There’s a Birthday Impostor Among Us: Gabe’s 11 1/2 Birthday Party

June 22, 2021

Gabe’s 11th birthday was stolen by Covid, like most children who hoped to celebrate with friends in the last year. The week of his actual birthday I received a call from school that a classmate had tested positive for COVID. Gabe had to precautionary quarantined. It meant that he couldn’t even have a small, masked party with family. He also had to miss three archery tournaments that weekend. In an effort to lift his spirits that week, I promised him an 11 1/2 birthday party during the summer when we got our swimming pool opened.

We invited his close friends and our family. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it allowed him to have a special day with the people he cared about the most. Sam’s Club made feeding everyone easy. We picked up take and bake pizzas, along with two dozen cupcakes which I topped with Among Us themed toppers that I picked up on Amazon. I made a balloon garland with two sizes of latex balloons which I strung together with fishing line.
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Jeremy rushed to get our new water slide up before the party. We had driven to Alabama to pick it up on the Sunday before the party. Did you know that the pandemic had also created a pool slide shortage?
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We drove 5 hours each way to purchase a used pool slide.
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It was well worth it to see the smiles on the kid’s faces.

How did you guys celebrate birthdays during the pandemic? I’d love to know what creative ways you used to help make a birthday special for your child.

A New Southern Mother

May 26, 2021

A friend and I were talking about my blog several weeks ago; I told her that I had let it go to the wayside. I didn’t see much value in it anymore. Many of my posts seemed forced. I was tired of trying to tell people, or convince them that they needed, to buy certain foods or toys. It was in an effort to help meet the cost of keeping up A Southern Mother; it’s not cheap to maintain a blog.
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It made my writing experience miserable. Nearly every topic felt forced, and I often wrote with a sense of dread. My readers really didn’t know who I was anymore, but I’ll be honest in say that I got lost in building A Southern Mother. I felt like I needed to keep up an image to make them like me, in hopes that they would like me enough to share the content I wrote.
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When certain posts didn’t get many readers, I felt defeated. Instead of just ending all sponsored content on my blog, I stopped writing.
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I shouldn’t have stopped writing; I often find writing relaxing, especially when I get to write about topics I love. In the weeks ahead, I hope to write more. I need to introduce you to our newest addition: our son Whittaker Calhoun. I’d like to share how we struggled to get pregnant for months, and the relief when we finally did. I also want to share my nearly soul-crushing battle with a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder, but the silver lining in that is that I found a new cause for which I hope to advocate. I have high hopes of one day becoming a volunteer care coordinator for Postpartum Support International and advocate for their Affordable Perinatal Program. Many of my long-term readers know how much I love advocacy. I hope y’all will come back soon as I share more family adventures, non-sponsored recipes and things that I’m passionate about. In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy some photos I took of Hadley and Whittaker. If you’re looking for Gabe in these, he is getting some much needed time with his biological father in Florida for a few weeks. We’re looking forward to his return home soon. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll stop back by again soon.



Self-Care: Cornerstone of Health and Healing

May 17, 2021

One of my biggest struggles as a mother has been recognizing the importance of self-care. I think I have convinced myself over the years that any time not spent on my children or my family was self-indulgent. I put myself way down on the list of priorities and that can contribute to mental health issues. During our last visit, my postpartum-therapist asked me to do something that makes me happy over the weekend. To be honest, I had a hard time recalling anything that made me happy other than things I do for my children. My daughter likes to read, my oldest son loves archery and my youngest just wants to nurse. I couldn’t remember the last time I did something because it made ME happy, and a mother should never feel guilty about trying to make herself happy from time to time.
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I told my therapist that I liked to garden and I love growing flowers. Today I practiced a little self-care by enjoying my peony beds and assembling a new toy for my youngest children so that we could spend a little time together outside.

I love flowers and not the fresh cut kind, unless they’re from my own garden. There’s something special about nurturing and caring for a plant until it blooms. Mothers should nurture and care for their children in the same fashion, but we should also remember to care for ourselves. I have two large peony beds that my husband and I have planted throughout the years, we started them on Mother’s Day shortly after we finished the house. I also have assorted varieties of hydrangeas, roses and petunias, plus a sweet little magnolia tree. It has made me happy to plant each of them and watch them grow.
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Gardening is definitely a form of self-care for me.

