5 Tips To Help With Your Move

In the twenty-six years since we married, Audley and I have moved fifteen times. Job transfers, outgrowing arrangements, local and far away; we done it all. Most recently we moved last summer, during the height of the pandemic, 90 miles across the city as long hours plus the ridiculous drive was wearing Audley out.

I would like to think we’ll never move again, but with the industry Audley works in as well as our kiddos scattered in other states, it is very likely we’ll move again sometime in the future.

If you’ve ever moved you know exactly how stressful and exhausting the entire process is. We’ve made each move a little differently, but one thing for sure is I’m getting pretty good at making sure the entire process goes as smoothly as possible.

Moving is intimidating, but there are ways to minimize the stress with these few tips that have worked well for us over the years.

1. Organize. Get a 5×7 notebook with divider tabs and pockets; make it your guide for your move. In this notebook you want to have your first page saved for your dates of new job starting, when you need to list your house, and when you need to move, along with any other date that is involved with this move. Make notes regarding home tours, deposits, school info, phone numbers of realtors, disconnecting utilities, transferring cable and internet. Write down a plan for packing and mark off each task once completed. In the folder keep a copy of your kids transcripts for transferring schools. Make sure you have copies of their immunization records, and sports physicals if needed. If you are leaving the state this will make it easier for the doctor’s office to transfer to whatever form the new state requires. There is nothing worse than misplacing those items while moving. Having a set location in a book you should have at your fingertips at all times, works great!

2. Clear the clutter. DO NOT, and I emphasize again, DO NOT take clutter and chaos with you. As you walk your house and look at what needs to be packed, start a list of what needs to go. This is the perfect time to clean out closets, toyboxes, desks, filing cabinet, and the garage. If your hanging on to jeans hoping they’ll fit again, but you haven’t even started eating healthy or exercising, let the jeans go. If you’ve not worn a shirt or dress in over a year, let it go. If you have collected free shirts from every race, gym, or school event, weed them out and let some go. If you’re hanging onto warranty papers for products you don’t even own anymore or tax records from 2005 … let them go.

When we moved from South Carolina back to Georgia four years ago I found boxes that had not been unpacked the entire six years we were in Carolina. I opened them, surveyed the contents and most all of the boxes were things that could be donated or even trashed. I know we treasure our kids artwork, school papers and the like, but guess what? When they are adults they don’t want it. In fact they don’t care. How many times do you look at that first story that was written in 1st grade or that Christmas picture from 3rd grade? I’m as sentimental as you get, but there is a time that you’ve got to decide whether sentiment is worth the space, mess or boxes.

3. Purchase your boxes and packing supplies. I know it’s an unwanted expense, but with the way grocery stores open and break down boxes, getting quality ones is actually quite difficult. When you purchase your boxes you can find them in uniform sizes made specific for what you are packing; ie. book boxes, dish kits, hanging clothes, etc.. Bubble wrap and dish protectors are absolutely worth investing in. No one wants to open up the glasses that were wrapped in newspaper to find half of them are broken. Also, no one want to carry a box you’ve packed with 150 pounds of books.

4. Have a method for packing. Knock out the less used, decorative items and non-essential items first. This includes books, picture frames, ginger jars, toys, extra bedding and holiday dishes. Make sure other holiday decorations are well packed for traveling. How disappointing would it be to get out you decor and discover your blown glass ornaments are shattered. As you get closer to moving day, go ahead and empty the closets of shoes and clothes that you really do not need. You do not want to still be packing when a moving van arrives. The family can live minimally for a few weeks. This is also the time to not buy groceries and a great time to cook creatively using ingredients from the freezer and pantry that you’ve accumulated.

Label every box. Write what is in the box and what room it belongs in. This makes the unloading and sorting process so much easier.

Have a method for unpacking as well. Go backwards and unpack the necessities first and end with the decorative and fun stuff that helps make a house a home. If you open a box … empty and put away the entire box. You do not want half-emptied boxes all through your house.

Pro Tip: if you can budget it, hire packers. Many moving companies have this service and honestly I have never had a single regret when we’ve used packers. They are fast, efficient and professional. There is no running to the store for extra tape, boxes or materials. They are prepared and ready to work.

