Declaration Boutique

Last weekend I got to escape.  Originally, Lincoln and I were going to drive to my grandparents’ house in Florida to surprise my Grandpa for his 90th birthday.  But when I heard that they were sick and not up for company, Loo and I decided to detour down to my parents’ house in Saint Augustine, FL instead.  An impromptu trip, but the first time in years that I’d been there without children following me around!

I’ve always loved it down there…it’s the oldest city in the US, and the history is so interesting…not to mention the quaint shops, yummy food and festive holiday decor.  The ever-popular St. George Street is where we usually visit with the kids, poking our heads in shops {because Heaven forbid we actually bring our three little bulls inside!}, and searching for pirates {yes~the town has many people dressed in character…some are paid, and some are, uh, volunteers!}.

Pirates are everywhere in Saint Augustine, Florida

But since this particular trip, I only had Lincoln {and he was perfectly happy to hand with GP while us ladies shopped!}, so MomMom, Loo and I visited the other side of Saint Augustine, called “Uptown”…the northern part of San Marco Avenue/A1A.  Lots of cute little boutique and antique shops, and the famous LuLi’s Cupcakes {with their Bacon cupcakes and Frosting Shots!}.

But out of all the shops we went in, my favorite was behind a tiny door in a cluster of three shops on the corner of San Marcos and Pine.  Declaration Boutique.

Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

You walk in the door and have to walk down a corridor lined with an arrangement or greeting cards, scarves, and tea towels. But when the hallway opened up into the main shop…my senses were in full overload from the smells of chocolate and coffee, the sounds of Christmas music, and the wonderful clutter of knick-knacky goodness.

Buttons from Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

The shop was filled with eclectic eye-candy…but arranged into almost little shops within the store.  In the center of the room was a display of note cards, bookmarks and necklaces.  Santa, if you are reading, I liked the reindeer necklace the best!

Necklaces from Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

Photo courtesy of Declaration Boutique. Click for Pricing.

Along one wall is an airy display of screen-printed tea towels, framed by strings of cupcake liners.

Creative Decoration at Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

Tea Towel Collection from Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

Tucked in a corner is locally made sweets.  The chocolate smell as you pass by makes you instantly requiring a snack!

Candy and Chocolate display from Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

I’m just in love with the way that this shop is set up.  Each little area is it’s own adorable little booth, completely appropriate for the gems it’s selling. It’s like being at a craft fair all in one room!

A variety of children's and nursery items in a cute display at Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

And of course the obligatory children’s corner {but always my favorite!}.

And as you head back toward the door, you pass by the checkout counter, which is {in my OCD opinion}, just as beautiful as the rest of the store!
Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, FloridaI could have spend hours there!  “I want that, and that, and that…”  If you ever visit Saint Augustine, stop by Declaration Boutique… and pick me up a necklace!

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Just FYI, I did not receive any sort of payment or discount for writing this post….just loved the little shop!

{From the Archives} DIY Yarn Ball Wreath

It’s Throwback Thursday!  Here’s one of my favorite DIY’s from 2011.

It’s been a hand-made Christmas this year for me….well, decoration-wise anyway.  With a new house comes a craving for new decor.  So, inspired by Pinterest and my fellow bloggers (and a little bit of Martha Stewart!), I set out to create.  One project was a new wreath for our porch door.  I made a burlap fall wreath, but obviously it was time to replace that.  I found this cute little number on Pinterest, and decided to try to replicate it.

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath TutorialHere’s how I made my Yarn Ball Wreath:

I bought red and white yarn, and a spool of jute (twine), and a wreath form.  You’ll also need thick ribbon, scissors and hot glue.  I cut each page of the newspaper into quarters, and then crumpled them into balls.

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath Tutorial

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath TutorialI decided that the base of my wreath was going to be red, so I tied a knot around the wreath form at the seam and slowly wound the yarn around it, being careful not to overlap and to keep the yarn tight.

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath Tutorial

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath TutorialWhen I reached the end, I just tucked the yarn under….not very sturdy, but I’d be glueing on my ribbon holder on top, so it’s ok.

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath Tutorial

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath TutorialI secured one end of my ribbon where I had tucked the end of the yarn, using hot glue.  Do not secure the other end of the ribbon yet.

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath TutorialThen, with a second piece of ribbon, I formed a loop and hot glued it on top of the yarn and the already glued down part of the ribbon.

Then I took the first ribbon and wrapped it over the second loop and secured with hot glue.

