Life Lately

I can’t believe how long it has been since my last blog post. Last year it felt much easier to post consistently, but now that it seems things are getting a little more “back to normal” where we live, we have been so busy. I last blogged on March 30, sharing our potato painting project, but since then, this is what we have been up to.

We celebrated Easter! Our Easter last year was so weird, and we weren’t able to see family, but this year my grandparents were vaccinated so that we could spend Easter with them. Brooklyn loved dying Easter Eggs, searching for Easter Basket on Sunday morning, and having an Easter Egg hunt with her cousins. She also really loved the hot pink rain boots that the Easter Bunny brought for her, and in true two-year-old fashion she refused to take them off.

Brooklyn started going back to swim lessons. We haven’t been to swimming lessons since 2019, and it was great to get back in the pool finally. We are doing a Mommy & Me class at our local YMCA and go twice a week; she loves being in the water and learning how to swim. That being said, swimming really takes it out of you and once swim class is over we both want to take a nap.

We took a road trip to Houston to see family and celebrate our nephew’s 5th birthday! Although the drive is only about 2.5 hours, we decided to stay overnight. It was a nice little getaway that we weren’t expecting.

When we got home from Houston, we immediately drove to a local field (haha), where we took pictures in the Bluebonnets. Being from Texas, I feel like this is a right of passage. Everyone gets pictures in the Bluebonnets at least once in their life; I felt like Brooklyn needed to do it. I’m thankful that we live across the street from an amazing photographer and I can’t wait to get our pictures back.

Overall, life seems to get busier and busier, and I’m getting more tired each day. I went through a funk where I honestly didn’t feel like being on social media, but it’s starting to get better. I think sometimes Instagram can feel defeating, especially for a “creator.” There is so much time and effort that goes into some of my posts, and when I don’t get great feedback, I start to wonder why you are doing it in the first place. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by so many people who give me confidence and support (and I’m forever appreciative of that).

Hopefully, life will slow down a little bit in the next couple of weeks so that I can find time to share more. I hope you have a fabulous Friday!

Sending love and magic.

Where Do We Go From Here – 2021 Plan

If you read my last post, you know that my Instagram account has been disabled since December 20, 2020. What I thought would be an easy fix has turned into a long, drawn-out process, and truthfully, I don’t think I will ever get my account back. Losing my Instagram account (over someone impersonating me) has been such a weird blow, and I have spent the last couple of weeks thinking about how I want to move forward.

I started my @minnievanmom Instagram account in March 2020, and it quickly grew into something I truly loved. When Instagram disabled my account, it made me rethink my blog and social media accounts plan. It is terrifying that you can put so much time and effort into social media, and it can be taken away, no questions asked. I’ve gone back and forth over whether or not I should “start over,” and it stresses me out to think that I could put more time and effort into something, and it could be removed again. I’ve thought about using other social media platforms; I just really loved using Instagram.

So, where does that leave me? Over the last couple of days, I’ve sat and thought about where I should go from here. On the one hand, I have truly enjoyed the break from social media, but on the other hand, I really love creating content. I’ve decided that in 2021 I will focus more time and energy on my blog and less time and energy on social media. Eventually, I may start a new Instagram or Tik Tok account, but for now, I will focus on creating content and blogging (and using a platform that can’t be taken away from me).

I hope you will stick around for all of the fun that I have planned for this year. If you haven’t subscribed to my blog, enter your email address below and sign up to follow along.

Sending love and magic.

My Instagram Account Was Disabled

UPDATE 1/11/2021 – After 3 weeks of trying, my Instagram Account was finally reenabled! If you aren’t doing so yet, make sure to follow @minnievanmom on Instagram.

As most of you know, I started Minnie Van Mom by creating an Instagram account that slowly turned into a blog. I spent hours curating the best content for my Instagram, connecting with others, and sharing what was happening in my life. Ten days ago, on my 31st birthday, I thought there was no better way to celebrate than by sharing a giveaway with my followers. Boy, was I wrong.

