by Melanie

Lesson Learned: Never Update your WordPress Theme

January 15, 2015 in Office by Melanie


Tuesday night after I got home from a meeting and the kids were all in bed for the night, I sat down to do a little blogging… and that’s when the nightmare started.

Let’s rewind a bit to the end of 2013 when I was just starting Forty Eighteen. I spent a LOT of time finding just the right wordpress theme for the look I wanted. I didn’t want to spend a million dollars, but I wanted some flexibility. Being able to customize it was a must, and there were some features I wasn’t willing to budge on. After a lot of searching and trying things out, I found the perfect theme for me. And the best part??? It was free! It still had tons of options and plenty of flexibility that you would normally expect from a fancy theme that cost a pretty penny, but mine was free and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

This miracle theme came with a warning. It was out of date and a new version would be coming soon. You could pre-order the premium version of the new update and get some extras. But the free version had everything I wanted, so I didn’t bother with it. I didn’t think much of the update. I figured I would see it when it was available.

Fast forward to Tuesday night. I logged into the admin side of my blog and found a few available updates waiting for me. For the first time EVER, one of them was the update for my theme to the new version! It’s time to update, baby!

This is where the nightmare begins. Like a complete IDIOT, I just clicked update. I didn’t look at the theme page, check out the demo, try out the live preview, or even look at screenshots. I figured the version I had was so wonderful that the update would be like that only better.

I cringe when I think about how naive I was.

The update finished and activated, I clicked on “Visit Site,” excited to see how amazing my blog looked now.








I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing. ALL OF THAT WORK!!! My header was gone, replaced by my blog title in a generic font. My sidebars were gone, replaced by nothing, absolutely nothing. All of my features and customization were gone. I had a generic title and a post and that was it. I was absolutely sick.

What was I thinking??? I know better than that!

I started frantically hitting ctrl+z hoping by some miracle that I could just undo that last little bitty change I had made to my site.

Did you know ctrl+z doesn’t work in every situation??? Aargh!!!

Google will know what to do! I started searching for how to rollback to a previous version of a WP theme. Surely I wasn’t the only one who had made such a colossal mistake, so there must be someone out there with a you tube video explaining how to recover all of my hard work.

Nope. Aargh!!!

Time to pull up my big girl panties and deal with it. I decided it was time to get to work. I had made this moronic mistake and now I had to live with the consequences and recreate my blog. But when I got to work I realized that some of my no-budge features weren’t even options in this new and “improved” version. Aargh!!!

Fine. So instead of recreating my blog with this new theme, it was time to intensify the search for the old version. Wonder of wonders! I found a zip file of my old version of the theme! Hallelujah!!! Time to install it.

The folders already exist. Installation failed. Aargh!!!

The folders already exist? Oh, that’s right, of course they do! I have to delete the current version of the theme before I install the old one. But when I clicked on the theme, “Delete” wasn’t even an option.

Back to Google! Unfortunately, Google told me to do exactly what I had already done to find the delete button. Luckily, that’s when I had an epiphany. I couldn’t delete the theme I was using! So I switched to another theme, and the delete button magically appeared. I clicked delete, accepted the warning that I wouldn’t be able to undo it (believe me – I know ctrl+z doesn’t work in theme installations), and watched it disappear.

That’s when it hit me… I just lost everything! All of my customization and settings and code that I had spend so many hours tweaking was all gone. Aargh!!! I felt sick again.

Oh well, too late to do anything about it now. I installed my zip file and miracle of miracles it worked!!! I clicked on “Visit Site” and stopped breathing again. My header was back, but my sidebars were still gone. Aargh!!!

Oh well, at least I have the right version of the theme now, so I know I can get it all back. Time to put on those big girl panties again and get to work! I started setting up my sidebars and recoding things. Then I scrolled down a little farther as I was moving things around and noticed EVERYTHING at the bottom of the page in an “inactive sidebar” section. I didn’t lose everything after all!!! Yippee! Wahoo!!!

It was 3:30 am by the time I got to bed. After a night of drag and drop, cut and paste, code and tweak, I was pretty proud of myself for fixing my major screw-up. My site was back – and I even made a few of the changes I had been thinking about making for awhile.

Most importantly, I learned a very valuable lesson: NEVER EVER update my wordpress theme!

Have you made any colossal mistakes lately?

Interested in some more lessons I have learned?

I attended my very first blog conference last year and learned how to rock it.


This little trick I learned has saved my sanity every school day morning.


When I learned what my family wants from our family home evenings, I was able to make it a better experience for everyone.