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath TutorialMoving on to the yarn balls.  Just wrap them tightly around the newspaper balls.  You want the newspaper to be completely covered, and its ok that the balls are slightly different sizes.  I made about 22 of the red and white, and 8 of the twine.  Even though technically I am finished with my wreath, I still may go back and add some more balls to the sides and top to give it some more depth and bulk.  You can always add more, so I’d start with just 20 or so.  Find something good on TV because these take awhile!

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath Tutorial

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath TutorialJayna decided she wanted to help wrap some balls too…..I’m thinking her fine motor skills aren’t quite there yet, what do you think?

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath TutorialBut she was ok, she settled for naming her new baby “Yarnie” and toting it around with Pink Baby.

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath TutorialReady to glue on!

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath TutorialStart slowly, and layer as you go.  Remember that there is newspaper in the middle, so the balls can kind of be squished to fit where you need them.

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath Tutorial

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath TutorialTada!  Great, bright addition to our living room!  And because I only used red, white and natural colors in my yarn ball wreath, I feel like I can leave it up through the entire winter season…straight through Valentine’s Day!

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath TutorialSee on the left hand side where you can still see some of the red yarned wreath form?  That’s where I will probably end up adding a few more….you know, in my spare time!

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath Tutorial

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I’m linking up here this week!

Chapel Market – Pike Road, Alabama

The Chapel Market: A Collaboration of Yummy Vintage Goods

Logo by Poppy Petals

As a mom of three, there is nothing better than a weekend getaway with your hubby.  Without children.  It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it seems to happen kind of quickly and spontaneously…when all the planets are aligned and pigs fly!  Apparently the last time that happened was back at the end of October.

Dave and I flew to Montgomery, Alabama for the weekend.  A few of the DIY and renovation blogs I follow throw together a flea market type festival in the little town of Pike Road, called The Chapel Market.  I first found out about the Chapel Market before their inaugural sale last October, on one of my favorite blogs, The Lettered Cottage.  Layla is one of the founders of the market, and has a fantastic blog about home renovations and adoption.  Another market participant was Miss Mustard Seed, whose blog I have read since waaaay before I started blogging!  And I have to admit I was a teensy bit star struck when I met her!

Miss Mustard Seed and Me at The Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

Wait.  Let me back up and tell you about the neighborhood that this market was located in.  There is not much around….farmland mostly.  But then, there is this cute neighborhood, with beautiful ponds, houses with picket fences, and children riding bikes.  Not even kidding…it’s like Pleasantville, USA.

The Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

And then you drive to the end of the road, and you see…

The Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

The neighborhood was just stunning at dusk!  The next morning, we got up and headed back to the chapel on the hill, which was where the Chapel Market was taking place.  An old trolley transported the droves of people from the parking lot over to the church {and tent behind it}.

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

There were 17 vendors between the tent and inside the church, not including these adorable entreprenuers!  {I hear they made a killing!}

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

One of my favorite sites, Urban Farmgirl was also there.  I scored a teeshirt and a wooden pick-up truck plaque for Lincoln’s room.  Here’s a few of the other things they had…too many good things to choose from!

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

Southern Accents…what can I say, this was the one shop that I wish we had been able to visit in person {but, it was about a 2 hour drive from Pike Road}.  They brought a sampling of salvaged and upcycled items….like these adorable Christmas trees made out of reclaimed wood.  But if you go to their site, and look at all the doors they have….you’ll know why I wanted to visit them in person!

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

Littleville Blue had such interesting repurposed items.  Although they don’t quite fit our personal style, I was obsessed with the details on these creative crosses.

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

Acres of Hope builds handcrafted farmhouse tables….and had Dave drooling dreaming up his next project {since we couldn’t fit one of theirs in our carry-on!!}.

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

Susie Harris creates signs that just kind of speak to you….can you guess which one I relate to these days?!?!?

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

And here are a few other snapshots I took while at the Chapel Market.  Because we flew, we didn’t end up buying much, but got a lot of inspiration for future projects!

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

Do you remember my DIY fabric pumpkins?  Great minds think alike, huh!?

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

A collection of eye candy from the Chapel Market in Pike Road Alabama - Palmettos and Pigtails

A beautiful weekend, with lots of eye candy!

To find out more about the Chapel Market, read Layla’s post about it, or “like” their Facebook Page!