My personal forms of self-care are:

  • Writing (nothing that I’m forced to write and I struggle with prompted pieces)
  • Gardening
  • Photography
  • Cooking (when it’s something new and fun, and I’m not in a rush)
  • Reading
  • Watching birds and nature (my husband built me a bird feeder)
  • Mediate on my relationship with God

I started to create a list of possible self-care activities, but the point of self-care is that it’s enjoyable to the individual. The things that make me happy might not make you happy. I don’t enjoy fixing my hair, painting my nails or experimenting with makeup, like I know lots of other women might. I don’t read romance novels and I hate reality TV. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with those, but my point is that self-care is all about caring for your needs as an individual.
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It shouldn’t be anything that causes you stress. I actually stopped taking photos for a while because I stressed myself out trying to make them perfect and it was anything short of relaxing. All of the photos on this post were taken with my iPhone and they were stress-free. I will cherish them just as much.

What do you like to do for self-care? Any suggestions for not readily thought of self-care activities?

how to get started selling gently used clothing online

January 10, 2018

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc., and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

#MembersMarkDetergent #CollectiveBias

I love to shop, especially for my kids. There are two things that I always keep in mind when I’m purchasing clothing; Will it wash well, and will I be able to get anything for it if I try to resell? I loathe having yard sales and you’ll generally only get pennies on the dollar for most items. Everyone expects a newborn to move through sizes quickly, but my 8 year old just skipped from size 8 to 12 before we even got the tags cut off! A few months ago a friend introduced me to websites and Facebook groups that allow me to sell our gently-used clothing. I’ve found that they’re often an equally great place to buy. Today I’m sharing how to get started selling gently used clothing online, with some tips for helping to prevent wash wear like using Member’s Mark® Ultimate Clean Fresh Clean Detergent from Sam’s Club to help increase resale value.

how to get started selling gently used clothing online

The key to getting the most money back out of your used clothing is to make sure that it’s in good condition. It all starts with properly washing your clothing. I use a variety of products to pretreat any stains or spots, and then I carefully wash them in the proper detergent. We live on a working farm and our son plays multiple sports, so we do a lot of laundry. I use Member’s Mark® Ultimate Clean Fresh Clean Detergent from Sam’s Club because it helps keep our clothes clean and fresh, and it’s also very budget friendly. I set my washing machine on a wide variety of cycles and even adjust the settings so that the soak time, rinse time, and spin speeds are appropriate for the fabric that I’m washing. All Member’s Mark laundry formulas have recently been improved for even more stain fighting and whitening/brightening power and from 12/27/17 through 1/28/18 you can find instant savings in the Sam’s Club Instant Savings Booklet for $2 off regular price. It helps to remove stains the very first time.

how to get started selling gently used clothing online

How do I get started selling gently used clothing online?

If you’re selling clothing online, you’ll need to set up a Paypal account. It offers you protection as both a buyer and seller, and allows people to pay you hassle free. The money can be quickly and easily transferred back to your checking account.
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Once you have all your gently used clothing washed and sorted, you’ll need to figure out the condition and price. If you sell on a website, many of those websites will have set pricing guides to help you price things fairly. If I’m selling from a clothing resale group on Facebook, I will search for the brand and try to find a current market value. You can find many of those groups by using keywords such as ‘boys name brand resale,’ or ‘buy, sell or trade.’ There are groups dedicated to specific brands of clothing, which is great when trying to sell items purchased from boutiques.
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With the emergence of varied digital marketing agencies (like iTonic and similar others) in the mix, e-stores and online businesses have now an additional edge to sell and advertise their product online. Building an e-commerce site has become easier due to online marketing techniques. Researching before starting any new endeavor is always a good idea. If the research is fruitful and well implemented, your online business is sure to gain traffic and potential customers.

For example, there is a new trend on Instagram and many individuals create “closet” accounts to list items that they would like to sell from their closets. Perhaps more people should try and do this. Instagram is a huge social media platform, so it’s likely that there will be people on there that want to purchase these clothes. People could even use something like Upleap to grow their account, making sure that more people see the posts. Hopefully, this will result in more people buying these clothes. Instagram is a great place to sell things as there are so many people on that platform. Online retail portals like eBay or Amazon could prove an effective platform for selling your products online. If you are planning on taking this route, then a good read of the terms and conditions regarding starting a new account (and managing it) could help immensely. There is a great article about keeping your amazon store from getting suspended, one that could help you get started with the basics of what not to do as an e-Seller.
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You’ll want to lay out your clothing in direct sunlight and photograph the entire piece. It’s also helpful to buyers if the seller includes multiple photographs including tags and/or flaws. You don’t need any special equipment. I use the camera on my cellphone for the photographs and lay them out on a white or solid color background.

how to get started selling gently used clothing online

Here are a few terms that you should know when reselling clothing online:

NWT- New with tags

NWOT-New without tags

EUC- Excellent used condition No wash wear, rips, stains, or loose seams. This includes washed unused items, though feel free to state washed not worn.

