Life & Family · Monthly Recaps

February Wrap-up

What I Read

  1. Duchess by Deception ~ Marie Force {ARC from Goodreads}
  2. Alaskan Holiday ~ Debbie Macomber {ARC from Goodreads}
  3. Avalon ~ Mindee Arnett
  4. The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House ~ Stephanie Lam {begun, not finished yet}
  5. An Impartial Witness (Bess Crawford, 2) ~ Charles Todd {begun, not finished yet}

What I Watched

Movies:

TV Shows:

What I Cooked/Ate

  1. Hummus wraps with veggies and {a fairly mild} hot sauce. They also have cucumbers, onions, mushrooms, and banana peppers.
  2. Sweet potato hash with chorizo and eggs.
  3. Eggs Bennies, of course. We’ve been cutting back but it still happens.
  4. The traditional Steak n Shake monthly meal.
  5. We also had pizza twice and got Chinese take-out once. I’m trying to not eat out, but it was a rough month. This was not the total amount of fast food I ate in January.

What I Did

Image of a sunrise at the beach with a bird in the foreground

Sat on the beach with Shane as the sun rose on New Years Day. A super hopeful beginning to the year.

Visited Huntington Beach State Park with Shane and his mom. We went to see Atalaya again, since she’s never seen it. I love that park.

I also spent a weekend at my parents’ place. I stopped by on my way home from campus on Friday and left on Sunday morning. Shane even came and spent the night with me on Saturday night. This is big because my parents’ dog has a habit of biting at Shane.

I can’t talk abut a lot of stuff that happened this month, but basically it’s been a really rough month and I spent *a lot* of time sitting on the couch playing Solitaire on my phone.

Used a couple bath bombs from Christmas and they made the water look like Kool-Aid. Big fan.

Finally found a doctor down here. The appointment was rescheduled twice but 3rd times the charm. I really like my doctor and she’s super responsive.

~S~

Life & Family

Bullet Journal – 1 Month Update

I definitely bit off more than I could chew…again. It’s not super surprising, considering that’s kind of my thing, but I’ve changed it up for February so it should go a bit better.

What Worked

Almost nothing, honestly. That’s not entirely true – while I really only used one of the month-specific spreads (and only made a single weekly layout), I actually did use some of the longer-term Collections.

The monthly spread I did use was the Read/Watched spread that I used to make in my journal. It’s literally just a list of stuff I read and stuff I watched over the month. Books in the top, movies in the middle, and tv shows at the bottom.

January was a slow month in terms of things I needed to track, so the only spreads I really used were the lists of tv shows and movies to watch and the next books to read (aka a list of books I already own) to mark stuff off of.

The best use of my bullet journal was list making, which makes sense. It’s kind of soothing to write my lists in there, for whatever reason. I also looked at my Winter Bucket List and 2019 Resolutions spreads a few times as well.

What Didn’t

Roughly everything, obviously. Mostly trackers, actually. Apparently I hate tracking things. I also didn’t have much to track. I didn’t use my letter tracker or my library tracker at all and my Thankful For tracker and Spending Log fizzled out super quickly. Habit trackers didn’t catch on either. I have a planner, so the weekly spreads felt redundant – why am I redrawing something I already have?

I also had a rough month in real life, so that may have something to do with it. I know that’s why I didn’t do any meal planning in there, I didn’t eat in a way that made any sense for most of the month.

The Plan

So for February I’m going back to basics. I’m pretty much just going to do Read/Watch spread and weekly to-do lists without any daily separation. I’m also going to set up a meal planning spread, because that’s actually something I would really like to start doing.

Anyway, there’s the update. Hope your January went well!

~Sarah~

Life & Family

20 Random Things About Me

As a child of the MySpace era, I did lists like this all the time as a teenager. I haven’t done one in so long, so this is pretty nostalgic for me. Maybe I should break out the 5000 Question Survey from LiveJournal – I was in college when that came out so I never actually did it, but I was aware of it. Okay, I won’t really do that – I have things to do in my spare time.

