Friday, August 24, 2012

Time may be free.... but it's priceless.

I love my little man.
And he'll always be my little man... no matter how big he gets.

Fill-In-The-Blank Friday 08.24.12

1.  My favorite thing to do on Friday is stay up late with my husband and son.  We'll either go to the movies, rent a movie, go to Chuck E Cheese's, go out to eat dinner really late, or just build a fort.  No matter what, we're doing it together and we're doing it until about 11:00PM.  Then, we sleep in on Saturdays, which gets the weekend off to a great start!

2.   This Friday I am planning on renting The Lorax.  Robert and Maddox went to see it while I was studying (either for finals or the Bar, I can't remember) and I really want to see it.  Earlier today Robert and I ate lunch with Maddox at school and agreed that being lazy and watching The Lorax was going to make up our Friday night.  I'm perfectly okay with all the snuggles I'm going to get!

3.  The best thing about a weekend is that I can actually enjoy it now.  I've only been out of law school for three months now, but it's been less than a month since I've been finished with the Bar.  So really these past three weekends are the first completely FREE weekends I've had in the last four years.  It feels AMAZING.  Just knowing that I don't have to study is the best part of everday, but especially the weekends.

4. Now that summer is almost over, I'm feeling a lot of things.  I'm excited that the weather will be cooling off.  We've had a record hot and dry summer this year that was no fun.  But, I am sad that I had to spend the entire summer studying for the Bar.  I wish I would have had that time to spend with Maddox.  But, fall is my favorite season and there's so much to look forward to including Halloween, my son's birthday, and Thanksgiving, that it's impossible not to be excited.

5. The best thing I did this summer was manage to live through studying and taking the Bar Exam while keeping my sanity.  Granted, my sanity did leave for a while, but it's back now--so that counts as "keeping" it.  Taking the Bar was something I've known I was going to have to do for at least 10 years and so to have it behind me (and HOPEFULLY to have passed--no results yet) is a fantastic feeling.  Even if I didn't pass (gulp) at least I accomplished something monumental in my life that I've waited a long time for.  I just hope I never have to take that dang thing again.

6. The thing I'm looking forward to about fall is Arkansas football!  We love our Razorbacks and I can't wait to watch what our new coach is going to do this year.  And of course, I'm looking forward to the weather, THE FAIR (we LOVE the fair!!), being able to spend time outside without feeling like you're going to melt, all of the family time, all of the holiday crafts, the spirit of giving that starts to ignite around this time of year.  I'm looking forward to it all!

7.  If I had to be stuck in one season for the rest of my life, I would choose fall.  My allergies are at their mildest during the season.  The weather is fantastic here.  And there's always an excuse to get together with friends and family.  Yes, definitely fall.

Fill-in-the-Blank Friday is from the little things we do
Fill in your blanks and stop by there to link up!

Fashion Friday: In Between Summer & Fall

It has been so hot outside.  And I mean,  HOT.  As in, 111ยบ hot.  (No, that's not an exaggeration.)  

But this past week, we've gotten a preview of fall.  The weather has finally dropped out of the 100s and into the mid to high 90s.  Ah... the 90s.  Yes, yes... I know, by no means is that fall weather, but it's just enough to remind me that it's on its way.  

And I think this little outfit is perfect for the weather that will be headed our way over the next month or two.  Oh how I wish this were in my closet.  

Fashion Friday 08.23.12

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My First Grader

First Day of First Grade Picture!

My sweet, sweet little baby started 1st grade yesterday.  Don't ask me how that's possible.  I'm just giving you the facts.  I can't believe it's been one year since I posted on his first day of kindergarten.

I'm happy to report that he had a great day yesterday and that we've been blessed with the same teacher that he had in kindergarten thanks to her decision to move up to first grade this year.  She has essentially kept her entire class from last year, so for Maddox starting the first grade probably feels more like going back to kindergarten after having a break for the summer.

