Sunday, March 31, 2013

march goal recap

Hmmm...  sooooo yeah... we can go ahead and classify this month as an epic fail in regards to my monthly goals.  Okay, okay... maybe not epic... but I'm definitely more on the fail side than the success side... and that's alright... because these are my goals and I can fail them however I want... so there.  I kind of did just a little bit of all of them... and a little bit is better than none at all, right?

Making over // the website.
I have started this one... just haven't gotten very far.  I love squarespace and will definitely be using them, I just need to make a final decision on my template (I'm not sold on the one above just yet) and I have quite a bit of tweaking to do. 

Mailing more // letters.
I have a list of a handful of people I've been wanting to write sitting on my desk... but that's about as far as I've gotten.  Unless you count birthday packages and adoption paperwork, not much else has made it out the door with a stamp on it lately.  This goal might very well be making a reappearance in April... just sayin'.

Minimizing all // our paper clutter.
I did a tiny-little-bit on this goal back in the very beginning of March... but the amount of paper clutter that exists in our house is absolutely ridiculous.  I feel like I have a plan in my head... I just need to tackle it.  I'm really wanting to do a big office-clean-out in the coming weeks, and I'm hoping paper clutter will be included.

Meditating on // the Psalms.
Okay... so this one wasn't a major fail... but I'm definitely still learning the importance of protecting my time in the Word.  If I don't protect this time and treat it like a priority, it simply will not happen.  Psalm 6 and Psalm 63 have been some favorites of mine this month.

So, there you have it... not my finest... but there's always next month:)

happy easter!

"He is not here; he has risen, just as he said! Come and see the place where he lay."
     -Matthew 28:6

Thursday, March 28, 2013

thankful thursday {link up}

{Link up your own Thankful Thursday post below...}

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) Completed projects.  I've been trying to finish up a few random projects over the past few days.  Slowly but surely, I'm making a dent in my pile.  (It's a big pile, people.)

2) Chickens.  I'll admit, I wasn't crazy about this whole chicken idea at first... but they're growing on me.  I'm trying to psyche myself up for the egg-stravaganza that is about to happen this summer... scrambled eggs, over easy, sunny side up, hardboiled, pickled, quiches, omelets... the possibilities are endless.

3) Truth.  I spent this past weekend in Cincinnati for a women's retreat with our church... and it was so good to just soak up Truth and be encouraged in God's word.  

What are you thankful for this week? Grab the Thankful Thursday button from the right sidebar and link up your own post below. Be sure to visit the other Thankful Thursday participants and share the love!!

Also linking up with:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

top 10 :: easter ideas

With Easter right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to do a little top ten post showcasing some favorite Easter ideas.  I think half of my list is egg-related... but who doesn't love a good egg project?  There are a few other fun ideas that made the cut as well.  As always, thanks to Pinterest for tons of fabulous inspiration.  Who knows... maybe I'll actually try a project of my own in the coming days?  Here are some of my favorites...

 1) gold leaf eggs

2) egg decorating party

3) simple modern eggs 

 4) moss spring banner

5) easter table setting 

6) spring floral wreath

7) moss bowl 

8) tie dye eggs

9) spring flower arrangement

10) stamped eggs

Now... if only the weather would cooperate and it would stop snowing and sleeting here... that would be great.  What about you?  Have you tried any new Easter/Spring projects lately?  Will you be dying eggs this year?  Dong anything special with them?  I'd love to hear...

Linking up with...
Michelle at The Vintage Apple
Angie at Many Little Blessings

Sunday, March 24, 2013

the liebster eleven

Several weeks ago, the lovely Marcela of Tu Casa Blog presented me with the Liebster Award.  And although I was extremely honored and flattered, I couldn't help wonder "what the heck is a liebster?!?"

Apparently liebster means "dearest" in German... and from what I can tell, the origins of this award started back in 2010 by some German blogger... so I guess that would make sense.  Ideally, this is an award for the "little guys" ...bloggers with less than 200 followers.  And while I have a few more than 300 followers, Marcela was kind enough to nominate me anyways... which I haven't decided if that is because she a) genuinely likes my blog despite the rules... b) ran out of other blogs to nominate... or c) thinks I should probably really only have 200 followers and is trying to figure out where the other 100 people came from...  I'm going to go with (a).  Besides... with all of the rumors about Google Friend Connect disappearing from the Blogosphere, it's hard to be all particular about followers and such.

And because no blog award is without rules and stipulations... the Liebster Award comes with a few of it's own.  If you are nominated for the Liebster Award, you'll need to do the following...