5. Hire a reputable moving company to do the heavy stuff. Let’s face it, moving is exhausting, and more so now than our first move back when we first married. I stay sore a whole lot longer. Moving is hard. Moving furniture is hard. Choose your hard. Me? I’ll let some young, strapping guys load and unload the heavy stuff any day of the week.

Moving Solutions, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee is great option when you are planning your next big move. They offer a variety of services to help you including relocating long distance in the Nashville and surrounding area, and offer both commercial along with local moving.

This is a sponsored post, but all thoughts and tips are my own based on all the crazy experiences we have had over the years.

Photowall Art For Your Home

Nothing makes you look at your home in a whole new light than being “stuck” inside.

During these few months of shelter-in-place and minimal going out I’ve had plenty of time to take a close look and analyze my decorating style. I realized that after raising four kids and keeping an open door policy I really don’t have a style, except teenage friendly!

Outside a few mirrors, a monogram and one canvas print, my walls are covered in nothing but family pictures! Upstairs and down you’ll find vacation, kindergarten, senior, military, and lots of wedding pictures. A collection of Christmas pictures, and pictures of my nieces and nephews.

So many pictures.

Homey and Cozy?

Yes, absolutely!

What fits mine and Audley’s taste as we enter the empty nest years?

I’m not so sure!

I love having my kids and their accomplishments plastered on the wall, but at the same time as we enter this new phase of life it would be nice to not feel so confined by my wall decor. For the first time in 25 years we are kid-free and I would like to create more of a grownup ambiance throughout the house.

This is actually easier said than done.

When Photowall reached out and asked me to check out their collections, I was quite excited to add something different to our walls.

Photowall is a Swedish wall-art company passionate about creating inspiring living spaces with personality. Photowall has a carefully selected and diverse range of products. This includes posters, canvas prints, framed prints, wall murals and wallpaper.

Digitally printed and framed, all Photowall products are made in Sweden and shipped worldwide; very quickly I might add. Even with COVID-19 affecting shipping I had my order in 3 weeks.

Art is a great way to really dress up a space. Digital art makes it more affordable for all of us. While I don’t want to “erase my kids”, I do want to transform our space so there is more of a balance between their growing up years and an empty nest. I had fun looking at all the different options Photowall showcases on their site.

While checking out all the options available from Photowall I decided the place to start updating our decor was the dining room.

A 55 year old dining room suite is lovely in itself, as is a full china cabinet, but an accent piece on the bare walls really began to add a touch of cozy.

I’m not a huge fan of abstracts, but I love true to life prints and botanicals, so I chose a simple and lovely one that fit my favorite color scheme; blue and white!

Playing with a few accessories which included a huge banana leaf plant, and few ginger jars began changing the whole look of our small dining room in a matter of minutes!

This is not the only sprucing up of the dining room that I plan to do, but it was a great place to start. As you can tell from the pictures We still have a pretty empty space needing attention. I will definitely continue to browse the Photowall catalog to find a coordinating piece for the blue and white botanicals.

Photowall has a massive catalogue to browse for photos and artwork. Once you select the piece you would like to use, you will choose a frame and they do all the work, quickly shipping it out to you!

You can order a framed print, canvas, mural or even design you own at https://www.photowall.com/ .

Use my code ohfiddledeedee25 at checkout for 25% off! This is good through the end of the month!

17 Retro Happy Meal Toys Are Returning to McDonald’s This Week

40 years ago this month McDonalds introduced the Happy Meal to the delight of parents and kids around the world! Finally there was a bargaining chip on the table (literally) that could be used to coax every child to behave at the doctor, dentist, worship service, piano practice, Cub Scouts and to pay attention on the little league field!!

Laugh if you must, but I remember that ploy quite well. My mother used the tool on me, and I on my kids.

Admit it, we’ve all been there!

Seriously though, I do remember the feeling of being special when we got a Happy Meal as it was a real treat! Years down the road, when Audley and I were dating, and I was preparing to become Samantha’s momma, we made many a visit to McDonalds for play days and a Happy Meal as we searched for the ever elusive Pink Power Ranger!