VGUC-Very good used condition Used item still in quality condition, but some wash wear or minor issues that would not prevent you from sending your child somewhere nice wearing them, or other problems that can be easily fixed. You must disclose all faults.
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GUC-Good used condition Used item you would still let your child wear, but more obvious faults. You must disclose all faults.

Play– Clothes only fit for play. This includes but is not limited to larger than pin size holes, easily visible stains, and obvious fabric thinning.

Smoke free– That you don’t smoke in your home or around the clothing (some people have allergies)

Pet friendly or pet free home– Again you need to disclose just in case someone has allergies.

You’ll want to label clothing by condition, brand, size, smoke free and/or pet friendly, and I even disclose the type of detergent that I use for washing our clothing.
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My son has allergies to lots of things and I would want anyone I buy from to honestly disclose.

I label the condition with extreme caution, and I try to look over garments carefully for stains, snags or holes. I want everyone buying from me to be happy with their purchase. Paypal will allow an unhappy customer to return merchandise and they will refund their money. If you repeatedly sell merchandise that isn’t in the same condition than you stated, you’ll likely receive bad seller ratings.

You’ll need a few supplies to ship sold merchandise and I suggest ordering most of it online.

  • A scale for weighing packaging;
  • Shipping labels (preferably the peel and stick kind;
  • Poly mailers for shipping. They’re significantly cheaper to order online; and
  • Packing tape

how to get started selling gently used clothing online

how to get started selling gently used clothing online

I weigh everything ahead of time and include shipping in my estimated cost. Shipping and supplies will eat up your costs if you aren’t frugal when purchasing them. I always double bag my items just in case the poly-mailer gets a hole or snag.

It’s also good to know that it’s always cheaper to pay shipping costs through Paypal than it is to purchase at the Post Office. An item shipping first class weighing less than 8 ounces will cost roughly $2.70 but the same item will cost $3.00 at the Post Office. The .30 may not seem like much now, but it quickly adds up over time, and that eats away at your profits. When you purchase through Paypal it also automatically adds tracking information to the receipt so that the buyer can track their packages and you can monitor its delivery. If the item is valued above $50, I suggest adding insurance. If the item is lost by the Postal Service, you will be still be responsible for refunding the buyer if they don’t receive it.

I love to dress my children in nice clothing and since I’ve discovered how to sell gently used clothing online, I have much less remorse over what I spend.
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Many higher end brands will resale for half of the original retail if still in very good used condition or better. If I can find those same brands on sale when I originally purchase, I only lose a small portion of my investment.

Don’t my kiddos look cute? Pretty soon these well loved outfits will make their way to new owners, and I take pride selling other parents/caretakers affordable and adorable gently used children’s clothing.

I hope you found this piece about selling gently used clothing online helpful. If you have any questions or if you’re curious what specific groups that I buy, sell or trade in, please feel free to leave a comment below or send an email. Remember that using a good quality laundry detergent not only helps keep your clothing looking its best while you’re wearing it, but it also helps with the resale value. The next time you’re in Sam’s Club check out Member’s Mark® Ultimate Clean Fresh Clean Detergent.

5 Tips For Planning Your Next Vacation In Hawaii

December 14, 2017

What kind of vacation planner are you? Do you plan out trips months or even a year ahead of schedule? Or are you the type to look for last minute deals a week or several days before you leave? Today I’m sharing five tips for planning your next vacation in Hawaii with some advice on places to visit and how to find the best deals on luxury accommodations and Hawaii beach rentals.

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Continue reading 5 Tips For Planning Your Next Vacation In Hawaii

Ways To Celebrate Memorial Day

May 25, 2017

This post is brought to you by Walmart and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

America has a great respect for its servicemembers, whether active or veterans.
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And rightfully so. They fought for our country and should be treated like the heroes they are. Those who are active get scra military benefits to help them get interest rate reduction on home mortgages, eviction prevention, and many other things. Veterans also get certain perks to be thanked for their service. However, not everyone makes it back which is why it’s important to celebrate Memorial Day.