  1. The best day of my life was the day I picked Laurie up from getting all his teeth removed and he laid on my chest for about 30 minutes. He’s never done that before or since. Laurie is one of my cats, if you’re new here.
  2. My first job was as a maintenance worker with the Youth Conservation Corps at a Revolutionary War site. We did things like pull VW buses out of the woods, broke apart house foundations, spread mulch, and moved enormous piles of bricks by tossing them brick by brick at each other. I loved that job.
  3. My grandfather asked my mom to give her last baby his family name since his son wasn’t having children. My parents threw the name I was supposed to have (Victoria Elizabeth) out the window & let my oldest brother pick my new first name.
  4. I love archaeology/anthropology/history/anything old & follow a bunch of specialty news sites to keep up with developments. I wish it was a feasible career for me, but it isn’t for a variety of reasons.
  5. I’m really interested in the first half of the 1900s at the moment (especially the period between the World Wars), but will also happily read about any time period other than my own.
  6. I read/watch a lot of British media, and I’m not sure why. I think it’s because they do a lot more that’s set in the past, which lines up with my interests.
  7. I’m also obsessed with the future & space.
  8. I did not mean to become a web developer and am frequently surprised by how easily I slipped into the role. I never thought I’d work a desk job.
  9. As a kid, the first thing I can remember wanting to be when I grew up was a farmer.
  10. I spent the first 6 years of my life in Germany & the Netherlands and the only reminders of my time overseas are my intense love of Brie, a small Delft collection, and a plethora of pictures.
  11. The local German registrar rejected my middle name and my parents had to appeal to get it approved. Even though I’m not German and my name technically followed the German naming laws.
  12. I want to write at least a few novels, but I get so worried about being terrible at it that I never get past writing basic scenes or background information. One day.
  13. I have always wanted to do a 101 in 1001 project, but it’s never worked out with my life. I’ve been thinking about trying again starting on my 32nd birthday in March, because life is never going to settle down so I might as well try again now.
  14. I am a dog person who happens to also be a cat person. People talk about how unfriendly cats are, but I appreciate the sass as much as I appreciate a dog’s pureness.
  15. I’m using DuoLingo to start learning German. At different times in my life I’ve tried to learn French, German, Spanish, and Welsh. I decided to focus on one, and somehow German won. I think it’s mostly because it’s a fun language to speak. Welsh is like speaking in poems, so I’ll probably do that next. Neither of these languages will probably ever come in handy.
  16. I started Bullet Journaling this month, but haven’t really kept up with the actual planning part of it. It’s fun for brainstorming and making lists, keeping track of movies, books, etc, but I don’t really touch the weekly situation. I think I started too ambitious.
  17. We have moved every 9-12 months for the past 5ish years and I’m ready to stay in this apartment for another year.
  18. I love a good hot beverage – hot chocolate, tea, coffee – and generally have at least one cup of hot chocolate or tea in the afternoon/evening. Coffee every morning.
  19. My favorite genres are science fiction, fantasy, historical, and suspense/mystery. Both reading and watching. I love watching sci-fi as much as reading it
  20. I would love to travel all over the country and world, and I have a list of places I want to see. Mostly I want to go back to Maine, though.

~Sarah~

Beach · Life & Family

New Year’s Day 2019

Shane had to work on New Year’s Day, but was done at 5am, so he came and woke me up (as well as made me breakfast). He was called back in, but was able to get done and back to the apartment before 7, so I just hopped into his car and we headed to the beach. It’s the first time we’ve gone to see the sunrise at the beach and it was lovely. It really was the perfect start to 2019.

I figured out how to optimize the camera for sunrise after I started shooting, so some pictures are much nicer than others.

These were taken directly before the sun began to rise – we really had the beach mostly to ourselves. A lady in a beach chair, a few people scattered down the beach, and a man with a metal detector (he showed up later) were really all there were. It started out really foggy, but cleared up really nicely.

We ended up in front of a bunch of seagulls and they were really fun to photograph. Apparently I love to take pictures of birds. Which is weird, since I hate birds in general.

Shane brought the drone he got for Christmas and took some great pictures. My favorite one is above – a stylized panoramic view of the beach that his drone’s software compiled.

Here’s to 2019.

Goals and Plans · Life & Family

2019 Goals

I’m doing “19 in 2019” this year. It is *exactly* what it sounds like – I have 19 goals to complete by the end of 2019. I know I already made a post on my 2019 reading resolutions, but to be honest, those are secondary goals. Completing the PopSugar Reading Challenge will not further my plan for world domination, now will it?