The things we do for our kids, Right?!

Well, McDonald’s is unlocking that childhood joy across the globe in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the first-ever Happy Meal by introducing the limited-edition Surprise Happy Meal, featuring favorite throwback toys from the past four decades.
 

My baby sister totally remembered many of these!!


The Surprise Happy Meal will be available in more than 90 countries starting November 7 at participating restaurants. If you’re in Atlanta like me, you can get your hands on the Surprise Happy Meal until November 11, while supplies last.

Over the years Happy Meal toys have put a playful spin on the foods McDonalds is known for, showcased movies from Disney to Looney Tunes, and had fun with pop culture by including matchbox cars, beanie babies and the always adorable Hello Kitty! It was the original “unboxing”!

Are you ready for a trip down memory lane? Here are all the toys that will be returning for just a handful of days this week: 1988’s Cowboy McNugget, Fireman McNugget, and Mail Carrier McNugget, 1989’s Hamburger Changeable transforming toy, 1990’s Grimace, 1991’s Dino Happy Meal Box Changeable, 1993’s McDonald’s Hot Wheels Thunderbird, 1995’s Hamburglar, 1995’s Power Rangers, 1996’s Space Jam Bugs Bunny, 1997’s Patti the Platypus (yes, the Beanie Baby is back!), 1997’s 101 Dalmatians, 1998’s Tamagotchi digital pet, 1998’s My Little Pony, 1999’s Furby, 2002’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey, and 2013’s Hello Kitty.

While this is a global release, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey and 101 Dalmatians are exclusive to the US.

To help you celebrate this fun event I am giving away a gift card from McDonalds to one of my readers. All you have to do is share your favorite, first or most entertaining McDonalds Happy Meal memory!! This is not a place to discuss your opinions of McDonalds, or anything negative, but to look back and have a little fun!! I will draw a winner on November 7 so hopefully you will have your gift card before the promotion ends!

Happy Monday Y’all!!

Pollo Tropical Reveals New Menu Items

Last night I was invited to Pollo Tropical in Snellville for a tasting of new menu items that are hitting stores now!

If you’re unfamiliar with Pollo Tropical, it is what I call “upscale fast food” with a Caribbean flare.

Bradley described it even better when he said “that’s the place all the guys take their dates because it’s nicer than a burger place and still affordable on our budget.”

Pollo-Tropical-Pollo-Bites | Fiddle Dee Dee

Pollo Tropical is known for it’s marinated, grilled chicken (it’s really grilled) and their crispy pollo bites, but they are expanding their menu this spring with four new citrus marinated shrimp dishes.

Introducing:

The Shrimp Quesadilla Salad features crispy romaine lettuce, black bean & corn salad, multi-colored tortilla chips and shredded cheddar jack cheese, topped off with a 6-inch, hot-pressed cheese quesadilla and served with Chipotle Ranch dressing on the side.

The Shrimp Quesadilla Wrap consists of melted cheddar jack cheese, freshly chopped tomatoes and a tangy Chipotle Ranch dressing.

The Shrimp Caesar Salad with chopped crisp romaine lettuce, croutons and shredded Parmesan cheese tossed in Pollo Tropical’s Caesar dressing.

And the Shrimp Tropichop Bowl featuring the citrus marinated shrimp over yellow rice and vegetables served also topped with onions, peppers and diced tomatoes.

These were so flavorful and filling and quite the change from fried everything.

Pollo Tropical is known for using fresh ingredients and makes all their sauces and marinades in-house.

One of the most tasty dishes side dishes is balsamic marinated tomatoes. The marinade is made and allowed to sit for flavors to mesh, then tomatoes and onions are added and marinated for several hours for a truly flavorful treat!

Other delicious side dishes include green beans, sweet potato casserole, fries, corn casserole (y’all, fresh out of the oven this is sooo good!), Mac & cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy; that’s just a few of their many options.

Fried plantains are the perfect finish to any meal!

Pollo Tropical can be found throughout the Atlanta area and Florida which makes it an ideal stop as you hit the road to the beach for spring break and summer vacations! Check out these delicious options and others on the menu as well!

If you want to check out the menu in advance you can at pollotropical.com.