Review of 2013 – Happy 2014!

2013 Recap…

2013 was just full of surprises for our little family. Opportunities we thought were coming our way crumbled right before our eyes, but God opened other doors and brought blessings that were better than we ever dreamed.

From January through May I posted lots of different looks and styles here on RubysNPurls. I had fun with them but once June hit and I returned to college part-time, I found that I simply didn’t have enough time for everthing and blogging too. I was also really unhappy with my weight & to be honest was tired of posting photos of myself in outfits that weren’t that great. I knew once I started walking to school my weight would improve and it did somewhat over the summer, however it wasn’t until Caveman and I started the Paleo Diet in early September (4th to be exact!) that I really saw an improvement in my weight, my mental health and my energy levels.

As I’ve lost the weight, now down 30 lbs, my style has evolved as well. I am turning to more classic/taliored looks and surprisingly to me, wearing more black. I’ve always liked black but as Caveman told me recently, “Honey, black is your color!” LOL!

I also highlighted a few home improvements that we tackled in our backyard, along with the bounty from our garden and a quick little DIY. It was a good year, but as we look out over the coming 2014 we’re seeing lots of big changes in our future.

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2014 Goals

Mother

I saw a quote similar to the one above on Pinterest the other day only it said “Amazing, Loving, Strong, Happy, Selfless and Grateful”. I think these are the qualities I will be striving for, as a person, as well as a Mom this year!

2014

I saw this one too and (I’m not sure of the source for either of these, so if you know it could you please pass it along?) I really liked it…

“2014 is your year to ..Begin, have NO regrets, Hone your personal style, Love, Simplify, Go on an Adventure, Change your outlook, Love WHAT you do, BE YOU!”

Most of these were already my goals for 2014, this just put them into words beautifully!

As far as social media, you’ll find me on Pinterest & Instagram because I enjoy both so much. But here on this little space, my time will be limited. My focus has shifted away from style/fashion posts to spending quality time with my family, being real and in the moment. I think that’s one reason I really like Instagram because it’s a snapshot of a moment, not some longwinded explanation of what’s been happening with me, blah, blah, blah. That’s not to say that I don’t love dropping in with a post every so often, so for now I’m keeping an open mind and keeping the blog open. I’ll re-evaluate as the year progresses!

I hope all of you have a truly blessed and wonderful 2014.

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

I promised to be back with our Christmas Cards this year and I aim to deliver, even if it is a couple days after Christmas!

I’ve been using Shutterfly for about 4 years now. I like the quality of their photos, photo books and photo cards, as well as their prompt delivery of said products.

After Caveboy was born I was very insistent on having a family photo each year and would force my guys to comply and the photos always looked like they had been forced, but over the past couple of years I stopped trying to force the photo shoot horror on them and have attempted to just get a few decent photos of Caveboy.

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Front – Christmas Card 2013

This year, with my crazy school schedule, work and just normal life stuff, Caveman gave me the best Christmas gift a few months eary – a family photo shoot. Oddly enough even though my guys were cooperating, Caveboy looked like he could cry or was completely bored in most of the photos or they just turned out too blurry or dark.

This cover photo is the very first photo we took and it is completely us right now! Caveman has never been that relaxed in front of the camera so he looks to be more at attention, Caveboy currently sings/rhymes/talks all.the.time. these days and I’m smiling praying everyone else is too! This is what happens when you use the self timer to get family photos, but again this photo is completely us at this stage in our lives.

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Back – Christmas Card 2013

I decided to use our Halloween costume photo on the back because it was really cute and turned out remarkably well for an inpromptu family photo. If you’ll recall I wasn’t able to make the dress I had planned for the day of Halloween but the weekend after Halloween I quickly finished it in time for the postponed party at our church where we were able to attend as one of the Duck Dynasty families!! The pink & olive green camo pattern mini dress was a hit along with Caveboy’s fleece beard and Caveman’s attire. It was a great memory and a great photo to include in our Christmas greeting this year!

