Welcome 2018


Ok….so I’ll admit… I’ve been kind of MIA.  It’s a crazy thing when your children start getting older and your days start getting busier.  You tend to lose, well… yourself!  That is what has happened to me.  There are days when I wake up with a start, and my brain screaming, and my mouth uttering something along the lines of, “What day is it?”  Usually, it’s those days, when I actually have no obligation to be anywhere anytime soon – which is really irritating once I realize that.  Once I have tumbled out of my sleepy stupor, the fact that I woke up so confused also really irritates me.

I want out.  Not out of being a mom or having a crazy schedule.  I actually love that and can’t imagine my life “simple”.  I want out of the bit where I can’t find… me!!

Last year I posted a challenge on Facebook to my friends and family to comment with a #OneWordResolution.  I chose the word “Laugh” and I really think I stuck to it.  At the end of 2016 I felt frustrated – almost as if I had woken up in that sleepy stupor every single day.  I did not want that for my 2017.  So I laughed.  And laughed.  And laughed.  When times got me down, I laughed.  When I felt like my buttons were being pushed, I laughed.  When people cut me off on the freeway, sat through green lights, drove toward me with their brights on and rode my tail end, I laughed.  When co-workers pulled me down, I laughed.  The more mad things would generally make me, you guessed it, the more I laughed.  And I’m happy to say… IT WORKED!! My 2017 was actually light-hearted and joyful – mostly.  So, I decided to make it part of who I want to be and will carry it over to 2018 and every year following.  I realize there are some things you can’t laugh at, but it helps in a lot of situations.  It’s hard to remember that you can’t control everyone and everything, so sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh.

Moving on to 2018, I decided to get crazy and go with a whole phrase!!  So I again challenged my Facebook friends and family, but this time to comment with the quote or phrase they want their 2018 to model.  Originally I chose, “Have Less, Do More”.  While that is definitely still the plan – it’s more of a personal goal.  I have come up with another that I love and I think it is really going to help motivate me.  “Just get up and do it.”  (I’ll tell you where that came from in a few minutes.) So moving in to 2018, those two things will be my “live by” words.  I feel like 2018 is just the beginning. 🙂

So… where did I come up with “Just get up and do it”?  Well, I’ll be honest – it didn’t come from this momma brain.  I heard it on TV.  When I have some downtime and can do something for me – I like to watch HGTV.  My three favorites are Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines, HomeTown with Ben and Erin Napier, and Property Brothers with Jonathan and Drew Scott.  (Clicking on those links will take you to their twitter feeds, but all of their social media links are listed below – make sure you follow them if you don’t already!)  Anyways, I watch them as often as time allows.  I’m super excited about Drew’s upcoming wedding to Linda Phan, Chip & Joanna’s #5 baby on the way and Ben & Erin’s new little bundle of joy, Helen. ♥ In one of the most recent Home Town commercials, Erin looks right at the camera and says, “Just get up and do it.”  Those words really spoke to me (Thanks Erin!!).  So that’s what I’m doing!  Getting up and doing it!  #everyday

Here are my plans: (There are a lot of them – don’t fret – I’ve got this!)

  • Re-launching my Usborne Books & More business.  I enjoyed this so much when I started it in 2011.  I let it slip through the cracks because other things got in the way and I lost sight of my passions.
  • My daughter Alli and I, really plan to grow our photography business this year.  Both, the personal – Calli Brooklyn Photography and corporate – Shutterbug & Co sides have taken a hit this year with my “schedule” going wonky.
  • Continuing my path on my medical billing journey.  I enjoy medical billing so much!!  I plan to add at least 1 more comma to my credentials this year as well as get my medical billing/training business going.
  • Working on my YouTube channel!!  We are revamping WAHMCat!!  I will be doing regular videos and Alli and Liam are both going to have segments that they are really looking forward to.  Maybe I’ll even get Blake to chime in a time or two. ☺  My channel will be unboxing from our favorite subscriptions AND we will probably be trying a new one every month.  I will also be doing recipes, DIY’s, tutorials and so much more.  I’m even planning to do a storytime segment for the little ones.  I am so stinkin excited.  I currently have 50 subscribers and need 100 to set up my custom URL.  So… wanna help a girl out? Subscribe here. 🙂
  • Blogging every day!  I need to get back into my rhythm.  I’m looking forward to some of my blog plans.
  • #KnowledgeIsPower – I want to learn… a lot in 2018.
  • I would like to travel at least once this year – somewhere – anywhere.

