How I Plan and Organize Blog Content.

I’ve been blogging for a few years now, and I love it. Love it so much! Sometimes I get asked about how I organize blog post ideas and generate new content. Until recently, when I made the choice to quit my job, I’ve not had a ton of time to blog as frequently as I’d like. I’ve made it a priority to blog more and it’s a work in progress.

I started this blog as an outlet to just write and share things for fun. To have a voice, and to have a memory of this life that will live forever in the internet land. Or as long as I pay for the subscription haha.

The main tool I use for blog planning and content is to use a monthly calendar planner. I bought this super simple blog planner on Amazon, and it’s the main source I use for planning blog posts.

I write all of my post ideas in pencil so it’s easy to erase and move things around if need be. I don’t stick to the calendar exactly, because new ideas pop-up and have to be shared, so things are always moving.

Here is the current month of January. On each day, I have two lines for a blog post and Instagram post. The blog is color coded in purple, and Instagram is color coded in pink. Every post idea is temporarily written in pencil, and once it’s posted on whichever platform it’s written in either purple or pink to know it was posted. At the end of each week, I tally up how many posts for the week.

I do a quote every Sunday. Most Mondays I do a weekly recap from the week before, Monday through Sunday. Every Friday is Friday Favorites. Once a month is what I ordered from Amazon from the month prior. If we do a movie night, I’ll write a post about that the week after. Once a month updates on Huxley. A few monthly link-up posts. Holidays, vacations, or reoccurring events like first day of school, birthdays, etc., which then leaves just a few days a week open for other various ideas. I do love the scheduled feature for blogging, you can plan and schedule posts ahead of time which helps for planning content.

Here is next month’s blog calendar, without really planning anything there are quite a few posts already ready to be written! I don’t really wonder about what’s going to get a lot of comments or pinned about or whatever. I just do what I like and share what I love. This blog goes through different seasons of life where I am super personal or very creative. Whatever the season, I’m here for it. And loving it.

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through or make a purchase.

32 weeks.

Yes, the sound effects are totally necessary! Anytime I move, sit, stand, basically do anything I feel the need to make a noise or grunt or something. And if I’m super active during the day, then I’m useless at night. Still managing to exercise in the mornings which is awesome, going to try and keep that up until the end.

Doctor’s visits during the third trimester are very uneventful, other than I have to do an ultrasound every week now. Getting to the doctor every week from here on out is a bit annoying, but thankful everything is looking healthy, which I am overly grateful for. My blood pressure has always been great, never had issues with that thank goodness.

My weight gain has been very good at this point, which I’m very happy with. I still like a crazy person, weigh myself everyday. Ever since I started my keto lifestyle roughly around two years ago, I’ve always weighed myself every morning. I am not doing keto while pregnant, it’s not very good to go low to no carbs, and besides I crave carbs! I know that I’m going to gain weight being pregnant, it just helps me know how much I really am gaining throughout this pregnancy and very happy with the results!

Getting my five to six day a week workouts in, and feeling great! When I say feeling great, I definately don’t feel like my normal self working out but I’m so happy that I’m still moving my body 32 weeks later! Just about everyday, I am doing the Nancy Taylor Prenatal Workout which is pretty easy, gets my heart rate up, and my body moving. I feel very proud of myself for maintaining a workout routine for the most part almost daily. I feel so good after my workouts, which is why I do the majority of them in the mornings unless I’m in the office that day. I feel energized throughout the day, until mid-late afternoon and then I’m pooped.

Little man is the size of a cantaloupe now. But feels like I’m carrying a bowling ball some days! For real, I feel like I’ve got the pregnant lady waddle going on some days. If I do too much during the day, like lots of laundry, cleaning, up and down at work, then I can feel it at night. The belly literally feels like I’m carrying a gigantic bowling ball around and it hurts!

That’s all for now mamas! Stay tuned for a few more final pregnancy updates!

Our 2021 Christmas.

We’ve had some fun with the Elf on the Shelf this year! We call our elf Snitch, and he has had some adventures this holiday season. The excitement of finding him each morning is just the best, some mornings were more boring than others but for the most part it was all a success!

Part of our Christmas Bucket List this year, was to go downtown and do the bumper cars and ice skating. We went in the morning on a weekday, and it wasn’t very crowded. The weather was very cold though! The big kids were rockstars at ice skating, Hadley tried it at least but wasn’t a huge fan after she fell twice. She loved the bumper cars, so much fun!

We played Christmas card games, matching and go fish. I keep this set of cards in our Christmas bins, and we only play it during the holiday season to keep it special.