When I decided to do a giveaway, I wanted to do something fun, useful, and Disney (of course), so I decided to giveaway the cutest Mickey Mouse Loungefly Backpack. I’ve done giveaways many times before without any issues, and I was excited to give something away right before Christmas. The rules were relatively simple, follow me and tag a friend on my post, with plans to announce the winner on Christmas Eve. I posted the giveaway on my Instagram page on December 19 and Sunday, December 20, I woke up to quite a few of my followers informing me that someone had made a fake account pretending to be me

The account was “@minnievanmom.official” to my “@minnievanmom,” and they had even stollen and used my profile picture. Although I didn’t screenshot the account itself, the bio said something like “the official winner account of @minnievanmom,” and they followed my followers. This account was apparently messaging my followers saying, “Congratulations! You won my giveaway! Please enter your credit card information for shipping, and I will mail you your prize”. But, they weren’t mailing anything; they were pretending to be my and stealing my followers’ credit card information.

Although I knew that I couldn’t control crazy people, I felt responsible and honestly sick to my stomach. I immediately reported the account as impersonating me. I also went to my personal Instagram account and reported the fake Instagram account from there as well. I felt a little better until I went back to my @minnievanmom account and received an error message informing me that MY account had been disabled.

At first, I felt stressed, followed by some calm (because, well, I KNEW my account wasn’t doing anything wrong). The message I saw on my @minnievanmom Instagram account said they would text my phone a code and that I needed to enter the code to regain access to my account. I followed the directions, and the next message I saw told me that in 24 hours, I could return to my Instagram account to file a review. The whole thing made me so upset, I tried reaching out to Instagram but quickly learned that there was NO ONE to talk to, so I waited for 24 hours.

The next day, I tried logging back into my account, and I saw a screen asking for my information. I entered my name, email address, and Instagram handle and attached a copy of my driver’s license. Once that form was filled out submitted, I received a message saying that Instagram would soon contact me.

A couple hours later, I received and email asking me to send a selfie with my license in hand, which I did, and moments later received this message:

I was shocked, genuinely shocked. I racked my brain, wondering HOW this could possibly be the case as the account was mine; I created it and had worked so hard on it. I tried submitting a new picture and received the same message, so finally, I cried.

The next day, I got my act together. I woke up early and researched as much as possible about disabled Instagram accounts and what I could do about it. I quickly realized that there wasn’t really much I could do, but I would try. To start, I remembered that Facebook owns Instagram, so I decided to give Facebook Customer Service a try. Luckily, my Instagram account was a “Creator” account, and it was connected to my Minnie Van Mom Facebook page, which is a business page, so I was able to reach out to Facebook Business Help.

Finally, I was able to talk to a person and explain what was going on. I tried not to let my frustration get the best of me and just explained what happened. My Facebook contact, gathered some information from me and created a case ID. She informed me that this would need to go to a specialized team and give me updates along the way. Staying true to her word, she has emailed me every so often over the past couple of days, giving me updates and asking questions about my account. Unfortunately, that is about as far as I have gotten.

So now, I wait. It has been nine days since Instagram disabled my account; Nine days, I have been unable to create content and connect with people, which I love doing. It is still insane to me that my account was disabled for impersonation when I was the one who reported someone for truly impersonating me; someone who was using the Instagram platform to steal others’ credit card information.

Although I have cried about it multiple times, I try to see the good in the situation. My account was disabled over Christmas which means I could unplug and spend time with my family without worrying about content. I had a wonderful Christmas with my family and didn’t have to worry about taking pictures or posting things. I am losing hope quickly that I will ever have access to my account again, but I hope this will inspire me to push myself and do new things in 2021.

If you have any tips or tricks on how I can get my Instagram account back, please comment below or message me. I will take all of the help that I can get.

Sending love and magic.

Life Lately

These past few weeks have been so busy! I feel like I haven’t had a moment to sit down and catch my breath, let alone write a blog post. Halloween flew by, and then, between daily tasks and getting ready for the holidays, I haven’t had a break. I wanted to share today about what is going on in our life lately.

I swore that I would hold out on decorating for Christmas this year, but after Halloween was over, I changed my mind. I was so ready for the cheeriness of Christmas; I put up our Christmas Tree almost immediately. The funny thing is that when we bought our house two years ago, I walked in and knew exactly where I wanted the Christmas Tree to go, and now putting it up is something that I look forward to. Once the tree was up, the rest of the house had to be decorated as well. Although I’m not finished decorating, I’ll give you a glimpse of what our naked tree looked like. In a couple of weeks, I will do a full blog post on how our home is decorated for the holidays.