2018 is going to be amazing.  So for those of you that have been a subscriber, thank you!  If you are new, welcome!

Here are the links to my favorite HGTV stars:

Property Brothers: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
The Scott Brothers Website
– Jonathan Scott: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
– Drew Scott: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
– Linda Phan: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Fixer Upper: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – Couldn’t find an official Twitter feed, but here is a fan site: Fan Site
– Chip Gaines: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – Couldn’t find an official Facebook account, but you can search his name on Facebook and find other people that enjoy his humor too!
– Joanna Gaines: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
– Magnolia Market: InstagramFacebook, Website – I have personally ordered from here and can’t wait to order again!

Home Town:
– Ben Napier: Twitter, Instagram
– Erin Napier: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – this Facebook account is for Ben & Erin.
Laurel Mercantile Co. – Their website – And Erin’s journal, which she is taking a break from.  However, it is really interesting to go back and look at their 2017!

Stay tuned and I’ll do a post later this month with my favorite YouTubers, Vloggers & YouTubers! 🙂

Here is where you can find me all over the internet…. I’m kind of all over the place – both literally and figuratively…lol.

My blog. 🙂 – I know you are here, but this will take you to my home so you can subscribe. Currently: 1,550 followers ♥ 2018 Goal: 3,000 followers

Youtube – Come see me! 🙂  Our YouTube channel is going to grow leaps and bounds this year.  We would love to share our videos with you! 🙂 Current: 50 subscribers & 2,427 views as of today ♥ 2018 Goals: 1,000 subscribers & 50,000 views. #FingersCrossed

Twitter – I post my family stuff and fun things I want to share with the world.  This is also the Twitter account I use for Usborne.  Currently: 388 followers ♥ 2018 Goal: 1,000 followers.
Photography Twitter – This is where you can find some pics from our photo shoots.  From both our Calli Brooklyn Photography and Shutterbug & Co. sessions!  We are just getting it started though. Currently: 2 followers ♥ 2018 Goal: 1,000 followers
Medical Billing Twitter – I tweet total Medical Billing stuff here.  If you are into medical billing at all – you’ll want to follow!  This is pretty new too. Currently: 14 followers ♥ 2018 Goal: 1,000 followers

Instagram – I use this account for my family photos, Usborne, photo shoots, and just random photos we take out and about.  We started another Insta for our photography business, but honestly, we post just about everything here.  Currently: 427 followers ♥ 2018 Goal: 1,500 followers
Usborne *FreeBookFairy* Facebook – Not only do I post specials and book reviews here, I will post the links to my story time videos, special events and interesting facts about literacy, as well as fundraising tips and ideas.  And of course, I’ll tell you how you can get free books. 🙂  Currently: 224 followers ♥ 2018 Goal: 3,000 followers (I know – that’s a big jump – ☺)

– Free Book Fairy Website – This is where you can go to order books, or contact me to set up an event for your home, school, church, library, etc. One of my most favorite websites.  *As of today 01/07/18 – the site is under construction, but will be going again soon.  I’ll make the link live when it’s working again. ♥
 – Calli Brooklyn Photography & Shutterbug & Co. – This is our site that showcases our gallery for both Calli Brooklyn Photography & Shutterbug & Co.  Calli Brooklyn Photography is for personal photos like family, engagement, maternity, new baby, senior and birthday type photos.  Shutterbug & Co is for corporate events like corporate holiday parties, corporate headshots, daycare photos, etc.

Ok, so that’s it.  I’ts a lot… I know.  Again, I’ve got this. 😀





How Important is it… Really?

Soooo…. here it is.  4:17 am on a Monday morning.  What am I doing?  Trolling the internet looking for networking and business building ideas in and around town this week.  I always start with my notifications and then the things going on in the Events section of Facebook.  It never fails that I always find myself lost in some article that I found from clicking on a link somewhere on Facebook.  I have learned some pretty amazing things and added a billion things to my useless knowledge bank from these clickable links.  However, I have also wasted several…. hours (ahem) minutes, reading through these articles.  Today I was lucky enough to stumble upon a gem… I think.

