. I have no idea why I've had writers block over this for so long. On that note, I also added the little About Me blurb you see over on the right hand sidebar. If you haven't done it yet, take a second to click over and get to know me better.

Lesson 5: Blog your passion. This theme keeps popping up as I read about blogging. I have really just been sharing our daily life for our family to keep up with us.
Plan: I had a vision recently. I started this as a way to share about our flood renovation and I've viewed our home that way ever since. No more. Welcome to Coffee Before Crayons where I will be sharing about our journey in turning our starter home into our forever home! I'm so glad you're along for the ride. You can expect organizing, decorating, DIY, and room makeover posts. With the occasional family update sprinkled in.

I hope you're excited about the things to come here on my little slice of the internet. I sure am!

July 18, 2016

Walmart Online Grocery Ordering - Review

If you know me in real life then this confession will come as no surprise. I am a grocery store snob. There. I admit it. I still remember the first day I walked into Publix. It was so shiny and new and all of the items' labels were turned forward. Shopping there really is a pleasure. There is another grocery store in town that is much more conveniently located but it's no Publix. I've taught AG to refer to this one as the "dirty store". It isn't bad so we go there occasionally but Publix has spoiled me. 
Well, I've discovered something so great it makes me actually step outside of my grocery bubble and you will not believe where I am willing to go... Walmart! Yes. I know. Don't close the browser yet. Stay with me here. I have long been a Walmart hater. I should be ashamed of my grocery store snob ways but I'm owning it here for all the world to see. It's worth it so that you understand what a huge deal this is for me. Have you heard of the Walmart Online Grocery service? It is outstanding. I believe the word I used when we tried it yesterday was "amazeballs" #don'tjudgeme 
On Saturday I realized the weekend would just not allow for a grocery shopping trip and we needed the staples. I read a glowing review from a trusted friend who is also a grocery store snob and I knew I had to try this new service. I may have read it 3 times and called her to discuss. She even ordered avocados to test them out and they did a great job picking them so I felt that was good enough for me to conduct my own experiment too.
So Saturday afternoon I used her link to save $10 which also sends her a $10 credit #winwin and spent about 20 minutes ordering my groceries. It wouldn't take a normal person this long but I am methodical about my groceries and I wanted to be sure and test them. The only item I needed to buy but wasn't able to was fresh medium salsa. This is a staple for hubby so I'll have to visit the "dirty store" and pick some up. I included all my normal groceries plus some green leaf lettuce as my test of their produce picking skills. Y'all. Even my bananas were perfect. They were just the right amount of green and mostly yellow. The lettuce was even exactly as I would've chosen. In my grocery perfection induced high, I forgot to take any photos. Sorry friends! But I did text my close friends and call my mom to share! 
In addition to this service they included a little goodie bag as a welcome gift. It was totally not necessary but very much appreciated. 
I cannot say enough good things about the guys who helped us and the service itself. 
AG was asleep in the car after a long day of swimming and hubby jumped out to accept the groceries. Our personal shopper opened each bag and showed him every item as he loaded them into the van for us. Without me even having to ask, both the personal shopper and the manager (who personally greeted us) used soft tones in an effort to not wake AG, I thought that was such a sweet gesture and it did not go unnoticed. I never even had to exit the vehicle! The only difference between what we ordered and what we got was that I ordered seedless grapes and we got seeded. Had I been the one checking and not hubby, then it would've been corrected I'm sure, but he didn't know what I had ordered so he didn't know to question it. But you know what? We can spit out the seeds, and they taste better. I have no complaints. With the $10 off coupon, I only spent $49! Without walking the store, there are no impulse buys or BOGOs to trick me into spending well over $100. I even bought a new cutting board and some bubble wands for AG. 
I'll try and remember to snap some photos next time. And there will be a next time! The minimum is only $30. I sincerely hope this service maintains the high standards they've set. 
If you want to try this awesome service for yourself, you can go here: http://r.wmt.co/d6o0J This is my referral link and by using it, both you and I will save $10! Be sure and copy the promo code that pops up in the new window and then just click "Start Shopping". I just realized their slogan is #groceryhero and that is so spot on! This is really a game changer for me and I am so excited about it. 
This post is in no way, shape, or form sponsored by Walmart, Publix, or Dirty Store. None of these entities know who I am or that I'm writing this post. Well, the fine folks at "my" Publix know me quite well. And I am sure the guys who run the Walmart Online Grocery Ordering service will get to now me soon enough. But none of them know about this little ole blog.
I am just a girl standing in front of a grocery list asking it to magically appear into her car.
Happy shopping friends! Leave me a comment and let me know if you try this! I hope you love it as much as me!