Rule #1... Post 11 random facts about yourself.
Rule #2... Answer the 11 questions that the nominating blogger asked.
Rule #3... Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you intend to nominate.
Rule #4... Select 11 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to nominate for the award.
Rule #5... Visit their blog and let them know 11 times... just kidding... just let them know you gave them an award.

I have no idea what the deal is with the number 11 here... I mean, why not just 10??  But hey, I don't make the rules... I just follow them... well, kind of.  I'm skipping rule #1, because I mean, really... I don't want to bore you to tears.  (I only made it to random fact number 3 before I was bored myself).  Anyhow... let's get on with it shall we?

my answers to the 11 questions Marcela asked...

1) What motivated you to create your blog?
I created Black Tag Diaries a little over 4 years ago.  I thought blogging would be a fun way to document my craft projects and little life stories.  Many of my friends and family live out-of-state and the blog has proved to be a fun way for them to keep up with our life here in Louisville.

2) What's your favorite food?
Hmmm, tough call... chicken 'n' dumplings, maybe?  Or pretty much any kind of southern food... hmmm, or breakfast food... or ice cream...

3) If you had to pick a different country to live in, which one would it be?
I'm going to go with New Zealand... North or South island... I'm not picky.

4) Do you speak a second language?  Which one?
Nope.  Unless, "Hola, coma estas?" counts?

5) How long do you spend on the web looking at other blogs?
Probably 30 minutes to an hour... I have a few favorites that I make sure to check out daily.

6) What's the best advice you've got to grow your blog?
I try my best to actually comment on the blogs that I take time to read.  One of my favorite parts of blogging are the connections you make with other bloggers all over the world.

7) What's your favorite home decor magazine?
Country Living.

8) If you had a magic wand to change anything, what would it be?
I would make ice cream healthy.

9) What's your least favorite task at home?
Doing dishes... especially since we don't have a dishwasher.

10) What's your go-to outfit?
The layered roll-up look.

11) High heels or flats?

my 11 questions for you...

1) What's your all-time favorite movie?

2) Mints or gum?

3) What types of blogs do you gravitate towards? (home decor, crafting, cooking, literature, style & fashion... etc??)

4) As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

5) How do you drink your tea?

6) What U.S. city is on your "must visit" list?

7) What do you never leave home without (besides your cell phone)?

8) What's your go-to ice cream flavor?

9) Beach or mountains? 

10) What was your favorite childhood toy?

11) What's the strangest thing in your purse right now?

the 11 blogs I'm nominating...

1) Jaimie @ Living in the Light
Jaimie is one of my favorite bloggy friends and just recently hit 100 followers... be sure to congratulate her!!

2) Hillary @ Homegrown in KY
My good friend Hillary just recently started blogging about her life and adventures as the wife of a med student... and they recently found out where they will be doing their upcoming residency... Greenville, SC!!

3) Chrystina @ Chrystina Noel
I always love reading up on Chrystina's blog... she was responsible for inspiring my "Christmas in July" party this past year :)  Brilliant.

4) Flossie @ Life on Flossie's Farm
A fellow Kentuckian... and another one of my favorite bloggy reads.  I always love her "cuppa joe" posts... honestly, it's like I am sitting across the table from her in a cozy coffee shop.

5) Angie @ Life of a Housewife
Angie is the most committed blogger I know... she is so diligent about her daily posts and she's even started doing daily pictures.  So consistent, I tell ya.

6) Christiana @ My Sixth Lens
Love, love, love checking out Christiana's daily outfits on instagram.  She is a gorgeous godly woman... with incredible fashion sense to boot:)

7) Ashlee @ The Kitchen is not my Office
This is a newer blog for me... and is definitely becoming one of my favorites.  Ashlee and her husband have 5 beautiful children, 2 of which are adopted from Uganda.  I have found several of her adoption-related posts to be incredibly helpful and encouraging.

8) Jenna @ Keep Caffeinated and Carry On
Jenna's blog always keeps me laughing with her hilarious photos and weekend shenanigans.

9) Kate @ A Journey in Style
I love following Kate's style adventures and seeing the fun outfits she puts together with her "neglected" wardrobe items.  She barely made the cut with 199 followers:)

10) Lani @ It's My Life
I'm always loving Lani's crafty creations... and lucky her, she is on a "craftcation" right now with her best friend... that sounds heavenly to me.  I'm definitely wanting to copy this and go on a craftcation of my own soon.

11) Morgan @ Confections from the Cody Kitchen
Morgan is actually one of my dear friends from Georgia... and be warned... if you head over to her blog you will want to eat EVERYTHING.  My mouth starts watering just thinking about those mint brownies... mmmm.