I managed not to cry yesterday morning and I'm very proud of that.  I try my best not to see him growing up as a "bad thing."  Rather, I just try to think of how blessed I am that we're both here, healthy, and happy enough to watch his life unfold.  I'm not good at always seeing it this way, but I really try hard to keep those blessings at the front of my mind when I feel myself getting sad about him getting older.

My baby is growing up more quickly than I'd like, but I'm so thankful to have a front row seat to his life.  The things he learned during kindergarten blew my mind and made me so very proud of him.  I can't wait to see all of the things he'll do this year that will amaze me even more.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"What's for Dinner?" Just Got Easier To Answer: DIY Menu Board

My latest project was so simple and cheep that I'd considered not counting it as a project at all.  But, since I technically think that it is one, I have now crossed off number 11 of 20 DIY crafts/projects on my 30 before 30 list.  (Holla!)

While I was searching for free printables for my Home Management Binder (which I've almost completed--more on that in another post) I came across some amazing menu board ideas.  I especially loved the variety of menu boards that Home Life Simplified has shown here (toward the bottom of the page.)

Although they're all awesome, many of them looked very time consuming and considering I'm beginning to plan my son's birthday party and the holidays will be coming up soon, I just can't see myself making any of them a reality anytime soon.

So, I stuck with the simplest (and in my opinion, one of the cutest) ideas I found:  putting a weekly menu in a picture frame and writing the weekly menu in dry erase markers so that it can easily be erased when it's time to write on it again.

Here's the one I found at Home Life Simplified that gave me the inspiration to create my own:


I had already found this ADORABLE weekly menu plan free printable at The Nest Effect* that I was going to use in my Home Management Binder, but decided it would be perfect for a menu board:


So, I grabbed a frame that wasn't being used, made a few trial and error prints before I got the correct size and viola, dinner menu plan in a frame was born:

I must admit, I got a little giddy once I added this week's dinner plans with the dry erase marker.  I mean, who doesn't like to write with a dry erase marker?  (Am I the only one who never outgrew that phase?)

So, tada!  Easy as pie!  It now sits in our kitchen window sill beside the herbs we're attempting to grow (no luck with the lavender thus far.  sad day.)  The black frame looks great in the window and it's very functional.  No more thinking about what we have in the cabinets and what to make for dinner that night. It's right there on the board.  And, if we decide to go out on Tuesday night to eat with friends, no big deal--erase Tacos and add it to Saturday.  Done deal.

Oh yes, I'm loving the functionality of such a simple project.  This thing will definitely make our lives easier.  

* BTW:  The Nest Effect has several other awesome free printables on her site and an Etsy store with even more printables, so be sure to take a look!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Free Aquafresh Toothpaste: Link to Printable Coupon

One of my new favorite websites is  It organizes deals by store and coupon and even has a star rating that lets you know how awesome the deal is at a glance.  Seriously, you need to check it out.

Today I knew I was making a trip to Wal-Mart and after a quick check of this site I was able to grab two travel-sized bottles of Aquafresh toothpaste for free.  Well, actually there was a 06¢ overage, so Wal-Mart technically paid me to "buy" them.  ;)

Grocery Smarts gave me all of the information I needed.  Wal-Mart has travel-sized Aquafresh Extreme Clean for 97¢ each.  And, right now Aquafresh has printable $1 off coupons for any size.

You're allowed to print the coupon twice, so after you print once, hit the back arrow on your browser and print again.  (Be sure to have your printer hooked up first.)  If you use your coupons on the travel size you should have an overage of 06¢ before tax.

Not much to it and a nice way to add to your little stockpile.  After all, you can't beat free.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

Thrift Stores Make Me Go YAY!!

So, I just graduated from law school and finished taking the Bar Exam.  Now, I find myself with free time again for the first time EVER.

Before I started law school my son was so little that he was a full time job.  I started law school when he was two years old.  So, it's safe to say that I haven't had time to really discover new hobbies or invest time in them like I'd like to since before I became a mother almost seven years ago.  But now, I do.  My son is more independent now and I don't have constant homework.

Free time.... those are two new words for me.