Goals and explanations below:

  1. Go minimal.
    • Am I a minimalist at heart? Almost certainly not. Does it seem like a good thing to explore? Sure. I need a good & thorough investigation of all my stuff anyway, despite moving every year for the past 5 years, I own too much stuff.
  2. Reorganize the apartment.
    • This one goes with number 1 up there. There needs to be a better way to organize the stuff we have.
  3. No buying books in 2019. I own 110+ books that I haven’t read. I have so many books {that I have read} that I have to store them in bins in the garage.
    • There are 3 books I *do* want to buy next year, so they don’t count.
    • This is probably the goal I’m most likely to not meet.
  4. Respond to my pen-pal letters within a week {two if there are extenuating circumstances – like a hurricane}.
  5. Lose the 20 pounds I gained in 2018. Preferably I’ll lose more, but those 20 need to get out of town for sure.
  6. Keep the blog up all year.
    • I’ve been enjoying it for the past little while and while I think I’ll be making changes, I don’t particularly want to stop.
  7. Read the entire Bible.
    • I’m a Christian and have never read the Bible front to back so that’s probably something I should remedy.
  8. Complete Couch to 5K….finally.
  9. Revamp my wardrobe.
    • This one has been hanging out on my ‘ get to it eventually’ list & I’d like to cross it off.
  10. Make at least 24 new recipes.
    • We’re going Paleo in January, so I’m pretty sure this one will be doable.
  11. Track our spending all year & develop a budget.
  12. Make real progress on my novel.
    • I’m not sure what this looks like yet, so it’ll most likely be updated along the way.
  13. Go tech-free for a weekend every quarter. From Friday after work through Sunday at bed. No phone, no tv, no internet.
    • Phone calls to moms don’t count.
  14. Make a list of things to do in Myrtle Beach and do them.
  15. Be more deliberate in the things that I decide to do.
    • I think most people could handle working on this from time to time.
  16. Pay off my credit card. Obviously.
  17. This one isn’t for sharing.
  18. Neither is this one, don’t be nosy.
  19. Nerp.

Blogmas · Life & Family

Christmas Recap

I thought I would have a lot more pictures from Christmas, but I didn’t take a lot. We spent Christmas Eve Eve with my parents at their place for a pretty excellent dinner. My brothers weren’t able to be there so it was just the four of us. I also scored some sweet Delft pottery from my parents’ Dutch adventures. I think it was my grandparents’ that they bought on a trip, but I’m not actually sure.

Christmas Eve I woke up at 6 am to help my mother in law (and Shane, to be fair) get ready for the party. I made Bread Pudding with Bourbon sauce, which is apparently my ‘thing’ now. People showed up around 4ish and there were a bunch. Shane’s cousin has 4 kids plus several of my MIL’s siblings and attendant spouses as well as Shane’s brother and his kids. Oh, all 6 kids are very, very girly girls, by the way. Also loud. So loud.

But I had a great time – my oldest niece is a month from 13 and she’s hilarious and genuinely fun to be around. My 9 year old niece is a sweet bundle of love. The other 4 girls are a bunch of energy, too. The youngest is about a year old (but is developmentally younger) and I got to hang out with her a bit. I love a baby…that I can give back.

Good food, good company, and my MIL’s cat letting me pet him a bunch (he’s a bit standoffish) made for an excellent Christmas 2018. The few pictures I took are below – some are from my parents, some from Christmas Eve.

Blogmas · Life & Family

2018 Highlights

2018 was bananas. I don’t just mean the country falling down around us, or Earth continuing its slow decline because we’re killing it, or the general insanity that has come to what feels like the entire world. Though all of those things are also true. It’s just been a crazy year, personally. I won’t remember the insanity in the future {yyaaaayyy bad memory}, so I thought I’d write up a few of the ‘highlights’ of the year. I’m intentionally avoiding the worst things that happened this year, by the way. Keeping it positive, but adding in some things that were just unique. I’ll have a normal end-of-2018 post later on, with stats and such.