So.  There you have it.  My nominations for the Liebster Award... be expecting a trophy in the mail.  I would love to know if/when you do your own Liebster blog post, so I can be sure to read it:)

Friday, March 22, 2013

top 10 :: things i will miss about my job

Today is my last day of work at my current job.  So crazy to me.  I have been with this company for 5+ years... which is a pretty long time according to my resume.  I have been working for a German plastics manufacturing company... and before you roll your eyes and think about how utterly boring that must be... let me just say that I've had some pretty rad experiences over the past several years... not to mention, I've learned a lot about plastic.

And while I am super excited about my new job and what's in store for the future, there's definitely a lot I will miss about this job.  Such as...

1) Fro-yo lunch dates.
I mean, it's frozen yogurt... for lunch... with these girls.  What's not to miss?

2) My monthly mani/pedis.
I've created a habit of getting mani/pedis only when I'm in Atlanta traveling for work... mainly because I had nothing better to do besides sit at my hotel... and what better way to pass the time than to get pampered?

3) My boss and his wife.
I had a great working relationship with my boss.  He and his wife treated me more like family and I am very grateful for both of them.  I'm quite certain we will stay in touch.

4) Birthday lunches at Mambo Italiano.
Somewhere along the lines, birthday lunches at this favorite Italian restaurant became a tradition... a tradition that I will dearly miss.

5) This girl.
So grateful for this friendship... and so glad that her sales territory just happens to include Kentucky:)

6) This girl.
One of my very favorites.  Noticing a trend?  These girls are what I will miss most, no doubt.

7) The very serious work environment.
We laughed practically every single day at the office... some days it's what got me through to 5:00.

8) Trips to Germany and my awesome German co-workers.
I also made some really great friends across the pond.  My trips to Germany were always a blast because of the kind generosity of my German co-workers. 

9) Chipotle.
Need I say more?  Thank goodness they finally opened one here in Louisville.  They must have known I would soon be suffering from withdrawals. 

 10) This.
No further explanation needed.

Bye, bye to this chapter...  And hello, next chapter!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

thankful thursday {link up}

{Link up your own Thankful Thursday post below...}

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) Some creative time.  My last day of work with my current job is tomorrow.  Tomorrow, people.  So weird.  But I am insanely excited to have a small chunk of recovery time before I start my new job.  I'm hoping to make time for some creative projects... catch up on some scrapbooking... prepare for a yard sale... and maybe even throw in a few home improvement projects?  No pressure for any of these things... just wanting to enjoy my time... I want to soak it up.

2) Weekend retreats.  Tomorrow night I'm heading to Cincinnati for our church's women's retreat.  I'm looking forward to getting some quality girl time with a few of my favorite people... but more than that, I'm longing to get some quality time with the Lord.  I'm excited about the speaker, and honestly, I'm excited about some time away from Louisville.  I know God is with me always... but sometimes it helps to have a change of scenery.  And this weekend is perfect timing.

3) My craftsman husband.  We are getting chickens.  Yes.  This is really happening.  I'll admit, I wasn't entirely on board in the beginning... but it's growing on me.  This whole chicken thing deserves a post all of it's own, so stay tuned for that.  Regardless of how I feel about the chickens, I am so impressed with my husband's chicken coop building skills.  He always amazes me when he starts building something.  He is able to envision something in his head... and then just create it.  Poof! Just like that.  So talented, that man.

What are you thankful for this week? Grab the Thankful Thursday button from the right sidebar and link up your own post below. Be sure to visit the other Thankful Thursday participants and share the love!!

Also linking up with:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

surviving the adoption home study

If you are somewhat familiar with the adoption process, then you probably know that the home study is a pretty big deal.  The home study is a pivotal part of the adoption process, and is necessary to have completed before you can move forward with your Dossier paperwork.  It's kind of like the edge puzzle pieces to a really hard puzzle... if you don't have all of the edge pieces completed, you can pretty much forget the rest of the puzzle.  The home study is the framework for your entire adoption process.

We had our home study last Friday.  Initially I was a little intimidated by the whole invite-a-social-worker-into-your-home-and-let-them-evaluate-your-house-and-future-parenting-skills... but honestly, it's wasn't all that bad.

It's not nearly as invasive as it sounds.  The social worker is typically looking to check off a few key things while visiting your home... 1) that you have reliable transportation... 2) that you have an available room for your children... 3) that there are smoke detectors near all bedrooms... 4) that you have a fire extinguisher... 5) that all medication is in a locked container... 6) that any alcohol or cleaning supplies are out of a child's reach... 7) that any firearms are locked and stored properly... 8) that you have a first aid kit available...  You get the idea.  I mean... really, most of these things are good ideas regardless if you have children in the home.