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Homemade Irish Cream Recipe

The weekend after Thanksgiving is reserved exclusively for turkey sandwiches, fat pants, and decorating for Christmas.  But this year, I’m adding one more must-have to my list.  My friend Nikki posted this recipe on Facebook the other day and I just had to try it!  I tweaked it just a bit, but it’s super easy to make, and I had most of the ingredients already on hand.

I’m thinking in a smaller batch, this would be a terrific gift as well…I would have LOVED to get this as a teacher gift!  Haha!

Homemade Irish Cream Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

Homemade Irish Cream Recipe:

1 can sweet condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp chocolate syrup
1 tsp brewed coffee 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract {or coconut extract}
1 1/3 cup Irish whiskey
Homemade Irish Cream Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

Using a whisk, mix it all together until smooth and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.  I made a double batch {not shown} to last me through the winter!

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December 2014 Cleaning Calendar

So….everyone fat and happy at your house?  We had a wonderfully chill Thanksgiving this year…just us, Loo and Doc, and the kiddos.  We used the fancy napkins, but not the fancy glasses and plates.  We smoked THREE turkeys.  {FYI, we would have been more than fine with just one….so if you have a good “leftover turkey” recipe, please share!}  And we played board games when the kids fell asleep.  The perfect Thanksgiving!

And just like that, with the late holiday this year, December has descended upon us!  Time to break out the Elves on the Shelves…or if you are like me, you’ve already forgotten to put him out {and where did we hide him anyway?!?!}.  We always spend the day {or three} after Thanksgiving, decorating for Christmas.  So now that we’ve dragged out all the decor boxes, it’s time to clear off the mantle to make room for holly and stockings…and I guess I might as well dust while I’m up there!  So here’s the December 2014 Cleaning Calendar, ready for all of your cleaning and organizing needs!

I plan on adding it to my House Manager, in my Holiday section.  It’ll be the perfect addition to my Holiday Planning Guide…what’s one more free printable for ya?!

December 2014 Cleaning Calendar from Palmettos and Pigtails

Click here, or the picture above to download a copy for your fridge.

Happy Cleaning!!

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Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole with Bacon

Happy Thanksgiving!  I’m taking the week off to celebrate Lincoln’s Baptism and spend time with our family in town!

My Thanksgiving menu doesn’t change much from year to year.  I grew up with baked turkey, moved South and got introduced to fried turkey, and for the first time last year, tried smoked turkey.  By far my favorite!  As for side dishes and dessert…I usually make sweet potato casserole, biscuits, salad, pecan pie and green bean casserole.  You know, the Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom version.  But this year, I’m trying something a little different.  I found this recipe on the eMeals site, and thought it might be fun to try this year.

Green Bean Casserole with Bacon - Palmettos and Pigtails

Green Bean Casserole with Bacon

  • 2 (12-oz) packages steam-in-bag green beans
  • 1 (8-oz) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-oz) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (2.8-oz) container French fried onions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook beans in microwave as directed. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Sauté mushrooms in butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once after 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add to beans in bowl.
  3. Cook bacon in skillet until crisp. Crumble bacon, and add to beans. Reserve 1 Tbsp drippings in skillet. Cook onion and garlic in drippings until tender. Add to beans. Stir in Alfredo sauce and cheese.
  4. Spoon into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with French fried onions. Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly.

What side dishes do you make at Thanksgiving?
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9 Easy Ways to Save Money Right Now

It’s that time of year again when those once-a-year bills come in {like HOA dues and the like}, Holiday shopping begins, and extra expenses {big family meals, stamps for Christmas cards, etc.} pile up.  Everyone is looking for ways to save money.  Personally, Dave and I are in the final week of our Fall session of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  We teach the class twice a year, and this year we have begun to issue a challenge to our class each week…a small way to save a few bucks.  In addition, my Small Group has been doing Jen Hatmaker’s Bible Study, Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.  This week’s focus is on spending.  With all of this going on, I thought today would be the perfect time to share some of our ideas on how to save a bit of money.

Obviously, there are bigger and better ways to get more money this holiday season.  Whether it’s working extra hours, getting a side job, or selling the kids on Craig’s List…there are some drastic measures that are sure to work.  But what about the little stuff?  As they say, those pennies add up!

Here’s my list of 9 easy ways to save money right now:

9 Easy Ways to Save Money Today from Palmettos and Pigtails

-Don’t go grocery shopping this week…see how creative you can get with the items in your pantry and fridge.  And while you are in there, clean it up and organize it a little!  And while you are cleaning out your freezer, take an inventory of the food that’s in there with my handy Freezer Inventory List!