And, I must admit, having all of this free time all of a sudden is a little crazy.  I don't quite know what to do with all of it.  But, I'm enjoying it nonetheless.

Today I went to a thrift store.  I forgot how much I love them.  I love everything about them.

I love to waste time in them.  I could walk around in a thrift store for hours.  There's always so much to see and you never know what you're going to find.

I love how cheap everything is!  You can always find a great deal.

I love how you can find great projects and let your creativity go crazy in a thrift store.  You can just see the finished product of an old chest or bench or frame as soon as you lay eyes on it.

I love old things.  I love old books.  I love old phones.  I love old record players.  I love old furniture.  I love it all!

And also, I love that you never know what you're going to come home with.  Each trip is different and you never know when you'll happen upon that perfect item you just can't leave without.  ;)

So, like I said.... today I went to a thrift store.  My husband and son went along too.  We had a great time just wasting time, walking around and looking at everything and of course, I had to share what we came home with.

oversized costume jewelry ring $6 (new)
small sized peace earrings $1.75 (new)
The Hunger Games (which I now have time to read) $1
And my little man found these:  two Star Wars figures $9 total

Needless to say, we came home happy.  And, I've rediscovered my love for thrift stores.  I can't wait to hit up another one and see what goodies we come home with next.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mad Jackie, J.D.

I've been missing again.  And oh, I'm so glad to be back... and to have nothing standing in my way of enjoying my blog anymore!

Why don't I have anything standing in my way anymore you ask?  Well, that's because....
I graduated from law school!!

See, I even have pictures.

My mom was a tad excited about my graduation.  Here's her car.

 My grandma and me before the ceremony.

 And one with my mom before the ceremony.

Then that sweet, sweet music started and we began to walk in.

I passed right by my fan club! :)

But then, the moment I'd been waiting for arrived.
It was my turn to walk on stage and get hooded.
I was officially a juris doctor!!  YAY!!

Afterward we took a few pictures before leaving (of course).

This is my mother and father.

 And, this would be my hubby and little man.

And one more of us, well... just because we're a good looking family.

At home, we had a nice little congratulatory party with cake and presents.  I'd always joked that I wanted a white lab coat like MDs get once they become doctors because it wasn't fair that JDs didn't get them since we're doctors too.  Well, my mother had one embroidered saying Dr. Jacquelin E. [last name], J.D.  How awesome is that?  And my grandmother had a gavel engraved with my name on it.  

So, for the last picture of my graduation day, I give you Dr. Mad Jackie.

As always, thanks for sticking with me through the break.  Graduation was in mid-May and since then I've been studying non-stop for the Bar Exam, which I took last week.  I'll post again soon to let you know the joys of bar prep.  I know you can't wait.... ;)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Playing Catch-Up: A Hair Cut & Politics

So, obviously I haven't written since February.  Honestly, I can't say why.  Sure, I've had busy weeks.  But I've also had slow weeks.  There have been times that I've considered writing and was just eh, about all of it.  Then it seems that the longer I'd gone without writing the worse I felt about writing again.  But, today I've found the motivation to come back.  If any of you have missed my writing, I'm seriously in shock... and also, I'm sorry and thank you.

To play catch-up.  I take my last law school final ever one week from today.  It's pretty unbelievable, actually.  At times I felt law school was never going to end and now I'm wondering where the time went. Isn't that how life goes though?  I graduate in less than two weeks, and I'll be sure to post pictures of me in my beautiful (sarcasm) tam, gown and hood (insert "ooHhhHh").

I will say that in my absence I have managed to cross two things off My 30 Before 30 List, which I'm pretty proud of.

First, #18, get a new hairstyle.  That was really hard for me to do.  I've had long, straight (read: boring) hair for several years and couldn't quite find it in me to spice it up.  The last time I did something drastic was right after my husband and I got married, over 3 years ago, when I chopped it all off before we went to Jamaica so that it'd be cooler.

Here it is pulled up in little pigtails while in Jamaica.
(Side Note:  I miss Jamaica.)

Here it is now, with plenty of layers, and lots of pretty color.
I love it!