So... Lance and I reviewed the home study checklist, and for the most part, I felt like we were in pretty good shape.  I mean, our house is pretty kid-friendly... right??

And at that very moment, I glanced over at the console table in our dining room and saw this...

and this...

and this...
Oh, you know.... what kid wouldn't want to play with a lighter and a box-cutter, all while chomping on a few prescription pills??  FAIL.  Yeah... soooo... apparently our house isn't as kid-friendly as I thought.

Time to get serious... we needed to whip our house into home-study-kid-worthy-shape... pronto.

Step 1 >>All of our medication went into a simple combination-locked storage box...
This was a project in and of itself... the amount of expired drugs that we owned was ridiculous.  But after some major pill-purging, everything fit nicely into our little locked box.  The vitamins and supplements stayed in a basket up on the top shelf.

Step 2 >>All of our cleaning supplies went into the closet off of our dining room on the top shelves...
This has been helpful in general.  I love that everything is in one location and I can clearly see what we have and what we might be running low on.  All the kid-friednly items are on the lower shelves... extra paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning cloths, etc.  Initially this closet door didn't close all the way, but Lance fixed that right up and now we are able to pull the door closed for extra kid-proofing.  (Pay no attention to how gross and scary this closet is... it's super sketchy with crumbling drywall and hundreds of layers of wallpaper.  It's the one part of our house that was neglected during previous renovations.)

Step 3 >>We reclaimed the closet in the guest room (our future children's room)...
This probably wasn't necessary for the actual home study itself... but it was important for me.  The closet in our guest room was stacked high with crap.  Photo albums, old bedding, extra pillows, gift wrap, empty boxes, not-so-empty boxes, jewelry supplies, crafting supplies... you get the picture.  If I didn't know where to put it, it went in there.  It was time to do some serious purging.  This will be our child's room and their closet one day... I want it to feel that way.

Step 4 >>We installed more smoke detectors...
Or our Landlord did anyways:)  Our Landlord knew we were in the adoption process and he made sure that everything was brought up to code before we even had to ask.  Even though we already had enough smoke detectors, he went ahead and installed 3 more, just to make sure there was one in every bedroom and commonplace.  You can never have too many.

Step 5 >>We did the little things...
We bought a brand new First Aid kit, outlet covers, door knob thingies, and drawer & cabinet latches.  While most of these things weren't required to pass our home study, they are things we knew we would do eventually anyways.  We very likely will be bringing home a toddler (our age range is infant - 3 years), so we may not have the luxury of "growing into" the curious-mobile-toddler-stage... we will need to be prepared to already be in it:)

So, there you have it... home study... check.

The edge of the puzzle is done!  Well... actually we are still missing one edge piece (waiting to receive our Georgia criminal background check)... but for the most part, we are ready to move on to the next big section of the adoption puzzle!!  Stay tuned...

Monday, March 18, 2013

weekend festivities

We had our HOME STUDY on Friday!!!  And it went really well... our social worker told us we were informally approved... the official home study is still dependent on a few last little items.  We still need to get our Georgia criminal background checks completed and Little Cat still needed to be approved by a Veterinarian...

Speaking of which... Little Cat had his first vet appointment since 2008... yes, I know... I'm a terrible cat-mom.  But as you can tell from the photo Little Cat is a little sketched out by the vet office... and can you really blame him?  The last time we went, they took away his manhood.  I would be a little skeptical too.

What better way to celebrate a successful home study, than with a dirty martini?!?  I was able to catch up over dinner with a great friend who is also in the adoption process.  She and her husband are adopting from the Congo and will be bringing their sweet little girl home in just a few more months.

After dinner, I picked up this little guy for a movie date:)  Isaiah's mom had to work late, so me and Isaiah ate popcorn, drank chocolate milk and watched The Lorax.  Super cute movie... we both liked it:)

The weather was AMAZING on Saturday... so we made sure to take advantage of it.  Lance worked on his garden most of the day... and his chicken coops. (Yep, you heard me... chicken coops).

While Lance was working in the yard... I did a little thrifting and found this beauty... for $25.  That's right... twenty.five.flippin.dollars.  So much potential, right? 

Sunday morning I had a quick little photo shoot with this awesome group.  These 3 families are starting a church plant in France this year.  And while the weather was not very cooperative (think 32 degrees... rain, sleet, and snow), my photo subjects were spectacular:)

And this... this is what I did pretty much the rest of the day... it.was.awesome.

And how was your weekend??