We take turns putting the angel up on the tree, we keep a handwritten list inside the angel container to keep track. This year it was Natalie’s turn, but she wasn’t at the house when we put the tree up so she let Hadley put the angel up in place of her. Growing up, my Grandma and Grandpa did the same thing with all of us grandkids, took turns putting the angel up. Love the little memories we are creating for our kiddos.

The one and only Black Friday purchase we made this year was a mini Keurig maker! I made this little corner of the kitchen a coffee / tea area. Kevin is a one cup of coffee kinda guy, and I like my chai tea latte’s!

Something about a clean kitchen before I go to bed makes me so happy. I try very hard to clean off the counters and dishes before bed, because waking up to a clean kitchen is just the best for me.

I’ve not written a blog post about this, but for two years in a row now I’ve made my own holiday planner for the season. It helps me keep things organized and it’s festive too!

Another Christmas Bucket List item is to make Christmas cookies! Since I’m 30+ weeks pregnant, I try not to stand for long periods of time so this year Hadley did a lot of the baking herself! I sat at the kitchen table, and basically told her what to do, and she did it all herself. She’s going to be a great baker!

Hadley and I got our Christmas mani/pedi done the week of Christmas! We knocked out a lot of our Christmas bucket list the two weeks before Christmas. She loves to get her nails and toes done! It was her idea for the blue snowflakes, and we loved it!

Kevin loves to make fires, and we did a lot of them during the holiday season. Hadley loves to watch and help him make the fires. He would make a fire every night if he could!

Another Christmas Bucket List item, go to the Festival of Lights! We ended up going with our cousins and had the best time. It was cold, but not super cold where it wasn’t enjoyable!

We made it to see Santa just in time before Christmas! This Santa is THE best around, he used to be at the Macy’s downtown but when they closed he moved a little further away. We drive about 45 minutes to see him each year, but he’s so worth it. He takes his time with the kids, really talks to them and makes them feel so special. Plus, he has his real life reindeer outside to see before you see Santa!

This was our first year going to the Coney Island Christmas Night of Lights! It was really neat to see, but not sure we’d go every year. The car line was about 2 hours just to get in to see the lights, then about 30-40 minutes of lights, and then you are done. So overall, almost three hours in the car! My god I had to pee like three times, thank God for portalets!

We celebrated our Christmas two days early this year, due to Kevin having to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So we left out the traditional cookies and milk for Santa!

Santa came!

We always make a big breakfast before we open presents, I know it drives the kids crazy but that’s what we do. And by big breakfast we have pancakes, biscuits, mini cinnamon rolls, bacon, sausage, goetta, eggs, donuts, orange juice, and chocolate milk. And when I’m not preggers, mimosas!

Christmas Eve night we went to my brother-in-laws house. We surely missed Kevin, but he was busy literally fighting two fires. One was a car fire, and the second an apartment fire. The second fire photo above is my husband kneeling down at the door.

Christmas Day was just Hadley and I at home. Snitch the Elf left her a goodbye note, saying how well behaved she was and he’ll be back next year. And in summer clothes of course, this girl was born to be by the water. After dinner, we did a little movie night and she picked out Santa Clause 2 and we had popcorn. If only Dad were home to make us a fire!

Hope you all had a great Christmas, and holiday season!

Friday favorites.

Our 2021 Christmas bucket list is finished! Not much time to complete every item, but we’re sure going to try to do as many as we can! Bucket list link here.

Exercise is still a major part of my routine, especially while being pregnant. It’s helped tremendously my mood, my health, and just feeling good overall!

We’ve been having so much fun with Snitch the Elf! One night this week, he was taking a ride down the banister. It’s so fun to experience Christmas through Hadleys eyes, makes everything so much more magical!

Reached the 30 week mark in my pregnancy! Some days I really wish for a cocktail, but that can wait a few more weeks right? Little man is the size of a bunch of broccoli. It feels weird to be in the 30 week mark now, time is just flying by!

We have lighting under our cabinets in the kitchen. We turn them on at night sometimes and it just gives off this cool glow. Lights are from Amazon.

We still need some larger items for little mans room, but I’m starting to get more of the smaller items. Things like baby wash cloths, sheets for the pack ‘n play, a lamp, and a cute little sign. When I found this sign with “little man” on it I threw it in my cart immediately!

Happy Friday! Looking forward to this weekend. Today is my daughters last day of school and then she’s on Christmas break. Up for this weekend is, a basketball game tonight, baking cookies tomorrow, and the big kids come on Sunday! Have a great weekend!

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Our 2021 Christmas Bucket List.

Here it is! The 2021 Christmas bucket list!