The individual photos of Caveboy were included because everyone loves to see how much he’s grown. On the cover that photo was taken after we had returned home, in our front yard. The photo on the back was taken during the photo shoot earlier in the day. It was the least dark and actually in focus of the bunch. So I guess you could say this Christmas card is filled with planned and unplanned photos and that makes it all the more special to me.

Shutterfly makes creating cards easy, just upload your digital photo and place in the card. Shutterfly makes picking out a card extremely hard because there are just too many great card templates to choose from!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and has a very blessed and Happy New Year! See you in 2014!

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Shutterfly. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. I did not receive anything from Shutterfly to endorse them, I just like passing along info on a good company when I can.

5 Things: Life lately

I thought I’d play along and link up with Hallie this week for Five Favorites!

Y’all I’ve been longing for Fall! Caveman & I were talking the other day about the changing seasons. He is definitely a summertime kinda guy, while I absolutely love and get giddy, excited for the fall! Weird considering that I was a summertime baby and he was a middle-of-winter baby, but I digress. There is just something about the coming fall. The subtle changes in the leaves, the smell of the air, the light as the sun moves farther and farther south, the coming harvest with hayrides, fall fruits and vegetables and pumpkins and the warm mugs of apple cider or hot coco. I’m just so excited about the coming fall and all the changes it brings.

But back to our summer adventures….Let’s Talk about my Cavemen’s green thumbs!

Sunflowers

Caveboy’s Sunflowers Turned Out Really Beautiful This Year!

Our Garden

When we were getting seeds and seedlings ready for our garden this year, the first big garden we’ve had I might add, Caveboy requested sunflowers. Not just any sunflowers but the giant sunflowers. Caveman planted them along our chain link fence in front of our garden. I love seeing them everyday when we drive up! They are so happy and carefree looking. We are already talking about planting them again next year, only more of them too!

After the sunflowers were growing in the ground and while we were walking around the grocery store one day, Caveman commented he’d always wanted a Venus Fly Trap. Of course there were a few in the store so we bought one and brought it home. Let me just stop right here and say Caveman is truly a Renaissance Man; he gardens, raises fish, Mountain Bikes, can talk circles around most about Politics, is a very good engineer and financier; not to mention he really should have been a doctor! So when he said he wanted a Venus Fly Trap but really didn’t know anything about them, I had complete faith in his abilities. He researched on the internet, gathered his supplies and put it all together in a little fish bowl with rocks, water and peat moss.

Venus Fly Trap in Bloom

Caveman’s Venus Fly Trap in Bloom

Planting a Venus Fly Trap

**To assemble, start with a clean bowl, place the rocks in the bottom to a couple of inches deep, creating a depression in the middle. Then place Venus Fly Trap plant with peat moss surrounding it in the depression and fill to the top of the rocks with distilled water.**

Caveman started out with it inside the house but it just wasn’t thriving; so after he put it outside, with full sun most of the day it started putting out new growth like crazy. It’s been going strong and growing beautifully ever since, so much so that it bloomed last week. It seems that when they bloom, it starts to hurt the plant, but if you cut off the flower stems it saves the plant and you can plant the stems to make new plants. Just after I took this photo, Caveman cut the blooms and then stuck the blooms down into the peat moss. I’ll keep you posted on any new growth!

Family Running

Running with my Cavemen!

Family Summer Fun: Running

Lately, as in a few months now, we’ve been taking Caveboy to a local park next to the river and running with him. When we first started in the late spring we went with the intention of walking, but Caveboy had other ideas. Caveman & I both used to run before Caveboy came along, so now that we can all enjoy running together it has really become such a blessing and stress reliever for all of us, not to mention great family time. The track is 2 miles long, so we let Caveboy set the pace and then we basically interval train with him. He loves relay racing, “On your mark, get set, (long pause) GO!”! We do this with him, stopping at various points then running to another point and/or roaring like dinosaurs! Yes we are those people! The other people enjoying the track either love that we are all running or think we are killing the little guy! HA, he’s usually killing us!! When he takes off, boy you had better watch out and Momma is usually bring up the rear!

Sunset, River

Sunset on the River

Moving on….