BTW, those pics of the hubs and me were taken outside the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert a few weeks ago.  Great show!

In addition to the new hair style, I also crossed off #27, work on a political campaign.  I'm a Spring Organizing Fellow for the Obama Campaign.  (To learn more about fellowships and how you can apply click here.)  I've really enjoyed my time working for the campaign.  I've learned way more than I thought I would and met some incredible people.  I can't work for the campaign over the summer due to that pesky Bar Exam I'll be studying for, but I'm hoping to give it a go again in the Fall, closer toward the election.  

The welcoming desk at the Obama Headquarters.

The hubs and I celebrated our anniversary by attending the
Grand Opening of our headquarters.  It was a great event.

 This is Jim Messina, the National Campaign Director for the Obama Campaign.  He came out to our Grand Opening.  It was a privilege to meet him.

So, that's only about 1/20th of the craziness and amazingness that's happened over the past few months that I've been away from my blog.  I'm glad to be back, so thanks for sticking with me!  :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

DIY Valentines & My Memory Suite Winner Announced

I shared our plans for my son's school valentines last week in my My Memories Suite giveaway post.  Yes, I'm a tad late in posting about how they turned out but it's been a busy week so please forgive me.

I settled on this idea after seeing this on Pinterest.

It took me going to four stores to find the heart-shaped pan to use, but of course Wal-Mart ended up having it.  Whew.  

We ended up using three of the four 64-count boxes of crayons that we'd purchased to make 20 valentines.  

Friendly tip, if you cut into the wrappers (and into the crayon) with a knife, they're much easier to take off.  My genius husband realized this.

So, after taking the wrappers off, we cut them into a few pieces, and tossed them into the hearts and into the oven for about 12 minutes on 230 degrees.  If you leave them in the oven too long or turn the heat up too high, your crayons will look brown or black.  Our first batch was a dud so you may have to play around with it a bit.  But, it's all part of the fun.  ;)

Ever wondered what 192 crayons looked like in a bowl?
Well, wonder no more.

Notice there's no brown or black crayons.
The test batch let us know that was a no no.


So relieved that they turned out okay!

In my previous post, I'd considered using this "card" similar to the one in the Pinterest picture that I created using the My Memories Suite software that's my new BFF.  

But, I changed my mind.  Instead, I decided that I wanted to place the crayons into clear bags, so I created this "card" to staple to the top of the bags.    

And, here's how they turned out.  Yay!

Madd was really excited to pass out his Valentines and I'm glad that we took the time to make our own.  It really was fun AND of course, I'm counting it toward my DIY projects for My 30 Before 30 List.  ;)

Oh, AND I'm happy to announce that Jessica H is the winner of the My Memory Suite Digital Software Giveaway.  Jessica, I promise that you're going to LOVE this software.  

And remember, if you didn't win and you'd like to purchase the software so you can make digital scrapbooks, cards, calendars, and of course... valentines, you can use the promo code STMMMS32327 when you checkout and you'll receive $10 OFF!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Oh, Whitney

I'm sure you've heard that Whitney Houston was found dead today.  Now, I'm not usually one to be personally upset about the death of a celebrity, but I'm really, really sad to hear that she's no longer with us.

I've always loved music.  I was in choir in high school, made All Region Choir and All State Choir and even went to college on a choir scholarship (but unfortunately was an idiot and decided not to stick with choir throughout my entire time in college.)  In fact, #8 on My 30 Before 30 List is to sing in a choir again.  (I miss it so much!)

As soon as I started to realize how much I loved to sing, Whitney Houston immediately became my idol.  After all, she had one of those voices that could completely captivate you.  I would listen to her daily in awe of her and her talent.  I respected her as an artist.  And her talent truly touched me, as I'd often turn to her music to escape reality during difficult moments when growing up.

It's been no secret that she's struggled with addiction for quite a while, but just like other artists who've fallen out of the good graces of the public, I've always hoped she'd make a comeback.  Knowing now that it won't happen is devastating.

In a society where auto-tunes and Kei$ha pass for music, it's sad to lose someone with such raw talent.