The link that I saw said, “7 Surprising Signs You’re Not Getting Enough…”  So, I clicked on it to find out what I may or may not be getting enough of.  This took me to an article at healthissues.pw about not getting enough… WATER!  At this point, I figured I had taken the time to click the link so I might as well see if I had any of the signs.

One of the first things it states is that your body is mostly water and even goes so far as to give percentages of water that different body parts are.  Percentages like, Your brain and heart are 73% water and even, bones are 31% water.  I’m not sure where they got that information or if it is even true.  However, I did find several websites that stated the same facts like water.usgs.gov, factslides.com and reference.com.  I generally hate to read things on the internet that force me to click 72.3 billion pages to get all of the information, but this one only had a few pages and also had already grabbed my attention with the opening, so I was willing to click each page to read the full article.

Here are the 7 signs they list as common symptoms you may be suffering from but not associating them with dehydration:

  1. Sleepiness. – WHAT?!  That’s like my middle name!  I have lengths of time where I only sleep 3 hours a night for weeks and then there are sometimes that I sleep an entire day away (and then hate myself for wasting such valuable time.)   It said that water allows your brain to focus and when it can’t it shuts down by inducing sleep.  That explains a lot!  Ok, now they really have my attention.  I definitely suffer from this symptom.
  2. Hunger. – WHAT?!  Do you even know me?  Food is like my favorite thing ever!!  Especially if it rhymes with paco, saco, maco… you get the idea.  But seriously – I am ALWAYS hungry!  So things like hunger and cravings for sweets can mean your body is actually craving water.  Hmmm, interesting.
  3. Blood Pressure Spikes. – Okay, so I don’t really struggle with this ailment, that I know of.  There have been times where I showed signs of high blood pressure and have checked it only to find I was normal.  Well… as normal as the kiosk in Walmart said I was.  Just incase though, I think I’ll try drinking a glass or two of water next time I have those symptoms.
  4. Headaches. – Everyday since I was 18.  Seriously.  Except for that one year when I went to the chiropractor 3 times a week.  Which seriously helped the headaches go away.  However, I quit going because it was quite pricey and also I was honestly terrified he was going to snap my neck.  Seriously, it terrified me.  Maybe I’ve watched a little too many crime dramas with people getting their necks snapped, but still.  The “crack-a-lack-a-lack” in the neck region really scares the poo out of me!  So as soon as I stopped my appointments the headaches came back and I get at least 3-5 every week.
  5. Constipation. – Maybe a little TMI, but my guess is everyone suffers from some type of bathroom issue from time to time.  So I can’t discount this as a possible symptom of not getting enough water.
  6. Bad Breath. – According to this article, saliva has antibacterial properties and dehydration prevents your body from making enough for it.  This leads to a virtual playground in your mouth and according to my 5 year old, who doesn’t mean to be rude and just speaks the truth – I may have a little issue with bacteria causing bad breath.
  7. Dry Skin. – Ok… well it is winter so I do suffer from dry skin a bit here and there, but I wouldn’t say it’s a chronic issue.  But, maybe it isn’t a winter ailment after all.  Maybe it’s because I’m not drinking enough water!

So after reading the entire article, identifying with most of the symptoms listed, and looking to see if the “facts” were listed on other websites – I’m self diagnosing myself with persistent dehydration.  As for the cure… water, of course.  So for the next 30 days I am going to drink nothing but water.  No sodas, no tea, and no…. sigh… Monster’s.  Starting today, Monday February 20th, 2017 and going through Wednesday March 22, 2017 – I will drink nothing but water.

On an average day I drink 1 glass or bottle (probably about 10-12 ounces) of water, one or two sodas or glasses of tea (usually Starbucks – because it is sooooooo yummy), 1-2 cans of Monster if I need the pick me up and every now and then a cup of hot tea from my trusty Kuerig.  But, for the next 30 days it will be only water.  The only exception I will make is to flavor the water from time to time with Kool-Aid Liquid Drink Mix, like these:


They offer a flavored water with zero calories, carbs or caffeine!  So I feel justified in adding this to my water while completing this challenge.