  1. I have a nephew! He’s a chubby little ball of love and I can’t handle how cute he is.
  2. Hurricane Florence has to take the {almost} top spot, right? It was our first evacuation.
    • Shane and I took our boys and fled to the mountains of North Carolina. We didn’t spend that long up there, but I really feel like the weekish we spent dealing with the Hurricane put me behind on my to-do list by several weeks. I never recovered, and have been playing catch up since September.
    • Thankfully, my area of MB was fairly unscathed. Our grocery stores weren’t stocked for awhile and the roads were so flooded that we couldn’t leave town for awhile, but that was really it. Other people had it much worse. I still wish I had volunteered to help out, but maybe next hurricane.
  3. Shane got a new job! He had like 3 or 4 interviews for it, then started the week after his last one.
  4. We moved to Myrtle Beach in a grand total of 4 weeks from the day of his last interview. He had his last interview on April 12th and my parents drove the UHaul down on May 12th.
    • I had to pack the old apartment up without a lot of help because Shane had to be here to work. He did help when he could.
    • Tau immediately got a UTI when we got here and has been a different {re: needy} cat ever since.
  5. We celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary by forgetting it, packing all day, then saying ‘Happy Anniversary’ exhaustedly on the couch. Classic us.
  6. We visited Washington, DC in February {I had a conference} and Nashville, TN {I had another conference} in December. Both were cold, rainy, awesome trips.
  7. We discovered Huntington Beach State Park which has quickly become one of our favorite places in MB.
    • Turns out I like taking pictures of birds.
  8. Driving back to spend a day at work means I have to drive up the night before and I have dodged the following:
    • A tornado. A real, touched down a few miles from my car tornado.
    • A thunderstorm complete with hail.
    • Two separate hurricanes.
  9. I gained 20 pounds since we moved here.
  10. Moving here has been a hard transition. We don’t know anyone, we’re in a place neither is very familiar with, and it’s really lonely sometimes. I do like that Shane and I get to spend a ton of time together.
  11. I started this blog and I’ve really enjoyed blogging!
Blogmas · Life & Family

Bullet Journaling

I recently re-discovered Bullet Journaling {thanks YouTube!}. I’m not going to go into details about what Bullet Journaling is – I liked to the main BuJo source above, and there are some YouTube channels linked below if you’re interested. This time around I decided that I didn’t need to immediately jump into the whole situation, I really needed to learn a lot more about the whole thing. So I watched a billion YouTube videos from: AmandaRachLee, Sunshine & Stationery, Plant Based Bride, and so many more.

These ladies are so incredibly talented and I am amazed by them. I kind of wish I had held off on watching them, to be honest, because it’s hard to not feel insecure about my abilities. I cannot draw, letter, do faux calligraphy, draw a straight line even with a ruler, etc. so that’s not really something I can incorporate into my BuJo. I will forever watch their videos though – there’s something soothing about watching people create spreads.

The other downside to watching so many videos is wanting to start big, with all the spreads, trackers, collections, etc etc etc and that’s not sustainable when you’re just starting out. There are so many different custom Collections (which is what the spreads are called) out there, and I want to use all of them. ALL OF THEM. Not feasible, though. I’m not even sure about habit trackers – is it really reasonable to go from tracking literally nothing to tracking 10 habits, plus whatever else I want to keep track of {cleaning, exercise, etc}? I realize you can scale that down to just a few habits, but you get the point.

I started reading a book by the creator {founder?} of bullet journaling – Ryder Carroll – called The Bullet Journal Method {imaginative, eh?}. It’s a really good book if you’re looking into the whole bullet journal thing. He talks a lot about why he created the method and why. I identify with a lot of what he writes. It’s very much like a lot of other ‘how to improve your life’ books in that it’s advertised as a cure all – this method will not just change your life, it will fix your life. It’s different in that he freely admits that you can take or leave whatever you need; the entire method is not necessary for it to fix your life.

I have hopes for the system – I’m scheming and plotting and planning for 2019 and this is going to be a part of all that. I spent a lot of 2018 apologizing for letting things drop, and I’m hoping that this can help me out with that. I’ll talk more about 2019 in a blog post later this month. You can see my bullet journal Pinterest board if you’re interested. It’s mostly cleaning trackers and meal planning spreads, though.

~Sarah~

Blogmas · Life & Family

Nashville Trip Recap!

I had to go to Nashville, TN for a  WordPress conference, and since Shane had some vacation time and the weekend off, he decided to come along. Between the conference, driving the 9 hours from here to there, and the weather being gross, we didn’t really have much of a chance to explore much. We did some, though. 

The gallery down below has pictures from the Nashville Farmer’s Market, the Bicentennial Capitol Mall, a coffee shop, the Sponsor Hall at the conference, and our AirB&B (which was amazing). 

We also really enjoyed visiting The Parthenon and the park it’s in. There’s a train engine, a pond, white ducks, and bee hives! I was so pumped to see bee boxes, more places need them. Save the bees and all that. 

I had a really great time, and I’m pretty sure Shane did too. The conference was also 

Life & Family

See You in December!

I realized that my blogging situation needs help, so I’m going on a bit of a hiatus until December 1st. November is an intense month, y’all.

After I realized I could either post just to be posting or work on December posts and have quality posts that month, I decided to do the latter. It’s best to regroup and come back strong than trundling along in mediocrity, in my opinion.

So I’ll see you in December!

-Sarah-