I know there’s not much time until Christmas, but it’s done and it’s ready to be checked off. If we don’t get to all of them, which we probably won’t, that is perfectly okay. It’s something our family looks forward to every Christmas, especially Miss Hadley. And I look forward to picking things to do, and drawing them!

Here are the bucket list items:

  • Wear Christmas jammies
  • Decorate the front porch
  • Mail Christmas cards
  • Christmas mani/pani
  • Take a drive to look at Christmas lights
  • Bake cookies
  • Buy a strangers coffee
  • Have a Grinch themed meal
  • Holiday movie marathon
  • Decorate a gingerbread house
  • Visit / take a picture with Santa
  • Bumper cars at Fountain Square
  • Go to the Festival of Lights at the Zoo
  • Donate a toy to a kid in need

We’ve already started some of the things on the list, need to cross some off. But we are excited for Christmas, it’ll be here before we know it!

Do you and your family do a bucket list for Christmas?

Friday favorites.

The elf on the shelf has been going strong this week! The elf is such a great motivator for getting ready for school in the mornings. I think her favorite one this week was movie night!

Sent our Christmas cards out this week! Read more about who we used here.

We finally put the angel on our tree! The kids take turns every year, and it was Natalie’s turn this year but she’s been busy with sports and hasn’t been here for a few weeks so she let Hadley put it on for her.

Starbucks to help make the workday go by faster! Chai tea latte is my favorite.

My work planner for 2022. I use a planner for work, and a different one for personal/home. I can’t imagine having lots of work things in my personal planner, I like to separate personal life from work life.

Hadley’s school has homemade gingerbread kits you can buy. We made this the other night and she went to town. They used a small milk carton from school lunches, and glued graham crackers on to it. Super cute and so simple!

29 weeks! Little man is moving and groovin in my tummy. Feeling him move everyday is such a cool feeling.

We hang the Christmas cards we receive in the mail on the basement door. Since the door is in the kitchen, we see it everyday so it’s the perfect spot! Love seeing all the photos and cards each year.

Miss Hadley sleeps just like her Daddy, all crazy and spread out. She’s the best sleeper though. Girl loves her sleep!

Happy Friday folks! Another busy weekend sort of. Movie night tonight, soccer game tomorrow, and then a birthday party for Hadley tomorrow night. And Kevin working lots of overtime. Single mama for the weekend. Have a good one!

An adventure is about to begin.

Yay! We have the best news to share. I feel like I’ve been keeping this secret for soo long, but we wanted to wait for the right time to share on here. By now most of you have probably seen our pregnancy announcement on Instagram, but if not…our family is growing! We will be having a sweet little baby come February!

As this blog has been a place of documentation for this life, it’s only fitting to write a post celebrating our growing family! So I’d like to share a little about our journey to this place we are at.


We found out I was pregnant towards the end of June. I was literally one of those women that had no clue I was pregnant, mainly because we were done trying about two years now. I was eleven days late with my period, and thought oh my I better take a test to see. I remember this night distinctively, it was late like 10pm and I took a pregnancy test that was probably left over from my now seven year old daughter. The test was positive almost immediately. Another “oh my” went through my brain. I called my husband at the firehouse and told him over the phone. Yes I know, but I couldn’t keep that to myself all night! He suggested I get another test, preferably one that is brand new the next morning and take another one. Sure enough, the next morning the test was instantly positive again.

I was in shock. Happy, but in shock. Two years prior to this, I experienced a miscarriage. It was tough, but it wasn’t meant to be. I’m a firm believer everything happens for a reason. After the miscarriage, we stopped trying and worrying about it. I was content with not having anymore kids. Well, two years later surprise! Baby on the way!

It truly feels surreal, and it took me awhile to actually accept that this was really happening. We had just donated 90% of my daughters baby stuff, so we are literally starting from scratch again. The only thing I kept was a pink high chair!


We chose to find out the gender super early, at ten weeks! I didn’t know you could find out that early now, but it was all done through blood work. I had some of the genetic and other testing done also which all came back great. It’s a little hard to see, but I made cake pops and had Hadley bite into them to find out if it was a boy or girl. Well….it’s a BOY! We are so excited!

I started taking weekly photos here and there. And you’ll notice none of them are of the side view. I’m not a fan of the side view pregnant or not! Maybe when the belly gets super super round! The 21 week ultrasound was my favorite visit so far, you could really see the little mans head!


So far, I’m feeling so good! I’m in my third trimester, and finally starting to feel pregnant! It’s been weird, but I haven’t really felt pregnant until the third trimester. I had very minimal symptoms in the very beginning, felt a little nauseous here and there, but never got sick. I’ve felt totally different than with my daughter Hadley. I’ve been exercising just about everyday, some days I might not do a workout per se, but I’ll do something to move my body and get my heart rate up. I know every pregnancy is different, and I’m so grateful this one has been so easy so far.