Improve your Family Home Evenings with this free printable from Forty Eighteen

I learned that my young kids are great at cleaning their rooms when they have some direction.

clean-your-room-chartWhat have you learned lately?

by Melanie

Top 14 Posts of 2014

December 27, 2014 in Office by Melanie

As this first blogging year comes to an end, I am loving looking back at the year’s highlights and favorite posts. It’s like the People’s Choice Awards of Forty Eighteen. Thank you so much for sticking by me through the thick and thin of it all – even when it has been awfully thin. Without you there wouldn’t be a top fourteen of anything. A lot of bloggers post their top 10 posts of the year, but of course I have to put my own little twist on a long-standing tradition. So here are the top 14 posts of 2014.


1. Teaching Primary Music: Seek the Lord Early


I was primary music chorister for exactly 3 months before I was called to the stake primary presidency and asked to train the primary choristers. Eek!

2. Teaching PrimaryMusic: Love Is Spoken Here


A song about love on heart signs for Valentine’s Day. Oh so clever, eh?

3. Food Storage Your Family Will Actually Eat


This completely changed the way I thought about food storage.

4. Six Simple Pasta Salads


To qualify to be on this list, these pasta salads had to be super simple and delicious. Mission accomplished.

5. Brown Sugar Carrots


I hated cooked carrots as a kid, but my kids cheer when they see these on the table and they eat every single bite.

6. Kiss Under the Stars

kiss under the stars

That’s my idea of a great date.

7. U-Pick Farms Tips and Tricks


All this never-ending snow out my window has me wishing for farms full of ripe berries and red tomatoes.

8. February Visiting Teaching Notes


I don’t like to go visiting teaching without a treat and a great thought, and I love this one.

9. Favorite Popcorn Balls


I made these at least 5 times a week every summer when I was growing up.

10. Simple BBQ Menu


I would happily BBQ every day all summer long and never get tired of it. This super easy marinade kicked off a week of simple BBQ recipes.

11. Go Clean Your Room


Chuck would go into her room and stare at the mess, completely overwhelmed, until I made this chart for her. Now she knows how to clean it and gets it done much faster. I’m a huge fan of kids cleaning their own rooms.

12. Can you fire a tooth fairy?

tooth-fairy silhouette

I’m pretty sure we have the worst tooth fairy ever.

13. Creamy Corn Salad


I don’t remember what on earth made me try these ingredients together, but it’s one of my absolute favorite salads now.

14. Chicken Vegetable Soup


This homemade chicken noodle soup is full of veggies and is the perfect comfort food for chilly nights.

Did your favorite post make it to this list?

I have been planning and prepping for 2015, and I am so excited to share another great year with you and make even more friends along the way. Here’s to an even better year at Forty Eighteen!

by Melanie

2 Simple Ways to Make Money Online

September 2, 2014 in Office by Melanie

I am in awe of moms who manage to work full time AND manage their household. Some days I feel like I’m barely scraping by. There are those magical days when I make scrumptious bread and feel like Supermom… but mostly just scraping by.

I love finding ways to make a few extra dollars at home. I have taught piano lessons, done a bit of tutoring, and even worked as a medical transcriptionist, but this post isn’t about such a major commitment.

I’m a big fan of making a few clicks online every day and being rewarded. Naturally this isn’t a recipe for making big money, but I love getting a $5 Amazon gift card (my reward of choice) every few weeks. Those little puppies really start to add up.



swagbucksHow many times do you search for something online? For me it’s a few times a day. If I can get rewarded for something I do anyway, I should take advantage, right?

Swagbucks awards “bucks” for web searches, a daily poll, playing games, daily tasks, watching videos, and many other ways. Collect your bucks to redeem rewards. I like Amazon gift cards, but there are many more choices. Refer friends to earn even more bucks.

Be Rewarded with the Web's Premiere Rewards Site

Remember to install the Swagbucks Toolbar for a daily point you don’t even have to think about. Click here to join.



bing logo

Bing is so easy, and you can count on your daily points. You get 1 point for every 2 web searches, 1 point for every 2 mobile searches, and 1 point for each extra credit search. Make Bing your homepage, click through the popular searches, and bam! you’ve got your points for the day. When you get to silver status, your referrer gets rewarded with 500 points – so refer your friends to get those points for yourself. When you get to gold status, you get discounts on the rewards you redeem.

Steve earns his Bing points at work, then he redeems his points for GameStop gift cards that he uses to feed his addiction. He plays one video game and they release a new version every year, so he ends up paying half price for his yearly fix after he has redeemed his reward points. You already know I’m a fan of Amazon gift cards, and they are an option in this reward store, too.

