Out With The Old~Finally

To say the least, blogging in 2018 was rather sporadic at Fiddle Dee Dee.  Honestly, life was different and hard to explain, although it wasn’t a bad year. As old as my kids are, a lot of last year was parenting related and since I’m definitely not a “mommy blogger” didn’t want to focus on these things, all the time. It was also an emotional year as my youngest graduated from high school, leaving Audley & Me, for all practical purposes, empty nesters!


We made a Marine, and a medical assistant, and a personal trainer, and an interior designer….

While I’ve been absent from the blog, my Instagram and Facebook pages stay active and you may have caught a glimpse of our beautiful holiday season among other fun things!

I would love to have you follow me if you don’t already!

On the technical side of things, blogging has been a challenge as my 7-year-old MacBook needs to be replaced thanks to Apple’s way of doing updates (just like with an iPhone) and I can’t update the latest operating system which has rendered my Photoshop useless and slowed down my laptop to discouraging speeds. Hopefully this will all be corrected soon, and I’ve just decided to do the best I can with what I have for now!

January (all 795 days of it) was a trial month, so to kick off this new year & set the tone for 2019, I thought it would be good to update you on where I am in this season of life. It’s an all new adventure!

While I don’t talk parenting, my family has been a huge part of my blogging lifestyle over the years as we travel, cook, celebrate, go out and share, I wanted to update where they are. They were so young when I began this blog.  Now they are making their mark on the world as productive and disciplined Millennials and GenZ’ers.

I’m very proud for people to know my kids and the influence they share on the world!

One of the very first pics of my kiddos on the blog…. it’s safe to say things have changed.

My little family is all grown up!

Samantha and her husband, Justin celebrated their 6th anniversary in December!

With one of my grand-dogs


She’s working for a primary care doctor in Tennessee and Justin was just honored with law enforcement officer of the year for the entire state of Tennessee and will be honored next weekend in Nashville.

County LEO of the year honors in December

Samantha has the DIY bug, and has been doing a lot of work on the little house she and Justin live in. She’s become the unofficial party planner for just about everything at work and pulls together fun events for her co-workers.  Healthcare may be her calling, but she has a gift for decorating and entertaining.  It’s so much fun to see her latest projects and plans!

MacKenzie celebrated her first anniversary with Michael and turned 21 all in the same week. They bought their first house last year as well.

And our other grand-dog

She began her senior year of college, is finishing her major in exercise science, and is a personal trainer in Greenville.

Such an adorable Preacher & Wifey

The Golden Strip Church of Christ where Michael has preached for 3 years, has grown immensely, and they just purchased a new building for their use. It’s an exciting time for these two newlyweds.

Madeline played lacrosse her freshman year at Point University, but decided to change her major to interior design, attend tech school (a very smart move for her creative spirit), and move home for her sophomore to keep her loans and other costs down.

Just hanging around in Missouri

As you know, I’m a firm believer that a 4-year degree isn’t for, or necessary for everyone. Having one definitely does not guarantee a job! She’s doing well and I love her vision board projects she has had to pull together. Ethan Allen furniture at The Mall of Georgia featured one of her holiday table settings during the month of November which was voted on by the public and received the honor of “best in class”. Madeline did a fantastic job!

Ethan Allan tablescape contest

Bradley: Our baby graduated high school and 10 days later left for Parris Island where he earned the title of United States Marine.


The most handsome Marine serving right now. I am entitled to be prejudiced.

Earned the Title

He’s in his schooling right now to become a MP. Let me tell you, Audley and I are two extremely proud parents!

As for us, Audley & I celebrated 23 years of marriage in August, purchased a much needed new vehicle for all the road trips we make (we have kids in 3 different states now), took an empty nesters cruise to the Bahamas and Cuba that turned into a couple cruise with Samantha and Justin, and went all out for Halloween.

We traveled to Parris Island, I visited Camp Lejeune, and we celebrated Thanksgiving in Missouri with Madeline, Bradley and five other Marines who were also stuck for Thanksgiving.


Christmas brought our children home which will probably be the last one we celebrate together for a while as Bradley will get his orders for a permanent duty station soon.

Missing Justin as he was on duty… support the Blue y’all; they sacrifice so much.