-Put a full water bottle in the back of all of your toilet tanks to displace the water in the tank, use less water, and save on your water bill.

-Save any $1 bills with significant letters on them {We save J’s, A’s and L’s in honor of our kids’ names}.

A great tradition and a way to save money: collect dollar bills with the letters of your kids' names on them

-Unplug electronics and appliances when not in use.  Big culprits in our house are laptops, the coffeepot and cell phone chargers.

-When paying for items, don’t use exact change….round up to the nearest dollar.  Save the change you get back, and each night empty your change into a jar…those coins add up quickly!

-Only drink water…no buying drinks or coffees at the store or restaurants.  You’ll save between $2-$5 for EACH DRINK!  {so put aside those $$$ you would have spent on the drink…and watch it add up fast!}

-Pay CASH instead of using a card….it’s a lot more painful to see those precious dollar bills disappear, than using that “magical” card.

-Establish a Swear Jar or a Manners Jar….each infraction costs a dollar out of one’s personal blow money.

-Get organized with your meals.  Use a weekly meal planner and Southern Savers to plan out meals and create a grocery list based on  your grocery store’s weekly specials.  Only buy what is on your grocery list.  My family of five usually spends about $80 a week on groceries.  That’s it!

Hope this simple list helps save you some cash TODAY!  Need a couple more ideas?  Check out this list of stuff you can sign up to do to get paid.

Got any others?  Leave a comment with how YOU save money during the holidays!

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{House Manager} Holiday Planning Guide with Printables

Every year it’s amazing to me how early Christmas arrives in stores.  This year, it was Kohl’s that won, with Christmas arriving in their store the first week of October.  Crazy.  We don’t do a ton of decorating or gifts for Christmas, so shopping each year is relatively stress-free for me.  When Santa comes, he brings one “big gift” per child, and then a few little things for their stockings.  So far, Dave and I have managed to avoid buying the kids anything “from us”….they haven’t noticed they didn’t get a gift from Mom or Dad.  And as for gifts for immediate family…we do homemade gifts from the kids and then school/family pictures to frame.  There are about a million cousins, and we’ve never exchanged more than Christmas cards with them.  So shopping is pretty easy, and all about the kids.

As for entertaining….different story.

So, so stressful.  But you know, in a good stressful way.  As in, I-wouldn’t-have-it-any-other-way.  I LOVE entertaining.  I love that we made the executive decision that {since we made the grandkids} everyone can come to us for the holidays.  Not to mention our Christmas Eve Brunch that we do for the neighbors each year.  But, the joy of entertaining also means the stress of cleaning, cooking and planning.

Holiday tradition of footy pajamas on Christmas Eve!  Palmettos and Pigtails

Last year, I finally got smart and wrote everything down.  I basically make the same food every year, but I always struggle to remember what I make, and fumble to find the recipes.  So last year I got organized.  And I made a bunch of documents that will go straight into our House Manager Binder.  Although, with the amount of entertaining we do, it may need it’s own binder soon!

Holiday Planning Guide with Free Printables to Keep Your Holiday Organized!  Palmettos and Pigtails

****Disclaimer****

Because I’m making this for my own personal use, I’m gonna give you access to the files.  However, you won’t be able to edit them.  But feel free to print them out and use them for yourself!  I got all the little buttons as free downloads from the digital scrapbooking site, Shabby Princess.  And I got the fonts (Pea Carol) from Kevin & Amanda…also free.  So technically, you can make your own version of these as well!  And if you decide to pin any of these images, please remember link them back to this page!! Thanks!

I’m telling you, there are a lot of printables in this file, but it’s really everything you need for planning your whole Christmas week.  Here’s a sneak peek of the Table of Contents.  See below for the links to each document.

Holiday Planning Guide from Palmettos and Pigtails: Free printables to keep you organized!

Click on each link to get to the Google Drive Document.  You’ll be able to download, but not edit.  You’ll see some items have two pages…they are the same document, but with different graphics in case you want to print two different sets!

Holiday Planning Guide Cover Page

Holiday Planning Guide Cover Page AND Table of Contents

December Calendar

Gift Planner

Christmas Card List

Party Planner 1

Party Planner 2

Holiday Baking Recipes, Page 1

Holiday Baking Recipes, Page 2

Event Planner

Christmas Eve Meal Planning

Christmas Day Meal Planning

Christmas Eve Shopping List

Christmas Day Shopping List

Meal Recipe Cards, Page 1

Meal Recipe Cards, Page 2

Thank You Note List

I’d love your feedback on this guide…did I miss anything?  What was the most helpful page for you?  Happy Planning!