We lost one of the greats today.  R.I.P. Whitney.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Path Not Taken

It's Secret Sunday!  Link up below!

This Post Secret submission is one that I can really relate to.  I always over analyze everything and like to play it safe.  After all, I'm a mom and I can't just think about myself.  

As I've briefly mentioned in previous posts, I plan to start my own business this year.  Right now I'm trying to get my business plan in order and I swear with every decision I make, I'm forced to ask myself two more questions that I have no clue how to answer.

It'd be so easy to just go to work for an established firm after I graduate.  I'd have a guaranteed pay check.  I wouldn't be stressing out right now attempting to define my business's image and the services I'll offer clients.  

It'd be unbelievably easier not to start my own business.  The only thing keeping me from throwing in the towel is knowing that I'd always regret not taking this risk.  I know I would.  

And I know that if I don't do this now, fresh out of law school, it won't happen.  It'd be even more difficult to justify leaving a firm with a guaranteed salary to venture off into my own business than it is to start one fresh out of school.  So I know that it's now or never.  

Yes, I'm terrified.  But I keep a saying in the back of my mind as I work through all of this that keeps me pushing forward with my dream:  I'd rather have a life of 'oh wells' than a life of 'what ifs.'

So, what's your secret?
{New to Secret Sunday? Find out all you need to know here!}

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software Review & Giveaway!

I was contacted by My Memories to share a review with my readers and (the best part) to host a giveaway.  

My Memories is a site that is devoted to digital scrapbooking.  But because I've never scrapbooked in my life, I honestly thought I'd download the software and think, "Oh, that'd be neat for a scrapbooker."  

Um no.  It's so much more than that!  EEK!!

Look at this Valentine's Day card I'll be mailing out to friends and family!  I'm having it printed on card stock.  I'll fold it in half, leaving the inside blank to write a sweet little "thinking of you" message.  

This scrapbook software is so amazing and it's so user friendly.  Here's a screenshot of the software right before I saved this card.  

On the right side, (if you squint) you'll see the control panel.  It contains all the little things you'll need to go crazy.  I used two different background papers and then added the cute little pink ribbon & birdy embellishments.  Then I added text and a photo of the cutest little boy I've ever seen.  Done!  

For my son's school v-day cards, I decided to use this idea that I found on Pinterest.  I think it will be a fun project that my little man can help with, and hopefully the kids will actually use the crayons.  (Plus, it's ONE less piece of candy they'll eat on that day.)

Rather than handwriting out the phrase, "Happy Valentine's Day for "crayon" out loud!" like the creator did above, I decided to see if I could whip up something using my My Memories Suite software.  

Here's how it turned out.  Feel free to email me if you'd like to use this.  

Even though it doesn't look like it here, this is actually a 5 x 5 square.  (That's another great thing about the software--you can pick the exact size of your pages and/or album.)  I think that after I print them on card stock I'll cut around the outside, making it a circle.  

Seriously, the possibilities are endless.  And don't worry.  If you don't want to start "blank" you don't have to.  There are TONS of pre-made albums and pages for you to use too if you'd like.  

And, although this digital scrapbook software comes with a lot of designs, embellishments and everything else under the sun, there's also a page on their site devoted to free digital scrapbooking kits that designers make specifically for their software and there's no limit to how much of the free stuff you can add to your software.  Holla!  

Okay, so you get the point.  Just know that if you want more information on the software, this page on their site has some great information.  

Now to the super fun part!  My Memories is giving away its scrapbooking software to one of my blog readers!  And because the software is downloaded from their site, there's no wait for a disk to come in the mail!  YAY!  

If you're not the lucky winner of this giveaway, can't wait, or want to buy this as a gift for someone else, use the promo code STMMMS32327 when you checkout and you'll receive $10 OFF your purchase of My Memory Suite.

If the Rafflecopter widget is not appearing below go to the top of this blog post and click on the title.
For some reason, landing on my homepage is not allowing some to view the widget.
If you encounter any problems trying to use this widget, please contact me!