Caveboy starts pre-school this week and in another month he’ll be 4! I seriously want my baby back! Kidding mostly, I’m so excited to see him grow and mature, but I also long for him to be little again. He tells everyone who’ll listen, “When I was a little baby…”, as if it were soooooo many years ago! He’s already talking about being a Pirate again this year for Halloween and then what Santa’s gonna bring him…. a corn snake!! Heaven help us! 😉 🙂

Upcoming DIY Plans…

If you’ve been following me on Pinterest lately you’ve seen all the bedrooms I’ve been pinning, especially Navy Blue bedrooms. Caveman has promised we will paint an accent wall in our bedroom Navy Blue as soon as the weather turns cooler and less humid! I’ve been gathering ideas and planning/pinning my little heart out. I’ve also got a few DIY’s up my sleeve; sewing a few pillow covers, photo frame projects, DIY curtains, & maybe even a bleach job that I’m planning. They may not come on a schedule, but I’ll have a few posts on our Master Bedroom Redo: Operation Cozy upgrade throughout the fall.

Hope you guys are having a great week!

Stripes & Turquoise!

Happy Middle-of-August Everyone! Who’s ready for crisp, cool weather, changing leaves and hayrides – this girl!!

Stripes & Turquoise

Sweater – Target, Capri’s & SAK Purse – Thrifted, Canvas Shoes – old, DIY T-Shirt Bracelet – handmade

I picked up this striped summer-sweater at Target the other day for $5!! I love finding stuff in the Target clearance racks or their $1 section! I went with the small because the medium was just huge and didn’t fit right. Although with all the walking and running I’ve been doing lately, I’ve lost some weight and all my clothes are fitting better!

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Please forgive the frizzy hair, when I left there were some loose curls, but overall my hair was mostly straight! This humidity is killer these days and its been raining and raining, come on fall!!

Sundays: What I Wore Sunday linkup / Sunday Style

Mondays: Funday Mondays! / Monday-Mingle / Visible Monday / My Style Monday / Color Blind- Thrifters Anonymous / Lowercase Letters- Miscellany Mondays / Covered in Grace- Monday Meet Up /Claire Justine oxox- Creative Mondays /Southern Sunflowers and Coffee Beans- Monday Mingle /Join the Gossip- Monday Morning Gossip /

Tuesdays: Real Girl Glam Link Up / Anything & Everything / Style Statement Tuesday / Style Sessions Contributor

Wednesdays: WIWW @ Transaltantic Blonde /Whatever Whenever Wednesday / Get Your Pretty On / Wardrobe Wednesday / Dress For the Day / My Whims Wednesday / Diaries of a Bargainista Whatever Works Wednesday / What We Wore, Read & Made Wednesdays / Trending Pretty WednesdayRandom Wednesday @Shannasaidso / Wildcard Wednesday

Thursdays: Think Tank Thursday / Three-fer Thursday /Look What I Got! / #ThrifterThrusday / All Things Pretty Thursday! / MIX MATCH – Summer Style Linkup

Fridays: Casual Friday Link Up / Fridays Five / Fashion Friday @ All Things Chic / Favorite Frock Friday / Fridays Fancies / Fashion Informant Link Up / Style Me Friday / The Best of Friday Style Link-Up! / White Tee Challenge

Saturdays: Watch Out For The Woestmans / Weekend RecapSami’s Shenanigans- Weekend Update /

Part 3: Operation Outdoor Spruce Up – The Deck

In honor of Memorial Day and to kick off the summer, I wanted to follow up with a few of our latest outdoor DIY projects. Last spring I left you with only one installment of Operation Outdoor Spruce Up, part 1, where Caveman installed a play-set for Caveboy and then yesterday I debuted Part 2, where Caveman upgraded our rotting board sidewalk to a brick sidewalk.

Today is all about the Deck and the area around the deck. NOTE: Picture heavy post!

BEFORE:

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Best BEFORE view I have of this side of the deck and the landscaping around it.