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Love it? Pin it! Share it! Tweet it!

A Minted Christmas Card – A Vote

We are a week and a half out from Lincoln’s Baptism Celebration….and then four days later, Thanksgiving.  And then the Christmas Season.  Because around here, it truly is its own season.  Every weekend we have a party or event to go to.  School days are filled with Christmas crafts, Operation Christmas Child, and Nativity programs.  And my evenings are spent planning, sewing and shopping.  Y’all, where does the time go in December?

But, it’s not December. Yet.  So as far as I am concerned, I’m ahead of the game.  For now.  This week, I’m starting to think about Christmas cards.  Those beautiful little reminders of how blessed we all are.

Blog Christmas Card

This was my homemade Christmas card from 2012.  This year, I’m teaming up with Minted.com to share their 2014 Christmas Card line.  They are giving me a chance to try some of their gorgeous Christmas cards to send out this year….but I’m having a hard time deciding!!!

That’s where you come in.  I need your help!  I’ve chosen a few of my favorite styles {it’s super easy to Pin and to Favorite each card you like on their website}, and was wondering if you can weigh in with your pick.  Leave me a comment with which one you like best!

Choice #1: Year in a Nutshell

Year in a Nutshell Photo Card from Minted.com

It’s a little more modern than I typically do, but I love that you can add your “stats” and highlights too!

Choice #2: Love Tree

Love Tree Christmas Card from Minted.com

Choice #3: Very Merry Flourish

Very Merry Flourish Christmas Card by Minted.com

I like that the shape is different and pretty….but it’ll be hard for me to find a vertical picture of our family that I like!

Choice #4: Bright Days

Bright Days Christmas Card by Minted.com

So here’s a compromise that is pretty and horizontal!

Choice #5: Heart, Halo, Hooray!

Heart, Halo, Hooray! Christmas Card by Minted.com

Keep in mind that if you click on the link in each card’s name, you can play around with the color of the lettering and the cut style of the card.

Which one do you think I should choose?

Check out this week’s awesome deals: 15% off Holiday cards and 20% off Foil-pressed cards.  Click here for details.

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The Seven Experiment: Media Blackout

I’m back!!! Did you miss me?  Probably not.  And no offense, but I didn’t really miss you either!  It’s hard to believe that we had virtually NO media exposure over the last week.  Our media blackout included TV, Radio/Music, Phone {except for relational calls and informational texts}, Computer, Internet, Social Media, and Electronic Games and Apps.  Seven things that have become idols in our house, taking up our time, energy and attention to the detriment of our relationships with others.

So it was all gone last week.  Cold turkey.  And guess what?  It wasn’t that bad.  I got zero complaints from the kids.  They blindly accepted the new “rule” when we broke the news to them.  Dave and I struggled a little with temptations {ahem, Facebook}, but we gave ourselves a B+ overall.

I even cheated a little on Day One, when I realized I had never completed an Amazon order for some craft fair items that I needed for this past weekend.  Jayna busted me getting out the computer, and insisted that she sit next to me and watch to “make sure I didn’t go on Facebook.” Man, talk about commitment from that kid!

But overall, it wasn’t as hard as I thought.  The house was quieter, we talked to each other more.  The kids played, rather than whining about TV or music selections.  Jayna even had a weeklong mystery when a bracelet of hers was missing.  She carried a notebook around writing down clues {like green dots and pizza crumbs} and gathering her suspects.  I’m not sure if the bracelet was ever found, but she had a blast sneaking around and solving the mystery!

The list of suspects is long in the Case of the Missing Bracelet!

The hardest thing for me was not watching TV while I folded laundry, and not scanning Facebook or Pinterest while sitting in the car-rider line at school or at the craft show this past weekend.  But other than that, totally fine!

I’d like to say we’ll keep it up.  But already we’ve gone back to our ways of having a TV on regularly {even if no one is watching it!}.  And I feel like since the week was over, I’ve had to spend DOUBLE time on the computer, just catching up from last week.  So I can’t say that too much has changed.  But I will say that we will be more mindful of our phones.  It was so nice last week {when all of my notifications were turned off}, not having to check my phone every time there was a little chime.  It was nice spending time with Dave, without Sportscenter being in the middle of our conversation.  So I think I’m going to leave my social media notifications turned off, and work on only browsing Facebook or Pinterest when I’m alone.

What do you do to cut back on media time?

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