I would like to challenge YOU to play along!  Start today, start tomorrow – just give it a try.  Follow my journey on the Facebook page I created: 30 Day Water Challenge – Is H2O the Answer? or type in http://fb.me/H2Ofor30days in your browser page.  I’ll be posting anything I notice – or don’t notice – changing over the next 30 days.  I’ll also include a few healthy recipe’s and exercises throughout the journey – please feel free to do the same.

Look forward to seeing you out there and seeing if I notice a difference in things when only drinking water.  Now I’m off to finish my Yeti full of ice water, go potty for the 3rd time since I began writing this post, finish this episode of Smallville and maybe getting a few hours of sleep.  I’m starting our kitchen makeover this week and need the rest!

BIG Texas hugs,




Geocaching Adventures 7.12.14

Hey there! I headed to downtown Fort Worth today to do some research for my new blog project at the Central Library. While I was out and about I decided to check out what local GC’s were around.

**WARNING-SPOILERS** – If you geocache (in the DFW area especially) be warned: This post does show pictures and give specific tips that will pinpoint some geocaches.  Please do not use this blog as a way to find the cache’s.  The point is to showcase our geocaching journey and to grow the desire in others.

First I came across #GC46Y3F: What a “birdseye” view.

Whovian101 (AKA – the MiniMe) was with me last time we tried to find this one. Unfortunately, we were in the wrong corner of the building.  I followed the clues and looked at old pics to find my error and made my way right to the cache.

This is the view I should have been looking for and finally found.


Here is the cache:  The hint said it would be hanging upside down – so I was looking for a cord or rope of somesort…. Nope.  I soon figured it out though. 🙂


I found a really cool geocoin:  I love geocoins and trackables. I love the idea of sending something on a journey and being a part of it’s stop in my corner of the world. This one has a patriotic meaning to it which is always kind of cool.  The Mister served in the Navy for 8 years so I love finding stuff that has to do with the military – especially the Navy.



There were several cute little pieces and had Whovian101 been with me she might have wanted a thing or two.  Since it was just me I chose the foreign currency for #OJATW (you can click that hashtag and follow our awesome project!!  It will open in a new window and then you’ll need to log into your Facebook account to see it – but it’s totally worth it. 🙂 ) and the geocoin to pass along. I left some kid friendly swag and a quarter. If I am correct about the value of the currency it is worth about $.16 American cents right now so the quarter did trump the value – but certainly not the coolness factor.


I signed the log and took a pic of the bottom of the container so I could remember where to pick up some for my own caches.  This one was from Ikea…good to know!


Then it was over to another is been eyeing: GC1KR38 Masonic Temple


Mostly just a log but there was room for a few tiny kid friendly trinkets.  According to the past comments and logs this one has disappeared a few times.  My guess is because it is right next to an apartment complex and any muggle (especially the young ones) would be curious if they found someone lifting that skirt.


Then I hopped a few blocks over (after maneuvering through the one way streets – which are a real pain in the rear.  They honestly don’t make sense to me!  Why not make them ALL two way streets and then no one is confused!!) and found GC4PDRV Lucky Clover.




Fun find.  It was a clever container and a cute little hide.  They guys that work nearby are friendly and as you can see from my log, get very excited when someone finds it.  Hopefully, this cache has instilled an interest in some of them and they can start geocaching with their families and friends.


Took my little monkey traveler to visit this one.  He was too big to leave in the cache. Still looking for a home big enough (and worthy enough) to send him on his journey.

Then I figured I would grab one more. Checked the logs. It was just found yesterday – which is generally a good sign!  Phone led me to GZ in a parking lot.  Just a few feet away was a tree with a perfect little hiding place in the trunk.  From all of the posts left before I am pretty certain this is supposed to be the site.  Unfortunately, there was nothing there.  I looked around and there were other places a GC could be, but none that really fit the past logs.  My guess is someone saw the person putting it back and then came and took it.  That stinks. 😦  I squeezed my phone into the hole and took a pic with my flash just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything and this is all the picture shows…. 😦 Bummer.


All in all – 3 smilies and 1 sad face. Muggles suck.  However, there were a few fun finds and I got a few ideas about what I want to do with our first cache.  I want us to place our first cache before school starts this year in August – so we’ve been looking for the right container and the right place.

I’m off to go work on a painting for the Big Kid.  Hope you enjoyed my finds and I hope you’ll share this post with anyone that has children or an adventurous side of their own.  Geocaching rocks…just sayin. 😉