Around the sides of the deck there had been dark mulch with some hosta plants but we took those out temporarily because Caveman wanted to add more dirt and pebble rocks instead of the moldy mulch. Also note our old sliding glass door in the photo above. The right side, behind the wind chimes, was fogged up when we bought the house. We’ve wanted to replace that door since before we moved in but kept putting it off for various reasons.

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Side Yard/Old Patio BEFORE: View 1

This is where our old failed patio was located (and the grass was taking over), then it was Caveboy’s giant sandbox for a while. Instead of there being a huge expanse of paver bricks like before; Caveman wanted to incorporate a few matching elements from the rest of the yard like a brick sidewalk and red mulch along with the pebble rock.

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Side Yard/Old Patio BEFORE: View 2

Best view at ground level. Please pretend there isn’t a chain-link fence in the way.

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Side Yard/Old Patio BEFORE: View 3

When there was mulch & hostas around the deck, we had also planted Flame Grass; which promptly took over! It went into the yard, under the deck and down both sides of the deck. I had made an attempt at removing some of it towards the stairs when this photo was taken, but I gave up after a few hours and I had only move 1 foot! Caveman finished it up!

As I’m sure most people do, we wanted a back yard where we could come and enjoy the outdoors; play on the grass, maybe barbecue and hang out with friends. I think we’ve achieved that back here now.

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AFTER: Deck, complete with new door!

In this photo you can really see the pebble rock landscaping really well as well as the new Patio Doors!

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We love these doors!! You can open them up to add a whole new outdoor room!

We mostly only open these doors wide in the spring and fall due to the humidity and heat in the summer, but we couldn’t be happier with them. The built-in blinds are so wonderful. The previous owner had lace curtains in front of the sliders for privacy. We never could find anything we liked to replace them so we lived with them. Now no more lacey curtains and plenty of privacy!

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AFTER: Deck & Side Yard – View 1a

New sidewalk on the right to match the left side, and fresh coat of deck stain on the deck.

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AFTER: Side Yard – View 1b

I’m sorry about the super bright sunlight in these photos. Right where the shadow line falls is where the red mulch is separated from brown pebbles.

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AFTER: Side Yard – View 3

Hopefully you can see the difference better here.

MONDAY:

Made By You Mondays @ Skip to My Lou! / Ready, Set, Pin Party @The Girl Creative / Craft-O-Maniac / Sumo’s Sweet Stuff / Creating Really Awesome Free Things (C.R.A.F.T.) / Making The World Cuter / Keeping It Simple / Mad in Crafts / Sew Can Do / The DIY Home Sweet Home Project / Naptime Crafters {1st Monday of the Month} / I Gotta Try That / Moonlight & Mason Jars

TUESDAY:

Today’s Creative Blog / Tip Junkie / Not Just a Housewife / Sugar Bee Crafts / Home Stories A to Z / Our home away from home / I’m Topsy Turvy / Nifty Thrifty Tuesday / My uncommon Slice of Suburbia / Funky Polkadot Giraffe / Mommy By Day, Crafter By Night / The Kurtz Corner / Confessions of a Stay at Home Mommy

WEDNESDAY:

Lil’ Luna / Ginger Snaps / Someday Crafts  / High Heels and Grills / Sew Much Ado  / Creations by Kara / Grateful Belly / Your Whims Wednesday / Seven Thirty Three {Girl Related} / Free Pretty Things For You / Wow Us Wednesdays

THURSDAY:

Somewhat Simple / Fireflies and Jellybeans / House of Hepworths / Katie’s Nesting Spot / Farm House Porch / The Shabby Chic Cottage / A Glimpse Inside / Bloom Designs Online / Thrifty Decor Chick / Jillify It / Reasons to Skip the Housework / ThinkTankThursday / Thursday’s Favorite Things

FRIDAY:

Feathered Nest Friday / Tidy Mom / Sassy Sites  / Thirty Handmade Days / 504 Main / Fabulously Creative Friday / Happy and Blessed Home / Pin Me Link Party

WEEKEND:

Tatertots and Jell-O  / Saturday Nite Special / Lolly Jane / That DIY Party / Home Sweet Home / Be Different, Act Normal / I Heart Naptime / Sunday Funday (monthly) / Weekend Wander