Click here to join.


Do you have a favorite way to make some extra money?

Disclaimer: These are referral links. I will get some reward points when you use my links to sign up.

by Melanie

My First Blog Conference – Lessons Learned

February 11, 2014 in Office by Melanie

I am seriously considering a career change. I want to live the life of a blog conference junkie. Is that a thing? Build Your Blog Conference 2014 was so much fun! I just want to travel the world attending conferences and meeting amazing bloggers from everywhere!

I would also love a chance to relive some of my favorite moments and try to do a few things better. Because I want my next conference to be even BETTER, I made a list of some lessons I learned at my first blog conference.

13 ways to ROCK your first blog conference from

#1: Dress for comfort. I’m not talking sweats or yoga pants, although if that’s what you want to wear – go for it! You can dress up or go casual, but either way make sure you are comfortable in what you’re wearing. You don’t want to be adjusting and stressing about your outfit all day. And for the love of all chocolate, wear comfortable shoes.

13 ways to ROCK your first blog conference from

#2: Don’t be shy! One of the main reasons you attend a conference is to network. This is not the time to be a wall flower. Say hello, reach out, ask questions and really get to know people. The friends you make will be your blogger network and your support group. And you never know when you will make a lifelong friend.

#3: You don’t need a bajillion media kits or a thousand business cards. Definitely bring business cards and media kits, but don’t overdo it. Even if 1,000 bloggers will be attending your conference, you won’t be able to meet all of them. There’s only so much time in a day, after all.

#4: Write notes on the business cards you collect. Include reminders of how and when you met or something to help you remember the blogger later. You will leave with MANY cards, and you will want reminders to help you follow up later.

13 ways to ROCK your first blog conference from

#5: Stay on the property! Even if you’re local, take advantage of any hotel discounts being offered and stay in the middle of the action. Totally worth every penny! No worries about weather, driving conditions, driving time, or trying to leave the kids again in the morning. Not to mention the convenience of walking downstairs to the workshops and extra time you get to play with your roommates and new friends! You can ask for roommates if you want to split the cost (or just have more fun). If the rooms are all full, you shouldn’t have any problem finding someone willing to take you on as a roommate.

13 ways to ROCK your first blog conference from

#6: Take advantage of local discounts, offers, and any extras offered through your conference. We got to enjoy fabulous waffles for breakfast, fresh from the Waffle Love truck that parked right outside the hotel just for us. We had special shopping discounts at the local mall. A group of us were able to have a free dinner at an amazing restaurant provided by one of the sponsors. Indulge and enjoy any extras that are part of your conference.

#7: Unless you’re going to a hands-on photography workshop, don’t bother with the big fancy camera. Between the swag bag (or two), snacks, notes, business cards, media kits, and everything else, you already have enough to carry around. You know you will be attached to your phone, (aren’t we all?) so be best friends with your phone’s camera. Speaking of cameras…

#8: Take a million pictures. I know, I know. What kind of a blogger has to be told to take photos of everything? Apparently me. I was shocked to get home and discover I hardly had any pictures! That is definitely one thing I would change if I could do it over.

#9: Choose the right bag. I brought a backpack. I regretted it the ENTIRE weekend. Too bulky, too awkward, and too inconvenient. Make a better choice than I did. Next time I think a cross body messenger bag will be perfect for me.

13 ways to ROCK your first blog conference from

#10: You don’t need to pack so many snacks. Seriously. This one is for me. After the dinner (it was so dark in the restaurant that I couldn’t get a good photo on my camera, but trust me, it was way more amazing than it looks), fabulous breakfast, big lunch, snacks in the swag bag, and treats offered by just about every sponsor, I didn’t even touch my snacks until the very last afternoon when I had a few almonds and a bit of chocolate. I basically added extra weight to my load for nothing. I’m sure I will still pack a few snacks next time, but I will keep it small.

#11: Set goals. What do you want to get out of the conference? Why are you here? Make some goals and then focus on them throughout the conference.

13 ways to ROCK your first blog conference from

#12: You will be overwhelmed. You will. It’s ok. In fact, it’s totally normal. You just learned a TON of stuff in just a little time! Don’t stress about it. Just choose one new thing and implement it. Then add another when you’re ready. Don’t try to do it ALL at once. Just choose something and do it.

#13: Relax and have fun! No need to stress or worry. You will have a great experience, so be sure to enjoy it while it happens because it will be over before you know it!

Have you been to a blog conference? What did you learn? What advice would you give to a first-timer?

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