Cravings have been pretty mild up until the third trimester. I’m craving anything chocolate and carbs. Prior to getting pregnant, I was a huge keto fan and was able to maintain my lifestyle with that way of eating. The second I got pregnant, ground beef which is one of my favorite proteins to eat, was repulsive and I couldn’t even look at it! I’m not a coffee drinker, so I don’t have to worry about too much caffeine.


Prayers for a healthy baby boy and pregnancy! I cannot wait until birth to find out the gender, I am too much of a planner! We have his room all painted, the crib set up, and the recliner all ready to go. Still need a few things yet, and have started to accumulate some clothes!


How are you feeling?
Now that I’m in the third trimester, I’m finally starting to feel pregnant! Weird, I know but it is what it is. Feeling pretty good, have lots of energy until late in the day and then I just want to chill.

When are you due?
I’m due mid-late February! Perfect month, because during maternity leave the weather will be getting warmer, let’s hope!

Do you know if you’re having a boy or girl?
Yes, as pictured above in this post, we are having a BOY! We have a few names picked out, but are not sharing until birth. I like to have some sort of surprise!

Is Hadley excited?
Yes, she is very excited. Some days she’s totally into it, other days she’s not so much. I think with her being seven years old, she’ll be such a great help. But also, I don’t think she knows how much her world is really going to change having a baby around.

Thank you for reading! You can find me online on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook. If you’d like to be notified when I publish a new post, you can follow me on Bloglovin’ or subscribe via email

Hello December.

Happy last and most exciting month of the year! A month filled with so much Christmas spirit, and welcoming a new year. A month when the kiddos can’t wait for school break, gifts, cookies, and of course the big guy Santa!

For my daughter Hadley, December is a month of truly believing in the spirit of Christmas. She loves all the traditions we’ve started for the holidays. Christmas lights on the house, decorations all throughout the house, Elf on the shelf, Advent calendar, St. Nick, Christmas bucket list, celebrations at school, and much much more!

What are your plans for this month? Are you excited for the new year?

Happy December to all of you!

30 days of Thanksgiving.

This year I’m doing a little project where I post a photo of something I’m thankful for each day of November, using a few different hashtags but the main one is #30daysofthanksgiving. I’ve done this a few years ago, and wanted to bring it back this year. My goal for this project is to focus on something everyday, to help me feel more appreciative. Thankfulness is what it’s all about! The ten photos above is what I’ve done so far! The 11th day will be posted later tonight.

I encourage you to participate or just follow along! Instagram handle: @lifewithmandyjoy.

P.S. Happy Veterans Day! Thank you to those that have served.

November is here.

Oh, November.

We made it through the first week! I predict great things this month, and fully intend on enjoying each of the 30 days. October was good and our normal busy, but I foresee November being a bit more on the faster pace side of things. Which isn’t a bad thing necessarily, being busy helps me prioritize and plan things better believe it or not.

Can you believe all the Christmas ads and deals that are everywhere you look? I feel like Christmas is being rushed even earlier this year. I mean, it’s just the beginning of November! I have to focus on hosting Thanksgiving, not buying Christmas presents already!

Here’s a little recap from our first week of November…

Hadley was off school the first day of November, her school met their goal for the Walk-a-thon which meant a day off! I remember when private schools used to have the day after Halloween off for All Saints Day, but not our school.

Celebrated a work anniversary last week, and by celebrated I took this selfie while working in the office and posted it on my Instagram stories. (Follow my IG stories @lifewithmandyjoy). That’s about the extent of celebrating around the office.

The best helper around! While I was blowing the leaves after cutting the grass, this little one goes into the garage and grabs a rake and starts raking the leaves without being asked! She must’ve been out there for a good 45 minutes just raking away. Just love her willingness to help all on her own.

After ordering my favorite chai tea latte from Starbucks, the barista wrote the nicest message on the cup. I didn’t even notice until I got back to work! Never heard of Thursday being called Friday Jr.! Little things like a message on a cup can definitely brighten the day!

Hadley had her first ever basketball game! She is in the middle shooting a basket. At the first grade level, they practice before the game, and then have two halves, and they play at half court. She did very well! She had two baskets, and dribbled the ball pretty good for not playing before.

First cheer competition in the books! This was her first season cheering for football, and they ended the season with a competition. It was a fun long day, filled with makeup, hair, and waiting for their time slot to perform the routine. They practice for only three weeks, and did so great for first timers! Go Vols!

Welcome November. I’m glad you’re here.