Speaking of Christmas, I have so busy preparing activities, recipes, and crafts for the upcoming holiday season! This year, my hope is to get my daughter her own small tree to decorate, and I plan to help her fill it with Christmas crafts. I plan to share all of these crafts on my blog and Instagram, and they will be full of Disney magic (of course).

In September, my family and I took a trip to Cinnamon Shore in Port Aransas, Texas, to celebrate my daughter’s 2nd birthday. While we were there, we unanimously decided that we needed to go back ASAP, so we booked another trip. This past weekend we were all able to go again and had a fantastic time. We stayed in the same home (Happy Kat Cottage II), rented golf carts, and even went fishing. On Saturday night, we had a bonfire set up on the beach for our family, and we were able to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. It was the best weekend, and of course, we are already talking about going back to Cinnamon Shore next year.

While we were at the beach, my family and I played a super fun game that was sent to me. The game is called Sketchy Tales: Disney Edition, and it would make the PERFECT Christmas gift this year! Sketchy Tales is like a Telephone and Pictionary combination and perfect for families (even if you’re terrible at drawing). You start by pulling a character card and an action card (Mickey Mouse and Kissing a Goldfish, for example). You draw what the cards say and then pass them to the next person who writes down what they think you drew, and they give it to the next person who then draws what they wrote down (and so on). Once the card gets back to the original artist, they get to decide which drawing was their favorite, and that player gets the point. You can purchase Sketchy Tales: Disney Edition at Target and on Amazon (I’ve included my affiliate link for Amazon, if you purchase through this link, I will receive a small commission).

Overall, these weeks have been busy but so much fun! I can’t wait for Thanksgiving and Christmas activities (and social distancing) as we try to navigate to the end of the year. I have so much fun planned, and I hope that you stick around for it.

Sending love and magic.

Life Lately

I decided that I want to start sharing a weekly update telling you what is going on in my life and what my family has been up to all week. After all, motherhood is more than just cute recipes and movie nights, it’s often monotonous and tiring, and I want to share it all with you! So, I hope you don’t mind these posts that will give you a little look into my life.

Recently, I signed my daughter up for dance class at a local dance studio. Before Covid, I tried to do many activities (music class, playgrounds, etc.) outside of my home to help socialize her. She has always stayed home with me and is very unsure around other people, so I’ve tried really hard to expose her to new people and new situations. Now that we are home all the time, I’ve been struggling to find things for her to do. Luckily, a dance studio that is close to my house, has social distancing measures in place, so I decided to sign her up. She is starting to enjoy going to dance class every Monday, and she is finally warming up to the idea of being around other children (thank goodness).

Besides dance class this week, we also did a really easy craft that I shared on my Instagram, but I figured I would share it on my blog. I am always looking for easy toddler crafts, and the one that I came up with this past week was perfect for Halloween. Essentially, I took a white foam board and cut into the shape of a Mickey Mouse ghost with my Exacto knife. I then covered the foam board with glue and allowed my daughter to stick cotton balls all over it. Finally, I added black construction paper Mickey Ears and a face. It was the cutest craft, and I loved how it looked on our mantle for Halloween.

We finished out all of our Halloween activities this week including our It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Movie Night that I wrote about here.

On Saturday night, my family came over, and we put together a small “Halloween Carnival” in my backyard for my daughter, niece, and nephew. They played games and won prizes. I made a delicious Halloween-inspired charcuterie board for everyone to snack on, and my friend Suzanne made us the perfect Mickey Halloween cookies. If you are in the San Antonio, Texas area, make sure you check out Suzy Homebaker.

We finished Halloween by doing some socially distanced trick-or-treating around our neighborhood on our golf cart. This year, my daughter was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and of course, my husband, puppy, and I had do dress up as the Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man. It was such a fun Halloween full of so many wonderful memories.

Today is November 1, which means I have the ultimate internal debate: when do I decorate for Christmas? We usually jump right into it, but this year I am thinking about waiting a couple of weeks and enjoying fall for awhile. Although, I’ve already started listening to Christmas music. I can’t wait to see what this week brings, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Sending love and magic.