Millions of American’s each year celebrate Memorial Day, and too often people forget the real reason why they get the day off. It is often confused with Veteran’s Day or some people find it difficult to think about losing a loved one during military conflict. Unfortunately, since 2001 almost 7,000 military service members have died in military service. Over 1 million servicemembers in total have died during U.S. military conflicts. Memorial Day was meant to honor all of the servicemembers who died during active military service. I’m sharing just a few of the many ways to celebrate Memorial Day and honor those who have lost their lives during military service.

Ways To Celebrate Memorial Day

What are your plans for Memorial Day this year? Many people hold holiday cookouts or get-togethers. I’ll be honest; despite the fact that I’m a veteran and I come large family of veterans, often we don’t celebrate Memorial Day like we should.
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My family has been exceptionally fortunate that we haven’t lost any immediate family members during military service.

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Here are a few important facts that I would like to share about veterans:

  • Each year nearly 400,000 military servicemembers will be discharged and return to civilian life, according to the Department of Defense. Many of those individuals will have difficulty transitioning back to civilian life and utilizing services that are meant to help them find work.
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  • There were nearly 450,ooo unemployed veterans in the United States according to the Department of Labor. The majority of those individuals were between 18 and 44 years of age. Unfortunately, not all military training is relevant in the civilian world, and veterans have to return to school or seek vocational education before finding gainful employment.

Here are a few ways to celebrate Memorial Day:

  • Consider a donation to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). The TAPS organization offers assistance to families who lost a loved one on active military duty. This year Walmart is giving a $100,000 donation to the TAPS organization so that they can help surviving family members through Casework and Emergency Assistance Programs.
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  • Consider donating your time or financial assistance to another organization that supports surviving family members of military members who died in the line of duty.
  • Visit a wounded veteran, veterans hospital, or veterans nursing home (always ask any Veterans facility about their visitation or volunteer policy). I’ve taken my son to the local veterans nursing home to help pass out fresh flowers and flags. Some veterans receive very few visitors and appreciate something as simple as conversation. We’ve played checkers or other board games, and I enjoyed it as much as the veteran did. It’s important that we care for our elder veterans who may be in a vulnerable state while in a nursing home and could even be subject to neglect if their situation is not monitored by loved ones. If there does appear to be a breach of the standard of care then relatives may want to reach out to lawyers in their area to see what steps to follow in light of this. Regardless of whether they are a veteran or not, elder neglect is something that should be called out and combatted at every given opportunity.
  • Make a care package for a military service member or veteran that you know.
  • Consider donating time or financial assistance to one of the following organizations that assist military members, military families, or veterans:

One of the simplest ways to support a veteran farmer is to look for the Homegrown by Heroes label on locally grown produce. Several products from our farm carry the Homegrown by Heroes label, and veterans need to have applied to the program and have their military service verified to be part of the program.

You can help military families find resources available to them.

Here are a few programs that Walmart has to offer:

  • Walmart’s Military Family Promise guarantees a job at a nearby store or Club for all military personnel and military spouses employed by Walmart and Sam’s Club who move to a different part of the country because they or their spouse have been transferred by the United States military.
  • In 2014, Walmart doubled a $20 million commitment to support veterans and their families with assistance for programs that provide job training, transition help, and education, through 2019.
  • Walmart seeks to support veterans and showcase the value they bring to the workforce and our communities through initiatives such as Hiring our Heroes, Greenlight A Vet, and the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business.
  • Four years ago, Walmart introduced the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, which guarantees a job offer to any eligible, honorably discharged U.S. veteran who was within 12 months of active duty, with a goal of hiring 250,000 veterans by the end of 2020.
  • As of now, Walmart has hired more than 170,000 veterans, and more than 22,000 have been promoted to jobs with greater responsibility.

Ways To Celebrate Memorial Day

Ways To Celebrate Memorial Day

What do you have planned for Memorial Day? Does your family celebrate the same way each year? I hope that you’ve found these suggestions for ways to celebrate Memorial Day helpful and I’d love to know if you have any suggestions of your own.

GPS Origins Review: DNA testing for Ancestry

February 2, 2017
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I was offered complimentary GPS Origins DNA testing to help determine my ancestry in exchange for an honest review; I’m a genealogy enthusiast so I took them up on the offer. This GPS Origins review includes my own personal observations and a few things that I’ve uncovered on their website. If you’re considering any of the DNA ancestry testing services I hope you’ll read through this review and come back to read about how this service compares to similar service when I receive those results.

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Continue reading GPS Origins Review: DNA testing for Ancestry