All together at my parents in Tennessee

This month wraps up two years since we moved to metro Atlanta. It’s not the first time we’ve lived in the Atlanta area since we married, and I grew up here, but it’s not the same.  Atlanta doesn’t feel like home, and I can’t say I enjoy living here. I do love the convenience of a real store for baking supplies (not Michael’s or Hobby Lobby), a really awesome gym, and shopping for virtually anything I need if feeling chill enough to face the traffic, but honesty I do not call Atlanta home.  Atlanta is a cold and lonely place, and while it is in the South, it’s not really a Southern city.

Audley changed companies last December, leaving the corporate world behind, which has done wonders for his stress levels. The down side is he drives 75 miles one-way to work everyday.  I’m really hoping 2019 brings a move our way!

To where, I have no clue, but I can be packed in a week.

So here we are, the first full week of February throwing out the old and embracing 2019.  I’m focused on keeping our house feeling cozy and warm, engaged on our marriage (a little differently now that the kids are grown), getting back to healthy habits and self-care that has taken a back burner again (making me feel rather slobby and frazzled), and finding out who I am now that I’m no longer a full-time mom (I seemed to forget there was life outside mothering).

It’s amazing how much can change in just a year, but I hope you will be patient with me, and join me as I embrace this new season of life!


What I Learned @ the Southern Bloggers Conference

As a first time attendee of a blogger’s conference I was really unsure of what to expect.  When you read  posts from other’s on conferences that they have attended in the past, you get a little idea of what might happen, but in no way do they really prepare you.
I blog for the fun of it and always have.  Sometimes I wonder about numbers, but quite honestly I’ve never really thought blogging to be more than my outlet; first for my recipes and now for the new season in my life.  Listening to the knowledgable panel of speakers Saturday really inspired me to step it up a little, if for nothing else, my own pride.
While I can’t begin to share everything I got from the weekend, here are a few things I picked up this weekend.



*I have a voice which makes the blog uniquely mine.  I don’t have to channel anyone but me and I sure don’t need to copy someone else’s ideas, because I know I have my own.  Write as if you are conversing with a friend.
*Don’t compare yourself to someone else.  Is that ever a hard one, especially with all of the successful bloggers out there.  We all have our own story & should tell it our way.
*Get to know other bloggers.  Visit around, leave comments, join blog hops, etc… The more you visit, the more likely someone will be to visit you.  There have been some great friendships formed this way.
*I was reminded the true connotation behind the words, “Bless Your Heart”.
Thanks Barb (from the Everyday Home) for the giggles!
*Make your blog a place people might want to visit.  Keep it clean, organized, & easy to navigate. Find your signature style and stick to it.
*If you are trying to grow your blog, don’t be afraid to use social media (Google +, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc…) to interact with readers as well.
*Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.  If you cook an amazing dinner, set a fabulous table or create the most beautiful wreath ev-ah, share it!  You can share it more than just on your blog.  Shout it out!
Awesome websites to shoot out your accomplishments!
*Network.  Hook up with like-minded bloggers for joint projects & posts.
*Use photos that are pertinent to your post.  Make sure they are sharp, clear, and large to catch your readers attention.  People are more likely to stay and read you post (or at least mark it for later), if you have good pictures.  And, watermark your pictures.  Not everyone knows the definition of integrity.
*Don’t sell yourself short.  As a stay-at-home mom who has moved 12 times in 17 years, I don’t have the greatest confidence in myself.  Part of my “lifestyle” change is finding confidence in myself again.  If I can do that through writing, so be it!
*For ultimate confidence, find a rocking pair of earrings.
KariAnne from Thistlewood Farm totally rocked her session!
*There are some really great paints and directions you can go to really transform a piece of furniture and make it “new” once again.  And, I can’t wait to get started!
“What a Croc!”


Created using the Maison Blanche Paints


Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint
*Make sure you are posting quality content.  Even if your post is about something random like hair color or makeup, make it interesting, informative, and don’t lose your voice.
*Don’t be afraid of sponsors/advertising.  People will look to true life testimonials before they will the advice of a TV ad.  Bloggers have pretty powerful voices.  It’s OK to use them, just don’t lose yourself while working with sponsors.
And finally, I learned that packing a suitcase and venturing off to a conference with 100 ladies I really didn’t know wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be.
Maybe some of my self-confidence is returning, at last.