July 7, 2016

4th of July Memories

What a great LONG weekend! I could get used to only working 3 days a week. Our 4th of July weekend consisted of a lot of playing and relaxing.
Last week I went shopping after work one day and I found hubby a very nice leather La-Z-Boy recliner which I pre-approved to live in our home. He went Friday to sit in it. He liked it and bought it so AG and I went to "the lazy man store" (her words, not mine) and picked it up on Saturday. She now calls it "daddy's lazy man chair". I couldn't be more proud. After that adventure, I went to Ashley Furniture to check out their sofa selection fully expecting to not like anything as much as what I'd already found at Rooms To Go. I was pleasantly surprised to find a sofa and love seat that I loved and the price turned out to be just as good as RTG! Now I just need hubby to go check it out and the budget to allow for us to make this purchase. Until then we will take turns in the lazy man chair.
Hubby had to work Sunday so AG and I had one of my friends and her baby come over to play in the afternoon. This meant that the morning was devoted to tidying up the house, which I was planning to do anyway so it worked out. Because I am an awesome friend, I braved the heat of the attic to retrieve some of AG's baby toys that were up there before the flood. I broke a sweat as soon as I climbed the ladder because it was approximately 473 degrees in our attic. But it was so worth it. Baby E loved the toys and they got to take the scooter (what we called her walker) home for her to play in. I wasn't sure what I would end up doing with all of those toys after their visit but AG has had more fun playing with them now than she did as a baby.
Monday was the actual holiday and I started the day with a festive brunch of blueberry cream cheese danishes. I followed this recipe from Kraft and I love how cute they turned out! And I'll let you in on a little secret... there is NO way the ones that are in the photo on the Kraft page are actually cooked all the way. These babies took quite a while to cook. 



We played most of the day. I went to the grocery store and spent way too much money. In my defense, Publix lured me in with all their deals and I probably won't need to go again for a couple weeks. When I got home I actually highlighted all of the extras on my mile long receipt to justify it. "Look honey! I got all these GREAT deals! and if I hadn't gotten them my total would've been in normal range!" It's all in how you sell it. However, in this case he was not impressed.
Monday night we did fireworks at hubby's youngest brother's home. He put on an awesome show and AG had a blast with her cousins. This was her first fireworks experience and she was in awe! She would watch them go up and as they popped she would clap and say BOOM! BOOM!. It was a late night and even at 10pm on the way home, she was still talking about the fireworks.
Tuesday might be my favorite day of the whole weekend. I got to "sleep in" until about 8am and then made breakfast for my people. I even served watermelon alongside our breakfast sandwiches that I lovingly created. The morning is a blur. We mostly just hung out and played and lost track of time. During nap time I went to Hobby Lobby - by myself. It was so fun! I'll explain my project in a future post but just know that it was important enough to hubby that he didn't mind me going on my adventure at all. I also got a curtain rod so I'm hoping that by this coming weekend I'll have curtains at the front french doors so we can have some privacy again now that all the trees are gone. At night, you can see straight through our kitchen from the street, thankfully we live in the back of our neighborhood and on a cul-de-sac so traffic is minimal. After my HobLob excursion, we headed out to the deck to play in the pools. AG and I had so much fun splashing and "racing" each other. She beat me almost every time. According to her she had anywhere from 10-12 points and I only had 2. While we played, hubby finished staining the wood rack. It looks great and matches the deck now.
In other news I read a great book this weekend!
 It only took about 3 days because I'm such a veracious reader. I rarely read now because I know that when I start a book I could do nothing else but read and sleep until it's done. That's not practical in this stage of life so I try and stick to just a few books a year and mostly over long weekends. I love a good "chick lit" novel and give anything by Mary Kay Andrews a strong recommend.
I really don't know how I managed to sum up such a great long weekend in such a short post but those are the highlights. I hope you all had a safe and happy Independence Day too!