Attending the Southern Bloggers Conference

Oh my goodness, what an ah-mazing weekend!

Attending my first bloggers conference was a most wonderful experience.  Someone made the comment that going to conferences like this was so great because everyone there “gets you”.  That is so true.  I often keep the fact that I blog from so many of my friends and much of my family due to blank stares and rolling eyes, but not this weekend.
It was OK that I had my camera out at the supper table, that I could talk post ideas with someone besides my beagle, and that no one looked at me like I had a ginormous zit in the middle of my forehead when I snapped pictures of wooden boards being painted.


Yes, A bloggers conference is THE place to be!

I don’t even know where to begin in sharing all of the fabulousness!

Maybe I should start with the panel of speakers who shared their stories, secrets, inspiration and tips for us.

1. KariAnne of Thistlewood Farm  2. Rhoda from Southern Hospitality  3. Kelly from Eclectically Vintage  4.  Brittany aka. Pretty Handy Girl  5. Heather of At the Picket Fence

Spend a little time on their blogs and you will see why they were fabulous choices for speakers!

The DIYer in me thinks maybe I should start with the wonderful demos using Maison Blanche Chalk paints or Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paints.

Maison Blanche Paint/Element demo


Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint
Amy from Atta Girl Says showing us how to use Miss Mustard Seed‘s Milk Paints.

I could start with some of the awesome people I met throughout the weekend.

1. You must check out Robin’s blog “Alabama Slacker Mama”; Robin is just the sweetest & I loved meeting her!  2. Jenny owns a darling little antique store in Raleigh.  With her contagious personality you can check her out at “The Red Bulletin Board”   3.  Miss Rhoda of Southern Hospitality.  We have met several times before and it was wonderful to see her again.  If you don’t already follow Rhoda, you need to check out her home she has been remodeling!  Just gorgeous!

Or perhaps it was the food that made the weekend so memorable.

Our delicious sandwich and salad lunch buffet was provided by Hometalk, a wonderful forum for decorating, DIY, and conversations about the home.  I just signed up and you should too!

But wait, let me see, I think the thrifting day around Raleigh is what made it all so grand.

Oh Goodness! I don’t know where to start!

But, it was all so much fun and has really inspired me to do a little more than just throw a post together a couple of times a week.  I’m not going to share every detail of the weekend, but over the next couple of days, I’ll give you a glimpse of the weekend highlights.

If you want all of the details, you are just going to have to attend a conference, because some things just can’t be put into words!

Southern Bloggers Conference

I’ve always enjoyed blogging as it has been a great outlet for me to share my hobbies and random thoughts without care.  In the last couple of years I have made some wonderful acquaintances through blogging and have even had the opportunity to meet a few bloggers through various activities.

From a bloggers dinner to a framing workshop hosted by Larson-Juhl company in Atlanta I have had some really great times!
Next weekend, October 12, 13 & 14th, I am doing something I never thought I would, as I am attending my first blogger’s conference.  Held at the Embassy Suites in Raleigh, NC, the Southern Blogger’s Conference is going to be a weekend filled with fun and new friendships!
And a weekend away from being Mommy!
{We need that sometimes, you know.}

And since it was my husband’s idea that I make the time to go, he knows that as well!


Organized by Barb from The Everyday Home, Amy from Atta Girl Says, Shirley from Housepitality Designs, Cindy from Living on the Bliss, Brittany of Pretty Handy Girl, Kristen of Sophia’s Decor , and Suzy of Worthing Court, a lot of time and prep has gone into this great weekend.  There is an activity sponsored by the Container Store (boy do I need storage ideas here!), opportunity to win prizes through a wreath, centerpiece, craft, decor & table setting contests, an antique/thrifting trip, and of course great speakers, one being Ms. Rhoda from Southern Hospitality!
I am super excited, and yes, even a little nervous.

But, I do hope to come back with grand adventures to share!

If you want to check out this great conference it’s on Facebook, Twitter and yes, a featured blog!  Check it out.  This is the first year, but if it is a success, I’m sure there will be more!  There are also a few tickets left if you can squeeze in a weekend get-away on a short notice!

As I get ready for this fun weekend, I am curious, have you forged any friendships with bloggers or participated in any blogger meet & greets?  

How did it go for you?